Now it’s the Democrats (and their media) embracing conspiracy theories

July 25, 2016

We had some fun and games at the Republican convention last week. Especially from Ted Cruz who wanted his moment in the sun. Of course there is a scenario in which he can capitalise on his breaking of his “pledge”. That requires a Trump debacle in the November election, and Cruz winning the GOP nomination in 2020 on a “I told you so” platform. But Trump himself did rather better than expected in his final speech.

But the fun and games aren’t over yet. The Democratic convention this week promises to be equally entertaining. This morning the media were full of the Wikileaks release of the DNC e-mails. It is pretty clear that the entire nomination process was heavily rigged in Hillary Clinton’s favour and against Bernie Sanders. She would probably have won the nomination anyway but it does show rather conclusively that the DNC would not have permitted Sanders to be nominated in any circumstances. Even if he had won a majority of delegates, the super-delegates were all already in bed with Clinton.

What I find particularly entertaining is the entire liberal press trying to play down the substance of the emails, but instead floating the conspiracy theory that the Russians and Putin had orchestrated the release of the emails. The Washington Post, the New York Times, and, of course, Huffington Post headlined the Putin conspiracy theory and consigned the content of the emails to much smaller print. facebook went even further and blocked the Wikileaks page before the hue and cry about censorship led them to reverse that. Twitter started removing users who were Trump supporters.

Pots and kettles

What is ironic is that while the DNC and their pet media are ranting about a Trump/Putin conspiracy, they are carefully playing down the real conspiracy against Bernie Sanders.

Pots and kettles.

Black kettles too matter.


 

A flying boat or a swimming aircraft? China rolls out the AG600

July 25, 2016

China unveils AG600 – Peoples Daily

AVIC TA-600, Flying boat
The AVIC TA-600, also known as AG-600, is a large amphibious flying boat that is being designed and built in China by the Aviation Industry Corporation of China.  
Top speed: 570 km/h, Wingspan: 40 m, Length: 40 m Maximum take-off weight 51.5 t.
Manufacturer: Aviation Industry Corporation of China Wikipedia
AG600 - AVIC
China has just rolled out the world’s largest amphibious plane, AVIC’s TA600 designated the AG600.  The AG600 is intended
to fight forest fires and be used for maritime search and rescue (SAR) operations. Being able to land on water means that they can quickly pump in tons of water to fight forest fires. For SAR purposes, the ability of large seaplanes like the TA-600 to land directly near survivors means more rapid rescue responses compared to slower helicopters, which will be attractive to Chinese maritime enforcement agencies. Perhaps most important to current regional tensions, the TA-600 may also offer a new scale and means to rapidly deploy or resupply any current or new remote island garrisons in the South China Sea. A number of islets and reefs are too small to have runways to accommodate conventional transport planes like the Y-8, but sited so as to have strategic value.
It is not as large as the eight-engined Howard Hughes H-4 “Spruce Goose”, the largest seaplane ever built, which weighed 180 tons in full and had a wingspan of 97 meters. But the Spruce Goose only flew a short distance on its maiden flight in 1947 and never lifted again.
But more to the point, the AG 600 can carry 50 passengers whether people being rescued, or troops on the move to a South China Sea island. Certainly the AG600 adds significant strategic capability to the Chinese claims in the South China Sea.
Nov. 2, 1947: The Hughes Aircraft H-4 Hercules "Spruce Goose" during short flight in the Long Beach-Los Angeles Harbor. This photo was published in the Nov. 3, 1947 LA Times.

Nov. 2, 1947: The Hughes Aircraft H-4 Hercules “Spruce Goose” during short flight in the Long Beach-Los Angeles Harbor. This photo was published in the Nov. 3, 1947 LA Times.


