Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Mass-Migration: The Tiniest Dose of Reality Hits

> Across the continent, poll after poll shows the European public continuously calling for migration into Europe to be slowed down. This plea is not due to some atavistic urge or distasteful racist instinct, but something that the public seems to intuit better than their politicians -- which is that if you do not have control of your borders, with a meaningful set of immigration laws and the right to keep people out of your country then you do not really have a country.
Sent from my iPad

Monday, 18 September 2017

Hello Refugees! | MelaniePhillips.com

"The Germans are free to hate Jews again."
Melanie reporters that Tuvia Tenenbom (above) discovers anti-semitism more amongst native Germans than amongst Middle Eastern refugees.
Merkel's opening the doors to millions of refugees is revealed to be a cynical virtue signalling ploy... for which Germans *and* refugees are paying.

Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, 17 September 2017

More troubles in ‘Londonistan’ | Boston Herald

Theresa May is cranky about President Trump's unhelpful tweets, but perhaps she should reserve her wrath for British politicians who have repeatedly refused to pass a counterterrorism bill May has been pushing since at least 2015. Some critics opposed elements of her approach, which focused in part on "extremist" speech and opinions by Muslim citizens. This is a legitimate concern.

But it appears the reason there's been no forward motion on a policy is that some British politicians are still insisting that any discussion of terrorism that also includes a discussion of the civil war currently being waged in the Muslim community is unacceptable.

Imagine someone arguing during "The Troubles" that every discussion about terrorism must avoid discussing the issue of Ireland. This is just that stupid.

Melanie Phillips, who literally wrote the book on "Londonistan," says that even in the wake of repeated terror attacks from their own Muslim communities, "the intersection of an aggressive religious fanaticism with the multicultural ideology of victimhood has created a state of paralysis across British institutions."

That paralysis is on display yet again, as are the horrifying images of bomb fragments and burned children.


Sent from my iPad

"Elections in Germany": World Service

TO BBC World Service;
For goodness sake, can you stop referring to people who have concerns about unprecedented levels of immigration "far right" !
I would be concerned if in Europe or UK, yet I'm certainly not far right — having most of views that would characterise me as a "leftie".
There are many such people and it's dismissal of that concern in the US that was partly the reason for Trump.
Please could you get some reasonable people on the show to reflect this reasonable concern. And don't call them "far right"!

Peter Forsythe
Hong Kong
+852 9308 0799

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Enough of fetishising the hijab, already!

The hijab as the Confederate Flag of headwear.  Good one!
Letter to South China Morning Post
Please, enough of fetishising the hijab.  Your "View Point" (September 12) shows a picture of former refugee Halima Aden, who, we are told, "is breaking boundaries as the first hijab-wearing fashion model gracing Western magazine covers".  So what? Are we supposed to believe it's some kind of achievement to model or to lift weights or to fence while wearing a head cover? These actions are neither brave nor transformative.
I would far rather see View Point honour the truly brave women such as Masih Alinead, an exiled Iranian journalist who founded the "My Stealthy Freedom" website which depicts Iranian women who uncover. It takes real bravery to protest against the theocratic dress code in place since the mullahs took over in 1979, under which the bareheaded are punished by caning and/or imprisonment.
One of the alleged reasons Muslim women wear the hijab is for "modesty", itself a calumny on men, who are thereby assumed to be unable to contain their passions if they see a woman's naked hair.  So what is Halima Aden doing modelling on the cover of a western magazine, if the aim of being covered is modesty?
Alishba Zarmeen has called the hijab the Confederate flag of headwear.  Spot on!  It's a symbol of slavery, whether worn under duress, or "freely" by the likes of Halima Aden, in an updated version of the Stockholm syndrome.
Yours etc...

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

North Korean Nuclear Threat: Understanding Regime Key to Neutralizing It | National Review

"Fatty the Third" the Chinese call him.  Your average Chinese hates
the North Koreans.  But what the government does or can do is a
complex issue and not as simple as the US seems to think

