You are browsing the archive for 2018 March 11.

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China’s Surging Authoritarian Nationalism Under Xi Jinping

March 11, 2018 in Economics

By Ted Galen Carpenter

Ted Galen Carpenter

The announcement that Chinese President Xi Jinping was seeking
to eliminate the limit on the number of terms he
could serve is that latest in a series of ominous developments
during his presidency. Although China has been a one-party state
since the Communist revolution in 1949 that brought Mao Zedong to
power, it has not had the characteristics of a true personal
dictatorship since Mao’s death. Indeed, over the past two
decades, the individuals who have occupied the post of president
have been more akin to corporate chief executive officers, with
other leaders of the Party elite acting as a board of directors
exercising some check on that official’s power.

From the beginning of his tenure, Xi’s leadership has been
different in both tone and substance. Under the guise of combatting
(the very real) problem of corruption, he quietly but
systematically purged officials that he suspected still might
be influenced by his predecessors, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao, or
who displayed independent, maverick tendencies. There has been a
troubling hardline ideological aspect to his rule as well. Xi
initiated a campaign to revitalize the Party, aiming at achieving a
renewed commitment to Maoist principles. Pro-market
academics also felt the chill of the new political environment,
with several prominent reformers, including
economist Mao Yushi
, the 2012 recipient of the Cato
Institute’s Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty,
being effectively silenced.

The consolidation of Xi’s personal power, especially if it
continues to exhibit neo-Maoist characteristics, not only has
worrisome domestic implications, it has worrisome implications for
China’s external behavior. Since the onset of the
country’s market-oriented economic reforms in the late 1970s,
Western – especially US – policy has been based on two assumptions.
First, economic reforms would lead to a more open, tolerant
political system, perhaps ultimately culminating in a full-fledged
democracy. Not even the bloody 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown
caused that assumption to waver much; proponents of the thesis
regarded the episode as a setback, not a definitive defeat. Second,
a less autocratic China, fully integrated into the global economy,
would become, in the words of former Deputy Secretary of State and
President of the World Bank Robert Zoellick, a “responsible
” in the international diplomatic and economic

The failure of liberalizing political trends in China to rebound
after Tiananmen Square, despite the passage of nearly three
decades, raises serious doubts about the first assumption. That
was true even before Xi’s efforts to narrow further the
diversity of permissible views. Those moves, combined with his
aggrandizement of personal power, call the entire Western thesis
about economic liberalization creating irresistible momentum for
political liberalization into …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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How to Heal Trauma by the Simple Act of Walking

March 11, 2018 in Blogs

By Thom Hartmann, Park Street Press

There are five steps for a successful walking therapy session.

Editor's Note: The following is an excerpt from the book Walking Your Blues Away: How to Heal the Mind and Create Emotional Well-Being by Thom Hartmann (Park Street Press, 2006), available for purchase from Inner Traditions • Bear & CompanyAmazon and IndieBound. Reprinted with permission. In the book, Hartmann explains how walking allows people to heal from emotional trauma. When we walk, we engage both sides of the body, simultaneously activating both the left and right sides of the brain. Hartmann explains that both hemispheres of the brain join forces to break up the brain patterning of a traumatic experience that has become “stuck” in the brain through the bilateral therapy of walking. Below, Hartmann explains how to use the therapeutic power of walking to “Walk Your Blues Away.”

“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.”

—Friedrich Nietzsche

There are five steps to correctly performing a Walking Your Blues Away session. They are:

  • Define the issue.
  • Bring up the story.
  • Walk with the issue.
  • Notice how the issue changes.
  • Anchor the new state.

I will go into detail on each of the steps for you now.

Define the issue

Before going for your walk, consider the issues that are still hanging around in your life that you feel are unresolved. This could range from past traumas, hurts, angers, or embarrassments to relationship issues with people you no longer have access to (including people who have died).

Don’t worry that an issue might be too complex or something that happened over a long time. Many issues are multidimensional. What happens is that when the core issue is resolved, it rapidly begins the process of unwinding or “cleaning up” the peripheral associated issues.

Similarly, if you pick an issue that you may think is, itself, part of something larger, you’ll notice after you’ve worked with it that the larger issue will also begin to resolve.

There’s no specific right or wrong issue to work with. If you can think of it, visualize it, and get a feeling from it, then you can walk and work …read more


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Why Are Asian American Women Still Inaccurately Portrayed on TV?

March 11, 2018 in Blogs

By Francis Kai-Hwa Wang, Women's Media Center

We are more complex than that.

“Hollywood always wants a white co-lead,” said Nancy Yuen, associate professor at Biola University and one of the principal authors of a new study about Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) in prime time and streaming television. “We need Asian American women to not be seen as tokens or missing from a white man’s story.”

