Sunday, 24 May 2015

Legitimizing Censorship: ‘Islamophobia Studies’ at Berkeley

"Islamophobia studies" is the latest addition to the academic pantheon of politicized, esoteric, and divisive "studies" whose purpose is to censor criticism of differing views by stigmatizing critics as racist or clinically insane.

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Thursday, 21 May 2015

Schrodinger's Jihad - Breaking Israel News

Our entire counterterrorism policy is based around the perverse ostrich belief that Islamic terrorism is a problem that we create by recognizing its existence. If we ignore it, it will go away.

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Islamic Enlightenment is the only way forward |

Useful article.
A bit depressing to read the comments (in the Comments) of moral equivalence ("what about the Jews and Christians" and so on), though that's only to be expected from the readers of The Age, I guess.
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Apostates: Should They Be Killed? - Islamic Basic Rulings - counsels - is an online authority of Islamic jurisprudence. Here it states clearly the conditions under which apostates from Islam should be killed. Simply put: when its done "publicly". That can surely be freely interpreted, as we see often In places like Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan.
What a horrid thought. What a horrid "religion".
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Wednesday, 20 May 2015

IMF Report On $5.3 Trillion In Energy Subsidies; Careful, It's Not Quite What You Think

Interesting. Worth a careful read...

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The Scandinavians are idiots

Let me rephrase that.  The Scandinavians I've met, in their home countries and around the world, are wonderful folk: open-minded, tolerant, humorous, charitable, caring.... I could go on, but you get the picture.
So why do I say they're idiots?
Well take this case: the Pakistani secular blogger who was slaughtered in Pakistan recently.  It turns out that he'd sought asylum in Sweden, but been denied. That's right: a non-religious blogger, who simply wanted to visit Sweden for a conference, was denied on the grounds that he might have sought asylum.  There's no indication that he would have; after all, he was brave enough to be a secular blogger in Pakistan, when two of his colleagues, also secular bloggers, had been brutally murdered in recent months.
But if he'd sought asylum, would it not have been rational?  After all, two of his colleagues had indeed been brutally murdered in recent months.  And would not Sweden then have been doing something right and proper?
But, no, they denied him, preemptively.  And he was butchered, for his beliefs -- more precisely for his failure to believe in Muhammad.
Now, on the other side, we have Scandinavian countries allowing into their societies, vast number of Muslims, many on bogus refugee status.
And how does these folk treat their host societies?
Well, here's one, in Norway, for example, Mullah Krekar.  Note he still talks in Arabic, though he's Norwegian.
And he's calling for the murder of any Norwegian that has the temerity to publish cartoons about Mohammad.
Note the bewilderment of the interviewer.  He can hardly believe what he's hearing.
Is there not enough in what the Imam says to bundle him up and deport him?
That's why I say these open-minded, tolerant, humorous... etc, folk are also idiots.  Too many more of the likes of the creepy Mullah Krekar and Scandinavians will lose their open-mindedness, tolerance, humour....

Faith vs Fact -- an interview with Jerry Coyne

When you next have a spare hour, lounging around, play this great interview, Sam Harris with Jerry Coyne.
There's ten minutes or so about Islam at the 34 minute mark.  Which, as Coyne notes, is now off-limits to criticism by the Left (these two gents, and a couple of others -- the late Christopher Hitchens (e.g., the "fire, fire, fire" speech), Bill Maher -- aside).

Monday, 18 May 2015

The Honor of Being Mugged by Climate Censors - WSJ

This is interesting.
Lomborg does believe that we must take steps to mitigate global warming: for example, by cutting fossil-fuel subsidies, by dramatically increasing spending on green-energy R&D, and by establishing a "well crafted carbon tax".
So that's all good then.
But because he says we must look at the cost of options in dealing with what's already inevitable as a result of a warming world, he gets excoriated by the more fanatical of the warmists, and shut out of a university research centre.
We need rather more Lomborgs: knowledgeable and hard-headed environmentalists.

