From Sensitivity to Theocracy

Cultural Criticism: The Moral Imperative

Self-criticism is the one unforgeable signature of our humanity.  Without this essential quality, there would be no marked difference between us and our mammalian cousins.  The English philosopher John Locke underscored this observation best when he quipped that “beasts abstract not”. But more importantly is the fact that coupled with this primary freedom is a moral obligation to criticize those particularly toxic ideas which are detrimental to the collective progress and welfare of our civilization. With little effort, one can immediately see the positive application of this moral imperative in the great historical struggles against tyranny and oppression, be it of slavery, the subjugation of women, or suppression of freethought.

However, determined sadists and madmen, backed by motivational doctrines of hate, seek to erase the heritage of our libertine values- a terror we have come to know as militant Islam.  Afterall, it has been a long standing theorem of theocracy that heaven spoke to the whole of humanity through one humble tyrant, divine warlord or some other authoritarian commander.  As it turns out, those who now proclaim that a certain camel grazer from the Hejaz of Saudi Arabia was awarded the divine seal of prophethood, circa 1400 years ago, also happen to be the ones challenging liberal democracy in the 21st century.  But such a coincidence of belief and action should come as no shock.  The famished and bloodied trails of Fascism and Communism spoke volumes to this point.  Needless to say, the exponents of Islamic totalitarianism still insist on the validity of their claim, even if its proof requires the senseless destruction and mutilation of our world.  

Whether it is the extreme case of the Islamic State, the Charlie Hebdo massacre, the poaching of freethinkers in Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia or the expulsion of cultural heretics from civil dialogue: these are all flesh-wounds of an attempt to weld our greatest moral dilemmas into the alloy of deranged nomadic dogmas.  The creative cruelty of the Islamic state, the most outstanding offender, is too voluminous and horrific to fully summarize here, but a few of its latest destructive items include: plundering an abundance of regionally indigenous resources, amassing wealth in the hundreds of millions of dollars, engineering a free market of sexual slavery, imposing sadistic and draconian laws to maintain public order and continuing an anti-civilizational campaign to extinguish any artifact of cultural heritage perceived to be exogenous to its renaissance of annihilation.  The Islamist zeal is animated by a lust for violence and disorder, not too unlike the excited brown-shirted hooligans causing mischief in the political circles of Europe, only a century ago.  Much like their Euro-Fascist predecessors, the Islamists hunger for the entropic destruction of civilization and indulge on replacing it with a dictatorship of nihilism and oblivion.  It is our moral imperative as individuals, not as nations or factions, to oppose and terminate this insurgence of antihumanism.

But challenging the historical and ideological origins of this anti-human worldview has itself become enshrouded by political correctness and cultural heresy.  Translating Islam through its appropriate moral and political lense has become just as prone to censure as challenging the core dogmas of Islam alone.  For instance, the Southern Poverty Law Center, a purportedly anti-extremism think-tank, has unscrupulously compiled an “anti-Muslim” blacklist of Muslim critics.  The only crime of the indicted suspects was demanding that Islam yield to the modernizing pressures of secular society.  Separation of mosque and state, gender equality, religious freedom and freedom of expression are just a few of their primary talking points.  But all of these highly prized libertine virtues are natural vices to the brazen fanatics of puritanical Islam and SPLC obscures this fact diligently.  A quick survey of the most recent anti-Islamic offenses will help elucidate the point further.

Just over two years ago, the United Nation’s Universal Periodic Review of Norway’s human rights record rattled the hive of Saudi Arabia.  The Salafi theocrats were really puzzled by how a liberal democracy could allow its citizens so much ownership over their own speech organs.  Afterall, what better judge could pester the Nordic nation on its lax treatment of thought criminals, if not the primary supplier of international terrorism and human rights violations itself, the very capital of Islam – which also happens to be a member of the human rights council (a tribute to the UN’s meritorious standards).  The Saudi row was just the tip of the iceberg.  In fact, only two months after the Charlie Hebdo massacre, in which a dozen innocent civilians were slaughtered for the innocuous crime of cartooning a historical mortal, the UK Islamic Human Rights Commission posthumously honored the deceased with the scarlett letter of Islamophobia.

In case you missed it, let us recap: slain staffers of a liberal publication still needed to seek forgiveness from their bloodied graves, while those cheerleading this torment of the dead humorously coronated themselves the “Islamic Human Rights Commission”.  I must admit, trying to circumscribe something so heinous as grave picketing into the same ethical plane as humanitarianism, is pretty ambitious.  Not even the most strenuous reading of Orwell can match this calibre of double-think.

