Wednesday 30 September 2015

The Prison Problem -

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>>

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Friday 25 September 2015

What Americans, Europeans think of immigrants

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

Malaysia warns of planned terrorist attack |

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.

Thursday 24 September 2015

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.

Tuesday 22 September 2015

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

Sam and Maajid at recent Harvard talk on their joint book
"Islam and the Future of Tolerance", moderator: Juliette Kayyem
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.

Sunday 20 September 2015

No Go Zones and The European Migration Crisis | TSEC Network

A so-called "revert" (i.e. a convert to Islam) in the UK, working on yet another
"no go zone" that doesn't exist according to mainstream media
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 the problem. Of the ongoing refusal to call Islam for what it is, for fear of being called bigoted or Islamophobic.
And of course the floods of migrants and refugees will just feed into these. Europe truly is digging its own grave.
Read this enlightening article, and weep.

Thursday 17 September 2015

'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>>>

Wednesday 16 September 2015

Germany’s Real Refugee Crisis -

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 rest]

Monday 14 September 2015

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 supporters must simply have ignored these, for they have been well-publicised.

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. Your dear deluded Mamma Merkel.

Sunday 13 September 2015

‘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.

Saturday 12 September 2015

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 remands.  Assuming an average CSD salary of around $15,000 per month, the monthly cost per prisoner in salaries alone is around $12,500, ten times the refugees' monthly living allowance.
The total cost per prisoner is much higher.  To salaries, we must add food, clothing, amortisation and other running costs of our 29 correctional facilities.
There must be a better way.  One is a substantial increase in the living allowance so that refugees are not forced to steal bread. Better still, allow them to work, while they await the outcome of their applications.  According to the refugee-rights organisation, Justice Centre Hong Kong, refugees prefer not to take handouts.  They would rather work to support themselves. 
Justice Centre summarises their plight: “These refugees stuck in Hong Kong can’t get asylum, can’t work and can’t leave”.
Piya Muqit of Justice Centre says ("Global Compassion", September 12), we need “policy change for refugees which can be considered the gold standard in the region.”.  We are far, far from that now.
Should we not spend more time trying to get to that “gold standard”, instead of agonising over escalator etiquette?
Yours, etc,
Later (14th Sep): some government official writes to the SCMP today in which he reveals that the number of accidents on the MTR escalators is 0.39 per million passengers. We know from earlier reports that only 43% of these are due to walking.  So that's 0.17 per million.  In percent that's 0.000017% accident rate.  Or, basically, zero. And of those, we speculate that most were minor scrapes and bruises.  For that, this fellow's department wages an online, print and TV campaign, costing lord know how much. All for an accident rate, from walking on escalators, that's pretty much effectively zero.

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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Friday 11 September 2015

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."

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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.

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 investigate why the sudden, sharp, upsurge?  What’s changed in the last few weeks cf a year ago?


Thursday 10 September 2015

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

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 -

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"?

Wednesday 9 September 2015

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 might happen? Shouldn't they have known that what's done in Damascus doesn't stay in Damascus?
"The West's Refugee Crisis", in the Wall Street Journal.

Tuesday 8 September 2015

Europe's Tight-Rope Act: Security vs Compassion

Yvette Cooper in dopey mode
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 greatest danger" it faces, then you know you've really  got a problem.  It's not just we "Islamophobes" saying it.  It's someone with a record of downplaying the threat of Islam, to the point of prohibiting the use of "Islamic" or even "Islamist" to describe extremism or terrorism.  His previous head of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano went so far as to say that Islamic terrorism should be called "man-made disasters".  (Happily this never caught on, as the public knows rather better: they can see with their own "lying eyes").
Migrant vs Refugee: from what I gather, without deep research, is that countries have an obligation to accept "refugees" if they fear persecution or fear for their lives.  "Migrants" on the other hand, are those that in general are seeking a better life. Fair enough.  But if the EU blurs these boundaries as they're doing now -- as in the "refugees welcome" brigade (just how many are genuine refugees vs "migrants"?) -- this is most certainly a slippery slope and no amount of gainsaying it will change the fact.
There are plenty -- not just hundreds of thousands, but hundreds of millions -- in Africa, India and China, who would love to take the chance to come to Europe to better their lives, as "migrants" treated as "refugees".
Problem is, of course, is that the Europe they want to migrate to will cease to be. Even Angela Merkel has said that "Germany will certainly change". Whether for the better or worse she does not say.
When we see crowds of refugees shouting "Allahu Akbar", it's uh-oh time. I cannot see how the inevitable change can be to the good.  The next generation of jihadis are being brewed here.

