Cambridge University students set to receive free speech training

Now this is an unusual response to ‘cancel culture’ — giving a glimmer of hope that at least some corners of elite academia haven’t completely lost their soul.

Cambridge University students are to get free speech training, as part of a new project aimed at countering “cancel culture” on campus.

The sessions – which are aimed at educating undergraduates about the importance of tolerating views they disagree with – will be rolled out at universities across the country if successful.

It comes amid warnings from the university watchdog that free speech is at risk of being stifled on campuses after a record number of speakers and events were rejected last year.

And there have been a string of high-profile incidents where university chiefs have censured or no-platformed speakersfollowing intense pressure from students who deemed their views “offensive”.

Arif Ahmed, a Cambridge philosophy professor, is hosting the two-part series of free speech training sessions at his college next month.

“Whatever subject you are studying, it is an essential part of university education that you understand the need for tolerance of a wide range of views, even ones that you find shocking or offensive,” he told The Telegraph. “That’s why an education in the basic principles of free speech could be useful for all students.”

He said the training sessions are primarily aimed at students, but that they could be expanded in the future to classes for academics as well.

“As we have seen recently there are also many academics who don’t understand the importance of tolerating views that they find offensive. It may be that similar training is necessary for academics – as much as it horrifies me to say that.”

[…] He added: “When it seems university leadership so often seems to have lost sight of this central value, it is even more important that we reaffirm it to students.”


The first class will feature talks about 17th century thinkers John Locke and John Milton, followed by a discussion about toleration and the “rise of a new puritanism” where “being offended can be deemed an offence”. And the second will include speakers on totalitarianism and universalism, then a debate about freedom in society today.

The talks are being organised by Alastair Donald, co-convenor of the Battle of Ideas, a charity that promotes public debate. He described how “over the past few years there has not been any cultural support for the idea that free speech is a good thing”.

He added: “We have arrived in a situation where free speech is seen as something dangerous rather than something useful; the shutters have come down. This is an attempt to force them open again.”

ADDENDUM: Gad Saad on academic freedom conference at Stanford: “The tide is turning”. From your mouth to G-d’s Ear.

Whacko attack on Paul Pelosi; mounting evidence that lab leak happened at Wuhan; deepfake Jared Polis ad

So Paul Pelosi, age 82, husband of Nancy Pelosi, got attacked by a hammer-wielding madman whom Paul referred to as a “friend”. Of course the US Olympic Synchronized Turntabling Team, a.k.a. The MSM, are scratching their vinyls in sync about how this is all to blame on Trump, the GOP, etc. Etc.

Except, Michael Shellenberger did his homework on the attacker and found something rather different


[…] as I discovered yesterday, DePape lived with a notorious local nudist in a Berkeley home, complete with a Black Lives Matter sign in the window and an LGBT rainbow flag, emblazoned with a marijuana symbol, hanging from a tree. A closer look reveals the characteristics of a homeless encampment, or what Europeans call “an open drug scene.” In the driveway, there is a broken-down camper van. On the street is a yellow school bus, which neighbors said DePape occasionally stayed in. Both are filled with garbage typical of such structures in homeless encampments. People come and go from the house and the vehicles, neighbors say, in part to partake in the use of a potent psychedelic drug, ibogaine.

Neighbors described DePape as a homeless addict with a politics that was, until recently, left-wing, but of secondary importance to his psychotic and paranoid behavior. “What I know about the family is that they’re very radical activists,” said one of DePape’s neighbors, a woman who only gave her first name, Trish. “They seem very left. They are all about the Black Lives Matter movement. Gay pride. But they’re very detached from reality. They have called the cops on several of the neighbors, including us, claiming that we are plotting against them. It’s really weird to see that they are willing to be so aggressive toward somebody else who is also a lefty.”

Not all of the news media missed DePape’s history of drug use, psychosis, and homelessness. CNN reported that a woman named Laura Hayes, who said she worked with DePape 10 years ago making hemp bracelets, said he had been living in a storage shed. “He talks to angels,” she said, and told her that “there will be a hard time coming.” 

Another woman, Linda Schneider, told CNN and Bay Area NBC TV affiliate, KRON4, that she got to know DePape around 2014 and that he was still homeless, living in a storage unit, and using hard drugs. “He (was) likely a mindless follower of something he saw on social media because I don’t think he had the courage to be part of any political or terrorist group,” said Schneider. “His drug use began again and he went off his rocker.” […]

Yesterday afternoon I visited the Berkeley house where DePape had lived with his former lover, Oxane “Gypsy” Taub, 53, a charismatic Russian immigrant 11 years David’s senior. DePape appears to have fallen under the spell of Taub around 2003, when DePape was a quiet, video game-obsessed 21-year-old in Powell River, a town of 14,000 people that is a four-hour drive up the coast of British Columbia from Vancouver.

A November 27, 2008 article in the Oakland Tribune said Taub and DePape were married with three children. But DePape’s stepfather, Gene, told AP yesterday that Taub was his stepson’s girlfriend, not wife; that David and Taub had two, not three, children together; and that David’s third child was with another woman. […]

Taub was in the news again five years later when she, then 44, married a 20-year-old man, Jamyz Smith, naked, at City Hall in San Francisco. A photo in the December 16, 2013 edition of The San Francisco Chronicle shows DePape, Taub, Smith, and the three children huddled under a blanket watching television together. The caption describes DePape as “a family friend.” As in The Oakland Tribune article, the focus was on Taub, with no quotes from DePape.

Ryan La Coste, who lives in an apartment directly behind the Taub-DePape house, said that the day after Taub’s wedding to Smith, “There was a huge fight. The guy [Smith] that she married got locked up. And so Taub married somebody else. My understanding was that David [DePape] was the best man to her husband at the wedding.”

The episode was typical of the chaos that swirled around DePape during the years leading up to his alleged attack on Paul Pelosi.


The Times of Israel, while generally buying into the US MSM narrative as it tends to do on US politics, does add the juicy detail that Taub did a 9/11 conspiracy theory radio show while naked.

[ADDENDUM: More here ]

(B) From the tragicomic to the truly tragic — and infuriating: more and more info is coming out via MSM sources not known for right-wing affiliations that a biocontainment emergency happened at Wuhan a few months before the epidemic, and shortly before what we now know to be the first cases

[quote] Vanity Fair and ProPublica downloaded more than 500 documents from the WIV website, including party branch dispatches from 2017 to the present. To assess Reid’s interpretation, we sent key documents to experts on CCP communications. They told us that the WIV dispatches did indeed signal that the institute faced an acute safety emergency in November 2019; that officials at the highest levels of the Chinese government weighed in; and that urgent action was taken in an effort to address ongoing safety issues. The documents do not make clear who was responsible for the crisis, which laboratory it affected specifically or what the exact nature of the biosafety emergency was.

The interim report also raises questions about how quickly vaccines were developed in China by some teams, including one led by a military virologist named Zhou Yusen. The report called it “unusual” that two military COVID-19 vaccine development teams were able to reach early milestones even faster than the major drug companies who were part of the U.S. government’s Operation Warp Speed program.

