Thursday, March 26, 2009
GIRL BASKETBALL, FAMILY, LIFE 女子篮球，家庭，与生命的价值
-A TRUE AND CONTINUING SAGA OF A RETIRED CHINESE NATIONAL TEAM BASKETBALL PLAYER AND HIS AMERICAN DREAM-
By Kai Chen, 1-07-2003
DEDICATED TO MY DAUGHTER ALEX
“The way one approaches the game is the way one approaches life”
I had always thought of her as just another player, with ordinary talent and a big heart and the love of basketball. I remembered that when she just started to get into this game, I even tried to discourage her. “It’s a brutal game.” stating my own experience as a former basketball player for the Chinese National Team. “Are you sure you really want to get into this?” The only answer I got was the sound of dribbling the ball. Sure I got a basketball stand in the backyard the moment she started running. But how did I know she had flat feet, no speed and jumping ability and an awkward swing of arms when she runs? I knew she was going to be tall since I am 6’7” and my wife Susan is 5’11”. But being tall does not mean she can play the game. Everybody knows that.
I arrived at the gym a little early, as usual. But this day I was unusually distressed. I was concerned about the pain she had complained in her left knee. She had an ACL reconstructive surgery last year on that knee. So far she had felt fine. And she had performed quite well in the last three tournaments this season. Not only did she not show signs of rustiness, she had some of her best games ever. I was excited and even ecstatic about her recovery, till two days ago she told me about the pain. A teammate inadvertently ran into her during a routine practice. Her left knee had swollen up and there was some fluid in it. She was just about to put things together after she first had the injury in her sophomore year. Now just when she was about to blossom into herself in her junior season, now just when she was about to taste her own fruit of hard work, she had to…. I did not even want to spell out the fear, the uncertainty, the helplessness.
She was working on a stationary bicycle when I walked in. After she was done, she picked up a ball to shoot at one end of the court while the school varsity was practicing at the other end. I walked over to rebound and feed her the ball as I had done thousands of times.
“How do you feel?” I felt compelled by my own urge to know. “Shaky.” She answered without looking at me. “When I tighten my muscles, there is a pain inside.” Her voice became a little unsteady. I approached her, squatted to examine her knee. I reached and touched her leg. The surgical scars were still red and shiny. I stood up. I could see a little moist sparkled in her eyes. There was a little helplessness. Yet she was quiet with that typical determined look on her face. I suddenly realized that this couple of days I was preparing something to say to her in my head, a speech I never thought I would come up with this early.
“Alex,” I reached out my hands to hold her shoulder. “I know that I am your harshest critic. Yet there is something that needs to be said….”
Suddenly I was choked with emotions. I could not continue. I found that one of my hands was still holding her, but the other hand was covering my own mouth. Tears started to trickle down my cheeks. Then both of my hands held her tightly in my arms. Time stood still.
Here in the Marlborough School gym, under the glaring lights, I was holding my daughter in my arms, I was embracing her fully in my heart, as I murmured words into her ears: “I love you so much, so much, Alex…. You make me feel so proud to be your father. So proud….” I could taste my own tears with my feverish kisses on her forehead. “I love you, too, Dad.” was all I heard through her sobs. I realized at that moment that my tears were not tears of sadness and disappointment, but tears of happiness and deliverance. I realized that not only she knew how much she had achieved since she started playing this game, she knew what lay ahead and she was ready to face the challenge. I realized that she had such a flare of confidence that no matter what happens in her future, she will be OK. And I realized that no matter what happens in the future in our family, we will be OK. For a few moments, I was immersed in her grace and dignity. I felt the serenity coming back to me after some unspeakable distress. I realized words could not express what I felt: Life is being lived.
As I stood there watching her 6’1” beautiful frame, I whispered her name to myself as I thought. “You have shown me who you are. You have proven to yourself that you are worthy of this game. You are a winner in life.” I smiled and felt like joking as I extracted myself from the moment: “After all, you got my genes.” She laughed and her face radiated like a summer morning glory. What a beautiful sight.
Monday, March 23, 2009
English Narration "My Way" and "One in a Billion" with SOH is Released 英文播音“我的路”和“一比十亿”现已在希望之声播出
Please go to Sound of Hope - Incubator Section
To all who listen to this radio program:
I want to thank Sound of Hope, the producer Catherine and the narrator Daniel from the Czech Republic. May Freedom Ring!!
Former China Intelligence Officer Tells His Story On Capitol Hill 前中共碟报员叛逃后首次露面
By Gary Feuerberg
Fengzhi Li (L), former China Intelligence officer of the Ministry of State Security, speaks on Capitol Hill on how the Chinese Communist Party suppresses the Chinese people. He spoke through an interpreter. (Nancy Nieh/The Epcoh Times)
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Chinese Intelligence Officer of the Ministry of State Security, Fengzhi Li, kept a low profile when he defected to the United States in 2004.
He was primarily concerned about the safety of his family, who were still on the mainland. At the time, he needed to put some distance between himself and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Then the human rights situation in China got “worse and worse,” he said. With access to the truth on how the Party suppresses the Chinese people, Li said he had to speak out to stop the killing and bring an end to a “brutal dictatorship.”
The solitude that Mr. Li enjoyed for five years ended abruptly. Last week on March 11, Mr. Li became the first person who had worked in China’s espionage system to publicly renounce his membership in the Chinese Communist Party. On March 15, Li was the focus of two rallies in the nation’s capital, celebrating the withdrawal of 51 million Chinese from the CCP or its affiliated organizations.
Then four days later, on March 19, Li followed up his public statements with an appearance on Capitol Hill to issue a new statement, which is even more vitriolic and accusatory of his former employer. He answered questions from the press, and received greetings and high praise from one of Congress’ leading human rights voices, Representative Dana Rohrabacher.
“In today’s China, political, economic and social power is highly monopolized. Except for the Communist Party, no other individuals or groups have any freedom or power, said Li.
Congressman Dana Rohrbacher (R-CA) speaks, with Li Fengzhi at his side. (Epoch Times Staff)
He continued: “In order to control its monopoly, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has developed a political system that reaches every corner of the society and uses all kinds of bloody means to suppress Chinese people and other political groups.”
The picture that Li gives of China’s security system is one that doesn’t trust the people and thoroughly Orwellian.
“Employees of the national security system are supposed to protect the country and serve the country. But the CCP expends huge amounts of funds to suppress ordinary citizens and even extends the reach of their black hands overseas. In the past few years, to deal with the citizens who appeal for their rights, political dissidents, and spiritual groups, the CCP has increased its use of the state security systems to collect intelligence, carry out the monitoring, and so forth, even directly participating in arresting and persecuting those people.”
Li said that he and many of his colleagues at the Ministry of State Security, were “furious” at the CCP’s abuse of the country's resources to deal with decent Chinese folks. They ceased to trust and have confidence in the CCP.
Happiness is Not Only Economic Well-Being
One obstacle facing anyone who raises the issue of human rights atrocities in China is the common perception in the West that China has made tremendous progress economically, and that democracy and freedom are increasing with the economic expansion. This perception of China’ progress needs to be corrected, according to Li.
Fengzhi Li, 41, was raised in a materialistic, atheistic environment, where the education system instilled communist values to children. Due to the one child policy, Li had no brothers or sisters, and he said to this reporter that the way it is enforced is heartless.
Based on what Mr. Li said about the “pursuit of happiness,” a phrase out of the U.S. Declaration of Independence,” opposing the materialistic CCP has led Mr. Li to dwell on the “pursuit” of other values. He said that economic improvement is only one facet of “the pursuit of happiness.” Li says Chinese people should have the right to pursue their lives with dignity, pursue social justice, and pursue a spiritual life, like the free nations do in the West. He said that economic well-being cannot alone bring about true happiness.
“Today, when people around the world talk about China's economic growth, they should pay attention to the fact that China's economic growth has not brought about the social and political progress that it should have, and it has not brought ordinary Chinese people more freedom and political rights. The huge cost of the economic growth is worrisome, and it will eventually be paid by the Chinese people,” said Li.
When human rights are respected, China will have “genuine progress,” and it will benefit not only the Chinese people, but the world.
China’s Spies Can Lead To Its Own Undoing
China scholar and NTD-TV commentator, Dr. Tianliang Zhang said he was reminded by the account given by Mr. Li of a popular German film, The Life of Others, that portrayed the inner life of a spy and won the Academy Awards for the best Foreign Language Film in 2007. It’s about an agent working for the Stasi, the East German state police a few years before the fall of communism in the GDR. The agent, Captain Wiesler, is ordered to conduct surveillance on a dissident, who is suspected of pro-Western sympathies. But through getting to know him, the agent becomes sympathetic, and decides to distort and cover up for him in his reports to his superiors.
“An interesting aspect of this agent is that he is a faithful socialist,” says Dr. Zhang. He joined the Stasi because he felt that he was protecting the country from any potential enemies. In the end, he discovered the corruption of the communist leaders and understood humanity through listening in on the dissident writer.
“Today when we know Mr. Li Fengzhi's story, we can see that what is depicted in the movie came true [for Li Fengzhi],” said Dr. Zhang.
Mr. Li’s story demonstrates “a simple fact that if a person truly cares for the country and people, they know that the Communist Party is actually damaging the country and persecuting the people,” said Dr. Zhang. And there is also the potential that when the state police monitor the people, they are positioned well to know the truth because they have access to the censored news denied to the people, and they may witness firsthand the sufferings of the regime’s victims—people like the peaceful Falun Gong practitioners or a Christian like Attorney Gao Zhisheng.
Indeed, Mr. Li, as a former Intelligence agent, evolved in the same way as the fictional Stasi agent. Based on what he knows and on his understanding of what a free society should be like, Mr. Li says he is compelled to tell the West to awaken to the totalitarian nation that China has truly become. He tells us living in the West not to be fooled by the CCP and China’s great economic progress. He implores us to realize that the human rights abuses are only getting worse.
