FORWARD BASE B

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Tag Archives: china

Some Form of State Capitalism Is the Future

When faced with real emergencies like the Great Depression and World War 2, governments around the world, regardless of ideology behaved with the same tendency.  From the Soviet Union to the United States, the state exercised great direct control over the economy.  When things get tough, every economy leans towards becoming a command economy.  We know we’ve stumbled on a constant of government when everybody does it.  

Free market apologists who see all control as communism might point out how the Soviets were forced to allow privatized farm plots.  But they ignore the importance of anti-monopoly laws, inventions from NASA/DARPA research, or the highway system in the US.  Rather than one extreme or the other, there’s clearly a spectrum between control and freedom and the goal is to find a golden mean.

The ability of the market to self-regulate and create spontaneous solutions makes it valuable as an RandD department for society.
Plus it’s better and easier to let the crowd decide on the price of eggs than have some overpaid state bureaucrat do it.

State capitalism then allows the market to do what it does best while controlling the “commanding heights.”
This means, you don’t let the finance sector control the banking system, foreign billionaires buy up utilities and newspapers, or let competing railroads be laid down in different gauges by competing companies.  If you have a strategic commodity like oil or natural gas, you don’t leave anything to chance.

Free market capitalism, on the other hand, allows market entities to capture and control the commanding heights.  Then the parasite load predictably spirals out of control until basic needs like healthcare are both low-quality and crushingly expensive.   At this point, this kind of system becomes an anachronistic, dysfunctional embarassment.

What’s worse, is laissez faire capitalism has been tried before in the USA and failed every time.  Yet it somehow escaped becoming discredited as communism was. In the 1890s people finally had enough after the gilded age of robber barons culminated in yet another economic crisis.  Then, when laissez faire economics returned in the 1920s, the result was the disaster of the world-wide Great Depression that became a major cause of WW2.
 
Today, a sprawling US Star Empire spanning an entire continent and careening toward the 400 million population mark with every known alien race represented on its city-planets finds it simply no longer has the luxury of failing to govern itself.  If it does not change of its own volition, emergencies will force it to change.

Meanwhile, all around the world, various shades of state capitalism preside over rapidly growing economies with governments that aggressively pursue the national interest.
In stark contrast, free market nations are stagnant at best, allow a pan-national elite to indulge in banana republic exploitation, crushing wages with off-shoring and the never-ending mass immigration of hostile peoples. 

The leaders of state capitalist countries commonly have approval ratings over 80% while it’s typical for the do-nothing US congress to have under 20% approval.  The last French president–I’m not sure how that’s possible–had less than 10% approval!  It is not hard to see in which direction the future lies.

Why the Attack on Syria?

I won’t mince words: Trump’s decision to launch missiles into Syria is a disaster.  In reactions across the internet I am seeing justifications but in no way do the advantages come close to outweighing the costs.
I will address a few:

Trump wanted to intimidate China and North Korea
I doubt the Chinese president is easily frightened and making Kim Jong Un too nervous or desperate could turn Seoul and then the whole Korean peninsula into a smoking crater.

Russians and Syrians had time to evacuate/runways weren’t destroyed etc.
It’s still an act of war on another nation’s territory.  You don’t get brownie points or gold star stickers for playing nice at war.  These measures prevented immediate escalation to actual war but has worsened relations that were already pretty bad for no real reason.  If the goal was to get rid of ISIS why is the US attacking the people who were successully getting rid of ISIS?

That’ll Shut Up the Media About Russian Conspiracy Theories!
This didn’t stop Trump in the election when he was far more vulnerable, it certainly wasn’t going to stop his presidency. Wiretapping ploys and Rice unmaskings were already effectively countering the fake hysteria. Nothing about this relatively small problem required a risky foreign policy move.

Trump showed those pansies he’s not another wimpy Obama!
Trump got elected in part because his opponent was openly agitating for war with Russia and Syria that no one wants.   Obama and Hillary’s disastrous Syria policy helped ISIS form in the first place! Now we’re back to square one after spending nearly two years on the election?

The Syrians were gassing their own peoplez! Look at the cute dead kidz!
We all know this was just an excuse.  It’s irrelevant whether it’s fabricated or not. Trump’s whole America First campaign was a reaction to this kind of moralistic world policing.

The most rational possible reason I can think of for this idiocy is Trump has to make some concessions to the neocons or they would have just let the democrats filibuster Gorsuch indefinitely. 

Trump’s administration desperately depends on getting new justices into the supreme court.  For millions of American voters who did not like Trump, that’s the one issue that pushed them over the edge.  Furthermore, he desperately needs to break the impasse that is preventing him from acting decisively on immigration, the single biggest issue that put him in power.