The question(s) on North Korea seem to boil down to the TLA (Three Letter Acronym): TSW: Talk, Sanction or War.
I had business with North Korea in the early 80s.  We sold coking coal to them, and bought some fencing materials.  When asked to sum up what it was like: first, trading coking coal — as a tiny Aussie company, what the Chinese called “pibao gongsi ”, literally “briefcase company” or, more felicitously, “carpetbaggers”  — it was huge fun.  Chartering a bulk carrier from the Greek owners, buying the coal on the Australian market with just a phone call, going up to Newcastle (the Aussie one) to see it being loaded, going to Chongjin in North Korea to see it being unloaded, having banquets with our free-drinking and women-loving North Korean hosts, it was all, as I’ve often said, “the most fun you can have standing up”.  There’s also a second point: we came to understand that the North Koreans would simply lie and cheat.  
That’s a point Nicholas Eberstadt makes in "North Korean Nuclear Threat: Understanding Regime Key to Neutralizing It” in the National Review. They lie and cheat and you have to get used to it, if Talk is going to be one of the options.
And it is, according to him.
Basically he comes down to a combination of Talk and Sanctions, and a lot of tightening up on both, and being clear eyed about what North Korea is all about.  A strategy he summarises as “Threat Reduction”.
In broad outline, North Korean threat reduction requires progressive development of more effective defenses against the DPRK’s means of destruction while simultaneously weakening Pyongyang’s capabilities for supporting both conventional and strategic offense.
A more effective defense against the North Korean threat would consist mainly, though not entirely, of military measures. Restoring recently sacrificed U.S. capabilities would be essential. Likewise more and better missile defense: THAAD systems (and more) for South Korea and Japan, and moving forward on missile defense in earnest for the USA. It would be incumbent on South Korea to reduce its own population’s exposure to North Korean death from the skies through military modernization and civil defense.
The DPRK would be served notice that 60 years of zero-consequence rules of engagement for allied forces in the face of North Korean “provocations” on the peninsula had just come to an end. But diplomacy would count here as well: most importantly, alliance strengthening throughout Asia in general and repairing the currently frayed ROK–Japan relationship in particular. Today’s ongoing bickering between Seoul and Tokyo reeks of interwar politics at its worst; leaders who want to live in a postwar order need to rise above such petty grievances.  Read all of it....
BTW: Eberstadt uses a TLA that's not easy to find.  It's PSI, which is the "Proliferation Security Initiative"
Then there's a FLA, which has letters inverted, which makes it hard to look up.  Correctly, it's the MTCR, which is the "Missile Technology Control Regime".

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Forget our misguided friendship with Saudi Arabia: Iran is our natural ally | The Spectator

The Saudi town of Awamiya — like so many countless cities across Iraq, Syria and Yemen that are witnessing an unleashing of the ancient hatred of Sunni for Shia — now exists in name only. Last month, days before an assault on its Shia inhabitants by the Saudi regime, the UN designated it a place of unique cultural and religious significance. But under the guise of fighting Iran-backed terror cells, the Saudis then subjected Awamiya's entire civilian population to the indiscriminate use of fighter jets, rocket-propelled grenades, snipers, heavy artillery, armoured assault vehicles and cold-blooded executions.

More than a dozen Shia, including a three-year-old boy, were killed. Hundreds of young men were rounded up. At least 500 homes were flattened, and 8,000 residents were forcibly removed from those that remained. Saudi soldiers recorded themselves dancing and singing amid the rubble of the town's once-beautiful old city. They stomped on a poster of a revered Shia cleric from the eastern province, Nimr al-Nimr, beheaded last year for sedition. And they denigrated the town's 'cleansed' local Shia as 'rejectionists' and 'dogs' — language identical to that of their fanatical Wahhabi brothers in Iraq and Syria, who rejoice in slaughtering Shia in the name of Isis. The mass beheading of 14 local Shia activists, including a severely disabled teenager, is said to be imminent.

In the wake of this sectarian carnage it seems preposterous that Donald Trump stood next to Saudi Arabia's King Salman in Riyadh in May at the launch of a new centre to combat Islamic extremism. In a keynote speech, Trump had, just as bizarrely, singled out Iran and its Shia proxies as the instigators of terrorism and sectarian bloodshed in the region. In the past, such Saudi duplicity was laughed off in the name of selling the infantile princes billions of dollars in arms (from which they take massive kickbacks) and heightening their borderline-insane obsession with the supposedly existential threat posed by Iran to Israel and the latter's despotic Sunni allies.

The joke isn't funny any more. Last month, the former head of MI5, Jonathan Evans, warned that Britain will face an Islamist terror threat for at least 30 years. Only the most blinkered observer would find it difficult to understand his concern. For with the near fall of Isis, thousands of jihadis steeped in the caliphate's Wahhabi ideology are returning to Britain and Europe, determined to keep alive the dream of massacring infidels. It is our own civilisation that faces the real existential threat. The wave of terror attacks in Spain, Finland, Britain and Belgium has happened in a year in which Europe has witnessed at least one serious jihadist incident every week.