“When the international community engages with China, if we only focus on temporary economic … benefits, but keep silent on human rights issues, it is the same as supporting the CCP. ... From this perspective, keeping silent equals being accomplices to the CCP’s tyranny.”
Mar 21, 2009
Saturday, March 21, 2009
陈凯在洛发反毛运动 吁销毁思想与毛像 Decimating Mao's Portraits & Statues
洛杉矶反共团体继中文翻译美国新闻栏目, 反制好莱坞不当追捧共产主义之后, 接着又准备在网上发起反毛运动. 活动发起人陈凯表示, 在中国社会和西方少数族群之中, 仍存在把毛泽东奉为“时尚符号”的现象, 他希望藉此活动搭建言论平台, 提供各界反思与辩论。
旅美反共人士陈凯免费向侨界发送DVD, 反制不当追捧共产主义获得具体反馈后, 下一步将是通过网上发起销毁毛像运动。
陈凯: 我希望建立一种运动, 在中国销毁毛泽东像, 包括销毁画像和塑像, 呼吁从天安门把毛泽东像抬出去。
陈凯表示, 中国向世界打开了大门, 但某些被视流行的文化现象和世界接轨交流以后, 暴露了对历史真相缺乏反思的盲点。
陈凯: 一个专制社会没有道德的实质, 依靠的都是标像符号充斥着人们脑子, 如标语、符号、国旗国歌和国徽等东西, 连钞票上都印着毛像, 到处都是这些东西, 最终造成崇拜, 但不敬畏神灵。
去年底, 陈凯在好莱坞以文革为主题的毛餐厅门前举行抗议集会, 向西方社会宣讲反毛诉求, 抗议活动引起反响, 却也提高了毛餐厅知名度。
陈凯: 如果真为业者打开知名度, 或者是餐厅生意变好了, 都不是我应该考虑的. 我活动目的是为了唤起人们良知, 自己和自己的良知对话, 包括商业行为是否有对错好坏? 有无真假标准? 只要有一个人站出来发出这种声音, 而不是鸦雀无声, 能有这一点作用就已足够。
台侨郭树人: 台湾和中国大陆都一样, “臣民”崇尚领袖, 而“公民”质疑政客. 从台湾走过的历史来看, 党外时代(未开放党禁)反蒋介石, 和现在在中国大陆比较觉醒的人反对毛泽东, 两者其实很类似。 如果有人在中国大陆敢站出来, 才能真正改变政治思维。
Friday, March 20, 2009
20th Anniversary of Tiananmen Massacre “六四”二十周年纪念
From Tiananmen Square to Freedom Square 从天安门广场到自由广场
- Kai Chen Speech on Freedom 陈凯演讲阐扬自由 -
Time: Saturday, March 28, 2009 2:00 pm 三月二十八日，星期六， 下午两点
Location: Taiwan Community Center, Rosemead, Los Angeles 台湾会馆, 柔似蜜，洛杉矶
Features: Free DVD distribution "My Way" 免费DVD - “我的路”
Book Sale: "One in a Billion - Journey toward Freedom" 书籍出售 “一比十亿 - 通往自由的历程”
Distribution of literature on Freedom. 其他免费文献
Free admission. 免费入场
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Soldier's story a new look at Tiananmen crackdown 士兵的故事（天安门）
Associated Press Writer Christopher Bodeen, Associated Press Writer – Wed Mar 18, 11:47 am ET
Reuters – People's Liberation Army soldiers march on Tiananmen Square before the closing session of the National … TENGZHOU,
China – Even 20 years later, the shooting, chaos and death of the final assault on Tiananmen Square remain vivid in the mind of former soldier Zhang Shijun. Today, he has become one of the few to publicly voice regret.
In bearing witness about his role in the military crackdown on the 1989 student demonstrations in Beijing, Zhang says he hopes to add momentum to calls for an investigation and reassessment of the protest movement — and to further its ultimate goal of a democratic China.
"I feel like my spirit is stuck there on the night of June 3," Zhang, 40, said in an interview at his home in the dusty northern city of Tengzhou, referring to the date in 1989 on which the final assault began.
Zhang's tortured memories have gained a global audience among the Chinese dissident community in the weeks since he posted an open letter to president and Communist Party leader Hu Jintao online. In it, he relates some of what he saw when posted on the night of June 3-4, along with an account of the persecution he underwent after asking for an early discharge, and his belief that China must eventually clear its collective conscience of the tragic events.
"The responsibility can't just be laid on the military," Zhang said. "It's really the responsibility of all Chinese."
Zhang was just 18 when he joined the elite 54th Group Army's 162nd Motorized Infantry Division based in the central city of Anyang. Less than three years later, with student-led protests gathering pace, Zhang's units were ordered to Beijing on April 20, 1989. There, they camped on the capital's southwestern edge while citizens erected barricades to block their progress toward Tiananmen, the vast square in the heart of the city where the students had established their headquarters.
On June 3, their orders came: Drive through to the square and get it cleared.
Heading east toward the square, Zhang and his comrades abandoned their vehicles as bricks and rocks flew at their heads and bullets were fired at them by unknown shooters from upper stories of apartment buildings. Members of his unit fired over the heads of civilians as a warning, said Zhang, who added that he himself was serving as a medic and unarmed in the final assault.
Zhang said he knew of no deaths caused by the troops of the 54th army — a claim impossible to disprove as long as official files on the events remain closed. Most of the post-crackdown reports pinned the hundreds, possibly thousands of deaths among civilians and students on two other units, the 27th and 38th group armies based outside Beijing.
By daylight the next morning, Zhang said his unit established a cordon along the square's southern edge between a KFC restaurant and the mausoleum of communist China's founder, Mao Zedong.
Zhang said other details were still too sensitive to tell, suggesting atrocities such as the shooting in the back of unarmed students and civilians. While other eyewitnesses have made similar allegations, they remain impossible to independently confirm.
After their withdrawal, Zhang said he asked for and eventually obtained an early discharge, never having expected to be sent to fight ordinary citizens. After returning to Tengzhou he began a discussion group promoting market economics and politics, but was arrested on March 14, 1992 and sentenced to three years in a labor camp for political crimes. Then, as now, he regarded the charges as trumped-up retribution for his leaving his unit early.
After his release, Zhang said he traveled to find work, returning to Tengzhou in 2004 to deal in arts and antiques and help raise his 13-year-old daughter. In a dingy study adorned with his calligraphy and curio collection, he spends hours at the keyboard of his battered computer keeping in touch with other dissidents and surfing the Internet politics discussion boards.
Zhang, who retains the close-clipped haircut and restrained demeanor of a military man, said he came forward partly to seek redress for his jail camp term, but that revisiting the Tiananmen events remained his main focus.
"Back then, we felt that it would all be addressed in the near future. But ... democracy just seems further and further away," Zhang said between puffs on an endless string of "General" brand Chinese cigarettes.
Zhang said he hoped his example would inspire more ex-soldiers to come forward and form a network, but appeared reluctant to cast himself as an organizer, perhaps wary of the party's tendency to single out perceived opposition ringleaders for harsher punishment.
Already, his activities have aroused official attention. Visitors have been followed by police and Zhang said authorities who summoned him Wednesday, a day after the AP interviewed him, ordered him to shun the foreign media.
Retired professor Ding Zilin, an advocate for Tiananmen victims whose teenage son was killed in the crackdown, said Zhang is one of only a few soldiers to speak up about the 1989 events. Many who took part in the crackdown continue to hide their involvement, refusing to wear the commemorative watch issued to all martial law troops, she said.
"Twenty years have passed, but if the soldiers still had conscience, there may be others who stand up," Ding said.
Nicholas Bequelin, Asia researcher for New York-based Human Rights Watch, said testimony from those who took part in the crackdown was invaluable to forming a full view of the events.
That Zhang was willing to come forward, Bequelin said, simply reinforced the conviction among many that "in the long run, a reassessment of those events is inevitable."
Monday, March 16, 2009
Recession with Chinese Characteristics 中国特色的经济衰退
Continued growth or collapse? The only certainty is more repression.
By John Derbyshire
When, 30 years ago, Deng Xiaoping authorized a retreat from the Maoist command economy, he called his plan “Socialism with Chinese Characteristics.” After a spell of cautious experimentation, Deng’s schema blossomed into the export-led, double-digit-growth Chinese economy we have become familiar with this past couple of decades. Now, with the deepening worldwide recession, China watchers are puzzling over the effect of the crisis on China and the ability of China’s government to ride out the storm.
As usual with China, opinion — even informed opinion — is all over the place. At one end are those predicting political collapse. One scholar known to me, who keeps anonymity to protect his China access — a common attitude; no one has forgotten the example of Steven Mosher — says that China’s 2008-Q4 and 2009-Q1 figures for electricity production look dire, and that widespread rumors say the leadership is leaning on the country’s wealthiest industrialists to buy Chinese government paper, so the government in turn can continue to buy U.S. government paper. (I have heard the same rumor about Russia.)
For the contrary view, business writer Robert Peston at the BBC, reporting on Prime Minister Wen Jiabao’s address to China’s National People’s Congress last week, tells us that:
The Chinese economy remains . . . exceptionally strong. It’s true . . . that growth in China has been slowing down — and regions particularly dependent on exports, especially the south, have suffered mass closures of factories and painful rises in unemployment. But many economists believe that the Chinese economy is still growing . . . Thus Stephen Green at Standard Chartered reckons there was 1 percent growth between the third and fourth quarters of last year, and that there’ll be a similar expansion in the first three months of this year. For 2009 as a whole, he’s forecasting GDP growth of between 6 and 7 percent . . . That may be a long way from the low teens growth of last year. But it looks pretty amazing compared with the very painful recessions in Japan, the UK, Germany and the US.
