Monday, December 02, 2013

Jesus Christ Emperor

Below is an authentic conversation with a 4th-grader after it is found out that he, to his teacher's utmost dismay, has written in a history test that Jesus Christ had been an emperor:
"What is an emperor?"
"A person who empers."
"And what does it mean - to emper?"
"To work as an emperor."

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Ignorant fanatics doom their child to death and still try to pose as good parents

Ten-year-old Ohio resident Sarah Hershberger was diagnosed with leukemia (or, more likely, non-Hodgkin lymphoma). Chemotherapy was started, Sarah's tumors began to shrink and doctors estimated her survival chance at 85%. However, (surprise! surprise!) the side effects of chemotherapy were painful for Sarah, and apparently even more for her parents. Their best idea in the situation was to take her off the drugs and to use alternative herbal treatment to battle her cancer (!). The authorities intervened, and the parents together with Sarah fled the country to avoid forced chemotherapy. For more details, check Orac's blog.

A little twist to the story is that the Hershbergers are Amish. This is a loony sect of fanatics who deny technology. Cults of this sort are usually cited as religious freedom in action, but in reality only their founders enjoyed religious (or any other) freedom. Guess how much freedom you would have if you had had the poor luck to be born to such parents! Cult communities of this sort often seem cute from outside, with a show of pastoral happiness, until you have a closer look and discover that they are all tyranny and repression, especially of the weak, of women and children. All such cults survive by depriving their children of education and, hence, forcibly making every new generation unable to live outside the cult community. From Wikipedia: "They typically operate their own one-room schools and discontinue formal education at grade eight (age 13/14).""

The politically correct, tolerant charlatanism of our era requires us to "respect" other religions, cultures and views, no matter how insane or how dire their results. This inevitably replaces normal speech with a Newspeak which hides the truth behind piles of meaningless words. Take the following quotation from the above cited report by A. Perez and M. Jaffe in Yahoo!News: "Sarah Hershberger and her parents oppose chemotherapy, and have been fighting the Akron Children's Hospital in court after the family stopped Sarah's treatment." Someone should informed these so-called journalists with one-digit (combined) IQ that a child of 10 hasn't the cognitive ability or maturity of personality needed to "oppose" a treatment or to "fight" in court. It is well known that a pre-teen child will "oppose" any treatment that causes any discomfort, even to immense detriment of her own interests. This is why children are not allowed to take medical (or legal) decisions. Such decisions are left to their legal guardians (usually the parents) in the hope that these guardians will stand for the child's best interests and will have enough brains to figure out what these best interests are, at least in simple situations such as dealing with a treatable and otherwise fatal disease. Unfortunately, this hope often turns false.

It would be at least partly understandable if the parents had said that they prefer their daughter to die than to pass through so much suffering, and they alongside her. After all, when the strain of parenting becomes unbearable, while not let the troublesome child pass away and concentrate on the other six children? What disgusts me ultimately is not even the parents' decision to doom Sarah to possibly preventable death, but their experimentation with alternative, herbal "treatments". This is a circus performed to convince others, and most likely the Hershbergers themselves, that they are good, loving and caring parents who do their best for Sarah. They may well convince themselves, especially if they (like most other religious fanatics) think they have a direct hotline for communication with God. When the girl's cancer, this "emperor of all maladies" kills her, they will say it has been God's will. They may even invent a reason why He has done this - e.g. that He urgently needed a new little angel. But all this spinning will not change the fact that they and not God are responsible for whatever will happen to Sarah.

Damn idiotic hypocrites! To Hell with them!


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Examination strategy

If you are a university student, and if you have a problem with some particular exam (or a catalogue of exams), attempting time and again to pass it, but to no avail, always going to malicious professors who enjoy giving non-passing grades to intelligent students like you...

...If this is your case... then, why not try to study before the exam next time? Just for change.

(Thoughts after the "emergency" mid-semester exam yesterday, when we were busy with medical student geniuses trying to pass biology for 8th or 10th time and still unaware that cells have membranes, and viruses are not cells.)

Monday, September 30, 2013

Omniscience

Our civilization is more and more dominated by omniscience.


The telegraph, and later the telephone, allowed news - especially bad news - to travel at the speed of light. Indeed, sometimes we are lucky. The worst news I have ever received came with the incredible delay of 24 hours. So I have an undeserved, extra happy day.

If you happen to be messenger of omniscience, to avoid the dreaded phone call, you will go to deliver the news face to face if possible. If the recipients are your loved ones, they will greet you with joy (before they see your face), and you will realize that you are witnessing their very last happy moments. You will remember to tell them to sit down before you start talking, but you will have forgotten to bring any sedatives.

When we have to talk with others - especially children - about the death of someone they love, we wish we could sincerely say that he has gone to Heaven. But being omniscient like gods, we cannot find comfort in the blind hopes of religion. Knowledge comes at a price, shutting out of Paradise those who acquire it.

We have no choice but to find ways to live with omniscience. If you have adopted a child, you know it is best to tell him early that he is adopted. Otherwise, some "kind" neighbour will do this, just to demonstrate his omnipotence.

Or the truth will surface after a banal medical test. These tests are another realm of omniscience. If you suspect that some unwelcome condition could develop in you or your child, you in most cases can get tested. If the result is negative, you will be reassured. If it is positive... you "at least will know".

Nothing can remain hidden. We know this and, nevertheless, still try to keep some things secret. And when, predictably, the secret gets out, we feel miserable and cannot ourselves explain why.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Letting breast cancer patients die is government policy in Bulgaria

Translating from a yesterday's report in Dnevnik daily paper:

"Cancer patient will seek asylum abroad because of genocide by the health care fund

The (Bulgarian) health care fund refused to fund the treatment of 50 cancer patients with the argument that theere is "serious deficit" in the fund's budget. Hence, Diana Borlakova who last week told her story of fighting breast cancer and Bulgarian health care system in an open letter to media, and 49 other Bulgarian women will remain without a treatment on which their lives depend. It is based on the drug Afinitor costing over EUR 3500 per month and currently the only option for Diana Borlakova and the other cancer patients...

"Government must clearly realize that it is sentencing us to death by refusing to pay a treatment that exists. Let them bring down the flags even now, let them declare national mourning and in the World Breast Cancer Awareness Month (i.e. October) let them not sing and make concerts but order a mass funeral service instead... This is genocide, and genocide dressed in government policy," the patient said. She is indignant that even Veselin Ivanov who represents patients in the board of the health care fund has voted against funding the breast cancer treatment because allegedly there was no money. She says that "no money" is not an excuse because health insurence money has been spent on other purposes...

Borlakova heard that the board discussed a proposal to fund only her treatment. "I would never accept this. I would not leave the other women behind. Why have they proposed it? Most likely to shut my mouth, because I am talking loudly," she says.

Her next step will be to write official letters to the President, Prime Minister and all ambassadors in Bulgaria. "Let the former renounce us, and the latter see whether they could take us. I am seeking a humanitarian asylum..."

"It is very difficult to struggle with the thought that you have this disease and at the same time to fight for your treatment. How many other struggles need I?" the distraught woman asks rhetorically. She says that she has not even taken sick leaves. "Here I am, at my desk, though I am returning from the hospital. Because I must work in order to pay my health insurance that someone will steal again tomorrow. And I must also provide for the salaries of the arrogant bureaucrats," she says."

