Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Do you believe in Santa?

Today is the second day of Christmas, and I hope everyone is having a good holiday. Every year, there is a discussion around Christmas time among a certain age group whether Santa (or whatever his equivalent is called) is real. Below, I am copying a brilliant comment on the subject, posted on Prof. Jerry Coyne's site by Justin Zimmer (I don't know whether this is all his original text):

"Typical non-believers. I don’t believe in the same Santa you don’t believe in. Year after year I hear the same old arguments rolled out against the literal interpretation of Father Christmas, but never do any of you address the best arguments for Santa Claus. Of course there isn’t an obese, bearded, cis-gendered, heterosexual, white male with bad taste in winter wear and an outmoded, non-vegan, yet carbon-neutral animal based transportation system who knows when you are sleeping, or awake and judges you based on adherence to a parental and often patriarchal set of rules. That’s simply ridiculous and no self-respecting possessor of Christmas cheer truly believes that. Only children would be so naive. What is “Santa Claus” really but the spirit of goodwill towards your fellow non-gender specific human beings, the ground-of-being jolly in the cold winter months and the joy of giving to those in need. No, Santa Claus is not a literal person you can write letters to beseeching consumerist trinkets in exchange for good behavior but the natural desire to do good by others, a sensus-saint-nicolatus if you will. When you sit down to write that letter to jolly old Saint Nick, you aren’t really expecting anything in return, just submitting to the hope that somehow good things will come your way and towards others. Santa is hope, Santa is love, and who would argue against hope or love? Jerks like you of course. That coal in your stocking is merely a metaphor for the blackness of your know-it-all, a-santa-ist hearts."


Kurds betrayed again

Throughout the war against the Islamic State, Kurds have been the most valiant and committed fighters. And now, after the USA has used them, President Trump betrayed them. He suddenly announced withdrawal of US troops from Syria, which will leave the Kurds at the mercy of their enemies. And this is just the umpteenth time in history when the so-called free world betrays them. About the Islamic State, Trump says it has been defeated and will not come back. We'll see.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Creationism wrapped in two sentences

Prof. Jerry Coyne recently reported how a creationist tried to troll his site. Below the post, commenter "Pray Hard" beautifully summarized the nonsense of creationism in two short sentences:

"I stopped trying to convince people about evolution long ago. If they can look at a fossil in stone and tell me that God put it there to test their faith, I don’t see much point in continuing."

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Crazy ideas about motherhood, kidnapping and everything

See what I have just found on Yahoo!News. Shanara Mobley, a Florida mother whose newborn daughter Kamiya was abducted as a newborn from the hospital in 1998, was very happy when the girl was found alive and well last year. However, Kamiya (raised by her kidnapper as Alexis Manigo and continuing to use this name) didn't accept her mother and remained bonded to the kidnapper Gloria Williams even after she learned the truth. Now, Shanara Mobley admits that she has blocked her daughter's phone and wishes that “they never would have found her.” What impresses me most in this sad story is that almost all commenters support the daughter and say the mother should be more understanding to the young woman's hostility. Some even say that the mother should have demanded leniency for the kidnapper, "the only mother the girl knew". (Williams was sentenced to 18 years, Mobley wanted a death sentence. The daughter regularly calls her imprisoned fake "mother".)

There is almost a consensus that the kidnapper gave Kamiya a "loving home" and, hence, was not so bad after all. Also, the fact that Shanara was very young, single and poor at the time of birth is cited as an argument that the baby was lucky to be kidnapped. Some even hint that Gloria was a Good Samaritan motivated by an urge to save the baby from a miserable ghetto life with a deadbeat birth mom. People also blame the mother for receiving money from a settlement with the hospital and for being "vengeful" to the kidnapper. There is a universal sympathy to Kamiya and the way she feels about the two women who shaped her life.

On another page, I found information about what Gloria Williams said in court:

"Twenty years after she took a newborn from a Jacksonville hospital and brought the baby to South Carolina to raise as her own daughter, Gloria Williams is telling the court why.

