Friday, 28 June 2019

Iranian provocations since May


But America is the problem…

Who’s in front?

"I totally agree @AOC" — Carpe Donktum

So far I've got a pretty much zero track record in picking elections but what the heck if I don't predict I'll never get one right. 
So, having watched both the first debates in Florida 10 candidates each night here's my early pick:
Kamala Harris. 

Thursday, 27 June 2019

Turkey's Africa Strategy Threatens to Breed Islamist Extremism | National Review



There's a big lessons here.  BREAKING: Saudi Arabia has been overtaken by Turkey and Qatar as the main exporter of hardline Wahhabism
My page of links, that I've had on Google for ten years has just been deleted by Google, for some unknown "violation of service".  Which is weird, as it's been there for ten years, and also all it does is keep copies of links that have interested me, none of them nasty nazi or anything approaching.  Just interest,ng articles. Go figure.
Therefore I'm putting a link to the Internet Archive and link to the pdf at Dropbox.
Snip: 
Saudi Arabia and its allies the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Bahrain may be authoritarian, but they do not promote and no longer tolerate radicalism. Turkey and Qatar, the world's only other Wahhabi state, are today the chief engines for Islamic extremism.


Pakistan Presses U.N. to Ban Islam Criticism. | Human Events



Watching the NZ vs Pakistan cricket match in the World Cup, at Edgbaston Oval last night, I couldn't help but note the similarities in the crowd behaviour at the game and that in demos in Islamabad calling for beheading of those who insult Islam.  Not fair!  Of course not.  This crowd was very friendly, Keen, vocal, but surely friendly.  
But still.  The flashbacks to previous Pakistan triumphs in the World Cup showed us their then captain, Imran Khan.  Handsome, charismatic, talented, oh so talented, with ball and bat. He was the cricketer's cricketer.  The game of gentlemen.
And now he's Prime Minister of Pakistan.  And he's calling world wide blasphemy laws.  Especially for Islam.  Criticise Islam and you should go to jail.  His compatriots say you should be killed.
So that's Imran Khan.  One minute playing cricket then next calling for laws to ban our free speech world wide.
Do we think those at Edgebaston are any different? Why no, they are not.  And we know this from many polls in the UK that show a chasm between the views of an average UK Pakistani, even UK-born and non-Pakistani Brits.  They believe homosexuality should be outlawed, apostasy should be punished and blasphemy a criminal offence.
Some in the UK are pre-emptively doing this for them. ASDA recently fired a disabled employee  a grandfather, because he'd posted an old Billy Connoly YouTube which was critical of Islam.  Critical too of Christianity, mostly Christianity, but it also criticised the Religion of Peace and that was too much for those tolerant votaries of Islam.
And Twitter implements Pakistani blasphemy laws. (also in the article).
And WordPress suppresses the Jesus and Mo cartoon published by leftist blogger, the evolutionary biologist Gerry Coyne.
And voter fraud has become an important Pakistani import along with Kabuli Pulao
This is scary stuff and must be resisted. And so much coming from Pakistan.  Other big culprits: Saudi Arabia (funds Wahabbi schools throughout the world) and Iran (funds Hizbollah).
I went to the Facebook page of ASDA to complain to them about firing of the grandpa, but found the article had been posted and *liked* by hundreds! How depressing.  People complicit in their own enslavement of their speech.

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Donald Trump's Iran Policy Is Exposing EU's Weakness - The Atlantic


Hong Kong, sunny day in between protests....

Telling it like it is….in The Atlantic, no less, a usually Trump-averse outfit

Short story: because Europe doesn't have a currency to rival the US$, that makes them weak. Also: France and Germany can't even agree if they should have one.  And the UK's out at some stage anyway. 
So it remains, for now and time to come: Pax Americana
Snip:
The brute reality, as things stand, is that Europe does not yet have the tools—or the will—to project its power. The euro cannot be a credible alternative to the dollar as a reserve currency until it is radically reformed, and without a credible reserve currency, Europe's financial might cannot match that of the United States. Even more fundamentally, there remain deep divisions within Europe over whether it should even seek to be a power, with or without Britain. Read on...

Robert Mueller to Testify Before House Committees

I don't understand how the Democrats think this will " change the political landscape" around Trump and possible impeachment. Mueller has said what he had to say in his 400+ page report. And that's clear: no conspiracy with Russia, and not enough evidence of obstruction of justice.
Still I guess they keep on dreamin'…
Note that Mueller didn't want to appear.
ADDED: but if there was anyone who learnt something about the Mueller Report in the Muller hearing, it was Mueller himself.  He’d clearly done no writing of it, and know little of its contents.

