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October 21, 2021

Some Musings On 'Wokeness'

For some time I have been trying to get my head around 'wokeness'. It seems to be a typically 'liberal' U.S. phenomenon that has not (yet) been picked up elsewhere. I find it to be an illiberal doctrine that attempts to prescribe how one has to think and talk about certain issues.

What the 'issues of the day' are one has to be 'woke' about seems to change every few weeks. Before the last U.S. election it was 'bend your knee' and 'defund the police' which predictably ended with higher police budgets as soon as the liberals had won the elections.

Currently some U.S. media are enraged about Dave Chappelle, a standup comedian who made jokes about people during a Netflix special. I had guessed that is something one should expect from a comedian. But some of Chappelle jokes were about transgender people which is somehow supposed to be bad. (Why?) At least that is the point the people who now want to cancel his show are trying to make.

I am bit suspicious about this reason as during his show Chappelle also made a good point about UFOs and how many thousand years ago people flew off from this planet to another one. They screwed it up over there and then decided to come back to now make a claim on this one. Chappelle calls them 'space Jews' (video).

What a wonderful aphorism for Zionism. I had a hearty laugh when he made that joke though the audience in the studio seemed awfully quiet.

Now a handful of Netflix workers publicly demand to cancel Chappelle's show allegedly because he made jokes about transgender people and, more generally, about the fuzz some of them make. But I wonder what is really happening behind the scenes with this. Who is really pulling the strings here? Who really wants to cancel Chappelle? Space Jews?

A more serious danger of 'wokeness' and 'cancel culture' is its invasion of science:

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology invited the geophysicist Dorian Abbot to give a prestigious public lecture this autumn. He seemed a natural choice, a scientific star who studies climate change and whether planets in distant solar systems might harbor atmospheres conducive to life.

Then a swell of angry resistance arose. Some faculty members and graduate students argued that Dr. Abbot, a professor at the University of Chicago, had created harm by speaking out against aspects of affirmative action and diversity programs. In videos and opinion pieces, Dr. Abbot, who is white, has asserted that such programs treat “people as members of a group rather than as individuals, repeating the mistake that made possible the atrocities of the 20th century.” He said that he favored a diverse pool of applicants selected on merit.

He said that his planned lecture at M.I.T. would have made no mention of his views on affirmative action. But his opponents in the sciences argued he represented an “infuriating,” “inappropriate” and oppressive choice.

On Sept. 30, M.I.T. reversed course.

M.I.T. canceled a scientific lecture because the lecturer has opinions on other issues. What has happened to academic freedom of speech?

They canceled a lecture because some nitwits are hyping the 'woke' issue of affirmative action. These people are willing to accept less than the best qualified scientists because the lesser qualified person may have certain not science related attributes. Well folks - I agree with Dr. Abbot. That's not how academia is supposed or can work.

Luckily Princeton jumped in and Dr. Abbot's lecture will be held there.

The craziness behind of all of this is exposed further down in the NYT's reporting of the issue:

Phoebe A. Cohen is a geosciences professor and department chair at Williams College and one of many who expressed anger on Twitter at M.I.T.’s decision to invite Dr. Abbot to speak, given that he has spoken against affirmative action in the past. Dr. Cohen agreed that Dr. Abbot’s views reflect a broad current in American society. Ideally, she said, a university should not invite speakers who do not share its values on diversity and affirmative action.
What, she was asked, of the effect on academic debate? Should the academy serve as a bastion of unfettered speech?

“This idea of intellectual debate and rigor as the pinnacle of intellectualism comes from a world in which white men dominated,” she replied.

Whoa. What a catastrophic non-answer. That woman is supposed to do science?

How would science happen if we stop to use intellectual debate and rigor? What shall decide the veracity of a theory, the rightness of a formula or the correctness of a scientific fact? The height, color or gender of the person who utters it? The emotions of those who hear of it?

Where is this supposed to end?

Posted by b at 18:03 UTC | Comments (134)

October 20, 2021

Open Thread 2021-81

I've got nothing ...

Posted by b at 17:54 UTC | Comments (151)

October 19, 2021

More Brain Death At NATO

Two years ago France President Macron diagnosed NATO's 'brain death':

"What we are currently experiencing is the brain death of Nato," Mr Macron told the London-based newspaper.

He warned European members that they could no longer rely on the US to defend the alliance, established at the start of the Cold War to bolster Western European and North American security.

Since then NATO's condition has further deteriorated.

The second biggest army under NATO command, Turkey's, is now hostile to the U.S. which continues to support PKK terrorists who are fighting against the Turkish state. Since the 2016 coup attempt against President Erdogan Turkey had leaned towards Russia. It has bought Russian air defense systems which enables it to defend itself against NATO attacks. The relations with the U.S. and with NATO have since further declined.