Well-informed observers have been forecasting a Chinese collapse for at least a decade to my certain knowledge. That doesn’t mean it won’t happen, but it suggests caution when reading the more pessimistic forecasts. China is a very murky place, and anything that happens there will likely take us by surprise. The only thing that can be said for sure about the near future is that this will, for China, be a recession with Chinese characteristics. As Peston reports, Chinese government action so far has been along the same lines as our own — tax cuts, more public spending and borrowing, bailouts for key industries, more financial regulation — only on a smaller scale. Stimulus-wise, the Obama administration is well to the left of the Chinese Communist party.
This much can at least be depended on: In an economic slowdown, the Communist party will be even more determined to root out “enemies of the people.” Not that the post-Deng leadership has ever shown any inclination toward political reform; against its own citizens — those who dare to present even the smallest, most deferential challenge to party authority — the Communist leadership maintains rigid Leninist norms. The pledges of human-rights improvements given ahead of the Peking Olympics last year were never sincere, and were tossed contemptuously into the shredder even before the opening ceremony, as the Washington Post made clear in its report on dissident Ji Sizun the other day:
When Ji Sizun heard that the Chinese government had agreed to create three special zones in Beijing for peaceful public protests during the 2008 Summer Olympics, he celebrated. He said in an interview at the time that he believed the offer was sincere and represented the beginning of a new era for human rights in China . . . It is now clear that his hope was misplaced . . . China never approved a single protest application — despite its repeated pledges to improve its human rights record when it won the bid to host the Games. Some would-be applicants were taken away by force by security officials and held in hotels to prevent them from filing the paperwork . . . In January, [Ji] was sentenced to three years in prison.
The other arm of the Communist regime’s survival strategy consists of appeals to nationalism via angry defiance of foreign “provocation.” In the absence of any actual provocations, something can easily be staged. That was the motive behind the weekend fracas in the South China Sea. The Communists have to carry out a tricky balancing act here. On the one hand, they know that they need to cooperate with the U.S. if they are ever to get back to those double-digit growth rates. (As the blogger Fabius Maximus wittily observes, in 50 years we have gone from Mao Tse-tung’s assertion that “Only socialism can save China!” to the present assumption that “Only China can save capitalism!”) On the other hand, fingers periodically need to be poked in the foreign devils’ eyes to appease China’s huge cohort of rabidly nationalistic young men. This is more necessary right now than ever.
For one thing, the number of college graduates in China has been increasing very rapidly: 650,000 more graduated last year than the year before. When there were few graduates in a fast-growing economy, educated youngsters could pick and choose. Now there are many graduates in a comparatively sluggish economy, and the prospects fall short of their expectations. For another thing, this year is the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square killings that so horrified the civilized world. It is also the 90th anniversary of the May Fourth movement, an epochal event, also student-led, that transformed the culture and mental outlook of educated Chinese, among them the 25-year-old Mao Tse-tung.
And then, Tibet. March 10 was the 50th anniversary of the great uprising against Chinese occupation that led to the flight of the Dalai Lama. Fifty years have done nothing to reconcile Tibetans to their subjection, and the Communists show every sign of knowing this. The Tibet Autonomous Region has been under tight lockdown for weeks, along with Tibetan territories in neighboring “Chinese” provinces. To add insult to repression, the Communists have declared March 28th to be “Serfs’ Emancipation Day,” in line with their propaganda about having liberated Tibetans from “feudalism.” Perhaps the massive Chinese military and police presence in Tibet is there to prevent the Tibetans from breaking into excessively joyful spontaneous demonstrations of gratitude to their liberators.
The Chinese Communists’ treatment of Tibet could go into political-science textbooks as history’s most outstanding example of unimaginative statecraft. The utter absence of imagination among the national leadership is in fact the strongest reason to fear for China’s stability. The last 20 years of fast-rising prosperity have been rather easily accomplished. The leadership had to do little more than relax some Maoist absurdities and stand back while stuff happened. The years to come will present much greater challenges, calling for imaginative handling. There was no hint of any capacity for that in the robotic, insomnia-cure addresses to the National People’s Congress last week.
It is now a hundred years since Sun Yat-sen formulated the Three People’s Principles as a framework for modern China. They were: harmonious nationhood, consensual democracy, and a sound economy. Military patrols in the streets of Lhasa testify to failure in the first of the Three Principles; the brutish silencing of harmless dissidents like Ji Sizun makes a mockery of the second. Thirty years of “Socialism with Chinese Characteristics” has at least delivered some progress on the third. If that progress falters, the past century of Chinese history might as well not have happened.
— John Derbyshire is an NRO columnist and author, most recently, of Unknown Quantity: A Real and Imaginary History of Algebra.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
THE TALE OF THREE TURTLES
- A Story for Children -
By Kai Chen 陈凯 April, 1993
A long, long time ago, three baby turtles were born in a swamp.
Each of the three little turtles had a shiny green shell, a pair of bright eyes on his soft tiny head, four feet layered with scales and a pointy tail attached to his behind. Their parents loved them very much and played with them often. Sometimes the little turtles took a swim under their parents’ bellies. Sometimes they crawled on their parents’ backs for a ride. Every day their parents brought them food, protected them from outside peril and taught them to understand things in their world. The little turtles never had to worry about anything.
One of the little turtles had a dark spot on his shell, so the parents named him Spotty. One of them liked to wriggle his tail a lot, so the parents named him Wriggly. The third on had an extremely hard shell. Once he fell from a cliff, he bit his lips and didn’t even shed a tear. The parents’ named him Toughie.
Unfortunately, the swamp where they lived was full of things they didn’t like. There were rotten branches and leaves and poisonous mushrooms everywhere. There were hordes upon hordes of irritating insects. There were infectious diseases. There were parasitic worms crawling in the mud. There were dangerous predators like snakes and crocodiles. There weren’t too many things to eat. Their food was almost always green algae. They were tired of it. There was no clean water to drink either. They could only drink from moldy ponds and even then they had to first make sure that the water was not poisonous. The swamp was damp and muddy. Mildew started to grow everywhere inside their shells, behind their necks, between their toes.
Not long after they were born, their parents died. Their mother was eaten by a crocodile. Their father died of an infectious disease of the swamp.
The three little turtles were very sad, very uncertain, and very afraid. From then on they had to look for their own food, for security, for comfort and for happiness. They struggled hard in the beginning just to survive. But after a while they got used to it and managed to get by on their own in the cheerless and precarious environment.
As time passed, the three little turtles gradually grew up. But they still lived in the moldy swamp. They still ate the bland algae and drank the dirty water. They still tiptoed among the dangerous predators and worried that they might catch the disease that had killed their father. They grew more and more dissatisfied and bored with what they ate and drank, more and more tired with the way they lived, more and more anxious about their own future.
Every spring, birds came from the ocean. They all had long necks and long beaks. They danced around the ponds and whooped through the bushes, looking for insects and small fish to eat. They built their nests to hatch their eggs. They sang with their high-pitched voices.
The little turtles were more and more curious about the birds. They were drawn closer to the birds and asked questions about their lives, seeking information about the outside world.
The birds mostly told them about the ocean where they came from. They told them that the ocean was so big that no one could reach the edge of it. They told them that the waves were so high that even the tallest trees in the swamp couldn’t compare. They told them that there were whales and sharks in the ocean. They were so big that one of them could fill up an entire pond. They told them about the colorful shells and pearls lying on the beaches and on the bottom of the ocean. They told them about the huge boats sailing on the ocean.
Spotty listened to the stories. He laughed through his nose:
“These birds are just bragging about the ocean to make us jealous and to belittle us. Turtles don’t have wings and cannot fly so there is no way for us to prove if what they said is true. Mother and Father told me long time ago that this swampland was the only place for us turtles to live. Our grandparents lived their lives here. I don’t believe these long-necked, lone-beaked, feathered devils. Besides, this is our land. This is the land of turtles. Without it, I wouldn’t be here. I am going to live and die just like my parents. This is the turtles’ way of life. Life is same everywhere. Life is about learning how to survive, how to endure misery and how to pass time. Mother and Father always told us so.”
Wriggly listened to the stories. He was confused. He became unsure of himself:
“Father and Mother always told us not to believe any creatures except turtles. But it seems that birds do live a better life than us turtles. They can fly afar, eat better meals, drink cleaner water, even dance and sing to enjoy themselves. It must be the ocean that gives them the strength to do what they are doing. We turtles can’t fly like the birds. It must be this dirty swamp that has disabled us turtles. I am sick and tired of the muddy, moldy, poisonous swamp. I’ve got to get out of here.”
Toughie listened to the stories. His eyes sparkled. His thoughts flew far away to those strange and fascinating places. He dreamed that one day he would be just like the birds, carefree, swimming in the vast ocean, exploring countless treasures, understanding and communicating with those strange creatures he had never seen before.
“I don’t want to live a life like all the other turtles. I don’t want to end up like my parents - living in desperation and dying in misery and pain. I want to live a freer life, a more fulfilled life, a joyful life, a life of my own. One day I will die. But when I die, I want to be able to say to myself: ‘I have lived a good life. I have lived my life and haven’t let my life live me. I have nothing to regret about my life’. I’ve got to do something to find meaning in my life.”
So one day, Wriggly and Toughie decided to leave the swampland. Spotty remained.
They crawled with their feet, carrying their shiny green shells on their backs, their pointy tails dragging behind on the ground. They crawled. They crawled toward where the sun rises every day. They crawled toward where the birds came from. They crawled toward where the briny winds blew. They crawled. They crawled over the mountains and hills. They crawled over the deserts and grasslands. They crawled through treacherous rivers. They crawled day and night, through storm and heat wave. They crawled.