Sunday, September 15, 2013

First grade



Today is Sept. 15, the beginning of the school year and one of the sacred dates in Bulgarian education. My father remembers that in his childhood the date was indeed so sacred that even when Sept. 15 happened to be Sunday, teachers, kids and parents after church went to school to open the academic year. We are less strict nowadays, so because today is Sunday, summer was extended by a day and schools open tomorrow.

The video above presents the song First-grade (lyrics by Matei Stoyanov, music by Boris Karadimchev). The music and the pictures in the video are more important than the text, so I shall translate only the chorus:

We are saying loud and clear,
First grade is an awesome year!
"First" means also "best, most valued";
as first-graders we are proud!

Good luck to all first-graders (my younger son and niece included) and their families!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Modern heroes do not fear gender conversion

The prototypes of heroic behaviour come from the twilight of legends. Best known to us are the Greek legends preserved in epos and drama. What did the ancient Greek tragic hero fear most? He did not fear torture and death, or successfully suppressed any fears of this sort. He cared little about his loved ones and not at all about his community. What he feared was showing fear, and he dressed his fear in very specific words: to "turn womanish". As Leonard Moss summarizes in his book The Excess of Heroism in Classic Drama, heroes of Greek tragedies fear "gender conversion" - and so do those of Shakespeare.

Many people believe that every difference between today and once upon a time is necessarily progress. If you subscribe to their opinion, you can cheer the huge progress we have made. Today's people who are regarded as heroes in the West resemble the ancient heroes only by their lack of concern for their nation. Indeed, they sabotage its security and do their best to empower its enemies. The prototype of these heroes is Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks. However, a better example is a former US soldier who provided classified information to the WikiLeaks and who was born and known as Bradley Manning.

Unlike the old heroes, this former soldier did not fear looking womanish. Manning not only repented for what s/he had done but, immediately after being found guilty and sentenced to 35 years in prison, s/he released a statement that s/he "considered herself a woman, had taken the name Chelsea Manning, and would seek to undergo hormone replacement therapy". Here is a case where the stupid politically correct gender-neutral expressions "s/he", "she or he" or "xe" are quite appropriate!

While Manning had had documented gender confusion for years, I agree with those who think that by this statement, s/he hopes to draw leniency. Today, Westerners are so concerned not to look homophobic/transphobic that gender-confused offenders often get only a slap on the wrist in situations that would put a straight offender in very serious trouble.

I may be old-fashioned but when talking about heroes, I prefer those egocentric, brutal men of old whose highest priority was to remain very much men to the end. I should read more classic texts and less news :-).

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

God punishes those who take medical advice from stupid pastors

Below, I am copy-pasting most of the Aug. 25 USA Today's report Texas measles outbreak linked to church, by Liz Strabo.

"Measles is making a worrisome resurgence across the USA, with at least 135 documented cases this year.

Measles, once a common childhood infection that killed up to 500 Americans a year, has been officially eradicated in the Western Hemisphere. For many years, the USA's few dozen measles diagnoses were "imported" cases in individuals who traveled from countries where the virus remains common. High vaccination rates largely halted the virus at the North American border. 

The country's safety net has become more porous in recent years. Although overall vaccination rates remain high, communities of like-minded parents who refuse immunizations for their children have been vulnerable to outbreaks.

The latest measles outbreak is in Texas, where the virus has sickened 25 people, most of whom are members or visitors of a church led by the daughter of televangelist Kenneth Copeland.

Fifteen of the measles cases are centered around Eagle Mountain International Church in Newark, Texas, whose senior pastor, Terri Pearsons, has previously been critical of measles vaccinations.

The outbreak was started by a visitor to the church who had recently traveled to a country where measles remains common, according to Tarrant County Public Health spokesman Al Roy.

Those sickened by measles include nine children and six adults, ranging in age from 4 months old to 44 years old. At least 12 of those infected were not fully immunized against measles, Roy says. The other patients have no record of being vaccinated. The 4-month-old is too young to have been received the measles vaccine, which is typically given at 1, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"This is a classic example of how measles is being reintroduced," said William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert and professor at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville.

The USA has had more than twice as many confirmed measles cases this year than all of last year, when there were just 55, according to the CDC. Flare-ups brought on by foreign travel have caused that number to spike as high as 220 measles cases in 2011.

New York City also has battled a measles epidemic this year, with at least 58 cases, mostly in close-knit Orthodox Jewish communities. City officials say the outbreak was started by someone who traveled to the United Kingdom which, along with Europe, has suffered large measles outbreaks in recent years. One of the New York children with measles developed pneumonia. Two pregnant women were hospitalized and one suffered a miscarriage, city health officials say...

Other vaccine-preventable diseases also have broken out in recent years, including whooping cough and mumps. Some whooping cough outbreaks have clustered around private schools with lax vaccination requirements, according to CDC studies.

Measles particularly alarms doctors because it spreads like lightning and kills one in every 1,000 people infected... The virus can infect people even two hours after a sick person has left the room...

At the Texas church, the visitor infected not only the congregation and staff, but the church's on-site day care center, according to an announcement on Eagle Mountain's website. Health officials notified the church of the measles outbreak Aug. 14, and the church sponsored a vaccination clinic Aug. 18. Eagle Mountain also scheduled a vaccination clinic Sunday.

All of the school-age children infected in the Eagle Mountain outbreak were home-schooled, health officials say. Texas requires children be vaccinated before attending school.

In an Aug. 15 statement, Eagle Mountain's pastor, Terri Pearsons, said she still has some reservations about vaccines. "The concerns we have had are primarily with very young children who have family history of autism and with bundling too many immunizations at one time," she said.

Young children are actually among the most vulnerable to measles, Schaffner says. Their tiny airways can easily swell shut. "This is a sadly misinformed religious leader," Schaffner said.

In addition to getting a measles vaccine, Pearsons recommends that her congregants take vitamin D to fortify their immune systems. Schaffner said there's no evidence that vitamins offer any protection against measles.

"Our children and even adults of all ages need to be immunized now to stop the spread of measles and prevent those potential complications," Pearsons said. "The disease is only shut down when all are immunized.""

I find the report so good that it hardly needs any comments. However, let me add a word or two.

My title does not mean that I really believe in God, let alone God's punishment. However, people at the educational level of Rev. Pearsons and her congregants often use these terms to refer to laws of nature and other causal relationships. So the title expresses the idea (not new in any respect) that humans have evolved to survive and prosper by using their intelligence, and those who have too little of it or deliberately choose not to use it are likely to suffer, as those vaccination refusers did.

Many of these people are still able to learn from bitter experience, as we see from Rev. Pearsons' last words. The sad thing is that all the information that could spare them from the bitter experience was readily available, they just chose to ignore and deny it. Many cultures define stupidity as seeing (bad) things only when they happen and learning only through suffering.

Rev. Pearsons also clearly shows that once a person builds a stupid Weltanschauung, he is likely, even after correcting himself at one point, to continue stupid actions at other points. The stupid pastor who recommended non-vaccination until an outbreak happened now acknowledges vaccines (good) but recommends vitamin D to fortify the immune system (bad). In the 21st century, even the most stupid and ignorant people should know that vitamins do not treat anything except vitamin deficiency. A person with adequate nutrition will not fortify his immune system by guzzling additional vitamin D. Instead, he may harm himself because vitamin D is not readily excreted or degraded by the human body. So those who continue to take medical advice from stupid pastors are likely to suffer further punishments by God.

