Another big Putin win. With Donald Trump in office the US will continue to pretend global warming is a myth and that the Arctic icecap is not melting, while Putin, as true a believer in climate change as you will find on this planet, keeps on course to turn the ice free Arctic Ocean into a Russian lake. It is madness on our part. The Republican Party has given the Russians carte blanche in the Arctic because in order to confront them in the arctic we need to dramatically upgrade our fleet of arctic vessels–we have two ancient ice breakers of cold war vintage–and infrastructure. But to do that, one would have to admit that the Arctic icecap is melting. But if the Arctic icecap is melting it means that temperatures are rising. And if temperatures are rising it means that global warming is a fact. But global warming is a myth, Trump says, and Vladimir Putin smiles.
Police in Manila dispersing a protest by members of the Lumad indigenous group of Mindanao. There is a video on TV news of a police van deliberately running over people that is extremely hard to watch. Here is a Filipino news account. The treatment of minorities in the Philippines by the majority Tagalogs is as sad as the treatment of indigenous peoples anywhere in the world. President Duterte, currently in China, is from Mindanao and supportive of Mindanao’s minorities though he is more supportive of the police, who are the driver of his vigilante campaign against alleged drug dealers that has left 3500 dead. Not sure how he will react here, as the Lumad were protesting the US presence on Mindanao, a key part of Duterte’s platform, but Duterte does not suffer dissent either. I don’t give a shit about human rights, he just told the press in China. One suspects the Chinese now might be a bit hesitant about investing hundreds of millions of dollars into infrastructure improvements if all hell might be breaking loose. Things are getting complicated…..
Those corpses decomposing in the sun in Ukraine, it’s such an appalling public relations disaster for the Russian government and I’m wondering just how much control Vladimir Putin actually has. People keep calling him Stalin–I certainly have–but Stalin would have had this scene swarming with NKVD, locked down, the bodies would be gone, the wreckage cleared, the Buk crew probably shot, and the idiot generals on the phone worried about their own fate. There would be no videos at all. None. An official story would be in all the Russian papers, on the radio, the TV. No rumors–rumor mongers would be shot–just the official story. That is all the western media would see. The official story might have been a lie, but it would have been coherent. No idiocy about the passengers being already dead. No talk of a plane full of spies. No absconding with a Buk missile launcher in broad daylight. It is so bizarre to see what is unfolding now, such a sloppy, undisciplined approach, armed men firing warning shots, bodies rotting on the road, and complete incoherence in the official explanation. How much in charge is Putin, really? How is this happening?
Was just listening to the now notorious clip of Filipino president Rodrigo Duterte’s rant about Obama. First time I’d heard him speak. Very thick accent–I think that is Visayan? I know he is from Davao City in Mindanao. Anyway, he was off on some macho Pinoy riff–the dudes are always so tough, but the women run the show–about how he is the president of a sovereign country and not a colony and I was waiting for him to call Obama a sonofabitch when he slipped into Tagalog and oops, he didn’t say sonofabitch. SOB doesn’t quite capture it. Let’s just say it doesn’t translate well.
Apparently someone on staff immediately afterward reminded President Duterte that when he wants to play John Wayne with the Chinese over the South China Sea, the Philippine Navy’s battle fleet consists of four small frigates a half century old and a number of patrol boats. The Philippine Air Force has a grand total of two jet fighters. Yes, two. As in a pair. The Chinese have more than that.
Putang ina mo, indeed.
I think the No vote will win in Scotland today. But it’s a pyrrhic victory for the UK. Nearly half of Scotland wants independence. And they want a republic. That is a body slam not only to Great Britain, but also to the concept of the monarchy. Watch where the No vote predominated. If it was in the rural and small town regions, then that is not a tenable majority. Urban populations are increasing, and rural regions decreasing. Urban voters are always more leftist and anti-monarchial than rural and small town voters. And also wait for the exit poll data. If the under thirties voted Yes, then you can see future trends. And if people under thirty do not have any loyalty to the monarchy, they will not likely fall in love with the idea of a king or queen when they hit middle age. Loyalty to a monarch is something you are raised on, not something you suddenly develop in middle age.