As Obama Presses Vietnam on Rights, Activists Are Barred From Meeting – The New York Times

HANOI, Vietnam — President Obama won enthusiastic applause here on Tuesday with a supportive reference to Vietnam’s disputes with China, saying in a speech that “big nations should not bully smaller ones.” But several activists who had been scheduled to meet with him before the speech were prevented from doing so, underscoring the gulf with Hanoi on human rights.The White House had requested the meeting as a signal to Vietnam’s Communist government that the United States cares about human rights here. Mr. Obama spent more than his allotted time with the six Vietnamese civil society leaders who did attend the meeting at a JW Marriott hotel, but he said that several others had been prevented from coming.

“Vietnam has made remarkable strides, the economy is growing quickly, the Internet is booming, and there’s a growing confidence here,” Mr. Obama said when a group of reporters were briefly allowed into the meeting. “But as I indicated yesterday, there’s still areas of significant concerns in terms of areas of free speech, freedom of assembly, accountability with respect to government.”

Source: As Obama Presses Vietnam on Rights, Activists Are Barred From Meeting – The New York Times

Vietnam Arms Embargo to Be Fully Lifted, Obama Says in Hanoi – The New York Times

HANOI, Vietnam — The United States is rescinding a decades-old ban on sales of lethal military equipment to Vietnam, President Obama announced at a news conference in Hanoi on Monday, ending one of the last legal vestiges of the Vietnam War.

The United States has long made lifting the embargo contingent on Vietnam’s improving its human rights record, and recently administration officials had hinted that the ban could be removed partly in response to China’s buildup in the South China Sea.But Mr. Obama portrayed the decision as part of the long process of normalizing relations between the two countries after the Vietnam War.“The decision to lift the ban was not based on China or any other considerations,” he said, with the Vietnamese president, Tran Dai Quang, standing stiffly by his side. “It was based on our desire to complete what has been a lengthy process of moving toward normalization with Vietnam.

”Mr. Obama insisted that the move should not be interpreted as carte blanche for weapons sales to Vietnam and that the United States would review future arms sales to “examine what’s appropriate and what’s not,” as it does with any country.

As for human rights, he said, “this is an area where we still have differences.”Human rights advocates, who had asked Mr. Obama to hold off on lifting the ban until Vietnam had released some prominent political prisoners and promised to stop the police beatings of protesters, condemned the decision.“President Obama just gave Vietnam a reward that they don’t deserve,” said John Sifton, the Asia policy director of Human Rights Watch.Mr. Quang defended his country’s rights record.“The consistent position and viewpoint of the Vietnamese government is to protect and promote human rights,” he said, adding, “Those achievements have been highly recognized and appreciated by the international community.

”American officials have portrayed lifting the embargo as part of a strategy to help Vietnam defend itself against an increasing threat from China in the South China Sea. Analysts have speculated that in return, Vietnam would grant the United States access to the deepwater port at Cam Ranh Bay.While there were no statements about such a deal on Monday, Mr. Obama did announce new commercial agreements worth more than $16 billion, including one in which Boeing will sell 100 aircraft and Pratt & Whitney will sell 135 advanced aircraft engines to VietJet Air, a privately owned low-cost airline.

Source: Vietnam Arms Embargo to Be Fully Lifted, Obama Says in Hanoi – The New York Times

The Dying of the Third-Party Dream, by  Ross Douthat – The New York Times

“Of all the strange images of this strange campaign, I find myself particularly struck by this vision: Mitt Romney, pacing alone in one of his many houses, his angst evident in his faintly mussed-up hair, placing pleading phone calls to Republican politicians asking them to run as a third-party candidate against Donald Trump.That bizarre, existential one-act play — “Conversations About Trump,” opening Off Broadway, with Josh Brolin as Romney and the voice of William H. Macy as John Kasich — is apparently where the quest for a conservative alternative to Trump and Hillary Clinton ran into a wall.”

Source: The Dying of the Third-Party Dream – The New York Times

This piece so enraged me that I wrote a tirade, that the NYT would not print. And I was in a hurry, and didn’t make a copy.

I wrote something like, the subtext of Douthat’s argument is that Hillary Clinton is a disaster for the country, equal to Trump,  and  that Obama has been a disaster. According the right wing propaganda hate machines, the extraordinary leader, President Barack Obama has been a disaster. The reason, unsaid, is because he is a nigger. Mitch McConnell said, we will oppose him on everything, regardless of what he is for. Hillary Clinton is of course, a disaster for the country, because she worked for the the first black predident, and she is a lying corrupt witch.  I admitted that I hadn’t even finished the op-ed piece, but though my language was harsh, the ideas are sound. Had I finished Douthat’s lament, I would have realized it was mostly about Mitt Romney, and I should have incorporated that into my rant.

