Wednesday, 30 November 2022
Lockdown, China style. F’ing insane
It’s what led to women and babies being incinerated in a building in Urumqi. Locking people in their apartments, with steel bars. Some of them are welded in place.
This is not normal. Maybe at the beginning of the pandemic, but now? when we know so much more? when omicron is so much less, when we have vaccines? It’s criminal is wot.
This is down to the Zero Covid Policy, and of the great leader XJP. And down to the mule-like adherence to authority. Our own mandates here in Hong Kong have led to deaths: by suicide, by stress, by shorter lives, cause of policies in place by the government, by the mandates that have put so many out of work and destroyed family businesses built up over generations. Shame on all the government hacks and lackeys that have implemented these cruel policies. And shame on all the elites in the west as well who have supported strict lockdowns. They are one welded bar away from where China is.
Gee what a surprise! A pool of Beijing picked judges to rule on National Security laws
This follows on from the news yesterday.
There’s nothing that Elon Musk has done that is anything like the panic on the far left about a “cesspool of hate” and “like the gates of hell”. That’s crazy, yet if Apple pulls Twitter, it’s giving in to that crazy.
"The Media's Deranged Hysteria Over Elon Musk's Promised Restoration of Free Speech"
Taylor Lorentz of the WaPo is a leader of the pitchfork brigade. Musk the Warlock. To be given the Python witch test.
It is hard to overstate how manic, primal and unhinged is the reaction of corporate media employees to the mere prospect that new Twitter owner Elon Musk may restore a modicum of greater free speech to that platform. It was easy to predict — back when Musk was merely toying with the idea of buying Twitter and loosening some of its censorship restrictions — that there would be an all-out attack from Western power centers if he tried. Online censorship has become one of the most potent propaganda weapons they possess, and there is no way they will allow anyone to dilute it even mildly without attempting to destroy them. Even with that expectation in place of what was to come, the liberal sector of the corporate media (by far the most dominant media sector) really outdid itself when it came to group-think panic, rhetorical excess, and reckless and shrill accusations. [More...]
Heather and Bret at around 21:00 talk on the issue.
More from the Glenn link:
I know it can be hard to believe, or at least it should be hard to believe, but the wealthiest, once most prestigious and most mainstream news organizations really are explicitly and earnestly insisting that Elon Musk is about to have large amounts of blood on his hands. Why? Because he intends to allow a broader range of political opinions and perspectives to be heard. There's nothing else to it than that.
To these people, free speech is not a fundamental right. It is not the linchpin of political liberty enshrined in the First Amendment to the US Constitution. It is to them what it is to all petty tyrants and authoritarians: Free speech is a danger. It is a hazard, a menace, something that frightens them to their core. They see free speech the way most people see a raging forest fire or a contagious fatal illness or a violent prison riot, as something that is scary, fatal, and that therefore must be controlled and then extinguished at all costs. And to be fair to these censorship advocates, which I will never tire pointing out that the leaders of this protesters movement are the people who call themselves journalists a state of affairs. It's as surreal and bizarre as if the leading advocates of more cigaret smoking were cardiologist. To be fair to them, there is a grain of truth in what they are saying to those who seek to preserve status quo power structures.
We are in the middle of a major battle over free speech. And it’s happening at Twitter. And the main man is Elon Musk. And the main opponents to the main man are the WaPo, New York Times, LA Times, CNN, MSNBC, etc...
Tuesday, 29 November 2022
The category of “not good news”
Why are they doing it again? Did they have to? What’s been done with foreign judges has been done for ever. Oh well…
China being has been helpful (“pragmatic”) over Ukraine
|Click above for vid|
As a retired foreign affairs type, posted in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, I say “of course there are back channels”. They are called “diplomacy”. That’s what diplomats do. They are every day, every hour, in contact with their own governments and that of their hosts. That’s what they do.
The deal struck in March 2022 was: China to US: don’t allow Poland to give the strike jets to Ukraine and we (China) won’t support Russia.
That’s been helpful. To keep the nuclear option at bay. “To keep the nuclear dimension at bay”. Because they want to keep it out of Taiwan.
Imagine if China had supported Russia with arms. Not saying it hasn’t by other back channels. But it hasn’t in obvious ways. And Putin has been kept on the back foot because of that.
Monday, 28 November 2022
Two guys living and married to China reflect on the current unrest
"They're awesome!" say the guys.
Currently demos in Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Hangzhou, Urumchi, Guangzhou, Wuhan.
