Tuesday, May 31, 2011

How to avoid killing innocent civilians in US foreign wars?

Another air strike by NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) with US in the lead in Afghanistan. Another batch of civilians (14, including 11 children; 9 by US count) killed. Another protest – President Karzai said: "Bombing Afghan houses is banned." Another apology by US commanders, with same justification (excuse?): “ISAF said the death toll was nine and has apologised while saying the strike was carried out after insurgents who had earlier killed a patrolling marine hid in a compound and carried on firing.” (“NATO risks becoming 'occupying force': Karzai,” AFP May 30, 2011.)

So what should the ISAF (read US forces) do to avoid killing civilians in foreign wars, otherwise known as collateral damages, starting with ground fighting in Afghanistan and drone attacks in Pakistan.

The radical solution by many commentators is: “Get out of Afghanistan”. What if this is not an option? What then?

The next best thing than getting out of Afghanistan is to establish one basic principle, fight foreign wars as thought it is a domestic war. Or as Kant would have it: "Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law.” (Categorical imperative or golden rule) Immanuel Kant Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals (1785).

Kant’s golden rule in biblical terms means: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Mathew: 7:12. (In Chinese it is: “Do not do to others what you do not want happen to you.”)

While this principle is not a failed proof principle by any means, as in cases when US values are not the same as Afghan values, it has the benefit of forcing the US forces to abide by a set of rules of engagement that US can live with.

Would the US force bomb civilian houses in NYC, just because a few terrorists are hiding in the midst? The answer is obviously not. That is why in many hostage situation, the SWAT team would rather let the terrorists go than killing the hostages. The SOP and training of all SWAT team is to kill or capture terrorists, without sacrificing life or limb of civilians.

There is three simple reasons why SWAT team or US soldiers would not kill US civilian to get to terrorists: (1) The civilians are their brothers and sisters, part of their flesh, blood and soul. (2) The civilians are US citizens with constitutional - human rights. (3) The responsibility of SWAT/soldiers is first and foremost to protect the life and limb of the citizens.

Why then are the ISFA – US forces killing many Afghan civilians in order to get to a few terrorists?

Because afghans are not brothers and sisters. Because Afghans are not US citizens. In the ultimate analysis, given US mission - exterminate the terrorists, Afghan lives are dispensable, though always with “sincere” regret!

Until the Bush administration and because of war on terror, US has always followed Kant’s golden rule; after all US is the world’s promoter/policeman of universal human rights.

With the Bush administration, the US started to treat terrorists beyond the protection of international law. Specifically, terrorists can now be tortured for information and detained with no due process; a position sanctioned by Obama (See “Fighting Terror: Bush vs. Mao” in this blog).

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Do people need a college degree?

Do we need a college education to be successful in life? Do we need a college education to be happy in life? At a cost of nearly $50,000/yr. for a private college, $20, 000 for a public university and $10,000 for a community college, people have a right to ask the question?

Ultimately, the question is a simple and straightforward one: Is the return from a college education worth the investment. As a lifelong learner (“Knowledge never rests, people do”) with years of education on my back and decades of teaching experience in my career, let me share some of my ideas with you.

For those of you who want a simple answer, the answer is it all depends. In most cases, the answer is NO.

The reason I say: “It all depends” is because college is a tool (education) to an end (life), and not an end by itself.

If college is a tool, then whether a person needs to go to college depends on
what he/she wants out of life. Then and only then can he/she find the right tool to get to success and/or happiness. (These are two goals, not one. That is the reason why educators, self-servingly(?), insist that college education is not about success (jobs), but about opening minds and enriching life. There is some clear and convincing evidence to suggest that college graduates are more happy with their life.)

The reason I say (in most cases): “No” is because if college education is a tool, then in most cases we can learn without going to college. College is just institutionalized learning, i.e., learning in classroom (textbook learning vs. learning in the field (experiential learning). For example in imperial China, a medical career started with following the master around. Turning to England, the common law lawyers learned by clerking with a senior solicitor or barrister, in chamber, not through law schools.

Back to the question of whether people need a college education. People need to ask themselves the follow questions;

(1) What do I want to do with life? Given what you want out of life, then you need to decide whether a college education is necessary? If you want to be just a laborer (garbage hauler) or crafts person (watch repairer), college is not necessary (again in most cases). But if you want to be MD, certainly medical school is a must, for no other reason than because it is required for licensing with AMA. Finally, if you want to open your mind and enrich you life, college might be the only way to go. (I said this because a liberal arts education is very hard to replicate, particularly when it is done well. That is why the new web based “e-U” education does not come close in delivering such kind of enriching education. “e-U” is designed for training (impacting job skills) not education (developing critical thinking).

(2) If your answer to (1) is that a college education is or is not necessary in light of your life goal, you still need to ask whether it is a good “return on investment” (ROI) in business world). Since time and money are limited resources for people to achieve their ultimate of life goals (security at the lower end and happiness in the higher end), a person need to decide how best to use time and money at his/her disposal.

The ultimate issue here is not only about college vs. no college, however expensive college is.

Instead, the real issue is about how best to invest our time, money, and effort to better the content and prospect of our life.

Since there are so many variables in making for a good life, it is fool hearted for anyone to say whether college is worth it or not. Thus I think it is impossible for people to say categorically that college is or is not for you.

That is really what the debate about. (If you want to discuss whether college really deliver on its promises, either job (law school) or happiness (liberal arts), we can, and should.)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

How to solve problems in a democracy?


A May 27, 2011 blog entry reads: “As recovery falters, Washington offers little help,” May 27, 2011

Here we go again. Why is “Washington” (government) always the problem when things go wrong in our society, life; from deficit in education to increase in foreign aggression.

I would think that if we believe in democracy, which is government by and for the people, it is always the people’s problem - credit when things go wrong or right. If that should be the case, it is the people not the government that is causing the problem. How so? (Of course if you do not believe in democracy as a concept or think that democracy does not really work in practice, we have a whole new debate, for another day).

The problem we have as a nation - people, for a long time and particular now, is that we blame the messenger (the government) instead of ourselves for the problems we face. There are many reasons why we do so, the chief of which is that we fail to understand what democracy is all about.

Democracy is never about what government not doing anything, this and that, such as not making (debt ceiling) or enforcing laws (ethics inquiry).

Democracy is always about people doing something, here and now, such as embracing more duties (sacrifice for our children), and stopping to ask for more rights (to ingratiate our selves).


In dealing with the nation’s (people’s really) problem of the day, our democracy is not working the way it should because we fail to follow one of the very basic (scientific) principles of democratic governance by Professor Kam C. Wong:

“The person who is closest – in impact and knowledge - to a problem is the one to solve the problem.” (This is “scientific” because people who are not affected (impact test) and/or understand (knowledge test) has little motivation or capacity to solve a problem. (See my blog on “Arab Spring and Paternalism”).

Problem is in turn defined as: “denied expectations of every kind due to resource deprivation”. (People who have resources, chief of which are intelligence, spirituality and wisdom, rarely if ever have problems that they cannot solve.)

Resource is “anything and everything that can meet our expectations, from material, to spiritual, to thinking.”


If we apply my democratic theory: “The person who is closest – in impact and knowledge - to a problem is the one to solve the problem.” You will be able to solve any and ALL problems confronting us as a nation, people, and individual:

(1) ACKNOWLEDGE the problem. The first step to deal with any problem is to acknowledge that there is a problem. If we do not know there is a problem, we cannot begin to fix it. AAA people can tell you. To get rid of alcohol addiction, one need to acknowledge that (s)he is an alcoholic.

(1.1) The simple way to find a problem is to ask: “Is your expectation being met, on a daily basis and in small ways?” For New York is whether the sub-way is clean? For LA is whether we can negotiate the freeway short of crawling? For DC, is whether Congress people can agree to disagree? For you and me, is whether we are better off today than yesterday, this moment than last? Dream big and think small, that is the key here. That simple.

(2) UNDERSTAND the problem. To understand a problem is to analyze the problem for what it is: What is the nature, extent, and impact of a problem on our daily life? MORE SO, for what it s not? For example, we do not have a budget deficit problem, we have a consumerism and materialism issue. Or, ask the simple question: How does the happenings around us– crime, unemployment, education - deviate from our expectations of things, or affects us?

(2.1) Analyzing a problem – social or personal - is really harder than one thinks. There is a tendency for us to look at a problem as it is given to us: this is a “crime” problem or this is an “unemployment” problem, without following up with many more questions of what does “crime” and “unemployment” means to us? How do they affect us in everyday life.

(2.2) In essence, to call something a crime (as a problem) is not the same as to describe its experientially, and translated it as specific expectation denials of all kinds, shape and degrees. We might not be able to deal with crime, but we can certainly deal with aspects of and fall out from crime. For example, if you worried about theft, you can buy insurance against loss to protect yourself.

(2.3) Take murder as an example. Murder to the lawyers is a violation of rules. Murder to the doctor is a person who stops breathing. Murder to a janitor is a dirty floor. Murder to a professor is a statistic. What I am saying here is that the legal label of murder is not how we as a person/collective experience – think and feel – about it. Murdering of a father to a family means, depending on expectations, lose of kitchen help, children’s mentor, wife’s companion. We may not care or do anything about the legal problem with catching and convicting the criminal, but we certainly can do a lot in helping the kids to re-adjust or joining a church to cure our soul.

