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Unkonventionelle Lösungen für eine zukunftsfähige Gesellschaft

Posts Tagged ‘USA’

With Trump we’ve reached the ‚mad emperor‘ stage, and it’s terrifying to behold

Posted by hkarner - 3. Juni 2020

Date: 02‑06‑2020

Source: The Guardian Richard Wolffe

Trump incites violence from the safety of a bunker, then orders peaceful protesters tear‑gassed for the sake of a surreal photo op

Writing from a Birmingham jail, Martin Luther King Jr famously told his anxious fellow clergymen that his non‑violent protests would force those in power to negotiate for racial justice. “The time is always ripe to do right,” he wrote. 

On an early summer evening, two generations later, Donald Trump walked out of the White House, where he’d been hiding in a bunker. Military police had just fired teargas and flash grenades at peaceful protesters to clear his path, so that he could wave a bible in front of a boarded church.

For Trump, the time is always ripe to throw kerosene on his own dumpster fire.

In the week since George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police officers, Trump has watched and tweeted helplessly as the nation he pretends to lead has reached its breaking point. After decades of supposedly legal police beatings and murders, the protests have swept America’s cities more quickly than even coronavirus.

This is no coincidence of timing. In other crises, in other eras, there have been presidents who understood their most basic duty: to calm the violence and protect the people. In this crisis, however, we have a president who built his entire political career as a gold‑painted tower to incite violence. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Google’s removal of anti‑Beijing comments raises political eyebrows

Posted by hkarner - 30. Mai 2020

Date: 28‑05‑2020

Source: The Economist

The case of the vanishing comments

On may 26th Palmer Luckey, an American best known for making virtual‑reality headsets, alerted the world to an odd phenomenon. YouTube was deleting all comments which mentioned Wumao, slang for propagandists paid by the Chinese Communist Party (ccp) to flood online forums with pro‑ccp views. “Who at Google [YouTube’s parent] decided to censor American comments on American videos hosted in America by an American platform that is already banned in China?” Mr Luckey asked on Twitter.

Mr Luckey was not the first to notice this, but his tech heft drew an immediate response from the right of the political spectrum, with which he has had connections. Ted Cruz, a Republican senator from Texas, called it “very disturbing” and asked why YouTube was “censoring Americans on behalf of the ccp”. Jim Banks, a Republican congressman from Indiana, fired off a letter to Sundar Pinchai, Google’s boss. One would expect, he wrote, that the “spirit” of the First Amendment would be extended into the American firm’s online platforms. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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This Idiot Wants a War

Posted by hkarner - 29. Mai 2020

Date: 28‑05‑2020

Source: The Wall Street Journal By Rebecca Smith

Subject: U.S. Seizure of Chinese‑Built Transformer Raises Specter of Closer Scrutiny

A Chinese transformer weighing more than 500,000 pounds arrived by ship at the Port of Houston last summer, en route to an electrical substation in Colorado that funnels electricity to Denver.

It never made it there.

Instead, federal officials commandeered the electrical transformer, built by closely held Jiangsu Huapeng Transformer Company, at the port and had it trucked under federal escort to Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M., according to people with knowledge of the matter.

What engineers at Sandia found still isn’t publicly known, nor why it was seized. The laboratory, operated by Honeywell International Inc., is under contract with the U.S. Energy Department and tasked with solving national‑security threats. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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China raises US trade tensions with warning of ‘new cold war’

Posted by hkarner - 25. Mai 2020

Date: 25‑05‑2020

Source: The Guardian

Foreign minister accuses Washington of damaging relationship with Beijing 

Wang Yi, the Chinese foreign minister, said the US was ‘pushing our two countries to the brink of a new cold war’.

The prospects of a trade war between China and the western economies ratcheted up on Sunday as Beijing accused the US of pushing relations towards a “new cold war”.

“China has no intention to change, still less replace the United States,” China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, said on Sunday in the latest escalation in tensions between the world’s two largest economies. “It’s time for the United States to give up its wishful thinking of changing China and stopping 1.4 billion people in their historic march toward modernisation.”

