Monday 28 February 2022

Fact checking the fact checkers

I remember when fact checkers were credible. When you wanted and expected that fact checking had been done on articles you read.
But in recent years fact checkers have themselves become part of the partisan media, always, I think, on the side of the left.
The reaction was so swift it revealed America's gatekeepers of information don't merely have a liberal bent, they're the Democratic Party's rapid-response unit. Their involvement goes beyond lazily pushing out the Biden administration's view of things or tossing soft-ball questions to that frazzled nincompoop of a press secretary — they put out fires for them. They are an integral part of maintaining a certain public image for the Donkey Party.

Little Boxes on the Island … | aka “Omicron delivers Lambda”


Article here
Little boxes made of ticky-tacky…”

As still no mention of anywhere else in the world. Where in all places that don’t pursue Zero Covid policies, cases have plunged. All in the space of a month to six weeks. No matter highly vaxxed (UK) or very low vaxxed (Uganda, South Africa).  Or Sweden which never had full lockdowns and never closed a school. Like ticky-tacky boxes, all same-same. Why should Hong Kong be any different, now we have uncontrolled (because uncontrollable) case numbers.

These ticky-tacky boxes won’t be needed, real soon. 

Below the fold, a selection of charts, from Worldometer:

Sunday 27 February 2022

“Why universal Covid testing is a waste of time” | Letter

Could be written by Jing or me. Or many others in the comments who don’t agree with the idea of universal testing. Which, nonetheless is due to start in March. Three times for 7.4 million. 

At least one change is good: if you test positive or have a close contact, you can isolate at home, not at a crappy quarantine facility. And for only a week if you’re double jabbed. (Article below the fold)

But HK officials continue to talk as if there’s no experience of Omicron anywhere in the world, since mid December. Which of course there is, beginning with South Africa. And every place since shows rapid rise and equally rapid decline in cases, with minimal hospitalised and deaths. 

So talking of having to get control of the virus within two months, as Health Secretary Sophia Chan, said today: well, that’s going to happen anyway. No matter what we do. Maybe she’s just setting the table, knowing that it will happen and she/they can take credit for it. 

Saturday 26 February 2022

Crying and Baking

Crying to Pavarotti. Click above for vid.

It’s Saturday and the day we have our sit down meal. 7:00 pm sharp. Always me to cook. And choose what to cook. Tonight it’s a beef tenderloin, NZ-origin, that I’ve decided to cook a la Chef John, Roast Tenderloin with porcini and tarragon. Which turned out great.

And every time on a Saturday, as I cook, I fire up big Bertha, our super sound system, sometimes with vinyl, sometime CD, sometime YouTube, and tonight it’s Pavarotti with Zucchero, and I cry with its beauty. But how does Google know that I cry? To send me, via their creepy algorithm, a vid of Matthew McConanghy crying to Pavarotti. With comments that say “everyone cries to this”. I don’t know whether to be pleased or aggrieved. 

Still. Lovely music. Lovely beef.

“Is rapid Russian attack on Ukraine a blueprint for PLA’s Taiwan plans?” | SCMP

I've been pretty phlegmatic about this issue: China taking over Taiwan. I've always assumed, without challenging my own assumption too much, that China wouldn't attack Taiwan, even as it never renounced the use of force.
If we look at China's claim that "Taiwan has always been a part of China" it vanishes on even cursory inspection. But, one learns, such claims don't need to be literally true. Emotionally true will do.
And then I'd always assumed — again without examining that assumption closely — that if China did invade Taiwan it would lead to immediate response by America which would prevail.
Now those assumptions no longer hold much water.
Our dear leader and president-for-life, Xi Jinping, is shackling his legacy on "liberating" this renegade province.
And as for American military superiority, this discussion with a man who truly knows where things stand, set me back. (Jim Fanell, Director of Intelligence for the US Pacific Fleet)
And now, of course, Putin invades Ukraine, with zero blowback from the west.
So now might be the time. For a "shock and awe" attack on Taiwan. Which in other times we might have called a "blitzkrieg".
Even as the logic or moral case for attacking Taiwan is far less than that for Ukraine.
Or maybe not. Have to think about that one a bit more.
Net-net: likelihood of China invading Taiwan has surely increased. Odds? Who knows, aside from Xi. 50-50? (What I call the "coward's odds" for a "pundit" saying this is setting up to be proven correct no matter how it goes).

Cold in Hong Kong. Down to zero C… brrrr…


Click for more photos 

“I’m not worried about the virus, I’m worried about the quarantine…”

So said someone recently. And we feel pretty much the same way in this household. As a triple vaxxxed family we don’t really fear Omicron. Cause we follow the science; we know its hospitalisation and death rates. But we do fear being carted off to crappy quarantine facilities for three weeks. Those fears not at all eased seeing they’re now being built by our mainland cousins. Click above screenshot.

We’re quarantined not just if we test positive, but also if we happen to visit somewhere that someone who later tests positive has visited. And that’s the fear we all have from using the “LeaveHomeSafe” App. We now, as of two days ago, have to avoid the QR when entering anywhere, the supermarket, the coffee shop, the mall. Anywhere. 

So locals are swapping strategies to avoid using the LeaveHomeSafe App. Because you’re not “leaving home safe”. You’re leaving home with trepidation you might be banged up in a cell. 

