Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Posts Tagged ‘China

Through Thick and Thin

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Another week, another series of depressing news stories. It’s been increasingly embarrassing to be an American since 1980, but the last year, boy howdy. The thing that got my attention this morning was China announcing it is going to build a Polar Silk Road. That is to say, they are going to open up the arctic to international shipping to and from China, cutting travel time almost in half to destinations in Europe. This is part of China’s one trillion dollar Belt and Road Initiative that will rebuild much of Eurasia’s transport infrastructure of roads, ports, and railroads … with China at the center.

In other words, China is actually putting “China first,” whereas the president of a decaying military empire on the other side of the planet uses “America first” as a slogan while the bankers, corporations, and military loot the public till. A trillion dollars for infrastructure or a trillion dollars more in bombers, one guess which is going to pay more dividends and create more jobs in the decades to come. And the amazing and maybe most embarrassing thing about this is that most Americans are oblivious as their leaders loot the country.

Still, more globally, ugly. 82 Percent of the Wealth Generated Last Year ‘Went to the Richest 1 Percent of the Global Population‘ This is minding numbing when one thinks about. Literally most of the world’s population is working to benefit under 100 million people. And billions of those working people are living in abject poverty. Call it whatever one wants, but the power structures of our planet are set up to exploit the many for the benefit of the few. Even a modest redistribution of this wealth would end world poverty, but no chance of that happening any time soon. Greed is the most powerful force in the Universe.

Meanwhile back on Earth, the two Koreas are increasingly talking to each other and making efforts to peacefully resolve their differences. The Trump administration is having none of it. I’m starting to wonder if China and the Koreas realize if play their cards right, they might well get a unified Korea under China’s protection. Think about it, if Trump really does lose it and order an attack on North Korea … and North Korea doesn’t retaliate against South Korea … anti US sentiment in the South would go through the roof. In fact globally anti US sentiment would take a huge hit. The US could end up getting kicked out of South Korea while Kim comes out of it as a national hero. Might even make Japan reconsider their relationship with the US. We’ll see, but if there was ever a US administration with an infantile understanding of global politics and international relations, Trump’s is it.

In local news, eleven school shootings in the US already, and we’re not even through the first month of the year! Looks like we will set a new record this year. The Trump administration is on it though, Trump has offered his “Thoughts and Prayers.” So sad. As others have noted, our national response to the Sandy Hook school massacre was exactly dip squat, so no one is holding their breath waiting for the US government to do anything about our nation’s horrific gun violence problem. In fact many Americans apparently like it this way.

In a bit of odd historical news, it was revealed that in 2013 San Francisco police received a letter purportedly from one of the three men who escaped from Alcatraz in 1962. Interesting indeed. Officially they drowned, and that’s what most people think. I did too for a long time, figuring that criminals usually lack judgement, and sooner or later one of them would have given themselves away. Later I realised since they had put together a remarkably clever and well planned escape, maybe they did have the good sense to lay low. Who knows, probably a hoax, maybe some day more light will be shed on this mystery.

Finally, science has looked into the eternal mystery, do lobsters feel pain? Are people who throw them live into boiling pots of water truly monsters? Well, actually, science only looked at the first question. And the answer is, maybe. Science can be really frustrating sometimes. Read all the details here.

Have a great weekend everyone

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Written by unitedcats

January 26, 2018 at 12:48 pm

Posted in Politics, Trump, World

Tagged with , , ,

Cutting defense spending and building up our forces in East Asia, is this a good idea?

with 7 comments

I’m going to start posting some timely comments on world events as they occur. These will likely be smaller than my regular posts, less polished, and more prone to factual errors. Please point out same when they occur. I’m doing this because the winds of change are blowing, and I want to stay somewhat current. And to get feedback on my thoughts of the evolving new world order as it unfolds, we are in for a ride in 2012 it looks like.

 OK, Obama just announced a change in military spending and priorities. Fewer ground troops, more ships and planes, increased emphasis on East Asia (China’s neighborhood.) Obama is spinning this as some huge change in our military posture, it isn’t. Some will no doubt claim it is weakening America and our enemies will take advantage of us. No it isn’t, and no more than usual. What does it all mean?

I can only think of two things. One is that it’s a pretty obvious attempt to transfer more money to the armaments industry. We already have more ships and planes than we know what to do with,  and Iraq and Afghanistan suffered form insufficient troops. Secondly, it’s an attempt to get the Chinese to react and increase their spending … which we could spin as a threat … and thus we increase “defense” spending again. We already spend more money on war than the rest of the world combined, but apparently we can always go higher.

Now, domestic pie-slicing concerns aside, is there anything else going on here? China doesn’t really pose much of a threat, a best they are working on the ability to defend themselves far more formidably if we want to go to war with them. (And they don’t have a history of imperial ambitions.) Our nuclear armed Navy and Air Force are still a mind numbingly bloated mass killing machine, it’s not like anyone is going to seriously go at it with them. The one down side to this I see, is this may encourage China to ally itself more closely with Russia, Iran, etc. Which could really be spun into a threat by Obama. See how this works?

