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Thursday, November 28, 2019

Links - 28th November 2019 (2) (Islam/'Islamophobia')

To prevent another Christchurch, Islam must confront the attacks in its name that have radicalised the West - "Solidarity across racial, religious, cultural and political lines to address this global crisis is the only answer. But this means resolutely acknowledging the causal factors of the violence that we are seeing in so many parts of the world. As a Muslim, this leads me to questions that require difficult but honest answers... The targeting of Muslims at prayer in Christchurch comes after nearly two decades during which Islamist atrocities have been a pervasive feature of news bulletins around the world. The massacre in New Zealand would likely be inconceivable if divorced from this wider context in which Islam has become synonymous with terror in the minds of many non-Muslims.Sadly, from an Islamist perspective, the Christchurch atrocity is simply part of an ancient cycle of violence. Of course, most Europeans do not view themselves as being “at war” with Islam. But to a significant percentage of Muslims, this is simply because Westerners have been enjoying the peace of the victor, which Islamists seek to challenge. This is why Christchurch is such a dangerous moment. Ending the cycle of violence requires addressing not only the ideology and motivations of someone like Tarrant, but also the historical framework he shares with many Muslims. That is, that Muslims and non-Muslims are and shall remain in a state of permanent conflict, until the end of time (according to Islamists) or the disappearance of Islam (according to advocates of a “counter-jihad”). Among Muslims and non-Muslims, there is an urgent need to address those obsolete and problematic elements of Islamic orthodoxy that underlie the Islamist worldview, fuelling violence on both sides. The world’s largest Muslim organisation, Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama, of which I am General Secretary, has begun to do exactly that. The truth, we recognise, is that jihadist doctrine, goals and strategy can be traced to specific tenets of orthodox, authoritative Islam and its historic practice. This includes those portions of Shariah that promote Islamic supremacy, encourage enmity towards non-Muslims and require the establishment of a caliphate. It is these elements – still taught by most Sunni and Shiite institutions – that constitute a summons to perpetual conflict. It is our firm view that, if Muslims do not address the key tenets of Islamic tradition that encourage this violence, anyone – at any time – can harness them to defy what they claim to be illegitimate laws and butcher their fellow citizens, whether they live in the Islamic world or the West. This is what links so many current events, from Syria to the streets of London. There is a desperate need for honest discussion of these matters. This is why it worries me to see Western political and intellectual elites weaponise the term “Islamophobia,” to short-circuit analysis of a complex phenomenon that threatens all humanity... it is vital to challenge the prevailing “Muslim mindset,” which is predicated upon enmity and suspicion towards non-Muslims, and often rationalises perpetrating violence in the name of Islam. Otherwise, non-Muslims will continue to be radicalised by Islamist attacks and by large-scale Muslim migration to the West."

Islamophobia definition will prevent criticism of the 'hateful' ideology of Islam, say leading atheists - "Richard Dawkins and Peter Tatchell - and other authors including a former member of extremist group Hizb ut-Tahrir - say attempts to define Islamophobia risk curtailing freedom of speech and work to expose extremism.  In a book of essays published today by the think tank Civitas, Mr Tatchell said he would have fallen foul of the new definition - proposed by leading politicians and backed by Labour - when he attacked Hizb ut-Tahrir over its anti-gay, anti-women comments... “My protest in 1994 could fall within the sweeping definition of Islamophobia proposed by the APPG, since it talks about Muslimness.  “No-one in our society should be discriminated against because of who they are, yet the term Islamophobia downgrades protecting Muslim people and mistakenly puts the focus on protecting ideas. “This has to be challenged. We are, it seems drifting towards a de facto threat to free speech and liberal values.”... Endorsed by Labour, the LibDems, Scottish Conservatives and some prominent Muslim groups, the APPG definition states: "Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness."  Concerns have been raised, including by the chairman of the National Police Chiefs' Council, that the definition was too vague and could undermine efforts to tackle extremism. Ed Husain, an expert on extremist groups after spending time as a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir as a teenager, said the racial and religious hatred act already made inciting hatred against someone on the basis of religion a crime with the caveat that it should not prohibit criticism of religions.“One impact of adopting any definition of “Islamophobia” is that we encourage victimhood rather than responsibility. We burn the bridges of liberty and freedom of expression on which millions of Muslims travelled to the West’”... Lord (Indarjit) Singh of Wimbledon, the crossbench peer and regular presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Thought for the Day, described Islamophobia as a “vague catch-all term” that poses a “danger to free speech and legitimate discussion... David Green, Civitas’s director, said: “There is wide public support for freedom of speech, and it is unlikely to be officially ended by an act of parliament, but it can be chipped away bit by bit.“Giving official recognition to the APPG definition of Islamophobia will be a giant step towards an arbitrary police state.”"

A law against Islamophobia is a terrible idea - "A school tries to prevent Muslim girls coming to school with their faces completely covered. It does so, not because it has any view about Islam, but because it wants teachers and fellow pupils to be able to know the girls, and because it shares the modern Western view that boys and girls should be treated equally. It could, under the sort of law proposed, be accused of Islamophobia. The career of the head could be ruined. So could the education of all the pupils, veiled or unveiled. You can imagine similar confrontations breaking out about mixed-sex swimming, dietary issues, dancing or singing classes, science teaching and so on. Such rows are already sadly common.With good will, the great majority of these issues can be managed. If you drag in the law, good will vanishes. You also empower those people who consider themselves the gatekeepers of their communities. This works against the values of an open society. There is a wide range of views within Islam about the “Muslimness” of women’s clothing, and no absolute rule about headwear. But, of course, it is not the moderate believers who make the most noise. If the authorities allow “Islamophobia” to be outlawed, they will have to define what is Islamic. Since they will be incapable of doing so, they will turn to self-appointed authorities, who, given the current worldwide ferment within Islam, will usually be militant. Our daily life will then have to be negotiated with self-appointed Muslim leaders. The freedoms of all will be curtailed. The resentment which breeds extremism will grow... An important problem is the likely fate of Muslims brave enough to challenge such leaders who claim to speak in the name of their faith. I recently had a conversation with a remarkable person, who lives in Berlin. She is called Seyran Ateş, and she is the imam and founder of what she calls an “inclusive” mosque. It has no denomination. It admits both sexes to pray together, “every legal sexuality” and people of all faiths and none. She hopes soon to open a “university of contemporary Islam”. Seyran is fighting the trend by which mosques in Germany are coming under the control of the Muslim Brotherhood, the main engine of militant, political Islam, and are in league with, and funded by, President Erdogan of Turkey. Both are trying
to organise German Muslims against the values of the society in which
they live.Needless to say, Seyran is often threatened with death. She has been under police protection for the past 12 years. How would such a brave woman fare in a country which ceded control of Muslims to their militants? I bet she’d be labelled Islamophobic."

What does the Muslim Council of Britain have against Muslims like me? | The Spectator Australia - "Have you ever wondered why there are so few moderate Muslim voices in the press? It’s not because they don’t exist. There are over a billion of us in the world. In many cases, it’s because of the way we are treated by hardliners. Once again, they have trained their crosshairs on me, this time charging me with ‘misrepresenting Muslim behaviour and belief’ and ‘negating the belief of some Muslims’. If a Muslim speaks up against political Islam – questioning the legitimacy of these self-appointed spokesmen – this is what we can expect. Just look at this week’s report by a group called the Centre for Media Monitoring, which claims that ‘Islamophobia’ is on the march in Britain. In making its case, the group cites one of my Spectator articles in which I defended Boris Johnson’s right to criticise the burqa (a garment which, unlike Boris, I do not think has any place in a tolerant society, nor a basis in Islam)... The term Islamophobia is also used to silence discussion on issues like the niqab – despite the fact that its use is hotly debated by Muslims around the world. Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria have all passed various laws opposing the wearing of garments like the burqa and niqab. These bans are often motivated by security concerns, but they also make it clear that face-covering is not a central practice in Islam. These nations see the niqab as deeply divisive, not only in Western societies, but in their own Muslim-majority societies too.But rather than argue its case, groups like the Muslim Council of Britain seek to shut down debate altogether. By painting arguments like mine as bigoted and beyond-the-pale, they aim to wrest control of the conversation in favour of another view: that Muslims are perennially demonised and objectified by the very same societies, and media outlets, which allow us to freely express our views... The views of the MCB don’t come from a political party or even its alleged links with the Muslim Brotherhood. Instead, these views merely reflect the rise of identity politics in secular liberal democracies. Today, victimhood is valued above all else.But Muslims who indulge in such identity politics should be aware that these views certainly didn’t exist in the time of the Prophet himself. Even as the Prophet and his early followers faced intense persecution, they didn’t claim victimhood. What’s more, with little historical experience of martyrdom within Islam – explained, in part, by the religion’s meteoric expansion and its rapid ascent to dominance until the peak of Islam’s ‘Golden Age’ – being Muslim had never been equated to victimhood until Islamism arrived in Egypt in the 1920s and soon after brought it to post-war Europe... Islamist groups have made it one of their central aims to discount the value of civil and pluralist Muslim groups. Part of this has been the fantastically successful duping of tolerant, secular, liberal democracies into believing that Islamists are a vulnerable and marginalised religious minority, instead of the totalitarian theocrats they really are... Given the track record of the Muslim Council of Britain, it’s laughable that any projects affiliated to it should be taken seriously on issues like bias, prejudice, discrimination and tolerance. Look how the Council has acted towards Ahmadi Muslims, pacifist Muslims who now face persecution in Britain at the hands of other Muslims, as well as further afield (notably in Pakistan, where they are persecuted by lethal, deeply unjust blasphemy laws)... The Centre for Media Monitoring would be better named the Centre for Controlling the Narrative of Islam. Its mission is arguably not to combat bias, xenophobia or even the misappropriated use of the term Islamophobia, but instead to lay sole claim to the narrative of both Islam and Muslims in Britain, and silence Muslims like me."

