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May 20, 2021

"I have two moms" is not a military strategy: A tale of three military recruitment ads.

Military Recruitment Cover

Bring it on cisgender patriarchies, America is going to woke you into dust!

What we have here is a tale of three military recruitment ads, one from China, one from Russia, and one from America.

Before we get to the video, let's break it down a bit first for proper context.

You'll note that the Chinese and Russian videos are pretty light on exposition. While I don't speak either language, based on the imagery, I'd say the bang-bang to yack-yack ratio is very different compared to the American recruitment ad.

For example, the Chinese soldier gets all of 3 seconds worth of backstory. He shows up for a medical exam, and it's off to basic training.

Military Ad China 7

The Russian soldier gets a full 9 seconds of backstory. (The Russians must be getting soft.) We do learn from the video that he enjoyed soccer, had some buddies, and a girlfriend all of which will be shortly stripped away.

Military Ad Russia 10

That's pretty much the last time you'll see him smile.

In contrast, our American soldier's story "begins in California with a little girl raised by two moms."

Military Ad America 11

Not surprisingly, when your backstory begins when you are a small child, it's probably going to eat up some run time, in this case, nearly a minute and a half of a two-minute video.  Think less "military recruitment ad" and more, "Lifetime movie."

China's military ad displays the steely resolve expected of its soldiers.

Military Ad China 6

The Russian ad leaves no doubt that this man will kill you without hesitation if ordered to.

Military Ad Russia 4

Likewise, the American ad strikes fear in the way only a friendly and approachable animated cartoon character really can.

Military Ad America 7

I should warn you, she occasionally squints her eyes in a clearly menacing manner.

 Military Ad America 8

She looks like someone who wouldn't think twice about disrespecting your pronouns.

But only if it was absolutely necessary.

The Chinese ad depicts total battlefield domination.

Military Ad China 2

The Russian ad has their soldiers descending from the skies at will.

Military Ad Russia 8

The American ad depicts their soldier performing ballet as a child.

Military Ad America 9

Watch that plié, it's deadly.

And, playing the violin.

Military Ad America 10

Hey, she probably knows a dozen ways to kill you with that bow, several of them possibly involving an attempt to play the Prokofiev and Shostakovich Concerti.

I should point out here that that is how most of this video goes. It's basically her life story, including her mother's medical history, sorority life, a wedding... you know, basic military stuff only without all the weapons, and tanks, and violence. (Ick.)

Back to the Chinese.

Military Ad China 3

Phallic much?

Military Ad Russia 3

And seriously, what's with this Russian guy? Does he ever blink?  I swear, he'd kill me just for the practice.

Meanwhile, our intrepid American soldier mans a Patriot missile defense battery which emits puffs of smoke not unlike what happens when the coyote misses catching the roadrunner.

Military Ad America 2

Ha ha, that coyote never catches a break.

Hopefully the Patriot missiles do, because the Chinese have A LOT of those not-at-all defensive pointy missile things at their disposal.

Military Ad China 8

I should point out the Chinese military also displays large amounts of toxic masculinity.

Military Ad China 1

The Russians display ridiculous amounts of toxic masculinity. I started feeling non-binary in comparison.

Military Ad Russia 11

The American ad had no toxic masculinity. In fact, it had no masculinity, period.

Military Ad America 5

"I also marched for equality. I like to think I've been defending freedom from an early age."

I also played Grand Theft Auto and like to think that I've been running a powerful crime syndicate from an early age.

Look, her story is a nice one. I'm delighted that she and I live in a country that afforded her and her moms the freedom to live in peace as they please the way they please.

But there are forces, like the ones depicted in the Chinese and Russian military recruitment ads below that might again come along to try to put an end to those freedoms by force.

And you're going to want soldiers, a lot of them, who are capable of unspeakable acts of violence when needed on your side when that moment arrives.

May 20, 2021 at 08:50 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2)

May 16, 2021

"White women are the most dangerous upholders of white supremacy in Silicon Valley," writes white woman who really hated her boss because she was mean, and told her what to do, and was mean, and did I already say she was mean because she really was...