I recognize it’s a tough situation, a sacrifice of some kind may have been necessary to grease the wheels, but I do not think this sacrifice was worth it.
The optics of attacking Syria right as Hillary came out and asked for it, with all the neocons celebrating afterwards is terrible.

It has just been openly demonstrated that no matter who you vote for, you still get pointless bombs and wars in the Middle East while the same old elites pat each other on the back.
Over $100 million dollars worth of cruise missiles just got dumped on a distant land most Americans could care less about for no real gain.
These conspicuous displays of waste while dams are crumbling and highways are burning down at home starts to sound a lot like just another chorus of “let them eat cake.”

So now Gorsuch is in, a key victory for Trump.  But the meta is even more important.
Now that Americans have seen appointed federal judges can block anything they don’t like…
Now that they’ve seen you get war and bombs in the Middle East no matter who you vote for…
The whole democracy really starts to look like a thinly veiled fiction.  And if that last veil gets stripped away, judges are just silly ugly old people in robes playing make-believe and all you have left is force.

From the start of his campaign, Trump shrewdly sought to curry favor with the military.  He understood if he was going to go against the entire political establishment, he would need solid backing to stay in power against contrived coups.

Unfortunately, we might be discovering a hard truth that neo-con politicians are just the political arm of the military top brass.  

Generals tend to be establishment to the core and incestuously in bed with military industrial contractors.  So perhaps we’ve found the limits of what voting can accomplish.  
Some grudging concessions on immigration and jobs perhaps, but the flow of trillions to contractors who pretend to design fighter planes and wars in the interests of the US’ biggest arms customers must continue.

The problem is the country is being bled dry and the farce is becoming obvious to millions.  Generals can’t really seize power directly until their troops are willing to fire on fellow citizens and if they tried that, they’d find their authority doesn’t go as far outside the beltway as they think.

So Trump still has considerable bargaining power even though he’s under a lot of pressure—if he wants to use it.  In retrospect perhaps we can now see the coils tightening.  Flynn replaced with someone more in line with the innermost circles and now possibly Bannon getting edged out of favor?
At this time all we can do is wait and see what happens next.

Trump Foreign Policy: Post-Unilateralism

Coalition, or no, whether other nations were willing or not, the brand of America has been built on unilateral foreign policy.  The world’s only superpower was also the world’s policeman.
Power, however, is a tool and as with money even great amounts of it are easily squandered without clear objectives and a sensible strategy.
The collapse of the Soviet Union was seen as the ultimate legitimation of unilateral diplomacy, an eternal blank check for Wilsonian exceptional interventionism at the “end of history.”

Every president since Reagan doubled down on this nonsense until it reached a climax of absurdity under George W. Bush.  Obama finally toned it down a little bit, because he had to.  Meddling went on unabated, but with most of America’s once abundant international political capital finally frittered away there was only so much he could do.  By the end of his presidency he was a laughingstock openly mocked by the Chinese leadership, insulted by the leader of the Philippines, and regarded with thinly veiled contempt by Russia.

Trump leads a reaction to a political establishment that has been utterly discredited by its decades of relentless ineptitude and failure despite holding every possible strategic advantage.
It has been clear since Trump’s campaign he envisions a US that conducts foreign policy as a nation among nations, not as a bombastic world police that clumsily throws its weight around.

This will mean, thank goodness, far less meddling in the affairs of other nations and a restoration of balances of power.  By wielding power with a lighter hand, it will become possible to accomplish far more.

The US can begin to create a post-exceptionalist, post-unilateral world by simply withdrawing US military interference.
Having US bases while limiting the military power of the host countries has increased the burden on the US while merely infuriating neighboring powers needlessly.

If the US removes most of its troops and involvement in NATO it forces EU nations to spend far more of their wealth on defense.  If Europe insured itself against Russian aggression, Russia would possibly be more amenable to talking about its interests elsewhere…

With a stable balance of power between the EU bloc and Russia, the US could have more constructive conversations with Russia regarding its extremely long border with China.  China is the only world power with potential, besides a real United States of Europe, to be in the same league as the USA.
America and China are presently economic partners joined at the hip, but we must think towards the long game.  Even as the US-Chinese relationship exists now, why not encourage other powers to contain them, giving the US more bargaining leverage?
In light of this, the complete obsession of the USA’s establishment with the Middle East and anti-Russian sentiment is perplexing.  A major foreign policy coup of the 21st century will be to split Russia from China as Nixon once split China away from the Soviet Union.

America could also withdraw from Japan forming a new, more equal relationship and encouraging Japanese re-armament and cooperation with Taiwan to counterbalance Chinese naval ambitions.
Hopefully, a post-exceptional international order would see the US and Europe able to freely operate with the emerging great power of China hampered by its nervous neighbors.  Why meddle when we need only encourage them to do what serves themselves?  The Daoist maxim to “do without doing” will be very appropriate in coming years.

