Friday, 30 January 2015

China Further Tightens Grip on the Internet

The crap that goes on in China.
You can't get Google, Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, etc... etc...
China can't be truly modern till it allows all those.
Sadly Xi Jinping seems to be an old style Maoist leftie...

"Is it time to make Iran our friend and Saudi Arabia our enemy?"

... asks The Guardian, of all papers.
And "YES", I would say (at least to the bit about Saudi Arabia).
That article just a day after Simon Tisdall's article "Saudi Araiba and the west: how a cosy relationship turned toxic". So it seems The Guardian has something of a campaign for a change in the west's relationship with Saudi Arabia.
And not before time, either.
It's long been one of those things "I don't get".  Why should the west, the US in particular, be allies with that horrid country?
Tindall lists its poisonous doings:
The relationship with the west has survived several wars between Israelis and Arabs, in Afghanistan and in Iraq (twice); the chilling predominance of Saudi nationals in the 9/11 attacks and the rise of al-Qaida; serious bribery and corruption scandals and diplomatic rifts; recurring oil crises; deepening concern over Saudi funding for extremist religious teaching and its links to terrorism; escalating rows about egregious human rights abuses and the repression of women, and most recently, the Syrian calamity and the ascendancy of the black-shirted head-cutters of Islamic State.
To which he could (should) have added Saudi funding of mosques throughout the west, with donations of extremist literature, well documented in at least five studies.
Of course the key reason for having them as an ally was the oil needs of the west.  But then a seller always needs buyers.  Did the buyers, the US and Europe, need to be quite so wilfully blind to the shenanigans of this terrorist-supporting, woman-stoning, head-cutting state?  Even as it needed Saudi oil? Did W Bush really need to hold hands with the old bugger, the newly-deceased king?  Did Obama need to bow to him?
Now that the oil issue, at least for the US, is much less important, what with shale oil and all, the question as to why ally with the horrid Saudis is more urgent, more germane.
Johan Hari posits his reason here.  The main one being that if not for the House of Saud, there would be no counterweight, within the country, to the Wahhabists.  So, from bad to worse.  Maybe.
But how much worse could they really be.
Not much.  See the wonderful Pat Condell on the Kingdom...  They couldn't be much worse.
[LATER: "Why are we friends with Saudi Arabia?"  An earlier Condell rant...]

CAIR Makes New Push to Get Media to Scrub Word 'Islamist'

Not satisfied with the Associated Press’ “redefinition” of the word Islamist close to a year ago, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) is capitalizing on recent world events to make another push to silence the conversation about political Islam.
CAIR is now urging the media to stop using the term “Islamist” altogether because, in the opinion of Ibrahim Hooper, CAIR’s national communications director, “the term has become journalistic shorthand for ‘Muslims we don’t like.’”
...
"It does not come as a surprise that CAIR is trying to discredit the expression 'Islamist,’” says Dr. Elham Manea, a Muslim professor of political science at the University of Zurich and an outspoken international human rights activist.
 “When we differentiate between Islam as a world religion and Islamism as a political agenda, we are able to discuss the problematic nature of Islamism and its aim for political domination in a qualified and differentiated matter without slipping into a hate message towards the religion of Islam. We also reveal how the likes of CAIR have often deliberately blurred the lines between the two as a means to present their demands and their own political agenda as the demands of all Muslims and Islam,” Dr. Manea added.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Southeast Asia’s religious tolerance is deceptive - FT.com

Often quoted as examples of where tolerance, democracy and Islam co-exist happily, Malaysia and Indonesia are instead examples of the global trend in Islam to more fundamentalism and less tolerance of non Muslims (as is often enjoined in the Koran, eg, 98.7-8). To more Sharia and less secular lawmaking. To more repression of women and minorities.
Link here, needs registration (but no money...)
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Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Tony Abbott mocked after making Prince Philip a knight of Australia

