Thursday, April 21, 2005

The Mess Grows Larger

The other day I offered an opinion on the mounting difficulties ‘twixt Japan and the PRC. An
article in today’s Asia Times Online points out that South Korea has joined a war of words with Japan.

At issue there is a dispute over the mineral and petroleum rights of the Liancourt Rocks called Tokdo by the Koreans and Takeshima by the Japanese.

When added to the mad-man led North Korean belligerency, the far eastern situation is comparable to that of Europe a century ago. That little bit of chauvinistic intransigence led directly to both World Wars. Close to a hundred million people died as result.

What needs to be kept in mind is this is an Asian problem and should be left to the Asians. Hopefully some perennially peaceful country such as Canada or New Zealand can offer peace brokerage, but the only European power having a territorial interest in the area is Russia; Vladivostok is some 85 miles from the nearest point of North Korea.

America did have a role to play in post-war Europe and Korea, but it is amply obvious that our good intentions were totally misplaced in Vietnam. WWII has been over for 60 years. It is time to withdraw our military forces from their bases in South Korea and Japan.

What is at stake here is Japan’s refusal to acknowledge and apologize for her WWII atrocities, 47 uninhabited acres of islands situated in good fishing grounds and having potentially valuable natural gas reserves, and the reputations of posturing politicians in each country. None of these offer good reason for Americans to die.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

The Shanghai Riots

For the past three weeks the larger cities in China have experienced anti-Japanese demonstrations that more often than not developed into full scale riots.

There seems to be two issues at hand; Japan’s eager willingness to sweep the atrocities committed in China during the second war under the rug and her candidacy as a permanent member of the UN Security Council.

Japanese atrocities were particularly vile, beginning with the rape of Nanking, followed by the sack of Shanghai, then the development, testing, and employment of biological and chemical weapons in China.

I poked around on the ‘net doing Yahoo searches. I made the mistake of doing it after eating. The disturbing images left me a tad queasy. The queasiness was heightened by the accounts of Japanese participants in experiments carried out on living humans under the auspices of Unit 731 of IJA.

I suggest you not do as I did unless you are able to view explicit photographs of thousands of murders and rapes.

None of the men and few of the officers responsible for these acts were accused or tried. The officer-scientists were allowed by the U.S. Army to re-enter normal Japanese society in trade for the data developed from their experiments.

Another area of Japanese misbehavior during the second war was the practice of conscripting local women for service in military brothels. This one has been boiling for 15 years. The number of victims in this is staggering; some 400,000 on mainland Asia alone according to one account. While this in no way excuses their excesses, most armies of the past maintained military brothels and armies of conquest always staffed them with the women of the conquered.

The foregoing fact should be ample incentive to defending soldiers to fight like tigers in order to keep their mothers, sisters, wives, and cousins out of rapists’ clutches. Didn’t happen with Kuomintang troops. They were deserted by their officers, so the Chinese defenders surrendered in droves only to be executed for the amusement of the invaders. Japanese newspapers actually carried accounts of the competition of 2 officers to see who could decapitate the most POWs in a day's time.

So far, no Japanese government has so much as acknowledged any of these well documented events. Recent textbooks for Japanese children fail to carry any accounts of these matters.

Leaving right and wrong out of it, the fact is China is the world’s fastest growing consumer market. It also has a huge, well educated workforce available to foreign companies wishing to manufacture there.

Japan has the option of placating the Chinese with a few well chosen words, or finding themselves in hostile competition with a neighbor ten times their size in population who has its own natural resources, a permanent seat on the Security Council, and when you get right down to it, a nuclear arsenal.

This is an Asian problem. The US should stay out of it, better yet, how about bringing home the Korean and Okinawan garrisons? I am perfectly willing to let Japan stand alone on this matter as long as she maintains her intransigence.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Phishing For Phish

I checked email today and found I had received one from E-Bay demanding an update on my credit information straight away. I haven’t had dealings with that firm, so right off I figure someone is trying to bamboozle me.

Being a good citizen (from time to time) I attempted to let E-Bay in on this attempt. They’re not listed in the phone book, even though they have a large facility about 2 miles from here.

No problem with that, I’ll just send them an email. Before I can do that, they want me to register. Which I go about doing. Lo and Behold! Along about the 4th page of the registration, they want my credit card information.

No way, Jose. If I have to identify myself to that level to inform you that evil people are trying to harm you, you can just go ahead and get harmed.

Bleep all bureaucrats anyway.

I got another email from what is supposed to be a young woman in a West African refugee camp who needs to share several million dollars with me. All I need do to have all the money and this absolutely luscious African babe is cough up my bank data. I am somewhat skeptical after my experience with E-Bay; and besides, how many cute 23 year old African women who have several million dollars are living in refugee camps, I ask you? As this is about the 3rd or 4th em of that nature, I have a good laugh and wish whoever all the luck in the world.

Oh, Them Lists, Them Crazy Lists

The world is now a better place due to a Homeland Security’s list.