Boris has a point about Islam - "offence-miners at the Guardian have discovered that Johnson once wrote that Islam has held Muslim countries back by ‘centuries’... We can moralise all day long about the evils of European colonialism. But it was a historical blink of an eye in comparison to the centuries of Arab and Muslim colonialism... We can wring our hands over the influence of literalist Christianity on American politics. But this is a drop in the ocean compared to the cultural and political leverage of Islam across the globe. We can lament the potential harm to Indian democracy posed by militant Hindu nationalism. But there is nothing questionable about entertaining the notion that centuries of Muslim global imperialism – which ended less than 100 years ago – might have left behind a less than a gleaming legacy. Johnson’s allusion to the lack of social and economic development in the Muslim world seems to have offended some people. And yet these same people are usually the first to demand that anyone arriving in Europe from poor Muslim countries should obviously, unquestionably, be accepted as a legitimate refugee. Perhaps, on some level, they recognise that life in Europe is freer, safer and more prosperous than life in the Muslim world. For generations, millions of Muslims have chosen to leave societies dominated by Islamic religious laws and cultural norms, and have thrived instead in the West – benefitting from relative political stability, individual freedom and the rule of law. Unfortunately, thanks to today’s multicultural celebration of difference, any attempt by Muslims to wholeheartedly join the common body of British, European or American citizenry is almost seen as suspect – as if it is some unfortunate dilution of authentic ‘Muslimness’. Both Islamists and their apologists in the liberal-left do not see Muslims as truly belonging to Western societies... This view of Muslims as little more than political props was made clear by US congresswoman Ayanna Pressley at the weekend. She said that ‘we don’t need… Muslims who don’t want to be a Muslim voice’... she confirmed the obvious: that there is a stock victimhood role for Musilms in the Western world – a role that has been hard-won by self-appointed ‘representatives’ like the Muslim Council of Britain, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and other peddlers of the Muslim-victimhood and ‘Islamophobia’ narratives. If, however, you happen to be a Muslim who is unwilling to shuffle obediently into frame, looking suitably put upon, then you are deemed a problem... You even have a thinly disguised racial slur reserved just for you: Native Informant – a word used to smear liberal Muslims, ex-Muslims and critics of Islamism as traitors. Like ‘Uncle Tom’, it’s one of those curious epithets that white (and in this case, non-Muslim) ‘allies’ of identitarian grievance-mongers feel empowered to spit at anyone who steps off the reservation. Anyone genuinely interested in the lives of Muslim citizens (in the West and the Islamic world) should welcome robust discussions about Islam’s history and legacy, instead of responding with outrage. After all, Islamic history is part of human history, and is therefore not beyond critical analysis. Instead, commentators and politicians are obediently trotting out, and seeking to protect by law, a fairytale view of Muslim history and identity that was invented by early 20th-century Islamists, and then foisted on the rest of us. If the identitarians and their allies actually trusted Muslims and treated them as adults, Muslims would not be considered any more likely to overreact to critical discussions of Islam’s legacy than a Catholic would be to someone saying that Europe is ultimately better off following the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire."

Is Boris wrong to claim Islam set the Muslim world back? | Coffee House - "I do love the Guardian. As the years go by almost no publication continues to give me such constant amusement... ‘Unearthed’. Wow, this must be exceptionally secret – as well as strong – stuff. So we have to keep reading to discover that the offence complained of did not occur during a rally in a Bavarian beer-hall, but in ‘An appendix added to a later edition of The Dream of Rome, his [Johnson’s] 2006 book about the Roman empire.’ So in fact when the Guardian’s intrepid correspondent, Frances Perraudin, talks about ‘unearthing’ something, what she really means is that she has read some of a book published a little over a decade ago. You can say many things about reading books, including reading books by prominent politicians, but the turning of research into ‘unearthing’ is the sort of self-glorification and task-inflation that could only occur in a trade that is dying... Perraudin in all likelihood called up the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) and ‘Tell Mama’ for comment. The way such organisations work is that journalists of the Perraudin school call them up to ask if they are outraged by something, the organisations then agree that they are outraged at this week’s outrage and thus the journalist gets a story and the group in question gets to continue to hold itself out as a representative body of some kind. Making everyone a winner."

Why Students Protested Event Analyzing Islamism - "I went to Rochester to speak on a panel about the ideas behind ISIS, Al Qaeda and the wider Islamist movement in the Middle East. The panel also included Graeme Wood of The Atlantic magazine; Faisal Saeed Al Mutar, a secular activist and founder of Ideas Beyond Borders; and Adnan Ahmed, a writer and imam in the Ahmadiyya Muslim community. The event was co-sponsored by the Ayaan Hirsi Ali Foundation, the Ayn Rand Institute, and the campus College Republicans.Before any of the speakers even arrived on campus, a petition to cancel the event had circulated among students. When the panel was about to begin, several student groups — Students for a Democratic Society among them — showed up to pressure the administration and the organizers to shut down the event.Fortunately they failed. But they made their presence felt within the hall. Many attended the event, heckling at times; some stood in the back to protest with a sign; and they dominated the question period with mini-speeches and angry objections... After listening further to the students and probing their views, I took away two core objections of a more substantive nature. Neither is defensible, and both reveal the impact of certain destructive views prevalent on college campuses today. The first: the protesting students’ own campus clubs — including the Arab students association and the Muslim Students’ Association — had not been involved or consulted in advance... What issues did they want to see discussed?The event’s agenda, she said, would have to explore “US imperialism” in the Middle East and the consequences of America’s foreign policy, which she and several other students held to be the main, if not the exclusive, causal factor explaining the Islamist phenomenon. By the time she had finished describing her view of what such a hypothetical event would have looked like, it was clear there was little room, if any, for an exploration of the ideas behind ISIS, Al Qaeda, and the rest of the Islamist phenomenon. What she outlined would have been an entirely different event, with the Islamist issue marginalized if not elided, and the focus squarely on her interpretation of America’s role in the Middle East... Essentially, the objection was that because the panel focused on the ideas of the Islamist movement, rather than aligning with the students’ doctrinaire view of American policy, the panel did not belong on campus. (Later, I learned that these student groups had indeed been invited to co-sponsor the event, but refused.) The second core objection turned on the issue of “representation”... Both of these objections reflect aspects of a tribalist mindset. The one treats views opposed to its dogmas as illegitimate; the other stresses collective identity as defining one’s views. Both are fundamentally anti-intellectual. Such an outlook is pernicious, especially so on a college campus, where students come to learn about and explore new ideas. And it is this anti-intellectual outlook that students are encouraged to adopt."

Prescriptive Racialism and Racial Exclusion - "They held a banner that read, “You Do Not Represent Us”... I overheard a student protestor berate one of the panellists and complain, inter alia, that the event had not been organized by an Arab. I interjected to inform her that I was the organizer of the event and that I am indeed an Arab. “You don’t count,” she immediately retorted. “We know your politics”... she is president of the Arab student association. I was already aware of this practice of “Uncle Tom-ing” members of minorities who challenge certain orthodoxies, but this was the first time I had experienced it firsthand... Faisal Saeed Al Mutar—an Iraqi born secular rights advocate and the only Arab on the panel—bore the brunt of these attacks. He was denounced as a puppet and a traitor for discussing the role of religion in motivating groups like ISIS in his native country. Particularly distasteful was the insinuation that race is not simply a descriptive category, but that it is thought to require certain duties of, and impose certain prerogatives upon, the individual. To retain one’s status as an “authentic” Arab (or member of any other “marginalized” demographic), one has to believe certain things. Because I had organized this discussion, I was rendered persona non grata among those who insist we turn a blind eye towards atrocities committed in the name of Islam. Investigating this matter at all apparently constituted a betrayal of my tribe, the punishment for which is excommunication. I’ve come to call this attitude “prescriptive racialism”—the notion that racial identity should determine how people act and what they believe. To be accepted as an Arab, I must adopt the same politics as all other Arabs. This belief dominates the paranoid psychology of white supremacists, who are similarly pre-occupied with the idea of race treachery. Today, it has become central to the worldview of many on the social justice Left... In a free society, we must commit to persuasion if we want to change minds. But how is that possible if the ideas of those who do not belong to a minority group are ignored and critics within that minority group are shamed and summarily expelled? Progressive culture screams platitudes of coexistence, tolerance, and multiculturalism even as it undermines the values that make those things possible... If being outside of a group precludes someone from criticizing its members or its doctrines, then what are we to do when those members commit injustices against outsiders? The dangerous and sectarian practice of prescriptive racialism is an outgrowth of an insistence that we think of people not as individuals but as representatives of groups—we speak of “the Arab experience” as if it were a uniform phenomenon. In a world in which groups are considered more important than people, it was inevitable that we would forfeit the ability to think in terms of unique human beings.. Defeating this rising tide of tribalism requires us to be adamant about the importance of the validity of ideas and criticisms and not their source. When the protestors raised the banner which read “You Do Not Represent Us” what they really meant is “We Do Not Consider You One of Us, So What You Say Is Worthless.” The Islamic philosopher Al Ghazali did the same when he railed against the Greek pagan influence during the Islamic Golden Age, and in doing so he extinguished the brilliant flame of scientific thought of his era. The Middle East has been dark ever since. When someone like Faisal Saeed Al Mutar attempts to reignite it by translating Western works into Arabic, he is met with antagonism and exclusion—not from an intellect like Al Ghazali, but from sanctimonious second-generation Arab students living in upstate New York. These are unworthy opponents of such a magnificent project."

