Archive for the Opinions Category

A Brief Remark on this 43rd Anniversary of the Battle of Hoang Sa

Posted in Modern History, Opinions, Politics with tags , , , , , , , on January 19, 2017 by Ian Pham

ffvn-instagram

Photo via instagram (freedomforvietnam)

Hello All,

I don’t have too much time to chat. Here is a brief statement regarding this 43rd anniversary of the January 19, 1974 naval confrontation between us (South Vietnam) and the invaders (China).

Via Freedom For Vietnam’s instagram:

Today, January 19, 2017, marks the 43rd anniversary of the battle of the Paracel islands. This battle was a clash between South Vietnam and the invading People’s Republic of China.

On the morning of January 19, 1974, after days of fruitless attempts to engage in dialogue with the intruding Chinese naval forces around Vietnam’s islands, South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu authorized the South Vietnamese Navy to open fire on the Chinese forces. The ensuing battle lasted for about a half an hour, and caused significant damage to both sides. South Vietnam, then embroiled in war with the North Vietnamese, exhausted its naval capabilities in this brief confrontation with China.

As a result, China would overrun the Paracel islands in the days following the battle, and remain occupiers of that territory to this day.

Every year, we remember this day, and commemorate the South Vietnamese soldiers who gave their lives to protect Vietnam’s sovereignty over our islands in the eastern sea. It is because of them that the phrase “Paracel and Spratly belong to Vietnam” carries so much weight.

The courage, honor, and sacrifice of the South Vietnamese soldiers must never be forgotten.

Photo source:
http://vnafmamn.com/VietnamNavy_history.html

Lest we forget.

 

 

What Jovie From the Movie “Elf” Taught Me About Courage and Leadership

Posted in Film, Music, Opinions, Videos with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 25, 2016 by Ian Pham

zooey-deschanel-in-elfImage via Fanpop

This is going to be a bit of a stretch, but I’ll give it a shot anyways.

First off, if you haven’t seen the movie “Elf,” there are going to be some spoilers ahead. Secondly, if you haven’t seen the movie “Elf,” you should do yourself a favor and check it out ASAP. Chances are high (basically 100%) that some channel on TV is playing it right now, as we speak, as I type this article, and then actually right now, as you read this article. It’s an incredible movie, full of laughs and whimsy and Will Ferrell being Will Ferrell at his comedic best.

I won’t give too much of the movie away, but there is one scene in the film where Buddy the Elf’s (Ferrell) love interest Jovie (played by Zooey Deschanel) steps up on a carriage and sings in front of a mob of people in Central Park. Her purpose in doing this is to bring up New York’s Christmas spirit so that Santa, Buddy, and the reindeers can follow through with their mission to save Christmas. It’s a zany, lighthearted, and adorable film that will surely either cheer you up or make your day even brighter than it already is.

Here’s the scene I am talking about. Give it a watch, and I will follow up with the discussion shortly after. But, before you press play, remember: SPOILERS are contained in the clip.

Pretty cute, right?

I won’t get too deep into the politics that I usually talk about, but I do want to point out this simple message that I received from this adorable movie: It only takes one brave voice to make something happen. It only takes one voice to start a change.

If you read this site often, you already know where I’m going with this.

And yes, I know it’s not as easy as I’m making it sound right now. Singing a song in the middle of Saigon or Hanoi won’t make the communist regime fall just like that. It’ll take more than a song to bring down the totalitarian communist dictatorship and bring freedom to Vietnam.

However, what I want to say is that if you are someone who has something to say to the communists in Vietnam, then go for it. It may not be as simple as singing a song to raise Christmas spirit for Santa’s sleigh, but, and I’m talking real life now, if you have a message that you believe people need to hear, if you want to speak out against the communists, then use your voice to break the silence.

Zooey Deschanel’s scene in “Elf” is just a lighthearted musical number in a fun comedy movie, but to me, it is a beautiful illustration of the idea that, with just one brave voice, something extraordinary can happen. One person with the courage to step up, speak up, and be the guiding light that leads a movement to accomplish something incredible and magical. In “Elf,” this incredible thing is saving Christmas, in our real world, it is saving Vietnam from Communism, and bringing freedom, democracy, and human rights to Vietnam.

In this real life scenario, Vietnam is our Christmas, and Jovie, that voice that breaks the silence, is a person we have not met yet, but is definitely out there somewhere.

To the Jovie of Vietnam, if you’re reading this, the world is waiting for you. Raise your voice, take a chance, and make something incredible happen. You can do it. Believe in yourself.

