29 November 2005

The Gleeful Hangman


MAKE THE PUNISHMENT FIT THE CRIME: JAIL NOT DEATH BY HANGING


According to one prominent medical doctor, the following fate awaits Nguyen Tuong Van in the dawn hours of December 2, 2005:

Van Tuong Nguyen will be led from his cell to the yard where he will be hanged.He may struggle or he may walk with composure. He may be given relaxants to help him stay calm.

The hangman will place a hood over his head and the noose around his neck. At 6am, the trap door will open and his body will drop and hang until it stops writhing.

When his lifeless being is taken down, his face will be purple, engorged with blood, his neck covered with lacerations, his swollen tongue protruding out of his mouth and his eyes displaced.

Involuntary ejections of urine and faeces will stain his clothes.

Such is the gore awaiting Nguyen that no one, not even his family, is allowed to watch the killing.

The Nguyen Tuong Van Case: When Mercy Seasons Justice



By J. Fairbank

It seems as if Shakespeare himself was addressing the Nguyen Tuong Van case in this oft-quoted and oft-unheeded passage from The Merchant of Venice.

Singaporean government officials are among the most well-educated people in the world. I hope they find the time and inclination to dwell upon the passage below:


The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest: It blesseth him that gives and him that takes. ‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes The throned monarch better than his crown. His scepter shows the force of temporal power, The attribute to awe and majesty, Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings. But mercy is above this sceptered sway; It is enthroned in the hearts of kings; It is an attribute of God himself; And earthly power doth then show like God’s when mercy seasons justice.”

23 November 2005

THE CASE FOR NGUYEN TUONG VAN








By Jonathan Fairbank
On Friday, December 2, 2005, convicted Vietnamese-Australian drug trafficker Nguyen Tuong Van will be hanged at Changi Prison. Where is Changi Prison, you might wonder. Is it in some run-down Third World country, where if you drink the water, you’ll get the run for days? Is it in relatively unenlightened China?

No and no. Changi Prison is in the ultra-modern, ultra-sleek Republic of Singapore. The Republic is well-known for its stringent laws. People in the United States will remember the Singaporean government’s mandated caning of American teenager-vandal Michael Faye in the early 1990’s.

Nguyen, who is 25 years old, has been convicted of trafficking 396 grams of heroin through—not to—Singapore in December 2002. He was on his way back to Australia when Singaporean authorities discovered the contraband strapped to his body.

Does this case rise to the level of death by hanging? A resounding NO according to both the people and government of Australia. Indeed, both the Australian people and government have been heroically relentless in their attempt to save Nguyen’s life. Another resounding NO from the United Nations Special Envoy. And add another NO from this humble commentator.

I am no abolitionist when it comes to the death penalty. Indeed, I am a supporter of the death penalty as the ultimate punishment for the most egregious crimes. This crime deserves a jail term, not the ultimate penalty, especially in light of the fact that the harm resulting from Nguyen’s smuggling would fall upon Australians not Singaporeans as he was returning to Australia with the drugs. A robust lawyer might even argue that in this case Australian law—and not Singaporean law—applies.

At any rate, Nguyen will be hanged as scheduled on December 2. The tiny Republic of Singapore has never yielded to international pressure, not even to the United States when the Clinton Administration attempted to spare Faye from being flogged.

So next time when the word Singapore appears on Reuters, what images will come to mind? A city with impeccably clean streets? A city of creativity and the arts as the Singaporean government has re-branded it? Or the photographic images above, which suggest an ultra-modern city still trapped in 19th century thinking…

22 November 2005

MEDIA BIAS?

MEDIA BIAS?

Gilchrist for Congress


By Mark Cooper-Basset

Mr. Cooper-Basset is an independent writer based in Orange County, CA.

I am pleased to endorse Jim Gilchrist for Congress to represent California's 48th Congressional District. Mr. Gilchrist epitomizes the Jeffersonian spirit of the citizen-politician. He identified illegal immigration as a grave problem. He took action by spearheading the Minutemen Project, which at the time of its inception, was a controversial and politically incorrect endeavor. And he oversaw the Project through its successful implementation in April 2005.

Whether one agrees with Mr. Gilchrist or not, one cannot help but admire his tenacity and his willingness to take an unambiguous stance.