I don't know about you, but whenever I have had a problem with my boss my first instinct is to sit down and write a 4000-word polemic suggesting everyone who shares her skin color and gender are "dangerous" while simultaneously detailing my own emotional troubles being sure to never once suggest that maybe the problem was with me and not an entire industry.

I think I read that on LinkedIn or something.

Which brings us to former Webflow executive, Britt Caldwell.

Clearly she needs therapy.

I decided to take therapy seriously for the first time since my father passed in 2009.

Okay, more therapy.

Anyone can publish anything on Medium, it's a writer's platform, so there was no one around to tell her, no, we're not going to run this.

I don't necessarily recommend you read the entire 4000-word essay, but it is a tour de force of narcissistic victimhood and so much more revealing than I think she had intended.

And honestly, if that was all this was about I'd ignore it and wish her well in working through her problems.

But people pay attention to this kind of thing. They use it. They cite it. Caldwell just claimed in a very public way that "white women" are "dangerous upholders of white supremacy," because she didn't get along with her boss, and we no longer have the luxury of dismissing these kinds of things as harmless.

She starts:

After two years at Webflow, I am saying goodbye to more than just a job I once loved. I'm risking the most important possession I've acquired. The very thing that I've sacrificed family, friends, and good health to attain. The thing I've held on a pedestal for 15 years — my career — to speak my truth.

Anyone else get the feeling that there's a lot more going on here with Caldwell? This sounds a bit like regret over the choices she herself made.

When any non-cishet/white/man is in power (not the least of which are white women)...

Caldwell earlier wrote that, "white women are considered checkmarks on tech's list of DEI requirements," and here she is considering "non-cishet/white/man" as checkmarks on her own personal list of grievances.

"Cishet," which I had to think about for a moment, "white," "man," none meant to be flattering. Your sexuality, race, and gender, immutable characteristics you were born with and can't control, are intended to be insults.

Kind of like what someone who is prejudiced, sexist, and racist, would do.

...and exudes traits of toxic masculinity, their behavior is more conspicuous, subjecting them to more damaging discourse and tarnishing of their reputation than her superiors would receive. This not only makes white men more covertly dangerous,... Yet white women continue to senselessly defend their toxic behavior.

So, she's saying white women are man-adjacent?

It's all so complicated.

White women often ascend the ranks in supremely toxic work environments, adopting and also benefiting from the same white supremacy that steps on the necks of their sisters and daughters along the way.

Colorful! Deranged, but colorful.

Keep in mind she's a white woman. This is not healthy.

The more they exhibit authoritarianism, the higher they progress.

"Authoritarianism."  She does know these are people in positions of authority, right?  That's kind of part of the boss job description.

And because they climbed the highest mountain and sparkled in a sea of others who might cry at work, they feel uber accomplished and outstanding.

Are you starting to feel some resentment? I'm starting to feel some resentment here.

Many go on to intentionally inflict the same, or worse, traumas they endured because they believe they are stronger because of it.

Because maybe they are? The notion of coming out stronger after enduring hardship is hardly novel.

We've seen it time and time again, in every industry, from the people we admire most. From my former favorite chef, April Bloomfield, to treasured feminist J.K. Rowling, but we'll get to her later.

And she does, later writing that Rowling held "deeply harmful transphobic views" and linked to this tweet from Rowling as proof.

She lumps that, a statement that is at worst benign, and in any case was considered true five minutes ago, with Bloomfield who was accused of sexual harassment.

There is no sense of proportion with people like this, no ability to distinguish real harm from imagined, self-imposed phantom harms.

Much of the piece is made up of a list of grievances Caldwell had against her former boss, starting with the headaches she'd get after one-on-one meetings with her and then progressing.

I started experiencing intense migraines a day or so after my weekly 1–1s with my current boss. Who doesn't get headaches? I stare at a computer screen all day and barely get up to pee, let alone drink water...

Eventually nausea surfaced during our 1–1s and profound fatigue followed into the evenings. Who isn't nauseous and tired? We're in a pandemic. I couldn't connect the dots.

So many dots to connect.

I remembered the most recent director's offsite where she told me, the only woman besides herself invited, that I needed to stop giving feedback. That I need to understand that "because I said so" is enough context for me to get my work done.