(4) OWN the problem. After we acknowledge (#1) and understand (#2) the problem we must now take control the problem by claiming it as our own. This is much easier than one think. It is easy because we can never outrun a problem by denying – delaying – or wishing it away.

(4.1) If problem is “denied expectation”, until and unless we have satisfied our expectation(s), the problem will always be there. For example, the nation has a deficit problem. What are we doing about it? For a long time, we try to borrow our way out, from the Chinese and Japanese. In essence we keep on borrowing, in hope that the deficit would somehow disappear. In so doing, we are not meeting our own expectations – pay as we spend. Instead, we try to shift our expectation – spend before we can pay, in hope that either our problem become that of government or our kids. That is to say that we hope that other people can alleviate our expectations (resource) deficits. That is fine and good, for a while, now we have a whole new problem (expectation deficit) on our hand – we have breached our responsibility (expectation of self) as parents and citizens. We have transformed a financial expectation deficit to one or moral expectation deficit; a worse problem.

(5) SOLVE the problem. There are two ways to solve a problem, or meeting expectations:

(5.1) Find resource to meet expectation. In terms of reducing deficits, and in economic terms, that means increasing productivity (working harder/smarter).

(5.2) Change expectation. Again, in terms of reducing deficit, that means changing our consumption pattern, spend less on defense (a depleting, destructive spending) and spend more on education (a renewing, constructive spending).

(6) DOING AWAY with problem. In the end, the best way to deal with any problem (expectation) is to rethink our problem (re-adjust our expectation), and make it go away. This can be achieved by learning to doing away with desire (expectations altogether – it is the lack of desire, not accumulation of wealth, that makes people happy.

(6.1) If that is the case, we should think about doing away with MBA – marketing, and live within our means. Here in the U.S., unbridled consumption is the problem, not the solution to our deficit problem.

(6.2) For some you can try Buddhism, for others you can visit a Jesuit faith. For people in dire straight, the solution might be suicide – the big escape form all wants and needs.


The scientific democratic principle I am proposing: “The person who is closest – in impact and knowledge - to a problem is the one to solve the problem” is based in part on another Chinese saying: “The person who causes the problem should be the one to solve the problem.” Or, in the U.S., we should clean up our own mess.

Friday, May 27, 2011


There are many ways to understand or decipher Arab Spring; historically, politically, and morally.

One way to understanding Arab Spring is to ask why the West are so eager to get involved. The narrative here is: What is good for the West is good for the Arab world, i.e., paternalism at work.


“Paternalism is the interference of a state or an individual with another person, against their will, and defended or motivated by a claim that the person interfered with will be better off or protected from harm. The issue of paternalism arises with respect to restrictions by the law such as anti-drug legislation, the compulsory wearing of seatbelts, and in medical contexts by the withholding of relevant information concerning a patient's condition by physicians. At the theoretical level it raises questions of how persons should be treated when they are less than fully rational. (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/paternalism/ - Int)

Paternalism makes three claims

(1) You do not know what you are doing, in governance or self-determination.
(2) I know what is good for you.
(3) Let me help you to make things right, if need be by force.


There are a number of objections to paternalistic offer of help.

First, paternalism is a noble and chivalry enterprise. However, such a noble instinct is not without its corrupting tendencies and destructive impact. The impetus to help, arising as it must, from a sense of superiority and well being, will easily lead to an arrogance of power (intellectual, spiritual, physical, emotional or economical) in the helper. Dependency creates subordination in the helped and in time breed contempt in the helper. This is manifested in a relationship denominated not so much by the actual needs of the one that wants help but by the one who venture the help. Such tendency seems to grow directly, in proportion with the intensity of the willingness to help and conversely correlated with the helplessness exhibited by the deprived. In the end, the one being helped may be no better off, e.g. he may not get what he wants (only what others think he wants). He may even ends up worse off than before, e.g. he may get more than what he bargained for - a lost of self-respect for his own autonomy, and freedom. Such has always been the pitfall of paternalistic relationship!

Secondly, paternalistic motivation to help is never selfless. There is a certain kind of hypocrisy in all chivalry gestures. No one is totally, selfless, by venturing out to help others we are motivated by a need to gratify ourselves, i.e. an instinct to do good by our standard, not that of the person needing help. We should not for a moment think that the interest of the helper and the helped are one and the same. No assumption can be more wrong and more dangerous. A servant cannot be trusted to serve two masters. This is not an indictment against the integrity of the servant as much as it is a realistic assessment of such relationships. The annals of trust law are repelled with cautions against such divided allegiance. Our experience with others point unmistakably to that conclusion.


If paternalism works in making the world a better place to live, work and play as claimed, with the strong helping the weak, more developed nation coaching the less developed nation, I wonder what other CULTURALLY more advanced nations can help to improve the culturally less attuned - achieved nations, from managing deficits to reducing violence to decreasing drugs to building family to providing for seniors to protecting the young to improving morality….

The ultimate question to ask is why paternalism is only working in a one way manner, from the economically - military strong to the economically - militarily weak?

What is the relationship, if any, between economic and military proneness and cultural and moral goods?

Are rich people/country necessarily more cultured?

Are the militarily strong necessarily more moral?

Selling Death Kit and Right to Die

The Right to Die

ON May 26, 2011, federal agents (FBI, US Postal Inspection Services) raided the house of one Sharlotte Hydorn (91) of California with gun drawn, and searched for 11 hours, leaving the house in a mess.

Ms. Hydorn was accused of offering up for sale, by e-mail, a suicide kit – GLADD, resulting in the death of a mail-order customer from Oregon, Nicholas Klonoski, 29, suffering from depression but otherwise healthy. “She sells them for $60 each, including shipping and instructions, under the brand name GLADD, which stands for Glorious Life and Dignified Death.” “FBI raids home of suicide kit maker in California.” (FBI raids home of suicide kit maker in California,” Reuters, May 26, 2011).

I believe that we have a right to choose death over life, thus this commentary.


The US Constitution, commonly acknowledged to be one of the most advanced and exemplary one in the world guarantee people’s rights to pursue life, liberty and happiness.

The Declaration of Independence (July 4, 1776) specifically stated:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

The Declaration of Independence further made clear the Government must respect the people’s right to choose for themselves the form of Government that is most conducive to effectual “Safety and Happiness”:

“That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. “

The Declaration of Independence also warned that it is the habits of Government and nature of citizens to put up with Despotism of the worse kind, i.e., paternalism:

“Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new guards for their future security…”


The issue about right to live vs. die, hinges on the meaning of happiness. What it is and who decides?

It is clear that the US government would not be raiding Ms. Ms. Hydorn’s house if she is selling a life support system, instead of a death inflicting one. But why not?

The simple answer is: Government somehow thinks, paternalistically, that all suicide is bad. Conversely, all prolonging of life is good.

I disagree, strongly, that taking life is bad. My position is that taking life is neither good nor bad. It all depends on ones life circumstances: whether it brings net happiness (or what amount to be the same “meaning”) to the individual involve.

To the question of what is happiness, it is the “uninhibited” pursuit of ones meaning in and of life, without infringing on the rights of other to do the same. Since meaning of life is subjective and cannot be experienced by others; other people, still less government, has no way to judge, still less impose.

If indeed the pursuit of happiness (meaning of life) is up to the individual to decide, I do not see how the government can now tell a person (except those who are not capable of deciding – immature or mentally sick) what meaning of life (and in turn happiness) is. More simply: life has no meaning except to the person involve.

More practically, the government do not know and cannot decide for the person what meaning of life (or happiness) is for one very simple reason, the government has no way of accessing the inner most thought and feeling of the person, as lived: (In theoretical terms, as I argued in another context: “The person who is closest to a person (by impact and knowledge) is the person to solve the problem.” Problem is defined as: unfulfilled expectations of all kinds, due to resource limitations.)

Ones life is made of many moments (M), M1, M2, M3 to Mn). A person’s experience (thinking + feeling) of M, individually and in aggregate (M1 + M2 + Mn), is what makes for net happiness score.

Case#1: I go to the library to read a book. It brings stimulation to my brain, but my body gets fat.

Case#2: I go to the bar to get drunk after I pass my examination. I make a lot of friends, but I have a hang over in the morning,

The above two moments of life have one thing in common. They both shortens my life for the factor of M/Mn (number of seconds / 60 years life span x 265 days x 24 hrs x 60 minutes x 60 seconds). I have just killed time in and by the moment. I submit to you, killing time, is killing life, in short form.

If the government can regulate my choice of life, to live or not to live. The government should be able to start with the most basic unit of life: the moment a person live – gong to the library (case#1) vs. going to bar (case#2). Since the government cannot (due to lack of capacity) and should not (due to ideology - constitution) regulate life in the moment, it has no right to regulate life and death.

Case#3: A person is 20 years old. He lives a happy life, up to this point. He wants to end his life because he do not want to allow the future to diminish his happiness thus far achieved. He should be able to do so.

In case#3, it is clear to everyone that whether a person is 20 or 60, happy or unhappy, sick or well. (S)he should have the absolute right to take his/her own life. (His/her obligation to country and contribution to society should be a consideration in his/her decision making, and might be make a pre-condition of taking ones life.)


It is not my purpose to argue for dead. I love life too much.

It is my purpose to promote happiness, i.e., to find meaning in life.

Life is worth living, without meaning, to the person involved.

As to whether promotion of death would soften people’s will to live or in turn deplete human stock, I defer to the wisdom Darwinism:

If people, individual and as a collective, find meaning in life, they will live. Otherwise, they will die, or at worse, engage dead man walking!


