Sunday, 31 July 2016

No one should be shy of learning Chinese

Came across my letter to the Financial Times, by accident:
No one should be shy of learning Chinese
APRIL 25, 2016
Sir, I thought Jeremy Paxman’s article a refreshingly robust case for English as the global language (“Voilà — a winner in the battle of global tongues”, April 8). He is spot on. Another language that repays study is Chinese. I speak as one who learnt Mandarin Chinese, to interpreter level, as an adult. My mother tongue was Italian and I’ve spoken passable French and German in my time. So I agree with Alan Watson (Letters, April 14) who says that knowledge of a “starter” European language is not a necessity for learning Chinese. Indeed, it may well be a hindrance in learning a tonal language with ideographs, which nonetheless has a very simple grammar — simpler than all European languages.
My point is this: that English is the global language. And Chinese is a hugely helpful language in most of Asia: China itself, of course, as well as Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, much of Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. No one should be shy to take on Chinese. It takes study, to be sure, but it repays that study in spades, from insights into “Asian values” to appreciation of the elegance of Classical Chinese.
Peter Forsythe
Discovery Bay, Hong Kong


Saturday, 30 July 2016

"USA! USA! USA!"

What's going on?  Watching the DNC, at times the crowd broke out in chants of USA! USA! USA!
This sort of loud patriotism was normally the preserve of Republicans. What's going on?
Others noticed (not surprisingly, given the high ratings of both conventions). 
I think that the DMC whooped RNC's ass. Again, others agreed:

Later: reactions from non-party-hack conservatives who think Trump has ceded main conservative messages to the Democratic Party


Friday, 29 July 2016

Leave ‘Martyrdom’ to the Jihadists - NYTimes.com

LETTER TO NEW YORK TIMES:
Visiting professor Paul Vallely says Father Hamel should not be martyred because the jihadists also have a notion of martyrdom and that therefore we would somehow "play into the hands of the extremists" if he were martyred. 
This is surely morally-relativist appeasement. A version of the "nothing to do with Islam" trope. 
Visiting professor Valley gives away why he's an appeaser in a later paragraph. He quotes approvingly a "Parisian churchgoer" who said "it's not a Muslim who killed a Catholic. It is simply evil". 
Evil, yes. But also religious. It was indeed a Muslim who killed a Catholic. 
There's clear and profuse doctrinal justification for Muslims to kill non-believers, Jews and Christians chief amongst them. 
[I surely don't need to quote here the Koran, the Hadith, the Sirah, the Umdat al-Salik, Islamic law, etc.... There's plenty readily searchable]. 
As long as we delude ourselves that we are just facing, to quote Vallely, "the pathology of a perverse minority of extremists with distorted notions of holy war and martyrdom", instead of a doctrinally-mandated jihadist war against the "Infidel" west we have no hope of defeating this terrorist threat. 
None of the tribe of "nothing to do with Islam" ever tell us how the killers are allegedly "distorting" Islamic doctrine on jihad and martyrdom. 
 I'm an atheist so I'm not much bothered by the notion of martyrdom, Islamic or otherwise. But to allow a "martyrdom veto" by jihadists cannot be good for our society, believers or atheists. It just serves the appeasers. 
Shame in Visiting professor Vallely. 
(And shame on the NYT for promoting this tired trope). 
PF

Leave ‘Martyrdom’ to the Jihadists - NYTimes.com

Here we go again. Sleazy slimy obfuscation and apologia. 
Here's a quote:
The real problem is the pathology of a perverse minority of extremists with distorted notions of holy war and martyrdom.
It's just more of what we read about daily: islamist murderers are a "tiny minority who twist or pervert or hijack the religion of peace."
It's nonsense. 
The doctrinal support of what the Islamist killers are doing is clear and profuse. 
And to say that Fr Hamel should not be martyred because the jihadists also have a notion of martyrdom -- one rather different from the Christian one -- seems to me the grossest form of appeasement. 

Hong Kong’s secret, illegal e-bikers crying out for power to the people

I'm quoted in a few places on this article because I did a submission to the Hong Kong government to seek permission to ride e-bikes in Hong Kong.


