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Showing posts from June, 2018

China and Trump’s Tariffis: Stop, or I’ll Shoot Myself Too

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Tom Holland is a spot-on commenter on regional issues, especially China.
In this article he shows how difficult it will be for China to retaliate to the Trump tariffs without also hurting itself.
Good corrrective to all those simply reporting that China will go tit-for-tat.
I noted the other day that one of the ways China is thinking of retaliating is restricting Chinese tourists and students going to America. That's only going to hurt -- maybe infuriate -- individual Chinese.
/Snip:
When last week US President Donald Trump threatened to slap tariffs on an additional US$200 billion of imports from China, on top of the US$50 billion already targeted, the Chinese government immediately promised to retaliate in full proportion. The trouble is that retaliating will be a lot more difficult and painful than Beijing’s counter-threats make it sound.
So far, responding to the US trade actions hasn’t been a great problem. The first round of US tariffs targeted specifically at China is due to go …

City not county: : a lesson in Pinyin

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[This is not a letter TO the editor. It's for the information of your sub-editors and headline writers].
The city = Xi'an. 西安 A county = Xian. 縣 The apostrophe is important as it shows the word is to be read as two characters (西安) and not one character (縣).  This  relates to a recent headline I saw in the Post which mistakenly was "Xian" when it should have been Xi'an.  From your pedantic reader....
Pf

Lawsuit by young immigrants detained in Virginia centre alleges abuse by guards | South China Morning Post

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LETTER TO SCMP: This story does good service in reporting the abuse of young illegal immigrants in US detention centres.
However it is misleading.  The clear impression is that the abuse is carried out under Trump's watch.* They were not. Careful reading reveals that all these abuses began under Obama's watch. (one has to read it carefully, for this fact is hidden, presumably wilfully by AP). I'm no fan of Trump, but it's this sort of dissimulation that supports his claims of "fake news". Your editors really ought to be more diligent and neutral. PF

* e. g., paras 8 and 9:
"Many of the teenagers were sent to the Shenandoah facility after US immigration authorities accused them of belonging to violent gangs, including MS-13.[arrests under Obama administration].
"President Donald Trump has repeatedly cited gang activity as justification for his crackdown on illegal immigration." Isn't that a clear implication that it's Trump that's imprisone…

Kim Jong-Un's Singapore Summit: North Korea Wins | National Review

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I'm making no predictions about Korea, just flagging interesting articles, like this one.  Noone, least of all me, has a good record at predicting what's what on the peninsula.
One thing I'd add, based on personal experience: that they, the North lie, lie and lie again. That was our experience when we did coking coal deals with them in the 80s.  Every official, every trader, every single one, lied at some stage.  If we'd believed some of what they told us, we'd have been bankrupted.  I don't think that's changed. The only hope we have is that Kim aspires to be a Korean X.P. Deng…. Cheers P

A reply to my critics: Don’t fight racism with racism

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I remember that Lionel Shriver was attacked by the Aussie Muslim activist Yassmin Abdul-Magied at the 2016 Brisbane writers festival, for the nonsense crime of "cultural appropriation".
I remember that Shriver gave a dashing and effective rebuttal to that attack from the luny Left. As she does here, in response to an article attacking her for having her own thoughts. Viva la difference and viva non-racism.

European chamber warns China may lose appeal for investors if it doesn’t act | South China Morning Post

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Back in the 80s I was a China consultant working for Australian companies wanting to do business in China. Many were trying to establish joint ventures in the People's Republic. One case I was in charge of was trying to do the opposite. It was IXL Ltd from Melbourne and it was trying to get out of an agricultural joint venture it had got into in Yunnan province and which it had decided was a mistake.
The joint venture agreement had a clause dealing with what happens when one partner wants to leave. But the Chinese sides first impulse was to tell us to take a hike. We made the point that they should not do this as it would impact badly on China's reputation. End of the day that worked and we got some money to get out.  Just a few years later, let alone thirty plus years later, that approach would not work. The desperation of international companies not to miss out on the "world's largest market"that they didn't give two hoots about an argument about China'…

