Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member All Forums Issue Forums Culture Forums Alliance Forums Region Forums Support Forums Help & Search


Celerity's Journal
Celerity's Journal
February 20, 2024

Monkey Safari - Hi Life (Ole Biege Remix) 🖤🖤

Label: Monaberry ?– mona 014-6, Monaberry ?– Monaberry 014-6
Format: Vinyl, 12", 33 ⅓ RPM
Country: Germany
Released: 12 Sep 2012
Genre: Electronic
Style: House, Tech House

February 20, 2024

First Prison Photo of Sam Bankman-Fried Emerges: Bearded, Thin, and 'Weird as Shit'

Independent crypto journalist Tiffany Fong obtained the photo of the former FTX CEO from a former inmate she called "G Lock."


Independent crypto journalist Tiffany Fong released what is believed to be the first photo of disgraced former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried in prison on Monday evening. In the photo, Bankman-Fried—who appears to have lost weight and grown out his facial hair—stands alongside five other inmates with his hands gently clutching one another.

The former CEO of crypto firm FTX and co-founder of trading firm Alameda Research has been living inside Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center since August, when his bail was first revoked.He is currently awaiting sentencing after being found guilty on all seven charges related to the collapse of both firms, including wire fraud and conspiracy to commit securities fraud, money laundering, and committed fraud.

Fong’s own rise to prominence came as Bankman-Fried’s empire began to collapse, when she secured one of the first interviews with the former FTX CEO in November 2022. She proceeded to interview Bankman-Fried more than 10 times while he was under house arrest, leading Rolling Stone to name her “The Crypto Whistleblower at the Center of the Sam Bankman-Fried Storm.”

In a video posted alongside the image, Fong said she obtained the photo of Bankman-Fried from one of the other men in the photo, who she referred to as “G Lock" and said was a "recent inmate." In an interview with Fong, G Lock said the photo was taken just before Christmas in the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, where the former crypto king is awaiting sentencing.

February 20, 2024

Joni Mitchell - Blue (Full Album) [Official Video] 1971

Label: Reprise Records – MS 2038
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, Stereo, Pitman Pressing
Country: US
Released: 1971
Genre: Rock
Style: Acoustic Rock

February 20, 2024

Why the U.S. should start telling the whole truth about Israeli nukes



With the Israel-Hamas war, a nuclear Rubicon of sorts has been crossed: Two elected Israeli officials — a government minister and a member of parliament — not only publicly referenced Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons but suggested that they be detonated over Gaza. This was a disturbing first. Meanwhile, in Washington, a long-standing secret executive order has prohibited American officials from even acknowledging that Israel has nuclear arms. Given the increasing risks of nuclear weapons proliferation — and, worse, use — continuing such self-censorship about Israel’s nuclear arsenal is not just bizarre; it’s harmful.

One of us directs a national security research center, which last month conducted an unclassified Israel-Iran nuclear war game. Israel fired nuclear weapons against Iran twice (using a total of 51 weapons) and Iran replied with a nuclear strike of its own. Surprisingly, the strategic uncertainties following the exchange were greater than those that preceded it. The questions we were gaming were: How much damage might Israeli nuclear strikes inflict against Iran’s nuclear and missile sites, infrastructure and population? Would Iran’s nuclear and missile capabilities be incapacitated, or are they buried so deep they would survive? Would the region’s economies be “knocked out” by such a nuclear exchange or just “jolted?” Would Washington, Moscow or Beijing be drawn into the conflict? In what way?

None of the participants in the war game was confident they could answer any of these questions. One of the best ways to clarify these matters is for American and Israeli experts and officials to peek into the future by gaming different nuclear war scenarios. Yet U.S. policy makes this impossible. Why? Because a course of action adopted half a century ago prohibits cleared U.S. employees from openly admitting Israel has nuclear arms. In the late 1960s and 1970s, this might have made sense: The last thing Washington or Tel Aviv wanted was to goad the Soviets into sharing nuclear weapons or technology with Egypt or Syria to “balance” whatever nuclear weapons Israel had.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the fall of the Berlin Wall, though, Washington doubled down on this know-nothing stance in part due to Israeli pressure. Tel Aviv demanded President Bill Clinton and every subsequent American president commit to a secret agreement that the United States will not press the Jewish state to give up its nuclear weapons so long as it continues to face existential threats. When this practice began, the White House also promulgated a regulation — described in an Energy Department classification bulletin — that threatens present and past government employees with disciplinary action, including firing, if they publicly acknowledge Israel has nuclear weapons. So far, the regulation has been withheld from public release.