The Fallacy of Grievance-based Terrorism :: Middle East Quarterly

It's to counter the ridiculous article in today's South China Morning Post by senior editor Yonden Lhatoo arguing precisely this grievance-based terrorism in his "Hongkongers are no longer safe thanks to America and its allies". **
I feel a letter coming on. Ties in with the one I wrote a few days ago about Alex Lo's piece also arguing it's all America's fault.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Many Muslims back Islamic State

My letter published today's South China Morning Post:
Many Muslims back Islamic State
Siddiq Bazarwala claims to speak “on behalf of ordinary Muslims” (“Vast majority of Muslims are peaceful”, July 17).
He also claims to speak on behalf of “Hong Kong people” who, he says, “broadly understand that recent events in the West are a consequence of its failed foreign policies in Muslim countries”.
Well, excuse me, but Bazarwala does not speak on behalf of this Hong Kong person.
I do not accept that Islamic terrorist barbarities are the ­result of failed foreign policies. But that’s a question for another day.
I’ll also pass by Bazarwala’s comparisons of Islamic terrorist acts with drunk driving accidents or getting a speeding ticket. These clearly trivialise ­terrorism.
Rather, I’ll focus on his assertion that “the vast majority (more than 99.9 per cent) of the world’s Muslim population ­cannot be held responsible for the heinous actions of fringe groups like” Islamic State (IS).
Harvard professor Niall ­Ferguson wrote that IS has “a minimum of 63 million supporters – and that is based on ­opinion polls in just 11 countries” (“Terrorist networks ­cannot be defeated in isolation”, April 4).
That number may well be 130 plus million if extrapolated. (1,000 times more than Bazarwala claims). So, 10 per cent of the world’s Muslims support the most extreme, most ­barbaric, most cruel and most aggressive manifestation of ­Islam.
Other polls of Muslims around the world show shockingly high levels of bigotry – 70 per cent of Muslim countries criminalise apostasy; 82 per cent of Egyptian Muslims favour stoning to death for adultery, and 84 per cent want death for apostasy. Pluralities of ­Muslims in the West want sharia law imposed.
Yet Bazarwala says “peace and harmony will prevail”, if we just “understand” that Muslim leaders condemn terrorist attacks. Sure, but that’s not nearly enough. A more intellectually honest young Muslim, Omar Mahmood, from the US, wrote in June that the statement from Islamic leaders about the jihadi attack, in Orlando, ­Florida, “condemns the ­massacre, ­distances it from Muslims, and stresses that we must all live in harmony. That much is predictable, and commendable. But the statement fails to give American Islam what it needs most, and what is ­missing from the political and social media response: intellectual honesty.”
If Bazarwala believes he speaks on “behalf of ordinary Muslims”, intellectual honesty demands they face these serious issues in Islamic ideology, ­beliefs which many millions of ­“ordinary Muslims” hold.
Peter Forsythe, Discovery Bay

Link >> http://m.scmp.com/comment/letters/article/1995571/letters-editor-july-27-2016

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Alex Lo: Trump and the folly of empire (My Take, 25 July)

LETTER TO SCMP (269 words)
Like all good lefties Alex Lo loves to hate America (Trump understands the folly of 'empire' , 25 July).
This time Lo picks up on yet another unhinged riff by wannabe president Donald Trump to criticize America's "imperialism, hegemony and interventionism".  
Cue the usual litany of "imperialist interventions" from Vietnam to Iraq, via Palestine and South America. 
But America is neither imperialist nor hegemon. 
Lo must recall that America had to be dragged into both world wars. In both, its contribution was critical to our victory against fascism. The world would be a worse place had America not "intervened" on our side. 
Then there's American interventions since that have been successful and life-saving: from Laos to Kosovo, to ending the Cold War and beyond. Not forgetting the post war Marshall Plan, the WTO, and America's charity: it's always the major donor in global disasters, like the Boxing Day Asian tsunami of 2004. (Help that was never acknowledged by Indonesia, by the way). 
And that still leaves aside the myriad other US contributions to humankind: from first air flights to first moon landings. From television,  computers, Internet, GPS and smartphones to Google and genomes.   Without the country that Lo & co view as so horrid we would have none of these. And be immeasurably poorer for it. 
America can be summarized in one word: Freedom. What would be the one word to summarize Russia or China?
America may never have perfected the practice of its principles, but at least they can be freely questioned, most severely perhaps by Americans themselves. Not something one could say of the other would-be Superpowers. 
PF

Muslim leader Ali Selim urges media to avoid linking attacks to Islam

WTF??!
It's not the media that's associating violence with Islam. It's the perpetrators themselves who say they are killing "in the name of Allah". 
And there's plenty of doctrine to say why they should do so. Just look up "Jihad" in the Umdat Al-Salik, the Islamic Manual of Islamic Jurisprudence or "Jihad" in the Pages above, ",what does Islam say about".
Here is More Muslims obscurantism and avoidance. 

