สูตรบาคาร่า_หมุนสล็อตเริ่มต้นที่ 1 บาท_Heng555 https://www.google.com//550 Fri, 11 Jan 2019 07:34:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.6.1 /550/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/cropped-TDC-thumbnail-32x32.jpg https://www.google.com//550 32 32 I was a female Tinderer https://www.google.com//550/2019/01/11/i-was-a-female-tinderer/ Fri, 11 Jan 2019 07:34:15 +0000 /550/?p=6453 Yesterday, a story caught my eye, which proved that people nowadays are so lazy, they will outsource just about anything to others – including their Tinder experience: Holly Bartter has …

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Yesterday, a story caught my eye, which proved that people nowadays are so lazy, they will outsource just about anything to others – including their Tinder experience:

Holly Bartter has probably received more unsolicited penis pictures on dating apps than anyone else in Australia.

That¡¯s because at any one time she has up to eight different profiles on each popular service, from Tinder to Bumble, poring over hundreds of matches and countless messages.

Last year, the 28-year-old launched her business Matchsmith, allowing hopeful singles to outsource their?digital dating efforts.

¡°I take the account details of my clients and manage their apps,¡± Ms Bartter explained.

¡°From there, I match and message on their behalf. It¡¯s not quite impersonating them ¡ª I get the match to the stage where numbers are exchanged and then report back to the client.¡±

Her unique business idea started out as a bit of fun. She would hijack friends¡¯ phones and tweak their bios and trawl through dodgy matches to find the diamonds in the rough.

Word of mouth saw her approached by people willing to pay for her help and after two years, she launched Matchsmith last year.

¡°At the moment, my clients are a mix of people between the ages of 29 and 52, with about 60 to 70 per cent being female,¡± Ms Bartter said.

Of course, such outsourcing is not new; the whole profession of matchmaking has existed for millennia in many cultures around the world, from the Pacific Islands to “The Fiddler on the Roof”, in order to bring people together (love not included). In more recent times, we’ve had the good old-fashioned introduction agencies. Even in the era of internet dating, part of the job – for better or worse – is often outsourced to algorithms. But in apps like Tinder or Bumble, where you get to see everyone within your chosen gender, distance and age parametres, the choice is 100 per cent yours. Unless, like above, the initial small talk?annoys you so much that you’re willing to let a complete stranger guess who you might be attracted to in the first place.

Congratulations to Holly for making money off “her unique business idea”. No doubt more people will in the future opt for these sorts of services. I wouldn’t. I barely trust myself to pick my matches, so I have little faith in somebody else’s capacity. Or luck.


A few months ago, a friend of mine (let’s call her Tracey-Ann) bet me that she can do a better job than me at finding a woman on Tinder – and, truth be told, going by my notorious track record, perhaps the odds were actually in her favour. Never the one for one-sided arrangements, I likewise committed myself to bettering her previous male matches. And so, an experiment was born: Tracey-Ann would write “my” profile and choose what she thought were my best photos, and then get swiping. She would chat initially with the matches and if there was some potential she would exchange phone numbers, at which stage I would become myself again and take it from there. In turn I would do the same for her.

It won’t come as a surprise to anyone that while we genuinely tried, we both failed to achieve our ultimate objective. I actually ended up meeting my most likely prospect who was an interesting woman, but who proceeded to get a full forearm tattoo after our second date, confirming my initial feeling that perhaps she was a bit too alternative for me – or perhaps I too square for her. Tracey-Ann in the end did not get to meet the Frenchman I chose for her, who had perhaps the most entertaining and imaginative profile I have ever seen online. So we will never know. But somewhere in an alternative universe…

Apart from finding out that it’s not that easy trying to pick a good date for someone else (with a proviso that our experiment was quite brief and of course not very scientific), what did Tracey-Ann and I learned about being the other gender on Tinder? Surprisingly, our experiences were pretty similar – it wasn’t easier being the other; the matches were not overwhelming, most would not initiate conversation, and many would not respond to messages. It was hard work. I was lucky not to get instantly propositioned or asked for “my” number for the purposes of an satellite transmission of a photographic image of tumescent genitalia. I do understand from hundreds of conversations that my experience in that regard was quite unique. I take this opportunity to apologise for my fellow men.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the experiment was our respective experience judging our potential competition and the differences in perception between us. Having swiped through hundreds of male profiles, I confirmed to my satisfaction that most indeed don’t bother to write anything about themselves, being either too lazy or expecting their pictures to tell their 1000 words instead. The problem was exactly what 1000 words were being said. All too often men seemed to choose photos that I thought would appeal to their male mates a lot more than to women (dead fish, their motorcycle/car/jet ski/tinnie, groups of inebriated males having too good a time). In that, my assessment matched what is the female consensus about the self-marketing efforts of men on Tinder. Yet for all that I still thought thoughts to the effect of “shit, so many good looking and seemingly interesting men on here; it’s a miracle I’m getting the number of matches that I get considering the smorgasbord in front of an average female user.” And yet, Tracey-Ann’s opinion about the general standard of manhood online (not the same sample I had access to admittedly, but all the multiple snapshots over the years she looked at) was “meh”. Like me, however, Tracey-Ann was somewhat dispirited about her female competition for what she thought was the few decent males’ attention (“Do I really need to get my tits out more?”); the difference was I didn’t think she had much to be concerned about.

