When you can't live without bananas

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Saturday, July 01, 2023

Links - 1st July 2023 (2 - US Media)

Fading newsrooms, blatant bias and a war with Trump has ravaged the business - "I have always loved newsrooms, the chatter and the jokes, the erupting deadlines, the constant conversations with serious colleagues, eccentric characters and gossip-mongers.     As a former ink-stained wretch, I miss the sense of synergy that would improve and enlighten everyone’s work – and is now fading into history.  Of course, newspaper, magazine, television and radio newsrooms still exist, but they’re not exactly packed. During the upheaval of the pandemic – I remember having to do my show from a wind-whipped roof, and then from my basement – most journalists, editors, and producers discovered they rather liked working from home. It’s a good commute.  Now many come in one or two days a week, unless their company mandates more frequent attendance... Maureen Dowd wrote "the final obituary for the American newspaper newsroom" in her New York Times column, and worries that "the romance, the alchemy, is gone."... Decades ago, many reporters didn’t have college degrees but were superb at pounding the pavement. By the time I started at a New Jersey paper where everyone banged away on manual typewriters, most journalists were solidly middle class.   But now, especially in such news meccas as New York, Washington, D.C., and L.A., I’d define the majority as being upper middle class, many with graduate degrees, part of the dreaded elite, and increasingly out of touch with the blue-collar part of their audience... What’s more, with plenty of scribes having to feed Twitter and make television appearances, there is less time for actual reporting. Many homebound journalists are less likely to go see sources in person, doing interviews by email or text, which gives them time to send back prepared statements.  Yet what dwarfs all of this is the surge in ideological journalism. There was liberal bias in the media while Donald Trump was still a reality-show star, but it exploded during the former president’s tenure. Many journalists viewed themselves on a mission to save democracy by blocking Trump’s election or crippling his presidency... Many younger journalists now believe they should embrace their view of social justice rather than steering down the middle – and their revolt caused the firing of Times editorial page editor James Bennet for the sin of publishing an online piece by Republican Tom Cotton.  The web destroyed the business model that had sustained newspapers, as underscored by plunging print circulation as they increasingly shift to online editions.  There is a thriving conservative media ecosystem as well, which helps shape political narratives, but many are upfront about their bias rather than pretending to have a neutral point of view."

Why So Many Mainstream Media Figures Really Hate Substack - "Substack — a newsletter site where popular writers can make money via private newsletters — has thoroughly rattled many traditional legacy mainstream media. Founded in 2017 and headquartered in San Francisco, it essentially ensures that the writer, not the medium, is the primary financial beneficiary of the writer’s talent. It also doesn’t need to censor writers on account of, say, money from China.  One result is that many well-known writers from, for example, the New York Times, Vox, and BuzzFeed quit their jobs and started writing for newsletter subscribers who pay for premium content, print or podcast, typically $5 a month or $50 a year. Only a few thousand subscribers are needed to generate a nice income for a talented writer who is not just churning out the hackwork that keeps a declining legacy publisher happy and Correct... Needless to say, many defenders of the status quo are displeased... offering a representative range of opinions seems like a terrible idea to some... as a veteran Canadian journalist, June Callwood (1924–2007), once put it: If you don’t believe in free speech for people you hate, face it, you don’t believe in free speech... a classic legacy journalist was distressed by the lack of viewpoint enforcement at Substack"

The Substack Threat - "Former National Review writers Jonah Goldberg and David French, among others, are doing very well with The Dispatch, their political newsletter (which is now the No. 1 Substack in the country). Andrew Sullivan, angry that New York magazine wouldn’t let him write critically of the Black Lives Matter protests and race riots, jumped to Substack and has tripled or quadrupled his income. Glenn Greenwald and Matt Taibbi went Substack, and the other day, so did Vox co-founder Matt Yglesias... Love him or hate him — I have done both over the past three decades, Andrew Sullivan is one of the most interesting and compelling journalists of his generation. And yet in the year of our Lord 2020, this extremely anti-Trump journalist was driven out of New York magazine because they would not allow him to give his opinion on race riots, because it stood to upset younger progressives in the newsroom. Of course he left. If you could, wouldn’t you?  Glenn Greenwald left the website he co-founded because, in his opinion, they were trying to protect Joe Biden, and wouldn’t publish Greenwald’s criticism of him. If you could leave a place like that and support yourself, wouldn’t you?  All this makes me realize how fortunate I have been at [The American Conservative] these last nine years. Nobody has ever told me what I couldn’t write. Do you know how rare that is?... if TAC disappeared tomorrow, I could not get a job at an American newspaper. They would not hire me, entirely for political reasons.  And I would not want to work there. The conservative friends I have still laboring in that particular vineyard, they’re trying to get out; they say the atmosphere inside their newsrooms is intolerable. Nothing but progressive activism and militancy against wrongthink. I remember over a decade ago, walking down the hallway at The Dallas Morning News, and one of my colleagues there turning his back to me and facing the wall when I passed by. This, because I published conservative opinions in my column — opinions that he thought were a disgrace. I laughed at that, because he was haughty, and I didn’t feel sorry for him when he got pink-slipped in one round of layoffs. My boss, more liberal than I, did not agree with everything I wrote, but she was an old-fashioned journalists who believed in fairness and open debate. She always had my back, and I was so grateful for it. Well, she’s retired now, and many senior journalists like her who remain in place at legacy media have capitulated to the progressive mob... There is nobody more privileged in leading American newsrooms today than left-wing writers of color, or other bearers of favored identities. You not only can write your own ticket, but you can determine what gets covered and what gets written (or not written). You know who are the most marginalized people in elite American journalism? Conservatives, especially religious conservatives... In 2003, I was at a big op-ed journalism annual conference for the first time, and I found exactly two people of my generation who were conservative. We hung together and just shook our heads in amusement at the lockstep liberalism all around us — and, in particular, at the constant self-congratulation among the herd of independent liberal minds, about how it is they who are open-minded and cosmopolitan, unlike the right-wing troglodytes. The epistemic closure within mainstream journalism is airtight, and worse than when I was involved.   This really lights my fire. These people, these leftists in charge of journalistic institutions, are so sold out to their narrow vision of the world that they make it impossible for anyone who doesn’t share their ideology to work in a newsroom — and then they fault the talented writers who can make a go of it on their own for doing so, because it’s racist?!  New York magazine would still have Andrew Sullivan on its staff if they had been willing to let him express an opinion that is shared by at least half the people in America, though in NYC journalism circles, they have probably frightened anybody who agrees into total silence...   I read The New York Times and The Washington Post for the same reason a Kremlinologist would have read Pravda and Izvestia: for insights into how the ruling class thinks. I don’t read them for accurate and insightful information about the way the world is. I know that American journalism has selected for journalists who see the world a certain way, and only that way. The moralizing of difference — for example, demonizing the mere expression of opinions that run contrary to the leftist line — has made journalistic institutions less valuable as guides to reality, and more important as guides to how left-wing elites think. It’s a closed feedback loop."

ChuckModi on Twitter - "Dear Twitter, Pls stop calling Andy Ngo a “journalist”. Thank you."
Andy Ngô 🏳️‍🌈 on Twitter - "My detractors do this because they want to take away the one thing that all decent people agree on: press freedom is sacred. Who the far-left defines as "press" are those who write what they approve of. Anyone else is a "provocateur" deserving of intimidation & violence."

Melissa Chen - "Media lies are nothing new (WMDs in Iraq) but we are now seeing an astonishing number of narratives promoted by the legacy media collapse on its face. It was considered either disinformation or racist to question these:
- Russiagate
- Steele Dossier
- Russian Bounties
- Hunter Biden Laptop
- MI Gov Kidnapping plot
- Lab Leak Theory
- Rittenhouse
Did I miss anything else?"

Andy Ngô 🏳️‍🌈 on Twitter - "Dell Cameron, a leftist senior reporter for WIRED, used Twitter to solicit stolen information belonging to @MattWalshBlog, who was hacked last night."
WIRED on Twitter: "Neither Dell's story nor his Twitter feed contained hacked materials. We do not believe his account violated Twitter's policy. 2/3"
Liberals will just believe the lie when there're screenshots

Twitter labels NPR's account as 'state-affiliated media,' which is untrue - "Twitter added a "state-affiliated media" tag to NPR's main account on Tuesday, applying the same label to the nonprofit media company that Twitter uses to designate official state mouthpieces and propaganda outlets in countries such as Russia and China.  NPR operates independently of the U.S. government. And while federal money is important to the overall public media system, NPR gets less than 1% of its annual budget, on average, from federal sources."
Weird. When it suits them, liberals claim as long as $1 of funding is involved, there is a conflict of interest

Fox News and MSNBC 'fail to adhere to basic journalistic standards', says credibility rater Newsguard - "MSNBC’s new score is now five points lower than conservative Fox News, the network’s long-time ideological and commercial opponent."
It's only fake news when it's conservative

Fox News, ABC, CNN journalists win awards for Washington reporting - "Fox News congressional correspondent Chad Pergram, ABC News foreign correspondent James Longman and CNN photojournalist Eddie Gross all won awards... Pergram, who has been at Fox News since 2007, received the 36th annual Joan S. Barone Award for excellence “in congressional and political affairs reporting,” named after the late CBS News executive. He previously won the award in 2006."
This liberal claimed Fox had not won an award for reporting

