Sunday, 20 August 2017

Don’t like Google’s diversity agenda? You’re fired! | The Spectator

Yes, it's that Google memo again!  This time Toby Young in the Spectator.  I think he gives simply the best summary of the issue.
I'm as surprised as Toby is that so many in the mainstream media simply did not understand (willfully or not) the main point Damore was making. He's not "anti-diversity" and his paper was not a "screed", or "manifesto", or any one of the other pejoratives, applied to it.  It was an attempt, in a more or less well thought-out (though patchy) memo, to suggest what Google could do extra to increase diversity.  Perhaps, for example, by taking note of well-documented gender differences in various traits. At a population level, not individual; and not large, but ought to be taken into account.
Anyway, Toby says it better.
James Damore's original memo is here.
My guess is that the majority of commenters, both liberal and conservative, have criticised Google CEO Sundar Pichai's firing of Damore.

Friday, 18 August 2017

State Dept. Hosts Muslim Brotherhood Coalition | Clarion Project Clarion Project

The Muslim Brotherhood is more dangerous than these few loonies
The Clarion Project does a lot of good work that's generally sound and well researched. So this is most troubling: that the US State Department appears to have no qualms in meeting that nasty outfit, the Muslim Brotherhood. You know, the one set up in the 1920s by Hassan al-Banna, grandaddy of the oleaginous Tariq Ramadan and parent of Hamas (Hamas describes itself as the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine). And it's outlawed in some Muslim countries!  But not the US where they welcome them to Foggy Bottom.
And they're more dangerous than the Nazis who paraded last week in Charlottesville.  First, because the Nazis are few and the Brotherhood is many, and is supported by many millions more Muslims. And secondly because the Nazis would be welcome in no government department, whereas the Brotherhood is shown the open door.  And third, because the Nazis are just against Jews and blacks, whereas the Brotherhood is against all we unbelievers. It wants nothing less than to overthrow the US government, install Sharia and rule -- eventually the World!  See the "secret memo" link quoted below.

✄....
Islamist groups still have an open door to the State Department under Secretary Tillerson. A coalition of Muslim Brotherhood groups is boasting that it was granted a visit to the department to provide their perspective on the Temple Mount crisis.

The U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO) is an umbrella of Islamist extremist groups that was formed in 2014 so they can operate as a single body. The U.S. Muslim Brotherhood had been hoping to achieve such unification since at least 1991 when the Brotherhood expressed this desire in a secret memo uncovered by federal investigators.

Most of the groups in the USCMO are listed by the Brotherhood as being fronts for its "Islamic Movement" in America. The memo described "their work in America as a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within."


"Don't Even Think About Being Evil” | Wall Street Journal


I just love that Googly thing. It's NOT on the Google search page; it's a made up one, for the article "Don't even think about being evil", by Heather MacDonald, in the WSJ, about the Google memo issue.  Have a look at it closely, it all works...
And Mac Donald, like most commenters, left and right, believe that Damore, the author of the offending memo, should not have been fired.  Bad signals.  Makes a mockery of CEO Sundar Pichai's claim that Google encourages people raising issues within Google, no matter what the subject. Clearly the subject does matter, and what you think about it has to hew closely to the fine sensitivites of the Google snowflakes.

"How the Saudis Can Promote Moderate Islam” | WSJ

In the heart of the crumbling Middle East, but still supporting its
failed ideology worldwide
This follows on from the post immediately before this which looks at Saudi's support of world-wide radical Wahhabi-Salafist schooling.  Maybe there's some hope for Saudi.  Though I'm not getting my hopes up. The west -- especially the US -- should have been pressing Saudi to give up its malign support of these deeply conservative anti-western schools.  It's poisonous stuff.
The article is here, behind a paywall at the Wall Street Journal, so I've copied it below the fold.

