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DnD Central / Re: Infrastructure
Last post by jax -
It's been that way since the 1970s, that's why making cities more liveable is slow progress. Almost every pedestrian street has been fought nail and tooth, including parts of the local business community. Then, in most cases, they realise afterwards that they make more money and get a better neighbourhood. In some cases the project is badly planned or premature. Then after a decade or so, a better or more timely project comes along, and it sticks.

Suburbia is never happy in this process. They are used to drive through the city, and leave nothing but exhaust and desolate parking spaces. But eventually suburbs too become more walkable. 
DnD Central / Re: I'm bemused: No one here wants to discuss the Gaza-Israel war
Last post by jax -
What Hamas did last week should have sparked a robust debate about -oh, I don't know- the rules of war, the role of Antisemitism, and the resurgence of the barbarian.
Why should it? Nothing has changed. Hamas is still a bunch of terrorists and Netanyahu is still an idiot — heck, this underlines it.

Violent settler murderers in the West Bank are no longer contained. On the contrary they are encouraged and even in the government.
Sadistic islamist murderers in Gaza are no longer contained. On the contrary they are encouraged and even ruling Gaza and eventually West Bank.

This trajectory was no surprise to nobody. Enlightened self-interest was the basis for the peace plans in the 1990s. If they didn't turn what has now happened would happen, dooming the whole region to a generation of misery. This is now headed for a second generation of the same.

Netanyahu will fall, which should have been a cause for cheer, if there had been anyone to pick up the pieces. He has done more damage to Israel than any other person. Most likely scenario is the decline and fall of Israel, and of Palestine. 

And Lebanon, which has also done immense self-harm, but is cursed with Israel and Syria as neighbours, is in the worst state since the civil war.
DnD Central / Re: I'm bemused: No one here wants to discuss the Gaza-Israel war
Last post by ersi -
Quite frustratingly it's not easy to verify the current extent and status of the Israeli-Confederate delusions in USA. Possibly isolated to mostly dozy-dreamy wackadoodle types. However, I am giving the historical source a go: great Confederate hero Zebulon Vance in his speech Scattered Nation after Civil War.

Some excerpts,
Quote from: Zebulon Vance in Scattered Nation
In this, our own free and tolerant land, where wars have been waged and constitutions violated for the benefit of the African negro, the descendants of barbarian tribes who for four thousand years have contributed nothing to, though in close contact with, the civilization of mankind, save as the Helots contributed an example to the Spartan youth, and where laws and partisan courts alike have been used to force him into an equality with those whom he could not equal, we have seen Jews, educated and respectable men, descendants of those from whom we derive our civilization, kinsmen, after the flesh, of Him whom we esteem as the Son of God and Saviour of men, ignominiously ejected from hotels and watering places as unworthy the association of men who had grown rich by the sale of a new brand of soap or an improved patent rat trap!


The popular habit is to regard an injury done to one by a man of different creed as a double wrong; to me it seems that the wrong is the greater coming from my own. To hold also, as some do, that the sins of all people are due to their creeds, would leave the sins of the sinners of my creed quite imaccounted for. With some faith of a scoundrel is all important; it is not so with me.


[Jews] have managed to endure with long-suffering patience the knout of the Czar and the bow-string of the Turk, but they have fled for life from the presence of the wooden nutmegs and the left-handed gimlets of Jonathan. Is there any man who hears me to-night who, if a Yankee and a Jew were to "lock horns" in a regular encounter of conmiercial wits, would not give large odds on the Yankee? My own opinion is that the genuine "guessing" Yankee, with a jack-knife and a pine shingle, could in two hours' time whittle the smartest Jew in New York out of his home-stead in the Abrahamic covenant.
This speech does not elaborate on any specific parallels between Civil War and wars that Jews had had to fight, but by painting the character of the Jews in a light that one might find easier to identify with, it does whip up the sentiment that the supposed injustice that the Confederates have to suffer is something like the suffering of the Jews.

Even though in reality we all know what the Confederate history proves about them. Don't we, Oakdale? Who am I kidding, of course you don't.

