Saturday, February 4, 2017

Why Nobody Trusts Muslims

In the past weeks after the new President's (sigh) changes or attempted changes to immigration policy, there have been quite a few takes on what this means for security. Perhaps this is due to the fact that security is the motivation for the changes.

Here are a few examples:

Portlandia chimed in:

Meanwhile Matt Wuerker used the opportunity to re-share a cartoon

And Angelina Jolie wrote added this logic to the articles in the New York Times:

And in fact only a minuscule fraction — less than 1 percent — of all refugees in the world are ever resettled in the United States or any other country. There are more than 65 million refugees and displaced people worldwide. Nine out of 10 refugees live in poor and middle-income countries, not in rich Western nations. There are 2.8 million Syrian refugees in Turkey alone. Only about 18,000 Syrians have been resettled in America since 2011.
This disparity points to another, more sobering reality. If we send a message that it is acceptable to close the door to refugees, or to discriminate among them on the basis of religion, we are playing with fire. We are lighting a fuse that will burn across continents, inviting the very instability we seek to protect ourselves against.

Before addressing the new concerns, it's important to recall that the existing elephant in the room remains Islamist motivations for 9/11. The stated motivation that were taken at face value by many western 'progressives' was essentially revenge for American support of Israel and India in various conflicts, sanctions of Iraq, and maintaining a military presence in Saudi Arabia.

Since 9/11, the motivations for Islamist attacks have said to be all kinds of different things. Many of the attacks, such as the violence from Nidal Hasan, are often thought of as a sort of revenge for American military response to 9/11. As if the attacks were a sort of secular objection to drone strikes.

The stated motivations for Islamist attacks are further confused as the November 2015 Bataclan attack was said to be in defense of ISIS in particular and a response to the west's "perverted" culture. Early reports of the Benghazi attack was that it was another response to an anti-Islam YouTube video. Then, the Charlie Hebdo shooting clearly had no other motivation other than being mad at cartoonists that had 'insulted' Muhammad.

In light of the most recent security calculus made by liberal thinkers, it is time to restate all the reasons that muslims may attack western cities:

  1. Revenge for diplomatic and financial support of Israel
  2. Revenge for military action in countries they've never lived in
  3. Revenge for "political intervention" in countries that the west may have economic ties with
  4. Revenge for YouTube videos they don't like
  5. Revenge for depictions of Muhammad
  6. Radicalization caused by having to live in a failed state as they were denied residency in a western country
The last idea, that muslims will radicalize if not given asylum, is especially absurd as there actually very little correlation between violence/poverty and terrorism. The Islamists attacking the west have largely not been victims of drone strikes, the 'failures of capitalism', or a unforgiving immigration system.

Islamist terrorists are more often than not the receivers of the blessings of visas, expensive education, and citizenship. It's not true that terrorists are created by refugee camps and bomb craters. Terrorists are created by engineering degrees, asylum status and being exposed to low-wage labour in decadent western cities. 

Starbucks' stated plan to hire 10,000 refugees is a seemingly noble gesture, but it doesn't change the mechanics of a muslim man being emasculated by having to don a green apron, 37 tchotchkes and dispense caffeinated sludge to smug millennials in Uggs

Any well-read "feminist" that understands the concepts of "toxic masculinity" and "emotional labour" should have enough time for a second thought about muslim male refugees, as Canada did when it excluded single men. This is also something Sweden and Finland are dealing with as muslim men arrive or return from an "extended holiday" in the mid-east. 

The conclusion of the "liberal" narratives is an immense feeling of being held hostage to satisfying the desires of muslims that may be set off by an ever growing list of claimed western misdeeds. The comedy in it is that many college-educated people in the west that wouldn't let a fraternity brother mix a rum and coke on their behalf are not at all concerned with tens of thousands brothers from the "ummah" becoming their next Craigslist roommate. Contemporary messages tell us that men graduating from 12 years in western schools still need a campus "rape culture" seminar before being safe human beings, while muslim men from war-torn areas qualify as "extremely vetted" upstanding citizens after a few rounds of interviews with border bureaucrats. And even after all this propagandizing, as Angelina Jolie points out, the most liberal plan for resettlement would only be a pathetic fraction of a problem that is over 65 million in size.

The level of obfuscation of the issue cannot be underestimated, as even "reputable" outlets like CNN choose to even split hairs about the word "refugee" to further a narrative. For example, most Americans likely think of "refugee" as meaning anyone in the United States that is granted residency for the sake of "refuge". That is, "refugees" are simply everyone that is not in the United States to work or reunite a family. "Refugees" are simply everyone that faces danger upon return.

CNN, on the other hand, chooses to define "refugee" as different than "political asylum", a game of semantics that is only made for the benefit of the Boston bombers. In fact the Tsarnaevs are undeniably 'refugees' to any rational person that is not sexually aroused by legal dictionaries. 

The reality is that nobody trusts Muslims and much of this fear was ironically created by fawning liberal defenses of Islamic identity that portray the muslim world as one insane powderkeg that no one should ever be returned to. Trump properties have made a gaudy mess of some neighbourhoods, while Islam has made a medieval disaster of a serious chunk of several continents. Is it any wonder of that distrust of muslims outweighs distrust of Trump? The mess begins.

As everyone likes to feel good about themselves anyways, let's end this with an inclusive, inspiring message.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Why Van Jones is an asshole

Here is something tweeted by Van Jones earlier this year:

There is some confusion about why this is fake news, so let's break it down.

