Saturday 29 February 2020

5 Reasons Why We Need Sweden's Democratic Socialism | We The Internet TV

Lou Perez is the founder and owner of We the Internet TV. He’s a New York based comedian, politically left of centre.
Here he is, above, going to Sweden to check out the line that “Bernie is not really a socialist. He just wants something like Denmark or Sweden”.

Catching up on all the bad news

In our Hong Kong back yard
Some of that bad news being Trump’s deal with the Taliban to withdraw from Afghanistan. Giving a fixed time that US troops will leave, seems to say to the Taliban you’ve only got to wait a while and it’s all yours, O bearded ones. Not much Art in that Deal…

At home in the maelstrom …

Our new table. Recycled teak. 
… of protests and viruses. Reading about Ghosts and Woks

‘No, Not Sanders, Not Ever‘ | David Brooks

David Brooks in the New York Times frets about a Bernie presidency:
We all start from personal experience. I covered the Soviet Union in its final decrepit years. The Soviet and allied regimes had already slaughtered 20 million people through things like mass executions and intentional famines. Those regimes were slave states. They enslaved whole peoples and took away the right to say what they wanted, live where they wanted and harvest the fruits of their labor.

And yet every day we find more old quotes from Sanders apologizing for this sort of slave regime, whether in the Soviet Union, Cuba or Nicaragua. He excused the Nicaraguan communists when they took away the civil liberties of their citizens. He’s still making excuses for Castro.
And gets hammered in the comments. Click screenshot below the fold to enlarge:

Covid-19 virus update, 29 February

From Worldometer where a lot of detail
We were wondering last night: what if China had never told the world of the coronavirus? Would we even be know it existed? Would we even notice some few hundreds of people around the world who got the flu and some few elderly people died of it? Don’t think so.
While the world economy is hammered, stock markets sinking, and heads of state could lose their positions because of it.
There are bizarre theories out there, like it’s caused by 5G, or by… the joooz! (of course)
Best to keep up to date: the World Health Organisation site
And also Snopes.
Or here…
Where WHO says risk of spread is ‘very high’. BUT STILL: don’t panic! Practice Universal health measures: wash your hands regularly and don’t go out if you’re sick. Repeat: don’t panic. Stock market plunge likely overreacting but has galvanised people’s attention.

‘Disaster’: Hotel Occupancy drops 90%
Korea cases exceed China for third straight day
Bad signs: Shanghai virus sequencing lab closed down for ‘rectification
Bad signs: Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai arrested
OT: Louisa Tam gives a Cantonese lessson

Friday 28 February 2020

Covid-19 virus update, 28 February

From Worldometer where many details
UPDATE: A 25-member international independent team of medical experts, under the auspices of the WHO, gave its report on 25 February and that is on YouTube here. It’s rather long, shorter versions by googling Dr Bruce Aylward (one here), the team leader and international expert on viral diseases.
At least listen to the first twenty minutes all about the amazing things being done by China to control the outbreak.
Cable and social news people especially in the US, who relentlessly bash China ought to take note. America is doing nothing like China and doesn’t even know how many cases it has because CDC had been making a hash of testing.

The new cases are mostly now outside China. 80-some countries now have Covid-19 patients.
There are doubts about the source of this coronavirus. Was it really the wet market in Wuhan? Was it Wuhan? Was it even China ?  (I’m not conspiracy theorising here. There is genuine puzzlement in the international experts’ community). 
Meantime we’re learning that the US has tested very few people with the proper kit (under 500), so actual cases there could be much higher.
ADDED: according to WHO (link above), Guangzhou, China, has tested over 300,000 and found 0.012% positive. Wuhan tests 20,000 per day. Korea tested 50,000 last week. China just sent 40,000 test kits to Japan. Experts are still uncertain as to patient zero. By contrast America has tested fewer than 600 up to this morning. 
While Trump is tweeting unhelpfully and (at times) incorrectly* about the virus which doesn’t help to quell concerns about a pandemic. He’d be better to leave matters to his Health Secretary and the CDC, but who can tell that man anything?

