Thursday, October 26, 2006

Vice-President says Torture is a "No-Brainer"

But, of course, he claims that waterboarding isn't torture--just "robust interrogation." Well that sounds very bracing. Like a spa treatment. For God's sake, I don't often go into American politics on this blog, but this person. This PERSON.

Here's the link to the MSN.com story (and sorry that I keep posting all my news from them--no, I'm not exactly scouring the 'net. Just swatting the ones that are easy.).

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Uh-oh

msn.com mentions the new warning from North Korea to the South, saying:

"South Korea, forced by the United States, has already halted inter-Korea humanitarian projects and is moving to stop cooperation in other areas. The South is even revealing an intention to join U.S.-led military operations aimed at blockade against us," the spokesman was quoted as saying.
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"South Korea’s participation in the U.S. racket to put pressure upon the North ... is a serious provocation leading to a crisis of war on the Korean peninsula," the spokesman reportedly said.

"If South Korea joins the U.S. ploy to pressure us, we will consider it as a declaration of a showdown and take corresponding actions," the spokesman added.


More disturbingly (?), Japan may respond:

Japan’s Defense Ministry could not confirm media reports that Tokyo was considering deploying several destroyers and patrol aircraft to its western and southern coasts to conduct warning and surveillance activities.

Japan’s defense minister, Fumio Kyuma, indicated it all depended on the United States.

"Japan must keep a close eye on what America decides to do and if it goes ahead must cooperate in various ways or carry out activities of its own," Kyuma told a news conference.


I have mentioned previously that Japan's air force is in no way prepared to take action against North Korea. Also, I've mentioned a billion times, though not only here, that if Japan, rather weak at this moment against North Korea, rattles sabers like a 1939 Poland, overrating its defense capacity, it could be calamitous to the world's economy.

I've considered it urgent, for some months now, that some government, financial newspaper, or unofficial body do a study on what the possible impacts of a North Korean conflict with Japan might be upon the world's economic and financial systems (remembering, of course, that North Korea is largely divorced from these capitalist systems, and cares nothing about them, but will care a great deal about prosecuting this war thoroughly and not half-heartedly, should it occur). Consider that Japan is a crucial link in our supply chain. Consider that their holdings of US dollars, which they've just begun to sell off in 2005, have been one of the main props keeping the dollar's value afloat; also that China, North Korea's putative ally, which didn't start selling dollar bonds last year, but only stopped buying them, has also been just as crucial to the dollar's value as well. Though both countries already stopped supporting the dollar last year, what effect will war have, as goods and components can no longer be brought with such safety into and out of East Asia?

What if China takes up with North Korea again, as an ally, as they did a half-century ago? Will China's formidable purchasing power, mentioned in The Economist this week as approaching the United States', be given over to Europe, at the expense of America's already decimated manufacturing sector? Will Taiwan's industry be forced to take up the slack for a hostile China and a Japan under siege, if the latter two are less able or willing to supply us? And, as I've been crying for three years, what if China engineers a precipitate fall in the dollar, by selling with alacrity? Will interest rates rocket, to attract foreign investment to the dollar again? Will US housing fall still further? Will this drop in housing impact the wider US economy?

No crisis on earth has worried me more than North Korea. We need to plan. Not only should the US government write reports on the matter, but someone needs to actually read them.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

North Korea says fightin' words

North Korea just responded to the UN sanctions by saying that they were an "act of war," according to our local TV news. Pray that we don't go to war with them. As you know, I've been very concerned for some years now about the way things have been hotting up in East Asia (Brainhell, what was that bet we had again?). If we go to war with North Korea, I think we will be lucky if all it turns out to be is a national and international humiliation on the order of Vietnam. I think it will be a complete disaster for us, especially considering how important Japan is to our economic supply chain, and how vulnerable they are to North Korea, and how fully North Korea can be expected to wage total war against us. Pray.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Welcome back brainhell!

The best of our many posters here, brainhell, has come back from his hospital stay. Glad the stay was brief, hope you are recuperating well, and welcome back home!

Be well, Mysticusque

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Stand against women being stoned to death

From eteraz, hat tip to majikthise.

Seven women are to be stoned to death in Iran; Amnesty International, the great human rights organization, is mobilizing to stop it.

Monday, October 02, 2006

More wordplay

The great comedian Brian Regan (and if you get a chance, go see this guy) has a bit regarding his childhood difficulty with this inconsistency:

"I before E, except after C
Or when sounded as 'A,' as in 'neighbor' and 'weigh,'
And on weekends and Wednesdays and all throughout May,
And you'll always be wrong, no matter _what_ you say!"

He's just Weird. Right?

He must need Caffeine.

I think I'll load up a whole Weir-full for him.

I only hope the Heir doesn't Heist an Heirloom. That would be Heinous. Especially if he fell from the Ceiling, because that would be a great Height. But we don't want to Deify him.

Well, at least "Heinous" is sounded as "A," as in "Neighbour" and "Weigh." And "Ceiling" has a C before the I and the E. But no, seriously, when is it "I before E"?