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Showing posts from April, 2017

Neuralink and the Brain's Magical Future - Wait But Why

Via Sam Harris (my hero), comes this wonderful report of Elon Musk (my 'nother hero) and his latest mind-bending company, Neuralink >>

[Reminder of Musk: PayPal, Tesla, SolarCity, SpaceX. They may be just for starters!]
http://waitbutwhy.com/2017/04/neuralink.html

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The Papal Propagandist for Islam Heads to Egypt | The American Spectator

I recall the Pope's shameful comment in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacres : "if you criticise my mother, I will hit you". Unimaginably bad. And that did it for me.  Frank: go home! Below link to a good critique of a papal idiocy in The American Spectator. /Snip: As the prototypical progressive Jesuit, Pope Francis prides himself on his "ecumenism." He oozes enthusiasm for every religion except his own. At the top of his list of favorite religions is the Church's fiercest adversary — Islam.He often sounds more like a spokesman for CAIR than a Catholic pope. After jihadists cut off the head of a French priest in July 2016 — yelling "Allahu Akbar" over the priest's slit throat — Pope Francis rushed to the defense of Islam. "I don't like to talk about Islamic violence, because every day, when I read the newspaper, I see violence," he said, before ludicrously blaming the rise of terrorism on the "idolatry" of free-market …

Palestinians: The Secret West Bank

The article linked below wonders about Mahmoud Abbas' thinking: does he really want a "comprehensive and just peace" with Israel? Or does he bend to Hizb-ut-Tahrir and their aim to eliminate Israel?  I recall reading Abbas speeches in Arabic to his domestic audience, which make clear he's an Israel (and Jew) eliminationist -- "from the river to the sea".* Whatever Abbas' secret thoughts, it's clear many Palestinians ache for Israel's destruction. And then the destruction of Jews everywhere.  Opinion polls suggest it's a majority of Palestinians think like this. The minority who favour a genuine peace with Israel won't be encouraged to speak their minds by the likes of Ramallah's murderous mobs reported below.  Meantime Abbas will speak these sweet words into Trump's ear. Which will lodge there until the next person gets his ear (like a pillow, Trump bears the impression of the last person to lie on him -- "lie" in both…

"On a High", This week in Asia, April 23-29, 2017

LETTER TO SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST: I enjoyed reading Chow Chung-Yan's informative article on the medical and recreational use of marijuana worldwide (On a HighThis week in Asia, April 23-29, 2017).  He notes Ronald Reagan's crusade against marijuana which led to the "war on drugs", arguably the most socially destructive policy of the 20th century.   "Marijuana was listed together with heroin and cocaine as the most dangerous drugs -- even though there was no evidence suggesting that its effect could be anywhere as hazardous as the other two. To this day, there is no single proven case of death caused by marijuana overdose.  The drug dependency rate of marijuana is low. Only 9 per cent of marijuana users will develop withdrawal syndromes after they quit, on par with caffeine."And yet the U.S. "War on Drugs" continues and we slavishly follow it here in Hong Kong. For example, our police recently arrested two people with five marijuana plants.(Couple…

Islam Has Already Taken England and France - Live Trading News

I know a couple of folks here in Hong Kong who are refugees from Birmingham, England. They fled Islamic takeover of their suburbs by Islam. Not that they are in any way intolerant islamophobes like me. Over time their suburbs had more and more Muslim neighbours. At first fine. Then they found that their lovely front yards, with little lawns and gardens, maintained proudly, were cemented over. Then the local pubs were closed down because of Islam's teetotalitarianism. Then more and more ghosts in bags (aka burkas).
Their suburbs became just like the TWS* that their neighbours had fled.
Time to leave.
How can this be good for England? Or France?
http://www.livetradingnews.com/islam-already-taken-england-france-38777.html

*Third World Shitholes, mainly from Pakistan and Bangladesh.
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Guest Post: Muhammad hijacked Judaism to create Islam – Whale Oil Beef Hooked | Whaleoil Media

As I've said: Islam is the greatest reverse takeover in history. The takeover, the appropriation of Judaism. And bits of Christianity. To create a fraudulent, twisted and malevolent copy by theft of intellectual property.
(From a site I've never heard of).
https://www.whaleoil.co.nz/2017/04/muhammad-hijacked-judaism-create-islam/


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I've worked in foreign aid for 50 years—Trump is right to end it, even if his reasons are wrong — Quartz

