Some Food for Thought on Crimea

WE MUST STOP CRIMEA FROM SECEDING!

is probably the most hypocritical thing America could possibly say.

Think about it for a second.

This country was founded by people who violently rebelled against their mother country, in the name of liberty and all that.

Nearly 240 years after the Declaration of Independence, we are now attempting to stifle a movement attempting to do the exact same thing we did without the violence.

Here’s a little thought experiment. Consider that the American Revolution were happening today.

Patriot: We should secede from the UK and become an independent nation! We aren’t being represented properly and they’re not addressing our problems!

Putin: No.

Patriot: What do you have to do with our decision? You’re not related to our problems in any way at all!

Putin: No.

Sounds ridiculous?

Now replace “Patriot” with “Crimean”, and “Putin” with “EU and USA”.

I don’t really give a shit about some aspects of “international law”. There are sometimes more important things than “international law”. The American Revolution was one of them. Crimea is another.

Now consider that Crimea is voting for secession at something like 95%, when Patriots numbered less than 50% during the Revolution. Talk about inconsistency.

If we want to act like Crimea is taking down the UN’s law and burning it at the stake, I suggest we go back to being a colony under the UK to bring ourselves in line with our own rhetoric. I, for one, would like the socialized healthcare.

Security State Criticized by… Advocate of the Security State

When it comes to the NSA, the hypocrisy amongst supporters is absolutely appalling.

The domestic spying of the NSA is a complete failure– we know that by the lack of any trials concerning terrorism since the passing of the Patriot Act.

But most proponents, who are for the most part business Democrats and Republicans (in contrast to populist Democrats, libertarians, and tea partiers), seem to ignore that the law applies to them too.

Yesterday, Tuesday, Senator Feinstein (D-CA), the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee and a staunch supporter of the NSA, accused the CIA of spying on committee investigations tasked with investigating torture by the CIA.

I get the point that the CIA shouldn’t be trying to suppress the torture report. But the fact of the matter is, it’s ridiculously hypocritical to criticize the CIA for spying on you when you support unconditional ubiquitous government spying.

The most general argument for the NSA is “You’re not breaking the law, so you shouldn’t be worried.”

Feinstein isn’t breaking the law, so why the hell does she have a problem with being spied on?

Snowden, who attacked Feinstein as a hypocrite, noted this as a “Merkel Effect” (Background: German Chancellor Angela Merkel was pissed that the US was spying on the German citizenry, but didn’t do shit about it), “where an elected official does not care at all that the rights of millions of ordinary citizens are violated by our spies, but suddenly it’s a scandal when a politician finds out the same thing happens to them”.

Feinstein had the temerity to demand an apology and an acknowledgement of wrongdoing by the CIA, all while claiming that your privacy is completely irrelevant!

This forms the basis of American government: crony capitalism. Politicians see themselves as out of the range of authority of the government, and they make sure they are, along with their Wall Street buddies. As Elizabeth Warren put it: “Anyone else want to tell me about the last time you took a Wall Street bank to trial?”

As Republicans demand tax cuts and decreased spending, but more wars, NSA advocates support ubiquitous spying but decry it when they become the subject.

Let me present another idea, in the form of a proof.

Given: Snowden leaked NSA documents concerning classified stuff.

Given: Feinstein called Snowden’s actions treason.

Given: Feinstein’s committee is planning on releasing a 6000+ page document on CIA torture.

Given: the CIA is a government agency, mostly carrying out secret operations.

Postulate 1: The CIA’s torture stuff is secret, as it’s carried out in secret.

Basic Human Rights Law: Torture is wrong.

Postulate 2: Because torture is wrong, it is justified to release secret CIA information on it for the sake of preserving Basic Human Rights. (See Article 5)

Feinstein is outraged that the CIA is violating her constitutional rights and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which limits federal jurisdiction to cases with “a compelling federal interest”. Transcript of the speech, if you want.

Postulate 3: Violation of constitutional rights via spying is wrong, according to Feinstein.

