Ryan Scissorhand-- The Deficit-Cutting Expert

Published: 4/24/2011, World Journal Sunday Forum《Tiao's Perspective Column》

愛德華剪刀手的遠親: 減赤專家 Ryan Scissorhand

His proposal to abolish Medicare and gut Medicaid would send tens of millions of people living on fixed incomes over the financial brink.
By Tim Rutten (洛杉磯時報專欄作家)
April 9, 2011

The hall of mirrors in which our bitterly partisan politics now play themselves out is a curious place. But even by its distorted standards, the reaction to House Budget Committee Chairman Paul D. Ryan's budget blueprint has been odd, particularly the general reluctance to call it what it plainly is: an attempt to abolish Medicare and gut Medicaid, while further lowering the taxes paid by corporations and wealthy individuals.

Economists already are picking over the plan's dubious statistics, but — as The Times reported Friday — the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has outlined what adoption of this proposal to supplant Medicare with vouchers and private insurance exchanges would mean. The overall cost of healthcare would go up, and retirees' out-of-pocket medical expenses would double — an increase that would push tens of millions of people living on fixed incomes over the financial brink.

The Wall Street Journal tellingly — and correctly — hailed Ryan's proposal for being "as important an advance as the shift from defined-benefit pensions to 401(k)s."

We all know how well that's worked out, but it does fix this plan firmly in the line of initiatives that, over the past 30 years, have dramatically increased social and economic inequality.

As former Labor Secretary Robert Reich said on National Public Radio this week, "In the 1950s, the top marginal income tax rate was 91%. Now it's 35%.... Meanwhile, capital gains and dividends — a big chunk of [wealthy people's] income — were taxed at 35% as recently as the late 1980s. Now, they're taxed at 15%."

Forty-six years ago, President Johnson signed the bill that expanded the Social Security system to include Medicare and Medicaid. Those two programs were the jewels of an avalanche of social legislation that built on the legacy of the New Deal and that found inspiration in an unlikely place — a book, published in 1962, called "The Other America" by the writer and public intellectual Michael Harrington.

The book explored the poverty that then afflicted nearly one American in three and, like Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle," it changed the political landscape.

Among the millions who read it and embraced its message was the president, John F. Kennedy. Johnson subsequently tackled the issue with all his consummate legislative skill. Harrington would come to feel that Medicare and Medicaid were the most lasting achievements of LBJ's epochal presidency, because — along with other changes in Social Security — they reduced old-age poverty to statistical insignificance, extending not just the lives of millions of our elderly, but also the vitality of their old age.

Harrington said that when he began his research into poverty in the late 1950s, "for most Americans to be old was to be poor."

And those who were poor and old, as he wrote in "The Other America," were likely to suffer: "The aged members of the other America are often sick, and they cannot move. Another group of them live out their lives in loneliness and frustration: They sit in rented rooms, or else they stay close to a house in a neighborhood that has completely changed from the old days. Indeed, one of the worst aspects of poverty among the aged is that these people are out of sight and out of mind, and alone."

Harrington's biographer, Maurice Isserman, wrote in 2008 that "what remains fresh and vital in 'The Other America' is its moral clarity." That quality is precisely what the debate over Medicare and Medicaid cannot be without.

In his introduction to "The Other America," Harrington noted that his exploration necessarily would involve "statistics, and that offers the opportunity for disagreement among honest and sincere men. I would ask the reader to respond critically to every assertion, but not to allow statistical quibbling to obscure the huge, enormous and intolerable fact of poverty in America. For, when all is said and done, that fact is unmistakable, whatever its exact dimensions, and the truly human reaction can only be outrage."

Backers of the Ryan plan are relying on the cold self-interest that so often dominates our era to mock the urgent solidarity expressed in that passage as quaint and naive. But because Harrington and those who shared his anger succeeded, the elderly and poor are no longer invisible.

And outrage is precisely what we ought to feel at this cruel attempt to push them back into want's dark shadow.

Donald Trump's Birther Investigation

Published: 4/17/2011, World Journal Sunday Forum《Tiao's Perspective Column》


註: 1.Alien--外國人,也是"外星人"之意。有意角逐2012總統的川普,頻爆料質疑歐巴馬的出生證明,這回可證據確鑿,抓個正著了....

