• https://udumbara.net/why-ayurveda-is-a-crucial-new-way-of-thinking
    https://udumbara.net/why-ayurveda-is-a-crucial-new-way-of-thinking
    UDUMBARA.NET
    Why Ayurveda Is a Crucial New Way of Thinking
    This ancient discipline provides time-tested insights to examine ourselves and the worldAyurveda is a profound way of seeing. Many begin by dabbling in ayurveda and then quickly realize how potent it is. While it may be challenging to understand at first, exposure to ayurveda reveals that there’s something special hidden in its strange words. Ayurveda means “the science of life” in Sanskrit, the classical language of ancient India. But the science of life is more than knowing which herb to use or which food to eat for dinner—it’s a new way of thinking altogether. Thinking ayurvedically requires using a new set of skills, much like riding a bicycle or speaking a new language. Once you get the hang of it, its mysterious allure quickly moves toward awe. So, what is ayurveda? Perhaps as profound as an apple falling on Newton’s head, the science of life is a tool, like Western science, for analyzing your surroundings. More specifically, ayurveda is a systematic approach to discovering how our bodies interact with the natural world. Broadly speaking, ayurveda is a tool for comparing and contrasting objects in the natural world. It gives you a feel for how two things might interact. Perhaps, the “science of life” in this context refers to the lively way things interact with one another. Typically, the ayurvedic approach is used for health, but it also has many other quality of life applications. When your friends start arguing after a spicy Mexican dinner, break out the ice cream to cool everyone down. When your little one can’t fall asleep at night, massage her feet with oil for a soothing effect. When you can’t get your brain to perk up and focus, brew some spicy tea. Ayurveda is an objective method of analysis like science, but based on qualifying individual experiences and patterns in nature instead of quantifying them, as science does. Instead of summarizing natural events with statistical averages alone, ayurveda can switch between statistical models and highly individualized models for assessment with ease. It can be used alongside the scientific method in a variety of situations such as recovering from chemotherapy, which requires navigating the highly individualized effects of the treatment. For example, a diet of easy-to-digest foods that takes the person’s body type into account will enable them to rebuild their digestion (and health) more effectively. Ayurveda recognizes that all of life is a relationship. In breaking down the dynamics of relationships, ayurveda offers a model for interactions that predicts how your body will respond to contact with your environment. In addition to describing interactions, ayurveda helps people describe sensations they’re having and puts their experiences into a context, so they can see how the pieces fit with the whole. Ayurveda is very easy to learn and use. It makes it possible for individuals to improve their quality of life. It also gives them insight and understanding that increases a sense of well-being and the ability to take care of themselves. These unique advantages of ayurveda make it an especially useful supplement to any health care plan. How Does Ayurveda Work? How does ayurveda accomplish all of this? It categorizes the qualities of things. It recognizes that everything is always in flux and that we need to adapt our understanding accordingly. Ayurveda classifies all substances and experiences by their qualities and how they affect what they come into contact with. It does this through the concepts of biocharacteristics (gunas), elements, and doshas. A biocharacteristic loosely means an innate property. Ayurveda uses 20 main biocharacteristics, or properties, clinically. These properties describe how a substance will affect the mind and body. The elements represent the most common states of matter found in nature, and doshas are the main body types or constitutions found in people. For example, ayurveda would describe a chili pepper as drying, heating, and fiery, as opposed to describing its content in terms of vitamins and chemical makeup. You’ll notice that Western medicine uses nouns when describing disease, medicine, and anatomy. For example, an ulcer is a sore in the intestines. Cancer is abnormal cell growth. The flu is a virus. Western science has spent several hundred years describing things based on their content, since the Enlightenment era. Western science has made extraordinary discoveries by breaking things down into pieces and parts, a technique called reductionism. Ayurveda, on the other hand, integrates all the pieces and parts into an experience of the whole. It observes and summarizes the relationships of all the pieces and parts interacting. Both conversations are worth having. You’ll notice that when ayurveda describes disease, medicine, and anatomy, it uses adjectives. A person catches a “cold.” Herbs are “bitter” or “pungent.” The liver is a “hot” organ. Ayurveda and Individuality While Western science catego
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  • https://udumbara.net/advice-from-traditional-chinese-medicine-seventeen-paths-to-better-sleep
    https://udumbara.net/advice-from-traditional-chinese-medicine-seventeen-paths-to-better-sleep
    UDUMBARA.NET
    Advice from Traditional Chinese Medicine: Seventeen Paths to Better Sleep
    In today’s stressful world, many people are prone to sleep problems. According to some studies, nearly 30 percent of people have trouble sleeping. And that number may have increased post-pandemic. COVID-19 is just one of many health conditions that can lead to insomnia and sleep problems.The American Academy of Sleep Medicine defines insomnia as difficulty either falling asleep or staying asleep, accompanied by daytime impairments related to those sleep troubles. Long-term insomnia can lead to depression, drug dependence, and poor cognitive function. In addition, it impacts cardiovascular and cerebrovascular health. Dr. Guobin Wu, director of Taipei’s Xin Yi Tang Chinese Medicine Clinic, spoke to The Epoch Times about insomnia and how to get a good night’s sleep without resorting to medication. 1. Get some sun The biological rhythm of the human body is heavily influenced by sunlight. To strengthen and normalize the biological rhythm, exposure to sunlight in the morning after waking up is the most effective. That could even mean getting sunlight through a window while you eat breakfast. Thirty minutes of sun exposure in the morning, and another hour or more in the afternoon, can aid in the production of melatonin, which helps sleep. Maintaining this routine for at least three days a week can strengthen your biological rhythm and improve sleep overall. 2. Pamper your feet Using a foot spa can quickly improve blood circulation in the feet and aid the body’s thermoregulation. 3. Watch your diet Consuming foods that are rich in tryptophan and vitamin B6 can improve sleep quality by encouraging the body’s production of melatonin and serotonin. Soybeans, bananas, carrots, spinach, and potatoes are good sources of B6. Tryptophan can be found in cheese, fish, milk, sunflower seeds, and turkey. In addition, it is also important to have fixed meal times. According to traditional Chinese medicine, eating at regular times throughout the day can adjust the functions of the liver and small intestines in order to control the body’s circadian rhythm. Strengthening circadian rhythms can promote metabolic heat production, which generates body temperature rhythms. The result is deeper and better sleep. Ideally, eat dinner at least 3 hours before going to bed, and avoid overly fatty foods, eating too much, and hard-to-digest foods. 4. Reduce screen time Turn off your computer or phone at least an hour before bedtime. Blue light from digital screens inhibits the secretion of melatonin, affecting sleep negatively. 5. Reduce sympathetic nervous system activity Staying focused on anything, whether it’s a computer screen, driving, or physical exercise, increases the activity of the sympathetic nervous system. That in turn prompts the brain to reduce melatonin secretion, making it harder to fall asleep. 6. Switch indoor lighting to warm colors Research has found that warm light tones actually increase production of melatonin.  However, bright lights of any color can decrease sleepiness, so switch indoor lighting to warmer colors, but keep lights dim. Make the switch at least 30 minutes before bedtime. 7. Aromatherapy Research shows that aromatherapy can significantly increase sleep quality. However, even if a fragrance has a calming effect, it may still hinder sleep if you dislike its aroma. So choose a scent that you are comfortable with. 8. Take a warm bath Approximately 30 minutes before bedtime, soaking your body in a warm bath (about 105ºF) can slow down the activity of the sympathetic nervous system. According to traditional Chinese medicine, calming the sympathetic nervous can regulate excess heat in the body and hasten sleep. The warm water will actually help to lower your body’s core temperature, signaling the body that it’s time to sleep. Keep the water temperate: a bath that is too hot (above 110ºF) will raise the body temperature, and you will have to wait until the body temperature drops below a certain level before you can fall asleep. 9. Use the bathroom before bed It may seem obvious, but it’s worth stating: going to the bathroom within 20 minutes of bedtime can reduce the need to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. 10. Head to bed as soon as you feel sleepy If you feel sleepy ahead of your scheduled bedtime, try to go to bed right away. Otherwise, you may find the sleepiness receding and have difficulty falling asleep. 11. Avoid drinking and smoking before bedtime Small amounts of alcohol have a stimulating effect; nicotine can also keep you awake. And, although a drink at bedtime might cause you to nod off faster, alcohol can actually reduce deep sleep later on by reducing REM sleep. Both alcohol and nicotine can increase your heartrate during sleep, which further burdens your body and reduces sleep quality. Further, nicotine can increase blood pressure and even contribute to irregular heart rhythms at night. 12. Practice stretching exercises By relieving muscle tension and enc
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  • https://udumbara.net/late-bedtimes-could-raise-your-odds-for-diabetes-heart-trouble
    https://udumbara.net/late-bedtimes-could-raise-your-odds-for-diabetes-heart-trouble
    UDUMBARA.NET
    Late Bedtimes Could Raise Your Odds for Diabetes, Heart Trouble
     If you’re constantly burning the midnight oil, you may be setting yourself up for Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.When compared with folks who go to bed early and wake with the sun, night owls are more likely to be insulin-resistant, a new study finds. When the body doesn’t respond well to the hormone insulin, blood sugar can build up in your bloodstream, eventually leading to Type 2 diabetes. What’s more, “night owls” get less exercise and burn less fat than “early birds,” allowing fat to build up in the bloodstream, which can set the stage for heart disease. The study demonstrates the importance of the timing of sleep in addition to duration and quality of sleep, said Dr. Seema Khosla. She is the medical director for the North Dakota Center for Sleep in Fargo, and chair of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine Public Awareness and Advocacy Committee. For the study, 51 people without heart disease or diabetes were categorized as night owls or early birds based on their natural sleep cycle, or chronotype. Study participants ate a controlled diet and fasted overnight while their activity levels were monitored for a week. The researchers also measured insulin sensitivity and took breath samples to analyze how well folks used fat and carbohydrates for fuel. Early birds were less likely to become insulin-resistant, and they used more fat for energy at rest and during exercise than night owls, the study findings showed. What you can do Night owls can take steps to improve their health and sleep habits, said study co-author Steven Malin, an associate professor in the department of kinesiology and health at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J. “People who are late chronotypes who wish to try and align their body with work schedules and so forth can take small steps toward shifting to be an early bird,” Malin said. “Go to bed 15 minutes earlier and wake up 15 minutes earlier, [and] in time depending on how things are going, this can expand another 15-minute window,” he suggested. Another tip? Get outside when the sun is shining as this can prompt your body’s circadian system to reset. Circadian rhythm is your 24-hour internal clock that controls the release of the hormone melatonin to encourage sleep. The study was published online Sept. 19 in the journal Experimental Physiology. “Respecting our circadian rhythms is important, but so is recognizing when we are creating more issues with sleep deprivation and bedtime procrastination,” said Khosla, who wasn’t involved in the study. “While this research certainly is interesting, there is still much to understand about how chronotypes impact health,” she said. Poorly timed sleep is compounded when you don’t get enough sleep, added Dr. Alon Avidan. He’s the director of the University of California, Los Angeles Sleep Disorders Center and played no role in the study. “When night owls have to wake up early to get to work or take their kids to school, they end up not getting enough sleep,” Avidan said. Lack of sleep sets the stage for memory and thinking issues on top of the other health risks associated with being a night owl, he explained. “Sleep duration and sleep regularity are important,” Avidan said. “This means going to bed and waking up when it coincides with the dark-light cycle where you are and getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night.” Exposure to blue light from devices before bed can also make matters worse, he noted, because blue light tells cells to stay awake. “Blue light is very stimulating and inhibits melatonin and causes sleep delays,” Avidan added. Sleep chronotypes aren’t set in stone, said another expert who was not involved with the study. Change yours by aiming for consistent, uninterrupted sleep, even on the weekend, said Joseph Henson, a research associate at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom. Consider eating breakfast as soon as you get up and try to eat lunch at the same time every day, Henson said. Get as much natural light in the morning as possible and try exercising in the morning, he advised. “Carefully monitor your caffeine intake and try to avoid consuming large amounts in the hours before bed, and avoid eating your main meal late in the evening,” Henson said. Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, relaxing, and at a comfortable temperature, he added. More information The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on the link between diabetes and sleep. SOURCES: Steven Malin, Ph.D., associate professor, department of kinesiology and health, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J.; Seema Khosla, MD, medical director, North Dakota Center for Sleep, Fargo, N.D., and chair, American Academy of Sleep Medicine Public Awareness and Advocacy Committee; Alon Avidan, MD, MPH, director, University of California, Los Angeles Sleep Disorders Center, and professor, neurology, UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine; Joseph Henson, Ph.D., research associate, University of Leicester, United Ki
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  • https://udumbara.net/any-fiber-is-good-fiber-just-get-more-of-it
    https://udumbara.net/any-fiber-is-good-fiber-just-get-more-of-it
    UDUMBARA.NET
    Any Fiber Is Good Fiber, Just Get More of It
    Which kind of fiber supplement is right for you? It doesn’t really matter, researchers say.That huge array of dietary fiber supplements in the drugstore or grocery aisle can be overwhelming to a consumer. They make all sorts of health claims too, not being subject to FDA review and approval. So how do you know which supplement works and would be best for you? A rigorous examination of the gut microbes of study participants who consumed three different kinds of supplements in different sequences concludes that people who had been eating the least amount of fiber before the study showed the greatest benefit from supplements, regardless of which ones they consumed. “The people who responded the best had been eating the least fiber to start with,” says study leader Lawrence David, an associate professor of molecular genetics and microbiology at Duke University. Fiber Makes ‘Gut Bugs’ Happy The benefit of dietary fiber isn’t just the easier pooping that advertisers tout. Fermentable fiber—dietary carbohydrates that the human gut cannot process on its own but some bacteria can digest—is also an essential source of nutrients that your gut microbes need to stay healthy. “We’ve evolved to depend on nutrients that our microbiomes produce for us,” says Zack Holmes, former PhD student in the David lab, and coauthor of two new papers about fiber. “But with recent shifts in diet away from fiber-rich foods, we’ve stopped feeding our microbes what they need.” When your gut bugs are happily munching on a high-fiber diet, they produce more of the short-chain fatty acids that protect you from diseases of the gut, colorectal cancers, and even obesity. And in particular, they produce more of a fatty acid called butyrate, which is fuel for your intestinal cells themselves. Butyrate has been shown to improve the gut’s resistance to pathogens, lower inflammation, and create happier, healthier cells lining the host’s intestines. Given the variety of supplements available, researchers wanted to know whether it may be necessary to “personalize” fiber supplements to different people, since different fermentable fibers have been shown to have different effects on short-chain fatty acid production from one individual to the next. “We didn’t see a lot of difference between the fiber supplements we tested. Rather, they looked interchangeable,” David says, from his lab, which includes a special “science toilet” for collecting samples and an array of eight “artificial gut” fermenters for growing happy gut microbes outside a body. “Regardless of which of the test supplements you pick, it seems your microbiome will thank you with more butyrate,” David says. Fiber in Supplements or in Food The average American adult only consumes 20 to 40% of the daily recommended amount of fiber, which is believed to be a root cause behind a lot of our common health maladies, including obesity, cardiovascular disease, digestive disorders, and colon cancer. Instead of having to go totally vegetarian or consume pounds of kale daily, convenient fiber supplements can increase the production of short-chain fatty acids. In the first study in the journal Microbiome, new experiments tested three main kinds of fermentable fiber supplements: inulin, dextrin (Benefiber), and galactooligosaccharides (GOS), marketed as Bimuno. Researchers separated the 28 participants into groups and gave them each of the three supplements for one week in different orders, with a week off between supplements to allow participants’ guts to return to a baseline state. Participants who had been consuming the most fiber beforehand showed the least change in their microbiomes, and the type of supplement really didn’t matter, probably because they were already hosting a more optimal population of gut bugs, David says. Conversely, participants who had been consuming the least fiber saw the greatest increase in butyrate with the supplements, regardless of which one was being consumed. In a second study in ISME Journal, the researchers found that gut microbes responded to a new addition of fiber within a day, dramatically altering the populations of bugs present in the gut and changing which of their genes they were using to digest food. Using their artificial gut fermenters, the researchers found the gut microbes were primed by the first dose to consume fiber, and digested it quickly on the second dose. “These findings are encouraging,” says graduate student Jeffrey Letourneau, lead author of the second study. “If you’re a low fiber consumer, it’s probably not worth it to stress so much about which kind of fiber to add. It’s just important that you find something that works for you in a sustainable way.” “It doesn’t need to be a supplement either,” Holmes added. “It can just be a fiber-rich food. Folks who were already eating a lot of fiber, which comes from plants like beans, leafy greens, and citrus, already had very healthy microbiomes.” The National Institutes of Health, th
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  • https://udumbara.net/the-often-ignored-and-essential-power-of-the-breath
    https://udumbara.net/the-often-ignored-and-essential-power-of-the-breath
    UDUMBARA.NET
    The Often Ignored and Essential Power of the Breath
