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Showing posts from September, 2015

The Prison Problem - NYTimes.com

I've always thought that the reason America has so many people behind bars (the highest incarceration rate in the developed world) was mainly due to the war on drugs -- which out many non-violent offenders in jail.
But according to this article by David Brooks, that's not the case. The reasons are more complex than that and include, mainly, a much more aggressive prosecutorial system.
Read on>>

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/09/29/opinion/david-brooks-the-prison-problem.html?_r=0&referer=https://www.google.com.hk/

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What Americans, Europeans think of immigrants

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Interesting results from recent Pew Research.
"What Americans, Europeans think of immigrants"

Malaysia warns of planned terrorist attack | smh.com.au

Well, I gotta say this is amazing. Ten suspected terrorists arrested in Malaysia in just the last month. Five are in the Military, one a police officer and one a kindergarten teacher!
One wonders how many were missed.
And all this in a poster child for "moderate Islam", our near neighbour, Malaysia.
The wonders of Islam.

America for One Day - WSJ

Interesting article from Bret Stephens ($).
But no way Chinese President Xi Jinping, now visiting the U.S. will even read this "letter", let alone follow the advice to study the US. Rather, Xi will go his own, and China its own, way. And just now, that's not a good way: more authoritarian, less reformist.

Germany Arrests ISIS Recruiter Posing as Asylum Seeker

How many more?
A Lebanese minister told Cameron recently, during the latter's visit to refugee camps there, that about 2% of those in Lebanese camps are suspected of being ISIS supporters. That would make, say, 20,000 of the million or so expected to arrive in Europe this year, encouraged by the idiocies of Nanny Merkel.
Read the article at Clarion Project.

The Regressive Backlash to Maajid Nawaz & Sam Harris | NOTA

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Have been following this issue quite closely. It concerns the great Sam Harris, after all! And Maajid Nawaz, for whom I have growing admiration.  Simple story: an atheist and reforming Muslim, discuss ways in which Islam might (or might not) be reformed, and the problems with some of the ideas of Islam.  They talk of ideas -- and the impact ideas can have on action-- not of individual Muslims.
This is one of the best summaries of the slurs, ad hominem and lack of integrity amongst the "regressive" left over the issue of criticism the ideas of Islam. The ideas and ideology, mind, not the Muslim people.

No Go Zones and The European Migration Crisis | TSEC Network

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A while back the leftist press went ballistic when an American politician mentioned Islamic "no-go zones" in Europe and the UK. No such areas exist, they insisted. And they forced an unusual, unnecessary, but craven, apology by Fox News that had broadcast the offensive politician's comments.
I wrote at the time that such zones did indeed exist, even if they might not have been called "no-go zones". Eg, in France they're called "sensitive urban areas", and there are many hundreds of them.
This article linked below (from the Terrorism and Security Experts of Canada website) has a lot more detail on re extent of, and growth in the number of, such zones.
To deny the existence of areas controlled by Islamic Sharia law, right in the heart of Europe, is not just plain wrong. It's also insane.
They must be reclaimed. Don't tell me they can't be. By the police, or army if need be. It's a failure of political will. Of guts to face t…

'2 in 100' Syrian refugees may be IS members, Cameron told | The Times of Israel

Great. That comes to around 20,000 ISIS sleepers, so far, in Europe from the current floods there.
Assume the Lebanese Minister who told Cameron this, is out by 50%; it's still 10,000. Or so.
Of course, just a few is too many.

Turning back refugee boats saves lives - as Australia found out » The Spectator

From Tom Switzer in The Spectator, 12th September:
Most ordinary Australians are shocked that our immensely civilised country is reviled in polite society here and abroad, when the world has so many blatant human rights abusers. The latest accusation comes from a New York Times article complaining that our policies on asylum-seekers are harsh, insensitive, callous and even brutal, and urges European nations not to copy them. Yet the policies on border protection of Tony Abbott and John Howard before him should be a lesson to Britain.Read on>>>

