Thursday, 31 March 2016

The Little We Know About the Jihadists in Our Midst -

Our whole counterterrorism strategy needs a rethink, concludes Kenan Malik in today's International New York Times.
A shame that he doesn't attempt this himself. For he suggests he knows rather a lot about the subject.
Amongst what he says he knows is that there's no single cause of radicalisation (probably right) and that there is no common denominator amongst radicals, which is rather wrong-- the one common element is there and it's called "Islam". In no other religion do the disaffected youth get drawn to a barbaric bloodthirsty ideology that wants to cut off your head. Only in Islam.
A good start for a "rethink" would be to acknowledge this plain and simple fact.
Copying the whole article below, as its behind a paywall.

Trump Is Obama Squared - WSJ

The other day Paul Rubin mused on the similarities between Trump and Sanders: both believers in zero-sum worlds. (WSJ Oped, March 22). In trade one country gains only at the expense of the other (Trump) and in the economy the rich gain only at the expense of the poor (Sanders).
Both propositions are substantially wrong as history proves. Mercantilist trade barriers and socialist redistribution have been signal failures from the 19th to the 21st centuries. It is the narcissism of Trump and Sanders that allows them to believe they can try the same prescriptions, serial failures, and come up with different outcomes. One of the definitions of madness is the belief you can try the same thing over and over and come up with a different outcome.
In yesterday's WSJ, Bret Stephens explores the issue of Narcissism a bit further, this time in Trump and Obama.
It's interesting and convincing.
It seems America is condemned to be more isolationist: as Hilary would be Obama redux and Trump has made clear his opposition to a forceful role abroad. And that's bad. Consider the extent to which global wealth has been promoted by US policies since WW2: the Marshall Plan in Europe; helping Japan back on its feet; establishing GATT, later the WTO; founding the UN. If not the US, none of these.
Three American narcissists who would clip America's overseas wings. A worrying thought.

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

“Traditional or simplified, the script is for communication", March 30

I don't understand the brouhaha over learning simplified characters ("Traditional or simplified, the script is for communication", March 30). Surely this is a storm in a teacup. 
I learned Chinese at Peking University in the mid seventies. I learnt simplified characters. 
When I came to Hong Kong I was confronted with traditional characters. I quickly realised that many of the differences were logical and straight forward. Simplified radicals based on pre-existing cursive forms in use for centuries, account for many of the differences. For example, "yan", from 訁to 讠.  These are very quickly mastered. 
It took me just a few months of part-time study to be able to read Hong Kong signage and newspapers in traditional characters. 
Moreover, I suggest it's easier to go from traditional to simplified, rather than the opposite route I did. 
If an adult gweilo 鬼佬  such as me can quickly adapt from simplified to traditional characters, surely local mother-tongue Chinese speakers can go from traditional to simplified even more quickly. 
As for calligraphy, of course it will continue to be done in the more artistically felicitous traditional characters (or even Xu Hong's invented characters).
In short, Hong Kongers should stop moaning and get on with the the job of learning the written form that's used by the vast majority of Chinese.  And one that will enable reading mandarin as it's increasingly written outside China.  It's not about China trying another take-over route.
What's more, it's fun!
Yours, etc....

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Harry's Place » Women and Shari’a Law by Elham Manea

I've written before about the rotten sharia councils in the UK. (EG: One Law for All)
Now an interesting article at Harry's Place.

The Cowardice Of John Le Carré | Standpoint

Murdering free speech because of Islam:
... what would happen to le Carré and the BBC if they took on more dangerous targets than MI6 and the CIA? They can deny that they self-censor all they want, but everyone knows they would be haunted by the fear that the heirs of the men who wanted to murder Rushdie might try to murder them too.
It relates to the new BBC series, "The Night Manager", in which typical le Carré fashion, all the baddies are Americans and Brits.  No real-life, likely villain.   

