You are a monster, a disease, a criminal, a fascist 1

Pat Condell explains why.

Don’t protest that it isn’t true. The truth is incorrect and inadmissible.

Posted under Commentary, Ethics, Leftism, Videos by Jillian Becker on Friday, January 18, 2019

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Allah has a Pope and Marx is his prophet 1

It is plainly a thing that needs explanation, why the Left, doctrinally anti-religion, insistent on women’s liberation, vehemently against homophobia, is in alliance with Islam. How can you be against religion yet for Islam? For women’s equality and at the same time for women’s subjugation? Against homophobia but unconcerned that gays are bound hand and foot and flung to their death from the top of tall buildings?

The Left does not explain why. It does not entertain the question.

And here’s another thing that needs explanation. Why are the heads of the Christian churches looking on impassively while Christians of many denominations are being slaughtered and enslaved by Islam in the Middle East and North Africa, to such an extent that the Christian communities of what was once the vast empire of the eastern Roman church are being wiped out of existence?

The Catholic author William Kilpatrick writes at Lifesite:

Ever since the Second Vatican Council, Church leaders have presented a smiley-faced version of Islam which emphasizes the commonalities with Catholicism and leaves out the alarming elements.

Over the last six years, the chief proponent of this bowdlerized view of Islam has been Pope Francis. He has reassured Christians that Islam is opposed to violence, advised Muslim migrants to find comfort in the Koran, and has portrayed terrorists as betrayers of true Islam.

More significantly, he has become perhaps the world’s foremost spokesman for an open-borders, let-everyone-in policy toward immigration. Seemingly indifferent to the increasingly dangerous situation created by jihad-minded Muslims in Europe, Francis has encouraged a welcoming attitude toward all while scolding opponents of mass migration as fearful and xenophobic.

In short, Pope Francis has acted as an advocate for Islam. He has portrayed it as a religion of peace, the moral equivalent of Catholicism, and a force for good. A number of people, however, now feel that the pope has seriously misled Christians about the nature and goals of Islam and Islamic immigration. …

The combination of high Muslim birth rates, mass Muslim migration, and European concessions to Islam’s blasphemy laws has set Europe on a course toward Islamization. Islamization, in turn, will spell dhimmitude for Christians. As the Islamic influence grows, Christians will be subject to increasing restrictions on the practice of their faith, perhaps even to the point of persecution. It’s possible that Christianity in Europe will be exterminated.

The pope has done much to promote the cause of Islam – so much so that he has been praised by Islamic leaders for his defense of their faith. The questions that then arise are these: Is Francis aware of the possibility that Islam will become dominant in Europe? Is he aware that this may spell the end of European Christianity? And if he is aware, does he care?

For a long time, I thought that Francis was simply naïve regarding Islam. His counterfactual statements about Islam and his Pollyannaish view of mass Muslim migration must, I thought, be the result either of blissful ignorance or of bad advice from “experts,” or a combination of both.

Now, however, I have my doubts. The catalyst for these doubts is Francis’s approach to the current sex-abuse crisis. I originally supposed that he was naïve about this, too: perhaps he didn’t realize the full extent of the problem or the full extent of the cover-ups, or perhaps he wasn’t aware of the numerous lavender networks in seminaries, in dioceses, and in the Vatican itself. But in light of recent revelations, it no longer seems possible to give him the benefit of the doubt. In several cases, he not only knew of the crimes and cover-ups, but took steps to protect and/or promote those involved. Francis seems determined to push through a revolution in doctrine and morals – what he calls “a radical paradigm shift” – and it doesn’t seem to matter that the men he has chosen to help him achieve his goals are the ones most deeply implicated in the scandals. By all accounts, Pope Francis is a “hands-on” pope who knows exactly what he wants, carefully calculates his moves, and leaves little to chance.

Why, then, should we suppose Francis is completely naïve about the extent of the threat from Islam and from Islamic immigration? It’s difficult to imagine that he isn’t fully aware of the widespread persecution of Christians in Muslim lands. And it’s just as difficult to think that he’s ignorant of the Islamic crime wave on his own doorstep – the escalating incidence of rape, riots, and terrorist attacks in Europe. Does he really believe that such things have nothing to do with Islam?

Unless one assumes that Francis is ignorant of history and out of touch with current events, one must entertain the possibility that – to repeat a favorite slogan of his – he wants to “make a mess” in Europe.

But why? Why risk the damage to the Church that would surely follow on the Islamization of Europe? Doesn’t Francis care about the Church? Increasingly, it seems that he does not. …

This is from Francis himself speaking at a conference on Church closings:

“The observation that many churches, which until a few years ago were necessary, are now no longer thus, due to a lack of faithful and clergy … should be welcomed in the Church not with anxiety, but as a sign of the times that invites us to reflection and requires us to adapt.”

Translation: Francis is not particularly concerned about church closings. Perhaps he even thinks of them as a blessing, i.e., a necessary end to the old order of things that will clear the way for the construction of the new order.

What is this new order? In many respects, it resembles the new world order envisioned by politicians and academics on the left. Like them, Francis has a dim view of national borders and national sovereignty, and, like them, he has an almost unquestioning belief in the benefits of international institutions. One gets the impression that Francis would be quite content to let the U.N. run the world, despite the fact that the U.N. is increasingly run by leftists and Islamists. For example, Francis has praised the U.N.’s Global Compact for Migration because he believes that immigration should be governed globally rather than by individual nations.