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Friday, 15 May 2015

When it comes to Islam, New Atheists sound a lot like Christian fundamentalists - Opinion - Israel News | Haaretz

Before reading the Haaretz article linked below, having a crack at we atheists -- in the shape of an attack on Sam Harris -- have a listen to Sam's podcast on his email discussion with Noam Chomsky.
It's here :
Then see how the author of the article below, writing in the left-of-centre Israeli paper Haaretz, is prey, willfully or otherwise, to exactly the misreading of Sam's motives that Sam describes in his podcast.
None so blind as those who will not see.
For info, I have indeed read the full email exchange between Harris and Chomsky that Sam published, and agree with Sam's analysis of it. Whatever Chomsky and his fellow travelers may think in their relativist world, intentions *do* matter.
The Haaretz article:
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Why Islam Is More Dangerous Than Other Religions: Shariah, Jihad, and Muhammad

The article linked below may appear in a Christian blog (and I'm an atheist), but it's solid nonetheless.
It's a very good summary and explication of the key ways Islam differs from all the other religions in the world.
Well worth a read.

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Thursday, 14 May 2015

"In Defense Of Pamela Geller"

Dear Bret,

FANTASTIC article yesterday!
You are spot on. Shame on the "yes, but..." crowd (Salman Rushdie called them the "but brigade").
Cogently, and forcefully argued.
Good on you!

Peter Forsythe.
Hong Kong.

I'm referring to this:

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Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Americans should rethink how they look at Islam and blasphemy

I can hardly be described as a softy when it comes to the global war against terrorism. I participated in an administration (headed by President George W. Bush) that pursued this war aggressively.
So says Michael Gerson before promptly moving on to be soft on terror. For those that are murdering cartoonists are surely terrorists and giving in to their demands for "silence or we murder you", is surely encouragement to them.
We should listen to the judgement of a member of an Administration that made monster mistakes during its reign?
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Asia tops biggest global school rankings - BBC News

Wow, we're second in the world here in Hong Kong. Based on Maths and Science scores.
Australia is in 14the place well ahead of the best in Europe -- the UK at 20th. The U.S. is at 28th place.
Separately, Australia has more under-50 year-old Universities in the world top 100 than any other country. That is to say, if one is forward looking one should look to Australia for college.

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Monday, 11 May 2015

Dear Bill O'Reilly & Juan Williams: How Much Of Islam's Butt Should We Kiss?

This is pretty funny.
Doug Giles makes the same point that Robert Spencer did the other day: that we don't need to draw cartoons to upset the nutters of Islamic State and its fellow travellers.
I think the reason O'Reilly breaks bad against the Texas cartoonist folks (Geller, Spencer, et al), is that Fox is now part-owned by a Saudi prince, Al-Waleed bin Talal.  At the time the sale happened a few years ago, I wondered how long before Fox would start genuflecting to Islamist interests.
While here, it's worth linking to Harry's Place, with links to two opposing views on Geller and her recent Cartoon Contest in Texas.

The left has Islam all wrong: Bill Maher, Pamela Geller and the reality progressives must face

Wow, Jeffrey Tayler certainly nails it in this piece.  Significantly he's a writer for left-of centre Atlantic Monthly, and this article appears in left-of-centre Salon blog.
Tayler lines himself up with other liberal commentators like Bill Maher and Sam Harris, in querying the fact that too many liberal-progressives exculpate the likes of ISIS and murderers of Charlie Hebdo cartoonists.
The only path to victory in this war in defense of free speech lies through courage.  We cannot wimp out and blame the victims for drawing cartoons, writing novels, or making movies.  We need to heed GĂ©rard Biard, Charlie Hebdo’s editor-in-chief, who declared, as he received the PEN award, that “They don’t want us to write and draw.  We must write and draw.  They don’t want us to think and laugh.  We must think and laugh.  They don’t want us to debate. We must debate.”

Chinese turn Paris suburb into Europe's biggest fashion market

This is what Chinese do when they immigrate: they set about making money and contributing to the economy.
Certain other people, from certain other countries, with certain other religious beliefs, don't do this. They get themselves on welfare and their second generations are likely to go all jihadi and try to bring down the West.
It hardly needs asking, does it? Which immigrants would we rather have?

