The Dirty Little Secret About North Korea

December 20, 2011 § Leave a comment


Not so fast. The dirty secret is that none of the major powers operating in the Pacific want to see the North Korean dictatorship collapse.

According to Eric Margolis a veteran journalist on the subject writes that South Koreans fear “accidental unification” much more than nuclear weapons.

If the North Korean state ever completely failed, South Korea (and by extension the U.S. which has scores of thousands of troops there) would wake up to a spreading humanitarian crisis, with millions streaming over the demilitarized zone seeking food and shelter.

South Koreans don’t want to take responsibility for an enormous number of illiterate, malnourished North Koreans. But neither the United States or South Korea want to keep the electricity flowing through the fences to keep South Koreans penned inside their prison state.

If North Korea collapses China, Japan, and Russia would also be faced with ships of North Korean “boat people.”


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Kim Jong-il’s regime is even weirder and more despicable than you thought. – Slate Magazine

December 20, 2011 § Leave a comment


Here are the two most shattering facts about North Korea. First, when viewed by satellite photography at night, it is an area of unrelieved darkness. Barely a scintilla of light is visible even in the capital city. (See this famous photograph.) Second, a North Korean is on average six inches shorter than a South Korean. You may care to imagine how much surplus value has been wrung out of such a slave, and for how long, in order to feed and sustain the militarized crime family that completely owns both the country and its people.

But this is what proves Myers right. Unlike previous racist dictatorships, the North Korean one has actually succeeded in producing a sort of new species. Starving and stunted dwarves, living in the dark, kept in perpetual ignorance and fear, brainwashed into the hatred of others, regimented and coerced and inculcated with a death…

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There’s A 82% Chance That California’s Public Pension System Will Run Out Of Money

December 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

U.S. ports in race to be ready for increased Panama Canal traffic

December 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

This Just In

Ports along the U.S. East and Gulf Coasts are racing to expand so that they can take on an anticipated growth in shipping once an expanded Panama Canal opens.

(Click the audio player to hear more on this story from CNN Radio’s Steve Kastenbaum)

New locks are expected to be completed at the Panama Canal in 2014. They’ll enable much larger ships to pass through the canal, providing these ships to take direct routes between Asia and the U.S. East Coast.

“It will dramatically change the dynamics of shipping to the East Coast, or at least that’s the expectation of some in the industry,” said Manju Chandrasekhar, a vice president with the engineering firm Halcrow. He’s been working on port expansions and other infrastructure projects for the past 16 years.

“These ships are bigger. It also means that they sit deeper in the water. The industry term is the draft,”…

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U.S. satellite firm says it has first image of Chinese aircraft carrier

December 15, 2011 § Leave a comment

This Just In

A photograph of what is purported to be China’s first aircraft carrier has renewed speculation about its military intentions, according to news reports.

U.S. satellite imaging firm Digital Globe said Wednesday on its website that it had captured an image that appears to be the Chinese aircraft carrier Varyag during drills in the Yellow Sea.

The Varyag was reportedly constructed by the USSR in the 1980s but fell into the hands of the Ukraine. The Chinese purchased it sans weapons and navigation systems under the guise of wanting to turn the vessel into a casino, according to a BBC report in August.

Huntsman: China is ‘no ally’ of the U.S.

The sea trial is the second for the aircraft carrier, which roused international interest on November 29 when it left the port of Dalian in the Yellow Sea. Defense Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng said at the time that the military…

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Report: Iran says it can control the drone

December 13, 2011 § Leave a comment

This Just In

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tuesday his country can “control” the U.S. drone aircraft that Iran claims it recently brought down, Venezuelan state TV reported.
“There are people here who can control this spy plane, surely we can analyze this plane too,” Ahmadinejad told VTV.  “The systems of Iran are as advanced as this system.”
President Barack Obama said Monday that the United States has asked Iran to return the drone aircraft that Iran claims it recently brought down in Iranian territory.
“We’ve asked for it back. We’ll see how the Iranians respond,” Obama said.
Ahmadinejad comments to VTV seemed to suggest that Iran did not have plans to return the aircraft.

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Addicted to risk?

December 12, 2011 § Leave a comment

occasional links & commentary


Are we addicted to risk? Or, perhaps better, are those in power addicted to risk?

Naomi Klein, in her TED talk (above), argues that we (or they) are addicted to risk, especially with respect to the natural environment—and it’s because there is a master narrative of limitlessness.

George DeMartino, in a recent paper [pdf] published in the Real-World Economics Review, that mainstream economists are addicted to risk—and it’s because they often use a maxi-max decision rule when they advise or decide for others.

Klein’s answer is interesting, at least in relation to mainstream economics, because the usual neoclassical assumption is scarcity not limitlessness. But if the natural environment is treated as a completely external object, then the scarcity assumption with respect to the rest of the economy is quite compatible with a presumption of limitlessness in terms of everything else—the natural environment but also the extent…

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