• Jan, 2022
  • Jan 13, 2022
  • 'When a member of [US] Congress goes to Taiwan and declares that she is now in the Republic of Taiwan, that's terribly provocative"

    ... and who ends up getting hurt in that situation? It's the people of Taiwan. If there is ever a military conflict there, even if it's turned back, thousands of people in Taiwan will die. And members of Congress ought to be aware of that simple truth. - Joseph Fewsmith

  • Jan, 2022
  • Jan 03, 2022
  • Myanmar coup fighting continues

    Reports have it that the military who took power by force are not doing so well to consolidate power. Fighting continues. Defections continue into the People's Defense Forces. Becoming something of a civil war.

    Possible US tactics, they're currently coming up with a plan at Congress: Squeeze oil and gas revenues (which go to military). Possibly, US could accuse them of genocide (Ryohinga also a possibility), although the military is killing all groups including their own.

    People already people suffering from lack of food, etc., but the strategy of resistance is to sort of destroy the economy and accept what comes along with it, to squeeze the military government in power.
  • Dec, 2021
  • Dec 29, 2021

  • DoD fails another audit

    Fourth in a row I think. But it's 'getting closer.' Current budget is $724b. It doesn't track well it's spending at an enterprise (overall) level.

    This is up since the 80s, but as a percentage of GDP it is lower than the 80s. It's currently between 3 and 4% of GDP (was about 5%).

    Some (?) is debt-financed. Some is misallocated.

  • Dec, 2021
  • Dec 28, 2021
  • Omer Barlev, Israel's minister of public security, says he fears Israeli threats

    ... and is receiving 24/7 protection.

    He spoke against settler violence by Israelis, and received threats. He blamed another political party for making him the enemy of settlers.

  • Dec, 2021
  • Dec 10, 2021
  • US companies, mandated by Biden to impose vaccines on employees, give employees 2 forms

    ... one they sign to say they will get vaccinated, and another to say that if the vaccine causes a negative reaction the won't sue the company.

  • 92% of Americans have immunity now

    ... either from natural or vaccine antibodies.
  • Brazil health ministry loses all vaccination data

    ... in a 'hack' which many consider likely an inside job by the government, since Bolsonaro doesn't want vaccine passports.

  • Dec, 2021
  • Dec 07, 2021
  • "So many people, including smart people, think that there are too many people in the world and think that the population is growing out of control. It's completely the opposite. Please look at the numbers. If people don't have more children, civilization is going to crumble. Mark my words" - Elon Musk

  • Dec, 2021
  • Dec 06, 2021
  • US won't send officials (diplomats) to Beijing Olympics

    ... because, it says, of China's genocide (Uighurs not Tibetans), crimes against humanity, and other human rights abuses.

    Support came from both sides of the Congressional isle.

    US Athletes are still going.

    In 1980, US officials AND athletes weren't allowed to go to the Moscow Summer Games, due to, the US said, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Russia refused to come to the Summer Games in the US in 1984.

  • Dec, 2021
  • Dec 05, 2021
  • 'Transnational repression'

    'You are not allowed to be a popular person who is not working for them. Either you are their friend or you are their enemy, and that's it. You are their enemy because you tell what they don't want to be told.' - the guy they made Hotel Rwanda about, now a political activist outside of Rwanda, Paul Rusesabagina.

    Rwanda got him. He was living as a legal resident in Texas, and tried to fly to Burundi through Dubai for something. He boarded a private plane in Dubai but it took him instead to Rwanda. (Admitted by Rwanda's justice minister) the Rwandan government paid for that plane. He was charged with terrorism and other crimes. However, from reports I saw he might have actually been funding and founding groups politically active in Rwanda. I can't comment on whether you would want to call them 'terrorist.'

    One of his daughters also was a target. Reportedly, the government hacked her phone and used it to listen in on her life, including meetings with lawyers.

    Transnational repression is the word people are using for part of this. Where governments use threats, intimidation, violence, assassination and murder to silence critics even when they're not in the country. Freedom House documents this.

    Some lawyers say he was kidnapped (by means of his illegal rendition to Rwanda). The government did not present a formal request for rendition, because, some lawyers say, this would have never passed a judge's test, and this is why they didn't do it legally (due process).

    His family is suing the private airline.

  • Nov, 2021
  • Nov 24, 2021
  • USA added to 'backsliding democracies' list of IDEA think tank

    ... who says a visible deterioration began in 2019, and that an important point was when Trump questioned the legitimacy of the 2020 election results (when he lost).

    The list is based of 50 years of democratic indicators in 150 countries.

  • Nov, 2021
  • Nov 19, 2021
  • Israel's bombing of Gaza media tower further called into question

    On May 15, Israel bombed the Al Jalaa Tower (media tower) in Gaza which housed international media outlets (including AJ, AP, and Middle East Eye).

    To justify doing so to the US, Israel (internal intelligence agency) gave the US a file on the situation. The US wasn't satisfied and asked for further info on how the building was linked to Hamas etc. Israel handed the US a second report that closed the gaps " " of the first file.

    However, now Israeli newspaper Haaretz has reported that the file was 'retroactively edited.' An allegation in this is that Israel did know there was media organizations in the building although they claimed they didn't, or something like that.

  • Nov, 2021
  • Nov 15, 2021
  • Delhi air pollution very high, and the city commands some work from home

    Schools go back online, construction work banned, government offices go remote.

    The air is toxic there most of the year (air quality around 500), and when temps dip like now it's worse. Farm fires in neighboring states has increased recently.

  • Xi extended his rule 5 more years

    Was due to end his term.

  • Nov, 2021
  • Nov 13, 2021
  • Mysterious blasts in China?

    WION reported that there have been 10 high-intensity blasts in 7 days across China. No real info from China on the blasts.

    Why is China not talking about the mysterious blasts?
  • Nov, 2021
  • Nov 07, 2021
  • Reportedly, Iraq PM subject of attempted assassination

    By drone attack / 'cowardly rocket'. In the Green Zone.

    No one claimed responsibility, but militants are one of the main suspects.

  • Oct, 2021
  • Oct 22, 2021
  • "For Chile's largest indigenous group, the Mapuches, this is the latest chapter in a 500 year conflict for control of their ancestral land.

