Posts Tagged ‘ China ’

Friday Night Party Music


Yes, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? Not that I haven’t been keeping up, but have been pretty busy in the new line of work (freelance ESL) – loving it – and, well, have been trying to get the stress levels down a bit.

Tim Blair may be a funny blogger, Andrew Bolt may be a serious blogger, but lately, whenever I’ve really gotten stuck into it, I just start getting angry.

I’m not convinced that is a good thing.

Nevertheless, as I said, I’ve been keeping an eye on things, mainly via the excellent Michael Smith and Larry Pickering (whose Facebook site seems to be having a better time of things today).

That national debt hit 250 bil today – nice one Julia and Wayne. That’s a bit over 11 grand of government debt every man, woman, and child now has to pay off on top of whatever personal debt one may have.

Julia’s off strutting her stuff at the UN General Assembly. Bit rough when one wakes up, turns on Australia Network, and she’s talking. If you’ll allow one to dream unrealistically for a tic, if we lose our bid for a seat on the (joke of a) UN Security Council, does that mean we’d have a good excuse to stop paying our dues? Whatever grand idea the UN might once have been, it is an inept shadow of it’s former self, packed to the rafters with corruptocrats.

Why do we have to put up with the likes of Iran’s Ahmadinejad ranting away up there? I’m not convinced his idea of “peace” is the same as our idea of peace.

Nevertheless, Netanyahu did an exceptional job, so maybe there’s some value left there.

But I digress. As an Aussie, my focus should be on Gillard’s performance. Go to Michael Smith, have a look around, and you see that it is in fact some international MSM picking up the story of the AWU/Slater&Gordon scandal!

If it were to happen, what a venue for that to blow up in the PM’s face. That said, it might not “blow up” but it might be enough to tilt the balance in Finland or Luxembourg’s favour. That might not be such a bad thing, lol. However, it’s a little embarrassing that international media will cover something that, generally speaking, Australian MSM won’t.

There’s lot’s there at both Larry’s and Michael’s sites; Ashby’s 50K payout, the debt, boat people, Nauru, AWU, Paul Howes… you name it, but I reckon I’ve gone into all that stuff enough for a Friday evening, indeed a Friday evening that is the beginning of a little mini-break over here in Korea.

Chusok. And actually, personally, I’m taking about nine days off, so again, forgive me if I don’t immerse myself in grubby politics during that time.

Besides: China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan; things are heating up just a tad too much over various disputed islands. One lot is between Japan, China, and Taiwan which you may have heard about. The other lot is between Japan and Korea. Apparently these islands/islets are of intense historical importance, so I guess the massive reserves of natural gas having noting to do with it (It’s Friday – no links). Man, China seems really stoked on getting that aircraft carrier (thanks, Russia!) – with another homemade one on the way. Hu Jintao had the Mao suit on and everything! And, well, I guess Korea’s pretty happy upon receiving 3 bil worth of Apache helicopters.

Fun times.

And yes, well noted is that the Persian Gulf is a fun place to be also these days (there is a way perhaps that we could be less dependent and without having to throw billions more taxpayer dollars at bankrupt solar experiments).

Oh, and there’s some kind of US election or something going on? All I say about that is that 4Corners was a bit deceptive when they promoted a doco about Mitt Romney but it turned out to be little more that 45 minutes of why Mormons are so bad with the occasional reminder that Mitt is a Mormon. It was actually a rerun of a BBC doco, but whatevs, and was aired months earlier in Australia but it was on Australia Network this week. The reporter, John Sweeney, has done two anti-Mitt/anti-Mormon docos that I know of (no – not linking).
Meh. Enough.

In much more pleasing news at this moment in time, Deadmau5 released >album title goes here< on Wednesday.

:-)

PS Most western op.eds telling you what “Gangnam Style” is all about are rubbish. But here and here are two good ones.

China, Japan, Korea, and a few chunks of rocks


Korea and Japan are fighting over Dokdo/Takeshima. Japan and China are fighting over a few other chunks.

Both disputed territories just so happen to have huge reserves of hydrocarbons.

One to keep a bit of an eye on.

Where in the world is Carmen, er, Xi Jinping?


No worries. He’s only meant to be the next president of China.

Why on Earth would anyone want to eat dead baby flesh capsules???


It’s hard to be shocked anymore these days, but occaisionally still, a certain story will come along.

SOUTH Korea has seized thousands of smuggled drug capsules filled with powdered human flesh and is strengthening customs inspections, officials said today.

The capsules were made in northeastern China from dead babies whose bodies were chopped into small pieces and dried on stoves before being turned into powder, a statement from the Korea Customs Service said.

Discussion needed on foreign state-owned farm ownership, but perhaps avoid the “hyperbowl”


So the MP With Australia’s Best Interests at Heart, none other than independent Tony Windsor, has thrown his authentic Akubra into the ring and said his two cents about the issue of Chinese state-owned firms buying up Australia’s farms.

“We shouldn’t debate about stopping foreign investment – no one is going to do that – but should foreign governments have freehold ownership over our land?

