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Thursday, January 04, 2018

Links - 4th January 2018 (2)

‘Did it for family’: Two women charged for stripping on Facebook Live - "“But I really had to support my family. I have a mother and a younger sibling who needs tuition. I don’t have enough income,” she added"

UC Berkeley Battles Students Over 'Offensive' Building Names - "“Many were hopeful” when the university said it would review building names in the wake of concerns about Barrows Hall, “but more than a year later, the committee tasked with reviewing building names instead simply recommended creating yet another committee,” the paper said, claiming that nearly every building on Berkeley's campus honored a "racist."... Barrows was the superintendent of schools in Manila while the Philippines was under American control, and went on to serve as Berkeley's president for a brief time in the early 20th century. Little of his work is considered "white supremacist," but apparently, his mere appearance in the Philippines during a time of colonization is enough to tarnish him for eternity. But, it also turns out that the student-proposed solution to the "Barrows problem" was just as problematic. According to Campus Reform, the kids wanted Barrows Hall renamed after Assata Shakur (also known as Joanne Chesimard), a member of the Black Panthers who was convicted of murdering a police officer in 1977, escaped prison and now lives in exile in Cuba. The FBI lists Shakur as a "domestic terrorist" and a member of the "extremist group," the Black Revolutionary Army."

Hawker reveals why Indian-Muslim mee goreng is red - "“The red colour gives the impression that the dish is spicy, and eating with that perception in mind will somehow make the dish taste nicer,” said the 41-year-old, whose customers are commonly Malay. “Malays like spicy food,” said Rahim, who has applied the same strategy to other dishes such as the mutton chop. And thanks to improvements made to food colourings over the years, the mee goreng is a lot redder today than it was in the past."

Portland Police Are Erasing Gang Database After Complaints That It's Mean To Gang Members - "The move appears to be done in the name of political correctness. Many agencies throughout the nation have gang member databases, and they are an invaluable investigative tool for officers, including officer safety. The gang database would alert officers when they were out with a known gang member, and that database is now going away. The database was also used to send social workers to try to work with the gang members to get them out of gangs."
Addendum: If you have no data, you can't claim there's a problem. Brilliant.

Sacramento City Council Votes Unanimously To Pay Gang Members $1.5 Million To Not Kill People - "The program pays gang members to graduate school and stop shooting at people. If a gang member wants to start killing people, they’ll be forfeiting their taxpayer-funded payday"

Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant Calls Two Officers 'Racist Murders,' So They Sue - "Two Seattle Police Officers are suing city councilmember Kshama Sawant after she publicly called them “racist murderers” after they were forced to shoot Che Taylor in 2016, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit, reported by Safe Seattle, states that in addition to calling the officers murderers, she also said that the shooting was the result of “racial profiling” despite overwhelming evidence that this was not the case."

The Double Blue Pill Can Be An Insidious Weapon Of Reaction - "Take old Atticus Finch, the iconic defense lawyer from To Kill a Mockingbird. The story is set in depression-era Alabama, where a young white girl and her father falsely accuse a black man of raping her. A literature teacher may include the book in his syllabus in order to advance a narrative about the evils of racism. But now introduce the concept of “rape culture” into the discussion and you’ve turned things on their head. Atticus Finch is no longer the brave, color-blind attorney upholding the law in the face of systemic racism: he is complicit in a patriarchal society that “blames the victim.” The knife of the double blue pill will cut very deep. Not only will double blue pilling expose the absurdity of any type of argument offered by social justice warriors, in their attempts to refute your arguments they will attack other aspects of social justice. They will eat each other. Since you really have no vested interest in the argument, the more heated it gets, the more entertained you are... the temptation to argue honestly with thoroughly dishonest people is likely to be a person’s undoing. By using the double blue pill counter to social justice advocacy, one does not set off alarm bells in the Marxist thought police. It is also useful in the office-type environment with liberal Nazi human resources departments. Any type of action to counter you is an actual attack on social justice itself, just a different aspect of its broad coalition of victims"
This sounds a lot like intersectionality!