Titania McGrath: weighs in. “As a vegan and a humanitarian I welcome refugees of all species. And, yes, that includes the coronavirus”. On bigotry against viruses. (Nod,/wink… she’s a spoof).

Go here to see the tweet. Or click on screenshot
In other viral news:
Stock market virally volatile. Dow’s biggest one day drop. Hitting supply chains
The good, the bad and the ugly of authoritarianism
France braces for epidemic. And California
Israel can help
While… OT: crimes rise and arrests drop as police busy with protests
[The Titania exchanges are so funny, I’m posting the screenshots below the fold...]
* EG, below the fold, below Titania. It’s not under control...

Thursday 27 February 2020

Predictions on Democrats

1.  Bernie will be the nominee
2.  The Democratic Party will swing behind him.

Sure, there are plenty of Democrats who are scared witless by a Bernie nominee (and here and here because they know (a) 160 million Americans don’t want to lose their health insurance and (b) most Americans are not fond of Socialism. So they are hammering him.
But what are they going to do once he is the nominee? Are they going to keep hammering him? Which would ensure four more years of Trump? Unlikely.
After 2016 Republican primaries, Trump hammerers like Lindsay Graham quickly fell in line behind Trump when he became the nominee and more so since the election.
The Bernie Pivot involves (a) Medicare For All, but “you can keep your doctor” (as Obama promised, but didn’t quite happen). And (b) Bernie is not really a Socialist. Not the nasty type but the Democratic Socialist type, like Denmark and Norway. David Axelrod said that yesterday on the CNN post debate panel. Bill de Blasio said it this morning with Sean Hannity.
Of course (a) Bernies MFA does mean no private insurance and therefore no choice of doctor. It’s on his site. And (b) he is indeed a Socialist in the rather more serious meaning of the term: state control of the means of production. For Bernie that’s Energy, Transportation, Banking, Telecoms, Internet… phew! Enough?  He called himself a Socialist in 1980 and he hasn’t changed.
But the Democrats pivot involves: “we don’t want to re-litigate the 1960s”.  [yeah, but what about the 80s?]. And “Bernie is not really a Socialist, he’s motivated by a deep concern for the working people”. Right… and “the road to hell…”
ADDED: Bernie has two lines: (1) Medicare for All and (2) Billionaires bad.  It used to be “billionaires and millionaires" but he dropped the “millionaires” after he became one himself, one with three houses.

My first prediction will be tested this weekend at the South Carolina primaries.
And my second will be tested after Super Tuesday, March 3.
Fun days ahead for US election junkies.

Watching Live: Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren Town Halls in Charleston SC. Amy certainly comes over better singly on stage than on the debate stage. Liz comes across as strained. Some will see it as passion. I see it as false sympathy. False smile. Poor jokes. 

Covid-19 virus update, 27 February

From Worldometer
Stubborn refusal for infection rate to decline, and worrying increase in death rate, currently 3.41%
The Worldometer link has lots of detailed information country by country.
Life goes in here in our Discovery Bay bubble. Eggs are out of stock at one supermarket, but not the other while the basics, rice, toilet paper, are back in huge supply. I learned that half of world airfreight is in the holds of passenger planes, so as passenger flights have been slashed — by half on some routes — so freight capacity has dropped.  This impacts supply chains.
Trump says: “wash your hands”. And he’s right! The single best thing individuals can do is not touch common areas, lift buttons, railings, etc, and wash your hands!

