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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 76,330

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Fears of Chinese Aggression Grow in Taiwan

Fears of Chinese Aggression Grow in Taiwan
Beijing's tone toward Taiwan is becoming increasingly aggressive, and most of those living on the island are unprepared for a war against its oversized neighbor. Some, though, are trying to change that.

By Katharina Graça Peters in Taipei
01.12.2022, 14.41 Uhr

(Der Spiegel) The waves from the typhoon crash into the port of Keelung as gusts of wind tug on Chen Wen-chin’s jacket. His gray hair wet from the rain, he points to the ships bobbing in the waves at the quay. A number of fishermen will soon be heading out to sea without knowing if they will be able sell their merchandise. The storm is the least of Chen’s worries.

Keelung is located in the northeast of Taiwan. In the flower-decorated temples, seafarers pray for a bountiful catch. Chen is extremely familiar with the waters here, having bought his first boat when he was in his early 20s. Now, at age 59, he is head of the city’s association of fishermen, and he has a problem.

The season for hairtail fish will soon start, the coveted predatory fish. Last year, around 80 percent of the catch went to China, says Chen – who has now sought shelter from the elements in a port warehouse – and there were 13 containers at the port each day ready to haul the fish away.

But recently, China’s government banned the import of hairtail fish, along with hundreds of other Taiwanese products. Many here believe it is an act of political revenge. "Who is supposed to buy the fish?" Chen asks. "The fishermen don’t understand why they have become the plaything of politics."


Following the visit of outgoing U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to the capital of Taipei in August, Beijing responded with economic sanctions and military exercises at sea, with the Chinese navy coming closer to the coast of Taiwan than ever before. Almost daily, drones from the mainland fly across the Taiwan Strait, Chinese warplanes buzz past or warships approach the coast. China is not only Taiwan’s largest trading partner, it is also the country’s greatest threat.

With its aggressive posturing, China is also laying down the gauntlet to the United States, which has long been the most dominant power in the Pacific and which supports Taiwan politically and militarily. On the sidelines of the recent G-20 summit, Chinese President Xi Jinping warned U.S. President Joe Biden to avoid meddling in the domestic affairs of his country. "Reunification" with Taiwan, Xi said, was the Chinese people’s wish. ..........(more)


A nation of attention junkies: Trump and Elon are the perfect symbols of America's predicament

A nation of attention junkies: Trump and Elon are the perfect symbols of America's predicament
We can't give Musk and Trump the attention they crave (because it's literally impossible). We also can't look away


(Salon) It seems we are a nation filled with people who desperately crave attention.

Consider me a casual observer and commentator on what I find alarmingly and amusingly stupid from those willing to walk into the public arena and drop their diaper in a bid for that attention.

Whether you're a 24-year-old ignorant racist, fomenting hatred and gaining attention by showing up at the former president's Golden Disco Palace in Florida where you can smell the spray-on '80s vibe as surely as you can identify the spray-on tan or you are the man who makes history by being the first twice-impeached former president to announce another run for the White House historically early because you crave the attention.

Either way? You're an attention junkie, whore or addict. Pick your title, it's the same thing — though "whore" may be more accurate as most of these people manipulate others for money and are not merely innocent junkies. An adult "political junkie whore" might actually be the most accurate term, though perhaps not the most favored. Julia Roberts played a hooker with a heart of gold in "Pretty Woman," but political whores in real life bear little resemblance to that. They're more like the toothless hookers (of all possible genders and orientations) in Nuevo Laredo's Boys Town, turning tricks for cheap makeup and dollar bills.


Musk is another entitled rich guy from the Trump club who gets the benefit of the doubt — and like Trump, he is given it far more often than he deserves it.

Under the banner of restoring "free speech" to his recently purchased Twitter empire, Musk has embraced an increasingly significant number of changes that make his claims untenable. Granting amnesty to Trump and other hatemongers has also drawn the ire of Apple, another media powerhouse, and the onetime golden boy of Tesla and SpaceX looks tarnished today. Reading his tweets is only slightly more amusing than Trump's old tweets. But they get him attention, and that is what Musk wants as he declares himself a patriot. ..........(more)


Vancouver: Second Broadway Subway TBM prepares for launch

Second Broadway Subway TBM prepares for launch
Nov. 29, 2022

The behemoth machine, named Phyllis, will bore tunnels to extend the Millennium Line from VCC-Clark Station to the future Broadway and Arbutus station.
Mischa Wanek-Libman

The second custom-designed tunnel boring machine (TBM) that will help bore the tunnels needed for the Broadway Subway project in Vancouver, B.C., is ready for “imminent launch,” according to the province.

