Also: I clearly remember, the day after the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton, and then, dutifully, her whole party, claiming that the election was stolen. By “the Russians”! You can find on YouTube mash-ups of one after another Democrat calling “the election was stole “. This Doonesbury take is the rankest hypocrisy.
Sunday, 31 July 2022
Saturday, 30 July 2022
"Green Dreams, Inflationary Realities"
Still, it seemed weird to us, we well-credentialed green folks -- and kind of mad -- for countries like Japan and Germany to close down perfectly well-operating nuclear power stations. Given the zero death toll of Fukushima -- an ancient generator designed with pencils and slide-rules -- what could make sense? And for California -- highest electricity prices in the US by far -- to close down its nuclear stations as well.
And for Joe Biden to stop drilling and transporting oil, only to have to go cap in hand to Saudi Arabia and Venezuela for oil. How on earth could that make any sense, environmentally even, let alone financially and having to deal with horrid regimes? Nothing towards reducing carbon emissions, only hassle and inflation at home, for no net carbon-reduction effect. Again, how can that make any sense?
In the Comments there’s much criticism of the article “Green Dreams, Inflationary Realities” from Quillette. Including from people who laud the “off the grid” folks. I follow a number of those folks on YouTube; I like and admire them a lot. But to think that that life style can solve our eco problems is fantasy. Not to mention that even the most fastidious of them is never really fully “off grid”.
I enjoyed the article. If you don’t agree with it, perhaps you’ll find some solace in the comments.
Friday, 29 July 2022
South China Sea provocations
|Note Chinas claim — black dashed — cuts across all other countries|
And has been found illegal by the International Marine Tribunal.
Which China ignores
|Online version here|
Thursday, 28 July 2022
Some crazy Covid stuff
This article is a decent summary of the duplicity of government bureaucrats. Including Fauci, who is deeply implicated in funding of the Wuhan Institute of Virology program of gain-of-function research on the coronavirus. His National Institute of Infectious Diseases funded millions to EcoHealth Alliance, that passed it on the WIV for investigation into bat coronavirus. Hmmm?
“Peaceful reunification ‘still an option for Taipei’”
China’s number four, Wang Yang, has the gall to say “democratic consultations” when everywhere else “democracy” is a poisonous word to the CCP.
In the red box above: sinister, wicked, threat.
Biden: Pelosi visit to Taiwan is a “bad idea”. Even so, they’re in a bind as cancelling the visit will be hammered for giving in to the bullies.
Meantime: 80% of Taiwan residents want nothing to do with “reunification”. That number has only gone up in the era of Xi Jingping (>2012). Not that the people matter! HK people didn’t, in the negotiations on the Joint Declaration. Our views were studiously ignored.
Barbarians at the gates
|Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, est 1849|
The same for rowing. And also, tangentially, for bowling, snooker and even golf. This is an open club.
Moreover, it’s a “not-for-profit” club, which means that any surplus goes to charity. And the RHKYC is very active in numerous charities.
The fact that this club and some others applied for money under a government wage-subsidy scheme during the worst of the pandemic, is a side issue, explained in the body of the article itself -- namely that while member fees were still being charged, there was zero income for months from the usual activities that were cancelled because of our lockdowns.
There’s a lot of envy out there, driving this, I think. It’s possible, though I don’t say it, that some of the envy is driven by the idea that these are clubs for wealthy gweilos. That might have been the case thirty years ago, it most certainly is not now. All of the clubs mentioned in the article are now mostly local membership.
Maybe the envious ought to hie themselves to the Yacht club and get out on the water. Would give them some chillax.
Wednesday, 27 July 2022
Hong Kong’s “leap forward”. Okay. As long as it’s not “Great”
|Hong Kong from the Peak, looking NE|
Cheap shot aside, I’m posting this for the propaganda and for reference, a place-marker as it were, to see how reality matches to our new Chief John Lee’s projection.
Hong Kong will take “another leap forward” in the next five years
US: “Recession” or “Holistic improvement”?
|Source: Wikipedia, with my notations on Republicans|
Tuesday, 26 July 2022
Monday, 25 July 2022
Re “Bamboo Boom” in Business section print edition
“Another day another heat record” Hong Kong
“Empty airport is a sad symbol of Hong Kong’s economic losses”
|Arrivals Hall, HK airport|
Daily, we see the human and emotional toll of Hong Kong’s Covid-19 policies, inflexibly implemented by an unlamented ex-leader. Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor turned Hong Kong’s early pandemic triumph into a mortification of the economic flesh, as evidenced by our empty malls, absent tourists, closed businesses and departing residents.
