Category Archives: “Experts”

Article: “Islam, Women, and Phyllis Chesler”

Read the whole thing:

And Chesler? Well, Chesler, in the eyes of her former sisters, is a traitor to the movement. Just ask feminist blogger Ellen Keim, who in a 2011 rant called Chesler “a rabid Islamophobe” and pronounced her “ignorant” of the very subject on which Chesler is, in fact, a walking encyclopedia. Quoting factual statements by Chesler about women under Islam, Keim said they were “typical of a person who cares more about justifying her own prejudice than in adding something constructive to the debate.” As for Chesler’s account of Muslim sex slavery and trafficking, Keim flat-out refused to buy them: “Where does she get her ideas??” In the same year, another feminist blogger similarly mocked Chesler’s “ideas” about women and Islam. Triumphantly, the blogger cited a recent lecture in which an “Islamist Feminist” explained it all: Egypt’s January 25, 2011, revolution had actually been spearheaded by “highly-educated, professional, working women” who helped install Morsi’s “Islamic, patriarchal society” because they knew the latter would afford better protection “from gropings on the street” – plus better health care and day care – than Mubarak’s secular state did. (No, this is not a joke.)

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Overselling the creative class

Visionaries – The Disco Ball of our time.

“There’s a sleight of hand at work with Florida’s theory, as the middle class that he bemoans as disappearing has actually been largely absorbed by him into the very elastic borders of the creative class, where vast armies of white collar workers find their home alongside tiny numbers of arts bureaucrats and musicians. His fetish for IT workers in particular seems curious, since many of the jobs being done in vast, architecturally praised tech campuses are, in basic function indistinguishable from the sort of grinding desk labour done on vast office floors in skyscrapers by men in gray flannel suits, 60 years ago.”

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‘Our beautiful little boy has gone’: Charlie Gard’s parents announce that their brave son has passed

Eleven-month-old Charlie Gard, whose short life captured the hearts of the world, has died a week before his first birthday.

Charlie suffered from a rare genetic condition which saw him in hospital for the majority of his short life.

His parents, Connie Yates and Chris Gard, fought a lengthy and emotional legal battle to take their severely ill baby son to the US for treatment, but were denied by judges.

Charlie’s mother, Connie, said tonight: ‘Our beautiful little boy has gone, we are so proud of you.’

Yesterday courts denied his parents the chance to bring their son home to die and he was taken from Great Ormond Street to a hospice.

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4chan and Reddit Trolls Are Your New Gods; “Alt-Right Memes Could Do More Damage to Democracy Than Fake News”

4chan and Reddit now have more power than CNN does in shaping national discourse. That’s the real reason the media are losing their minds. And if truth be told, you will frequently learn of breaking events FASTER from 4chan (sometimes days faster) than you will on CNN.

In November, shortly after the election, the New York Times published a profile of the subreddit calling it, “one of the most influential communities within one of the most significant websites on the internet.” The Times reported that according to its moderators, The_Donald was “the largest, best and closest thing to an official campaign subreddit for Donald Trump 2016.” Analysis of its posts showed that it was “home to copious Islamophobia, trolling of liberals and near constant bashing of Hillary Clinton.”

This week saw President Trump cross yet another line in his use of his Twitter account.  Trump tweeted a meme of himself symbolically beating up CNN.  While to some it might have appeared to be a funny way to epitomize Trump’s feud with CNN, to many the meme was aggressive, immature and inflammatory. CNN took the attacks seriously and released a statement stating, “It is a sad day when the President of the United States encourages violence against reporters.”

There are lots of questions to be asked about the tweet, not the least of which is what it tells us about the judgment of the president and those who work with him.  But the real story here is not about Trump; it’s about the increasing power and presence of alt-right communication on various social media platforms, from Twitter to YouTube to Reddit to Facebook.

What is interesting is the way that rants and memes and other alt-right tirades have major success in shaping public opinion. And while there is a through line between these outbursts and fake news, it is important to point out that the rants are likely far more influential than fake news in shaping political perception.

This means that the real lesson for CNN and other mainstream news outlets is not that the president is immature enough to share a stupid meme attacking the news but rather that their focus on fake news has distracted them from the real story: the rise of emotional, aggressive, inflammatory, bigoted communication on social media and the power these posts have had in shaping the ideas of the Trump-supporting alt-right.

Well beyond the problem of fake news, which at least tried to pose as news, these posts are pure opinion, outburst and excess.  There is nothing about these posts that even remotely compares to news reporting — and that’s why they are popular. At a moment in U.S. history where trust in the news is at a record low, we are seeing the growing power of individuals outside of traditional media circuits who have built a following by suggesting that their voices are more authentic and more accurate than those of the so-called liberal, elitist, majority-silencing news.

The key to the story is the connection between Trump’s tweet and its original source. As Vox reported, the source “was discovered to be a Reddit forum known for Islamophobia, racism, and frequently violent hate speech.” It was originally posted on Reddit’s largest pro-Trump community.

The Reddit user HanAssholeSolo released the original GIF version of the clip used in the president’s tweet, posting it to Reddit’s  r/The_Donald. As Vox reports, the Reddit community known as The_Donald is both a huge and hugely controversial part of Reddit. It gained in popularity over the course of 2016, as Trump’s presidential campaign gained momentum.

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Overpopulation Hoax

In 1798, Thomas Malthus wrote “An Essay on the Principle of Population.” He predicted that mankind’s birthrate would outstrip our ability to grow food and would lead to mass starvation. Malthus’ wrong predictions did not deter Stanford University professor Paul Ehrlich from making a similar prediction. In his 1968 best-seller, “The Population Bomb,” which has sold more than 2 million copies, Ehrlich warned: “The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now.” This hoax resulted in billions of dollars being spent to fight overpopulation.