Here's more about Zebulon Vance, the great Confederate hero,
Monument to Confederate governor who loved Jews is coming down in Asheville, NC

Complicated legacy of Zebulon Vance — US senator, North Carolina governor, defender of the Jewish people and white supremacist — is reexamined by a town and its Jewish mayor


As to why Vance wrote ["Scattered Nation"], one reason might lie in his membership in the Masons, a group that readily accepted Jews. Another, [a local Jewish heritage leader] Rogoff says, may have been the Confederacy’s view of itself as suffering Israelites. In this trope, the Confederates cast themselves as Israel, escaping the “pharaoh” Lincoln and his tyranny of oppression, even as they defend slavery.

In 1876, Vance won back his old job as governor of North Carolina. That sent a message to anyone in the state who might support racial equality.

“What a powerful symbol,” said Tom Hanchett, a community historian in Charlotte. “The rebels of the Confederacy are coming back into power, their ‘rightful’ place.”

Bringing back as much of the old system as possible was the instinctive response of defeated Confederates, adds Harry Watson, a professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“If you couldn’t hang onto slavery, the idea was to reinvent white supremacy so that it existed without actual enslavement,” Watson said.

Three years later, Vance was elected to the Senate, where he served until his death in 1894.

There was no mention of his passing in the Jewish press. The Vance Monument was dedicated in Asheville in 1897. The following year, North Carolina was host to the only armed coup d’etat in US history when white residents in Wilmington overthrew a democratically elected, biracial government.

The bloody frenzy had been planned for months. White insurrectionists forced Black leaders and their allies to flee the city. They shot into Black residents’ homes. They burned down the local Black-owned newspaper office. It’s believed that some 60 people were murdered, possibly more.
Quite instructive to read more closely about Wilmington insurrection, definitely a blueprint for Jan 6, 2021.

But what are the parallels between U.S. Civil War and the country of Israel/Zionism? No parallels. Confederate sympathisers are deeply racist slavery-nostalgic jerks. Zionists are carving out a country for themselves by means of ethnic cleansing. Even this is not strictly a parallel.

But yeah, Zebulon Vance was involved with Masons, so the associations he makes in his speech and links from there to everywhere cannot be far-fetched in a Qanon mind.
DnD Central / Re: I'm bemused: No one here wants to discuss the Gaza-Israel war
Last post by OakdaleFTL -
A simple question: Does the state of Israel have the right to exist?

And another, from American history:
“You people of the South don't know what you are doing. This country will be drenched in blood, and God only knows how it will end. It is all folly, madness, a crime against civilization! You people speak so lightly of war; you don't know what you're talking about.
War is a terrible thing! You mistake, too, the people of the North. They are a peaceable people but an earnest people, and they will fight, too. They are not going to let this country be destroyed without a mighty effort to save it … Besides, where are your men and appliances of war to contend against them? The North can make a steam engine, locomotive, or railway car; hardly a yard of cloth or pair of shoes can you make. You are rushing into war with one of the most powerful, ingeniously mechanical, and determined people on Earth — right at your doors.
You are bound to fail. Only in your spirit and determination are you prepared for war. In all else you are totally unprepared, with a bad cause to start with. At first you will make headway, but as your limited resources begin to fail, shut out from the markets of Europe as you will be, your cause will begin to wane. If your people will but stop and think, they must see in the end that you will surely fail.”
― William T. Sherman
DnD Central / Re: I'm bemused: No one here wants to discuss the Gaza-Israel war
Last post by ersi -
David Pakman, American (Jewish, originally from Argentina) political commentator speaks up about the topic. His stance is two-state solution.

My stance is that there is no solution. Israel would not agree to two-state solution because if Palestine were a real acknowledged and recognised country, then Israel could not invade and destroy liberally every once in a while any longer, since it would be an unambiguous war crime. For now Israel can excuse itself every time by saying that Palestine is not a real country and Palestinians are stateless and that's unfortunate but we do what we have to do.

Moreover, what would the borders be, 1967 or 1948? Both are unacceptable to Israel. Israel will never remove their kibbutzim from the West Bank, which means there will be no Palestine as a country. Which means there will be no two-state solution.