Rachel Maddow’s Deep Delusion - "For the past two years, Rachel Maddow has been a hero of her own spy-thriller.  She has written, directed and starred in a hit production based on the unlikely premise of a prime-time cable TV show host unraveling the most dastardly plot in American history — one opening monologue at a time.  Only the story had a surprise twist at the end — she was completely wrong.  Few people invested more in the Russia probe, night after night, monologue after monologue, with an ever-building sense of anticipation...   It was almost touching how excited Maddow was to come back from a trout-fishing trip last Friday to host her show on an emergency basis upon the arrival of the long-anticipated report. Little did she know she only was setting the stage for her own discrediting...   Yes, there were disturbing developments in the Mueller probe, but the evidence always tilted away from any Trump-Russian conspiracy.  Believing otherwise required ignoring common sense (why would the Russians need to collude with the Trump campaign in the first place?), ignoring statements from more sober-minded intelligence officials that there was no evidence of collusion, ignoring the policy areas where Trump was tougher on Russia than Obama, and ignoring how the Mueller probe was unfolding, with no indictments for espionage or conspiracy with the Russians."
From 2019

Why Hasn't the Mainstream Media Pilloried 60 Minutes for Spreading Misinformation? - "60 Minutes dropped a bombshell: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, had granted Publix a vaccination contract as a kickback for a $100,000 campaign donation, according to a report by journalist Sharyn Alfonsi.  Then the story swiftly fell apart. Publix was neither the first nor the only vaccine distributor in Florida; the idea to use a grocery chain with more than 800 locations across the state was a good one, and did not originate with the governor; moreover, DeSantis explained all of this to Alfonsi, but his quotes were edited in a misleading way for the version that appeared in the 60 Minutes segment.  Bafflingly, CBS News is standing by this atrocious hit job... Florida's director of emergency management, as well as the mayor of Palm Beach County—both of them Democrats—have subsequently released statements blasting CBS's distortions... As The Intercept's Lee Fang pointed out, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, received millions in campaign donations from Blue Shield of California—vs. DeSantis' paltry $100,00 from Publix—and then put the healthcare provider in charge of vaccinating the state, but no 60 Minutes story has described this arrangement as unethical. Journalism industry watchdogs should be all over CBS for this. But there's nothing about 60 Minutes over at Columbia Journalism Review. The dial on PolitiFact's Truth-O-Meter hasn't budged. One praiseworthy exception is CNN... And some in the media still wonder why Republicans and independents are so distrustful of them"
Misleading editing is only a problem when a report hurts the liberal agenda, like with Project Veritas (where the allegations are never substantiated anyway). Only "right wing" media ever are irresponsible and/or lie

Farnoush Amiri on Twitter - "Speaker Nancy Pelosi and (most) the women of the Capitol Press corps"
Stephen L. Miller on Twitter - "Guys, the journalists you should trust, male or female. are the ones who refuse to pose for such a ridiculous photo. What a ridiculous display of shameless unprofessional ignorance."
モートと妻 Husband & Wife on Twitter - "What happens when politics replaces religion in a society. Like the vast majority of journalists these days, they are activist first and foremost, journalists 2nd. Of course they are all smiles to be in a photograph with a Saint from their political religion"
INC 🎄🏠 on Twitter - "Quite a fangirl vibe. Washington is definitely tightlipped as he restrains his fury. I'd love to hear his thoughts on this crowd."
Tom Bob Anderson on Twitter - "These same women write about the whiteness of shark week"

FCC Commissioner Slams Politico as Chinese Communist Propaganda - "Brendan Carr, a Commissioner for the Federal Communications Commission, slammed Politico for publishing what he described as uncritical “communist propaganda.”... David Wertime, Politico’s Chinese Editor, argued that Chinese citizens are all seemingly united in praising the country, and attacking America"

A Court Ruled Rachel Maddow's Viewers Know She Offers Exaggeration and Opinion, Not Facts - "MSNBC's top-rated host Rachel Maddow devoted a segment in 2019 to accusing the right-wing cable outlet One America News (OAN) of being a paid propaganda outlet for the Kremlin. Discussing a Daily Beast article which noted that one OAN reporter was a "Russian national” who was simultaneously writing copy for the Russian-owned outlet Sputnik on a freelance contract, Maddow escalated the allegation greatly into a broad claim about OAN's real identity and purpose: “in this case,” she announced, “the most obsequiously pro-Trump right wing news outlet in America really literally is paid Russian propaganda."  In response, OAN sued Maddow, MSNBC, and its parent corporation Comcast, Inc. for defamation, alleging that it was demonstrably false that the network, in Maddow's words, “literally is paid Russian propaganda." In an oddly overlooked ruling, an Obama-appointed federal judge, Cynthia Bashant, dismissed the lawsuit on the ground that even Maddow's own audience understands that her show consists of exaggeration, hyperbole, and pure opinion, and therefore would not assume that such outlandish accusations are factually true even when she uses the language of certainty and truth when presenting them (“literally is paid Russian propaganda").  In concluding that Maddow's statement would be understood even by her own viewers as non-factual, the judge emphasized that what Maddow does in general is not present news but rather hyperbole and exploitation of actual news to serve her liberal activism... The judge's observations about the specific segment at issue — in which Maddow accused a competitor of being “literally paid Russian propaganda" — was even more damning. Maddow's own viewers, ruled the court, not only expect but desire that she will not provide the news in factual form but will exaggerate and even distort reality in order to shape her opinion-driven analysis... What makes this particularly notable and ironic is that a similar argument was made a year later by lawyers for Fox News when defending a segment that appeared on the program of its highest-rated program, Tucker Carlson Tonight... McDougal's lawsuit was dismissed in September, 2020, by Trump-appointed judge Mary Kay Vyskocil, based on arguments made by Fox's lawyers that were virtually identical to those made by MSNBC's lawyers when defending Maddow... This is worth noting because of how often, and how dishonestly, this court case regarding Carlson is cited to claim that even Fox itself admits that its host is a liar who cannot be trusted. This court ruling has become a very common argument used by liberals to claim that even Fox acknowledges that Carlson lies. Indeed, Maddow's own colleague Chris Hayes — whose MSNBC program is broadcast at the same time as Carlson's and routinely attracts less than 1/3 of the Fox host's audience — has repeatedly cited this court case to argue that even Fox admits Carlson is a liar, without bothering to note that his companies’ lawyers made exactly the same claims about his mentor, Rachel Maddow, to defend her from a defamation lawsuit. This claim — even Fox admits that Carlson is a liar who cannot be believed! — has become such a common trope among liberals that it is impossible to count how many times I have heard it. And that is because the liberal sector of the corporate media blared this claim in headlines over and over after the lawsuit against Fox was dismissed. It is virtually impossible to find similar headlines about Maddow even though the judicial rationale justifying dismissal of the lawsuit against her was virtually identical to the one used in Carlson's case. Indeed, lawyers for MSNBC and Fox cited most of the same legal precedent to defend their stars and to insist that their statements could not be actionable as defamation because viewers understood it as opinion rather than fact... Indeed, it was Maddow's statement — that OAN is "literally paid Russian propaganda”— that seems far more actionable than Carlson's obviously figurative assertion that McDougal was "extorting” Trump. Falsely accusing people of being paid Kremlin agents has a long and ugly history in the U.S., having destroyed reputations and careers, yet this smear has once again become utterly commonplace in Democratic Party politics... Ironically, those most guilty of being unreliable liars and propagandists are those in the media and even Maddow's own MSNBC colleagues who repeatedly cite this court ruling to delegitimize Carlson without ever mentioning that Maddow’s lawyers successfully used the same arguments in her defense."

Meme - Bridget Phetasy @BridgetPhetasy: "Maybe, just maybe, people wouldn't turn to conspiracy theories if the corporate press had any interest in truth instead of just pushing a narrative."

NBC News Anchor: ‘Fairness Is Overrated’ - "NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt says “fairness is overrated” and the news media no longer needs to present both sides of a given story
When the press boast about being biased