Kam C. Wong, “ Whose Life is it Anyway?”

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Why crimes are going down in USA?

Today the FBI reported that in 2010 the Uniform Crime Report (UCR) documents another year of decline in crime across the nation; violent crime down by 5.5%, property crime by 4.9%, and robbery by 8.1%. (The violent crime index comprises homicide, forcible rape, robbery and assault. The property crime index consists of burglary, larceny/theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson. ) (“US crime rate is down: six key reasons,” Christian Science Monitor, May 24, 2011)

UCR Report: Jan. – Dec. 2011

Police agencies: 13,007
Population: 264,046,159
Violent crime: -5.5
Murder: -4.4
Forcibly rape: -4.2
Robbery: -9.5
Aggravated Assault: -3.6
Property Crime -2.8
Burglary: -1.1
Larceny-theft: -2.8
Motor vehicle theft: - 7.2
Arson: -.83


The decrease in crime has been going down for more than a decade.

Crime Rates in the US: 1960 to 2009

Crime Rate[6][10]
1960 1961 1963 1965 1967 1969 1971 1973 1975 1977 1979 1981 1983 1985 1987 1989 1991 1993 1995 1997 1999 2001 2003 2005 2007 2009
Violent crime rate 160.9 158.1 168.2 200.2 253.2 328.7 396.0 417.4 487.8 475.9 548.9 594.3 537.7 556.6 609.7 663.1 758.2 747.1 684.5 611.0 523.0 504.5 475.8 469.0 472.0 429.4
Homicide rate 5.1 4.8 4.6 5.1 6.2 7.3 8.6 9.4 9.6 8.8 9.8 9.8 8.3 8.0 8.3 8.7 9.8 9.5 8.2 6.8 5.7 5.6 5.7 5.6 5.7 5.0
Property crime rate 1,726 1,747 2,012 2,249 2,736 3,351 3,769 3,737 4,811 4,602 5,017 5,264 4,637 4,650 4,940 5,078 5,140 4,740 4,591 4,316 3,744 3,658 3,591 3,432 3,277 3,036
Crimes per 100,000 population
SOURCES: US Bureau of Justice Statistics (2004),[6] Federal Bureau of Investigation, (2009)

The citizens are elated. The police are quick to congratulate themselves. The criminologists are more perplexed than ever: some suggest that it has to do with effective punishment, others think it is due to proactive police work, still others believe it resulted from change of demographics.

While I think all these factors do play a part (large or small – the verdict is not in, and will not be soon), my colleagues might have been missing the most important reason.

My colleagues might have made the wrong assumption, and in turn failed to ask the right question.


All my colleagues assume that the crimes have gone down. I do not.

I think crimes have not declined in the US, they have just changed in nature and manifestation. Since FBI – UCR measures traditional street crime, they are not measuring, as effectively, cybercrime.

In order for a crime to happen people must confront each other in person, e.g., with violent crime people must meet face to face to get angry, to kill. With property crime, offender must be tempted, then steal from a victim, in his/her presence.

In theoretical terms, and according to "routine activities theory", a crime happens, with the convergence of three factor, namely a motivated offender, an available opportunity and lack of guardian. In the Internet age, the offender - opportunity - guardianship structure is reoriented.

In this day and age, people communicate with each other by e-mail and connect with each other by face book. Such non-personal relationship, relationship makes personal crime unlikely to happen.

First, netizens rarely get mad over a cold media.

Second, if and when people get mad, they can start saying nasty things to each other, and ultimately cut the other party off. They cannot hit each other.

Third, even when one want to get even, more likely than not, they cannot find the person with ease. Alternatively, the person you want to get even with might be miles away.

Fourth, Internet provides a cooling off period when you want to get even.

Fifth, if you contemplate to get even electronically, that is not going to hurt people as in street crime.

Finally, when one decided to transfer their anger/motive to real life, he can be tracked down by the cyber police. This is an effective deterrence against all kinds of crime.

This is not to say that people do not have relationship problems. It is just that angry management is much more easier on the net.

What about rape? Since Internet makes x-rated materials freely available, should that not increase sexual offending. This issue was deal with by the Meese Report (1986). Reading it in its totality, the findings about linkage between x-rated materials and sexual offender is at best inconclusive, at worse unsubstantiated.

There are contrary evidences from Europe to show that x-rated materials do not contribute to sex crime, and might have reduced such incidents. (Kutchinsky, B. The effect of easy availability of pornography on the incidence of sex crimes: The Danish experience. Journal of Social Issues, 1973, 29:163-181. Abstract: Cites the Danish liberalization of legal prostitution and of laws concerning pornography and the ensuing high availability of such materials as a unique opportunity to test hypotheses concerning the relationship between pornography and sex offenses. It is shown that, concurrent with the increasing availability of pornography, there was a significant decrease in the number of sex offenses registered by the police in Copenhagen. On the basis of various investigations, including a survey of public attitudes and studies of the police, it was established that at least in 1 type of offense (child molestation) the decrease represents a real reduction in the number of offenses committed. Various factors suggest that the availability of pornography was the direct cause of this decrease. )

As to more instrumental property crime, the Internet offers many ways to get rich, illegally, or at least dishonestly. Internet crimes are the least reported and hardest to investigate offense. Internet crimes are intellectual crime. They are mind contest with no one getting hurt. Cybercrimes are usually not reported for fear of diluting good will.

Finally, the Internet also reduces crime in a very unique way. Most of street crimes – personal or property – are committed by juveniles and young people. Since juveniles and young people are spending more and more time on the Internet, gaming, surfing and networking, they have little time to commit crime.

In 1969, Professor Hirschi asked an interesting question, why do people not commit crime, instead of why people commit crime. He concluded that people do not commit crime because they are bonded to society in four ways, i.e., through in commitment, attachment, involvement, and beliefs. If Hirschi was correct, then the young people who are crazy about the Internet and spend hours and hours on it to learn gaming or do networking are not likely to be in the street causing trouble.

More simply, being hooked on the Internet, the young people have a purpose and meaning in life. The “commitment” and “involvement” with the Internet (activities and community) takes them away from street crime. Each hour the young people are glued to the computer means an hour less for committing crime or causing trouble in the street. This is not to say that the young people would not commit crime in Internet, but most of them are not reported as street crime.

The Internet has made our street safer by engaging our kids in senseless to parents, useless (perhaps) to society, but meaningful activities (for sure) to the young people!!!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Lessons of Arab Spring: Obama will fail in Middle East?

On May 19, 2011, President Obama, implored Middle East countries to follow the west with US in the lead, in pursuing democracy, rule of law and justice:

“The United States … support a set of universal rights. Those rights include free speech; the freedom of peaceful assembly; freedom of religion; equality for men and women under the rule of law; and the right to choose your own leaders - whether you live in Baghdad or Damascus; Sanaa or Tehran. And finally....”

As a world citizen, I applaud the President in promoting “universal” human rights (and humanity?).

As a public intellectual, I have questions about US concept of “rights” as being necessarily “universal” in theory or as applied.. (See my comments: “Secretary Clinton accused China of human rights violation” (May 10, 2011) & “Clash of Civilizations: US vs. China over Google.” (May 10, 2011).

What I am arguing in this commentary is that good intention on the part of US to oppose government oppression and ameliorate economic exploitation does not necessarily (without considering local context, as in Syria) or automatically (even with further assistance and help from outside, such as Libya) translate into good governance for the people, especially, in giving what the locals want, i.e., substantive goods, in the form of better life.

My central thesis is this, good process, might promise to bring good results (Democracy), but in fact deliver bad consequences, as in Egypt (effectively military government), Libya (practically civil war) and Iraq (reality no effective government).

My sense is, the Americans are good at creating process but not at all proficient, or perhaps even wise, in achieving the substantively good results. Looking at our own form of democratic process in action: We put more people in jail and yet has the highest crime rates in the world. We have people still in jail because we would not give them the DNA kit to test their innocence. We bankrupt our nation, and defraud the world with forged negotiable instruments. The list goes on ….

In the following pages I will discuss why US insistent of rule of law, particularly, trumping substantive justice with procedural rules is wrong headed and ill fated.

My position is that:
(1) By nature and due to necessity, people all around the world pursue survival and happiness as end goals. These are substantive goods. Alternatively called end goals of life
(2) With construction and out of choice, many people around the world set up process to achieve, secure or maintain survival and happiness. These are called process goods. Alternatively called instrument for living.
(3) People all around the world prefer substantive goods over process goods, intuitively, i.e., felt, not reasoning. (This does not mean that there is no reason, or in the ultimately analysis, unreasonable.)
(4) When in conflict, substantive goods will trump process goals, instinctively. (This means that it is a matter of reaction, as a matter of disposition, and out of habits. Commonly called survival instinct.)
(5) No individual or country can long survive if they allow the process goods to come before substantive goods.

If Arab Spring stands for anything, it stands for the fact that rules are to be disobeyed, at times violently, if the rules stop people from getting what they want, in survival and happiness. Again let us listen to what Obama has to so:

“On December 17, a young vendor named Mohammed Bouazizi was devastated when a police officer confiscated his cart. This was not unique. It is the same kind of humiliation that takes place every day in many parts of the world - the relentless tyranny of governments that deny their citizens dignity. Only this time, something different happened. After local officials refused to hear his complaint, this young man who had never been particularly active in politics went to the headquarters of the provincial government, doused himself in fuel, and lit himself on fire. Sometimes, in the course of history, the actions of ordinary citizens spark movements for change because they speak to a longing for freedom that has built up for years. In America, think of the defiance of those patriots in Boston who refused to pay taxes to a King, or the dignity of Rosa Parks as she sat courageously in her seat. So it was in Tunisia, as that vendor's act of desperation tapped into the frustration felt throughout the country. Hundreds of protesters took to the streets, then thousands. And in the face of batons and sometimes bullets, they refused to go home - day after day, week after week, until a dictator of more than two decades finally left power.”

