Sunday 31 March 2019

"Why are so many Israelis against a Palestinian state?"

This response below, to the question above bears repeating over and over, especially since the opposite narrative of Palestinian victimhood is repeated again and again.  No, it's not "there are two sides to every story".  One side, the Palestinian one, has had a lot more influence in the West, not because it's a stronger case, but because it's repeated more often.  A lie told more often.  I doesn't have more rationale, or morality, or correctness. It has more repetition.  The other side of the story has too little currency.
The story is that Arabs, whether living, have lived or want to live, in Palestine, have rejected again and again offers for peace.  The western Left seems to think that it's Israel that won't accept a "two state solution".  It's not.  It's Arabs.  In Gaza, West Bank and elsewhere.  Arabs who refuse to accept Israel in any part of Palestine.  In *any* part.
So, here goes:

Michael Davison, lives in Israel (1969-present)

Saturday 30 March 2019

Why People Fear Islam – Harry's Place

Since Christchurch there's been this thing: Any criticism of Islam is bad. If you criticised Islam, you have blood on your hands. See Wajahat Ali in the New York Times, for example. [Link]. It’s all white people who have blood on their hands. All white folks. Because they criticised Islam or didn’t stop other white people from criticising it.
What's being conflated is White Supremacy (Bad) with criticism of the ideology of Islam (Necessary. As are critiques of all ideas).
This article at Harry’s Place sums it all up very well.
It's a big danger to our own safety if any and all criticism of the wackier parts of Islam are decreed beyond the pale.
George Clooney has done the right thing: he's called for a boycott of Brunei-owned hotels because Brunei has just passed islamic Sharia laws that say gays should be stoned to death. Stoned to death! For being gay. And yet it's this critique that people are trying to muzzle. In the wake of Christchurch.
Again, this article says it well. People can fear, be worried about, Islam in our communities for very sound, non-racist, reasons.

George Clooney calls for hotel boycott over Brunei LGBT laws

Thursday 28 March 2019

Maryam, arrested in Iran for NOT wearing hijab, speaks out

Maryam shariatmadari (@Maryamshariatm)
During my detention I've been tormented when they keep yelling that even in the West they praise the hijab & I'm a disgrace to the society!
In the west unintentionally they help fundamentalists to supress women like me when they glorify the hijab & make it the symbol of harmony!

On the left, below, NZ PM, Jacinta Ahearn, showing "respect" to Christchurch victims by wearing hijab. On the right women in Iran being chased for not wearing hijab. 
So we see how, unintentionally, showing "respect" in New Zealand, impacts women in the Middle East. Ahearn didn't need to wear hijab. It was a choice. No doubt after some discussions. I wonder if they consulted with the Muslim community and if so, which part of it, and women or men?
These questions ought be addressed at the right time. Ahearn isn't the only one donning hijab in misconceived obeisance to Islamic mores. Theresa May and mad Mutti Merkel have also done so. 
The practice of non-Muslim politicians wearing hijab ought be stopped, in respect for women fighting for liberty and human rights  in the Middle East. 

A Losing Health-Care Strategy [for the GOP] |The WSJ

There's a new big danger to Trump's re-election, looming straight after Mueller removed the biggest danger to date  - Russiagate. 
This one appears to be self inflicted. It's the possibility that Obamacare will be cancelled without the GOP having anything in the wings to replace it. That would mean tens of millions, maybe over a hundred million Americans losing their coverage. 
And that, the pundits on both sides are saying, would hand 2020 to the Dems. 