Free Will

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Free Will (Summer Repeat)

"[On religion] ‘Well, what's odd about that is that it seems, there seems to be a tremendous tension between the idea that determinism is true. And any religion that has a story about punishment and reward in the afterlife. Because in determinism, as it's been said, is the view that absolutely everything you do was determined to happen, you know, hundreds of years before you were born.

In fact, if determinism is true, everything you do is determined to happen by the Big Bang. Right? And, but somehow, somehow this got, gets into written [?]. In fact, you find it certainly in Christianity, you find it first in St. Augustine. And second in Calvinism. The idea that although this is true, although everything you're going to do is determined before you were born, some of us are still going to go to heaven forever, and others are going to go to hell forever. And it seems, what's extraordinary is that the view of determinism has managed to combine itself with religion at all, because that seems profoundly unfair’

‘Why did they want to, why did they take it on?’

‘I'm not quite sure. Part of it is Augustine. He started and certainly Calvin picked up on on St. Augustine's views. I think part of the explanation is that he was an extremely sensual man and found it incredibly hard to give up his very, very sensual life. And so he, that meant that he was really keen on the idea of original sin. Because that's what provided for him a kind of explanation on why he-’

‘Where God could make him change but not yet’...

‘He had this view that none of us could ever do anything good without a specific intervention of grace by God. So basically, left to ourselves, we would always do bad things. And so the only time we ever did anything good, God helped us. But then the question arises, how can it possibly be fair to punish or reward us? And that's a tension that is not resolved, and it's not resolved in Calvinism...

The Dutch Reformed Protestants are some of the purest examples today. Lot of them in America, and I've met such people. And, you know, as you grow up and become a child, you you learn that it's already fixed, you're either going to go to heaven or to hell. Nothing you can do about it. It must be a very weird, psychologically, because you might think, oh, well, if I'm already elect, elected to go to heaven, I can do what I like and have, do bad things. No, probably not. Because if I do bad things, that's kind of a sort of evidence that maybe I'm not chosen to go to heaven. It must be psychologically difficult to live with’...

‘Doesn't determinism lead to the notion that everything can be excused and free will lead to a notion that you're responsible for everything?’...

‘Another way to think about it would be to consider the standard kind of incompatiblist argument which says, look, the reason why determinism robs us of free will is that it robs us of the ability to do otherwise. Everything that I do, that's the only thing I could have done, there's nothing else I could have done.

And compatiblism will say, well, why should we think that the inability to do otherwise really robs us of our freedom? So a standard example, Martin Luther being told to recant by the Holy Roman Emperor, Martin Luther, allegedly, but probably not in fact, said, here I stand, I can do no other.

And Daniel Dennett points out famously that it looks like what Luther absolutely wasn't trying to do there was duck out of moral responsibility. He wasn't saying, hey, guys, you know, this really isn't my fault. You know, that's just the kind of person I am. Don't blame me. He was exactly saying, this is a decision for which I take full moral responsibility’"

Links - 28th November 2019 (1)

Seeing how computers 'think' helps humans stump machines and reveals AI weaknesses - "Researchers from the University of Maryland have figured out how to reliably create such questions through a human-computer collaboration, developing a dataset of more than 1,200 questions that, while easy for people to answer, stump the best computer answering systems today. The system that learns to master these questions will have a better understanding of language than any system currently in existence. The work is described in an article published in the 2019 issue of the journal Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics... For example, if the author writes "What composer's Variations on a Theme by Haydn was inspired by Karl Ferdinand Pohl?" and the system correctly answers "Johannes Brahms," the interface highlights the words "Ferdinand Pohl" to show that this phrase led it to the answer. Using that information, the author can edit the question to make it more difficult for the computer without altering the question's meaning. In this example, the author replaced the name of the man who inspired Brahms, "Karl Ferdinand Pohl," with a description of his job, "the archivist of the Vienna Musikverein," and the computer was unable to answer correctly. However, expert human quiz game players could still easily answer the edited question correctly.By working together, humans and computers reliably developed 1,213 computer-stumping questions that the researchers tested during a competition pitting experienced human players -- from junior varsity high school trivia teams to "Jeopardy!" champions -- against computers. Even the weakest human team defeated the strongest computer system."

Opinion | Why I Quit the Writers’ Room - The New York Times - "“Mr. Mosley, it has been reported that you used the N-word in the writers’ room.”I replied, “I am the N-word in the writers’ room.” He said, very nicely, that I could not use that word except in a script. I could write it but I could not say it. Me. A man whose people in America have been, among other things, slandered by many words. But I could no longer use that particular word to describe the environs of my experience... I had indeed said the word in the room. I hadn’t called anyone it. I just told a story about a cop who explained to me, on the streets of Los Angeles, that he stopped all niggers in paddy neighborhoods and all paddies in nigger neighborhoods, because they were usually up to no good. I was telling a true story as I remembered it. Someone in the room, I have no idea who, called H.R. and said that my use of the word made them uncomfortable, and the H.R. representative called to inform me that such language was unacceptable to my employers. I couldn’t use that word in common parlance, even to express an experience I lived through. There I was, a black man in America who shares with millions of others the history of racism. And more often than not, treated as subhuman. If addressed at all that history had to be rendered in words my employers regarded as acceptable.There I was being chastised for criticizing the word that oppressed me and mine for centuries. As far as I know, the word is in the dictionary. As far as I know, the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence assure me of both the freedom of speech and the pursuit of happiness. How can I exercise these freedoms when my place of employment tells me that my job is on the line if I say a word that makes somebody, an unknown person, uncomfortable? There’s all kinds of language that makes me uncomfortable. Half the utterances of my president, for instance. Some people’s sexual habits and desires. But I have no right whatsoever to tell anyone what they should and should not cherish or express.A few years ago when a group of my peers said that they supported outlawing the Confederate flag, I demurred. Don’t get me wrong. I have no warm and fuzzy feelings about that flag, but I do know that all Americans have the right of self-expression. (Also, if someone has that flag in their mind, I’d prefer to see it on their front porch too.) I do not believe that it should be the object of our political culture to silence those things said that make some people uncomfortable... If I’ve said or done something bad enough to cause people to fear me, they should call the police.My answer to H.R. was to resign and move on. I was in a writers’ room trying to be creative while at the same time being surveilled by unknown critics who would snitch on me to a disembodied voice over the phone. My every word would be scrutinized. Sooner or later I’d be fired or worse — silenced. I’m a fortunate guy. Not everyone can quit their job. But beyond that, we cannot be expected to thrive in a culture where our every word is monitored. If my words physically threaten or bully someone, something must be done about it. But if you tell me that you feel uncomfortable at some word I utter, let me say this:There was a time in America when so-called white people were uncomfortable to have a black person sitting next to them. There was a time when people felt uncomfortable when women demanded the right to vote. There was a time when sexual orientation had only one meaning and everything else was a crime. The worst thing you can do to citizens of a democratic nation is to silence them. And the easiest way to silence a woman or a man is to threaten his or her livelihood. Let’s not accept the McCarthyism of secret condemnation"
Strangely I didn't see anyone in the first pages of each category of the comments going on about how the First Amendment/Censorship only covers the government

Islamic Persia: Indo Persian Illustration of a Sex Doll - "This work shows a Mughal Indian man making love to a sex doll as well as using two dildos. Traditionally, The dame de voyage (French) or dama de viaje (Spanish) was a direct predecessor to today's sex dolls that originated in the seventeenth century. Dames de voyage were makeshift masturbatory dolls made of sewn cloth or old clothes, used by French and Spanish sailors while isolated at sea during long voyages. One of the earliest recorded appearances of manufactured sex dolls dates to 1908, in Iwan Bloch's The Sexual Life of Our Time.Dildos in one form or another have been present in society throughout history. Artifacts from the Upper Paleolithic which have previously been described as batons were most likely used for sexual purposes. The first dildos were made of stone, tar, wood and other materials that could be shaped as penises and that were firm enough to be used as penetrative sex toys. Chinese women in the 15th century used dildos made of lacquered wood with textured surfaces"

NHS pensions: waiting lists soaring as consultants refuse to work overtime - "Waiting lists have soared by 50 per cent in three months in some parts of the country because doctors are refusing to work, in order to protect their pensions... Changes in Treasury rules means that high earners can end up paying tax rates of up to 90 per cent on earnings over £110,000 a year - which includes any rise in the value of their pensions... rising numbers of senior staff were now considering early retirement and refusing promotions as well as cutting overtime.

