Friday, December 9, 2016

Central player in ensuring amicable split from Malaysia

K. Shanmugam

9 Dec 2016

This is an excerpt of a speech by Law Minister K. Shanmugam on Wednesday, at the launch of a new book on Mr E. W. Barker, Singapore's first law minister, who drafted the legal documents that led to Singapore's separation from Malaysia and its independence

Eddie Barker was a pivotal figure in our history. To begin with, he was our longest-serving law minister. Twenty-five years to be exact. Nobody in our history has helmed any ministry - apart from Mr Lee Kuan Yew and the premiership - as long as Mr Barker has helmed Law. He also helmed other ministries, like National Development at a crucial time in our history, where he made an especial mark.

Despite his various portfolios, all of which he handled successfully, it is his stint in Law that I think Mr Barker is remembered most for. Even among the generation of huge historical figures, Eddie Barker defined the Law Ministry more than most other ministers defined their ministries in their generation. He is the template of what a law minister should be; the ideal as a model.

In addition to his tremendous contributions to politics and government, Eddie Barker will personally be remembered as a great sportsman, a bon vivant. Indeed, simply, a very nice man. I think Mrs Lee Kuan Yew recalled somewhere that Eddie Barker and Mr (S.) Rajaratnam were the two most popular ministers in her husband's Cabinet, someone whom all civil servants liked serving under.

Emotional testimony from the trial of Dylann Roof:

From the trial of Dylann Roof:

[Testimony of Felicia Sanders]

“Next thing I know, bullets started flying everywhere.”

She said she was lying under the table, holding her 11-year-old granddaughter, who was saying, “Granny, I’m so scared.”

“I said, just be quiet, just play dead. I squeezed her face to my body so tight that I thought I suffocated her,” she said, tears streaming down her face.

As she lay there, her son, Tywanza, was on one side of her and Jackson, her aunt, was on the other, both of them shot. “I could feel the warm blood flowing on either side of me.”

The right has its own version of political correctness. It’s just as stifling.

Conservatives use “patriotic correctness” to regulate speech, behavior and acceptable opinions.

By Alex Nowrasteh
December 7 at 4:43 PM

Alex Nowrasteh is an immigration policy analyst at the Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity.

President-elect Donald Trump has not been shy about the “big problem in this country”: political correctness. Trump has blamed PC for the attack at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando (“They have put political correctness above common sense, above your safety and above all else,” he tweeted) and the rise of the militant group Islamic State. His voters agreed (indeed, it might even have been the reason for his victory).

It’s not just him. Political correctness has become a major bugaboo of the right in the past decade, a rallying cry against all that has gone wrong with liberalism and America. Conservative writers fill volumes complaining how political correctness stifles free expression and promotes bunk social theories about “power structures” based on patriarchy, race and mass victimhood. Forbes charged that it “stifles freedom of speech.” The Daily Caller has gone so far as to claim that political correctness “kills Americans.”

But conservatives have their own, nationalist version of PC, their own set of rules regulating speech, behavior and acceptable opinions. I call it “patriotic correctness.” It’s a full-throated, un-nuanced, uncompromising defense of American nationalism, history and cherry-picked ideals. Central to its thesis is the belief that nothing in America can’t be fixed by more patriotism enforced by public shaming, boycotts and policies to cut out foreign and non-American influences.

Insufficient displays of patriotism among the patriotically correct can result in exclusion from public life and ruined careers. It also restricts honest criticism of failed public policies, diverting blame for things like the war in Iraq to those Americans who didn’t support the war effort enough.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Why conservatives might be more likely to fall for fake news

By Christopher Ingraham
December 7 2016

This week, a North Carolina man took an AR-15 rifle into DC's Comet Ping Pong pizza restaurant to "self-investigate" a fake internet conspiracy theory involving Hillary Clinton, John Podesta and a child sex ring.

It's the latest example of the impact that "fake news" -- untrue or wildly misleading stories masquerading as fact, usually to appeal to a particular worldview -- is having on the real world.

