Update: Hong Kong University Staff, Students Hold Silent March in Protest

Hong Kong University Staff Defend HKU Autonomy


Right now at university of hong kong, 6 october 2015


Homeless Woman Lay Dead in Hong Kong McDonald’s for Hours 

The woman was thought to have regularly spent nights in the McDonald’s. Photograph: Anat Givon/AP

Woman aged between 50 and 60 entered the restaurant 24 hours earlier, but police were not called for several hours.

A homeless woman lay dead at a Hong Kong McDonald’s restaurant for hours surrounded by diners before authorities were called.

“The subject was certified dead at the scene.”

The woman, aged between 50 and 60, was found dead on Saturday morning and has been held up as an example of the growing number of homeless people who seek shelter in 24-hour restaurants.

“We endeavour to support street sleepers to enhance their self-reliance…the subject is a complex social problem.”

“Officers arrived upon a report from a female customer [that a person was found to have fainted],” said police in a statement.

“The subject was certified dead at the scene.”

Local media said the woman was slumped at a table, 24 hours after she first entered the restaurant in the working class district of Ping Shek.

She had not moved for seven hours before fellow diners noticed something was wrong, according to Apple Daily, citing CCTV footage.

The woman was thought to have regularly spent nights in the McDonald’s, said the South China Morning Post. Read the rest of this entry »

Glenn Harlan Reynolds: Is the Gun Lobby Still Invincible? Yeah, Pretty Much


A Power Derived From Mistrust of Police and Government

Glenn_Reynolds-thumbStandardGlenn Harlan Reynolds writes: Is the gun lobby still invincible? Yeah, pretty much. The reason is trust. And if you want more trust, police and politicians must be more trustworthy.

In 2012, Room for Debate asked ”Is the Gun Lobby Invincible?” Since then, the answer has turned out to be “yeah, pretty much.” And the reason is trust.


According to a recent Pew poll, more Americans support gun rights than gun control. That represents a significant shift over the situation a few decades ago. And I believe the reason is that people don’t trust the government to protect them anymore, and, in fact, that they don’t trust the government in general….(read more)

Source: NYTimes.com

Glenn Harlan Reynolds is the Beauchamp Brogan distinguished professor of law at the University of Tennessee College of Law in Knoxville.

Oregon Sheriff: ‘Gun Control is NOT the Answer’, and Residents Agree

Sheriff John Hanlin informed the vice president he didn’t plan to enforce any laws he found unconstitutional. His deputies wouldn’t either.

Marisa Gerbe writes: “I think that’s the worst thing in the world that can happen,” said Kellim, 86, who runs KC’s Exchange gun shop out of her home.

The words “2nd Amendment” are pasted in a decal onto her front door and there’s a Rifle Range Street nearby. In Roseburg, deer antlers line people’s driveways and locals hardly notice the pop-pop-pop of gunfire from nearby shooting ranges.

“What I fear most, is that we’re going to create criminals … out of some of our most ordinary, normal, law-abiding citizens.”

“This is hunting territory,” Kellim said, smiling proudly. Her views about guns — and who should be able to buy them — didn’t change, she said, when a gunman shot and killed nine people and wounded at least nine others at Umpqua Community College not far from her home.

Iconic sign at the East Wind Drive In, Cascade Locks, Oregon

“Watch, listen, and keep an open mind.”

In Connecticut, state leaders called for stricter firearm laws after the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.

People in Tucson rallied behind then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who became a loud supporter of gun reform after surviving a 2011 shooting at a grocery store.

[Read the full story here, at the LA Times]

And when a 22-year-old man stabbed and shot several students in Santa Barbara County last year, one of the victims’ fathers, who grew up hunting, went on every national TV station that invited him and begged for stricter gun laws.

Ross William Hamilton/The Oregonian Dick and Gloria Shafer, pictured with their 9-year-old son, John, run an excavation business in Elgin. They are so frightened of drug violence, especially after a triple homicide at their town, that they say they sleep with handguns close at hand. Gloria Shafer keeps her 9 mm gun under her pillow.

