horizon360 comments

Posted in: Gold kata See in context

Agree...meets JT standards.

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Posted in: Gold kata See in context

Next photo please.

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Posted in: Gold kata See in context

This second PHOTO OF THE DAY is more JT style. The first one TODAY of the old lady under the volcano was less than inspiring.

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Posted in: Gold kata See in context

I also think Kiyo chan is great. She stamps down like a drum.

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Posted in: World Bank bonuses raise eyebrows amid austerity drive See in context

||Until last year, the World Bank could only pay bonuses to officials stationed abroad but it changed its internal rules in July 2013 to include those based at its Washington headquarters.||

The staff cafeteria at the IBRD/IDA building in Washington, D.C. has stations serving a dozen different national cuisines. There is an expresso maker which operates on tokens (large copper pieces engraved with different images). The whole operation is akin to a showboat on the Mississippi. Bonuses...? Their incomes are already internationally tax exempt. Also the higher ups camp out at Congressional Country Club. If you don't know what and where that is you are obviously just some kind of normal person.

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Posted in: Helping hand See in context

One of my all time favorite Japanese moments was a house visit from a woman like this. It was a blisteringly hot summer day and I was at home with the air conditioning running. There was a very slight knock at the front door and I opened it to find her there with her trolley. The first thing I said was you better come in. That was what I was thinking she replied. I had never seen her before. She settled herself down on a bank of triangular Thai pillows that are arranged together facing the sliding glass doors so as to form a low bench for kids. It was the perfect sitting height for her. I am 90 years old she said. 90. I was born in Taisho (...nen). My daughter told me stay at home today and watch TV in my room but I don't like it. I picked cucumbers for everyone would you like some? Take five and make pickles. Don't forget to add some sugar (just a little bit). You did a good job cutting your shrubs and trees very severely. That is important, but most people don't know that anymore. Thank you for the water. Now I have go. We had talked for 40 minutes. Took her picture as she continued on down the street and vanished. Never saw her again. I am not Japanese.

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Posted in: Why does Japan have so many overhead power lines? See in context

There is the historical reason. That during post war national re-electrification the overhead wires were a totem of progress, modernization and recovery. Everyone actually enjoyed seeing them wherever they were built. And, meanwhile, Toshiba and Hitachi were making humongous profits through the power utilities which had borrowed capital for CAPEX from the government. It was also quicker and easier from an eminent domain legal perspective to buy up rights-of-way above ground instead of below it. Then there is factor of nuclear power. When electricity is generated with fossil fuels the efficiency of converting say coal or oil or gas to electricity is measured by this basic formula: BTU(in) = BTU(out) minus (LINELOSS). LINELOSS is the energy produced (generated) at the plant which is not ultimately consumed by end users (it is lost during the transmission process). Overhead transmission lines result in huge LINELOSS compared to below-ground transmission lines. With fossil fuel generation this means you need to burn more coal, gas, oil to make up for any LINELOSS. On the other hand, if you produce power with atomic energy LINELOSS does not affect your fuel costs in the same way. So, once the ATOMIC CLUB decided that Japan was to have basically ALL nuclear electrical generation they no longer cared about the LINELOSS inefficiency issue because it did not affect their corporate profits. Now that Japan is back to importing fossil fuels to make electricity the LINELOSS issue is suddenly a very BIG deal. Unfortunately political inertia prevents the regional power generation monopolies from agreeing on how to fix the problem. They real key is to separate ownership of generation from ownership of transmission lines, but the fat cats cannot decide how to do it. Meanwhile utilities bills for all will continue to rise.

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Posted in: Avoid a classic blunder: Stay out of religious wars in the Middle East See in context

StrangerlandSep. 27, 2014 - 09:24AM JST (Good post Sangetsu)

Concur. Joseph Campbell was a god (sorry for that). It is too bad he's not around now. Although Campbell was apolitical he had an acid tongue for modernist politicians with no grounding in history. Now would have been a great age for him.