People are strategising: when to leave home. When to go to shops. How to avoid clicking the QR. Ordering ever more to be delivered. Anything to avoid being pinged. 

We’re not doing this because we don’t care about “the greater good” but because we see how nonsense the strategy is. People no longer believe the Zero Covid strategy can work. Even the “dynamic zero” strategy can only work partially amd at huge cost. We know this from chatting to friends and from the trend in comments.

From being late having the facilities, they’re now building furiously — but they won’t be needed when they’re finally ready! Because Omicron will have swept through Hong Kong just as it has in every single other country. Cases zoom up and zoom down.

The best strategy remains: protect the elderly and the vulnerable. Make sure they’re all vaccinated (only 28% of the 70+ are, a shamefully low number). And then get on with getting on with life for the rest. Just as England is doing. 

ADDED: As ever we must count our blessings. We’re not suffering having the s/t beaten out of us by the Russian armed forces, left cowering in subway bunkers, losing lives and homes. Covid nonsense aside, we remain a safe haven.

Friday 25 February 2022

“Vaccine pass already hurting business at struggling Hong Kong restaurants just hours after launch, industry representative says”

  • Chief of catering industry body says business at his restaurant group was down 40 per cent in the wake of the scheme’s introduction
Having owned and run a similar restaurant business I can say that losing 40% of revenue, you go from 5% profit to 35% loss.  It’s a fine margin business. You can’t carry on for long with those levels of losses. 

And that loss is 100% due to stupid Vaccine passport and “LeaveHomeSafe” App mandates  by our very own Hong Kong government. 

Even the BBC knows the vaccine passports don’t work. And they also gave up using a tracing App, after a huge “Pingdemic” rendered them useless. From my comment at the site:

BBC 2 days ago: "There is no evidence that the use of Covid passports stopped the spread of the virus". 
Vaccine take up [in Hong Kong] is lowest amongst the elderly [28%] who are also the most vulnerable. So rather than demanding vax passports -- and destroying the FnB industry -- how about concentrating on getting the elderly vaxxed? Like give them the $10k handout only if vaxxed (or w valid medical exemption)  

That was comment on the article in the post title.  The $10k reference is that the government announced yesterday they will hand out another $HK10,000 to all permanent residents, which includes us. They do it by crediting our contactless Octopus card, which we can use for pretty much any cash purchase. But they give it our regardless of vax status. Which seems pretty silly. Only some 28% of people over 70 are vaxxed. I don’t know why, though I suspect it’s fear of the vaccine. $10k would go a long way to easing their fears. We don’t need the hammer of a vaccine passport. Rather the fine tool of crisp cash.

I have my vax as a QR code on my phone, so I’m fine, bit it’s the principle of the thing. And knowing these “passports” don’t work and didn’t substantially increase vaccine rates where they were used. While we ignore the clear incentive of cash.

ADDED: There is zero incentive to use the “LeaveHomeSafe” tracing app or vaccine passports. In fact there’s a huge disincentive. The only outcome possible is negative. If you’re somewhere that turns out to have had a person with Omicron, you have to go to a quarantine facility for two or three weeks. And they’re pretty dire. No choice to stay at home. Regardless of vax status.

We are long past the early days of this pandemic, when people would undertake the huge inconvenience of 21 days quarantine for  “the greater good”. We don’t buy that “we are at war” as Chief-exec Carrie Lam insists. No, we can see other places are “at peace”. We’re wise to the fact that being vaccinated — as we all are, triple vaxxxed — and with the Omicron variant, our chances of being hospitalised, let alone dying, are low. But being vaccinated has no reward. If we’re traced as being near someone, via  “LeaveHomeSafe”, we’re banged up in Penny’s Bay. Bummer. So why use the App? We all try not to. Everyone I know tries to avoid it. If it’s mandatory, as it is as of yesterday,  people will stay home more. Thus destroying the F&B industry. 

With mandatory testing of everyone of our 7.4 million coming soon, they may find up to 800,000 people with Omicron. All being put in quarantine. Where? They only have room for 10 or 20 thousand.  

Madness. Incoherent, unscientific Madness. It’s not “following the science”. It’s kowtowing to Beijing. 

ADDED: Meanwhile people are leaving Hong Kong. Where Jing has the most upvoted comment:

Jing L: The plan for mass compulsory testing and quarantine is overkill. The government should focus on protecting the most vulnerable (mostly old people in care homes) instead of punishing the general public that is vaccinated.

“Putin launches full-scale assault “ | and west does nothing

Not, strictly, “nothing”. But “massive and targeted sanctions” aren’t going to cut it. Back in 1994, the west managed to get Ukraine to give up all its nuclear weapons. Weapons that would be deterrent to a Russian invasion we’re seeing now. In the Budapest declarations the west guaranteed protection to Ukraine — if Ukraine was attacked they would go straight to … the UN Security Council(!). Yeah, right. That’ll do the trick. Not. What with Russia on the Council with veto power, and its current President. 

So the Ukraine is alone. And the west doing nothing except sanctions, which so far have been underwhelming. Just as the US led the west to abandon Afghanistan, with literally nothing, except the Taliban. Putin noticed. 