I wasn't there, but if your boss is telling you to shut up in front of your colleagues, the problem could very well be you. And yet this never occurs to her. Not for one moment. She has thoughts! She needs to speak her truth!

No one cares!

When I looked at my male peers in disbelief, their heads were down in their laps.

Again, I was not there, but this sounds like they were embarrassed for her, no matter their gender.

She spends a few paragraphs discussing how she felt she was complicit in this, being a white woman and all.

Our abusers don't just look like us — they are us. Recognizing it makes us question our own identity....

A whole bunch of that, and then this.

My white-woman-girl-boss...

Wow. Just, wow.

...and I got scarily similar results to the same bull%$#@ personality test and instead of wanting to vomit,...

I need a new word that means "wow" but more.

...I smirked on the inside momentarily. Does this mean what I think it means? I must be destined for VP-dom too.

No, it doesn't, and I think that's part of the problem.

And then the pieces of the puzzle started fitting together.

First dots connecting, and now puzzle pieces fitting!

This is starting to sound like a children's activity book.

Sadly, at no point were "pictures colored" or "words unjumbled."

When she was applying for the job and I was interviewing her and she dodged every question and turned it around on me.

It's Silicon Valley. The employees get to interview their future bosses. This is exactly what I would expect of a future boss. Exactly.

When she made the entire marketing team take personality tests her first month at the company and wouldn't share the results.

Not that unusual. It's her prerogative. She's the boss, not you.

When she scolded me for allowing my direct reports to have their cameras off in meetings and be idle on Slack, while she operated on stealth mode.

I know you know she's your boss because you explained that in the beginning. She can leave her camera off if she wants to.

And insisting your employees have their cameras turned on during video conferences? Save for brief moments, say they need to move to another room, why wouldn't you insist on this? I would, and have.

Again, she's the boss, not you. I'm definitely starting to think that's the real problem she has.

When she said "I've got news for you, sister. This is how it is at startups" whenever she disagreed with me (as if I was new to this).

Her boss sounds like Pol Pot and Hitler all rolled into one. She's one unkind word away from committing genocide. Emotional genocide. The worst kind when you think about it but not for too long.

When she told me to try having an optimistic attitude in a group meeting after I asked how the sudden change in strategy would affect the roadmap.

Regardless of what kind of boss she was, there is one thing we can be sure of reading this.

She thought Caldwell was a terrible employee.

That doesn't necessarily mean she was, or is in every circumstance, or with everyone, but from the very beginning, from that first interview, these two were toxic for each other, that much is clear.

Making the leap from that to "white women are the most dangerous upholders of white supremacy," is Grand Canyonesque in scope.

It gets better. After she said she was leaving, she believed her treatment got worse.

Imagine that?

There was some back-and-forth regarding the boss wanting her to stay a bit or go, pretty standard by my experience. But there were also these additional complaints.

When she failed to communicate that I had been awarded a performance increase and I found out by checking my bank account.

She's upset she got a performance increase because a pat on the head didn't come with it.

I've had this exact same thing happen to me, exact, and I was extremely okay with it because the far more common complaint in the corporate world is the opposite, the pat on the head, or "employee award" in lieu of cash.

When she asked me to stay on Zoom in front of the group instead of scheduling a 1–1 to rob me of the chance to prepare.

She's referring to staying on the job. Okay, poor manners perhaps, but I'm not seeing the white supremacy here.

When she threatened to fire me if I didn't have her back, work hard, not take time off, and keep a positive attitude for the remainder of my transition period.

And? I'm not saying that's great behavior, I wouldn't do it quite like that, but everyone has their own style and this is not unusual, no matter your race or gender.

When she immediately changed her tone with me, ignoring me, and withholding necessary information for me to smoothly transition my work and my team.

You quit your job and she "changed her tone?!?!"


And "withholding necessary information?"

You're leaving the firm. She's just protecting their IP. Of course she's withholding information.

When she didn't acknowledge my two years' worth of contributions or do her part in "presenting a united front" when I posted my departure plans on Slack.

As her boss might say, "look sister, this ain't a quilting club."

Actually, there are quilting clubs that are rougher than this.

...and finally when she formally initiated stripping me of all possible authority and my firing.