"Does Qatar Support Extremism? Yes. And So Does Saudi Arabia” | New York Times

All they learn at madrassas is the Koran, by heart.
And that's a handbook of violence against unbelievers 
The main reason for posting this is the information it has on the perfidious Saudi Arabia: our putative "ally", but one which funds madrasas around the world teaching its students to hate we infidels.
The link is here, but may be behind a paywall.
You can read it below the fold.  Emphasis in the article is mine:

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

"Trump is a toddler in a car” | Ann Applebaum in the Washington Post

From this part of the world, Trump threats sound pretty scary until you realise, as North Korea has, that they mean nothing. He has cried wolf too often.
Ann Applebaum is a smart cookie, in the Washington Post

Monday, 14 August 2017

What Obama Could Teach Trump About Charlottesville | The Atlantic

These are not "fine folks" as claimed by Trump
A very thoughtful article by the reliable Jeffrey Goldberg at The Atlantic pondering Trump's failure to name white supremacists in his condemnation of the violence in Charlottesville
But the issue here is substantially larger than mere hypocrisy. Obama carefully measured his rhetoric in the war against Islamist terrorism because he hoped to avoid inserting the U.S. into the middle of an internecine struggle consuming another civilisation.
But the struggle in Charlottesville is a struggle within our own civilization, within Trump's own civilization. It is precisely at moments like this that an American president should speak up directly on behalf of the American creed, on behalf of Americans who reject tribalism and seek pluralism, on behalf of the idea that blood-and-soil nationalism is antithetical to the American idea itself. Trump's refusal to call out radical white terrorism for what it is, at precisely the moment America needs its leadership to take a unified stand against hatred, marks what might be the lowest moment of his presidency to date.

"Study: Terrorists do understand Islam" | World Net Daily

Yes ISIS really is Islamic whatever the BBC* and others would have us believe: the "ISIS has nothing to do with Islam" crowd.
*[Later: apparently I'm wrong about the BBC, in that its head of Religious programming, himself a Muslim, has said that ISIS is indeed Islamic.  "They're not preaching Judaism", Aaqil Ahmed wisely notes, according to that report.  Mind you, I don't trust the site, so will have to double check that one]
This report linked here was done for the Austrian ministry of Foreign Affairs. 
A snip from the article quotes Dr Zuhdi Jasser, himself a reforming Muslim:
Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, a Muslim and leader of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, told Lifezette: "This study proves what any honest Muslim already knows or [has] been in major denial about. While our 'Islam' as we practice it here in the West is for reform-minded Muslims compatible with Western values, the reality is the 'Islam' practiced by large swaths of Muslims in Muslim-majority nations run by Shariah law is supremacist and theocratic in mindset."
He continued: "Our organization [AIFD] and other leaders in our Muslim reform movement have been screaming from the rooftops for over a decade that there is a direct connection between non-violent Islamism (the supremacism of Islamic states based in Shariah law) and the violent Islamism of militant jihadists. One naturally leads to the other, and this study is simply proving what has been painfully obvious to any honest Muslims.
"Islamists will blame the 'anti-Muslim bigotry' or aka 'Islamophobia' of the 'right' when in fact it is Islamist groups in the West (Muslim Brotherhood legacy groups) that exaggerate the extent of anti-Muslim bigotry, trying to impose anti-blasphemy behaviors by calling it 'Islamophobia,'" Jasser said. "The Islamist groups like CAIR, MPAC, MAS, ICNA, ISNA and others will do anything possible to blame everyone on the planet who is non-Muslim except their own ideologies and in essence the ideology spread across the planet by OIC [Organization of Islamic Cooperation] regimes of Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Pakistan, to name a few."