Germany’s Real Refugee Crisis - NYTimes.com

As we've been saying for some time.  In a sentence: the peaceniks are responsible for the refugee floods.  Clemens Wergin says this is not just a humanitarian crisis, but also a security crisis.  Bur maybe the peaceniks don't mind; prefer, perhaps, the present outcome.  I wonder how many Germans, if they could have their time over, and if they knew that some intervention in Syria would have prevented the mass exodus, would still have chosen the present outcome?  That is, considered it better to have millions flooding into Germany, rather than take any military action at all?  Not a few, I'd bet.  Germany, which is absorbing by far the largest number of refugees, is reaping the results of its own reluctance to engage abroad and its failure, as the leading country in the European Union, to galvanize fellow member states against the mass atrocities of Syria's dictator, Bashar al-Assad — crimes that fueled the refugee crisis and helped the rise of the Islamic State. [The r…

For Jeremy, a fact is a fact because he says it is

Consider this: in his acceptance speech, new Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn denounced "grotesque" levels of inequality in the UK.
What are the real facts, though? The UK's GIni index, the measure of income distribution, has improved in recent years and is now amongst the world's best (in the top quartile)
But in order to squash the distribution even flatter, Corbyn's redistribution policies would impoverish Britain. I know this because I saw it first hand in China of the late Cultural Revolution. That was socialism at full throttle. Incomes were certainly more equal than they are now. They were all equally poor. [Some inequality is not a bad thing.  And: China's incomes have grown 13% annually for decades, lifting 600 million out of poverty]
Corbyn says "socialism is the answer". Well, yes, it's the answer if the question is "what's the best system for wrecking the economy?"
Later: Jezza's links with radical Islam.  His supporte…

Germany hopes that stupid is catching.

Stupid Mamma Merkel says welcome to all refugees, no matter who you are, no matter what you believe. Surprise surprise they come and come and come.
We'll take 800,000 this year, says Mamma, no questions asked. We'll abandon the European rules we ourselves established, we'll encourage half a million more each and every year till kingdom come - more than our natural population growth -- we'll tell ourselves that they'll help our aging problem and ease our labour shortage.
Hang on a tick! They're coming in droves! Didn't expect that! We can't handle them! How on earth did that happen? Why, oh why?? And, my heaven, they're all uneducated young men... how many are closet jihadis? And there they are demonstrating already and shouting Allahu Akhbar. Oh my giddy aunt!
Hey you! You there, yes, you, the rest of Europe! You'd better take your share!
You must be stupid, just like us. If you're not already, please become stupid, just like me.…

‘Hong Kong leader is above the executive branch, legislature and courts’, says Beijing’s liaison chief | South China Morning Post

A little emperor for Hong Kong. These words from Peking's main man in Hong Kong, Zhang Xiaoming, are very troubling and ominous.
Peking just doesn't get it. Doesn't understand what makes Hong Kong tick. On this trend we'll soon have to say "what used to make Hong Kong tick".
Hong Kong's judges have a rather different view, understandably, from Zhang Xiaoming's.

Merkel’s grandstanding on Syrian refugees will lead to many more deaths at sea » The Spectator

The point I've been making for a while, namely that Merkel is an idiot on this immigration thing, is made rather more nicely and cogently by my namesake James Forsyth.

Of Escalator etiquette and refugee rights

Letter to the South China Morning Post:
How nice for us here in Hong Kong that we can debate whether to walk or “hold the rail” on MTR’s escalators.  That’s the luxury of a well-regulated and peaceful society.
Meantime, a world away, television shows us refugees and migrants struggling to make it to Europe as Europe struggles to handle them. Less well reported is that we have about 9,900 refugees and asylum-seekers in Hong Kong, and many problems with they way we handle them. On a recent visit to a remand centre in Hong Kong, I was told that many of the inmates were refugees who had (allegedly) committed a crime.  If so, it’s understandable.  They are given (I’m told) just $1,200 per month in food coupons.  Try to live on that in Hong Kong.  Yet the asylum seekers are forbidden to work.  If they do, and are found out, it’s off to the lock-up. Consider the cost of detaining them.  According to the Correctional Services Department their staff of 6,899 looks after 8,284 prisoners  and reman…

And Allah smote them

Extraordinary! News this morning that a huge crane has collapsed on The Grand Mosque killing, so far, over 100 worshippers.
Pious Muslims will say that it's "God's will".
But why would Allah want to kill innocent Muslims? And they will be, those killed, 100% Muslim, because Saudi Arabia, that beacon of tolerance for the Religion of Peace, doesn't allow any non-Muslims, we infidels, to visit Mecca.
And remember that Mecca is the most holy site in the Islamic world. It's the place where Muhammad (pbuh) started preaching the revelations that had been vouchsafed him by the troglodytic angel Gabriel.
In short, there's much to puzzle here. Even to crease the brow of pious Muslims
What has got into Allah? Why is he killing we Muslims, "the best of people" as He calls us? And why in Mecca? Why at the Grand Mosque? Why oh why?
Oh well. Insh'Allah!

