Don’t Believe Everything You Read

When William Golding wrote Lord Of The Flies in 1951, he assumed it would by like his own family (a self-admitted child abuser) or like Pitcairn Island: those capable of dominance use it and abuse others.

When it happened in real life and the kids were equal, they stayed equal. They were cooperative and ensured each other’s survival – even after one suffered a broken leg.  The item on The Guardian makes for a fascinating read.  Some excerpts below:

The real Lord of the Flies: what happened when six boys were shipwrecked for 15 months

For centuries western culture has been permeated by the idea that humans are selfish creatures. That cynical image of humanity has been proclaimed in films and novels, history books and scientific research. But in the last 20 years, something extraordinary has happened. Scientists from all over the world have switched to a more hopeful view of mankind. This development is still so young that researchers in different fields often don’t even know about each other.

[. . .]

This story never happened. An English schoolmaster, William Golding, made up this story in 1951 – his novel Lord of the Flies would sell tens of millions of copies, be translated into more than 30 languages and hailed as one of the classics of the 20th century. In hindsight, the secret to the book’s success is clear. Golding had a masterful ability to portray the darkest depths of mankind. Of course, he had the zeitgeist of the 1960s on his side, when a new generation was questioning its parents about the atrocities of the second world war. Had Auschwitz been an anomaly, they wanted to know, or is there a Nazi hiding in each of us?

I first read Lord of the Flies as a teenager. I remember feeling disillusioned afterwards, but not for a second did I think to doubt Golding’s view of human nature. That didn’t happen until years later when I began delving into the author’s life. I learned what an unhappy individual he had been: an alcoholic, prone to depression; a man who beat his kids. “I have always understood the Nazis,” Golding confessed, “because I am of that sort by nature.” And it was “partly out of that sad self-knowledge” that he wrote Lord of the Flies.

[. . .]

Sifting through a newspaper archive one day, I typed a year incorrectly and there it was. The reference to 1977 turned out to have been a typo. In the 6 October 1966 edition of Australian newspaper The Age, a headline jumped out at me: “Sunday showing for Tongan castaways”. The story concerned six boys who had been found three weeks earlier on a rocky islet south of Tonga, an island group in the Pacific Ocean. The boys had been rescued by an Australian sea captain after being marooned on the island of ‘Ata for more than a year.

[. . .]

The kids agreed to work in teams of two, drawing up a strict roster for garden, kitchen and guard duty. Sometimes they quarrelled, but whenever that happened they solved it by imposing a time-out.  [. . .]  They survived initially on fish, coconuts, tame birds (they drank the blood as well as eating the meat); seabird eggs were sucked dry. Later, when they got to the top of the island, they found an ancient volcanic crater, where people had lived a century before. There the boys discovered wild taro, bananas and chickens (which had been reproducing for the 100 years since the last Tongans had left).

They were finally rescued on Sunday 11 September 1966. The local physician later expressed astonishment at their muscled physiques and Stephen’s perfectly healed leg.

Shame Sometimes Works: How to make a corrupt government act

The Navajo and Hopi peoples in Arizona are amongst the worst hit by COVID-19.  The combination of institutional government racism and genocide, lack of running water, food deserts and lack of medical supplies have caused infection and death rates far in excess of their population.  Thirteen US states combined have fewer deaths than the Navajo population of 30,000. Cheetolini’s corrupt regime promised weeks ago to send US$8 billion dollars to help First Nations people.  They have not sent one thin dime.

Arizona coronavirus cases near 5,000; 184 known deaths now

PHOENIX (AP) — Positive coronavirus tests in Arizona now have reached nearly 5,000 with 184 known deaths, state health officials said April 19.

[. . .]

The Navajo Nation, which extends into parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, has been hit harder by the coronavirus than any other Native American tribe.

The tribe and the Navajo Area Indian Health Service said the number of positive coronavirus tests reached 1,197 as of April 18 with 44 known deaths.

Officials said the average age of those whose deaths were attributed to COVID-19 was 66.

As you may have heard, Irish citizens heard about the Navajo and Hopi people’s plight and began a go fund me page to “repay a debt” as they described it.  In the mid-19th century when the English tried to starve the Irish to death in an act of genocide, the Chocktaw people collected US$170 (US$5600 in 2020 dollars) to send to Ireland.  This was an act of kindness to strangers in a faraway country at a time when US First Nations people were suffering their own genocide and forced relocation.

The total that the Irish people have collected and sent to the Navajo and Hopi people now exceeds (at time of writing this) US$2.7 million, an astounding act of kindness and solidarity.  This story made my week, and I’m not ashamed to say I’ve cried more than once reading about it.

More below the fold.

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All Things Must Pass: It’s time for Duterte to leave

A few days ago I reported on Philippine dictator (no longer “president”) Rodrigo Duterte and his petty whining about a Filipina working in Taiwan who criticized him for hi smass murder of citizens.  He has gone one step further down the road of infantile, petulant and thuggishness: He has censored and silenced an entire TV network for criticizing his corrupt government.

Philippines orders TV network to shut

A leading broadcast network in the Philippines that has been critical of the Duterte administration has been ordered to halt operations.

A Philippine government agency has ordered the country’s leading broadcast network, which the president has targeted for its critical news coverage, to halt operations.

The National Telecommunications Commission ordered ABS-CBN Corp. to stop operations after its 25-year congressional franchise ended on Monday.

The network’s application for a renewal has been pending in Congress but hearings have been partly delayed by a massive lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic.

