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Insurance for End-of-Life Talks Makes Gains

Dr. Joseph Hinterberger discussed end-of-life care with Mary Ann Zebrowski. If reimbursed, “I’d do one of these a day,” he said.

Credit Heather Ainsworth for The New York Times

Insurance for End-of-Life Talks Makes Gains

By PAM BELLUCK

Private insurers have begun reimbursing doctors for “advance care planning,” and such talks could be covered for Medicare patients as early as next year.

Five years after it exploded into a political conflagration over “death panels,” the issue of paying doctors to talk to patients about end-of-life care is making a comeback, and such sessions may be covered for the 50 million Americans on Medicare as early as next year.

Bypassing the political process, private insurers have begun reimbursing doctors for these “advance care planning” conversations as interest in them rises along with the number of aging Americans. People are living longer with illnesses, and many want more input into how they will spend their final days, including whether they want to die at home or in the hospital, and whether they want full-fledged life-sustaining treatment, just pain relief or something in between. Some states, including Colorado and Oregon, recently began covering the sessions for Medicaid patients.

But far more significant, Medicare may begin covering end-of-life discussions next year if it approves a recent request from the American Medical Association, the country’s largest association of physicians and medical students. One of the A.M.A.’s roles is to create billing codes for medical services, codes used by doctors, hospitals and insurers. It recently created codes for end-of-life conversations and submitted them to Medicare.

 
Obama foreign policy sparks bipartisan criticism

Obama foreign policy sparks bipartisan criticism

 

President Obama’s foreign-policy credentials took another hit Sunday as key lawmakers from both parties criticized his reaction to international turmoil and suggested the administration should be more assertive in addressing conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) said on “Fox News Sunday” that Obama’s foreign policy is “in an absolute free fall.” He was reacting to the president’s comment last week that “we don’t have a strategy yet” for defeating the Islamic State, which has taken over parts of Syria and Iraq and beheaded an American journalist.

 
Ron Paul Dons 9/11 Truther Tin Foil

Ron Paul Dons 9/11 Truther Tin Foil

By Olivia Nuzzi

The former Congressman – and father of the frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination – thinks the government is keeping secrets about 9/11.

Former Rep. Ron Paul believes that the government knew beforehand, in detail, about the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and that the information has been kept from the public in a classified section of the 9/11 commission report. 

When the host of Money and Markets, Charles Goyette, recently said that it is "shocking that the American people are prohibited from knowing the whole truth about 9/11," Paul countered: "Boy, that's for sure. It's shocking, but then, when you stop and think about it, shouldn't we expect this from our government? Which is really sad." 

Paul admitted of his beliefs: "It's politically very risky to talk about it," particularly when your son is in the process of trying to run for president, which Paul's son, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, is.

...................................

Reasonable man that he is, Paul conceded that the U.S. government probably didn't actually plot 9/11 because, you know, that would be crazy: "Does [foreknowledge of the attacks] prove that our president and others actually sat down and laid the plans and did this? I don't think it does, but I think it does show that one of the reasons why they want to cover it up is because they don't want to say, the FBI and the CIA were, at the time, spending $40 billion a year to spy on everybody to make us safe and secure, and therefore they really messed up, so they had to hide that." 

Paul then offered that "our own government did more harm to the liberties of the American people than Bin Laden did."

 
Insurance for End-of-Life Talks Makes Gains

Dr. Joseph Hinterberger discussed end-of-life care with Mary Ann Zebrowski. If reimbursed, “I’d do one of these a day,” he said.

Credit Heather Ainsworth for The New York Times

Insurance for End-of-Life Talks Makes Gains

By PAM BELLUCK

Private insurers have begun reimbursing doctors for “advance care planning,” and such talks could be covered for Medicare patients as early as next year.

Five years after it exploded into a political conflagration over “death panels,” the issue of paying doctors to talk to patients about end-of-life care is making a comeback, and such sessions may be covered for the 50 million Americans on Medicare as early as next year.

Bypassing the political process, private insurers have begun reimbursing doctors for these “advance care planning” conversations as interest in them rises along with the number of aging Americans. People are living longer with illnesses, and many want more input into how they will spend their final days, including whether they want to die at home or in the hospital, and whether they want full-fledged life-sustaining treatment, just pain relief or something in between. Some states, including Colorado and Oregon, recently began covering the sessions for Medicaid patients.