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Posted in: British PM to apologise to queen over purring gaffe See in context

slumdog wrote: ||I continue not to be able to find the part where the Queen is not allowed to have an opinion about politics. I understand she cannot make policy. But, I am still confused as to the real problem with the Queen supposedly 'purring' and the PM supposedly quoting it. What is the big deal, after all?||

For an American the reasons why the Monarch in a constitutional monarchy cannot express views on political matters naturally seem opaque. It is understandably hard to get a solid bearing on a problem without proper knowledge of the basics. This is similar to problems with explaining British sport to the uninitiated in a cogent and succinct way. For instance: ||You have two sides, one out in the field and one in. Each man that's in the side that's in goes out, and when he's out he comes in and the next man goes in until he's out. When they are all out, the side that's out comes in and the side that's been in goes out and tries to get those coming in, out. Sometimes you get men still in and not out. When a man goes out to go in, the men who are out try to get him out, and when he is out he goes in and the next man in goes out and goes in. There are two men called umpires who stay out all the time and they decide when the men who are in are out. When both sides have been in and all the men have been out, and both sides have been out twice after all the men have been in, including those who are not out, that is the end of the game||

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Posted in: The respondents feel happy to be respected as seniors in life, but do not want to be treated as an old person. See in context

Older Japanese with social savoir faire in the Japanese sense are disgusted by the idea of giving up seats to someone older. Give up a seat as a sign of respect. If you don't understand that then please don't get up.

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Posted in: EU keeps Russia sanctions as clashes resume in Ukraine See in context

||BRUSSELS: The European Union on Tuesday decided to keep in place biting economic sanctions on Russia over its alleged backing of pro-Kremlin insurgents who have largely ignored a four-week Ukrainian truce.||

Actually, what the EU Ministers decided on Tuesday was simply not to back any further sanctions, or in other words to temporarily maintain the sanctions status quo. Eastern (Catholic) Ukraine is suffering from severe Poland envy. They want a homegrown Lech Walesa to take them dancing into the arms of the EU, but neglect to realize that first you need some kind of INDUSTRY (like Polands shipyards in Gdansk) before you can have trade unions. Western (Russian) Ukraine just wants just to go back to work and raise families and not be pawns in a NATO chess game under a shower of artillery shells landing on the homes of their aging grandparents. Putin wants promises kept by the West to the Soviet Union in terms of no encroachment of NATO military bases on Russian borders, so in turn he can keep his tactical short range nuclear weapons locked inside the armory. (Russia absorbed and decommissioned the entire Ukrainian nuclear weapons arsenal prior to independence in 1991) Merkel wants (needs) Russian natural gas to keep factories galloping in Deutschland so she can bail out the Greeks and the Spaniards and soon the French. The U.S. wants an ENEMY (or two) so it can budget more for defense through NATO and pay more to defense contractors; and also win elections with votes from hawkish baby boomers still caught up in cold war mental time warps. Winter is on the doorstep. Ukrainian forces under the command of Kiev are still clinging to their offensive positions in the Donbass perimeter but realize to a man that their personal survival requires going home and chopping firewood. Possession is nine tenths of the law - especially for land situated on an international border.

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Posted in: British PM to apologise to queen over purring gaffe See in context

Cameron was fawning over Bloomberg in the most pathetic way when he let slip the purring comment. You can tell by the body language in the video that ingratiating himself somehow was an irrepressible urge. Like a cad name dropping to impress a date. Thoroughly undignified behavior for a sitting Prime Minister. Why with Bloomberg was what stunned me. After all Bloomberg is not simply a multi billionaire former mayor of NYC and proprietor of the dominant financial data service in the world, he is also a major mass media tycoon and an avid news (gossip) hound. Absolutely the wrong person with whom to be indiscrete. (Clearly the act of a moron as Elizabeth Heath notes). Perhaps Bloomberg is a shadow Tory campaign financier. That seems more than likely.