“What’s behind China conspiracy theories in Australia?” | SCMP

As someone who worked in Australia-China relations in government, in the private sector and in my own company; having lived, studied and worked in China; here's what I think about this issue:
1.  Beijing is indeed making aggressive moves in the region including unprecedented and troubling stakes into South China Seas islets and reefs
2. It does indeed have an aggressive "Belt and Road"'strategic plan that is as much about influence as about trade and economics. Imperium Sinica
3. It has a President in Xi Jinping who is a Mao wannabe: authoritarian, brooking no resistance, suppressing free speech, locking up dissidents (a million Muslim Uighurs...)
4.  It does indeed use its diaspora to control the narrative about itself in other countries including Australia
5.  Aussie business people living in China report ever nastier treatment by their interlocutors. Reciprocity seems ever further away
6.   Therefore we are entitled to talk abut this without being accused - oh, so predictably and boringly - of being "racist" China haters
Tamara's article yesterday in the South China Morning Post relies rather too heavily on academics for her analysis, rather than business folks or politicians, but it's useful nonetheless. 
The commenters predictably criticise Australia, call it the US' "deputy sheriff". Racist. Yawn. Oh, yes, and of course this sort of narrative is what leads to Christchurch massacres, don't you know...
Two of Australia's leading daily newspapers The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age launched an advertising campaign recently to demonstrate their commitment to investigative journalism.
Headlined "It's Your Future, You Deserve to Know", the campaign featured four broad areas of coverage, including one titled "China's Growing Influence". Articles in that category were described as revealing the "true scale of China's ambition for power" and examining if Beijing's ambitious Belt and Road infrastructure initiative was a "benign economic plan or the rise of a new empire. 
The descriptions reflect how deeply concerns about China's rising influence in Australian politics and society – thrown into the open in December 2017 by then-leader Malcolm Turnbull when discussing new laws against foreign interference – have taken root.
What's behind China conspiracy theories in Australia?

Wednesday 27 March 2019

It’s official: Russiagate is this generation’s WMD | Matt Taibbi

"Mueller is coming"  Right, he came, he saw, he didn't condemn
Everybody is talking about this post, so I'd better make sure it's bookmarked.
It's by Matt Taibbi, a contributing editor at Rolling Stone magazine.  That's to say, a leftie, writing for a very leftie magazine....  but a leftie not afflicted with TDS.
I'd never heard of Taibbi, TBF, but his (long) piece is quite a revelation.  That the Steele Dossier, such an important part of this whole Russigate thing,  source of FISA warrents, was made up of whole cloth. The "pee tapes" a figment of Steele's fetid imagination, based on some Los Angeles underground acts, filtered via unverified CIA sites.  The mind boggles.
Yet so many on the Left bought all of this, some genuinely, some just because it was good fodder to clobber the hated Trump.
There are some wonderful compilations, which I must get to, of statements of some of these folks, certain, absolutely certain, that the evidence was there, was solid, was irrefutable, that all were "bombshells".  How can they get away with this?? Calling the Commander in Chief a traitor, a crook?
It's just too much. Too horrible.
Yet they're already, on the Left, on CNN and MSNBC, doubling down and saying what a wonderful job they did, and now starting to suggest another conspiracy by Mueller....

Here's how Taibbi begins his article:
Nobody wants to hear this, but news that Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller is headed home without issuing new charges is a death-blow for the reputation of the American news media.
Read on.... 

One clear example of the Trump Derangement Syndrome:  a Time magazine cover of May 2017.  So deep in TDS that they thought the Kremlin was running the White House.  In reality, Trump has been tougher on Russia than ever Obama was.  Arms to Ukraine against Russia; trying to halt the Russian gas pipeline; kicking out 48 Russian spies from the US; tightening sanctions on Russian oligarchs; strengthening NATO against Russia.....  Yet somehow he's Putin's Puppet?? 

“Trump has liberated Israel” | NYT

Great article. In the Times no less!
Giving the reasons the Golan Heights are not the same as the Sinai. There's no peace agreement with Syria, or even hints of one, whereas there was with Egypt.  So it can't be "land for peace", because of that and also because the land is just so strategic. And tactically critical.  You really realise it when you visit the Heights, as we did last year.
If Syria got the Heights back it would be literally two minutes before Syrian tanks were lined up  bombing Galilee.
Schmuel Rosner below in the New York Times yesterday.

“More socialism is the last thing China needs” | SCMP, 26 March

Somewhat edited from my original

Tuesday 26 March 2019

Solidarity Hijabs -- Not the Right Symbol

NZ PM puts on a symbol of female oppression

There are many women, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, who are not happy with the donning of the hijab by well-meaning New Zealanders. 
Iran is a particularly bad case. Where wearing it is a symbol of their oppression. Ditto Saudi Arabia. 
Here's some more women, at the end of this article, pleading not to put on a symbol hated by many women in Islam. To do so is to bow to the Islamists. 
The outpouring of sympathy for the New Zealand Muslim community in their devastating loss is a testament to the West and its core values of peace, tolerance and freedom of religion.Despite being hounded for years with the scourge of Islamist terrorism, save the remarks of one Australian politician, mainstream reaction was one of appropriate feelings of sadness over the loss of so many loved ones and horror that a member of our common human race could perpetrate such a calculated and cold-blooded massacre.Solidarity in the face of such unadulterated evil reminds us that, as people, our commonality has more manifestations than our differences.Yet something less functional was at play in the way that many chose to express their solidarity with the Muslim community of New Zealand – the donning of hijabs by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern as well as New Zealand policewomen and ordinary female citizens.On the one hand, it is understandable as the hijabis a recognizable Muslim symbol. What better way to instantly and conclusively show one's true sympathy for the slaughter of so many people who were killed simply because they were Muslims?Yet, the hijab is also a significant sign of oppression – specifically Islam's past and current subjugation of women through sharia law to the status of second-class citizens. It has long been used by Islamists who, in their pursuit of world domination, are particularly misogynistic and use veiling of women to relegate women to the ranks of sex objects to be used and abused.As Muslim reformer Asra Nomani commented on Twitter.... more

