Nov 05

Obama Wins the U.S. Presidency!

Written by Allen on Wednesday, November 5th, 2008 at 7:14 am
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Ok – this is not exactly about China.  But heck, it’s been a big night!  What are your thoughts about the election?  Want to offer your predictions for the next four years (or eight if you are that high?) – esp. in terms of the global economy, energy policies, international politics, etc.?

P.S. I want to say that I do feel for McCain.  He is a great man and would have made a great president.  But symbolism can matter.  And unfortunately for McCain, an Obama presidency simply symbolizes “change” a lot more congently than a McCain presidency this time around…

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70 Responses to “Obama Wins the U.S. Presidency!”

  1. Raj Says:

    My one prediction is that Obama’s international supporters are disappointed. They’ll give him a lot of goodwill, but he will show that he’s looking out for the USA first. I think there’s some sort of idea that he’ll solve the world’s ills. Then again perhaps people will just be happy he’s not Bush and stick with that.

    In terms of actual policy, who knows? He’s said a lot without committing himself to doing much in particular on the international stage. Withdrawl from Iraq in the next few years providing things don’t go too badly. More troops for Afghanistan. Free trade – hmm, I’m concerned on that point. Similarly I don’t know how green he’ll be.

    EDIT: An article from the Times on this subject.


  2. Allen Says:

    @Raj, I agree that the international goodwill Obama is getting is probably somewhat misplaced. After all, while Obama has said he will pull out of Iraq, Obama has also said he is going to go hard against the Talibans in Afghanistan – and conduct operations in Pakistan if need be. He has said (at least in a CNN interview ) that he would work hard to capture Bin Laden and the “kill him” (he then hastily corrected himself – that he’d bring him to face justice in American courts and apply the “death penalty” to him).

    I am sure that Obama will bring change, but I am not so sure if the change he brings will necessarily represent the type of fundamental change that will bring about long-term stability, that so many around the world is yearning for.

    I remain hopeful. But we’ll have to see …

  3. Kalmany Says:

    I’m glad Obama won and am very interested to see what he will do. It’s time for a change and McCain could never articulate a good reason why he deserved to win.

    But as Raj mentioned, I think the free trade issue is a key area of concern and will be a bellwether. Opposing any type of free trade agreements has become an article of faith among many Democrats in Congress (such as with South Korea and Colombia agreements recently), and Obama enjoyed huge support from labor unions, etc. He’s going to be under huge pressure to link trade agreements to overseas labor practices, the environment, etc., especially with Dems controlling Congress also with a large majority.

    On Iraq, I think there’s going to be some backpedaling happening fairly quickly. The “withdrawal in 16 months” plan is a bit misleading anyway as it always called for a “residual force.” Probably the “residual force” will turn out to be bigger than some people imagined.

    From the perspective of the Chinese government, I think McCain probably would have been better on trade and economic issues, though he may have been more of a thorn in terms of human rights/relgious freedom/Tibet/etc. as religious conservatives have been key in pushing these in the US agenda.

  4. Raj Says:

    @ Allen

    I agree with your earlier point on McCain. Despite his shortcomings I think he would have made a good president, but the economic crisis killed off his chances.

    It would be right for any new president to send more troops to Afghanistan, provided he ensure that they not call in air-strikes so readily. So long as Washington doesn’t block talks, it’s up to the Afghanis to see if a political solution is possible – at least with the more “reasonable” Taliban fighters. Of course the comments about Pakistan are worrying, and I hope it was just talk.


    @ Kalmany

    That’s why I liked McCain. On the thing that really matters to the whole world, free trade, it would have been so much easier to get change from America with him in the White House. Obama might not be the worst sort of Democrat to have, but he needs to show that he won’t allow the anti-free traders in Congress to have their way. Sure there’s nothing wrong with having an agreement on some sort of minimum standards to ensure that people don’t get mistreated, but if the intent is protection then it isn’t good.

    On Iraq, I think it’s realistic to say that troops will have to stay as long as they are needed/welcomed by the Iraqi government. Towards the end of the term there might be pressure for them to leave, but I don’t think a full/majority withdrawl before 2010/11 was ever on the cards.

  5. TonyP4 Says:

    From my other post:

    Older folks in their 65 and up do not change and accept changes. It is hard for them to accept a black president. The honeymoon starts, but he cannot solve all the problems. Hope he will lead us to the right direction like ending the stupid wars.

    We just witness how the democratic system works at its best. There is no bloodshed in transiting power. McCain gave a very graceful speech after the loss. The system has to be supported by citizens with good education. The two (major)-party system works. If one party screws up (like Bush) or is totally corrupt, it will be replaced. Few Asian countries including China can adopt this system though.

    A black president cannot change much of the conditions of the bottom society that most black are in.

    Some shortcomings of the system (nothing perfect):
    1. Too many special interest groups like National Rifle Association – who pay big bucks to buy the influence. Do the candidates speak for you or for these groups?
    2. Tell you what you want to hear – usually they do far less than they promised.
    3. They do not think ahead over 4 years. For example, they want to raise social security for the seniors for their votes without preventing the system from bankrupt in the future.

  6. ChinkTalk Says:

    The US is a great country. Americans have every right to be proud. I have great respect for the American people. It does take moral fortitude to break the racial divide, the Americans are showing true leadership, by example. Funny that as soon as Obama is confirmed the victor, some media are actually start to mention the word “peace” – haven’t heard that word for a long time.

  7. jim Says:

    McCain gave a great speech last night after he lost. that’s the spirit. As for Obama, i hope he will do well enough to get rid of the debt we have in 4-6 years. i can’t really hope much as we all know how much trouble we’re in.

  8. Ted Says:

    TonyP4 #5: “Older folks in their 65 and up do not change and accept changes.”

    My father is 69 and, until this election, a Republican in the reddest of red states.

    “A black president cannot change much of the conditions of the bottom society that most black are in.”

    For a schoolkid there few better role models than a great President. If Obama can succeed here then he will influence generations of people at the bottom of the system. If you’re asking him to start handing out money then you’re missing the importance of his election (besides, I think he’s planning on taking money).

    “2. Tell you what you want to hear – usually they do far less than they promised.”

    Can’t argue with that, but for any American, that’s nothing new. It’s also the reason we don’t get worked up over all the campaign rhetoric.

  9. TonyP4 Says:

    Hi Ted,

    The age remark is a reply to Steve in a different topic, so it feels a little out of context here. Always there are exceptions but it is true in general. The statistics showed it many times last night that more young voted for Obama and statistics never lie.

    It will be a great role model for black and even Asians in all age groups. There are many great role models like Marin Luthur King for years. There are many reasons that so many black are in the lower bottom of the society. Even the Vietnamese with little English skill came to the country and do better than the black. It is their culture (too many single parent families…) and the generous welfare system does not encourage them to move up.

  10. Steve Says:

    I’ve been watching the TV analysis this morning; mostly older talking heads who go on and on about Obama being black and it’s a day to remember and crossing a threshold and a new era in politics, etc., but I think they’re missing the point. These days, people under 40 and quite a few older than that simply don’t care about race, they just want someone who can do a good job and that they trust. That tired formula of divvying up the population into all these small special interest groups is passé. Obama stayed away from that kind of politics during his campaign, to the consternation of his advisors who wanted him to attack more. Palin played the “attack” game (un-American or unpatriotic rhetoric) but it doesn’t work anymore.

    I’m not sure anyone in this world can live up to the expectations that are being placed on Obama. Just this morning, Medvedev said he would deploy new missiles in Europe, challenging Obama before he even takes office so Biden was certainly correct about facing some kind of crisis or crises in the first six months of his presidency. People will expect the economy to strengthen, troops to leave Iraq, gas prices to continue their downward trend and our relations to improve with the rest of the world. That’s a pretty long shopping list!

    Because his primary advisor on international affairs is Zbigniew Brzezinski, expect his initial focus to be on Europe and not Asia, which is classic Democratic foreign policy. I believe the focus will be on Russia and Eastern Europe. I expect more talk about “human rights” and more posts from Allen deploring that strategy. 🙂

    Protectionism should increase, corporate taxes should go up, the richest will pay more taxes, and the deficit will increase a lot. In Politics 101 you learn that the rich may have a lot of money but there aren’t that many of them, so increasing their taxes won’t add as much revenue as everyone supposes. The only way to add considerable revenue is to tax the middle class. Since Obama has proposed a tax decrease (and rebate for those paying no taxes) for anyone making $250,000 or less, the only way that can be done is by borrowing, which means to pay it back in the future, the revenue will have to come from the middle class. That was the one policy of Obama’s that I thought was pandering. The rest seemed pretty well thought out. I’m sure the tax cut was to co-opt a Republican issue so I’ll be curious to see what the true cutoff actually is. I have a feeling it’ll be considerably lower than $250,000 (which is for married couples, the single person’s cutoff is lower).

    I’ll be curious how he implements energy policy. I’ve sold to just about every energy company out there, and I know the only way to decrease dependence on foreign oil is to do a combination of things, including nuclear (will encounter Democratic resistance), increased domestic drilling (will also encounter resistance), increased fuel efficiency in autos (Detroit and the Democrats are tied together, will be very difficult to accomplish), solar (the key to solar is small scale, but big energy companies can’t make money that way), LNG (everyone loves LNG because it’s clean), wind (already big here in California), hydro (hydro is pretty tapped out in the US and might not be part of the policy) and recycling. Bush’s hydrogen fuel cell research was a red herring; fuel cells are a long way off. Improved battery efficiency is much higher on the list of technologies that can help in the next few years. I think Obama has a pretty good grasp on this issue and realizes that visible improvements that raise the quality of life will have a very positive political impact on his re-election.

    Foreign relations will improve since Democrats love working with umbrella organizations and Obama has pledged to keep from going it alone. The Euros should love him but it’ll be interesting to see how he handles China, and especially the China/Taiwan issue. I expect he’ll meet with the DL since he received a lot of campaign contributions from the DL Hollywood crowd and that issue fits in more with the traditional Democratic Party outlook. Because Obama’s administration will be less obsessed with North Korea, China’s leverage will probably decrease as compared to working with the Bush administration. Since unions are the primary Democratic Party contributors and want to bring back jobs to the States that have moved overseas, there might be laws passed that demand certain working conditions for foreign factories that match the US laws, such as standard hours, medical benefits, overtime, minimum wages, etc. These will probably be labeled as “human rights” issues. Republicans have never cared about such issues and that has allowed China to establish a huge manufacturing industry in a short period of time while being extremely competitive.

    A lot of the topics I discussed are classic Democratic positions. But I believe Obama is very pragmatic and might surprise all of us with unorthodox stances that can achieve positive results. At least, that’s my hope.