One of the country’s oldest and most influential news networks, ABS-CBN continued its TV and radio news operations most of Tuesday but later announced it would stop operating later in the day.

“Millions of Filipinos will lose their source of news and entertainment when ABS-CBN is ordered to go off-air on TV and radio tonight when people need crucial and timely information as the nation deals with the COVID-19 pandemic,” the media giant said in a statement.

Media watchdogs have accused President Rodrigo Duterte and his aides of muzzling independent media like ABS-CBN that have critically reported on issues including the president’s bloody anti-drugs crackdown, which has left thousands of mostly poor suspects dead.

Government officials have denied the closure was a press freedom issue and stressed everybody should comply with the law.

Technically, not renewing a broadcast license is not censorship.  But to say he isn’t using this as a pretext to silence criticism is naïve at best, complicit at worst.

Wait And See: I’m not getting my hopes up yet

Back in late February, a Taiwanese biomedical company Adimmune Corporation announced plans to run animal trials of a vaccine for COVID-19.  From the Taipei Times, February 22:

Adimmune eyes COVID-19 drug

Adimmune Corp (國光生技) on Thursday said it is developing a COVID-19 vaccine in cooperation with the National Health Research Institutes, and plans to run animal tests in the second quarter if its research proceeds smoothly.

Adimmune announced today that the first animal trials were successful.  I would prefer not to quote “taiwan news” (fourth rate journalism, at best) but it’s the only source at the moment:

Taiwan’s coronavirus vaccine proven effective on animal subjects

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwanese vaccine manufacturer Adimmune Corporation (國光生技) announced Monday (May 4) that one of the company’s candidate vaccines for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has been proven effective in animal trials.

According to Adimmune, the animal testing was orchestrated by Chang Sui-Yuan (張淑媛), a professor at the National Taiwan University (NTU) Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences and Medical Biotechnology. The company said Chang and her team have applied the vaccine to coronavirus-infected laboratory mice and found that the mice have developed neutralizing antibody titration of the deadly virus.

It’s not proven to work, just a possibility at this point.  But it would be great to see Beijing take another poke in the eye, (Xi) Limping from one PR disaster to another: useless masks, tainted test kits, venitlators that don’t work, fake statistics, etc.  The only thing Beijing has exported since New Year’s that works is COVID-19.

Oh, Bother: The new Xinnie the Pooh flag

Eric Tepper is the pseudonym of a Newfoundlander, from the same city as Beijing’s paid stooge and discredited and fake “doctor”, Bruce Aylward.  Tepper was frustrated with the embarrassment Aylward caused and with the worldwide catastrophe Xi Jinping has caused, and created the flag in response.

It’s beautiful.  Xi hates being called Winnie the Pooh despite the resemblance.

Nothing Changed: Fifty years after the Kent State mass murder

On May 4th, 1970, four students at Kent State University were victims of unprovoked murder by hyper-aggressive violent white males.

Why is it never called a mass shooting?

Probably for the same reason the 1921 mass murder in Tulsa is labelled a “race riot”, and why to this day rape and hate crimes are never properly investigated.  Those in power support the perpetrators and hate the victims.  Cops are kapos, the violent servants of a system they ignorantly expect they will be part of.

The murderers at Kent State opened fire on unarmed students without warning or provocation.  No one knows or has ever explained why.  Did they see an opportunity to murder people with impunity?  Were they hyped up on “greenies” given by their chain of command?  Did rabid and racist ideologues individually decide to start shooting?  We’ll never know because the “investigation” was a whitewash, a coverup, a crime excused and the perpetrators protected for doing what their masters liked.  No one has ever been held accountable for the murders – unless you count the students, blamed by the media and “historians” for not cowering in the face of violence and fascism.

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The Truth Laid Bare: It was corporations all along

A follow up to the Earth Day post:

One of the big lies corporate industry has long claimed is that individual people and consumers were largely responsible for carbon dioxide emissions. Quarantine has proven that yes, individuals and airplane play a large role in nitrogen dioxide and CO2 emissions, but it’s industry that belches out the majority of CO2.

The evidence is there.  Regulation and a switch to cleaner energy is needed.

Carbon emissions are falling sharply due to coronavirus. But not for long.

It is becoming clearer every day that the scale of the societal disruption caused by the novel coronavirus is like nothing most people on Earth have ever witnessed. One stark indicator of the pandemic’s far-reaching impact is its effect on fossil fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. If preliminary data from some of the world’s biggest economies is any indicator, emissions are in for a sharp, if temporary, decline.

In China, carbon emissions were down an estimated 18 percent between early February and mid-March due to falls in coal consumption and industrial output, according to calculations first published by climate science and policy website CarbonBrief. That slowdown caused the world’s largest emitter to avoid some 250 million metric tons of carbon pollution—more than half the annual carbon emissions of the United Kingdom.

[. . .]

But as the number of coronavirus cases has dropped, China has been working hard to restart its economy over the past month. By the end of March, energy usage, air pollution levels, and carbon emissions all seemed to be on the rebound, according to the Finland-based non-profit Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air’s Lauri Myllyvirta, who led the CarbonBrief analysis. That’s reflected in Myllyvirta’s latest figures, which show an emissions decline of just 18 percent over a seven-week period beginning in early February.

However, things are hardly back to normal. Anecdotally, Shuo says, Beijing’s service sector is still reeling, with many small businesses still closed. Meanwhile, some industries that are up and running again are facing a new challenge: lack of demand for their products overseas.