Ross William Hamilton/The Oregonian. Dick and Gloria Shafer, pictured with their 9-year-old son, John, run an excavation business in Elgin. They are so frightened of drug violence, especially after a triple homicide at their town, that they say they sleep with handguns close at hand. Gloria Shafer keeps her 9 mm gun under her pillow.

The tone in Roseburg is different.

An ex-girlfriend of a surviving victim scoffed at the idea of tightening gun laws, and Kendra Godon, an elementary education student who hid from the shooting in a nearby classroom, said she hoped her community’s tragedy wouldn’t get spun into the national debate about firearms.

“That’s not the issue,” she said.

John Hanlin, Douglas County’s sheriff and the public face of the community since the shooting, is also an outspoken critic of increasing gun control.

On his work biography, the broad-shouldered lawman who once attended Umpqua Community College lists three interests: fishing, riding his Harley and hunting.


When Vice President Joe Biden asked for stricter gun laws after the Newtown killings, Hanlin decided to speak up.

He wrote Biden a letter. Read the rest of this entry »

Pew Research Center: Gun Homicide Rate Down 49% Since 1993 Peak; Public Unaware 


Compared with 1993, the peak of U.S. gun homicides, the firearm homicide rate was 49% lower in 2010, and there were fewer deaths, even though the nation’s population grew.

By  and 

Chapter 1: Overview

National rates of gun homicide and other violent gun crimes are strikingly lower now than during their peak in the mid-1990s, paralleling a general decline in violent crime, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of government data. Beneath the long-term trend, though, are big differences by decade: Violence plunged through the 1990s, but has declined less dramatically since 2000.


Compared with 1993, the peak of U.S. gun homicides, the firearm homicide rate was 49% lower in 2010, and there were fewer deaths, even though the nation’s population grew. The victimization rate for other violent crimes with a firearm—assaults, robberies and sex crimes—was 75% lower in 2011 than in 1993. Violent non-fatal crime victimization overall (with or without a firearm) also is down markedly (72%) over two decades.

Nearly all the decline in the firearm homicide rate took place in the 1990s; the downward trend stopped in 2001 and resumed slowly in 2007. The victimization rate for other gun crimes plunged in the 1990s, then declined more slowly from 2000 to 2008. The rate appears to be higher in 2011 compared with 2008, but the increase is not statistically significant. Violent non-fatal crime victimization overall also dropped in the 1990s before declining more slowly from 2000 to 2010, then ticked up in 2011.

Despite national attention to the issue of firearm violence, most Americans are unaware that gun crime is lower today than it was two decades ago. According to a new Pew Research Center survey, today 56% of Americans believe gun crime is higher than 20 years ago and only 12% think it is lower.


Looking back 50 years, the U.S. gun homicide rate began rising in the 1960s, surged in the 1970s, and hit peaks in 1980 and the early 1990s. (The number of homicides peaked in the early 1990s.) The plunge in homicides after that meant that firearm homicide rates inmust-think-hardthe late 2000s were equal to those not seen since the early 1960s.The sharp decline in the U.S. gun homicide rate, combined with a slower decrease in the gun suicide
rate, means that gun suicides now account for six-in-ten firearms deaths, the highest share since at least 1981.

Trends for robberies followed a similar long-term trajectory as homicides (National Research Council, 2004), hitting a peak in the early 1990s before declining.

This report examines trends in firearm homicide, non-fatal violent gun crime victimization and non-fatal violent crime victimization overall since 1993. Its findings on firearm crime are based mainly on analysis of data from two federal agencies. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, using information from death certificates, are the source of rates, counts and trends for all firearm deaths, homicide and suicide, unless otherwise specified. The Department of Justice’s National Crime Victimization Survey, a household survey conducted by the Census Bureau, supplies annual estimates of non-fatal crime victimization, including those where firearms are used, regardless of whether the crimes were reported to police. Where relevant, this report also quotes from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports (see text box at the end of this chapter and the Methodology appendix for more discussion about data sources).


Researchers have studied the decline in firearm crime and violent crime for many years, and though there are theories to explain the decline, there is no consensus among those who study the issue as to why it happened.

There also is debate about the extent of gun ownership in the U.S., although no disagreement that the U.S. has more civilian firearms, both total and per capita, than other nations. Compared with other developed nations, the U.S. has a higher homicide rate and higher rates of gun ownership, but not higher rates for all other crimes. (See Chapter 5 for more details.)