Where the phrase ‘Sick man in Asia’ came from. (Re the controversial WSJ article. And it’s not the west). Like “long time no see”, “lookee lookee”, “taiphoon” “ketchup”…all from Chinese.
Enforcing  wildlife trade bans
Virus spread to Brazil
$US 1,500 cash to every Hk adult, in yesterday’s budget. (Which happened after SARS, but didn’t do much for the economy)
Repeat: sharing and collaboration. AND deluge of scientific papers
Repeat: Finally! China bans trade in wild animals 
Meanwhile, reading on the patio…

Home on the stoop. Cool and breezy. Safe…

Wednesday 26 February 2020

Stone Sentencing Ends Russia Collusion, Part I

The Roger Stone sentencing farce is as fitting an end to the Russia Collusion saga as one could conjure up . . .  though it might be more fitting to call it the end of Russia Collusion, Part I. No sooner did the first flick conclusively bomb than the media-Democrat complex was issuing the casting call for Russia Collusion, Part II.
In the sequel, you’re asked to believe that Putin is manipulating the chesspieces to steal a second term for President Trump – somehow preferring an incumbent who beefs up the U.S. armed forces, pressures NATO allies to beef up theirs, imposes painful sanctions on Moscow, provides lethal aid to Ukraine, ramps up U.S. energy production, and seeks to thwart the Kremlin’s coveted natural-gas partnership with Germany, over an unabashed socialist who honeymooned in the Soviet Union and whose policies would wreck the American economy, end the resurgence of American energy production, and hollow out the American armed forces. [Andrew McCarthy in good form....]

Ok, McCarthy is a registered Republican, with a few out-there theories about Obama... but these are still good points, aren’t they? They’re factual and to me powerful arguments against the “Trump as Russian stooge” narrative. 
And if we look back at the whole saga of “Russian collusion”, ending in the Mueller Report, which found none, isn’t it CNN, et al, who have consistently misread the situation? So, as they are likely doing now: their take being that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election in favour of Bernie, so that Bernie will be the Dems nominee and make it easier for Trump to win!  Pretty baroque.  
When the alternative is that Russia are funding Bernie (if indeed they are), because they prefer Bernie?  
I mean, Occam’s razor and all.

Watching the Democratic debate live in South Carolina

[ADDED: I highlighted (some of) my comments]
ADDED (27/2): the final question was in two parts: (1) name a major misconception people have about you and (2) what is your motto. Ann Althouse considers the misconceptions here and the mottos here.

On stage, L to R: Mike (Bloomberg), Liz (Warren), Bernie (Sanders), Joe (Biden), Pete (Buttigieg), Amy (Klobuchar), Tom (Steyer).
01:00 GMT:
First question is to Bernie about how good the economy is and he flips it to how bad billionaires are.
Bernie getting attacked from all sides but not really hard and sharp alike last week.
Joe zooms from discussion of the economy to gun control.
The moderators don’t seem to be controlling the subject.
Liz says Bloomberg more dangerous than Bernie.
Most applause seems to be for Joe and Bernie.
It’s the sideshows: Liz v Mike. Pete v Bernie. Amy on her own. Tom on his own. Joe pretty much on his own too.
Bernie is in his favourite subject: Health care. Gotta give it for the man, he’s been banging in about this for forty years.
Amy is droning. Moderate applause.
Now it’s Pete v Tom. On healthcare. Oh dear...
Tom bores them with his mani thing: climate change.
Joe boring them with “what I’ve done”. Joe’s campaign / debating is all in the past. “Bernie hasn’t passed much of anything”. True! Joe is now punchier.
Tom and Joe hammer and tongs.
Amy says she can “get things done”.
Mike whoops! He nearly said “bought” when he meant to say “supported”, with money, 20 of forty Democrats to the House.
Boos to Bernie when he mentions billionaires.

Covid-19 virus update, 26 February

From Worldometer 
This is the lowest rate of new infections increase 0.3%) to date, though should be another update in a few hours.