February 20, 2024

What happens next for Sweden's Nato application?

It looks like Hungary will ratify Sweden's Nato application next week, but there are still a few steps required before the country can become a full member of the defence alliance.



Turkey last month ratified Sweden as a member of Nato, leaving Hungary as the last holdout. But after its ruling party, Fidesz, on Tuesday put forward a motion to vote on Sweden's Nato application when parliament reopens on February 26th, it looks like the Nordic country's most two-year wait to join the transatlantic military alliance may soon come to an end.

Assuming the vote passes on Monday, the speaker of parliament then have to sign the decision. After that, it has to be flown to Washington DC and be handed over to the US State Department. When Hungary approved Finland as a Nato member, this process took three days.

All that then remains is for Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg to invite Sweden to present its accession document to the US. This could be done by a Swedish representative in Washington, or by handing over the document at a ceremony in Brussels, which Finland did. After that, the flag of Sweden will be hoisted at the Nato headquarters, and the country will officially be a Nato member.

February 20, 2024

IN DETAIL: How Sweden plans to further toughen its work permit system

A new government report has laid out how to decide on which in-demand skills and professions should be excused from a new work permit salary threshold. Here are the inquiry's recommendations in detail.




Inquiry recommends setting threshold at median salary

The inquiry's recommends in its conclusions that the government set the new minimum salary for a work permit at Sweden's median salary, as reported each year by Statistics Sweden (although scroll down to read some of the inquiry's criticisms of the median salary threshold). The median salary for 2022 was 34,200 kronor a month and the 2023 figure is set to be released on June 18th. To be eligible for a work permit, jobs would have to have a salary at least equal to the median salary in place at the time of application. The report proposes that the new salary threshold for work permits come into force by June 1st 2025. The regulations, it said, should apply from the time of decision, so if you apply before June 1st 2025 but your case is decided on by the Migration Agency after June 1st, the new rules will apply. For work permit renewals, current rules (80 percent of the median salary) will continue to apply for any applications for extensions submitted to the Migration Agency by June 1st 2026 at the latest.

A list of in-demand professions exempted from median salary threshold

The inquiry suggests that the Swedish Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen) should draw up a list of in-demand professions or jobs which should be exempted from the threshold because they are typically paid below median wage but are in demand in Sweden. As the jobs and skills in demand will vary between Sweden's various regions, it recommends that there be different lists for each region in Sweden. The Migration Agency will then add any changes it deems necessary from the perspective of migration policy, passing the lists to the government, which will then once a year, take a regeringsbeslut, "governmental decision", issuing that year's regional lists of exempted professions. The jobs or professions exempted will have to be classified under the SSYK 2012 system of job classifications used in Sweden. When assessing applications for work permits, the Migration Agency will determine exemptions based on the list in place at the time of application. This means that if the applicant's profession or job is removed from the list while their application is being processed, they will still be eligible.

Professions exempted from median salary requirement will have a lower salary requirement

The inquiry recommends a lower salary requirement for work permit applicants in professions exempted from the higher salary threshold. The main recommendation is that the salary should correspond to "the lowest monthly salary covered by a Swedish collective bargaining agreement with unions". This would prevent labour migrants from undercutting the salaries of workers in Sweden. As an alternative, the inquiry suggests that the salary for those receiving work permits for exempted professions should correspond to "half the median salary for the profession exempted from the salary requirement".