Well, that’s my motivational speech this Christmas.

Hopefully you’re all doing well, and, while I may not always have the time to write on here as much as I want to, my thoughts are always with you, and with Vietnam. I wish I got paid to write on here, but hey, you can’t get everything you ask for. Still, though, a guy can dream, right?

Merry Christmas, everybody. Happy Holidays, and have a Happy New Year!

See you in 2017.

Ian Pham.

China Disrespects President Obama at G20 Summit, Shows China Has ‘Little Man Syndrome’

Posted in Opinions, Politics with tags , , , on September 6, 2016 by Ian Pham

Obama G20 - 2016Photo via Daily Mail

According to multiple news outlets, China, the self-proclaimed “superpower” who is demanding that everyone in the world respect them, took it upon themselves to openly “snub” President Barack Obama at the G20 summit in Hangzhou this past weekend.

The Guardian details the event as follows:

Chinese leaders have been accused of delivering a calculated diplomatic snub to Barack Obama after the US President was not provided with a staircase to leave his plane during his chaotic arrival in Hangzhou before the start of the G20.

… When Obama did find his way on to a red carpet on the tarmac below there were heated altercations between US and Chinese officials, with one Chinese official caught on video shouting: “This is our country! This is our airport!”

From the same source, Mexican official Jorge Guajardo is quoted as saying: “These things do not happen by mistake. Not with the Chinese… I’ve dealt with the Chinese for six years. I’ve done these visits… I know exactly how these things get worked out. It’s down to the last detail and everything. It’s not a mistake. It’s not.”

The Telegraph provides a similar account, adding:

“All the other world leaders appeared to have been welcomed to the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou in traditional diplomatic style, treading onto a red carpet laid on a rolling airport staircase outside the main exit of the aircraft.”

If you thought this was childish, and unbecoming of anything remotely close to the realm of “superpower” behavior, or the behavior of any self-respecting man or woman, for that matter, then you’re completely right.

This behavior is not the behavior of a civilized nation, a self-respecting nation, and definitely not the behavior of a nation who assumes the role of a world superpower.

I was disappointed and irritated by the news of what the Chinese did at the G20 meeting in Hangzhou, but I wasn’t surprised. They’ve done this before, numerous times, in numerous countries, in numerous different ways.

What the Chinese did to Obama in Hangzhou is just one example of China’s belittling attitude towards the international community, and another reason why China is not a superpower. Not even close.

China is bitter, insecure, and self-conscious at the fact that they are not a superpower. As a result, they are doing whatever they can to project the appearance of superpower. Sadly for them, in trying so hard to appear “superpower-ish”, they’re making themselves look very, very small.

It takes more than military might and economic clout to be a superpower (although America smashes China in both of these areas). To be a superpower, one does require these elements, but it takes so much more.

America is a superpower, not only because of her military and economic power. She is a superpower because of her superior ideals, her belief that all are created equal, and that we are all born with a set of inalienable rights that can never be taken away from us.

America is a superpower because she stands by these ideals, because she champions these ideals, and when abroad, her representative, exemplified in the form of President of the United States of America, adheres to these ideals, no matter how lowly and contemptible her adversary is willing to sink.

There are a number of ways President Obama could have handled this situation. For him, the decision was a graceful shrug, a smile, and a step above his unruly hosts.

In response to this incident, Obama replies that he “wouldn’t overcrank the significance,” according to Australian news outlet ABC Online.

I may not agree with everything Obama has done during his time in office, but the way he carried himself during this instance was pure class.

The Chinese tried to demonstrate their “strength” by trying to embarrass Obama publicly, and he rebutted them by simply reaffirming what the Chinese have already affirmed themselves: That the leaders of China are small men, with short fuses, and little understanding of the word “respect,” for others, and for themselves.

By shrugging off this rude gesture, Obama shows the world that he is too big to be fettered by such small actions. In maintaining his dignity, patience, and stature, Obama, without as much as saying a word on the subject, clearly explains why America is the world superpower, and why China is not, and never will be.

 

Brief Thoughts on the Formosa Disaster: The VCP Fails its People Yet Again… To No One’s Surprise

Posted in Economics, Opinions, Politics, Society with tags , , on July 11, 2016 by Ian Pham

Fish Deaths VietnamPhoto via Saigoneer

Folks, a lot has happened since the last time I’ve posted on here. I haven’t been able to provide coverage for them all, which sucks, but I would like to get us up to speed on some of the major issues here. I’m not sure how many issues I’ll be able to cover. I only know that there are some issues which I would love to chime in on. The Formosa issue is one that I feel the need to provide insight on, and that is what I will talk about today.