Many of the commentators were nearly as upset as I was, but more articulate or polite.
Here is an excellent one, but where I have cleaned up some typos and double negative issues.
Bounarotti Boston. MA 1 day ago

“Can we please nip this Hillary is despised because she’s patently corrupt nonsense in the bud. This is the fruit of a long standing Republican smear campaign 25 years in the making. What exactly has Hillary actually done – not is accused of having done – that earns her the label “corrupt.” We all have developed such short attention spans that we seem to forget that with all the Republican accusations of misdeeds by Hillary, careful investigation ultimately reveals that there is no substance to any of them. She did nothing wrong in Whitewater, she didn’t kill or move the body of Vince Foster, and she didn’t willfully let 4 Americans die in Benghazi.
Why are we letting a long standing, carefully cultivated, manufactured narrative about her take on credence? Why is there suddenly rising an infamous equivalence between Hillary’s moral character and that of a well-documented sleaze ball like Trump? Why do even some Democrats sink to believing these baseless smears, thereby validating the Republican dirty tricksters who since Lee Atwater have believed that if you repeat a thing often enough – regardless of its lack of factual basis – a lot of intellectually lazy people will believe it.
Start demanding factual support for Republican allegations of wrongdoing on Hillary’s part. And while you’re at it, start demanding that Trump provide the occasional fact for the wild things that fly out of his mouth on a daily basis.
Have we really become this stupid a people?”

47 Recommended

Access to Bay Adds Enticement as U.S. Weighs Lifting Vietnam Embargo, By Jane Perlez – The New York Times

“CAM RANH BAY, Vietnam — The ghosts of the Vietnam War have finally faded at the strategic port of Cam Ranh Bay. More than 40 years ago, United States forces left this massive base where Marines landed, B-52s loaded up for bombing raids, and wounded American soldiers were treated.Now, some Vietnamese say they are yearning for the American military to return.“

On Facebook, there was a question recently: What do you want from President Obama’s visit?” said Vo Van Tao, 63, who fought as a young North Vietnamese infantry soldier against the United States. “Some people said they wanted democracy. I said I wanted the Americans to come back to Cam Ranh Bay. A lot of people agreed with me.”

Mr. Obama is scheduled to arrive in Vietnam on Sunday, the third visit by an American president since the war ended. The big question he is expected to answer is whether Washington will lift a partial arms embargo and allow Vietnam to buy lethal weapons from the United States. The Communist government has long asked for the ban to be revoked, and American access to Cam Ranh Bay could be part of the payoff.For the White House, the decision on lifting the embargo has come down to a debate over trying to improve Vietnam’s poor human rights record versus enabling Vietnam to better defend itself against an increasing threat from China in the South China Sea.”

Source: Access to Bay Adds Enticement as U.S. Weighs Lifting Vietnam Embargo – The New York Times

 

My comment to the NYT:

David Lindsay

Hamden, CT

Excellent article. I agree with Secretary Ashton Carter, that the US should lift the arms embargo for Vietnam, without requiring them to change their totalitarian ways. We Americans live in a glass house. We have more of our people imprisoned than almost anyone on earth, including the Vietnamese. The Vietnamese need us, and we need them. They have repelled Chinese invasions at least seven times before the 20th century, when they repelled another Chinese invasion in about 1979. Since 937 AD, the Vietnamese have repeatedly contained China from colonizing Southeast Asia.

David Lindsay is about to publish “The Tay Son Rebellion, a historical fiction of Vietnam, 1770-1802.” He blogs at OnVietnamAndtheWorld.wordpress.com.

Bernie Sanders, Eyeing Convention, Willing to Harm Hillary Clinton in the Homestretch – The New York Times

“Defiant and determined to transform the Democratic Party, Senator Bernie Sanders is opening a two-month phase of his presidential campaign aimed at inflicting a heavy blow on Hillary Clinton in California and amassing enough leverage to advance his agenda at the convention in July — or even wrest the nomination from her.Advisers to Mr. Sanders said on Wednesday that he was newly resolved to remain in the race, seeing an aggressive campaign as his only chance to pressure Democrats into making fundamental changes to how presidential primaries and debates are held in the future. They said he also held out hope of capitalizing on any late stumbles by Mrs. Clinton or any damage to her candidacy, whether by scandal or by the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald J. Trump.”