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Albert Lo "If nothing else, at least Trump understands the folly of ‘empire’ ". 25 July

DRAFT LETTER TO SCMP:
Like all good lefties Alex Lo loves to hate America (If nothing else, at least Trump understands the folly of 'empire'25 July)**
This time Lo picks up on yet another unhinged riff by wannabe president Donald Trump to criticize America's "imperialism, hegemony and interventionism".  
Cue the usual litany from Vietnam to Iraq, via Palestine and South America. 
But America is neither imperialist nor hegemon. 
Lo must recall that America had to be dragged into both world wars. In both its contribution was critical to our victory against fascism. The world would be a worse place had America not "intervened" on our side. 
Then there's American interventions since that have been successful and life-saving: from Laos to Kosovo, to ending the Cold War and beyond. Not forgetting the post war Marshall Plan, the WTO, and America's charity: it's always the major donor in global disasters, like the Boxing Day Asian tsunami of 2004. (Help that was never acknowledged by Indonesia, by the way). 
And that still leaves aside the myriad other US contributions to humankind:  from first air flights to first moon landings. From television,  computers, Internet, GPS, and smartphones to Google and the human genome.  Without the country that Lo & co view as so horrid we would have none of these. And be immeasurably poorer for it. 
America can be summarized in one word: Freedom. What would be the one word to summarize Russia or China?

Michelle rocks

I've just finished watching Michelle Obama's speech to the DNC.
I thought it was a great speech.
Switched to Fox, thinking they'd find some petty way to find fault. But guess what? They loved it!
That's a really great speech then.

Sent from my iPhone

Monday, 25 July 2016

What Has Congress Ever Done for Us? - WSJ

LETTER TO EDITOR WSJ
You're kidding right?  I did a double-take when I read your list of "achievements" of the current Republican Congress. 
Start with everything the GOP Congress has prevented. Universal pre-K, gun regulation, a $15 national minimum wage, an ObamaCare bailout for insurers, equal pay regulation, more disclosure of campaign donations, "free" community college, a new "infrastructure bank," closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay, among many others. President Obama proposed each of those, often more than once, but they vanished faster than Martin O'Malley 's presidential campaign thanks to the GOP Congress.
To Democrats, of course, the list is one of desirables, not a list to "vanish". 
But it would also be supported, from what I read, here and there, by a large number of Republicans and hence by a majority of Americans. 
The list is hardly one to be proud of. Not one to vote "thanks to Congress". It's a shame on Congress, rather. 

Saturday, 23 July 2016

When It Comes to Islam, Western Leaders Are Liars or Idiots | PJ Media


From a link in this article, reference to Saudi Arabia, our supposed ally:
"According to this governmentally-supported fatwa, Muslims—that is, the entire Saudi citizenry—must 'oppose and hate whomever Allah commands us to oppose and hate, including the Jews, the Christians, and other mushrikin [non-Muslims], until they believe in Allah alone and abide by his laws, which he sent down to his Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings upon him.'
"To prove this, Baz quotes a number of Koran verses that form the doctrine of 'Loyalty and Enmity' -- the same doctrine every Sunni jihadi organization evokes to the point of concluding that Muslim men must hate their Christian or Jewish wives (though they may enjoy them sexually)."

It's official: I'm a moderate righty.. Take the test

That's me in the pink circle, just around Stephen Crabb, who I've never heard of, on the left of the Conservative Party, and on the right of the Labour party.  Middle of the road, then.... But note: near Boris!
Take the test.

What Republicans Really Think About Trump - NYTimes.com

A great selection of quotes by Republicans about Donald Trump, from Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times.
My favorite: "Hillary is preferable to Trump, just like malaria is preferable to Ebola. …" from Jamie Weinstein.
That's basically the Sam Harris view (and mine, if I were American and could vote). That given the dangers of Trump, one must hold one's nose and vote Hillary.
Though it will be interesting to see the libertarian Johnson, if he gets on the debate stage. He just needs a few more percentage points to make the platform. Incredibly he's up from 1% in 2012 to 13% now. And that's without having had any profile at all.
He may just make a third party candidate credible for the first time. I wonder who he will mostly take votes from. I suspect from otherwise GOP voters (though I haven't seen figures on that yet).
In any case, the quotes are a hoot. Never before, I suspect, have voters so hated their own candidate.

Friday, 22 July 2016

What Has Congress Ever Done for Us? - WSJ

I did a double take when I read this bit in the Wall Street Journal editorial yesterday. They're proud of this? 
You don't have to be a loony lefty to support all or most of these (though I don't know the ins and outs of the  bailout of Obamacare insurers, to be frank). 
You might even be a liberal-leaning Republican, of which there are rather many, to support these Democratic initiatives, or most of them. Indeed there's probably a majority of Americans who would rather that all of these had been passed rather than stopped by the Republicans as part of "what they've done"'for the nation. 
Shame....
"Start with everything the GOP Congress has prevented. Universal pre-K, gun regulation, a $15 national minimum wage, the ObamaCare bailout for insurers, equal pay regulation, more disclosure of campaign donations, "free" community college, a new "infrastructure bank," closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay, among many others."