And uglier, we segue to a more global idea, is the USA actually trying to start a bigger war? Judging from the hysteria being whipped up about Iran, I am not reassured. I’ll write about that soon.

(There will be no images in these current events posts. Hate em or enjoy em, please let me know.)

 

Written by unitedcats

January 6, 2012 at 6:43 pm

Liu Xiaobo Wins Nobel Peace Prize

with 6 comments

If the gentle reader wants to read a fawning endorsement of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize choice, pretty much any western mainstream media has it covered in spades. Fortunately my readers don’t come here for fawning endorsements of anything. I am troubled on a  number of levels by the Nobel committee’s choice, especially on the heels of last year’s winner, the distinguished Mr Obama, who apparently got the prize based on Aquavit fuelled speculation that he would be a voice for world peace? My first problem is based on just that combination, sure as hell seems like these last two Nobel Peace Prizes were exactly what the US White House wanted. If I didn’t know better, I’d wonder if the Nobel committee was packed by USA supporters? First Obama gets a prize that no one on Earth thinks he earned, did they? And then a prominent Chinese dissident gets named, very obviously a major blow to China’s up and coming status on the world stage.

And to add insult to injury, when the Chinese complained to the Norwegian government, the Norwegians bluntly claimed they had no say in the Nobel Committee’s decision.  In other words, the Norwegians response to the Chinese was pretty much an upraised finger, because the Nobel Peace Prize committee is appointed by the Norwegian government, the idea that the Norwegian government has no influence on the decisions of a committee they appoint is prima facie absurd. If the awarding of the prize wasn’t an attempt to make China look bad, the Norwegian government sure wants to make sure the Chinese get that impression. Yeah, nothing political going on here, move along. Snort.

Granted the Nobel Prizes have been accused of regionalism and favouritism since the beginning. An extraordinary number of Scandinavians have won prizes for example, and it goes on. And the Peace Prize has an especially checkered record. Yasser Arafat and Henry Kissinger have won the peace prize, yet Mahatma Gandhi didn’t? In any event, this is not meant as a broad criticism of the Nobel Peace Prize, even the fact that we have a Peace Prize has to have some value in these war torn days. And if I was just annoyed by the obviously political implications of the prize, the blog post would end here and I’d dump it in my ever growing slush pile of blog posts that didn’t quite pan out, dammit.

No, there’s another aspect of the particular prize that I find fault with. This prize wasn’t so much given as a recognition of someone who was working for peace, it was very much stated that this was given in recognition of Liu Xiabobo’s work promoting constitutional government, human rights, and democracy. In his own words even:

“the Chinese people, who have endured human rights disasters and uncountable struggles across these years [of Communist rule], now include many who see clearly that freedom, equality, and human rights are universal values of humankind and that democracy and constitutional government are the fundamental framework for protecting these values.”

I have some serious problems with the idea that democracy and constitutional government are somehow the fundamental framework for defending these values, nor do I see them as particularly a framework for peace either. Europe’s constitutional republics had no trouble conquering the world, and to this day, two of the world’s greatest democratic constitutional republics, the USA and Britain, are the two most militarized war like countries on the planet. The USA in particular has engaged in a staggering number of wars and interventions over the past century, and to this day is actively trying to impose its values at the point of a gun in numerous countries around the world.

In other words, I’d be a lot happier if the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize was someone who was actively working for peace, and not someone who sounds like an apologist for American and European colonialism and it’s modern day global interventionism. I’m even half convinced that it works the other way, first peace, and then democracy and human rights will find fertile ground. The longer the War on Terror goes on, the less democratic and constitutionally governed the USA seems like to me.

In any event this is no big deal. I’m not criticizing Liu Xiabobo’s efforts, just trying to point out that the Chinese government has a point, and issues of peace and human rights are a bit more complicated that “you’ve got the vote and a constitution, what’s the problem?” Real democracy is a wonderful thing, fake democracy may be one of the most tyrannical warlike forms of government ever devised. The jury is still out on how this century is going to turn out, but I suspect a lot of the things we think we learnt from the horrors of the 20th century are going to seem as quaint as the God and Country nonsense that motivated millions of Europeans to march into machine gun fire in World War One.

In summation, it looks to me like the Nobel Peace Prize committee, like the UN and so many other organizations ostensibly promoting world peace, is actually just another organ promoting Euro-American domination of the world. More on this in an upcoming post.

(The image above is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s not being used for profit and is one of the most historically important images of the 20th century. Credit and copyright:  Jeff Widener (Associated Press). It’s tank man, an unknown protester who halted a column of tanks during the Chinese crackdown at Tiananmen Square in 1989. He may have been secretly executed or imprisoned, or he may be in hiding. Gotta admire someone who can stand up for their beliefs like that.)