Saturday, 9 May 2015

The Dangerous Myths About Charlie Hebdo

This is a few days late, I'm sorry, but is a must read. (From The Atlantic Monthly)
Two recent events—the spectacle of Garry Trudeau, the Doonesbury creator, attacking a group of murdered cartoonists for offending his sensibilities, and the protest organized by a group of bien-pensant writers against the PEN American Center for planning to honor those cartoonists tonight in New York—have brought the Charlie Hebdo controversy back to public consciousness. So has the failed attack Sunday in Texas on a group of anti-Islam militants staging a Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest, though, unlike Charlie Hebdo, the organization that sponsored the Texas event is run by an actual anti-Muslim extremist who, I'm proud to say, is a personal nemesis of mine.
Much has already been written about both the Trudeau and PEN controversies. I particularly recommend David Frum on Trudeau, and Katha Pollitt and Matt Welch on PEN, as well as this fine op-ed by Andrew Solomon and Suzanne Nossel, the president and executive director, respectively, of the PEN American Center. These represent only a handful of the many dozens of writers who have risen in defense of free speech, and of Charlie Hebdo’s right to lampoon religion.
Read on...

Charlie Hebdo and a Rubicon Moment for Free Speech

Amanda Foreman, in this Wall Street Journal article, makes some powerful points, being, as she is, a staunch Charlie, as am I -- fundamentalist free-speechers.
In her article, she refers back to a similarly ugly episode in PEN's history, this one Dubrovnik 1933.  PEN's then president, H.G. Wells, had tried to steer a neutral line with respect to the Nazis.  But they were talked down, and onto taking sides -- robustly anti-Nazi.
Foreman says that this latest boycotting by PEN members in response to PEN's deception to honour the bravery of Charlie Hebdo was a similarly historical moment.
And PEN, via its current president Andrew Solomon, passed the test with flying colours.
Other points of interest:
The boycotters had variously said that Charlie was racist and obsessed with Islam.
Both claims are false (and one wonders at the research capacity of otherwise famous -- now infamous -- writers):
When they were murdered, the Charlie staff were planning a conference on antiracism.
Only seven of 523 covers were about Islam.
[My earlier posts on PEN, Charlie, etc, here, here here and here]

Islam’s ‘Reformation’ Is Already Here—and It’s Called ‘ISIS’

An article from the always-interesting Raymond Ibrahim, with the startling thesis that there has already been a reformation in Islam, and it's ISIS.
Don't be shocked, read on.  Ibrahim is a seriously serious fellow, well literate in all aspects of Islam and Islamic history.
The idea that Islam needs to reform is again in the spotlight following the recent publication of Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s new book, Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now.  While Ali makes the argument that Islam can reform—and is in desperate need of taking the extreme measures she suggests to do so—many of her critics offer a plethora of opposing claims, including that Islam need not reform at all.The one argument not being made, however, is the one I make below—namely, that Islam has already “reformed.”  And violence, intolerance, and extremism—typified by the Islamic State (“ISIS”)—are the net result of this “reformation.”
The rest.... 

Friday, 8 May 2015

Tories win. Yay!

I'm sitting here listening to Ed Milliband give his concession speech and also his valedictory, on BBC radio.
I bid you goodbye Ed.  You won't be missed. Not by me.
We were sitting round a dinner table the other night discussing this election.
I said that I would vote for the party that was most robust in its attitude to Islam(ism). For that, said I, was the greatest threat to the west: not inflation, or Scotland leaving, or unemployment.  But those who would do us ill; those who would destroy our very society.
That may not be the Conservatives. At least not fully.
But it certainly is not the Labour Party.
For in a craven attempt to buy the Muslim vote, Milliband said the he would "Criminalise Islamophobia".
Get that!  Make it a crime to criticise Islam!  Make it a crime to criticise an idea!
Here's some earlier thoughts on that idea, Eddy's one, from Harry's Place.
A touch later: "Lorna", a listener, called in, clearly an Eddie-ite, laments that Eddie had been "bullied" , that it was the fault of the media, of course, that we should instead have looked past his eating of a bacon sanger and see what his policies were.
You mean the policies that would have increased tax to 50% even when the Labour Party knew that it would give no revenue (a simple envy policy), policies that would have established a "mansion tax" (that would have impoverished long-term holders of property) and established rent controls (which would have led to shortage of rental properties).  Policies that attacked business, threatening to break it up and thus reduce employment.  And, at the last minute, a law banning "Islamophobia" on pain of criminal sanction, thus rendering us mute in the face of militant Islam.  Those policies, you mean, Lorna?