Sunday, 4 December 2016

Arab-Israel conflict was avoidable

My letter published today in the South China Morning Post. 


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Saturday, 3 December 2016

General James 'Mad Dog' Mattis email about being 'too busy to read' is a must-read - Business Insider

This is a great read. I agree with everything Mad Dog says. I have myself a library of thousands on the subject of Islam. Mad Dog will be fully clear on the problematic aspects of that particular ideology. 
And, most amazingly, I was directed to this viral email by a BBC journalist. And this is Trump's nominee for Secretary of defence! 
Mad Dog writes clearly, thoughtfully and cogently. 

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Fidel's Legacy -- a Dissident's View. Bret Stephens, WSJ

To Justin Trudeau, Canada’s puerile prime minister, he was a “legendary revolutionary” who “made significant improvements to the education and healthcare of his island nation.” To Jeremy Corbyn, leader of Britain’s Labour Party, he “will be remembered both as an internationalist and a champion of social justice.” To Michael Higgins, president of Ireland, he was a tribune “for all of the oppressed and excluded peoples on the planet.”
And for Barack Obama, still president of the United States, he was a “singular figure” whose “enormous impact” would be recorded and judged by history.
Global reaction to Fidel Castro’s death has been instructive. Donald Trumpminced no words: “Fidel Castro is dead!” he tweeted delightedly. By contrast, the progressive left hailed the dictator as a liberator for the ages, while conventional liberals treated him as complex character whose 57-year reign was less a testament to his brutal methods than to his charismatic appeal.
Castro “held on to power longer than any other living national leader except Queen Elizabeth II,” noted the New York Times in its obituary. It’s an intriguing comparison—except that one of those leaders shot pheasants, while the other shot peasants.
For a different view of Castro’s legacy I turned to José Daniel Ferrer. The 46-year-old leads the Cuban Patriotic Union, one of the island’s largest dissident organizations, which he founded after spending eight years in Castro’s prisons, including a stint in Cuba’s own maximum security prisió n provincial in Guantanamo. He spurned a government offer to exile him to Spain after his 2011 release, and since then he has led a dangerous battle against a regime determined to neutralize him. Václav Havel is one of his moral and political inspirations. 
When I first met Mr. Ferrer in person in May, he spent much of the time detailing Cuban prison conditions. Wardens in lower-security prisons use inmates as de facto slave laborers in agriculture or construction gangs. Inmates in maximum-security prisons are stuffed into tiny cells and allowed an hour of sunlight a day. Political prisoners “face constant terrors,” including threats to their families. Beatings and torture are routine. “A prisoner has a bad molar. He complains. He gets beaten up. No medical attention.”
As for the Cuban Guantanamo, I asked Mr. Ferrer how he thought it compared with its better-known counterpart at the nearby U.S. naval station. He dismissed the American Gitmo as un jardín de niños—a kindergarten—next to its Cuban sibling.
On Sunday I followed up with Mr. Ferrer via email. He seems almost amused by the hosannas being showered on his former jailer by the West’s self-styled human-rights champions. “I’d just remind them they aren’t the first democratic leaders to eulogize a tyrant,” he writes, recalling progressive tears for Stalin and Mao. “Oppression, prison, misery and continuous exile was what Castroism brought us. I’m sure neither Corbyn nor Trudeau would ever want a ‘champion’ like Fidel Castro to lead their own people.”
Mr. Ferrer adds that the regime has shown no signs of letting up its repression, never mind Mr. Obama’s diplomatic opening. Ten of his organization’s regional directors have been jailed in the past six months. Fellow activists have grown accustomed to having their homes robbed and their equipment stolen.
“Raúl Castro is going to augment the controls and the repression, for fear of his brother’s absence as the central symbol of tyranny,” he predicts. “Raúl will continue to delay the process of opening up the economy, and the misery will continue.” 
That view contradicts the optimistic belief that “modernizers” in the regime will move fast to relax government controls now that Fidel is gone. Like the Kims of North Korea, the Castro family is in the business of staying in power. It won’t tolerate an economic opening that undermines its political grip.
Still, Mr. Ferrer ticks off a list of factors—Fidel’s death, a restive population, an increasingly well-organized dissident movement, economic chaos in Venezuela, the collapse of left-wing governments in Argentina and Brazil—that have left the regime acutely susceptible to external pressure. His advice to President-elect Donald Trump, who on Monday threatened to “terminate the deal” the Obama administration struck with Cuba: Don’t tear it all up, but watch Raúl very closely.
“If [Mr. Castro] takes steps toward reform, encourage them,” he advises. “If he tries to maintain the status quo and foreclose real reform, condemn the dictatorship firmly and take steps so that the regime is made to feel that bad behavior has consequences.”

