Russel, ex drug addict, ex alcoholic, present guru
|On the march to the Pacific?|
We visited the Auckland War Memorial in March 2017, and the very helpful people there found his army records to confirm all this. Actually we’d thought he’d fought at Gallipoli.... I’m guessing that’s the family history in many families, “he fought at Gallipoli”, just as it was for we kids of 1960s “I was at Woodstock”....
Grandfather Bruce came back to New Zealand, and said “if that’s what it’s like out there, I’m not going back”. He spent the rest of his long life, to age 96, in New Zealand, fathering four daughters, the oldest our mother, aka “Mutti”.
Our father, John Forsythe, fought in WW2, in Papua New Guinea, against the invading Japanese.
The Guardian writes a sympathetic piece about the number of young people who attended today’s ceremony in Australia.
ADDED: Our grandfathers and fathers would have said they were fighting for our Freedoms. Nowadays the Left has turned “Freedom” into a Bad Thing. Amazing. Musk wanting to protect freedom of speech is smeared and “only doing it for himself”. Says the poisonous dwarf, Robert Reich (no ad hominem intended)
Young Wen San answers, with some bits I didn’t know. (The bit about yunyun”):
So talking about Zero Covid being “insurance for 1.4b people”, without talking about the cost of the “premium”? Without talking about the cost to the rest of society? The cost to the young by protecting the elderly and unvaccinated?
ZPG is crazy. Others call it “insane”. The “premium” is much too high. Not that the opposite of “insurance” is to “let it rip”. That was always a false binary. The alternative was and is: focussed protection. Focus on vaccinating the vulnerable and the elderly. Let the rest get on with life.
ADDED: Voices from Shanghai (unverified, at least by me). A city of 25 million people in the world’s most brutal lockdown.
ADDED: Liang does mention “costs”, like vaccination, mass screening and makeshift hospitals. But these are the least of it. The costs I’m talking about, that the world is talking about, is in livelihoods, scarce food, mental health issues and deaths from non-Covid diseases, untreated because of ZCP. (One estimate has these at five times Covid deaths). Washing streets down with Lime that will go into the water supply.
In the US, it was the Democrats — candidate Obama in 2008 — who mocked Republican candidate Romney for saying Russia was the main threat to the world. “The 1980s have rung and say they want their policy back”, said clever Barack. His Secretary of State Hillary infamously presented Boris Lavrov with a “Reset” button — offering to soften ties with a dictator who has already been in power for 8 years. It didn’t help that the button had used the wrong Russian word for “reset”, at least according to Lavrov (was he just trolling? Wouldn’t put it past him). Anyway, point being the the Dems can hardly claim the high ground on relations with Putin. And, moreover, that there must sorry have been an attempt to get sling, for a Russia on our side is better than a Russia on China’s side.
As Brian Stewart says of a Europe’s attempt to “reset”, to “get along” with Putiin, “Russia responded to all this with galloping malevolence.”
As we approach the denouement of France’s two-stage presidential election, it becomes clear that the race has been a missed opportunity to consolidate opinion in France, and perhaps Europe, against the malevolent rule of Vladimir Putin.
This may not greatly trouble the conscience of Emmanuel Macron, whose bid for re-election has been an unusually arduous affair. But the blunder is a microcosm of the feeble leadership he has demonstrated since entering the Elysée Palace. Under the banner of “the radical center”—rather more centrist than radical, one might say—Macron has steadily been drowned out by a cacophony of extremists on the Left and the Right. His appeal to French voters has been faute de mieux. To justify himself, Macron points only to the wretchedness of the alternatives on offer. [More]
|A man walks through the rubble of his home in Chernihiv, Ukraine|
|Click to enlarge|
John Lee, the only candidate for the top job in Hong Kong, Chief Executive, is choosing Mainlanders for “key roles”. That’s bad news on various levels. One, more influence from Beijing. Two, more suspicion from Hongkongers, given a big motivator for 2019 demos and riots was increased mainlandisation. I’m not predicting more demos. The National Security Law will nip that. But more bitterness and resent,met for sure.
