Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Hunt Elephants to Save Them? Some Countries See No Other Choice (or print edition: "...? An endless debate”)

This is an interesting and I think pretty balanced article in today's New York Times, International Edition.
Just to be clear: I'm certainly not pushing trophy hunting. I'm now neutral about it. I wouldn't do it myself, and can't imagine why people do. But they do, and that helps some conservation. But, as the print version of the headline above says, it is "An endless debate".
As the article points out, trophy hunting is handled well in Namibia and Zimbabwe; not so well in Tanzania.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature is in favour of it; other Wildlife bodies against.
Whether you're for or against, the main issue remains poaching and trafficking. Trophy hunting is only 0.01% to 0.23% of the total killings. And still brings in up to 20% of revenue for some countries (figures in the article).
From the end of the article:
"We're talking about the wrong thing right now," said Dan Ashe, president of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and former director of the Fish and Wildlife Service.
"Trophy hunting is not the issue. We should be focused on wildlife trafficking and the broader plight of elephants."
And it's certainly not the clear-cut evil issue that Avaaz would have us believe, with its breathlessly hyperbolic petition.
You can read the article online here.  Or archived here,  Or here in pdf.
It's worth a read, very interesting.

Trump’s folly to cut corporate tax will change nothing | South China Morning Post

Hi Jake,
Re your article below in today's paper:
Not to mention the fact that corporate *effective* tax rates are usually much lower than nominal.
And... slightly OT: should we be taxing revenue not profit? The latter much easier to manipulate than the former.
Ex Aussie Liberal (ie conservative) leader John Hewson was supporting this last night on Australia Plus TV. After all, he points out, it's how we're taxed personally.
Peter Forsythe
WhatsApp 93080799


Sent from my iPhone

Monday, 11 December 2017

Christmas markets without armed police are now a thing of the past | Coffee House

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.
This is all too true as I can personally vouch. First in London in 1972 and many times since. Just last year I walked around... half of London is now Baghdad.
London is lost.
And they brought this on themselves. At least, the Labour Party did. And especially Blair's.

Sent from my iPad

Sent from my iPad

Should the US Criminalize Radical Islam? | Clarion Project

Short answer: YES!  Not only in the United States, but a also in my own country, Australia, and the whole of Europe, for that matter.

Interesting idea.  Seems obvious in retrospect.  The answer being "yes" we should criminalise radical Islam.  It's not against religious freedom to do so. Because we have not only "freedom of religion" but also "freedom from religion".  And the problem with radical islam is that it seeks to impose itself on all others.  And that's not freedom from religion.

Of Course Jerusalem Is Israel’s Capital

From The New York Times:  This says it all. 

Of Course Jerusalem Is Israel's Capital

President Trump is going to formalize what all Israelis know.
Note the comments. Some vicious and deranged...

US policy on Jerusalem as capital of Israel is consistent Democrat and Republican

Clinton (the W one) in 1992, Bush (the W one) in 2000, Obama in 2008 and again in 2008, all said exactly what Trump said in 2016: That Jerusalem is the undivided capital of Israel and that the US would move its embassy there.  And so did the Congress in 1995, and again in June this year (vote 90-0).
The only difference is that Trump did it.
From Ben Sharpiro podcast # 433

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Amazing Chinese toilets

This one is in Guizhou province SW China.  
Presumably taken by a drone. Wonder if drones will be allowed once these are bing used...
Xi Jinping wants a "clean toilet revolution" to boost tourism.  
There have been some pretty weird and wonderful Chinese toilets festered recently in the South China Morning Post. 

Sent from my iPhone

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Donald Trump's Jerusalem Decision: Democrats Accuse President of Playing Politics | National Review

> Trump may know no more about Middle East policy than he knows about most other issues. But his instinctual resistance to playing by existing rules has led him to the realization that the policies of his predecessors failed to foster peace and encouraged the Palestinians to believe that no one will ever hold them accountable for their intransigence and support of terrorism.

