Tuesday 28 February 2017

Ben Shapiro Knocks EVERY Question out of the Park in Q&A

Some I don't agree with, but much I do. And Shapiro can certainly put an argument together, at lightning speed.

Sunday 26 February 2017

Sean Spicer once said only dictatorships would ban media access | The Independent

For John LEE (Editor of the SCMP LETTERS page). 

Hi John,
The link below is *FOR* the Editor, not a Letter TO the editor. In case they haven't seen it. 
It supports the Post's editorial today "Trump has gone too far with media ban". 
(Indeed he has. He's gone too far in heaps of other ways, though that's another story)
The story below highlights Trump spokesman Sean Spicer's hypocrisy. He said as recently as December 2016 that "only a dictatorship would prevent the media from access to public information".  
Welcome to the dictatorship, then. 
The quote is available somewhere in a video so we know the words are not doctored or "fake news". 
Spicer is hoist, as they say, by his own petard. 
This flagrant hypocrisy needs more widespread circulation by "the enemies of the people". 
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer once said that only a dictatorship would prevent the media from access to public information. And just two months later he blocked several high-profile news outlets from the daily press briefing.
Read the rest....

My letter on "moderate Muslims" is the featured one in today's paper

Saturday 25 February 2017

"Clarifying the Muslim Brotherhood", 22 February

Gehad El-Haddad paints a picture of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) as a kind of Rotary Club for the middle east. It simply pursues  "social justice, equality and the rule of law... uplifting society's most marginalised". Don't worry, we're benign, says El-Haddad. (Clarifying the Muslim Brotherhood, 22 Feb)
Let's not be fooled.
The MB set up Hamas, a proscribed terrorist and genocidal organisation.  The two remain "as close as lips and teeth", as the Chinese say. 
The MB inspired Osama bin-Laden and Al-Qaeda. Thence ISIS who also acknowledge their MB provenance.
The MB's founder, Hassan Al-Banna urged its members to follow Jihad as holy war in the name of Allah. That remains its aim.
An official document at the 1991 meeting of the MB  in the US, outlines its strategic goals for North America.  The document was entered as evidence in the 2008 Holy Land Terror Trial  by US Federal investigators.  This document says:
"The MB must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilisation from within and sabotaging its miserable house by their hand and the hands of the believers."
Do you think, perhaps, that your running El-Haddad's opinion piece on the front page of the NYT  might help this MB goal?
The aims of Al-Qaeda, ISIS and the MB are the same: a global islamic caliphate.  The only difference is that Al-Qaeda or ISIS want to do this openly and by violence while MB wants to do this quietly and non-violently.
The MB mission statement makes it clear:
"God is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Qur'an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of God is our highest hope. God is greater!"
Surely that's pretty clear and has nothing much to do with the Rotary Club vision El-Haddad wants us to believe.
I'm not sure why the NYT would think that running a front page opinion piece, by an avowedly islamist organisation -- one of gross duplicity -- is a good idea. 
it's not. Let's not be fooled.
PF etc...

Trump bans BBC, CNN, New York Times, Politico

Actually it wasn't Trump specifically but his spokesman Sean Spicer who blocked them from a post-CPAC briefing in his office. In their place he allowed Breitbart in. Breitbart! My god that's crazy!
But, get this: the move was so outlandish that even Fox News is criticizing it! Fox also joined in a letter of protest sent to Spicer by the White House Press Association.
It may help that O'Reilly's show is hosted this morning by Chris Wallace and comment is by Bernie Goldberg, both decent and fair men.
Trump has not only reiterated the "press are enemies of the people" meme, but he's also demanded that press reveal names of sources in any story. No one to be anonymous any more. Yeah, right. That's not going to run. Imagine how long such an identified poor sap would last.
This is not so much like Germany in the 1930s as so many are saying. It's more like China. And they way they control the media.
Had it not been for Deep Throat, we would never have known about Watergate. Or about Flynn's possibly illegal pre-inauguration discussions with the Russian ambassador.
And the people need to know these things. That's what the press is there for. And they are included in the constitution for that purpose.
Meantime, in place of CNN, BBC, etc, Spicer let in Breitbart and Washington Times.
Breitbart is too crazy right-wing, too Muslim-hating, too anti-immigration even for me. It's awash in clearly fake news.
Preferring them to BBC is batshit crazy.
And that's Spicer. And that's Trump.

Friday 24 February 2017

Danish man who videoed himself burning the Quran charged with blasphemy

Who said Europe is not becoming Islamicised? (Well, The Left, of course).
This is implementation of sharia law in Denmark.
Who imagines that the fellow charged with the outdated notion of blasphemy would have been charged if the book burned had been the Bible?
No, it's the Koran, because Muslims are just so triggered they might go on a rampage.
So let's not upset the "religion of peace".
Shame on the Danish prosecutors!