THE CLAIM: "You’re 7 Times More Likely To Be Killed By A Right-Wing Extremist Than Muslim Terrorists"

THE ABSURD PARAMETERS: Excluding 9/11, for some reason. 9/11 is *always forgotten* in progressive statistics


Reasonable people may think that the numbers cited compare politically motivated attacks. However "journalism" in Van Jones style does not fit to the expectations of reasonable people.

By the numbers, this is the comparison most often cited by the New York Times between "right wing" and "Jihadist" killings in the United States since 9/11. (Including only domestic deaths is very silly, but this is a digression)

Quite plainly, there is no "7 times more likely to be killed" anywhere in this chart. It's more like 50/50, at the best of times. And this is including tons of groups - racist, tax protest, survivalist, sovereign citizen, pro-life nutjobs - under the banner of "right wing".

So how does Van Jones arrive at "7 times more likely"?

It comes from a report briefly cited first in NYTimes, then cited again by ThinkProgress, and then repackaged by the Bossip piece that Van Jones shared.

The original quotation in New York Times is the following:

No where else in the paper does it seem that Arie Perliger's data is mentioned, let alone taken seriously. In the publicly available PDF of Perliger's report, there is no indication of how Perliger actually arrived at a number of 254 fatalities due to right wing nutjobs.

Compare this to NewAmerica's data, which has a chart annotated with every attack they categorize as "right wing". The result is a strongly supported final count of 50. Again, this is the count the New York Times uses in their own reports.

It's impossible to debunk Perliger's data, as it's unclear where it even comes from.

Regardless, what Van Jones needs to prove is that Perliger's information is solid, even though the New York Times does not use it, nobody can see what is counted and the data starts in 9/11 and ends in November 2012.

To recap the mistakes, Van Jones says you are "7 times more likely to be killed by a right-wing extremist" by doing the following:

  1. Excluding 9/11
  2. Excluding foreign deaths (apparently Americans can't die in a club in Bali or a cafe in Paris!)
  3. Relying on a source that nobody else uses
  4. Excluding San Bernardino 
  5. Excluding Pulse

Let's be clear - only ten days after 49 people were executed in Orlando, Van Jones was busy tweeting bogus data from 2001-2012 that only appears on hack clickbait sites. This happened even though the New York Times was tweeting far more legitimate (but also flawed) data since San Bernardino, which was December of the previous year.

Van Jones didn't do any due diligence, apply any skepticism to the data as it supported a narrative about "Trump's America" and rural whites that he wanted to put forward, no matter what was real. 

If one performed this mathematical distraction against the black community or the muslim community, it would be unforgivable and obviously racist.

But since this is fake news and lies that "punch up", it is on CNN every other night.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Islam's Fake Feminism

Occasionally there is a defense of an "Islamic" version of feminism in which a brave soul tries valiantly to defend against "Islamophobic" sentiments shared in the "biased" media. It's a laugh.

The latest is an article titled : "5 Rights Islam Gave Women Before Western Feminism Did"

Apparently it is to point out to "bigots" what the "real Islam" is like and show that Islam granted women "more rights than western women have gained" in the most recent 100 years.

A quick point-by-point rundown

1. The right to vote

The argument is that since the Quran borrowed a few tales of a "Queen of Sheba", (the Quran is mostly plagiarism) that this then means that Islam is fine with women in positions of power.

Therefore, the argument is then, that Islam granted women are granted a "right to vote". However there are absolutely no citations as to which caliphs women helped select, or which women were ever considered to be leaders. Whatever story there is in a holy book about one Queen or another, it simply didn't happen.

Now, as a set:

2. The right to own property and wealth
3. The right to an education
4. The right to work (or not to)

Beyond the usual rosy view of cherrypicked scripture, the argument goes that the first of Muhammad's wives wore the pants (and may have been the brains behind both the man and the god) and is revered within the faith.

Of course, after Muhammad's first wife died, things became harder for him as he didn't have a sugarmomma to rely on. Eventually he bounced back, and as it turns out one of his rebounds was a 9-year old named Aisha -- but it's a sensitive subject.

5. The right to modesty

Where to even start with this?

It's incomprehensible. In every culture before, since and including Islam, women have been at times regarded as property to dress up or dress down as one desired. The tendency throughout history has been to gift wrap women - Islam merely codified this desire in a religion and gave it the appearance of piety. It is to literally insult god to remove the gift wrap.

The article continues: 
"Islam teaches us that a woman's self-worth does not revolve around physical beauty or approval from men. Islam raises women above all that and frees us from the need to conform to the societal definition of what women "should" look like."

The hijab, of course, is entirely about what women "should" look like. Instead of freeing women a physical form, it chains them with it - women must cover because of what they look like.

Modernity and innovation in how much energy one can invest into appearances makes a hijab seem like an affordable and liberating alternative. After all, perhaps one can save some money on a hairstyling and earrings!

But it's an empty promise, as hijabs merely define the parameters of accessories. Nowhere in the Quran does it say one can't spend more than a day's pay on fabric, accessories, and shoes. The sky is the limit, it's time to get some product to make those eyes shine.

If Allah wants women in gift wrap, it may as well be gold gift wrap.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Six Months of "Islamophobia" at Huffington Post

Now August, it's a good time to check in how Huffington Post's running tally of "Islamophobia" in 2016 is going.

