ModernityBlog

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Archive for November 2009

CST’s Got SIOE’s Mark.

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Over at JC is an article warning how people should not be taken in by the bigotry and xenophobia pushed by the Stop the Islamisation of Europe group, and CST are rightly critical:

The CST has drawn attention to the Islamaphobic comments on SIOE’s website, and compared the group to the English Defence League, and the BNP’s Nick Griffin, who have attempted to gain support from Jews through pro-Israel and anti-Muslim statements.

The blog singled out an central image on the SIOE’s website, which shows a skull with blood dripping from its mouth on the front of a mosque, where the minaret and crescent moon and star symbol is also covered in blood.

On its blog, the CST says: “This image tells us everything we need to know about SIOE and Islamophobia.

“If a Jew cannot understand why the image is racist, or hateful, or bigoted then they should try imagining it as a synagogue: with blood dripping from a Star of David; with blood dripping down the rabbi’s pulpit; and with blood dripping from the mouth of a skull that wears an Israeli army helmet.”

The CST emphasises that while the Jewish community should be concerned about extreme Islamist groups. Jews had a duty to stand up to prejudice and hatred

“The fact that Muslims are the current target simply means that it is Muslims who should be the recipients of anti-racist solidarity.

Hatred, division, cycles of inter-communal violence, intimidation and polarisation feed the extremists on every side. They encourage social division and leave all minorities vulnerable. Anti-Muslim bigotry is a vital recruiting sergeant for both the far right, and its Islamist extremist counterparts.

“It generates votes for the BNP and, at the furthest ends of this political spectrum, it even provides the fuel for terrorism. British Jews should have no part of it.”

Written by modernityblog

30/11/2009 at 19:49

More On German “anti-Zionists”.

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Here’s more to the post concerning those Hamburg “anti-Zionists”, who felt comfortable shouting “Jewish pigs” at those attending a film presentation.

Die Linke were quick to disassociate themselves from the racist “anti-Zionists”, but the evidence of their unfortunate link to this group is shown by a bit of hunting around on their web site. [Perhaps, I’ll upload a screen dump later on.]

The Kommunistische Assoziation Hamburg (KAH) is less than shy about events, but seem to put their own spin on it, the German original is here and a Google translation.

Reading it is hard, I suspect that even if my German was top notch that it wouldn’t make a lot of sense, as it comes over as a political rant. Still, they don’t deny that it took place.

Oh, here it is just in case it vanishes, once the penny has dropped:
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by modernityblog

30/11/2009 at 16:23

Hot Fox?

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Netbooks and Firefox. Simpler solution: switch off plug-ins.

Phoronix news.

Broken IMacs, Apple loses fans.

Avoid M$ Office, try the newer KOffice.

Air Force and toys, as Super Computers.

Robots for oldies.

Even a GCHQ supplier don’t like the new British government’s approach to the web.

Free labour quits, Wiki losing people.

The Why?

I’m not sure I would agree with the Guardian’s journalist as to the causes of Wikipedia’s previous decline, but deleting articles after someone (or many) have laboured hours and hours over them is one of the surest ways to cheesed people off. How often have you looked up a link within an interesting Wikipedia article only to find that it’s been deleted? It is an ultimately counter productive process, there are better ways to manage referenced articles and keep up the quality of contributions.

Finally, the appalling Alan Johnson, the British Home Secretary has thrown Gary McKinnon to the whims of the US Justice system. What a terrible fate for this “hacker”, at worst he should have been given a slapped wrist, not bunged into an American jail, simply because the managers of the DoD computer systems weren’t doing their job properly, managing security.

Written by modernityblog

30/11/2009 at 14:16

Muslim Baiting, Swiss Style.

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The petty and unnecessary ban on minarets is just one measure taken by the right wing Swiss People’s Party in a deliberate attempt to stoke up xenophobia, which many Muslims already face in Switzerland.

Apparently religious freedom is enshrined in the Swiss constitution and the targeting of Muslims is deliberate and provocative.

Readers will probably remember the sheep posters from 2007, and the SVP are continuing down the same path, whipping up resentment against Muslims and alienating them in Switzerland.

This populist form of xenophobia has been common enough over the past 150 years and it leads to a very bitter place.

No one, who believes in religious freedom, should welcome this vote or the longer-term consequences of division and distrust within a society, deliberately provoked by a rightwing political party for their own cheap ends.

Update 1: Anyone interested should read the European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance’s report on Switzerland,[PDF download] here’s a small extract:

“117. In its third report ECRI recommended that the authorities take steps to combat prejudice and discrimination against Muslim communities, particularly as regards practical issues connected with the practice of their religion.

118. Muslims, who are estimated to number between 350 000 and 400 000 in Switzerland, encounter manifestations of racism and intolerance, which are described in several parts of this report. The Swiss authorities themselves consider that there was a significant increase in acts of intolerance with regard to members of Switzerland’s Muslim communities between 2002 and 2006.

119. In particular, ECRI is concerned to learn that, in recent years, some political parties, including the UDC, have considerably exploited and encouraged prejudice and racist stereotypes concerning Muslims within the majority population, not only in their rhetoric but also in political campaign posters. As a result some parts of public opinion may equate the entire Muslim population with terrorists and religious extremists. The fear of seeing Switzerland “swamped by Muslims” is also exploited. In some cases, this prejudice apparently leads to discrimination, notably in employment, since Muslims are refused jobs because of the suspicion surrounding them. In particular, women who wear the Islamic headscarf encounter difficulties of access to jobs, housing and goods and services for the public. Muslims are also vulnerable to discrimination in matters of naturalisation.”

