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How Maryland 'Neomasculinity' Blogger Roosh V Became an International 'Pro-Rape' Villain

Reason.com

For a minute, it felt like we were on the world's most mundane secret mission: at 6 p.m., you will be emailed a secret location in Dupont Circle. Talk to no one about it. Enter through the bar and proceed down into the basement areaóif anyone asks, say you're looking for Luke. There, awaiting you, will be... a conference table full of bloggers and a raging narcissist pissed at the media. Woo-hoo, Saturday night!

The reason for all this intrigue was a press conference hosted by 36-year-old writer Daryush Valizadeh, better known as "Roosh V." Though he started out in the mid-aughts preaching the gospel of "pickup artistry," that particular phenomenon has fallen out of vogue. Now Roosh heads up what he calls the "neomasculinity" movement, using his blog and the men's website Return of Kings as headquarters, along with selling self-published books about how to bang women in other countries. Until last week, he was mostly unknown outside avid followers and avid opponents. But that changed when Roosh arranged social meetups for fans in cities around the world, and a lot of activists, journalists, and politicians lost their collective minds about it.

Make no mistake: I am no fan of Roosh's writing or worldview, though I find his schtick more sleazy than terrifying, more Milo Yiannopoulos than "KKK of misogyny." On the way to Saturday's press conference, a journalist friend with me had much better humor about the whole spectacle. The self-important security scheme, the aggrieved victimhood dripping from Roosh's tweetsóhe was clearly loving this, and a part of me hated feeding into it. But I was going, out of a combination of curiosity, the potential newsworthiness, and it falling into the category of "too weird not to."

But perhaps Roosh was only responding in kind to the sort of paranoia with which he'd been greeted around the globe all week.

In Australia, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said he would consider denying a Roosh a visa. He told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that "Australia doesnít welcome people to our country who disrespect women." In general, Australian media reported on a Roosh tweet saying "The border is weak. I will get in" and "I have the funds to get in by boat through one of multiple weak points. Money is no barrier to the operation" as if they were deadly serious.

The U.K. House of Commons debated Roosh on February 4, during which Kate Green MP asked for Return of Kings fans to be deemed a "hate group"óa designation that that would make membership illegal. Home Office minister Karen Bradley MP noted that "the home secretary has powers to exclude an individual who is not a British citizen" if their presence isn't "conducive to the public good"óthough she "cannot comment on individual cases"óand said she would consult with internet service providers and sites such as Facebook about possibly banning Return of Kings content. More than 40,000 people signed an online petition calling on authorities to ban Roosh from entering the U.K. and to "take all available action in this case to prevent [fan] meetings taking place," citing their "terror against women" as justification.

A similar online petition, this one signed by more than 45,000 people, warned that "there is strong evidence indicating that 'RooshV' has entered Canada and is in Montreal. We ask Mayor Bonnie Crombie of Mississauga, Mayor John Tory of Toronto, and Mayor Denis Corderre of Montreal to denounce 'RooshV' and to urge local businesses and organizations to deny him accommodation while in Canada." The petition claimed that Roosh would be coming to Canada in violation of section 319 of the Canadian Criminal Code, which bans meeting for the purpose "of inciting hatred of an identifiable group."

In America, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott put out an official statement that "this pathetic group and their disgusting viewpoints are not welcome in Texas."

District of Columbia police indicated that they had an eye on a scheduled meetup in the nation's capital. Des Moines, Iowa, police put out a Facebook message warning that the meetups "may be a ruse to commit rape. We have no information that this will actually take place but we recommend that no one, men or women go to any of the sites."

At Chicago's Loyola University, sexual assault survivors were warned to avoid the area where one local meetup was scheduled, a meetup local police said they were "well aware" of and would be "monitoring." At the University of Rochester in New York, campus admins called in extra school security officers and city police for a meetup there, sending out an all-campus alert that Roosh "offers extreme writings based on his philosophy of Neomasculinity."

The school "does not believe the event will actually happen, but is still taking precautionary measure to ensure student safety," the local Democrat and Chronicle reported. These measures included consulting with the New York State Intelligence Center, which decided that there was "no evidence to suggest a gang, group, or organization is involved."

'The Most Hated Man in America'

At Saturday's press event, five women and maybe a dozen men fill the room, folks I would soon learn work for places such as The Washington Post, DCist, Wonkette, Washingtonian magazine, Vice, The Daily Beast, and a German television station. At a few minutes after 7 p.m., Roosh comes charging through the door, sizing everyone up, barking orders about who could film where and complaining about the room's low energy. Within minutes, he saysónot entirely chagrinedóthat he's been called the "most hated man in America."