“Have Laptop, Will Travel,” and the Demise of The Chicago Tribune - John Kass - "When the editors of “the paper” that I served faithfully for 40 years recently decided to team up with angry leftist trolls in a vengeful “gotcha” exposé on our new home, I wasn’t happy about it... I left them and began this great new adventure that many of you have joined me on, this expedition into the great unknown of independent journalism, even as corporate legacy media collapses of its own corrupt and sodden weight.  I get it. Some at “the paper” are angry. Bitter. This is not the old Tribune. It’s the new left-leaning Tribune. I see the woke media for what it is, what it’s done to the city, how they’ve avoided the truth of what’s happened to Chicago. And the left hates my guts.  Once there was an almost quasi-religious belief at the Tribune Tower that there was no possibility of real life if you dared leave the Tower. But the Tower is gone. There is no Tower now. And the virtues “the paper” once held dear at that Tower, are stepped on and forgotten.  So to get at me, they targeted our modest home in Indiana — still just barely in the Chicago metro area where they still sell “the paper” at the local stores — and wrote a story about it earlier this month. They made our home sound luxurious. It isn’t. It’s just a modest home...   There were other stories more important to the Tribune’s readers than vengeance on me.  They could have written about the continued rise in violent crime and Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s pathetic administration of the overworked and understaffed police department, where there aren’t enough cops to handle 9/11 emergency calls.  Or they could have fully explored the abysmal news that many cheerleading press agents ignore amid all their forced happy talk: Downtown commercial office vacancy rates have hit record highs...   The idea of “the paper” and the trolls was about somehow trying to shame me for moving away from crime-infested Chicago, as hundreds of thousands before me have done. The idea was to calcify idiotic, zigzag reasoning: Kass doesn’t live in Chicago. How dare he talk or write about Chicago?  I spent most of my life in the city. And yet I have no right to talk about it?  That is supremely illogical.  Must you live in Minneapolis to offer a valid opinion of the police murder of George Floyd?  Do you have to be born in Paris to recognize the lust for the Reign of Terror flickering behind the eyes of all those American neo-Jacobins searching for conservative heads to lop on Madame Guillotine?... We loved Chicago.  But violence and politics and the lack of political leadership soured us. And crime, crime and more crime.  Violence, chaos and anarchy. Crushing taxes.  And a complete lack of political leadership coming from Lightfoot and Boss Toni Preckwinkle and her mouth-breathing minion, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx.  We’re not alone in this, are we?  No, we’re not. The loss of Illinois’ population is well-documented and reflected in our loss of Congressional seats each Census.   You see, there is a great realignment taking place in and around the old blue cities, a reset involving all that vacant urban downtown office space.  It is empty due to blue state government shutdowns of businesses during the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter riots that savaged downtown following the death of George Floyd.  The violent were unleashed. People aren’t going to work as they used to. Violent crime is scaring everyone off. And in Chicago, office workers just don’t want to take the CTA rapid transit trains to work, because they don’t want to become a crime or murder statistic."

Meme - USA TODAY: "Kyle Rittenhouse deserves an award for his melodramatic performance on the witness stand. Carli Pierson"
USA TODAY: "Wisconsin Christmas parade defendant gives tearful opening statement: '2 sides to every story' Quinn Clark and Jeanine Santucci"

Humor the New York Times just can't take - "On occasion it’s hard to spot satire, but it’s pretty sad when professional journalists can’t recognize an entire site devoted to it. But such are the fallen standards of po-faced progressive puritans at The New York Times...   Yes, some social-media shares may confuse a few souls into thinking they’re reading real news, but that’s just as true of The Onion, which leans left. We wonder why The Times hasn’t attacked it."
If you don't recognise left wing satire as satire, you're an idiot. If you don't recognise right wing satire as satire, it's dangerous misinformation

16 Common Phrases In The News And What They Actually Mean | Babylon Bee - "1) "Debunked conspiracy theory" = a completely factual event that is 100% true and we don't like it
2) "This is dangerous misinformation" = we don't really agree with it but people are still sharing it
3) "Farm animal bacterial infection treatment" = penicillin
4) "Conservative panelist" = guy who once voted for Ronald Reagan, possibly by mistake
5) "Super-spreader event" = gatherings of people we don't like
6) "This is the end of democracy" = Trump said a thing
7) "Settled science" = a non-reviewed study by a possibly fictitious organization that just came out this morning
8) "Widespread outrage" = 3 people on Twitter got mad
9) "Racist statements" = literally means nothing
10) "Informal gathering of like-minded people that fosters a sense of camaraderie and community among friends and neighbors" = bread lines
11) "Zero" = anywhere from zero to several trillion
12) "Republicans pounce" = uh oh... a Democrat raped someone
13) "Mostly peaceful" = it was hyper-violent but we agree with it
14) "Racist dog whistle" = a super-secret whistle that only racists can hear and only we heard it
15) "Anonymous sources" = we totally made this up
16) "This is an apple" = this is a banana"

Joel Pollak on Twitter - The Washington Post: "Analysis: This administration’s tweets, long bland, have become punchy and even viral as the president has shown more willingness to go after Republicans."
"Update: Mean tweets now good!"

BEFORE: *Man on podium speaks, reporter asks him questions*
NOW: *Man on podium speaks, reporter amplifies his words to the masses*"

Does Criticizing Biden Endanger Democracy?
Also headlined: "Is Criticizing Joe Biden a Danger to Democracy?"
Of course, not criticising Trump was supposedly a danger to democracy

Musk Fires Back at Mehdi Hasan, NBC: Organization ‘Killed’ Harvey Weinstein Story - "Elon Musk mocked NBC’s coverage of the Hunter Biden laptop and allegations against Harvey Weinstein and Matt Lauer, after MSNBC host and political commentator Mehdi Hasan accused Musk of handing Twitter “to the far-right” and labeling him a “not-so-bright billionaire.”... “NBC basically saying Republicans are Nazis…” Musk wrote in a tweet responding to a clip of Hasan’s monologue.  “Same org that covered up Hunter Biden laptop story, had Harvey Weinstein story early & killed it & built Matt Lauer his rape office. Lovely people”"

Journey to the West

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Journey to the West

"‘We all wish we were monkey but we think we're Tripitaka, we suspect we're really Tripitaka because Tripitaka is, he's, for someone who was in reality a great Buddhist scholar, the way he's portrayed in the novel, he’s very feeble, he's hungry, he's tired, he doesn't fancy it, it doesn't doesn't seem fun anymore. He would quite happily drop the whole thing but monkey is as you yourself said in the in the introduction he is irrepressible. Nothing stops him. There is no monster and no boiling mountain of flame that is going to stop him. 

So the thing that keeps the reader going I think through all of these episodes is that how's he gonna get out of this one, kind of thing. Those all is another, another and every time you think, a bit like the old silent movie, every time you think he can't possibly survive this, then wham, with one bound our hero was free and he produces a spell or a move or a blow or a leap, or something. And wow, he's done it and then we're on to the next one, and the pattern repeats itself, and yet it somehow, it so it's, it's repetitious, you kind of know what's coming. It's like watching a serial. And that may reflect its its origins in in oral storytelling.’…

‘On the one hand, monkey is, of course, an immortal magic monkey. He has these superpowers that, as Craig said, enable him to triumph over dozens of these demons, of all sorts of shapes, sizes and attitudes. So, so on the one hand, this distances him from the average mortal reader. But on the other hand, monkey also has many mortal human attributes. So there's his pursuit of fun and mischief and his impulsiveness. And this is particularly clear in the prologue where he's always cheeky and sassy. He's ready to taunt or to back chat to Taoist gods, or to Dragon Kings or the rulers of Heaven and Hell. At one particularly irreverent point, he even urinates on the hand of the Buddha, and monkey has the comic artlessnes of an impulsive child. So the crime that gets him into big trouble with Heaven is eating all these peaches and wines and elixirs, which he does just without a thought for the consequences of the future wrath of Heaven. And then he just runs away at the end. 

And I think this this element of picaresque mischief making remains a constant throughout the book, you we see monkey joking and cheeking his way through dozens of tight corners on the pilgrimage to India and, and he's also believable, he seems human because he's, he's flawed. He's arrogant and impatient. So he doesn't begin and end the book as some kind of supernatural saint but he, it’s rather, as Chiung-yun was saying he is tamed or tempered. So he slowly and often quite painfully, learns to control his reckless instincts.’...

‘There's great fluidity between Buddhism, Daoism and Confucianism in this novel. Does this question or does it reinforce them?’

‘I would say this novel is a very profound rumination on the three teachings and how they might work together or not. But it's thinking very critically about what we call truth. For example, I think all the main characters, all the pilgrims, I think they all represent partial truth, one aspect of the truth, right? So for Tripitaka, he is a Buddhist monk known for his excessive piety. But if it's too much, you become blind by it. And the monkey, as Julia just mentioned, yes, like when, when I was much younger and reading the novel, of, just like many other readers, monkey’s, of course, my favorite because like, he's, he's so smart. And he always comes out like on plans and his word and all the powers he has. 

But really, you think about you think about it, he also has his own flaws, right? He is prone to violence, and he's quick tempered. And really, he has a very strong ego. If we read the first seven chapters, carefully, you will notice that one thing that he cared most is about being recognized. So yes, he has the power, he’s kind of climbing up a social ladder, from just a carefree monkey, and then in the East Island, and then gradually, he moved outward and become like one in the heaven. Okay. And still, he wants to be someone like equal to sage, equal to the heaven. So he's climbing up there, but you see there, he also has a flaw. And for the other characters, too, we also see them represent different flaws of human beings.’...

‘The book absolutely tells us really fascinating things about Ming China's perceptions of the world beyond its borders. So on the one hand, it's, the novel is about a journey out of China. It's about fascination with foreign places, with a foreign religion, Buddhism, and as the pilgrims go west, they sometimes speak admiringly of the beauty of the non Chinese cities that they encounter. But there's also a slightly odd thing going on with this journey because however far the travelers go, the landscape doesn't seem to change that much, or it repeats itself. And, strangely, the pilgrims don't seem to struggle with learning or speaking foreign languages and the religious hierarchy, so the Chinese Taoist hierarchy, it still holds sway. And then right at the end, the pilgrims return to China to give the sutras back to the Tang Emperor. And they reflect on how great China was and how mediocre the lands of the West were by comparison. 

So I suppose it's worth considering whether the book projects cosmopolitanism or perhaps provincialism, you know, the idea that the rest of the world is going to be just like China or inferior and then I suppose the next question would be that if it's the latter view, we could also ask whether that view is satirical.’

