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Showing posts from November, 2012

Mega trends

I see three, at least:

One: gas and oil from fracking. Making the US and other countries (the UK, if it wants, Australia) independent of Middle East Oil.  Seems Israel also has exploitable resources, that it could export to Europe.  Imagine that as a game changer!  The savings in carbon dioxide emissions from this technology already outweigh all those from renewables.

Two: a new spaceplane, with revolutionary engine that is both jet and rocket: the Skylon.

Three: the Arab winter (aka "spring"), which is bringing Islamism ever more widely and deeply to the Middle East, and will be a key challenge to the west.   And depress even further economic growth in those benighted countries.

"The voodoo maths of nuclear energy opponents"

After the loss of 10 million American lives in the Three Mile Island calamity in 1979, the death of two billion in the Chernobyl holocaust in 1986, and now the abandonment of all of northern Japan following the death of millions in last year's Fukushima nuclear catastrophe, it is hardly surprising that the world's biggest users of nuclear power are shutting their plants down.
Oh, wait a minute … nobody died in the Three Mile Island calamity, some 30 people were killed and 15 others subsequently died of thyroid cancer in the Chernobyl holocaust, and nobody died in the Fukushima catastrophe. In fact, northern Japan has not been evacuated. But never mind all that. They really are shutting their nuclear plants down. They have already shut them down in Japan. All of the country's 50 nuclear reactors were closed for safety checks after the tsunami damaged the Fukushima plant, and only two have reopened so far. The government wants to close every plant in Japan permanently by 20…

"Calls to End Child Marriages in Malaysia After 12-Year-Old Weds "

You see, Sharia it is, that allows the underage marriage of girls in Muslim countries.  I wrote about that in more detail here.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — The marriage of a 12-year-old Malaysian girl has outraged advocates for children and women, who called Monday for a ban on child marriage.
In Malaysia, a Muslim-majority country, the legal marrying age is 16 for Muslim girls and 18 for Muslim men. However, they can marry before those ages with the permission of their parents and the Shariah courts.
The girl, Nor Fazira Saad, married her boyfriend, Mohammad Fahmi Alias, 19, on Nov. 17 and the groom’s family held a celebration last Saturday, according to local news media reports.

'Islam changed life of terror suspect'

Well, yes, it did change his life.  It made him plan to "...  to join al-Qaeda and the Taliban in their plot to kill Americans and bomb US bases abroad, including the Philippines."
Crazy story here.

Two views on Gaza and Israel

I post these links with no comment -- for the moment -- both in today's International Herald Tribune, under the titles "Gaza I" and "Gaza II", respectively:

Hamas left Israel no choice.  Michael Oren, Israel's ambassador to the United States.
What can the Arabs do? Patrick Seale, author of "The Struggle for Arab Independence"

Who are you going to believe, me, or your lying eyes?

You've got to hand it to the Islam apologists, they hold on to their cognitive dissonance to the bitter end:  "Islam is a religion of peace", despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.  Here, for example, is Mustafa Kuko, commenting on the four Muslim charged with planning terrorist acts in the US:
Kuko said he is frustrated whenever Islam is linked with terrorism.
“Sometimes when people see this in the media, people will say, ‘This is Islam,’” he said. “Then they won’t believe what we say when we say Islam is a religion of peace.” Gee, why don't we believe that Islam is a "religion of peace"?
Maybe because 94% of terrorist acts in the US are by Muslims.Maybe because of the underwear bomber, the shoe bomber, the Times Square bomber, the Fort Hood bomber, etc, etc, are all pious Muslims.Maybe because other jihad terror plotters such as Adbulhakim  Muhammad, Khalid Aldawsari, Baitullah Mehsud and Roshonara Choudhry, among many others, reference Islamic …

"The sheer wilful stupidity of official inaction on pollution" in Hong Kong

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The always worth-reading Tom Holland, a few days ago in the South China Morning Post, makes the best case for action on pollution.  Hong Kong's a great place to live, but the single biggest drawback, mentioned by literally everyone living here, is pollution.  Direction from the top, and things could be done.
Tom's article is below the fold.

