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Tue, 15 Oct 2019
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How feminism has wrecked our views on gender

Feminist sticker
This week Melinda Gates said that she is committing $1 billion to promote gender equality by doing things like dismantling "harmful gender norms." To many people, this sounds like a wonderful idea, but in reality, how effective are gender equality strategies that blame inequality solely on social factors such as gender norms and stereotypes?

Professor Alice Eagly, in her paper "The Shaping of Science by Ideology: How Feminism Inspired, Led, and Constrained Scientific Understanding of Sex and Gender,"1 explores the ways in which feminism helped to create the now widely held misconception that gender is simply a product of social influence.

This feminist misconception is not simply a dry academic fossil from the nature-nurture debate — it's a flawed notion that has become central to how we treat men and women in all areas of life. This one-sided view of gender has caused problems in a range of areas, including therapy, the workplace, sports, and the law. Much of Eagly's expertise relates to workplace psychology, so this is the area on which she focuses.

The central problem highlighted by Eagly, who is herself a feminist, is that ignoring the biological influence on gender has "allowed mainstream feminist psychology to produce a description of the phenomena of women's disadvantage as rooted in the external environment — in the patriarchal structures of families, task groups, organizations, and nations. In this understanding, the individual psychological attributes of women have little, if anything, to do with disadvantage." (Eagly 2018, p.877)


Extinction Rebellion attempts a 3-day shutdown of London City Airport with a 'Hong-Kong' style occupation

Extinction Rebellion protestors
© REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
Police officers detain Extinction Rebellion protestors at London City Airport, October 10, 2019.
Eco-activist group Extinction Rebellion (XR) says it is attempting a "Hong Kong-style" occupation and shutdown of London City Airport for three whole days starting Thursday. Police are already arresting protesters at the site.

Extra security and policing have been put in place at the UK airport after the group threatened it would attempt a major disruption, with its members "lying, sitting or glueing-on in front of the departure and arrivals gates" in a desperate bid to block entry to travelers.

Footage and images from the airport, taken just minutes after the protest officially got under way, show police removing XR members from the airport entrance and making arrests.

Comment: More shenanigans:
Paralympian James Brown climbed on top of a British Airways plane on the tarmac of London City Airport as part of ongoing Extinction Rebellion protests.

It's understood the athlete, who is visually impaired, managed to climb up onto the aircraft during boarding. A woman who was with Brown and was filming his actions was arrested at the scene, according to the Independent.

Photos from the scene show police and firefighters assessing the situation and addressing Brown from passenger steps positioned on either side of the aircraft. He was eventually removed and taken away by police.
A man claiming to be part of the Extinction Rebellion protests at London City Airport caused an Aer Lingus plane to be grounded after he boarded it on Thursday morning.

Footage shared by a passenger shows a flight attendant confronting the man who says he "is extremely sorry for the inconvenience" but his actions are part of the protest movement. Irate passengers can be heard calling on the protester to"sit down," with one suggesting that the crew simply "do us all a favor" and remove him immediately.

At one point a flight attendant responds to those urging the protester to take his seat, saying that at this point he must be escorted off the plane.

The plane was about to take off for Dublin, Ireland when the man stood up and began talking about climate change, refusing to return to his seat. The plane taxied back to the gate, and police boarded to remove him.
See also: Extinction Rebellion: The upper-middle-class death cult we should ridicule out of existence

Arrow Down

2018: US billionaires paid lower tax rates than the working class, a blow to capitalism

© Unknown
American billionaires have never had it so good - they're actually paying a lower tax rate than the working class, according to two economists exposing the real beneficiaries of a system that has redistributed wealth to the top.

The 400 wealthiest families in the US paid a lower effective tax rate than working class families for the first time last year, economists Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman of the University of California at Berkeley have claimed in their forthcoming book The Triumph of Injustice.

Billionaires, they say, were taxed at 23 percent, while working class families were taxed at 24.2 percent. Their calculations take into account state, local, and federal taxes, corporate taxes, and what the pair call "indirect taxes," encompassing licenses and other fees paid to government.

While American income inequality was already considered to be at peak levels, Saez and Zucman cite the 2017 tax cuts that primarily benefited the rich and Big Business as the "tipping point" that has made the degree of inequality impossible to ignore - or allow to continue.

