Monthly Archives: January 2014

Jan 29

Xinhua Reports That Snowden Claims Aliens Control the US, Retracts Report

By Mitchell Blatt | Foreign Affairs

Xinhua, China’s state press agency, reported on the morning of January 28 that Snowden had claimed aliens controlled the United States. They deleted the story within 24 hours, but the story has spread all over the Chinese blogosphere and become a trending topic on Sina Weibo.

According to Xinhua’s original story:

Central Broadcast Website Beijing January 27 reports, according to the voice of China “Peak Evening News”, the leaker of the American “Prism” program, Edward Snowden, has currently accepted a secret interview with North German radio and TV at Russian capital city Moscow. This is the first interview time Snowden has accepted an interview since he left Hong Kong for Russia. The interview is 30 minutes long and will be broadcast on a German talk show this morning Beijing time. What kind of surprising information will Snowden reveal to the media?

Recently Snowden has revealed an “earth-shattering secret”, he said that America’s government has already become a puppet government run by aliens. This coincides with bizarre claims by former Canadian Defense Minister Paul Heller. Snowden also revealed that the aliens, who are headquartered in Nevada, supported Hitler’s rise to power in the 1930’s, but after Germany lost World War II, they changed objectives and supported America. The present American government is already completely under the control of aliens.

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Jan 29

United Airlines Lies Then Doesn’t Compensate for Canceled Flight — UPDATE: United Issues Compensation

By Mitchell Blatt | Travel

A few weeks ago, I told you about how United Airlines canceled and delayed some of its flights because of problems with crew availability. In that case–and according to United’s own stated policies–United should compensate its travelers for lodging and transportation expenses caused by United’s failure to operate its flights as scheduled. In fact, United didn’t even respond to a request for compensation after 19 days.

I sent the request 19 days ago for compensation for the transportation and lodging expenses their cancelation and delay caused me to incur and no response what so ever.

Lies? This follows the fact that their employees gave false information at the gate, saying that the flight was canceled due to weather, only for one of their own employees to state that the flight had been canceled due to crew-related reasons the next day.

From my original blog post:

After United flight 4116 from Cincinnati to Denver was cancelled on Monday, January 6, the United gate staff denied affected travelers hotel and transportation compensation, claiming the flight was delayed due to weather. It was a transparent excuse. A member of the gate staff had already made an announcement saying that the flight would fly empty because no flight attendants could be found for the leg to Cincinnati. On January 7, a member of the gate staff for the flight to Houston said that the flight to Denver was in fact canceled because of crew-related reasons and that compensation may be provided.

Read the full post: United Airlines Flights Canceled – Will United Compensate its Travelers?

UPDATE: United Twitter has responded saying that current response time is 14-21 days. This story will continue to be updated as it develops.

UPDATE II: I respond on Twitter:

UPDATE III (Final Update): On February 7, United issued a travel certificate in the amount requested.

Jan 24

The Yushukan War Museum is Even Worse than the Yasukuni Shrine

By Mitchell Blatt | New Writing

A few weeks before Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited the Yasukuni Shrine, I was there in Tokyo visiting it. How did I know the shrine would be in the news a few weeks later? It always is. I wanted to see what it was really like there.

Not only is there the shrine, but there’s also the Yushukan war museum, which contains the Japanese view of World War II. As I found out, Yushukan is even worse than the Shrine. I wrote about it in an op-ed in the Shanghai Daily.

When it comes to Yasukuni, the on-site Yushukan war museum may be even more offensive than the enshrined war criminals, for within the Yushukan there is no apology — nor even any acknowledgement — of many of the massacres those very war criminals presided over.

Take the Nanjing Massacre. Shortly after the start of the Sino-Japanese War ­— it is known as the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression in China — in December 1937, Japan ransacked the city, burning and looting, and executing civilians.

According to the findings of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, within the first six weeks of Japanese occupation, over 200,000 civilians and unarmed soldiers were killed and 20,000 women were raped.

Yet at Yushukan, in the text about the “Nanking (Nanjing) Incident,” there is no mention of these atrocities, only an assertion that “General Matsui Iwane distributed maps to his men with foreign settlements and the Safety Zone marked in red ink. Matsui told them that they were to maintain strict military disciplines and that anyone committing unlawful acts would be severely punished.” Matsui was convicted at the war crimes tribunal for his failure to control his men in Nanjing.

There’s more:

The Japanese view of the war today has not changed much since the International Military Tribunal for the Far East published their judgments in 1948.