    As a mother of two small children who have almost unlimited energy, I regularly use the phrase “take a deep breath” with them when emotions run high. Last week, I received a note from my 5-year-old’s teacher explaining that my daughter had comforted one of her classmates who was upset, by sitting with her and helping her to take some deep breaths, just like she does at home.As human beings, we seem to instinctively know that breath is much more than simply filling and emptying our lungs. And for a good reason, as throughout history, ancient traditions have used the power of the breath for everything from maintaining health to cultivating wisdom. Why We Breathe Jack Feldman, professor of neurobiology at the University of California–Los Angeles, and world expert in the science of respiration, breaks down the mechanics of breathing. He explains that when we inhale, we take oxygen into the lungs, which is needed and used for the body’s metabolic processes. We then produce carbon dioxide, which must be eliminated for the body to function optimally. Feldman says that carbon dioxide (CO2) affects the acid–base (pH) levels in the blood. The body must regulate pH levels because all living cells are very sensitive to this balance. CO2 is a metabolic byproduct of aerobic cellular metabolism. When CO2 levels build up in the blood, it can lead to hypercapnia, causing symptoms of respiratory failure, coma, and even death. Oxygen is needed by the entire body, especially the brain. The brain can only survive without oxygen for about four minutes without sustaining permanent damage, and death can occur as soon as four to six minutes later. Essentially, our bodies need a constant supply of oxygen and a way to continuously eliminate carbon dioxide. Breathing—inhaling and exhaling through the lungs—accomplishes this perfectly in a healthy person. It’s a beautiful system, and although science knows a lot, according to Feldman, there’s still much about respiration that we don’t understand. The Benefits of Deep Breathing With the growing popularity of practices such as yoga and meditation in recent decades, science has been looking more closely at the physiological and psychological benefits of different breathing techniques. A growing body of evidence indicates that breathing techniques can improve various health concerns, from anxiety to insomnia. Reduces Stress by Calming the Sympathetic Nervous System A study published in the journal Neurological Sciences in 2017 set out to see if deep breathing exercises could improve mood and lower stress in a group of university students. Participants were split into two groups: One did an anti-stress protocol for 90 minutes once a week for 10 weeks, and the control group spent the same amount of time each week without practicing any protocol. Both psychological stress and physiological stress were measured. Psychological stress was measured using two self-reported evaluations (a measurement of psychological stress and a profile of mood state), and physiological stress was measured by monitoring heart rates and testing cortisol (a stress hormone) levels in the saliva. The study showed a significant improvement in stress symptoms between the beginning and the end of the study. The use of the protocols reduced “tension anxiety” (anxiety that manifests psychologically and physically) and fatigue. Overall, the study concluded that a deep breathing technique could elicit an improvement to both psychological and physical stress, as well as to mood and perceived stress. These improvements weren’t observed in the control group. Decreases Inflammatory Response A breakthrough study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, published in 2014, discovered something that science thought wasn’t possible. The study found that, through practicing techniques learned in a short-term training program that included breathing techniques, meditation, and exposure to cold, participants were able to voluntarily influence their sympathetic nervous system as well as their immune systems. The volunteers practicing the techniques showed profound increases in the release of epinephrine, which led to increased production of anti-inflammatory agents. The participants were then given E. coli (a bacteria) intravenously, and although they did experience some flu-like symptoms, they were less pronounced and of shorter duration than those in the control group. These results demonstrate that by activating the sympathetic nervous system, the participants were able to decrease their immune response. Another study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine in May this year had the same results when looking into whether breathing exercises and exposure to cold could affect the body’s inflammatory response. The study measured inflammation by giving the volunteers endotoxins (bacteria) intravenously, then measuring their blood epinephrine levels. The results showed that the breat
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  • https://udumbara.net/the-front-lines-of-the-language-wars
    https://udumbara.net/the-front-lines-of-the-language-wars
    UDUMBARA.NET
    The Front Lines of the Language Wars
    Commentary“Language is the perfect instrument of empire.”—Antonio de Nebrija, bishop of Ávila, 1492 The bishop was correct, in his time and ours. Spain proceeded to become the most powerful empire in the world over the following century, spreading her mother tongue across the Americas—just as the Roman army had imposed Latin across its sweep and just as the British Empire would bring English to India and Africa. American dominance in the twentieth century similarly meant English became the default international language of business. English speakers today enjoy the privilege of traveling a world where airport marquees, road signs, restaurant menus, hotel staff, and shopkeepers all cater to us. So we might think the global language wars are over, with English declared the victor and Mandarin Chinese the only future challenger. But now we have to consider whose English will prevail, because there is an ongoing battle to influence not only our words, but our very thoughts and actions. Whose English will prevail? The top-down English of academics, politicians, and journalists, of the Associated Press, the Modern Language Association, Merriam-Webster, and the Human Rights Campaign? Or the natural, evolving English of speakers and writers operating without imposed constraints? This is a tough question to answer, because language is more than a tool for communication and cognition. It is also an institution in society, and like all institutions is subject to corruption and capture by those with political agendas. Since language is the starting point of our entire epistemology and metaphysics—i.e., we process sensory data and thoughts using words—control over language is an obvious prize. We can analogize attempts to impose preferred language with interventionist central planning in a “marketplace,” while bottom-up evolution involves linguistic entrepreneurs acting in a laissez-faire system. Of language the analogy is imperfect; language cannot be owned, and there are no property rights issues involved. But language certainly can be controlled and steered, whether by officialdom, by politicians, by professors, by celebrities and influencers, and by cultural elites. Deplatforming, canceling, and even criminal “hate speech” laws are the enforcement tools against wrongspeak, so the language wars are not merely academic. All of this is the subject of my recent paper, which considers the question of top-down imposition versus natural evolution in the context of recent political phenomena like Brexit, Trump, transgenderism, Black Lives Matter, “equity,” and social justice. Here are four key concepts to help understand the front lines of the linguistic battlefields: First, words are intentionally stripped of all meaning by overuse and abuse. This is explained in George Orwell’s famous exposition on “meaningless words,” which he understood as plain language used in consciously dishonest ways to impose political agendas. Thus we see words like “fascism,” “racism,” “Nazi,” and “democracy,” which all once had common, reasonably understood usages, converted into mindless bludgeons wielded in political combat. Meaningless words elevate the speaker or writer as inherently good and just (us), while placing the targeted recipient into a category of Very Bad Person (them). If words are tools, meaningless words are hammers. Second, words are coded and embedded with meaning beyond their simple agreed-upon definitions. Sometimes this is crass and despicably obvious, as when the term “denier” is used to liken climate change skeptics to Holocaust deniers. Sometimes this is more subtle, as when Hillary Clinton mentions our “sacred” democracy without explaining how, why, or by whose authority we should hold in religious reverence a political system of mass voting. And sometimes words like “sustainable” or “inclusive” are used so amorphously as to render them a form of luxury good, like a linguistic Birkin handbag: the identity and status of the user become the meaning. Third, the newly imposed words contain their own admonitions and exhortations. “Social justice” perverts an individualized, temporal concept, justice, into an undefinable and unreachable broad societal goal. “Equity” distorts the ideal of equal treatment under law into an unachievable (and actually undesirable) goal of equal outcomes. “Systemic” racism erases individual moral agency, creating a form of original sin or martyrdom depending on one’s race, regardless of one’s own beliefs and actions. Only active “antiracism” can atone for this. “Cisgender” creates an entirely new category for what was considered the default status up until five minutes ago. The imposed words effectively beg the question on a meta level, pressuring all of us to reconsider reality. Finally, the newly imposed lexicon is not intended to advance communication and understanding but rather to browbeat and demoralize. We see this especially in the endlessly fluid world of trans language,
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  • https://udumbara.net/violent-crime-is-now-a-national-epidemicwho-should-we-blame
    https://udumbara.net/violent-crime-is-now-a-national-epidemicwho-should-we-blame
    UDUMBARA.NET
    Violent Crime Is Now a National Epidemic—Who Should We Blame?
    CommentaryTens of millions of Americans are pessimistic about the state of the country. Not just Republicans, but Democrats, too. Besides the worrying state of the economy, many U.S. citizens are understandably concerned by the rise in violent crime, a coast-to-coast phenomenon that appears to be worsening. A Gallup report, published earlier this year, outlined the many ways in which violent crime “has edged up” in recent times. As the author of the report noted, “for the first time since 2016, a majority (53%) say they personally worry ’a great deal’ about crime, while another 27% worry a ‘fair amount.’” To be clear, according to the FBI, violent crime includes four offenses: murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. More recently, a midyear survey of large law enforcement agencies found that violent crime spiked by 4.2 percent between January and June. Robberies rose by a staggering 12 percent. Meanwhile, aggravated assaults increased by 3 percent. Throughout the United States, crime rates are still considerably higher than they were pre-pandemic. In fact, violent, criminal behavior is now an epidemic of epic proportions. In California, a state synonymous with criminal activity, violence reigns supreme. State Attorney General Rob Bonta stated that “property and violent crimes continue to have devastating consequences for communities across the state.” Moreover, a troubling new report published by researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine shows that physical and sexual violence is rampant in the Golden State. In the past year, 4 percent of Californians have experienced intimate partner violence. Rather alarmingly, in the same period, 18 percent, or roughly 1 in 6 Californians, have either been physically or sexually assaulted. Police crime scene investigators place evidence markers on 10th Street at the scene of a mass shooting in Sacramento, Calif., on April 3, 2022. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group/TNS) This begs the question: Who is to blame? Republicans? Hardly. Take a look at a study by analytics firm NeighborhoodScout on the 10 most dangerous U.S. cities. Not one of them has a Republican mayor. This is not to lay the United States’ epidemic of violent crime squarely at the feet of every Democrat. Not at all. However, if we were to have an honest discussion about crime, we must admit that one political party takes criminal activity a little more seriously than the other. In Monroe, Louisiana, the country’s most dangerous city, you have a 1 in 34 chance of being a victim of crime. In Michigan, home to not one but two of the country’s most dangerous cities, the alarming rise in violent crimes has left many residents living in a state of fear. As journalist Ted Roelofs recently noted, between January and July this year, “Grand Rapids recorded 3,363 crimes, including 761 assaults and 15 homicides—all above averages for the previous three years.” In Oakland County, “there were 26 homicides in the first six months of 2022, double the tally for the same period last year,” wrote Roelofs. Pontiac, the county seat of Oakland County, has witnessed 10 homicides this year. “Four of the county victims were children aged 4, 6, 7 and 16.” This year, Detroit, the largest city in Michigan, has been plagued by a number of mass shootings. Although depressing, none of this should come as a surprise to anyone familiar with the state of Michigan. It is, after all, governed by Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat who, not that long ago, said she supported the “spirit” of attempts to defund the police. Whitmer’s support seems to have paid off—not for the average residents, of course, but for the anti-police minorities. This year, more than 200 officers have quit Detroit’s police department. In fact, across the country, an increasing number of police officers are heading for the exit doors. In New York City, according to the New York Post, more than “1,500 NYPD officers have either resigned or retired so far this year—on pace to be the biggest exodus of officers since the statistics have been available.” At the same time, violent crime in the city continues to surge. The Big Apple is in the midst of a Big Rot. Members of the New York Police Department and emergency vehicles crowd the streets after at least 13 people were injured during a rush-hour shooting at a subway station in the New York borough of Brooklyn, on April 12, 2022. (Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images) When the country needs them more than ever, U.S. police departments are struggling to recruit and retain officers. Why? We all know why. Because police officers have been demonized by left-leaning politicians and left-leaning news outlets for far too long. This explains why suicide rates for officers are high. Rather perversely, as police officers find themselves being vilified, criminals find themselves being supported, assisted, and enabled. In California, lest we forget, s
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  • https://udumbara.net/big-techs-big-moment-finally-arrives-at-supreme-court
    https://udumbara.net/big-techs-big-moment-finally-arrives-at-supreme-court
    UDUMBARA.NET
    Big Tech’s Big Moment Finally Arrives at Supreme Court
    CommentaryIn what is shaping up to be an action packed term at the U.S. Supreme Court, the justices upped the ante Tuesday, Oct. 4, by granting review in another banner case: Gonzalez v. Google, Inc. The case centers on interpretation of a law that has plagued social media users, especially conservatives, for some time by allowing tech giants to ban, promote, alter, or recommend content based on the user’s point of view. That law is the Communications Decency Act (CDA) of 1996. Section 230(c)(1) of the Act (which bears the long title, “Protection For ‘Good Samaritan’ Blocking and Screening of Offensive Material”) shields “publishers” (like Big Tech platforms) from civil liability for hosting offensive content created by others. It says: “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” Section 230(c)(2) of the Communications Decency Act also provides “Good Samaritan” protection from civil liability for operators of interactive computer services that engage in the good faith removal or moderation of third-party material they deem “obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected.” Courts generally apply a three-pronged test when deciding whether Section 230 shields a provider from a claim of liability Courts will look to see if (1) the defendant is a “provider or user” of an “interactive computer service”; (2) the cause of action is based on information provided by another information content provider; and (3) the claim treats the defendant as being the “publisher or speaker” of the harmful information at issue. If all three parts are satisfied, then the defendant is immune from liability. In short, under Section 230, online platform providers that host or republish speech are protected against a range of laws that might otherwise be used to hold them legally responsible for what others say and do. The provision leaves it to companies to decide whether certain content should be removed and does not require them to be politically neutral. So “good faith removal or moderation” of third-party material has in increasing measure protected the notoriously left-wing Big Tech cabal, allowing them to adjust content as they wish. Curiously, the content adjustment only seems to work against content of one perspective: the conservative one. The censorship of conservative voices by Big Tech is well-documented. Some on Capitol Hill have gone so far as to claim that Big Tech practically “owns” the government—a claim that seems increasingly well-founded considering the government’s documented efforts to control messaging during both the pandemic, and on politically inconvenient stories. But until Gonzalez, no vehicle presented the appropriate opportunity to consider the question on Section 230’s application. Which is not to say this is Big Tech’s first run at the Supreme Court. As recently as 2020, the Supreme Court turned away the petitioners who also came to the court asking for clarification on the parameters of Section 230 in a case called Malwarebytes Inc. v. Enigma Software Group USA, LLC. In a statement accompanying the denial of the petition for certiorari, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that “in an appropriate case, we should consider whether the text of this increasingly important statute [the Communications Decency Act] aligns with the current state of immunity enjoyed by Internet platforms.” Thomas went on to say that “And in the 24 years since [its adoption, we] have never interpreted this provision. But many courts have construed the law broadly to confer sweeping immunity on some of the largest companies in the world.” Congress passed the Communications Decency Act in 1996 after a New York court held an internet service provider liable for a defamatory statement posted on that website’s message board. It was sold to Americans as a necessary guardrail against pornography and obscenity online, while also allowing free speech to flourish. But now, more than 25 years later, quite the opposite has happened: while Big Tech platforms have throttled, banned, or de-platformed undesirable (read: politically unpopular) speech online, pornography and obscenity have unfortunately flourished. In granting review in Gonzalez v. Google, the Supreme Court will have to consider some damning facts. The family of Nohemi Gonzalez, the only American killed in the 2015 terrorist attacks on Paris, sued Google (through its YouTube service) for aiding and abetting her ISIS killing by “recommending” content by a militant Muslim group. The suit alleges that by allowing its algorithms to recommend video content from the terrorist group, YouTube is no longer entitled to Section 230 immunity from civil liability. The petitioners also allege that YouTube provided “material support” to ISIS without which “t
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  • https://udumbara.net/the-evolution-of-godless-practices-eugenics-infanticide-and-transhumanism
    https://udumbara.net/the-evolution-of-godless-practices-eugenics-infanticide-and-transhumanism
    UDUMBARA.NET
    The Evolution of Godless Practices: Eugenics, Infanticide, and Transhumanism
    CommentaryThere is a straight line that runs from eugenics through infanticide to transhumanism. All three are the devil’s work in the material world. Let us explore the issue. Good Versus Evil From biblical times to the present, there has been an ongoing battle between good and evil that has been waged through the centuries. On one side, there are those who believe in a higher power and that mankind was made in the image of God, which is an immutable constant not to be trifled with or corrupted by human beings. Another way of saying that is that people in this camp believe that human nature itself has been immutable and constant through the millennia and that only by looking to God can mankind improve his condition. On the other side are those who deny the existence of God and believe that mankind is the supreme intelligence in control of human destiny, is malleable and can be shaped through science, and can evolve to a superior form of man through the planning and experimentation by “natural leaders” over time. A corollary for the people in this camp is that there are no moral or religious constraints on their practices intended to evolve mankind toward some conceived—and ever-changing—future vision. Many in the first camp would characterize the ongoing battle as “good versus evil.” Mankind has been arguing about, defining, and redefining what it means to be “good” for millennia. The ancients defined good in terms of “normal versus different,” “knowledge versus ignorance,” and later “right versus wrong” in the context of defining laws and justice. Societies and governments were organized around these concepts. People attend the 32nd annual memorial service and prayer vigil to remember the more than 900 victims of the Jonestown massacre in Oakland, Calif., on Nov. 18, 2010. Cult leader Jim Jones was a Marxist believer and set the original teachings of Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought as the doctrine of the Peoples Temple. (Eric Risberg/AP Photo) The concept of evil has also been defined by many cultures through the ages. The dictionary now defines evil as “morally wrong or bad; immoral; wicked.” Most Americans (and most people in general) have an innate understanding of what is evil on a personal level. Some refer to that understanding as a conscience. Even the people in the second camp who believe that mankind is the supreme being have vestiges of consciences informed by religion and experience. Governments have been organized to reflect, monitor, and control the cultural norms of the people governed. Logic dictates that those governments would also implement and enforce those cultural norms from a different philosophical framework from each other, partly as shaped by their respective religious philosophies and the various ideologies that have been developed and tested over the centuries, such as monarchical rule, Marxism, fascism, socialism, communism, corporate capitalism, patriarchy, oligarchy, philosopher kings, etc. Mutable Mankind in Atheistic Societies The totalitarian ideologies that were developed and tested during the 20th century (particularly fascism and communism) denied the existence of God so that the governments formed that exercised those ideologies would be unconstrained by religious and moral boundaries in their pursuit of developing and grooming their version of “modern man” in their societies. Examples of those perversions of mankind include the following: Herrenvolk (Nazi Germany’s ‘Master Race’) The Nazis were obsessed with racial theories that resulted in a pseudoscientific racial classification system in which “Aryans” (people of German and Nordic descent) were considered to be the “master race” at the apex of the human pyramid and destined to “rule the world” (on Nazi terms, of course). Jews were by Nazis to be on the lowest level of the hierarchy. Nazi society was organized around these concepts to develop and promote those with the “purest” Aryan blood at the expense of those with lesser classifications in the hierarchy. For example, German boys were educated, inculcated, and groomed in Nazi principles through the Hitler Youth program. Girls were brainwashed through two parallel programs: Young Girls was an organization for girls aged 10 to 14, while the League of German Girls was for girls aged 14 to 18, with the latter being focused on “comradeship, domestic duties, and motherhood.” This undated photo shows a roll call, in the early morning or late evening hours, on the roll call square in front of the camp gate of the Nazi concentration camp Sachsenhausen in Oranienburg on the outskirts of Berlin. (AP Photo) Homo Sovieticus (Soviet Man) Soviet Man was to be the ultimate proof that communism “worked” and that mankind could evolve for the better (as defined by the communists) without God’s guidance. The Russian communists attempted to shape the individual consciousness, character, and social practices in order to get the people to conform to the Marxi
