Wednesday, May 22, 2013

American Drones Kill 4 Americans On Purpose

The Attorney General says that four Americans were killed by drones, of which one was specifically targeted.

The good news? They're not in the U.S. (so you're still safe?) and they were at least allegedly working with the enemy (though they were never formally accused and never tried and will never be allowed to mount a defense to anything they might possibly have been accused of doing).

We'll keep following this.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Property Rights in China

A few years ago, China amended its constitution to provide an express right to private property. Presumably, this was intended to reassure foreigners that their investments would be safe from seizure by government officials.

But what does it mean for individual Chinese? Apparently, very little. When police showed up at the home of Shen Jianzhong after it was beset by a mob of 50 thugs bent on running him off the property to facilitate a developer's plans, the police told him to sign their contract.

The Jaded Consumer has covered China's official oppression over supposedly-protected property before.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Rebels Plea For Aid: Send Forks?

A Syrian rebel appears on a video eating the heart and liver of a felled government soldier.  Questioned by outraged observers of the video, the rebel – whose identity is not masked – defended his snack as revenge for atrocities committed by Assad's vicious regime.  This raises a whole new question regarding the form that should be taken by international aid requested against the oppressive government regime.

The religious overtones of Middle Eastern conflict can't be escaped, even in a civil war as obviously about freedom from government oppression as the conflict in Syria has been. On the video, off-camera supporters are heard shouting "Allahu Akbar!"  I didn't think that meal was Kosher in Islam. Anybody have authority to offer on the matter?

Japanese Politician: Sex Slavery "Necessary" to War Effort

He may not actually represent the official position of the Japanese diplomatic corps, but the sitting Mayor of Osaka (Japan's third-largest city after Tokyo and Yokohama) says sex-slaves captured and systematically raped across the Pacific theater during the Second World War were a "necessary" result of the needs of Japanese soldiers who risked their lives for their country.

During the War, hundreds of thousand females were enslaved as "comfort women", a Japanese euphemism referring to military-governed sex slaves.  Japan's official support and funding for the maintenance of "comfort women" battalions was in direct opposition to the nation's purported position on slavery taken when it ratified the International Labor Organization Convention Concerning Forced or Compulsory Labor in 1932. Unlike consumer protection statutes in Texas, which have teeth because they provide individuals with a civil remedy for damages upon proven violation, the Convention Concerning Forced Labor asked all signatories to enact criminal statutes – so that the government would protect rights enshrined in the Convention. Since Japan enacted no criminal statutes to punish violations of the Convention, the nation's officials were free not only to violate it with impunity, but to profit in human trafficking designed to fill the ranks of the "comfort women" battalions.

National leaders continue to take absurd positions on the records of their own countries.  The gulf between law and justice is vast.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Butcher Announces Next Dresden Files Title

At Jim Butcher's web site, the title of his next book in the Dresden Files.  There's a reason this series' main character is in the sidebar on the right, and if you look at some of the reviews I've written here about buy the first of his books you'll get an idea why.

The next title is Skin Game.  At the time of this posting, there's no content there other than the title announcement. When Ghost Story ended, we knew what was happening next and it was easy to interpret the next-announced title Cold Days.  (The first time I read the title announcement on that one, I was sure it was Cold Day, which I liked even better. I wonder whether I was mistaken, or why it changed. Alas.) But the end of Cold Days left enough to happen next that it wasn't evident where it'd pick up, making the interpretation of the title more of an adventure.

But I'm keeping my theories to myself.  I wouldn't want to spoil anything for an unsuspecting reader. But you can always email to share theories about Dresden :-)

I especially won't spoil things in previous books, like what Butcher must be teasing regarding the name of the oldest queens of Summer and Winter. Muhuhahaha! And so we wait for the publication of the next Dresden book – let the suffering begin!