‘Not only not only does everybody speak Chinese all the way they go, the food is Chinese. So so it is all, the D, it's always fried noodles, the demons are attempting Pigsy with. And then the, you know, the rice, the Bureau of Rice, Reincarnation, which I haven't got, you know, is a long sort of elaborate sort of gag about toilets. It's a sort of scatalogical joke. But it but it's rice, you know, so that the food is, the food is familiar, however far west you go, you know, they, as it were they they travel in a kind of China bubble.

And I think that's kind of interesting, too… one of the things the novel also does is poke fun at people in power. So there are lots of encounters with bureaucracies, both heavenly bureaucracies and terrestrial bureaucracies. And these bureaucrats are often lazy, venal, just simply incompetent. And it's very hard not to see that there are elements, strong elements of satire there’...

'Mao Zedong, the chairman of the of the Communist Party after 1949. He's a big fan. he's a he's a keen reader, he's a big fan. This story is promoted. It's one of the bits of pre modern culture that the Communist Party after 1949 is rather keen on, although significantly, they're really only keen on the very early part of the novel, the prologue as it were, in which monkey makes havoc in Heaven, monkey disrespects the Jade Emperor, the ruler of the universe. And so monkey kind of comes to stand for the rebellious, irrepressible not to be put down, cheeky figure who is embodied by the figure of the revolutionary and this obviously has colossal resonances in China, during the decades of the Cultural Revolution'"

Links - 1st July 2023 (1 [including Malaysia])

Andy Riley on Twitter - "It's taken me ages to realise, but if Frodo had led a chicken along on a bit of string, and made the chicken carry the ring all the way, no risk of Frodo turning evil. Sure the chicken might turn nasty but realistically how much damage to middle earth can one evil chicken cause"

Meme - "Today I gave an iPhone and $500 to ahomeless guy. You will never know the happiness I felt when he put his gun away"

Meme - "*Islamic version of The Happy Merchant*
Malala Yousafzai the Islamic Feminist Queen
> Promotes Abortion in Western Countries
> Wants western women to not get married
> Preaches Dhimmis to not criticize Islam
> Claims her country Pakistan is peaceful country but never wants to live there.
> Wants Hollywood to have more Muslim actors to promote Islamic propaganda
"I still don't understand why people have to get married. If you want to have a person in your life, why do you have to sign marriage papers, why can'tit just be a partnership?" - Malala Yousafzai to Vogue
*Four months later* *Gets married*"

Meme - "H-h-how... *defeated man*"
"You're strong but no match for my power... *licks bloody knife*"
Hospital: "Yeah he's doing better... Yeah he did the blade lick again... Yeah.. the doctor said hepatitis..."

Meme - "name something white people cook better than black people, go on... ill wait"
Bryan Cranston @BryanCranston: "meth"
Hollie Lehmann: "Fathers day dinner"

'Meme - Gay Man 1: "Let's make love"
Gay Man 2: "Not today. It's that time of the month again"
Gay Man 1: "Awww I hate when you have diarrhea"

Meme - "Looks like they finally figured out how to get people to slow down in construction zones! *skimpily dressed woman holding SLOW sign*"

Meme - "1958: GO TO youR ROOM"

Meme - Felix Rex @navyhato: "If war breaks out and 5 million female Ukrainian refugees show up at the door, I have a feeling Western women will not be lining up at train stations to welcome them. In fact, they will come to the conclusion that their countries are exactly as diverse as they need to be."
*Tania Fox, born in 1993, with visible breasts*
Amy Hoy @amyhoy: "that girl looks underage, jeet. and you just shared it."
Couch Thing @nathantyree: "She's 28, Actress."
Amy Hoy @amyhoy: "doesn't change the fact that she looks like child."
a crown of laurel leaves @bardotravelling: :Nice 12 year old dudez"
Cbucksrules @cbucksrules: ""You hit a nerve with the peados"
Squirrel person @fishpawz: "Paedo energy"
The anti "pedo" virtue signallers are at it again (in this specific case they're all female)

Meme - "Sister asked me to watch her son yesterday... so I took him skydiving! *terrified kid*"

Michelin-star chef shocks fans with plan to add semen-based dish to his menu - "Of all the dishes you might expect to find at a Michelin-star restaurant, one with fish semen in it doesn't spring to mind.  But Spanish chef David Muñoz, who has three Michelin stars, is planning to add such a concoction to the menu of his renowned DiverXO restaurant in Madrid.  Muñoz, 43, was so inspired by his experience tasting Shirako - a white paste made from fish semen - with Japanese chef Hiro Sato that he wants to bring the 'indescribable' taste to diners in Madrid... one user disagreed with the outrage and said: 'I don't understand, so much mental nonsense in the head when roe, female fish eggs, has been eaten for centuries.'"

Meme - "I passed out like 3 times, but our birthday cake is done *Strawberry cake with white cloudy liquid on it*"

Meme - "Seesaw, pIayground toy that consists of a fulcrum-mounted plank designed to remind some children that they don't even have one friend."

Meme - "Just got an emotional support animal.
It's a pig. Not the whole pig.
Okay, it's bacon."

The English Actor by Peter Ackroyd review: Are English actors really superior to all others? - "Perhaps the most famous of all acting anecdotes is the one about Laurence Olivier and Dustin Hoffman on the set of Marathon Man. As the standard version runs, the method-acting American had kept himself awake for three days to match his character’s exhaustion. On confiding this to Olivier, the elder statesman of the English stage replied, with feline alacrity, “My dear boy, why don’t you just try acting?”  It is a marvellous story, particularly if you happen to be invested, as Peter Ackroyd is, in the specialness of “the English actor”. It sums up that rare quality that the 16th-century courtier called sprezzatura and the modern-day Old Etonian calls “effortless excellence”. Where the American strives across days to become the role, the canny old Englishman merely clocks on and pretends... No longer just called on to provide convenient villainy, à la Alan Rickman in Die Hard, they are one of our few remaining reliable exports. It seems to be a rare American television series now that does not have a Rada graduate tucked somewhere into the central cast. And yet it is quite the leap from there to the quasi-mystical adulation that Ackroyd – the novelist and historian best known for his London: The Biography (2000) – reserves for them in his latest book."

Meme - "How to never get your things stolen at the beach again *wrapped in diaper*"
Good luck if someone throws it away

Meme - "Go ahead, zap me! Absorbing lightning's totally my thing"
"You've never Black Lightning had before."

Meme - "King Charles III and Camilla. To all the side Chicks there's Always hope"

Grants access to the use of the N word.
Gift from Demoman
(Not Tradable)"

Meme - "Mixed cheese platter
Angus ribeye steak
Codfish and aspargus rolled with hams
Grilled New Zealand calf corbel
Roasted Iberia pork ribs
意式烤春鸡 Roasted chicken that never had sexual life"
"Italian style roasted spring chicken"

Meme - "Mind if I clear my browser history first? *Grim Reaper*"

Woman who scanned QR code with malware lost $20k to bubble tea survey scam while she was sleeping - "She visited a bubble tea shop and saw a sticker pasted on its glass door, encouraging customers to do an online survey to get a free cup of milk tea.  Enticed by what seemed like a good deal, the 60-year-old scanned the QR code on the sticker and downloaded a third-party app onto her Android phone to complete the “survey”.  That night, as she was sleeping, her mobile phone suddenly lit up.  Thanks to the app she had downloaded, scammers used it to take over her device and moved $20,000 from her bank account.  Worryingly, she is not the only victim of such malware scams... Mr Chua said that when the victim scans the QR code, he is prompted to download an app containing malware and is made to grant access to the phone’s microphone and camera. He is also asked to enable Android Accessibility Service, an app intended to assist users with disabilities, which allows the scammer to view and control the victim’s screen. The scammer waits for the victim to use his mobile banking app and notes his login credentials and password. The scammer can also disable the facial recognition function, so the victim has to physically key in his details to log into his account, allowing the crook to record the information. The scammer then accesses the camera to monitor the victim’s activity, waiting for the right moment to strike. At night, when the victim is sleeping, the scammer takes control of the phone through the malware. He logs into the victim’s mobile banking app and transfers money out of his bank account... Mr Chua said scammers tend to paste these manipulated QR codes near authorised scan-to-pay signs, which trick customers into thinking they are legitimate...  In 2022, scam victims in Singapore lost $660.7 million, up from $632 million in 2021, bringing the total to almost $1.3 billion lost in two years... “Although malware scams are less common in iPhone devices, they are not unheard of and are silently on the rise.”"

Hungry student finds Maurizio Cattelan’s $160,000 banana ripe for the taking at Korea museum - "Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan’s iconic art piece Comedian – a ripe banana duct-taped to a wall and on display at an art museum in Seoul – was eaten by a college student in an act he described as “artwork”.  The student ate the fruit on Thursday. The work is part of Cattelan’s solo exhibition WE currently running at the Leeum Museum of Art... When the museum staff asked why he ate it, the student, who is an art major at Seoul National University, replied that he skipped breakfast and was hungry.  In a phone interview later with a local broadcaster, he confessed that he thought “damaging a work of modern art could also be (interpreted as a kind of) artwork”. He added that he came up with the idea to reattach the banana peel, thinking it was a fun way of looking at it.  Cattelan’s banana is being replaced every two to three days, according to the artist’s instructions provided before the exhibition. The museum has decided not to claim damages against the student. This was not the first time the banana was swiped off the wall and eaten. In 2019, a performance artist named David Datuna took the banana on display at the Perrotin gallery at Art Basel in Miami minutes after it was sold for US$120,000 (S$160,000) and ate it."

