Dispatch from Hong Kong

Having a lot of fun on the other side of the world. Thought I’d post a few pics. Got a lot of writing done on the plane. After landing I reviewed said writing and realized it was mostly rubbish. Blaming it on altitude. Needs more editing.

We enjoyed a subway ride with a few hundred thousand close friends.subway Really, really close friends. The closest. Nothing could come between us.

Dim sum dinner, followed by a trip through

night market.jpgone of the night markets on Kowloon. Incredible assault on the senses. Noise, lights, smells.

At the Mong Kok market we stumbled across a group of the “yellow umbrella” pro-democracy protestors. There were riots here in the fall, but the movement seems to have cooled. Over their speakers they were blaring a Cantonese rendition of ‘Red and Black’ from Les Miserables. It was pretty horrendous. Not sure if it was the music or the months of arrests, but they weren’t getting a lot of action from the crowd. That guy in the Che t-shirt might be just a tad confused about the “pro-democracy” part of the movement.

yellow umbrellas

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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63 comments on “Dispatch from Hong Kong
  1. 1mime says:

    Does America have “too much or too little” Democracy?

    “Voter apathy and disenchantment is a political problem that can be solved only by political reforms that give non-elite voters more actual power to affect policy outcomes — not by a new tax credit here or a wage subsidy there.”

    The article suggests some reforms that could do just that…..if only……..


  2. 1mime says:

    Will everyone who thinks the Benghazi Hearings are a witch hunt that has gone waaaay too far, please raise their voices: (thank goodness for Elijah Cummings) Be certain to open the link to the letter to GOP Chairman, Trey Gowdy from Cummings and Smith, members of the committee. It offers thorough chronological detail on the proceedings which make the fourth investigation that has been pursued on Benghazi by diffferent Congressional committees – the other three have concluded without finding of intentional fault, but as it is an election year, why not pile on?


    • vikinghou says:


      I think at this point Gowdy et al. are beating a dead horse. The people who still think this is a relevant issue were never going to vote for Hillary. I think the Bengazi issue is already baked in the cake.

  3. 1mime says:

    Well, maybe a 4-4 split in SCOTUS is having some positive benefits, after all. Their unanimous decision comes after getting the parties to find a compromise that was acceptable to both…..which begs the question: If Justice Scalia were still on the court, what do you think would have been the decision? Instead of getting the parties to dialogue and reach agreement, the court would have “legislated”. Isn’t this a better outcome for all? Isn’t this how justice and fairness are supposed to work in our courts whenever possible?

    Sit on Garland’s nomination, Repubs. The SC appears to be actually communicating better in their deliberations. At least on this issue…..

    “the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February left the justices split 4-4 on the underlying dispute. That in turn prompted the justices to suggest a compromise. They issued an unusual request for both sides to consider whether the insurance coverage could be provided in a way that did not directly involve the church-based employers.”


  4. 1mime says:

    Wow – Talk about double standards! Reince Priebus (GOP Nat’l Party Chairman) – stumbled his way through 3 Sunday morning talk shows (I didn’t see them – don’t watch that stuff anymore) – making his pitch for the values of Drumpf. From one of the interviews:

    “…the New York Times on Saturday published a 5,000-word article online about Trump’s private interactions with women. Titled “Crossing the Line,” the investigation revealed stories of unwelcome advances and unsettling behavior by Trump toward dozens of women who dated, met or worked with him over several decades.

    Priebus, repeatedly wavering in his estimation of Trump’s character, called the stories “planted” and suggested that critics are unfit to judge the presumptive GOP nominee.

    “As Christians, judging each other, I think, is problematic,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.”

    Really? What about judging Clinton? Sanders? Are Christians only held to high moral standards when they are judging Republicans? Guess Dems are such amoral folk that the standard for judging them is lower…….from my cynical point of view, that is…..


  5. tuttabellamia says:

    I came across and bought a gem of a book over the weekend at a used bookstore not far from the Mexican border, a first edition and autographed by the author. It’s called THE BELL RINGS AT FOUR, by Dorothy Redus Robinson, a Black lady born in 1909 in East Texas who was a pioneer in the teaching profession, who went from teaching Black kids in a one-room schoolhouse, to developing methods of teaching mentally handicapped kids, to teaching kids of all colors after integration. She taught from 1928 to 1974, so she was a testament to the history of education in East Texas throughout most of the 20th century.

