by James Corbett
July 21, 2016
The failed Turkish coup. The Nice attack. The RNC and DNC. There is no shortage of headline-grabbing news stories to keep you occupied during this summer of rage.
But while your attention is elsewhere, huge moves are afoot in the Asia-Pacific. Specifically, those moves are afoot in the South China Sea, where the Permanent Court of Arbitration handed down a long-awaited ruling last week in favor of the Philippines in their long-running dispute over territorial waters with China. The court, operating under the arbitration provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, ruled that China does not have “historical rights” to the waters in question and that their reclamation activity in the area has already caused irreparable environmental damage and should stop immediately. China promptly rejected the ruling exactly as they said they would.
This might sound like dry, legalistic stuff, but it’s not. This dispute is a window into the simmering tensions that are ready to boil over in the region if and when the US makes its long-awaited, much-ballyhooed “Asia-Pacific pivot” (i.e. when Clinton is inaugurated by the voting machines this November).
To get an idea where this is all headed, just ask Dennis Blair. He’s the former Director of National Intelligence and retired Navy admiral who just told a Congressional committee that the US needs to be ready for a military confrontation with China over this dispute. That’s bold talk in the realm of diplomacy, where people like Hillary campaign advisor Kurt Campbell usually opine mealy-mouthed political doublespeak like “I think over time China will start to adjust its position, because they will realize it’s not in their best strategic interests.”
The real question here is what, precisely, will trigger the US-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty, which calls for a military response to any armed attack “on the island territories under [each member’s] jurisdiction in the Pacific or on its armed forces, public vessels or aircraft in the Pacific.” Will the Philippines invoke the treaty if China continues its development of the Spratly islands? And would the US respond? The answer so far is a resounding…silence. No one wants to say, because no one wants to draw that big red line when China shows no signs of abiding by it.
If there is a point of moderation in this potential conflict, it’s that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is interested in reviving flagging Sino-Filipino relations, but even there he’s hamstrung by his own population. A 2014 Pew poll found fully 93% of Filipinos are worried about China’s encroachment on the South China Sea and the possibility of military conflict.
Meanwhile China, for its part, is mulling the creation of an Air Defense Identification Zone in the South China Sea requiring any air traffic to first notify China before entering the air space over the waters. Oh, and Chinese citizens are smashing their iPhones and protesting outside KFC locations as a backlash against perceived American interference in China’s territorial disputes.
To make matters worse, tensions are still high in the East China Sea, where Chinese and Japanese fighter jets are coming perilously close to actual dogfights. Indeed, each year there seems to be a fresh pronouncement that Japan has scrambled a record number of fighters to intercept Chinese jets over their airspace.
And now that Prime Minister Abe’s coalition has just achieved the supermajority it needs to amend the constitution, many are worried that Japan is about to remove the mask of pacificism and convert its “Self-Defense Force” into the military threat it really is. Such a move would only add more fuel to the fire of military tension between Japan and its regional rival.
So just in case you’ve forgotten about the Asia-Pacific in the 24/7 news cycle of trauma we’ve been experiencing lately, don’t fret; it’s still there, and it’s still a tinderbox. Let’s just hope no one lights the match.
“I needed money’ cause I had none…”
Here goes to prove that money, affluence, a good economy where all benefit, is the only way to curb crime. In that sense, crime is but a reflection of wealth inequality.
The combination of an economic downturn and a rise in drug use appears to playing out in crime rates in the province.
Edmonton’s top cop says you should lock up your doors. Thanks, dad. Photo via CP
Crime in Canada increased for the first time in 12 years, and, for the most part, it’s all thanks to Alberta, according to new data.
Statistics Canada reported that there was an 18 percent jump in the province’s crime severity index (CSI), which determines the volume and severity of police-reported crime. Canada’s overall CSI saw a five percent increase from 2014 to 2015.
This spike in Albertan crime has be attributed to many factors, such as the economic downturn due to falling oil prices and a rise of drug-related crime.
Edmonton Police Chief Rod Knecht told reporters this week that he wasn’t surprised about the increase.
“We kind of anticipated this. We know property crimes continue to go up again this year – that’s driving it. The big driver is break and enters, thefts from vehicles and thefts of vehicles… and it continues to cascade into 2016,” he said.
He said that there isn’t much they can do about it because of the state of their economy, and urges Albertans to lock their cars (thanks, dude.) Beside property crime, violent crime in Alberta has not seen as much of an increase.