How does this relate to Christianity and Islam? Just as Francis seems to favor a one-world government, he also seems to be drawn by the vision of a one-world religion. He hasn’t said so in so many words, but he has given several indications that he envisions an eventual blending of religions. …

One way to achieve this unity in diversity is by deemphasizing doctrine. Doctrinal differences are, after all, the main dividing line between different faiths. Thus, by downplaying the importance of doctrine – something he has done fairly consistently throughout his papacy – it’s probable that Francis hopes to smooth the path to interreligious harmony. Just as Francis disapproves of borders between nations, it’s quite likely that he looks upon borders between religions as artificial and unnecessarily divisive. …

But a religion must have a doctrine. The doctrine is the religion. What is a religion if not its doctrine?

Francis frequently shows signs of indifferentism – i.e., the belief that all religions are of equal value.

If this is the case, then Pope Francis probably has no desire to convert the Muslims streaming into Europe. …

Exactly what, then, does he have in mind by encouraging mass migration into Europe? One possibility … is that he envisions a kind of multicultural blending of religions. But in order for this to happen, it would be necessary for the respective faiths to dilute their doctrinal positions. Pope Francis seems quite willing to do this on the Catholic side. …

But what about fundamentalist Muslims? A harmonious world religion dedicated to humanitarian ends would require not only a watering-down of Christianity, but also a considerable moderation of Islam. …

[He claims] that Islam is already – and always has been – a moderate and peaceful faith. Most notably, he asserted … that “authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence”. …

For decades now, global leaders have been assuring us that Islam means peace, that violence has nothing to do with Islam, and that the vast majority of Muslims are moderate. …

Francis seems to have little anxiety about the Islamization of Europe. Indeed, as evidenced by his encouragement of mass migration, he seems to have no objection to Islamization.

Either because he truly believes the false narrative that Islam is a religion of peace, or because he believes that the self-fulfilling prophecy strategy will create a more moderate Islam, Francis seems to be at peace with the fact that Islam is spreading rapidly.

Whatever he has in mind, it seems that Pope Francis is betting against the odds. …

Whether Francis has been misinformed about Islam or whether he has adopted a strategy of misinformation, he is taking a huge gamble – not only with his own life, but with the lives of millions. When the religion of Muhammad meets the religion of indifferentism, which seems more likely to prevail?

As the “one world religion” must have a doctrine, what would Pope Francis have it be? The only hint we have is in what we know of his own beliefs. The beliefs he holds not at all indifferently: the Liberation Theology that Communist Catholic priests preached in his native Latin America – but was cooked up and fed to them by the Soviet Union.

The Catholic part of Liberation Theology is less evident – if evident at all – than the Communist part.

Whether to Communism or Islam or both, Christianity is losing, and may be on its way to being lost – dissolved perhaps in a “world religion”.

We are not sorry to see a religion lose its grip on sad human gullibility, but we get no satisfaction from the victory of the temporary alliance of Islam and the Left over Christianity. Of the three religions – Christianity, Islam, Communism – Christianity has been the least dreadful in recent times.

Envying the guilty 1

Come, fix upon me that accusing eye./ I thirst for accusation.” – W. B. Yeats.

The Left claims moral superiority on the grounds of being “more compassionate than thou”. From before Marx to after Alinsky, those who would organize “the community” so that the state supplies everyone’s needs equally, justify whatever measures they take to achieve that end by reference – explicit or implicit – to human suffering. They are the self-appointed champions and saviors of society’s victims, the servers and protectors of “the common good”. It is not the individual they care for. The interests of the individual must be identical with the interests of the community. Whenever necessary, the individual must be sacrificed for the good of the community.

It is a political philosophy that cannot but cause what it claims to cure – vast human suffering. Since only the individual, not the crowd, can feel pain, he is being sacrificed to an idol. To matter at all, the individual must be a member of a victim group. He must be of an exploited class, a colonized race, an oppressed sect, a minority “gender”. That, and only that, is his role, his dignity, his importance. If you are not one of the exploited, you are one of the exploiters; if you are not one of the oppressed, you are an oppressor. Because you are of the exploiter and oppressor class you can only save yourself from the righteous contempt and active revenge of the victims by taking up their cause. Be a champion and savior of the victim classes. Be a Socialist.

The New Left consisted for the most part of such non-victims who rebelled against their deplorably non-victim class, race, nation, culture. To be white, of European descent, living in the free West, financially well off, educated, heterosexual, was to be wrong, guilty, despicable. If they could find nothing in their condition or family history that would allow them to claim precious inclusion in a victim category, they could at least reject their families, their race and nation, their class, their status. To prove their renunciation of “privilege” each felt it necessary to be more active, more loud, more violent in the cause than the next rebel.

How they envied the real victims. Until they came to the common agreement that they could go further than rebellion; not just reject their race, class, and “gender”, but actually renounce them and “identify as” something different. Even another sex. Even a different color. Sex and color are, they say, “social constructs”. They are not immutable realities. You can be accepted as a member in good standing of the colonized, of the powerless crushed by the powerful. Reach for that happiness. You want it, take it.

To that idealism the Western world has become accustomed.

