Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Heather MacDonald speaks with Ben Shapiro

I first wrote about Heather a few posts back and here she is again!  She's great.

“Republicans Rebuke Steve King but Face Vexing Question: Why Not Sooner?” | NYT

How dare they? How dare they castigate the Right for criticising the white supremacy of Steve King, but doing so little "too late" (they say) when they never, ever, never ever criticise extremism on the Left? How very dare they?
Yes, I'm bovvered....
My comment in The Times:
At least the Reps *did* criticise. And have done so every time a republican stepped out if line. Meantime where are the criticisms of Leftist extremism? Of the horrid anti-semitism of Louis Farrakhan and Al Sharpton. Nowhere. 
Louis the Jew-hater is unscathed. Rookie Congresswoman Tlaib has terrorist supporters at her swearing in. AOC dances with Al Sharpton, the repulsive anti-Semite and blatant racist. 
In short, the Right cleans house. The Left lets the dirt lie; at most, sweeps it under the carpet. 
In wake of House Republicans stripping Mr. King of his committee assignments, many are asking how he survived unpunished for so long.

Monday, 14 January 2019

Women Don’t Belong in Combat Units | The WSJ

An arbitrary photo of a 1934 Alfa Romeo 6C. Brescia, Italy, May 2018

This (below) is an interesting article from a woman who knows whereof she speaks:
Ms. Mac Don­ald is a fel­low at the Man­hattan In­sti­tute and author of "The Di­ver­sity Delu­sion: How Race and Gen­der Pan­der­ing Cor­rupt the Universify and Un­der­mine Our Cul­ture."    

De Blasio: New York’s Mao Tse-tung. Yes, he is!

This is a truly shocking statement from NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio. Though I'm guessing it was an applause line for his audience.
It does rather remind me of Mao's attitude to landlords. For de Blasio it's people with money who are "wrong". For Mao the landlords were "exploiters". Never mind that Mao's own parents were landlords who had earned their small plots by years of hard graft.
No, to Mao and de Blasio alike the very holding of assets is "wrong" "exploitative " and must be redistributed. By "us" of course. Us being Bill and Mao. Or AOC. All Good socialists.
Oh Lord! Save us from socialists. No matter how well meaning.  AOC is just the most recent, youngest and prettiest incarnation of this sharp tilt to the Left.
"Here's the truth. Brothers and sis­ters, there's plenty of money in the world. There's plenty of money in this city. It's just in the wrong hands."
—New York City Mayor Bill de Bla­sio, State of the City address, Jan. 10, 2019
Amer­i­can pol­i­tics is in part an eter­nal bat­tle be­tween those who prize free­dom and those who de­mand equal­ity, be­tween the forces of in­come growth and those of in­come re­dis­tri­b­u­tion, and in 2019 the re­distrib­u­tors are on the march. For the purest dis­til­la­tion of the so­cialist im­pulse, look no fur­ther than Mayor de Bla­sio's state­ment of raw po­lit­i­cal pur­pose that we quote above from his an­nual ad­dress last week.

Saturday, 12 January 2019

The Arguments against Building the Border Wall | National Review

This one clip tells it all:
Representative Eric Swalwell, for instance, claims that walls themselves — bricks, mortar, the lot — are "medieval." They are also, he says,"a symbol of 'us and not us.' And that is not U.S."
Out of 7.3 billion people in the world about 7 billion are not "us".  That is, they are not US citizens.
The United States cannot allow every one of the "non us" to come to the US, simply because they want to.
That would lead to the destruction of the very US to which they are seeking to emigrate.