If we split the year up January to June, let's go over how it went, and then continue with some analysis:


  • Man says arson attack on his halal food truck was a hate crime
  • Muslim woman ejected from Trump rally
  • Man vandalizes mosque and leaves bacon behind
  • Christian college fires woman for wearing hijab and saying allah == yahweh. Now she works at UVA. 
  • Manufacturing company in Wisconsin changes prayer time rules, fires a dozen of muslims
  • Smeared ketchup found on mosque
  • Man couldn't enter "Muhammad Khan" in a videogame as it matched a name on an embargo list
  • Robocaller in support of Trump said "We don't need muslims"
  • Residents of Bayonne New Jersey opposed a mosque
  • Islamic center of Omaha had a window broken and bacon put on the door
  • Someone made a parody website of the Islamic center of Wheaton, Illinois
  • Drunk college students in Tuscon threw beer bottles off a building and said something racist
  • Sikh man says an incident in December 2015 wherein he was attacked and called a 'terrorist' was a hate crime
  • Man in Florida on Facebook threatens to burn down mosques
  • Men in the Bronx beat up a Bangladeshi man and shout "ISIS"
  • Australian MP was asked routine citizenship questions and fingerprinted at LAX
  • Bill in Tennessee aims to stop "Islamic religious indoctrination" in schools after a teacher asked students to recite the shahada
  • People in Milwaukee don't want a new mosque
  • Man in Philadelphia punched "for speaking Arabic"
  • Poll results find half of Idahoans want ban on muslim immigration
  • Man in Minnesota says Sharia law is coming
  • Hijabi in Michigan called a terrorist
  • California state muslims student association had a "hateful message" left on a table
  • Education administrator in Georgia fired for writing "If you wipe your butt with your bare hand but consider bacon to be unclean, you may be a muslim."
  • Bill in South Carolina legislature bans citing Sharia as a defense
  • Bill in South Carolina OKs bill to create registry of refugees
  • Ben Carson says Islam isn't a religion, says it has an "apocalyptic vision"
  • Megyn Kelly asks Chris Christie : "They saw [packages, muslims] and they did not think that was enough to call the cops. Do you?"
  • Missoula protesters rally to block refugees, say Islam hates Christians, Jews, women, gays.
  • Tea party accused school in Tennessee of white washing Islam by saying it spread peacefully
  • Maryland lawmaker says mosques with ties to terrorism shouldn't be tax exempt
  • Palos Park Illinois don't want mosque built
  • Ariens fires more employees over unscheduled prayer breaks
  • NH lawmaker says Islam isn't a religion
  • Drill in Tampa puts active shooter actor in a keffiyeh
  • Frat brothers in U of Chicago said in private emails that a fellow muslim student was a terrorist and "dynamite and C4" were two fixtures of Islamic culture
  • Dudley Massachusetts doesn't want a muslim cemetery built
  • Fox News host says 'I haven't heard of any' anti-muslim crimes 
  • CNN interviews Jared Taylor, he says 'why would we want more muslims?'
  • Man arrested outside mosque after becoming belligerent and firing a pellet gun at a car
  • NH poll says 65% of GOP voters support ban on muslims
  • Michelle Bachman says muslim immigration is an "invasion"
  • Mayor of Lubbock calls Homeland Security after someone placed a large black Arabic flag with a red heart on an abandoned building
  • Muslim man in Portland killed by man he hired to work on his property 
  • Ben Carson says muslims only embrace democracy if they're "schizophrenic"
  • Proposed Florida bill authorizes military force if "invaders" appear
  • Billboard in Minnesota says Catholic charities are evil for resettling "Islamists"
  • Confusion at Maryland school somehow spread by Pam Gellar leads to false bomb scare
  • Trump tells questionable "pigs blood" story from Philippine-American war
  • Muslim woman says a bank in Omaha made her take off headscarf
  • Minnesota revokes "FMUSLMS" license plate
  • Poll result says have of Texas voters support ban on muslims
  • Oklahoma capitol "Muslim day" receives threats
  • Missouri man says "all of you should die" to muslim family, takes out gun. Blames it on skipping PTSD medication
  • CAIR worker in Tallahassee hears joke "is it safe to ride the elevator with you?"
  • Poll result says most Trump supporters dislike muslims
  • Vandals write "F**K MUSLIMS" on Plainfield Indiana ISNA headquarters
  • Principal in Twin Falls Idaho censors school newspaper article about 'islamophobia'
  • Teenager in Huntington Beach says he was stabbed for speaking Arabic
  • Tennessee lawmakers pass anti "islamic indoctrination" bill
  • Man in Illinois displays silhouettes of a man in a turban getting shot
  • Unidentified woman claims two unidentified hijabis that did not speak english had eggs thrown at them in Buffalo
  • Man in Newark spits on muslim woman
