A triumph of messaging

Neptune’s Bumhole

People say our rulers can’t pull off clever policies anymore, but when it comes to wordcelry they still have a few tricks up their sleeves.

Take the Nordstream attack, for example. The thing itself was probably not wise but the messaging surrounding the event was perfect.

Those who committed the act had to carry off something of a double dog whistle. First, they had to convince the plebs that it was the evil Ruskies who did the deed. Second, they had to signal to more important people that they themselves were, in fact, responsible.

The second goal was vital because the sabotage of the pipeline was not only intended to remove Russia’s bargaining power with Germany. It was also a threat: Look what we can do!

It is essential to the GAE that world leaders understand the truth about the attack as it showcases American technical capability and, even more so, their derring-do. A country strategizing against American interests will now be less tempted to assumed ‘they wouldn’t dare . . .’ (fill the ellipsis with whatever you like). America might dare. They’re a bit nuts at the moment.

China in particular will be weighing it up.

So how did they get out two messages simultaneously, for two different audiences?

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Word from the Dark Side – Bollywood tune, Cochrane impugned, girlz rool soon and a dunny hoon

Soja Zara from the 2017 film Baahubali 2 The Conclusion. I should watch it I suppose.

‘Evidence-Based Medicine’ and the Expulsion of Peter Gøtzsche

This article is very long, but interesting.

Tl;dr: Cochrane is an organization that summarizes medical research for doctors so that they can make evidence-based treatment decisions.

It was originally a bunch of young Turks who wanted to upend pharmaceutical company marketing and received wisdom from senior colleagues that may be based on little evidence. It quickly became the accepted standard.

In more recent years, some have claimed that Cochrane itself has become profit focused:

Whatever their differences, Cochrane and Gøtzsche are both vocal supporters of evidence-based medicine, a movement that developed nearly 30 years ago to emphasize the use of well-designed research in medical decision-making. The problem is that neither side, nor really anyone, can agree on exactly what evidence-based medicine ought to mean. Some critics have characterized Gøtzsche as a rigid intellectual who views assessing scientific data as a purely technical task that does not require the input of experts in a given field. Gøtzsche calls such characterizations unfair, arguing that he simply advocates — as everyone at Cochrane should — for the use of rigorous methodology and the elimination of bias in assessing the efficacy of treatments. And while the organization has built its reputation on providing trusted evidence, Gøtzsche now criticizes its methods, accusing Cochrane of bending to industry influence and overlooking important documentation of harms.

“Cochrane’s reliance on published [randomized controlled trials],” Gøtzsche wrote in an email to Undark, “makes Cochrane a servant to industry, which passively promotes what industry wants Cochrane to promote: messages that are very often untrue.”

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Bug-made horrors beyond your imagination

Book review of Unsqualified Preservations by Mencius Moldbugman.

Frequently confused with his near-namesake, Moldbugman was for some time a noted Twitter shitposter who poured scorn on gaping photos, collectors of bobbleheads and those who would arrange their bookshelves by colour.

Unsqualified Preservations, rather than a dry and wordy account of why Curtis Yarvin should be appointed God Emperor of the Universe, is a collection of funny and macabre short stories.

The first, ‘Rickadoodle Applestrudel,’ is a vivid and creepily realistic depiction of too-online madness that turned out to be even more autobiographical than Moldbugman expected, although I don’t think he quite ended up with a Pinoy cock in his mouth.

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Word from the Dark Side – Dream a Little Dream, NeoCons reign supreme, nuclear Covid scheme and camouflage most extreme

Dream a Little Dream of Me, performed by Cass Elliot, 1970. Have I already posted this one?

Angela Langsbury of Murder, She Wrote fame died this week. She was the cousin of a former Australian prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull.

Never trust a NeoCon:

You see how this works in this Victor Davis Hanson post. The goal of the post is to divert opposition to the regime’s foreign policy into a Republican brand of the same policies toward Russia. You see, the reason that dude in a dress is chasing your daughter around the classroom is Obama was soft on Russia. Biden is following the same policies, which is why things are so bad. He uses some form the word “appeasement” nine times, because, you know.

Of course, the column is also an attempt to whitewash the neoconservative involvement in the current crisis. You see, it is not the people who started this war with Russia who are to blame for the fallout. No, it is some guy off stage who is turned into the Emmanuel Goldstein of this show. He is the one who set the wheels in motion and all the people currently running foreign policy, all members of the same Trotsky cult, coincidentally enough, are just victims like you.

The truth is this war has its roots much further back than Obama. If you want to point to an incident as a starting place, it would be American involvement in the Balkan war during the Clinton years. American support for Kosovo against Serbia was the start of a new conflict with Russia. At the time, it was viewed in Moscow as a deliberate offense to the Russians. In the years that followed, this affair has become a warning for the Russians about what Washington plans for them.

The man who saved the world:

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The new Machiavellians

Book review of The Machiavellians: Defenders of Freedom by James Burnham, 1943

There is a group of political theorists who call themselves Machiavellians, and claim that their school’s namesake was misunderstood.

Burnham, author of The Managerial Revolution, summarizes their thinking for a general audience.

Machiavelli, you see, tried to analyze politics through a neutral lens in order to understand how power works in human societies. Instead of surreptitiously pushing a barrow for this faction or that ideology, he tried to understand how power is gained and lost across all times and places.

It may be remarked that the harsh opinion of Machiavelli has been more widespread in England and the United States than in the nations of Continental Europe. This is no doubt natural, because the distinguishing quality of Anglo-Saxon politics has always been hypocrisy, and hypocrisy must always be at pains to shy away from the truth.

Burnham

Machiavelli is best known for The Prince, which was advice to a particular Medici Big Man, but his other works inquire into the practice of politics more generally and take many examples from history.

The essence of Machiavellian thought is that the study of politics should be strictly about what is, not about what ought to be. Politics is the contest about who gets what but the study of politics should be an unbiased investigation into how societies decide who gets what.

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Tough lessons

Book review of 13 Ways of Going on a Field Trip by Spotted Toad

When an online acquaintance publishes a book, I usually buy a copy as a show of support regardless of whether the topic is of any interest to me. So it was with 13 Ways of Going on a Field Trip: Stories about Teaching and Learning by Spotted Toad, his reflection on years spent teaching science in inner city American high schools.

My life currently involves long, boring train journeys so any reading material on hand has ample opportunity to catch my attention; I ended up reading this all the way through. It’s like when you pick up a random book from the Sharing is Caring shelf at a youth hostel. It’s something you normally wouldn’t read but you read it anyway and find it engaging.

While not getting into omerta, Spotted Toad’s book is frank and realistic, a refreshing break from the many inspiring books about teaching written by education experts (failed teachers). For example:

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