Posts Tagged ‘good government’

Four jailed in Vietnam for flying southern flag

January 24, 2018


© AFP/File | Protesters display German and yellow and red South Vietnamese flags during a demonstration in Berlin in 2015 against a visit by Vietnam’s then-President Truong Tan Sang

HANOI (AFP) – Four Buddhist activists have been jailed in Vietnam for anti-state propaganda for flying the flag of the defeated southern regime loathed by the ruling communists, state media said Wednesday.The conservative leadership of the one-party state has ramped up a crackdown on dissent since 2016.

At least 24 activists were convicted last year alone, with another 28 arrested, according to Human Rights Watch.

The four men belonging to the Hoa Hao Buddhist sect were the latest to be put behind bars after one of them hung the yellow and red flag of the former US-backed South Vietnam regime on April 30, 2016, a national holiday known as Liberation Day.

The flag is a symbol of the defeated southern regime — Hanoi’s bitter enemy in the long and bloody Vietnam War — and it is considered incendiary to display it.

Vuong Van Tha, 49, was jailed for 12 years for “propaganda against the state” after the one-day trial on Tuesday, reported the official newspaper of An Giang province where the men were tried.

His son was given seven years in jail and twin brothers Nguyen Van Thuong and Nguyen Nhat Truong were sentenced to six years behind bars, the newspaper added.

It was not immediately clear if the twin brothers were related to Tha.

Tha has already spent time in jail for anti-state propaganda, and was released in 2015 after serving three years.

There are several trials scheduled this month before lunar new year in mid-February, including two activists who protested against a massive toxic spill by Taiwanese steel firm Formosa.

In a report last week, Human Rights Watch said more than 100 dissidents were behind bars “simply for exercising their basic rights”.

The government rejected the report as untrue.

The Buddhist-majority communist country has been accused of religious intolerance, especially against religious groups which have adopted social or political causes.

The small Hoa Hao sect has come under fire in the past for its criticism of the state.


The 30 Republicans Holding Up Tax Reform

September 14, 2017

The Freedom Caucus threatens to side with Democrats and block the GOP majority.

By Karl Rove
The Wall Street Journal
Sept. 13, 2017 6:53 p.m. ET

No matter how persuasive President Trump is, it’s unlikely he can round up enough Democrats to get 60 votes in the Senate for tax reform. That means Republicans will need to use the Senate’s reconciliation process, which avoids the filibuster, to pass their plan with 51 votes. But first the House and Senate must pass a budget resolution—and soon.

A budget resolution sets spending levels and authorizes congressional committees to prepare bills fulfilling the blueprint. With the reconciliation plan in mind, this year’s resolution would set the size of the tax reform and then instruct the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee to flesh out the provisions.

Gaining agreement on a budget resolution is always tough. No more than a handful of lawmakers from the opposition party ever vote for the majority’s resolution. It helps that Republicans control both the House and Senate, but the GOP must still resolve its internal philosophical disagreements.

House Republicans tend to insist on resolutions that balance the budget within 10 years. This means resolutions that pledge to slow substantially the growth of entitlement spending. Such promises are rarely fulfilled. But putting them in the budget blueprint fuels Democratic ads claiming Republicans will throw grandma off the cliff and deprive poor children of free school lunches. Knowing this, Senate Republicans tend to want resolutions that reach balance after 10 years. Another GOP tension is between defense hawks, who want increased military spending, and deficit hawks, who want all spending restrained or cut.

Then there are nerdy but important technical arguments, starting with how the resolution’s spending baseline is calculated. Beginning with a baseline of “current law” means assuming that a tax break currently authorized for only a year or two will actually expire instead of being reauthorized. But Congress renews some tax breaks annually and probably will keep doing so through the next decade. To account for this, many in the GOP want to calculate the baseline under “current policy.”

It sounds technical, but it quickly becomes political. Democrats demand “current law” because a higher baseline would make tax reform appear to raise the deficit more than it actually would. On the other hand a lower baseline would give tax reform more wiggle room: One GOP budget expert tells me that “current policy” would provide, on paper, $450 billion that could be used to lower rates and make the tax code simpler and fairer.