  • Two muslim women removed from JetBlue flight for 'staring'
  • Buddhist monk in Oregon allegedly attacked after hearing profanity about muslims
  • Man in Massachusetts shares a meme photo of JAWS labelled "Throw me a muslim"
  • People on MSNBC are surprised Dearborn voted for Bernie
  • Trump tells Anderson Cooper that he thinks "Islam hates us"
  • Students in Wichita allegedly attacked by man yelling 'Trump'
  • Ibtihaj Muhammad asked to remove hijab at SXSW for badge photo
  • Idaho advances anti-Sharia law
  • Ted Cruz asks Frank Gaffney to be his adviser 
  • Muslim family kicked off United Airlines flight for 'safety issues'
  • Mosque in Nebraska receives threatening email
  • Ted Cruz wants police to patrol and secure muslim neighbourhoods
  • Republicans in DC refuse to answer questions about Ted Cruz's patrolling idea
  • San Martin California doesn't want a new mosque built
  • South Carolina passes bill to create refugee registry
  • Woman in DC library asked to remove hijab
  • Lyft driver in Utah says 'muslims are terrorists'
  • Charles Payne & Ben Carson say Islam was 'born and spread through violence'
  • Letter to the editor in Florence South Carolina paper says Islam is satanic
  • Student in Hayward California has her hair pulled and was called a terrorist by "same guy that was bullying me since third grade"
  • Muslim 8th graders in Stamford Connecticut are questioned after allegations that they were going to bring guns to school
  • Poll result says half of US voters support idea to patrol and secure muslim neighbourhoods
  • Man yells 'Trump' and 'Kill all muslims' at group of muslims in Grand Rapids
  • Letter in Cheyenne, Wyoming says Islam is fascist and that muslims 'lie and cheat'
  • Various websites allege that muslims were shooting at people in a desert in southern California
  • Unidentified man in Michigan says 'I've killed your mfing kind'
  • "StopIslam" and "Trump" written in chalk in Ann Arbor campus
  • Sherrif supports Ted Cruz's patrolling idea
  • Student in Texas called terrorist by teacher, teacher claims it was to demonstrate 'negative stereotypes'
  • "Anti-muslim DVDs" left on cars in Idaho
  • Man in Phoenix rips up Quran in front of mosque
  • "Stop Islam" written in Amherst, Massachusetts campus
  • Ted Cruz adviser says there are "no-go" zones in muslim neighbourhoods
  • "Choose 1 Pro-Islam<>Pro Women's & Gay Rights" written in chalk at University of Kansas
  • "No more muslim violence" and other slogans written in chalk in Ann Arbor
  • Lawmaker in Tennessee hands out "anti-muslim DVDs" to colleagues
  • Businessman in Washington sends anti-mosque postcards to residents
  • Pat Robertson says Islam is an "infection" that must be killed
  • Woman working on school board in Pennsylvania had written a "I am officially against muslims" Facebook post
  • "Islam bloody Islam, doomed by its doctrine!" billboards appear in Florida
  • Ted Cruz refuses to meet with muslim constituents 
  • Muslim woman removed from Southwest flight and given no explanation
  • Ted Cruz adviser says there are "Sharia courts" in Texas and Michigan
  • The Hill publishes Ted Cruz adviser's "anti-muslim conspiracy theory"
  • Mosque in Queens attacked by man high on drugs that claimed he was a prophet and demanded a Quran, yelling anti-muslim slurs
  • Terry Jones & a friend tear up a Quran in Atlanta
  • Letter to the editor in Kalispell, Montana accuses Islam of being a 'centuries old political machine'
  • Blonde Trump supported allegedly pours water on a hijabi in DC
  • Elmwood Park, NJ board of education member on Facebook urged muslims to "stay in their deserts" and "follow your religion in your own countries"
  • Urth Caffee in Laguna Beach allegedly kicked out muslim women for being muslim. The cafe claims it was just to clear the table for other customers
  • GOP candidate for senate in Florida wants to ban 'anybody from the middle east'
  • Man in Vermont allegedly pulls gun on woman and called a terrorist
  • Unidentified muslim woman in Louisana says a courtroom bailiff motioned for her to remove the hijab, and was then removed from the room for noncompliance. Judge in the courtroom says she did not realize the scarf was a hijab.
  • 911 call in Florida claimed 'middle eastern' person was on UCF campus with a gun
  • Los Angeles sheriff's aide apologizes for forwarding racist and 'islamophobic' emails during a previous job in Burbank. Apology did not satisfy muslim groups. The aide then resigned a few days later
  • 19 year old man in Queens is attacked by three men shouting "ISIS!"
  • Students protest SDSU president for not denouncing Anti-BDS fliers posted around campus
  • TSA official in Minneapolis says he was ordered to profile Somali Americans
  • Group protests anti-Islamophobia film in Missoula
  • "Anti-muslim extremist" Ryan Mauro gives talk in New York 
  • Trump repeats "pig blood" story in California