Though their demeanors are very different and their views opposed, Roosh reminds me of another Internet-famous man who was called that, Hugo Schwyzer. A former Pasadena Community College professor and male-feminist writer for places like Jezebel and The Atlantic, Hugo's sex scandals (sleeping with students among them) and public mental-health breakdownóplaying out in real time on Twitterówere very much a big thing from my vantage point in the women's blogosphere. Not only was everyone on feminist Twitter talking about it, but Schwyzer was also covered in a lot of mainstream American and U.K. outlets. A hashtag, #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen, sprung up around allegations that Schwyzer had fucked over feminists of color. The U.K. Telegraph suggested he might be "evil incarnate."

A few years later, in D.C., whenever I've mentioned Schwyzer to writer friends or colleagues, no one knows anything about him. That the whole dramatic Hugo saga had only really been relevant and salient to a small segment of the Internet, I was sureóbut I hadn't realized how truly small that segment was. "Male feminist sex scandal" gets clicks, but it doesn't stick in people's minds. I bring it up because I think this Roosh situation is very similar. The story has been magnified out of all proportion because for a lot of traffic-thirsty web writers or editors, putting "pro-rape activists" in headlines or tweets is too good to pass upóeven if it may not technically be true and props up a man and movement they claim to abhor. But while it's likely to have limited reach and flash-in-the-pan stickiness for most, the Roosh situation is still interesting as a case study of collective catharsis through call-out culture and moral panic as meme.

The root of the "pro-rape" accusation is a Roosh blog post ("How to Stop Rape") that proposes legalizing rape on private property. Roosh claims it was "a thought experiment" or satireóa disclaimer on the post now says as muchóand says he doesn't think rape should be legal anywhere. Many protest that Roosh's P.S. isn't authentic. And even if it is, "the idea driving this 'satire' seems to be either that women are usually responsible for their own rapes, or that they routinely call something rape when it isn't," Emily Crockett writes at Vox.

But call it a "thought experiment" or call it trolling, I do think Roosh was being deliberately hyperbolic and provocative, as is his style, and does not believe in literally legalizing rape.

Regardless, though, does it matter if his original intent was earnest proposal if he since recanted? It shows the so-called "social justice warriors" won. Or, in less absurd terms: sane and individual-autonomy respecting views are such the social norm that even someone who states outright that his ideal society is "traditional" and "patriarchal" won't publicly condone sexual violence against women.

Literary Affect

At the press conference, Roosh tends to minimize his more outrageous statements. Perhaps it's all smoke and mirrors, but what emerges is a picture much less flattering to the international Lothario image Roosh projects but much more flattering to him as both a savvy self-brander and a human being.

"Macho sex writingóto convert that to 'rape' takes such a leap of faith that you have to be a liar," he says when about scenes in his series of "bang books" that have been described as pro-rape.

"You literally say they were 'too incapacitated' to consent," challenges Washington Post writer Caitlin Dewey.

"Macho sex writing is not a court," Roosh fires back. "It's not a piece of evidence....Maybe some things [in the books], I wanted to come across as an aggressive guy. Maybe I do. But just because it's [in the books] doesn't mean that there is a victim out there and she suffered. Have I raped anyone? No."

So the stories were fiction? asks another reporter. No, said Rooshóbut maybe they were his "interpretation" of his events.

The bottom line, though, is that "not a single woman has been hurt by me," says Roosh. "I've never been accused of rape, I've never been charged. No follower of mine has read something of [mine], and then gone on to rape, because I know if they did hurt a woman it'd be all over the news."

The whole thing calls to mind two more male writers: Matt Taibbi, probably best known for his work at Rolling Stone, and Mark Ames, who now writes for outlets such as Pando. The pair worked together at an English-language newspaper in Russia in the late '90s and subsequently published a book about the experience called The Exile: Sex, Drugs, and Libel in the New Russia. Within this book, there are scenes of the mostly-male Exile editors sexually harassing their administrative staffógoing so far as to tell secretaries they must sleep with them to keep their jobsóand Ames threatening to kill his pregnant Russian girlfriend if she doesn't get an abortion. The men never claimed at the time that it was satire or fiction. In explaining, Ames was prone to saying things like "Russian women, especially on the first date, expect you to rape them."

Despite this, Taibbi and Ames have continued to flourish as leftist writers, and as far as I know no feminist groups or Canadian mayors have tried to prevent either from visiting the country. Perhaps they're just lucky to have come of age in a different Internet era. Perhaps it helps that their politics and progressive credentials are otherwise right.

None of Roosh's views are right, from the left's perspective. From the perspective of most Americans, really. His work routinely stresses that women should be "submissive," that their highest value is as sex objects and mothers, and that America would be greater if only women were skinnier and had less sex outside marriage.

But while such views on gender roles are far from normative in 21st-century America, it's not as if they're relegated solely to Roosh and his crowd. There are still a good deal of evangelical Christians who preach female submission to their husbands, with a lot of blogs kept about the subject. There's a lot of popular music about how bitches ain't shit. There are immigrants from many cultures where egalitarian gender roles aren't standard. We don'tóand shouldn'tóprevent any of these groups from meeting or monitor them when they do.