Ironies set aside though, these attacks on free individuals and nations may seem nothing more than a circus of distraction upon first glance.  But, as I argue in this essay, such inquisitions have become more commonplace.  At one time the Islamists were safely tucked away in the peripheries of shame and exile; rusting with theocracy and suffocating on their own ignorance and stupidity.  Following the decline of the Ottoman and Mughal dynasties, the rise of secular regimes in the Middle East, the Sovietization of Central Asia and the advance of European industrialisation- the Islamist radius was almost in full contraction.  It was simply too distant and too weak to cause us any meteoric harm.  But now, and as already mentioned in the introduction, the theocrats have regrouped and clawed their way into the pores of liberal society: infiltrating the western academies, consolidating political interests through secular channels, tapping into the culture of political correctness and skewing public opinion to their advantage.    It is important to understand how Muslims think, but also how liberal society has best strategized to deal with the Islamic threat.  As we shall see, there is a very disturbing and discouraging reciprocal relationship between these two cultural spheres.

At their core, the Islamists sincerely believe they are the anointed gatekeepers of society.  Just as their prophet was sent by God to correct the folly of his own fallen kin, so the Islamists proclaim to be the only candidates morally qualified enough to supervise and discipline our impieties in the here and now.  This is why they constantly censor the western press and order the restructuring of our democratic institutions in a way that conforms to their theocratic demands.  Hustling the international community to strangle away our civil liberties, as a coalition of Islamic nations have been hatching up for years now, is a typical example of their moral bullying.  The renewed death fatwa against Salman Rushdie also awakened the same liberal fears.  The commotion caused by a cartoon contest in Texas, which threatened to injure 1.6 billion feelings worldwide, is just another depressing chapter in the narrative of Islamic self-victimization.

Time and time again, Muslims have shown how their fragile egos can be shattered by something so devastating as a point of view.  Because apparently, bringing down the civilization inherited from the last messenger of God requires nothing more than a pen and good sense of humor.  But concerned citizens of the world need not worry: a response team of sensitivity mongers and social justice warriors have pledged put an end to this terror of discomfort.  Afterall, it was only after Charlie Hebdo bled that a coalition of writers and intellectuals rushed to condemn the fallen veterans of French secularism, instead of defending their common profession against marauding theocratic predators.  As if a homophobic declaration of hate wasn’t enough to reveal the motives of Omar Mateen’s rampage in Orlando, blaming the only society which opposed his theocratic terror seemed the more appropriate course of justice.  While people were recovering from the blood-stained trauma inflicted by motivated murderers and psychopaths, multicultural crusaders were burning the midnight oil to bandaid the hurt feelings of the religiously offended, if not offering them full concessions of outright liberal guilt.  As to those who dared call out this immoral marriage of tyranny and liberty, they were more likely to soon find themselves under interrogation for concealing some raging bigot screaming to break out.  

If self-destruction is the best response that liberalism can offer us in the face of an illiberal theocratic assault, then its expiration date has already been marked. We as a free society are morally obligated to condemn the hateful impulses of anti-human belief systems, not focus on the invisible bigotry of those courageous enough to point them out in the first place.  If this cultural suicide persists unabated, then I fear the future of liberty will be at the disposal of authoritarians and fascists.  As it turns out, we may already be seeing signs of such an ideological inversion in the free world.  Far right populism and national socialism is rapidly mushrooming across the western hemisphere: the National Front in France, the Eurasian movement in Russia and a variety of other illiberal ideologies.  In a sick and ailing mother liberty, the post-modern rabble-rousers may have very well found the fertile ovaries to infect their seeds of poison.

Academic Fascism

As discouraging as all this may be, the erosion of our values and principles did not happen overnight though.  With the revolution of censorship sweeping across universities, which campus activists have now razed into a dumping ground for academic freedom, we have begun to taste what the sensitivity mongers have in store for us.  Even the inspiration of educators and administrators is not up to standard for the mercenaries of justice.  In 1985, a humanistic proverb from the Dean of Administrative Emeritus, at the University of Oregon, was removed for being too tonally masculine.  Apparently, abstract usage of the term “man” was taken as an underhanded slight toward the feminist community (I tremble to think what will one day happen to the historic announcement of “man’s first step on the moon”).  But this was just a preview of the gender wars.  In fact, the aether of social justice has even transcended cultural and national borders.  For instance, at the University of Cape Town, one outfit of post-modern activism went so far as to accuse science of harboring a colonial agenda.  If you thought the hidden dimensions of string theory were elusive, wait until you get a load of their colonial extensions and the only qualified mind-readers who can decipher them.  You really couldn’t make this stuff up even if you were an alchemist with a magical wand.