    My favorite points — that integration was not just about equal opportunities but also about Blacks and Whites learning about each other by meeting face-to-face, thereby shattering many myths the groups had about each other. For example, in some cases it turned out that more Black educators had advanced degrees than White ones, at least in East Texas.

    Also, she notes that in the battle between Black and White, the plight of Hispanic kids was often ignored.

    A lovely book from a lovely lady who was a teacher first and foremost, and a Black teacher second.

    • 1mime says:

      Tutta – It sounds wonderful. I will order it and thank you for the reference.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Cool. I guess this means I won’t have to write a book report. 🙂 It’s a relatively short book.

        I especially love the photo on the book cover. It reminds me of the photo of my own first-grade class photo from 1972. Our teacher was Black, and we kids were a mix of Black, White, and Hispanic.

      • 1mime says:

        It would be interesting to compare notes, Tutta. I have some terrific memories/experiences from my days of public education activism. Meeting outstanding teachers and principals was one of the best….I wish our educational process afforded more mentoring time with the outstanding educators for new teachers and those who need a little coaching along the way. What a difference this would make. Of course, the children always benefit when there is a stellar teacher in the classroom. It’s oft been stated that most of us can remember a teacher who was special to us more so than others we intersect with during our lives. Teachers make profound differences in kids lives….those who care. There are, sadly, those who tarnish the image of the profession but the good ones always rise above the fray.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        What I think is cool is that in the early ’70s, the elementary school I attended in Houston had a Black principal and several Black teachers, and we students were a healthy mix of White, Black, and Hispanics kids, and I never heard a peep from anyone about it being anything but normal.

  6. OK, I know this sounds like a restaurant names by Donald Trump, but “The Flying Pan” is the best British Breakfast in Hong Kong (IMO)


    • fiftyohm says:

      Thermo – Those pictures don’t look like any “British breakfast” I’ve ever had. Now, don’t get me wrong here; I love Britain. But to say, “best British breakfast” is, er, to not say much. Things like those bloody awful, cereal-filled bangers, and that disgusting, flacid excuse for bacon, and broiled tomatoes? What the hell is that? All I can say is that in the land of wonderful culture, countryside, arts, pubs, beer, motorcycles, and food vastly improved in the last few decades, the ‘British Breakfast’ is about the last thing that comes to mind! (I do love kippers, though…)

  7. I’ll bet you get bored with the same conversation – “Will Trump win?”

    Enjoy Hong Kong. If you get a chance, the Star Ferry at night is worth it. Also, try to skip the formal Chinese restaurants and duck into any hole in the wall that is busy. I like the ones on Jardine’s Bazaar.

    Here is the ‘Yelp’ of HK:


  8. flypusher says:

    One of the top rules of politics (and life in general): “If you find yourself in a hole, STOP DIGGING!!”


    Johnson, you are an idiot, and it’s a very good thing if Feingold replaces you.

  9. formdib says:

    An oldie but a goodie:


    “Taken together, all these efforts constitute a kind of linguistic sabotage of the infrastructure of reason: if the very possibility of rational argument is submerged in a fog of uncertainty, there are no grounds for debate – and the public can be expected to decide that there is no point in trying to decide the winner, or even bothering to listen.”

    “The mindset that the Kremlin’s information warfare seems intended to encourage is well-suited to European citizens at this particular moment. In a recent paper called “The Conspiratorial Mindset in an Age of Transition”, which looked at the proliferation of conspiracy theories in France, Hungary and Slovakia, a team of researchers from European thinktanks concluded that the “current period of transition in Europe has resulted in increased uncertainty about collective identities and a perceived loss of control. These are in turn the ideal conditions for the proliferation of conspiracy.” Conspiratorial inclinations are especially rife among supporters of rightwing nationalist and populist parties, such as the Front National in France or Jobbik in Hungary – which support, and are supported by, Moscow. (Marine Le Pen admitted in November that the FN had taken a €9m loan from a Moscow bank owned by a pro-Kremlin businessman; she insists that the deal had nothing to do with her support of Putin’s annexation of Crimea.) Some 20% of the members of the European parliament now belong to parties – largely on the far right – sympathetic to Moscow.”