It was interesting and it was fun, but I don’t think I would do it again, but that’s just me – for all the enthusiastic taking on the bet I never thought that I would somehow prove to be better at picking potential partners for others than for myself. In the interest of transparency and fair play, let me assure everyone that the experiment is well and truly over, so for any female readers who chance on my profile online, sadly it is really me, and for all my male readers, you don’t have to worry that you might accidentally end up flirting with me and sending me your dick pics. All the women out there at the moment might not necessarily be genuine, but at least they’re not me. So get going, everyone; the love of your life might be just one swipe away.

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Italians betray Germany for the third time https://www.google.com//550/2019/01/10/italians-betray-germany-third-time/ Thu, 10 Jan 2019 01:33:33 +0000 /550/?p=6450 May or may not be a good idea, but Italy invoking the term “axis” in regards to any diplomatic arrangement should arguably be avoided: The most powerful politician in Italy …

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May or may not be a good idea, but Italy invoking the term “axis” in regards to any diplomatic arrangement should arguably be avoided:

The most powerful politician in Italy pledged to give Europe “new blood, new strength, new energy” and “counter the Franco-German axis with the Italo-Polish axis.”

Matteo?Salvini, head of Italy’s co-ruling League, and Jaros?aw?Kaczy¨½ski, chief of Poland’s governing Law and Justice (PiS) party, met in Warsaw Wednesday afternoon to discuss working together in the European Parliament after May’s election.

They didn’t provide details of what such cooperation might entail but Salvini said they “spoke about the future of Europe and how to give a new sense to the European dream, which has been killed in Brussels in the last years.”

Speaking in the Italian Embassy, Salvini described the talks as “long and constructive.”

“We had very good and satisfactory talks. We agreed on the issue of border security and I received a lot of compliments from the Polish side on how we managed to limit illegal immigration,” Salvini said.

“There is a great historical challenge,” he added, “we have to counter the Franco-German axis with the Italo-Polish axis.”

As far as Brussels is concerned the Italo-Polish axis – or, perhaps even more logically, the Italo-Hungaro-Polish axis – would be another Axis of Evil: the crazy populist against open borders. While the EU money continues to be popular in Poland, other policies, like being forced to accept a seemingly never ending stream of migrants (some no doubt genuine refugees, but mostly economic sojourners) from Africa, the Middle East and Asia, not so much. Sensible immigration is more or less a political consensus in Poland, with even the centre-right and left opposition, which normally decries the “small Poland” policies of the Law and Justice government, not keen to “culturally enrich” Poland via an uncontrolled influx from the developing world. It’s not that Poland is exactly unwelcoming – there are more legal migrants in Poland than just about any other EU country, but they are mostly Ukrainians and Belorussians, who easily fit in Poland due to similar cultural and linguistic background and successfully fill all the job vacancies (somewhere between 1.5 and 2 million). There are occasional social tensions, but nothing compared to the boiling cauldron of the Western Europe, which Poles can watch every night on their TV screens and ponder on the wisdom of the Eurocrats.

The great tragedy of the European immigration policy is that immigration done right benefits both the migrants and their host countries and is much needed across the continent where the natives aren’t having enough children of their own to work the jobs and pay the taxes needed to keep everyone in the social democratic standard they have become accustomed to. But the decades-long social experiment by Brussels culminating over the past few years in a free-for-all has largely soured the populations on the whole idea of accepting foreigners, seeing how many of them don’t want to or have problems acculturating.

The new Warsaw-Rome axis might have some cultural affinities, but don’t expect it to invade Russia anytime soon:

Despite their parallel political interests, there are differences between the two.

Salvini?insists?that Northern European countries should?accept migrants arriving in Italy, while Kaczy¨½ski has built his electoral support on refusing any reallocation of asylum seekers. Salvini is also against extensive EU cohesion funds being granted to Central Europe in the next multiannual EU budget, while PiS is advocating for continued generous financial flows.

Kaczy¨½ski is also vulnerable to opposition attacks over?Salvini’s?open support for Russian President Vladimir Putin, a problem in generally anti-Russia Poland.

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A View from the High Castle https://www.google.com//550/2019/01/10/view-high-castle/ Wed, 09 Jan 2019 22:59:09 +0000 /550/?p=6447 December 1942. The Imperial Japanese Army, having cleared the Allied resistance across Papua New Guinea, invades the Australian mainland. Japanese armies land in Darwin, Cairns and Townsville. There is a …

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December 1942. The Imperial Japanese Army, having cleared the Allied resistance across Papua New Guinea, invades the Australian mainland. Japanese armies land in Darwin, Cairns and Townsville. There is a sporadic and short lived fighting, but the Japs are largely unopposed in their drive down the coast towards the New South Wales border, the fighting units of the Australian army having been withdrawn south to the Brisbane Line. Brisbane is repeatedly bombed throughout January and February, and as the northern Japanese offensive approaches, an amphibious landing north of Byron Bay puts the Diggers dug in on the northern outskirts of the Queensland capital between the Imperial pincers.

