Monday, 25 July 2016

What Has Congress Ever Done for Us? - WSJ

You're kidding right?  I did a double-take when I read your list of "achievements" of the current Republican Congress. 
Start with everything the GOP Congress has prevented. Universal pre-K, gun regulation, a $15 national minimum wage, an ObamaCare bailout for insurers, equal pay regulation, more disclosure of campaign donations, "free" community college, a new "infrastructure bank," closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay, among many others. President Obama proposed each of those, often more than once, but they vanished faster than Martin O'Malley 's presidential campaign thanks to the GOP Congress.
To Democrats, of course, the list is one of desirables, not a list to "vanish". 
But it would also be supported, from what I read, here and there, by a large number of Republicans and hence by a majority of Americans. 
The list is hardly one to be proud of. Not one to vote "thanks to Congress". It's a shame on Congress, rather. 

Peter Forsythe
Siena One Drive
Discovery Bay
Hong Kong
+853 9308 0799

Saturday, 23 July 2016

When It Comes to Islam, Western Leaders Are Liars or Idiots | PJ Media

From a link in the article below, reference to Saudi Arabia, our supposed ally:
"According to this governmentally-supported fatwa, Muslims—that is, the entire Saudi citizenry—must 'oppose and hate whomever Allah commands us to oppose and hate, including the Jews, the Christians, and other mushrikin [non-Muslims], until they believe in Allah alone and abide by his laws, which he sent down to his Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings upon him.'
"To prove this, Baz quotes a number of Koran verses that form the doctrine of 'Loyalty and Enmity' -- the same doctrine every Sunni jihadi organization evokes to the point of concluding that Muslim men must hate their Christian or Jewish wives (though they may enjoy them sexually)."
Article linked within this one>>

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It's official: I'm a moderate righty.. Take the test

That's me in the pink circle, just around Stephen Crabb, who I've never heard of, on the left of the Conservative Party, and on the right of the Labour party.  Middle of the road, then.... But note: near Boris!
Take the test.

What Republicans Really Think About Trump -

A great selection of quotes by Republicans about Donald Trump, from Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times.
My favorite: "Hillary is preferable to Trump, just like malaria is preferable to Ebola. …" from Jamie Weinstein.
That's basically the Sam Harris view (and mine, if I were American and could vote). That given the dangers of Trump, one must hold one's nose and vote Hillary.
Though it will be interesting to see the libertarian Johnson, if he gets on the debate stage. He just needs a few more percentage points to make the platform. Incredibly he's up from 1% in 2012 to 13% now. And that's without having had any profile at all.
He may just make a third party candidate credible for the first time. I wonder who he will mostly take votes from. I suspect from otherwise GOP voters (though I haven't seen figures on that yet).
In any case, the quotes are a hoot. Never before, I suspect, have voters so hated their own candidate.

Friday, 22 July 2016

What Has Congress Ever Done for Us? - WSJ

I did a double take when I read this bit in the Wall Street Journal editorial yesterday. They're proud of this? 
You don't have to be a loony lefty to support all or most of these (though I don't know the ins and outs of the  bailout of Obamacare insurers, to be frank). 
You might even be a liberal-leaning Republican, of which there are rather many, to support these Democratic initiatives, or most of them. Indeed there's probably a majority of Americans who would rather that all of these had been passed rather than stopped by the Republicans as part of "what they've done"'for the nation. 
"Start with everything the GOP Congress has prevented. Universal pre-K, gun regulation, a $15 national minimum wage, the ObamaCare bailout for insurers, equal pay regulation, more disclosure of campaign donations, "free" community college, a new "infrastructure bank," closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay, among many others."