    "In the late 1800's, the Chilean state took away most of it and gave it to Chilean and European farmers, plunging the Mapuche's into poverty until this day. Now younger, more radical Mapuche's are taking up arms to expel forestry companies and large land owners.

    "Highways are no longer safe. Countless agricultural equipment has been destroyed. While Mapuche communities take over land.

    "A Chilean farmer was the latest to die after his house was set ablaze by an armed group."

    This was how AJ reported it.

    Chile has declared a state of emergency.
  • Oct, 2021
  • Oct 13, 2021
  • China making more moves toward unification with Taiwan

    Last week China flew a bunch of war jets over Taiwan.

    Xi made new comments China would unify with Taiwan, the day before Taiwan's national day. In the past, Xi has threatened he might take Taiwan by force, but the recent statements were considered to be much softer than that.

    One way to view Taiwan is as another province like those that have already been returned to China (Hong Kong and Macao in the 90s). A breakaway province.

  • French forces prepare to close bases in Mali

  • Sep, 2021
  • Sep 30, 2021
  • "Possibly the single greatest risk to human civilization is the rapidly diminishing growth rate. And the facts are out there for anyone to look at. But a lot of people are still stuck with Paul Illick's book Population Bomb, and it's like, uh, that was a long time ago. That is not the case today. And there was a massive notch in demographics last year because the growth rate plummeted, and also this year." - Elon Musk at CodeCon 2021 (September)

  • Sep, 2021
  • Sep 20, 2021
  • US deporting the 10k Haitian immigrants in Texas

    ... on direct flights to Port au Prince. The task of rounding them up is with the border patrol in large part. Photos of them on horseback with some kind of whip have been viral images.

    "We do not know who are the smugglers or who are the migrants," said the Border Patrol Chief.

    The government is deporting 'single adults' while allowing families and children to stay for their trials.

  • Sep, 2021
  • Sep 17, 2021
  • 13k Haitian migrants cross border into small town in Texas

    A few more thousand might still arrive. The town has only about 3x that many people itself. They're cooking food to feed the large group (mostly Haitians). They're living under a bridge. Looked like it was mostly black men, but there were a few black women and little children in there. It seems reporters were not allowed near them.

    Haiti is in a significant crisis right now (still).

    Losers from the we win while you lose strategy?

  • Sep, 2021
  • Sep 13, 2021
  • Some say US is behind Guinea coup

    ... because Green Berets have been in Guinea since mid-July training a group of 100 Guineans in a special forces unit led by Colonel Doumbouya, a Guinean and French citizen who'd served in the Foreign Legion. Doumbouya is currently the leader of Guinea.

    The US gov initially downplayed involvement but after a phone vidoe came out on Social the US confirmed some parts but denied it implied support for the coup.

    There have been about 80 successful coups in sub-Saharan Africa in the past 40 years, some say.

    A tweet by someone:

  • Sep, 2021
  • Sep 11, 2021
  • Lavrov on US adventures over the past 20 years

    "We have seen it in Libya, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. ... Nothing good came out of the four military campaigns I mentioned. ... There has been a surge in terrorism, an unprecedented growth in drug trafficking. Illegal immigrants have been flooding Europe since NATO bombed the Libyan state to dust. ..."

  • Typical Afghanistan news on YT, Sept 11, 2021

    There's a lot of news on the US (and allies) in Afghanistan right now. I think maybe people almost forgot about Afghanistan, they got so used to it, but now with the sudden moves what is left is quite impressive. It's the 20-year anniversary of the World Trade Center event, which many people do not believe the official story. Documents are reported to be soon declassified by Biden.

    Image shows a news story about a base left by the US, and the comments show the general feeling on the events now.

  • Sep, 2021
  • Sep 10, 2021
  • Mike Wallace (MEP from Ireland) on Afghanistan, Sept 1 2021 in the European Parliament

    "Do you think we can learn the lessons without telling the truth about the last 20 years? The last 20 year war in Afghanistan is a lie. The Americans lied to their people. The Americans spent over $2.2t dollars, and over $2t of it went to private contractors. They used the war as a way of funneling US taxpayers money to private entities.

    "What did the EU do with our money? Where did it go? How much did the EU spend in Afghanistan in the 20 years? Apart from enriching the families connected to the government, what else did we do with it? How much evidence have you got of the infrastructure you kept talking about?

    "Before the Taliban took over, the number of Afghans living in poverty in Afghanistan has doubled since 2001. A third have no food. Half of them have no drinking water. And two-thirds have no electricity. Before the rise of the Taliban, who grew from US-and-Saudi-funded Mujahedeen, half of Afghan university students were women. 40% of the countries doctors were women. 70% of their teachers were women. 30% of their civil servants were women.

    "Look at the place now. We've helped to destroy it. Are we going to tell the truth about it? Or are we going to pretend, 'Ah, we were really doing loads for womens' rights and we were sorting things out, only things didn't work out right in the end'?

    "Did the EU people know what was going on, or not? And if you didn't know, why didn't you know? And is there anyone going to be held accountable for the amount of EU money that's been spent in that place, and you have nothing to show for it?"

    "La guerra en Afganistán es una mentira": discurso de Mick Wallace en el Parlamento Europeo - YT  
  • Sep, 2021
  • Sep 09, 2021
  • Women activists and Taliban in Afghanistan

    Some news images of officials moving protesting women by using (looks like flogging-type) whips.

    Women's rights activists said they looked to the international community community to uphold their rights guaranteed by their religion.

    Western news has been carrying news the Taliban is 'beating' journalists and 'whipping' women protesters. However, women are still going to work and school (although there are reports that in some regions they might not be as much, and that university students are being segregated by sex, like they were before in the other types of schools).

    We don't have a clear picture of what's going on yet.

  • Sep, 2021
  • Sep 07, 2021
  • Afghanistan new PM

    Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund, from Akhund tribe in the south, where many Taliban come from, was one of the founding members of the Taliban and headed the Rahbari shura leadership council.

    Supreme leader will be Mawlawi Haibatullah Akhundzada, reportedly a reclusive person.
  • Aug, 2021
  • Aug 31, 2021
  • The more the Taliban become pragmatic, the more they're going to lose people, and that's what ISIS is counting on - Kamran Bokhari

    Taliban are now gearing into pragmatism because they have to govern.

