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Saturday, August 26, 2023

Links - 26th August 2023 (2 - George Floyd Unrest)

We Don't Have a Racism Problem, We Have a Deep State Problem: The Hideous Police Killing of Duncan Lemp - "Duncan Lemp is a name you’ve probably never heard. It’s never been on a picket sign or splashed all over 24/7 news channels. But Lemp was gunned down by police, unarmed, while he slept next to his pregnant girlfriend on March 12 of this year for the crime of owning a firearm. There were no riots or protests in his name. When his friends and family planned to protest the Montgomery County police in Maryland, they were threatened with a $5000 fine and a year in jail because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Jim Bovard at The American Conservative has done a great job reporting on this story that no one else in the mainstream press seems interested in, maybe because Lemp is white and his death doesn’t help paint the police as racists in order to divide people and foment hatred. His death is simply not interesting to the race baiters, but it is terrifying and relevant to what happened to George Floyd and every other innocent person who has died at the hands of police.   Lemp was the subject of an anonymous call turning him in for suspicion of having a gun illegally. He was executed without a trial while he slept as a result of “red flag laws” that are in use in the state of Maryland and effectively erase due process. Five guns were found, none of them illegal...   The police are in overdrive to hide everything from the family who want answers. Even the arrest warrant used to attack him in his home has been withheld from the family. Montgomery County has spied on the family’s Facebook postings and sent their lawyer a nasty letter threatening them with fines and jail if they protested the police... Contrast this reaction by police to the protests over the killing of George Floyd where law-enforcement are just letting people burn down buildings and loot entire cities without any repercussions. But Lemp’s family is being stalked on social media by government agents and threatened with arrest should they try to speak up about this injustice."
Police body-cam video in Duncan Lemp case didn't capture shooting - The Washington Post - "None of the front-line SWAT officers, per county policy, wore body cameras during the raid.  Montgomery County Police Chief Marcus Jones recently said the department will change its body-camera regulations to require all SWAT officers to wear the devices, just as the county’s uniformed patrol officers have worn them for several years. That change is expected to be rolled out early this year, Jones said.  The shooting of Lemp was ruled justified by prosecutors, according to a 17-page report they released two weeks ago. The officer who shot Lemp did so, prosecutors concluded, after Lemp ignored commands to raise his hands as he got out of his bed, grabbed an assault-style rifle and pointed it at the officer... Prosecutors built their findings in large part on accounts by the officer and by Lemp’s girlfriend, which differed on when the officer started shooting. Both witnesses, though, said that at some point Lemp raised his weapon at the officer, according to prosecutors. And forensic evidence from Lemp’s bedroom supported the officer’s statements, prosecutors said."

A Minneapolis Neighborhood Vowed to Check Its Privilege. It’s Already Being Tested. - The New York Times - "After the death of George Floyd at the hands of the police, Ms. Albers, who is white, and many of her progressive neighbors have vowed to avoid calling law enforcement into their community. Doing so, they believed, would add to the pain that black residents of Minneapolis were feeling and could put them in danger.  Already, that commitment is being challenged. Two weeks ago, dozens of multicolored tents appeared in the neighborhood park. They were brought by homeless people who were displaced during the unrest that gripped the city. The multiracial group of roughly 300 new residents seems to grow larger and more entrenched every day. They do laundry, listen to music and strategize about how to find permanent housing. Some are hampered by mental illness, addiction or both.  Their presence has drawn heavy car traffic into the neighborhood, some from drug dealers. At least two residents have overdosed in the encampment and had to be taken away in ambulances. The influx of outsiders has kept Ms. Albers awake at night. Though it is unlikely to happen, she has had visions of people from the tent camp forcing their way into her home. She imagines using a baseball bat to defend herself.  Not being able to call the police, as she has done for decades, has shaken her... “I’m not being judgmental,” said Carrie Nightshade, 44, who explained that she no longer felt comfortable letting her children, 12 and 9, play in the park by themselves. “It’s not personal. It’s just not safe.”... The women agreed to let any property damage, including to their own homes, go ignored and to request a block party permit from the city to limit car traffic. Rather than turn to law enforcement if they saw anyone in physical danger, they resolved to call the American Indian Movement — a national organization created in 1968 to address Native American grievances such as police brutality — which had been policing its own community locally for years.  But some people in the neighborhood have already found their best-laid plans to avoid calling the police harder to execute than they had imagined.  Last Thursday night, Joseph Menkevich found a black man wearing a hospital bracelet passed out in the elevator of his apartment building two blocks away from the park. Mr. Menkevich, who is white, quickly phoned a community activist but she did not pick up. He felt he had no choice but to call 911, so he did, but requested an ambulance only, not the police... She worries that a lot of what has been written about the camp on community message boards has been influenced by racial profiling. To the extent that illegal activity is going on in the park, Ms. Miller does not blame the tent residents. “My feeling around it is those are symptoms of systemic oppression,” she said. “And that’s not on them.”  Some of the self-examination she and her mother have done recently has led them to the same place. Ms. Miller came to see her decision to buy a home in the neighborhood as potentially preventing a person of color from doing so. And while Ms. Albers used to feel only pride about the work she put in to revitalizing the community, now, she sees her work as gentrification that may have pushed out nonwhite residents... Mitchell Erickson’s fingers began dialing 911 last week before he had a chance to even consider alternatives, when two black teenagers who looked to be 15, at most, cornered him outside his home a block away from the park.  One of the boys pointed a gun at Mr. Erickson’s chest, demanding his car keys.  Flustered, Mr. Erickson handed over a set, but it turned out to be house keys. The teenagers got frustrated and ran off, then stole a different car down the street.  Mr. Erickson said later that he would not cooperate with prosecutors in a case against the boys. After the altercation, he realized that if there was anything he wanted, it was to offer them help. But he still felt it had been right to call the authorities because there was a gun involved.  Two days after an initial conversation, his position had evolved. “Been thinking more about it,” he wrote in a text message. “I regret calling the police. It was my instinct but I wish it hadn’t been. I put those boys in danger of death by calling the cops.” What about the fact that the boys had put his life in danger?  “Yeah I know and yeah it was scary but the cops didn’t really have much to add after I called them,” he replied. “I haven’t been forced to think like this before. So I would have lost my car. So what? At least no one would have been killed.”"
From 2020

Neighbors concerned with crime after another shooting at Powderhorn Park
Minneapolis has increased police presence at encampment clearings - "In response to major homeless encampments in Powderhorn Park, the Minneapolis Park Board voted in late June 2020 to “provide refuge space” by allowing homeless residents to live in city parks. The Park Board also equipped encampments with handwashing stations and port-a-potties.   Tent communities soon popped up at nearly 40 different parks all over the city. Neighbors and activists, eager to support those most impacted by the pandemic and civil unrest, began providing mutual aid to encampments, offering food, supplies and even overnight security shifts.   By mid-July of 2020, the Powderhorn Park encampments grew to more than 500 tents combined, eclipsing the Wall of Forgotten Natives. Concerned about reports the encampments had become unsafe, the city closed both by summer’s end. Many other encampments persevered into the cold season... Grant Snyder, commander of the community outreach and engagement division of the Minneapolis Police Department, initially told MPR News in an October interview that the large police presence is to protect people from machinery used to clear encampments, but then said it’s in response to activists.  “Our officers don’t want to be there, but we have to show up because the activists have created an environment that’s unsafe,” Snyder said. “We’ve had city workers — including an operation I was part of — attacked by activists who want nothing more than to fight with police.”"
Damn police brutality!