President Obama used Bouaziz to make his case for a new dawn in democratizing the Middle East. What he fails to grasp is the fact that the only reason why Bouaziz, the street vendor, killed himself, in not that he yearned for freedom and democracy, it is that he was not allowed to make a living. Simply put, Bouaziz’s death has nothing to do with dignity, still less democratic governance. It has everything to do survival. In Chinese it is call “minsheng”, literally “people’s livelihood”.

If Bouaziz lived in a more prosperous place, such as Hong Kong, I doubt that Bouazzi would needs to burn himself. I choose Hong Kong because Hong Kong experienced a civil disturbance (riots) that led to many deaths and injuries, and 1800 people were arrested in 1966 over a 25 cents (50%) fare increase in Star Ferry harbor crossing, when Hong Kong was very poor and labored under an "enlightened" British colonial rule. (The US never once championed for a Hong Kong Sprint, then!)

I also choose Hong Kong, now 45 years later, because Hong Kong has one of the highest Kennedy ratio (rich vs, poor index) in the world, but there are also a lot of economic opportunities. Police arrest street hawkers daily, but there is no suicide, no riots. This is not as a result of a competent police or fair judiciary. This is because street vendors can always find some other economic opportunities.

In essence, from the “street” people’s perspective, concrete - particular needs for economic survival, not abstract - general sense of democracy, justice, is cause for rioting. In the end and as a rule, people in the street and people in the corridor of powers do not see eye to eyes on cause of and cure for public grievances.

The people in the street (undeveloped/less developed countries) want substantive goods.

Elite politicians in governments (of well to do - rich nations, until now, mostly in the west – original G-6 was France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States) talk about process goods.

The elites always do things in the name of the people in the street, to satisfy their sense of being; world view (globalization beyond the reach of the commons, until now with e-revolution), identity (people are doers, elites are thinkers, people are rewarded externally and in small dosage, elite are rewarded internally, and dream big), values (people are materialists and pragmatists, elites are idealists and principle minded) and interest (immediate gratification, deferred gratification).

The above shows that governance is not about process goods (democracy) favored by the rich people/country, it is always about substantive good (survival at the low end and happiness the high end)for the working people.

Where do our sense of and yearning for substantive justice come from, I do not know. (Perhaps as Shakespeare would have we should: "The first thing we do, kill all the lawyers (philosopher).")

Whatever the origin, I find that every person I talked to, all over the world, except with US lawyers in court (not even in private, or should I say particularly in private), love to do substantive justice. I cannot say all western lawyers, such as English lawyers, are not concerned with substantive justice, e.g., UK allows credible but coerced evidence to stand. French legal system of course pursues inquisitorial justice, in search of truth with an examining magistrate.

Closer to home, we find parents telling the kids to speak the truth and owe up to their indiscretions. Many times, I recall, I got punished (more), not for doing the wrong things, but because I lied about it – hiding wrong doing is a cardinal sin, was the lesson I learned. My father, as with most (all?) parents, would not tell their kids that they have a right to remain silence, in the face of wrongdoing.

The whole point here is to set the record straight: substantive justice, not procedural justice, is what everyone wants.

Finally, if you are still are not convinced, you need to look no further than post 9/11 America. President Bush’ reaction to terror tells the world clearly and loudly what US stands for:

“Substantive goods – goal of survival is more important than process goods – tools of Constitution. That is why Bush authorized the torture of terrorists, detention of Muslims without charge, and electronically monitoring of the nation’s Internet.

In the US, a person has been murdered. A suspect was arrested. The detective interrogated him without giving him a Miranda warning: “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say or do can and will be held against you in the court of law. You have the right to speak to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you. Do you understand these rights as they have been read to you?” and contrary to Miranda v. Arizona 384 U.S. 436 (1966).

The suspect confessed and incriminatory evidence was recovered as a result of the confession. (You can make this a tortured confession if you like.) The case went to trial. What would happen?

The US courts would have to dismiss the case, since the prosecution was based solely in the admissible confession. The reasoning of the court should be a simple one: procedural justice (i.e., rule of law) trumped substantive justice (i.e., actual guilty),

It is clear from this case, the procedural rule established to seek the truth - justice leads to the wholesale avoidance of substantive injustice.

However, most people and many cultures in other part of the world, the likes of China (now moving towards an American procedural justice mode) and Iran do not follow procedure trumping substantive justice mode of justice delivery.

Why is it that China and many other countries prefer substantive justice over procedural justice? This is because substantive justice is REAL justice to the people in the street. People in the street have to live (do battle with), and live with (experience, feel) justice everyday.

Procedural justice makes sense to the elite – educated, trained, professional - justice administrators. Elites in courts only have to think about justice in theory at office, with imagination and (if need be) empathy to match. When a criminal escapes substantive justice to realize procedural justice, it rarely affects them in the real term, other than perhaps senses of professional misgivings and at times moral quandary.

Finally, even the criminals/suspects would readily acknowledge (as a police officer I talked to many), they got off (laughing out loud) not because they do not deserve to be punished but because they are lucky, or the system is dysfunctional. (Few people knows, criminals also have an internal justice compass. They just rationalize it away in appropriate time and situation.)

Why do the west (U.S.) condemned other countries that prefer substantive justice over procedural justice (ultimately substantive goods over process goods)? There are three reasons, one historical, one cultural, one social.

First, historically, the western civilization in general and US in particular suffers from oppression of the ruler. As an example, U.S. rebelled against England on account of “taxation without representation.” US wrote a constitution to keep oppressive government and abusive officials at bay. More simply, Americans subscripted to a “powers corrupt” thesis. Thus, stringent procedures were set up to check the government.

Second, culturally, western civilizations, with US in the lead, think logically and work mechanically (government as machine). This type of thinking is best represented by and exemplified in Weber’s work on bureaucracy – division of labor, chain of command, span of control, hierarchy, etc. It is believed that “machine” can set people free. Machine will not make mistakes, people do, is the rule. Procedural justice is machine delivered mechanical justice. Thus the notion, rule of law, not man. (But justice is always about man, and thus must be by man. We can only approach the rule of law, if we use a machine to enforce the law!)

Third, socially, western society has changed from a pre-industrial, primitive, to an industrial (now post industrial, information and networking) society. In a pre-industrial face to face communal society, substantive justice is the rule. In an industrial society, human relations mediated by all kinds of organizations/institutions, procedural justice is the norm.

When President Obama asked people in the Middle East to follow the example of the western world to give up their traditional system of government for a democratic one, he is correct with the first, and wrongheaded with the second.

President Obama was right on to suggest traditional society should not and cannot be maintained if it is the people’s wish (there is an issue of how many and what kind of people support change, but that is an issue of another day).

The President was ill advised when he suggested that Arab Spring should (normative) and dead wrong when he predicted that the people in the Middle East would (empirical) lead to American form of government and governance.

How do I know? As I intimated earlier, given a choice, real choice, most people in the street prefers substantive justice over procedure justice. Individually and collectively, people want substantive goods (food, shelter, education for kids) than process goods (voting, rule of law).

That is why Chinese government has long maintained, as vindicated by history, that people’s livelihood (“mimsheng”) is more important then people’s rights (“minquan”) and still more sought after democracy (“minzhu).

System of government (Democracy) or instrument of control (rule) ultimately are process goods. As process goals it can only work if it achieve the substantive goods of the people, as shaped by history, culture and society, underlying. (Or, as the Americans are fond of saying, in another matter, "guns do not kill, people do." More closer to home, Singaporean do not speak English, they speak Singapore-glish!)

Friday, May 20, 2011


On May 19, 2011, President Obama delivered a major foreign policy speech on the Middle East, addressing issues of Arab Spring that has engulfed the region of late, and shows no sign of abating, with the latest victim the Israel occupation of Palestinian land. As predicted Obama challenged the people from Egypt to Iran to rise to the occasion to seek economic and political reform and with it social and cultural change. More simply, the learn and act like the West:

“President BARACK OBAMA: There must be no doubt that the United States of America welcomes change that advances self-determination and opportunity. Yes, there will be perils that accompany this moment of promise. But after decades of accepting the world as it is in the region, we have a chance to pursue the world as it should be.

Of course, as we do, we must proceed with a sense of humility. It's not America that put people into the streets of Tunis or Cairo: It was the people themselves who launched these movements, and it's the people themselves that must ultimately determine their outcome.” (NPR: “Obama Sees Arab Spring As Moment Of Opportunity.” May 19, 2011)

In concrete terms that means: democratic elections, free markets, peaceful relations with neighboring states — including Israel — rights for women and minorities, the rule of law. (NPR: “Obama Sees Arab Spring As Moment Of Opportunity.” May 19, 2011) (“Editorial: President Obama and the Arab Spring,” New York Time May 17, 2011.)

How would China react to Obama's invitation to open up the country to accept more Western political institutions (democracy, rule of law, human rights) is the inquiry of this commentary.


There will be no China Spring (Jasmine Revolution)for the foreseeable future. Why? Let us see what the Chinese leaders think about political reform vs. social stability.