The U.N.’s Reckless Leader Does It Again in Morocco - WSJ

I've long hated Ban Ki-moon. Let me think, now: "hate"?  Yes, that's the right word. His sanctimoniously pious posturing, always "deploring" this and "denouncing" that. There's not a trendy lefty cause that he doesn't poke his prissy voice in. 
Now, Ahmed Charai in the WSJ, tears Ban apart for "incompetence and malfeasance" that "have set back efforts to broker a resolution to a long dispute in the Sahara [Morocco]".  Snip:
After Mr. Ban's "occupation" remarks, Moroccan Saharans took to the streets of the southern provincial capital of Laayoune. Some 180,000 people marched in peaceful protest to the headquarters of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum of the Western Sahara (Minurso). The government denounced Mr. Ban's actions and announced plans to reduce Minurso staff and pull Moroccan peacekeepers out of U.N. missions world-wide. According to a U.N. statement, Mr. Ban "expressed his deep disappointment and anger regarding the demonstration" saying it was "disrespectful to him and to the United Nations." This was a remarkable condemnation of a peaceful protest.By stoking passions instead of acting as a peacemaker, Mr. Ban has undermined the credibility of the institution which Moroccans had accepted as a venue for peace talks, and in which they had placed their hopes. He has also further exposed his habitual betrayal of the U.N.'s founding charter.
Mr. Charai, the publisher of the Moroccan news magazine L'Observateur, is on the board of directors of the Atlantic Council and an international councilor of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Behind the President’s Visit to Havana - WSJ

An interesting article, by Mary O'Grady in the WSJ . Which, if correct, means the United States have got nothing out of the new Cuba deal. Apart, that is, from photo ops for Obama.

Monday, 28 March 2016

Does Obama Have This Right? -

No he doesn't. 
After all, the president indicated, more Americans are killed each year slipping in bathtubs or running into deer with their cars than by any terrorists, so we need to stop wanting to invade the Middle East in response to every threat.
That all sounds great on paper, until a terrorist attack like the one Tuesday in Brussels comes to our shores. Does the president have this right?
Again, no he doesn't. What a bogus bit of moral equivalence there between bathroom falls and terrorist deaths. For if you don't confront terrorism it's going to get worse. Whereas the numbers killed in bathroom falls is hardly going to increase if we ignore them. And he ignores the other costs of the threat of terrorism: airport security for one. 
Obama is unhinged from reality when he has said (elsewhere) that his failure to act in Syria after his "red line" comment his "proudest" moment. That just beggars belief. That one strategic decision to do nothing is widely regarded across the political spectrum as the key one enabling Al Assad and leading to the migrant surge to Europe. Something to be proud of....?

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Thursday, 17 March 2016

China's censorship cracks?

I wonder about this article by Andrew Browne.  Writing in the Business Spectator carried in today's The Australian, I do hope he's right. Right, that is, in that there's a groundswell of opposition to Premier Xi Jinping's heavy handed muzzling of free speech in China.
I'll have to keep a closer eye on it from here in Hong Kong, as I've not seen signs of it yet. Rather the opposite in fact with the absurd and worrying snatching of five Hong Kong publishers and their spiriting away into China and staged "self criticisms ".
Later [31 March]: news today that Xi has gone crazy trying to track down the author of a letter carried in the Chinese edition of Deutche Welle, which called for Xi to step down.  The hysterical nature of the witch-hunt makes you wonder about Browne's thesis. Then again, the very nature of the letter may just support the "groundswell of opposition" line.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Column - Hiding the truth about our dangerous refugee intake | Herald Sun Andrew Bolt Blog

Re post immediately below: an earlier post by Bolt (I know, I know.... Bolt, that horrid right winger 'n all. Still, his points well taken here, at least by me):

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The Age gets tough: pretends it never hid the problem with Sudanese refugees | Herald Sun Andrew Bolt Blog