Greenies caused climate change

How so?
Here's how:
In the late sixties the world, led by the US, was gearing up to massively expand nuclear energy. 
The greenies stepped in to stop it. Especially Greenpeace, which launched its savvy scare points. We know them to this day: nuclear meltdown (Jane Fonda in "The China Syndrome"), terrorism, and nuclear waste. 
Each of these is debunked. But the broad mass of the first world people still believe them and trot them out at first hint of a pro-nuclear argument.  
The accidents at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima (3 in 70 years), don't prove the danger of nuclear power. They prove the opposite. Workers directly killed: zero. People dying as a result of the accidents: in the thousands. Over seven decades, that's minuscule. Especially compared with the coal industry that dominates electricity production as a result of the greenies stopping nuclear: millions killed every year by emphysema from coal particulates and thousands killed every year mining the stuff (3,000+ per year in China alone). 
Fukushima was an outdated technology sited on a fault line hit by a once in a thousand year tsunami. Still, killed in the accident: zero. 
Had the greenies not opposed nuclear, the technology would be even more advanced by now than it is. And it's already way ahead of Fukushima-era nuclear. 
The world gets 11% of its electricity (21+ thousand TWh/a) from nuclear. For every nuclear station we now have, if we had ten instead, we would need no coal, no oil, no natural gas, no renewables, to generate electricity. We would be fully electrified with zero-carbon energy. 
4,350 stations instead of 435. 
The reason we are not already at zero-carbon electricity is simple: the Greenies. Especially Greenpeace
Instead, because of them, we have pushed renewables.  We have done so to the detriment of the only truly carbon-free energy, Nuclear.
The result is unintended consequences like those set out in the New York Times article below. (It's a lefty paper, the "paper of record", so it must be right, right?)

From the New York Times:

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Trump Is Getting Even Trumpier! - NYTimes.com

Meantime... While the cable world swoons over Trump and his Trumpkins (see my post immediately before this), David Brooks shows how Daddy Trump is getting nuttier....

Holy Trump, Batman!

Got a bit tired of the tone at Fox In covering the RNC, so switched to CNN. 
I thought I'd switched back to Fox by mistake!
The CNN panel loved the Republican convention and especially loved the Trump kids' speeches which they thought they'd "knocked out of the park". 
I agree. Tiffany, 23, poised and elegant. Donald Jnr, forceful, fair, "presidential" even. The panel thought Donald should learn from his son....
Strange times...

The Most Extreme Republican Platform in Memory - NYTimes.com

A true indictment of the misery and close-mindedness of the Right in America.
For all the disruption and damage that Donald Trump has meant for Republicans, the party's statement of its views in its newly written convention platform rivals him for shock value. Platforms are traditionally written by and for the party faithful and largely ignored by everyone else. But this year, the Republicans are putting out an agenda that demands notice....This majority has triumphed in securing retrograde positions that include making no exceptions for rape or women’s health in cases of abortion; requiring the Bible to be taught in public high schools; selling coal as a “clean” energy source; demanding a return of federal lands to the states; insisting that legislators use religion as a guide in lawmaking; appointing “family values” judges; barring female soldiers from combat; and rejecting the need for stronger gun controls — despite the mass shootings afflicting the nation every week.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Surprising New Evidence Shows Bias in Police Use of Force but Not in Shootings - NYTimes.com

Re your BBC Trending of 14 July The black cop who has a problem with 'Black Lives Matter' there's the latest data in the below-linked article, front-paged in a recent International New York Times.  It contradicts many of comments by your associate professor Stinson, in his rebuttal of Officer Stalien's views. 
This study is the latest in the field. It was carried out by a prize-winning young African-American professor at Harvard University. 
Key conclusion: shootings of blacks by the police are at a lower RATE than police shootings of all other races. 

Saudi Arabia: Male Guardianship Boxes Women In | Video

Courtesy Human Rights Watch which may mean that the widely known (in the blogosphere) mistreatment of women in Islam, here in the shape of Saudi Arabia, may now get broader attention because HRW is a widely respected organization and never guilty of "Islamophobia"!
Women are permanent legal minors. And this horrid place is an "ally".
(Beirut) – Saudi Arabia's male guardianship system remains the most significant impediment to women's rights in the country despite limited reforms over the last decade, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Adult women must obtain permissions from a male guardian to travel abroad, marry, or be released from prison, and may be required to provide guardian consent to work or get health care. These restrictions last from birth until death, as women are, in the view of the Saudi state, permanent legal minors.