Back in 2011 I did a car trip from Cape Town to Cairo. Countries became visibly poorer the further north we went. And aid agencies -- United Nations and other NGOs -- visibly proliferated in their tinted-windowed Land Cruisers. I spoke to some of their staff, in Addis Ababa and Khartoum. I was shocked at their self-serving attitudes. They were there just as a career step. Each of these expatriates cost $US 500,000 per year when their accommodation, home visits, salaries and allowances were added up. Imagine that half a million instead given direct to women. I thought at the time that would be a better use of the money and it turns out from reading since that other observers of the foreign aid scene believe the same.  I'd read at the time how ineffective aid agencies were in addressing the problems they'd identified to be tackled. All this I noted in a blog at the time ("cape to Cairo 2011").  Below a link to a damning report by a long-term foreign aider.  Ore the massi…

Why We Are on Hunger Strike in Israel’s Prisons - NYTimes.com

LETTER TO NYT:
Shame in you for printing -- front page, no less -- an article by a convicted murderer. [link below].
In his last sentence Barghouti says:
> "Only ending the occupation will end this injustice and mark the birth of peace."

If only.
Sadly there's plenty of evidence -- opinion polls and statements by Palestinian leaders to their own people -- that ending the occupation is seen by Palestinians as only the next step to taking over the whole of Israel ("From the River to the Sea").
Still, ending the occupation is something to which most Israelis aspire. But there has to be a deal: recognition of Israel's right to exist. The last time land was unilaterally handed back, Gaza, there was no deal and it just created a base for continued attacks on Israel.
Barghouti's heartfelt rhetoric includes nothing of that recognition. Until then he's just a convicted murderer with a pen. To which you shamefully gave voice.

Peter Forsythe

Amid Venezuela Protests, G.M. Plant Is Seized, and Company Exits - NYTimes.com

LETTER TO NEW YORK TIMES: A whole article [link below] on Venezuela's economic woes without a single mention of socialism? You say Venezuela suffers... "... violent street protests against the government of President Nicolas Madura and a deepening economic crisis fueled by Venezuela's heavy foreign debt and the retreat of world oil prices, which have slashed the country's main source of income." Well, yes, but.  The reason for the "heavy foreign debt" is that Madura continued Chavez's failed socialist experiment, the so-called "Bolivarian Revolution". It was socialism that led Chavez to fritter away Venezuela's oil windfall by domestic give-always and grants to would-be client states in Latin America. It was socialism that led to expropriations of industry in the belief that the state can do better (it can't). It was socialism that led to the "heavy foreign debt". It is socialism that's taking foreign companies to the exit…

Breaking the Palestinians' Will to Fight :: Daniel Pipes

I don't think it is widely understood amongst the well meaning commentators in the west that the majority of Palestinians have no desire at all to see a two state solution. They want one: from the river to the sea.
Those who excoriate Israel for dragging its feet on a two-state solution ignore this, wilfully or otherwise.
As long as the Palestinians remain rejectionist and simply aim to wipe Israel off the map there can be no negotiations in good faith.
Daniel Pipes sees some hope in the prospect of raising the 20% of Palestinians who are willing to live in peace with Israel to around 60%.
I wonder.
Of course it would be hugely to their benefit -- to Palestinians, that is -- were they to harness their energy and skills to Israeli know how and technology. Switzerland of the Middle East!
Still, I wonder.
http://www.danielpipes.org/17469/breaking-the-palestinians-will-to-fight?utm_source=Middle+East+Forum&utm_campaign=18507362d7-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_04_10&utm_medium=ema…

Hussein the taxi man

Coming in from Auckland to Sydney airport, thence to Bondi beach the other day my cabbie was Hussein. Very well, from his name I know his faith. But I don't say nothin'.

Instead, we chat and I ask after his family. He has a wife. No kids. What does his wife do, I ask. She's a housewife, he says. So what does she do all day? I ask. I do nothing all day and I'm often bored. How about a young woman?

Well, says Hussein, she's still in Pakistan. So, I ask, is this an arranged marriage? Yes he says.

Well, you know, I say, feeling like I shouldn't, like I should leave it, but cheeky all the same: you know we used to do arranged marriages in the west until maybe a hundred years ago. Bit we decided it was better to let marriage happen through love.

Yes, said Hussein, I know. No argument there or upset from him. Impressive.