Genetics, Fear, and the Slippery Slope of Moral Authoritarianism - "this last cautionary tale—that of using genetics to advance stereotypes—ultimately led to what appeared to me to be censorship and moral indoctrination. My program was shrouded in this fear like a cloud. Like Google’s motto, “Don’t be evil”, what was evil was assumed and any utterances out of step with certain assumptions were silenced—their holders punished... the cold, shaming signals I received within the genetics community began to make sense. Genetics, I began to see, has a tribal culture, interlaced with post-modern thinking about race, gender, and intelligence. The mark of the post-modern tinge being the taboo nature of these otherwise academic topics. If you touch these topics, the gods (your peers) may punish you, even if you strive by your occupation to reduce inequalities, are an equal opportunity feminist, and think differences in intelligence matter socially but don’t constrain a person’s innate worth as a human being... what our majority needs to protect against is the horror that we can’t see so clearly—normal people, sanctioned by the majority, committing atrocities not yet recognized by the majority as harms. This is why we must tolerate the voices of dissent and, in particular, dissent against core values, the values that make groups take up moral crusades. For this reason, Google should end its shunning and offer back to Damore his job. Far from Damore’s words being a threat to diversity, they protected diversity in Silicon Valley from the creeping boxed thinking that sets communities up for moral malaise... ideas are best addressed by facing them, not by ousting members with ideas deemed contentious. Engaging on the battlefield of ideas is how we balance and protect each other."

Is It Time to Break Up Google? - The New York Times - "Brandeis wanted to eliminate monopolies, because (in the words of his biographer Melvin Urofsky) “in a democratic society the existence of large centers of private power is dangerous to the continuing vitality of a free people.” We need look no further than the conduct of the largest banks in the 2008 financial crisis or the role that Facebook and Google play in the “fake news” business to know that Brandeis was right. While Brandeis generally opposed regulation — which, he worried, inevitably led to the corruption of the regulator — and instead advocated breaking up “bigness,” he made an exception for “natural” monopolies, like telephone, water and power companies and railroads, where it made sense to have one or a few companies in control of an industry. Could it be that these companies — and Google in particular — have become natural monopolies by supplying an entire market’s demand for a service, at a price lower than what would be offered by two competing firms? And if so, is it time to regulate them like public utilities? Consider a historical analogy: the early days of telecommunications."

Pope Francis Breaks Tradition and Stuns Thousands With Bold Move - "he bowed down in front of the crowd at St. Peter’s Basilica and confessed his sins to an ordinary priest, Reuters reported. Typically, the pope goes to confession in private, so his decision was a departure from the past."

The London escalator trial shows how our fear of change defeats logic | Masuma Rahim - "Transport for London’s novel solution to the congestion at the station makes perfect sense and, during a trial last November, it cut congestion at peak times by 30% - but commuters weren’t happy, and many chose to defy the change, sticking to their old habits. TfL staff had the unenviable task of trying to ensure several thousand commuters obeyed the new “standing-only” rule, and despite their best efforts, there were the inevitable renegades... Volkswagen teamed up with the marketing agency DDB Stockholm to try to encourage behaviour change through incentives. Unsurprisingly, people were 66% more likely to take the stairs than the escalators if the staircase was turned into a giant set of piano keys. Essentially, if you can motivate people to change based on an intrinsic motivation, you’re probably going to have more success"

Islam has made London a more conservative place than it was 50 years ago - "The new conservatism of London has already had profound effects, as demographic changes gather pace. Stonewall’s bus adverts, for example, would be better concentrated in Tower Hamlets, where there were 47 anti-gay attacks in 2008, rather than being wasted on the rest of us. Young gay men in the provinces no longer need to run away to London, one of the most religiously conservative places in England now (and not just among Muslims – African Christians too)... the Tate Gallery refused to exhibit John Latham’s conceptual piece God is Great, originally made in 1991, which featured a six-foot high plate of glass with a Talmud, Bible and Koran. It said it would not be "appropriate" following the London bombings. Latham was in the avant garde of 1960s art, where freedom to criticise and mock religion went without saying; 50 years later London is a very different place in many, many ways."