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Posted in: Obama admits U.S. misjudged Iraqi army, militants' threat See in context

The issue is the quality of intelligence available to the President. AGENCY sources ALWAYS push the agendas they made their career bones on. What they want is to imagine themselves as policy advisors before they retire from farming. The mistake Obama is making (has been making) is bad policy based on faulty intelligence. He is overreacting because he is listening only to voices that tell him he needs to take action. Actually by all measures doing nothing was a better option. Do not continue to support Maliki for a second term as Iraq president. Do not arm Syrian separatists because your intelligence advisors believe (tell you) they are moderates whose loyalty is unshakable. Do not have a CIA Director (Leon Panetta) announcing hubristically to the world on numerous occasions that Assad will fall SOON thereby encouraging ISIL to move more rapidly towards Damascus. Do not bomb Syrian territory in direct contradiction to a resolution by the UN Security Council. When Fallujah on the Euphrates fell in January 2013 (without warning) there were no voices coming out of U.S. intelligence about a grand campaign by Islamists rumbling onwards towards Al Tabqah on the way to Aleppo Vilayet. Short sightedness determined policy because agencies were artificially (bureaucratically) conflicted between Iraq matters and Syria matters. Not a historian in the room (and heaven forbid someone well versed in Islam or pre-Mandate geography). Obama needs more and longer vacations away from his blinkered advisors. He needs more time to think, and different partners to play golf with.

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Posted in: The 5 most fun countries to teach English in See in context

Each has its own charm.

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Posted in: Obama admits U.S. misjudged Iraqi army, militants' threat See in context

OldHawk wrote: || Where previous presidents have had security briefings read to him, he has them left in his inbox||

Oh that he had. What Obama said is that U.S. Intelligence Agencies misjudged both the strength of the ISIL militant organization and underestimated the willingness of the Iraqi forces to oppose them. What he failed to properly acknowledge was that he as Commander In Chief showed poor judgment in allying himself with forces in the intelligence community that have vested bureaucratic budgetary interests in encouraging U.S. engagement in foreign conflicts. Obama lives now in an advisorial cocoon and cannot hear anything coming from beyond the silk wrappings of his political coterie of comforters.

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Posted in: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants Japan to have a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council. Would you support such a move? See in context

A simple question it is not, but reinterpreting Article 9 was unquestionably done to support this closet ambition of the right wing. Japan joining the Security Council as a permanent member would not provide any ALPHA to decision making (or any political substance to UN debating points). Japan would ALWAYS vote with the U.S. It could never represent a single renegade NO vote against any proposition. This is all about rekindling national pride in the sense Abe believes in (promoting "peace" through expanding military industrial exports). Practically speaking both China and Russia will say no so it simply cannot happen.

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Posted in: Libya pleads for help in battling terror groups See in context

Lostrune2 wrote: ||The Libya thing was led by Italy as its former colony. So what does Italy have to say about this?||

Mainly what they (modern Italian intellectual historians) say is this: Leave the area alone so that it can re-develop sui generis social institutions which support a civil society. If that takes 50 years so be it. If that means two or three Libyan states so be it. Don't try to unify them. A single unified Libyan society coalesced by external forces will ALWAYS be inherently dysfunctional. Smaller states within states are more suitable to traditional Arab tribal (city state based) stability. If the West must have a single LIBYA then the choices are either controlled chaos under another strongman (like Qaddafi); or some form of return to Monarchy (a legitimate Sultanate). Pluralistic democracy is simply incongruent with the social fibre of the population. [BTW Italian involvement with LIBYA as a colonial power was short lived (1912 to 1942). They unified the country in name only - but built a vast number of public works projects like ports, waterworks and railroads. By in large they were regarded by Libyans as modernizers not occupiers - and their military forces were kept garrisoned rather than roaming about to "establish order". ] La Repubblica Italiana is currently fighting (at great financial and social costs) to manage a tsunami wave of refugees fleeing towards Italy (and thus the EU) from Libya following the U.S. led bombings there in 1986 and 2011.