You said you were leaving, and she thought you were an awful employee. So...

There were some accusations that were not totally unhinged. Refusing bonuses to black employees, perhaps not accommodating disabled employees, which is certainly possible, but when you take that into account with everything else she said it does not exactly help her credibility on those charges.  And those felt like afterthoughts. The vast body of complaints were all about Caldwell not getting the proper respect from a boss who clearly didn't respect her.

There is certainly the very real possibility that her boss was a jerk. Okay, so she was a jerk, and you didn't get along with her. Where in the world does this white supremacy nonsense come from?

It's near-impossible to influence changes in behavior from white women in power.

Oh, right. It just is.

Once white women are in positions of power, their networks solidify their tenure. What starts as one human inflicting harm one-to-one soon becomes few-to-many as they grow teams and promote their own kind.

"Their own kind." 

Eventually, and rapidly, an indestructible black widow's web is spun that traps people and cements processes. By the time anyone notices, the damage has extended beyond what the eye can see. While men are inescapably the biggest perpetrators and creators of white supremacy, once a white woman benefits and profits from the system, she becomes its fiercest advocate.

All this, because she had a mean boss.

There's more. She details various emotional struggles, including having had an abortion and being psychologically abused by family members and so on, but I think you get the idea.

This essay should have met one of two possible fates:

  1. As a personal therapeutic exercise, perhaps shared with a trusted friend or a professional, but otherwise kept private.
  2. An anonymous Glass Door review.

But it should never have been published in a public forum.

This has nothing to do with white supremacy, white women in Silicon Valley, and no broad conclusions regarding either should be drawn from it.

The experience she had is the exact same experience pretty much every employee working for every intersectionality throughout all of time has had at one time or another.

There is one thing about this that could have broader implications.

If you follow the Twitter conversations about this piece going on here, you will find a lot of women bashing women bosses. It is the dirty little secret of the corporate (and government) world: Many women don't like working for other women.

I've heard this. You've probably heard this. Talking about it out loud might be potentially productive, because it seems like something that is resolvable.

But when you racialize it, when you try to shoehorn it into a woke narrative, it becomes counterproductive and destructive.

May 16, 2021 at 09:32 AM in Current Affairs, Racism | Permalink | Comments (0)

May 12, 2021

The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) that has been used for decades by public health experts is suddenly totally useless we are told. Weird.

VAERS  Politifact Cover (2)

Something odd caught my eye in the "What's Happening" sidebar on Twitter last week:


The systems are open to anyone, and are intended to provide an "early warning for any previously unknown effects" of COVID-19 vaccines, according to PolitiFact and Full Fact. Adverse effects and deaths reported on these systems are not necessarily caused by COVID-19 vaccines and may be unrelated coincidences, according to the CDC.

Okay, interesting, by why the sudden interest in such arcane matters all of a sudden? Why is this news now?

As it turns out, information in the wrong hands can be dangerous. Who's hands are "wrong?"

Those would be yours.

The thread related to the Twitter piece consisted of our various self-appointed Overseers of Truth being quite concerned that you are being exposed to some very inconvenient data.

They claim that the Covid vaccine is killing people is "mostly false."


I don't think that's as comforting as they had intended it to be.

The "anti-vaccine group" that is being fact checked is called, "Learn the Risk," and is a non-profit based in the United States. It's more than anti-vaccine, though, it appears to be generally anti-big pharma.

The Facebook post being fact-checked can be found here (an archived file) and a portion is screen captured below:


It goes on like that for a while, simply re-posting data straight from the VAERS system.

That's the entirety of the post, just a recitation of federal data.

Here is what Poltificact had to say about it:

Learn the Risk, an anti-vaccine group, recently published a post on Facebook with a list of people who died after receiving COVID-19 vaccines.

"AGE 25. MALE. Vaccinated 12/22/2020. Found unresponsive and subsequently expired at home on 1/11/2021. Moderna vaccine," reads the first of almost 30 entries featured in the Feb. 9 post.

These entries are copied from the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System, a national vaccine safety surveillance program set up by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration that records health issues that arise after vaccinations in the U.S.

So far, so nothing.

This was the next section, emphasis mine.

The implication: That the reports show that COVID-19 vaccines contributed to the deaths of dozens of people, as young as 24.