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Yes, but.... asking Palestinians to say “surrender” seems a fool’s errand, so....

Canberra two weeks ago
... the very thought of surrender, even mentioning the word, is not persuasive.
Even though Israeli Ambassador Danon’s logic and argument is good.
Highlighting, yet again, the number of times the Palestinian side has had the chance to have peace and an independent country, how this would have been good for Palestinians, they have nonetheless always said “no”, because their hatred of Jews and Israel is so strong. The could be Switzerland but choose to be Sudan.
It’s also interesting that the New York Times, no friend of Israel, has published two articles in two days, putting the Israeli side of this dreary, timeless, deadly and pointless argument.
Article by Daniel Denon, Israel Ambassador to the United Nations, below the fold

UBI is highly progressive


This is a data-rich analysis of democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang's proposal for a Universal Basic Income. In my view a UBI is going to be needed, sometime. The growth of AI, robotics, self driving vehicles and productivity will mean fewer jobs even as we produce more than enough for everyone. Something is needed to spread the wealth and UBI is one way. This analysis shows it has the additional benefit of being net very progressive not regressive. 
I've followed Yang for over a year and heard him on his UBI plan. He knows the subject well. 
Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang wants to give every adult citizen $1,000 per month, no strings attached. This idea is called universal basic income (UBI), though Yang calls his a Freedom Dividend, which he plans to fund with new taxes and an option for households to switch away from current benefits.
If Yang's plan were implemented, who would come out ahead or behind? How would poverty, inequality, and the deficit change? What benefit programs would be most affected? To answer these questions, I applied the open-source Tax-Calculator software to the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey, combined this with established analyses of the new taxes he proposes, and simulated the effect across the distribution of US households. This analysis is static, meaning it ignores behavioral and macroeconomic responses to tax, income, and deficit changes.
While the plan would add $1.4 trillion to the annual deficit, it would be highly progressive, significantly reducing poverty and inequality. 86 percent of households would come out ahead, including 90 percent of those earning under $50,000 and 54 percent of those earning $200,000 or more.




Monday, 24 June 2019

Take the Palestinians’ ‘No’ for an Answer

For the "Israel must do more" crowd:

This isn't the first time the Pales­tini-ans have said no. At a sum­mit bro­kered by Pres­i­dent Clin­ton in 2000, Is­rael of­fered them full state­hood on ter­ri­tory that in­cluded roughly 92% of the West Bank and all of Gaza, along with a cap­i­tal in Jerusalem. The Pales­tin­ian Au­thor­ity re­jected that of­fer, lead­ing Is­rael to up it to 97% of the West Bank in 2001. Again, the an­swer was no. An even fur­ther-reach­ing of­fer in 2008 was re­jected out of hand. And when Pres­i­dent Obama pres­sured Is­rael into a 10-month set­tle­ment freeze in 2009 to re­new ne­go­ti­a­tions, the Pales­tini­ans re­fused to come to the ta­ble.



Full text below the fold

Saturday, 22 June 2019

“Hong Kong extradition protests reveal deep-rooted problems that need addressing. How will Carrie Lam and Beijing respond?” SCMP | David Dodwell


David Dodwell's op-Ed in today's SCMP. We have liked his stuff before. This strikes me as a pretty good and sober assessment …
If you don't have it, get the SCMP App. No need to pay anything.  Works well. Ditto WSJ App.

Thursday, 20 June 2019

'We’ve been Rotherhamed'. Rod Liddle


Since this article the Rotheraming is worse as AOC says the detention centres on the border with Mexico are "Concentration Camps". Ah, no they are not...

“An ex-Canberran's view”. Canberra Times June 15

Canberra sunset
Just for the record… my letter as published in the Canberra Times, June 15

I'm a visiting ex-Canberran having spent the last forty years in China and Hong Kong. My question on Canberra transport: why not go for smaller light buses at greater frequency with fixed routes but no fixed stops? 
We have that in Kong Kong, called the Public Light Bus service.(Van-zai in Cantonese). Seating up to 19, they fill in the gaps left by normal buses, the MTR (subway), taxis and trams. They are run by individual owners on assigned but flexible routes. The driver can pick up and drop off passengers wherever they like along the route. 
If a new route or more frequent services are needed, the government simply puts them out to tender. Private enterprise ("aspiration"!) does the rest. It strikes me that Canberra's current obsession with fixed light rail and large buses is locking it into a cumbersome, costly and inflexible system. Surely - as your correspondents make clear - what is needed is more frequent services and more flexible routes. 