    This hits close to home for me after a couple of weeks of recovery from the drop out of Cruz and Kasich. The time I had to take to sort my head had less to do with Trump in particular and more to do with the ennobling of previously silent Trump supporters in my own social networks to finally speak out (I suspected they were there all along and am not surprised to see them finally own up to their beliefs, which to be fair, goes as well for many of my rational friends who avoid political discussion in general but are highly active moderates).

    The issue with the debates that followed isn’t so much the area of ‘agree to disagree’ and liberal versus conservative, the issue I found was that in addition to nobody accepting each other’s arguments as valid, they also removed the foundation from which other people’s opinions could be strong: “The reality is…” is the phrase they used before every single argument. The overuse of that phrase was so common as to protest too much: if your political opinion is predicated on convincing everyone else that their beliefs come from their inability to grasp reality, there’s a strong chance that your beliefs come from your inability to grasp reality.

    And it’s not hard to see why people are struggling so hard with ‘reality’ right now. As Clare Malone said recently on a 538 podcast, “America is very pro conspiracy.” Phrases like “The media lies” and “the mainstream media bias” are accepted without consideration that sometimes the media just makes a mistake or has imperfect grasp of the issue. People have begun to trust blogs, citizen journalism, Twitter live feeds, and listicles far in advance of trusting CNN, BBC, FOX News or Al Jazeera.

    My own personal opinion, probably built out of a self-involved confirmation bias, is that any time a Facebook post ends with “… and the mainstream media is ignoring it!”, one of two things are happening:

    the first is that that information is totally presented by the mainstream media, every single time, and in fact the information comes ultimately from a traditional journalistic source, so that searching it on Google News or similar feed will find any number of cross-idealogical news sources covering it (perhaps disagreeing toward its meaning, but definitely acknowledging the event);

    or, the information never happened and the mainstream media didn’t report it because it’s a fucking lie.

    This results in redditors fingering the wrong person in the Boston bombing, Trumpeters refusing to believe in any argument by fact, Bernout’s inability to accept basic math without bringing up ‘voter purging’, rich white liberal health nuts taking rightwing nationalist conspiratoid anti-communistic organizations such as The John Birch Society’s pamphleteering to heart for anti-vaccination, Democrats finally succumbing to 25 years of anti-Clinton bashing, and my inability to state all of this as fact without that little niggling sense of self-doubt at the back of my head over whether I should even mention it, as well as additional moral hazards well beyond my grasp.

    It would all be very interesting and entertaining if it weren’t confusing and threatening.

    Which I suppose brings up the strongest epistemological question of all:

    Do you, reader of this comment, feel that truth and objectivity necessarily wins out in the long term?

    • flypusher says:

      “Do you, reader of this comment, feel that truth and objectivity necessarily wins out in the long term?”

      Only if you have enough people educated well enough to see the bullshit and with enough spine to keep calling it out, however hopeless that task may seem.

      • 1mime says:

        Generally, what you say is true, Fly. However, we are living in a time when education alone does not guarantee intelligence as both current politics attests and your second post affirms.

        Statesmanship is going the way of the dinosaur, I fear. Spine, as well.

      • formdib says:

        But education is another one of those things that everyone believes is currently insufficient. I’m not even sure that our education system is as bad as people make it out to be, but regardless of whether I’m right or wrong, everybody has an opinion and everyone’s opinion is that there’s something wrong with it.

    • unarmedandunafraid says:

      Interesting comment formdib, on several levels. After all, “Who Do You Trust.”

      Your link is scary as hell. From it – “Journalists are taught to report both sides,” Stengel told me with frustration. “When the Kremlin says there are no Russian soldiers in Crimea they have to repeat it. How do you combat someone who just makes stuff up?” This relates to our presidential contest.

      So to your question – “Do you, reader of this comment, feel that truth and objectivity necessarily wins out in the long term?” First is the problem of getting the truth to everyone, and then getting them to accept it. Just saying that makes me nervous, as though I am the propagandist and not the purveyor of simple truths.