Monday 25 March 2019

Palestinian Lives Don’t Matter* | NYT

*Unless Israel is to blame
Bret Stephens in the New York Times.
The people of the Gaza Strip are protesting again, and soldiers are shooting again, and civilians are being victimized again. Only this time you may have missed the story, because these protests barely rated a buried paragraph in most Western news accounts.
That's odd: Some media outlets are prepared to devote months of journalistic effort in order to trace the trajectory of a single bullet that accidentally kills a Palestinian — provided the bullet is Israeli.
The difference this time is that the shots are being fired by Hamas, the militant Islamist group that has ruled Gaza since 2007, when it usurped power from its rivals in the Fatah movement in a quick and dirty civil war. Since then, no genuine elections have been held, and no dissent brooked.
The current round of demonstrations, which began last week, comes in reaction to years of Hamas's economic mismanagement, price hikes and recent tax increases. This is not for lack of funds on Hamas's part: Since 2012, the group has taken in over a billion dollars from Qatar alone to pay the costs of fuel, humanitarian aid and civil-servant salaries.

Suicide bombers rue their failure to kill innocents

JZahav (@JZahav1)
3 Palestinian women failed suicide bombers on why they wanted to blow up Jews:
"I don't like this life. I want to be close to Allah"
"We are not just against the occupation. Our goal is to spread Islam everywhere"
"I don't want a fun life on Earth. I only want to satisfy Allah"

These women are failures. They had wanted to murder civilians. Including any children that happened in their way. For the sake of Allah. And to spread Islam to the whole world. Because it says so in the Koran. And the Hadith. And because their parents would be proud of them. 
They are, in short……

(After all, if I suggest that some Muslims are driven, by the ideology set out in their holy books, to kill civilians and to spread Islam to the whole world, there is no doubt at all I would be labelled an Islamophobe).

Sunday 24 March 2019

The Office: the Democratic candidates version

Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano)
Stop what you're doing and watch this video. All the democratic candidates represented in these clips from The Office.

Obey Alyssa!

I’m a “platitude-laded... centrist doofus”

๐•‹๐•™๐•– ๐”ธ๐•ž๐•’๐•ซ๐•š๐•Ÿ๐•˜ ๐”ธ๐•ฅ๐•™๐•–๐•š๐•ค๐•ฅ (@amazingatheist)
What's more annoying:

A. The snivelling condescension of self-righteous smug liberals.

B. The dimwitted oafish belligerence of unjustifiedly cocky conservatives.

C. The pseudo-enlightened platitude-laded drivel of centrist doofuses who think they're above the fray.

The results as at the time I voted:

Saturday 23 March 2019

Gaza and Hong Kong

When I moved to Hong Kong in 1976 it was owned by China, but administered by Britain. Nobody living here then had any doubt about that day-to-day running was British. Everything from the legal system to the dog licence was controlled by British bureaucracy.
Still… China controlled HK airspace, our land borders, our water supply, most of our electricity.
China didn't much care for Britain running Hong Kong, but put up with it until the expiry of the lease in 1997. 
But here's the thing. Britain-run Hong Kong didn't rain rockets on China. It didn't dig tunnels into China to spirit suicide bombers onto the mainland. It didn't pay lifetime pensions to their families of  to encourage them to kill their neighbours. 
In short, it didn't do any of the things that Hamas does regularly on the Gaza Strip.
I mention this for the obvious reason. That if you look up Gaza on Wikipedia you are told that it's not considered "self governing", that it's "still occupied by Israel" because Israel "controls the airspace, the land border, the water, the electricity" and so on. [*] Yet had Hamas acted as Hong Kong did under the Poms, it would be prospering with every bit the same freedom, the same "self government" as Hong Kong had and continues to have. 
It's up to Gaza. That is, it's up to Hamas. Hamas could choose the Hong Kong way. So far they've chosen the Taliban way. A Hong Kong way would see freedom and prosperity for all Palestinians.
It's up to Hamas.
[*] Wiki: Israel maintains direct external control over Gaza and indirect control over life within Gaza: it controls Gaza's air and maritime space, and six of Gaza's seven land crossings. It reserves the right to enter Gaza at will with its military and maintains a no-go buffer zone within the Gaza territory. Gaza is dependent on Israel for its water, electricity, telecommunications, and other utilities.Right. And so was and is Hong Kong.  Yet Hong Kong gets along as all-but independent.