Why are we fascinated by alternative history? I think it’s partly because our own lives are a never ending series of forks in the road; everyday we choose another future at the expense of all others. Most of us live with some regrets – they are the twinges of longing for paths not taken but possibly leading to a better or at least a different present. It’s not too difficult then to imagine our general history taking different turns. Herein lies the second factor. Because our present in the English-speaking countries in particular has been quite good – at least to the extent that not many people would wish it to be radically different – there is a thrill and a frisson to imagining dystopias. Those elsewhere who have lived through nightmares of history – the Nazi occupation, Stalinist Russia, Maoism in China – don’t have to imagine worse; and it would be difficult to. We, on the other hand, relatively untouched by war, totalitarianism and other man-made catastrophes, can well guiltily dream of terrible “what ifs”.

Last night, over dinner, I have watched the second last episode of the second series of “The Man in the High Castle”, the original production from the Amazon studios, based on the old Philip K Dick novel. It is a great show – not just entertaining, but also gloriously imagined visually. The conceit of the book and the series is that the Axis powers have won the Second World War, with the United States divided between the Reich in the east and the Japanese Empire in the west, with an unoccupied zone in the Rockies acting as a buffer between the totalitarian victors. It’s a dark and terrifying vision of the 1960s without Elvis, John F Kennedy, the hippies and the Freedom Riders, where the man in the grey flannel suit wears a swastika armband and the rising sun flutters over the setting sun of Malibu. The fact that it’s impossible to think of any real life scenario where that might have indeed happened does not take away from the pleasure – or the discomfort – of watching the show. What would an occupied America be like? How would an average person behave under such extraordinary circumstances? We in the English-speaking world often sit in judgment of those who have lived under fascism and communism, imagining we would have bowed less and resisted more. But would we have really? I’m glad that we don’t and can’t know, but I fear the answers would not be as clear cut and gratifying as we hope.

In between the first and the second series, I picked Dick’s book off the shelves and re-read it after twenty odd years. It’s a strange novel – as is most of Dick’s literary output – that would not translate well into a movie (it’s certainly too short for a mini-series, much less several seasons’ worth). Thankfully the good people at Amazon have merely taken the basic hook (an occupied America) and some characters, but added many more and came up with an entirely different plot that makes “The Man in the High Castle” more like the other “Nazis won” thrillers, Robert Harris’ “Fatherland” and Len Deighton’s “SS-GB”, than Philip K Dick’s science-fiction classic. The alternative history genre is often considered a part of broader science-fiction, and in Dick’s case (“The Man” had won the prestigious SF Hugo Award after it came out in the early 60s) it’s arguably a correct designation as the book (and the TV series) is not a straightforward what-if but touches on alternative realities and the nature of reality itself. But this should not scare off readers who normally dislike and stay away from SF. There are no aliens and space battles here, and “Fatherland” and “SS-GB” show that most of the genre consists of works of creative reimagination rather than fantasy (nota bene, “Fatherland” has been very forgettably brought to the small screen while a more recent BBC adaptation of “SS-GB” has much more going for it).

While I Ching makes only a few appearances in the series (in the hands of the Japanese Trade Minister), in the book virtually all the main characters, both Asian and Caucasian, use it as a guide for their actions. “Grasshopper Lies Heavy”, the underground bestseller and an alternative history where the Allies have won the war, was written using I Ching, which is almost an in-joke, since Philip K Dick subsequently revealed that “The Man in the High Castle” itself has been written that way, making it perhaps one of the most experimental books ever created. The fact that randomness – or fate – as much as the author decided the actions of the characters no doubt contributes to the strange quality of the novel. How very 60s! The series fortunately opts for conventional, man-made storytelling.

“Fatherland”, still one of my all time favourite thrillers, is a more satisfying book than “The Man”, if one overlooks the fact that its central mystery, like in all other Harris thrillers, is quite ridiculous and far-fetched. But “The Man in the High Castle” makes for far more satisfying viewing. In the end we are entertained and titillated but grateful this is only an alternative history. Which character would we be – the Nazi, the resister or part of the great mass in the middle that keeps their head down and tries to survive the reality in however an unheroic manner? Better we only dream.

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Do Australians have more fun? https://www.google.com//550/2019/01/09/do-australian-have-more-fun/ Wed, 09 Jan 2019 01:21:22 +0000 /550/?p=6443 Bari Weiss, one of the few sane, non-left people allowed to write op-eds for “The New York Times”, has just come back from Australia and penned this interesting perspective on …

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Bari Weiss, one of the few sane, non-left people allowed to write op-eds for “The New York Times”, has just come back from Australia and penned this interesting perspective on the land Down Under. My summary: it’s a Lucky Country, but maybe all the luck has got some downsides.

When Mark Twain?steamed into Sydney¡¯s harbor in September 1895,?journalists peppered him with questions?before he had even stepped off the S.S. Warrimoo. ¡°I am going to write a book on Australia,¡± he proclaimed. ¡°And I think I ought to start now. You always know so much more of a country when you have not seen it than when you have.¡±

I imagined an exotic menagerie: animals that begin with the letter K frolicking next to?shirtless Hemsworths, mostly.

Instead, I found Australia ¡ª or rather the teeny, tiny corner of this vast continent that I got the chance to experience this past month ¡ª much closer to how David Sedaris once described it: ¡°Canada in a thong.¡±

It is a place where things just work. The politics are moderate. The economy is roaring (at least for now). The strangers are helpful.

Everyone has health care. Mass shootings are almost unheard-of. And I¡¯d feel comfortable following the five-second rule on a random subway platform.

So far, so Canada.

But you don¡¯t get on a flight across the world just to admire?a $19 minimum wage. You come for the thongs.