***

It says something about the degraded state of Western politics that Mr. Castro’s life can still be celebrated by supposedly respectable political figures, while Mr. Ferrer remains a political unknown beyond a tiny group of Cuba watchers. It says something, too, that respectable opinion thinks of Gitmo as the ultimate symbol of moral barbarity, while it remains indifferent to the real hell next door. It’s that indifference that will have to change, if change is ever to come to Cuba.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Why is the DNC considering Keith Ellison as chair? Why is Maajid Nawaz promoting it?

DNC: simple. It's virtue signaling. See how open and tolerant we are. That we would have as leader of our Democratic Party a Muslim associated with the Jew hating Nation of Islam. That's how tolerant we are.

Maajid: I don't know. why is he supporting Ellison's candidacy? It seems crazy. Many Maajid fans, self included, are puzzled and upset.

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Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Fidel Castro’s Communist Utopia - WSJ

If you want to see the difference, literally (and I mean literally!), between socialism and capitalism in practice have a look at the satellite picture at night of the Korean Peninsula. The South is a blaze of light. The north has a little pinprick of light at its capital Pyongyang. (The fat prick's pinprick:  Kim Jong-un's nickname in Chinese is "Fatty the Third"). 
I have the temporal equivalent of that geographic snapshot. It's China when I first went there in the mid 70s while it was still "Cultural Revolution" time, in thrall to Marxism-Leninism. Studying there as I was, I had to get food and clothing like the locals and that meant getting ration tickets and lining up. Look at China now. There is nothing you can't buy. And the average Chinese is earning ten times what a senior official was earning in the 60s and 70s. The difference? Just ideology. The first period was communist. The second period was (and is) capitalist (thought to save face the Chinese called it "socialism with Chinese characteristics"). 
And in the article below, they make the same point. Look at Cubans in Cuba. Then look at Cubans who fled to the United States (some 2 million of a population of 10 million). Same people. Different ideologies. Which is better off? The ones in the United States by a long way. Average monthly wages in Cuba are $US 20. In the US, it's $US 2,000, one hundred times more. 
And don't give me that guff about how Fidel gave Cuba great education and health systems. First they're not so great. Second even if they were, that would not excuse Castro's gross violations of human rights. 
Basically he backed the wrong horse. If he'd gone for the US instead of the Soviet Union Cubans would now be as rich as their American co-nationals. But despite this gross strategic error, Castro is forgiven all by the left. As I'm seeing now on CNN and has been the case in BBC since the beginning. 


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Conscription, the secret behind Israel’s army of geeks

Interesting!
Follow on from my letter to the South China Morning Post the other day about Israel and the two-state solution in which I noted that Israel has the third largest number of companies on Nasdaq, after just the United States and China.
This is a remarkable achievement given that Israel is under constant low-grade warfare.
And interested how important conscription is to the body politic and, as here, the body economic.
I would rather like to see the return of conscription or some form of public service in other western countries before being let into the workforce.
https://www.ft.com/content/107fc5be-b562-11e6-ba85-95d1533d9a62?0p19G=c

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Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Fact-checking a liberal Islamopologist

Faiza Patel, Islamist apologist at New York University
Faiza Patel works at the Brennan Centre for Justice which is part of the New York University. She recently had an Op-Ed piece in the New York Times that caught my attention.  Mainly because she dowplayed the Islamist intent of a couple of major Islamic organisations in the US: specifically the Islamic Circle of North America and CAIR, the Council on American Islamic Relations.
As I looked through the article, at the Brennan site, I found other statements one should not expect from a senior research analyst at a prestigious New York think tank.
So, I go through her article, copied and pasted below the fold.
It's called "A 'Commission on Radical Islam' Could Lead to a New McCarthy Era" at the Brennan site.
My comments are indented and in italics, based on the Brennan version, after the fold.