  • Man calls Bangladeshi store clerk a terrorist and then stabs him
  • Letters in Sacramento call on people to execute muslims
  • Vandal leaves 'Ban Islam from America' fliers at mosque site in Washington
  • Muslim student labelled "Isis" in printing of yearbook in Rancho Cucamonga
  • Military college in South Carolina denies request of muslim student for exception of cadet uniform policy
  • South Carolina votes down anti-Sharia bill
  • Anti-muslim protesters in Vermont speak against taking refugees
  • Anti-muslim motorcycle group protests in Islamberg, NY
  • GOP group allows "anti-muslim extremist" to speak in North Carolina
  • Man allows his dogs to attack poodle because his owner was a 'terrorist prick'
  • Florida newspaper publishes letter claiming Quran is a 'plan for world domination'
  • Harris County Texas GOP aide tries to block muslim man from office as Islam and Christianity 'don't mix'
  • Michael Flynn defend's Trump's 'muslim ban'
  • Newt Gingrich wants airport workers to be tested to see if they 'believe in sharia'
  • Muslim woman called a 'terrorist' during road rage incident in Tennessee
  • NY cab driver beaten by  a man calling him a 'muslim asshole'
  • "Anti-muslim speakers" gather at a 'refugee resettlement event' in Florida
  • 'Anti-muslim rally' held outside new Islamic center in Houston
  • Church in Oregon puts up sign 'Muhammad is not greater than Jesus'
  • Boss of company in NY allegedly asked employee to denounce ISIS
  • Former Washington state city manager expresses interest in knowing where Sunni and Shia residents live
  • Muslim woman harassed in ice cream shop in Orange County
  • Islamic center in Golden Colorado receives threatening email
  • 11-year old 'heckled' after asking crowd in Boca Raton if they thought she looked like a terrorist
  • Dudley Massachusetts apparently still does not want muslim cemetery [Same story as February]
  • "Anti-muslim extremist" speaks in Vermont
  • Republican primary candidate in Colorado said Trump's muslim ban 'doesn't go far enough'
  • Democrats say HR 5203 singles out muslim travelers
  • Armed men in Texas film themselves using bullets dipped in pig's blood
  • Anti-arab graffiti found in convenience store in Massachusetts 
  • Speaker in Minnesota church congregation says muslims are using journalists to 'destroy you'
  • Comments on weather service page in Lubbock Texas are offended by use of term 'haboob' instead of 'dust storm'
  • A Sikh man named Davinder Singh was murdered in what his son alleges was a hate crime.
  • During Maryland traffic dispute, woman allegedly yelled "Get the hell out of the country you bitch ass muslims". Driver was charged with a hate crime and denies the allegations
  • Teen charged with hate crime in beating of a muslim man outside mosque in Queens
  • Army reserve officer in North Carolina allegedly threated to kill members at mosque
  • Muslim activist in Texas claims a man in a white pickup truck attempted to run his car off the road
  • Trump delegate leaves "anti-muslim voicemail" for church in Pennsylvania. Voicemail said Islam is "not a religion" and called the sign "despicable".
  • Bullet holes found in ISNA sign in Plainfield, Indiana
  • Man in Seattle threatens to "take revenge" on a mosque.
  • Someone on Twitter tweeted location of ISNA in Dearborn, with hashtag "#CrusadeAmericaCleanagain", and "We must execute the muslim scum"
  • Florida GOP congressional candidate calls for an end to 'every radical muslim institution'
  • Armed "anti-muslim" activist films himself in front of a mosque in Georgia, saying 'the time for war has begun'
  • Muslim woman on Facebook claims that man on train on Queens told her to 'go back home and take their bombs with them'
    • “After some back and forth,” Hasan wrote, “one man said, ‘This is New York City. The most diverse place in the world. And in New York, we protect our own and we don't give a fuck what anyone looks like or who they love, or any of those things. It's time for you to leave these women alone, Sir.’ I couldn't have said it better. Sure enough, our train was stopped. This royal douche got off the train to the sound of cheering.”
    • .... probably didn't happen
  • Mosque in Sanford, Florida had "#StopTheHate" spraypainted on it
  • Mosques in Chicago receive threats in email (no details)
  • Woman on Facebook claiming to be postal worker says she will destroy mail with Ramadan themed stamps on them
  • GOP group leader says a new mosque in NJ would be "unsafe"
  • Muslim woman on Twitter has her mentions filled with "hate" after speaking on Homeland Security panel. The woman had said "9/11 changed the world for good", with "for good" clarified to mean "forever"/irreparably.
  • Man in Ohio interrupts mosque prayer service by shouting "Jesus is Lord!" and claiming to be a police officer
  • Trump says muslim-americans "don't assimilate"
  • Syrian refugees in Arizona allegedly receive hate letter saying they are "not welcome"
    • The family is unnamed and the only source of this incident is Imraan Siddiqi, who manages a Twitter feed devoted to content just like this...
  • Muslim man claims he was kicked off an Alaska Airlines flight departing from Texas after another passenger said he looked "arabic & scary".
  • Man wearing white prayer cap in New York was beaten on his way to the mosque
  • Someone wrote "Muslim trash go home!" on a train in Boston
  • Alabama GOP representative says American muslims want to kill homosexuals
  • Commuters in Massachusetts call 911 allegedly after spotting two muslims praying on a train platform
  • ISNA center in Indiana that had bulletholes in its sign also receives a threatening email
  • OK state rep shares Facebook article that says Islam 'is not a religion'
  • Former FBI agent says 'jihadis' will work with Marxist groups and impose sharia
  • Mosque in Orlando receives multiple threats in email
  • Trump says 'I think profiling is something that we're going to have to start thinking about as a country"
  • Muslim NYPD officer suspended for refusing to trim beard
  • "Anti-muslim activists" claim refugees were involved in an incident involving disabled girl. Prosecutors say this is false.
  • "Anti-muslim activist" says USA should "close every single mosque"
  • GOP committee member apologizes for calling Islam a 'death cult'
  • Man threatens to kill imam in Staten Island
  • Man in Connecticut calls worshippers 'sand n***ers' and 'ISIS'
  • Urth Caffe women file suit, defense lawyer accuses them of waging 'civilizational jihad'
  • Motorcyclists circle mosque in Florida
  • Editorial in WVa newspaper claims refugees will lead to a demographic crisis that will lead to sharia law
  • Mosque that was encircled by motorcyclists also receives threats by email
  • Ted Cruz allegedly invites "anti-muslim conspiracy theorist" to testify at senate hearing
  • Horse in Tennessee owned by a Sikh family was shot
  • Man allegedly yelled 'Fuck Muslims' before shooting two men in Minneapolis
  • Woman at Trump rally asks the candidate to fire all hijabis working for the TSA