Even Covid-19 helps Trump
HK exports hammered
Hitting the world economy
Attaching ‘virus’ to the Chinese
HK School closure extended to at least April 20. Kids must be getting bored and driving parents crazy:

Tuesday 25 February 2020

'GM Crops Like Golden Rice Will Save the Lives of Hundreds of Thousands of Children’ | Quillette

Ethiopian school for blind children, Amhara Gandar. Joerg Boethling.
In the “the road to hell....” category, many good intentions about GM, but Europe is not following the science. The science is unanimous that GM crops are safe and would increase yields particularly in some of the poorest parts of the world, on African farms.
The article by Matt Ridley is at Quillette and my Word here courtesy Quillette. [And Webarchive here]
Same thing in fighting the locusts. The Green lobby has stopped insecticides that are the only way the plague can realistically be stopped. Meantime, they are eating Africa’s future. “The Danger of Green Colonialism”. [Or access here in Word, courtesy WSJ]

NYTimes: Putin Would Hate President Bernie Sanders

My comment at the New York Times site, re Michelle Goldberg who has the opposite view to John Hinderaker and me:
Why no mention in the Original Post of current admin's anti-Russia actions?

Trump armed the Ukrainians, re-invigorated NATO by insisting that members take an interest in their own defense; wounded Russia's key ally, Iran; has overseen an expansion and strengthening of American armed forces. He has encouraged fracking and development of U.S. oil and gas resources, which has kept down the global price of oil, and considered sanctions on Russia's Nordstream 2 gas pipeline.

This hurts Russia which is essentially a "heavily armed gas station." Petroleum represents more than 50% of Russia's total exports, and natural gas is its main geopolitical weapon against Western Europe

Further: he has expelled Russian diplomats. sanctioned many Russian officials and oligarchs, all to Putin's deep chagrin.

It puzzles me too that Trump slavers over the likes of Putin. But these actions have hardly been those of a Russian stooge or "conscious Russian asset".

Dems hate Reps and vice versa

From here

Dems have drifted quite far left, with
widening range of views. Reps more
coherent and slightly to the right
This is pretty sad. And surely not good. Each party sees the other as horrid:
From Axios poll
ADDED: I’ve often heard -- and nodded along to -- the notion that: “conservatives think liberals are wrong; liberals think conservatives are evil”.  But the Axios poll shows they both think each other “evil” about the same amount. And that other prejudices are more dominant. The “racist/bigoted/sexist” one is especially strong and as we found during the Brexit brouhaha.

Covid-19 virus update, 25 February

From Worldometer 
The rate of new infections is creeping down especially in China, while new cases in Italy, Iran and Korea are increasing, and the death rate (%) is also increasing, now 3.37%
The local supermarkets are making sure they have huge supplies of rice, toilet paper and other basics, right up front in prominent big piles (see below). Things still run out occasionally. The other day it was eggs. They come in from Australia, New Zealand and the US. Half of air freight is in passenger planes and these have been drastically reduced, impacting these fresh imports. China has said it guarantees our supplies: 70% of our water, 23% of our electricity (all nuclear) and 93% of our food are from China.
It all feels very bad to me. Worse than SARS in 2003. 

Finally! China bans trade in wild animals 
Wall Street plunge
The only thing to fear is fear itself and hold the panic

Monday 24 February 2020

Don’t worry we have plenty of rice

Wellcome supermarket yesterday

Harry Miller, free speech hero

Harry is thoughtful and eloquent. Thank goodness he fought this fight. Well worth a listen, and a wonder about where this could go if we’re not careful.
His “offensive” tweets were him taking part in a debate about the issue of self-identification. That is, the right to say that you have changed your gender, and to have that accepted without any further evidence or requirement for Gender Assignment Certificates. This was a debate promoted by the government.  

Covid-19 virus update, 24 February

From Worldometer
Sharing and collaboration
Garden of Persuasions  (禍不單行 Huo bu dan xing. Misfortunes don’t travel singly)
Milan and Venice impacts
Rapid rise in Korea
Rapid rise in Iran 

