15 January 2017

Past and Present - 01/2017

In case you couldn't tell with my non-fiction blogging which was only 1 post long in 2014, 3 posts in 2015, and 6 posts in 2016, I'm having a lot of fun doing these posts. So I've made a resolution for 2017 to regularly talk about real-world stuff in the past and present. You can expect more of the same kind of posts as I did for the books I read in 2015 & 2016. I'll also make short posts in which I share some links to papers or news articles I thought were fun, along with brief comments so people can decide whether or not to take a closer look. The news articles will mostly be political and by political, I mean stuff like the Korean Rasputin scandal or Erdogan's purges, not endless ranting about SJWs/alt-right crap. I claim absolutely NO ACADEMIC CREDENTIALS and there's plenty of smarter people doing this sort of stuff. I'm just doing this as a way to nudge me into trying to stay informed.

If you just come here for the releases and find these posts to be a clutter, you can click on the Manga Releases post categories that I've linked on the blog's top right corner.

This is January's post. I'll be updating it weekly until the end of the month.


"A New Interpretation of Analects 13.18": In Analects 13.18, Confucius basically says that a son ought to conceal his father's misconduct rather than report it, which has provoked controversy over whether or not this is hypocritical in context of other Confucian teachings. I think I've even seen some people use it to show how clannishness in Chinese culture goes way back and won't be changing any time soon. In any case, this is a fun paper that tries to turn the whole debate upside down by saying that the Chinese character for "conceal" is not what everyone thought it meant.

"Mutual Concealment Between Relatives Revisited: A Response to Liao Mingchun and Liang Tao": A guy responds to the above paper and politely tells him he's fucking wrong.

"Why an Upright Son Does Not Disclose His Father Stealing a Sheep": In case you find the above 2 papers too dense, this might be an easier read for the Annalects 13.18 debate.
Impact of Holy Land Crusades on State Formation: For those of you who're actually interested in the Crusades instead of using it as a convenient stepping point to bash either Christians or Muslims... Fun paper on Tilly-esque thesis of "war made the state and the state made war," but with the twist of tracing the origin of statehood to the time of the Crusades and not Early Modern Europe.

This video is for any American furious about the allegations behind Russian interference in the US elections. Also, if you're interested, check out the famous British meddling in US politics to draw US into WW2 as recounted in The Irregulars: Roald Dahl and the British Spy Ring in Wartime Washington.
An alternative view to Trump's cordiality towards Russia than him being a Russian stooge.


Yemeni Civil War: Compare number and dates of articles on the ongoing Yemeni Civil War by CNN (U.S.) and PressTV (Iran). I want to say top fucking lel but images of starving Yemeni children is killing my soul. Some people might go on about how Trump will change everything but I'm pretty damn sure we the West will continue to be bum-chums with "good guy" Saudi Arabia for a loooonnnggg time.

New Great Game: Surely fun times lie ahead of us for all. I really wish an afterlife of some sort exists so I can see how these things play out over the course of centuries.
Turkey says, "If US wants Kurds at Syria, invite IS too": With friends like Turkey or Salafist-exporting Saudi Arabia, who needs enemies? You'd think with leaks like the video above coming out, the US government might be shamed into making a better foreign policy that can at least plausibly hide the fact that it's just to line pockets and keep the military-industrial complex going. But then again, that would require the public to actually pay attention to countries we don't really give a flying fuck about... Much easier to blame everything on Russian, Chinese, and Iranian aggression, I guess.

UN Report on East Aleppo evacuees: Oh look, ~75% Syrians evacuees from East Aleppo choose to live under Assad's regime rather than in al-Nusra controlled Idlib. For all the realpolitik talk about supporting the lesser evil, we sure seem to choose pretty shitty "lesser evil" to cheer on.

North Korean Drug Lords Profiting from K-Pop Smuggling: From my admittedly limited sampling of internet comments, there seems to be a lot of people who think all North Koreans are brainwashed zombies. Remember all the comments and articles over the mass crying in the wake of Kim Jong-il's death? South Korea doesn't just blast K-pop music at the North for nothing. Significant percentage of North Koreans know there's a more prosperous Korea to the South, as North Korean defectors will tell you.
"First of all, I haven't commented on WikiLeaks, generally.  The conclusions of the intelligence community with respect to the Russian hacking were not conclusive as to whether WikiLeaks was witting or not in being the conduit through which we heard about the DNC emails that were leaked."
Oh, so NOW he admits the DNC emails were leaked, not hacked by dastardly, eeeeevil Russians?

Turkish MPs approve bill to create executive presidency: Can't say we're surprised by this, can we? Sultan Erdogan wasn't busy purging all those people for nothin'.

Alibaba Founder's Comments on American Job Losses: Based Chinaman.

Jallikattu Ban Protests: Nothing like a perceived attack on people's identities to get them really riled up. Funny how you can find analogies to the jallikattu protests in just about every country/culture. Funnier still for cases where the debate turns a marginal activity more popular than ever. A variant of the Streisand effect, I guess, or is there a better term for it?

Donald Trump forfeits first fight with China: Amazing how WaPo can't understand the idea of "America first" platform that Trump ran on. It fucking means putting first the interests of the, y'know, the working-class average chums that elected him. "Getting tough with China" only holds value so much as it benefits those very average chums, so trashing the TPP is a perfectly logical move for him. Whether you believe TPP or NAFTA are actually bad for America, or whether you doubt Trump the billionaire's concerns for the peasantry is irrelevant to the fact that he's at least gesturing to fulfill his promises.

Then again, maybe the writer understands all that and he's simply admitting, "Who the fuck cares if millions of American blue-collar workers are pissed about the TPP? What matters is what we the American elites want because we're the only ones smart enough to know what's truly good for this country (despite all the disastrous wars, economic crises, etc). And what's best for America's future is to contain China!"

