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Herunar's profile

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recent comments, posts, and shares:
Herunar  ·  2828 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: What do you think of Dr Jill Stein and The Green Party?

Ah, thanks for that link - I do appreciate it. But I don't think the Green Party are not 'participants' - perhaps my wording was a bit too strong. I just think that fielding a Presidential candidate in and of itself is just not worth the time as things currently stand. The Greens have about 135 elected positions in a country of 325 million people, no seats in either the House or the Senate, no seats in state legislative systems, no governships, and no real power in any singular state besides a few mayoral positions. That does not a movement make, and I think that's what I was trying to get at.

I'd look to the Lib Dems in the UK, Podemos in Spain, the New Democrats in Canada, or, hell even the Green Party in Australia/UK to an extent (at least they have a seat in Parliament...) to how to actually build a relatively successful movement in a two party system - the Greens are adopting more populist stances, and I like that, and I truly want to see a real anti-capitalist, progressive party in the States, but nothing the Greens have done shows me that they are willing to put in the years of groundwork to start capturing more than 130 meager local offices.

I also understand that it's hard as shit to break the duopoly here in the US but I don't really think the Greens have taken the right approach to do so. I mean, the Liberfuckingtarian Party has more power than them in terms of seats/offices. That's ludicrous.

I love Corbyn in the UK (though he still has a long way to go to try and challenge the strangehold the Tories have in England in particular) and one of the keys to his success has been creating a mass party-movement - energizing people to join the Party as card-carrying, dues-paying members, challenging them to take on MPs that they are unhappy with them, rallying them to get involved. And now Labour is the biggest party in Western Europe. That's a movement. That's how you change the game and inject real progressive politics into the mainstream (though, I will admit, I'm still dubious as to how far Corbyn will really go).

Herunar  ·  2828 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: What do you think of Dr Jill Stein and The Green Party?

Oh let me clarify, I'm not happy with the two party race whatsoever, I'm just not sure that the idea of consistently fielding candidates for the presidential race helps much. I'd rather they try and assemble a strong base in singular, more progressive states and move up from there perhaps. In reality though, with the electoral college and FPTP, it'd take a lot more than the Greens to break up the strangehold the two parties have.

In regards to interviews, yes, I have. Don't get me wrong, I'm not going to start equating ruminations on nuclear energy or WiFi signals to war-crimes (as in the case of the two major parties) and in a lot of ways I really do agree with what the Green Party stands for. But I just don't think they win a lot of supporters by coming out with stuff that doesn't quite jive with scientific consensuses on things.

Herunar  ·  2828 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: What do you think of Dr Jill Stein and The Green Party?

They are irrelevant in the modern American political system. They've not shown any interest in getting involved on the local level, they seem pretty anti-science (particularly in regards to their stances on nuclear energy and homeopathy, plus that dumb-as-bricks quote about WiFi waves the other week) and they've never tried to actually build anything resembling a movement.

I like their more recent move towards an anti-capitalistic stance (though that is almost certainly an opportunistic move to try and court the 'Bernie socialists') but that's basically it.

Herunar  ·  2887 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Brexit looks likely.

Live in Oxford. This was very, very unexpected - but I have a feeling it had to do with the weather as well, as that depressed turnout somewhat in the south and in London especially. But I think it comes down to the 'shy Tory' syndrome that we had last year, where a lot of people didn't come out as wanting to Leave (and, if you look at the map of the results in England - the heavy Leave areas are the non-affluent ones. That says enough about the state of the UK). What is not unexpected is that Northern Ireland and Scotland voted to Remain...I do have to wonder if that might mean future independence referendums. For NI in particular, having a securitized border with the rest of Ireland could be seen as a betrayal of the spirit of the Good Friday Agreement.

Herunar  ·  2898 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: June 12, 2016 Orlando Nightclub Shooting, discussion

I'm pretty horrified by the situation - it is a clear hate crime, and the body-count is ridiculously high. At the same time though, I not only see this as a terrorist attack (it clearly is, though) by someone self-affiliated with ISIS but I also as part of a rather sad trend of the mentally ill in the United States having access to weapons the likes of which most developed nations have completely restricted access to. The Bataclan attacks in France were seen as an aberration, a once-in-a-generation attack, but the fact that we have similar events to the Orlando shooting happening in our country nearly every year in terms of scale indicates that there's a pretty big problem, at least to me. I dunno man. Social programs and mental health systems have to be put in place for sure, but at least something must be done about our excessive love for arms. Because the idea that they somehow protect our freedoms seems a bit nonsensical when parity with the government's hegemony over violence will never, ever be attained.