Sunday 23 February 2020

Watching Bernie win handily in Nevada

And so one step closer to locking up the nomination. We’ll know by Wednesday and the South Carolina caucus, where if Biden doesn’t win it’s curtains for Joe. And Bernie cruises into Super Tuesday.
Another debate tomorrow which I’m looking forward to — especially to see how Bloomberg performs after his disastrous first debate performance. The ratings were high for that show and should be even higher for tomorrow’s.
There’s a lot of talk of Russian interference in support of Trump, but almost none about Russian support of Bernie, of which Bernie was apparently briefed a month ago.
The assumption in MSM is that Putin prefers Trump. But how could that be? Russia would infinitely prefer a Bernie to a Trump.
John Hinderaker:
Donald Trump is anathema to the rulers of Russia. Not only has he armed the Ukrainians, he has re-invigorated NATO by insisting that members take an interest in their own defense; stood up to and badly wounded Russia’s key ally, Iran; overseen an expansion and strengthening of American armed forces; and, most important, encouraged fracking and other development of U.S. oil and gas resources, which has kept down the global price of oil.
 This hits Russia where it hurts the most: as one pundit has noted, Russia is essentially a “heavily armed gas station.” Petroleum represents more than 50% of Russia’s total exports, and natural gas is its main geopolitical weapon against Western Europe.[here]
Hinderaker could have added: Russian diplomats expelled, officials and oligarchs sanctioned by Trump. Trump lobbied against Russia’s gas pipeline to Europe. Bernie, on the other hand, has been sympathetic to Russia since Soviet times.

ADDED:  (24/2): if you only watch Bernie on the stump I get the attraction. He’s passionate and clear: the rich are obscenely rich and the government ought to take away from them to give to you. You all need free education and free health. It’s only if you dig a bit deeper that you get to the core of his beliefs which are far to the left of most Americans, and impractical to boot (his $US 100 Trillion Healthcare plan, for example). Most people don’t do the digging though. We know that. It will only be in debates with Trump that these will come out. Can’t wait.
Related: my post “Will a ‘President Bernie’ turn America into Venezuela?”

Covid-19 virus update, 23 February

Viral racism
A mural in Rome’s Chinatown: “There’s an epidemic of ignorance.
We have to protect against it”. On the box “#I-am-not-a-virus
Korean cases up 28%
Outside China cases rising fast 
Russian viral fake news
The pathogen of prejudice
While the WHO warns…
A man peers out from barricades in Wuhan

Saturday 22 February 2020

The Joe crash and Bernie bump

From here. Click to enlarge
Just look at that Joe Biden Crash!
…while Bernie just keeps up his improbable climb 
And see what money buys Mike!
… while Liz Crashes.

Covid-19 virus update, 22 February

Uptick in part because of South Korean outbreak
From Worldometer 
Surge in Korea
China’s Chernobyl ?
Losing goodwill
Car sales drop 92%
Cruising for a bruising

From Hong Kong cases. Toal 68. Nothing on our Island of Lantau. AE = a quarantine centre
Click to enlarge and clarify

Friday 21 February 2020

How Many Ways Do I Metaphor Thee?

Let me count the ways...

a.  As a traffic accident (of course!):
A monster truck named Elizabeth Warren rammed [Bloomberg] off the road. Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders raced to the wreck to spray firehoses of kerosene on the wreck.
b.  As a pack of predators attacking its prey:
The prey is down and the pack of predators leaps upon him: ...
Does the bloody prey want to lift up his woeful head and mutter any last words? ...
Oh! No pity for the dying beast! They booed him! And the predators converge once again on the tasty flesh: ...
And with that, the moderators, without going back to the bleeding carcass, move on to the next topic. ...
c.  As a NASCAR race
d. As a fading flower:

e.  And, hoist on his own petard

Covid-19 virus update, 21 February

Four days of decline. Sharp fall in new cases
From Worldometer
Viral racism ?
Viral silver lining ?
Viral democracy  ?
Terrific Infographic: Covid-19
Why bats ?

Things here in Discovery Bay remain calm and normal. No more panic buying, low-level or otherwise. Shops fully stocked.
We went to Central yesterday. No crowds. Movie theatres empty. People who are wearing masks are all Chinese; those unmasked are all foreigners. Not sure why that is, as we all have access to the same information. I go by the best medical evidence I can find online, which all suggests that masks — especially the surgical masks most people wear — are of limited to no use.
This fantastic infographic gives more info in masks and all manner of viral info.

