Thursday, 26 November 2015

As China’s Workforce Dwindles, the World Scrambles for Alternatives - WSJ

I imagine that most people who think about such matters would imagine that China is still a sweatshop economy with manufacturing workers earning mere pennies per hour for their labour.
But the truth is different.
China's per hour wage rates have increased sharply in recent years and are now $US 14.60 per hour. That's above, we must note, the minimum wage in the United States. And is just $7/hour below the average wage of US manufacturing wages.
We need to recalibrate the view we have of China as a source of cheap labour. It's not. Increasingly, it's a high labour market with a huge and growing middle class.
See the chart in the story below.

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Watch Buck Sexton’s On-Air Clash With CNN Commentator on Radical Islam: ‘That’s Just Frankly Not True’ | Video |

I'm in Buck Sexton's side in this debate. The CNN commenter is engaging in the very obscurantism and denialism that Sam Harris has talked about: here>>
The video with Buck: here>>

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Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Hillary Clinton's Denialism Sets Off Trump's Rhetoric On Islam

This is a good article. And had an interesting video showing the historical spread of the major world religions.

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John Bolton: To Defeat ISIS, Create a Sunni State -

This makes sense.
Interesting that the New York Times would feature Bolton, a man of the right, more often seen on Fox. They must find his argument persuasive.
Separate Sunni, Shia and Kurdish states, all with new borders: way to go. And in the process destroy ISIS.
These are not going to be Jeffersonian democracies. But the best of a bunch of lousy choices.

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"Their murderous ideology"

So says Obama, of IS/ISIS, just now on BBC TvNews.
And what, pray tell, is that "murderous ideology"? Is it something they have invented? Have they written it up, as did Hitler in "Mein Kampf? Have they drawn on some preexisting "vile ideology" (another Obama-ism) like that of the KKK?
Why, no, no and no.
Their "vile and murderous" ideology is spelled out in their monthly online magazine, Dabiq. And it's simply this: quotations (galore) from the Koran, the Hadith, the Sirah and numerous Islamic scholars.
The vile and murderous ideology, in short, is the ideology of Islam.
When do the dots get connected?
In the case of Obama, they never will. He will keep up his obscurantism, in his absurd belief that to do otherwise would somehow tip some otherwise moderate over the edge into radicalism.
Wake up Barack.

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Tuesday, 24 November 2015

"Criminals" or religious maniacs?

Letter to the BBC, in the face of their ongoing, non-stop effort to exonerate religion, specifically to exonerate Islam, from anything to do with terrorism.
The truth seems so obvious, it's remarkable, and difficult to understand, how someone as clever as Lawrence Pollard (who I rather like and seems a very decent chap), can carry on like they do, about "nothing to do with Islam".
Dear Lawrence, 
Hearing you on BBC World Service here in Hong Kong
You asked a guest if the jihadists are just “criminals” and not motivated by religion.
Even if they are or were criminals, they all say they’re motivated by religion. The Paris bombers said they were killing people in a “decadent” society, as defined by their understanding of Islam. (not for any grievance).
Why give the religious motive a free pass, when it’s right in front of our faces in what they say motivates them?  Do we presume to read their minds better than they know them?
By the way, the leadership of all the Islamic terrorist organisations are not “criminals”.  Nor are they “disadvantaged” or “downtrodden”.  Most are well educated and had secure jobs.
What led them to terrorise the west, is their “us/them” dichotomy, as embedded in the doctrines of Islam.
Peter Forsythe.
Hong Kong

"On the Maintenance of Civilization". Sam Harris in conversation with Douglas Murray

In this episode of the Waking Up podcast, Sam Harris speaks with author Douglas Murray about Islamism, liberalism, civil society, and the migrant crisis in Europe.
Sam Harris is one of the clearest and most eloquent speakers and writers I know.  And Douglas Murray is spot on. You don't need to take this in one gulp, but it's certainly a worthwhile conversation to listen to, concerning perhaps the greatest issue of our day.  Climate change won't matter if we don't have a civilization to protect.

