The first “developed country” to join the institution – although we’d not call New Zealand ‘Developed,” but would agree it has Western Values. Superior values because it plays Rugby, 45 minutes each half without stopping every 30 seconds, does not allow forward passing, and it is a foul to interfere with any player not holding the ball, and New Zealand plays Rugby with considerable skill! I’d like to see a 300 lb America Football player run continuously for 45 minutes.
For those of you who don’t follow Imperial minutiae, the US has control of the dollar through the IMF and World Bank, where it stacked the boards of both institutions so that the US always has a majority of the votes (based on one million dollars one vote, more or less). And you believed the Republicans recently invented dollar based voting – nope, the Supremes are just adhering to the precedent, based on old American Imperial Values.
Nations have no permanent friends or allies, they only have permanent interests..
(Palmerston, who was no slouch when it came to Imperialism).
Let’s examine the evidence:
Middle East in Chaos
US Pushing NATO to Russian Borders
US Oil & Gas Production rising sharply
Russia major energy supplier to Europe & China
Middle East Oil Production at or past peak
This is a theory, constructed to fit the set of facts listed, and to try to provide an Hypothesis which meets the facts, explains the US’ behavior, lists the possible outcomes and discusses the probabilities of those outcomes.
It’s about “MEE”: Money, Energy and, Empire. Read More
Let me make this prefatory remark up front: I take absolutely no joy in writing this or in making these criticisms, but someone has to tell you how it really is. If you disagree, fine, but back your disagreement up with something more than a mindless assertion that “‘Murica is the best.” Why? Well, for starters, chances are I’ve forgotten about more of my travel experiences than you’ve ever had travel experiences. Second, I have observation and experience on my side. Third, well, do you really want to have a pissing match you’ll lose? Just trust me, I know what I am talking about.
I say this each time I am at IAH (Houston Intercontinental) airport: it’s a filthy pit. And I’ve seen some in my time. While I was waiting for my last flight to San Antonio (having flown from Istanbul to Munich to Houston) a man said in Spanish to his wife, “this airport is filthy.” I was embarrassed. But then I looked around even more closely. The paint on the walls was peeling, the blue carpet was filthy, the chairs were leaning at angles and the fabric was torn or stained. I expect this in an Uzbek airport or one in some other post-imperial shit hole. But in America, the so-called greatest, richest, most awesomest country in the entire galaxy?
We should be ashamed of shitty air travel infrastructure.
Second, American airlines are fast approaching the quality of Russian airlines. United, Delta and American are and should be a national disgrace. Turkish National Airlines is better than all three and there are many airlines in the world better than Turkish. The point is that our domestic airlines are pathetic and now equal post-Soviet Russian planes in decrepitude, discomfort and cost. The food is not much better, either. I now do everything I can to avoid flying American airlines internationally. They are that bad. Domestically? Hell, I will sit on a bus for ten hours to avoid a three hour flight and the subsequent TSA bullshit involved.
Oh, you don’t believe me when I say the quality is as terrible as Russian airlines? Well, have you ever flown on a Yak-40 from Bukhara to Tashkent? Or a Tupolev 154 from Amsterdam to Moscow? Or an Ilyushin-96 from Tashkent to Moscow? Well, I have and they aren’t much different than the crap planes Boeing is now making. Airbus Industries in Europe simply makes a better quality and comfort plane. Read More
BEIJING, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) — Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hong Lei said Saturday the Geneva international talks on the Iranian nuclear issue have reached the final moment.
Hong said in a press release that Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi left Beijing for Geneva early Saturday morning to participate in the dialogue between Iran and 5+1 nations, namely China, the United States, Russia, Britain, France and Germany.
The talks between Iran and the United Nations Security Council’s five permanent members plus Germany over its controversial nuclear program have extend into an unscheduled fourth day on Saturday.
The shift in U.S. policy toward Syria was sudden and, in some ways, shocking. It represented the first instance in modern history when a President of the United States was constrained from unilateral military action. What caused that constraint? I maintain that overwhelming public pressure, the type rarely seen in Washington, created a political climate that made it impossible for a) the president to bypass Congress and b) for Congress to approve a military strike on a nation that had not attacked the U.S.(The Eloquence of Unity) Optimist that I am, I may be wrong on this or incomplete (but I doubt it). The following from Ken Holland is fascinating and deserves some attention.
“My question is: What motivated the sudden, overnight change of mind by Obama himself seemingly only hours away from a military strike on al Assad and Syria? It appears to have caught his advisors and the military totally by surprise. Read More
Have we seen any rhetoric like this lately from Washington or any state government?
