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  1. There are some additional points of interest about "Stalin's Famine" as Westerners have come to call it. They forget that the same period of famine resulted in starvation in parts of India and other nearby countries that had nothing to do with collectivization. Also, they forget that famines had regularly resulted in the starvation of Russians from well before Stalin's time. In fact, Kotkin himself admits some of this truth in his first paragraph under the heading Stalin's Famine. Of course, no one should say that governments don't make big mistakes that can harm (or kill) thousands and even millions of people. The United States had big agricultural problems in the 1930's, too. And much of it can be blamed on government sponsored policies. Anecdotally, here's a summary of Steinbeck's book about the period: Set during the Great Depression, the novel focuses on the Joads, a poor family of tenant farmers driven from their Oklahoma home by drought, economic hardship, agricultural industry changes, and bank foreclosures forcing tenant farmers out of work. Due to their nearly hopeless situation, and in part because they are trapped in the Dust Bowl, the Joads set out for California along with thousands of other "Okies" seeking jobs, land, dignity, and a future. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Grapes_of_Wrath The "Dust Bowl" itself was blamed on the following practices: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dust_Bowl The Dust Bowl was a period of severe dust storms that greatly damaged the ecology and agriculture of the American and Canadian prairies during the 1930s; severe drought and a failure to apply dryland farming methods to prevent the aeolian processes (wind erosion) caused the phenomenon.[1][2] The drought came in three waves, 1934, 1936, and 1939–1940, but some regions of the high plains experienced drought conditions for as many as eight years.[3] With insufficient understanding of the ecology of the plains, farmers had conducted extensive deep plowing of the virgin topsoil of the Great Plains during the previous decade; this had displaced the native, deep-rooted grasses that normally trapped soil and moisture even during periods of drought and high winds. The rapid mechanization of farm equipment, especially small gasoline tractors, and widespread use of the combine harvester contributed to farmers' decisions to convert arid grassland (much of which received no more than 10 inches (~250 mm) of precipitation per year) to cultivated cropland.[4] During the drought of the 1930s, the unanchored soil turned to dust, which the prevailing winds blew away in huge clouds that sometimes blackened the sky. These choking billows of dust – named "black blizzards" or "black rollers" – traveled cross country, reaching as far as the East Coast and striking such cities as New York City and Washington, D.C.
  2. THE FAMINE The first major accusation against Stalin is that he purposefully starved millions of people. Most people never care to learn any details about the claim. It's enough just to think that he was so evil he purposefully starved millions of persons to death. Snyder, the former world expert focused much of his book "Bloodlands" on this claim. His book became a kind of "Manifesto" for the current Nazi parties in Poland and Ukraine, and is still one of the most popular books on Stalin in those countries. Snyder himself has backed off of his original claim and now says that it was too much exaggerated and that exculpatory details were left out. In fact, Snyder had relied upon the very Nazi sources for his evidence that would later praise and utilize his book for continued propaganda. Kotkin, the current "world expert" on Stalin (as Arauna called him) wrote volume 1 of his books on Stalin without any claim of any crime by Stalin. He saved this claim for volume 2, which we should look at more closely. The first thing to note is that Kotkin makes his book thick with pages and pages of footnotes, which gives it an air of well-researched respectability. Yet he repeatedly calls the famine "Stalin's famine" and blames it on Stalin with NO evidence, no footnotes, just a claim that might as well be based on an opinion he picked up somewhere. Even though the footnotes do not accuse Stalin, he still manages to use them to imply that Stalin was to blame. Watch closely Kotkin's quote on page 128: You can see a good portion of the book here on Google books: https://books.google.com/books?id=hMUPDgAAQBAJ So, we finally find some real footnotes, but our expert has become more nuanced here. This is all under the heading of Stalin's Famine. He had just said in previous paragraphs that the famine and related epidemics had killed between 5 and 7 million, with another 10 million nearly starved to death. He admits that it wasn't intentional but still wants to blame it on Stalin. So let's look again at how he does this. The paragraph starts out with the idea that contemporaries (or at least one Italian ambassador in Ukraine) thought it was deliberate but this doesn't actually pin it on Stalin. The first real accusation here is that Stalin "monstrously" accused the peasants of not wanting to work, which would have alleviated much of the famine. The footnote #473 is evidently supposed to show how monstrous this accusation by Stalin was, or at least that Stalin participated in a monstrous accusation. The footnote references an article by Michael Ellman which only states that a doctor in Kiev province said that "leader and rank-and-file workers" in that province were blaming peasants who didn't want to work for their own starvation. Not Stalin. Ellman also says that Stalin had reported this finding to a writer named Michael Sholokhov and that such an attitude could threaten the people who worked in cities and the army too. But anyone who reads Ellman's article will notice that there was nothing "monstrous" about the claim. Ellman himself says in the same article: Stalin's idea that he had faced a peasant strike was not an absurd notion indicating paranoia. It seems that there really were numerous collective refusals by collective farmers to work for the collective farms in 1932: see Kondrashin and Penner, Golod, chapter 3 (Ellman, note 9, p. 837) This reminds me of what JTR said in the other thread. At any rate, Kotkin blames "collectivization" for the famine, and evidently is starting with footnote #474 to make this seem like more than just an opinion. But this is never stated in #474, which in fact comes closer to defending collectivization as the more proper way to try to alleviate the agricultural problems of the early 1930's. So what way is left for Kotkin to blame Stalin? He summarized the problem with that last quoted sentence: "[Stalin] twice deluded himself --partly from false reporting by frightened statisticians, partly from his own magical thinking-- that the country was on the verge of a recovery harvest." Kotkin has absolutely no reference that mentions frightened statisticians. Based on knowledge of other verbal tricks he plays, it's quite possible he may have just made this up. (Of course, if they were frightened it implies he was listening to their dire warnings, which turned out to be true.) But why blame the idea of a recovery harvest on "magical thinking"? This implies that he just stupidly decided on his own to depend on something without any basis in fact. What would we think of Kotkin however if he actually knew that a recovery harvest was exactly what the agronomic experts were widely predicting? Mark Tauger, in his book: "Natural Disaster and Human Action in the Soviet Famine of 1931-1933" states: Soviet agronomic literature and other published and archival sources from the 1930's, however, which no previous scholarship on the famine has discussed, indicate that in 1932 Soviet crops suffered from an extraordinarily severe combination of infestations from crop diseases and pests. . . . . Cairnus and Schiller . . . spoke with Soviet agronomists who confirmed these impressions in Ukraine, in the Northern Caucasus . . . Byelorussia, the Central Blackearth oblast, and the Volga region. The Soviet agricultural newspaper even acknowledged major . . . infestations. . . . That fact that [it] was difficult for nonspecialists to detect helps to explain the numerous claims in memoirs and testimonies of a good 1932 harvest. Famine survivors in the Volga region whom the Russian historian Viktor Kondrashin interviewed, however, remembered that in the 1932 harvest the ears were somehow "empty," the characteristic one would expect from rusted grain. Nonetheless, agronomists and other personnel in central offices and the local branches of the NKZ detected the infestation and made efforts to survey it and combat it. Their investigations found that rust had become the most distributed disease and caused the most harm to agriculture in Ukraine and in the Soviet Union generally. . . . .destroyed up to 70 percent of the harvest in some regions, especially near rivers, reduced the weight of grain 40-47 percent. . . . reduced the wheat harvest in the North Caucasus by 50 percent. These losses help explain why the famine was so severe in that region. Anyone who looks at the facts and evidence would not get the impression that this was Stalin's fault. Kotkin cites this study in his bibliography, and therefore knows that his statement about "magical thinking" was false. Kotkin, of course, is thorough enough to point to footnotes that tell the truth, but hides the evidence from his readers, by making false statements about it. It's clear he hopes that no one else looks them up.
