All entries by this author

She has gone out of her way to make herself unwelcome

Aug 17th, 2016 10:09 am | By

A male political blogger objects, with the utmost politeness and restraint, to a “mouthy” female MP who expects protection after she gets threats.

‘Panic room’ is installed at office by mouthy Labour MP. Who’s paying?

I was just kidding about the politeness and restraint. He clearly thinks he’s being polite and restrained – he repeatedly says as much in the comments – but he’s delusional on that point. The scare quotes are not polite, “mouthy” is not polite, the question about who is paying is not polite.

It’s very hard to gauge the moral rights and wrongs of this situation.

Nobody should be put in fear for their life while carrying out a job that doesn’t carry that kind

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How he remained untouched for so long

Aug 16th, 2016 5:59 pm | By

The Guardian explains more about Choudary’s activities.

Anjem Choudary and his extremist groups are believed to have inspired at least 100 people from Britain into terrorism, including organisations committed to campaigns of murder against the west, the Guardian has learned.

Documents from intelligence sources say his groups were at the heart of the Islamist movement in Britain, which has been left facing a “severe” threat of jihadi attack.

The defense of free speech depends to some extent on an absence of people like Choudary. If you have people who really are “inspiring” others to commit mass murders, then it becomes a lot more difficult to say those people have an absolute right to free speech. It’s no longer … Read the rest


Aug 16th, 2016 5:02 pm | By

Seriously, go to Google Images and type in “vulgarian” to see what happens. It’s quite hilarious.

If that’s too much trouble, just click here.

H/t Charles Sullivan… Read the rest

It was never an issue

Aug 16th, 2016 12:27 pm | By

Trump says he’ll “never, ever forgive” voters if he loses the election.

What a strange man. Does he think we care? Does he think we’re all best friends, and we’ll be crushed and mournful and forever saddened if he never forgives us?

Dude, I’ll never ever forgive you for running for this election, but you didn’t ask me and I don’t expect you to care. It works the same way for you. We don’t love you, we’re not your buddies, and we don’t care whether you forgive us or not. We’re not invested in you. We’re just not that into you. We don’t think about you except when you force yourself on our attention the way you’ve been doing. … Read the rest

Our lives mean nothing

Aug 16th, 2016 11:51 am | By

A story out of Pakistan:

A British teenager claimed she was forced at gunpoint in Pakistan to marry her cousin, who raped her everyday for three years.

Tasbassan Khan [not her real name] alleged she was 15 when her aunt told her she was going on a summer holiday to Pakistan. Khan’s father had murdered her mother when she was 12, leaving her and three brothers in the care of their aunt in Doncaster, South Yorkshire.

Well that’s a jolly start to life.

Now 26, Khan told the Sunday Express, “I thought I was going to Pakistan on holiday. I was excited. Then two months passed and it was time to start the school year. I asked my

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Except it wasn’t a game

Aug 16th, 2016 10:58 am | By

Dominic Casciani takes a closer look at Anjem Choudary’s conviction, in a piece that was clearly already written and just waiting for the news to go public. Maajid Nawaz also has an already-written piece, that will be in the Times tomorrow.

The scenes would change – but not the words.

The flag of Islam will fly over Downing Street, was his favourite prediction, followed by some kind of rhetorical flourish. “The Muslims are rising to establish the Sharia… Pakistan, Afghanistan and perhaps, my dear Muslims, Londonistan.”

He would greet the journalists with a smile, and some guile, dressed up as charm.

One day outside Regent’s Park Mosque (he was banned from ranting inside its premises) he told the crowd

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Anjem Choudary

Aug 16th, 2016 10:03 am | By

Breaking news. Anjem Choudary convicted of inviting people to support Islamic State.

Choudary, 49, drummed up support for the militant group in a series of talks posted on YouTube, the Old Bailey heard.

He was convicted alongside his confidant, Mohammed Mizanur Rahman.

The Met Police said many people tried for serious offences “attended lectures or speeches given by these men”.

Counter-terrorism chiefs have spent almost 20 years trying to bring Choudary, a father of five, to trial, blaming him, and the proscribed organisations which he helped to run, for radicalising young men and women.

But it’s tricky, because free speech.

Both men were charged with one offence of inviting support for IS – which is contrary to section 12

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Those who support bigotry and hatred

Aug 15th, 2016 5:58 pm | By

Ahahahahahahaha – Trump is promising a “test” for immigrants to make sure we don’t let in any terrorists, but what makes that funny is that his proposed test would exclude him. He would fail that test so hard – he would get less than zero. He would owe somebody something, he’d fail it so profoundly.

Donald Trump called Monday for a Cold War-style mobilization against “radical Islamic terror,” repeating and repackaging calls for strict immigration controls — including a new ideological litmus test for Muslim visitors and migrants — and blaming the current level of worldwide terrorist attacks on President Obama and Hillary Clinton.

The speech was one in a series of prepared remarks the Republican presidential nominee

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Table, or ball?

Aug 15th, 2016 5:18 pm | By

There are actual flat earthers – people who believe the earth really is flat, and the only reason we don’t all realize this is because of the Giant Conspiracy.

Flat Earthers have a wide range of convictions. Some come to the movement from a religious place, others from a scientific one. But most believe in one simple principle: that NASA and everyone involved in space exploration are liars and that there is a massive conspiracy to hide the fact that the Earth is flat.

That would have to be such a massive conspiracy.

We can’t all be astronomers or physicists, of course. (I know I certainly can’t.) But I know a thing we can do: we can look at … Read the rest

A choice

Aug 15th, 2016 2:57 pm | By

The AP reports:

The soldier pointed his AK-47 at the female aid worker and gave her a choice.