I'm in Melbourne where there were riots on the street I'm now on, just a few days ago. None of the mainstream press said where the rioters were from. Andrew Bolt does: they were Sudanese and Lebanese Muslims fighting Pacific Islander gangs. (Why the latter? I don't know and he doesn't say).
Rather relevant. The Age came late to the party of telling the facts.
Note that Lebanese Christians, of whom there are about an equal number as Lebanese Muslim were not involved. LC's are peaceable and engaged in the broader Australian society. This is almost a science experiment. The only thing that singles out those Lebanese rioting from those Lebanese who are not is religion. Specifically those hewing to the "Religion of Peace" are out there beating heads in, to show how peaceful they are.

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Saturday, 12 March 2016

Vox Article Falsely Rips Prominent Critic of Islam |

Goody. Someone has taken on the task of critiquing the Vox article that I'd planned to jump on, but haven't as I've been a-travellin' in Oz. 
I'd add: Wardah Khalid (writer of the offensive article) mentions three Muslims that she reckons would better speak for Islam. All of them are Islamists or associated with Islamist organizations. One of them Dalia Mogahed, was joint author of a most duplicitous book "Who Speaks for a Billion Muslims?", which whitewashes extremism in Islam (I've written about her before).
To be clear, my view of Ayaan Hirsi Ali is that she's a brave, noble, thoughtful, knowledgeable and highly intelligent critic of Islam. The fact that she's an ex Muslim gives her more authority to talk on this subject, not less as the Vox article snidely suggests.
She is indeed an expert. 
A recent Vox article, "The Ayaan Hirsi Ali problem: why do anti-Islam Muslims keep getting promoted as "experts"?" bemoans the fact that some of Islam's most influential critics are either disaffected Muslims or Muslims who've left the religion altogether. Reading between the lines of this article by Wardah Khalid, one senses frustration toward the debate over issues about Islam which is not being conducted strictly from the ranks of believers, and that these "outsiders'" opinions are being taken seriously.
In answer to the question in the Vox headline, I'd tell Khalid that people who were once insiders are often in the best position to offer insights that observers simply don't have the experience to make. Take Leah Remini, for example, the actress and former Scientologist who is now an outspoken critic of that religion. Remini claims that Tom Cruise has become such an important asset to Scientology that any criticism of him from within is seen as "evil." Who, other than an insider, could offer such a first-hand, devastating revelation?
Read on>>

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Saturday, 5 March 2016

Tricked Into Cheating and Sentenced to Death -

This is an amazing story. My first reaction was that this is what happens when you have a theocracy based on horrid Islam. But of course much the same sort of thing happened (and still happens) in (Soviet) Russia. They are the genesis of the honey pot, after all.
Then again, to say that there's another horrid ideology that engages in the same sleazy tricks doesn't excuse the ones done in the name of Islam.
Shirin Ibadi's is a fast-paced story, gripping, but horrible. The methods of the apparatchiks bring to mind "the banality of evil".
One thing, though: I don't think Shirin Ebadi excuses her husband enough.
She's away. He's alone. He is confronted with an old flame who tears her clothes off. And makes up to him. In this situation, male sanity, such as it may be, is out the window. Mr Richard Thomas takes over. Rare is the man who could resist in a similar situation. Hence the success of the Honey Pot.
Thank god -- or the Great Spaghetti Monster -- that we live in a sane and secular place.
Down with fascists. Down with totalitarians. Down with Islam.

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Immigration: the pros and cons

I just want to note here the name Chrisopher Jencks, a respected social scientists, who studies the effects of immigration.
One of his conclusions: low-skill immigrants undermine the wages of low-skilled workers.
Which is why the less caring of the middle and upper classes rather like it: cheaper gardeners and house help.

Please don't be playin' that racist card, Yonden!

Letter to South China Mornong Post:
Yonden Lhatoo encourages Asian Americans to “stand up to racism” (The Oscars: A wake-up call for Asians to stand up to racism, March 4).

