Wednesday 23 May 2018

Israel Needs to Protect Its Borders. By Whatever Means Necessary | Shmuel Rosner | New York Times

Opinion | Israel Needs to Protect Its Borders. By Whatever Means Necessary. - The New York Times

/Snip, final para from the article linked below...
The Jewish sages had a famous, if not necessarily pleasant, saying that went something like this: Those who are kind to the cruel end up being cruel to the kind. As harsh as this sounds amid the scenes from Gaza, as problematic as this seems to good-intentioned people whose instinct is to sympathize with the weaker side in every conflict, sometimes there is no better choice than being clear, than being firm, than drawing a line that cannot be crossed by those wanting to harm you. By fire, if necessary.
Having just had discussions with Friends of Palestine recently, this article in the New York Times is ... timely. 
I agree with it all. 
The FoP's, though, would be enraged by it, for it criticises Hamas and its maximalist anti-Israel position, arguing for "more realistic expectations" (than "return", control of Jerusalem, the elimination of Israel).
Extra significance in that the Times is Liberal, and usually firmly in the pro-Palestine camp, critical of Israel.

Tuesday 15 May 2018

Laughing with Diamond and Silk - Lexington

Laughing with Diamond and Silk - Lexington
Joke? True feelings?
[quote from article below] 
... the racial battle-lines Mr Trump has drawn leave no room for such niceties. In reality, African-Americans always vote in line with their interests, and a president who has equivocated on white supremacist violence naturally repels them. Fully 84% consider Mr Trump racist. That represents an American tragedy, a reaffirmation of racial-political divisions from which Diamond and Silk provide no comic relief. The joke is on anyone who thinks they do.

A couple of points from the quote above, the final para on the Economist article here
"... the racial battle lines Mr Trump has drawn". Not sure how one can determine that Trump has drawn any battle lines unless you already accept that he is a racist. That might be self evident to many, bit not to me. His comments about Charlottesville were clearly of the incompetence ilk than motivated by racism. He thought there were people there, conservatives, who merely cared about the statues. And that's true. The Left thinks that the tiki-torch wielding Nazis, calling for death to Jews, were the only ones there. They weren't. They were a small minority who quite naturally garnered the most attention. 
"African-Americans always vote in line with their interests". Really? They voted Democrat which led to the greatest unintended bad consequence of a well intentioned policy ever. I'm talking of the welfare policies of the sixties. They led inter alia to an increase in single motherhood from about 10% in the sixties to about 75% today. Because single motherhood was rewarded with welfare. Studies show (...) that kids of single parents are less likely to be successful in life. African Americans tend to be culturally conservative: family and church oriented and so on. They ought to go back to voting along those lines. Then they'd also have some leverage with the Democrats, who now take their support for granted. 
"That represents and American tragedy". Curious wording that would have you think that African/Americans thinking Trump racist is the tragedy. But that's not it. You're supposed to assume, as the Economist does, that the very fact 84% of African Americans think him racist makes him racist. It doesn't.
LATER (3 June): I guess, though haven't checked, that a large percentage of African-Americans consider all Americans (at least white Americans), racist.