  3. I included the question from TTH about China because it touches on a common belief about "communist" systems of governments. One is a common notion about nations such as China: i.e., that it cannot be truly a "communist" government because it has a strong economy poised to become even stronger, and because it has been spending so much on building up its internal infrastructure, and because it highlights manufacturing for world trade, etc. Another is that such a nation is not "democratic" or not a "democracy" because it is communistic. Or even that such a government offers no sense of "freedom" or "intellectual property" or "privacy." Aruana made a revealing statement in that other thread (p.17) when she said: Foreigners as English teachers are no longer welcome in China (visas not renewed and no reasons given) because they will infuse ideas of freedom and democracy into the society. The natural prejudices we form against communist-modeled governments (when we learn about them through our own so-called democratic government models) will include the idea that it is impossible for freedom and democracy to exist in a communist government. When we see things that go wrong under a communist government, they are blamed on the government itself. If things go wrong in Western governments we tend to defend the government as well-meaning, and blame specific areas of bad implementation. At the same time it is true that the communist governments are often making big mistakes, too. I expect that China makes big mistakes just like the United States government makes big mistakes. Sometimes those mistakes are self-made, and sometimes they are over-reactions against those Western powers who have historically meddled with them. And there is a long history of Western governments, especially the US, UK, and NATO meddling with the economy of any governments that declare themselves socialists with the internally-declared expectation that those Western governments will be able to cause unrest, riots, civil wars, death and destruction in those socialist nations. The track record of such Western nations against socialist nations reveals that the Western nations are often quite afraid, deathly afraid, of successes by such socialist nations. When they begin to succeed, it means that the Western nations can no longer control their economies and resources, especially the flow of their oil and gas and other resources coming from within their borders. From a Western viewpoint, it is much better and easier to control a despotic "puppet" than to control a government that has the support of a majority of the people. The real danger, the thing the West fears most from communism and socialism is that those governments will reach a point very quickly when they will have the support of a majority of their people. At that point socialism and communism becomes the DEMOCRATICALLY chosen form of government in those nations. Given free and fair elections, this is exactly the government they would continue to choose. The Western leaders realize they must interfere quickly with sanctions against any government that tries to completely control its own oil trade for example. Western governments must quickly arm any rebels holding out against the socialist government. Sometimes the number of these rebels is small, so they are given support from thousands of outside troops, along with a worldwide media campaign to position them as "freedom fighters" even if they are driven by greed and lust for terrorism and violence. If an open and free election chooses a socialist government, the West must declare the election to be invalid, and begin to drum up violence and sanctions against it for "civil rights abuses." Of course, we know that the US actually cares nothing about foreign civil rights abuses, and will even support them, just as the US supported terrorists against Syria, or civil rights abuses in Saudi Arabia against its own population, and against Yemen -- as long as it is convenient to US economic and political interests. A quick look at all the governments the US has seen fit to BOMB-attack-invade since WWII will give an idea: China 1945-46 Korea 1950-53 China 1950-53 Guatemala 1954 Indonesia 1958 Cuba 1959-60 Guatemala 1960 Belgian Congo 1964 Guatemala 1964 Dominican Republic 1965-66 Peru 1965 Laos 1964-73 Vietnam 1961-73 Cambodia 1969-70 Guatemala 1967-69 Lebanon 1982-84 Grenada 1983-84 Libya 1986 El Salvador 1981-92 Nicaragua 1981-90 Iran 1987-88 Libya 1989 Panama 1989-90 Iraq 1991 Kuwait 1991 Somalia 1992-94 Bosnia 1995 Iran 1998 Sudan 1998 Afghanistan 1998 Yugoslavia – Serbia 1999 Afghanistan 2001 Libya 2011 Additional countries have been attacked through NATO, proxies, rebel training, sanctions, and economic attacks via predatory loans by the IMF/WB, etc. Arms/weapons sales by the US to other nations have most often aligned with the side that is against democracy and against civil rights. In non-Western of the nations of the world, the US has the reputation of a country that hates democracy in any other country, even though it has developed a fairly stable, free and economically powerful "democracy" for itself.
  4. I mentioned that this particular topic is tied to many other political ideas and questions, covering other areas of the world, and so I might as well get some of those other questions in here right now that were not addressed when similar ideas came up in the past. Here are a few of the questions and statements that could be discussed further. These were from another topic area, but I'm re-quoting the questions here, because that topic didn't need any more sub-topics. The first was more about China, from page 20 of the other topic: More specifically to one of the points here, something said a bit earlier on page 17 of the same topic just mentioned: I already began responding about this three-volume book (Kotkin's) under that same topic, wherein I mentioned that the deliberate starvation claim has been debunked (it was one of the points referenced in Kotkin's book, volume 2). I say it has been debunked, to which Arauna had already responded: Most people today are quick to make strong judgements against Stalin (and China) because of having been trained to accept what mainstream sources, and so-called "world experts" tell us. This is one of the reasons I wanted to address these questions and claims more directly.