The 150-meter (492.1-foot) long, six-meter (19.7-foot) in diameter TBM known as Phyllis will join its sister TBM, known as Elsie, in tunneling the five kilometers (3.1 miles) of the 5.7-kilometer (3.5-mile) project.

Elsie, the first TBM, launched Oct. 7, 2022, and the province reports the machine has made significant progress toward its first breakthrough at Mount Pleasant Station while the second machine is now fully assembled and set to launch.

Progress continues to be made on tunneling work with more than half of the columns for the guideway between VCC-Clark and Great Northern Way-Emily Carr Station are complete. Construction and fit out of the stations and tracks will begin once tunnel boring has finished.

The project completion is estimated to be early 2026 after a five-week strike impacted the concrete supply in the Lower Mainland, which affected the start of tunnel boring. The province says a precise update on the project timeline will be provided in the spring of 2023 when station excavation and tunnel boring are further advanced. ............(more)


Detroit Free Press, Bridge seek court hearing to open Lee Chatfield records to public

(Detroit Free Press) The Detroit Free Press and Bridge Michigan want a judge to limit how long Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel can shield records from the public in the criminal investigation of former House Speaker Lee Chatfield, according to a motion filed Wednesday by lawyers representing the two news outlets.

Such a decision could pave the way for the eventual release of records that a separate court has already ordered be made public.

The motion asks Ingham County Circuit Judge Wanda Stokes to amend an earlier order that indefinitely blocked the news outlets from accessing search warrants and affidavits pertaining to the Chatfield investigation. The news organizations asked Stokes to give Nessel’s office a deadline to formally appeal a lower court judge’s decision to release the records, and make the records public if state lawyers miss that deadline. .............(more)


Is the brain a quantum computer? A remarkable pair of studies suggests so

Is the brain a quantum computer? A remarkable pair of studies suggests so
Using modified MRI machines, physicists may have found quantum entanglement between the heart and brain


(Salon) If someone were to (theoretically) throw a wrench at your head, you might be able to catch it just in time to avoid a concussion. But how? Typically, for split-second reactions, we do not consciously decide to catch. Your brain reacts, does the catching thing, and you don't have to think about it at all.

In fact, our brains regularly make decisions before we even know it. In one 2008 experiment, that has since been repeated a few times, participants were given decision-making tasks while their brains were monitored using brain imaging techniques. It was found that one's brain can make a decision up to 10 seconds before its owner is consciously aware of it.

There's a lot going on in the mind that scientists are still trying to understand. Indeed, despite numerous attempts by neuroscientists over the last century and beyond, it has been difficult to pinpoint exactly why consciousness exists or what it is — a quandary known as the "hard problem of consciousness." Even though we have a good understanding of where consciousness originates — essentially via neurons sending signals to each other — scientists still aren't sure how it arises in matter. After all, humans are just made of basic chemicals like the rest of the universe. A rock isn't conscious—is it? So what makes our soup of chemicals called a brain different? That's the hard problem to solve.

For decades, some outsider researchers have postulated that the brain has some connection to quantum entanglement that results in consciousness. And a recent experiment published in the Journal of Physics Communications is an indicator that this could be possible. ..........(more)


FIFA Florida

Michigan GOP continues to crash and burn

(Detroit Free Press) The battle to serve as the next leader of the Michigan Republican Party now includes unsuccessful GOP secretary of state candidate Kristina Karamo, who announced late Tuesday her bid to become party chair following brutal losses for Republicans in the midterm election.

Her campaign pits her against former GOP attorney general candidate Matt DePerno, another losing candidate backed by former President Donald Trump who rose to national prominence in 2020 for fighting the results of that year's presidential election. At the same time, a former longtime Republican elected official with his own Trump ties is also considering jumping into the race.

Republican delegates in Michigan will decide the new chair of their party at a convention early next year. Michigan GOP Chairman Ron Weiser is not seeking reelection while Michigan GOP Co-chair Meshawn Maddock's future plans remain unclear.

The contest over who will lead the party follows major defeats in Michigan during the most recent midterm: Democratic incumbents handily defeated Republican candidates vying for top statewide offices, and Democrats won control of the state Legislature for the first time since the 1980s. ...............(more)


There's no honor among assholes

“He tried to f**k me”: Kanye campaign chief says dinner was set-up to “make Trump’s life miserable”
“Trump was totally blindsided,” a source told NBC News. “It was a setup”

Deputy Politics Editor

(Salon) Far-right extremists Milo Yiannopoulos and Nick Fuentes claimed that their now infamous dinner with former President Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago was a set-up.