Friday, August 09, 2013

Bulgarian protesters better economists than Prime Minister Oresharski

(Bulgarian readers can read this post in Bulgarian.)

While anti-government protests in Bulgaria are continuing, yesterday the Prime Minister Oresharski talked to journalists informally (no cameras and voice recorders allowed). Dir.bg (source in Bulgarian) reports about the event:

""All countries in crisis, such as Spain, Greece, Portugal and Italy are tightening the belts and this is leading to mass protests. In Bulgaria, we are relaxing the fiscal system, and the people are protesting. I do not understand this,"" commented Oresharski with surprise... He said also that his colleagues abroad cannot believe that in Bulgaria, at a time of relaxing the fiscal discipline and increasing the budget deficit in order to allow more social spending, people go out to mass protests."

Suprise, indeed! Protesters apparently have some economic background and do not want to roll down the slope to Hell paved with phrases like "relaxing the fiscal discipline", "increasing the budget deficit" and "more social spending". As good and enlightened citizens, they think long-term. While it may be true that in the long run we'll be all dead, these Bulgarians do not want to ruin their children's future in order to spend some extra cents today. And they cannot be bribed by social spending because they do not rely on government to feed them. In a word, they are better economists than Prime Minister Oresharski, who has a degree in economics. Eh well, I am exaggerating. I suppose that Oresharski is pretty aware what he is doing but has sold his soul to the devil.

While prospects for Bulgaria look grim, we can at least be proud that while we have a worse government than other countries, we have better protesters. (Turkey is our rival in both respects.) They do not want to live on the back of someone else (or of future generations) and do not believe in Keynesian pseudo-economic rubbish that austerity is bad. I keep wondering at our pro-government propaganda which has been repeating for almost 2 months, like a non-responding computer programme, that the present protesters (unlike the worthy proletarians in February) are working people with above-average income and education, residents of the big cities. This is an open admission that exactly the best, the nation's elite, are against you! But apparently today's rulers think the best part of society, and the only one with right to protest, are those unable to pay their utility bills and digital TV decoders and to support their children. This is because today's rulers imbibed too much Marxism in their young years.

Oresharski also said yesterday that he would "clear" some government agencies in order to cut expenditures from the inflated administration. This is the definition of arrogance, to say such a thing immediately after creating a new "Ministry of investment projecting" (yes, dear readers) which will have a building and personnel of nearly 900. Unfortunately, this new ministry is expected to do much more damages than its payroll and utility expenditures.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Too-actual quote by Ludwig von Mises

Bureaucracy by Ludwig von Mises (1944) is a remarkable book that I am proud to have translated to Bulgarian. Its Chapter V (you can read it here) contains a section titled The bureaucrat as a voter. I am citing it entirely, because I think it is too actual today and shows the cause of the dire political situation in Bulgaria (and likely also in Greece and other countries).

"The bureaucrat is not only a government employee. He is, under a democratic constitution, at the same time a voter and as such a part of the sovereign, his employer. He is in a peculiar position: he is both employer and employee. And his pecuniary interest as employee towers above his interest as employer, as he gets much more from the public funds than he contributes to them.

This double relationship becomes more important as the people on the government’s payroll increase. The bureaucrat as voter is more eager to get a raise than to keep the budget balanced. His main concern is to swell the payroll.

The political structure of Germany and France, in the last years preceding the fall of their democratic constitutions, was to a very great extent influenced by the fact that for a considerable part of the electorate the state was the source of income. There were not only the hosts of public employees, and those employed in the nationalized branches of business (e.g., railroad, post, telegraph, and telephone), there were the receivers of the unemployment dole and of social security benefits, as well as the farmers and some other groups which the government directly or indirectly subsidized. Their main concern was to get more out of the public funds. They did not care for “ideal” issues like liberty, justice, the supremacy of the law, and good government. They asked for more money, that was all. No candidate for parliament, provincial diets, or town councils could risk opposing the appetite of the public employees for a raise. The various political parties were eager to outdo one another in munificence. In the nineteenth century the parliaments were intent on restricting public expenditures as much as possible. But now thrift became despicable. Boundless spending was considered a wise policy. Both the party in power and the opposition strove for popularity by openhandedness. To create new offices with new employees was called a “positive” policy, and every attempt to prevent squandering public funds was disparaged as “negativism.”

Representative democracy cannot subsist if a great part of the voters are on the government payroll. If the members of parliament no longer consider themselves mandatories of the taxpayers but deputies of those receiving salaries, wages, subsidies, doles, and other benefits from the treasury, democracy is done for.

This is one of the antinomies inherent in present-day constitutional issues. It has made many people despair of the future of democracy. As they became convinced that the trend toward more government interference with business, toward more offices with more employees, toward more doles and subsidies is inevitable, they could not help losing confidence in government by the people."

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Bulgarian protests, summer 2013




Delyan Peevski, photo cropped from the site of the 24 chasa newspaper.


This long-overdue post was my duty as a Bulgarian citizen, while other, more worthy Bulgarian citizens are out in the streets and squares, again, for the well-being of their children and their country. Right now, as I am writing, protesters are clashing with police in front of the Parliament. Last night, someone I know was detained and they did not allow him to make a phone call until the morning, driving his family to panic. I have no idea how these protests will end; I can only hope at success, and at as little violence as possible.

Nearly half a year ago, in January, our strongest political party - the Bulgarian Socialist Party (then in opposition), started the story. To understand the modern history of Bulgaria, you must know that it is dominated by the influence and interests of Russia. Unfortunately, we are still so much in the grasp of Russia that each government opposing its policies invariably falls from power. And the Troyan horse of Russia in Bulgaria is the Bulgarian Socialist Party, which whole-heartedly serves Putin and the Russian energy mafia. It collects votes from diehard communists, the security apparatus, employees of "businessmen" who have started their business with capital from the party, and, most importantly, a large group of retired people, unemployed poor, working poor, stay-at-home mothers and others whose personal situation makes them hate the free market and who would vote for the Satan himself if he would promise to give them a little unearned income taken from other people's earned incomes. (Of course not all in such a situation "sell" their votes and souls - but an alarming number do.)

Some of the worst excesses of the Socialists are done in an unholy alliance with the Movement for Rights and Freedoms DPS, a.k.a. "the Turkish Party". The leaders of this party and its members of Parliament, be they ethnic Turks, Bulgarian Muslims or Bulgarians of Christian origin recruited to conceal the party's tribal nature, are characterized by even lower ethics than the Socialists and by personal fortunes and informal power that cannot be accounted in any decent way. To my opinion, leaving all other factors aside, the steady presence of this party on the Bulgarian political scene dooms us to lag behind otherwise similar Romania in prosperity, democracy, rule of law, human development, and every other aspect you can imagine.

The previous government of Boyko Borisov, for all its defects, made some serious attempts to put the interests of Bulgaria above those of Russia. In particular, it announced it would not build a second nuclear power plant (at the town of Belene) which would benefit only Russia. This project, marred from the beginning by special interests and corruption and completely uncoupled from the real energy needs and the market situation, has so far consumed EUR 1 billion and is expected, if continued, to double the Bulgarian debt and to enslave the Bulgarian taxpayers with debt repayment for decades to come. However, the socialists made very successful propaganda that our electricity is expensive because this plant has not been built. In late January, they organized a referendum in which only 20% of voters took part but from those who voted, 60% supported the power plant construction.