And what’s with appointing no reps of youth, athletics and neutral civil groups? Civil groups are an important part of a mature society. They can be easily destroyed. Hard to build up. They need nurturing. Valuing. Bad move to exclude them, John.
Russia hasn’t found it easy to conquer Ukraine
But China will learn from their experience
Asymmetric warfare — drones, hand-held anti-tank weapons — is effective
But Taiwan is resistant to using them
Chinese ships will be vulnerable to missiles like the Neptune
But China is working on a countermeasures
A leading neurologist in China has called for authorities to make it “very clear” whether traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) Lianhua Qingwen is effective against Covid-19 before giving it precedence over food and other essential deliveries to people in lockdown.
At least 8 million boxes of Lianhua Qingwen capsules have been sent to Shanghai in its battle against the Omicron variant, at the same time as many of its 25 million people are struggling to find fresh vegetables, rice and masks.
“Dispatching of Covid medicines should follow rigorous tests and examinations. No fake and shoddy products should be given to the public,” Rao Yi, president of Capital Medical University in Beijing, said in a post on social media platform WeChat.
“If the efficacy of Lianhua Qingwen has never been strictly proven, the mandatory dispatch would hurt the interests of people in shortage of food and drug necessities,” he posted to his Rao Yi Science account on Sunday.…Three medical experts led by Jinan University’s Xie Wangshi also expressed dismay at the prioritising of Lianhua Qingwen in supplies to Shanghai, in an article on Sunday at Chinese health platform DXY.…The distribution of Lianhua Qingwen to healthy people has prompted doctors around the country to warn against taking it unless they are feeling unwell, as it could lead to stomach or kidney dysfunction, according to reports in Shanghai-based state mediaShijiazhuang Yiling Pharmaceutical’s stock price fell 10 per cent on Friday and Monday – hitting the daily floor limit – after Wang Sicong, the son of Dalian Wanda Group chairman Wang Jianlin, raised doubts about the WHO’s support for Lianhua Qingwen. …The US National Institutes of Health has said that while it may help with symptom relief, its overall effectiveness against Covid-19 is inconclusive.…In November, Singaporean health authorities issued an advisory against misleading claims about its efficacy in treating or preventing the coronavirus. “ There is no scientific evidence from randomised clinical trials to show that any herbal product, including Lianhua Qingwen products, can be used to prevent or treat Covid-19,” the advisory said.The treatment, which is claimed to detoxify the lungs and clear heat, lists 13 ingredients, including apricot kernel, rhubarb, honeysuckle and forsythia powder. According to Australian authorities, it also contains ephedra, which can be used to make menthol.In May 2020, Swedish customs disallowed the imports of Lianhua Qingwen as the authorities said they tested samples and found they only contained menthol. Ephedra is also a key ingredient in the drug methamphetamine…
Still, at leat they’re back after three months of what is called “study from home”. But which we know disadvantages poor families, who can’t afford the home time to supervise their children.
It was never really worth the downsides of school closures for the sake of minimal upsides.
We have punished the young to protect the elderly. The really elderly. The unvaccinated elderly. Average age of deaths in Hong Kong remains 86, a little above HK life expectancy.
Here is the chart of percentage deaths per age group, from the Hong Kong Centre of Health Protection:
To be clear, for the 0-9 year olds, the case fatality rate of 0.01% which is 0.0001, or 1 in 100,000. Infections in Hong Kong are estimated to be at least four times cases identified. Thus Infection fatality rate is .000025, or one in 400,000. Of course this is not nothing. But it is in fact lower than the death rates for the flu, for children. And the rate would be even lower for the vaccinated children, since the above chart is for unvaxed 0-9 yo. Which continues to raise the question: are these vast, oppressive, intrusive measures worth it? For that level of risk? I’ll venture, on behalf of kids, a solid “no”.
|Todays Letters, scroll down|
I still remember that arrival to Hong Kong. By Qantas. To Kai Tak airport. By the famous, the infamous, low-level, street-hugging, tree-scraping, approach, fly towards a checkerboard on the side of Lion Rock, and pull hard right, push hard down and land. Make sure you stop before splashing into the harbour. A fabulous, nerve-tingling landing.