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Germany's Appeasement of Radical Islam

Meantime, as Germany dismantles any vestige of control over immigrants and, therefore, of its future, Islamists gain control of the German education and indoctrination curriculum.
And that's according to a report by a *Muslim* cleric not some horrid Islamophobes...
/snip, the conclusion:
"As if history has come full circle, in the span of less than a century, Germany's state institutions are folding again at the mere sight of an organized band of fascists."
>>>
http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/6466/germany-radical-islam

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Open Borders??

Letter to BBC

Why do interview only people who call for open borders, no controls in immigration, one even saying “it doesn’t matter who they are”?

Compassion needed, yes, but not insanity. Of course it matters who they are. (genuine refugees, or jihadis?)
There’s another side: which is concerned for cultural changes and especially concerned about infiltration by ISIS and other Jihadi into the waves of virtually uncontrolled immigration.  These concerns are valid and soundly based  You don’t need to be an Islamophobe, a xenophobe or a bigot to share them.
At the very least there’s an argument / discussion here.  Not just the one side that you’re broadcasting.
Regards, PF, etc... Listening to the World Service in  Discovery Bay Hong Kong (675AM)
PS: why don’t you investigate the make up of the migrants.  Which countries, which religions, which gender, what age?  Motivation: refugee or economic?  This would surely be interesting.  Has someone done it yet?  If not, why not? Also: why not…

More Jihad terror cases in the U.S. in 2015 than in any year since 9/11

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This is amazing.  I did not know that.
From the bipartisan U.S. Homeland Security Committee's "Terror Threat Snapshot".
It's particularly interesting as one is repeatedly told in the mainstream media that Muslims in the U.S. are moderate and well-integrated.

A New Wave of Migrants Flees Iraq, Yearning for Europe - NYTimes.com

And now it's Iraq.
Emboldened by the recent wave of news coverage showing their countrymen and fellow Arabs fleeing the war in Syria and reaching Europe, many Iraqis see a new opportunity to get out. Well D'oh!
What did Europe expect? Extraordinary scenes of well-meaning, compassionate Europeans, clapping the in-comers, handing out food and drink and -- most compellingly, sweetly, but ultimately dangerously naively -- holding up signs saying "Refugees Welcome".
And then Merkel saying that Germany alone can take 500,000 refugees per year.
What's to be expected in the instant Social media world, other than that waves of middle easterners will hop on the next RIB, don lifejacket and  "flee to Europe"?

How did it come to this?

This morning I hear on Australia TV here in Hong Kong, that Australia has committed to take 15,000 Syrian refugees. That's 0.75% of our population.
Meantime Britain has committed to taking just 10,000. That's 0.015% of their population.
Australia has had next to nothing to do with this particular crisis.
Britain has had a lot to do with it -- the Parliamentary refusal to intervene early on (led by Corbynites) being a proximate cause of the current swarm out of Syria.
How does it figure that a far away country with little responsibility for the problem should commit to a burden of FIFTY times greater than a nearby nation with direct responsibility for the problem?
Of course it makes many Australians feel good and pious.
But leaving the problem for later generations.
I predict problems for Australian society directly out of this within 20 years.
I hope I live long enough to be proved wrong.