Macron's diagnose came when the U.S. pulled some forces out of Syria. The NATO allies had not been informed about the move. This year's U.S. retreat from Afghanistan was likewise not communicated before its announcement even as NATO had an official mission in Afghanistan. Getting ignored by the U.S. does not create the trust needed for an enduring military partnership.

Then came the new AUKUS alliance which put the U.S. focus on China while screwing France out of a huge submarine contract with Australia.

When U.S. President Biden called Macron to apologize for the insult Macron gained a statement of U.S. support for an independent European army:

The United States also recognizes the importance of a stronger and more capable European defense, that contributes positively to transatlantic and global security and is complementary to NATO.

The folks at NATO's headquarter in Brussels will have read that with deep fears. A separate European Union army, which France has long promoted, will inevitably diminish NATO's role.

Cont. reading: More Brain Death At NATO

Posted by b at 17:31 UTC | Comments (107)

October 18, 2021

The New Chinese Wonder Weapon Which Likely Isn't One

On Saturday the Financial Times published a sensational piece on alleged Chinese testing of a new weapon system:

China tests new space capability with hypersonic missile
Launch in August of nuclear-capable rocket that circled the globe took US intelligence by surprise

China tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile in August that circled the globe before speeding towards its target, demonstrating an advanced space capability that caught US intelligence by surprise.

Five people familiar with the test said the Chinese military launched a rocket that carried a hypersonic glide vehicle which flew through low-orbit space before cruising down towards its target.

The missile missed its target by about two-dozen miles, according to three people briefed on the intelligence. But two said the test showed that China had made astounding progress on hypersonic weapons and was far more advanced than US officials realised.

The test has raised new questions about why the US often underestimated China’s military modernisation.

“We have no idea how they did this,” said a fourth person.

That fourth person must be part of the U.S. 'intelligence' community which is know for its lack thereof. Or some know nothing political editor:

Cont. reading: The New Chinese Wonder Weapon Which Likely Isn't One

Posted by b at 15:41 UTC | Comments (71)

October 17, 2021

The MoA Week In Review - OT 2021-080

Last week's posts at Moon of Alabama:

Other issues:

Cont. reading: The MoA Week In Review - OT 2021-080

Posted by b at 14:34 UTC | Comments (166)

October 15, 2021

EU Faces Migrant Backlash After Sanctioning Belarus

In June 2020 Moon of Alabama reported of a planned color revolution in Belarus. During the election in August 2020 the predicted color revolution attempt indeed happened and we predicted that it would fail. By August 15 it was clear that Belarus had found an agreement with Russia that would destroy the color revolution attempt and remove any danger from the country. Ten days later the NATO lobby Atlantic Council acknowledged that the color revolution attempt had failed and bemoaned that it had been too peaceful.

The 'west' was outraged about its failure to bring President Lukashenko down. It sanctioned the country but soon things settled down. The exiled opposition tried to keep unrest in Belarus going but had no success. No new sanctions would be imposed if nothing else happened.

In May 2021 a mysterious bomb threat against a Ryanair plane flying over Belarus necessitated the emergency landing of the plane in Minsk. When the passengers left the plane and passed through passport control two of them were found to have arrest warrants open against them. They were both lower level actors within the exile opposition.

The exiled opposition and 'western' media falsely claimed that Belarus had hijacked the plane. That was certainly not the case. Belarus handled the bomb threat against the plane by the book and it was the Ryanair pilot who had decided to land in Minsk after he had talked with his airline.

The 'west' ignored that reality and went with the fake 'state sponsored hijacking' story the exiled opposition tried to sell. It raised further sanction against Belarus. It told its airlines to stop flying over Belarus and it prohibited Belavia, the state owned airline of Belarus, from landing in 'western' cities even though Belavia was in no way involved in the Ryanair case.

That was bad news for Belavia and for the many people working for it:

Cont. reading: EU Faces Migrant Backlash After Sanctioning Belarus

Posted by b at 18:21 UTC | Comments (76)

October 14, 2021

Thoughts On Three Issues - Putin On Europe's Gas Crisis, Iran Talks, Lebanon Shooting

Natural gas prices in Europe exploded last week after reports of too low inventory of natural gas for the upcoming winter. Claims were made that Russia had caused the price increase. But even the BBC finds that this is not the case:

Russia's own gas storage is also down.

Adeline Van Houtte, a Europe analyst at the Economist's Intelligence Unit, says: "Currently, the Russian domestic gas market remains tight, with output already near its peak and winter is looming... limiting gas export capacity."

There are several other factors affecting the situation in Europe, such as:

  • cold weather at the start of 2021 depleting stocks
  • rising prices in spring and summer put traders off buying to sell later in the year
  • limited supply from Norway because of maintenance issues
  • reduction in other energy sources such as wind power
  • growing demand for gas elsewhere in the world

The 'liberalization' of European gas markets by the EU has also led to more speculation. It was one of the many mistakes made in European energy policy.