What's more, people with sexually deviant turn-ons or loony, bigoted, and just plain unpopular ideas get together all the time. Unless there's evidence they're plotting something criminal, authorities should back the fuck off, really.

Freedom of the Manosphere

As much as we might hate to admit it, Roosh is a journalist. His main site, Return of Kingsóone of the hubs of what's sometimes called the "Manosphere"óand its forums get nearly two million visits per month. As neither Roosh nor any writers or readers of Return of Kings were under suspicion of criminal behavior, it is at the very least bizarre that law-enforcement officials would feel the need to comment and keep an eye on their gathers. And it's probably the kind of thing we should condemn, those of us interested in freedom of speech, press, movement, and association.

People will object that these groups were "pro-rape" meetups. But outside media misinformation, there was nothing about the proposed happy hours to suggest they had anything to do with rape.

"Starting on [January 31], a lot of you have lied by saying I am a 'pro rape advocate,'" Roosh tells the press gathered with him Saturday. Outlets also said the fan meetups were about "learning how to rape. 'They're going to exchange tips.' Some of you have even called it a rape rally. A rapeówhat the hell is that, a rape rally?"

There was no public elements planned for the 163 gatherings. Roosh calls them "social happy hour[s]" where men could "meet in private to talk about anythingówork, politics, girls." The plan for each was to meet in a public place and then migrate to a nearby bar.

Subjecting these men to police surveillance and intimidation based on the state's perception of a publication they like seems a bit totalitarian, no? Let the bitter, horny, heterosexual men have a safe space, too.

Do You Even Lift?

On February 3, a post on Return of Kings announced that the meetups would be canceled. "I can no longer guarantee the safety or privacy of the men who want to attend," Roosh wrote. "While I canít stop men who want to continue meeting in private groups, there will be no official Return Of Kings meetups."

At Saturday's press event, someone asks why Roosh's cadre of alleged alpha-men would cancel get-togethers over a little thing like feminist protests or a few police cars. "Because you have gotten governments involved by lying about their intention," he responds. "Now the world thinks they're going to meet to, uh, to rape people. So why are they going to meet now? Do you think it's smart now for them to go and meet after that?"

Roosh goes on to suggest this reporter himself certainly wouldn't have gone in those circumstances, adding, "I mean, do you lift?"

It is hard to tell if this is performance or not, creating a psychic uncanny valley not dissimilar to the effect of Donald Trump'sóRoosh's favorite 2016 presidential candidate, by the way. Asked what he likes about Trump, Roosh replies that it's because "he hates you guys too. The enemy of my enemy is my friend."

Someone suggests that hating the media isn't a political ideology. "But anti-establishment is," Roosh replies.

Anti-media as he may proclaim to be, it's not inconceivable that Roosh organized and then canceled the social meetups precisely in order to gain media attention. Being prevented from meeting only fuels his followers' narrative of hysterical, punitive feminists and a "cucked" media beholden to identity politics. All of it drives more web traffic.

Asked whether this controversy had been good for him, Roosh says it is "the best and the worst. I mean, what's going to happen now is I'm going to be known, in the media, as a 'pro-rape' advocate for the rest of my life. 'Oh, that's the guy that believes all women should be raped.' But at the same time, they're going to say, that's the guy, I know his name."

Roosh claims to live "somewhere in Europe," though he grew up in Maryland, where he says he's currently visiting family. He told Dewey he doesn't know why the house he claims is his mother's is registered under his name.

Media Malpractice

Roosh has no regrets about publishing the "How to Prevent Rape" essay, he says. "That article was making a point about personal responsibility, that a woman's safety is not only in the hands of men but it's in their own hands too. And I guess that point didn't get through, so on that account, I did fail. I failed to give the point. But that doesn't mean I did anything wrong."

Sexist pig or notóremember when people just called people sexist pigs or "chauvinists," instead of branding them dangerous on an international level?óRoosh is correct on some key points about modern media.

Asked if he could acknowledge that his writing was offensive, Roosh responds "So what if you're offended? So what if I make fun of you? Is that where we're at now, that we can't write things that hurt people's feelings? Good, get offended, feel something."

"Do I believe that a woman should submit to a man?" he says. "Yes. Does that mean that my family's address should be put online because of that, and the media staking out their home because of what I write? No."

After the hacker-collective Anonymous "doxxed" Roosh's family (i.e., revealed their home address online)óinfo since confirmed by The Daily MailóRoosh says he has received "dozens" of threats of violence and arson. "Your work, and the work of your colleagues, has incited a mob, based on lies, that has put my family in danger," he chastises media Saturday. "If they get hurt right now, God forbid, it's because of you."