Kim Jong-nam Was Killed by VX Nerve Agent, Malaysians Say - NYTimes.com

Kim Jong-nam's son Kim Han-sol (L) with an unidentified
mate.  Rather slimmer and better looking than his father...
The second "wow!" Item for today.
The New York Times reports that Kim Jong-nam was killed by a poison called VX. That's short for "venomous substance X".
So I hied me to Mr Google and find, via Wikipedia, that the Poms had a rainbow code-name for the stuff: "Purple Possum".  Cute name for something really vile.
This is simply THE most poisonous substance in the world. Period. Full stop.
A single drop on your skin will kill you.
It's a horrible death. First your muscles contract uncontrollably. Then they relax completely so you can't even breathe. You die of asphyxiation. Imagine. You try for breath and can't even gasp. The terror. The horror.
Purple Possum is the consistency of motor oil, but colourless and odourless. It's so toxic that production and storage is limited by international treaty to just 100 grams per country. That's about one-third of a can of beer.
For me that seals it as being the work of North Korea, specifically of his younger brother, dictator Kim Jing-un.
You can't get VX if you're not a country. And what other country wanted Jong-nam dead? Certainly not China. And Malaysia or Indonesia? Hardly.
This is the paranoia of Jong-un. Who I incorrectly predicted years ago would not last long. So what do I know? Well I do know that Jong-un is a special kind of batshit crazy and has killed close relatives before.
If I were Jong-nam's son, I wouldn't be feeling too flash. He ought to be traveling with the VX antidote. It's all there in Wikipedia, son.

LATER: Turns out that Jong-nam's son, Kim Han-sol (kind of like a Star Wars name, that) is indeed living in fear of death.  The Sun reports that he's turned down a place at Oxford Uni, fearing he'd be murdered in the U.K.. Reasonable fear, I reckon.
Also, BBC Radio is reporting that VX can't be made in a backyard lab.  It's needs a sophisticated lab, and North Korea is known to have these, including making chemical weapons, which is the only use for VX

Exoplanet discovery: Five facts you need to know about Nasa’s new solar system | The Independent

Plenty of stories about the seven planets discovered around the nearby (40 light years) "super cool dwarf" star Trappist-1. Three of them may be habitable.
Google did a Doodle...
The story in The Independent is one of the best. Be sure to click on the internally-linked ESO video "what could the planets look like?".
According to the Cambridge University astronomer Amaury Triaud "The spectacle would be beautiful because every once in a while you would see another planet in the sky bigger than the moon".
The sky would be salmon-pinkish (my favorite!)
The dwarf star Trappist-1 is going to last trillions of years, 700 times longer than our own sun and "longer than the life of the universe" according to this article. (Though I don't quite get how that could be...).
I've often hoped we would find, in my lifetime, evidence of life elsewhere in the universe. In a poll at this article, 75% of people think we may do so in "our lifetime". We may just do it and soonish.
Should we send a probe to Trappist-1? After all, it's "only" 40 light years away.
I did the calculation. The fastest man-made object is the Juno Jupiter Explorer which was slingshot out of earth orbit in 2013, then accelerated by Jupiter's gravity to 210,000 km per hour. That's 1,839,600,000 km per year.
Trappist-1 is 378 Trillion km away. So it would take Juno 205,000 years to get there (round about...).
I guess we'd best just watch its dim-beautiful light for now. Apparently it would be like a salmon-pink sunset on earth, but with the sun much larger in the sky. And sister planets would look twice the size of our moon.
More exciting news may come next year when the James Webb telescope will take over from the venerable Hubble. It can look at the three likely planets, Trappist 1-e, 1-f and 1-g, the three in the habitable zone, and see if there are traces of nitrogen, carbon dioxide, ozone or methane, all markers of life.
Can't wait!
LATER: how nice that this comes as we learn that Churchill wondered about life in the universe outside our solar system, in a recently found essay. It receives much praise, for being clear headed and scientific.

Thursday 23 February 2017

What Sharia says about homosexuality....

From here


P17.1 In more than one place in the Holy Koran, Allah recounts to us the story of Lot's people, and how He destroyed them for their wicked practice. There is consensus among both Muslims and the followers of all other religions that sodomy is an enormity. It is even viler and uglier than adultery.

P17.3 The Prophet (PBUH) said:

(1) "Kill the one who sodomizes and the one who lets it be done to him."

(2) "May Allah curse him who does what Lot's people did."

(3) "Lesbianism by women is adultery between them."
Note the reference to "other religions” (p17.1) which believe sodomy is an "enormity". There are similar verses in the Old Testament. But the Bible is many voices; it is a library. So it's been subject to exegesis.  Moreover, the New Testament abrogates the Old and Jesus never told his followers to kill homosexuals.  
The Koran, by contrast, is the inerrant word of Allah.  Exegesis is blasphemy and blasphemy is punishable by death.  It is one book, and where there is abrogation, it is usually more violent for the less violent verses.
In most Islamic countries homosexuality is illegal and in a number it is  punishable by death.  ISIS tosses alleged homosexuals off tall buildings with gay abandon (sorry...).  ISIS is not "perverting the religion of peace", as so many apologists would have it.  They are doing  what's in the Koran and in the direct words of Muhammad, as recorded with authorised Islamic jurisprudence.
It's not islamophobic to point this out.