    This is a fluidic battle space ... hardliners can become disillusioned very easily if Taliban start to make compromises on ideology.

    We saw this in Syria. There were multiple groups that were not ISIS but they lost a lot of fighters to ISIS over the years.

    There are always going to be people who sympathize with this project. - Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi

  • $9b in Afghan reserves held outside US

    Afghanistan is highly dependent on US and other countries. If the government meets what US and others want it to meet, US might release these foreign currency reserves. Some say they don't even have funds to pay government workers there.

    A lot of Afghani investors are also currently out of the country.

  • Coronavirus shift in thinking

    Just recently, the thinking seems to now be that everyone is going to get it, since vaccinated people are getting it.

    Shift in focus will now be towards preparing people to not get a severe case. The vaccinations are thought to prevent severe infection often.

    Dr John Campbell said the virus has a limited number of mutations possible, but Prof Pollard thinks more infections variants could come about.

  • A former aide of Osama Bin Laden, Muhammad Amin-ul-Haq, has reportedly returned to his native Nangarhar province for the first time in 20 years after the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan.

    "He served as head of Bin Laden’s security in Tora Bora following the 2001 US-led invasion." - TRT

  • Aug, 2021
  • Aug 30, 2021
  • Rocket strike near Kabul airport and reports of children dead

    A car was destroyed. No one officially claimed responsibility for the reported rocket attacks. People reported hearing gunfire afterwards. The report that 3 children died is from Afghan officials and also some people on the ground there said it.

  • Aug, 2021
  • Aug 29, 2021
  • Afghanistan Questions

    1. Zahir Shah made moves toward (Western style) civil rights, women in workplace, democracy, etc. Does that represent a significant strain in Afghani thought or culture (toward liberalization) or an outlier?

    2. Zahir Shah was not able (or willing) to return to the country after the coup (until 2002 under US occupation). What does that mean for opposition parties in Afghanistan?

    3. Will Afghan's strength against invasion forces (decentralized, strong belief) (Soviets couldn't negotiate/bargain with Mujahedeen, and had to fight with dozens of separate militias with distinct tactics and strategies) be tempered with modernization?

  • Aug, 2021
  • Aug 28, 2021
  • Lots of reporting on who profited from the Afghan war

    Lockheed, General Dynamics, Ratheon, Northrop Grumman are reported on, since their stocks are up between a few hundred and a thousand (10x) percent since 2001, and most have military or ex-military on their boards.

    However, 10x over 20 years doesn't seem like such a big deal. Tech stocks are up more than that, and probably lots of regular stocks. Amazon is up 1700% since 2011, not 2001. Facebook and Apple are up 10x from their IPOs, too, from 2012 and 2011.

  • Two bombs at Kabul Airport

    Two spots just outside the airport, one at an entrance and another at the Baron hotel. A dozen US troops reportedly were killed and some civilians, I think.

    Biden: "For those who carried out this attack, as well as anyone who wishes American harm, know this: We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay."

    Biden is reportedly Catholic, though, so these words might sound a little strange.

    Some are saying Taliban, whose role it was as the government (for the past less than 2 weeks) to secure the airport, and now they're being questioned whether they're able to carry out that role, as if anyone can prevent that sort of attack.

    A Taliban spokesman said, "Killing innocent civilians is an act of terrorism that has to be condemned by the entire world. And as soon as the airport situation is figured out, and the foreign forces leave, hopefully we will not have such attacks anymore. It is--again--it is because of the presence of foreign forces that such attacks take place."

    Western countries have evac'ed over 100k people in the past little while.

    As a response to the the ariport bombing attacks, the US reported using a drone strike to kill some IS-K notables in another region. IS-K reportedly claimed responsibility for the airport bombing attacks. (Taliban said the US should have them before the US did this drone strike.)

    The US wouldn't identify who the IS-K dead were by name, only saying they were planning future attacks. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby:

    "I am not gonna talk about specific capabilities ISIS might have lost in this strike. They lost a planner and they lost a facilitator and they got one wounded. And the fact that two of these individuals are no longer walkin' on the face of the earth, that's a good thing. It's a good thing for the people of Afghanistan and it's a good thing for our troops and our forces at that airfield and I think I'm just gonna leave it there."

    Many people immediately raised doubts about these events, since they give such a convenient pretext for anything the US may want to do (including changing evac plans). We wait and see whether US will allow Afghanistan to have peace or a chance to try to have their country.

    Why would IS-K want to do it? Would they want US to not leave? Do they fear Taliban will be hard on them if Taliban are left to control the country?

  • Aug, 2021
  • Aug 27, 2021
  • $2t is how much US spent on Afghanistan war

    $300m per day for 20 years.

    $800b in direct warfighting costs. $85b to train the Afghan army. $750m per year for Afghan army salaries.

    This money was borrowed as loans, reportedly. Cha-ching for those banks. "This country is unconquerable, you say? so we can just fight it indefinitely?" Thanks, taxpayers, we'll service those loans.

  • Aug, 2021
  • Aug 26, 2021
  • Zabiullah Mujahid, Taliban Spokesman, government of IAEA, in a TRT interview on One on One

    "We had considered appearing in front of the media if we survived, but we thought we'd be killed before our struggle ended, because we were under a lot of threats. For example, I had a phone, and there were American drones above me, ready to drop bombs. I faced many such dangers. So, we never imagined we would survive this long. I always believed we would succeed in our struggle and one day, rid Kabul and all of Afghanistan from the occupation forces. Afghanistan is only for Afghans. We always believed in this. But I never thought I'd live to see that day. I think God for keeping me alive, but I pray for him to fulfill my wish of martyrdom one day. For now, I think we have been given a chance to serve the people, to fulfill all the promises we made to Afghans, and to keep our word to them. We will work hard to find a way to solve people's problems, anywhere, anytime. We have to answer to God and the people."