But far more significant, Medicare may begin covering end-of-life discussions next year if it approves a recent request from the American Medical Association, the country’s largest association of physicians and medical students. One of the A.M.A.’s roles is to create billing codes for medical services, codes used by doctors, hospitals and insurers. It recently created codes for end-of-life conversations and submitted them to Medicare.

 
Iraq and Syria’s cultural heritage face new threat from fanatics

Iraq and Syria’s cultural heritage face new threat from fanatics

By Emily Sharpe

Fears grow that social media savvy Islamic State is exploiting monitors’ lists

The full extent of Islamic State (IS) iconoclasm remains uncertain as the militants dig in to consolidate the ground they have gained in northern Iraq and Syria. Meanwhile, scholars in the West attempting to monitor destruction of cultural heritage by IS are increasingly concerned that social media sites recording the historic mosques, tombs and archaeological sites most at risk could be being monitored by the jihadist group, inadvertently becoming a useful tool for the extremists and their demolition squads. 

 
Islamist militia storms US embassy compound in Tripoli, take dip.

'The Dawn of Libya' Islamist militia storms US embassy compound in Tripoli

An Islamist-allied militia group says it has 'secured' a U.S. Embassy compound in Libya's capital, more than a month after American personnel evacuated from the country over ongoing fighting.

An Associated Press journalist walked through the compound Sunday after the Dawn of Libya, an umbrella group for Islamist militias, invited onlookers inside. 

Windows at the compound had been broken, but it appeared most of the equipment there remained untouched.

A commander for the Dawn of Libya group said his forces had entered and been in control of the compound since last week. 

Horsing around: One Dawn of Libya militiaman is seen here leaping from an embassy balcony down into the swimming pool below

Libya is being racked by factional violence as the armed groups which helped topple Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 turn their guns on each other in a struggle to dominate politics and the country's vast oil resources.

 
Feinstein: Obama 'Too Cautious' When It Comes To Fighting ISIS

Brendan Bordelon

Diane Feinstein

The Democratic California senator appeared on NBC’s “Meet The Press” Sunday, discussing with Andrea Mitchell a possible American response to the rapid rise of Sunni fundamentalists in Syria and Iraq. On Thursday, Obama admitted he did not yet have a plan to deal with the terrorist surge.

“They have been on the march now for months, if not years,” Mitchell noted. “So why does the president still say we don’t have a strategy yet? Doesn’t that project weakness from the White House?”

“Well, I mean, I know what you want me to say, But I’m not going to say it in that sense,” Feinstein replied. “I think I’ve learned one thing about this president, and that is he’s very cautious. Maybe, in this instance, too cautious.”

 
Why ISIS Is Our Problem

Why ISIS Is Our Problem

By Steve Coll

Obama’s options in Iraq are terrible. In Syria, they’re even worse.

At the end of the eighth century, Harun al-Rashid, a caliph of the Abbasid dynasty, built a palace in Raqqa, on the Euphrates River, in what is now Syria. His empire stretched from modern Tunisia to Pakistan. It was an age of Islamic discovery in science, music, and art; Rashid’s court of viziers inspired stories in “One Thousand and One Nights.”

In June, the Islamic State in Iraq al-Sham (ISIS) declared Raqqa the seat of a new caliphate, presided over by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, a fierce preacher who was once an American prisoner in Iraq, and is now in hiding. The city has lost its splendor. Public executions are “a common spectacle” on Fridays in El Naim Square or at the Al Sa’a roundabout, a United Nations human-rights commission reported last month. ISIS fighters mount the dead on crucifixes, “as a warning to local residents.”

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has called ISIS “as sophisticated and well funded as any group that we have seen . . . beyond anything we have seen.” The group has former military officers who can fly helicopters, spot artillery, and maneuver in battle. ISIS is increasingly a hybrid organization, on the model of Hezbollah—part terrorist network, part guerrilla army, part proto-state.

President Obama has decided that the United States must now attack ISIS, if only from the air. The President vacationed on Martha’s Vineyard, and golfed conspicuously, as his initial aerial campaign in Iraq unfolded. He has been less than forthright about why, after pledging to end America’s costly war in Iraq, he believed a return to battle there was necessary. But in interviews and other forums Obama has offered a casus belli, in three parts.