Decades of "trickle-down" economic policies, driven by economists who believed easing the tax burden on wealthy "job creators" would improve the fortunes of even the poorest citizens, have reduced the tax rate on the wealthiest Americans from 70 percent in 1950 to just over one-third of that.

Star of David

Hijacked Russian faces extradition to the US from Israel on hacking charges

© Unknown
A Russian IT specialist who faces extradition from Israel to the US tells RT of his ordeal, as his family urges Moscow to swap him for an Israeli woman detained in Russia on drug trafficking charges.

Aleksey Burkov, an IT freelancer from St. Petersburg, was on holiday with his girlfriend in Israel in 2015 when his life was turned upside down. He claims that he was "hijacked" and brought into custody as he was departing Israel, which he says is "a standard US scheme."

Since then, he has been held in several Israeli prisons, with no access to healthcare or regular visits from his lawyers. He has spent time in solitary confinement, and has sometimes been deprived of "food and water," he says.

Israeli interrogators told Burkov that the US issued an Interpol warrant for him and are seeking extradition for his alleged involvement in cyber attacks and computer network fraud. Burkov has nothing to do with these crimes, he told RT Russian:
"I'm an average man. I was dealing with cyber security and programming, I worked with databases. I did have acquaintances among people complicit in hacking, but I myself didn't commit those crimes - the Americans simply decided to blame all this on me."
Russian diplomats who are trying to help him say his situation is growing graver. Israel is yet to form a coalition government, which jeopardizes Burkov's fate.


Australia sees its first Roundup lawsuit as farmer sues Monsanto for causing his cancer

Monsanto protest
© Reuters/Mal Langsdon
Bayer-owned chemical company, Monsanto, is facing legal action elsewhere in the world.
For the first time in Australia, a farmer has launched legal action against Monsanto — the manufacturer of Roundup — claiming it caused his cancer.

New South Wales farmer, Ross Wild, 67, has used Roundup on his mixed farming property in Moama since its introduction in Australia in 1976.

Last year, Mr Wild was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and he claims long-term exposure to Roundup's active ingredient, glyphosate, is to blame.

'Inadequate' warning

He will be represented by Melbourne-based lawyer Tony Carbone who is managing partner of Carbone Lawyers.

In June, Mr Carbone began another case against the chemical giant involving 54-year-old Melbourne gardener, Michael Ogliarolo.

Mr Wild's case was lodged with the Victorian Supreme Court earlier this week.

Comment: It's understandable that the Ministry for Agriculture would do damage control for Bayer Monsanto -- their tentacles run deep, after all -- but it's only a matter of time before more farmers all over the world queue up to sue.


Good luck with that! UK doctor proposes government ban on eating and drinking on public transport to cut down on obesity

underground train
© Reuters / Toby Melville
A train passes an advertisement for a food delivery company at Green Park underground station in London
The UK's outgoing chief medical officer has urged the government to ban food and drink on trains and buses in a bid to tackle child obesity, provoking outrage online from those who are against state intervention on such an issue.

Professor Dame Sally Davies, who stood down from her role last week, makes the recommendation in a report publishedon Thursday as one of the ways to meet the UK government's pledge to half child obesity by 2030.

Professor Davies contends that ministers have a "moral responsibility" to reverse the epidemic. On the issue of a proposed ban for trains and buses she cites Japan as an example of where it's been introduced.
"Japan, which is one of the least overweight of the rich nations, they don't allow snacking and eating on local transport."
It's safe to say the suggestion hasn't gone down well on social media, with many people mocking the idea that the state could remove their right to eat and drink on public transport.

Blue Planet

Uganda plans to resurrect the 'Kill the Gays' bill, imposing the death penalty for homosexual sex

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni
© AP
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni supports the bill.
Uganda announced plans on Thursday for a bill that would impose the death penalty on homosexuals, saying the legislation would curb a rise in unnatural sex in the east African nation.

The bill - colloquially known as "Kill the Gays" in Uganda - was nullified five years ago on a technicality and the government said it plans to resurrect it within weeks.

"Homosexuality is not natural to Ugandans, but there has been a massive recruitment by gay people in schools, and especially among the youth, where they are promoting the falsehood that people are born like that," Ethics and Integrity Minister Simon Lokodo told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

"Our current penal law is limited. It only criminalises the act. We want it made clear that anyone who is even involved in promotion and recruitment has to be criminalised. Those that do grave acts will be given the death sentence."