“The Remoralization of the Market” | NYT

This is a good article by David Brooks.
It reminds me of something I read recently about the reasons for flat real wages in the US since about 1980. The answer?  Monopsonist tech companies. 
Monopsony = monopoly on the buy side. These companies are monopoly buyers of workers. While the few at the top, the gun coders and so, get richly rewarded, the majority are paid what the monopsony buyers decide. And they've stiffed workers. So the studies say. 
And isn't that ironic? Well, kind of, but more: it’s hypocritical, because the leaders of these same tech companies are — or say they are — the vanguards of leftist Social Justice. 
I agree with Brooks. We need to think about more than just money. And I say that as an Apple shareholder, which Brooks eviscerates. Yes, I'm shamed for Apple. And for Facebook. And for Google. Shame on all their houses. 
It has to start with shareholders themselves having more of a social conscience and demanding that the companies they invest in consider more than just money. That they consider their workers, the community and the country. 
I'm not holding my breath, though.
LATER: I appear to be the only one who likes the article.  The 760+ comments are pretty much uniformly hostile to Brooks.  Mostly they don’t like the moral equivalence he makes between Left and Right. They tend to think it’s all the Republicans’ fault. And they mostly don’t buy into his comment that “capitalism is a beautiful system”. I’m going to guess though, that none of these has lived in a communist country as I have: China in the seventies.
The Readers Pick mentions Jim Crow laws. But these were instituted by the Democrats not the GOP.
They appear to not like Brooks because he’s a Republican. And Republicans are, you know, bad. Morally bad. 
.... capitalism needs to be embedded in moral norms and it needs to serve a larger social good. Remoralizing and resocializing the market is the great project of the moment. The crucial question is not: How can we have a good economy? It's: How can we have a good society? How can we have a society in which it's easier to be a good person?

Friday, 11 January 2019

“How China hopes to lead way in next-generation nuclear power” | SCMP

This is good news, especially given the importance of nuclear energy supported by even super-smart liberal folks like Bill Gates
China is pushing ahead with Generation IV nuclear power technology, cheaper and safer than what we have now. 
It's a great pity that Australia gave up its nuclear ambitions, under alarmist pressure from the Greens. We're happy to export uranium, but not to use it ourselves, which has always struck me as hypocritical, at least. 
So it's a pity that Australia is not even taking part in the Generation IV International Forum. We could be doing that with no commitment if only we had some base knowledge of nuclear technology. 
China is pushing ahead with ambitious plans for its nuclear industry, including developing cleaner and safer next-generation technology.
particular focus is a plan to develop the world's first large-scale thorium-powered, molten-salt reactors – which could generate less radioactive waste and help reduce the reliance on fossil fuels to reduce the world's energy needs – by 2020.

Nuclear remains the best — perhaps the only — way to get base-load power without CO2. 


Thursday, 10 January 2019

“Why the Fed Should Heed the Market” |The Wall Street Journal.

If true, and it seems to be, this bodes ill for growth this year.

More than any other in­di­ca­tor, the Fed should be pay­ing close at­ten­tion to the stock mar­ket—not to ma­nip­ulate it, but be­cause mar­ket in­dexes are among the best pre­dictors of growth and em­ploy­ment. Fluc­tu­ations in mar­ket capitalization also af­fect con­sump­tion, shap­ing the path of gross do­mestic product. But the Fed's fore­cast of 2.3% growth this year despite sput­ter­ing U.S. stocks sug­gests it might not be giv­ing suf­fi­cient weight to the mar­ket's predictive value.
The key to the markets' pre­dic­tive power is their clear and sta­ble re­la­tion­ship to growth. Data from the past four decades show that a 10% de­crease in the S&P 500 over a pe­riod of ei­ther three or six months is as­so­ci­ated with a de­crease of about 0.5 per­cent­age point in the fol­low­ing year's GDP growth. 

“Behind Xi’s Bluster Is a Vulnerable China” | WSJ

Presi­dent Xi Jin­ping ob­served the 40th an­niver­sary of Chi­na's shift from doctrinaire com­mu­nism to quasi-cap­i­tal­ist to­tal­i­tar­i­anism by de­liv­er­ing a televised speech last month in un­yield­ing au­thor­i­tar­ian lan­guage. Yet his force­ful pos­turing couldn't hide his con­cern. Amer­i­ca's main eco­nomic ri­val is un­der real pressure to give up many of the mer­can­tilist poli­cies it has re­lied on for decades to prop up growth.
Like his pre­de­cessors, Mr. Xi in­sists that Chi­na's Com­mu­nist Party has been "totally cor­rect" over the past 40 years. "No one is in the po­si­tion to dic­tate to the Chi­nese peo­ple what should and should not be done," he declared. He praised Marx­ist-Lenin­ist prin­ciples and quoted Friedrich En­gels as he en­vi­sioned Chi­na's so­cial­ist path through the 21st cen­tury.
This blus­ter is typ­ical for a regime deeply con­cerned about appear­ing weak. Pres­ident Trump's trade poli­cies have put heavy pres­sure on the sore spots of Chi­na's economy.