Food trucks

LETTER TO South China Morning Post:
There's been a lot of news lately about Hong Kong's food trucks. Not all of it good. 
The New York Times ran a full-page article yesterday by my namesake Michael Forsythe (no relation). The headline was that there are more regulations than customers. City's food truck rules outnumber patrons.
Today the BBC had a story about the high costs the truck owners had to bear because of onerous government regulation. 
A number of letter writers, including myself, have mocked the government's dead hand of regulation in getting the concept to reality. The elephant laboured mightily and produced a flea. After a year of labour, eight trucks!
The NYT article quoted an official of the Tourism Bureau as saying that the trucks should be in places where there were no restaurants. Obviously this anonymous official knows nothing of the concept of "clustering ". The reason restaurants cluster close to each other is because it generates more business for all.  That's why home furnishing shops in Causeway Bay or car repair shops in Mongkok are clustered: it's good for everyone. 
There are three major faults with the scheme as it stands. 
One: the approval process is onerous and expensive. Two: the trucks have to be in government determined fixed locations. Three: menus can change only with government approval (!) 
Rather than further mock the government let's suggest a simple solution. 
Since our now, sadly, infamous food trucks are subject to international attention could an adult please take charge? Simplify application. Allow the trucks to move freely to any legal spot. Allow them to change their menus freely.: they will soon sink or swim based on their popularity. Enough of the Tourism Bureau's dead hand over all these restrictions. 
It would be a morning's work for the Chief Executive to bang heads together and bring some sanity to what is, after all, a pretty simple concept. Simple, but currently reflecting badly on our reputation for freedom and efficiency . 
PF etc. 

I Am a Member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Not a Terrorist - NYTimes.com

Whenever you see something labeled "destroying the myth of ..." or "countering the stereotype of ..." you should run a mile because you're going to be swaddled in apologia.
And so it is with this one by a Muslim Brotherhood member in his "Clarifying the Muslim Brotherhood " in the New York Times, international edition. (That's the printed version headline. The online has a different headline, as above, perhaps in recognition of my point here - they suddenly realized! )
Remember: the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas (a proscribed terrorist organisation) are, as the Chinese say, like "lips and teeth ". Hamas' Charter is specifically judeocidal.
The MB inspired Osama bin Laden.
The founder of MB, Hassan al-Banna, said that Muslims must be sure to understand that the primary Jihad is holy war against infidels.
The Jihad of the MB retains as its main aim the creation of a worldwide caliphate.
The MB has been responsible for many acts of terror.
None of this is "clarified" in this apologist article. An article, it must be stresssed, was *front page* in the New York Times.
So... read on and be "clarified"...

Donald Trump & Sweden -- Fake News or Real Problem? | National Review

I've written several times and years ago about the troubles Sweden's been having with its large and rapidly-growing immigrant population. Some of them have been pretty sinister: drug gangs, rapes and no-go zones.
This does not stop being true just because Trump mentioned it in a speech in Melbourne, Florida.
Yet the left MSM is all huffy about it. "What problems?" "What crime waves"? "Nothing to see here, please move on."
If these HuffyFolk are genuinely baffled and not just pushing back because it's Trump who raised the issue, then they haven't been paying attention. Or have been paying attention only to the MSM. For it's only the specialist blogs that have reported the problems. Which you can then fact-check for accuracy with Swedish government statistics, as I've done.
Swedish government data confirm the problems assimilating hundreds of thousands of different-culture immigrants into a country of fewer than ten million. A liberal secular population hosting deeply conservative (to say the least) immigrants hewing to resurgent political Islam. Hundreds of thousands into a population less than New York. What could go wrong?
Quite a lot, obviously. Such that even the (in)famously welcoming Sweden has had to slow down the immigration of more people, which recently, in per capital terms, has been more than other country in the world.
The majority have not managed (or don't want) to integrate. No wonder they've got problems. No wonder they've - finally, maybe - woken up.
It may be too late though.

Monday 20 February 2017

Sharia, a dark ages death sentence – Blazing Cat Fur

Sharia again.
Not much to argue with in this piece

Comment on: "Singling out Muslims as the main terrorist threat is grossly unfair"

(340 words):
Mr Bazarwala seeks to assure us that we should not worry about Islamically-inspired terrorist attacks in the United States because white supremacists kill more people. (Singling out Muslims as the main terrorist threat is grossly unfair, 16 February)
That is indeed true: if you don't count the 9/11 attacks (3,000 deaths).  And if you don't count the Orlando killings (49 deaths).
Still, this should not be about body count.  After all more people are killed in bathtub accidents than by terrorism.  Also by bee stings or lightning strikes.  Random gun deaths dwarf all these put together.
Bazarwala's argument is classic tu quoque, that is: "you/they do it too".  This is a logical fallacy of moral equivalence that distracts from the issue at hand. 
The issue at hand is intent.  Bathtubs, bees and lightning intend you no harm.  Far-right terrorism is a mish-mash of motives: racist, anti-government, anti-abortion.  They don't murder innocents while shouting "Jesus is Lord".  With Islamic terrorism the intent is clear.  It is to kill "infidels".
Killings in the name of Islam are usually accompanied by shouts of "Allahu Akbar" (god is great).  The 100+ Jihadist terror groups in the world explicitly root their actions in the doctrines of Islam.  This may be uncomfortable to many, who claim terrorists "have nothing to do with Islam" or have "hijacked the religion of peace". 
But this is obscurantism.  To students of Islam, it is clear that there are parts of its foundational books – the Koran, the Hadith, the biography of Muhammad –
which lend themselves to terrorists horrors we see around the world, including the Sunni-Shia civil war.
All we seek, we critics of Islamism, is that the troublesome aspects of doctrinal Islam are admitted and contested, by Muslims.
Obfuscation will not do away with the global terror threat.  We are constantly told moderate Muslims are the "vast majority". Surely they wish to see terrorism eradicated, just as much as we infidels do.  That requires some plain speaking, not dubious moral equivalence and dissimulation.
PF, etc...