Australians have more fun. They just do. I guess I should not be surprised by this fact given that this is the place that birthed both Hugh Jackman and Kylie Minogue.

Canada in a thong, but mercifully without Justin Trudeau.

You can roll your eyes or you can appreciate the fact that everything here sounds a bit cuter. I opt for the latter.

More profound is how people relate to one another. I¡¯ve talked with people for hours before they have asked me what I do for work. At home that question can come before ¡°How are you?¡± I won¡¯t ever make that mistake again.

Australians are also, mercifully, not in the midst of a raging culture war. At home, friends are largely delineated by political tribe; couples that date across the divide are newsworthy. Here, it is normal. The political is not personal, and that¡¯s not just because so many of the big issues that tear Americans apart (health care, guns, the social safety net) are settled. It¡¯s that Australians never seem to doubt that there is more to life than politics.

For all the apparent similarities – both former British colonies and settler nations – the political cultures of the United States and Australia are very different. Australia’s has always been less passionate and more laid back, with a less significant libertarian strain and a more statist consensus. I think it goes back to how and by whom the two countries have been originally settled; the United States by religious and political dissenters and Australia by prisoners (our political dissenters were the Brit-hating Irish, thus guaranteeing a strong radical, anti-establishment tradition). It also helped that America was much closer to Europe, getting the migrants from all corners of the Old World, whereas well into the post-war period Australia was largely Anglo-Celtic in its ethnicity and culture. At the risk of sounding unkind, for most of its history Australia (like Canada) got the migrants who wouldn’t go the United States, often people looking for a familiar British experience but with a better climate (Australia, not Canada) and plenty more space. There has always been a greater role for and the acceptance of government in everyone’s lives, which counter-intuitively made for less divisive and more placid politics.

And yet, for all that this country gets right, Australia is a bit like the hottest girl in your freshman class. She looks fantastic in her crop top but suffers from crippling self-doubt.

Some of the insecurity is warranted. Given the tremendous capital and the brain power here, Australia should be a start-up nation. Ask Australians why it isn¡¯t like Tel Aviv or Silicon Valley and they will invariably chalk it up to ¡°tall poppy syndrome.¡± (Another great Australianism, tall poppies are successful people whose ambitions perhaps deserve to be cut down to size.)

Another obstacle might be how generally pleasant life here is. When you¡¯ve got a good thing going, it¡¯s hard to justify taking a risk that will most likely result in failure. And people here tend to be deeply laid back, a quality that can shade into risk aversion and complacency ¡ª perhaps an inevitable result of living somewhere so physically beautiful.

I rather like this conceptualisation of Australia as a hot girl with self-esteem issues; it’s perhaps more poignant than Weiss realises. Likeแจก เครดิต ทดลอง เล่น ฟรี 1000 ถอน ได้ all hot people, she expects life to be easy and pleasant, because it largely is for someone like her, but this very fact means she doesn’t need to diversify her assets and try harder in life. There is a big unrealised potential that is going to waste (or waist). Thus Australia is actually quite good at coming up with great innovative ideas; we’re only crap at commercialising them and reaping the benefits. The local capital is just too staid and not venturesome enough. There is laziness (of imagination, because we tend to actually work hard, despite the heat), complacency and a false sense of security with a tendency to drift.

But for all that hotness there is also problem with self-esteem. We crave attention and approval and security, whether it’s our parents (Great Britain), the alpha males (the United States) or wealthy neighbours (China). We feel a bit guilty to be so lucky, but not guilty enough to do something to rely less on luck in the future and more on factors that are in our control and up to us to do something about.

Still, it’s good to be hot. Thanks, Bari.

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The attack of social justice kittens https://www.google.com//550/2019/01/08/attack-social-justice-kittens/ Tue, 08 Jan 2019 01:03:18 +0000 /550/?p=6432 Their cuteness will overwhelm you, their wokeness will transform you. It’s only a few days into #socialjusticejanuary so it’s not too late to buy your “Social Justice Kittens 2019 Calendar”. …

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Their cuteness will overwhelm you, their wokeness will transform you. It’s only a few days into #socialjusticejanuary so it’s not too late to buy your “Social Justice Kittens 2019 Calendar”.








As you can see towards the end, it’s a joke. At least I hope it is.

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Rehabilitating motherf***er https://www.google.com//550/2019/01/06/rehabilitating-motherfer/ Sun, 06 Jan 2019 07:47:33 +0000 /550/?p=6429 Good news for sweary people like me – You’ve heard it from “The Washington Post” so it must be OK: Opinion: What¡¯s so wrong with motherf—er? https://t.co/yBF1HGsOPC — The Washington …

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Good news for sweary people like me – You’ve heard it from “The Washington Post” so it must be OK:

Apparently the word “motherf***er”? is now fine if you use it against a President you don’t like – though if it’s really fine, why not print the whole word, WaPo? Democracy Dies in Deleted Letters:

The argument from the pro-civility crusaders is that talking this way is sinking to Trump¡¯s level. That¡¯s wrong. It not only misses the meaningful difference between words and actions, but it doesn¡¯t even grasp the difference between words and other words.

¡°Motherf—er¡± is filler; it means little more than ¡°someone more unpleasant than ¡®unpleasant¡¯ can convey.¡± Saying you grab women ¡°by the p—y,¡± on the other hand, is truly damaging: It turns members of that gender into something to be played with. Calling immigrants?an infestation?dehumanizes them.