Dynamic scoring is another geeky fight. A tax reform that generates economic growth will offset some of the government revenue lost from cutting rates. Republicans want their bill evaluated with dynamic scoring because it takes this effect into account and makes reform more attractive. Democrats oppose it for the same reason.

Still, given time and leadership—both on Capitol Hill and from the White House—Republicans could cobble together a budget resolution setting up a strong tax reform, which in turn would juice the economy and redeem the GOP in the midterms.

The biggest obstacle is the House Freedom Caucus. This group of just over 30 Republican congressmen has already slowed up the process by threatening to vote with Democrats against the GOP budget resolution unless they can see and approve, in advance, every major provision of the tax-reform bill. The Freedom Caucus tried in late July to block the House Budget Committee’s passage of a resolution unless the border-adjustment tax was taken off the table—which it then was. Now the Freedom Caucus’s members say they’ll flake on the budget resolution if tax reform includes full, immediate expensing of business investment. But if that’s agreed to, they’ll have more demands.

These lawmakers say they want Congress to operate in “regular order,” with committees grinding away to write legislation instead of leadership handing it down. This is hypocritical bunk. What they want is for their caucus to dictate the details of tax bills to the House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee and the Republican majorities on both sides of Capitol Hill. Their approach is to make demands while threatening to join Nancy Pelosi in opposing the budget resolution unless they get their way.

If the Freedom Caucus acts on its threat, the budget resolution could be voted down, making tax reform impossible. No doubt, following their M.O., the group’s members would then blame the GOP leadership. Even if the resolution passes, the Freedom Caucus’s shenanigans may delay tax reform until 2018. These lawmakers are demonstrating once again that the freedom they most prize is freedom from the responsibility of governing.

Mr. Rove helped organize the political-action committee American Crossroads and is the author of “The Triumph of William McKinley ” (Simon & Schuster, 2015).

Appeared in the September 14, 2017, print edition.

China: Communist Party officials who show poor leadership will be punished officials for leadership failings — Must show traditional values while serving the people selflessly

July 18, 2016

Monday, July 18, 2016 10:19

China’s Communist Party Congress, Great Hall of the People

(Beijing) Communist Party officials in China who show poor leadership that causes serious problems will face punishment under new accountability rules unveiled late on Sunday, in the latest effort to improve discipline amid a corruption crackdown.

The rules especially target leaders in local anti-graft bodies and holds them responsible for “serious consequences caused by negligence or poor work performance”, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Officials will be held accountable for party rule violations as well as poor work performance, it added.

Similar rules already exist, but the new ones tighten up procedures and punishments, which range from public naming and shaming to administrative warnings and dismissal, Xinhua said.

Those who violate party discipline – which in practice means those who engage in corruption – will also be punished.

Certain cases will be picked out for public disseminated, and for serious breaches the officials will

According to the document, the public will be informed of serious cases.

President Xi Jinping has come down hard on corruption since assuming office almost four years ago and tried to return the party to its traditional values of serving the people selflessly, following a series of graft and extravagance scandals.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Michael Perry)


Xi Jinping (R) shakes hands with Li Keqiang at the fifth plenary meeting

‘Be more like sheep’: Seven dumb things said by Hong Kong’s leader CY Leung

February 19, 2015


As Hong Kong’s leader, CY Leung, celebrates Chinese New Year by telling Hong Kongers to stop protesting and “be more like sheep”, we round up some of the other gaffes that have made him Hong Kong’s least popular leader since its return to China in 1997.

Above, on the dangers of democracy: it gives the vote to poor people.

Picture: Getty

In his own defence after being accused of bullying a small student magazine.Picture: AFP/Getty

A solution to the crippling lack of opportunity for young Hong Kongers at home Picture: Getty

CY Leung’s eldest son studied at Cambridge and is now at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. He has one daughter at LSE and one at CambridgePicture: Getty

On how Hong Kong should stop protesting and be more mild in the Chinese Year of the Sheep Picture: Getty

Firmly in denial as protests raged around him this year Picture: Getty

Six years later, Mr Leung runs a successful campaign for Hong Kong’s chief executive, or mayor. Picture: Getty

Many Americans Are Fed Up With Big Government Liberals; Talk of Secession More Common Than Ever

October 11, 2013

Remember when Barack Obama was first elected President of the United States? Americans who fear the loss of their hard-won constitutional freedoms, protected by their government for more than two centuries, bought firearms and ammunition at an alarming rate. Now what was once seen as mere “idle talk” of secession is gaining some real traction……

By Patrick Buchanan

In the last decade of the 20th century, as the Soviet Empire disintegrated,  so, too, did that prison house of nations, the USSR.