The West’s Refugee Crisis - WSJ

If Iraq shows the dangers of intervention without a follow-up plan, surely Syria shows the dangers of non-intervention without a follow-up plan.
A police force must not cudgel. But neither should it cringe. That way lies chaos, as we see on American streets where police have been rendered all but inactive in some cities in the wake police killings of blacks and the reactions from the likes of Black Lives Matter.
The same goes for the World Police. See what happens when the U.S. retreats from the world stage.
I confess having thought from the beginning of the "Arab Spring" (oh, cruel irony!), that the West should simply withdraw from the Middle East and leave them to sort out their own mess.
Well, that's not worked out too well.
But that's just little me, sitting in the comfort of my safe Hong Kong home. What do I know?
But what about all the experts and political leaders in the U.S., Europe and the UK? Shouldn't *they* have had an inkling of what migh…

Europe's Tight-Rope Act: Security vs Compassion

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Following on from the preceding post in which Douthat says "prudence has to temper idealism" on the current migrant/refugee crisis, is this balanced take from the Clarion Project:
Concern for refugees cannot be allowed to translate into ignoring the security and cultural risks of admitting thousands of unknown people. Neither can fear for ourselves and our societies be allowed to overrule basic compassion. What one does not do is hold up signs saying "Refugees Welcome" without a thought to what that does to the "pull" factor -- with social media, that's immediately translated to all the Middle East and the human traffickers lick their lips at the bonanza to their business.
Note the link in the Clarion article to an observation by president Obama:
U.S. President Barack Obama identified lack of integration among European Muslims as “possibly the greatest danger Europe faces.” If Obama is saying that lack of integration by European Muslims is "the gr…

Who Failed Aylan Kurdi? - The New York Times

I really like this article by Ross Douthat in the International New York Times. The countries that should be taking in the "migrants and refugees" (based on their responsibility for creating the crisis): Gulf States[*], Iran and U.S.  Countries that are taking them in: Europe, especially Germany.  Douthat's final three paras are an elegant summary.
So prudence has to temper idealism on these issues. There may be a moral obligation to accept refugees in wealthy countries, but there cannot be a moral obligation to accept refugees at a pace one’s own society cannot reasonably bear.
Which means that every country’s obligations may be different. It seems reasonable to believe that by accepting so very, very few refugees — only 1,500 so far — from a conflict our Middle Eastern misadventures worsened, the United States is failing in its obligations to the Syrian people.
But it’s also reasonable to worry that by accepting hundreds of thousandsof refugees on a continent already …

Chinese shelter in the storm: Shanghai park honours city's links with Jewish community

Chinese love Jews. Not just Israel, but Jews. And the feeling is mutual. Jews say that Chinese are "Eastern Jews". They share cultural affinities: belief in education, hard work, the professions, head down and get on with it.
Their diasporas build Chinatowns and Little Israels, distinctive but welcoming to outsiders. (Unlike some other ethnic enclaves)
Here, in Shanghai, a nice story in the South China Morning Post today reporting a new park to remember Shanghai's Jewish ties. Amongst which China's harbouring of over 20,000 Jews during the Second World War.
Not enough is known of this story. (Just as not enough is known of China's contribution to ending that war -- hence China's huge military celebration of the 70th anniversary of VJ, last week in Peking).
I remember first learning about Shanghai's Jewish story during my first visit there in 1976. Later I lived on that marvellous magic mother of a city in the early nineties and found our much more …

"We won't save refugees by destroying our own country", Peter Hitchens

Via comments at a Harry's Place post, a left-of-centre, but heterodox blog, views of Peter Hitchens, younger brother of the late Christopher.

What made non-Muslims convert to Islam, leading to the creation of the Islamic world?

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One of the many things in life I don't get is why people in the west convert to Islam.  Before they do so, one imagines they at least read the Koran (before joining a club, you've got to know what the club's all about), and having finished that hateful book they declare "yup, that's the religion for me". I don't get that.
Raymond Ibrahim doesn't help me get it, in terms of modern conversions to Islam.
But in his "How the Islamic World was Forged", this scholar of Islam explains what made Christians in the Middle East convert to Islam over the centuries after the death of Muhammad.
Quote:
Early historical sources—both Muslim and non-Muslim—make clear that the Islamic empire was forged by the sword; that people embraced Islam, not so much out of sincere faith, but for a myriad of reasons—from converting in order to enjoy the boons of being on the “winning team” to converting in order to evade the dooms of being on the “losing team.” Modern d…

Why Don’t More Muslims Denounce Barbarism? | Observer

[comment to come]
http://observer.com/2014/10/muslims-on-barbarism/


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Islamic State Will Be Defeated - WSJ