Wide-scale protests started in a suspiciously short time, initially directed against the high January electricity bills but then quickly turned against the government. I know that the West perceived these protests as just another result of the "bad" balanced budgets. I guess that too much information is lost to observers who do not speak the local language. The mere fact that early elections were demanded despite regular elections scheduled for June, shows much. Moreover, some of the protest leaders (e.g. Angel Slavchev, link in Bulgarian), turned out to be socialist and pro-Russian activists. Unfortunately, the winter protesters were successful and brought resignation of government and early elections as they wished.

After the elections, the former ruling party won most votes but still not enough to form a government. So, currently we have a government formed by the other 3 parties elected in Parliament - the socialists, the ethnic Turkish party and the Ataka party of nationalist extremists. The leaders of all three parties know well that in a normal society, they would never see the Parliament from within; therefore they regard the Bulgarian nation as a sheepish flock ready to tolerate everything, and use their "democratically" acquired power with stunning arrogance.

You would expect the Socialist leader Sergey Stanishev to become Prime Minister, but this did not happen. Instead, the economist Plamen Oresharski took the post. Years earlier, he had tried to make a political carrier in right-wing Union of the Democratic Forces, the main opponent of the Socialists at that time. Bulgarians do not trust such colour-changing politicians, and for good reason, because they rarely have any resemblance to Winston Chuchill and we have not seen anything good from them. And our grim expectations came true very soon, while the government was still nascent.

After Oresharski's government was inaugurated on May 29, the first damn thing it did was to state its intention to build the Belene nuclear plant (the Prime Minister himself said it on May 31, link in Bulgarian). The second damn thing the government did, as the New York Times put it, was to try to shift blame for the 2012 Burgas bus bombing from Hezbollah (by the mouth of the foreign minister Kristian Vigenin on June 5). And the third damn thing the new rulers did was to appoint Delyan Peevski as head of the security apparatus. This passed in Parliament on June 14 and then the nation exploded.

Let me give a short biography of Delyan Peevski, translating from his page in Bulgarian Wikipedia and copying from the New York Times report (by M. Brunwasser) After political appointment in Bulgaria, rage boils over. Peevski (32) started his political and business career back in 2001, at the tender age of 21, presumably propelled by his mother Irena Krasteva, head of the Bulgarian national lottery and now owner of a "media empire, which includes roughly 40 percent of the print market in Bulgaria, the biggest printing press in the country, the fourth-largest television broadcaster, the distribution company for about 80 percent of the country’s newspapers and many other media outlets, according to industry watchers" (quote from NYT). Peevski has no official share in this empire but helps his mother run it.

In 2001, in his second year at law school (the Southwestern University, a diploma mill), Peevski joined the then-ruling National Movement Simeon II party and was appointed Secretary of Parliament and head of Bulgaria's largest Black Sea port at Varna. In May 2005, Peevski became examining magistrate in Sofia, although the law requires a minimum of 2 years lenght of service for this position. This was just another step in his career of appointments in the public sector without having the credentials required by law. Five months later, under the government of Sergey Stanishev, Peevski was appointed as deputy minister of government policy to disasters and accidents, responsible for the State Reserve service. He also became member of the agency issuing licenses for arms trade.

In 2007, prosecutors started investigating Delyan Peevski into possible abuse of office. Hristo Lachev, head of the national tobacco holding Bulgartabac, complained that Peevski had demanded from the holding to make deals with companies close to him. Peevski was fired. However, the investigation was terminated due to "lack of evidence". (As the NYT report mentions in passing, the European Commission has long criticized Bulgaria for failing to prosecute a single high-level public official.) After that, Peevski was restored to his positions as examining magistrate and deputy minister.

Peevski's career took a new turn in 2009, when he switched from the Simeon II party to the Turkish party DPS and was elected in Parliament from it. (The NYT with its usual political correctness omits the fact that the Movement for Rights and Freedoms is the party of our ethnic Turkish minority.) Since 2009, he has been a member of the Parliamentary commission for national security and public order.

So this man was appointed to head the powerful State Agency for National Security, "a sensitive state position in charge of fighting the most serious crimes, a job that includes access to classified information and the power to order arrests and wiretaps... A week before Mr. Peevski was elected to his security post by the Parliament, the law for the position was changed in an apparent attempt to qualify him despite no intelligence experience and just seven months in the state investigation service. Deputies from the Bulgarian Socialist Party were informed of Mr. Peevski’s candidacy only 30 minutes before they were pressed to vote for him, said Georgi Kadiev, one of four Socialist lawmakers who abstained. “As members of Parliament we are supposed to protect national security,” Mr. Kadiev said in an interview. “Instead, we ourselves became threats to national security.” " (from the NYT report.)

I advise you just to try Peevski's name on Google Image Search - the way he looks will tell you a lot! Above, I have posted a representative image of him. A US friend of mine with whom I exchanged e-mails about the situation in Bulgaria commented, "That guy Delyan Peevski looks like a thug and a creep. I can't believe he's a "media mogul" - isn't that a job that requires some sort of charm? If I saw him across the room, knowing nothing about him, I'd be keeping an eye on him. Doesn't seem a very reassuring appointment for that head of security!"

However, this time the arrogant ruling oligarchy crossed the line. Less than 12 hours after Peevski's appointment, tens of thousands of citizens gathered to protest. The rallies continued the following days, while EU and NATO officials expressed their dismay. Finally, on June 19 the Parliament was forced to cancel its own decision and to remove Peevski from his position. The rulers themselves had to admit they had made a mistake. When asked why Peevski had been appointed in the first place after being fired earlier by the Socialists themselves because of the corruption charges, the Socialist leader Stanishev said that, looking at Peevski, he had seen a man who "had passed through a very strong personal catharsis" (see this short YouTube video - even if you do not speak Bulgarian, you will be impressed by Peevski's body language, and by the laughter following Stanishev's words.)

After this first victory, the protesters went on to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Oresharski himself. They have been demonstrating daily for 40 days already. Even though Peevski was forced to step down, the civil society of Bulgaria has seen enough of Oresharski's government and does not intend to give it any more credit.

Another scandalous appointment by this government was of Petar Kirov as deputy transport minister. Kirov also did not have any credentials for the post. Moreover, there was conflict of interests because his father Volodya Kirov was former director of the Executive Agency "Automobile Administration", and current head of a hazardous materials transportation training center within the system of the Transport Ministry. The corruption in Volodya Kirov's agency was exposed by a journalist who bought from it a license for bus driver despite having never spent a minute behind the wheel of a bus (report in Bulgarian). The Transport Minister Daniel Papazov said, "I am not interested in who his father is. I learned that he had once been head of the Executive Agency "Automobile Administration", but this does not matter. The man is fluent in English, he has all the necessary certificates and a personal recommendation from Commissioner Hahn". This was somehow duly translated and brought to the ears of Johannes Haan, EU Commissioner for Regional Policy. He of course denied to have recommended Kirov Jr. and demanded apology from Minister Papazov but, as far as I know, has not received it.