He said US political attacks on China over the coronavirus and global trade matters “are taking China‑US relations hostage and pushing our two countries to the brink of a new cold war”. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Fabulist

Posted by hkarner - 21. Mai 2020

Date: 20‑05‑2020

Source: Project Syndicate by Elizabeth Drew

Elizabeth Drew is a Washington‑based journalist and the author, most recently, of Washington Journal: Reporting Watergate and Richard Nixon’s Downfall. 

Since assuming the US presidency in 2017, Donald Trump has established his bona fides as not just a liar, but as someone seemingly unconcerned with whether his fictions will be exposed. Is his latest invention a bridge too far?

WASHINGTON, DC – In April 2011, Donald Trump, then considering a run for the presidency the following year, said that he had sent investigators to Hawaii to check out rumors that President Barack Obama wasn’t born there, but in Kenya, which would disqualify him for the presidency. His investigators, Trump declared, “cannot believe what they’re finding.”

I can find no record of Trump being challenged on this outlandish claim at the time. In the fall of 2016, Trump, now the Republican presidential nominee, was convinced by his staff that he had to abandon this “birther” nonsense. He did so reluctantly, charging – also with no evidence – that such rumors had actually been initiated by his opponent, Hillary Clinton.

There, in a nutshell, is Trump’s modus operandi: he’s not just a liar but a fabulist, seemingly unconcerned with whether his fictions will be exposed. If they are, the world simply moves on as he invents fresh distractions.

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The Fable of the Chinese Whistleblower

Posted by hkarner - 20. Mai 2020

Date: 18‑05‑2020

Source: Project Syndicate by Stephen S. Roach and Weijian Shan

Stephen S. Roach, a faculty member at Yale University and former Chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia, is the author of Unbalanced: The Codependency of America and China. 

Weijian Shan, CEO of PAG, is the author of Out of the Gobi and the forthcoming Money Games.

 The more the United States struggles with the ravages of COVID‑19, the more President Donald Trump and his Republican Party will blame China. The facts hardly matter, as their exploitation of the tragic case of Wuhan doctor Li Wenliang shows: If Trump and the GOP think a conspiracy theory will win votes, they will run with it.

NEW HAVEN/HONG KONG – Public opinion in the United States pins the blame for the COVID‑19 pandemic squarely on China. After all, that’s where the virus started. And President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have fanned the flames by accusing China of covering up the outbreak and knowingly allowing the novel coronavirus to spread. But their supposed smoking gun, the tragic fate of the heroic whistleblower, Li Wenliang, fires only blanks.

Li, a doctor, was purportedly silenced and chastised by Chinese officials for warning on December 30, 2019, about a new virus in the Wuhan hospital where he worked. When it became evident that he was on to something serious – so serious, in fact, that it ultimately killed him – the Chinese government changed its tune and celebrated Li’s bravery. If only that had happened sooner, the argument goes, the world would have avoided this horrific pandemic.

But that’s not what happened. Li was a courageous young man. His actions, however, were relatively unremarkable. Indeed, his role has been distorted without regard for fact.

The first Chinese doctor to report a new virus was not Li, but Zhang Jixian, the 54‑year‑old director of the respiratory and intensive care departments at the Hubei Provincial Hospital of Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine, also located in Wuhan. On December 27, three days before Li’s actions, Zhang diagnosed a family of three suffering from a viral pneumonia of unknown type and immediately submitted a report to her hospital, which, in turn contacted the Wuhan Health Commission on December 29.

Contrary to the Western narrative, the initial response of local authorities was prompt, albeit not without error. Facts and dates are important here. One day later, on December 30, the Wuhan Health Commission sent an urgent warning to all medical institutions under its jurisdiction about the outbreak of a mysterious new pneumonia.

Within hours, the central government dispatched an expert working group from the National Health Commission to conduct on‑site investigations and organize a potential epidemic response. The team arrived early the next morning, December 31, and by 1 p.m. that day, the Wuhan Health Commission issued a public announcement about 27 pneumonia cases of unknown origin. The warning added that there was “so far no discovery of cases of obvious human‑to‑human transmission or infection of medical workers” – a mistake that would haunt China.

Following standard protocols for infectious diseases, the World Health Organization was informed immediately on December 31. The WHO’s Disease Outbreak News acknowledges receiving a report that day “… of cases of pneumonia of unknown etiology (unknown cause) detected in Wuhan City.” In other words, the WHO sounded a global alert only two days after Zhang’s hospital filed its initial report.

