Ain’t socialism grand? And today’s demorats want this model for our great country. INSANITY.
From NY Post: Demonstrations roiled Venezuela’s capital Caracas on Saturday as a near total blackout continued in the country.
Supporters of opposition leader Juan Guaidó vented their anger over a major electricity outage and lack of other basics as Venezuelans backing President Nicolás Maduro held a rival demonstration.
“This is chaos,” said Jorge Jaimes, a physician who joined opposition protesters on Avenida Victoria. “We are at the end of this road.”
Since the outage started Thursday, at least 13 people have died in hospitals without electricity, according to reports.
Tensions remain high as Maduro keeps struggling to assert his authority in the face of calls by Guaidó and many foreign leaders for new balloting.
Addressing protesters, Guaidó, who declared himself interim president in January, promised to embark on a tour of the country before leading a nationwide march on the capital. “All the options are on the table,” he said, using a phrase employed by President Trump, who has refused to rule out a military intervention in Venezuela.
Guaidó was speaking from the back of a pick-up truck after security services prevented the opposition from setting up a stage at their original protest site. Three people were arrested.
Communication with the interior of the country was largely shut off by the outage. Sporadic power failures are common in Venezuela, but the latest one has been far more widespread than usual.
Maduro claimed the outage was caused by US sabotage of the national electrical system and accused Guaidó of collaborating. Local news outlets said regional authorities attributed the failures to problems at the country’s main power plants.
Maduro stepped up verbal attacks on Guaidó, calling him “a clown and puppet” in a speech to supporters outside Miraflores, the presidential palace.
The US and about 50 other countries have voiced support for Guaidó’s campaign to oust Maduro and hold new elections. But the ruler has retained the support of the military and allies including Russia and China.
Guaidó—who has the support of around 60 percent of Venezuelans, according to a recent poll—and the United States have tried a variety of approaches to lure the military away from Maduro. They range from private talks to a proposed Venezuelan amnesty law that would shield officers from future prosecution.
Better than Drudge Report. Check out Whatfinger News, the Internet’s conservative frontpage founded by ex-military!
From The Sun: The 49-year-old, named as Mr. Zhou, was working on the night shift at a porcelain factory in Hunan province when he was struck by a falling robotic arm.
The accident resulted in him being impaled with foot long, half-inch thick metal rods, the People’s Daily reported.
He was first taken to a local hospital before he was transferred to the Xiangya Hospital of Central South University due to the severity of his injuries.
Six steel rods fixed on a steel plate pierced his right shoulder and chest, and four penetrated elsewhere in his body.
During the operation, doctorsfound that one of the rods missed an artery by just 0.1mm.
The rods also prevented doctors from carrying out X-rays before the operation.
“They were relatively big so there was no means of getting fitting the patient into the X-ray machine while the nails themselves could have caused interference with X-rays,” said Wu Panfeng, an associate professor of hand microsurgery.
Surgeons worked through the night to take out all of the rods in Mr. Zhou’s body.
His condition is now described as stable and he will undergo treatment and physiotherapy to assist his recovery, and he is already able to move his right arm.
Mr. Zhou was lucky not to suffer the same fate as American factory worker Wanda Holbrook. The maintenance technician was killed by rogue robot who had veered into the area she was working in and crushed her head.
The 57-year-old was inspecting machinery in an area where components were assembled when the robot “took Wanda by surprise, entering the section she was working in”, court documents filed at the time said.
In 2015, another car industry worker, this time in Germany, was also killed by a robot. The unnamed 22-year-old man was part of a team that was setting up the stationary robot at a Volkswagen plant when it grabbed and crushed him against a metal plate,
Last year, a construction worker miraculously survived after he was electrocuted, thrown from his workstation and then impaled through the anus by a four-foot steel bar.
Better than Drudge Report. Check out Whatfinger News, the Internet’s conservative frontpage founded by ex-military!
If we could just get the US media to do the same, that’d be great.
From NY Post: Nix the nuclear warheads, cue the doves. The North Korean government is erasing much of its anti-U.S. propaganda following dictator Kim Jong-un’s forays onto the world stage.