Obama is responsible for the refugee crisis

Yale professor Walter Russel Mead excoriates Obama for his failure to take any action that could have prevented the crisis of millions of "refugees" swamping into Europe.
In the Harry's Place article where I first learnt of Mead's article, young James Snell says:
 Mead’s righteous evisceration of Obama’s hypocrisy and moral cowardice is practically unanswerable.
I agree.
Mind, this is not me taking part in the usual leftist practice of "blame the west (especially the "Great Satan" of the US)".  I don't believe that all the ructions in the Middle East are the fault of the west, least of all that the west "had it coming" as the likes of Chomsky allege (and infamously said after 9-11).
This is clearer, the refugee crisis: what could have been done by Obama?  At the very least: safe zones and no-fly zones.  But he did nothing.
I recall being disgusted at Obama failing to do anything after his "red line" threat (if Assad used chemical weapons, which of course he did).
Mead makes the point of Obama's culpability on this more cogently and eloquently.
And Snell's article at Harry's Place has many interesting comments.

Artist’s Death Sentence Follows a String of Harsh Punishments in Saudi Arabia -

And this is the Saudi Arabia that was recently voted onto the United Nations Human Rights Council, with the support of the U.K.
Disgusting. Disgusting. Disgusting Saudi Arabia the most horrid country.
And these hateful barbarians are an "ally" of the west.
Let's wean off oil and be done with that horrid place. Actually, with the world swimming in oil we hardly need theirs anymore anyway.

Tencent to fully open WeChat Payment for overseas transactions: Shanghaiist

Wow. Second thing this morning that I did not know.
This time that's it's that Silicon Valley is playing catch up with China. Not the other way around.
It's Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Co who are lagging behind the likes of WeChat which is owned by Tencent Holdings (disclosure: we hold Tencent Holding shares).
WeChat has a Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) of $7. That's 7 times that of FB-owned WhatsApp.
WeChat has "Apps within Apps" like the "Wallet" payment method mentioned in the link below. It's kind of like a portal.
And so I've downloaded the WeChat App, and am now wandering around it.
I've often wondered why our smartphones can't be used more widely to pay for small purchases and why our wonderful Octopus system in Hong Kong can't be embedded in our phones.
So here's China leading the world in this technology.
Just as it's leading the world in commercial cloning, in the post immediately below this.

Tianjin plans world's largest animal cloning factory -

Wow, I did not know this!
That cloning was at the stage it could be commercialised.
Turns out that Sinica, the company building the worlds largest cloning factory, has already successfully cloned 550 sniffer dogs working for airports, customs and police.
The implications of all this? I don't really know but suspect they could be huge. Especially for the world's huge breeding industry.
And what about cloning endangered species like the Northern White Rhino, which as of yesterday's death of an elderly female, is now down to just three specimens?

Monday, 23 November 2015

When an Aussie calls you a ‘bastard’, you know you’ve arrived | Comment | Voices | The Independent

We take the good times with the bad in this column. Life isn't all Twitter and terror and porn. In proof whereof I am pleased to share with readers the news that I have been made an honorary Australian. In my heart I've been an honorary Australian a long time, but now it's official.
The title was conferred on me by the Australian high commissioner, Alexander Downer, at a moving ceremony in London last week. I have a medal to prove it. The only downside is that the honour lasts a mere 12 months. This time next year, someone else will get it and I'll just be any old Pommy bastard again.
Between ourselves, reader, it was being called a Pommy bastard that made me fall for Australia in the first place. Written down, it doesn't have much to recommend it, I grant you, but breathed into your face in situ – which might be a sophisticated cocktail lounge peopled by bankers and newspapermen in the middle of Sydney, or an outback bearpit with sawdust on the floor and 20 stockmen in Chelsea boots and ankle socks leering at you from the bar – the phrase "you Pommy bastard" expresses a warmth, I'd even go so far as to say a sentimentality, it is near impossible to convey to anyone who has never been its recipient.
[And now read on....]

