When you can't live without bananas

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Saturday, June 10, 2023

Links - 10th June 2023 (2 - Left Wing Economics)

The Meme Policeman - Posts | Facebook - "A) It’s not a small amount of money lost to theft, and
B) Locking up baby food does NOT cause children to starve.
But why is baby formula often locked up? That question became far more interesting than I thought before I researched this lousy meme.
▪️When thinking of high-theft retail items, the first things you’d think of would probably be electronics, designer clothes, liquor or tools. Few outside the retail industry would think of baby formula.
▪️Yet, in the National Retail Federation’s 2018 crime report, infant formula ranked the 3rd most targeted item in the US! Only designer clothes & laundry detergent were stolen more. In their 2020 survey, formula was tied for 6th, beating out items like cigarettes and cell phones...
Retail theft reached an all-time high of $61.7B in 2019, up more than $10B from 2018. Which means that baby formula theft is likely in the hundreds of millions, if not higher (no exact data exists). The NRF survey attributes the rise to lax law enforcement, changes in shoplifting laws & decreased penalties... As for baby formula theft, it’s so big that there have been entire organized theft rings targeting it for decades. Police busted the “Hernandez Group” in 2010, who stole $2.5M in formula from Safeway stores in CA and OR. Feds carried out “Operation Milk Money” the same year, busting a ring in NJ...
▪️Infant formula is surprisingly (and unnecessarily) expensive. A 30 oz can typically costs over $30, with specialty formulas going for 2-3X that or more. For dehydrated milk and some vitamins. Just 3 companies (Abbot Laboratories, Mead Johnson & Gerber) control 98% of the market... This is due to a combination of strict manufacturing regs & huge gov’t subsidies. 57-68% of all infant formula in the US is purchased with gov’t funds through WIC, the welfare program for infants and children.  ️This effectively eliminates price sensitivity for the most price-conscious buyers of formula (and also why locking up formula doesn’t result in babies starving). For low income mothers needing special formulas for medical reasons, Medicaid covers it, again eliminating the price sensitivity... formula became expensive, but still had a small margin for retailers, as the baby formula cartel companies enjoyed the markup. Small retailers, who can’t buy in bulk like the big box stores, have an incentive to purchase formula from “outside sources” to improve their bottom line... Of course, those stealing formula aren’t doing so for their own use. Many are drug addicts looking for a quick buck" Meme: "Friendly reminder when you see locked up baby food, a company would rather children starve than to lose a small amount of money to theft."

Robert Reich Makes 36% More Than Average CEO and Gets $40k for a One-hour Talk Vs. Average Worker Pay of $46k/year - "Professor Reich took time off from his hectic one-course, two-hour a week teaching schedule to berate and excoriate American CEOs and Harvard Business School in a post on the Harvard Business Review blog for allowing “a pay gap between CEOs and ordinary workers that’s gone from 20-to-1 fifty years ago to almost 300-to-1 today.”...
'In 2013, the BLS reports that the average pay for America’s 248,760 chief executives was only $178,400'...
at the same time that Reich complains about the excessive compensation of a small group of a few hundred highly paid CEOs, he actually makes 36% more than the average CEO in the US for lecturing a few hours a week (see chart above). Even considering additional work preparing lectures and grading papers or exams, it’s probably safe to assume that Professor Reich is putting in 50-60 hours per week like the majority of America’s CEOs for his very generous pay of more than a quarter-of-a-million dollars per year.  In addition to his annual CU-Berkeley salary of $242,613, Professor Reich is also a popular speaker on the nation’s lecture circuit, and he commands a handsome speaking fee of $40,000 for a one-hour talk (including Q&A) plus first class travel for one or two people from California, hotel accommodations for up to two nights, ground transportation, meals and incidentals... So we have the former labor secretary complaining about a pay gap between CEOs and average workers, when he gets almost as much in compensation for a one-hour talk as the average American worker earns working full-time for an entire year (see chart above)! If he gives only six speeches a year, his annual income approaches half-a-million dollars a year, putting him solidly in America’s “top 1%” by income – a group the “class warrior” frequently criticizes... in any discussion of CEO pay we should remember that the average CEO in America earned only $176,400 last year (not multi-millions of dollars), received an increase in salary less than the average worker, and earned only about 5 times more than the average worker (not 300X more)."

Meme - "Idc how many times someone explains it to me will NEVER understand why we can't just print more money"

Meme - "A gift from an evicted tenant, she sealed the fridge with blue tape and left all the stuff in there for months, fridge was unplugged"
Damn slumlords not maintaining their properties!

Meme - "I just sent this months rent in"
"i haven't received anything?"
"april fools!!!"
"here is a photo i took of you sleeping this morning"

Toronto condo tenant drives a Lamborghini but doesn't pay their rent - "the landlord claims the monthly fee of $5,000 has not been paid for over ten months...   He says that it's not the first time he's encountered tenants with high-end entails and luxury cars defaulting on rent.  "When Leonard and Natalie Waldman were being evicted from their Highland Crescent house, they were driving BMWs"...   "Last month, I evicted a tenant from a house at Yonge & St Clair — they couldn't pay the $3000 a month in rent for close to four months before they voluntarily agreed to leave. Part of the application against them was the unsafe charging of their Tesla.""

Meme - "I found a way to make leitists stop bitching about land lords
100 Worst Landlords in New York City
*Jewish names*"

Meme - "My annoying landlord
I pay this bitch $1800 every fucking month and all she do is complain about is "making too much noise walking around" so I brought a dog whistle and blow it all hours of the day & night now I complain how much her dog barks and keep me up"
"That is the ultimate petty move and I applaud you"
"This is great"

People Actually Want Fairness, Not Economic Equality - The Atlantic - "in his just-published book, On Inequality, the philosopher Harry Frankfurt argues that economic equality has no intrinsic value. This is a moral claim, but it’s also a psychological one: Frankfurt suggests that if people take the time to reflect, they’ll realize that inequality isn’t really what’s bothering them. People might be troubled by what they see as unjust causes of economic inequality, a perfectly reasonable concern given how much your income and wealth are determined by accidents of birth, including how much money your parents had, your sex, and the color of your skin. We are troubled as well by potential consequences of economic inequality. We may think it corrodes democracy, or increases crime, or diminishes overall happiness. Most of all, people worry about poverty—not that some have less, but rather “that those with less have too little.” Frankfurt argues, though, that we aren’t really bothered by inequality for its own sake. He points out that few worry about inequalities between the very rich and the very well off, even though these might be greater, both absolutely and proportionately, than inequalities between the moderately well-off and the poor. A world in which everyone suffered from horrible poverty would be a perfectly equal one, he says, but few would prefer that to the world in which we now live. Therefore, “equality” can’t be what we really value. Some of Frankfurt’s arguments get technical, but it’s not hard to think of cases where a mistaken focus on equality makes the world worse. My favorite example here is from the comedian Louis C.K., where he describes how his five-year-old’s toy broke and she demanded that he break her sister’s toy, which would make things equal... In research I’ve been involved with at Yale, led by then-graduate student Mark Sheskin, we find that younger children actually have an anti-equality bias—they prefer distributions where they get a relative advantage over equal distributions where everyone gets the same. For instance, children prefer one for them and zero for another child over an arrangement where everyone gets two. This finding meshes well with what other psychologists have found—and which many parents have observed: When treats are being distributed, children will complain bitterly if they get less, but are entirely mellow if they get more. Other primates behave similarly... in a small society, a wannabe dictator can be ignored or ridiculed by everyone else, and if he doesn’t get the message, he can be beaten up, expelled from the group, or killed. But this is a harder trick to pull in a society of millions where interactions are no longer face-to-face and where the powerful have guns and gulags... we don’t find a smidgen of evidence that humans or any other species naturally value equality for its sake... when asked to create a perfect society, respondents choose one in which those in the top fifth have about three times more wealth than those in the bottom fifth"
The left get around this by saying inequality is unfair

Do rent controls and other tenancy regulations affect new construction? Some answers from long-run historical evidence - "The (re-)introduction of tenancy regulation in the form of rent controls, tenant protection or supply rationing is back on the agenda of policymakers in light of rent inflation in many global cities. While rent controls promise short-term relief, economists point to their negative long-run effects on new construction. This study presents new long-run data on both rent regulation and housing construction for 16 developed countries (1910–2016) and finds that more restrictive rental market legislation generally has a negative impact on both new housing construction and residential investment. This is especially true for strict rent controls and housing rationing measures in the post-1960 period. Tenancy security can on average also dampen construction activity. The negative effect is overall less significant and strong in magnitude than expected and may have been offset by exemptions for new construction, by compensating social housing construction and by a flight of new construction into the owner-occupied sector. Still, on average, rent controls came at the cost of less construction activity."

Rent Control Effects through the Lens of Empirical Research: An almost Complete Review of the Literature - "Rent control is a highly debated social policy that has been omnipresent since World War I. Since the 2010s, it is experiencing a true renaissance, for many cities and countries facing chronic housing shortages are desperately looking for solution, directing their attention to controling housing rents and other restrictive policies. Is rent control useful or does it create more damage than utility? To answer this question, we need to identify the effects of rent control. This study reviews a large empirical literature looking at various aspects of rent controls. We conclude that rent controls are quite effective in terms of lowering housing rents or slowing their growth, but they also lead to a wide range of adverse effects affecting both landlords and tenants."

Meme - "Gen Z be like "If you can't tip, don't eat out!" then proceed to shoplift"
They hate "big business" and love "workers"

Video shows loss prevention officers struggling with shoplifting suspect outside Winners store in downtown Toronto - "  A security guard can be heard on camera saying that the man was “shoplifting” and that he is “under arrest.”  “This has nothing to do with you… we are loss prevention,” Tee is told before they all disappear inside the building.  “The man is begging in the video. He seems like he needs help,” Tee said.  “I don’t know what happened in the store before he was outside but he really seemed like the victim of the scenario.”  She said she does not understand why loss prevention officers would have the authority to use that kind of physical force on a shoplifting suspect.  “Many stores have policies in place where loss prevention isn’t allowed to physically touch anyone,” she added...   Tee said she hopes the video sparks a more in-depth conversation about what is appropriate conduct for security guards.  “Even if someone is stealing, they are still a human being and they deserve to be treated like a human being. Objects can be replaced,” she said.  “I was really shook up having witnessed this violence in broad daylight.”"
Comment: "This was the least excessive "excessive force" video I've ever seen."
Basically shoplifting is okay

Meme - "U.S. Soldiers Killed in Taliban Firefight"
Leftist: "they knew what they were signing up for."
"Officers Shot, Killed During Arrest"
Leftist: "Yup, same. They signed up for it."
"The first payment on the student loan you signed up for is due at the end of the month."
Leftist: "UNFAIR!"

Canceling Student Debt Would Be an Insult to Trade Workers - ""I know guys who worked hard to get a construction operation running. Some had to take out a loan on a big old diesel truck. Why would we forgive the cost of a degree but not the cost of a lease payment?"  It's a good question.  "For some reason," continues Rowe, "we think a tool that looks like a diploma is somehow more important than that big piece of metal in the driveway that allows the guy to build homes that you…are in."  The political class does focus on subsidizing college.  "Now everybody is armed with a degree. What kind of world is that?" asks Rowe. "Everybody dreams of being in the corner office, but nobody knows how to build the corner office?"   Lots of good jobs in skilled trades don't require a college degree, he points out. "The push for college came at the expense of every other form of education. Shop class was taken out of high school. We have denied millions of kids an opportunity to see what half the workforce looks like."  It's a reason America now has a shortage of skilled trade workers.  Yet, plumbers, elevator mechanics construction managers, etc., make $100,000 a year... "Forgive student loans" really means workers must pay for privileged students who don't."