A recent report, suppressed by the UK government, revealed the majority of funding for UK mosques that promote Islamist extremism, and which play a crucial role in radicalising homegrown jihadis, originates from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab countries that also embrace the odious Wahhabi ideology. These findings tally with other exhaustive studies on the expansion of Islamist extremism, both here and in Europe, which have singled out the spread of Saudi-sponsored Wahhabism as the gravest threat to our security and values. All were similarly ignored by those who rule in our name.

AdTech Ad

Saudi Arabia is thus being given the green light by our treacherous political elite to ensure that, as the dream of the caliphate in the Middle East fades, murderous jihad will grow with increasing fury on our doorstep. The argument that intelligence from Saudi Arabia helps prevent attacks sounds increasingly hollow, given how many terrorist acts are being carried out regardless. The defeatist rhetoric about how jihadist atrocities are something we must learn to live with, like mudslides and hurricanes, is no less infuriating. Terror attacks are not a natural phenomenon; they are the result of circumstances fomented by politicians' decisions. If we have any hope of combating the Islamist menace, politicians must wake up, first and foremost, to the fact that mass immigration of mostly young Muslim men into a Europe where Saudi-funded Wahhabi Islam dominates mosques and madrassas is cultural suicide. Political understanding of the Sunni-Shia conflict in the Middle East, and how that relates to the Islamist terror threat, must likewise be re-evaluated. The atrocities in Awamiya demonstrate nothing if not the absurdity of the notion that the Wahhabis are our friends in the fight against extremism and that the Shia are our mortal enemies. By any objective measure, the exact opposite is true.

Like Saudi Arabia, Shia-dominated Iran is a backward theocracy ruled by vicious old men who wrap themselves in the cloak of religion to limit their people's freedom and steal their country's wealth. Both countries are gross human rights abusers. There, though, the similarities end. In Saudi Arabia, non-Muslims are forbidden from practising their religion in public, while Iran's constitution protects the rights of Christians and Jews. (One of my fondest memories of the region is hanging out with the Jewish communities in Tehran and Isfahan.)

Like the Jews, and very much unlike the Wahhabis, the Shias have no interest in converting everyone else to their religion; and the Iranians even have the decency — if that is the right word — to distinguish between Israel and Jews in anti-Zionist government rhetoric. Saudi Arabia promotes the kind of anti-Semitism the Nazis would have been proud of, while damning the Shia as collectively evil. Iran has a democracy and a vibrant press that, while hardly comparable to what we take for granted in the West, puts to shame anything found in Saudi Arabia. Iran has never invaded another country; Saudi Arabia is presently destroying Yemen.

Moreover, when geopolitical pragmatism has dictated, Iran has offered to work closely with the West, while at every turn, by funding its jihadist proxies, the Saudis and their allies in the western intelligence communities have been working against us. After the September 11 attacks, carried out by mostly Saudi nationals, Iran — which of course has no sympathy for al-Qaeda — rounded up hundreds of Arab terrorists and provided intelligence to Washington to aid the war on terror. In 2009, Tehran was publicly offering to help Washington rebuild and stabilise Afghanistan; two years earlier, both countries held (ultimately unproductive) talks on Iraq.

None of that is to mention the elephant in the room. Without the heroic military sacrifices of Iran and its Shia ally, Hezbollah, on the front lines in the crumbling caliphate, Isis would not today be in its final death throes there, and al-Qaeda jihadists (whom we funded, trained and armed) would not be running for their lives. The US has also worked alongside Iranian generals in Iraq in the joint fight there against Isis. Even today, US special forces are working with the Lebanese army as it launches a simultaneous push with Hezbollah against Islamist terrorists created by Saudi and other Sunni countries that are still causing mayhem on the other side of the Syrian border.

Why do we never hear this other side of the story? One reason is that almost all the 'experts' on the region, who contribute countless op-eds to US newspapers, brief US intelligence officials and appear as pundits on TV, work for think-tanks funded by the Arab monarchies or Israel. Former British and American diplomats who were based in Riyadh and Jeddah are notorious for retiring on the Saudi gravy train. And our Foreign Office, as always taking its orders from Washington, continues to stand uncritically alongside Israel. The latter fears the mullahs in Tehran are building a nuclear arsenal to make good on its repeated promise to wipe the Jewish state off the map.

