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?

Karpeles: Why we won’t see another criminal

Mark Karpeles, CEO of Mt Gox, didn’t only have 850,000 bitcoins “disappear” from a cold storage vault, in what he claims was theft.

It turns out he’s been involved in fraud previously– which makes any claim of his that 850,000 bitcoins were pilfered from his accounting books (which, as Falkvinge points out, is completely unreasonable) seem even more full of bullshit.

For those of you who want to read about the other time he defrauded someone, here’s the link. (I’m completely convinced that Empty Gox is a fraud orchestrated by Karpeles at this point.)

But besides the breaking news: Bitcoin has no regulation. That’s both a problem and a solution.

It’s a solution in that it can become the anonymous P2P currency of the internet.

It’s a problem in that criminals like Karpeles are supposedly freely able to engage in their criminal activities.

While the US economy is crippled by corporate welfare, unregulated companies, corrupt banks, and Wall Street, Bitcoin seeks to solve that.

But in lacking regulation, does it not forecast its own doom by allowing corruption to burgeon?

I was ruminating on this, but I don’t think it will become a major problem in the future.

Note that Karpeles snuck into the Bitcoin business at its inception. Nobody had the time nor the reason to check his credentials.

Getting away with illegal acts is far easier in the earlier stages of an institution.

Remember Benjamin Franklin? Founding Father, one of the greatest womanizers in American history? Back when the printing press still existed? Nobody ever questioned his promiscuity.

Remember Bill Clinton? I don’t think I need to explain what happened to him for one small scandal. The media went “ham” on him.

Once America and American media had developed past its infant stages, it was possible to spend more time on things not related to life or death.

Ten years down the line, the same thing will happen to Bitcoin. If a man like Karpeles shows his face, he will be laughed off the internet before anyone gets the chance to fall for his scam.

A rocket’s hardest obstacle is getting out of the Earth’s gravity… similarly, Bitcoin’s toughest obstacle will be escaping the corruption of the dollar.

I hate Karpeles, but someone was going to do something similar anyway.

Did we really vote for the Patriot Act?

“We all deserve credit for this new surveillance state that we live in because we the people voted for the Patriot Act.”
-Colbert closing the RSA conference on Friday

It’s true. But only somewhat.

We never voted for the Patriot Act. It could be argued that politicians didn’t even vote for the Patriot Act. The Patriot Act was shoved through Congress under the cover of “security” while Bush enjoyed 90% approval ratings.

When someone has a 90% approval rating, it means that there’s war. That’s it. There is no other cause that could possibly unite a nation of rational people and Confederate flag-waving tea partiers.

But it’s fairly obvious that a terrorist act isn’t a declaration of war. Rather, people overreacted to it, perceiving it as a conspiracy by Middle Eastern countries to destroy us. You know why?

The last major event in which the US was attacked in the US was in the War of 1812. We came out of both World Wars without a scratch, feeling invincible, because nobody had the time to cross the Pacific just to attack us. (Pearl Harbor was not a terrorist attack. The Japanese attacked a military base in retaliation to the US’ freezing their assets.) Two centuries since we last experienced a major act of terrorism would definitely fuel some overreaction.

Now that it’s been well over a decade, most people are regaining their sanity and realizing that there was no World War III with Middle Eastern terrorist groups. Maybe the NSA doesn’t need to spy on us. But it doesn’t matter, because we can’t take it back anymore. Once you make that drunk text, you can’t un-text it.

Remember how SOPA and PIPA were killed? They died because they were unjustified and completely retarded. The government was unsuccessful in brainwashing people into thinking that piracy was that deleterious of a problem, considering 70% of 18-29 year old people do it.

But the government was able to convince us to assent to mass surveillance because of the overreaction fueled by 9/11. And what do they have to show for it?

Absolutely nothing. There was not a single foiled terrorist plot in the US– if there were, we’d hear about the trial and conviction through loudspeakers from Obama’s desk– making the entire thing utterly useless.

Americans are realizing that, and for once, tea partiers are on the right side of the debate (no pun intended).Well over half of Americans want an end to the preposterous destruction of civil liberties taking place. But no mainstream politician will represent that view– after all, if 9/11 happens again, they will be left in the dust, and Obama will become a god.

We may have voted for the Patriot Act while drunk on nationalism, but we want to take that back now. And the right to nullify our past mistakes is– *cough21stcough*– critical to the success of America.

You can’t ban Bitcoin

“Bitcoin has also become a haven for individuals to buy black market items. Individuals are able to anonymously purchase items such as drugs and weapons illegally.” -Sen Manchin (D-W.Va)

There are problems with any method of approaching a situation. Whether you wear running shoes or tennis shoes, you will still get tired after running. You could discard the running aspect altogether and take a car, but now you don’t lose calories.

