Sunday, January 29, 2012

Oakland Riot vs. Egypt Revolution?

A riot happened in Oakland California yesterday (1/28/12): “Riot police fought running skirmishes with anti-Wall Street protesters on Saturday, firing tear gas and bean bag projectiles and arresting more than 200 people in clashes that injured three officers and at least one demonstrator? … Officers were pelted with bottles, metal pipe, rocks, spray cans, improvised explosive devices and burning flares," “Police fire tear gas at Oakland, 200 arrested

The Occupy Wall Street (Oakland) tactics of disturbance and Oakland PD strategy of control recalls many other government vs. public confrontations all over the world, at least at this early stage – except in scale and degree of violence. Hong Kong 1967, Beijing 1989, Egypt 2011, Syria 2012. Grievance , protests, control, escalation.

The only difference is perhaps how the “Western world” sees it: legitimate dissents in undemocratic (oppressive) states (China, Egypt, Syria) and lawless disturbance in Western (liberal) democracies.

With this understanding, it is OK to use violence (destructive conducts) to fight off government suppression (attempt to enforce the law and bring order to the street). Failing that, it is necessary to topple the government, with encouragement and armed support of foreign countries. Finally, when “dictatorial” governments fall, with thousands killed and prosperous cities ruined, foreigners – outsiders applaud. We called this Arab, China Spring. The cycle repeats itself.

Now that Arab Spring comes to the US, in the form of Occupy Wall Street. Should we call this Oakland Spring?

Or, should we consider Oakland protesters as:

(1) Unruly mob?

(2) Terrorists?(FBI define terrorism: " The unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a Government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives."

Conversely, should we consider Oakland PD’s actions to bring back law and order as abusive police brutality or measured crowd control?

Finally, is the Oakland dissenters/rioters exercising civil disobedience or attempting a violent revolution?

If violence escalates, should other nations, e.g., newly liberated Arab states or established human rights institutions such as UN, be in the position to lecture US on how to deal with Oakland Spring.

Failing that should the UN adopts a resolution condemning police violence or Arab league send in monitor to pacify the uprising?

In the end what is the difference between angry mobs here (Wall Street, Oakland) and violent demonstrators there (Beijing, Egypt, Libya, Syria)? More important, what is the role of government and functions of the police in maintain order, protecting life and securing property, in Egypt vs. US? "Occupy Oakland video: Riot police fire tear gas, flashbang grenades"

“Before we correct other, we need to reflect on ourselves.” (A Chinese proverb)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sailing around the world

Sailing the oceans of the world vs. negotiating the sea of humanity

The news headline reads “Teen ends globe-circling voyage in St. Maarten” ( young lady sailor, Dekker (15-16), claims she is the youngest sailor to complete a round-the-world voyage, in a small boat (11 meters).

As with many, I am much impressed with her achievement. The message is people can conquer the world, if they are committed to the cause, and in this case brave the weather and risk the high sea.

The question I have for Dekker is this: Why bother? For example, why a journey around the world at the high sea? Why not negotiate and sail the sea of humanity (or life)?

If Decker is looking for a real adventure and challenges, as a way to test oneself, and learn how to deal with the real world, it seems that the better way is to negotiate the sea of humanity, in everyday life, than try the waters of the great oceans.

Negotiating the sea of life is better because: (1) Negotiating life is real. (2) Negotiating life is much, much more difficult, challenging and educational. (3) Negotiating life is meaningful, because it deals with people, not fishes, unpredictable temper tantrum, not chartable storm. (4) Negotiating life admits no grandstanding. There is no rainbow at the end of the struggle. People do it for survival, not glory, still less movie contract and TV interviews. (5) Negotiating life does not impose on others, from satellite tracking to rescue mission. (6) Lessons from negotiating life is useful. (7) Negotiating life is free. Sailing around the world takes and make money. (8) Negotiating life is required. Sailing around the world is by choice (9) Lastly, and most importantly, negotiating life is a 24/7 career, and sailing the ocean is a onetime journey. (10) Negotiating life has no end, and cannot be stopped mid-stream. Sailing across the ocean has an day, and like social network, one can drop out at will.

