Thursday Open Thread 7-19-2018

This week and focusing more on contemporary events and performances in China. Still using the resilience tag. Any culture that can survive several thousand years has a resilience about it we can learn from. One of its strengths is the continuity of a written language that allows us to peer into the past and see how other humans lived through the challenges of their times.

We will start with a celebration of traditional Chinese instruments vs western music in the 2017 film Our Shining Days currently available on Netflix. A light, hearted comedy of high school musicians and teenage competition.

East vs West comparing instruments with similar sounds of individual instruments and combines sounds of both ensembles.

The final performance in the film is mixture of traditional Chinese music and anime subculture as a new generation is introduced to the sounds of past.

This article included an interesting discussion of three of the major world players.

That said, there are radical differences among the three cultures. America is apocalyptic; Russia is messianic; and China is pragmatic. By apocalyptic, I mean that Americans define themselves with respect to an unattainable point in the future, the goal of a Christian pilgrimage whose endpoint always hovers beyond the horizon.

United States of America

America is apocalyptic in the original sense of the Greek word: resolution lies beyond the visible horizon. The central trope in American culture is the pilgrimage to the Promised Land, and its character type is the pilgrim on a journey towards redemption.

Our culture is Protestant, individualistic and antinomian. All our protagonists have problems with authority. We celebrate the cowboy who rides off into the sunset, the private detective who walks alone, the Western sheriff who won’t quit his job at high noon – the individual pilgrim on a journey to salvation.


Russia combined a sense of its historic purpose as the successor to the fallen Byzantium and a messianic sense of a civilizing mission as it flung its political power across the Eurasian continent. The whole enterprise was incompetently organized and subject to continuous failures, but it had a grandiosity that evoked a sense of imperial pride among Russians as well as an astonishing capacity to absorb pain.

Russia defeated Napoleon and Hitler. Its scientists beat the United States into space in the 1950s after reproducing German missile technology on their own. The US won the space race only because the German team led by Werner von Braun was playing for us. Again, Russia nearly defeated America in the Cold War.


Chinese identity is difficult for Westerners to grasp. Until quite recently few Chinese spoke the Imperial court dialect, or Mandarin. Most spoke one of the nearly 60 dialects still spoken in China. But all wrote with the same characters. China’s imperial expansion allowed the peoples incorporated into the empire to retain their own spoken language, but required all to write with the characters.
China’s attitude towards the world is paranoid, but even paranoids have enemies: China fears Western attempts to promote independence in Tibet, or to radicalize the Uyghur Muslims in its extreme west, or to build up Taiwan as an alternative state.

China will go to war to preempt any attempt to dismember it. Its fixation on the South China Sea, where its historic claims to sovereignty are dubious, reflects the old Chinese proverb, “Kill the chicken while the monkey watches.” If we are willing to go the brink for a few empty reefs, Beijing is saying, think of what we would do for Taiwan or Tibet.

A couple articles on the Trade War

Open Letter to Larry Kudlow: You need a different China strategy

Dear Larry: China threatens American preeminence and President Trump is right to worry about it. But you’re going about it the wrong way, and your approach will produce results very different from what you expect or want.
The vast majority of China’s exports to the US are consumer goods, especially electronics. Most of these goods are assembled in China from imported components. China adds only a third or so the value added to these goods. China has a chronic labor shortage and is shifting low-paid assembly to lower-wage countries in Asia. If you tax consumer goods from China, American consumers will pay more, and the Chinese will accelerate the shift of low-wage employment to the new economic zone they are building in Asia through the $1 trillion One Belt, One Road program.
There’s a bigger issue here, and that’s the failure of American observers to anticipate China’s emergence as the world’s most powerful economy. We couldn’t believe that a state-run economy directed by a Communist Party could succeed.
Unlike all the so-called emerging markets of the world—Brazil, Mexico, Turkey, India and so forth—China moved its people from subsistence agriculture to urban employment. 600 million people—the equivalent of two Americas—moved from country to city in the last 35 years. And over that period per capita GDP in China has risen by 45 times – that’s 4,500%.

Chinese citizens response to the Trade War

A new survey has found that a majority of Chinese consumers are prepared to stop buying US products in response to the Trump administration placing tariffs on Chinese goods.