Shelves stolen less than a day after Boon Lay resident opens library he spent months setting up - "A man who spent months collecting books and shelves to set up an open library in his Housing Board void deck in Boon Lay had a nasty shock when two bookshelves were stolen less than a day later.  The chairman of the residents’ network for Boon Lay View, who wanted to be known only as Hengster Kor, said he spent three hours on Monday shifting and arranging the books and shelves in the void deck."

Oversized T-shirt and shorts: Malaysian woman fined for wearing 'indecent' attire - "A clothing store owner in Kelantan, Malaysia was fined by local authorities for being dressed inappropriately. Her outfit? A pink oversized T-shirt that was covering her shorts... Under Malaysian law, non-Muslim business owners and their non-Muslim employees must wear "decent clothes", and if they are Muslim, to wear clothes that cover their aurat (parts of the body that must be covered except to a woman's husband or relatives)... Malaysia's Local Government Development Minister Nga Kor Ming asked the MPKB to retract the fine issued to Lee, as it infringed her constitutionally guaranteed freedoms, reported the MalayMail. "This was a non-Muslim trader in her own shop and she was wearing shorts. "These are fundamental rights and freedoms which are guaranteed in the Federal Constitution," he told Malaysian media. He added that the enforcement officer should have corrected the woman and educated her in this case, while respecting that she is a non-Muslim."

SAMENTA: “Extra public holiday an unhealthy practice that must stop” - "THE extra day of public holiday given for Hari Raya Aidilfitri will incur billions of ringgit in losses or late penalties, according to the head of a business group.  Datuk William Ng, chairman of the Small and Medium Enterprises Association (SAMENTA), indicated that while companies usually encouraged their employees to enjoy the festivities, mandatory paid public holidays were deemed “unnecessary”.  Ng pointed out that Malaysia has the highest number of public holidays in the world, and that in private discussions with investors, a common joke was that employers hoped Malaysia would not win football matches since this would probably mean another paid public holiday...   “If certain festivities are important enough to warrant a public holiday, they can be planned months or years ahead, approved by the Cabinet, and communicated to the industry.”  He pointed out that the capacity of businesses to plan ahead of time is critical for the fulfilment of orders, contractual obligations, deliveries, and logistics.  Ng described a hypothetical scenario in which a restaurant ordered perishable items to be delivered on what the owner assumed would be a working day, only to discover that it had been declared a public holiday.  “With delivery services halted, those items could be wasted. Who should bear the costs in such a case? The restaurant owner, the supplier or the government?”...   Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on Wednesday (April 19) announced that if Aidilfitri falls on Friday, Putrajaya would declare an additional public holiday the following Monday (April 24).  If Aidilfitri falls on Saturday, the additional public holiday will be set for Friday, while the Raya public holiday will be set for Monday.  On Tuesday (April 18) Mydin hypermarket managing director Datuk Ameer Ali Mydin said that the extra public holiday would cost his company RM500,000.  According to the Malaysian Employers Federation, every public holiday in Malaysia ends up costing the private sector nearly RM1 bil in lost productivity in 2019"

Malaysians mock British singer Dua Lipa on social media for calling her dad 'babi' - "British singer-songwriter Dua Lipa has been mocked by Malaysians on social media after she used the word "babi" to refer to her father.  However, the word "babi" in Albanian, where her parents are from, actually means "father"."
Parochial Malaysians strike again

Malaysian woman claims McCormick’s Cajun season has pork in it, gets schooled by social media users - "A Malaysian woman’s erroneous claim that McCormick’s Cajun Seasoning is made with pork meat recently went viral on social media.  The woman attempted to warn other Malaysians in the one-minute Tiktok video to carefully read the labels when purchasing spices at any grocery store.  She then takes a bottle of McCormick’s Cajun Seasoning to show that it contains pork and is thus unsafe for Muslims to use.  “If you look at this cajun seasoning, the ingredients contain pork,” said the woman in the video.  The woman, however, didn’t realise that she had misread the labels until the end of the video.  Instead of reading the ingredients on the label, she was reading the ‘use on’ suggestions."

Man who gave away Jho Low's whereabouts dead - "Kee Kok Thiam, a suspect in the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) case who informed the authorities of the whereabouts of fugitive financier Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low, has been confirmed dead."

Dutch designer apologises after comments on M'sia's culture & the baju kurung goes viral - "Lisette Scheers, Dutch designer and founder of Nala Designs issued a public apology after her comments about Malaysia's local culture and the baju kurung went viral and faced major criticism... She said in the SCMP article that it was "shocking to see" how Malaysia had become commercial so quickly, and "everything was about making a quick buck" without pride nor quality.  When speaking about the materials she uses for her products, she was quoted as saying that she "can't bare[sic] the flammable cheap polyester I see everywhere in Malaysia."  Scheers also shared her vision: to "see the baju kurung return" and wanting "people here to feel proud of their heritage" - something which she said she is "on a crusade" to prevent its disappearance"
You're not allowed to promote another culture

Where did this anti-Singapore food bashing by Malaysians even originate from? As someone in their 40s : SingaporeRaw - "Seeing the MGAG post today (and other posts on Reddit) made me realised that during the late 80s and early 90s I don't remember this trope even being a thing. There wasn't such lame "food wars". I feel like it only came about during the 2010s.  I grew up in Malaysia and this kind of trope didn't even exist back then. Is it correlated with the rise of the internet? Or some political factors? Everywhere I go I see Malaysians bashing Singaporean food, and some of them are straight up malicious and rude. You could have videos on Facebook, TikTok or YouTube of people innocently enjoying food in Singapore (like tourists) and then have comments mock and bully them.  What's even weirder is that I don't even see such anti-Singapore cuisine behaviors from other Asian countries like Thailand or Japan or the wider world like Australia or the UK. It's almost always from Malaysians. What's up with that? Sometimes I feel ashamed by how some of them behave...food is literally subjective. Let people eat and enjoy what they want."
When you are insecure because your country is a failure...

After Canadian ex-minister calls nasi lemak 'most delicious breakfast in S'pore', Malaysian netizens say their version better - "Canada’s former Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Ms Catherine McKenna, seems to have ruffled a few feathers when she dubbed nasi lemak as the “most delicious breakfast in Singapore” online... Malaysian netizens were quick to lay claim over the dish and allude that the Malaysian version is better, in response to her tweet which has received over 2.2 million views as of Tuesday (June 13).   The long-standing debate about the two country’s food was re-ignited, as Malaysian netizens took the chance to throw shade at the nasi lemak dish posted by Ms McKenna.   Some netizens felt that the rice portion was small, the dish looked “bland” and the sambal looked like “Heinz tomato sauce” or “tomato puree”.   Sharing a photo of a plate of nasi lemak served with a roasted chicken thigh and a bigger portion of rice, one netizen tweeted: “This is nasi lemak mate. Not whatever you’re having there.”...   Some netizens, however, felt that the reaction by Malaysian netizens to the tweet was "un-nasi-ssary".  “Mad respect for how Malaysians are so protective and proud of nasi lemak but I've never seen anyone posting a picture of a croissant and having French people coming into their mentions (on Twitter) complaining about how it's not authentic or it sucks,” one sai.d Another added: “Malaysians, I beg you, please relax. Not everything is a hostile matter.”...   Singapore and Malaysia share a history of being involved in food fights, fuelled by both nations' obsession over food. In 2018, a CNN article that listed cendol from Singapore as one of the world’s 50 best desserts led to outcry by Malaysian netizens."
The difference is that Singaporeans only get upset when ignorant Malaysians pretend that certain dishes are Malaysian and not Singaporean

Malaysia to seek Interpol help to investigate controversial comedian - "Malaysia will seek Interpol's assistance in tracking down and investigating a stand-up comic who mocked the country and made jokes about missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, its police chief said... Jocelyn Chia, a New York-based comedian, stirred controversy in Malaysia and Singapore this month after she posted on social media a clip of her live comedy set in which she joked about the plane that went missing nine years ago with 239 people onboard... Malaysia will investigate Chia's comments under its own laws related to provocation, incitement, and publication of offensive online content... Chia said she stood by her jokes despite the controversy, but that the short clips on social media took them out of context.  "Upon reflection I do see that having this as a clip that gets viewed out of a comedy club context was risky," Chia was reported as saying.  Her comedy, which also touched on historical ties between neighbours Malaysia and Singapore, also sparked outrage in Singapore.  Vivian Balakrishnan, Singapore's foreign minister, apologised to Malaysians for her comments and said the comedian did not speak for Singaporeans.  Malaysia's pursuit of Chia come amid what activists say is a crackdown on free speech. Last year, a comedy club was shut down following allegations that it hosted comics who touched on sensitive racial and religious issues."

