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May Liu Xiaobo Rest In Peace

by on Jul.14, 2017, under Posts>Opinions>Politics>World Affairs>Human Rights

I admire Liu Xiaobo for his passion and love for his country and his people, as well as his courage to fight for what he thought was right. Xi Jinping lacks the courage to do anything a little bit differently. That was why there was no pardon for Liu Xiaobo. (People in power are rarely brave enough to do things differently because they do not want to lose allies or be seen as dictators.) It is very regretful that Liu had to die so soon. I think his bad health had to do with his unhappiness with politics in China. And his imprisonment could have made it worse. Same thing happened to Lynne Stewart. I hope people do not get imprisoned for their political believes.

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Would it be better if the Russians had helped Hillary Clinton instead?

by on Jul.13, 2017, under Posts>Opinions>Politics>Presidential Campaigns

To be honest, I hope that Trump is out of the White House sooner rather than later because of his stance on immigration and many other issues. But I wonder why people are having problems with information concerning a presidential candidate being exposed by the Russians rather than by Americans. If the information was important to American voters and it was not fake or distorted, did it matter who revealed it?

If the Russians did have information damaging to a presidential candidate that American voters should be given, should they have withheld it from the American public to help that candidate?

By the way, if the Russians did have information concerning Hillary Clinton, I think they would have sent it to Wikileaks or some news outlets or published it in their own news media rather than giving it to the Trump campaign. What was to gain by the Russians to give it to the Trump campaign? I feel that the meeting arranged for Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer was a setup rather than a real operation initiated by the Russian government. I think the Russians are good spies and would not do anything as stupid as that. Also, if it was indeed a setup, that would explain why the emails between Donald Trump Jr. and the Russian lawyer had been obtained by the American media before Donald Trump Jr. made them public. The Russians would not have revealed the emails themselves if they did in fact try to set up a meeting with Donald Trump Jr. given that fact that they are not admitting that they had tried to help the Trump campaign.

I hope that the Trump opposition, if such thing does exist, can come up with better ways to defeat Trump rather than clinging to this Russian collusion theory that will go nowhere.

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The “Russia Trump connection” and the US war in Syria

by on Apr.08, 2017, under Posts>Opinions>Politics>Presidential Campaigns>Posts>Opinions>Politics>World Affairs>Wars>Syria War

It feels like the presidential election did not end until now and the result is not what people thought it would be on election night. Neocons never gave up on their conspiracy theory that Trump won with helps from Russia and pressed on until they have now finally won in the sense that they have been able to force Trump to go along with them and start a war in Syria.

Initially, I thought if the Russia Trump connection debate and investigation are ignored, nothing will happen. Now I feel the need to ask questions concerning this debate and investigation. Can we find any voters who regret that they did not vote for Hillary Clinton because of what they got to know about Hillary and the Democratic Party during the election? Why is it better that voters are less informed of the candidates? Did Russia interfere in the disclosure of any information concerning any candidate?

The playing up of the “Russia Trump connection” is purely political, in some way similar to the insistence by Trump on proof of Obama’s eligibility to be President of the United States.

That being said, Trump changing his position on Syria is not all due to the fact that he has been harassed by neocons on his connection to Russia. He has always tried to be popular. And now that he is surrounded by neocons, he must be thinking that starting a war in Syria is popular.

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How to fight terrorism?

by on Apr.08, 2017, under Posts>Opinions>Politics>World Affairs>Middle East>Posts>Opinions>Politics>Terrorism

I guess Trump has been attacked on so many fronts that he does not know what are the right things to do any more. Now he is doing exactly what Hillary would have done if she had become President: trying to take down the Assad regime. Never mind that neoconservatism is going to destroy America! It is popular right now!

Since Trump has been saying that he will focus on fighting terrorism, I will just talk about how to fight terrorism. Firstly, take a look at why terrorism is not just happening in the Middle East but also in America, Europe (including Russia) and China. People who become radicalized in America, Europe (including Russia) and China are not foreign nationals but mostly citizens or legal residents. These people are radicalized not just because they are inspired by others but mainly because they feel hopeless in some ways for economic or political reasons. If they are not inspired by others, they may still commit violent acts or do drugs or find some other ways to self-destruct, just like any other citizen who is not inspired by Islamic Extremism. To fight terrorism, the problems these people are facing need to be solved. Problems of only part of the population in any society are actually problems of that whole society, not just problems of that part of the population.