“Australians Have More Fun” | NYT

Bari Weiss is one of the saner voices at the Times
She opens her paean to Australia with:
SYDNEY, Australia — When Mark Twain steamed into Sydney's harbor in September 1895, journalists peppered him with questions before he had even stepped off the S.S. Warrimoo. "I am going to write a book on Australia," he proclaimed. "And I think I ought to start now. You always know so much more of a country when you have not seen it than when you have."

That's amusing. Mind you it's often true. Look at how Orwell got the Soviet Union right, from a distance, while many useful idiots who actually visited the place, proclaimed they had "seen the future". 
Weiss loved her visit to Oz and had a good time. On' yer Baz! 

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

“Rashida Tlaib Said Nothing Wrong” | NYT

Oh yes she did. Tlaib did say something wrong.  And it wasn't "motherfucker".
It was this: before her election Tlaib said she supported the Two State solution for the Middle East. (Not the “something wrong”)
That got her the endorsement of the Israel lobby on J Street. 
As soon as she won — about 1.37 seconds after the count was in — as soon as, she said she actually supports a One State solution. With the "right of return" for all Palestinians. (That’s the “something wrong”).  Gee! Really?
To be clear: a "one state solution" with the "right of return" is a call for the destruction of the state of Israel.  
There's definitely "something wrong" with that!
It means the wholesale slaughter of Jews in the Holy Land. Because both Hamas and the "moderate" Palestinian Authority want this. They say so openly. They want the Jews OUT.  And the "right of return" assures this outcome by the power of demographics. 
There are 57 Muslim majority countries in the world. Yet it's the only single Jewish state that has to be destroyed by the likes of Ms Tlaib. 
"From the river to the sea, judenrein Palestine will be free." That is: jews driven out or killed. 
Good one Times!
But does the New York Times call this out? They do not. 
Through the reliably anti-semitic Michelle Goldberg, the reliably anti semitic New York Times bemoans critics of Tlaib's "motherfucker" jibe. 
But care not one jot for her calls for the extermination of Jews. 
But they've got form. Let's remember that the Times ignored Jews being rounded up by nazis in the 1930s. They wouldn't cover it because it was too embarrassing. 
And this is what we are supposed to respect as "the paper of record"...
It's a touch odd, given its Jewish ownership, that it's so anti-semitic. 
Then again, in another article today, the Times slags on Jews in Israel. Jews in America are so much more woke, don't you know. And woke is where it's  at these days. 

Wall Brawl

I’m watching the orange one talking about the Southern Border Wall. 
There’s so much nonsense being talked on the Wall and immigration. 
The Democrats paint the GOP as “anti immigrant”. It is not. Republicans have traditionally supported immigration. What they’re against is illegal immigration. 
And it’s easy to find videos of past Democratic presidents supporting strong borders to deter illegal immigration. Clinton, Obama and Hillary have all talked tough in the very same terms as Trump now is. As have Pelosi and Schumer. The only reason they’re now against a Wall is because it’s Trump. Trump himself has just pointed that out in his speech. 
Mind you: there’s valid doubts about the efficacy of a wall. But it’s also true that those tasked with controlling the border — ICE agents and border patrols — say it would help. And the amount being asked for is a tiny amount of the total budget — about 11 minutes worth of spending. 
So Democrats in government — get in to your congress people and tell th to give up their virtue-signalling hypocrisy. 
Speech just finished. Pretty good. Serious and didn’t stray from the Tel-e promoter. 
Now it’s Pelosi and Chuck. 
She’s a toughie and a hypocrite.  Chuck is a softie and  a hypocrite. Chuck is saying that democrats support border security. Oh really? How? 
By the way, never before, AFAIK, have the networks allowed the opposite party to have a response to a presidential statement. 