  5. Although the topic is political, I am starting it within the group I usually comment in. The only person who has engaged the topic to any extent usually comments within this group, too, and I intended to include some of her comments as a starting point. Also, I think there is an excellent lesson to be learned about "truth" in general which might resonate with many of us within this particular group. So. "How bad was Stalin?" Some will say, "What does it matter?" They'll probably conclude that the 'truth' must be somewhere in the middle." Perhaps he only killed a few million rather than many millions. I expect that this is where many people expect to "land" if they learn there is evidence his crimes have been overly exaggerated for political purposes. Yet, it seems quite possible, even more likely, that ALL the evidence taken together, goes much further and quite probably shows that EVERYTHING we know about Stalin has been so greatly exaggerated that he actually "killed" far less people than we are ready to imagine. But there are other reasons to take the question a little more seriously. What if the answer helps us learn about our own prejudices? What if knowing more about this situation reveals more about the definitions that are commonly misused, or the differences between deliberate lying, falsification, fabrication, misunderstanding, bias, etc.? Is it possible to determine the effects of revisionism, gullibility, iconoclasm, and crazy conspiracies? What if the answer can inform our understanding and misunderstanding of world events, not just in Stalin's time and place, but also in the Ukraine, Poland, Germany, even Japan, Korea, China, Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam, and by extension Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Hong Kong, and many more places? In my opinion those questions certainly can be answered, assuming we are willing to put just a little bit of work into some research and understanding. Just to be clear, it's my opinion that we should give serious consideration to a side of the arguments that current researchers and historians are now realizing has merit. This is the side that "defends" Stalin against exaggerations made for political purposes. Of course, a much larger group of people still accept an Anti-Stalin Paradigm (ASP) that has been already been pushed by mainstream historians for decades. However, I think it is impossible for new mainstream historian-scholars to follow the ASP without either lying or seriously misrepresenting evidence. Two of the most often quoted authoritative works based on the ASP have been written by Timothy Snyder (Bloodlands) and now Stephen Kotkin (Stalin...1929-1931). The most thorough of the non ASP historian-scholars has taken apart the last few ASP books and offers us a look at the evidence. One of them, Grover Furr, looks up ALL the footnotes in Snyder and Kotkin and reports on the evidence that these supposed "experts" have pretended to use. I'll try to use many of the same arguments that Furr uses, without tediously re-quoting him. I'm more interested in his arguments than relying upon him for quotations. The footnotes of Snyder and Kotkin have turned out to be devastating in exposing mainstream ASP "scholars" for their lack of scholarship. In many cases it exposes them as simple liars, in my opinion.
  6. In the United States, when Obama was elected, several pundits spoke of a post-racial Society in the United States -- as if racism was obviously obsolete. Similarly, when Zelensky was elected, a non-practicing Jewish person, some Ukrainian and international pundits pushed the idea that Ukraine was now a post-Nazi society. The extent of neo-Nazi influence in the government and the inability of Zelenskiy to respond effectively was just shown in the attacks on him last week. But to understand those recent attacks you have to go back at least a few years to the Maidan rebellion that ousted Yanukovych. The attacks this week were basically about the new "Jewish" president Zelensky in public asking the Azov battalion how they still get American weapons (among other things) and threatening that he is going to get to the bottom of it. A police chief in the crowd overruled Zelensky's request, and threats were recorded that focused on his Jewishness, and some stated proudly in post-threats that "we should have thrown a grenade at him." There had always been a question about whether the far right factions in Ukraine would continue to gain ground in spite of Zelenskiy's overtures to peace and unity. The Nation gives the following reports from various sources earlier this year (February 2019), to reduce space I am only covering a few of them, (many more here https://www.thenation.com/article/neo-nazis-far-right-ukraine/) but they also could give the idea that the US has been a willing participant with Nazis in Ukraine as a means of helping to present Russia in a worse light than the United States. When the United States props up Ukrainian Nazis with training and weapons, it's a sure way to keep the violence tuned against Russia. It's not so different than the reasons the United States trained and supported Osama bin Laden as an anti-Russian measure. This has been going on well prior to the Crimea based conflicts. Neo-Nazis and the Far Right Are On the March in Ukraine Five years after the Maidan uprising, anti-Semitism and fascist-inflected ultranationalism are rampant. Five years ago, Ukraine’s Maidan uprising ousted President Viktor Yanukovych, to the cheers and support of the West. Politicians and analysts in the United States and Europe not only celebrated the uprising as a triumph of democracy, but denied reports of Maidan’s ultranationalism, smearing those who warned about the dark side of the uprising as Moscow puppets and useful idiots. Freedom was on the march in Ukraine. Today, increasing reports of far-right violence, ultranationalism, and erosion of basic freedoms are giving the lie to the West’s initial euphoria. There are neo-Nazi pogroms against the Roma, rampant attacks on feminists and LGBT groups, book bans, and state-sponsored glorification of Nazi collaborators. These stories of Ukraine’s dark nationalism aren’t coming out of Moscow; they’re being filed by Western media, including US-funded Radio Free Europe (RFE); Jewish organizations such as the World Jewish Congress and the Simon Wiesenthal Center; and watchdogs like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Freedom House, which issued a joint report warning that Kiev is losing the monopoly on the use of force in the country as far-right gangs operate with impunity. Five years after Maidan, the beacon of democracy is looking more like a torchlight march. A neo-Nazi battalion in the heart of Europe “Volunteer Ukrainian Unit Includes Nazis.”