Gone are the posters depicting the U.S. as a “rotten, diseased, pirate nation” and promising “merciless revenge” on American forces for an imagined attack on the totalitarian country. In their place are cheery messages touting praising the prospects for Korean reunification and the declaration Kim signed in April with South Korean President Moon Jae-in promising “lasting peace,” according to reports.
Still the most isolated country in the world, very few North Koreans have access to news and information from the outside world. So state propaganda plays a huge role in shaping their views.
Murals, banners and posters displayed throughout the capital, Pyongyang, have for decades depicted the U.S. as a brutal, imperialist aggressor hell-bent on destroying the North Korean regime. South Korea and Japan were also frequently targeted as willing allies of the U.S.
But things started to take an Orwellian turn in the run-up to Kim’s June 12 summit with President Donald Trump, with the old posters vanishing since then. “All the anti-American posters I usually see around Kim Il-sung Square and at shops, they’ve all just gone,” Rowan Beard, a tour manager at Young Pioneer Tours, told Reuters. “In five years working in North Korea, I’ve never seen them completely disappear before.”
Infamous posters and postcards showing North Korean missiles on their way to Washington are a thing of the past. Also removed are the anti-American trinkets that used to be sold to tourists as souvenirs. In their place are items showing themes of Korean reunification.
The change extends to the country’s government-controlled media. News reports that once depicted the U.S. as hostile, and its involvement in places like Syria as proof of imperialism, are no longer critical. The Financial Times said the main newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, hasn’t featured a direct attack on Trump since March, when he agreed to meet with Kim. The paper was filled with pictures of the two together at the summit, and is no longer reporting anti-U.S. news. Other international events, like Kim’s visit last week to China, are being reported right away, rather than after a waiting period, and in more neutral language.
“This is fascinating,” Peter Ward, North Korea expert and writer for NKNews, told the BBC. “Generally speaking, neutral or positive coverage is normally reserved for countries that Pyongyang has friendly relations with.”
In one sign that relations are improving, the U.S. military said it positioned at least 100 wooden coffins at the border of North and South Korea on Saturday to prepare for the return of the remains of U.S. service members missing since the Korean War.
While the preparation suggests that the repatriation could happen soon, details about timing and location remain unclear. Kim agreed to return the remains during the June 12 summit.
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency says 7,697 Americans are unaccounted for from the 1950-1953 war. About 5,300 of those are believed to be in North Korean territory. Roughly 400 remains have been recovered from North Korea since 1990.
According to Brown’s office: Kidnapping, robbery, using a firearm, inflicting corporal injury, intent to terrorize and obstructing a police officer are now classified as “nonviolent crimes.”
That’s California for you…
From Sacramento Bee: Amid a brewing legal battle with the Trump administration over California’s liberal immigration policies, Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday granted pre-Easter pardons to five immigrants illegal aliens facing possible deportation.
They were among 56 pardons and 14 commutations that the Democratic governor handed down ahead of the Sunday holiday. The majority were convicted of drug-related or other nonviolent crimes, according to Brown’s office.
Executive clemency is particularly significant for immigrants, since they can be deported for old convictions, even if they have legal resident status. By forgiving their criminal records, Brown eliminates the grounds on which they could be targeted for removal from the country. “These are individuals who have turned their lives around and deserve a second chance,” said UCLA School of Law Professor Ingrid Eagly, who represents two of the immigrants pardoned Friday. She added that the stakes are higher since the election of President Donald Trump, who has emphasized stricter immigration enforcement.
“Under the current administration, there’s much more of a focus on deportation. More individuals are being picked up and placed into deportation proceedings,” Early said. “There’s also less discretion being exercised by immigration agents on the ground and by immigration prosecutors.”
The pardoned immigrants are:
Sokha Chhan, who is in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement pending deportation to Cambodia. He came to the United States at the age of 13 to escape the Khmer Rouge regime and has lived here for 35 years. Chhan was sentenced in 2002 for inflicting corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant and threatening a crime with the intent to terrorize, both misdemeanors; he served three years probation and 364 days in jail. In his clemency application, one his five children, whom Chhan raised as a single father, wrote that he had shown her “what it meant to be a loving and independent individual.”