Meme - "M'sian police to ask Interpol for help in locating Jocelyn Chia in US: M'sian media"
*Jho Low* msia police *No*
*Jocelyn Chia* msia police *Yes*

What is up with Malaysia's disproportional response to some third-rate comedian comments being made thousands of miles away? : SingaporeRaw - "No country in the world will make such a disproportionate response to such off the cuff comments made by some third-rate comedian in a comedy club in New York City no one has even heard of prior to this, including involving government ministers. Now they want to protest outside the embassy. Anyone else find this kinda weird?  Are Malaysians seriously THAT glass-hearted? Do these people not realize they are actually helping her with such a huge response? Streisand effect is a thing. She's an American citizen too, do you think she even cares about MY-SG relations? Why should Singapore collectively have to answer for some schmuck thousands of miles away, whether it's uncouth or not?"
"I don't see them sanction and stop business with Russia after they shot down MH17. But they take offense with a comedian."
"They love bashing Singapore as a past-time because the Singaporean government is non-confrontational with other countries. Vivian B. apologizing for a U.S. citizen is such a joke.  However, when it comes to China or Russia, suddenly Malaysia has its tail between their legs. Where was the protests outside the Russian embassy and sanctions against the country after MH17? Definition of a bully, scared of bigger bullies."
"Aiya their own people can't even tahan when their own Chinese citizens wrap nasi lemak with Chinese newspaper , of course those glass hearts sure angry when people make fun of them lah."
"Inferiority complex"
Malaysia Boleh!

Malaysian police warn consumers of poppy seeds 'high' - "A bagel or a cake spiced up with poppy seeds could now land you in the lockup, Malaysia police have warned. Police are looking into cases of poppy seeds being used in cakes, said Kuala Lumpur's City Narcotics Criminal Investigation Department chief Wan Abdullah Ishak.  Tests done on the poppy seeds found in those cakes detected traces of morphine... He noted that while consumption of poppy seeds is not illegal in Malaysia, the consumer could test positive for drugs and be liable to be charged in court... Health Minister S. Subramaniam dismissed the concern as "not new" and said that his ministry was not banning the import or use of poppy seeds, which are commonly added as a spice in traditional cooking.  He noted that the US Food and Drug Administration classifies poppy seeds as safe for consumption due to their low morphine content, media reports said.  "Many local delicacies use poppy seeds, also known as kas kas. This matter is not new and the morphine level in poppy seeds is very minimal," Dr Subramaniam told reporters when asked to comment on narcotics department's warning.  "If you take a huge content and regularly, then there is a chance of becoming addicted. The amount used in cooking is minimal and if you put too much, it will alter the taste," the minister said. Asked if the police had asked for input from the ministry, Dr Subramaniam said: "We learnt about (the narcotics official's warning) when we read the newspapers today.""
Meanwhile in Singapore they're banned

Is there such a thing as too much pay? | Financial Times - "As the UK entered a cost of living crisis in recent months, private equity headhunter Sita Kolossa had a surreal conversation with a client about his salary. “He told me £1mn was not enough”...   Their highest earners are often the most senior people, the biggest revenue generators and longest serving employees, who have helped foster growth at companies for years. They are demanding even greater pay. Tight labour markets and a rush to secure top talent have helped their cause, as managers calculate that finding new people to replace senior staff with institutional knowledge would only cost more money and take more time.  An endless pot of cash could placate everyone. Reality means making compromises. So what should a manager keep in mind when dealing with their highest earners?... retaining high earners is not always about the money. CEOs can be more imaginative and use other levers available to show a person’s value. Individual recognition can come in many forms — a bigger role, a seat at the decision-making table or a clearer career path forward. A positive company culture and attractive working conditions should be another way to entice colleagues. Uniting behind a shared company vision, more flexible working arrangements and greater ownership over one’s own time are perks that money can’t buy.    But don’t then shoot yourself in the foot by doing stupid things. Outsized payouts at the top when a company has cut jobs elsewhere, made huge losses, or embroiled itself in a scandal — or if there is very little leeway to help those at the lowest end of the pay structure — will mean senior managers automatically become a target of worker ire and negative press.  Finally, pay attention to the differential between the highest and lowest paid. While the pay of chief executives always seems to be in focus, in this environment the top band of earners should all watch out. This is a reflection of corporate culture and it affects the motivation of a significant part of the workforce, says Georg Wernicke, who conducts research on strategy and business policy at HEC Paris business school.  “You want to pay the highest earners a sufficient amount to incentivise them to steer the company through difficult times but also enough that you can retain them as staff. But you’ll also be pressured by unions, the public, and the media to pay them something that’s fair, particularly if you’re cutting the workforce”"

Friday, June 30, 2023

Links - 30th June 2023 (2 - Migrants)

‘Sex With Refugees’ Mural in London Branded ‘Orientalist Fetish’ - "A piece of street art containing the phrase “sex with refugees is jasmine-scented and beautiful” in large letters has caused controversy after it appeared in London over the weekend... Artist Robert Montgomery, who wrote the original text, said it emerged in workshops on reversing “the stereotyping language used to represent refugees in the mainstream media.”... According to theories of orientalism, Middle Eastern women have historically been reduced to exoticized and eroticized images in European artwork."
Given that most "refugees" in Europe are now male...

The Left Case against Open Borders - "In its twenty-nine-year existence, around 140 people died attempting to cross the Berlin Wall. In the promised world of global economic freedom and prosperity, 412 people died crossing the U.S.-Mexican border last year alone, and more than three thousand died the previous year in the Mediterranean. The pop songs and Hollywood movies about freedom are nowhere to be found. What went wrong?...   While no serious political party of the Left is offering concrete proposals for a truly borderless society, by embracing the moral arguments of the open-borders Left and the economic arguments of free market think tanks, the Left has painted itself into a corner. If “no human is illegal!,” as the protest chant goes, the Left is implicitly accepting the moral case for no borders or sovereign nations at all. But what implications will unlimited migration have for projects like universal public health care and education, or a federal jobs guarantee? And how will progressives convincingly explain these goals to the public? During the 2016 Democratic primary campaign, when Vox editor Ezra Klein suggested open borders policies to Bernie Sanders, the senator famously showed his vintage when he replied, “Open borders? No. That’s a Koch brothers proposal.” This momentarily confused the official narrative, and Sanders was quickly accused of “sounding like Donald Trump.” Beneath the generational differences revealed in this exchange, however, is a larger issue. The destruction and abandonment of labor politics means that, at present, immigration issues can only play out within the framework of a culture war, fought entirely on moral grounds. In the heightened emotions of America’s public debate on migration, a simple moral and political dichotomy prevails. It is “right-wing” to be “against immigration” and “left-wing” to be “for immigration.” But the economics of migration tell a different story. The transformation of open borders into a “Left” position is a very new phenomenon and runs counter to the history of the organized Left in fundamental ways... Just ask Karl Marx, whose position on immigration would get him banished from the modern Left...   According to the best analysis of capital flows and global wealth today, globalization is enriching the wealthiest people in the wealthiest countries at the expense of the poorest, not the other way around...   It has now become a common slogan among advocates of open borders—and many mainstream commentators—that “there is no migrant crisis.” But whether they like it or not, radically transformative levels of mass migration are unpopular across every section of society and throughout the world. And the people among whom it is unpopular, the citizenry, have the right to vote. Thus migration increasingly presents a crisis that is fundamental to democracy... the open borders position does not even live up to its own professed moral code.  There are many economic pros and cons to high immigration, but it is more likely to negatively impact low-skilled and low-paid native workers while benefiting wealthier native workers and the corporate sector. As George J. Borjas has argued, it functions as a kind of upward wealth redistribution. A 2017 study by the National Academy of Sciences called “The Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration” found that current immigration policies have resulted in disproportionately negative effects on poor and minority Americans, a finding that would have come as no surprise to figures like Marcus Garvey or Frederick Douglass. No doubt they, too, would have to be considered “anti-immigrant” by today’s standards for warning of this.
Apparently there is no difference between a wall to keep people out and a wall to keep people in

'Squad' member Pramila Jayapal introduces bill to decriminalize illegal border crossings - "Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), a member of the group of progressive federal legislators known as "the squad," re-introduced a bill with Congressman Jesús Chuy Garcia to decriminalize crossing the US border illegally."

As a Rotherham grooming gang survivor, I want people to know about the religious extremism which inspired my abusers - "As a teenager, I was taken to various houses and flats above takeaways in the north of England, to be beaten, tortured and raped over 100 times. I was called a “white slag” and “white c***” as they beat me.  They made it clear that because I was a non-Muslim, and not a virgin, and because I didn’t dress “modestly”, that they believed I deserved to be “punished”. They said I had to “obey” or be beaten... In November 2017, the Swedish government held a meeting where they stated that: “Sexual violence is being used as a tactic of terrorism”, and as such, it was recognised as a threat to Sweden’s national security."

Antisemitic Demonstration in Malmo, Sweden - "Antisemitic slogans were chanted in a demonstration that was held in Malmö, Sweden on Friday, December 8, in protest of U.S. President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Protesters shouted in Arabic: "Khaybar, Khyabar, oh Jews, the army of Muhammad is coming back," in reference to the 628 CE Muslim conquest of the Jewish oasis city of Khaybar. The protesters also called to close embassies, presumably of the U.S., and to cut diplomatic ties. They shouted that "from Sweden" and "from Malmö" they have decided to launch "a determined Intifada," and called to "aim and shoot at the Jews... at the settlers and at the soldiers.""