But here, again, a pragmatic reassess-ment is in order. Israel, after all, is a nuclear power, and has the best-trained and equipped army in the region. If it cannot fight its own battles now, it will never be able to. And truth be told, the only thing the mullahs really care about is maintaining their rusty grip on power. Even the Iran-hating, Israel-loving White House grudgingly accepts that Tehran is abiding by the internationally brokered nuclear treaty. The bottom line is that Iran poses absolutely no threat to us.

In fact, the only people that Isis foot soldiers are more determined to slaughter than westerners are the Shia. With that knowledge, we should be embracing the maxim that my enemy's enemy is my friend. Let us fully let the Saudis know we have had it with their terror funding by launching a ferocious crackdown on all manifestations of Wahhabism. Let us simultaneously do away with the sanctions imposed against Tehran. In this way, we can build on Iran's extensive shared intelligence and close military cooperation with the US — the most effective way of convincing the country to abandon any lingering nuclear ambitions it may have. Let Britain finally break free of Washington's disastrous Middle East military interventions and duplicitous alliances with Saudi Arabia and its Wahhabi proxies. Only by doing so can we face down the real causes of Islamist terror. We would also be in prime position to benefit from post-sanctions Iran's $600 billion foreign investment opportunities.

John R. Bradley also writes for the Daily Mail and the Jewish Chronicle and is the author of four books on the Middle East.


Sent from my iPad

Friday, 8 September 2017

Bad News, World: China Can’t Solve the North Korea Problem | The New York Times

But... but....
Just a few days ago I posted a piece by Gordon Chang urging a tough line on China if they in turn didn't toughen up their sanctions against North Korea. 
Here's a piece by Max Fisher in the New York Times by Max Fisher arguing that even if China did strengthen sanctions theywould probably have no effect on Kim's regime or even backfire. 
That's not the end of the story of course. Still, I should have thought of these objections; after all there's no new information here just informed speculation. 
My bad for not thinking more deeply before accepting Chang's assertions. 
Full article below the fold thanks to the Times:

After each North Korean provocation, a soothing mantra echoes through the halls of government and think tanks in the United States.

China, it is frequently said, could solve this seemingly unsolvable problem, finally reining in North Korea, if Beijing were just properly motivated.

But this oft-repeated line contains three assumptions, none of which has held up well in recent years.

It assumes that outside pressure could persuade North Korea to curtail or abandon its weapons programs. That China has the means to bring about such pressure. And that Beijing will do so once it is properly cajoled or coerced.

Each assumption has been tested repeatedly in recent years and, time and again, has collapsed. Yet three consecutive presidents — George W. Bush, Barack Obama and now Donald J. Trump — have invested their hopes and their strategies in China coming to the rescue.

Continue reading the main story

Asked whether this were possible, even in the abstract, John Delury, a professor at Yonsei University in Seoul, answered, "No, the Chinese can't fix this for us."

What China Can and Cannot Do

If China complied with every American request to cut trade, it could devastate North Korea's economy, which especially relies on Chinese fossil fuels.

But repeated studies have found that sanctions, while effective at forcing small policy changes, cannot persuade a government to sign its own death warrant. North Korea sees its weapons as essential to its survival, and tests as necessary to fine-tune them.

Jeffrey Lewis, who directs an East Asia program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, called notions that China could impose costs exceeding the benefit North Korea draws from its weapons "sad and desperate."

Imagine, Mr. Lewis said, that you are Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, and China turned against you, joining your enemies in pressuring you to disarm.

"The last thing you would do in that situation is give up your independent nuclear capability," he said. "The one thing you hold that they have no control over. You would never give that up in that situation."

When sanctions aim at forcing internal political change, they often backfire, hardening their targets in place.

When Americans rage at Beijing for failing to toughen sanctions, Mr. Lewis said, "The Chinese response is, 'Because they're not going to work.' And the data is on their side."

A Venn Diagram With No Overlap

North Korea may be especially resistant to such pressure.

The Chinese, Mr. Delury said, "can keep reducing their already minuscule trade and investment ties to North Korea, but it will not deflect Kim Jong-un because one thing the North Korean system is especially good at is absorbing pain."

Even a total trade ban would impose less suffering than what North Korea has already proved it can endure.