Out of the decomposing carcass came Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Lithuania,  Latvia, Estonia and Moldova, all in Europe; Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan in  the Caucasus; and Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and  Kazakhstan in Central Asia.

Transnistria then broke free of Moldova, and Abkhazia and South Ossetia  fought free of Georgia.

Yugoslavia dissolved far more violently into the nations of Serbia, Slovenia,  Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Kosovo.

The Slovaks seceded from Czechoslovakia. Yet a Europe that plunged straight  to war after the last breakup of Czechoslovakia in 1938 and 1939 this time only  yawned. Let them go, all agreed.

The spirit of secession, the desire of peoples to sever ties to nations to  which they have belonged for generations, sometimes for centuries, and to seek  out their own kind, is a spreading phenomenon.

Scotland is moving toward a referendum on independence from England, three  centuries after the Acts of Union. Catalonia pushes to be free of Madrid.  Milanese and Venetians see themselves as a European people apart from Sicilians,  Neapolitans and Romans.

Dutch-speaking Flanders wants to cut loose of French-speaking Wallonia in  Belgium. Francophone Quebec, with immigrants from Asia and the Third World  tilting the balance in favor of union, appears to have lost its historic moment  to secede from Canada.

What are the forces pulling nations apart? Ethnicity, culture, history and  language – but now also economics. And separatist and secessionist movements are  cropping up here in the United States.

While many red state Americans are moving away from blue state America,  seeking kindred souls among whom to live, those who love where they live but not  those who rule them are seeking to secede.

The five counties of western Maryland – Garrett, Allegheny, Washington,  Frederick and Carroll, which have more in common with West Virginia and wish to  be rid of Baltimore and free of Annapolis, are talking secession.

The issues driving secession in Maryland are gun control, high taxes, energy  policy, homosexual marriage and immigration.

Order Pat  Buchanan’s brilliant and prescient books at WND’s Superstore.

Scott Strzelczyk, who lives in the town of Windsor in Carroll County and  leads the Western Maryland Initiative, argues: “If you have a long list of  grievances, and it’s been going on for decades, and you can’t get it resolved,  ultimately [secession] is what you have to do.”

And there is precedent. Four of our 50 states – Maine, Vermont, Kentucky,  West Virginia – were born out of other states.

Ten  northern counties of Colorado are this November holding non-binding  referenda to prepare a future secession from Denver and the creation of  America’s 51st state.

Nine of the 10 Colorado counties talking secession and a new state, writes  Reid Wilson of the Washington Post – Cheyenne, Kit Carson, Logan, Morgan,  Phillips, Sedgwick, Washington, Weld and Yuma – all gave more than 62 percent of  their votes to Mitt Romney. Five of these 10 counties gave Romney more than 75  percent of their vote.

Their issues with the Denver legislature: A new gun control law that  triggered a voter recall of two Democratic state senators, state restrictions on  oil exploration and the Colorado legislature’s party-line vote in support of gay  marriage.

Scott Strzelczyk of the Western Maryland Initiative talks about seceding  from the rest of the state.

In California, which many have long believed should be split in two, the  northern counties of Modoc and Siskiyou on the Oregon border are talking  secession – and then union in a new state called Jefferson.

“California is essentially ungovernable in its present size,” says Mark Baird  of the Jefferson Declaration Committee. Baird hopes to attract a dozen counties  to join together before petitioning the state to secede.

Like the western Maryland and northern Colorado counties, the northern  California counties are conservative, small town, rural and have little in  common with San Francisco or Los Angeles, or Sacramento, where Republicans hold  not one statewide office and are outnumbered better than 2-1 in both houses of  the state legislature.

Folks on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, bordered by Wisconsin and the Great  Lakes, which is connected to lower Michigan by a bridge, have long dreamed of a  separate state called Superior. The UP has little in common with Lansing and  nothing with Detroit.

