New York Times

Boris Getting the Coronavirus Shows How Seriously He Took It

The big news today is that the charlatan passing himself off as prime minister has personally come down with Covid-19. He showed mild symptoms of the virus, including a temperature, was tested for it, and the results were positive. He is therefore self-isolating in some corner of No. 10. Nevertheless, he was still keen to show that he was, in the words of one BBC news presenter this morning, ‘Tiggerish’. He was not incapacitated, and would carry on the business of government through teleconferencing and other methods. And if he does become too ill to govern, then the Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, will take over. Lord preserve us!

Boris, as the Prime Minister, was in an especially exposed position because his duties mean that he has to meet many different people every day. Just like Prince Charles has, who has also contracted the disease. Fortunately, Boris has come down with it several weeks after he met her Maj, so she doesn’t have it. But it’s partly BoJob’s own fault that he’s got it. Mike today put up an article reporting and commenting on the fact that Boris was warned not to shake hands. But he carried on regardless, even boasting that he was. He would be all right, you see: all you needed to do was wash your hands, that was the important thing. Er, no. That’s why the health authorities have been telling everyone to stand 2 metres away from each other. Hand washing’s important, but on its own it won’t stop anyone getting the virus. As BoJob has just found out.

But this shows very clearly how seriously Boris and the Tories, or at least his circle, took the virus: not very. Mike quotes the New York Times, which comments on the woeful leadership our comedy prime minister has shown in this crisis. He’s been cheerful when he should have been grave, and presented a muddled message when clarity was needed. It’s a poor performance from someone who was selected because of their communication skills.

I think part of the problem comes from Boris’ own attitude to his briefs. George Galloway remarked during an interview that he’s know Boris for 20 years, and he doesn’t read the information given him. It’s why his performance as Foreign Secretary was such an embarrassing disaster. He went to Moscow to soothe relations with Putin, only to make matters worse with remarks about the Russian autocrat when he returned. And then there was that embarrassing episode when he visited Thailand, and the British ambassador had to ask him to be quiet when he was being shown round the country’s holiest temple. He started to recite Kipling’s ‘Road to Mandalay’, and couldn’t understand why that may not have been appropriate.

But there’s more than an element of willful ignorance in his attitude. Medical experts have said that he should have imposed the lockdown seven weeks ago. Boris didn’t, because he accepted Cummings’ bonkers, malign idea that all that was needed was herd immunity. The disease should be allowed to spread through the general population. No lockdown should be imposed, as that would damage the economy. This took priority over people’s health, and if some old people died it was just too bad. This policy is nonsense, the kind of Bad Science Ben Goldacre attacked in his book of that title. But even after Boris took the decision to close some businesses, pubs, clubs and other social gatherings were allowed to continue. Many Tories said that they were still going out for their pint, despite the government advising them – but not actually forbidding them – not to. Those still heading down the boozer included Boris’ own father, Stanley. The pubs and other establishments were only shut down, apparently, because Macron told Boris that if he didn’t, he’d close the French border. And that would seriously harm the economy.

And this lunatic attitude is still fervently embraced by some parts of the Tory establishment. This afternoon the Sage of Crewe put up a piece about another bonkers article in the increasingly desperate and bizarre Torygraph by a hack called Sherelle Jacobs. Jacobs has decided that Cummings was entirely correct, and BoJob has been panicked into adopting the present strategy by Imperial College research. She claims that there is ‘no consensus’ on how to handle the virus, but, as Zelo Street points out, she cites no sources for that view. And she also rants about how the strategy is also due to ‘liberal managerialism’ and ‘global elites’. She’s spouting dangerous nonsense, but she was supported in her delusion by Toby Young. Young declared that Boris was spooked by ICL’s modelling, but we don’t know how reliable that is, and that it’s beginning to look as if ICL exaggerated the risks of not adopting hard suppression measures. Which is more nonsense for which Tobes provides absolutely no data to back it up.

I’ve said in several previous blogs, as have many others, like Buddyhell and Vox Political, that Boris’ attitude is rooted in the Tories’ own eugenicist views. They regard the poor and disabled as ‘useless eaters’, who should be allowed to die so that the fit and the able, and most of all, the rich, should be allowed to prosper. Boris was content to tell the nation that many of their loved ones would die before the time, but wasn’t going to do anything about it, because their lives simply weren’t important. He and the others in his circle were fit and, as the rich and privileged, biologically superior according to their Social Darwinist views. Only the biologically inferior would catch it, whose lives don’t count and are an encumbrance to the right of the rich to do what they want and pay as little tax as possible. Now Boris has shown how irresponsible and stupid that attitude is by coming down with it himself. Positive thinking and a clean pair of mitts are important, but they won’t save you on your alone.