... Islam, peace and concessions

The summary paras of Peter Hitchens' [brother of the late Christopher] blog in the Mail:
My guess is that, as the Muslim population grows [in the UK], this process [Islamisation] will continue more strongly. The moment at which we might have said ‘Yes, you are welcome but this is and remains a specifically Christian society’ seems to me to have passed. It will be very interesting to see how this is dealt with at the Coronation of our next monarch - which must inevitably come, sad as it is to contemplate the loss of our present Queen.
Likewise, the moment at which we could have limited the levels of migration has probably gone. It would now be politically far easier to leave things as they are than to place new limits of migration. This means that the current arrangement, under which more or less wholly Muslim communities now exist in several parts of the country, into which there is continued migration of young husbands and wives from these communities’ ancestral countries, will co…

8 Viral Obama photos

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Battle over Christmas in Denmark

From "How one local decision created a national 'War on Christmas'"....

Christmas is typically such a festive time, but for one housing association in the Zealand town of Kokkedal, it has, thus far, been anything but.
It all started when the association’s nine-person board, five of whom are Muslim, voted against having a Christmas tree this year. They apparently balked at the estimated 7,000 kroner of the tree, but had earlier had no qualms about spending some 60,000 kroner on a party celebrating the Muslim holiday of Eid.  On BBC radio yesterday, they interviewed some Danish citizens on the issue.  The first one said that this was a matter of "democracy".  If the association voted this way, then that was democracy and he was fine with it. I thought, "huh??"  What if they voted to institute Sharia in Kokkedal?  Would that be fine too?  Fact is, no association, no organisation, can vote to contract themselves out of the laws of the country.  This c…

Anti fascism march in France, and thoughts on "high dosage affirmative action" for French Muslims

Meantime, another French related story: the mainstream media finds out that Islam is nasty!  John Vinocur's "French Estrangements".

Vinocur suggests that what is needed to overcome the anti-white racism of the Muslims in France is "massive investment -- call it high dosage affirmative action -- on the newcomers' future education and employment".

A few points on this:
1.  When I arrived in Australia in the mid fifties, I spoke only Italian and so was sent to what was then called  a "migrant's class" to learn English.  I, like the millions of southern Europeans then migrating to Australia, learnt English quickly and integrated into Oz society. The same is true for later floods of Vietnamese, Cambodian, Greek and Chinese migrants to Australia. Neither they, nor I, needed "high dosage affirmative action". Why should Muslims?  And if they really do, surely that begs the question of why let more into the country, when they are so high mai…

"What about Xi Jinping's election"

That's the question from an occasional reader....
"What about Xi Jinping's election?".  That is as the new supreme leader in China, the head of the Standing Committee of the Politburo, Xi Jinping.
My answer: "Long predicted; I don't expect anything new from him".
Question: "Fair enough, but what new things would you want?"
Answer: about four:
1.  A real move against corruption.  In particular a move against confiscation of people's property.  This is such a sore point in China that there are literally tens of thousands of demonstrations against it every year; but little done.
2.  Make the Yuan fully convertible. So that it floats and allows free flow of capital in and out of China.
3.  Full media freedom.
4.  Independent Judiciary

And I guess I ought to add a fifth: move to democratic selection of the leadership

But I don't expect any move on any of these, even the first four, let alone the fifth.  Not with the current line up, which …

The coffee shop fallacy

This is the "coffee shop fallacy": you're in a coffee shop, an outdoor cafe somewhere.  In a pleasant square, maybe Taksim Square in Istanbul, or the Djemaa el-Fna in Marrakesh, or even in a non-Muslim country, Piazza Navona in Rome, say. And you get into a friendly discussion with the folk at the next table.  Turns out they're Muslims, they invite you to join them, maybe, or even dine with them.
And you come away thinking "goodness me, I never knew Muslims before and I always suspected them; now I find they're regular people.  That business about Islam being violent and dangerous: it must be wrong...".
Here it is in the latest incarnation in "The Stories of Our Fathers", by Aman Ali, IHT Global Opinion, 9 Nov.
Ali, a sometime stand-up comedian, gives a performance in Berlin, after which a fellow named David comes up to him:
“I’ve never met a Muslim before.”
He continued: “And I’ll be honest with you, I’m really afraid of you guys. I hear ab…

What is a "moderate" Islamist?