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  • https://udumbara.net/chinas-c919-airliner-never-fails-to-fail
    https://udumbara.net/chinas-c919-airliner-never-fails-to-fail
    UDUMBARA.NET
    China’s C919 Airliner Never Fails to Fail
    CommentarySamuel Johnson once said of a dog walking on its hind legs that even though it was not done well, one was surprised to see it done at all. Such is the increasing indifference I am feeling toward China’s C919 passenger jet, Beijing’s latest effort to break into the global commercial airliner business. The plane actually celebrated a bit of a milestone a few days ago when—five years after its first flight—it finally received its airworthiness certification from the Chinese Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). It was supposed to have been certified last December, but continuing delays in flight testing made that a nonstarter. In fact, at the time, the C919 had flown only 34 out of a required 276 flights. I know that I pick on the C919 a lot (see here and here and here), and I should really cut the plane some slack. But few countries have taken such a good opportunity to develop and manufacture a product that could have truly been globally competitive and totally screwed it up. For a country like China, building the C919 was certainly an achievable goal. In the first place, it was not a particularly groundbreaking aircraft. Noted aerospace analyst Richard Aboulafia has called the C919 a “me-too jet,” adding that the plane offers no new technology. Certainly, the C919 is not, for example, like Embraer’s family of small regional jets. The Brazilian aerospace company pioneered the development of small but fast jet-propelled airliners seating less than 125 passengers, such as the ERJ45 or the E170/E190 series. As such, Embraer helped to revolutionize the commuter airliner business. In fact, the C919 was, from the very beginning, a rather mediocre airplane. It is a narrow-body plane, seating around 160 passengers, which puts it in roughly the same category as two already existing workhorses of the skies, the Boeing 737 and the Airbus A320. Visitors walk past a Boeing 737 (L) and a Boeing 777 (R) displayed during the Farnborough Airshow, in Farnborough, on July 18, 2022. (Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images) That said, there’s nothing wrong with being a manila-envelope passenger plane. There is a sizable global market for narrow-body jets, and the C919 was likely to enter as a low-cost challenger, relying on cheap Chinese labor to undercut the competition. Even if it was only sold to Chinese airlines, the potential for sales was huge. And yet China has dropped the ball on every occasion. The C919, initiated in 2008, was supposed to conduct its first flight in 2014 and begin deliveries by 2016. In fact, it didn’t fly until 2017. While the plane has finally received certification by the CAAC, it still needs to be separately certified by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Europe’s Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) if Beijing wishes to sell the airplane overseas. In the meantime, C919 program costs have skyrocketed, and China has reportedly already spent over $20 billion on the plane. As a result, the unit price of the C919 has risen. Originally expected to cost about $50 million per plane, the C919 is now predicted to be priced at around $90 million to $100 million each. This is roughly the same price as a 737 or A320, wiping out whatever cost advantage it might have had. Finally, calling the C919 “Chinese” is stretching the point. The plane relies heavily on Western suppliers for critical components and subsystems, including its avionics, landing gear, nacelles, flight controls, and—most importantly—jet engines. Around 60 percent of these foreign suppliers to the C919 are U.S. companies, such as General Electric, Honeywell, and Eaton. In fact, it is estimated that only 25 percent of the overall value of the C919 is actually Chinese, mostly in the manufacture of the fuselage and wings, as well as final assembly. As Aboulafia has put it, “it’s more a Western jet than a Chinese one.” Beyond simply injuring Chinese pride, this excessive dependency on foreign components and technologies puts the program in serious danger. Even if much of the Western technology is rather old—and the evidence is that much of what is being transferred to China is hardly cutting-edge—it still leaves the C919 at the mercy of foreign suppliers. And these foreign suppliers are becoming increasingly hesitant—hostile, even—when it comes to working with the Chinese on high-tech projects. The Chinese regime’s belligerent behavior—its growing threats toward Taiwan, its regional bullying, its stifling of democracy and human rights in Hong Kong, and its failure to condemn Russian aggression against Ukraine—has left many in the West with a bad taste in their mouths and increasingly reluctant to team up with China. In December 2020, under the Trump administration, the Commerce Department added a new “Military End User” (MEU) list to its existing export controls. The MEU list essentially prohibits certain technology exports to certain entities (in China and other countries) that “represent an unacceptable
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  • https://udumbara.net/record-crime-in-philadelphia-could-throw-the-senate-to-republicans
    https://udumbara.net/record-crime-in-philadelphia-could-throw-the-senate-to-republicans
    UDUMBARA.NET
    Record Crime in Philadelphia Could Throw the Senate to Republicans
    CommentaryThe future of the United States may be decided by the next carjacking in Philadelphia. If there is one butterfly that could cause a storm in U.S. politics, it is a crime in swing states like Pennsylvania. Last week, the number of carjackings in the City of Brotherly Love reached a record 1,000. Homicides reached 400 as of Sept. 26. Pennsylvanians, especially in Philadelphia, are fed up with crime. Democrats and Republicans, true to form, approach the problem with the tools they have handy: gun control and more police, respectively. Democrats are at a disadvantage on the issue as many have promoted defunding the police, clemency for felons, and no cash bail. Every new shooting on television is more free campaign advertising for Republicans. Grainy footage of hooded characters boosting cars is gold for the GOP. Democrats are desperate to hold onto the Senate, currently just by a thread called Vice President Kamala Harris. She’s the tiebreaker in the 50-50 split between Republicans and Democrats that, in November, looks increasingly at risk in favor of Republicans. If Republicans win just one more seat in the Senate, which looks more likely than not, then Democrats will have to compromise their legislative agenda. The campaign in Pennsylvania, and other swing states, is therefore critical. Mehmet Oz, the Republican celebrity doctor endorsed by former President Donald Trump, is competing for the seat of outgoing Republican Sen. Pat Toomey. His opponent: Democratic candidate John Fetterman, who often wears hoodies and shorts, and shows off his tattoos at campaign rallies. Every constituency counts and Fetterman is not the only one appealing to communities that traditionally vote Democrat. “With the latest polls showing a tightening race, Mehmet Oz returned to Philadelphia on Sunday night to meet with local Black clergy members to press his case to be elected to the U.S. Senate,” according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz (C) holds a press conference with U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) in Philadelphia, Pa., on Sept. 6, 2022. (Mark Makela/Getty Images) The meeting, held on Oct. 2 in Philadelphia, included a dozen clergy and a doctor visiting from Haiti, who spoke about how his community “has been held hostage” by criminality for over five months. The group talked about better schools, safer neighborhoods, accountability for federal tax dollars spent in the city, and especially gun violence. “It’s not just the shooter and the victim, but everybody that pays the price,” Oz said at the gathering. “Ten percent of small kids have witnessed these shootings, and the impact is similar to having PTSD, like being in a war zone.” Oz noted that much of the crime is committed by teens, and asked those assembled for the causes and solutions to violence. “Participants suggested a breakdown of community bonds, as well as a lack of trust and respect for the police, and a lack of faith in religion,” according to the Inquirer. Could the “Defund the Police” and “All Cops Are Bastards” slogans found liberally at recent Black Lives Matter protests have encouraged such thinking? More than likely. Citing the example of Oregon, Oz added drug use and decriminalization to what he argues fuels crime. Anyone familiar with the toughest neighborhoods in the United States, like Kensington in Philadelphia, would find it hard to disagree. The Democratic district attorney of Philadelphia, with his progressive prosecution strategies, has so far failed to stem crime. While some African Americans are reconsidering their traditional support for the Democratic Party, which they tend to see as not doing enough to address economic empowerment in their communities, the shift between 2016 and 2020 was more pronounced among Latinos, according to The Wall Street Journal. Pennsylvania’s Latino population grew by 330,000 between 2010 and 2020, according to the U.S. Census. Latinos now make up 8 percent of the state’s population. State Rep. Manuel Guzman, a supporter of President Joe Biden, had complaints about the Democratic Party as early as November. “The party has taken people of color for granted and taken our votes for granted,” he said in an interview. “I’m not surprised that many Latinos feel disenfranchised and feel left out of the political process because, quite frankly, I can imagine that no one has cared enough to knock on somebody’s door to ask them about what they care about and what they look for in a representative.” Between 2016 and 2020, 7.2 percent of voters in census tracts with at least 70 percent Hispanic residents shifted Republican, according to the Journal. Some Latino neighborhoods in Allentown, Pennsylvania, shifted Republican by 10 percent in 2020. Asian-Americans are also shifting Republican by 5.3 percent in census tracts that are at least 70 percent Asian. While approximately 90 percent of black voters support Democrats, that lead eroded in 2020. Predominant
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  • https://udumbara.net/ccp-runs-police-outpost-in-new-york-city-part-of-global-network-of-transnational-repression-report
    https://udumbara.net/ccp-runs-police-outpost-in-new-york-city-part-of-global-network-of-transnational-repression-report
    UDUMBARA.NET
    CCP Runs Police Outpost in New York City, Part of Global Network of Transnational Repression: Report
    Chinese authorities have opened at least one “overseas police service station” in the United States as part of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) global transnational repression, according to human rights group Safeguard Defenders.“These operations eschew official bilateral police and judicial cooperation and violate the international rule of law, and may violate the territorial integrity in third countries involved in setting up a parallel policing mechanism using illegal methods,” the Spain-based group said in a recent report. The report, titled “110 Overseas: Chinese Transnational Policing Gone Wild,” examined the initiative first launched by ten “pilot provinces” in 2018. These stations were also called 110 Overseas, named after the country’s police emergency services phone number. An outpost in New York City was among the “first batch” of 30 overseas police service stations in 21 countries set up by the Public Security Bureau in Fuzhou city, the capital of the southern coastal province of Fujian. Other Chinese cities also set up their own outposts abroad. The Chinese police authorities’ division in New York was opened on Feb. 15, according to Dongnan News, a media outlet backed by Fujian provincial government. The center, called Fuzhou Police Oversea Service Station, is located at 107 East Broadway, inside the headquarters of the American ChangLe Association (ACA), a non profit with close ties to the Chinese regime. Safeguard Defenders identified 54 overseas police service stations across five continents, including in cities from Toronto to Dublin. Yet the total number of such stations is unclear. “There is no complete list of such “110 Overseas” police service stations available,” the report stated. “[T]he number is undoubtedly larger and such stations more widespread,” it added. ACA Established in 1998, the ACA is one of the most influential communities for immigrants from Fujian Province in the United States, according to its website. The ACA cooperated with Fuzhou city’s Public Security Bureau to set up the Fuzhou police service station this year, the association’s chairman said at an April event at the group’s office hosting the deputy Chinese consulate general in New York, Wu Xiaoming, Dongnan News reported at the time. Wu, according to the report, recognized the association’s contribution to “promoting Sino-U.S. friendship and supporting China’s peaceful reunification.” The New York community group, like many purportedly grassroots Chinese organizations, is linked to the Chinese Communist Party’s sprawling “united front” system. This refers to a network of thousands of overseas groups loosely overseen by the United Front Work Department, a powerful Party agency, that work to advance the regime’s interests abroad, including by carrying out foreign influence operations, suppress dissident movements, gather intelligence, and facilitate the transfer of technology to China. The ACA has maintained close ties to the regime and has been praised for its efforts in supporting CCP and its leaders. Photos displayed on its website include the certificate of appreciation from the Chinese consulate in New York in 2015. The consulate praised the ACA for playing an active role in organizing overseas Chinese nationals to welcome Chinese leader Xi Jinping when he traveled to New York to attend the United Nations meetings at that time. The group’s former president Zhang Zikuo in 2019 attended an official ceremony in Beijing marking the 70th year of CCP rule over China as a representative of overseas Chinese nationals in the United States, according to a 2020 report by the Fuzhou City Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese. In May 2020, Zhang, then-president of the ACA, attended an online seminar organized by the United Front Department of Fuzhou city’s Changle District, during which they had an “in-depth study of the spirit of the two sessions,” read the report. “Two sessions” refers to annual meetings held by the regime’s rubber-stamp legislature and political advisory body. ‘Sinister Goal’ Ostensibly, the overseas police service stations serve administrative purposes, with many tasks the report said that would be “traditionally considered of a consular nature.” For example, the New York station’s most popular service was assisting overseas Chinese in renewing driver’s licenses without returning to the country, according to an August report by Dongnan News. The report said that between March 1 to April 27, 36 applications completed an online physical examination at the station and got their driver’s licenses renewed. The stations make overseas Chinese feel the “care and love” of the motherland, Lu Jianshun, the ACA chairman, told Dongnan News. The report mentioned that Lu is also a staff member of the New York police service station. Safeguard Defenders, however, said such 110 overseas have a “more sinister goal as they contribute to ‘resolutely cracking down on all kinds of illegal and criminal
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  • https://udumbara.net/taiwan-expands-1st-strike-definition-will-retaliate-against-ccp-air-incursions
    https://udumbara.net/taiwan-expands-1st-strike-definition-will-retaliate-against-ccp-air-incursions
    UDUMBARA.NET
    Taiwan Expands ‘1st Strike’ Definition, Will Retaliate Against CCP Air Incursions
    Taiwan is expanding its definition of a “first strike” for the purposes of determining whether to militarily retaliate against Chinese aggression, according to a top defense official.The government of Taiwan now will consider significant incursions into its airspace by Chinese aircraft and drones to constitute a first strike in the same manner as a missile attack, defense minister Chiu Kuo-cheng told lawmakers on Oct. 5. Chiu said the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) recent aggression necessitated the expanded definition. He added that CCP crossings of the median line, the midpoint of the Taiwan Strait, are an effort to create a new norm for intimidation and harassment. “The median line was supposed to be a tacit agreement for everyone,” Chiu said. “That tacit agreement has been destroyed.” The median line was decided upon as a buffer zone by the United States in the 1950s as a means of de-escalating conflict between communist China and Taiwan. Since then, both sides generally have respected the boundary. However, in the past several months, CCP forces under Xi Jinping have initiated an aggressive campaign to “normalize” a military presence on Taiwan’s side of the waterway. Taiwan previously held that it wouldn’t strike militarily against China unless China struck first. Until now, that meant that CCP forces would need to strike the island with a missile. Chiu said on Oct. 5 that Taiwan would now respond to a broader range of threats. “We initially said we do not make the first strike … if they haven’t done the first strike, which means firing a projectile or a missile,” he said. “But the situation has obviously changed.” “Of course, we have a red line,” he added. “We absolutely will respond.” Chiu also condemned the CCP for its efforts to unilaterally change the status quo through military force and intimidation and said that the Taiwanese people were prepared to defend themselves. “They want to build a new normal,” Chiu said. But “we will stand firm when they come. We do not give in.” Taiwan Will Defend De Facto Independence The CCP claims that Taiwan is a rogue province of China that must be united with the mainland by any means necessary. Its leadership has openly threatened to “start a war” to ensure that Taiwan’s independence isn’t internationally recognized. Taiwan has been a self-governing democracy since 1949 and has never been controlled by the CCP. Moreover, it boasts a thriving market economy and is the world’s leading manufacturer of advanced semiconductors, which are used to build everything from pickup trucks to hypersonic missiles. In August, the CCP used a visit to Taiwan by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as a pretext to initiate unprecedented military drills. Those exercises included the firing of ballistic missiles over Taiwan and into the waters of Japan’s exclusive economic zone. Taiwanese leadership has said that the exercises and the CCP’s ongoing military presence are preparation for an invasion of the island. Most Taiwanese reject the suggestion that the island should come under the control of the CCP, and the island has put up a spirited resistance to continued efforts to intimidate it into submission, such as the CCP’s campaign of air and sea incursions. To date, CCP forces have largely only made incursions into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone, in which aircraft are required to identify themselves to Taiwanese authorities. They haven’t launched a full incursion into the island’s airspace. Chiu’s comments indicate that if the CCP pursues such an aggressive course of action, Taiwan’s military could respond with lethal force up to and including a missile strike against the mainland. Follow Andrew Thornebrooke is a reporter for The Epoch Times covering China-related issues with a focus on defense, military affairs, and national security. He holds a master's in military history from Norwich University.
