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Hillary in Australia 2010 and the End of World War II

There is a point to this post. Wait for it…

Let’s start with this clip from an Australian morning show in 2010. Hillary met with Hamish and Andy for a very funny piece about the “gift” she received from the Australian people as Secretary of State. She’s relaxed, has a good sense of humor, seems genuinely authentic to me, Jon Stewart. But it gets better. Listen to the banter between the morning show hosts at the end of the clip and ask yourself what they must be thinking of Americans this year.

 

The reason I bring up this clip is because I read the editorial in the NYTimes International version this morning about the tempest brewing in the South China Sea. The piece, titled “Playing Chicken in the South China Sea“, is about a American surveillance plane’s “near miss” with two Chinese fighters while over the area recently. China has been building up islands and atolls and installing military bases on them. It’s making Indonesia and the Phillipines nervous.

Back in 2010, Clinton was an early advocate of staring down the Chinese before the tensions in the South China Sea got too touchy. That’s why she was in Australia. Her job as Secretary of State was to forge a better working partnership with the Australians to take a strong interest in area.

Why is the South China Sea so important? According to the NYT editorial:

“China has been behaving in a bellicose fashion in the South China Sea for some time as part of a sustained and increasingly dangerous effort to assert sovereignty over a vital waterway in which other nations also have claims. In a few weeks, an international arbitration court is expected to rule in a case brought against China by the Philippines. The outcome could have a profound effect on the struggle for control of the sea, which is rich in resources and carries $5 trillion in annual trade.”

That’s right, the South China Sea sees $5,000,000,000,000.00 worth of trade each year passing through its waters.

We children of the 60s, 70s and 80s know that the world is mostly water but we seem to ignore the part of the geography class that taught us about ‘straits’ and ‘canals’ and ‘trade routes’. Those trade routes haven’t changed since Magellan circumnavigated the globe nearly 500 years ago.

It’s why Hitler wanted control of the North Atlantic and the Mediterranean. It’s why the Japanese wanted the Spratley Islands in the South China Sea, why it invaded the Phillipines and why Iwo Jima was such a big deal.Take a look at the map:

resource_flows

 

That map shows liquified natural gas trade routes through the region and I think we could all make a good case that maybe increasing oil and gas trade is not such a good idea because of global warming. We should be working on energy alternatives. But it is also true that we probably don’t want someone abruptly turning the spigots on and off in order to manipulate markets and bring us to our knees before we have time to boot the Republicans out of power and get on with alternative energy research in earnest.

Plus, presumably, there’s more to trade than fossil fuels.

I think you get my point. But if you don’t, it’s this: World War II never ended. It never ended in the North Atlantic, it never ended in the Eastern Mediterranean and it certainly hasn’t ended in the South China Sea. These areas are always going to be flashpoints as long as the world’s continents stay put.

You are free to disagree with me but you can’t argue with geography.

Who would you rather see in the White House? Someone who doesn’t think we should spend money on NATO or the woman who was proactively diplomatic on the South China Sea issues 6 years ago?

To me, it’s a no brainer. But at this point in time, the rest of the world is probably getting very concerned that there are a significant number of Americans who have no brains.

 

Winter is Trumping

 

Australian humorist Huw Parkinson put that together, which is somewhat ironic given Australia’s notorious treatment of refugee boat people who try to reach its shores.

I was listening to a This American Life episode that featured a Trump supporter from South Carolina who is young, evangelical and gay. What struck me about this interview is how convinced the guy was that Hillary Clinton was going to be indicted.

That seems to be just hanging out there. You’d think that after all the investigations, and nearly 4 years after she left office as Secretary of State, that if there were something to indict her over, someone would have done it by now.But the idea that there’s something hanging over her is definitely a weapon that has always used against the Clintons to great success. It’s out there, we don’t know when they’ll be arrested but you can bet it’s going to happen eventually. Or not, most likely.