To put it simply, discussional freedom is being slowly annihilated by a flourishing industry of cultural psychoanalysis and moral arrogance.  Because as long as people are chasing the mythical dragon of perceived bigotry and hidden motives, they will be distracted from the real snake lurking in the grass: authoritarianism and theocracy.  Such diversions furthermore testify to the great advances we’ve made in the unworthy field of psychological engineering: disseminating just the fear of being branded a bigot, because of murmuring the wrong statement, at the wrong time or place.  In fact, just casually weighing in on any topic these days is risky, where “bad implications” can be bugged into your sentences faster than they can be dismantled and exposed.  The defamation of a faculty member at Yale University, whose only crime was being suggestively offensive in a deliberately misunderstood email, demonstrates the point at hand.  Such diabolical techniques are not unknown to conversational fascists and have become more felt in our public discourse.  The witch-trials of “Islamophobia” and shadowy “racism” are the best and most recent illustration of their finest work.  Social media has also become an indispensable asset in this unvirtuous endeavor.  For instance, a UK nobel laureate was tragically expelled from his academic post, all because a joke he told was irresponsibly mishandled on twitter.  

Lately, it has become quite common to hear about some public intellectual being completely barred from even speaking at a university, because his/her heterodox views offend the sensitivities of local campus theocrats.  In other words, the so-called “safe spaces” are really just intellectual prisons seeking to impose a buffer zone between truth and discomfort.  The culture warriors have transformed the democratization of “sensitivity” into an instrument of emotional sorcery.  Even the university campus, a station once reserved for the patrons of free expression, has now become a playground for speech bullies and demagogues.

According to the Pew Research Center, 40 percent of American millennials think speech and language should be censored to protect minorities.  In fact, supporters of the liberal democratic party are statistically more likely to endorse censorship than their conservative foes.  In the face of such intercultural cannibalism, is it really any surprise that Islamist currents of thought have circulated freely with virtually no resistance?

But even the paraders of “social justice” and “cultural sensitivity” have betrayed the virtues of their own cause.  Take for instance a resolution of action formerly drafted by the UK National Union of Students which voted against condemning the senseless barbarity of ISIS.  Now any genuine citizen of the world can only speculate the justification for such a veto on humanity, especially coming from an organization proclaiming to defend the oppressed and helpless.  According to the National Union’s reasoning, criticism of ISIS represents nothing more than a front for Islamophobia, an assertion which otherwise would have come off as less paradoxical had the student body not also passed a motion to economically boycott Israel (which apparently required no peer review for potential anti-semitic abuses).  The truly ironic take away message from this incident is that the original proposal was entirely worded to defend the Muslim victims of Islamic theocracy, whereas the anti-Israel boycott was maliciously designed to collectively punish all Israelis by economic sanction*.  This only proves that the moral standard of the sensitivity mongers is completely bogus.  In the culture wars of our time, what was once the cherished legacy of western liberalism- criticizing the authoritarian in defense of the individual-has now become a blank manuscript of political and cultural editing.

As the above story demonstrates, cultural and political institutions are the greatest source of moral confusion on this topic.  A point in case was The National Union of Students’ cowardly response to a genocidal cult which has become synonymous with everything social activists rage against, from mayhem and destruction to indulgent greed and corruption.  In fact, according to some reports, the Islamic State’s industrial exploits are actually modeled and fitted to the practices of the very giant oil companies so often loathed by political progressives.  Furthermore, a report by the Syrian Center for Policy Research put the figure on Syrian civilian deaths and injuries at around 12 percent of the whole population (faulting the majority of deaths on violence), while listing oil production as a major source of revenue for ISIS.  One would think the egalitarian watchdogs would riot and protest this issue until the tear gas drops.  But instead, the social justice warriors are more concerned with protecting the feelings of those Muslim victims of ISIS, nevermind criticizing the horrible ideology which exposed them to the caliphal cancer in the first place.  This combination of liberal masochism in the service of religious sadism is truly suffocating.

To fully appreciate the scale of this moral hypocrisy, just consider a thought experiment in which the sensitivity mongers switch sides for a moment.  Imagine a parallel universe where criticizing the malpractice and negligence of oil companies (a normal pleasure) is suddenly met with accusations of “petro-phobia” and “anti-corporate insensitivity”.  Here, wealthy shareholders and oil tycoons are misrepresented by a few bad apples, so any wholesale criticism of their activities must signal bigotry and broad-brush generalisations.  Corporate CEO’s are maligned as “selfish sociopaths”, their portfolios are ruthlessly scrutinized and employees unfairly harassed: all part and parcel of the petro-phobia propaganda industry.  Does any of this sound familiar?  