Regarding Korea, it is ironic that if the US renounced its military commitments in the South, it’s possible the Chinese would become suddenly more amenable to discussing phasing out a client state of North Korea they have no special love for, but have kept around as a buffer against a clumsily over-aggressive US.  Add some diplomatic pressure from  neighboring powers, and perhaps an understanding could be arrived at where none is possible now…

Much of the benefits of a post-unilateral foreign policy come from simply undoing the heavy-handed status quo that counter-productively plays at imperialism.  From now on we may see the US doing more with less or in other words, “under budget and ahead of schedule.”

Only Young Societies Are Egalitarian

A quick glance at the USA tells me it takes about 3-400 years for a brand new society of frontiersmen and settlers to settle down into a civilization at equilibrium.

Every mass society that’s been around for any length of time has set traditions and customs, stratified social classes, and the vast majority living close to subsistence with a ruling class and its functionaries controlling most wealth.

This truth began to dawn on me when I first moved from the American West where “everyone is middle class” to the East Coast.
To my amazement I soon encountered a highly structured caste system.  Each stratum of society lived entirely separate from the others even if they existed in close proximity.  For each caste there were clear codes of dress, of speech, of behavior.
Working low status jobs that required uniforms or heavy duty work clothes, I quickly came to understand that white collar types, the perpetually harried and anxious middle classers, would refuse to acknowledge my existence, even trying to walk right through me as if I weren’t there.  Talking to them was out of the question.
Sure enough, when I went out in nicer clothing, I had no trouble getting their attention and talking to them.  I was amazed.

Lower proles often wore black shoes and gray baggy clothes that allowed them to blend into walls and not be seen as they hauled dollies loaded with goods in and out of shops or cleaned up the streets.   These people I saw were the local class of untouchables, ashamed even to be noticed.

There were aristocrats who walked about in elegant earth tones with a satisfied smug expression on their faces.  Just beneath them were their upper middle class followers, whose attempt to imitate their masters’ smile looked more like a petulant sneer.

In the West where I had been raised, athleticism, fitness, and outdoor activity had been counted as virtues.
In the East, the physical was clearly seen as a vice, fit only for proles.
Men prided themselves on being stick thin, emphasizing their gaunt figures with tight clothes.  For women, gentle Yoga in indoor studios, well away from the sun, was the most vigorous activity they permitted themselves.  They seemed to me very like Chinese mandarins who grew their nails long to show beyond all doubt that they never had to perform lowly physical labor.

It was not just the social systems of the East that made me think at once of China and India, but also the sheer density of people.
For the first time in my life, there were endless crowds everywhere I went.  Public restrooms were scarce, the few available, mobbed by hundreds of people and filthy.  Any public resource at all in such an environment was sure to be quickly exhausted in a true tragedy of the commons.  There were few places to sit, even fountains were designed to make it difficult for people to snatch up the coins dropped in them.    The spaces shown as “parks” on the maps were just islands in the middle of intersections, a ring of benches around a statue, most of them occupied by sleeping homeless people.

On reflection, I understood the East coast of the US, unlike the West, had existed for awhile under the rule of England and inherited its customs and institutions.  But mainly, it has simply been there longer.
All available resources and social positions are taken, everyone is caught in competition for an unchanging quantity of scarce resources.

I realized that the Western USA with its relatively informal egalitarian culture is an aberration.  It’s simply too new to have settled into a more normal system.  The West is still a frontier.
Once there’s no more frontier, people have to live together in the same society.
Within a few generations, people assort roughly into classes based on their ability to control wealth and exert power.  Then each class largely breeds with its own until each caste is practically a distinct genetic breed.
Once the process is complete, you have the classic mature social structure that’s indistinguishable from Ancient Egypt or Mesopotamia.

It is important to make this observation because many of humanity’s best accomplishments come from exuberant new cultures over short periods of time, while ancient empires more often plod on for milennia in a senile daze, living on borrowed inertia, unable to adapt or change, with millions of striving laborers, not one of them producing a new idea.

The Rest Are Not Rising After All

BRICs map

Brazil, Russia, India, China. The so-called BRICs.