But the Torygraph’s refusal to accept that a lockdown is necessary is part of the Tories’ wider refusal to believe experts. The Heil and other right wing papers have published claptrap telling the world that global warming is a myth. Michael Gove famously declared a few years ago that people were tired of listening to experts. And I believe I recall that when one of the Tories – I think it was Iain Duncan Smith – was actually confronted with evidence showing his policies wouldn’t work, he had nothing to say except that he believed it.

Well, the Tories prefer belief and pernicious pseudoscience over reality. As a result, Boris has now got the disease and thousands more people are in danger of dying from it.


Has hand-shaking Johnson taken his whole cabinet down with coronavirus?

Bernie Sanders’ Commie Kill Swarm

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 11/02/2020 - 3:00pm in

CJ Hopkins America just can’t catch a break. After three long years of brutal oppression under Donald Trump’s Russia-backed Nazi Reich, it turns out the only Democratic candidate with a chance of unseating him in November and rescuing the world from the Putin-Nazis is a 78-year-old bloodthirsty Commie with a Khmer Rouge-like army of kill-crazy …

Corporate Crap That Doesn’t Kill Bernie Just Makes Him Stronger

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 24/01/2020 - 12:08pm in

Sanders supporters before a campaign event in Des Moines on Monday.

            On January 19th the New York Times oddly co-endorsed Senators Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar for the Democratic presidential nomination. Two days later, the key New Hampshire primary showed Warren down four points. Bernie Sanders’ surge continued. What happened?

            To the extent that they ever did, the editorial boards at corporate-owned media outlets no longer seem to be helping the candidates they support. But I think it goes further than that. In a Democratic Party increasingly dominated by insurgent progressives, authenticity (or the perception thereof) is a politician’s most valuable asset. The approval of “mainstream” establishment entities has become a curse. The imprimatur of an officialdom widely seen as hopelessly corrupt dilutes a candidate’s reputation for authenticity, independence and the voters’ belief that he or she will stand up for we the people over the powers that be.

            Much to the frustration of ruling elites, Bernie Sanders keeps gaining support despite repeated attempts to sandbag him. It began, of course, with a well-documented campaign by the Democratic National Committee to cheat Sanders out of a fair shot at the nomination in 2016. Though less brazen, the sympathies of the DNC, still dominated by Hillary Clinton allies, remain evident in the current cycle. As in 2016, Democratic-aligned media outlets rarely mention Sanders other than to frame him as an elderly fringe wacko. The “Bernie Blackout,” featuring graphics of TV polls where Sanders’ name had been excised, became so ridiculously obvious that it got its own Reddit.

            The last few weeks have been especially instructive. There was the infamous sandbagging of Bernie Sanders at the hands of a CNN moderator. “Have you stopped beating your wife?” became, seconds after Sanders issued a categorical denial, “why did you tell Elizabeth Warren that you did not believe that a woman could win the election?,” a statement that wouldn’t be sexist if he said it and that runs counter to everything he has said and done over the last 40 years.

            Next came the bizarre New York Times two-fer endorsement of Warren and Klobuchar, which included the demonstrably false claims that Bernie Sanders is hard to work with in the Senate and refuses to compromise. This was quickly followed by the news that Hillary Clinton, the nation’s least popular political figure, told a Hulu documentarian that “nobody likes” Sanders, the most popular, and that he’s a “career politician.” As opposed to herself and her husband?

            In the bubble-wrapped imaginations of ruling elites like Clinton and the editors of the New York Times, the hoi polloi care deeply about what they say and think. They think we take their lead.

            Reality is quite opposite.

            It’s not that we don’t listen. We do. We pay attention to what Those In Charge say and what they want us to do—so that we can do the exact opposite.

            Contempt for our “leaders” is one of the key reasons Donald Trump won the presidency. “To the extent that people are using Trump as a way of venting about their general unhappiness, trust is irrelevant,” Stanford University political scientist Morris Fiorina observed during the summer of 2016. “They’re just trying to send a message that they’re tired of being taken for granted and screwed by both sides.”