"The implication."

Whose implication?

All "Learn the Risk" did was copy and paste government data, and it's the data making the implication. They didn't even editorialize on it that I can find, not in the post linked to by Politifact in support of its FaCT chECk.

"Learn the Risk" didn't claim the data "proves" anything (the word Politifact used in its tweet) or "shows" anything, (the word Politifact used in its headline for the story) they just laid it out there. Their only crime was to alert you to data that the feds have been routinely collecting since 1990.

According to the VAERS website,

VAERS is not designed to determine if a vaccine caused a health problem, but is especially useful for detecting unusual or unexpected patterns of adverse event reporting that might indicate a possible safety problem with a vaccine.

"Especially useful."

That is so 2019. 

Re-posting government data specifically designed to indicate a possible safety problem with a vaccine, by an organization set up to question possible safety problems with vaccines is... wait for it...

"False news and misinformation!"

The post was flagged as part of Facebook's efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed.

And so naturally it got tagged with this.


Politifact then goes on pointing out the various limitations of VAERS (really, we get it, it's not verified and not proof of causality) and even attempts to add a dollop of ridicule just for good measure.

To illustrate the shortcomings of the database, one physician reported that a vaccine had turned him into the Incredible Hulk, the comic-book character. Both the CDC and the physician confirmed to PolitiFact that his report was initially accepted and entered into the system as an adverse event.

Ha ha! The Incredible Hulk! He's not real. This VAERS system that has been used by public health authorities for decades to flag potential problems is a complete joke!

Please stop paying attention to it.

Politifact's final summary:

A Facebook post from an anti-vaccine group shows a list of people who died after receiving COVID-19 vaccines, implying that the vaccine caused or contributed to those deaths.

Let me play "the definition game" that professional fact checkers find so endearing when it comports with their preferred narrative.

Here is one of the definitions for "implication."

A possible significance.

Keep that in mind.

The claim relies on reports from a federal tracking system of adverse events occurring after vaccinations. The agencies that maintain that system warn that the reports should not be used to draw conclusions about whether a vaccine causes a particular adverse event. To establish causation, experts look beyond isolated data points to studies of large groups of people to see if a negative symptom is more prominent in vaccinated people than in non-vaccinated ones.

To pause for a moment:

"Learn the Risk" is suggesting "a possible significance" using federal data specifically designed to be "especially useful for detecting... possible safety problem with a vaccine."

On to Politifact's big finish!

The COVID-19 vaccines have been proven to be safe and effective in tens of thousands of people.

True. But for thousands of others, it is possible that it has not according to government data.


We rate this statement Mostly False. ​

Even though "this statement," absent whatever ideological baggage you might want to bring to the subject, is objectively "mostly true."

I like context, and would have added it myself to the Facebook post, but that's me. Regardless, what "Learn the Risk" said is not only factually true, insofar as it goes, but it highlights something very real:

This system, which again has decades of use behind it, is recording orders of magnitude more adverse events than any vaccine in history. That is just true, and seems to have "detected" an "unusual or unexpected pattern" which is what VAERS was designed to do.

It could mean a lot of things, many perfectly benign, but could also include the possibility that the Covid vaccine, using new technology, developed in an unprecedentedly short period of time, and being administered under an Emergency Use Authorization, might have greater risks associated with it than others.

That sounds like something worth looking into. We have a right to know the benefits AND the risks so we can make more informed decisions. What are our media betters doing rather than providing us information so that we may make more informed decisions?

Parroting the corporate line, using the same arguments and the same language, in lock-step conformity. Pretty much every single one of them.

Don't forget the obligatory straw-men attacks on anyone who suggests that we should treat people like adults. I watched this segment. Carlson was very careful with his words. He thought it was newsworthy and people had a right to know.

I'm not "anti-vax" but I'm also not an "anti-fact." I actually got the Covid vaccine, having weighed the risks and rewards and making a decision that made sense for me and my family. Every citizen should be afforded that opportunity. 

So why are the authorities and their media enablers so fearful of information? Why are they so manic about forcing everyone to shut up and take the vaccine? It doesn't exactly inspire confidence. They would get much better compliance if they were just honest rather than giving people cause to question them.