What Trump Gets Right About Europe | New York Times

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The president's anger, however crude, gets at a core problem with the Western alliance.
From the New York Times:
HAMBURG, Germany — Most people can agree that international affairs should not be conducted by tweet — especially when the tweeter in question is Donald Trump. Among other reasons, it's easy to dismiss the president's mercurial rage and flagrant insults as little more than temper tantrums. But that's a mistake. Mr. Trump's anger at America's allies embodies, however unpleasantly, a not unreasonable point of view, and one that the rest of the world ignores at its peril: The global world order is unbalanced and inequitable. And unless something is done to correct it soon, it will collapse, with or without the president's tweets. While the West happily built the liberal order over the past 70 years, with Europe at its center, the Americans had the continent's back. In turn, as it unravels, America feels this loss of balance the hardest — it has al…

Gee, Chinese folk are going to *love* this....

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....bit of retaliation that their government will take against America's increased tariffs on imports from China.
Namely: the Chinese government says it could restrict America's service exports to China. And what are these?
Two big ones are Chinese tourists to the US and Chinese students to US colleges.
Imagine who that's going to hurt worse!!

Why so much Western disdain for the Trump-Kim summit’s successes in Singapore? | South China Morning Post

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Tom Plate says positive outcomes for North Korea and China in the 'Peninsula Cup' don't make the US and South Korea losers, and the Western media's reaction betrays a cold-war world view that is out of step with the geopolitical reality.

Good observations from the reliable professor Tom Plate...

Immigrant overload, not Brexit, heralds the end of the European Union | South China Morning Post

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Immigrant overload, not Brexit, heralds the end of the European Union | South China Morning Post

This is a disturbing analysis and dire prediction from professor Niall Ferguson, a man of the Left. A liberal, not some knuckle dragging xenophobic far rightist.

Highlighting a couple of points:
The clash between Islam's norms and those of mostly secular Christian Europe, especially on the rights of women. "... making assimilation difficult".  You can't have both open borders and welfare states. You can have one of the other.  The welfare state requires people to contribute to the system, with more people contributing over time than taking out. By definition, recent arrivals have not contributed to the system. And so more is taken out of the welfare state than is going in. Result: bankruptcy. Mad Mutti Merkel. She believes that Europe cannot survive without free movement of people. In that she's wrong. I've lived in Europe when it had free movement of goods but bor…

Italy won no ‘victory’ in turning away desperate migrants | South China Morning Post

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Italy won no 'victory' in turning away desperate migrants | South China Morning Post

LETTER TO SCMP:
[LATER: PUBLISHED ON 19th JUNE] A couple of points virtually ignored in reporting on the 630 "migrants" recently arrived in Spain. (Italy won no victory in turning away desperate migrants. 17 June) 1.  They were rescued close to the coast of Libya. They were barely out of sight of the coast before the NGO ship "Aquarius" was on hand to pick them up. We know from ex-crew members of similar NGO ships that they are in regular contact with the North African traffickers who have pushed off their "clients" in unseaworthy craft. In doing so the NGOs are participating in human trafficking, pure and simple. They were called out on this years ago, they committed to stop doing so, but are back at it again.  These illegal acts by NGOs, as well-meaning as they may be, only serve to encourage ever more illegal migration.  2. No one — no government or NGO — is cal…

Why row over Chinese characters when simplified to traditional is one easy step | SCMP

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The comments divided over my letter.
Re the one saying that characters are pictograms: sure. I do know that. And learning simplified doesn't do away with learning that.
I also learnt calligraphy and doing so one learns and appreciates the history of characters and also learns cursive.
One asks how can simplified "hou" be cursive of the non-simplified. Well, I didn't say all simplified characters were based on cursive just "most".
Also and by the way I do understand that there's a "cultural" aspect to the issue, more properly a "political" one in that some Hongkongers think it's communist hegemony to have simplified characters.

