Friday 30 September 2022

December 2021

Solving the homeless crisis in California: Tough Love vs Puppy Love

Things to know about the homeless crisis in California.

It’s been decades in the making

A lot has been spent on trying to solve it. 

A lot of money is committed to trying to solve it: 6% of the Cali budget, around $US 20 billion per year, or $500 for every man woman and child in the state. 

Yet it has only got worse. As Kenneth Meiji shows for LA. And Michael Shellenberger shows for San Francisco.

What to do? 

What do I know? Answer: nothing. What I do know is that there are different approaches. Some, the progressive ones, have been tried again and again, and have failed. At least so far. The measure of failure? That homelessness has gotten worse. Problem is data doesn’t matter. Same as with the response to “socialism has been tried and doesn’t work” which is: “well it hasn’t been tried properly”, we get the “we just have to try harder”. But getting ahead of myself. What are these main approaches to tackling the homelessness crisis in California?

The two basic approaches (my words): Tough Love vs Puppy Love. “Be responsible” vs “don’t blame the victim”.

Also known as: Systems vs Goals. Republicans think systems are better to deal with crises. Democrats think Goals are better. Also knows as “Shelter First” or “Housing First”.

“Shelter First” is: provide basic, clean bed and and chafed amenities. Work on mental health and drug addiction problems. Provide housing as a reward for steps forward. 

“Housing First” is:provide a standalone, single-occupancy dwelling. Usually there is no follow up so high rate of people drop outs back to the streets to score. This is the policy being adopted now in California. But not the rest of America. So comparisons can be made. Shellenberger looks at the issues from all angles: the homeless, the carers, the non-profits, the parents, the kids. 

Having been a progressive, environmental activist, Shellenberger is now a critic. As I said to Kenneth, well worth a read, no matter your politics. Even, ,synergies even especially, if you’re a self described progressive. 

It’s only “progressive” if it progresses things. If it moves them forward. To a better place. The problem with treating the homeless crisis in Cali via progressive policies, is that they are no longer progressive. They’re doing the thing that Einstein warned about: trying the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. It’s like the Left’s view of socialism: “It’s only failed because it hasn’t been tried properly”. 

I’ve been re-reading San Fransicko, coz researching the County Controller candidate Kenneth Meiji, yesterday. Who strikes me as a serious and committed young man. But driven by the same progressive policies that have captured Cali and captured the homeless issue -- aka “the homeless industrial complex”. IOW, don’t think it will work. And if so, what then? Surely young folks like him have to have some success to make it worth it for them. And to have success, he may need to look at and try some tough love, instead of puppy love. 

A certain birthday


Thursday 29 September 2022

“Coronavirus: Chinese medicine may help relieve ‘long Covid’ symptoms such as fatigue, Hong Kong study shows”

The study shows nothing of the sort. This nonsense on the front page of SCMP print edition.  There was no control group. Insane. And useless. "Results" with no control group are not results. This is nonsense.
As all the commenters note.
Imagine. A “doctor” talks of “rebalancing” the “Qi”. Oh, dear, oh dear.. Good for woo-woo. Not for real Science. This is the sort of nonsense taught at “quackademia”. The only reason our paper of record puts it on the front page is because Dear Leader Xi Jinping is pushing it. And why he’s pushing it I don’t know. Except perhaps pandering to the rather large number who actually believe it. But large numbers believing doesn’t make it true. We used to believe the world was flat. 

White Chapel Discovery Bay Hong Kong April 2020

Who is Kenneth Mejia?

Who is Kenneth Mejia? He’s the guy I referred to yesterday. In the post about Patrick Soon-Shiong.

And why do I care about him? Because I’d read that he said “defund the police town to the last dollar”. And this is a person going for be LA City Controller. Where we have family interests. Would you want someone like that in a city where crime is rising? We have family in LA. Hence the worry.

I delved into Kenneth. Did he really say that? Not so sure. Google him and he comes across as a fresh-faced young kid. Keen. Hard working. There’s nothing like “defund the police down to the last dollar.”  

I do find reference to a website “” but that is password-protected (?!). Mejia reports on money flowing to the LAPD, but not sure he wants to defund it “down the the last dollar”, which would be suicidal. He’s sure a leftie and a progressive. He’s photoed with Jane Fonda. She of “China Syndrome” which single-handedly enfeared the public against nuclear, so I’d label her as bigly responsible for our current carbon dioxide problems. But I doubt Kenneth even knows that. To him she’d just be a progressive icon.

Still I have hopes for the young lad. I emailed him. The book mentioned is “San Fransicko” which is a must-read for anyone interested in things Californian. Email: 

Wednesday 28 September 2022

“In praise of billionaires”… but not this one

Patrick Soon-Shiong. A biotech billionaire who bough the LA Times in 2018 and handed it over to Nika, his 28 year old daughter who has turned it into a platform for her favourite woke causes, including “defund the polices down to the last dollar”. We know from actual facts and actual experience that where the police have been defunded, including in LA, crime has spiked, up to 200%. But ideology is immune to facts. 

Nika has forced the Times to endorse a radical socialist for the WeHo County Board. And as someone who has lived in an actual socialist country (China in the seventies) I have no time for socialism writ large. In my view, Patrick is doing harm to California by negligently allowing his crazy daughter to push her own extreme views through the West Coast’s “paper of record”. An early Guardian report.

Stick to bio-tech Patrick. 