The following is an article from Xinhua, the official Chinese news publication (found in the Agonist world newspapers link along with many other fine publications http://agonist.org/world-press/)
BEIJING, July 17 (Xinhua) — “China’s Supreme People’s Procuratorate (SPP) has pledged to hand down harsh punishments against cover-ups of work safety accidents and duty-related crimes involving officials.
“Procuratorates at all levels should speed up the arrest approval and prosecution of people who are responsible for serious or very serious accidents caused by illegal production in high-risk sectors, such as coal mining and hazardous chemical industries, a SPP statement said.”
This is the same China with sweatshops that produces products for Wal-Mart and runs Foxconn, the suicide capital of workplaces. There is a bright side. At least the Chinese government fears the people enough to act like they care. In addition, there will have to be some actions to establish a degree of credibility even if that is show rather than reality. At least a few workers will benefit.
“There’s no question we could make more money if we packed up and went to China like our competitors,” says Chad Braverman, 30, Doc Johnson’s COO, as we walk by the vein station, where workers with small, precise brushes apply spidery red and blue lines to the rubber shafts. Doc Johnson is not immune from the benefit of cheap outsourced labor: It contracts with a Chinese manufacturer to produce 25% of the rubber products and motors for Doc Johnson items. I ask Braverman if, as time goes on, he would consider increasing that percentage. “No,” he says. “I remain committed to our current ratio. We think it’s important to stay loyal to the country and values that allow this kind of product and manufacturing to take place.” While Doc Johnson’s products are not luxury items, its American workforce does result in a hike in retail prices; Braverman says that price increase reflects “quality.”
National Security Archives: Washington, D.C., April 23, 2013 – China was exporting nuclear materials to Third World countries without safeguards beginning in the early 1980s, and may have given Pakistan weapons design information in the early years of its clandestine program, according to recently declassified CIA records. The formerly Top Secret reports, published today by the National Security Archive and the Nuclear Proliferation International History Project, are the CIA’s first-ever declassifications of allegations that Beijing supported Islamabad’s nuclear ambitions.
The newly released records, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and Mandatory Declassification Review process, indicate growing U.S. concern from the 1960s to the early 1990s about the intentions of other embryonic or potential nuclear states, including Brazil, Argentina, South Africa and Libya. Among the disclosures in these reports:
If China fails to take short term corrective action to address toxic levels of air pollution in its major cities, millions of Chinese people will die over the coming years. If China takes effective short term corrective action to address airborne toxins, global warming will accelerate causing threats to the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of millions in China and the rest of the world. (Image)
The perils of air quality in China have been a topic of concern for some time. The issue became red hot this week with a study published in the British medical journal, Lancet. The study estimates that 1.2 million premature deaths occurred in China in 2010 alone.
The Unites States embassy in Beijing has measured air quality levels over the last five years. January 2013 saw record measures — thirty times above levels considered safe for activities of daily living. Particulate matter consisting of metals, acids, and allergens, enter the lungs as fully fledged carcinogens. That’s just part of the strange brew that includes CO2, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxides, and ozone.
China’s meteoric rise to global economic power has come at a dire cost to human rights, says artist Ai Weiwei. While onlookers in the West are dimly aware of the massive relocations, political corruption, widespread worker riots, and environmental disasters that have accompanied China’s astonishing recent growth, Beijing’s control of Chinese media has made the extent of these problems difficult to ascertain. Ai Weiwei, named “most powerful artist in the world” of 2011 by ArtForum magazine, has made it his mission to confront Beijing’s corruption and hypocrisy at home and on the international stage. It has earned him police beatings, extended detention, tax persecution, and the silencing of his popular blog and Twitter account, yet he continues, undaunted. Here, in a Big Think interview at his Beijing studio, Ai Weiwei discusses the challenges China faces to becoming a truly “great nation.”
Purchased in 1998, the Kutznesov Class 60,000 ton aircraft carrier, previously named “Varyag”, will be used to test qualify Chinese pilots flying with the navalised J-15 as well as to test and validate procedures, equipments for another future operative aircraft carrier (expected no sooner than 2020).
Hence, not only China is currently the only country known to be developing two stealth fighters simultaneously (the J-20 and the J-31) but the successful landings on Liaoning have put its Navy on track for a future role as a maritime power capable to pose a threat to the U.S. naval forces in the Asia-Pacific theatre.