In the months since the mass shooting at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school in December, the public is paying close attention to the topic of firearms; according to a recent Pew Research Center survey (Pew Research Center, April 2013) no story received more public attention from mid-March to early April than the debate over gun control. Reducing crime has moved up as a priority for the public in polling this year.

Mass shootings are a matter of great public interest and concern. They also are a relatively small share of shootings overall. According to a Bureau of Justice Statistics review, homicides that claimed at least three lives accounted for less than 1% of all homicide deaths from 1980 to 2008. These homicides, most of which are shootings, increased as a share of all homicides from 0.5% in 1980 to 0.8% in 2008, according to the bureau’s data. A Congressional Research Service report, using a definition of four deaths or more, counted 547 deaths from mass shootings in the U.S. from 1983 to 2012.

Looking at the larger topic of firearm deaths, there were 31,672 deaths from guns in the U.S. in 2010. Most (19,392) were suicides; the gun suicide rate has been higher than the gun homicide rate since at least 1981, and the gap is wider than it was in 1981.


Knowledge About Crime


Despite the attention to gun violence in recent months, most Americans are unaware that gun crime is markedly lower than it was two decades ago. A new Pew Research Center survey (March 14-17) found that 56% of Americans believe the number of crimes involving a gun is higher than it was 20 years ago; only 12% say it is lower and 26% say it stayed the same. (An additional 6% did not know or did not answer.)

Men (46%) are less likely than women (65%) to say long-term gun crime is up. Young adults, ages 18 to 29, are markedly less likely than other adults to say long-term crime is up—44% do, compared with more than half of other adults. Minority adults are more likely than non-Hispanic whites to say that long-term gun crime is up, 62% compared with 53%.

Asked about trends in the number of gun crimes “in recent years,” a plurality of 45% believe the number has gone up, 39% say it is about the same and 10% say it has gone down. (An additional 5% did not know or did not answer.) As with long-term crime, women (57%) are more likely than men (32%) to say that gun crime has increased in recent years. So are non-white adults (54%) compared with whites (41%). Adults ages 50 and older (51%) are more likely than those ages 18-49 (42%) to believe gun crime is up.

What is Behind the Crime Decline?

Researchers continue to debate the key factors behind changing crime rates, which is part of a larger discussion about the predictors of crime. There is consensus that demographics played some role: The outsized post-World War II baby boom, which produced a large number of people in the high-crime ages of 15 to 20 in the 1960s and 1970s, helped drive crime up in those years.

A review by the National Academy of Sciences of factors driving recent crime trends (Blumstein and Rosenfeld, 2008) cited a decline in rates in the early 1980s as the young boomers got older, then a flare-up by mid-decade in conjunction with a rising street market for crack cocaine, especially in big cities. It noted recruitment of a younger cohort of drug seller with greater willingness to use guns. By the early 1990s, crack markets withered in part because of lessened demand, and the vibrant national economy made it easier for even low-skilled young people to find jobs rather than get involved in crime.

At the same time, a rising number of people ages 30 and older were incarcerated, due in part to stricter laws, which helped restrain violence among this age group. It is less clear, researchers say, that innovative policing strategies and police crackdowns on use of guns by younger adults played a significant role in reducing crime.

Some researchers have proposed additional explanations as to why crime levels plunged so suddenly, including increased access to abortion and lessened exposure to lead. According to one hypothesis, legalization of abortion after the 1973 Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision resulted in fewer unwanted births, and unwanted children have an increased risk of growing up to become criminals. Another theory links reduced crime to 1970s-era reductions in lead in gasoline; children’s exposure to lead causes brain damage that could be associated with violent behavior. The National Academy of Sciences review said it was unlikely that either played a major role, but researchers continue to explore both factors.


The plateau in national violent crime rates has raised interest in the topic of how local differences might influence crime levels and trends. Crime reductions took place across the country in the 1990s, but since 2000, patterns have varied more by metropolitan area or city.