Vanity Fair and ProPublica spoke to experts who said that the timeline of Zhou’s vaccine development seemed unrealistic, if not impossible. Two of the three experts said it strongly suggested that his team must have had access to the genomic sequence of the virus no later than in November 2019, weeks before China’s official recognition that the virus was circulating.

The authors of the interim report do not claim to have definitively solved the mystery of COVID-19’s origin. “The lack of transparency from government and public health officials in the [People’s Republic of China] with respect to the origins of SARS-CoV-2 prevents reaching a more definitive conclusion,” the report says, adding that its conclusion could change if more independently verifiable information becomes available.

Throughout the pandemic, the WIV has largely remained a black box, owing to the Chinese government’s refusal to cooperate with international probes. By mining the WIV’s own records, Toy Reid and Senate researchers unearthed new clues that support the interim report’s assessment that a lab accident was “most likely” responsible for the pandemic.


Separately, ProPublica and Vanity Fair question how Yusen Zhou could have applied for a patent for a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine on February 24, 2020. Yusen Zhou is the director of the State Key Laboratory of Pathogen and Biosecurity at the Academy of Military Medical Sciences Institute of Microbiology and Epidemiology, in Beijing. The top experts in vaccine development conclude that it is impossible to start from scratch and have a vaccine ready in three months. A South China Morning News report said that the Chinese government traced the first case of Covid-19 back to November 17, but other reports said that Chinese doctors only came to realize that they were dealing with a new and serious virus in late December; the first public statement about a “cluster of pneumonia cases with an unknown cause” from Chinese health authorities was dated to December 21, 2019. Yet the evidence suggests that the Chinese military and medical authorities would’ve had to have started the research on their vaccine before the first cases emerged[…]


May I recall a Washington Post story about State Department document leaks, in which the US embassy in Beijing quoted visiting US biocontainment experts — who were there to advise the Wuhan Institute of Virology about proper Level 4 biocontainment (no country outside the US has more such facilities) — expressing their dismay about all the flaws, sloppy procedures, poor training…. They had witnessed.

But then there’s this preprint — Dr. John Campbell posted an anguished video about it, which I cannot at present access as I’m on a terrible connection — which shows that the Wuhan wild type combined with the immune-escaping omicron spike protein could have been a real weapon of mass destruction.

ADDENDUM: via Powerline, deepfake Jared Polis ad (clearly labeled as satire)

“Ochi Day” or “No! Day” — remembering the Greek resistance against Mussolini

Today is October 28, which in Greece is a national holiday, “Ochi” day (from the Greek word for “no”, οχι pronounced ochi with a guttural ch like in Loch Lomond or Bach). This is usually marked by parades, and I’m told today national history-related museums will be open for free. The power metal band Sabaton, known for its pretty straight-up tales of war heroism, tells the story of what happened on October 28, 1940.

In a nutshell, Greece refused to roll over and play dead for Mussolini’s army, which then invaded and got its derrière handed to it. More than that, the Greeks pursued into Italian-occupied Albania. (See also my earlier blog post on Col. Mordechai Frizis.)

Tragically, the net result of this heroic resistance was that Mussolini persuaded Adolf H. [y”sh] to please come pull his chestnuts out of the fire… The tragedies that happened next will require several separate blog posts.

But meanwhile, happy Ochi Day!

At dawn envoy arrives
Morning of October 28th
“No Day” proven by deed
Descendants of Sparta, Athens and Crete

Look now, ready to fight
Enemies charge from the hills
To arms, facing defeat
There’s no surrender, there’s no retreat

[Pre-Chorus] Time after time
Force their enemies back to the line

[Chorus] Call to arms, banners fly in the wind
For the glory of Hellas
Coat of arms reading “freedom or death!”
Blood of King Leonidas

Air raid pounding the land
Bombers are flying both day and night
Endure six days of rain
Dropped by invaders, bomb raid in vain

Strike hard, the tables have turned
Drive them back over the hills
At arms, just like before
Soldiers, civilians, Hellas at war

[Repeat pre-chorus and chorus]

Harvard students get paid $2,700 to go protest in favor of reverse racism; The Hill reporter openly says mental compentence in a “Democrat” office holder is not important; Google again skewing election-related search results; Elon Musk enters Twitter HQ as “Chief Twit”

Your Hahvard tuition dollars at work: students get paid $2,700 to go to Washington to protest in favor of reverse racism, er “affirminative action”, and thus protecting the university’s racial quota system.

US academia is a poster child for not just Pournelle’s Iron Law but for Hoffer’s Law:

“Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.”

― Eric Hoffer, The Temper of Our Time

I think it is well past time to reconsider the nonprofit status of US universities, especially institutions like Hahvahd that sit on ginormous endowments and still feel the need to charge extortionate tuition, which they then apply to nefarious purposes like these.

(b) “Protein Wisdom reborn” quotes a journoscribbler from The Hill saying the quiet part out loud about Fetterman’s candidacy:

After admitting that Fetterman’s performance was “poor,” and watching it “uncomfortable,” Ms Joy Gray opined, “however, I also do think a lot of voters are looking for someone who is going to co-sign a Democratic Party agenda vs a Republican agenda, and — as many people, you know, who’ve been working on the Hill for many years will attest to — it doesn’t take a lot to be there to pull, to push that button, or pull that lever for an agenda.”

Revealing though that is, given that most commentators would be reluctant to so candidly say the quiet part out loud — in this case, that clear and recognizable brain damage doesn’t disqualify one from the US Senate, because even a monkey can be trained to pull the proper partisan lever — Ms Joy Gray is, sadly, correct when it comes to the qualifications for being a national Democratic Party office holder.

In fact, Fetterman, like Biden before him, is useful precisely because he’s a mere vessel for an agenda, something that those with the capacity for independent and coherent thought — along with what remains of free will — can often problematize. These troublemakers stubbornly refuse to bracket the harm their party’s policies bring upon their constituents in order to vote their conscience, or for the good of those they represent. And that’s akin to treason.

For Democrats, it’s party uber alles; and for them, canceling out a Joe Manchin with a great, mentally diseased ape like John Fetterman, who began his debate by saying “good night”, is a feature, not a bug.

Nobody believes Joe Biden is running this country save maybe Joe himself. But in his more lucid moments, even he knows he’s the stretched and veneered face of Obama’s third term, a drugged-up puppet run out on occasion to beat his chest and yell at clouds.

Biden won support from Democrats because Biden is, quite openly, a doddering old moron with a barely functioning brain. And as a moron, he would, many voters understood, be but a figurehead for the progressive agenda, one that has depleted our energy reserves, created dependence on foreign powers, opened up our border to all comers, created near record inflation, demonized half the country as latent domestic terrorists, weaponized the bureaucracies as Democratic partisan foot soldiers, and waged war on behalf of criminals and child groomers, while fuming against local law enforcement and parents concerned about what public schools are doing to warp the minds of their children — be it with their Marxist ideas about race or gender.