The list is growing through July and August, and at the top of the article it currently reads:


This is absolute comedy.

What isn't funny, of course, is the violence, intimidation and plainly false rhetoric used against the muslim community. These acts do form part of the enumerated list of 'ACTS' and are reprehensible.

The funny part is that the Huffington Post thinks this is journalism, and that the Huffington Post thinks it can add.

Let's go over the problems with this list:

It includes baseless conjecture as "anti-muslim acts".

Is there an unverifiable claim on Twitter? A crime that even the police haven't been told about? Did someone shoot a Sikh family's horse?

Even the remote possibility that an attack was motivated by racist or anti-muslim animus is enough to include it as an 'anti-muslim' act.

Meanwhile, the Huffington Post needs an allegiance to ISIS signed in triplicate, sent in, sent back, queried, lost, found, subjected to public inquiry before it will believe that Omar Mateen was in any meaningful way motivated by Islamism. Huffington Post bloggers claim Mateen was motivated by "More Personal Pathology Than Radical Ideology"

It's not even limited to 2016

Events listed in January plainly describe events that happened in the previous year, and many of the news clippings are quite ambiguous about when events actually occurred. The only thing consistent is that the date is when the Huffington Post came to know about the 'act'.

It relentlessly double-counts incidents

The "Islamophobia" tracker follows the same "anti-muslim" bills in different stages of becoming law. If it is brought to a house in one month and voted on in the next, it plainly appears as two 'anti-muslim' acts.

Similarly, if a mosque has bullet holes in its sign and bad words in its email inbox, it will appear as two distinct incidents. If a town has a hearing on a new mosque in February and then again in May, same thing -- just count it twice! If there is an extended disagreement like the Urth Caffé incident, count each and every chapter in the saga as a new 'anti-muslim act'.

This is odd when comparing and considering that 9/11 and the Charlie Hebdo attacks are commonly thought of as singular 'attacks'. In reality 9/11 was the coordination of four terrorist attacks, and the Charlie Hebdo shootings included an attack on a kosher grocery.

It's interesting how 'Islamophobia' tends to multiply events but terrorism tends to fold incidents when one tries to claim that '94%' of terrorist attacks are non-muslim. (Spoiler alert: Some people just need Greenpeace to be as bad as al-Qaeda)

It copy/pastes repetitive campaign talking points as unique problems

What did Trump say this week? Basically the same thing he said last week, but it apparently stands out as another 'act'. Same thing goes for everyone surrounding Ted Cruz.

It includes a lack of a religious accommodations as 'anti-muslim acts'

Failing to change a dress code at a bank, military college, corporation, public building or police department to accommodate muslims is arguably discriminatory, but does it qualify as 'islamophobic'?

Is it 'islamophobic' if a bank teller acts strangely when dealing with a customer in a niqab?

If a pool does not allow for a women-only burkini swim time, is it 'islamophobic act' by default?

It includes 'somewhat problematic' opinions as 'anti-muslim acts'

Feeling that Islam is not a religion or that muslims have an agenda are opinions that are not politically correct and are very debatable. To the degree that Islam is a homophobic project is similarly debatable.

However, these showerthoughts broadcast on Facebook are no more Islamophobic -- in fact perhaps even less Islamophobic -- than the mundane opinions shared on social media that detail how Shia or Ahmadis are not actually muslims.

Strangely, even though that this hateful rhetoric leads to the deaths of muslims, Huffington Post does not feel an obligation to find even one person that shared an anti-Ahmadi or anti-Shia sentiment on social media in the entire United States in 2016.

It counts 'acts' that are the opposite of Islamophobia

In May, South Carolina rejected the 'anti-sharia' bill that the Huffington Post was tracking as 'Islamophobia'. Oddly enough, the rejection of the bill appears on the website just the same - and presumably helps add one more to the final tally of '233' Islamophobic acts.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Tell Me Lies, Tell Me Sweet Little Activist Lies

There's a problem with a number of sources of "journalism" today, and it isn't the usual suspects in the right wing politicized echochamber that seems to desire nothing but the election of their team.

What thankfully limits a lot of extreme rhetoric is that it is shamelessly political. There are indeed people that think men screaming on talk radio or television qualifies as news, but that society seems to more or less work is some evidence that this is not a majority viewpoint.

Often more frustrating is how popular "legitimate" news sources, "concerned" community organizations, "social justice" activists and issues-based activist organizations that have used "the facts" and "data" to create ideas that are plainly lies.

Here are only a few of them:

The Lie: "Toddlers kill more Americans than Islamists."

Where it comes from and why it's a lie: This was "true" for a 5 month span of 2016. Turns out America has existed outside 2016, and the claim is a ridiculous lie. Yet it turns out the Mic article was plagiarism of a dumb idea, as Benjamin Powers announced weeks before the San Bernardino attacks that toddlers had somehow killed more in 2015. 

Who's spreading it: Linda Sarsour, Zak Cheney-Rice, Reza Aslan and the Edmonton Public Library, Benjamin Powers. Meanwhile, Saladin Ahmed thinks there are more astronauts than American victims of terrorism.

The Lie: "94 percent of the terror attacks were committed by non-Muslims."

Where it comes from and why it's a lie: 
  • The data is compiled using a FBI table that uses a very dictionary definition of terrorism, that cites bloodless attacks from "Earth Liberation Front" and "Animal Liberation Front" about 40 times, yet cites 9/11 as a single line item. Pretending that the crimes in the table are similar is to play a semantic game that is insulting, cynical and dismissive.
  • Even if the data had meaning, was accurate, and counting by event instead of fatality was somehow useful - it's still absurd that a subset of 1% of the American population would be responsible for 4% of the count.

Who's spreading it: Dean Obeidallah, Sally Kohn and a number of other idiots talking about "FBI statistics on terrorism".

The Lie: "Right-wing extremists have killed more Americans since 9/11 than Islamists have."