If you can regather yourself from the outrageousness of this analogy, but with a deeper appreciation for what prompted it in the first place, then you have passed the moral litmus test failed by so many.  Progressives sound the sirens of justice where injustice looms, yet abandon their moral duty when pitted against a state-corporation of theocracy and terror.  They hold secular corporations of power to a higher standard of judgement than religious psychopaths hell bent on global obliteration.

When ex-Muslim activist Maryam Namazie was invited by secular organizers at Goldsmiths University to give a talk, she was rudely disrupted by theocratic bullies from the Islamic Society.  The intimidations ranged from sadistic atheistophobic insults (laughing at the murder of bloggers in Bangladesh) to gestures of death threats (hand mimicry of a gun directed at the head).  As if this brown-shirted orgy of thuggery and cruelty wasn’t enough, the final element of irony came when one of the hecklers yelled “safe space”.  From our previous discussion, we saw how this dummy term has been invented and transplanted by social justice warriors to empower fascists and demagogues.  To conclude this sordid tale, it would only be redundant at this point to add that the Goldsmiths Feminist Society- of all unlikely actors- came to the defense of the agitating Islamists.  Interestingly enough, when Namazie was banned from another speaking engagement at Warwick University, one reason cited for the decision was her propensity to “incite hatred”.  Its odd that Islamic groups issuing death threats get to play the “safe space” card and win the sympathies of liberals and progressives, while peaceful activists like Namazie get thrown under the bus.

Instead of feminists and progressives whining about incorrect gender pronouns or gender-biased proverbs, perhaps they should be siding with the Maryam Namazies and Ayan Hirsi Alis of the world.  Instead of wasting time and energy on the erection of authoritarian vehicles, like safe spaces, they should be channeling their resources toward clearing the pipes of the accumulating theocratic sewage.  As we have seen, the moral and cultural deterioration of liberalism is just beginning with safe spaces.  Given time, it will end with theocracy.  When it does happen, when liberty is finally sacrificed on the altar of theocracy, let it be remembered that the regressive progressives were there to do the bloody honors.

 

*It has also been mentioned that the National Union of Students later revised the resolution and passed it.  However, this is not the relevant point.  Why did the Union hesitate from passing it in the first place, on the grounds of “Islamophobia” while having no remorse about punishing all Israelis through boycott and sanctions? Why were they so ambivalent about condemning ISIS and so hasty with Israel? This is the point.

 

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Where it all started

It is in large part because of people like Bernie Sanders and his methodically simple approach to profoundly difficult social and economic problems that we have arrived at a post-truth era of presidential politics.  There was not and still is not a conundrum of fiscal or economic policy with which people like Sanders are not equipped to address by rehashing the usual banalities of blaming the super wealthy or downsizing some complex dataset on income distributions to an edible, audience-gauged, applause-generating soundbite.  And by doing so, Sanders effectively normalized that culture of truth-engineering and fact-mining.  The internet became a natural petri dish for such democratic delusions as well.  Long boring paragraphs about the intricate relationship between economics and market dynamics soon became less abstract and dumbed down to a one-liner or pictographic meme about how “1 percent own most of the wealth” and the “middle class is being destroyed” by free trade and income inequality (despite evidence to the contrary).  It combined the appeal of intellectual laziness with mob fury; it gave people a reason to fume and rage against problems they fundamentally misunderstood.

In fact, post-election analysis indicated that Bernie Sanders could have beaten Trump in a final face-to-face battle.  Even if he could not win, the data suggests that his popularity was comparable to Trump’s.  But doesn’t that just suggest that Sanders appealed to the same working-class narrative which catapulted Trump to victory? However you make sense of it, these numbers offer a strong case that Sanders was a key actor in unleashing the riotous frustrations amongst disillusioned voters.  These people were convinced that the system had failed them.  And Bernie Sanders was a long standing projector of this illusion.

Its clear that the sore losers of this election considered Hillary to be the lesser of two evils.  But look at it another way: the angry marchers who made this historical election possible more likely saw Trump as a compromise between the ideally worst choice in their eyes (Hillary) and the best choice (Sanders).  In other words, Trump was the lesser of two evils afforded to them and Sanders was the choice they simply didn’t have.  This only underscores the role Sanders played in molding the political demographic of our decade.  In many ways, he is quite responsible for what happened on that special Tuesday, regardless of his “scrupulous” intentions.

Donald Trump was the alternative mutation of this populist thinking.  He simply coasted on the momentum of that very same strain of impatience and ignorance.  With his master ability to manipulate human psychology and tap into misplaced frustrations against the system, his presidential victory was inevitable.  But it could not have happened without the usefully idiotic and destructive labor of the “anti-establishment” revolutionaries.