Roosh himself has been accused of inviting fans to dox journalists who cross him. But he insists he merely asked followers to gather publicly available information on journalists, such as their home cities and Twitter handles. "I never said I was going to share their address, that was another lie," he says Saturday. "It's like you guys can't stop lying." (Truly, the Taylor Swift of MRA bloggers, folks.) He complains that "it's like a game" for media, cutting-and-pasting from one another's stories when they see they're generating hits.

There was a hint of "holy shit" in many of Roosh's statements, an incredulity that anyone who works or spends a lot of time on the Internet many sympathize with. Sometimes the mediaómainstream, ideological, fringe, local, global, whateveróis just astonishingly bad. From the Chinese man who sued his wife for bearing ugly children to eggs being "as bad for you as smoking," the influx of Super Bowl sex-slaves to the hordes of sexist "Bernie Bros," the press routinely, en masse, gets things totally wrong.

Sometimes this is rooted in bias, but just as often it's a more economic than ideological imperative, a mandate to produce fast copy that generates good traffic. This means many writers take the veracity of other publications' reporting for granted. When the original account is incorrect, inaccuracies and distortions can spread like a game of Telephone from The Huffington Post to Jezebel to The Guardian, and so on.

Asked whether he considers himself a victim, Roosh says "You know what, no. I take full responsibility for everything that I have done. But that doesn't mean that I can't state what you did wrong."

Vanity Virtue

At The Washington Post, Caitlyn Dewey argues that "the number of people who actually follow Daryish Valizadeh is smaller than it looks."

"While his flagship website, Return of Kings, is well-traffickedóaveraging slightly less than 2 million views per month, according to Similar Webóthat number is not necessarily indicative of the size of Valizadehís following," writes Dewey. "On both Twitter and Facebook, Return of Kings has fewer than 13,000 followers. The siteís accompanying forums have registered 19,600 accounts, but half have never posted."

Dewey calls the whole Roosh situation "manufactured publicity on a scale that few fringe Internet movements have ever dreamed of." On Twitter, Roosh is milking it for all he can.

But on his blog, Roosh condemns the very sort of manufactured controversy he's complicit in. "Instead of focusing your anger on real problems in your neighborhood, city, and country, the media has made you emotional against a man who poses absolutely no threat to anyone," he chastises his opponents. "Iím being used as a target so that you can expend your rage on me instead of other entities that are genuinely hurting your standard of living."

It's obnoxiously self-aggrandizing but...also not untrue. Roosh's assessment of what's hurting people's standard of living is probably vastly different than mine, as both are also vastly different from media-criticizing leftists like Freddie de Boer. But one thing we all agree on is a similar diagnosis: online media prioritizes sensationalism and righteous signaling over accuracy and nuance. This is far from ahistorical, of course, but it also makes modern media much less "progressive" than many in it would like to think.

At the end of Roosh's press conference, I come away feeling more charitable about him than I did going in, which could mean he's a good showman, a sociopath, someone conflicted (both Crockett and Emmett Rensin at Vox offer profiles to this effect), or simply that he's neither a terribly sympathetic person nor cartoonishly evil. In any event, the clickbaity portrayal of him as some outlandish misogynist villain, ready to storm Australia via private yacht and host how-to-rape seminars globally, overshadows more interesting and perhaps revelatory components of the manosphere phenomenon.

If reporters had tried to talk to the men attending Return of Kings meetups, instead of insta-demonizing them, what might they have found? Rage-filled rape advocates? "Beta males" who "don't even lift?" How many of them? What way do they lean politically? What draws them to Roosh's writing? Are these guys with power, or guys trying to cope with not having power?

These would be informative things to know. Instead we have overblown fears and parody villains, predictable liberal responses, wasted opportunities. Rape is bad and good people should be against itóeverybody got that? Because as common sense as that might be, it's also the only major takeaway an international press corps has established here.

The Return of Kings meetups gave the popular media and its acolytes the latest opportunity to assert their goodness, to feel the catharsis of raging in solidarity. But was even one person's opinion changed, or anyone's ability to understand one another increased?

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Botox for Erectile Dysfunction? Canadian Urologists Believe It Could Restore Erectile Function

Two Canadian urologists believes that the wildly popular wrinkle eraser Botox can help men struggling with impotence. They believe that if it works for men what it so far done among aged male rats, it may provide a persistent, long-acting mean to bring back erectile function.

Their initial data suggests that botulinum toxin or Botox can increase blood flow to the penis by relaxing the nerves that causes penile smooth muscles to contract. Erection relies mainly on a good blood flow.

The benefit of Botox for erectile dysfunction is that if you inject once, it could last potentially for six months. While there are other forms of penile injection therapy, men have to do it themselves every time they want to have sexual contact. Viagra and other similar pills belonging to the class PDE-5 inhibitors act on the chemical signal that stimulate the penile blood vessels and they have to be taken daily or before sex. Side effects from taking this drug such as heartburn and headache may also be experienced. Furthermore, Viagra does not work for more than 30 percent of the men who tried it.