What British landlords can learn from Finland’s disastrous rent controls experiment - "With interest rates rising and landlords selling up in droves, Britain is facing a deepening rental crisis.  Prices of renting across the country are rapidly rising as the supply of properties shrinks and the cost of maintaining a let climbs.  The crisis has prompted some politicians to opt for rent controls – Nicola Sturgeon announced a temporary ban on rent rises on existing lets in Scotland in September and the Scottish Government plans to introduce a 3pc cap on rent rises from April.   The Welsh Government has committed to exploring rent controls and London Mayor Sadiq Khan has called for powers to be able to set caps in the capital.  When Finland faced a similar rental supply crunch in the 1990s, policymakers did not introduce more regulation.   Instead, they scrapped it altogether in a move that has been hailed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) as a housing policy success story. The experience of Finland’s rental experiment offers lessons for policymakers in Britain as they confront the same problem – and suggests that the current approach being championed by Sturgeon and Khan may be the wrong solution. Finland was historically a country of rent controls. Waves of restrictions were imposed, first after Finland gained independence from Russia in 1917, then during World War II, and then again during the 1960s, says Harri Hiltunen, chief executive of Kiinteistöliitto, the real estate association of Finland, and a former government housing adviser.  Every aspect of the private rental sector was controlled by the Government and there were strict rules to limit evictions.  By the 1990s, rental supply was crumbling. Even in Helsinki – where higher prices meant landlords arguably had the most incentive to stay in the market – the number of rental properties fell by 11pc between 1975 and 1985, according to Census and Statistics Finland.   As supply declined, the rent controls also effectively stopped working.  “We had a black market”... Because these rents were illegal, landlords simply did not declare them to the tax office... A secondary market also sprang up, whereby companies would lease buildings from landlords and then sublet properties to their employees, says Hiltunen. “That was another way to bypass the regulation.”  Landlords who obeyed the rules were often unable to raise rents enough to pay for maintenance, Hiltunen adds, prompting more and more to sell up.  Then in the 1990s, Finland was hit by an economic crisis after the collapse of the Soviet Union.   “A lot of Finnish construction companies had built dwellings that they were not able to sell,” says Hiltunen.   In response, the Finnish Government lifted rent controls for new contracts in 1993 and then for all existing contracts in 1995.   Once the restrictions were lifted, rental supply bounced almost immediately. Between 1990 and 2000 the number of rental properties in Finland jumped by 45pc... Economists now view the country as having one of the most liberal rental markets in the world.  As in the UK, Finland’s private rental sector is made up primarily of individual, small-scale buy-to-let investors... The black market has disappeared and the vibrant market forced investors to improve their offerings.   “Landlords and rental housing companies had to develop loyalty programmes so that their tenants would stay,” says Hiltunen. “They had to upgrade their services because there was competition.”... in Finland, the jump in rental supply did not have a negative impact on the wider housing market... “House price growth in Finland has been moderate. It had a pandemic surge but it was not on the scale of Sweden or the UK,” says Daniel Kral, of Oxford Economics.  A Finnish house building boom has been key. Between 1996 and 2022, Finland has roughly doubled its housing output. The number of completed dwellings has surged from 21,000 to 41,000 a year... In some areas, there is an oversupply, says Hiltunen. Some landlords who have leases that state they will raise rents each year in line with inflation have found they are unable to because supply outweighs demand"
Liberals don't love the poor - they hate the rich

TTC eyes bus integration with other GTA transit agencies | The Star - "while transit providers from neighbouring municipalities can run buses in Toronto, under provincial legislation they can’t offer local service within city limits... Better cross-border service would particularly benefit lower-income communities on the edge of the city... ATU Local 113 president Marvin Alfred said the union won’t support the plan, which he warned would “threaten the integrity” of Toronto’s transit system and “provide the TTC with a convenient excuse to cut TTC routes and outsource service to other transit agencies.”"
Leftists love low income communities, public transport and unions. So the solution is for the government to spend even more money paying off the union

My mortgage is about to go up by at least $1,000 a month : canada - "Some rich asshole bitching about housing can get the fuck to the back of the line."
"The modern interpretation of class warfare is: The proletariat = anyone who makes the same or less than me. The Bourgeoisie = Anyone that makes more than me"

Meme - "Covered everything but the logo
Edit for the smooth-brain commentors: She didn't get a Mac because she needed a laptop. She got a Mac because she wanted the brand. She could have gotten any great laptop for a much lower price. Same with the boots. Same with the coffee. She's just a hypocrite, simple as that. We're not saying she should abandon technology and go all Ted K. Just that buying for the brand is dumb and anything but "smashing" capitalism. There is a big difference between in the system because you gave to, and going out of your way to support it by buying overpriced things for the brand. It's not hard to understand. Think."
"Smashing capitalism with a $1200 Mac and $7 Starbucks drink"

Meme - MrBeast @MrBeast: "Twitter - Rich people should help others with their money
Me - Okay. I'll use my money to help people and I promise to give away all my money before I die. Every single penny.
Twitter - Demon"
Liberals just hate rich people

Meme - "I cleaned those toilets. I deserve to own the means of production *McDonald's uniform*"

Lenin’s New Economic Policy: When the Soviets Admitted Socialism Doesn't Work - "What was Vladimir Lenin’s remedy for his unfolding socialist catastrophe early in 1921? Free markets...   The next time you hear a democratic socialist declare that his system hasn’t been tried yet, reel off this list for starters (for more, check out the recommended readings below):  Ancient Rome’s Republic began its deadly experiment in democratic socialism in the 2nd Century B.C... The Pilgrims of Plymouth, Massachusetts famously tried another version of democratic socialism seventeen centuries later... After World War II, Great Britain voted the democratic socialists into power and turned the country into “the Sick Man of Europe.” Margaret Thatcher administered a strong dose of capitalism 30 years later, before the patient would have expired.  Scandinavia adopted the welfare state version of socialism around the same time as Britain. Economic decline set in as it took hold. But Norwegians, Danes and Swedes learned much from their mistakes and reversed many of them. Today, their economies are among the freest in the world.  New Zealand found itself mired in the doldrums of democratic socialism by the 1980s but recovered dramatically through drastic reductions in government"
Damn CIA!

Meme - Batman: "When the lower level goons pay their debt to society, Wayne has many employment and rehabilitation the services to get them back on their feet."
Liberal woman: "You should be giving all that money to government!"
Poison Ivy: "Loggers were clearing dead wood from the forest, so I burned their organs inside out with by acidic pheromones."
Liberal woman: "Yass! Stopping the 1% and saving the Earth!"

Choose Your Own Adventure books spread conservative, neoliberal ideology to 1980s kids, according to a historian of capitalism. - "A historian of capitalism exposes how Choose Your Own Adventure books indoctrinated ‘80s children with the idea that success is simply the result of individual “good choices.”... the books don’t let you make one big choice. I was totally blown away when I found out that all of the books—I didn’t remember this, at all—assume that the “you” who’s reading the book is white, and almost always a white middle-class boy. They totally could have kept [the protagonist] neutral, you know? They didn’t have to have it be a white boy."
Leftists don't believe in agency, and they hate anything fun they don't control
Of course there's the usual lying. From the covers you can tell that the protagonist isn't always a white boy. The Treasure of the Onyx Dragon features a girl protagonist, for example
I'm sure a leftist game where you didn't have any agency and weren't the hero would be a smash hit

Meme - "The government is racist and corrupt.
They're in bed with billionaires and corporations.
So, we should tax billionaires and corporations.
And give that money to the government."

"INFINITE GROWTH *huge spoon*"
"FINITE RESOURCES *small bowl*"
These are the same people who bitch about wages not going up

Harvard Economist Raj Chetty Creates God’s-Eye View of Pandemic Damage - Bloomberg - "An analysis of the patents filed by 1.2 million Americans found children of the top 1% are 10 times more likely to be inventors than equally smart kids from other backgrounds. If talented women, minorities, and children from low-income families could invent at the same rate as well-off White men, Chetty and his co-authors estimated, these “lost Einsteins” could quadruple innovation in the U.S."
The tabula rasa delusion strikes again

Max Coplan on Twitter - "Employing people based on their ability to perform a job ostracizes those with little or no skill and has no place in an inclusive society"

Meme - Apple retail union memes @ARUmemes: "Fun activity alert
1. Ask a manager how much in sales your store did this year
2. Divide that number by how many employees there are at your store
3. That's a lot of money
4. You and your coworkers deserve more of that money"
Not understanding the difference between revenue and profit: this is why these commies only earn minimum wage

The Giving Tree

Tree: "I am sorry, I wish I could give you something, but I have nothing left."
Man: "I don't need very much now. Just a place to sit and rest." *falls asleep/dies*
Tree: "Finally. Time to give back"
*Night time with tree roots around skeleton and new growth from trunk*


CMV:The Giving Tree is a story with horrible morals. : changemyview

"I am currently having this discussion with my wife. Both of us had the book read to us as children and my wife now reads it to our 2 year old. I can't stand this book. I believe it to be the personification of entitlement. For those unfamiliar, a tree (most likely signifying parents) provides a boy with anything he needs until he takes everything the tree can give leaving only the stump. The boy is absent when he doesn't want things and openly complains about what the tree offers. There is no thanks given by the boy at anytime and no acknowledgement that he is damaging the tree beyond repair.

I get the notions of self sacrifice that go into being a parent. I understand that I would probably do the same to make sure my own child lived a happy life. But I don't want to encourage this notion of desecration without though for stewardship or appreciation for the gifts being given."

Links - 10th June 2023 (1 - Get Woke, Go Broke)

CNN's 4th Quarter Primetime Viewership Collapses 73% to Just 642K - "CNN, a far-left propaganda outlet that promotes conspiracy theories and encourages political violence, lost 73 percent of its primetime viewers in the fourth quarter of 2021."

Fox News Crushes CNN, MSNBC In November Ratings: FNC Owns 14 Out Of Top 15 Shows In Cable News

‘I Would Like To See CNN Evolve Back To’ Doing News, ‘Actually Have Journalists’: Incoming Top Shareholder - "Liberty Media Chairman John Malone said “good journalism could have a role” in any company he controls, implying that would require major changes at the nation’s first 24-hour news network... Malone seems eager to reverse the slide toward outright commentary and embrace of casual on-air profanity embraced by current CNN president David Zucker.  But many of CNN’s low-rated hosts may believe they do not need to reform their ways. As this author previously reported at The Daily Wire, Don Lemon denies that he is either partisan or a commentary host"

'Dear White People' creator says racism's 'evergreen' presence keeps series relevant
Weird how they got cancelled. Must be "racism"

Boy Scouts support Black Lives Matter and will require scouts to earn diversity badge - "In a statement released in support of Black Lives Matter, the Boy Scouts of America said it will require Eagle Scouts to earn a diversity and inclusion badge. It'll examine its own role in perpetuating racism, too... "The Boy Scouts of America stands with Black families and the Black community because we believe that Black Lives Matter," the organization said in a letter on Scoutingwire, the organization's official blog. "This is not a political issue; it is a human rights issue and one we all have a duty to address." Now, scouts must earn a diversity and inclusion merit badge to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest rank in the Boy Scouts program... The organization said it's banned the Confederate flag for nearly 30 years, but it'll review property names, events and insignia to "ensure that symbols of oppression are not in use today or in the future."... this year, the Boy Scouts of America filed for bankruptcy"
Defining your preferred politics as not a political issue is a great sleight of hand
What would happen if banning abortion were framed as about human rights?