One focus of interest is that gun ownership varies widely by region and locality. The National Academy of Sciences review of possible influences on crime trends said there is good evidence of a link between firearm ownership and firearm homicide at the local level; “the causal direction of this relationship remains in dispute, however, with some researchers maintaining that firearm violence elevates rates of gun ownership, but not the reverse.” Read the rest of this entry »

The Imaginary ‘Gun Show Loophole’: Why Hillary Clinton’s Proposal Is A Joke

Here’s how Slate described Hillary Clinton’s proposal:

What makes Clinton’s plan particularly noteworthy, though, is her suggestion that she’d be able to go it alone on at least one of the proposals if elected president: the gun show loophole.

Photo by: Brennan Linsley

And just how would she do that? According to her campaign, even if Congress were unwilling to act, Clinton would be able to use her executive authority to tweak the existing rules to reclassify anyone who sells a “significant number of guns” as someone “in the business of selling firearms”—a distinction that would make those high-volume private vendors who sell guns at gun shows
and over the Internet subject to the same rules as larger, licensed brick-and-mortar retailers. Clinton doesn’t appear to have settled on an answer to the question of just how many guns constitutes a “significant” number, but even if her chosen definition didn’t close the loophole completely, it would at least shrink it.

[Read the full text here, at TheFederalist.com]

Such an effort could face legal challenges in the courts and, at the very least, a guaranteed NRA-led political freakout in Washington. And, even if the effort survived both, it wouldn’t come close to ending gun violence in the United States. But for gun safety advocates and like-minded voters who are desperate for action on a problem that can feel politically impossible, Clinton’s outside-the-box plan will be a welcome start.

[Also see – Don’t Play the Shooters’ Game by Kevin D. Williamson]

Slate’s Josh Voorhees characterized Clinton’s plan as “clever,” which leads me to the inescapable conclusion that neither Voorhees nor Hillary Clinton is even remotely familiar with existing federal gun laws.


For starters, the federal government already has the statutory authority to define who does and does not qualify as an individual “in the business of selling firearms.” It derives that authority from 18 U.S. Code § 921. Here’s how the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) specifically defines whether an individual is engaged in the business of selling firearms and should therefore be subject to federal firearms licensee (FFL) requirements:

Dealer in firearms — a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to dealing in firearms as a regular course of trade or business
with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the repetitive purchase and resale of firearms, but such term shall not include a person who makes occasional sales, exchanges, or purchases of firearms for the enhancement of a personal collection or
for a hobby, or who sells all or part of his personal collection of firearms (18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(21)(C));

[Order John R. Lott’s essential book “More Guns, Less Crime” at Amazon]

Here’s the federal statute from which the ATF derives its existing authority to define who is and isn’t engaged in the business of selling guns:

(21) The term “engaged in the business” means—
(A) as applied to a manufacturer of firearms, a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to manufacturing firearms as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the sale or distribution of the
firearms manufactured;
(B) as applied to a manufacturer of ammunition, a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to manufacturing ammunition as
a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the sale or distribution of the ammunition manufactured;
(C) as applied to a dealer in firearms, as defined in section 921(a)(11)(A), a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to dealing in firearms as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the repetitive purchase and resale of firearms, but such term shall not include a person who makes occasional sales, exchanges, or purchases of firearms for the enhancement of a personal collection or for a hobby, or who sells all or part of his personal collection of firearms;
(D) as applied to a dealer in firearms, as defined in section 921(a)(11)(B), a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to engaging in such activity as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit, but such term shall not include a person who makes occasional repairs of firearms, or who occasionally fits special barrels, stocks, or trigger mechanisms to firearms;
(E) as applied to an importer of firearms, a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to importing firearms as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the sale or distribution of the firearms imported;
(F) as applied to an importer of ammunition, a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to importing ammunition as a
regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the sale or distribution of the ammunition imported.


Contra Hillary Clinton’s campaign, “high-volume private vendors” cannot legally exist under current law. Under the ATF’s existing definition, it is impossible to sell high volumes of firearms without triggering the definition of a dealer in firearms. The “repetitive purchase and resale of firearms” makes you a dealer, not a private individual. Anything other than “occasional sales” makes you a dealer, not a private individual. Unlicensed dealing is against the law. Refusing to conduct background checks as a dealer (licensed or not) is against the law.
Read the rest of this entry »

[VIDEO] Size Doesn’t Matter: Brave 20-Pound Dog Chases Bears Away from California Home

MONROVIA, Calif. — A 20-pound French bulldog scared off three bears who had wandered into the front yard of a California home.