54% of respondents across 300 Chinese cities would “probably” or “definitely” shy away from US products, the study, conducted by FT Confidential Research, found. Only 13% of the 2,000 who responded said they would not boycott.

Farm Report
There is an area on the property that is bare rock from volcanic activity long ago. Still plant communities work to make to create living communities. A few pioneer plants get a foothold when water is available.

The community of plants grows as soil is built by each generation of plants. Different communities start creating their own area. Individual areas merge together until the pioneer communities are not distinguishable from the rest of the pasture.

For a few moments Sunday evening the world had an golden glow.

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I've been getting a lot of email updates on the Ferguson fire to the west of Yosemite N. P. near the town of El Portal. The smoke impact at the park is bad. After living in the town of Wawona inside the park last year I know how bad the smoke can get there. When they say the air quality is hazardous they mean it! He should be through Yosemite and on to other adventures by now. The entire west has a bad fire problem so I'm hoping he has had good luck for his ride. Here is a link to the web site from CalFire with info on the Ferguson Fire

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studentofearth's picture

@jbob No way to minimize the smoke on a motorcycle. Thanks for the fire update.

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Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

detroitmechworks's picture

I keep seeing more and more people talking about Greek concepts these days. It's a nice change, and It makes me happy that the classics are getting read again.

I hope that the American conception of heroism can change, because while the Americans idolize the mavericks and the outsiders, they actually pay tribute to the guys who string those guys up.

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I do not pretend I know what I do not know.

studentofearth's picture


It makes me happy that the classics are getting read again.

It gives us an opportunity to think comprehensively into the nature of humans and societies cycle of problems without immediately pointing fingers at each other.

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Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

The Aspie Corner's picture

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Modern education is little more than toeing the line for the capitalist pigs.

studentofearth's picture

@The Aspie Corner videos and bring a select few here to share. I do not have the extra time time to watch a wide range of videos. Liked his intelligent discussion to regarding organized disruption of socialist movements using Venezuela as an example. We need to be very aware of how centralized product distribution can be used to disrupt societies to foster political upset.

3 users have voted.

Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

enhydra lutris's picture

building soil over generation after generation, the Chinese are fully capable of patience, and of working with nature and acting similar to nature.

Though USAns, in general, can patiently await the great ever postponed day of salvation, they are otherwise impatient. Dynamite and doze the rocks and then haul in truckloads of soil purloined from someplace else where its purpose is beyond our ken. It is also a land and culture of bluff, braggadocio and bluster which, when thwarted, indulges in endless petty sniping, harrassment, sabotage, subterfuge and skullduggery. Witnedd Cuba, or Hillary and the Hillerites.

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

studentofearth's picture

@enhydra lutris efficient and totally ignore ecological effects if not part of their goals.

Last November the announced a dredging ship that would complete its testing this year.

“With a full displacement of 17,000 metric tons, the 140-meter-long ship is capable of dredging as much as 6,000 cubic meters of sand or clay per hour from 35 meters below the water’s surface, a capacity that means it could dig three standard swimming pools in an hour,” the paper said.

Named the Tiankun, the vessel “is the best of its kind in Asia,” according to the ship’s designer, the Marine Design and Research Institute in Shanghai, and “can be used to conduct coastal/channel dredging and land reclamation operations even in bad weather at sea.”

3 users have voted.

Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

That is War of Terror talk, outside the asylum. I would be indoctrinated to death in the communist gulags, I'd starve rather than stop thinking for myself, I cannot admire the re-education camps, past present or future. Capitalist gulags are bad too, not saying they are good.

Although not as well known outside China as the question of Tibet, the conflict over Xinjiang appears to be equally as intractable, and similarly grounded in conflicting accounts of both the past and the present.

Xinjiang Population Statistics (2010 Statistical Yearbook)
Uyghur 10,019,758 46.4%
Han 8,416,867 39%
Total 21,586,300

Xinjiang is an autonomous region within the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Its immediate precursor was a product of the expansion of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) during the eighteenth century. Xinjiang was transformed from being a dependency into an imperial province in the 1880s. It reverted to semi-independent warlord control for much of the Republican period (1912-49), and was incorporated into the PRC by the People’s Liberation Army in 1950. At that time it was home to a large Uyghur majority, with smaller communities of other Central Asian peoples (e.g., Kazakh, Kirghiz, Mongols, Tajik), as well as Han and Hui migrants from Chinese provinces to its east. Recent immigration has seen a rapid rise in the Han Chinese population; factoring in the floating population of migrant workers, this population is now believed to exceed that of the Uyghurs.

The Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) dates from 1955. It comprises roughly one sixth of China’s total landmass, borders on eight neighbouring countries, and contains the largest remaining reserves of oil and gas thought to exist on Chinese soil.

Ding! Hello Bueller. heh

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the declaration of a ‘War on Terror’ by the United States in 2001, Uyghur opposition has been cast by China as one wing of an international terrorist conspiracy. This manner of framing issues related to Xinjiang has helped China win endorsement for its definition of the internecine struggle in some circles. The presence of Uyghur militants in Pakistan and Afghanistan cannot be denied, however their numbers, level of organization, and their efficacy inside Xinjiang are all disputed both by Chinese and by foreign observers.

--- Arbeit macht frei

Re-education through labor (RTL; simplified Chinese: 劳动教养; traditional Chinese: 勞動教養; pinyin: láodòng jiàoyǎng), abbreviated laojiao (simplified Chinese: 劳教; traditional Chinese: 勞教; pinyin: láojiào) was a system of administrative detention in the People's Republic of China. The system was active from 1957 to 2013, and was used to detain persons accused of minor crimes such as petty theft, prostitution, and trafficking illegal drugs, as well as political dissidents, petitioners, and Falun Gong adherents. It was separate from the much larger laogai system of prison labor camps.

Sentences under re-education through labor were typically for one to three years, with the possibility of an additional one-year extension. They were issued as a form of administrative punishment by police, rather than through the judicial system. While incarcerated, detainees were often subject to some form of political education. Estimates on the number of RTL detainees on any given year range from 190,000 to two million. As of 2013, there were approximately 350 RTL camps in operation.[1]

On December 28, 2013, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress abolished the re-education through labor system and detainees were released.[2][3] However, human rights groups have observed that other forms of extrajudicial detention have taken its place, with some former RTL camps being renamed as drug rehabilitation centers.[4]



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studentofearth's picture

@eyo cause disruptions and monitor.

Some Uyghur Muslems are influenced by Fethullah Gülen. The same Islamic Pastor, residing in Pennsylvania, Turkey wants to extradite for the 2016 coup attempt.

CIA and Gülen in Central Asia
During the 1990s Gülen’s global political Islam Cemaat spread across the Caucasus and into the heart of Central Asia all the way to Xinjiang Province in western China, doing precisely what Fuller had called for in his 1999 statement: “destabilize what remains of Russian power, and especially to counter the Chinese influence in Central Asia.”

Gülen’s organization had been active in that destabilizing with help from the CIA almost the moment the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, when the nominally Muslim Central Asian former Soviet republics declared their independence from Moscow. Gülen was named by one former FBI authoritative source as “one of the main CIA operation figures in Central Asia and the Caucasus.”

Resistance fighters in Tibet

Tenzing's father, Lhamo Tsering, was a senior resistance leader and the CIA's chief coordinator for the Tibet operation. In 1958, he was trained at CIA camps in Virginia and Colorado's Rocky Mountains. He documented the entire movement, writing at length on the subject. Though he died on January 9 this year without realising his dream of a free Tibet, The Shadow Circus stands tribute to the man.

Cia and Tiawan

Known as "The Black Bats," they say they were working for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, a claim backed up by a photo of them posing with the CIA's then-station chief. Between 1953 and 1967, they flew more than 800 sorties over the Chinese mainland, dropping agents, testing radar responses, even collecting air samples from suspected nuclear test sites.

After decades in the shadows, they are coming forward, encouraged by the planned establishment of a museum honoring their exploits in this high-tech center that was once the base of their operations.

More Recent CIA Operations from New York Times 2017.

The Chinese government systematically dismantled C.I.A. spying operations in the country starting in 2010, killing or imprisoning more than a dozen sources over two years and crippling intelligence gathering there for years afterward.
The previously unreported episode shows how successful the Chinese were in disrupting American spying efforts and stealing secrets years before a well-publicized breach in 2015 gave Beijing access to thousands of government personnel records, including intelligence contractors. The C.I.A. considers spying in China one of its top priorities, but the country’s extensive security apparatus makes it exceptionally hard for Western spy services to develop sources there.