Written by modernityblog

30/11/2009 at 02:39

Broadsheet Racism.

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Overt racism in the British broadsheet media is a comparatively modern phenomenon, but whatever they lacked in the past they have more than made up in the present.

The Guardian and Comment Is Free is a prize example, their comments threads are littered with anti-Jewish racism to the extent that they even have their own Watch site, CiF Watch.

It would be easy to dismiss any criticism of the Guardian and Comment Is Free as politically motivated spite, but that wouldn’t explain away the volumes, the mountains and vista of anti-Jewish racism which are documented on CiF Watch.

An excellent recent example was to compare comments found on the neo-Nazi forums of Stormfront, with those found within Comment Is Free.

As Comment Is Free’s parent is the Guardian and the bastion of British liberalism, there should be no similarity yet it is striking how hard it is to differentiate between which comments come from the neo-Nazis and which are from CiF.

Read it yourself and decide, the Parallel Universe of “Comment is Free” and Stormfront.

Update 1: Racism is not only to be found amongst the comments at CiF, rather the Independent has it own problems with resident bigot, Richard Ingrams. However, I wasn’t interested in his warp observations rather the comments box below showed just how much anti-Jewish racism has found a home in the broadsheet media.

Here’s a few scattered examples:

“tonypowell wrote:
Saturday, 28 November 2009 at 10:31 am (UTC)
Is it true that the owner of the Times – one Rupert Murdoch is himself Jewish?

slaveweknow wrote:
..
Some of the recommended books and other material to understand the true background of Zionism, are:

1. Zionism in the Age of Dictators, by Lenni Brenner, a Jewish historian.

2. A Jewish Defector Warns America, by Benjamin Freedman.

3. The Hidden History of Zionism, by Ralph Shoenman, a Jewish historian.

4. A Self-hating Jew, website of Norman Finkelstein PhD.

5. When and How Was Jewish People Invented, Professor Shlomo Sand, Tel Aviv University

6. Hitler: Founder of Israel

etc”

The latter reads like a booklist from a neo-Nazi web site, why it is to be found on a web site of a broadsheet I can’t say.

(H/T: Engage)

Written by modernityblog

29/11/2009 at 21:02

Labour’s Achilles Heel.

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Politicians and politicos often live in a bubble, of their own making, where outside perceptions are frequently disregarded and they begin to believe their own spin.

I think it is partly a problem of incumbency and in part the arrogance of power, so it is with new Labour and the NHS.

Mike O’Brien, health Minister, has been keen to disregard and poo poo a new report on health safety in the NHS. But even if he were telling the truth the perception of the British population of the NHS has changed in the past 12 years, new Labour saw to that.

The implementation of market reforms, taken over from the previous Tory administration and management by top-down statistics, have altered the NHS, hospitals and the public’s perception of it. This is evidenced by the MRSA scandal and the inability to keep hospitals clean after in-house services were privatised and when cack handed managerial targets become the norm.

More from the authors of the report:

“However less positively the Guide found that 12 trusts significantly underperformed across these safety measures, seven trusts are not compliant with National Patient Safety Agency alerts and that 5024 people admitted with low risk conditions died in hospital last year (848 under the age of 65). Although it is inevitable that some patients with these conditions will die during or after treatment, comparing rates between hospitals and investigating those deaths that do occur are useful ways of identifying failings in patient safety.”

And when new Labour loses the next General Election, and that ushers in a nasty and vicious Tory government, then new Labour will have only themselves to blame, only themselves and their spin and BS.

Update 1: The Guardian has more on the NHS lottery:

“For Adrian Underwood, it began with a terrifying loss of movement down the left side of his body. A hospital scan in Nottingham identified a benign tumour that if untreated would eventually crush his brain. Yet no one told him about it.

More than 50 miles away in Solihull, Jenny Morgan sat in A&E for 90 minutes after suffering a stroke, before deciding to leave so she could “die at home”. Half-blinded and in excruciating pain, she later returned, only to be told the stroke unit was full. And on a ward in Essex, Gillian Flack found her severely disabled son drenched in urine and no nurses in sight. That night Kyle Flack, 20, suffocated after getting his head wedged in the metal bars of the hospital bed. “You think hospitals are safe,” said his 54-year-old mother, her voice trembling. “But if I had never taken Kyle to hospital he would have been alive.”

Her son died at Basildon University Hospital, where a report last week revealed evidence of dozens of patients dying needlessly in filthy conditions.”

Written by modernityblog

29/11/2009 at 14:53

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Why The EU Is An Ass.

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Unbelievable, the Guardian reports:

“Nick Griffin, the leader of the British National party, is to represent the European parliament at the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen, which opens next week.

Last night politicians and scientists reacted furiously to news that the far-right politician and climate change denier should be attending the summit on behalf of the EU.

Griffin, who was elected to the European parliament in June, confirmed last night that he would attend as the representative of the parliament’s environmental committee. World leaders, including Barack Obama and Gordon Brown, are hoping to forge a new global agreement to curtail greenhouse gas emissions.

Without such a deal, scientists warn that world temperatures will increase by more than 2C by the end of the century, triggering ice cap melting, sea-level rises, widespread flooding, the spread of deserts and devastating storms.

In a speech in the parliament last week, Griffin denounced those who warn of the consequences of climate change as “cranks”. He said they had reached “an Orwellian consensus” that was “based not on scientific agreement, but on bullying, censorship and fraudulent statistics”. “

Written by modernityblog

29/11/2009 at 03:07