“She blew me away, couldn’t believe that she turned into a Wolverine.”

Security cameras captured two of the three bears, about a year old each, walking around the home when the family guard dog spotted them.

Jules was apparently not scared of the cubs’ size or being outnumbered. Video shows the dog chasing the cubs off of her turf. Read the rest of this entry »

[INFOGRAPHIC] How to File a Freedom of Information Act Request

Though it has been in place since 1967, some of us don’t fully understand—or take advantage of—the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The act, often described as the law that keeps citizens in the know about their government, requires federal agencies to disclose requested information. While there are nine specific exemptions, the FOIA grants citizens a wide range of information controlled by the U.S. government.

As election season nears, and in light of an outbreak of high profile investigations into government dealings, FOIA requests have gained currency as an indispensable tool to shed light on the inner workings of public affairs.

Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen testifies under subpoena before the House Oversight Committee as lawmakers continue their probe of whether tea party groups were improperly targeted for increased scrutiny by the IRS, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, June 23, 2014. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Especially in the internet age, citizens should have free and unrestricted access to government information. As an essential tool to gain access to the troves of electronic information at the heart of the biggest, most important government disputes, FOIA requests are crucial for a transparent democracy. But to tap into the heaps of information, electronic and otherwise, you need to know how to file a request and identify the nine exemptions. This infographic clearly details the process of filing a request under the act as well as what happens once a request is made.

Source: logikcull.com

Angry Hillary Clinton Casts a Spell on Republicans for Benghazi Investigation


 reports: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton unloaded on Congress’ Benghazi investigation during a Monday morning interview on the “Today” show.

A visibly angry Clinton tore into the Republican-led Select Committee on Benghazi when she was asked how she would react to hypothetical GOP leaders facing scrutiny over their own government email use.

“Look at the situation they chose to exploit, to go after me for political reasons: the death of four Americans in Benghazi,” Clinton said. “I knew the ambassador. I identified him. I asked him to go there. I asked the president to nominate him.”

Voila_Capture 2015-10-5_10-27-55_am

Clinton, the Democratic presidential front-runner, has struggled to answer questions over her own email use in recent months. Clinton exclusively used a private email server while at the State Department, and the FBI is investigating whether any information was mishandled in connection to the account.

She long dismissed the scrutiny but, after she tumbled a bit in polls, recently started apologizing and opening up her campaign to the media. Read the rest of this entry »

[PHOTO] ‘The Human Squirrel’, 1918


The “Human Squirrel” who did many daring stunts in climbing for benefit of War Relief Funds in New York City. He is shown here at a dizzy height in Times Square. Times Photo Service., ca. 1918.

Kerry Downs Another Vodka Shot As The Last Of Putin’s Security Detail Passes Out

NOVOSINKOVO, RUSSIA—Staring directly into the drooping eyes of the woozy, flushed henchman sitting across from him in the back room of a dimly lit tavern, Secretary of State John Kerry reportedly downed another vodka shot Sunday night as the last of Russian president Vladimir Putin’s security detail passed out beside him. “Nostrovia!” said Kerry as he slammed down the upturned shot glass next to dozens of others…(read more)


John Tierney in NY Times: Recycling was ‘Garbage’ in 1996, it’s Still That Way Today, and the Future Looks Even Worse


Recycling was Bullshit Then, and it’s Bullshit Now.

 writes: In 1996, New York Times science columnist John Tierney wrote an article that appeared in the New York Times Magazine about compulsory recycling titled “Recycling is Garbage.” Tierney’s controversial argument in that article can be summarized as follows: Recycling may be the most wasteful activity in modern America. Tierney wrote, “Rinsing out tuna cans and tying up eye-roll-onewspapers may make you feel virtuous, but it’s a waste of time and money, a waste of human and natural resources. Americans have embraced recycling as a transcendental experience, an act of moral redemption. We’re not just reusing our garbage; we’re performing a rite of atonement for the sin of excess.” Now you can understand why Tierney’s recycling article set the all-time record for the greatest volume of hate mail ever recorded in the history of the New York Times Magazine.