But now a new and even more astonishing claim has arisen on the Left. At first it might seem too improbable to be true. But on further consideration it could appear to be a logical development of New Left theory. It reverses the movement of the oppressor class to belong to “the wretched of the earth”. Now they – some of them – want to be known as belonging to the oppressor class.

Envy victims no longer, comrades. Envy the victimizers.

The Swedes are leading the way. They are laying claim to being a colonial power, not in the past*, but now. They must make amends, give up their identity, yield their country and culture to others.

Bruce Bawer explains at Front Page:

Back in 2005, Mona Sahlin, who from 2002 to 2004 had served as Sweden’s minister of integration, told an audience at a Swedish mosque that many native Swedes envied them, because, she said, immigrants have real cultures and histories while Swedes have only “silliness” such as the commemoration of Midsummer Night. Later that year, at a debate on integration policy, the Norwegian activist Hege Storhaug asked Lise Bergh, who had succeeded to the post of Swedish minister of integration, whether Swedish culture was worth preserving. Blithely, Bergh replied: “Well, what is Swedish culture? And by saying that, I think I’ve answered the question.”

Those two appalling comments reflect a mentality – one that is shared, unfortunately, by a great many Swedes – that goes a long way toward explaining the breathtakingly self-destructive policies that, over the last few decades, have sent Sweden barreling down the road toward cultural self-annihilation. Of course, other Western European countries are headed down the same road, but they aren’t moving quite so quickly and eagerly, and with such a fatuous, pathetic air of self-satisfaction, toward their grim fate. The difference lies entirely in that Swedish mentality. Even more than most other Western Europeans, Swedes, especially the self-consciously sophisticated urban elites, are possessed of a degree of self-abnegation that is nothing short of pathological.

Consider this. In the U.S., we have “Native Americans”. Canada has the “First Nations”. Australia has its “aborigines”. What all these peoples have in common is that they were there first. In Sweden, the native peoples, the ur-folk, are, needless to say, the Swedes themselves. There are ten million of them, and they’ve been there for millennia. But when establishment journalists and politicians in Sweden refer to their country’s “indigenous people” they’re not talking about themselves. No, they’re talking about the 20,000 Sami (also known as Lapps or Laplanders) who live way up in the far northern reaches of Sweden, tending reindeer and wearing funny red outfits.

Now, the Sami (of whom there are also several thousand in northern Norway and Finland and the neighboring parts of Russia) are no more indigenous to Scandinavia than are the Swedes themselves. The earliest references to both peoples, as it happens, appear in the same work – De origine et situ Germanorum, written by the Roman historian Tacitus and published in A.D. 98. And yet Swedes refer to the Sami people, but not themselves, as “indigenous”. Think of it: it’s as if native French speakers in Paris or Nice or Toulon were to regard themselves as less authentically French than the speakers of Breton or Alsatian, or as if Castilian-speaking Madrileños were to indicate, by word or deed, that Catalan speakers in Barcelona were more genuinely Spanish than themselves.

So it is that Swedes, when it comes to the Sami, have – at least at the highest levels of government, society, and cultural life – embraced, in the name of some thoroughly twisted concept of morality, a bizarre, self-denying lie. And they have, as we well know, done essentially the same thing in regard to immigrants from the Muslim world. In an article published on New Year’s Day, Sweden’s current Minister of Culture and Democracy, a woman by the name of Alice Bah Kuhnke, briefly described a new law that expands minority-group rights, guaranteeing, for instance, the right of foreign-born kindergartners to be taught in their own languages and the right of foreign-born seniors in retirement homes to be taken care of by people who speak their languages.

There is, to be sure, nothing radically new about any of this: the Swedish government has long considered it a priority to ensure that immigrants are able to live out their lives in Sweden without ever having to be contaminated in the slightest degree by anything Swedish.

Apparently by way of justifying the introduction of these new programs – at a time, note well, when native Swedes are already smarting from severe cuts in education, housing, medical care, and the like owing to ballooning government expenditures on Muslim immigrant communities – Bah spent most of her article promoting something that is just as purely the stuff of fantasy as the idea that the Sami are Sweden’s only “indigenous people”: namely, the proposition that Sweden has always been a country of immigrants. “The story of our national minorities and our indigenous peoples,” Bah wrote, “is the story of Sweden….Sweden has always been a place where people with different languages, history and culture meet. It is easy to believe that this is a modern phenomenon….But the diversity that exists in Sweden has a deeper and longer history.”

By any measure, this is an absurd claim. It could hardly be less true. Few countries on earth have been as ethnically and culturally homogeneous for as long as Sweden has been, and for a member of the Swedish cabinet to maintain the exact opposite – and to have her lie ratified by publication in one of the country’s major newspapers, Svenska Dagbladet – is disgraceful even by contemporary Swedish standards. “As recently as 1940,” observed a writer for the Friatider website in a response to Bah’s disingenuous assertion, “only one percent” of Swedish residents were foreign-born. (And the great majority of that one percent, I would wager, were Norwegians, Danes, and Finns.) “The last major immigration wave,” noted Friatider, “occurred during the Bronze Age 3,500 years ago.”