I appreciate Ms Joy Gray’s candor. It’s sad, of course, that our great experiment in self-governance has been turned, on one side, into a lockstep fundamentalist religion in which the State is God, and those who defy it, heretics who are increasingly being investigated for their wrongthink.

Read the whole thing.

ADDENDUM: via Tom Knighton’s paid Substack:

We previously looked at a report showing that GOP fundraising emails were being immediately directed to Gmail users’ spam folders at a vastly more frequent rate than those of Democrats. You can read what you like into that news since everyone seems to have issues with their spam folders in Gmail. But another substantial brick was set in this wall following an investigation from mrcNewsBusters that found disturbingly similar results in the search returns from three major browsers provided to users looking for information about several upcoming critical midterm Senate races.  NewsBusters evaluated the search returns from Google, Bing, and DuckDuckGo and the disparity was stark. Google buried search returns seeking information about Republican Senate candidates while copiously highlighting the campaign material from their Democratic opponents. This requires an immediate investigation, but thus far Google is remaining mum on the subject and will not even comment on the question.

As Tom puts it, “When Microsoft is more trustworthy than you are, you know something is wrong.”

ADDENDUM 2: How could I have missed that?

Elon Musk posted a video Wednesday casually strolling into Twitter’s California headquarters holding what appeared to be a sink.

“Entering Twitter HQ – let that sink in!” the billionaire Tesla CEO joked, just before adding “Chief Twit” to his own Twitter bio.

Most pathetic defense ever of John Fetterman’s candidacy; demonstrations in Iran continue; Nicholas Wade on lab origins theory of Xi Flu

On a work trip, too busy to blog much (and flaky internet too), but this one (via Stephen L. Miller on Tw*tter) takes the cake:

(b) interesting thread about documents left behind in an abandoned Russian command bunker in Balaklilla, Ukraine

The most bizarre thing was the story of the guy whose hands were wounded when the Mosin-Nagant bolt-action rifle he was firing blew up in his hands. FYI, the Mosin-Nagant was first issued in 1891, in the days of Tsar Alexander III (!), and has been taken out of service decades ago.

Is this desinformatsiya? Not necessarily. I know some snipers, long after it was superseded, still swore by the Mosin-Nagant (with a sniperscope — though the most deadly sniper of all time, the Finnish “White Death” Simo Hayha, preferred iron sights to eliminate the risk of being spotted by a reflection off his scope).

(C) Despite road closures etc. Massive turnout in Iran for memorial service for woman slain by “morality police”

(D) Via Powerline, former NYT science editor Nicholas Wade, in reviewing a new book about the pandemic, makes even.clearer why he believes that WuFlu was a lab escape accident following “gain of function research”.

ADDENDUM: canvaser for Marco Rubio beaten so badly by thugs, will need facial reconstructive surgery. can add little to this meme purportedly by Quentin Tarantino (or somebody using his name as a handle):

Emperor Xi got his coronation, purges former leader Hu Jintao; Rishi Sunak apparently will be new British PM. [UPDATE: he is]

I am traveling for work with limited internet access, but just wanted to share this with you:

(a) so expect a worldwide propaganda effort to legalize man-turtle marriages now, as Emperor Winnie the Flu got “elected” for an unprecedented third time as CCP party leader. Read: was crowned emperor for life. Watch also as his predecessor, Hu Jintao, was forcibly removed from the plenum.

What vision is behind this, ot

(b) Meanwhile in Britain, it looked for a moment like we would see the return of Boris Johnson to unite a badly-divided party, but the Daily Telegraph now reports that Boris Johnson has pulled out of the race.

Rishi Sunak is set to become prime minister after Boris Johnson dropped out of the race to be the next Conservative Party leader.

In a 300-word statement issued on Sunday night, Mr Johnson said he had concluded that even if he could win the contest, he did not have enough support among Tory MPs to govern.

Mr Johnson said: “I am afraid the best thing is that I do not allow my nomination to go forward and commit my support to whoever succeeds. I believe I have much to offer but I am afraid that this is simply not the right time.”

The decision to withdraw from the race reversed indications from his campaign all of Sunday that he was determined to stand, in what would have been a remarkable comeback.

However, Mr Johnson made clear in his statement he has not given up on another tilt at Number 10 in the future, insisting he remains the Tory best placed to win the next election.

The only other candidate remaining, Leader of the Commons Penny Mordaunt, is a longshot. In order to be even on the ballot for a Conservative Party leadership election, one has to get the support of 100 MPs, and she’s at the time way short.

Reassured by a shadow whipping team that he already had 100 supporters and would sail onto the nomination paper, MPs found the mood “very positive” and reported that there were “a lot of upbeat people there”.

But behind closed doors, the Johnson campaign’s resolve appeared to be wavering as his officials contacted Penny Mordaunt to ask if she would consider signing a pact – to withdraw from the race in exchange for a plum job.

Despite his team’s claim to have already reached the threshold of 100 MPs, Mr Johnson had just 57 publicly backing him and appeared to be casting around for more support.

Ms Mordaunt gave him short shrift. The Commons Leader, who remembers being ejected from the Cabinet by Mr Johnson on his first day in office in July 2019, told him most of her MP supporters would prefer to back Mr Sunak – and that he should consider dropping out of the race and leave her to face him alone. Her offer was refused.

As the meeting concluded, more MPs began to declare for Mr Sunak. […]

Mr Johnson gained James Cleverly, the Foreign Secretary, and Nadhim Zahawi, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.

Rumours of a third Cabinet minister never materialised, as those in Westminster began to doubt he had the numbers to get him over the line.

So looks like the “done deal” WhatsApp message that the Telegraph got from an undisclosed MP was correct.

UPDATE: Rishi Sunak is the new PM

It seems Penny Mordaunt made it to 90 supporting MPs before the 2pm deadline, but not the required 100. This means there is no vote among the party rank-and-file as there is only one candidate with the required 100, and hence near-billionaire Rishi Sunak will be the first British PM of Hindustani origin.

UPDATE 2: via commenter, “Anon E. Mouse” , Lei’s Real Talk’s video offers some explanation of what went down.

In this screencap at 20:11 is the current composition of the Presidium: Blue=Xi Jinping allies, Red=Jiang Zemin allies, orange checkmark=Hu Jintao allies. The two on the right have reached the 68-year retirement age and have to be replaced.

This was the list leaked by Xi associates in September of the candidates for the Presidium (what Lei calls the Politburo Standing Committee in her video). Note _all_ are Xi loyalists except the candidate premier, outgoing Vice Premier Hu Chunhua, who is a Hu Jintao protégé.

The latter was still a thorn in Xi’s flesh, and he would want to replace him by Shanghai party secretary Li Qiang, notorious for the extreme, bizarre weeks-long lockdown there. As Lei explains, his appointment would be a break with CCP tradition that the Premier needs to be a former Vice Premier (except the original Premier Zhou Enlai).