Saturday, 12 August 2017

BBC Newsnight on Damore's Google memo

To BBC: re your Nightline just now:
Caroline Criedo-Perez says the Damore Google memo had no evidence because "there were no references". She must have read Damore's memo on Gizmodo the first to publish it: which it did while stripping the memo every one of the 30 links to various scientific references. 
Criedo-Perez is plain wrong about the lack of evidence for male-female difference in traits. There's plenty. But as Damore points out there's huge overlap and the gender population differences say nothing about an individual man or woman
The head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, has noted that women are better than men at team building. This is likely true and her observations met general acclaim. She was not outed let alone fired for noting a male-female difference, an anti-male observation or anti-diversity statement.  That's all Damore was doing, pace Criedo-Perez. 
Someone at the BBC really ought to *read* the Damore Google memo before allowing more people on to voice their own prejudices and bigotries like those of Ms Criedo-Perez. 
Peter Forsythe
9 Siena One
Discovery Bay
Hong Kong 

Friday, 11 August 2017

"File lawsuits to disrupt tech's sexism": take 2

LETTER TO NEW YORK TIMES, International Edition
[455 words]
Anita Hill was subject to unfair treatment in the Clarence Thomas affair, so you'd think she would try to avoid it in her treatment of others.   Instead she joins the braying mob in lynching the poor James Damore, author of the controversial "Google Memo".  ("File lawsuits to disrupt tech's sexism".  August 10). 
She does a hatchet job on what he didn't say, but ignores what he did say.
James Damore did not say he was "against Google's diversity initiatives".  The opposite is the case: his aim was to try to make these initiatives more effective, a point he made repeatedly throughout the memo.
He did not say that Google should "... abandon its efforts for gender diversity and replace them with a focus on 'ideological diversity'".  
He does not have "anti-equality attitudes".  Quite the opposite, as he repeatedly says and shows.
Against Hill's straw-persons, we have what Damore did say, which Hill simply ignores: "I value diversity and inclusion, am not denying that sexism exists, and don't endorse using stereotypes" [p1]. "I strongly believe in gender and race diversity, and I think we should strive for more" [p6].  "Viewpoint diversity is arguably the most important type of diversity…" [p8].  
Does that sound like a person who wants Google to abandon diversity?  He simply wants there to be more attention to what he calls "viewpoint diversity", which ought to be unarguable since that is the very reason we are told that the other diversities - gender and race - are so valuable.
He wonders if part of the disparity in the number of coders might be due to lack of interest by women in doing it.  (Different (not better or worse) traits).  That's an interesting question on which there is some data, and which ought to be a debatable issue, not a fireable offence.
The gist of his memo is on the folly of directing people into jobs for which they are not suited purely to meet diversity goals.  Google could rethink how jobs are structured if the goal is to make them more attractive to people with a different set of traits than they attract now.
In saying that Damore has challenged the prevailing orthodoxy.
That orthodoxy is incoherent.  It states that all people, no matter the gender or race, are equal. All inequalities in outcome must therefore be the result of some type of bias or oppression.  But if that were the case, why then insist on "diversity"?  Diversity is only a good thing to the extent that different viewpoints come from different genders and races. And in turn those different viewpoints must be because of "viewpoint diversity". 
In short, you can have equality, or you can have diversity.
But you can't have both. And it's a shame that Hill should smear Damore's efforst to discuss that.

Yours,
Peter Forsythe.
9 Siena One
Discovery Bay
Hong Kong
+852 9308 0799

PS: 
Anita Hill opens her article with the same wording as Gizmodo did on 5 August: a Google "engineer's screed against the company's diversity initiatives…", suggesting she may have taken her line from them. Gizmodo was the first to obtain Damore's memo and posted it, allegedly in "Full".  But it is without the only two graphs — both of which are crucial to understanding Damore's argument — and "several hyperlinks are also omitted".  Actually, all 30 of the hyperlinks are omitted. Why?  It has led to some of the commenters on your online version of Hill's article to say that Damore provided no evidence for his statements, whereas he did so extensively.  What's going on here? And why didn't Hill note that fact?

Other links
Peter Guy in the South China Morning Post Says Damore should not have been fired.  Right.
"Stop Equating 'Science' with Truth", by Prof Chanda Prescod-Weinstein.  Against Damore. Hammered in the comments. 