    "I guess I had always thought I would be martyred in this war. I never thought I would live to see the revolution suceed. Because as I said before I was always in danger. I couldn't even switch my phone on for an hour because the Americans can easily track anyone on a cellular network and capture or kill them. I thought I'd be martyred that way. It was a very difficult position to be in but I was not afraid. I always wanted to be counted amongst the martyrs. But God had different plans for me. This is also one of his blessings, that he wants me to do good. And I hope we can achieve our goals. We always pray for martyrdom."

    "No one wants to live under the transgressions of an occupying force."

    "If we are terrorists why have we not killed anyone [in the 10 days since entering Kabul]? There is no terrorism here as you can see."

    "We were fighting against foreign occupiers and their puppet regime."

    "The Americans started this war. They attacked us, and got what they deserved. The Americans failed in their mission. The world has seen how they left Afghanistan in a failed state. The situation is not good for the United States. The United States destroyed its reputation in the eyes of the world. THe United States showed its real face to the world. We also saw what they did in Guantanamo and Bagram prisons. They claim to be defenders of human rights, but the world has seen the reality of these tall claims. We saw how the United States conducted itself during war. We have witnessed their reality first-hand."

    "How could they [the Americans] have controlled Afghanistan when they can't even control the airport?"

    "The Americans want Afghans to be dispossessed in refugee camps without a clear future. Thousands of people have been forced to leave without a clear future. Families are being torn apart. Fathers and sons separated."

    "This is a huge issue and hindrance for Afghanistan. Doctors, engineers, teachers, and scholars [fled Afghanistan]. They are the cream of Afghan society. Afghanistan has been in war for a long time. So we have very few skilled professionals. Our motherland needs these skilled professionals."

    "The British want Americans to fail. They want more war. Americans have made the most sacrifices compared to their allies. British political leaders want the war to continue. We remember British leader Tony Blair encouraging Americans to go to war with the Afghans in 2001, and left the Americans alone. ... War benefits no one, but if they want war, they will get war."

    "As I said before, Afghans will not submit to pressure by any country [regarding sanctions]. ... I think Afghanistan should form a diplomatic relation with the US. It's good to listen to one another and work out our differences to find solutions. They bombed us for 20 years. They kept putting our people in agony. Stop this cruelty. Our people have lost patience. We can solve our differences in a diplomatic way. There is no other way except this."

    "Over time, we observed how systems in different Afghan cities operate. We have returned with this knowledge to improve things."

    "... all those opposed to us--the police, the army, and others, have been safe. ... We have enemies here we fought for 20 years, but no one has been touched."

    "Amrullah Saleh [a politician who claimed the office of acting president when president Ghani fled] also says he wants to fight, but like his predecessor, he can't afford to go to war. He will fail. Anyone would. He should not risk the lives of ordinary Afghans. The people of Afghanistan don't want war. ..."

    "We have maintained that we want good relations with Turkey [the only Islamic NATO member] so they could share their immense experience with us, and similarly, if they could provide economic support, we would welcome it."

    "Pakistan's role in Afghanistan is that of a good neighbor. ... We do not stand by the asuumption that Pakistan has stood with us, or given us an ideology and support. This news is just not correct, and has been part of a propaganda for 20 years. It will be proven that Pakistan is our neighbor, nothing more. We want good relations with them. ... because they are our neighbors."

    "They have frozen our funds [$10b of Afghan reserves] despite the current situation. We request the United States to release our national funds and give Afghanistan the money it desperately needs. I say the general situation will get better."


    The same day Western news was plastered with 'an explosion at Kabul airport.' Reports have it 13 are dead, including 4 US servicemen (the first to die in the country in a while). The Biden Whitehouse called it a 'complex attack.' Experts say it will now be more difficult to withdraw by Aug 31 [the deadline, but news has for a week or more been asking whether that could be extended, seeming like the US wants to but the Taliban says no] and also more difficult to engage in some retaliatory military action 'against terrorist targets on the ground.' At least that is the line many Western media are publishing. I don't see how that makes sense. Why does Biden need to militarily respond to an attack on their occupation force after 20 years of fighting? IS claimed they did it, and Taliban condemned it.


    So Afghanistan now has a government that has been working very hard for 20 years, thinking about and testing ideas in their minds, living under constant possibility of death and accepting it, and believing in their goal, which they have been considering and refining, pondering questions of actions.

    Will they be allowed by the US and others to do whatever they intend to do?

    YT: Zabiullah Mujahid, Taliban Spokesman  
  • Aug, 2021
  • Aug 24, 2021
  • Putin's criticism of Western policy towards fleeing Afghanis

    The West wants to relocate them to Afghanistan's neighboring countries. He said it was a security issue that directly affects Russia.

    'So, it's possible to send them to these other countries, our neighbors, without visas, but they don't want to take them in themselves without visas? It's a humiliating approach to this issue.'

  • Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan

    ... is how the Taliban refer to their conquest

    Movement in the city: Cars drive around, people walk around (you could assume life as usual is continuing). Taliban ride around in pickup trucks with large guns. They say there is a general amnesty, everyone is forgiven, even militants and the Afghan army. Large military evacuations take place in big planes overhead. Taliban around the airfield area have reportedly announced a ban on Afghans from entering that area.


  • Some 'focussed protection' advocates signed this white paper.

  • Aug, 2021
  • Aug 23, 2021
  • Afghanistan and Vietnam, Assange 'endless war'

    Many over the past week or two since the Taliban's swift occupation of Kabul have looked at the saddening images of Afghanis attempting to board and hold onto fleeing US transport planes, some falling to their death, and comparing it to the US withdrawal from Vietnam, which produced similar scenes on the day of departure.

    'There are parallels in that it is the most extraordinary humiliation of the West. And the imagery is the same. But the total difference is the Americans were forced to leave South Vietnam. They were hemorrhaging lives. It was an incredibly toxic political issue. There were hundreds of thousands of people in the streets, demonstrating, demanding withdrawal. And it was one of the most costly interventions the Americans did. And they couldn't fight the North Vietnamese army. This is ... totally different. 2500 soldiers. Almost no casualties. Almost no cost. And a little bit of air support. They weren't driven out of the country. They could've remained indefinitely.' - British MP Rory Stewart, who has been involved in Afghanistan for decades

    I think people are a bit surprised and confused at the moment, given how quickly it seems to have happened (despite the months-long process), and are thinking about what it means for their assessment of America.

