Motes, Beams, Rape n stuff…

This may be the first time I’ve quoted something from the bible in support of one of my own arguments but it is particularly apt:

And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? (Matthew 7:3)

The author of this strange Alternet piece tries to argue that the current Indian “rage against women” – as evidenced by the sudden rash of rape stories – is a result of their social evolution gradually changing the gender roles and balance of power, to the benefit of women, which, consequently represents a threat to the male ego and their sense of god given authority.

Their argument would be somewhat more plausible if the actual rate of rape in India was spectacularly above the global norm. In fact, as anyone can find out for themselves just by googling “rape rates statistics” , the Indian rape rate (1.8 per 10,000 population) is considerably lower (one fourteenth ish) of the USA or UK rape rates (27.3 and 28.8 respectively)

The statistic I found most surprising, however, was the rate for that bastion of gender equality, Sweden, where, apparently women are raped at more that twice the rate of either the UK or USA, which means something over 30 (three zero) times as often as their oppressed sisters in India.

Of course, the Swedish statistics might be somewhat skewed by the fact that they treat failure to use a condom as rape, even if the sex was consensual (hence Julian Assange’s present difficulties). Clearly the rape story is somewhat more complex than the author’s kneejerk analysis. But the real scandal is that the vastly greater prevalence of rape in our “civilised” countries attracts far less attention than we are seeing over a couple of gory stories and politically incorrect comments from India…

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Hillsborough: Why Conspiracy Theories Thrive

So now we KNOW the truth. Up until today, it was just another conspiracy theory. Think about that…
And then address the question of how we might determine which of the other million or so conspiracy theories floating around the web are also entirely (or at least mostly) true.

I’ll expand on this later. (he threatened…)

1,600 Palestinians on hunger strike and the world sleeps on…

1600 Prisoners of War are now nearly 10 weeks into the world’s biggest ever hunger strike and I’m betting this the first you’ve heard of it. While you’re contemplating the question of why that might be, spare a thought for those about to start dying.

The biggest unresolved crime still extant in the world today is the theft of Palestine by the Zionist state of Israel, my genetic kin, I am ashamed to admit. So how do you confront a regional nuclear superpower which has committed itself to violent resolution of its territorial problems? The only “weapon” they have left is their own deaths.

They won’t change anything. Their deaths will be entirely futile. But as a result, the Third World War will continue to escalate…

The link between Muscle and Authority

No surprise here for students of Authoritarianism (which includes the philosophical position that “Might Is Right”) but note the highlighted sentence in this passage:

Multiple studies conducted from the US, East India, Bolivia and the Central African Republic show that physically strong men have a greater sense of entitlement, a shorter fuse on anger, and are more likely to turn aggressive when angry. The effects are quite substantial, often two to four times larger than the known effect of testosterone on aggression.

What this tells us is that Bullying (the basis of most Authoritarian politics, not just “right-wing”) cannot be blamed on hormones. It is clearly more influenced by culture and THAT we can do something about…

What IS missing from all reports of this research I’ve seen to date (the online source of the actual paper is behind a pay wall) is any reference to the inverse relationship between Authoritarianism (including, of course, the physical aggression the paper has studied) and intellect. Which is a shame because most bullies and authoritarians quite like the idea of being painted as physically strong (as evidenced by headlines we’re already seeing like “Now I know Why Labour Supporters are nancies“) but are less keen on trumpeting their intellectual inferiority…

The Prison State of America

Anti-Elitist Upsets Elite

This (what looks like a) hastily constructed website is the online home of Tranton Oldfield, who, yesterday achieved his 15 minutes in the limelight by forcing a halt to the harmless but egregiously elitist symbol known as the University Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge; the first such politically inspired attack in its 158 year history.

Tranton Oldfield

“rambling and incoherent” is how the Daily Mail tries to rubbish these views, while the Telegraph attacks his anti-elitism stance on the grounds that he went to a good school and university. That gives you some idea of how threatened the elite are made to feel by random individuals like this who dare to put their heads above the parapet or, in this case, water.

Frankly, he is a bit rambling and incoherent in places (aren’t we all?), but his intent and ideals are clear enough and I’m obviously sympathetic to those.

More important though, I thoroughly approve of his non violent tactics. The only person he placed in serious jeopardy was himself. That took real courage and he will, I suspect, become a role model for an increasing number of citizens who are beginning to realise that they are entirely excluded from the decision-making process and who’s only choice is which short-term dictatorship will rule over them for the next few years. A choice they must make from a very short list of unattractive alternatives.

More power to his elbow, I say. And ours…

Is There a Fatal Flaw in the TSA Nude-Body Scanners? – Jeffrey Goldberg – Technology – The Atlantic

there are many reasons to oppose the unaccountable operation of these overly intrusive scanners but, unless I’m missing something, this isn’t one of them. Granted he’s exposed a flaw but getting punters to “twirl” or simply rotate 90 degrees during the scan would fix it. So while we welcome this exposure of their continuing incompetence and “security theatre”, it doesn’t offer the killer blow which will force the authoritarians to back down…

Is There a Fatal Flaw in the TSA Nude-Body Scanners? – Jeffrey Goldberg – Technology – The Atlantic.