The Xi-Obama summit held in Sunnylands, California, 6/7-8/2013 has far-reaching significance than most people care to know. It is not only the meeting between the heads of a rising and a declining world power, but also hold potential key to the peace and stability in Asia.
For more on this topic, see this article by Stephen Harner, a former US State Department official, How We Should Measure Success from the Obama-Xi Summit.
On 4/24/2012, when Mitt Romney won the primary victory within his party, he told Americans to “hold on a little longer” as he imagined himself soon-to-be president of the United States.
He accused the President of “false promises and weak leadership.” He looked and acted like he was going to have a sure win, as if the next sensible thing for him to do were to pack up and move.
On 12/24, eight months later, his son Tag Romney said Mitt Romney didn’t really want to win in the first place. “He wanted to be president less than anyone I’ve met in my life,” Tagg Romney told the Boston Globe. “If he could have found someone else to take his place . . . he would have been ecstatic to step aside.”
Nothing is more absurd than this claim as I remember clearly how hard he had fought during the primary. If it were true, Mitt Romney makes a fool of millions of his supporters and the rest of his republican primary opponents. I bet Newt would like to slap his face or punch out his nose.
I guess it is another classic case of sour grape.
The U.S. government passed some measure that bans some Russian officials from entering the U.S. or putting their money in American banks. The measure by the the U.S. was intended to “expose Russian officials who are alleged to have been involved in a massive tax fraud and the death of a Russian lawyer who … uncovered that crime.”
The Russian leaders were so upset that its parliament passed on 12/26/2012 a legislation banning the adoption of Russian children by Americans. Even more ridiculous is Russian President Vladimir Putin said on 12/27/2012 that he was going to sign on this legislation.
I was upset when I read this as I was expecting Putin to welcome this move as it will help digging out corruptions among Russian officials. Morever, the real victims of this Russia’s ban are the orphans, who, like thousands of Chinese orphans, might have a better life after the adoption. Indeed, a sad day for these children.
Today marks the end of 2012 election, and trust me it also marks the beginning of a new battle. Just as the inauguration of President Obama’s first term saw the secret gathering of the powerful republican figures, vowing to throw the new president out of White House at any cost — blocking all his efforts, disabling his administration, etc.
I am sure the same thing will happen again. I sincerely hope it is the same group of republicans, except President Obama will leave the White House by 2016 on his own term.
A president can make a huge difference not only in this country but also globally. Imagine if Al Gore were the president instead of George W. Bush. The whole planet would have benefited if we had an environmental friendly president like Al Gore.
Then again, in the end, a president will be chosen by the democratic process. Mother Nature has no say in this process.
The first presidential debate is going to take place tonight. This should be the most important moment for Mitt Romney. It must be a bit depressing for him and his supporters to watch the daily polls showing President Obama climbing up while his own slips away.
To be totally fair to him, Mitt Romney himself is a very competent man, kind in his heart, a loving and responsible husband, and a very successful business man. Yet, he has given up so much of his true self in order to win his party’s base support.
He seems a lost soul in his desperate attempt at grabbing their support, swinging from pro-choice, pro-healthcare, pro many good things in people’s life to their opposites.
Too bad he chains himself to a lost cause, a party that is on its way to history book, and he has to fight a losing battle on their behalf. Republican party will have to change itself in the next two to three decades in order to survive the new world order. I truly feel sorry for Mitt Romney.
Last Saturday, Mitt Romney announced his running-mate — Paul Ryan, which pushed himself and his party further to the right.
Ryan, being famous for Ryan’s budget proposal, is very keen on cutting taxes for the top 1% and undermining benefit for the most needed ones in the society.
Socially, he is truly conservative, anti-gay, anti-abortion even if it was the result of incest. Ryan is certainly on the route to push the country back to the 18th century. Isn’t it queer that he cares more for the unborn than for the underprivileged who happen to have been born?
The country is only restrained by the level of intelligence of the majority of people. On this, I am not optimistic. I shudder over the future of the country if Romney and Ryan ruled.