True, all of it. But in Sweden, you challenge the official lies at your peril. The Friatider writer went on to report on one Tomas Åberg, who makes a tidy regular income, at taxpayer expense, by reporting to the Swedish police about Facebook users who, in his view, are guilty of “incitement against ethnic groups” – a term that can include anything from casual bigotry to informed criticism of Islam to reasonable disagreement with Sweden’s immigration rules to expression of frustration with a welfare state that prioritizes everyone else over ethnic Swedes. In 2017-18, Åberg ratted on no fewer than 1,218 people; thanks to him, the number of Swedes convicted of “incitement against ethnic groups” rose tenfold. In gratitude for his efforts, the newspaper Aftonbladet named him a “Swedish hero.” …

Socialists everywhere in the West please note the message from your much admired Sweden: Feel guilty for oppressing Them; blame yourselves, abase yourselves, give Them all you have. They are better than you, and you owe them. It might remind you of something someone is reputed to have once said.

If They take your coat, give them your cloak also. If They smite you on your right cheek, turn to them the other also.

Envy the guilty. Long for accusation.

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*Sweden had some small colonies in Africa in the seventeenth century, each for a few years only. And in the nineteenth century, in the Americas, they colonized three Caribbean islands: Guadeloupe for a year, Tobago for a few months, and Saint Barthélemy, the only possession Sweden held for any length of time – ninety four years, from 1784-1878. New Sweden, which became the state of Delaware, was settled by Swedes for seventeen years from 1638-1655.

Posted under Sweden by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, January 15, 2019

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The torch of Donald Trump 1

The Yellow Jacket protestors are out again in France (and Britain) this weekend (January12 and 13, 2019).

President Trump tweeted on December 8 last year. :

The Paris Agreement isn’t working out so well for Paris. Protests and riots all over France. People do not want to pay large sums of money, much to third world countries (that are questionably run), in order to maybe protect the environment. Chanting “We Want Trump!” Love France.

The Trump-hating American media – which is to say most of them – dispute reports of French protestors chanting “We want Trump!” But they cannot know that none did. What is known is that at least some want what can be called “Trumpist” changes to French government policies.

James Delingpole writes at Breitbart:

France’s Gilets Jaunes protestors have jumped on the Trump train with a manifesto that could almost have been written by the Donald himself. The good news is that it contains an awful lot of sense – including demands for lower taxes, reduced migration and Frexit (French exit) from the European Union.

The bad news is that it hasn’t a prayer of coming to fruition because its demands are unrealistic, contradictory and will certainly be stymied by the sclerotic, anti-democratic, rampantly statist French political system – and also by the French people themselves.

We select from a list of the demands – as summarized in English by Delingpole in his article – some that we applaud. (See the yellow-vest picture below to read them all in French.)

Frexit: Leave the EU to regain our economic, monetary and political sovereignty (In other words, respect the 2005 referendum result, when France voted against the EU Constitution Treaty, which was then renamed the Lisbon Treaty and the French people were ignored.)

Constitutional amendments to protect the people’s interests, including binding referenda

Remove all ideology from the ministry of education, ending all destructive education techniques 

Break up media monopolies and end their interference in politics. Make media accessible to citizens and guarantee a plurality of opinions. End editorial propaganda

Guarantee citizens’ liberty by including in the constitution a complete prohibition on state interference in their decisions concerning education, health and family matters

Prevent migratory flows that cannot be accommodated or integrated, given the profound civilizational crisis we are experiencing

We would like to think that the entire Gilets Jaunes protest movement, now spread to other parts of Europe, and to Britain, will achieve the destruction of the EU and stop Muslim immigration. For the present, we must be satisfied that demands for both are incorporated among the protestor’s demands.

To the extent that it is a patriotic nationalist movement, it may be said to have lit its flame from Donald Trump’s torch.

Posted under Environmentalism, Europe, France, immigration, liberty, nationalism, News, Populism, Revolt, Tax, United States by Jillian Becker on Sunday, January 13, 2019

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The battle for Brexit 28

As two fatal political diseases, Socialism and Islam, spread steadily through our Western civilization, two events signaled that liberty and prosperity might survive: one was Brexit – the majority vote in Britain to withdraw from the European Union – and the other was the election of Donald Trump to the presidency of the United States.

Both President Trump and Brexit are under relentless attack.

Yesterday an anonymous British civil servant published a warning to the British people.

It is titled:

Don’t be fooled: this Brexit deal creates a triple lock to shackle the UK to Brussels forever.

It makes it clear as day that the “deal” is a conspiracy between Prime Minister Theresa May and the Leftist Cabal that runs the corrupt EU to frustrate the will of the British people and sabotage Brexit.

We quote from the warning:

EU officials (ably abetted by their British allies) have produced a devilishly clever draft treaty which, if passed, would end Brexit and get Britain ready to board the express train to a United States of Europe. The political takeover of the UK represented by the Withdrawal Agreement is an audacious attempt to reverse a damning popular vote of discontent with the European Project and provide fresh impetus for the federal superstate that is the EU’s raison d’être.

The EU’s triple lock guarantee is so constructed that never again will Brussels be troubled by an explosion of democracy in the United Kingdom. Parliament has one last chance to escape total eclipse – and it is now, by rejecting the Withdrawal Agreement in its entirety.