China is watching all this with interest. After all, if this is how feckless the west is, maybe bring forward the invasion of Taiwan. There will be no pushback except “massive and targeted sanctions”. Which with China willl be even less useful than against Russia. Given that one upside of the pandemic for China has been moving to be ever more self-sufficient. While the US is increasingly losing ground to the Chinese nave, as we noted here yesterday.

ADDED: by the way, on the Ukraine nuclear issue, I remember the debates in the mid nineties. Arguing most powerfully for Ukraine to keep its nuclear arsenal, specifically as deterrent to Russia, was Chicago prof John Mearsheimer, who I’ve mentioned on this blog from time to time. He of the Realist school. Not the honey-dopey school. Turns out he as right. And all the “peace dreamers” wrong. (Cue here UN Secretary General Gutierrez asking Putin to “give peace a chance”!)

Thursday 24 February 2022

China’s Military Could DESTROY America If We Let It | Jim Fanell

Great podcast with Jim Fanell, the Director of Intelligence and Information Operations for the U.S. Pacific Fleet, who really knows what he’s talking about. 
Do we care if China invades and takes over Taiwan? We ought. Because 80% of people on Taiwan want to remain as they are, not Chinese. And because it would be another step by China towards taking over the world. And if it’s a choice of China vs the US in being a global cop, I choose the US.
Look what China has done with Australia when it asked for international investigation into the source of the virus. 
What happen if Chinese warships stop Australian exports to China, or elsewhere, if they control the sea lanes?
“They’ll be benign”. Really?! Don’t be so naive. 
We have to support the US in the global struggle for who is the world’s policeman. Sorry, police person. 

“Russia’s Vladimir Putin starts military operation in Ukraine with strikes on major cities” | SCMP

Putin says he's doing it for “de-nazification". I guess Ukrainians were demonstrating against Covid mandates: like the truckers in Canada, who Trudeau called Nazis.
New war. Sigh…

Wednesday 23 February 2022

Oh boy | Compulsory mass testing


Mass testing: For three times 7.4 million. And “stricter measures to bring city to virtual standstill” until at least mid April. By which time England, at least, and maybe Australia too, will be fully free of any Covid restrictions, let alone the strictest lockdown in the world. One of these strategies is going to be better than the other. And I don’t think it’s going to be ours here in Hong Kong. Never answered is what we do about opening to the rest of the world if and when we manage to get to Zero virus. 

While in other news: Putin goes full Sudetenland on Donetsk and Luhansk while Joe Biden goes full Chamberlain. I guess this is the “limited incursion” of Ukraine Joe said he’d do nothing about and pretty much offered Putin to do. I keep remembering Obama’s warning: “never underestimate the ability of Joe to f*** things up”. It was another Joe, the Stalin one, that screwed up Ukraine nearly 100 years ago. And no another Joe to do it all over. 

Note how this “incursion” comes right after America self-defeated by giving up on Afghanistan. Showing weakness has consequences. Of which Joe was repeatedly warned. But chose to ignore, the arrogant buffoon. 

Meantime: Foreigners selling up and leaving “desperately”. Today’s Property news:

Tuesday 22 February 2022






Able was I ere I saw elbA

Posted @ 22:22

“Tougher rules loom…” for Hong Kong | As England scraps all restrictions


“Living in a ghost town”. “… Infections surge”. But, but … Omicron is surging everywhere and then just as surely, plunging. And as Bill Gates and the CDC show, it offers the power of vaccine, over a longer period. Our ZCP is looking more and more bankrupt, inept, out of touch, p,sun wromg and embarrassingly silly. 

England is to scrap all restriction this Tuesday, 24 February . The day we here in HK will introduce vaccine passports and stricter distancing measures. Go figure. 

Monday 21 February 2022

"The virus itself is a type of vaccine... and it's done a better job of getting out to the world than we have with vaccines" | Bill Gates at Munich Security Conference

Bill Gates: "... the virus itself is a type of vaccine that creates both B cell and T cell immunity and it's done a better job of getting out to the world than we have with vaccines."

"Serosurveys of Africa show 80% plus positive so the chance of severe disease is dramatically reduced because of the infection exposure."

The Twitter of this is here

John Campbell asks why Gates says "Sadly" at the beginning of the sentence above which I elided.... Indeed, "why"? I think maybe what he didn't say is that it's a pity that vaccines didn't get out earlier. The main point remains: the Omicron is very effective at providing immunity and protection. This is borne out by CDC figures we've previously posted. You're as protected if you've had the vaccine or the virus. Having had the virus provides longer-lasting protection than the vaccine.

If you look at African countries, the pattern of cases and deaths is the same everywhere. Like Uganda as an example. Only 5% fully vaxxed, but the spike up and spike down in both cases and deaths. You can look at the charts for all African countries here.