ISIS has massacred religious minorities, including Christians and Yazidis, and American air strikes can prevent more wanton killing, the President has said. A second imperative is the defense of the Kurdistan Regional Government, a semi-autonomous, oil-endowed American ally in northern Iraq, which a few weeks ago was teetering under pressure from ISIS but has since recovered, with the aid of American air power. The third, and most resonant, reason that the President has given is self-defense: to disrupt ISIS before it tries to attack Americans in the region or inside the United States.

 
Bob McDonnell: Is once popular Virginia governor headed for prison?

Bob McDonnell: Is once popular Virginia governor headed for prison? 

By Brad Knickerbocker

Former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen face federal charges involving bribery and conspiracy for accepting lavish gifts from the promoter of a dietary supplement. The case goes to the jury next Tuesday.

The long and downward-spiraling tale of Virginia ex-governor Bob McDonnell – worthy of a Shakespeare or more likely the script writer for an afternoon soap – is headed for its pathetic legal conclusion.

The 25-day federal corruption trial of Mr. McDonnell and his wife Maureen, their adult children in the courtroom, heard seven hours of closing arguments Friday. It’ll go to the jury next Tuesday.

“The emotional, pointed and sometimes scathing presentations left all in the packed seventh-floor courtroom of Judge James R. Spencer drained,” the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. “That included the former governor, who stood with his head bowed and hands clasped, in an almost prayerful moment of reflection, as the jury exited for the day.”

The essence of the 14-count bribery and conspiracy case is that the McDonnells took $165,000 in loans and gifts – designer clothes, a Rolex watch, golf outings, use of a Ferrari, $15,000 in catering for their daughter’s wedding – in return for helping the promoter of a dietary supplement.

 
Detroit on track to exit bankruptcy

Detroit on track to exit bankruptcy

A water technician for the city of Detroit, shuts off the water at a home in the Palmer Woods neighborhood.

Debt restructuring that many thought would take years to resolve could be wrapped up in less than a year and a half.

It took decades of mismanagement, malfeasance and meltdowns in its bread-and-butter manufacturing sector for Detroit to hit fiscal rock bottom, but the path to exit bankruptcy could take less than a year and a half.

After some delays, the confirmation trial for the largest municipal bankruptcy in US history is scheduled to start Tuesday.

Massive debt, thousands of creditors and complex union and pension issues had many experts thinking Detroit’s bankruptcy would take years to resolve, considering two California cities – Stockton and San Bernardino – filed a year before Detroit did and still haven’t settled on plans.

Detroit expects to cut $12bn in unsecured debt to about $5bn, which is “more manageable”, according to Bill Nowling, a spokesman for emergency manager Kevyn Orr.

 
Here’s Why You Helpless Tramps Don’t Vote Republican

top-box

Here’s Why You Helpless Tramps Don’t Vote Republican

A new internal GOP survey suggests the party’s history of demeaning comments and policies is just killing them with women voters.

Things aren’t looking good for the GOP when it comes to women voters, according to a large survey by party strategists this summer. On Republicans’ top issues—jobs and the economy—the poll showed only flagging advantages, and in some cases, outright defeats.

Republican criticisms of the alleged Democratic failure to encourage social mobility are some of the most tired political saws around. But the Republican track record for selling their “dependency” narrative to women is even worse, possibly one of their most shameful, ill-faring strategies to date.

It seems every time Republicans pair their paranoia over government dependency with any kind of focus on women, a nauseating prostitution allusion simmers to the surface. Consider, for example, Mike Huckabee’s infamous remarks on ‘Uncle Sugar’:

“…Because the fact is, the Republicans dont have a war on women. They have a war FOR women. For them to be empowered; to be something other than victims of their gender. Women I know are outraged that Democrats think that women are nothing more than helpless and hopeless creatures whose only goal in life is to have a government provide for them birth control medication [] Thats not a war ON them, its a war FOR them. And if the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it, lets take that discussion all across America because women are far more than Democrats have made them to be…”

 
Beijing Rules Out Open Election in Hong Kong

[image]

Beijing Rules Out Open Election in Hong Kong

By Brian Spegele in Beijing and Chester Yung and Isabella Steger in Hong Kong

Hong Kong's pro-democracy activists are rallying after China's government declared Sunday that election candidates for Hong Kong's top post must be prescreened.

China's government declared Sunday that candidates for Hong Kong's top post must be prescreened, effectively barring anyone unacceptable to Beijing from running.

The decree capped months of blunt reminders from Beijing of who's in charge in the former British colony and provided a clear demarcation of how far China will allow democracy in the territory to proceed.