Why we don’t trust the news anymore - "Far from TV journalists being ‘too polite’, interviews are often set up in such a way that means politicians will just be barked at. Too many TV journalists see it as their role to outsmart, catch out or humiliate politicians. This political pantomime can sometimes produce good entertainment, but it tends to generate more heat than light. The aggressive interviewer gets an ego boost and the politician is deflated, but the public is often left none the wiser as to what any of it means for the state of the country... Bizarrely, Byrne’s plea for journalists to use the word ‘liar’ – and her ludicrous comparison of Johnson to Russia’s autocratic ruler – was couched in a call for more objectivity and truth in news. ‘Liar’ is a loaded term – it is a judgement not only on the content of what a politician has said but also on the content of his or her character. Journalists should be free to make and express such judgements, but to do so – especially, in the heat of the moment, on live television – is unlikely to be objective... the media see the political shocks of the past few years – Brexit, Trump, European populism – as products of an ill-informed and bigoted populace. Channel 4, which has the nation’s poshest newsroom, with just nine per cent of its journalists coming from a working-class background, is incredibly vulnerable to this prejudice. Many journalists today believe it is their job to ‘correct’ the views of the voters with ‘facts’ and ‘truth’. ‘Forget the idea that the public can judge what is true’, said Dorothy Byrne in her lecture. This role as the gatekeepers of the truth informs their skewed coverage of events like Brexit because what they often mean by truth and facts, are simply middle-class, establishment opinion. And it puts them on a collision course with broader public sentiment. Thankfully, instead of simply absorbing what the news tells us is right, the public is shouting back at the TV – or is turning off in droves. In recent years, Channel 4 News has been, to all intents and purposes, the broadcast wing of the Remain campaign. Its presenters are visibly horrified by the expression of pro-Brexit opinions and of the sight of the pro-Brexit masses. It has devoted hours of investigations to unsuccessfully ‘exposing’ apparent illegality and fraud in the Leave vote. Unsurprisingly, in a country that voted Leave, its audience figures have taken a big hit over the past few years. Naturally, its execs have blamed Brexit."

Trump attacks California homeless crisis, picking new fight with state - "Trump administration officials confirmed Tuesday they are on the ground in California looking at ways to intervene in the state’s mounting homelessness issue, which President Donald Trump has criticized as “disgusting” and a “disgrace to our country.”But many elected officials and homelessness experts in the Golden State said any White House assistance would be disingenuous given federal housing cuts have helped exacerbate the problem. Some also accused Trump of using the homelessness issue to win over conservative supporters ahead of the 2020 election... Trump officials have not specified what kinds of actions or solutions they would implement in California... Bob Erlenbusch, executive director of the Sacramento Regional Coalition to End Homelessness, fretted that president was looking to round homeless people up."My first reaction is that it felt like internment camps for people experiencing homelessness"... the Trump administration has expanded grant programs for local agencies working to help individuals experiencing homelessness. The 2020 budget proposed increasing funding for services for people experiencing homelessness by 9% to $2.6 billion."
If Trump wants to end homelessness, that means homelessness is good and anyone who wants to end it is a Nazi

California Passes Statewide Rent Control Despite a Massive Housing Shortage - "California lawmakers approved AB 1482, which caps rent increases at 5 percent per year plus inflation, and prevents landlords from evicting tenants without citing a government-approved reason.Wednesday's vote makes California the latest state to pass a rent control bill. Oregon passed a statewide cap on rents in February. In June, the New York legislature passed a bill strengthening existing rent controls in New York City while giving other cities in the state the ability to pass their own rent regulations.Economists and other policy experts have long criticized rent control for reducing the supply and quality of rental housing in the long-run... A study of rent control in San Francisco published in the journal American Economic Review this month found that "while rent control prevents displacement of incumbent renters in the short run, the lost rental housing supply likely drove up market rents in the long run, ultimately undermining the goals of the law.""
Damn tRump, worsening California's housing problems

Domestic Violence Awareness Australia - Posts - "Suicide: Approx 6 males & 2 females suicide every day. Funding allocated to both Men & Women.
Domestic Violence: Approx 43 females & 32 males die from D.V. every year. Funding allocated to women only."

How Oberlin’s Bias and Bloat Fueled a $33 Million Blunder - "The allegations of racism were shown to be, quite simply, made up. During the six-week civil trial, African Americans who knew the Gibson family well, including customers, friends, and one longtime employee, all publicly defended them. The jury in the case found that Oberlin officials deliberately smeared the Gibsons as racists, doing them great emotional harm and damaging their business.Raimondo wasn’t the only administrator leading the charge. Socher documents how several members of the faculty publicly defended the Gibson family, only to be shushed and ignored by Raimundo and other administrators who worked in concert to vilify the bakery owners and inflame the mob. The ringleaders included an assistant dean, the vice president of communications for the college, the director of the college’s multicultural resource center, a special assistant for community relations, and also the president of the college... Teaching faculty across the U.S. are known to have a leftward tilt relative to the general population. Abrams reported that liberal professors outnumber conservative ones by a 6-1 margin. But among administrative staff that ratio skyrockets to 12-1. In New England, Abrams found it to be as high as 25-1. Students themselves, by way of contrast, identify as liberal rather than conservative by a more modest 2-1 ratio. As Abrams put it, “It appears that a fairly liberal student body is being taught by a very liberal professoriate—and socialized by an incredibly liberal group of administrators.” It might seem that professors, who are actually doing the teaching, would have the most influence over students’ intellectual development. But Abrams explains that, at his university, more and more of the formation of students’ lives and viewpoints is taking place outside the classroom at events organized by student life coordinators, diversity deans, and student affairs officers. He cites events with such names as “Stay Healthy, Stay Woke,” “Microaggressions” and “Understanding White Privilege.” The problem, Abrams says, is not that these events advance a liberal-progressive point of view, but that that they seldom, if ever, give voice to any alternative views. What students receive is strict left-wing, identity politics indoctrination... One might read the $33 million disaster at Oberlin as an object lesson in what can go wrong when a group of politically motivated professional administrators runs around a college campus unchecked, with no alternative voice or perspective among them to second guess the decisions the group is making... one wonders if a little more viewpoint diversity among the senior administrative ranks of Oberlin college might have saved the college $33 million."

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Links - 27th November 2019 (2) (Trans Mania [including Drag])

JK Rowling Confirms Stance Against Transgender Women - "While the LGBT community and our allies have stood back and watched a rather ominous narrative form around JK Rowling, it has been without any direct confirmation or statement from the author herself. It’s as if she is conditioning the world to accept it rather than rebuke it. First she stuck her toe in the water, was caught, claimed it was a misunderstanding and we accepted that. Then, she persisted to do the same things… again and again.Finally, we have some confirmation of Rowling’s stance against the transgender community. She has followed one of the most hateful and aggressive anti-trans radical feminists on Twitter, Magdalen Berns... Twitter has postured itself as something of a safe-house for TERF’s"
Liking tweets and following people on Twitter is blasphemy to trans activists
Time for her to write a story revealing that Harry Potter was transsexual all along
How fitting that since trans mania is about gaslighting, this person imagines that Twitter loves 'TERFs' despite their support for trans mania
Happily the top comments are all slamming the author - even from a transwoman

Transgender book for TEENS includes account of 6-year-old performing oral sex and ‘liking it’ - "A transgender book for teens which contains graphic descriptions of oral sex carried out by children as young as six is being promoted in the youth sections of local libraries, according to Kirralie Smith, director of Binary Australia.The book, Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out, tells the story of six young adults and their journey to embracing transgenderism."