I see there's even some action here in Hong Kong, in Central. Memorials for the dead in Urumchi.
Sadly, though, I fear the state is just too strong. The crackdown is happening. Resentment will simmer, you can't disappear it.
Time for more nuclear power? Hong Kong electricity price increases unavoidable, experts say | South China Morning Post
“Our disease is no freedom and poverty”. Wild scenes in China
|Click above for video|
The Kafka Trap of Critical Race Theory
A very interesting talk with a smart young woman who saw it from the inside. Who got caught in the trap.
Sunday, 27 November 2022
“Xi who must be obeyed”
For those too young to recognise the reference: it’s to Rumpole of the Bailey”, books and TV. Rumpole’s dry ref to his wife, Hilda. Aka “‘er indoors”. (But originally — and I’m only just now finding out — from H. Rider Haggard).
ADDED: great minds… at the Economist.
Oh… and Spiked
Goodness! Even our own SCMP way back in 2017! And the Spectator Australia, also 2017. Let’s face it, it’s too obvious a pun!
Calling for democracy on Wulumuqi Rd
Saturday, 26 November 2022
A swag of bad news on China
Friday, 25 November 2022
Going crazy over the Colorado gay nightclub killings
|“Stop killing us”. Yes, but who should that plea be directed to? [SEE Below]|
On the Left, the immediate go-to was that it was the Right, Republicans, Fox, etc, with all their “anti-trans rhetoric” that caused it. Not remembering that the same conclusion was jumped to for the Pulse nightclub slaughter in Florida in 2016. It turned out the killer was an ISIS-supporting Islamic terrorist just out to kill the foreigners. Didn’t even know it was a gay bar.
And so at the Club Q in Colorado Springs. Immediate jumping to conclusions on the Left: horrid right wingers and their “hateful anti-trans rhetoric" are responsible.
Until it turns out that the killer has identified as “non-binary” with “they/them” pronouns. Now this is a dilemma for the Left, as you’re not allowed to question someone and their sex identify. If women on the Right complain that men calling themselves women in order to enter women's prisons, are gaming the system, they're told they are bigots for questioning that self-identity. So now, how can the Left question this killer’s self-identity? Even as they show they’re itching to do so: the killer’s lawyer, they suggest, is doing it to “mitigate the hate crime element”. Right. Well, yeah, maybe. But then doesn’t this destroy that other part of their narrative? The one where you have to believe anyone and their self-identify?? Oh dear....
On the Left we have the very left Cenk Uygur on The Young Turks, with Ana Kasparian, going full on ballistic, over a tweet on the shooting, by a podcaster called Tim Poole. I’m not quite sure why he gets so bent out of shape, as the tweet doesn’t seem, to me, to be supporting the killing of LGBTQ+ folks, as Cenk claims (loudly and rather objectionably). As another tweeter said: “With these people, it’s, like, If you say ‘I like pancakes’ they will say ‘So why don’t you like waffles?!’”. I offer Cenk as an example of someone saying that all republicans, ALL, are “terrible, horrible people”, while clearly believing that The Young Turks and the Left generally are the embodiment of tolerance. Weird.
Here’s some of Tim Poole and his crew, on other issues, but to give a flavour of the guy and his team. (BTW, I don’t follow him).
And here’s the much derided Tucker Carlson talking the issues. Over time, I’ve seen quite a bit of Carlson. I’ve never seen anything he said that’s racist or homophobic. He does query surgical procedures on the underage for gender dysphoria. But that’s an issue that ought be discussed Right and Left, without name calling. After all we know that young kids don’t alway make the best decisions for themselves. Which is why adults are there. To guide. Anyway, I thought Tucker’s take was much more measured and fair than Cenk’s. Or indeed many others on CNN or NBC, some of which went bent out of shape, speechless even, when they learned of the “non-binary” nature of the killer. Didn’t fit the narrative!
Just to round it out on the conservative side, there’s this, from Ben Shapiro. I know, it’s a lot on the Right. But the Left is more than covered by the mainstream media. There’s plenty on CNN, BBC, MSNBC, the New York Times, et. al. (Which we’ll quickly see less of, exactly because the killing doesn’t fit the narrative of horrid right-wing rhetoric killing gay and trans people).
ADDED: I make a conscious effort to read and watch as much on the Right as on the Left. I can say this: I have never seen or read anyone on the Right saying horrid things about LGBTQ+ folks, let alone calls to kill them. TBF, I’ve never heard that from either side of the fence. Yet the Left is always going on about how much “hate” is “spewed” on the Right about the gay and trans communities. I’ve never seen it. It’s a nonsense to claim that one side or the other is spewing hate speech and a particular nonsense for the Left to say it of the Right. Because: (a) it’s not true as a generality and (b) to the extent that there is hate speech, it’s on both sides!