Tuesday 27 September 2022

Permanent Residency for Domestic Workers | LETTER TO SCMP

Now we have easing of Covid restrictions, could our government please add another item to its agenda? That is, granting PR status to all people in Hong Kong on an equal basis: the same criteria for all.
In our household we were proud to earn our Permanent Residence status fifteen years ago. All, that is, but our domestic helper, who has been here even longer than us, yet is not eligible for Permanent Residency.
I can think of no reason for this, save outright discrimination. 
I'm sure there were fine-sounding justifications when the policy was first implemented.  But they don't hold up today. Concern about overcrowding, if ever relevant, is now moot, given structural falls in our population growth.
Domestic helpers throughout Hong Kong have been with us throughout the pandemic. They helped us survive. It's high time we rewarded all those who have committed to this place with permanent residency, on the same basis for everyone. 
Peter Forsythe
Discovery Bay 
9308 0799

The wise man


Monday 26 September 2022

Hong Kong opens up today... kind of

There’s still all this PPE nonsense at our airport
Today’s the day we cancel the quarantine we’ve had for nearly three years. Now it’s what they call “0+3”. That is, no quarantine on arrival, but three days of self-administered medical observation. Which I take to mean having daily RAT tests. 

There’s still to be PCR testing at the airport, but apparently you won’t have to wait for the result. That’s a positive. 

All this means easier for HK residents to travel and come back; not so sure it’ll be attractive enough to tourists. We’ll see. And travel to-fro the mainland has not improved as they have to do quarantine on the Chinese side, and by all accounts it can be pretty dire.

All other restrictions remain: limited numbers at restaurants and bars, limited opening times, vaccine passes mandated everywhere, masks mandated everywhere. So there’s all that that’s more restrictive than anywhere else in Asia.

In praise of billionaires

Depressing, to me, that nearly 40k people had Liked this
by the time I had saw it today. Reich’s is a false narrative
That’s a tweet from Robert Reich. First up I thought it was parody. But no, it’s just Intelligent Idiocy. 

There’s no doubt professor Reich is intelligent. Wouldn’t be a professor if not, right? And he did do some good things, when he was Labor Secretary under Bill Clinton. Things like job training schemes. 

But he’s also an idiot. [ADDED: I wrote this before I found out Musk called Reich the same]. Provably so. He pushed the NAFTA accords. At the time he said the labour unions were “absolutely wrong”, to fear massive job losses in the car industry. Turns out he was the one “absolutely wrong” -- NAFTA led to 50% job losses, loss of well-paying jobs in middle America. 
50% job losses after Reich’s NAFTA deal
US Bureau of Labor Statistics figures
So while this Washington gnome destroyed tens of thousands of well-paying American jobs, he now berates people who create jobs. For without Musk, no Tesla. Without Elon, no SpaceX. Without Bezos, no Amazon. Without Jobs, no Apple. Without Buffet, no Berkshire. And without them all million fewer jobs. 

As for “inherited wealth”, those he mentions in his odious little hit job of a video, had none. Musk certainly not, as shown here. [LATER: Reich says Musk “came from a wealthy family that owned an emerald mine in Apartheid South Africa”, a story that is completely false; Reich either couldn’t be bothered finding out, or knew it and lied knowingly. Either way, that’s shocking. Full background here]
Bezos was born to impoverished teenagers. Much later his wider family scraped together some starting capital for his new business idea (Let’s sell books online!). But that is what everyone, everywhere, every time, does to get started. It’s what we did with the business we started here in HK. You borrow money from family and friends. To class that as a version of “inherited wealth” is ludicrous. 
As is classifying Gates’ mother giving him an intro to IBM as some kind of privilege. It’s always what you do with the chances that counts. What you do with that fortuitous introduction. 
Same with Warren Buffett, who grew up with entrepreneurialism in his blood. Not wealth, just a burning desire to make money -- delivering papers as a youngster and selling used golf balls. Which he parlayed into a gargantuan empire. Not just for himself but for millions of workers and shareholders in his company. 

Buffett classed his business as “Asset Allocation” and that’s what he did -- allocate capital, in ways so productive it energised thousands of companies, shareholders and employees around the world. I’ve seen the Asset Allocation capacities of Red Raw Socialism in China in the seventies. It’s horrible and wasteful and inefficient and demoralising. China's “State-Owned Enterprises” behemoths of blah.

I’m no mind reader and I don’t want to try to read Robert Reich’s thoughts. From his presentation in the video, one gets the impression -- at least I do -- that he’s jealous of the billionaires. And so he plays out his jealousy by demonising them as a group, those whose money is a measure of their success, not of their wickedness. Those without whom the world would be a worse place. Whereas, without Reich pushing NAFTA in 1995 the US would also have been a better place. At least for the workers that Reich pretends to care about. 

PS: Larry Summers, the Democrat and ex Treasurer of the United States, agrees with me!

ADDED: Amazon Anecdotes: Last year I tried to buy some ecologically sound goodies as Xmas presents and found some on a British website. Got all the way to the check out, all the way to the very end, putting in the credit card details, only to be told, at the very very end, that they don’t ship outside the UK. Sigh. Back to Amazon. 
Another time a friend who’d just published a book asked if I could buy it via the publishers, not Amazon, as she made clear she though it a horrid capitalist company. So, again, I hie me to the publisher’s website, only to be told they don’t ship outside Australia. In both cases I ended up back on Amazon. And thinking: the only reason those companies don’t ship internationally is laziness. Or short-sightedness. Or both. In any case, not doing what Amazon has done for years, which is, go the extra mile. People love to hate on Amazon. But ask them if they’d rather not have Amazon? 
An Amazon trope is that it underpays its staff. It does not. Its least paid workers get a little over $US20/hour. The US minimum wage is $7.25. Amazon is paying its least paid 2.75 times the minimum wage. Hardly enough to support a family for sure. But consider: unless you have zero drive in your life (something which all billionaires have in abundance) you’re not there to stay at minimum wage. That’s just entry level. It’s clear from the Amazon employee structure that there’s plenty of opportunities to move up the ranks, right up into the senior management ranks, if you’re good enough and -- again -- if you’re driven. Drive is the key, despite Reich pooh-poohing it. 