"Kind of like someone giving Richard Branson's wife their frequent flyer miles."
Or, as Paul Allan of Bloomberg TV just said, it's a "WTF? moment" throughout Australia. Discussed and ridiculed around Aussie barbies this Australia Day.
"Like giving an abacus to Bill Gates."
What a boob Tony Abbott is, really!
One of the better coverages, complete with Tweets.
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Saturday, 24 January 2015

Charts

https://www.facebook.com/stormforcemarine/posts/787443221341591

"Satire is dead and cartoonists killed it"

"Satire doesn't provoke people to kill.....
... but it can't stop killers either."
In which J.J. McCullough makes the valid point that the pen isn't mightier than the sword: "if the pen was truly mightier than the sword one imagines that we cartoonists would have done a lot more to quell the terrorism threat over the last decade".
And calls out the vastly more politically correct American cartooning community for not getting Charlie Hedbo.
And calls out those oh-so-many cartoons which were just so glibly obvious:
"... comics of broken pencils crying blood or fountain pens stabbing terrorists, or heaving things labelled 'Freedom of Speech" squishing ISIS or whatever".
Indeed. Like folk proudly holding "I am Charlie" signs. About as effective as those "#Bringbackourgirls" hashtag after Boko Haram kidnapped 300 girls in Nigeria.
Like, a hashtag is going to influence them?

European 'No-Go' Zones Remain Hotbeds of Radical Islam

The "no-go" zones in Europe that "don't exist", according to the New York Times. And for which even Fox News apologised for reporting.
Note how many of the reports of "no-go" (or "sensitive urban areas", if you will), are from the governments.
By the way, I wouldn't normally link to Breitbart as I'm a bit uncomfortable with how far to the right they are. But the article is calmly stated and links to a number of authoritative polls and reports.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Hitchens: Islam and the "contagion of fear"


An oldie but a goodie.  Hitchens in scintillating form, and relevant as ever to the agonies over free speech in light of the Hebdo massacres.
After his speech, he talks to Salman Rushdie, author of The Satanic Verses, for which Rushdie was fatwa'd to death by Khomeini in 1989. As Rushdie drily notes, Khomeini is dead and he's still alive....
Clearly the South China Morning Post online editor caught this contagion of fear yesterday, when they removed my letter on free speech, that they'd published in the print edition.
[LATER: the letters editor reckons it's just a "glitch" and he'll get it put back online.
LATERER: the letter is back online here, behind registration wall].

"Say it like it is". You can’t dance around the topic of radical Islam.

When you don’t call things by their real name, you always get in trouble. And this administration, so fearful of being accused of Islamophobia, is refusing to make any link to radical Islam from the recent explosions of violence against civilians (most of them Muslims) by Boko Haram in Nigeria, by the Taliban in Pakistan, by Al Qaeda in Paris and by jihadists in Yemen and Iraq. We’ve entered the theater of the absurd. [the rest here]
Tom Friedman is getting more and more spot on in his reporting matters Islamic....

Thursday, 22 January 2015

"By holding back from criticism of Islam, we give in to the extremists"

"By holding back from criticism of Islam, we give in to the extremists"