Thursday 20 February 2020


from lives

And Dawn Butler says the earth is flat 
And remember it’s perfectly safe to like this cartoon! It’s not bigoted.…

Watching the democratic debate Live in Las Vegas

Bloomberg, Warren, Sanders, Biden, Buttigieg, Klobuchar
Hosted by MSNBC and NBC.
Four oldies nearing 80, two youngsters. 4 men 2 women. All white. (Oh, except for Warren, 1/1024th Cherokee..).
Early on: Warren absolutely bashes Bloomberg: over women, over stop and frisk, over being a billionaire.
[ADDED: Warren calls Bloomberg a “liar” and a “misogynist”. Then says she’d support him if he became the Dem candidate. Whaaaa…?]
A bit later, we learn from Bernie: both Mike and Bernie have two heart stents. (I have seven...). Bernie making the point that though their old, they’re fit.
They’re all bashing Bloomberg for his wealth. He’s alternatively unapologetic and then apologetic. My early impression: Mike not doing well.
Amy and Pete have traded blows over her not remembering (knowing?) the president of Mexico. She accuses him (Pete, not the president) of calling her stupid. When not speaking she’s smiling widely. Every now and then her laugh, a loud Yuck Yuck..
Bernie burns. His usual finger waving passion.
Bloomberg a bit schoolmarmish
Joe is deer in he headlights.  Bulging eyes. His last chance reflected. They’re not attacking him, I guess because they think he’s now irrelevant.
Warren is screechy. Like Joe.
Amy is amiable. I still like her.
Pete needs a shave. Goldman Sachs robot. Amy calls him "too perfect". True. But he bristles.
Far more fiery than any previous debate. Tempus Fugit. 
Pete says he’s the only non millionaire on the stage. True. His net worth is $100,000
Pete says Democrats don’t want a polarising candidate like Mike or Bernie.
Final say:
Amy does well, moderate applause
Mike talks management gets some claps
Pete talks belonging. Mild applause
Warren talks family, power to unions, good applause
Joe. Loud hecklers stop him in his tracks. [ADDED: they were yelling “you deported 3 million immigrants”]. Talks his experience. Guns. Rushing. Mild applause.
Bernie need to beat T.  Healthcare. Wealth distribution. Bashes billionaires. Ok applause.

AFTER:  CNN has a panel includes Andrew Yang! Great! [and gets great reviews]. Van Jones says Bloomberg was a disaster.

CNN panel: Andrew Yang, Gloria Berger (CNN), Dana Bash (CNN), Chris Cuomo (CNN moderator), Van Jones (CNN) Jess McIntosh (ex Hillary aide), Terry MacAuliffe (ex DNC chair).
Andrew has good insights. No one talking Amy, save Van, the lone voice, who like me, liked Amy.
Agreed : a disaster for Bloomfield. Good for Warren. Ok for Biden. Great for Bernie.

Warren came out swinging, leaves Bloomberg battered. CNBC
The Awesome Althouse
Bloomberg disaster Twitter responses

ADDED, 21 February: It’s unanimous: a horrible night for Bloomberg.  CNN
Alliteration Award for best chyron: Divided Dems in Disarray on Debate Disaster 

Covid-19 virus update, 20 February

End of the “long tail?”
Is the end in sight? Or is this big drop in the rate of new infections (0.7%) another statistical anomaly? WHO is warning not to assume too early that it’s over.
Global meltdown inevitable?
Deaths in Hubei taper
Hotel occupancy in single digits
Fake news and fake fake news 

Homing in on zero....