A new Ministry was created by the current ruling majority, the so-called Ministry of Investment Projecting (I know it sounds idiotic in English, but it is not my fault - it sounds idiotic also in Bulgarian). Conservationists and transparency activists warn that it was created to be a source of corruption and to allow building in protected territories. They also criticize the appointments of Chavdar Georgiev and Burhan Abhazov as deputy ministers of environment and agriculture, respectively. Both are known as lobbyists for selling parts of protected territories and for building golf facilities in them (source in Bulgarian).

On Monday (July 22), the new government offered just another proof of its potential for harm. The Parliament endorsed a revision of the national budged proposed by the cabinet, bringing the deficit from 1,3 to 2% and including new debt of EUR 500 million. I hope that I have convinced you that this government has to go, immediately. When rulers behave like this, the fact that they have been democratically elected becomes irrelevant. To those who still would consider it relevant, I would remind that Hitler also came to power in a "democratic" way.

Today, the protests escalated and protesters besieged the Parliament to make it difficult for its members to leave peacefully.

UPDATE: Much of this post was edited today, July 24. The police finally brought the members of Parliament out in a bus after pushing the protesters back. This happened at 4.30 AM. Many protesters and at least one policeman were injured.



Update 2: Reporters were also beaten by riot police and their equipment was destroyed. The camera of Ivan Bedrov, a well-known journalist, can now record only sound - the display and the optics are in pieces. At least three other reporters named Fikov, Momchilov and Draganov complain that they have been beaten. Momchilov's camera has also been damaged. All of them claim to have been attacked after clearly presenting themselves to the police as journalists doing their job (link in Bulgarian). Our riot police invariably state that they act with restraint and strictly within the law but, strangely, always try to prevent reporters from documenting their admirable behaviour!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Experiment on disabled children first, then maybe on animals, if you wish

I am up to my ears in work and I really shouldn't be blogging now, but...

In early January, I wrote a post titled I am skeptical about bumetanide treatment of autism. It addressed a 2012 clinical trial using the diuretic bumetanide to improve the condition of autistic children, published with much fanfare in a peer-reviewed journal.

The idea behind this trial contradicted my gut feeling that you cannot rearrange the unusually wired brain of autistics by giving them some pill. However, in that post, I put more serious objections than a gut feeling: that the study had been done on children and that it had not been preceded by a similar study on an animal model. I wrote: "Explaining their hypothesis in the Introduction chapter, the authors wrote, "GABAergic signals are altered in autism as evidenced by the following: The excitation/inhibition ratio is modified in experimental models..." (5 references cited). However, to my best knowledge, the researchers never tried to test their working hypothesis on these models that so wonderfully provided argumentation to start an experiment on human beings." I had earlier complained about the worrying tendency of modern scientists to test all sorts of treatments on vulnerable human patients without trying them on animals first.

Today, I googled bumetanide autism just so, to see any sequel to the story. And what do you think came out? An article by Virginia Hughes titled Controversial study touts blood pressure drug for autism published on the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative site. Quoting from this article: "Several experts are puzzled because the study used diagnostic measures of autism in unusual ways. They also say that the sample size is too small to know whether the effects are real" (27 children in the test group and 27 controls - M.M.)... "Bumetanide treatment was associated with statistically significant improvements on total ADOS scores only when the researchers removed the nine most severely affected children from the group. Seven of the nine were in the placebo group, suggesting that the placebo group was skewed toward the more severe end of the spectrum." What then remains of the claim "placebo-controlled", eh?

But, for me, the most intriguing bit comes last: "Ben-Ari’s team is trying to confirm his theory by looking at intracellular chloride levels in two animal models of autism" (emphasis mine - M.M.). In other words, we first experiment on defenceless disabled children whose parents are dying to see them normalized, and then, when the scientific community starts to ask inconvenient questions, we resort to an animal study! Bravo, bravo, bravo.

An commenter wrote on my previous post: "I too am a huge skeptic, but a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was good enough for me. So I have tried bumetanide for 3 weeks with my 9 year old autistic son. The results are great..." This is what I feared - that parents would immediately start administering the drug to their children. At that time, I didn't know what to answer to that father. But now, if he is still here, I would ask him (and everybody else in the same situation) to reconsider. Contrary to the initial claims of researchers that bumetanide produces "no side effects" on autistic children, Hughes reports, "Some researchers say they worry that the drug’s side effects may have effectively unblinded some of the participants. Of the 27 children treated with bumetanide, 6 developed a potassium deficiency that had to be treated with a potassium syrup" (emphasis mine - M.M.).

My guess: Newer studies on bumetanide and autism are likely to find less (down to zero) improvement and more side effects.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The problem with Islam

On April 15 during the annual marathon in Boston, two bombs exploded, killing 3 people. More than 280 were injured, some of them severely. The alleged perpetrators turned out to be two brothers - Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, US residents of Chechen origin. Tamerlan was killed and Dzhokhar was injured and captured. News agencies report that the two brothers, who practised Islam, were motivated by their religious views. The elder brother, Tamerlan (26), who was blindly followed by Dzhokhar in everything, allegedly expressed "increasing disaffection and disgust with things Christian and American" and "anger about America and Christianity". (The usual story about an anti-Western immigrant spitting hatred against his host country where nobody is keeping him by force.)
  
Below, I am copying a text from www.faithfreedom.org as blog action against Islamism. I think it is great, but I must warn Muslim readers that if they continue to read, they may feel offended.
  
   
  
Dear Mr. Sina,   
I am a Muslim woman living in the USA I read some of your articles and totally agree with you on many points.   
I am still a Muslim but at the same time I hold rather peculiar positions on many points.   
There are five pillars of Islam and six pillars of faith that cannot be modified. That's all. The rest can be negotiated and must be modernized... Let me comment on some points.   
1. Polygamy is indeed permitted in Islam. But I have got a great example. Tunisia has a constitution based on Shari’a law but polygamy is prohibited. I object to implementing Shari’a in any countries. Shari’a is outdated and as a matter of fact I am sure Allah understands it. Nobody is now burning witches in Great Britain but nobody said Jesus Christ doesn’t exist or anything. Islam has to be on the background and the secular laws have to be on the foreground.   
2. Hijab is not a must for Muslim women. I don’t wear hijab and have never worn it. My daughter is not wearing hijab either... If you feel comfortable wearing hijab, it’s OK, wear it. I have an opinion that hijab is outdated... That is my opinion.   
3. Disbelievers will not go to Heaven. Virgins in Heaven? I have nothing to say about it. Who knows? As a modern person, I don’t believe Mohammed (pbuh) knew any of these things. Human beings cannot comprehend such things and we have to just leave it alone and move on with our life on Earth.   
4. Killing of disbelievers if they don’t embrace Islam. It is outdated. In the modern world such things should not be tolerated. It was the case in the 7th century but thanks to Allah we are living in the 21st century!   
5. What is the problem with Islam? The problem is that people perceive religion as divine; therefore it must not be criticized. But we have to adopt the way westerners treated their religions. The example of the Church of England is a good one.   
6. Killing of apostates. Again it is outdated. It should not be practiced in the 21st century. 
7. Men are breadwinners, women are housewives. Men are heads of the family. I earn more than my husband. My Arab husband is a stay‑at‑home dad. Women should be able to choose... I don’t want to repeat myself but Islam has to be modernized.   
Dear Ali, I appreciate your work. But I think we have to modernize Islam because I have serious doubts that you and other wonderful people can eradicate Islam completely. Modernization is something that is more likely to happen. What is going on in the Middle Eastern countries is awful. The West has to help with stopping this insanity and modernizing these countries. I am fully aware of the fact that my beliefs would be “attacked” in the Middle East and I would be stoned to death. That is why we in the West have something to do with that. We ought to do it for our sake. And I thank America for the opportunity to air my opinions freely. God bless America. I believe in Allah and hope for the afterlife. But I reject any authorities and communicate with God without imams or mullahs, whom I consider to be a threat to humanity...   
Finally, at the time of the prophet, the principles perhaps were suitable, but is it really so now? Therefore, let's evaluate, reread. Let's pick the suitable ones. Religion is made for the benefit of humans.   
Best regards,  
Haifa
A Modernized Muslim
 ______________
  
