Desert Tortoise comments

Posted in: Trump calls California school closures a 'terrible decision' as deaths rise in 3 southern states See in context

Mr. Trump doesn't seem to see the problem from the perspective of the average parent. We have a 5yo entering kindergarten this August. Our little late life surprise. The local district is giving us the option of attending in person half day (that's about all a regular kindergarten day is anyway, 6 hours at the most) or distance learning. Neither is ideal for us but at least we are fortunate enough to be able to work from home. Sending him to school is better for us but the thought scares us. If he gets sick and brings something home to us we are older and could become very sick. Both of us have health conditions that make us a bit vulnerable. How would we take care of him were we incapacitated by Covid-19? And what happens if he were to get the awful inflammatory disease that is like Kawasaki disease that seems to be associated with Covid-19 in small kids? We'd never forgive ourselves if he got sick like that because we sent him off to school. The decisions this President so flippantly makes are agonizing for average people to deal with. He seems to have no idea what parents are thinking and just assumes we all want to charge right back out there with our kids into this SARS-Cov2 infested world and carry on as before. No. Not no but heck no.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: Trump administration rescinds rule on foreign students See in context

"She'll get a job some day. Maybe sometime during her thirties."

In my mid 30s I realized my Bachelors degree was not going to allow me to do what I wanted to do in life so I returned to university for a Masters degree. It's not such an uncommon thing. Some big employers want their people to have a Masters to advance. Others like me decide their current path is wrong and want to go in a different direction. In my case I worked full time and paid cash for my education. It was perhaps the hardest time of my life, and it was almost ten more years before I really found the job I wanted. You know absolutely nothing about the lady you quote but are so quick to conjure up a negative image of her. It must be nice to be so perfect. The rest of us bow to your grand superiority.

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Posted in: Australia tightens restrictions as COVID-19 cases top 10,000 See in context

"oodluck....but since 58% of Aussies or poor"

Document that claim. According to the University of New South Wales study "Poverty in Australia 2020" 13.6% of the Australian population are estimated to live below the poverty line taking into account housing costs. Where does your 58% number come from? Please be specific.

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Posted in: U.S. brands China claims in South China Sea illegal See in context

"Any nation in the Southeast Asia Sea can claim its territory as long as it can provide concrete evidence and adhere to the international rules. To date, China's ‘nine-dash line’ claim was strongly rejected by tribunal's rulings in 2016. Yet, China has disregarded these rulings and would not hesitant to use force to overtake any islands included in its ridiculous claim."

Staking a claim doesn't imply it is legal under international law. Nations with a maritime boundary are granted an Economic Enforcement Zone or EEZ that extends 200 nautical miles from their coast. Inside that EEZ the coastal nation has the right to control resources, meaning the fishing, seaweed harvesting, mineral and any other resource extraction within their EEZ. There is a provision under international law where a nation can claim a broader EEZ, out to 300 nm if they can show their continental shelf extends that far. I don't think any kind of reasonable argument can be made to suggest China's continental shelf extends all the way down the coast of Vietnam to Malaysia and Indonesia.

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Posted in: U.S. brands China claims in South China Sea illegal See in context

The absurdity of China's territorial claims was revealed by a July 2011 encounter between INS Airavat, a Landing Ship Tank or LST departing Nha Trang en route to Hai Phong for a pair of courtesy visits to Vietnam and an unidentified PLAN warship just 45 nautical miles off the Vietnamese coast. The Chinese warship demanded INS Airavat identify itself and explain why it was in what the Chinese called their territorial waters. The Airavat was called on an open radio frequency and told they were entering "Chinese waters". One needs only to look at a chart (map) to see how ridiculous such claims are.

Under international maritime law, man made objects, which describes China's man made islands, have no territorial waters or airspace associated with them. International waters cannot be converted to territorial waters by creating an island where there were formerly a shoals or shallow spot on the ocean floor. If it was international waters and airspace before the Chinese starting building, it forever remains international waters and airspace. If nations yield to Chinese territorial claims then their claims become fait accompli. The world looked the other way when Hitler took Sudetenland followed by Czechoslovakia. China is using Hitler's play book in a way, chipping away chunks of small less powerful and less influential states. How long before they try to enforce their claims on Taiwan and Okinawa?