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Maybe He Doesn’t Have ADHD. Maybe Your Curriculum Just Isn’t Good Enough.

Let me tell you about a guy I knew in high school named Pravin. Pravin was known as the kid who could drive teachers insane because he could not for the life of him sit still and be quiet. We used to laugh as more than one teacher would whip out, “Shut up, Pravin!” in the middle of a lesson. One time a history teacher got so frustrated by Pravin’s incessant banging on his desk that he literally flipped the desk over as Pravin drummed.

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Oh No! Canada at populism, trust crisis tipping point

2017 Edelman Trust Barometer – Fact Sheet

TORONTO, Feb. 14, 2017 /CNW/ – The 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer confirms that Canada can no longer count itself immune from the global trend of populism and sinking institutional trust. For the first time since Edelman started tracking the general population, Canada finds itself among countries who distrust their institutions. Trust in business, media and government is in trouble.

Headlines

For the first time since Edelman started tracking the general population, Canada finds itself among countries who distrust their institutions.
Less than half (49%) of Canada’s general population trust key institutions – government, media, business & NGOs.
The gap between trust among informed public and the mass population is nearly twice what it was last year (15 points, versus 8 points last year). This is the biggest gap ever recorded between these two audiences. The next largest gap was 11 points back in 2013.
For context, the trust gap in countries where we have seen growth in populist sentiment: 21 points – U.S., 19 points – U.K., 18 points – France.
Statistical bright light: Canadian businesses have a trust advantage over businesses headquartered in other countries, being most trusted along with Swedish businesses.

Institutional Trust

Trust in government: Down 10 points. 63% of people blame government for our problems. 66% hold them responsible to fix it.
Trust in Media: Down 10 points. 60% told us they are more likely to believe a search engine compared to 40% trusting a human editor. More than half of people said they trust their own research and assessment of issues.
Trust in Business: Down 6 points. 53% of Canadians agree that the pace of change in business is too fast, 48% are worried globalization is taking us in the wrong direction. Trust in CEOs at an all-time low, dropping 12 points to 25%.
Trust in NGOs: Down 2 points. Trust in NGO spokespeople down 3 points.
Emerging Canadian Concerns & Fears

1 in 2 people agree that an influx of people from other countries is damaging Canada’s economy and national culture.
40% of Canadians agree they are denied access to education and opportunities to get ahead.
80% of people think the elites who run institutions are out of touch with regular people.
61% of people do not have confidence that Canada’s leaders will be able to successfully address Canada’s challenges.
2 in 5 say Canada shouldn’t enter into free trade agreements because they hurt Canadian workers.
69% say we need to prioritize Canadian interests over the rest of the world.
69% agree government should protect jobs and local industries even if it means the economy grows more slowly.
Issue: Corruption (52% concerned, 23% fearful)
Issue: Globalization (67% concerned, 30% fearful)
Issue: Eroding Social Values (54% concerned, 25% fearful)
Issue: Immigration (52% concerned, 28% fearful)
Issue: Pace of Innovation (53% concerned, 23% fearful)

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Israel Advocacy Group Gives ‘Worst BDS Fail of 2016’ Award to Denver U’s Chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine for Using Website Developed in Jewish State

Anti-Israel campus activists earned the dubious distinction of having made this year’s greatest blunder where their efforts against the Jewish state were concerned — by advertising their endeavor on a site created by an Israeli company.

Screenshot of Denver University’s Students for Justice in Palestine website, built using Israeli web development company Wix.

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Gulag, Western Style

“…A useful technique for anaesthetizing the individual citizen and rendering him compliant is the erasure of authentic historical knowledge. We’ve remarked the success of this approach in the U.S. with the “history from below” or “people’s history” movement, associated with Howard Zinn, and the foregrounding of a bowdlerized version of Islamic history in American schools. Canada is no different. Eric McGeer, author of Words of Valediction and Remembrance: Canadian Epitaphs of the Second World War, writes: “In my last years of high school teaching I was increasingly infuriated and disgusted at the portrayal of Canada in the history textbooks assigned for use in our courses. There was no sense of gratitude in the textbooks, no empathy with the people of the past or an attempt to see them in their own terms, no sense of the effort people made to create one of the few truly liveable societies on earth. You would have thought that this country was nothing more than a racist, bigoted, this or that-phobic hotbed. My first lesson involved taking the book and dropping it into the waste paper basket and advising the students to do the same.” (personal communication). The study of history, McGeer concludes, is nothing now but a progressive morality tale and a mechanism of social engineering. Sounds a lot like Title IX. Pride in one’s nation, its accomplishments and sacrifices, is contra-indicated. There is more than one way of burning the flag.”

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Where are the Mass Media Firings and Resignations?

I missed a few losers in my column on the big media losers of the 2016 campaign. One person told me, “Bret Stephens of The Wall Street Journal has totally lost all credibility with his anti-Trump rants in his weekly column right up to the very end. We used to be ardent fans of his, but no more!!!”

I agree that Stephens is a big loser. His attacks on Trump were relentless and he declared that he wanted to build a new political party to compete with Trump. Sounding like The Huffington Post, Stephens used his November 8 column to find Trump guilty of “unrelenting and apparently irrepressible bigotry, misogyny, bullying and conspiracy-mongering…”

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Today is Turkey Day Hereabouts…

We’re a little flexible about Turkey Day around here, and Mondays are for leftovers anyway.

So I am cooking, local hospitals have been put on alert.

Pip is napping in anticipation.

Got the cranberries done this morning, and the stuffing was taken care of last night.

Sainted Irish Mum made an apple pie, much as I love pumpkin.

Turkey prep will commence shortly with the anticipated dismantling expected late this afternoon after a slow roast.

giblets-horiz-800-a

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