This problem has been brewing since early April of this year, with things finally boiling over by the end of that month and then beyond. The “Taiwanese” company Formosa Plastics Group has been in the hot seat for its role in contaminating Vietnam’s ocean waters, causing massive deaths of marine life, as well as considerable human life, along the country’s central coast.

The damage is so extensive that Vietnam’s fishing industry, its coastal waters, and the lives of millions of Vietnamese people will never be the same again. The livelihoods and means of survival of so many Vietnamese men and women have been taken away from them, Vietnam’s already damaged economy will only plummet further, and many Vietnamese lives have already been and continue to be lost due to poisoned water and fish.

One big thing I want to note about this horrible disaster is Formosa’s deliberateness in the whole issue. Formosa has made it no secret that they were both aware and willing to dump these exorbitant amounts of toxic waste into Vietnam’s waters, with no regard for the safety of Vietnam’s wildlife, habitat, or population.

The most notorious example of Formosa’s attitude comes from one of their officials’ audacious response to the crisis, saying the Vietnamese people must either choose between the steel industry or the fish industry, but they can’t have both (The Diplomat). Furthermore, the same source says that Formosa explicitly invested $45 million into that toxic waste dumping system, and, Formosa argued, since they already paid for it, feel they are entitled to dump in whatever means they see fit. They, Formosa, sought to destroy Vietnam’s environment, and, to the surprise of no one, Vietnam’s government was, and is happy to let them do it.

Whether it is from fear, incompetence, shameful obedience, or all of the above and more, the Vietnamese Communist Party has been slow and reluctant to respond to the Formosa disaster. Both in terms of helping Vietnam’s affected victims, and in holding the perpetrators responsible, the VCP has done little to step in and do its job in response to Formosa’s deliberate destruction of Vietnam’s land. It comes as no surprise, though. The VCP has been failing its people for this long, and there’s absolutely no hope in my eyes that they would ever step up and stop humiliating themselves or stop humiliating the people of Vietnam. The communists are cowards. It’s who they are, it’s who their fathers were, and it’s who their children will be.

In response to the massive backlash by Vietnam’s population, Formosa has claimed responsibility for the disaster, and offered a measly $500 million for the irreparable damage they had caused to the people of Vietnam and their country (Reuters). The damage thus far includes over 100 tons of dead fish (Asia Times), deaths of many, many Vietnamese people including fishermen and consumers of fish, the resulting broken families, devastated ocean waters and overall environment, and a fishing industry that may never recover.

Just so there is no mistake: $500 million is nowhere near enough to compensate the amount of damage caused by Formosa to the people of Vietnam. To put it in perspective, we may look at another environmental disaster: the BP Oil Spill along the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

In that disaster, which was an accident, a rig explosion caused a massive oil spill in the Macondo Prospect, located in the Gulf of Mexico (southeastern U.S., northeastern Mexico) (EPA). The environmental impact of this disaster was huge, and when the dust and smoke had settled, British Petroleum, the company responsible, was forced to pay up to $56 billion in fines, compensation, and cleanup (DoSomething.org). The settlement alone costs BP $20 billion, according to DW.com. In this disaster, the parties responsible were held accountable, everyone worked promptly to deal with and fix the issue, it was an accident, and, with the exception of the 11 workers who died in the initial accident, no further human lives were lost. Also, the compensation, which I repeat here, was worth $56 billion. That’s Billion, with a B.

By contrast, this Formosa disaster in Vietnam killed many Vietnamese people, destroyed over 100 tons of marine wildlife, was done deliberately by the offenders, who only admitted their faults eventually due to public outrage, and, even now, there is still no real solution to the death and destruction it has caused. The Vietnamese government has done absolutely nothing in response, besides happily accepting the money Formosa has offered to them, which is only $500 million. That’s Million, with an M. This money is not going to the victims of the disaster, but instead is being allocated to what the VCP is calling “future development,” which we all know really means their personal bank accounts.

Let me once again take a minute to talk about the compensation.

BP Oil Spill (U.S., 2010): accident, zero human casualties (besides the 11 BP employees), promptly handled, $56 billion costs in fines, compensations, and cleanup.

Formosa (Vietnam, 2016): deliberate, massive human casualties, still not handled, $500 million offer by Formosa to compensate (which the government is keeping).