Monday 7 September 2015

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 struggling with assimilation, and making itself a magnet for still more, Germany is failing in its obligations to its own.
I would just add that decreasing the "push" factors is urgent: creating peace in Syria and Libya (and how does one do that??), and in the meantime hitting the human traffickers hard. (Happening?  "Europe at war with 30,000 migrant smugglers", South China Morning Post, 7 September; ($)).
[*] Gulf states bristle at this suggestion.

Douthat in full below the fold in case link doesn't work:

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 about those deep Sino-Jewish ties, how they have continued to this day, and how rightly proud the Shanghainese are of them.
The are the ties of winners. Ultimate winners. (Or, perhaps, more cautiously, winners for now...)

In case the link doesn't work, article in full below the fold >>

Sunday 6 September 2015

"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?

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.
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 day Muslims and other apologists—primarily in academia, government, and mainstream media—reject this idea.  They argue that the non-Muslims who embraced Islam did so from sheer conviction; that the ancestors of today’s 1.5 billion Muslims all converted to Islam due to its intrinsic appeal; that the modern day coercion and persecution committed by the Islamic State and other organizations is an aberration.
Of course, as mentioned, the primary texts of history are full of anecdotes demonstrating the opposite.  However, because ours is an increasingly ahistorical society, in this essay I endeavor to show that sheer common sense alone validates what history records, namely, that the Islamic world and its populace was forged through violent coercion.

Why Don’t More Muslims Denounce Barbarism? | Observer

[comment to come]

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Saturday 5 September 2015

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.

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Article The Timothy Hunt Witch Hunt

Many, including BBC, should be ashamed of themselves over this Twitter lynching.

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Thursday 3 September 2015

Our Radical Islamic BFF, Saudi Arabia -

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

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.
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Wednesday 2 September 2015

"Government should not try to stop Uber operating in city"

Uber office in Cheung Sha Wan.  Photo: SCMP Pictures
Printed my letter in yesterday's South China Morning Post, 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"; most are modern Mercedes or Alphards, intrinsically safer than the older Toyota taxis.
Taxi drivers whose necks are allegedly stomped on are in fact working with Uber, which has an "Uber taxi" service providing more work for taxi drivers. For this reason, the price of a taxi licence in Hong Kong has been only marginally affected since Uber opened in mid-2014.
I doubt Boxwell has ever used Uber in Hong Kong. He claims that if the customer doesn't tip, or winds up the window, the Uber driver will give them only one star.
News for Boxwell: we generally don't tip in Hong Kong and usually drive with the window up. I've used Uber 48 times since June 2014. I have never given a tip and keep windows up - my average Uber rating is five stars.
Boxwell states that Beijing won't be influenced by Uber's "propaganda" and so can't "build scale". News for Boxwell: Uber has already built scale, including in four Chinese cities.[*]
This issue should not be one of either taxis or Uber. It should be taxis and Uber. Sometimes one uses taxis, sometimes Uber. This is more choice for consumers, which Hongkongers clearly want.
I have a simple suggestion for the government. Handle it by the Taoist concept of wu wei - do nothing. In response to pressure by taxi owners, refuse to send in the police. Tell the owners to improve their service.
In the US, cities have allowed Uber to do business despite similar arm-twisting by taxi owners, the sort of philosophy that makes the US more innovative than Hong Kong. Let it happen, wu wei.
Yours, etc...
[*] Update Wall Street Journal 4-6 September: Uber operates in 16 cities in China, with 45 more planned in next year. So much for Boxwell's claim that Uber won't build scale in China because of its tactics

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.