Deng Xiaoping, the putative head of Chinese reform, promises economic and not political reform. More importantly his vision, still very much the Communist Party policy, is one of “crossing river by feeling the stone”, i.e., incremental experimentation, not radical reform.

From the very beginning and up till now, Deng’s reform insisted on “security above all.” To him, without stability there is no reform and nothing can be achieved. The insistent for stability is driven by the fear that China will suffer the fate of the Cultural Revolution and Russia’s disintegration. Intellectually, it is informed by “new authoritarianism” in the 1980s and “neo-conservatism” in the 1990s.

On March 4, 1989 Deng Xiaoping said in a CCP Central Committee meeting,

“The key to our success in modernization, reform and the opening to the outside is stability…. We must counter any forces that threaten stability, not yielding to them or even making any concessions. We must send out a signal that China will tolerate no disturbances.”

On February 26, 1989 Deng Xiaoping told President Bush that: “In China the overriding need is for stability. Without a stable environment, we can accomplish nothing and may even lose what we have gained…. China is now in period when it must concentrate on economic development.”

On May 13, 1989 Deng reiterated the point with CCP General Secretary Zhao Ziyang and Chinese President Yang Shangkun, “I’ve said over and over that we need stability if we’re going to develop.”

The concerned with stability is shared by President Jiang Zemin. On December 18, 1998, Jiang said:

“Stability is the basic premise for reform and development. Without stability, nothing can be achieved…In the process of carrying out reform, opening-up, and developing a socialist market economy, contradictions among the people may notably increase, and some may even become increasingly prominent…We need to nip those factors that undermine social stability in the bud, no matter where they come from.”

Stability was the reason most referenced by Chinese leadership for taking repressive actions against the students on June 4, 1989.

This fixation of stability is not particular to Deng and this generation of Chinese leaders, and is not likely to change soon. Change is not possible because since antiquity, China - emperor and people - is fearful of "luan" or chaos, which is deemed to be bad for the people, justifying rebellion, and seen as failure of governance (emperor), calling for his removal. A good emperor is one that can maintain social order and political stability, at all time and with all costs, if need be.

In support of the above observation is that Chinese rulers, then as now, is charged with delivery of people living ("minsheng") and not people democracy ("minzhu"). (The Chinese want to be fed by the government. The Westerners want to be free from the government.) (There is some strong evidence that in the US President is elected to the office, for economic performance, not political reform.)


In 2011 and foreseeable future, the stability issue that preoccupy the Chinese leadership is in how to deal with antagonistic vs. non-antagonistic forces of disorder, the likes of Falun Gong vs. mass incidents. While both kinds of disabling forces need to be put under control, antagonist forces must be mercilessly suppressed and non-antagonistic forces must be masterfully defused.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Why kill Bin Laden?

Why Kill Bin Laden?

Bin Laden is now dead for 16 days. We need to ask some critical questions of the success and failure of the Bin Laden operation.

The first question to be asked is a simple but important one:


The President of the US, past (Bush) and present (Obama), has made two promises:

(1) Secure America from terrorist attacks.
(2) Bring Bin Laden to justice.

Increasingly it appears that Bin Laden was deliberately killed, making the Navy Seal operation a kill on sight mission, from the start:

Bin Laden was taken by surprise.
Bin Laden was a frail man, not capable of hurting anyone.
Bin Laden was unarmed.
Bin Laden did not try to fight back.
Bin Laden did not try to escape.
Bin Laden need was shielded by his (unarmed) wife.

If the above (assumptions of) facts are correct, the only conclusion one can draw is that the killing of Bin Laden was a deliberate execution. (It is also possibly that it is a human error. It is also possible that it is a spur of the moment, reflex type of act, reaction. When people are all pumped up in the heat of battle, reflex takes over. In the fog of war, the best battle plan, well rehearsed, becomes a figment of imagination, a second into an operation.)

The deliberate killing of Bin Laden might bring people momentary joy; short term bliss at the expense of long term pain.

This commentary argues that: It is not in the best interest of the US to kill Bin Laden then and there. As the President said, he expected more attack from the terrorists, in reaction to or succession of Bin Laden.



(1.1) If one of our, or perhaps only, purpose is to secure America against terrorism, then we should do everything in our power to capture him. If we have done so, we might get to know more about Bin Laden's capacity, intent and operations. With that, we will be able to take the whole Bin Laden organization down, piece by piece.

(1.2) Since the operation, no one has ask the question still less given a satisfactory answer as to why gathering intelligence from the head of a dangerous terrorism net work is not worth keeping him for a while longer, at the planning stage. With all the information at hand, Bin Laden will die one way or another. Why not spare him for a couple of months. The question is troubling. The silence is telling. The nation deserves an explanation.

(1.3) The question to ask here is whether the President have seriously considered capturing him, why and why not? (We were told that there was serious discussion of a a drone attack, to minimize loss. Which is reasonable.) If we should have the opportunity to capture Bin Laden, which we were told we could, but did not, what would we have learned?

(1.4) Finally, and most importantly, how might the loss of information from him, hurt or help with our terror fight? For example, is there a succession plane? Where are the sleeping agents? What is the next target of attack? At the very least, how good is our intelligence? Are we on the right track? Should we stop some dead leads, open up new investigations and clean a few (many?) of the innocent detainees?

How might suck information secure us, specifically against Bin Laden operatives, generally, how we are doing in fighting terror? For example, are the Pakistan supporting Bin Laden while receiving US aid? Are there double agents within our counter-terrorism ranks?

Now the secrets of Bin Laden is buried in the ocean? How would we ever know? For strategic planning or tactical operations, and for history?

(1.5) Alternative, the President can inform us the benefits of killing him? In the end, how killing him advance our counter-terror cause? Again, thus far, not a word about this cost benefit analysis. Everyone and anyone, from the President down just assume that killing is Bin Laden is the best cause of action.

(1.6) Three factors might make the capture of Bin Laden not a prefer cause of action.

(1.6.1) Bin Laden has been successful contained by the US global war on terror to the point of being insignificance, except in name. He has been marginalized. He knows very little. He control even less. (see 1.3.2) This line of argument has been denied by CIA. According to CIA, Bin Laden is still very much in control.

(1.6.2) Bin Laden has little control over the terrorists net-work, thus removing him would make little different. This thesis derives from the observation that the new terror movement built and led by Bin Laden is a decentralized one, world-wide. Each terror cell work on its own, not to the drum beat of Bin Laden. A Donald trump franchise, not an IBM subsidiary. It is not like the Red Army of old, highly organized with central command and control, through and through. Thus far, this is very much a theory that awaits proof. Even then, Bin Laden’s would be the one to provide answers to the command and control (or lack there of) of his terrorist organization, net-work, ways and means.

(1.6.3) Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Bin Laden is terror personify. He is the organization, a one man band. If he dies, the organization dies with him. With his death, the whole terrorism operations build by him would fall, never to rise again. In essence Bin Laden is worth more dead than alive. But this is not a very compelling argument. We have learned that there was much dissension within Bin Laden’s ranks, to the point that Bin Laden is not in complete control. If that should be the case, Bin Laden is absolutely necessary to fill CIA in about his enemies within the ranks; the many Bin Ladens of tomorrow.


It is a national policy of the US on paper to capture (or kill if need be) Bin Laden to face justice. In order to do so we need to bring Bin Laden to face US system of justice. Executing him summarily is not US justice, even when the killing was ordered by a "war time" President. (Recall Bush use the same strategy to deny the Constitution, and with it the oversight of the Congress and judiciary. The nation still has not call him to account.) Bin Laden deserves his day in court. The US people deserve to know why they have spent trillions on this man. The victims of 9/11 might like to attend the legal execution, to express their anger, to seek final closure, or in some case to forgive and forget.

The international norm of war and peace is to bring war criminals to trial. We have done that in WWII when the German and Japanese killed millions of people. Why do we treat Bin Laden differently?

(2.2.1) Many Muslims here and abroad want to know why Bin Laden did what he did in their name. They deserve to have their name cleared. They deserve to hear it from Bin Laden that he is not in the mainstream and has not, and will not, represent the Muslim cause.

(2.2.2) A Bin Laden trial will help the Muslim worldwide in saying to the world: "We might not agree with American's quest to conquer the world through military power with the invasion of Iraq, drone attacks of Pakistan, navy inspection in Yemen, or ideological/cultural domination by way of bikini beauty contests in Afghanistan and fatty burgers in Inida, or commercial exploitation through setting up sweat shop Nike factories in Indonesia and charging juveniles pricey trashy hi-hop musics/x-rated movies/violent games on the net while objecting to government censorship (of vice)/parental electronic monitor (of porn) in China, but we think Bin Laden has no right to kill innocent people in fighting US, and should face Muslim justice, properly dispensed (if possible) by Muslims, not summarily imposed (for convenience) by Americans."

(2.2.3) In summarily executing Bin Laden, the President has proven Bin Laden correct: The US is not interested in (Muslim) justice, but in extending and expanding their own value, interest, and power.


I raise the above issues not because I think Bin Laden should live or die. My opinion hardly matters. But if we, as a people, really want to secure the nation (for the future) and realize justice (for all – victim, rule of law, world peace), we should have made every effort to capture him.

President Obama as Commander-in-Chief should explain why killing is better capturing Bin Laden in keeping US safe.

President Obama as the President of the US should explain why killing of Bin Laden does not defeat American constitution, law and justice.

