Archive for the ‘Politics’ category

How Do We Remember 9-11?

September 11, 2009

9-11-01-logoA few of my co-workers and I happened into this conversation this morning as we walked back to our desks, sipping our coffee. A morning like any other, except for this conversation.

It started with recollections of where we were and what we were doing on the day everything changed for America and the world. We all remembered the morning of September 11, 2001 vividly. I mean, to the detail of what they were thinking and how they were feeling when we found out what was going on. it’s funny, on the days of our lives when everything changes, these are the days when our memories serve us best.

Still recollecting, we remembered the victims of the attacks. Those working at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the passengers on those planes. Someone remarked that, “these people were just going about their business, with no idea they would be paying this kind of sacrifice.”

Sacrifice… One of the lead officers of our organization is a retired four-star General. He lost his secretary at the Pentagon that day. For me, having grown up in New Jersey, I was fortunate to not have anybody close to me die but I do have many friends who lost someone in the attacks. Even one of our own ninjas lost his dad in the towers that day. Fathers, mothers, sons, daughters…. These weren’t just victims to an attack, they were people’s loved ones. And in many ways, the families of those victims are still paying. I think we all lost something something that day. And in many ways, we’re all still sacrificing.

firemen-raising-flagMoving on in our talk, we spoke of heroes. Those who may have been aware of  the potential circumstances of their actions but decided to act anyway. Like the men at the Pentagon who tried to hold people back from attemping to run into a burning building. …And those who ran into the burning building anyway in an attempt to save more lives before the walls collapsed. Like all the NYC Firefighters, Police, and Port Authority workers who risked, and in many instances gave, their lives doing their duty. They ran against the tide, which must have been a sea of people covered in soot, bewildered, crying, running desperately to get down, out of harm’s way. That’s what makes a hero.

You risk yourself in the face of imminent danger, facing an uncertain future, with the sole purpose of doing the right thing.

Makes you think. Would you do the same in those circumstances?

Anyways, we talked about a lot this morning after what I mentioned above above. I won’t bore you with every detail of our conversation but we spoke about a myriad of issues, each of which could have started an argument but didn’t today.

The main thing we got at was, what have we learned in the last eight years since the attacks? How can we move forward? What will we do to become better human beings? How do we remember 9-11?

Then it dawned on me…. my conclusion. Here we were, four people in my office. We all come from different backgrounds… A white man, black woman, Hispanic, and me, an Asian, talking about all these geopolitical and ideological issues, not arguing and disagreeing, but coming together around one key central theme, doing good and growing as people.

I now think to myself the hope that if everyone can come together like this – ignoring petty differences and learning from the past to make a better future – that is how you honor those who were affected by September 11, 2001. This is how you grow as an individual. As a country. And as a people.

Reflect. Learn. Progess.

Laura Ling and Euna Lee Break Slience on Being Captive in North Korea

September 2, 2009

homecomingIn a joint-opinion piece in Monday’s LA Times entitled Hostages of the Hermit Kingdom, Laura Ling and Euna Lee break their nearly one-month silence since being freed from five months of captivity in the Juche-socialist republic of North Korea, officially the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). The two reporters were freed during a private humanitarian mission led by a important envoy, former United States President Bill Clinton to North Korea and its diminutive dictator, Kim Jong-Il.

Ling and Lee were captured on the morning of March 17th after crossing the Tumen River that separates North Korea from China. In the LA Times article, the women recount how they following their Korean-Chinese guide across the border to cover a story they were developing on human trafficking for Current TV.

When we set out, we had no intention of leaving China, but when our guide beckoned for us to follow him beyond the middle of the river, we did, eventually arriving at the riverbank on the North Korean side. He pointed out a small village in the distance where he told us that North Koreans waited in safe houses to be smuggled into China via a well-established network that has escorted tens of thousands across the porous border.
 