On the weekend of 4/22, I learned of the death of Charles Colson, the former special counsel to President Richard Nixon. He was infamous for being unscrupulous in helping Nixon with re-election.
Another infamous casualty of Watergate is Attorney General John Mitchell. Both of them shared the same problem with Richard Nixon, that is, shamelessly lying and knowingly violating the law, which brought about the final downfall of all of them.
Watergate scandal provides a rich and unique lesson for everybody. The best and the most exciting book on Watergate scandal is All the President’s Men by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, 1974. It is a must for anyone who wants to understand this scandal.
I have to give President Obama tremendous credit for coming out openly in his unequivocal support of same sex marriage. It took a long time for him to take this step, as he knew very well the risk that he might run by supporting gay marriage, especially during this election season. The fact he finally came out openly speaks hugely about his character.
I appreciate his honesty and political courage. He has been consistent on defending equal rights for all. For all, he deserves respect and support of the majority of people.
In contrast, his political opponent, Mitt Romney is famous for being flip-flopping, changing position as frequently as one changes underwear. If Obama is characterized of being consistent, Romney is just the opposite.
The country should be proud for having the first President who stands for equal right regardless of sexual orientation.
On 5/6, Francois Hollande, a socialist, was elected the new president of France. The country has not seen a Socialist Party president for 17 years, since the late Francois Mitterrand. Of course, one of the first thing that Hollande will do is to fight against German-led austerity measures, which is very similar to our Paul Ryan budget proposal.
Nicolas Sarkozy lost by 48.1% to Hollande’s 51.9%. The socialist victory in France is very symbolic. It seems to send a positive message to President Obama and seems to herald a change of wind in politics, with the upcoming of the socialist-leaning parties.
If Sarkozy was seen as “President of the Rich” and voters turned away from him, Obama can compare Sarkozy to his presidential opponent and label him as “politician of the rich” who is going to implement austerity measure by cutting deep programs that benefit the poor.
It will be interesting to see the impact of France’s new socialist president and the reactions of both parties here in U.S.
On 3/13/2012, I read an interesting news about French President Sarkozy who apologizes for his son’s throwing tomato prank.
His 15-year-old son Louis Sarkozy and a friend “chucked a tomato and a pellet at the policewoman from the Elysee Palace, police sources said.”
I feel a bit disappointed when I learned of this. I used to think Sarkozy is a great politician and must be an equally great parent to his children. At least, he must be a good role model for them.
I guess not. People can be great politician and a not-so-great parent at the same time. I guess probably because he is too busy with big matters and has ignored his children’s proper upbringing.
American politicians put on their most absurd show in Florida when two GOP front-runners are fighting over GOP nomination. The pettiness, the relentlessness, the desperate, the untrue nature and the exchange of slandering words all for the purpose of defeating the opponent have gone beyond the accepted manner of political campaign. I can’t believe their focus has been on attacking each other instead of on economy, the way to reduce nation’s deficit and issues that are more important than their mutual attacks.
It doesn’t matter who emerges it as the winner. The victory already tastes bitter and the winner has already suffered as the result because of the dirty means through which the victory is won.
The whole battle looks more like dog fights. It makes me wonder if it is worthwhile to go for the fight in the first place. Winner or loser, I doubt the persons going through this process will be judged favorably by history.
Continued from yesterday’s topic. Here’s what I have learned from this event.
Number one: when SME prinicipal Karl Krawitz succumbed to the pressure from above, to me, he shows no backbone. Emma Sullivan needs not apologize to anyone on this matter. Krawitz knows this.
Number two: governors and high school principals are looked upon as leaders. It me gives a sad feeling when I realize how hopelessly trifling and ludicrous these men are, as if nothing’s more important than a negative comment from a teenager. A man with a broad vision cannot be this trivial.
Number three: be careful what you post on the internet. There are plenty of people who are more petty-minded than the sum of Brownback and Karl Krawitz and who can get you into bigger trouble than this.