Saturday 12 May 2018

Marx is horrible for the world -- there’s *nothing* right about him

Sadly marxists still abide, anti-West, anti-capitalism
I must be one of the very few of the gaggle commenting on Marx's 200th birthday who has actually spent time in a Marxist country.  I lived and worked in China in the seventies; it cured me of my undergraduate fascination with socialism.  When Deng Xiaoping said "it doesn't matter if it's a white cat or a black cat, as long as it catches mice, it's a good cat", he let loose the hounds on Marx, to mix the animal metaphors.  And that's what has made China successful -- to raise out of poverty over 500 million people.  That was capitalism not Marx.  Xi Jinping is lauding Marx, but that's more for the Party's legitimacy, not for his economic theories.  Which stink.
Yet he won't go away.
The New York Times continues its fascination with Communism, this time in an article titled "Happy Birthday, Karl Marx", which online adds "You Were Right".  It's by an associate professor in Seoul, Jason Barker, whose Wiki entry tells us he's a marxist and hangs out with the likes of Judith Butler, a notorious post-mo marxist theorits herself, and whose "writings" I put in scare quotes, because they're basically impenetrable.  The Times might have given us a warning about Barker's leanings.
Then there's The Economist, in an article "Rulers of the world: read Karl Marx".  This one is quite insidious, because they start off with all the horrors that Marx's theories have visited on the world.  But there's the inevitable "but", and on to lauding his "genius" in coming up with his theory of class struggle and oppression, which they reckon ought to be read even today, hence the headline.
Marxism has been given a pretty fair run.  More than fair one might say. From Albania to Zaire, via Cuba, the Soviet Union, China and today's still marxist Venezuela and North Korea, not a single version of Marxism has worked.  Not one.
Why continue bashing one's head?  He's done for.  Or should be.
The ever facile penned Shapiro starts off his "Karl Marx, You Were Wrong", like this:
This week marks the birthday of one of history’s worst human beings, Karl Marx. Just because Marx’s philosophy would lead directly to the deaths of 100 million human beings over the course of a century, the imprisonment of tens of millions more in gulags and re-education camps from Russia to China to Vietnam to Cambodia to North Korea, and the oppression of hundreds of millions more hasn’t dissuaded those on the modern western left from embracing Marx’s bloody legacy. Realizing, however, that embracing Communism itself might alienate those who remember the Berlin Wall, today’s Marxists rally instead for identity politics. In the pages of the New York Times — the same newspaper that in the past two years has run opinion pieces endorsing Communism’s impact on female empowerment and female sexual activity and its inspirational effects on Americans — Kyung Hee University associate professor of philosophy Jason Barker celebrated Marx’s birthday, writing, “Happy Birthday, Karl Marx. You Were Right!”
A little more detail in David Horowitz's "Happy Birthday, Karl Marx, You Were Wrong -- And Worse", where he details his battles with the lefties on the New York Review of Books, an irredeemably leftist publication, but which can't see the obvious in front of its face, because of ideological blinders.
 Karl Marx was bad for the world. Karl Marx is bad from the world.  He should be ditched, dumped and discarded.  Why he's not leaves me bushed, buggered and bewildered.

Thursday 10 May 2018

Mo Salah of Liverpool Breaks Down Cultural Barriers, One Goal at a Time

U.K. and Europe hanging themselves by normalising Islamism
One man, the footballer Mo Salah, Liverpool's Egyptian striker, "embodies Islam's values". So we are told in the New York Times.
But the terrorists of ISIS, of al Qaeda, pf al Shabab, of Boko Haram, of the Taliban, these terrorists with their tens of thousands of devout followers, Korans in their kits... why these murderers have "nothing to do with Islam". Neither do the tens of millions Muslims who follow the teachings of sheik al-Qaradawi, who preaches the genocide of jews and the subjugation of infidels; no, they have been "misled", their thoughts "hijacked". 
Repeat after me: Islam is the "Religion of Peace". 
This New York Times article is a shocking example of the fallacy of generalising from anecdote. 
Note that Mo is being promoted by the Muslim Council of Britain a dodgy organisation with a history of Islamism. 
Further down the article there's mention of "hate crimes" against Muslims, as alleged by the Muslim lobby group Tell MAMA. Not mentioned is that this outfit was defunded by the U.K. government a few years ago for inflating hate crime figures. 
The article might also have mentioned, for context, that hate crimes against Jews remain higher in absolute terms than those against Muslims, and in proportionate terms many multiples of them. That's "whataboutery" I know, but surely relevant context. 
(By the way, the hate crime stats for Jews vs Muslims are true for both the United States and the U.K.) 
Then there's the whole issue of "islamophobia". This term should be dropped and the phrase "anti Muslim bigotry" used instead. Because there's no doubt that the likes of the MCB use "Islamophobia" to silence legitimate criticism of Islam as an idea. This is very different from bigotry against individual Muslims, which must surely be fought as should all bigotry against any marginalised group in society. 
And finally there's the issue of Mo Salah prostrating himself in prayer on the field. The crowd is hushed in respect.  But aren't there rules against this sort of thing? And remember in the "other" football, American, the mocking of Tim Tebow who used to kneel in prayer? More double standard. 
I'm afraid this article is another example of the poor and biased reporting of the New York Times
And the Times' tawdry history of normalising the march of Islamism. 

Wednesday 9 May 2018

Abe and Bibi's Tempest in a Shoe....