Because it was one of the first and most effective challenges to the naive, pro-recycling propaganda that has been used to successfully brainwash millions of American school children for the last quarter century, I’ve featured John Tierney’s classic recycling article on CD many times over the years (especially around the “green holy days” known as “Earth Day” and “America Recycles Day”), including hereherehere, and here.

Bonus Video. In the Penn and Teller video below on recycling, they refer to John Tierney’s 1996 NYT article, and further explain why recycling is an activity that involves “feeling good for no reason.”

It’s been almost 20 years since John Tierney taught us that “recycling is garbage.” Fortunately, he has just provided a recycling update in today’s New York Times with a new article titled “The Reign of Recycling.” So, what has happened over the last two decades? According to Tierney, “While it’s true that the recyclingliberal-huh message religion has reached more people converts than ever, when it comes to the bottom line, both economically and environmentally, not much has changed at all.” And what about recycling’s future? It “looks even worse,” says Tierney.

Here’s a condensed version of Tierney’s new article on recycling, with my section titles and emphasis:

1. Background. In 1996, I wrote a long article for The New York Times Magazine (“Recycling is Garbage”) arguing that the recycling process as we carried it out was wasteful. I presented plenty of evidence that recycling was costly and ineffectual, but its defenders said that it was unfair to rush to judgment. Noting that the modern recycling movement had really just begun just a few years earlier, they predicted it would flourish as the industry matured and the public learned how to recycle properly. So, what’s happened since then? While it’s true that the recycling message has reached more people than ever, when it comes to the bottom line, both economically and environmentally, not much has changed at all.

[Read the full text here, at AEIdeas]

Despite decades of exhortations and mandates, it’s still typically more expensive for municipalities to recycle household waste than to send it to a landfill. Prices for recyclable materials have plummeted because of lower oil prices and reduced demand for them overseas. The slump has forced some recycling companies to shut plants and cancel plans for new technologies. The future for recycling looks even worse. As cities move beyond recycling paper and metals, and into glass, food scraps and assorted plastics, the costs rise sharply while the environmental benefits decline and sometimes vanish. Read the rest of this entry »

Canada’s Left-Wing Liberal & New Democratic Parties on the ‘Wrong Side of History’? 

Muslim women in niqab face veils as worn by Rebekah Dawson, who has been told she can wear the veil in court but must remove it to give evidence. Photograph: Don Mcphee for the Guardian

Face Veil Controversy Rocks Canada’s National Elections.

John Fund writes:

Vancouver, British Columbia — Canada holds national elections on October 19, and the race there has taken a surprising turn. The ruling Conservative party is making political hay over a court decision that killed its ban on women wearing the niqab — or face veil — while taking the oath of citizenship. The opposition left-wing Liberal and New Democratic parties have been pounded relentlessly for not opposing use of the niqab. Conservatives have moved from third place into first place in the polls and are currently the only party with a shot at winning a majority of seats in Parliament. A full 83 percent of voters back the Conservatives’ position on the Muslim face veil….(read more)

Source: National Review Online

Meet The African-American Billionaire Businessman Who’s Richer Than Michael Jordan

Robert F. Smith makes his debut on the Forbes 400 as the second-richest African-American, based on years of hard work and high achievement in the software industry….(read more)

Source: Forbes

I Had the Spooky Halloween Black Burger

black-burger-fries black-burger

It was good! Actually, it tasted like a regular Whopper. But the novelty was irresistible.

Read more…



Power Games: Vladimir the Ball-Breaker vs Barack the Passive Metrosexual


Matt K Lewis writes: As was the case when Russians invaded Ukraine, the Russians cloaked their activity in lies.

In the former example, Russian soldiers didn’t wear uniforms, a thinly-veiled move meant to create the impression the fighters were merely Ukrainian “separatists.”

“In the vast majority of the world, power (or the perception of power) is what matters. In America, President Obama’s brand of metrosexual coolness works well.”

Likewise, Wednesday’s bombings ostensibly targeted Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil); in fact, the strikes were aimed at moderate rebels and civilians – part of a plan to take out any opposition to their client, Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.

