Sunday, November 09, 2014

Sunday Post

The world is heading toward a new Cold War says the last leader of the failed Soviet Empire that killed nearly sixty million people:

Tensions between the major powers have pushed the world closer to a new Cold War, former Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev said Saturday.

The 83-year-old accused the West, particularly the United States, of giving in to "triumphalism" after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the dissolution of the communist bloc a quarter century ago. The result, he said, could partly be seen in the inability of global powers to prevent or resolve conflicts in Yugoslavia, the Middle East and most recently Ukraine.

"The world is on the brink of a new Cold War. Some are even saying that it's already begun," Gorbachev said at an event marking the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, close to the city's iconic Brandenburg Gate.

Gorbachev called for trust to be restored through dialogue with Moscow, and suggested the West should lift sanctions imposed against senior Russian officials over the country's support for separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine. Failure to achieve security in Europe would make the continent irrelevant in world affairs, he said.

(Sidebar: yes, because who doesn't want to live under the thumb of a communist dictator, Mikhail? Thanks for backing Putin's play.)

I realise that the United States will forever be a communist dictator's favourite bogey-man/whipping boy but Gorbachev really doesn't know who he is talking about here.

Related: the fall of the Berlin Wall.

More pictures here.

Just because.

Also: this guy:

John Paul II on 12 August 1993 in Denver, Colorado
Communists are STILL scared of him.

Speaking of communist dictatorships and how the West doesn't give a crap...

Prime Minister Stephen Harper meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping, a man whose party handpicks Hong Kong's leaders, who destroys churches and whose economy is going to collapse:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Sunday he's raised a litany of concerns with the Chinese in his meetings with the Communist country's leadership over the past few days, insisting he's only forging closer ties with China to benefit Canada.

Eight years after a newly elected Harper vowed not to sell out to the "almighty dollar" in China, the prime minister said he's hardly let the Chinese off the hook despite inking an array of trade and currency deals worth as much as $2.5 billion over the weekend.

"You can rest assured that every single item that is important in the area of consular issues, human rights, governance, the rights of minorities — I have raised every single one of those," he told the media shortly after meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

"Those are things on which we will continue to follow up and have ongoing dialogue."

The case of Kevin and Julia Garratt is chief among those issues, Harper said after meetings at the majestic Great Hall of the People, located alongside Tiananmen Square, best known as the site of violent pro-democracy protests in 1989.

"That particular case is of significant concern to us, to Canadians, that's why I raised it," he said.

The Garratts, who have lived in China for 30 years, have been held without charges since August. 
Their detainment came just days after Canada accused the Chinese of spying on federal government agencies.

The couple's son, Simeon, said Sunday that he had feared the Canadian government wasn't putting enough pressure on the Chinese to release his parents. But later in the day, Simeon Garratt said those concerns had been assuaged after hearing from embassy officials.

"I am really glad with ... the leadership role that Harper and I think the rest of the government has taken on my parents' case," he said in Beijing, where he travelled last week to time his visit to Harper's.

"I know they are doing the best to get my parents released and get this resolved."

He added he was pleased that China is now allowing Canadian consular officials to visit his parents every two weeks. Harper too called that development "at least one positive" in the Garratts' plight.

The prime minister and some of his top cabinet ministers — John Baird, Ed Fast and James Moore among them — were given the red carpet treatment at the Great Hall of the People over the weekend.

Forget your lip service, Harper. Have the Garratts been freed? No?

Shame on you, Harper.

Kenneth Bae is free:

Kenneth Bae arrived home after years of imprisonment in North Korea, expressing his gratitude to the U.S. government for securing his release and revealing that his time there offered lessons.

But why release Bae? Quid pro quo:

A State Department official said the U.S. gave nothing for the release of Bae, serving a 15-year term in a labor camp for “hostile acts,” and Miller, detained in April for apparently trying to defect to North Korea. This follows a similar statement at the time Fowle came home.

Both statements are, of course, politically obligatory. Some analysts, therefore, have privately wondered whether the Obama administration temporarily dropped its policy of “strategic patience”—waiting the North Koreans out—to get Bae and Miller back. So, the question arises whether Washington privately promised something. After all, freeing hostages as goodwill gestures—without a guarantee of some benefit—is not the way the Kim family operates. ...

Kim Jong Un, who assumed power on the death of his father, had given uncle Jang nearly free rein to handle relations with Beijing. The brutal removal of Uncle Jang from the center of power meant the two capitals lost much of their ability to communicate with the other. Worse, the eradication of Jang’s nationwide patronage network in the subsequent “reign of terror” eliminated underlings who had handled China matters for Jang.

In short, young Kim cut himself off from his most important benefactor, and the Chinese, exhibiting only limited patience with their across-the-border cousins, have not reacted well to the continuing series of slights from the Kim regime. 

These developments mean the North has had to reach out to others. In the last several months Pyongyang has launched a charm offensive directed at Moscow, Tokyo, and Seoul. At the beginning of this October, for instance, General Hwang Pyong So, possibly the second-most powerful figure in the North Korean regime, headed a surprise visit to Incheon, in South Korea. Washington, therefore, is only the most recent stop on the good will bus tour.

Another explanation for the release of the three Americans is that North Korean policymakers may be trying to make the Chinese nervous by giving the impression that they are willing to negotiate in earnest with Washington. The last thing Beijing wants is America active in the North, just on the Chinese border.

Finally, Pyongyang may be trying to prevent its referral to the International Criminal Court, something that nations have contemplated after the February release of the damning report of the U.N. Commission of Inquiry on human rights in the North. Letting Bae and Miller go may look to the outside world as an inadequate response, but the North’s unprecedented admission in early October of the existence of labor camps shows the Kim regime is doing all it can to stop being hauled before the ICC, which could have unforeseen repercussions, even for an isolated ruling group.

Kim Jong-Un doesn't do things out of the goodness of his heart.

Damn party-pooping science!

The next time The Flash comes to your rescue, tell him, “No, thanks.”

According to science, it’s better to get hit by a car than to get rescued by The Flash.

An article published in the student journal Physics Special Topics looked at a scene from CW’s upcoming TV show The Flash in which the title character rescued a cyclist from being hit by a taxi — and determined that Barry Allen should have just left the unsuspecting accident victim alone. 

Physics students looked at the impact of a bike/taxi crash and compared it to the impact of being pushed out of the way by The Flash (who was moving much faster than the vehicle) and concluded that the cyclist had a better chance of surviving being hit by a taxi. 

Ladies and gentlemen, step back one hundred years and listen to Mr. John McCormack.

 Snoopy wwi ace lb-1-

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