Now the votes are basically by show of hands on an entire candidate list of over 400 names (regular and alternate members of the Central Committee, aside from the 25-member Politburo including the 7-member Presidium). According to a second, just released Lei’s Real Talk video, it appears that they put a list in Hu Jintao’s folder that was different from the other lists — to ensure he would not raise a stink at the vote when he discovered that his allies had been removed not just from the Presidium but from the larger Politburo (which has been reduced from 25 to 24 members). Moreover, if I caught it correctly, Hu’s own song no longer even appeared as a candidate for the Central Committee.

Expats leaving China en masse; from Blackrock Capital to Peter Zeihan, “China growth is over”

In China, the CCP Congress is in progress, where Winnie the Flu is looking to have himself crowned as de facto dictator for life. A quick look at some things going on there.

(a) Insight on China gives an overview of how foreigners — including experts aggressively recruited under the Thousand Talents Program — either are leaving en masse or are looking to do so.

(b) Blackrock Capital says “Growth in China is over”.


Peter Zeihan adds more background. Some of the details of a dysfunctional system you just can’t make up, such as the video of COVID disinfection of… an airport runway?!

(c) As a bonus, something else entirely: retired nursing school lecturer and textbook author Dr. John Campbell, whose COVID19 coverage I have featured here extensively, interviews Tim Spector of the ZOE project , “the world’s largest nutrition-science study”, about something very different, namely the sense and nonsense of “intermittent fasting” diets.

Breaking: British PM Liz Truss resigns

Liz Truss has announced that she is resigning as Prime Minister, triggering a fresh Tory leadership contest which will be concluded “within the next week”. 

Speaking outside 10 Downing Street, Ms Truss said she had come to realise that she “cannot deliver the mandate on which I was elected by the Conservative Party”. 

She said: “I have therefore spoken to His Majesty The King to notify him that I am resigning as leader of the Conservative Party.

“This morning I met the chairman of the 1922 Committee Sir Graham Brady. We have agreed that there will be a leadership election to be completed within the next week.

“This will ensure that we remain on a path to deliver our fiscal plans and maintain our countries economic stability and national security. I will remain as Prime Minister until a successor has been chosen.”  

Sir Keir Starmer responded to Ms Truss’s resignation by repeating his call for an immediate general election as he said  the “British public deserve a proper say on the country’s future”. The Lib Dems and SNP have also called for an election. 

See our previous coverage of the apparent “boardroom coup” against Truss.

Unless a snap general election is called (which almost certainly would put Labour in power, so the Tories have zero incentive to do so), the most likely successors are “Dishy” Rishi Sunak (the favorite of the Tory MPs but not of the party rank and file) and the Leader of the Commons, Penny Mordaunt. A return of Boris Johnson looks like more of a longshot — but who knows?

UPDATE: British humor in action:

Liz Truss’s leadership problems made news worldwide as she struggled to outlive her salad days. 

Yet amid the analysis and commentary, international media outlets were transfixed by the Daily Star’s irreverent competition to see which lasts longer – the Prime Minister or a 60p lettuce from Tesco. 

The tabloid newspaper ran a livestream so viewers could chart the gradual decay of the vegetable and compare it to Ms Truss’s shelf life in charge of the country. 

On Thursday night following her resignation, the Daily Star triumphantly projected a giant image of the lettuce onto the Houses of Parliament. “Beam me up Lizzie”, ran the headline on its website. 

The lettuce stunt was inspired by a column in The Economist, which branded the Prime Minister, who had only been in power since last month,  “the iceberg lady” with “the shelf-life of a lettuce”.

Swedish television was the latest to draw attention to the struggling pair of wet lettuces, but the livestream had already caught the eye of journalists in America.

“Why is Britain comparing its Prime Minister to a lettuce?” asked the Washington Post, as it noted Ms Truss had become “the butt of quintessentially British jokes”.


Over the Channel, France’s News 24 asked: “What do British Prime Minister Liz Truss’s political mandate and a head of wilted lettuce have in common, you might ask? They both have an expiry date.” 


“Truss or lettuce: the amusing and strange test of a British tabloid” was how the Israeli newspaper Maariv covered the race between the Prime Minister and her rotting rival.

“After less than a month in office, consensus is forming in the British government that her tenure will soon come to an end,” the report added. 

Even Australia has heard about the wilting war: “UK Prime Minister Liz Truss has held the job for just six weeks but tabloids, the public and even her fellow Conservative Party politicians already believe her days are numbered,” said Australia’s SBS news.


The Bangkok Post screamed “’Shelf-life of a lettuce’: Truss’s nightmare on Downing Street.”

“Powerless, humiliated and compared to a lettuce: Liz Truss walks a tightrope” was the take in Argentina’s La Nacion.

Italy’s Remocontro said “the Iceberg lady”, an unflattering comparison to Margaret Thatcher, was in “inglorious retreat” and nearing a final farewell. 

And the Mothership SG, which reports news in Singapore and Asia, joked: “For now, Truss romaines in place.”

Stranger than fiction: “Europa, Europa”, the book “Hitler’s Jewish Soldiers”, and the fallacy of mistaking edge cases for the whole

[…] That a lie which is half a truth is ever the blackest of lies

That a lie which is all a lie may be met and fought with outright

But a lie which is part a truth is a harder matter to fight.

(Alfred Tennyson, “The Grandmother”)

I remember the hullabaloo some years ago about a book published by U. of Kansas Press with the what we would now call “click-baity” title “Hitler’s Jewish Soldiers”. The author, Bryan Mark Rigg, was reportedly inspired to research, then write the book by Agnieszka Holland’s Emmy Award-winning movie Europa, Europa based on the autobiography of Solomon “Solly” Perel. Finding himself an adolescent Jewish boy overrun by Operation Barbarossa, Solly ‘fled forward’ and assumed the cover identity of a Volksdeutsche [=ethnic German] orphan named Josef “Jupp” Perjell (changed for the movie to Josef Peters). As such, and being fluent in both Russian and German, he served with the 12th Panzerdivision as a Dolmetscher (interpreter). On one occasion, “Jupp” even assisted with the interrogation of a POW named Yakov Dzugashvili — the son of Josip Vissarionovitch Dzhugashvili, better known by his nom de guerre as Josef Stalin!

“Jupp” was in constant fear of being found out — it appears his commanding officer found out his secret but responded by trying to adopt him as his son, giving him further protection. An army doctor who was a closet homosexual tried to molest him in the shower, then discovered he was circumcised — following which the two men engaged in a pact of silence about each other’s secrets.

Ultimately Perel survived the war and made his way to nascent Israel, where he fought in the War of Independence. Following heart surgery 40 years later, he decided he’d better write down his story while he was still alive to do so. Interestingly, at least some of his army comrades kept in touch even then — and sent him an invitation to a reunion meeting to his address in Israel, addressed to his real name.

This is a compelling, harrowing story, and it apparently sent Rigg on a journey interviewing hundreds of men of part-Jewish origins (so-called Mischlinge) who had served in the Wehrmacht. In the process, he collected some truly fascinating stories.