A Tech Company Spied On Police Brutality Protesters - "Mobilewalla, released a report titled "George Floyd Protester Demographics: Insights Across 4 Major US Cities." In 60 pie charts, the document details what percentage of protesters the company believes were male or female, young adult (18–34); middle-aged 35º54, or older (55+); and "African-American," "Caucasian/Others," "Hispanic," or “Asian-American.”... Sen. Elizabeth Warren told BuzzFeed News that Mobilewalla’s report was alarming, and an example of the consequences of the lack of regulation on data brokers in the US.  “This report shows that an enormous number of Americans – probably without even knowing it – are handing over their full location history to shady location data brokers with zero restrictions on what companies can do with it,” Warren said. “In an end-run around the Constitution's limits on government surveillance, these companies can even sell this data to the government, which can use it for law and immigration enforcement. That's why I've opened an investigation into the government contracts held by location data brokers, and I’ll keep pushing for answers.”"
Weird. I thought liberals were for giving companies the right to do whatever they wanted. Turns out that's only the case when they push a liberal agenda

What BLM gets right – and wrong – about the police - "Northumbria Police tweeted that they would be ‘in attendance to facilitate a Black Lives Matter vigil’ at Keel Square in Sunderland. At the same time, they implemented a ‘Section 14 notice’ forbidding any other public assembly, including any counterprotest. They used draconian, anti-protest legislation to allow one protest while preventing all others.  Northumbria Police are not alone. Images have been circulated on social media of police officers across the country ‘taking the knee’ in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. Cressida Dick, head of the Metropolitan Police, is among the only police officers to push back against the allegation that the police are racist... a white individual who has been arrested was actually about 25 per cent more likely to die in custody than a black person... Drugs and alcohol have played a significant role in many of the deaths in custody – arguably more than racial prejudice... When it comes to racial disparities associated with the outcome of stop and search, there is a clear case to answer. Across London, black people are charged for possession of cannabis at five times the rate of white people. And black people in London who are caught in possession of cocaine are charged, rather than cautioned, at a much higher rate than their white counterparts. In 2009-2010, the Metropolitan Police charged 78 per cent of black people caught in possession of cocaine compared with 44 per cent of white people. This shows that the law is applied more harshly on black people than white people.  There may be a rational explanation for the disparity. It may be that black people were found to be carrying larger quantities of drugs, thereby necessitating a charge rather than a caution. The data do not say."
Clearly racism means minorities are more likely to take drugs and alcohol

Meme - ""Rioters" and "Riot". The words you're looking for are "Rioters" and "Riot"
ABCNews @ABC: "Protesters in California set fire to a courthouse, damaged a police station and assaulted officers after a peaceful demonstration intensified. Courthouse set on fire during protest in California"

⛈Nomi⛈ on Twitter - "Remember in the robocop movies where corporate America aided the criminals and riots to bring down property values to buy up the city while privatizing the police force.. science fiction is funny haha #Minneapolisprotests #minneapolisriots #Minneapolis"

Detroit Police Chief: Tlaib's, Waters' Remarks 'Shameful' for Non-White Communities that 'Rely on' Police - "Detroit Police Chief James Craig said that the “reckless and disgusting” comments by Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Maxine Waters (D-CA) are “shameful” for “communities of color and other places who rely on us to do an effective job.”"

Sudbury pride parade cancelled over BLM’s anti-police demands - "Sudbury Pride announced that it is cancelling its annual LGBTQ parade in solidarity with Black Lives Matter (BLM) after the city said it would not pull police logistics from the event...   Organizers say they met with Sudbury’s Mayor to see if police could be replaced with civilian volunteer marshals. However, such a move wasn’t possible because “current bylaws and restrictions through the Highway Traffic Act do not allow organizations to use city roads without police in place as traffic control.”... True North columnist Sue-Ann Levy, who is openly gay, said it amazes her “that Pride organizers, first in Toronto and elsewhere, and now in Sudbury, would allow themselves to be hijacked by a few radical activists with Black Lives Matter.”  “I can’t believe that they would ruin an entire parade to pander to a group that has created a faux narrative about the police here in Canada, who are not targeting blacks, I believe, in the same manner we see south of the border.”"

‘Greatest Lie Ever Sold’ Skewers Media Narratives on BLM, George Floyd - "Candace Owens took a page out of Michael Moore’s playbook … with a twist.  The far-Left filmmaker makes documentaries where his Everyman presence powers the narrative. He’s front and center, an outraged Joe Sixpack supposedly speaking truth to power... Floyd’s family, plastered over the news in the days and weeks following his death, ignored Floyd’s apartment and left his car and belongings for others to remove... A chilling segment focuses on a Minnesota news anchor targeted by BLM protesters for being married to a police union president. BLM activists demanded her resignation and protested at her home, where a local Democrat pummeled pinatas with their likenesses.  She also endured death threats before the Minnesota native lost her job...   Thousands of well-meaning Americans filled BLM coffers in 2020, hoping the organization could help black Americans and help heal old, but still raw, racial wounds.  Instead, BLM, Inc. poured millions into trans causes and plenty more into dubious groups that care more about rabble rousing than helping the less fortunate.  A quick trip to the “autonomous zone” dedicated to Floyd’s life in Minnesota looks like a dystopian wasteland. Imagine what BLM cash could do for that community.  And, of course, Owens exposes how BLM founder Patrisse Cullors used some of that cash to line her own pockets and her closest family members, too.  Now, why didn’t any major news organization do the same? Were they afraid of what they might find?"

Leftist mayor in Georgia arrested, charged with burglary after homeowner held him at gunpoint - "A Democrat mayor in Georgia was arrested and charged on counts of burglary and trespassing on Saturday. He also founded the Atlanta #BlackLivesMatter Chapter. He is out on a $11,000 bond.  Khalid Kamau, the mayor of South Fulton in Atlanta, was charged with criminal trespassing and first degree burglary after he allegedly entered lake house. He stated, "I just wanted to see the house" because he "thought it was abandoned."...   When on the on the phone with police, Kamau yelled at the homeowner, "Do you know who the f*ck I am? I'm the Mayor, and I'll wait for my police to get here and see what happens then."  Khalid Kamau is the first Black Lives Matter organizer to be elected to public office in the state according to The Atlanta Journal Constitution eports organized the Atlanta Chapter of Black Lives Matter. His donations for his initial campaign used the platform ActBlue.   His arrest is part of a string of controversies that have taken place since he took office. Officers had to shut down an easter egg hunt that Kamau was hosting earlier this year because he did not obtain a permit for the activiy.   City Council member Natasha Williams-Brown, who is replacing Kamau, along with other City Council members, sued him this year to remove him from office.   The suit alleged that Kamau "repeatedly betrayed the confidence of the City and the City Council by intentionally and knowingly disclosing confidential information of the City for his and others’ personal benefit."...   Before his arrest, Kamau also said in June that he wanted "Trump to do 30 days at Rice St." Rice Street is the location of Fulton County Jail."

Meme - Shaniqua Posting Delusions @DeludedShaniqwa: "Are black people okay?"
5hahem aka Dr. Durag @shall....: "this lady said all lives matter at this job i had years ago and said that Black people should stop killing each other. i told HR she said the N word. i guess all jobs didn't matter because she was swiftly unemployed after too"
Victoria M. Walker @vikkie: "What are some ways you've professionally gotten your lick back?"

‘Have Respect You Irrelevant Washed Up Actress’: Susan Sarandon Torched For Mocking Massive NYPD Funeral - "Oscar-winning actress Susan Sarandon sparked rage on social media after she mocked the massive funeral procession along New York City’s Fifth avenue for slain NYPD officer fury Jason Rivera, 22, by tweeting, “I’m gonna tell my kids this is what fascism looks like.”... Rivera and his partner Wilbert Mora, 27, who also died, were ambushed and shot in Harlem while responding to a domestic call."
When you see liberals warning about "fascism", you need to keep in mind that they don't actually mean fascism (just like when they talk about "harassment" and "bullying" - but just mean dissenting views and being questioned)

Video shows men harassing NYPD cops - "A gang of men surrounded an NYPD vehicle this week, shouting obscenities like “bitch” at the officers inside, according to a disturbing video...   During the interaction at West 155th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, another man placed a small, pink toy pig on top of the hood of the cop car.  “That’s a pig. That’s a gift for you, bitch,” someone yells, according to the video. As the NYPD car begins to roll away, the man with the loudspeaker then shouts into the device while facing the front of the vehicle in the middle of the street, saying, “Get the f—k out of the f—king hood,” the clip shows.  “Get the f—k out! Move!” the man shouts.  The patrol car continues to drive away as the man yells, “You piece of sh-t,” the video shows. Twitter  The same man can then be seen taunting more cops who drove past in an NYPD auxiliary car."