Ten years after two studies of AAPIs in prime-time broadcast television in 2005 and 2006, the same group of researchers have conducted a new study examining broadcast, cable, and digital platform television shows in the 2015-2016 season. “Tokens on the Small Screen: Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Prime Time and Streaming Television” measures the number of AAPI series regulars (the main cast of a show) and how they fare in terms of settings, screen time, relationships, stereotypes, and storylines.

2015 is the year that ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat premiered — the first American sitcom featuring an Asian American family since Margaret Cho’s All American Girl 20 years ago — as well as Netflix’s Master of None and ABC’s Dr. Ken.

Out of 242 television shows and 2,052 series regulars examined, the researchers found that although there has been some improvement over the past decade, AAPIs are still underrepresented on television compared to their population and compared to whites on television. Ten years ago, AAPIs comprised 2.6 percent of broadcast series regulars, and now 4.3 percent of series regulars are AAPI — compared with 5.9 percent of the population. Pacific Islanders make up only 0.2 percent of series regulars, which represents half their representation in the U.S. population. In contrast, whites comprise 69.5 percent of series regulars, while they are 61.3 percent of the population.

Uneven Landscape

Sixty-four percent of all shows do not feature any AAPI series regulars at all. This is especially disconcerting for shows set in cities with large AAPI populations. Of the 46 shows set in New York, 70 percent have no AAPIs; and of the 45 shows set in Los Angeles, 53 percent have no AAPIs. In contrast, 96 percent of television shows have at least one white series regular. “It is not realistic,” …read more


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Why Is Donald Trump Sticking It to New Jersey?

March 11, 2018 in Blogs

By Jonathan D. Salant,

“It basically can be seen as an act of political symbolism.”



WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's new-found opposition to funding the Gateway Tunnel project is just the latest example of how he's championed policies that punish New Jersey, where he has long ties and spends his spring weekends and summer vacation. The Trump-backed tax plan targeted New Jersey and other high-tax states by curbing the federal deduction… Read the rest of this entry →

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Steve Bannon Tells National Front in France to Wear the Terms 'Racist' and 'Xenophobe' Like a 'Badge of Honor'

March 11, 2018 in Blogs

By Common Dreams staff, Common Dreams

Trump's former top strategist tells the French far-right that “history is on their side.”

President Donald Trump's former top political advisor Steve Bannon had some choice bits of advice for members of France's far-right National Front Party on Saturday as he told them they should embrace those who criticize them as racists and xenophobes and wear those charges as a “badge of honor” as opposed to something to deny or defend against.

“Let them call you racists,” Bannon told the audience at the party's national conference in Lille. “Let them call you xenophobes. Let them call you nativists. Wear it as a badge of honor… because every day we get stronger and they get weaker.”

Via CNN:

Bannon also told the crowd they should recognize that they are part of something bigger than themselves—a global movement of similar-minded people. “And history,” he said, “is on our side.”

Related Stories

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How LSD Makes Music Profoundly Awesome

March 11, 2018 in Blogs

By Phillip Smith, AlterNet

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Researchers are learning more about how the powerful psychedelic affects the brain.

Listening to Jimi Hendrix on acid back in the day was absolutely mind-melting. The sounds transcended normal tonality—not to mention space-time—and the music itself took on deep, deep meaning. It seemed like he was plugged into the primal energies of the universe, and profound truths flickered like jagged lightning.

It wasn't just the music of the master, either—LSD had the uncanny ability to imbue even the most saccharine dreck with cosmic connotations. Any old head who suddenly “got” Terry Jacks' “Seasons in the Sun” in an acid-induced tearful epiphany knows whereof I speak.

Now, some new research helps explain why that happens. A recent study in Cerebral Cortex found that LSD changed the perception of music by altering the neural response in certain key brain regions, including those that govern emotion, memory, sound processing, and self-directed thought.

In the study, a team of researchers led by Katrin Preller and Franz X. Vollenweider of the University of Zurich interviewed 25 subjects about songs that were personally meaningful to them, then had the subjects listen to personally meaningful songs and songs that had no particular significance while given LSD or a placebo. In one session, subjects were given LSD and ketanserin, a drug that blocks LSD's ability to act on serotonin 2A receptors.

Under the influence of LSD, the researchers found, even non-meaningful songs picked up a sense of meaningfulness.  

“Music can evoke a wide range of emotions, memories, and other feelings and states of mind. We can often identify with music, and music can change the way that we feel about and think about ourselves,” study co-author Frederick Barrett of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine told PsyPost. “In the same way, music also engages a …read more