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Posted in: U.S. brands China claims in South China Sea illegal See in context

"Remember the 'pivot', whikst Obama was pivoting China was building islands, sinking Filipino (a treatied ally of USA) fishing boats, harassing Japanese aircrafts .....

Despite the abhorrent divisions inside USA, internationally, the Trump administration has done more to push back against China, Iran etc. than any other administration."

The current administration has the military forces, new weapons and base improvements in places like Guam, Saipan and Okinawa in place to challenge China because of the planning and resources committed by the prior administration.

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Posted in: U.S. brands China claims in South China Sea illegal See in context

"But it will be interesting to see what will come out of the Biden camp. He's already said he will reverse the WHO membership decision by Trump, first day in óffice! - speaks volume about his priorities for the American people."

The US leaving WHO abandoned Taiwan in its efforts to join WHO. The Us basically cut its ally Taiwan off at the knees.

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Posted in: Look out, Mars: Here we come with a fleet of spacecraft See in context

Someday in the future a spacecraft from Earth is going to set down on a distant planet, unfold it's solar panels, raise its camera up on a stalk, take a look around the landing site and see a spacecraft from another world sitting there with its camera or other sensors looking back at it.

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Posted in: UK aims to strike trade deal with Japan by end of July See in context

There is more than a whiff of desperation in the British negotiating position.

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Posted in: Okinawa governor wants tougher action after 61 U.S. Marines infected with coronavirus See in context

"If new industries come, they will follow Japanese law. There will be new problems. That is too be expected, but the US military will be gone ... except the toxic waste clean up teams, which will still be working 50 yrs later."

If the US military leaves Okinawa while the CCP remains in power, the PLA will enter Okinawa immediately behind the departing Americans. Remember, China hates everything about Japan. They hold a deep grudge from WWII, nourished by a cowardly CCP who's own leadership ran and hid from the Japanese during WWII while Chiang Kai-Shek's forces did all the hard fighting. I hear it from the Chinese side of my family, never trust the Japanese, they will stab you in the back. That is what they say. And they want revenge. They think Okinawa was part of China before Japan took it by force in the 1800s and also think that with Japan's defeat in WWII Okinawa should have been returned to China and not to Japan. I don't agree with any of this but don't be so naive to think that the Chinese would not try to invade Okinawa were US forces to leave. They would be coming ashore as the last US aircraft departed. They would be waving at the departing aircraft from the side of the runway.

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Posted in: Man arrested after video surfaces, showing him let elementary school daughter drive car See in context

Our 5yo sits in my lap and "parks" the car on the driveway.

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Posted in: Japan defense review slams China's virus 'disinformation' See in context

"A govt of lies, by the lies, always lies will be perished from the earth.

And that doesn't scare the CCP?"

They understand it perfectly. What they cannot grasp is the whole idea of self governance where the just powers of a government are derived from the consent of the governed. THAT is what scares them.

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Posted in: Japan defense review slams China's virus 'disinformation' See in context

"More seriously, on the hydroxychloroquine issue, I know there are studies that show its effectiveness. But they tend to come with caveats. Crudely put, it works for some, but can have bad consequences for others. This is in the conclusion of one study:"

I had to take that stuff as a malaria preventative for a job in an underdeveloped tropical nation. It is rough on the system and can damage your liver and kidneys.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan defense review slams China's virus 'disinformation' See in context

"Actually the U.S. has done quite a bit against China, that's why the CCP isn't happy with the current administration and is praying for a Biden win."

I marvel at this lie being propagated that Mr. Biden or any other Democrat would be softer on China than the current administration. It ignores how many Democrats are sons and daughters of Taiwanese and Hong Kong immigrants or are themselves immigrants from these places. Or you have people like my wife, a child of the Cultural Revolution, who will tell you "Mao took everything". She had to leave China for a chance to go to school her family was so reviled by the CCP. If anything the Democrats will press China even harder on the atrocities they are committing against the Uygurs and the people of Hong Kong. The Democrats are emphatically not the friends of the PRC.

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Posted in: U.S. base in Okinawa confirms 32 more coronavirus cases; Iwakuni base reports several See in context

"Furthermore, deploying troops is supposed to be done through tightly controlled military flights and nothing else."

Not necessarily. In many cases service members have the option of paying the difference in cost out of pocket to fly commercial. Airline seats used to be a lot more comfortable than a nylon troop seat in a C-141 for a ten hour flight across the Pacific. Today the troop seat might actually be more comfortable than the pinche little seats airlines provide in their economy class. In addition the US military charters civilian airliners with civilian crews to fly troops around the world. 475 people crammed into a very vintage 747 operated by an airline you never heard of. Lovely.

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Posted in: U.S. base in Okinawa confirms 32 more coronavirus cases; Iwakuni base reports several See in context

"Don’t u understand yet that the bases are US TERRITORY?"

Actually they aren't. I haven't been to Okinawa but at other overseas US bases I have visited the host nation's flag flies and the host nation's national anthem is played alongside the US national anthem during morning colors. There is a senior officer from the host nation's military in command of the base itself alongside a US counterpart. Each squadron, batallion, maintenance activity or whathaveyou has their own commander and are called "tenant commands" with their own reporting chains. The US base commanders usually make a point of informing their troops they are guests on foreign soil, or at least that has been my experience and are deferential to the hose nation's senior officer on the same base.

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Posted in: Mystery as Argentine sailors infected with virus after 35 days at sea See in context

I'm having a hard time with the time line of the events. The way I'm reading it the crew as all tested in port, then entered a 14 day quarantine. All the tests came back negative. Next they sailed to go fishing and while at sea developed symptoms of Covid-19? Is that correct? Is it possible something among their supplies was contaminated and this is the source of their infection?

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Posted in: Okinawa governor wants tougher action after 61 U.S. Marines infected with coronavirus See in context

"If the US leaves Okinawa, there will be some economic hurt for 5-10 yrs, but then the people will be fine as they take up new industries to earn their living."

Yep, your new Chinese masters will invest heavily in high paying industries, the press will be free, all your favorite titles will remain in the libraries, PLA soldiers will never drink or gamble, will be neutered before arrival and PLAAF jets will fly noiselessly over sunny perpetually sunny skies.

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Posted in: Okinawa governor wants tougher action after 61 U.S. Marines infected with coronavirus See in context

"I feel very sorry for the Okinawans as they have been treated awfully in history. Unfortunately their geographical position puts them in the firing line next to China. But Japan got lucky when the US chose to base themselves here and protect Japan."

Let's be frank. Until the past decade pretty much all of Asia was happy to have US forces protecting Japan, alleviating the need for the Japanese to re-arm. Japan had few friends in Asia, no allies aside from the US and much of Asia was happy to see Japan depending on the US for its defense. It has only been in the past ten years in the face of an increasingly aggressive and rapidly arming China, especially its growing modern navy and its habit of taking islands from weaker nations, that has changed Asian minds regarding Japan. Where before a re-armed Japan was viewed as a mortal threat, today those same nations fear China and see Japan both as a nation threatened by Japan and a possible strong ally to help contain China.

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Posted in: Okinawa governor wants tougher action after 61 U.S. Marines infected with coronavirus See in context

"How dare you say that -- that the U.S. has every right to keep as many troops and maintain as many bases as it wants in Okinawa? Do you consider that right the end result of World War II, i.e. the U.S. won and Japan lost?"

i would not say the US has a "right" to keep bases in Okinawa, but they certainly serve Japanese and US interests equally well. China has long maintained claims to the Ryukyus based on centuries old relations between the former Ryukyuan Kingdom and the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Ryukyuan Kings paid tribute to both Ming, Qing and Japanese Feudal warlords until the Ryukyus were absorbed into Japan in the late 1700s. Many if not most Chinese claim the only reason Okinawa is part of Japan is a legacy of imperial Japanese militarism and WWII ended that forever. Therefore the Ryukyus rightfully belong to China. I don't agree with this but most Chinese think this way. Having substantial US forces there guarantees any Chinese attack on Okinawa would lead to war with the US.

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Posted in: Okinawa governor wants tougher action after 61 U.S. Marines infected with coronavirus See in context

"Is there a reason a base wasn't built on a sparsely inhabited island like Tsushima?"