The Mark Zuckerberg Manifesto: Great for Facebook, Bad for Journalism - The Atlantic

I wasn't that aware of the "Zuckerberg Manifesto" till I read a critical article in today's South China Morning Post. And so I find, through Mr Google, that the overwhelming reaction to his manifesto is negative. 
Below is an example from The Atlantic. 
I feel one of the most disturbing facts in the article is that civic engagement drops when local newspapers go to the wall. Seattle and Denver are examples. 
I agree with the importance of local magazines and papers. Here in Discovery Bay in Hong Kong we have a couple of monthly magazines, an online forum and regular updates from management about what's going on in our little city of 17,000. As a result there are lots of communal activities happening: fun runs, charity drives, flea markets, town halls to debate local issues and so on. It's a very together and civic place!
From The Atlantic:
It's not that Mark Zuckerberg set out to dismantle the news business when he founded Facebook 13 years ago. Yet news organizations are perhaps the biggest casualty of the world Zuckerberg built.
There's reason to believe things are going to get worse.

Saturday 18 February 2017

Standing With Israel on the Golan Heights | Foundation for Defense of Democracies

For two successive Assad regimes, first Hafiz and now his son Bashar, restoring full Syrian sovereignty over the Golan has been an axiomatic demand. Israel floated partial Golan withdrawals during several rounds of peace talks with Syria over the past two decades, but the Syrians were never satisfied with the deals on offer.
With the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011, the facts on the ground have changed. Had Israel ceded the Golan to Syria, Islamic State, al Qaeda or Iran would be sitting on the shores of the Galilee across from the Israeli city of Tiberias.

Friday 17 February 2017

Islamic Terrorism: How I Plan To Counter It

In the video embedded in this story, "The Jihadi Next Door", a born-in-the-U.K. Muslim who says that he's had his passport cancelled because he wanted to go the the Islamic State. With his family! He says that if May gave them all their passports back "there would be no more extremists in the U.K."
Well why not then?! Give them back. Let them go. No one needs people who believe the penalty for being gay is death. "Toss 'em off a building" says this POS.
He talks of the U.K. coming under sharia law, which he says is inevitable. As it is for the rest of the world. Including punishments like death by stoning for adulterers. In the still lovely village square.
This is scary stuff and a growing in influence.
Why doesn't May just give them all their passports back so they can head off to their Islamic hell holes? And cancel them when
they're away.

A Step Toward Mideast Peace: Tell the Truth | Max Singer, WSJ

Then-candidate Donald Trump with the Israeli prime minister, Sept. 25, 2016.
From the Wall Street Journal, Feb 14, (subscription).
Full text below.

Feb. 14, 2017 6:52 p.m. ET
Donald Trump ran for president pledging to throw off political correctness and tell bold truths. That’s something to keep in mind this week. On Wednesday Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will visit the White House. Thursday will bring Senate confirmation hearings for David Friedman, Mr. Trump’s nominee for ambassador to the Jewish state. Both events offer an opportunity for the fearless truth-telling that Mr. Trump promised.

Trumps Two-State, One-State Diplomacy Pressures Palestinians | National Review

Trump got hammered on CNN my time this morning for what he said to Bibi last night. Like "two states, one state, meh! You guys work it out". Fareed Zakaria said it was either lazy or wilfully ignorant. Dangerous even. And I can see his point. I go for laziness. After all he's said he doesn't need briefings.
But when I first saw Trump speaking at the press conference, I didn't think that. I thought it showed commendable detachment and a new approach. After all, they've been pushing the rock of "two states solution" up that hill for fifty years with the same success as Sisyphus.
The article in the National Review by Jonathan Tobin explores this thought in more and intriguing detail.

Thursday 16 February 2017

Muslim Apostates in North America Face Leftist Scorn, Muslim Death Threats | National Review

Via Sam Harris' twitter feed:
Leaving Islam can be notoriously difficult in many Muslim-majority countries. Certain countries, such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia, have laws that make apostasy an offense punishable by death. In others where apostasy is not explicitly criminalized, accused individuals can still face charges through religious courts.

Read more at the National Review

Sunday 12 February 2017

Dateline London

Dear BBC,
Couldn't you have a more diverse group on your current affairs show "Dateline London"?
I mean someone a little bit to the right of the reliably left-of-centre crowd you usually have? (Which, too often in my view, includes one or other of that opinionated duo Polly Toynbee and Yasmin Alibhai Brown).
I don't like Trump. Would not have voted for him were I American*. But there's no way your panel is representative of left and right in the view of our Trumpian world.
It would be such a relief to have someone more conservative to challenge your distinctly lefty balance. There *are* eloquent spokespeople on the other side. Uncrazy ones...
Also: could you not run a chyron more regularly with the names of the panel participants?
Peter Forsythe
*An Aussie in Hong Kong