The first lock: the transition period
The first lock is the transition period, which lasts until at least 2021. We must hand over an estimated £39 billion for nothing, be bound by EU law and take orders from an unelected Joint Committee operating under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. Will the EU27 agree an equitable free trade agreement before the end of 2020? Unlikely, since all the goodies they want in the “future partnership” are set out in the Northern Ireland backstop, which kicks in automatically on 1st January 2021 unless superseded by a “partnership” agreement. Full ratification by all Member States is required before any such agreement can come into force. Achieving this in time to avoid entering the backstop would be nothing short of miraculous, even if the EU agrees to extend the transition period for one or two years. So it is more pay with no say and a likely doubling of the Brexit bill to £80 billion, to be paid with no reference to British MPs.

The second lock: the backstop
The backstop is intended to be inescapable. It prepares Britain for the final destination set out in the political declaration, as a permanent satellite state of the EU. By which time, of course, it is doubtless hoped that we will be so fed up with our vassalage that we decide to rejoin the EU as a full member – with greatly increased budget contributions and a whole swathe of new EU law to obey. The United States of Europe will have taken shape during our “wilderness years” using our money (“Britgeld” seems to be an appropriate term), but without our political input. No taxation without representation? What a joke.

Not only does the backstop carve out Northern Ireland as an EU province and set a border in the Irish Sea, it creates a partial “customs union” that requires us to implement EU trade tariffs and policy with no decision-making powers. Under highly restrictive “non-regression clauses”, the UK also agrees to implement all EU environmental, competition, state aid and tax harmonisation laws, with the unelected Joint Committee and the ECJ once again able to punish us for any perceived backsliding. British farmers will be locked into a subsidy regime well below support received by EU27 farmers, who nevertheless retain tariff-free access to the UK. British agriculture would be decimated. It means we could not support British businesses, give ourselves a competitive edge in new technologies where we excel, strike independent trade deals or diverge in key policy areas such as goods regulations and tax. Free EU access to UK fisheries is set down as a marker for negotiation in the future “deal”.

The third lock: the “future partnership”
Anyone expecting the EU27 to give up the immense advantages they gain under the backstop is delusional. Retaining tariff-free access to the UK market and effective control of UK trade and competition policy must be nirvana for them. To ensure they reap the full benefit, there is the third and final lock in the Withdrawal Agreement. Unless we agree to a “future partnership” as set out in the political declaration, the backstop will endure in perpetuity.

The Political Declaration replicates all the onerous “non-regression” clauses of the backstop and requires even more surrender of sovereignty via participation in and funding of the EU’s aerospace and defence programmes, free access to UK waters for EU fishermen, a full customs union and common trade policy, free movement by the backdoor under “mobility” clauses, EU control of UK agriculture via the state aid rules and in general full adherence to the acquis communautaire in all policy areas.

The good news is that a real break away from the EU can happen without an agreement – and will.

“Withdrawal Agreement” is an Orwellian misnomer, of course. This agreement keeps Britain in chains.

Voters may believe we need it in order to leave the EU. We do not. They could be fooled by the Prime Minister’s repeated claims that there might be “no Brexit” unless it is passed – when of course Brexit will happen by default without it under the terms of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act. Voters might also be forgiven for believing that the Withdrawal Agreement settles our future trade relationship with the EU. Not in the slightest. Future trade talks remain just that – in the future – while May’s “deal” keeps the UK legally shackled to a moribund EU economy which it must attempt to revive with vast sums of British taxpayers’ money for an indeterminate number of years.

President Trump opposes Theresa May’s sell-out of Brexit and wants a trade deal with an independent Britain.

And – an add-on item to enjoy – he recently downgraded the EU and demoted its ambassador by declaring it to be an international organization and not a nation-state.

Posted under Britain, Europe, Islam, jihad, Leftism, Socialism, United States by Jillian Becker on Friday, January 11, 2019

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Atheism growing in Turkey 1

President Erdogan’s refusal to see Trump’s envoy, John Bolton, when he visited Turkey recently for the very purpose of talks with him, adds to a history of Turkey behaving more like an enemy than a NATO ally of America. It would seem sensible, indeed necessary, for NATO to expel Turkey from the alliance.

But what if Turkey were to change when Erdogan goes? Is the country showing signs of changing?

It seems from this report by Deutsche Welle that Erdogan’s policy of returning his country to fundamentalist Islam – undoing Ataturk’s secularization – is itself causing many Turks to turn against Islam, even prompting a significant number to become atheist!

If the report is true, it is a good sign that Turkey could return to the Western model Ataturk embraced.

According to a recent survey by the pollster Konda, a growing number of Turks identify as atheists.

Konda reports that the number of nonbelievers tripled in the past 10 years. It also found that the share of Turks who say they adhere to Islam dropped from 55 percent to 51 percent.

“There is religious coercion in Turkey,” said 36-year-old computer scientist Ahmet Balyemez, who has been an atheist for over 10 years. “People ask themselves: Is this the true Islam? When we look at the politics of our decision-makers, we can see they are trying to emulate the first era of Islam. So, what we are seeing right now is primordial Islam.”

Balyemez said he grew up in a very religious family. “Fasting and praying were the most normal things for me,” he said. But then, at some point, he decided to become an atheist. …

Diyanet, Turkey’s official directorate of religious affairs, declared in 2014 that more than 99 percent of the population identifies as Muslim. When Konda’s recent survey with evidence to the contrary was published, heated public debate ensued.