The Year China Inc. Bet Big on the U.S. - WSJ

There sure are problems in Sino-US relations. Our local South China Sea disputes big amongst them. And US firms in China are facing increasing problems from a nativist, protectionist China.
Meantime China investment in the US is booming.
There are plenty of problems with Sino-American relations, but investment by Chinese companies isn't one of them. China Inc. is voting for America, even if presidential candidates haven't noticed

Monday, 18 July 2016

"Vast majority of Muslims are peaceful", SCMP Letters, July 17


LETTER TO SCMP (392 words):
Siddiq Bazarwala claims to speak "on behalf of ordinary Muslims" (Vast majority of Muslims are peaceful, Letters, July 17) .  He also claims to speak on behalf of "Hong Kong people" who, he says, "broadly understand that recent events in the West are a consequence of its failed foreign policies in Muslim countries….". 
Well, excuse me, but Bazarwala does not speak on behalf of this Hong Kong person. 
I do not accept that Islamic terrorist barbarities are the result of failed foreign policies.  But that's a question for another day. 
I'll also pass by Bazarwala's comparisons of Islamic terrorist acts with drunk driving accidents or getting a speeding ticket.  These clearly trivialize terrorism. 
Rather, I'll focus on his assertion that "the vast majority (more than 99.9 per cent) of the world's Muslim population cannot be held responsible for the heinous actions of fringe groups like ISIS…". 
Harvard professor Niall Ferguson wrote in these pages (2 April 2016) that ISIS has  "... a minimum of 63 million supporters -- and that is based on opinion polls in just 11 countries." 
That number may well be 130 plus million if extrapolated.  (1,000 times more than Bazarwala claims).
Those 10% of the worlds' Muslims support the most extreme, the most barbaric, the most cruel, the most agressive manifestation of Islam. (and ISIS is not "nothing to do with Islam"). 
Other polls of Muslims around the world show shockingly high levels of bigotry.  70% of Muslim countries criminalise apostasy.  82% of Egyptian Muslims favour stoning to death for adultery and 84% want death for apostasy.  Pluralities of Muslims in the West want the imposition of Sharia law
Yet Bazarwala says "peace and harmony will prevail", if we just  "understand" that Muslim leaders condemn terrorist attacks.  Sure, Siddiq.  But that's not nearly enough. 
A more intellectually honest young Muslim, Omar Mahmood wrote in June:
"Their statement [about the latest jihadi attack] condemns the massacre, distances it from Muslims, and stresses that we must all live in harmony. That much is predictable, and commendable. But the statement fails to give American Islam what it needs most, and what is missing from the political and social media response: intellectual honesty." 
If Bazarwala believes he speaks on "behalf of ordinary Muslims", intellectual honesty demands they face these serious issues in Islamic ideology, beliefs which many millions on "ordinary Muslims" hold.
Peter Forsythe
9 Siena One
Discovery Bay
9308 0799

Friday, 15 July 2016

War on *terrorism* ??

EMAIL TO BBC:

Everyone seems to be saying that this is a "war on terrorism", or as French PM Valls just said in Nice, "terrorism has declared war" on the west.
This would be like saying, in WW2, that the Allies were at "war on Panzer tanks", or that "U-boats have declared war" on the Allies.
The west must come to its senses. We -- the Allies -- are at war with the ideology of Islam. Because they are at war with us.
Terrorism is just its tactics. The French truck is its Panzer tank. You can't be at war with a tactics you have to be at war with a competing ideology.
Why is it at war with us? Because the Koran tells them to.
This is a war not with terrorism, but with an ideology. The ideology of Islam. Pure and simple.

Peter Forsythe
Hong Kong

FGM in Islamic texts

EMAIL to BBC:

Congratulation for covering the barbarity of FGM.
But…. you said that FGM is "not in any religious text".
Actually, it is in Islamic religious texts.  
It's in the Umdat al-Salik  ("The Reliance of the Traveller"), the Classic Manual of Islamic Jurisprudence, approved by Al-Azhar University, the oldest and most authoritative university in the Islamic world and the one which Obama spoke at on June 4 2009.
At e4.3 the Umdat says: 
"Circumcision is obligatory for both men and women.  For men it consists of removing the prepuce from the penis and for women removing the prepuce of the clitoris…" [my emphasis].
(Sorry to be so graphic, it's in the text….)
Sure, FGM was a cultural thing before Islam.  But then Mohammad gave it his seal of approval, which made it normative in the Islamic world, the reason that it's almost exclusively practiced in majority Islam countries today.
Kudos to the Masai cricket team and their campaign against FGM!
Peter Forsythe.
Discovery Bay
Hong Kong

"A map of all the countries Boris Johnson has offended"

France Truck Attack

80 killed. 100s injured. In Nice, France. At their Bastille Day fireworks.
You can bet your bottom dollar it "has nothing to do with Islam".