British Library apologises for linking Ted Hughes to slave trade - "The British Library has apologised to Carol Hughes, the widow of the former poet laureate Ted Hughes, after it linked him to the slave trade through a distant ancestor.  Hughes’s name had been included on a spreadsheet from the library detailing more than 300 figures with “evidence of connections to slavery, profits from slavery or from colonialism”. Hughes’s link was through Nicholas Ferrar, who was born in 1592 and whose family was, the library said, “deeply involved” with the London Virginia Company, which was set up to colonise North America.  Hughes was not directly descended from Ferrar, who died childless. Jonathan Bate, a biographer of the poet laureate, had hit out at his inclusion on the British Library’s list... Carol Hughes welcomed the “full apology” for “highly misleading comments … attempting to link the poet somehow with tenuous allegations of involvement in slavery by someone alleged to be a very distant ancestor who was born in the time of Shakespeare”. She also noted the library’s “acknowledgment of the distress caused by comments on the library’s website that should not have been made, and its assurance that these comments will not be repeated”.  Bate called the inclusion of Hughes “an error on so many levels - not only the tenuous, centuries-old connection, but also the fact that Nicholas Ferrar wrote a pamphlet attacking slavery even before the British slave trade had begun!”"
Original sin can never be cleansed

Meme - Reddit Lies @reddit_lies: "r/DarkJokes auto-moderator script leaked. If you say "all lives matter" you'll be banned with the message "White lives do not matter.""
Weird. We kept being told that BLM doesn't hate white people

Kiersten Hening, Virginia Tech feuding after lawsuit settlement - "Hening — who filed the lawsuit against Adair in March 2021, claiming he violated her First Amendment rights — agreed to a settlement payout of $100,000, according to the Roanoke Times. Hening’s lawyer, Cameron Norris, told the outlet that the settlement includes no admission of wrongdoing by their client or her former coach.  Hening, who was a midfielder/defender for the Hokies from 2018 to 2020, claimed Adair “verbally attacked her” and decreased her playing time after she did not participate in kneeling with fellow teammates during the reading of a “unity statement” prior to the team’s match with Virginia on Sept. 12, 2020. The lawsuit states that Adair’s alleged treatment of Hening became so “intolerable that she felt compelled” to eventually leave the team."

Why the Music Industry Must Remove the Racist Term 'Master Recording' - "This business has been dominated by white men since its inception, so when coupled with the well-known exploitation of Black artists, the already insensitive use of the phrase “master recording” carries an even more sinister sting... Some attorneys feel that removing the phrase “master recording” is unnecessary because it is only interpreted negatively by a few people, so they personally do not feel the need to stop using it. This blatant and short-sighted disregard for the psychological and emotional impact that this phrase can have on others speaks exactly to what many people marched for in 2020: You cannot detach the word “master” from its roots in American Chattel Slavery, regardless of the other word with which it is combined...   To be frank, it is easy for many of my white male colleagues to dismiss the use of these words as “not a big deal” when it has never affected them."
master | Etymology, origin and meaning of master by etymonline - "late Old English mægester "a man having control or authority over a place; a teacher or tutor of children," from Latin magister (n.) "chief, head, director, teacher" (source of Old French maistre, French maître, Spanish and Italian maestro, Portuguese mestre, Dutch meester, German Meister)"
When you don't understand etymology or history, and insist everything needs to be framed in terms of your country's history
So much for "white fragility"

‘Twerking’ trio on top of police cruiser in viral video puts Chicago Police Department on the hot seat - "There have been more than a million views of a viral video that surfaced several days ago showing three women “twerking” on top of a Chicago police SUV cruiser as it rolled down the street trailed by cellphone paparazzi... Twerking on top of police vehicles has happened in Jackson, Mississippi, St. Louis, Seattle, and Miami Beach, and is largely viewed as an offensive act against police. What makes the Chicago incident so interesting is the police SUV was slowly rolling down the street as if whoever was driving was in a parade.  A spokesman for the Chicago Police Department said the incident is under investigation.  Frankly, if allowing young women to climb onto a police cruiser and gyrate is part of the new community policing strategy, the police must go back to the drawing board.  Because if one of the women had fallen off the SUV and been run over, not only would the city be facing a huge lawsuit, but there is a real possibility that the partiers would have turned violent. It is also disconcerting that residents in some neighborhoods, like Park Manor on the South Side, have been recently under siege by noise, loud music and inappropriate behavior.  “There seems to have been a coordinated effort to disrupt the 7400 blocks of Calumet and Prairie. There were hundreds of cars, trucks and motor vehicles parading down our streets until 4 a.m. playing loud music, using profanity and displaying all types of anti-social behavior such as urinating in bushes near Salem Church at 74th and Calumet,” said Niena Feme, a 6th Ward resident, in an email...   Given the violent battles between protestors and police officers that erupted after George Floyd was murdered by a white police officer in Minneapolis last year, getting worked up over women using a police SUV like a stripper pole may seem petty to some of you.  But it is not.  Frankly, Chicagoans, especially those living on the South and West sides, live with more lawless behavior than I’ve ever seen.  More motorists run red lights leading to more car crashes. Carjackings are becoming the norm. Expressway shootings are making us feel like targets."
Damn white supremacy!

Minutes after reported Near West Side shooting, crowd twerks and taunt cops - "While shootings and murders get most of the attention in Chicago – the incident also underscored another behavior that’s experiencing a rapid rise: Disrespect directed at those whose job is to serve and protect.  As officers tried to disperse the large crowd, video from the scene showed several women dancing in front of police cars...   “It started as the occasional ‘F-U’ and name calling but has now evolved to this and more,” recently retired Chicago police lieutenant John Garrido told WGN Investigates. “There is no accountability, nobody goes to jail and their actions are protected by a mayor who coddles and justifies their behavior.”"

Over 500 White People Have Been Killed By Cops Since 2020. There Has Been No Rioting Over Those Deaths. - "The details never matter to the rioters. BLM has its narrative, which is always the same narrative, and is adjusted only to include the few sketchy and superficial details... By all accounts, the shooting appears to be a tragic accident, for which the officer might be held criminally liable. It does not appear to be the sort of racist execution that BLM has made it out to be. Indeed, none of the police shootings protested by BLM have lived up to that billing. What we have learned time and again is that the rioters don’t ultimately care what happened. Even less do they care about “police brutality” or “fascism” in general terms. Least of all do they feel any pain over the loss of human life. Their anger is performance. Their tears are for show. It is, for most of these rioters, all one big stage play and the only thing that’s real amid this whole charade is the physical destruction it causes.  If that seems like a harsh assessment, consider the fact that between January 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021 there have been 507 white people shot to death by police, compared to 271 black people. And yet nobody knows the name of any of those white people, save one: Ashli Babbitt. She was an unarmed woman shot in the neck and killed by Capitol Police on January 6. We know her name not because BLM rallied to her cause, but because they so conspicuously refused to do so. Indeed, her death was more likely to be celebrated by the very people who’d spent the previous year pretending to care about the killing of unarmed civilians... How does the proportional racial disparity in police shootings explain or justify the fact that the people who protest police brutality never protest alleged brutality against white people? Does the fact that it happens proportionally less often mean that it’s not an outrage or a tragedy? Does the fact that black people are more likely to be killed by the police mean that George Floyd’s death warrants a year of public wailing and mourning while the death of a white man warrants absolutely no reaction whatsoever? If a smaller percentage of white people are killed by cops, does that mean that those deaths should account for zero percent of the riots? It appears that the Black Lives Matter crowd really does believe that only black lives matter. What other conclusion can one draw? Well, here is another possible conclusion. And, I think, the correct one. Black Lives Matter is a purely ideological organization and movement. Only those deaths which are useful to their ideology can be acknowledged. Non-useful police killings can either be ignored or actively defended, as the political circumstances warrant. The outrage that tears our cities apart is a hollow, politically calculated outrage. It is an outrage that sits on its hands, waiting to spring into action only on behalf of those with skin tones dark enough to politically justify the reaction."
Liberals like to claim "Black Lives Matter" doesn't mean "Only Black Lives Matter". But actions speak louder than words (and besides, a lot of them explicitly espouse anti-white rhetoric too)

Morneau on Trudeau

"Effective governing and managing demand a focus on people — recruiting them, developing relationships among them, collaborating with them on objectives and holding them to account for results. None of this is news for anyone who has spent a career in management, but it was strangely absent from the thinking at the political level of the Trudeau government.