While the folks in western Maryland, northern Colorado, northern California  and on the Upper Peninsula might be described as red state secessionists, in  Vermont the secessionists seem of the populist left. The Montpelier Manifesto of  the Second Vermont Republic concludes:

“Citizens, lend your names to this manifesto and join in the honorable task  of rejecting the immoral, corrupt, decaying, dying, failing American Empire and  seeking its rapid and peaceful dissolution before it takes us all down with  it.”

This sort of intemperate language may be found in Thomas Jefferson’s  indictment of George III. If America does not get its fiscal house in order, and  another Great Recession hits or our elites dragoon us into another imperial war,  we will likely hear more of such talk.



From 2006:

China Has A Problem With Corruption: And Mistresses Turn Out To Be The Best Source of Who Needs To Go To Trial

July 27, 2013

Washington, July 27 (ANI): An unlikely group of self-styled whistleblowers has emerged to expose Chinese officials’ corruption as President Xi Jinping pledges to clean up government corruption in China, with a 26-year old woman named Ji Yingnan claiming that her fiance, a powerful official in Beijing, had been married with a teenage son the entire time they were together.

According to The Washington Post, in recent weeks, Ji has released hundreds of photos online that offer a rare window into the life of a Chinese central government official who, despite his modest salary, was apparently able to lavish his mistress with luxury cars, go on shopping sprees at Prada and tuck more than 1000 dollars in cash into his lover’s purse every day when they first met.

The lady put her head in her hands saying she never knew that the person she loved would become an enemy and recalled how it was terrifying to experience this kind of relationship.

Ji identified her former lover as Fan Yue, a deputy director at the State Administration of Archives, the report said.

A powerful energy official, Liu Tienan, lost his job in May after his former mistress told a journalist that Liu had defrauded banks out of 200 million dollars, the report added. (ANI)


Mistress Ji Yingnan (right) with her lover, Fan Yue, deputy director of policy and regulation under China’s State Archives Administration, enjoy an outing at the Great Wall.  (Courtesy of Ji Yingnan)


The Washington Post

BEIJING — As President Xi Jinping pledges to clean up government corruption in China, an unlikely group of self-styled whistleblowers has emerged: jilted mistresses.

The latest is a 26-year-old named Ji Yingnan, who says she discovered at the end of last year that her fiance, a powerful Communist Party official in Beijing, had been married with a teenage son the entire time they were together.


In a video posted on a Chinese muckraking site and obtained by The Washington Post, a powerful Communist Party official proposes marriage to his girlfriend, Ji Yingnan, on her birthday in 2011 at a lavish party. Ji later learned that her fiancee, Fan Yue, had been married with a teenage son the entire time they were together.

In a video posted on a Chinese muckraking site and obtained by The Washington Post, a powerful Communist Party official proposes marriage to his girlfriend, Ji Yingnan, on her birthday in 2011 at a lavish party. Ji later learned that her fiancee, Fan Yue, had been married with a teenage son the entire time they were together.


One spurned lover has released hundreds of photos, giving a rare window into the ruling elite’s lifestyle.

In recent weeks, Ji has released hundreds of photos online that offer a rare window into the life of a Chinese central government official who — despite his modest salary — was apparently able to lavish his mistress with luxury cars, go on shopping sprees at Prada and tuck more than $1,000 in cash into Ji’s purse every day when they first met.

“I never imagined that the one I loved so much, the one I gave so much love to, the one who lived four years with me, would become my enemy one day,” said Ji on a recent evening at a KFC near her apartment, where she says she stays holed up for days at a time.

Ji put her head in her hands. “It is terrifying to experience this kind of relationship,” she said.

After years in which Communist Party officials were considered untouchable, evidence of their foibles now regularly spills onto the Internet. Government censors often try to stamp out the news, but officials plagued by sex scandals — usually at lower levels of the party — are also being pushed out as the country’s new leaders try to prove they’re serious about punishing misconduct.

A powerful energy official, Liu Tienan, lost his job in May after his former mistress told a journalist that Liu had defrauded banks out of $200 million. Last year, a sex video showing a Chongqing district party chief with a woman who was not his wife was leaked online, forcing the official, Lei Zhengfu, to step down.