    The war was supposed to be so direly necessary, an existential threat, the most expensive overseas base ever, and, although very few US soldiers died (none in the past 18 months), suddenly it was just of no importance to the West, according to some critics.

    Many have also been referencing and republishing an old Assange interview in which he said the Americans never wanted the war to be won, but instead wanted an endless war to wash money out of the tax base in the US and Europe and through Afghanistan and back into the hands of the transnational security elite, etc. These voices also point to the recent Biden speech in which he 'reaffirmed his support for war' in saying they were pulling out of Afghanistan but were going to still be fighting other fights, and mentioned Somalia, Yemen, and Syria.

    I don't know but it sort of feels like it might have been a real turning point in American history. And also for the West by extension, as everyone was politically on that side of things and so their actions reflect on all the Western countries, I guess.

    The next time America wants to go to war, whatever reason it gives, who will believe them? What credibility or store of trust do they have left? With Afghanistan, is it a case where the people who wanted the war, whether for money profit or political cause or whatever other reason, got their way, but at the expense of America's last shreds of integrity? Will they find any allies to join them? nevermind the response of non-allies. Or perhaps the question is what new reason will it come up? The Soviets, the spread of Communism, the War on Drugs, Terrorism, ...

    Is the time in which America had the chance to lead the world (which started with its military heroism against aggressors and its creation of ideas like legal human and civil rights and national treaty alliances) over? And if it is over, is it because of a deeper issue, that perhaps it was impossible for it to be positive in a general sense, due to the accommodation within the system of individuals or small groups who wanted to abuse all others for whatever profit, and perhaps the idea of attempting leadership was seen as futile by those close enough to the center, and perhaps those who saw it in some sense wanted its end?

    On the other hand, this total loss of credibility of the US gov may finally embolden politicians at the state and local levels, as well as organizations like the National Guard, to take positions against them. or to take positions just generally more in favor of the general welfare and good, and to try to make some headway towards a nation with some integrity again. Afghanistan may come to serve as the example used why you must never let your government, even under the auspices of the greatest threats it wants to say, pass laws and treat citizens and nations in the way that has become common there in the past 20 years.

    Good follows evil. Evil has the ability to appear to us as good, which is why we participate in it, but once time passes it plays itself out and we see the fools we've been. It's said that in medieval days the greatest attribute a man could possess was a good memory. Perhaps a memory to be able to recall to the level of persuasion of ourselves and others a great number of these pairs.

    Another possibility is that the work is done. Not Afghanistan, but the general existential and political threats that perhaps existed in the 90s or 2000s with developing Islamic nations seem neutralized now. Iraq and Afghanistan and other nations, which alternatively could have risen to more power and organization, are now put in a place where they're not really seen as a military or political threat to the West or anyone else.

    Many people think there was a deal made between the Taliban and the US government, otherwise things wouldn't be going the way they're going.

  • Aug, 2021
  • Aug 19, 2021
  • Words used about Afghanistan

    Escape, to describe how the US left

    Walk over, to describe the Taliban's easy victory

    Face saving, to describe the US motivation

    Coward and priveleged, to describe exiled (ex) president Ashraf Ghani (who fled to UAE in a helicopter, reportedly with a lot of cash, which he denied taking large sums of cash)

  • Afghanistan questions

    Will there be a civil war or will Taliban go for a political settlement between the two longstanding groups (Taliban's Sharia followers VS liberal, marxist, democratic, more secular Islamist 'Afghan government' -- both groups nationalist)?

    Will Taliban attack across the Durand line into Pakistan (in Balochinstan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa), who they see as playing both sides for years (being a middle man and getting $$ for American involvement in Afghanistan against the Soviets while training Islamist fighters (Mujaheddin) and sheltering Taliban leaders after 911). Is there any chance of a Pakistan-Taliban reunion after their contentious history?

    Will Kabul become part of the Belt and Road (India does not want that)

    How will India deal with the strict Sunni Taliban? It's expected it will be difficult, despite longstanding good relations between the two

    How will China, Pakistan, India and Afghanistan fight among each other in the relative chaos after the US withdraws?

    What conflict will US enter/initiate next to continue their narrative as global savior, etc.?

    How will Taliban pursue their goal of an Islamic state?

    How many will leave as refugees?

    Will Taliban really be more lenient as they seem to be saying, and not seek revenge for those they used to compete against? Will they really allow women more rights? Right now many people are too afraid to even leave their houses, while others are out on the streets taking photos and shaking hands with Taliban (moreso young people).

    How will any Taliban possibly take over positions such as governorships, etc., without any training, although they are currently taking lots of photos in these offices? (On the other hand, Afghans hate their now-fled president and their old government for its corruption and incompetence).

    Which countries will (which one could) recognize Taliban when it means they will go into the blacklist of the FATF? Will even China to it?

    How much support does Taliban really have in villages (it's thought they have lots in rural areas) and cities? They offer security, will they be able to provide it meaningfully? Will anyone try to disrupt their ability to deliver this to people.

    Did the governments involved already come to an agreement before the withdrawal?

    India com: If Taliban Kills me, Will Consider it my 'Seva'
  • Aug, 2021
  • Aug 18, 2021
  • China repositions government philosophy

    Before, China was allowing some individuals to 'get rich first' with big companies, but now is shifting to 'proserity for all.'

    It's expected the CCP will have more say in companies and companies will have to fall in line.

    Xi recently said people should shun 'unreasonable' or 'excessive' income, and that the rich should 'give back to society more.'

    This means lower education costs, caps on the commission ride share companies can take (done through transport ministry) to keep transportation costs lower, and higher wages for workers.

    China is also going to do a 'consumer data' data privacy internet bill.

  • Aug, 2021
  • Aug 17, 2021
  • China '3 mountains'

    Education, health care, and property. These are burdens for the common Chinese person.

    China has announced some new areas for new regulations: Education tech, internet, property, and food delivery. Those four.

    Also e-cigs, growth hormones, liquor and online insurance.

    It's the first time any of these sectors have been regulated in China.

    Next year is an election year, and commenters say China sees the big companies that are profiting in these sectors as being in the way of the government reaching its goal of common prosperity and elimination of social unrest.