This lack of collaborative and effective management at the cabinet level over the five years between September 2015 and August 2020 was a significant problem and represents a challenge for a future government to overcome. Parties in power must do more than create a starting plan; they also must ensure that the structure is in place to continually update and refresh objectives. Only by getting that right can they ensure that key elements of their policies and platform are implemented in an ever more difficult political environment...

It was one of the few — the very few — times we had met to discuss matters in private, without the presence of advisors or other sources of counsel. That kind of thing simply didn’t happen in Justin Trudeau’s world. Virtually any topic you wanted to discuss with the prime minister — official or informal, strategy or gossip — had to be shared in the presence of members of his staff.

This was an acknowledged fact among everyone who had reason to converse with him. While he appeared as a charming individual who could mingle among crowds of strangers, sharing hugs, smiles and selfies, he seemed to avoid solitary encounters. On the one hand, it was understandable and, to some extent, judicious for a political leader. Having another listener or two in the room would be useful to confirm what had or had not been said about a subject or policy. On the other hand, there are times when the presence of others, not only in the room but in the conversation, inhibits frank exchanges of ideas and opinions. Occasions arise in business and in politics where an individual welcomes private access to a leader, an event almost unheard of within the Trudeau government. More to the point, solid relationships are built not among crowds but in the private exchange of personal expressions and in the give-and-take of shared views and experiences. None of these appeared to occur with any frequency. Opportunities for frank exchanges are the basis for building relationships, whether personal, professional or political. Everything of value we achieve in life is based on relationships, and relationships are built on a one-to-one basis. Speak to a crowd of a hundred or a thousand people and you may get your point across and generate applause, but that’s not a relationship that builds the kind of two-way trust and partnership that’s essential in managing a business or governing a country.

The lack of that kind of rapport between the prime minister and members of his cabinet didn’t appear to be a critical factor until problems emerged. That’s when the absence of personal connections sowed the seeds for a breakdown among many members of the team. In retrospect it’s easy to see how the quandaries involving Jody Wilson-Raybould, Jane Philpott and me grew in scope and impact; it was difficult for each side to fully grasp the other’s case and their reasons for clinging to their position.

This was especially galling to me. I have made relationships the key to the successes I achieved in family, business and public life. The absence of opportunity to build deep, meaningful connections in the political arena was both discomforting and dangerous.

It was also a serious flaw in the roles that the prime minister and I were entrusted to play...

I began by explaining to the prime minister that the leaks from his office about me and my ministry had become intolerable. They had grown in both number and degree of malice, fed to the media with the apparent intent — there was no other way to put it — of limiting the potential for my team and me to advocate for and implement the policies and programs that, from our research and analysis, we believed would most appropriately address the acute economic challenges we were facing in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. A story by Reuters claimed the PMO considered me stingy about the cost of pandemic recovery plans, and that I was reluctant to invest in green initiatives — this at a time when we were proposing programs dealing with the climate crisis that were more significant than at any other time in Canada’s history...

The leaks and planted stories had poisoned the atmosphere to the point where there were few, if any, alternatives available beyond submitting my resignation.

Let’s make it clear: Justin Trudeau has many talents as a politician, all of them apparent to anyone who observes him in a public forum. But he also possesses a number of weaknesses. These had become evident during discussions of programs dealing with the pandemic, and one of the most striking was his lack of focus on policy details. Leaving the development of policy responses to his PMO staff meant that debates were conducted and conclusions reached without his presence. The real clashes happened over things that we had never discussed...

He replied that he was not aware of the leaks, and he had no idea where they had come from.

Really? For weeks, I and the rest of Canada had been absorbing a barrage of revelations about a supposedly growing rift between the two of us, information that could only have originated within the PMO. The prime minister’s claim that he had not been aware of them and had no idea of their source could only be interpreted in one of two ways: Either he was mismanaging the PMO, permitting it to function free of his knowledge and direction while it spread false rumours about one of his top appointees. Or he was purposefully not telling me the whole truth...

It’s not that he didn’t discuss policy with others, but that he often did not come to the table with a fully formed opinion. He came to listen to the people in the PMO, and frequently adopted their perspective with little input or pushback, letting their points of view prevail with limited exceptions.

Key to many decisions shaped in the PMO was reaching a judgment about who would front programs in the media. “If we’re going to launch this program,” the thinking would go, “we need this kind of person to get the coverage we want in the press.”

This created a cast of cabinet members chosen not necessarily for what they brought to the business of governing but to the needs of promotion, and I realized that those of us in cabinet had been chosen because we fit in a box. Depending upon the PR goals at the time, the appropriate box was trundled into the spotlight and the lid removed...

It appeared, in many instances, that the prime minister floated above the issues he confronted, choosing not to get his hands dirty in dealing with the mechanics and implications of the issues before him. Many senior executives play a similar role, trusting specialists to deal with inner details. This does not, however, free them from understanding and grappling with the often-messy details of getting things done. Nor should it. Good management, in any capacity, is not about conveniently turning a blind eye to remain above the fray. It’s about keeping both eyes open to foresee risks and consequences, and taking steps to avoid or at least minimize them.

I hadn’t witnessed the prime minister taking any of these steps...

In my experience, no CEO of any business achieved success without seeking other points of view, especially from departments and their heads responsible for piloting the program. But I saw this disregard of other opinions frequently occurring in government, with political operatives deciding on a direction to take and manipulating the outcome through well-placed leaks, stories planted in the press and on social media. Carefully crafted and strategically employed, they drove conclusions before an elected cabinet minister could finish reading the briefing documents, let alone reach a reasoned conclusion on the subject and consider the best way forward.

Decisions were too often made first, with discussions on how to execute them coming later. Once things got underway, effective reviews on the progress of the program were rarely if ever conducted, at least at the political level.

These and other management missteps, in my opinion, were almost impossible for Justin Trudeau’s government to overcome in its second term and beyond, leading to less than satisfying results — that is, two consecutive minority governments — and adding to the polarization of political views among Canadians. Yet this was the same regime that had vaulted the federal Liberal Party from third place to a clear majority in 2015 — a victory achieved thanks in no small part to the irresistible blend of Justin Trudeau’s personal appeal, the failing allure of Stephen Harper and a Liberal agenda that captured the imagination of Canadians worried about rising inequality, the impact of climate change and their country’s place in the world.

Let’s be clear about this: I was both proud and eager to take part in the Liberal team that secured a majority in the federal election of 2015 and that set out to achieve a range of clearly established and historically significant objectives well beyond its first term.

So, what happened?

Good management involves the ability to execute the elements in plans and programs to meet specific goals. If the ability to take these steps is missing, or not enough time is made available to devise and apply them, disaster is often imminent.

When the political talent responsible for much of the Party’s 2015 election success was put into management roles at the PMO, without the advantage of a team of experienced colleagues, the writing was on the wall: the plan that led to political success was not refreshed, the execution of initiatives was constantly behind and the ability to attract and retain new talent was not prioritized.


More importantly, there was no healthy tension between policies that focused on growth versus policies that focused on fairer distribution of wealth. The team that won was directed by one set of objectives, avoiding contrasting perspectives that might have led to a more balanced set of policies. When key people left, inevitably burned out or just burned by politics, there was no capacity to ensure that a breadth of perspectives was considered in managing some of the most important files in the country — the ones that would lead to increased growth and opportunities for Canada.

Prime Minister Trudeau had scored a brilliant electoral success in part by assembling a well-qualified team to shape and execute the campaign. Unfortunately, during the first year or so after securing his majority he apparently failed to ask himself if the team that had contributed to his success was also the best to help govern the country. These are, after all, two distinctively different functions. A team that works well to achieve a sharply defined, specific short-term objective rarely succeeds at helping to formulate and execute long-term goals across a wide range of issues.

Good managers make those kinds of decisions as part of their duties. They evaluate who demonstrates the best skills for the job at hand, assigning duties to match capabilities. The job doesn’t end there; they make sure the team is up to the task, and they make decisions to upgrade or augment the team when needed.

That’s not a duty to take lightly, in politics or business. It’s the nuts-and-bolts aspect of getting things done in a leadership role. Personnel assessment and, where necessary, reassignment are a form of preventive maintenance for good managers. Unexpected and unwelcomed events require handling in a direct and effective manner, with minimum improvising. The process should not rely on orchestrated media leaks or anticipated deniability to get the job done.