Unfortunately, the book was marketed in a sensationalist manner (the more truthful title “Wehrmacht Soldiers of part-Jewish Ancestry” would not have sold books), and the claimed number of Mischlinge (“half”- and “quarter-” Jews) who served (140,000) rivals the total number of Mischlinge in the Old Reich.

Predictably, this book was grist on the mill for some truly unsavory characters (most of whom didn’t read the whole book, or cherry-picked from it). One story line I saw peddled was “… and full Jews [!] served, even in the SS” [!] Knowing that an SS applicant had to prove a clean “Aryan” family tree back to 1800, for officer candidates even to 1750, that claim struck me as ridiculous on its face. Now recruiting standards dropped as the Waffen SS needed ever more cannon fodder during the war, and eventually “Legions” (later transformed into divisions) of various non-Germanic peoples were formed — but I am not aware of any relaxation of the policy on Jewish ancestry. So I assumed that we would be talking about a few edge cases who (akin to Solly Perel) had managed to sneak in to hide in literally the last place anyone would look for them, or indeed as spies.[**]

Those unwilling to shell out the money for Rigg’s two books on the subject, but who are fluent in German, can read the Diplomarbeit [Master’s Thesis] of Marcel Matzhold at the Karl-Franzensuniversität Graz, Austria (which heavily cites Rigg but also many other sources, as well as primary documents).

Matzhold, M. Jüdischstämmige Soldaten in Der Deutschen Wehrmacht Motivationsanalyse Im Kontext Der Rechtlichen Und Militärischen Entwicklung, Diplomarbeit, KFU Graz, 2019.

The title translates as “Soldiers of [some] Jewish ancestry in the German Wehrmacht. Analysis of motivations in the context of legal and military developments.” The thesis primarily deals with Mischlinge who were either career military before the National Socialist takeover (and were either protected by sympathetic superiors, or had their status officially “Aryanwashed” — see this previous blog post), or who were caught between conflicting draft requirements, or who doctored their identity to be able to get in. A recurring theme was a desire to protect Jewish relatives against persecution, another was the desire to circumvent various legal disabilities to which Mischlinge were subjected (not the mention the fear they would one day be treated like full Jews).

On pp. 91-92 one finds the true story of “Jewish SS-man” Karl-Heinz Löwy — and it is almost as crazy as Solomon Perel’s. Translation below [courtesy of DeepL, checked for accuracy by your obedient servant]:

One example of such a soldier is Karl-Heinz Löwy. His life story begins in December 1920 in Munich. He was raised as a Jew and, after his father and mother divorced, he moved with the latter to Berlin. His initially good living situation deteriorated visibly during the years of Nazi rule, and he experienced the escalating discrimination and persecution of Jews firsthand before the outbreak of the war. In 1939, before the outbreak of the war, he and his mother fled Berlin for Lyon. When the war broke out, the German refugees were arrested by the French police. The able-bodied men among them were supposed to show their dislike for their country of origin by joining the Foreign Legion, which Löwy did. While he did not fire a shot on the French side in the Western campaign and worked under a false name in Vichy France after the French defeat, he was finally forced in 1943 to join the German forces under the name of an old acquaintance from Switzerland, because otherwise his hoax would have been exposed and he would have had to expect the worst as a Jew in hiding with a false identity. At that time he did not know that he had enlisted in the Waffen-SS and would be assigned to the 6th SS Mountain Division. He spontaneously volunteered to escape worse and, according to his own account, only did not desert because he was assigned to the Eastern Front and Russians either did not take prisoners or sent them to horrible POW camps. To ensure his survival in the short term, he volunteered, and indeed he survived the war, although his chances of survival over two years on the Eastern Front were not good either.341

So yes, there was such a person, and there may have been a handful of others. But, while such ‘edge cases’ make for compelling stories (and inspiration for fiction), they are utterly unrepresentative of the general situation and, unless contextualized, paint a distorted picture of the history — a half-truth that is more pernicious than a whole lie.

Does that mean the story should be thrown away? No. If you find a blatant outlier during an experiment, you may eliminate it from your statistics, but you should still report the outlier and explain why you discarded it. (There are standardized statistical procedures for doing so.) You should not “sweep it under the rug”. But neither should you let one oddball data point skew your entire analysis, just because it happens to make for a nice narrative. [*]

Quoting from memory from Pirkei Avot [Ethics of the Fathers]:

“Scholars, watch your words, lest you lead your disciples to a place of bitter waters, and they drink from it and die — and thus the Name of Heaven will be desecrated”.

[*] If you can identify a physical reason for the anomaly, that may itself be fodder for a separate investigation — more than one major discovery has been made in this manner.

[**] This is a separate matter from [biological] Jews who turned informers on their own people, such as Stella Goldschlag in Berlin or “Jacques the traitor” in Brussels. There is a reason the 12th Benediction was inserted into the weekday Amidah, the “Standing Prayers” [in both senses of the word] religious Jews recite three times a day, and which begins “And for informers/slanderers and heretics, let there be no hope…”

Was “Russian interference in election” narrative projection or red herring to distract from Chinese interference?

On screen: [paywalled; cached here]

A couple weeks back the New York Times attacked conservatives for an election “conspiracy theory” that they had to admit was entirely accurate the very next day. The Times claimed it was crazy that Republicans were asserting that China’s Communist Party had infiltrated our election system–it was a conspiracy theory and attack on the Foundations of Our Democracy™.

The so-called “conspiracy theorists” were right, and the president of Konnech Elections Systems was arrested the very next day for–allowing China into our elections system.

Both Ed and I have written about this story earlier, enjoying the schadenfreude. Any time the New York Times gets egg on its face you have to revel in a bit of schadenfreude (ever notice how the Germans have a word for everything having to do with such things?)

Rasmussen pointed out another aspect of the story that has gotten insufficient coverage. I sure blew it in not following the story more closely.

We were all stunned that the Chinese had so easily infiltrated our elections. And unsurprised that the MSM would do everything they could to bury the evidence and call it into question. But largely missed among the stories is another fact: the FBI knew about this infiltration and did diddlysquat about it. Not a damn thing to stop it.

I have gone from “just how many people in the ‘swamp’ have been suborned by the Caliphate or the ChiComs” to “how many haven’t been”.

I have no doubts that Russia tried to stoke the flames of dissension. Not that they cared who won in 2016, but that (s)he would be regarded as illegitimate by half the electorate, and hence the US would be too divided to pay much attention to Russia’s geopolitical adventures.

But I’ve been suspecting for a while that the “Russian election interference” narrative of the antiDemocrat machine was not just projection, but a red herring for interference by another bad state actor.

And while we’re on the subject of “Russiagate”

Meanwhile, an FBI whistleblower revealed that they have plenty of evidence about dirty business dealings and ‘pay-for-play’ by the Biden famiglia but are doing… bugger all about it.