Last Monday, 11/28, my daughter told me of the news about a Shawnee Mission East (SME) student. Emma Sullivan, SME senior, tweeted some unflattering comments on Kansas governor Sam Brownback. The governor’s office got in touch with the high school. The SME Prinicipal Karl Krawitz ordered Sullivan to make a written apology.
My daughter thinks politicians should focus on major issues instead of chasing after a negative comment made by a high schooler. “Can’t believe they are so petty-minded!” she said.
I agree with her on this. I can’t believe the governor wastes tax dollar on hiring people to monitor social media for trivial like this. Apart from this, I learn three things.
To be sure, those occupiers deserve great sympathy as they obvously have no job to occupy and have plenty of free-flowing energy and time to spend on the street. There is no denial that their grievances are genuine. I feel even more sorry for them when cold winter is threatening.
Yet, it is misguided because from very beginning they have never been able to come up with a well-laid out program that contains a clear goal, feasible routes and concrete action plan to reach their goal. It is like setting out on a journey but have no idea of their destination. Things will take a downward turn when thousands of young hotheaded folks jump in, like headless flies.
So far, they have not touched anything deeper than the symptoms of the large scale social issues that pulled them together, that is, the widening gap between the rich and the poor and the jobless situation. Until they have worked out a good guiding program, the OWS will not get anywhere.
The take-home message for all of us is whatever we want to pour our time and energy into, if we don’t want to waste our lives, we must have a goal and a feasible action plan to reach our goal.
The married Weiner acknowledged he had engaged in inappropriate contact with six women over three years through social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook and occasionally over the phone.
We all know Rep. Anthony Weiner is not smart enough to be this stupid. No, it is not his stupidity that has brought him down, though calling him stupid is too gentle on him.
It is the lack of that unshakable quality in his character that finally defeats him. Call it morality or the basic ability to distinguish right from wrong. That’s why I keep telling my children this — the higher you want to rise, the more solid your moral foundation must be. This must be solidly built in your character and become an integral part of your whole being, so that you won’t go awry no matter where you are. Otherwise, you will fall eventually, no matter how high you have achieved.
Obama, a law school student, knows the proper way war criminals are handled and how evidence of killing scene should be preserved, but he knowingly broke the law when he ordered the killing of an unarmed person and immediately destroying the evidence by disposing the body to the sea. The various versions of story that were thus given only serve to cover up some unexposable fact, not just to justify the killing. If the killing were legitimate, there would be no need for instant body disposal and the creation of stories. Stories reveal more than cover the ugly nature of the business.
The outside world is deliberately kept in the dark as to what exactly happened, so that no one can make a legal case against the killing. We were told that Bin Laden was worse than Nazi criminals who were human enough to be given Nuremberg trials. We were told that some human beings do not deserve the protection of law and its due process. But who determines which humans are worse than Nazi criminals and have to be deprived of any legal protection? Well, we were not told, but you figure it out.
The question is why. Is Obama afraid of sending Bin Laden to court? What is it that he is afraid of? It would be interesting to hear what Bin Laden had to expose in court on how Americans had trained and supported him and turned him into what he was. The world would have the chance to hear the other side of story from Bin Laden, plenty of them, and other embarrassing stories regarding American allies and their role in fostering Bin Laden and indirectly helping him to carry out his mission and even the US role in 911, all of which Obama is so dreadful of being brought out of the dark room into daylight. What we see is a classic example of government secrecy, coverup and total lack of transparency.
Dead person cannot talk. Anything is totally possible, more colorful than you can imagine, not all legal though. That’s why both Daniel Ellsberg and founder of WikiLeaks need to be extra careful about their lives because of information leaking. Alas, the world is never in need of spice and excitement.
Ever since President Obama made it known to the world that he would not disclose photos showing Bin Laden’s death, I became intrigued because I don’t accept the official explanation.