          People wanted to send another message, albeit a childish one, to the elites: we hate you. 14% of Americans have a “great deal” of confidence in the news media. Congress’ approval rating is 27%. Last time Gallup bothered to check, Hillary was at 38%.

            Americans’ disdain for their masters was placed in sharp relief by polls that showed that many Trump voters would have voted for Bernie Sanders had he been the Democratic nominee and that one out of ten Bernie Sanders’ primary supporters ended up voting for Donald Trump in the general election. Trump and Sanders were the change candidates in a change year. And 2020 is even changier.

            We are witnessing political jiu-jitsu. The more viciously that neoliberals attack Bernie Sanders, the higher progressive estimations of Sanders’ authenticity rises.

            Many on the left, me included, have held doubts about Bernie Sanders. We worry that he isn’t far left enough, especially on foreign policy. After all, he’s OK with drone assassinations, was pretty much silent about the Israeli invasion of Gaza, praised the illegal assassination of Osama bin Laden that denied justice to 9/11 victims, and has not proposed specific numbers by which he would cut the Pentagon budget.

            Even on domestic issues, Sanders’ forte, he is weaker than we would like. The $15-an-hour minimum wage he is pushing for now would have been OK when he started working on it years ago, but due to inflation $20 or $25 an hour would make more sense now. By global standards, Sanders is no radical. He’s a garden-variety liberal—the Democratic Party under FDR.

            Fortunately for him, reactionary goons like the New York Times remind us that whatever his shortcomings Sanders is still the best game in this very right-wing town, the farthest left Democrat to have presented himself for our consideration in the last 40 years.

            If Hillary Clinton and CNN and MSNBC hate Bernie so much, maybe he’s all right.

            It is increasingly likely that Bernie Sanders will become the Democratic nominee and perhaps President of the United States. If and when that happens, when this “democratic socialist” takes the oath of office, he ought to give a shout-out to the clueless enemies who made his victory possible.

(Ted Rall (Twitter: @tedrall), the political cartoonist, columnist and graphic novelist, is the author of “Francis: The People’s Pope.” You can support Ted’s hard-hitting political cartoons and columns and see his work first by sponsoring his work on Patreon.)

New York Times Cites White Nationalist Eugenicist in Piece Titled “the Secrets of Jewish Genius”

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 31/12/2019 - 4:02am in

The paper of record is under fire again for publishing an unusual article promoting race science. In his column entitled “The Secrets of Jewish Genius,” Bret Stephens pondered the question: why have Jews achieved so much despite constituting such a small part of the world’s population?

For Stephens, the answer lay in their genetic superiority: “Jews are, or tend to be smart. When it comes to Ashkenazi Jews, it’s true,” he wrote, making sure to distinguish between white Ashkenazi Jews and other, darker-skinned groups such as Sephardic or Mizrahi Jews. Noting that Ashkenazis have won 27 percent of American Nobel prizes in science and account for more than half of world chess champions, he quoted one paper that claimed, “Ashkenazi Jews have the highest average I.Q. of any ethnic group for which there are reliable data.”

However, one of the paper’s authors, Henry Harpending, was a discredited race scientist with a history of promoting eugenics– and someone who had ties to white nationalist groups according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.  

The pushback to a Jewish person arguing that certain races are inherently superior to others was swift. Referencing the 7,800 layoffs across the media in 2019, The Nation’s Ben Ehrenreich quipped:

Even Fox News panned the column as racist, while Stephens’ New York Times colleagues hit back. Jody Rosen wrote, “Speaking as both an Ashkenazi Jew and a NYT contributor, I don’t think eugenicists should be op-ed columnists.”

Facing the backlash, the Times’ editors, who had previously tacitly endorsed the story by publishing it, added a lengthy note at the beginning of the article claiming that it was a “mistake” that Stephens cited the debunked, racist study. “The effect was to leave an impression with many readers that Mr. Stephens was arguing that Jews are genetically superior. That was not his intent,” it claimed.


Respectable Racism

The New York Times has a record of normalizing, if not subtly promoting, far-right racist ideology. It has published long and sympathetic portraits of American Nazis and given glowing endorsements to reactionary groups like the “Intellectual Dark Web,” glamorizing their boilerplate conservatism as a subversive anti-establishment movement. Despite claiming to be a liberal newspaper, the Times employs a stable of strongly conservative columnists, including Stephens, Bari Weiss, Ross Douthat and David Brooks. In contrast, there is a distinct lack of Sanders-supporting social democrats, let alone anything further to the left.