    Obama has been given the trust of the American people. Let us hope he rises to the occasion and makes us proud again.

    @TonyP4: I agree to a large extent with your age remark but as Ted pointed out, there are plenty of exceptions. Because I grew up in New Jersey with a group of friends that were white, Jewish and black, it’s irrelevant to me that Obama is black. However, most people my age did not grow up in that environment; they grew up in a far more racially divided society. I think that to really get beyond race, religion or ethnicity, you need to have friends from those different groups at a relatively young age to dismiss it as a relevant factor. If you grew up in a lily white society in the US and made friends from different ethnic groups later in life, you can lose your prejudice but you are aware of it and bring it up a lot in discussion. That’s what I was referring to with the “TV talking heads”, none of whom are racist but virtually all constantly aware of race. For people under 40, race is more like hair color.

    There were no Asians around when I was growing up, and Latinos were in NY City and places like West New York so my experiences with them were pretty minimal. The first Asian woman I ever dated, and really ever knew, was my wife. I never had “yellow fever”. The only Asian I knew was my uncle, who was Japanese American but I can speak more Japanese than he does; he is just your typical American. I think the incorporation of blacks and Asians into the general American culture over the last 30 years has been amazing. Thirty years ago, my marriage would have gotten stares and comments, now all I get is guys asking me if my wife has a sister who is single. 🙂

  11. TonyP4 Says:

    Hi Steve, agree with all you said. Just add my thoughts.

    The very rich who do not want to pay the taxes just move to other countries and become citizens there. Most stay. They cannot take the money with him/her. They may prefer to give the money to the poor directly rather than via the government in its inefficient way.

    The other option is to jack up the money printing machine. If you have 2 millions before, now you have only one million in purchase power.

    The US support of China may be playing the China card against Russia. Myth?

    Energy companies find it is very risky to invest in energy sources other than petro. When oil price is over $120, alternate energy makes sense, but not any more at the current $65 per barrel. Nuclear generator takes 10 years or so to build one. Without building any new ones recently, US may lose the technology edges. Alaska and coastal areas are prime targets for drilling. I believe gas price will go up eventually – $70 is quite low compared to $140 which is too high.

    Protectionism never works for US. However, US is one of the few countries that can close to the outside world and live happily ever after.

    US is more integrated racially than say 30 years ago from my personal experience. I was in a country fair in Canada with my white female co-worker, every one starred at us like some kind of UFO. 🙂

  12. pug_ster Says:

    I’m a Democrat who voted for McCain (I voted for Kerry at 2004) I have to admit that McCain ran a very poor campaign, choosing Palin as a VP, and the economy went south 2 months before the election was the main reason why he lost. But I think the press has to do with why Obama won because the 3 major networks, ABC, NBC, and CBS never have grilled or questioned Obama and Biden about his experience, or questioned about Obama’s policies when he becomes president. The major networks didn’t go after Obama probably out of fear of being labeled as a ‘racist’ but I think they should go after Obama for his inexperience and I think that is a legitimate issue. The media went after McCain, Palin, and Clinton like a rabid dog. Personally, I do feel sorry for Clinton because Obama attacked her about being a part of the Washington Bureaucracy and then later pander Hillary and Bill for their support later on. I would’ve voted for Hillary if she was in the ticket, but unfortunately she was not.

    He fills our heads with slogans like ‘hope’ and ‘Yes we can’ and tells us that ‘change is coming.’ He says that there is problems in our government and provided nothing but broad strokes on his policies. I’m not saying that McCain is the prefect candidate. Unlike the Kennedys, I think that many voters will become disillusioned about Obama once when he gets into the bump and grind of being a president.

    FYI #7 Jim – It would be a miracle for any president who can get rid of the debt in 4-6 years. Which is why I think false slogans like those is why Obama supporters will be disappointed later on.

  13. Raj Says:

    pug_ster, Obama has had a fair amount of luck so far. As Napoleon said, lucky generals are the best to have. The question is whether his luck will hold or not – one could say it has already already deserted him in ensuring he was elected with all these problems to resolve.

  14. pug_ster Says:

    Raj, yes there is a fair amount of luck, like when the financial companies start to fall like dominoes in less than 2 months before the election. But they have also ran a very effective campaign and many people who voted for him romanticized him like JFK in the 1960 election. I hope that I am wrong, but I don’t think Barack and Michelle Obama resemble anything like John and Jacqueline Kennedy. After 1/20/09, Obama’s popularity will probably start losing his luster after dealing with the country’s unpopular issues.

    Issues like Guns, gay marriage, and abortion does not fix the economy. I hope that the Republicans take a long, hard look as the era of Reagan Democrats are gone. When you have former Bush staffers like Scott McClellan and Colon Powell speaking against their current administration, that’s a real problem.

  15. Raj Says:

    I hope that I am wrong, but I don’t think Barack and Michelle Obama resemble anything like John and Jacqueline Kennedy.

    They don’t have to be like the Kennedys. Michelle just needs to smile and not say/do anything bad. Obama needs to knuckle down. The last thing America needs now is “Kennedy Syndrome”.

    Obama’s popularity will probably start losing his luster after dealing with the country’s unpopular issues.

    I can’t say as to when that will happen, but it’s inevitable that if he really gets on with the job and takes tough decisions that will annoy people it won’t last. Though he may get credit for that, so we’ll see what happens to his approval ratings over the first 100 days.

    I hope that the Republicans take a long, hard look as the era of Reagan Democrats are gone.

    It’s like the 1997 election in the UK. Hopefully they won’t take a decade to pull themselves together like the Conservative Party did.

  16. Rod Trent Says:

    Biggest post-election market drop in history. How’s that make everyone feel? More goodness to come.

  17. Allen Says:

    Interesting Wall Street Journal article on how France – unlike U.S. – is still far from electing a member of its minority to its highest office.

  18. pug_ster Says:

    #15 Raj,

    From the past interviews with Michelle Obama, she is certainly not as gracious as Jacqueline Kennedy or even Laura Bush for that matter. So once she starts opening her mouth, I don’t think people would have high approval ratings for her.

    In Msnbc, there’s already an article of having great expectations for him.


    I’m not here to disappoint anybody, but I doubt that he can do everything within 100 days of his presidency, and his approval ratings will go down after that.

    Another reason why I didn’t vote for Obama is his Rhetoric among other things towards China.


    Besides that, there was another incident earlier this year concerning lead in toys where he wants to ban all toys coming from China. Whereas people like Clinton and even McCain take the more pragmatic approach towards things. Now that comes from experience, which Obama doesn’t have. Personally, I would like Americans to see Obama to see him as he really is, a two-bit salesman selling snake oil.

  19. Nobody Says:

    @Steve, ” If you grew up in a lily white society in the US …”

    “Lily white”

    I am glad you wrote that and not me because otherwise I’d be deemed, lynched and hung as a yellow racist. 🙂

    How Drama/Life imitates each other. Coincidence, fore-sights or conspiracy? Whatever the case, the American audience, and the world as well, have had seven years of what they call in China “思想工作” , for the emergence and success of Barack Obama. The 44th President of America, Barack Obama is a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School, and is serving as a Senator.

    In 2001, President David Palmer, appeared on TV worldwide, as the first Black Prez of America. He has degrees in Law. Prior to his presidency, he served as Senator.
    Throughout the series, Palmer’s role as President is often vital to the successful foiling of terrorist plots. Palmer is seen as a good leader who makes difficult decisions without much hesitation.

    Dennis Haysbert who plays President David Palmer, was disappointed that his character was killed in the fifth Season, commenting that it continued an American legacy of killing its popular and charismatic leaders.

    Now, the real life “Jack Bauer,” has a huge job cut out for him and his Counter Terrorist Unit / CTU team. Except in real life, agent Bauer may need to request to sub-divide his CTU into
    C-KKK-U or a more general C-WASP-TU for good measures.

  20. TahwYOJ Says:

    Definitely NWO conspiracy yo, they planned this.

  21. Steve Says:

    @TonyP4 #11: “The very rich who do not want to pay the taxes just move to other countries and become citizens there. Most stay.” You been talking to Jerry lately??? LMAO

    On a serious note, I think we’re relatively safe from overprinting money, since that brings inflation and I think Obama will try to steer clear of that one. It’ll be interesting to see who he appoints to run the Fed.

    I think the US/China mutual support against Russia makes sense for both sides. Contrary to what some might think, the US and China are not natural enemies; in fact, they are natural allies. There would never be a reason for either to attack each other. China and Russia are natural rivals that share a very long border. We’ve already discussed the potential conflict in eastern Siberia between the two, so it makes sense for China and the United States to be close. With the Democrats taking over, they will be more interested in European developments anyway and that means dealing with Russia on its western flank.

    I think Tibet might be more of an issue than Taiwan over the next four years, and the Democrats are closer to the DL than the Republicans. Since the CCP is just waiting for the DL to die and try to change the dynamic after that time, they’ll play a waiting game with the Obama administration complaints but I don’t think it’ll get out of hand. My worry for that area is that once the DL dies, the Tibetans might move towards an asymmetrical type of warfare and that usually targets civilians.

    I used to be in the oil industry back in the late 70s/early 80s and I learned enough about how the pricing works to where I normally predict it reasonably accurately. Over the next four years, both China and India will continue to increase their oil usage so unless production increases or usage decreases, the price could rise again. Because of corrupt governments, the oil infrastructure in a few major suppliers is falling apart and year to year production is falling rather than increasing.

    The magic number for pricing is 3%. If usage increases 3% relative to production, the price will rise and continue to rise until it evens out. When the usage falls 3% relative to production, the price will fall and continue to fall until it evens out. OPEC was too greedy and allowed the price to rise too high, which affected usage habits after a few months and the price has gone down since then. If the Obama administration really changes energy usage over the next few years, it can keep the price down worldwide because Amerian usage is so high compared to the rest of the world.

    “I was in a country fair in Canada with my white female co-worker, every one starred at us like some kind of UFO.” Were they staring at her legs??? 😉

  22. Steve Says:

    Hi Nobody ~ I never understood the whole “yellow” thing. Asians don’t look yellow to me at all. In fact, some of those girls have skin like ivory and I’ve also seen Chinese whose skin is very dark and everything in between. But American Indians don’t look red to me either. Maybe I’m just colorblind???

    I might have dragged out the term “lily white” from my childhood. It used to be pretty common to say that. I hope I didn’t offend any white folks out there. 😉

    No kidding, when Jerry and I were young things were really different. Though I grew up less than 30 km from NY City, everyone in my neighborhood, in fact, in my entire town, was white. Everyone in my elementary school was white. I didn’t have a black friend until I was around 11 or 12. I can remember watching the Civil Rights demonstrations on TV and seeing the riots down south; the brutality by the police. I remember when Medgar Evers was murdered in Mississippi. I clearly remember the murders of King and RFK. I can tell you exactly where I was when I found out JFK was murdered. I can remember racial slurs were used all the time when I was a kid, by just about everyone, and racial jokes were very common.