With Bitcoin, you sacrifice some of the government regulation for anonymity. Meaning, some people can abuse the system to do some illegal stuff.

But who cares?

Is being able to buy drugs over the internet and not through cash such a liability?

This argument, if you think about it, is a lot like arguments for the NSA.

“You might do something illegal on the internet. Let me watch you just to make sure.”

“You might be talking about something illegal over the phone. Let me listen in just to make sure.”

“You might be doing something illegal. Let me follow you just to make sure.”

And now,

“You might be abusing those Bitcoins. Let me illegalize them, just to make sure.”

It’s preposterous. Has the encroachment on civil rights by the reached the point where the government now gets to decide what we can and can’t do on the internet?

Why the hell, Joe Manchin, is it your problem if I want to sell candy for a number on a computer?

Here in America, we value freedom. The government must not provide for your insurance, because that would be an encroachment on freedom of spending your money. Allow the banks to riskily invest with their customer’s money, for freedom, then spend more of taxpayer money to bail them out, to protect the banks’ freedom. Lower taxes, for freedom, but spend more on war– to protect the freedom of the military-industrial complex.

But civil rights mean nothing. We struck down the Voting Rights Act, because we want to act like racism doesn’t exist. We spy on the entire world, because there might just be a terrorist out there. We restrain the sharing of ideas, because artists would, by outdated logic, lose money. We oppose gay marriage, because to some it’s disgusting.

And, of course, we oppose cryptocurrency, because it may have some adverse side effects of anonymity, which, as Snowden has shown us, Big Brother hates.

Arizona and “Exercise of Religion”

On Thursday the 20th, the Arizona state legislature passed a bill that would essentially allow any business owner to deny service to gays (more broadly, anyone who serving would violate “religious beliefs”). The bill reached the governor on the 21st.

Yesterday, the 26th, the governor vetoed it. Thankfully.
But I don’t really care about that. (If the law passed, it would have been forced to the Supreme Court and been ripped apart, then making Arizona look stupid. Big deal.) People will oppose gay rights– that won’t end for a while. But, what kind of argument is “religious freedom”?

The Constitution does say, in the first line of the Bill of Rights:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…

I can see where some people might say from here, “well, it’s right there, Congress can’t prohibit exercise of religion.”

But there’s a difference between exercising religion and applying religion.

People should be free to exercise religion in the sense that they can follow their own rules and pray how they like, but cannot press these rules on others or use their rules as exemptions.

THAT IS CRITICAL. When it comes to exercise of religion, law > society’s necessities > others’ religion > your religion.

Think about it this way. My religion says that I must never wear a seatbelt because it is the incarnation of the Devil. The law overrides this. I must wear a seatbelt either way. (As a note, sometimes the law is wrong. For example, the French “burqa ban” is essentially targeted discrimination.)

This, was the problem in Arizona. Zealots trying to legalize discrimination, which is illegal. However, there’s an underlying problem. ONE PERSON’S RULES DON’T APPLY TO OTHERS.

My religion may say that I must never wear collared T-shirts. That does not mean that I can try to pass a law banning collared T-shirts.  Fundamentalist hardline Christian tea partiers don’t seem to understand this. Christianity is not the only religion, neither is it the “best” religion. Most people can understand this (at least in my area). But one out of five Americans don’t. That’s a serious problem. That their interpretation of the Bible prohibits gay rights does not mean that gays are inferior beings is to them unimaginable.

I don’t see how hard this is to understand, but too many people apply it to too many arguments. “My religious book prohibits pie” is not a valid argument for banning pie sales. Similarly, “My religious book prohibits gay marriage” is not a valid argument for banning gay marriage. There may be cogent arguments (not that I’ve seen any), but “religious book says so” is not one.

I also noted above that society’s necessities override religion. But that is unrelated to the topic at hand. (Basically, you can’t skip work every Friday because “my religion says so”.)

Because America’s history and demographics are almost entirely Protestant, let me analogize this to something a bit out of the norm to make the point that one person cannot apply his religious rules to others. Mormon belief says that they shouldn’t play sports on Sundays. Okay. Whatever. Not my business. But let me quote http://mormon.lds.net : “We don’t expect others to feel the same about this issue.”

This is why you have never heard about Mormons protesting the Super Bowl. They don’t arrogantly expect others to hold their beliefs. When was the last time that a Mormon said something discriminatory because he was a Mormon? Of course, you can’t recall, because Mormons don’t do that. (Yes, Mitt Romney made a lot of stupid comments, but none were particularly religiously motivated.)

Meaning, in conclusion, your rules are your rules, and nobody else should, for any reason, have to give a damn. One thing the Mormons got right.