“Over 50 percent of them(Americans), according to a Gallup poll conducted this year, said they think that China is already the world’s “leading” economy, even though the U.S. economy is still more than twice as large…

The notion of wide-ranging convergence between the developing and the developed worlds is a myth…

Of the roughly 180 countries in the world tracked by the International Monetary Fund, only 35 are developed.  The markets of the rest are emerging – and most of them have been emerging for many decades and will continue to do so for many more…

There were a few pockets of countries that did catch up with the West, but they were limited to oil states in the Gulf, the nations of southern Europe after World War II, and the economic “tigers” of East Asia…

It was only after 2000 that the emerging markets as a whole started to catch up; nevertheless as of 2011, the difference in per capita incomes between the rich and developing nations was back to where it was in the 1950s…

Other than being the largest economies in their respective regions, the big four emerging markets never had much in common.  They generate growth in different and often competing ways – Brazil and Russia for example are major energy producers that benefit from high energy prices , whereas India, as a major energy consumer, suffers from them.  Except in highly unusual circumstances…they are unlikely to grow in unison…

Russia’s economy and stock market have been…dominated by an oil-rich class of billionaires whose assets equal 20 percent of GDP, by far the largest share held by the super-rich in any major economy…

…looks back to say the seventeenth century, when China and India accounted for perhaps half of global GDP…

China’s population is simply too big and aging too quickly for its economy to continue growing as rapidly as it has.  With over 50 percent of its people now living in cities, China is nearing what economists call “‘the Lewis turning point'” the point at which a country’s surplus labor from rural areas has been largely exhausted…

One casualty will be the notion that China’s success demonstrates the superiority of authoritarian, state-run capitalism…

Although the world can expect more breakout nations to emerge from the bottom income tier, at the top and the middle, the new global economic order will probably look more like the old one than most observers predict.  The rest may continue to rise ,but they will rise more slowly and unevenly than many experts are anticipating.  And precious few will ever reach the income levels of the developed world.”

Foreign Affairs, November/December 2012 Broken BRICs: Why the Rest Stopped Rising, Ruchir Sharma

When Tang, A Drink For Astronauts, Was A Status Symbol In China

“The year I turned 16, a new product caught my eye. Fruit Treasure, as Tang was named for the Chinese market, instantly won everyone’s heart. Imagine real oranges condensed into a fine powder! Equally seductive was the TV commercial, which gave us a glimpse of a life that most families, including mine, could hardly afford. The kitchen was spacious and brightly lighted, whereas ours was a small cube …

The drink itself, steaming hot in an expensive-looking mug that was held between the child’s mittened hands, was a vivid orange…

Until this point, all commercials were short and boring, with catchy phrases like “Our Product Is Loved by People Around the World” flashing on screen. The Tang ad was a revolution in itself: the lifestyle it represented – a more healthful and richer one, a Western luxury – was just starting to become legitimate in China as it was beginning to embrace the West and its capitalism…

To add to my agony, our neighbor’s son brought over his first girlfriend, for whom he had just bought a bottle of Tang. He was five years older and a college sophomore; we had nothing in common and had not spoken more than 10 sentences. But this didn’t stop me from having a painful crush on him. The beautiful girlfriend opened the Tang in our flat and insisted that we all try it. When it was my turn to scoop some into a glass of water, the fine orange powder almost choked me to tears. It was the first time I had drunk Tang, and the taste was not like real oranges but stronger, as if it were made of the essence of all the oranges I had ever eaten.”

LINK

If shiny little bits of trash or a sugary, artificially flavored drink mix were made scarce and claimed to be desirable by the herd, especially its fertile female contingent, we must predict that everyone would scramble to get it.

This is why I’ve long considered measures of intrinsic value(of a good to an individual) to protect ourselves from the caprices of an insane and self-destructive mass society.

I recognize that the individual cannot be held truly distinct from society, not even close, but I keep my model simple.  It’s a basic method to clear away unwarranted hype and come out ahead of the crowd.

I’m supposing the boy in the story got a generous short term hypergamous payoff for following the fad and buying a can of orange flavored junk.
But guess what probably happened to his fawning groupies as soon as the Tang bubble popped?
We would see him left with a worthless powder for which he paid dearly and no long term or tactical gain to show for it.

Indeed, with that much less resources in his wallet, the less capital he has to impress the next round of herd females.  Worse, he was probably spending scarce funds his family needed to feed itself and pay for rent and education.

When Imperial China’s College Bubble Popped…

“In 605 CE, a year after murdering his father and seizing the throne, the Chinese emperor Yang Guang established the world’s first meritocracy. Weary of making bureaucratic appointments solely on the basis of letters of recommendation, Yang set aside a number of posts for applicants who performed well on a new system of imperial examinations. In theory, any peasant who took the trouble to memorize 400,000 characters — which is to say, anyone who conducted six years of study with an expensive tutor — could join the country’s political elite…

As time went on, more and more people took — and passed — the exam’s first round. Test prep academies proliferated. Imperial officials started to worry: there were now more degree-holders than there were positions, which threatened to create an underclass of young men with thwarted ambitions. When the Ming dynasty fell in 1644, their successors, the Qing, resolved to make the test more difficult. By the middle of the 19th century, 2 million people sat the exam, but just over 1 percent passed its first round; only 300 candidates — .016 percent — passed all three.