As to the radicalization of this shooter, haven't heard much word about it. But his ex-wife from five years ago said that he wasn't too religious but was very mentally unstable and violent. Organizations like ISIS thrive off of the poor, the marginalized, and the mentally ill, and I do honestly believe that if someone were to have so much hate in them to go into a club and kill fifty innocent people that clearly there is something wrong with them. Yes, the ideology is violent and problematic but I cannot think of a way to just 'deal' with the problem - we have to deal with its roots (much like the IRA, the roots are political - our meddling in the Middle East, the marginalization of 2nd generation Muslims in the West, but also our collapsing mental health infrastructure and social safety net and whatnot) and eradicate it over the long-term. That means that these sort of attacks throughout the West are not something we're going to be able to just end, regardless of the security measures - all we can hope to do, I think, is to decrease their frequency but also avoid overreacting. I mean, last I heard, France is still in a state of emergency. That shouldn't be the case. I think, like the Troubles,this is a problem that will stretch out for at least last another 2 decades.

Herunar  ·  2907 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Muhammad Ali has died, age 74

Ya know, as a young Muslim brown kid in America, I had two heroes - Malcolm X (post-Nation of Islam at least) and Muhammad Ali. Two guys that were prominent in a country where their names alone should have precluded them from any greatness or celebrity that used their voices to advocate for justice and their personal values. And hey, if they could do that, then maybe I could too.

RIP Muhammad Ali. You and what you stood for really meant the world to me.

Herunar  ·  2942 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Boardgames!


- Carcossone is awesome

- Settlers of Catan is always a favorite

- I'm quite fond King of Tokyo, though it can often get repetitive

- Avalon and all Mafia-type games are very good fun with the right people

- Codenames and Dixit are pretty awesome, though you have to get pretty creative with some of the clues haha

- I'm currently stuck in a 6+ hour long game of Game of Thrones (the diplomacy type board game version, that is) and that is absolutely amazing.

- Recently played Sanguosha and that's fucking awesome - a fun card game based off of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, pretty similar to BANG!

Herunar  ·  2946 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Is China sandbagging against revolution?

I don't see the CCP regime's stability being threatened at any point in the near future (Xi Jinping himself, who knows, but the guy's amassed more power than any leader since Deng Xiaoping, so things would have to go very wrong, very quickly) just because quite literally everything the CCP does is calculated to help preserve the regime. That includes everything from foreign policy to education to ethnic minorities to urban planning, etc etc. These guys are very good at preventing any sort of cross-class, cross-platform uprising or discontent, and when even a hint of that appears around the corner, they move to crush it.

It is true that the CCP's legitimacy was repaired after the Cultural Revolution by a booming economy, but they've taken steps to try and 'diversify', if that makes sense. The rise in nationalistic discourse (a lot of which is actually propagated by the PLA) and the growing blur between the idea of a Chinese state and the Party-state is no coincidence. I mean yeah, it is hard to say how nationalistic or loyal people are going to be in the face of a massive economic disaster, but I wouldn't just assume that the PLA is going to swoop in and side with some populist uprising. If anything, it'll splinter, and the country would be thrown into a second round of the CR.

I suspect the real problem that faces the CCP is just sheer demographics. Xi and his predecessors have done an alright job at actually bridging the divide between the interior and the coastal provinces (places like Anhui and the West tend to be outliers in this, granted) but the real divide is now between the urban and the rural. And, worst yet, is the divide between the people with rural hukou versus an urban one. There have been a couple hints that the government is just going to completely abolish the household registration system, which would mean a huge expansion of the relatively robust urban welfare system - but the problem is that would quickly become unsustainable, just because in about 15-20 years all those young, productive workers that fuelled the country from the 80s onwards will start to retire, and there won't be nearly enough people to replace them.