President Bashar al-Assad claimed the British Government is "determined to militarise the problem" in Syria

Syrian President Bashir al-Assad Photo: REUTERS

This all comes on the heels of President Barack Obama’s drawing of a “red line” regarding the use of chemical weapons, only to back down when the Assad regime – by most accounts – used them.

This past week, White House press secretary Josh Earnest strained credulity when he said Mr Obama doesn’t regret drawing that red line.


“For those paying attention, Mr Obama’s foreign policy world-view has failed.”

Weakness invites provocation, and – never one to miss an opportunity to outmanoeuvre Mr Obama – Mr Putin provided a self-serving opportunity that would also allow the president to save face: Moscow would push Syria to put their chemical weapons under international control.

It’s also important to note that in the wake of the red line being trampled, Russia invaded Crimea. President Obama’s legacy may be mixed, but one thing is for sure: Vladimir Putin is much more powerful and provocative than he was before Mr Obama took office, and Russia has only expanded its sphere of influence.

[Read the full text here, at Telegraph]

The Syria bombings also come almost immediately after Mr Putin met with Mr Obama at the UN where they agreed to “deconflict” military operations – a very Obama-esque line that Mr Putin immediately crossed.

Smoke rises after airstrikes in Kafr Nabel of the Idlib province, western Syria. Russian jets carried out a second day of airstrikes in Syria Thursday, but there were conflicting claims about whether they were targeting Islamic State and al-Qaeda militants or trying to shore up the defenses of President Bashar Assad.

Russian bombs exploding outside Idlib Photo: Hadi Al-Abdallah via AP

And prior to bombing our friends in Syria, the Russians also had the audacity to issue a “démarche” for the US to clear air space over northern Syria. As if that weren’t enough, this came just as reports that the Russians attempted to hack Hillary Clinton’s email server.

For those paying attention, Mr Obama’s foreign policy world-view has failed.

The suggestion that America could leave a vacuum that wouldn’t be filled by our adversaries – the idea that the “international community” (whatever that means) would respect us more if we were to retreat from the world – was always a farce.
Read the rest of this entry »

China’s Desperate Battle Against Separatist Terrorism

Zunyou Zhou writes: Thailand’s police have linked the August 17 bomb attack on the Erawan Shrine, a popular tourist attraction in Bangkok, to Uighurs, a largely Muslim ethnic group some of whom have been fleeing Chinese rule. The bombing killed 20 people, including seven Chinese tourists, and injured more than 100 others. Nobody has claimed responsibility for one of the worst terrorist incidents in recent Thai history.

Two men are currently in Thai custody: one is an ethnic Uighur carrying a Chinese passport while the other’s nationality hasn’t been confirmed. Thai police and security analysts have said that the perpetrators may have sought retaliation for Thailand’s forced repatriation to China of more than 100 Uighurs in July or for Bangkok’s crackdown on a human smuggling ring that had transported Uighurs from China to Turkey.

If the Thai allegation proves to be true, the blast would mark a rare spillover of violence related to Uighurs outside China. This attack would add a new dimension to the serious issue of terrorism in China, with significant security implications not only for China but also for Turkey, Thailand and other transit countries in connection with the movement of Uighurs.


Uighurs are a Turkic-speaking minority group who call China’s far-western Xinjiang region home. Overseas-based exile groups and campaigners say that Uighurs face brutal repression in China; Beijing denies any religious or cultural discrimination and maintains that its policies help bring stabilityand prosperity to Xinjiang.

[Read the full story here, at WSJ]

Since 2008, China has faced an increasing number of violent attacks which Beijing has blamed on Uighur separatists connected to overseas terrorist organizations. The violence had typically been confined to Xinjiang until October 2013 when a jeep careened onto the sidewalk near Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, killing two pedestrians and injuring more than 40 others; the three perpetrators set the vehicle on fire, taking their lives.

Several months later, a handful of Uighurs mounted a mass knifing at a train station in the southwestern city of Kunming, leaving at least 29 civilians dead and more than 140 others wounded. Beijing said the perpetrators were separatists who had carried out the attack after they failed to flee China for Southeast Asia. Read the rest of this entry »


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 6,525 other followers