The official one goes like this. The “very graphic images” could incite violence and become propaganda tools for terrorists. Flaunting his death photos might “make the US look like it is revelling in Bin Laden’s death, and spark reprisals in the Arab world.”
The unofficial one may look like this. Bin Laden’s death photo will reveal the execution style close-ranged killing done by the self-appointed executioners who, intead of handing the criminal to the court and let the court issue death sentence, took the law in their own hands and cut off the life, quick and dirt. What an example for others to follow!
Something in this event reminds me of the killings done by Japanese in China. Very often, these Japanese would execute Chinese, one by one, in front of the whole village, calling it “execute one as a warning to others.” History is never in need of duplicates.
Yesterday evening I talked to a relative of mine in New York city. I told her she could tour her mom in New York city to see places like Times Square and United Nations headquarter. She was duly concerned about safety and the terrorist retaliation after Bin Laden’s death.
This is something that I have been thinking about since the claimed death of Bin Laden. To be sure, the man deserved a death sentence. However, no need for this huge public celebration. It worries me to see the simple-minded over-jubilant celebration throughout media and the claimed political credit of Obama, as if the death of one man pronounced the vanishing from the earth of the whole terrorist organization and we had magically transformed all the hatred into love for America and all sides could bury the hatchet from now on.
Even my mother in China commented that America has poked the hornet’s nest by the killing. In reality, the fanfare over Bin Laden’s death serves to deepen the hatred for Americans and further expose the country to terrorist retaliation. I don’t think Obama didn’t know this when he bragged about it on TV. But his political gain for his re-election seems more important than anything else. I don’t mean he intentionally shortens our security for his political gain. Anything is possible though.
On 2/12/2011, I write “From Tunisia to Egypt, the demand for change catches on like a wild fire and no one knows who will be the next.” Within one week, we witness a huge chain reaction following the fall of the presidents in Tunisia and Egypt, not just one country but the whole Middle East were galvanized to demand reform, democracy, end-of–the-incumbent, and all the nice things that westerners claim to have enjoyed. The anti-government fire is roaring in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Saudia Arabia, Iran, Bahrain, and Yemen.
Yemen’s president tried to put out the fire by handing out “No extension, no inheritance, no resetting the clock.” But, as these protesters saw the presidents in Tunisia and Egypt surrendered under pressure, they would settle nothing less than the same in their countries.
The tide has gathered momentum on its way throughout Middle-East and has become irresistible now. The rest of the world only needs to watch the wheel of history turning toward a better tomorrow for that part of the world–a true democracy, with freedom and more social and economic equality for all, even though some of us might suffer some loss from that part of oil-rich land.
It is both amazing and unbelievable when we witness the unfolding of an exciting chapter in the history of one of the oldest civilizations. During early stage of Egypt demonstration, I knew of the eventual departure of Mubarak, but I didn’t expect victory came without a massive bloodshed. Mao Zedong once said political power was born out of gun barrels. Just look at Iraq and the thousands of death when US tried regime change.
The victory of people’s power not only left an indelible ink in its nation’s history, but more significant and far-reaching is its symbolic meaning and the fact that it threatens to dethrone the US-Israel dominance on that part of geopolitical chessboard. From Tunisia to Egypt, the demand for change catches on like a wild fire and no one knows who will be the next.
I heard many people expressed a mixed or even negative reaction toward the downfall of Mubarak. Of course, some people or countries feel the unrest and chaos will hurt their interests. Definitely so. Still, let Egyptians determine the direction and the fate of their country.
It is exciting to see thousands of Egyptians venture out demanding for western-style democracy, so reminiscent of Tiananmen Square and Berlin in 1989, heralding an earth-shaking political change in Egypt and possibly the whole Arab world.
Ironically, not many western powers have voiced support to this popular movement in Egypt, probably out of fear of damaging their interests or disrupting the stability in the region.
The die has been cast and the wheel of history cannot be reversed. We are witnessing at least the end of an authoritarian rule and at best the beginning of a democratic Arab rule.