Failure could be discouraging. In 1837, after botching the exam’s second round for a second time, Hong Xiuquan, an ambitious 23-year-old from a village near Guangzhou, suffered a nervous breakdown. The precocious Hong had come in first on the county-level test, but after he turned 15 his family could no longer afford the customary tutor. Nor could Hong afford to bribe the examiners, as many test-takers did. The notional possibility that anyone could pass the test concealed a bitter truth: for a poor countryman like Hong, making it past the second round was all but impossible.

Eventually he convinced himself and a band of other young men defeated by the test that he was Christ’s younger brother. A consensus emerged among the converts that it was Hong’s destiny to build a heavenly kingdom purged of sexual depravity. He assembled an army and began the work of conquering China…

So began the Taiping Rebellion, the bloodiest conflict of the 19th century. By the time Hong’s forces were defeated in 1864, 20 million people had died.”

The Taiping rebellion seriously ranks among the top 10 ten most destructive wars ever fought.  There were clashes between massive armies numbering well into the hundreds of thousands. It lasted a full decade.   The Taipings effectively had their own empire with its own government and capital city.  The state religion was an odd hybrid of Christianity and Chinese philosophy.

They were popular with ethnic minorities such as the Hakka and regularly sent regiments of female warriors into combat.

A lesson here: Elites can be lulled into complacency by ruling over proles who will accept domination and oppression without complaint so long as just enough of them have just enough food in their stomachs.

Problems arise when society fails to incorporate educated young men:

French revolution: an urban phenomenon started by disaffected “overeducated” and “entitled” types.  Not only did rural peasants not participate, they were typically loyal to the King and were even brought into the cities during riots to beat up urbanite hippy protesters.

Russian revolution: started up by an odd mix of urban Jewish intellectuals, Caucasian gangsters, lead by a man who was part Tatar.  They were outsiders from the fringes of society.  Hardly a grassroots movement arising from downtrodden ethnic Russian peasants!

Taiping rebellion: same as the other two.  “Entitled” guys lose patience and try to take matters into their own hands.

A critical mass of precocious young men who haven’t been cut into the game end up causing trouble sooner or later.

I certainly don’t mean to predict armed revolution in our own time because there are a thousand more effective, less risky means for disillusioned men to quietly express their displeasure.

And of course outright revolution typically makes things even worse, especially if it succeeds.

Indeed, I would hope these current generations of bright, outcast men choose to focus on making something better than what came before.  To create something that can gradually, peacefully displace a decrepit old system by inherent superiority instead of trying to conquer by mere superior force.

The single most important thing that can be done right now:  For groups of disaffected men to cultivate asset bases that free them from the conventional wealth system controlled by women and “successful” men.  Without a basic amount of wealth that frees men from pressing financial necessity, nothing of significance can be done.

Step 1:  Escape our Sisyphean dilemma of hating the system but being too broke to escape.  To be full of ideas but never have time to develop them in full, to want to reach out to the like-minded but be bound to the land by wage slavery…

LINK

Credit to: Captain Capitalism

Egypt Joins China Club

“President Mohammed Morsi’s historic trip to Beijing signifies a new direction for Egyptian foreign policy. The Muslim Brotherhood leader has sent a clear message by selecting China for his first state visit outside the Middle East. By forging closer ties with China, Morsi is warning the US government not to take Egyptian acquiescence for granted.”
LINK

US-China Economic & Defense News

The current Chinese system is interdependent with the West,  they are in a fast-follower position but lack the political infrastructure to take over as innovators. Here are some assorted pieces of economic/defense related news:

I’ve made previous posts on Chinese espionage attempts, however as we see here bribery can be much more effective than outright theft:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/07/pentagon-contractor-caught-illegally-selling-military-technology-to-china/259469/

A six-year U.S. probe found that Pratt & Whitney, a key military hardware supplier to the U.S., sold China the software and engines needed to make its first-ever modern attack helicopter.

Nothing in the settlement agreement, in which Pratt & Whitney and two related companies, United Technologies and Hamilton Sundstrand agreed to pay a total of $75 million for multiple violations of export rules, directly threatens Pratt’s existing or future government contracting.

http://archives.cnn.com/2002/BUSINESS/asia/01/09/china.loral/

HONG KONG, China — U.S. satellite maker Loral Space & Communications Ltd. has agreed to pay a $14 million fine for passing missile technology to China.

The satellite and communications company will pay the fine over seven years to the U.S. State Department, through its Space Systems/Loral Inc. subsidiary.