Friday 10 February 2017

The possibility of war | Why Evolution Is True

Above vid is Dave Rubin with Jerry Coyne, or Why Evolution is True... (I saw Jerry when he gave a talk at The Fringe Club here in Hong Kong a few months back).
Part II here.  
Below, he links to professor Tom Nichols and the concerns about a new nuclear war....
... The other possibility is a flat-out war with Russia. That's the possibility discussed by Tom Nichols, a professor of National Security Affairs at the U.S.'s Naval War college, in the video below. Nichols is a conservative, and no fan of Obama, but he's not a fan of Trump, either. (He's also an undefeated five-time Jeopardy champion.) If you click on the screenshot below, you'll go to a three-part interview with him on various topics, including why Americans distrust the media. The most interesting part was the third (click on "Part 3" at lower left of the site you reach by clicking on the screenshot): a five-minute discussion on what Russia may do with Trump at the helm.
"Nichols thinks that because Putin isn't all that savvy, but is bellicose, and because Trump has repeatedly denigrated NATO, Putin may test NATO by "pushing" at member countries like Poland or Estonia. Since we and other countries in the alliance are sworn by treaty to defend NATO countries that are attacked, that could lead to war. And Nichols, who is no slouch, is worried that that possibility could escalate naturally into nuclear war: as he says, that could either "shake apart" NATO (see Jeff Tayler's piece in Foreign Policy on how NATO would bridle at a full-fledged response to a Russian attack on a small country), or, worse, escalate into a third world war.

Thursday 9 February 2017

Donald Trump is literally shameless. That will make it impossible to hold him to account

I googled "Trump is shameless" and got this link.
Why google that? Because of the breathtaking fact that Donald Trump last night ET, tweeted criticism of Nordstrom for dropping his daughter Ivanka's line of fashion goods. And he did this 21 minutes into a briefing he was taking on national security!
The man is not only shameless. He has simply no knowledge and no care for the dignity of the presidency. Or of the gross lack of propriety in using the Office of the President of the United States to attack a public company.
It's sickening to see his spokespeople and acolytes defending this gross lack of dignity and shameless lack of propriety.
"Shameless" really is the word here.
What a shockingly horrible president he is turning out to be, just three weeks into the job.
Shame on you Donald. (Except shame, as this link shows, is something he just doesn't have. No matter how gross the outrage).
And shame on his continuing supporters that will excuse his any outrage.

Wednesday 8 February 2017

Muslims are responsible for what ails Islam | Fatah | Columnists | Opinion | Tor

Tarek Fatah with some inconvenient truths about Muslims and Islam.
He's a Muslim, so he can't be a horrid "Islamophobe".
Basic message: Islam has a lot of problems. It's Muslims who must fix them. They can't -- or should not -- deny the problems. They can't -- or should not -- shy away from trying to fix them.
Right on, Brother Tarek!

My views on Obama's foreign policy

I said this recently and got taken to task for it.  I'll get back to this in the next few days to say more about it: (Later: below):

Syria was an Obama own-goal. Obama’s failure to punish Assad's crossing of the “Red Line”, a line Obama himself had set, made Assad contemptuous of the US.  Obama's failure to be more robust in Iraq and then Syria, led to ISIS and now to Russia ruling this radical roost. Line them up these Obama errors: withdraw from Iraq (>> Al Qaeda, then ISIS), do nothing in Lybia and Syria (ditto), do nothing about Crimea or Ukraine (weaken Nato, embolden Putin), diss the EU (ditto), fold to China’s South China Sea hegemony (embolden Xi Jinping)…. so much, so sadly much…. and then his valedictory stabbing of Israel: not in the back but in the chest.  An ally and the only democracy in that part of the world, frontally skewered by a dishonest, biased UN resolution supported by such bastions of probity as China, Russia, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Senega, Uruguay, Ethiopia and Egypt. A sick joke. 

Obama’s foreign policy, I’m convinced, will go down in history as a monstrous avoidable failure.  I think he may even be judged the uniquely awful foreign policy president in the pantheon of presidents.  The worst in 44.  It’s hard to deny that his presidency has made the world more dangerous.  Yet that’s the same Obama that won a Nobel Peace Prize. (And an Obama I would have voted for….). Obama Foreign Policy summary: a signal, unique, avoidable, disastrous, catastrophic, failure. 

As for those “refugees” from outside Syria, well, blame Mad Mutti Merkel.  The bulk are single young men, out for a better life. Young men who saw her say “refugees welcome” on social media. Can we blame them, for taking to the road, the sea?  No.  But they are not refugees. The are economic migrants. There’s a process for economic migrants.  Unless you’re Merkel. In which case you simply tear up the process, because you’re still guilty over the Nazis (she is).
LATER (10 Feb): I should have said that Obama's failures to be "more robust" in Iraq and Syria leading to ISIS gains, is arguable, but that there are judgements on both left and right the come to that conclusion.  If there's evidence that they didn't lead to ISIS, I'd like to read them.
Also, I didn't say anything about Obama's domestic policies, which were arguably more successful than his foreign policies.  But even they are arguable.
Fact is: one can be, or have been (like me) an Obama supporter, but be deeply disappointed by his foreign policy failures.  Failures mainly because he was pusillanimous, perhaps by character, perhaps by principle ("leading from behind").
There are critiques on the Left, which pretty much echo mine:
The Human Rights Watch
The Washington Post
And at the conservative centre:
No, He didn't: Obama's legacy

