We all know about the importance of context in understanding and judging the actions of others. If the person who stole a loaf of bread was starving, and trying to feed her starving child, we judge the theft differently from the way we judge an equivalent theft carried out by some opportunistically looting hooligans. So what would you think of someone who told you about the horrifying details of a wife’s premeditated murder of her husband, but completely omitted to mention the fact that he’d been abusing her terribly, physically and mentally, for 20 years? What would you think of someone who told you of the appalling punishment of ‘necklacing’ carried out by some members of the ANC in the 1980s and early 1990s in South Africa, without ever mentioning the brutalising facts of apartheid in that country at that time? What would you think of someone who described black American criminality without ever so much as mentioning racism or slavery? You might, at the very least, raise an eyebrow and murmur the word ‘context’. Even though each of these cases involve wrongful, sometimes horribly wrongful, actions, you might think that the context is important in judging those who carried out the actions. (And of course context is just as important in judging rightful action too). You might also think that the people who so ignored the context in these cases had rather poor and blinkered moral and political judgment. And if you wanted to explain this lack of judgement, these blinkers, you might in some cases make reference to the persistence of longstanding prejudices against women or Africans or American people of colour.
Now considerthis article in openDemocracy, about ‘the Israel Lobby’. The article walks us through the development of Zionist sympathies among British Jews and others in the UK.
While I think freedom of religion for everyone needs to be respected, that doesn’t mean they have the right to impose those beliefs on anyone. Why should publicly funded Universities in the UK or anywhere require students to be segregated by Gender, even if its just when certain people are speaking? Also, since the religion of the speaking is what’s being used here to justify enforcing gender segregation in some instances, might this also cause an issue with the establishment clause if this was happening in the US? Americans United For The Separation Of Church And State, would oppose this, as they would oppose publicly funded faith schools
‘Just ask how it would look if universities allowed speakers to demand separation by race.’ Illustration by Daniel Pudles
Separate but equal; where have we heard that before? Apartheid South Africa is no metaphor for anything else, but women of my generation and all those before were told over and over again that the sexes are different “but equal”, as an excuse for excluding them from places they didn’t belong: they should be doing “separate but equal” in the kitchen, bedroom and nursery. Whatever is segregated by diktat is rarely equal.
Universities once barred women altogether. Now they strive to be emblems of enlightenment, temples to reason, equality, free speech and freedom of thought. But it’s not easy to balance conflicting freedoms. Universities UK, their representative body, has just published 40 pages of guidelines on External Speakers in Higher Education Institutions, wriggling and writhing over competing freedoms for women versus not causing religious offence: it ends up with excruciating nonsense.
Some students may want a “no platform” policy for speakers they find obnoxious - the BNP or members of unsavoury governments. Demonstrating opposition is a freedom, but banning or yelling down free expression within the law is a denial of freedom. However, Universities UK’s guidelines give the sexist eccentricities of some religions priority over women’s rights, by allowing religious speakers the right to demand women and men are segregated in the lecture hall.
I didn’t know that George Galloway was involved with people like this. Off course I don’t know that much about him. Living in the US I haven’t paid that much attention to UK politics.
Not sure what other category to put the story under. I’d put this under the Wingnuts, category, but George Galloway is far left, instead of far right isn’t he? If you have a better idea as to what category to put this under, please let me know.
Almost exactly one year ago, we reported that Naz Kahn, the Women’s Officer of George Galloway’s RESPECT Coalition in Bradford, was posting pro-Nazi material on her Facebook page. RESPECT issued a mealy mouthed response: but as far as we can tell, refused to dismiss Naz Kahn from her post.
Since then, RESPECT Bradford has collapsed, and its councillors have deserted it. Again, as far as we can tell, Naz Kahn is still the Women’s Officer of the local party. Certainly, there has been no announcement that she has been expelled from the party. She is one of the most prominent posters on the Respect Your Community Facebook page, which also features postings by Chris Chilvers, the National Secretary of RESPECT:
They had a better picture, but the file size was too big so I used that one instead
Halloween is a controversial day in Australia. The holiday is not traditionally observed there widely, but kids are still aware of it from TV and movies. So, every year, an increasing number of Australian children dress up in costume and go door-to-door for candy, as the grown-ups debate whether they should continue to resist the foreign cultural imposition.
“If any children approach my building, I’m just going to silently admire them from the intercom screen and pretend that I’m not home. I won’t be the only one,” Australian writer Van Badham declared in Wednesday’s Guardian, as part of the annual Australian tradition of refusing to enjoy Halloween. “For people like my mother, it’s a deliberate rejection of the kind of U.S. imperialism that suckered her generation not into witches hats and candy, but Australian participation in the Vietnam war.”
I’ve always had mixed feelings about The Huffington Post. They make money with notorious clickbait and yet don’t pay their non-staff writers. Their UK political editor is someone who, despite being an Oxford graduate and a journalist, chose his words rather poorly when speaking of non-Muslims, especially atheists (he did apologize for it). Steven Novella has written several times on the HuffPo’s promotion of pseudoscience.
Knowing those things, however, could not prepare me for the fact that Adnan Oktar, alias Harun Yahya, a notorious Islamic creationist, is a HuffPo contributor. Let me rephrase it so that those who don’t know who he is can feel the outrage: the Muslim Ray Comfort - with a generous dash of Harold Camping - writes for HuffPo.