The theologian Cemil Kilic believes that both figures are correct. Though 99 percent of Turks are Muslim, he said, many only practice the faith in a cultural and sociological sense.

“The majority of Muslims in Turkey are like the Umayyads, who ruled in the seventh century,” Kilic said. … “The Umayyads regarded daily prayer as a form of showing deference towards the sultan, the state and the powers that be.”  [In Turkey] the relationship between church and state endures. “Regular prayers have become a way to signal obedience toward the political leadership … and prayers in mosques increasingly reflect the political worldview of those in power.” …

For nearly 16 years under Recep Tayyip Erdogan, first as prime minister and since 2014 as president, Turkish officials have increasingly used Islam to justify their politics — possibly increasing the skepticism surrounding faith in government.

“People reject the predominant interpretation of Islam, the sects, religious communities, the directorate of religious affairs and those in power,” Kilic said. “They do not want this kind of religion and this official form of piousness.” This, he said, could help explain why so many Turks now identify as atheists.

Selin Ozkohen, who heads Ateizm Dernegi, Turkey’s main association for atheists, said Erdogan’s desire to produce a generation of devout Muslims had backfired in many ways.

Ozkohen cited the unsuccessful coup in 2016, in which followers of the preacher and religious scholar Fethullah Gulen were accused of rising up against Erdogan … The coup, she said, was a clash between opposing religious groups — which was followed by a major crackdown by Erdogan. … “Those who reflect rationally on this, turn to atheism. Today, people are more courageous and willing to openly say they are atheists.”

If atheism can grow in Turkey, is it too optimistic to suggest that it could grow in other Islamic states?

Well … yes.

Posted under Islam, Turkey by Jillian Becker on Thursday, January 10, 2019

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A Communist cure for poverty 4

The Dear Leaders who run a centrally planned economy have no way of knowing what consumers want, how much of anything they will buy, at what price. In the absence of a free market, which provides that information to producers continuously, a socialist government decides arbitrarily how much of anything it will order to be produced, whom it will order to buy the thing, how much the consumer must pay for it. It is a guessing game giving birth to stories such as those that came out of Communist Russia: the nail factory that produced only one nail five miles long; the shoe factory that produced only left-foot shoes.

Below we quote a true story from China recently reported by the Financial Times (a newspaper that is pink not only physically but ideologically, so not sternly against communist regimes), that reminds the aged among us of a joke that was popular when the transformation of nations into communist hellholes had only just begun:

A Communist addressing a crowd promises, “Come the revolution you’ll all be eating strawberries and cream.” Someone in the crowd shouts out, “But I don’t like strawberries and cream!” To which the speaker replies, “Come the revolution you’ll damn well have to like strawberries and cream!”

In today’s Communist China, it is not strawberries but potatoes and oranges that the people damn well have to like. (Although Communist China relented under the pressure of necessity to a mixed economy in 1978, such private enterprise as it allows is always subject to government approval.)

China is discovering that poverty alleviation can mean too much of a good thing.

Universities that bought crops from designated poor areas as part of Chinese president Xi Jinping’s drive to eliminate poverty by 2020 are struggling to deal with a flood of produce, in a sign of how even the best-intentioned state planning can lead to a cascade of distortions.

Beijing tasked state-owned enterprises, city governments and even universities with helping to jump-start GDP growth in the nation’s poorest areas. …

For universities, buying crops from designated poor areas seemed like an easy way to support Mr Xi’s mandate. Now they are wondering what to do with them all.  Beijing has promoted potatoes as an alternative crop for areas such as Meigu county in Sichuan province where land has been degraded, even though there is little market demand for the crop in a country where rice is the staple

Pity the Southwestern University of Finance and Economics, which joined other institutions in Chengdu in a deal to buy five tonnes of potatoes every few days from mountainous Meigu county, 400km south-west of the city. The contract runs until the end of 2020. 

That has left the cooks at Southwestern University with too many tubers on their hands. Their solution was to hold a week-long potato-eating campaign in November. The cafeteria churned out spicy fries, stir-fried beef and potato, and even potato vermicelli. Cooks managed to get through 6.5 tonnes of potatoes in five days.

“It felt like the whole place had been taken over by potatoes,” one student told the Financial Times. “I ate potatoes almost every day that week.” 

The Chengdu universities also agreed to buy the potatoes at a higher-than-market [so to speak] price, according to Zhang Xue at Longtou Company, an agricultural products dealer in Meigu.

“Our company buys potatoes from the farmers at Rmb1.6 (23 cents) per kilogramme. Meigu used to have several potato-processing factories and those factories bought potatoes at Rmb0.8 per kilogramme,” he said. “Now those factories have gone bankrupt because they can’t get cheap potatoes from the farmers any more.”  

Meigu and nearby counties — all of which are badly deforested because of excessive logging in the 1990s — have applied for World Bank assistance for industrial-scale agriculture, including more potato production, with nary a mention of how they plan to sell the increased output.

A Meigu official credited the potato policy with increasing agricultural yields. “In the past, the villagers usually sold agricultural products themselves at the local market,” he said, and used the rest to fatten their pigs. But the poverty-alleviation drive has led to the setting up of large-scale pig plants in the region, crowding out small breeders.