¡°Motherf—er,¡± in short, is about civility. ¡°Shithole countries¡± is about character. Democrats who conflate the two weaken themselves. They minimize the abuses of the Trump administration, and they invite the president to go on committing them without expecting anything more than an anemic reprimand. Democrats, he understands, won¡¯t ever really fight back.

So now you know all the useful, Jesuitical distinctions, if you can ever remember them. In the word of WaPo opinion writers, calling a country “shithole” is different than calling a person “motherf***er”. Memo to Trump: start calling women, immigrants and other countries “motherf***ers”; it won’t be damaging or dehumanising anymore and “The Washington Post” will approve – after all, all that the President will be saying is that some immigrants, countries, women, or for that matter Democrats, are “more unpleasant than ‘unpleasant’ can convey”. That probably makes “The Washington Post” a bit of a motherf***er of a newspaper.

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Fr Rod Bower is how Jonestown started https://www.google.com//550/2019/01/03/fr-rod-bower-jonestown-started/ Wed, 02 Jan 2019 23:19:50 +0000 /550/?p=6423 Those who don’t learn from history are condemned to repeat it. Those who learn the wrong lessons from history are condemned to repeat their ignorance. Take Fr Rod Bower: Standing …

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Those who don’t learn from history are condemned to repeat it. Those who learn the wrong lessons from history are condemned to repeat their ignorance. Take Fr Rod Bower:

Father Bob “the Larrikin priest”, in turn, had an even more bizarre statement to make:

If you are indeed so reminded, I can recommend a few dozen history books to read to make sure that in the future you are not so reminded. Any comparison between on the one hand a concentration and a death camp in which some million people were either worked or gassed to death in the pursuit of the eradication of the Jewish people in Europe and on the other hand a detention facility for people trying to enter Australia in the process of shopping around for the best asylum destination in the world is just so historically illiterate and so grotesquely insulting to the memory of the Holocaust that one wonders how anyone can make it with sincerity and straight face. Father Bob apparently does, which leaves me wondering instead about either his moral compass or his intellect or both. One can well disagree with particular immigration policies and even think them evil without having to trivialise the mechanised murder of 6 million Jews plus millions more of Gypsies, Slavs and other subhumans and undesirables. Not everyone you disagree with is Hitler, not every policy you oppose is the Holocaust, not qualitatively, not qualitatively, not morally.

That Father Rod would jump to Father Bob’s support is not particularly startling by comparison. Bower can be counted to support pretty much every left wing position on any issue, however remotely it can be tied to religion. Hence, “Manus is how Holocaust started”. But lest we roll our eyes again at the invocation of the Final Solution to describe a Liberal government’s policies, Bower quickly goes on to explain that “Manus does not necessarily lead to the Holocaust but it is a necessary step”. By that Fr Rod probably means that if you don’t treat people nicely it might eventually escalate to something worse – or as the Auschwitz museum puts it:

Well, yes, but… Historical events like the Holocaust – or for that matter Stalinist Red Terror, Mao’s Great Famine, or crusades, slavery, colonialism, industrial revolution, and whatever else you look at – have dozens of causes, preconditions and contributing factors, all of them “necessary”. Singling one for the purposes of analogising with the present serves no useful purpose except to reveal one’s historical ignorance and/or political insincerity.

To say that Manus is how Holocaust started is as stupid as to say that Fr Bower is how Jonestown started, in a sense that the mass cult suicide in a Guiana jungle would not have happened without a socialist religious figure behind it (as Rev Jones was). I’m not expecting 20 woke Gosford Anglican parishioners drinking Cool Aid (not literally, in any case) in the church hall anytime soon, and neither should you (or, for that matter, wish so).

There is no doubt that the Holocaust would not have happened if not for the German anti-Semitism. But if that was all there was to it, the Holocaust would not have happened, as it did not happen in any other place or time previously or since. There were other “necessary steps”, including but not restricted to the Nazi ideology, Hitler’s specific personality and philosophy, replacing democracy with a totalitarian state, militarisation of the society, and the invasion and occupation of Poland and the Soviet Union in a course of a global conflict.

Yet Fr Rod perseveres:

The first step on the way to the Holocaust was labelling the Jews as ¡®vermin¡¯ to be eradicated. In Rwanda they used the term ¡®cockroaches¡¯ we have used the label ¡®illegals¡¯. The second step is to ensure these ¡®labelled¡¯ inhabit a different civic universe and do not qualify for the same ¡®rights¡¯ as we do. The third step is to lock them up.

We have taken these three steps with refugees in Australia and while they do not inevitably result in catastrophic events like the Holocaust, they are the necessary first three steps on the path to that living Hell on Earth.

Well, I’m very glad to hear to Australia’s immigration and border protection policy will not inevitably result in… what? Australia exterminating everyone who wants to migrate to Australia? Australia invading neighbouring countries and genociding peoples there because they might be potential migrants? Again, the comparisons are so out of proportion they are simply jarring, including the most basic one between preventing people from getting out so they can be murdered en masse and preventing people from getting in. Manus is not how the Holocaust started. The Holocaust is how the conversations about Manus stop.