Researchers and qualified medical professionals should be exempted

While the inquiry generally did not specify which professions should be exempted from the higher work permit threshold, it did highlight two groups. These were newly graduated students and PhD students in Sweden who are switching from a student permit to a work permit and foreigners with a degree in medicine, nursing or dentistry from their home country, who are working in a lower-paid role while they learn Swedish and try to obtain their Swedish certification. Students and PhD students are exempted because they are often offered salaries below the median wage if they are employed as post-docs at universities or move into industry, but are nonetheless the kind of highly educated workers Sweden wants to keep in the country. The inquiry recommends that those who have had residency for research, higher education studies, work placements connected to higher education, or residency after completed research or studies, should be excused from the median salary requirement if they then apply for a work permit. Foreign doctors, nurses and dentists are exempted because they need to prove they can speak and write adequate Swedish, pass exams testing their knowledge, and get practical experience in Swedish in order to convert their foreign qualifications into Swedish qualifications. Often, they will be employed by the regional health authority or private health or dental company in another role while they do what is needed to qualify. The inquiry proposes that doctors nurses and dentists who have signed such an employment contract need not meet the median salary requirement.

Changed salary requirement for inter-company transfers...............

February 20, 2024

How Rafah invasion risks splintering US-Israel relations

The Biden administration’s UN resolution is a clear signal that Washington is growing increasingly concerned about the offensive against Hamas in Gaza



A framed photograph on the desk of Binyamin Netanyahu sums up his strained relationship with Joe Biden. It shows the two men smiling for the camera at their first meeting decades ago in Washington. The young Senator Biden had written on it: “Bibi, I love you but I don’t agree with a damn thing you say.” That relationship has been tested to breaking point over the past four months as Israel’s offensive against Hamas in Gaza claims more lives and risks a conflict that could engulf the region and bolster the power of Iran. When President Biden met Netanyahu in October, days after Hamas had killed 1,200 Israelis and taken more than 200 hostage, he gave the Israeli prime minister a bear hug — supporting and restraining a close ally with whom the White House had often disagreed.

More than a million Palestinians are now crammed into Rafah, many of them refugees from other parts of Gaza that have been largely destroyed

That support has not waned but the US is now doing more to restrain Israel as the IDF prepares to storm Hamas’s last bastion in Gaza. The US, along with other Israeli allies, has expressed its opposition to the plan to invade Rafah. It is now preparing a resolution at the United Nations security council that warns Israel against a major operation in Rafah, into which more than a million Palestinians are crammed. Many of them are refugees from other parts of Gaza that have largely been destroyed or damaged as Israel hunted down the Hamas militants responsible for the October 7 attack.

The Palestinian death toll has surpassed 29,000. The figures are compiled by the Hamas-run health ministry, which does not distinguish between combatants and civilians. But after initially casting doubt on them, Biden’s administration has grown increasingly concerned by the magnitude of the war, which has angered other US allies in the region and set in motion a low-intensity conflict between the US and Iranian-backed militia in Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq and Syria. In public, Biden has described Israel’s operations as “over the top”. In private, he has used stronger language, referring to Netanyahu as an “asshole”, according to US media.

The US has proposed the draft resolution in lieu of an Algerian motion calling for an immediate ceasefire, which it threatened to veto. The US draft still bears the hallmarks of Biden’s bear-hug approach to the conflict. Washington has rejected calls for a permanent ceasefire, which Israel says would leave Hamas standing, something the militants would take as victory. The draft calls for a “temporary ceasefire as soon as practicable”, which gives Israel more wiggle room and repeats Biden’s warnings against invading Rafah.


February 20, 2024

Shin Bet chief said to warn Temple Mount curbs on Ramadan could spark holy war

Ronen Bar reportedly tells cabinet that limiting Arab Israelis’ access to Al-Aqsa could turn Gaza conflict into Jewish-Muslim fight, playing into hands of Hamas; IDF said to warn of manpower issues


Palestinians wave Palestinian and Islamic flags as they rally at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, following the last Friday prayers of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, on April 29, 2022. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)

The head of the Shin Bet security service reportedly warned ministers that Israel’s war against the Hamas terror group could expand and take on overtones of a religious conflict if restrictions are imposed on the entry of Arab Israelis to the Al-Aqsa compound atop the Temple Mount in Jerusalem during the approaching month of Ramadan.