Finally, President Obama, as our chief diploma, should explain to the world, why international moral norms and war conventions are not being honored.

For those of you who are conspiracy theorists, there might be a real possibility that Bin Laden was killed because he knows too much of things we rather not know!

Gay right and straight right

Human has rights, gay or straight. One should not encroach or infringe on the other.

I support human rights, gay included. What other people do with their (sex) life is none of my business, provided that they do not infringe on my right to be left alone.

I went to the university shower room the other day to take a shower. There was another male with me. Suddenly, I felt naked in the spot light - embarrassed and fearful. What if he is gay?

Now I have a problem. I feel anxious every time I need to use the toilet.

The gay should not infringe on my right of privacy and sense of security.


Privacy is the right to control information of oneself. Specifically:

“Physical privacy could be defined as preventing "intrusions into one's physical space or solitude" This would include such concerns as: preventing intimate acts or one's body from being seen by others for the purpose of modesty; apart from being dressed this can be achieved by walls, fences, privacy screens, cathedral glass, partitions between urinals, by being far away from others, on a bed by a bed sheet or a blanket, when changing clothes by a towel, etc.; to what extent these measures also prevent acts being heard varies.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Privacy)

I feel that I have the right not to expose my body to gay. That is the reason I use male, not female toilet. I feel embarrassed and insecure in the presence of female, now gay. Perhaps I am thin skin, but like the gay, I am born that way, and should not be apologetic about it.

Just like I feel embarrassed being naked before a female stranger, I feel embarrassed exposing to a feminine – gay male. I do not want female to look at me as a possible sexual partner, worse still sex object for their sexual fantasy.

Just like female who might fear (uncomfortable with) male in private places, I feel insecure because I do not want male - gay to look at me as possible a sex object - target. While I do not think that every gay is a sexual assailant, but they have the potential to be. I cannot tell. Thus, if I have a choice, I do not want to be alone in a room, especially when no one around, with a possible sexual predator.

I have three kinds of objections with a gay in the shower:

(1) I do not want to be raped. (This of course raise the issue of whether male – gay sexual criminal should be bar from using public toilet.)

(2) I do not want to be sexually harassed (“You have a good body.” ) or propositioned. (“Do you want to have a one stool stand?”)

(3) I do not want to labor under sexually fear and anxiety. More simply, I want to enjoy my shower, singing my song. (I am mindful this raise free speech issue of a more serious kind!)

In both instances, I am only comfortable exposing myself to fellow straights. Is this too much to ask?

The problem is that I have no way of telling, especially from male-gay. So now I am always embarrassed and forever fearful. Toilet now becomes a place of anxiety. (This reminds me of soldiers in Iraq. They do not know who is the enemy or civilian. They must be one guard 24/7.)

But what about public beaches, especially those naked ones in Spain? In such cases, we have a choice not to go to public naked beach to protect your privacy. In such cases, the public beach offer protection against sexual attacks.


Gays – male and female – should have their own toilets/shower rooms.

If we cannot have separate toilet or shower facilities, we can at least order gay sexual predator to stay away from using public toilets and showers.

Alternatively, we should have uni-sex, integrated male, female and gay toilets/showers, to be consistent with our principle that there is nothing to be embarrassed about or fearful of the opposite sex.

The nation/people - gay and straight - need to make up their mind on how to achieve unoffensive sexual equality.

What do you think?


I feel uncomfortable, perhaps even guilty, for bringing such an issue up, in making gay the object of embarrassment and fear, after all they are normal people.

Then I suddenly realize that is what sexual politics (in the US) is all about. Making other people feel bad because of their own sexual orientation, straight or gay.

A word to the gay and straight, when exercising your rights, please be mindful of rights of others. Sexual sensitivity and tolerance is what gay/straight want. Sexual sensitivity and tolerance is what gay/straight should practice.

How to solve US deficit spending problem, once and for all?


The US has a deficit spending problem (DS). DS at an individual – personal or collective – national level is when: “The amount by which a government, company, or individual's spending exceeds its income over a particular period of time.”

Many people have debated over the wisdom of DS, chief of which is between Adam Smith (balanced budget for household at all time) vs. John Maynard Keynes (DS for government with economic downturn) schools of economics, (“The Macroeconomic Effects of Deficit Spending: A Review” (research.stlouisfed.org/publications/.../Deficit_Nov_Dec1988.pdf)


There is now a fiscal – cultural war (see SOLUTION below) going on in the US Congress over the size of US debt ceiling, and with it the ultimate sustainability of DS. Currently (September 3, 2010), the total federal debt outstanding is $13.435 trillion.

On May 9, 2011, the House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, says the GOP will not approve of any increase in debt ceiling until there are huge spending cuts:

"Without significant spending cuts and changes to the way we spend the American people's money, there will be no debt limit increase, … And cuts should be greater than the accompanying increase in debt authority the president is given."

The GOP finally get it right but for the wrong motive. (Note: President Bush, with GOP support, including Boehner, turned Clinton’s substantial surplus into a huge debit. “The books are closed on fiscal 2008. The surplus the current President Bush inherited has turned into a record deficit: $455 billion.” Much of that goes to war efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan and war on terror. The Iraq war alone costs US between 600 billions to 1 trillion In the long perhaps 3 trillions, or more.) http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/presidentbush/2008/10/budget-deficit.html


In 1917 the Congress passed the Second Liberty Bond Act, which sets limits to the national debate. In 1940, the debt ceiling of the U.S. Treasury was $49 Billion, with a population of 132 million. That amounted to $370 per person. In 1999 the nation’s debt is at $5,950 Billion. With a population (1996 est.) of 265 million, that is translated into $22,450 per person. (The Debt Limit: History and Recent Increases (*.pdf)

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/chart-of-the-day-us-debt-ceiling-2011-1#ixzz1M3UBu3tj


The solution to US DS problem is not to be found in the US, with an Adam Smith here or John Maynard Keynes there. Just as it is far fetched to rely on the people who are responsible for the world’s sub-prime crisis to solve the problem, we need to radically change our thinking, habits and conduct. (Bush – Henry Merritt 'Hank' Paulson, Jr. (Goldman Sachs) Paulson and Obama - Timothy Franz Geithner (president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York).

In order to stop DS, we need to do the following:

(1) DO AWAY WITH CONSUMERISM. We are taught that consumption is good and saving is bad. But why? There is much evidence that consumption is bad for society and lead to waste:

(1.1) MBA – marketing driven consumption makes capitalists rich, common people poor. (We do not need to go as far as Marx to suggest that capitalists should be eliminate altogether, only that the people should be prudent with their spending; consume for real needs, not inflated desire.)

“Today’s consumption is undermining the environmental resource base. It is exacerbating inequalities. And the dynamics of the consumption-poverty-inequality-environment nexus are accelerating. If the trends continue without change — not redistributing from high-income to low-income consumers, not shifting from polluting to cleaner goods and production technologies, not promoting goods that empower poor producers, not shifting priority from consumption for conspicuous display to meeting basic needs — today’s problems of consumption and human development will worsen.… The real issue is not consumption itself but its patterns and effects.… Inequalities in consumption are stark. Globally, the 20% of the world’s people in the highest-income countries account for 86% of total private consumption expenditures — the poorest 20% a minuscule 1.3%. More specifically, the richest fifth:
-- Consume 45% of all meat and fish, the poorest fifth 5%
-- Consume 58% of total energy, the poorest fifth less than 4%
-- Have 74% of all telephone lines, the poorest fifth 1.5%
-- Consume 84% of all paper, the poorest fifth 1.1%
---Own 87% of the world’s vehicle fleet, the poorest fifth less than 1%”

(1.2) More fundamentally, everyone knows that more material goods, beyond those meeting our basic needs, generate waste, not utility, still less happiness. Rhetorically, how many (big, fancy) car do we need to get from point A to point B? How much food can be consume at the $20 buffet? (When is the last time you clean up your house (divorce?) or find new areas of for your new toys?)

(1.3) There is no reason to believe that (excessive or conspicuous) consumption by the rich is good for the society; in creating a more productive society, except in make work. (“Paris Hilton’s $3,000 cake stolen from birthday party,” Feb. 19, 2011) For example, US, until recently, is the richness nation on earth. But where do we spend all our wealth? We spend it in making more bombs and consuming more drugs, not building faster train or investing in better schools! In national debate over butter and guns, US prefer to buy more and bigger guns, not butter.

(2) DO AWAY WITH MATERIALISM. Consumerism is not the only problem. Consumerism join hands with materialism, bankrupts US. When people say money cannot buy happiness or man do not live by bread alone, they really mean that material goods (bigger house, faster car, fancier computer) do not by themselves create happiness. As human beings we need to be happy with who we are as person and people, in spirituality (faith in God, at one with Islam) or morality (avoid torture of people, promote honesty in government). More simply, richness in heart, not richness with possessions.

(3) DO AWAY WITH INDIVIDUALISM. Individualism means that people are taught to pursue self-interests (Adam Smith). Individualism, the brainchild of neo-classical economist, preached a beggar thy neighbor’s approach to every day life. Again, to what end and at what costs?

(3.1) Accepting individualism as the basic premise, it is easy to see why the current generation is not saving for the next generation – there is no incentive to do so.

President Bush fought a war by borrowing (against future generation's income stream), thus the current generation has no reason to complain, and did not.

People choose to have abortion or having no baby altogether because the financial, physical and emotional costs of having a baby are not worth the pain and suffering.