Oh boy, this is going to be fun! The Mueller Report is out and ....

.... and now we can watch the furious spin on both sides: CNN and the New York Times on one side, Fox and the Wall Street Journal on the other.
Watching, reading, not to get the balance of truth. But to get the balance of spin. Because both sides spin. Fox is open about its spin. CNN pretends - maybe even believes - it is a neutral and "news only" channel, but it's most assuredly not. CNN has massive spin. Don Lemon, eg, is set on permanent spin cycle.  
Meantime and FWIW: I've come to classify myself as an "Independent Centrist". All my adult life in Oz I voted Labor. And would have voted for Obama and Hillary, were I American. (ie, I am/was a leftie). But since then, well, things have changed. I haven't hunkered into my tribe, but watched, from a distance, as I no longer have to vote, trying to balance the spin from left and right. 
I like Ann Althouse's description of her attitude in her blog as being "cruel neutrality". I'm aiming at that. Cruel neutrality. 
My centrism is this way: I remain socially liberal; economically, I'm a capitalist. I don't like socialism because of my experience with it in China of the seventies (ration books to get food and clothing. Ration books, for goodness sake). Also I've had experience of owning and running my own business for seven years. One with 300 staff and so a sizeable payroll to meet every month. There's nothing like meeting a payroll to give you a keen appreciation of the needs of business. 
Apparently there are not many Centrists around. There seem to be plenty of Independents, thought never enough to make a third party candidate viable. Just enough, sometimes, to screw up mainstream candidates like Al Gore in 2000. (That year it was Nader and the Greens).
Anyway, I'll be watching with interest and amusement what goes on post the Mueller report. 
Short Mueller: no collusion with Russia by Trump and co. And no new indictments. Cue Left meltdown ...
CNN spin (a part): look at the number of Trump associates already indicted. Guilty! Guilty Trump! But dig down (says I). They've been banged up mostly for lying and the lies were a result of "perjury traps". If a prosecutor wants to get you on  a perjury charge, they will. Bang. A Felony. And some others are in for tax evasion. Again, if a prosecutor wants to get you in tax, they will. Look at Al Capone.
And as Scott Adams says, CNN pundits are really depressed this morning. He’s right! As for the indictments for perjury, he says it’s like they went off to hunt an elephant and shot sixteen squirrels! And claim victory. And he’s right ! Video here.

[Note my use of the singular "they" in the penultimate para. I'm trying to promote it, rather than the clumsy "he or she". Which in any case these days, is not trans-inclusive enough. You could get arrested for "misgendering". 
[Also, Shakespeare used the singular "they"].

Sent from my iPhone

China and India Green the World

23 March print edition of South China Morning Post

I wrote about this recently. That is, China and India have planted more trees than the area of the Amazon rainforest. Result: a net increase in global greenery in the last twenty years. 

A rare bit of good news on the environment front. 
(I can't find this in the online SCMP. There's still some value in print!).

“I Want to Be Investigated by the FBI” | Alan Dershowitz | WSJ

Dershowitz is law professor emeritus at Harvard university. This is a clearly and beautifully written article. A litany of justice denied.
My own conspiracy theory is that he's being "got at" because he's had the temerity to wander off the leftist plantation (he's a registered Democrat and donor to Democrats). In particular he wrote a book The Case Against Impeaching Trump, and has supported due process for Trump as well as for the targets of #MeToo allegations. (The Left no longer likes due process — mainly the presumption of innocence — because it gets in the way of "believe the victim" and stopping the likes of a Kavanaugh appointment to the SCOTUS).
So this is a kind of taste of leftist medicine for Dershowitz. Take that, you rotter! Take that, you traitor! You traitor to the cause! You sexual predator! From a vengeful Left.
At least that's my theory, which is mine.
ForDershowitz 's final para:

In more than half a cen­tury of lit­i­gat­ing crim­i­nal cases, I have never seen one in which the ev­i­dence of in­nocence is so in­con­tro­vertible and the evi­dence of guilt nonex­is­tent. If my ev­i­dence is "in­con­clusive", then no falsely ac­cused per­son can ever clear his name.