Some of the Tom Dixon shoe sculpture collection
This relates to the story that Japanese PM Abe was served "a dessert in a shoe", when he visited Israel. And this was said to be an enourmous gaffe, Bibi had "stepped his foot in it" and similar bad puns....  My email to a friend.

It wasn't  a shoe.  It was a metal sculpture of a shoe, by artist Tom Dixon, and rather nice they are too.  

WaPo, the JPost  and others reported the dessert was in an actual shoe, which would indeed have been odd and off-putting.  But a metal sculpture is no more a shoe than a sculpture of Churchill is the Bulldog himself.

The assertion that shoes are "despised" in Japan, the "lowliest" thing in Japanese culture, this being a "massive offence" to Japan?  I don't buy it.  That story was all down to two anonymous diplomats, who don't really seem to know their onions, let alone their footwear.  I just don't buy it, any more than I'd buy that the Chinese, or we, Jing and I, "despise" shoes because we too leave our shoes outside.  Jing Loooves her shoes!  Chinese women looove their shoes.  Japanese women looove their shoes (I'm sure!)

As you suggested the chef should have done, I did Google "Japan and shoes".  Once you get past all the (nonsense) articles about this latest #Shoegate, I can't find anything about Japanese "despising" shoes.   Sure heaps of stories about "Japanese shoe etiquette", the stuff we all know, about how you must leave your shoes outside. So do we here and Mainland.  But Chinese no more despise shoes than do westerners - or Israelis.  I'm sure it's the same with Japan. I can't find anything that would have alerted an alert chef to the alleged "fact" that the Japanese "despise" shoes. They leave shoes outside for the very practical reason that their homes have tatami mats, which shoes would destroy.  

Sure, a metal shoe was an odd choice for a dessert dish, even if it was a famous sculpture.  But it was an artistic piece and apparently Abe loved it. While the media were repeating the same story, all clearly taken from a single source, some wire service I guess, and all gonging around their echo chamber with the same lame puns, and hammering Israel and Netanyahu, Abe was blissfully unconcerned..

These anonymous diplomats shouting "offensive", "appalling" and "contemptible", had too much time on their hands. 

And obviously I do too…. so enough...

I hope in the meantime you've been able to see something of the Art of Japanese Life.  The carpentry, the calligraphy, the design, the architecture. This was a great BBC show.

Best to you both.
p / 

PS: This kerfuffle had the flavour of the recent hubbub in the U.S. over a young high school girl wearing a qipao to her graduation. Check it out at qipaogate….confected outrage at "cultural appropriation" in the U.S., while China thought it was just great...

Monday 7 May 2018

How Trump stirred controversy in Nigeria - BBC News

I missed this when it happened last week: The Nigerian president in the U.S. and BBC making light of the massacre of Christians in Nigeria -- mainly because it was Trump! who said it.
And the Beebs taking every opportunity to bag Trump.
Really, the BBC tries hard and often manages a reasonable degree of neutrality.  
But this time, some young thing at the Beebs just couldn't keep their bias from showing….
Note how the BBC report downplays the killings of Christians, and makes an equivalence between the killing of Muslims and the killing of Christians.
According to the BBC, it's all just fracas' over land and goats.
It's no doubt some of that.  How could it not be when your wealth is land and goats. 
But on the Muslim side, it's mainly Boko Haram doing the killing, and they are quite clearly inspired by an ideology, and ideology known as Islam.
As for the equivalence of deaths on both sides?  Of course there have been Muslims killed.  Often minority Shia Muslims killed by majority Sunni Muslims.  And then some horrible cases of the army going on rampage and killing indiscriminately.
But the scorecard is heavily skewed: by far the most killed in Nigeria are Christians.  Just as in north Africa Christians have been literally decimated (and I mean that "literally" literally).
According to a report by the International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law, there have been 16,000 Christians killed in Nigeria since 2015.  
And this is not a "genocide" according to the BBC?!
You don't have to take the word of the International Society.  There's also a Wikipedia entry "list of massacres in Nigeria".  (imagine living in a country where you can have such a Wiki entry!  We're so lucky to live in Hong Kong.  And all other folks in the developed west, ditto. We just have our first world problems...).  
Thanks to Clarion Project

LATER: let it be said re Trump's "shithole" comment -- first that it's not been determined that he did in fact use that word.  Second, an inconsistency on the Left, which says that we must let into our first world countries all who want to come from such countries because of the poor state they're in, i.e. essentially "shitholes", but gets upset when someone else -- especially Trump! -- states the same fact...