Williams says she was in an abusive relationship with a man, Charles Manigo... She says Manigo wanted her to have a baby, and she thought that would help bring peace to their home, so she ultimately got pregnant. Williams says she miscarried as a result of the stress of the abuse... but even after she got it medically confirmed, she didn’t tell anyone.

In July 1998, Williams says she was leaving work, when she essentially went in to autopilot... She says she doesn’t know why she drove down I-95 from her home in South Carolina... “It was definitely not to take a baby, that’s for sure,” she says. That blank slate continued as she walked in to the hospital...
 
Williams says she went and looked at the other babies and thought about the one she had lost, and then walked in to Shanara Mobley’s room, again telling the defense she wasn’t sure why.

Williams says she spent a lot of time talking with Mobley and helping her out. She was still wearing scrubs from her job, and while she told the prosecutor that she didn’t claim to be a nurse at the hospital, she admitted that she knew that’s what Mobley thought. Then the newborn, Kamiyah Mobley, was brought in to the room.

“I was thinking about, you know, maybe this baby could help Charles, that’s what I was thinking. It was like, she [Shanara] was so young, and she just wasn’t real sure about what she was gunna do, and just my mindset at that time wasn’t logical, it definitely wasn’t logical. But for what I was thinking at that time, it seemed right, it seemed right,” Williams says.

Williams would ultimately take the baby back to her home in South Carolina, renaming her Alexis Manigo, and telling Charles Manigo it was his baby. She says the baby did not bring peace to their home after all, though, and when she ultimately had a custody agreement with her two sons from a prior marriage changed because of the abuse, she decided to leave with Kamiyah as well...

The defense walked Williams through a series of photos showing awards, celebrations and gatherings featuring Kamiyah while she was growing up. Williams further said Kamiyah was always cared for and provided for.

Things changed, when Kamiyah decided she wanted to start working. Williams says Kamiyah asked for her birth certificate and social security card, so she could finish all the paperwork on a job she had already lined up.

“I said, ‘you’re not my daughter’. I said, ‘I took you a long time ago’,” Williams says she told Kamiyah at that time.

Williams says she offered to turn herself in at that time, but Kamiyah told her not to. They went on another year and a half or so before the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office ultimately learned about Kamiyah and reached out...

Williams agreed that how this went is the “worst” possible outcome for Kamiyah... Upon questioning from the prosecution, Williams said her motivation for taking the baby was not out of concern for how Mobley would raise her, but for selfish reasons..."

So you see that by Williams' own admission, her kidnapping was not motivated by a wish to protect the baby from a hard life. It was motivated by an obsession to maintain a relationship with an abusive boyfriend. Being obsessed about sex doesn't exactly make one a good parent. Williams may have been financially better off than Mobley, but I don't think she gave Kamiya a "loving home". You also see from this short text that Williams is a master manipulator. One cannot help pitying young Kamiya. As a minority of commenters remarked, she was brainwashed and is now suffering of Stockholm syndrome.

But Kamiya is no longer a child. She is a 20-yr-old young adult who knows her situation and makes her choices. And she behaves like a worthy quasi-child of her kidnapper, unable and unwilling to tell right from wrong and lies from truth. In her immense selfishness, she uses her feelings as a substitute for the moral compass she lacks, sides with her evil impostor "mother" and victimizes her true mother for a second time. What if "the only mother she knew" had killed her actual mother? There is a tiny chance that Kamiya could reform as she matures, but my observation is that at 20, the core of personality has already hardened.

The mother says: "I shouldn't have to compete with a kidnapper... I didn’t know this kidnapper had such a hold on her. I can see that it’s my child, but I can also see traits from the kidnapper in her. She would defend the kidnapper to me. She blames me for everything. I think she blames me that this woman is sitting in jail. She’s blocked now because I don’t want to argue with her. I’m tired of being hurt."

Nevertheless, the majority of people think that the mother should shut up and put up with the fact that the piece of shit who kidnapped her daughter 20 years ago conferred her personality to the girl, making Kamiya a similar piece of shit. People think that Shanara should be all sympathy and understanding. Modern Western society loves to put unrealistic demands to parents, especially mothers, and to smear them for nothing. Maybe this is one of the reasons why mothers are increasingly in short supply.