I Want to Be Investigated by the FBI

Friday 22 March 2019

Kiwi women veil. It’s well-meaning. But it’s wrong.

I agree with Andy (below).
I thought it was crazy when I saw it on TV. Well-meaning, but ignorant people this in-sympathy veiling. 
Ignorant, for example, of Muslim feminists fighting to be "#Free of the hijab". Ignorant of Nasrin Sotoudeh, the human rights campaigner in Iran, who is in prison, due for 180 lashes, because she defends Iranian women who dare walk in public unveiled. Ms Sotoudeh appeared in court unveiled  herself and was thrown an additional charge of "destabilising the government". 
And so, because ignorance, dear, lovely, sweet Kiwis; well-meaning, caring … naive Kiwis, ignorant Kiwis, thinking they're showing solidarity with grieving Muslims, go out and veil themselves. On the country's government-funded TV station, no less. 
Why is it that well-meaning folks everywhere (it's not just New Zealand) seem to do what the Islamists want, not what moderate Muslims want? Are they afraid they'll be called out by those same Islamists for not showing enough "solidarity"? Or that they'll be accused of "destabilising Islam"? Or something. 
Whatever, it's a …
And sends a horrible message to Muslim feminists: we see you, but we don't care; virtue-signalling is more important to us. (Or perhaps "we don't see you because… well, just because. Sorry 'bout that, eh!")

Andy Ngo (@MrAndyNgo)
This is a propaganda win for Islamists who have convinced foolish people that showing support for Muslims means taking on conservative, political Islamic practices.…

Andy Ngo is a blogger, vlogger and Twitterato based in Portland Oregon. Gay, by the way. 

Delusions of poverty among the very wealthy

Tim Pool (@Timcast)
I grew up on Chicago's Southside. Gang violence, drugs, etc.

My family lost our home when I was a kid. I was homeless on and off in my late teens.

Charlotte comes from prosperity but can't recognize it, she wants more than she already has and now embraces socialism to get it…
This is the tweet that Tim is referring to:
Now this is truly palm-bang-on-forehead crazy. 
Charlotte Alter is 29 years old, a featured and rising writer for Time magazine and other media. She lives with her parents in ritzy Montclair, New Jersey. Montclair has a median household income of $US124,000 three times the $43,000 average for the US. Wikipedia describes Montclair's attractions, and you can imagine them, upper-class American, big houses, wide clean streets, sports facilities, arts centres, schools and playgrounds and Manhattan a stone's throw away. 
Her family is no doubt even more wealthy than the median, as her father Jonathan, son of millionaire industrialists, is a best-selling author and film producer. He and his wife are well connected to the Democratic Party right up and into the Obama circle. 
Charlotte's brother is a producer for HBO sports and her younger sister is a venture capitalist. 
In short, she is the epitome of privilege and wealth. 
Yet she thinks she has "never experienced American prosperity". 
This is ugly and bizarre. 
The reason I'm going in about this is that she and people like her are going to impact elections with their delusions of poverty and fascination with socialism. Like socialism is going to give them more. More for their poor, deprived selves. 
It's crazy and it's sick. 
Tim Poole who's recently been on Joe Rogan, grilling Jack Dorsey, and on Dave Rubin, is a wickedly smart young guy. He's Left, but not Ctrl-Left. Worth following through to his comments in Alter the Elder daughter. 
[i hope I haven't been trolled here and Charlotte's doing irony. But I don't think so]

Ex Muslim deplatformed because of sensitivity over Christchurch

Maajid - (Mฤjid) [maหสคษชd] ู…ุงุฌุฏ (@MaajidNawaz)
This is getting ridiculous. Ex-Muslims are the *most* vulnerable minority within our minority communities. Those who cancelled this talk due to NZ attacks: you have been trolled by a terrorist. Next time ISIS attacks, Will you cancel talks critical of foreign policy too? ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿฝ‍♂️๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿฝ‍♂️๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿฝ‍♂️…

Interesting article at the link …


Jesus and Mo

A bit of a sledgehammer this week, but on point...
It's happening, in the UK, Schools stopping teaching of LGBT-tolerance courses, because some Muslim parents are upset by it.
And remember it’s perfectly safe to like this cartoon! It ain’t bigoted.…

Congress’s Mean Girls Are Trump’s Offspring - The Wall Street Journal.