In the 1990s, when Russian subsidies disappeared, a famine killed up to 10 percent of North Korea's population. But North Korea neither collapsed nor sought to end the crisis by opening up to the outside world.

Overriding its calculus, then, would require imposing costs greater than destruction or famine but short of war, which would risk a nuclear exchange. That may be a Venn diagram with no overlap.

And North Korea, unlike Cuba, has nuclear weapons, which frees it to retaliate conventionally against what Mr. Castro merely endured.

In 2010, it shelled a South Korean island, killing four. It was also accused of sinking a South Korean Navy ship that year, killing 46. Its nuclear deterrent, now strengthened, allows it to act even more aggressively.

"Let's say there's a famine in North Korea that kills a million people," Mr. Lewis said, imagining, though not condoning, the harshest possible Chinese action. "Do we think North Korea doesn't haul off and sink some ships?"

How Weak States Win Leverage

China's reticence toward North Korea is often portrayed as a matter of will. Because Beijing is technically capable of inflicting harsher pain, it would do so if it cared enough.

But when Americans look at their own options, they understand that they are useful only if they can be used.

The United States could flatten Pyongyang overnight. But this would spark a conflict risking millions of Korean, Japanese and American lives. Washington declines such an option because it is unusable, not for any lack of will.

China faces similar constraints, with drastic options risking unacceptable costs.

In recent years, Beijing has tried to cut off trade or impose limited sanctions. These efforts have changed little or have backfired, with North Korea instead increasing its provocations, often timed to embarrass Beijing.

In these tit-for-tats, Pyongyang is demonstrating that, though the weaker state, it has greater leverage because it is willing to accept more risk.

North Korea has also labored to limit Beijing's diplomatic influence. It has purged officials thought to be sympathetic to China, including Mr. Kim's own uncle in 2013. This year, it killed Mr. Kim's brother, living in exile under Chinese protection. Though Mr. Kim is at times openly hostile to Beijing, he is its only option.

The Alliance Trap

Beijing may simply be trapped. Each North Korean provocation risks war on China's border. It invites an American buildup in China's backyard. And it pushes South Korea and Japan further into American arms.

Its sticks and carrots all having failed with North Korea, China worries that increasing pressure will cut off what little influence it has.

Americans might see parallels in their country's own troubled alliances, particularly in the Middle East.

Egypt, for instance, regularly defies American demands, knowing that Washington will always come crawling back. So does Saudi Arabia, using the threat of a rupture in the relationship to pressure the United States into supporting its disastrous war in Yemen.

Mr. Lewis drew a parallel, if only in the mechanics of alliance politics, with Israel.

For decades, Washington has tried to persuade, induce or coerce Israel into altering its policies toward the Palestinians. Israeli leaders accepted American aid, ignored American demands and, in shows of calibrated defiance, often announced new settlement construction on the eve of American visits.

To the outside world, American unwillingness to impose greater pressure looks like a lack of will. When American diplomats warn that more pressure would only deepen Israel's calculus and sacrifice American influence, they are blamed for perpetuating the conflict.

For once, Americans can lob such accusations at another power. They have an obvious appeal, portraying the North Korea problem as someone else's to solve.

"We're going to blame the Chinese for stabbing us in the back instead of admitting that our policy was dumb," Mr. Lewis said, calling this "classic scapegoating."


Sent from my iPad

Sent from my iPad

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Nothing so mystifying as the obvious

Europe staunchly marching towards a cliff led by Mad Mutti Merkel.
 And so we have "The strange death of Europe"

Great saying from via Jonah Goldberg's article "The Antifa and Alt-right idiot boys.." by Irving Kristol:
“When we lack the will to see things as they really are, there is nothing so mystifying as the obvious.” 
Applies to apologist views on the Left of Islamism and Islamisation in the west.   And to views on the Right which deny climate change.  And views on both sides which deny the violence in their own bovver boys.

Antifa & Alt-Right Idiot Boys -- Young Men Pulling Stupid Crap | National Review

I enjoyed this article by the reliable, amusing and dog-loving Johah Goldberg in the National Review.
Youth and testosterone....