ADDED (2): I haven’t touched on other bits of “Reich’s recap”, like the “government subsidies”. In the Tesla case, it was a government loan (not a subsidy) and Reich fails to mention: Ford and GM both got more than Tesla and Tesla has repaid it in full (the others have not). On “Tax loopholes”, I won’t go there, save to say they are also known as “tax planning”. And if you don’t plan your tax, you’re a fool. If you’re a public company, if you don’t tax plan, you’re failing in your fiduciary duty and shareholders will come after you. Simply saying “tax loopholes” is smearing these companies, to no end, save to get foolish folks to Like.

ADDED (3): Reich is talking about America. If we look at the billionaires in Hong Kong, they virtually all arrived here as penniless refugees. That’s the case of our richest man, Li Ka-shing, who famously left school at 15 to start selling plastic flowers. Which he parlayed into a global empire, employing tens of thousands. It’s true that his wealth and that of fellow tycoons is now being passed on to younger generations so they there’s that inherited wealth angle; as they say “we ought have a discussion around that”.  Similarly the inequality of wealth issue. Reich raises a large straw man here, for I don’t know anyone claiming that it’s due to the “choices of everyday Americans”. At least not as the only reason. If you look it up, you find quickly that it’s multi-factorial. “Choices of everyday Americans” is part of it; must be. And part of it must be the negative effect of Americans of Color, everywhere everyday being told that there’s systemic racism in the country, that it’s irredeemable and that therefore they can never succeed. That surely is counterproductive and horrid message to give out to a huge section of America. How can that be a good thing? And how can that provide the grit needed to succeed, to work to be a billionaire? 

Caesar Salad


Sunday 25 September 2022

“Trump still lives rent-free in ‘Doonesbury’ cartoonist Trudeau’s head“ | Wa Times

Click to enlarge 
I can still remember that November day in 2016 when we learned that Donald Trump had become America’s 45th president. I was, like “huh!?” Thought it was pretty weird and next thought was I wonder what he’ll do. In short : I’d never been a supporter, nor subject to what came to be known as Trump Derangement Syndrome. Which many in the Left succumbed to, prime amongst them the above Garry Trudeau.

To find todays cartoon funny, at some level you have to accept the notion that Trump is neo-Hitler. Looking back in his four years, Trump did some good things (Abraham Accords, First Steps Act) and some stupid things (Jan 6, et.seq.). But Hitlerian? I struggle to see anywhere anything like. If he was a would-be dictator, he was pretty bad at it. Those that hammer him for “election scepticism” — rebranded as “insurrection” —  conveniently forget they spent four years and a whole independent investigation, the Mueller Report, to look at, and ultimately disprove, their obsession that 2016 was “illegitimate”. And continue to support Stacey Abrams’ bizarre and repeated claims that she “won” the 2018 election for governor of Georgia, despite having lost by over 50,000 votes,… four years ago! [Fact checked by WaPo]

Now, that’s funny.

Read more at “Trump still lives rent-free in ‘Doonesbury’ cartoonist Trudeau’s head

Saturday 24 September 2022

Tous Les Mêmes -- "We’re all the same”

Stromae, “Tous Les Mêmes”. Click for the vid.
Quite one of his best
“All the same”. We men, that is. Not women. Women are all different, of course. And better. 

Stromae does the fantastic “Tous les Mêmes“, and also sings of the workers during Covid in Santé . The true heroes.  Not the laptop class, but the working class. Good on him. 

The pandemic was when we learnt we weren’t really all the same. There were those with their guaranteed incomes -- the "laptop class”: the media, the experts, the academics, the civil servants, the comfortable retirees -- and then there’s the “working class”, those out there making a living, making work for themselves and others, running pubs, making subs, manning checkouts, trucking orders, serving the laptop class. But heaven help them they dared complain, about being kept from their work -- then it was all “so you want to kill grandma” and how dare you, for “one death is too many”. Enough! For me that is.

Most of my friends and all of my family, me included, are members of the laptop class. All all either salaried or retired. I don’t know if they understand what the working class have gone through. Many, for sure, of the laptop class are oblivious. To the true suffering and for many the true disaster of this pandemic. Which for the laptop class was measured only in deaths. Not in lives ruined. 

The reason I mention this now, at the fag-end (one hopes) of the pandemic, is that there’s a renewed push, I discern, to go back to days of lockdowns, because there’s yet another wave looming. And Long Covid. And children sickened. We can’t have that, so they say, so more lockdown. The working class, plus laptop class traitors like me, must resist. We must resist more lockdowns. 

Me -- a laptop class member, retired and comfortable, but a traitor to my class -- I want us to ignore the looming waves. I’m right in its path of a wave, very vulnerable, as an elderly with comorbidities. But still, I don’t want the world to shut down again, for the sake of we vulnerable. Yet there are plenty who do. Especially doctors and experts. Who want us to contemplate and be afraid, of the horrid deaths from covid, of the fact that young ones do die of it, of the possibility of a new variant, of... whatever, of.... anything. Safetyism run riot.

ADDED: There’s another view, which maybe is also kind of in the space of Stromae. Adam Carolla talking to Michael Yo, about his thoughts on “chickthink”. Here.

Friday 23 September 2022

“Lee warns city’s journalists to avoid ‘camouflaged media’” | SCMP

I don’t even know what “camouflaged media” is. And we don’t learn anything from the article. Though Ronson Chan, head of the Journalists Association says our chief executive John Lee, the one issuing these dire warnings, should name names. 