Lawsuit claims Girl Scouts are in a 'highly damaging' recruitment war with Boy Scouts - "Lawyers for the Girl Scouts say the popular organization for young girls is currently engaged in a “highly damaging” recruitment war with the Boy Scouts... “As a result of Boy Scouts’ infringement, parents have mistakenly enrolled their daughters in Boy Scouts thinking it was Girl Scouts,” the Girl Scouts charged in a Christmas Eve court filing, the Associated Press reports. The filing is connected to a 2018 trademark infringement lawsuit filed by the organization seeking to prevent the Boy Scouts from using the terms “scouts” or “scouting.”... the organization had to clarify its stance on women’s empowerment after facing criticism for a statement congratulating recently confirmed Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett for her new role... In a since-deleted tweet, the organization declared “Congratulations Amy Coney Barrett on becoming the 5th woman appointed to the Supreme Court since its inception in 1789,” alongside an image of Barrett and the four other justices who came before her: Sandra Day O’Connor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. In response, the message was met with replies saying Barrett’s conservative politics were contradictory to the organization’s message of female empowerment."
The left doesn't support women. Just liberal women

Woke Girl Scouts are about to spend $500,000 on movement-wide audit to ensure the organization is "antiracist"

Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts suffer huge declines in membership - "Membership for the BSA’s flagship Cub Scouts and Scouts BSA programs dropped from 1.97 million in 2019 to 1.12 million in 2020, a 43% plunge, according to figures provided to The Associated Press. Court records show membership has fallen further since then, to about 762,000."

Anne Boleyn drama branded ‘dull’ as viewers switch off over ‘historical inaccuracies’ - “I could accept Jodie Turner-smith #AnneBoleyn as a way for the younger generation to take an interest in history they might not before but having her kiss Jane Seymour and too many inaccurate events that never took place is too much, have at least some historical accuracy in it”
Clearly they're all just racist

CHRISTOPHER STEVENS: Whoever wrote this drivel about Anne Boleyn, off with their heads! - "The preview came with a 37-page press release and a note: 'We kindly ask if journalists can read the introduction on Re-Imagining Anne Boleyn, as some elements may be helpful.' Dutifully, I read it.  On page five, I learned: 'The producers adopted the approach of identity-conscious casting, which makes space for and embraces how actors and artists can bring their whole identities or even parts of their identities to a character.' Pish and faugh... half the dialogue is lumpen, and the rest is ludicrous. Irritated by the squawking peacocks, she announces that she wants them shot. With what — cannon? Handguns were unknown in England in 1536. And when she notes her husband's wandering eye is taken with lady-in-waiting Jane Seymour (Lola Petticrew), Anne summons her for a walk: 'I want to take a moment to talk with you, woman to woman.' Then she kisses her. 'Yes,' she declares, 'I can see the appeal.'  I suppose a certain sort of bloke might find this attractive. Perhaps the sequel will be called The Six Lesbian Wives Of Henry VIII, which sounds like a movie that Penthouse boss Bob Guccione would want to make."

Shoehorning lesbian scenes into historical dramas is anything but progressive - "There is also a growing trend for shoehorning titillating lesbian storylines into historical dramas, which is billed as "feminist" but looks suspiciously like a ploy to draw in men...   Then there is the new Channel 5 historical thriller Anne Boleyn, which features a kiss between the Queen and Jane Seymour. Supposedly through a feminist lens, much time is devoted to showing Anne’s sexual hold over Henry in a vaguely sado (her) masochistic (him) fashion. Her brains and wit take second place."

Anne Boleyn drama a ratings flop for Channel 5 - "Ratings steadily declined across the three episodes, with 774,000 (5.2%) tuning in for the first episode on Tuesday and Wednesday night's second episode bringing in 507,000 (3%)."

Bipartisan majority turned off by virtue signaling of woke corporations and execs - "A broad bipartisan majority of voters say corporate executives should spend less time virtue signaling on social issues and more on developing and selling their products, according to research from a strategic data analysis firm.  The Brunswick Group study, titled “The Talking Trap,” shows that most Democrats and Republicans are put off by “woke” messaging from C-suite offices.   Conversely, business executives say their social messaging is important and successful, indicating a sharp divide between business elites and consumers...   Concerns about corporations embracing liberal causes appear to be growing. The Republican chief financial officers of 15 states, led by West Virginia, sent a letter Tuesday to financial institution executives threatening to pull some $600 billion in assets from those that are blocking financing for oil and gas projects in the name of climate change. The study is a part of Brunswick‘s “The Critical” series, which focuses on the intersection of business and politics.  “In a highly complex civic, socio-economic and communications environment, there is enormous pressure on organizations to respond to everything that is happening,” the study states. “The efforts are all-too-often disbelieved as authentic — by people across every part of the political and socio-economic spectrum.”  By a margin of 2-to-1, “corporate executives are ‘out of step’ with broader public sentiment related to engagement on social issues”...   Of corporate executives surveyed, 63% agreed unequivocally that they should speak out on social issues. Only 36% of voters held the same view.  The divide is equally pronounced when it comes to the perceived effectiveness of woke corporate campaigns, according to the study. On that point, three-quarters of executives, compared with 39% of voters, said the campaigns are effective...   The distrust among many Democrats is rooted in a belief that the companies’ campaigns are insincere, and many Republicans simply do not want to hear executives’ views on social issues or disagree with the executives’ views...   The one issue on which a majority of voters did see sincerity was in corporate charitable work after natural disasters.  “Doing work for the sake of appeasing the progressive Twitter mob might satisfy one sect of the population, but as a CEO you’ll only alienate customers and employees,” Mr. Flaig said. “This report demonstrates in no uncertain terms that any CEO who continues to force their company into politics is placing their own political agenda ahead of maximizing shareholder value.”"

Rita Panahi on corporate heavyweights applying pressure to government over same-sex marriage | Herald Sun - "Twenty CEOs from some of Australia’s biggest companies — including Telstra, CBA, ANZ, Qantas, Holden, AGL Energy, KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Lendlease and Wesfarmers — have personally signed a letter to the Prime Minister urging him to take legislative action on same-sex marriage.  Never mind that Malcolm Turnbull went to last year’s election promising a plebiscite, since blocked by the Senate.  These 20 corporate chiefs want the PM to break an election promise and take urgent action on this most pressing of issues.  Isn’t it curious that corporate heavyweights never virtue-signal about issues such as national security or homegrown terrorism; it’s always some topic high on the Leftist agenda.  If CEOs want to put pressure on the PM, why don’t they pick an issue that is relevant to their core business and in the financial interests of their shareholders?  Why aren’t there open letters about the corporate tax rate, penalty rates, payroll tax, crippling red tape, or a plethora of other policy issues directly related to the running of their businesses?  But the bigger question is, why are companies that should be focused on serving their client base and increasing shareholder value becoming involved with contentious social and political issues?... Look to the US and you’ll see many corporations come undone by adopting what they thought would be a popular political stance... If you’re a Telstra shareholder who has watched the value of your asset drop by 11 per cent in the past year, you are entitled to wonder why the CEO is blogging about “gender equality” or lobbying the PM to legislate gay marriage.  One wonders whether the gender quotas that Telstra is introducing for Australian job applicants will be applied to their call centres in the Philippines. Perhaps Telstra CEO Andy Penn should consider a career in politics instead of using his highly paid role to push his personal political views.  Of course, then he’d have to settle for a backbencher’s base salary of $195,000 rather than his current base salary of $2.325 million... The anti-plebiscite campaigners would have you believe that Australians aren’t capable of sophisticated deliberation on an issue such as gay marriage. Their arguments against the plebiscite were based on the notion that any debate would be characterised by a destructive hate and bigotry that would traumatise the LGBTIQ community. Over the weekend, the usual blowhards and Twitter brokens were busy condemning Immigration Minister Peter Dutton for admonishing the 20 activist CEOs, claiming that his criticism was somehow impinging on their freedom of speech. That painfully asinine argument is always made by confused folk who mistake criticism for censorship. The CEOs are free to say what they want and Dutton is free to criticise them. No one is being sued or censored; it is freedom of speech in action."

The war of social word play has reached a new low - "“People who are doing this at the corporate level will rapidly get their comeuppance … If you’re operating within a capitalist environment like let’s say the executives and management of Qantas, who are being paid disproportionately well, you don’t also get to be a social radical. And you don’t get to salve your conscience for receiving a pay cheque that’s 300 times the pay cheque of the average worker by pretending you’re a social revolutionary. It’s an appalling sleight of hand. “In addition, you don’t get to invite the radical leftists into your corporate utopia without opening the door to a major fifth column. If you are naive enough to think that the demand of the radicals for the transformation of your company is going to end with a few requests for language transformation then you’re a complete bloody fool."

Report: Hollywood Executives 'Much More Nervous' About Abortion Activism After Disney-Florida Fight - "Studio and talent agency executives, who lean overwhelmingly to the left, have become “much more nervous” when it comes to responding to politically divisive issues, including abortion...   “If the states decide after the Supreme Court ruling [to ban abortion], it’s going to be hard as a studio to say, ‘We’re not going to do business there.’ We’re not going to do business in half the country? A studio’s job is not to divide and conquer, like politics. A studio’s job is to aggregate as many people as they can,” Howard Bragman, a crisis PR veteran, told TheWrap. TheWrap said it reached out to all the major studios about their positions on the pending Supreme Court ruling, including whether they would consider relocating productions or cover travel expenses for employees in those states who may seek abortions. None responded to a request for comment except Sony, which had no comment.  That doesn’t mean Hollywood executives aren’t livid about the forthcoming ruling.  Insiders told TheWrap that female creatives and executives at the highest levels across the industry are “outraged” and have real “fury” in response to the leaked draft of Justice Samuel Alito’s opinion.   In recent years, Hollywood studios have threatened to boycott production in Georgia and North Carolina over the fetal heartbeat bill and the transgender bathroom law, respectively."

Santa Inc. starring Seth Rogen becomes lowest-rated TV show ever - "The series follows Candy Smalls (voiced by Sarah Silverman), an elf working in Santa’s workshop. The current Santa (voiced by Seth Rogen) is coming up on retirement, so Candy decides she wants to become the first woman to take the reins from Saint Nick. Becoming the next Santa isn’t easy as Candy faces a male-dominated, misogynistic work environment.  The show is full of raunchy and satirical jokes on hot-button political and social issues that have undoubtedly triggered a reaction from some demographics.  Seth Rogen took to Twitter to address their reaction to the show, saying, “We really pissed off tens of thousands of white supremacists with our new show.”"
When your product sucks, just blame "white supremacists"

Nolte: Record Low Ratings for NBC's Opening Coverage of Genocide Games - "That’s a 55 percent drop from four years ago when 16 million tuned into the opening night coverage of the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea. That’s also down a whopping 64 percent from the 2014 Summer Games. These numbers are beyond a catastrophe, especially after NBC’s Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo last year also earned record low ratings. Those Olympics were widely ridiculed as the Woke Olympics. America tuned that fiasco out because of all the obnoxious left-wing politicking, virtue signaling, and propaganda — most of it performed by smug athletes who failed to win any medals.  At the time, the corporate media tried to gaslight the public into believing the off-putting woketardery had nothing to do with the ratings crash. Instead, they spread a bunch of wild-eyed misinformation, blaming the lack of interest on the China Flu delaying the games for a year — which is laughable. The one-year delay should’ve increased anticipation. What’s more, during the summer of 2021, millions of Americans were still hiding out at home from the pandemic.   Gee, I wonder what the corporate media’s excuse will be for NBC’s record low Genocide Games’ ratings?  These Games weren’t delayed"

Nolte: Woke Dies at the Box Office, Including LeBron's ‘Space Jam’ - "Why Warner Bros. chose to hand an appealing franchise over to someone as unappealing and divisive as LeBron James is anyone’s guess. The result is that between a $150 million production budget and the additional $50 million – $80 million likely spent on promotion, Warner Bros. is probably looking at a write-off somewhere around $150 million, lol...   The Forever Purge is another woke flop. It grossed less than $2 million in weekend four and sits at a pathetic $40 million. The world will also not save this one. While its predecessor, 2018’s First Purge, grossed $138 million worldwide, Forever Purge sits as a pathetic $52 million and will be lucky to gross half of that $138 million.  As the Purge franchise became more woke and increasingly self-important, it lost the goodwill of its audience. The first three are pretty good. Then it jumped off a woke cliff. Forever Purge is the wokest of them all and kersplat, lol."