Proper English Grammar & Spelling Are Not ‘Elitist’ | National Review

Driving the pedant crazy

The other day I mentioned a New York Times article by Farhad Manjoo arguing that folks ought to lay off worrying about correct grammar and spelling ("So Trump Makes Spelling Errors. In the Twitter Age Whoo Doesn't?" ($)(Dropbox).
I think I said something like this was good for a "recovering pedant" like me.
Now Philip H. Devoe, in "Proper English Grammar and Spelling Are Not ‘Elitist’" challenges the Times op-ed.
I must say on balance I'm more on the side of the latter than the former as I'm not fully "recovered"!
One thing in the quote below: "the problem of Mandarin". That's wrong. The opposite is the case. Mandarin is the language that is now spoken all over China vs the plethora of dialects that existed before. "Mandarin" is said several ways in Mandarin, most commonly Putonghua, Guoyu or Hanyu which back-translate to "common language", "national language" or "country language". So all about being national, not dialect. I can go anywhere in China and speak Mandarin: increasingly even Hong Kong. And China most certainly teaches grammar and "spelling" (how to write characters, that is). So I'm not sure why he says "the problem with Mandarin".
Anyway, article for your interest.

Ultimately, the solution to the problem of poor grammar isn't abolishing objective standards. It's restoring traditional grammar classes to schools and ensuring everyone has the ability to speak the language the correct way. This protects against the problem of Mandarin — adjacent regional dialects becoming different languages entirely... 

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Mad Mutti Merkel sees sense: finally! | SCMP

Drink up Mutti! It's the right decision
It happens time and again. We islamophobes, xenophobes and racists call out some policy or other -- multiculturalism, cultural equivalence, the slaughter of Christians in the Middle East, Turkey joining the EU -- and the Left attacks us for being, well, all of the above. 
Then they realise that what we've been saying all along correct after all, so they pivot. With a straight face, unblushing, they then take up the issue we've been banging on about, with nary a hint of apology. 
And so with Turkey's joining the EU. We who are concerned about Islam have been warning about this for years, decades. And been called all manner of xenophobe and bigot for our efforts. 
And now hear Merkel:
Merkel said: "It is clear that Turkey should not become a member of the European Union."
NOW it's ok to say it because Mad Mutti Merkel has said it. 
Well, she may have taken a while to get to the right decision but at least she got there!

Monday, 4 September 2017

"The Spread of Islam Is a Worldwide Threat” | Dwight Schawb Jr

The greater the Muslim population the lower the freedom index.
Statistically significant correlation coefficient of 0.61.
X-axis: L to R: llower to higher % of Muslim population.
Y-axis: most freedom = 2 (top). Least freedom = 14 (bottom).
[For clearer graph see original post]
Dwight Schwab's headline above may seem a bit fraught.  But what caught my attention in the article  (Wayback) -- a review of a new book "Slavery, Terrorism and Islam: The Historical Roots and Contemporary Threat"  by Dr Peter Hammond (not a name known to me) on NewsBlaze (a site also not known to me) --  is the setting out of the stages of Islamisation, based on the percentage population of Muslims in different countries.
This reminded me of an analysis I'd done over six years ago: Freedom and Islam: a statistical survey (Freedom House Index), 18 January 2011, in which I showed the strong inverse correlation between the percent of Muslim population in a particular country and the extent of that country's freedom, as defined in the Freedom House Index (which index, as far as I was able to find out, is well regarded).
The correlation is inverse: that is, the more Muslims in a country, the lower the score on the freedom index. I noted then that correlation is not necessarily causation.  I also noted that it very often is causation (cigarettes >> cancer, for example) and that there are good reasons to believe that in this case correlation is indeed causation.
Dr Hammond's study comes to exactly the same conclusion as I did with the chart above, with some more detail.
Other points he makes: Islam is neither a religion nor a cult. It is a whole way of life. In this he is completely correct, a point made often by Muslim scholars. What distinguishes it from other "whole life" ideologies, the Amish for example, is that in addition to setting out what a Muslim must do and how they must do it, every minute of every day, they are enjoined to press this "way of life" on every other member of the human race: all we kaffirs, we unbelievers.
Surely a pause for thought is needed?  But not for Merkel. "Islam belongs to [sic] Germany". (I presume that's a translation error, and what's mean is Islam belongs in Germany.  Whatever, Mad Merkel is going to screw up Germany and thereby screw up Europe.  Germany tried twice in the 20th Century.  Maybe they'll achieve it in the 21st. For no countries can survive with their culture intact with 2-5% of their resident populations arriving from a completely different culture, very many of whom harbour abiding hatred of the west and indeed seek to destroy it,
So fraught as it may be I do agree with the headline above. Islam is a worldwide threat.  Some people recognise it and speak out about it. Some people recognise it and counsel accommodation. And some don't recognise it at all -- or don't want to recognise it.