It’s something we should debate and look at the distinction between state-owned buyers and others.

And a cursory google search finds all sorts of alarming press about the Chinese government investing in and buying huge swathes of our farmland, including the notable ABC special report provocatively entitled, “Selling the Farm to China”.

Foreign interests including state-owned companies from China and the Middle East are increasingly looking to Australia to secure their food production by purchasing key agricultural assets.

The sale of agricultural land is exempt under Foreign Investment Review Board regulations and the FIRB’s attention is usually triggered only by the sale of companies whose assets exceed a $231 million threshold.

And many are right to be concerned about state-run Chinese firms cashing in on Australia’s farms, but is Liberal senator Bill Heffernan (concerned, in the report above) not playing perhaps a bit of politics here?

It would be wise to keep this in a little perspective. Even when investing as little as $1, state-owned enterprises (SOE) have to have approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB). Why’s that important? Because most of the investments from China come from SOEs, so that $231 million threshold doesn’t apply, and nor does the exemption for agricultural land.

And this:

ABS released some land ownership data based on a survey of 11,000 agricultural businesses recently and the study found 89pc of the surveyed agricultural land was entirely Australian owned, while 92pc was majority Australian owned.

So not that much land is full or part foreign owned, and most of that has been approved by the FIRB because at least in China’s case, those investments are from the Chinese state so you can’t really go around attacking China on this one.

For sure, we don’t really know exactly how much farmland Chinese SOEs own, and that’s something that should definitely be rectified, but you can be rest assured it’s not that much, most likely nowhere near proportional to the panic generated over it.

If people still want to get worked up, be at some sections of our media, notably one that doesn’t mind the odd bit of exaggeration when it comes to their rural reporting.

Most of us were suckered in to that one for a while.

Let’s hope we’ve learned and don’t get suckered into this one, too.

China to increase military expenditure (thanks Uncle Sam)


Not surprising…

China said Sunday it would boost its defense spending by 11.2% in 2012, slightly less than last year’s increase but still enough to aggravate the concerns that have prompted the U.S. to refocus its defense policy on the Asian-Pacific region.

So how much will that military budget add up to? That’d be $106.4 billion US dollars.

To put that in a little more perspective, China currently holds more than $1.2 trillion of US debt. Interest payments on America’s $15.2 trillion of debt amounted to $454 billion in 2011.

Thus, interest payments to China would have been around $30 billion (454/15) that year. For the same 12 month period, the Chinese military budget was $91.5 billion.

That’s the US effectively financing one third of China’s military in 2011. And remember that’s just with interest payments. The principal on the debt isn’t going down.

With no end in sight to increasing US debt, and the likelyhood China will continue to buy at least some of it – with ever increasing interest rates – no wonder China is so well positioned to continue double-digit increases in its military expenditure… courtesy to a sizeable extent of the US taxpayer.

I’m not sure there has ever been a case in world history whereby one superpower has funded so much of a rival superpower’s military.

PS The idea of US debt interest payments funding the Chinese military has been bandied about before. I decided to have a look at the numbers myself.

Monday 5/3/12 open/twitter thread


Almost back to the regular schedule… tomorrow I’m told.

Anyway, a couple of stories that caught my eye last night on twitter:

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is acting pretty ballsy in front of his countrymen. Despite the tubby leader of the starving nation agreeing to stop its nuclear program – yeah, right :roll: – in return for US food aid (this time they’ve designed it in the form of not-so-tasty nutritional bars etc. kind of like the ones distributed to starving Africans in an effort to not have the aid – e.g. rice – merely go to the party elite), he recently strutted his stuff for the first time in the DMZ, specifically Panmunjon which is the Korean name for the JSA, you know, that bit where the North and South guards face off against each other every day. He was literally in range of “enemy” troops. All this, of course, isn’t really sticking it to the South. It’s just so that he doesn’t look like a total ass in front of his fellow Commies and potential usurpers for being a fatty who needs more food.

Also, readers may remember a post from a few months back entitled, “The seige of Wukan”. Basically, a bunch of Chinese villagers got sick and tired of their local officials stealing their farmland and pocketing the proceeds after selling it. So they kicked them out. Predictably, police and what not surrounded the village and a stand-off ensued. Well, good news. The villagers were granted fresh elections, and one of the new officials includes a leader of the protest. Nearby villages are starting to get the same idea, but hey, this is China, so don’t be expecting any precedents – despite what this guy says – or the folk in Beijing to be reading it on the front page. Still, it’s a start. Here’s some piccies.

Oh, and Putin is back in (as if he were ever out). Just don’t be a Russian billionaire and criticise the bloke; it might make him cry (you’ll get that after clicking the link).

Via JM, the Samsung Galaxy S III, a teacher’s new best friend, internet karma, Kumbahyah cancelled, wiki highjinks (language warning, but funny as).

Anything catch your eye today? Bob Carr’s predictable, cringe-worthy backflip on Libya? China’s latest hit TV show?

Let us know.

 

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