Presumably “camouflaged media “ is something dark. Media; hiding themselves, hiding their motives, cleverly, cunningly hiding their real views behind “patriotic” news. That’s the camouflage! I guess something like that. Typical of paranoid communist view of the media. Unless they’re praising you they’re against you. Or … maybe even the praise can be camouflage for bad intent! You never know the perfidy of that horrid western-led media! With all its “freedom of speech” and stuff.

Not a nice report in media freedom here in Hong Kong, with Lee issuing a lot of commie-speak pabulum: “Tell the Hong Kong story well…give correct information …carry on the tradition and forge ahead.…speak up against smearing by foreign forces.” Oh, those horrid “foreign forces”! 

As we have dropped 60 places to 148 out of 160 on the global press freedom index. Gloom.

Thursday 22 September 2022

“Is Australia the greatest NIMBY country in the world?"


Baker Gardens, ACT. My proposed site for Australia’s first 
Small Modular Nuclear Reactor. (Google Maps)


I have an idea for Canberra. Install the latest nuclear technology, a Small Modular Reactor in a central suburb. And I know exactly where: Baker Gardens, Ainslie, Canberra, ACT. There’s an unused park in the middle of the Gardens that would be the perfect size and location. (see pic above).
A SMR of around 500MW capacity would generate enough power to provide for all of Canberra’s needs.
Thus, at one fell swoop, Canberra would become the Net Zero Capital of Australia. Perhaps the Net Zero capital of the world.
Imagine what a fillip this would be to our tired, our poor and huddled masses yearning to breathe a carbon-free future. Imagine a new Canberra Colussus!
“But, Peter”, I hear you object, “what about the waste?” Again, I have the answer.

This case of Mermaids v LBGA is a big deal in sexual and gender rights

When Michael Gibbon KC, counsel for Mermaids, was cross-examining Harris, he asked her to reflect on whether some people would understand “lesbian” to refer to something other than a natal female who is attracted to other natal females. Or, as he put it, would Harris consider whether some people would have a different understanding of “lesbian” from the understanding her organisation is based on?

Harris broke down into tears, asking: “That a lesbian can be a man with a penis?” After composing herself, she responded: “I’m going to speak for millions of lesbians around the world, who are lesbians because we love other women … We will not be erased and we will not have any man with a penis tell us he’s a lesbian because he feels he is.” [my emphasis]

More here 



Four Men in a Voxy
Joe, Gordie, your blogger PF, Rob. Outside the church where the Czar
and family were kept before being slaughtered by Lenin’s goons
Another Google-fed photo. 

We drove a Toyota Voxy from Vladivostok to Moscow. Across the wastes of Siberia and into the capital.

And I’m wondering what it would be like to cross today's Russia as we variously hear “Putin is losing” or “Putin is regrouping” as I sit studiously on the fence for the fog of war is real and who quite knows, not even Putin or Zelenski themselves. Not that I don’t share the widely held hope that Ukraine prevail.

But I do wonder. What would four guys, none of whom speaks Russian, driving across the whole country, know of what’s going on, how people feel, in a country at war. Would we even tell they are different today than a decade ago? They were pretty dour then. More or less dour now? Now that Putin has called up reserves? And told the troops down Donbas way, “you’re not coming home”?

“Pentagon to review psyops after fake accounts exposed” | SCMP

I was sent the actual report a few weeks back by an Occasional Reader. The report that the US engaged in psychological warfare. After glancing through it my comments at the time were:

a. So what? As in, t’were ever so. We’ve always done it. And they’ve always done it. It was China wot invented spy craft. As the Pentagon spokesman says above “It’s an aspect of warfare as old as warfare itself”.

b. In any case, the report says (though not the news item above) that open and official government Twitter posts get more Likes and Retweets than any of the fake ones; so…“so what?” even more.

c. Who does this help, this Stanford Report, other than enemies of the west? To answer my own question, no-one. Stanford University, the authors of the report, may think they are helping bring peace to the world, or adding to the sum of human knowledge. But they are achieving neither because a) we already knew w eeyhing they reported and b) they are giving more free ammunition to the anti-western cabal.

Note the underlined bit above: 

the accounts “consistently advanced narratives promoting the interests of the United States and its allies while opposing countries including Russia, China and Iran.” 

Shocking! Can’t you just hear the disdain dripping off that sentence.  To the authors, one feels, no aim is more ignoble than promoting the interests of the west.  And, to them, it is good that this effort is “facing scrutiny”.

Well done, Stanford! Pinning your colours firmly to a mast of lovely countries, Russia, China, Iran. Just surprised they didn’t add North Korea and Cuba for good measure. 

Wednesday 21 September 2022


Grandson Rocky. 2.y.o.
5 February 2020, Brighton, England 
A random Google-fed photo.

“Another policy critic silenced online before party congress”

Today South China Morning Post 
This going on in China. Lau Dongyan, Sima Nan, Xu Zhangrun, He Weifang. All brave critics. Subject now to Chinese version of cancel culture, as it readies for the Party Congress. Butter spots my own work.

Professor Lau is right to express her concerns about the abuse of Covid-developed technology being used for ongoing forever control of the population. Which, she notes, harms the rule of law.

Elsewhere today. Josephine Ma talks about the forever restrictions and control, result of Zero Covid policies (ZCP). As happened with the Beijing Olympics control measures begun in 2008 — like metal detectors at subways. Begun as “temporary measures” for the Games. Still with us 14 years later. That’s what I fear for us here in Hong Kong. For things like masks. You can always deploy the “one-death is-too-many” argument to keep us forever masked.  And muzzled, like Lau Safetyism rampant.