Islam is a religion of peace. If you don't believe me, I kiiiiil you!

Just another Islamist nutter contemplating the evil of we infidels and
wondering when he can strike against us.
Talk about cognitive dissonance.  Abdul Razak Ali Artan, the latest Islamist nutter who tried to kill random infidels by mowing them down with a car and then knifing them, was upset about what people would think if he prayed in public.  "I'm a Muslim", he said, "it's not what the media portrays me to be."  Oh really?  And what would that be? That you might at any random moment explode with Allah-stoked rage and try to kill as many innocent infidels as you can?
So, how to negate that stereotype?  How to negate the stereotype that Muslims will try to kill infidels?  How about trying to kill as many infidels as possible?
Oh, that would do it. Yeah, right, Abdul.
Note in the meantime, that Abdul did pray in public (his main concern) and nothing happened.  Of course it wouldn't in a PC American campus.
He also railed against the killing of Rohingya Muslims in Burma. Demanding that the US stop it. But...nothing to do with the US.
Good riddance to you Abdul.  Hope you're enjoying those 72 virgins (not!).

Monday, 28 November 2016

Election Therapy From My Basket of Deplorables - NYTimes.com

This is Maureen Dowd's way of eating humble pie as she eats her Thanksgiving turkey (Election Therapy From My Basket of Deporables). Posting an apparently annual "column" that her conservative brother Kevin gives her each Thanksgiving.
I read this as an accompaniment to my listening to her audiobook "The Year of Voting Dangerously", her collection of columns up to but not including the election. She's pretty far to the left, but her columns, to be fair, rounded as much on Hillary as they did on the band of Republican candidates.
It also turns out that she's close to George H. W. Bush and there's a lot of quoting from letters and notes they have exchanged over the years. A very different Republican from today's, that H.W.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

‘A recipe for scandal’: Trump conflicts of interest point to constitutional crisis | US news | The Guardian

Interesting!
I had thought, from what's appeared in the press and TV news, that there's no conflict of interest for a president.  Surprising, but that appeared to be the case.
In this piece in The Guardian, it's pointed out that a US president can't take any payment (any "emolument") from outside the US.
That is, any payment to PresidentTrump, via his companies, that came from a foreign source (and he's got hundreds of deals in many countries) would be illegal.
What's he going to do about that? He's got payments coming in all the time, one presumes.  The IRS would know....
Who is going to be the first to take him to court over this? Could it lead to impeachment?

Castro

TO THE BBC:
Enough of the hagiography, already!
Castro was a mass murderer who impoverished his country.
Trump had it right (and I voted Hillary!): "a brutal dictator who oppressed his own people.....".
There's no "nuance" to be had...
Yours, etc

Saturday, 26 November 2016

"Trump must try to get Israel's acceptance of a two-state solution". Letters, 19 November


LETTER TO SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST [295 Words]:
Alon Ben-Meir urges Donald Trump to "pressure Israel" to agree a two-state solution (Trump must try to get Israel's acceptance of a two-state solutionLetters, 19 November).
There is little to indicate that President Trump will want to tread into a dispute that has been the graveyard of hopes for seventy years. As Ben-Meir himself notes, even Obama has failed, despite "supreme efforts".
But even if Trump were to wade into these murky waters why is it that only Israel should be pressured? After all, Israel has repeatedly accepted a two-state solution over the last 70 years. Various iterations of Palestine have rebuffed all solutions.
On 1 September 1947, the UN Special Committee on Palestine issued a report proposing a split of the Palestinian Mandate along lines similar to those pursued by Palestinians today.  The Jewish Agency accepted the proposal. The Arab Higher Committee rejected it. [UN Security Council Report October 2016]
Just imagine if the Arabs had accepted the proposal. We would have had none of the murderous mayhem of the last seventy years. Instead of destruction, construction.
Israel has 82 companies listed on the NASDAQ, more than all countries except the U.S. and China. Imagine if this Israeli entrepreneurial spirit had been harnessed with that of the Palestinians. They would today be the mega-Switzerland of the Middle East. They could by now have developed an Israeli-Arab-Palestinian common market, perhaps even a Federation.
Instead, we've had attacks on Israel (all unsuccessful), belligerent intifadas (mostly unsuccessful), and the infamous "Three Nos" -- No peace with Israel, No recognition of Israel and No negotiations with Israel. How is one to negotiate with such intransigent interlocutors?
And yet it's Israel who must be "presssured"?
There's a great deal of hypocrisy amongst observers of the Israeli Palestine conflict.
Yours, etc...