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20 Best Books I’ve Read in 2018 https://www.google.com//550/2019/01/01/20-best-books-ive-read-2018/ Mon, 31 Dec 2018 22:43:57 +0000 /550/?p=6415 Happy New Year to The Daily Chrenk readers. If 2018 sucked for you, as it did for many people I know, keep marching on, onward and upward; if it was …

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Happy New Year to The Daily Chrenk readers. If 2018 sucked for you, as it did for many people I know, keep marching on, onward and upward; if it was good for you, may 2019 be even better.

Another year, another year of TDC reading too many books instead of doing something more useful like blogging or having a life for that matter (and then blogging about it). As it? has now become a tradition, at the beginning of a new year, I want to share with readers my three favourites of the year, the rest of the top twenty (which, in both cases, to confuse the matters, are not in any specific order), as well as the ten notable mentions, which didn’t quite crack the first twenty.

Please note that since I don’t buy new books, virtually everything I read is at least a few years old. Hence, not “The Best 20 Books of 2018” but simply the best books I got my hands on and read throughout the year.

1. “The State of Africa: A History of Fifty Years of Independence” Martin Meredith (2005)

This book will make you angry, this book will make you want to weep, this book will make you want to strangle people, most of whom are now mercifully (for others’ sake, not their own) dead. Meredith shows how in the aftermath of decolonisation, newly independent African states – just about all of them – were in turn colonised from the inside by their own elites, and subsequently raped, destroyed, savaged and drowned in blood, sometimes for the sake of higher (though ultimately wring) ideals, often simply for the sake of satisfying the basest human instincts. The European rule might have been unjust and harsh (though its quality varied widely across the continent, in part depending on who the colonising power was) but with a few exceptions it had little on the indigenous orgy of violence, oppression, corruption and gross mismanagement, from which nightmare Africa has only recently started to finally wake up. Hallelujah and Godspeed!

2. “The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin” H W Brands (2000)

I don’t read a lot of what in the United States is a veritable publishing industry in itself – the biographies of the Founding Fathers – so I can’t compare this Pulitzer nominee (robbed in my opinion) to other classics of the genre, but Brands’ book is an astonishing portrait of an astonishing individual, not just “the first” but certainly among the most fascinating Americans who have ever lived, a true Renaissance man who also comes across as a genuinely decent human being and one of the very few historical personages I would actually like to have dinner with (whether he would like to have dinner with me is unlikely, though he would no doubt jump to the opportunity to hear how the American experiment has turned out). Eight hundred pages but never a dull moment with this never a dull man.

3. “East West Street: On the Origins of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity” Philippe Sands (2016)

It’s difficult to properly describe this book, part intellectual history and biography revolving around the one of the most turbulent parts of Europe during one of its most turbulent times, part detective story to trace Sands’ own family roots, intertwined? at the margins as they were with those of the book’s two main protagonists. Sands, who is one of the most prominent contemporary international lawyers alights on the remarkable coincidence that the two lawyers who respectively invented the historically momentous concepts of genocide and crimes against humanity both came from the city and the environs of Lwow (now in Ukraine), as did Sands’ family – and, coincidentally, some of mine, albeit unlike the other three, all gentile. As difficult to describe it’s also difficult to praise “East West Street” highly enough for turning what might have been a very dry treatment of a very dry topic into a powerful and page-turning personal and historical odyssey.

And now the rest of the top 20:

4. “Ardennes 1944: Hitler’s Last Gamble” Anthony Beevor (2015)

Beevor continues to deliver, even if finding it difficult to?replicate the success?of “Stalingrad” and “Berlin”. The Bulge never really had a chance to turn the war around for Germany, but Beevor is excellent at capturing just how bitterly and desperately the Americans had fought virtually every step of the way to make sure it didn’t.

5. “The Diet Myth: The Real Science Behind What We Eat” Tim Spector (2015)

Spector is a geneticist who has conducted one of the largest studies into who we are and what we eat, and how we are what we eat. Forget all the “accepted science”, which constantly changes anyway, forget the conventional wisdom, forget the diets and the fads and just read this book. Hint: putting sugar aside (metaphorically and literally), pretty much every other food and food type is OK in moderation.

6. “The Party: The Secret World of China’s Communist Rulers” Richard McGregor (2010)

McGregor is an Australian journalist who knows a thing or two – or a hundred – about modern China and so this book is an absolute must-read for anyone who wants to understand how China actually works. Most people, deceived by the country’s booming and seemingly free market economy, have no idea how great a control the Party exercises over all aspects of life, including business. This is a necessary corrective.

7. “Napoleon the Great” Andrew Roberts (2014)

The Brits generally consider Napoleon to be Satan, so this grand and magisterial bio by Roberts is controversial in its generally positive portrait of the greatest Frenchman. Bonaparte was a genius and he was a pain the ass and both are probably related, but – for better or worse – individuals like him don’t walk the Earth often. Can’t wait to read Andrew’s new biography of Churchill, which if a number of reviews are to be trusted, might just be the best single-volume Churchill biography ever written.

8. “Former People: The Last Days of the Russian Aristocracy” Douglas Smith (2012)

Communists have drowned Russia in the blood of her people, and with so many victims the Tsarist aristocracy are the least mourned (many of them felt in any case that a historical reckoning of some sort was due for their class), but nevertheless this fascinating social history of how Russia’s great families were virtually exterminated makes for a shocking and a very melancholy read.