Aside from the human loss, there is the continuous waste of previously invested capital. This was brought sharply home by my recent journey to Hong Kong International Airport for my first flight since the Covid-19 outbreak. I was met with an almost-empty Airport Express, its stations like ghost towns, and a shuttered retail floor. Its once-bustling aisles silent, the airport appeared like the poorest cousin of a rich family now fallen into destitution.
The plight of our once-proud travel hub, one of the best and most respected in the world, could be summarised by a single departure board – nay, a single panel of a single departure board — recording just 14 flights from 9pm to 9am, one cancelled.
And for what? The health risks in Hong Kong are now tiny and almost costless to manage, and the border with the motherland will not reopen any time soon.
Under John Lee Ka-chiu’s revived leadership, let this dramatic imbalance – between billions of invested tax dollars going virtually unused, and the invisible cost of ensuring all unvaccinated, older, and at-risk citizens are fully indemnified against virus variants – encourage our chief executive to abandon our de facto isolation, in phases if need be, to restore our “Asia’s World City” status.
A pragmatist, Lee would satisfy the needs of the business community, heed the pleas of affected citizens and recognise the expertise of medical specialists, if he did so.
Paul Serfaty, Mid-Levels
Top rated comment:
I agree with you Paul. During a visit to the airport I got talking to one of the personnel near the security gates And we both lamented at the dire state of our airport. He said he visited Canada and they had none of the rules enforced in HK. John needs to sort out the hotel quarantine issue and allow us to visit loved ones and loved ones to visit us. I lament how my beloved city has changed for the worse.
Sunday, 24 July 2022
“An immigrant’s love letter to the west”
Konstantin Kisin is a man of the Left, a stand-up comedian. He became famous — infamous? — when he refused to sign a contract for a gig that required him not to offend the audience. As he says, comedy is (often) about offence. He co-hosts the Triggernometry podcast, which I also recommend
Saturday, 23 July 2022
The neo-liberal military-industrial-complex, merger. Thoughts from the man who broke the Snowden story
Friday, 22 July 2022
“Certainty brings insanity”
|Nosce te ipsum “Know thyself”|
Anyway, I do like them. All three, which are:
- “Know thyself”
- “Nothing in excess”
- “Certainty brings insanity”
I like that last one, which would be my answer to one of those quizzes “what’s your favourite hate?”. Which I’ve always thought of as “Blind Faith”. As in Yeats’ “The best lack all conviction, the worst are full of passionate intensity”. Like religious nutters. Who will kill themselves while murdering innocents. How can we deal with those blinded by faith? Who have no time for other ideas, who are made crazy by absolute certainty?
As we see on the far Left and the far Right.
I know this hotel. Before Covid it had 24-hour room service, several restaurants, a nice pool, etc. Pretty nice place.
Now, it’s a quarantine hotel, Hong Kong being the only place in the world other than the mainland and Ukraine to still require quarantine by all arriving passengers.
As a quarantine hotel, it’s full, it accepts only pre-payment, at full room price, with no cancellation possible, there’s no room service, no restaurants open, no swimming allowed. They won’t even supply beer or wine, you have to get your significant others to deliver to the front desk.
And this is what your standard meal looks like:
|Scraps on a plastic plate. I don’t even know what some of this is|
So: less service than before, they’re paying for fewer staff, provide no room service, rooms are full-price and non-refundable. That’s what you call profiteering. Shame on our Hong Kong government for still requiring quarantine and shame on them for allowing such gross profiteering.
ADDED: This pandemic again confounds. At the outbreak I thought, boy this is going to hammer our hotel industry. In fact, they’re doing the opposite. Coining it, hand over fist. by offering themselves up to quarantine guests.
A travel note:
After being grounded for more than a year [PF: more like 2.5 years] due to Covid, traveling again can be an exciting but also exhausting experience. Timed a couple of weeks before the European summer holiday season, my trip went relatively smoother than traveling in all the heat waves right now..