Iowa’s Climate-Change Wisdom -

Some good news for a change in the global climate change area.
France's "Four per Thousand" initiative earlier this year, I've only just read about here. It says this: If the global soil carbon stock could increase by 0.4% pa, this would suck up ALL the world's annual CO2 emissions. That's a pretty big deal.
Iowa is leading the way in these carbon sequestration methods: agro-ecology, agro-forestry, conservation agriculture and landscape management.
Now read on....

"Issues within Islam must be recognised" -- Letter to SCMP

South China Morning Post ran my letter today:
South China Morning Post, 23 Nov 2015

Sunday, 22 November 2015

George Orwell betrayed: Islamist Tariq Ramadan gives a lecture in his name – Telegraph Blogs

A few days back I posted my comments to the BBC after Tariq Ramadan had appeared on their TV news program.
Ramadan is a snake. I called him "unctuous" and "oleaginous". Silkily smooth, he is, beguiling, but hypocritical. Ok, there's maybe a touch of ad hominem there....
Anyway, I came across this excellent article on Ramadan, which is worth highlighting.

Paris: Radicalizing the Next Generation of Muslim Youth | Clarion Project

Australian imams in the "nothing-to-do-with-Islam" brigade. 
Meanwhile, the Grand Mufti of Australia, Dr. Ibrahim Abu Mohamed, in his comments about the Paris attack named the "causative factors" of terrorism. In the mufti's mind, "racism, Islamophobia, curtailing freedoms through securitisation [sic], duplicitous foreign policies and military interventions" are what causes terrorism. Each of these "factors" speaks to the victimization narrative.
As a blogger writes in the Australian Herald Sun, "The statement is a disgrace. Worse, it is dangerous and ominous … According to the Mufti and his imams, the main "causative factors" behind the kind of terrorism visited on Paris … have nothing to do even with interpretations of the Koran."In fact, even the Islamic State - which claimed credit for the mass-murder - is not mentioned as a "causative factor" … No mention even of the Muslim countries, like Iran and Saudi Arabia, which sponsor extremists and terrorists.
There is only that familiar and lethal victimology - an accusation that the horrors unleashed in Paris and elsewhere are driven by the cruelty the West inflicts on Muslims."While the West has certainly made mistakes (which should be acknowledged), Western leaders need to call out this false narrative, expose its falsity and regain the trust of their Muslim citizens.

Paris ringleader’s family torn apart by descent into radicalism -

Abdelhamid's father turned him in to the police.
The father of the Paris massacre mastermind was concerned about the radicalisation of his son, so he shopped him to les flics.
What I wanted to point out here is this: that it's often the descendants of migrants to Europe, not the first-comers, who turn against the countries into which they've been born and which gave them succour.
There are statistics on this in Christipher Caldwell's well-regarded book "Reflections on the Revolution in Europe".
I can't think of any reason why the newly arriving hordes of refugees (1 million so far this year) will be any different. Why should they be?
The new arrivals may well settle down to make lives for themselves. But what of their progeny? Won't some of them also "fall" into Islamism? Clearly some of the doctrines of Islam are potent motivators.
Given that there is a percentage of Muslims who take up violent jihad (between 2% and 10% depending on the poll and the country), then, with mathematical certitude, the more refugees to the west the more violent jihadi attacks there will be in the west.
As the Financial Times article below says: "The story of the Abaaoud family is hardly unprecedented. Molenbeek [Belgium] is strewn with families split apart by sons and brothers who have fallen into radicalism." [my emphasis].
Note that word "fallen".
But fallen into what exactly?
Well, "fallen" into the Koran, the Hadith and the biography of Muhammad (the Sirah), in which the "perfect example" (as he's known in Islam), shows them the way of the sword, the hatred for infidels, the glory of jihad.
"I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve" (Koran 8:12), says Muhammad, this perfect example of mankind.
And so they flock to follow. Sorry, to "fall".
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Saturday, 21 November 2015