Exiled in the U.S., a Lawyer Warns of ‘China’s Long Arm’ - The New York Times

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Exiled in the U.S., a Lawyer Warns of 'China's Long Arm' - The New York Times

Australia is getting into a spat with China affecting our exports exactly because of this issue. Australia has called out the Chinese government's efforts to stifle criticisms in Australia of China's  policies, especially by ethnic Chinese and Chinese-Australians.  There's no doubt this is going in. There's simply too much evidence, including officially out of our government.  But taking China on is like taking on the schoolyard bully: freighted with danger.  Just yesterday there was an article (WSJ IIRC), on how Australian wine exports to China are being impacted because Australia has dared to call out the malign influence of China's communist government on Australians.

NOK. Trump and Kim In Singapore

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My own sense of the outcome of Singapore is that only one thing changed: namely that a US president met with a NOK Chairman.
Everything else — the one-page LOI and ... and ...and ... (actually I can't think of anything more) — is *less* than has been achieved before.
Yet Trump seems to think it's a fine deal ("you can sleep easy tonight"). It's not. Arguably we're backward in that China will feel enabled to ease its own sanctions on NOK even if the rest of the world doesn't.
The only thing that would change this is if NOK does indeed denuclearise. Pompeo has give himself till 2020 to do get that done.
I hope he does and I hope I'm wrong. World peace aside I'd like to see the Left wriggle in discomfort, as they've been sneeringly subject to major TDS so far.
EG: they take seriously T's comment that "I want my people to do the same" (sit up straight when he talks, like Kim's subjects). This was so clearly a joke that one wonde…

Islam's Oldest University Says ISIS Are Not Heretics to Islam | Daily Wire

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Islam's Oldest University Says ISIS Are Not Heretics to Islam | Daily Wire
There are plenty of knowledgeable observers who confirm that the likes of ISIS are indeed Islamic. But there are also plenty of Islam apologists, especially on the Left, who claim they have "nothing to do with Islam", that they have "hijacked the religion of peace" and so on.

Now we have Al-Azhar university in Cairo affirming that ISIS are indeed Islamic. Al-Azhat is the oldest and most authoritative university in the Islamic world. It's pronouncement (a fatwa) should be the last word on the subject. Murderers who shout "Allahu Akbar" as they go about their bloody business are genuine Muslims.


Or is Al-Azhar islamophobic?  Kidding. So what does a Leftie do?  Ignore it I suppose.
https://www.dailywire.com/news/2161/islams-oldest-university-says-isis-are-not-james-barrett

Bill Aims to Stop Funding Terror Education | Clarion Project

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Bill Aims to Stop Funding Terror Education | Clarion Project Clarion Project
The times I've discussed Middle East issues with pro-Palestinian friends and I claim that young Palestinians are educated to hate Israel and hate Jews, often as not there's no acceptance of that and a challenge to me to "prove it".  Well here it is, in the Clarion Project. By two unimpeachable bodies, the UN's UNESCO and IMPACT-se. Full detail of what's going on in Palestinian schools. Sad thing is that it's getting worse.  Including that kids are taught there can be no negotiated settlement, ever.  So what of those who always blame Israel for "no progress" in talks. It's true, as Israel says, that it "has no counterpart"'to talk to.

This 8-Year-Old Girl Absolutely Crushes Led Zeppelin's 'Good Times Bad Times'

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Where I first saw this, the guy said: "you know what you need to do right now? You need to listen to an 8-year-old girl rip the living shit out of Zep's Good Times, Bad Times.  INCREDIBLE!" The Esquire link here tells you a bit more about this young Japanese girl, Yoyoka Soma. She plays in her family band.  Watch for her giggle at the end.