Just so we’re clear: $56 billion / $500 million = 112

British Petroleum paid 112 times more to the U.S. for their accidental disaster than Formosa paid to the people of Vietnam, even though the Formosa Disaster of 2016 was deliberate and is astronomically more devastating than the BP Oil Spill of 2010.

That is why I say $500 million is a measly sum.

For a disaster of this scale, $500 million does nothing to compensate the myriad of people affected, the environment destroyed, or the lives lost. The Vietnamese Communist Party is stupid to accept it, but what else is new? They get to keep the money anyway, so in their eyes, it’s not about the worth of the disaster. In their eyes: “IT’S $500 MILLION, GUYS!!!” which goes straight into their pockets.

Out of this horrific disaster, the VCP did nothing to protect or help their people. All they did was make another measly profit off of the suffering and humiliation of their country and its people. They, the communists, are shameful. They are bastards. They are deserving of neither forgiveness nor remorse. They are communists, and they deserve to die.

That is why I say the Formosa Disaster is another failure by the Communist Party to the people of Vietnam.

At this point, though, what more can we expect from a communist? Just when we think it couldn’t get any worse with the communists, it does. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if they sink even lower in the future. This is the sad state of Vietnam today, people. The only way to change this sad situation is to change the regime. I’ve said it before, and I say it again now: The Communists need to go, and they need to go now.

Obligatory Comments on the VCP 12th National Congress: Dung is Out, Trong is Still In… Vietnam is F*cked

Posted in Politics, Opinions with tags , , , , on March 29, 2016 by Ian Pham

Trong and VCPPhoto via ABC Australia

I gave myself a little bit of time to digest the information before sharing my official opinion on the outcome of the VCP’s Party Congress. Now that a good month and a half has gone by (sorry, folks) since the completion of the convention… I still got nothing.

That’s not to say I don’t have views on the matter, I just don’t have anything insightful to say about it. To sum it all up in one declarative sentence: I am disappointed.

The headline says it all. Nguyen Phu Trong, aka Trong Lu, retains his position as the General Secretary of the Communist Party. His competitor, Nguyen Tan Dung, is now finishing off his final days as the Prime Minister of the Party, and is slated to resign his post very, very soon.

Most importantly of all, as indicated by the headline, Vietnam is screwed. Actually, to state the situation more accurately, Vietnam is still screwed. Before the congress, under Trong, Vietnam was getting screwed, and now, still under Trong, Vietnam continues to get screwed.

Though they were both horrible choices for the country, former Prime Minister Dung was the lesser of two evils. Dung hated China, he was familiar with liberal economic theory, and he liked the U.S.

Trong, on the other hand, is Beijing’s bitch. He takes orders from Xi Jinping, stays silent on China’s piracy in the Eastern Sea, knows nothing about ANYTHING, discriminates against his fellow countrymen in the South (BLATANTLY), and says stupid things like “Anyone who wishes to lead this country MUST be from the North.”

Although I was hoping that Dung would win this power struggle, I knew that realistically, he did not have much of a chance. The Party is just too full of members who care more about the Party than the nation, who know nothing about governance and economics, and who bend over and take China’s every word without batting an eye. These dummies, cowards, and traitors are not just a wing of the Party. They are the Party. In addition to being the overwhelming majority, the dummies of the VCP also have the backing of China itself, making any opposition to their control a formidable endeavor.

The faction that wants to defend the nation and at the very least give it some dignity is much too small to make an impact. Dung was their last chance, and statistically, he was not likely going to make it. Though Dung had his wits, the deck was stacked overwhelmingly against him.

The system is built to reward the traitors and cowards. Therefore, from my observation, there is no chance for change to happen within the Party. Furthermore, because of this, we cannot ever rely on a communist to bring change to the nation. Either they are of the majority who are too cowardly, stupid, and influenced by China to make a change, or they are of the microscopic minority who are too marginalized and stifled to ever take action.

So, since Dung was the smarter of the two (between Dung vs. Trong), I was hoping that he would have a shot at an upset. He actually came close, but it just wasn’t enough. With the overwhelming majority support of Northerners and Chinese sympathizers (Chinese puppets), as well as the backing of China itself, the Trong faction was able to hold on to power, despite being noticeably shaken by the Dung faction.

And that’s the outcome.

Trong is still there, Dung came out of it alive (for now, at least) but is no longer in a position of power, and Vietnam continues down its perilous path drawn out by Trong and his Chinese overlords.