The increase student loan burden on our kids means that the present generation of parents are either unwilling or unable to pay, or both, for their kids future.

The government in not funding universities through general tax revenues are doing the same.

The message is clear, as parents we rather spend money on our own well being than on the kids future.

For the government we rather spent trillions to invade counties and kill people here and now than to educate, enrich and prepare our kids for tomorrow.

If anyone needs more proof, one needs only to look at our nation's divorce rate. The US boast the highest divorce rate in the word. The decision to divorce is a choice of ones own present happiness at the expense of our children's present and future welfare. We rationalize it by saying, if we ("I" and the family) are not happy, the kids likewise would suffer. But note, this line of justification for divorce misses the whole point. Why do we (individually) not work at oue marriage to make it better? Alternative why do we look for another partner to improve our lot? The answer is: because we deserve better. More bluntly, because we can!! Such endless pursuit of happiness of self, at the expense of our kids, is what I meant by excessive "individualism." (By saying this, I am conceding that in every decision we make, there is a certain amount of individualism involved, if only because we know best. The retort here is, because we know ourself too much, we need to get to know other more, such that our decision is well informed, and not one-sided, or lob-sided.)

If this line of individualistic thinking is true, the US DS is not an accident, but a structural problem of how democracy, as currently conceived really work in practice - those who has a vote, decide. Present spending, not future investment is the de fault rule. (Compare with other countries, esp. Asia, we save the least and borrow the most.)

(3.2) If individualism in a structural problem of democracy, this means that we are now faced with a chronic DS (present enjoyment, future payment) problem. It also means that setting artificial deficit ceiling, while helpful in the short term, is not going to make much of a different in the long term. (We can still spent what limited money we have in ingratiating ourselves rather than enriching or enlightening our young ones.

As a solution, we need to rewrite the “social control” to have a build in check and balance system to hold the present generation accountable for the welfare of the next generation. The US Constitution should have a clause against DS, except when such DS benefits the next generation. The logic is we can only spent the money we made, not those of our kids. Hopefully, we also has the wisdom spent our money for a better tomorrow. (We have yet to discuss how the present generation spent the hard earn savings of the last generation. Part of DS is bankrupting the social security of the past generation.)

(3.3) How to give voice to the next generation, or realize future democracy, since there is an inter-generation distributive (in)justice (here manifested as DS) problem? To this question Rawls suggested a “veil of ignorance” approach, i.e., asking current people to design a future society not knowing who they would become and where they would be situated. Kant has suggested the imposition of golden rule – “categorical imperative” (“"Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law." Both of these formulations ask people to expand their individualistic mindset to think about others, with us standing in their shoes. But this calculative approach is not enough. At the end of the day, it sill favors the current generation over the next, present over future. Why? Because the present – actual is real, and the future – speculative is contingent. (People go to Las Vega or Macau and gamble knowing they will lose money!)

(3.4) To protect the interest of the future generation over the current generation, we need an OFFICE OF FUTURE, to act as a trustee for the future generation. The future generation trustee needs to be independent of the influence of the current generation, with the future on his/her mind.

(3.5) The Western idea and ideal of individualism is articulated and justified in Hobbes’ rendition of “social contract” theory in Leviathan or The Matter, Forme and Power of a Common Wealth Ecclesiastical and Civil (1651) (other renditions include: Thomas Hobbes (1651), John Locke (1689), and Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1762), where he portrait life in the natural world as: “the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. (Chap. 13, para. 9), and every one on to his own: “every man has a right to every thing, even to one another's body.” That is where individualism as a concept is grounded – a world as imagined, not real!

(3.6) Individualism is a political – social construction. (Later, people embrace and promote it because it serves their purpose and interests, such as capitalists.) It is a myth. It has no basis in reality. If truth be known, people are all born into a family who support them in every way – physically, emotionally and materially, often at great sacrifice. As to why our family (collective) supports us, it is NOT because of our conjured individualistic disposition (as Hobbes wrongly surmised) but because of our natural collective instincts (as every parents, East or West, know). More simply people feel they have the DUTY of care to others, than RIGHT to be concern of self. This DUTY to others and RIGHT to self is what separates the EAST from the WEST, and now come to haunt the later.

(3.7) The solution against individualism is to adopt the Oriental way of collectivism. The oriental approach – from China to Hong Kong to Japan to Singapore - is to accept the premises that we are not born as individuals, separate from and independent of the whole - group but as a member of an indivisible whole - collective, in fresh, blood and spirit.

(4) THINK ABOUT THE FUTURE NOT THE PRESENT. The US culture is a present oriented culture. People want immediate gratification, instead of deferred enjoyment. That is what credit card is all about. This habit must stop. Thus this recommendation: No DS except for investment in the future, such as education or renovation. Not even in emergencies.


Changing cultural thinking and with it behaving is difficult, in US as around the world. But if the US does not change its thinking over consumerism, individualism, immediate gratification and rights, I do not see how DS can come to past.

The future prospect of US, as an economy as a nation, is written all over the wall: bankruptcy (in financial and moral terms) awaits!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Wilkie Leaks, Rashomon (羅生門) and Bin Laden Operation


On May 17, 210), AP published yet another, officially sanctioned (?), account of the Bin Laden operation (Code name “Geronimo”) of May 2, 2011. This account is by far the most expansive and detail one, though no less final or truthful.

For the first time we learned that that the Bin Laden operation was not flawless, as first reported and the public led to (want to) believe.

It is too early to tell whether this is the final account, but I suspect not.

It is also too early to tell whether this is a more truthful account, I doubted.


I do not have any more faith in this account because:

(1.1) The central message of WILKIE LEAK is that government lies all the time, for reasons good or bad. Thus, we need Julian Paul Assange (a foreigner) to tell us what our own government (from US to China) is doing.
(1.2) Government (and private business) cannot be trusted to provide citizens/consumers information to keep them in check.
(1.3) Q#1: How do we know that the police is doing a good job in fighting crime.?
A#1: With the use of FBI-UCR crime data.
Q#2: Who collect such crime data?
A# 2: The police provide them to the FBI, voluntarily.
Q#3: Can we trust the police data to be complete, valid and reliable?
A#3: No we do not know. No one knows. The police cannot be trusted.
(1.4) There is ABSOLUTELY no reason to trust the US and Pakistan to tell
the truth. No on can proof them wrong, now that Wilkie leak is history.

(2.1) Made in 1950, Rashomo tells: “The story … in flashback as the four characters—the bandit Tajōmaru (Toshirō Mifune), the samurai's wife (Machiko Kyō), the murdered samurai (Masayuki Mori), and the nameless woodcutter (Takashi Shimura)—recount the events of one afternoon in a grove. The first three versions are told by the priest (Minoru Chiaki), who was present at the trial as a witness, having bumped into the couple on the road just prior to the events. Each of these versions has a response of "lies" from the woodcutter. The final version comes direct from the woodcutter, as the only witness (but he did not admit this to the court), but by then he is no longer a reliable witness. All versions are told to a ribald commoner (Kichijiro Ueda) as they wait out a rainstorm in the ruined gate at the city limits of Kyoto, a ruin identified by a sign as Rashōmon.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rashomon_%28film%29
(2.2) The central thesis of Rashomo is that people are fallible as witnesses of events: in interest (bias), in vantage point (limited viewpoint), in capacity (faulty observation – memory – articulation), in interpretation (multiple meanings), and finally in revisions (dynamic change through time/influence).
(2.3) It is thus humanly IMPOSSIBLE for people to first know all the facts, and be able to know the truth. This includes the Seal Team members, Bin Laden operation commanders and White House watchers. [The Bin Laden operation was captured by mounted video on Seal members. This is the ultimate “reality TV” – just in time. There are many legal issues (e.g., does it make WH – Obama an accomplice to war crime if it is decided that Bin Laden was deemed to be executed in cold blood?) There are also tons of moral controversies (e.g., would it be proper to show such “reality TV” for political gain (election) or financial reward (media)?)
(2.4) As trial lawyers are fond of saying: no one tells lie but everyone speaks half-truths; to embellish, to conceal, to convince, or simply to make (self and others) believe.


As police investigators and trial lawyers, we look for small inconsistency to get at the larger (un)truth.

The one “small” inconsistency that tells us that everyone (US and Pakistan) is lying is this: Why was there no Pakistan police and military response in 40 minutes !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!???????????????????????????????

The facts of the operation are clear:

(1) The operation was carried out in the middle of the night.
(2) The area is quiet. People are not used to military operations, at the middle of night in a residential area.
(3) There were a lot of noises: 27 Seal members, two helicopter hovering, one helicopter landed, one wrecked and destroyed, gunfire, explosives.
(4) Part of the assault was outside the Bin Laden compound.
(5) The operation last 40 minutes.
AP sources: Raiders knew mission a one-shot deal http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110517/ap_on_re_us/us_bin_laden_raid
(6) There were eyewitnesses. At least one person alerted his friends with twitter. (http://socyberty.com/issues/eyewitness-story-of-osama-invasion/#ixzz1MdAy52DG)
(7) There were three army regiments in the city. The Pakistan Military Academy is 1000 yards from the Bin Laden resident.


The Pakistan must have knowledge of the attack.

(1) The Pakistan military must have been informed about the attack, by the US before or shortly thereafter.
(2) In order not to enrage the ISI (pro-Taliban) and inflame the Pakistan public (nationalism or anti-Americanism), Pakistan military – government fake ignorance.
(3) The Pakistan civil leadership and military authority, in collaboration with the US, lied about:
(a) not knowing where about of Bin Laden in Pakistan;
(b) did not inform US about the where about of Bin Laden;
(c) did not know the American operation before hand;
(d) did not know about border incursion as it happened;
(e) did not know about the attack on Bin Laden for 40 minutes

It was Sherlock Holmes who once said: "Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”
(Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, "A Scandal in Bohemia")

It is impossible for the Pakistan government not to know!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Navy Seal and Lessons for the United States

While there are substantial questions about the transparency (few facts are known, as they should be in secret opts), legality (shooting unarmed terrorist, violating Pakistan sovereignty), and operational success (one chopper down, no after action de-briefing report) of the Bin Laden kill or capture operation, the Americans are falling heads over heel over the Seal Team training and methods.

In a separate blog here – Bruce Lee Movie and Special Force Operations, I have sounded off my reservations on our infatuation for and resulting unrealistic expectations of the Seal Team, in real combat situation.

This comment is devoted to what we can learn from the Seal Team, to make USA strong and powerful.


In order to be SUCCESSFUL in life, such as being a good parent, we must learn from Seal Team (ST):

(1) WILLINGNESS: ST members are all volunteers. They are self-driven. They are not compelled to stay. In fact you can DOR (drop on request) during the hell week by sounding off.

(2) MOTIVATION: ST members are very motivated. They will do everything in their power to be successful, from one more push up to ten more miles, but always one step at a time.

(3) PERFECTIONIST: ST members are perfectionists. They demand the best out of themselves. Second best is not good enough; it is a failure.

(4) FOCUSES: ST members are focused and single minded in getting the job done. They will not be disoriented or distracted.

(5) COMMITTED. ST members are committed to ST causes, be they training or operations. They will not change their mind, once their objective is set.

(6) PERSEVERANCE. ST members do not quit. They know that Rome is not build in one day.

(7) DISCIPLINEDD. ST members know that that to big think they need to be disciplined and mind, body and spirit. They must say no to their body and mind, when their body and mind are no working in tandem with or cross purpose from ST regiments.

(8) SMART: ST members are smart people. They know that muscle and guns are no match for brain, experience and wisdom. One can lose a battle, to win a war. In the end, it is better to negotiate peace, than get into a fight.

(9) TEAM WORK: ST members know that in order to be successful, they must work as a team and not individuals. More importantly, members must trust each other and be prepared to sacrifice one’s self-interest for collective goods.

(10) INESTMENT ST members know that “the more one sweat in war, the less one bleed in war.” Dramatic success operations is build upon year and year out of demanding training and day in day out of gruesome practices. Practice makes perfect, is the rule.

(11) HUMBLE: ST members know that in battle as in life, there are more uncertainties and failures than one can count, or imagines. Thus it is more important to be humble, than boastful. If truth be known, success in battle have to face up to a lot of contingencies, and requires a lot of luck. ST can fail, notwithstanding their training, competency and toughness, as in the ill-fated Iranian rescue under Carter. In fact it is not unfair to say, the price of success is failure, after failure, after failure..

(11) SELF-CONFIDENCE. ST members, as the best trained soldiers, know at heart what they can and cannot do. For those situations they know they can do the job, they will move ahead, confidently. For those situations they know they cannot do the job right, they will try other ways, as secured in their judgment. There is no shame in falling back, to fight another day.

In essence, ST values, cultural and attitude are very (old style) American; long on action, few on words; seeking self-satisfaction, not public-adulteration. More Bush than Palin. More Carter than Edwards.


Seal Team success in war making in foreign land teaches US a lot about how to improve peace making at home.

If the nation can learn from the SEAL TEAM in – willingness, motivation, perfection, commitment, focused, perseverance, investment, discipline, teamwork, smartness, humbleness, confident, the United States will be strong and successful in whatever she does.

Starting from today, can we start applying the SEAL TEAM lessons first to family (reduce divorce, respect for parents), education (improve graduation rate, perfect scholarly achievements), and economy (increase productivity, reduce deficit).

Seal team can help us to rejuvenate USA, against China, Germany, Japan, and anyone standing in our way to greatness!

What is stopping us: OURSELVES!!!!!!!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Fighting Terror: Bush vs. Mao


In 2007, I published a book on 9/11: The Impact of USA Patriot Act on American Society: An Evidence Based Assessment. One of the major findings of the book is that after 9/11 and under the leadership of President Bush, the US has been transformed from a constitutional democracy to a national security state.

In the new national security state, the TSA is searching everyone at the airport without suspicion or justification. NSA is reading all our e-mails without judicial process or any reason. (FISA) The FBI is collecting “intelligence” without warrants or probable cause (National Security Letter). The CIA is holding people in secret prisons without due process and reasonableness (black ops).

Finally and most tellingly, the American public is now openly and comfortably discussing torturing of people, without any soul-searching reflection.

President Bush can be rightfully proud to claim his legacy: - in ushering in the national security state to one of the freest nation in the world, he single handedly destroyed the Constitution of the United States, with God (always) on his side. (Bush, Decision Points (2010).
One question remains troubling, where did President Bush get his counter-terrorism ideas from?


In fighting terror Bush and Mao share much in common

(1) Mao and Bush are both patriots. (“My country right or wrong.”)
(1) Mao and Bush are both zealots. (“George Bush is a right-wing zealot” Mirror, Dec. , 2008).
(2) Mao and Bush are both visionaries (ideologues). (For Mao, it is achieving a utopian state, with communism for all. With Bush, it is the export of the American dream to every land.)
(3) Mao and Bush both believe in might make right. (For Mao, in building a new China, capitalists must be purged. For Bush, in the fight against terror “you're either with us, or against us.")
(4) Mao and Bush both believe that the end justifies the mean. ("A revolution is not a dinner party.”)
(5) Mao and Bush both believe that the security of the nation trumps the rights of individual citizens. (The cultural-revolution killed millions. The war on terror killed and maimed tens of thousands, if not million.)

In fighting terror Bush and Mao both think and act alike:

First, both terrorists are counter-revolutionaries are treated as enemy of the state.

Second, US do not negotiate with terrorists.

Third, as enemy of the state they must be hunted down and exterminated.

Fourth, as enemy of state, terrorists and counter-revolutionaries enjoy no human rights, nor deserve compassion.

While Bush has not written any coherent theory on his counter-terrorism program, Mao did.


In 1957, Mao wrote: ON THE CORRECT HANDLING OF CONTRADICTIONS AMONG THE PEOPLE (February 27, 1957) (“On Contradiction”) [Speech at the Eleventh Session (Enlarged) of the Supreme State Conference. People's Daily on June 19, 1957.].

In “On Contradictions” Mao observed that contradictions (conflicts) in society, like sickness of the body, is normal and perpetual. “There have always been contradictions among the people, but they are different in content in each period of the revolution and in the period of building socialism.”

The different is in how we deal with contradictions – conflicts of all kinds.

In how to deal with contradictions, Mao informed us that we must first separate contradictions into two main kinds:

One is called contradictions between the people (in the US citizens, including criminals).

The other is called contradictions with the enemies (in the US terrorists, by extension chronic – serious criminals).


In dealing with contradictions between the people. We must use the democratic methods, ways and means, i.e., no dictatorship, no torture, no elimination.

“Dictatorship does not apply within the ranks of the people. The people cannot exercise dictatorship over themselves, nor must one section of the people oppress another. Law-breakers among the people will be punished according to law, but this is different in principle from the exercise of dictatorship to suppress enemies of the people.”

So how does democratic social control deals with contradictions between the people? “Communists must use the democratic method of persuasion and education when working among the labouring people and must on no account resort to commandism or coercion.”

Furthermore, in dealing with the people, the state must follow democratic principles set forth in the constitution: “Our Constitution lays it down that citizens of the People's Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, the press, assembly, association, procession, demonstration, religious belief, and so on. Our Constitution also provides that the organs of state must practice democratic centralism, that they must rely on the masses and that their personnel must serve the people….That is to say, democracy operates within the ranks of the people, while the working class, uniting with all others enjoying civil rights … By civil rights, we mean, politically, the rights of freedom and democracy.”

Simply put, when people deal with people, they must abide by constitution, rights and law.


“Towards the enemy, it uses the method of dictatorship, that is, for as long a period of time as is necessary it does not permit them to take part in political activity and compels them to obey the law of the People's Government, to engage in labour and, through such labour, be transformed into new men… The elimination of counter-revolutionaries is a struggle of opposites as between ourselves and the enemy.”

In dealing with enemy of the state, because they are not part of the people, they have no rights and enjoy few protection of the law, the constitution included.

The reason why Mao treated the enemy of the state differently is because Mao believe that while the people accept the legitimacy of the state, the enemy of the state does not. If that should be the case, since the enemy of the state (terrorists in the US and counter-revolutionaries is China) have no intention to play by society’s rules, such rules, including due process of law, they should not be made to apply to them. (Much like the felon of old.)

Terrorists and counter-revolutionaries only understand language of terror – that is what Mao instructed and Bush preached in the war on terror.


If Mao (and Bush) is correct, we should now separate the people who violate state rules into two groups, those who are for the state (non-antagonistic contradictions) vs. those who are against the state (antagonistic contradictions). With the first group we use persuasion and education to make them abide by social norm. With the second group we deal with them with harsh punishment to exact vengeance and extermination to secure ourselves.

The only issue left is whether Mao's two contradictions are only two kinds we need to think about, or are there more shades and hues in between?