Sunday, 26 February 2017

Sean Spicer once said only dictatorships would ban media access | The Independent

For John LEE (Editor of the SCMP LETTERS page). 

Hi John,
The link below is *FOR* the Editor, not a Letter TO the editor. In case they haven't seen it. 
It supports the Post's editorial today "Trump has gone too far with media ban". 
(Indeed he has. He's gone too far in heaps of other ways, though that's another story)
The story below highlights Trump spokesman Sean Spicer's hypocrisy. He said as recently as December 2016 that "only a dictatorship would prevent the media from access to public information".  
Welcome to the dictatorship, then. 
The quote is available somewhere in a video so we know the words are not doctored or "fake news". 
Spicer is hoist, as they say, by his own petard. 
This flagrant hypocrisy needs more widespread circulation by "the enemies of the people". 

White House Press Secretary Sean Spiceronce said that only a dictatorship would prevent the media from access to public information. And just two months later he blocked several high-profile news outlets from the daily press briefing.

Read the rest....

Peter Forsythe 
Sent from my iPhone

My letter on "moderate Muslims" is the featured one in today's paper

Moderate Muslims should not deny Islam terror links

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Saturday, 25 February 2017

"Clarifying the Muslim Brotherhood", 22 February

Gehad El-Haddad paints a picture of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) as a kind of Rotary Club for the middle east. It simply pursues  "social justice, equality and the rule of law... uplifting society's most marginalised". Don't worry, we're benign, says El-Haddad. (Clarifying the Muslim Brotherhood, 22 Feb)
Let's not be fooled.
The MB set up Hamas, a proscribed terrorist and genocidal organisation.  The two remain "as close as lips and teeth", as the Chinese say. 
The MB inspired Osama bin-Laden and Al-Qaeda. Thence ISIS who also acknowledge their MB provenance.
The MB's founder, Hassan Al-Banna urged its members to follow Jihad as holy war in the name of Allah. That remains its aim.
An official document at the 1991 meeting of the MB  in the US, outlines its strategic goals for North America.  The document was entered as evidence in the 2008 Holy Land Terror Trial  by US Federal investigators.  This document says:
"The MB must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilisation from within and sabotaging its miserable house by their hand and the hands of the believers."
Do you think, perhaps, that your running El-Haddad's opinion piece on the front page of the NYT  might help this MB goal?
The aims of Al-Qaeda, ISIS and the MB are the same: a global islamic caliphate.  The only difference is that Al-Qaeda or ISIS want to do this openly and by violence while MB wants to do this quietly and non-violently.
The MB mission statement makes it clear:
"God is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Qur'an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of God is our highest hope. God is greater!"
Surely that's pretty clear and has nothing much to do with the Rotary Club vision El-Haddad wants us to believe.
I'm not sure why the NYT would think that running a front page opinion piece, by an avowedly islamist organisation -- one of gross duplicity -- is a good idea. 
it's not. Let's not be fooled.
Peter Forsythe.
9 Siena One
Discovery Bay
Hong Kong (China)
852 9308 0799

Trump bans BBC, CNN, New York Times, Politico

Actually it wasn't Trump specifically but his spokesman Sean Spicer who blocked them from a post-CPAC briefing in his office. In their place he allowed Breitbart in. Breitbart! My god that's crazy!
But, get this: the move was so outlandish that even Fox News is criticizing it! Fox also joined in a letter of protest sent to Spicer by the White House Press Association.
It may help that O'Reilly's show is hosted this morning by Chris Wallace and comment is by Bernie Goldberg, both decent and fair men.
Trump has not only reiterated the "press are enemies of the people" meme, but he's also demanded that press reveal names of sources in any story. No one to be anonymous any more. Yeah, right. That's not for my to run. Imagine how long such an identified poor sap would last.
This is not so much like Germany in the 1930s as so many are saying. It's more like China. And they way they control the media.
Had it not been for Deep Throat, we would never have known about Watergate. Or aboit Flynn's possibly illegal pre-inauguration discussions with the Russian ambassador.
And the people need to know these things. That's what the press is there for. And they are included in the constitution for that purpose.
Meantime, in place of CNN, BBC, etc, Spicer let in Breitbart and Washington Times.
Breitbart is too crazy right-wing, too Muslim-hating, too anti immigration even for me. It's awash in clearly fake news.
Preferring them to BBC is batshit crazy.
And that's Spicer. And that's Trump.