18 November 2005

The Bigger Picture: the Dawn Yang Controversy





Lately, the blogosphere in Asia has gone crazy over one topic: Dawn Yang. She is the 21-year-old Singaporean student who apparently underwent plastic surgery, according to many critics, in order to look more "Western." And the result is a stunningly beautiful super-woman. See before and after photos above.

Moreover, Ms. Yang is not alone in Asia. Over the last five years, plastic surgery has become so popular among Asian men and women that it is hard to tell which body parts on people you meet are the real McCoy.

Therein lies the controversy. On its face, pun fully intended, plastic surgery is a personal choice, and no one except the patient him-/herself should make the call. However, there is a larger, more global issue at hand.

When I was an undergraduate (so many years ago), I read an article written by a Japanese-American who felt so pressured to fit into his mainly white community that he underwent surgery to look "more white." Years later, he saw the light and regretted it. The point of the article was that societal racism had informed him that only Anglo-Saxon features were considered good-looking, and sadly enough, he internalized that racism. The evidence to support this contention is pervasive. Look at the popular media: Virtually, every person advertised as good-looking is white. (Yes, media inclusiveness has improved significantly over the last 15 years in the United States, but there's still a long way to go.)


Hence, in this connection, Ms. Yang's decision to undergo surgery becomes a broader question than just a rich girl's fancy. What is her epistomology about the concept of beauty? How well-rounded is her understanding of beauty?

If the answers to the questions above are not copasetic, then Ms. Yang might be another victim of societal racism. And if that's the case, chances are the thousands of plastic surgery cases that have taken place in Asia over the last few years are not personally informed choices either.

15 November 2005

The Passing of Peter F. Drucker


The FAIRBANK REPORT would like to pay its respects to the father of management science, Peter F. Drucker, who passed away on November 11, 2005 in Claremont, CA, at the age of 95. Like W. Edward Deming, Prof. Drucker was a giant in his field. His influence was particularly felt in the United States and the Pacific Rim. His legacy lives on among progressive and talented managers all over the world in all areas of business endeavor.

B G Phan, Senior Editor.

HIGHWAY TO HADES

By Jonathan Fairbank

Mr. J. Fairbank is Editor-in-Chief of the FAIRBANK REPORT.

The following are recently culled newspaper headlines about the Los Angeles Metropolitan area:

**The LA Metro has the largest number of murders and the second highest murder rate in the United States.

**The LA Metro has the most congested highways and freeways in the United States.

**The LA Metro has the worst air pollution in the United States.

**The LA Metro has the largest number of illegal aliens in the United States.

**The LA Metro has the largest number of illiterates and the highest rate of adult illiteracy in the United States.

Can Los Angeles be far from collapse?

07 November 2005

Can the Fifth Republic Survive?





Eventually, the riots and fires in France will die out--in spite of police inaction. At some point in time, rioters will run out of cars to torch or will just become bored with the whole thing and stop.

The question now becomes, how long can the French Fifth Republic survive after the last ember has flickered out? Notwithstanding sentimental rhetoric, the Republic has failed miserably to mainstream its large number of Arab and African immigrants who have been socio-economically marginalized and physically corralled into densely populated suburban ghettos.

Institutional racism remains a major fact of life in ostensibly progressive and welcoming France. In fact, institutional racism is a Europe-wide phenomenon. Having lived in Europe for two years, I have seen the ugly face of institutional racism hidden behind the facade of enlightened rhetoric. Action speaks louder than words, and in Europe there has been very little action to match the rhetoric of ethnic and racial equality. As I had often noted to friends when I was living in Europe, the Continent, as a whole, was about 20 years behind the United States when it comes to race relations. Yet, ironically and basely, the European press gleefully snickers at Americans every time there's some racially motivated incident in the United States. And now that France is burning, the unpleasant truth has come out.

I am not gloating or am I excusing these reprehensible criminal acts that are currently taking place in France. The immigrant communities need to proactively assimilate to French customs and culture. After all, they are in France, in Europe now. Stop trying to replicate the institutions, customs and mores of the places from which you had fled!

Can Charles de Gaulle's Fifth Republic survive? Or will it take a new Sixth Republic to address the issues of racial equality, cultural assimilation and economic prosperity for all French citizens?

04 November 2005

Good Bye and Good Riddance (?) to "the Maestro"

By B G Phan

Mr. Phan is Senior Editor of the FAIRBANK REPORT.