Probably something to do with the bitter and bloody six month long battle the US fought to capture that island from Japan during WWII, and it's geography opposite China after Mao came to power. If my memory serves the US ended it's occupation and returned Okinawa to Japan in 1972. The April 1952 Treaty of San Francisco awarded Okinawa and several other islands such as the Marcus Islands to US trusteeship. A separate 1971 treaty returned Okinawa to Japanese control effective in 1972. Meanwhile the demands of the Cold War to keep the VMF (Voenno Morskoy Flot - Military Maritime Fleet of the USSR) and to a lesser extent the PLAN confined to the extent possible, behind the first island chain placed a premium on keeping bases on Okinawa. The recent rapid growth of the PLAN has if anything greatly increased the importance of the bases on Okinawa to both the defense of Japan and the US. Tsushima is poorly situated in this regard. In any even isn't most of Tsushima a nature reserve where new development is prohibited?

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Posted in: Japan may still build Aegis Ashore despite reports of cancellation See in context

"Yes, for up to 3 missiles at a time."

The actual number is classified but AEGIS can track and engage hundreds of targets simultaneously. The radars can track targets in space. The Russians have nothing comparable. China however probably comes close with the radars on the Type 052D and Type 055 destroyers. Anybody who knows what they are capable of isn't blogging it in open sources however. The range of the SM-3 Block II missile the US and Japan are co-developing is far beyond anything Russia or China has. Much longer ranged than THAAD too. The BMD features of AEGIS (it's a lot more than just a ballistic missile defense system) combined with SM-3 have a very good test history. I am not aware of a better tested and more capable system in service anywhere.

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Posted in: Japan may still build Aegis Ashore despite reports of cancellation See in context

"And any nation that is attacking with nuclear armed missiles is going to send the first couple fused to be 'airbursts' that'll produce an EMP that'll knock out the system, along with a wave of dummy missiles to accompany them, again meaning that they are worthless as a defense against another nation."

Sigh. EMP is well understood and the US military has built EMP hardened systems for many decades. And, obtw, a warship has so many radars and other high powered radios and other emitters on board that systems are well protected just to survive in the concentrated electromagnetic radiation environment of a modern combat ship. Think about all the radars on the superstructure in close proximity to communications antennas, high powered jammers, various ESM sensors, fire control radars, etc.

The US has an EMP lab that tests all kinds of civil infrastructure against the effects of EMP. The systems most at risk are business and home computers and home entertainment systems with un-shielded cable runs. They act as antennas to concentrate EMP. Cars do surprisingly well. Credit the necessity of having to shield computerized engine management systems from high output sound systems, and vice-versa. Cars that were not running when subjected to EMP suffered no damage. About half the cars that were running when hit by EMP were unaffected. Most of the remainder just needed to be turned off and re-started or they shut down but were able to re-start and show no residual effects. A few suffered problems like warped guages (some VW products) . Only a very small number suffered permanent damage to one of their processors and were unable to re-start. Most cars are very well shielded from EMP.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan may still build Aegis Ashore despite reports of cancellation See in context

"A military analyst pointed out, however, that there might have been another reason for the cancellation, and that is that the current Aegis Ashore systems cannot shoot down the missiles coming in at a low altitude that Russia has recently developed. "

Where does this nonsense come from? Russia has had sea skimming cruise missiles for decades. The technology for these goes back to the 1970s. They are what drove the Navy to develop AEGIS in the first place. The SPY-1 radars used by the AEGIS system are quite capable of tracking sea skimming targets. They can even track artillery and were used to direct counter battery fire during the US engagement in Lebanon all those years ago. The earliest model of AEGIS used on the first units of the Ticonderoga Class cruisers were limited in their ability to track sea skimming missiles but all of those units are decommissioned. The version of AEGIS in use today is really a completely different system, vastly better. The SPY-6 radars that are replacing the SPY-1s are better still.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: U.S. State Department OKs possible $23 bil sale of F-35s to Japan See in context

"Hahaha... when Japan requested the F22 and the US kind of forced them to accept the F35 instead."

The F-22 was never designed with foreign sales in mind. Everything on it is classified, which means worn out components that would usually be scrapped have to be handled as classified material with all the security measures inherent, and returned to the US for disposal. Same thing for parts coming from the US. The F-35 was designed specifically with foreign sales in mind and only the US and UK receive all of the low observable features the jet is capable of. Other nations receive a jet that would not reveal the US best tech in the event one were to be compromised to an adversary nation.

Btw, if you look at the cost per flight hour for the F-22 it is stupendous. It's as costly to fly per hour as a B-52. It's twice as expensive per hour as an F-15 and 3 1/2 times more expensive per hour than an F/A-18E/F (which has the lowest cost per flight hour of any twin engine tactical jet). That is the reason the USAF didn't buy more of them. The cost per hour was such they didn't have enough money in the flight hour budget to afford the normal amount of flight hours used for training.