While the rest of the world declares peace, in Hong Kong: “City in full-on war mode’ to curb infections


Chief Secretary John Lee says “we are committed to saving lives above all else”. Which is life over livelihoods. When it could be life and livelihoods. With focussed protection: on the elderly and vulnerable and businesses allowed to continue. But no, not here, and about to get stricter and hence:

And so, as I mentioned the other day, people are getting cranky, even here in peaceful Discovery Bay.
And so, my question is: what do we do when (I’ll say “when” for now, though perhaps it should be “if”) we have eliminated the virus on the order of Winnie the Xi? What do we do about opening up, when the world has circulating Omicron? What then? Do we keep our crazy quarantine regime and social distancing  measures in place forever? If that’s the case, I’m outta here. Following many others. Who would’ve thought I’d be driven out by a virus rather than a tyrant.…

Sunday 20 February 2022

Huddled birds


South Plaza, Discovery Bay, Hong Kong
8 Centigrade, windy. Brrrrr..... for Hong Kong

Hong Kong is retreating into a crazy zone of its very own

We’re not mainland China. Coz we’re not. And we’re also not the west, finding ways to manage the virus without affecting every single aspect of life. We are the place between the Rock and the Hard Place,

I fear we’re looking foolish to the rest of the world. And we are. Foolish, I mean. 

Daily photos of hospitals “overrun”. But they’re not. I mean not really. It’s all “patients” who are not patients at all, but people who have tested positive but have been told for two years that if they’re positive they must go to hospital, coz that’s what Zero Covid policy sez. So they go to the hospitals. Where there’s no space, so they wait outside in 8C weather, raining, looking miserable, perfect photos for the “crisis”

And now, because a 4-year old girl died with Covid, everyone is freaking out, “the virus is brutal and can affect us all”, and all. While young deaths, tragic as each is, remain, thankfully, vanishingly rare. In the UK one in two million chance.  ADDED: a person who knows the young girl’s parents tells me she had been suffering from encephalitis, nowhere mentioned in the press reporting, which specifically said she had had no other illness. 

I’m sitting here in Discovery Bay Hong Kong witnessing that mental breakdown of “Asia’s World City”

Enough. Back to watching the Gold Coast Targa. Younger me would do it.

Friday 18 February 2022

Kamala: WTF??

Above: the US State Department Twitter account in Farsi. Translation:
"Here's the truth: Racism exists in America. Xenophobia exists in America. Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia, it all exists. The work to address injustice wherever it exists remains the work ahead."
You can say this stuff internally. As the Dems do all the time. Banging on about how horrid America is. 

But you don’t go telling your avowed enemies this. Not in their language. This was sent out in Farsi! To Iran. With whom you’re in tough contention. Which is a proper, real, serious, enemy. WTF, Kamala?!

At first I thought this was a fake, a hoax. But no, it’s official. She said it, as the Department of State Twitter account confirms, and then they, State and Vice President, send it out on their Farsi account. 

To Twitter mockery from Iranian accounts saying “you’re doing our work for us”! They can’t believe their luck. I guess Kamala and State thought they might gain some brownie points, being “honest” about shortcomings. Wrong, Kamala. Wrong State. 

They are laughing at you.  What you’ve said confirms in their minds, that you’re weak. And they’d be right. When they take this together with what your boss did in Afghanistan. You’re weak. But it’s a self-chosen weakness. 

Well done Kamal. Well done State. Not.

ADDED: all this just confirms the comment in the post immediately before this. That America is “convulsed with self-hate”.

ADDED: Charles Cooke asks “Kamala what are you doing?"

Mearsheimer and Sullivan on Russia and China

Sullivan talking of the US:

“We are convulsed with self-hate, while China is convulsed with self-love”.

Andrew Sullivan talking with John Mearsheimer on January 29. And strikes me as pretty much spot on.

An occasional reader says of Mearsheimer: “I used to respect his views, but now see him as an old man that is out for blood”. Well! Ad hominem, much?

Me: well, that makes me an “old man out for blood”. I guess. Or something. Because that above seems kind of spot on to me. And Mearsheimer’s analysis of realism/realpolitik I find more persuasive that the accommodationists like Hugh White.

“The rising Eurasian primacy of China” | Alex Lo


Jing gets into discussion with columnist Alex Lo, in the comments section. Snip above.

Alex Lo starts:

Potentially, the most dangerous scenario would be a grand coalition of China, Russia, and perhaps Iran, an ‘anti-hegemonic’ coalition united not by ideology but by complementary grievances.”

Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives

This famous warning of Jimmy Carter’s famous national security adviser has now officially come to pass, with the “Joint Statement of the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China on the International Relations Entering a New Era and the Global Sustainable Development”, signed, sealed and delivered on February 4. It was, without doubt, timed precisely to coincide with the Beijing Winter Olympic Games and the official attendance of Vladimir Putin.

And continues here.

Another snip from Alex:

In his controversial 2012 book, The China Choice: Why America Should Share Power, Hugh White, a former Australian defence official, argues for equal co-leadership between the US and China, to avoid confrontation and war in the Asia-Pacific.

About which I’d comment: seems naive to me. Similar to the naïveté of thinking China would develop into a liberal democracy after it joined the WTO. After it was permitted to join, one should say, courtesy Bill Clinton’s silver tongue. I’m more of a John Mearsheimer-ian realist. Listen to John’s latest talk with Andrew Sullivan here.  (Free, I believe)

By the way, I worked with Hugh White back in the 1980s when we were both in the Australian Office of National Assessments. He later went on to the Australian National University and wrote books encouraging accommodation with China. I used to share that view. Over recent years though, I’ve come to believe that’s not realistic. And not because of what we, the west, have done. Xi Jinping, and his “brain” Wang Huning, have been set in their path of power assertion since the 80s. Since, that is, before they even joined the WTO.

