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Archive for December, 2015

US Security Paranoia over Undersea Cables unexpectedly reveals extent of US surveillance

December 24th, 2015 No comments

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/26/world/europe/russian-presence-near-undersea-cables-concerns-us.html?_r=0

Why is US /NATO so concerned about the undersea cables for internet?  Because they “carry more than 95 percent of daily communications”??!

How can they “carry more than 95 percent of daily communications” on the internet??!!  Considering most users and most popular websites are based in US?

It would be an interesting admission, only if most of the daily internet traffic of US is being channeled elsewhere.

Oddly enough, that confirmed what Edward Snowden had revealed, that US government has ordered most ISP’s to redirect traffic to outside US for the purpose of electronic surveillance of internet traffic.

Read more…

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Server Migrated

December 24th, 2015 No comments

green-check-markIf you see this page.  You have reached our new server.  If you see things that appear wrong, please let me know, so I can fix them.  I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a shakeout period for me to see how this new server works for us.

Thanks All!

Categories: aside Tags:

Out of date SSL Certificates and Other Issues

December 22nd, 2015 No comments

Happy New YearHi Everyone,

If you are logging in to comment, you may notice that our SSL certificate is out of date.  We are working with the host on resolving that issue and other issues.

Over the last year or so, we’ve had several outages even though our traffic was modest.  In the next couple of days, I will be periodically putting the site on read-only maintenance mode (where you won’t be able to log in and comment) since I may also be moving the site to a new host.  Things should be back to normal by December 24, 2015.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

 

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Short Post: Returning Stolen Treasures

December 22nd, 2015 1 comment

Cage's stolen Tyrannosaurus bataar dinosaur I saw this article earlier today in the NYT about actor Nicholas Cage agreeing to return to Mongolia a dinosaur fossil that he had legitimately bought (paying top dollars for) but that turned out to have been stolen earlier from Mongolia.  Following is an excerpt of the story.

I wish people and governments around the world also think about returning back to China the thousands and thousands of stolen cultural relics that have been looted from China the last century or two.  When one takes the politics out, one can see this as the only virtuous thing to do.  But alas, when it comes to facing to history of the last few centuries, so many in the West become so self-righteous and indignant.

Still, we can hope and dream … one day … Read more…

Categories: Analysis, aside Tags:

China at Crossroad, a Critique from Left.

December 22nd, 2015 1 comment

With China’s stupendous achievements from the last 35 years it would seem petty to complain about problems accompanies the growth. Yet Xi and his leadership group face some structural problems in reforms necessarily to transform Capitalism to her eventual goal of Socialism. Last month Beijing University named a new building after Karl Marx, and hosted first of hopefully many more conferences of Marx scholars from around the world. Xi has revisited his old home in Yan’an when he was a teenager and invoked Mao’s speech in 1942 in Yan’an Forum on art and literature. There are palpable worries from liberals in the West that Xi might be another Mao in waiting.

Since Xi assumed power, his major focus is on fighting corruption at various levels of government, party, and military. Yet as major cases shown it is not easy as corruption has grown to be integral part of society, intertwined with roots stretching beyond easy reach and facing pushbacks that threaten his own hold on power. Various special interests under the slogan “To be rich is glorious” has married power to money with few immune to the lure of lucre. Xi’s fight against corruption is popular in China, yet it raises unrealistic expectation that threaten the mantra of social stability. An example was the collapse of school buildings during the Szechuan earthquake. It is easy to play the blame game after the fact. Grieving parents together with other public personalities were a powerful force, but can you dig deep enough to affect not only the contractors, but government official and everyone involved? Xi’s solution is trying to contain the investigation of corruption to major ones, a somewhat amnesty for minor past misdeeds and crack down on new or egregious cases. Events seem to expose the inadequacy of this strategy. Tianjin chemical explosions, red alert for smog in Beijing, and now the Shenzhen landslide show that laws is powerless against the collusion of power and money.

I applaud what Xi and his leadership group is attempting. Reducing inequality by health care for everyone, social security for rural farmers, continuing urbanization with household registration open to migrant workers, subsidized and reduced price to sell excess apartments to them, new changes in 1 child policy, reducing military by 300,000 and divorce military from profit and business. Reduce pollution and for a greener less CO2 future, the list is endless and daunting. Compare them with the coming GOP contenders in U.S., where evolution and climate warming are denied, it’s obvious future lies with China. Yet all these will not be possible without a socialist ethic, and Mao looms over it. China has to deal with the legacy of Mao and CR, avoiding or ignoring them will not do. Whatever the positives or negatives must be analyzed and examples learned.

The career of Yu Yonjun is instructive. He rose to became governor of Shanxi province from 2005-2007. He purposed zero growth for coal and steel production there, and closed thousands of small inefficient coal mines which exploited labor and were unsafe. He wanted to protect the environment and made powerful enemies in party bureaucracy and coal barons. He was a most popular governor there, yet he lost his job due to the scandal he exposed in coal mines. I think there are 3-4 more governors there since he left and none were successful. He’s now retired and hired as a professor in a southern university. He gave a series of lectures on CR recently and probably triggered sensitive nerves and called to Beijing for conference.

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Involvement of Any Third Party in The South China Sea is Counter Productive

December 13th, 2015 2 comments

I am writing this article as a follow on to Allen’s post “Who Is Really Overstepping the Bounds of International Law in the South China Sea?

International law is defined by consensus but ultimately decided by “reality on the ground”. Each claimant nation of South China Sea island should have absolute faith and belief in their position before submitting any claim. That is not wrong. However, each nation should be realistic. To have the notion that “my claim is more legitimate than your claim” is counter productive. And to have this illusion that somehow “world opinion” is backing your claim make it even more laughable. Read more…

Opinion: In Fighting ISIS or Al Qaeda, We Must Take Great Care Not to Demonize Islam

December 10th, 2015 16 comments

Islam[editor’s note: this is a cross-post of an article I posted on the Huffington Post.]

When news arose that the killings in San Bernardino last Thursday was probably terrorist related – that the perpetrators Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik had praised “Allah” and pledged allegiance to ISIS moments before they started their rampage – attention quickly shifted to the Muslim communities for their reactions.

Soon enough, civic and religious leaders of the Muslim communities rolled forward to condemn the attack in no uncertain terms. They called the acts horrific and uncivilized and not in line with their religious or social values.

But talking to my Muslim friends privately, I also get a very real sense of fear. Read more…

Who Is Really Overstepping the Bounds of International Law in the South China Sea?

December 10th, 2015 1 comment
The Hague via peopleint.files.wordpress.com/2012/07

The Hague via peopleint.files.wordpress.com/2012/07

[Editor’s Note: This is a cross-post of an article I submitted to the Diplomat a few weeks ago.  I am wrapping up a more detailed legal analysis of the issues  and aim to make it a law review article.  I will cross-post here too that once that has been submitted and accepted.]

When the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague recently announced that it would take “jurisdiction” over Philippines’ arbitral claims against China, many reported the decision as a victory for the Philippines and as a triumph of the “rule of law.” I beg to differ. The Court, on the contrary, has muddled, not upheld, international law, and by trivializing the states’ duty to negotiate in good faith – as enshrined in the U.N. charter, stipulated in the UNCLOS, and specifically agreed to between the parties – has greatly damaged the prospect for peace, cooperation, and a final resolution of the disputes. Read more…