—USA Today, March 10, 2015 The DC establishment’s standard defense of Kiev is to point out that Ukraine’s far right has a smaller percentage of seats in the parliament than their counterparts in places like France. That’s a spurious argument: What Ukraine’s far right lacks in polls numbers, it makes up for with things Marine Le Pen could only dream of—paramilitary units and free rein on the streets. Post-Maidan Ukraine is the world’s only nation to have a neo-Nazi formation in its armed forces. The Azov Battalion was initially formed out of the neo-Nazi gang Patriot of Ukraine. Andriy Biletsky, the gang’s leader who became Azov’s commander, once wrote that Ukraine’s mission is to “lead the White Races of the world in a final crusade…against the Semite-led Untermenschen.” Biletsky is now a deputy in Ukraine’s parliament. ... While the group officially denies any neo-Nazi connections, Azov’s nature has been confirmed by multiple Western outlets: The New York Times called the battalion “openly neo-Nazi,” while USA Today, The Daily Beast, The Telegraph, and Haaretz documented group members’ proclivity for swastikas, salutes, and other Nazi symbols, and individual fighters have also acknowledged being neo-Nazis. ... In 2017, Congressman Ro Khanna led the effort to ban Azov from receiving U.S. arms and training. But the damage has already been done: The research group Bellingcat proved that Azov had already received access to American grenade launchers, while a Daily Beast investigation showed that US trainers are unable to prevent aid from reaching white supremacists. And Azov itself had proudly posted a video of the unit welcoming NATO representatives. (Azov isn’t the only far-right formation to get Western affirmation. In December 2014, Amnesty International accused the Dnipro-1 battalion of potential war crimes, including “using starvation of civilians as a method of warfare.” Six months later, Senator John McCain visited and praised the battalion.) Particularly concerning is Azov’s campaign to transform Ukraine into a hub for transnational white supremacy. The unit has recruited neo-Nazis from Germany, the UK, Brazil, Sweden, and America; last October, the FBI arrested four California white supremacists who had allegedly received training from Azov. This is a classic example of blowback: US support of radicals abroad ricocheting to hit America. Far right ties to government “Ukrainian police declare admiration for Nazi collaborators”—RFE, February 13, 2019 Speaker of Parliament Andriy Parubiy cofounded and led two neo-Nazi organizations: the Social-National Party of Ukraine (later renamed Svoboda), and Patriot of Ukraine, whose members would eventually form the core of Azov. Although Parubiy left the far right in the early 2000’s, he hasn’t rejected his past. When asked about it in a 2016 interview, Parubiy replied that his “values” haven’t changed. Parubiy, whose autobiography shows him marching with the neo-Nazi wolfsangel symbol used by Aryan Nations, regularly meets with Washington think tanks and politicians; his neo-Nazi background is ignored or outright denied. Even more disturbing is the far right’s penetration of law enforcement. Shortly after Maidan, the US equipped and trained the newly founded National Police, in what was intended to be a hallmark program buttressing Ukrainian democracy. The deputy minister of the Interior—which controls the National Police—is Vadim Troyan, a veteran of Azov and Patriot of Ukraine. In 2014, when Troyan was being considered for police chief of Kiev, Ukrainian Jewish leaders were appalled by his neo-Nazi background. Today, he’s deputy of the department running US-trained law enforcement in the entire nation. Earlier this month, RFE reported on National Police leadership admiring Stepan Bandera—a Nazi collaborator and Fascist whose troops participated in the Holocaust—on social media. The fact that Ukraine’s police is peppered with far-right supporters explains why neo-Nazis operate with impunity on the streets.
  7. This is the first assembly I ever attended. But I wasn't paying very close attention. (I had just turned one year old.) So I probably wasn't even counted among the 194,418 who adopted the resolution.
  8. Why not take over this store for your headquarters? It even has a True Harley!
  9. Don't know. Of course, in David's case it was others in the royal entourage making the choice for him. In the account, he didn't ask for a virgin, but if not a virgin then the woman would have belonged to someone else, or would have likely been involved in sin or scandal. If they asked a man to snuggle up to him for the purposes of producing the right temperature of body heat, that might not have created the best "optics." But of course, David surely still had some older wives who would surely have been able to produce about the same level of body heat as this virgin. I always had the impression that this was the Bible's admission of a certain kind of senility on the part of David to think he needed this sort of thing, or else the royal house just assumed that this was in line with his wishes.
  10. You might already be aware that TTH is trying to make fun of the excess squabbling by squabbling with himself. 99.99 percent chance, in my opinion, that @Arguis Maxus is just another account that @TrueTomHarley has created for his own "satirical" purposes.
  11. When I visited Warwick a few months back, Sister Marina Sydlik was at the Sunday meeting I attended. I was sitting about 7 rows from the front and she was two rows from the front the whole time, but I didn't notice her until she was called on for a comment in the Watchtower Study. Back in the 1970s and 1980s she was also in the Art Department. She was very professional yet always friendly, and got along well with all the young persons, but not necessarily so well with the older sisters. I don't think this was her fault at all. There was kind of a joke going around Bethel and, unfortunately, it got back to her. Bethelites were calling her "the hot young babe." There were some Bethelites who would would pass her in the hallways, and then turn to the Bethelite next to them and whisper "Hey, who's the hot young babe?" just to get a laugh. She was basically "our age" (she looked to be in her late twenties) while Dan Sydlik, a member of the Governing Body, looked to be in his early sixties, when I worked with Marina. Best I could guess, she was about 32 years younger than him. The rumor (based perhaps partly on things Sydlik had joked about) was that he had known the family for years and had liked Marina from the time she was a little girl. She had a lot of money from her family, and she offered to loan some of her expensive jewelry to be worn by those who would be photographed for images in the publications. After that she was sometimes asked to loan jewelry again. She was used as an Art Department model too, on occasion. She was always nervous about her jewelry getting lost, and on one occasion something was lost for a while causing EVERYONE to get nervous, but then it was found. I don't know why they had to use real jewelry anyway.
  12. Does this have anything to do with the semi-racist book we read in Kindergarten back in the 1960's? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CX7k_QN29y8 Per Wiki: "One can swallow the sea, one has an unbreakable iron neck, one can stretch his legs to incredible lengths, one can survive being burned, and one can hold his breath forever." When accused of murder, since they all looked alike . . . "one by one, his four brothers assume his place (by switching roles through the ruse of convincing the judge to let them return home briefly to bid their mother goodbye) when subjected to execution and each uses his own superhuman ability to survive beheading, drowning, burning and suffocation. Finally, the judge decrees that since the man could not be executed, he must have been innocent."
  13. I have been married to my wife for 40 years, less one. (39). She is 4 years older than I am, which means that there was a time when she was 8 and I was only 4! The shame!!
  14. The perfect time to look for another inhabitable planet, jump off and take a ride to, you know, expand our horizons.
  15. Ah yes! My favorite! Besides Tetris, it's the only video game that I actually bought and loaded on my early PCs. I've gone several years without playing any video games or simulations, but I'll be very happy to try this one again. (I have to admit that I have also used the flight simulator function on Google Earth, and even tried out a few free flight sims for the iPhone.) I don't think people want to admit how often in the early MS Flight Simulator, that so many of us took off from the default airport and found ourselves trying to manage circle-eight maneuvers around the World Trade Center buildings in a Boeing 747 -- and inevitably crashing into them (pre 9/11).