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  • https://udumbara.net/canadian-government-official-responds-to-reports-of-unofficial-chinese-police-stations-in-toronto
    https://udumbara.net/canadian-government-official-responds-to-reports-of-unofficial-chinese-police-stations-in-toronto
    UDUMBARA.NET
    Canadian Government Official Responds to Reports of Unofficial Chinese Police Stations in Toronto
    An investigation into allegations that communist China is operating unofficial overseas police stations in Canada is underway, officials say.Testifying before the parliamentary Canada-China committee on Sept. 4, Weldon Epp, director general for Global Affairs Canada’s North Asia and Oceania Bureau, said should the allegations be proven true, the activity would “fall outside of any legitimate police-to-police liaison role” between the two countries, and that Ottawa would make “serious representations” to Beijing. “The activity that’s being alleged would be entirely illegal, totally inappropriate, and would be subject to very serious representations and follow-up diplomatically,” Epp said. Reports of China’s expanding “overseas police service stations” were brought to public attention after Spain-based human rights NGO Safeguard Defenders published its investigative report last month, titled “110 Overseas: Chinese Transnational Policing Gone Wild.” At the time of publication, the report identified 54 Chinese overseas police stations in 30 countries, including three in Toronto. The stations are all under the jurisdiction of two local-level police services in China—the Fuzhou Public Security Bureau in Fuzhou City, Fujian Province, and the Qingtian County police in Zhejiang Province, the report said. Peter Dahlin, founder and director of Safeguard Defenders and co-author of the report, told The Epoch Times previously that in addition to the three stations in Toronto—two in Markham and one in Scarborough, whose locations were published in a Chinese state media outlet—there are likely other unofficial Chinese police stations either in existance or being established in Canada, though they have yet to be discovered. Map of the 30 countries where Chinese police have established 54 known “110 Chinese overseas police stations.” (Courtesy of Safeguard Defenders) Dahlin said that during the investigation, his team came across a news release issued by Beijing on July 5, 2018, that stated 10 other provinces should launch similar operations on a pilot basis. Epp, who served as consulate general of Canada in Shanghai from 2015 to 2019, said that there is no bilateral treaty with China that would allow the Chinese police to reside in Canada and open their police stations on Canadian soil. ‘Violation Of Our Sovereignty’ During questioning, Conservative MP and foreign affairs critic Michael Chong asked Epp whether Global Affairs has made representations to the Chinese regime “about how unacceptable it is” that the CCP has allegedly established the police stations, which he said are reportedly being used to “intimidate Canadians and even coerce them in going back to China.” Epp said his department is working with partner agencies to ascertain “whether there’s a basis to the allegations.” “I can tell you that we are working closely with partners to understand whether these media reports are based in fact,” Epp said, adding that the department regularly raised concerns to senior levels in Ottawa and Beijing about the “growing evidence of growing foreign interference” from China. Epp was referring to a series of reports issued by the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians to federal agencies. He said the evidence from those reports suggests that the largest source of foreign interference in Canada by foreign state actors, “is coming from the PRC [People’s Republic of China] sources.” Chong also asked if Global Affairs is investigating whether diplomats accredited to the Chinese embassy and other missions in Canada are involved with the alleged police stations and whether the government has sent representatives to check out the three locations published in Chinese state media reports. “They’re not only illegal, they’re a violation of our sovereignty, a violation of international law, and violation of any diplomatic norms that are out there,” Chong said. Conservative MP Michael Chong rises during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa on May 31, 2021. (The Canadian Press/Adrian Wyld) “Without trying to frustrate the line of questioning, I just want to underscore the fact that the investigative role that’s critical here, before we take important and anticipated diplomatic actions in response, is pretty crucial,” Epp answered. Conservative MP Raquel Dancho asked whom Global Affairs is working with during the investigation, to which Epp answered that it wasn’t appropriate for him to discuss the operational details on camera. ‘Visas Should Be Revoked’ Glen Linder, director general of Social and Temporary Migration at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), also testified at the committee meeting, where he was asked by Chong if the IRCC has performed a status check on the individuals working in the alleged police stations. “Is there an investigation going on right now to determine their immigration status? Because if these individuals have come here from the People’s
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  • https://udumbara.net/continuing-to-defend-currency-peg-to-us-dollar-may-be-dangerous-for-hong-kong-expert
    https://udumbara.net/continuing-to-defend-currency-peg-to-us-dollar-may-be-dangerous-for-hong-kong-expert
    UDUMBARA.NET
    Continuing to Defend Currency Peg to US Dollar May Be ‘Dangerous’ for Hong Kong: Expert
    Hong Kong’s latest foreign currency reserve showed another $10.014 billion drop in August, down from July’s $441.8 billion, pushing the accumulated reduction since last December to $67.563 billion.On Sept. 30, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), the city’s central bank, released an analysis of the city’s foreign currency reserves and foreign currency liquidity. The data showed the city’s foreign currency reserves had shrunk to $431.821 billion at the end of August, from $499.384 billion at the end of November 2021. According to the Half-Yearly Monetary and Financial Stability Report (pdf) issued by HKMA in September, the currency’s weak-side Convertibility Undertaking (CU) was triggered 31 times during the review period from the end of February to the end of August. Since Oct. 17, 1983, Hong Kong has used the Linked Exchange Rate System (LERS). The system allows the HKMA to stabilize exchange rates from the U.S. dollar to the Hong Kong Dollar (HKD) between 7.75 and 7.85, also known as the Convertibility Undertaking (CU). As a currency pegged to the USD, the HKD’s strong-side CU is 7.75 to one U.S. dollar, and the weak-side CU is 7.85. The HKMA report said that the HKD “traded within a range between 7.814 and 7.850 against the [USD]” during the review period, adding that “since the first triggering of the weak-side CU on [May 11 (U.S. local time)], the HKMA has purchased a total of $HKD 213.1 billion (as [of] the end of August) at the request of banks in accordance with the design of the linked Exchange Rate System.” Challenges Ahead for Hong Kong Dollar The report warned the HKD would likely face a multitude of challenges as it copes with aggressive U.S. dollar rate hikes amid high inflation. “Looking ahead, fund flows may be subject to heightened volatilities amid elevated uncertainties on various fronts, including the pace of U.S. monetary policy normalization, the evolving pandemic developments, and the lingering geopolitical tensions,” the report states. Albert Song, a senior financial analyst and expert on the Chinese financial system, told The Epoch Times that the climate is increasingly “dangerous” for Hong Kong’s financial system as the HKD remains pegged to the U.S. dollar amid the Fed’s interest rate hikes. “Hong Kong’s economic cycle is becoming more and more similar to that of mainland China, but its financial sector is following the pace of the Fed’s interest rate hikes, which has already impacted Hong Kong’s property market and economy. To defend the currency peg, the HKMA will have to continue selling USD to buy HKD,” Song said. “In fact, the Hong Kong dollar is in its most dangerous position.” Yuan Depreciates Despite Official Optimism China, which relies heavily on Hong Kong as a financial gateway for foreign currency reserves, has no way to fend off the impact of its depreciating currency. Although the Chinese yuan has depreciated sharply against the U.S. dollar since August, a press release from the People’s Bank of China (PBC) claimed that “the yuan exchange rate has remained basically stable at an adaptive and equilibrium level.” The press release reported the findings of a national virtual conference on Sept. 27, hosted by the China Foreign Exchange Market Self-Regulatory Framework (SRF), a central bank-led self-regulatory group. The conference aimed to analyze recent developments in the foreign exchange market. It added that the yuan is “one of the few strong currencies in the world, [as it] strengthened markedly against the Euro, British pounds and Japanese yen.” However, the following day, the onshore Chinese yuan exchange rate to the U.S. dollar (USD) hit its lowest level since 2008 by crossing the 7.2 level on Sept. 28. The rate is also its weakest offshore exchange rate since 2011. Depreciation May Trigger Sell-off Regarding the currency’s value, Song told The Epoch Times that the yuan’s depreciation would make yuan assets less attractive and may cause investors to sell off. “With a widening interest rate differential between the U.S. and China, capital outflow will become more severe, bringing China’s foreign exchange reserves lower. China requires more than $800 billion a year to import energy, [semiconductor] chips, and food,” Song said. “The increase in raw material prices will also cost more foreign currency, so those Chinese industries relying on imported raw materials will be in a worse position.” Export Sector ‘Trapped’ by Rising Prices, Supply Chain Issues Song noted that some Chinese economists believe the yuan depreciation will benefit Chinese exports, but the reality may be the opposite. “Theoretically, the depreciation of yuan is beneficial to foreign trade exports, but the benefit will not be visible to the export sector immediately. Furthermore, the export sector will be trapped by the increase of raw material prices and the lack of [a] smooth logistics supply chain caused by the [regime’s] zero-COVID policy,” Song said. Guan Tao, the gl
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  • https://udumbara.net/china-to-remain-us-adversary-after-xi-secures-third-term-in-power-author
    https://udumbara.net/china-to-remain-us-adversary-after-xi-secures-third-term-in-power-author
    UDUMBARA.NET
    China to Remain US Adversary After Xi Secures Third Term in Power: Author
    As Chinese leader Xi Jinping looks set to secure a third five-year term as CCP leader during the party’s 20th National Congress in October, the following period will see more competition and confrontation between the United States and China, according to China expert and author James Gorrie.“I don’t see great cooperation … I don’t think that’s going to mark our relationship in the foreseeable future. I think we’re much more along the lines of competitive and adversarial,” Gorrie told the “China in Focus” program on NTD news, The Epoch Times’ sister media. He pointed to the fact that China and Russia have proclaimed a friendship without limits, saying: “[China] coordinated with Russia on that invasion. And they’re doing a lot of coordination on energy on food and currency.” “So Russia and China are pretty married,” he noted. China’s Internal Problems Gorrie further took note of the fact that the Chinese economy is not in good shape. “China has big problems in terms of their economy. Their real estate sector is in a depression. Unemployment among the youngest is now over 20 percent, which is huge. The national average is around five and a half percent,” he said. “So there’s some large issues that need to be addressed,” Gorrie stressed. According to the expert, the Chinese regime’s zero-COVID policy has exerted a devastating impact on the country. “It’s just been so oppressive on their own people. You have tens of millions of people not earning money, not not going to work, supply chain disruptions,” Gorrie said. In his opinion, that furthered the trend of nearshoring which had started before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. “That trend was created by China. China’s labor costs are higher, their IP theft is rampant,” he explained. “Europeans [are] relocating factories in say Turkey, America is relocating factories in say Mexico, and so forth. And the Philippines and Vietnam [are] picking up some of the slack from China,” Gorrie added. As the author of the book titled “The China Crisis,” he opined that the tendency will continue, as “the bloom is off the rose.” “Once you reestablish the supply chain, you don’t want to have to go back and put it at risk for a capricious CCP that may decide that you need to be locked down for the next six or eight months,” he said. Decoupling From China Going forward, Gorrie urged that America continue to try to decouple from China, economically and trade-wise. “So America’s policy ought to contain China, and ought to make it difficult for China to exert its influence externally,” he said. He further suggested that America bring back home the manufacturing of key industries. “It should be done for strategic industries and parts and those types of things that are in our best interest to have control over,” Gorrie said. “We shouldn’t have strategic medical supplies or technological supplies being made in a country that is potentially adversarial to us,” he contended. Gorrie pointed to the new report revealing that more than 150 scientists who worked in a top U.S. national security laboratory were hired by the Chinese regime to do research. “So much of our IP continues to go to China. They’re a formidable force in robotics and AI, biotech, bioengineering. And a lot of that comes from the U.S.,” he noted. Thus, he called for defunding the companies and universities involved with the misconduct. “Something needs to be done swiftly and effectively,” he said. “What we need to do to strengthen ourselves and to minimize China’s influence,” Gorrie said. Follow Hannah Ng is a reporter covering U.S. and China news. She holds a master's degree in international and development economics from the University of Applied Science Berlin. Follow Tiffany Meier is a New York-based reporter and host of NTD's "China in Focus."