Stranger than fiction: the part-Jewish Kriegsmarine officers who went down with the Bismarck

History is not only stranger than we suppose, but stranger than we can suppose. Sometime during the holiday, I watched the old British “Sink the Bismarck!” Movie, which is available for free on YouTube. It was quite enjoyable, but the portrayal of the German antagonist, the battle ship fleet commander Admiral Günter Lütjens, as a cardboard fanatical Nazi struck me as “off”.

I went down rabbit holes: turns out he was “one-quarter” or “one-eighth” Jewish (depending on the source) and was married to a half-Jewish woman.

Not only that, but his 1st flag officer, Fregattenkapitän [equivalent to Commander] Paul Ascher, was “half-Jewish” (one Jewish grandparent each on paternal and maternal sides). His father had been a senior naval officer under the Kaiser, he himself had graduated his midshipman course at the top of his class, and he looked quite Aryan [despite a surname literally taken from one of the Twelve Tribes ;)]— still before the war, he had obtained a special exemption from the Nuremberg Laws, signed by the Führer his infinitely-damned self.

Below is an example of such an Ariernachweis, as this type of document was unofficially known:

Screenshot from B. M. Rigg, “The Lives of Hitler’s Jewish Soldiers”, U. of Kansas Press, 2016. Included under Fair Use Doctrine.

[My translation:]

The Führer and Supreme Commander of the Wehrmacht
The Führer [of the German Reich] and Reich Chancellor

I hereby permit that the 1st Lieutenant (Res.) Ernst Prager, [resident] Berlin-S0 36, Am Treptower Park 18 [how ironic, given the meaning of that number in Judaism]

Can again be utilized as an active officer in army service. At the same time I decree, that 1st Lieutenant Prager is given the same status as persons of German blood for the purposes of the German racial laws, with all rights and obligations this entails.

Führer HQ, Oct. 30, 1941

[signatures] The Führer and Supreme Commander of the Wehrmacht [Hitler, y”sh]
The Head of OKW [=armed forces supreme command, i.e. Field Marshal Keitel]
State Minister and Chief of the Reich Chancellary [i.e., Hans Lammers]

[end of translation]

The Wehrmacht adjutant who dealt with such requests for the Führer, and prepared them for his approval, was one Major [later Oberstleutnant=Lt. Col.] Gerhard Engel, who was criticized repeatedly by Hitler (in the presence of others) for being way too lenient. (In his memoirs, quoted here, Engel claims that he would doctor the files, would substitute very Aryan-looking photographs for more Semitic-looking requesters, and when the Führer was too busy with other matters would take it upon himself to stamp the requests “Approved” himself. Whether or not this was the reason, he eventually lost the tyrant’s confidence and at his own request was transferred to the front, where he ended the war as a Lt.Gen.)

Both Ascher and Lütjens went down with their ship, for a nation that sought to pursue part of their ancestry to the ends of the earth.

A somewhat better known case of an ‘Aryan-washed’ “Jüdischer Mischling” may be Konteradmiral (Rear Admiral) Bernhard Rogge, the much-decorated commander of the renowned/notorious commerce raider/Q-ship Atlantis. He had one Jewish grandparent, but was likewise given ”deemed Aryan” status. (For such a“2nd-degree Mischling” the criteria were more lenient to begin with, as I have explained in a previous post.)

I can imagine that at least some of these men may have demonstratively paraded their allegiance to the NS regime as a form of protective coloring. What appears to have been a motive for some to continue serving the regime, and to indeed outdo themselves in soldierly zeal, was a desire to protect their “non-Aryan” relatives.

But if I’d written such a character in fiction…

Breaking: British PM Liz Truss being ousted in “boardroom coup”?

Liz Truss was promising to govern as a neo-Thatcherite — but the UK financial establishment clearly preferred something else. She had her hand forced into sacking her Chancellor of the Exchequer [=the Treasury Secretary and de facto #2 in the gov’t] and neo-Thatcherite “brother in arms” Kwasi Kwarteng — he was replaced by the “realist” (or “One Nation Tory”) Jeremy Hunt.

To my astonishment, at the customary Prime Minister’s Q&A in the House of Commons, Truss had herself represented by the Leader of the Commons, her onetime rival for the leadership Penny Mordaunt. Truss supposedly was “on urgent business” — could be a lame excuse or totally genuine (I’m seeing a scene of a spy novel in my head, where the MI6 chief urgently requests a meeting to act on ‘hot’ intelligence).

Then the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave a statement and fielded questions.

A video feed is here (and can be rewound):

The proceedings are quite interesting from a sociological perspective: quite civilized, yet watch for daggers at all times.

But I have the impression that Jeremy Hunt is now the de facto CEO, and Liz Truss has been promoted away to “Chairperson of the Board”.

On the other hand, the Telegraph got the following laconic WhatsApp message from a prominent Tory MP:

“Rishi PM. Hunt CX. Penny FS. And it’s a done deal.”

A less laconic version would be: “Rishi Sunak will be Prime Minister; Jeremy Hunt will remain Chancellor of the Exchequer; Penny Mordaunt will be Foreign Secretary; and it’s a done deal.”


Shmini Atzeret and Simchat Torah

Today is exactly one week after Sukkot. In the Torah this is a separate holiday: ‘on the 8th day, you will make an assembly’, which has hence become known as Shmini Atzeret. This is traditionally the day one starts praying for rain (roughly around the time the autumn rains start in Israel).

In Israel, it falls on the same day as Simchat Torah, the post-Biblical holiday of “Rejoicing in the Torah”. In the Diaspora, where two days of most major holidays are observed (Yom Kippur being the chief exception — two days of continuous fasting falls under the legal category of ‘a decree that the majority cannot uphold’). In the Diaspora, Simchat Torah is observed the night and day after Shmini Atzeret.

The single most visible ritual of Simchat Torah is “dancing with the Torah scrolls”. Since a full-size Sefer Torah is quite heavy — and dropping it (G-d forbid!) would require 40 days of daylight fasting in penance (in practice, distributed between those present) one is well advised not to participate if one has strength or mobility problems.

Connected is the reading at the synagogue dais of the last lines of the Torah scroll — followed immediately by a reading of the first lines, to indicate “no, we’re not done with it”. The persons called up for these readings are called chatan Torah and chatan Bereishit, respectively — literally “groom of the Torah” and “groom of Genesis”. (The Hebrew word chatan, groom or bridegroom, also has the meaning of “laureate”, e.g., chatan pras Nobel for Nobel Laureate.)

You may have seen videos of Simchat Torah dancing in Israel with loud music — which would normally be forbidden since the holiday prohibitions of Shmini Atzeret are in force on the same day. What you actually saw were so-called “hakafot shniyot” (second processions) held on the night and day after the holiday, where these restrictions no longer apply.

On a related note, the other day I saw a video of the late lamented Chief Rabbi of the UK, Lord Sacks z”l, discussing why precisely on Sukkot we read the Book of Ecclesiastes, with all its apparent references to “vanity”. The connection, as he laid it out: the actual word hevel , usually (mis)translated “vanity”, “pointlessness”, “futility”,… actually refers to a shallow, transient breath. A better translation would be “transitory” or “evanescent” — just as the sukka is a temporary dwelling.