Ultimately though the Party can't outrun its people's grievances forever...but they are very good at co-opting dissent and enacting pretty impressive reforms. I dunno that it would be enough to actually save the one party state but I guess only time can tell.

Herunar  ·  2947 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: April 23rd: What are you reading this week?

It is a fascinating place! I don't know as much as I'd like on the subject as I've only really just begun digging into it but I can make a couple recommendations as to reading material and the like, if you're interested! It is pretty difficult to get info on what is currently happening in the area but there's a decent amount of material available on the 50s to the 80s (and the pre-CCP era).

As to my dissertation, it is pretty embryonic at the moment but I'm comparing Indian and Chinese minority policies in the 50s and 60s, particularly in Xinjiang and Kashmir. They're both predominantly Muslim, exceptionally important to the idea of the Chinese and Indian nation-states, and basically represented the 'frontier' to both central governments. And I guess I'm just interested in comparing the two modern countries in general, as they're actually a bit more similar than people generally suspect.

Herunar  ·  2949 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: April 23rd: What are you reading this week?

Three-Body Problem was a fantastic read, but I'm a bit biased as I'm quite fond of Chinese novels in general.

I am currently reading The New Jim Crow, which is terrifying but brilliant and I'm trudging through an assortment of historical works on Xinjiang and Kashmir for my dissertation, namely Xinjiang: China's Muslim Borderland and Demystifying Kashmir, which are both excellent.

Herunar  ·  3007 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: UNLESS THE DEMOCRATS RUN SANDERS, A TRUMP NOMINATION MEANS A TRUMP PRESIDENCY

America has a lot of faults; the more I've lived outside the country the more noticeable it has become. But I refuse to believe someone like Donald Trump could win a general election. This is a guy who has no real consistent political ideology, is lacking any sort of real, robust debating skills, has no really ideological or practical framework for most of his policies...And frankly, he's just scary. He's scarier than some far-right European leaders. I have to believe that the American electorate would be repulsed by what he's saying.

If he does win, I honestly don't know what I'd do. I'm a Muslim American that's spent half his life outside the country, and most of that time I was living in the Middle East. I already feel terrified by the growth of the right here in Europe and if someone as flat-out bigoted as Donald Trump were to actually become the leader of the only country I've ever identified with, I'd not only lose all faith in our political system but in the very ideological fabric of our country. I don't think I ever believed in American exceptionalism or the American Dream, but I sure as hell believed in American inclusivity.

Herunar  ·  3008 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Ask Hubski: What *should* you be doing today?

An unholy amount of essay writing - I have three essays due next Monday (why they are all due on the same day is beyond me) and I am way behind on my Mandarin homework/characters for this week too.

Herunar  ·  3016 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: February 15th: What are you reading this week?

A lot of non-fiction recently (I find that being in college I often don't have much time to read anything else... - mostly historical works to do with Xinjiang and the CCP's attitudes towards the Uighurs during the 1950s and general ethnic minority policy. Also finished a fantastic little book called The Modern Spirit of Asia by the anthropologist Peter Van Der Veer. It compares spirituality/secularism in India and China and is just very well written.

Herunar  ·  3023 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Congressional Republicans Balk at Obama’s Budget, Sight Unseen

The vitriolic partisanship in American politics will never cease to depress me.

Herunar  ·  3023 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: 8 February 2016: What are you playing this week?

X-Com 2, some Diablo 3 and a bit of Dota :D

Herunar  ·  3030 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: A coin flip decided at least two precincts in the Democratic caucus.

The whole caucus layout just seems really, really dumb.

Herunar  ·  3042 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Upheaval in the Factories of Juarez

Very interesting. Very similar to the situation in China actually - you have a burgeoning labor movement that is more-or-less on the top of the list of the CCP's concerns because it is innately destabilizing to their state while at the same time rather difficult to permanently crush.

Herunar  ·  3046 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Embargo... LIFTED!

I am excited to see what a renewed and invigorated Iran will look like. Having lived in the UAE for a while I know that there is quite a lot of fear there amongst the Emiratis that the country will become more belligerent or aggressive, but then there's the fact that they've not been involved in an aggressive war throughout the modern era.