It quickly drew ire from pro-democracy voices in Hong Kong, who have argued that residents should be allowed to directly nominate candidates for the post, and have threatened a mass civil-disobedience campaign if not offered "genuine choice" in 2017 elections.

"Hong Kong people have the reason to believe they have been betrayed," said Alan Leong, a Hong Kong pro-democracy legislator. "We cannot be the boss, we cannot have genuine choice," he said.

Another lawmaker, Lee Cheuk Yan, said the fight for "true democracy" would continue.

Pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong gathered Sunday evening outside the city's government headquarters, where Hong Kong police beefed up security and erected barricades. In pouring rain, a crowd of some hundreds of people sat banging pots and plastic containers and cheered the speakers.

 
Pollster: Obama's Amnesty For Illegals 'Would Not Be A Positive' For Dem Candidates

Brendan Bordelon

Dem pollster

Democratic pollster Mark Mellman admitted on Sunday that President Obama’s plan to grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants “would not be a positive” for Democratic candidates in competitive races this fall.

Mellman spoke to Fox News’ Chris Wallace about the Democrats’ prospects in the November midterm elections, with Wallace asking specifically how the White House’s rumored plan to grant legal status to as many as 6 million illegal immigrants would affect the outcome.

“There’s been a lot of reporting that red-state Democrats did not want the president to delay deportations for millions of illegals,” the Fox New host said. “As the pollster in a bunch of those red states, would the idea of executive action be good or bad for those candidates?”

“Look, I don’t think it’s a positive, honestly,” Mellman replied. “Executive action, I think, would not be a positive for those candidates.”

 
At Risk in Senate, Democrats Seek to Rally Blacks

At Risk in Senate, Democrats Seek to Rally Blacks

With their Senate majority imperiled, Democrats are trying to mobilize African-Americans outraged by the shooting in Ferguson, Mo., to help them retain control of at least one chamber of Congress for President Obama’s final two years in office.

In black churches and on black talk radio, African-American civic leaders have begun invoking the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, along with conservative calls to impeach Mr. Obama, as they urge black voters to channel their anger by voting Democratic in the midterm elections, in which minority turnout is typically lower.

“Ferguson has made it crystal clear to the African-American community and others that we’ve got to go to the polls,” said Representative John Lewis, Democrat of Georgia and a civil-rights leader. “You participate and vote, and you can have some control over what happens to your child and your country.”

The push is an attempt to counter Republicans’ many advantages in this year’s races, including polls that show Republican voters are much more engaged in the elections at this point — an important predictor of turnout.

 
Saudi Arabia: ISIS Will Reach America In Two Months

 Scott Greer

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s head of state King Abdullah issued a dire warning to the West if they choose to ignore the Muslim extremist group the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

“If we ignore them, I am sure they will reach Europe in a month and America in another month,” Abdullah said at a Friday diplomatic ceremony and later quoted by Saudi television.

“Terrorism knows no border and its danger could affect several countries outside the Middle East,” he continued. “You see how they [jihadists] carry out beheadings and make children show the severed heads in the street.”

 
U.S. Fee to Drop Citizenship Is Raised Fivefold

U.S. Fee to Drop Citizenship Is Raised Fivefold

The fee for individuals to renounce U.S. citizenship is jumping to $2,350 as of Sept. 12—more than five times the current charge of $450.

The U.S. State Department, in its explanation for the increase, said that documenting a renunciation is “extremely costly” and requires a minimum of two intensive interviews with the applicant as well as other procedures.

The fees charged for a number of other services, such as “fiance(e) visas” and employment-based visa applications,  increased far less than those for renunciation and in some cases declined.

The large increase in the renunciation fee comes at a time when record numbers of Americans living abroad are cutting ties with the U.S. Last year, 2,999 U.S. citizens and green-card holders renounced their allegiance to the U.S., a record number, and renunciations in 2014 are on track to exceed that. The State Department estimates that 7.6 million Americans live abroad.

 
Secret Service are searching for car linked to threat against President Obama

Secret Service are searching for car linked to threat against President Obama

By Snejana Farberov 

The U.S. Secret Service and Connecticut State Police are searching for a car linked to a threat against President Obama, who arrived in Rhode Island Friday for a fundraiser 

The U.S. Secret Service and Connecticut State Police are searching for a car in connection to a possible threat made against President Barack Obama. Federal and state officials are on the hunt for a silver 2014 Volkswagen Jetta with Connecticut license plates, The Hartford Courant reported. According to police, the vehicle is believed to be driven by a man who may have threatened the life of the president.