This is the position of many modern Muslims, including Irshad Manji the author of “What Is Wrong with Islam, Today”. A great number of Muslims realize there is something wrong with Islam, but they erroneously believe the problem can be solved through the miracle of reinterpretation; and that they can keep the Quran and believe in Muhammad but somehow do the opposite of what he did and said and still call themselves Muslims. The following was my response to Haifa.  
   
Dear Haifa,   
Thank you for your poignant comments. I am happy to say it is YOU who are not Muslim. You sound very much like me, years ago. As a matter of fact most of the Iranians prior to the revolution of 1979 were like you. My mother never wore chador unless she wanted to go to the grocery store around the corner and did not want to dress for the occasion. This was, of course, before the Revolution. But things changed overnight. The moderate Muslims became hardcore Islamists, rallied around Khomeini and foaming at the mouth poured into the streets shouting “death to America, death to Israel.”  
   
You say Christians modernized; why can’t Muslims? There is a simple answer to that. The New Testament does not contain so much violence and terror as does the Quran. I don’t say the Bible is factual. It sounds more like myths and legends. Nonetheless, the Jesus of the Bible is a saintly figure. He is the embodiment of goodness. So if you don’t mind believing in fairytales, Christianity can make you a good person. Of course, fanatics are everywhere but the message of Christ is not fanatical. Recall when the Pharisees brought a prostitute to him, asking him what to do with her? His response was “Let the one who has not sinned throw the first stone.” If you really practice just this teaching alone, you will become a good human being. Isn't this the purported goal of religions to make us good people, forgiving and mindful of our own sins?   
    
Islam is different. The author of Islam was a vile man. He is not a mythological figure. He really existed, and his acts are recorded. Many ludicrous miracles are attributed to him, but once you put aside all those as nonsense and study his life, the portrait of a psychopath emerges. Muhammad was anything but saintly. There is not an act of goodness in his life. Even his kindness and generosity were manipulative and politically motivated. Take the example of his largesse to the Meccans. He raided the big tribe of Hawazin, killed many of them, took away all their belongings and captured their wives and children. Their elders came to him supplicating for mercy. They brought along Shima, his milk‑sister, the daughter of Halima, who had nursed him for five years when he was a child to tell him about his childhood among them and to soften his heart. She reminded him how she used to carry him on her back, and how tenderly her people took care of him. He told them if they convert to Islam they could choose between their loved ones and their property. Is that a choice? They chose their loved ones. Then Muhammad gave all the booty stolen from these nomads to the potentates of Mecca. Those higher in rank received more. Other tribes who had taken part in the war, and had helped him win, protested. They asked for their share, and were about to start a mutiny.  He made a “moving” speech saying, "I want to soften the hearts of the Meccans toward Islam” and told those who had received nothing “You take the Prophet of God with you instead. Which do you prefer: the wealth of this world or the messenger of Allah?”  
    
This cunning man was a master of deception and manipulation. He ruined the lives of thousands of Hawazin, killed them and stole all their herds, camels, and property and gave them to the wealthy Meccans to “soften their hearts toward Islam.”  There is not a single episode in his life that was done out of the goodness of his heart. Every act he performed was calculated and manipulative. He was a psychopathic narcissist worse than Hitler.   
    
The difference between Christianity and Islam lies in the difference between Jesus and Muhammad...  
    
You ask: “Can Islam be reformed?” No, it can’t! To reform Islam you have to first get rid of Muhammad and second get rid of the Quran. You have to take out a great portion of that book which is violent. The rest is nonsense and absurdity. But this you can’t do, because you have no authority to do such a thing. Muhammad said that he has perfected his religion (Q. 5:3). How can you improve something, which is perfect? You can’t change the Quran. You can’t reform it. All you can do is to reinterpret and, for example pretend, “slay the unbelievers wherever you find them” means something else.  
    
Or you can say these parts of the Quran are no longer applicable. The problem is: who gets to decide which parts of the Quran are applicable and which parts are obsolete? Who has such authority to make this decision? If you rely on your own conscience and say the verses that call for murder are outdated, someone else, like Khomeini could protest and say: 
Why do you Mullahs only go after the ordinances of prayer and fasting? Why do you only read the Quranic verses of mercy and do not read the verses of killing? Quran says; kill, imprison!  Why are you only clinging to the parts that talk about mercy?  Mercy is against God. [Khomeini’s speech 1981 Commemoration of the Birth of Muhammad]  
    
Who can say you are right and he is not? Finally if it is left to you to winnow the good teachings from the bad ones, why do you need to follow this or any other religion at all? If you can discern this much to know the difference between right and wrong, you don’t need any guidance; you are mature enough to find your own way using your own inner compass. In that case, can’t you look into other religions and philosophies and pick the good things from them too? If so, you are a freethinker. You don’t need a religion. You are a guide and a prophet unto yourself.  
    
A book of guidance that sometimes guides and sometimes misleads is not a book of guidance. If you are lost and ask for directions from a passerby and he points in all directions, can that person be trusted? Is his guidance of any value? Of course one of those directions he is pointing at is the right one. But if you have to rely on your own resources to find that out, what good is it asking such an untrustworthy person for directions?  What about those who did not have your sagacity and went the wrong way after being misled by this charlatan? That is exactly what the Quran does. It tells you something good, but it also teaches you a myriad of bad things. Why do we need these religions at all? They do not guide anyone. They only give you a vacuous promise of an afterlife, which is good only for suckers. How can we trust that promise when everything else they said is proven to be false?  
    
You say that the Christians have managed to sieve through the Bible and choose only the good teachings. This is true for most of them but not for all of them. There are also many fanatics among the Christians and some of them are very hateful people.  Fortunately their number is relatively low, but nonetheless it shows that being a Christian is not a ticket to the Land of Enlightenment.  
    
However, Islam can’t be reformed. You need to have an authority with a rank similar or superior to the one claimed by Muhammad to be able to reform Islam. But that can’t be done, because Muhammad said he was the last prophet.  
    
Fortuitously, today I received an email from a reader, (Father Lev) who suggested we should “Support Ahmadiyya Islam to check the expansion of Islamo‑Fascism!” He argued:   
There are two key points in Ahmadiyya that make it into a practical solution to the problem of Islamism. Moslems claim that nothing can be added to the Quran  while the Ahmadiyya Moslems do not! And the Ahmadiyya Moslems have officially condemned militant jihad. (Jihad against the kuffar (unbelievers) has been declared haram (sin) by Mirza Ghulam Ahmed! The FIRST is especially important, because, since it holds that nothing can be added to the Quran , mainstream Islam can't be reformed, and is bound to stay forever a barbarous ideology. Ahmadiyya Islam CAN be reformed. The difference is subtle, but absolutely crucial. If civilized nations invest in Ahmadiyya Islam, it may save the world! This is because Moslems will not convert to a religion that is too different from what they are used to practicing. The most effective way to stop Islamism in its tracks is to help strengthen the posture of Ahmadiyya Islam in the Moslem world.  