Now that the Party Congress is over, it’s back to business as usual. The communists will continue selling Vietnam to China, piece by piece, and we, over here on the right side of history, will continue to fight for Vietnam’s freedom.

With that bullshit leadership convention out of the way, let’s get back to what’s really important: Bringing freedom back to Vietnam, and taking the communists down.

Never depend on a communist.

Fuck communism.

Sources:

ABC Austrailia, The Guardian, VOA, Yahoo

Vietnam’s Coming 12th Party Congress, Why it Might Matter This Time

Posted in Politics, Opinions with tags , , , , on January 19, 2016 by Ian Pham

VCP Party MembersPhoto via The Diplomat

I don’t want to give too much credit to the idiots in the Communist Party by acknowledging their coming leadership convention as anything other than completely worthless. However, observing from the outside, one can see some interesting shakeups within the Party that might be worth a watch. A storm has been raging within the VCP, and could possibly boil over any day now.

This may come as a surprise to some of you, but the communists actually hate each other. This little detail held little relevance up until now, but with the new leadership convention coming up, and with it some high government positions on the line, old rivalries between members are reigniting, tempers are flaring, and the gloves are coming off. The major positions of General Secretary, President, and Prime Minister are all up for grabs, and unlike the previous years, the candidates (more like combatants) are showing little reservation in attacking each other openly. The power struggle is real.

The 12th National Congress of the VCP

Every five years, the Vietnamese Communist Party carries out a leadership transition. Known as the National Congress of the VCP, or Party Congress, these five-yearly conventions see the transfer of power to a new generation of Communist Party leaders to run the country.

These leadership conventions have been irrelevant in the past, as every new leadership seems to just carry on with the practices of their predecessors: corruption, suppression, and kowtowing to the Chinese.

For all we know, the results for the coming congress could be exactly the same as the previous years. However, when looking at the current disarray within the Party, and the breakdown of the selection process (they’re basically killing each other right now), there might be reason to pay attention.

Skipping all the smoke and mirror explanations, the Party selection process essentially boils down to patronage. The old leaders prop up their proteges, who promise to carry on the VCP family business of making each other rich by taking from the people. No one rocks the boat, no one speaks up against China, and every crook in the system is happy. Anyone who disagrees gets marginalized, usually politically, but sometimes permanently, by extreme measures.

It’s worked in the past. Leaders are usually chosen at this point, only waiting to be made official at the week-long convention. This time however, with a great rift within the leadership, a leader has still yet to be selected, and as cliche as it sounds, it’s anybody’s race.

The Contenders

Though the system is unpredictable, and neither of the following two contenders are guaranteed victory, this leadership race has largely been seen as revolving around these two famous figures of the current VCP:

Trong vs. DungNguyen Phu Trong (Left) vs. Nguyen Tan Dung (Right)

These two guys HATE each other.

Over the past five years, the two have taken subtle jabs at each other that didn’t seem all too important, because they are all communists, and they’re all scum. Though that fact is still true now, the differences in positions that these two hold have suddenly become relevant.

Currently, the Prime Minister Dung is trying to finally break into the seat of General Secretary (the supreme leader of the Party). Meanwhile, the current General Secretary Trong is trying to retain his position, and prevent Dung from gaining the title.

Quoting Alexander L. Vuving, I will describe concisely that “Trong is pro-China and anti-Western while Dung is pro-U.S. and anti-China.” Vuving himself actually discourages this generalization, calling the reality “far more nuanced and complex” than this description suggests. I disagree with Vuving here regarding the complexity statement, and argue that the seemingly over-simplistic description does adequately illustrate the two men. It works for me, based off of what I’ve seen, so I will therefore continue to use this framework to describe the difference between Dung and Trong.

Dung’s selling points, according to Jonathan D. London, is that he is “Vietnam’s most eloquent statesman, a reform champion, and a patriot keen to end Hanoi’s deference to Bejing.” Moreover, he appears to favor “liberalizing market reforms and a willingness to expand freedoms ‘in accordance with the law.'” The Economist describes Dung as “unusually knowledgeable about industry, well-advised by Western-educated staff and knows what investors want to hear.” The source also describes him as Vietnam’s “least uncharismatic politician,” which I think is the British way of saying that he’s Vietnam’s most charismatic politician. I’ll express my skepticism at these remarks, but remain impartial here and say that they are possibilities.