Numerous reports have highlighted how fake news creators began targeting conservative readers after finding them receptive to stories that reinforced their existing worldview. As one fake news creator told NPR, "We've tried to do [fake news with] liberals. It just has never worked, it never takes off. You'll get debunked within the first two comments and then the whole thing just kind of fizzles out."

A Buzzfeed analysis found that three main conservative Facebook pages were roughly twice as likely as three leading liberal Facebook pages to publish fake or misleading information.

China should heed the lessons of Pearl Harbour


DECEMBER 8, 2016

The anniversary of Pearl Harbour is commemorated on Dec 8 in Japan — the time locally when, thousands of miles away, its ships and warplanes sank much of the United States Pacific Fleet and launched war against America.

For 75 years now, many Japanese have reflected on that moment with great remorse, appalled by the hubris and miscalculation that led to the attack. Later this month, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will travel to Pearl Harbour to commemorate the tragedy. Sadly, though, the leaders and citizens of another Asian power appear to have forgotten those lessons.

For all the differences between Imperial Japan in the 1930s and Communist China today, I cannot help but see parallels between the two. Like Japan then, China is a rising Asian nation whose thinking is informed by patriotism, suspicion of outsiders and the remnants of an inferiority complex toward the West. Its military seems not entirely constrained by civilian control. And just as Japan did in the 1930s, China is defying international opinion and challenging the maritime status quo in the western Pacific, where the US defends vital sea lines of communication for all nations.

Pizzagate: From rumor, to hashtag, to gunfire in D.C.

By Marc Fisher, John Woodrow Cox and Peter Hermann

December 6 2016

What was finally real was Edgar Welch, driving from North Carolina to Washington to rescue sexually abused children he believed were hidden in mysterious tunnels beneath a neighborhood pizza joint.

What was real was Welch — a father, former firefighter and sometime movie actor who was drawn to dark mysteries he found on the Internet — terrifying customers and workers with his ­assault-style rifle as he searched Comet Ping Pong, police said. He found no hidden children, no secret chambers, no evidence of a child sex ring run by the failed Democratic candidate for president of the United States, or by her campaign chief, or by the owner of the pizza place.

What was false were the rumors he had read, stories that crisscrossed the globe about a charming little pizza place that features ping-pong tables in its back room.

The story of Pizzagate is about what is fake and what is real. It’s a tale of a scandal that never was, and of a fear that has spread through channels that did not even exist until recently.

Pizzagate — the belief that code words and satanic symbols point to a sordid underground along an ordinary retail strip in the nation’s capital — is possible only because science has produced the most powerful tools ever invented to find and disseminate information.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Donald Trump’s Peace Through Strength Vision for the Asia-Pacific

[Was the faux pas of speaking directly to Taiwan's President intentional and strategic? Note: this is partial to Trump.]

How the Republican nominee will rewrite America’s relationship with Asia.

NOVEMBER 7, 2016f

In 2011, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced with great fanfare in Foreign Policy that the United States would begin a military “pivot” to the Asia-Pacific. This beating of the American chest was done against the backdrop of China’s increasing assertiveness in the region and the sense among many longtime American allies that the United States had lost sight of Asia’s strategic importance during 10 years of Middle Eastern wars.

President Barack Obama’s administration was right to signal reassurance to our Asian allies and partners. However, this pivot (and later “rebalance”) failed to capture the reality that the United States, particularly in the military sphere, had remained deeply committed to the region. This pivot has also turned out to be an imprudent case of talking loudly but carrying a small stick, one that has led to more, not less, aggression and instability in the region.

Initially, Clinton’s pivot and the Obama administration’s stated interest in countering China’s rising clout were met with general bipartisan agreement in Congress. Inside the Beltway, the analyst community also appeared to share a similar consensus that the global financial crisis had emboldened China. As one of Washington’s leading experts on Chinese foreign and security policy, Bonnie Glaser, told one of the authors in an on-camera interview: “The Chinese saw the United States as weakened by the financial crisis; and it created opportunities for China to test the United States and to try and promote its interests in its periphery in the hopes that the United States would not respond forcefully.”