More buzz for China’s solar-panel highway | Asia Times

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More buzz for China's solar-panel highway | Asia Times
Wow!  This is really something! Roads turned into solar power generators.  Could be a major game changer. And happening right here across the border from us in Hong Kong.  China's determination to become a leader in renewable energy is picking up speed on a highway in the city of Jinan, and people are taking notice.A New York Times report Monday on a solar panel-paved highway followed up on recent stories from Quartz and Bloomberg, generating more hype for the potentially game-changing development.China's capacity for tackling new infrastructure projects, coupled with the country's leadership in solar panel manufacturing, presents a unique opportunity. Beijing's support for renewable energy industries also offers a boost."Because roads run through and around cities, the electricity could be used practically next door to where it is generated. That means virtually no power would be lost in transmission, as can…

Traditional or simplified? Debate on Chinese characters should be decided by pragmatics, not politics | SCMP | Paul Stapleton

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Traditional or simplified? Debate on Chinese characters should be decided by pragmatics, not politics | South China Morning Post

LETTER TO SCMP: LATER: PUBLISHED 16th JUNE

There's no need for the kerfuffle over use of simplified characters in Hong Kong. (Alex Lo and Paul Stapleton, recently).  I learnt Chinese as an adult, first in Beijing in the mid-1970s. Being Beijing, I was taught simplified characters. In later full-time study in Hong Kong I learnt the traditional forms. I found this a pretty straightforward process.  What is rarely mentioned by commenters is this: that simplified characters are most often derived from a cursive version of the traditional.  For example: 言 (yan) is written cursively as 讠. This character is also a common radical, so it is a part of many characters. In one stroke (as it were) you've learnt both forms of hundreds of characters.  Learning a few basic rules for the connection between simplified and traditional characters allows anyone to be liter…

Trump gamed in North Korea

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Shapiro calls it a big nothingburger (558). It's even worse: Trump gave away a lot in return for nothing. And I've been hoping T would have a big win in this. (I'm not hoping for his failure).
Give aways:
Giving Kim face and publicityStopping "war games" (NK terminology).Because they are "provocative". (NK terminology).Easing sanctions. According to KCNA In return:
A vague one pager which is less binding than previous ones all of which have been cheated on.
In all looks like Trump has been gamed.

I don’t have TDS....

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.... but...
I've criticised his trade efforts.
They seem like a dog's breakfast to me.* And the Trudeau tantrum was unhinged.
Agreed that he's right to tackle China, but that's best done with your allies, not having them agin' ya. Surely.  Check out Shapiro's latest on all this and on the Kim-in-Singapore meeting. 
*I say "efforts" not "policy" because there's nothing close to a policy to be gleaned from these thrashing arounds...at least that I can discern.

The secret life of Thailand’s ladyboys from Muslim majority southern provinces | SCMP

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The secret life of Thailand's ladyboys from Muslim majority southern provinces | South China Morning Post


Ardulmalik Maskul talks of her difficulties in Pattani in Islamic south Thailand in the SCMP

"In Pattani I can't dress like this," says Maskul, gesturing at her tightfitting navy-blue dress with a plunging neckline and a hemline that sits well above the knees. She's in a Bangkok shopping centre and no one pays her any attention.

"If I did this at home, people would shout insults at me. They might attack me." 
Ladyboys: safe and accepted in North Thailand (Buddhist) Ladyboys: unsafe and not accepted in South Thailand (Muslim).  Note that these are not wild and wacky Muslim extremists, in South Thailand. They're not the so-called "tiny minority" of Muslims who have "hijacked" the "religion of peace". These are run-of-the-mill Muslims in one of the most tolerant countries on earth.  Yet there are groups of LGBT who support …

