Monday 25 December 2017

The Corporate Tax-Cut Dividend - WSJ

Merry Christmas to US workers!
I'm agnostic on the tax cuts as I don't enough about them. And the commentary is irredeemably partisan. All good to republicans and all bad to democrats.
But one thing no one seems to have been expecting. That major companies would hand out $US 1,000 cheques for Christmas as a direct result. Or that they would up the minimum wage to $15/ hr, a figure the likes of Bernie Sanders have called for.
But the democrats led by Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are incensed anyway.
Says the Journal:
If Nancy Pelosi ever did anything in her political career that produced this result from corporations, she'd be dancing down the aisles of the House of Representatives in a Santa Claus suit. Instead, the Democrats are dripping bile on the entire bill. "There are only two places where America is popping champagne," said Sen. Schumer, "the White House and the corporate board rooms."

Saturday 23 December 2017

What on Earth is Italy doing?

They're now airfreighting in economic migrants direct from Libya. Airfreight because coming by sea was drowning too many.
And they hope that there "will be many more" such airfreights.
I must say my flabber is gasted. Do they have the agreement of the Italian people to do this? They do not. How do we know this? Because of poll after poll that shows upward of three in four Italians do not want an increase in this sort of undocumented immigration.
Empathy and sympathy, yes. But not just for the illegal immigrants. Also for the poor Italian people - and I mean poor in the literal sense - who are most impacted by unskilled immigrants. What about them?
I find it amazing and sad that Italian politicians are complicit in their own suicide.
The alternative would be to set up and support safe spaces in Libya. That's the approach of the UK and strikes me as far more sensible and more humane too. Keep the people near where they would rather be if all were well. And that's in North Africa. Not to bring North Africa to Europe. Why would you want that? Italian virtue-signalling elites apparently. The Left

Friday 22 December 2017

Stephen Sackur and so-called “Hard Talk”.

To the BBC:
So now the BBC won't even mention Christmas?
A "Happy New Year", that's all were wished by Stephen Sackur. Shame. Hardly Hard Talk.
Remind me: what is this holiday next week? Something starting with "C"...?
Yet you'll happily wish the world a Happy Eid or peaceful Ramadan.
What a mockery of your repeated claims  of fearless truth telling. The "most trusted name in journalism".  Sure. 
The truth of Christmas wiped. 
(I'm atheist, BTW, so I've no Christian skin in this game). 
Shame on you all for that pusillanimous decision. 
"Inclusion". Hah!

P F etc...

Thursday 21 December 2017

The Conflict over Jerusalem Is ALL Obama's Fault

A powerful piece by Alan Dershowitz, all the more credible not only because he is professor Emeritus of Law at Harvard, but also because he's a long-term Democrat, supporter of Obama and Hillary.

Harry's Place » Palestinians don’t know what winning looks like

A good article by The Zionist, with some equally good comments

Tuesday 19 December 2017

Muslim Views on Morality | Pew Research Center

Pew does research on Muslim morality, here

Emotion and Feeling Beat Critical Thinking - WSJ

A good  explanation for the rise of the snowflake generation. 
Letter to the WSJ Editor:
As a 30-year educator of American university students, I can summarize the reason in one word: ideology.
In his essay on education, Bertrand Russell wrote: "The prevention of free inquiry is unavoidable so long as the purpose of education is to produce belief rather than thought, to compel the young to hold positive opinions on doubtful matters rather than to let them see the doubtfulness and be encouraged to independence of mind. Education ought to foster the wish for truth, not the conviction that some particular creed is the truth."

Monday 18 December 2017

Re: The 'snowflakes' again

Haha that's funny!  Though to be fair there's not so much snowflakery in STEM.
I read the other day that snowflakes are triggered by the term "snowflake"...
A recent podcast, with Dave Rubin, iirc, has his guest, an academic, saying that university administrations are starting to push back against the snowflake pretensions and demands.  Mainly because alumni are saying they're not going to continue donations if the SJW thing continues. Money talks. Snowflakes melt. 
The pendulum effect kicks in again. 