The subsidiary neither admitted nor denied the charges but has agreed to pay the fine. It contends the information was “mistakenly sent to the Chinese.”

The investigation started as a criminal case, after the U.S. government adjudged Space Systems/Loral might have broken export laws when it gave technical help to China, on its rockets.

On the other hand, what we get sent isn’t known to be of the highest possible quality. China is extremely diverse and fragmented, the quality products varies highly. Fraud is endemic inside the country. In some cases it might be deliberate sabotage, but we don’t have too much of a reason to believe that most of China’s own parts are in much better condition:

http://defensetech.org/2012/03/28/gao-buys-fake-submarine-parts-from-china/

Remember how the Senate Armed Services Committee held a rather dramaitc hearing on the flood of counterfeit weapons parts coming from China a few months ago?

Well, as part of the committee’s investigation into the problem, lawmakers asked the Government Accountability Office to buy weapons parts from Chinese companies (that U.S. weapons companies sometimes buy from) to see if the Chinese government is doing anything to crack down on the massive problem. A shadow company set up by GAO to buy the parts specifically requested brand new parts for F-15 Eagles, MV-22 Ospreys and two nuclear submarines. What did they get? You guessed it, fake parts from China!

How massive is the problem? Over one million fake weapons parts have been identified as coming from Chinese companies since 2009. You don’t have to be  genius to see the safety nightmare presented by fake parts on incredibly complex systems like submarines, fighter jets and tiltrotors.

Of course, that’s not to say that they only spy on the US:

http://astuteblogger.blogspot.com/2008/03/ethical-country-of-china.html

Prosecutors in Seoul, Korea, indicted an ex-LG employee for spying for a Chinese company in a case they say cost the South Korean economy more than $1 billion. The Chinese company, Changhong-Orion PDP-Chaihong, reportedly paid the LG manager $300,000 per year, an apartment and a car (he was still collecting his LG salary) in exchange for copying 1,182 files from the LG network and giving it to the Chinese company

If you’re interested in finding out more examples of China leveraging it’s fast follower advantage, look to Bruce Hall.

As the US Government has found out, tech companies are required to create the infrastructure for a true “big brother” state.

http://www.wired.com/politics/security/magazine/15-11/ff_chinafirewall?currentPage=all

The Golden Shield hardware — supplied by Cisco and other US companies — is supplemented by human censors who are paid about $170 a month. They sit at screens in warehouse-like buildings run by the Public Security Bureau. These foot soldiers in China’s information war monitor domestic news sites, erasing and editing politically sensitive stories. Some sites provide the censors with access so the authorities can alter content directly. Others get an email or a call when changes are required. Similar methods are applied to blogs. Sensitive entries are erased, and in the most egregious cases blogs are shut down altogether.

The censors also monitor email traffic, looking for politically sensitive content like calls for protest marches and anti-government tracts. Because it would be impossible to screen millions of Internet users, they home in on watchlists of potentially suspicious emailers — known dissidents, suspicious foreigners — and notify investigators of possible violations.

Most of our manufacturing base is directly dependent on Chinese materials in one form or another, supply chain disruption can wreck havoc on even the largest companies. In the event of a serious conflict, large companies will be easy targets for supply chain disruption and cyber attacks. They are slower moving, larger targets that cannot quickly innovate in the face of disruption. Kevin Mitnick showed that you don’t even need superior technical knowledge to break open networks, the people will always be the weakest link in security. In the meantime we are reliant on China for an ever widening base of commodities:

 http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/02/magazine/02fda-t.html?_r=3&oref=slogin&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink&pagewanted=print&oref=slogin

Concerns about Chinese drugs have become so intense that just three weeks ago, the Health and Human Services secretary, Michael O. Leavitt, announced that the F.D.A. would open an office in Beijing by the end of the year and offices in Shanghai and Guangzhou next year. The agency still plans to send inspectors to China from the U.S., but the offices will provide “an infrastructure that will make those people more effective,” Leavitt said at the time of the announcement.

China’s leap to one of the biggest suppliers of pharmaceutical ingredients in the world happened over the last decade, as the Chinese government subsidized the construction of manufacturing plants that have undercut prices everywhere. Generic drug makers in the United States, where price competition is fierce, were the first to seek cheaper drug ingredients in China. Last year, generic drug applications to the F.D.A. listed 1,154 plants providing active pharmaceutical ingredients: 43 percent of them were in China, and another 39 percent were in India. Only 13 percent were in the United States. 