9.?“Tolstoy” A N Wilson (1988)

I never read any Tolstoy, I don’t read classics and therefore I’m not interested in literary biographies, but Wilson here has achieved a miracle, writing about the life of Russia’s greatest novelist and prophet is a way that had me absolutely spellbound for over 500 pages.

10. “The Frock-coated Communist: The Revolutionary Life of Friedrich Engels” Tristram Hunt (2009)

Marx and Engels have to share the responsibility for providing the ideological justification for the misery inflicted on hundred of millions of people in the 20th century. It won’t exculpate him, but while Marx was a shit of a human being, Engels was not just more decent but also far more interesting, and – heresy alert – better and more prescient thinker.

11. “Our Crowd: The Great Jewish Families of New York” Stephen Birmingham (1967)

The biggest surprise enjoyment of the year. Some years ago I’ve read Birmingham’s book about the great wave of Jewish migration to New York in the late 19th and the early 20th century and quite liked it, but this prequel is a wonderful narrative social history of an earlier, smaller wave of German Jews who became?Big Apple aristocrats – the Seligmans, the Solomons, the Liebs, the Kuhns, the Warburgs, the Lehmans. Engrossing.

12. “Power, Faith and Fantasy: America and the Middle East, 1776 to the Present” Michael B Oren (2007)

A must-read for anyone interested in American foreign policy and/or the Middle Eastern history. A great corrective for those living in the eternal present; Oren is particularly good at tracing the continuities in the interaction between the New World and the Really Old World. There is nothing new under the scorching Levantine sun.

13. “Warren Mundine in Black and White: Race, Politics and Changing Australia” Myunggai Warren Mundine AO (2017)

Political autobiographies usually bore me for their predictability and lack of candour, but Mundine’s is honest, interesting and ultimately uplifting, offering for me – a relatively recent arrival to Australia – a glimpse of the country and the time that I?have never experienced myself. “Black and White”, however, is more than just a memoir; it’s also a mediation, a polemic and a manifesto. Indigenous people need – we all need in Australia – more people like Mundine.

14. “Restless Empire: China and the World Since 1750” Odd Arne Westad (2012)

You won’t know and understand what drives China’s rulers today unless you understand China’s history, including its modern history of interaction with the outside world it had once safely assumed to be barbarian and of no significance. Marxism has been just one part of the puzzle, now increasingly least important.

15. “American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America” Colin Woodard (2011)

In the footsteps of classics like “Albion’s Seed”, Woodard retells the story of the United States, Canada and northern Mexico through the story of local cultures, which proved amazingly resilient and continue to still be with us today, influencing many facets of American life. It’s not just Yankees and Southern Rednecks; it’s far more complex and far more fascinating.

16. “Afgantsy: The Russians in Afghanistan 1979-89” Roderick Braithwaite (2011)

The first book in English looking at the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan through the Russian eyes. Braithwaite, the former British ambassador to Moscow, opens to us a whole new perspective on events we are familiar with.

17. “Warlord: The Fighting Life of Winston Churchill, from Soldier to Statesman” Carlo D’Este (2008)

Oh no, not another biography of Churchill; haven’t you already read half a dozen? That’s what I initially thought, but this 700+ pages mammoth of a book has quickly won me over, not least because D’Este, a military historian and biographer of note, is a very good writer and he engagingly tells?the story of a infuriating genius who for all his other jobs throughout life remained a military man at heart, capable of both great insight (the father of the tank) as well as obsessive blindness (his lifelong fascination with the Balkans).

18. “The Americans: A Social History of the United States 1587-1914” J C Furnas (1969)

Hardback picked up for a $1 without any expectations, but it turned out to be a wonderful narrative history of which there is not a lot nowadays.

19. “The Cultural Revolution: A People’s History 1962-1976” Frank Dikotter (2016)

The third volume in Dikotter’s must-read trilogy of carnage and suffering brought to post-war China by Mao; the previous volumes covering the victory in the civil war and the great famine. The Cultural Revolution was the last, albeit prolonged, bout of madness. It’s difficult not to read the stories of young indoctrinated fanatics running amok and destroying the enemies of the people and eradicating all traces of the past and not think of today’s universities – and be thankful the woke instincts are still being tampered by democracy and ridicule.

20.? “The War in the West, A New History: Vol I, Germany Ascendant 1939-1941” James Holland (2015)

Haven’t there been enough books written about the Second World War? Clearly not, as they continue to sell, and not just to me. I like Holland’s approach, who in addition of waving the big strategic picture with the personal from-the-ground view of participants also focuses on an often underplayed aspect of war-making: the logistics: weapon production, weapon quality, fuel, food, transport.

Notable mentions:

“In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin” Erik Larson (2011) – FDR’s ambassador and his family witness the rise of Hitler. Great book spoiled only by the soft treatment of the daughter who subsequently became a communist agent.

“Surrender: Appeasing Islam, Sacrificing Freedom” Bruce Bawer (2010) – Europe’s trendy multicultural surrender to intolerance makes one’s blood boil. If anything, things have gotten worse since then.

“Summits: Six Meetings That Shaped the Twentieth Century” David Reynolds (2007) – no startling new material but old tales retold well about big men deciding the fates of hundreds of millions over tense dinners.

“The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression” Stephane Courtois et al (1999) – again, nothing new for those familiar with the topic, but the book, originally published in France, nevertheless created a storm of controversy among the European leftists not appreciating being reminded of whom they cheered on throughout the Cold War.

