Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2018

I Am Not A Racist, But ...

"I am not a racist, but ..." - this is the sentence many racists say whenever they attempt to appear less racist than they actually are. However, now I have found myself in a situation in which I had to say the same thing.
As everyone knows, Italy has been at the centre of a recent wave of migration. According to statistics, in 2016 Italy received 91,000 requests for asylum, the majority of applicants being from Africa (55,000) and Asia (21,000).
In 2017, there were 81,000 asylum requests, again mostly by people from Africa and Asia.
Although the number of people arriving without a proper travel permit is small compared to the number of citizens, one can see many migrants in the big cities as well as increasingly in small towns.
The problem with that is how to maintain law and order.
Yesterday I was walking near the Roman forum, when a black guy came to me and greeted me: "Hey, my friend, how are you?"
Lots of African migrants in Italy make a living selling produc…

Majority Of Germans Are Afraid Of Donald Trump - Survey

More than two-thirds of Germans think that Donald Trump's foreign policy is making the world more dangerous, according to a recent survey.

The survey shows that 69 percent of respondents worry that Trump's policy is making the world more dangerous, topping this year's list. 

63 percent of respondents said they are worried about asylum seekers, 63% fear "tensions due to the arrival of foreigners", 61 percent worry about politicians' inability to tackle problems. 59 percent are worried about terrorism - 12 percent less than a year ago.

58 percent are worried about the cost of the EU debt crisis to German taxpayers, while 57 percent fear political extremism.

"The Fears of the Germans" (Die Ängste der Deutschen) is a survey conducted every year by R+V-Infocenter since 1992. 2,400 people above 14 years are asked about their biggest worries. This year the survey was conducted between June 8 to July 18.

Democrats Should Campaign On Impeaching Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh

Republicans are once again playing dirty tricks. After they refused to confirm Barack Obama's nominee for the Supreme Court Merrick Garland, they are now rushing through the confirmation of Trump's nominee Brett Kavanaugh
On August 31 the White House asserted executive privilege in order to hide 100,000 pages of records on Kavanaugh from the time of the Bush administration. A nominee will be confirmed without proper public scrutiny. Most importantly, Kavanaugh has expressed views that would allow Donald Trump to openly obstruct justice and rule unchecked as if he were above the law. 
“I believe that the president should be excused from some of the burdens of ordinary citizenship while serving in office,” Kavanaugh wrote in a 2009 article for the Minnesota Law Review. “We should not burden a sitting president with civil suits, criminal investigations, or criminal prosecutions.”
How are Democrats reacting to this affront to ethics and custom? They are begging Republicans to a…

Do China, Hong Kong and Taiwan Have A Common Chinese Culture?

A while ago I had a debate with two guys from South America I met in Hong Kong. They argued that Hong Kong had lost its Chinese culture and identity, complained about the fact that the city had the same kind of buildings and shops, like McDonald's and Starbucks, one can find anywhere in the world, that people behave like Westerners.
I disagreed, telling them that behind the surface of modernity, Hong Kong remained culturally Chinese. One of those guys obviously didn't like to discuss with people who had a different opinion than himself - he got upset and stormed out of the room.
Talking about Chinese culture is not only in itself a very complex subject, but it is also politically sensitive, because some people mistakenly assume that "Chinese" means Communist Party and People's Republic of China (PRC). So, if you tell someone that Taiwan is culturally Chinese, they might get angry and tell you that China is not Taiwan.
I don't see Chinese culture from a polit…

Why The Deification Of Donald Trump By Right-Wing Christians Reminds Of Hitler Germany

"Our Lord has made us free by sending us a man like Adolf Hitler as a leader," said Aronold Gustavs, pastor in the small northern German island of Hiddensee, in one of his sermons in the 1930s. "Heil Hitler! we shout. And day after day millions of arms are raised for this salute, and millions of lips speak out these words ... We often read the word Heil ['salvation', 'hail'] in the Old and the New Testament: but salvation is always given by God. Therefore, when we say Heil Hitler!, we wish him God's salvation. This salute is actually a prayer, for we pray that God save this man, our Führer, that he protect and bless him, that he give him the helmet of salvation so that he may bravely carry on the struggle for the renewal of the German people." 
Pastor Gustavs was only one of many church leaders in Nazi Germany who enthusiastically supported Hitler, and who portrayed him as a messiah and saviour. Indeed, National Socialism had from its very beg…