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Congressman calls on DOJ to halt federal funding for Nation of Islam

Congressman calls on DOJ to halt federal funding for Nation of Islam

How did I know, I just knew, that the "congressman" would be a Republican? The Democrats would not do this to the Nation of Islam. Why? Because in the oppression Olympics, postmodernist politics demands that POC be accorded the greatest respect even when the repulsive leader of the NOI, the grinningly unctuous Louis Farrakhan, calls Jews "blood sucking termites".  And worse. Calls for their extermination. 
For Democrats this is the MO:

Monday, 7 January 2019

"Amos Oz’s Rebuke to Cowardice” | Roger Cohen, NYT

Yes to this:
Scorning zealotry, he [Amos Oz] also believed Jews should never abandon contentious debate, the “intergenerational quizzing that ensures the passing of the torch,” as he put it in “Jews and Words,” written with his daughter Fania Oz-Salzberger. He believed Jews need a homeland, Israel. His father, as a young man in Lithuania, endured the refrain: “Jews go home to Palestine.” Now, plenty of people scream, “Jews get out of Palestine.” Enough said.
Or not quite enough said. Jews will be just fine in a binational state shared with the Palestinians! Jews will be just fine as anti-Semitism rises again! Jews will be just fine forgetting the millennia of persecution and insult in the diaspora! Jews will be just fine trusting those they have no cause to trust!

Oz, who fought in two wars, did not believe it. I do not believe it. As he once said to me of that most sacred of Palestinian principles, “The right of return is a euphemism for the liquidation of Israel.”
But then how this?:
At the same time, Oz was cleareyed about the insidious corruption of Israel through more than a half-century of the occupation of the West Bank. How it has gradually blinded Israelis to the humanity of millions of Palestinians. How it has made the oppression and humiliation of another people somehow acceptable. How it has ingrained habits of arrogance. How it has fed the rightward lurch that has buried in messianic nationalism the dream of a two-state peace and ensconced a leader, Netanyahu, who made it his foul business to bury Yitzhak Rabin’s push for that peace.

Oz told me Netanyahu was a “coward,” the anti-Rabin in his inability to have a big or generous thought.
It strikes me that being against settlements on the west bank is in some way being against diversity and multiculturalism.  Or at least, anti-semitic by demanding a land that is "judenrein".  Why cannot jews and palestinians live together on the west bank, as we are told they can live together in two contiguous countries.
More: how many times -- ten? twenty? -- have the palestinians been offered all they asked for, only to  have their intransigent leaders refuse the deal.  Many, many times....  And they -- especially Hamas -- still hate Jews with genocidal hatred.  It's right there in the Hamas Charter.  In short:"Palestine shall be free, from the River to the Sea".  Even the 2017 amended Covenant calls for the "liberation of all palestine".
So, in the end, this is more of the same, blaming the jews for everything, no matter what the patina of "bravery" or "honesty" is put on it by Oz and Cohen.
Cohen, by the way, it strikes me, is becoming more anti-Israel to the point even of being anti-jew.  I may be wrong, but I do have that feeling from having read him regularly over the decades.

Amos Oz’s Rebuke to Cowardice [The New York Times artile today]

Friday, 4 January 2019

“China’s gulag for Muslims” | NYT

"Why don't Muslim governments rise up in anger?" asks Mustafa Akyol, of China's jailing one million Xinjiang Muslims in internment camps. Gulags in all but name. 
And why, one might add, don't the preening, the perpetually offended in the West rise up in anger? Or the anguished supporters of veiling women? Or the "Islamophobia" worriers? Where are they? Isn't this mass incarceration rather more important? 