  • Material worth of Afghanistan

    More than $3t of minerals (other, older report $1t), one province, Ghanzi, has $1t lithium deposit (largest in world). Estimates.

    China will fill the vacuum left by the US withdrawal. China has already said they will recognize the Taliban as the official government.

    Some have pointed out there may be a fundamental difference in the ability/willingness of China (versus the US) to deal with Afghanistan, considering possible human rights issues.

    Afghanistan's eastern arm borders Xinjiang. What will be the Taliban's response to that region? While they are fellow Muslims, many have raised a point that many of the groups, Taliban or otherwise, may be to a significant degree interested in political warmongering for control of wealth/resources. Others have raised the point that China may attempt to do it's familiar debt-trap diplomacy (if that is really a thing).

    Right now about 85% of the processing of Afghanistan's rare earth minerals is owned by China, who got ahead of the US decades ago (US playing catchup in this) when they saw the future in this business. Will China do like they did and do in Congo, where they give the local government a big cut while they extract the minerals and ship them to China for processing. This might solve the Taliban's supposed challenges in making money off their mineral wealth due to lack of infrastructure (and perhaps political sanctions?). A Taliban protectorate for Chinese mining zones has been suggested.

    Afghanistan is highly dependent on foreign aid and that is expected to remain the case. IMF funds reserved for the country are expected to remain so.

    Will some moralizing nations refuse to accept rare earth minerals from countries whose policies (human rights, aggressive threats) they disapprove of, as was done in South Africa?

  • Aug, 2021
  • Aug 06, 2021
  • Venezuela: opposing parties to meet

    ... Maduro and Guaido will meet in Mexico, they say, to try to resolve things.

    Guiado's power has waned over the past years, and his popularity has sunk, and international governments are starting to turn away from their recognition of him as leader. It didn't happen that they were able to get Maduro out of power. The US and some other countries want 'free and fair elections' in Venezuela, which would give a winner validity in international eyes.

    Maybe Guiado wants to meet just to ensure his party's survival, some have commented.

    All parties are unpopular with the people in Venezuela.

  • Jul, 2021
  • Jul 27, 2021
  • China has 400m in what they call their middle class

    ... and 1b in poverty.

    China has to find a way to stop social unrest through government, it is thought, when the gap between haves and have-nots increases too much.

    The poor have to pay more for basic staples, energy, and middle class can't move up because asset prices are moving quickly.

  • Chinese government aiming at wealth

    The CCP has been cracking down on all fast-growing sectors. Any sector or company with large growth over the past years.

    They don't want too much wealth accumulation or wealth inequality, reportedly. They're seeking an equality in the society.

    It makes it more difficult for investors, because they don't know what to price in to their estimates.

    No one knows what other regulations will be coming from the party.

    The thing started with Ant group a few months ago. Recently, the whole tutoring sector. Some investors think the next sector might be health care. Large US investors are starting to pull out of investment in China, it has been reported.

    'The Chinese party has shown you who they are and what they care about,' said Kyle Bass of Hayman Capital, who thinks China is hoping people will stop investing in Chinese companies in the US and start investing in Chinese companies in Hong Kong, as China says HK will adjust it's listing requirements to make it easier for Chinese companies to list there.

  • Jul, 2021
  • Jul 25, 2021
  • Tajikistan holds nationwide military drills in face of emergent Taliban

    #Afghanistan #Taliban #Tajikistan
  • Jul, 2021
  • Jul 13, 2021
  • Biggest riots in S Africa in years (since Apartheid maybe)

    High unemployment. Dissatisfaction with political leaders. But the riots erupted when former president (until 2018) Zuma started a 15-month prison sentence for contempt of court after refusing to appear at a corruption inquiry. The outrage by his supporters was compounded by anger over poverty and inequality.

    Shops, malls, warehouses completely ransacked. 72 reported dead (but I didn't hear how - I mean, were some just already enemies, etc.?).

    'It's over. It's over,' said one shop owner. 'I've got overheads. I owe banks money.'

    The government sent military (2000 soldiers, considered a small number) to some areas as police struggled. Sometimes police are just standing by as the looting goes on, and analysts say this has to do with the history of the ANC government and that they don't want to be seen shooting at black S Africans. Some owners, armed, tried to quell the looting themselves. Some are criticizing the government for not acting on the riots soon enough.

    Commenters alluded to a racial element, but none seemed willing to talk about that issue.

    They may now have food shortages due to the riots.

    The ANC government is saying people working for Zuma may be stoking the rioters.

    A random commenter said this: 'Learn from the Koreans in the LA Riots, 2 guys on the roof with sub machine gun and rifle. 3 guys on ground blocking door with Shotguns and pistols. The police are not going to help when the riots get out of control. No one died and their stores and markets were all saved.'

    But some commenters from within S Africa replied that it wasn't easy to get guns in S Africa and the authorities there 'are trying to remove the clause that allows for the purchase of firearms for self defence purposes from The Firearms Control Act.'

    None of the commenters from S Africa who large news sites tried to interview could comment anything of value, just repeat a few criticisms and restate obvious social conditions, and generally had to be cut off by the interviewing journalists.

  • Jul, 2021
  • Jul 11, 2021
  • Maybe 1b shellfish died off Canadian shores due to June heat

    Highest recorded June temps.

  • Jul, 2021
  • Jul 09, 2021
  • UAE princess capture helped by FBI, says USA Today investigation

    Reportedly, they gave the UAE gov the geolocation of Princess Sheikha Latifa's yacht as she fled the kingdom in 2018, after getting it from a US internet provider.

    Reports have it the FBI was misled by the UAE, that they had been told she was kidnapped.

    The US org might have broken protocol to do this, not first subpoenaing the provider.

  • Jul, 2021
  • Jul 08, 2021
  • Last US troops leave Bagram Airfield in the night

    ... without telling the new Afghan commander.

    The base, about an hour away from Kabul, has made headlines over the years for horrible accounts of the US forces there torturing Afghanis, sometimes to death.

    The Afghan soldiers now guarding the base have said they look to the government and the village to support them with resources. 'the Americans destroyed everything here.' Much of the supplies (boots, exercise machines - The Americans took their sophisticated modern military tools) left by the troops has made it's way to scrapyards and second-hand shops.