To the extent that China and Russia are coming together — Brzezinski’s fear — it’s being helped along the way by policies hammering both, and showing weakness by withdrawing from Afghanistan. So reckon I. Oh, and Mearsheimer who argues that Russia wants its own Monroe Doctrine to operate in its immediate neighbourhood and that that’s a valid power-based aim.



Thursday 17 February 2022

“The truth about Nazis” | Triggernometry

Click for vid
This vid is a couple months old, but it’s an evergreen topic. Very knowledgeable and eloquent, good explainer, professor Stephen Hicks. 

Can’t help seeing parallels in the identarian nature of Nazism and the intolerance of hard-left identity politics of today.

Great | “Xi puts government on notice”


Just what we need, Winnie the Pooh telling us what to do.

In the “how we doin’” category, apart from “OK, but bored”, now add cranky and frustrated. As in that’s how other people are getting, at the coffee shop. At the supermarket, people getting cranky at each other more than I’ve seen before.

As the rest of the world continues with its downhill trend of cases and hospitalisations. You can see that looking at any of America, Britain, the EU, Australia, on Worldometer or The World in Data.

Here it’s a self-made “crisis”. They still call people testing positive “patients” who then call ambulances and want to go to hospital. Crazy. The ambulance people say “over 80%” of people calling an ambulance have no or minor symptoms. 

But still, our wise leaders in Beijing have laid down the law.

And so we are caught between a Rock and a Hard Place. The Rock: Zero Covid policy (or “dynamic zero” as they now call it), as they’ve done on the mainland but… The Hard Place: not having the surveillance society to carry it out, as they have on the mainland, with its Neighbourhood Committees, ubiquitous cameras, obligatory health Apps, and the rest of it. 

Wednesday 16 February 2022

“Patients to isolate in public housing blocks and hotels” | Hong Kong

A policy-made “crisis”
The result of Zero Covid policy. Which HK Chief executive Carrie Lam says she is “committed to continue”. 

If you know what Hong Kong public housing flats are like you sure don’t want to isolate there. So, incentive to go test? 

12,000 “patients” waiting to be admitted to hospital are people who’ve tested positive. but with no or minor symptoms. What idiocy is this?

While in the UK, Europe, Australia and the US. case numbers continue to plunge. Hospitalisations and deaths are also coming down. A 15-minute vid shows the data with links.

ADDED: Some charts

Tuesday 15 February 2022

Bill Maher and Guests Praise Trucker Convoy as Peaceful ‘Free Expression,’ Blast Trudeau for Sounding ‘Like Hitler

Click screenshot for the video
Trudeau actually did say that the truckers were “marginal people” that they ought not be “tolerated” and they had “unacceptable thoughts”. Shocking stuff.

And most of the media goes along with that. The truckers are rubes, fascists, deplorable. I don’t think their campaign is any more just about vaccine mandates. I never quite understood why people wouldn’t want to get vaccinated. But to try to force the vaccine hesitant to jab will only get people’s backs up. If we didn’t know that before, we most certainly do now and have done for a while now. Even Novax Novac was not against vaccines, but has now dug his heels in by them -- the tennis hierarchy -- trying to force him.

About this issue of “elites”. I’m the perfect “elite”. As is my family, all of us. Well educated and well fed. Easily able to weather the lockdowns. But me, now, I don’t feel bound to the elite. I don’t feel I share their passions and concerns. I identify more with the working class and the truckers. I want to know why they’re upset. And it’s not just vaccine mandates. As Vivek Ramaswamy explains. We need beware the new “managerial class”, they’re the ones in power. Even if for my family it’s easy -- would be easier -- to just go along with that managerial class, the cosmopolitan elites. For to do so is safe. Not to do so, you get labelled all the labels: racist, bigot, xenophobe. 

Bill Maher is a man of the left -- as are his guests -- and they’re getting it. They’re upset that the managerial class, aka the elite, are ignoring the concerns of the working class. And amongst those elites, the poster boy, the poster child of Fidel Castro, is one Justin Trudeau.

ADDED: Matt Taibbi: The Great International Convoy Fiasco

The article covering the vid above:

The topic of the “Freedom Convoy” was handled somewhat differently on HBO’s Real Time Friday night than it has been by some other media outlets, with host Bill Maherand guests defending the protest as an expression of Democratic freedoms and urging leaders to “listen” to the protesters’ concerns.

“City needs to double hospital capacity to tackle fifth wave”

Couple comments:

They start planning this now?! They’ve had two years to do this. But haven’t because they were feeling good about Zero Covid — we had zero cases for six months — until Omicron hit. As a commenter says: “government arrogance”.

They are talking “patients” when what they mean is “people who have tested positive”. Gotta stop talking “patients” when most cases are mild. I know many folks whose kids have/had Omicron and they’re fine.

They’ve got everyone thinking that if they test positive they have to go to hospital. Instead of stay at home till you RAT-test negative. Again, a result of Zero Covid policy where every single virus, every spike protein, was tracked mercilessly to source. No longer relevant in Omicron days and people need to be told different. If you’re positive, stay at home.  And take “these” medicines, whatever the latest on “these” is.