Written by unitedcats

October 11, 2010 at 7:15 am

Chinese UFO Sighting, the Death of Internet Journalism, and my own Personal Alien Abduction Story

with 4 comments

I think the Internet is doing to journalism what television did to entertainment. Dumbed it down and cheapened it to the point of mass brain damage. If TV is the opiate of the masses, the Internet is its crack. Case in point, the recent Chinese UFO flap where a UFO shut down a major airport for over an hour. It was all over the mainstream media, often with the caveat that a “source” said it was due to a “military” thing, and there would be more info forthcoming. Many pictures of the UFO circulated, the one above being possibly the most prominent. Well, how much of the UFO story is true? Part of it at least, a pilot did indeed report seeing a UFO and the airport was shut down for an hour as a precaution. And that’s the facts of the case. The “source” and the pictures circulating are all, well, made up. The pics are images from previous hoaxes or contests or prosaic rocket launches. The one above is a hoax, and a very common on at that. It’s part of a plane fuselage, but the camera was moved while the shutter was open, notice how the buildings are all blurred.

But the Chinese pilot, he must have seen something? Yes, he did. And from the direction he was flying he probably saw the planet Venus. To people who have never seen Venus on a dark night, that may sound ridiculous; but under the right conditions when Venus is very bright and near the horizon, it has been the source of many a UFO report. So there really isn’t even a story here, at least from what I can tell. Granted I’m taking this all from the fine Forgetomori post on the topic, but it seems well researched and I can’t find any fault with it. Which illustrates how so much garbage gets disseminated on the Internet, it’s easy to promulgate garbage, it’s hard to do the research and separate the wheat from the chaff. So more often than not silliness gets copied and pasted and posted a million times over before anyone can track down the truth of it. And by then it’s too late. Add to that the human tendency to accept input that reinforces people’s beliefs and reject input that contradicts them, and there ya have it, world-o-fools.

Of course it’s entirely possible that I am doing the same thing, so if anyone cares to point out the error of my ways I will be glad to re-examine the issue. In fact this post is the start of another series on UFOs, since they seem such a popular topic. I’m going to discuss a number of famous sightings, I encourage readers to submit sightings they want covered. I also want to look at the conspiracy side of this a little closer, how likely is it that the government knows more than they are letting on about UFOs? And to start this off, my own personal abduction story. Make of it what one wills, I have no clue.

This was in the late eighties, I lived in a big flat roofed house in the Berkeley hills. This was the height of the Whitley Streiber era, alien abductions were the latest thing and in the news. I was doing some renovation on the house, and I had a couple of young women as a work crew. At one point they spent a night in the spare bedroom, as they had no car and it made getting to work easier. On this night I was awakened by a police helicopter shining its spotlight down in the neighbourhood, that occasionally happens in the big city. It woke me up, but I was too tired to move and just lay there a bit until the light and noise moved away. I mean, I thought it was a police helicopter, I didn’t actually get up and look.

And that was that, I didn’t think any more about it. Well, a few weeks later I was having lunch with my crew and somehow the topic came up, and I asked “Hey, did you see the police helicopter and the search light the night you were staying up at the house?” They both got really quiet and looked at me funny. I’m like, what’s up? They explained. Yes, there had been a terribly bright light shining in their window that night. It had scared the beejesus out of them, and they had been afraid to move all night long. And when they saw me in the morning all freaked out about it, I had told them “Oh, it’s OK, a spaceship landed on the roof during the night.” Well, I have absolutely no memory of saying anything like that whatsoever. I am to this day mystified by the whole experience. I have a pretty good memory, especially when jogged. I mean, I recently read some old magazines for the seventies and there was stuff in them I remembered. It’s hard for me to imagine making a joke like this, and almost impossible for me to imagine making a joke like this and utterly forgetting about it in just a few weeks.

So … who knows. Since my metanoia in January I’ve realized that my thinking about some things has changed when I re-examine them. Of course I’ve always loved re-examining things from new perspectives, that seems unchanged. And my personal core belief, belied by my “aliens don’t exist argument,” is that if hi-tech aliens and interstellar travel are more or less likely to exist (one uses optimistic number for the Drake equation,) then by extension … they’re already here. And I have  a few more anecdotes like the one above in support of that idea, and I encourage readers to share.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

(The above image is so all over the Internet that they need to make up a new copyright classification to cover it. I’m claiming it as Fair Use under US copyright law. The plane’s landing lights, continuously on, make the white streak at the bottom. The lights on top of the wings were strobing, IE turning on and off, which is why they look like windows. It’s sooooooo easy to fake things with photographs, the real mystery is why anyone takes them seriously.)

Written by unitedcats

July 17, 2010 at 6:18 pm