    Some have said they are glad the Americans left, that now Afghanistan can have peace, which the Americans didn't bring.

  • Jul, 2021
  • Jul 07, 2021
  • Suez Canal blocking ship released from Egypt's Canal Authority after agreeing to $1b fee.

    Six days the ship (Ever Given) blocked traffic. The traffic was valued at $10b per day. When the Suez Canal Authority dislodged the vessel, it held it until terms could be arranged, given the costs to the port itself (SCA eventually claimed it was around $550m, including costs to dislodge, various expenses, and financial damages).

    This will be billed to the ship's owners and insurers.

  • Jul, 2021
  • Jul 03, 2021
  • African Islamist groups on rise

    ... in several countries across the Sahel and some other countries.

    Some analysts say the countries facing an IS threat are those with weak central governments.

    "Local populations are dissatisfied with how governments are delivering. Democracy has not worked for populations in that part of the country." : Bulama Bukarti, Senior Africa Analyst, Tony Blair Inst., who said that if the governments continue to not fund education and other services to create a more civil society, it will continue to be easy for extremist groups to exploit socioeconomic grievances to recruit young people into violence.

    Does it help or hurt, though, to keep calling these groups 'terrorists'? Are they not just non-government military groups?

  • Afghanistan after America

    Now it's the Afghan govt versus the Taliban, which is reported to be retaking ground, on the offensive. Since Biden announced the US's complete withdrawal a couple months ago, Taliban took about 1/4 (127, 10 of those again retaken by the Afghan military) of the districts of Afghanistan, where they are implementing Sharia and blocking media.

    Last US troops leave Sept 1 (the last 650 that remain, contra to the Doha agreement, after most of the 4000-strong force left), and then we'll really see what Taliban will do.

    "This land belongs to you and us," said an Afghan soldier, "The Russians were here and they left. Then the Americans came and now they have left. This country is ours, and we will protect it even without pay or equipment."

    Reports are that the Taliban aren't willing to go sit at the negotiating table, where Afghan govt negotiators are waiting.

    There are lineups at passport offices, people wanting to leave, remembering the 90s.
  • Jul, 2021
  • Jul 01, 2021
  • Starvation in Madagascar

    Worst drought in 40 years. Not enough rain again this year for a good harvest next season.

    People dying, skinny starving children. The lives of people based around looking for cactus leaves, to clean and eat, the only source of nutrition for many.

    Not much green land left. Dust.

    World Food Programme partnered with the Madagascar govt to do at least some aid.

  • Jun, 2021
  • Jun 30, 2021
  • Rumsfeld died, age 88

    Forum boards were a list of comments that were either negative and critical of the harms he is believed to have caused, or dismissive or joking. I read through them and didn't see any on the other side of the fence.

  • Tigray forces reportedly gaining ground, pushing out Ethiopian government forces

    They took the regional capital, Mekele.

    The conflict is now in its eighth month. Thousands have died. Hundreds of thousands have fled. Many accusations of war crimes (Western definition). Dubious role of UN. Withdrawal of Eritrean forces towards north and south.

    Tigrayans celebrated in the streets. Motor parades of tuk-tuks and toyotas with people piled to overflowing, flags.

    Amnesty warned there may be reprisals against civilians by all involved parties to the conflict.

  • Jun, 2021
  • Jun 29, 2021
  • US bombing in Iraq again

    ... without asking Congress, the Whitehouse bombed some targets (Kitab Hezbollah and Kitab Saeed Ashahada) on both sides of the Iraq-Syria border.

    The act may fall under jurisdiction that requires authorization under War Powers, but the White House didn't seek that from Congress.

    The DoD said they targeted Iran-backed militias who had used UAVs against US personnel and facilities in Iraq.

    Iraq's military condemned the act, saying it was a blatant violation of Iraqi sovereignty and national security.

    The popular mobilization forces are part of Iraq's security structure, so the US did bomb an ally, analysts say, although the US said those groups had attacked US targets first.

    Kitab Saeed Ashahada announced an open war again US targets in Iraq as a response.

    Biden's second use of military force.

  • Jun, 2021
  • Jun 26, 2021
  • Taliban taking new ground, reportedly

  • Jun, 2021
  • Jun 22, 2021
  • West's continued use of sanctions has less effect, according to Prof at U of South-Eastern Norway Glenn Diesen

    ... as the international system becomes more multi-polar. For example, Belarus, recently sanctioned by the EU for its human rights violations (following their grounding of a plane to arrest a Belarussian blogger), has other options in Russia. The US also sanctioned Myanmar following the coup, but they also have access to China and Russia.

    The hope with sanctions is that by undermining the whole economy of a country the population made to suffer will put pressure on their government to change. It is considered by some to have worked on Iran following the first Gulf War. There are also economic consequences in other countries including the one doing the sanctioning, such as in the US where the price of gas is driven up in line with sanctions on Iran. Thereby, such sanctions can end up helping other countries that may not be allies. It can also lead to negative consequences for the sanctioning country when it imposes sanctions on other countries for things it also does but expects to not be criticized for (many have pointed out that the US and EU also grounded a plane in 2014 to try to aprehend Edward Snowden - Austria grounded the plane from its airspace).

    The use of longlasting or permanent sanctions, especially when the sanctioned country has little ability to make concessions, it just leads to the sanctioned country learning to live without the countries that imposes the sanctions, according to Diesen.

    Anti-Russian sanctions following Crimea and Ukraine in 2014 didn't lead to Russia capitulating to the West or destroying the Russian economy. Russia rewired its economy to the East, forming a strategic partnership with China, reducing its vulnerability by cutting exposure to Western industries, tech, transportation corridors, banks, payment systems. Same with Iran. And now Belarus.

    #Belarus #Russia #Sanctions 
  • Jun, 2021
  • Jun 12, 2021
  • There's talk about making Puerto Rico the 51st US state
  • May, 2021
  • May 26, 2021
  • Belarus president causes Ryanair flight to land to arrest opposition activist

    Considered the most brazen act from an Eastern European regime in a long time, President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus had a the plane tailed by a fighter jet, and under the pretense of a bomb threat caused the plane to divert from its course (Greece to Lithuania) and land in Minsk.