Friday, 25 November 2016

The Disappearing Dialect at the Heart of China’s Capital - NYTimes.com

I'm pasting the whole article, in case you can't use this link:


Sinosphere
By EMILY FENG

BEIJING — To the untutored ear, the Beijing dialect can sound like someone talking with a mouthful of marbles, inspiring numerous parodies and viral videos. Its colorful vocabulary and distinctive pronunciation have inspired traditional performance arts such as cross-talk, a form of comic dialogue, and "kuaibanr,'' storytelling accompanied by bamboo clappers.
But the Beijing dialect is disappearing, a victim of language standardization in schools and offices, urban redevelopment, and migration. In 2013, officials and academics in the Chinese capital began a project to record the dialect's remaining speakers before it fades away completely.
The material is to be released to the public as an online museum and interactive database by year's end.
"You almost never hear the old Beijing dialect on the city streets nowadays," said Gao Guosen, 68, who has been identified by the city government as a "pure" speaker. "I don't even speak it anymore with my family members or childhood friends."
The dialect's most marked characteristic is its habit of adding an "r" to the end of syllables. This, coupled with the frequent "swallowing" of consonants, can give the Beijing vernacular a punchy, jocular feel. For example, "buzhidao,'' standard Chinese for ''I don't know,'' becomes "burdao'' in the Beijing dialect. "Laoshi,'' or "teacher," can come out sounding "laoer."
In the 1930s, China's Republican government began defining and promoting a common language for the country, referred to in English as Mandarin, that drew heavily, but far from completely, on the Beijing dialect. The Communist government's introduction of an official Romanization system in the 1950s reinforced standardized pronunciation for Chinese characters. These measures enhanced communication among Chinese from different regions, but also diminished the relevance of dialects.
2010 study by Beijing Union University found that 49 percent of local Beijing residents born after 1980 would rather speak Mandarin than the Beijing dialect, while 85 percent of migrants to Beijing preferred that their children learn Mandarin.
The remaking of the city has also played a role in diluting the language. Into the mid-20th century, much of Beijing's population lived clustered in the hutongs, or alleyways, that crisscrossed the neighborhoods surrounding the Forbidden City. Today, only a small fraction of an estimated 3,700 hutongs remain, their residents often scattered to apartment complexes on the city's outskirts.
The city has also become a magnet for migrants from other parts of China. According to China's last national census, an average of about 450,000 people moved to Beijing each year between 2000 and 2010, making about one-third of Beijing's residents nonlocals.
Mr. Gao, a diminutive man with a booming voice, remembers how different it used to be.
"Until this project, I didn't even know that what I was speaking was a dialect, because everyone around me used to speak like that," Mr. Gao said in his new apartment, not far from the hutong where he lived for more than 60 years.
According to the United Nations, nearly 100 Chinese dialects, many of them spoken by China's 55 recognized ethnic minorities, are in danger of dying out. Efforts are also underway in Shanghai, as well as in Jiangsu and five other provinces, to create databases as part of a project under the Ministry of Education to research dialects and cultural practices nationwide.
Yet the potential loss of the Beijing dialect is especially alarming because of the cultural heft it carries.
"As China's ancient and modern capital, Beijing and thus its linguistic culture as well are representative of our entire nation's civilization," said Zhang Shifang, a professor at the Beijing Language and Culture University who oversaw the effort to record native speakers. "For Beijing people themselves, the Beijing dialect is an important symbol of identity."
The dialect is a testament to the city's tumultuous history of invasion and foreign rule. The Mongol Empire ruled China in the 13th and 14th centuries. The Manchus, an ethnic group from northeast Asia, ruled from the mid-17th century into the 20th. As a result, the Beijing dialect contains words derived from both Mongolian and Manchurian. The intervening Ming dynasty, which maintained its first capital in Nanjing for several decades before moving to Beijing, introduced southern speech elements.
The dialect varied within the city itself. The historically wealthier neighborhoods north of the Forbidden City spoke with an accent considered more refined than that found in the poorer neighborhoods to the south, home to craftsmen and performers.
In Shanghai, some schools teach in Shanghainese rather than Mandarin. The Beijing city government has explored the idea of developing teaching materials in the Beijing dialect. However, these proposals have been criticized by those who fear such lessons would diminish the effectiveness of Mandarin-language education.
"As a Beijing native, I personally hope the dialect will survive,'' said Wang Hong, a third-grade teacher at the Affiliated Elementary School of Peking University. "But if you aren't a native, there's no reason to learn Mandarin plus a dialect. You would just confuse the two."
The researchers documenting the Beijing dialect are quick to stress the preservationist nature of their efforts.
"We aren't promoting the teaching of dialects in school, because China is still a Mandarin-speaking society," said He Hongzhi, the director of the forthcoming online dialect museum, which will showcase some of the recordings collected by Professor Zhang.
For Mr. Gao, the vanishing dialect of his youth is nothing to be mourned, though he is happy that more people are paying attention.
"Society needs a unified language and culture to develop,'' he said. "If we restored the old things, then the road ahead wouldn't exist."
"But I love to listen to the Beijing dialect,'' he said. "It is something innate. When I speak the Beijing dialect, it comes naturally from my heart."
Correction: November 24, 2016
An earlier version of this article misstated the number of officially recognized ethnic minorities in China. There are 55, not 56, minority groups. The Han ethnic group is in the majority, with more than 90 percent of the population.