When preparing for the trip, I was almost lost in the ocean of online information about travel restrictions, however, the reality is simpler, life in Europe seems almost normal, except a Ukrainian flag or two on the balcony or bar window, a few masked travelers walking through the arrivals hall reminding us of the war and the virus still out there, but flight cancellations and frequent strikes bring me back to an uncertain future……
Thursday, 21 July 2022
“Australia needs to meet halfway…” and THEN kowtow
Comments on my highlighted bits:
1. Reciprocity: Basha criticises restrictions on Huawei and ZTE in Australia, because they are, allegedly, “without evidence”; but the evidence is there, held by our intelligence services, and revealed in their actions in other markets. We have valid reasons for being concerned about what they are up to (besides just making money). To imagine that Huawei, with its military ownership, is innocently building the cyber scape in the west, that “there’s nothing to see here”, is naive in the extreme. Meantime China is immensely more restrictive on foreign investment in its own economy. Just look at all those internet companies (basically all of them) that are banned in China. We, Australia, the west, should always have been pushing for reciprocity. It’s not too late.
2. Rules-based order: it is China that is in breach of WTO regulations, in its blocking of Aussie exports, not Australia. That’s a fact, attested by the WTO. Moreover, China has been in breach of many WTO regs, especially on transfer of technology, since before and even after it joined WTO. In any case, Australian exports have hardly suffered from China’s brutish bullying; it has found new markets and helped to decouple from an increasingly erratic and unreliable partner.
3. “Lack on independent thought” in Australian foreign policy: this shows Basha’s ignorance. Australia has, and has always had — since I was a young foreign affairs cadet in 1976 (and well before!) — a robust, lively, combative internal debate at all levels of government, think tanks and the media. So much so the there are even plenty of people who agree with Basha’s thesis. Which I’ll summarise crudely, as “we must bend to Beijing”. We must kowtow. Because… money.
On the Covid origin issue, Australia was right to push for a full-scale investigation. Including into the lab-leak theory, which remains a high level contender for Covid-19 origin. It’s an international scandal, and a WHO scandal, that we, the west, have not pushed China, much much harder. That’s what you get when you internalise being a supplicant to the dragon.
Re the Comments: I haven’t seen them yet, but I’m going to guess most are violently anti-Australia, coz that’s the way it breaks here at the SCMP, whenever it comes to articles on Australia-China relations.
Dali, Yunnan, China, 15 September 2014
Wednesday, 20 July 2022
Battery vs Hydrogen
Since the introduction of the Nissan Leaf (2010) and Tesla Model S (2012), battery-powered electric vehicles (BEVs) have become the primary focus of the automotive industry.
This structural shift is moving at an incredible rate—in China, 3 million BEVs were sold in 2021, up from 1 million the previous year. Meanwhile, in the U.S., the number of models available for sale is expected to double by 2024.
In order to meet global climate targets, however, the International Energy Agency claims that the auto industry will require 30 times more minerals per year. Many fear that this could put a strain on supply.
“The data shows a looming mismatch between the world’s strengthened climate ambitions and the availability of critical minerals.”
– FATIH BIROL, IEA
Thankfully, BEVs are not the only solution for decarbonizing transportation. In this infographic, we explain how the fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) works.
An issue touched on in this article: supply of minerals, especially rare earths. This is going to get worse as we look to more battery storage for wind and solar. It seems to me there’s not enough talk of this.
As for Green Hydrogen, I’ve read that, to now, it costs more to make a litre of it than it produces in power. The same problem we have on the Fusion front.
Why the world doesn’t buy China’s narrative
“From Xinjiang to Hong Kong, from the Pacific islands to Africa, the Chinese narrative is not bought by people and the reason is, in fact, obvious,” Sun said. “When Beijing projects only one narrative, and does not allow for alternative views or interpretations, people naturally grow suspicious of the Chinese narrative. In international politics, no one just takes anyone’s word for it.”
We sometimes tune into CGTN, China’s global cable network. Often has interesting shows, but overall the presentation is amateurish and the presenters too stiff, formal and apparatchik-like. We’ve often wondered at how China has done so well economically, but fails to make its window in the world look more worldly. After all, Russia TV, Kremlin-funded, does a way better job than Beijing putting out world-class content.
93% of mainlanders think XJP is doing a fab job. Right. 79% of people outside China think the opposite.
That said, I’m going to say something positive about China’s government (for a change). It’s this. Many in the west say China is a totalitarian dictatorship which oppresses the people. It’s true that it’s authoritarian, but a “dictatorship”? No. (Or not quite). Case in point: Beijing recently announced vaccine mandates. People objected, loudly. Next day the mandates were cancelled. Another: people in Shanghai were told they have to wear tracking bracelets if they were a close Covid contacts. Again loud objections and the policy was ditched. (BTW we have both these policies in HK). This morning the Canton government apologised for some crude treatment of people suspected of close contact. So it’s not true that the authorities can trample on people’s rights with impunity. (At least, not always).