Postulate 4: Because violation of constitutional rights via spying is wrong, according to Feinstein, it is justified to release secret NSA information on it for the sake of preserving Basic Human Rights. (See Article 12)

Postulate 4 contradicts with Given. Snowden is a traitor according to Feinstein, but also according to Feinstein it is justified for him to have released the NSA documents. So either Feinstein and every person trying to get released the torture report is a traitor, or Snowden wasn’t one. Oops. Well, what goes around comes around.

This is Feinstein right now.

Be careful about your policy…

However, at least one good thing is coming out of this. The European Parliament is getting ready to inveigh against the NSA’s ubiquitous spying program. Snowden is still on the back burner, but… it’s a start. Perhaps it’ll finally be some group besides the United States to dictate policy!

Let me sum Feinstein’s crisis up with a comment from here:

When the NSA is spying on Americans, it’s for the glory of “Homeland Security”.

But when that same security apparatus is spying on our politicians, it’s a “Constitutional Crisis”.

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China-Japan Senkaku Dispute in the Pacific… Who Owns the Rocks?

Doge does not approve!

While reading an article on China’s new hardline policies towards the Senkaku Islands, I decided to do some research– and found some interesting technicalities.

Let’s revisit the history: the islands were first used as navigational markers by the Chinese to travel to the Ryuukyuu Kingdom (which covered a string of islands south of Kyuushuu). After the First Sino-Jap War, Japan annexed these uninhabited islands in 1895. In 1900, some Japanese entrepreneur actually built a business on the islands, and somehow gained possession of them. The business failed, and the guy’s son sold the islands to some prominent family on the mainland. But after WW2…

The Potsdam Declaration (1945, WW2) declared that “Japanese sovereignty shall be limited to the islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku, and such minor islands as [US, GB, ROC] determine”.

That means we have to ask the US, Great Britain, and the Republic of China about whether Japan has sovereignty over the Senkaku.

Great Britain didn’t take part in reconstruction. They’re out of the picture.

The USA assumed jurisdiction over the islands during reconstruction of Japan. Note that at this time there were no objections to the US’ occupation. The Okinawa Reversion Agreement was passed by the Senate in 1971, which agreed to return sovereignty of the Senkaku to Japan in 1972, when China and Taiwan starting staking claims.

But here’s what I found interesting. China right now, the People’s Republic of China, technically has no claim whatsoever on the islands. The Republic of China does.

Backtrack a bit to the Chinese Civil War following WW2. At the time, the recognized government was nationalist Chang Kai-Shek’s government. This was the Republic of China. Kai-Shek decided to be stupid during the war, and Mao Zedong and the communists destroyed him. Kai-Shek and the nationalists fled to Formosa (Taiwan), and reestablished the Republic of China there. Mao established the People’s Republic of China on the mainland.

Simply put, Communist China has no right to the islands. They were not mentioned in any of the treaties concerning the islands, because Communist China either did not exist or was not recognized at the time.

Then, what about Taiwan?

Taiwan is irrelevant. Taiwan is not a country. It is not recognized by an overwhelming majority of the UN, and is not a part of the UN. Most importantly, the US (#1 power in the world) doesn’t recognize it.

Thus, since China and Taiwan had no applicable claims, the land would be rendered terra nullius (as the US never claimed sovereignty when they took jurisdiction), and the return to Japan should be undisputed.

But even if you ignore these technicalities, the simple fact still stands. The USA had jurisdiction over the islands after World War 2. The USA gave the islands back to Japan. Japan’s national government bought the islands from the private owners.

The ROC (Taiwan) and PRC (China) have not even once placed a foot on the islands. Only Japanese have ever visited the islands (according to Wikipedia). It sounds kind of stupid to me. What’s next, Greenland claiming the Arctic?

Although Japan does some relatively stupid stuff every now and then (like visiting shrines of war criminals and trying to justify comfort women), I have to say that they’re in the right (no pun intended) on the topic of Senkaku here.

The PRC’s claims to China are not only rebuffed by my technicalities, but also by the support of the law, if you want the real technical explanation.

But here’s the problem: the PRC doesn’t care. And that’s why I’ll say, if WW3 is going to happen, it will be over some oil under a couple rocks in the ocean. And China will lose, because the US is number one.

On Nakamoto: the Mainstream Media Sucks

I was appalled by Newsweek’s article claiming they had found the founder of Bitcoin– an old model train enthusiast in California.