Secondly, can countries outside of the Middle East use force to eradicate Islamic Extremism in the Middle East? It depends. Regimes like those in Germany and Japan during WWII were taken down by force by Allies. But so far, have we seen any regime like that popping up in the Middle East? Regimes that may be repressive but are not committing genocide or waging large scale wars against other countries may not be taken down by force. They need to be dealt with in other ways.

Waging wars not for self-defense is self-destructive. That is how empires fall apart, which is illustrated by the fable “The Death of a Camel”. The death of the camel in the story started with a kick at a piece of glass out of anger, which caused a foot to bleed. Then the blood attracted a vulture and a wolf which scared the camel into running until exhaustion, which resulted in the camel falling next to an anthill and getting attacked to death by the ants.

By the way, supporting the Assad regime is a wrong way for Russia to fight terrorism in Russia. And it is considered an interference in Syria’s internal affairs. Russia can be friendly to Syria. But to provide military support to a regime is more than being friendly.

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Legal rights vs. immigration benefits for immigrants

by on Mar.06, 2017, under Posts>Opinions>Politics>Immigration & Globalization>Immigration

Many immigrant rights advocates have made the mistake of insisting on immigration benefits for unauthorized immigrants rather than just legal rights for them. This may be the reason why immigration reform can never happen. The two opposing sides on immigration reform are both having elections in their minds. One side think that they can get more votes with immigration reform while the other side think that there will be more voters who would vote against them. Legal rights for immigrants are thus rudely pushed aside by both sides.

It is a no brainer that people can not just come to a country and ask for benefits. But people should be allowed to travel around the world and stay where they can afford to stay as long as they abide by the laws of the country where they stay. Each country can make their own laws concerning what benefits a person from another country can receive. But forbidding certain people from coming and staying is not right. People at the very least have the right to freedom of movement.

Legalization of unauthorized immigrants means giving unauthorized immigrants legal rights, not immigration benefits.

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The failed Western approach to terrorism

by on Mar.06, 2017, under Posts>Opinions>Politics>World Affairs>Middle East>Posts>Opinions>Politics>Terrorism

The failed Western approach to terrorism is like painkillers which make you unable to feel the pain but do nothing to help your body recover or eliminate the source of pain.

Like painkillers, which are prescribed to patients to make them happy by making them unable to feel the pain, operations that “kill terrorists” are good propaganda to make the general public happy. But they not only always fail to eradicate terrorism, but also more likely than not increase terrorism.

If you can not understand why I am saying it is a Western approach and it is a failed approach, please study the difference between Western medicine and Chinese medicine. In Western medicine, if an organ in your body fails to function normally and causes pain and suffering, often times it is removed. In Chinese medicine, the goal is to make a failed organ get back to normal.

Trying to get something back to normal is not as easy as removing it all together. That is why people often throw away things that have malfunctioned rather than try to fix them. But for a body to function properly, organs should not be discarded so readily. For a society to function properly, people should not be purposely killed. Just like organs depend on each other to function, people depend on each other to live. You and me may not be directly affected by the removal of a person, some of that person’s relatives and friends and associates may.

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Trump’s priorities

by on Mar.05, 2017, under Posts>Opinions>Politics>Immigration & Globalization>Immigration>Posts>Opinions>Politics>World Affairs>Middle East

Trump has made several promises that are contradictory. For example, his promise to deport unauthorized immigrants is contradictory to his promise to make America great again. So what does he think is more important? Obviously, from what he has been doing since he took office, we can tell that he is putting his own interest and his own party’s interest above the interests of the country. Making America great again has to come last. The first thing in his mind is to keep his supporters happy so they will vote for him again in 4 years. The next thing in his mind is still future elections: how to make sure there will not be more Democrats.

Trump’s small-minded thinking reinforced my impression that he is mediocre, that he can not put the country’s interests first, that he does not have what it take to be a great president. His chief strategist Steve Bannon may be to blame for his petty strategies. But Trump has to be the one to take the ultimate responsibility since he does have the power to say no to Steve Bannon.

I can understand why there can not be a great president at this time though. People on the extreme right would kill any president who dare not to answer to them. So there is not much of a chance for anyone to do anything great right now. Innocent lives will continue to be destroyed for some crazy people to be happy. For the short period of time since Trump took office, innocent women and children have been killed in raids in the Middle East, immigrants have been killed, attacked, or separated from their children to be deported. All of these have been weighing heavily on those like myself who did not support Hillary to defeat Trump.