ADDED: A bit strange. The comments at Josephine Ma’s piece are running pro ZCP. Recently they’ve tended to be very anti ZCP, so what’s going on? Maybe it’s China’s “50 cent army” deployed to post when someone is critical of China. The 50cA say “history will prove the ZCP right”. I’m not so sure. History is written by the Victor. And who will the Victor be? Not China surely, what with its duplicity and cover-ups, but also not the US, not the UK or EU. So maybe no one. It’s hard to see how Zero Covid is going to come out smelling sweet, except to zealots. Meantime an observation: in the ten days mourning for the Queen there was not a hint of anti Covid measure. No one even talked about it. Done and dusted, even if there are still some cases and some deaths daily. The UK are getting on with it. People have just had it with Covid. And that I like. Even if the 50-cent trolls don’t, and at the behest of Beijing  call it “lying flat” … a silly, nonsensical barb. 
By the way, I do accept that the fact of a bus crash, even one that kills 27(!), should not be put down to Covid, even if they’re carrying Covid-quarantine people. But her main point that ZCP is overall harmful and ultimately pointless, holds true. IMO.

Germany national suicide


…Yet Germany’s political leaders seem to be putting their commitment to green orthodoxy above all else – including the need to tackle the multiple crises Germany now faces.

Take Cem Özdemir, the German food and agriculture minister. In an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, he said that ‘hunger should not be abused as an argument to make compromises regarding biodiversity or protection of the climate’. SPIKED

Germany is unlikely to extend the life of its three remaining nuclear power stations due to the energy crisis, said Economy Minister Robert Habeck. However, he added, one power station in Bavaria may stay open if needed

Germany now:

Tuesday 20 September 2022

The Queen is laid to rest

The famous Richard Stone portrait. Click it for the full vid
And I, like countless others around the world, felt myself surprisingly and deeply moved. More that I’d expected. The reason so many queued for 16 hours, for 20 hours, readily, eagerly and willingly, they told us, over and over, was “because she did her duty, never failed, and we felt we had to pay our respects.” They came from all over the world, all ages, all ethnicities, to stand in the longest queue in the world. And then all along the path to Buckingham Palace, to Windor Castle and her final resting place in St George’s Chapel, next to her beloved husband, her sister, and her mother and father. How fitting.

For a lifetime atheist like me, it’s weird to say “lay to rest”, but it seems a mark of respect for her quiet, unassuming faith. I’m happy to do it. The BBC was happy to do it. The BBC, btw, did an absolutely fabulous job throughout the ten days of mourning, and on this day, yesterday, of the funeral service and burial. The main commentator has the most silken voice. And he didn’t over-talk.  

Andrew Sullivan, ex Brit now resident in the US, captures my own feelings best:

Part of the hard-to-explain grief I feel today is related to how staggeringly rare that level of self-restraint is today. Narcissism is everywhere. Every feeling we have is bound to be expressed. Self-revelation, transparency, authenticity — these are our values. The idea that we are firstly humans with duties to others that will require and demand the suppression of our own needs and feelings seems archaic. Elizabeth kept it alive simply by example.

With her death, it’s hard not to fear that so much she exemplified — restraint, duty, grace, reticence, persistence — are disappearing from the world. As long as she was there, they were at the center of an idea of Britishness that helped define the culture at its best. Perhaps the most famous woman in the world, she remained a sphinx, hard to decipher, impossible to label. She was not particularly beautiful or dashing or inspiring. She said nothing surprising. She was simply the Queen. She showed up. She got on with it. She was there. She was always there.

An Icon, Not An Idol”, Andrew Sullivan.

Monday 19 September 2022

Where’s the truth ?


It’s in there somewhere! Usually at the intersections.

The main point here is: you have to read / watch from the Red side, from the Blue side, and, for good measure, from the Green / middle as well. 

As for the Martha’s Vineyard Mess, aka the Martha’s Vineyard Hypocrisy, the below grey area is about it: all agree it was a stunt. It was a pretty good one. Got the political class looking at the issue, that of illegal immigration, that till now they’ve studiously ignored or simply denied.

It’s time to go Nuclear

Click for the video, 14:00

Kyle Hill looks like a bit of a retro hippie, but he’s a bona fide science educator and knows whereof he speaks.

Which is the simple message I’ve been banging on for ages: Nuclear is safe; nuclear is secure; nuclear is cheap and nuclear is clean. 

We are letting fear of nuclear stop what’s the simplest path forward to substantial, carbon free baseload power. Fear of fission trumping fear of climate change. 

Shame on us. Shame on the Greens. As the Germans commit national suicide because of the German Greens influence. Mad Mutti Merkel has herself a lot to answer for. Closing nuclear after Fukushima! Which made no sense then and even less now. Truly shocking is: the Minster of Industry in Germany appears to give not a single hoot that his closing nuclear stations is going to shutter industries. And his Food Industry collegue doesn’t give a single hoot that his cutting fertiliser production will lead to hunger. “Criminals for a thousand years” as the Chinese would say. Crimes against humanity, in the sake of ideology. 

Backyard 3 April

What the folks at Martha’s Vineyard say about illegal immigrants and what they actually do

Sign in shopfront, Main St, Martha’s Vineyard. Similar lawn signs
are all over the island

This is about the progressives of that chic holiday isle of Martha’s Vineyard. Home to rich Democrats. It’s about what they say they believe and what they actually do, when they’re faced with the reality of their own principles. This has come to sharp focus with the arrival of a small group of illegal immigrants. Sent to their cute, swank, liberal little town by the horrid monster in charge of Florida, Ron DeSantis. 

What do the liberal folks of Martha’s Vineyard say? What do they say they believe?  