    I didn’t ever feel any “hate” but I felt no connection to blacks until I became friends with a few guys. Then everything changed. It was the late 60s and I discovered what everyone who makes friends with a different race or ethnicity discovers, that good guys are good guys and idiots are idiots. I’ve always said that if everyone had to go to a foreign country by themselves, not on a tour, and stay there for a few weeks, there’d be no prejudice in this world and very few wars.

    I just realized… no one can convict me of lynching Nobody ~ LMAO

  23. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Nobody,
    ahh, a fellow 24 fan. Can’t wait for the next season to start. President Palmer was an excellent character. Much like Martin Sheen’s President Bartlett on the West Wing. It was always ironic to be watching such intelligent albeit fictional presidents in primetime, then watching such an unintelligent but sadly non-fictional president on the late news right afterwards. Thankfully and hopefully, that will no longer be a problem come January.

  24. Ted Says:

    Allen #17: My roommate is French and her comments essentially echo the WSJ article. She remarked that she and so many French were rooting for Obama because they don’t expect something like to happen in France in their lifetimes. At the same time, the WSJ article states that France’s African and Arab population is only about 10%, a far cry from the U.S. My state is 28% black. Steve’s California is what, 30% Hispanic, 15% other groups? The U.S. just couldn’t afford to overlook such a large swath of the population when canvassing for leaders. Maybe other countries haven’t reached that point, and the numbers in the US drove us to the forefront but my hope is that from now on, the percentages won’t matter so much.

    Nobody #19 and Steve #21: No offense taken, my brother-in-law is Hispanic so I’ve been hearing “lily white” for years.

    My vote may have burned up on re-entry as it approached my home state but I really wish I were home right now 🙂

  25. Steve Says:

    Ted ~ California is 33% Hispanic, 11% Asian of which Chinese are about 3%, and blacks are a bit less than 7%, so your guesses were pretty good. The most interesting statistic concerning California’s population is that the foreign born population is 26% or around 9 million, by far the highest of any state in the country.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the first Asian American to become president will be Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana. His ancestry is Indian and he’s very sharp; handled the recent hurricane extremely well. He actually reminds me of a younger Obama except he’s Republican, very pragmatic, well spoken and not ideological at all.

    When I think about it, Barack Obama is really only the second black person who had a chance to become president. Jesse Jackson’s politics were too extreme. I think Colin Powell was the only other person who would have been elected but he didn’t have the desire to run. I saw on the news today that Obama has selected Rahm Emanuel, the congressman from Illinois, to be his chief of staff.

  26. Nobody Says:

    “I clearly remember the murders of King and RFK. ”


    Did you get a chance to watch the star-studded movie “Bobby,” about how ordinary folks were affected on the day of RFK’s assassination? I think the script is based on his famous ‘Mindless Menace of violence’ speech.

    This is a time of shame and sorrow. It is not a day for politics. I have saved this one opportunity, my only event of today, to speak briefly to you about the mindless menace of violence in America which again stains our land and every one of our lives.

    It is not the concern of any one race. The victims of the violence are black and white, rich and poor, young and old, famous and unknown. They are, most important of all, human beings whom other human beings loved and needed. No one – no matter where he lives or what he does – can be certain who will suffer from some senseless act of bloodshed. And yet it goes on and on and on in this country of ours.

    Why? What has violence ever accomplished? What has it ever created? No martyr’s cause has ever been stilled by an assassin’s bullet.

    No wrongs have ever been righted by riots and civil disorders. A sniper is only a coward, not a hero; and an uncontrolled, uncontrollable mob is only the voice of madness, not the voice of reason.

    Whenever any American’s life is taken by another American unnecessarily – whether it is done in the name of the law or in the defiance of the law, by one man or a gang, in cold blood or in passion, in an attack of violence or in response to violence – whenever we tear at the fabric of the life which another man has painfully and clumsily woven for himself and his children, the whole nation is degraded. …..

  27. bt Says:

    @Allen #17 and Ted #24

    WSJ is obviously strongly biased against the French people!!!! Stop saying propaganda and prejudice and come to see the real France!!!!
    After the fenqing, the frenchqing :). Just kidding, no offense.

    “Interesting Wall Street Journal article on how France – unlike U.S. – is still far from electing a member of its minority to its highest office.” … do you consider a small Jewish/Greek/Hungarian guy a minority man? 🙂
    I echo the article too. Our system so far failed to produce (oversee territories excluded) some ‘Obamas’.
    Clearly, minorites (tough i hate this word … they are French, period) are under represented in the Public life.
    It’s changing, slowly. I really don’t worry about that … 100 years ago the Jewish people, 50 years ago the Polish and Italians, now the Africans … life is going on.
    However, mind that the history of USA/Canada is different from the history of our good old Europe. It’s somewhat useless to compare what cannot be compared.

    For our love of Obama (more than 90 % aproval rate !), i see also several other reasons:
    We are traditionally more liberal and secular than USA … basically, every single US republican president is disliked. We don’t like Bush Jr. for what he is, and from the beginning. Even much more since 2003 and the “Irak affair”. And like everybody else, Obama is the America we love to see :).

    I imagine a lot of you posters would like to see a President of Chinese descent somewhere in ‘the West’, esp. in USA. I found one. Gaston Tong Sang has been appointed president of French Polynesia this year (ok, it is not a country … let’s call it a ‘practically country’).

  28. Nobody Says:

    Remember Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young?

    Today I watched a documentary entitled, “CSNY/ De’ja ‘Vu,” on DVD…….I was SHOCKED that when they played “Let’s Impeach the President,” during their ‘Freedom of Speech’ 2006 concert, in Atlanta, a third of the audience booed them and were cussing and swearing Crosby Stills, Nash & Young. ” Bush ius right. The government is a lot smarter than you..” said one Atlantian.

    Like I said, I was shocked. This was 2006. I couldn’t believe my eyes! I had no idea America is so divided in opinions on such a obvious and major issue as WAR in Iraq. I mean I understand thre’s the Right and left and everything in between, but I though America is united and unanimous on “NO MORE WAR~!” I guess I was wrong.

  29. Ted Says:

    Toles is great. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/opinions/cartoonsandvideos/toles_main.html?name=Toles&date=11052008&type=c

    @Nobody #28: Atlanta? 2006? I’m not shocked. In 2004 Georgia Senator Zell Miller (southern Democrat) challenged Chris Mathews to a to a duel on national TV. Wrong place, wrong time for a “down with Bush song”….

  30. Raj Says:

    I read a great article in the Times that I thought people might enjoy reading.


    “Why does it matter that the brown one won?” my six-year-old daughter asked. “What about beige or yellow or pink? Anyway his hair is grey. I think they voted for the one with the whitest teeth.”

    My eight-year-old son didn’t understand the colour issue either. As newspapers around the world from China to the Czech Republic, Brazil to Berlin, were held up on breakfast TV proclaiming “America’s First Black President”, he didn’t see why it mattered.

    He still didn’t understand after a conversation about the slave trade and segregation. “That’s history. I want him to win because he smiles a lot, he’s clever and he doesn’t like bombs.”

    His class has never discussed race. Korean, Asian, Nigerian and Scottish, they distinguish each other by their Top Trump and football skills. My son doesn’t want to know that Barack Obama is half Kenyan, half Kansas and was brought up in Hawaii, unless it means he can surf. He is vaguely interested in Mr Obama’s African relatives slaughtering goats but more intrigued by the fact that his children don’t receive Christmas presents. What he cares about most is what he can do. “Lewis Hamilton didn’t win because he’s brown,” he said. “He’s just the best.”

    Children may be increasingly colour-blind but adults are still obsessed by race. The phone-ins, the BBC and Sky news have all concentrated on why America should feel proud of itself for electing a black man – rather than the best man. (At 3.30pm yesterday, nearly 12 hours after Mr Obama won, the only line on CNN was still “a dream comes true for African-Americans”).

    Sometimes adults should learn from their children, rather than the other way around.

  31. Steve Says:

    The good stuff always comes out after the election is over. This is all over the wires today but I’ll quote Howard Kurtz from the WP:

    “”While publicly supporting Palin, McCain’s top advisers privately fumed at what they regarded as her outrageous profligacy. One senior aide said that Nicolle Wallace had told Palin to buy three suits for the convention and hire a stylist. But instead, the vice presidential nominee began buying for herself and her family–clothes and accessories from top stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus.

    “According to two knowledgeable sources, a vast majority of the clothes were bought by a wealthy donor, who was shocked when he got the bill. Palin also used low-level staffers to buy some of the clothes on their credit cards. The McCain campaign found out last week when the aides sought reimbursement. One aide estimated that she spent ‘tens of thousands’ more than the reported $150,000, and that $20,000 to $40,000 went to buy clothes for her husband. Some articles of clothing have apparently been lost. An angry aide characterized the shopping spree as ‘Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast.’ ”

    And: “At the GOP convention in St. Paul, Palin was completely unfazed by the boys’ club fraternity she had just joined. One night, Steve Schmidt and Mark Salter went to her hotel room to brief her. After a minute, Palin sailed into the room wearing nothing but a towel, with another on her wet hair. She told them to chat with her laconic husband, Todd.”

    No wonder they loved her.

    But not any more. Unnamed McCain aides tell Fox’s Carl Cameron that Palin didn’t know which countries were in NATO; the essence of NAFTA, or that Africa was a continent, not a country. She refused interview prep before the Katie sitdown, Cameron reports, and later threw “tantrums” and was so “nasty” that she reduced some staffers to tears. It’s getting brutal.”

    Wow!! Close call…

  32. Steve Says:

    @Nobody #26: No, I haven’t seen that movie. I usually avoid movies that depict events I lived through since they would conflict with my memories. That particular memory is a painful one to this day. It’s hard to describe the mood of the country back then; the Vietnam War was tearing the country apart and by that time, the majority wanted an end to it since it was on a treadmill, totally stagnant as far as achieving an outcome. When Bobby Kennedy decided to run, suddenly there was this palpable energy felt by so many and I’m sure he would not only have taken the nomination, but would have defeated Richard Nixon like his brother did eight years earlier. His murder and the murder of MLK was like a knife through the heart.

    These times are very different from back then. The country is far more peaceful, less violent, more at ease. I think Americans agree now more than they disagree. The partisans take extreme positions but normal people aren’t that far apart.