Meigu is not the only potato-producing region that has managed to find a buyer in a nation that rarely eats them. One state-owned enterprise in Beijing required every employee to purchase at least 20kg of potatoes from a village on the border with Mongolia.

A similar problem has cropped up for teachers in a district of Jinan, the capital of the eastern province of Shandong. They are each required to buy at least two boxes of oranges produced in Hunan, about 1,000km away. 

“How can we protest? The salary I get is just enough to make ends meet,” one teacher complained. “And now the government wants me to buy oranges for poverty alleviation.”

The poverty-alleviation drive involves more than selling crops. State-owned and private enterprises have ploughed billions of renminbi into local projects — and made sure they received tax breaks when they did so. Some are more inventive than others: for instance, property conglomerate Wanda built a tourism village in Guizhou where foreigners can apply to be mayor for a week

A week of play-play power in a town in China anyone?

Posted under China, communism, Economics by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, January 8, 2019

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Chinese rot 3

If you can endure the racket in the beginning of this video, it is worth sticking with it – right through to the end.

It is about China rotting, falling into rubble.

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(Hat-tip to our FaceBook commenter, Bob Goyette)

Posted under China, Videos by Jillian Becker on Monday, January 7, 2019

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A sevenfold enemy of America 0

A compliment is due to Linda Sarsour, one of the four chief organizers of the Women’s March on Washington, held on January 21, 2017, to protest the election of President Trump. Also executive director of the Arab American Association of New York (AAANY), board member of the Muslim Democratic Club of New York (MDCNY), member of the Justice League NYC.

We pay her the compliment: She is one of the most dangerous people in America. The Left has made her powerful. And she is America’s enemy. A multiplicity of enemies rolled into one: Leftist, Feminist, Muslim, ISIS-supporting, terrorist-abetting, sharia-advocating, and vocally anti-American.

The following information about her comes from Discover the Networks.

Anti-American:

When American troops took … Saddam Hussein into custody in December 2003, Sarsour lamented the capture of the Iraqi president because he was viewed as a hero by so many Palestinians. “I think he’s done a lot of things he shouldn’t have done,” said Sarsour, “but I was hurt. My Arab pride was hurt.”

Sarsour also scoffed at the notion of Muslim integration into American society: “We can’t change who we are. This is how we look [with Muslim attire]. We can’t integrate and assimilate.” [She was born in New York.]

[She said in a speech:] “We have to get to the root of the problem when it comes to terrorism. The root of the problem doesn’t come from within the Muslim community – it comes from a politicized foreign policy of war on our people.”

Whose foreign policy? That of the USA. Who, then, does she mean by “our people”? Arabs, Muslims.

Terrorist-abetting:

Sarsour supports the Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) movement, a Hamas-inspired initiative that uses various forms of public protest, economic pressure, and court rulings to advance the Hamas agenda of permanently destroying Israel as a Jewish nation-state.

Sharia-advocating:

More than once, Sarsour has expressed her support for Sharia Law.

ISIS-supporting:

On January 24, 2017, a photograph of Sarsour making what was interpreted by some observers as the one-finger ISIS salute, began to appear on various Internet websites. In anticipation of those who would claim that Sarsour’s gesture was something other than an ISIS salute, Jihad Watch director Robert Spencer wrote the following: “Linda Sarsour … is clearly making the sign of allegiance to the Islamic State in this photo: the upraised index finger. … This signal has been known to be a sign of allegiance to the Islamic State for almost as long as there has been an Islamic State. It has been described as the group’s ubiquitous hand signal. … In making this gesture, she had to know what she was implying, and how Muslims the world over would understand it. She also could count on the credulity and willful ignorance of her Leftist allies to make sure that she would suffer no damage to her role as a civil rights heroine.”

She lies, as Islam permits, to propagandize her faith, absurdly describing Muhammad, known to all the world as a ruthless warlord mass-murderer and enslaver, in terms that commend him as a hero to her Leftist allies:  

During a May 2016 panel discussion at New York City’s Union Theological seminary, Sarsour described of Islam’s founder, the Prophet Mohammad, in a manner that bore virtually no resemblance to reality: “Our prophet was a racial justice activist, a human rights activist, a feminist in his own right. He was a man that cared about the environment. He cared about animal rights. … He was also the first victim of Islamophobia.”

She condemns American Jews for having, she says, “dual loyalty”, in that they care about what happens to Israel. Isn’t she guilty of “dual loyalty” herself? Well, no – her loyalty is manifestly to Islam, Arabs in general and the Palestinians in particular. Not to America.

In November 2016, Sarsour spoke at the annual conference of American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), where, as the Investigative Project on Terrorism puts it, she: “(a) lashed out at Jews who extended a hand of friendship and solidarity over concerns that increasing hostility toward Muslims in America might lead to draconian government action; and (b) lashed out at fellow Muslims who accepted the gesture and joined in a new inter-faith dialogue.”

Plainly she rejected the overtures of friendship made by Leftist Jews. The Jews were foolish to make them, of course, in the light of all that Linda Sarsour is and stands for. But then, they are foolish to the point of insanity to support the Left at all, since it is vehemently against them and the Jewish state.