Daniel Maher, who has publicly advocated for immigrants with a criminal record to have an opportunity for redemption. Maher moved to California from Macau legally when he was 3 years old, according to KQED, but he never applied for citizenship and he lost his green card when he was sentenced in 1995 for kidnapping, robbery and using a firearm (as a prohibited possessor). He served five years in prison, before being released early for good behavior, and three years on parole. Maher now oversees the curbside recycling program in Berkeley and has been recognized by the city for training at-risk youth for green jobs. He was detained, but not deported, by ICE in 2015.
Phann Pheach, who was born in a refugee camp in Thailand and came to the United States at the age of 1, according to a GoFundMe account set up by his wife. Pheach was convicted in 2005 for possession of a controlled substance for sale and obstructing a police officer; he served six months in prison and 13 months on parole. Pheach has been detained by ICE and is facing deportation proceedings to Cambodia, “a place he never once knew,” his wife wrote on the fundraising page for his legal defense. “He is the glue that holds his family together,” she added. “I am crumbling apart without my husband, who I have been with for over 10 years.”
Francisco Acevedo Alaniz, who was convicted for vehicle theft in 1997 and served five months in prison and 13 months probation. In his clemency application, he reported being active in his church and volunteering with a youth sports program.
Sergio Mena, who was sentenced in 2003 for possession of a controlled substance for sale and served three years probation.
Immigration has been at the center of a political showdown between California and the Trump administration. Earlier this month, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions filed suit against California for three new laws passed last year to protect immigrants living in California illegally. Brown slammed Sessions for “initiating a reign of terror” against immigrants illegal aliens in California and accused the federal government of “basically going to war” against the state. Days later, Trump visited California for the first time as president and dismissed the state as “totally out of control.”
During the past year, as federal immigration authorities have escalated their enforcement efforts, Brown has regularly included immigrants in his annual Easter and Christmas acts of clemency.
Read the rest of the story here.
Grandma, you ain’t president. Go back to the woods.
From NY Post: Hillary Clinton used a conference in Beijing to blast both President Trump and the Chinese over their stance toward North Korea — saying it needs to soften up soon before things get out of hand and nuclear war breaks out.
Serving as the keynote speaker at Caijing Magazine’s three-day annual conference on Tuesday, the former secretary of state called on Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping to avoid “bluster” and “personal taunts” when dealing with Pyongyang, according to Bloomberg. She reportedly criticized the Trump administration for retreating from diplomacy in recent months and said she hoped that China wouldn’t follow suit.
While Clinton focused much of her sentiment on the US stance toward North Korea, she took most of her jabs at the Chinese — claiming they, too, were taking the wrong approach to the situation and making things worse with their “secret” military buildups.
“Beijing should remember that inaction is a choice as well,” Clinton said.
Like the Trump administration, the Chinese have chosen to avoid diplomatic talks with the North Koreans as tensions continue to escalate in the region.
Clinton said Tuesday that she hopes the six-party talks — multilateral negotiations held between China, Japan, North Korea, Russia, South Korea and the US on denuclearization — will be brought back after being shelved in 2009.
The Chinese have called for a resumption of the process in the past, to no avail.
A man can be a woman and a white woman can be black. Yet a white man can’t be Chinese. I can’t keep up with all the science-defying liberal rules anymore.
From Yahoo: A white scholar’s recent op-ed suggests he might need some lessons on his own privilege.
Daniel Bell, a white dean at China’s Shandong University, recently penned a piece in the Wall Street Journal entitled “Why Anyone Can Be Chinese.” In it, he laments how he’s not considered Chinese despite his self-proclaimed dedication to the culture. China, he argues, should look at identity as cultural rather than racial, concluding the piece with his ultimate hope: “President Xi Jinping describes his broad agenda for the country as the ‘China dream,’” Bell writes. “My own China dream is more modest: to be viewed as a Chinese not just in my own mind but in the minds of my fellow Chinese.”
Bell claims to have respect for the Chinese. But his piece shows that he’s not looking at identity through the lens of the Chinese. John Kuo Wei Tchen, associate professor and director of Asian/Pacific/American Institute, NYU notes: Bell begins his piece, making comparisons between himself and a Chinese-American who “doesn’t speak Chinese or identify in any way with Chinese culture,” and “forcefully rejects” the label “Chinese.”