Evermore the victim | SCMP | David Dodwell

I agree 100% with David Dodwell writing in today's South China Morning Post.  I too was involved in international trade negotiations with US officials, in my case representing Australian interests, and mainly in agricultural trade. We became frustrated at times because the US was able to obtain what we thought were over-favourable terms for its own farmers because of its immensely larger economy and clout.  For Trump to claim victimhood is pathetic nonsense.  Scott Adams would say the truth doesn't matter; it's all about persuasion and creating the tone: presumably for even greater bias to America. To MAGA.  But it could well backfire. I hope it does because speaking nonsense helps noone not even American farmers.  From Dodwell, for me the money shot: /Snip My insight into this story, over decades of being inside some negotiations, and watching many more from close by? US trade negotiators were persistently the most dogged and ferocious in defining US interests, ensuring t…

No, Islamophobia is not the new anti-Semitism | Anti-Semitism | Race | spiked

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A clear and concise explanation of a modern false equivalence, one I've written about before.  Brendan O'Neill in Spiked.
/Snip It is the definition of historical illiteracy to compare Islamophobia to anti-Semitism. And yet that is what is happening. People who feel put out by the discussion of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, and possibly even envious of the attention that anti-Jewish prejudice is receiving in comparison with anti-Muslim prejudice, have taken to saying: 'What about the cancer of Islamophobia in the Conservative Party? When are we talking about that?' They fail to realise the fundamental difference between anti-Semitism and Islamophobia: the former is one of the world's oldest hatreds and has caused the deaths of millions of people; the latter is a word invented by the Runnymede Trust in 1997 to demonise criticism of Islam.Read on...

Inverted crosses installed by Dark Mofo offend some in Christian community - ABC News

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"I wonder why Islam is not ridiculed in the same way?"
Exactly!
Their "fearless provocation" stops at the edge of the star and crescent ...
Attacking Christianity with impunity. Being scared to attack Islam in the same way.  From the ABC.

Gay Pride parade lights up Tel Aviv, attracting more than 250,000 revellers | SCMP

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Nasty nasty Israel! They are so kind to gays that clearly it's just "pinkmail".
Well, gay pride paraders... try this elsewhere in the Middle East.  Where WP says: Lesbiangaybisexual and transgender citizens generally have limited or highly restrictive rights in most parts of the Middle East, and open to hostility in others. Homosexuality is illegal in 10 of the 18 countries that make up the region; and punishable by death in six of these. The rights and freedoms of LGBT citizens are strongly influenced by the prevailing cultural traditions and religious mores of people living in the region - particularly IslamLink.

A Costly, Deadly Obsession With Coal - WSJ | Greg Ip

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A Costly, Deadly Obsession With Coal - WSJ



This article in the Wall Street Journal by Greg Ip clearly lays out the silliness of trying to save the coal industry, one of Trump's obsessions — because he made a promise to miners in the campaign.

Greg Ip shows clearly that all other forms of electricity generation — all — are cheaper and safer than coal.

Ip also goes after nuclear which I wouldn't. Especially on safety as coal is disastrous by comparison with nuclear; and note how cheap it is in the chart above.  Ip covers the cost to human life well, though in addition to the issues in the quote below, in a place like China there's also mine accidents which claim, by China's own statistics, around 3,000 miners per year. Not all the nuclear plant accidents in all time added up would equal just one year's worth of China's  mine accidents alone. Never mind the black lung disease.  In pursuing his inane coal policy Trump is harming America and the world.
/Snip  Finally,…

Jefferson's Quran

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For some reason I got thinking again today about "Jefferson's Koran".  Most of the comments on this Founding Father's ownership of the founding document of Islam seem to think he did so because he respected Islam and wanted to know more about it. Not so. The latter, sure: he wanted to know more about Islam because Islamic Berber pirates were attacking American ships in North African waters and he had been told by the Tripoli ambassador that they did so because of their Islamic religion, which required them to predate on infidels.  So, in keeping with China's Sun Zi's Art of War, Jefferson wanted to "know thine enemy".  So he bought a Koran.  He didn't buy a Koran because he respected the Religion of Peace.  He bought it to study the enemy.  Christopher Hitchens, the wise and inimitable, here.