Scandinavian Airlines: Get Woke, Cry Wolf - "What is truly Scandinavian? Absolutely nothing. Everything is copied.  This was the slogan contained in a bizarre ad campaign broadcast earlier this month by Scandinavian Airlines (SAS), the largest airline in Scandinavia and the flag carrier of Norway, Denmark and Sweden. The ad was posted on YouTube, but was quickly edited and reposted after being flooded with bad reviews... SAS has faced a wave of criticism, ranging from ordinary Twitter users and opinion writers to leading politicians. Social media has been full of comments from people who vow never to fly with the company again—their own flag-carrier, 29 percent of which is owned by the Danish and Swedish state.  For anyone having trouble understanding why the ad has caused offense, imagine someone—say, Donald Trump—making the same claim about any other nation. Imagine them asking what is truly Mexican, Jewish or Palestinian, and then contending, “Absolutely nothing. Everything is copied.”  With 112,000-plus down-votes compared to 13,000-plus up-votes on YouTube as of this writing, this looks like a PR disaster... SAS got woke—then it cried wolf.  The day after the ad was released, the airline wrote in a press statement that it was investigating a suspected “attack” on social media—a theory which was uncritically picked up by leading international outlets... Some media immediately began speculating on possible Russian involvement, a theory which the company did nothing to deny. Reuters claimed that the ad was simply “debunking myths about Scandinavia,” yet had nevertheless become “victim of an online hate campaign, particularly from nationalist and right-wing groups.” The advertising agency’s offices in Copenhagen were in fact subjected to a bomb threat, which seems to have been a hoax. But SAS has not presented any evidence of a cyber attack. And although the ad has been widely shared in forums such as 4chan, experts have rejected the idea that the company was victim of a coordinated attack, either particularly by “right-wing groups,” or by Russia. And a number of mainstream Scandinavian media outlets and commentators had been among the most vocal critics. But by evoking existing fears of right-wing extremism, online hate campaigns, and real threats to national security, the company was able to deflect basic journalistic scrutiny.  This damage-control strategy is more likely to work outside Scandinavia than within, since it requires some familiarity with the region to understand the outlandish nature of the ad’s message. SAS’ mode of crisis management might only add to the offense, as the company now is portraying perfectly reasonable people in one of the world’s most tolerant and multi-cultural regions as irrational and hateful. While Reuters claims SAS was simply “debunking myths about Scandinavia,” the ad does no such thing. In fact, it gets a number of facts about the region wrong. For instance, the ad mentions parental leave, and features a Swedish dad with a baby carrier whispering “Thank you Switzerland.” Yet, Sweden was the first country in the world to introduce paid paternity leave, in 1974... The ad also claims that Swedish meatballs may in fact be Turkish, which is actually an urban legend, long ago debunked... Here are some actual Scandinavian inventions not mentioned in the ad: the Celsius temperature scale, the pacemaker, the banknote, dynamite, Lego, Spotify, Skype, Carolus Linnaeus’ taxonomy, and Niels Bohr’s foundational contributions to quantum physics and our understanding of atomic structure. Scandinavia, in fact, has long been one of the most innovative regions in the world. The Nobel Prize—in memory of Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite—is Swedish.  Indeed, the Kurdish-Swedish economist Tino Sanandaji has pointed out that it can be helpful to take a look at the periodic table by country of discovery to get an idea of how the Scandinavians have fared in terms of scientific contributions.  But of course, who cares about quantum physics or the discovery of new elements when there’s the origin of the meatball to be debated?  And now Scandinavia apparently has one more invention to claim, although it’s not one that should instill any of us with pride: a cynical new corporate strategy for deflecting criticism based on inflated or invented claims of online hate campaigns and Russian involvement—which, of course, will simply undermine public trust and public resolve in the face of real extremist campaigns and disinformation."
Blaming the "far right" and the Russians is the usual leftist playbook. And when they lose credibility, blame everyone else

SAS secures $700 million financing to aid restructuring - "SAS, which was already loss-making before the pandemic due to rising competition from low-cost carriers, had said it needed to slash costs further and raise more capital to survive."

Escape The Echo Chamber - Posts | Facebook - "Evergreen State College is finally parting ways with its president, George Bridges. During his tenure the college lost money every year. It’s enrollment plummeted after Bridges attempted to fully incorporate applied post modernism into campus management. This culminated in a roving, bar-wielding lynch mob that was hunting for Professor Brett Weinstein (and his wife and fellow professor Heather Heying). The college ended up paying large settlements to make them leave, along with the campus police chief who was told to stand down.  Evergreen is a very unique liberal arts college that offered an educational format that allowed some non-traditional students to thrive. It is a small, very liberal campus that offered something unique in the education industry. Hopefully the new president, who won’t start until the summer of 2021, will be able to rebuild the college whole providing a safe environment for all."
From 2020

Nolte: Masculine, Pro-American 'Top Gun: Maverick' Blasts to $146M Opening, Towers over Woke Flops - "it’s…  …a masculine, pro-American, stridently non-woke blockbuster that has just blasted off to a $146 million opening weekend, which is well above predictions. Based on review after review, Top Gun 2 did the wisest thing possible. Rather than apologize for being an 80’s “relic,” it embraced what everyone loved in 1986 and still loves today... In other words, it didn’t do what James Bond did—turn itself into a mewling little pajama boy gerbil of a movie. It didn’t do what Star Wars did and pervert a romantic-adventure series into a shrill Womyn’s Studies lecture. Instead, Top Gun chose to respect human nature and remain what it was, what worked, and what normal people love. The audience sensed that, and now it’s over-performing and less than $10 million away from setting an all-time Memorial Day Weekend record.   Arrrrhhh, darhhhrrr, Hollywoodtards.
Woke West Side Story: Flop
Woke Eternals: Flop
Woke In the Heights: Flop
Woke Wonder Woman 1984: Flop
Woke Charlie’s Angels: Flop
Woke Men In Black International: Flop
Woke Birds of Prey: Flop
Woke Ghostbusters 3: Flop
Woke The 355: Flop.
Woke Terminator Dark Fate: Flop
Woke Oscars: flop
Woke Netflix: Stock tanking
Woke Groomers at Disney: Stock tanking...
You want to know why Tom Cruise is one of the few movie stars still standing? It’s not his looks or his agelessness or even his talent. There are all kinds of good-looking, talented, ageless actors and actresses out there… No, Tom Cruise is a star because he understands stardom in the same way John Wayne and Errol Flynn and Gene Kelly and Bette Davis and Warren Beatty and Jack Nicholson understood stardom… It’s not about you! It’s about the audience! Dazzle them. Make them laugh. Make them cry. Inspire them. Broaden their horizons. Show them something new. Teach them. But never, ever talk down to them or act as their superior.  Respect the audience as a partner, and you will never break up."

Top Gun: Maverick Does Not Denounce Toxic Masculinity, It Embraces It
Top Gun: Maverick should have done something to fit our times.
By Joe Milo
'Top Gun: Maverick' Flies Past 'Doctor Strange 2' as Highest-Grossing Movie of the Year in the US."

Halifax suffers exodus of customers after staff pronoun policy - "Halifax customers are closing their accounts en masse today after its social media team told them to leave if they don't like their new pronoun badges for staff in what is being branded one of the biggest PR disasters in British business history... Former Doctor Who scriptwriter Gareth Roberts, a Halifax customer since 1988, told the bank: 'I'm a homosexual man. I'm appalled by your adoption of this homophobic, woman-hating claptrap, and by your attitude to customers making perfectly reasonable objections to it.'  Company director Anders Jersby ended his Halifax car insurance policy and said he would never deal with Halifax again thanks to 'their antics with pronouns'.   Branding expert Martin Townsend said Halifax's policy is a 'Ratner moment' and an 'astonishing' mistake that will be considered one of the biggest PR blunders in recent history... Mr Townsend referred to Gerald Ratner, who infamously caused the value of the jewellery firm he was chief executive of to plummet after branding one of its products as 'total c**p' in a speech... One woman said she had closed her Halifax credit card account over the 'crazy' policy.  'I don't want to be having conversations about gender when I go into my bank,' said the 50-year-old psychologist from London. 'Frankly, I'd rather they be focused on lowering interest rates.'  Another woman said she had moved her savings account to Nat West, adding: 'I want to do my banking and not have a nonsensical, often deeply misogynistic religion pushed on me... On its website, Halifax say any customers they deem to be 'transphobic' could have their accounts closed... One man said a customer services assistant was 'deliberately obstructive' after he told her why he wanted to close his account.  He added that the assistant 'doubled down and said they're a business of inclusiveness and equality and then closed the chat but not my account'."

Halifax customers upset by pronoun badges close accounts and cut up credit cards - "Although Halifax made clear the scheme is optional, people expressed concerns that those who chose not to display their pronouns would be singled out or judged.  Either way, Halifax didn’t appear to bothered that customers were threatening to leave, and even showed them the metaphorical door.  After a user called the bank out for ‘virtue signalling’ a Halifax social media manager named AndyM said: ‘We strive for inclusion, equality, and quite simply in doing what’s right.  ‘If you disagree with our values, you’re welcome to close your account.’  This added fuel to the fire, with former Conservative councillor Caroline Ffiske saying: ‘It is incredibly rude for Halifax to say to customers if you don’t like it go away. It’s astonishing to have a bank behaving like a trans activist.’...   One unhappy customer told MailOnline his whole family had transferred their accounts to Nationwide, amounting to a loss of £450,000 in investments and savings... Speaking to BBC Radio 4, financial commentator Matthew Lynn warned: ‘Companies don’t need to aggressively take positions on what are still quite divisive social issues.  ‘It probably didn’t come from the CEO – it comes from a bunch of millennial 20-somethings running the Twitter feed.  ‘To tell customers that they should go and close down their accounts and go to a different bank because they have a slightly different view on this is way too aggressive.’"

Halifax branded 'disgraceful' by most famous employee Howard in pronoun badge row - "Former employee Howard Brown, who became a household name as the face of Halifax for over a decade, has also waded in and branded the bank's attitude towards customers as "disgraceful"... Howard, who caught the nation's attention with his star turn in the Halifax adverts in the 2000s, said: "That's not the Halifax I knew, that's not the customer service I knew. If this had happened when I was working there, we'd all have been shocked and disappointed. It's a service industry – you should leave politics to the politicians."

Friday, June 09, 2023

Links - 9th June 2023 (2 - Covid-19: Masks)

Yes, masks reduce the risk of spreading COVID, despite a review saying they don't
Amazing cope about the Cochrane Review study. Covid hystericists love to dismiss sources they disagree with by claiming that non-peer reviewed sources should be thrown out. Anyway, the point of the systematic review is that there is no good evidence that masks work. Ironically, by problematising the RCTs, this piece is proving the point. Other systematic reviews have also found poor evidence that masks are effective as source control. And the piece also misrepresents the Bangladesh RCT. Even the editors of a leading epidemiology journal published “Epidemiology—is it time to call it a day?”, decrying the problems with observational epidemiology. It's a joke that the CDC-hosted study is called a "Well-designed real-world stud[y]". It doesn't even control for social distancing or time spent in indoor settings (which the study itself notes): "this analysis does not account for potential differences in the intensity of exposures, which could vary by duration, ventilation system, and activity in each of the various indoor public settings visited". The power of cognitive dissonance!