That was the headline from the South China Morning Post of 22nd January 2015, in the Letters section.  It referred to my letter to them, about free speech issues in the light of the Charlie Hedbo massacre, printed word-for-word per my submission:
The usually reliable Frank Ching has joined the ranks of the "but brigade" in his column ("Drawing a line", January 14).
Salman Rushdie recently coined this phrase to describe those who say "I believe in free speech, BUT", followed by a choose-your-own bias, presented as a show of the "tolerance" and "respect" of its author.
When that "but" is done at the point of a gun, it is giving in to intimidation. And if the intimidation is successful, it will only lead to more intimidation. For, make no mistake, if the murderers of the  Charlie Hebdo journalists win, if the outcome is Western submission to Islamic blasphemy laws to outlaw any depictions of Mohammed - as sadly seems to be the trend - there will be more intimidation for further submission by the West, for further submission to Islamic laws.
The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation is already pushing the UN to outlaw criticism of Islam.
That, surely, will be the next "red line" not be crossed by Western journalists, implemented by violent intimidation. And if that's successful, it will render us - Frank Ching included - mute in the battle of ideas against murderous jihadist violence.
It was even worse to see Pope Francis come out as a member of the "but brigade", when he said be believed in free speech, but "One cannot provoke, one cannot insult other people's faith, one cannot make fun of faith". But why not? Why should we be able to satirise and excoriate politicians, but leave religion alone? Marx noted that the free criticism of religion is the basis for all our other freedoms (I'm no Marxist, but he had this one right!). [LATERsee this!]
Rushdie says that nobody has the right "not to be offended". Flemming Rose, the man who published the Danish cartoons in 2005, has said, "Satire is a sound civilisation's answer to savagery". These are powerful observations, so much more than the pusillanimous posturing of the "but brigade".
So it's a shame to see that the likes of Ching, joined recently by his colleague Alex Lo ("Price of free speech is sometimes too high", January 17), are so casually trampling on a key victory of the enlightenment in bowing to violent theocrats.
PF, DB
LATER, one of many comments:
Hi P - your letter reads 'extremely' well in the SCMP.

I was at the FCC yesterday and read it out to a group of people sharing similar views - it went down well - excellent research and quotes within the letter added to its authority. 

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Why did Fox apologize? There ARE no-go areas for non-Muslims in Europe

"Sensitive urban area" in Paris, one of 715 on the French Government website.
Is this "no-go", or "go at your own peril", or a Muslim version of Chinatown?
You go, and see for yourself.  I've been and it was fine.  But that's for a man.
Try being a western woman, unveiled and go there...There are some shocking
YouTubes of how they're treated in these "sensitive areas".
On Saturday, Fox News apologized four times on the air for its reports about the no-go zones, acknowledging that there was no reason to believe that they existed. It called the reports an “error” and apologized to “any and all,” including “the people of France.” [New York Times]
But why would Fox apologise?  That there are such zones is proved by a French government website that details 715 such "sensitive" zones, where you enter at peril, especially if you are an unveiled woman. (See also here, and YouTube here, from the left-of-centre RT.com, which talks of the beating up of French police who went into one of these "sensitive zones").
I'm baffled, especially as Fox is usually quite robust in taking on its critics.  Do they not know of the government website?  Or do they think the euphemistic term "Zones urbanise sensibles" somehow means that it's not a "no-go" zone?
The New York Times article (linked above) claims the spread of sharia in Europe is "purported".  But western media are now hewing to a prohibition on cartoons or pictures of Muhammad, making them compliant with Islamic sharia blasphemy law.  In the UK there are nearly 100 Sharia courts, and Sharia principles are now to be enshrined in UK law.  What's "purported" about that?

The inside story of the Liaoning...


... how Xu Zengping sealed deal for China's first aircraft carrier.
This is a great story. Would make a fine film...

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Monday, 19 January 2015

Charlie Hebdo Reaction: Part 2, Know Your Enemy | The Gerasites

The ongoing march of the "but brigade". The Charlie Hebdo killings must be condemned, but, but, but, but....
(This from a leftie site, by the way)
https://thegerasites.wordpress.com/2015/01/17/charlie-hebdo-reaction-part-2-know-your-enemy/
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Bowled out: How'zat!

From the Spectator Letters. Nice catch!
Bowled out
Sir: The recent correspondence on the subject of the fatal cricket accident which in 1751 prevented Frederick Louis, Prince of Wales, from succeeding his father George II as king in 1760, has failed to mention that this was the first known instance in cricket history of play stopping reign.
Tim RiceLondon SW13

Guess who U.S. Muslims are voting for: Poll

40% of American Muslims think the U.S. should be governed by Islamic sharia law....