Well, it’s all in the yard sign. The one above that’s on a window of a shop of Main St, Martha’s Vineyard. Lots of fine sentiments, including, re immigration: “We stand with immigrants, with refugees”, and “All are welcome here”. 

What do the liberal folks of Martha’s Vineyard actually do? What do they actually believe?

When a few -- just 50, that’s a 5 and a zero -- immigrants actually land on their doorstep, and the locals realise what’s going on, they don’t say “You are welcome here”. No, they say: “you can’t stay here, we don’t have the room”. Really. They really said that. Right on the main street. And they said it on TV. They are unabashed. I gotta say, it’s truly shocking. 

This “we don’t have the room” on an island that currently has 120,000 vacant rooms (per AirBnB). Because the season is over and those rooms are going to be vacant for six months. But no-one in town could find 25 rooms? Not one of these good folks who say “all are welcome here”? Not one of these good folks who trumpet themselves as so tolerant, can find just a few rooms, just a few? It beggars belief. 

If you want to know what these fine and tolerant folks really think of the illegals, below is a tweet from Max Lefeld, a Martha’s Vineyard resident and head of a local charity, the Casa Venezuela Dallas foundation, which helps recent refugees. But still, according to Max, they’re just rubbish. They’re like Trash being tossed about. Talking of Ron DeSantis giving plane tickets to immigrants who were free to accept them or not, and who, on arrival, professed themselves “very happy”, to the few non-CNN journalist there, Max, our noted local philanthropist says it’s like....

Comparing the immigrants to trash. Mad Max. 

You want to know what hypocrisy looks like, progressives? look in the mirror. Stare into it good and hard. This, in my life of 70+ years, is the most monstrous, the most cruel, the most hideous, the most... I dunno, just the most, MOST, horrid example of hypocrisy I’ve ever seen. Not a bigger one I’ve seen. If there is, please tell me. Till then, this is the worst. The most egregious. 

“Martha’s Vineyard” ought to become the byword for Hypocrisy. It’s hypocrisy writ large. 

Earlier post. And even earlier

Sunday 18 September 2022

"Liberal hypocrisy fuels inequality” -- The New York Times


Oh look a unicorn! 

New York Times criticising it’s own liberal readership. Now that’s a unicorn! 

Damning evidence of how NIMBYism flourishes. Makes inequality worse. Worse in Blue states than Red. Worse where the government is progressive than where it’s conservative.

Collecting reactions of Red States bussing illegal immigrants to Blue States

Martha’s Vineyard over 24 hours. Exactly
“It’s wrong, it’s unAmerican, it’s reckless... playing politics with human beings”.  Joe Biden

"It’s  really just disrespectful to humanity, it doesn’t afford them any dignity. It’s cruel and shameful". Karine Jean-Pierre, WH Press Secretary 

"Republican governors slammed for migrant stunt". Bloomberg in SCMP.

It’s like internment:

It’s the same as slavery: Reverse Freedom Ride (on Takei’s twitter)

"It’s like the holocaust.” John Bernin on CNN. (The holocaust?? Really??!)

"DeSantis is a ‘bonehead’. These are actual real people you’re playing with here”. Whoopi Goldberg. 

“Actual people”, yes indeed they are. Which is why we want to stop them being trafficked at the border, by cartels, then trucked around the country in the mid of night by Biden buses. And forgotten. -- or left to die in locked containers. Until a “bonehead” like DeSantis decides to make progressives face the reality of their very own policies, and flies a few to the most luxurious holiday resort in America. To make a point. Via a stunt. Or, else, it's exactly like the holocaust. 

Illegal immigrants interviewed during this brouhaha say they are happy with their treatment. They’ve been treated better in the US than anywhere along their path to the US. They had a choice to go to Martha’s Vineyard or other sanctuary cities. They found the trip good and are happy with where they needed up. It’s “nice”. They make clear they came because they believed the borders were “Open”:

We were told the border was open. It is open. And yes, we have entered illegally; still, the border is open”. 
-- Illegal immigrant speaking outside the DC home of VP Harris who had said on that very day that “the border is secure”. 

To see more of the outrage on the Left about the DeStantis “stunt", there's the MSM like CNN, NBC, ABC, PBS. 

To see the take on it that is more “reality based" you’d need to hold your nose (if you’re on the Left) and go to the takes of Carlson and Shapiro. I’ve got my leanings, so I think they’re good takes. Do have a look, even you’re progressive Left.

Then I stumbled on another vid I’d seen last year, which is so relevant to today. The New York Times, no less, discussing the issue of NIMBYism in progressive circles. Those who say “I care for these people, but please, not here”. This is such a good vid and 14 minutes well spent: "Liberal Hypocrisy is Fueling American Inequality"

Meantime, a reminder of what this is all about: a tenfold increase in illegal immigration since Biden, which is impacting poor border state communities. And is ignored or denied until there’s a “stunt” like DeSantis’. Note the low illegals number under Barack Obama. He was all for secure borders, as I’ve noted before. Now he’s silent, which is his own hypocrisy. I think. Or has he really changed his mind? Oh, also forgot to mention: Joe Biden is quoted saying “Illegal immigrants are a gift”. Hmmm... this famous resident of Martha’s Vineyard not so sure about that gift now. 

US Border Patrol Stats, which I have updated with the 
latest, the red bar on the right. The jump under Biden is huge and shocking
Note that under Obama numbers continued the decline. As did Trump

Saturday 17 September 2022

My mother, aka “Mutti” at 101

With daughter Anne, and son-in-law Ian, Canberra, 15 September 2022

Photo courtesy of friend Marylin. It’s reported from the ground that Mutti is “in fine fettle”.