Socialism flow chart




Oh how true! What a wonderful little chart! 
Wherever socialism has been tried from Albania to Zimbabwe, via Cambodia, China, Cuba, North Korea, Soviet Union, Vietnam and most recently Venezuela, it has failed.  And failed dismally and spectacularly. And when it does so, the cry from socialists is "it wasn't real socialism!" 
The Socialist party of the UK is saying that socialism hasn't been tried anywhere
Chavez supporters are running for cover. Corbyn has blamed Venezuela's collapse on oil price drops (to which the obvious counter is that Norway, a country with a similar bounty of oil, has managed to remain vibrantly strong despite the oil price drop. It's all about management. And socialist management simply doesn't do the job). Michael Moore was challenged this morning on U.K. Channel 4, about his fawning over Chavez and Madura. All he could do, apart from looking like he had a cockroach in his undies, was to blame the US -- again! -- for interfering in elections!  He looked like he was going to cry. I wonder how Sean Penn, a BFF of Chavez, view the Venezuelan disaster. No doubt it will be the fault of the US. Or the Jews maybe.
Sent from my iPhone

Britain Turns to Chinese Textbooks to Improve Its Math Scores - Current News & Events - OneHallyu

Well this is interesting. Britain turning to Chinese maths textbooks. Specifically Shanghai's textbooks. 
A couple of years back Britain brought in 21 Chinese maths teachers to help out at English schools.
I wonder how that went. Presumably well enough for them to now move to introduce Chinese textbooks. 
There was also a BBC reality show some months back following the trials and tribulations of half a dozen Chinese teachers employed at an English high school to teach the kids along the Chinese lines.  Fascinating show but also plenty  of cultural misunderstandings!  In the end, IIRC, both sides thought it had been worthwhile. Tough but worthwhile. 


Thursday, 10 August 2017

File lawsuits to disrupt tech's sexism | Anita Hill, New York Times

LETTER TO NEW YORK TIMES, International Edition
[455 words]
Anita Hill was subject to unfair treatment in the Clarence Thomas affair, so you'd think she would try to avoid it in her treatment of others.   Instead she joins the braying mob in lynching the poor James Damore, author of the controversial "Google Memo".  ("File lawsuits to disrupt tech's sexism".  August 10). 
She does a hatchet job on what he didn't say, but ignores what he did say.
James Damore did not say he was "against Google's diversity initiatives".  The opposite is the case: his aim was to try to make these initiatives more effective, a point he made repeatedly throughout the memo.
He did not say that Google should "... abandon its efforts for gender diversity and replace them with a focus on 'ideological diversity'".  
He does not have "anti-equality attitudes".  Quite the opposite, as he repeatedly says and shows.
Against Hill's straw-persons, we have what Damore did say, which Hill simply ignores: "I value diversity and inclusion, am not denying that sexism exists, and don't endorse using stereotypes" [p1]. "I strongly believe in gender and race diversity, and I think we should strive for more" [p6].  "Viewpoint diversity is arguably the most important type of diversity…" [p8].  
Does that sound like a person who wants Google to abandon diversity?  He simply wants there to be more attention to what he calls "viewpoint diversity", which ought to be unarguable since that is the very reason we are told that the other diversities - gender and race - are so valuable.
He wonders if part of the disparity in the number of coders might be due to lack of interest by women in doing it.  (Different (not better or worse) traits).  That's an interesting question on which there is some data, and which ought to be a debatable issue, not a fireable offence.
The gist of his memo is on the folly of directing people into jobs for which they are not suited purely to meet diversity goals.  Google could rethink how jobs are structured if the goal is to make them more attractive to people with a different set of traits than they attract now.
In saying that Damore has challenged the prevailing orthodoxy.
That orthodoxy is incoherent.  It states that all people, no matter the gender or race, are equal. All inequalities in outcome must therefore be the result of some type of bias or oppression.  But if that were the case, why then insist on "diversity”?  Diversity is only a good thing to the extent that different viewpoints come from different genders and races. And in turn those different viewpoints must be because of "viewpoint diversity". 
In short, you can have equality, or you can have diversity.
Yours etc,
PF