But the connections Bell makes are apples to oranges. Bell, a white man from Canada, ignores the real, human experiences that Chinese people live through, Tchen noted.
Bell isn’t someone whose family has been brought up in China through generations, communicating through insider references. His ancestors haven’t lived through events like the Opium Wars or the Cultural Revolution that have shaped the population’s outlook. Bell is a white man whose roots and values come from elsewhere.
There’s another issue at hand with Bell’s comparison. Ideas of belonging and identity are tied to political environment, Tchen says. These concepts are forged out of history and traditions, constructed over time by cultural and political forces. A western view of these ideas will be different from, say, a Chinese one. Bell doesn’t seem to acknowledge that, though.
“Notions of citizenship and belonging come out of particular political cultures. Just because that’s what he believes in, he wants to apply that to China which doesn’t really make any sense,” Tchen said. “It can’t just be willy-nilly applied to any other place.” Bell continues his argument, listing several traits of his that he believes somehow underscore his “Chineseness.” Though he brings up possible barriers to acceptance like citizenship, commitment to culture, and lack of language skills, he insists those aren’t problems for him. He points out how he’s often “the only person wearing Chinese-style clothing” at conferences. And earlier in the piece he mentions his marriage to a Chinese woman as if those details help assert Chineseness.
In another line, he even puts down native Chinese people and pretentiously writes, “millions of poorly educated Chinese citizens speak hardly any Mandarin, and yet nobody questions their Chineseness.”
However, identity isn’t so simple as checking traits off a list, Tchen said. Bell’s possession of such qualities does not make him more “eligible” to be Chinese.
To be Chinese is not a mere checklist, just like being black or from any other culture isn’t about hitting a set number of achievements.
“If he were to become an expert on Toni Morrison, if he were to then master African-American cuisine, if he had married an African-American woman, would he feel he can claim being African-American or black?” Tchen questioned.
At one point, Bell attempts to point out the flaws in seeing Chineseness as racial and describes the country’s tumultuous relationship with foreigners.
“When China is powerful and secure, foreigners are welcome and considered employable, including at the highest levels of government,” he wrote in the op-ed. “When China is weak, foreigners are often viewed with suspicion and even hatred.” Tchen told HuffPost that he agrees that ideally, we “need to reject the very notion of ‘race’ and hence racial belonging.” These ideas don’t translate across historical and cultural differences, he says. But again, being part of a culture is dependent on historical context. Identity goes further than today’s politics and culture.
At the end of the day, Bell’s piece begs the question posed by Tchen. “Are there not deeper shared values that are more important to explore than a European Canadian wanting to be accepted as ‘Chinese?’”
Too bad, so sad…
From Hollywood Reporter: The collapse of The Great Wall at the domestic box office (it has made $34.8 million in North America) has iced any notion of a significant future for U.S.-China co-productions. The movie likely will end up with losses of more than $75 million, sources say, and Universal Pictures will be on the hook for at least $10 million.
The studio funded about 25 percent of the film’s $150 million production budget, the rest coming in equal parts from Legendary Entertainment, China Film Group and Le Vision Pictures. But Universal also covered Wall’s global marketing expenses, conservatively estimated at $80 million-plus. The film earned $171 million in China (a disappointment) and is expected to top out at about $320 million globally. That’s way less than investors had anticipated for the biggest-ever U.S.-China co-production. “The fusion of the No. 1 and No. 2 movie markets in the world will eventually happen, but it is a misfire, domestically speaking,” says box-office analyst Jeff Bock. Adds one Hollywood executive who has dealt extensively with China, “There’s no question but that it’s a failure.”
The good news for Universal is that its share of this failure will be relatively modest. The studio gets to collect a roughly 10 percent distribution fee from all theatrical revenue (between 40 percent and 50 percent of the total box office), and box-office rentals likely will recoup much, if not all, of its marketing outlay before other investors dip into whatever money is left to cut into production costs. The four partners will split any further theatrical income equally.
If the movie generates hoped-for ancillary revenue (including $20 million from domestic home entertainment and as much as $40 million from international home entertainment, with $25 million to $30 million from TV — admittedly, a best-case scenario), that will further stanch the red ink.
Read the rest of the story here.
The most-biased, left-leaning companies are not thriving? Gee, I wonder why…
From Hollywood Reporter: The Donald Trump election rally that’s sent the Dow Jones Industrial average hurtling toward an all-time high of 20,000 has left behind one key industry: big media conglomerates.
The president-elect has spent the election railing against television news giants like CNN and even right-leaning Fox News Channel. And Wall Street appears to be listening now that the real-estate mogul is heading to the White House. Of the 50 entertainment/media stocks tracked by The Hollywood Reporter, 36 of them lag the 9 percent gain made by the blue-chip index ahead of Friday’s potential record-breaking open.
While it’s tough to say there’s an exact correlation between Trump’s criticism of media and falling stock prices, experts say there are some legitimate concerns for the sector — as well as some lucrative opportunities — under a Trump presidency. “Media and technology have underperformed because Trump wasn’t exactly favorable to leaders of those industries, so perhaps his policies will reflect that,” said Michael Kramer, founder and portfolio manager of Mott Capital Management. “He has been very critical of media. Obviously, the bad-mouthing hurts.”
On the flipside, Steven Birenberg of Northlake Capital Management predicts that a lucrative business environment under Trump will help a variety of industries and it’s only a matter of time before media-entertainment catches up. The FCC, Justice Department and IRS could all adopt a more business-friendly, merger-friendly posture, which would keep stocks humming under Trump, he says.
Among Birenberg’s favorite stocks, all of which he owns shares of, are Comcast and Charter Communications, two of the major players in cable television.
“Cable is a big winner under Trump as net neutrality could go away. At least the odds of the FCC enforcing any price caps on broadband will go away,” says Birenberg, who did not support Trump. “I despise the man … but when it comes to managing my clients’ money, my fiduciary responsibility is to do what is best for them, so if Trump helps out media and entertainment stocks, I’ve got to take advantage.”
He also likes video game publishers Electronic Arts and Activision Blizzard due to the transition to digital downloads and in-game purchases, as well as Live Nation Entertainment, the giant concert promoter that also operates Ticketmaster. “The concert industry is booming globally,” he says. Trump has been beating the drum against what he considers unfair trade deals with China, and among the biggest losers since the election is Alibaba. The massive Chinese new-media company that is co-producing films with Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners is off 7 percent since the election. Another laggard since Nov. 8 is Facebook, down 3 percent. The social networking giant has been under fire from the left for promoting “fake news” and from the right for allegedly pushing negative stories about conservatives and positive ones about liberals.
Also lagging are some theater operators, most notably Regal Entertainment Group, down 7 percent, and Cinemark Holdings, off 3 percent. Movie theaters, though, are expected to get a boost from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which could open this weekend to as much as $350 million globally. Kramer says the Trump rally has mostly benefited bank, energy and infrastructure stocks, and he suspects it won’t last. “It’s all about tax reform, deregulation and infrastructure and deficit spending under Trump, and those are all pro-growth policies,” he said. “The market is forward-thinking, but it doesn’t know what the actual policies will be, so the rally may fizzle.”
Beyond a Trump effect (perceived or real), there are plenty of issues plaguing individual companies. Disney, for example, will score big with Rogue One, but it lost 2 million ESPN subscribers in the fiscal year ending Oct. 1. As for Viacom, it remains to be seen what new CEO Bob Bakish can do to turn around the Paramount film studio as well as cable channel MTV. And 21st Century Fox was hit by a downgrade Monday by Telsey Advisory Group, which predicts the Rupert Murdoch-controlled company will have to fight European regulators over its planned $14.1 billion acquisition of the 61 percent of British satellite TV service Sky that it doesn’t already own.
Read the whole story here.
LifeSiteNews: A woman who endured three coerced abortions at the hands of “family planning” officials in China has opened up about her guilt and sorrow following the deaths of her three unborn children, and the suffering all Chinese women face as a result of the communist government’s draconian one child policy.