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  • https://udumbara.net/us-redeploys-aircraft-carrier-to-korea
    https://udumbara.net/us-redeploys-aircraft-carrier-to-korea
    UDUMBARA.NET
    US redeploys aircraft carrier to Korea
    The Pentagon has deployed an aircraft carrier strike group off the coast of South Korea in response to a recent missile launch by the north
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  • https://udumbara.net/us-spies-admit-ukraine-killed-darya-dugina
    https://udumbara.net/us-spies-admit-ukraine-killed-darya-dugina
    UDUMBARA.NET
    US spies admit Ukraine killed Darya Dugina
    US spies have denied having anything to do with the assassination of Russian journalist Darya Dugina, which they blame on Ukraine
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  • https://udumbara.net/saudi-arabia-responds-to-us-oil-accusations
    https://udumbara.net/saudi-arabia-responds-to-us-oil-accusations
    UDUMBARA.NET
    Saudi Arabia responds to US oil accusations
    Riyadh denies US claims of weaponizing oil after production cut announcement, OPEC officials said they were doing nothing of the kind
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  • https://udumbara.net/eu-still-poised-to-explore-diplomatic-solution-to-ukraine-conflict
    https://udumbara.net/eu-still-poised-to-explore-diplomatic-solution-to-ukraine-conflict
    UDUMBARA.NET
    EU still poised to explore ‘diplomatic solution’ to Ukraine conflict
    EU looks forward to launching a “training mission” for Ukrainian troops, but is still ready to seek a “diplomatic solution” to the conflict
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  • https://udumbara.net/moscow-speaks-out-on-nord-stream-blasts-probe
    https://udumbara.net/moscow-speaks-out-on-nord-stream-blasts-probe
    UDUMBARA.NET
    Moscow speaks out on Nord Stream blasts probe
    Moscow is concerned about attempts to exclude it from inquiry into causes of Nord Stream pipelines blasts
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  • https://udumbara.net/report-us-gave-china-28m-funding-for-research-beijing-detains-143m-ahead-of-national-meeting
    https://udumbara.net/report-us-gave-china-28m-funding-for-research-beijing-detains-143m-ahead-of-national-meeting
    UDUMBARA.NET
    Report: U.S. Gave China $28M Funding for Research; Beijing Detains 1.43M Ahead of National Meeting
    Report: U.S. Gave China $28M Funding for Research; Beijing Detains 1.43M Ahead of National Meeting
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  • https://udumbara.net/why-ayurveda-is-a-crucial-new-way-of-thinking
    UDUMBARA.NET
    Why Ayurveda Is a Crucial New Way of Thinking
    This ancient discipline provides time-tested insights to examine ourselves and the worldAyurveda is a profound way of seeing. Many begin by dabbling in ayurveda and then quickly realize how potent it is. While it may be challenging to understand at first, exposure to ayurveda reveals that there’s something special hidden in its strange words. Ayurveda means “the science of life” in Sanskrit, the classical language of ancient India. But the science of life is more than knowing which herb to use or which food to eat for dinner—it’s a new way of thinking altogether. Thinking ayurvedically requires using a new set of skills, much like riding a bicycle or speaking a new language. Once you get the hang of it, its mysterious allure quickly moves toward awe. So, what is ayurveda? Perhaps as profound as an apple falling on Newton’s head, the science of life is a tool, like Western science, for analyzing your surroundings. More specifically, ayurveda is a systematic approach to discovering how our bodies interact with the natural world. Broadly speaking, ayurveda is a tool for comparing and contrasting objects in the natural world. It gives you a feel for how two things might interact. Perhaps, the “science of life” in this context refers to the lively way things interact with one another. Typically, the ayurvedic approach is used for health, but it also has many other quality of life applications. When your friends start arguing after a spicy Mexican dinner, break out the ice cream to cool everyone down. When your little one can’t fall asleep at night, massage her feet with oil for a soothing effect. When you can’t get your brain to perk up and focus, brew some spicy tea. Ayurveda is an objective method of analysis like science, but based on qualifying individual experiences and patterns in nature instead of quantifying them, as science does. Instead of summarizing natural events with statistical averages alone, ayurveda can switch between statistical models and highly individualized models for assessment with ease. It can be used alongside the scientific method in a variety of situations such as recovering from chemotherapy, which requires navigating the highly individualized effects of the treatment. For example, a diet of easy-to-digest foods that takes the person’s body type into account will enable them to rebuild their digestion (and health) more effectively. Ayurveda recognizes that all of life is a relationship. In breaking down the dynamics of relationships, ayurveda offers a model for interactions that predicts how your body will respond to contact with your environment. In addition to describing interactions, ayurveda helps people describe sensations they’re having and puts their experiences into a context, so they can see how the pieces fit with the whole. Ayurveda is very easy to learn and use. It makes it possible for individuals to improve their quality of life. It also gives them insight and understanding that increases a sense of well-being and the ability to take care of themselves. These unique advantages of ayurveda make it an especially useful supplement to any health care plan. How Does Ayurveda Work? How does ayurveda accomplish all of this? It categorizes the qualities of things. It recognizes that everything is always in flux and that we need to adapt our understanding accordingly. Ayurveda classifies all substances and experiences by their qualities and how they affect what they come into contact with. It does this through the concepts of biocharacteristics (gunas), elements, and doshas. A biocharacteristic loosely means an innate property. Ayurveda uses 20 main biocharacteristics, or properties, clinically. These properties describe how a substance will affect the mind and body. The elements represent the most common states of matter found in nature, and doshas are the main body types or constitutions found in people. For example, ayurveda would describe a chili pepper as drying, heating, and fiery, as opposed to describing its content in terms of vitamins and chemical makeup. You’ll notice that Western medicine uses nouns when describing disease, medicine, and anatomy. For example, an ulcer is a sore in the intestines. Cancer is abnormal cell growth. The flu is a virus. Western science has spent several hundred years describing things based on their content, since the Enlightenment era. Western science has made extraordinary discoveries by breaking things down into pieces and parts, a technique called reductionism. Ayurveda, on the other hand, integrates all the pieces and parts into an experience of the whole. It observes and summarizes the relationships of all the pieces and parts interacting. Both conversations are worth having. You’ll notice that when ayurveda describes disease, medicine, and anatomy, it uses adjectives. A person catches a “cold.” Herbs are “bitter” or “pungent.” The liver is a “hot” organ. Ayurveda and Individuality While Western science catego
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  • https://udumbara.net/advice-from-traditional-chinese-medicine-seventeen-paths-to-better-sleep
    UDUMBARA.NET
    Advice from Traditional Chinese Medicine: Seventeen Paths to Better Sleep
    In today’s stressful world, many people are prone to sleep problems. According to some studies, nearly 30 percent of people have trouble sleeping. And that number may have increased post-pandemic. COVID-19 is just one of many health conditions that can lead to insomnia and sleep problems.The American Academy of Sleep Medicine defines insomnia as difficulty either falling asleep or staying asleep, accompanied by daytime impairments related to those sleep troubles. Long-term insomnia can lead to depression, drug dependence, and poor cognitive function. In addition, it impacts cardiovascular and cerebrovascular health. Dr. Guobin Wu, director of Taipei’s Xin Yi Tang Chinese Medicine Clinic, spoke to The Epoch Times about insomnia and how to get a good night’s sleep without resorting to medication. 1. Get some sun The biological rhythm of the human body is heavily influenced by sunlight. To strengthen and normalize the biological rhythm, exposure to sunlight in the morning after waking up is the most effective. That could even mean getting sunlight through a window while you eat breakfast. Thirty minutes of sun exposure in the morning, and another hour or more in the afternoon, can aid in the production of melatonin, which helps sleep. Maintaining this routine for at least three days a week can strengthen your biological rhythm and improve sleep overall. 2. Pamper your feet Using a foot spa can quickly improve blood circulation in the feet and aid the body’s thermoregulation. 3. Watch your diet Consuming foods that are rich in tryptophan and vitamin B6 can improve sleep quality by encouraging the body’s production of melatonin and serotonin. Soybeans, bananas, carrots, spinach, and potatoes are good sources of B6. Tryptophan can be found in cheese, fish, milk, sunflower seeds, and turkey. In addition, it is also important to have fixed meal times. According to traditional Chinese medicine, eating at regular times throughout the day can adjust the functions of the liver and small intestines in order to control the body’s circadian rhythm. Strengthening circadian rhythms can promote metabolic heat production, which generates body temperature rhythms. The result is deeper and better sleep. Ideally, eat dinner at least 3 hours before going to bed, and avoid overly fatty foods, eating too much, and hard-to-digest foods. 4. Reduce screen time Turn off your computer or phone at least an hour before bedtime. Blue light from digital screens inhibits the secretion of melatonin, affecting sleep negatively. 5. Reduce sympathetic nervous system activity Staying focused on anything, whether it’s a computer screen, driving, or physical exercise, increases the activity of the sympathetic nervous system. That in turn prompts the brain to reduce melatonin secretion, making it harder to fall asleep. 6. Switch indoor lighting to warm colors Research has found that warm light tones actually increase production of melatonin.  However, bright lights of any color can decrease sleepiness, so switch indoor lighting to warmer colors, but keep lights dim. Make the switch at least 30 minutes before bedtime. 7. Aromatherapy Research shows that aromatherapy can significantly increase sleep quality. However, even if a fragrance has a calming effect, it may still hinder sleep if you dislike its aroma. So choose a scent that you are comfortable with. 8. Take a warm bath Approximately 30 minutes before bedtime, soaking your body in a warm bath (about 105ºF) can slow down the activity of the sympathetic nervous system. According to traditional Chinese medicine, calming the sympathetic nervous can regulate excess heat in the body and hasten sleep. The warm water will actually help to lower your body’s core temperature, signaling the body that it’s time to sleep. Keep the water temperate: a bath that is too hot (above 110ºF) will raise the body temperature, and you will have to wait until the body temperature drops below a certain level before you can fall asleep. 9. Use the bathroom before bed It may seem obvious, but it’s worth stating: going to the bathroom within 20 minutes of bedtime can reduce the need to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. 10. Head to bed as soon as you feel sleepy If you feel sleepy ahead of your scheduled bedtime, try to go to bed right away. Otherwise, you may find the sleepiness receding and have difficulty falling asleep. 11. Avoid drinking and smoking before bedtime Small amounts of alcohol have a stimulating effect; nicotine can also keep you awake. And, although a drink at bedtime might cause you to nod off faster, alcohol can actually reduce deep sleep later on by reducing REM sleep. Both alcohol and nicotine can increase your heartrate during sleep, which further burdens your body and reduces sleep quality. Further, nicotine can increase blood pressure and even contribute to irregular heart rhythms at night. 12. Practice stretching exercises By relieving muscle tension and enc
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  • https://udumbara.net/late-bedtimes-could-raise-your-odds-for-diabetes-heart-trouble
    UDUMBARA.NET
    Late Bedtimes Could Raise Your Odds for Diabetes, Heart Trouble
     If you’re constantly burning the midnight oil, you may be setting yourself up for Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.When compared with folks who go to bed early and wake with the sun, night owls are more likely to be insulin-resistant, a new study finds. When the body doesn’t respond well to the hormone insulin, blood sugar can build up in your bloodstream, eventually leading to Type 2 diabetes. What’s more, “night owls” get less exercise and burn less fat than “early birds,” allowing fat to build up in the bloodstream, which can set the stage for heart disease. The study demonstrates the importance of the timing of sleep in addition to duration and quality of sleep, said Dr. Seema Khosla. She is the medical director for the North Dakota Center for Sleep in Fargo, and chair of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine Public Awareness and Advocacy Committee. For the study, 51 people without heart disease or diabetes were categorized as night owls or early birds based on their natural sleep cycle, or chronotype. Study participants ate a controlled diet and fasted overnight while their activity levels were monitored for a week. The researchers also measured insulin sensitivity and took breath samples to analyze how well folks used fat and carbohydrates for fuel. Early birds were less likely to become insulin-resistant, and they used more fat for energy at rest and during exercise than night owls, the study findings showed. What you can do Night owls can take steps to improve their health and sleep habits, said study co-author Steven Malin, an associate professor in the department of kinesiology and health at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J. “People who are late chronotypes who wish to try and align their body with work schedules and so forth can take small steps toward shifting to be an early bird,” Malin said. “Go to bed 15 minutes earlier and wake up 15 minutes earlier, [and] in time depending on how things are going, this can expand another 15-minute window,” he suggested. Another tip? Get outside when the sun is shining as this can prompt your body’s circadian system to reset. Circadian rhythm is your 24-hour internal clock that controls the release of the hormone melatonin to encourage sleep. The study was published online Sept. 19 in the journal Experimental Physiology. “Respecting our circadian rhythms is important, but so is recognizing when we are creating more issues with sleep deprivation and bedtime procrastination,” said Khosla, who wasn’t involved in the study. “While this research certainly is interesting, there is still much to understand about how chronotypes impact health,” she said. Poorly timed sleep is compounded when you don’t get enough sleep, added Dr. Alon Avidan. He’s the director of the University of California, Los Angeles Sleep Disorders Center and played no role in the study. “When night owls have to wake up early to get to work or take their kids to school, they end up not getting enough sleep,” Avidan said. Lack of sleep sets the stage for memory and thinking issues on top of the other health risks associated with being a night owl, he explained. “Sleep duration and sleep regularity are important,” Avidan said. “This means going to bed and waking up when it coincides with the dark-light cycle where you are and getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night.” Exposure to blue light from devices before bed can also make matters worse, he noted, because blue light tells cells to stay awake. “Blue light is very stimulating and inhibits melatonin and causes sleep delays,” Avidan added. Sleep chronotypes aren’t set in stone, said another expert who was not involved with the study. Change yours by aiming for consistent, uninterrupted sleep, even on the weekend, said Joseph Henson, a research associate at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom. Consider eating breakfast as soon as you get up and try to eat lunch at the same time every day, Henson said. Get as much natural light in the morning as possible and try exercising in the morning, he advised. “Carefully monitor your caffeine intake and try to avoid consuming large amounts in the hours before bed, and avoid eating your main meal late in the evening,” Henson said. Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, relaxing, and at a comfortable temperature, he added. More information The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on the link between diabetes and sleep. SOURCES: Steven Malin, Ph.D., associate professor, department of kinesiology and health, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J.; Seema Khosla, MD, medical director, North Dakota Center for Sleep, Fargo, N.D., and chair, American Academy of Sleep Medicine Public Awareness and Advocacy Committee; Alon Avidan, MD, MPH, director, University of California, Los Angeles Sleep Disorders Center, and professor, neurology, UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine; Joseph Henson, Ph.D., research associate, University of Leicester, United Ki
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  • https://udumbara.net/any-fiber-is-good-fiber-just-get-more-of-it
    UDUMBARA.NET
    Any Fiber Is Good Fiber, Just Get More of It
    Which kind of fiber supplement is right for you? It doesn’t really matter, researchers say.That huge array of dietary fiber supplements in the drugstore or grocery aisle can be overwhelming to a consumer. They make all sorts of health claims too, not being subject to FDA review and approval. So how do you know which supplement works and would be best for you? A rigorous examination of the gut microbes of study participants who consumed three different kinds of supplements in different sequences concludes that people who had been eating the least amount of fiber before the study showed the greatest benefit from supplements, regardless of which ones they consumed. “The people who responded the best had been eating the least fiber to start with,” says study leader Lawrence David, an associate professor of molecular genetics and microbiology at Duke University. Fiber Makes ‘Gut Bugs’ Happy The benefit of dietary fiber isn’t just the easier pooping that advertisers tout. Fermentable fiber—dietary carbohydrates that the human gut cannot process on its own but some bacteria can digest—is also an essential source of nutrients that your gut microbes need to stay healthy. “We’ve evolved to depend on nutrients that our microbiomes produce for us,” says Zack Holmes, former PhD student in the David lab, and coauthor of two new papers about fiber. “But with recent shifts in diet away from fiber-rich foods, we’ve stopped feeding our microbes what they need.” When your gut bugs are happily munching on a high-fiber diet, they produce more of the short-chain fatty acids that protect you from diseases of the gut, colorectal cancers, and even obesity. And in particular, they produce more of a fatty acid called butyrate, which is fuel for your intestinal cells themselves. Butyrate has been shown to improve the gut’s resistance to pathogens, lower inflammation, and create happier, healthier cells lining the host’s intestines. Given the variety of supplements available, researchers wanted to know whether it may be necessary to “personalize” fiber supplements to different people, since different fermentable fibers have been shown to have different effects on short-chain fatty acid production from one individual to the next. “We didn’t see a lot of difference between the fiber supplements we tested. Rather, they looked interchangeable,” David says, from his lab, which includes a special “science toilet” for collecting samples and an array of eight “artificial gut” fermenters for growing happy gut microbes outside a body. “Regardless of which of the test supplements you pick, it seems your microbiome will thank you with more butyrate,” David says. Fiber in Supplements or in Food The average American adult only consumes 20 to 40% of the daily recommended amount of fiber, which is believed to be a root cause behind a lot of our common health maladies, including obesity, cardiovascular disease, digestive disorders, and colon cancer. Instead of having to go totally vegetarian or consume pounds of kale daily, convenient fiber supplements can increase the production of short-chain fatty acids. In the first study in the journal Microbiome, new experiments tested three main kinds of fermentable fiber supplements: inulin, dextrin (Benefiber), and galactooligosaccharides (GOS), marketed as Bimuno. Researchers separated the 28 participants into groups and gave them each of the three supplements for one week in different orders, with a week off between supplements to allow participants’ guts to return to a baseline state. Participants who had been consuming the most fiber beforehand showed the least change in their microbiomes, and the type of supplement really didn’t matter, probably because they were already hosting a more optimal population of gut bugs, David says. Conversely, participants who had been consuming the least fiber saw the greatest increase in butyrate with the supplements, regardless of which one was being consumed. In a second study in ISME Journal, the researchers found that gut microbes responded to a new addition of fiber within a day, dramatically altering the populations of bugs present in the gut and changing which of their genes they were using to digest food. Using their artificial gut fermenters, the researchers found the gut microbes were primed by the first dose to consume fiber, and digested it quickly on the second dose. “These findings are encouraging,” says graduate student Jeffrey Letourneau, lead author of the second study. “If you’re a low fiber consumer, it’s probably not worth it to stress so much about which kind of fiber to add. It’s just important that you find something that works for you in a sustainable way.” “It doesn’t need to be a supplement either,” Holmes added. “It can just be a fiber-rich food. Folks who were already eating a lot of fiber, which comes from plants like beans, leafy greens, and citrus, already had very healthy microbiomes.” The National Institutes of Health, th