PS: 
Anita Hill opens her article with the same wording as Gizmodo did on 5 August: a Google "engineer's screed against the company's diversity initiatives…", suggesting she may have taken her line from them. Gizmodo was the first to obtain Damore's memo and posted it, allegedly in "Full".  But it is without the only two graphs — both of which are crucial to understanding Damore's argument — and "several hyperlinks are also omitted".  Actually, all 30 of the hyperlinks are omitted. Why?  It has led to some of the commenters on your online version of Hill's article to say that Damore provided no evidence for his statements, whereas he did so extensively.  What's going on here? And why didn't Hill note that fact?

Other links
Peter Guy in the South China Morning Post:  Says Damore should not have been fired.  Right.
"Stop Equating 'Science' with Truth", by Prof Chanda Prescod-Weinstein.  Against Damore. Hammered in the comments. Slate = left of centre.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Ex-muslim talks about eating bacon for the first time

Sami loooves bacon!
What fun! Sami Shah, a Muslim apostate, describes first time tasting bacon after he renounced Islam. Something he could only do in Australia, by the way.  In his home of Pakistan, he would have been killed for exercising his right to freedom of belief.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

My letter on Muslim apologists, published today | South China Morning Post


I guess we all know of the non-apologetic apology: "I'm sorry if you feel offended". How about the non-condemnatory ­condemnation?
This is what we've been ­hearing from a phalanx of ­Islamic apologists in your pages recently. Syed Ridwan Elahi, of the Muslim Council of Hong Kong, is just the latest in this genre ("Muslim voices against terror drowned out", July 30).
They all claim that they have been condemning terrorism. So why do we "misguided" ­non-Muslims still complain?
Well, because these so-called condemnations are not really condemnations at all: terrorism is by people "with Muslim names" (that is, they're not real Muslims). Or the terrorists have "distorted" Islam's message (it has nothing to do with Islam). Or terrorism is the fault of the West (that is, because of "our wars of terror in the Middle East").
I would like to see some real honesty from these representatives of Islam, not obfuscation, ­obscurantism and deflection.
Some brave Muslims – but too few – have addressed this issue front on: selected Koranic doctrines mandate the ­terrorising and killing of infidels.
Many more Muslims, especially those in leadership ­positions, need to face up to these doctrines and neutralise them.
No one imagines this will be easy. But the process can't begin until it's acknowledged.
Until then no amount of non-condemnatory condemnation is going to cut the ice.
Peter Forsythe, Discovery Bay

What turns a Hong Kong maid towards Islamic State? | This Week In Asia | South China Morning Post

Well the Hong Kong press has finally got onto this story. The story of Maids to Murderers.  From Maids to Jihadi brides.
These are Indonesian Muslim women who come to Hong Kong as domestic helpers. They find themselves isolated and "empty" according to the story. So what else do you do if you feel isolated and empty? Why, go off to kill some infidels, of course!
The story doesn't look at the issue of why the Filipinas in Hong Kong, about the same in number as the Indonesian Muslimas, in the same conditions, entirely the same, in other words, don't head off to joint ISIS or contemplate suicide bombing of we unbelievers.  Instead, you find the Filipinas, on their days off, going to church, then gathering together in town and singing and dancing and playing and acting up and being funny….
It's only the muslimas, wanting to find a "purer form of Islam", who come upon Jihadi Islam, and find new meaning in life in becoming part of the Islamic killing machine.