Chag sameach/happy holiday!

The separate-yet-

Great Hosanna/Hoshana Rabba musical delight: excerpts from Bach, “The Art of the Fugue” by the Liszt Chamber Orchestra (1985)

Mo`adim le-simcha / Festivals for joy to my Jewish readers. Today is the 7th day of Sukkot, also known as the Great Hosanna.

There is so much craziness in the world going on to blog about, but I can’t find it in me to blog about it on this holiday. Instead I will share something musical I discovered recently.

J. S. Bach’s last major work, “Die Kunst der Fuge” (The Art of the Fugue) BWV 1080 has always had a very special place in my heart. Unusually for Bach, he made arrangements during his lifetime to have it published (which happened posthumously — his 2nd son C. P. E. Bach, himself a more famous musician than his father during his lifetime, oversaw the publication). He appears to have intended it as, on the one hand, a masterclass in purely contrapuntal composition (of which he was the last and greatest exponent), and on the other hand, a musical testament. No instrument indications appear on the work, but it is hardly coincidental that even the massive final movement can be played with two (very skilled) hands on a four-octave keyboard.

Hence I have been collecting performances of this work for decades. I first heard it, as a teenager, on a vinyl record by a German string orchestra (probably Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra) — but the recording quality was poor. My favorite complete performance would be Tatiana Nikolayeva’s on piano, which also has the stellar audio quality one associates with the Hyperion label. Glenn Gould never recorded the entire work on piano, although such recordings as have been released are breath-taking. Hermann Scherchen’s massive orchestration is another, dramatic yet very convincing, rendering.

Just the other day, on Apple Music, I found this 1985 recording by the “Liszt Ferenc” [=Franz Liszt in Hungarian, which uses the opposite name order from Western languages] Chamber Orchestra. Let me share a few movements that have been posted to YouTube:

Contrapunctus I, the “simplest” fugue built on the main theme of the cycle.

Contrapunctus XI

The unfinished Contrapunctus XIV, a.k.a. “Fuga a 3 soggeti” (fugue with 3 subjects)

“It may well be that not all musicians believe in G-d, but all believe in Bach.” (Mauricio Kagel)

Chag sameach!

Shabbat musical delight: Glenn Gould plays Beethoven’s “Emperor Concerto”

The brilliant, eccentric pianist Glenn Gould is so tightly associated with his J. S. Bach performances that people sometimes forget he did have other repertoire — even if he could be highly dismissive of any composer whose writing was what we think of as “pianistic”.

But before he retired from the concert stage to concentrate on recording, he was in high demand as a performer. Some of these performances have been filmed, and the films digitized and uploaded to YouTube — but rare are the uploads where both video and audio are at a good resolution. Below is a rare exception: split over two videos, here is a performance of Beethoven’s 5th piano concerto in Eb major, nicknamed “Emperor”, with the Toronto Symphony conducted by Karel Ancerl. The performance is from 1970, as part of the Beethoven 200th birthday celebrations.

Part 1: 1st movement. Part 2: 2nd and 3rd movements.

Enjoy, happy Sukkot, and Shabbat shalom!

Biden’s attempted quid-pro-quo with Saudis Arabia; the endgame of unsustainable socialized medicine; Insty and Joel Kotkin on “the revenge of the material economy”

(A) Did Abu Hunter’s puppeteers had him threatening Saudi Arabia with withholding military aid unless they would delay (not cancel) oil production cuts by one month.

Why one month? Of course, the midterm elections.

They would ask John Ringo’s fictional Posleen invasion to wait for one month if they had a midterm election come up. So desperate are they to hang on to power.

(B) Insty has an item on Bari Weiss’s “common sense” site about how in Canada, MAiD (medical assistance in dying) has morphed from what it was sold as (for a handful of terribly suffering people) to a form of sickening ‘social safety net’.

I have seen with my own eyes what went on in euthanasia-happy Netherlands and Belgium, and blogged over a decade ago about how this is one of two predictable endgames for cost control of a financially unsustainable socialized medicine system. (The other, the German and Israeli model, is for the socialized system to be increasingly reduced to a bare-bones backstop, with private healthcare picking up the slack for those able to afford supplemental insurance.)

ADDENDUM: don’t miss Insty’s latest op-ed in the NYPost: Elites suddenly realize they need the blue-collar workers they derided. Companion reading (referred to, but not linked, by the NYPost): Joel Kotkin on The revenge of the material economy.

ADDENDUM 2: Lebanon signs gas deal with Israel. I have mixed feelings: for a divisible resource, as game theory prof. William Spaniel explains, a negotiated settlement is less costly for both sides than a war in essentially all situations. And I have no desire to see the Lebanese suffer needlessly. But in practice this deal will just prop up the Hezbollah Protektorat that Lebanon will have to shake off if it is ever to see freedom (the real kind, not the fake “freedom” the kid-glove totalitarians of transnational oligarchic collectivism are peddling).

Jordan Peterson in Israel; PA senate race; LA city council head resigns following leaked audio of bizarre racist rant; Insty: “a disinformation expert is an expert at disinforming you”

(A) So Jordan Peterson gave a lecture last night to an audience of thousands at the International Convention Center (in Hebrew known as Buildings of the Nation, Binyanei ha-Uma) in Jerusalem (right by the new train station). Times of Israel has a report, some of which recycles familiar left-liberal tropes.

What “gets” me is that Peterson is now not only regarded as a conservative but has explicitly embraced the label himself — when his ideas would have been regarded as centrist or even center-left just a few years ago — when they weren’t “the bleeding obvious” that people across the spectrum subscribed to. But as George Orwell once put it (paraphrasing from memory): we have reached the level of intellectual corruption where the first duty of every thinking person is the restatement of the obvious.

(B) Meanwhile, I’ve been following the Senate race in Pennsylvania with half an eye. Neither candidate strikes me as much of a prize. Trump has endorsed former TV celebrity “Dr. Oz” — despite his Hebrew-sounding last name (Oz means strength in Hebrew), Mehmet is actually of secular Turkish Muslim background, his first name being the Turkish spelling of Mohammed. It’s not clear what (if anything) Oz stands for politically, and he’s been mocked as an “elitist” for remarks about the price of “crudités”. (I wouldn’t use the word except when speaking French, but honestly, this is a bit of a silly gotcha.)

But then there is his opponent, the current Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman. He had a severe stroke, which appears to have resulted in aphasia (a condition where damage to the auditory processing center leaves one unable to understand speech) — hence during interviews, he appears to rely on speech-to-text software, as otherwise friendly media revealed recently. Tim Pool comments, and also quotes partisan D commentators in The Atlantic basically saying they don’t care if Abu Hunter (a.k.a. F. Joe Biden) can do the job, only that he’s available as a partisan placeholder. Ugh.

This would appear, to this PA outsider here, to be a clear case of “choisir entre le mal et le pire” (choosing between bad and worse).