ACLU: Peter Meijer discriminated against Down Syndrome drag act - "The ACLU of Michigan has filed a civil rights complaint against congressional candidate Peter Meijer for allegedly discriminating against drag performers with Down Syndrome.Meijer would not allow the UK-based troupe Drag Syndrome to use his Tanglefoot Building in Grand Rapids during the ArtPrize Project 1 exhibitions, questioning whether the performers could provide consent... The ACLU contends that Meijer is relying on harmful stereotypes about disabled people.Meijer told the Free Press that he was worried about "the risk of perception of exploitation," a view he said is shared by disability advocates. He plans to challenge the complaint. "
We're reaching new levels of wokeness that shouldn't be possible

VIDEO: Undercover moms expose graphic Teen Pride public library event, then get doxxed by Antifa - "Two concerned mothers who attended a recent “Teen Pride” celebration at a public library in Renton, Washington, told The College Fix that they have now been doxxed for their efforts to expose the event, which included a graphic dance by a drag queen and the distribution of other adult sex and gender materials... although library officials promised it would be family friendly, it was anything but that. The women and some of their allies attending the event in a somewhat undercover capacity were able to capture on film a large amount of the pride festivities at the Renton Public Library — including the graphic performance of a drag queen — before police were called to escort some of the moms out.In the performance, the drag queen was seen removing a skirt at the start and then dancing in scantily clad clothing to the tune of the song “Like a Girl.” The drag queen sang in part, “If you feel like a girl, then you real like a girl. Do your thing, run the whole damn world.” The song ended with various expletives. “I witnessed kids in that show and in the following panel that couldn’t have been more than ten”... she saw young people at the event under the age of 18 who were not accompanied by adults despite a library official saying that would not be allowed. Meanwhile, another mom added that Planned Parenthood representatives there spoke about its “gender reformation services” that involve “giving testosterone and progesterone to young people” and they were hoping to offer them to children under 18 without parental consent. The event also boasted gift cards for breast binders, one of the tools that many transgender men use to attempt to make their bodies into more of a traditionally masculine shape... Emerald City Antifa began to dox the women, tweeting: “To reiterate today, we had two queerphobic adults filming kids going in and out of the bathrooms at Teen Pride event at Renton Public library… We’ll post link in thread, please help us identify these pervs... “When we went out to the parking lot… We’re standing there talking and this man was photographing us. He started yelling at us and filming us and he said, ‘I’m putting your picture on Twitter. I’m filming your license plate. I’m going to make sure everybody knows who you are, you hateful bigot.’ And then we were surrounded and there are four men filming us and they are kind of circling us like wolves”... “We who have good intentions to protect our children from this indoctrination have become the enemy”"

Snipers Defend Drag Queen Story Hour From Mom-Led Protest - "A SWAT team of two snipers was stationed on the roof of a public library in Spokane, Washington June 15. Their mission, along with 30-40 police officers, was to defend Drag Queen Story Hour from 300 concerned mothers and allies protesting the event... Pastor Afhsin Yaghtin of New Covenant Baptist Church was arrested for obstructing an officer after he told police he should be allowed to protest next to the library, instead of across the street in the designated protest space for 500 Mom Strong... She believes the significant armed presence for the story hour could be a result of the counter-protest organization, 500 Drag Queen Strong, filing false police reports that her group made death threats against them.Bohach says the allegations of death threats made by members of 500 Mom Strong are completely false. She told the Daily Caller that instead, women from 500 Mom Strong have “received several death threats.”... “She casts off her clothing in front of two and three-year-olds and four-year-olds, with her hairy armpits and her huge breasts pouring out of her minimal top, and now she’s gonna read this story,” Herndon said, describing a moment in which drag queen Andrea Tate removed an outer layer of clothing during the story time"

Library Deletes Photos of Children Fondling Drag Queens During ‘Story Hour’ - "A public library has deleted photos of small children lying on top of drag queens and fondling their false breasts at a Drag Queen Story Hour.Multnomah County Library, the library system serving Portland, Oregon, quietly removed from Flickr the photos of the Drag Queen Story Hour that took place at St. John’s Library and then circulated on Facebook, leading to a backlash."

Swedish State Agency Uses Money of Dead Citizens to Fund Drag Shows - "The Swedish Inheritance Fund, which manages the wealth of deceased Swedes with no heirs, will be using the money of dead Swedes to fund drag queen shows... In Dallas, another drag queen event stirred controversy when it was revealed that one of the drag queens was reading a story entitled What Colour is Your Underwear? to young children"

WATCH: Drag queen teaches kids to ‘twerk’ at library story hour - "A drag queen in the United Kingdom was caught on camera teaching small children at a library story hour how to perform the sexually-suggestive dance move called "twerking."Mama G is a cross-dressing man and drag artist who “has appeared at libraries, theatres, bookshops and cafes all over the UK,” according to the Petite Pantos theater company. Devon Libraries promoted his Story Hour events in North Devon as “sharing tales that celebrate being who you are & loving who you want.”...
“My children would have found this alarming and confusing, and probably have been put off books for life,” Diana Toynbee said.
'If you think it's normal for a 300 pound bearded man dressed like a demon clown twerking in front of the children while telling them "you can be boys or girls kids!" And then they bring out the drag kids so they can twerk and be handed dollars bills.. so brave so beautiful?'
'Bloke dressed normally teaching children to twerk - lock him up. Bloke in drag doing it- stunning and brave.'...
After the controversy broke out, Mama G changed his Twitter profile so only approved followers can see it, but not before critics saved screenshots – including one of a tweet in which Mama G appears to ask children to send him their email addresses."

Mass Resistance Uncovers A THIRD "Story Time" Drag Queen With A Criminal Record - "after uncovering numerous social media posts by Richardson alluding to homosexual sex, sado-masochism, and other repulsive behaviors (see below), MassResistance’s Austin Chapter testified before the Austin City Council... David Lee Richardson, aka “Miss Kitty Litter,” was arrested and convicted of offering sex for money – prostitution – in 1996."

Drag Queen Flashes Crotch to Children During "Story Hour" Event - "Over the course of the last few years, we’ve been hammered with the narrative that a “drag queen story hour” is a way to teach tolerance and acceptance to young children about different ways of life. However, we’ve also seen what happens behind the scenes, and it’s not pretty.Drag queens have been on video putting on strip dances in front of children and cursing with them in the room to boot. They’ve also put aside some time to allow these children to crawl all over them... “Sasha Sota” flashed children his crotch by parting his legs under his skirt. In the picture, you can see him in full costume with a little girl sitting in front of him. The one named Gemini also showed up in a skin-tight, not-proper-for-kids costume."
What "equality" and "being a decent human being" look like

Mother of Child Drag Queen Complains Pedophile is Sexualizing Her Son - "The mom of Desmond Naples, aka Desmond is Amazing, is appalled that a convicted pedophile says he finds her son "sexy" and "hot" and sexualizes his performances. Desmond has been making headlines since he was just 10-year-old for his drag queen "performances.""

The Rise of ‘Drag Kids’—and the Death of Gay Culture - "the CBC—Canada’s public television network—ran a lavishly publicized documentary about “four kid drag queens as they prepare to slay on Montreal stage.” This was marketed as child-friendly content. Indeed, the CBC promoted the documentary, titled Drag Kids, on its “CBC Kids News” channel as a fun look at children who “sashay their way into the spotlight.”For me, as a gay man, watching the documentary was traumatic. The interviewed parents defend themselves against accusations they are abusing their children by encouraging them to dress up in drag. But to do so, the parents must purport to separate drag from sex and sexuality, which is simply ahistorical... [This] actually brought tears to my eyes—though not for the reasons you might think. I cried not because of the homophobia directed against that little boy for dressing in drag. No, I cried instead because we now inhabit a culture that denies our real gay history of gender revolt—from the British “Molly Houses” of the 18th century (where homosexual men dressed up and held mock weddings and birthings), to the drag queens who threw the first rocks at Stonewall and invented gay liberation.I thought a lot about that. And then I decided that as a gay man and drag queen, it was time to just, well, give up. After years of propaganda to the effect that sex is meaningless and “gender expression” is all that matters, it’s now official: Gay is gone... In early gay pride parades, men proudly carried signs marked with slogans such as “pansy power,” and “dykes on bikes” (lesbians on motorcycles) led the march. There had always been “queens” and “trade” in gay culture (effeminate men and masculine ones); and lesbian culture was even more openly obsessed with the typology of “butches’ and “femmes.”... It was about 2005 when my queer friends began to gossip about what we called ‘the disappearing lesbian.” It seemed that all of a sudden there were hardly any butch dykes, but a whole lot more “trans men.” My older butch lesbian friends complained about it, asking, “Doesn’t anybody want to be a butch lesbian anymore? Are they all taking hormones and cutting their breasts off?”... As a lifelong drag queen, I know that it is silly to pretend that drag has no sexual connotation. But as someone who has been observing the slow death of gay culture for many years, I also know that this is not a new phenomenon, but rather just the end point in a cultural process that has turned the reality of gay men and women into an abstraction promoted by a gender-studies workshop. Children should be encouraged to dress up and play as they wish, of course. But the parents who appear in the documentary want to have their cake and eat it, too: They want to allow their male children to act effeminately, but without acknowledging the connection to gayness—since gayness cannot stand in isolation from sexual orientation; which itself cannot stand in isolation from desire."