Flo and Joan 2016

A friend sent me this vid, saying it well summarised his thinking on 2016.  When I challenged this, saying I thought it was "arrant undergraduate nonsense", he said, well, it was just "tongue in cheek".  I don't think so, because "tongue in cheek" is ironical, and this is simply in-your-face whining...
If you click on the "Most Popular" in the comments, you find the vast majority think like me: that it's a couple of whiners.
And really, really annoying.
But I managed to struggle through it again -- me, a "straight white male muggle" -- and have these comments:
0:11.  Flo & Joan's misandry in full view right at the outset: all the world's problems are down to us, we "straight white male muggles". I had to look up muggle. I hate Harry Potter, books and films alike so while I'd kind of heard of the word, I'd not really understood it.  Now I know it means a non-magic person, i.e. an actual normal person, but it's used pejoratively by Potterphiles, especially women.  Right, that about sums up these two dimwits: they're "magic" and the rest of the world is non-magic and hence racist, bigoted, misogynous, and so on.
0:35.  Zika.  Has been effectively wiped out. Keep up, ladies!
0:40.  Brock Turner is mentioned.  Well, here's the sad story.  You'd only mention this if you were misandrists like Flo & Joan.
1:01.  Police shootings. Studies at Harvard and in Texas show that white police officers are slightly less likely to shoot black suspects than they are to shoot white suspects.  That's studies by black professors, and are replicated by other studies I've seen over the years.
See, e.g. Larry Elder talking to Dave Rubin in the vid below:

1:04. "Spike in racist hate crimes".  Yes, but FBI figures show that the largest increase is in hate crimes against Jews.  Jews remain the group that suffers most hate crimes in total and by far the most in per capita terms.  Yet we don't hear about that.  Flo & Joan leave us to draw our own conclusions, that the spike in hate crimes is against Muslims.
1:06.  "Death toll is upsetting".  Not sure what they mean here, but if it's humans in general, of course we know it's wrong, because homo sapiens have never been healthier or longer living.
1:13.  "It's not looking good for you if you're female, Muslim, POC or LGBTQ".  Actually, the opposite is true.  There are more females studying at university than males. Muslims are a protected class, immune from criticism on pain of howls of protest from the Left. POC have also made huge strides since the 60s-70s (See Larry Elder, above or Thomas Sowell ), and ditto for LGBTQ.  All of which apply at least in the West, though not in the Muslim-majority countries that the Left so loves to protect from our "bigoted" and "racist" criticism.
1:24.  "Racist (Brexit) referendum".  What exactly was it about the campaign that was "racist".  Sure there was concern about immigration, but that's because many working class people lost their jobs to lower-wage foreign workers.  That's hardly racism. That's an economic issue. Or are the urban liberal Left to think that the working class should just take it on the chin?  If Flo & Joan had suffered the same, I wonder how they would react.  In any case, the main issues were -- and I followed the Bremain debate closely -- were economy, employment and sovereignty.
1:39.  Trump and his "neo-Nazi" crew.  Well, that's just nonsense.  Study the Nazis, girls.  This is the sort of nonsense that makes everything a "holocaust" or "genocide".
So that's about it for me: covering a vid that doesn't really deserve this attention.  I've only done this because of the number of people that really do think that Flo and Joan have offered us a witty incisive critique of 2016 and its strange happenings.
They don't.  They offer us a lesson in rhyming nonsense.

President Duterte Is Repeating My Mistakes - NYTimes.com

Cesar Gaviria was president of Colombia 1990-1994. He took down the narco-Lord Pablo Escobar, immortalized by Mexican actor Raul Mendez in the excellent Netflix series "Narcos".
Here in the International New York Times, Gaviria argues that the "War on Drugs" has failed and continues to fail. That much is obvious to the sentient and honest observer.
Gaviria promotes alternative policies through The Global Commission on Drug Policy of which he is a founding member (His Wikipedia entry needs updating with that position...).
These proposals include making drug taking a public health issue, not a criminal one, squeezing out the corrupting profit motive from illegal production and distribution.
That's been often proposed. The group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition that I've often quoted here, are an example and they too know the WOD from the front line.
But Gaviria is different: he's been president of THE major cocaine producing country in the world, right on the front line, in the thick of the toughest Narco wars in the world.
So Gaviria knows whereof he speaks. Unlike most people on the Right, the "law and order", the "jail 'em and throw the key away" crowd. The likes of Bill O'Reilly & Co on Fox who are pretty much all ignoramuses on this issue (not sure about Gutfeld, but certainly O'Reilly, Carlson and Hannity are all harmful idiots about our drug scourges).
Taking a hard line against criminals is always popular for politicians. I was also seduced into taking a tough stance on drugs during my time as president. The polls suggest that Mr. Duterte's war on drugs is equally popular. But he will find that it is unwinnable. I also discovered that the human costs were enormous. We could not win the war on drugs through killing petty criminals and addicts. We started making positive impacts only when we changed tack, designating drugs as a social problem and not a military one.
Read on.... 

Diaspora Jews lose the moral plot | MelaniePhillips.com

The acerbic and lucid Melanie Phillips takes a contrary view to most of the media on the Trump immigration ban -- arguing that it's not discriminatory, but based on valid security concerns. Moreover, similar security based actions have been taken by presidents Carter and Obama, and are supported by Muslim majority UAE.
I recall, though spottily, that Australia had a temporary ban on immigrants from Somalia at one stage while we worked on better vetting procedures. Again, based on security concerns.
So the issue seems to be the hasty and chaotic implementation of the measure. Though the left attacks it straight out with no consideration of its security implications.
Read on, by Melanie....