You don’t need a Harvard MBA to grasp this concept. The essential component in understanding and applying it is an ability to develop collaborative relationships, engaging people with proven abilities into your orbit not as supporters but as allies working toward achieving defined goals. Without a focus on building a broader team and generating meaningful discussions around the right goals for the country, we moved down a path that started with great promise and ran headfirst into an inevitable challenge: How do you refresh your agenda to consider the most important next set of priorities?...

In response to the negative groundswell against the Harper proposal, we pledged that if elected the Liberal Party would scrap the Conservative plan, maintaining 65 as the eligibility age to receive retirement benefits. For this we were applauded by, among others, members of the Canadian Association of Retired Persons, which advocates benefits for seniors...

Justin Trudeau recognized the value of Harper’s proposal, but he appeared to have discarded it to reap extra votes and improve the chances for a Liberal victory. The move left me disconcerted. I was reminded of a quote attributed to a popular football coach in the U.S.: “Winning,” he had preached, “isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.” Whatever its impact on his players, the line left little room for principles within the coach’s personal system of values...

Lacking in many of Justin Trudeau’s cabinet appointees, men and women alike, was managerial experience. That’s at the heart of the job, after all. Making public statements or delivering sound bites to the media on a given subject may be the most visible actions by ministers, but they should not be the only measure of their performance. Each minister oversees a department that can comprise several hundred staff members — or thousands, depending on the ministry. Even with the assistance of the highly competent federal bureaucracy, the responsibilities of a federal minister weigh heavily on those who lack management experience.

It wasn’t just novice cabinet ministers who needed an adjustment period. Those closest to the prime minister — operators like Gerry Butts and Katie Telford in the PMO, and Cyrus Reporter, chief of staff at the federal Liberal office — found themselves on a bigger, more brilliantly lit stage, playing more prominent leading roles and facing a larger, more aggressively critical audience. The decision not to rely on experienced insiders from previous governments may have satisfied the urge to demonstrate a new way of doing business, but it left open the possibility of rookie mistakes, an enduring problem for the Trudeau PMO...

An early signal of some of the challenges I would encounter came from the prime minister’s declaration to cabinet that all ministries would be considered equal in power and status. The driver for this statement was clearly to avoid hierarchies in the cabinet, including questions of gender parity. I saw this as completely unnecessary, since we had highly capable women in the roles of health, justice and international trade. In addition, clearly talented people like Carla Qualtrough, Mélanie Joly and Patty Hajdu, among others, played essential roles initially, and their influence would grow over time. Would acting on this general notion of equality, even if it was not really anything other than an empty statement, create other issues when it came to cabinet dynamics? For example, would it mean that each minister would be given equal time to speak in cabinet meetings? Would it require me to give equal weight to every request for funds? It all seemed an unnecessary effort to focus on the egalitarian aspect of Justin Trudeau’s vision, which played well in some quarters but was, frankly, often impractical. Effective management was being sacrificed at the altar of image and presentation, and not for the last time...

Prime Minister Trudeau provided the sunshine and spirit, and his team was supposed to add substance and structure. By 2019 much of the sunshine had faded, and his team was depleted...

The disciplined practice of having a defined policy goal and a specific fiscal envelope wasn’t maintained through our term where the budget process was concerned. Our success on achieving key policy objectives was blemished by a lack of proper design and management of the process. The unwillingness of the prime minister and the PMO to agree on the setting of financial targets at the beginning of the budget process meant we were not forced to make difficult choices between competing policy priorities. It’s easy — or at least easier — to deliver on policy commitments if there are no fiscal guardrails. Budgeting is a foundational element of government, but it only really works with targets and constraints, just like any budget. 

As time passed, I realized we were unlikely to achieve the fiscal targets I might have liked because many decisions were being made outside of my control. I remained committed to our policy objectives, but I could not persuade the PM and the PMO that fiscal discipline meant we had only limited capacity to move forward on our goals...

One reason I took to the idea of running for office in 2015 was Canada’s slumping economic performance...

Canada’s economic growth had been stalled for two decades or more, and it needed to be resuscitated. According to the OECD, Canada had been outpaced in the recent past by 138 countries including Australia, Mexico, New Zealand and the USA...

Building and renewing infrastructure demanded a large amount of capital and extended time frames to complete projects, plus provincial and municipal buy-in. On the international front, our strategy to expand trade opportunities with China ran up against hard-nosed geopolitical realities, and implementing other promising initiatives encountered obstacles that couldn’t be easily sidestepped.

The focus on economic renewal deserved to be sharpened and directed by the prime minister, but it was not. I was prepared to play any meaningful role to reach the goal, but responsibility for economic growth cannot be delegated to the finance minister alone. It requires attention at the very top. In my view neither the PM nor the PMO saw the need to address our anemic growth record as a first priority, despite a raft of statistics confirming it and the need to treat it as a priority.

There are many ways to define true economic success, but any way you slice it, it is based on productivity...

From the end of World War II to the mid-1970s, few countries exceeded Canada’s rate of economic growth. As one measure, the weekly earnings of Canadians grew at an average of 2.54 percent annually over that period after accounting for inflation, more than doubling our earned income. Pretty impressive, but from 1982 to 2019, our country’s real GDP rose an average of just 1.3 percent annually, which is not impressive at all...

What’s behind the drop-off in productivity growth? Have Canadians become lazy? Do we no longer understand the importance of being productive as individuals and corporations? Are we content to let the rest of the world race past us?

I don’t buy any of those theories. Instead, I count several factors that explain our weak performance. One has been our declining level of capital investment over the years. Let’s remember the point I made earlier about change and understand that other countries will change according to their needs and abilities without waiting for us to catch up.

The amount of money invested to keep our productivity competitive with other countries has at best been stagnant over recent years. Canada spent about $5,000 per available worker on that goal in 1991. We were outpaced by the U.S., which invested around $7,500 per worker, and by other OECD countries whose investment levels were almost double our own. Thirty years later our investment level per worker was under $10,000, while in other OECD countries it had climbed to almost $15,000, and the U.S. easily surpassed $20,000.

Associated with this less than stellar record has been our poor performance when it comes to innovation; we depend too often on others to lead the way. That’s a bronze medal approach that may make us feel good but achieves little of substance. Canada’s subpar performance is linked with a lack of investment on vital issues. Our funding of research and development is not only unimpressive, it has been declining over the years. In 2018, OECD countries spent just under 2.5 percent of GDP on research and development, flowing from private businesses, higher educational institutions and government. Canada spent barely 1.5 percent, a number that is still falling.

As difficult as this reckoning may be, historically and for the future, we can expect it will become harder to grow our economy given the challenges we’ll face. Much of our success over the post-war period can be attributed to our position as a trading country during a time when globalization expanded trading opportunities. Now, facing populism and geopolitical issues, we can expect deglobalization — a new headwind that will impinge on our ability to grow (see the Biden administration’s “Buy American” policy as an example very close to home)...

I have spent considerable time on this topic because my years of experience in office convinced me that productivity improvement is the most important issue on our agenda, and we are not focused on it.

The implications of ignoring this aspect of Canada are more than significant — they are critical.

Without focusing on our economic growth to produce an improvement, we will not be able to engineer the energy transition process. Nor will we be able to seriously address the problem of polarization without expanding opportunities for everyone. Our next prime minister, reflecting on the key elements in the party’s platform, must consider economic growth as the most important goal of the federal government.

Absent that objective, every other policy initiative must be, by necessity, constrained."