  16. For the record I have never heard you say anything here that did not sound sincere. I have never heard a word from you that I would have thought was borne out of hate or even OCD. However, there is a such thing as a "zeal for God, but not according to accurate knowledge." Of course, I'm sure your knowledge of scripture is at least as good as Pearl's, but as I've said before, the interpretation appears to unnecessarily "pick on" the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses. Earlier you quoted from Matthew 7: 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. I realize that this is not about identifying an organization, but is more about how Christ Jesus along with Jehovah's spirit produces a good tree producing truth, comfort, healing, and good qualities among those who follow. The problem with your own view, in my opinion, is that you already claim that it's the association of Jehovah's Witnesses through which the faithful anointed are coming through, and for this reason such an association fulfills Bible prophecy. But these faithful anointed are therefore being produced through the association of Jehovah's Witnesses -- and no bad true tree can produce good fruit. Also, anointed aside, I think all of us who are associated with Jehovah's Witnesses see GOOD FRUIT being produced among us. All of also see many of the wrongs, and most of us are not willing to discuss the wrongs, or admittedly, even "process" such things. Sometimes that's because some of us are obviously thinking that the organization has some kind of direct authority over us. This is no doubt a common view of immature Witnesses. But the Bible makes us realize that such an organization can be used as a tool for Christ's Kingdom interests, but that Christ's authority transcends organization. The organization is an expected result of trying to efficiently and lovingly get the word out to as many people as possible in as many lands (and languages) as possible. Human nature leads some in the organization to assume that they need to have (or see) some kind of temporal, worldly-styled authority over other persons, but many of us realize that we are not actually under the authority of men. Yet, we appreciate the leadership and example of men in the organization. Unrelated to that issue of authority, most of can easily see how the effect of a world-wide association of Witnesses is both an opportunity for each of us to show the fruits of God's spirit, and it becomes an example, even a "Witness," to the good effects of God's holy spirit. I'll grant that there is much to improve, but even if it produces SOME good fruit, then it is coming from a "good" tree. We don't have to chop down the tree, because it's not a bad tree. My own interpretation is that the "organization" is not the tree of Matt 7:17,18 anyway, it's just that the good influence of Jehovah's holy spirit helps such a "tool" to reflect usefulness as an "instrument" or "vessel" because it is made up of well meaning sincere and loving people who want to do what is right. Organization or "orderliness" is just another potential result of wanting to do what is right in the best ways possible.
  17. I'd love to respond to each of your questions, although I'm a bit uncomfortable with the idea that this comes off as a serious disagreement between Arauna and myself. She happens to be the one who makes the strongest statements against a position that I have now come to see as more correct than the position I held just a few years ago when I would have whole-heartedlly agreed with her. I don't mean to position my own beliefs as the antithesis of Aruana's either, because I agree with her on the most fundamental principles behind her own reasons for accepting the beliefs she accepts. For example, it's obvious that all nations work in their own self-interests and any semblance of government working for the greatest benefit of the majority is not going to be found working in this world. The whole world lies in the power of the wicked one. What I have found most interesting is that --and this is about me and my opinion-- when we widen our viewpoints and focus on the contradictions and hypocrisies as a starting point, we often find that there is a world of evidence and information that we would have formerly rejected, not because it wasn't good evidence, but because it didn't fit into our worldview. I'm interested in the power of propaganda, and all of us should be if we are really interested in "the truth" on any matter. But pitting my evidence against someone else's just makes the other person believe they are being called naive or perhaps even unintelligent, for example. And being the recipient of the snide side of the "lol" makes me feel badly for the person offering it, because it usually means they are taking it personally. So, I'd like to make clear, as most people already know, that I'm stating my beliefs about world events and world situations, not as an attack on anyone's view. I already know that most of these views are accepted by only a small percentage of people in the "West." And I have no problem with persons accepting views opposing my own. I expect this. This is no reflection on intelligence, willingness to learn. It's not about naivety. Also, there are a lot things I already accept as true from the "opposing" side of each argument. My own goal has been to try to accept ideas that fit evidence I have seen, and explain evidence that wouldn't make much sense, otherwise. But there are always ways to fit ANY evidence into a view if one is creative enough. If Stalin was pure evil, for example, then the reason there is no evidence for all the evil things we want to believe about him, is because he was SO EVIL that he killed everyone and everything that could have shown evidence against him. Same would go for Falun Gong organ harvesting. No evidence means that all the Chinese people in government are so evil that they allow no truth of any kind to get out even if it means killing or torturing all who would try. Then it's also easy for us to believe all other evil things we hear that fit the image we've been given. And this makes it easier for propagandists to foist new tales upon us to believe. It takes very little time to sweep up a third of the world to begin believing things that are either not true, or have no real evidence. We also live in a time when wrongs are magnified for political and ideological purposes. Let's say a group kills or rapes or tortures 40 people. It's a terrible and disgusting thing! But if it's an ideological enemy of the West, we are bound to see someone post somewhere that it was 400 people. Which number is more likely to be reported, the 40 or 400? Probably the first reports will be "anywhere from 40 to 400." At this point fake news enthusiasts such as governments and government agencies and crazy ideologists will step in and start manufacturing evidence for 4,000 then 40,000. The limits of belief are tested, but if it fits an existing view in the West, for example, it's not going to be difficult. At the same time I expect that the non-West is probably doing something similar in creating exaggerated views of the evil in the West. And the areas where this is done best are well chosen. Several people actually have died in large demonstration/protests in Ecuador, Haiti, etc. But, in Hong Kong, where no one has died from the demonstrations yet (even though there have been about 3 fake funerals, so far) the West gives many hours of attention, yet close to nothing on Ecuador and Haiti. The violence in a place can be mostly instigated from the right, in Venezuela, for example, and yet the Western media will be expected to focus on violence on the part of the left. Then there are areas where even the news outlets are confused about which side to favor because of competing ideologies. (Turkey, Kurds, Anti-Assad ISIS forces, etc.)