We flew in at night, that August 1976, over Hong Kong Island. I looked down and thought "Emerald City". What a view! A kaleidoscope of neon, of flashing lights, a night-rainbow reflected in the carbon-black waters of Victoria harbour.
It was fabulous.
And has been over the years.
But not now. Not anymore. I wonder, will it ever be again?
Since that night-landing back in 1976, I have spent most of my life in this city. I went to University here, to finish off my studies in Mandarin, in 1977. Two of my children were born here, in 1977 and 1997. I've worked for the government here, I've owned a business here, employing 300 staff, with 12,000 students, have paid a bunch of tax and I've interacted with the government on rules and regs of our education industry. I speak and write the language. I have permanent residence. I’ve been every bit the local.
In that time, I came to love so much about Hong Kong. Not a lot of it well-known outside Hong Kong. Like: you can do wonderful hikes in the Country Parks all over Hong Kong, glorious mountain and field trails that make up nearly half of the areas of Hong Kong The sailing and fishing here is wonderful. The food choices are without peer. A galaxy of Michelin stars.
And then there's the connection to the rest of the world. I loved the fact that we could get to the airport from our front door in 17 minutes. Not 20 minutes, not 15 minutes. But 17 minutes. Because the road has zero traffic jams and the buses or taxis are always on time. So: leave house, take taxi or bus, arrive at airport in 17 minutes, through the Cathay Pacific check-in in three minutes, through the Immigration in 5 minutes more and at the Cathay Lounge in 5 minutes. All up, front door to lounge in 30 minutes. Lovely Cathay Lounge, with world-beating Dan-Dan Noodles, and choices of six wines, and first class service. For we privileged.
And then your flight is called, 3 hours to Tokyo or Seoul, or Hanoi, or 8 hours to Sydney or Delhi or Hawaii, or 10 hours to London or Rome, or LA. What can beat that? It's been great for all that time.
Well, no more. And I wonder if it ever will be again. Maybe we've lived through a golden era of travel and we'll never come back to the "old normal" again. Who knows?
Peter Kammerer, chief editor at the South China Morning Post, says much the same. Is it time for we gweilos, we privileged, we foreigners, we reprobates, to leave? I don't really want to, but may have to.
ADDED: Things to like about Hong Kong:
3. Cleanliness and care for the public space
4. The Country Parks
5. Our remaining Freedoms
|The Moskva. From Moscow Times|
But first, better get the two different stories out of the way. (1) The Russians say that their flagship, the Moskva guided missile cruiser, sank because of an onboard fire. (2) The Ukrainians say they hit it with two Neptune missiles. Americans support the Ukrainian story.
Which is true? Well… you don’t know until you know this: that Pravda, Russia’s party paper (means “Truth”…) says “we must take revenge”. Revenge for your own on-board fire?? Right. Also: photos show two awfully large holes in the port side that look awfully like missile holes. So I’m gonna go for the Ukrainian narrative this time around. (Not always, for the Fog of War is especially thick in Ukraine).
Assuming that the sinking is down to a missile strike, that two were launched and that two struck and sank the pride of Russia's Black Sea fleet, then consider the implications. The Neptune missiles are a new weapon. Two were launched at a Missile Cruiser, two landed, two sank it. The pride of the fleet. A missile cruiser.Gosh!
Consider that any war games scenario of China attacking Taiwan would involve sea-borne invasion. The threat of Neptune missiles hitting home with near 100% accuracy must be pause for PLA thought. Surely. And no doubt America is selling heaps of Neptunes to Taiwan. Not just two. I guess.