KLM Flight 685 en route to Mexico City non-stop from Amsterdam was notified to not enter US airspace while it was still over Canada. This necessitated the plane’s return to Amsterdam.

Two of the passengers, so far unidentified, have their names on one of the lists and will not be allowed to fly over America.

The Dutch have their noses out of joint over this as the two passengers are not subjects of interest in criminal proceedings. US authorities did not ask for their arrests and the Netherlands authorities had no reason to hold them.

Here’s one of the story out of a bunch.

I think I like these lists. The next time the Governator goes back to Sodom on the Potomac, maybe we can get his name on a list.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

CDs On A Saturday

It poured rain yesterday. Something we’ve had a lot of this spring. The blossoms on the fruit and nut trees have fallen and new leaves abound. As a matter of fact, all the rain has been responsible for prodigious plant growth. A mixed blessing, that. It will be much more fuel come fire season, but at the same time this year’s butterfly migration is expected to be the largest on record.

You have to take the bad with the good, I guess. It is windy out today. Sunny, but windy. With all the water evaporating, it makes the wind feel cold. A good day for indoor activities.

I went on a run to score come CDs. I got two BB Kings, a couple of Lonnie Johnsons, a Robert Johnson, an Eva Cassidy, a Keb Mo’, and a John Lee Hooker to add to the collection on the C drive.

People who are so-so conversant in blues will instantly recognize BB King and John Lee, and maybe even Keb Mo’. The others might require some description, however.

Eva Cassidy passed away long before her time with cancer. Her great talent and powerful voice was not recognized in her lifetime because she refused to fit herself into any preconceived niche called genré. She did pop, jazz, blues, and rock in any given performance and told everyone to call it what they wanted to call it, she would call it singing. Too bad she’s gone, I’d like to have heard her live.

The real find on this sortie was the 2 CDs by Lonnie Johnson. His acoustic guitar is magical. He teamed with banjoist Elmer Snowden. These guys were making big hits before WWII. In fact Elmer was leader of the band Duke Ellington took over.

Lonnie is another who defies categorization past having been an absolutely brilliant guitarist along with talented vocalist. His “Tomorrow Night” topped “race” charts in the late ‘40s. On the 3 CDs I have, he does some extremely credible blues, great soul, and some topnotch ballads. It is all rhythmic, melodious music that pulls a listener in the brilliant techniques of his guitar. Elmer’s muted banjo left me guessing as to just what that instrument in the background might be until I looked him up on AMG.

What with Eva, Lonnie, BB, and Keb, I can stay out of the cold, cold wind until it goes away. I have a fresh loaf of bread, a package of hot links and a gallon of sweet tea. Heck, I can listen to them twice and still not have to go out.

Friday, April 08, 2005


Jonah Goldberg coined the term that is today’s headline in an article for the Manchester Union-Leader. I decided to borrow it to describe what I think is a bit of hysteria.

A few years ago when I was still in the video mode Channel 4 KRON-TV, San Francisco aired a piece on a gun nut who took down his trusty Chinese copy of an AK-47 and strapped on a few knives for an evening of potting police officers.

He didn’t get very far into the program before he was taken out by the cops. In reporting this event, the writers listed his rifle, pistol, and other weapons of mass destruction. (Common infantry weapons are a far, far cry from WMD.) The anchor had obviously not read it before airtime and almost choked on it, but it made good copy, or so it was thought as there was never a correction.

A few years later a US Navy EP-3E Aries in international airspace was being harassed by a flight of PRC fighters when one collided with the Aries. Someone goofed on the first reports, calling the Aries a “spy plane.” A misnomer uncorrected to this very day.

The ongoing story is the Minuteman Project. Three gray haired, pot bellied, self-appointed vigilantes pulled a gag for film with an illegal and all the whistles went off. Story I guess the ACLU is dissatisfied with the amount of ink they’re not getting. Here’s a quote from the article:
"The Minuteman project has created a powder-keg situation with the potential to
go beyond harassment and false imprisonment to real violence," said Eleanor
Eisenberg, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, which has legal observers keeping an eye on Minuteman volunteers.
Powder-keg situation? Spy Plane? Weapons of Mass Destruction? I’m all for a little exaggeration, it makes a good story better. Histrionics, however, are the province of women copy writers, Times editors and women ACLU Directors. Once upon a time there was a boy who falsely cried “wolf,” and thereby spent his credibility. Probably a good thing you babes are married and can fall back on his income, huh?

Thursday, April 07, 2005

The Circus Isn’t In Town, It’s Out In The Desert

A bunch of activist nuts flocking to the Minuteman Project decided to help the US Border Patrol by forming a self-ordained posse in Cochise County, Arizona.

The Border Patrol claims they really don’t need the help, but transferred additional agents to the area, nevertheless.

The Mexicans felt a little uneasy at having an armed force with unknown intentions on their border. (You never can tell what those crazy Gringos might do.) They moved one of their elite para-military police units close enough to the border to be readily visible.

Grupo Beta, a humanitarian organization, which attempts to discourage illegal border crossing, but offers aid to those who are stranded while doing so, beefed up their presence in the area.