Meme - "From a seventh grade class picture in sweden Vakna Sverige: Arskurs 7 i Sverige *young girl, younger girl and grown man*"

'I was raped by Rotherham grooming gang - now I still face racist abuse online' - "  She says she is being hounded with abuse by radical left extremist groups and although she has complained to Twitter, the social media giant is yet to take action.  Ella said: “On Twitter I get a lot of abuse from far-left extremists, and radical feminist academics.  “There is one group who go online and they try to resist anyone they consider to be a Nazi, racist, fascist or white supremacist. They don’t care about anti-white racism, because they appear to believe that it doesn’t exist.  “They have tried to floor me and criticise me continually and this has been going on for a couple of months.  “They tried to shut me down, shut me up and drive me off Twitter. I’ve never experienced such hate online in my life. They accuse me of ‘advocating for white paedophiles’ and being a ‘sinister demonic entity.’”... Ella says she never wore revealing clothes and had a stable family upbringing. However, she was targeted because she was “a white girl looking for a boyfriend”...   Ella believes the racially aggravated elements of sexual abuse are sometimes omitted and she believes it needs to better understood.  “I was called a barrage of racist names,” Ella said. “They called me a white s**g, a white c***, a white whore, a white b***h and a f****** gori which is their name for a white person...   “Prevention, protection and prosecution - all of them are being hindered because we are neglecting to properly address the religious and racist aspects of grooming gang crimes.”  'It’s telling them that it’s OK to hate white people'  Ella recently reported what she perceived as a racially abusive tweet against white people to Twitter.  The tweet made reference to “the white virus” and said: “Carriers tend to be hideously ugly (within and without), hideously selfish, hideously inferior and hideously white. Never underestimate the malice and ugliness of these ‘people.’” She argued the tweet contained “harmful content” but Twitter said the tweet did “not breach any of Twitter’s community guidelines.”  The response to Ella said: “Twitter’s hateful conduct policy applies to members of a protected group: This includes races which have been historically oppressed and marginalised, which white people have not.  “For this reason, Twitter would consider this comment satire.”... “By falsely categorising anti-white hate content as ‘satire’, Twitter is creating an environment where hatred towards whites is ‘normalised’, and this leads to even more anti-Western attacks, like the ones against me and hundreds of other girls in Rotherham.  “It’s telling them that it’s OK to hate white people, and that’s fundamentally wrong."

Muslim Invaders Signal a Second Battle of Tours | Faith & Heritage - "Muslims in Poiters, France, near the location of the original battle have built a mosque named after the Arabic name of the Battle of Poitiers, Balat al-Chouhada. The naming of this mosque is entirely relevant to how the Muslims of Poiters understand their presence in modern-day France. The name for the new mosque in Arabic translates as “paved with martyrs.” The martyrs referred to are those who died fighting for Islam in their attempt to conquer Europe"
Génération identitaire accuse un imam d'avoir donné le nom arabe de la bataille de Poitiers à sa mosquée - "Tout un symbole. « Révélations exclusives sur les mensonges de l’imam #UOIF de #Poitiers ! Dans cette vidéo en arabe, Boubaker Al-Hadj Amor révèle le vrai nom de la “Grande Mosquée de Poitiers” : Balat al-Chouhada… le nom islamique de la bataille de Poitiers en 732 ! » Le message, publié mardi sur Twitter par le mouvement Génération identitaire, dévoile des extraits d’une interview à la chaîne qatarie Al Rayyan, en 2015, dans laquelle le prêcheur semble révéler le nom officieux et en arabe de l’édifice musulman de la Vienne (la traduction a été authentifiée par Valeurs actuelles).
« Pourquoi avez-vous nommé cette mosquée “Pavé des Martyrs”? L’avez-vous appelé du nom de la bataille qui a eu lieu ici ? », lui demande le journaliste. « Oui, grâce à Dieu, cet endroit est sur la ligne principale passée par l’armée islamique. C’était une route pavée par les Romains, et l’armée islamique est passée par cette route. Alors, grâce à Dieu, cet endroit est à côté de la ligne principale. C’est pour cela qu’on l’a nommée “Mosquée Pavé des Martyrs” », reconnaît l’imam et cadre de l’Union des organisations islamiques de France (UOIF)."...  
Dans la vidéo, l’imam de Poitiers depuis 1995 admet en effet avoir bénéficié de fonds étrangers pour poursuivre la construction de la mosquée, interrompue plusieurs années durant en raison d’un manque de financement par les fidèles locaux. « Ce que nous avons construit, c’est grâce à Dieu et avec l’aide de l’organisation “Qatar Charity” », admet-il... Le Qatar, dont le mufti officieux est Youssef al-Qaradawi, prédicateur égyptien antisémite, pro-terroriste et interdit de territoire français depuis 2012, investit le plus souvent dans des mosquées gérées par l’UOIF ou ses satellites, comme celle, gigantesque, de Mulhouse, financée à hauteur de 2 millions d’euros."

Swedish student fined for anti-deportation protest that went viral - "A Swedish student who livestreamed her protest against the deportation of an Afghan asylum seeker last year has been found guilty of violating Sweden’s aviation laws and fined £250.  Elin Ersson, 22, avoided a prison sentence at the Gothenburg district court... After Ersson refused to take her seat, several other passengers – including members of a football team – joined her protest and the asylum seeker was removed from the plane, to applause from passengers... Tobias Billström, a leading member of the centre-right Moderate party, led calls for harsher sentences against asylum rights activists. Meanwhile, liberal and leftwing politicians saw Ersson’s prosecution as evidence of an official clampdown on civil disobedience... Ersson originally boarded the plane to prevent the deportation of 26-year-old Ismail Khawari. However, Khawari was not on the plane, and was deported separately. Seeing the other asylum seeker, Ersson decided to continue her protest nonetheless."
From 2019

Afghan whose deportation was blocked by crying Swedish girl, whipped his wife and daughters - "the Afghan man in his 50s is actually an aggressive wife beater...   He had beaten his daughters and his wife, and among other things, “whipped” them with a long charging cord.  The man is convicted of assault in Sweden, the police confirmed to Fria Tider. However, that was not why he was deported.  Now, newspaper Nyheter Idag reveals that the man was sentenced to nine months in jail for three cases of assault of his own wife and their two children."

The Left’s position on the migrant crisis is increasingly unsustainable - "Stephen Watson, the chief constable of Greater Manchester Police, tells this newspaper that criminal gangs are exploiting the surge in illegal migrants – recruiting arrivals, some as young as 13, lodged in local hotels. Mr Watson describes how even innocent, vulnerable asylum seekers can thus “travel the spectrum from being victims” to “exploiters” themselves. They are “hardly likely to develop [into law-abiding] people”.  The Left’s position on the migrant crisis – that we have to accept the vast increase in numbers and simply find the best accommodation possible – is unsustainable. It is also unethical. They believe that borders are by their very nature unjust, and that the state should tolerate, even facilitate arrivals, limiting its efforts to no-questions-asked humanitarianism.  But this puts an enormous strain on the resources of the host society. Importantly, it is also very bad for migrants themselves – because a dangerous “come one, come all” approach encourages illicit activity. The goal should be a managed asylum process that ensures safe routes for those that need them, and Britain has shown its generosity towards people under immediate threat – including Ukrainians and Hong Kongers.  The UK is not obliged to offer safe haven to those leaving a stable, free society or travelling through several sound democracies to get here."

Asylum seekers in hotels ‘could be recruited by extremist groups’ - "Radical groups could target hotels housing asylum-seekers in an attempt to recruit people, counter-extremism officials fear.  Officials in the Midlands city of Stoke-on-Trent have become increasingly concerned about the resurgence of Hizb ut-Tahrir, a group that promotes the creation of an Islamic state. It is banned in more than a dozen countries but not in the UK.  The group has been holding sessions in a converted warehouse a short walk from two hotels housing asylum seekers, and sources said they feared the proximity would provide individuals with extreme but not illegal views “easy access” to vulnerable migrants...   The group’s purpose is to re-establish the caliphate in the Middle East with Sharia law, and experts have claimed it is a gateway to violent extremism. It is shunned by most Muslims and has been banned in Germany, China, Russia and many Arab states."
Clearly the UK needs to welcome even more migrants so they will realise it is a caring country and won't be prey to extremism (an actual view I've seen expressed multiple times)

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, The Desperation of Asylum Seekers on Poland's Border - "Turkey, Erdogan insisted was different from European neighbors, who he said had slammed shut the door on refugees. But in recent months, Erdogan has changed his tenor. Turkey has no duty, responsibility nor obligation to be Europe's refugee warehouse, he said. Erdogan’s change of heart may be due to his ruling party's dramatic slump in support. His recent pledge to close the door to refugees echoes popular sentiment. A recent poll showed that seven out of 10 Turks want to seal their borders to asylum seekers. Majed Shama, a Syrian journalists filmed a satirical video on the banana controversy, poking fun at Syrians who are now afraid to buy fruit. For that report, Shama was slapped with a deportation order"
Damn racist, xenophobic and Islamophobic Turks!