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My thoughts on Trump’s travel and immigration ban

by on Feb.01, 2017, under Posts>Opinions>Politics>Immigration & Globalization>Immigration>Posts>Opinions>Society>Racism>Posts>Opinions>Politics>Terrorism

First of all, I agree with Dallas Mayor’s assessment that Trump’s travel ban could help radicalize extremists. Whether or not there is any good reason for Trump to order such a ban is not as important as it is how the ban will be seen by the world. I am sorry to have dismissed political correctness. Political correctness is not unimportant in this case.

As to Trump’s motivation for this ban, I can only speculate. There could be a few reasons for Trump to have come up with this ban. There could be an innocent reason for the US to stop accepting refugees from Syria. I was once a refugee. So I know something about how things work for refugees. When conflicts end in the country where they come from, refugees are supposed to go back to their country if they have not resettled in another country. Whether refugees from Syria should still be sent to other countries to resettle there depends on whether conflicts have ended in Syria. Trump probably does not want to think that there are still conflicts in Syria. In reality, conflicts do not usually end so quickly. If Russia is still supporting the Assad regime, conflicts will still be there. Even after all foreign forces have left Syria, there could still be a civil war there. There will be peace there eventually. But probably not right now.

That being said, a lot of people, including myself, feel that Trump’s ban is motivated more by some people’s fear of, or worse, hatred for, Muslims. This is because Trump got into power partly by making promises to people who fear or hate Muslims that he will protect them. When government policies are made out of fear or hatred, they can not be reasonable. Why do some people have to be inconvenienced and disrespected? Human rights are not just for the majority. They are for everyone. If Trump does not want to be misunderstood, he should offer as much explanation for his decision as possible. By simply saying because the US has the need of finding extremists, some people have to be inconvenienced and disrespected, Trump is showing disrespect for these people. I can therefore tell that disrespect is the most important reason for Trump to come up with the ban. Of course, trying to keep his campaign promises, and by extension, keep his job, is another reason.

By the way, if stopping extremists from entering the United States is the reason for the ban, I can not understand why Iran is on the list of countries whose citizens are to be banned. I can only think of Iran being the enemy of Israel as the reason for her to be included.

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The election results show the elite were delusional

by on Nov.10, 2016, under Posts>Opinions>Politics>Presidential Campaigns

The elite had tried hard to convince the American public that all was well. In the end, the elite were the ones who were fooled by their own lies. A large part of the American population did not get fooled. The fact is it is hard to fool people on whether or not things are going well for them.

Maybe for the elite, the election was just about culture. But for many people, it was about the economy, as it is told here: Why did Trump win? The economy, stupid.

With so many people supporting Bernie Sanders in the Democratic Primary, how can anyone expect Hillary Clinton to win? And yet, some people find the election results shocking!?!?!

To win the general election, the Democrats should have nominated someone who can draw support from Bernie Sanders supporters as well as Hillary Clinton supporters. Instead of doing that, they tried hard to strong arm Bernie Sanders supporters into supporting Hillary Clinton. Chuck Todd has got it right on this: Chuck Todd explains how Donald Trump won the presidency.

By the way, the Trump campaign was not easy given all the oppositions from the elite, but succeeded thanks to Trump’s ability to self-finance part of the campaign, the support from his family members who were all good and capable people, the support from the Republican Party leadership, and the support from the general population.

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Should American companies move factories to other countries?

by on Oct.05, 2016, under Posts>Opinions>Politics>Presidential Campaigns

It depends on the social environments of the countries the factories are moved to. If workers’ protections and environment regulations in those countries are lacking, the move will not help those countries or the US. The move will just serve as a way for companies to avoid regulations in the US. It will not help grow the consumer markets in those countries. The world economy will not grow as a result.

If workers’ protections and environment regulations are adequate in those countries, the consumer markets in those countries will grow, the world economy will grow, and the US economy will grow as well.

So free trade agreements, if set up improperly, will be harmful, but can be a good thing if set up properly.

By the way, other than avoiding regulations, there are two more reasons for American companies to move factories to other countries: to increase competitiveness by reducing cost, and to maximize profits. So many American companies will move factories to other countries whenever it is possible whether people like it or not. There is nothing much that anyone can do about it. The US government can only use taxation to reduce the benefit of increasing profits American companies will receive by moving their factories to other countries to offset the immediate cost to the US economy brought about by the move.

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