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Greenies caused climate change

How so?
Here's how:
In the late sixties the world, led by the US, was gearing up to massively expand nuclear energy. 
The greenies stepped in to stop it. Especially Greenpeace, which launched its savvy scare points. We know them to this day: nuclear meltdown (Jane Fonda in "The China Syndrome"), terrorism, and nuclear waste. 
Each of these is debunked. But the broad mass of the first world people still believe them and trot them out at first hint of a pro nuclear argument.  
The accidents at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukishima (3 in 70 years), don't prove the danger of nuclear power. They prove the opposite. Workers directly killed: zero. People dying as a result of the accidents: in the thousands. Over seven decades, that's minuscule. Especially compared with the coal industry that dominates electricity production as a result of the greenies stopping nuclear: millions killed every year by emphysema from coal particulates and thousands killed every year mining the stuff (3,000+ per year in China alone). 
Fukishima was an outdated technology sited on a fault line hit by a once in a thousand year tsunami. Still, killed in the accident: zero. 
Had the greenies not opposed nuclear, the technology would be even more advanced by now than it is. And it's already way ahead of Fukishima-era nuclear. 
The world gets 11% of its electricity (21+ thousand TWh/a) from nuclear. For every nuclear station we now have, if we had ten instead, we would need no coal, no oil, no natural gas, no renewables. We would be fully electrified with zero carbon energy. 
4,350 stations instead of 435. 
The reason we are not already at zero-carbon electricity is simple: the greenies. Especially Greenpeace. 
Instead, because of them, we have pushed renewables to the detriment of the only truly carbon-free energy. And the result has been unintended consequences like those set out in the New York Times article below. (It's a lefty paper, the "paper of record", so it must be right, right?)

From the New York Times:
"How Renewable Energy Is Blowing Climate Change Efforts Off Course"

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Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Trump Is Getting Even Trumpier! -

Meantime... While the cable world swoons over Trump and his Trumpkins (see my post immediately before this), David Brooks shows how Daddy Trump is getting nuttier....

Holy Trump, Batman!

Got a bit tired of the tone at Fox In covering the RNC, so switched to CNN. 
I thought I'd switched back to Fox by mistake!
The CNN panel loved the Republican convention and especially loved the Trump kids' speeches which they thought they'd "knocked out of the park". 
I agree. Tiffany, 23, poised and elegant. Donald Jnr, forceful, fair, "presidential" even. The panel thought Donald should learn from his son....
Strange times...

The Most Extreme Republican Platform in Memory -

A true indictment of the misery and close-mindedness of the Right in America.
For all the disruption and damage that Donald Trump has meant for Republicans, the party's statement of its views in its newly written convention platform rivals him for shock value. Platforms are traditionally written by and for the party faithful and largely ignored by everyone else. But this year, the Republicans are putting out an agenda that demands notice....This majority has triumphed in securing retrograde positions that include making no exceptions for rape or women’s health in cases of abortion; requiring the Bible to be taught in public high schools; selling coal as a “clean” energy source; demanding a return of federal lands to the states; insisting that legislators use religion as a guide in lawmaking; appointing “family values” judges; barring female soldiers from combat; and rejecting the need for stronger gun controls — despite the mass shootings afflicting the nation every week.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Surprising New Evidence Shows Bias in Police Use of Force but Not in Shootings -

Re your BBC Trending of 14 July The black cop who has a problem with 'Black Lives Matter' there's the latest data in the below-linked article, front-paged in a recent International New York Times.  It contradicts many of comments by your associate professor Stinson, in his rebuttal of Officer Stalien's views. 
This study is the latest in the field. It was carried out by a prize-winning young African-American professor at Harvard University. 
Key conclusion: shootings of blacks by the police are at a lower RATE than police shootings of all other races. 

Saudi Arabia: Male Guardianship Boxes Women In | Video

Courtesy Human Rights Watch which may mean that the widely known (in the blogosphere) mistreatment of women in Islam, here in the shape of Saudi Arabia, may now get broader attention because HRW is a widely respected organization and never guilty of "Islamophobia"!
Women are permanent legal minors. And this horrid place is an "ally".
(Beirut) – Saudi Arabia's male guardianship system remains the most significant impediment to women's rights in the country despite limited reforms over the last decade, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Adult women must obtain permissions from a male guardian to travel abroad, marry, or be released from prison, and may be required to provide guardian consent to work or get health care. These restrictions last from birth until death, as women are, in the view of the Saudi state, permanent legal minors.