From the evidence gathered, it seems Dung’s strengths stem from the fact that he actually knows how to read, and is not a brainwashed Chinese slave-puppet like his closest competitor and arch rival, ole Nguyen Phu Trong, aka Trong Lu.

Before I proceed further, it is important for me to bring up Dung’s corruption. He is just very, very corrupted. He’s got lots of money that he didn’t work for, and is in no way, shape, or form a decent human being. To be fair, though, he’s a communist, and all of them are corrupted. All of them. I’m about to rip Trong Lu apart, but feel that I need to clarify my views on Dung first: Nguyen Tan Dung is a huge piece of shit, make no mistake. Now that we cleared that up, let’s talk about our pal Lu.

What can we say about Trong Lu? Well, for starters, Jonathan London claims that Trong is “Not known for his intellectual dynamism,” which I gather is just a nice way of saying that Trong is hopelessly stupid. This description is not false, but rather quite true, as a matter of fact. We’ve touched on this topic before, we know that Trong Lu is an absolute idiot. He is understood to be part of the conservative faction of the VCP, otherwise known as the nitwit morons who still cling to Marxism and look to China as their big brother overlords. These “conservative” wingers are the ones who have come to dominate the Party, and are the main culprits charged with “selling out to China.”

I can go on a long tirade about this conservative wing of the Party, but for the sake of brevity, I will sum them up in one sentence: The conservative faction of the VCP are the cowardly Chinese puppets who are handing the country over to China, and Nguyen Phu Trong is the poster boy at the forefront of this faction.

Moreover, Trong is just kind of a loser overall, saying things that he shouldn’t be saying, and humiliating himself on a regular basis. Recently, in an attempt to prevent his enemy Dung from vying for the party chief position, Trong set a decree stipulating that only a Northerner is eligible of becoming General Secretary of the VCP. Dung is a Southerner, and so are many other members of the VCP. Trong’s open discrimination effectively alienated many members of the VCP who are not from the North. As a result, the rift within the Party has only grown larger.

As an outside observer who hates the VCP, I think it’s hilarious. However, as a rational human being, I am just dumbfounded that a grown man, well into his senior, and is CURRENTLY IN CHARGE OF AN ENTIRE FUCKING COUNTRY, is capable of saying something so childish, divisive, and self-destructive. Just when you think he couldn’t get any dumber, he still somehow manages to blow us all away with his stupidity. Honestly, Nguyen Phu Trong is the pinnacle of stupid. He’s just so stupid. SO. STUPID.

I have to stop here, people. I’ve got so much ridicule for Trong Lu that I’m currently at risk of veering off topic. We’re talking about the VCP leadership race, right? Yes, right. To sum up, Trong Lu is a Chinese puppet-slave, a pathetic coward, and is just really, really, REALLY stupid. He has dealt inconceivable damage to the country, and it is appalling that he is trying to retain his grip on power.

The Verdict?

Fuck ’em both.

I know that from the comments given above, you may have an idea of which competitor I may hate somewhat less than the other. But, at the end of the day, they’re still both communists, and they’re both scum.

If Dung wins, the country will still be a mess. If Trong wins, not only will the country still be a mess, but he will continue to hand the country over to China, piece by piece. So, one choice is bad, the other is just worse.

And that, my friends, is the hand dealt to the people of Vietnam under the communist system. It’s not like they get to choose, either. There’s no voting in Vietnam, remember?

This article is less for the purpose of analyzing the coming leadership convention, and more just to make you all aware that a convention is going on.

The 12th Party Congress of the VCP commences on January 20, 2016, and lasts for about a week or so.

Only after the new leader takes power, after he makes clear what his intentions are, can we determine the true verdict. Only then can we judge whether this leadership convention matters or not.

A wise man once said, “Don’t listen to what a communist says, but look at what a communist does.” In keeping with these words of wisdom, no verdict will be provided today.

Second photo credits: Nguyen Phu Trong photo via VOA, Nguyen Tan Dung photo via ABC Austrailia

I’m Done With Donald Trump

Posted in Opinions, Politics, Videos with tags , , , , , , , on December 22, 2015 by Ian Pham

Donald TrumpImage via CNN

Several months ago, when the GOP leadership race was just kicking into high gear, I wrote a column expressing my unexpected support for billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump. I praised his willingness to tackle the difficult issues, to speak his mind, and to get straight to the point without being bogged down by political correctness. During that time, in the late summer/early fall of this year, I said that my views of Trump were slowly switching from disdain for a “buffoon,” and “imbecile,” to admiration for a strong and assertive leader with effective, yet unconventional solutions. He was changing my mind, or so I thought.