It is not a surprise that Time magazine has not picked Julian Assange, WikiLeaks founder as the person exerting the most influence on events in 2010, even though he has won Time‘s most readers’ votes in this year’s Person of the Year poll. Imagine something like people vs. power, in that people are represented by 382,020 readers’ votes and power represented by Time‘s decision-maker and the forces behind any major decision.
To be sure, Time’s pick, Facebook CEO, is a pitifully trivial and inconsequential one in the long run, in regard to the nature and the mission of journalism and legal codes in the area of freedom speech, when we compare Facebook to the work of WikiLeaks, both the colossal documents leaked so far and the global reactions, both positive and negative, to the leaking.
Historically speaking, there have been many fads and fashions like Facebook; here today, gone tomorrow. Who knows what will replace Facebook next year. But none of them are epoch-making events like WikiLeaks that would change the way governments run, the laws we go by, and the nature of journalism. If anything, the response confirms this unshakable truth, that is, the more oppression, the stronger its protest, whatever that may be, as expressed by its founder “These circumstances shall not shake them. If anything, this process has increased my determination that they are true and correct.” I have no doubt that thousands of de-centralized baby Leaks will mushroom in the years to come because of the pioneering work of Julian Assange.
If, as the song goes, Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer goes down in history because he guides Santa’s sleigh, WikiLeaks’ founder will be recorded in history books as the one who throws light into the darkness of government secrecy and bravely guides the journalists into a new era.
Once again, it takes personal integrity and real guts to stand by what one truly believes.
WikiLeaks is going to test the truthfulness of freedom of speech so much claimed by the western world. It will tear down the moral authority that the USA often assumes when lecturing other countries on such freedom; and it will undoubtedly set many legal precedents through its numerous legal battle for its very existence.
The road to a higher level of civilization is always full of twists and hardships. Yet, from historical perspective, the human civilization is inevitably moving toward one characterized by justice, fairness, openness, free from any form of power abuse and deception, oppression, corruption, and absence of the rich exploiting or robbing the poor, the strong killing the weak, whatever excuse the strong may justify.
If WikiLeaks represents this historical trend, it will win the battle against any injustice and power abuse on behalf of the majority of the powerless mass. I have no doubt truth and justice will win in the end, even though Truth might suffer some setbacks on its way to final triumph. The arrest of one person seems a total futile attempt to stop the forward momentum of the wheel of history.
Behold, because of WikiLeaks, all history books in foreign policies and relationships on the past few years, if they are already written, will have to be rewritten and no future historians dare to ignore the globally-known documents courageously leaked by WikiLeaks. If history is what is written for the future generations, the biggest legacy from WikiLeaks is once the knowledge become part of public domain, it is permanently written in the history book and cannot be conveniently erased by the powerful ones.
The whole western power is shaking to its core, never having being so threatened like this before. We have seen every desperate effort was made to persecute the founder of WikiLeaks, under the excuse of a totally unrelated sex offense, and to shut down the site, including cutting off all the financial sources to WikiLeaks from paypal to Visa to Master card. These anti-WikiLeaks companies have been repeatedly hit by internet hacktivists as “revenge for the firm withdrawing services to Wikileaks.”
Haven’t we heard of the saying “Where there is a will, there is a way?” Unless the unified powerful forces crush to pieces the will to fight, the fight will be carried on in cyberspace with millions behind the WikiLeaks and its founder, even if the founder no longer exists.
It is interesting to witness the unfolding of the Leaks battle — how the western governments set an example for all the oppressive governments in their handling of dissidents and their practice of freedom of speech. Such a huge hypocrisy! Such a loud slap in the face of all western-style democracy seekers, including those in Iraq, Iran, and China. This reminds me of nobel prize winner Liu Xiaobo. I am wondering which side he will be with.
I am genuinely disappointed not to see a single politician who openly stands out defending the media freedom, making me wonder about the nature of being a politician. You have to lose your personal integrity somewhere when you are a politician. Behold, the myth of a just western legal system and of freedom of speech is in the process of being demythified.