Disguising Narcissicm as Anti-Racism

This is perhaps the fullest and most naked manifestation of a phenomenon we see, among other things, on tumblr where people get into fights over non-issues (under the guise of fighting oppression):

Sangeetha Thanapal - Posts
(mirrored for now on Hardwarezone)

"Seeing all these hot takes from ‘woke’ Chinese Singaporeans and some newly ‘woke’ minorities (1/2 of which is just cobbled off me) over racism in Singapore is laughable.

More than that, a lot of you are trying to present yourself as woke while stealing outright from me.

It’s disgusting.

Like that Singapore Chinese woman who made those comics: she’s good at playing woke. She knew how to credit the black woman she learned from (so it’s not an excuse that she didn’t know) but somehow my name escaped her when talking about Chinese Privilege?

How convenient.

Also, Singaporean academics: please refrain from trying to steal everything I write and pass it off as your own. I know it’s hard to make a name for yourselves now that no one cares about your scholarship on multiculturalism/cosmopolitanism/diversity blah blah. A lot of you think you can get away with it because you’re in academia and I don’t have my doctorate (yet) but it’s still theft and I will most definitely report you for plagiarism.

There was supposed to be a conference on Chinese privilege at NTU last year. I get an insulting email ‘inviting’ me to it. You’re inviting me to a conference that wouldn’t exist without me? Are you for real?

And what’s worse: one of the presenters was supposed to be a Chinese man who is presenting a paper on what Chinese privilege is and isn’t.


Let’s get something straight: I’m the only person who gets to decide what Chinese privilege is or isn’t. I’m the only person who should be giving that paper (I mean it is my entire fucking dissertation and work I’m known for) but if not me, at least should have been another minority??

These people are showing they have no idea or understanding of what Chinese privilege even is by allowing a Chinese man to talk about it. They are showing they don’t actually understand my work, because if you did, you would get that minorities having their own voices is a basic, fundamental tenet of it.

You cannot be heirs to my legacy if you seek to use my work in these meaningless ways. Oppressors do not get to decide what oppression is.

Stuff like this is why I zealously guard my work. Stuff like this is why I insist that people properly credit me and my work. It’s because so many people are seeking to dilute it and use it in these problematic ways in order to benefit themselves.

Some Singaporean ‘intellectuals’ have actually tried to say that I don’t own a discourse: every intellectual property argument ever made would disagree. I do fucking own what I created, and you using it without naming me is an act of concentrated erasure.

There’s a serious effort in Singapore to erase me from my own work and to devalue my existence.

We see it in all those people who are using the term but pretend to have never heard of me. Who are profiting off my work and benefitting off it without ever once uttering my name.

I see you.

I’m the originator, the rest of you are contributors— remember that. Come at me and my work with respect, or I’m gonna name and shame every single one of you.

Y’all better understand that I won’t stand for this shit. I won’t let you dilute my work to the point where it’s unrecognizable, where it becomes a cheap, commodified version of what it I envisioned it to be.

And if you’re friends, fans, followers of mine: please call this shit out every time you see it.

Do not allow people to use me while dismissing me."

Links - 27th November 2019 (1) (Trans Mania)

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Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Links - 26th November 2019 (2) (China's "Peaceful" Rise - Huawei)

Huawei North Korea ties revealed in Washington Post report - "Huawei secretly helped build North Korea's cell phone network, potentially in violation of sanctions aimed at pressuring the regime to stop developing nuclear weapons... the US government added Huawei to a trade blacklist, saying it had reason to believe that Huawei had been involved in activities contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States. The blacklist prevents US companies from selling tech and supplies to Huawei.Washington has long suspected Huawei of skirting US sanctions on certain countries. In January, the Department of Justice charged Huawei with violating sanctions on Iran, stating in court documents that the company had been under investigation for violating US export laws since at least 2007. Huawei has pleaded not guilty. "

Huawei staff CVs reveal alleged links to Chinese intelligence agencies - "Huawei staff admitted to having worked with Chinese intelligence agencies in a “mass trove” of employment records leaked online... The CVs of the Huawei employees appear to show “far closer links” between the telecommunications company and military-backed cyber agencies than previously thought, a think tank has warned.According to the study, the employment files suggest that some Huawei staff have also worked as agents within China’s Ministry of State Security; worked on joint projects with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA); were educated at China’s leading military academy; and had been employed with a military unit linked to a cyber attack on US corporations.The analysis of the CVs found 11 Huawei staff had graduated from the PLA’s Information Engineering University, a military academy reputed to be China’s centre for “information warfare research”... “What is surprising about all this is that anyone should find it surprising.  Intelligence services always want, and often get, help from telecommunications companies.  The same is surely the case in the US or Europe.  The differences are two: the Chinese Communist Party can make demands without restraint, and they can do so without any accountability.”"

Google has blocked Huawei from using Android in any new phones - "The impact: Huawei is the second biggest smartphone maker in the world, and losing access to the Android operating system could jeopardize its smartphone business beyond China (where most Google mobile apps are banned anyway). Being blacklisted makes it very difficult for Huawei to do business with US firms, although it says it has prepared for this eventuality.
Chip supply chains: Arguably, a bigger problem for Huawei may be the loss of access to US-made chips. Chipmakers Intel, Qualcomm, Xilinx, and Broadcom have told their employees they won’t sell software and components to Huawei until further notice"
"basically China prohibits a multitude of American companies to do business inside China then claims that it’s not fair for US to ban a Chinese company from doing business inside US."

Indulekshmi on Twitter - "Thread. As a data privacy lawyer, I don’t trust Huawei, ZTE or other Chinese tech companies. Is that rational? Maybe, maybe not. But what we are seeing is not about Huawei, but proof that China actually can’t have its cake and eat it. What do I mean?...
Intelligence can be collected many ways but this active control can only be exerted by controlling or threatening the big tech companies. So we *know* that the big Chinese tech companies have weird problematic relationships with the govt. we also know that these relationships aren’t just normal regulatory oversight relationships but also likely shady because the company heads have close ties with CCP and will likely do things to curry favor with them. All fine when all they were doing was playing in China. now those companies who have cozied up to the Chinese govt are finding out that their cozy relationship isn’t seen so positively outside, again because of China’s active control and apparent threat to the world. This is China’s fault. China can’t have it all - they can either control their own people or they can let their (tech) companies compete on a global scale. So long as Chinese leadership reacts to threats to their power like a toddler guarding its toy in a daycare, it can never have any soft power. and by extension their companies will be seen as simply the Chinese govt in a private shell. Again, this is all the fault of the Chinese government for cultivating such a problematic relationship with their entrepreneurs."

Why American credit card companies can't break into China - "Beijing has repeatedly signaled it will open up foreign access to its credit card market, and in 2017 it opened the door for American card companies to apply for licenses.But those applications are still under government review, and there's scant insight on when, or if, they'll be pushed along, especially amid the broader trade war with the United States.Meanwhile, state-controlled China UnionPay has solidified its hold on the bank card industry. And mobile payments have skyrocketed, dominated by services from rival powerhouses Tencent and Alibaba."Visa and Mastercard might have had a shot if they got in, in a real way, 10 or 15 years ago," Sandler O'Neill analyst Christopher Donat said. "But it feels to me like the window is closing for them."The struggle is emblematic of what many Western companies must contend with when trying to break into the world's second-largest economy. Government regulation is often opaque and the state itself in many cases backs Chinese companies in the same industry"...  When China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, it indicated that it would remove restrictions on foreign payment processors by 2006.But that deadline came and went. In 2010, the United States filed a WTO case against China over its treatment of US card companies.It won the case two years later. Still, China continued to drag its feet. "

Huawei's Android loss: How it affects you - "the core operating system is an open source project. Any manufacturer can modify it and install it on their devices without having to get permission. But in practice, all the major vendors rely on a lot of support from Google. In addition, Google controls access to several add-on bits of software, including:
    the Play app store
    its own apps
    the Google Assistant virtual helper
    the Gmail email service
    tools that allow third-party services access to certain functions...
Google gives Android device-makers the code for its software fixes about one month before it reveals details to the public about the vulnerabilities involved.This gives manufacturers time to check the patches do not cause problems for their own proprietary software, and then to package up a customised version of the fixes as a download.Huawei will now only learn of the patches on the same day they are released to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), meaning there will be a lag before it can distribute them. That could theoretically result in a situation in which a serious flaw is revealed and Huawei's devices remain exposed for several days or weeks... Google prevents its own apps being installed on uncertified devices.Furthermore, losing access to GMS also means that third-party developers would not be able to tap into Google's application programming interfaces (APIs) on new devices.The consequences would be that their apps could lose some functions. "Let's say an app wants to send a notification to your device," Mishaal Rahman, editor-in-chief of the news site XDA-developers.com, explained to the BBC."There's a really, really good chance that it's using Google Play Services for its push notification service. So any apps - even Twitter - could stop working with push notifications."... it would also face a marketing nightmare."Android is actually a brand, and in order to use it your software must [be certified]," he explained."So, even if Huawei continues to sell devices using the open source code, it cannot legally call its devices Android.""