Peter Forsythe, Discovery Bay, HK

Monday, 17 June 2019

Energy solution needs better technology



Canberra home for me, 69-72

Bjorn Lomborg is a controversial guy.  Check out his Wikipedia entry and feel the barely-suppressed vitriol, only held in check by WP's strong NPOV guidelines. He thinks differently, that's for sure, on issues around climate change. Yes, it's happening, he agrees, and it's human-induced. But what to do? We have limited resources. Best to focus on new technologies rather than implementing expensive old technology of current solar and wind, which is still more expensive than traditional fuels and can only solve a minor part of the problem.. (Not to mention, because Lomborg doesn't, that both solar and wind have major negative impacts on the earth during their manufacture). Investment in R&D will give better pay off in the longer term, claims Lomborg.
Lomborg critics and haters - and they are many - regularly chastise him for "cherry picking" the data he quotes. Two things to say about cherry picking: 
1. Everything is cherry picked! You can't quote all the stats about a topic; that's just impossible. So you select. That's all "cherry picking" is. Choosing the best stats to support your point. Nothing wrong with that. 
2. You're saying "cherry picked" because you don't like the stats that have been quoted. Not that they're wrong. (Or right). You don't address that. Just that you don't like them. Hence they're "cherry picked", you say. 
In this article below I've no doubt the Lomborg denier-haters will say there's cherry-picked stuff. For example: he says that burning wood emits more CO2 per unit of heat than does coal. Well, I looked it up and it seems there's a range, depending on the type of wood, its source, how it's harvested, etc. On average, however, wood emits about double the CO2 as does coal.  Cherry picked or not, that's true. 
The house I'm staying now, in Oz, a house owned by a couple of environmentally-concerned folks, a place facing the winter sun, double-glazed windows and all, has a wood fire place, burning found wood. But still. It'd be better for them to be burning coal.  
Like from Adani. 

Article in full:

Friday, 14 June 2019

‘Hong Kong fury'


Chinese 不送中
                        
Can't see anything wrong with this analysis
Hong Kong fury
Why there's violent opposition to the China extradition bill


Whatever the authorities in Beijing say, the anger on the streets of Hong Kong isn't synthetic, nor is it stirred up by 'foreign forces'. The serious, dedicated atmosphere of 2014's umbrella protest, which lasted 79 days, is back, only this time with more violence.


Of course, the vast majority of Hong Kongers won't be personally threatened by the passing of the extradition law — which allows Beijing to try suspects who, as matters stand, cannot be rendered across the border — but legal changes like this eat away at everyone's security. At first, no doubt, those extradited to the mainland will be rapists and murderers. But later the prime candidates for extradition will be people who have infuriated Beijing by their public statements.

‘Greener than thou'


The Tories are desperate to be seen as environmentalists. But at what cost?
ROSS CLARK

Carrie Crypto Communist


LETTER TO SCMP:
Carrie Lam says she is pushing the extradition legislation "for the benefit of Hong Kong". Would she care to explain to we Hongkongers exactly how her actions are beneficial, because I can't see it.
Lam may have teared up when she denied "selling out" Hong Kong, but that seems exactly what she's doing. And she's doing it off her own bat, so it seems, if we are to believe her insistence that Beijing has nothing to do with it.
Meantime, the China Daily says the demonstrations are "hammering" Hong Kong's reputation. In fact, the opposite is the case. It's the clear coordination of Carrie and the Communists that is hammering our hard-won reputation. And how dare China say HK is purely an "internal matter" when the post-handover arrangements are subject to international treaty. (China unilaterally abrogated that treaty in June 2017, which speaks volumes about its respect for the rule of law, the crux of the current issue).
By the way, check out the forty countries with which China has extradition treaties. Most are what I would call NVN — "not very nice".  

Pf, etc...


