Wednesday, 19 October 2016


I'd like to have written a few more blog posts recently but I just haven't. The upcoming U.S. election remains as equally appallingly horrific as it is a fascinating distraction. It was raining again in Taipei and Keelung last weekend so again I didn't go, though I will have no choice but to go this weekend irrespective of the weather. I did however get out into the sticks on Saturday afternoon for a few hours but without aim beyond chilling out and watching the Kites...

I am planning six new trips for the end of this month and hopefully at various point during next month; two to Feitsui reservoir in Taipei; two to Xingshan reservoir in Keelung and two down south to Kaohsiung. In addition I am even considering a return to Mudan reservoir in Pingtung, though the length of the drive there and back again in a single day is, as ever, a mental challenge to be taken seriously.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Has Trump Lost?

I suspect that I am like a lot of people in that I do not read electoral news cycles too closely. There is only so much lurid trash my eyeballs can take. However, the current slew of allegations against Donald Trump in the U.S. media (i.e. every TV network with the partial exception of Fox) is just incredible. As it happens, my gut instinct tells me that some or all of these allegations are probably true (though it is possible they could also be false), as Trump does come across as what the Yanks call a "horndog". 

Whilst these stories are presented by the media in innocent terms, i.e. that the accused women just happened to be watching the second presidential debate on TV and were outraged when they saw Donald Trump lying, it's more than likely that the media were sitting on these stories and waiting to get a denial from Trump before publishing them. It was Anderson Cooper who, in the second presidential debate, asked Trump whether he had ever previously groped or kissed other women without consent, to which he belatedly answered that he never had. At that point, the women could "come forward" (i.e. the press could go ahead with their stories). You've now got two debate points against Trump: one, the allegation that he is a lecherous old man, and two the consequent allegation that he is a liar. 

The stories do not need to be investigated or assessed as to whether or not they are true, the play being made is that the allegation alone is sufficient to damage Trump's image in the short time remaining before the actual vote. Presumably, the media have another set of allegations they are now sitting on which they will release after the third debate and just prior to the vote itself. In addition, the same media will give far less attention to the Wikileaks information alleging Clinton's corruption, for which she really should be jailed - for whatever else he may be wrong about, he is surely correct about that. This is not mere "bias" anymore, this is a systematic propaganda effort with the exclusion of allegations against one candidate, and an all consuming focus on allegations against the other candidate. Even if the allegations against Trump are all true, the more broadly important point is that much of the media, both in print and on TV (with a few partial exceptions, e.g. Fox) are acting as an extension of the Clinton campaign. Recall that it was Anderson Cooper of CNN who asked the set up question in that second presidential debate. And given Trump's status as "wild-card" political outsider, this close support with the Clinton campaign means that, in the event of a Clinton electoral victory, much of the U.S. media will have effectively become a puppet of the U.S. government.

I admire Donald Trump's politically incorrect attitude and his determination, even though, like most people I regard him as a banana republic candidate. But that is what the U.S. has become with the impending election of a known felon in Hillary Clinton. I hope Tim Newman is right when he says that U.S. voters in the swing states of Utah, Ohio and Florida (which, coincidentally is where the women making allegations against Trump apparently come from) will see through the media collusion with Clinton and vote Trump anyway, but I am doubtful. 

One thing a Clinton electoral victory will mean however, is that the U.S. government cannot be expected to criticize media control and manipulation by the governments of China and Russia. 

A second thing that a Clinton electoral victory could mean is that the U.S. inches one step further down the road to a second civil war; the government, media and ruling class is now quite open about holding much of the population in contempt. 

Monday, 10 October 2016

"Yeah - Because You'd Be In Jail..."

I haven't watched either of the two presidential debates, but this bit was amusing: there is no doubt in my mind that Der Rodham really should be in jail...

Later: Having watched that second debate in full late last night, I was unsurprised but nonetheless disgusted at the blatant bias of the two moderators, particularly Martha Raddatz. I counted four instances of this bias: first, when audience applause for Trump's comments was twice met with admonishment from the moderators and yet audience applause for a remark by Der Rodham went entirely unchecked and unremarked upon; second, when moderator Raddatz actually began debating Trump herself seemingly on Der Rodham's behalf, in contravention of her function as a time-keeping moderator; and third, when the audience asked their questions, it was clear that whilst one or two may have been characterized as "neutral", several were on politically correct premises intended to be favourable to Der Rodham whilst not a single audience question was on a subject that would favour Trump.

This is what they don't understand: there are going to be large numbers of people who consider some of Trump's policy ideas (e.g. trade protectionism) to be crazy, but will enthusiastically vote for him anyway due to simple moral outrage at the mendacious, corrupt, degeneration of the the political-media-academia complex. Here is another example of that, in today's Taipei Times.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Yet Another Cancelled Trip

It's Sunday and it's raining - just like it was yesterday and will be again tommorow. The weather forecast earlier this week has proved to be wrong once again; the prediction was for clouds and sunshine, but the reality is yet more rain, rain all over the island. So once again I have the frustration of cancelling yet another planned trip up to Taipei, and it is now more than two months since I was last there. I am now eager for the winter to come and bring the cold, dry air and then I might be able to get something done. I am also especially eager for the rain to disappear this month due to my postponed tour of Feitsui reservoir from last month.

Now I could have made the trip today, and I have made reservoir trips in the rain before and I have all the gear to do it with. But 1) the weather precludes the specific kind of pictures I want, 2) I'm just sick and tired of the bloody rain.

Monday, 3 October 2016


This is the opening track off the first record I ever bought, on my 11th birthday in 1991. I've been listening to it on and off for the past few weeks, and I still think that two minute introduction is brilliant, and that blues riff perfectly suits the sleeve art showing that Caterham 7...