Marginalia

Odd scraps, bits and pieces, notes from other blogs and other stuff.


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For America, Britain and the Western powers, the rise of Isis and the Caliphate is the ultimate disaster. Whatever they intended by their invasion of Iraq in 2003 and their efforts to get rid of Assad in Syria since 2011, it was not to see the creation of a jihadi state spanning northern Iraq and Syria run by a movement a hundred times bigger and much better organised than the al-Qaida of Osama bin Laden. The war on terror for which civil liberties have been curtailed and hundreds of billions of dollars spent has failed miserably. The belief that Isis is interested only in ‘Muslim against Muslim’ struggles is another instance of wishful thinking: Isis has shown it will fight anybody who doesn’t adhere to its bigoted, puritanical and violent variant of Islam. Where Isis differs from al-Qaida is that it’s a well-run military organisation that is very careful in choosing its targets and the optimum moment to attack them. Patrick Cockburn · Isis consolidates · LRB 21 August 2014
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Tumblr broken

Tumblr seems to be pretty dysfunctional at the moment. It’s supposed to link
to Facebook, but that doesn’t seem to be working any more.

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Reblogged from samscrap

The EU and US instigated, financed and supported the Maidan movement, installed their very own handpicked government in Kiev, established an army aimed at eradicating all signs of discontent among Russian speaking Ukrainians in east Ukraine, with crucial parts played by CIA, Blackwater and various other mercenaries, blamed Putin for the downing of a plane without providing any evidence whatsoever of his involvement, announced a second series of economic sanctions on Russia, and then claim Russia has no reasons at all to announce its own set of counter sanctions.

It would be funny if it weren’t so out there.

Europe teeters on the edge (via samscrap)
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Fifty years ago, when I was a student, I attended a lecture by Professor Edgar Brookes, emeritus professor of history at the University of Natal in Pietermaritzburg. It was a public lecture to mark the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the start of the First World War, and the 25th anniversary of the start of the second. He recounted some of his own experiences in the war; back then it was still within living memory. Khanya | Khanya e isoe ho Molimo holimo
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Dawkins has been arrogant for years, a man so convinced of his intellectual superiority that he believes the one domain in which he happens to be an expert, science, is the only legitimate way of acquiring or assessing knowledge. All of his outbursts in recent years follow from this belief: he understands the scientific method, a process intended to mitigate the interference of human subjectivity in data collection, as a universally applicable way of understanding not just the physical world but literally everything else as well. Hence his constant complaint that those appalled by his bigoted vituperations are simply offended by clarity; feeble-minded obscurantists who cling to emotion, tradition or the supernatural to shield themselves from the power of his truth bombs. Richard Dawkins, what on earth happened to you? | Eleanor Robertson | Comment is free | theguardian.com