Related: I wonder about the tag under the photo above: “Stop killing us”. The narrative here is that LGBTQ+ people are being killed in higher numbers than the general community. (Whether by horrid Republicans, or their very own “non-binary” misfits).
The facts are the opposite. According to a June 2022 report by the Williams Institute, in the United States, 1.6 million people 13+ identify as transgender, 0.48% of the US population of 332 million. [*] The number of transgender people murdered in the United States was 57 in 2021 (Human Rights Campaign), with 22 so far in 2022 (AP).
Taking the higher figure of 57 transgender people murdered in a population of 1.6 million, that comes to 3.6 per 100,000. The murder rate for the United States as a whole in 2020 was 6.3 per 100,000.
- Murder rate in Trans community: 3.6 per 100,000 [*] (43% lower than the General community)
- Murder rate in the General community: 6.3 per 100,000 (75% higher than the Trans community)
Note: I don’t record this to minimise murders in any community. But to point out the actual facts. Which do not support the general narrative of a horrid society bent on killing Trans folks. The opposite is the truth. This is the same as the issue of police killings of young black men. Society believes it’s in the thousands. That police are out to hunt and kill young black men. The truth is that about a dozen unarmed black men are killed by the police each year. (and to be clear, that’s a dozen too many; but it’s not “thousands”, is my point).
I keep hoping that facts and figures might have some effect. Cool the rhetoric. Tone down the heat. The false idea that the police are out to hunt & kill young black men has done huge damage to society, many killed and huge property damage (sadly mostly to minority communities).
Similarly, the idea that LGBTQ+ people are being hunted, targeted and killed for their sexual orientation is both false and damaging. It is hugely harmful to society, it makes everyone hate each other. Bottom line is: the best place to be LGBTQ+ in the world today, is very likely the US. (Or maybe even Hong Kong, where the general murder rate is barely 0.3/100k...).
[*] It’s likely that many more people than 1.6 million now identify as Trans. That means the murder rate for Trans people would be even lower than the 3.6 above. I won’t hazard a guess, but I’ve seen some figures that the number of young people identifying as Trans has jumped no less than an incomprehensibly absurd 4,000% (!) in recent years.
Thursday, 24 November 2022
Getting our Poinciana (aka Flame Tree aka Phoenix Tree) pruned today
|Next door, 7 May 2021. Poinciana. Aka, Flame Tree.|
Chinese: 凤凰树 Fenghuang Shu, lit: Phoenix Tree
|Yikes! (Ben, again)|
Advertising on Twitter — “falling off a cliff” or “signing up in droves”?
There’s a thing on the Musk-hating left: “Twitter advertisers are leaving in droves”. Which they’ve been sent saying, on Twitter, since Musk took over. Do they know this? Or is it wish-hope? Because they hate Musk. Because they want Musk to fail. Because Musk doesn’t follow the narrative. He’s a classic liberal rather than the progressive liberal he should be.
In any case: I wonder, do they know? Do they really know that advertisers are deserting Twitter? I suspect they know no more than I do, sitting here in Himg Kong. Unless they have an inside source, but even then the animus inside Twitter towards Elon is such you count really count on its being true.
I’ve had a look at my own Twitter feed. I follow 187 people, a variety of liberal and conservative. I’ve noticed no particular change in advertisers. If anything I see more. And there seems to be a new class of advertiser on Twitter: individual tweets that are “promoted” presumably at a fee to Twitterl. BTW I notice no increase in nasty tweets, nor a “cesspool of hate” as Musk-haters are claiming. (I never tweet myself, I just go there to see what’s happening).
I can totally imagine why there might be more advertisers. Back in the oughts my company was a major advertiser online (mostly Yahoo at the time). If we saw that we could get some cheap advertising when others were scared to — as is the claim at the moment for Twitter— we’d rush in for it! It would make no difference that there might be nasty tweets nearby. No sane advertiser imagines that people connect their product, a Dior dress, say, with a distasteful tweet above or below it. That’s just silly. As Dior, Bank of America … etc, clearly know.
Here’s a list of advertisers on my Twitter feed as of just now:
Advertisers that appeared on my feed before Musk and are still there:
Bank of America
Advertisers since Musk:
Bulls n Bears
NBA (One of America's most woke organisations)
Financial Service Development Council
That’s a lot of new accounts! Of course, YMMV. Everyone’s feed is different and so the advertisers algorithmically “promoted” to you will be different from the ones promoted to me.