LATER: had to shift to CNN to see when would be the first mention, and they had two folks (can't remember either name), about 1.5 hours after the attack.  One said that it was France's fault for the Burka ban and for Charlie Hebdo.  One said it might be a "global nihilist" group.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Australian Story: the Bendigo Mosque kerfuffle

Australia TV produces a rather sweet show called "Australian Story". Stuff like the Vietnamese refugee boat-child who became a cop, loves her job and loves Australia. That sort of thing. (That one was rather moving: a multi-tissue episode).
Here in Hong Kong they just replayed the 25 November 2015 episode, called "A Force of Nature".
It's a story set in Bendigo which, like the show, is also rather sweet. Though there's been a tinge of sour in the sweet, it seems. The "small Muslim community" there wants to build a mosque and the residents are revolting.
Residents are worried about sharia making inroads into their small Aussie town.
If we believe the ABC, the opponents are all tattooed skinheads, spittle-flecked racists. At least they're the only sort you see in the show.
Then there's the kind Spalding lady who stands up to this "bigotry and intolerance".
This is her story. It is she who is the Force of Nature.
Now that's all fine. The classic story of good v bad.
Except that this well-intentioned "force of nature" may well end up doing bad by Bendigo. Unintended consequence, of course.
The anti-mosque crowd are presented at slathering bigots. But there is a serious concern about immigrants who are also votaries of Islam. Not of other religions and certainly not of a race. But concern about the ideology of Islam. This supremacist, sectarian, homophobic, misogynist, ideology.
It's a concern that non-skinheads, non-bigoted, non-intolerant people can share. Such concerned citizens see the challenge to Australia of the pressure for implementation of sharia law.
In Muslim countries the support for sharia is up to 98% and never lower than 51%.
Amongst Muslims in the west a plurality and often a majority favour the introduction of sharia, often a majority favoring sharia for we infidels as well as Muslims.
I'm sorry, but I don't want the slightest chance that I might have to live under the horrid statutes of sharia. And neither do many fine, non-tattooed folk of Bendigo. No matter how much the Force of Nature might try to shame them from her virtuous eyrie.
See pew polls
So there really is a cause for concern about the Muslim community in Bendigo and its mosques. They may be "very small" now, but that will change and by all experience half or more of them will push for sharia law in Australia.
They've already done so elsewhere in Australia. So they have form. And for all those that shout "Islamophobia" I suggest that they way to overcome that is for Muslims to commit to live and let live. To publicly commit to abiding by Australian secular law.
That would go a long way to allay fears.
So far they're doing the opposite.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

China's world view

Melting Pot Has Been Destroyed by Diversity

Good points made in this letter to the editor of the International New York Times.
To much diversity as bad -- maybe worse -- than too little. The awful price of multiculturalism, divided societies, with hyphenated Americans. It embeds people in what "community" you are, not on who you are or what you can be.
You cannot become Chinese or Hispanic or Eskimo; one is either born so, or not. But one—everyone—can choose to become American ("At Home in America" by Aatish Taseer, Review, July 2). I know, because I did, immigrating to this country in 1959. I did not abandon my Hungarian origins or family, but I did embrace the values and mindset of a free and brave people, bound by common ideals and a heritage that was inheritable and sharable by the simple act of pledging allegiance to a flag.
Sadly, the melting pot of my youth is gone, replaced by an insidious celebration of diversity. Diversity celebrates not common goals, common values, common aspirations and certainly not who you are. Diversity enshrines what you are, embeds you in what "community" you belong to.
I am glad that Mr. Taseer has found his home, as I did so many years ago. But I fear that few of his fellow American immigrants and citizens share his longing to be "free of the past, and safe in the future." Rather, they are busy throwing away our common American identity in the name of diversity. Differences, "the knots of intractable history that [are] integral to identity," divide and rule more and more every day in America, too.
A. Jackson
Avila Beach, Calif.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Chilcot’s Iraq war verdict needs scrutiny beyond the headlines - FT.com

Here's me, who thought the decision to go to war in Iraq was wrong, supporting the anti-Chilcot findings. Findings that add to the "Bliar" trope.
But the war was not without reason. Iraq violated UN resolution 1441. Saddam had killed and was killing hundreds of thousands of his country persons every year.
The war was and is justified.
Here's the usually anti war FT, printing an opinion by pro-war commenter Philip Bobbit.