Where it comes from and why it's a lie: 
  • It's misleading to exclude 9/11, USS Cole, 1993 WTC bombing, and other events arbitrarily as there's no indication that Islamism is somehow "over". 
  • It combines a heterogeneous set of extremists and motivations (tax protesters, "pro-life" terrorists, racist groups, non-Islamist anti-semitic attacks) gives them a single label and compares them against a more ideologically uniform group of jihadis.
  • It isn't actually true. If one looks at murders of Americans only on American soil, "right-wing extremists" win by a marginal amount - about 3 murders out of about 50 total for each group. Once one includes American citizens travelling abroad (for example, visiting a club in Bali), the situation changes drastically, with Islamists killing at least twice as many Americans as everyone else combined. 
    • There have been higher estimates than 50 domestic deaths due to right-wing extremists, cited in studies by outlets like ThinkProgress. But these higher estimates (sometimes running into the hundreds) do not actually happen to list what has qualified as a domestic terrorist. (Perhaps armed toddlers?)
Who's spreading it: Most notably, The New York Times.

The Lie: "1 in 5 women on campus are raped"

Where it comes from and why it's a lie: This manipulation is constructed by first doing a study of women, asking if they have experienced "forced kissing" or "unwanted touching" of a sexual nature. Then, when around 20% say yes, the study authors categorize these experiences as "sexual assault" even though the surveys typically ask no such question explicitly. Finally, the waters are muddied further by treating "sexual assault" and "rape" interchangeably. It's like a game of telephone, but played deliberately to generate a "feminist" call to action.

Who's spreading it: Salon, The Guardian, and almost all "feminist" blogs - people like Jessica Valenti be found mixing definitions to suit their ideology.

The Lie: "Only 2% of rape allegations are false."

Where it comes from and why it's a lie: The statistic is typically created by asking different law enforcement organizations (like the FBI or CPS) how many prosecutions were based on malicious falsehoods which are crimes in themselves. The numbers floating around are then anywhere from 1% to 8%, depending on the source of the data and which part of the criminal justice process is being examined. Whatever the statistic cited, the reality is that the veracity of rape allegations cannot be perfectly examined in the justice system (i.e. a failed prosecution is not going to be counted as as a false allegation unless absolutely proven so) and the vast majority of infamous cases in recent memory are not actually documented in the criminal justice system - instead, they are subject to the law of Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram.

Who's spreading it: Whoever still thinks Rolling Stone was correct about anything at all.

Where are the corrections?

Lies on the internet are not a new thing and not something to lose one's mind about. However what is very disappointing about this particular collection of "facts" is that this phenomenon is not limited to forwarded emails from a grandparent that has been debunked on Snopes or long understood to be an urban legend. These lies are intentionally written and published by people that seem to want to be taken seriously. Crafted by minds that have been formed by decades of expensive schooling. These kids on the edge of seventeen are a generation's investment.

Some of these champions of reason even accepted debt to ultimately not have a primary school grasp of percentages, comparisons and basic kindness. Clearly what these "journalists" fail to understand is that while it would be understandable to spread misinformation as a funny meme on an anonymous message board - after all, no one expects a pseudonym to be charitable - it is something entirely different to sign off on an "insight" in one's own name.

While these hacks believe themselves to be snarky witnesses of important social change, they spawn entirely new problems from their ignorance and failure to recognize truth from petty political soundbites. It is a nihilistic journalism where numbers really do not matter and retractions do not exist - all that matters is a climax, an orgasmic drop of "truth bomb" at a faceless opponent that is not "woke" enough. One need not play this game wherein players only love one while they are playing.

You can go your own way, go your own way.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Latest in Penis Science

NYTimes has run a piece in its health blog, titled : "Should You Circumcise Your Baby Boy?" and oft subtitled as "Why Science Can’t Help You Much in Deciding on Circumcision"

It's the usual mix of "maybe circumcision has some health benefits!" evangelism, the highlights of actual facts being:

  1. "100 boys would need to be circumcised to prevent one urinary tract infection."
  2. "more than 300,000 infants might need to be circumcised to prevent one case of penile cancer."
  3. There is no benefit regarding HIV transmission rates, as surveys in African countries facing very specific public health issues do not magically apply equally well to every population around the globe
  4. "Surgical complications, while rare, are greater than zero."

This is the same nonsense that has floated around Slate, NPR, the CDC and every other organization looking for an excuse to explain bizarre American medical practices. (Who doesn't love American exceptionalism?)

The odd thing about author Aaron Carroll's contribution to this "debate", is how the talk of science is dealt the obvious religious trump card.

All cards on the table: I’m Jewish, and I’m circumcised, as are both my sons. The procedure has a spiritual weight in my community. When confronted by people who use terms like mutilation, I generally recoil. Circumcising my boys was a personal decision for my wife and me, and I understand the various arguments for and against. People angry about this choice seem to imagine that we haven’t thoroughly considered it.

Yes, this covenant with the almighty God is a contract that needs to see some cut foreskin of an infant or else... something bad will happen. Soon after sharing the article, the author tweets "Today has been another lesson for me that antisemitism is still alive and well."

Within the space of a few hours a headline that is supposedly related to medical science is now about religious bigotry. "Intactivists" may be disregarded until they somehow prove themselves sufficiently tolerant of religious argumentation.

The odd thing about Aaron Carroll's evangelism is that Carroll includes nearly every datapoint about circumcision he could find - except for the many documented cases of infection (and even death) after an unusual bris still practiced in extremely religious communities. It's not clear whether Aaron Carroll thinks this should remain legal or not.

It could be that Aaron Carroll not only thinks metzitzah b'peh should remain legal, but also billable to one's insurance provider. Surely anything as much as co-pay would be antisemitic.