More so for men with prostate cancer surgery and those with diabetes.

Botox for erectile dysfunction may help those who donít respond to Viagra. French urologist Francois Giuliano told ëBotox could be a potential game changer for EDí. Others fear drugs for ED are already propagating narrow social norms of male sexuality and masculinity ñ such idea that somehow, to be a real maní, you need to be a penetrative force.

Men usually do not talk to their partners about the problem before they look for ED drugs, or keep their use secret. However, studies show that when men talk to their partners, their partners responded openly with the change or they are open to exploring other sexual activities.

Some men are using Botox for treatment overactive bladders by relaxing the smooth muscles in the bladder. The Botox treatment could last up to nine months. Experts wondered whether it could work in a similar way to penis by letting smooth muscles to relax, dilate and allow blood flow to quickly fill the penis.

Based on the rat study, the result showed improved erections, exactly what has predicted. However, the animal subject is not the same for humans. Though much more research has to be done, they hope to begin clinical trials in men as soon as possible.

But still, Botox for erectile dysfunction is not completely safe and harmless. It is made from the bacteria that cause botulism and it can spread out in other areas. When given in high dosage, it can leak into the bloodstream, potentially killing you since it can paralyze everything.

The plan is to administer a very minimal dose because there is a potential risk of causing a permanent damage such as priapism or prolonged erection without sexual stimulation.

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Zimbabwe: Age of Consent to Go Up to 18 - Mnangagwa

8 MARCH 2017 - Allafrica

VICE PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa says government was in the process of introducing a law that would see the statutory age of consent to sex by girls raised from 16 to 18 years.

He was responding to calls by Senators on Tuesday that the minimum age one could be allowed to consent to sex should be aligned to a 2016 Constitutional Court ruling which outlawed the marriage of or among minors below 18.

While the ruling was followed with euphoric victory among child and women's rights activists, some felt it remained hollow as girls as young as 16 could still indulge in sex and even conceive children for as long as they did not proceed to get married before 18.

"We have a landmark ruling in this country which states that nobody should be married or be married off when they are below the age of 18," Senator representing people with disabilities, Anna Shiri, had said earlier.

She was contributing to a motion which called on the government to ratify and incorporate into its gender laws, the SADC Model Law on Eradicating Child Marriage.

Zimbabwe, currently, is in the process of enacting a law which seeks to operationalise the outlawing of child marriages.

"At the same time we have this Bill," Shiri said, "while we have part of the Act which says there is an age of consent to sex which is 16 years of age.

"As a result, there is some contradiction where early marriage is 18 years yet the consent to sexual activity is 16 years. We need to align these laws."

Mnangagwa, who was speaking as the country's justice minister, said government was considering raising the age of consent to 18.

"I may also say that the other two points you have raised relating to the issue of consent between juveniles or children, anybody who is below 18 is regarded as a child," Mnangagwa said.

"We had a Committee to deal with that and we have arrived at a possible solution which will come to Parliament on the issue of consent between an adult and juvenile or between a juvenile and a juvenile.

"Those issues we have debated and we believe that we should bring up also the age of consent to the age of 18. Of course, this is subject to debate when it comes to Parliament."

Mnangagwa said his ministry was in the process of aligning all the marriage laws and the progressive provisions of the SADC Model law he said will be incorporated in the comprehensive proposed Marriages Bill.

The proposed Bill will be able to amend the Marriages Act and the Customary Marriages Act and all other laws that are outdated in relation to marriages.

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Largest ever study of awareness during general anaesthesia identifies risk factors and consequences for patients, including long-term psychological harm

The Association of Anaesthetics of Great Britain and Ireland

10 September 2014 Accidental awareness is one of the most feared complications of general anaesthesia for both patients and anaesthetists. Patients report this failure of general anaesthesia in approximately 1 in every 19,000 cases, according to a report published today. Known as accidental awareness during general anaesthesia (AAGA), it occurs when general anaesthesia is intended but the patient remains conscious. This incidence of patient reports of awareness is much lower than previous estimates of awareness, which were as high as 1 in 600.

The findings come from the largest ever study of awareness, the 5th National Audit Project (NAP5), which has been conducted over the last three years by the Royal College of Anaesthetists (RCoA) and the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland (AAGBI). The researchers studied 3 million general anaesthetics from every public hospital in UK and Ireland, and studied more than 300 new reports of awareness.