We’ve been having on-going problems with obtaining Rx drugs in the US:

https://colonyofcommodus.wordpress.com/2012/06/04/hospitals-experience-drug-shortage/

In 2005, the Food and Drug Administration reported 61 drugs in short supply. By 2011, the number had almost quadrupled, the majority injectable drugs used for cancer treatment, anesthesia and intravenous feeding.
The FDA reports that among many reasons, 43 percent of shortages stem from below-standard drug manufacturing facilities. Numerous FDA accounts describe drugs coming out of manufacturing plants contaminated with microbes, impurities, bits of metal and rust and other particulates.
If you read the FDA inspections of these plants, basically it’s scary,” said Erin Fox, pharmacist and manager of the Drug Information Service at University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics. “It’s crumbling buildings with mold on the walls, rust on the equipment. It doesn’t seem like what you would think a factory in the U.S. would look like.”

Visit this link if you want an educated guess on what’s next to be rolled out by big brother:

http://www.blacklistednews.com/14_Incredibly_Creepy_Surveillance_Technologies_That_Big_Brother_Will_Soon_Be_Using_To_Spy_On_You/20455/0/38/38/Y/M.html

The Pentagon has made a lot of noise about cyberwarfare, which has generally been dismissed by pundits. However the pundits rarely mention “who” the threat might be, generally thinking that the government is worried about anonymous haktivists. They aren’t, the FBI keeps them under control as much you can for a decentralized movement.

http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/blog/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=249#

For 18 minutes in April, China’s state-controlled telecommunications company hijacked 15 percent of the world’s Internet traffic, including data from U.S. military, civilian organizations and those of other U.S. allies.

This massive redirection of data has received scant attention in the mainstream media because the mechanics of how the hijacking was carried out and the implications of the incident are difficult for those outside the cybersecurity community to grasp, said a top security expert at McAfee, the world’s largest dedicated Internet security company.

In short, the Chinese could have carried out eavesdropping on unprotected communications — including emails and instant messaging — manipulated data passing through their country or decrypted messages, Dmitri Alperovitch, vice president of threat research at McAfee said.

Nobody outside of China can say, at least publicly, what happened to the terabytes of data after the traffic entered China.

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2012/0510/Exclusive-potential-China-link-to-cyberattacks-on-gas-pipeline-companies

Investigators hot on the trail of cyberspies trying to infiltrate the computer networks of US natural-gas pipeline companies say that the same spies were very likely involved in a major cyberespionage attack a year ago on RSA Inc., a cybersecurity company. And the RSA attack, testified the chief of the National Security Agency (NSA) before Congress recently, is tied to one nation: China.

Three confidential alerts since March and a public report on May 4 by the Department of Homeland Security warn of a “gas pipeline sector cyber intrusion campaign,” which apparently began in December. That campaign, against an undisclosed number of companies, is continuing, DHS said in the alerts, which were first reported by the Monitor.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Aurora

Operation Aurora was a cyber attack which began in mid-2009 and continued through December 2009.[1] The attack was first publicly disclosed by Google on January 12, 2010, in a blog post.[2] In the blog post, Google said the attack originated in China. The attacks were both sophisticated and well resourced and consistent with an advanced persistent threat attack.
The attack has been aimed at dozens of other organizations, of which Adobe Systems,[3] Juniper Networks[4] and Rackspace[5] have publicly confirmed that they were targeted. According to media reports, Yahoo, Symantec, Northrop Grumman, Morgan Stanley[6] and Dow Chemical[7] were also among the targets.
As a result of the attack, Google stated in its blog that it plans to operate a completely uncensored version of its search engine in China “within the law, if at all”, and acknowledged that if this is not possible it may leave China and close its Chinese offices.[2] Official Chinese media responded stating that the incident is part of a U.S. government conspiracy.[8]

Cyberwarfare is important, even if most pundits downplay it, because of the vulnerability of our SCADA systems, in the event of conflict an entity would only need to put out a bounty on the system, not even needing it’s own skilled personnel to subvert the system:

 http://spaces.icgpartners.com/index2.asp?NGuid=54D49E8BF0B6431696BB76956FB8AF91

In the past two years, hackers have in fact successfully penetrated and extorted multiple utility companies that use SCADA systems, says Alan Paller, director of the SANS Institute, an organization that hosts a crisis center for hacked companies. “Hundreds of millions of dollars have been extorted, and possibly more. It’s difficult to know, because they pay to keep it a secret,” Paller says. “This kind of extortion is the biggest untold story of the cybercrime industry.”

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21228415.400-vital-utilities-vulnerable-to-hacking.html

This was compounded by news of the hack at the Texas water plant, where on 20 November a hacker named “prof” gained access to the plant’s systemsusing a three-character default password on an internet-accessed SCADA made by Siemens of Germany. “No damage was done to any machinery; I don’t really like mindless vandalism. It’s stupid and silly. On the other hand, so is connecting your SCADA machinery to the internet,” he wrote on the Pastebin website.