In the wake of the most recent Stephens controversy, many authors came forward with stories of Times’ editors suppressing stories that showed the political right in a negative light. For example, author Cari Luna was asked to write a story about white nationalism in Portland. While her editors loved the piece, it was killed by management, because, in her own words “it was too far left for their comfort.” Others also shared similar stories. 

In April 2017, the Times hired Stephens to fill one of its most prestigious posts as a regular columnist. By this time, he already had a long and well-publicized history of promoting racism and other reactionary views in print. While working for the Wall Street Journal he wrote of “the disease of the Arab mind” where Palestinians had been “seized” by a “blood lust” wanting to massacre Israelis. He had previously accused them of a “communal psychosis” that challenged the “comforting fiction” that all people were basically good and claimed they were, as a people, incapable of empathy.

His controversial views are not limited to the Middle East, however. In an interview with Vox’s Jeff Stein, he claimed that “Black Lives Matter has some really thuggish elements in it” and that the dramatic increase in police killings of black people is “connected with a culture of resistance to police.” Stephens is also a fervent climate change denier and an advocate of torture.

Earlier this year he went viral due to a very public online meltdown. After David Karpf, a George Washington University professor made a silly (and barely seen) joke on Twitter about news of a bedbug infestation at the New York Times’ offices being caused by him, Stephens reacted with outrage, sending an email in complaint to the professor’s superiors in a clear attempt to use his influence to have him dismissed. After this project failed, Stephens claimed in his column that the idea of “infestation” was an anti-Semitic trope comparing himself, as a Jew, to insects. He was unable to provide any adequate evidence of this. It was also widely publicized that he had called Palestinians mosquitos in a previous column. Stephens deleted his Twitter account during his meltdown, as public opinion sided with Karpf.

That Stephens could be so acutely conscious of non-existent racist tropes like bedbugs and yet not understand exactly what he was arguing for in his latest article, as the New York Times insists, stretches belief. Stephens is a canny actor and knows exactly what he is doing and what his role at the Times is. A study from YouGov found around a quarter of Americans, including 41 percent of Trump voters believe that the government is conspiring to make the U.S. a Muslim majority country– a key component of the white genocide theory of the far-right. It is exactly that constituency that has carried out genuine and shocking anti-Semitic attacks on Jews in America, including the recent synagogue shootings in San Diego and Pittsburgh. Even as he backs the state of Israel, President Trump continues to casually defame or insult American Jews by questioning their loyalty or presenting them as greedy. 

As racist attitudes in the U.S. again begin to gain currency, there are those in the media that promote them back into respectable conversation.

Feature photo | The New York Times Building in New York City. Torrenegra | Flickr

Alan MacLeod is a MintPress Staff Writer as well as an academic and writer for Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting. His book, Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting was published in April.

The post New York Times Cites White Nationalist Eugenicist in Piece Titled “the Secrets of Jewish Genius” appeared first on MintPress News.

Boris Johnson – Did the UK get what it deserves?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 28/12/2019 - 10:45am in

Andre Vltchek For in a democracy, every citizen, regardless of his interest in politics, “hold office”; every one of us is in a position of responsibility; and, in the final analysis, the kind of government we get depends upon how we fulfill those responsibilities. We, the people, are the boss, and we will get the …

Bolivia: Post-Coup Update

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 03/12/2019 - 2:00am in

Eric Zuesse With every passing day, it becomes clearer that the military coup in Bolivia on November 10th was masterminded in Washington DC. This reality will create yet a new difficulty in relations between the U.S. regime and Mexico to its direct south, because the Mexican Government, under progressive President Lopez Obrador, took the courageous …

Business as Usual: Evo Morales and the Coup Condition

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 16/11/2019 - 5:00am in

Binoy Kampmark There is inherent bestiality in the politics of the Americas that signals coup, assassination and disruption.  No state is ever allowed to go through what is weakly called a transition, except over corpses, tortures and morgues. When a social experiment is conducted, rulers must ensure their wills are well inked ahead of time. …

The Putin-Nazis Are Coming (Again)!

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 22/10/2019 - 8:45pm in

CJ Hopkins So, it looks like that’s it for America, folks. Putin has gone and done it again. He and his conspiracy of Putin-Nazis have “hacked,” or “influenced,” or “meddled in” our democracy. Unless Admiral Bill McRaven and his special ops cronies can ginny up a last-minute military coup, it’s four more years of the …