There was so much stupidity in this, previous, and subsequent reportings that I decided to dedicate an article to media stupidity.

Let me first quote Goodman to clear up just how unlettered she is on the topic of Bitcoin.

Even so, Bitcoin is vulnerable to massive theft, fraud and scandal, which has seen the price of Bitcoins whipsaw from more than $1,200 each last year to as little as $130 in late February.

Where the hell did you get the $130 from?

There’s only one place where Bitcoin has dropped to $130 (it’s currently at $600, likely in light of Goodman’s stupidity), and that’s on a dead exchange called Mt Gox.

Someone who can’t identify the current price of Bitcoin has no right to be making such pretension to finding the most elusive character in Bitcoin.

Let’s follow up by pointing out that the real Bitcoin founder came out to say that he is not Dorian Nakamoto (the poor guy in California).

Not Nakamoto!

This should clear up that Goodman was wrong. But you know what the media are doing at this point? Celebrating that they found Satoshi! They haven’t even noticed this! They haven’t even noticed that Mt Gox doesn’t represent current Bitcoin prices!

One of the things that characterizes the mainstream media is that outside of domestic issues, they usually have no idea what they’re talking about. (And domestic issues too, sometimes questionable.)

Remember Mt Gox? The mainstream media actually believed it was hackers. (Head over to a site with people who know and cover Bitcoin, like Falkvinge, and you’ll get an idea fairly quickly about how preposterous that idea is.)

Next, they assume that a cryptography expert uses his real name online, and attempt to chase him down. When they find a suspect, they didn’t stop to think that hundreds of cryptography experts have NOT made any progress on finding a person they worked with. Bitcoin cofounders have no idea who Satoshi is, and never have. They don’t even know if Satoshi is one person. (But they have discovered that he “sleeps” in the Eastern or Central Time Zone. I can see the headlines: “RUSSIAN STUDENTS KNOW MORE US GEOGRAPHY THAN US JOURNALISTS”)

And most golden of all: the media has literally brainwashed us into thinking that Putin is invading Ukraine and trying to reunite the Soviet Union. You can see one of my previous posts, but in short, Crimea wants to secede to Russia and Russia is welcoming them. What a joke.

Either the media is completely retarded or actually is trying to make everyone stupid. Or maybe it’s just Newsweek that would publish something this preposterous.

Don’t trust the mainstream. I’m not saying this in a hipster way, I’m saying this because they lie. Crimea is not being overtaken by imperious Russian soldiers, and the poor guy in California is not Satoshi Nakamoto. But if you subscribe to the mainstream, you will think otherwise.

Give them Crimea

STOP FIGHTING OVER CRIMEA.

Governments and people everywhere seem to have the idea that the revolution against Yanukovych was some kind of American Revolution, where the entire country fought against unjust oppression.

It wasn’t.

See this really nice graph by the Washington Post:

Image

There is a divide in Ukraine. A sharp one. Obama doesn’t realize this. The EU doesn’t realize this. Kiev’s government doesn’t realize this. (Or they ignore it.)

But Putin does.

Note that Putin has no ambitions to take West Ukraine. Putin’s not an idiot. He is not going to risk another World War. He just wants East Ukraine. And East Ukraine, for the most part, wants Russia.

Don’t take the graph’s word for it. Today, the Crimean parliament voted SEVENTY EIGHT TO ZERO to schedule a referendum to secede from Ukraine and join Russia.

The West, and West Ukraine, are criticizing Russia for making unjustified incursions into Crimea. But that’s stupid. Crimea wants Russia to come in and take over.

ukraine-crimea-map

Stop trying to stop Crimea. They will secede. You will not prevent them from seceding. Russia will absolutely pulverize us on a defensive front if civil war breaks out. The rest (or much) of East Ukraine will likely follow. (That’s a prediction. Note that a large majority of pro-Russia doesn’t exist in all parts of East Ukraine.)

And in that case, West Ukraine will happily have their own government with a more stable electorate, (some of) East Ukraine will happily be joined with Russia, and the rest of the world will happily not have to intervene.

Is it really that damn hard to decide?