I also think the psycho kidnapper should not be allowed any contact with her victim.

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Why I hate Russia, part 2

Four years ago, I wrote a post titled Why I hate Russia, which to this day accumulates comments by various people wondering (politely or otherwise) how one can hate such a wonderful state. To clarify this, I am quoting below yesterday's report from the Telegraph's site, by Alec Luhn.

"Russian court jails teenage critics as Putin cracks down on dissent ahead of World Cup

A Moscow court has left a 19-year-old Putin critic in pre-trial detention until September, as the Kremlin uses sweeping security measures to drown out dissent during the World Cup... Veterinary student Maria Dubovik... and five others who disparaged Vladimir Putin's government in private chats were jailed in March and face 10 years in prison for “organising an extremist group”. They include Anna Pavlikova and Vyacheslav Kryukov, who were 17 and 19 at the time of their arrest.
Four more defendants are under home arrest...

On Monday, a Moscow court sentenced Ukrainian journalist Roman Sushchenko, who was detained during a 2016 trip to Russia, to 12 years in prison for spying... Oleg Sentsov, a pro-Ukrainian film director who was given 20 years in an Arctic prison for allegedly planning to blow up a Lenin monument in Crimea, has been holding a hunger strike since May 14 to demand the release of Ukrainian political prisoners...

In the case of Ms Dubovik, she and several friends had begun discussing politics on the messenger app Telegram, which Russia has tried to ban, following a failed “revolution” of mostly young protesters called by self-exiled nationalist Vyacheslav Maltsev in November. They later began meeting in a McDonalds and going to opposition protests in Moscow.

A newcomer to the group, Alexander Konstantinov, rented an office for the would-be activists and wrote a political manifesto calling for Mr Putin to be tried by a “people's tribunal,” according to his testimony. He took some of them to shoot targets at a hunting reserve and learn to make Molotov cocktails at an abandoned building outside Moscow, although her lawyer said Ms Dubovik didn't go. Mr Konstantinov was in fact gathering evidence against the young people. Testimony revealed that a police investigator and at least one other man had also been secretly embedded in the group...
 
Opposition activist Ildar Dadin, who was released from prison last year after Amnesty International declared him a prisoner of conscience, was one of several dozen supporters not allowed into the courtroom on Tuesday.

He asked how European teams could participate in a World Cup “in a country that kills and imprisons innocent people”.

“It's football on people's blood,” he said."

Friday, June 01, 2018

Arizona educators compromise teaching of evolution


Diane Douglas (pictured), the Arizona Superintendent of Public Institutions, has successfully pushed new education standards that reduce teaching of evolution and describe it in weasel words in order to cast doubt on it. Details on Prof. Jerry Coyne's site, from where the photo was taken. The aim apparently is to pander to the sentiments and demands of religious folks who get their science from a Bronze Age source (the Genesis) and want to push the same insanity down children's throats, and the Constitution be damned. The change of standards is idiotic, and when one sees people systematically acting like idiots, he makes the appropriate conclusions. In other words, the anti-evolution crusade makes Americans a laughing stock of the world.

There are two possible explanations of Ms. Douglas' behavior: she is either an unscrupulous career climber who will call the black white if it suits her, or a religious fanatic with subnormal IQ. I'd vote for the latter. Couldn't they at least put a male in this position? I hate when women are chosen to do such book-burning dirty jobs. This feeds the stereotype that women are less inteligent than men, less able to do or understand science and easier to indoctrinate.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Old e-mails

Recently, I received an e-mail to login for my account update and verification, or it would be shut down within 24 hours due to "termination request". I wonder now how I could believe in such an apparent scam, but I did. Happily, nothing scary has happened so far, but shame on me!

I do not even use much this particular e-mail address, but I have there some old e-mails I do not want to lose. Not that it is likely that I will ever read them again. Old letters written by other people, when read by us, revive the past. However, our own old letters - those we wrote and those we received - are the exact opposite: they are a repository of a "dead future". Therefore, reading them can be recommended only to the happiest or the interpid.