Is It Time to Nuke Kim's Economy?

Yalu river border between China (L) and North Korea
Gordon Chang again!  In the Daily Beast.

This time calling for severe American actions against China and Russia if they don't hit DPRK hard.

I didn't much like Chang's unfalsifiable "The Coming Collapse of China". He published that in 2001.  Sixteen years and counting.  When is it no longer "coming"?

This time I'm inclined to agree with him and his hawkish proposals.

The US says it "cannot accept" a North Korean capacity to launch a nuke-tipped ICBM at the US mainland.  Of course not! 

Well, North Korea is almost there. Talk is has done and is doing nothing. Neither have sanctions.  So what now?

Chang proposes a super hard line (see extract below).  What he doesn't do, at least in this article, is to address Chinese concerns, which are totally understandable: if the Kim regime falls China has two serious potential problems:
  1. a refugee influx, and 
  2. South Korean and US-backed forces right on its border, in a (presumably) unified Korea. That's unacceptable to Beijing and understandably so.
In my view, I'd guess point (1), the refugee issue is somewhat overblown.  The border is a river (I've been there!), easily defended. In any case, there's plenty of space up around Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang (I've been there too!).

As for point (2), that would depend on the outcome of a fall of the Kim regime.  It would not necessarily mean South Korea takes over and the US is on the border.  That's something the three parties can talk about behind closed doors, with the US holding the whip hand in that discussion (arguably).  The US would need to be sensitive to that valid concern.

So, here's the nub of Chang's aggressive line:
What the administration should do is demand that Beijing and Moscow accept a complete embargo on North Korea. If they do not comply, the administration should threaten to impose severe costs on them. For instance, Trump could hand down what are essentially death sentences on the largest Chinese banks, like Bank of China, for laundering money for the Kim regime. The president can do that by designating them "primary money laundering concerns" under Section 311 of the Patriot Act. Such designations would deny these institutions the ability to transact in dollars.
Sanctioning the largest Chinese banks in such a manner could throw the Chinese financial and political systems into turmoil, and Beijing knows it. Therefore, the White House has the means to persuade China's leaders to disarm the Kim regime.
Fortunately, Xi Jinping, the Chinese ruler, is particularly vulnerable at this moment. The 19th Communist Party Congress, which begins on October 18, is when Xi must consolidate his power if he is to continue strongman rule. He will be blamed by his many adversaries if relations with the U.S. are disrupted before the meeting.

How young Chinese-Americans are embracing their identity | South China Morning Post

The Steinharts: she from Shanghai, he from Ohio
And their two "Third Culture" sons
Extract from towards the end of the article in the South China Morning Post, below: 
This online version has a lot more than in the print version which I've just read in today's print paper. 
The same holds true, one assumes -- about "reaping the benefit" -- for Asian-Australians/Brits/etc... For we have one: Chinese/Australian.
As China expands its international influence while America's dominance wanes, young Chinese-Americans – rather than struggling to fit in – are reaping the benefits of their backgrounds.
"There are more advantages than disadvantages to being of mixed-race," Metters said. "It's definitely become more popular to engage in Asian culture for Americans with Asian heritage. I find it an enriching part of my life. I can't imagine not being like this – just living in New York like a regular American but also being able to go to Taiwan and mainland China and interact with people in Mandarin."

The Google Memo: The Economist On Nothing | Quillette, Patrick Lee Miller

My favourite Google doodle. This one is not by Google!
I thought I'd done with James Damore's "Google memo", but no. I've just read an outstanding piece of analysis by the philosopher Patrick Lee Miller in the online journal Quilette: The Google Memo: The Economist On Nothing.
He takes on a recent Economist pretension in which its editors pretend to be Google founder Larry Page ("Larry Page") writing a stern note to Damore on why he deserved to be fired.
In fact the opposite is the case as professor Miller shows -- and as plenty of other comment has made clear.
I was shocked and depressed by Google CEO Sundar Pichai's decision to fire Damore. Shocked because it seemed a precipitate move; surely Pichai could have waited a bit for more measured consideration.  And depressed because he had so quickly given in to the anti-science bullies of the SJW crowd. And Google is supposed to be about science, analysis, careful consideration of facts not opinion.  Absent some legal issue we don't know about that forced the firing, Pichai's firing of Damore was gutless. Gutless.
Oh, and there's another reason I was shocked and depressed: we own Google stock. I didn't like to think that one of our prime holdings was breaking bad.  Has Pichai forgotten their original mission: "Don't be evil"?
Miller's is a long post, but is well worth the time. It's elegantly written and so tight in its logic, as one would expect, I expect, from a philosopher.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