Bernhard-Henry Levy, a man of the left who gets the Islamic threat, gives hope that ISIS will be defeated (link below).
One comment: he says that ISIS have a scorched earth policy. I'm sure that's correct on the whole. But there are reports I've read elsewhere that once ISIS is ensconced in a newly-occupied city, the population can feel a sense of relief in their brutal but effective rule, which for the average non-political citizen at least brings peace, a break from fighting and chaos.
Still, I like Levy's powerful rhetoric here.
Let's hope he's right.
"Islamic State Will Be Defeated", Wall Street Journal

Maajid Nawaz: ‘Treat Islamist extremists like the BNP — like racists’ | Maajid Nawaz

Treat jihadis and violent Islamists like racists, so say Maajid Nawaz, mate of Sam Harris,with whom he's co-written a book to come out shortly. ("Islam and the future of tolerance", IIRC).
Nawaz calls those on the left who carry water for the Islamists the "regressive left", which I think is a fine term, for that sort of reflex anti Americanism, that will hitch up its even the violent thugs of Isis because of that world view.
The Times calls Nawaz one of a tiny minority, of one, of liberal Muslins in the UK. Thus putting the lie to the oft-repeated mantra that it's the violent extremists who are a "tiny minority". A revelation (or admission) that was no doubt inadvertent, for the Times -- in common with all mainstream media -- prefers to toe the line that Islam is a Religion of Peace that's sometimes hijacked by that "tiny minority" of extremists.
All power to Maajid Nawaz.
http://maajidnawaz.com/maajid-nawaz-treat-islamis…

Article The Timothy Hunt Witch Hunt

Many, including BBC, should be ashamed of themselves over this Twitter lynching.
https://www.commentarymagazine.com/article/the-timothy-hunt-witch-hunt/#.Vea0P-O_QFF.twitter


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Our Radical Islamic BFF, Saudi Arabia - NYTimes.com

The sometimes frustrating by always engaging, crisp and concise Thomas Friedman on our so-called ally, the horrid Saudi Arabia:
/Snip

But if you think Iran is the only source of trouble in the Middle East, you must have slept through 9/11, when 15 of the 19 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia. Nothing has been more corrosive to the stability and modernization of the Arab world, and the Muslim world at large, than the billions and billions of dollars the Saudis have invested since the 1970s into wiping out the pluralism of Islam — the Sufi, moderate Sunni and Shiite versions — and imposing in its place the puritanical, anti-modern, anti-women, anti-Western, anti-pluralistic Wahhabi Salafist brand of Islam promoted by the Saudi religious establishment.
http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/09/02/opinion/thomas-friedman-our-radical-islamic-bff-saudi-arabia.html
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"Government should not try to stop Uber operating in city"

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Printed my letter in yesterday's South China Morning Post (subscription needed), under the headline above and uncut:

Robert Boxwell certainly has a way with scare words ("Uber pushy",($), August 26). He lambasts Uber for throwing "bombs" at local laws; for "clogging" streets with "gypsy cabs", with some drivers having convictions for "sexual assault". Uber coders "blow up billions of dollars of Hong Kong investment " by "stomping on the necks of hard-working taxi drivers" and "cutting corners on safety". But Boxwell's vitriol doesn't stand up to scrutiny. It is unclear whether local laws specifically prohibit Uber-type car-hailing services, but in any case Uber has offered to work with Hong Kong lawmakers. Uber cars are not clogging streets. Most already operate as limousines, filling in their spare time with Uber, a more efficient use of their assets. Uber cars are hardly "gypsy cabs&quo…

Germany versus Science

Final sentence in the WSJ editorial, "Germany versus science" ($):
"if Europeans miss out on the jobs, growth and cheaper products that come with free trade, they'll have the green lobby to blame". That green lobby has a lot to answer for. The other huge thing they have go answer for is the campaign against nuclear energy, starting in the late sixties, that halted the move to carbon-free energy. To the extent that we have too much CO2 in the atmosphere, causing climate change, it's the greenies wot dun it.
They, the greenies, urge us to "respect the science" on global climate change, but willfully ignore the science on the safety of GMOs.