Good bye and perhaps good riddance to Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Alan Greenspan. He is scheduled to leave the Fed at the end of January 2006. Sycophants in government and the mass media have hailed him as "the maestro," "the genius" and other equally nauseating, honey-dripping terms of endearment.

Let's look at his recent records to see if these accolades are justified.

In 1996, Greenspan correctly foresaw the "irrational exuberance" of an overheated, speculative stock market. Yet, he did nothing to cool down the market. A few interest rate hikes in 1997, 1998 and 1999 might have avoided the crash of the stock market from 2000-2003. In fact, Greespan probably exacerbated the 2000-2001 recession by belatedly and continuously raising rates after the March 2000 bubble had burst. It was only after the attacks of 9/11/2001 that the Fed began to cut interest rates.

And then there's his recent "froth" in the real estate market commentary. Duh!, as the Valley Girl would say. Under his chairmanship, the Fed has failed to regulate the banks and other financial institutions, which have been pushing dangerous exotic loans, e.g., interest-only, piggy-back, 100%+-financing mortgage loans. In overheated housing markets such as California, Boston and New York, these creative financing schemes now account for the majority of outstanding loans! People who have no business buying houses are purchasing them at enormously inflated prices. After all, it's not their money; they're playing with OPM, other people's money.

The housing bubbles in California, Boston and New York will burst. And the consequences and ramifications will be ten folds worse than the bursting of the Nasdaq bubble. Yet, Dr. Greenspan, "the maestro"--nay "the genius"--has done very little to prevent excesses in the housing markets by reining in rogue lenders. Even if the Fed acts aggressively today, it is a day late and a dollar short.

The upcoming housing bubble-induced recession, perhaps even a small depression, should be called Economic Hurricane Alan in honor of the maestro, and like other hurricanes, this one will pack a wallop and cause a world of hurt...

02 November 2005

Joe Sixpack v Illegal Immigration

By William Barker-Finch

Mr. Barker-Finch is a free-lance writer based in Claremont, California.


When Poncho Villa and his gang of bandits crossed the sparsely populated Arizona and New Mexico border areas to raid on American towns and hamlets, President Woodrow Wilson sent in federal troops to defend American citizens and American sovereignty. Yesterday, we hear from the Border Patrol that the number of attacks against its agents by both the illegal aliens and their smugglers has skyrocketed over the last few years. Yet, we hear nothing from the Executive Mansion except that they would like to have a “guest-worker” program, which will undoubtedly spur on more illegal immigration and thus more attacks against our small cadre of border patrol agents.

The purposeful neglect of border enforcement has gone on for years through both Democratic and Republican presidential administrations. Amidst the constant bickering over Iraq and taxes, it appears that there is one common thread linking the two political parties: the support of an open border policy.

Democrats believe that more poor, uneducated, unsophisticated and diseased immigrants mean more Democratic voters in the future. In fact, Democrats don’t have to wait that long as there is ample evidence that illegal immigrants have voted in certain crucial local and national elections. Republicans, at the national level, represent the interests of big business—the big farm concerns, construction firms, food processing firms and other labor-intensive industries. These corporate fat cats want cheap and docile labor to boost their (already obscene) corporate profits.

At the same time, no party represents Joe Sixpack. He is burdened with high taxes to pay for the social services provided to illegal aliens. In fact, Joe has become the de facto benefits administrator-cum-payer for corporate America. Meanwhile, his middle class job is threatened with overseas outsourcing, and for those service jobs that cannot be easily outsourced, Joe is being undercut by unskilled, low-wage illegal immigrants. Joe’s schools have been so over-run with illegals that he has to put his kids in private school, which is another expense he can ill afford. His neighborhood, too, has been overtaken by illegals who live 19 to a room, which by the way is the allowable standard in the immigrant-dominant City of Santa Ana, California. And at 6 AM this morning just as he is about to put in another 12-hour day, Joe is rear-ended by an illegal who has no license and of course no automobile insurance. Another $500 out of Joe’s pocket for the deductible.

But there is a quiet and growing movement afoot to help out Joe Sixpack. In the wee hours of the night, patriotic radio hosts and Internet bloggers on sites like this are engaging in a revolution to reclaim the American government by educating the public about this problematic issue. The open-border Dems and Reps currently in power won’t know what hit them. They will still be talking about driver’s license and welfare for illegal immigrants when they are finally thrown out from Joe’s House of Representatives and Joe’s Senate.


Patience, Joe. Patience. Help is on the way…