--- Where To from Here: A Path to Canadian Prosperity / Bill Morneau

Links - 26th August 2023 (1 - History Extra Quoting)

The KGB’s secret war on the west | HistoryExtra - "‘I think you have to go back historically in terms of Labour MPs’ relationship with the Soviet Union because the 1930s, before Stalin's crimes and Lenin's crimes were really fully exposed and known, a lot of Labour MPS were sympathetic to the Soviet Union. They didn't know the full horror of uh the crimes of Stalin particularly and also at the time and obviously during the Second World War the Soviet Union was an ally and so there were a number of Labor MPs who were sympathetic to the Communist cause and they weren't necessarily Communists but some of them were kind of secret Communists and so when they uh embraced Marxist views it wasn't necessarily such a controversial view at the time. It became later when um Soviet Union, you know invaded Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968 and then the full crimes of Stalin emerged. So that's the background to Labuor MPs’ involvement with the KGB. And so when later in the 1950s 60s and 70s they cultivated a certain number of Labour MPs those Labour MPs, you know, they couldn't bring themselves to admit that their life's political work was, you know, how it could be sort of not destroyed but undermined by the realities of life uh in the Soviet Union where basically the Communist economic model wasn't working, a lot of the money was was taken out of the country into KGB accounts and so, way up, 1950s 60s and 70s these Labour MPs still spoke to the KGB. You can get into a sort of semantic argument about whether they were spies, I don't think they were actual KGB agents. But they were certainly helping the KGB in terms of giving him information, uh, providing introductions, helping them with background information. So in that sense they were agents of influence in the sense of informally helping the KGB really way up until the 1980s’"
This is an elaborate way to excuse Labour MPs' collaborating with the Soviets

Science & religion: a story of war or harmony? | HistoryExtra - "‘Where did this idea first come from then?’
‘It really originates at the end of the 19th century, the last third of the 19th century. Um if you go before then quite apart from the fact that science and religion aren't the kind of things that they are today, those words change shift in meanings. Before then what was science, so natural philosophy. And what was religion, there were various different words for that. They were pretty harmonious. There are certainly points of tension, I'm sure we'll talk about some of them, but by and large there was no sense that the two were in in any substantive way at odds with one another. But for various reasons in the 19th century that narrative began to emerge and just to pick up a couple of them one was that the beginning of the 19th century, if you wanted to just go to somebody who was doing science or natural philosophy in England, so you'd go to a cleric you go to an Anglican cleric. By the end of the century science has become professionalized and there is a significant loss of that kind of intellectual Authority in the 19th century for the church. And that provoked a certain reaction. Second very important trend was the way in which science came to claim a full and complete and comprehensive understanding of the human. Which was sometimes in tension with, views of religion'...
‘Isaac Newton. Looking back I think there's a real tendency for people to think that he was a scientific thinker and to really overlook his religious interests because he's a really, he's really invested in theology isn't he? Can you tell us a bit about that?’
‘Massively, massively. And he writes far more about theology than he ever does about science but you wouldn't know because he doesn't publish it and the reason doesn't publish it is because it's not particularly Orthodox, he's basically an Aryan’...
‘Is it fair to say that up until this point theology has been largely supporting science but now that dial is beginning to creep the other way and science might be supporting theology instead?’  
‘Wow okay so there's so much in that. So first part of that, yes. Um so just to give one specific example, two specific examples. Science is predicated on the idea that the Universe creation is lawful. It obeys laws. That's an idea that's imported into this, into the scientific worldview really from Christian theology. The God of the Old Testament is a law giver, he gives moral laws. Well how much more then is he a law giver for creation? Creation is trustworthy because it's lawful and it's lawful because of God.  Second example, which I think is critically important and I owe this to a really brilliant Australian scholar called Peter Harrison, the experiment, if you were to talk about experiments in the 17th century, more likely you'd be talking about experimental prayer, that was how the phrase was used. Experiment, feeling your way to the truth. And you have to feel your way to the truth because humans were Fallen. Not just morally Fallen but also intellectually Fallen. The alternative view which is the view that got associated with Aristotle was effectively you could think your way to Natural philosophical truths. And Francis Bacon in the beginning of the 17th century and others think no no why do you think you can trust your mind to be perfect any more than you can trust your morals to be perfect? You can't think you way to truth, you've got to feel, experience or experiment your way to the truth...
There were some absolutely hideous experiments when you're pulling live animals apart see how they worked. Why would you do that? And the answer that late 17th century theologians gave was that you did it to understand the glory of God. I mean they even said that you could do this on a Sabbath, which for a Protestant society is remarkable. Sabbath was for rest, for contemplating God, but this was a way of contemplating God. Boyle suggested science might be an activity in heaven because it was about recognizing the beauty of what God was capable of doing, his creation... by the time we get to 1900, science is independent, has its own institutions and organizations and objectives and so on and so forth and religion has morphed into something slightly different’"

Medieval women: everything you wanted to know | HistoryExtra - "‘The standard medieval woman is a peasant, right. So we estimate that about 80 to 85 percent of the European population in the medieval period are peasants. Uh contrary to popular opinion that doesn't mean that they are necessarily, poor what it means is that they are farmers... you're going to start your day with drinking lots of low alcohol beer. Not, underlined, because the water is unsafe to drink but because it is the equivalent of like an energy drink. So you know it's got lots of calories’...
‘A lot of people don't get the chance to sit down and learn about medieval history and that means that they fall back on myths that are popularized in varying things. So one thing I have to really fight against for example is the idea that in the Middle Ages women were constantly being accused of witchcraft, which is, um an early modern thing, it's not medieval at all. Now people thought women did magic and there would be a lot of concern about this. You get um for example in penitentials which are a kind of guidebook that priests use in order to say, well this is how many uh days of penance you should give for varying sins or here's varying questions you can ask when people come in to confess. You will have all these questions for women specifically about doing kind of love magic. So are you kneading bread down your body and then feeding it to your husband to make him fall more in love with you, you know. And you'll get in trouble for that. Um or you know are you chanting things while you weave cloth so that it will intentionally mess the cloth up. You know and you can get in trouble for that. So there is an idea that women are doing magic but you just kind of get this slap on the wrist where it's like well stop doing that, stop doing love magic to your to your husband, things like this. Um and it's not until much much much later in the medieval period and then really in the early modern period that the idea of the witch as we kind of know her in popular culture comes about. And so this is an example where things get a lot worse for women in the medieval period’...
‘There's a huge difference in terms of strands of society and we actually find that the lower you are probably the more agency you have, right? Um so when you are a peasant no one particularly cares who it is you're going to marry, for example. So you know the lower rungs of society you are much more likely to be able to marry the person of your choosing. Because you know, well, yeah, you're a peasant, sure and and yeah if you're a very wealthy peasant probably your mom's not going to be super pleased if you decide to marry a poorer peasant but there's just a lot more leeway and these sort of things are really, you know, common. Then in the middle classes, you know, there is going to be, there will be some pressure probably for you to marry, you know within the guild but you know maybe you can marry somebody you know slightly akin, uh so that basically your skills aren't lost. And that is kind of seen as like well we want you to kind of take your skills and be able to apply them in the best way possible. It's the higher echelons of society where you start to really lose uh your ability to make certain decisions. So for example marriage is pretty much out of your hands um in the noble and Royal circles. Now, not entirely. You know, we we know for example if there is a match that is going to be made, oftentimes your parents will sort of introduce you and you can kind of have a look at each other and you know try to have a conversation and you do oftentimes have a right to say Dad I'm sorry he's just, there's no way. But there's a lot of pressure in that situation as well and pretty much for royalty that's gone, entirely. Um, but this is true of men as well. You know, they really don't get a whole lot of say in who it is they're going to marry. You marry for the good of the realm, um and that's just kind of how things are... Having said that one big way that women kind of get their agency back, um, it surrounds romance more particularly. And we learn a lot about this from what is called the courtly love genre. Courtly love, you know you kind of think oh yeah knights, damsels in distress, this sort of thing. Yes that's true but more particularly it's an entire genre of literature that is about married women getting together with the single men in their husbands’ retinue,  essentially. And there's this huge kind of underground thing, and everybody knows that people conduct romance affairs with other people and it's even considered oftentimes that you can't possibly be in love, with the people that you are married to. So women will kind of like have romantic poetry read to them and they're having these whole full-blown affairs and everyone is sort of like well, you know, that's courtly love baby. You know, it's kind of it's just sort of seen as one of these things that happens. So you kind of strip things back in that way’...
‘They loved to remove body hair. This is a medieval obsession, and they remove a lot more body hair than we do because one of the big beauty standards in the medieval period is having a really high forehead. So they're constantly kind of moving their hairline back and back and back really up their skull because that's what's considered quite sexy. So you see a lot of depilation in that area. You see a lot of plucking of the eyebrows because they want to have really arched eyebrows and they want to make sure that they don't have monobrows. And there is a concern there. Um they do remove hair from their legs and sometimes also from their genitals. And this is especially prevalent among higher class ladies. And they do it in all kinds of different ways. You know sometimes they do shave but we've got lots of recipe books.’...
‘There is a bit of a moral Panic about perfume specifically in the Islamic world and well and there are kind of these judgments about how much perfume one can wear and it's decided that it's okay for women to wear perfume but not so much that someone can smell her from far away, because it's just too enticing and if you know a man kind of across the room can smell your perfume then you're being way too flirtatious so it needs to be you know you have to be up really really close to someone. So which is to say already an intimate relationship with them for them to be able to smell you um… people will say that it makes you a jezebel if you wear makeup and you're misleading men so similarly uh there is a court case that we have uh where a man brings a sex worker in and says well she was wearing makeup and I don't feel like I should have to pay her because she tricked me into thinking that she uh looked a particular way and the court sides with the man… I think that people would be surprised by how much freedom women actually have in the medieval period. I think that we would be really surprised to see how women are kind of thought of and able to navigate their world with a certain level of agency.’"