Democrats Are Obsessed With Race. Donald Trump Isn’t - WSJ

Good article.
We daily see the left, Democrats and others on the broad left, pursuing racial identity politics that Jason Riley identifies here in the Wall Street Journal as one of the reasons for Hillary's dramatic loss. 
Trump's win came from turning around previous Obama voters. So it can't be that that was due to racism. 
Instead it was due to the need for change, seen from America's heartland. And Hillary couldn't be further from being the candidate for change. 
Obama didn't help by saying that it was his legacy on the  line. What legacy?  His failed foreign policy, with Middle East in ruins and Europe overrun by refugees that he enabled? His economic policy of death of a thousand regulatory cuts? His health policy of Obamacare with rising, not falling, premiums?
His hubris was and remains visible. The left's obsession was and remains palpable. 
/Snip
The reality is that Mr. Trump didn't prevail on Election Day because of fake news stories or voter suppression or ascendant bigotry in America. He won because a lot of people who voted for Barack Obama in previous elections cast ballots for Mr. Trump this time. In Wisconsin, he dominated the Mississippi River Valley region on the state's western border, which went for Mr. Obama in 2012. In Ohio's Trumbull County, where the auto industry is a major employer and the population is 89% white, Mr. Obama beat Mitt Romney, 60% to 38%. This year, Trumbull went for Mr. Trump, 51% to 45%. Iowa went for Mr. Obama easily in 2008 and 2012, but this year Mr. Trump won the state by 10 points. Either these previous Obama supporters are closet racists or they're voting on other issues.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Just how partisan is Facebook's fake news? We tested it | PCWorld

This article, fact-checking Facebook's own fact-checking, is interesting. Fake news now very much in the news.
The author created two profiles, one a Trump supporter and one a Hillary supporter. The fake Trump supporter was subject to more negative and fake articles about Hillary, than was the Hillary supporter about Trump (if you can follow that).
I came across this article while looking for a reference to a BBC World Service radio story that I just heard the end of, the other morning. Something along the following lines: that Facebook would remove some stories and replace them with a statement "many people have said this story was factually inaccurate". I couldn't believe they would do that. It's so easy to get a lynching crowd to say something they don't like is "factually inaccurate". I can imagine a case where somebody said "Islam was spread by the sword" , and a posse of islamapologist SJWs complaining that that was factually untrue. Whereas of course it is true.
I haven't found a reference to that yet. Maybe it's fake.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Canadian police force holds seminar against “Islamophobia”