Source: Bernie Sanders, Eyeing Convention, Willing to Harm Hillary Clinton in the Homestretch – The New York Times

My comment to the NYT:
Bernie Sanders is spoiling his good record. It is no gift to progressives to force the Democratic party strongly to the left wing. Modern history has not been kind to the left wing of the Democratic Party.
1968 Nixon beat Humphrey
1972 Nixon beat McGovern
1976 Carter beat Ford
1980 Reagan beat Carter
1984 Reagan beat Mondale
1988 George HW Bush beat Dukakis
1992 Bill Clinton beat George HW Bush
In 16 of the 20 years above of that the Republicans won the Presidency, the Democrats lost with a candidate representing the left wing of the Democratic Party. The exception to this rule was when Reagan beat Carter. Jimmy Carter was a hero to me, but whether it was fair or not, the voters probably held him responsible for the year long hostage crisis in Iran.

Paying for Years Lost Behind Bars – The New York Times

“Glenn Ford served 30 years in Louisiana prisons — nearly all on death row — for a murder he did not commit. He was freed in 2014 but died in 2015 from lung cancer that had gone untreated while he was behind bars.Louisiana law provides for up to $330,000 in compensation to people who have been wrongfully imprisoned, but state courts have repeatedly denied Mr. Ford, and now his estate, even that inadequate amount. They say he could not prove he was innocent of a robbery that was connected to the murder for which he was wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death, even though he was never charged with that robbery.”

Source: Paying for Years Lost Behind Bars – The New York Times

My comment at the NYT:

David Lindsay

Hamden, CT 2 hours ago

Great piece of work, NYT. Thank you. So much to clean up.
According to Robert van Gulik, in his Judge Dee mysteries, in Ancient China, if a magistrate sends an innocent man to prison, or death, he gets the same punishment that he gave incorrectly. Magistrates were motivated to not mistakenly send an innocent person to punishment. It is time to make court officials in our system pay heavily for misconduct, including matching periods of incarceration.
How do we make the States take responsibility for compensating their own victims? Could it be done by Federal legislation, in a congress that wasn’t on the the take?

Donald, Save Your Golf Greens, and the Planet, Tom Friedman – The New York Times

“So here’s the advice: I know that you’ve tweeted that “the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” (Just as an aside, Donald, that’s incredibly stupid. The Chinese are ahead of us in putting a price on carbon because they can’t breathe.) But let’s put that aside. We both know that you know as much about climate change as you did about abortion rights and the nuclear triad. It was just one of those things you put out there to keep you looking like a Republican good ol’ boy.

Donald, you’ve done something truly revolutionary: You’ve single-handedly reshaped the agenda of the Republican Party, mixing some left-of-center and centrist positions with the G.O.P.’s traditional right-of-center stuff. You should do the same now, embrace the reality of climate change and vow as president that you will be “huge, huuuuuge” on this issue — that “I’ll make the whole planet great again.” ”

Source: Donald, Save Your Golf Greens, and the Planet – The New York Times

I wrote the following to the NYT comments:

David Lindsay

Hamden, CT 9 minutes ago

Great piece, I second this. Here is my poem for Mr. Trump.
Talking Climate Change Blues by David Lindsay
1) Have you heard of, Bill McKibben, / not trying to be funny and I ain’t kidding.
This fellow got steamed, under the collar, /when he noticed the planet getting hotter and hotter.
He noticed some problems, heard solutions,/Many scientists said it was carbon pollution
It wasn’t just about, how a few people felt / Al Gore showed films of glacier melt
The Antarctic loses ice, and the Arctic, forsooth / An inconvenient pointer to the scientists truth.
Hurricane Sandy, with a rising sea, / flooded New York, and New Jersey.
CH) The folks at Businessweek Saw, the damage was horrid
/They put on their cover, It’s Climate Change Stupid
Wake up, my friends, cataclysms are forming / Our world is threatened by Global Warming!

2) McKibben likes to quizz, eany meany miney moe/What do you think are the numbers to know
Three hundred and fifty, and four hundred/ these are the numbers the scientists thundered.
I asked a young man, selling solar panels / he looks blank, smiles like a camel
We need to know, these numbers says McKibben / or we’ll be faced with Armageddon.
Parts per million, is the technical print / Greenhouse gases is another hint.
All around the world, the oceans are rising / while the coral reefs are slowly dying. (from acidification)

The rest at David’s blog 1, InconvenientNews.wordpress.com, and with guitar on Youtube. © 2016

Talking Climate Change Blues by David Lindsay

 © 2016

1)  Have you heard of,  Bill McKibben    /  not trying to be funny and I ain’t kidding.

This fellow got steamed, under the collar  /  when he noticed the planet getting hotter and hotter

He noticed some problems, heard solutions  /  Many scientists said it was carbon pollution

It wasn’t just about,   how a few people felt  / Al Gore showed films of glacier melt

The Antarctic loses ice, and the Arctic, forsooth  / An inconvenient pointer to the scientists truth.

Hurricane Sandy,     with a rising sea    / flooded New York, and New Jersey.