What about the claim that extremists are only a "tiny minority" of Muslims?  Or that those promoting Sharia are "hijacking" the true Islam, the Religion of Peace?
Isn't support of Sharia law extremist?  Especially when you study it: see the "Reliance of the Traveller" on the left of this blog.
It's truly a horrid system of "jurisprudence"....
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Sunday, 18 January 2015

The charge of the "but brigade": They're NOT Charlie Hebdo

Letter to South China Morning Post:

Oh dear. The usually reliable Frank Ching has joined the ranks of the “but brigade” (Drawing a line, Jan 14). Salman Rushdie recently coined this phrase to describe those who say “I believe in free speech, BUT….”, followed by a choose-your-own bias, presented as a show of the “tolerance" and “respect” of its author.

When that “but”, is done at the point of a gun it is giving in to intimidation. And if the intimidation is successful it will only lead to more intimidation. For, make no mistake: if the murderers of Charlie Hebdo journalists win, if the outcome is western submission to Islamic blasphemy laws to outlaw any depictions of Muhammad — as sadly seems to be the trend -- there will be more intimidation for further submission by the west, for further submission to Islamic laws. The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation is already pushing the UN to outlaw all criticism of Islam. That surely, will be the next “red line” not be crossed by western journalists, implemented by violent intimidation. And if that’s successful, it will render us — Frank Ching included -- mute in the battle of ideas against murderous jihadist violence.

It was even worse to see the Pope come out as a member of the “but brigade”, when he said he believed in free speech, “but”… “one cannot provoke, one cannot insult other people’s faith, one cannot make fun of faith.” But why not? Why should we be able to satirize and excoriate politicians, but leave religion alone? Marx noted that the free criticism of religion is the basis for all our other freedoms. (I’m no Marxist, but he had this one right!). [LATER: see this!]

Rushdie says “Nobody has the right not to be offended”. Flemming Rose, the man who published the Danish cartoons in 2005, has said “Satire is a sound civilisation’s answer to savagery”. These are powerful observations, so much more than the pusillanimous posturings of the “but brigade”.

So It’s a shame to see that the likes of Ching, joined recently by his colleague Alex Ho (Price of free speech is sometimes too high, My Take,17 January), are so casually trampling on a key victory of the enlightenment in bowing to violent theocrats.

Yours, etc...

Xi's Selective Punishment - The New York Times

Interesting article.
Clip:
In my [Murong Xuecun] view, the anticorruption push is more of a Stalinist purge than a genuine attempt to clean up the government. Charges are framed with reference to party regulations, not the law. Investigations are run by K.G.B.-type cadres, not the regular judicial system. China's media does not report on cases until they are made public, after which there is a barrage of almost identically worded reports used to incriminate the suspect. Most telling of all, the purge has mainly targeted specific party factions, while those groups that support and pledge loyalty to Mr. Xi appear untouched.

Alex Malarkey: author of The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven says he made up story | smh.com.au

Perfect name!
"Malarkey" (from Dictionary.com:
noun Informal.
  1. speech or writing designed to obscure, mislead, or impress; bunkum: The claims were just a lot of malarkey.
http://m.smh.com.au/world/alex-malarkey-author-of-the-boy-who-came-back-from-heaven-says-he-made-up-story-20150116-12sa3j.html

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Friday, 16 January 2015

When will the safety of innocent civilians - of all faiths and none - be put before the human rights of maniacs? - Telegraph

So this is where we are in 2015. One of the best-assimilated minorities in the UK, a group which makes a contribution to the arts, science, business, black-cab driving, laughter, you name it – and one that is out of all proportion to its size – is getting ready to pack its bags while the group that has been worst at integration demands ever more shrilly that we bow to its world view.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/11345828/Charlie-Hebdo-When-will-the-safety-of-innocent-civilians-of-all-faiths-and-none-be-put-before-the-human-rights-of-maniacs.html


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Christopher Hitchens vs. Shashi Tharoor FREEDOM OF SPEECH