Before commenting, I’d better “check my privilege” as seems required these days. I’m a white, middle-class, OAP male.  There, said it.  I’m married to a Chinese from Beijing, and we have a son, who is thereby Eurasian. Does that allow me to comment?  I hope so.  And this is it:

For goodness sake, let’s not encourage Asians, in America or elsewhere, to go down the “victimhood” path, spotting discrimination in every nook and cranny.  

Put aside the fact that neither Lhatoo nor NBA star Jeremy Lin seem to get that Chris Rock's and Ali G’s jokes about Asians were “meta jokes”.  That is, they were jokes about jokes and meant to poke fun at the very stereotypes that trouble Lhatoo and Lin.  They were poking fun at the stereotypes, gedditt?

Still, put that aside and assume that the jokes were indeed directed at (rather that with), Asians. So what?  Get over it.  Rise above the silly “find-an-offence-at-any-cost” brigade.  There’s no end to that game and it’s a very slippery slope indeed.

This is not simply my own “white privileged” view, but that of my wife, son and our other Asian friends.

Instead of grovelling in self-abnegation, the folks associated with the Oscars should be celebrating the huge strides made in recent decades.  Did you see the diversity of the audience?  Did you see that the mega-hit Star Wars had a black lead?  Do you see the many Asian faces in the entertainment industry, playing serious roles, not just stereotypical nerds or shifty-eyed Fu Manchus?

There’s a reason Jacky Chan plays a “kung-fu clown rather than a serious actor”.  And that’s because he is a kung-fu clown and not a serious actor.  And, sorry Yonden, but Chow Yun-fat is not much better.  Talent is also required to make it in Hollywood, not just a hyphenated identity.

In short, leave it be, Yonden!  Please don’t be encouraging more race-based identity whinge-mongering. It’s just too boring. 

Tut Tut Tusk

The other Donald -- Donald Tusk, president of the European Council -- said the other day:
"I want to appeal to all potential illegal economic migrants, wherever you are from. Do not come to Europe."
If one had said this a few weeks ago, one would have been branded a xenophobe, s bigot, a racist. Perhaps a member of the ULTRA-right for good measure.
I'm going to assume that Tusk, like the rest of his colleagues in the EU bloatocracy, is left of centre. In which case this is just the latest in the long line of things that the left gets wrong, that right-leaning bloggers get right, who are first excoriated for their views, but are ultimately echoed.
Such is the case here. Tut, tut Tusk.
Think how different Tusk's warning here from the "refugees welcome" of just a few months ago. They're now feeling pretty stupid, naive.
Similarly, think of the "Arab Spring" which conservative bloggers warned would be an Arab winter, blighted by Islamism. Sure enough.... And now the leftish press calls it an "Arab winter" and thinks it's come up with an insight itself.
If you want to know what's going on in the world you have to get with the blogosphere.
And read widely, left and right.
On the issue of Islam, jihad, immigration it's the right of centre that's usually spot on the money.

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Friday, 4 March 2016

Pakistani Urdu Daily: ISIS 'Is The Creation Of America And Europe'; It 'Threatens The Muslims More Than The Infidels'; 'Such Organizations Have No Association With Islam'

File this one under "Batshit crazy". It's like 9-11 was done by the Jews. And now ISIS, apart from having "nothing to do with Islam", of course, was an invention of the US (with the Jews, of course) in order to smear those peace loving Muslims.
Poor benighted Pakistan. Batshit crazy Pakistan.

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Is UK's conversion to Islam a joke? Maybe not - Arutz Sheva

See especially the projected figures for the number of Church of England members in the UK by 2020 and 2050, vs the number of Muslims. One tenth of Muslims by 2050.
How can the UK avoid becoming an Islamic country?
Already in the UK: 100 Sharia courts and schools asking kids to imagine being converts to Islam (about which Rod Liddle wrote in last week's Spectator.
Related: One Law for All's report on the UK's sharia courts. They clearly show how they disadvantage children and women. But they override UK common law.