Pacifism is pusillanimous pissantery

Jeremy Corbyn is such a pacifist the he wouldn't even shoot to kill a jihadist armed with an AK-47 spraying infidels with hot lead.
Who loves war?  No clear thinking person does.
But there are times when you have to fight against those that attack us.  Otherwise we die, we nice-thinking people.
The best argument argument against pacifism is the letter that the much-beloved Mahatma Gandhi wrote to the British people on 2 July 1940.
Here's a quote:
I appeal for cessation of hostilities, not because you are too exhausted to fight, but because war is bad in essence. You want to kill Nazism. You will never kill it by its indifferent adoption. Your soldiers are doing the same work of destruction as the Germans [1]. The only difference is that perhaps yours are not as thorough as the Germans. If that be so, yours will soon acquire the same thoroughness as theirs, if not much greater. On no other condition can you win the war. In other words, you will have to be more ruthless than the Nazis. No cause, however just, can warrant the indiscriminate slaughter that is going on minute by minute[2]. I suggest that a cause that demands the inhumanities that are being perpetrated today cannot be called just.
I do not want Britain to be defeated, nor do I want her to be victorious in a trial of brute strength, whether expressed through the muscle or the brain. Your muscular bravery is an established fact. Need you demonstrate that your brain is also as unrivalled in destructive power as your muscle? I hope you do not wish to enter into such an undignified competition with the Nazis. I venture to present you with a nobler and a braver way, worthy of the bravest soldier. I want you to fight Nazism without arms, or, if I am to retain the military terminology, with non-violent arms. I would like you to lay down the arms you have as being useless for saving you or humanity. You will invite Herr Hitler and Signor Mussolini to take what they want of the countries you call your possessions. [3]. Let them take possession of your beautiful island, with your many beautiful buildings. You will give all these, but neither your souls, nor your minds. If these gentlemen choose to occupy your homes, you will vacate them. If they do not give you free passage out, you will allow yourself, man, woman and child, to be slaughtered, but you will refuse to owe allegiance to them.
This is truly revolting advice.
[1].  The first example I know of, of moral equivalence, the scourge of current discourse.  The defenders of aggression are the same as the attackers.  Those fighting against IS/ISIL are just as bad as IS, because they also happen to kill innocent people.
[2].  Some causes do in fact warrant "indiscriminate slaughter" if the cause be freedom.  That was so in both of the two World Wars.  Noone wants to repeat those wars.  But had they not been fought, we'd all be Nazis now.
[3]. The bottom line of pacifism: let them take what they want.  How on earth can this be right?Imagine if Churchill and the British people had taken Gandhi's advice. Well, it doesn't bear imagining, because we'd now be into the 70th years of the thousand year Nazi dynasty.

My sum of all this: Gandhi was ghastly.

Here's the whole letter.

Body Bags in Paris -

Roger Cohen taking Obama to task for his shocking performance at a press conference last Monday in Turkey, which even Democrats have criticized.
Obama was patronizing, dismissive and arrogant. He was more impassioned about taking in refugees to the US than about the Paris massacres.
There is much that the US could do other than simply staying the course, as Obama insists. No-fly zones, arming Kurds, leading a coalition to retake territory from ISIS.
And that's just little me, sitting here in my comfy house in Hong Kong.
Obama says his military and national security advisers tell him that he's got the right strategy. But that's simply untrue when one sees what some of them have said in the media. Most of the American public want him to get back on the front foot
In the press conference, he really does come across as clueless. He's clueless that he's clueless because he's arrogant. He has it right, noone else has.
Obama's body language: have a look at the way Obama enters the room in Ankara to face the press. Just ambling. As Cohen says, "words and body language aren't everything. Still, they count."
Cohen concludes:
"The West has lost its spine, a spine called America."
As Paul Keating might have said, Obama is looking for a spine to shiver up.

Europe’s Welcome Sign to Terrorists -

The former Secretary General of Interpol warns that having open borders, as in the so-called Schengen countries of Europe, without the proper vetting procedures "aids and abets terrorism".
He goes on: "The failure to thoroughly screen passports or check identities at border crossings is simply irresponsible in the face of global terrorism."
Of course there are many, especially on the left, who are so besotted with the the "European project", that they will deny these observations of one who should know, ex head of the International Police.