This will be a test of MSM

I'm calling it the "test of the Fifth".
BBC is saying this morning that if Trump is called to testify in front of Mueller, the independent Counsel, Trump may invoke "The Fifth", that is the Fifth Amendment right to silence to avoid self-incrimination.
On Fox News, however, they've had a stream of high-level lawyers saying no way will Trump invoke the Fifth. The most notable being Alan Dershowitz, Harvard professor and constitutional expert, who says that it won't happen because Mueller will offer immunity which invalidates the use of the Fifth. Attendance then becomes a perjury trap instead, for Trump, so he needs to stay away if at all possible.
If you watched only BBC and CNN you would have no idea of the counter-argument and would be led to believe that Trump is going to invoke the Fifth if called by Mueller.
So let's see what happens. It will be a good test of the Main Stream Media (MSM), which kind of self-identifies as the media of the Left. i.e. not Fox!

Thursday 3 May 2018

Shiite Iraqi scholar Jawad Al-Khoei: ISIS violence is rooted in Islam; Christians were owners of land, Muslims their guests |

Shiite Iraqi scholar Jawad Al-Khoei: ISIS violence is rooted in Islam; Christians were owners of land, Muslims their guests |
Above is NOT a video, so don't click on it.  Go here to see it. 
... ISIS is deeply rooted in Islam and that "when [violence] dons the cloak of religion, it is a hundred times more evil."
If non-Muslims said that they'd be labelled islamophobic.  Especially for suggesting that ISIS has anything to do with Islam.  For the apologist narrative is the Islamic version of the "no true Scotsman" fallacy: ISIS (and all terrorism) is nothing to do with Islam.
But this is a Shi'ite cleric, Jawad who makes some other startling statements in the article below. Including that when Muslims first came to the Middle East they were "guests"'of Christians. True, but rarely grated by Muslim scholars.

Tuesday 1 May 2018

The Post-Campaign Campaign of Donald Trump |The New York Times | Charles Noonan

The Post-Campaign Campaign of Donald Trump - The New York Times

This is really funny, from the New York Times.
I remember that bit of Trumpian theatre that Charles Noonan refers to, though at the time i was too startled to laugh. But it is laugh-out-loud funny. 
Talking of Trump, Charles Noonan says:
This evening, [at a rally in Pittsburgh] he was talking about Peggy Noonan, the conservative Wall Street Journal columnist. ("She's a Bushie!" an older man next to me yelled scornfully.) Noonan had apparently written something, or (more likely) said something on cable news, where she appears often as a pearl-necklaced avatar of political normalcy, about Trump's appearing inadequately presidential. "I'm very presidential!" Trump told us, with mock indignation. Then he stiffened in his suit and adopted a stentorian tone, like a fourth grader doing an impression of his school principal. "Laaaadies and gentlemen," he intoned, "thank you for being here tonight. Rick Saccone will be a great, great congressman. He will help me very much. He's a fine man, and Yong is a wonderful wife. I just want to tell you on behalf of the United States of America that we appreciate your service. And to all of the military out there, we respect you very much. Thank you. Thank you." He broke character for a second: "And then you go, 'God bless you, and God bless the United States of America, thank you very much.' " He turned and faced the V.I.P. guests in the riser behind him, and did a sort of rigid penguin walk.
The crowd whooped and laughed — not the cruel laughter you come to know at Trump rallies but real belly laughter, for what was a genuinely funny bit. Trump, who loves nothing more than being loved, kept penguin-walking, and everyone kept laughing. It took a few more seconds for the spectacular strangeness of the moment to settle in: We were watching a sitting American president imitating an American president. [my emphasis]
A bit later in the piece, Homans goes on to make the following point, despite which he still ends up hating Trump (whereas I would have thought being "radically post modern"
with no discernible difference between the private and public persona would count in Trump's favour). 
 I have never interviewed Trump, but people I know who have often remark on an uncanny element of the experience: the absence of any indication of an off-limits private self distinct from his public image. The phenomenon feels radically postmodern: a complete communion of the thing with its representation