Christine Williams reports the wise words of the Iranian dissident Assadolahi, complaining about the Canadian government's bowing down to the nonsense terminology of "Islamophobia", a term used to silence all criticism of Islam, as in their police force's seminar. 
It would be a brave police person who voiced any concerns about aspects of Islam, however "problematic". 
An open letter was written to Canadian Members of Parliament and Senators to challenge the spurious "Islamophobia" narrative. It was penned by Iranian dissident, writer and activist Shabnam Assadolahi, who asserts: "I have a reasonable fear of radical Islam."

What kind of "minority" is this? Germany in Jihad's crosshairs

I read somewhere a few days back -- I can't remember where, but you can be sure it was an authoritative source! -- that German authorities are now worried by the increase in the number of Salafists in Germany's burgeoning Muslim community.
Within that fundamentalist group of Muslims there's a subset that are a Jihadi threat. That is, they're a danger of committing mass murder by suicide; of becoming, that is to say, model shahid warriors according to Islam. 
These salafist jihadis number 9,000 according to the German authorities. Thats not a small number in itself. Imagine if only 1% of them, let alone 10% of them, managed a jihadist attack on the Bundesrepublic. 
But it's worse than that. The number has tripled in the last five years. That's a growth rate of 25% per year. In many cases these jihadis will be be born and brought up in Germany. 
There is no reason to believe that the growth rate of German jihadis will reduce. Why should it when Mad Mutti Merkel carries on with her insane policy of letting in a million more of these jihadi co-religionists every year?
So, expect close to 30,000 jihadis living in Germany by 2020. 30,000 and growing, who will want to wreak murderous havoc on the country that has taken them in or raised them from birth. 
Germany is screwed. It's Merkel's fault.  And the fault of Germans who enable her. They are paralyzed by their guilt for a war that ended seventy years ago. 
Visiting the sins of the ancestors on their progeny, you might say.

Priebus Calls Aspects of Islam ‘Problematic.’ Are They? | PJ Media

Further to the post just before this one, below, here is a detailed outline of why aspects of Islam are "problematic" to the extent that IslamISM is an ism we have to fight against.

CNN disastrously wrong on "Islamism"

Watching CNN just now here in Hong Kong. The anchor had on two guests only one of whose names I got: Lanhee Chen, ex Romney adviser. The other guest was from the left. 
The anchor played a video of new NSA head Gen Flynn talking about "Islamism". 
Flynn compared the fight against Islamism to the fights against other "isms", like Nazism, fascism, imperialism, communism". It's a cancer in the body of 1.7 billion Muslims and needs to be excised, by muslims with non-Muslims help. 
In this he's surely right. 
Islamism is separated from the practice of Islam by this: that Islamism aims to spread Islam to the rest of the world, to create a global Caliphate; but that aim to do so by peaceful means. ANY peaceful means, including  lawfare. They agree with jihadism's aims; just that they don't go for the violent aspect of jihad. 
From the talk of these three on CNN, none of them knew of the definition and aims of *Islamism*.  
They found Flynn's comments "troubling" and wondered about their effect on those "moderate Muslims" that we needed in the fight against terrorism. 
Not knowing that Islamism is just terrorism lite. But still aiming for the global caliphate. 
And that if these so-called "moderates" are "troubled" by Flynn's comments then they aren't really moderate at all.

Trump Summons TV Figures for Private Meeting, and Lets Them Have It - NYTimes.com

Quite extraordinary what Trump is doing with the press. Still taking them on, as president-elect, on Twitter and now in off-the-record meetings at his pad in Trump Tower.
Look at what he's upset about and what he claims is "unfair":
1. Reporting on his tax affairs. But that's of great public interest.
2. Reporting on his affairs with women. But that's of great public interest.
3. Reporting on his legal troubles at Trump University. But that's of great public interest.

So the president-elect is taking on the "newspaper of record" for reporting matters of public interest. Where will this end? The beginning doesn't look good.