Friday, 27 March 2015

Jamie Oliver is posh. And Nigel Slater is just pretending to be gay

I came across this spoof some time ago and found it amusing. I'm watching Nigel's Simple Suppers which reminded me...
http://www.newsbiscuit.com/2013/08/31/new-tv-series-gives-insight-into-chefs-personal-lives/


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Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Teaching Doubt - The New Yorker

Religious beliefs vary widely, of course—not all faiths, or all faithful people, are the same. But it seems fair to say that, on average, religious faith appears to be an obstacle to understanding the world.
http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/teaching-doubt
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Amnesty International: some alliances are more impartial than others | openDemocracy

On the ongoing idiocy of Amnesty International, which seems to have lost its way -- or been taken over by Islamist apologists.
https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/rahila-gupta/amnesty-international-some-alliances-are-more-impartial-than-others

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Designing Private Cities, Open to All - NYTimes.com

Interesting article. I've lived (more than three years) in Rome, Sydney, New York, London, Tokyo and Hong Kong. In all, the local services have been government councils.
Now I live in a part of Hong Kong which is a privately designed and privately run "city" of 17,000 on Lantau Island.
And I can say this: we are better run, more efficiently run and more economically run than any of the places I've lived in.
Private cities are the way to go.
http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/03/17/opinion/designing-private-cities-open-to-all.html?referrer=&_r=0
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Monday, 23 March 2015

Why Islam Needs a Reformation

“Islam’s borders are bloody,” wrote the late political scientist Samuel Huntington in 1996, “and so are its innards.” Nearly 20 years later, Huntington looks more right than ever before. According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, at least 70% of all the fatalities in armed conflicts around the world last year were in wars involving Muslims. In 2013, there were nearly 12,000 terrorist attacks world-wide. The lion’s share were in Muslim-majority countries, and many of the others were carried out by Muslims. By far the most numerous victims of Muslim violence—including executions and lynchings not captured in these statistics—are Muslims themselves.
Not all of this violence is explicitly motivated by religion, but a great deal of it is. I believe that it is foolish to insist, as Western leaders habitually do, that the violent acts committed in the name of Islam can somehow be divorced from the religion itself. For more than a decade, my message has been simple: Islam is not a religion of peace.
[The rest]
[Archive version]

Lee Kuan Yew: speaker of Hard Truths, even on Islam

Lee Kuan Yew died earlier today.  He was a truly great man, father of Singapore, polymath, tough politician, "ruthless pragmatist" as the BBC called him this morning.
He was in no way a bigot, and ruled a polyglot multicultural city-state. But he witnessed and experienced the increasing religiosity of his country's Muslims.  He'd grown up with many Malay Muslims, had many as close friends. He lamented how they became increasingly self-alienating, a result, he said, of Iran's revolution of 1979 and of Saudi Arabia, awash with petri-dollars, supporting Wahhabism throughout the world (and I think he's right on those primary causes of the current Islamic resurgence):
"The generation that worked with me - Othman Wok, Ramin Ishak -- that was before the wave came sweeping them; that generation integrated well.  We drank beer, we went canvassing, we went electioneering, we ate together.
"Now they say 'are the plates clean?' I said 'You know, same washing mating'. Halal, non-halal and so on.  I mean they are all division.  The are distinguishing me from you: 'I'm a believer, you are not'...
"
A few other select quotes from "Hard Truths" (p217-258):
"If, for instance, you put in a Malay officer who's very religions and who has family ties in Malaysa in change of a machine-gun unit, that's a very tricky business.  We've go to know his background.  I'm saying these things because they are real, and if I didn't think that, and I thin even if today the Prime Minster doesn't think careful about this, we could have a tragedy".  
[Brings to mind Nidal Hasan, doesn't it? But, of course, the US government couldn't acknowledge that 'Hard Truth']. (p222).
"Lee... does not see the difference between great piety and a desire for exclusivity" (p223)
"I would say today, we can integrate all religions and races except Islam." (p228).  And "Islam is exclusive." (p230) 
[Not that the host society won't integrate them, mind, but the Islam encourages its adherent not to integrate]

His greatest move was to ensure that Islamism would not imperil Singaporean society by ruling that there would be no foreign (read: Saudi) funding of mosques in Singapore and no funding of foreign "preachers".
"It's the surge of Wahhabism and the oil money that funds it [Islamism].  The Saudis have been building mosques all over the Muslim world and to the mosque, they send their preachers.  Here, we build our mosques and we don't need their preachers.  Our situation is less severe." (p234).
"We don't need their money or their preachers". (p236) 
 Should we not follow that example?  If we want a "less severe" situation?  After all, in Australia, we have a worrying number going off to join ISIS.  And in Hong Kong, we have reports of ISIS trying to recruit local Indonesian domestic helpers to their hideous ideology.  Ban all foreign funding of mosques and foreign imams.