  18. I've heard about these. Some footage actually turned out to be footage from Abu Ghraib. People have passed off footage of Indonesian police beating fellow Indonesians with the purpose of fooling persons into thinking it was about treatment of Uyghurs, or more recently, beatings by Hong Kong police in HK (where actual damning video is available). Social media even made use of pictures of muslims supposedly crying over their situation when it was later shown that the most famous of these pictures was actually just a meme from China's version of SnapChat (called Tik Tok) where the original picture was of a Muslim woman and the "crying effect" had been implemented on the picture. It was not even part of the original. When I worked in NYC, Falun Gong groups would take over the sidewalk of half a city block and set up posters of picture of torture and bloody beatings. I didn't realize at the time that Falun Gong was a Buddhist-styled cult trying to renew its image and be seen in the West merely as an innocent "exercise group." The cult has been caught lying about the torture both in word and pictures for many years. But as an anticommunist media outlet, preaching the end of communism in a divine day of reckoning, they were quickly subsidized by anticommunist groups and governments. Today they get their message out in NYC by offering the Epoch Times newspaper for free in most of the same HUNDREDS of places where the free network owned daily newspapers are available. The claim about processing for body parts has been debunked, too, by the way. Everyone who thinks that Falun Gong is harmless should look at all the available evidence. One can start first by just getting a glimpse of their beliefs as described here at spitfire.com just for a start. The following excerpts are from an hour long podcast also available on the site: FTR #1090. Introduction: We begin with brief review of the Falun Gong cult and its connections. Part of a constellation of organizations and individuals working with former Trump chief of staff Steve Bannon to neutralize China, Falun Gong has garnered the support of CIA derivative Broadcasting Board of Governors in the effort. The Falun Gong teaches that: post menopausal women can regain menstruation, considered mandatory for spiritual evolution; gays are demonized; mixed race people are demonized; cult members are discouraged from seeking modern medical treatment; space aliens are inhabiting human bodies and are responsible for modern technology such as airplanes and computers; tiny beings are said to be invading human bodies and causing “bad karma;” master Li Hongzhi knows the secrets of the universe; master Li Hongzhi can levitate and walk through walls; master Li Hongzhi can install a physical “Falun”–swastika–in the abdomen of followers which revolves in various directions; Falun Gong teaching demonizes feminists and popular music; there will be a “Judgement Day” on which communists and others deemed unworthy by master Li Hongzhi will be neutralized. Falun Gong–largely through its Epoch Times newspaper–has established a major social media presence and is a key ally of President Trump’s re-election effort: “. . . . In April, at the height of its ad spending, videos from the Epoch Media Group, which includes The Epoch Times and digital video outlet New Tang Dynasty, or NTD, combined for around 3 billion views on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, ranking 11th among all video creators across platforms and outranking every other traditional news publisher, according to data from the social media analytics company Tubular. That engagement has made The Epoch Times a favorite of the Trump family and a key component of the president’s re-election campaign. . . . .” Program Highlights Include: The enormous amount of money under control of Falun Gong; similarities to the Unification Church; the anti-communist dogma of the cult (again, not unlike the Unification Church); the role of the internet and social media–Facebook, in particular–in the growth of Falun Gong’s operations; the spin put by NBC on Falun Gong’s beliefs. There is a very graphic picture of the supposed harvesting of organs here. As real as it looks, the caption of the picture says that it is a reenactment for the media. When the group flooded the sidewalks of NY and London with pictures of "actual" bloody repression, it was admitted by members that these were made from re-enactments because no actual pictures are allowed to come out of China. Note that the idea is meant to look as shocking and revolting as the "fact" that the Germans were using ground up babies to lubricate their tanks and other war machinery during WWII. This was a "fact" that I learned in school in Missouri as late as 1965. The problem with such claims is that if true they would be unmanageable. If it were really true that there are more Falun Gong members in China than members of the CCP, and there are literally about 100,000 of these organ harvestings going on per year, then how would one stop a Falun Gong member from getting an actual picture out? (A lot of people have the idea that there are no foreign journalists in China, they are all over the country. A lot of people believe that Chinese people cannot get any Internet outside of the Chinese CCP controlled Internet. It's a little more money, but it's done through the use of a VPN service, just as many people use here and in other countries. You can talk to Chinese people in mainland China this way, even through Western-owned social media apps.) Most media I can find is still very much on the side of the Falun Gong, who appear to be undergoing mostly unwarranted persecution. It seems likely that this is based on so publicly denouncing the Chinese government by using Western-sourced media piped back into China, which evidently includes unwarranted lies about violence used against Falun Gong. But on the issue of the organ harvesting, what I find most interesting here is that in an article below DEFENDING Falun Gong, we also have an admission that the claims of organ harvesting started, not from Falun Gong, but from a Japanese journalist who "heard about it." For those who know the historical and the current situation between Japan and China, this is suspicious. Currently there are journalists in Japan, and even a leader, who is willing to deny the "Rape of Nanking" (Nanjing) which is the equivalent of 'holocaust denial' in the West. note the following from https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-21/what-is-the-falun-gong-movement-and-does-china-harvest-organs/9679690 Organ harvesting: is that really happening? According to Falun Gong itself, the ongoing suppression has led to the imprisonment of tens of thousands of practitioners, and claimed some 3,000 lives — but the claims of horror don't stop there. In 2006, a controversial Canadian report brought the world's attention for the first time to a horrific allegation: that the Chinese Government was secretly harvesting organs of Falun Gong followers. The report said the Chinese regime was performing some 60,000 to 100,000 transplants per year — about six times the official total of about 10,000 — and that this means that there are unacknowledged organ sources in China, the primary one being imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners. Photo: Falun Gong member An Yuan claims that she underwent medical tests for organ harvesting purposes in a Chinese prison. (ABC News: Vicky Xiuzhong Xu) Acknowledging widespread scepticism towards the report, one of the authors of the original report, David Matas, a prominent human rights lawyer, told the ABC that "there is new evidence every day". But Benjamin Penny, an expert of religious and spiritual movements in China and a professor at Australian National University, told the ABC that he does not think organ harvesting is an ongoing practice. "Certainly, we know that many practitioners are in prison. That's well known and there's no controversy about that," Dr Penny said. "But organ harvesting is an entirely different question. Organ harvesting is a claim that was not initially made by Falun Gong itself but by a Japanese journalist who heard about it. "My view on it is that I have not seen evidence which convinces me that is true. But I've not seen any evidence that convinces me that it's not true.
  19. Weegers have admitted that it includes vocational training. In fact some have complained that while they are trained for better jobs that they have been given jobs at a greater distance from their home, leaving them less time with their family unless they are willing to move. The rail infrastructure helps, with great distances at great speeds and much lower costs, but it only helps and does not completely solve such problems. (China is far and away the largest builder of high speed rail infrastructure with the stated goal of bringing wealthier persons to poorer areas and poorer persons to wealthier areas.) Don't get the idea that the evidence shows no problems. There are many problems, many prejudices, and many offenses. The one-child policy itself is quite offensive to any of us with moral and religious sensibilities, and is a terrible thing to enforce upon women. (Of course the one-child policy only applies to the larger population of Han Chinese. Ethnic minorities, such as Weegers, are not under the one-child policy, but are automatically allowed two and often a third without more than a fine. But I think abortions are forced on the fourth pregnancy, and there are even penalties for not using contraceptives.) You should also note that a lot of pictures have come out of China claiming to show Weegers but the actual dress with the hijab etc shows that they are fake. Weegers don't dress in the typical Muslim styles of much of the Mid-East. This does not mean that there are not abuses as there will be in any system. In Israel, doctors have been secretly sterilizing Ethiopian refugees in Israel, for example, to perform a slow genocide. (As reported in Hebrew papers, and even Forbes, of all places.)