Friday, February 16, 2018

The World Jewish Congress broadcasts lies of Bulgarian far-left

Every year in February, far-right Bulgarian organization and citizens hold a rally called Lukov March. It is allegedly to commemorate General Hristo Lukov (1887 - 1943), but actually more to reflect current events of interest to the participants. This is what I know from the media, because I have never taken part in the rally and do not intend to. I do not like these people and their views and I think they are discrediting Bulgarian nationalism. At the same time, I think that people in a free country have the right to express their views, to associate and to rally peacefully, regardless of whether we like them or not.

The latter opinion, however, is not shared by all. Every single year, self-described human rights activists (!) petition Bulgarian authorities to ban Lukov March. In these efforts, they not only criticize the organizers and participants as neo-Nazis but, by association, smear Hristo Lukov as a rabid Nazi and anti-Semite. This year, the efforts were supported by the World Jewish Congress. Its Executive Vice-President Robert Singer came to Bulgaria and handed a petition to the Prime-Minister Boyko Borissov, "so far signed by 175 000 people from all over the world", against the Lukov March. In an interview with Sega Newspaper (the above link), he stated: "The march is in the name of General Hristo Lukov, who supported the neo-Nazi laws in Bulgaria, and the deportation of Jews."

Unfortunately, human rights groups in Bulgaria are heavily infiltrated by far-left people who have a serious reason to dislike General Lukov: he was assassinated by two communists because their bosses feared that he might return to politics. It is true that Lukov, like many other Bulgarians of that time, was pro-German, but this wasn't necessarily because of any sympathy to Hitler. For Bulgarians, Germany was just the power that was hoped to reverse Versailles and the associated treaties that had torn apart the Bulgarian territory, leading to ethnic cleansing and forced assimilation of hundreds of thousands of ethnic Bulgarians. However, no source known to me from Lukov's lifetime or more than half a century later describes him as an anti-Semite, even the memoirs of communists glorifying his killers. In a 2013 interview (source in Bulgarian), Bulgarian historian Nikolay Poppetrov (otherwise very critical of Hristo Lukov), when asked whether General Lukov had been an anti-Semite after all, answered: "There are no preserved documents [indicating this]. There is another suspicion - he had commercial activity, he might have worked also for some companies with Jewish ownership. His enemies [during his lifetime] had accused him in this..."

General Hristo Lukov was Minister of War between 1935 and early 1938, but after that, he was removed from government by King Boris III until his death. The nationalist organization headed by him, the "Legionnaires", was banned. He was assassinated on Feb. 13, 1943. The agreement to deport more than 11,000 Jews (most of whom died in the Holocaust) from Macedonia and Aegean Thrace was signed in deep secrecy on Feb. 22, 1943. This timeline, easily accessible online even for readers who speak no Bulgarian, proves that Mr. Singer and his organization uncritically broadcasted untruths fed to them by the Bulgarian far-left. As Bulgarian-born Jew Samuil Arditi commented (source in Bulgarian), "Lukov could not even known about the deportation while he was alive, let alont "support" it posthumously". Arditi called the claims of Lukov's support for the deportation "a lie in the name of political interests" that a certain Bulgarian Jewish organization "is selling to international Jewish organizations". My impression, however, is that most of the people smearing Lukov and recruiting international Jewish organizations against him do not even have Jewish background. There are indeed a few Jews among them, but the leftist identity dominates .

Unless and until any evidence is presented and not just baseless assertions, I regard the alleged anti-Semitism of General Hristo Lukov as a recent invention of our communists and other far-left activists who are deliberately and systematically spreading lies, selecting ones that would best stick abroad. Such people have also accused my father in anti-Semitism after his participation in a Brussels conference in 2014, and he has been suing them for libel and slander ever since. Two of his accusers were people I had personally known and regarded as friends. Therefore, the entire story not only burdened me as an aide to my father (a 95-yr-old man with multiple disabilities) but caused the emotional pain we feel when we lose a friend because of his transformation into an unfriend. As a supporter of Jews and Israel, I suffer a similar emotional pain when Jewish organizations work hard against my country, as in this case. However, I do not for a millisecond equate these organizations with the Jews they claim to represent (unelected), I continue to support the Jews and would advise anybody to do the same.