Do Masks Work? | City Journal - "It’s striking how much the CDC, in marshalling evidence to justify its revised mask guidance, studiously avoids mentioning randomized controlled trials. RCTs are uniformly regarded as the gold standard in medical research, yet the CDC basically ignores them apart from disparaging certain ones that particularly contradict the agency’s position... A particular favorite of the CDC’s, so much so that the agency put out a glowing press release on it and continues to give it pride of placement in its brief, is an observational (specifically, cohort) study focused on two Covid-positive hairstylists at a beauty salon in Missouri. The two stylists, who were masked, provided services for 139 people, who were mostly masked, for several days after developing Covid-19 symptoms. The 67 customers who subsequently chose to get tested for the coronavirus tested negative, and none of the 72 others reported symptoms.  This study has major limitations. For starters, any number of the 72 untested customers could have had Covid-19 but been asymptomatic, or else had symptoms that they chose not to report... The apparent lack of spread of Covid-19 could have been a result of good ventilation, good hand hygiene, minimal coughing by the stylists, or the fact that stylists generally, as the researchers note, “cut hair while clients are facing away from them.” The researchers also observe that “viral shedding” of the coronavirus “is at its highest during the 2 to 3 days before symptom onset.” Yet no customers who saw the stylists when they were at their most contagious were tested for Covid-19 or asked about symptoms. Most importantly, this study does not have a control group. Nobody has any idea how many people, if any, would have been infected had no masks been worn in the salon. Late last year, at a gym in Virginia in which people apparently did not wear masks most of the time, a trainer tested positive for the coronavirus. As CNN reported, the gym contacted everyone whom the trainer had coached before getting sick—50 members in all—“but not one member developed symptoms.” Clearly, this doesn’t prove that not wearing masks prevents transmission.   Another CDC-highlighted study, by Rader et al., invited people across the country to answer a survey. The low (11 percent) response rate—including about twice as many women as men—indicated that the mix of respondents was hardly random. The study found that “a high percentage of self-reported face mask-wearing is associated with a higher probability of transmission control,” and “the highest percentage of reported mask wearers” are found, unsurprisingly, “along the coasts and southern border, and in large urban areas.” However, as the researchers note, “It is difficult to disentangle individuals’ engagement in mask-wearing from their adoption of other preventive hygiene practices, and mask-wearing might serve as a proxy for other risk avoidance behaviors not queried.” Moreover, achieving greater “transmission control” is not remotely the same thing as ensuring fewer deaths...   Mask supporters often claim that we have no choice but to rely on observational studies instead of RCTs, because RCTs cannot tell us whether masks work or not. But what they really mean is that they don’t like what the RCTs show... “Some have turned to social media to ask why a trial that may diminish enthusiasm for masks and may be misinterpreted was published in a top medical journal.”  Meanwhile, the CDC website portrays the Danish RCT (with its 4,800 participants) as being far less relevant or important than the observational study of Missouri hairdressers with no control group, dismissing the former as “inconclusive” and “too small” while praising the latter, amazingly, as “showing that wearing a mask prevented the spread of infection”—when it showed nothing of the sort.   Each of the RCTs discussed so far, 13 in all, examined the effectiveness of surgical masks, finding little to no evidence of their effectiveness and some evidence that they might actually increase viral transmission. None of these 13 RCTs examined the effectiveness of cloth masks. “Cloth face coverings,” according to former CDC director Robert Redfield, “are one of the most powerful weapons we have.”... wearing a cloth mask “may potentially increase the infection risk” for health-care workers"

Somehow, the science on masks still isn’t settled - The Atlantic - "What is most frustrating about this masking uncertainty is that the pandemic has presented many opportunities for the U.S. to gather stronger data on the effects of population-level masking, but those studies have not happened. Masking policies were made on sound but limited data, and when decisions are made that way, “you need to continually assess whether those assumptions are correct”... Obtaining stronger data is still possible, though it won’t be easy. A major challenge of studying the effect of population-level masking in the real world is that people aren’t good at wearing masks, which of course is a problem with the effectiveness of masks too. It would be straightforward enough if you could guarantee that participants wore their masks perfectly and consistently throughout the study period. But in the real world, masks fit poorly and slip off noses, and people are generally eager to take them off whenever possible. Ideally, the research needed to gather strong data—about masks, and other lingering pandemic questions—would be conducted through the government. The U.K., for example, has funded large randomized controlled trials of COVID drugs such as molnupiravir. So far, that doesn’t seem to have happened in the U.S.  None of the new studies on masking included in the Cochrane review were funded by the U.S. government. “The fact that we never as a country really set up studies to answer the most pressing questions is a failure,” said Nuzzo. What the CDC could do is organize and fund a research network to study COVID, much like the centers of excellence the agency has for fields such as food safety and tuberculosis... You would think that the policy makers who encouraged masking would have made finding that support a priority. “If you’re going to burn your political capital, it’d be nice to have the evidence to say that it’s necessary”... That America has never amassed good evidence to show the effect of population-level masking for COVID, Nuzzo said, has been a missed opportunity. The best time to learn more about masking is before we are asked to do it again"
Maybe pro-maskers don't want high quality research about masks, because they're afraid it will show that masks are useless

Re-analysis on the statistical sampling biases of a mask promotion trial in Bangladesh: a statistical replication - "A recent randomized trial evaluated the impact of mask promotion on COVID-19-related outcomes. We find that staff behavior in both unblinded and supposedly blinded steps caused large and statistically significant imbalances in population sizes. These denominator differences constitute the rate differences observed in the trial, complicating inferences of causality."
Peer reviewed research challenging the only RCT which supposedly proves masks reduce covid spread (and even there the effect was modest)

The scientific case against face masks - "We all want masks to work, but thus far high-quality data indicates that they don’t, at least not on a measurable population level. The same is true of rapid testing. Considering the limited accuracy of a single asymptomatic swab at detecting SARS-CoV-2, the advice to “test before seeing Grandma” is not supported by evidence that this would provide meaningful protection. In fact, a few studies have shown that large asymptomatic Covid-19 testing programs have had limited utility in reducing transmission.   Insisting upon mask effectiveness or the reliability of antigen testing may actually be emboldening vulnerable people, or those who interact closely with vulnerable people, to take risks by eliciting a false sense of security. This phenomenon, known as the Peltzman effect, where people act more carelessly when they perceive risk is lower due to the presence of a guardrail, has been shown to influence a range of behaviours including driving, drug use and sexual activity.   In the case of the coronavirus, this might involve forgoing other precautions that would actually protect themselves and others, such as getting vaccinated, avoiding crowds, making sure rooms are ventilated well, and staying home when sick. Even the White House Covid-19 response coordinator, Ashish Jha, recently appeared to lament that an overreliance on masking has replaced necessary investments in improving indoor air quality.  The fact that many news outlets continue to promote narratives that are not supported by high-quality scientific evidence may be contributing to historically low levels of trust in the media. Hyping unproven mitigation measures was, and continues to be, a serious mistake."

Michael P Senger on Twitter - "When asked if the CDC will revise its guidance to mandate masks in schools in light of the Cochrane review showing masks do not curb COVID, CDC Director Walensky tells Congress its advice on child masking will never change. “Our masking guidance doesn’t really change with time.”"
Science doesn't really change with time, apparently

Ontario's CMO of health links viral surge to 'negative consequences' of extended mask mandates

[WATCH] Student Destroys School Board with Withering Speech: 'Thank You For Teaching Us We Should Never Question Authority' - "Thank you for teaching students that our own mental health is much less important than making triple-vaccinated adults feel safe. Thank you for teaching me that even the most minute risk is not worth taking. Life is best when you take the path of least resistance with no chance of failure and definitely no chance of catching a cold.  Thank you for not reaching out to the students to ask how we feel about masks because if you did the majority of students would say they hate masks and then you might second guess your decision to make us wear them.  Thank you for allowing me to experience the anxiety of never seeing facial expressions. Thank you for teaching us that we should never question authority or think critically, but instead we should follow whatever the poeple in charge tell us to do. Obedience is best. I realize now that thinking for yourself is overrated and not really necessary when you can just make decisions based on fear.  Thank you for pushing your irrational fears and anxieties on me because I didn’t already have enough to worry about. I realize now how easy I had it when I only had to worry about my classes, grades, SATs, and getting into college.  Thank you for teaching me that being a morally superior person only requires that I cover my face for 8 hours a day and the most morally superior people wear two masks or even three masks.  As you know, states around us Indiana, WI, IA, MI, MN which have two and a half times more students than Illinois don’t force kids to mask. I’m with you though, these states are out of control recklessly putting kids at risk of misery and death every day. Masks work, even if these states have the same outcomes as Illinois. Speaking of data, thank you for staying silent about masking despite the fact that COVID has a very high survival rate in kids my age. Who needs data, though. We all know that it will never be safe to see anyone’s face ever again."

We Have a Tripledemic. Not of Disease, But of Fear. - "For the last few weeks, the media has been filled with stories about what The New York Times has described as our latest “viral onslaught.” It’s been dubbed a “tripledemic”—a combination of Covid-19, influenza, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which is being blamed for high rates of illness and an excess of hospitalizations, especially among children.  The message is clear: fear winter respiratory viruses, and take every possible precaution you can. It’s time to slap on those N95s once more, avoid crowds, and socialize outdoors if possible.    But the best available evidence contradicts the narrative from the media and many public health officials. The precautions being recommended are essentially unproven—akin to burning an incense stick, or wearing garlic to ward off vampires.  The way to think of the tripledemic is that it’s just another example of what we used to call normal life. And the insistence on never-ending precautions in the face of inevitable exposure to germs is not only medically misguided, it also threatens to stigmatize the most mundane human interactions. In the case of the tripledemic, there is one action the media and its favored experts want more than anything else: increased masking... There are three important points to make about the tripledemic:
There is limited evidence that it exists.
There is no avoiding respiratory viruses.
There is no evidence that prolonged precautions delay the inevitable... “The piper must be paid at some point in nature; kids will get sick, and it has nothing to do with a more compromised immune system,” says Dr. Danuta Skowronski from the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control.  This point must be emphasized. It is natural, healthy, and necessary for young children to be exposed to many viruses. In order for children to build immunity to common pathogens—in order for them to develop a normally functioning immune system—they must have such exposure, which will sometimes make them sick. And third, there is no evidence that the interventions purported to stop Covid-19, flu, and RSV will help. Before Covid-19, the evidence to support masking was thin. I co-authored a survey of masking trials that were done prior to the advent of Covid-19, examining whether masks stopped transmission of respiratory viruses. Fourteen of the 16 trials showed masks were ineffective at this. In other words, the pre-Covid evidence was clear that recommending masks for the average person was useless. This is likely one reason why Dr. Anthony Fauci, the CDC, the World Health Organization, and others initially advised against masking.   Even worse, the evidence for masking young children for Covid-19, flu, and RSV viruses is entirely lacking.  The two best studies on the topic take advantage of natural experiments. One experiment, in the Catalonia region of Spain, looked at the effectiveness of masking children to prevent Covid-19. The authors took advantage of a unique fact: that children six years and older in this region wore masks and those younger than six did not. If masking had a protective effect, then kids just younger than six years would have higher rates of Covid than those just older. But there was no such pattern. In a separate analysis in Finland, the authors compared two towns with different policies for kids between the ages of 10 and 12. One town masked, the other didn’t. There was no benefit seen from masking there either. The spread of COVID19 was identical. There was no difference at all. Additionally, at this point, at least 9 out of 10 American kids have already had Covid-19. We know that having had and recovered from Covid-19—which confers what’s known as natural immunity—doesn’t mean you will never get Covid again. But if you were to, the odds are that it would be milder and less severe. Masking kids who had COVID-19 is pointless in two ways. One, there is no evidence to suggest that it will delay the time until they get it again. Second, it’s being done to prevent something that—for them, at this point in the pandemic—is usually less severe than the common flu or even some cold viruses... Three years into the pandemic, we face a crucial question: How do we want to live the rest of our lives? Like most Americans and as a doctor, my answer is resounding: as normal."