And the final paragraph -
Given that religion and culture are tied up in this, it’s clear that this issue won’t be decided soon. It’s also clear that evidence won’t make anyone’s choice easier. In the end, the decision as to whether parents opt to have their babies circumcised will remain a personal one.

This conclusion makes a mockery of the definition of what qualifies as a "personal decision".

Friday, May 13, 2016

Mehdi Hasan's Multiculturalism

Mehdi Hasan is by many measures a great journalist working at Al Jazeera - or at least a decent interviewer, as witnessed in the pinned tweet of his interview with a Saudi ambassador. It's challenging, fast, immensely watchable and entertaining.

Yet commentary from Hasan is at times a bit odd - out of loyalty or agreement Hasan is found endorsing other "insights" from the network that employs him, and Hasan is often writing some rather ridiculous opinion articles.

One of the most recent is a victory lap made about Sadiq Khan's mayoral win, entitled "Sadiq Khan and the Future of Europe".

Some questionable observations:

Islamophobes are tearing their hair out as they decry the Islamization of Britain. But for all the Muslim baiting, London’s new mayor is part of an encouraging trend. He’s just the latest in a series of observant Muslims who have captured the hearts and minds of the British public. Last October, 14.5 million Britons tuned in to watch the smiling, hijab-clad Nadiya Hussain, the daughter of a waiter from Bangladesh, as she was crowned champion of “The Great British Bake Off,” a TV show. In April, Riyad Mahrez, who was born in Paris to an Algerian father and a Moroccan mother, was awarded the Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year trophy after scoring 17 goals for Leicester City, which went on to a surprise victory in the Premier League championship.
In a perfect world, the faith of a TV cooking show star, an athlete or even a major politician would be irrelevant. But in our deeply imperfect — and, yes, Islamophobic — world, it isn’t. British newspapers are filled with alarmist headlines about “Muslim sex grooming” and “the rise in Muslim birthrate.” Earlier this year, Trevor Philips, the former chairman of Britain’s Equality and Human Rights Commission, accused Britain’s Muslims of “becoming a nation within a nation.”
It’s harder to say that now. The tide is turning in the toxic debate on Islam, integration and multiculturalism. As Mr. Khan told Time magazine, the best way to fight extremism is to “say to youngsters you can be British, Muslim and successful” and to “point to successful British role models,” like Zayn Malik, a pop star, and Mo Farah, an Olympic gold medal-winning runner. London’s new mayor may become the ultimate role model. I imagine Muslim parents across Britain are now reciting Sadiq Khan’s name to their kids. It’s one thing to celebrate the Muslim winner of a reality TV show; quite another to have a Muslim elected to one of the highest offices in the land.
Mr. Khan’s resounding victory was a stinging rebuke to the peddlers of prejudice. Here is a Muslim who prays and fasts and has gone on the hajj to Mecca. But he sees no contradiction in being a card-carrying liberal, too. As a member of Parliament, he voted — despite death threats from Islamist extremists — in favor of same-sex marriage and he campaigned to save a local pub in his constituency from closure. He has pledged to serve as a “feminist mayor” of London and made his first public appearance after the election at a Holocaust memorial service.
This sounds like an ode to tolerance, a celebration of multiculturalism. But it is nothing of the sort.

The message this is saying is that muslims can be clean-shaven, pro-gay marriage, pub-loving former members of One Direction that can bake a good cake - just like everyone else, and just like we want them to. This is the polar opposite of religious diversity and makes a mockery of what being "observant" can possibly mean.

In this view, multiculturalism is nothing more than spicy flavors of a secular liberal theme. If this is what multiculturalism is to be, then even "Islamophobes" can be found encouraging this goal. As it is, there are plenty of gay men that would not mind sharing a kiss in a halal grocery. The problem with this is however obvious to all those existing outside a Labour party ukulele sing-along.

While Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy have declared multiculturalism a failure, the truth is that their countries, Germany and France, have never tried it. As Tariq Modood, the author of “Still Not Easy Being British,” writes, multiculturalism is the “political accommodation of difference.” For the French, however, difference has never even been tolerated, much less accommodated. In contrast, British-style multiculturalism has treated integration, as even David Cameron conceded almost a decade ago, as “a two-way street” and never required, in the words of Will Kymlicka, the author of “Multicultural Odysseys,” that “prior identities” must “be relinquished” in order to build a national identity.

The claim that Germany and France have "never tried" multiculturalism is completely baseless and non-evidenced, and in this very paragraph it shows that "multiculturalism" is a self-contradictory moving target. Saying that France does not tolerate difference is quite a bold claim after just celebrating all the successful muslims in Britain that happen to think like all the other people - so much so that the rest of the population has elected one mayor of London.

Is it surprising that polls find that British Muslims are more patriotic and take more pride in their national identity than their non-Muslim counterparts and studies show that ethnic and religious segregation in Britain is either steady or in decline?

This is funny as most polls of muslims that are released are dismissed as soon as it's discovered that the muslim population might be a little bit more conservative than Jeremy Corbyn. Now apparently a survey that is valid is one that would compare British patriotism with German.

For quite some time Britain has possibly had a more established sense of self - Britain has James Bond & #Brexit. Britain is the Texas of Europe, and this self-assured attitude without a doubt has an impact on the muslim population.

Meanwhile, Germany was literally in pieces until the '90s, has an incredible skepticism of its own nationalism (for many good 20th century reasons) and perhaps harbours a sense of obligation to the balkanized* mess that is the continent of Europe.

But it's true - if living in the bounds of London manages to instill an immense sense of pride, self-worth and entitlement to a diverse-while-rich-and-socialist population, maybe multiculturalism will work after all.

* - Balkanized : synonym for multicultural