      • formdib says:

        “as though I am the propagandist and not the purveyor of simple truths.” That’s a large part of what this article is revealing. The fight for truth is a sort of propaganda.

        Actually, time to be a bit more transparent. I found this article because I had stumbled across the following:


        This is an interactive uhm… ‘documentary’. It’s one of the quotes from this documentary that I searched where I found the article, the part about conspiracy being a linguistic sabotage on the infrastructure of reason. Note that the documentary is subtitled, “Propaganda about propaganda.”

        I actually have a lot of documentaries like this that I’ve seen, some that get very conspiracy theory based indeed. So I don’t want to go further down that direction, nor overly intellectualize this idea of truth.

        What I think is more relevant here is this idea that there is state sponsored message board trolling in order to subvert our trust on rationality itself. That the general public may be emotionally and intellectually unequiped to handle to complexity of information given to them on the Internet. But as a media studies major, the thing is that the same questions were asked of television, cinema, radio… even Plato was suspicious of writing as ‘externalizing knowledge’ as a reference rather than thinking through or holding the knowledge yourself. So I’m ambivalent. In some ways the Internet is only merely a megaphone of the way were were anyway, just amplified.

        So the question then becomes a matter of activism. What are effective methods of being propagandists of truth, and how certain of truth do you have to be to fight the false certainty of trolls or echo chambers?

    • 1mime says:

      I’ve given your question a lot of thought, formdib. Truth can be proven (facts/research) or demonstrated (action), or manipulated (messaging), but it can also be highly subjective. I’d like to think that truth and objectivity win out in the long term, but I’m not so sure. Over time, and through agreement of multiple sources, “truth” should prevail. Objectivity is more difficult because it requires separating one’s personal views in the analytical process.

      Fifty and I had an interesting dialogue on partisan analysis, cynicism vs skepticism. He rightly noted that if one is cynical, they are partisan. IOW, there is a predisposition to how the issue is approached and possibly, the conclusions one draws. Objectivity would embrace skepticism but reject cynicism. Given the political and social turmoil we find ourselves living in these days, I’d bet there are few who are given to objectivity – myself included. Opinions harden and feelings deepen, influencing “truth” as each of us perceives it. Thus, the greater question is not “what” wins in the long term but, what is truth?

      • formdib says:

        To a degree I’m predisposed to believe that truth, like peace and the annihilation of disease, age, hunger, and so on, are things that we incrementally increase but has a limit (in the technical mathematical sense of the term, a line stretching to infinity which we ever increasingly near but can not transcend due to pure physics). In that case it’s not that we get ‘more truthful’ but really ‘less wrong’.

    • No. Truth does not win in the long run.

      • formdib says:

        The certainty behind your statement raises as much questions as those who would be certain of the opposite case. Would you say then that today is less ‘truthful’ than a previous time, and if so… how can you prove it?

    • unarmedandunafraid says:


      “So the question then becomes a matter of activism. What are effective methods of being propagandists of truth, and how certain of truth do you have to be to fight the false certainty of trolls or echo chambers? ”

      So I believe we can be effective activists for the truth. I hesitate to continue because you have obviously given it much thought. And I am sure I am stating the obvious. But continue I will.

      Silence is consent.

      I think my method is the Socratic method at least in part.

      For me, blog comments are better than verbal conversations. The point is to understand that most propaganda is based on some underlying untruth. And for me it takes some thought to see what that basic lie is, and I’m not quick enough to get there while in conversation.

      So, one, find that simple underlying untruth.

      Two, ask the other person to explain their assumption, bringing it back to simple thought as subject line wanders. In other words, ask to be convinced. Ask for studies, numbers, etc.

      Of course, civility makes a big difference in keeping the other party engaged.

      And there is the possibility that you own mind gets changed.

  10. fiftyohm says:

    Hey Chris – I used to have an apartment in Hong Kong. Now, I presume you’re staying at the Peninsula. *wink* Take a stroll to Ashley Road. A block or two from the hotel is a jazz club called Ned Kelley’s Last Stand on the left. (11a). Great live Jazz and a friendly, rowdy ex-pat Aussie crowd.