Tuesday 7 February 2017

Maher & Sam Harris: Left Has Allied With Islamists; "Self-Loathing" Liberals Think We're Just As Bad

"We are never going to defeat terrorism if we are not going to reform Islam," Maher ended on. "And we are not going to reform Islam if we can't talk about it."
Sam Harris, in conversation with Bill Maher on HBOs Real Time.
A lot more in the discussion that makes sense of the otherwise puzzling alliance between Islamists and the Left in the west.
Muslims in the west, when polled, do show attitudes -- about women, gays, minorities, free speech -- that are deeply inimical to ours, and which number in the majority or large minority (see my "Islam in figures" page above).  They are deeply inimical to views on the Liberal Left.  But still they hew to Islamists: mainly because they hate the US, and because they are (mostly) brown skinned, so to oppose them is "racist".
Another quote:
"When you take jihadists and Islamists who want Sharia law, they just want to use the leverage of a state that are not committing violence immediately, and then you have a larger subset of conservative Muslims who may not have any alliance to jihadists they still have attitudes about free speech and the rights of women and the rights of gays that are deeply at odds with our own and we have to win a war of ideas with these people. This is not -- we don't fly drones to solve this problem. And so this is why we need to empower real reformers."
Video and transcript here.

Monday 6 February 2017

"Arab Islam has embraced outside influences". Letters 4 February.

Professor Coury asks us to believe that Arab Islam is open to outside influences because they once were so. ("Arab Islam has embraced outside influences". Letters 4 February). 
He quotes the Arab Muslim philosopher al-Kindi to support his assertion.  
The good professor must know but  chooses not to tell us, that the environment allowing tolerant views such as those of al-Kindi did not last long after al-Kindi's death in 873. 
In the 12th century al-Gazhali and his acolytes routed cosmopolitans like al-Kindi. 
Since then it's been the "closing of the Muslim mind". 
Only Allah has power. Hence cause and effect are denied. Hence rational science is denied.  Hence progress is denied. 
I expect that professor Coury will cry "what about the Crusades", next time we decry today's Islamic inspired terrorism. 
That makes about as much sense as quoting medieval scholars who embraced "outside influences".  In both cases this is the response: that was 1200 years ago, dude. 

Sunday 5 February 2017

If We Can’t Unite Against Rioting, We Can’t Unite at All

I find nothing to disagree with in this article by David French.
I can't recall any demonstrations on the right in recent months that's been violent. But many on the Left have been.
Hypocrisy of the left.

Saturday 4 February 2017

Nine questions those protesting against Donald Trump's immigration ban must answer | Coffee House

What I also didn't know till just now is that Obama had restrictions on a number of these countries. And recall that every country discriminates in its immigration policies on a country-by-country basis.
Back in the 80s (IIRC), Australia placed a short term ban on immigrants from Somalia for national security reasons. And we didn't allow known Nazis in either.
In any case, thinks what you will about the new Trump Executive Order on immigration, these questions by Douglas Murray are germane.

Friday 3 February 2017

"City does not need divisive Thatcher clone". Oh Yes, we do!

Letter to South China Morning Post: [407 words]:
Keith McNab is "filled with horror" that a Thatcherite might become CEO of Hong Kong. ("City does not need divisive Thatcher clone", Letters, 3 February)
I am an Australian who spent three years in Britain in the seventies.  I remember the three-day work week, the chaos of incessant strikes: before she became PM.  Please allow me to defend the "Iron Lady".
First, McNab says she was the "worst… prime minister in the last 100 years". 
Fact: Not true. In 2004 the most extensive survey of UK prime ministers rated Thatcher fourth most effective after Attlee, Churchill and Lloyd George.
Second, he says her policies led to "mass unemployment".  Fact: her shake-up led to immediate unemployment, but employment quickly returned to normal.  Those employed were in better jobs than mining coal. McNab ignores the union stranglehold, the high unemployment (15%) and the crippling inflation (25%) before her tenure.
Third, he claims that selling off council housing led to a "social housing crisis".  Fact: the sale of council houses to tenants ("the Right to Buy"), had been Labor Party policy.  Thatcher liked and accelerated it.  It was highly popular. Michael Heseltine said  "no single piece of legislation has enabled the transfer of so much capital wealth from the state to the people." Yes, not enough new housing was built to replace that sold.  But that was due to the Labor Party blocking the use of sale proceeds to build more public housing.  Thatcher had wanted more built.
Fourth: the Poll Tax.  I agree this was an own goal.  It was a clear misjudgement by Maggie which she quickly corrected. It doesn't detract from her legacy.
Finally: McNab calls for a HK leader that can "unite the people". This may seem inarguable.  But it's part of human nature that division is the norm.  (Mao Tse-tung: "one divides into two").  That's why we have Conservative-Labor,  Republican-Democrat,  Liberal-Labour, man-woman, dog-cat, yin-yang, and so on.  A call for "unity" sounds uncontroversial; but it's impossible.  A common criticism of our government is that they're paralysed by trying, through various "consultations", to work for "unity".
Thatcher carried the following quote from President Lincoln in her handbag:
·      You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
·      You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
·      You cannot help the wage-earner by pulling down the wage-payer.
I would certainly be happy with a CEO of ours that hewed to those principles.  Just as she did.
Peter Forsythe, 
9 Siena One, Discovery Bay, 
9308 0799

Thursday 2 February 2017

BBC Poll: 45% of UK Muslims endorse hate preachers; 11% support Jihad; 24% support Charlie Hebdo execution