“The other violent crimes, other than homicides, are down right now,” Knecht said. “[The rates] are just trending evenly over the past five years.”
Last year’s rise in fentanyl usage can also be considered when looking at Alberta’s rising crime rates. StatsCan reported an national increase in drug-related offences—other than marijuana—in 2015. Crime involving fentanyl increased by six percent. Last year, there were almost 300 fentanyl overdoses in Alberta alone.
Other provinces that saw an increase in crime last year include Saskatchewan, Ontario and British Columbia.
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July 22, 2016
Suggestion on how to hang out this weekend
Guess which dog helped cut the grass
Little laughing Buddha
An old classic
A new classic
The inhumanity. He will pay for this.
Where has my life gone?
Warning: Violent Post. Apologies to all non-violent peaceful activists.
Fuck the Police!
It’s not that difficult to comprehend. When coppers break the law they should face the consequences and face trial. No more paid vacations, no more getting away with it.
Once found guilty, take their badges and guns and let them do time like the folks they have been entrapping since the Civil War.
Also, make the coppers live where they work. make them know the population they are killing.
We are sick and tired of these bloody overpaid cowards.
Finally, let’s tar and feather all those keener idiotic police apologists that keep supporting the bad coppers no matter what.
To all the good coppers out there: Apologies for this post. We know you do exist but you have to admit that at this point there is little empathy for your tribe in general. You are just another gang. A legal gang with legal weapons.
These troglodytes with badges and guns do not get it. Get out of our houses, get out of our country, get out of our continent, get out of our planet you stupid power-hungry little cowards. We are sick of you! You are the criminals! Then they wonder why the public wants to do them harm.
1 out of 111 Americans are in jail presently. Welcome to the land of the free.
After claiming a neighbor smelled marijuana multiple cops forced their way into a home and held the occupants hostage while they searched for a plant.
July 21, 2016
In the Land of the Free, cops can say they smelled marijuana and use that as an excuse to invade private property and hold innocent people hostage.
Alexandria, VA — As animosity toward police reaches a boiling point in America, cops and even police accountability activists continue to ignore the reason for the divide. People are tired of being harassed, extorted, kidnapped, caged, and killed for possessing or ingesting an arbitrary substance that makes them happy that happens to be deemed illegal by the state.
In the United States, 1 out of every 111 citizens is currently in a government cage. Of those 2,224,400 people behind bars, nearly 400,000 of them are locked up for drug violations only.
According to the most recent data in 2014, police arrested 1,561,231 people for drug violations in a single year — 83 percent were possession only. Of that 1.5 million, 700,993 arrests were for marijuana — 88 percent of those arrests were for people possessing the plant only.
Year after year, and now, decade after decade, millions of otherwise entirely innocent people have been deprived of their freedom, kidnapped, had their lives ruined, were thrown in a cage, or killed by police officers who are just doing their job while enforcing this immoral war on drugs.
Given these numbers, everyone in America is either related to or knows someone who has been arrested for drugs. An unfortunate minority have even seen their family members or friends slain in the name of this immoral war. The effects of police ruining so many lives enforcing drug laws have created the hostile environment in which we find ourselves today.
“If you don’t want to have a bad experience with cops,” they say, “don’t break the law.”
However, time and time again, police in America target and even kill entirely innocent people — case in point, Philando Castile.
A video uploaded to YouTube this week epitomizes the Stasi-esque state created by the drug war.
In the video, police are dispatched to a home over the alleged complaint of “smelling marijuana.” The police response to the alleged complaint was to force their way into a private home, assault the homeowner and hold the occupants hostage.
Prior to cops invading their home, a group of friends and family was peacefully watching the UFC fights. However, thanks to the war on drugs and its enforcers, these innocent people were subject to an armed invasion of state agents whose ostensible mission is “protecting” society.
Without a warrant or permission, officer Gardner with the Alexandria police department forced his way into the home, assaulted the man who answered the door and threw him outside.
Garnder then unjustly entered the home and searched every room while the other officers held the occupants hostage in the living room.
As if they were searching for a missing child or a bomb, multiple officers detained these people for no other reason than to seek out a plant that is legal in some form in half the country.
The resultant video is nothing short of infuriating. And, while it does not justify the senseless murder of police officers, this video shows why so many people don’t like the police.
Until this brutal, rights violating, and murderous policy is brought to a halt, the divide and subsequent hostility will grow.