British castles: everything you wanted to know | HistoryExtra - "‘They are there to be lived in and 99.9% of the time they have to function as residences and not just residences but aristocratic residences. This is one of the things that gets my goat whenever I go to a castle and often with school groups because um you know the person leading the group has to project their voice and you get to hear their, their take on it. And they'll, you know they'll be saying think how miserable it was and look out how you know how dark it would be inside the castle and it's like well yeah it's miserable now. My house is nice now, it'd be miserable if I sort of ripped the roof off and took the floors out and left it for 700 years, you know. Um because it's, everything, all the things that make it livable have been have been lost. Whereas if you put the um the floors back in and you put the roof back on and you re-glazed the windows and you plastered the walls again and hung the tapestries and put you know rugs on the floor etc it would be a lot more livable. Um and really that technology doesn't change, what, until the 19th century, until you get the introduction of the gas lamp. Pretty much the level of creature comfort you can imagine existing in say a 12th century Castle is going to be much the same as it would be in an 18th century aristocratic pad. So you're going to have, uh in the best pointed castles,  the best designed castles, you might have a well running up through the center, so you've got running water inside the building and perhaps on all the levels. You might have water coming from a tank on the roof which is piped into rooms below so to some extent you've got you've got fresh water, you know on demand. Not so much toilets at first initially, you know I, I think there are toilets in the Tower of London which is built from the late 11th century but in general you struggle to find toilets, at least you know lots of toilets As you move into the later Middle Ages you will see toilets in every room. So you, I mean if you go somewhere very late like Bodiam which is built in the late 14th century, this is one of the things that sort of differentiates later castles from earlier castles is precisely the level of creature comforts or the the extent of Creature Comforts... you will find with later medieval castles that every room has a fireplace, has a window with a window seat so you can sit and embroider or read in good natural light and another door off to the side which leads to a private space which is you know it has a chute and a toilet effectively’... ‘The walls, whitewashed or plastered and whitewashed. So you don't have kind of um you know bare masonry… in lots of cases the fashion in the 12th and 13th century certainly was to um trace or paint red lines on the whitewashed walls, as if it were made of large blocks about the size of, about the size of my laptop screen or bigger. Um, uh, so it looked like blocks of cut ashlar, you know finally finished up. So even if the walls themselves were built of sort of higgledy-piggledy ragstone, you you wipe, what, you plaster it, you whitewash it and then you paint it as if it is made of these monumental finely cut blocks…  it's primary colors, primary colors. Color itself is is very highly prized. And you know we get used to an idea because we go around, say even 18th or 19th century houses and we think oh how subtle it all is. How understated the blues are and how subtle the reds. And of course that's only because they've faded for 200 years… English Heritage spent a fortune on Dover Castle about 12 years ago um redecorating it as it would have been in the late 12th century when it was newly built by Henry II. And, I mean, you know I still take people around there today and they’re struck by the vividness of the primary colors because it looks like kind of like the children's section of Ikea/ You know it's all reds and blues and greens. And it's like, well, they didn't, you know they they wanted this color in their lives because these these pigments were hugely expensive... 25 years ago at the Tower of London they got hold of um uh Saint Thomas's Tower… they represented one half of it as it looks now, so they stripped it back to sort of its original 13th century trappings. And in the other room the other half of the chamber or the other half of the tower is a separate chamber they redecorated that chamber as it would have been and the primary colors were so stark that they were positively offensive to visitors who refused to believe that anything in the Middle Ages could have looked that pristine and so they sort of dirtied it up a bit’"

Goths: everything you wanted to know | HistoryExtra - "‘They have a kind of a metaphorical or symbolic Legacy in the sense that they are the archetype of anti-classicalism and you know Alaric sacks Rome in 410. This is the, and he's the leader of the visigothic, emerging Visigothic Confederation. This is the first sack of Rome since the Celts did it in 200 and something BC. So it's a symbolic moment in the fall of the classical world. And although we're used to the sort of Victorian or partly Victorian and indeed earlier conception of everything classical being fabulous, you know, this is what we should go for, there have been moments when classical has not been in vogue. When its associations either with paganism or with autocratic monarchy have meant that people want an alternative to classical as a frame of reference. So the houses of Parliament are built in a deliberately non-classical architecture which they think is, Victorians called Gothic, because classical architecture is associated not with democracy and with responsive answerable government but with, uh, autocratic, dominant monarchy. So Palladian architecture, classical architecture that's the architecture of autocracy. And we don't want that. It's a deliberate choice to build it that way. And again when we get these extraordinary Gothic cathedrals of the Middle Ages, that's because they're not Romanesque they're not, which had been the previous architectural style. They're non-classical. Got nothing to do with Goths. We don't think, you know Goths didn’t built anything that wasn't of wood, that we know about. But it becomes a convenient label for the non-classical, when the non-classical is being viewed positively which which it is from time to time even despite the largely classical dominance of the other large large-scale dominance, the classical frame of reference within Western Civilization, it's not completely predominant’"
He forgot about Spain and Portugal's Visigothic churches

Nuclear apocalypse in Britain | HistoryExtra - "'Even if you did survive nuclear war there is the awful question, well would you want to? I think it was Khruschev who said that um if it did happen, the survivors would envy the dead... One of my favorite examples of the absurdity of British nuclear war planning is to do with the lemon drops and sweets. Um when we were thinking of building fallout shelters, the Civil Service wondered what do we stock them with? What type of rations? And a good example was err boiled sweets. Because they're of course easy to stack, you know just boxes and boxes of boiled sweets. And the, they'll be a good source of energy you know it's sugar. It's a carbohydrate hit. So let's stock them high with boiled sweets but then one civil servant said uh well excuse me but if we're all sucking permanently on boiled sweets, wouldn't that hurt the roof of the mouth?'... ‘There's so many incidents in the Cold War where we seem to have got through and avoided nuclear war just down to luck and the most famous is probably the incident in the early 80s with Stanislav Petrov who's known as the man who saved the world and uh working in defense over in the Soviet Union and one night he saw well the computer told him there was an incoming American missile attack and of course procedure uh said he should have immediately alerted everyone else in the chain of command, incoming missile attack. You know go go go let's get them. But he decided to hold back because he thought well if the Americans were going to launch an out of the blue attack they would throw everything at us because the idea is if you're going to launch first you have to uh knock out as much of your enemies weapons as you can so that they can't retaliate or at least can't retaliate… so he thought no one were to hold back, that's what he did. And then the computer again says oh another one and this time here… the full attack. But by this point he thought I don't trust the computer, I just don't trust it. So that was just luck.’"