(C) and then there is the bizarre story unfolding in Los Angeles, which is once again proof that all the accusations of “raaayciss!” On the part of leftist wokebags are Hollywood-level exercises in projection.

(D) Insty’s right, you know: “A disinformation expert is someone who’s an expert at disinforming you”.


And the Durham probe just found that the FBI offered Christopher Steele $1M to “corroborate” the bizarre allegations in the Trump “dossier” — which read to any outside observer like tall tales made up by college sophomores. But none dare call this “disinformation”, well?

And after PayPal released its new policy of being unilaterally able to ‘fine’ you $2,500 for what whichever team of AI bots, developing country e-sweatshop workers, or domestic busybodies deems ‘disinformation’, an exit has started from the platform and market cap drops US$6billion in a couple of days.

Dispatches from an insane clown world, Oct. 12, 2022

(a) The intersectional clown car in the UK can be proud of itself. “Transgender schools guidance says discussing women’s rights could be offensive“, reports the Telegraph [paywalled; cached copy].

Ein li milim/I have no words. All satirists can officially retire now.

But this is what happens when the internal contradictions of the intersectionalist worldview come to a head.

(b) US academia is FUBAR: New York University fires an organic chemistry lecturer for “grading too hard”, but kept a convicted child pr0n offender on the payroll.

From the first article:

New York University fired Maitland Jones Jr. because his organic chemistry course was “too hard.” The man wrote the textbook on the subject, now in its fifth edition, and had been a star teacher at Princeton. He went out of his way to tape his lectures, at his own cost, to mitigate some of the attendance problems attributed to the pandemic.

Yet students revolted because they feared, according to the New York Times, that “they were not given the grades that would allow them to get into medical school.”

The professor, meanwhile, saw a different problem: “They weren’t coming to class. … They weren’t watching the videos, and they weren’t able to answer the questions.” But the school terminated his employment rather than the students, who are on track to become physicians despite struggling to get into med school.

Every American should be worried because this kind of standard-lowering is becoming commonplace in medical school.

Details from the second article are too graphic to repeat here.

This, dear reader, is what happens when higher education degenerates into a tax-exempt money making business (students who fail don’t pay north of 50K/year in tuition), and is run by a class of professional bureaucrats who have an agenda at best orthogonal to, and at worst diametrally opposed to, the soul of higher education.

I saw this coming a decade ago. As I’m lucky to be in some demand, I accepted another academic opportunity abroad where I earn a bit less on paper but am comparatively insulated from the pathologies plaguing the US campus. But while I feel for my former colleagues who are still trying to fight the good fight, I’m afraid US academia is beyond repair.

(c) Must-read: Vivek Ramaswamy traces the roots of the ESG (corporate “environmental and social governance” scores) scam

The current problem, said Ramaswamy, began with the 2008 financial crisis. Ramaswamy was working for a Wall Street investment firm. He said anger began to rise when banks received financial bailouts, causing people to begin to question modern American capitalism. It also served as a nursery of sorts to the Occupy Wall Street movement. This movement, running on the fumes of the old progressive ideology, demanded that money be taken from the rich and given to the poor. But the neo-progressive movement was just starting to come into its own, and this movement postulated that the real problem was not poverty or economic injustice but rather racial injustice, bigotry, misogyny, and climate change.

Ramaswamy said that Wall Street saw a way to get off the hot seat. Corporations realized that they could get activists off their backs by doing things such as putting token minorities on corporate boards and championing the combatting of climate change and its supposedly racist impact. But the corporations said that the price would be for the Left to conveniently look the other way with regards to corporate power. In addition to being left alone, these companies also expected that the movers and shakers in government and these movements would give them certain business advantages. Ramaswamy cited a move by Goldman-Sachs in which it said it would not take a company public if it did not have a sufficiently diverse board. Ramaswamy called it a cynical grand bargain or even an arranged marriage between two sides that didn’t even so much as like one another. Ramaswamy likened it to “mutual prostitution,” which resulted in the “Woke ESG Industrial Complex.” This is a far more powerful entity than Big Business or Big Government, which allowed both elements to accomplish together what they could not do on their own.

This created the chance for new asset management companies to ride in on their proverbial white horses in the wake of the ’08 financial crisis. These included companies like BlackRock, State Street, and Vanguard, which would create “better capitalism.” According to Ramaswamy, these three companies, over 15 years, have acquired enough assets to manage more than $21 trillion of investment funds. This money is then used to advance a progressive agenda that would have never survived a legislative session.

Seeing Wall Street’s success, Ramaswamy said that Silicon Valley realized that it would also like a piece of the action. Even back in 2008, the tech lords knew that it was the Left that posed a threat to their burgeoning monopoly on at least a philosophical level. So the tech lords said they would use their corporate power to advance progressivism, doing things like censoring opinions and eliminating “hate speech,” as the Left defined it. In return, the Left would conveniently ignore the tech monopoly.

Seeing how well things worked out for Wall Street and Silicon Valley, much of corporate America would follow suit. Ramaswamy cited Coca-Cola speaking out against Georgia’s voting laws and forcing its employees to take diversity training, including courses on how to be “less white.” At the same time, Coke could ignore its product’s effects on American obesity. Nike could condemn “systemic racism” in America, while people overseas toiled in sweatshops for slave wages and, as Ramaswamy asserted, in conditions of slave labor to make high-end sneakers for sale in the U.S., often to people who might not be able to afford coats for their children.

Even though the two sides still loathe one another, the system, which is the merger of state and corporate power, stays in place because it continues to work so well. Ramaswamy called it the most powerful force in modern American life. Ironically, liberals allowed themselves to forget about their skepticism of big business, and it duped conservatives because the system was presented in the context of the free market. Ramaswamy said that he knows principled people on the left and the right who are deeply concerned about the issue, in part because free speech and open debate in the public square, where all voices and votes count equally, is being neutralized.

Read the whole thing.

(d) Relatedly, now PayPal has gotten completely bat guano. $2,500 “fines” for “misinformation”? As determined, likely, not even by a DIE hire at the company itself, but by an AI bot, by somebody in an outsourcing farm somewhere in the developing world? No thanks, PayPal, I’m done — “Y’all can keep the change“.

ADDENDUM: Russians not keen on being drafted as cannon fodder for Putain’s botched war are now apparently turning en masse to genealogists for evidence of Jewish ancestry, so they can apply for immigration to Israel.

And a “journalist” calls Child Protective Services on a candidate for the VA State Senate because of a Columbus Day tweet.

ADDENDUM 2: Welcome Instapundit readers! Much more background on the organic chemistry professor’s firing at The Spectator (cached copy: ) and at Chemistry and Engineering News, the house organ of the American Chemical Society. Briefly, Maitland Jones Jr. is actually an elderly (84) professor emeritus from Princeton, who wrote a standard textbook on the subject and in his retirement started teaching the subject at NYU as an adjunct, more because of his passion for the subject than for any other reason.
Full-fare tuition at NYU is $83,250 a year.