    On the other hand, you could be at the Oriental, Take the Star Ferry to Tsim Sha Tsui. From there it’s about 5 blocks!

    And since you’re staying at such expensive digs, remember the helipad in the roof of the Peninsula!

    Have fun. I dearly love that city.

  11. objv says:

    Dispatch from Navajo State Park

    Birds chirping, leaves rustling, doggies playing in the river, and fresh caught trout for dinner tonight. My husband and I are on our first camping trip of the season.

    Enjoy Hong Kong, Lifer. We’re having quite different adventures.

  12. Rob Ambrose says:

    I think it was Mime that mentioned the official Texas GOP narrowly.avoided adding secession to the platform.

    While that’s scary enough, check out the things that did:


    To wit: a full and immediate repeal of Obamacare (natch), a full and immediate repeal of social security, a full ban on abortion, abolishing the IRS, the EPA along with the Departments of Education, Energy, Housing, Commerce, Health, Interior (the BLM is singled out in particular), Transportation, and the ATF.

    Oh, and equal treatment given to all “scientific” theories regarding evolution and climate change (leavi g out, of course, that there is only one accepted scientific theory in each category).

    This is pretty shocking. Honestly, this isn’t just the platform of a well meaning but misguided party. This is a recipe for a cultural, social, judicial, intellectual and economic wasteland.

    If a party existed whose statwd goal was to destroy the nations institutions and set the country back 400 years, this would pretty much be their platform.

    • 1mime says:

      And, sadly, it’s the state where I reside……..Yes, secession failed by 2 votes……None of their platform surprises me, but it never fails to disgust me. No pretense anymore of being “compassionate conservatives” – it’s “our way or the highway” time. The GOP continues to double down on stupid – because it WORKS with their base. That’s what is so very sad is that so many people have bought into this pile of dung.

      • The question i always have when I see things like this is “Why the hell don’t people vote theses jerks out of office?” Ok! Some people do not have voter id cards. BUT most people do. is everyone nuts down there? Like in Kansas?

      • 1mime says:

        “Is everyone nuts down there?”

        You’re asking the wrong person…..The GOP base buys their platform hook, line, and “sinker”….It’s pathetic and discouraging.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      It takes some political chutzpah to openly call for repealing Social Security without offering so much as a single alternative in its place, I’ll grant Texas ‘Republicans’ that much.

      • flypusher says:

        That’s not limited to TX. How many times have they voted to repeal the ACA? How many years have they had to work up their promised replacement?

      • 1mime says:

        Political chutzah? How about “arrogance”, or, “crass indifference”, or…..Do you ever wonder when you see political platforms like this what would happen if they actually achieved these goals? Don’t say “never”, because if the current GOP with the current agenda wins the presidency, they appoint a Heritage Foundation Justice to SCOTUS, and they likely keep the Senate. Then, they can.do.anything.they.want. Anything.

  13. vikinghou says:

    The last time I was in Hong Kong was in the early 1990’s, while it was still under British rule. I loved it—and the food!! At that time there was a lot of apprehension there concerning the impending Chinese takeover. I would be very interesting to go there now and see how things have changed.

    One indelible memory…. Back then the main international airport was in the harbor. Thus, on final approach, planes had to pass through a “hallway” of high rise buildings on each side of the harbor to reach the runway. While landing at night I could look out the window and see people in those buildings!

    • Bobo Amerigo says:

      viking, I remember that airport. I’d read about it before I went, but I really wasn’t prepared for that descent.

      I really liked Hong Kong. One nice memory involves a cute guy from New Zealand, a four-mile hike across an island park, and a return trip on a junk ferry.

      I recall sweet tempered but huge Sikh security guards at some wholesale outlets.

      And on Sundays, actual street noise seemed to increase by dozens of decibels because it was a day off for many workers and their added presence on the sidewalks produced huge leaps in conversation and laughter.

      We should all visit there.

    • fiftyohm says:

      Kai Tak airport. One of the great, though now past, approaches to see. I trust, my friends, we’ll never see the likes of that again.

      • flypusher says:

        That’s a pretty wild description!! And I thought the San Diego landing path was a close one!