To be continued…
To be sure, this is only the beginning of the fear thus created by the Leaks. Without any doubt, countries throughout the world will be forced to adjust their security and any coverup mechanism because of WikiLeaks. I am certain whatever murders and killings, wars and fights or conspiratory behavior a powerful country attempts to engage, it will have one more thing to fear and to hide from, that is, the new Almighty WikiLeaks. Even God has to take the second place here.
Like it or not, WikiLeaks is to change many aspects of society. One of them is the nature of journalism. How should we define journalism in this light? Is it as it always claims to be the mouth of facts and truth or mere mouthpiece of the powerful? As Time magazine put it, it “could become as important a journalistic tool as the Freedom of Information Act.”
WikiLeaks has attracted and will continue to attract millions of like-minded people and to provide the brave ones a channel to leak out the truth that might otherwise forever be kept from public view. When people are equipped with truth, they could transform society and help bring a better world for all of us.
To be continued….
There once was a powerful organization, so strong that nobody could challenge it and stop it from doing whatever it pleased, from invading other sovereign state to killing innocents, thousands of them, not even the Almighty God could do anything about it. The so-called check-n-balance has failed to stop the killing and the abuse of power. Hence its opponent in the form of WikiLeaks came into being as a new check on this invincible power — the USA.
The leak of 250,000 US diplomatic cables has created an immediate fear among US politicians, so much so that even its doman name WikiLeaks.org was revoked, following the order of Joe Lieberman, chairman of the Senate’s committee on homeland security, who commanded everybody to “immediately terminate” any relationship with WikiLeaks.
Hence, paypal stopped being a media for online donation to WikiLeaks and Amazon ceased to host WikiLeaks website. Furthermore, WikiLeaks, under the new domain name as WikiLeaks.ch, is effectively blocked by nearly all ISP here in the USA. So much for the so-called “Freedom of speech.” Yet, if WikiLeaks attempts to leak out truth, any attempt to block the truth is like a piece of paper trying to contain a ball of fire.
To be continued tomorrow….
When President Obama faced the republican dominance in the House, he accepted the responsibilities, expressing his understanding of people’s frustration over the losing battle of economy, with no complaints and no feeling of bitterness whatsoever. I think the president’s attitude is very generous and admirable.
Every time when I think of US economy, the nursery rhyme of humpty dumpty comes to me,
To be fair, it is very unfortunate for Obama to inherit this no-win situation. It took 8 years for his predecessor to make a shambles of the country’s economy by waging two wars and giving tax break. How can we expect the current president to put things back in two years?
The alliance of all the anti-Obama conservative forces squandered billions of dollars in this mid-term election in an effort to cripple Obama power. The ordinary citizens are but small pawns in the grand schema of this alliance. The election reminds me of what Mark Twain described winners as those who can make the loudest noise. Here’s a quote from him “We would learn what the human race really is at bottom, we need only observe it in election times” I wonder what Mark Twain would say if he were present watching so many female candidates jumped out trying to out-man men in the most distasteful manner.
Occasionally I touch topics on public figures and public service. Make no mistake I am by no means condemning any politician or political party. My sole intention has been and will always be showing to my children, hoping they will be able to avoid such public misbehavior.
I believe inexperienced people are more likely to incur a life-long regret simply out of one tiny inattentive oversight or a slip of tongue. When such simple slip plays into the hands of one’s political adversaries, it could be used as powerful political ammunition to totally sabotage one’s agenda. And in the case of Obama, the healthcare for all Americans heads the list of his agenda. In Chinese, one suffers the loss of a major because of a minor — yin xiao shi da. This, as a parent, is what I want my children to learn.
South Carolina Republican Rep. Joe Wilson erupted “You lie!” while president Obama talked about illegal immigrants and his health care plan. The president paused a second after this angry outburst.