Yesterday Russia's president Vladimir Putin held a remarkable speech about energy supply to Europe and pointed out some of its weaknesses:

Over the past 10 years, the share of renewable energy sources in the European energy balance has skyrocketed, which, on the face of it, appears to be a good thing – and they are now playing a significant and noticeable part. What can you say? It is a good thing any way you look at it.

However, this sector is notorious for erratic power generation. It requires large reserve capacities. In the event of major generation failures, primarily due to bad weather, this reserve is simply not large enough to cover the demand.

This is exactly what happened this year, when, due to a decrease in wind farm generation, there was a shortage of electricity on the European market. Prices soared, which triggered a spike in natural gas prices on the spot market.

Importantly, gas consumption is seasonal. Its reserves are traditionally replenished in the summer to meet the winter demand. However, this year, even after a cold winter in Europe, many countries chose not to do so, relying on spot gas supplies and the “invisible hand” of the market, but a spike in demand has sent prices even higher.

To reiterate, the rise in natural gas prices in Europe stemmed from shortages of electricity, not the other way around. There is no need to lay the blame on other people, which is what some of our partners are trying to do. Occasionally, you get stunned by what is being said on this account, as if these people do not know the numbers – I will say more about this later – as if they do not see the reality and are just covering up their own mistakes. Systemic flaws have been gradually introduced in European energy over the past decade, which led to a major market crisis in Europe.

As a reminder, when nuclear and natural gas-based generation were the leading energy sources, there were no such crises, and there were no grounds for them.

Europe, especially as it wants to change its road traffic from hydrocarbon to electric driven, will need more basic electric generation capacity. The only 'green' way to achieve that in sufficient size is by nuclear energy.


The Biden administrations finally recognizes that its 'Iran policy is failing.

Blinken says US is prepared to turn to 'other options' if nuclear diplomacy with Iran fails

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that if diplomatic talks with Iran fail, the United States "is prepared to turn to other options" to prevent the country from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Iran does not want to obtain nuclear weapons.

The diplomatic talks with Iran will fail only if the Biden administration fails to return to the nuclear deal and does not lift the sanctions imposed on Iran by the Trump administration. The sole problem is that Biden wants more concessions from Iran than it had given under the JCPOA agreement.

It is funny then to hear Blinken talk of 'other options' when everyone knows that the U.S. does not have any. Any U.S. attack on Iran's nuclear installations will invite a strong military response. A war with Iran would destroy Israel and whatever is left of the U.S. position in the Middle East. Obama had recognized that. Trump had recognized that. It is high time for Biden to recognize that too and to act accordingly.


This morning followers of Hizbullah and Amal in Lebanon protested against a judge who is tasked with investigating last years enormous explosion in Beirut's harbor. The judge seems to steer the investigation against Hizbullah even as other groups were responsible for the ammonium nitrate storage that has caused the disaster.

During this mornings demonstration snipers from the fascist Lebanese Forces militia opened fire on the protesters. Six were killed and several were wounded. All of them were Shia followers of Amal and Hizbullah. But reading 'western' media, here the Guardian, you would not learn that this was a very one-sided affair:

Five people have died in armed clashes that broke out in Beirut during a protest demanding an end to a judicial investigation into last year’s massive blast in the city’s port.

The Lebanese interior ministry confirmed the deaths, and gunfire reportedly wounded more than a dozen other people. The deployment of soldiers failed to stem the violence, which took on a sectarian tone. The fighting happened near a civil war-era frontline in which militias from Maronite Christian and Shia Muslim blocs have previously clashed.

The assault on the protesters happen just as U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland is visiting Lebanon. Given her direct involvement in the 2014 Maidan coup which also saw sniper fire against protesters it seems unlikely that this is just a coincidence.

Posted by b at 16:10 UTC | Comments (171)

October 13, 2021

Open Thread 2021-79

News & views ...

Posted by b at 16:00 UTC | Comments (158)

October 11, 2021

Why Do Editors Seek 'Dark Sides' Of China?

There seems to be an inflationary fascination with supposedly 'dark sides' of China:

The 'dark sides' of China meme did not only start after China had send the goddess Chang'e and Yutu the jade rabbit to the far side of the moon to look for the elixir of life.

There are quite a number of previous occurrences.

Cont. reading: Why Do Editors Seek 'Dark Sides' Of China?

Posted by b at 15:35 UTC | Comments (183)

October 10, 2021

The MoA Week In Review - OT 2021-078

Last week's posts at Moon of Alabama:

> Placing Deputy CIA Director David Cohen at the head of the U.S. team, which also includes the State Department’s deputy Afghanistan envoy, Tom West, and a representative from the U.S. Agency for International Development, was intended to emphasize that point and to lead to discussions on terrorism. <

Other issues:

Cont. reading: The MoA Week In Review - OT 2021-078

Posted by b at 14:20 UTC | Comments (144)