 

Trump can’t do “issues” and Clinton can’t do “mood”

July 24, 2016

It is my observation and experience that logic and rational arguments on the one hand and emotional arguments on the other are like parallel lines which never meet. If logical argument is pitted against emotions, a meeting of minds is not possible, nobody is persuaded and nobody “wins”. It strikes me that the US Presidential election is going to be between one candidate trying to get the electorate to respond to emotions and the other to argument. But it would be wrong to think that an apparently reasoned argument is always more correct or “better” than an emotional one. Intuition, gut-feelings and hunches are often correct and are all essentially examples of “emotional” decision making. Even economic decisions – which one might expect to be very rational – are nearly always trumped by the “mood” in the markets.

Trump may be exaggerating the gloom and doom but nobody in their right minds would argue that all is sweetness and light. And it would seem from the anger and frustration and powerlessness that is abroad among the US electorate, that there is a revolt against the direction that conventional, correct politics has taken the US. I see no other explanation for the “anti-establishment” wave present, not only in the US, but globally. There is electoral capital to be made – globally – by tapping into this “mood” that the wrong path has been followed for far too long.

Now, the US Presidential election is boiling down to be a fight between evoking a “mood” on the one hand against an argued presentation of “issues”. The contrast between the two candidates is stark. Hillary Clinton’s strength does not lie in appealing to emotions to evoke a mood of sweetness and light to counter Trump’s gloom and doom. Donald Trump, however, is not the best person for presenting a rational, argued position on a complex issue.

For the US electorate I think it is going to be a classic stand-off between heart and head, between impulse buying against a purchase based on a cost-benefit analysis. I don’t think that one is necessarily “better” than the other. I have made some impulse buys which were disasters and others which were inspired. In the corporate world I hardly ever made large purchases which were not based on some form of cost-benefit analysis. But I also remember how assumptions were skewed to cover the “intangibles” so that the analysis eventually matched the “gut feeling”. Apparently “reasoned” decisions were actually emotional ones.

Trump can’t do issues – but he can do “mood”. “We should have gone to Mars and not to the Middle East” is all about evoking a mood. “Make America safe again/ proud again / great again” is a naked appeal to return to “the good old days” which only ever exist in the rosy fog of nostalgia. In trying to evoke “mood”, Trump can ignore getting bogged down in policy details at which he is not particularly adept. Clinton on the other hand, may try occasionally to evoke emotions, but that always seems very contrived and could be counter-productive. She will probably be far better off to stick to reasoned argument.

In November it is going to be mood versus issues. Trump can’t do “issues” and Clinton can’t do “mood”. For the US voter it is, I think,  going to be the emotional choice between a high-risk, high-gain Trump or the reasoned choice of a low-risk, low-gain Clinton. Things have crystallised but not changed much since I wrote 3 months ago:

After 8 years of a lack-lustre and indecisive, risk-averse Barack Obama who promised much only to deceive, Hillary Clinton offers “more of the same”. She is as “establishment” as it is possible to be. She represents the safe choice. There is no chance of any kind of greatness, only of a slight improvement or a gentle decline. She removes the possibility of a “high gain” scenario.

But I see two possible outcomes with Donald Trump. The first is that he will be the unmitigated disaster that the media and the politically correct expect. In this scenario, the US will become a harder, more bigoted country, less tolerant of minorities and less compassionate. It will become divisive in domestic affairs and inept and dangerous in its foreign policy. It will become a sin to remain poor. …. The second scenario is that US domestic and foreign policy will become entirely “trade” oriented. International friendships and alliances will have to have a cost-benefit analysis. Public spending and government jobs will be drastically down-sized. Bureaucrats will be subject to performance indicators. It will not be a sin to be rich. The ideological shift will be to “people as they deserve” rather than to “people as they desire”.

Trump versus Clinton

High-risk, high-gain Trump or low-risk, low-gain Clinton


 

Hot air balloon does in 11 days and 6 hours what Solar Impulse 2 may do in 17 months

July 23, 2016

Solar Impulse 2 set off on its journey around the world on 9th March 2015. Tomorrow it sets off on its last leg from Cairo to Abu Dhabi and it should complete its journey in just under 17 months.

