So, a topic that fits into the GNP: NK vs USA. The rhetoric is harsher this year than it has been in many(even threatening to attack mainland US), and the US and SK doesn't seem to care about it, causing more harsh rhetoric to burst out of the angry NK's.
There is speculation that the NK regime needs to show their strength to survive, but that they are terrified of acting in such a way that will cause a big retaliation from the US. I think the US has placed itself in a nice situation here by not budging, since that leaves the NK regime with no wiggle-room to sink a fishing boat or attack a small island with rockets without facing the consequences.
I'm really hoping that something happens now, this blight has been allowed to go on for too long. I might have said something different if I lived within artillery range of those NK guns, but I'm pretty sure that a week of bombing would have proven a nice vacation for those within reach.
Just a bit of bragging, but I guess it goes into the topic of the scandinavian model vs other models we are running on:
Been a while since we had a GNP post to talk about. Anyway, this situation is interesting and troublesome at the same time. Wikipedia calls it the In Aménas hostage crisis
Basically, around 20 islamists with connections to the conflict in Mali attacked the facility wednesday morning, taking hostages of around 20-60 western workers. An unknown number of hostages have escaped(30-50ish). But today Algerie attacked in the middle of the day with its army, most likely causing the death of all the hostages still under control of the islamists, which looks to include at least 8 Norwegians, 7 Americans, 5 Japanese and an unknown amount of French, Romanian and British workers.
Right now the situation is chaotic. Because Algerie isn't exactly a democratic beacon of light and press-freedom to begin with, its hard to say whats going on on the ground. News say now that the situation is over, and that many have died during the military assault on the plant.
Anyway, Death is certain, but not every death ripples through the GNP. I suspect this is a flashpoint in the Mali conflict, or as wikipedia calls it, The Insurgency in Maghreb. As you might see in that picture, that's practically all of northwestern Africa, and just recently, France started aiding the AU troops in fighting the islamists who've taken over 2/3rds of northern Mali. This will be a perfect excuse for Western forces to start a powerful retaliation on the Mali insurgents, which they've had trouble getting blesssings from the UN for so far.
I'm guessing we will see more drones and more spec-ops on the ground in the desert the next few years.
So, the internet traffic out of Syria have been strangled since yesterday, which is interesting in many ways. Is it the government's attempt to hide some extraordinary attack on the population, or is it a desperate attempt to stop information about their doomed situation to spread and make the rats leave the ship even sooner.
Considering the other revolutions in the district lost their Internet shortly before the demise of their regimes, I'm willing to wager this is a defensive move by the Syrian government. I guess it also could be trying to hide some massive slaughter of rebels, but cell-phone cameras don't need internet to record and store videos of such acts.
Even still, I don't expect this conflict to be finished this year. But eh, we had a good year last year, with Kim dying around Christmas, so who knows.
Thought this was a perfect theory for GNP:
Egyptian prime-minister says some demonstrators got paid to protest. And a member of the egyptian muslim brotherhood party suspects that the only ones getting anything out of these demonstrations are the Israelis(translated article), and that both the brotherhood and the Salafist movements have encouraged non-violence. They suspect that Israel is actively trying to sabotage the new regimes after the Arab spring, mostly because the Muslim brotherhood have done well in elections, secondary to keep the countries from uniting against Israel(more logical imo).
Naturally we should take this information with a grain of salt, and it is very typical Arab conspiracy focus to think Israel is behind every move. But if we see how Binyamin Netanyahu have been aggressively twisting arms on Obama and the US government to go more aggressive in the confrontation with Iran, in an election year of all things, we might give credence to the thought that Israel might be pulling as many strings they can to get their will.
Considering that Obama now most likely gave him the cold shoulder by refusing to meet him when he came to the US, it seems that Bibi is going all-in in getting neo-cons back into the white-house.
The move went something like this: Bibi, becoming increasingly frustrated with the cold shoulder of the more moderate US foreign policy of Obama, starts pushing for red-line politics on Iran, hoping to get a compromise to shut him up in an election-year. When this doesn't work, he starts investing into causing an event in neighboring Arab countries that are unstable after the Arab spring.
This is done by finding some poor shmuck's idiotic anti-islam video that could have been made by junior high-school students, and milking that movie for all its worth. Trolling Muslims(Arab Muslims?) into going berserk is tragically easy with the internet. You just need to show it off to a certain amount of them and it goes viral. Double-agents and money gets you a long way I'm sure.
Beyond the Benghazi consulate attack, which most likely was Al-Qaeda sitting by and conveniently doing an attack while there was cover for it, this would have been a perfect scenario for Bibi to remind the US that they are capable of setting off the powder-keg, and even tilting the election in favor of the Republicans.
But because of the deaths, the plan sort of overshot the target. Bibi most likely have hoped that this would just caused a bunch of flags getting burned and maybe a consulate or two getting torched with no American casualties. This would have given Mitt Romney's(who knows Bibi from before) rapid response to the crisis more legitimacy, and it would have marred Obama's foreign policy in such a way that it could have wrecked his prestige on it (Obama having a much higher approval rate on foreign policy than Romney).
But since this situation got out of hand, it fell back into the hands of the moderate foreign policy of Obama, keeping their mouths shut until they knew more about the situation instead of shooting from the hip gained Obama more respect and hit Romney in the face.
So to sum it up, Bibi, not liking the current US foreign policy and president, played the game of "troll the muslim" in an attempt to move the voters over to the neo-con. Unfortunately, Al-Qaeda also wanted to make a mess of things and caused the situation to go from embarrassment of Obama to tragedy for the USA. Romney (most likely got a note from Bibi that he should make a dash once the Middle-east went ablaze) thought he could earn some cheap foreign policy points on it, and he probably would have if there weren't deaths involved. But since he didn't wait for clarification and didn't even wait until 9/11 was over, he made himself look like a buffoon.