Why Britain Belongs in a New Nafta - WSJ

Some good thoughts here from Bob Zoellick former World Bank president.
Obama should never have "pivoted" away from old allies. And the U.K. needs the US now. They should not be stuck at "the back of the queue", as Obama notoriously (and most unhelpfully) said on his April visit to Britain.
Another article I read recently suggested that the US could not negotiate a trade agreement with Britain before it had finalized one with the EU. I don't see why the two should be connected. Still, joining NAFTA would be a way to bring it into the fold.
/Snip
At critical moments over the past century, the United States has acted boldly and creatively to secure Europe's peace and prosperity. After the fighting of two devastating wars across Europe, America's Marshall Plan spent $120 billion (in current dollars) over four years to spark Western Europe's economic recovery and political integration. In 1949 the U.S., Canada, and Western European states invented NATO as a trans-Atlantic shield. In 1989 President George H.W. Bush moved rapidly yet deftly to unify Germany within NATO and the European Community, setting the cornerstones of a Europe "whole and free."
....
From the Marshall Plan through German unification, U.S. diplomacy in Europe was most effective when Americans recognized that Europeans must decide to help themselves. The United States can be a catalyst, organizer, source of ideas and provider of critical assistance in their decisions. U.S. activism inevitably sparks criticism. But Washington cannot afford strategic detachment from Britain and Europe. The next U.S. president will be as important for Europe’s future as were Harry Truman, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

Full article:
http://www.wsj.com/articles/why-britain-belongs-in-a-new-nafta-1467932567


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Saturday, 9 July 2016

Ontario facing ‘epidemic of Islamophobia’ survey finds | Toronto Star

This is grotesque. The only reason there's "am epidemic" of so-called "Islamophobia", is because there are real issues with Islam. Instead of acknowledging this, the survey self-righteously dismiss Canadians'  concerns as bigoted. 
Canada will pay the price of inviting so many refugees. Not because they are refugees or even immigrants. But because they hew to a nasty ideology, that of Islam. 
There is an epidemic of Islamophobia in Ontario. Only a third of Ontarians have a positive impression of the religion and more than half feel its mainstream doctrines promote violence (an anomaly compared to other religions)," said the 51-page survey to be released this week by the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants and advocacy group Mass Minority. "These sentiments are echoed with Syrian refugees in Ontario where acceptance often coincides with acceptance of Islam."

Friday, 8 July 2016

Grand Mufti of Australia proves we are right to be alarmed | The Courier-Mail


... the Mufti's letter, which to me conveys an implied and sinister warning: that to criticise a Muslim cleric is to criticise Islam itself and risk death. Shut up or else.
I ask: is there any leader of any other faith in this country who could suggest something so intimidating to stifle discussion of his ideology and the lethal radicalism it inspires?
The Mufti's letter did not receive the coverage it badly needs, having been issued in the final frantic days of the election campaign.
In it, Ibrahim, our most senior Muslim cleric, defends a fellow guest at Turnbull's Iftar dinner, Sheik Shady Alsuleiman, and warns against criticising this bigot.
The Mufti's defence of Shady is itself significant, because Shady in his online sermons has attacked Jews, called on God to help "destroy the enemies of Islam", declared the punishment for adulterers "is stoning to death", damned Christmas parties as "worship of Satan", declared the Australian Government is oppressing Muslims and accused gays of "spreading all these diseases" through "evil actions that bring evil outcomes to our society".

An hour is an eternity in post-Brexit politics

LETTER TO THE SPECTATOR:

Oh dear. We've only just got the print edition of your 2 July issue here in Hong Kong. My near namesake, James Forsyth, must have just put his piece to bed ("So will it be Boris?") when Boris quit, having been stabbed in the back by Michael Gove.
Yes, the very Gove of whom Forsyth had just written "For a start, they bonded: Gove came to see Boris as someone who could not only become Prime Minister, but would also be a very good one."
It seems that if a week is a long time in politics a few Brexit hours are an eternity.
Peter Forsythe ..... etc

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Iraq was destined for chaos – with or without Britain’s intervention | Hayder al-Khoei | Opinion | The Guardian

Good piece on Iraq, after the Chilcot Report. And in The Guardian, of all places!!
Rather supports the Hitch position.