ADDED: Saw article below. “Paramedics stretched to the limit”, in today’s SCMP, and first thought: I wonder how many people are calling for an ambulance who have few or no symptoms. The answer's in the article: “over 80%”

Why? Why are people calling ambulance when they’re fine? Below the fold…

Monday 14 February 2022

On Valentine’s Day, Malaysians rebuke minister for proposing husbands use ‘gentle but firm touch’ on ‘stubborn wives’

The reason she says this is that it's mandated in the Koran, Sura 4.34:
As for women of whom you fear rebellion, convince them, and leave them apart in beds, and beat them. Then, if they obey you, do not seek a way against them. Surely, Allah is the Highest, the Greatest.

ADDED: A commenter Afeez A says: “The believers who show the most perfect Faith are those who have the best behaviour, and the best of you are those who are the best to their wives".Riyad as-Salihin 278”. And:  “i hope you will read the link and will avoid posting "un-related / out of context" comments on any religion.”

To which I respond: whenever something in Islamic texts is unflattering to Islam we get the apologia that it’s “out of context”. Note that my quote is from the Quran, Afeez’s from a Hadith, less authoritative. And also, … sigh…

Super Duper Super Bowl

Coolest man on earth. Click for Snoop Dogg

An absolute corker. LA Rams taking it 23-20 from the Cincinnati Bengals, after four scintillating quarters.

And an AbFab half-time show, with Dr Dre, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Mary J Blige.

Love it of hate it, no one can give a party like the Americans. Nobody could do a Super Bowl like America. 

ADDED: I texted a mate during the game: “100,000 people. Only 2 wearing masks: Harry & Meghan”. [Their response: “Super Duper Spreader Event”. Me: thinking, we’ll see given the chart of Omicron is steep up and steep down, but don’t want to get in that battle during the game...]. By the way, the Harry and Meghan thing seemed to be pretty much literally true. I did not see one single mask in the whole game.

Son J, sent me a pic of his LA hangout where he was following the game, not a mask in sight. 

I wasn’t the only one to notice: Maskless Super Bowl Marks Our Return to Normalcy

While elsewhere, coz Zero Covid policy: “The Chinese Olympics that nobody is watching feature athletes getting served by people in hazmat suits.” And pretty crappy food at that, by the way. 

Rising cases but so what?

The “so what” is it keeps this government in panic mode. And people too. They make sure people are panicked by telling us that 14% are under 18 while 11% are over 65. So everyone is equally affected. Well, only if you leave out the hospitalisation and deaths. Which continue to skew heavily to the elderly like me. They report a three-year-old girl is in hospitals. Yes, but thankfully that’s a vanishingly rare example. We must do away with “analysis by anecdote”. 
ADDED: It’s worth going to the comments at this article. They are hammering the government (me included!).

Sunday 13 February 2022

Well, no, we don’t …


A “crisis” created by policy


While, rarely mentioned: in all countries that are “living with the virus” Omicron cases are plunging as are 7-day average deaths. 

This is a “crisis” our government has created by its Zero Covid policy. The retail industry is losing $10 billion a month. 3% of GDP. All to save lives of >80 year olds who are  not vaccinated. And who could have been vaccinated if the government had done right a year and a half ago (eg, made the $6,000 give away last year contingent on being vaccinated — many of us suggested that to the five emend but were ignored). Own goal, much?

Saturday 12 February 2022

“No, the Revolution Isn’t Over” | Wokedom hasn’t peaked argues N.S.Lyons

“Long Live the victory of chairman Mao’s revolutionary line!”
N. S. Lyons:

At least in the Boswash (the corridor of East Coast establishment power running from Boston to Washington), using January to make public predictions about the year ahead is an ironclad tradition. Usually these predictions end up being completely wrong, because no one here has any idea what they’re talking about. I hope that holds true in my case, because I want to use my mandatory annual forecast to dump a few gallons of cold, contrarian water on what seems to have recently become a fashionable prediction: that the “woke” ideological revolution roiling the West has peaked and will soon be in full blown retreat.

It isn’t, argues “analyst and writer” N.S. Lyons. Thorough, thoughtful, persuasive, disturbing, depressing if true. The whole article here, probably free…

ADDED: I’ve recently noted some U.K. commenters (Peter Hitchens and Toby Young) saying that we may be winning battles against the craziest of the woke, but we’re losing the war. Lyons’ piece just gives more reasons to believe that. Though it’s just so depressing if true. For sure there are kernels of truth and sense in wokeness. But there’s a whole lotta loopy crazy stuff.  Stuff which damages the western enlightenment project, demeans science and damages democracy and our international competitiveness. Ruins careers for no decent cause, save extreme wokeness, deployed mercilessly  

Another thought: Lyons suggests one of the reasons for the Woke movement is that it’s a secular religion filling a void left by the decline of the church. What would we prefer? Wokeness or Christianity? Me, I’m an atheist from forever, but give me a church any day, than an enraged mob worshipping @Jack Twitter. Just as I’d rather see churches filled than converted to mosques.