This article by Newsweek investigative journalist Kurt Eichenwald is full of fury for liberals who sat out the election or voted third party. But in the middle of the piece he drops a few paragraphs on what the GOP had planned for Bernie Sanders had he become the nominee. Anexcerpt:

Here are a few tastes of what was in store for Sanders, straight out of the Republican playbook: He thinks rape is A-OK. In 1972, when he was 31, Sanders wrote a fictitious essay in which he described a woman enjoying being raped by three men. Yes, there is an explanation for it – a long, complicated one, just like the one that would make clear why the Clinton emails story was nonsense. And we all know how well that worked out.

Then there’s the fact that Sanders was on unemployment until his mid-30s, and that he stole electricity from a neighbor after failing to pay his bills, and that he co-sponsored a bill to ship Vermont’s nuclear waste to a poor Hispanic community in Texas, where it could be dumped. You can just see the words “environmental racist” on Republican billboards. And if you can’t, I already did. They were in the Republican opposition research book as a proposal on how to frame the nuclear waste issue.

Also on the list: Sanders violated campaign finance laws, criticized Clinton for supporting the 1994 crime bill that he voted for, and he voted against the Amber Alert system. His pitch for universal health care would have been used against him too, since it was tried in his home state of Vermont and collapsed due to excessive costs. Worst of all, the Republicans also had video of Sanders at a 1985 rally thrown by the leftist Sandinista government in Nicaragua where half a million people chanted, “Here, there, everywhere/the Yankee will die,’’ while President Daniel Ortega condemned “state terrorism” by America. Sanders said, on camera, supporting the Sandinistas was “patriotic.”

The Republicans had at least four other damning Sanders videos (I don’t know what they showed), and the opposition research folder was almost 2-feet thick. (The section calling him a communist with connections to Castro alone would have cost him Florida.) In other words, the belief that Sanders would have walked into the White House based on polls taken before anyone reallyattacked him is a delusion built on a scaffolding of political ignorance.

Read the full article and pull out any other bits you find interesting.

Source: http://www.joemygod.com/2016/11/15/newsweek-posts-gop-oppo-research-on-bernie-sander/

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I Know Trump’s New Campaign Chairman, Steve Bannon. Here’s What You Need To Know.

An interesting piece by the intelligent and indomitable Ben Shapiro.

 

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UPDATED November 13, 2016

On November 13, President-Elect Donald Trump named Bannon his White House Chief Strategist. He will serve alongside White House Chief of Staff and former RNC Chairman Reince Preibus as co-equals, reportedly.

ORIGINAL: On Wednesday, the Trump campaign shifted top campaign staff: the new CEO of the campaign is, predictably and hilariously, Steven K. Bannon, the current chairman of Breitbart News. I have a bit of experience with Bannon, given that I was the editor-at-large of Breitbart News for four years, and worked closely with Breitbart and Bannon.

Here’s what you need to know about Bannon, as well as new campaign manager Kellyanne Conway.

1. Steve Bannon Turned Breitbart Into Trump Pravda For His Own Personal Gain. Back in March, I quit Breitbart News when it became clear to me that they had decided that loyalty to Donald Trump outweighed loyalty to their own employees, helping Trump smear one of their own reporters, Michelle Fields, by essentially calling her a liar for saying that she had been grabbed by then-Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. Here’s what I wrote at the time:

Andrew built his life and his career on one mission: fight the bullies. But Andrew’s life mission has been betrayed. Indeed, Breitbart News, under the chairmanship of Steve Bannon, has put a stake through the heart of Andrew’s legacy. In my opinion, Steve Bannon is a bully, and has sold out Andrew’s mission in order to back another bully, Donald Trump; he has shaped the company into Trump’s personal Pravda…the facts are undeniable: Breitbart News has become precisely the reverse of what Andrew would have wanted. Steve Bannon and those who follow his lead should be ashamed of themselves.

Not to say “I told you so,” but I did tell you so.

2. Bannon Uses Celebrity Conservatives To Elevate His Personal Profile. Bannon began receiving conservative media attention for his documentary Generation Zero. And he began elevating his profile by latching onto Michele Bachmann with his documentary Fire From The Heartland. But he truly insinuated himself into the circles of conservative power by making a 2011 documentary about Sarah Palin, The Undefeated. His connection with Palin upped his brand in the movement significantly. He soon began appearing on Fox News with Sean Hannity fairly regularly, became personal friends with Hannity, and met Andrew Breitbart. He insinuated himself into Breitbart’s business by lending him office space, then made a documentary starring Breitbart, Occupy Unmasked. When Breitbart died, his business partner Larry Solov offered Bannon chairmanship of the company. Bannon then turned Breitbart into his personal domain, making himself a regularly bylined columnist (certainly rare for a major media company) and installing himself as a radio host on Breitbart Radio on Sirius XM. Finally, he used his role as Breitbart CEO to turn the outlet into Trump Pravda, creating a stepping stone to close connection with Trump. Breitbart publicly burned bridges with everyone to maintain its Trump loyalty. That was Bannon, a scorched-earth personal opportunist.