Friday, 4 August 2017

Australia’s PM Slowly Realizes Trump Is a Complete Idiot | New York Magazine

This is an excoriating article
The para quoted below, about his talk with Aussie PM Malcolm Turnbull, really makes you shake your head in disbelief at how obtuse Trump is. Or maybe it was just a long day. 
Trump ended by hanging up most ungraciously. That's another defining feature: rudeness. 
In sum, he's a nasty, idiotic piece of shit (this latter reinforces by his shocking  treatment of AG Sessions and attempt banning of LGBTs in the armed forces via a tweet). [A tweet!]. 
/Snip

The transcript of Donald Trump's discussion with Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull obtained by the Washington Post reveals many things, but the most significant may be that Trump in his private negotiations is every bit as mentally limited as he appears to be in public.
At issue in the conversation is a deal to settle 1,250 refugees who have been detained by Australia in the United States. I did not pay any attention to the details of this agreement before reading the transcript. By the time I was halfway through it, my brain could not stop screaming at Trump for his failure to understand what Turnbull was telling him.


How to identify a genuinely progressive Muslim « Why Evolution Is True

Maajid Nawaz, one of my favourites of the Muslim reformers.
Ever eloquent, principled and brave

For a while now, I've been meaning to put together a list of Muslims and ex-Muslims who are what I call "sound" on Islam.  Ones you can trust to be telling the full picture of Islam and trying to reform it.  I've procrastinated and the result is like the Chinese philosophy says — "Wu Wei", which means do nothing…. and things will solve themselves and often that really is the wisest course of action (or inaction).
And it is here.  Jerry Coyne has put together such a list, though without the ex-Muslims.
Here it is a his "Why Evolution is True" website.
The Muslims that you can trust, or as Jerry has it, you can "pay attention to".  I agree with it, knowing, as I do, virtually all of these folk. (well…. I don't quite know if Malala should be on the list….)
Reza Aslan
Linda Sarsour
Tariq Ramadan
Hatem Bazin
Keith Ellison (the only a Muslim member of the U.S. Congress)
Mehdi Hasan

To which I would add Mustafa Akyol, who's like an even smoother Tariq Ramadan. Slickly suave, but an apologist for Islam despite appearing like a reformer
Note that many in the West and on the Left lionise these folk.  They've been deluded by them (is the most charitable explanation).

Thursday, 3 August 2017

ABC's Julia Baird tells falsehoods about Islam | Herald Sun

Love him or hate him, Andrew Bolt surely wins the debate here. And the ABC should be ashamed of itself.  And Baird of herself.
Her line was this: Christianity encourages men to beat their women. And Islam doesn't.
But the opposite is the case. 
And that's attested to by various studies, including ones quoted by Ms Baird (!), and by the Koran and Hadiths.



How Brexit Britain Can Reset the Immigration Debate | Rachel Shabi | New York Times

LETTER TO NEW YORK TIMES
I'm always surprised when seemingly sane and sensible people call for socialism. Even more so when they call it "progressive"  ("How Brexit Britain Can Reset the Immigration Debate", August 1)
Global worker solidarity? Nationalising transport and energy? "Collectivist sympathies? How very seventies and hardly progressive. Been there. Tried that. Didn't work. 
I have spent my career engaged with China, in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. I first worked there in the mid seventies while it was still officially in the throes of the so-called "Cultural Revolution"; that is to say, as a socialist polity.  There was virtually nothing to buy: no consumer goods and food was rationed. I've watched in awe what has happened since. China may call it "socialism with Chinese characteristics", but make no mistake: it's capitalism with Chinese characteristics. 
Further: in Ms Shabi's clear admiration for Mr Corbin's socialism she conspicuously fails to mention his admiration for terrorists. Hamas and Hezbollah are "my friends". He welcomes Islamists to Westminster. He praises the Islamic Declaration of Human rights which has Sharia as its supreme law. 
Does today's Britain really want to be led by a man so compromised?
Finally, Ms Shabi notes with approval Mr Corbyn's manifesto promise that Labour "will not scapegoat migrants nor blame them for economic failures". But how else can this be read than as putting the very discussion immigration beyond the pale?
Put it all together and you have a return to seventies style socialist inefficiencies wedded to unbridled, unquestionable immigration. 
Who, with memory of Britain's three-day work week, would want to return to that?
Not progressive, Ms Shabi, but regressive. 
Peter Forsythe, etc....