Harun Yahya has written 234 (!) books (all available for free online) on topics like Islamic apocalyptic conspiracy theories, the Holocaust, and the evils of Romanticism. His favorite theme, Islamic Creationism, can be found in nearly all of his books, even the ones not about his views of the science of evolution. Despite being advised (and, according to some whispers, funded) by American Creationists, he thinks that “Darwinism” is not only factually and scientifically incorrect, but also pure Western-created evil designed to subjugate Muslims.
There’s also a funny video over there of Harun Yahya, and his girls dancing to the Gangnam Style song.
Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer must be thrilled! The Anti Muslim “counter jihad” is really paying off.
The “beautiful game” wasn’t so beautiful at the West Ham stadium last Saturday.
A group of Muslim West Ham supporters were harassed by fellow fans of the football team as they took a moment to observe afternoon prayers in the concourse area of the stadium, ten minutes before halftime. A video shows the disturbing attack, which ironically occurred after West Ham invited local groups to watch the game with discounted tickets through West Ham United Community Sports Trust, which focuses on community outreach.
The video shows a small group of Muslims gathered for prayer in corner under the stands, when their worship sparked the anger of fellow fans.
Note - There’s also a video but, I had trouble getting to play for some reason.
In which John discusses the complicated reasons why the United States spends so much more on health care than any other country in the world, and along the way reveals some surprising information, including that Americans spend more of their tax dollars on public health care than people in Canada, the UK, or Australia. Who’s at fault? Insurance companies? Drug companies? Malpractice lawyers? Hospitals? Or is it more complicated than a simple blame game? (Hint: It’s that one.)
For a much more thorough examination of health care expenses in America, I recommend this series at The Incidental Economist: theincidentaleconomist.com
The Commonwealth Fund’s Study of Health Care Prices in the US: commonwealthfund.org
Some of the stats in this video also come from this New York Times story: nytimes.com
This is the first part in what will be a periodic series on health care costs and reforms leading up to the introduction of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, in 2014.
Stones have been thrown at a coach carrying Jewish boys before they were egged in a sickening attack in Sheerness.
Witnesses saw around seven teenage boys and girls hurling missiles at the vehicle and shouting “go back to where you came from”.
Moments later, the group of 10 to 14-year-olds were set upon again with eggs.
Now a coach firm is warning ethnic minority groups not to visit the Isle of Sheppey in the wake of the attack.
The Hasidic Jews, from London, were visiting the town to go to the beach after a trip to Diggerland in Strood on Tuesday afternoon.
A window on the coach was smashed as it turned into High Street from Millennium Way. Luckily, no one was hurt.
One person - who saw the incident, but did not want to be named for fear of repercussions - said: “They were saying ‘**** you - go back to where you came from’.
“I couldn’t believe some of the things they were saying.”
The vehicle then moved to the car park in nearby Trinity Road, where witnesses said the group of 10 to 14-year-olds from London were set upon again with eggs.
West’s Coaches Limited, which is based in South Woodford, London, had to send a replacement service to pick up the passengers and take them back home.
Director Nick Brown said his business is £1,000 out of pocket to pay for a new window and having to divert another driver from the capital.
He said: “The people on the coach were pretty shaken up. In the future we will have to warn ethnic minorities about bringing them to Sheppey.”
He added abuse was also aimed at the driver, who is of Indian descent.
Heather Thomas-Pugh, chairman of Sheppey Tourism Alliance, said: “We are extremely disappointed that this sort of behaviour has happened on our island.
“When people take the time and trouble to come and visit us, they should expect Islanders to provide a warm welcome.
“It is incidents like this, from a minority, that prevent the Isle of Sheppey being seen in the correct light.”
Channel 4 has said it will broadcast the Muslim call to prayer live every morning during Ramadan as a deliberate act of “provocation” aimed at viewers who associate Islam with terrorism and extremism.
The broadcaster, which was launched with a mission to appeal to minority audiences, will return to its controversial roots by screening a season of programmes around the Muslim period of prayer and fasting, which begins next Tuesday.
A senior Channel 4 executive defended the broadcaster’s decision to provide extensive coverage of the most significant event in the Islamic calendar by suggesting that Ramadan was of greater interest to its viewers than the “blanket coverage” given to the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation by its rivals.
This is some very good news. A TV station has decided to confront the bigots, and is trying to draw them out into the open. In addition, from the sound of they will also be having programming explaining Ramadan, at least to an extent.
This is a very positive comparison to the US media, which almost never covers anything to do with Islam, and when it does, it is almost always in a negative, to help boost ratings. This, in fact, helps to foster Anti-Muslim bigotry in the US. This sort of thing is very much needed in the US. Unfortunately, it is also unlikely to happen here, because of the attachment to money within the Television Industry, with no thought to social well-being.
More climate denialism media malfeasance from the Daily
In the Great Green Con, as with all Mail articles, much of the real creativity has gone into the sidebar, in this case a little bundle of joy entitled: “1977 - the year we were told to fear terror of… global cooling”.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Fear terror? Wasn’t that Franklin Delano Roosevelt?” No, that was “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself”. This is a very different FDR. The DR stands for David Rose, and the F doesn’t stand for Franklin.
The first line of the sidebar reads:
In the Seventies, scientists and policymakers were just as concerned about a looming ‘ice age’ as they have been lately about global warming - as the Time magazine cover pictured here illustrates.
And here’s the Time magazine cover pictured, illustrating away in the middle of the Mail on Sunday:
And here’s a close up of that Time magazine cover, note the date in the top right-hand corner, April 1977:
And here’s Time Magazine’s website where you can search through all of their covers, here showing all four editions from April 1977.
You see any penguins? Me neither. This is most p-p-p-peculiar.
and the real cover, from 2007: