Morning Ed: World {2017.09.18.M}

[Wo1] To no great surprise, Trump’s relationship with South America isn’t great.

[Wo2] Iceland was saved by the tourism and is… sinking by the tourism?

[Wo3] Environmentalists in Mongolia may have reason to go brownshirt.

[Wo4] Eddie the Quitter may need to move over for Princess Mako.

[Wo5] A (likely doomed) effort to strip a doctor of her medical license for her anti-SSM activism.

[Wo6] Look, all I’m saying is that if we wanted to move to a constitutional monarchy Britain may have a monarch to spare.

[Wo7] China doesn’t want our junk anymore.

[Wo8] An interesting hypothetical: If five historical great empires existed concurrently, what might that look like? (Did I already run this?)

[Wo9] This is a pretty ingenious solution. It can work in other context, too, including the infamous wedding baker scenarios: Bake the cake, but threaten to donate the proceeds to an organization opposed to them.


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Will Truman is a former professional gearhead who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He also writes fiction, when he finds the time. ...more →

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57 thoughts on “Morning Ed: World {2017.09.18.M}

  1. Wo4: I think this is basically a given for women. Unlike Britain, which has an extensive class of nobles, Japan only has the Imperial family, which is entirely descended from Emperor Taisho (early 20th century), and has fewer than twenty living members, none of whom, as far as I can tell, are single men, even aside from the consanguinity issues.

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    • This is only true because of the American Occupation before World War II. During the Meiji era, the Meiji oligarchs created a modernized Japanese nobility out of the old court nobility and most prominent daimyo families. This was mainly to create breeding stock for the Japanese Emperors. There was even a a House of Peers in the pre-war Japanese Imperial Diet. The United States ditched both the Japanese nobility and the House of Peers during the post-War occupation.

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      • As far as I remember, in the first decades after WWII, for practical (I.e. Court) purposes, the now untitled Meiji nobility still counted as “the peerage”, McArthur notwithstanding.

        Hence the great scandal when in 1959 now emperor Akihito married the true, albeit millionaire on her dad’s side, commoner Michiko. She was called the baker’s daughter (her dad owned flour mills), in true feudal Japan distaste for the merchant classes.

        Remember that Akihito is Taish?’s grandson. At the time of her marriage, legal nobility included only his parents, his uncles and unmarried aunts, and his uncles’ children. He was expected, nevertheless, to marry into the shadow nobility (which both of Akihito’ brothers did)

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        • From what I remember reading, the American Occupation was pretty effective at eliminating the peerage’s political influence. The modern Japanese nobility never really managed to establish itself in national life in the same way the British peerage did because despite how ancient their families might have been, their legal privileges were of recent and bureaucratic creation. Being of Samurai origin carried more social cachet and influence even though the Samurai class was disestablished by the Meiji government and most made commoners rather than peers.

          Akihito’s marriage was just as arranged as his fathers and grandfathers’ marriage. It was just made to look non-arranged in the media so that the Japanese government could send signals that non-arranged marriages were socially acceptable. A lot of Japanese parents still insisted on the right to pick their kids spouses for them. Many Japanese of marrying age in the mid to late 1950s had different ideas. The Japanese government really didn’t want to deal with social issues because they never want to deal with social issues like Western governments do. Having the crown-prince have a non-arranged marriage in appearance to a wealthy commoner was sending a very strong signal to Japanese parents about letting their kids select their own spouses. If the Emperor can allow this than so can you.

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        • She was called the baker’s daughter (her dad owned flour mills), in true feudal Japan distaste for the merchant classes.

          Isn’t it interesting how backwards prejudices like this can become progressive again?

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    • The Japanese Imperial family also traces its origins back thousands of years to the first mythical Emperor. While they probably aren’t that old, Japan never really had an official change of dynasty like other countries but were always ruled by one Imperial family on paper at least. This is mainly because they weren’t too concerned about how the Emperor’s mother was for most of Japanese history.

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  2. Wo3: The concept of Mongolian Neo-Nazis seems really strange. The Nazis had a broader definition of Aryan than most people think when it suited them politically but I’m not sure if it ever included Mongols.

    Wo5: You shouldn’t loose your license because of bad political opinions.

    Wo6: No more princess culture. Support republican girlhood. I am not a crank.

    Wo8: Yes you did. It doesn’t include any of the Chinese dynasties which seems like a big falling or the Arab Empire under the Ummayids and Abbasaids.

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          • @pinky The swastika has a long history in Mongolia (and a lot of other places) that predates Nazis (basically the Nazis hijacked the symbol). Seems clear these guys are Nazi-obsessed, but using the swastikas would come a lot more naturally to a Mongolian nationalist group than not, since they have swastika symbols a-plenty in other contexts already.

            I’m speculating, but I suspect if they are going anti-Chinese they probably have some stupid theory about how their swastikas represent the ancient spiritual traditions of their people and … you know what, I don’t really need to put myself any further into the head of some gross people who think it’s cool to play at being Nazis.

            But, I thought it was worth mentioning that the swastikas aren’t all *that* remarkable in that area of the world, and nor is anti-imperialist sentiment against the Chinese … it’s the “YAY THESE ARE NAZI SWASTIKAS” bullshit that makes them an utter fringe group.

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  3. Wo8 – I think so? Maybe Oscar did? I remember making a comment about how Roman Britain was kind of a big deal at the peak of the Roman empire, not a backwater like most people think. (or at least how I thought before listening to Mike Duncan’s Roman Empire podcast)

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  4. Wo4 – I’m wondering how big the list of eligible matches was that would have allowed Princess Mako to retain her title. It seems to me that McArthur didn’t leave too much of the Japanese nobility in place, and this which mentions a 1947 seems to confirm it.

    And if Mako did what British female sovereigns do, and look overseas for a match, that would probably be fine if she found someone in a European or African house, but any of the remaining Asian monarchies would probably have their populations have a conniption fit over a member of their royal family marrying a Japanese princess.

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  5. [Wo2] This mirrors the tales we heard on our walking tour of the capital city. Lots of construction going on there and in popular tourist areas, adding more parking, visitor centers, pay public toilets. They are starting the curve of England, where you pay to park, to get into the site, and for the commemorative booklet with map. And yes, it was expensive. It’s a Scandinavian economy with a high standard of living and it’s a frickin island.

    Positives: Reykjavik is a small cozy town, places have happy hours that turns 12 dollar local beers to 6 dollars, the people are universally friendly, the women are attractive, the scenery stunning, and the food’s excellent. This history is pretty kick ass too.

    [Wo5] As it should be. The linked article claimed she “willfully spread misinformation and non-scientific evidence in order to promote the discrimination of LGBTIQ people in Australia.” But apparently, no where in the article is there a representation or quote of what she said. Nor do I see the connection to her breaking her oath, since the key phrasing is “and my patient;”

    [Wo9] Nice. I was considering doing something similar when a former employer decided to make volunteering a component of your performance review. Hmm, now what’s the most offensive organization I could “volunteer” for, still get credit, and force HR to send and email out praising my volunteer choice?

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      • This is brilliant, agreed. I can only imagine the info wars that would go on in yelp reviews of small businesses that adopted this solution, though. (Those things are already NUTS.) Maybe it’s not a though? I mean, at least yelp reviewers are indirectly evaluated for accuracy, perhaps rather more thoroughly than small town newspaper reporters…

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    • Hmm, now what’s the most offensive organization I could “volunteer” for, still get credit

      NAMBLA. Now that neo-Nazis fall into the “everybody has a right to their opinion” category, NAMBLA is the one organization that is still widely condemned.

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        • Hard to say. Until recently I thought it was a fairly uncontroversial notion that a company would not want to employ Nazis, but in the event there has been an awful lot of hand-wringing about this.

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      • @maribou

        There were restrictions on where you could volunteer. No political campaigns, politics, no referendums, etc. You couldn’t volunteer for the NRA IIRC. I never truly looked into it, but will say that NAMBLA was my top prospect. It didn’t matter in the end though. I eventually asked, via autonomous note to the President of the firm, “if your performance review is partially determined by the number of hours your staff volunteers, isn’t that a conflict of interest?” I was told “if you think that, you probably shouldn’t work here.” Funny thing is, my supervisor noted a sudden “decline in my work performance”, caugh caugh…after that comment.

        Time to go….

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        • The amount of bullshit that coheres around performance reviews never ceases to amaze me, perhaps because I performed just fine for a decade of full-time employment where I never had to fill one out. Why wouldn’t they just say to you, “No, because it’s good PR and we care about the community,” (or whatever their logic was, and leave it at that? Shooting themselves in the foot.

          It frustrates me a bit as a manager, because I had a director for a good long while that was *aces* at annual reviews, so I know it can be done well. They were based on positive inquiry, so they were basically a way for you and your manager to look back at all the awesome you did during the year, any obstacles you were frustrated by, and then any actual problems were addressed when they came up and as they came up, not saved up for an annual exercise in justifying raise amounts. Gave the director a ton of bragging points when telling the library’s story, helped her identify any stress points that were screwing up performance because if people don’t feel defensive they will tell you a TON about that stuff that they’d never divulge if they thought they were being rated, etc., and everybody felt better afterward instead of it screwing up morale for a month.

          Our current ones are… neutral. Basically a pain in the butt and a contest among supervisors college-wide for who can write the most convincing “give my direct report a slightly larger raise” letters … but not awful either. It just took them several years of trying things that everyone hated to get there.

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    • I did something similar when our Commander passed out United Way donation cards. This would have been mid-nineties when DADT was a big deal. So I threw $5 a month or so to the Lambda Legal Defense fund.

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    • I agree that [Wo5] should tank, and actually this is one of those unavoidable OBE things that sometimes happen with linkies, where the petition was pulled by the petition host 2 days after it went up, with emphasis that it violated terms of service. (I expect for targeting an individual). Also the linked article is actually a reprint by a blog with an anti-SSM bias, rather than the original petition, for that reason. [I don’t mention that as a complaint but more as a frustration that I’m too sleepy to track down whatever archive-focused organization screengrabbed the original for the historical record, given what a big fuss it made…] So the petition’s been dead in the water for more than a week now.

      I have little sympathy for people who blindly sign petitions like this, even less so for the creators. If she’s doing any of these things they accuse her of – of which they have no evidence, as you say – the law is capable of dealing with that, in a country that widely favors SSM (her own governing association supports it without reservations) and widely disfavors conversion therapy.

      Of course you can probably find 5000 people stupid enough to pile on to any internet petition, lord knows there were some moronic ones during the white house petition days. If they want to support SSM, there are a million better things they could be doing with their time than trying to replace the investigative process via petition. If they’re nearly as worried about suicidal gay kids as they *claim* to be, there’s about 2 million better things… starting with educating themselves that gay kids become suicidal in greater numbers because of how much more likely they are to be abused by their parents or bullied by their peers, not because of their pediatricians.

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      • [Wo5]Of course that petition deserved to die. What frustrates me about it is how messed up this whole plebiscite is in the first place. It’s a non-binding vote meant to guide the parliament on a law that they could have just passed. An with SSM in Australia consistently polling above 60%, there isn’t much of a question of what the country wants or what the results of a fair vote would be (although this whole thing is legally speaking not a vote at all, and conducted using an entirely different process than all other votes in australia have been conducted so it’s not really clear whether unusually low participation will warp the result.)

        As someone who lived through the brutal Proposition 8 battle in California where I got repeatedly called a faggot and a child molester over the course of an election season, I feel sorry for LGBT Australians who are gonna get an inordinate amount of hate for just being who they are because a politician lacked courage. I also feel sorry (though not anywhere near as sorry) for bigots like this doctor who happen to get their faces on TV and will be on the receiving end of outrage for views held by a third or more of the country.

        I don’t think it’s any coincidence that we’ve got this petition circulating about an Asian woman instead of a White man. That’s another thing you saw in California in ’08: People eager to believe that the hate is coming from an out-group instead of their neighbors. People blaming Black voters or Mormons instead of the White mainstream Christians that were the bulk of the Yes vote.

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      • It’s not the volunteering that I objected to. It’s the mandatory volunteerism I object to. The company had a wonderful program: 2 full days (16 hours) of PAID volunteerism. What I objected to was that my volunteerism, or lack thereof, was going to be a factor in my, and my boss’s performance review. After all, I would eventually have a “goal” of a certain number of volunteer hours, and she would have had that same number times the number of employees who reported to her.

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        • You got paid for your time? At one point here there was a move for all of us to do volunteer work “on our own time” (e.g., weekends, evenings) and write it up to make the uni look good.

          I was not a fan of that idea even though I did some volunteer work (mainly through my church, which, us being a state uni, probably didn’t “count” anyway) because it seemed to imply “our time” is actually “their time” and I found that objectionable.

          And this was all over and above the weekend recruitment events and the like we were asked to do.

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  6. Wo2 – there’s an economics PhD or several out there awaiting to be awarded on some good studies of tourism economics.

    A tour guide is Venice Italy had similar complaints, wondering if her city would still be a city for ‘real people’ or just a giantic museum.

    (I didn’t have the heart to tell her that it’s already a giantic museum)

    Eta – at the extreme tourism econmics is ‘what does it look like if you have gentrification without gentrifyers’

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        • Napoleon was pretty late in the game. I think by that point, Venice was more like a cultured version of Las Vegas, living off its improbability, its spectacle, and its accommodations to the desires of the wealthy. Casanova’s memoir could well have been subtitled “What Happens in Venice…”.