The other thing that struck me is that like most other Trump voters I have heard, the kid seems confused. He thinks Trump is an advocate of gay marriage. It reminds me a little bit of the way that Obama supporters in 2008 would pin their hopes and dreams, sometimes conflicting ones, on Obama, the ultimate tofu candidate. I doubt that Trump has a real issue with gay marriage but you never know what’s going to pop out of his mouth in front of the right audience.

I try to stay out of the minds of Trump voters. In there, the world doesn’t make sense, up is down, things happen for no apparent reason and they seem to be unreasonably fearful. It can make you feel a bit like Tyrion Lannister trying to be reasonable with people who will kill off the best characters in pursuit of an iron throne.

Valar Morghulis

 

Wednesday: Feminism first

I’ve got some stuff to do today and will be checking in periodically.  In the meantime, here are two videoclips by Australian writer, Jane Caro.  I’ve been checking out a lot of freethinker videos lately, particularly because the speakers represent the other end of the religio-socio spectrum.  Most people fall into the middle of a gaussian distribution when it comes to religion.  At one end of the spectrum, let’s call it the “right” end, there are people who feel religion very intensely.  The fundamentalists are a subset of this group.  The other end of the spectrum is composed of people who look at everyone to the right of them and say, “Um, I don’t get it”.  These people just put a lot more emphasis on logic and reason.  Those people are starting to come out of the closet.  They now have global conferences, they write books and they’re speaking out. Dan Barker, who I mentioned the other day, says he thinks that American culture is evolving to become more like European culture.  Europe burned itself out on religious wars and now most Europeans do not profess a faith.  What we’re seeing in American is the last shrieks of a group that is losing its fight with modernity.

By the way, after I watched some of these clips and the way people all around the world make fun of super religious Americans, I find it enormously embarrassing.  There is a perception out there that Americans are all religious freaks who joyfully embrace ignorance and aren’t afraid to stuff it down your throat.  That’s the way the world sees us.  Next time you go to Europe on vacation (I’m assuming that’s something everyone has on their bucket lists whether they’ve gotten there yet or not), just remember that everytime you open your mouth, the rest of the continent is going to immediately think you’re the equivalent of Tammy Faye Baker without the dripping eyeliner who doesn’t understand something as simple and elegant as evolution.  We have a lot of work to do to reclaim our reputations as an enlightened, modern people.

Anyway, Jane Caro says feminism is more important than atheism and she makes a couple of very compelling arguments. She skewers everyone, even Buddhists. Enjoy the humor and insight of these two videos and ask yourself how female Obama voters got it so wrong.  *Real* feminists do not vote for guys like Obama.  That would be like being a female suicide bomber for Al Qaeda.  No matter how much you do for the cause, your paradise is not going to involve deflowering 72 virgins.

Real feminists look after their own sex first.

Jane Caro- Intelligence Squared Debate clip

Jane Caro- Global Atheist Convention 2010, Melbourne, Australia

Monday: The instapaper queue

Turkey Tetrazzini for dinner? hmmm...

How was everyone’s Thanksgiving?  Did everyone get enough to eat?  I brought the desserts this year and much to my surprise, no one in my family likes Lemon Meringue but me.  I’m not complaining but I did find it weird when my sister told me that it was a summer pie and why didn’t I know that??  Not to fear, we had pumpkin as well.  And a custard fruit tart brought by someone else that was also delicious.  It went fast.

My sister and her husband are into this foodsaver gadget and they shrinkwrapped the leftovers into neat little packages.  I have to get one of those suckers.  They gave me a package of turkey (white meat, yummmm) to take home with me.  Guess what’s for dinner tonight?

Anyway, I have a lot to do today.  I need to finish reading some papers, return a coat I decided I could live without and basically take care of some other stuff that I’ve been putting off.  So, I thought I’d let you in on my instapaper queue.  For those of you not familiar with instapaper, it’s an app/utility that allows you to save links to interesting webpages so that you end up with something like your own frontpage.  It comes with a button that you put on your browser bar and when you see something you want to read later, you just click on “read later” and it saves it to your instapaper account.  Later, you can peruse your links at your leisure.  Highly recommended.  They even have a Browse section of recommended links of things you may be interested in reading based on your current selections.