Thursday, 13 June 2019

The speech censors given a free media pass

Janet Albrechtsen in The Australian.
Orwell's Nineteen-Eighty-Four has been described as a handbook for difficult times. In a week that marks its publication 70 years ago, please open the handbook for some guidance, for these are difficult times.
Last week Australian Federal Police officers rifled through the home of a News Corp journalist and the offices of ABC journalists. Nothing flashy, no brown-shirted stormtroopers kicking in doors. Just a team of polite civil servants, ordering sandwiches and coffee while they rummaged through homes and workplaces, armed with slippery words in laws to justify them infringing our freedoms.
Outraged journalists said it was chilling. Alas, many of these same journalists have not been doing their job if they haven't noticed this is how free speech is silenced today. In the past decade a growing cadre of civil servants, from human rights commissioners to university vice-chancellors, all good-mannered, nicely dressed people, have used crafty words in laws and other instruments to curb our most fundamental right to speak freely.
Many of the same journalists who, last week, held up signs for the cameras saying that it is not a crime to be a journalist have not raised so much as an eyebrow about other dismally illiberal events. That makes them complicit in a stifling culture that gave rise to last week's AFP raids. After all, a free press is only one part of our basic right to speak freely. If you don't defend the latter, expect to lose the former soon enough.
Orwell warned us to watch out for Newspeak, Thought Police and the Ministry of Truth; their common denominator is slippery language to control speech in order to control how people think. So it came to pass. More than 10 years ago, the Alberta Human Rights Commission in Canada investigated a complaint brought against commentator Ezra Levant for publishing the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. The complaint was dropped, but not before a bureaucrat questioned Levant about his intention in publishing the cartoons.
Levant described it like this: "No six-foot brown shirt here, no police cell at midnight. Just Shirlene McGovern, an amiable enough bureaucrat, casually asking me about my political thoughts, on behalf of the government of Alberta. And she'll write up a report about it and recommend that the government do this or that to me.
"I had half-expected a combative, missionary-style interrogator. I found, instead, a limp clerk who was just punching the clock … In a way, that's more terrifying," he wrote about a process that reminded him of Hannah Arendt's banality of evil.
Former Australian Human Rights commissioner Gillian Triggs and one-time Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane.
Former Australian Human Rights commissioner Gillian Triggs and one-time Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane.
While a handful of journalists in Australia recognised the early danger signs, many of those outraged by last week's AFP raids showed little interest. Even when the same thing happened here a few years later, they fell silent.
In 2011, Andrew Bolt was prosecuted under section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act for causing offence by pointing out the foibles of claiming indigenous ancestry. In passing, the judge frowned over the tone of his writing. The Australian Human Rights Commission used the same laws to investigate The Australian's Bill Leak in 2016 for his powerful cartoon about the complex issues of individual responsibility and the dismal plight of indigenous children. Liberal MP Julian Leeser once said of the UN Human Rights Council: "We read Orwell as a warning; they read Orwell as a textbook." His observation applies equally to the AHRC: as race commissioner, Tim Soutphommasane encouraged com­plain­ants to come forward over Leak's cartoon.
The AHRC toyed with students from Queensland University of Technology too after they made innocuous comments on Facebook when they were kicked out of an indigenous-only computer lab. One student wrote: "QUT stopping segregation with segregation." What part of that was untrue? Yet it took two years of complaints, investigations, interviews and mounting legal bills before the complaint was thrown out. And the chilling effect of those laws remains intact.
Some of us have reported extensively on the creeping, and creepy, mission of the AHRC. It needs to be renamed; its name is an insult to genuine human rights. And these dismal events need to be laid out, over and over again, until we defeat an illiberal culture that is strangling freedom of expression, the single most important piece of machinery that drives a robust marketplace of ideas. It is the centrifugal force of Western progress.
Last year, physics professor Peter Ridd was sacked by James Cook University for raising questions about the quality of climate research by some of his colleagues. The university used a code of conduct and claims of "uncollegial behaviour" to get him off campus. ABC HQ showed no interest in asking why the university didn't encourage a debate about Ridd's claims or even why it shut him down.
During the federal election, the ABC's senior journalists showed no interest when Greens leader Richard Di Natale said he wanted hate speech laws to regulate the media to hold the likes of Bolt, Alan Jones and Chris Kenny to account. This proposal would kill a free, independent media in Australia. Hate speech, as defined by the likes of Di Natale, will be defined by the media they hate. Orwell warned us about this, too. The ABC gave Di Natale a free pass.
There was no ABC outrage, only nonchalance, when the Gillard government proposed an Orwellian regime of government oversight to make the media "balanced" and "accountable". As James Paterson, now a Liberal senator, wrote then: "The last time that media outlets were subject to press licensing in the English-speaking world was 1693. What was too tyrannical for the English in the time of William and Mary is apparently acceptable in 21st-century Australia.
Note the manipulation of subjective language to curb free speech: the AFP relies on "national security" to search a journalist's underwear drawer, the Gillard government wanted to legislate for a "balanced" and "accountable" media, 18C prohibits people saying things that "offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate", the Greens want to outlaw "hate speech", and a university relied on "uncollegial behaviour”.
It is critical that we constantly check where society, governments and bureaucracies draw lines to restrict free speech. Journalists want buffer zones around themselves to protect a free press. Fair enough. But where the heck have they been when it comes to defending the rights of other Australians to speak freely?
High-profile hosts at the ABC paid by taxpayers to report and comment on this country should have been at the frontline, championing our rights to speak, to draw and to debate freely. As Canadian commentator Mark Steyn famously said about free speech, it is not a left-right thing. It is a free-unfree thing. And therein lies the curse of the modern left: a pusillanimous attitude towards a core piece of intellectual machinery necessary in a healthy democracy.