Well, it is now December, and things have gone full circle. I went from initially thinking he’s an idiot, to slowly becoming intrigued by his audacity, to briefly actually believing that he’s just the guy that America needs, to occasionally asking myself, “wait, did he really just say that?” and now, definitively, to knowing that he’s an absolute idiot.

Yeah, I admit it. Throughout this autumn, while closely paying attention to the GOP leadership race, I legitimately entertained the idea of a Trump presidency. Although I didn’t agree with his choice of words on tackling immigration, I respected his courage in pressing the issue, and defending his position non-apologetically despite the enormous backlash throughout. Moreover, it was his outward criticism of China and their poor conduct in world politics and economics that really gained my attention, and thus winning me over to the Trump campaign. Throughout this time, I actually believed, if only for a short time, that the eccentric Republican front-runner would follow through with his pledge to “Make America Great Again.”

As time went on, however, and as The Donald spoke more and more, it became apparent to me that this guy legitimately has no idea what he is talking about most of the time. More alarmingly yet, is that despite knowing nothing about the issues at hand, Trump shows no reservations on pushing forward thoughtless and dangerous solutions to these problems that, again, he does not understand.

In response to the heinous terrorist attacks in Paris this November, Donald Trump suggested that the U.S. government start monitoring mosques in America. He then went even further to say that, as president, he would strongly consider shutting some mosques down. In addition, Trump advocated that all the Muslims in the U.S. be registered in a national database, so that they would be easier to track. These proposals, presented by Trump, unabashedly single out and discriminate against every single Muslim in the United States. Furthermore, it disregards the fact that these terrorist acts were committed by savages, a few violent extremist animals who do not represent Islam as a whole, or even represent Islam at all, for that matter.

I support hunting down ISIS, and killing ISIS. I support monitoring and screening potential refugees before deeming them safe to enter the country. I support America’s fight against international terrorism, and the world’s greater fight against international terrorism.

What I don’t support, however, is bigotry, xenophobia, and blind hatred against an entire population of people, all because of the truly horrible actions that were committed by a few. The enemy is not Islam as a whole, the enemy is a small, distorted, and extremist bastardization of the religion and is called Radical Islam, the enemy is international terrorism, the enemy is ISIS.

Instead of working with the Muslim population in America and abroad to combat ISIS and their radicalization tactics, Trump is doing the opposite, antagonizing all the Muslims in the U.S. and around the world, and hurting American efforts to combat ISIS and international terrorism.

This argument can be further exemplified by Trump’s suggestion after the tragedy in San Bernardino just earlier this month. According to CNN, Trump responded to the terrorist attacks in California by pushing forward the proposal to ban absolutely all Muslims from coming into the U.S., whether they be refugees, or simply tourists visiting the country.

Like his previous suggestions, the Muslim ban drew furious backlash for Trump, and in usual Trump fashion, he stood his ground, with no apologies whatsoever. Sure, it is respectable that he stands by what he says, but by now, it has become apparent to me that although Donald Trump is a steadfast person who approaches issues with vigor, he is also a moron who does not know what he is talking about, nor does he care to educate himself on the matters even after his mistakes are made.

In regards to national security, and specifically in regards to this Syrian refugee crisis, I believe that due diligence and proper screening processes are an absolute must before letting any refugee into the country. Safety of the American people, and the security of the country as a whole, is paramount. Trump’s swift and blanket ban on all Muslims however, is a poorly thought out, over-simplistic, and reckless solution to a complicated issue. As outlined by fellow GOP candidate Jeb Bush, America has allies in Muslim countries such as Jordan, Turkey, as well as ethnic groups such as the Kurds, who are among the most effective fighters against ISIS. A blanket ban on all Muslims would alienate all of these allies, making it much more difficult to effectively destroy ISIS. Donald Trump does not seem to understand that, nor does he seem interested in trying to understand.

Lastly, on this timeline describing my slow and gradual deterioration of support for Trump, we come to the latest instance that proves he’s an easily manipulated moron. This was made possible last week thanks to the miscalculations of Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose kind words towards Donald Trump revealed just exactly how susceptible Trump is to flattery, and how easily he will bend when being told what he wants to hear.

After being praised as a “bright and talented man” and “the absolute leader of the presidential race” by Putin, Donald Trump responded in kind, complimenting the Russian President on his leadership, and even saying that it is better than the current leadership in America.