Sent from my iPhone

Friday, 24 February 2017

Danish man who videoed himself burning the Quran charged with blasphemy

Who said Europe is not becoming Islamicised? (Well, The Left, of course).
This is implementation of sharia law in Denmark.
Who imagines that the fellow charged with the outdated notion of blasphemy would have been charged if the book burned had been the Bible?
No, it's the Koran, because Muslims are just so triggered they might go on a rampage.
So let's not upset the "religion of peace".
Shame on the Danish prosecutors!

Sent from my iPhone

Kim Jong-nam Was Killed by VX Nerve Agent, Malaysians Say -

Kim Jong-nam's son Kim Han-sol (L) with an unidentified
mate.  Rather slimmer and better looking than his father...
The second "wow!" Item for today.
The New York Times reports that Kim Jong-nam was killed by a poison called VX. That's short for "venomous substance X".
So I hied me to Mr Google and find, via Wikipedia, that the Poms had a rainbow code-name for the stuff: "Purple Possum".  Cute name for something really vile.
This is simply THE most poisonous substance in the world. Period. Full stop.
A single drop on your skin will kill you.
It's a horrible death. First your muscles contract uncontrollably. Then they relax completely so you can't even breathe. You die of asphyxiation. Imagine. You try for breath and can't even gasp. The terror. The horror.
Purple Possum is the consistency of motor oil, but colourless and odourless. It's so toxic that production and storage is limited by international treaty to just 100 grams per country. That's about one-third of a can of beer.
For me that seals it as being the work of North Korea, specifically of his younger brother, dictator Kim Jing-un.
You can't get VX if you're not a country. And what other country wanted Jong-nam dead? Certainly not China. And Malaysia or Indonesia? Hardly.
This is the paranoia of Jong-un. Who I incorrectly predicted years ago would not last long. So what do I know? Well I do know that Jong-un is a special kind of batshit crazy and has killed close relatives before.
If I were Jong-nam's son, I wouldn't be feeling too flash. He ought to be traveling with the VX antidote. It's all there in Wikipedia, son.

LATER: Turns out that Jong-nam's son, Kim Han-sol (kind of like a Star Wars name, that) is indeed living in fear of death.  The Sun reports that he's turned down a place at Oxford Uni, fearing he'd be murdered in the U.K.. Reasonable fear, I reckon.
Also, BBC Radio is reporting that VX can't be made in a backyard lab.  It's needs a sophisticated lab, and North Korea is known to have these, including making chemical weapons, which is the only use for VX

Exoplanet discovery: Five facts you need to know about Nasa’s new solar system | The Independent

Wow wow wow!
Plenty of stories about the seven planets discovered around the nearby (40 light years) dwarf star Trappist-1. Three of them may be habitable.
Google did a Doodle...
The story in The Independent is one of the best. Be sure to click on the internally-linked ESO video "what could the planets look like?". (Also embedded above).
According to the Cambridge University astronomer Amaury Triaud "The spectacle would be beautiful because every once in a while you would see another planet in the sky bigger than the moon".
The sky would be salmon-pinkish (my favorite!)
The dwarf star Trappist-1 is going to last trillions of years, 700 times longer than our own sun and "longer than the life of the universe" according to this article. (Though I don't quite get how that could be...).
I've often hoped we would find, in my lifetime, evidence of life elsewhere in the universe. In a poll at this article, 75% of people think we may do so in "our lifetime". We may just do it and soonish.
Should we send a probe to Trappist-1? After all, it's "only" 40 light years away.
I did the calculation. The fastest man-made object is the Juno Jupiter Explorer which was slingshot out of earth orbit in 2013, then accelerated by Jupiter's gravity to 210,000 km per hour. That's 1,839,600,000 km per year.
Trappist-1 is 378 Trillion km away. So it would take Juno 205,000 years to get there (round about...).
I guess we'd best just watch its dim-beautiful light for now. Apparently it would be like a salmon-pink sunset on earth, but with the sun much larger in the sky. And sister planets would look twice the size of our moon.
More exciting news may come next year when the James Webb telescope will take over from the venerable Hubble. It can look at the three likely planets, Trappist 1-e, 1-f and 1-g, the three in the habitable zone, and see if there are traces of nitrogen, carbon dioxide, ozone or methane, all markers of life.
Can't wait!