Reports late on Sunday said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed security officials at a cabinet meeting that evening to present options for age criteria and quotas that could be placed on Arab citizens wishing to visit the holy site for the holiday, in line with proposals advanced by far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir.

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir leads an Otzma Yehudit faction meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on February 19, 2024. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

According to a report by the Kan public broadcaster Monday, Shin Bet director Ronen Bar warned at the meeting that imposing restrictions on Arab Israelis would spark an angry backlash and play into the hands of Hamas, which has sought to stir violent Arab unrest inside Israel from October 7 and amid the war in Gaza, now in its fifth month. Hamas called its mass-murdering October 7 onslaught on southern Israel “Operation Al-Aqsa Flood,” in an effort to claim religious legitimacy for its atrocities.

Previous reports had noted opposition to the curbs voiced by Shin Bet and Israeli Defense Forces representatives at the Sunday meeting, alongside support for the curbs from police, though not police chief Kobi Shabtai. With Ramadan set to begin the second week of March, Israeli officials have expressed worries that the sensitive period could amplify tensions stemming from Israel’s war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, which has sparked worldwide Muslim anger toward the Jewish state.


Tens of thousands of Muslim worshippers pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound atop the Temple Mount during the holy month of Ramadan, Jerusalem’s Old City, April 17, 2023. (Jamal Awad/Flash90)
February 20, 2024

As the crisis of democracy deepens, we must return to liberalism's revolutionary and egalitarian roots


Liberal socialism now

Very few of us expected liberalism to have such a rocky 21st century. At the turn of the 20th, liberal ideology and liberal democratic political institutions seemed more legitimate and secure than ever before. Liberals had defeated their great geopolitical rivals on the fascist Right and the communist Left. How things change. Over the past few decades, discontent and disdain for liberalism have spread across huge swathes of the globe, led by a resurgent Right-wing populism that denounced its materialism, universalism and libertine decadence. Wannabe strongmen like Victor Orban declared they were constructing new kinds of ‘illiberal democracy’ – a half truth, since the regimes would be illiberal, but not particularly democratic. Books flooded the market with alarmist or triumphalist titles such as Why Liberalism Failed (2018) or A World After Liberalism (2021), all of which diagnosed its failures with relish or fear. Theories about what had gone wrong multiplied. Liberalism was too atomistic, too alienating, too antidemocratic, too democratic for its own good, too beholden to the ignorant masses, too elitist, even too boring and politically correct for its own good.

What was often lost in the discourse around liberalism in the 21st century was whether it could simultaneously be worth saving while also having deserved the ignominy into which it was falling. From the 1970s onwards, many liberal politicians and theorists had backed away from the more progressive and transformative propensities of the tradition. The era of big liberal dreams about establishing a ‘great’ or ‘just’ society was over. Internalising a host of conservative arguments, liberals like Isaiah Berlin or Friedrich Hayek argued that big dreams were dangerous and contrary to liberalism, its revolutionary past aside. The best one could hope for was a competitive and highly inequitable neoliberal society defined by ordered liberty and at most a minimal welfare state. That such a consciously deflated vision became associated with technocratic aloofness, a lack of principled conviction and a wariness of democratic accountability came as a surprise only to neoliberals c2016. More thoughtful commentators followed Samuel Moyn’s claim in Liberalism Against Itself (2023) that if liberals couldn’t rediscover how to not just fearmonger, but inspire, they were unlikely to see their doctrine survive much longer and, ‘anyway, survival is not good enough.’