Ji identified her former lover as Fan Yue, a deputy director at the State Administration of Archives. He is now under investigation, according to a staffer there who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “We don’t have further information to release,” the staffer said. “We will make an announcement when there is a resolution.”

Fan could not be reached to comment. His cellphone number appears to have been disconnected.

A well-known Chinese blogger who has posted Ji’s photos and videos on his Web site said he spoke with Fan last month. Fan told the blogger that he didn’t spend as much money as Ji claims, saying it was less than $1.7 million but more than $500,000. “This woman is not good. She is too greedy,” the blogger, Zhu Ruifeng, said Fan told him. “I couldn’t handle her. So I had to leave her.”

Political scandals centered on mistresses — who are known as “xiao san,” or “little third,” in Chinese slang — have become so common that the party’s official daily newspaper ran an editorial in May saying the country cannot rely on spurned lovers alone to expose its corruption problems.

“Some people have said that the anti-corruption departments at all levels perform worse than the mistresses,” said the editorial in the People’s Daily. “Although it’s a joke, it reflects a serious question: Whom should the anti-corruption effort depend on?”

Read the rest:

How’s America Doing on the “Rule of Law”?

July 19, 2013

Around the world people know that America is unlike just about any nation on earth.

Founded on Christian principles and “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,” the revolutionaries who formed the United States set down in writing a Declaration of Independence, a Constitution, and a Bill of Rights.

When other nations change governments through coups, riots and on the whim of “strongmen,” the citizens of the United States have always slept peacefully with the assurance that arbitrary government “could never happen here.”

That means: when all else fails, the oppressed of the world look toward America.

Until now.

As the dead mount in Syria, people shake their heads and ask: Didn’t the President of the United States promise something?

A promise from the President of the United States used to be the gold standard of truth, commitment, honesty and transparent good governing.

The United States that defeated the Nazis and others, also generously rebuilt Germany and others.

The gold standard of American good government stands tarnished today.

The world is upset at the revelations of the seemingly all-inclusive sweeping up of any and every form of information passed through the Internet, cell phones and everything else.

The president has not explained this one bit. Not to anybody’s satisfaction.

But the NSA was working in defense of liberty and honesty and truth and fighting global terrorists — so many say OK.

The problem isn’t what others in the world see — which is a problem but not our greatest fear.

The problem is: Americans see a White House run by the man that promised transparency unable or unwilling to keep his word.

The day after his inauguration, President Obama promised a new era of “openness in government.”

“We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration,” he wrote in one of his first memos to federal agencies. “Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.”

So what happened at Benghazi? What happened at the IRS? What’s our role in Syria?

And now, the icing on the cake: the leader of the nation that prides itself in pointing out the abuses of power in other nations – has a president that just doesn’t carry out the laws made by Congress.

America has long been regarded as a bastion of the rule of law, respect for human rights, and tolerance to newcomers.

Immigrants come to America to find freedom – freedom of religion, freedom of expression, and freedom from the oppression of dictators or high-handed rulers.

People around the world, most often people having great pain and suffering under their own governments, come to American to find the American Dream: freedom, justice, honesty in government, participation in the government by voting and an expectation of  government that is reliable, sound, moral, honest, open and certainly not dictatorial or oppressive.

Until now.

It is interesting to note that all this is happening while China and Russia are being severely criticized – often by the United States itself — for not respecting the rule of law.

Just as Russia is holding “show trials” to get the president’s opposition out of the way and China has unilaterally declared itself owner of most of the South China Sea, Americans have no idea what really happened at Benghazi and no rock solid truth on what goes on at the IRS.

Add to all that, the President of the United States that never seemed to enforce immigration laws now has decided to just put off implementation of the program he wanted most to be enshrined in law: the Affordable Care Act.

What we are losing is trust in government. Trust in the American Dream.

Maybe it is time to review and renew the pledge made just after the first inaugural address: to strengthen our democracy.

Tom Clancy, eat your heart out. Truth really is greater than fiction.

And more disturbing too.

John Francis Carey
Peace and Freedom


AP Photo/Evan Vucci