Wednesday, November 25, 2015

India: The Rising Tide of Intolerance???

In the past four months, the country witnessed 300 incidents of communal violence, 75 every month, where 35 people were killed, according to Home Ministry data accessed by The Hindu. In the entire year till October, 630 incidents were reported and 86 persons lost their lives.

The data do not show any spike in incidents under the NDA government. In 2013, when the UPA was in power, 823 such incidents were reported and in 2014 the figure stood at 644, the NDA came to power on May 26, 2014.

Till June this year, 330 incidents of communal violence were reported and 51 people were killed in these incidents. As many as 1,899 people were injured in 2015.

The report said that in 2015, there were “no major communal incidents” but “two important communal incidents” took place — at Atali in Faridabad, Haryana (feud over construction of a place of worship) and Bisahda, Dadri, Uttar Pradesh (when 50-year-old Mohammad Akhlaque was killed by a mob over rumours that beef was stored in his fridge).

The report said there were “disputes pertaining to religious issues including processions and over alleged objectionable portrayal of religion/religious symbol on social media; gender related issues; land and property disputes; political rivalry and miscellaneous issues like road rage, personal enmity and financial disputes.”

CPI MP D. Raja who was present at Standing Committee meeting, which was supposed to be addressed by Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi, said “the Union Home Secretary did not find it important to come and address the MPs on an issue as important as communal violence. The meeting took place but the committee members were anguished at his absence. The Home Ministry also came up with a report where it said that no major incident took place in 2015.” A senior Home Ministry official said Mr. Mehrishi could not attend the meeting as he had to attend the Union Cabinet meeting.
The committee is headed by P. Bhattacharya (Cong.) and comprises 10 Rajya Sabha MPs and 21 Lok Sabha MPs.

The Home Ministry report also said the onus on containing such incidents lay primarily on the State governments which were responsible for maintaining law and order.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Hierarchy of Arguments

Friday, November 20, 2015

The rules at daily kos

Apparently, this item is "outside of site rules" of

PS: I learned of this article from this interview of Sarah Haider on The Rubin Report. ("The Regressive Left is our Tea Party.").

PPS: Shadi Hamid has an analytical take here:


"In the wake of the Paris terror attacks, Iraqi-born writer and human rights activist Faisal Saeed Al-Mutar posted a friend’s scathing satire on Facebook aimed directly at liberals who “shift blame inwardly on themselves, denying the terrorists even the satisfaction of claiming responsibility.”

“It must be incredibly frustrating as an Islamic terrorist not to have your views and motives taken seriously by the societies you terrorize, even after you have explicitly and repeatedly stated them,” the author began.

The author then launched into a mock Monty Python-type exchange between a “self-loathing” liberal and an Islamic terrorist about exactly who is responsible for Islamic acts of terror — and what the motivations are.

It began with the Islamic terrorist’s declaration that “we did this because our holy texts exhort us to …”

The liberal is having none of that: “No, you didn’t.”

And then things get really interesting:
“Wait, what? Yes we did…”
“No, this has nothing to do with religion. You guys are just using religion as a front for social and geopolitical reasons.”

“WHAT!? Did you even read our official statement? We give explicit Quranic justification. This is jihad, a holy crusade against pagans, blasphemers, and disbelievers.”

“No, this is definitely not a Muslim thing. You guys are not true Muslims, and you defame a great religion by saying so.”

“Huh!? Who are you to tell us we’re not true Muslims!? Islam is literally at the core of everything we do, and we have implemented the truest most literal and honest interpretation of its founding texts. It is our very reason for being.”

“Nope. We created you. We installed a social and economic system that alienates and disenfranchises you, and that’s why you did this. We’re sorry.”

“What? Why are you apologizing? We just slaughtered you mercilessly in the streets. We targeted unwitting civilians — disenfranchisement doesn’t even enter into it!”

“Listen, it’s our fault. We don’t blame you for feeling unwelcome and lashing out.”

“Seriously, stop taking credit for this! We worked really hard to pull this off, and we’re not going to let you take it away from us.”

“No, we nourished your extremism. We accept full blame.”

“OMG, how many people do we have to kill around here to finally get our message across?”
Since the Paris terror attacks, a Minnesota Democrat said “ISIS isn’t necessarily evil,” Hillary Clinton refused to use the term “radical Islam” and Bernie Sanders reiterated that climate change is our greatest threat at Saturday’s Democratic debate, an anti-gun group blamed the attacks on “gun violence” and liberal website Salon tweeted: “Real terror unfolds in Paris. Perhaps this will convince the right to done down their incessant violent rhetoric.”
The satire on Al-Mutar’s page has received nearly 20,000 likes since Sunday.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

On Niall Ferguson

Need to save this comment.

Empire Guy said...
I was once having a discussion with a friend and colleague (both of us do, or have done, academic work on empires) about Ferguson's "American Empire" stuff, and he pointed out that Ferguson's an interesting scholar. Why? Well, if you ask British imperial historians about his work, they'll say its rubbish but they hear his stuff on economic history is pretty good. When you ask economic historians about Ferguson's work in their area, they'll say its not so good but they've heard positive things about his World War I book. If you ask military historians about his World War I book, they dismiss it but mention that people seem to like his book on the Rothschilds. Not sure if all of these criticisms are right (his stuff on American Empire is rubbish, though), but I think it might capture an essential truth about Ferguson's ability to maintain his reputation despite mostly contributing shoddy arguments to the public sphere.

Sunday, November 15, 2015


A diary on dailykos has the bright idea "#CallThemDaesh". One of the reasons not to call ISIS ISIL or ISIS is because of the word "Islamic". " blurs the lines between Islam, Muslims and Islamists".
Then, in the comments, when someone posts "we should bomb those animals", there is a conversation about how we should never forget that Daesh is made of human beings too.

My response (with minor corrections)

There is this thread down there in which they try to argue that we must never forget that Daesh is made up of humans.  But the whole “call them Daesh” movement is to make us forget that they are Islamic.  It is very hard to know what liberals want one to remember and what they want one to forget.

I’ll also note that Daily Kos liberals have no problem in calling the Indian RSS Hindu, instead of just using the name “RSS”.  They’re welcome to dislike the Indian Prime Minister Modi and his political party, the BJP; but would they show the same consideration in not terming them “Hindu” as they are trying to not term ISIS “Muslim” or “Islamic”?

For that matter, would they stop talking about the “Christian Right” in America? After all, they are not Christian, right, right?

Of course not, they’d never do so.  They’re Daily Kos Liberals, a mirror reflection of the brain-dead Tea Party.  Sunday morning we’re going to hear from Egberto Willies about whether liberals live in a bubble.  The answer is a resounding Yes!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Rangoli 2015

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The meaning of "smart"

neuroguy on dailykos, in an article that argues that Dr. Ben Carson is not smart, gives this description of  smart that I want to preserve:

“Smart” is a multifaceted cognitive feature composed of excellent analytical skills, possession of an extensive knowledge base that is easily and frequently augmented, possession of a good memory, and being readily curious about the world and willing, even eager, to reject previously accepted notions in the face of new data. Being smart includes having the ability to analyze new data for validity and, thinking creatively, draw new insights from existing common knowledge.