“Either you have sex with me, or we make every man here rape you and then we shoot you in the head,” she remembers him saying.

She didn’t really have a choice. By the end of the evening, she had been raped by 15 South Sudanese soldiers.

So that’s what you get for being an aid worker.

On July 11, South Sudanese troops, fresh from winning a battle in the capital, Juba, over opposition forces, went on a nearly four-hour rampage through a residential compound popular with foreigners, in one of the worst targeted attacks on aid workers in South

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Aug 15th, 2016 10:46 am | By

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A decree of apostasy

Aug 15th, 2016 9:50 am | By

The Independent has found a horror in London: Haredi Jews are trying to fundraise a million quid to try to stop divorcing parents taking their children with them out of the reactionary religion. The money is to pay the legal bills.

The Independent has seen flyers for a fundraising event in the Stamford Hill area of London that call for the community to back the bid, saying: “Rescue The Children Convention: We now need one million pounds and therefore the community is requested to join in with a minimum sum of £500.”

The flyers were accompanied by a letter of support from a local rabbi stating they wish to fight cases involving 17 children: “To our great pain, and

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A sacred duty to rape these poor women

Aug 14th, 2016 5:21 pm | By

The New York Times reporter Rukmini Callimachi was on Fresh Air the other day. One of the things they talked about was the sex slavery of Yazidi girls and women.

GROSS: So the ISIS men who raped these women and used them as sex slaves, they believed that the Quran gave them justification to do it as long as the women didn’t get pregnant?

CALLIMACHI: Yes, yes. The Quran has about more than a dozen references to the phrase those your right hand possesses. And what scholars of Islam have explained to me is that phrase means a slave. And that phrase comes up in sections that deal with what are the licit forms of sexual intercourse that a man

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“Trolling” makes it sound cuddly

Aug 14th, 2016 1:43 pm | By

Sky News talks to Kate Smurthwaite about online abuse and harassment.

It would be nice if Sky News had not stuck the label “Thought Police” next to Kate’s name in the caption. It’s not “thought policing” to want to be free of abuse online.

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Writing and editing

Aug 14th, 2016 11:53 am | By

On Saturday Review yesterday they talked about a novel, The Summer That Melted Everything. One of the participants said it was quite good but there was a great deal too much of it, and added with much passion that Americans really need to learn to edit their novels and take out a lot. That resonated with me because I’m reading Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch. I found it at a Little Free Library the other day, and was surprised 1. that it was so heavy and 2. that there was a huge heavy Donna Tartt I’d never heard of before. Now, having googled it, I’m surprised all over again about 2, because there was a huge fuss about … Read the rest


Aug 14th, 2016 10:55 am | By

Someone I don’t know commented on a Facebook thread about a New Yorker article that asks if God is transgender. The comment expresses a very familiar, conventional, and convenient religious idea, but it’s one that makes no sense, and is the source of endless horrors. It’s an idea that should be disputed more often than it is.

Is there no end to the arrogance of humanity? We are constantly making God on our own terms instead of His, which is really nothing more than deciding that we know best and really ought to be God.

There’s so much wrong with that claim. I could go on about it for hours. The most obvious item is that if we can’t use … Read the rest

Toxic brews of hatred

Aug 14th, 2016 9:38 am | By

Nicholas Kristof points out the undeniable: Trump is moving the national culture – or mood or discourse or limit on what’s acceptable. There are a lot of things you can call it, but whatever it is, Trump is having an effect on it, and not in a good way.

This community of Forest Grove, near the farm where I grew up in western Oregon, has historically been a charming, friendly and welcoming community. But in the middle of a physics class at the high school one day this spring, a group of white students suddenly began jeering at their Latino classmates and chanting: “Build a wall! Build a wall!”

The same white students had earlier chanted “Trump! Trump! Trump!”

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The recently liberate Manbij

Aug 13th, 2016 4:21 pm | By

The people of Manbij in Syria have been liberated from IS.

Ecstatic Syrian civilians have been shaving off their beards, burning their burqas, smoking and dancing in the streets after being freed from Isis.

The jubilant celebrations were seen in the Syrian city of Manbij on Friday, where militants have been driven out after months of fighting by US-backed rebel groups.

Families ran through rubble-strewn streets, past the ruins of buildings destroyed in air strikes, carrying their babies and belongings.

Men jubilantly had their beards cut off as women ripped off their veils and set them on fire in an act of rebellion after years living under Isis’ brutal interpretation of Sharia law.

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The personality cult surrounding the demagogue

Aug 13th, 2016 4:09 pm | By

From Ian Kershaw’s The Hitler Myth:

Even after the triumph of the 1930 election, many intelligent and informed observers of the German political scene felt that the Nazi party was bound sooner or later to collapse and break up into its component parts. Its social base was diffuse – that of an out and out protest party; it had no clear political programme to offer, only a contradictory amalgam of social revolutionary rhetoric and reactionary impulses; and not least it was heavily dependent on the personality cult surrounding the demagogue Hitler – seen as the mouthpiece of petty-bourgeois resentments, but ultimately a dilettante who, despite temporary success in the conditions of severe economic and political crisis, was bound in

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The ultimate bullet point

Aug 13th, 2016 3:39 pm | By

Trump’s campaign whatever Katie Pierson announced on CNN that “We weren’t even in Afghanistan at this time, Barack Obama went into Afghanistan, creating another problem…” The host stared in consternation, and as soon as he could asked her if she meant to say that, and she looked a bit worried but said yes anyway.

A sharp-eyed commenter pointed out that she’s wearing a necklace of bullets.

Um.… Read the rest