Archive for the Opinions Category

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.

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

Posted in Opinions, Politics 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 Opinions, Politics 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.

The Tweet That is Winning Me Over to #TeamTrump2016, But Only Kind Of

Posted in Opinions, Politics with tags , , , , on August 26, 2015 by Ian Pham

Donald J. TrumpPhoto via Twitter @TIME

Before I get back to writing about Vietnamese politics and history, I want to take a minute and turn our attention to the U.S. presidential race. More specifically, I want to briefly discuss the current contest for the GOP leadership nomination, and its eccentric frontrunner, Mr. Donald J. Trump.

See, throughout the Republican leadership run so far, Trump has been making a spectacle of himself at every single turn. From riling up the Hispanic voters with his polarizing remarks about Mexican immigrants, to taking shots at Senator John McCain and questioning his war hero credentials, to bumping heads with Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly on the Republican debate and thereafter, the GOP candidate and real estate mogul Donald Trump is causing a raucous everywhere he goes.

It’s entertaining, no doubt, but it does raise the question of whether Trump, given his character, is legitimately qualified to be the next president of the United States. At the start, I was one of the many to say no, he’s a buffoon, an imbecile, there is no way he is going to win the election come November 2016 and become the 45th president of the U.S.A. I’m still not exactly on board with Mr. Trump, but I have to admit, though, that watching him over the past few weeks, this guy is slowly starting to win me over, if only slightly.

One of the main reasons that is drawing me over to Team Trump stems from a tweet that The Donald posted on Twitter just a few days ago:

He just called out China directly in a tweet. I respect that. It’s no secret how I feel about Communist China, in regards to its economics, politics, and overall conduct on the international stage. The People’s Republic of China never plays by the rules, in economics or in foreign relations. It’s refreshing to see someone like The Donald speak out and address the problem openly and in a forward manner. He just tells it like it is. I like that.

In this case, he is talking about economics, but I would like to see what Trump’s views are when it comes to China’s cyber espionage and plagiarism of American technology and expertise. Furthermore, I want to see what The Donald has to say about the shoddy and toxic “Made in China” products, the communist nation’s blatant manipulation of its currency, and its overall belligerency in the Pacific. I know, I’m getting a little ahead of myself here. I’ll just pump the breaks on all these topics, at least until there are further developments, if there is even any.

The point here is that Donald Trump has the cojones to speak his mind and address the issue. He doesn’t beat around the bush, he gets straight to the point. Not only that, but he is not afraid to tackle any issue he deems relevant, and that to me, is a respectable trait in a presidential candidate.

It’s still early, there is more than 14 months left until the election, and the momentum can shift in any direction. I’m not saying that I have already pegged Trump as the leader of the Republican Party, or that I’m even supporting the Republicans, for that matter. All I’m doing here is weighing in on the current discussion, and pointing out some notable developments which I think are important. We’ll have to see, as the presidential race goes on, which candidate I will stand with (Stand With Rand? No, probably not.). Like I said, it’s still early, and anything can happen.

It’ll be an exciting race, that’s for sure.

Why Seattle’s City Council Should Absolutely Recognize the Heritage and Freedom Flag

Posted in Modern History, Opinions, Politics with tags , , , , on June 24, 2015 by Ian Pham

Flags of the U.S. and South VietnamPhoto via Mark Boster/TPN

It’s been brought to my attention that the city of Seattle’s City Council is currently in a vote on whether to recognize South Vietnam’s “Heritage and Freedom Flag” as the official flag of the Vietnamese community there. Although sources indicate that the vote was slated for earlier this week on Monday, I have yet to hear the outcome, and thus feel the need to express my position on the matter as well.

I’m sure I am not alone in saying that recognizing the yellow flag is a fantastic idea that makes absolute and perfect sense. For those who truly understand the story of that flag, one will know why it resonates so dearly in the hearts of Vietnamese-Americans, and why, after 40 years, it still stands as their flag of choice.

For Vietnamese people overseas, the Heritage and Freedom Flag is a symbol of freedom, democracy, and independence. It is living proof that for a time, if only a short time, there existed a Vietnamese nation that was independent, proud, and free.

Without getting into the historical debate, I will skip straight to the point: Anyone who lived under the regime of the Republic of Vietnam knows that it was a democracy, a strong and independent nation, a place that they truly called home. South Vietnam was a prosperous nation, with a great education system, a strong economy, basic human rights and fundamental freedoms, and one that defended its territory and people from the aggression of North Vietnam and the People’s Republic of China.