The problem with Ahmadiyya and all other offshoots of Islam is that they are offshoots of Islam. Although the followers of these religions have distanced themselves from the violence in the Quran, they are rooted in Islam, and they acknowledge Muhammad as a prophet of God.   
   
You can’t build too high without a solid foundation. The foundation of these religions is Islam, and Islam is a lie. Muhammad was not a prophet of any god. I don’t know whether these words are from Christ or they are attributed to him, but whoever said them must have had a good understanding of the Principle underlying the creation. These words are: “Only truth will set us free.”  I believe this is the ultimate wisdom. ONLY TRUTH WILL SET US FREE.  
    
Like you, the followers of religions that are offshoots of Islam say Muhammad belonged to another time. This is moral relativism. At what time was raiding innocent populations, slaying unarmed people and raping and enslaving their wives and children okay?...
    
The atrocities perpetrated by Muhammad exceeded anything that anyone had experienced before. Amazingly, his followers, taken aback by his utter lack of conscience and his monstrous inhumanity, thought he must be supported by some invisible force for they could not understand how a human being could be so ruthless and kill so many people with such conviction while praising God at the same time and inviting people to be pious. Criminals do not talk about God. They often have a trace of conscience left in them and are often overtaken by remorse. But not the psychopaths! Psychopaths do not have a conscience. They feel entitled to kill, and they believe they are doing God’s work. This is what Hitler said:  
Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord. [Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Ralph Mannheim, ed., New York : Mariner Books, 1999, p. 65]
Muhammad offset his follower's balance of right and wrong. He overloaded it with so much evil that it broke.     
We humans have an inner balance with which we weigh good and evil. This balance, in Muslims stopped working. The indicator is stuck on zero. Muhammad's companions could no longer register right and wrong. Because it's hard to envision how a human being could be this ruthless, they persuaded themselves that he must be from God. As for why this god is so demonic, they fooled themselves with the lies that he told them. He told them that it is not up to man to question God. This absurd explanation satisfied his benighted followers. They resorted to fideism and argued that reason is irrelevant to religious belief. The great Imam Ghazali (1058 – 1111) said: “Where the claims of reason come into conflict with revelation, reason must yield to revelation.” A similar thesis in defense of foolishness is presented by Paul in 1 Cor. 1:20-25 where he argues “the foolishness of God is wiser than (the wisdom of) men”. The statement “Credo quia absurdum” (I believe because it is absurd), often attributed to Tertullian, is based on this passage of Paul. In DCC 5 he said: “The Son of God died; it is by all means to be believed, because it is absurd.” Upon this belief in absurdity fideism is founded and it is the position that has been adopted by Muslims. This fideistic attitude allowed the early believers to abandon reason and accept whatever Muhammad did, even his blatant crimes, without questioning him.
    
However, mostly they WANTED to believe because they had no other choice. Muhammad had become their only source of sustenance and survival.  
    
The city of Yathreb (Medina) was devastated by the Muslims. Its original inhabitants - those who ran the businesses and provided employment, who were artisans, tradesmen and farmers - the Jews, were either banished or killed. The Arabs had been working for the Jews. Now, with the Jews gone or massacred, they were out of work and depended on Muhammad and his raids for their sustenance. It was not convenient to think critically about what they were doing. They let themselves go with the flow and kept themselves fooled. They got their confirmation by watching the zealotry of their coreligionists. Each follower encouraged others, and among them they created a mass hysteria that has lasted up to this day. “How can all these people be wrong?” was their rationale. This is the same rationale Muslims use today to keep their faith alive. This is what happens in cult compounds. The members lose their identity and surrender their rational faculty to the guru. They become an extension of the group and a reflection of the cult leader. The cultish nature of Islam has not changed a bit. Fourteen hundred years later, if you join Islam, you are received with cheers and hugs, but if you decide to leave, you’ll be chased down and killed.  
    
You say that violence was the norm in those days. Even if this were true, which it is not, did Muhammad come to follow the bad practices of his people or set new standards?  
     
Now, the most important question is WHY: Why keep Islam and honor Muhammad? Can we do the same thing with Nazism? Can we reform Nazism - pretend that Hitler was an innocent product of his time, and pick and choose, only the good parts of his Mein Kampf? How much must we fool ourselves, and WHY?  
What we have to understand is that Muhammad, like Hitler, Mao, Stalin, Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan, Saddam Hussein, Pol Pot, Jim Jones, David Koresh, Charles Manson, and millions of other less known monsters, was a pathological narcissist. These celebrated men were not normal. They were sick in the mind.      
Dr. Sam Vaknin wrote: 
Narcissism is contagious. The narcissist creates a "bubble universe,” similar to a cult. In this bubble, special rules apply.  These rules do not always correspond to outer reality. Using complex defence mechanisms, such as projective identification, the narcissist forces his victims ‑ spouse, mate, friend, colleague ‑ to “play a role” assigned to him by “God” ‑ the narcissist.  
The narcissist rewards compliance with his script and punishes any deviation from it with severe abuse. In other words, the narcissist CONDITIONS people around him, using intimidation, positive and negative reinforcements and feedback, ambient abuse (“gaslighting”), covert, or controlling abuse, and overt, classical abuse. Thus conditioned, the narcissist's victims gradually come to assimilate the narcissist's way of thinking (follies a‑deux) and his modus operandi ‑ his methods. You can abandon the narcissist ‑ but the narcissist never abandons you. He is there, deep inside your traumatic memories, lurking, waiting to act out. You have been modified, very much like an alien snatching bodies.   
    
Dear Haifa, the Umma is not only misguided, but it is also sick. The pathology of Muhammad is reflected in every one of his followers. We are dealing with a community of psychopaths. A billion narcissists! A billion insane people!  All the Muslims are hiding in this psychotic “bubble universe” created by Muhammad. We are all playing the role that this mentally sick man has assigned to us. We all follow his script. These rituals of prayers and the pillars of faith that you mentioned are only scripts of a psychotic man to keep us hooked. We are conditioned by the fear of a boogie-man deity, the punishment of an insane hellfire and the greed of a sensual and even orgiastic paradise that this madman has instilled in us.  
     
Fear and greed are the tools of the narcissist through which he manipulates his victims. We have all come to assimilate Muhammad’s narcissistic way of thinking and his modus operandi. I have received thousands of emails from Muslims, and the common theme in all of them is fear. FEAR is the only motivator of these poor souls. They can’t think, they can’t reason, they have lost their rational faculty. Their brain is paralyzed by this fear that Muhammad so masterfully implanted in them.  When they fail to refute any of my arguments with reason, they resort to fear and remind me of hellfire. This is their ultimate weapon. This fear has shackled their brains and they cannot think anymore. They dismiss all doubts because of this paralyzing fear.  
    
So there are two answers to your question. The first is that Islam can’t be reformed, and the second is why: Why bother reforming a cult created by a psychopath and keep his memory alive?   
     