Unattractive people are more likely to continue wearing Covid face masks, study suggests - "There has never been great evidence showing that masks are effective at preventing infections on a large scale, but that has not stopped officials from mandating them across the country."

Meme - "When your coworker who's still been wearing a mask this whole time finally takes it off: Breathe the free air again, my friend."

Cureus | Correlation Between Mask Compliance and COVID-19 Outcomes in Europe - "Masking was the single most common non-pharmaceutical intervention in the course of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Most countries have implemented recommendations or mandates regarding the use of masks in public spaces. The aim of this short study was to analyse the correlation between mask usage against morbidity and mortality rates in the 2020-2021 winter in Europe. Data from 35 European countries on morbidity, mortality, and mask usage during a six-month period were analysed and crossed. Mask usage was more homogeneous in Eastern Europe than in Western European countries. Spearman's correlation coefficients between mask usage and COVID-19 outcomes were either null or positive, depending on the subgroup of countries and type of outcome (cases or deaths). Positive correlations were stronger in Western than in Eastern European countries. These findings indicate that countries with high levels of mask compliance did not perform better than those with low mask usage."
Clearly everyone must be forced to wear masks 100% of the time, or they won't be effective, and there is no dose-response relationship

Toronto teacher says she’ll mask until her last student stops - "Toronto teacher Kelly Wright doesn’t know what to expect this week, now that staff and students have the option of being masked in school for the first time since the start of the pandemic.  But before the March break she told her Grade 1 and 2 class her plans. She would continue to wear her mask — until the last child takes theirs off... Danielle Bischof, whose daughter Maya is in Wright’s class, says when she heard of the teacher’s plans to stay masked until the last student removes theirs, “it brought tears to my eyes.”  “I felt so relieved,” said Bischof, noting Maya is “happy to know that she won’t be alone in wearing a mask after spring break.”"
Hopefully in a few years we'll have some studies on the psychopathology of mask wearing

Update: Why Face Masks Don’t Work: A Revealing Review - Oral Health Group - "If you are looking for “Why Face Masks Don’t Work: A Revealing Review” by John Hardie, BDS, MSc, PhD, FRCDC, it has been removed. The content was published in 2016 and is no longer relevant in our current climate."
Politics means firing up the memory hole. So much for trusting the science

Ontario's top doctor spotted maskless at party after warning people to mask up - "The province's Chief Medical Officer of Health started off the week with a stern warning for Ontario residents to mask up in indoor settings. By Thursday, Dr. Kieran Moore appeared to have forgotten his own advice, spotted at a party brushing shoulders with Toronto's elite, drink in hand, and not a mask in sight.   Ontario's top doc attended a party hosted by a publication honouring its 50 most influential people of 2022, a list he placed #12 on for "keeping Covid under control."  In contrast to his honour, Moore appeared unconcerned with the "triple threat" of respiratory infections sweeping the province, and social media is abuzz with criticism and accusations of hypocrisy."
It's almost as if masking is political

Insider Paper on Twitter - "UPDATE: Masks are now being worn by criminals to conceal their identities, according to New York police who are urging businesses to unmask customers before letting them in stores."
Adorable_Deplorable93 on Twitter - "I worked at a bank during 2020 and in a meeting said its dangerous to let people come in fully masked for appointments and not have them verify ID. I was berated &threatened with violating anti discrimination policies. next day the boss let in a stranger and we got robbed lol"

School face masks worn in England to avoid Covid row with Scotland - claims - "Secondary school children in England were required to wear face coverings to avoid a row with Scotland over Covid, the Daily Telegraph has claimed.  Leaked WhatsApp messages suggest that England's chief medical officer had been ambivalent about the scientific evidence behind the measure.  Ministers in England came under pressure after Scotland introduced it... In January 2022, the government admitted the evidence for using masks in schools to reduce spread of Covid was "not conclusive"."
Once again, covid measures were really political rather than being driven by Science

Sleeping senior beats WestJet masking ticket - "The prosecution has dropped charges against Alec Bialski, a 76-year-old man who was arrested and charged for not wearing a mask on a WestJet Flight in June 2022... The Charter application describes Bialski as having a respiratory illness which qualified him for a mask exemption but for which he did not have documentation. Bialski apparently told the flight crew that he had breathing problems, but they nevertheless insisted that he wear a mask when boarding the plane, and they continually monitored him for compliance throughout the flight. At one point, Bialski's mask fell off after he took medication to help him sleep.  Prior to landing, the WestJet flight crew reported Bialski to the Calgary Police, who arrested him as he was exiting the aircraft. Police then marched Bialski across the airport for more than 30 minutes to a holding cell in which he was locked. As Bialski had recently undergone double hip replacement surgery, he pleaded with the police to provide a wheelchair for him during the march. The police allegedly refused this request and did not provide Bialski with any meaningful opportunities to rest.  Bialski claimed that his arrest and forced march across the airport were "cruel and unusual" given his age and medical condition. He also claimed that his right to "life, liberty, and security of the person" was infringed by vague laws and that he was forced to choose between his own personal safety and complying with orders to wear a mask."

The people who want to keep masking: ‘It’s like an invisibility cloak’ - "She’s been fully vaccinated for three weeks, but Francesca, a 46-year-old professor, does not plan to abandon the face mask that she’s come to view as a kind of “invisibility cloak” just yet.  “Maybe it’s because I’m a New Yorker or maybe it’s because I always feel like I have to present my best self to the world, but it has been such a relief to feel anonymous,” she said. “It’s like having a force field around me that says ‘don’t see me’.”  Francesca is not alone. After more than a year of the coronavirus pandemic, some people – especially some women – are reluctant to give up the pieces of cloth that serve as a potent symbol of our changed reality.
For mask fetishists, it's not really about covid

Meme - Masks+HEPAs+UVC @hepasNmasks: "Add an air cleaner to your setup. DO NOT take off your mask inside. Leave the building and get far away from ppl to eat. Keep your elastomeric ready to don and hold by hand fast if a person surprises you while eating. OM me If you want help making one of these portable purifiers."
Imagine being a mask fetishist and covid hystericist in Mar 2023

Meme - "How the tables have turned:
NO MASK NO ENTRY Per NYS Executive Order & Public Health Guidance
Due to NYC uptick in Crime If you wear a MASK NO ENTRY"

Meme - "I'm going to guess certain details went against their narrative"
Occupy Democrats: "TRUMP'S AMERICA: A security guard at a Family Dollar store in Flint, Michigan, was shot and killed after telling a customer to wear a state- mandated face mask, police said"
"Family Dollar security guard killed after telling shopper to wear mask, prosecutor says *Black guy*"

Screaming black passenger accuses Southwest Airlines of racism after being ordered off a flight - "A black passenger on a Southwest Airlines flight has accused the company of racism after she was asked to disembark for not wearing a mask while using the bathroom... 'Y'all enjoy your flight. This is what happens when you're black in America. You guys all witnessed it. For the first time, when you're black in America they'll tell you to get off the flight', she says"
From 2021. When 2 liberal shibboleths clash

Tycoon who offered mask-wearing passenger $100Gs called 'creep' | Toronto Sun - "Tech tycoon Steve Kirsch is feeling the flames on social media after posting that he offered a woman a $100,000 payout if she would remove her mask on their flight...   “And I pointed out that when she removed the mask for eating and drinking, she could be infected with one breath. So she had full disclosure,” he continued.  “She took off her mask as soon as the breakfast was served!!!! Because everyone knows you can’t get infected while you are eating!!”  He concluded: “Maybe next time I’ll sit next to someone who had an account at Silicon Valley Bank.” Kirsch’s tweets yielded plenty of response, with some slamming him as “a creep” and an “arrogant fool.”  “Has it occurred to you that she or someone close to her is immunocompromised? Or were you too busy trying to make whatever dumb point you’re trying to make,” one person replied."
From 2023. Apparently if you're immunocompromised, covid will not escape from your orifices when you're not wearing a mask while eating

When Will Masking End? - The Atlantic - "Some are relieved that the CDC has officially reunited vaccines and masks, a scientifically powerful pairing that many experts think never should have been broken up. But I also heard frustration, confusion, even betrayal. There was a sense that we’re in a morose backslide, a worry we’ll never be rid of pandemic behaviors initially pitched to us as “temporary.” In America’s version of the pandemic, flimsy masks have already been forced to carry so much symbolic heft. Now they’ve taken on yet another weight: the sense that the precautionary limits we’ve put on our lives might never, ever end. “So much of the previous messaging was ‘Wear a mask until we have a vaccine developed’ or ‘until we have people vaccinated,’” says Gretchen Chapman, a psychologist who studies decision-making behavior around vaccines at Carnegie Mellon University. Masks were a stopgap, and shedding them was a reward for rolling up our sleeves. “Now,” Chapman told me, “it seems to some people like that reward is getting taken back.”... some vaccinated people can’t help but feel a bit like “suckers,” Chapman said. Many people covered up dutifully while awaiting their shots, then tossed their masks aside because the government said they could—only to reel from the whiplash of last week’s switcheroo. The guidelines for the unvaccinated (that is, keep masking) haven’t changed, while the immunized are once again being called upon to act. “Asking people to mask up again is triggering a lot of emotional stuff,” Lindsey Leininger, a public-health-policy expert at Dartmouth, told me. “You can’t tell people that those feelings are invalid.”  Masking, at least at pandemic levels, also doesn’t feel sustainable in the long term. Although vaccines confer protection against disease that’s expected to last for many months, if not years, with one or two brief jabs, masks require constant reinvestment and vigilance... “Keep on masking” also feels like a pretty sharp departure from the initial selling points for face coverings. These accessories were meant to be deployed until something better came along, and the most unpalatable aspect of the CDC’s new mask ask might be the uncertainty it comes with. This time, there’s no well-signed off-ramp. The vaccines are already here; they’ve already been made available to most Americans. We hit the milestones we laid out and still feel stuck."
From 2021. So much for the myth of the slippery slope (we got that with booster shots too). Luckily we got the Ottawa Convoy and despite covid hystericists' delusions, the world didn't die from covid

Making Mother's Day about Men / Trans Woman only wanting Cis Women / Drag Saves Lives

"Only on the internet can a man try to make Mother's Day about himself"
"Happy mother's day. Today I was told I'm not a mother. My wife told me you wont steal this day from me and it really hurt so to all trans woman out or not, who have kids, adopted or not, happy mother's day, this day is for all of us even if we can't celebrate the way we want. Try to treat yourself and enjoy today as the real woman that you are."