The extensive study showed that the majority of episodes of awareness are short-lived, occur before surgery starts or after it finishes, and do not always cause concern to patients. Despite this, 51% of episodes led to distress and 41% to longer-term psychological harm. Sensations experienced included tugging, stitching, pain, paralysis and choking. Patients described feelings of dissociation, panic, extreme fear, suffocation and even dying. Longer-term psychological harm often included features of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Sandra described her feelings when, as a 12-year-old, she suffered an episode of AAGA during a routine orthodontic operation:

ìSuddenly, I knew something had gone wrong,î said Sandra, ìI could hear voices around me, and I realised with horror that I had woken up in the middle of the operation, but couldnít move a muscle... while they fiddled, I frantically tried to decide whether I was about to die.î

For many years after the operation Sandra described experiencing nightmares in which, ìa Dr Who style monster leapt on me and paralysed me.î Sandra experienced the nightmares for more than 15 years until she realised the link: ìI suddenly made the connection with feeling paralysed during the operation; after that I was freed of the nightmare and finally liberated from the more stressful aspects of the event.î

Sandraís account is borne out by the research findings that longer-term adverse effects are closely linked with patients experiencing a sensation of paralysis during their awareness. The use of drugs to stop muscles working (muscle relaxants), often needed for safe surgery, is responsible. Distress at the time of the experience appears to be key in the development of later psychological symptoms.

Professor Jaideep Pandit, Consultant Anaesthetist in Oxford and Project Lead, explained: ìNAP5 is patient focussed, dealing as it does entirely with patient reports of AAGA. Risk factors were complex and varied, and included those related to drug type, patient characteristics and organisational variables. We found that patients are at higher risk of experiencing AAGA during caesarean section and cardiothoracic surgery, if they are obese or when there is difficulty managing the airway at the start of anaesthesia. The use of some emergency drugs heightens risk, as does the use of certain anaesthetic techniques. However, the most compelling risk factor is the use of muscle relaxants, which prevent the patient moving. Significantly, the study data also suggest that although brain monitors designed to reduce the risk of awareness have a role with certain types of anaesthetic, the study provides little support for their widespread use.î

Professor Tim Cook, Consultant Anaesthetist in Bath and co-author of the report, commented: ìNAP5 has studied outcomes from all anaesthetics in five countries for a full year, making it a uniquely large and broad project. It is reassuring that the reports of awareness (1 in 19,000) in NAP5 are a lot rarer than incidences in previous studies. The project dramatically increases our understanding of anaesthetic awareness and highlights the range and complexity of patient experiences. NAP5, as the biggest ever study of this complication, has been able to define the nature of the problem and those factors that contribute to it more clearly than ever before. As well as adding to the understanding of the condition, we have also recommended changes in practice to minimise the incidence of awareness and, when it occurs, to ensure that it is recognised and managed in such a way as to mitigate longer-term effects on patients.î

The project report includes clear recommendations for changes in clinical practice. Two main recommendations are the introduction of a simple anaesthesia checklist to be performed at the start of every operation, and the introduction of an Awareness Support Pathway - a structured approach to the management of patients reporting awareness. These two interventions are designed to decrease errors causing awareness and to minimise the psychological consequences when it occurs.

It is anticipated that NAP5 will lead to changes in the practice of individual anaesthetists, their training and hospital support systems both nationally and internationally.

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Richard Dawkins on vivisection: "But can they suffer?"

The great moral philosopher Jeremy Bentham, founder of utilitarianism, famously said,'The question is not, "Can they reason?" nor, "Can they talk?" but rather, "Can they suffer?" Most people get the point, but they treat human pain as especially worrying because they vaguely think it sort of obvious that a species' ability to suffer must be positively correlated with its intellectual capacity. Plants cannot think, and you'd have to be pretty eccentric to believe they can suffer. Plausibly the same might be true of earthworms. But what about cows?

What about dogs? I find it almost impossible to believe that RenÈ Descartes, not known as a monster, carried his philosophical belief that only humans have minds to such a confident extreme that he would blithely spreadeagle a live mammal on a board and dissect it. You'd think that, in spite of his philosophical reasoning, he might have given the animal the benefit of the doubt. But he stood in a long tradition of vivisectionists including Galen and Vesalius, and he was followed by William Harvey and many others (See from which this picture is taken).

How could they bear to do it: tie a struggling, screaming mammal down with ropes and dissect its living heart, for example? Presumably they believed what came to be articulated by Descartes: that non-human animals have no soul and feel no pain.

Most of us nowadays believe that dogs and other non-human mammals can feel pain, and no reputable scientist today would follow Descartes' and Harvey's horrific example and dissect a living mammal without anaesthetic. British law, among others, would severely punish them if they did (although invertebrates are not so well protected, not even large-brained octopuses). Nevertheless, most of us seem to assume, without question, that the capacity to feel pain is positively correlated with mental dexterity - with the ability to reason, think, reflect and so on. My purpose here is to question that assumption. I see no reason at all why there should be a positive correlation. Pain feels primal, like the ability to see colour or hear sounds. It feels like the sort of sensation you don't need intellect to experience. Feelings carry no weight in science but, at the very least, shouldn't we give the animals the benefit of the doubt?

