This is a coordinated information campaign, and an increasingly confused one. Xinjiang is a beautiful paradise full of happy people, and a seething hotbed of terrorism where extreme measures are necessary.
The "this is Xinjiang" campaign reminds me of the tone-deaf "Summer in Syria" tourism campaign from a few years back during the height of the Civil War.
Today, if you look at what's being tweeted from China accounts, it's about a new CGTN documentary about dangerous materials distributed in Xinjiang, but also more pablum about happy Uighurs and how definitely not slave labor their cotton production is.
So, I mean, what is it? Is the population happy and everything is just wonderful in a paradise on earth (I hear Afghanistan is also pretty) or is it a dangerous hotbed of terrorism and separatism?

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More from @DavidLarter

4 Apr
There is a nugget of truth in here where he points to bigness not being a substitute for brains. That's true. It's also true that the US is woefully deficient in explaining what its military is doing at why. I'd encourage Fareed to read this USNI essay. usni.org/magazines/proc…
The argument for our system of Military alliances was and ever shall be both economic and ideological. The very rise of Trump's America First politics means we've missed the boat on explaining how closely our alliances and economic success are linked.
I find Fareed's arguement annoying and more than a little disingenuous, but it's not illogical. And that is where the danger lies.
Read 8 tweets
4 Apr
Corn syrup: dried corn, ground up, soaked in hot water to extract it's starches which will be converted into sugar. The liquid is then drawn off.

You could throw some yeast in the corn-sugar water, distill it and you'd have moonshine. Or you could reduce it into ... Corn syrup.
If you drink bourbon, it's the same process only with a little barley and sometimes wheat or rye. If you drink scotch, its just barley, which is the same as beer only without the hops.
So I guess if you are weirded out by corn syrup, you should also be weirded out by almost any grain alcohol.
Read 4 tweets
3 Apr
If the Navy could perhaps fashion a full burlap sack that coverts from midway up the neck to the ankles that might keep the men on board from being forced to have impure thoughts.
*covers from midway up the neck to the ankles.

There is nothing wrong with any of the stuff on the poster. Don't ogle your shipmates in the gym should be an easy one, and yes I remember being underway for two months.
Also, for your average 20-year-old 5 months into 9 months of forced celibacy, it don't make much difference what anyone is wearing or whether you found that person attractive at all before getting underway. Could force everyone into full FFE and they'd be checking each other out.
Read 4 tweets
2 Apr
This is what you do when you are trying to bury search results on social media: Flood the zone so that searches for Xinjiang don't turn up "Genocide" but instead turn up a bunch of farming results.
This is the lord's truth, too. If you search "Xinjiang" on Twitter you will see a coordinated information campaign from Chinese accounts pushing back on forced labor and making it look like everything is jake in Xinjiang. Few mentions of the mass internment.
But of course, in 2014 President Xi is reported to have seen the need for a struggle against terrorism and separatism showing "absolutely no mercy." That's somehow absent from the state narrative on Xinjiang, because we have seen pretty widely reported what "no mercy" means. Image
Read 5 tweets
2 Apr
Watches are funny. If there is a certain look you are going for and you don't care about the materials, movement, finishes or the brand, you can get it for cheap. But if you care about the workmanship and all the rest its gonna cost you. L is $145, R is $45,0000 ImageImage
Now, I look at the moonphase on the $145 watch and immediately think of the Patek Philippe on the right. Which is the issue with getting an inexpensive watch that deliberately evokes a much more ... aspirational product.
Now, a few months back, Richard Branson created a bit of a stir by commenting offhand that this watch, $450 with an inexpensive quartz movement, was "pretty" and it became a real hit for the company. And it is nice, I dig it as well. But it's relatively cheap for a watch. Image
Read 7 tweets
28 Mar
Just spent the morning researching kitchen trash cans and I gotta tell you, covering defense acquisition has changed the way I purchase everything. Everything has requirements now.
We were sold on model subjected to a rigorous wear testing regimen that would accommodate 20 steps a day for 20 years. Stainless steel for look and ease of cleaning, proper r&d and rigorous operational testing.
Younger me would walk into Home Depot, pick up the one that cost under $40 and it would need to be replaced after a couple of years. Price, at the time, would have been the driving requirement. Today the most important requirement is reliability, followed by innovative design.
Read 5 tweets

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