  20. Nations always work in their self-interest (and all nations are therefore culpable in the context of Rev 16). But do you have any evidence they are not showing any compassion to the Muslims? Do you have any evidence that might help explain why no majority-Muslim nations signed onto the UN resolution against China's treatment of Muslims, when it is very common for Muslim nations to decry their treatment elsewhere?
  21. I have read portions. The first volume is very good, and it shows the facts correctly that match up to known evidence, that has never yet been answered with counter-evidence by those who will only apply the anti-Stalin, anti-communist rhetoric (without evidence). He has biases, as we all do, and does not appear to fully understand the politics of Bolshevism, including its many problems, but he understands where the lies and propaganda about Stalin were initially coming from, and how for the most part it was a continuation of wartime Nazi propaganda, as continued in Ukraine and Poland, for example, and which the US tried to inherit and emulate for its own "news machine." But the second volume is full of popular misconceptions. These are mostly just the supposed "common wisdom" and which, unfortunately, he does not scrutinize as well as in the first volume. I'm curious about the third volume, too, because the more time spent with the actual original sources, he will cover a time period that might force him to rethink some unevidenced claims in the second volume. The most important point is that we have thousands of pages of actual evidence that the biggest part of the anti-Stalin narrative came long after the war, and was itself a rewriting of history. The idea that Stalin intentionally starved people by the millions was a late invention that has been completely debunked. The problem is that it fits what the West has wanted to believe about Stalin. And as the Russian government is anti-Communist, Russia itself has picked up the Nazi-sourced narrative. Of course, this doesn't mean that there were not serious problems with Bolshevism/Communism, and millions of people really did die. Famines were all too common, and millions suffered in the years between WWI and WWII, exacerbated by war, just as millions in Russia suffered famines in the years under the Tsars. This also included millions in India, Russia, Ukraine, etc. But it's now possible to see how, instead of blaming communism for the famines, most of the population was very fortunate to have such a system of government because it helped alleviate the suffering from the famines much faster than would have been possible otherwise.
  22. I'll start with this one, since I agree with a big part of it. Foreign English teachers are still welcome and wanted in China, and they are still being invited. But they are not as welcome as they were just a couple of years ago. Teachers from the United States, especially, are being discouraged from accepting invitations, because the US relationship with China is disintegrating fast, mostly due to economic tariff wars. Chinese schools are not given the freedom to break the rules as often and the immigration policy is stricter. American teachers are meeting up with more antagonism. I think it's explained well in this article from the law firm, Harris-Bricken: https://www.chinalawblog.com/2019/06/do-not-teach-english-in-china-and-why-everyone-should-read-this.html [Some excerpts make up the rest of this post, nothing more from me, although I will highlight some portions.] Do NOT Teach English in China and Why EVERYONE Should Read This By Dan Harris on June 19, 2019 Posted in China Business, Legal News ... Since relations between China and the West (especially the English speaking West) started going into straight line decline about a year ago, [2018] the number of these emails have increased exponentially and the problems have shifted. The problems we are seeing these days generally fit into the following three categories: 1. English teacher in jail for a fight or for drug possession. Our advice is to have someone close to them reach out to their country’s embassy and work with the embassy in securing a good local criminal lawyer. We urge them to act quickly and, if at all possible, secure financial support from their parents. We urge them not to publicize their case unless and until their retained lawyer suggests that be done, which is rare. [#2 missing from original article] 3. Visa issues. We usually suggest the teacher work with their school to try to solve these problems (if they trust/like their school) and/or get a good local immigration lawyer/visa specialist to assist. Occasionally we suggest the teacher leave the country. 4. Non-payment or underpayment. These usually involve the school perpetually underpaying, the school being late with payment, the school not paying promised bonuses, not paying for extra hours, not paying the final month’s paycheck under the contract or not reimbursing or paying for the flight home (as per the contract). Our advice is usually to let it go because finding and hiring and paying for a lawyer will likely be difficult and the teacher (just as with the work related problems mentioned above) may well be better off long-term by not making waves. Pretty routine stuff right? Yes and no and it is the “no” part that is causing me to write this post. The no part is that in the last three months these issues have gone into warp speed. Speaking just for myself, the number of these emails has gone from one or two a month to four to five a day. I have seen at least a ten-fold increase in prison, visa and payment problems for teachers from China (and nowhere else in the world). It has gotten relentless to the point of being depressing. If the emails we are relentlessly receiving are any indication (and they have to be), the following is happening in China in what feels like every minute: Teachers are being drug tested using their hair samples. Many are testing for cannabis and being jailed for 30 days or more and then being deported. This is happening to newly arrived teachers who insist they did not consume any cannabis since arriving in China. Listen up everybody, cannabis can show up in hair testings up to (and even sometimes beyond) 90 days after you have consumed it. So if you are going to be teaching in China and you do not want to spend time in jail and get deported, please, please, please go at least four months without consuming ANY cannabis before you go there and please, please, please do not consume any cannabis while there. None. Zero. Zilch. 没有. Aucun. Keiner. PLEASE. Invariably, the schools use this as a reason not to pay the teacher whatever is owed. Teachers are being checked (or reported on) for having an improper visa for China. The teachers are then being tossed in jail and then deported or just deported straight away. Invariably, the schools use this as a reason not to pay the teacher whatever is owed. It appears to have become very common (as a cost cutting measure) for schools to have teachers come to China and start their teaching on tourist visas, all the while claiming this is perfectly legal — it isn’t. The teachers believe this until the day they are arrested. Near as I can tell, the schools rarely if ever get in any real trouble for this but the teachers sure do. Teachers are not getting paid. Just this morning I got an email from one teacher who say that she and another 75+ teachers in her city (from various different schools) have not gotten paid for months. And another email mentioning nine teachers in another city who also have not been paid. Add to this the pretty much daily emails I get from teachers who do not get their last paycheck or the airfare reimbursements or the bonuses they were promised and it has become clear that it is open season right now against foreign teachers in China. The schools clearly believe they can blow off paying their teachers with impunity because they are right. When teachers ask me what they should do about getting paid my response is usually to say that they can retain and pay a local Chinese attorney to try to get paid, but the odds of a foreign teacher prevailing on such a claim are not good and pushing at all hard to get paid can have all sorts of negative ramifications. Schools will pull teacher’s work visas or refuse to assist in moving it to a new employer. They may also seek to have you deported so they can be sure to avoid having to pay wages owed and it is not uncommon for schools to make up claims about their teachers and to threaten to “make sure they will never work in China again.” You therefore need to think long and hard about getting bogged down in these sorts of disputes and even how they might harm your long term career prospects.