  33. Steve Says:

    @bt #27: All Americans sympathize with our French compatriots across the pond. Fight the hegemony of the WSJ; cure rightest thinking by studying the “Four Crepes” and the “Six Souffles”. 🙂

    That article taught me something I never realized; that there is no direct primary in French elections but that the candidate is picked on a very narrow basis. It’ll be hard for a minority candidate to win under those rules. Do you think they will change? Does each party have different ways to pick their candidates or do they all choose the same way?

    Obama is currently an “image” more than a true leader. What I mean is that he hasn’t reallly accomplished anything in an executive capacity, but was elected on potential. Maybe that’s a good thing; they weren’t able to pick apart his record and pin him into preconceived positions, so his flexibility right now is unique.

  34. TonyP4 Says:

    Hi Steve, always have a nice chat with you, learn from your wisdom and LOL. Thanks!

    Yes, Jessie is far too confrontational. But, Jessie and Martin LK really set up the foundation for Obama. Obama said Jessie will not be in his cabinet – Jessie was not crying for that but for his work to set up for Obama. He and his black leaders always showed up for ‘injustice’ against black like the OJ Simpson case.

    Obama is more courageous than Powell in running for president at the risk of his life by white extremists. For that and better plan in ending the war, he got my vote.

    Sarah has a good chance for presidential candidate in 2012. Good luck for Republicans! Sarah said the only black guy she deals with is Obama as the other minority in AK is Eskimo. Sarah was chosen due to her gender. Beside the legs, we should look deeper.

    That Louisiana governor you mentioned has been considered as VP candidate.

    I recommend we have to look at the college grade of all presidential candidates – at least a B from a good college. I bet both Bush and Palin would fail. Or, we have some kind of SAT for all candidates with questions like: is Africa a country, # of zero in trillion, or who is the current president of Paris (a trick question).

  35. Raj Says:

    Obama is more courageous than Powell in running for president at the risk of his life by white extremists.

    Was he really under any significantly greater risk than a usual candidate for the presidency? I don’t think so. Some people like to talk big, but the security details are pretty on-the-ball.

    For that and better plan in ending the war, he got my vote.

    How did he have a “better” plan for ending the war (I guess you mean in Iraq)? I thought he just advocated bringing them home a bit earlier, which he probably won’t end up doing as the Iraqis will ask them to stay for as long as they’re needed.

  36. bt Says:

    @ Steve # 33

    “That article taught me something I never realized; that there is no direct primary in French elections but that the candidate is picked on a very narrow basis. It’ll be hard for a minority candidate to win under those rules. Do you think they will change? Does each party have different ways to pick their candidates or do they all choose the same way?”

    Good question … in 2007, the Socialist party organized one. I am not sure, but I think they were alone.
    Generally speaking, right now it is just a political fight inside the parties to pick up the candidate.
    Anyway, there are usually like 10 candidates for the presidency, I don’t know if the American system could be implemented easily.
    I dunno about the ‘minorities’ … I think they are just too under represented, at any levels, in politics.
    That’s super hypocrital, we know that, but we still hang on ‘equality’. So, it’s even forbidden to count the people according to their race or religion. And if you are a candidate, you might better not talk at all about your religion (it is still unclear for me if Sarkozy is Jewish or not … and anyway, I don’t care) or race, or you are sure to lose the election.

  37. Steve Says:

    @bt: Do you feel that “equality” at this time means the appearance of French Catholic values and everything else is just tolerated? The part of the article talking about names not appearing on job applications was surprising. I wonder how many minorities change their names to French spellings? Is that common?

    When my wife and I traveled around France, I didn’t expect to see such differences between regions. Normandy, the Loire Valley, Bretagne, the Dardogne River region, the area around Carcassonne, Provence, Burgundy, Paris… they were all so unique from each other. However, I didn’t see any minorities except in the big cities. Are there many in the smaller cities and towns?

  38. bt Says:

    @Steve #37

    “Do you feel that “equality” at this time means the appearance of French Catholic values and everything else is just tolerated?” …
    Well, i hardly think of France being a Catholic country anymore. The anti-catholic feelings are more common than what you can imagine. I would rather say that it is “Secular Jacobinism” and everything else is just tolerated. That’s cos of history, the Revolution, and all the aftermaths.
    That explains all the fuzz about the ban of Muslim headscarf at school… probably difficult to understand from outside the country, I imagine.

    For the names, I have never seen it by myself, but I heard about it … for example, your name is Samira, and you tell everybody at work that you are called Sarah. Some studies has been done, and they found that some discriminations of ‘minorities’ (namely, Arabic and Black people) occur sometimes.

    “Are there many in the smaller cities and towns?” … yes, but less. Paris is becoming a super multicultural city, and the countryside is still very white.

  39. TonyP4 Says:

    Raj #35: You mean McCain has better plan than Obama to end the war. I do not think so.

    Did you watch TV on the white extremists trying to kill him? It is easier today even with all the details.

    Sarah is donating her $150000 to the poor. We’ll see a lot of poor folks wearing designer dresses and eye glasses. LMSAO, 🙂

  40. pug_ster Says:

    I just thought it is funny watching this youtube video of this Obama supporter who thinks by electing him he will take care of your mortgage and your gas bills… That is the “Audacity of Hope.”


    Our country is down the tubes because of freeloaders like them.

  41. TonyP4 Says:

    It has been echoed by the black lady Whoopi in the View and some other instances. I guess the logic as follows though I could be totally wrong.

    Democratic party is pro poor (and likes to bail out the poor) while Republican pro business (and likes to bail out business). The poor has more mortgage problems (hope some one would verify for me) and more are black. Since Obama is a black himself and a democrat, he is supposed to help his own and poor folks.

    Just my thought, no proof and no need to argue.

  42. pug_ster Says:


    No, not necessarily that that alot of Republicans like to bail out businesses. In fact, it was mostly Democrats who voted for while mostly Repubs voted against the 750 billion bailout package. I am not defending the Repubs as they are out of touch and all they care about are Guns, gay marriage, and abortion. And they deserve to be driven out by the Democrats.

    The only thing positive about the Obama campaign is that they realized that they are selling so much hype and starting to lower expectations for Americans. I recall that during the primaries between Clinton and Obama, that Obama blasted the Clinton administration and now he is actually embracing it.

  43. Steve Says:

    @pug_ster: Good point about lowering expectations. It started just as soon as the election was won. With the economy in the tank, a huge wall street bailout and two wars being fought, there’s not much money to do anything. That’s why I figure he might push the energy agenda to start.

    The Democrats tend to support big business while the Republicans are stronger supporters of small businesses, but also support big business. Why would the Democrats support big business? Because big businesses have labor unions and small businesses do not. They don’t want union members to lose their jobs. That’s why you always have to worry about protectionism under Democratic administrations.

    The Democrats are stronger with the poor, immigrants and minorities. Between Reagan and Bush, the Republicans were able to cut into those voter blocks; not winning them but losing them by lesser margins.

    The interesting thing about this election to me is that for the first time in memory, the southern vote went to the losing candidate. Typically, the coasts vote for the Democrat and the center votes Republican, with the south being the deciding factor. Because Obama was able to pick off Virginia along with taking Pennsylvania, Ohio and Colorado, that was the election. Obama was particularly strong in the suburbs, which had gone Republican since Reagan.

    If that is a trend, it might dent the influence of the evangelical Christian right inside the Republican Party. I’m a classic liberal Republican of the Teddy Roosevelt variety. Unfortunately, there’s no room in the Republican party for people like me anymore. In its current state, I don’t think the party can win elections unless it can reclaim more constituencies, especially the ‘burbs. John McCain was about as center as you can get and he still lost, though a lot of that was running into the Obama freight train and the economic meltdown. The next candidate will probably be to the right of McCain and I can’t see how they can win with that philosophy. The demographics just don’t hold and the trend with the younger voters is Democratic.

  44. Hongkonger Says:



    This humble Englishman totally rocks~!

    Nessun Dorma ~ must have made more grown men cry than any song ever.


  45. Hongkonger Says:

    Nessun Dorma must have made more grown men cried than any song ever.

    Check out this incredible humbe English man who first rocked the UK in 2007, now the world.


  46. Hongkonger Says:



    He had never danced before. She, a promising ballerina, lost her arm in a car accident at 19.
    She saw him limped by and tapped on his shoulder and asked if he likes to dance. He replied before he lost his leg – he loved to dance, but never took classes….And this was how they met and how She became his dance teacher .

  47. pug_ster Says:

    McCain is a good candidate but the Republicans are a tarnished brand and the economic crisis is a slippery slope for any Republican. Any Democrat who wins the primaries would already hold an significant advantage.

    People like JFK and MLK are so famous because they died during the prime. Right now Obama is at its prime as people in the Media, most Democrats, and alot of people around the world are fascinated at Obama. 3 days after he is voted president that there’s already talking about “Audacity of Hype” and “High Hopes: risk of failure.” If Obama was a product, that product would sell very well, but is the product is a good product? Certainly Oprah did a extreme good job selling it.

    After the 2004 election, cocky Bush said that “I earned political capital” and he squandered it. In the heels of the Nixon Resignation, Carter got elected with a democratic congress and senate, got a bunch of idealists in his administration squandered his ‘political capital.” Even Clinton in his first 2 years of presidency squandered his ‘political capital’ even with a democratic majority in senate and congress.

    Obama has alot of plans for ‘Change’ in this administration, hopefully he will remembered more like an FDR rather than a Carter presidency.

  48. Steve Says:

    @pug_ster: This joke showed up in my email today…

    Years ago, there was an old tale in the Marine Corps about a Lieutenant who inspected his men and told the ‘gunny’ that they smelled bad. The Lieutenant suggested that they change their underwear.
    The Gunny responded, “Aye, aye, sir, I’ll see to it immediately!”

    He went into the tent and said, “The lieutenant thinks you guys smell bad, and wants you to change your underwear. Smith, you change with Jones. McCarthy, you change with Dzwill. Brown, you change with Schultz. Get to it.”

    The moral: A candidate may promise ‘change’ in Washington, but don’t count on things smelling any better.

  49. TonyP4 Says:

    @pug_ster #42, historically Democrats are more pro poor than Republicans to me. Politics is not debatable besides religion, so I say again “no debate on who is more pro business”. Your viewpoint is as good as mine.

    If the economy is good, every one has a job and the rest of the problems in our society are easier to fix.

  50. Steve Says:

    @Hongkonger #44-46: Thanks for the vids. Both are amazing, but that ballet sequence was so inspiring!

    I don’t think Paul will be selling mobile phones much longer. 😉

  51. yo Says:

    I’m happy with the result, and interested to see how us-china relations will turn out. Also, finally happy to vote for a presidential winner.