AOC and Ilhan Omar: socialist antisemites 
Peggy Noonan, my near-twin, on happenings in the DemParty. Talks of China's Cultural Revolution which certainly brings back memories for me, as I was in China in its final years and was subject myself to a kind of "struggle session". It's an apt analogy.
Read­ers know how I feel about the cur­rent po­lit­i­cal at­mosphere. I de­cry the air of ac­cu­sation on so­cial me­dia and in our broader po­lit­i­cal life, and the spirit of the strug­gle ses­sions of the Chi­nese Cul­tural Rev­o­lu­tion. Last week­end there was the video of a preg­nant Chelsea Clin­ton be­ing accosted by an New York Uni­ver­sity stu­dent who screamed at her and waved her fin­ger in her face. It re­minded me of a strug­gle session, but the stu­dent her­self, in her cer­titude, self-righteousness and chic, also reminded me of Ms. Oca­sio-Cortez and her friends in Con­gress.
In less than three months in of­fice they have es­tab­lished a new mood, an ap­proach to na­tional pol­i­tics that is com­bat­ive, an­gry, po­lar­iz­ing. Rep. Ilhan Omar of Min­nesota surely meant to op­pose U.S. pol­icy to­ward Is­rael but some­how couldn't quite man­age to do it with­out be­ing ob­vi­ously anti-Sem­itic—"Is­rael has hyp­notized the world," "It's all about the Benjamins baby." It caused an up­roar, she apol­o­gized, but it seems never to have oc­curred to her that you can't talk about your fel­low Ameri­cans that way. Or that she is a pub­lic fig­ure and has to ac­tu­ally model admirable be­havior.
The rest … Congress's Mean Girls Are Trump's Offspring

“Trump Supports Israeli Sovereignty Over the Golan Heights” | WSJ

An Israeli soldier patrols the Golan Heights
But...but... isn't Trump a racist antisemite?
If he is, he's not a very good one as this latest step comes after the move of the US Embassy to Jerusalem, a move consistent with long-standing US policy.
I've been to the Golan Heights and is obvious why, whatever Elise happens, Israel can't hand them back to Syria. The soldier above is looking over Israel to the right. The perfect base to lob rockets into Israel. And they would not be just Syrian rockets. Iran is lining up there, inside Syria, ready to attack its hated enemy. If you look left in this picture, you're looking into Syria where you can still, to this day, see tanks destroyed in the Six Day war.
So, screw it. Golan Heights is Israel. It has to be for its national security.
Trump Supports Israeli Sovereignty Over the Golan Heights

Thursday 21 March 2019

Who should we blame for the Christchurch atrocity? | Spectator

So, I put together my list of all the people, places and things that have been blamed for the Christchurch massacre. And since then many others have put together lists too. Because the idiocy had become so so egregious and so obvious that one had to say something. The idiocy of claiming everyone not Left and woke enough has blood on their hands. The blame has spread further than blaming the Right: in the whole of Australia has been blamed; all white people. Here's Douglas Murray. He's of those blamed for the slaughter. I've read his books and articles for years. He's not a bigot, not racist. That ought to be clear from this article. Here it is in full, courtesy the Spectator.

A frequent complaint heard from Muslim communities in recent years has been irritation and anger over any suggestion that Muslims – as a whole – need to apologise for attacks carried out in the name of their religion. I have sympathy for this irritation, tying as it does innocent people to the actions of guilty ones. But since the attack in New Zealand was carried out by a non-Muslim who was targeting Muslims, whether or not it needs to be said still it should be said – indeed must be said – that non-Muslims abhor, are disgusted, outraged and sickened by somebody going into a place of worship and gunning down innocent people. We condemn it in the most fulsome and unreserved terms. In what world of sickness do you have to live to think that shooting a child or an adult is a legitimate response to any claim or grievance, real or imagined? Apart from the gunman himself, it isn't clear that anyone else is responsible for the massacre. But that hasn't stopped all manner of people on social media seeking to apportion blame – in a way that suggests that they had their list of culprits ready long before this heinous act.