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  • https://udumbara.net/the-often-ignored-and-essential-power-of-the-breath
    UDUMBARA.NET
    The Often Ignored and Essential Power of the Breath
    As a mother of two small children who have almost unlimited energy, I regularly use the phrase “take a deep breath” with them when emotions run high. Last week, I received a note from my 5-year-old’s teacher explaining that my daughter had comforted one of her classmates who was upset, by sitting with her and helping her to take some deep breaths, just like she does at home.As human beings, we seem to instinctively know that breath is much more than simply filling and emptying our lungs. And for a good reason, as throughout history, ancient traditions have used the power of the breath for everything from maintaining health to cultivating wisdom. Why We Breathe Jack Feldman, professor of neurobiology at the University of California–Los Angeles, and world expert in the science of respiration, breaks down the mechanics of breathing. He explains that when we inhale, we take oxygen into the lungs, which is needed and used for the body’s metabolic processes. We then produce carbon dioxide, which must be eliminated for the body to function optimally. Feldman says that carbon dioxide (CO2) affects the acid–base (pH) levels in the blood. The body must regulate pH levels because all living cells are very sensitive to this balance. CO2 is a metabolic byproduct of aerobic cellular metabolism. When CO2 levels build up in the blood, it can lead to hypercapnia, causing symptoms of respiratory failure, coma, and even death. Oxygen is needed by the entire body, especially the brain. The brain can only survive without oxygen for about four minutes without sustaining permanent damage, and death can occur as soon as four to six minutes later. Essentially, our bodies need a constant supply of oxygen and a way to continuously eliminate carbon dioxide. Breathing—inhaling and exhaling through the lungs—accomplishes this perfectly in a healthy person. It’s a beautiful system, and although science knows a lot, according to Feldman, there’s still much about respiration that we don’t understand. The Benefits of Deep Breathing With the growing popularity of practices such as yoga and meditation in recent decades, science has been looking more closely at the physiological and psychological benefits of different breathing techniques. A growing body of evidence indicates that breathing techniques can improve various health concerns, from anxiety to insomnia. Reduces Stress by Calming the Sympathetic Nervous System A study published in the journal Neurological Sciences in 2017 set out to see if deep breathing exercises could improve mood and lower stress in a group of university students. Participants were split into two groups: One did an anti-stress protocol for 90 minutes once a week for 10 weeks, and the control group spent the same amount of time each week without practicing any protocol. Both psychological stress and physiological stress were measured. Psychological stress was measured using two self-reported evaluations (a measurement of psychological stress and a profile of mood state), and physiological stress was measured by monitoring heart rates and testing cortisol (a stress hormone) levels in the saliva. The study showed a significant improvement in stress symptoms between the beginning and the end of the study. The use of the protocols reduced “tension anxiety” (anxiety that manifests psychologically and physically) and fatigue. Overall, the study concluded that a deep breathing technique could elicit an improvement to both psychological and physical stress, as well as to mood and perceived stress. These improvements weren’t observed in the control group. Decreases Inflammatory Response A breakthrough study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, published in 2014, discovered something that science thought wasn’t possible. The study found that, through practicing techniques learned in a short-term training program that included breathing techniques, meditation, and exposure to cold, participants were able to voluntarily influence their sympathetic nervous system as well as their immune systems. The volunteers practicing the techniques showed profound increases in the release of epinephrine, which led to increased production of anti-inflammatory agents. The participants were then given E. coli (a bacteria) intravenously, and although they did experience some flu-like symptoms, they were less pronounced and of shorter duration than those in the control group. These results demonstrate that by activating the sympathetic nervous system, the participants were able to decrease their immune response. Another study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine in May this year had the same results when looking into whether breathing exercises and exposure to cold could affect the body’s inflammatory response. The study measured inflammation by giving the volunteers endotoxins (bacteria) intravenously, then measuring their blood epinephrine levels. The results showed that the breat
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  • https://udumbara.net/the-front-lines-of-the-language-wars
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    The Front Lines of the Language Wars
    Commentary“Language is the perfect instrument of empire.”—Antonio de Nebrija, bishop of Ávila, 1492 The bishop was correct, in his time and ours. Spain proceeded to become the most powerful empire in the world over the following century, spreading her mother tongue across the Americas—just as the Roman army had imposed Latin across its sweep and just as the British Empire would bring English to India and Africa. American dominance in the twentieth century similarly meant English became the default international language of business. English speakers today enjoy the privilege of traveling a world where airport marquees, road signs, restaurant menus, hotel staff, and shopkeepers all cater to us. So we might think the global language wars are over, with English declared the victor and Mandarin Chinese the only future challenger. But now we have to consider whose English will prevail, because there is an ongoing battle to influence not only our words, but our very thoughts and actions. Whose English will prevail? The top-down English of academics, politicians, and journalists, of the Associated Press, the Modern Language Association, Merriam-Webster, and the Human Rights Campaign? Or the natural, evolving English of speakers and writers operating without imposed constraints? This is a tough question to answer, because language is more than a tool for communication and cognition. It is also an institution in society, and like all institutions is subject to corruption and capture by those with political agendas. Since language is the starting point of our entire epistemology and metaphysics—i.e., we process sensory data and thoughts using words—control over language is an obvious prize. We can analogize attempts to impose preferred language with interventionist central planning in a “marketplace,” while bottom-up evolution involves linguistic entrepreneurs acting in a laissez-faire system. Of language the analogy is imperfect; language cannot be owned, and there are no property rights issues involved. But language certainly can be controlled and steered, whether by officialdom, by politicians, by professors, by celebrities and influencers, and by cultural elites. Deplatforming, canceling, and even criminal “hate speech” laws are the enforcement tools against wrongspeak, so the language wars are not merely academic. All of this is the subject of my recent paper, which considers the question of top-down imposition versus natural evolution in the context of recent political phenomena like Brexit, Trump, transgenderism, Black Lives Matter, “equity,” and social justice. Here are four key concepts to help understand the front lines of the linguistic battlefields: First, words are intentionally stripped of all meaning by overuse and abuse. This is explained in George Orwell’s famous exposition on “meaningless words,” which he understood as plain language used in consciously dishonest ways to impose political agendas. Thus we see words like “fascism,” “racism,” “Nazi,” and “democracy,” which all once had common, reasonably understood usages, converted into mindless bludgeons wielded in political combat. Meaningless words elevate the speaker or writer as inherently good and just (us), while placing the targeted recipient into a category of Very Bad Person (them). If words are tools, meaningless words are hammers. Second, words are coded and embedded with meaning beyond their simple agreed-upon definitions. Sometimes this is crass and despicably obvious, as when the term “denier” is used to liken climate change skeptics to Holocaust deniers. Sometimes this is more subtle, as when Hillary Clinton mentions our “sacred” democracy without explaining how, why, or by whose authority we should hold in religious reverence a political system of mass voting. And sometimes words like “sustainable” or “inclusive” are used so amorphously as to render them a form of luxury good, like a linguistic Birkin handbag: the identity and status of the user become the meaning. Third, the newly imposed words contain their own admonitions and exhortations. “Social justice” perverts an individualized, temporal concept, justice, into an undefinable and unreachable broad societal goal. “Equity” distorts the ideal of equal treatment under law into an unachievable (and actually undesirable) goal of equal outcomes. “Systemic” racism erases individual moral agency, creating a form of original sin or martyrdom depending on one’s race, regardless of one’s own beliefs and actions. Only active “antiracism” can atone for this. “Cisgender” creates an entirely new category for what was considered the default status up until five minutes ago. The imposed words effectively beg the question on a meta level, pressuring all of us to reconsider reality. Finally, the newly imposed lexicon is not intended to advance communication and understanding but rather to browbeat and demoralize. We see this especially in the endlessly fluid world of trans language,
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  • https://udumbara.net/violent-crime-is-now-a-national-epidemicwho-should-we-blame
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    Violent Crime Is Now a National Epidemic—Who Should We Blame?
    CommentaryTens of millions of Americans are pessimistic about the state of the country. Not just Republicans, but Democrats, too. Besides the worrying state of the economy, many U.S. citizens are understandably concerned by the rise in violent crime, a coast-to-coast phenomenon that appears to be worsening. A Gallup report, published earlier this year, outlined the many ways in which violent crime “has edged up” in recent times. As the author of the report noted, “for the first time since 2016, a majority (53%) say they personally worry ’a great deal’ about crime, while another 27% worry a ‘fair amount.’” To be clear, according to the FBI, violent crime includes four offenses: murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. More recently, a midyear survey of large law enforcement agencies found that violent crime spiked by 4.2 percent between January and June. Robberies rose by a staggering 12 percent. Meanwhile, aggravated assaults increased by 3 percent. Throughout the United States, crime rates are still considerably higher than they were pre-pandemic. In fact, violent, criminal behavior is now an epidemic of epic proportions. In California, a state synonymous with criminal activity, violence reigns supreme. State Attorney General Rob Bonta stated that “property and violent crimes continue to have devastating consequences for communities across the state.” Moreover, a troubling new report published by researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine shows that physical and sexual violence is rampant in the Golden State. In the past year, 4 percent of Californians have experienced intimate partner violence. Rather alarmingly, in the same period, 18 percent, or roughly 1 in 6 Californians, have either been physically or sexually assaulted. Police crime scene investigators place evidence markers on 10th Street at the scene of a mass shooting in Sacramento, Calif., on April 3, 2022. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group/TNS) This begs the question: Who is to blame? Republicans? Hardly. Take a look at a study by analytics firm NeighborhoodScout on the 10 most dangerous U.S. cities. Not one of them has a Republican mayor. This is not to lay the United States’ epidemic of violent crime squarely at the feet of every Democrat. Not at all. However, if we were to have an honest discussion about crime, we must admit that one political party takes criminal activity a little more seriously than the other. In Monroe, Louisiana, the country’s most dangerous city, you have a 1 in 34 chance of being a victim of crime. In Michigan, home to not one but two of the country’s most dangerous cities, the alarming rise in violent crimes has left many residents living in a state of fear. As journalist Ted Roelofs recently noted, between January and July this year, “Grand Rapids recorded 3,363 crimes, including 761 assaults and 15 homicides—all above averages for the previous three years.” In Oakland County, “there were 26 homicides in the first six months of 2022, double the tally for the same period last year,” wrote Roelofs. Pontiac, the county seat of Oakland County, has witnessed 10 homicides this year. “Four of the county victims were children aged 4, 6, 7 and 16.” This year, Detroit, the largest city in Michigan, has been plagued by a number of mass shootings. Although depressing, none of this should come as a surprise to anyone familiar with the state of Michigan. It is, after all, governed by Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat who, not that long ago, said she supported the “spirit” of attempts to defund the police. Whitmer’s support seems to have paid off—not for the average residents, of course, but for the anti-police minorities. This year, more than 200 officers have quit Detroit’s police department. In fact, across the country, an increasing number of police officers are heading for the exit doors. In New York City, according to the New York Post, more than “1,500 NYPD officers have either resigned or retired so far this year—on pace to be the biggest exodus of officers since the statistics have been available.” At the same time, violent crime in the city continues to surge. The Big Apple is in the midst of a Big Rot. Members of the New York Police Department and emergency vehicles crowd the streets after at least 13 people were injured during a rush-hour shooting at a subway station in the New York borough of Brooklyn, on April 12, 2022. (Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images) When the country needs them more than ever, U.S. police departments are struggling to recruit and retain officers. Why? We all know why. Because police officers have been demonized by left-leaning politicians and left-leaning news outlets for far too long. This explains why suicide rates for officers are high. Rather perversely, as police officers find themselves being vilified, criminals find themselves being supported, assisted, and enabled. In California, lest we forget, s
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  • https://udumbara.net/big-techs-big-moment-finally-arrives-at-supreme-court
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    Big Tech’s Big Moment Finally Arrives at Supreme Court
    CommentaryIn what is shaping up to be an action packed term at the U.S. Supreme Court, the justices upped the ante Tuesday, Oct. 4, by granting review in another banner case: Gonzalez v. Google, Inc. The case centers on interpretation of a law that has plagued social media users, especially conservatives, for some time by allowing tech giants to ban, promote, alter, or recommend content based on the user’s point of view. That law is the Communications Decency Act (CDA) of 1996. Section 230(c)(1) of the Act (which bears the long title, “Protection For ‘Good Samaritan’ Blocking and Screening of Offensive Material”) shields “publishers” (like Big Tech platforms) from civil liability for hosting offensive content created by others. It says: “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” Section 230(c)(2) of the Communications Decency Act also provides “Good Samaritan” protection from civil liability for operators of interactive computer services that engage in the good faith removal or moderation of third-party material they deem “obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected.” Courts generally apply a three-pronged test when deciding whether Section 230 shields a provider from a claim of liability Courts will look to see if (1) the defendant is a “provider or user” of an “interactive computer service”; (2) the cause of action is based on information provided by another information content provider; and (3) the claim treats the defendant as being the “publisher or speaker” of the harmful information at issue. If all three parts are satisfied, then the defendant is immune from liability. In short, under Section 230, online platform providers that host or republish speech are protected against a range of laws that might otherwise be used to hold them legally responsible for what others say and do. The provision leaves it to companies to decide whether certain content should be removed and does not require them to be politically neutral. So “good faith removal or moderation” of third-party material has in increasing measure protected the notoriously left-wing Big Tech cabal, allowing them to adjust content as they wish. Curiously, the content adjustment only seems to work against content of one perspective: the conservative one. The censorship of conservative voices by Big Tech is well-documented. Some on Capitol Hill have gone so far as to claim that Big Tech practically “owns” the government—a claim that seems increasingly well-founded considering the government’s documented efforts to control messaging during both the pandemic, and on politically inconvenient stories. But until Gonzalez, no vehicle presented the appropriate opportunity to consider the question on Section 230’s application. Which is not to say this is Big Tech’s first run at the Supreme Court. As recently as 2020, the Supreme Court turned away the petitioners who also came to the court asking for clarification on the parameters of Section 230 in a case called Malwarebytes Inc. v. Enigma Software Group USA, LLC. In a statement accompanying the denial of the petition for certiorari, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that “in an appropriate case, we should consider whether the text of this increasingly important statute [the Communications Decency Act] aligns with the current state of immunity enjoyed by Internet platforms.” Thomas went on to say that “And in the 24 years since [its adoption, we] have never interpreted this provision. But many courts have construed the law broadly to confer sweeping immunity on some of the largest companies in the world.” Congress passed the Communications Decency Act in 1996 after a New York court held an internet service provider liable for a defamatory statement posted on that website’s message board. It was sold to Americans as a necessary guardrail against pornography and obscenity online, while also allowing free speech to flourish. But now, more than 25 years later, quite the opposite has happened: while Big Tech platforms have throttled, banned, or de-platformed undesirable (read: politically unpopular) speech online, pornography and obscenity have unfortunately flourished. In granting review in Gonzalez v. Google, the Supreme Court will have to consider some damning facts. The family of Nohemi Gonzalez, the only American killed in the 2015 terrorist attacks on Paris, sued Google (through its YouTube service) for aiding and abetting her ISIS killing by “recommending” content by a militant Muslim group. The suit alleges that by allowing its algorithms to recommend video content from the terrorist group, YouTube is no longer entitled to Section 230 immunity from civil liability. The petitioners also allege that YouTube provided “material support” to ISIS without which “t
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  • https://udumbara.net/the-evolution-of-godless-practices-eugenics-infanticide-and-transhumanism
    UDUMBARA.NET
    The Evolution of Godless Practices: Eugenics, Infanticide, and Transhumanism