  52. Jerry Says:

    Several comments

    • Political rhetoric: If we could convert political rhetoric, be it Chinese or American, to a fuel to run cars, heat houses and generate power, we would have an inexhaustible, renewable answer to our energy problems. Unless of course, the converted rhetoric turned out to be a bigger source of pollution than our present carbon-based fuels.

    • Who I supported: Obama, of course. He was less worse than McCain (I know that less worse is a faux pas. It just looks so much better than “less bad” and really expresses how I feel.). The lesser of two evils. Remember, he still comes from Chicago, having grown up in the Daley eras (both junior and senior). He got massive support from Wall Street financiers. Several were his campaign bundlers. He got massive amounts of corporate money. He is now beholden.

    It will be interesting watch his response to Iraq and the economy play out. We will just have to see.

    • The election: Obama’s election is surely a symbolic event, one which I thought I would never see in my lifetime. I remember other events in my life, most of which, at the time, seemed so surreal: Jack Kennedy’s assassination, landing on the moon, RFK and MLK’s assassination, Nixon’s resignation, the Berlin Wall coming down, my daughter being diagnosed with cancer, World Trade Towers and 9/11 (I had been in both towers during the 90s).

    Like Jesse Jackson, I teared up, too, watching that crowd out at Grant Park. I wonder what Martin felt? I wonder what Abe felt. I wonder what Barry felt? I would love to have a talk now with the late Studs Terkel, who recently died. He lived a long time in Chicago.

    And I wonder what we all will feel 3 to 4 months from now?

    •Jubilation and elation surrounding OB’s election: IMHO, très naïf and very unrealistic. Why? Because OB received massive financial support from Wall Street financiers and large corporations. Because very few seem to get to the White House or the Senate or the House, without surrendering their soul to those in power, those who have bought and paid for presidents, senators and representatives.

    We’ll just have to see how this plays out.

    •Joe Biden: I hoped that Biden would have been the Dem’s nominee. It says a lot about Joe that he wasn’t. Much more to the good than the bad. Joe is a good guy, as straight a shooter as you will find in DC. He is extremely knowledgeable about foreign policy. Joe has been faulted for his habit of putting his foot in his mouth. I see it differently. He is willing to say how he feels without taking a poll. In other words, honest.

    I admire Biden, just like I admired Barry Goldwater. I never had to wonder what Barry thought or where he stood. He would tell you whether you liked it or not.

    And McCain is certainly not Goldwater. Not even close.

    • Rahm Emanuel: He is one of my “peeps”. He is an enforcer. He has a reputation for back room viciousness. He was schooled by the current Chicago Mayor Daley and the mayor’s brother, Bill. He is the penultimate wet dream for Israel’s Kadima Party, AIPAC and Israel Firsters. The ultimate wet dream is Emanuel or Lieberman as president. He makes Joe Lieberman look tame.

    • Sarah Palin: She won all the way around. She got a great wardrobe for her run as VP. She got publicity she never could have bought. Tina Fey mimicked her on SNL. Hey, she even got to appear on SNL. Unlike McCain, she has now become the darling of the religious right. Maybe John Hagee can make her the patron saint of the Christian evangelical movement. All this for some gal from the Great Frozen North. Not bad for someone who cruises through life without the benefit of the thought process, for the most part.

  53. TommyBahamas Says:


    ” #44-46: Thanks for the vids. You are most welcome.

    @Jerry # 52

    “Not bad for someone [Palin] who cruises through life without the benefit of the thought process, for the most part.”

    LOL…there are plenty of those everywhere, GWB included. “Some guys / gals have all the luck / fun…” Rod Steward

    Watched CSNY/Deja Vu on DVD…..(‘Freedom of Speech’ US tour) It was very moving for me…

    I remember, for 2-3 months, I used to get up early almost every saturday morning to catch the 10:30am-only “Woodstock 1969, the movie,” saturday matinee…..Then, after lunch, joined probably the same HK crowd, at 2:30pm, for the “Rocky Horror Picture show” at another cinema.

    Anyway, CSNY/Deja Vu’s revisit of the anti-war years of US, the Vietnam war, May 4, 1970 Kent State student massacre, and now …..same sh*t….

    “When will we ever learn?”
    Pete Seeger and Tao Rodriguez-Seeger(Where have all the flowers gone?)

  54. Jerry Says:

    @TommyBahamas #53

    Thanks, Tommy.

    I never got into CSN or CSNY. Never got into Woodstock, Hendrix, Joplin, drugs, or the Rocky Horror Picture Show. I remember Kent State like it was yesterday. I was still a teenager. Wow. The good townspeople of Kent, Ohio, would go riding around town in their cars in the days after the incident, honking their horns and yelling out the window, “Four’s the score and we want more!” A lot of tension and hatred back then. Good god.

    Pete Seeger. One of my all time faves. He of the Weavers’ fame. I think he is in his late 80’s now. I remember one song of his I loved, “Little Boxes”. I later learned it was about all the ticky-tacky housing south of SF in the Bay Area. But it was a great song for an 11 year old.

    Pete is another one of those giants in my life.

    Thinking of Pete reminds me of Leonard Cohen and Tom Lehrer. I saw a Cohen documentary on the Sundance Channel when I still lived in Seattle. I heard Tom Lehrer on an NPR news show interview. Those guys are great, too.

  55. Jerry Says:

    @TommyBahamas #53

    I wrote this to my kids earlier this week, after the election results were in.

    McCain got his hero status for being a POW in Maison Centrale in Hanoi (Hanoi Hilton). I have been by it many times and went by it several times last month. I have had a lot of time to think out these following thoughts.

    Why was he a POW? Because he and his fellow USN and USAF bombers rained down terror, cluster bombs, napalm and carpet bombing on Cambodians, Vietnamese, and Laotians. Is it any wonder why the Vietnamese wanted to imprison and make his life miserable? Well, I don’t condone torture, whether it was by North Vietnam or by our cruel, torturous bombings of innocent civilians. So, John, you are not a hero. You are just some poor schmuck parading as a hero. The heroes were those who survived in spite of our overwhelming force in Vietnam. The heroes are those who died and were injured trying to protect their country.

    Let’s hope Barack does not let us down!

    I also feel sorry for those who were drafted and went to Vietnam. Killed a lot of American young men. Ruined, maimed and injured a lot more of those young guys’ lives. Killed 3,000,000 Vietnamese, and maimed, injured and decimated so many Vietnamese lives.

    You quoted Pete Seeger’s song, “Where Have All The Flowers Gone”, “When will we ever learn?”

    Well, it is still an applicable, timeless song, so I will post the complete song here.

    words and music by Pete Seeger

    Where have all the flowers gone?
    Long time passing
    Where have all the flowers gone?
    Long time ago
    Where have all the flowers gone?
    Girls have picked them every one
    When will they ever learn?
    When will they ever learn?

    Where have all the young girls gone?
    Long time passing
    Where have all the young girls gone?
    Long time ago
    Where have all the young girls gone?
    Taken husbands every one
    When will they ever learn?
    When will they ever learn?

    Where have all the young men gone?
    Long time passing
    Where have all the young men gone?
    Long time ago
    Where have all the young men gone?
    Gone for soldiers every one
    When will they ever learn?
    When will they ever learn?

    Where have all the soldiers gone?
    Long time passing
    Where have all the soldiers gone?
    Long time ago
    Where have all the soldiers gone?
    Gone to graveyards every one
    When will they ever learn?
    When will they ever learn?

    Where have all the graveyards gone?
    Long time passing
    Where have all the graveyards gone?
    Long time ago
    Where have all the graveyards gone?
    Covered with flowers every one
    When will we ever learn?
    When will we ever learn?

    ©1961 (Renewed) Fall River Music Inc
    All Rights Reserved.

    Someday, we may make it to a Type II or Type III civilization. I am not holding my breath.

  56. Ted Says:

    Palin today in the NYT on cracks directed at her by the McCain camp: ““…I think that if there are allegations based on questions or comments that I made… then those were taken out of context,” Ms. Palin said. “And that’s cruel and it’s mean-spirited, it’s immature, it’s unprofessional, and those guys are jerks, if they came away with it taking things out of context and then tried to spread something on national news. It is not fair and not right.””

    She continues by saying that people who spread half-truths and baseless allegations are “jerks”. You said it Governor Palin, not me 🙂

  57. TommyBahamas Says:

    “Someday, we may make it to a Type II or Type III civilization. I am not holding my breath.”

    We’ve seen Type II civilisation in the movies….

    The first one that comes to mind was Charleston Heston’s 1973’s classic, Soylent Green:
    It’s the year 2022… People are still the same. They’ll do anything to get what they need. And they need SOYLENT GREEN.
    By the year 2022, earth’s face has completely changed. New York’s population, for example, has grown to 40 million mouths to feed. The greenhouse effect has risen the temperature into nearly unbearable regions, and the people are kept in the cities by law. The rich live in separated luxury apartments (with women as part of the rented furniture) but also experience the lack of natural food. Strawberries are at $150 for a glass of them. Police Detective Thorn investigates a strange murdering case of an official from the Soylent corporation, which feeds the masses with a palette of their creations: Soylent red, yellow, or, even more nutritious, green. Thorn’s investigation leads him to uncover a conspiracy in the Soylant company and the Soylent Green food product itself, where Thorn uncovers the horrible truth about Soylent Green.

    1984’s Terminator was great entertainment. The latest, Death Race..It is 2012, four years from now…. the economy of the United States has totally collapsed. Unemployment and crime rises, and private corporations run most prisons across the nation for profit……Terminal Island Prison, organizes and broadcasts “Death Race” to the world via a popular paysite (up to US$250 and up) on internet to watch ‘live’ car races driven by prisoners, crashed, burnt, decapitated, shot to pieces etc…..Ladies & gents, welcome to the future….

  58. Jerry Says:

    @Ted #56

    “If there are allegations based on questions or comments I made in debate prep about NAFTA, about the continent versus the country when we talk about Africa there, then those were taken out of context. And that’s cruel, it’s mean-spirited, it’s immature, it’s unprofessional and those guys are jerks if they came away with it taking things out of context, then tried to spread something on national news,” Palin said.

    … “Those are the RNC’s clothes, they are not my clothes. I never forced anybody to buy anything. I never asked for anything more than maybe a diet Dr Pepper every once in a while,” she said.

    She is unraveling right before our eyes. The McCain campaign is unraveling, very unclassily, right before our eyes. Perhaps, one can imagine this conversation if she had become VP…

    “If there are allegations based on questions or comments I made in summit prep for the G8, about how I’ve been watching Russia, gaining foreign policy experience, right from my home, then those were taken out of context. And that’s cruel, it’s mean-spirited, it’s immature, it’s unprofessional and those guys, Vladimir and Dimitry are jerks if they came away with it taking things out of context, then tried to spread something to Sarkozy.” VP Palin said.

