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Topic: Today's Bad News (Read 117093 times)

Re: Today's Bad News

Reply #500
Putin announced mobilisation. Given that in his mind he is really at war with Nato, hands up who opposes a Nato counter-mobilisation.

Edit. Putin's executive order is here

It consists of ten numbered sections. The 7th section literally only says "for official use". Any guesses what the actual content there could be?

Re: Today's Bad News

Reply #501
Germany discovered that, alongside Nazi nostalgisers, they have folks called Reichsbürger who were planning a coup and had infiltrated deep enough into state structures so that the matter demanded some attention. According to wider reporting, the raid involved collaboration from Austrian and Italian authorities too.

Re: Today's Bad News

Reply #502
Speaking of these German burgers, far-right groups used to have wild plans to get into power.

Now they seem more intent on cutting power instead.

Fears of Extremist Campaign After Attack on US Power Station

Vandalism at four power stations in the western U.S. state of Washington over the weekend added to concerns of a possible nationwide campaign by right-wing extremists to stir fears and spark civil conflict.

Local police on Tuesday gave no information on who they suspected was behind the vandalism, which knocked out power on Christmas Day for about 14,000 customers in Tacoma, a port city area south of Seattle.

Tacoma Public Utilities, which owned two of the facilities targeted on Sunday, said in a statement that it was alerted by federal law enforcement in early December about threats to their grid.

Odd, though. The closer groups are to Putin, the more keen they are on energy warfare.



Reply #503
In TLDR News' video Is the Russian Minority in the EU Being Persecuted?, which purports to give you both sides of the story so you can make up your own mind, the phrasing of the problems betrays the well-known colonial instincts - of both Russia and the West. Namely, according to the video, Estonia and Latvia are now banning the use of Russian language in state institutions and schools. So the video's implied answer to the title question is a resounding "Yes, when it comes to the Baltic countries!" (different from the title, all instances of alleged persecution are restricted to the Baltic countries instead of the EU).

All the way up to the 1970s it was indeed normal in the West and in Soviet Union to ban languages in schools and separate children from parents in order to eradicate culture, e.g. indigenous minority children in USA, Nordic countries, and Russia, and of course those countries never thought indigenous languages should be used in official state institutions, duh. This is where TLDR is understandably coming from. They are colonial annihilists turned cosmopolitans, there's no way to fix this. However, it is factually wrong to adress the matters in Estonia and Latvia in the same terms. In reality, Estonia and Latvia have been keeping up two state-supported school systems in parallel: in the official state language and in Russian language. Debates about withdrawing the support from Russian-language schools have been ongoing for decades, several agreed deadlines have passed without action taken. The first good opportunity in my opinion to pull the rug from under Russian-speaking schools was in 1994 when Soviet/Russian army (and some portion of Russian civilians along with it) left the Baltic countries, but no, Russian schools are still in 2023 here as they were back then.

Anyway, many Russians are already putting their children in Estonian-language schools ("for the future of the child"), some such schools have a good share of such Russians (and other foreign children) and nobody is banning them from using their own language among themselves the way both Western and Soviet authorities used to do up to 1970s (Soviet/Russian authorities even now). The situation in Estonia and Latvia has nothing in common with colonial practices. We are just reducing the strain on state budget that we were never supposed to have in the first place, if we were to act as per actual Western values.

As to other state institutions, in both Estonia and Latvia it is admitted that municipalities can operate in another, local majority language. E.g. Narva municipal council operates in Russian. Their communication with state institutions is to occur in the official state language however. But ordinary people can find state services in several languages, such as English-speaking people in English, and therefore also Russian-speaking in Russian (otherwise it would not work to e.g. accommodate Ukrainian refugees here). Foreign-language services in state institutions have always been expanding rather than receding.

About citizenship, Estonia and Latvia decided upon re-independence that automatic citizenship is given to those who can trace ancestry back to the pre-WWII countries. This was done mostly pro-actively by the state seeking out its citizens, while others need to go through a citizenship application process. This arrangement is better understood as a requirement for historical continuity instead of a requirement of ethnicity. Anyone whose ancestry can be traced back to the first independence gets the citizenship regardless of ethnicity. The dates involved are connected to independence, when we had it, when we ceased to have it, and when we regained it. So it's about history rather than ethnicity. From the Baltic point of view, non-citizen Russians are a non-citizen minority - like all other foreigners are minorities.

Russians do not deserve special minority privileges the way e.g. native/indigenous minorities would, because they are not native and indigenous. And not even properly minority - they have their majority native country immediately next door.