Without going into the interesting literature on Animal Suffering (see, for instance, Marian Stamp Dawkins's excellent book of that title, and her forthcoming Rethinking Animals), I can see a Darwinian reason why there might even be be a negative correlation between intellect and susceptibility to pain. I approach this by asking what, in the Darwinian sense, pain is for. It is a warning not to repeat actions that tend to cause bodily harm. Don't stub your toe again, don't tease a snake or sit on a hornet, don't pick up embers however prettily they glow, be careful not to bite your tongue. Plants have no nervous system capable of learning not to repeat damaging actions, which is why we cut live lettuces without compunction.

It is an interesting question, incidentally, why pain has to be so damned painful. Why not equip the brain with the equivalent of a little red flag, painlessly raised to warn, "Don't do that again"? In The Greatest Show on Earth

I suggested that the brain might be torn between conflicting urges and tempted to 'rebel', perhaps hedonistically, against pursuing the best interests of the individual's genetic fitness, in which case it might need to be whipped agonizingly into line. I'll let that pass and return to my primary question for today: would you expect a positive or a negative correlation between mental ability and ability to feel pain? Most people unthinkingly assume a positive correlation, but why?

Isn't it plausible that a clever species such as our own might need less pain, precisely because we are capable of intelligently working out what is good for us, and what damaging events we should avoid? Isn't it plausible that an unintelligent species might need a massive wallop of pain, to drive home a lesson that we can learn with less powerful inducement?

At very least, I conclude that we have no general reason to think that non-human animals feel pain less acutely than we do, and we should in any case give them the benefit of the doubt. Practices such as branding cattle, castration without anaesthetic, and bullfighting should be treated as morally equivalent to doing the same thing to human beings.

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In peace, women are feminists. In wars, they are cowards, trading sexual signals for sympathy and protection.

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Men risk their lives in wars so women can enjoy societies where they can pursue feminist goals, such as punishing men for sexist language.

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Circumcised women can have normal sex and orgasm

A research has shown that some erectile structures fundamental for orgasm have not been excised during female genital mutilation (FGM), meaning they can have normal sex and reach orgasm.

FGM, also known as female genital cutting and female circumcision, is the ritual removal of some or all of the external female genitalia ñ the clitoral hood and clitoral glans (the visible part of the clitoris), removal of the inner labia and, in the most severe form (known as infibulation), removal of the inner and outer labia and closure of the vulva.

Simply put, part of the female genitals is partly or entirely removed by a traditional circumciser using a blade or razor.

Most times, the goal is to inhibit a woman's sexual feelings ñ to control women's sexuality.

The research by Catania L1, Abdulcadir O, Puppo V, Verde JB, Abdulcadir J and Abdulcadir D, entitled 'Pleasure and orgasm in women with Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C)' tested 137 women affected by different types of FGM/C.

"The group of 137 women, affected by different types of FGM/C, reported orgasm in almost 86%, always 69.23%; 58 mutilated young women reported orgasm in 91.43%, always 8.57%; after defibulation 14 out of 15 infibulated women reported orgasm," the researchers stated in their abstract.

Also, 14 out of 15 women who were initially infibulated and later defibulated reported orgasm after defibulation.

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Male feminists are traitors. For women to be feminists is somehow understandable. They want power. Everybody wants power. But male feminists are traitors. Treat them as such. For a list of male feminists, see here

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Pedophile sting ops roil U.S. forces on Okinawa Controversial operations in which sailors pose online as underage girls lead to dozens of NCIS arrests

SPECIAL TO THE JAPAN TIMES

Since 2015, at least 36 U.S. service members on Okinawa have been arrested in child sex stings operated by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

Those detained have belonged to all branches of the military ó with marines in the majority ó and their ranks have ranged from private to lieutenant colonel. Typically they have received sentences of between two and three years in military prison, and upon their release they will be required to register as sex offenders in the United States.

Details of the operations were revealed by two American lawyers ó Timothy J. Bilecki and Stephen H. Carpenter Jr. ó who have represented some of those service members arrested. Both lawyers have criticized the methods employed by the U.S. Navyís law enforcement agency.

According to Honolulu-based Bilecki, in the operations, NCIS agents task female sailors with posting messages online, including in the personals section of Craigslist and on the Whisper messaging app. After being contacted by service members, the sailors pose as bored young women, engage in sexually provocative chat and, at some point during the conversations, they describe their ages as 14 or 15 years old. NCIS agents arrest the service members when they go to meet the females in person ó either at a house temporarily leased to the NCIS within Kadena Air Base or an ice cream shop in American Village, a popular tourist area in Chatan Town.