Their feet were full of blisters and their toes bled. Their shells were dusty, full of scratches from rocks and stones. Their soft heads were dotted with scars. Their tails had callous. Yet they kept going.
In Wriggly’s mind, he kept seeing the swampland he had lived in all those years. He hated the damp stagnant climate. He hated the dull tasteless food he had to eat. He hated the insects that bothered him all the time. He hated the predators from whom he had to constantly hide. He hoped to find a better place where he didn’t have to work so hard to survive, where he could eat better food whenever he wanted without much effort, where he could be safe, where he never had to look after himself, where he could be relieved the burden of life he had carried for so long. He wished this ordeal of traveling would end soon.
In Toughie’s mind, he kept seeing the rainbow of colors from the seashells the birds had told him about. He kept seeing the giant whales and walruses swimming in the ocean. He kept seeing himself swimming among the coral reefs and schools of colorful fish, sampling to the fullest extent the beauty and grandeur of nature, tasting many varieties delicious food. He was mesmerized when the birds told him about the immensity and mystery of the ocean. Yet, he knew he had to work hard to learn how to live in the ocean. He had confidence. He had a strong will. He was not afraid. He knew he had to chase after his own dreams and one day those dreams would come true. He was happy that he was finally doing something to make his dream a reality. Every time he thought about his dreams, he would forget about the scars on his body and he crawled even steadier and faster.
When the leaves on the trees started to drop, when the salty smell from the winds grew heavier, when the soil under their feet became sandier, Wriggly and Toughie finally heard the sound of the waves.
Wriggly was shocked. He had never heard anything like it. So loud and frightening and overwhelming! Not even the roar of crocodiles could compare.
Toughie was excited. He had finally reached his destination! The thunderous sound of roaring waves was like a giant bugle, calling him to crawl faster into the mysterious deep water and the violent embrace of the unknown.
When they finally reached the beach, they saw mountain-like waves coming layer upon layer from a body of water expanding endless toward the sky. The tide whirled and seethes, pounding the shore with tremendous force. The brothy foam, with the sand sandwiched between the waves, tossed an turned, like the clouds they had seen before in a storm.
Wriggly’s guts shuddered:
“The seabirds never told me that the ocean was like this, so violent, so inhospitable, so unfeeling.”
He then crawled gingerly by the water and dipped his toes in it. The water was freezing cold. He then extended his soft head toward the water and sipped a little. It was bitter and salty.
“The seabirds never told me that the ocean was like this, so very cold, so very bitter, so very salty.”
A giant tidal wave surged toward him. He wanted to run, but he was too late. He was immersed by the sand-tossing salty water. He felt the relentless power of nature. He panicked.
He shouted. He cried. He struggled to exert all his strength to get away from the water. He fled the ocean like a rabbit escaping from a coyote. He crawled fast back toward where he came from, toward the mountains and hills, toward the deserts and grasslands, toward the dirty moldy swamp where he was born.
“Come back! Wriggly. This is great!” Toughie was shouting.
Wriggly kept going, pretending that he didn’t hear.
But on his way back to the swamp, Wriggly suddenly realized that the swamp was not that enticing either. The mere thought of the mildew, the parasites, the diseases and the predators made him shiver. But where would he go?
It was too shameful to go back to the swamp, to go back to Spotty.
“Spotty will mock me all my life about the decision I made to go to the ocean. How am I ever going to face him?”
It was also too shameful to go back toward the ocean again.
“Toughie will look down on me and think I am a coward. How am I ever going to face him?”
Wriggly spent the rest of his life wandering between the ocean and the swamp, hesitating to go either way. He didn’t like the dry land either. The sun was too hot. The wind was too fierce. The ground was too rough. Food was too scarce. There wasn’t enough water anywhere.
The desert sand thickened his shell. The wind and sun dried his scales. The rocks and stones sharpened his claws. His neck stretched out before him because he had to constantly look for water. He became a dry land tortoise.
When Toughie saw the tidal wave pelting down from above like a mountain of transparent jade, his heart trembled with joy. He had finally stepped into the limitless ocean. He could finally enjoy exploring the infinite unknown. He could finally swim freely and roam through all the beauty that nature could possibly create.
He didn’t flee. He didn’t pull his neck back into his shell. He faced it - the ruthless force of the ocean. He praised it - the limitlessness of the treasures. He welcomed it - the joy and pleasure and the unprecedented challenge to un-tap them. He was proud of his own power over his fate. He was elated.
He dashed toward the deepest parts of the ocean, peddling frantically with his already tired feet, balancing himself with his delicate tail. The salt in the water hurt his eyes. His body was numbed by the cold. His motion grew precarious. But he kept going toward the deep.
He saw eels, sharks, whales. He heard seals, walruses, sea lions. He sampled seaweeds, shrimps and sea slugs. He kept going toward the infinite.
He swam in warm currents and rested on golden sandy beaches. He climbed icebergs. He explored underwater volcanoes. He took naps in the warm sun under the ocean breeze. He kept going toward the limitless.
His eyes gradually adjusted to the salty water. His shell became smooth and shiny. His feet grew flatter and larger. His toes grew smaller and duller. His tail became more agile. He could swim longer and smoother than other ocean creatures. He became a sea turtle.
He saw someone similar to himself in the ocean - a female turtle. They danced and played together and nested on the warm sand of the shore. They had many babies. They all spread around the enormous ocean.
Seabirds flew over the sea, above the dry land and into the swamp, year in and year out. The tree branches turned from green to yellow, and then green again.
Spotty heard many stories about Wriggly and Toughie. He heard they were uncomfortable with the different climate, disgusted with the change of diet, chased and hurt by formidable predators, discriminated against by other creatures.
Spotty sighed to his own children, scratching a mosquito bite on his head:
“Look. Wriggly and Toughie should have listened to our ancestors. They should not have left this swamp. See, how much hardship Wriggly has had to endure. He has become to ugly and unhappy because he made the wrong choice in the first place. But at least I can see him sometimes when he travels to the edge of the swamp. I don’t even know where Toughie is now. He may have already died, eaten by sharks, frozen or starved to death. Or perhaps he is too sick and to ashamed to return. Don’t you ever do what they did.”
After he spoke those words, he felt relieved, assured that the choice he had made to remain in the swamp was right. At least he knew who he was. He laughed, feeling a sense of pride and pleasure, even superiority.
A few months later, though, he died. He died of a disease he had always dreaded, caused by drinking rotten water, just like his father. His dead body sank in the mud. Insects, worms and mildew started to gather inside the shell. The shell gradually rotted and was eaten away. Nothing was left.
“What about Wriggly and Toughie? Where are they? How are they doing? Did they die like Spotty?” You may ask.
Sure. Like every turtle, like every creature in this world, they also died one day.
Wriggly was killed by a human. His shell was first made into a bowl by the humans to drink water from. Later, it was abandoned and crushed. It became dust floating in the air above the dry land.
Toughie was killed while he was climbing a giant motor-powered ocean liner. The ship’s powerful propeller smashed him. His shell was shattered into pieces, scattered around the ocean.
If you go to the beach sometimes and take a careful look around, you may still see the pieces of his shell - green, smooth, translucently shiny. They were sprinkled among colorful seashells all over the world, radiating under the golden sun, enriching the world with their deep mysteries and never-ending fairytales and folklores.
Friday, March 13, 2009
Patrick Henry is Calling You
Channeling the Young Patrick Henry 美国国父在召唤新的革命
By Quin Hillyer on 3.13.09 @ 6:09AM
If this be treason, make the most of it.
No, not treason against this wonderful nation. But this column may sound suspiciously like treason against the cult of Obama, and against his hagiographers in the establishment media, and against the very idea that this president actually loves this nation's liberal, republican, constitutional order. Consider this also to be treason against the myth that our president is a man of deep, or even average, integrity.
Barack Obama is a radical's radical and a man whose ego vastly outstrips his prior accomplishments. He is dangerous, and after just seven weeks he already is leading this country into disaster.
Let's start with his integrity, or lack thereof. It's not just conservatives who are starting to complain about Obama's dishonesty. Already the decidedly centrist Robert Samuelson has called Obama "a great pretender. He repeatedly says he is doing things that he isn't, trusting in his powerful rhetoric to obscure the difference." Or, as National Review's Jim Geraghty has turned into a repeated and accurate refrain, "All statements from Barack Obama come with an expiration date. All of them."
Obama told the nation he doesn't "believe in bigger government" while proposing the biggest government in American history. He says he wants bipartisan consultation but then asks for no substantive Republican/conservative proposals on either "stimulus" or health care -- or on anything else, for that matter. He repeatedly has claimed he would fight against earmarks but signs bills full of them after not lifting a finger to take them out. He pledged not to appoint lobbyists to his administration (a stupid pledge anyway) and then appointed lobbyists to his administration. He promised to allow the public five days to read all bills before he signs them, but already has broken that promise twice. He blasted President G.W. Bush for overusing "signing statements" and the very next day issued a signing statement. He promised transparency in all sorts of ways but then failed to provide it.
He claims to be committed to the security of Israel but surrounds himself with people far from friendly to that tiny country, including an intelligence council director (since departed) long openly hostile to and insulting of Israel. (The same man, Chas Freeman, sided with the Butchers of Beijing against the students in Tiananmen Square, which raises other issues to be addressed momentarily.) He said he supported an undivided Jerusalem and then that its status remains to be negotiated. He said Iran was one of the greatest threats to the United States and to world peace and then that it "doesn't pose a serious threat to us."