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Posted in: Japan probe comes up empty on Dreamliner battery problems See in context

Fadamor wrote: ||These two incidents appear to be coincidental rather than an indication of a flawed design.||

The law on product defect distinguishes DESIGN defects from MANUFACTURING defects. The battery DESIGN is not strongly at issue in these incidents. The battery MANUFACTURING is at issue. Manufacturing DEFECT typically involves either materials quality control error or assembly error, and sometimes component installation error or subsequent damage sustained after manufacturing due to negligence (like dropping the thing). A properly manufactured lithium ion battery used under properly controlled environmental conditions is not subject to spontaneous combustion. Therefore combustion (overheating) must be attributed to a MANUFACTURING defect of some kind (or sabotage). Whether that defect can be identified by the investigators or not there should be a scientific explanation presented at least speculatively. However, since no significant passenger injuries occurred, this is now just a matter of economic losses to be reconciled commercially between YUASA and BOEING. There is no need to finger blame (responsibility) as doing so is not going to improve future air travel safety. Good lessons were learned about the risks of using batteries in aerospace applications without rigorous quality control testing. Elon Musk probably tried to bring this point to light at the outset.

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Posted in: Consumer inflation rises slower than expected in August See in context

||The nations core consumer inflation, stripping out volatile fresh food prices, was 3.1 percent year-on-year, the internal affairs ministry said || Excluding the impact of the tax increase, the rise in core consumer prices was 1.1 percent, Dow Jones Newswires said, quoting a formula by the Bank of Japan (BOJ).||

Nonsense. Stripping out volatile fresh food prices makes these inflation figures virtually meaningless in tracking consumer economic conditions. (To be fair, the same game is also played by both the U.S. and U.K. governments). Food prices matter above everything else when it comes to managing most family budgets. Claiming that they are too volatile to be fit into an index is just plain baloney. Japanese family consumers and the pension budgeting seniors are in grocery store shock at the moment. Costs to fill the classic dento teki nabe have more than doubled from what they were just 10 years ago. That means national food price inflation is running above 7% per annum and has been for some time. That rate is very likely to trend even higher once the TPP mirage fades; the general sales tax bumps to 10%; and the yen slides down to 120 versus the dollar. Kuroda and Abe are trapped in their Keynesian delusions of using quantitative easing to spend the country back into a self perpetuating virtuous cycle. Creating the more healthy demand pull inflation is just not in the cards without some radical structural and fiscal policy reorganization measures. Meanwhile, waiting on good times to make tough choices is only political denial.

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Posted in: U.S.-led strikes hit Islamic State-held oil sites in Syria See in context

||The strikes aimed to knock out one of the militants main revenue streams, black market oil sales that the U.S. says earn up to $2 million a day for the group. That funding, along with a further estimated $1 million a day from other smuggling, theft and extortion, has been crucial in enabling the extremists to overrun much of Syria and neighboring Iraq.||

Do not believe it for a second. ISIL is not dependent on raising petty cash like this. The entire stock explanation about smuggling, theft and extortion is just a canned cover story feed to all the benighted press corps scribes. Two objectives are at play. One is cutting back on fuel availability to run militant vehicles. The second is to preempt anyone setting these facilities alight and reducing air to ground visibility. Now that the facilities are no longer assets in terms of fuel supply they will be torched. That wreaks havoc with satellite imaging. It also turns the sand black and the air sour forcing more reluctant and bedraggled refugees north into Turkey.

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Posted in: Japan probe comes up empty on Dreamliner battery problems See in context

Elon Musk offered his services to unravel this riddle for Boeing gratis and was rebuffed all around. That smacks of a politically managed investigation which was seeking neither forensic explanations nor recommendations on improving safety or technologies. The experience www.spacex.com has assembled in battery technologies might have contributed to improving air travel safety for all Boeing passengers.

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Posted in: British PM to apologise to queen over purring gaffe See in context

Silliness. Elizabeth is eighty eight now and entitled to be perfectly human and blithly sentimental for all things from her past. Purr away dear if you like.