Mohism: One of the Major Philosophies in Chinese History

A major force in Chinese society for centuries but now pretty much long extinct, Mohism looked to ‘universal love’ as its cardinal guiding principle.
In many ways it seems to have been just about the polar opposite of Confucianism:

“A ruler may have strategies in war, but courage is the fundamental value. A funeral may have many rituals but mourning is the fundamental value. Scholars may have knowledge, but applying the knowledge or practicality is the fundamental value. If the fundamentals are not strong, good works cannot be done. Mozi taught that a good man must discipline himself: he should avoid listening to malicious gossip, avoid cursing, avoid murderous thoughts. Mozi taught that the poor should display purity, the rich should show benevolence, to the living show love, to the dead show mourning. The foundation of all human motives should be immeasurable love.”
LINK

Its influence undoubtedly never completely faded from Chinese culture as with any of the ancient Greek philosophies in ours. And I suppose we could not call it a failure unless we were prepared to call Ancient Egypt or Rome the same.

China Plans to Open Military Bases Worldwide

Dated 2010:

“It is baseless to say that we will not set up any military bases in future because we have never sent troops abroad,” an article published on Thursday at a Chinese government website said. “It is our right,” the article said and went on to suggest that it would be done in the neighborhood, possibly Pakistan.

http://antemedius.com/content/game-changer-china-plans-open-military-bases-worldwide

Dated 2011:

China is weighing up whether to open an Indian Ocean naval base in the Seychelles in a move which will heighten tensions with India amid fears of a regional arms race.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/seychelles/8953319/China-considers-Seychelles-military-base-plan.html

Dated 2012:

China plans military base in Pakistan
http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/china-military-base-in-pakistan-naval-base-at-gwadar/1/167084.html

Heshen: The King of Court Favorites

Confiscated from Heshen’s estates once the emperor Qianlong, who had promoted and protected him, was no longer in power:

“3,000 rooms in his estates and mansions, 8,000 acres (32 km²) of land, 42 bank branches, 75 pawnbroker branches, 60,000 taels of copper alloyed gold, 100 large ingots of pure gold, (1,000 taels each), 56,600 medium silver ingots, (100 taels each), 9,000,000 small silver ingots, (10 taels each), 58,000 livres/pounds of foreign currency, 1,500,000 copper coins, 600 lb of top-quality Jilin ginseng, 1,200 jade charms, 230 pearl bracelets (each pearl comparable in size to large cherries or longans), 10 large pearls (each the size of apricots), 10 large ruby crystals, 40 large sapphire crystals, 40 tablefuls of solid-silver eating utensils, (serves 10 per table), 40 tablefuls of solid-gold eating utensils, (serves 10 per table), 11 coral rocks (each over a metre in height), 14,300 bolts of fine silk, 20,000 sheets of fine sheep-fur wool, 550 fox hides, 850 raccoon dog hides, 56,000 sheep and cattle hides of varying thickness, 7,000 sets of fine clothing (for all four seasons), 361,000 bronze and tin vases and vessels, 100,000 porcelain vessels made by famous masters, 24 highly decorative solid-gold beds (each with eight different types of inlaid gemstones), 460 top-quality European clocks, 606 servants, 600 women in his harem.

His total property was ultimately estimated at around 1,100 million taels of silver, reputedly estimated to be an amount equivalent to the imperial revenue of the Qing government for 15 years.”

LINK

Heshen played a role in ushering in an era of decadence and corruption that lead to the eventual collapse of the Qing dynasty. The resulting vacuum was eventually filled with the Chinese communist government we have today.

Heshen

Heshen

‘China Does Not Have Any Suitable Men For Me’

http://www.chinasmack.com/2008/stories/china-does-not-have-any-men-suitable-for-me.html#comments

Having said this much, that the environment is good, material things are good, this third point is what I value the most: I simply like Western men. Ever since I was small, I liked watching Western movies, such as Roman Holiday” or “Gone with the Wind,” and I liked watching the Westerners in the movies, their faces are all so sharp and distinctive, especially their charming coloured eyes, their straight pronounced noses, their tight smooth lips.

….

In summary, I simply want to marry a Westerner, at best an American, but European is not bad either. As for  criteria…I am not very demanding, it is no big deal even if his education is lower than mine, and no specific requirements about his work…isn’t the monthly salary for washing dishes at McDonald’s over a thousand USD? This can still allow him to buy a car and house. If this isn’t possible, I will just find a divorced man and be willing to be a stepmother. Besides, Western children have a strong sense of independence, at least they will not let me always clean up after them and cater to their every whim, right?

 Coming 2013 – RooshV goes to Shanghai

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