"Amanda 27
Lesbian Trans Woman
Lives in Portland
26 miles away
Looking for Long-term partner
About Me: I'm just sorta here to see if I magically find someone. Not into smokers/vapers, single moms, not poly, won't date other trans or guys or women pretending to be men. Cat lover/owner is a plus. Allergic to dogs. Natural born women only please"

*Man with blonde mullet and pink sports shoes in spandex saying "drag saves lives"*

Links - 9th June 2023 (1 - History Extra Quoting)

15 minutes of fame: rediscovering forgotten figures | HistoryExtra - "‘The past is not a sort of slightly dressed up version of the present with funny hats but actually a very different sort of mental world… this is just the 1940s but I've been reading the diaries of a young revolutionary woman called Yu Yuenjin [sp?] and she had a interesting and uh ultimately I think quite fulfilling life but it was quite turmoil written in the 1940s because she was simultaneously a young woman in her early 20s during the period when Mao's Revolution, the revolution that would lead to the Communist victory in in China was um uh going on, and she was a performer actually in an entertainment troupe  attached to the Chinese Army at that time. And she did historians the great service of keeping a diary and it's absolutely fascinating. And lots of the things that are in there well I think sound very familiar to any teenager today. She worries about um the fact that she's you know she thinks she's overweight. She worries about the fact that she doesn't think her, you know she's got some body shame issues we would say today, she also used that phrase but you know all sorts of things but she's very frank in the diary about, she's jealous of certain other people who have nicer you know material goods than she does um and um all sorts of things that you know don't don't sound very out of place today. But the element that is singly most responsible for reminding any reader now that this is a different time is that she expresses almost all of these sentiments and emotions in language that is shaped almost entirely by Marxism. So when she complains to herself about the fact that she's spending too much thinking about makeup, she says what I need to do is make sure I develop a more proletarian point of view. Or when she thinks she might be sort of spending too long looking at you know magazines with pictures of movie stars which are a big thing in 1940s China as they were in 1940s America or Britain, she says I must try and get rid of my petty Bourgeois view of uh of of life. And some of these things are very homely and one of the examples from a different diary actually from a man, but it's such a great quote that I have to give it to you is at the end of a long session struggling with himself to see whether he can get that kind of um proletarian identity through working through the Communist party and the Communist Army, he says, this is the problem with Bourgeois thoughts. It's like the stinky stuff beneath your, between your toes. It's really hard to scrub it away. And the combination of the sort of the Holiness of a metaphor that we, well those who have cleaner toes than me probably wouldn't recognize but nonetheless you have some recognition of that, combined with a world view which is shaped by revolutionary Marxism in a way that's actually just very unfamiliar. Even today’s China which of course is a Communist country but people don't tend to talk that way in today's China and they certainly don't tend to in in most of Britain and America. That's the kind of thing that looking at that sort of Life Source, a diary in this case, can do for a historian to remind you about there's there's two conflicting elements: what's very familiar and what's very different’...
'Kit Heyam has a great new book coming out called before we were trans and they talk about how previously historians have taken essentially a straight lens to the past. So the assumption is that people are straight unless as *something* was saying you can definitely prove that they were something else and why should we assume straightness in the absence of evidence?'"
Why assume historical figures were human, had two hands with five fingers each and were not time travellers from the future? In the absence of evidence we cannot assume anything!

Pearl Harbor episode 2: America on the eve of war | HistoryExtra - "‘The US as a neutral in the two conflicts in Europe and Asia, up until the end of 1941. But that is absolutely not to say that it didn't have if you want, a dog in the fight. The US had great sympathy in the case of the European theater with Great Britain. And in the case of the Asian theater with China. There are some reasons that the United States has this strong sympathy for China. On the one hand, it's a little bit surprising, because Japan has a larger economy. And so the US and Japan are each other's third largest trading partners, they have really strong business ties. So there's really a good reason to think that there's a closeness between the two. But at the same time, there's really a groundswell of support from public opinion, but also from the government, for China. And some of that is because of the huge market potential of China, if China becomes more developed, think of all the things that we could sell, is a popular idea amongst American industry at the time. And then the idea of small r republicanism. So the idea that nationalist China is something like an early version of the United States, a country that's going to be independent of a monarchy, they hadn't thrown off the imperial system in 1911, and is really going to be something kind of as an American style democracy. And so that, and also, the success of American missionaries in China lead to all of these sentiments of the Chinese as being “kind of like us”, from an American perspective. For example, there's a woman called Pearl S Buck, and she wrote a book called The Good Earth, which was based on her experiences as an American missionary, and it's quite a sympathetic account of Chinese peasants. And that book got made into a movie in 1937, the year that a war between China and Japan broke out. And that movie won several Academy Awards. It was really popular, and it really drummed up a sense of public sympathy for the Chinese’...
'This allegiance with China left the US in a tricky position. Because despite wanting the Chinese to win the war, the Americans were a central trading partner supplying their enemies, the Japanese. In effect, US trade was enabling a war that it believed to be morally wrong. And in the end, this position became untenable'...
‘Was there any sense from the establishment, that if they did level, this, this oil embargo, that there was a risk that Japan might launch some kind of military action?’
‘Yes, but not against the United States itself, what American policymakers thought might happen, was that it might encourage Japan to push into other areas that might give it other sources of oil, in particular, what they were worried about, especially after the occupation of the Netherlands, by Germany in the European Theater, the Netherlands had a colony, which was what we now call Indonesia, which was a potential source of oil. So there was a concern that Japan might push south and expand its empire into Southeast Asia as a way of pivoting away from its reliance on American exports, and to feed that need for oil.’...
'When Americans thought about what kind of a threat Japan might be, they really minimalize that threat. So making the case that actually, even isolationists, saying we can be assertive against Japan, take a hard line, have an embargo, force a tough negotiating position, because on the one hand, Japan wouldn't dare attack the United States. This is a really common idea. And on the other hand, even if they did, it wouldn't matter, because the US is so much stronger than Japan. And you hear this really quite biased and racialized skepticism of Japan's military prowess. And so for example, in some of the planning documents, you read about discussions of the Japanese having a sort of Asian eye shape that causes nearsightedness and therefore makes for bad pilots. And so Americans oughtn’t be worried about an attack from Japan because they simply can't fight well. And these really ridiculous racialized ideas, even though they've been disproven by Japan's military successes in the 19th and 20th century, they're still very pervasive...
If the isolationists in the US, who had made the case that Well, none of America's interests in the Asia Pacific are vital, had held sway, then it would have been possible to have a negotiation and a resolution between the US and Japan. So, if the US were willing to back down from their support of nationalist China, and allow that war to go on without supporting the Chinese, then they would have been able to meet, to reach a diplomatic settlement. Certainly one can imagine a situation in which leaving the China question to one side, the Japanese and American leaderships could have looked at a map of the Asia Pacific and drawn lines. We think about Hawaii as being an American state and a part of the United States. But in 1941, it wasn't. It was just a territory. And it's halfway between the US and Japan... But American sentiment was so strong in support of China. And American sentiment was also quite strong in the sort of moral argument that aggression against neighbor states is wrong. It's hard to imagine the US agreeing to that, unless they had been more aware of the potential of a Japanese attack, and the US did have some intelligence information. This really was a bolt out of the blue from the American perspective, people simply didn't imagine a Japanese attack particularly not a coordinated Japanese attack, not only on a major American naval base at Pearl Harbor, but also simultaneously at Manila in the Philippines, at Singapore. People didn't see it coming, and wouldn't have imagined that it was possible.'"

Pearl Harbor episode 3: Countdown to the raid | HistoryExtra - "‘Should the US have known better?’
‘I think one of the things that people misunderstand about Pearl Harbor because we so often referred to it as a surprise attack. I think people are surprised to know that the entire country expected that it would be at war with Japan in a matter of days. The atmosphere at that time was really tense. And there were all kinds of warnings that, well, we're going to be at war. In fact, on November 27, Washington sent a memo a message to all military commands in the Pacific, which would include not only Hawaii, but Panama, the canal was under American control. And the Philippines, also under American control. All those commands got a message on November 27. The first nine words of which are some of the most memorable in American history. This is to be considered a war warning. So everyone knew there was a chance that war was going to break out. The surprise was where it did it, meaning Hawaii...
[Husband Kimmel] figured that to attack Hawaii would be insane. Just logistically, it would be impossible...
‘Arguably, the prospect of the Japanese launching a surprise attack shouldn't have been such a surprise after all.’
‘In 1904 and 1905, Japan and Russia went to war. The war began really with a surprise Japanese attack on the Russian Pacific Fleet. And the Russians were badly damaged, the Japanese won the war. So everyone knew that this was in their DNA, that they liked the idea of surprise. Kimmel knew it, he had been warned repeatedly about it and had even written notes about it to his own people… I'll give you a good example of of his mindset. Pearl Harbor is as harbors go shallow, at its deepest point. It's only about 45 feet, and that's enough for the draft of big ships, they they draw a lot of water, but it's really not that deep as harbors go. Why is that significant? Well, everyone knew that probably the most lethal threat to a ship at that time was the air dropped torpedo. I guess submarine torpedoes too, but a submarine torpedo hits below the waterline and that immediately causes problems. I mean, a bomb hitting you on the deck doesn't sink you necessarily but something that breaks through your hull, you're in trouble. And 45 feet is not or was not at the time deep enough for a plane to drop a torpedo and have the torpedo not bury itself in the mud of the harbor. Because a torpedo weighs like 2000 pounds and before it can actually begin its run underwater toward a ship it will dive quite deeply. Washington warned Kimmel that new tests indicate that while 45 feet in the past was kind of a guarantee you could not be torpedoed because the waters too shallow, it was no longer safe to assume that. Torpedoes were being redesigned so they didn't drop into the water as deeply. And the message went to Kimmel saying specifically you cannot assume that you're protected any more. Kimmel read the message, so did all these people and then they kind of said okay, and they forgot it. On December 7, it was torpedoes that did the, by far the most damage to the American fleet. So Kimball had a tendency to get bad information and reshape it to fit what he wanted to do, which was to sail out of the harbor in a grand march toward victory. But he wasn't terribly focused on protecting himself'...
'The United States had broken the Japanese diplomatic code… we had not broken their military codes… there was a strange exchange of messages in, I want to say September, August of 1941, in which Tokyo asked its consulate in Honolulu to report on which ships are leaving, which ships have arrived, and where they are anchored in the harbor. Oh, and also that you should divide the harbor into a grid, so that you can tell us that a battleship is in grid C2 or H5. This became known as the bomb plot message. It wasn't decoded until weeks later, it doesn't expressly say that the harbor is going to be attacked. And it certainly didn't give a date. And also, Japan was a meticulous gatherer of information. And they were asking similar information from their consulates in Seattle, in San Diego... Kimmel after the war, or after the attack argued that he was never told about this bomb plot message. It wasn't passed on to him. And he argued, there was the proof and you kept the proof from me. I think it's a stretch to say that a message that was sent in September would have kept them on alert in December more than, you know, three months later, and given Kimmel’s penchant for always reading information in the way that was least threatening. I'm not sure that he would have done anything about it. He would have said to him, Well, yeah, and they might want to know where our ships are, simply because if they know they're in the port, that means they're not sailing off Singapore, potentially hampering our plans. So I think a lot of emphasis has been placed on the ability to read the diplomatic traffic. They were reading it and it didn't tell them anything about what was about to happen in Hawaii... The reasons I think that there was no conspiracy are overwhelming. And I'll just share a couple with you. This can, this could be the subject of an entire episode, but I would throw out two things. Franklin Roosevelt's number one goal in December 1941, was to keep Britain afloat and fighting. He and Churchill had had a mind meld and the United States knew that it had to help Britain win, even if the United States wasn't in the war technically, at that point. Allowing the Japanese to attack in the Pacific certainly didn't solve or help Roosevelt's aim of keeping Britain afloat. Why? Because if the United States went to war in the Pacific, it would immediately start withdrawing forces from the Atlantic in order to defend itself in the Pacific. That's number one. Number two, Britain was still relying on shipping from Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore, the Empire was still sustaining Britain to some degree. Going to war in the Pacific, the Japanese would immediately begin attacking those places, and and hampering Britain's own supplies situation. Roosevelt would gain nothing and harm himself and the British and his country by just allowing an attack to happen. Let me offer the second reason why I don't think a conspiracy makes any sense. How would Roosevelt have known that the attack was coming? He didn't, didn't have an independent source of information, a hotline to some guy in Tokyo that, Franklin could pick up the phone and say, really they're about to attack, he was on the end of a long chain of people who provided intelligence. Top naval aides, top army aides, all the way down to cryptographers who would be listening to the Japanese, and try-, and putting messages down on paper. So the disinformation would reach Roosevelt after it had been in the hands or the ears of dozens, if not hundreds of people in Washington. In the 80 years since the attack, none of those people ever came forward and said, Oh, my goodness, I saw a message that said December 7, Pearl Harbor, and no one did anything about it. And that's one of the greatest conspiracies ever. And yet, that never happened. There were nine investigations of Pearl Harbor in the United States, including a massive, long Congressional investigation that took months. No evidence was ever produced, no witness ever came forward and said, I remember I gave that message to the Pentagon and and I know it got to the White House. I don't understand why they did nothing about it. So all these people went to their graves possessing the greatest secret in American history and not telling it...
Members of Congress had been told not to go home for Christmas holidays, because we were probably going to be at war and they would have to officially declare it. That's how much people thought a war was about to happen, and the only surprise was where it happened'"