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  7. Wo2–the Reykjavik (actually Keflavik) airport is a holy terror to go through. We had a brief layover there to and from Paris and it was a chaotic mess. The one redeeming factor is the Iceland air folks didn’t really care about zone boarding. They just started scanning tickets. For one connection, we were the second ones to board the plane. Of course, we also had to ride busses to and from the airplane three of the four times we were boarding or getting off.
    They did appear to be frantically building, so maybe when construction is complete it will be a better place. It’s about seven hours from DIA and then another three to Paris, so it was a decent break up of a long flight.

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    • this also happened today; the 7th fleet commander (the new one, and a bubblehead) fired the admiral in charge of the Yokosuka based carrier strike group, and the Captain who is the commodore of the associated destroyer squadron.

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        • Something like the USS Cole getting bombed in Aden is how the Fat Leonard scandal would manifest itself.

          The fat Leonard scandal, despite what the good Captain (Ret) says, is a different sort of rot than what may be going on here. They may be related, but only in the sense that money spent on overpaying for port services isn’t money that can be used for readiness and training – but that’s only if those pots of money are transferable at the level of those officials bribed by Fat Leonard (which I don’t think they are, but could easily be wrong. Definitely somebody somewhere is going to balk at giving you more money if your already spending a great amount of it.)

          The firing of CTF-70 and CDS-15 directly addresses something CAPT Eyer wrote in his first piece. What’s also an interesting tidbit, is that Admiral Sawyer (the new C7F that did the firings) is not only a bubblehead, but also the last generation where Rickover had any sort of personal hand in how things were run (Sawyer’ss commsioning was the year after Rickover retired, but I’m not sure how early they did service selection interviews back then. Either Sawyer was literally one of the last ones interviewed by Rickover or the first one interviewed by McKee, but nonetheless, Rickover’s shadow still would have loomed large over anyone and everyone that was in the sub force In the early 80s)

          Which is a long way of saying is that the sub force has never shied away from the holistic review – they did it after Thresher (tho too late for the Scorpion), they were brought onboard to do it for NASA with the Challenger, and then the sub force had to so it again after both the Greenevile Ehime Maru incident and then doubly so for the San Francisco collision. This latter one, I think Sawyer was in the chain of command for, either as Commodore of the Guam sub squadron or the admiral in charge of western pacific submarines. (I’m not sure of the timing of the things in his bio, and I might have actually met the man, but I just can’t remember if I did)

          One last thing with CAPT Eyer’s assertion that aviation and submarines are better at integrating new technology with the training pipeline. I can’t speak for aviation, other than to say its most likely that small mistakes there are drawn in blood more quickly and more readily, so the sort of hidden systemic accumulating errors are less likely, just so far as catastophic event happens sooner with aviation – there’s just less room for error.

          The sub force training that CAPT Eyer talks about, though is still very much *engineering* based. Teaching you how to make hot water w zoomies while not blowing yourself up or glowing in the dark is a very different training than teaching you how not to run into landmasses or other things in the water.

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          • There was another article at USNI that talked about how the surface navy should really do away with their goofy-ass watch standing schedules. I was LCAC, so we worked 8 hour days* and stood security/fire watch for 4 hours every few days, even when deployed. I could never understand how a ships crew could get sufficient sleep or other down time on a 6/6 watch or any other rotation that gave you less that 8 consecutive hours to sleep.

            *Despite being surface vessels, hovercraft operated under flight rules, so crew had to have 8 hours of rest within (IIRC)12 hours of flight, so it made sense for use to be on 8 hour work days.

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            • I was surface, non-nuke, and both ships I served on ran three watch sections in four 5-hr shifts + a four hour midwatch. So your sleep schedule was different every day. Played hell with your circadian rhythms but I suppose that was sorta the point, or at least inevitable.

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            • There’s been a lot of talk about sleep cycles over the past several years, and I think some sort of normalization would help out a lot of things, but I have my doubts whether or not it would help what’s going on right now.

              eta – the fact that both the CO and the XO were asleep at the time of the Fitzgerald collision – when it looks like to me it was in a night steaming box, but in fairly busy waters – is contrary to my own experience in that part of the world.

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              • If your crew is constantly fatigued because they can’t get enough rest, errors will cascade. And while conditioning can increase the amount of time you can go on short sleep, it can’t remove the need for sleep.

                Let’s just say it strikes me as very strange that air crews require 8 hours of sleep prior to operating, but ship crews don’t.

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