After the session, Joe Wilson was soundly condemned for the breach of decorum by members of Congress from both Republican and Democratic parties. John McCain called it, “Totally disrespectful. No place for it in that setting or any other and he should apologize immediately.”
I am sure the dire consequence, the unpleasant talks, and regret will follow him for the rest of his life.
You might see it as a mere lack of civility among some of the politicians. I think this expression must be echoed by some others present but they choose some more gentle and indirect expressions.
The incident again testifies how easily a political debate can turn sour and ugly, resulting in people doing something they will regret, just like Obama calling the police action stupid. It is so important to possess a quality of self-constraint and ability to resists the temptation of any vulgarities and incivilities in politic life.
P.S. just learned today that the House formally rebuked Republican Rep. Joe Wilson Tuesday for shouting “You lie” at President Barack Obama during last week’s nationally televised speech to Congress and Democrats insisted that Wilson had violated basic rules of decorum and civility in his outburst. The dust won’t settle easily.
I was touched when I read the writing by our company’s CEO in our newsletter. He went to a self-improvement class, did some readings, then came back with a series of self-question-without-answers on his own performance. He concluded with this, “I’m not sure if I succeed more than fail, but I know I have opportunities to do better.” So humbly and nicely written.
He reminds me of one characteristic of an outstanding leader — humbleness. No matter how accomplished a person is, people won’t buy it if he/she acts or talks big.
One negative example is provided by our president Obama. When he called police acted stupidly, he actually turned away many of his former supporters, with his power of arrogance.
When we focus our eyes on opportunities to do better instead of on our past glories, we find anything else irrelevant.
The day 8/25/2009 saw the passing of the last and the youngest Kennedy brothers — Edward Kennedy. The next day the airwaves and internet were filled with glowing tributes to the departed. The US national flag is at half-mast over Capitol Hill, the White House and other Federal buildings.
He was described as …
I am sure many books will be written about this man who fully exemplified what a politician should be. I will make sure my son read about him.
A good man indeed, sorely missed by all.
That was on 6/15/1992, when the 12-year-old sixth grader had to teach the former vice president Dan Quayle how to spell the word potato, as the vice-pres did not know how. The embarrassment and regret will follow him all his life, much longer than Clinton’s affair. He is such a disgraceful mirror for all politicians. Funny to look at, as long as we are not in the mirror.
The event is also a reflection upon a nation which has so failed in education — a fact as well-known as Dan Quayle’s potato joke. On the other hand, we can see how a seemingly trivial thing can finish a person’s public service career.
A politician is on the public stage under everybody’s close scrutiny all the time and has to watch every word uttered and every step taken. Any tiny mishap, like Obama unwisely using the word “stupidly,” will be a lot more costly than he is willing to pay.
I have been reading non-fiction Nixon’s Watergate investigative report All the President’s Men by two wonderful journalists — Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward. The investigation started from infamous 2:30 AM 17-June-1972 Watergate break-in by five burglars. It is an exciting and interesting read, with occasional mixed feeling of disgust, sickness, bewilderment, disillusion, and sense of sudden wake-up.
You see how some people would do any dirty things when necessary, yet with an appearance of a person of integrity and principle; and learn how much people were willing to do in order to reach their goal, whatever that might be. In the end, the tree collapsed, so did all the monkeys living off the tree.
The only person that is positively depicted in the book is Hugh Sloan, who came to Washington an idealist and was determined to leave it forever, thoroughly disillusioned. He deserves greatest sympathy from readers. I feel a boundless respect and admiration for the two journalists for their persistence and determination to get the truth out and diligent documentation of this unique historical event for future generations.
There are so much to learn from this rich event. I would think it beneficial that every politician or aspiring politician keeps a copy of this book by their bedside, so that history will not repeat itself.
My child commented that Obama was right in his choice of word. “Police did have racial bias.” Let’s face the fact — we all have our bias and prejudice and we even make mistakes because of this. Do we deserve to be told we act stupidly?
“Have I ever called you stupid before?” asked I.