The Year China Inc. Bet Big on the U.S. - WSJ

There sure are problems in Sino-US relations. Our local South China Sea disputes big amongst them. And US firms in China are facing increasing problems from a nativist, protectionist China.
Meantime China investment in the US is booming.
There are plenty of problems with Sino-American relations, but investment by Chinese companies isn't one of them. China Inc. is voting for America, even if presidential candidates haven't noticed

Monday, 18 July 2016

"Vast majority of Muslims are peaceful", SCMP Letters, July 17

LETTER TO SCMP (392 words):
Siddiq Bazarwala claims to speak "on behalf of ordinary Muslims" (Vast majority of Muslims are peaceful, Letters, July 17) .  He also claims to speak on behalf of "Hong Kong people" who, he says, "broadly understand that recent events in the West are a consequence of its failed foreign policies in Muslim countries….". 
Well, excuse me, but Bazarwala does not speak on behalf of this Hong Kong person. 
I do not accept that Islamic terrorist barbarities are the result of failed foreign policies.  But that's a question for another day. 
I'll also pass by Bazarwala's comparisons of Islamic terrorist acts with drunk driving accidents or getting a speeding ticket.  These clearly trivialize terrorism. 
Rather, I'll focus on his assertion that "the vast majority (more than 99.9 per cent) of the world's Muslim population cannot be held responsible for the heinous actions of fringe groups like ISIS…". 
Harvard professor Niall Ferguson wrote in these pages (2 April 2016) that ISIS has  "... a minimum of 63 million supporters -- and that is based on opinion polls in just 11 countries." 
That number may well be 130 plus million if extrapolated.  (1,000 times more than Bazarwala claims).
Those 10% of the worlds' Muslims support the most extreme, the most barbaric, the most cruel, the most agressive manifestation of Islam. (and ISIS is not "nothing to do with Islam"). 
Other polls of Muslims around the world show shockingly high levels of bigotry.  70% of Muslim countries criminalise apostasy.  82% of Egyptian Muslims favour stoning to death for adultery and 84% want death for apostasy.  Pluralities of Muslims in the West want the imposition of Sharia law
Yet Bazarwala says "peace and harmony will prevail", if we just  "understand" that Muslim leaders condemn terrorist attacks.  Sure, Siddiq.  But that's not nearly enough. 
A more intellectually honest young Muslim, Omar Mahmood wrote in June:
"Their statement [about the latest jihadi attack] condemns the massacre, distances it from Muslims, and stresses that we must all live in harmony. That much is predictable, and commendable. But the statement fails to give American Islam what it needs most, and what is missing from the political and social media response: intellectual honesty." 
If Bazarwala believes he speaks on "behalf of ordinary Muslims", intellectual honesty demands they face these serious issues in Islamic ideology, beliefs which many millions on "ordinary Muslims" hold.
Peter Forsythe
9 Siena One
Discovery Bay
9308 0799

Friday, 15 July 2016

War on *terrorism* ??


Everyone seems to be saying that this is a "war on terrorism", or as French PM Valls just said in Nice, "terrorism has declared war" on the west.
This would be like saying, in WW2, that the Allies were at "war on Panzer tanks", or that "U-boats have declared war" on the Allies.
The west must come to its senses. We -- the Allies -- are at war with the ideology of Islam. Because they are at war with us.
Terrorism is just its tactics. The French truck is its Panzer tank. You can't be at war with a tactics you have to be at war with a competing ideology.
Why is it at war with us? Because the Koran tells them to.
This is a war not with terrorism, but with an ideology. The ideology of Islam. Pure and simple.

Peter Forsythe
Hong Kong

FGM in Islamic texts


Congratulation for covering the barbarity of FGM.
But…. you said that FGM is "not in any religious text".
Actually, it is in Islamic religious texts.  
It's in the Umdat al-Salik  ("The Reliance of the Traveller"), the Classic Manual of Islamic Jurisprudence, approved by Al-Azhar University, the oldest and most authoritative university in the Islamic world and the one which Obama spoke at on June 4 2009.
At e4.3 the Umdat says: 
"Circumcision is obligatory for both men and women.  For men it consists of removing the prepuce from the penis and for women removing the prepuce of the clitoris…" [my emphasis].
(Sorry to be so graphic, it's in the text….)
Sure, FGM was a cultural thing before Islam.  But then Mohammad gave it his seal of approval, which made it normative in the Islamic world, the reason that it's almost exclusively practiced in majority Islam countries today.
Kudos to the Masai cricket team and their campaign against FGM!
Peter Forsythe.
Discovery Bay
Hong Kong

"A map of all the countries Boris Johnson has offended"

France Truck Attack

80 killed. 100s injured. In Nice, France. At their Bastille Day fireworks.
You can bet your bottom dollar it "has nothing to do with Islam".