London Metropolitan University's alcohol-free zone plan - "Professor Malcolm Gillies, the vice chancellor of London Metropolitan University, said "cultural sensitivity" was the reason behind the proposal"

'It is only a matter of time before a Muslim student is physically assaulted' - Muslim students condemn university alcohol ban - "We find your recent comments regarding banning alcohol on university premises being based on religious grounds as an attack not only on the values we hold, but also on the values of the wider non-Muslim community. Your comments clearly showed that the alcohol ban you proposed is based on gross generalisation about the views of Muslim students"

Islamic State sent Istanbul mass murder jihadi three women as reward for butchery - "In some sections of Islam it is understood that those who die in the name of God are gifted 72 virgins upon reaching heaven. While Mashaipov was clearly the recipient of a reward without having to give his life in the name of his religion, it is not clear if the women sent to him were virgins"

Maryam Namazie and the Shame of the Pro-Islamist Left - "The dismal spectacle of radical queer activists, feminists, and sundry other progressives, professing solidarity with Islamists is at once fascinating and enraging. Whatever kind of higher education survives in ISOC’s utopian caliphate, it’s certain that no feminist or LGBTQ+ societies will be permitted to exist. But for radical university students in the West, their lives of almost unparalleled opportunity, privilege, and comfort are a source of considerable guilt and anxiety. So conspiratorial notions of omnipresent oppression have been contrived against which they oblige themselves to struggle. This idea is supported by claims that liberal democracy is a sham, that objectivity is illusory, and that reason is elitist. And since all that makes rational discussion virtually impossible, debates about ideas are transformed into competing professions of woe, decided by whoever turns out to be subject to the greater degree of structural oppression... Namazie is a woman, an Iranian (and thus a “person of color”), an ex-Muslim, a feminist, and a campaigner for secularism and human rights. And yet apparently she still hasn’t collected enough oppression points to outbid theocratic fascist males, conversant in the hand-holding jargon currently fashionable on the Tumblr Left... In late 2013, a scandal erupted when it was revealed that advocacy organization Universities UK had published diversity advice (since withdrawn) recommending segregation of audiences by gender at Islamist events on campus. The New Statesman’s Laurie Penny, a young feminist writer who has built a career on radical self-disgust, protested in the Guardian that she could hardly be expected to condemn religious gender apartheid while women remained under-represented at the top levels of the academy. “Horror stories about Muslim misogyny,” she added, “have long been used by western patriarchs to justify imperialism abroad and sexism at home”."
Whataboutery is okay if liberals do it

Islamic Islamophobia: When Muslims Are Not Muslim Enough, What Does It Promise for the Rest of Us? - "There is so much attention paid to the idea of "Islamophobia" in the country that many people -- including some Muslim groups -- immediately assumed that the killing of Asad Shah was an "Islamophobic" murder. It turned out, however, that the man who had been detained by police -- and this week sentenced to a minimum of 27 years in prison for the murder -- was also a Muslim. Mr Shah was an Ahmadiyya Muslim -- that is, a member of the peaceable Islamic sect which is dismissed as "heretical" by many Muslims. Mr Shah's murderer, on the other hand, was a Sunni Muslim, Tanveer Ahmed, who had travelled up from Bradford to kill Mr Shah because he believed Mr Shah had "disrespected the Prophet Mohammed." At this point the comfortable narratives of modern Britain began to fray... What happened this week in court when Tanveer Ahmed was found guilty and sentenced for the murder of Asad Shah was even more revealing. After the judge read out the sentence, Tanveer Ahmed raised his fist and started shouting in Arabic "There is only one prophet." Supporters, who made up around half the people in the public gallery, joined in with his cries. All of which made it understandable that the family of Mr Shah had been too terrified to turn up in court during the trial of their relative's murderer, and are apparently planning to leave Scotland."