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Posted in: U.S. State Department OKs possible $23 bil sale of F-35s to Japan See in context

""The 248 m-long, 24,000-tonne Izumo class has been built with weight considerations for the F-35B in various parts, including the stowage, elevators, and flight deck."

Just a guess but I would bet more than beers the JMSDF wanted to be able to operate with USMC F-35Bs when they wrote the requirements for the Izumo class.

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Posted in: U.S. State Department OKs possible $23 bil sale of F-35s to Japan See in context

"Their initial mission is anti-submarine hunting. Which, although it may not seem like it, helicopters are the most efficient and cheapest way. To locate and destroy a submarine"

In blue water that is true Two helicopters with dipping sonar and crews who know their craft are probably a submarine's worst enemy. The sub can hear the helos, sure, but once they have contact one can dip and get a bearing while the other runs out on the bearing to chase the sub. They tag team the sub until one is close enough to go active. Then it's all over for the sub. With bearing and range, the other helo flies right over the sub, confirms it's down there with MAD (Magnetic Anomaly Detector) and drops torpedos. Done.

In shallow water none of that works. The sub will mover very slowly and noiselessly or maybe sit still near or even on the bottom and become very hard to find. Then it becomes a waiting game using UUVs and UAVs to lay sensors and look for the sub.

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Posted in: U.S. State Department OKs possible $23 bil sale of F-35s to Japan See in context

"The Izumo-class was originally designed to operate the Boeing CH-47 Chinook. One of the largest helicopters in service in the world."

Not really. I've flown civilian Chinooks and dearly love them. They are gentle giants, easy and forgiving to fly and pretty fast by rotary wing standards. But for size and weight the Sh1thook his dwarfed by the CH-53E, CH-53K and several stupendously large Russian helicopters including the Mi-26. The Chinook's max take off weight is 55,000 lbs. The Mi-26 max takeoff weight is 123,000 lbs. The cabin in the Mi-26 is tall enough to accommodate an off road mining dump truck. It has an overhead gantry crane inside. The rotor system is as wide as the wingspan of a C-130 Hercules. Despite this the Russian helos are not very efficient. While the Mi-26 can lift 18 tons (but it can't do it on full fuel except at sea level) the Chinook can lift 14 tons (limited only by the gearboxes torque rating) and can do so at considerable altitudes. We worked side by side with Russians flying the Mi-26 and Ka-32. Now the Ka-32 is an impressive lifter. Not terribly fast or maneuverable but it sure can lift loads.

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Posted in: Japan's economy to shrink at fastest pace in decades this fiscal year See in context

"Words failed me because the Japanese government is still spending money buying fighter jets from usa when they are preparing for japanese economy shrinkage."

Aside from what I wrote above regarding the Equation of National Income, China considers some Japanese territory to be theirs, including Okinawa and they are intent on someday settling scores for WWII. I have a Chinese wife. Take if from me the Chinese have been taught to hate Japan and to desire revenge. If Japan is not well defended you better start learning Mandarin now. You will need it to send your tax return to Beijing.

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Posted in: Japan's economy to shrink at fastest pace in decades this fiscal year See in context

"These packages never create any stimulus except amongst the cronies who produce small, flimsy, ugly face masks and the like, at Darth Abe’s whim."

Time for Econ 102, Basic Macroeconomics. The Equation of National Income is: GDP = C + I + G + (EX-IM)

In words that says Gross Domestic Product is the sum of consumption, investment, government spending and net exports. Currently in Japan C and I are falling. If you cut G, GDP will fall even further and accelerate the decline in economic output. Economists all over the world therefore understand that when GDP is falling a way to reverse the decline is to increase government spending. Where the stimulus goes matters as you want the greatest multiplier effect possible. What is a multiplier effect? Well, increasing G increases GPD by the same amount. But the money added to the economy by the increase in G also leads to increases in Consumption, C and Investment, I. Thus for every yen or dollar increase in G, the GDP rises more. The judgement call comes when deciding which recipients of that increase in G will boost GDP by the most. That is not a straightforward call and calls for considerable econometric modeling, some good guesses and luck.

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