In any case, from the above it sure doesn’t seem -- does it? -- that Twitter advertisers are “falling off a cliff”.
By the way (1): it turns out Twitter doesn’t need 2,500 sales people. Most advertisers can sign up online to have their ad “promoted”. They don’t need to speak to an actual, live, person.
By the way (2): at least 5,000 Twitter staff have been sacked or resigned. Average salary just under $100kpa. That’s $500,000,000 savings per year. Think on that. Half a billion, per year, savings.
By the way (3): World Bank, Aramco and NBA aside, I don’t recognise most of the new advertisers. But isn’t that the point of advertising? To get known?
ADDED (re the s/shot at top): Jeep, Mars, Merck, etc, are storied brands all, most decades old, some over a century (Merck 354!), nonetheless captured, apparently, by woke-ism, either their staff or their customers, to stop advertising on Twitter. Shame on them. I presume their accounts are larger than most of the new companies advertising, above. But they will be back, I wager. Especially now they know Twitter has record high engagement. And is not a “right wing cesspit”.
Wednesday, 23 November 2022
Covid mayhem in Zhengzhou, China | Covid cases spiking China-wide
Elephant? What elephant?
For those of us who have written about the Hunter Biden scandal and the family’s influence-peddling operation for years, it is routine to read media stories denying the facts or dismissing calls to investigate the foreign dealings. However, this weekend, the Associated Press made a whopper of a claim that there is no evidence even suggesting that President Joe Biden ever spoke to his son about his foreign dealings. I previously discussed how the Bidens have succeeded in a Houdini-like trick in making this elephant of a scandal disappear from the public stage. They did so by enlisting the media in the illusion. However, this level of audience participation in the trick truly defies belief. [Read on…]
Jonathan Turley, via Althouse. (Law professors both).
But could anything be found to stick?
Tuesday, 22 November 2022
Is the climate “crisis” worth 4 hours of your time? | "Climate Change Debate: Bjørn Lomborg and Andrew Revkin"
Moderated by the wonderful Lex Fridman.
4 hours, but fully time-stamped for topics of particular interest.
A main take-away: Climate change is a reality but it’s not a “catastrophe” or “crisis" that the likes of Greta, Just Stop Oil, David Attenborough, claim. The IPCC from the UN says the same, if you can get around to reading it. Nowhere does it say that we have an “existential” crisis, as many have claimed. The most the report says is that if we don’t keep the temperature change to below 1.5C life may be “less comfortable”.
Also: that there are lots of things that can be done to mitigate the changes that are easier than reducing CO2, which is “very difficult” and long term only. Not that it shouldn’t be worked on, but that the main outcomes of CO2 increase are already baked in, and no matter the extent of reductions in CO2, there’s going to be certain levels of temperature increase, so we must mitigate.
And: while we work towards more renewables, we ought to keep natural gas in the mix. It’s less CO2 intensive than coal or oil and is the main reason countries like the US have been able to reduce carbon emissions in recent decades. Let’s not perfection be the enemy of action. Gas is easy, cheap and effective in reducing carbon emissions.
Nuclear: the alarmism over nuclear power from the sixties (from the Greens) was greater than the alarmism over climate change. And Greens remain reluctant. Because their “ageing donors” remain concerned (from the panic of the sixties; a panic never justified by the facts).
Megyn Kelly and Vivek Ramaswamy on Twitter, Musk, Musk free speech mistakes, Affirmative action
Monday, 21 November 2022
“Hong Kong says it wants to reopen, but acts like it does not” | Mike Rowse
We should scrap all Covid restrictions forthwith.
Chief executive John Lee has been flirting around the place talking up Hong Kong. But that’s all it is; talk. Passengers at our airport are still down 99.2% on 2019. Contemplate that! That’s the reality.
Michael Shellenberger and Winston Marshall in conversation
|Click above for video|
Sunday, 20 November 2022
A delicious Meloni
Saturday, 19 November 2022
Will Twitter die? I think not
|Before Musk. Marketers|
But right now there’s a lot of hate of Twitter coz there’s a lot of hate of Musk, coz he doesn’t think just like all the left.
And so now there’s talk of the collapse of Twitter. As up to 85% of those remaining after the first round of layoffs have decided they don’t want to sign a doc that says they’ll work hard and at their desks.