    “Those are American nukes, they are not my nukes. I never threatened to launch anything. I never asked Vlad for anything more than maybe a bottle of Grey Goose or Stolichnaya every once in a while,” she said. “Well, if he and Dimi are going to be jerks and laugh at me, let’s just NUKE them!”

    Wow, and they think that Ed Muskie melted down in 1972. Sarah, Muskie recovered and continued as a Senator. He even became Secretary of State under Jimmy Carter.

    Maybe, we can now put to rest the phrase, “pull a Muskie” and replace with “throw a Palin tantrum”?

    Or quite possibly the mini-Palin, Michele Bachmann from Minnesota, and her “Obama is anti-American” meltdown? Is it true that she was channeling Joe McCarthy? Where do they get these people?

    LMAO 😀 ::chuckle, sob::

  59. Steve Says:

    @Jerry #52: I’ve been looking forward to your comments on the election and once again, the wait was worth it. 🙂

    Political rhetoric: We used to call this “verbal diarrhea” when I was young. Unfortunately, the converted rhetoric turns into methane and causes global warming.

    Who I supported: Thank you, thank you, thank you for mentioned that Obama is a very visible cog in the Chicago political machine. What is a community organizer? It’s a person paying his/her dues to work their way into said machine. You are the only other person I’ve heard who’s every said this. I felt like screaming at my TV when the political pundits had a hard time explaining what a community organizer actually does. He does what he’s told to do by the Daley democratic ward boss or his local alderman. To get the kind of money he raised, he had to play ball.

    The election: I wonder how long the honeymoon will last. He’s already backing down from some of his campaign promises, saying they might take one or ever two terms to fill. Ma Yingjiu tried that in Taiwan and it didn’t work. My hope is that his management skills are so great that he can get his administration under control, keep everyone on the same page and actually get things accomplished. Once an election is over and the page has turned, let’s give the benefit of the doubt to the president and let him prove himself starting with a clean slate.

    Joe Biden: I agree with you on Biden. I like his candor a lot. He can have foot in mouth disease sometimes but that’s better than a guy who skillfully evades every question thrown at him and only replies with “spin”. In foreign policy, he certainly knows his stuff.

    Too bad McCain sold his soul to the devil to get this nomination. Back in 2000, he was a pretty straight shooter. When he had to repeat all that conservative blather on the stump, he looked constipated. I think he might be like Al Gore and glad the election is over with. I never saw a guy so happy to lose as Al Gore. It was like night and day. If either McCain or Gore had been elected in 2000 instead of Bush, the world would certainly look a lot different today.

    Rahm Emanuel: It’ll be interesting to see what kind of chief of state he becomes. For me, the best chief of staff I can remember was James Baker. No one messed with Baker and when he left to become Secretary of State, the Reagan administration promptly fell apart. You need a guy in that position that keeps everyone on the same page; you need an enforcer.

    Sarah Palin: If the Republicans actually nominate her in four years, it’ll set the party back 40 years. She appeals to the Evangelicals and… to the evangelicals. Not quite enough votes to even be elected dogcatcher.

    Jerry: excellent, insightful comments as always~

    @Jerry #55: Ah, what a great song! I also liked the Peter, Paul & Mary version. I’m sure you also enjoyed the Kingston Trio and the Limeliters, along with those great folk acts of the 60s like Fairport Convention, Sandy Denny & the Strawbs, Ralph McTell, Pentangle, Lindisfarne, Fotheringay, Richard Thompson (I saw his son in concert recently as the opening act for Suzanne Vega, who can still bring it) and of course the boys from Brooklyn, Simon & Garfunkel.

    When I was in college, I worked at a club called “The Main Point” in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. Along with the LA Troubadour, it was considered the best small music club in the United States and owned by a blind lady in her late 50s, a great and truly interesting place to work for fun money while in college. I got to see hundreds of acts for free at that time (mid 70s) and one of them was Leonard Cohen. Got to meet him too; nice guy. But of all the musicians that performed there, no one had more girls swooning over him….ever! He was the greatest babe magnet we ever had. When we were cleaning out the dressing room afterwards, we had to throw away about 30 love letters from his fans. Reading those letters was pretty funny. I should have kept them, ha ha.

  60. Hongkonger Says:

    Leonard Cohen. Isn’t he Canadian?

    Cool Song:

    (Radio announcer’s voice)
    Was die Attentäter betrifft, die in Berlin den Anschlag auf die Deutsch-Arabische Gesellschaft verübt haben, ist die Polizei einen Schritt weiter gekommen. Die jetzt nach dem Anschlag…

    They sentenced me to twenty years of boredom
    For trying to change the system from within
    I’m coming now, I’m coming to reward them
    First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin

    I’m guided by a signal in the heavens
    I’m guided by this birthmark on my skin
    I’m guided by the beauty of our weapons
    First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin

    I’d really like to live beside you, baby
    I love your body and your spirit and your clothes
    But you see that line there moving through the station?
    I told you, I told you, told you, I was one of those

    Ah you loved me as a loser, but now you’re worried that I just might win
    You know the way to stop me, but you don’t have the discipline
    How many nights I prayed for this, to let my work begin
    First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin

    I don’t like your fashion business mister
    And I don’t like these drugs that keep you thin
    I don’t like what happened to my sister
    First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin

    I’d really like to live beside you, baby …

    And I thank you for those items that you sent me
    The monkey and the plywood violin
    I practiced every night, now I’m ready
    First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin

    I am guided

    Ah remember me, I used to live for music
    Remember me, I brought your groceries in
    Well it’s Father’s Day and everybody’s wounded
    First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin

  61. Steve Says:

    Hongkonger: Yep, from Montreal~

  62. Jerry Says:

    @TommyBahamas #57

    “We’ve seen Type II civilisation in the movies….” Well, Tommy, based on my interpretation and extrapolation of the Kardashev Scale, and the works of Carl Sagan, Fritjof Kapra and Michio Kaku, I don’t think your examples are Type II. Maybe Type I or below. IMHO

    I have read Kaku, Capra and Sagan and their takes on advancement in civilization. I guess I am coming more from a theoretical physics’ or astrophysics’ point of view. I believe, in order to become a higher civilization, there needs to be more than technological innovation. We will also need major changes in “polity and economics”, as the article below states. I believe that these innovations will require substantially more intellectual, economical, moral, political and emotional maturity. We need to move beyond, as stated by Fritjof Capra, our current civilization’s “crisis of perception”.

    We can also draw on the work of Michael and Justine Toms and their New Dimensions Foundation. Michael and Justine have hosted many interesting guests over the years on their radio program.

    I saw this interesting article by a Claremont adjunct professor. I am not sure about his conclusions, but I shall ponder more. He is using notions from our current paradigm to describe a future civilization, a new paradigm, which is far more advanced than our current state of civilization. I would rather describe qualities than specific notions. I fear the picture in his head is too limiting. If rather than using the current notions of democracy, he would describe the qualities he would like to see in a democratic concept/framework, I would feel more comfortable.


    Toward a Type 1 civilization

    Along with energy policy, political and economic systems must also evolve.

    By Michael Shermer

    July 22, 2008

    Our civilization is fast approaching a tipping point. Humans will need to make the transition from nonrenewable fossil fuels as the primary source of our energy to renewable energy sources that will allow us to flourish into the future. Failure to make that transformation will doom us to the endless political machinations and economic conflicts that have plagued civilization for the last half-millennium.

    We need new technologies to be sure, but without evolved political and economic systems, we cannot become what we must. And what is that? A Type 1 civilization. Let me explain.

    In a 1964 article on searching for extraterrestrial civilizations, the Soviet astronomer Nikolai Kardashev suggested using radio telescopes to detect energy signals from other solar systems in which there might be civilizations of three levels of advancement: Type 1 can harness all of the energy of its home planet; Type 2 can harvest all of the power of its sun; and Type 3 can master the energy from its entire galaxy.

    Based on our energy efficiency at the time, in 1973 the astronomer Carl Sagan estimated that Earth represented a Type 0.7 civilization on a Type 0 to Type 1 scale. (More current assessments put us at 0.72.) As the Kardashevian scale is logarithmic — where any increase in power consumption requires a huge leap in power production — we have a ways before 1.0.

    Fossil fuels won’t get us there. Renewable sources such as solar, wind and geothermal are a good start, and coupled to nuclear power could eventually get us to Type 1.

    Yet the hurdles are not solely — or even primarily — technological ones. We have a proven track record of achieving remarkable scientific solutions to survival problems — as long as there is the political will and economic opportunities that allow the solutions to flourish. In other words, we need a Type 1 polity and economy, along with the technology, in order to become a Type 1 civilization.

    We are close. If we use the Kardashevian scale to plot humankind’s progress, it shows how far we’ve come in the long history of our species from Type 0, and it leads us to see what a Type 1 civilization might be like:

    Type 0.1: Fluid groups of hominids living in Africa. Technology consists of primitive stone tools. Intra-group conflicts are resolved through dominance hierarchy, and between-group violence is common.

    Type 0.2: Bands of roaming hunter-gatherers that form kinship groups, with a mostly horizontal political system and egalitarian economy.

    Type 0.3: Tribes of individuals linked through kinship but with a more settled and agrarian lifestyle. The beginnings of a political hierarchy and a primitive economic division of labor.

    Type 0.4: Chiefdoms consisting of a coalition of tribes into a single hierarchical political unit with a dominant leader at the top, and with the beginnings of significant economic inequalities and a division of labor in which lower-class members produce food and other products consumed by non-producing upper-class members.

    Type 0.5: The state as a political coalition with jurisdiction over a well-defined geographical territory and its corresponding inhabitants, with a mercantile economy that seeks a favorable balance of trade in a win-lose game against other states.

    Type 0.6: Empires extend their control over peoples who are not culturally, ethnically or geographically within their normal jurisdiction, with a goal of economic dominance over rival empires.

    Type 0.7: Democracies that divide power over several institutions, which are run by elected officials voted for by some citizens. The beginnings of a market economy.

    Type 0.8: Liberal democracies that give the vote to all citizens. Markets that begin to embrace a nonzero, win-win economic game through free trade with other states.

    Type 0.9: Democratic capitalism, the blending of liberal democracy and free markets, now spreading across the globe through democratic movements in developing nations and broad trading blocs such as the European Union.

    Type 1.0: Globalism that includes worldwide wireless Internet access, with all knowledge digitized and available to everyone. A completely global economy with free markets in which anyone can trade with anyone else without interference from states or governments. A planet where all states are democracies in which everyone has the franchise.