Moreover, we have security concerns that Western countries never had. Who wants to adopt so many Russians that they are about a third of your population? No hands? I wonder why. Also, the argument in the video that Russia would never attack Baltic countries is by now stupider than ever. The argument used to be that "Baltic countries are not worth it" but it has become now (in the video) "Russia is bogged down in Ukraine, so definitely it won't attack Nato countries". This is dangerously stupid. Baltic (and Polish) experts always maintained that Russia attacks completely regardless if they can afford it or whether it's worth it - and these experts have been proven correct. All other opinions have been proven wrong many times over. Russia's propaganda/information war that is now in worldwide awareness (namely, calling their neighbours fascists and Russophobes) has been going on forever in the Baltic countries and has been as false as it is right now regarding Ukraine. To use this propaganda as if this were actual information, the way TLDR does, is a fatal blow to own credibility.

Of course I understand that my post will clear up nothing for anyone. I have already explained all this for decades, but colonists remain colonists.

Edit: Here Deutsche Welle confronts Latvia's justice minister with the same topic and the minister needs to politely explain to Germans how stupid they are.

When the same talking points are up in several Western outlets at the same time with the same Russian bent, it suggests yet another successful propaganda operation from Russia.

Re: Today's Bad News

Reply #504
Newt Gingrich pointed me to an alarming development[1] that bears upon the readiness of U.S. forces:

The Marine Corps is small, agile, and flexible, priding itself on being the first to fight, anywhere. Over the past four years, however, the current Commandant, General David H. Berger, has radically transformed the image and the mission of the Marine Corps. The primary focus now is upon developing missile units intended to sink Chinese warships. To fund those units, General Berger did away with 21% of the personnel in infantry battalions, 100% of the tanks, 67% of the cannon artillery batteries, 33% of the assault amphibious companies, nearly 30% of Marine aviation, and almost all assault breaching equipment. The desired number of large amphibious ships was reduced from 38 to 31. Due to these cuts, Marines are less capable to fight as a combined arms force. [emphasis added]

Between the Osprey goof and constant efforts to "retire" the venerable "Warthog", the Marines have not been well-supplied... But this change in mission is bizarre! And dangerous...
And it's mostly secret? Scary.

Will Congress intervene? Before it's too late...?
Since leaving the House of Representatives - and his Speakership- he's been a fair weather friend of conservatives — the primary evidence of which was his support of George Gascón, the Soros-backed Los Angeles District Attorney...
进行 ...
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"Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts!" - Richard Feynman
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Re: TLDR is RT

Reply #505
When the same talking points are up in several Western outlets at the same time with the same Russian bent, it suggests yet another successful propaganda operation from Russia.
I did not expect that YLE, the state-owned broadcaster of Finland, would succumb to the same Russian propaganda manipulation.[1] But it did

The article quotes Inta Mieriņa, a professor in University of Latvia who has been researching migration and integration issues. The professor complains about Latvia's new requirements that concern people who have lived in Latvia almost all of their lives but have Russian citizenship. Thus they live in Latvia based on a residence permit. Now the residence permit would be revoked, if those people fail to pass an exam of Latvian language. Without a residence permit those people would naturally have to move away from Latvia, which in practice would probably not happen.

The article discusses the security concerns that Latvia's government has with regard to those people (which I explained already in my previous post), but the professor retorts the situation would pressure those people deeper into Russia's sphere of influence and would amount to a propaganda victory for Russia à la Latvia can be labelled Russophobic etc. And then the article ends, leaving readers ponder the dread of Russia gaining a propaganda victory because Latvia is mean to Russian citizens who have thus far had residence permits without any imposed conditions but now, oh shock and horrour, there is a condition.

In my view, the point about Russia's propaganda victory from alleged Russophobia has ceased or at least should have ceased to be a point since 2014 at the latest. Russia claims to be protecting Russian citizens and Russian-speaking people and fighting Russophobia in Ukraine. How can this kind of Russia gain a propaganda victory over non-extended residence permits of Russian citizens abroad? Essentially, in YLE's view, Latvia is among the countries who cannot revoke residence permits of foreign citizens. Latvia is a country that exists temporarily due to the kind generosity of Russia, and if Latvia misbehaves, starts acting as if it were an independent country, then Russia may be provoked to do bad things or, as a minimum, gains propaganda points. This has been the attitude of YLE all along, which in Estonia has been seen as an after-effect of Finlandisation. The same attitude (that whenever Russians claim Russophobia, then the target of the claim is guilty as charged) has been the normal modus operandi of all Western European broadcasters too. And this attitude is taking hostage some academics and expert commentators in the Baltics, so that they cannot think clearly anymore.