"The SPLC Defends Its Hate-Group Labeling” | Wall Street Journal

Morris Dees, the founder of SPLC, milks his registered
charity as does his CEO, Richard Cohen. (Source)


Richard Cohen, CEO of the SPLC, defends the Center for listing as "hate" groups various anti gay marriage organizations. ("The SPLC Defends Its Hate-Group Labeling"  ($) September 1-3). 
What about the much more dubious labeling of the individuals Maajid Nawaz and Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Wayback). Both are knowledgable critics of Islam. Nawaz is still a Muslim, Ali an ex Muslim. They are vastly experienced with the theory and practice of Islam. Today they are important voices trying to develop and amplify the voices of moderation in the Islamic world. To list them as "haters" does immeasurable harm to these endeavors. 
Many people from across the political spectrum have criticised their inclusion on SPLC's self-defined hate list. SPLC's defense of the listings reveals half-understandings of their views and arbitrary acceptance of out-of-context statements by them. 
On Hirsi-Ali, for example, Cohen has said that she called Islam a "death cult". Never mind that such a statement is defensible and at least debatable, there are Muslims themselves who make the claim ("we love death more than you love life").  In any case, it's certainly not "hate speech" no matter Cohen's blathering. 
Hirsi Ali already travels with armed security at all times. Nawaz has regular threats against his life. The bogus SPLC hate listing has made things worse for them both, these brave warriors trying to defang violent Islamism. 
Shame on Cohen and shame on the SPLC!
(230 words)
Yours, etc

PS: what about dubious dealings of the SPLC.  Documented by Chicago University Professor Jerry Coyne (a left-liberal!) at "More on the sleazy behavior of the SPLC", on 2 September 2017. Some of SPLC's financial shenanigans are breathtaking.

Roland does Donald

Trump Tweets Bureau Chief, Fox News, 
early adopter to bespoke news. 
Featured in NYT bestseller, "Yuge!"..
I love, in the fifth panel:
To kick off "Made in America" Week Ivanka Trump Collection announces all "Made in China" tags to be printed in U.S.! #LeadingbyExample

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Millennial Socialist Luvvies worry about inequality more than efficiency

Did Ami Horowitz cherry-pick these lefty lovelies?  I don't know, but suspect they're pretty representative.  After all, I've seen plenty of other evidence that young kids in the US are in thrall to the romanticism of socialism.  Look at how many "feel the Bern".  But they know nothing of how socialism works in real life -- in other words that it doesn't work.
And I do know from living in China in the fading days of the Cultural Revolution when everything including food was rationed.  But everyone was equal!  They all earned about $US50/month.  In other words, they were all equally poor.
Today, there's all manner of everything and available to all.  There's more income inequality in China, but everyone is richer in including those at the bottom.  The poorest in China are today better off than the wealthiest in socialist times, the 60s and 70s.
These idiot millenials would prefer the China of the 60s to the China of today.
Ask anyone in China who went through the Cultural Revolution which they prefer: equality of the past or inequality of today. All of them prefer today. They prefer having wide choices to everyone being equal and having no choices.  In the 60s China you were lucky to get enough to eat. Today there's every food you could want, and every consumer good imaginable.  In the past equal days there was no way you could move within the country, let alone head overseas, while in todays unequal society Chinese are the largest group of international tourists.
It's crazy.  History means nothing to these millenials, because they don't read.  Even if they did read something other than social media I suspect they'd just put down comments like mine as being the blatherings of an old white man. Which of course they are.
From Ami Horowitz's post.

Jeannie de Clarens, Spy Who Uncovered Rockets Used by Hitler, Dies at 98

Jeannie de Clarens with her husband, Henri.
They both survived stays in concentration camps
Surely this is worth a movie....
What a story of beauty, intelligence, bravery, skullduggery, cunning and a good dash of luck (she survived four German concentration camps, through screw ups by the German bureaucry!).
It's behind a New York Times paywall, so I've copied below the fold.
Thanks NYT