We talk about this -- the issue of arranged marriages -- for a bit then he informs me that his wife is his first cousin. Well, I say, first cousin ma…

ISIS Behind the Mask | CNN

This is a fascinating video of a Belgian Jihadi: like so many, a convert to Islam.
It's also scary.  This is going on all over Europe, and the reactions are muted to none.  And to the extent that there are reactions, they're disturbingly naive.

Why Israel Is Nothing Like Apartheid South Africa | New York Times International Edition

I also lived in South Africa, in 1967 for a year, when it was deeply apartheid.  And know, therefore, that Israel, for all its faults, is not an apartheid state.
Here, Benjamin Pogrund does the job: from the point of view of one who lived in both countries.
JERUSALEM — Among critics of Israel, it has become ever more common to accuse the Jewish state of imitating apartheid South Africa. This month, an obscure United Nations agency, the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, whose membership comprises 18 Arab states, caused an uproar when it issued a report accusing Israel of applying the same racism in its conflict with Palestinians that made South Africa an international pariah. The United Nations secretary general swiftly repudiated the report, and it was removed from the agency’s website.Read on....

Islam’s Most Eloquent Apostate | Wall Street Journal

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A long article on one of my favourite women: Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the apostate from Islam, and brave spokeswoman for liberal values.  For that she's smeared often by those on the "regressive left" and various other Islamapologists and fellow travellers.
I've pasted the whole article here, rather than the link to the Wall Street Journal, in which it appeared today, because it's for subscription there.

Sweden faces new reality of heightened security and vigilance | Financial Times

The Sweden Democrats party are almost always prefaced by "far right". That label is pinned on them by the MSM because of their stance on immigration, especially Islamic immigration.
The clear fact is that the more Muslims immigrate, the more likely a terrorist act. Of course most muslim migrants are peaceable. But a non-trivial number are pious, which requires, by clear doctrine, "fighting the infidel wherever you find him." (Koran 2:191, et al).
Thus the connection between Muslim immigration and terrorist acts is clear and inevitable. It's neither racist nor xenophobic to note this.
Sweden may be willing to bear that price for the sake of helping refugees or economic migrants. But at least that price, that cost of Muslim immigration has to be made clear.
The Sweden Democrats try to make it clear. And get pilloried for it by les bien pensants de Sweden.
/Snip
However, the Sweden Democrats are already seizing on this incident to bolster their anti-immigrati…

Canada: The Niqab Enters the Nursery « Clarion Project

Oh dear.... Another mark, in my mind, against the photogenic phool M. Trudeau.  "Inclusive" says the lady, about a niqab in the nursery.  But the whole point about the niqab is that it's *not* inclusive. It says: "I want to be apart from you. I don't want you to know anything about me or be at all close to me".  /Snip Asked afterward when the YMCA started hiring women in niqabs, senior vice-president for child and family development Linda Cottes said the "Y" has never excluded women wearing the niqab. Asked again when such hiring started, she said only, "We are inclusive." https://clarionproject.org/canada-the-niqab-enters-the-nursery/
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"Jihadists doing true Muslims no favours" SCMP, April 8

LETTER TO SCMP  I was about to put metaphorical pen to paper, predicting that in the wake of the latest terrorist killings in Sweden we would soon have the usual gurus assuring us that jihadis have "nothing to do with Islam", that they have hijacked the "religion of peace" and so on.  I didn't have to wait long: you printed one such today.  ("Jihadists doing true Muslims no favours",  April 8). * Shuntaro's effort is a classic "no true Scotsman fallacy". (Example: "Scotsmen don't eat cold porridge". "But Hamish eats cold porridge". "Well, Hamish is not a true Scotsman".) By analogy: Muslims don't commit terror acts. But these Muslims carried out a terror act. Well, they aren't true Muslims. By definition.  It ought to be obvious that this is nonsense. But not to the likes of Shuntaro and his ilk. As a result they never have to explain explain how "such people [jihadis] are not real followers o…

Australia needs to seriously rethink the way we treat our allies

I was in Ambassador Steve FitzGerald's embassy in Beijing in 1976 then his partner in his China consulting business 1983-89.
Here he discusses important issues. How close should we be to the United States and to China?
Trump perturbations aside, I'm still with being closer to the US... Steve leans more to closer with China. These choices are consequential.
In April 1973, I went to Beijing with what's now an historic Whitlam document tucked under my arm; an eight-page letter from Gough to me as ambassador. It's what might now be called a narrative – how the relationship with China was imagined, and our goals for the long term.