Akyol gives three answers about the silence of Muslim governments:
1.  China's money. Mucho money for keeping quiet. 
2.  China's dictatorship: Muslims understand the language of repression: vide their own governments. 
3.  China is part of the anti-West alliance, with Islam in the fold. Confucius-Muhammad vs Aristotle-Locke. 
Still, this is a blight on China. Specifically it's a blight on its leader the brutal Xi Jinping. 
Akyol concludes: "in freedom [the west] you can live as a Muslim in safety and dignity. Under a dictatorship, as China shows us, you can end up in a re-education camp".

LATER: I'm remembering a night in Shanghai, maybe 20 years ago, or so...  When I bumped into a bunch of Uighurs.  Four of five. We had some drinks. Then some more drinks. They like a drink, even if Muhammad says they shouldn't (actually, he doesn't really say that; read the Koran).  So, we have a few drinks then a few more and they start putting the cans into a kind of Arc de Triomphe on the table.  What are we speaking?  Well, they didn't speak English and I don't speak Uighur, so we spoke the only language had in common: Mandarin Chinese.  Only thing being that they didn't speak it very well. Gutteral, and inflected with their tongue.  And between spitting sessions.  And between chain-smoked cigarettes. Still, I understood.  The main dude said to me, late on in the evening: "you know", he said, "you are more Chinese than me".   "What do you mean?".  "Well", he said, "you speak Mandarin better than I do" and, he went on "your nose is more Chinese than mine". I looked at his nose, all hookey it was, long, acquiline, romanesque.  Mine is hardly a button, but he was right on that, his nose was way more un-Chinese than mine.  "And also", he said, "you have the beard of a Chinese".  Sure, again, he was bristly, hirsute, and I've always struggled the few times I've tried a beard.
So there, I recall that little late night, drunken talk with a Uighur, in Shanghai, as he bemoaned being ruled by the Han. I felt sorry for him then.  I'm wasn't so sure in later decades.  Would he really be better in one of the Muslim states in the region?  But now?

"China's gulag for Muslims"

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

What I learned at work this year | Bill Gates

Bill Gates on nuclear energy.
Bill is too polite to say it, but the reason nuclear has become so expensive is that greenies have made it so, by demanding it be orders of magnitude safer than other energies. And quite deliberately to kill it off. Which they've pretty much achieved. To the harm of mankind. 
The latest is that Trump has halted Gates' TerraPower company's cooperation with China. And that, in turn will delay cheaper, safer, greener nuclear for all mankind. Shame on the greenies. (And shame on Trump, too, though in his case it was no doubt an unintended consequence of his tariff wars with China. With the Greens it was a specific aim to kill off nuclear power).

/Snip from Bill:
Nuclear is ideal for dealing with climate change, because it is the only carbon-free, scalable energy source that's available 24 hours a day. The problems with today's reactors, such as the risk of accidents, can be solved through innovation.
The United States is uniquely suited to create these advances with its world-class scientists, entrepreneurs, and investment capital. 
 "Unfortunately, America is no longer the global leader on nuclear energy that it was 50 years ago."
Unfortunately, America is no longer the global leader on nuclear energy that it was 50 years ago. To regain this position, it will need to commit new funding, update regulations, and show investors that it's serious.
There are several promising ideas in advanced nuclear that should be explored if we get over these obstacles. TerraPower, the company I started 10 years ago, uses an approach called a traveling wave reactor that is safe, prevents proliferation, and produces very little waste. We had hoped to build a pilot project in China, but recent policy changes here in the U.S. have made that unlikely. We may be able to build it in the United States if the funding and regulatory changes that I mentioned earlier happen. 
The world needs to be working on lots of solutions to stop climate change. Advanced nuclear is one, and I hope to persuade U.S. leaders to get into the game.

New Horizons makes most distant close encounter in history | SCMP

Artist rendition: New Horizon homes in on Ultima Thule
Over the whole of the space age the United States has made public the information from Apollo, Hubble, Curiosity, Cassini, Kepler and now New Horizons. 
Pictures from NH are coming in of Ultima Thule, nearly 7 Billion kilometres away. 
As China homes in on the dark side of the moon, I wonder if China will be equally open...  
I hope. 
For, as Alan Stern, leader of the NH mission, says:
"As you celebrate New Year's Day, cast an eye upward and think for a moment about the amazing things our country and our species can do when we set our minds to it."
The most distant close encounter in history

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

“Why China’s private firms aren’t convinced the law will protect them” | SCMP

Beginning the New Year with a nicely scary story from China: how its wayward and arbitrary legal system catches innocents in its web. 