She’s in the running for “The Oldest Australian”. 

“Authorities’ fear of open-air sports is groundless” | My letter

My letter published today in the South China Morning Post
Click to enlarge and clarify
But one despairs…

Same day, today, front page is about how our HK Marathon has been cancelled! As well as the November Trailwalker. Oh dear. This is indeed depressing — even last year the Marathon went ahead. As I report in my letter above, Oz has been playing football in front of crowds up to 100,000 for months with no superspreader events. Here and scroll down.

Commenters are aghast. Some say that it’s Xi Jinping laying down the law to us. I’m not so sure, given that we’re already hermetically sealed off from the mainland. Our bureaucrats are quite capable themselves of making this lily-livered decision. Pusillanimous jerks.

BTW, there’s debate in government between (a) top officials and (b) their nominated “experts”: about whether Omicron is much more deadly than influenza, the views of (a) or only as deadly as the flu, the views of (b).

Top official Secretary of Health Lo Chung-mau: claims Covid is way more deadly than the flu — and therefore we need to “remain cautious”, etc. He comes to this conclusion by measuring the total deaths during the whole pandemic by the total infections. The experts note that Omicron death rates are way lower and that it’s more relevant to look at recent deaths vs recent infections. 

Lo retorts: this is the fallacy of “range selection”. Which is often true: you can manipulate range, for example, to make it look like global temperatures are going up, down or sideways, depending on which range you choose. Agreed. [*] But this is a pandemic, not a long-term temperature series; infection rates and death rates have dropped sharply, and I think the argument is with (b) the experts. They say, given recent lower numbers, the death rates — the Infection Fatality Rate —  is more like 0.098%. Which makes it more like the flu at 0.1%. That’s infectious disease experts talking, not me.

Given all that, it’s clear that the likes of Lo with their super-cautious mindsets are able, all on their own, to keep us locked down. We don’t need a Xi to put us in jail.

Meantime, a rather different headline in today’s paper:  “Singapore is roaring back, with a series of high-profile events”.

[*] ADDED. Range fallacy example. (A) is long-term trend, which is UP. (B) is choosing a different range, trend DOWN. Not all cases are so obvious. Range choice can be put to all sorts of mischief.

Agrigento, Sicily, 27 May 2018


Friday 16 September 2022

Hypocrisy Cities | “We’ve been told the border is open, that’s why we came”

Kamala Harris: “The border is secure”
Migrants: “We’ve been told the border is open; that’s why we’re climbing these walls” 
I just heard a report in BBC about refugees that are being bussed and flown around America. The simple story: a couple of states where most of illegal arrivals are landing up -- Texas, Arizona and Florida -- have sent some of them, just a few hundred, to cities that had declared themselves “sanctuary cities”. Said “sanctuary cities”, like NYC, Chicago, DC, instead of fessing up, saying “fair cop, we asked for it”, are going crazy and calling the actions “cruel and illegal”. They are going absolutely bananas! Including Barack Obama’s home village of Martha’s Vineyard, where about 50 have arrived, by cozy coach.

BBC reported the above, kind of, and the reactions of those sanctuary cities, the ones being asked to house some - a tiny fraction - of those coming over the southern borders as a result of their policies. It reported their reactions and push back. 

BBC did not note the Brobdingnagian Hypocrisy of those “sanctuary cities”. Not the tiniest hint. That is, the Biden Admin effectively opens the borders; millions flood in to border states which are forced to handle them, border states which oppose open border policies. Which then make a point by sending a few of these undocumented migrants to those cities that supported open border policies and which had declared themselves as “sanctuaries”. Who promptly howl indignantly. That is mass hypocrisy right there. But strangely unnoticed by the BBC.

BBC did not report that illegal immigrants interviewed said they had crossed the border, because “we heard the border was open, that’s why we came”. This from multiple migrants interviewed both at the border and at the “sanctuary cities”, to which they’d been flown or bussed. (In comfort, by the way, contra the charges of “cruelty”)

BBC did not report that Kamala Harris, the Biden-appointed “Border Czar”, has not been to visit the border. The Border Czar has not visited the border. Contemplate that. 

BBC did not report that in her latest interview with Chuck Todd on NBC, Harris stated “the border is secure”. Which is at best... how does one put this?… “misspoken”; or more plainly, “a lie”. The border has seen a nearly ten fold increase in the illegal (“undocumented”) daily crossing since Biden took office. Annualised 2.6 million in 2022, vs 300k in 2018. This is the highest number of illegal border crossing, ever. And all Harris can do is tell Chuck "we need a pathway to citizenship”. 

Now, you could be in favour of open borders, but if so you need to say so. The Democrats do not say this, because they know it’s not a winner (75% of Americans don’t want open borders). The odd thing is that it used to be the Democrats who were for legal immigration but against illegal immigration. The likes of Barack Obama and Bernie Samders said so quite explicitly. Now it’s the Republicans who are (also) for legal immigration but also for secure borders. For which they are simultaneously demonised and expected to bear all the consequences at Red border states while listening to the howls of anguish from Hypocrisy States when they’re made to face the consequences of their own policies. 

Thus we’ve ended up in America with a kind of weird inversion. Democrats who are both for open borders and against them, and especially when they, the elites, are affected. For example...

Democrats in Martha’s Vineyard tell journalists they can’t handle a single busload of 50 migrants. Yet they expect border states to handle 200,000 a month. Again, hypocrisy, much?

I don’t know if the BBC is aware of all I’ve said above. If not, shame on them, because I’m aware of it, sitting on my bum here in Hong Kong. If they do know, but choose not to report, then also shame on them. They are either fools or knaves.In either case shame on them. For they should be reporting this. 