China’s Million New Dissidents - The Wall Street Journal.




It's not easy to turn a mil­lion pros­per­ous peo­ple into po­lit­i­cal dis­si­dents. But that's what China might have pulled off in Hong Kong.
Or­ga­niz­ers say more than a mil­lion peo­ple poured into the ter­ri­tory's streets Sun­day to march against an amend­ment to the law be­ing rammed through the leg­isla­tive coun­cil, or LegCo. The amendment would al­low ex­tra­di­tion to China. Every marcher un­derstands the con­sequence: China would have the power to go af­ter crit­ics in Hong Kong by hav­ing them arrested there and then brought to the mainland for trial and imprisonment.

“Don’t blame weather for drop in light rail patronage” Letters June 13


LETTER TO CANBERRA TIMES: 
(Re above headline in today's print version. Canberra has a brand new tram service that's just started operating, about a month ago. Photo is Rippon Lea in Melbourne):

I'm a visiting ex Canberran having spent the last forty years in China and Hong Kong.
My question on Canberra Transport: why not go for smaller light buses at greater frequency with fixed routes but no fixed stops?
We have that in Kong Kong, called the Public Light Bus service.(Van-zai in Cantonese). Seating up to 19, they fill in the gaps left by normal buses, the MTR (subway), taxis and trams. They are run by individual owners on assigned but flexible routes. The driver can pick up and drop off passengers wherever they like along the route.
If a new route or more frequent services are needed, the government simply puts them out to tender. Private enterprise ("aspiration"!) does the rest.
It strikes me that Canberra's current obsession with fixed light rail and large buses is locking it into a cumbersome, costly and inflexible system.
Surely - as your correspondents make clear - what is needed is more frequent services and more flexible routes.

Pf etc..

Carrie. Our crypto commie

How long before HK's CEO, Carrie Lam, sounds exactly like a communist apparatchik?
She's already halfway there. She called the current demos against the China extradition law "organised riots".
Next they'll be "anti Hong Kong elements". Then "anti revolutionary". Then the extradition to China.
It's fanciful to imagine that she is not doing Beijing's bidding.
Meantime news that China is seeking extradition of someone from New Zealand. But NZ doesn't have an extradition treaty with China so what's going on there?

Monday, 3 June 2019

“It’s up to Boris now…”



I bought the print version but not the digital. So I have to photograph the article. And it’s an odd shape…
I like Greg. Have known him for decades. He’s sharp and smart and writes well. 

Sunday, 2 June 2019

Althouse: "So no impeachment...."


You can take it to the bank. Ann Althouse says there won't be an impeachment.
I'm going to double up on my bet with Kev…

Tim Pool on Twitter. Twitter bows to China.

Tim Pool (@Timcast)
Welcome to your future dissident.

Bend the knee to the Techno-fascists who control what you can see and hear.

Don't worry, after a generation know one will remember what civil rights and freedom are so they won't be upset.

Ignorance is bliss

Wow this is scary. Twitter kowtowing to China outside China. 

“Dark age”? What dark age?



Tweed Heads Gallery

Obama at his most sententiously arrogant. He plays to the fan club, bathing in the warm fluid of unquestioning adoration. 
But this was the man who brought us ISIS, by policy failures in the Middle East, the. failed to kill its caliphate by micro-managing his generals, who failed to pass any prison reform. Who made race relations worse.  Who passed just one domestic policy, Obamacare, a policy of manifold flaws.
And this is the man who lectures us about a "dark side"? In a time of record employment, record real wage growth and record economic growth?
The gall. 
 "The Fox News viewer has a completely different reality than the New York Times reader,” [Obama] said.
Oookay.... how about watching the both, as I do. So you get a bit of this reality and a bit of that reality.