China Taiwan: a question of emotion
|South China Morning Post front page|
Taiwan history is fraught with invasions from the mainland, going back to the Song Dynasty, when they attacked and decimated the aboriginal Taiwanese. Today we’d call that colonialism and, for good measure, genocide. It’s objectively not the case that “Taiwan has always been a part of the motherland”.
The Taiwanese are massively not in favour of reunification with the mainland. By polls, around 80%. Do their views count? They should.
Just because a place is right next to you doesn’t mean you have the right to take it over. For what? Lebensraum?
The fact that mainland Chinese, especially those on WeiBo, are hugely in favour of “reunification” means nothing. Or about as much as a Twitter poll. Mainland netizens are increasingly and notoriously ultra nationalist. And they’ve been encouraged by Beijing. Any individual on WeiBo you can net will know nothing of Taiwan’s history. It’s emotional. It’s the emotion, stupid. And how does one deal with emotion, if facts and logic hold no sway?
Note the “commie speak” of our favourite oleaginous spokesBot, Zhao Lijian, underlined above.
ADDED: I do wonder, though, why Pelosi thinks it necessary to visit Taiwan. I’m not sure it’s particularly helpful. Let’s see if she goes ahead.
Tuesday, 19 July 2022
Briefly noted | Saudi, Masks, Earth, Trans
Masks: somewhere in the local press a genius bureaucrat opines “masking should become like wearing seatbelts”. Oh please not. Let’s not normalise things that hinder our breathing and seeing others for what they really, full-faced.
“Half the Earth” by E.O. Wilson. First heard of this on Lex Fridman podcast with Aussie economist Steve Keene. Infuriating interview as Keene is alternating rather smart on China and rather forgiving of Marx. Half the Earth is the idea Homo sapiens should occupy only half the world, be banned from the other half. Right. He had a dream one night and thought it’d make a good book. Which half? And who do you kill, to save the rest of nature?
Trans: everything is trans now. Even skeletons. (And after a famous “Woman of the year”)
Monday, 18 July 2022
Monitoring the pandemic | Marching on autopilot
|Main article SCMP’s Op-Ed page|
Click to enlarge
Sunday, 17 July 2022
LOS ANGELES SIGNALS RETURN TO MASK MANDATES, IGNORES EVIDENCE THAT THEY DON’T WORK
In the year of our Lord 2022, Los Angeles has officially announced their intention to return the county to a universal indoor mask mandate.
The unelected director of LA Public Health, who is not a doctor, has declared that when Los Angeles County hits the arbitrary “high” level on the CDC’s transmissionzone map, she will automatically reintroduce forced masking...
“Behind the headlines” | SCMP
"The assassination of Shinzo Abe, Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, is one of the most shocking historical moments.
Although Abe stepped down from the leadership position two years ago, he remains highly influential. His murder at the hands of a former military serviceman while delivering a campaign speech in the Japanese city of Nara left the world stunned and Japan traumatised.
As a dyed-in-the-wool nationalist, Abe was no stranger to controversy. Some of his policies, such as an attempt to revise Japan’s peace constitution, deeply antagonised both people at home and abroad.
His political legacy is rich but complicated. Perhaps it is not surprising that his death has caused a polarised reaction in China.
Some are particularly angry at his comments on Taiwan, which are seen as provocative and adding to mounting tensions across the Taiwan Strait.
Chinese leaders have warned that any attempt to push the self-ruling island towards independence would lead to “ferocious storms”, and Beijing is doubling down on its military build-up to keep the pressure on Taipei.
History is often a summary of accidents. Only time can tell the true impact of Abe’s tragic death, but the news has already added a sense of gloom to a world battered by the raging coronavirus.
Hong Kong, whose residents are addicted to travel, is still struggling as its daily infection cases have rebounded.
Many argue that the city should stop trying to copy the mainland China model and change its quarantine policies. The debate is raging, but for now, Hongkongers can only look at the free-travelling Singaporeans with envy.
Chow Chung Yan,
Saturday, 16 July 2022
The Bipartisan Abraham Accords
Now it seems he’s taken to referring them to the Abraham Accords. Which is good. Because they’re good. They encourage diplomatic relations between Israel and the surrounding Arab states, without allowing Hamas and other terrorists the terrorists’ veto. Which is dealing with Sunni Islam, and restraining the major Shia state, Islam.