    The forces at work that could prevent us from making the great leap forward to a Type 1 civilization are primarily political and economic. The resistance by nondemocratic states to turning power over to the people is considerable, especially in theocracies whose leaders would prefer we all revert to Type 0.4 chiefdoms. The opposition toward a global economy is substantial, even in the industrialized West, where economic tribalism still dominates the thinking of most politicians, intellectuals and citizens.

    For thousands of years, we have existed in a zero-sum tribal world in which a gain for one tribe, state or nation meant a loss for another tribe, state or nation — and our political and economic systems have been designed for use in that win-lose world. But we have the opportunity to live in a win-win world and become a Type 1 civilization by spreading liberal democracy and free trade, in which the scientific and technological benefits will flourish. I am optimistic because in the evolutionist’s deep time and the historian’s long view, the trend lines toward achieving Type 1 status tick inexorably upward.

    That is change we can believe in.

    Michael Shermer is an adjunct professor in the School of Politics and Economics at Claremont Graduate University, the publisher of Skeptic magazine and a monthly columnist for Scientific American. His latest book is “The Mind of the Market.”

    I believe in advancing our civilization. On many fronts. It will not be easy.

    I would like to finish with one of my favorite Ghandi quotes. “What do I think of Western civilisation? I think it would be a very good idea.” To which I would add that we should always keep broadening the current notions of civilization inside the framework, the concept of civilization.

  63. TahwYOJ Says:

    Three types of civs. on the Kardashev scale is based on total energy level. So a type I civilization is able to harness the power of the ENITRE planet. That is, sucking energy out of the core.

    Type II civ. is able to harness the entire energy output of the SUN. Something along of the line of a dyson sphere would do it.

    Type III civ. is able to harness the entire energy output of THE GALAXY!!!

    There is no type IV, because we suppose that the distance between Galaxies are just too great, that we can never overcome this stretch of vastness to suck up the power of the next galaxy!!! Haha.

    So, we’re pretty much still stucked in Civ. naught.

  64. TahwYOJ Says:

    But all this is based off OUR CURRENT understanding of physics. What if (A big IF) sometimes in the future, one day, we smack our head, DOH, there is no SPOON NEO! Somehow the fundamental understanding of physics change, such as a whole new definition of energy, or some other none sense.

    I doubt it.

  65. Jerry Says:

    @Steve #59

    Thanks for your remarks. Please consider my soul conflicted and dichotomized. Oy vey! If only life was simple. LOL

    Not only is OB part of the Daley machine in Chicago, so is Rahm Emanuel. These guys have been well schooled. And they both got elected to Federal positions, OB as senator and Emanuel as representative. Nobody gets elected in that area without the machine’s approval. And this is not a state secret nor is it hardly news. This is just the way it goes. Daley must be thrilled at this point in time.

    OB started backing down on promises once he had captured the nomination. He had promised to vote against the FISA Revisions bill. In fact, he had said that he would filibuster. After getting the nomination, he voted for the bill. He voted for the bank bailout. Hmmm… I think there may be a honeymoon period with Barack and certain voters, but as far as I care, it is over before it started. I agree with you that we should give him the benefit of the doubt. In my own dichotomized terms, “I will keep an open, skeptical mind.” I know I am nuts! 😀

    Rahm is from Chicago. His dad, Benjamin, was a member of the Irgun when he lived in Israel. Apparently Benjamin was a protégé of Menachem Begin. (Dr. Ruth Westheimer was a member of the Irgun; she must be one tough lady.) 😀 The Irgun played it very rough. Rahm might make a very good Chief of Staff. Don’t know. John Boehner, ironically, is criticizing OB’s choice of Rahm for CoS as being “too partisan”. John, you are hardly a paragon of virtue when it comes to bi-partisanship. LMAO

    BTW, Rahm’s brother, Ari, opposed Rahm’s status as a superdelegate.


    My brother Rahm Emanuel is a superdelegate. I love my brother, and I trust my brother. But I gave up letting my brother dictate my life since he determined whether he got the top or bottom bunk in our bedroom back in Chicago.

    So, as much as I love and respect him, I don’t trust him and his fellow superdelegates to decide for me and the American people who should be the Democratic nominee — and, therefore, most likely the next president of the United States.

    I want voters to make that decision. The superdelegates, my brother included, have not been elected by anybody to name the nominee. They’ve either been appointed by the Party or, as in my brother’s case, have automatically inherited the role simply because they are elected officials. This isn’t the place to debate the entire history of superdelegates. Suffice it to say, however, they were created by the Party machine decades ago for the express purpose of giving Party insiders the ability to thwart the popular will. …

    So much for the election.

    I loved your story about Leonard Cohen. He still seems to be a babe magnet. And he seems to be a pretty nice guy.

    I know and like the Limelighters, Kingston Trio (Hang Down Your Head, Tom Dooley), Fairport Convention, Richard Thompson, and of couse, Paul and Art.

    Speaking of Simon and Garfunkel, we could certainly use, “A Bridge over Troubled Waters” just now. Or at least get the “59th Street Bridge Song” stuck in a continuous loop in my head! 😀

  66. Ted Says:

    @ Jerry: We may be drawing material from the same place but this one was also great to read. From today’s NYTimes: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/09/us/politics/09memo.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

    “And it was not too long ago that Senator John McCain’s running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, accused Mr. Obama of “palling around with terrorists.”

    But she took an entirely different tone on Thursday, when she chastised reporters for asking her questions about her war with some staff members in the McCain campaign at such a heady time. “Barack Obama has been elected president,” Ms. Palin said. “Let us, let us — let him — be able to kind of savor this moment, one, and not let the pettiness of maybe internal workings of the campaign erode any of the recognition of this historic moment that we’re in. And God bless Barack Obama and his beautiful family.””

    For all the talk of “history will be the judge” by Republicans during the Bush administration its funny to see them cower when the lens of history really turns in their direction. For the readers out there who wonder why we don’t lend much weight to campaign talk, Governor Palin’s shallow, stammering reversal above may help. Why do I keep seeing images of Water buffalo scattering from a river bank? It’s like their talking points evaporated the moment Obama was elected.

  67. pug_ster Says:

    #57 TonyBahamas

    I doubt the US would go to the state of Anarchy as described in the Terminator and Death Race movies. My guess for US’ worst case scenario would be more like Great Britain after WII. US would probably lose its status as the world police, they would significantly lose funding in its military, stop dictating on how other countries should run its country.

    I do find it funny that Obama is asking for help from Clinton’s economic team when he was against Clinton’s administration earlier this year.

  68. Jerry Says:

    @Ted #66

    I wish Palin was all fun and games for us. Unfortunately, her role as provocateur is a tad bit more lethal than fun. Her mouth may be a lethal weapon. God knows what this says about certain attendees at Palin rallies. I saw this in the Telegraph UK.


    Sarah Palin blamed by the US Secret Service over death threats against Barack Obama

    Sarah Palin’s attacks on Barack Obama’s patriotism provoked a spike in death threats against the future president, Secret Service agents revealed during the final weeks of the campaign.

    By Tim Shipman in Washington
    Last Updated: 4:04PM GMT 08 Nov 2008

    The Republican vice presidential candidate attracted criticism for accusing Mr Obama of “palling around with terrorists”, citing his association with the sixties radical William Ayers.

    The attacks provoked a near lynch mob atmosphere at her rallies, with supporters yelling “terrorist” and “kill him” until the McCain campaign ordered her to tone down the rhetoric.

    But it has now emerged that her demagogic tone may have unintentionally encouraged white supremacists to go even further.

    The Secret Service warned the Obama family in mid October that they had seen a dramatic increase in the number of threats against the Democratic candidate, coinciding with Mrs Palin’s attacks.

    Michelle Obama, the future First Lady, was so upset that she turned to her friend and campaign adviser Valerie Jarrett and said: “Why would they try to make people hate us?”

    The revelations, contained in a Newsweek history of the campaign, are likely to further damage Mrs Palin’s credentials as a future presidential candidate. She is already a frontrunner, with Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, to take on Mr Obama in four years time.

    Details of the spike in threats to Mr Obama come as a report last week by security and intelligence analysts Stratfor, warned that he is a high risk target for racist gunmen. It concluded: “Two plots to assassinate Obama were broken up during the campaign season, and several more remain under investigation. We would expect federal authorities to uncover many more plots to attack the president that have been hatched by white supremacist ideologues.”

    Irate John McCain aides, who blame Mrs Palin for losing the election, claim Mrs Palin took it upon herself to question Mr Obama’s patriotism, before the line of attack had been cleared by Mr McCain.

    That claim is part of a campaign of targeted leaks designed to torpedo her ambitions, with claims that she did not know that Africa was a continent rather than a country.

    The advisers have branded her a “diva” and a “whack job” and claimed that she did not know which other countries are in the North American Free Trade Area, (Canada and Mexico). They say she spent more than $150,000 on designer clothes, including $40,000 on her husband Todd and that she refused to prepare for the disastrous series of interviews with CBS’s Katie Couric.

    In a bid to salvage her reputation Mrs Palin came out firing in an interview with CNN, dismissing the anonymous leakers in unpresidential language as “jerks” who had taken “questions or comments I made in debate prep out of context.”

    She said: “I consider it cowardly. It’s not true. That’s cruel, it’s mean-spirited, it’s immature, it’s unprofessional and those guys are jerks if they came away taking things out of context and then tried to spread something on national news that’s not fair and not right.”

    She was not asked about her incendiary rhetoric against Mr Obama. But she did deny the spending spree claims, saying the clothes in question had been returned to the Republican National Committee. “Those are the RNC’s clothes, they’re not my clothes. I asked for anything more than maybe a diet Dr Pepper once in a while. These are false allegations.”

    Speaking as she returned to her native Alaska, Mrs. Palin claimed to be baffled by what she claims was sexism on the national stage. “Here in Alaska that double standard isn’t applied because these guys know that Alaskan women are pretty tough, on a par with the men in terms of being outdoors, working hard,” she said.

    “They’re commercial fishermen, they’re pilots, they’re working up on the North slopein the oil fields. You see equality in Alaska. I think that was a bit of as surprise on the national level.”

    This is reminiscent of the case of Tom Metzger and Mulugeta Seraw in 1988. Mulugeta Seraw, an Ethiopian man attending PSU in Portland, was murdered by some skinheads. They beat him to death with a baseball bat. The perps were arrested and convicted.

    The Southern Poverty Law Center and Anti-defamation League offered to back a lawsuit by Mulugeta’s father against Tom Metzger, the head of the White Aryan Resistance. SPLC’s director, Morris Dees, represented the Seraw’s family. The basis for the lawsuit was vicarious liability, which is a tort liability for crimes committed by a subordinate taking instructions. Morris Dees and the Seraw family prevailed. The $12.5 million judgment bankrupted Metzger and WAR.