"Christians and atheists can be misguided, too". SCMP, March 4 2017.

While I was away Sidiq Bazarwala answered my letter in the South China Morning Post.  I can't be bothered answering, mainly because I doubt the Post will run a letter from me as it would be the fourth in a tit-for-tat between Bazarwala and me. "Enough", will think the Post, I'm sure, as that's been the way in the past.  That said, I may get to challenging some of Bazarwala's assertions.  Note the headline to the letter. A case of  tuquoque. And who would deny that Christians and atheists can be misguided?
Anyway, here's his letter, a month old already: Christians and atheists can be misguided, too I refer to Peter Forsythe's letter ("Moderate Muslims should not deny Islam terror links", February 25) in reply to my letter ("Singling out Muslims as the main terrorist threat is grossly unfair", February 16). He acknowledges, "white supremacists kill more people" than Muslims but interestingly cites "if you don't count …

"French court overturns burqini ban as struggle between secularism and religious liberty rages"

My letter that ran in the South China Morning Post last year, that I didn't get around to posting, but which remains as relevant as ever (just found it, while cleaning up my desktop).
Indeed, female Islamic sartorial matters are arguably worse, as there's been a fetishisation at least of the hijab: witness the fashion parades of veiled women, for example by Vogue Magazine in New York. And here.
This is not right.  Bottom line, it's a suppression of women's freedom, not a "freedom of choice" for them (whatever they may think: there were slaves who loved their chains).

LETTER TO THE SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST:
It’s nonsense to say that wearing a “burqini” is a matter of “freedom of choice”.  (Tug of War Over Faith Played Out On Beaches, [print version of headline] August 28, 2016).It reflects instead the wishes of elderly Islamic theocrats.When Khomeini overthrew the Shah in 1979 he demanded that Iranian women wear the hijab. Thousands of women took to the stree…

Westminster and the Islamic Connection – Areo Magazine

Christiane Amanpour on CNN this morning in an interview with Baroness Warsi happened to mention Masood, "the Westminster Terrorist", saying that "we still don't know what motivated him". Oh yes, we do! I yelled at the screen. It's in the Koran. It's the doctrines of Islam (The "Trinity of Islam"). I've said similar things countless times over the years. And so have reliable observers like Sam Harris.  Here in this post from Areo, a new website I've been following lately courtesy of Professor Jerry Coyne, on his "Why Evolution is True" website, is one of the best and clearest expositions of what it that motivates Islamic terrorists. In short: Islamic doctrine. Not grievances about western foreign policy. (Of course, grievances are a part of it. But the Islamists/jihadists make it clear that even if all the grievances were resolved, they'd still hate and attack us).  The ISIS magazine Dabiq article, mentioned in the Areo p…

ISIS: Behind the Mask - From altar boy to ISIS fighter

CNN shows how shockingly unprepared Europe still is to confront and roll back its domestic terror threat. And how naive. The main man in the doco is Younnis, a convert to Islam from Catholicism, who goes to Syria to serve with ISIS. He then returns to Belgium (why let him back?), collects his welfare, is eventually charged with terrorism related offenses after the attacks in Brussels, but is let off with a suspended sentence. He laughs when the police can't find him after the next Muslim atrocity.
In any case if he'd gone to jail he'd just be a part of the "prison dawah" -- radicalising other prisoners.
They won't let him go back to Syria. Why not? And close the door behind him.
It's all pretty depressing. The horror of people so certain of their faith. A faith they want to impose on all we infidels.
http://edition.cnn.com/interactive/2017/03/europe/isis-behind-the-mask/index.html


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Me, Myself and My Hijab

LETTER TO THE NEW YORK TIMES: I'm sorry Shaista Aziz, but you are not "...as British as fish and chips". ("Me myself and my hijab", New York Times, March 21).  You wear the hijab because Muhammad tells you to. And he tells you to because, he says in the Koran, you would otherwise be "harassed" by we evil men who cannot be trusted to control our lascivious desires. That is a calumny. We men are entitled to feel every bit as offended as you are by those who look at you askance for wearing the hijab. Being as "British as fish and chips" also means mutual trust. Men are not lusting to "harass" you if you do not wear your religious garb. To suggest otherwise is offensive. It's un-British.  To be clear, here is what the Koran says about the veiling of which you, Ms Aziz, feel so proud: Those who harass believing men and believing women undeservedly, bear (on themselves) a calumny and a grievous sin. O Prophet! Enjoin your wives, your…