    CommentaryThere is a straight line that runs from eugenics through infanticide to transhumanism. All three are the devil’s work in the material world. Let us explore the issue. Good Versus Evil From biblical times to the present, there has been an ongoing battle between good and evil that has been waged through the centuries. On one side, there are those who believe in a higher power and that mankind was made in the image of God, which is an immutable constant not to be trifled with or corrupted by human beings. Another way of saying that is that people in this camp believe that human nature itself has been immutable and constant through the millennia and that only by looking to God can mankind improve his condition. On the other side are those who deny the existence of God and believe that mankind is the supreme intelligence in control of human destiny, is malleable and can be shaped through science, and can evolve to a superior form of man through the planning and experimentation by “natural leaders” over time. A corollary for the people in this camp is that there are no moral or religious constraints on their practices intended to evolve mankind toward some conceived—and ever-changing—future vision. Many in the first camp would characterize the ongoing battle as “good versus evil.” Mankind has been arguing about, defining, and redefining what it means to be “good” for millennia. The ancients defined good in terms of “normal versus different,” “knowledge versus ignorance,” and later “right versus wrong” in the context of defining laws and justice. Societies and governments were organized around these concepts. People attend the 32nd annual memorial service and prayer vigil to remember the more than 900 victims of the Jonestown massacre in Oakland, Calif., on Nov. 18, 2010. Cult leader Jim Jones was a Marxist believer and set the original teachings of Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought as the doctrine of the Peoples Temple. (Eric Risberg/AP Photo) The concept of evil has also been defined by many cultures through the ages. The dictionary now defines evil as “morally wrong or bad; immoral; wicked.” Most Americans (and most people in general) have an innate understanding of what is evil on a personal level. Some refer to that understanding as a conscience. Even the people in the second camp who believe that mankind is the supreme being have vestiges of consciences informed by religion and experience. Governments have been organized to reflect, monitor, and control the cultural norms of the people governed. Logic dictates that those governments would also implement and enforce those cultural norms from a different philosophical framework from each other, partly as shaped by their respective religious philosophies and the various ideologies that have been developed and tested over the centuries, such as monarchical rule, Marxism, fascism, socialism, communism, corporate capitalism, patriarchy, oligarchy, philosopher kings, etc. Mutable Mankind in Atheistic Societies The totalitarian ideologies that were developed and tested during the 20th century (particularly fascism and communism) denied the existence of God so that the governments formed that exercised those ideologies would be unconstrained by religious and moral boundaries in their pursuit of developing and grooming their version of “modern man” in their societies. Examples of those perversions of mankind include the following: Herrenvolk (Nazi Germany’s ‘Master Race’) The Nazis were obsessed with racial theories that resulted in a pseudoscientific racial classification system in which “Aryans” (people of German and Nordic descent) were considered to be the “master race” at the apex of the human pyramid and destined to “rule the world” (on Nazi terms, of course). Jews were by Nazis to be on the lowest level of the hierarchy. Nazi society was organized around these concepts to develop and promote those with the “purest” Aryan blood at the expense of those with lesser classifications in the hierarchy. For example, German boys were educated, inculcated, and groomed in Nazi principles through the Hitler Youth program. Girls were brainwashed through two parallel programs: Young Girls was an organization for girls aged 10 to 14, while the League of German Girls was for girls aged 14 to 18, with the latter being focused on “comradeship, domestic duties, and motherhood.” This undated photo shows a roll call, in the early morning or late evening hours, on the roll call square in front of the camp gate of the Nazi concentration camp Sachsenhausen in Oranienburg on the outskirts of Berlin. (AP Photo) Homo Sovieticus (Soviet Man) Soviet Man was to be the ultimate proof that communism “worked” and that mankind could evolve for the better (as defined by the communists) without God’s guidance. The Russian communists attempted to shape the individual consciousness, character, and social practices in order to get the people to conform to the Marxi
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  • https://udumbara.net/chinas-c919-airliner-never-fails-to-fail
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    China’s C919 Airliner Never Fails to Fail
    CommentarySamuel Johnson once said of a dog walking on its hind legs that even though it was not done well, one was surprised to see it done at all. Such is the increasing indifference I am feeling toward China’s C919 passenger jet, Beijing’s latest effort to break into the global commercial airliner business. The plane actually celebrated a bit of a milestone a few days ago when—five years after its first flight—it finally received its airworthiness certification from the Chinese Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). It was supposed to have been certified last December, but continuing delays in flight testing made that a nonstarter. In fact, at the time, the C919 had flown only 34 out of a required 276 flights. I know that I pick on the C919 a lot (see here and here and here), and I should really cut the plane some slack. But few countries have taken such a good opportunity to develop and manufacture a product that could have truly been globally competitive and totally screwed it up. For a country like China, building the C919 was certainly an achievable goal. In the first place, it was not a particularly groundbreaking aircraft. Noted aerospace analyst Richard Aboulafia has called the C919 a “me-too jet,” adding that the plane offers no new technology. Certainly, the C919 is not, for example, like Embraer’s family of small regional jets. The Brazilian aerospace company pioneered the development of small but fast jet-propelled airliners seating less than 125 passengers, such as the ERJ45 or the E170/E190 series. As such, Embraer helped to revolutionize the commuter airliner business. In fact, the C919 was, from the very beginning, a rather mediocre airplane. It is a narrow-body plane, seating around 160 passengers, which puts it in roughly the same category as two already existing workhorses of the skies, the Boeing 737 and the Airbus A320. Visitors walk past a Boeing 737 (L) and a Boeing 777 (R) displayed during the Farnborough Airshow, in Farnborough, on July 18, 2022. (Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images) That said, there’s nothing wrong with being a manila-envelope passenger plane. There is a sizable global market for narrow-body jets, and the C919 was likely to enter as a low-cost challenger, relying on cheap Chinese labor to undercut the competition. Even if it was only sold to Chinese airlines, the potential for sales was huge. And yet China has dropped the ball on every occasion. The C919, initiated in 2008, was supposed to conduct its first flight in 2014 and begin deliveries by 2016. In fact, it didn’t fly until 2017. While the plane has finally received certification by the CAAC, it still needs to be separately certified by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Europe’s Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) if Beijing wishes to sell the airplane overseas. In the meantime, C919 program costs have skyrocketed, and China has reportedly already spent over $20 billion on the plane. As a result, the unit price of the C919 has risen. Originally expected to cost about $50 million per plane, the C919 is now predicted to be priced at around $90 million to $100 million each. This is roughly the same price as a 737 or A320, wiping out whatever cost advantage it might have had. Finally, calling the C919 “Chinese” is stretching the point. The plane relies heavily on Western suppliers for critical components and subsystems, including its avionics, landing gear, nacelles, flight controls, and—most importantly—jet engines. Around 60 percent of these foreign suppliers to the C919 are U.S. companies, such as General Electric, Honeywell, and Eaton. In fact, it is estimated that only 25 percent of the overall value of the C919 is actually Chinese, mostly in the manufacture of the fuselage and wings, as well as final assembly. As Aboulafia has put it, “it’s more a Western jet than a Chinese one.” Beyond simply injuring Chinese pride, this excessive dependency on foreign components and technologies puts the program in serious danger. Even if much of the Western technology is rather old—and the evidence is that much of what is being transferred to China is hardly cutting-edge—it still leaves the C919 at the mercy of foreign suppliers. And these foreign suppliers are becoming increasingly hesitant—hostile, even—when it comes to working with the Chinese on high-tech projects. The Chinese regime’s belligerent behavior—its growing threats toward Taiwan, its regional bullying, its stifling of democracy and human rights in Hong Kong, and its failure to condemn Russian aggression against Ukraine—has left many in the West with a bad taste in their mouths and increasingly reluctant to team up with China. In December 2020, under the Trump administration, the Commerce Department added a new “Military End User” (MEU) list to its existing export controls. The MEU list essentially prohibits certain technology exports to certain entities (in China and other countries) that “represent an unacceptable
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  • https://udumbara.net/record-crime-in-philadelphia-could-throw-the-senate-to-republicans
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    Record Crime in Philadelphia Could Throw the Senate to Republicans
    CommentaryThe future of the United States may be decided by the next carjacking in Philadelphia. If there is one butterfly that could cause a storm in U.S. politics, it is a crime in swing states like Pennsylvania. Last week, the number of carjackings in the City of Brotherly Love reached a record 1,000. Homicides reached 400 as of Sept. 26. Pennsylvanians, especially in Philadelphia, are fed up with crime. Democrats and Republicans, true to form, approach the problem with the tools they have handy: gun control and more police, respectively. Democrats are at a disadvantage on the issue as many have promoted defunding the police, clemency for felons, and no cash bail. Every new shooting on television is more free campaign advertising for Republicans. Grainy footage of hooded characters boosting cars is gold for the GOP. Democrats are desperate to hold onto the Senate, currently just by a thread called Vice President Kamala Harris. She’s the tiebreaker in the 50-50 split between Republicans and Democrats that, in November, looks increasingly at risk in favor of Republicans. If Republicans win just one more seat in the Senate, which looks more likely than not, then Democrats will have to compromise their legislative agenda. The campaign in Pennsylvania, and other swing states, is therefore critical. Mehmet Oz, the Republican celebrity doctor endorsed by former President Donald Trump, is competing for the seat of outgoing Republican Sen. Pat Toomey. His opponent: Democratic candidate John Fetterman, who often wears hoodies and shorts, and shows off his tattoos at campaign rallies. Every constituency counts and Fetterman is not the only one appealing to communities that traditionally vote Democrat. “With the latest polls showing a tightening race, Mehmet Oz returned to Philadelphia on Sunday night to meet with local Black clergy members to press his case to be elected to the U.S. Senate,” according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz (C) holds a press conference with U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) in Philadelphia, Pa., on Sept. 6, 2022. (Mark Makela/Getty Images) The meeting, held on Oct. 2 in Philadelphia, included a dozen clergy and a doctor visiting from Haiti, who spoke about how his community “has been held hostage” by criminality for over five months. The group talked about better schools, safer neighborhoods, accountability for federal tax dollars spent in the city, and especially gun violence. “It’s not just the shooter and the victim, but everybody that pays the price,” Oz said at the gathering. “Ten percent of small kids have witnessed these shootings, and the impact is similar to having PTSD, like being in a war zone.” Oz noted that much of the crime is committed by teens, and asked those assembled for the causes and solutions to violence. “Participants suggested a breakdown of community bonds, as well as a lack of trust and respect for the police, and a lack of faith in religion,” according to the Inquirer. Could the “Defund the Police” and “All Cops Are Bastards” slogans found liberally at recent Black Lives Matter protests have encouraged such thinking? More than likely. Citing the example of Oregon, Oz added drug use and decriminalization to what he argues fuels crime. Anyone familiar with the toughest neighborhoods in the United States, like Kensington in Philadelphia, would find it hard to disagree. The Democratic district attorney of Philadelphia, with his progressive prosecution strategies, has so far failed to stem crime. While some African Americans are reconsidering their traditional support for the Democratic Party, which they tend to see as not doing enough to address economic empowerment in their communities, the shift between 2016 and 2020 was more pronounced among Latinos, according to The Wall Street Journal. Pennsylvania’s Latino population grew by 330,000 between 2010 and 2020, according to the U.S. Census. Latinos now make up 8 percent of the state’s population. State Rep. Manuel Guzman, a supporter of President Joe Biden, had complaints about the Democratic Party as early as November. “The party has taken people of color for granted and taken our votes for granted,” he said in an interview. “I’m not surprised that many Latinos feel disenfranchised and feel left out of the political process because, quite frankly, I can imagine that no one has cared enough to knock on somebody’s door to ask them about what they care about and what they look for in a representative.” Between 2016 and 2020, 7.2 percent of voters in census tracts with at least 70 percent Hispanic residents shifted Republican, according to the Journal. Some Latino neighborhoods in Allentown, Pennsylvania, shifted Republican by 10 percent in 2020. Asian-Americans are also shifting Republican by 5.3 percent in census tracts that are at least 70 percent Asian. While approximately 90 percent of black voters support Democrats, that lead eroded in 2020. Predominant
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  • https://udumbara.net/ccp-runs-police-outpost-in-new-york-city-part-of-global-network-of-transnational-repression-report
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    CCP Runs Police Outpost in New York City, Part of Global Network of Transnational Repression: Report
    Chinese authorities have opened at least one “overseas police service station” in the United States as part of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) global transnational repression, according to human rights group Safeguard Defenders.“These operations eschew official bilateral police and judicial cooperation and violate the international rule of law, and may violate the territorial integrity in third countries involved in setting up a parallel policing mechanism using illegal methods,” the Spain-based group said in a recent report. The report, titled “110 Overseas: Chinese Transnational Policing Gone Wild,” examined the initiative first launched by ten “pilot provinces” in 2018. These stations were also called 110 Overseas, named after the country’s police emergency services phone number. An outpost in New York City was among the “first batch” of 30 overseas police service stations in 21 countries set up by the Public Security Bureau in Fuzhou city, the capital of the southern coastal province of Fujian. Other Chinese cities also set up their own outposts abroad. The Chinese police authorities’ division in New York was opened on Feb. 15, according to Dongnan News, a media outlet backed by Fujian provincial government. The center, called Fuzhou Police Oversea Service Station, is located at 107 East Broadway, inside the headquarters of the American ChangLe Association (ACA), a non profit with close ties to the Chinese regime. Safeguard Defenders identified 54 overseas police service stations across five continents, including in cities from Toronto to Dublin. Yet the total number of such stations is unclear. “There is no complete list of such “110 Overseas” police service stations available,” the report stated. “[T]he number is undoubtedly larger and such stations more widespread,” it added. ACA Established in 1998, the ACA is one of the most influential communities for immigrants from Fujian Province in the United States, according to its website. The ACA cooperated with Fuzhou city’s Public Security Bureau to set up the Fuzhou police service station this year, the association’s chairman said at an April event at the group’s office hosting the deputy Chinese consulate general in New York, Wu Xiaoming, Dongnan News reported at the time. Wu, according to the report, recognized the association’s contribution to “promoting Sino-U.S. friendship and supporting China’s peaceful reunification.” The New York community group, like many purportedly grassroots Chinese organizations, is linked to the Chinese Communist Party’s sprawling “united front” system. This refers to a network of thousands of overseas groups loosely overseen by the United Front Work Department, a powerful Party agency, that work to advance the regime’s interests abroad, including by carrying out foreign influence operations, suppress dissident movements, gather intelligence, and facilitate the transfer of technology to China. The ACA has maintained close ties to the regime and has been praised for its efforts in supporting CCP and its leaders. Photos displayed on its website include the certificate of appreciation from the Chinese consulate in New York in 2015. The consulate praised the ACA for playing an active role in organizing overseas Chinese nationals to welcome Chinese leader Xi Jinping when he traveled to New York to attend the United Nations meetings at that time. The group’s former president Zhang Zikuo in 2019 attended an official ceremony in Beijing marking the 70th year of CCP rule over China as a representative of overseas Chinese nationals in the United States, according to a 2020 report by the Fuzhou City Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese. In May 2020, Zhang, then-president of the ACA, attended an online seminar organized by the United Front Department of Fuzhou city’s Changle District, during which they had an “in-depth study of the spirit of the two sessions,” read the report. “Two sessions” refers to annual meetings held by the regime’s rubber-stamp legislature and political advisory body. ‘Sinister Goal’ Ostensibly, the overseas police service stations serve administrative purposes, with many tasks the report said that would be “traditionally considered of a consular nature.” For example, the New York station’s most popular service was assisting overseas Chinese in renewing driver’s licenses without returning to the country, according to an August report by Dongnan News. The report said that between March 1 to April 27, 36 applications completed an online physical examination at the station and got their driver’s licenses renewed. The stations make overseas Chinese feel the “care and love” of the motherland, Lu Jianshun, the ACA chairman, told Dongnan News. The report mentioned that Lu is also a staff member of the New York police service station. Safeguard Defenders, however, said such 110 overseas have a “more sinister goal as they contribute to ‘resolutely cracking down on all kinds of illegal and criminal
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  • https://udumbara.net/taiwan-expands-1st-strike-definition-will-retaliate-against-ccp-air-incursions
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    Taiwan Expands ‘1st Strike’ Definition, Will Retaliate Against CCP Air Incursions
    Taiwan is expanding its definition of a “first strike” for the purposes of determining whether to militarily retaliate against Chinese aggression, according to a top defense official.The government of Taiwan now will consider significant incursions into its airspace by Chinese aircraft and drones to constitute a first strike in the same manner as a missile attack, defense minister Chiu Kuo-cheng told lawmakers on Oct. 5. Chiu said the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) recent aggression necessitated the expanded definition. He added that CCP crossings of the median line, the midpoint of the Taiwan Strait, are an effort to create a new norm for intimidation and harassment. “The median line was supposed to be a tacit agreement for everyone,” Chiu said. “That tacit agreement has been destroyed.” The median line was decided upon as a buffer zone by the United States in the 1950s as a means of de-escalating conflict between communist China and Taiwan. Since then, both sides generally have respected the boundary. However, in the past several months, CCP forces under Xi Jinping have initiated an aggressive campaign to “normalize” a military presence on Taiwan’s side of the waterway. Taiwan previously held that it wouldn’t strike militarily against China unless China struck first. Until now, that meant that CCP forces would need to strike the island with a missile. Chiu said on Oct. 5 that Taiwan would now respond to a broader range of threats. “We initially said we do not make the first strike … if they haven’t done the first strike, which means firing a projectile or a missile,” he said. “But the situation has obviously changed.” “Of course, we have a red line,” he added. “We absolutely will respond.” Chiu also condemned the CCP for its efforts to unilaterally change the status quo through military force and intimidation and said that the Taiwanese people were prepared to defend themselves. “They want to build a new normal,” Chiu said. But “we will stand firm when they come. We do not give in.” Taiwan Will Defend De Facto Independence The CCP claims that Taiwan is a rogue province of China that must be united with the mainland by any means necessary. Its leadership has openly threatened to “start a war” to ensure that Taiwan’s independence isn’t internationally recognized. Taiwan has been a self-governing democracy since 1949 and has never been controlled by the CCP. Moreover, it boasts a thriving market economy and is the world’s leading manufacturer of advanced semiconductors, which are used to build everything from pickup trucks to hypersonic missiles. In August, the CCP used a visit to Taiwan by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as a pretext to initiate unprecedented military drills. Those exercises included the firing of ballistic missiles over Taiwan and into the waters of Japan’s exclusive economic zone. Taiwanese leadership has said that the exercises and the CCP’s ongoing military presence are preparation for an invasion of the island. Most Taiwanese reject the suggestion that the island should come under the control of the CCP, and the island has put up a spirited resistance to continued efforts to intimidate it into submission, such as the CCP’s campaign of air and sea incursions. To date, CCP forces have largely only made incursions into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone, in which aircraft are required to identify themselves to Taiwanese authorities. They haven’t launched a full incursion into the island’s airspace. Chiu’s comments indicate that if the CCP pursues such an aggressive course of action, Taiwan’s military could respond with lethal force up to and including a missile strike against the mainland. Follow Andrew Thornebrooke is a reporter for The Epoch Times covering China-related issues with a focus on defense, military affairs, and national security. He holds a master's in military history from Norwich University.