LATER: had to shift to CNN to see when would be the first mention, and they had two folks (can't remember either name), about 1.5 hours after the attack.  One said that it was France's fault for the Burka ban and for Charlie Hebdo.  One said it might be a "global nihilist" group.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Australian Story: the Bendigo Mosque kerfuffle

Australia TV produces a rather sweet show called "Australian Story". Stuff like the Vietnamese refugee boat-child who became a cop, loves her job and loves Australia. That sort of thing. (That one was rather moving: a multi-tissue episode).
Here in Hong Kong they just replayed the 25 November 2015 episode, called "A Force of Nature".
It's a story set in Bendigo which, like the show, is also rather sweet. Though there's been a tinge of sour in the sweet, it seems. The "small Muslim community" there wants to build a mosque and the residents are revolting.
Residents are worried about sharia making inroads into their small Aussie town.
If we believe the ABC, the opponents are all tattooed skinheads, spittle-flecked racists. At least they're the only sort you see in the show.
Then there's the kind Spalding lady who stands up to this "bigotry and intolerance".
This is her story. It is she who is the Force of Nature.
Now that's all fine. The classic story of good v bad.
Except that this well-intentioned "force of nature" may well end up doing bad by Bendigo. Unintended consequence, of course.
The anti-mosque crowd are presented at slathering bigots. But there is a serious concern about immigrants who are also votaries of Islam. Not of other religions and certainly not of a race. But concern about the ideology of Islam. This supremacist, sectarian, homophobic, misogynist, ideology.
It's a concern that non-skinheads, non-bigoted, non-intolerant people can share. Such concerned citizens see the challenge to Australia of the pressure for implementation of sharia law.
In Muslim countries the support for sharia is up to 98% and never lower than 51%.
Amongst Muslims in the west a plurality and often a majority favour the introduction of sharia, often a majority favoring sharia for we infidels as well as Muslims.
I'm sorry, but I don't want the slightest chance that I might have to live under the horrid statutes of sharia. And neither do many fine, non-tattooed folk of Bendigo. No matter how much the Force of Nature might try to shame them from her virtuous eyrie.
See pew polls >>
So there really is a cause for concern about the Muslim community in Bendigo and its mosques. They may be "very small" now, but that will change and by all experience half or more of them will push for sharia law in Australia.
They've already done so elsewhere in Australia. So they have form. And for all those that shout "Islamophobia" I suggest that they way to overcome that is for Muslims to commit to live and let live. To publicly commit to abiding by Australian secular law.
That would go a long way to allay fears.
So far they're doing the opposite:
See link here >>

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Wednesday, 13 July 2016

China's world view

Melting Pot Has Been Destroyed by Diversity

Good points made in this letter to the editor of the International New York Times.

To much diversity as bad -- maybe worse -- than too little. The awful price of multiculturalism, divided societies, with hyphenated Americans. It embeds people in what "community" you are, not on who you are or what you can be. 

You cannot become Chinese or Hispanic or Eskimo; one is either born so, or not. But one—everyone—can choose to become American ("At Home in America" by Aatish Taseer, Review, July 2). I know, because I did, immigrating to this country in 1959. I did not abandon my Hungarian origins or family, but I did embrace the values and mindset of a free and brave people, bound by common ideals and a heritage that was inheritable and sharable by the simple act of pledging allegiance to a flag.

Sadly, the melting pot of my youth is gone, replaced by an insidious celebration of diversity. Diversity celebrates not common goals, common values, common aspirations and certainly not who you are. Diversity enshrines what you are, embeds you in what "community" you belong to.

I am glad that Mr. Taseer has found his home, as I did so many years ago. But I fear that few of his fellow American immigrants and citizens share his longing to be "free of the past, and safe in the future." Rather, they are busy throwing away our common American identity in the name of diversity. Differences, "the knots of intractable history that [are] integral to identity," divide and rule more and more every day in America, too.

A. Jackson

Avila Beach, Calif.