Adam Smith, artist unknown, painted posthumously c1795. Courtesy the National Gallery of Scotland

Moyn is right that, if liberals trade off presenting an inspiring vision of the future for mere survival, they are unlikely to get either. The existential woes of 21st-century liberalism require we do more than return to the forms of neoliberal governance that generated discontent in the first place. It requires retrieving the revolutionary emancipatory and egalitarian ethos that defined liberalism at its revolutionary best to offer a new deal to citizens of liberal states. The strand of liberal political theory that offers the richest guidance on what form this new deal should take is liberal socialism. The idea of ‘liberal socialism’ might appear odd and even oxymoronic. This is especially true for those on the Right and the Left who regard liberalism as the philosophy of market capitalism. Of course, there are many classical and neoliberal thinkers for whom that is true. From John Locke’s emphatic defence of life, liberty and property to Hayek’s declaration that state planning in the economy was the road to serfdom, liberal defences of the ethics of capitalism are easy to find. The economist Ludwig von Mises no doubt spoke for many (including plenty on the Left) when, in his polemical tract Liberalism (1927), he proudly declared that:

But this would be to ignore the reality that many great liberal thinkers have historically been wary (to downright critical) of capitalism. This goes far back. Adam Smith may have been an enthusiast for free trade and market liberties, but in The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) he also decried how:

February 20, 2024

Shaken by Grisly Killings of Women, Activists in Africa Demand Change

The continent has the highest rate of gender-related killings of women in the world, according to the United Nations. Activists accuse officials of ignoring the issue and blaming the victims.



A photograph of Grace Wangari Thuiya, a 24-year-old beautician who was killed in Nairobi, Kenya, in January. Her boyfriend assaulted and repeatedly stabbed her, police told her mother.Credit...Natalia Jidovanu for The New York Times

A wave of gruesome killings of women across several African countries in recent weeks has prompted outrage and indignation, triggered a wave of protests and precipitated calls for governments to take decisive action against gender-based violence. Kenyans were shocked when 31 women were killed in January after they were beaten, strangled or beheaded, activists and police said. In Somalia, a pregnant woman died this month after her husband allegedly set her on fire. In the West African nation of Cameroon, a powerful businessman was arrested in January on accusations, which he has denied, of brutalizing dozens of women.

The upsurge in killings is part of a broader pattern that got worse during economic hard times and pandemic lockdowns, human rights activists say. An estimated 20,000 gender-related killings of women were recorded in Africa in 2022, the highest rate in the world, according to the U.N. Experts believe the true figures are likely higher. “The problem is the normalization of gender-based violence and the rhetoric that, yes, women are disposable,” said Njeri wa Migwi, the co-founder of Usikimye — Swahili for “Don’t be silent” — a Kenyan nonprofit working with victims of gender-based violence.

On Valentine’s Day, Kenyans turned out in the capital, Nairobi, for a vigil called “Dark Valentine” to honor the 500 women reportedly killed between 2016 and 2023.Credit...Natalia Jidovanu for The New York Times

The feminist scholar Diana Russell popularized the term femicide — the killing of women or girls because of their gender — to create a category that distinguishes it from other homicides. According to a report by the United Nations, the killings are often carried out by male partners or close family members and are preceded by physical, emotional and sexual abuse. Critics say that many African leaders, as well as police, ignore or downplay the problem, or even blame victims. On a recent afternoon, Ms. Migwi, the nonprofit co-founder, was leading a training session for girls and women when she was suddenly called to a nearby home in Kayole, a low-income, high-crime neighborhood east of Nairobi.

Inside the dimly lit house, Jacinta Ayuma, a day laborer and mother of two, lay lifeless, bloody bruises visible on her face, neck and left arm. The police said she was killed by her partner. He fled, and they have yet to arrest him. An autopsy showed she died from blunt force trauma that resulted in multiple organ injuries. Wails of anguish rang in the air as several officers carried the body into a police van using a thin duvet. Three neighbors said they had heard someone screaming for help throughout the night, until about 6 a.m. But they said they did not intervene or call the police because the sounds of beatings and distress were commonplace, and they considered it a private matter.


Profile Information

Gender: Female
Hometown: London
Home country: US/UK/Sweden
Current location: Stockholm, Sweden
Member since: Sun Jul 1, 2018, 06:25 PM
Number of posts: 41,930

About Celerity

she / her / hers

Journal Entries

Latest Discussions»Celerity's Journal