That is at least my rough opinion on the Game thats been played the last few months. Have I missed something?
Since its about two months left of the election and both parties have more or less chosen their candidates, I figured it was time to make a thread about the election so far and the discussion around it.
I have to admit, the DNC owns the RNC. Bubba's speech is for me the prime example of sanity in politics compared to the irrational actions of the GOP.
Also, Julian Castro of Texas seems to be a future candidate for many things. I think this guy might get far.
I'm afraid even though it seems the democrats have the sane and thought out ideas, the republicans have the cash of billionaires to help them bring a suicidal policy to fruition. Then again I might be wrong.
This might be more of a starter for Ash, but I found this movie/audio slideshow on the Guardian quite interesting.
Policing England's riots: 'I pray to God I never see anything like that again' - audio slideshow
Police officers from across the country describe their experience of tackling last year's riots.
Eight police forces allowed the Guardian and London School of Economics unprecedented access to officers
deployed on the front line during the disturbances as they battled to regain control of towns and cities across the country
It puts the officers in a sympathetic light and I don't mind that: They aren't the problem any more than the protests/protesters are the problem.
But, I do wonder if this is an example of the first coughs of a pretty bad cold. If our leaders aren't able to create jobs/an economy for the average people, the average people will do things like this. And if 1-2% of the UK started throwing bricks at the authorities, I'd loathe to be a police-officer.
Up here, people are starting to fear we are entering another phase of unease that we saw the first half of the last century. The Greek nazi-party that got 9% of the votes in the last election, incompetence from political leaders who worry more about their 4-year elections and special interest friends than their nation's well-being. Social knitting into small fanatical groups that can cause a lot of havoc if motivated enough. Being unemployed and with no good prospects for the future, can turn anyone into a barbarian horde.
All I can guess is that we'll be seeing much more domestic terrorism, radical political parties, and economic frustration. I could be wrong about blaming the economy/global politics for the UK riots of last year, but even if the rioters themselves didn't know why they were out in the streets, I think that was the main reason they were motivated for it.
I thought this article and the video in it were good, also 12-year olds explaining such topics helps reduce the inherent confusion of the topic:
So basically the quote goes something like this:
Towers was asked, "Will you tell me why a government with power to create money, should give that power away to a private monopoly and then borrow that which Parliament can create itself, back at interest, to the point of national bankruptcy?" He replied, "If Parliament wants to change the form of operating the banking system, then certainly that is within the power of Parliament."
Why would you give those rights away to someone else? governments are a manifestation of the nation, and with a slight self-preservation instinct, any government would see that creating cash, then giving it away to private banks, and then loaning it back with interest paid to the private banks...
If you chopped a ton of wood and gave it away to your neighbor, only to buy it back from him on money you had to earn selling apples or something, wouldn't you find that to be an idiotic solution?
I sure didn't, and it certainly is relevant for us westerners(mostly). It stands for "Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement", and is basically a bunch of pacific nations organizing free trade agreements between themselves.
(TPP) is being negotiated as a nine country FTA between the U.S., Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Canada, Japan and Mexico are all expected to join talks, and many see more Pacific Rim countries including China and Russia eventually signing on. With floundering WTO talks, the TPP could very well establish U.S. trade policy for the next generation, yet all talks are happening behind closed doors and public influence has been increasingly suppressed.
The problem isn't that they are going about creating trade agreements, but that they are being as opaque as humanly possible about it. These sort of agreements make or break nations, and here we sit not knowing anything about them.
Here are some examples what this TPP is about(probably some good things about it too, but one step forward and two back is usually negative):
Secret No. 1: The TPP is covertly attacking the same internet freedom rights that spurred online protests over ACTA and SOPA.
No. 2: The TPP would make it more enticing for corporations to offshore jobs by opening our market to Vietnamese labor, which has significantly lower average wages than China.
No. 3: The TPP could be a death sentence to patients with AIDS, tuberculosis, and other treatable diseases around the world.
No. 4: The TPP would ban capital controls and impose limits on financial regulation, including post-recession checks on firm size and risky investments.
No. 5: Americans hate FTAs! Recent polls have found more than twice as many Americans think FTAs hurt than help, and 69 percent of Americans think they cost jobs, which they do.
I'm glad we are living in times where you can find this sort of information online. If I wrote about this sort of stuff in the 70s I'd probably be put on a list and hear clicking sounds on my phone. Safety in numbers and ease of access I guess
As this article mentions, there is a river of steel over the Mexican border from the USA, a flow of semi-automatic weaponry that are killing people in much greater numbers than other conflicts around the world.
To be honest, it is quite surprising to me that this isn't more mainstream news than it is.
In the period of 2008-2011, 2000 Palestinians were killed in conflict between Israel/Palestine.
The Libyan revolution cost around 15 000 - 25 000 lives.
The official numbers of Syrian deaths are around 10 000 in a year.
In Mexico, the number for the last five years is around 40 000 - 55 000. That is pretty brutal IMO. And the worst part of it is that its because American weapon-producers are making good money on these weapons being sold to Mexicans.
If I was a Marketing guy, I'd make a poster of an Mexican hitman pointing an American assault rifle in your face with the text "This is where your 'rights to carry arms' will get you" under it. Or "Sponsored by your friendly local NRA affiliates" or "Made in America" or "This guy bought this gun off your kid" or "Trade: Americans get drugs, Mexicans get guns: Who will be the better shooter? Probably not you".
Anyway, I thought this was a bit of an interesting tidbit of information. If its purely corporate interest or indirectly caused by war on drugs I don't know, but it is certainly a symptom of something that is not right.