This note is dedicated to all those who is negotiating life and sea of humanity without fanfare. They are the unsung heroes, many times over, than Decker, could every be, or want to do. She has abandoned collective life for solitude at sea. Why should Decker be getting credits for the second, when she would not or cannot do the first, by choice? Why should Decker be able to claim credits (youngest person to negotiate high sea) when other who are more (at least equally) deserving in negotiating the sea of humanity not be mentioned (youngest person 6,7,8, negotiating life, in India, China, Burma) ?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Arab Spring and Wall Street Autumn

2011 was an eventful year for politics. We witnessed the arrival of Arab Spring in the Middle East and Wall Street Autumn in America.

Arab Spring registers signs of optimism (at least relief) – better days on the horizon. Power to the people; Egypt, Libya, Syria. One after another oppressive powers fall.

Wall Street Autumn emits evidence of despair (at least trouble) – weary road ahead. More power to the overlords; Wall Street, military complex, professional politicians.

Democracy is dead. Money talks. Reasons walk.

What happened, and why?

What happened is that we have forgotten our founding fathers’ pledge and quests:
We the people have the right and ability to solve any and all problems confronting us. In theoretical terms, and modern day practice: “The person who is closest to the problem, by impact or with resource, is the person to solve the problem?” (Kam C. Wong)

This means:

(1) People, not the government establishment or Washington experts, decide what the problem facing this country is or is not. For example, minority interests, bankers, should not trump or dictate national interests.

(2) People’s voices should be heard, not silenced by force and arms – forced eviction in Wall Street, pepper sprayed in UC-Davis.

(3) Power back to the people. A majority of the people has no faith in their government, e.g., politicians, Party or Congress. Changing political leadership every so often does not seems to help, e.g., Obama acts more or less like Bush! Most people are not happy with the direction our nation is heading.

(4) As a people, we should take responsibility for our own actions.

(4.1) Be realistic. Live within our means. Bigger things (NFL stadium) is not better. More rights (without corresponding duties) is not good. Material goods do not bring happiness.

(4.2) Be wise. Spend appropriately. A few basketball players get paid thousands per game. Thousands of teachers make hundreds per month. Thousands of lawyers get rich by creating disputes and destroying relationships. Millions of construction workers starved to keep roof over the lawyers' head allowing their families to live happily thereafter. A 20 something makes billions in an air condition office after a few months/years to buy bigger and better video games. A nation of laborers sweat under the sun for life to put bread on the table

(4.3) Be honest. Stand up for our principles. No double standards or empty talk.
(4.3.1) We cannot invade other nations and kill other nationals, in the name of fighting terrorism.
(4.3.2) We cannot begin to tell other nations/people what to do, when we do not know their history, speak their language, or understand their culture. For example, Ms. Clinton, Secretary of State, lectured China on human rights, when she has little facility with Chinese.
(4.3.3) Ms. Clinton declared virtual war to disrupt China to advance free internet when our government is monitoring all e-mails in and out of the US.'
(4.3.4) Our (few) soldiers cannot rape and kill other nationals but not be held responsible to other nations' law. Many in fact get away with murder (for cooperating with prosecution) by plea negotiation in US military courts. They should be held responsible to the same degree as if they had kill and rape in the US.
(4.3.5) We cannot keep invading other countries and building more advance weapons, and other people to love peace and forgo arms,

(4.4) Be fair. Pay everyone the same. Why should brainy people enjoy intellectual property's rights for years, after their intellectual labor is done, and laborers do not enjoy laborer's right in like manner and degree. Pay up when you ride a car made by a laborer!!!

(4.5) Be visionary. Live for the future. As a nation we cannot keep supporting big military with deficit spending (more bombs and plans) and keep weakening education by starving our teachers (less bread & butter).

(4.6) Be strong. Stand up for what we believe in. Learn from Arab Spring. Do not take no for an answer.

In the end, might (economic, political, military ) does not make right. Or, do they?