 
White House backtracks from President Obama’s 'no strategy' gaffe

White House backtracks from Obama’s ‘no strategy’ gaffe 

White House backtracks from President Obama’s 'no strategy' gaffe

BY Leslie Larson , Rich Schapiro , Dan Friedman

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

The White House struggled Friday to walk back President Obama’s admission that he “doesn’t have a strategy” to fight ISIS — but Obama’s decision to spend the day fund-raising fueled critics who slam him as an empty suit.

Obama landed in Westchester Friday afternoon for Democratic National Committee fund-raisers in New Rochelle and Purchase. The President found time for a third fund-raiser in a Newport, R.I., mansion — the home of a former CEO of Nortek Inc. The Newport event benefited the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, House Democrats’ campaign arm.

 
The Dreamers Have Destroyed the Republican Immigration Strategy

The Dreamers Have Destroyed the Republican Immigration Strategy

By Jonathan Chait

After the 2012 election, Marco Rubio tried to craft himself as the leader of a pro-immigration-reform Republican Party. That effort has capsized, pulling Rubio’s standing with conservatives down along with it. Now Rubio is refashioning himself as the leader of a restrictionist Republican Party. The new Rubio can be seen talking tough with conservative publications like the Washington Examiner and Breitbart, and wooing right-wing audiences in South Carolina. The newest iteration of Rubio is the opposite of the figure he and party leaders envisioned last year. The transformation ought to terrify them.

The party’s post-election report, analyzing the increasingly solid Democratic loyalties of increasingly numerous Latino voters, conceived of its problem as a substantive issue intertwined with an optical one. The substantive problem was that the GOP was locked into restrictionist policy that so alienated Latino voters it made them unreachable on any other message. The report, and Rubio, hoped that passing immigration reform in 2013, while painful and divisive, would rip off the Band-Aid, settle the immigration issue, and move it off the front of the political agenda. The opposite has happened, and Republican candidates like Rubio are once again being forced to demonstrate their hard-line bona fides.

 
'ISIS Is A Movement Of Sexual Losers Channelling Their Misery Into Violence'

Brendan Bordelon

Greg Gutfeld

'Hence the allure of the virgin promise'

“This is how I understand ISIS,” he began. “Remember that kid, I guess his name was Eliot Rodgers? He was the loser who rampaged in Santa Barbara, and he killed these people because he was a romantic reject.”

 
US operations in Iraq costing $7.5m a day

US operations in Iraq costing $7.5m a day

Spencer Ackerman

aircraft carrier USS George HW Bush us air strikes iraq

Since 16 June, panoply of US operations in Iraq have expanded to include around 60 surveillance flights over Isis territory.

America’s newest war in Iraq has cost over half a billion dollars so far, according to Pentagon estimates, all before President Barack Obama decides upon a strategy against Islamic State (Isis) militants.

Rear Adm John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, told reporters on Friday that daily military operations in Iraq since 16 June, when the White House informed Congress it had ordered up to 275 US troops to bolster embassy security in Baghdad, have cost on average $7.5m.

Those operations stretched into their 75th day on Friday, suggesting a cost of around $562.5m. Kirby did not break down the $7.5m figure, and he cautioned that not that much money was actually spent every day.

Since 16 June, the panoply of US operations in Iraq, the first since the 2011 troop withdrawal, have expanded. Hundreds of US special operations “advisers” arrived in Baghdad and Irbil to aid the Iraqi military and Kurdish Peshmerga militia forces plan a response to Isis’ advance across much of northern and central Iraq, briefly topping 1,000 for a reconnaissance mission atop Mount Sinjar earlier this month.

Around 60 surveillance flights, by piloted planes and drones, occur daily over territory controlled by Isis. The US has launched 110 airstrikes against Isis positions, artillery and equipment, mostly to dislodge Isis from the Mosul Dam and prevent the jihadist army from retaking it. Initially, those airstrikes centered around relieving an Isis siege of Mount Sinjar and stopping Isis from advancing into Iraqi Kurdistan.