I'm sorry, more cause to question them.

May 12, 2021 at 10:06 AM in Covid-19/Coronavirus, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2)

May 07, 2021

Yet another study confirms what we already knew: Lockdowns don't work. Let's take a look at how this fiction was maintained in the face of mounting evidence to the contrary.


Out: Stay Home. Stay Safe. Save Lives.

In: Stay Home. Die.

Last November, long after it was obvious that they were wrong, our "fact" checker overlords were still defending the autocrats and their unconstitutional home imprisonment orders.

As many states enter a new wave of more stringent measures to limit the spread of COVID-19, users on social media have been sharing posts that question the purpose of so called "lockdowns".

"So called."

Before we get to the kicker, it's important you fully appreciate the disdain with which they hold anyone who questions authority.

Which is interesting considering that's kind of their job.

An example of a lockdown-sceptic post circulating on social media (here) features the screenshot of an entry in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary on the word "lockdown", which includes a definition that reads: "the confinement of prisoners to their cells for all or most of the day as a temporary security measure". The image has an overlaid text that reads: "Never forget where the word LOCKDOWN comes from… A loving government isn't trying to save you from COVID…it is using COVID to justify MARTIAL LAW"

They then go on to patiently explain to the mouth breathers why they are wrong.

While this definition is indeed included in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary entry here , the screenshot fails to show two further definitions. According to Merriam Webster, the term also stands for a "temporary condition" imposed by authorities, for example, during the outbreak of an epidemic disease, "in which people are require to stay in their homes and refrain from limit activities outside the home involving public contact (such as dining out or attending large gatherings)".

Well, then, I guess that settles that. It appears that the word "lockdown" has always been understood to mean a "temporary condition" to deal with an "outbreak of an epidemic disease." Nothing to see here, move along.

Unless, of course, you're not a child and find that to be oddly... convenient.

Here is a screen shot of Merriam-Websters' current definition of "lockdown."

Lockdowns Don't Work 1

Sure enough, the fact checkers got it right. I guess there's nothing to see here after all...

Wait a second.

I am suspicious by nature, and thought I'd do a little basic fact checking myself. I mean, I'm no professional Reuters fact checker or anything but I do have an Internet connection and a browser so...

This is the definition of "lockdown" as of May 20 of last year.

Lockdowns Don't Work 2

That's it. That's the entire definition. Nothing about epidemics or large gatherings or dining out.

The new definition was added some time between May 20 and May 24, 2020. Reuters' professional fact checkers used a definition that had been fabricated to support the prevailing authoritarian assertion that the lockdowns were no big deal and discredit anyone who suggested otherwise.

That's not fact checking. It's either rank incompetence, or a deliberate attempt to silence political opponents.

It should therefore come as no surprise that Reuters then affirmed the prevailing orthodoxy.

Some posts falsely claim that these measures "don't save lives".

Some statements age like a fine wine kept in a dark climate-controlled cellar.

Some age like a chicken salad sandwich left in a hot Buick in the Arizona sun.

Not only is the Reuters proclamation of falsehood wrong, it was wrong at the time they made the statement. They reference all the usual suspects, everyone with a vested interest in maintaining the lockdowns, the WHO, the IMF and the like, and they mention and then largely dismiss, a handful of counterarguments.

But we knew a year ago that something wasn't right, and anyone who actually believes in data and "science" could credibly argue back then that lockdowns were counterproductive.

The first evidence came from numbers coming out of New York which found far more virus transmission among those sheltering in place vs. those going to work.

I and others have been writing about this since.

This is 20/20 sight. This is Sunday morning quarterbacking. We knew there was a problem with the lockdowns.

During the course of last year, about three dozen additional studies from around the world came out saying various versions of the same thing. Lockdowns were a bad idea.

The consequences of the suppression or dismissal of this data has been deadly.

The latest study is just another in a long line making it clear that universal lockdowns have been an abysmal failure. A failure of science, a failure of leadership, and a failure of morality.

At the moment, restrictions are for the most part slowly being eased across the country.

Too bad it's a year late.

May 7, 2021 at 11:22 AM in Covid-19/Coronavirus, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (3)