Obama pledged to abide by campaign spending limits and then abandoned them; he claimed to barely know William Ayers even though he knows him quite well; he ludicrously claimed to be ignorant of the hatred spewed by his own pastor of 20 years and said he "could no more abandon" that pastor than he could his "white grandmother," only to abandon him just a few months later. He claimed to have little to do with ACORN but actually taught yearly seminars for them. He promised to debate John McCain "anywhere, anytime," but ignored McCain's offers to do so. He claimed to want to seek common ground on abortion and life issues but has already as president taken three radically anti-life actions while surrounding himself with a host of some of the most pro-abort aides and appointees we've ever seen -- including one who likened pro-life laws to involuntary servitude.
This list could go on, but you get the picture.
Everywhere you look, Obama's actions (not words or tone, but actions) shows a disdain for tradition, for limits, for moderation, and for empirical information that doesn't fit his ideological predilections. Filibusters of judicial nominees -- even of the superbly qualified John Roberts? Of course. The gutting of welfare reform without even debating it? Yes. Promising all children they would have the same educational opportunities he and his children have had but then killing a scholarship program that lets underprivileged children be his daughters' schoolmates? Oh, well….
He does not one, not two, but three things in short order that come across as insults to the single closest ally, Great Britain, that this nation has had for an entire century. His secretary of state downplays human rights so repeatedly in just a few short weeks that even the Washington Post editorializes a warning. He travels abroad as a candidate and takes it upon himself to apologize for this nation's supposed sins. For two key positions -- head of his executive office of inter-governmental affairs and head of the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department -- he chooses people with ties not just to amnesty proponents, but to groups that believe parts of the Southwest should be ceded back to Mexico.
His entire Justice Department, for that matter, is made up of radicals. So is his White House counsel's office. His attorney general calls Americans "a nation of cowards" but the president waits days before correcting him, and then only when directly questioned about the remarks. He supports efforts to hobble those who would guard against vote fraud, and he tries to stack the electoral deck even more by politicizing the census.
His economic policies are utterly ruinous and ignore more than a quarter century of lessons about the advantages of sound money, low taxes, and restrained spending. He piles debt upon debt upon debt (after having spent his campaign last year promising "a net spending cut"). He proposes tax hikes on energy that would affect every single American, taxes on thousands of small businesses, and in effect on charitable donations and mortgage interest (in the midst of a depression, no less). He supports taking the secret ballot away from workers considering union formation. He supports the entire agenda of all his fellow liberals who whore for oodles of campaign cash and assistance from union bosses, gazillionaire plaintiffs' lawyers, and environmental extremists. And he now has killed the safest storage area for nuclear waste, the Yucca Mountain site, which will hobble extremely eco-friendly nuclear energy development.
Even worse are his defense policies. He offers to bargain away missile defense for eastern Europe. He campaigned on drastically cutting missile defense overall. He is considering putting off for five more years the procurement of the air-refueling tanker that every serious analyst says is justifiably the Pentagon's single most pressing equipment need, to replace a fleet of planes now half a century old. He reportedly is considering a long-term defense budget cut of up to 10 percent. Meanwhile, he already has begun letting terrorists go free.
And, as noted earlier, Obama actually appointed a defender of the Butchers of Beijing and a man prone to radically anti-Israeli (and sometimes downright anti-Semitic statements) as chairman of his national intelligence council. Even with Chas Freeman gone, what his original appointment says about the president is downright scary. His Secretary of State's pathetic suck-up to the Chinese foreign minister, combined with Mrs. Clinton's incredibly long record of suspicious or seemingly corrupt ties to Asian interests, leads an observer to fear a dangerous wool-headedness where China is concerned.
Finally, even on Afghanistan, the one defense/foreign policy area where Obama always seemed willing to be tough, he is letting matters drift in a worrisome fashion.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
March 12, 2009
Staring Down Chinese Diplomacy 美必须面对中国的威胁
by Walter Lohman
Asia's corridors of power are full of pragmatists. But unlike in Washington, where realism has now come to include new post-sovereignty goals, realism in Asia is still about sovereignty -- protecting it and extending it.
The Chinese, in particular, draw straight lines to their interests. They understand abstractions like becoming a "responsible stakeholder" well enough but they do not value them. American encouragement in this regard amounts to our "ask." We put our chits on increasing Chinese responsibility in the international community, and on climate change; they put theirs on sovereignty over Taiwan and the South China Sea. To some well-meaning Americans, international law is a way to peacefully settle conflict. To Chinese diplomats, it's a tool to assert their pre-existing aggressive claims.
The U.S. must be engaged with China. China is too big to ignore. ... But let's keep our eyes open. At this point in history, and for the foreseeable future, China's vision is too narrow to leverage the value of "responsible stakeholderhood."
The most recent case in point is the dust-up over the weekend in the South China Sea. According to press reports, on March 8, five Chinese ships harassed the USNS Impeccable in international waters 75 miles off the coast of China's Hainan Island, at one point forcing it to take emergency measures to evade a collision. The Defense Department said the incident was only the latest of several "increasingly aggressive" events over the past week.
What gives? Only weeks ago, the Obama administration was heralding resumption of defense talks as the start of a new era in U.S.-China military relations. The problem is that military contacts are an American priority, not a Chinese one. Since cancelling them in October -over U.S. arms sales to Taiwan-the Chinese have been cool to requests to resume.
Their reserve held all the way through the visit of the American delegation visit to Beijing in February. The official American response to the talks bordered on effusive. By contrast, the head of the Chinese delegation began by declaring, "China-U.S. military relations remain in a difficult period. We expect the U.S. side to take concrete measures for the resumption and development of our military ties." So much for mutual interest and shared responsibility.
Contact with the Chinese military is a good thing. It can build appreciation for each side's capabilities and reduce the prospects of miscalculation and conflict. U.S. military contact with China is closely constrained by American law to ensure that encounters do not result in inappropriate exposure to U.S. military doctrine, technology and techniques. In the end, though, the Chinese value their territorial claims far more than they value contact with the U.S. military. They certainly aren't going to allow the prospects of improved military relations, especially given its legal restraints, to prevent them from asserting their sovereignty.
The Chinese claim that the Impeccable was in their waters. They have focused their response on what they claim is their 200-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ). This claim is problematic for several reasons. But however it's sliced, the U.S. Navy has a right to be where it was off the coast of Hainan. Besides, it's important to know that the Chinese claim goes well beyond any 200-mile EEZ fig leaf. The Chinese hold the same jealous regard for the whole South China Sea, an area covering 648,000 square miles of ocean, to include territory that other nations would more reasonably consider their own.
The administration responded to the Impeccable incident with strong statements about U.S. rights in international waters. But they would do well to also internalize the lesson here: The Chinese are not going to be lured away from their sovereign claims in the South China Sea or anywhere else by indirection or abstraction. Their claims must be challenged, not only by quietly carrying out naval operations in international waters, but explicitly. Observers in the region are well aware of Chinese claims, on Taiwan, the South China Sea, and the Senkakus. Short of the occasional forced public challenge -- such as the one that just occurred near Hainan -- silence can be perceived as consent. And the appearance of American acceptance leaves the more vulnerable of China's neighbors with seemingly no options but to acquiesce.
The U.S. must be engaged with China. China is too big to ignore. Plus, there are several areas, whether in economics or nuclear proliferation, where we do share interests and can work together. But let's keep our eyes open. At this point in history, and for the foreseeable future, China's vision is too narrow to leverage the value of "responsible stakeholderhood."
The leaders running the People's Republic of China today are, indeed, pragmatists. But they are not post-sovereign, or even enlightened realists. They are calculating geo-politicians extremely jealous of their sovereignty. The United States can deal with that, but only if it is taken head on. Pretending the Chinese are something they are not will not make it so.
Walter Lohman is senior research fellow for Southeast Asia in the Asian Studies Center at the Heritage Foundation.
First appeared in FOXNews
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Breaking: Chas Freeman out at NIC 奥巴马的失算
Update: Hoekstra statementposted at 5:10 pm on March 10, 2009 by Ed Morrissey
Send to a Friend | Share on Facebook | printer-friendly Another ill-considered appointment in the Barack Obama administration has come to an abrupt halt. Dennis Blair has reconsidered his choice of Chas Freeman as chair of the National Intelligence Council:
Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair announced today that Ambassador Charles W. Freeman Jr. has requested that his selection to be Chairman of the National Intelligence Council not proceed. Director Blair accepted Ambassador Freeman’s decision with regret.
The more people found out about Freeman, the worse he got — and not just among conservative critics. His ties to CNOOC, his remarks about the Tiananmen Square protesters, and his support of a national ID after 9/11 painted a strange picture of the man who would run the process of evaulating our intelligence. That, plus the fact that Freeman had no intelligence experience — when the CIA also has a no-experience political fixer running it — doomed Freeman’s appointment.
Apparently, the Obama administration got the message from the Hill today. Dianne Feinstein requested that Freeman make himself available to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, signaling that she was not pleased with Blair’s choice. The White House had let Blair twist in the wind when Freeman started taking flack, first among Israel’s allies in DC and later as more critics began to speak out. They pointed out that the White House had no input on the choice and no opportunity to vet Freeman before Blair announced his pick.
What’s interesting is that Freeman crashed on Capitol Hill even without needing Senate confirmation. That shows how weird this selection was in the first place, and continues the feckless performance of the Obama administration on staffing the senior positions in the new administration.
Update: Pete Hoekstra started off the scrutiny of this pick, at least on Capitol Hill, and now the ranking member on the House Intelligence Commitee just released a response:
“The Director of National Intelligence has informed the committee that Charles Freeman has decided to withdraw his name from further consideration as chairman of the National Intelligence Council. Mr. Freeman to withdraw his name is the right decision under the circumstances.
“Mr. Freeman’s selection as chairman of the council was a poor choice from the beginning. Given his financial dealings with a Chinese state-run oil company and the backing of his think tank by the government of Saudi Arabia, it raises serious questions about the vetting that was done by the administration.