Chorus) The folks at Businessweek Saw, the damage was horrid

                                     /They put on their cover, It’s Climate Change Stupid

Wake up, my friends, cataclysms are forming

                                   / Our world is threatened by Global  Warming!

2) McKibben likes to quiz, eany meany miney moe/What do you think are the numbers to know

Three hundred and fifty, and four hundred/ these are the numbers the scientists thundered.

I asked a young man,  selling solar panels / he looks blank, smiles like a camel

We need to know, these numbers says McKibben  / or we’ll be faced with Armageddon.

Parts per million, is the technical print   / Greenhouse gases is another hint.

All around the world,   the oceans are  rising  / while the coral reefs are slowly dying. (from acidification)

Chorus) The folks at Businessweek Saw, the damage was horrid

                                     /They put on their cover, It’s Climate Change Stupid

Wake up, my friends, cataclysms are forming

                                  / Our world is threatened by Global  Warming!

3)    Remember when Katrina, hit New Orleans?  / People died, many drowned, the  hoods all cleaned.

We thought it was big, then Sandy and Haiyun  (Haiyan)  / bigger droughts and fires, hurricanes and taifun

Hurricane Sandi,  in New York City  / the water hit the subway and it wasn’t pretty.

My friends lost their house, the neighbors too  /    60 billion dollars went up the flue.

But we ain’t see nothing, like Tacloban  / a Philippine city blown down to the ground, and then drowned.

For New Orleans, our military froze, / for Tacloban, our military rose.

Their Heroes. — Al-le-lue Ya-hoo  /  Forty nations came to their rescue.

Chorus) The folks at Businessweek Saw, the damage was horrid

                                     /They put on their cover, It’s Climate Change Stupid

Wake up, my friends, cataclysms are forming

                                  / Our world is threatened by Global  Warming!

4) We’re hoping James Lovelock, got it all wrong / and we’ll be here centuries with dance & song.

Three hundred and fifty,   parts per mill,   /  The Scientists think is sustainable

Who are these scientists, sounding so strange /just the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Two hundred seventy-five, normal for long time, /Till we burned coal and oil, and spewed out the grime.

Four hundred parts per mil now, we are courting disaster, /Today, tomorrow,  and in the hereafter.

Doomsday approaches, but you can relax, /if you work real hard and pass a carbon tax.

And a methane tax,  and sell it to the Chinese.  /     Oh yeah, the Chinese!

In Beijing the air is, thick as molasses /While the kids are getting sick from the greenhouse gases

So start walking, or riding your bike, /cut your carbon footprint, and we’ll be all right,

Hopefully,    If it’s not too late./ And all the greenhouse gases we deflate.

And reduce our numbers, duck and roll  /  With a Marshall Plan for population control.   If not,

The lucky ones, will make to the morgue  /  It is time to check out Three Fifty dot org.

Chorus) The folks at Businessweek Saw, the damage was horrid

                                     /They put on their cover, It’s Climate Change Stupid

Wake up, my friends, cataclysms are forming

                                     / Our world is threatened by Global  Warming!

 

Talking Climate Change Blues © 2016 can be found at David’s blog #1, InconvenientNews.wordpress.com,  and with guitar on Youtube.

 

 

 

China Finds Its Global Ambitions Humbled in Its Own Backyard – The New York Times

Photo NYT, protesters for freedom in Hong Kong.

“HONG KONG — The heart of this global financial hub resembled an armed camp on Wednesday as thousands of police officers deployed around a hotel and convention center where a senior Chinese official was visiting: a show of force against an unarmed citizenry, many of whom are increasingly worried that the city’s civil liberties and autonomy are under assault by the central government in Beijing.Across the Taiwan Strait, final preparations were underway for the inauguration on Friday of Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan’s first female president. She was swept into power in part by young voters anxious about what they see as Beijing’s rising influence over the island. Ms. Tsai is expected to have a far more cautious attitude toward promoting Chinese trade and investment than her predecessor.”

Source: China Finds Its Global Ambitions Humbled in Its Own Backyard – The New York Times

China Quietly Targets U.S. Tech Companies in Security Reviews – The New York Times

“HONG KONG — Chinese authorities are quietly scrutinizing technology products sold in China by Apple and other big foreign companies, focusing on whether they pose potential security threats to the country and its consumers and opening up a new front in an already tense relationship with Washington over digital security.Apple and other companies in recent months have been subjected to reviews that target encryption and the data storage of tech products, said people briefed on the reviews who spoke on the condition of anonymity. In the reviews, Chinese officials require executives or employees of the foreign tech companies to answer questions about the products in person, according to these people.”

Source: China Quietly Targets U.S. Tech Companies in Security Reviews – The New York Times