Comment: See also:

Cell Phone

21st century penance: Silicon Valley embraces 'dopamine fasting'

people on cell phones
© Getty Images / Ian Gavan
'Dopamine fasting' is a craze making its way around Silicon Valley, as the technological elite cut down on smartphone usage, binge eating, and gluttonous porn consumption. But isn't penance by another name still penance?

The phrase 'Silicon Valley's latest trend' should be enough to set alarm bells ringing by itself. From venture capitalist Peter Thiel's reported interest in injecting young blood in a bid to live forever, to Mark Zuckerberg slaughtering a goat with a"laser gun" for its meat, our technological overlords partake in pastimes more deranged than yoga lessons or pottery classes.

The 'dopamine fast' is the latest such trend. Psychiatry professor Dr. Cameron Sepah coined the term in a LinkedIn post in August, and claims that he has popularized it among his mega-rich clients in Silicon Valley. Put simply, Sepah advises that we all limit our exposure to six overstimulating activities: "pleasure eating, browsing the internet or playing video games, gambling or shopping, viewing pornography or masturbating, thrill seeking and recreational drugs," so as not to burn out our ability to feel pleasure.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that rewards us with a spike of pleasure when something good happens. In a more primordial era, this kept us motivated to seek food and reproduce, hence why eating and sex feel so great. However, our smartphones and Netflix subscriptions give us this same dopamine hit. That 'one more page' buzz you feel when you scroll through reddit in bed and the satisfaction of having 300 people like your latest Instagram booty-shot (we all know it's not about fitness), that's dopamine in action.

Bad Guys

How Trudeau's liberal government attempted to block election coverage by independent media

Trudeau, true North
On Monday, I was in a federal courthouse in Toronto, fighting for a free press in Canada. It marks the third straight week that my digital media organization, True North, has been fighting against Justin Trudeau's Liberals and his proxies for the right to report on the current federal election campaign. In one notorious case, Liberals even ordered police to pull my journalist — an experienced broadcaster named Andrew Lawton — out of an entry lineup at a Trudeau rally, even after Lawton had been officially registered, given a wristband by organizers, photographed, and placed on the admission list. This took place on the grounds of a public college.

True North has a business model that I believe will be followed by other digital-media enterprises — and which stands in stark contrast to the legacy media that the Canadian government has pledged to subsidize with a $600-million bailout fund. We are a registered federal charity with two major programs — one focused on traditional, non-partisan think-tank work, the other focused on investigative journalism, straight daily news and political analysis. Like other news outlets, we have an editorial position rooted in our worldview, which influences our selection of opinion pieces without compromising our news reporting. Our journalists and our audience tend to be composed of conservatives, classical liberals, contrarians, independent thinkers and the growing ranks of those who are simply skeptical of the mainstream media in Canada. While Canada's legacy media outlets are struggling with an outdated business model that relies on advertising and subscription fees, True North's revenue comes primarily through small donations from thousands of readers and supporters, supplemented by a handful of foundation grants.

Thanks to our charitable status and unique business model, we were able to crowdsource a fund that would allow Lawton to cover the election campaign across Canada, going wherever the story took him. We successfully hit our modest fundraising target of $10,000, and Lawton began his reporting in September. When the bombshell story of Trudeau's sordid history of blackface became public, I assigned Lawton to join the Liberal media bus alongside the dozens of other journalists providing daily coverage of that party's campaign.


ANOTHER major fire at a chemical plant in Europe, this time at a waste disposal facility in Linz, Austria

fire linz austria
© Twitter / Christian Zeintl @chriszeintl
At least five people have been injured in an explosion at a garbage disposal facility near the Linz airport, Austrian authorities said on Thursday.

Two people sustained serious burn injuries and were airlifted via helicopter to two hospitals, while three others were slightly injured in the blast, police said.

Images from the scene showed a thick column of smoke rising from the site.

The cause of the explosion was not immediately clear. A police spokesperson said there were no indications that the blast was caused by a terrorist attack.

The incident reportedly occurred shortly after 8:00 a.m. local time (0600 GMT) at the waste disposal plant, prompting a fire to break out.

Comment: On September 26th, a huge fire broke out at a chemical plant in Rouen, northern France. They couldn't go near the site until now, and they still don't know or won't say what caused it. Then, two days go, another major fire broke out at a warehouse in Villeurbanne, near Lyon in eastern France. That facility stored thousands of batteries...