Mr. Freeman’s extensive record of questionable public statements, including those that seemed to defend the Tiananmen Square massacre and raise questions about the American character following the 9/11 attacks, should have been more than enough to give the administration pause.
“This is yet another breakdown in the Obama administration vetting process—one more in a long series of missteps. More fundamentally, on an intelligence matter, it calls into question the essential judgments being made. As with Guantanamo Bay and interrogation, the administration seemingly reached a decision before thinking through all the issues. I hope the administration will show greater consideration in the future.”
Or maybe even some evidence of consideration at all.
Another Man Down
By Kathy Shaidle
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, March 11, 2009
On Monday, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair announced that Charles Freeman had withdrawn his name from consideration for the post of Chairman of the National Intelligence Council (NIC), ending weeks of acrimonious debate that had been triggered by Freeman’s nomination. But while Freeman has receded from the spotlight, his selection to a critical intelligence post – despite a deeply troubling political background – lingers as a dark cloud over the Obama administration.
In the sensitive role of Chairman of the NIC, Freeman would have been privy to state secrets and would have advised President Obama on matters of national security. Yet Freeman’s ties to foreign powers raised obvious questions regarding conflicts of interest. Moreover, Freeman has made controversial public statements that fly in the face of official U.S. policy, on subjects like the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, America’s relationship with Saudi Arabia, and even the 1989 massacre in Communist China’s Tiananmen Square.
Since 1997 Freeman, a former U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia and senior envoy to China, has been the president of the nonprofit Middle East Policy Council (MEPC), an organization with “close ties to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.” In a 2006 interview, Freeman explained that MEPC had received a $1 million endowment, thanks to “the generosity of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia.” The following year, Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz al-Saud gave another $1 million to MEPC. (Alwaleed’s offer of money to New York City after 9/11 was famously turned down by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.)
Furthermore, researcher Ashley Rindsberg recently revealed Freeman’s pre- and post-9/11 “business connections” with the bin Laden family, which have donated “tens of thousands of dollars a year” to the MEPC. Rindsberg also discovered donations to Obama’s presidential campaign by Freeman’s Projects International, “a company that develops international business deals.”
Many of Freeman’s public statements during his time at MEPC also suggest that his “ties to the Kingdom” included identifying with certain aspects of the Saudis’ worldview. Among its other activities, the MEPC proudly issued an “unabridged” version of the controversial 2006 essay “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy,” by professors John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt. The report claimed that American Jews had a “stranglehold” on U.S. politicians and decision makers. Freeman endorsed the report and boasted, “No one else in the United States has dared to publish this article, given the political penalties that the Lobby imposes on those who criticize it.”
Congressman Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) and others opposed to Freeman’s appointment had also cited a speech delivered by Freeman in 2002, in which Freeman seemed to make apologies for Islamic terrorism while condemning the United States. Said Freeman:
“Saudis and other Gulf Arabs were shocked by the level of ignorance and antipathy displayed by Americans toward them and toward Islam after September 11. The connection between Islam and suicide bombing is a false connection. Kamikaze pilots were not Muslims…And what of America's lack of introspection about September 11? Instead of asking what might have caused the attack, or questioning the propriety of the national response to it, there is an ugly mood of chauvinism. Before Americans call on others to examine themselves, we should examine ourselves.”
Besides his longstanding ties to Saudi Arabia, Freeman also sits on the international advisory board of the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), which is majority owned by the Chinese government. The Corporation has investments in Sudan as well as Iran and “other countries other countries sometimes at odds with the United States.” During Freeman’s time on the board, the CNOOC was investigated by the State Department for violating the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act.
Freeman’s close working relationship with the Chinese government seems to have influenced his political views – so much so that, in a 2006 internet post that is only now receiving media scrutiny, Freeman criticized the Chinese authorities for not moving swiftly enough to crush democratic protestors and dissidents assembled in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.
“[T]he truly unforgivable mistake of the Chinese authorities was the failure to intervene on a timely basis to nip the demonstrations in the bud, rather than -- as would have been both wise and efficacious -- to intervene with force when all other measures had failed to restore domestic tranquility to Beijing and other major urban centers in China. In this optic, the Politburo's response to the mob scene at ‘Tiananmen’ stands as a monument to overly cautious behavior on the part of the leadership, not as an example of rash action….
“I do not believe it is acceptable for any country to allow the heart of its national capital to be occupied by dissidents intent on disrupting the normal functions of government, however appealing to foreigners their propaganda may be. Such folk, whether they represent a veterans' ‘Bonus Army’ or a ‘student uprising’ on behalf of ‘the goddess of democracy’ should expect to be displaced with despatch [sic] from the ground they occupy.”
Unsurprisingly, 87 Chinese dissidents, many of whom have served stints in Chinese prisons for their part in the Tiananmen protests, have written President Obama to “convey our intense dismay at your selection” of Freeman. The dissidents noted that “[n]o American in public life has been more hostile than Mr. Freeman toward the ideals of human rights and democracy in China.”
Freeman's apologetics for Chinese authoritarianism fueled the fury over his nomination. Adding to the controversy was that, up until his withdrawal from the nomination, Freeman failed to submit the required financial disclosure forms required for all nominees, nor had he been formally vetted by the White House. Instead, an independent inspector had been charged with investigating Freeman’s foreign financial ties, following growing criticism of his appointment by senior members of the House of Representatives. And Freeman’s critics were only growing more vocal.
Shoshana Bryen, Senior Director for policy at the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, was among the first to denounce the Freeman appointment. In a telephone interview with FrontPage prior to Freeman’s sudden withdrawal, Bryen said that “unhappiness with” Obama’s choice of Freeman “goes beyond party lines.” Bryen said that, although the Middle East Policy Council “is a non-profit, Freeman actually worked as a lobbyist,” albeit an unofficial one, “because he took his money from people with a particular point of view, so his analysis of certain issue may be distorted by the fact of where the money came from.” Bryen added that even if “Saudi Arabia’s concerns mirror our own” on occasion – for instance, when it comes Iran’s possible acquisition of nuclear weapons – Freeman’s relationship with the Kingdom suggests that “he may be beholden to a foreign government.”
Bryen found Freeman’s remarks about Tiananmen Square “even more troubling. He still hasn’t disavowed them, and he seems willing to consider that the requirements of an unelected government” like that ruling Communist China, take precedent over the rights of helpless ordinary citizens to life, let alone freedom of assembly.
Echoing Bryen’s concerns was Laurent Murawiec, a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute. In an interview conducted before Freeman withdrew his name from consideration, Murawiec told Front Page that Freeman “is part of the crowd,” the “cabal,” that includes the State Department and the CIA that under George W. Bush issued the “mendacious” National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran. The report’s conclusion that “the Ayatollahs’ regime had stopped its efforts to weaponize its nuclear program” was based on “evidence that proved to be a lie.”
The cabal’s policy, “unchanged for decades,” says Murawiec, “is that despots and tyrants in the Arab-Muslim world should be supported for the sake of stability, and stability preserved for the sake of petroleum.” Such stability, adds Murawiec, never lasts for long.
“Freeman, if head of NIC, will skew and manipulate” future National Intelligence Estimates and “consistently leverage his position in the interest of his Saudi sponsors, and more broadly, of the Washington ‘realist’ consensus.”
“The NIC does not dictate policy,” allows Murawiec, but “with an ignorant and inexperienced president like Barack Obama at the helm, the chances for a serious foreign policy-making process would be further destroyed” with Charles Freeman as the NIC’s chairman.
How telling that someone like Freeman, before his fall, had been appointed by the Obama administration for such a sensitive position, especially one that did not require Congressional approval. Given Freeman’s undisputed ties to Saudi Arabia and China, any advice he would have offered the President could well have been compromised by conflicts of interest. The results might have proven fatal. Although Freeman was not personally appointed by Obama, the administration allowed the controversy to build for days without comment. The fiasco is another embarrassment for a new administration whose brief transition period has already been marred by similar examples of confusion and poor judgment coming out of the White House.
Monday, March 9, 2009
Pentagon: Chinese vessels harassed unarmed ship 中共海军骚扰美舰船
Mar 9 10:10 AM US/Eastern
BY PAULINE JELINEK
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Pentagon charged Monday that five Chinese ships shadowed and maneuvered dangerously close to a U.S. Navy vessel in an apparent attempt to harass the American crew.
Defense officials in the Obama administration said the incident Sunday followed several days of "increasingly aggressive" acts by Chinese ships in the region. The incident took place in international waters in the South China Sea, about 75 miles south of Hainan Island.
U.S. officials said a protest was to be delivered to Beijing's military attache at a Pentagon meeting Monday.
The USNS Impeccable sprayed one ship with water from fire hoses to force it away. Despite the force of the water, Chinese crew members stripped to their underwear and continued closing within 25 feet, the Defense Department said.
"On March 8, 2009, five Chinese vessels shadowed and aggressively maneuvered in dangerously close proximity to USNS Impeccable, in an apparent coordinated effort to harass the U.S. ocean surveillance ship while it was conducting routine operations in international waters," the Pentagon statement said.
The Chinese ships included a Chinese Navy intelligence collection ship, a Bureau of Maritime Fisheries Patrol Vessel, a State Oceanographic Administration patrol vessel, and two small Chinese-flagged trawlers, officials said.
"The Chinese vessels surrounded USNS Impeccable, two of them closing to within 50 feet, waving Chinese flags and telling Impeccable to leave the area," officials said in the statement.
"Because the vessels' intentions were not known, Impeccable sprayed its fire hoses at one of the vessels in order to protect itself," the Defense statement said. "The Chinese crew members disrobed to their underwear and continued closing to within 25 feet."
Impeccable crew radioed to tell the Chinese ships that it was leaving the area and requested a safe path to navigate, the Pentagon said.