In the meantime, it is reported that Steve Fossett’s record of 13 days and 8 hours to circumnavigate the world in a hot air balloon, set in 2002 has been broken. A Russian balloonist has completed the journey in 11 days and 6 hours. Fedor Konyukhov has been using a Cameron balloon and set off on 12th July.

Flyer: Russian adventurer Fedor Konyukhov has set off on a solo round-the-world flight in a balloon, aiming to beat Steve Fossett’s 14-year-old record for the 33,000 kilometre trip.

Konyukhov set off from Northam, Western Australia yesterday – the same place Steve Fossett set off from in July 2002. The record stands at 13 days 8 hours 33 minutes. Konyukhov is hoping to beat the record by a substantial amount using up-to-date technologies. He is, however, using a very similar balloon – a Roziere 550 built by British company Cameron Balloons.

“Nobody in the world makes better balloons that the Brits,” said Konyukhov, “so our balloon is being made by Cameron Balloons and it will fly on Russian helium.”

balloon australia

Fox News:

An official says a Russian balloonist has claimed a new 11-day round the world record. Support crew member Steve Griffin says Fedor Konyukhov’s balloon on Saturday passed directly over the airfield at the Australian town of Northam where he began his journey on July 12.

American Steve Fossett also started from Northam to set a record of 13 days and eight hours for his 33,000-kilometer (21,000-mile) journey in 2002.

Konyukhov has taken roughly 11 days and six hours. …… Konyukhov is expected to land later Saturday.

Cameron balloon

Structure of the Cameron balloon image via Flyer.co.uk


 

Back to basics with an all-white US presidential election

July 23, 2016

The line-up is now Hillary Clinton /Tim Kaine versus Donald Trump/Mike Pence.

The US has persisted with its “diversity” experiment with Barack Obama across two terms and 8 years. That experiment has not worked all that well and the US is now returning to an all-white, all-Christians election. Not a minority in sight.

Back to basics.

all white election

  • one woman, three men
  • all white
  • all from relatively privileged backgrounds
  • all with good college educations. Clinton attended Wellesley and Yale; Trump graduated from Wharton; Kaine went to University of Missouri and Harvard; Pence was at Hanover College and Indiana University
  • all from Christian households. Clinton is a Methodist, Kaine a Catholic, Trump is Presbyterian and Pence is a Catholic turned Evangelical
  • Trump is 6’3″, Clinton is 5’5″ (but her PR claims 5’7″), Pence is 5’11” and Tim Kaine is 5’10”.
  • Trump is 70, Clinton is 69, Kaine is 58 and Pence is 57 years old.

Not all WASPs, but not very much “diversity” either. Of course, if Hillary Clinton wins, she will be the first woman to be President (though women really cannot be considered a minority in the US with 97 males for every 100 females). The Trump team is 11″ taller than the Clinton team. Both teams add up to the same age. Trump is the only one with a non-politician background. Three lawyers and one real-estate developer. All straight. No giants, no dwarves. No blacks, no Latinos, no Asian-Americans, no blue-collar experience, no military service. No Muslims, no atheists, no Buddhists and no Hindus.

The US has no need for a “white-supremacist” movement.


 

5 years today since the Utøya massacre

July 22, 2016

It was 5 years ago today, when Anders Behring Breivik massacred 77 people.

The victims of Oslo and Utøya: RIP

The torrent of words about Anders Behring Breivik is as nothing compared to the reality of the lives he snuffed out.

I found this montage of some of his victims unbelievably moving and more telling then many million words.

Courtesy and credit Aftonbladet:

The victims of the massacre in Norway : montage from Aftonbladet


The wolf of Perdana Putra (aka “Malaysian Official 1”)

July 21, 2016

Perdana Putra

Office of The Prime Minister of Malaysia, Main Block, Perdana Putra Building, Federal Government Administrative Centre, 62502 Putrajaya, MALAYSIA

1MDB rolls on and it is probably getting quite warm in Perdana Putra. But whether Najib Razak is feeling the heat is not so certain.

Wall Street JournalU.S. prosecutors have linked the prime minister of Malaysia, a key American ally in Asia, to hundreds of millions of dollars allegedly siphoned from one of the country’s economic development funds, according to a civil lawsuit seeking the seizure of more than $1 billion of assets from other people connected to him.