Worth the full hour's time. The late, the great, Christopher Hitchens.
So relevant to today's agonies over Charlie Hebdo and free speech.
Around 35:00 he quotes Marx on religion. That the right to criticise religion is the bedrock of all free speech.
http://youtu.be/jw3dDbc1BHE

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An Islamic Reformer, Lashed - NYTimes.com

Nicholas Kristof makes some decent points , particularly the hypocrisy of allies who are really "allies", as in Not. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia support the terrorists while we and they pretend we're on the same side.
But why does Kristof have to make the following bogus piece of moral relativism? IRA terrorism is historical, geographically limited and was in any case denounced by many at the time. Ditto the "genocide by Christian Serbs"... Islamic terror meantime is today and world-wide. Moreover on a vastly greater scale than either the IRA or the Serbs.
Hmm. When Bill O'Reilly apologizes for I.R.A. bombings and the genocide by Christian Serbs, then Muslims will no doubt apologize for Paris.
They would "no doubt apologise? In your dreams, Nicholas!

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“How Can Any Man With Good Sense” Overlook the Koran’s Violence?

He [Bruce Thornton] then quotes Alexis de Tocqueville, “one of our most brilliant political philosophers,” who wrote the following in 1838:
Jihad, Holy war, is an obligation for all believers. … The state of war is the natural state with regard to infidels … [T]hese doctrines of which the practical outcome is obvious are found on every page and in almost every word of the Koran … The violent tendencies of the Koran are so striking that I cannot understand how any man with good sense could miss them (emphasis added).
Even Egypt’s Muslim president recently said that the Islamic “corpus of texts and ideas that we have sacralized over the centuries” are terrorizing the entire world.
I well recall my own first reading of the Koran.  The hair on the back of my neck stood up.  I thought "if this is what Muslims are reading, we're in trouble".  
I then re-read it with two highlighting pencils in hand, marking the violent passages in yellow, the peaceful ones in green.  By the end, my yellow pencil was worn to a stub, the green one nearly pristine. We can now do textual analysis of online versions of the Koran, the quantify that.  Over 20% of the verses are specifically anti-infidel, and over half are violent.  It is not cherry-picking to quote violent verses.  It's at the guts of the "Noble" Koran.  
Even those verses that are peaceable in the Koran are found to be abrogated (Islamic naskh) by later violent ones.  That is, the opposite of what happened to Christianity, where the Love and Peace New Testament abrogates the often-violent OT.  I am an atheist, but reading the Bible after the Koran is like chalk and cheese, a wonderful relief to read of tolerance and love, after the violence in the Koran. Don't believe me?  Read the Koran.  Then read the NT.

Similarly in the Hadith, records of the sayings and deeds of Muhammad, I've done the textual analysis of the word "jihad".  I found that in over 90% of its mentions, it referred to "holy war".  Only in less that 10% of cases did it mean what the apologists claim is it main meaning: "spiritual struggle" to better oneself.  It does indeed mean that, as well.  But mostly it means to war against the infidel.

'Religion of peace' is not a harmless platitude » The Spectator

Where's the Lead in the Pencil? :: SteynOnline

Mark Steyn, below link, in his usual top form on the craven hypocrisy of western media (Charlie Hebdo aside), in defending (not) free speech.
All that "je suis Charlie"? "I am Charlie"? "Ich bin Charlie"? Non, No and Nein. They are not. This shameful kowtowing to intimidation will lead to more intimidation.
Meantime I hear on BBC radio just now that the Pope has joined the "but brigade". Free speech is so important, an' all that, BUT it must have limits. Specifically it must not insult religion. Not, mind, that he ever send his Vatican guards to murder Hebdo cartoonists in revenge for the many times they have mocked Catholicism. So why did he say this? It can only be in a misguided attempt to appease Islam. And we know where appeasement leads....
http://www.steynonline.com/6756/where-the-lead-in-the-pencil
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Charlie Hebdo Reaction: Part 1, Moral Weakness and the Case For Solidarity | The Gerasites

