Xi v. Christians

China demolished a church.   Not just any church; this was an impressive megachurch that was built for massive worship services.  There was no warning.   Demolition crews and police showed up during a worship service, started tearing the building down with a large track crane, and evicted the worshippers.   The next day they arrested the pastors:

“…officials detained the church’s pastors, Geng Yimin and Sun Yongyao, on suspicion of “gathering a crowd to disturb social order.””

Continue reading “Xi v. Christians”

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China outlook

I heard this on NPR:

“I think there’s a pretty major impact if you just look at the numbers,” says Victor Shih, a political economist at the University of California, San Diego, who studies the Chinese economy. China exports more goods to the U.S. than to any other country in the world, and those exports have dropped by more than 12% this year alone, he says.... [Read More]

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International Tax Competitiveness Index, 2019

Tax shakedownThe Tax Foundation (founded in 1937, they are the people who compute Tax Freedom Day every year) have just released the 2019 edition of their “International Tax Competitiveness Index” [PDF].  It evaluates the 36 countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) for their rates and policies for five kinds of taxation: corporate, individual, consumption (sales/VAT), property, and international tax rules, computing a ranking in each category and an overall rank merging category scores.

The top ten ranking countries for 2019 were:... [Read More]

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Chick-fil-A is speciesist

Chick-fil-A exploits chickens for profit.   The below is excerpted from an actual news article:

“Many U.S. cities, campuses, and retail outlets have refused to allow Chick-fil-A to locate within their spaces, and/or have been vocal opponents of the corporation’s hateful values,” the statement continued. “Toronto and the rest of Canada need to be next in line.”... [Read More]

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Escape From New York

According to recent Census data, 277 people move away from the New York metropolitan area every day. That is over 100,000 people a year. After seeing this data my first thought was, “Why isn’t it more?”

Don’t get me wrong, New York City has a lot to offer. It also has high real estate costs, high city taxes, high state taxes, and all sorts of costly regulations.... [Read More]

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Airbus A320neo: A Matter of Balance

Airbus A320neoIn the never-ending effort to squeeze more passenger revenue from a given capital cost and fuel burn, Airbus is now making their A320neo and A321neo single-aisle airliners available with what they call the “Space-Flex” cabin interior option.  This relocates the galley and toilets, which were previously at the front of the cabin, to the very rear.  This, combined with relocation of some doors, allows six more passenger seats in economy without changing seat spacing, expanding standard seating to 189 and the certification limit to 194, which makes it a close competitor to the Boeing 737-8 / MAX 200, which is marketed for a two class configuration of 178 (12 business, 166 economy) with maximum certification for 200 passengers.

The toilets and galley are heavy, and placing them at the back of the plane shifts the centre of gravity aft near the point where the plane would be unstable.  This is particularly a problem in European two class configurations, where business has the same seats as economy but the centre seat is never occupied, resulting in less mass near the nose of the plane.... [Read More]

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Book Review: Billion Dollar Whale

“Billion Dollar Whale” by Tom Wright and Bradley HopeLow Taek Jho, who westernised his name to “Jho Low”, which I will use henceforth, was the son of a wealthy family in Penang, Malaysia. The family’s fortune had been founded by Low’s grandfather who had immigrated to the then British colony of Malaya from China and founded a garment manufacturing company which Low’s father had continued to build and recently sold for a sum of around US$ 15 million. The Low family were among the wealthiest in Malaysia and wanted the best for their son. For the last two years of his high school education, Jho was sent to the Harrow School, a prestigious private British boarding school whose alumni include seven British Prime Ministers including Winston Churchill and Robert Peel, and “foreign students” including Jawaharlal Nehru and King Hussein of Jordan. At Harrow, he would meet classmates whose families’ wealth was in the billions, and his ambition to join their ranks was fired.

After graduating from Harrow, Low decided the career he wished to pursue would be better served by a U.S. business education than the traditional Cambridge or Oxford path chosen by many Harrovians and enrolled in the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School undergraduate program. Previous Wharton graduates include Warren Buffett, Walter Annenberg, Elon Musk, and Donald Trump. Low majored in finance, but mostly saw Wharton as a way to make connections. Wharton was a school of choice for the sons of Gulf princes and billionaires, and Low leveraged his connections, while still an undergraduate, into meetings in the Gulf with figures such as Yousef Al Otaiba, foreign policy adviser to the sheikhs running the United Arab Emirates. Otaiba, in turn, introduced him to Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, who ran a fund called Mubadala Development, which was on the cutting edge of the sovereign wealth fund business.... [Read More]

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Shiite Shenanigans

Oil tankers were attacked in the Gulf of Oman. This is just over a month since the previous attacks in the Persian Gulf. Houthi rebels in Yemen, a client project of Iran, attacked oil wells and pipelines and an airport in Saudi Arabia.

The Mullahs of Iran are trying to raise the price of oil, to create a better market for their black market oil that they are trying to sell around President Trump’s sanctions. ... [Read More]

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Sinister Kullberg Network

Are you influenced by the sinister Kullberg Network? If you have any conservative Facebook friends, chances are you have been influenced in your thinking by this shadowy group.

The Kullberg network is not a foreign entity. It is a collection of at least 24 Facebook pages apparently run by a small group of people based out of Columbus, Ohio, that purports to represent the views of a diverse cohort of Americans. In many other respects, the network is quite similar to these examples [Russian and Philippine troll farms] of foreign social media manipulation. In the view of  Joshua Tucker, a professor of politics and data science at NYU, the fact that these activities stem from domestic, rather than foreign, actors complicates things. “I think if you came to Facebook and said, ‘Hey, the Russians are doing this,’ they would have taken the pages down,” he told us in a phone interview. So far, Facebook has not responded to our questions or multiple follow-ups about the Kullberg network’s practices, and the network remains online.  ... [Read More]

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Willing to Negotiate

AMLO is “willing to negotiate.”

Of course he is.   President Trump will get just what he wants, too.   Mexico will dramatically reduce the flow of Salvadoran and Guatemalan “migrants.”   And the tariff will pay for the Wall.... [Read More]

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Trump Trade War to Save the Planet

One of my Facebook friends shared out a tidbit that was new to me.   Giant container ships produce really bad sulphur-based air emissions.   That in itself is not surprising, since they burn heavy “bunker” oil for fuel.   But the extent of their air emissions is staggering.

Just one mega-container ship gives off as many emissions as 50,000,000 cars. That’s right, one ship equals 50 million cars.     The world’s 15 largest ships put out more pollutants (nitrogen and sulphur oxide) than ALL of the world’s cars added up.... [Read More]

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