Feeling nervous about where we were, we quickly turned back toward China. Midway across the ice, we heard yelling. We looked back and saw two North Korean soldiers with rifles running toward us. Instinctively, we ran.
 
We were firmly back inside China when the soldiers apprehended us. Producer Mitch Koss and our guide were both able to outrun the border guards. We were not. We tried with all our might to cling to bushes, ground, anything that would keep us on Chinese soil, but we were no match for the determined soldiers. They violently dragged us back across the ice to North Korea and marched us to a nearby army base, where we were detained.

clintonenvoyThe two journalists were intentionally vague about describing details of their 140 days in captivity, citing memories too painful to recall at this present time. Instead of focusing on Pyongyang and offering a description of what they endured, the two reporters instead chose to shed light on the subject matter they intended to expose in the first place – the plight of North Korean defectors who live in terror of being deported back to their homeland and the lives they are forced to lead. The two reporters state that these lives often include involvement in illicit trades such as working as internet sex workers. Still they say that even this kind of life beats the impoverished and hungry existence defectors would have to look forward to if sent back to North Korea. In concluding their first statement since being released, Laura Ling and Euna Lee want to re-focus the world’s attention on the dangerous issues like this covered in Vanguard Journalism that they want to expose in the first place.

As an observer of the Laura Ling and Euna Lee Saga, I am left with several questions which I fear will go unanswered despite their article. How were they really treated during their 140-day confinement? What political and socio-economic impact will be produced long-term by President Clinton’s visit? Surely he and and the Kim Jon-Il regime didn’t discuss anything beyond freedom for these two reporters… 

Though not ‘official,’ Clinton’s private visit marks the closest North Korea has gotten to bilateral talks with the U.S.  in a long, long time. So what happened…  I guess time will tell but one thing’s for certain, inquiring minds want to know.

Sarah Silverman for President 2008

October 9, 2008

I guess she is on to a new mission other than “F*cking Matt Damon”. I am not saying what my political point of view is…but Republican or Democrat, you cannot help but laugh. Have a great day!

Your Friendly Neighborhood Pocket Ninja

2008 Vice Presidential Debate – Opinions

October 3, 2008

Did you guys watch the Vice Presidential debate last evening?

Other than miss-pronouncing a few things (“Nuculeer”) and repeating “maverick” many many times, Palin did reasonably well. The VPIF candidate finally showed the American public more than the standard talking points and spoke more like your next-door neighbor than a career politician. Middle America is going to identify with her.

Watch her as she goes in this, the best hightlight video of the Vice Presidential Debate.

Also, I was impressed by Joe Biden last night. His composure and refusal to attack Palin was impressive. Taking the high road was definitely the smarter political move. And his answers on most of the questions did not lose him any points. Biden had a clear understanding of the facts, citing the record of both he and McCain on many occasions.

I was not shocked to hear that it scored a 30% higher Nielsen Rating than the first Presidential Debate.

Full Video of the Vice Presidential Debate

That Hugo Chavez is quite a character

September 28, 2008

https://i2.wp.com/www.smh.com.au/ffximage/2006/09/21/hugochavez_wideweb__470x375,0.jpg

September 28 – That Hugo Chavez is quite a character. The revolutionary social President of Venezuela and the U.S.’s chief antagonist in the western hemisphere never fails to take a potshot at US President George Bush whenever there is an opportunity.

In light of the recent proposed government bailout of insurance giant AIG, Chavez recently said his oil-based economy is insulated from the U.S. crisis by its growing detachment from “this perverse financial system.”

He mocked Bush for using government funds to bail out private companies. The Bush administration is seeking congressional authority to buy as much as $700 billion in bad investments from financial firms to unfreeze the U.S. financial system.

“I nationalize strategic companies and get criticized, but when Bush does it, it’s OK,” Chavez said on his weekly television program Sept. 21. “Bush is turning socialist. How are you, comrade Bush?

Ooh. That’s gotta burn just a little…