The ACLU, fearing that the rights of undocumented immigrants might somehow be impinged, raised an observer force to keep an eye on what they feel are vigilantes.

A short battalion of newsies showed up to document this activity for the edification and amusement of all.

These are all the people who have announced they are there. I’m sure the Arizona Rangers have agents in the area along with whichever agency (or agencies) the DOJ has sent in. This is in addition to the people who came to Sonora to cross into the US.

The point is, there are a lot of people there who aren’t in familiar surroundings. One group bumping into another is almost a given.

There was an incident where an undocumented Mexican claimed to have been forced to hold up a tee-shirt for the benefit of cameras. The people who took the pictures dispute his version of the story.

Here is local law enforcement’s comment
"We do not have the time nor the patience for anyone attempting to turn this
situation into a three ring circus," Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever said in
a statement.
Sheriff, my advice to you is sell tickets.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Polls And Then Some

I think there is poll for about everything today. AP is asking Americans what the new Pope should be doing. This is before this one is buried, mind you.

At the other end of the age spectrum, teenagers, kids in the 9th grade, averaging 14½ years of age, much prefer oral sex to intercourse. According to the article, 20% of the kids have already had it and a third are planning on trying it in the next six months.

This was a study conducted at 2 California middle schools, and may not be representative of adolescents nationwide. But the thing to keep in mind is most national trends begin in California or New York and spread from there. With the internet to help things along, I should imagine the spread would be rapid.

The Bush Administration is beating a broken drum by advocating abstinence and not funding sex education. Here’s an excerpt from the article

The study, although limited by the small number of teenagers surveyed in only two schools, is still interesting, said Dr. Robert Blum of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He was not involved in the research.
"Adults are sitting there yelling at each other about abstinence, condoms, oral contraception and abortion, and kids have found their own path," Blum said. "That's the most important issue that underlies these data: Adults are more clueless than we would like to admit."

How this trend will square with those enforcing statutory rape laws has yet to be seen. Those laws were put in place here largely to combat the horrendous teenage pregnancy rate.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Set Your Coffee Cup Down And Nobody Gets Sprayed

If you need to laugh until you hurt, check out OWW 's Conversation With A 7 Year Old, April 2.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Call Out, Call Out, Call Out The G**D****d Reserve
Lyrics from a Korean War vintage ditty

Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano might be hearing these very words shortly as opposing forces gather in Cochise County and across the border in Sonora.

Americans from the Southwest who have tired of the Fed’s lip service to policing the Mexican border have raised a volunteer effort “help” the Border Patrol do its job. A hundred or so are gathered in Tombstone to begin patrol activities today.

Across the border, Mexicans who come here for whatever work they can find (and provide a goodly portion of the scut work, often without the benefit of medical care, minimum wage, social security, workmen’s compensation insurance, etc.) are gathering to challenge this threat to the status quo.

There is a disparity in forces. The Mexicans tend to be sturdy young men and most of the Americans – Minutemen, they call themselves – are mostly gray-haired folk with a goodly number walking with the aid of canes. Some are armed with pistols.

Dubya got into the act by announcing the “fact” that terrorists would likely find the porous border with Arizona tempting. All the terrorists so far are city boys. The image of them running several miles across a desert with old men on canes in hot pursuit is somewhat ludicrous.

But by using the threat of terrorists, he was able to get the money to raise the Border Patrol manning by over 500 agents.

In the meantime, a bunch of tough young Mexicans have been challenged by men who are nowhere near their physical equals. It won’t be long before there is a confrontation.

The Guv might very well have to call out the National Guard to keep the peace.

Friday, April 01, 2005

It’s Just Grim, Dude

The news that is.

The Schiavo-Schindler battle continues. It’s an agonizing non-issue, but the newsies are still giving it ink. (I guess since it’s digital and there is no physical ink and paper, it would be one-bits.)

The Pope is in a bad way. He’s received the last rites and the world’s Cardinals have been called in. While I am not Catholic, I admire him for his staunch advocacy of peace. I am saddened by his impending passing.

The Boy Scout executive accused of kiddie-porn has pleaded guilty to a single charge of receiving and distributing same.

Ms. Wheel Chair of Wisconsin has been stripped of her crown because she was photographed standing.

Like I said, the news is grim.

On the other hand, there is some humor in the opinion columns. Jonah Goldberg in his Sunday Manchester Union-Leader article coins a new phrase. I include the paragraph here. See if you can pick it out.
Over a decade ago, the feminist flibbertyjibbit Naomi Wolfe — who, recall, advised Al Gore to dress like an alpha male — had condemned U.N. Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick because she wrote in "a voice so Olympian, so neck-up and uninflected by the experiences of the female body, that the subtle message received by young female writers is: to enter public voice, one must abide by the no-uterus rule." Ah, yes, Ms. Kirkpatrick's analysis of totalitarianism would have been much improved if she'd been more cognizant of her status as a utero-American.
It’s April Fool’s Day. Get out and have some fun.

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