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Women, gays and Islam, regressive Left style...

If in any doubt about what Islam says about women and gays have a look at "Islam in figures" and "Sharia: what does it say about" in the tabs above.

LATER: Turns out that I forgot to write about "Sharia: what does it say about homosexuality" in the Tab above.  So here goes: what Sharia says about homosexuality: in a word "death".
Sharia law is most clearly set out in the "Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law".  This is the Umdat al-Salik, or, in English "The Reliance of the Traveller".  This is authorised by Al-Azhar university in Cairo, the oldest and most respected repository of Islamic law, and the International Institute of Islamic Thought . 
Al-Azhar says the Umdat "...conforms to the practice and faith of the orthodox Sunni Community."
Here is what the Umdat says about gays:
P17.1  In more than one place in the Holy Koran, Allah recounts to us the story of Lot's people, and how He destroyed them for their wicked practice.  There is consensus among both Muslims and the followers of all other religions that sodomy is an enormity.  It is even viler and uglier than adultery.
P17.3  The Prophet (PBUH) said:
(1)  "Kill the one who sodomizes and the one who lets it be done to him."
(2)  "May Allah curse him who does what Lot's people did."
(3)  "Lesbianism by women is adultery between them."
Keen-eyed Sharia apologists will note the reference to "other religions" who also believe sodomy is an "enormity". Of course, there are similar words in the Old Testament. But the Bible is many voices, not alway the direct word of God. So it's been subject to exegesis.  Moreover, the New Testament abrogates the Old, and in the New Testament, Jesus treats homosexuals much more lovingly. He certainly never told his foreigners that they should kill homosexuals.  As a result, in all democracies now, discrimination in any form against gays is forbidden, let alone death.  The Koran, by contrast, is the inerrant word of Allah.  There can be no exegesis.  Woe to those that try: they'll be executed for the blasphemy.
Meantime, in most Islamic countries homosexuality is illegal and in a number it's punishable by death.  ISIS tosses alleged homosexuals off tall buildings with gay abandon (sorry...).  ISIS is not "perverting the religion of peace", as so many apologists would have it.  They are doing  what's in the Koran and in the direct words of Muhammad, as recorded with authorised Islamic jurisprudence.
It's not islamophobic to point this out.

BTW: I note that it seems to be impossible now to find the "Reliance" online.  All the PDFs get a "404 Error".  I wonder if that's a concerted effort from Islamists to keep Islamic Sacred Law, aka Sharia, out of general availability.  The text of Sharia law, as clearly set out in the "Reliance" is damning, especially to all the apologists for Sharia, like the Linda Sarsours of the world.
After all, you wouldn't want the truth about Sharia to be available to the infidels, would you?

Food trucks

LETTER TO South China Morning Post:
There's been a lot of news lately about Hong Kong's food trucks. Not all of it good. 
The New York Times ran a full-page article yesterday by my namesake Michael Forsythe (no relation). The headline was that there are more regulations than customers. City's food truck rules outnumber patrons.
Today the BBC had a story about the high costs the truck owners had to bear because of onerous government regulation. 
A number of letter writers, including myself, have mocked the government's dead hand of regulation in getting the concept to reality. The elephant laboured mightily and produced a flea. After a year of labour, eight trucks!
The NYT article quoted an official of the Tourism Bureau as saying that the trucks should be in places where there were no restaurants. Obviously this anonymous official knows nothing of the concept of "clustering ". The reason restaurants cluster close to each other is because it generates more business for all.  That's why home furnishing shops in Causeway Bay or car repair shops in Mongkok are clustered: it's good for everyone. 
There are three major faults with the scheme as it stands. 
One: the approval process is onerous and expensive. Two: the trucks have to be in government determined fixed locations. Three: menus can change only with government approval (!) 
Rather than further mock the government let's suggest a simple solution. 
Since our now, sadly, infamous food trucks are subject to international attention could an adult please take charge? Simplify application. Allow the trucks to move freely to any legal spot. Allow them to change their menus freely.: they will soon sink or swim based on their popularity. Enough of the Tourism Bureau's dead hand over all these restrictions. 
It would be a morning's work for the Chief Executive to bang heads together and bring some sanity to what is, after all, a pretty simple concept. Simple, but currently reflecting badly on our reputation for freedom and efficiency . 
PF etc. 