The operations have been nicknamed ìTo Catch A Predatorî due to their similarities to the contentious NBC reality TV show that aired from 2004 to 2007.

Basing his estimates on U.S. Marine Corps records, Bilecki says the Okinawa operations have netted at least 36 service members, but he believes the actual number may be as high as 50.

Contacted by The Japan Times, the NCIS declined to comment on the operations, saying it does not discuss the details of ongoing investigations.

According to its website, the NCIS is comprised of more than 2,300 members in approximately 40 countries tasked with investigating major criminal cases involving or targeting the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. Its special agents can conduct arrests of service members and civilians on- and off-base. In Japan, the NCIS is headquartered at Yokosuka Naval Base, Kanagawa Prefecture, with four subordinate offices, including one at Camp Foster, Okinawa, from where it is believed the sting operations are directed.

Bilecki is highly critical of the way the NCIS conducts the operations. He says following the arrests, NCIS agents dupe the suspects into writing letters of apology to the nonexistent girlís mother. He also questions why the NCIS sends photographs of adult women to the service members when encouraging them to meet.

ìNCIS is using the wrong bait. If they are really looking for pedophiles, then why donít they send pictures of kids?î he said in a recent interview.

Highlighting the NCISís mishandling of the operations, explains Bilecki, is one case tried in March 2016. Following the arrest of a marine staff sergeant, he says, the female sailor playing the role of the young girl gave the suspect her real mobile telephone number and later engaged in sexual relations with him. According to Bilecki, the sailor was consequently removed from her position.

The marine ultimately received a sentence of 15 years in prison ó partly due to his sexual relationship with a real high school girl, which was uncovered during the investigation. The final sentence was reduced to two years because of a pre-trial agreement.

Seattle-based lawyer Carpenter, who has represented one of the marines and advised others charged in the Okinawa sting, describes the operations as ìa network of sophisticated law enforcement tricks.î

ìThese kids (service members) are bored ó indeed the only outlet they have is the internet, which, for NCIS, is like shooting fish in a barrel, except for the fact that these young marines arenít fish, they are human beings with families and friends,î he told The Japan Times.

The morality of the NCIS operations has sparked heated debate online. On June 25, 2016, Bilecki posted a video on his law firmís Facebook page following his successful defense of a marine accused of offenses including attempted sexual assault and abuse of a child. In the video ó also viewable on YouTube (bit.ly/bileckisting) ó he accused the NCIS of ìabsolutely entrapping people into committing crimes they wouldnít otherwise commit.î

The Facebook posting has garnered 126,000 views and more than 530 comments. Although many people appeared to agree with Bileckiís view that the NCIS operations were unjustly ensnaring service members, other posters seemed to support the operations. ìSting or not (the service members) are showing up to sleep with little girls! NCIS is protecting our alliance with Japan!î wrote one commentator.

Almost eight months since the video was posted, Bilecki remains outspoken in his criticism of the NCIS. These operations, he says, are being conducted ìlike an assembly lineî with very little oversight. They are designed to boost arrest rates and make the NCIS look good, he says.

In recent years, there have been other high-profile arrests of American pedophiles on Okinawa.

In January 2015, a marine chief warrant officer admitted to 18 charges of sex crimes against children, some of which involved a child under the age of 12. He was sentenced to 144 years in military prison by a military judge at Camp Foster but the term was reduced to 20 years due to an agreement with the court.

In July 2015 a civilian employee at Kadena Air Force Base was convicted of sexually assaulting a minor on the base and filming the attack with his mobile phone. At a trial that took place in the U.S., he was sentenced to five years in prison.

Meanwhile, an undated case posted on the website of the Dallas-based law firm of Stephen P. Karns details how a first lieutenant in the army, stationed at Kadena, was arrested for possession of ì983 image files and 41 multimedia (movie) files of suspected child pornography.î The soldier was allowed by his command to resign instead of facing a court martial, and it appears he did not receive any other punishments. Nor was he required to register as a sex offender.

ìThis high number of cases suggests there is a real problem with sex offenses in the U.S. military on Okinawa,î says Manabu Sato, a professor of political science at Okinawa International University. ìWhenever there is an incident off-base involving a service member, the military likes to claim it is a one-off but these cases show such behavior is not an exception. If the military cannot even protect people within its bases then how can they claim to be able to prevent crimes from occurring off-base in Okinawan communities?î

On March 10, the first pretrial conference for Kenneth Franklin Shinzato is scheduled to be held at Naha District Court. The former U.S. Marine is charged with the rape and murder of a 20-year-old Okinawan woman in the city of Uruma last April. The crime ratcheted up anti-military tensions in the prefecture, host to the majority of U.S. installations in Japan.

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Islamic State strategists are amateurs. They haven't recognized the power of arson. Setting Third World cities like Kairo or Lagos on fire will drive millions of refugees to Europe, and finally islamize it.

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