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Posted in: Obama thanks Arab nations for joining airstrikes in Syria See in context

Kuya 808 wrote: |One of the expressed goals of Daesh (ISIS/ ISIL) is to erase the arbitrary borders established by Britain and France in Sykes-Picot and to finally achieve the Caliphate that they were promised so long ago. On the surface their motivation has merit but their methods are just too 7th century to be accepted by modern society.|

The Sykes-Picot boundary line has no historical regional legitimacy. It is a foreign colonial imposition (an artifact) based upon an entirely arbitrary process of determination without any regard for indigenous territorial interests. Such interests, if they were ever even noted, were considered to fall second to State power by rights of conquest or even simple declaration. ||Read: A Line in the Sand: Britain, France and the Struggle That Shaped the Middle East by James Barr|| Certainly shifting (dissolving) S-P boundaries is major part of ISILs Caliphate vision, but there is another important bit of much earlier history which colors their holy war ambition even more dramatically. That was the decision by the Islamic prophet Muhammad not to enter Damascus during his lifetime but to forgo experiencing |that earthly paradise| so as to sustain a devotion to an eternal paradise. Symbolically, taking Damascus is an act by which an ISIL Caliphate could claim a kind of righteous legitimacy which the entire Moslem world would recognize in some form. They could declare that they sacrificed themselves to gain for all Moslems what Muhammad only glimpsed from a mountain top. Assad is well aware that driving Syrian national power from Damascus is central to ISIL ambition. It is their Jerusalem.

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Posted in: The U.S. is putting together a coalition, including Japan, to eradicate the threat to the global community from the Islamic State. Do you think military action will be effective or will it make the si See in context

Probie wrote: ||(1) Once a country expands its borders and takes over more land, gains more followers, you never know what is going to happen. (2) With the amount of money they have, buying nuclear or biological weapons and using them on targets in the west, or certainly Israel, is highly likely.||

(1) Exactly. So let it be and don't swing a bat at a swarm of hornets. Better just stay indoors for awhile.

(2) The only effective way to stop proliferation of WMD is to limit them at the source. ISIL is not a source of WMD. As for their having financial resources that is true, but most did not come from selling oil to Turkey or donations from wealthy individuals in Arab states. In fact the U.S. has been their primary benefactor - albeit unwittingly. In 2004, the Bush administration reportedly flew twenty billion dollars of shrink-wrapped cash into Iraq on pallets. All that money subsequently disappeared. The funds flown into the war zone unprotected were made up of surplus from the UN oil-for-food program, as well as money from sales of Iraqi oil and seized Iraqi assets. Much of this U.S. cash was certainly recycled into weapons, and/or currently sits idle "on account" with global arms brokers. This cash LOST by the U.S. during its previous invasion of Iraq has played a hugely detrimental (but never mentioned) role in expanding this conflict.

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Posted in: The U.S. is putting together a coalition, including Japan, to eradicate the threat to the global community from the Islamic State. Do you think military action will be effective or will it make the si See in context

gkamburoff wrote: ||To those who want us to intervene more, I say "GO!". I already did it, and learned my lesson. Now, it is YOUR turn. GO! ||

Right on. I remember when many first lieutenants fresh out of West Point got shipped off to Vietnam never to return from their first tour. Some of them came back to small towns around America in flag draped coffin boxes carried on top of fire engines driven down main streets by local volunteer fire house brigades.Their kodachrome photographs still sit in frames on walls and mantle places (and on top of upright pianos) in homes that never healed. America needs to be more sparing in making patriotic calls to arms. The proper answer to ISIL begins with a rational international perimeter containment strategy (not aerial bombardment). The U.S. does not have a border on that perimeter (nor is there any 51st state in that region). Graphic executions and radical calls for vengeance against the West are incitements and provocations intended to trigger exactly the kind of hawkish response which is happening at present. Playing into that game will ultimately be counterproductive to U.S. interests and a tragic waste of more service personnel. Support for Assad and his fight to ring off Damascus is the only other contribution worthy of consideration. Unfortunately getting "turned-around" on this issue requires the kind of executive decision the lobby shackled POTUS seems to be incapable off.