“Rampage: The Social Roots of School Shootings” Katherine S Newman (2004) – what happens and why – not just to the perpetrators and their victims but to their whole communities; a result of excellent field work at two locations.

“The Silk Roads: A New History of the World” Peter Frankopan (2015) – the history of the stretch of land between the Middle East and China, or rather the history of the world as seen through the prism of the said stretch of land.

“God’s Chinese Son: The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom of Hong Xiuquan” Jonathan D Spence (1996) – one of the most bizarre chapters of the Chinese history is this bloodiest of all civil wars, whipped up mid-19th century but an indigenous quasi-Christian sect.

“Models: Attract Women Through Honesty” Mark Manson (2010) – before he wrote “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck” Manson wrote perhaps the best book about dating and attraction, sometimes counter-intuitive – or counter-narrative – but always sensible and brutally honest.

“Poor Economics: Barefoot Hedge Fund Managers, DIY Doctors and the Surprising Truth About Life on Less Than $1 a Day” Abhijit V Banerjee and Esther Duflo (2011) – one of those relatively short but very enlightening books backed by field research about the life in poverty as perceived by the actual poor people and not just the Western economists or all the sincere people trying to help them. It’s also somewhat deflating because once you finish it you realise that the problems are much more difficult to solve than either the right or the left would think.

“Tank Men: The Human Story of Tanks at War” Robert Kershaw (2008) – war from the perspective of men locked inside a claustrophobic tin can where they are likely to burn inside.

“Twelve Rules For Life: An Antidote to Chaos” Jordan B Peterson (2018) – the book everyone has been talking about. It didn’t quite bowl me over, but I can see the massive need for it (as was indeed revealed through its ongoing bestselling status) and see why so many people are responding to it – which is encouraging both in a sense that it is a good antidote but also because while Peterson is a very good and engaging writer “12 Rules” is not your average dumbed-down self-help book for the under-educated generation with a goldfish-like attention span.

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Cirque di Shariai https://www.google.com//550/2018/12/28/cirque-di-shariai/ Fri, 28 Dec 2018 06:59:38 +0000 /550/?p=6407 Perhaps rejoicing at Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the US forces from Afghanistan, Taliban are working hard not to become Talitubbies when the time for the next offensive comes: Taliban …

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Perhaps rejoicing at Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the US forces from Afghanistan, Taliban are working hard not to become Talitubbies when the time for the next offensive comes:

Taliban training video documentation is the gift that keeps on giving.

And in the true spirit of Christmastime generosities, the organization decided to release a new film ¡ª reportedly shot in Afghanistan ¡ª documenting their foray into cheer squad competitions.

Ditching their typical video recipe of highlighting immense monkey bar-traversing talents, the Taliban Commandos incorporated a bevy of choreographed stunts, dance moves and teamwork to challenge any and all cheer squads who stand in their way.

These guys are in it to win it and are here to p-p-p-pump you up, so bring it on. That goes for you, too, Rancho Carne High School cheer squad.

The routine has everything. Choreographed squad push-ups? Check. The most crisply-executed leap-frogging ever performed? Definitely. Death-defying, flaming hoop dives? You bet. Sword fighting with sticks? Hell yeah.

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Politics is getting nastier because we’re getting dumber https://www.google.com//550/2018/12/27/politics-getting-nastier-getting-dumber/ Thu, 27 Dec 2018 11:45:04 +0000 /550/?p=6404 An interesting argument from a British politician and writer Dan Hannan: The fall in IQ scores in the West is perhaps the most under-reported story of our era. For most …

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An interesting argument from a British politician and writer Dan Hannan:

The fall in IQ scores in the West is perhaps the most under-reported story of our era. For most of the twentieth century, IQ rose by around three points per decade globally, probably because of better nutrition. But that trend has recently gone into reverse in developed countries.

You hadn¡¯t heard? I¡¯m not surprised. Journalists and politicians won¡¯t go near the subject and you can see why. Consider the theories offered by neuroscientists for the decline. Some argued it had to do with the rising age of motherhood, because the children of older mothers tend to have lower IQs, other things being equal. No one likes to say this, because it can come across as ¡°older moms have dumb kids,¡± which is not true. (My wife and I were 44 when our youngest child was born, and my own parents were also elderly, but that didn¡¯t make me too thick to grasp the concept of statistical distributions.)

Other theories were even more explosive. For example, that unintelligent people were having more kids, or that the fall in average scores reflected immigration from places with lower IQs.

But a new study from Norway, which examines IQ scores from 730,000 men (standardized tests are part of military service there) disproves all these ideas, because it shows IQ dropping?within the same families. Men born in 1991 score, on average, five points lower than men born in 1975. There must, in other words, be an environmental explanation, and the chronology throws up a clear suspect: the rise in screen-time.

Hannan sees the social media as partly to blame but not in the way that most other commentators do: “Screen addiction is shortening our attention span and lowering our cognitive ability, thus making us less able to entertain the idea that people we dislike might nonetheless have useful things to say.”

There are correlations, but which way does causation really go? Is lower intelligence leading to us spending more time in front of screens because we can’t cope with anything more challenging, or is spending more time in front of the ever ubiquitous screens lowering our intelligence? Either way, we seem to know less but believe in it with the increasingly more passionate intensity that brooks no compromises.

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