Security gaps, isolated Muslims may explain why Australia a hotbed of Islamic State recruiting

Hass Dellal, executive director of the Australian Multicultural Foundation, which promotes awareness of cultural diversity within Australia, said that history might make Americans more resistant to Islamic State recruiting.
Dellal also said public discussion of issues around radicalization and extremism is more balanced in the United States than in Australia, which effectively banned Middle Eastern Muslims from immigrating until the 1970s.
[link]
What does Dellal mean?  Does he mean that if Australia had not banned Muslim immigration to Australia until the 1970s, we would have less ISIS recruiting, because they, Muslims, had been around longer and were more numerous?
But the evidence in the west, in Europe and the US, is that the problem with Islamic radicalism is with second and third generation Muslims, not with the original immigrants. So, if we'd had earlier Muslim immigration to Australia, we would, logically, have more of the second and third generation and more of a problem, not less.
In the US, Muslims are around 0.7% of the population and in Australia 2.2%.  Three times more, per capita.
The issue is numbers.

Is blatant Islamophobia becoming mainstream inside the GOP?

A very Islamopologist article at the Washington Post.
Do they [conservatives] really think that using the word “Islamic” more to talk about threats to the United States would make those threats easier to defeat? Who knows?
Well, we do know.  Godwin's law notwithstanding, we must talk about the Nazis. Churchill was well aware of the threat in the 30's, though few agreed with him and the result was war. No doubt, when the Tommies and Grunts were fighting Germans, they didn't think of the ideology.  Nazism, to them, was irrelevant; they had to fight and kill the enemy.
But had their political leaders in the UK taken earlier notice of Nazi ideology, they might have been earlier to be clear on its supremacist aims, and -- perhaps, perhaps only -- managed to avoid the later carnage.
So, similarly, we must acknowledge that the ideology of Islam is a motivator for the likes of the Islamic State and Boko Haram.  Obama's refusal to acknowledge this can only complicate the fight.
How can it be bad -- or "Islamophobic -- to call it for what it is: motivated by basic tenets of Islam the Islamic Trinity?
Sun Zi: "know your enemy".

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Who can blame China for Asian bank move?

http://www.scmp.com/print/comment/insight-opinion/article/1742711/who-can-blame-china-asian-bank-move


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Tuesday, 17 March 2015

The Graham Wood article: "What ISIS really wants"

Been much quoted in the web-osphere.
Here's the original link and here is the archived link.
And here is Sam Harris talking to Graham Wood.
Basically: ISIS is Muslim, even if most Muslim don't agree with it, and ISIS doesn't agree with most Muslims.  They're Muslim nonetheless....
And that's important for understanding their motivations and hence how to counter them.
As I write this, I'm listening to a BBC4 program Moral Maze, discussion the three Muslim girls who have headed off to join ISIS.  They're wondering about their motivations.  How about.... Islam...?
And how about: let's not worry about them, but not let them come back to the UK?...

Imam: ISIS wicked, barbaric – and antithesis of Islam

"Wicked", yes; "barbaric", yes; "antithesis of Islam", no. (an e.g. from professor Daniel Pipes).
But the real reason to post a link to this article is that it's a lesson on how to be an apologist for Islam.  Islamopolgia 101, if you will.
It's all there: Islam just the same as Christianity and Judaism; the Bible is just as violent as the Koran; Islam as the "religion of peace"; Islam "hijacked" and "perverted" by those who claim to act in its name. And so on.
Though none of this apologia bears even a modicum of scrutiny.
Christianity has a Trinity, which to Islam is heretical and blasphemous.  It is "shirk".
The Bible has its violent passages, but they are descriptive of a time, told by Moses, whereas the Koran's calls to violence are the commands of Allah, for all time.
The Bible has been reinterpreted over time -- Biblical exegesis -- whereas any reinterpretation of the Koran is heresy and punishable by death.
Islam has not been "hijacked" by ISIS.  It's its deep motivation.
The comparison with the KKK, please.. give me a break.  KKK was never really Christian, and today accounts for a few thousand crazies, ever fewer,  whereas Islamist crazies are in the hundreds of thousands, and growing.


Monday, 16 March 2015

Australian Preacher Incites to Jihad against the Jews: "They Are the Most Evil Creatures of Allah"

Viciously bigoted anti-semites in Australia.  Of which religion? Guess...