"Democracy is the opiate of history’s losers", July 6

LETTER TO THE SCMP (235 words):

Thorsten Pattberg's article (Democracy is the opiate of history's losers, July 6) is certainly thought provoking. In my case, the thoughts it provoked were: (i) what a pyramid of piffle; and (ii) why did the SCMP give valuable op-ed space to his farrago of nonsense?

Examples:

1.  "Nothing is every achieved by democratic protest".  Nothing?  I can think of examples from the Magna Carta to the "Colour" revolutions, via the Vietnam war demonstrations and Civil rights movements.  And that's without googling.

2.  "Democracy disables a conquered nation".  You mean like Germany and Japan? Which achieved phenomenal growth post WW2, courtesy of the Marshall Plan?

3.  "Hence all known so-called democracies… are former colonies". You mean, like Greece, the mother of democracy? Or Britain?  Or Switzerland, Spain, Germany, France, Scandinavia? Or, down my way, New Zealand?  Hence Pattberg's final comment is nonsense as well  — "Democracy is a political system designed for the occupied, the losers in world history".

Clearly Thorsten Pattberg, PhD, hates democracy, hates the west and especially hates the US.  I'm tempted to think that he is a conspiracy theorist.  Which leads me to my own conspiracy theory: that Pattberg is a stalking horse for China, given that the Post is now owned by a mainland-based company.  No?  In which case the Post's editors ought to be more careful not to give over so much valuable op-ed space to incoherent, incorrect, anti-west, anti-democracy drivel.

Peter F.... etc....

More than 100 Nobel laureates take on Greenpeace over ‘anti-science’ opposition to GMO food

When lefties bang on about climate change, they urge the sceptics to "accept the science" (and I do, I do).  But when it comes to genetically modified organisms (GMOs), they staunchly refuse to "accept the science".
I've written about this before. Every credible scientist and scientific body in the world accepts that GMOs are safe and can hugely benefit all people, especially people in poor countries.
Shame on the science deniers!  Shame on Greenpeace, shame on the Red Cross!
Here we have nearly half of all Nobel laureates in the world urging the notorious Greenpeace to "accept the science" of GMOs.  Tough chance.  Though of course, they should, if they had any morals, and accepted their own propaganda.
Link here >>
More than 100 Nobel laureates take on Greenpeace over ‘anti-science’ opposition to GMO food

How the Red Cross Killed Non-Lethal Weapons

Well-meaning morons, intelligent idiots.  That's how I'll name those who have harmed humanity by their high-minded, self-righteous intransigence.
An earlier example is Greenpeace, which campaigned against nuclear power in the seventies, and so directly, due to their actions, increased the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, directly warming our globe.
Here it's a case of the Red Cross, standing four-square against technology that could save lives in all conflicts.  Because of them, directly, there have been and will be, thousands more killed in Middle East battles, than if they had not interfered beyond their remit.
Shame on all these self-righteous ignorers of science...

"Cut back red tape and food trucks can be on HK's streets next week"

Hardly earth-shattering stuff, but may as well post here my latest letter to the editor published on 18 June in our local South China Morning Post.
It's about Food Trucks, but more broadly about the increasing incapacity of our Hong Kong government to get things done, one of the things that Hong Kong used to be famous for: look at the incredible Airport and surrounding infrastructure, for example, finished on time and within budget, so that the changeover to the new airport happened overnight on the 1st July 1997.
Now the government can't even get food trucks onto the streets in less than a year....
Mine was the featured letter that day:
"

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

One Law for All Urge Government to Fully and Impartially Investigate Sharia bodies

Important work in the Sharia-area in the UK.
This idea of allowing Sharia courts in the UK, (now at least 87) was a misguided policy in the first place, which has caused a lot of harm to minority women and children.  
Now it is being "investigated" by three Muslims, two of whom, at least, are Islamists with decidedly retrograde ideas of the rights of women and minorities… (women belong to men… that sort of thing)
An email from Mariam Namazie of One Law for All, in the UK, and leader of ex-Muslims of the UK:

Begin forwarded message:

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

‘Please Do Not Say Islam Is a Religion of Peace. Not Anymore’: Bangladeshi Author Sounds Off After Terror Attack | TheBlaze.com

Why is it that the MSM reports all the Muslims and non Muslims who retail the "nothing to do with Islam" furphy at the latest atrocity by votaries of the Religion of Peace, but you don't read anywhere (except here at the Blaze, hmmm), about the comment of brave ex Muslims, like Taslima Nasreen here, stating the obvious: it's ALL to do with Islam. Orlando, Ankara, Medina, Bangladesh and the rest of it.
All to do with Islam.