But shortly afterward, two of the Chinese ships stopped directly ahead of the Impeccable, forcing it to an emergency stop to avoid collision because the Chinese had dropped pieces of wood in the water directly in front of Impeccable's path.
"The unprofessional maneuvers by Chinese vessels violated the requirement under international law to operate with due regard for the rights and safety of other lawful users of the ocean," said Marine Maj. Stewart Upton, a Pentagon spokesman.
"We expect Chinese ships to act responsibly and refrain from provocative activities that could lead to miscalculation or a collision at sea, endangering vessels and the lives of U.S. and Chinese mariners," Upton added.
In Beijing, Chinese officials did not immediately respond to voicemail messages and e-mail.
China views almost the entirety of the South China Sea as its territory. China's claims to small islets in the region have put it at odds with five governments—the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.
The incident came just a week after China and the U.S. resumed military-to-military consultations following a five-month suspension over U.S. arms sales to Taiwan. And it came as Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi was due in Washington this week to meet with U.S. officials.
Pentagon officials said the close encounter followed several other incidents involving the Impeccable and another U.S. vessel Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.
—On Wednesday, a Chinese Bureau of Fisheries Patrol vessel used a high-intensity spotlight to illuminate the ocean surveillance ship USNS Victorious as it operated in the Yellow Sea, about 125 nautical miles from China's coast, the Pentagon said. The move was made without notice or warning, U.S. officials said. The next day, a Chinese Y-12 maritime surveillance aircraft conducted 12 fly-bys of Victorious at an altitude of about 400 feet and a range of 500 yards.
—On Thursday, a Chinese frigate approached USNS Impeccable without warning and crossed its bow at a close range of approximately 100 yards, the Pentagon said. This was followed less than two hours later by a Chinese Y-12 aircraft conducting 11 fly-bys of Impeccable at an altitude of 600 feet and a range from 100-300 feet. The frigate then closely crossed Impeccable's bow yet again, this time at a range of approximately 400-500 yards without rendering courtesy or notice of her intentions.
—On Saturday, a Chinese intelligence collection ship challenged USNS Impeccable over bridge-to-bridge radio, calling her operations illegal and directing Impeccable to leave the area or "suffer the consequences."
Sunday's incident is reminiscent of a similar early foreign policy crisis that forced former President George W. Bush to deal with Beijing shortly after he took office—China's forced landing of a spy plane and seizure of the crew in April 2001.
That incident between a Chinese jet and U.S. Navy spy plane infuriated Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who responded by breaking off U.S. military contacts with China for a time.
The Chinese fighter jet collided in midair with a U.S. Navy EP-3 surveillance plane. The Navy plane was so badly damaged that it made an emergency landing on China's Hainan Island.
The Chinese pilot died and the U.S. crew of 24 was detained by the Chinese military for 11 days. China refused to allow U.S. officials to fix the Navy plane and fly it off the island; eventually it was shipped home in pieces.
Associated Press writers Lolita Baldor and Matthew Lee contributed to this report.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
The Administration Kowtows 朝拜中共的奥巴马当局
Are the Chinese people alone now?
by Ethan Gutmann
03/16/2009, Volume 014, Issue 25
Over the last three weeks, the Obama administration has sent three clear signals to the Chinese leadership.
First came the news that Chas Freeman would chair the National Intelligence Council. The former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia and an adviser to CNOOC (the state-owned Chinese oil company), Freeman clearly fits the Chinese Communist party's idea of a four-year plan for American intelligence oversight. Just note Freeman's curious 2006 statement about the Tiananmen massacre. It is unacceptable "for any country to allow the heart of its national capital to be occupied by dissidents intent on disrupting the normal functions of government, however appealing to foreigners their propaganda may be." That particular trope was originally laid down by Henry Kissinger, and it's considered safe for public use. Freeman, though, took the argument to its logical conclusion, condemning the "ill-conceived restraint" and "overly cautious behavior" of the party leadership.
I thus share the hope of the majority in China that no Chinese government will repeat the mistakes of Zhao Ziyang's dilatory tactics of appeasement in dealing with domestic protesters in China.
It's not hard to predict what line the intelligence community will take on China's military buildup (or another Tiananmen) under Freeman's leadership.
The Chinese will score their number two victory with Gary Locke, former governor of Washington, becoming our new commerce secretary. Locke's been a very--very!--good Friend of China: making public displays of affection for the party's brilliant stewardship, carrying a torch for China in the Beijing Olympics relay, and easily straddling his public and private interests to make a deal. Locke has paraded his guanxi--his connections--and, indeed, his numerous meetings with Hu Jintao are real. As are the campaign funds he got in the 1990s through Buddhist temple fundraisers, Chinese cut-outs, and confessed felon John Huang. This may have knocked Locke out of contention for a spot on the Gore 2000 ticket, but apparently it was of little interest to Obama's third-time-lucky vetting staff in 2009.
To complete the hat trick, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a seemingly offhand comment on the eve of her recent trip to Beijing. Discussion of Taiwan, Tibet, and human rights would be "on the agenda," she said. But "We pretty much know what they are going to say." Some commentators have labored to present those words as refreshingly plainspoken. Bringing up human rights to the Chinese government is just an empty ritual the argument goes, and America has larger interests at the moment--China's purchase of treasury bonds, a "partnership" on green technologies--which speak to a much broader, "global" definition of human rights.
But rituals, and the spirit in which they are carried out, matter very much to the Chinese leadership. Chinese citizens, particularly those who dissent, pay close attention as well. Even if Clinton has tired of Chinese human rights (in the old-fashioned definition, where people are tortured to death and so on), the act of unilaterally agreeing to ignore an actual source of tension between our two societies represents a notable change in U.S. policy. The repercussions will extend far into Taiwan, China, and America.
Taiwan, in particular, faces trouble. China's internal crisis of collapsing exports and exploding unemployment would squelch any tendency toward foreign adventurism in most societies. But the Chinese government remains perfectly willing to go to war if they can unify the population and extend the party's control. Its objectives are clear. It wants to prevent Taiwan from being becoming the locus of the Chinese diaspora's resistance. The Chinese reward Taiwanese single-party rule with economic favors to prevent any onset of the democracy cancer when Taiwan is absorbed into the Chinese bloodstream. The current Taiwanese leadership is playing into the scenario by expanding economic contacts, attempting to wring the last Renminbi from the mainland, while intently working over their discredited opposition party to the last man.
As the first viable Chinese democracy in history drifts into genuine peril, it cannot rely on the U.S. president who appears to dislike even using the D-word and needs Chinese cash for his own internal adventurism. The Chinese have an estimated $2 trillion in foreign exchange reserves.
On the mainland, the Obama administration is giving the party a free hand exactly when they need it. The party must keep disparate forces--labor groups, Falun Gong, Christians, democracy advocates--isolated from one another. The tool is surveillance--using the Internet, phones, indeed, any electronic device that can track humans. (Many of these technologies originally came from American companies.) Once dissenters are arrested, the party needs to squelch any legal defense. Dissident lawyer Gao Zhisheng, freshly out of detention after severe torture, recently disappeared again.
Organ harvesting--particularly if the liver, kidneys, and corneas are surgically removed while a prisoner is alive--creates a foreign currency stream for the military. For the Chinese state it also solves a problem: Approximately 100,000 incarcerated Falun Gong, and an unspecified number of Eastern Lightning (Christians) will not give up their beliefs. Release is impossible; they are dangerous enemies of the state. In the marriage of the New China's capitalism and the party's unchanging authoritarianism, organ harvesting has become a profitable form of barbarism.
The last time an administration gave such an explicit green light to the Chinese leadership was three weeks after the Tiananmen Square massacre. George H.W. Bush sent National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft and Deputy Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger to Beijing to reassure the Chinese. Again, the message was that human rights and democracy didn't really matter, only business, only partnership. (That Scowcroft had to deliver it in secret, though, is another sign of how far things have deteriorated.) When this became public some months later, many conservatives broke ranks and some liberals joined them in creating a firestorm of criticism for the administration's policy.
And today? Nancy Pelosi cut her teeth on China human rights, but she won't break ranks without sustained pressure. Amnesty International has made some noises about Clinton's comments. To a lesser extent, so have Freedom House, Reporters Without Borders, and Human Rights Watch. But it's not nearly enough. And where are the AFL-CIO, the academy, and the sweatshop coalitions?
Human rights in China. Democracy in China. These are things that the Obama administration wants nothing to do with. Are the Chinese people on their own now?
Ethan Gutmann, an adjunct fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, is completing a book on the conflict between the Chinese state and Falun Gong.
Friday, March 6, 2009
Letters between Me and a Friend from the Left 与左派朋友间的通信
Below are some letters between me and a friend of mine from the left. They are very significant in terms of the current political atmosphere in America. I paste them here for you to read and enjoy. Best. Kai Chen
Since Ronald Reagan and the end of the Cold War (In my opinion the Cold War has never ended. It always continues in another fashion, in another arena. The challenge to human freedom from all angles/dimensions never ceases to continue.), there has developed an alarming apathy/indifference in America toward its own principles enunciated by the founding fathers. It is as though Americans have forgotten that precious motto "the price of freedom is our eternal vigilance". They somehow allow themselves to slip into a moral coma/dormancy, concerned only about their own material well-being. It is as though we are not spiritual beings creating our physical world and material values, but some material existence experiencing momentary spiritual illusions. I never came to America for my material gains (I would have stayed above others in terms of material gains if I were to remain in China). I came to America to fulfill my spiritual yearnings in pursuing my spiritual well being. And in searching and going after the meaning of my existence - true freedom and happiness, I have created great material environment for myself, my family and my fellow human beings.