At a time when the C.I.A. is trying to figure out how some of its most sensitive documents were leaked onto the internet two months ago by WikiLeaks, and the F.B.I. investigates possible ties between President Trump’s campaign and Russia, the unsettled nature of the China investigation demonstrates the difficulty of conducting counterespionage investigations into sophisticated spy services like those in Russia and China.

Looking at China response to their citizenry and CIA actions is not because of admiration, but to review tactics. Ones that intelligence agencies are probably using domestically to spy on citizens and shape public opinion, or wishing they could. Most of the worst practices of the Chinese has been used by our agencies in foreign countries and on domestic populations. Domestically most of the population is unaware.

The newest technique in China - don't send the Uyghurs to a re-education camp send a trainer to their home.

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Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

Lookout's picture

Been on the tractor all morning and just breezing by on my way back out to weed eat. Something to do all the time this time of year.

Hope you are all doing well!

4 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Being Jared Huffman must be hard, how does he maintain a straight face while spewing such juvenile bullshit? I'd like to wipe that smug clinton smile right off his tool face sometimes, crony jerk.
Rep. Jared Huffman assesses peace prospects after trip to South Korea

“I do support the diplomatic path,” Huffman said, “but it has to be one that leads to results, and not just a PR exercise. We need to see action and results.

So far, he said, the historic meeting has mostly been a prestige boost for Kim, the totalitarian dictator of a nation with one of world’s worst human rights records, matched by concessions from Trump, including suspension of joint military exercises with South Korean forces.

“We have elevated his stature and his standing,” Huffman said, and if that goes unreciprocated “then we’ve really had our lunch money stolen.”

"We need to see action and results" about the housing crisis developing in CA-02 during your career, you useless piece of lobby trash. Go away! Stop climbing the D-Value ladder of "opportunity". Eff you and the D party lobbyists you ride to your public/private bank every day. Fuck you very much.

--- Speaking of Ds
Here's Bernie Sanders on the Senate floor, jumping the shark forever:
Bernie Sanders Slams Trump's Helsinki Summit

There is no going back, he is pathetically wrong at the end of his lifelong career in politics. Too bad it is the same as it ever was. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. He has no opponent in Vermont since he started out in Congress, that is the deal he made with the Democrats and it has made him a rich man with his own kabuki foundation, nothing has changed. Plutocracy is status quo. Bernie will GOTV for Ds, those are his marching orders and I am not following. NOPE

good luck

3 users have voted.
lotlizard's picture

What, like with a cloth or something? </hillary>

3 users have voted.
studentofearth's picture

@lotlizard and NASA activities.

Central Oregon had rather a lot to offer the astronaut-scholars, so they spent a lot of time here. They studied Hole in the Ground, Fort Rock, the Newberry Crater — and, of course, the McKenzie lava fields.

Bend, being a relatively decent-sized town in the middle of all these features, naturally became a sort of field headquarters for NASA scientists and astronauts.

Astronaut Jim Irwin left a piece of local lava rock from Devil's Lake on the moon.

And indeed, NASA officials were at first skeptical about the claim of Oregon lava on the moon.

“I don’t recall any stories about Jim Irwin taking a rock from Oregon and placing it on the surface of the moon,” NASA historian Glen Swanson told Central Oregon journalist Melany Tupper in a 2002 letter. “I think this is pretty unlikely due to the severe weight restrictions and time limitations that the crew had on the lunar surface.”

However, perhaps the letter got NASA thinking about it, because a few years later the space agency got a similar request from Oregon Public Broadcasting reporter Sierra Jenkins, and Eric M. Jones, editor of the Apollo Lunar Surface Journal, took a closer look at some of the photographs from the mission. Cross-referencing them with Irwin’s letter to Watson, he was able to identify the rock, and confirmed the story as almost certainly true.

Thus, we can consider — with apologies to martyred Great War poet Rupert Brooke — that there’s some corner of a foreign world that is forever Oregon.

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Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

mhagle's picture

More Chinese history and beautiful photography. A very pleasant way to end my day. Smile

2 users have voted.


"Make dirt, not war." eyo