 
John Kerry: The Threat of ISIS Demands a Global Coalition

To Defeat Terror, We Need the World’s Help

John Kerry: The Threat of ISIS Demands a Global Coalition

ISIS has its origins in what was once known as Al Qaeda in Iraq, which has over a decade of experience in extremist violence. The group has amassed a hardened fighting force of committed jihadists with global ambitions, exploiting the conflict in Syria and sectarian tensions in Iraq. Its leaders have repeatedly threatened the United States, and in May an ISIS-associated terrorist shot and killed three people at the Jewish Museum in Brussels. (A fourth victim died 13 days later.) ISIS’ cadre of foreign fighters are a rising threat not just in the region, but anywhere they could manage to travel undetected — including to America.

There is evidence that these extremists, if left unchecked, will not be satisfied at stopping with Syria and Iraq. They are larger and better funded in this new incarnation, using pirated oil, kidnapping and extortion to finance operations in Syria and Iraq. They are equipped with sophisticated heavy weapons looted from the battlefield. They have already demonstrated the ability to seize and hold more territory than any other terrorist organization, in a strategic region that borders Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey and is perilously close to Israel.

 
Lies Immigration Reformers Told Me

Lies Immigration Reformers Told Me

 David Frum 

President Obama and backers of deferred action for Dreamers tout the conditions that limit applicants. How restrictive are they, really?

There’s a long record of broken promises in this policy domain.

The record stretches back to the immigration reform of 1986. That year, Congress enacted an amnesty for illegal immigrants joined to promises of more effective enforcement in future. Instead of halting law-breaking, however, the 1986 reform enabled more of it. Immigration officials detected fraud in one-third of the applicants for the specialized amnesty for agricultural workers. Some applicants had never worked in the fields a day in their lives. Some had been convicted of crimes. Some weren’t the people they said they were. Some were disqualified for other reasons. Yet 90 percent of the 1.3 million applications were approved regardless.

Thirty years later, the question of good faith has again become urgent to the immigration debate.

 
Israelis Frustrated With Gaza Outcome

Israelis Frustrated With Gaza Outcome

By Joshua Mitnick

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces frustration over how the conflict with Hamas is winding down, both from the Israeli public and from parties that wanted harsher action against Gaza's Islamist rulers.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces frustration over how the conflict with Hamas is winding down, both from the Israeli public and from parties that wanted harsher action against Gaza's Islamist rulers.

Two political parties that take a harder line on Palestinians than Mr. Netanyahu's Likud faction saw an upswing in support in a new poll published Friday in the Israeli daily Maariv. The survey also found 58% of Israeli Jews believe it was a mistake for the government to accept an open-ended cease-fire with Hamas this week, while 61% don't think the prime minister achieved his goal of prolonged quiet.

"I think that there is a general atmosphere of disappointment after 50 days of war, 72 victims, billions of shekels lost, we are back at square one,'' said Likud parliament member Danny Danon, a leading critic who Mr. Netanyahu fired as deputy defense minister early on in the conflict. "You cannot ignore the fact that it's problematic."

 
Why I Just Can't Become Chinese

[image]

Why I Just Can't Become Chinese

The contributions of Chinese Americans underscore a great U.S. advantage in the 21st century—and the limits of China's rise.

Try as I might, I just can't become Chinese.

It started as a thought experiment: I wondered what it would take for me, the son of Chinese immigrants, to become a citizen of China. So I called the nearest Chinese consulate and got lost in a voice mail maze with nobody at the end. The consulate's website explained the process for getting visas but not for naturalization.

Then I realized why it was so difficult to get an answer: Beijing doesn't ever expect to hear from foreigners who want to become Chinese citizens.

As it turns out, a naturalization procedure is found under China's Nationality Law. But precious few people pursue it: The 2000 Chinese census counted just 941 naturalized citizens.

No matter how huge China's GDP gets, the U.S. retains a deep, enduring competitive advantage: America makes Chinese Americans. China doesn't make American Chinese.

China also isn't particularly interested in making American Chinese. It isn't in China's operating system to welcome, integrate and empower immigrants to redefine the very meaning of Chinese-ness. That means that China lags behind the U.S. in a crucial 21st-century way: embracing diversity and making something great from many multicultural parts.

Consider, for instance, the way that a Chinese state media organ earlier this year mocked the departing U.S. ambassador, Gary Locke, as a "banana": yellow on the outside, white on the inside. What did Mr. Locke—the first Chinese American ambassador to Beijing, Eagle Scout, former governor and cabinet secretary—do to earn such an epithet? Merely his job: representing U.S. interests and values even when they conflicted with China's.

 
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