3. Bannon Took At Least One Major Breitbart Investor For A Serious Ride. One of the main investors in Breitbart News is Robert Mercer. The Mercer family put millions of dollars into a Ted Cruz super PAC during this election cycle, even as Bannon manipulated Breitbart News into a Cruz-bashing Trump propaganda outlet. The spokesperson for the Mercer family was Kellyanne Conway, who has now been installed as Trump’s campaign manager. I have been reliably informed by sources associated with the pro-Cruz super PAC that for months, as Bannon was using Breitbart News to promote Trump, the Mercers were defending Bannon’s neutrality to other Cruz supporters worried about Breitbart’s dishonest coverage about Cruz.

4. Breitbart’s Staff Lusts After Trump Involvement. Long before the billionaire officially entered the presidential race, Bannon was close to him; in April 2014, the Trump offices described Bannon thusly: “MAJOR SUPPORTER OF MR. TRUMP.” The new team at Trump headquarters will undoubtedly include all the Breitbart staffers who openly lusted after power within the Trump campaign: Joel Pollak, the Breitbart lawyer who desperately wanted to be a Trump speechwriter, and wrote a disgusting hit piece about me personally when I left and accurately accused the website of becoming an adjunct to the campaign; Matthew Boyle, the pseudo-journalist who reportedly bragged about becoming Trump’s press secretary; Milo Yiannopoulos, the Trump-worshipping alt-right droog stooge. They’re all in with their Godking, now.

5. Under Bannon’s Leadership, Breitbart Openly Embraced The White Supremacist Alt-Right.Andrew Breitbart despised racism. Truly despised it. He used to brag regularly about helping to integrate his fraternity at Tulane University. He insisted that racial stories be treated with special care to avoid even the whiff of racism. With Bannon embracing Trump, all that changed. Now Breitbart has become the alt-right go-to website, with Yiannopoulos pushing white ethno-nationalism as a legitimate response to political correctness, and the comment section turning into a cesspool for white supremacist mememakers.

6. This Is Precisely The Sort of Corrupt Media Relationship Breitbart Used To Abhor. Andrew Breitbart used his memoir, Righteous Indignation, to target one thing above all else: what he called the Democrat-Media Complex. He hated the merger of the Democrats and the media, and particularly despised their lie of objectivity. Breitbart News never claimed to be objective. But until Trump won the nomination, leadership at Breitbart News maintained that they had not become a loudspeaker for Trumpism. That was obviously a lie, and one Breitbart would hate. HATE. Now, it’s clear that Breitbart News is indeed Bannon.com and Trumpbart News. That’s pathetic and disgusting.

7. Trump’s Campaign Strategy Could Be The Launch Of A New Media Outlet. Because Bannon’s ambitions extend to Steve Bannon, he’ll tell Trump he’s doing a fantastic job even if he isn’t. That’s how Bannon Svengalis political figures and investors – by investing them in his personal genius, then hollowing them out from the inside. There’s a reason Sarah Palin went from legitimate political figure to parody artist to Trump endorser, with Steve Bannon standing alongside her every step of the way. There’s a reason Breitbart News went from hard-charging news outlet to drooling Trump mouthpiece. Bannon emerges from all of this unscathed. So what’s next on his agenda? If Trump wins, he’s in a position of high power; if Trump loses, Bannon could head up a new media empire with Trump’s support and the involvement of new Trump supporter and ousted former Fox News head Roger Ailes. Look for Sean Hannity to be a part of any such endeavor.

8. Bannon Is A Legitimately Sinister Figure. Many former employees of Breitbart News are afraid of Steve Bannon. He is a vindictive, nasty figure, infamous for verbally abusing supposed friends and threatening enemies. Bannon is a smarter version of Trump: he’s an aggressive self-promoter who name-drops to heighten his profile and woo bigger names, and then uses those bigger names as stepping stools to his next destination. Trump may be his final destination. Or it may not. He will attempt to ruin anyone who impedes his unending ambition, and he will use anyone bigger than he is – for example, Donald Trump – to get where he wants to go. Bannon knows that in the game of thrones, you win or die. And he certainly doesn’t intend to die. He’ll kill everyone else before he goes.

Bannon’s ascension is the predictable consummation of a romance he ardently pursued. I joked with friends months ago that by the end of the campaign, Steve Bannon would be running Trump’s campaign from a bunker. That’s now reality. Every nightmare for actual conservatives has come true in this campaign. Why not this one, too?