I believe the uttering of the word stupid reflects the deep-seated intellectual snob, arrogance and condescending that Obama harbors, the kind of arrogance that is absent in Reagan, Bush, and Carter. Of course, none of them were Obama’s intellectual equal. Still, intellectual power is supposed to make one wiser not conceited and arrogant. It remains to be seen how wise this president is capable of.
Most people are like my daughter, too keen on other burning issues while I, for some reason, couldn’t get my mind off Obama-Gates-Crowley controversy. Sgt James Crowley arrested Harvard Professor Henry Gates at Gates’ home. The case became international news-worthy (see BBC news) simply because Obama’s electrifying comment on the arresting officer’s action — saying the Cambridge, Mass., police “acted stupidly” in arresting Professor Gates at his home.
No matter how Sergeant Crowley handled this case, it is totally improper for a president to use the term stupid in describing the nation’s police. Common sense tells us that we don’t use this term even to a baby. How can the US president go against this common sense.
It is not a slip of tongue. Honest, he might be using this term in his mind all the time. Only he has done a good job of keeping it from slipping out of his mouth, except this time. More on this later.
LBJ was otherwise a great president and a high achiever, associated with many wonderful things, such as,
He was a brilliantly practical politician — ambitious, competent, practical, and visionary, and a domstic success.
The difficulties with him came more from his domineering personality and his involvement with unpopular Vietnam War. He was known for his abrasive personality — grandiose, overbearing, inability to create a trust among those who worked for him, making it difficult for people to work for him.
It is almost tragic to see the flaws in his character, though of different kind from those of Nixon and Bill Clinton. I have not a slightest doubt that these presidents had all the good intentions of doing the best job on their position. We only wish to see them impossibly flawless. Meanwhile, let’s drink to our dearest hearts and try to learn something from these people. At least, we know it is not pleasant to be around people with abrasive personality.
Having a sense of justice and a heart like Jesus are far from enough to make you a successful politician. Just look at Al Gore. He had all the good intentions and knowledge to do wonder for the whole world by protecting our beloved Mother Nature, nothing being more noble than this. So sad when this noble man failed.
In the end, the one who grabbed the white house had the supports of all the conservative forces, the backbone of American culture. An acquaintance of mine said, “I vote for Bush because he is against gay marriage.” Big deal, yes bigger than global warming. That’s what the average Americans care about. Jimmy Carter with a heart of gold was beaten by an actor and a great communicator, no need for high IQ.
Presidents of a “democratic country” are similar to folk heroes, representing the core values of those who elect him (never a her). You have to adjust or even sacrifice yourself in order to make it work in American politics. For example, a politician must lower himself to the same level of the popular mind or stoop to cater to the taste and culture of mainstream America. This is too much a sacrifice for a person of integrity.
Political arena is a huge real-life stage, on which it is very hard for a politician to remain true to himself. Recently we see an exception to this rule — the coming of Al Franken, the junior United States Senator from Minnesota. Watch this guy. He will make difference in American political life.
In fact, this is an interesting period of American politics with many unique actors. Of course, the main actor of this kind is the current president. Stay tuned for more excitements to come.
It always takes a few days for me to bounce back after my son’s leaving. While my son and I were walking and talking, the topic moved into politics. There are many popular conceptions or misconceptions about politicians, as being ambitious, power-hungry, megalomaniac, with oversize ego, not all flattering though. In fact, politicians are seldom viewed as great as Mother Teresa of Calcutta, though they should be this way.
As an idealist, I believe the first and foremost indispensable quality that a politician should possess is an unshakable sense of justice and an absolute dedication to public service and the welfare of the great majority of people. A successful politician must be passionate about what he truly believes, like the current US president.
Character building and personal integrity are extremely important. We have plenty of examples of politicians with flawed character. Look at Mark Sanford, Governor of South Carolina, then the famous Lewinsky scandal that tortured Bill Clinton, and see how Nixion disgracefully went down history with Watergate scandal.
So colorful and dramatic.