Pearl Harbor episode 5: Chaos unleashed | History Extra - "‘Roosevelt chose his words well. By design or by accident, but they really did reflect the anger that Americans felt that someone could do this behind their back. The idea that the Japanese might force itself on America by the use of military action, and the deaths of several thousand young Americans was just lighting the touch paper, and it's very interesting in history to see that it's quite rare for these instances to happen. It never really happened in Britain during the war. There's terrible anger that, you know, the Germans were bombing us for the first time, there was much more of the stoical acceptance in Britain that this was almost inevitable, that it was going to happen. There was a sequence of events that made it more rational to Britons when they were considering the aggression of Nazi Germany. Not so America with Pearl Harbor. This really was a shot in the arm, an injection of anger and emotion that sustained the American public in all the sacrifices and trials that they were then going to subsequently be asked to sustain throughout the war. And it's important that we see this actually. Really, really interesting enough, war weariness never occurred in the American public. You never saw this expressed throughout the long years of the war. And it's a very interesting characteristic of societies when they've been at war for a long period of time. You even saw this in the First World War. And America hadn't been involved for very long, but in the Second World War, there was something really visceral about Pearl Harbor. And it was also visceral about the nature of the Japanese enemy who had committed this perfidy that resonated incredibly powerfully. I don't think there are any other examples. I might be persuaded that I'm wrong. But I can't think off the top my head of any other examples in the history of the United States, particularly where there's anger really hit everybody left and right, popular opinion, and all of a sudden to have Japan attacking American possessions preemptively. So dastardly, cannot be exaggerated. And I think in a sense, we often lose the sense of outrage as we, as we look back in time, but veterans, certainly all the newspapers, all the articles, I mean, it was one, that you can read now about from the time, are very, very explicit about the the anger that was felt. I mean it really unified American political opinion as well. And it also at a stroke, it removed the objections of the very, very large isolationist movement to the involvement of American troops in foreign adventures. I mean, that argument was dead, absolutely dead on the eighth of December, or the ninth of December 1941.’...
‘A lot of people often say, well, Pearl Harbor was the worst decision that the Japanese ever made. What would you say to that?’
‘I think it was, I think it was a disastrous decision. It was an unnecessary decision. The Japanese had a number of options that were open to them. If they had decided that they wanted to pursue the idea of creating by force, the co-prosperity sphere, which is what they had articulated publically for a number of years, they could have done it without actually involving the Americans. And it's very interesting, actually, I'm of the view that the Japanese could easily have invaded Hong Kong, Malaysia and taken Singapore and also the Dutch East Indies possessions as well without touching America at all. And therefore there is an argument that says, certainly I make the argument that the Japanese could have achieved their aims in the second world war without involving America.’
‘Is that a widely held field? Or do historians sort of debate that?’
‘Historians don't tend to debate. It's not widely held. But I think it's a, it's a valid view for this reason. We need to remember that America was focused and had just been persuaded to focus on the war in Europe. If America had been parked by Japan, in the Pacific, it's its forces not being touched, America could have focused its effort on fighting the war in Europe, and Japan could have got on with gobbling up Malaya, in particular, Burma, and the Dutch East Indies. There was a pretty strong argument that didn't win over in Tokyo, that actually Japan should leave America on its own and allow circumstances to then follow and be negotiated through with the Japanese saying, well, this isn't your war, stay out of it. And I think there's a very good chance of that actually working, because the Japanese at no time in their conversations in 1941, considered what might happen to American public opinion. And this is because America has a notoriously fractious culture, like all democracies, because we live in democracies where diverse voices are encouraged. That wasn't the case in Japan, and the Japanese high command never understood this. Whenever they saw an argument as a newspaper that said, you know, we should as Americans do X, Y and Z, they took it as read that that was policy, or that was the way all Americans thought. It wasn't the case at all. They'd never ever thought, there is no evidence, I've not found, having studied this for years, no evidence and no files of the Japanese actually considering what might happen in America as a consequence of this attack. They saw it all in operational terms. And that was a serious, serious mistake. So yes, it was a serious mistake, because without it, that touchpaper wouldn't have been lit. So just ask yourself the question, if Pearl Harbor didn't happened, would that anger towards Japan have been so resonant? Well, possibly, possibly not. Japan didn't understand that at the time, and they walked into a trap of their own making.’
‘So it sounds they're like they really miscalculated America's mindset. But do you think that they also miscalculated America's military strength or potential for military strength?’
‘Oh, absolutely. And it's very interesting that, the story I like to tell is that the size of the American army, at the start of the Second World War was was smaller than Portugal's. I mean, America did not have a large standing army. It didn't have significant military power. But as you say, use the word potential. It had enormous military potential as a consequence of its industrial capability. It also, its ability to organize very quickly. And I also often use the phrase that the war was won in Detroit. And in a very real sense, it was. It was able to be, to become the arsenal of democracy to use Churchill's phrase. And Japan never really understood that well. If they did understand it, and of course, many people did. I don't want to denigrate Japanese understanding of America at the time, they didn't appreciate its consequences, or certainly they thought that their tactical victory would be sufficient to persuade the Americans not to involve themselves in a long drawn out bloody war in the Far East. Remember, America was and had been since the 1850s, a pacific nation. It had undertaken a number of military expeditions in South America and the Philippines. But it wasn't seen to be militarily aggressive. It was seen to be pacific as a culture, it was more intent on making money and extending its global influence by trade and so on, rather than by by military might. And there was a sense in Japan, certainly in the the corridors of power in the high command that America didn't have the guts, or the willpower, or the commitment to take the next step, which was to engage in full scale, bloody, sacrificial war’...
‘It's remained a really important part of the American psyche since. It hasn't changed their attitude to Japan, they're very friendly with Japan, and they have every right to be, but in terms of our, their historic memory, it's one of the most pivotal things. You know, go to an American school now and ask them about Pearl Harbor. Everyone will tell you about it. There's a very different story in Japan. When I go to Japan, and I, say in recent years have interviewed veterans. They're the only people who are still interested in the war. Japan moved on very quickly from the war. There was a very, very visceral, had a very visceral impact on Japanese culture and society. And most people just turn their back on it. There's very little real analysis of the war, very few historians. I mean, someone was talking to me very recently about how Britain seems to be obsessed with the Second World War. I don't think that's entirely right. But we are very interested. And it was an incredibly important part of our national story. And there are lots of historians doing really serious work in the Second World War. And that's fascinating. You don't find that in Japan. It's actually really difficult to find anything published in Japan, about the war, apart from the memoirs of soldiers who fought there, which are written for the regimental associations and so on. It's not part of Japanese culture or public memory, as indeed it is in the United States and the United Kingdom...
the whole of the Second World War should really be a story about the utility of force. Why Japan felt it was necessary to create an empire by beating other empires rather than coalescing with them. We found ourselves in 1941, with states that believed in force as as an instrument of its of power for its own good. And those conversations always overstated what power what military power could achieve.’"
Japan keeps being slammed for not self-flagellating over World War II. But really they don't care about World War II

The Mary Rose: the Tudor heyday of Henry VIII’s warship  | HistoryExtra - "‘It was a deeply personal rivalry and it remained so but of course because they were so similar. When they were getting on they were getting on spectacularly well but it only ever seemed to be quite temporary’
‘And when it came to 16th century alliances appearance was everything’
‘One of the greatest examples of Henry and Francis actually declaring they were friends now came in the summer of 1520 with a spectacular two-week meeting between these two kings known as the field of cloth of gold. Well it was held on neutral Territory between english-held Calais and French lands and it was a showpiece the like of which had never been seen before so Henry went with his Queen Catherine of Aragon and a huge entourage that included 3,000 soldiers and 500 Horsemen and hundreds of ships and it was like an invasion but a peaceful Invasion. And everything was so carefully stage managed by Henry's chief advisor Cardinal Woolsey to make sure that the the kings were strictly on an equal footing even down to would you believe remodeling the two hillsides from which each King rode down to meet the other. So they had to be of the same height otherwise one of the Kings would have the advantage. When the two kings did finally meet, the scene was described by Edward Hall who was one of the best chroniclers of the age and he said how they embraced with benign and courteous manner and sweet and goodly words of greeting and they went off arm in arm. But, this being Henry and Francis it wasn't going to stay very friendly for long. Because it was clear that this so-called sort of meeting of peace was really just a cover for each King to get one over on the other. So, they tried to outdo each other in the tournaments and the entertainments. Each king tried to be the most gallant with the ladies as it was described. And it all really fell apart a bit when Henry VIII got a little bit too full of himself and he also was a bit too full of wine and he challenged Francis to a wrestling match. Well this wasn't supposed to happen. It was just supposed to be their respective entourages who would fight each other. But Henry was sure of victory, he was a great sportsman and he very quickly got thrown to the ground by Francis. And to say things turned sour after that would be an understatement. Basically the meeting came to an end pretty soon after that and Henry promptly went and made peace with francis's greatest rival Charles V, King of Spain and Holy Roman Emperor. So really this incredible showpiece, this cripplingly expensive masquerade of friendship was soon shown to be the real sham that it actually was’...
'He definitely needed a male heir. Now we tend to forget that the Tudors were still quite a new and fairly fragile dynasty and Henry really felt that. So it wasn't just vanity, his need for male air. He actually did genuinely, desperately need one'"

History of the sea: Mary Rose - "While only fragments of this anti-boarding netting were recovered, originally it would have been placed over the heads of the crew on the waist and castle decks of the Mary Rose, forming a roof of pitch-covered hemp. This was in place to prevent the ship being captured, enemy boarders would have to cut through the net to get on board, during which time they were at the mercy of the crew underneath, who would be stabbing and shooting at them.  While it proved very efficient at keeping people out, sadly it was equally good at keeping people in. While a lot of people claim it was the crew’s inability to swim that caused them to drown, even the most proficient swimmer would be unable to get through this netting in time. Because of this, of five hundred men on board only the 30 or so working above the netting survived."

The Mary Rose: inside the Tudor treasure trove | HistoryExtra - "It was just after the Reformation. Using these rosaries to say your prayers was actually banned in the 1530s. You couldn't say your prayers by rote using a rosary. And just after Henry VIII died, they were completely banned. If you were caught using one, you'd be punished, because they were this sorta Catholic way of praying. And yet we had 8 or 9 of them on board... generally these beads are generally around the ship, as if they may have been with people when they died, they may have been hidden in their trouser pockets as it were. They weren't generally in the chests we found... if someone had been praying with a rosary for 20 or 30 years, they weren't gonna just stop praying that way because the King had become head of the Church of England and was changing his faith because of his marriage problems. Or maybe it was just a keepsafe or a memento or kept them safe'...
'Maybe these rosaries belonged to foreign crew members... many of the objects are the sort which would be lost to time. And that's what makes them so special'"

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