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Harry's Place » Republican neocons vs. Trump

Damning critique of Trump from Republicans, posted by a Democrat, who agrees with all they say, with a slight demur on free trade.

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Explaining the rise of Donald Trump |

What the Trumpistas want is authoritarianism >>

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Thursday, 3 March 2016

Oh well I'll just go back...

Listening to the BBC interview some "refugees" (really economic migrants) in Greece. They're waiting to be allowed to make their way to Germany. But they're not yet able to do so. Several say that if they're not soon allowed, they'll go back to Afghanistan!
What sort of "refugee" is that??
Of course the BBC didn't pick up on that. Instead their line seemed to be that Greece should jolly well hurry up and let them move on to Germany.
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If the migrant crisis goes on like this, there may be no EU for Britain to leave » The Spectator

Mad Mutti Merkel is to blame for the refugee / migrant crisis. She kicked it off. And EU functionaries are to blame for letting it get worse. For pushing policies that were in place for a trickle of refugees, but which are lunacy for a torrent of migrants.
From the Speccie's leader:
Much of the blame lies with the Chancellor herself. As this magazine [The Spectator] argued at the time, her call for Syrian refugees to come to Germany was a tragic mistake — a massive fillip to what was this week revealed to be a £4 billion industry in human trafficking. In trying to set Germany apart as a champion of humanitarian values, she not only overrode legitimate concerns as to how its welfare system would cope with large numbers of migrants, but overlooked what has long been clear to those working at the forefront of the migrant crisis: the people arriving in Europe are not all refugees.
Read on ...

May the UK leave the EU. 
And may the EU devolve into its nation states. 
(I lived there for eight years. I liked it like that!)

Looney TunesDay

"Super Tuesday" is over and out.
It's going to be Trump v Clinton in November.
The bigoted billionaire buffoon vs Hillary the hypocritical harridan.
Oh dear, the price of democracy!

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Moderate "European" Islam: Stemming Terror with Band Aids

I've written before about mosques in the west. In various studies the vast majority (~80%), preach extremism and have extremist literature. They are funded by the Middle East, especially our alleged ally, Saudi Arabia. 
Why not adopt Singapore's policy: don't allow any foreign funding of mosques. (I think Singapore also includes Churches and Temples in this policy, so they can't be accused of discrimination). 
  • Qatar and Saudi Arabia, where the official form of Islam is Wahhabism, are the main financiers of mosques in Europe. Wahhabism discourages Muslim integration in the West, but actively encourages jihad against non-Muslims. Qatar has financed mosques in France, Italy, Ireland and Spain, among other places, thus spreading Wahhabism across the continent.

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Does a Carbon Tax Work? Ask British Columbia -

This is interesting. A carbon tax works. And works better than any other scheme to reduce carbon dioxide emissions such as cap and trade.

Pakistanis Throng Funeral of Man Hanged for Killing Critic of Blasphemy Laws - WSJ

This is truly sick.
Tens of thousands of Pakistanis mourn the death of the fanatic who murdered a governor who he'd accused of blasphemy.
The throngs mourn the murderer. Not the governor.
The governor had been trying to drag Pakistan into the 20th century (yes just the 20th; but that would have been a start; being as how they're in the 7th C right now).
The governor had been trying to amend Pakistan's horrid blasphemy laws. Laws that are responsible for mob lynchings of anyone even remotely thought to have "insulted" Islam: a word, a phrase, a mishandling of the Koran.....(though I rather doubt the lynchings, the burnings alive, the acid-in-the-face would stop, even with a change in the laws).
What a benighted country. What a benighted religion. Pakistan: sadly benighted by intolerant Islam.
It's also depressing. Because it means there's no hope of Pakistan ever joining the 20th century, never mind the 21st.  Because note who was mourning. Not the uneducated but:
"The vast turnout of mourners, including lawyers, small-time businessmen and students, lionized the convicted murderer, believing he acted in defense of Islam."
Dear oh dear...