“A war Trump won” | NYT

Good morning P!
Yes I read that and had sent to you last night also, but it disappeared from my Outbox before it went....
I had commented that part of the reason for the win (which Douthat doesn't mention) was Trump Admin's changed rules of engagement (ROE). The generals were given flexibility to get on with the job. I'd read about that somewhere last week.  Under Obama they'd only been allowed to be defensive. Under Trump ROE they can go on offensive. Made all the difference according to the generals. 
(Obama really was a pusillanimous prick on foreign policy. Can't forgive him - and neither do commentators from all political sides - for the Syria "red line" bungle-cum-catastrophe). 
This article was spot on the timing that Scott Adams predicted for this phase. The phase being "acknowledge his effectiveness even if you don't like what's being done". He'd predicted it way back as December. 
Also note what Douthat says about the Trump admin Jerusalem decision. No major push back from the Arab world because they've got other things going on including getting along better with Israel. I'd add heightened Sunni v Shia competition.  Saudi v Iran. 
From a chilly Hong Kong — 10 degrees.

Sunday 17 December 2017

The Uncomfortable Truth About Swedish Anti-Semitism - The New York Times

Finally in the MSM news about Sweden that those in the blogosphere have known for many years: that immigrants to Sweden of Islamic background are creating havoc, with rapes and murders skyrocketing and, as reported here, rising and violent anti-semitism. 
But the media and politicians in Sweden have studiously looked the other way. Until now... perhaps. As this article by the pulchritudinous Paulina Neuding (above) suggests. I hope she's right. 
Let's get this out of the way: of course the majority of Muslim immigrants in Sweden, as elsewhere, are law abiding and want to get on with life just like the rest of us.  But large minorities are involved in violence (10-25% according to various polls). 
And as for anti-semitism that would be close to 100% of Muslims pretty much wherever they are. It's deeply ingrained in the doctrines of Islam, especially the Koran and Hadith. 
I would guess that the average Leftie who doesn't follow the issue closely would say that anti-semitism is a thing of the Right. Well, yes it used to be.  But now it's mostly from Muslims. And the second largest anti-Semitic group in Sweden are those on the Left. Presumably these "left-wing extremists" have bought the idea that Palestinians should be handed over all lands between "the river and the sea", that is to say all of Israel, and that if this were to happen peace and good fellowship  would prevail in the world. 
Historically, anti-Semitism in Sweden could mainly be attributed to right-wing extremists. While this problem persists, a study from 2013showed that 51 percent of anti-Semitic incidents in Sweden were attributed to Muslim extremists. Only 5 percent were carried out by right-wing extremists; 25 percent were perpetrated by left-wing extremists.

Wednesday 13 December 2017

35,000 jihadists now present in the UK, almost two full World War II divisions

UK's defence secretary Gavin Williamson said in an interview  that ISIS fighters and other jihadists who take up arms against the Sovereign should be eliminated. He said that they are legitimate targets for the military and that nobody who voluntarily joins an organization or a state which is at war with the United Kingdom, should be allowed back into the country. He's not alone.

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Hunt Elephants to Save Them? Some Countries See No Other Choice (or print edition: "...? An endless debate”)

This is an interesting and I think pretty balanced article in today's New York Times, International Edition.
Just to be clear: I'm certainly not pushing trophy hunting. I'm now neutral about it. I wouldn't do it myself, and can't imagine why people do. But they do, and that helps some conservation. But, as the print version of the headline above says, it is "An endless debate".
As the article points out, trophy hunting is handled well in Namibia and Zimbabwe; not so well in Tanzania.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature is in favour of it; other Wildlife bodies against.
Whether you're for or against, the main issue remains poaching and trafficking. Trophy hunting is only 0.01% to 0.23% of the total killings. And still brings in up to 20% of revenue for some countries (figures in the article).
From the end of the article:
"We're talking about the wrong thing right now," said Dan Ashe, president of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and former director of the Fish and Wildlife Service.
"Trophy hunting is not the issue. We should be focused on wildlife trafficking and the broader plight of elephants."
And it's certainly not the clear-cut evil issue that Avaaz would have us believe, with its breathlessly hyperbolic petition.
You can read the article online here.  Or archived here,  Or here in pdf.
It's worth a read, very interesting.

Trump’s folly to cut corporate tax will change nothing | South China Morning Post

Hi Jake,
Re your article in today's paper:
Not to mention the fact that corporate *effective* tax rates are usually much lower than nominal.
And... slightly OT: should we be taxing revenue not profit? The latter much easier to manipulate than the former.
Ex Aussie Liberal (ie conservative) leader John Hewson was supporting this last night on Australia Plus TV. After all, he points out, it's how we're taxed personally.
P F etc..