CORRECTION: My bad. The Neptune missile is developed and built by Ukraine. So maybe Taipei should talk to Kyiv. Another reason for hoping Ukraine at least keeps Kyiv.
|Bullhorning Shanghai residents. |
Click for article by Wang Xiangwei
ADDED: By “anything” I mean you can say anything on social media, but you can’t be sure it won’t be removed by the censored. Like now, criticism of Shanghai’s lockdown is a no-no. You can only say nice things. Exception ps linked below, on Weibo.
|Click for vid. Warning: farting crow!|
It was totally predictable — and we did predict it, in our “hard prediction” — that the number of cases would shoot up, then shoot down. As has happened everywhere in the world, whether or not they adopted the Severe measure we did here in Hong Kong.
"…public beaches, pools and barbecue venues will remain shut."
I remember when I was a young Leftie socialist in the 1960s and the Left fought on every hill for Freedom of Speech. Now they say that it’s necessary for democracy to “moderate speech”, another way of saying censorship, of ideas they don’t like. And now it’s the Right stands for Free Speech. Which the Left claims they only want to support so that they can “spew their racist, bigoted views freely”. Straw man, much?
Many friends, rellies, colleagues, remain on the Left and say how horrible Fox is. Often, when I check, they’ve got that opinion without ever watching it. I suspect some fear that if they watch Fox they’ll be polluted somehow.
Anyway, I suggest anyone watching the above 8 minute take and see if it’s not better than any take on the Left, like the ladies of CN ‘s The View. IMO much better, much more informed, much more eloquent.
|Dai Pak Wan beach (大白湾) Discovery Bay, Hong Kong|
90% of these rules make no sense aka follow zero science (masks outdoor) or are hypocritical aka groups of 4 on a table then outdoors you’re fined for more than 2 people. I wonder why people are upset ?!
If the rules were sensible and actually prevented the spread of Covid, then people might be more inclined to follow them. When the rules are largely theatrical and politically-based -- like closing beaches, only 2 people dining together even if 3 people live in the same home, or preventing more than 2 people from gathering outside while buses and shopping malls are packed -- then people will recognize these rules as nonsensical and ignore them if and when they can.
Tell me: how does that tiny foot-high plastic divider on a restaurant table stop an airborne virus from spreading? How does a mask on a running trail stop the spread of Covid?
And the police being overzealous in enforcement? What do you think??? No, perfectly normal for coppers to go out with measuring tape on a Sunday to harass domestic helpers on their one day off a week. Or to pounce on a guy taking a puff of a cigarette to hit him with two fines --one for taking off his mask, a second for public smoking.
Why issue warnings when you can fill your coffers with money taken from innocent citizens beaten down by this increasing authoritarianism.
There is another narrative. Scott Ritter, the UN arms inspector who said there were no WMDs in Iraq (and was correct against all the narrative at the time), has a different story. The Russian advances on Kyiv and in Odessa were tactical diversionary attacks. They’re now doing what they aimed to go from the beginning: carve off a piece of Eastern Ukraine, the Donetsk region.
Which of these is true? I don’t know. And BBC and CNN don’t know. They, and we, must be careful of what we wish for becoming how we see in this fog of war.
|Purple is Nuclear. Grey is Gas.|
Heard someone on BBC recently say “of course hindsight is 20-20”. etc... But it’s not hindsight. Many people, including me, thought at the time that Mad Mutti Merkel’s decision to shut nuclear stations in Germany straight after the Fukushima meltdown, was plain crazy. It was blindingly obvious that Germany have kept its nuclear, even then.
It’s all down to the Greens. Who, in the last three decades, have done the most harm to the environment. It was the Greens who shut down -- via Greenpeace scare tactics -- the plans to increase nuclear back in the 60s and 70s. Imagine if we had four nuclear stations for every one now. That was the plan. Today we’d have no carbon dioxide problem. That’s down to the Greens.
A thread: read it and weep.