This news story about a BBC poll of British Muslims is a bit old (Feb 2015), but still relevant. I note that the headline in that linked story on the Muslim Statistics Blog gets a couple of the figures wrong. Sloppy! (as Trump would tw**t). I've fixed that in my own headline.
The stats won't have changed much and the ones in this BBC poll are consistent with all the other polls, which I've gathered in "Islam in Figures" page above.
By no means are all the results bad.  Look at the "loyalty to the country":  95%.
But some really are scary, like views of Jihad, violence against the west, and killing those who blaspheme Islam. Those figures in support are too high for comfort. And we know from many other studies ("Islam in Figures" above), that a majority of Muslims want to have Sharia law in the U.K. and indeed in the rest of the west, as well.  Sharia's not Jihad or terrorism, but it's not good at all either. There's nothing I've read in the Sharia Manual of Islamic Sacred Law, which we would want to have in the liberal west. This manual is endorsed by Al-Azhar University, in Cairo, which is the oldest and most authoritative university in the Islamic world.
Poll of 1,000 Muslims in Britain for BBC Radio 4 Today
  • More than two in five (46%) feel that being a Muslim in Britain is difficult due to prejudice against Islam.
  • Almost all Muslims living in Britain feel a loyalty to the country (95%). Just 6% say they feel a disloyalty.
  • Nine in ten (93%) British Muslims believe that Muslims in Britain should always obey British laws.
  • One in four (27%) British Muslims say they have some sympathy for the motives behind the attacks on Charlie Hebdo in Paris.
  • However, two thirds (68%) say acts of violence against those who publish images of the Prophet can never be justified while a quarter (24%) disagree.
  • Muslim women are more likely than men to feel unsafe in Britain.
  • One in nine (11%) British Muslims feel sympathetic towards people who want to fight against western interests while 85% do not.
  • Half (49%) believe Muslim clerics preaching that violence against the west can be justified are out of touch with mainstream Muslim opinion, while 45% disagree.
Take that last figure.  45% of UK Muslims think that preaching violence against the west is in touch with mainstream Muslim opinion. Around 3 million Muslims in the UK, of which 1.4 million believe that preaching violence against the west is "mainstream" belief. Even if it's not all mainstream belief, one assumes it's the belief of 45% of Muslim worldwide (the figure would surely be higher given the influence of secularism on those in the UK), so if Muslims worldwide number some 1.7 Billion, as they claim, then 765 Million Muslims believe in violence against the west.  Halve the number: it's still nearly 400 million.  Halve again: it's nearly 200 million.  There's no getting out of it: there's a disturbingly high number of Muslims who -- by their own account -- think they should perpetrate violence against the west.

Islamists and Jihadists are religiously inspired. They're not the "poor", "marginalised", "afflicted", "unemployed"....

Still to this day you get people apologising for Islamists and Jihadists by claiming they're marginalised or oppressed or unemployed and poor.  This Obama & Co's view.  At one stage his Attorney General (IIRC) claimed that terrorism could be cured by finding them all jobs.
This hasn't ever been the case and is not so now.  Look at the 9/11 hijackers: all middle class, educated, well-employed men. Engineers and doctors.  Similarly for the bomb-killers in the UK, the 7/7 bombers in the UK were fathers, husbands and well-employed citizens.
One of them made it clear:
Our drive and motivation doesn't come from tangible commodities that this world has to offer. Our religion is Islam, obedience to the one true God and following the footsteps of the final prophet messenger.
And those "footsteps" of Muhammad were those of a man who took part in at least 27 battles and personally beheaded captives.  He especially liked killing jews.

Here we have a report from India, that their problem with ISIS supporters there are specifically motivated by their religion. A religion which mandates, let's recall, that they "kill the unbelievers" and "terrorise the infidels wherever you find them".
Officials from the National Investigation Agency who are probing all IS-related cases say out of those arrested for ties with the outfit, only 20 per cent had studied in a madrasa. The rest had gone to regular schools and colleges and are also highly-qualified.
This shows that it is not the old school of thought which has driven youth towards the IS. The IS has successfully managed to capture the imagination of several Muslim youth through propaganda. The dream of the Caliphate or the virgins in heaven are some of the points that have been driven into the minds of youth who took to the IS.
 The "dream of the Caliphate" and the "virgins in heaven" are specifically religious motivations.
As Sam Harris said recently: "Belief in a beautiful life after death means lack of belief in tolerance in our present life".  (or words to that effect).  

Wednesday 1 February 2017

Steve Bannon in 2010: 'Islam is not a religion of peace. Islam is a religion of submission' - CNNPolitics.com

TO: CNN.com
Bannon is completely correct. 
I don't have much time for the man, but his *fact* in this case is spot on. 
"Islam" really *does* mean "submission". 
Those who say it means "peace" because the root of the word, "s", "l" and "m" are also the root of "salaam"" which does mean peace, are just blowing smoke in your eyes. 
It makes just about as much sense to say "telegram" means "television" because they both have the root "tele". Or that "awful" means full of awe. 
"Islam" means "submission". Simple as that. 
See detailed etymology of "Islam" here.
So you are criticizing Bannon for having his facts right. 
What of your current mania for "the facts", versus Trump people's alternative facts", also known as "lies". 
By the way, I have been studying Islam for many years and could quote many other sources both Muslim and non-Muslim attesting to the fact that "Islam" means "Submission". 
I suspect that your editors *want* to believe that Islam means "peace". 
Down that path -- of wanting certain things to be true and thereby accepting them as true -- lies the "Post-truth" society. 

Your article with its own "alternative facts".