Li, an ophthalmologist, was not trained to diagnose complex respiratory diseases. He and a few other doctors probably saw the December 30 urgent notification from the Wuhan Health Commission. Out of understandable concern, they sent instant messages to friends a little before 6 p.m. that day, warning of a potential outbreak.

The message went viral. Local police then came in, having tracked Li’s warning through China’s notorious Internet surveillance. Yes, the police reprimanded Li on January 1 for spreading a rumor, and he signed a “paper of admonishment” on January 3. But this is not as disturbing as it may seem. At that point, no one, including Zhang and Li, had any insight into the true nature of the disease. Nor did the Wuhan police, who were understandably concerned about seemingly alarmist messages. But Li was not arrested or otherwise punished for rumormongering. Unfortunately, Li died of the coronavirus on February 6, the same day Zhang was officially honored as the real whistleblower.

So where is the smoking gun? After testing a stricken family for known viruses, all Zhang knew was that this ailment was different and sounded the alarm, which was enough to spur a quick response from officials at both the local and national levels.

The major early mistake – the failure to consider the possibility of human‑to‑human transmission – was a judgment error, which probably reflected an under‑reporting of cases. Sadly, that lesson has been lost on the US, which continues to suffer from a glaring deficiency of testing and a related undercounting of infections.

This is where the Trump administration’s conspiracy theory falls apart. COVID‑19 is a novel coronavirus – it had never occurred before. Local Chinese officials were just as confused as anyone at the first signs of this outbreak. And they remained confused for some time. Why else would they have allowed street parties and holiday travel out of Wuhan prior to the Chinese Lunar New Year? When China’s national health officials did comprehend the virus’s highly contagious nature, Wuhan was shut down and sealed off, on January 23, 2020. Moreover, contrary to the Trump administration’s cover‑up narrative, China did not deliberately keep US officials in the dark. The director of China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) briefed his US counterpart on January 3 – within a week of Zhang’s initial report.

While initial contact between the two CDCs was interrupted by the New Year holiday, the coordination between the two countries’ public health officials was much closer – and, as WHO Disease Outbreak documentation verifies, the time lags were considerably shorter – than is widely believed in the West.

The contrast with America’s response is striking. Whereas 27 days passed from Zhang’s initial report to the Wuhan shutdown on January 23, the US took exactly twice as long (54 days) to go from its first official diagnosis of COVID‑19 (January 20) to Trump’s declaration of national emergency (March 13).

Li’s death plays a central part in the conspiracy theories that drive the anti‑China discourse of Trump’s Republican Party. The “Corona Big Book,” a leaked 57‑page GOP Campaign 2020 strategy document is, in fact, filled with distorted accounts of the so‑called intimidation of Li. It makes no mention of Zhang.

Equally important to the GOP strategy is the charge that COVID‑19 was spawned in a lab at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Notwithstanding the rejection of such allegations by US and other Western intelligence sources, leading scientists, and Anthony Fauci, America’s foremost expert on infectious diseases, the GOP’s mendacious claims persist.

Whether it’s the lab in Wuhan or the alleged martyrdom of Li, the implications are the same:
the more the US struggles with the ravages of COVID‑19, the more desperate Trump and his loyalists are to blame China. In a political strategy laced with conspiracy theories, facts matter little.

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The Coronavirus Crisis Shows Experts Aren’t Enough

Posted by hkarner - 17. Mai 2020

Date: 16‑05‑2020

Source: The Wall Street Journal By Yuval Levin

As the pandemic shows, there are no purely technical solutions for problems that demand political leadership.

The U.S. government’s response to Covid‑19 has forced us to ask what role scientific and technical experts should play in making policy. We have become used to the spectacle of President Trump standing before reporters surrounded by a gaggle of doctors and scientific advisers—sometimes deferring to them, sometimes questioning them, sometimes berating them. Many governors have held similar briefings with their own panels of experts. This week, a Senate committee called in three of the government’s top public‑health officials for testimony, and a House committee is looking to hold its own expert briefing later this month. The pronouncements of these specialists frequently drive key decisions and shape public views.