 

Source: http://www.dailywire.com/news/8441/i-know-trumps-new-campaign-chairman-steve-bannon-ben-shapiro#

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Hindus are the Best Educated in U.S.

This entire election cycle was about how “shattered” the American dream is for so many.  Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump filled our heads with ideas about “poverty” and  “inequality” destroying the American middle class.  But, how cutthroat is this capitalism that it undermines the average American, while sparing the brown-skinned minorities?

Hindus are also most likely to have a postgraduate degree, with 48% having one, compared with 31% of Jews, 11% of unaffiliated groups and 9% of Christians.

A likely result is that American Hindus tend to have higher incomes. Around 43% of them earn $100,000 or more, compared with just 16% of Christians of all denominations and 21% of unaffiliated groups.

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Source: http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2016/11/07/chart-hindus-are-the-best-educated-religious-group-in-the-u-s/?mod=e2fb

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Post-electoral Fear mongering

The sheer scale of sociopathology at work here is almost more amazing than that betrayed by the so-called average Trump supporter:

The first one to really go viral involved a Muslim female student at the University of Louisiana who claimed to have had her hijab ripped off and her wallet stolen the day after Trump’s election by two white men wearing Trump hats. But on Thursday, local police announced that the young woman had admitted she fabricated the story. “This incident is no longer under investigation,” the Lafayette Police Department said in a press release.

In another incident, this one in San Diego, a young Muslim woman’s purse and car were stolen by one white male and one Hispanic male. While the men allegedly made negative comments about Muslims, it seems car stealing was more their motivation than harassment or intimidation—which is obviously shitty, but not necessarily a Trump-inspired act of bigotry.

Source: http://reason.com/blog/2016/11/11/election-night-hijab-attack-false

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In wake of Jordanian writer’s murder, IHEU calls for abolition of anti-blasphemy laws

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On Sunday (25th September), Christian writer and political activist, Nahed Hattar, was murdered on the steps of a law court in Jordan after having shared a satirical cartoon mocking an ISIS soldier and his beliefs. Hattar was on his way to attend a court hearing because of the cartoon. He had turned himself in in mid-August to the Amman governor after the government ordered an investigation into the caricature issue, since it was deemed offensive to Islam. He remained in custody until two weeks ago when he was released on bail.

Hattar’s family reported that the writer was given no protection by the authorities despite having received hundreds of death threats after he shared the cartoon on Facebook.

“We handed over 200 names to the governor [of Amman], including that of the assassin, and demanded protection […] But he refused, saying there was ‘no real threat’” said Khaled Hattar, brother of Hattar.

Hattar’s was one of the cases the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) raised at the UN Human Rights Council this week.

In a statement supported by The Raif Badawi Foundation, Arab Humanists and Adhoc organization, IHEU representative, Kacem El Ghazzali, argued that blasphemy laws run in diametric opposition to the fundamental right to free expression. He noted, “We can only promote the right to free expression and plurality of opinions by abolishing all blasphemy and apostasy laws. Such laws not only violate freedom of speech and belief, but legitimize hate speech, mob violence and persecution of minorities.”

In his statement, El Ghazzali also raised other cases of concern to the IHEU; that of Sayyed Al Qemany, who has recently been prosecuted for blasphemy in Egypt and Morocco’s introduction of an anti-blasphemy law.

The statement follows in full, below:



International Humanist and Ethical Union
ORAL STATEMENT

UN Human Rights Council, 33rd Session (13th – 30th September 2016)
General Debate: Item 8

Kacem El Ghazzali

This statement is supported by The Raif Badawi Foundation, Arab Humanists and Adhoc organization

Over 20 years ago, the Vienna declaration set out the need for states to take “all appropriate measures to counter intolerance and violence based on religion and belief […] recognizing that every individual has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, expression and religion.”

Despite this, we continue to witness and report religious intolerance and systematic persecution against freethinkers and non-believers.

Egypt: Following comments on Islamist Violence, the writer Sayyed Al Qemany has recently been prosecuted for ‘blasphemy’.

JordanNahed Hattar a writer who was arrested for posting a cartoon deemed offensive to Islam has been shot dead.

Morocco: The country that hosted the adoption of Rabat Plan of Action, which recommends the repeal of blasphemy laws, joined recently the club of countries legalizing anti- blasphemy laws by introducing article 267 in the penal code which criminalizes any criticism of Islam in any form.

We can only promote the right to free expression and plurality of opinions by abolishing all blasphemy and apostasy laws. Such laws not only violate freedom of speech and belief, but legitimize hate speech, mob violence and persecution of minorities.

A state has no right to be concerned about what people believe or think, rather it should guarantee the right to think and express one’s opinions and ideas without fear of retaliation or censorship.