  14. Stephen says:

    Hope you have fun. Envy you.

  15. Griffin says:

    Who is it that said something along the lines of “Nobody remembers Che the communist, We only remember Che the revolutionary, and that’s why he’s invoked.”

    I could at least understand someone making the honest mistake of thinking Che was pro-democracy because htye haven’t brushed up on their history. I’ve seen far worse, like kids in my phiosophy class unironically defending fascism (don’t know if you’ve ever taken a philosophy course but it attracts… interesting characters).

    Anyways have you seen all the articles coming out saying Trump has a “shot”? I still don’t think he has more than a 10% chance of winning but the media is going to build him up to make the race look competitive.

    • 1mime says:

      Griffin, I hope I’m wrong, but I join Homer in thinking this race could be very close. Several reasons: the Republican base VOTE – no matter what, no matter who. Dems “may” vote (their primary/caucus turnout has been much lower than previous elections) but part of the GOP strategy might be to create an illusion of division and weakness to create a false sense of security by voters. This will scare their base into action and may give many who either aren’t enthusiastic about Clinton or over-confident about her chances, an excuse to stay home. Second, you cannot deny the breadth of Trump’s wins. Across the nation, across many different sectors. His popular vote is the greatest ever achieved by any GOP primary candidate. Ever. Third, HRC is a terrible campaigner PLUS has historically large negatives. Fourth, Sanders is hurting Clinton and you know that many of his supporters will not turn out for her.

      I wouldn’t count Trump out for one minute. This election is going to be all about GOTV.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        Much to the chagrin of Rachel Maddow and others, primary turnout tells us virtually nothing about the general election: http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/primary-turnout-means-nothing-for-the-general-election/

        That aside, and with all respect, I would be the last to underestimate Trump at this point, but let’s not overestimate him either. He’s the one with historically high unfavorables among women and minorities, the very voters he needs to even have a ghost of a chance at the presidency. It’s just math that if he doesn’t improve there, he’s a dead man walking, electorally speaking.

        And let’s not forget that Trump is actually doing Democrats a bit of a favor in that he’s accelerated many Hispanics’ efforts in registering for citizenship and voting. The NYT has already reported on this, and estimates would say that we’re looking at about a million additional voters come the fall.

        As for Sanders’ supporters, and with all respect, I wouldn’t presume that large swaths of his supporters will stay home. If there’s one thing that brings makes strange bedfellows, it’s a common enemy and The Donald has certainly gone out of his way to give us that. True, some will choose to stay home, but let’s not forget that we saw a lot of the same rhetoric from Clinton’s supporters against then candidate Obama back in 2008 and we know how that one turned out.

      • 1mime says:

        All good points and I hope you are correct. But all of those who are predicting a crushing defeat of Trump I think are underestimating how much the GOPe will invest (time/energy/money/organization/etc) to trip up the “expected” outcome….

      • 1mime says:

        Here’s a sobering look at why the GOP will be so formidable in the 2016 election:

        “The GOP starts 2016 in a very good spot outside the confines of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. That’s because they are in the best shape in Congress and at the state level that they’ve been in since the Great Depression. They have some of the strongest majorities of senators, representatives and governors that they’ve ever had, and their power at the state legislative level is largely unprecedented.”

        That level of representation and power bequeaths money and organization. Respect it despite the spokesman.


    • n1cholas says:

      Communism and Democracy aren’t mutually exclusive.

  16. 1mime says:

    Can’t wait for your collective views of America as seen by the people of Hong Kong….In the meantime, have fun. Believe me, you’re not missing much here….Trump still dominating the airwaves while our Congress focuses on bathroom rules….Heavy stuff (-;

  17. formdib says:

    Are you peanut butter, ‘cuz I’m jelly. Have a thing for crowded metropoleis. Been wanting to visit Kowloon since I first heard of it.

  18. flypusher says:

    ” After landing I reviewed said writing and realized it was mostly rubbish. Blaming it on altitude. Needs more editing.”

    Always best to write something, anything, even if you’re not pleased at first. That’s how I get over the energy hump with my writing assignments.

    Also, don’t you just love word processing?

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