    I remember the trial. Security at the Multnomah County Courthouse was extraordinary. Fear of retaliation by WAR and its operatives had everybody on edge. The building became an armed fortress, with police snipers on top of the Courthouse and surrounding buildings. Helicopters were buzzing everywhere.

    After SPLC and ADL won, they were the subject of many bomb and death threats.

    That is why I don’t take the “palling around with terrorists (in reference to Bill Ayers)” claim lightly. By stupidly (or maliciously) uttering those words, without reflecting on the ramifications, she provides much evidence of an appalling lack of leadership qualities. This concerns me more than “the country of Africa” or her RNC shopping spree, which I still find rather humorous.

    The attacks provoked a near lynch mob atmosphere at her rallies, with supporters yelling “terrorist” and “kill him” until the McCain campaign ordered her to tone down the rhetoric.

    As I said, god knows what this says about McCain/Palin supporters yelling out these epithets. Pretty disgusting.

  69. Bob Says:

    A growing number of Chinese/Asian Americans find it objectionable that Obama selected Bill Richardson as his Secretary of Commerce.


    To: President-elect Obama

    The undersigned hereby urge President-elect Barack Obama not to nominate New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson to be a member of his Cabinet.

    As the Secretary of Energy under former President Bill Clinton, Mr. Richardson intentionally leaked Dr. Wen Ho Lee’s name to the press as the suspect of giving China nuclear secrets and falsely accused Dr. Lee of espionage, stripping Dr. Lee’s right to due process and marking the beginning of a 9 month solitary confinement. Judge James Parker made an unusual apology to Dr. Lee when he released him and accused the Department of Energy, among others, of misleading him and bring dishonor to the U.S. All this is documented in Wikipedia, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wen_Ho_Lee

    President Bill Clinton and the New York Times have both apologized publicly to Dr. Lee. Yet, Mr. Richardson said he stood by everything he said and did regarding Dr. Lee in an interview with Democracy Now in September 2005. He also criticized Judge Parker for making his apology and said the Judge erred when he said he was misled. See http://www.democracynow.org/2005/9/22/governor_richardson_says_he_stands_by

    For more on Gov. Richardson and Dr. Lee, watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pv7v02jFHS8

    The Dr. Wen Ho Lee case was not the only mistake Mr. Richardson made. Several hard disc drives were missing at the Los Alamos National Lab under his watch. Mr. Richardson’s motive when he offered Monica Lewinsky a job on his UN staff is questionable. Additionally, he repeatedly claimed he was drafted by the Kansas City A’s until it was proven that he was not.

    Gov. Richardson is a solo operator without the necessary discipline to run a large federal department. He is an opportunist, irresponsible and ruthless, he simply is not fit to be a member of the Obama Cabinet.


    The Undersigned

    If Bill Richardson doesn’t epitomize the institutionalized racism against Chinese Americans, I don’t know what does.

  70. Jerry Says:

    @Bob #69

    Bob, Wen Ho Lee’s case is a tragic case. As a backgrounder on this matter, here is an article from Salon Magazine.

    Wen Ho Lee is free

    As the government’s wobbly case against him closes, will Chinagate close along with it?

    – – – – – – – – – – – –


    By Joshua Micah Marshall

    Sept. 13, 2000 | Today in Albuquerque, New Mexico, after a few final fits and starts, federal prosecutors closed the book on a case once widely touted as the biggest spy scandal since the Rosenbergs, and concluded what can only be considered one of the more embarrassing and shameful chapters in the history of federal law enforcement.

    Days ago U.S. Attorney Norman C. Bay successfully sought to prevent accused nuclear weapons scientist Wen Ho Lee from being released on bail, telling a circuit court judge that Lee’s release would represent “an unprecedented risk of danger to national security.”

    Today Lee walked out of prison with no restrictions whatsoever, after being held in solitary confinement since last December. And the same federal prosecutors stood before the media and pronounced themselves happy with the result. Case closed. Job well done.

    U.S. District Judge James Parker, however, was hardly so generous in his appraisal of (the) their work. “I sincerely apologize to you,” Parker told Dr. Lee in remarks from the bench, “for the unfair manner in which you were held in custody by the executive branch.” And the judge went on to level against the government a verdict which could scarcely have been more scathing. The Departments of Energy and Justice, Parker said, “have embarrassed our entire nation and each of us who is a citizen of it.”

    Under the plea agreement, Lee pled guilty to one felony charge of mishandling government secrets, and was sentenced to time served — some nine months behind bars. In addition, Lee pledged to cooperate with government investigators and, particularly, to tell them just what became of the tapes he used to download the top-secret data.

    Thus, apparently, ends a case which ramified far beyond the confines of the courtroom, roiling the nation’s politics for more than a year, and leaving many in the media splattered with mud.

    The case first erupted into public view on March 6, 1999, when Jeff Gerth and James Risen of the New York Times reported that China had stolen top-secret American technology used to miniaturize nuclear warheads. Though the thefts had taken place as long ago as the mid-1980s, Gerth and Risen further alleged that the U.S. Justice Department had been slow to press the investigation.

    Two days later Lee was abruptly fired from his job at New Mexico’s Los Alamos National Laboratory by Energy Secretary Bill Richardson. And months after that, on December 10, 1999, Lee was arrested and charged with offenses which, if proven, would have earned him life behind bars several times over. From the moment the New York Times broke the story, the case was quickly swept into congressional Republicans’ effort to tar the Clinton administration over its China policy.

    Despite the uproar, the government’s case against Lee was an ever-dwindling thing from the start. Claims of espionage were succeeded by charges that Lee had mishandled government secrets with an unknown, but nefarious, purpose. Now it turns out that that purpose was apparently not nefarious enough to garner Lee even 12 months in prison.

    Now the real questions that remain have less to do with the narrow legalities of this case than the broader plume of political hysteria it ignited. For more than three years Republicans have been pressing the scandal stemming from campaign finance violations in the 1996 presidential campaign. The Lee case became the centerpiece of a tangled web of charges that the Clinton administration had either been soft on Chinese espionage or even willfully transferred American secrets to Chinese agents in exchange for a few hundreds of thousands of dollars of campaign contributions.

    Before the Lee case ever came to light, Newt Gingrich had already charged that President Clinton “had approved turning over missile secrets to the Chinese.” Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., chairman of the House Space and Aeronautics subcommittee, claimed the president “betrayed the interests of our country,” and Rep. Charlie Norwood, R-Ga., charged that Bill Clinton was “guilty of high treason.”

    Once the Lee case came to light, the media, and particularly the New York Times, picked up the story and ran with it, blaring charges that it was the most serious instance of nuclear espionage since the Rosenbergs. The accusations about Chinese spying and Clinton administration involvement seeped into contemporary political folklore. As recently as Monday, in a Washington Post article describing voters’ opinions about the presidential race, a Michigan voter tells Post reporter Tom Edsall that Gore “scares the hell out of me. I think he and his boss are in bed with the Chinese — They’ve sold their souls.”

    But the Lee case was more than a morality play about evil Republicans eager to politicize the case for partisan gain. There was plenty of blame to go around: The coverage of the case in the mainstream press was shameless and lazy. And few in the Clinton administration were willing to remain firm in the face of the unfolding media firestorm. Particularly blameworthy, in retrospect, was Energy Secretary Bill Richardson, who fired Lee two days after the Times story ran and awarded one of his principal accusers, Energy Department counter-intelligence investigator Notra Trulock, with a $10,000 bonus for a job well done. Lee is no hero in this whole mess. But Richardson’s actions were no more than reckless grandstanding.

    It’s worth asking now whether those in politics and the media who hyped and sensationalized the story in the first place now question the larger political hysteria to which the case gave rise. But the real import of the Lee case transcends politics and any assignment of blame to particular persons. It’s about the ricketiness of our own political culture and the rapidity with which hysteria can infect not only political life but the judicial system as well.

    I am not defending Richardson’s handling of this case. The petition and you make the following claims in this case:

    … As the Secretary of Energy under former President Bill Clinton, Mr. Richardson intentionally leaked Dr. Wen Ho Lee’s name to the press as the suspect of giving China nuclear secrets and falsely accused Dr. Lee of espionage, …

    … If Bill Richardson doesn’t epitomize the institutionalized racism against Chinese Americans, I don’t know what does.


    The petition states unequivocally that Richardson leaked Lee’s name. Amy Goodman of Democracy Now states differently in a question to Bill Richardson (your link). She uses the term “probable source”. Big difference.

    AMY GOODMAN: But Governor Richardson, this is not only a case of freedom of the press and journalists protecting their sources, it is also a case of the destruction of the reputation of a man, Wen Ho Lee, who served almost a year in prison. Who, a federal judge has said you last month were the probable source of the leaks. What do you say to the federal judge? You say you stand behind everything that you did in this case. What do you stand by?

    BTW, IMHO, Amy Goodman is one of America’s best journalists.

    You say that this case epitomizes institutional racism against Chinese Americans.

    Let me cite some similar cases here:

    1951, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, Jewish Communists were tried and executed. They were found guilty of conspiracy to commit espionage. The case involved alleged passing of atomic bomb information to the Soviets. This case has been held in dispute since then. Many believe that the Rosenbergs were the subject of a “witch hunt” and falsely convicted.

    1996, Centennial Olympic Park was bombed during the Atlanta Olympics. Richard Jewell was accused and tried in the press. It turns out the bomber was Eric Rudolph, a terrorist, who was campaigning against abortion and homosexuals. He conducted at least 4 bombings.

    2001, Anthrax was used in a number of biological attacks which killed 5 people and sickened more. An Army scientist, Steven Hatfill, was accused and hounded for years. Turns out it was probably one of his colleagues, Bruce Ivins.

    2003, Valerie Plame, wife of Ambassador Joe Wilson was outed by Robert Novak as a CIA operative. Turns out the the person who leaked the information on Plame was Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney’s Chief of Staff. He was convicted and sent to prison. Shrub just pardoned him.

    None of these people were Chinese Americans. However, my citations do not rule out institutional racism as you state. You have cited one case, an anecdote at best. I would say that hardly warrants a claim of institutional racism. Would you please cite some known cases of institutional racism against Chinese Americans?

    One final comment, I am not trivializing the horrible treatment of Lee. But I would like more evidence of institutional racism. I would like more examples of institutional racism by Richardson, since you say he epitomizes institutional racism against Chinese Americans.

    IMHO, the mishandling of this case warrants circumspection and further investigation of Richardson. I withhold judgment on your claim of institutional racism.

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