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Archive for February, 2016

The Caustic Side Effects of Looking to Supreme Court Justices as Umpires

February 26th, 2016 No comments

U.S. Supreme Court[Editor’s Note: This piece was first published at the Huffington Post]

According to Chief Justice Roberts, judges are baseball umpires who apply rules impartially to disputes. As neutral actors, judges make everyone play by the rules but do not take sides themselves.

But with members of Senate locked in a heated debate whether Obama or the next president should name Scalia’s replacement, we are reminded yet again just how political Supreme Court Justices have become.

In decisions after decisions, the Court has waded into the most politically contested issues of the day, from abortion to gay rights to campaign contribution limits to national health insurance. Scholars now routinely predict how each Justice will vote based on his or her ideological persuasions alone, irrespective of the legal issues presented.

Justice Roberts would like us to reminisce wistfully about a day when judges were umpires of the law. But I don’t think that day ever existed. Read more…

Categories: Analysis Tags: , ,

Donald Trump

February 24th, 2016 34 comments

It is frequently claimed that Winston Churchill once said “democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others”. Now that Donald Trump is on the verge of locking up the nomination as Republican candidate for POTUS, and U.S. surely is on the cusp to become fascist if he wins the nomination and the resulting election, I wonder if that statement should remove the qualifier. One TV commentator said in a daze when analyzing the Nevada cuscus that Republican Party just suffered a hostile takeover. I wonder whether U.S. will have a willing takeover as Germany did in 1932 by Adolf Hitler. Some may consider my sentiment alarmist, but given the angers from both the right and left exemplified by Trump and Sanders and the high turnouts in those primaries I think my worries may become nightmare. Let’s enumerate the promises flowed from Trump, build a wall on the border to Mexico and Mexico better pay for it, deport 12 million illegal aliens. 35% tariffs of goods from China, take oils from Iraq and maybe Iran for U.S. military expenses in Middle East, and I am sure soon will be threats against China. Surely those campaign promises are meaningless, or are they? And I thought I am too old to worry about climate warming which will raise sea levels 20 feet in a few hundred years.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Western Media’s Monkey Business

February 19th, 2016 2 comments

Happy Year of the Monkey everyone. Sadly the first monkey related blogpost on HH is about Western media’s on going monkey business when it comes to China reporting.

For 2016, the first salvo is about the shameless nouveau riche of China illegally owning endangered “thumb monkey” of Amazon:

MetroHeadline

However quick Google fact check revealed this story is, again, monkey business. Here are some facts about “thumb monkey”, aka “pocket monkey”, aka “pygmy marmoset”:

1) Contrary to condemnation, pygmy marmoset is not endangered or threatened. IUCN conservation status for pygmy marmoset is it’s not threatened in any major way:

Least Concern – Lowest risk; does not qualify for a higher risk category. Widespread and abundant taxa are included in this category

Seems some just noticed IUCN had a Red List publication for pygmy marmoset and assumed it is endangered, without scrutinizing what the Red List publication actually said:

pygmymarmoset

2) Pygmy marmoset is available for sale in US and UK as pet. Google “pet pygmy marmoset” showed some very ordinary stuff on permitting, sales, and care of this creature. This one I’m most incredulous about – would an endangered spices be so readily available for sale in enlightened first world nations?

In contrast, Google pygmy marmoset with keyword “China” revealed a multitude of vitriol against the evil Chinese, on behalf of this suddenly poor, endangered species. Even worse when adding the keyword “endangered” (note the article count actually goes up):

pygmymarmosetendangered

3) Another fallacy is that pygmy marmoset is illegal in China. Actually importation of exotic mammals are legal in China, subject to quarantine and permitting regulations. It is illegal to circumvent quarantine (which unscrupulous vendors in China, as well as US, UK, do.) Here’s what China’s regulation on Wildlife Domestication and Rearing Permit says:

第三条 具备下列条件的单位和个人,可以申请《驯养繁殖许可证》:
(一) 有适宜驯养繁殖野生动物的固定场所和必需的设施;
(二) 具备与驯养繁殖野生动物种类、数量相适应的资金、人员的技术;
(三) 驯养繁殖野生动物的饲料来源有保证。

Article 3 Qualification For Business Entity and Individual To Apply “Wild Life Domesticaiton and Rearing Permit”:
(1) Having permanent location, appropriate and necessary facility, equipment for domestication and rearing the wild animal;
(2) Possessing needed capital, expertise, for domestication and rearing the wild animal;
(3) Gauranteed food supply for domestication and rearing the wild animal.

Here’s a very recent coverage about a company in Hangzhou importing small monkeys, and monkeys passing their 30-day quarantine.

Monkey business, or business as usual? You decide.

Categories: Analysis, media Tags: ,

Free Speech Definitely Doesn’t Mean Cost Notwithstanding Speech

February 17th, 2016 1 comment

The recent post by pugster about rioters in Hong Kong brought to my mind some thoughts I had as the Umbrella Revolution was flaming out a couple of years ago.

One of the arguments many people in the West used to denigrate the HK and Mainland government in support of the Umbrella movement was that the rioters had a right to block streets and shut down districts to get their message out.  When some Hong Kongers – siding with HK and Mainland government – pushed back that while freedom of speech grants them the right to protest but not a right to shut down entire districts, they were ridiculed and shamed by the Western press.

Of course, as we know, when the occupy movement flamed across the Western capitals of the world, those governments acted very differently.  The police (even paramilitary forces) soon cracked down and order was soon restored.  But in China, so-called rule of law quickly gets tossed aside in the name of mob rule (I mean “democracy”).  All this reinforced in my mind how “political” “free” speech is.  It is “free” when the politics is palatable.  But when it’s not, the “costs” – be it national security, social peace, whatever – gets framed as the main (only) issues.

This reminds me of another story last year when the Pope visited the U.S.  If people remember, the pope got a “rock star” reception from the media – with the press trumpeting how popular, socially and morally in tune the pope is, especially compared to China’s President Xi (also visiting the U.S. around the same time) who allegedly got a stiff and cool reception. Read more…

How would this story be reported if it were China asking Apple for a way to get into a Terrorist’s phone?

February 17th, 2016 15 comments

Interesting story from NYT today titled “Judge Tells Apple to Help Unlock San Bernardino Gunman’s iPhone.”

Here is an excerpt:

WASHINGTON — A judge in California on Tuesday ordered Apple to help the F.B.I. unlock an iPhone used by one of the attackers in the assault in San Bernardino that killed 14 people in December.

The ruling handed the F.B.I. a potentially important victory in its long-running battle with Apple and other Silicon Valley companies over the government’s ability to get access to encrypted data in investigations. Apple has maintained that requiring it to provide the “keys” to its technology would compromise the security of the information of hundreds of millions of users.

Read more…

Hong Kong Rioters at it again.

February 9th, 2016 6 comments

It seems that the Western Paid Rioters are at it again, this time they are ‘protesting’ against the removal of Illegal food stalls in Mong Kok and starting their ‘fishball revolution.’

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-35529587

These Right wing rioters including the HK IndigenousCivic PassionHong Kong Localism PowerHong Kong Independence Party that has plagued Hong Kong about 18 months ago with their ‘Umbrella revolution’ threw bricks, started fires, and beat up on police and reporters.   Western propaganda seems to fixate on 2 warning shots up the air.  Sad on the state of Hong Kong that this kind of riots are even tolerated because if this kind of stuff would happen in America these people would be promptly jailed as terrorists.