Especially the interviews with migrants, speaking pitch-perfect English, and stating clearly and unequivocally: “We’ve been told the border is open. That’s why we came”.

China Russian get together

Can this be good news? One, an authoritarian Leninist kleptocracy, the other Russia. Oh, cheap shot…

One thing: apparently Xi “expressed concern” about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Which Putin “took notice of”. 

"Analyst Aoife Gallagher challenges anti-trans rhetoric in op-ed”

How one becomes “right”. From Colin Wright.
The Overton Window shifts left.
Click here for Colin's talk with the Triggernometry lads

I came across the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (“powering solutions to extremism, hate and disinformation”) the other day. Seems pretty heavy hitting, financed by the Gates Foundation, George Soros, the WEF, various governments, etc. It’s aim is to "counter hate and disinformation". So I guessed I’d see measured, robust info on it.  Silly me. Like many other -- increasing numbers -- organisations in the west, it’s been captured by today’s woke ideology, to an extreme and surprising extent. 

The very first article I came to was something about trans issues. Which I happen to have been following for years. Bitching about “trans haters” and “trans disinformation” it is full of hate and disinformation itself. And quite clearly of the Left leaning Far Left. 

See "Analyst Aoife Gallagher challenges anti-trans rhetoric in op-ed”, and then see my email comments to author Aoife Gallagher 


TO: Please pass to: AOIFE GALLAGHER. RE: "Analyst Aoife Gallagher challenges anti-trans rhetoric in op-ed"

From the ISD article I went over to read Aoife Gallagher’s  “Trans rights issues are being used as a right-wing recruitment tool”.

TL;DR: No, they are not.

I am neither right-wing, nor Christian, nor trans. I’m an atheist, liberal, dem-voting straight guy. I fully support Trans Rights, but share concerns about some trans issues that have come to the fore in recent years. 

These concerns are shared by wide segments of society, men, women, LGBT+, scientists and laypeople. These are people — I’ll call us “we” — who denounce any violence against trans people, who denounce doxing anyone, who support trans rights. Yet we want to discuss trans issues that have become urgent: how to share private facilities, trans women in sports, trans incarceration, the minimum age of transitioning (“gender affirming”), rates of trans suicide, and so on. We expect — we wish, we hope -- that these could be discussed without our being labelled “transphobic” for simply raising them. 

On this score, your article does nothing to help promote discussion. Instead you denounce us a “radical right-wing campaign, bubbling in… sewage swamps….”, joining forces with the “evangelical Christian right…”, who want to “harass and abuse” trans people.  We are conflated, in short, into a large and rather nasty straw man.... That is itself disinformation. 

Science is, as you say “constantly changing and evolving”, but on the issue of mammalian sex it remains steadfast, as it has done for 200 million years: the mammal homo sapiens is sexually dimorphic, distinguished — by biologists throughout the world — as follows: the male has many small motile gametes while the female has one large immotile gamete. The fact that there are some intersex people does not invalidate the binary nature of our species, any more than someone being born with only one leg invalidates that fact that we are a bipedal species.

By the way, your figure “approximately 1.7% of the world’s population are born intersex" is clearly plucked from single-click “search" at Google. The actual figure, per medical literature, is in the region of 0.02% or about 1/100th of your figure (and much less than the number of red-heads!). In any case, the number of intersex is largely irrelevant here, because the vast majority of trans people do not start out intersex; they are either male or female. 

Given that you work at a place that claims to be against “hate” and against “disinformation”, it’s odd indeed that your article is riddled with both. 

I would have thought that the ISD ought to be a platform for having civilised, courteous and respectful debate on issues of centrality and urgency in our society. Not for promoting more disinformation and via an article chock-full of emotive language.

I’m more than happy to carry on the conversation if you wish. 

Peter Forsythe
Hong Kong

PS: I don’t have my own pronouns. But I do have my own adjectives. Which are: “handsome and intelligent”. Please use when discussing me, or I shall be triggered. 

ADDED (15/3/23): Re Covid, I came across Aoefe Gallagher again on a video here, where she again talks of “disinformation”, seemingly oblivious to the amount of disinformation that we now know has come from “trusted sources”, like herself and the CDC, and calling people that had concerns about lockdowns (which include me, from early on), the likes of Stanford professor of Medicine Jay Bhattacharya, “far right” (the ISDs go-to smear), "conspiracy theorists" who believe that it was all the doing of some cabal. Well, no, we are not. We just had a different view -- one that turns out to have be much closer  to reality -- than the mainstream. There’s the rub with the “disinformation” stuff. It’s mainly just to smear views they don’t like.  That’s why I hate this whole “anti-disinformation” crowd, the people who say they are the ones against “hate”.
Note Gallagher is labelled a “Disinformation expert”. There is no such expertise. There is no degree you can take in it. No apprenticeship. You just have to follow the line of the establishment and call yourself a “disinformation expert”. That’s it.
Really, I wish these people -- well meaning as they may be -- would just but out. Be done. We don’t need you. We can figure it out for ourselves.  
ADDED (ii): Gallagher says what you need to do to stop being taken in by disinformation is “Stop, Think, Check”, as in stop reading/watching; think about what it’s saying and check the source. Not bad advice, which she then ruins by quoting Reuters in the “check the source” part and saying that they are a credible source. I see Reuters every day in the SCMP and they’re just a purveyor of whatever the government line is, the most recent being that the latest Pentagon leak was “Russian disinformation”, which story lasted about a minute, before it was found to be a dopey teenage National Guardsman. Right. Reuters, go-to source: “it’s Russia!" So... yeah... right. Reuters. And Gallagher pins herself to that. Disinformation!