A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘military

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

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  • Centauri Dreams considers the likely cometary explanation for KIC 8462852.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes an enigmatic dark spot on a white dwarf.
  • The Dragon’s Tales reports on China’s construction of a military base in Djibouti.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that the man who promised to reduce the price of an HIV/AIDS medication that his company hiked has reneged.
  • Lawyers, Gins and Money notes that Trump was lying about protesting Muslims in New Jersey after 9/11.
  • pollotenchegg maps the distribution of ethnic minorities in Ukraine, now and in 1926.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer looks at how the right won in Argentina.
  • Torontoist notes local initiatives to welcome Syrian refugees to Toronto.
  • Towleroad notes a Vietnamese trans right bill.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy observes that American states cannot ban Syrian refugees.
  • Window on Eurasia looks on a new Chinese railway passing from Xinjiang through Central Asia to Iran, and looks at the odd Communist-Christian-Muslim mélange being favoured in Russia.

[ISL] “Tokyo sues Okinawa in US base relocation dispute”

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Al Jazeera America notes ongoing tensions between the Japanese government and the island of Okinawa over American bases there.

The Japanese government took the local government in Okinawa to court Tuesday, launching a legal battle in their longstanding dispute over the planned relocation of a U.S. military air base on the southern island.

A lawsuit filed in a regional high court in Okinawa seeks an injunction to overturn Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga’s recent decision to cancel a previously issued approval for land reclamation work for the base relocation.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and local officials have been at loggerheads for months over the base’s relocation, sparking protests from tens of thousands around Japan concerned about the base’s impact on the local economy and environment.

Tokyo wants to move the U.S. Marines’ Futenma base to a less developed area on the island called Henoko, but many Okinawa residents — whose home was the site of bloody battles near the end of World War II — resent hosting the U.S. military at all.

Written by Randy McDonald

November 18, 2015 at 8:53 pm

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

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  • blogTO notes the plans to build a large park under the western Gardiner.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at Pluto.
  • The Dragon’s Tales goes to Syria.
  • Far Outliers reports from a despairing Siberian village.
  • Geocurrents notes that most Moravians live in Tanzania.
  • Joe. My. God. notes Ireland’s marriage laws have gone into effect.
  • Language Log looks at the spread of the shawm, a musical instrument, across Asia.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes David Frum’s proposal to ethnically cleanse Muslims from Europe.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer considers the prospects for a widened French war in Syria, noting that despite the popularity of intervention France cannot do much more.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy is critical of the European Union’s policy requiring the labeling of goods made in the West Bank.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the growth of barriers hindering the departure of Russians and looks at Stalin’s rivalry with Hitler in the Balkans and elsewhere.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

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  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a model of the atmosphere of warm mini-Neptune GJ 1214b.
  • Far Outliers notes (1, 2) the efforts of Afghanistan in the 1970s to modernize.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the awkward intersections of race and class.
  • Marginal Revolution notes an unusual sort of Welsh tax rebellion.
  • Towleroad notes the story of a Marine who took his male date to the Marine Corps Ball.
  • Understanding Society celebrates its eighth anniversary this week.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that Russia may be on the verge of yet another expensive empire-destroying arms race, and observes the dangers of what Russia calls “Russophobia”.

[LINK] “Putin’s Fortress Russia Takes Its Toll”

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Leonid Bershidsky’s Bloomberg View article notes that Russia’s response to sanctions has not been stellar, and is likely to get worse.

It’s difficult to quantify the damage Western economic sanctions have done to Russia. The country’s slump is almost exclusively due to a drop in oil prices, which has led to a sharp currency devaluation and a jump in interest rates. Yet the sanctions have fueled the Kremlin’s paranoia, lending Russia’s economy an aura of autarchic defensiveness.

Russian exports are down 31.9 percent in January through September, and imports have dropped 38.8 percent. One could argue that this downturn in foreign trade is due to the ruble’s devaluation. Self-isolation, however, has played a major role too. One form of this self-isolation is unilateral trade restrictions like President Vladimir Putin’s vindictive and ineffective food embargo against countries that have sanctioned Russia. Another is the country’s increasing financial lockdown.

The embargo has failed on multiple counts. An August government report showed that though food imports made a disproportionately large contribution to the general decline in trade, Russian producers were unable to fill the gap in the market immediately, resulting in rapid price growth and an increase in embargo-busting schemes. For example, European Union exports of milk and cream to Belarus increased in 2014 by a factor of 573; obviously, all the extra European milk went to Russia. Landlocked Belarus also became a major fish exporter. At the same time, EU agricultural exports just kept growing as if the Russian market never existed; Poland’s, for example, increased by 7.1 percent last year and by 6.4 percent in the first half of 2015.

Undeterred by the debacle, the Russian government wants to re-enact the experiment in other markets. From January 1, 2016, government agencies have to prove they need foreign software before they can buy it. A separate government decree only allows such purchases if there is no equivalent Russian software. The reasoning for this is a noxious mixture of fear that Western countries could be spying on Russia through office applications and enterprise resource planning systems and a misguided desire to spur local development by shutting off competition. The European Business Association, the biggest foreign business lobby in Russia, recently sent a letter to the government expressing concern that Western tech companies may be unable to keep operating in Russia under these conditions.

Written by Randy McDonald

November 6, 2015 at 1:19 am

[LINK] On Gwynne Dyer in the Georgia Straight on terrorism

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Charlie Smith’s Georgia Straight interview with journalist Gwynne Dyer notes why military responses to terrorism are fundamentally ill-thought.

“Well, we lost two people in the last year to terrorism and we lost about 250 a month on the roads,” Dyer said. “You know, the Americans lost 3,000 people on 9/11, but they also lost 3,000 people on the roads and another 3,000 to gunshot wounds, mostly delivered by their nearest and dearest.

“The scale of the terrorism is tiny compared to its presence in the media,” Dyer continued. “Really, we should, as much as possible, ignore it. We certainly don’t need to overreact by sending troops to the Middle East or aircraft to do God knows what in terms of useful activity. It’s just dumb.”

In fact, according to Dyer, if western countries expand their bombing campaigns against ISIS into Syria, it will only make the Islamic State stronger.

That’s because it will reinforce ISIS’s message that western infidels are attacking and killing Muslims. Dyer said that this provides a perfect recruiting tool to attract more desperate people to join their cause.

The former instructor at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (where British officers are trained to lead soldiers) described this as “political jujitsu”. And he said this is why ISIS releases grisly, well-edited videos showing westerners being beheaded.

Written by Randy McDonald

November 6, 2015 at 1:14 am

Posted in Politics, Popular Culture

Tagged with , , ,

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

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  • blogTO notes the opening of a new Taiwanese fried chicken restaurant location in Toronto.
  • Centauri Dreams notes an odd crater on Charon.
  • D-Brief reports on a study suggesting that geography–specifically, topography–can influence the number of consonants in a language.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze reports on the craziness of the KOI-89 planetary system and suggests Kepler-91b might have a Trojan companion.
  • The Dragon’s Tales reports on American fears of a shortage of aircraft carriers.
  • The New APPS Blog considers if neurons have preferences.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw talks of the British Museum.
  • The Planetary Society Blog reports on new rover science on Mars.
  • Peter Rukavina celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Prince Edward Island government website, among other things.
  • Savage Minds notes that these days, we don’t have much time for slowness.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests student surveys in Moscow and St. Petersburg indicate high levels of ethnic and religious tension.

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