I feel it’s a lot of wish thinking, and have faith that Elon will pull through.
I’m not good at forecasts, so I hope that doesn’t out the mockers on Twitter.
As of a minute ago, it still existed.
|After Musk. Coders|
Friday, 18 November 2022
“Wuhan’s early covid cases are a mystery. What is China hiding?” | The Washington Post
Twitter & The Left: No Remorse | National Review on Hypocrisy
Here's a start, some from the redoubtable "MBD", of hypocrisies on the Left.
Where to go for a list of hypocrisy on the Right? CNN? NYT? I feel sure Mr Google can help.
I’m sat here in our local Uncle Russ coffee shop watching people leave …
This is definitely in the class of “things I don’t get”. Is it really possible that people don’t know — whatever your view in masks — that there is exactly zero evidence that Covid is caught outdoors? That is, “the science” tells us that.
So why do they sit indoors, next to others, maskless and put on masks to go outside? The only reason I can think of is that it’s mandated for anywhere public. So they’re just following the law. Right? But then they’re supposed to wear masks indoors as well, only taking them off to drink. In between sips there’s supposed to have the mask back on. Yet they ignore that. And follow the rules outdoors?
Weird. And silly. And I don’t get it.
ADDED: Here they all are queueing outdoors, all masked…
Not making a song and dance — by making a *huge* song and dance | “Anthem-gate” redux
Turns out, as I suspected, that the outrage in Hong Kong over the playing of a 2019 HK protest song instead of China’s national anthem, at the Seoul rugby sevens, was all local Beijing loyalists. Super “patriots”. Beijing itself didn’t want to make a song and dance about it. Perhaps they are aware of the “Streisand effect”. Here, above, a whole page in the South China Morning Post today. Goodness.
It reminds me rather of the times back in the oughts and teens when Hong Kong officials, double-guessing Beijing’s views, sought “interpretations” of local laws from the National Peoples Congress in Beijing. Being holier than thou, our local officials. The “interpretations” weren’t demanded by Beijing. Yet later it was Beijing got hammered by the “freedom and democracy” crowd, for its being “Beijing interference”.
Thursday, 17 November 2022
Rocks | Clouds | Central — pix from my bike ride
Streisand Effects thick and fast!
|P3, of today’s South China Morning Post|
But we’re all getting to hear about it and read about it, courtesy of the Hong Kong government publicising it! That’s the “Streisand Effect”. (Wiki: “…an attempt to hide, remove, or censor information…”. In this case the attempt is to censor the US government: “There is no place for the US to comment…”. How dare the US publish its frank views?).
1. A substantial Report: The Report is 785 pages long! Hong Kong appears at 663-727. It’s not some lightweight hit piece in the mainstream media. You have to dig to find it.
2. Fair comments: Many of the comments it makes on Hong Kong I judge as fair. Though I don’t buy that Hong Kong has lost all its freedoms. I’ve said many times: living here we have (most) all our past freedoms, including the freedom to write this. We have freedom of religion, of conscience, of travel, of internet, of speech, of capital movement. We also have freedom from crime, as one of the very safest cities in the world. The media is more constrained than before 2020, that’s for sure.. It is so thanks to the dullards who pushed for “HK independence” in the 2019 rioting.
3. Commie-speak: The government resorts to what I’ve called “commie speak”. Beijing apparatchik language like “vehemently rejects”, “slandering remarks”, “ill-intentioned political attacks” and “despicable political motives” (yuck!). It is chilling to hear our locals cravenly copying creepy commie cant.
4. Beijing control: It is also true, as the Report says, that Beijing is in much more control over all aspects of Hong Kong than it ever was. Again, promoted by the very riots that sought to enhance democracy. Thanks to them, we now have less. Last time I voted was in December 2021, for District Councils which were free and fair elections. Our household voted for pro-government candidates as a rejection of the “Yellows” who supported the rioters (aka “fighters for freedom and democracy”), but our candidate lost, a sign in itself of the freedom of the elections. Now, though, we don’t know when the next elections might be and what they will mean. It’s true as the Report notes, that the LegCo is run by “patriots”, i.e. Beijing ruled. No amount of blustering by our blithering bureaucrats changes that.
5. Transparency: Would China have an equivalent Report? Of course it would. Will we be allowed to see it? Of course we won’t. So again it’s the US being hammered for its transparency. Some folks, including occasional readers of this blog, will see the China approach as “smart”. Keep your cards close to your chest. I don’t agree. In the end I’m sure transparency wins out. From having to defend itself, not least.