The Justice Department filed lawsuits Wednesday to seize assets that it said were the result of $3.5 billion that was misappropriated from 1Malaysia Development Bhd., or 1MDB, a fund set up by Prime Minister Najib Razak in 2009 to boost the Malaysian economy. …. Among the Justice Department’s assertions: That some $1 billion originating with 1MDB was plowed into hotels; luxury real estate in Manhattan, Beverly Hills and London; fine art; a private jet and the 2013 film “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Among those behind the spending, the lawsuit alleges, was Riza Aziz, stepson of Mr. Najib.

BBC: Malaysian PM Najib Razak is facing pressure internationally and at home amid US allegations of massive fraud at state investment fund 1MDB. The fund was set up by Mr Najib in 2009 with the stated aim of boosting the Malaysian economy.

But US Attorney General Loretta Lynch said evidence showed it had defrauded Malaysians “on an enormous scale”. On Wednesday, US authorities moved to seize more than $1bn (£761m) in assets related to the fund. Mr Najib is not named in the papers and has consistently denied wrongdoing.

But he is identifiable as “Malaysian Official 1”, whose account allegedly received millions in funds originating from 1MDB. The $1bn the US hopes to seize would make up only a proportion of the more than $3.5bn (£2.6bn) allegedly diverted.

I haven’t heard – yet – that Leonardo DiCaprio is being investigated.


 

Philippines President rejects Paris agreement as “stupid” and “absurd”

July 20, 2016

The Paris climate agreement is absurd.

It is politically correct but has meaningless objectives based on ineffective (if not irrelevant) parameters. Its promises are non-binding. However the global warming religion is like a runaway train with people scrambling to get on because they mistakenly believe the train is headed for safety. It is only a matter of time – though it may take a decade or two of global cooling – before the arrogance and absurdity of the climate movement is eventually exposed.

In the meantime, it is only mavericks and heretics who have the nerve to reject the orthodoxy. The new President Duterte of the Philippines is one such:

Philippine Daily Inquirer:

PRESIDENT Duterte on Monday said his administration would not honor the historic Paris Agreement on climate change that the Philippines adopted along with about 200 countries in December 2015, saying the covenant was “stupid” and “absurd.”

The tough-talking President said the international treaty, signed by countries that participated in the 21st Conference of Parties in France, would only limit the country’s industrial growth. Speaking at sendoff ceremonies in Malacañang for Filipino athletes bound for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the President said a foreign ambassador recently reminded him of the country’s commitment to limit its carbon emissions.

He said he was angry with the ambassador and “wanted to kick him” when the diplomat, whom he did not identify, asked him if the Philippines could maintain the level of its carbon footprints. “I said, ‘No. I cannot tell … You don’t do it that way, Mr. Ambassador. [Your country] has reached the apex [of industrialization] and along the way put a lot of contaminants and emissions, and went ahead in destroying the climate,’” the President recalled as telling the ambassador.

“We have not reached the age of industrialization. We’re now going into it. But you are trying to stymie [our growth] with an agreement that says you can only go up to here,” he added. “That’s stupid. I will not honor that.”

When the ambassador told him that the Philippines was a signatory to the agreement, Mr. Duterte replied: “That was not my signature. It’s not mine … I will not follow.”  The President also said the climate change agreement was forged just when the Philippines was on its way to develop its own industries. “Now that we’re developing, you will impose a limit?” he said. “That’s absurd.”

“That’s how very competitive and constricted our lives now. It’s being controlled by the world, it’s being imposed upon us by the industrialized countries. They think that they can dictate the destiny of the rest of the [world],” he added.

The mavericks of this world have a role in keeping the world honest and have their uses. The man-made emissions / global warming lie has lived for almost 4 decades. Eventually the lie will die as its doomsday projections are continuously pushed into never-never-land.