Trump last week dined with antisemitic rapper Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, and Fuentes, a white nationalist Holocaust denier that has repeatedly praised Hitler. Trump has insisted that he was only supposed to dine with Ye and claimed that he did not know who Fuentes was. A growing number of Republicans have condemned Fuentes but many have stopped short of criticizing Trump directly.

Ye, who claims that he is running for president and reportedly suggested to Trump that he be his running mate, has tapped Yiannopoulos to serve as his de facto campaign manager. Yiannopoulos, a former Breitbart editor who was ousted after defending pedophilia and later banned from Twitter for inciting racist abuse against comedian Leslie Jones, told NBC News that he was the "architect" of the dinner.

The far-right agitator told the outlet that he arranged to have Fuentes slip into the dinner "just to make Trump's life miserable" because he knew it would leak and damage him. ........(more)


Oath Keepers leader found guilty: Will DOJ see this as a roadmap for Trump's trial?

Oath Keepers leader found guilty: Will DOJ see this as a roadmap for Trump's trial?
Swift convictions suggest jury was eager to punish the real leaders of Jan. 6 — not just the foot soldiers

Senior Writer

(Salon) On Tuesday afternoon, when word came down that the jury in the Oath Keepers trial in Washington, D.C., had already come to a decision, the speed suggested that the defendants were doomed. So far, this has been the most complicated of all the criminal proceedings stemming from the insurrection that Donald Trump incited on Jan. 6, 2021. Most people charged with crimes after storming the Capitol on that fateful day have faced simple charges, such as obstructing government proceedings and trespassing. But for this case, the Department of Justice was asking the jury to convict the defendants on a range of criminal charges, with the most serious being seditious conspiracy, which is notoriously difficult to prove.

Under the circumstances, legal reporters repeatedly warned audiences not to assume that the five insurrectionists on trial in a D.C. federal court would actually face punishment for their crimes. But despite all the moving parts and complicating factors, the jury spent only three days deliberating, a relatively brief period under these charged circumstances. That suggests the jurors were not distracted by political pressures or the various imaginative deflections offered by defense attorney. Sure enough, both Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and his right hand man, Kelly Meggs, were found guilty of seditious conspiracy, and all five defendants were convicted for obstructing an official proceeding and destroying evidence. Meggs and two other defendants, Jessica Watkins and Kenneth Harrelson, were also convicted on various conspiracy charges.

Although three of the five defendants were acquitted of the sedition charge (and Rhodes was found not guilty on two conspiracy charges), this verdict should be understood overall as a resounding victory for the prosecutors. Perhaps most important, it shows that juries of ordinary citizens are fully capable of understanding the evidence that what happened on Jan. 6, 2021, was not a spontaneous riot but a preplanned insurrection. As former federal prosecutor Randall Eliason told the Washington Post, "The jury's verdict on seditious conspiracy confirms that January 6, 2021, was not just 'legitimate political discourse' or a peaceful protest that got out of hand. This was a planned, organized, violent assault on the lawful authority of the U.S. government and the peaceful transfer of power."

After this, the DOJ and Attorney General Merrick Garland should set aside any fears when it comes to indicting the head honcho of the insurrection, former President Donald Trump. In fact, that conclusion is only strengthened by the fact that the jury convicted the two leaders of the Oath Keepers on the most serious charges, while only finding their underlings guilty of lesser offenses. That reads as clear evidence that they wanted to establish accountability for those who instigated and led the insurrection, rather than watching Trump's camp followers take the fall for doing his bidding. ...........(more)


Biden in Michigan: People should feel pride, optimism about changing economy

(Detroit Free Press) BAY CITY − The restoration of the U.S. manufacturing economy runs through Michigan, one export at a time, President Joe Biden said Tuesday in a wide-ranging speech aimed at instilling faith in the country's economic future.

"When you see these big projects in your hometown − cranes going up, shovels in the ground, workers in hard hats − I want you to feel the way I feel: pride. Pride in what we can do when we do it together," Biden said to a crowd of several hundred company employees, union members, Michigan elected leaders and others.

"It's been a rough few, hard years for hardworking Americans. A lot of families, things are still tough. But there are bright spots for America."

Speaking Tuesday afternoon at the SK Siltron CSS factory in Bay City, Biden used the venue as a platform to tout his domestic and international policies and emphasize his own sense of economic optimism. He also lauded the South Korean company's $300 million Michigan expansion last year. It's a move that may help the company add up 150 new jobs and quadruple its capacity to produce semiconductor "wafers," crucial components for electric vehicles. ..............(more)


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