I Am a Member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Not a Terrorist -

Whenever you see something labeled "destroying the myth of ..." or "countering the stereotype of ..." you should run a mile because you're going to be swaddled in apologia.
And so it is with this one by a Muslim Brotherhood member in his "Clarifying the Muslim Brotherhood " in the New York Times, international edition. (That's the printed version headline. The online has a different headline, as above, perhaps in recognition of my point here - they suddenly realized! )
Remember: the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas (a proscribed terrorist organisation) are, as the Chinese say, like "lips and teeth ". Hamas' Charter is specifically judeocidal.
The MB inspired Osama bin Laden.
The founder of MB, Hassan al-Banna, said that Muslims must be sure to understand that the primary Jihad is holy war against infidels.
The Jihad of the MB retains as its main aim the creation of a worldwide caliphate.
The MB has been responsible for many acts of terror.
None of this is "clarified" in this apologist article. An article, it must be stresssed, was *front page* in the New York Times.
So... read on and be "clarified"...

Monday, 20 February 2017

Sharia, a dark ages death sentence – Blazing Cat Fur

Sharia again.
Not much to argue with in this piece

Sent from my iPad

Comment on: "Singling out Muslims as the main terrorist threat is grossly unfair"

(340 words):
Mr Bazarwala seeks to assure us that we should not worry about Islamically-inspired terrorist attacks in the United States because white supremacists kill more people. (Singling out Muslims as the main terrorist threat is grossly unfair, 16 February)
That is indeed true: if you don't count the 9/11 attacks (3,000 deaths).  And if you don't count the Orlando killings (49 deaths).
Still, this should not be about body count.  After all more people are killed in bathtub accidents than by terrorism.  Also by bee stings or lightning strikes.  Random gun deaths dwarf all these put together.
Bazarwala's argument is classic tu quoque, that is: "you/they do it too".  This is a logical fallacy of moral equivalence that distracts from the issue at hand. 
The issue at hand is intent.  Bathtubs, bees and lightning intend you no harm.  Far-right terrorism is a mish-mash of motives: racist, anti-government, anti-abortion.  They don't murder innocents while shouting "Jesus is Lord".  With Islamic terrorism the intent is clear.  It is to kill "infidels".
Killings in the name of Islam are usually accompanied by shouts of "Allahu Akbar" (god is great).  The 100+ Jihadist terror groups in the world explicitly root their actions in the doctrines of Islam.  This may be uncomfortable to many, who claim terrorists "have nothing to do with Islam" or have "hijacked the religion of peace". 
But this is obscurantism.  To students of Islam, it is clear that there are parts of its foundational books – the Koran, the Hadith, the biography of Muhammad –
which lend themselves to terrorists horrors we see around the world, including the Sunni-Shia civil war.
All we seek, we critics of Islamism, is that the troublesome aspects of doctrinal Islam are admitted and contested, by Muslims.
Obfuscation will not do away with the global terror threat.  We are constantly told moderate Muslims are the "vast majority". Surely they wish to see terrorism eradicated, just as much as we infidels do.  That requires some plain speaking, not dubious moral equivalence and dissimulation.
PF, etc...

The Mark Zuckerberg Manifesto: Great for Facebook, Bad for Journalism - The Atlantic

I wasn't that aware of the "Zuckerberg Manifesto" till I read a critical article in today's South China Morning Post. And so I find, through Mr Google, that the overwhelming reaction to his manifesto is negative. 
Below is an example from The Atlantic. 
I feel one of the most disturbing facts in the article is that civic engagement drops when local newspapers go to the wall. Seattle and Denver are examples. 
I agree with the importance of local magazines and papers. Here in Discovery Bay in Hong Kong we have a couple of monthly magazines, an online forum and regular updates from management about what's going on in our little city of 17,000. As a result there are lots of communal activities happening: fun runs, charity drives, flea markets, town halls to debate local issues and so on. It's a very together and civic place!
From The Atlantic:
It's not that Mark Zuckerberg set out to dismantle the news business when he founded Facebook 13 years ago. Yet news organizations are perhaps the biggest casualty of the world Zuckerberg built.
There's reason to believe things are going to get worse.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Standing With Israel on the Golan Heights | Foundation for Defense of Democracies