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, A Haitian Odyssey Across The Americas - "She painted a picture of an arbitrary deportation process. We didn't get an interview or anything. They only took our fingerprints and photos, nothing more. And she says some of the immigration officials even lied to them saying they were being flown to Florida, not Haiti. What hurt the most is the treatment we received she says. It was inhuman, inhuman chains on our ankles. We're not slaves. Migration is a right not a crime"
Apparently all immigration laws are wrong

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, Caught in the crossfire along the Thailand/Myanmar border - "‘Over a period of 36 hours, around 8000 migrants, most of them Moroccan, reached Ceuta. Many swam around the border fence while others drifted in on makeshift rafts. Some were even able to clamber around the fence at low tide. Eyewitnesses say the Moroccan police, normally so quick to thwart such attempted crossings, did nothing to stop them. It was the latest twist in Spain's complex relationship with Morocco, a relationship in which migrants are often centerstage. Just days before Morocco relaxed its border controls, allowing the migrants to cross. Its government had made clear it was angry with Spain. In April the Spanish government allowed a man called  Brahim Ghali to be treated for coronavirus in a hospital… Ghali is head of the Polisario Front, which for decades has been fighting Morocco for sovereignty of the vast area known as Western Sahara. The Moroccan government saw Spain's willingness to admit a public enemy to one of its hospitals as a betrayal and recalled its ambassador in Madrid after initially playing down the diplomatic incident, Spain's Defence Minister Margarita Robles hit back, warning Morocco that her country would not be blackmailed. One Spanish Civil Guard who has been posted in *something* told me that Morocco uses immigration as if it were a currency. He said that every time Morocco wants to exert pressure on Spain or Europe, for example over fishing rights or an agricultural agreement, suddenly more migrants will start reaching Spain's two African enclaves. And it's not necessarily just trade and geopolitics which are believed to trigger such incidents. In 2014, the Spanish Civil Guard infuriated Morocco's King Mohammed by stopping him when he was jet skiing off the shores of Ceuta and asking him to identify himself. In the days that followed, 1200 migrants reached Spain from Morocco’"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, Still There: The Migrants Trapped in Calais Limbo - "‘A young man from Sudan puts his coat on a crate making me a seat. It feels strange to sit in his temporary home and question his dreams. But that's why I've come to ask the question I kept hearing in the media. Why do people like this man want to come to Britain? I was not expecting the answers. The British abolished slavery, a man from Cameroon said solemnly. Britain is not a racist country said a man from Guinea. Education is very important there, the Sudanese boy told me. When I have children, he said I want them to go to school in England.’"
Silly Africans. They're unaware of the reality of White Supremacy in the UK

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Bishop Rose Hudson-Wilkin’s Today programme - "When we went to other shores, when the British went to other shores, they were deemed to be explorers and pioneers. And now people coming to our shores for exactly the same reason, wanting to improve their lives, make a better life, or they're fleeing persecution, or natural disasters. We bury them, we bury them in red tape. We bury them with the names that we give them, which are not pleasant"
Apparently British colonisers were really refugees. So can we stop demonising colonialism?

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Asylum seeker system to crack down on criminal gangs - "‘Only last week, we had another dead body found in the back of a lorry coming to the UK. And this is simply unacceptable.’
‘On the subject of the morality of it, can I just quote you the Geneva Convention, the relevant one. The contracting states shall not impose penalties on account of their illegal entry or presence on refugees who coming directly from a territory where life or freedom was threatened, enter and present in that territory. In other words, you are not allowed under the Geneva Conventions, it seems to have a different system with penalties for people who come illegally’
‘Well, the Refugee Convention does allow for penalties to be imposed, where the refugee has not come directly from a country of persecution. And what we are proposing all the work that we are proposing, through the command paper that will be published today is in line with the Refugee Convention and in line with international law and the European Convention on Human Rights.’"

Finland: World's Happiest Country Seeks Migrants - "Repeatedly dubbed the happiest nation on the planet with world-beating living standards, Finland should be deluged by people wanting to relocate, but in fact it faces an acute workforce shortage... While many Western countries are battling weak population growth, few are feeling the effects as sharply as Finland.  With 39.2 over-65s per 100 working-age people, it is second only to Japan in the extent of its ageing population... In 2013, five of the eight Spanish nurses recruited to the western town of Vaasa left after a few months, citing Finland's exorbitant prices, cold weather and notoriously complex language. Finland has nonetheless seen net immigration for much of the last decade, with around 15,000 more people arriving than leaving in 2019.  But many of those quitting the country are higher-educated people... Startups "have told me that they can get anyone in the world to come and work for them in Helsinki, as long as he or she is single," the capital's mayor, Jan Vapaavuori, said to AFP.  But "their spouses still have huge problems getting a decent job."  Many foreigners complain of a widespread reluctance to recognise overseas experience or qualifications, as well as prejudice against non-Finnish applicants... "There was never a shortage of jobs going, just a shortage of mindset," said Ahmed, who during his search in Finland received offers from major companies in Norway, Qatar, the UK and Germany, and eventually began commuting weekly from Helsinki to Dusseldorf."

Better access to immigration needed to address worker shortages: CFIB - "The national association that represents small businesses cited the biggest issues as a mismatch between the jobs that need to be filled and the skills-level of immigrants the government prioritizes, and the long, overly-complicated process of bringing in and retaining foreign workers...   Respondents said most occupational shortages are for jobs that require a college diploma or apprenticeship (46%), and those that require a high school diploma or on-the-job training (31%). However, only 17% of economic immigrants in 2017 had the diploma/apprenticeship qualifications; and only 2% had the high school diploma or on-the-job training qualifications. Sixty per cent of immigrants had a university degree, but less than one in ten occupations experiencing shortages require one.   CFIB notes small business owners who can’t find a worker locally may turn to the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program and they’re generally very satisfied with the workers. However, hiring requires filling out reams of complicated forms, paying non-refundable fees and waiting six to 12 months or more for approval before beginning recruiting.   “When small business owners turn to the immigration system to fill a vacant position, it’s because they have tried everything else and run out of options,” added Emilie Hayes, senior policy analyst at CFIB and lead author of the report. “The cost and stress they have to go through to recruit a foreign worker wouldn’t be worth it if this wasn’t their last resort to keep their business operational, and sometimes keep their Canadian workers employed as well.”"

How Did Canadian PR Change Your Life? - "Once I became a PR and got my SIN, I discovered that there were so many artificial barriers created by Canadians to protect their country / community against ‘foreign workers-invaders’. It sounds relevant to many countries, but this was a huge cultural shock for me. These barriers are well-known as Canadian Experience, lack of communication skills (you must be a native speaker to get a good job), some sort of ‘local’ skills, licensing in many industries is a norm (you must be certified to do what you do, and in majority cases you pay money and waste your time to learn what you’ve already known), only Canadian education is considered as education by many employers, and of course a Canadian-born pride, there is nothing wrong to be a proud Canadian, but only Canadians say it all the time and everywhere, I didn’t hear it from any other nation. Having these qualities will definitely increase your chances to find a meaningful and well-paid job. But it sounds like a discrimination in the 21st century. I conducted a research on this topic. I created two authentic profiles - one for a recent immigrant with a foreign name, who earned a degree from a prestigious Canadian university, but without Canadian experience, and another one with a local name, who was a Canadian-born, with similar skills, Canadian degrees and local work experience. Results were awesome - a response rate via online applications was 2 times higher for a Canadian-born applicant, and processing time was much slower for a PR. Tested region - Toronto, GTA. upd: There was another research on this topic, conducted by Philip Oreopoulos and Diane Dechief (2011) Why do some employers prefer to interview Matthew, but not Samir? New evidence from Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. This was the third signal for me.  Before coming to Canada I knew several people and they were interested in my experience, they told me that I had to finish my PR process and get SIN before we could go any further. So I did my homework and knew that job market is a hard candy. Once I completed all required immigration procedures, another thing was discovered - I could penetrate the market with my experience and skills, but all meaningful positions were 'reserved' for Canadians 99.9%. I've applied for 30+ positions during several months via network and online, and I had interviews with 20% of them. However every time there were 'better candidates'. After understanding the problem, I decided to apply for a Canadian degree and build stronger relations with Canadian experts. I told myself - if you want a meaningful job, you have to be a 'better candidate'."

How Canada’s foreign-student boom is creating a host of problems - The Globe and Mail - "The university has increased its intake of foreign students – so much, and so quickly, that it has run out of space on campus. During the recent fall semester, 90 courses in the post-baccalaureate programs were held at Cineplex, compared with 56 on campus and 20 online. About 2,680 students were enrolled in those programs. All but two were international students, and the vast majority – 86 per cent – came from India... That’s not the extent of students’ frustrations. Every day on social media, there are desperate pleas for housing in Sydney, N.S., a sleepy town of 31,000 that is trying to absorb a spike of newcomers caused by the university’s increased admissions. Quite often, incoming students days away from arriving in Canada still don’t know where they’ll live. Others complain about a public transit system that is buckling under rapid growth in ridership... This has led to accusations that colleges and universities are gorging on international student fees while turning a blind eye to local challenges. Some critics are saying schools need to be reined in.  “You’re getting a lot of localized stresses that come from the fact that institutions don’t seem to care where their students live,” said Alex Usher, president of Higher Education Strategy Associates, a consulting firm. “They don’t care about the housing problems faced by the local community. They’re acting like bad neighbours.”  Colleges and universities control a major chunk of population growth. At the end of 2021, there were more than 620,000 study permit holders in Canada from abroad. Before the pandemic, which led to temporary border restrictions, their ranks jumped by 434,000 people over the course of a decade. That’s about the population of Halifax.   There is a simple explanation for the explosion: money.  Government funding of postsecondary schools has not increased in inflation-adjusted terms in nearly 15 years, while domestic enrolments have peaked, according to a recent report from Higher Education Strategy Associates. That has turned international students into a crucial, and expanding, source of revenue."

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