Now it is all turned upside down. There is no where to retreat any more. America is the last hope and bastion for mankind to remain free on this planet earth. We must fight to keep America as what the founders intended it to be. The message I want to tell American public is invaluable for the health of this great nation, and in keeping America healthy and free, despotism and tyranny around the world will tremble and their days will be indeed numbered. I am very grateful for your assistance and enthusiasm. I only wish there were more people articulating what I want to say.
Best wishes. Kai Chen
I read these letters with much admiration and respect for both the writer and the receiver.
Although I share some of the same views that you have regarding our native countries, I DO not always agree with the party we have on the right! Too many greedy Republicans have put our country in the brink of bankruptcy. I believe the answer lies somewhere in a balance which is what i think Pres. Obama. is TRYING TO DO! I say "trying" because already he is facing harsh criticism from those who have been in power for 8 yrs and have not succeeded doing it THEIR way!!!
Unfortunately, human beings being who they are sometimes get greedy and wily and before you know it the whole system is corrupt! I dont think they do it intentionally sometimes, in fact , I am sure they do not see themselves as doing anything evil, but they just think they deserve to BE in control. Maybe they see themselves as smarter, more responsible...etc.. whatever their rationalizations it is NOT RIGHT, nor correct on their parts!
The very reason that America is so great is because we have always upheld the value of every individual. I love this country so much!!! Like you we both came here to obtain freedom (real freedom). The system here has a great foundation...set in place by our founding fathers, lets follow their lead and PROTECT the rights granted by our documents. We cannot let ourselves get motivated by FEAR! Fear doesnt come from a good place. Love and compassion and truth will always lead us down the right path.
Your friend, J
Thanks for a heart felt message.
I entirely agree with you that since Ronald Reagan the Republicans did a poor job articulating the values of this great nation. Somehow they are playing the same dirty games often played by the left. We are not individuals with dignity anymore in their eyes. We are only some insignificant elements belonging to some social groups/cultural racial backgrounds, like helpless infants crying for milk from some omnipotent and omnipresent presence represented only by our parental government. Mr. Bush went to Beijing to kowtow to the tyrants which greatly disappointed me. Now Mrs. Clinton did the same thing and worse in Beijing, kowtowing to the tyrants while disregarding what this country should do to expand human freedom around the globe.
That is why now my message is so important to the Americans: Do not forget what this country is about. People on the right now lack the courage President Reagan had. People on the left have always been lack a direction: Somehow they think socialism is the acceptable way to go as the current administration exhibits. You and I both know socialism/communism is a dead end. People die and suffer indignities for nothing in that kind of system. That is why I always fight hard against the left in this country and elsewhere. Being poor or rich does not give anyone rights to take things away from any others. The communism uses people's lack of education and their naivety/evil to instill a man-eating mentality in their countries: Take away from the rich then you will become rich. That is evil. Indeed all the countries which follow such doctrines only get poorer, for no one creates values anymore. No one initiate anything anymore. People don't dig into themselves to find creativity and courage to start anything anymore. People start to look around to rob/put down on others. This is what I don't want to see happen in America.
Now it seems that this China Syndrome has infected America. Martin Luther King's dream now becomes a nightmare for people like me who come into this country, not for material gains by taking away from others, but by working hard to fulfill our dreams. Now we succeeded in our American dream and beyond, but somehow we have become the guilty. I don't feel that I have anything to apologize for to anyone. But the current administration is using the scare tactics I see so often in communist countries, robbing the rich to give to the poor, for nothing but their own political gain, for power thirst.
Being rich or poor does not have any moral connotations as the socialists and communists allege. How one gets rich or poor Does indeed have moral connotations. There will be grave consequences when you use pretenses to rob those honest people who work hard to get ahead. I see some rich people who are vicious. I see also great many poor people who are vicious. I see poor people who are good. I also see great many rich people who are good. To instill moral tone in one's material state of being is evil itself. I know the current administration, giving the direction it goes, will fail, for all socialist ideas have been proven by history not only failures, but great human misery, suffering and moral degradation.
This is what I want to tell people in my story. I only want to keep this country as the founders intended - expanding individual human freedom while limiting government's power. I have yet to see a government with unlimited power over its own people, making them state-dependent slaves, to be NOT corrupt. America is not an exception. It is amazing to see that before the Cold War ended, both left and right in America have a moral direction of anti-communism. Now the communism/socialism we fought so hard against with so much sacrifice around the globe gradually seeps through our lack of vigilance, our laziness and moral confusion/corruption. Marx and Lenin must be laughing hard in their graves while American founders are being tortured, turning in their graves.
I love to discuss these issues with you and Jon sometimes extensively. I hope we keep in touch.
Best. Kai Chen
I understand and totally "get" what you are saying! I have had a birds eye view of the corporate side of greed and excess , because of the type of law that J practices-which is Securities and Consumer Fraud and Class Action. I dont think any one should apologize for being rich! What they should apologize for is being rich because they took advantage of other people! Not everyone WANTS to be rich! But I do think everyone wants to be treated fairly and NOT EXPLOITED! tHEY ARE ENTITLED TO THAT! They are entitled to health care when they pay insurance premiums! They are entitled to a government that puts its people ABOVE corporate greed! It saddens me to hear of drug companies and corrupt dcctors who use their expertise to issue prescriptions for drugs that would not be needed if the patient was just told to get exercise and eat right and sleep right !!
Anyways, I feel so passionate about this! I really wish people would give Obama a chance...
To me he is such a breath of fresh air when compared to the moron George Bush. I was always afraid that he would soon get us into a big war by the way he trampled on other countries cultures and ways. The ONLY REASON he became President was because of his family's money!! That is the only reason he went to YALE also! Life is not fair, never HAS been. We should always try to level the playing fiels as much aas possible so that people can compete even-handedly!
The other day at the HW game, the referees were making calls that were totally lopsided! I cant tell you how demoralizing that is towards our girls! I sometimes wonder if the referees are paid "under the table" to help one team over the other! I sure know that HW has a lot of money!!
Also the girls were holding our players by the shirt and of course the refs did not catch it. They played dirty!!! Is that fair??? Does it make it right that they shold win under those circumstances??? NO. But IT IS THAT WAY NOW! Anyways, I have to work now around the house here Kai.
Just to remind you that I would like the book back after you finish, OK? I am not quite through with yours but I am enjoying it! Thanks for dedicating that copy to me and J. We both like talking to you so much. Take care.
Our boys varsity basketball team is playing their championship match for the Southern Section I hope we win, but most important I hope we win honorably and fairly! When our boys played the Buckley school, students wrote racial epithets on their website! (Most of our boys are black and theirs were all white! Terrible... Oh , well someday.....
See you soon, J
Thanks for your passion and honesty. I certainly will return the book after I read it. It may take a while though.
I entirely agree with you that nowadays self-made men like Ronald Reagan in politics are a such a rarity. Career politicians from both left and right occupy most important positions, sabotaging the true American spirit (None of the founding fathers of America was a career politician.). Their self interests and power thirst corrupt the entire political process (Pork barrel legislation is only one such corrupt example). I have always voted for "Term Limit", which intends to make room for common folks and self-made politicians.
But Obama to me is not a fresh air. I have seen his type too often in the communist/socialist world, using people's misery, fear and poverty to gain political advantage. And when they achieve the ultimate power, they turn on the common folks as though they are just used toilet papers. (70 million poor Chinese died during peace time under Mao who promised them he was the savior they expected.) Communist/socialist rhetoric is all the same: Listen to me and I will save you. They act like they are Gods and they expect people to view them as some kind of saviors. Gradually they foster a slave mentality among the people and make them economic cripples and moral midgets to depend on the government. This trick has been played over and over around the world by the dictators and despots. But somehow people always expect saviors to save them from the bitter sea. But there is no savior as the communist/socialist believers tell people. And I never trust a government/nation acting as God or above God. The savior is in us, in each and everyone of us. It is in our own courage to face the truth and our own responsibilities. It is in our hope for a better future. It is in our wisdom to explore into the unknown. It is in our creativity and initiatives to expand the market. It is in our own strong will to live a joyful and fulfilling life.
We only hire a government to implement the laws we make to ensure our own freedom as individuals. We do not expect our government to create wealth for us. Nor do we want to use our government to redistribute people's wealth. If we do so we are corrupt ourselves. Criminals, rich or poor, should be punished by law. Initiatives and creativity should be rewarded. Hard work and honesty should be praised. Risk taking in creating wealth should be encouraged. Class-envy and jealousy should be condemned. Prejudice and bias should be prevented. Collective mentality and group think should not be part of a free society. Moral conscience should be upheld as the only judge of what is right and wrong.
We have to constantly remind ourselves that the only fair, plain field is in the realm of individual freedom. Any measure to curb such freedom using any pretense, under any excuse or pretty names is essentially evil.
Maybe I am here just to remind America why I came, just to remind America why all the people in the world want to come to this great country, not because of government hand-outs or any form of welfare, but because the promise of a chance to lead a morally and spiritually fulfilling life.
Best wishes to you and your family. I love to exchange views with you. Kai Chen
Yes, I value a lot of what she says! Individualism, self made men , but unfortunately it doesnt work on those of us who may have handicaps, or just plainly , be old or infirmed, or mentally handicapped.
my best, J
Indeed all the helpless (physically disabled) should be taken care of. But to create helplessness among human being is a crime and evil. This is what communism/socialism has done - to cripple every living soul, making them helpless. That is what the Obama administration is doing - creating a large population of state-slaves - those who do not pay taxes but benefit from others through government. Democracies perish when people in it are corrupt enough to vote themselves to obtain undeserved benefits, using government coercion to rob others.
The weak (the helpless) should be always taken care of. But to make them in charge is a big mistake that has grave consequences for human freedom.
Love to discuss with you on issues. Best. Kai Chen