Monday 11 December 2017

Christmas markets without armed police are now a thing of the past | Coffee House

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.
This is all too true as I can personally vouch. First in London in 1972 and many times since. Just last year I walked around... half of London is now Baghdad.
London is lost.
And they brought this on themselves. At least, the Labour Party did. And especially Blair's.

Should the US Criminalize Radical Islam? | Clarion Project

Short answer: YES!  Not only in the United States, but a also in my own country, Australia, and the whole of Europe, for that matter.

Interesting idea.  Seems obvious in retrospect.  The answer being "yes" we should criminalise radical Islam.  It's not against religious freedom to do so. Because we have not only "freedom of religion" but also "freedom from religion".  And the problem with radical islam is that it seeks to impose itself on all others.  And that's not freedom from religion.

Of Course Jerusalem Is Israel’s Capital

From The New York Times:  This says it all.

Of Course Jerusalem Is Israel's Capital

President Trump is going to formalize what all Israelis know.
Note the comments. Some vicious and deranged...

US policy on Jerusalem as capital of Israel is consistent Democrat and Republican

Clinton (the W one) in 1992, Bush (the W one) in 2000, Obama in 2008 and again in 2008, all said exactly what Trump said in 2016: That Jerusalem is the undivided capital of Israel and that the US would move its embassy there.  And so did the Congress in 1995, and again in June this year (vote 90-0).
The only difference is that Trump did it.
From Ben Sharpiro podcast # 433

Sunday 10 December 2017

Amazing Chinese toilets

This one is in Guizhou province SW China.
Presumably taken by a drone. Wonder if drones will be allowed once these are being used...
Xi Jinping wants a "clean toilet revolution" to boost tourism.  
There have been some pretty weird and wonderful Chinese toilets festered recently in the South China Morning Post. 

Saturday 9 December 2017

Donald Trump's Jerusalem Decision: Democrats Accuse President of Playing Politics | National Review

Trump may know no more about Middle East policy than he knows about most other issues. But his instinctual resistance to playing by existing rules has led him to the realization that the policies of his predecessors failed to foster peace and encouraged the Palestinians to believe that no one will ever hold them accountable for their intransigence and support of terrorism.
Unlike every previous president, he has grasped, even if by accident, that the necessary predicate for peace must be Palestinians' acceptance of Israel's permanence and legitimacy as well as an end to their financing of terror. [from here]

Uber v taxi industry

You ask your readers: "do you support the taxi industry in its warning to sue the Hong Kong government if Consumer Council recommendations urging the city to legalise ride-hailing services are accepted?" (Opinion, December 9).
No, this reader does not. Nor should anyone. 
Simply put, the "warning" is by thuggish taxi owners who seek to sue their way to an entrenched and inefficient monopoly. 
Taxi owners invested, or speculated, in taxi plates. Like any investment they must be subject to market forces. Remember Netscape? Or MySpace?  Better products came along and wiped them out. They were not allowed to sue their way to monopoly. That is the way of an efficient market economy, what's known as "creative destruction". 
The main objections to Uber appear to be that they don't have commercial licences or third party insurance. These are surely easily fixable. Even so, I haven't seen a single report that a passenger of Uber has been injured and not covered by insurance despite their having operated ("illegally") for several years. 
So, no, taxi operators don't get to sue their way to monopoly. Or at least they ought not be allowed to. 
The rights of the public for more efficient services trump the demands of greedy taxi owners. 

P F etc...

Elderly need helpers as well as more clinics | SCMP

Letter published last Thursday. Not my usual subject...
The only bit they cut was a comment I'd made at the end refuting the claims of Kammerer and his ilk that domestic helpers in Hong Kong are "slaves", a claim I called hysterical hyperbole. 
Do domestic helpers in Hong Kong wish they were not allowed to work here because some self-righteous prats think they're being exploited? Of course they don't. They want the jobs. And they're free to stay at home, in the Philippines or Indonesia if they wish. 
More: by taking up jobs overseas they reduce the labour pool at home and put pressure on the upward movement of wages there which is, after all, the only way that regional salaries will ever  be equalised, the ultimate aim of the do-gooders. And of mine as well. Let there be greater equality (equity!) regionwise! But it won't happen by restricting working opportunities in high wage Hong Kong. 
Anyway, the letter: 
Elderly need helpers as well as more clinics
Your columnist, Peter Kammerer, says Hong Kong needs more clinics, health and social workers trained in geriatrics to cope with the rise in the city's elderly population ("Trained professionals needed to care for young and old, not more maids", ­December 5).[*]
He is surely correct. But, just as surely, he is incorrect in saying that boosting the number of helpers is "laughable".
The fastest-growing demographic in Hong Kong is the over-80s; I will soon be in that cohort myself.
Some of us may need specialised geriatric care in clinics. But many are mobile and fit for their age, and would welcome a helper-cum-companion, to ­assist with mobility, cooking and other household chores.
My mother is 96 and still healthy and mobile. She lives in Australia and manages on her own, with family help.
She would certainly welcome a helper; but sadly Australia does not allow special domestic helper visas, as Hong Kong does.
As one of the 1.16 million over-65s, please let us keep the mixed system we have in Hong Kong. By all means more clinics and trained social workers. And by all means more helpers.
Peter Forsythe, Discovery Bay