But the costs and burdens of the pandemic response have driven some Americans to criticize the power of the public health professionals who designed it. Skepticism of experts and resentment of their claims to authority have grown. There have been calls to fire Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who has been a prominent counselor to the president. And Dr. Deborah Birx, who leads the White House pandemic task force, has become, in the words of one New York Times report, “a partisan Rorschach test.” Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Huawei Struggles to Get Along Without Google

Posted by hkarner - 14. Mai 2020

Date: 13‑05‑2020

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Without the search‑and‑software giant’s apps, the relentless march of Huawei’s smartphones is faltering

Since its blacklisting by the U.S. Commerce Department, Huawei has launched two flagship smartphones—the P40 and the Mate 30—running on its in‑house software.

China’s Huawei Technologies Co., barred by the U.S. from buying American technology, has found a lot of workarounds—but is having a hard time replacing Google, on which it has relied for a decade.

Without the search‑and‑software giant’s apps, smartphone fixtures around the world, the once‑relentless march of Huawei’s phones is faltering. Overall smartphone demand globally suffered a record fall in the first quarter, as the coronavirus ravaged the world economy and upended supply chains. But Huawei’s smartphone shipments outside China dropped 35%, more than twice rival Samsung Electronics Co. ’s decline and four times Apple Inc.’s, according to data tracker Canalys. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Crisis of a Lifetime

Posted by hkarner - 13. Mai 2020

Date: 11‑05‑2020

Source: Project Syndicate GEORGE SOROS and GREGOR PETER SCHMITZ

Gregor Peter Schmitz is Editor‑in‑Chief of the Augsburger Allgemeine and the co‑author (with George Soros) of The Tragedy of the European Union. 

George Soros is Chairman of Soros Fund Management and the Open Society Foundations. A pioneer of the hedge‑fund industry, he is the author of many books, including The Alchemy of Finance, The New Paradigm for Financial Markets: The Credit Crisis of 2008 and What it Means, and The Tragedy of the European Union: Disintegration or Revival? His most recent book is In Defense of Open Society (Public Affairs, 2019).

Only one thing is certain about the post‑pandemic world: there is no way back to the globalized economy that preceded it. Everything else is up for grabs, including the rise of China, the fate of the United States, and the survival of the European Union.

GREGOR PETER SCHMITZ: You have seen many crises. Is the COVID‑19 pandemic comparable to any previous one?

GEORGE SOROS: No. This is the crisis of my lifetime. Even before the pandemic hit, I realized that we were in a revolutionary moment where what would be impossible or even inconceivable in normal times had become not only possible, but probably absolutely necessary. And then came COVID‑19, which has totally disrupted people’s lives and required very different behavior. It is an unprecedented event that probably has never occurred in this combination. And it really endangers the survival of our civilization. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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There is less trust between Washington and Beijing than at any point since 1979

Posted by hkarner - 11. Mai 2020

Date: 07‑05‑2020

Source: The Economist

What does that mean in practice?

When conducting war games between China and America, David Ochmanek of rand Corporation, a think‑tank, worries most about an invasion of Taiwan, the security of which is implicitly guaranteed by America. In one scenario the red team unleashes a “joint firepower strike” on Taiwan’s defence forces and on American forces, bases and command‑and‑control nodes in the Pacific, including on Okinawa and Guam. Many of the blue team’s planes are destroyed on the ground, and its runways disabled. China severs communication links as part of an effort to gain information superiority, part of a full‑spectrum strategy called “system‑destruction warfare”. Then comes the amphibious assault on the island. American submarines knock out some portion of the invasion force with torpedoes, but surface‑level carriers and frigates are hammered by Chinese anti‑ship missiles if they venture near the fight. “We always assume that the United States intervenes forcefully and early,” Mr Ochmanek says. But now, in contrast to years past, “I would not have confidence that we would succeed.”

The probability of such a world‑changing military conflict between the two countries remains mercifully low. But it is becoming something to ponder beyond simulations, a reflection of how grim their relationship has become. Lesser conflicts may be reignited this year—over trade, technology, espionage and propaganda and disinformation—while the American death toll from covid‑19 climbs. The world’s two largest economies, so long intertwined through trade and investment, are heading towards a partial decoupling. There is less trust between the two governments than at any time since the normalisation of relations in 1979. And as an election approaches in November, the chances of misunderstanding, miscalculation and provocation are escalating on both sides. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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