 

Trump nominated, as the clown trounces the media

July 20, 2016

I never thought he would actually get this far. I took him for a clown to begin with. Later, I remembered that clowns can have hidden depths. There are times in any show when it is time for the clown to come on, and when only a clown will do. He reminded me, from my own experiences, of my first impressions of Laloo Prasad Yadav and my later realisation of the shrewdness and native cunning that Laloo had (still has I suppose). I remembered that Trump was born rich but had indeed made himself much richer. Donald Trump hit a nerve and was perfectly placed – but not I think by design –  to catch and ride an anti-establishment wave. The wave is turning out to be a global phenomenon and may turn into a tsunami.

For 12 months now, he has faced the massed opposition and vilification of the media not only in the US, but globally. The media have been scathing and openly slanderous about Trump. The liberal-left media have been frothing at the mouth in their indignation and have been hard put to find the words to describe their revulsion and disgust (Washington Post, Boston Globe, Huff Post, The Guardian, Der Spiegel …..). The New York Times has been openly hostile but has tried to keep one foot on the fence. Some of the right-wing media have been vitriolic in their opposition (Fox, Red State) while others have pointedly refrained from total opposition and remained neutral (Drudge, Washington Times). Every TV channel in the US has been opposed to Trump.

media vs trump

And yet, Donald Trump is now the official Republican candidate for the Presidency of the US. He was expected to be the first hopeful to drop out. Instead the rivals he has trounced (Bush, Kasich, Carson, Rubio, Cruz, ….) were the cream of the establishment, Republican, heavyweights. Two years ago I though it would be a Clinton-Bush fight. But Jeb Bush was pulverised early on in the competition (and the Bush family are still sulking). It has been a remarkable triumph for Trump considering the unprecedented level of opposition from the media and the political establishment (including the Republican establishment). I have never in my lifetime seen the media so united in their opposition to a candidate. And yet, they have all failed, and failed quite miserably, in their objective to “stop Trump”. The dismal failure of the media is all the more pronounced considering their almost unanimous opposition. Trump has reached and touched and ridden something above and beyond the control of the media. perhaps even beyond their understanding. He has connected with support which actually feeds and grows on the media opposition to him. Every time an establishment figure has castigated Trump, his support has grown. He backtracks on previous statements but never apologises. He makes gaffes which are quickly forgotten. He makes outrageous statements about ridiculous policies and his support does not desert him. It is mood – not issues – that seems to be controlling.

Those who have been particularly outspoken against him are now realising that it might not be such a good idea to completely alienate somebody who could be President in November. President Trump? It still sounds like a fantasy.

The wrong person? Or another Reagan? A catastrophe? Or an inspired choice? But, in the unfolding drama that is the US, it does begin to look like he could be the right clown with the right mood, for the right audience, in the right place, at the right time.

Quick, send in the clowns.
Don’t bother, they’re here.

 

 

So, why is brainwashing of children perfectly acceptable?

July 19, 2016

Yesterday a radicalised, 17 year old, Afghan refugee, armed with an axe and knives, shouting “Allahu Akbar”, went on a rampage on a train in Würzburg, Germany. He wounded 4 seriously and injured many others and was shot dead.

It seems that “freedom of religion” includes the fundamental right to brainwash children. It is not only allowed but is encouraged. Is it then surprising that a radicalisation epidemic is now raging? There is very little “freedom” here.

children - catholic Erbil image catholicnewsagency

catholic refugee children in Erbil image catholicnewsagency

children - islamic kidergarden Austria - Getty images

children – islamic kindergarden Austria – Getty images

children - hindu image The Hindu

children – hindu image The Hindu

children -buddhist school Thailand image -The Guardian

children -buddhist school Thailand image -The Guardian

Most people are not prone to radicalisation. But having been brainwashed as a child does make for good preparation.

Belief, and religions, only exist in the “Space of Ignorance”. Any true belief ought to be the result of a cognitive-emotional process followed by every individual. It is hardly true belief when it is force-fed to children long before they have reached emotional or cognitive maturity.

What is not knowledge is ignorance. Religions only exist in the Space of Ignorance


 


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