  23. That doesn't explain why so many are very willing to speak out against their government, not just via Twitter where they are partly anonymous, but in China in Chinese by Chinese people doing face-to-face interviews. It's true that there are lot of problems, it's a big country. But the real problems are hardly even related to the issues the West wants to push. It's also true that those pointing out issues are more independent voices, not the official Chinese media, for which the government is the "sponsor" in a way similar to how corporations sponsor private, public and commercial broadcasting in the United States. The government will not allow voices critical of the government to give the TV, radio and Internet news, write the newspapers, or even give public speeches to large crowds. As far as everything being watched in big cities, there is not nearly as much surveillance in Chinese cities, as is done in the United States cities. (Through government and police surveillance, smart phones, Internet, IOT, toll booths, stoplights, building entrances, etc.) Remember that the United States corporations were racing to the first to be able to roll out 5G on a large scale, and China beat them to it, therefore China's use of it must be demonized. I was probably as surprised as you would be to find out there was no evidence for the mass murders that I had always believed in.
  24. Yes. This is partly true. My old boss was from the mainland, where his parents still live, but had moved to work in Hong Kong before getting a job in New York. Most of his relatives still live on the mainland, so when he goes back he visits Hong Kong first, then his other relatives. We recently met at a restaurant with a couple other retirees from the same company, and we talked for a couple hours. I ran a few of these same "young people" arguments by him, and it's true that he is very wary of some of the government's business and economic plans, although he admits that they are currently working. He is very anti-communist as many Chinese-born US citizens are. But the one area he says the US (and West) has all wrong is the Uyghur ("Weeger") situation. He says that you have to read between the lines, or learn how to pick the one CNN report in 10 that gets it right. He is surprised that they allow reports to be completely contradictory (although he listens to an International version of CNN) along with a lot of anti-Chinese media. What's curious is that these "concentration camps" are not "concentration camps," as there is no torture, no forced hard labor, etc. Although Chinese are definitely behind it, they are actually run mostly by Weegers and for Weegers. One of the big thrusts of the Chinese government is to try to legislate against racism, and there is plenty of racism in China. If a group appears to be very unaccepting of other groups -to the point of using violence- they are supposed to go through training in their own culture and other cultures, too. This does include "indoctrination" in the goals of the government, what we would call classes in civics and citizenship, but he says it is mostly job training, and can even include moving a Weeger family to areas to get them better jobs. China ties the problem of poverty to violent rioting and demonstrations. Muslims around the world have agreed that this has worked as a method of reducing radicalization and has eliminated terrorism. Most of China, of course, are Han, although there are several million Weegers, mostly in the Xinjiang province. The first big problem with the Weegers came about after riots that evidently began with rumors of Weegers raping a Han, and other rumors that spread and morphed out of this one. The Han instigated violent riots against the Weegers, and China put a lot of effort into punishing the Han offenders. On the mainland, he says that the Chinese support and defense of the Weegers is a source of anger by racist Chinese. The actual number of Weegers required to go through the training programs are probably in the tens of thousands, he thinks. (The idea of "millions" is a Western invention.) He also mentioned that China has helped Muslims build mosques, not only in China but also in Africa. The Weegers have a vibrant culture in the Xinjiang province that China supports. By the way, the entire Muslim world does NOT believe the Weeger propaganda. Even when the UN resolution condemning the "Weeger" situation was promoted by the West, it was signed on by only about 22 countries, all white (US, UK, etc) and ZERO Islamic countries signed onto the resolution. The NYT which attempts at least one big anti-China article every week, ended up reporting the Chinese side of the argument in the context of the 22 nation campaign. While generally negative, of course, the article also included the following: China denied such actions when a United Nations human rights committee questioned the policy last year but later said it was providing vocational training to insulate Xinjiang’s population from what it described as the global scourge of extremism. To counter international critics, last month China brought Xinjiang’s deputy governor, an ethnic Uighur, to the council, where he asserted that such training is lifting Xinjiang’s people from poverty. The deputy governor, Aierken Tuniyazi, also rejected accusations that the trainees are in detention camps. “The trainees’ personal dignity and freedom are fully protected,” he said, describing students living in air-conditioned dormitories and dividing their time between learning valuable skills and participating in ethnic dancing, singing or sports. China has used its economic leverage and diplomatic muscle to support this narrative with some success. Muslim countries have remained silent and have even praised China’s treatment of its Muslims. Cameroon, a beneficiary of Chinese infrastructure spending, devoted a statement in the council last week to praising China’s “big achievement” in Xinjiang. And last month Vladimir Voronkov, the Russian diplomat heading the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Office, visited Xinjiang and in his end of mission statement made no reference to human rights concerns there, an omission that human rights groups saw as a propaganda gift to Chinese authorities. What often raises my own suspicions on these topics is a common thread of US hypocrisy. The US and other Western nations have been overreacting to Muslim countries for many years now, because it's good for the military contractors, and the oil industry. (These are often synonymous with the meaning of the expression "American interests," the thing the US is protecting every time the US joins a conflict.) Therefore, the West looks to blame China for something that might sound even worse. The West uses the IMF and World Bank and even so-called Human Rights societies to help push an agenda in countries where the West wants to plunder resources. When the West builds infrastructure in another nation it's mostly to help get those resources out of the country, not to help local workers and local civilians. The US is infamous for promoting a need for certain facilities at such a cost in IMF loans that the country is supposed to default, and then the US then has leverage to gain UN votes, build military bases, take a higher percentage of resources and profits, or completely "own" the country's new leader through a regime change. Therefore, this is what China will be blamed for doing through Western fearmongering. The pattern is very clear on several such items. The West (especially the US) does something bad, so China must be blamed for something just like it, but worse.

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