In an article for the China Aid website, Jinghong Cai, now a Ph.D. student in the United States, shared her personal story of grief and redemption, and shed light on the governmental and cultural pressure women undergo when it comes to pregnancy in the communist nation.
“The first time I was forced to have an abortion because I did not apply for the government’s permit to get pregnant,” Jinghong wrote. “My department secretary in charge of family planning told me that it was better for me to have a secret abortion than being reported and then punished.”
“Of course, she was not being kind to me or anything,” wrote Jinghong. “The reason she asked me to have a secret abortion was that if I was punished for breaking the family planning law, the university would receive a stern warning, even a hefty fine, and the university leaders would have to submit a letter of ‘remorse’ for negligence and dereliction of duty!”
Jinghong later went through official channels and received permission to become pregnant. She gave birth to a baby boy. But soon, she found herself again at the mercy of the family planning police.
“After my son was born, I got pregnant again, and for the same reason I had a second abortion,” recounted Jinghong. “After that, the doctor recommended that I use a Copper-T IUD, a type of long-acting, reversible contraception. Unfortunately, this device, considered one of the most effective forms of birth control, was disposed of by my body unbeknownst to me. I got pregnant again. For the same reason, I had another abortion.”
“As a Christian, I know that God has forgiven me, but for years, I carried with me the pain, shame and guilt of having snuffed out three precious lives,” Jinghong wrote. Soon after her baptism in 2012, “I confessed my sin of abortion to God [and] had a blissful dream—three young children giggling joyfully, playing hide and seek, running around a smiling man in a long, white robe. I knew I was forgiven.”
Jinghong says that aside from her conversion to Christianity, her story is far from unusual in China.
“My story is not unique; it is the story of millions of Chinese women,” wrote Jinghong. She recounted the story of her aunt, who gave birth to three girls in violation of the one child policy before finally having a son, risking “harsh and extreme” punishment by the authorities.
“One morning in June [of 1985],” recalled Jinghong, “the police drove a big truck into my aunt’s village and forced all married women to jump on the truck. Many of them were middle-aged, had already had children, and were not even pregnant. The police told them that they would undergo a medical checkup at the hospital, but once there, they all were forcedly sterilized.”
Jinghong’s aunt was one of those who underwent the mandatory procedure. Complications from the surgery almost caused her to bleed to death.
“The Western, liberal ideologists may question why they wanted to have a son so badly that they broke the government’s law time and again,” Jinghong wrote. “According to Chinese tradition, it is almost a religious belief that a son is the best heritage of a family, and the male heir is like the family’s flame of the incense, passing on his ancestor’s spirit from generation to generation. Wives often feel ashamed and guilty if they cannot give birth to a son.”
Indeed, the one child policy has led to what some human rights activists have called a “gendercide” against females in China. Chinese girls are frequently aborted, killed at birth, or abandoned by their families, who think that if they are only permitted to raise one child, it should be a son.
Based on statistics from a 2009 study in the British Medical Journal, it has been estimated that there are only five girls born in China for every six boys as a result of sex-selective abortion, infanticide, or exposure. Approximately 1.1 million fewer girls are born every year. As a result, there are currently 37 million more males than females living in China, and the gender imbalance continues to grow.
According to Jinghong, it will take much more than a policy change to roll back the widespread practice of abortion in China. She says that decades of systematic coercion and propaganda campaigns have left their indelible mark on the psyche of an entire nation.
“Forced abortion means it is never a ‘choice’ for women in China,” Jinghong wrote. “However, people in China are so blind about this fact that they accept forced abortion as a natural and normal act, and even automatically engage in helping the government with its propaganda.”
“A middle-aged woman, a Communist Party member from the university where I used to teach, often told foreign tourists that the whole world should thank China for the forced abortion policy, ‘for we contribute to the world by sacrificing ourselves.’”
“In China, abortion is as common as children having their tonsils taken out,” wrote Jinghong. “Nobody connects abortion with murder. The government’s policies have created a culture of disrespect for life and dignity, with millions of babies (some up to 9 months gestation) forcedly aborted.”
Jinghong credits her faith with allowing her to accept the truth about abortion, as well as forgive herself.
“Many in communist China and across the world reject the notion of abortion as murder; I had three forced abortions—I found God; I know better.”