So, here’s a few things in my instapaper queue:

How do you define who’s homeless during a recession?  The Atlantic

All the Angry People- The New Yorker

Estee Lauder Heirs Tax Strategies Typify Advantages for Weathy- The New York Times (I guess they don’t need my money after all.  Did you know that Estee Lauder owns Clinique, M.A.C., and Origins as well?)

Team Obama Gears Up for 2012 – The New York Times (This one is unsettling.  Milk Bars and droogs come to mind)

So, What did Lipitor do for Pfizer? Or its Shareholders?- In the Pipeline (Or, “How the finance MBA executive class screwed the pooch in pharma, destroyed research, set the shareholders up for HUGE losses later and made the entire world hate drug discovery’s guts”  It’s hard to believe a group of arrogant, hierarchical Ivy League educated individuals could botch things this badly but it’s become clear to me that the Democrats have been taking lessons from them.)

More Parents are Opting out of Vaccines – The Atlantic  (Did you know that Raold Dahl’s 7 year old daughter Olivia died from encephalitis because she was not vaccinated against measles?  True story.  It’s hard to believe there are selfish, ignorant and arrogant parents out there who would expose other very young children to that because they won’t vaccinate their own kids.  It’s immoral.)

The Branding of the Occupy Movement- The New York Times (There’s a better article on Kalle Lasn somewhere but I neglected to instapaper it.  Try The New Yorker, New York Magazine or The Atlantic)

Payroll Tax Cut will Top Political Theater- Roll Call (yes, Virginia, they *are* still playing games instead of raising taxes on the rich)

Iran: We’ll Fire 150,000 Missiles at Israel if attacked- YNet (and we’ll turn Iran into a smoking cinder if it does.  I think there was a cold war term for that)

Pakistanis burn Obama in Effigy and US Flag- Sky News Australia (Ok, now I think we know why we have marines stationed in Australia.)

Cozy Winter Recipe: Pasta e Fagioli– The Kitchn (Apartment Therapy)

Charge Separation in Molecules Consisting of Two Identical Atoms: Size Matters – Science Daily (For the hard core polarity fans)

Finally, here’s a video on Pittsburghese, which is a distinct American dialect.  The host of this video is fresh, energetic and cute, but her accent is not anywhere near as heavy as my cousins’.  Still, if you ever wondered what it meant to “red up your house”, pay attention.

She forgot to say “keller” when she really means “color”.  And is it “UM-brella” or “umBRELLa”?

Finally, “Physician, Heal Thyself”.  Digby is absolutely right about dehumanization but it’s really odd that she and the rest of the left had no problem with it when the 2008 elections made old, uneducated, unattractive, working class, racist, latently Republican, menopausal women out of Hillary Clinton voters.  I mean, when you think of them *that* way, no wonder the Obama hooligans piled on.  Who wants to sit at that lunch table?  Dehumanizing those voters made it a lot easier to ignore their votes and violate their delegates with harrassment and threats at the convention.  They almost deserved it. Right, Digby?  Right, Duncan?  Right, Jay?  If you don’t take your own side to task for acting like flaming assholes, then others might find your newfound concern with “dehumanization” a bit hypocritical.  It was an election with far-reaching consequences not only to the economy but to voting in general. (Didn’t you guys ever figure out why Obama is ignoring his voting base now?  The answer is that you let him get away with it in 2008 so he knows he can do it again.) You guys should have been a lot more vigilant.

(No, I am not going to get over it.  If it were Howard Dean’s voters who got the Hillary treatment, you’d be all over this for decades to come. “Oh, but they’re different”, you’ll say. Exactly.  I rest my case.  “An injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere”.  Also, Karma is a bitch.)