To think clearly, one needs to compare Baltic, Western, and Russian citizenship and integration policies. The inevitable outcome of the comparison is that Baltic policies are the mildest and most considerate of them all, and Western and Russian policies lose out badly. It was time a very long time ago that Western mainstream media reflect this reality correctly. The fact that Western mainstream media still represents Russian bias on these topics is a continued propganda victory for Russia.
To be "fair", YLE has been viciously anti-Baltic particularly on these topics (citizenship, migration, language) ever since the regained independence, but I would have thought they'd tone it down a bit at this stage of Russia-Ukraine war. Because, would anyone at YLE write an article complaining how Ukraine discriminates against Russians, locks up suspicious Russian-speaking people and kills Russian citizens right now? Well, Ukraine indeed does those things...

Re: Today's Bad News

Reply #506
US coal power plants killed at least 460,000 people in past 20 years – report
“Air pollution from coal is much more harmful than we thought, and we’ve been treating it like it’s just another air pollutant,” said the lead author, Lucas Henneman, an assistant professor in the Sid and Reva Dewberry department of civil, environmental and infrastructure engineering at George Mason University. “This type of evidence is important to policymakers like EPA [the US Environmental Protection Agency] as they identify cost-effective solutions for cleaning up the country’s air, like requiring emissions controls or encouraging renewables.”

Henneman led a group of researchers who used publicly available data to track air pollution – and its health effects – from the 480 US coal power plants that operated at some point between 1999 and 2020. A model was used to track the wind direction and reach of the toxins from each power station. Annual exposure levels were then connected with more than 650m Medicare health records that covered most people over age 65 in the US.

The coal plants associated with most deaths were located east of the Mississippi River in industrialized states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, where power stations were historically constructed close to population hubs. But every region had at least one plant linked to 600 deaths, while 10 were associated with more than 5,000 deaths across the study period.

About 85% of the total 460,000 coal plant-related deaths occurred between 1999 and 2007, an average of more than 43,000 deaths per year. The death toll declined drastically as plants closed or scrubbers – a type of sulphur filter – were installed to comply with new environmental rules. By 2020, the coal PM2.5 death toll had dropped 95%, to 1,600 people.

Edit: To compare with traffic deaths from here, I calculated that there were 841,041 fatal casualties in traffic in USA over the same period, from 1999 to 2020. So on a positive note, coal deaths are not as bad as traffic deaths. However, traffic deaths are rather stable and steady, not on decline.

Re: Today's Bad News

Reply #507
Coal is significantly worse than fossil gas in emissions, but also a lot worse for people's health.

Re: Today's Bad News

Reply #508
Austria bankers still blocking EU sanctions on Russia

The 12th round of Russia sanctions was to impose an EU ban on imports of Russian diamonds, tighten EU exports of high-tech goods, and blacklist mercenary firms, according to a draft.

Raiffeisen Bank has 9,000 employees in Russia, where it does consumer banking, and where it made €2bn profit last year.

It is "beneficial [chiefly] to the Russian elites, as it allows them to continue transferring funds abroad", after earlier EU sanctions disconnected most Russian banks from the Swift international-transfers grid, Russian financial consultant Ivan Fedyakov previously told this website.

"Austria has been quietly playing on Russia's team for a long time — they're a huge problem in the EU. Potentially explosive. To be watched closely," a senior EU diplomat said.

"It's not Austria learning from Hungary, but the other way around," the diplomat said.

"I never understood why everyone forgives them [the Austrians] so easily, treats them with kid gloves compared to Orbán, or other EU rogues", he added.
In addition to Raiffeisen I can mention also UniCredit and HypoVerein as such banks.

Re: Today's Bad News

Reply #509
The "kid gloves" is because Austria hasn't done domestically what Fidesz has done.  Also Austria is a net contributor, unlike Hungary which is the second largest recipient, third largest per capita.

But if Hungary is suspended by Article 7 now that they are no longer protected by PiS (one can hope), Austria is likely to be the rear guard, or even one that could block a suspension.

Re: Today's Bad News

Reply #510
The "kid gloves" is because Austria hasn't done domestically what Fidesz has done.
The kid gloves are also because this is more about banks and less about the government. In an approved country banks are far more powerful than the government. In an approved country, whatever banks do is deemed acceptable.