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Apple’s Rotten Core - WSJ

More on the Apple vs FBI imbroglio, from L. Gordon Crovitz. (Apple is refusing to unlock the iPhone used by a dead terrorist). 
The US public is somewhat more in favor of the FBI case than Apple's, though the commentariat appears evenly split.
There's talk of the "cult of secrecy" vs the "cult of security", eg on Sam Harris' Twitter. 
I'm on the FBI side. Apple should help it get to the iPhone in question, for reasons spelled out, amongst others, by Harris and Crovitz. 
Though I don't accept being a member of be "cult of safety" by this support (and neither does Sam). 
Note some of Apple's "reasoning": that it would be "too burdensome", and that it would "hurt the brand". Now, as an Apple shareholder, I find these excuses risible and appallingly ill-judged. 
Apple's refusal to help investigate terrorism has rekindled interest in legislation. Congress holds hearings this week, with most Americans saying Apple should comply with the court order, according to a Pew Research Center poll. Microsoft's Bill Gateslast week observed that the issue in the Apple case is "no different than 'Should anybody ever have been able to tell the phone company to get information? Should anybody be able to get at bank records?' " Phone companies and banks must ensure that their equipment makes it possible to comply with court orders, and if AT&T and Citibank can't promise customers privacy by evading court orders, why should Apple be able to?

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Whether or not Britain leaves, the EU must change or fall apart » The Spectator

As Sweden and Germany have shown, generous welfare policies and open borders inevitably end in a nasty collision. If you offer cradle-to-grave security and simultaneously invite the world in, you mustn't be surprised when the world turns up and starts to drain your exchequer faster than your taxpayers can fill it.

Read on...

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition [of drugs]

Dear Peter:

Help Police Speak Out
About the War on Drugs

Your donation is tax deductible
Today, in celebration of LEAP Day, we are thrilled to announce the official launch of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition’s United Kingdom branch! LEAP UK will hold a press conference in the House of Commons today, followed by a launch party, and a March 1st community outreach event “Why These Former Law Enforcement Officers Say End the War on Drugs.” All of us at LEAP wish our colleagues in the UK a sincere congratulations and a successful launch.

LEAP’s reach is rapidly expanding, our speakers are constantly in-demand, and our message has never been more powerful. 2016 promises to be a massive year for drug policy reform in the United States and around the world. LEAP moves legalization, regulation, and control ever forward, and as we continue to grow, we need you with us. Your support allows us to put our criminal justice experts in front of audiences, advocating for an end to the War on Drugs from a uniquely credible perspective. We change minds, and we get results. Will you join me in making a contribution to LEAP today in celebration of LEAP Day, and in honor of our hardworking, dedicated speakers and staff? 
Stand with LEAP on LEAP Day!

Thank you,

Major Neill Franklin (Ret.)
Executive Director

Angela Merkel defends Germany’s open border for migrants

Mad Mamma Merkel doubles down on the migrants issue.
I'd thought she was starting to see sense after her compatriots had started seeing sense. But no. Let 'em all in, she says, there's no Plan B. That really  ought to be an impeachable statement.
As Christopher Caldwell has pointed out in his seminal "Reflections on a revolution in Europe" it's the second generation of Muslim immigrants who become the most radicalized and dangerous.
This is not going to end well for Germany.
Heck, it hasn't even started well.
Meanwhile see Sam Hariss' recent podcast of his talk with open borders advocate Maryam Namazie. An ex Muslim activist who rails against Islamists and Islamism ("I eat them for breakfast" she tweets) she nevertheless spruiks for open borders, despite acknowledging that that will lead to more Islamists entering the UK.
There are good comments on this podcast at Harry's Place and the Godless Spellchecker.
See also a related video of Dave Rubin talking to Tommy Robertson.