> Unlike every previous president, he has grasped, even if by accident, that the necessary predicate for peace must be Palestinians' acceptance of Israel's permanence and legitimacy as well as an end to their financing of terror.


Sent from my iPhone

Uber v taxi industry

You ask your readers: "do you support the taxi industry in its warning to sue the Hong Kong government if Consumer Council recommendations urging the city to legalise ride-hailing services are accepted?" (Opinion, December 9). 
No, this reader does not. Nor should anyone. 
Simply put, the "warning" is by thuggish taxi owners who seek to sue their way to an entrenched and inefficient monopoly. 
Taxi owners invested, or speculated, in taxi plates. Like any investment they must be subject to market forces. Remember Netscape? Or MySpace?  Better products came along and wiped them out. They were not allowed to sue their way to monopoly. That is the way of an efficient market economy, what's known as "creative destruction". 
The main objections to Uber appear to be that they don't have commercial licences or third party insurance. These are surely easily fixable. Even so, I haven't seen a single report that a passenger of Uber has been injured and not covered by insurance despite their having operated ("illegally") for several years. 
So, no, taxi operators don't get to sue their way to monopoly. Or at least they ought not be allowed to. 
The rights of the public for more efficient services trump the demands of greedy taxi owners. 

Peter Forsythe 
9 Siena One
Discovery Bay 
9308 0799

Sent from my iPhone

Elderly need helpers as well as more clinics | SCMP

Letter published last Thursday. Not my usual subject...
The only bit they cut was a comment I'd made at the end refuting the claims of Kammerer and his ilk that domestic helpers in Hong Kong are "slaves", a claim I called hysterical hyperbole. 
Do domestic helpers in Hong Kong wish they were not allowed to work here because some self-righteous prats think they're being exploited? Of course they don't. They want the jobs. And they're free to stay at home, in the Philippines or Indonesia if they wish. 
More: by taking up jobs overseas they reduce the labour pool at home and put pressure on the upward movement of wages there which is, after all, the only way that regional salaries will ever  be equalised, the ultimate aim of the do-gooders. And of mine as well. Let there be greater equality (equity!) regionwise! But it won't happen by restricting working opportunities in high wage Hong Kong. 
Anyway, the letter: 
Elderly need helpers as well as more clinics
Your columnist, Peter Kammerer, says Hong Kong needs more clinics, health and social workers trained in geriatrics to cope with the rise in the city's elderly population ("Trained professionals needed to care for young and old, not more maids", ­December 5).[*]
He is surely correct. But, just as surely, he is incorrect in saying that boosting the number of helpers is "laughable".
The fastest-growing demographic in Hong Kong is the over-80s; I will soon be in that cohort myself.
Some of us may need specialised geriatric care in clinics. But many are mobile and fit for their age, and would welcome a helper-cum-companion, to ­assist with mobility, cooking and other household chores.
My mother is 96 and still healthy and mobile. She lives in Australia and manages on her own, with family help.
She would certainly welcome a helper; but sadly Australia does not allow special domestic helper visas, as Hong Kong does.
As one of the 1.16 million over-65s, please let us keep the mixed system we have in Hong Kong. By all means more clinics and trained social workers. And by all means more helpers.
Peter Forsythe, Discovery Bay

[*] http://m.scmp.com/comment/insight-opinion/article/2122756/hong-kong-doesnt-need-army-maids-care-its-young-and-old-it

Sent from my iPhone

Friday, 8 December 2017

The opioid crisis

Your experts on the BBC World Service, moderated by Tulip Mazumdar, say China is getting only 16% of the morphine it needs, India only 4%, Nigeria "a measly 0.2%" (iirc).
Why no mention of a possible solution to this shortage? From poppies to pain killers: Palliative morphine for Africa and elsewhere from Afghanistan's poppies.
If the US were to spend a fraction of the amount it now spends on trying to destroy opium poppies, on buying up the crop instead - and then manufacturing them into morphine (providing income for farmers and local manufacturing jobs), it could give the palliative morphine away for free to countries that are desperately short of it. Everyone would be in front.
I'm surprised this concept was not even touched on.
Bearing in mind that the theme was "are we facing an even bigger opioid crisis?" (i.e. bigger than that in the United States). And bearing in mind that one of your experts pointed out that the pain suffered by those unable to get palliative morphine is equivalent to the pain of torture.