Oh dear…


The lunatics in charge of the asylum 

Friday 11 February 2022

The long list of Useful Idiots

George Orwell didn’t use the phrase “Useful Idiots” as far as I know. But he knew who they were. The intellectuals (and he had some pretty tart views on that class) who went to the Soviet Union in the late 40’s and 50’s and declared “I have seen the future and it works”. He called them out and he was proven right. 

Useful idiots,” was originally coined as a term for Communist sympathizers and defined as follows: “a citizen of a non-communist country sympathetic to communism, who was regarded by communists as naive and susceptible to manipulation for propaganda or other purposes.” [Ref].  

There are modern Useful IdiotsAl Gore, Ted Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, Jesse Jackson, Madeleine Albright, Katie Couric, Jane Fonda, Martin Sheen. Welcome Eileen Gu to this esteemed group.

She is wonderfully talented, a model, a scholar and a gold-winning skier. Way more accomplished than I ever was or ever could be. But she’s also naive. Like all Useful Idiots. Well-meaning. But naive. Skiing for China, when she was born in the US gives China a fantastic publicity coup.  But she’ll be dumped, clever girl, if she ever fails to gold. Just ask Zhu Yi.

Is the deglobalisation writing on the wall? How China is reversing cultural openness with the West

Click screenshot for article
Take aim at own foot. Shoot. 
That’s what China is doing if it continues to change signage from English to Hanyu Pinyin.
Two reasons:
  1. The Chinese don’t read Pinyin (romanised version of Chinese). I don’t either. There’s a People’s Daily Pinyin version. I don’t know anyone that reads it. For those who read Chinese (I do), it’s easier to read the Chinese than the Pinyin. 
  2. Foreigners read Pinyin even less. Yet China wants to encourage international tourism. At least when Covid is not lurking. This goes counter to that aim. And counter to having Chinese understand more English, the language of international commerce and science.
On another issue raised in the article, I made this comment at the site, which was the most upvoted at time of writing (11 Feb):
Re this issue of "why does China have to follow western rules"? China closed itself off from 1949 to around 1980 (I arrived in Peking in 1976). In that same time the world -- yes, led by US, but still the *world* -- set up structures, the GATT/WTO, ILO, WHO, UNCTAD, etc. etc.  A kind of "club" if you will. Or clubs.
China wanted to join this club. And agreed to abide by its rules. That's the way with Clubs.  When China breached many rules of the Club or clubs, as they did, the West gets annoyed.  Not surprising.
This is not the west, the US, "out to get China". It's about abiding by a rules-based international order.

Let’s see, shall we? | “Dire warnings of 28,000 cases a day, 1,000 dead…”

Given that every single other model predictions in the U.K., Europe, the US and Australia has been wildly inaccurate, always in the gloom and doom side, I wonder how well the above prediction will hold up.

Meantime hospitalisation and deaths continue to drop in all those above countries as Omicron has run its course. Here it’s not going to be allowed, so we’ll be in lockdown purgatory. For the foreseeable future.

While elsewhere, even the left-wing Atlantic is calling for the US to “Open Everything”. The “logic" of keeping restrictions is the same there as it is here: to protect the unvaccinated. Yasha Mounk makes the same point many of us have been making for months now:

It’s time to stop the restrictions on vaccinated to protect those who have willingly chosen not to protect themselves:

Thursday 10 February 2022

Why Environmentalists Pose a Bigger Obstacle to Effective Climate Policy than Denialists

Click screenshot for article 
I thought this movie was crap when I saw it. Too damn obvious. Too crude. Too propagandistic. Some people love it and it’s got Oscar props. But it’s really preaching to the choir. No one not on side is going to be persuaded by this crude bombast. If you want to persuade you have to make a better argument than simply hitting folks upside the head.

I thought Leo Di Caprio could do better; he’s executive producer, after all.  If he really cares about climate change, how about something new and edgy? A push for nuclear, Leo. Now that would be brave. 

It’s not being “brave” to put up the same ol’ same ol’. We get it. Climate change is Bad. Denying it is Bad. But who really denies it these days? Only a few nutters and they’re not going to be persuaded by any science.

Zion Lights who co-founded Extinction Rebellion, left the outfit a year ago, because she was sick of them doing “nothing but moaning”. She’s now a pro nuclear activist, as that’s doing something practical and useful. 

What about some real solution? Like Nuclear. New Clear. No need to Look up, Leo. Look inside. Yourself. And take a brave, practical, useful stance. The counter to “China Syndrome”. 

Waiting …

RELATED: My 2017 “Greenies have ruined the planet"


Discovery Bay Hong Kong, Tai Pak Beach. Photo by me

“Discovery Bay residents angered by test protocols” | aka more INSANITY


Hong Kong is officially INSANE


“Grim milestone”. Oh dear. Grim stale metaphor, more like 
We are testing everyone and people who test positive (called “patients”) are going to hospitals. Even with no symptoms. So hospital are — surprise! — getting full. This is totally a “crisis” made by policy. 

I repeat: this is a “crisis” created by policy. Circular “logic”. Because we think it’s a crisis it is a crisis. And so we test you and send you to hospital, which proves it’s a crisis.

I’m now non-compliant. I’m not going to participate in the government’s delusion. The delusion that it can stop the tide. That it can control omicron. It can’t. And we knew that — even here on this blog — two months ago.