The full version of the article quoted in the post immediately below. The strong case for spreading the risk by having all media in the west publish works found "offensive" by any group (aka Muslims):
https://thegerasites.wordpress.com/2015/01/14/charlie-hebdo-reaction-part-1-moral-weakness-and-the-case-for-solidarity/

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Harry's Place » Charlie Hebdo Reaction: Part 1, Moral Weakness and the Case For Solidarity

New York Times: Islam “no more inherently violent than other religions”

I'd noticed this New York Times article myself and been somewhat outraged by the same point that Spencer was:
"…A handful of non-Muslim researchers in the West — typically outside the academic mainstream —... 
 [Spencer]: That's Kirkpatrick semaphoring, "Don't take these guys seriously".
... seek to build a case that Islam is inherently more violent than Judaism or Christianity by highlighting certain Quranic verses. But they struggle to explain away approving passages about violence in other religious texts, such as the book of Joshua in the Old Testament, the Book of Revelation in the New Testament, or the statement attributed to Jesus by the Gospel writer Matthew that "I come not to bring peace, but a sword."
[Spencer]: Do people like David D. Kirkpatrick ever get embarrassed writing things like this? Do they never look around the world and notice that there are Muslims quoting the Qur'an to justify violence all over the world and not a single Jew invoking Joshua or Christian invoking "I have not come to bring peace, but a sword" to justify violence? And in fact, these "non-Muslim researchers" don't "struggle to explain away" such passages. It's really quite simple. As I have explained many times, both Judaism and Christianity have developed interpretative traditions that for various reasons reject the literal understanding of verses appearing to enjoin violence. Mainstream Islam has not. Nor is there actually any open-ended and universal command in the Jewish or Christian scriptures for all believers to wage war against and subjugate unbelievers; in the Qur'an, there is.

[Me]: read the whole article; it's worth it.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Islam does not preach violence

> Staggering Islamapologia! I hope to pick up on this later. Meantime, just to note that Karen Armstrong is wrong in *every single one* of her assertions quoted in this breathtakingly duplicitous article.
http://www.mycentraljersey.com/story/life/faith/2015/01/14/islam-preach-violence/21656625/

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Tuesday, 13 January 2015

It's Mainstream Islamic Doctrine That's Causing Massacres

Just collecting evidence for the palpably true facts of the matter.....
http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/396092/its-mainstream-islamic-doctrine-thats-causing-massacres-mario-loyola

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“True Islam” and violent extremism | A Tippling Philosopher

I'll come to this in a separate post. Meantime, to note the arguments here for the record...
http://www.skepticink.com/tippling/2015/01/12/islam-and-violent-extremism/

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Monday, 5 January 2015

From tragedy comes hope for Sydney's Muslim community

More apologia and victimhood from the Australian Muslim community.
The comments are interesting.
For the most part they don't buy Samier Dandan's call for government to come to the rescue -- against Muslim "unemployment, marginalisation, Islamophobia, mental health" and the rest of his dreary special interest pleadings. Other immigrant groups have faced the same issues and got over them... Why not the Muslim community?
Dandan purports to represent the Lebanese Muslim community in Australia. Which reminds me of a report I once read of unemployment amongst the Australian Lebanese community. For Lebanese Christians it's the same as for Australia as a whole, around 6%. For Lebanese Muslims it's more than three times as high, at about 20%. This is a kind of "natural experiment": people of the same ethnicity, and from the same country. The only difference is religion.
It should be up to the Australian Muslim community to address its alleged problems, rather than special pleading to government to come to their aid, especially with money.
Then again, if the government buys the special pleadings, why not try it on, if you're an Aussie Muslim. More fools they, the government.
Read the article, note the victimhood, clock the comments...
http://www.smh.com.au/comment/from-tragedy-comes-hope-for-sydneys-muslim-community-20150104-12g520.html
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