Update: New Huawei P30 Pro found to be queryi... - "A brand new Huawei P30 Pro smartphone has been found to be sending queries and possibly data to Chinese government servers, without the user having signed up for any Huawei services, reported OCWorkbench.The Facebook page ExploitWareLabs at 5:32 p.m. on Sunday uploaded a post which included a list of DNS (Domain Name System) queries being delivered behind the scenes from a new Huawei P30 Pro. A DNS query (also known as a DNS request) is a demand for information sent from a user's computer (DNS client) to a DNS server.In layman's terms, it means the phone could potentially be automatically transferring user data back to cloud servers run by the Chinese government, unbeknownst to the device's owner. The list of DNS addresses includes beian.gov.cn, which was registered by Alibaba Cloud and managed by China's Ministry of Public Security, according to Whois.com. Another frequently listed request was sent to china.com.cn, which was registered by EJEE Group and operated by China's state-run mouthpiece the China Internet Information Center, according to Whois.com.According to ExploitWareLabs, all of these queries were sent to Chinese government-run servers despite the fact that the user had not configured the phone for any Huawei services, such as Huawei ID or any Hi services... One Facebook user also described their experience buying in house video cameras made in China for security, only later to find that they had been sending data to a location in Beijing. "Take care and consider it carefully when buying China-Made electronic products," wrote the user."
Yet China lovers claim it's all a conspiracy to hobble China's lead in 5G

CIA Offers Proof Huawei Has Been Funded By China's Military And Intelligence - "Huawei has taken money from the People’s Liberation Army, China’s National Security Commission and a third branch of the Chinese state intelligence network"

Vodafone Found Hidden Backdoors in Huawei Equipment - "Now Vodafone Group Plc has acknowledged to Bloomberg that it found vulnerabilities going back years with equipment supplied by Shenzhen-based Huawei for the carrier’s Italian business. While Vodafone says the issues were resolved, the revelation may further damage the reputation of a major symbol of China’s global technology prowess... Vodafone asked Huawei to remove backdoors in home internet routers in 2011 and received assurances from the supplier that the issues were fixed, but further testing revealed that the security vulnerabilities remained, the documents show. Vodafone also identified backdoors in parts of its fixed-access network known as optical service nodes, which are responsible for transporting internet traffic over optical fibers, and other parts called broadband network gateways, which handle subscriber authentication and access to the internet, the people said... Vodafone said Huawei then refused to fully remove the backdoor, citing a manufacturing requirement"

Huawei exec shocks the world: Hongmeng is not an Android alternative - "Liang Hua said at a Friday press conference in Shenzhen that the Hongmeng OS was developed for IoT devices, and not smartphones. When it comes to phones, Huawei prefers Android. If that is really the case, Huawei not only does not have a plan B, even though we were lead to believe that, but the future of its smartphone business is in real danger."
So much for that

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Thursday's business with Dominic O'Connell - "‘They're making bold statements saying, first of all, they have no connection to the Chinese government. But that is quite carefully framed around, you know, there's no one with an official position and there's no ownership’
‘And they talk about Huawei USA don’t they? They don't try and draw too much about the parent company back in China.’...
‘The writ is saying that there is a law which effectively shuts Huawei and one other supplier out of government contracts, very valuable for government contracts in the US, it's saying that's unconstitutional, because it is specifically targeting an individual. And then we get these colorful, harking back to the original framers of the US Constitution. It's clear that the lawyers who wrote this had a good time.’"

Former Nortel exec warns against working with Huawei - "Canadian companies should not work with Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, a former security adviser at Nortel warns.Brian Shields, who was the senior systems security adviser at failed Canadian telecommunications company Nortel, says working with Huawei is too big a risk. Shields alleges Huawei spent years hacking into Nortel's system and stealing information so it could compete with Nortel on world markets."These kind of things are not done by just average hackers. I believe these are nation-state [kinds] of activity""

The Rights Lee Kuan Yew had that Lesser Mortals don't

Perhaps due to Singapore's culture of political deference, many Singaporeans think that Lee Kuan Yew had rights that normal people don't.

For example, commenting on other countries:

B: Commentary: This may be the end of Hong Kong as we know it - CNA
[Ed: by the Brookings Institution's Richard Bush]

This is a balanced and deeper evaluation of the current situation in Hongkong and honestly, I hardly see any hope that it can turn up good for Hongkongers. And that is sad....

A: Sad as in it maybe, but it’s their country and their lives. I stay out of it, no comment.

Me: quite sad that singaporeans think commenting on other countries is a violation of sovereignty

C: it's called minding your own business and keeping a peaceful mind...

Me: too bad Lee kuan Yew didn't mind his own business and keep a peaceful mind

B: you don’t understand what Sovereignty is.
you are not LYK, neither are we anything close.

Me: so Lee kuan Yew had rights lesser mortals don't?

A: who on earth is listening to you, try doing it at home first.

Then again, this could just be a specific case of thinking people are sanctified by results.

For example, the exact same proposition uttered by a "successful" person and by a normal person is evaluated differently.

Links - 26th November 2019 (1) (China's "Peaceful" Rise)

The Land That Failed to Fail - The New York Times - "Factories should meet state quotas but sell anything extra they made at any price they chose. It was a clever, quietly radical proposal to undercut the planned economy — and it intrigued a young party official in the room who had no background in economics... For decades, the United States encouraged and aided China’s rise, working with its leaders and its people to build the most important economic partnership in the world, one that has lifted both nations.During this time, eight American presidents assumed, or hoped, that China would eventually bend to what were considered the established rules of modernization: Prosperity would fuel popular demands for political freedom and bring China into the fold of democratic nations. Or the Chinese economy would falter under the weight of authoritarian rule and bureaucratic rot... China had a strange advantage in battling bureaucratic resistance. The nation’s long economic boom followed one of the darkest chapters of its history, the Cultural Revolution, which decimated the party apparatus and left it in shambles. In effect, autocratic excess set the stage for Mao’s eventual successor, Deng Xiaoping, to lead the party in a radically more open direction... Analysts sometimes say that China embraced economic reform while resisting political reform. But in reality, the party made changes after Mao’s death that fell short of free elections or independent courts yet were nevertheless significant.The party introduced term limits and mandatory retirement ages, for example, making it easier to flush out incompetent officials. And it revamped the internal report cards it used to evaluate local leaders for promotions and bonuses, focusing them almost exclusively on concrete economic targets. These seemingly minor adjustments had an outsize impact, injecting a dose of accountability — and competition — into the political system... President Xi has sought to assert the party’s authority inside private firms. He has also bolstered state-owned enterprises with subsidies while preserving barriers to foreign competition. And he has endorsed demands that American companies surrender technology in exchange for market access... Deng encouraged the party to seek help and expertise overseas, but Mr. Xi preaches self-reliance and warns of the threats posed by “hostile foreign forces.”... Mr. Xi seems to believe that China has been so successful that the party can return to a more conventional authoritarian posture — and that to survive and surpass the United States it must."
Some leftists claim that it is science and technology that lead to economic growth, not capitalism. Strange how the USSR despite prioritising science and technology failed and China grew after embracing market reforms

Chinese theft of US intellectual property ‘greatest transfer of wealth’ in history - "The Chinese theft of American intellectual property, according to a former NSA director, is the “greatest transfer of wealth in history,” likely costing the U.S. upward of $400 billion per year."

Much More Than a Trade War with China > Brandon J. Weichert - "With the Chinese belief in the “All Under Heaven” concept, and given that Chinese emperors were believed to possess the “mandate of Heaven,” order and unity radiated outward from the emperor, the center of Chinese power, and toward the farthest edges of the map. All of the world fell under the control of the Chinese emperor and all had to pay tribute to the emperor as a symbol of his supremacy. Those farthest removed from the emperor’s power were considered barbarians. In the eyes of the Chinese, inevitably, all would be subordinated to the will of the all-powerful emperor and his potent, centralizing bureaucracy. Thus, going back to antiquity, the borders of China were fungible; always waiting for China to gain the strength needed to push to those farthest edges of the world map and bring barbarianism and chaos to civilized order... At some point, the declining power and the ascendant one reach relative equilibrium in terms of relative power and conflict ensues. Allison has dubbed this the “Thucydides Trap.”... Yet, as the preeminent China scholar, David C. Kang, has long advised audiences: don’t apply Western case examples onto China, a country with a rich 4,000-year history (most of which occurred without much interaction with the West)... most Chinese conceptualize the world as being roughly akin to the environment that China found itself in during the Warring States Period... In his analysis of China’s “barbarian-handling” tools, Edward N. Luttwak describes how Chinese elites seek to enmesh foreign foes in trade deals that ultimately benefit and empower China at the expense of China’s trading partners—even when those trading partners are foreign conquerors... By the end of the Second World War, when their common Japanese enemy had been vanquished (mostly through the hard fighting of Chiang Kai-Shek’s Nationalist forces), the Chinese Communists were able to focus their ire on defeating the Nationalists in the Chinese Civil War. By 1949, thanks to poor strategic decisions by Chiang and his Nationalist generals, as well as the fact that the Nationalists were severely depleted from years of having fought the Japanese invaders (whereas the Communists deftly hid out in the mountains and bided their time, for the most part), Mao’s forces defeated the Nationalists... The fact that many of the centralizing themes of Communism comported nicely with historic Chinese cultural and political patterns, such as those found in the Legalist, Confucian, and even Taoist schools of thought was, until very recently, missed by most scholars... One of the main reasons for the Sino-Soviet schism revolved around the fact that Nikita Khrushchev’s government was giving the Chinese government plans for nuclear weapons devices, as per their friendship agreement. Yet, when Mao threatened neighboring Taiwan—prompting American threats of major retaliation—Khrushchev begged Mao to stand down and negotiate a settlement. Mao’s response was that he did not “fear nuclear war”... Khrushchev believed he was dealing with a madman and ordered the nuclear weapons sharing project suspended... No American leader until President Donald J. Trump has identified these trends and responded in any meaningful way. The president is the first American leader of the modern age to respond to the Chinese threat as vociferously as he has. Unfortunately, even Trump’s response may be insufficient. After all, Trump has targeted mostly old world-type sectors"
So much for China not engaging in imperialism