We object fundamentally to the notion that “blasphemy” should be treated as a criminal offense, and we call on all the states mentioned above through this council to comply with their human rights obligations, and abolish all blasphemy laws.

http://iheu.org/in-wake-of-jordanian-writers-death-iheu-calls-for-abolition-of-anti-blasphemy-laws/

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End the blasphemy wars, now

There have been a string of brutal killings against those who are said to have “blasphemed” or have shared political and religious views that are contrary to the views held by the Islamic extremists perpetrating the attacks. Human rights groups are fighting back – but it’s an uphill struggle against the a political culture that blames the victims themselves!

In April 2016 Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina blamed the victims of these heinous crimes for writing “filthy words”, which local and international commentators have interpreted as an attempt to excuse the government of any responsibility to take action. She further said, “It’s not at all acceptable if anyone writes against our prophet or other religions. Why would the government take responsibility if such writings lead to any untoward incidents?”. Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said that he would investigate one of the recent horrific murders of a secular activist, not to seek justice for his death but “to see whether he has written anything objectionable in his blogs.”

Rallying to defend free speech

The first secular writer killed last year was Avijit Roy, who had lived for many years in America. Organizations Center for Inquiry (US) and PEN America have joined together in seeking to end violence against “intellectuals, academics, writers, bloggers, and activists”. A joint statement including sixteen human rights organizations called for a Commission of Inquiry by the United Nations Human Rights Council into the brutal killings “of at least nine writers, bloggers, publishers, academics, and activists in Bangladesh since February 2015” (PEN America).

The joint statement, which anyone can sign as a petition, concludes by pointing out that in the Constitution of Bangladesh, Articles 39 and 41, guarantee all citizens the rights to freedom of conscience and speech, and religion, respectively. Signatories to the statement include Salman Rushdie, Steven Pinker, Richard Dawkins, the PEN American Center, Centre for Inquiry and the Centre for Inquiry – Canada, and many others. Michael De Dora from the Centre for Inquiry the following in response to the way the government of Bangladesh is handing the situation:

“So far, that response has been appalling in its indifference to the lives and the fundamental rights of the people of Bangladesh. To even suggest that these victims brought their deaths upon themselves is to abdicate the most basic responsibilities of a government to its people, and to forsake any pretense to fostering a free, modern society”

Timeline of killings

  • February 2015: Avijit Roy Bangladeshi-American citizen, scholar, and secular activist was brutally attacked by a group of men with machetes in Dhaka.
  • March 2015: Washiqur Rahman a secular blogger was similarly murdered by a group of men wielding machetes in Dhaka.
  • May 2015: Ananta Bijoy Das a secular blogger was killed by masked men with machetes.
  • August 2015: Niloy Neel a secular blogger was attacked and died in his home in Dhaka.
  • October 2015: Faisal Arefin Dipan: a book publisher who’s work included books written by Avijit Roy was assaulted by the machete wielding men and died. On the same day another publisher was wounded in a similar attack. His name was Ahmedur Rashid Tutul. Both attacks were in Dhaka.
  • April 2016: Nazimuddin Samad slain for secular campaigning on Facebook. Two gay rights activists Xulhaz Mannan and Mahbub Tonoy were murdered by six men in Dhaka. Nikhil Joarder a Hindu Tailor was hacked to death. The attacks seem to be against any “minority faiths, secularists, foreigners and intellectuals”.
  • May 2016: Mir Sanwar Rahman, known for offering villagers free homeopathic medicines was killed in a horrific violent attack led by machete wielding men today in the western district of Kushtia, 245km from Dhaka.

How You Can Help

Sign your name to support the statement discussed above here: bit.ly/BangladeshPetition

Sign up for the End Blasphemy Laws Now Action List here:
http://end-blasphemy-laws.org/sign-up/

The Centre for Inquiry has established the Freethought Emergency Fund, by which writers and activists in countries like Bangladesh who know themselves to be targeted or believe themselves to be in danger can apply to receive assistance. You can donate here: https://secure.centerforinquiry.net/freethought-rescue

Further reading

On the joint statement: http://www.centerforinquiry.net/newsroom/bangladesh_joint_statement/

Coverage spanning the entire crisis: http://iheu.org/category/location/south-asia/bangladesh

On recent murders:

https://pen.org/blog/unhrc-investigate-writer-and-activist-murders-bangladesh

https://pen.org/kerry-bangladeshi-bloggers

http://thediplomat.com/2016/04/another-secular-blogger-murdered-in-bangladesh/

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/04/people-hacked-death-bangladesh-capital-160425141155758.html

http://end-blasphemy-laws.org/2016/06/stop-victim-blaming-take-action-against-violence/

 

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