For two successive Assad regimes, first Hafiz and now his son Bashar, restoring full Syrian sovereignty over the Golan has been an axiomatic demand. Israel floated partial Golan withdrawals during several rounds of peace talks with Syria over the past two decades, but the Syrians were never satisfied with the deals on offer.
With the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011, the facts on the ground have changed. Had Israel ceded the Golan to Syria, Islamic State, al Qaeda or Iran would be sitting on the shores of the Galilee across from the Israeli city of Tiberias.

Friday, 17 February 2017

Islamic Terrorism: How I Plan To Counter It

In the video embedded in this story, "The Jihadi Next Door", a born-in-the-U.K. Muslim who says that he's had his passport cancelled because he wanted to go the the Islamic State. With his family! He says that if May gave them all their passports back "there would be no more extremists in the U.K."
Well why not then?! Give them back. Let them go. No one needs people who believe the penalty for being gay is death. "Toss 'em off a building" says this POS.
He talks of the U.K. coming under sharia law, which he says is inevitable. As it is for the rest of the world. Including punishments like death by stoning for adulterers. In the still lovely village square.
This is scary stuff and a growing in influence.
Why doesn't May just give them all their passports back so they can head off to their Islamic hell holes? And cancel them when
they're away.

A Step Toward Mideast Peace: Tell the Truth | Max Singer, WSJ

Then-candidate Donald Trump with the Israeli prime minister, Sept. 25, 2016.
From the Wall Street Journal, Feb 14, (subscription).
Full text below.

Feb. 14, 2017 6:52 p.m. ET
Donald Trump ran for president pledging to throw off political correctness and tell bold truths. That’s something to keep in mind this week. On Wednesday Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will visit the White House. Thursday will bring Senate confirmation hearings for David Friedman, Mr. Trump’s nominee for ambassador to the Jewish state. Both events offer an opportunity for the fearless truth-telling that Mr. Trump promised.

Trumps Two-State, One-State Diplomacy Pressures Palestinians | National Review

Trump got hammered on CNN my time this morning for what he said to Bibi last night. Like "two states, one state, meh! You guys work it out". Fareed Zakaria said it was either lazy or wilfully ignorant. Dangerous even. And I can see his point. I go for laziness. After all he's said he doesn't need briefings.
But when I first saw Trump speaking at the press conference, I didn't think that. I thought it showed commendable detachment and a new approach. After all, they've been pushing the rock of "two states solution" up that hill for fifty years with the same success as Sisyphus.
The article in the National Review by Jonathan Tobin explores this thought in more and intriguing detail.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Muslim Apostates in North America Face Leftist Scorn, Muslim Death Threats | National Review

Via Sam Harris' twitter feed:
Leaving Islam can be notoriously difficult in many Muslim-majority countries. Certain countries, such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia, have laws that make apostasy an offense punishable by death. In others where apostasy is not explicitly criminalized, accused individuals can still face charges through religious courts.

Read more at the National Review

Monday, 13 February 2017

Re: The Umma needs to step up!


Agree 100%.  I noted Andrew McCarthy in my post here.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Dateline London

Dear BBC,
Couldn't you have a more diverse group on your current affairs show "Dateline London"?
I mean someone a little bit to the right of the reliably left-of-centre crowd you usually have? (Which, too often in my view, includes one or other of that opinionated duo Polly Toynbee and Yasmin Alibhai Brown).
I don't like Trump. Would not have voted for him were I American*. But there's no way your panel is representative of left and right in the view of our Trumpian world.
It would be such a relief to have someone more conservative to challenge your distinctly lefty balance. There *are* eloquent spokespeople on the other side. Uncrazy ones...
Also: could you not run a chyron more regularly with the names of the panel participants?
Peter Forsythe
*An Aussie in Hong Kong