Perhaps because of some remaining awareness of libel laws, this has not crossed over into mainstream publications. But those on British social media currently being claimed to have instructed a terrorist to go into a New Zealand mosque include Melanie Phillips, Boris Johnson, Rod Liddle, David Aaronovitch, Sajid Javid, The Times, Julia Hartley-Brewer and me. Those compiling lists in the US have tended to favour blaming Bill Maher, Sam Harris, Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Chelsea Clinton. I will get back in a moment to expressing the unutterable contempt I have towards the people playing this game.

These attributions of blame have been published by prominent commentators, a member of the House of Lords and an academic from King's College London. Some are additionally targeting journalists accused merely of 'refusing' to name names and denounce colleagues. I have pointed out here before the dumbfounding double-standard at work in such moments.

But let me pause for a moment to play this the other way around. Imagine if after any Islamist atrocity of recent years (or after the next one) I or anybody else decided to hold specific British journalists and members of the House of Lords personally responsible for the massacre. Or claim that the dead are only dead because of (say) The Guardian, because they once published an opinion piece from Osama bin Laden, and that if anybody wants to make their feelings felt they might head to that organ's offices immediately after chasing certain members from the House of Lords. I wouldn't do it myself, because I retain some respect for standards of truth and evidence when it comes to such serious accusations (as I mentioned here the other week). Yet perhaps others will become keen to attribute such guilt after the next Islamist atrocity now that the new rules are clear.

There was a demonstration of how low this has gone in New York on Friday, where a vigil to commemorate the dead of New Zealand was attended by a pregnant Chelsea Clinton. There a left-wing activist decided to accuse Chelsea Clinton on video of being personally responsible for inspiring the sort of terror that took place in New Zealand. One reason why I continue to insist on the differences between the terms 'anti-Semitism' and 'Islamophobia' was demonstrated here. Chelsea Clinton was accused of causing the New Zealand massacre because she recently criticised Congresswoman Ilhan Omar's expressions of anti-Semitism. Here we get to a rub. We might agree that there are some people who are motivated by hatred of Muslims: the terrorist in Christchurch clearly was. But the merest criticism of Ilhan Omar for anti-Semitism gets described as 'Islamophobia' and thus an act of incitement to do the sort of thing that happened in New Zealand. How is one to get out of this illogical whirlpool? By being exceedingly exact about terms. However, let me park this argument for another time. Fifty people are dead and there are non-definitional arguments that require more urgent attention.

Firstly let me say this. If you are going to accuse specific public figures of being somehow responsible for a mass slaying, there are only two things you can be doing. The first is hoping that people do not read the terrorist's manifesto and just believe your lies. The alternative is that you force people to read the shooter's manifesto and then realise that you are lying, since none of the public figures mentioned above is mentioned in the manifesto.
Millions of people have read the writers mentioned and listened to the politicians and broadcasters, and of those millions only this man in New Zealand has been inspired to murder. And then it turns out that he hasn't even praised or in any way cited any of the people featured above. However to even engage in this game is to pretend that the shooter's manifesto is a serious document that must be taken at face value.

If you are going to do that then you are going to have to be honest. The manifesto's contents include exhortations to a form of fascism the terrorist calls 'Green nationalism'. So if you want to take down everything praised in the manifesto you're going to have to go for the Green movement as an accomplice to murder. The terrorist also cites some poetry (Dylan Thomas and W.E. Henley) as well as Nelson Mandela. So again, we're going to have to lose a certain amount of poetry as well as one of the 20th century's great moral heroes if we go down this path.

But most fascinating is that the shooter cites Candace Owens as an inspiration. Over recent days the media has gone huge on this. Some readers will know that Owens is a prominent young black Republican Trump supporter, who is also one of the leaders of the student activist group Turning Point. In his manifesto the shooter says that he wants to credit Owens in particular for inspiring him. I am told by a colleague that this is a meme on far-right message boards associated with the 'alt-right' who like to troll Turning Point (who they hate for being pro-Israel, among other things) by endlessly, mockingly tipping their hat to them. The fact that the shooter says what he says about Candace Owens, and says that he knows that he must disavow some of her more extreme statements [his view] reads to me like a very clear attempt to target Candace Owens, whom he clearly hates. He wishes to send the mob after her. I am sorry to say that I think people have been played for suckers here, and the media have fallen into one of the traps that the killer laid for them.

One final point in closing. Among the multiple 'inspirations' carved on the terrorist's gun were the words 'for Rotherham'. This is being used by some people as an example not just of the shooter's motives but of the iniquity of the journalists and writers (especially at The Times) who have at any point written about the rape abuse scandals there.