One quibble: The article by Frank Tang (link below) claims it's particularly bad for local Chinese entrepreneurs, because foreigners can simply shift their investments to other countries if they’re threatened. 
But that ain't so easy. A related article[*] in today's Post says 75% of Foreign companies in China feel "less welcome" than before. And that's mainly because of lack of legal protection. 
Business folks I know personally, who have spent decades in China, confirm this: it's bad for foreign companies too. Many are giving up on China. This is part explanation for falling GDP growth rates in China. Yet Xi's most recent speech called only for more of the same. No reform. Pity. 

/Clip from Tang's conclusion:
"[These risks] won't change because of one or two slogans by the top leaders, but need a whole new set of laws, such as implementing the presumption of innocence, no confiscation or freezing of properties [prior to judgment], and the separation of individual and corporate assets," Hu said.
"To change the current situation of power overriding the law, reforms in the economic and legal systems are needed. But fundamentally, this demands political reform so that we can contain the power [of the state]," he added.

Many would say "and good luck with that".  Expecting that from Bully-Xi?!

Why China's private firms aren't convinced the law will protect them

[*] Ex-US top trade negotiator says China has deviated from its commitments

Monday, 31 December 2018

“I prayed and I ran”...

... said man caught up in the Indonesian tsunami.
Which of those two actions worked out best for him, do you think?
Running and praying, fine
Running without praying, fine.
Praying without running, not fine. 

Talking about 40 years ago...

Australian Embassy, Peking, 1976. Ambassador Steve FitzGerald 
... I wanted to get a photo of the Australian Embassy in Peking — as it was then in 1978.
I wasn't sure I had one myself, so I hie me to Mr Google and Lo!
The very first photo to pop up was the one above. Perfect!
The man standing there is then Australian ambassador to China, Dr Steve FitzGerald. He was our first Ambassador to China appointed by Labor Prime Minister Gough Whitlam in 1972 when Australia shifted our recognition from Taiwan to the Mainland. From Taipei to Peking. 

And that circled window? That's my office which I took over from predecessor Sam Gerovich in 1978. From my China arrival in 1976, I'd been given two years of full-time Chinese language training, courtesy of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs. That is to say, courtesy of the Australian taxpayer. I hope I gave them value for money. I was a Third Secretary in the embassy for four years. 
To the right of my office, in the pic above: office of the ambassador's secretary and the Ambassador's office, far right top floor. 
To the left, going left, another Third Secs office for my colleague Peter Rowe, later to become Australia's Ambassador to South Korea. Then Second Secs office, Dr Danny Kane, later professor of Chinese at Melbourne Uni. 
Then Counsellor David Reese and Minister Reg Little, later Frank Millner, of all of whom I know little in these 40 years. 
So the offices were more senior the further from the Ambassador. 
Next level below were the offices of the Australian Trade Commission (Austrade) and ground floor offices were for Consular (passports, visas, etc) and admin. 
So that's where I spent my early working days in China. 
After Steve went back to Oz, to establish his own consulting company which I joined in 1983, I served with two other ambassadors, Gary Woodard and Hugh Dunn (rip) until return to Oz in 1982, to be seconded to the Office of National Assessments, a senior intelligence assessment outfit reporting to the Prime Minister and Cabinet. And then to Stephen FitzGerald & Co Pty Ltd.
Some time later, in the mid eighties, IIRC, the embassy moved to a much bigger purpose-built edifice, rather more fearsome and security-minded. 
The one above had basically no security: a somnolent guard at the gate was pretty much it. 
I sometimes find Deng Xiaoping in my dreams. He speaks guttural Sichuanese. Smokes and spits. Sometimes in a tent...In 1992 he told me his plans for further liberalisation. 
Now we have Xi Jinping whose "China Dream" is a nightmare for many of us. 

Sent from my iPhone