Look, I get it. I too am disappointed in Obama’s leadership. I too am fed up with his feckless conduct against China in the Pacific, Russia in Crimea, Bashir al-Assad in Syria, ISIS in Iraq and the Middle East, and so many other instances on the international stage. He’s a joke, a non-factor, an afterthought in the eyes of international leaders everywhere, and just in general, a weak leader, and a weak president. However, he is still not a ruthless dictator like Vladimir Putin.

For all of the shortcomings in his leadership, from which there are many, Barack Obama is still one who upholds democratic ideals and respects human rights. He does not murder journalists or political opponents, nor does he silence all opposition or try to establish absolute dictatorial rule over the country he presides. To compare him to a dictator/gangster such as Vladimir Putin, and furthermore, to suggest that Putin is the better leader, is absolutely ludicrous. But, that is exactly what Donald Trump has done, and again, this is exactly what Trump is steadfastly defending in the face of heavy criticism from his political opponents and his critics.

Why is Trump defending Putin again? Right, because Putin complimented him, and we must remember, that Trump loves compliments. He loves compliments so much that he is willing to defend the dictator of an antagonistic country to the U.S. in order to keep that compliment. Little did he know that by reacting so gleefully towards the pleasantries sent his way by Putin, he just played right into the hands of the Russian leader.

When pressed by Joe Scarborough of “Morning Joe” about Putin’s tendency to kill Russian journalists and opponents to his political power, Trump defends Putin, and takes a shot at America by saying that, “… our country does plenty of killing, also, Joe, so, you know…” It seems that Mr. Trump is unable to distinguish between the type of killing that the U.S. carries out, and the murders that Putin orchestrates. Mitt Romney, in a tweet, spells out the differences for Trump in less than 140 characters:

Yeah, it really speaks volumes that The Donald can’t tell the difference.

It is not yet clear why Putin would release such a statement at this point in time. Was it a calculated move to trap Donald Trump into saying something stupid? Or was it a miscalculation, an attempt to win over and exploit someone who Putin believes to be the future president of the United States, only to have the idiot accidentally screw himself over? According to Christian Whiton, it falls somewhere closer to the latter, where Putin, in sending out praises to the Republican front-runner, is looking to use the idiocy and arrogance of Donald Trump as a means to further Russia’s national interests. Whiton contends that the Russian leader is “happily” pocketing “Trump’s naivete,” and as a cunning former KGB officer, Putin has been trained to “look for character flaws that can be used to enlist a target as an agent or, short of that, an unwitting helper.” To put simply, Putin is playing on Trump’s self-absorbed personality to get what he wants, and Trump is falling for it without fail.

Sadly for Putin, however, it doesn’t look like Trump will be his man. The Donald is still leading in the polls right now, which is unsettling, but I highly doubt that it will remain that way for much longer. The increasingly ignorant comments against Muslims in the U.S. and abroad, followed by the equally idiotic solutions to these problems that he clearly does not understand, it has become clear to me that Donald Trump is not fit to be America’s commander in chief. The latest “bromance” with Vladimir Putin only reaffirms this notion, because it demonstrates how easily it is to manipulate Donald Trump. Apparently all it takes is some patience and a few flattering words, and Trump is putty in your hands.

This is where it has come with my support for Donald Trump. After watching him legitimately present a plan to implement a police state against all Muslims in the U.S., effectively spitting on the First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments of The Constitution; after watching him make audacious statements that will alienate all of America’s allies in the Middle East; and, after seeing how easy it is for him to be manipulated by Vladimir Putin, I’ve decided that Donald Trump is not the candidate for me.

It’s been a good run, I approached it with an open mind, but now it is clear: Trump is an idiot, and possibly a fascist, but I’ll digress on that one, because I’m tired of talking, and I’m sure you’re all tired of my ranting.

Before I conclude, however, I would like to leave you all with a few more examples of Trump’s general lack of knowledge, and reiterate my position that Trump really doesn’t know what he is talking about most of the time.

Here is Trump trying to bluff his way through a question about the Trans-Pacific Partnership during the fourth GOP debate on November 10, 2015. Rand Paul puts Trump in check at 1:09:

And this is from the latest GOP debate on December 15, 2015, when Trump stumbles on a question about the nuclear triad, with Senator Marco Rubio graciously picking up the pieces:

That’s it, people. I’m done here. It’s over. Shut it down. Shut it all down.

I’m done with Donald Trump.