So here is a thought. The people bestriding social media blaming people who have written about Rotherham or related atrocities seem to be under the impression that some chunk of the general public is ready and primed for similar acts of terror. They think that shutting down discussion now would stop such atrocities being repeated. I wonder if they would consider a different possibility? Which is that rather than inciting acts of violent rage by discussing such issues, it is possible that the organs willing to break the silence may in fact be engaged in defusing a societal problem rather than exacerbating it.

Wednesday 20 March 2019

Well said Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins (@RichardDawkins)
Hostility to religion is not the same as hostility to religious people. Quite the contrary. Muslims are the main victims of Islam's cruelty. I am deeply hostile to Islam & I warmly applaud NZ's wonderful Prime Minister in her moving display of love for her country's Muslims.

Time and again I have to explain the difference between Islam and Muslims. Between criticising an idea, an ideology and treating the people with respect. 
Rather like I differentiated between communism the ideology and Russians the folks, during the Soviet empire. Ditto Chinese under Mao. Communism bad; folks suffering under it good. 
That's one of the "Things I don't get": why that concept seems so hard to comprehend.  

People who won’t STFU, and *should* be followed

Andy Ngo's take on the above rather horrid tweet:
Andy Ngo (@MrAndyNgo)
You can tell who is a grifter when they use massacres to try and settle personal vendettas. Case in point is ⁦‪@imraansiddiqi‬⁩, the executive director of CAIR Arizona:

And I'll add Siddiqi's "native informants" to my list of who is "responsible for Christchurch" …
"Zuhdi" is Dr Zuhdi Jaser a promoter of tolerant and secular values in Islam. T. Fatah is Tarik Fatah a secular Canadian Muslim and critic of some of the worst aspects ofIslam. Asra Nomani is a feminist promoting human rights for women in Islam. 
These are the sorts of principled people that shits like Siddiqi and heaps of his fellow travellers slime and denigrate as "native informants" or "Uncle Toms". Disgusting. 
Really there's no hope for improvement in relations between Islam and the west until there's acceptance of the agenda being promoted by the moderate reforming Muslims. The west has had its enlightenment; Islam needs its. The Left needs to accept this too. I'm not holding my breath. It won't happen in my lifetime. The Christchurch murders make it even harder. The killer's aim. 

The ignorance (duplicity?) of the chatterati

Rita Panahi (@RitaPanahi)
You call me a bitch for giving a voice to voiceless victims persecuted in Islamic countries? Women, religious minorities, dissidents, atheists, homosexuals & many more living under theocracy. Stick to posting anti-Israeli propaganda, you cretinous bigot. ⁦‪@suchaniceboyesq‬⁩…

Rita Panahi does a job that all should be doing. But this guy calls her a "bitch" for doing so. Because criticisms homophobia, misogyny and the rest of it should be shut down. In case a white suprematist nutter gets it into his head to murder innocent Muslims. Go figure that one. 
The way to a better world. Not. 


Today's New York Times 

“Revisiting Chung Kuo, Antonioni’s 1972 film shot in communist China” | SCMP

Antonioni in Tiananmen Square during the making of Chung Kuo in 1972
What a great story!
I arrived in China shortly after this Antonioni film was released and remember the hubbub about it. (It was released only in the west, not China at the time).
Now some smart young Chinese filmmakers have gone back to find the subjects of his original doco and found out how they're doing today. Great concept. 
Apparently they still remember Antonioni vividly and warmly. 
Antonioni was devastated by the negative reaction to his film. Though TBF it was the people against it, but the Beijing government, then in the grip of the Gang of Four's leftist lunacy, the time being the fag end of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. 
The new doco is Seeking Chung Kuo.
Looking forward to it!
In 1972, Italian filmmaker Michelangelo Antonioni toured China at the invitation of then premier Zhou Enlai and made a documentary about the lives of ordinary Chinese during the Cultural Revolution. The film – Chung Kuo, Cina – sparked one of the biggest, and least warranted scandals in cinematic history, something which plunged its director into despair.
Conceived by Italian public broadcaster RAI and the Chinese embassy in Rome, the idea behind the film was to have a leftist filmmaker visit China and make a film singing the praises of the communist revolution.   However, Antonioni shot a film that was worlds away from propaganda – a 217 minutetravelogue showing ordinary Chinese in tattered clothing amid nondescript architecture.