I've been hearing that term a lot lately on BBC Radio here in Hong Kong: "moderate Islamist".
Just what is this creature?  Interpolating from the context of BBC's reports, I'm inclined to think that a "moderate" Islamist is one who's in power (Morsi in Egypt), or one who may be about to ascend to power (Mouaz al-Khatib in Syria).  That way, by labelling these fundamentalist Muslims as "moderate", they become, by the magic of terminology, people that -- as the BBC has it -- we can "welcome" to power.
But the definition of Islamist, wherever you look on the internet, would seem to preclude their being "moderate".  Unless by "moderate" you mean that they will try to instil Sharia law only step-by-step, say, rather than all at once; or to expand the Islamic caliphate by stealth rather than by terror.
For any Islamist, whether "moderate", or "extreme", or anything in between is committed to:
Im…

"To slow global warming, tax carbon"

This article by Dieter Helm strikes me as rather sensible.  He notes, inter alia, that the numbers for wind farms just don't add up.  Nor do they for all the other present-day renewables. And that nuclear must be a part of any mix of lower-carbon futures.
Another significant trend just starting to seep into public consciousness: that the US may soon be energy independent, and have oil output greater than Saudi Arabia.  And, btw, that  US carbon emissions are dropping faster than in any other developed country (move to gas, and better efficiencies), and way better than China.
Anyway, read the article; it's a good one.

In defence of the Diplomatic Service

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"Respecting Islam"

This article covers in some detail the question I've often asked myself: "why would anyone convert to Islam?".
I mean, I understand why people remain Muslim who are born Muslim: it's a social and cultural thing.  And in many countries, leaving it is very bad for one's health.
But as to why you'd convert, assuming that you did your due diligence, which must at the very least  involve a reading of its core documents -- the Trinity of Islam -- that one's always puzzled me.  You read of the violence inherent in that Trinity, its supremacism, homophobia, misogyny, anti-semitism, and deep-down hate of anyone not Muslim, and then you say to yourself "yup, that's the religion for me".  That truly puzzles me, unless you buy into all that horrid stuff.
Professor Joseph Spoerl's essay is a learned look at the question and well worth the read.

Shaken, not stirred...

Obama by a landslide (my prediction)

I thought months ago that he'd win by a landslide and still think that.
The polls have him pretty even with Romney.
But I'm betting people will think again when they enter the voting booth...
Let's see...
LATER (10 NOV): well, I got it exactly right: Florida's gone to Obama and that makes 331 (I think) electoral votes for Obama, vs 203 for Romney, plus win on popular vote to Obama, which pretty well makes it a "landslide", I reckon..

Knowing nice Muslim folk doesn't mean Islam is benign

I have overcome my own prejudice by getting to know Muslims.  [In "Is the New York Times Review of Books  afraid of Islam?"] This is such a common comment: you get to know Muslims, your neighbours, or those on a trip to the middle east, or Africa, and they're just like ordinary folk! And so, by extension, there's nothing to worry about in Islam.
It's also nonsense. It makes no more sense than meeting nice folk in the old Soviet Union and concluding that there was nothing to worry about in Communism.
I have myself met many very nice and friendly Muslims: in all my travels in Malaysia, Indonesia and the Middle East, so many, so friendly.  I had a Muslim colleague I was doing business with in Egypt, a fine man, we planned to joint venture with; nothing to worry about with him.  Indeed, I can safely say that I've not met one, not one Muslim anywhere in my travels, who's given me cause for concern about Sharia, the caliphate, Islamic supremacism, let alone ter…

Dopey article....

In the Huffpo, naturally: "What Would America's Founding Fathers Say About Islam?"
I had this to say, in a quick comment, awaiting moderation:

But John Adams' son, John Quincy, the 6th President had this to say about Islam:
"The precept of the Koran is, perpetual war against all who deny, that Mahomet is the prophet of God. The vanquished may purchase their lives, by the payment of tribute; the victorious may be appeased by a false and delusive promise of peace; and the faithful follower of the prophet, may submit to the imperious necessities of defeat: but the command to propagate the Moslem creed by the sword is always obligatory, when it can be made effective. The commands of the prophet may be performed alike, by fraud, or by force."

Why do you suppose that there is such a thing (allegedly) as "Islamophobia", but not Hindu-phobia, Buddho-phobia, Catho-phobia? Quite simply because Islam is sui generis: unique amongst religions in having a develop…

Tunisia, a sad year later

The New York Times finally twigs. This is what the counter-jihad movement was warning about all along, for which they get labelled cynical and "Islamophobic"....
A year later, we have no democracy, no trust in elected officials, no improved constitution. Human rights and women’s rights are threatened. The economy is tanking.... The rest is here.