Wednesday 19 February 2020

'My fight against the police over ‘transphobic’ tweets’ | Harry Miller

Harry Miller, et al outside the High Court
A good, quick read, on where some of the burgeoning hate speech laws are leading us.  Namely, somewhere not very nice.  
The Spectator article
Or my online version

Or... read the text below, courtesy the Spectator from Harry Miller:

The police have no jurisdiction over our thoughts, but that hasn’t stopped them trying recently. Just over a year ago, a plainclothes officer from Humberside Police turned up at my workplace to ‘check my thinking’ for getting involved in the transgender debate online. An individual had taken offence at something I’d retweeted and reported it as a hate crime.

Rich folks now lean Democrat not Republican

What an interesting chart!
This is what accounts for Bloomberg (the Mike, not the company). A billionaire, attempting to buy the presidency.... DLO: Democrats leaning Oligarch.
From a Vox article, way back in 2016

I’m watching Amy Klobuchar

She’s on CNN, Live at a Town Hall in Las Vegas, the moderator Anderson Cooper.
I must say, she’s very impressive. Relaxed, composed and eloquent. Knows her stuff. Hits at Trump but doesn’t appear to have TDS. She’s not Hillary! She’s also not Bloomberg. Who is doing … what?… buying the nomination?!
She’s impressing me… and the crowd.
If it were Klobuchar v Trump I think I’d be voting K.
That’s me as an Aussie independent …

ADDED: She finishes with her “Five Rs” which she gets through without forgetting any (one can't help hanging for a Rick Perry “Oops” moment). On “Renegotiation” she says she’d Renegotiate to Re-enter the Russia Nuclear deal and the Iran Deal. Two points:  (1) I’m not so sure either one is worth re-entering and (2) no re-entering the TPP?
(And, by the way, I’m not sure it was a “Renegotiate” R, or if it was a “Re-enter” R. I can’t Recall. So many Rs aaaargh…)
But, all up? impRessive.

ADDED (20/2): Althouse is not so impressed. At least by her Spanish

Remembering Iwo Jima... and flags of all our fathers

The Joe Rosenthal photo which won a Pulitzer in 1945,
probably the most famous American photo of WWII.
Mt Suribachi, Iwo Jima, February 23rd 1945
It’s 75 years to the day since American marines began their assault on the Japanese volcanic islet of Iwo Jima (硫黃島 —Liuhuang Dao, “sulphur island”), which became the Battle of Iwo Jima.
36 days and 47,000 casualties later they had secured the allies’ first piece of Japanese land. 
James Bradley’s father John was on that island and was one of those marines who raised the flag on Mount Suribachi* on 23 February 1945. James wrote about it in his bestselling “Flags of our Fathers”, which Clint (‘Dirty Harry”) Eastwood turned into an award-winning film. So much entertainment, so much money made from slaughter.…
I’ve followed James Bradley via another fascinating book of his: “China Mirage”. 
I also take note of anniversaries of the Pacific War because our father fought the Japanese in Papua New Guinea. And met our mother in Tokyo just after the war, where I was born.
And as a kid in Canberra I often visited the War Memorial, the best war museum in the world, and lingered at the section on the war with Japan, in New Guinea, especially the wonderful dioramas of the Kokoda Trail... Kokoda where our father fought as a Captain in the Australian Army, was shot at, but mainly spent his time interrogating Japanese prisoners of war, having been given crash lessons in Japanese, which he learnt fluently because he was a gifted linguist.
And I’d look at the Japanese flags, captured by Aussies from Japanese soldiers in New Guinea, one of them donated our Dad, and so a Flag of our Father.

ADDED: (24/2): I learn of a book marking the 75th anniversary of the Battle: “Unknown Valor” by Martha MacCallum whose Uncle was killed on the day Mt Suribachi was captured, and the flag raised…

* 摺鉢山  Zheboshan = twisted (or broken) alms (or earthenware) bowl mountain 

Covid-19 virus update, 19 February

The long tail continues
From Worldometer
The “long tail” is what I’m calling the slow reduction in percentage of new cases (2.6% today). As you get most of the cases under control it becomes increasingly difficult to control those last few. The economic theory of diminishing marginal returns. Official estimates remain around end April to end the outbreak. Meantime the economic effects here and regionally are worse than SARS in 2003.