Jewish feminists persist in their folly. Here, from The Tablet, is part of an open letter signed Carly Hope Pildis, and addressed to the four organizers of the Women’s March, after Jewish feminists had been aggressively and contemptuously rejected by the movement that claimed to be for love, inclusion, justice, and equality. The writer in one of those gently raised, highly advantaged, consistently indulged, luxuriously accommodated American Jewish middle-class women who insist that they are “oppressed”, and frivolously exploit the martyrdom of millions of genuinely victimized Jews at other times in other places in order to claim victimhood for themselves.

Dear Tamika, Linda, Bob, and Carmen,

It’s a new year: A chance to move beyond the mistakes of the past and to build a new beginning. The Third Women’s March is just a few weeks away, and you’re likely working round the clock to prepare. I have the date circled on my calendar, too—but I am not quite ready to put on my sneakers yet. I have seen both tremendous progress and heartbreaking callousness from you in 2018. Before we can move forward, I’d like to talk about where we’ve been and where I think we could go next in 2019.

I believe that if this movement breaks or if you four are forced out of its leadership, as some …  have called for, it will be catastrophic for American Jewish women, for the resistance, for progressives—for all Americans seeking justice and equity. The angry wounds of such a deep cut could set us back decades and all of the problems we need to fix will worsen as a result.

Instead, I want to see us become a model for dialogue. Let’s do what previous movement leaders couldn’t, and build a truly inclusive movement for all women from historically oppressed communities. As one of your most vocal critics, my fate is tied with yours now—and so I want you to succeed. As women who face white supremacy, my fate is tied with yours—and so I need you to succeed. …

2018 started off badly, at least for Jewish women hoping to hold the Women’s March accountable on Jewish issues. I had been pushing this movement to codify anti-semitism, Jewish women and our needs and our oppression and our pain since before the original March, in 2017. …

Members of your leadership attended The Nation of Islam’s Saviour’s Day, an event where Minister Farrakhan referred to Jews as Satanic, claimed Jews control the government, and that marijuana peddled by Jews was a plot to “chemically program” black men to have gay sex. I would have walked out of any space that spoke about your people–any people—this way. In contrast, your leadership posted Instagram posts saying the Minister “speaks the Truth” and was the “GOAT”.  As criticism mounted, on March 1st Tamika Mallory wrote “If your leader does not have the same enemies as Jesus, they may not be THE leader!”  then claimed not to understand the phrase was an anti-semitic dog whistle, calling the interpretation “funny” and saying “ that’s your own stuff.” …

On October 26, 11 Jews were murdered in a hate crime against their synagogue. As the White nationalist threat had been building against us, I felt you had left us behind. You had forgotten us. You had helped marginalize and erase our voices from justice movements by denying our voice and denying us a proper place codified as an oppressed people. It’s not that I thought that we should focus on you in lieu of the White nationalists and the far right threat—it’s that I felt your decision to allow anti-semitism was making it stronger nationally. Indeed, Minister Farrakhan has drawn praise from White Supremacists for his anti-semitism. …

On December 10th, Tablet published a 10,000-word investigation into the Women’s March … Your response was to try to suppress the story.  It seemed that any chance of reconciliation between Jewish Women and the Women’s March was over. A bad end to a bad year of relationship-breaking between Women’s March and the Jewish Community. …

It gets worse. Self-pitying, pleading. And persistently blind to the realities of life in America.

Then despite all that the writer has bitterly complained of, she says:

Thank you. I need to take this moment and say THANK YOU. Thank you for finally accepting that excluding us from Unity Principles was wrong, and for correcting it. Thank you for giving me a moment of hope in these dark times that try our souls. Thank you for acknowledging that we, as progressives, as fighters for a more just world, need to codify the status of Jews as oppressed people—not just to support the Jews, but to deny white supremacist one of their most powerful weapons … As President Trump engages in White Supremacist conspiracy theories he strengthens and emboldens the White Nationalists who endanger our lives. …

Of course President Trump does nothing of the kind. Furthermore, he is the most pro-Semitic, pro-Israel president in US history.

In return, the American Jewish community must work to strengthen the movements for justice with which we have been historically and culturally aligned. I have spent two years refusing to be kicked out of justice movements as anti-semitism rose within every political corner of this country. Imagine a world where the Women’s March is helping spread that message and helping ensure that never happens. If we fail at this task, we will raise a generation of American Jeremy Corbyns–people incapable of understanding what anti-semitism is and why it matters, because they are blinded by ignorance and hate. …

That to Linda Sarsour!

What a triumph for the anti-semitic executive director of the Arab American Association of New York! What a gloat she and her anti-semitic pal Farrakhan can enjoy!

Bouyed up with success, on she will go from victory to victory – ever more powerful, ever more dangerous Linda Sarsour.

On human nature 2

Human beings are not “fundamentally good” or even “generally decent”. To say they are is to mouth Hallmark card sentiments, not express conclusions of observation and thought.

There is a small minority who are naturally fair-minded and humane. If you live long enough, chances are you will come upon a few.

Others, also a minority but much more numerous, commit atrocities.

The rest of us are standard rogues.

Most of us restrain ourselves from doing our worst most of the time. That much we can fairly claim for ourselves in the way of virtue.

Laws are the best bridle, though far from infallible.

Does nothing else hold us in check? Yes –

Fear that they might do unto us what we would like to do unto them. 

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Jillian Becker

January 3, 2019

Posted under Articles, Ethics by Jillian Becker on Thursday, January 3, 2019

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