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  • https://udumbara.net/canadian-government-official-responds-to-reports-of-unofficial-chinese-police-stations-in-toronto
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    Canadian Government Official Responds to Reports of Unofficial Chinese Police Stations in Toronto
    An investigation into allegations that communist China is operating unofficial overseas police stations in Canada is underway, officials say.Testifying before the parliamentary Canada-China committee on Sept. 4, Weldon Epp, director general for Global Affairs Canada’s North Asia and Oceania Bureau, said should the allegations be proven true, the activity would “fall outside of any legitimate police-to-police liaison role” between the two countries, and that Ottawa would make “serious representations” to Beijing. “The activity that’s being alleged would be entirely illegal, totally inappropriate, and would be subject to very serious representations and follow-up diplomatically,” Epp said. Reports of China’s expanding “overseas police service stations” were brought to public attention after Spain-based human rights NGO Safeguard Defenders published its investigative report last month, titled “110 Overseas: Chinese Transnational Policing Gone Wild.” At the time of publication, the report identified 54 Chinese overseas police stations in 30 countries, including three in Toronto. The stations are all under the jurisdiction of two local-level police services in China—the Fuzhou Public Security Bureau in Fuzhou City, Fujian Province, and the Qingtian County police in Zhejiang Province, the report said. Peter Dahlin, founder and director of Safeguard Defenders and co-author of the report, told The Epoch Times previously that in addition to the three stations in Toronto—two in Markham and one in Scarborough, whose locations were published in a Chinese state media outlet—there are likely other unofficial Chinese police stations either in existance or being established in Canada, though they have yet to be discovered. Map of the 30 countries where Chinese police have established 54 known “110 Chinese overseas police stations.” (Courtesy of Safeguard Defenders) Dahlin said that during the investigation, his team came across a news release issued by Beijing on July 5, 2018, that stated 10 other provinces should launch similar operations on a pilot basis. Epp, who served as consulate general of Canada in Shanghai from 2015 to 2019, said that there is no bilateral treaty with China that would allow the Chinese police to reside in Canada and open their police stations on Canadian soil. ‘Violation Of Our Sovereignty’ During questioning, Conservative MP and foreign affairs critic Michael Chong asked Epp whether Global Affairs has made representations to the Chinese regime “about how unacceptable it is” that the CCP has allegedly established the police stations, which he said are reportedly being used to “intimidate Canadians and even coerce them in going back to China.” Epp said his department is working with partner agencies to ascertain “whether there’s a basis to the allegations.” “I can tell you that we are working closely with partners to understand whether these media reports are based in fact,” Epp said, adding that the department regularly raised concerns to senior levels in Ottawa and Beijing about the “growing evidence of growing foreign interference” from China. Epp was referring to a series of reports issued by the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians to federal agencies. He said the evidence from those reports suggests that the largest source of foreign interference in Canada by foreign state actors, “is coming from the PRC [People’s Republic of China] sources.” Chong also asked if Global Affairs is investigating whether diplomats accredited to the Chinese embassy and other missions in Canada are involved with the alleged police stations and whether the government has sent representatives to check out the three locations published in Chinese state media reports. “They’re not only illegal, they’re a violation of our sovereignty, a violation of international law, and violation of any diplomatic norms that are out there,” Chong said. Conservative MP Michael Chong rises during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa on May 31, 2021. (The Canadian Press/Adrian Wyld) “Without trying to frustrate the line of questioning, I just want to underscore the fact that the investigative role that’s critical here, before we take important and anticipated diplomatic actions in response, is pretty crucial,” Epp answered. Conservative MP Raquel Dancho asked whom Global Affairs is working with during the investigation, to which Epp answered that it wasn’t appropriate for him to discuss the operational details on camera. ‘Visas Should Be Revoked’ Glen Linder, director general of Social and Temporary Migration at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), also testified at the committee meeting, where he was asked by Chong if the IRCC has performed a status check on the individuals working in the alleged police stations. “Is there an investigation going on right now to determine their immigration status? Because if these individuals have come here from the People’s
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  • https://udumbara.net/continuing-to-defend-currency-peg-to-us-dollar-may-be-dangerous-for-hong-kong-expert
    UDUMBARA.NET
    Continuing to Defend Currency Peg to US Dollar May Be ‘Dangerous’ for Hong Kong: Expert
    Hong Kong’s latest foreign currency reserve showed another $10.014 billion drop in August, down from July’s $441.8 billion, pushing the accumulated reduction since last December to $67.563 billion.On Sept. 30, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), the city’s central bank, released an analysis of the city’s foreign currency reserves and foreign currency liquidity. The data showed the city’s foreign currency reserves had shrunk to $431.821 billion at the end of August, from $499.384 billion at the end of November 2021. According to the Half-Yearly Monetary and Financial Stability Report (pdf) issued by HKMA in September, the currency’s weak-side Convertibility Undertaking (CU) was triggered 31 times during the review period from the end of February to the end of August. Since Oct. 17, 1983, Hong Kong has used the Linked Exchange Rate System (LERS). The system allows the HKMA to stabilize exchange rates from the U.S. dollar to the Hong Kong Dollar (HKD) between 7.75 and 7.85, also known as the Convertibility Undertaking (CU). As a currency pegged to the USD, the HKD’s strong-side CU is 7.75 to one U.S. dollar, and the weak-side CU is 7.85. The HKMA report said that the HKD “traded within a range between 7.814 and 7.850 against the [USD]” during the review period, adding that “since the first triggering of the weak-side CU on [May 11 (U.S. local time)], the HKMA has purchased a total of $HKD 213.1 billion (as [of] the end of August) at the request of banks in accordance with the design of the linked Exchange Rate System.” Challenges Ahead for Hong Kong Dollar The report warned the HKD would likely face a multitude of challenges as it copes with aggressive U.S. dollar rate hikes amid high inflation. “Looking ahead, fund flows may be subject to heightened volatilities amid elevated uncertainties on various fronts, including the pace of U.S. monetary policy normalization, the evolving pandemic developments, and the lingering geopolitical tensions,” the report states. Albert Song, a senior financial analyst and expert on the Chinese financial system, told The Epoch Times that the climate is increasingly “dangerous” for Hong Kong’s financial system as the HKD remains pegged to the U.S. dollar amid the Fed’s interest rate hikes. “Hong Kong’s economic cycle is becoming more and more similar to that of mainland China, but its financial sector is following the pace of the Fed’s interest rate hikes, which has already impacted Hong Kong’s property market and economy. To defend the currency peg, the HKMA will have to continue selling USD to buy HKD,” Song said. “In fact, the Hong Kong dollar is in its most dangerous position.” Yuan Depreciates Despite Official Optimism China, which relies heavily on Hong Kong as a financial gateway for foreign currency reserves, has no way to fend off the impact of its depreciating currency. Although the Chinese yuan has depreciated sharply against the U.S. dollar since August, a press release from the People’s Bank of China (PBC) claimed that “the yuan exchange rate has remained basically stable at an adaptive and equilibrium level.” The press release reported the findings of a national virtual conference on Sept. 27, hosted by the China Foreign Exchange Market Self-Regulatory Framework (SRF), a central bank-led self-regulatory group. The conference aimed to analyze recent developments in the foreign exchange market. It added that the yuan is “one of the few strong currencies in the world, [as it] strengthened markedly against the Euro, British pounds and Japanese yen.” However, the following day, the onshore Chinese yuan exchange rate to the U.S. dollar (USD) hit its lowest level since 2008 by crossing the 7.2 level on Sept. 28. The rate is also its weakest offshore exchange rate since 2011. Depreciation May Trigger Sell-off Regarding the currency’s value, Song told The Epoch Times that the yuan’s depreciation would make yuan assets less attractive and may cause investors to sell off. “With a widening interest rate differential between the U.S. and China, capital outflow will become more severe, bringing China’s foreign exchange reserves lower. China requires more than $800 billion a year to import energy, [semiconductor] chips, and food,” Song said. “The increase in raw material prices will also cost more foreign currency, so those Chinese industries relying on imported raw materials will be in a worse position.” Export Sector ‘Trapped’ by Rising Prices, Supply Chain Issues Song noted that some Chinese economists believe the yuan depreciation will benefit Chinese exports, but the reality may be the opposite. “Theoretically, the depreciation of yuan is beneficial to foreign trade exports, but the benefit will not be visible to the export sector immediately. Furthermore, the export sector will be trapped by the increase of raw material prices and the lack of [a] smooth logistics supply chain caused by the [regime’s] zero-COVID policy,” Song said. Guan Tao, the gl
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  • https://udumbara.net/china-to-remain-us-adversary-after-xi-secures-third-term-in-power-author
    UDUMBARA.NET
    China to Remain US Adversary After Xi Secures Third Term in Power: Author
    As Chinese leader Xi Jinping looks set to secure a third five-year term as CCP leader during the party’s 20th National Congress in October, the following period will see more competition and confrontation between the United States and China, according to China expert and author James Gorrie.“I don’t see great cooperation … I don’t think that’s going to mark our relationship in the foreseeable future. I think we’re much more along the lines of competitive and adversarial,” Gorrie told the “China in Focus” program on NTD news, The Epoch Times’ sister media. He pointed to the fact that China and Russia have proclaimed a friendship without limits, saying: “[China] coordinated with Russia on that invasion. And they’re doing a lot of coordination on energy on food and currency.” “So Russia and China are pretty married,” he noted. China’s Internal Problems Gorrie further took note of the fact that the Chinese economy is not in good shape. “China has big problems in terms of their economy. Their real estate sector is in a depression. Unemployment among the youngest is now over 20 percent, which is huge. The national average is around five and a half percent,” he said. “So there’s some large issues that need to be addressed,” Gorrie stressed. According to the expert, the Chinese regime’s zero-COVID policy has exerted a devastating impact on the country. “It’s just been so oppressive on their own people. You have tens of millions of people not earning money, not not going to work, supply chain disruptions,” Gorrie said. In his opinion, that furthered the trend of nearshoring which had started before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. “That trend was created by China. China’s labor costs are higher, their IP theft is rampant,” he explained. “Europeans [are] relocating factories in say Turkey, America is relocating factories in say Mexico, and so forth. And the Philippines and Vietnam [are] picking up some of the slack from China,” Gorrie added. As the author of the book titled “The China Crisis,” he opined that the tendency will continue, as “the bloom is off the rose.” “Once you reestablish the supply chain, you don’t want to have to go back and put it at risk for a capricious CCP that may decide that you need to be locked down for the next six or eight months,” he said. Decoupling From China Going forward, Gorrie urged that America continue to try to decouple from China, economically and trade-wise. “So America’s policy ought to contain China, and ought to make it difficult for China to exert its influence externally,” he said. He further suggested that America bring back home the manufacturing of key industries. “It should be done for strategic industries and parts and those types of things that are in our best interest to have control over,” Gorrie said. “We shouldn’t have strategic medical supplies or technological supplies being made in a country that is potentially adversarial to us,” he contended. Gorrie pointed to the new report revealing that more than 150 scientists who worked in a top U.S. national security laboratory were hired by the Chinese regime to do research. “So much of our IP continues to go to China. They’re a formidable force in robotics and AI, biotech, bioengineering. And a lot of that comes from the U.S.,” he noted. Thus, he called for defunding the companies and universities involved with the misconduct. “Something needs to be done swiftly and effectively,” he said. “What we need to do to strengthen ourselves and to minimize China’s influence,” Gorrie said. Follow Hannah Ng is a reporter covering U.S. and China news. She holds a master's degree in international and development economics from the University of Applied Science Berlin. Follow Tiffany Meier is a New York-based reporter and host of NTD's "China in Focus."
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  • https://udumbara.net/us-redeploys-aircraft-carrier-to-korea
    UDUMBARA.NET
    US redeploys aircraft carrier to Korea
    The Pentagon has deployed an aircraft carrier strike group off the coast of South Korea in response to a recent missile launch by the north
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  • https://udumbara.net/us-spies-admit-ukraine-killed-darya-dugina
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    US spies admit Ukraine killed Darya Dugina
    US spies have denied having anything to do with the assassination of Russian journalist Darya Dugina, which they blame on Ukraine
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  • https://udumbara.net/saudi-arabia-responds-to-us-oil-accusations
    UDUMBARA.NET
    Saudi Arabia responds to US oil accusations
    Riyadh denies US claims of weaponizing oil after production cut announcement, OPEC officials said they were doing nothing of the kind
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  • https://udumbara.net/eu-still-poised-to-explore-diplomatic-solution-to-ukraine-conflict
    UDUMBARA.NET
    EU still poised to explore ‘diplomatic solution’ to Ukraine conflict
    EU looks forward to launching a “training mission” for Ukrainian troops, but is still ready to seek a “diplomatic solution” to the conflict
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  • https://udumbara.net/moscow-speaks-out-on-nord-stream-blasts-probe
    UDUMBARA.NET
    Moscow speaks out on Nord Stream blasts probe
    Moscow is concerned about attempts to exclude it from inquiry into causes of Nord Stream pipelines blasts
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  • https://udumbara.net/report-us-gave-china-28m-funding-for-research-beijing-detains-143m-ahead-of-national-meeting
    UDUMBARA.NET
    Report: U.S. Gave China $28M Funding for Research; Beijing Detains 1.43M Ahead of National Meeting
    Report: U.S. Gave China $28M Funding for Research; Beijing Detains 1.43M Ahead of National Meeting
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  • Fats and Oils Market Share, Size | 2021 - 2026 | MarketsandMarkets

    https://www.marketsandmarkets.com/Market-Reports/fats-oils-market-6198812.html
    Fats and Oils Market Share, Size | 2021 - 2026 | MarketsandMarkets https://www.marketsandmarkets.com/Market-Reports/fats-oils-market-6198812.html
    WWW.MARKETSANDMARKETS.COM
    Fats and Oils Market Share, Size | 2021 - 2026 | MarketsandMarkets
    [327 Pages Report] Fats and Oils Market size is estimated to reach USD 285.22 billion by 2026, recording a CAGR of 3.8%. #Fats and #Oils #Market categorizes the global market by Fats (Butter, Tallow, and Lard)), Type, Application (Food and Industrial), Source (Vegetables and Animals), and Region.
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  • Someone is playing games with me, on the phone I see my profile like this and on the computer as it has been for months.
    Someone is playing games with me, on the phone I see my profile like this and on the computer as it has been for months.
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  • but I don't know which of the two profiles you are looking at.
    but I don't know which of the two profiles you are looking at.
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  • Dunking is always one of the most exciting things
    Dunking is 2K MT always one of the most exciting things players can do during NBA 2K games. As each version of the game, this legendary aspect of basketball is becoming increasingly harder to master. Andit's no more difficult in NBA 2K23. Learning to master the art of the dunk is harder than ever before, and you will need to put in the time. Particularly when you're looking to consistently make...
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