Thanks to all for asking … and thanks to the Great Flying Spaghetti Monster we are fine, here in our Discovery Bay eyrie. All normal. Viral News summary:

Beijing’s three mistakes
RTHK (government owned) spreading unconfirmed mask hoarding rumour. Which I wrote about the other day
Striking for rental cuts as sales fall 50%
Russia bans Chinese
Police in a roll as third bog roll bandit suspect flushed out
Scientists say virus not man made
Peking U prof slams lack of free speech
City lacks leadership 

Tuesday 18 February 2020

‘Really scary what I saw in Hong Kong’, says Radical Left EU Commissioner

Margrethe Vestager is a EU commissioner and member of the Danish Social Liberals, described as “Radical Left”.
She was here in Hong Kong recently and says the following, as reported here.
“I find it truly really scary what I saw in Hong Kong,” said the EU Commission’s executive vice-president on digital policy, Margrethe Vestager, who will spearhead the policy.During a wave of anti-Beijing protests, she said, “People could get a message on the phone: ‘We know you’re there, maybe you should go home’. Not really supportive of the freedom to assemble, or to express yourself.” [my emphasis]
Here’s the thing. I was around in the same demos at the time and know about these texts. I was in touch with an IT expert, also involved in the protests, who told me these were a False Flag operation and that they had proof of it:  knowing the folks who had put them out. 
What the protesters were doing was to put out these messages as if they came from the police. And bingo! how terrible the police are! “No freedom to assemble or express yourself” ! And you’ve got one more western useful idiot on your side.
It was done by way of SMiShing, a version of phishing using SMS. Sending out messages that look like theyre from someone else, in this case the police.
In other words, Ms Vestager was putting out Fake News. She may not have done it deliberately, but that doesn’t excuse it.
Another possibility is that Ms Vestager heard of the many families that were begging their children to return home.
She’s not alone in getting things dramatically wrong. When Ted Cruz came here, in the middle of riots that were daily thrashing our streets and shops, and which I saw with my own eyes, he said that he had seen “no violence” at all from the protesters.  Ok, Ted.

(1) Comparitech on the 100 most surveilled cities
(2) More Fake News: of Claudia Mo, who I wrote about the other day, Alex Lo says:
Last month, fellow opposition lawmaker Claudia Mo Man-ching told Britain’s Sky News that police sent in undercover officers to vandalise shops during the New Year’s Day protests. Again, Mo cited news reports as support. If true, this would be the biggest scandal involving local police. Why aren’t Mo and her colleagues investigating? Mo was a journalist, by the way.
The reason they aren’t is that it didn’t happen. And it didn’t matter to Mo et al that it didn’t happen.  Enough for the Fake News to be out there and propagate on social media, and it becomes yet another reason to hate the police.

Covid-19 virus update, 18 February

The long tail continues

From Worldometer
Three more cases in Hong Kong. But we remain fine here in  Discovery Bay, thank you for asking
Andy Xie worries virus popping US stock market 
And we’re struck by Bog Roll Bandits
Has the US overreacted ?
Virus bites Apple
Wuhan Woman, mad
Radio discussing commercial rents : drops of 50% to 100%
And Face masks. Are they needed? Are there enough? Answers: maybe. And: not yet.
Taxis being given face masks and disinfectants.  Just now ? (Their business down 50%)
Language lesson
Known Unknowns: (a) length of virus incubation period. (b) is asymptomatic transmission happening?

10:25AM HKT: State Council in Beijing giving its presser on CNA. They really are “appalling old wax works” as Prince Charles memorably called them. Stiff, humourless, droning endlessly about all the wonderful steps they’re taking to control the outbreak, but nothing I find compelling enough to report. Some PR training might help.
Carrie Lam Just finished her weekly presser, mostly about mask supply.  They’re on the case, apparently. And some more handouts

Friend sends the following, but no link so far so can’t vouch for it though links within seem kosher.