Biden pledged to deepen U.S. support for the normalization push: “We will also continue building on the Abraham Accords, which I strongly support because they deepen, they deepen Israel’s integration into the broader region and establish lasting ties for business, cooperation and tourism.” [More]
Correct, Joe! Blame your colleague, John Kerry, for dipping his knee to the terrorist veto, saying “we can’t normalise relations with the Arab countries, because the Palestinians will object”. They did, but they went ahead anyway and it’s fine. Better than fine. It’s a good trend, for he first time in decades.
Friday, 15 July 2022
With Nuclear Instead of Renewables, California & Germany Would Already Have 100% Clean Electricity
Thursday, 14 July 2022
Germany’s energy catastrophe
Nuclear is safe, in operation and in handling of waste. Yet people think the opposite. Because “Greens” have scared them.
I wonder: Why do Greens hate Nuclear? I suspect their fear is real. Just that it’s not science based.
This article also links to Michael Shellenberger, who was an early environmentalist in California who came to realise that renewables would not solve the problem. Nuclear can. “Why renewables can’t save the planet”.
ADDED: those that say we can store with batteries, three things: (i) Elon Musk, who has put his money where his mouth is on battery power by building mega factories, now believes that batteries can’t help, long term, with storage, for more than a few minutes per day. (ii) Making batteries is really dirty. (iii) Getting rid of dead batteries is really dirty.
One of the links is to the article that California would be carbon neutral now if it had invested in nuclear power instead of renewables. I’ve said the same about the world. We’d be carbon neutral, at least on electricity production, if we’d gone nuclear. And it would’ve been cheaper.
Wha…? Amazing statement of the year from Fed Chairman
“We now know more about what we don’t know about inflation”.
But … but …
People, many people, warned at the time that injecting Trillions — TRILLIONS — of dollars into the economy would be inflationary. Biden & co ignored or denied this. They went ahead anyway and injected Trillions of boondoggle dollars. Result? … inflation!
Now, I just got a simple pass degree in Economics, 50 years ago. But even I know that if you inject money into the system you get inflation. It’s Eco 101.
(Though I give this post the label this “hypocrisy”, because Powell must know. He’s gaslighting us).
“A crisis of confidence” | Hmmmm…. Henan's banking scandal
Having made it to Zhengzhou, the capital, they were met with uniformed police, plain clothes police and these white-shirted mystery men circled above — probably hired thugs. We had the same sort of thugs here in Hong Kong back in mid 2019, when they came to a subway station and beat the crap out of some demonstrators. I don’t think they were ever caught. Hmmmm…
So here we have the latest in government-sponsored thuggery. First it was il Duce’s Black Shirts, then Adolf’s Brown Shirts. Now Henan's White Shirts. Circled in red above.
By the way, I think it’s interesting, and for now encouraging, that the SCMP is reporting this issue in some detail. The above is its full back page, today’s print edition. Plus an inside article, noting that in China they’re warning not to publish stuff from “hostile” western forces, which is basically anyone reporting the issue at all. Like today’s Post.
Wednesday, 13 July 2022
Watching Biden land in Tel Aviv
|With new Israeli PM Yair Lapid|
Elon Musk hits back at Trump and says ex-president should ‘hang up his hat’
German “Greens” support burning more coal so closing of nuclear stations can continue
Cheung Chau Island looking north
What a time to be alive!
Quarantine bites back | Hong Kong (and China) the only places still requiring quarantine
|From here. The only quarantine countries are in salmon colour.|
On her way back from Portugal, J is at the end of her quarantine in a hotel by the airport. Yesterday failed the last PCR test, so has extended quarantine. I was cursing Hong Kong as the only place in the world with quarantine requirements. Thought I’d better check. That’s the chart above. I was a tiny bit wrong. Apart from us here in China and Hong Kong, it’s Ukraine and Cameroon still demand quarantine. Everywhere else has no quarantine. Some, the light Green, require testing, that’s it.
By the way, the hotel doesn’t sell her any beer or wine, and the food is pretty horrid. Before Covid this was a pretty good hotel, and I, sure they had room service for anything you wanted. Not now. For the ubiquitous excuse: “can’t do, coz Covid”.
|“Dinner”at the quarantine hotel|
By the way (2): there’s hardly any mention of vaccines any more, in our government messaging. It’s all Testing and quarantine.
Tuesday, 12 July 2022
Monitoring the pandemic | Mainland-style colour coding for us
|Front page, South China Morning Post.|
Click to enlarge