Pope says Koran is a book of peace and Islam is a peaceful religion | Daily Mail Online

For the Pope to consider the Koran a "book of peace", can only mean that he hasn't read the Koran.
For the Koran is, quite simply, the most violent, supremacist, sectarian, homophobic and misogynist book that you could ever read.  In a word: it's a shocker!


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Saturday, 14 March 2015

Terry Pratchett in quotes: 15 of the best | Books | The Guardian

Thinking of Charlie Hebdo and the murderers who thought they knew the truth...
The presence of those seeking the truth is infinitely to be preferred to the presence of those who think they've found it. – from Monstrous Regiment
http://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2015/mar/12/terry-pratchett-in-quotes-15-of-the-best
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Countering Islamic Extremism by Peter Singer - Project Syndicate

The Islamic State *IS* Islamic! No matter how much Obama may tell us the Emperor does have clothes...
[quote] PRINCETON – Last month, US President Barack Obama hosted a three-day summit on "Countering Violent Extremism." That term has already spawned a new abbreviation, "CVE," used no fewer than 12 times in a Fact Sheet released by the Obama administration on February 18.
The Fact Sheet also uses the term "violent extremism" 21 times. How many times do, terms like "Islam," "Islamic," or "Muslim" appear? Zero. There is not even a reference to the "Islamic State." That entity is referred to only by the initials "ISIL." [end quote]


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Theocracy with a Human Face : Sam Harris

Asim Qureshi, the not-so-stealthy jihadist, has been all over the media recently. Here's the conclusion of Sam Harris' comments, with the vid with the oleaginous Qureshi:
In Greenwald's world, any worry that groups like CAGE and CAIR are covertly advancing a deeply illiberal Islamist agenda is just more anti-Muslim bigotry. In the real world, this is a perfectly reasonable concern supported by facts.
Look again at the dissembling of Qureshi. Listen to all his seemingly sane and balanced talk about the "disenfranchisement" and "unnecessary targeting" of young Muslim men, about "cycles of violence," and about jihad's being nothing more than the universal principle of "self-defense." And then realize that this voice of moderation believes that in a properly constituted caliphate, gays, apostates, blasphemers, and adulterers will be stoned to death, Jews and Christians will be forced to pay a protection tax, and all other non-Muslims will live as slaves.
This is theocracy with a human face. Where are the real liberals who will oppose it? 

Friday, 13 March 2015

The Secret State vs. Enemies of State - Taki's Magazine

Why on earth should the British police apologise for the three teenage girls going to ISIS?
Had they been more intrusive before they would have been accused of unfairly targeting the Muslim community.
http://takimag.com/article/the_secret_state_vs_enemies_of_state_derek_turner/print#axzz3UEYevvHw

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Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Mods vs Choppers :: SteynOnline

Which covers, towards the end, the outrageous award of "Islamophobe of the Year" by the UK's Islamic Human Rights Commission (yeah, I know...), to Charlie Hebdo. Remember them? It was supposed to be "je suis Charlie". It never really was. Now, a rash of UK worthies, supporting the IHRC, have made clear it's not.
http://www.steynonline.com/6847/mods-vs-choppers
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Muslim community rejects the State’s criminalisation of Islam and condemns moves to silence legitimate critique and dissent

The one that jumped out at me from the list of whines in the link below is this one:
5) Similarly, it is unacceptable to label as 'extremist' numerous normative Islamic opinions on a variety of issues, founded on the Quran and Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), implying there is a link between them and violence, using such labels as an excuse to silence speakers. 
When "normative Islamic opinions" based on the Koran and the Sunnah (ie the Hadith) call for lopping off the heads of infidels, for killing apostates, for beating disobedient wives, we're not to think that's "extreme"? Maybe it's not, to the list of worthies at the end of this mega moan.
But for the rest of us, let's keep ourselves clear. Calls to violence in the Koran and the Sunnah are going to lead pious Muslims to be violent. Oh, *that's* why so many are!
(H/t Harry's Place)
http://ihrc.org.uk/news/comment/11381-muslim-community-rejects-the-states-criminalisation-of-islam-and-condemns-moves-to-silence-legitimate-critique-and-dissent-
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Later: Fasdunkle nails it in the comments at Harry's Place:
"The whole thing could be boiled down to 2 points:
1) Do not limit what we say and do
2) We wish to limit what you say and do"

http://hurryupharry.org/2015/03/11/muslim-community-rejects-the-state’s-criminalisation-of-islam-and-condemns-moves-to-silence-legitimate-critique-and-dissent/

The Left's Mess in Venezuela