And, hell, I'm gonna love seeing the Saudis slowly fade into obscurity, too (though that is perhaps more of a pipe-dream than anything for the moment).

Herunar  ·  3052 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Found out the critical differences between Bernie and Hillary with this quiz

I'd vote for either candidate cause I feel like it would clearly be against my best interest not to. I got 65/35 in Sanders' favor.

Herunar  ·  3056 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: January 6th: What are you reading this week?

I am reading All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. Some pretty fantastic writing, gotta say.

Herunar  ·  3059 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: #YallQaeda is my favorite hashtag of all time.

I quite like #Yeehawdis myself :D.

Herunar  ·  3060 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: 156th Weekly "Share Some Music You've Been Into Lately" Thread

Randomly stumbled onto this band on Spotify and I'm really digging them:

That entire album is serving as my revision music currently, hehe.

Herunar  ·  3060 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: What are your best reccomendations for history books?

Seeing very little of Asia here, so I'll do what any Sinologist would and throw in my two cents (most of these are pretty general - I think that's the best place to start, personally, but regardless all of these books are very good and very in-depth):

A History of Modern South Asia by Sugata Bose and Ayesha Jalal is probably one of the better texts about the modern Indian subcontinent. India: A History by John Keay is very good too, though it is far too ambitious. I will give him credit though - the dude tries to sum up about four thousand years of Indian history and does a pretty good job of it.

The Cultural Revolution at the Margins by Yiching Wu is a very different look at the Cultural Revolution - paints it as a much more nuanced, tragic occurrence as opposed to Macfarquhar or Pye and other old school historians who tend to portray it as a struggle amongst the political elites and nothing else.

Osman's Dream by Caroline Finkel rambles on a little but it is one of the few well written, comprehensive histories of the Ottoman Empire from start to finish.

Mao and the 20th Century is a great biography of Mao by Rebecca Karl - he had a pretty interesting early life and it goes into detail there, which is nice.

The Search for Modern China and The Gate of Heavenly Peace by Jonathan Spence basically serve as the core books for any class I've ever taken on Chinese history (and I've taken quite a few). He shatters the myths of an uninventive or stagnant China that we take for granted in the West - he presents the country what it was and is, a robustly dynamic if a bit reactive empire.

Japan in War and Peace and Embracing Defeat by John Dower are fantastic reads, namely because unlike 95% of all academics, Dower can actually write.

Japan at War: An Oral History by the Cooks is interesting in that many of the interviewees are soldiers that fought on the Japanese side during WWII. It really shattered the image in my head of the Japanese forces as consisting of horrible people through and through. Kamikaze Diaries: Reflections of Japanese Student Soldiers by Ohnuki-Tierney and Leaves from an Autumn of Emergencies by Samuel Yamashita accomplish similar things. I read these for my dissertation and I cried. A lot.

Women in the Muslim World is a pretty fantastic compilation of essays from leading academics. I only read the essays relevant to the Ottoman Empire (that was my focus at the time) but it had a few pieces on modern Egypt and the Abbasids etc. Definitely worth a read if you're into gender history at all. Paul Bailey's Woman in 20th Century China is the Chinese history equivalent I'd say.

Mao's China and the Cold War and China's Road to the Korean War: The Making of the Sino-American Confrontation by Chen Jian are both great reads for anyone interested in East Asian geopolitics. The main conclusion is that Zhou Enlai was one hell of a charismatic badass.

Herunar  ·  3071 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: December 22nd: What are you reading this week?

The Way of Kings is absolutely fantastic yeah and I really, really loved the way he finished Wheel of Time - definitely one of the best fantasy writers out there right now.

Herunar  ·  3072 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: December 22nd: What are you reading this week?

I read The Emperor's Soul by Brandon Sanderson on the plane - that was excellent, well-deserving of its Hugo award I think. I plan on reading Stephen King's Bazaar of Bad Dreams over the next few days - I've heard good things though I doubt it can be as good as Night Shift, which really was a superb collection of short stories.

Herunar  ·  3081 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Any hubski users here into language learning?

I'm doing a masters in Chinese Studies and learning Mandarin (which is...tough...). Anki and memrise have both saved my life many times over by now I think.