This is out-and-out insanity. 

Wednesday 9 February 2022

Surprise! Tucker Carlson Draws the Most Democratic Viewers in Key Demo, Even Topping Rachel Maddow

Amazing !! 
In October, the most recent month for which data is available, Carlson’s 9 p.m. ET program [on FOX News] was the top cable news show among Democrats in the advertiser-coveted age range of 25-54.

This is quite amazing news, given how much the non-Fox cable-sphere hates on Fox. Tucker is a good listen. Kudos to him for drawing in this demographic, despite the universal hate on Fox.  

Shorter Whoopi: Everyone is racist except Hitler

Whoopi Goldberg, I think it’s safe to say, is not a deep thinker, and wouldn’t claim to be. She’s also clearly not an anti-Semite. She’s a talented entertainer and merely reflects many (but not all) of the assumptions of Hollywood types — well-intentioned, rarely ruffled, cultural leftism. But that’s precisely why her comments on The View about antisemitism and the Holocaust are so interesting. They expose some aspects of “anti-whiteness” and “antiracism” as these CRT ideas have trickled down into the public consciousness, and also a deep, long-standing sense among some African-Americans that Jews in America are not usually the oppressed, but often the oppressor. These are things no one wants to explore very much — because it’s complicated, fraught, and, well, who needs the grief? 

Read on here

Annals in the “You don’t say!” category | China supports Argentine claim in Falkland’s and ...

 …and....Argentina supports China claim on Taiwan. Gasp! I wondered if this article would mention this obvious quid pro quo. Yeah it does, but buried in the last para.

Please note the rank hypocrisy here: colonialist Argentina, relying on Spanish colonists for its claim, and China, brutal colonists of Tibet and Xinjiang, agreeing that Falkland islanders — who unanimously want to remain British —  must be handed over to an incompetent colonialist government for the sake of “anti colonialism". Go take a flying… fellas!

Happens I’ve been to the Falklands. With my daughters in February 2008, part of a fabulous trip to Antarctica, via Falklands and South Georgia. I always tell folks planning a trip to Antarctica that they must go via South Georgia (of Shackleton fame) and the Falklands. South Georgia especially is Absolutely Fabulous.

We landed at Stanley, the capital. Which has pretty much the whole population of the islands. I remember it well. We did a pub crawl on the main street. I asked the locals at every opportunity what they thought of the Argentinian claims. They must’ve been pretty sick of this question. But maybe not, as that was still early days in travel to the South. In any case, they were friendly enough and very, very clear. To a man, woman and sheep: we want to stay British. That was confirmed in a 2013 referendum: on a 92% turnout 99.8% voted to stay British

What “the people” think, what they feel, matters not one jot to brutal Beijing and colonial Argentina. Claim the islands, and be damned

Tuesday 8 February 2022

Joe Rogan and the ethics of apology | Sam Harris


Click above for vid 
My comment at YouTube vid: 
Welcome back Sane Sam! I had abandoned you coz views I considered driven by TDS not your “the facts, the data, the science”™. So I watched this with trepidation thinking perhaps you might join the anti-Joe mob. Phew. Not.
I’m of the view that neither Joe nor Spotify should have apologised, for anything. Because even if we agree we ought all be trying to accept well-meant apologies, there’s not the goodwill on the anti-Rogan Left to do that.

The mob is out to get Joe, not because of Covid misinformation -- that’s just the proximate excuse -- but because he’s a heterodox, iconoclastic comedian/podcaster, who has views on left and right, not always the “correct views"™. Some has said he replaces Trump as the target for a perpetually outraged woke-erati on the Left.

Sigh… Beijing lays down the law | Zero Covid


Click above to go to article
A comment at the siteWe are 'part of China' - is that so? So, where else in China has been isolated from the mainland (for all but top business executives) since the beginning of the pandemic? Doesn't feel like we're part of anything apart from a nightmarish political tit for tat.

An SCMP editorial of 5 February says: “The ongoing evacuation of residents from high-risk buildings and targeted lockdowns are solid evidence of a deepening crisis”. Huh? Circular argument, much? Because you believe that Omicron is a crisis, you take measures (like evacuation) that then “prove” Omicron is a crisis! Wow! That’s the level of government officials, experts and journos’ analysis? Pathetic.

The article screenshot above is full of the same sorts of circular argument. “There is no other way” because, essentially, they have decided there is no other way. “We have no other options at this point. The situation is now so severe that all of our measures have to be tough,” [Cabinet member] Lam said. Talking as if there’s been no other experience elsewhere.

And so, on this “logic” the HK government announced today “toughest restrictions yet”. (ADDED: and getting hammered in the comments).

But other countries are doing away with restrictions. The whole of Scandinavia has done so and is getting along just fine. As are states in the US that opened — living with the virus — over a year ago. The UK has declining ICU hospitalisations. As does most of Europe. But reading the Post and what our government leaders are saying, you’d never know this! 

But to these dunderheads “we have no other options”. Why? Because “the situation is now so severe”. Why? Because we deem it so. Circular. Pshaw! Phooey! Bunkum! 

I read the other day that HK retail and F&B are losing ~$US 1 Billion a month. Min. That’s, like, 3% of annual GDP. But to some nonces that’s just an “inconvenience”.