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Posted in: Generic drugs: The best medicine for Japan’s economy? See in context

HonestDictator: @Hackney is correct. Delivery mechanisms for certain pharmaceuticals vary significantly between branded products manufactured under license and generic products compounded as chemical equivalents. The term delivery mechanisms covers a wide range of important issues from sustained duration release to transfer buffering to compound stabilizing agents and many more complex factors. There are certain classes of drugs for which a generic "equivalent" is functionally indistinguishable - but saying that this is true across the board is a brash and scientifically unsupportable claim. It is the kind of thing said in advertisements by a spokesmodel who announces at the start "I'm not a doctor, but I play one in a TV show". When it comes to generic drugs most M.D. are open minded to the consumer cost issues but rightfully suspect when it comes to claims of an identical substitution in all cases. Generics have an important role to play in the international marketplace for medications but consumers should be wary. The U.S., Japan, EU, and U.K. have vastly different policies for approving generic medications sold to the public by prescription. Yakuzaishi in Japan are taught (educated and obliged by their licensing association conduct rules) to say generics are the same - and to sternly challenge any customers who insist on a branded option. They do this is in order to control aggregate national health care costs under their public health care system. If you can afford (and want) the branded item don't allow yourself to be bullied about what you put in your body. You have the right to ask who makes this generic substitute (what country is the company from?) where was it manufactured (where's the lab?) what is the price variation from the branded prescription on a percentage basis per unit (more than half?). If you are still not convinced that branded medication and generics are (not-identical) go to the cold beer section of your local supermarket and pick any can (or case) with your eyes closed (that's your generic brand). The generic drug industry is an industry just as much as the big pharma companies that chase and market new medications for profit. Don't think for a minute that these generic manufacturers are not in it for the money.

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Posted in: Scotland leader quits; queen urges unity See in context

SNP would naturally be the first choice of Westminster to sit for Scotland at the Devo Max roundtable. It should be the last choice for voters of Scotland. Because, SNP now has zero political leverage ZERO. At least Labour can prosecute claims aggressively, assured that backsliding by Westminster will color all other negotiations by extention in repercussion. All SNP would really be doing is the dirty work of selling the deal back home in whatever form it takes (gets granted), and then becoming a whipping post for the inevitable public backlash. This is a job tailor made for Labour under Gordon Brown. Nicola Sturgeon has the all makings of a popular progressive. However she hasn't the right credentials to go toe to toe with the whole Tory mob down on their own turf. Her time in the limelight is over for now.

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Posted in: Scotland leader quits; queen urges unity See in context

The SNP is through. Their political platform no longer has legs. Alex may not be much missed but effectively losing Nicola Sturgeon as well will suck ALL the fresh air (highland, lowland, and island) out of any popular enthusiasm for politics. It was the Labour Party of the coalition government which supported NO. Now they alone should stand front and centre to represent their new (majority) constituency in negotiating collective rights for the surrenderers. Cameroon will prove that he is very well practised and steadfastly secure in arguing the impracticality of keeping promises made in the heat of passion. One cannot keep such promises to one but not to others too - so the line goes. Regrettably it is come time to reverse the color SCHEME of The Saltire to make it a single Blue X on White (a final tribute) and then fold it away for good. If a popular vote against self-rule (sovereignty and independence) does not idiosyncratically define a society forever then nothing ever can. We can only watch impassively as the industry of Scotland tourism in all its global and local manifestations from Tartan and Twead to Whiskey and Shortbread enters its long and precipitous decline until it becomes something like the old American Indian Head Penny. The brand image of the irreverent but enduring and sentimental Scot has been forever tarnished. Only Robert Burns survives. GOWK

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Posted in: Scotland begins historic independence vote See in context

Elizabeth Heath wrote: "@Brainiac. If it's a close vote the losing side will be screaming it's a fix. It won't end tomorrow. This nastiness will go on for years, the damage is done."

Perhaps. Either way Britain will initially seek to villify and damage Scotland by all means possible. That is until the unpopularity of that policy internationally saturates Westminster consciousness. Thereafter the twinning of Scotland and England will become the nouveau public relations theme. Neither side can sustain a grudge without impaling itself. An homegrown international reconciliation makes much better sense than Max Devo.

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Posted in: Ukraine lawmakers ratify landmark deal with Europe See in context

Follow-on headline: Poroshenko courting Obama and U.S. Congress for more humanitarian aid ahead of Winter after winning pro-European vote in Kiev

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