When Saigon fell in April of 1975, that proud nation of South Vietnam ceased to exist, sparking a massive exodus of Vietnamese refugees from the country. In all, more then two million people would flee from Vietnam under communist rule, with the dangerous and open seas being their primary means of escape. Some refugees fled by land through Cambodia to refugee camps in Thailand. Many runaways perished on this treacherous route at the hands of the brutal Khmer Rouge regime. Of the more than two million seafaring escapees, 250,000 lost their lives at sea from piracy and the elements. These perilous journeys were traveled all in search of freedom.

This Heritage and Freedom Flag, the yellow with three horizontal red stripes, not only represents the former Republic of Vietnam and its ideals of freedom and democracy, it also represents that harrowing journey made by the fallen nation’s refugees in their search for freedom. The flag is significant, not only as a piece of history, but also as a commemoration of the struggle that the people of Vietnam endured in order to find their freedom.

That yellow flag is a symbol of freedom, democracy, and independence. It is also a symbol of courage, determination, and persistence. This flag has come to represent the identity of all freedom-loving Vietnamese peoples, not just in the United States, but in liberal democracies all across the world. It is the flag that they themselves have chosen, it is the flag that they love, and it is the flag that they stand by.

This is why it is important that we support Seattle’s recognition of this flag, and urge the City Council to pass this resolution.

Your voice matters, people. Make it heard.

 

Final Thoughts on the Late Le Hieu Dang, He Legitimately Left the Communist Party

Posted in Opinions, Politics with tags , , , , on April 1, 2014 by Ian Pham

Le Hieu Dang 2I have a confession to make. I’ve been writing this article for a while now, along with a host of other news stories that I haven’t been able to get completely off the ground due to time constraints. There is definitely more material waiting to be put out, I just have to make time for it, which, as I am finding out, is quite hard. Nonetheless, this one is an important story that I think you all should still know about. The newest material will find its way to you all soon, I promise. Well, let’s get down to business.

In late January (I know, long time), before passing away, the longtime Communist member Le Hieu Dang legitimately declared his split with the Party in Vietnam. Citing his dissatisfaction with the party’s lack of progress, as well as their shameful conduct in dealing with domestic as well as international affairs, Dang formally renounced his membership to the VCP, expressing hopes that the new generation would learn from his example.

If you’re thinking his act is courageous, I would say you are about half right. As I mentioned, Le Hieu Dang is no longer with us. As an elderly man who was with the Communist Party since the Vietnam War era, Dang passed away a little over a month ago due to natural elderly causes. Le Hieu Dang repudiated the party while gravely ill in the hospital. He had reached the end of his life, and is no longer afraid of death. For this reason, I would say that the man deserves some credit for finally speaking out. However, seeing as how he did it very late in his life, with nothing left to lose, I would say my commendation for him is lukewarm at best.

You may recall earlier that I dismissed his declaration of departure as a Communist ploy. While I’m glad that Le Hieu Dang proved himself to be honest, and I truly am glad, I am still not wildly impressed by his announcement. He denounced the VCP, but didn’t exactly take personal responsibility for the ravages that the party has put the country through. As I said earlier, lukewarm at best.

Le Hieu DangLe Hieu Dang joined the Communist movement as a young man in the 1960’s with the hopes of bringing liberty and independence to his troubled country. Though his intentions are admirable, his inaction in the face of Communism’s future abuses are anything but so. Upon the Communist takeover of the country in 1975 and onward, it became apparent to the once naive Le Hieu Dang that the Communist ideals were nothing but lies. Even with that knowledge, the man would continue to live in a position of power and privilege until his recent split with the party in late 2013-early 2014.

So as you can see, though it was good that Le Hieu Dang did the right thing (eventually), his whole life was lived under the auspices of Communist wealth and power. For this reason, I give him a certain amount of credit for leaving the Communist Party, but you’ll have to understand that I have much reservations about doing so.

I’ll give him one better however, and point out that Le Hieu Dang expressed hopes in his final days that the future generation in Vietnam will learn from this and stand up against the country’s corrupted rulers. He also conceded that the Marx’s worker’s paradise is nothing more than a pipe dream, that the party is harmful to the nation, and the Communist enterprise overall is nothing more than a failure. The sweetest of all however, in my opinion, has got to be Le Hieu Dang’s admittance that in comparison to this Communist regime, the South Vietnamese regime was vastly superior, for the people and the country as a whole.

We all knew Communism was a failure already, and with this piece of evidence, let it be known that even its own members think the Party is garbage.

I respect the fact that Le Hieu Dang admitted this eventually, at least he managed to do something right. May he rest in peace.