    No explosives were found but they arrested
    Roman Protasevich, who is seen as taking on the role of a sort of hero in recent anti-government protests through a Telegram channel.

    The country has him on charges of terrorism for his blogging on what the State calls extremist organization, and protest organizing, which the state refers to as organizing mass riots and enticing social hatred, it seems. Western powers are now calling Belarus' act one of 'State terrorism.'

    The EU wants to react strongly, but people wonder how they can do so. Some considerations that might hurt the Belarusian regime include blocking Belarus from the international banking system, in cooperation with the US. They could sanction state companies that support the Belarusian regime. They could stop oil imports and exports--the EU is the second-biggest trade partner of Belarus after Russia.

    Lukashenko said it was his country’s 'sovereign right' to arrest the activist: 'Let his numerous Western patrons answer this question: Which intelligence services did this individual work for? Not only him but his accomplice as well.'

    Belarus later released videos of Protasevich and his girlfriend in custody confessing to crimes against the state. He said the activist had moved on from reporting solely on Belarus to 'working full out against Russia, thus showing the true goal of western strategists. ... Their goal is to dissolve the Belarusian people and move on to smothering their arch-enemy: the Russian.'

    Lukashenko commented on the bomb threat: 'Was Chernobyl not enough?, If there was a bomb on board the plane and terrorists wanted to blow it up, we couldn’t really have helped. But I couldn’t let the plane fall on our people’s heads.'

    Belarusian authorities also arrested 14 staff from the organization Protasevich worked for in a tax evasion case. There were reports of numerous incidents of violence against journalists in the country.

    According to Reuters, 'a day after Protasevich's arrest, the government introduced new measures to regulate media activities, including a blanket ban on covering protests or publishing opinion polls without prior authorization from the government.'

    Many people, not least of all Russian journalists, have pointed out that in 2013 the USA and EU countries forced a Bolivian plane--carrying that country's president Evo Morales--to land in Austria (it was en route from Moscow to Bolivia after a summit) for 13 hours because they thought fugitive US spy agency contractor Edward Snowden might be on board, who was charged with conveying classified information to an unauthorized party, disclosing communications intelligence information, and theft of government property.

    The weekend following the incident, Lukashenko visited Putin and video footage was published of the two enjoying conversation and some laughs and dining together with Lukashenko's son on a yacht in the Black Sea in Sochi. During a televised conference between the two, Putin also brought up the 2013 incident of Morales' plane, laughing.

    #Terrorism #Lithuania #FreeSpeech #press #EdwardSnowden

  • May, 2021
  • May 01, 2021
  • 400 people moving to Dallas every day

    Other hot real estate markets right now include Phoenix, Austin, and Atlanta.

    Line up to buy and buy as soon you can, with prices for new homes less than for old homes for the first time in 15 years due to inflated building costs (lumber notably up 400% this year), although different from 15 years ago buyers are actually qualified to buy.

  • EU Parliament threatens Russian oil sector

    The EP, responding to Russian military buildups on the Ukraine border, passed a resolution that "demands that Russia immediately end the practice of unjustified military build-ups targeted at threatening its neighbors."

    The EU stated that other countries should supply more arms to Ukraine, and threatened that if Russia invaded Ukraine the EU "imports of oil and gas from Russia to the EU be immediately stopped, while Russia should be excluded from the SWIFT payment system, and all assets in the EU of oligarchs close to the Russian authorities and their families in the EU need to be frozen and their visas cancelled."

    Russia responded by saying it was ready to be shut off from Swift.

    SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) is a transaction network that connect thousands of banks in over 200 countries. Russia's central bank has its own transaction network, SPFS (System for Transfer of Financial Messages) but outside of Russia only 8 banks use it.
    "demands that Russia immediately end the practice of unjustified military build-ups targeted at threatening its neighbours."

    Read more on UNIAN: https://www.unian.info/world/russian-aggression-ep-resolution-proposes-switching-off-swift-for-russia-if-kremling-invades-ukraine-11406190.html
    It also "demands that Russia immediately end the practice of unjustified military build-ups targeted at threatening its neighbours."

    Read more on UNIAN: https://www.unian.info/world/russian-aggression-ep-resolution-proposes-switching-off-swift-for-russia-if-kremling-invades-ukraine-11406190.html
    It also "demands that Russia immediately end the practice of unjustified military build-ups targeted at threatening its neighbours."

    Read more on UNIAN: https://www.unian.info/world/russian-aggression-ep-resolution-proposes-switching-off-swift-for-russia-if-kremling-invades-ukraine-11406190.html

  • Apr, 2021
  • Apr 30, 2021
  • Burkina Faso's electric power grid

    Citizens there increasingly have access to electricity, up from 18% to 45% in the past 5 years, and power outages have been reduced from regular multi-hour outages to ones lasting about an hour.

    The country gets 65% of it's power from Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana, but it is moving towards energy independence with large fields of solar panels in the desert. It expects the investments it is making now in solar will cause it to become 'completely powered' by solar in the coming years.

    #BurkinaFaso #Energy
  • China's population to decline, introduces 3-child policy

    For the first time since Mao's Cultural Revolution 50 years ago, China's 1.4b people may decline, according to some calculations. China denies that it has reached its peak but says it might come in the coming few years. [FT]

    The 'One Child Policy' was in effect for 35 years until it was ended in 2015. After lifting the limit to two, China saw a small baby boom in the same year but then it started to decline again. Commentators noted that China is finding it is easier to cause citizens to have less babies than more, particularly since in the competitive labor market families often prefer to put all their resources behind making one child succeed rather than splitting resources up.

    China has now lifted the limit to three, but since lifting it to two didn't do much, people don't expect the 3-child policy will cause a dramatic boom. Some think the government will now incentivize or pressure citizens to have more children.

    The issue China faces is that they are now going to be facing an aging population, but without having reached their desired development level so that wages will be as high as Western countries and better able to support that type of population.

    There is also talk of a shortage of child-bearing age women there.

    But what might be most important is that Chinese men can't afford houses, and it's been reported no one will marry them without one.

    Chinese women currently have 1.3 children each. You need 2.1 to sustain population levels.

    India is a close second for the largest population, with 1.38b, but their population is expected to continue increasing.

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