Read my whole article here: Yushukan museum whitewashes wartime atrocities

Jan 21

How Net Neutrality Could Hurt Writers and the Media

By Mitchell Blatt | Uncategorized

Common Cause is opposing a court ruling that struck down “Net Neutrality” regulations on the internet. Common Cause program director Todd O’Boyle’s argument in favor of “Net Neutrality,” however, could have some scary repercussions for writers, reporters, producers, and artists of word and content.

In a world where content-creation is already being devalued by content scraping sites like Buzzfeed, content-creators are finding it harder and harder to earn a living. Journalism is struggling to keep ad revenue with the transition to the internet.

Mr. O’Boyle’s solution could make the problem worse if it were to be implemented. He told the Huffington Post:

“Information shouldn’t become a luxury.”

And the Huffington Post further contextualized:

And yet it’s clear that at least as far as the purveyors of cable television are concerned, information is a luxury — and one that should be paid for. Those who subscribe to Time Warner Cable’s expensive “Preferred TV” bundle get access to all the TV news channels, while subscribers to Time Warner’s relatively bare-bones “Starter TV” bundle must content themselves with C-SPAN and Time Warner Cable News NY1.

What he refers to as “information” is the work of many people who gather it, present it in a digestible form, and broadcast it.Continue reading

Jan 18

How Avril Lavigne Dodges Chinese Territory Controversy on China Tour…

By Mitchell Blatt | Culture

IMG_5890When Avril Lavigne tours in China this February, she isn’t going to “Hong Kong”; she’s going to “Chinese Hong Kong.” This tour poster, written in Chinese, lists her first destination as “Chinese Hong Kong” (中国香港) rather than simply saying “Hong Kong” (香港).

Hong Kong is still a Special Administrative Region and was returned to China in 1997 from Great Britain. There are some in Hong Kong who seem themselves as being different than Mainland China and want autonomy. This poster seems to be an affirmation directed towards the Chinese audience that Hong Kong is indeed a part of China.

I recall a few years ago when Lady Gaga was touring Asia, she listed “Taiwan” as one of her destinations in an English-language promo. On Facebook, some Chinese friends saw that as an endorsement of Taiwanese independence. The situation with regards to governance is very different between Hong Kong and Taiwan, but most Chinese people see Taiwan as being a legitimate part of China.

Jan 16

Yushukan museum whitewashes wartime atrocities

By Mitchell Blatt | Uncategorized

“Yushukan museum whitewashes wartime atrocities,” published in the Shanghai Daily on January 16, 2014

With Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s recent visit to the Yasukuni Shrine, Japan has once again taken the position that it has nothing to apologize for in World War II.

At a time when East Asia is already on edge with territorial disputes between China, South Korea, and Japan, Japan’s hardline nationalism threatens to stifle diplomacy further.

The Yasukuni Shrine enshrines all those who have died fighting for Japan from the Meiji Restoration in the 1860s through World War II. Included among the enshrined are 14 Class-A war criminals and more convicted of lower level war crimes in World War II.

There are many more who served their country with integrity. But the Empire of Japan’s expansionist violence was not limited to World War II, and neither is Yasukuni’s offensiveness limited to the shrine itself.

Japan took control of the Diaoyu Islands, the main islands being disputed by China, in 1895, the same year they took Taiwan with a treaty that has since been invalidated. Japan annexed Korea in 1910.

When it comes to Yasukuni, the on-site Yushukan war museum may be even more offensive than the enshrined war criminals, for within the Yushukan there is no apology — nor even any acknowledgement — of many of the massacres those very war criminals presided over.

Read full article: Yushukan museum whitewashes wartime atrocities

PDF version

Featured image taken by Mitchell Blatt.

Jan 09

United Airlines Flights Canceled Due to Crew — Will United Compensate Its Travelers? /// UPDATE: United Issues Compensation

By Mitchell Blatt | Travel

Flights across the East Coast and Midwest have been canceled and delayed because of extreme cold and new anti-fatigue regulations. United Airlines is just one of the many companies that had flights canceled in droves. Its not their fault that the weather sucked, and the flight delays an inevitable part of travel from time to time… But there’s no excuse for lying about flight delays.
United Airlines Arrival Counter at Midnight -- late flight
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Mitchell Blatt is an intrepid travel writer, and an author of two top China guidebooks, who brings his readers deep into the cultures of the places he explores. Subscribe now to get real stories of real people in real places around the world delivered right to your inbox.