My stance is that Israel was created and is being held in existence with the clear purpose of being a thorn in the region and the situation will persist as long as this is felt to be necessary by those who set it up. For peace, either Israel or Palestine needs to vanish (or in case of two-state solution Palestine needs to be effectively muted the way the country of Jordan is muted), but greater powers do not see any point with peace in the region, so that's how it will be for the foreseeable future.
DnD Central / Re: Infrastructure
Last post by ersi -
Paris banned rental e-scooters

Berlin is rolling back bike infrastructure

So the progress of urban infrastructure has reached a dead end.  In my opinion, the way forward (towards walkable streets) is by regression: Less cars. Not more electric cars or some dystopian "pods" or misguided non-solutions to traffic, but simply less cars. Less, not more. Back to the way it was in 1920's or, even better, 1910's.
DnD Central / What's going on in Finland?
Last post by ersi -
This morning Finland's state broadcaster published an article saying that the current Finnish government awakened to a thought that maybe it's a good idea to revisit and review the history of Russian influence and meddling in Finland's politics, how deep it has run and what its current aftereffects are. For example, a researcher notes that it would be interesting to analyse the exceptions and special privileges given to certain individuals and companies in Finland under the current sanctions regime, and the instances where police and other authorities claim they "cannot do anything" despite sanctions. Another researcher says that Russia's "soft power" may have hit Finland very hard

*Not* in the article is the grossest example of Russia's corrupting power on Western governments in recent memory: The recruitment of Finland's ex-prime minister Paavo Lipponen to Nord Stream board. Thus Finland was about as rotten at its topmost level as Germany when Russia was playing its gas games. In Germany it's called schröderisation, while in Finland it can be seen as a reverberation of finlandisation, i.e. a longer history of "neutrality" policy with regard to Russia/Soviet Union.

However, what *is* in the article is eight points worth investigating according to the researchers and investigative journalists:
1. What was Russia's grand strategy? With regard to Finland, it seems to have been smooth talk to keep Finland away from Nato, while Russia was painting the rest of "collective West" as a threat and danger.

2. Why did Finland fail in its (geopolitical) forecasts? The article quotes a professor saying that Russia was exporting fear and Finland was buying it.

3. Was Russia blocking Finland's membership of Nato? This is about the hypothetical that if Russia had blitzconquered Ukraine in the end of February 2022, would Finland have been able to join Nato.

4. Were Finns misled (by the communication of their own government) in the energy deals? Energy deals such as Nord Stream and Finland's nuclear power stations in collaboration with Rosatom.

5. Have "home Russkies" had an effect even in 21st century? "Home Russkies" refers to KGB misinformation operatives who kept contact with Finnish politicians (the president, prime minister, most leaders of political parties and important news outlets), cultivating a positive image of Russia in Finland. Such contacts became normal after WWII, even celebrated during Kekkonen's presidency, and lasted long after Kekkonen, possibly into 21st century according to a good book detailing the relevant diplomatic/intelligence history of Finland, Kremlin kortti by Alpo Rusi, which I have read.

6. Did Putin's oligarchs gain special privileges? Spoiler: Obviously yes. Some of them hold Finland's citizenship awarded for "services rendered to the nation".

7. Was Airiston Helmi a threat to national security? Along with other notable Russian-funded real estate projects, Airiston Helmi, a massive construction object in Finland's territory, appears to have been developed for military purposes.

8. Did Russia warp the opinion of Finns? The relevant instances here are Russia's troll factories and earlier court cases where Russia has accused Finns of abducting Russians in connection with adoptions and separated families, discriminatring against Russians culturally and linguistically. There is also an ongoing Russian history project investigating an alleged genocide against Russian Karelians during WWII.

In an earlier article there is an overview of the construction of Alakurtti, a military base in Russia near Finland's border built as a joint venture of Finland and Russia in early 90's. At the time, both Finland and Russia were suffering from economic crisis and neither side saw a security problem. Soon after completion, the military personnel at the location were decommissioned and the project turned (elite) civilian, but now it is again a notable military base in Russia at Finland's border