The High Price of Stale Grievances | Coleman Hughes | Quillette

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Great article by Coleman in Quilette, getting good traction on Twitter.  By the likes of Ta-Nehisi Coates, Hughes would no doubt be branded a "Native Informant", a "House Negro", an "Uncle Tom"...  Let alone the fact that OWM like me like him.

Sucking carbon dioxide from air is cheaper than scientists thought | Nature

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As Natalie Wolchover notes on Twitter:
The cost of pulling a tonne of CO2 out of the atmosphere now ranges between $94 and $232. (Humans emit 35 billion tonnes per year.) Governments could afford to pay $100 per tonne by adding a tax of $0.22 cents per liter of gasoline. It's getting viable. My note: at $100/ tonne that works out at 3.5% of world GDP (PPP), to suck out *all* the world's current annual emissions of CO2.  In other words, doable.
Cost of carbon capture has reduced from $600/ tonne in 2011.
The link

Crawling The Intellectual Dark Web – Anthony Jon Mountjoy – Medium

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A useful s summary from Medium of who's who in global intellectual discussions, most of whom I've read at one time or anther, many of whom I follow regularly, some daily.

De-radicalisation is derailed by denial in Londonistan

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De-radicalisation is derailed by denial in Londonistan

It is, of course, not just ludicrous but lethal to pretend that Islamic attacks or Islamisation are not the outcome of the dominant interpretation of Islam, just as it is false, unpleasant and irresponsible to claim that all Muslims subscribe to it.
From Melanie Phillips

China increasingly challenges American dominance of science - The Washington Post

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After decades of American dominance, Chinese science is ascendant, and it is luring scientists like Pastor-Pareja away from the United States. Even more China-born scientists are returning from abroad to a land of new scientific opportunity.The United States spends half a trillion dollars a year on scientific research — more than any other nation on Earth — but China has pulled into second place, with the European Union third and Japan a distant fourth. [Washington Post]

Ben Rhodes ‘The World As It Is’: Obama’s Reaction to Trump Revealing | National Review

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Barack Obama’s revealing reaction to Trump’s 2016 victory
Maybe you can help me out. I’m puzzling over a line in a New York Times story on The World As It Is, the forthcoming memoir from Barack Obama’s deputy national-security adviser Ben Rhodes. The article, by Peter Baker, is about the parts of Rhodes’s book that deal with Donald Trump’s surprise victory over Hillary Clinton. “In the weeks after Mr. Trump’s election,” Baker reports, “Mr. Obama went through multiple emotional stages,” including flashes of “anger,” “rare self-doubt,” and taking “the long view.” Do not think, however, that during the final weeks of his presidency Barack Obama was withdrawn or more self-obsessed than usual. People needed him. The day after the election, Baker continues, “Mr. Obama focused on cheering up his despondent staff.” For example — and here is the line that confuses me — “he sent a message to Mr. Rhodes saying, ‘There are more stars in the sky than grains of sand on the earth.' .... Read on...

Prison Dawah: the spread of Islam in America's prisons

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What Kim Kardashian Missed in Her Visit With Trump I need to bookmark this story in the Clarion Projectbecause of the important message in the video linked in the story and above.
Note that the Imam states clearly in the video that Islam, that the Koran, that Islam's prophet Muhammad, all call for violence and killing of infidels, that there can be "no doubt" about that, it's "not subject to interpretation or discussion", and so on.  In all of which he is, of course, 100% correct.  In other words, the message of violence is inherent in and at the core of Islam.   He says it, the Imam, not me. The commentators in the video point this out, but curiously only to say that he is giving a "radical" or "extremist" message, when in fact his message is what's at the core of Islam, is indeed mainstream Islam.   Perhaps that's a hill too far, and enough for now -- enough for their purposes -- to point out that Islam is being spread at an alarmin…

Douglas Murray on Tommy Robinson

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Another brilliant article in the National Review by Douglas Murray, this one on the principled but flawed Tommy Robinson..