Erdoğan's One-Man Islamist Show: Dateline - "A recent survey by Kadir Has University in Istanbul suggests that a substantial number of Turks are fully aware of the current trajectory. The survey found that 56.5 percent of Turks do not think Turkey is a democratic country while 36.1 percent think it is. Similarly, 59 percent think that there is no freedom of thought while 33.1 percent said there is. A mere 9 percent of Turks think there "definitely" is a free press in the country although another 31.3 percent agree to some extent. These numbers leave almost 60 percent who are sure they no longer have these civil liberties. More alarmingly, when narrowed down to AKP voters—49.5 percent according to the November 2015 elections—the study finds that these Turks do not care all that much about democratic values... nearly half of AKP voters do not think they live in a democratic country but are happy to vote for the party anyway, without blaming it for the democratic deficit"

Islam needs to invest in people and universities, not mosques - "The discourse on Islam as we know it today has been hijacked by Islamist militants. Their actions and narrative have had the power to frame Muslims the way the militants want them to be in the media. The remaining 99 per cent of Muslims have been a silent majority and have done very little to resist or change that perception. Part of the reason might be that much of the debate in the Islamic world today is prehistoric. From Pakistan and India to the edges of the Islamic world, Islamic councils are more concerned with questions related to women's dress and piety than with talking about science, technology and innovation. The counter narrative is nonexistent... I had the opportunity to attend a fundraiser hosted by an Islamic organisation in Australia. To my surprise, in a matter of four hours, the organisation raised more than $2 million to build yet another mosque. The organisation's head said at the event he was committed to building a mosque every two miles in Australia... For too long, the discourse has been focused on building mosques, instead of universities. That's one reason it isn't a surprise that throughout the Muslim world we see beautifully decorated mosques, but not a single university worthy to be seen as one of the world's top universities. Unless the Muslim world and the Muslim communities living in the West reprioritise and start investing in people and scientific knowledge with their oil wealth or charity, the field will remain wide open for militant-minded individuals to carry the flag of Islam."

CAIR: Islamists Fooling the Establishment :: Middle East Quarterly - "The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), headquartered in Washington, is perhaps the best-known and most controversial Muslim organization in North America... The Department of Homeland Security refuses to deal with it. Senator Charles Schumer (Democrat, New York) describes it as an organization "which we know has ties to terrorism." Senator Dick Durbin (Democrat, Illinois) observes that CAIR is "unusual in its extreme rhetoric and its associations with groups that are suspect." Steven Pomerantz, the FBI's former chief of counterterrorism, notes that "CAIR, its leaders, and its activities effectively give aid to international terrorist groups." The family of John P. O'Neill, Sr., the former FBI counterterrorism chief who perished at the World Trade Center, named CAIR in a lawsuit as having "been part of the criminal conspiracy of radical Islamic terrorism" responsible for the September 11 atrocities. Counterterrorism expert Steven Emerson calls it "a radical fundamentalist front group for Hamas." Of particular note are the American Muslims who reject CAIR's claim to speak on their behalf... Kamal Nawash, head of Free Muslims Against Terrorism, finds that CAIR and similar groups condemn terrorism on the surface while endorsing an ideology that helps foster extremism, adding that "almost all of their members are theocratic Muslims who reject secularism and want to establish Islamic states."... Perhaps the most obvious problem with CAIR is the fact that at least five of its employees and board members have been arrested, convicted, deported, or otherwise linked to terrorism-related charges and activities."

Tom Holland: We must not deny the religious roots of Islamic State - "The truth is that in Islam today, as in Christianity during the Reformation, the spectrum of those who practise the faith is widening to convulsive effect. Hasan’s dismissal of two Isis recruits from Birmingham as “religious novices” echoes the horror of Catholic scholars such as Thomas More at the pretensions of Protestant tailors and tinkers. Just as in the early 16th century the printing press and the efforts of translators such as Luther and Tyndale served to democratise knowledge of the Bible, so in the 21st century has the ready availability on the internet of the Quran and the hadiths in the vernacular enabled rappers, security guards and schoolgirls all to bandy scripture. To complain that quranic verses which mandate crucifixion or beheading are being cited without reference to the traditions of Islamic jurisprudence is to miss the point. It is precisely because Isis militants imagine themselves the equivalent of Muhammad’s companions, blessed with an unadorned understanding of God’s commands, that they feel qualified to establish a caliphate"
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