Now to answer Father Lev who suggested we should “Support Ahmadiyya Islam to check the expansion of Islamofascism.” I would like to say this is far more difficult than weaning Muslims from Islam altogether. What Father Lev is suggesting is fighting one lie with another lie. But I give my word to you that truth is more powerful than all lies combined. The Ahmadiyya sect has been around for over a century and half. Its teachings are far better than Muhammad’s Islam. But it has not garnered more than a few million followers. On the other hand, the “movement” of ex‑Muslims is growing by leaps and bounds. We are millions already. We are spreading all across the world. We have no leaders and no organization. You don’t have to believe in anything. All you need to do is to see that Islam is false. This is really a grassroots movement. In the span of few short years, we have grown much bigger than Ahmadiyyah or any offshoot of Islam. If you want to know which is the fastest growing “religion” it’s apostasy! (Assuming you can call apostasy a religion). Why are we so successful? It is because we stick to the truth.
    
Islam cannot be reformed. But it can be eradicated. Reforming Islam means adding more lies to lies. For how long this huge edifice of lies can support itself?... The only thing that keeps Islam alive is the emotional attachment of Muslims to it.  They are addicted. This is Stockholm syndrome. Muslims must be weaned from Islam, and Islam must be razed to the ground... Some religions can be reformed. There might be something of value in them for those who “inhabit” them, and with a little bit of reinforcement and remodelling they can become good religions. I believe Christianity is one such religion, which along with Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Judaism can be reformed, updated and modernized... This is not the case with Islam. Islam is falling apart and it is not only endangering its inhabitants, it is a peril to everyone else. You can’t reform Islam and you can’t build another structure on top of it. Islam must be bulldozed. It must be eradicated. We have to alert its inhabitants and get them out as soon as possible. Get them out as many as we can - and demolish it before it takes more lives.   

At no time in history has Mankind faced such horrendous prospects of doom and gloom. We are at the most crucial juncture in the existance of our species. Why? Because over a billion people are possessed by the ghost of a psychopath! They are reduced to zombies! Their souls are snatched away from them. They have lost their thinking power. They follow this dead man’s scripts, and they will not relent until they destroy the world.  

Don’t let that happen Haifa! Leave this psychopath and help others too. 
 _______________
In a follow-up letter Haifa wrote:  
Maybe I am already an apostate but I am not courageous enough to admit it. Probably I am just trying to blindly stick to my religion. Can we resuscitate Islam? That's the question for me today.   

I responded:   
Dear Haifa,  
Why do you want to resuscitate this monster? Our problem today is that there are some Muslims who try to resuscitate Islam. That is why we are experiencing so much terror and murder. You and I must not attempt resuscitating Islam. On the contrary, we must hammer a stake into its heart and make sure it never raises its head again. This beast was a bloodsucking monster from the start. What is there to resuscitate? What you probably meant is reform, but we already talked about that too.    

Finally good news from Haifa:  
Dear Ali.  
After fierce discussions my husband and I decided to leave Islam and stop helping this monster. It's useless and a total waste of time. My daughter said she already left Islam and just waited for her parents to do the same.  
Thanks a lot for your time and attention.  
Keep up your work
Best regards,
Haifa.
 
There are millions of Haifas among Muslims. Islam can’t be reformed. But it can be eradicated. Once the truth is said, this massive edifice of lies called Islam will crumble like a house of cards. Islam is based on lies. The best way to demolish lies is to tell the truth."

Friday, March 22, 2013

Age reversal






One of the most striking features of death is that it reverses age differences.

My brother was 2.5 years older than me. In childhood, this is a serious difference. My brother was always so much taller, stronger, more clever and informed than me, bigger than life. He was an authority, more human and understandable than the divine authority of our parents. I could entrust him things I would never tell my father or even mother. Throughout our early and teenage years, he introduced me to life, helped me discover the world we were living in.

After his death, our age difference slowly diminished. Last year, I reached his age, as if we were twins. Now, I am already 42 while he stays at age 41 forever.

I still cannot really believe it.


Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Unwelcome visit by Hamas to Bulgaria

(Bulgarian readers can read this post on my Bulgarian blog.)

Last month, three Palestinians, MP from the terrorist organization of Hamas which passes as political party in those far-away places, visited Bulgaria following an invitation by our Center for Middle East Studies. As dnes.dir.bg reported, "the Center's head Mohd Abuasi explained that the purpose of the visit was, after Bulgaria connected the military wing of the Lebanese faction of Hezbollah to the Burgas bombing, to show that our country has a balanced political attitude." In other words, because we have "too little" troubles with Hezbollah, let's invite a few terrorists from Hamas in order to perplex the world nicely.

Finally, the scandal that ensued forced the people from our National Security Agency to earn several cents of their inflated budged and to escort the dear guests to the airport prematurely.

What is actually this Center for Middle East Studies? From its site Bulgarian readers can understand that it is a non-government organization but I cannot see any mention of its funding sources. Random headlines from the site: Will Bulgaria after US and Israeli pressure accuse Hezbollah for the Bulgas bombing?, Palestinian resistance against occupation, Ethnic cleansing of Palestine - chapter 2, Dr. Mohd Abuasi: The terrorists' foreign passports and the Moroccan SIM card exclude Hezbollah. Do you need any more proof that this so-called "center for studies" is a nest of devoted supporters of Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism? I wonder what more is needed to happen - a new bomb or what - to make the security agents investigate this nest and its sponsors and so earn another cent of taxpayers' money.

Anyway, this is unlikely to happen soon because meanwhile protests caused our government to resign. While I was no fan of this government, I am unhappy that it was forced down after it resisted Moscow's pressure to build a nuclear power plant at Belene, and now people around the world are commenting that "this is the result of keeping a balanced budget and low debt".

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Burgas bus bombing update: Hezbollah after all


Seven months after the July 18, 2012 bombing of a bus with Israeli tourists which killed five young Israelis (including a pregnant woman) and the Bulgarian Muslim driver, authorities announced news about the perpetrators: Hezbollah, as had been suspected right from the beginning.

Actually, back in July the Israeli prime minister Netanyahu blamed Hezbollah immediately after he heard of the terror act - which was, to my opinion as well to that of many others, irresponsible and unwise. However, at the same time all serious people were 97% sure that, indeed, Hezbollah was behind the attack. The reason: while we have become accustomed to living in a global war, in the months preceding the Burgas bombing all had been quiet except the killing of several Iranian nuclear scientists by Israel. Hence, the gang currently "ruling" Iran was strongly motivated to order its proxy Hezbollah to kill some innocent Israelis in revenge, and did it - on Bulgarian land.

Relatives of the Israeli victims and disabled survivors of the bombing expressed hope that Europe and the world will finally see the truth about Hezbollah. However, EU is still unwilling to call the "God's army" a terrorist organization because of fears that this would complicate relationships with Iran and Lebanon (the latter seems to be, for all intents and purposes, under Hezbollah's full control).

Let me end this post with an amusing detail: Sergei Stanishev, the leader of the Bulgarian Socialist Party since 2001 and the leader of the Party of European Socialists, the second-largest party in the European Parliament since 2011, was so eager to defend Hezbollah that he was featured on Hezbollah's Web site! The image above is a screenshot from the page in question. If you doubt the moral degradation of socialists and their unholy alliance with Islamists, just look at this small piece of evidence.