Peter Forsythe
Hong Kong

Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Trained professionals needed to care for young and old, not more maids | December 5

Peter Kammerer says Hong Kong needs more clinics, health and social workers trained in geriatrics to cope with the rise in the elderly cohort.   ("Trained professionals needed to care for young and old, not more maids", December 5).  In this he is surely correct. But just as surely he is incorrect to say that boosting number of helpers is "laughable".
The fastest growing sector in Hong Kong is the over 80s; I will soon be in that cohort myself.  Some of these folks may need specialised geriatric care in clinics. But many are mobile and fit for age.  Many would welcome a helper-cum-companion, to assist with mobility, cooking and other household chores. My mother is 96 and still healthy and mobile. She lives in Australia and managers on her own, with family help. She would certainly welcome the help of a helper; but sadly Australia does not allow the special domestic helper visas as does Hong Kong.
As one of the 1.16 million over-65s please let us keep the mixed system we have in Hong Kong.  By all means more clinics and trained social workers.  And by all means more helpers. Those who claim, as Kammerer has done, that our domestic helper system is  "slave labour" are clearly caught up in hysterical hyperbole.  There is no compulsion to work here.  And of course we must ensure that any mistreatment of domestic helpers is strictly punished by the law.

Peter Forsythe
9 Siena One
Discovery Bay
+852 9308 0799

Western Feminists Snub an Iranian Heroine - WSJ


Sent from my iPad

Monday, 27 November 2017

Wilfrid Laurier and the Creep of Critical Theory - Quillette

"Water-lilies spring from mud;
from the cow-dung sprouts the lotus-bud"
This is our own, in our own koi carp pond

I found this article, The Creep of Critical Theory, most enlightening. 
It certainly helps — at least it helped me — understand what is going on with the young horrors, the Social Justice Warriors at American universities. Their de-platforming, their shouting down different views, their "punch a Nazi" rhetoric. 
The author sums it up as the battle between Mill and Marcuse. With Marcuse winning. 
The battle between critical thinking and Critical Theory; with the latter winning. 
The battle between bottom-up debate and top-down diktat; with the latter winning. Free speech vs "fighting oppression"; with the latter winning. 
Marcuse's influential essay was called Repressive Tolerance. Sounds creepy to me. But it's what Marcuse was after and it's what he's getting.  Repression by the Left of any but their opinions, all with the goal, apparently, of fighting oppression.

Misunderstanding Capitalism - Quillette

Ben Shapiro, viewed as of the Right, is actually a libertarian, liberal
on issues like drugs, same-sex marriage, mental health funding, 6'00"
Great article, Misunderstanding Capitalism, in Quilette, a moderate left-ish site, and on the right side of this question!
Only those that have not lived and worked in a socialist economy could be so deluded as to think socialism has anything to add to human happiness. Apart from their own shivers of feel-good.
I've lived in socialism -- what many called communism at the time -- namely mid-seventies China, when it was in what later became known as "the last stages of the Cultural Revolution".  The Cultural Revolution, that is, that killed millions and impoverished tens of millions in its quest to establish perfect socialism.  That's always the way if you look around: from the Soviet Union to Venezuela via Vietnam and North Korea.
Read on...

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Why Israel is the new promised land for Chinese investors | South China Morning Post

Get in on the action! Two of the most successful business cultures join hands: "Israel is the new promised land for Chinese investors".
China's total investment in Israel almost tripled last year to US$16 billion (HK$125 million), largely driven by a surge in funding in Israel's hi-tech industry, according to ZAG-S&W, a Tel Aviv-based law firm specialising in cross-border transactions. Meanwhile, the number of deals involving at least one Chinese investor in Israel's hi-tech sector also increased by 16 percent year-on-year, shown in data from Israel's IVC Research Centre.