Friday 8 December 2017

The opioid crisis

Your experts on the BBC World Service, moderated by Tulip Mazumdar, say China is getting only 16% of the morphine it needs, India only 4%, Nigeria "a measly 0.2%" (iirc).
Why no mention of a possible solution to this shortage? From poppies to pain killers: Palliative morphine for Africa and elsewhere from Afghanistan's poppies.
If the US were to spend a fraction of the amount it now spends on trying to destroy opium poppies, on buying up the crop instead - and then manufacturing them into morphine (providing income for farmers and local manufacturing jobs), it could give the palliative morphine away for free to countries that are desperately short of it. Everyone would be in front.
I'm surprised this concept was not even touched on.
Bearing in mind that the theme was "are we facing an even bigger opioid crisis?" (i.e. bigger than that in the United States). And bearing in mind that one of your experts pointed out that the pain suffered by those unable to get palliative morphine is equivalent to the pain of torture.

P F etc

Wednesday 6 December 2017

Veiling is compulsory in Islam, debate unacceptable: Al-Azhar - Egypt Independent

Egypt’s Al-Azhar, the Sunni Muslim world’s main religious institution, asserted on Monday in a fatwa, or religious decree, that it is compulsory for women in Islam to wear the veil, while those who deny this are “extremist” and “abnormal”

Tuesday 5 December 2017

Trained professionals needed to care for young and old, not more maids | December 5

Peter Kammerer says Hong Kong needs more clinics, health and social workers trained in geriatrics to cope with the rise in the elderly cohort.   ("Trained professionals needed to care for young and old, not more maids", December 5).  In this he is surely correct. But just as surely he is incorrect to say that boosting number of helpers is "laughable".
The fastest growing sector in Hong Kong is the over 80s; I will soon be in that cohort myself.  Some of these folks may need specialised geriatric care in clinics. But many are mobile and fit for age.  Many would welcome a helper-cum-companion, to assist with mobility, cooking and other household chores. My mother is 96 and still healthy and mobile. She lives in Australia and managers on her own, with family help. She would certainly welcome the help of a helper; but sadly Australia does not allow the special domestic helper visas as does Hong Kong.
As one of the 1.16 million over-65s please let us keep the mixed system we have in Hong Kong.  By all means more clinics and trained social workers.  And by all means more helpers. Those who claim, as Kammerer has done, that our domestic helper system is  "slave labour" are clearly caught up in hysterical hyperbole.  There is no compulsion to work here.  And of course we must ensure that any mistreatment of domestic helpers is strictly punished by the law.

P F etc

Western Feminists Snub an Iranian Heroine - WSJ

Photo of Dorsa, above, from Toronto Sun

The story was in the Wall Street Journal, but behind a paywall, so you can see it here, at Ruthfully Yours.  It's a truly shameful story -- all too common -- of western feminists abandoning their sisters in the middle east, because, one assumes, the care and concern for an "opressed" Islam trumps their care for women's rights in the middle east.  These feminists are brutal in their response to anyone calling them out on this

Sent from my iPad

Monday 4 December 2017

Muslim Population Growth in Europe | Pew Research Center

This is Pew Research -- the unimpeachable -- saying that the number of Muslims in Europe will ineluctably grow, even if there is no more migration, which of course there is, in unprecedented numbers.  It is now nearly 5% of the population of Europe.  I have shown elsewhere that there is no country in the world with more than 6% Muslim population that is fully free and democratic.

In Defence of Jordan B. Peterson - Quillette

In the left-of-centre Quilette magazine, a defence of the firebrand Jordan Peterson.