Shipwreck, scurvy & mutiny: the gruelling tale of HMS Wager | HistoryExtra - "‘Britain at that point did not have conscription and it had exhausted its supply of volunteers for the Navy. So desperate for men to man these ships they send out uh press gangs to round up many of them. And these people are kind of, you know if they had any telltale signs of a mariner, if they had kind of the trousers or the round hat or the checkered shirts or if they had even tar smeared on their fingertips because tar was used on ships, to say, oh that's a mariner. They would seize them and they would force them to go. So many of the men were pressed and then they were still short of men and the ability went so far as to round up soldiers from uh from a basically a pension home, a retirement home. Many of them were missing an assortment of limbs, some of them were so sick they had to be, lifted onto the ships in uh stretchers. They literally were lifted. So they were essentially sailing to death’"

Everyday life in East Germany | HistoryExtra - "‘People said in our village the last GP had gone and we didn't have any medical care anymore and so they were relieved when the war was put up and it kept you know these kind of mostly middle class skilled people like medical personnel, engineers, um you know kind of skilled tradesmen, people like that who who were most likely to leave, it forced them to stay in. So there were also people who said they were kind of relief that suddenly the situation had been resolved that that had been worrying a lot of people for a long time as well. So it's once again a story that's a lot more complex than than you'd think to start with’...
[On the 1953 uprising] Russia was actually taking a lot of reparations out of its zone… the West had decided not to do that so West Germany didn't pay any reparations um or hardly any. Um whilst East Germany had 60 percent of its ongoing production, so this is literally people putting stuff onto assembly lines and then the Russians standing at the, Soviet standing at the end of the assembly line and taking the stuff away from it. It was hugely frustrating for people"

Century of chaos: people & power in the 1600s | HistoryExtra - "'There are more people who are more aggressively at the start of the period saying that actually power comes from God but over the course of the 17th century that argument is settled in favor of sovereignty, power coming from the people. And the people are represented in Parliament. They're not very well represented of course and and the people don't get to vote, well most of the people don't get to vote, virtually no women get to vote but if we were to permit ourselves a small, a small tidbit of the sin of whiggery, of whig history, you know the idea that history is moving forward, it's Progressive, we're going towards liberal democracy by the end, if we permit ourselves a small morsel of that sin then what we can say is that if we needed, if we want to get to a democracy we need to have this, the, we need to have popular sovereignty first and that's what's get, that's what gets settled in the 17th century. And it partly gets settled by the Civil War. You know the regicide kind of shows that ultimately if the king really really messes up then um, he can be, uh he's subject to the law and that's a really important thing to to um to establish. As I say it's not 100% new but it's it's it's you know it's much more carefully much more clearly established. And then of course the Glorious Revolution which um has the added bonus of of not, you know not alienating a large proportion of the population, I mean does alienate large, but not because they're, not because of the the murder of a royal martyr as they would say with Charles I. It's a lot less, it's controversial but it's a lot less controversial than the regicide but what it again it shows is that ultimately if a if a king breaks the law then the king can be um can be um you know can be fired can be cashiered that's the word that they would use for basically fire. And then of course the Act of Succession um which says that which uses Parliament and Parliament says uh this in 1701. Parliament says that actually it doesn't matter where you are in the line of succession, if you're of the wrong religion, in this case Catholic, then we as Parliament can say that you forfeit the crown and we're going to give it to this guy who's sort of you know 50 places down the royal succession, becomes George I. And that moment of course which is you know is the sort of you know it's the logical conclusion if you like of what's going on before. It is this, it really kind of confirms this this point, that the monarchy is there on sufferance. It's not there from God, it's basically there because the people tolerate it. And in a way I mean that's still with us today’"
This finally gives a good summary of steps by which the British Monarchy lost its power (at least till 1701)

Amazing archaeological discoveries that trounce Indiana Jones | HistoryExtra - "'If we think about uh Machu Picchu in the 60s and 70s it became the ultimate hippie traveler destination, right? You know this was the place that you would go to to get away from the world, to get away from modernization and to commune back with uh kind of the Elementals of nature etc. And to a certain extent Machu Picchu has retained that that reputation all the way through today. At the same time in Peru itself Machu Picchu has gone through an extraordinary journey of, initially at the time it was discovered back in 1913 the Peruvian government really wasn't interested in it at all. They didn't want the symbol and identifying cultural remnant of their Modern Nation to be a ancient indigenous site. They wanted it to be the new modern trading capital of Lima. And so actually Machu Picchu kind of within Peru has been at the center of this big tussle over what do we want to be known for as a nation? And it's only again since the sort of end of the the very end of the 40s, 1948 uh it was a key date in sort of Machu Picchu's story in in this regard and and through that uh Machu Picchu has been recognized actually as a kind of proper cultural symbol for the identity of Peru as a modern nation and been accepted and embraced as such going forward and today we now have Peruvian presidents who take their oaths of office standing in front of Machu Picchu'"

Pregnancy & childbirth in the 19th century | HistoryExtra - "'There's a irony though in that for many women, Queen Victoria included, um and possibly Catherine Dickens as well, that the heavy restrictions that were placed on women in the postnatal period actually contributed in some ways to the onset of postnatal depression. So you know the fact that they had barely any contact with other people, they weren't allowed to even read a book, to write. But simply to be confined in a room alone or perhaps with a servant and not even necessarily with, with much contact with the child. You often would have servants looking after the baby and perhaps just bringing the baby to feed and so forth. And certainly Victoria always writes of her relief once that period is over and that she's able to go out of the house again and see people and experience fresh air and so forth'"

Fight like a man? Masculinity in WW2 | HistoryExtra - "‘Do you think that our failure to sort of fully engage with the complexity and the diversity of some of the stories we talked about today has repercussions in the present?’
‘I think it does because it allows a very narrow interpretation of the second world war that it was a sort of jingoistic, Britain first, bold Britain pluckily going alone. Which then obviously fed very much into the Brexit narrative that Britain was better off outside the EU. Um and a lot of War rhetoric was used by the people who wanted to leave the EU... It's become a myth that has endured and been exploited by the right wing uh since. And the same went for covid...  I just got very frustrated with this sort of narrowing of perception of the people who'd served in the war… very narrow interpretation of the war that was then able to be used by the right or more reactionary political groupings or forces’"
Amazing segue, pretending that history is only invalid when used by the right (considering that the left likes to cosplay as D Day soldiers fighting Nazism...)

What did the Tudors wear? | HistoryExtra - "'Queen Elizabeth the First's account books, the extraordinary number of garments like gowns, curtains, petticoats, loose gowns, fitted gowns, Dutch gowns, round gowns, all kinds of different styles of gown inspired by what were thought to be the quintessential styles of other countries. But one of the the peculiarities of what might be called a Spanish gown or an Italian gown is that the Italians were not necessarily wearing an Italian gown. They might have been wearing what they called an English gown. So these were not necessarily fashions that would help you pinpoint a person as being from that country, it was simply a way of describing a style that was worn all over Europe. For lower class people. it was true to say that they that they would have alternatives of the same garment for their, most of their wardrobe, but they would not have huge numbers of clothes. And it's quite rare in wills and inventories to find people having multiple items except for example women's headwear, where they have enormous numbers, in some cases of linen squares, linen triangles, linen quarters, linen forehead cloths. All kinds of different ways of arranging linen on your head to make interesting headdresses'...
‘Very very few people lived entirely on their own. Even what we would think of as humble people had servants. So to say someone was a servant could mean they were a well-born, gentlemanly person serving at court. Or it could mean that you were a maidservant to a husbandman, who made his living essentially as a small farmer’...
‘Codpieces… they probably survived because they were regarded as indecent and cut off and hidden away. Whereas whatever they came from may very well have been on display but we we don't know what's happened to the rest of the hose, which is a great shame’...
‘Most people did not make their own clothes. It wasn't the sort of Tudor ideal we sometimes imagine with everyone being self-sufficient on their little farm. There were lots of artisans who were specialists in particular crafts and you would go to those artisans to get specific things made by an expert, not try and make it at home. So yeah most people would go to a tailor and that tailor might be someone who specializes in lower class dress and in fact some tailors specialized in particular garments. So men who made hose were hosiers and they didn't make doublets and sometimes tailors graduated from their training with permission to make particular garments and not others which recognized what they had been trained to do... If somebody is leaving their worst petticoat to a friend or neighbor, it doesn't suggest any disrespect to that person. It means that your, even your worst petticoat has value, either to be worn by that person or to be sold on for the monetary value it it holds... The expectation was that these clothes would be taken apart and remade either for the same owner or made perhaps for a child or a smaller person. So you can imagine a large over gown for a tall man. Once he's worn that and it's no longer serviceable for him that's a lot of fabric that you can turn into britches for his children or a shorter coat for his manservant or even maybe a skirt for a gown for his wife’"

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