Opinion | After Tiananmen, China Conquers History Itself - The New York Times - "I was giving a talk about Tiananmen Square’s legacy at an Australian university about two years ago when a young Chinese student put up her hand during the question-and-answer session. “Why do we have to look back to this time in history?” she asked. “Why do you think it will be helpful to current and nowadays China, especially our young generation? Do you think it could be harmful to what the Chinese government calls the harmonious society?” She wasn’t challenging the facts of what had happened on June 4, 1989. She was questioning the value of the knowledge itself... The student was deftly sidestepping her government’s act of violence against its own people, while internalizing Beijing’s view that social stability trumps everything else. At the end of the talk, a second Chinese student came up to ask whether the very knowledge of June 4 could be dangerous to “our perfect society.”... These overseas students are part of China’s post-Tiananmen generation, raised in the era of patriotic education, which emphasizes China’s century of national humiliation at the hands of the Western and Japanese colonial powers. History has become an ideological tool, with certain episodes celebrated for showing the party’s best version of itself, while others are rooted out and erased. The narrative that runs throughout this discourse is China’s modern-day renaissance, driven by its refusal to be bullied by outside powers. All of this is in the ultimate service of legitimizing the current leadership... The so-called Five Heroes of Langya Mountain, for example, were members of the Eighth Route Army in 1941 during the Japanese occupation of China. Facing capture by the Japanese, they instead chose to jump off a mountain, and three lost their lives. When a historian questioned this legend recently and was sued, the court decided against him, finding that the national sentiments and historical memories reflected in this story were important components of modern China’s socialist core values. History, in other words, is used explicitly for political ends, and historical research can be seen as defamation... a Chinese online education company that employs 60,000 teachers in the United States and Canada sacked two American teachers for discussing Tiananmen and Taiwan with their students in China... In some ways, indoctrinating China’s young people with a utilitarian view of history is an even more powerful tool than censorship itself. When people accept that history must serve the interests of the state, they become closed off to the spirit of academic inquiry or even idle curiosity."
Truth/merit/virtue/correctness is whatever has instrumental value

Today’s China will never be a superpower | Financial Times - "Reform aside, there are three obstacles to China’s long-term economic growth. The first is the debt problem. At some stage, the costs of debt have to be borne, whether by people, companies or the government, and whether by inflating debt away, increasing taxation or cutting public investment and spending. The second obstacle is demographics. While China’s population will continue to grow for perhaps a decade, its labour force is already shrinking — precipitously... Another demographic fact is worrying in terms of instability: gender imbalance... The third problem, and perhaps the greatest, is a looming water crisis in 12 northern provinces that account for 41 per cent of China’s population, 38 per cent of its agriculture, 46 per cent of its industry and 50 per cent of its power generation... It is commonly said that if any government is capable of pushing through change, however unpopular, it is the CCP. If that were so, Mr Xi would not have expended so much energy in cajoling and excoriating officials for failure to implement his policies. The governance model is flawed: 1.4bn people cannot be governed using top down fiat and inspection, while eschewing self-regulation.Yet Mr Xi has specifically turned his back on four useful allies: the rule of law and an independent judiciary, which is essential for business and private sector confidence; a free press, for example to help expose corruption or abuse of the environment; civil society, from where ideas, innovation and pressure flow; and some sort of political accountability, to encourage officials to work for the benefit of the people and not of themselves or the party.All four of those allies weaken party controls and risk leading eventually to a pluralist system, undermining one party rule. So the CCP rejects them. To the factors above can be added a lack of trust by the people in the CCP. Nationalism is an inadequate substitute... If you claim credit for all good things, you also earn discredit for the bad."

Guangdong Tops China’s “Stability Maintenance” Budget - "The Chinese government’s “stability maintenance” expenditure last year was 1.37 trillion yuan (US$200 billion). It is expected that the actual cost of “stability maintenance” this year will exceed 1.4 trillion yuan.China’s official defense budget for 2019 is 1.19 trillion yuan (US$180 billion). Lui said that the phenomenon of the stability maintenance expenditure continuously surpassing military spending shows whether the Beijing authorities purpose “is mainly to prevent people or to prevent foreign enemies.” Although most of the outsiders think that these maintenance funds are mostly used in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Sichuan, as a matter of fact, according to past years from the China Statistical Yearbook, the top seven provinces in year 2017 in terms of “stability maintenance” spending were Guangdong, Jiangsu, Xinjiang, Shandong, Zhejiang, Sichuan and Beijing, .Guangdong spent around 121.4 billion yuan (US$18.05 billion), about 11 percent of the national total, more than twice that of Xinjiang province.Lui’s article said that, after Chinese President Xi Jinping took office, Guangdong has always topped the stability maintenance spending, with an average annual growth rate of 13 percent. In recent years, it has increased at a rate of about 20 percent to 30 percent, much faster than the spending in Xinjiang.He believes that Guangdong’s huge stability maintenance costs relate to Hong Kong."

30 years after Tiananmen, a Chinese military insider warns: Never forget - "For three decades, Ms Jiang Lin kept quiet about the carnage she had seen on the night when the Chinese army rolled through Beijing to crush student protests in Tiananmen Square.But the memories tormented her — of soldiers firing into crowds in the dark, bodies slumped in pools of blood and the thud of clubs when troops bludgeoned her to the ground near the square.Ms Jiang was a lieutenant in the People’s Liberation Army back then, with a firsthand view of both the massacre and a failed attempt by senior commanders to dissuade China’s leaders from using military force to crush the pro-democracy protests... Ms Jiang, 66, has decided for the first time to tell her story. She said she felt compelled to call for a public reckoning because generations of Chinese Communist Party leaders, including President Xi Jinping, have expressed no remorse for the violence. Ms Jiang left China this week. “The pain has eaten at me for 30 years,” she said in an interview in Beijing. “Everyone who took part must speak up about what they know happened. That’s our duty to the dead, the survivors and the children of the future.”Ms Jiang’s account has a wider significance: She sheds new light on how military commanders tried to resist orders to use armed force to clear protesters from the square they had taken over for seven weeks, captivating the world. The students’ impassioned idealism, hunger strikes, rebukes of officials and grandiose gestures like building a “Goddess of Democracy” on the square drew an outpouring of public sympathy and left leaders divided on how to respond... Ms Jiang’s decision to challenge the silence carries an extra political charge because she is not only an army veteran but also the daughter of the military elite. Her father was a general, and she was born and raised in military compounds... She never imagined that the army would turn its guns against unarmed people in Beijing... Ms Jiang said she believed that China’s stability and prosperity would be fragile as long as the party did not atone for the bloodshed.“All this is built on sand. There’s no solid foundation,” she said. “If you can deny that people were killed, any lie is possible.”"
China lovers will dismiss her as being bought out by Westerners, or trying to get revenge on China because she was a failure

Chinese developers fear losing open source tech to trade war : programming - "the IP transfer is entirely one-sided -- just try to steal original IP from Huawei or another Chinese company and see what happens -- I predict lawsuits in jurisdictions where IP ownership enforcement isn't a joke and the Chinese government directly applying pressure to punish the guilty company. Or, y'know, the company "mysteriously" gets hacked and wrecked."
"when i was running Bitbucket, a group of Chinese technology companies approached us to put mirrored servers in China. Bitbucket is mostly wrote in Python, so if they had physical access to the servers they'd be able to get the code as it's a interpreted language not compiled.we politely told them, "i'm sorry but we need to protect our IP and will not be setting up servers in China due to trade concerns.". THE NEXT DAY we were shut off at the great firewall of china.we had to hire lawyers, work withe consulate office, and file official complaints to the Chinese Ministry of Technology to get the site access turned back on for the customers and users in China.the chineese are horrible. fuck them. i hope trump bends them over HARD in the negotiations and forgets the lube."
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