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‘Multikulti’ just ain’t cutting it no more

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According to comments made by German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a gathering of younger members of her conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party in Potsdam, Attempts at building a multicultural society in Germany have “utterly failed”.

She said the so-called “multikulti” concept – where people would “live side-by-side”  did not work and immigrants needed to do more to integrate by learning German.

She stressed though that immigrants are welcome in Germany.

Germany is Europe’s most populated country with 81 million inhabitants and the fourth largest economy by nominal GDP in the world. It is also third in the world for migrant workers with over 10 million, a large segment of which are of Turkish decent.

These comments come at a time when immigration has become a hot-button political issue within Germany and the rest of Europe.

The debate first heated up in August when Thilo Sarrazin, a senior official at Germany’s central bank, said that “no immigrant group other than Muslims is so strongly connected with claims on the welfare state and crime”.

It is sad Muslims and immigrants are getting the brunt of the anger from the middle class when the primary cause of the great recession of 2008 was irresponsible trading by banks and other financial firms.

People should have the right to express themselves and retain their cultural identity where ever they go, but for the sake of comfortably should learn the language of the country they are living in. Otherwise, you become ostracized within your own environment,  limiting integration and cultural exchange.

story link:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-11559451

Written by lollingvagabond

October 17, 2010 at 5:18 pm

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The Price Of Bias

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On Planet Money they discuss how even though we view the media as becoming more partial, those outlets that are known to be partial are nowhere near as bad as newspapers were in the past.

Newspapers we very open about their political leanings in the mid 1800’s  and were openly biased, accepting political contributions and writing stories in hopes of winning government contracts.

The main reason for this was the fact newspapers were printed on cloth until the invention of the wood pulp  in the 1860’s. The price of newspapers went down and the readership went up. The number of newspapers boomed, and because they had a larger reading base it was more economical for papers to appeal to their readers needs: more unbiased reporting instead of political banter.

It seems since newspapers are losing readership to the internet, blogs are becoming more popular. Instead of relying on a stoic regiment of newspapers that were claimed to be the “record of truth”, people have the internet to search for the news they want to read, instead of the news they need to read.

Furthermore, since a large number of us don’t even reads anymore, media outlets like CNN , MSNBC, FOX, etc, must rely on flashy graphics and now degrade news to a lewd form entertainment, disregarding certain news stories to focus on others that are more “appealing” to their viewership.

It it also important to point out that the philosophy of free might over take media and turn make them more biased of a beast them they were before.

We can only hope.

Written by lollingvagabond

October 10, 2010 at 9:09 pm

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Man > Idea > Machine

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In this segment of  Fresh Air, Terry Gross interviews Matt Ritchel, a tech journalist for The New York Times. He talks about something that many people has been seem to be ignoring, at least on a mainstream level: is technology ALWAYS a good thing?  The answer he gives seem to be, maybe not. I like the food analogy he made with technology where some technology is like brussels sprouts and is good for us, but other technology is like a twinkie, and if you eat/use it too much it will probably effect you adversely. I find it more peculiar when he says, “some technology has great nutritional value.”

Richtel seems to posit that we need to be cautious and shouldn’t accept technology blindly, despite the convinces it gives us in everyday life.

Because the research pertaining to this particular field is in such an embryonic stage, we cannot draw sweeping conclusions about our iphones and the interwebs. It seems though that we need to balance our desire to be plugged in, and our NEED to  be  day dream, our NEED to think without constant distraction.

If we don’t we might just end up like the humans in Wall-E, floating around in a hover chair that caters to our every whim.

Link:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=129384107

Written by lollingvagabond

September 27, 2010 at 3:42 am

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US soldiers play the most dangerous game

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It seems that  a few bad apples have spoiled the already fragile reputation of American troops in Afghanistan.

Twelve American soldiers face charges over a secret “kill team” that has been accused of blowing up  civilians, shooting them at random and collecting their fingers as trophies.  Five of the solders are charged with murdering three afghan men who were allegedly  killed for sport in separate attacks this year. The rest are accused of covering up the killings and assaulting a recruit who exposed the murders when he reported abuses, which include smoking hash stolen from locals.

According to court documents, discussion of forming a kill team began upon the arrival of Staff Sergent Calvin Gibbs to the Stryker infantry brigade at a forward operating base called Ramrod in southern Afghanistan last November.

Investigators say Gibbs, 25, came up with the plan with Jeremy Morlock, 22, and other soldiers. In the following months they allegedly killed at least three civilians. One charge includes an episode where a man called Gul Mudin was killed by shooting him with a rifle  then throwing a grenade at him afterward.

According to court documents, Morlock told a soldier that the killings were for fun and threatened him if he told anyone.

Now every war has its horror stories where a group of disgruntled soldiers decides to take advantage of their situation as protectors to abuse those that are innocent. If found guilty these soldiers should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. Events like these only act to exacerbate the already complex situation on the ground during the deadliest year for US forces in Afghanistan. Our soldiers are our representatives abroad, and the last thing The our armed forces needs is another reason for someone to become a terrorist.


link:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/sep/09/us-soldiers-afghan-civilians-fingers

Written by lollingvagabond

September 24, 2010 at 6:30 pm

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Snow White and the Seven Mercenaries?

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It recent years it has come to the attention of certain government watch dogs and distressed individuals that The United States government has increased its reliance on private military contractors( PMCs), or Mercenaries. The company that has supplied the majority of these PMCs to the Defense Department is the infamous private security firm called Xe (formerly known as Blackwater before the company had to change its name after some of their employees killed 17 unarmed civilians in Iraq, known as the Nisour Square massacre).

According to documents recently obtained by The Nation, Xe has not only provided security, training, and intelligence services to the US and foreign governments, but they have also assisted several multinational corporations, including but not limited to Monsanto, Chevron, The Walt Disney Company, and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines.

Xe’s services were contracted by two shell companies owned by Blackwater’s former owner and founder, Erik Prince, called Total Intelligence and Terrorism Research Center (TRC).

One  startling detail that was revealed is that Xe sough to become the “intel arm” of Monsanto (the world’s largest supplier of genetically modified seeds) offering  to proviide operatives that would infiltrate activist groups organzing against their firm. Disney hired TI and TRC to do “threat assessment” for potential film shoot locations in morocco.

It is distressing to think that in the 21 century, corporations and national governments are increasing their reliance on private intelligence agencies with private armies. Their role in international events has become more ingrained and only have one real ally: money. These organizations provide services to the highest bidder, and instead of relying on our own intelligence agencies we empower private multinationals who can act beyond the realm of the Geneava convention, as long as they can get away with it.

link:

http://www.alternet.org/investigations/148202/disney,_chevron_and_monsanto_contracted_with_blackwater_for_intelligence,_training_and_security_services/

Written by lollingvagabond

September 24, 2010 at 5:47 pm

Posted in Uncategorized