Watch This Westerner Explain Why Foreigners Should Practice Self-Censorship In China To Understand Why Liberal Democracy Is Under Attack

Over the years I have met many Westerners who - to my surprise - praised dictatorships and engaged in moral equivalence. One American who visited Pyongyang told me that the Western media were not telling the truth about the country, and that North Korea was clean and modern. Westerners who live in China often parrot Communist propaganda and actively spread it, whether they are aware of it or not. 
We have seen the decline of our cities and communities while witnessing the rise of illiberal market economies that oftentimes make us envious of their rising living standards, optimism and advances in technology and infrastructure. 
The crisis of democracy which we are experiencing today is not a new phenomenon. It began 40 years ago with the rise of neoliberalism and the idea of a "free", unfettered market that would unite the world in one global ideology of money-making. Milton Friedman, the guru of neoliberalism,  said in Capitalism and Freedom that it is "clearly possibl…

Republicans Spread Fake China Hacking Story To Deflect From Trump's Subservience To Russia

On August 29 Donald Trump tweeted: "Hillary Clinton’s Emails, many of which are Classified Information, got hacked by China."

Hillary Clinton’s Emails, many of which are Classified Information, got hacked by China. Next move better be by the FBI & DOJ or, after all of their other missteps (Comey, McCabe, Strzok, Page, Ohr, FISA, Dirty Dossier etc.), their credibility will be forever gone! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 29, 2018
The tweet came shortly after Fox News reported on a story by the right-wing media outlet Daily Caller alleging that China had hacked Hillary Clinton's e-mail server

"A Chinese-owned company operating in the Washington, D.C., area hacked Hillary Clinton’s private server throughout her term as secretary of state and obtained nearly all her emails," the report claimed, citing "two sources briefed on the matter."
However, on August 29 an FBI official rebutted the story, telling the Washington Post that the agenc…

Germany Warns Of Russian Cyber Attacks On Europe's Power Grids

Cyber security experts of the German government have warned of possible Russian cyber attacks on power plants that could cause blackouts across Europe.
According to German magazine Der Spiegel, the National Cyberdefence Centre (Nationales Cyber-Abwehrzentrum, NCAZ), an agency set up by the German federal government in 2011, issued a report warning that Russian hacking attacks on infrastructure could disrupt energy, water and gas supply as well as traffic. Due to the interdependence of Europe's infrastructure, a cyber attack on Germany could impact other European countries.
The report was drawn up by experts from the Federal Criminal Police Office, the Federal Intelligence Service, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, the Federal Office for Information Security and other government bureaus. 

The German authorities have detected Russian cyber espionage activities, which appear to be aimed at gathering intelligence in order to launch targeted attacks on physica…

TOEFL Website Lists Taiwan As Part Of China

In July 44 airlines bowed to Chinese pressure and listed on their websites Taiwan as part of China. Now the official website of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) has changed the name of Taiwan to "Taiwan, China".
TOEFL is a test organized by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), which according to its website develops, administers and scores more than 50 million tests annually in more than 180 countries at more than 9,000 locations worldwide.



Apple Daily reports that in the past Taiwan was listed as a separate country and that Taiwanese students recently noticed the change. Not only the website, but also registration forms and grade reports show Taiwan as being part of China.  
Asked by an Apple Daily reporter to comment on Taiwan's name change, ETS replied that the organization values "students coming from every part of the world" and that it looks forward to "continuing to serve all test takers." 
China views Taiwan as part of its t…

China Eyes Taiwan's Last Diplomatic Ally In Africa After El Salvador's Defection

On August 21 Taiwanese Foreign Minister Wu Chao-hsieh announced Taiwan's decision to sever diplomatic ties with El Salvador after the Central American country had asked Taipei for an "astronomical sum" of financial aid.
The statement came shortly after the end of Taiwanese President Ts'ai Ing-wen's  visit to the United States, Paraguay and Belize. The trip had been deemed a success by Taiwan, but it had angered China.
On Tuesday El Salvador and China signed a joint communique on the establishment of diplomatic relations at a ceremony in Beijing. "The Government of the Republic of El Salvador recognizes that there is but one China in the world, that the Government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China, and that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China's territory," the communique states.
Wu Chao-hsieh accused China of luring away Taiwan's allies with the promise of economic aid. El Salva…