China moves Second Sino-Japanese War Start Date from 1937 to 1931: Some might tsk-tsk at China's rabid nationalism, but consider the fact that China calls the Second Sino-Japanese War as "War of Resistance Against Japan," and it makes sense just how blurred the starting dates can be from that framework. In that sense, you could argue that this is less an outright historical distortion than it is a semantic difference. Whether you agree with the move or not, any decent book on the Second Sino-Japanese War pretty much has to cover Japan's conquest of Manchuria which marks a significant ramping up of Japanese aggression.

Syrian War Coverage: For people who fear that Trump marks the death of truth in politics and the rise of fake news, give this a read. Also related is this article on how unreliable the reports we hear about the Syrian Civil War can be. I can't tell if people are just naive or stupid (maybe both?) when they think propaganda is something only the "other side" does. Real propaganda in the developed nations of the 21st century will not look as obviously blatant as the posters above. I'm pretty naive at times so I'm definitely not above from falling for propaganda either. But that's why I at least try to make an effort to read various news.

How the Brexit referendum was won: A long, detailed inside-look at how Brexit went down from the Vote Leave's campaign director himself. For people who don't care about UK or Brexit, at the very least read half-way down from the section titled, "Oblonsky and the frogs before the thunderstorm." Very insightful stuff on the deep-seated tribalism that drives politics. Quite relevant to the US elections too for anyone still harping on about how Hilary should've won.
Netanyahu praises Trump's plans to build wall: HAHAHAHAHA.

UK court blocks Nigerian oil spill claims against Shell: I ain't no lawyer and my deepest sympathies are with the ordinary Nigerians drinking contaminated water but the judge has a point doesn't he? If Nigerians see the Nigerian state as so corrupt that they would rather depend on the UK for protection from a subsidiary company that runs a joint venture with the Nigerian state... they might as well ask for colonialism again. That said, I really don't see how the Nigerians are gonna be able to take back their country from Shell's control aside from a violent revolution.

Theresay May's visit to Turkey: Yeah, I know I'm just beating a dead horse whenever I point out hypocrisy in politics, but to stop beating that horse would be to concede that this is fine. Might as well link this article about Canada's arms deal as well, since Trudeau was busy virtue-signalling with tweets about how refugees are welcome in Canada in light of Trump's temporary refugee ban.


  1. Son in other words, in respond to the Duke of She claims of what an upright person should do when his father steals a sheep and he is there to witness the claim, Confucius said the following:

    "Nigga yo (Zhigong) is a snitch ass hoe, how you gonna do yo dad like that? Nigga you fake, you punk ass, fake ass nigaa, no real G go snitching on his dad like dat, where we is from, we keep it on the fam yo!" *drops mic*

    Now here's a question i have, according to this article: http://edition.cnn.com/2016/10/06/middleeast/yemen-conflict/index.html

    Yemen is a poor country without strategic value for any major power to go and intervene, leaving the conflict uncovered due to a lack of international interest.

    However according to: http://www.atimes.com/article/shadow-play-new-great-game-eurasia/
    The new silk road OBOR which is leading the current geopolitical game, passes straight through Yemeni controlled waters, and yet you want to tell me that no one cares who is in power of the zone?

    Also is that kawaii animu grill supposed to be blushing and smiling while she reads these kind of news? well looks like Miyazaki was right.

    1. Poor Yemen, the sacrifical lamb we give to reassure Saudi interests. Really makes you wonder how the world would be if Iran remained "our guy" in the Middle East. Almost 40 years since the Iranian Revolution, and it seems like we're still just as traumatized as ever about those "nefarious, scheming Shi'ites" lurking behind every corner. If one good could come out of the ISIS threat, it would be to shatter that illusion, but I ain't betting on that ever happening.

  2. Liking the format here, Hox. Interesting news and papers that I wouldn't have otherwise seen, and your insights seem always relevant. Will you keep with monthly posts?

    Also, thoughts on USA-Russia relations? Do you think Trump's presidency will actually better relations?

    Keep up the good work.

    1. Thanks, these are meant to be the regular monthly posts. The book posts are gonna be a little more erratic in schedule since I like to do 3 books at a time and I want to wait until I've read 3 that are somewhat tangentially related.

      Do I think Trump's presidency can better US-Russian relations? Yes only because they were at a pathetic low during Obama's term and I don't really see Trump doing anything as hostile to Russian interests such as supporting Ukronazis or Islamic terrorists. But the whole media and political establishment is already trying to make his life hell just by not considering Russia an enemy and I expect that to continue throughout his term.

      So in the grand scale of things, US-Russian relations is DEFINITELY NOT going to get better. Trump's just one man, and he can't purge everyone in government, army, and intelligent services to line up with his views like Erdogan can. There's just way too many rich powerful people who profit from having Russia as an enemy.

  3. TIL that the Crusades are more than just a convenient stepping point to bash Abrahamic religions... pff, as if! hahaha.

    Wait inst Gangnam Style a parody of how utterly superficial and materialistic life in Gangnam is? wouldn't that then draw a negative picture of the place? anyway on the other hand i guess information is information, and to someone poor growing up in True Korea it may even seem appealing to see hedonistic place lis Gangnam.
    Also first time hearing about Madonna and Pepsi causing the collapse of the Soviet Union, any comments on that Mr. Hox?

    Interesting, and yet it looks way more civilized that Spaniard bullfighting which is still practiced in various parts of the world.

    I am actually surprised about the TPP deal too, that's not a very fitly rich billionaire thing to do, this is going to be an interesting presidency.

  4. Half a year later:
    Netanyahu praises Trump's plans to bomb Mexico.

    1. Also if Shell already controls them, doesn't that pretty much means they are already living under colonialism?