2. FBI檔案公開:真有外星人
編譯中心綜合10日電 世界新聞網
April 11, 2011 06:00 AM

英國每日郵報報導,這份呈報給當時聯調局長的備忘錄,是由負責華府辦事處的主管霍特爾(Guy Hottel)執筆,寫於1950年3月。備忘錄披露於聯調局設立的線上公共檔案閱覽室「資料庫」(The Vault),民眾可以通過登錄www.vault.fbi.gov訪問搜索。這份備忘錄可能再度引發政府掩飾真相的爭論。





All The Old Guys Love the Petite Greening

Published: 4/10/2011, World Journal Sunday Forum 《Tiao's Perspective Column》

刊於4/10 北美世界日報民意論壇《刁觀點專欄》

The Bravest Man in the States

Published: 4/3/2011 World Journal Sunday Forum 《Tiao's Perspective》


The Ark of Odyssey Dawn

(Published: 3/27/2011, World Journal Sunday Forum 《Tiao's Perspective Column》)




聯軍襲擊利國 強權推動公理
【萬沐(加拿大) 3/27/11世報民意論壇】







強權的鱷魚眼淚 奧德賽的黎明或黑夜?








(附錄我(3/26)在他人文下的留言。人還是應該自許高些“aim higher”。)


1. 訴諸忠誠與權威(Loyalty and Authority)-- 純以美國/西方人的立場與利益為基點,無視他國歷史演變過程。

2. 雙重標準--北非中東局勢又再此證明了西方“民主與自由”的選擇性實行。

3.“Questionable Premise”--前提堪議-- 只要是美國/西方是強權,世界才會有正義與和平? 中東需有以色列,亞洲需有日本才能維持平衡?

4.“ False Dilemma”--偽兩刀論--這世界不是美國當老大,就必得是中共成霸權?

5. 訴諸無知( Ignorance)--無知為恐懼之母。 這世界如果沒有西方來領導,就會淪為共產主義和伊斯蘭統治的世界? 基於不斷被強化的假設--中國人,俄國人與穆斯林必然有稱霸奴役世界的邪惡野心?


(利比亞系列之一: http://blog.udn.com/ctiao/4952336)

Godzilla Jr. Asks God Why?

( Published: 3/20/2011, World Journal Sunday Forum 《Tiao's Perspective Column》)







ZZ in the 11th NPC

Published: 3/13/2011, World Journal Sunday Forum 《Tiao's Perspective Column》
(圖刊於3/13/2011 北美世界日報民意論壇《刁觀點專欄》)

(文 by ZZ)



看過2010年賀歲賣座卡通電影《喜洋洋與灰太郎--虎虎生威》嗎? 我拒看,因為我不是主角。不過對劇情倒是略知一二。反正,灰太郎就是壞蛋啦。




Bye -bye!

The Kings' Speeches


Published: 3/6/2011, World Journal Sunday Forum 《Tiao's Perspective Column》

刊於3/6 北美世界日報民意論壇《刁觀點專欄》

"王者之聲-宣戰時刻"甫上映,大家可能不清楚我為什麼把歐巴馬畫成這樣。附上電影劇照。演員Colin Firth 飾英王喬治六世,在治好口吃後,對著麥克風念"正義宣言",正式對希特勒宣戰。

Americans Have Awakened...How About Chinese?

Published: 2/27/2011, World Journal Sunday Forum 《Tiao's Perspective Column》
( 圖刊於2/27/2011 北美世界日報民意論壇《刁觀點專欄》)


美國: The world is going up in flames ---Charles Bradley

中國: 春天裡---旭日陽剛


Wanna Make Wishes to Premier Wen!

Published:2/20/2011, World Journal Sunday Forum 《Tiao's Perspective》
(圖刊於2/20/2011 北美世界日報民意論壇《刁觀點專欄》)



「因時尚而好看」,據聞此劇大受歡迎,大陸同胞就愛看那股子浮誇勁兒。看劇看的不就是自個兒沒法過的人生嗎? 觀眾可以忍受大S和黃曉明之前在那部《泡沫之夏》超齡演出做大頭夢。那種孤苦小明星力爭上游,週旋在豪門子弟和國際巨星的情愛糾葛,離真實太遠,所以它所販賣的豪奢幻夢,讓人無感。相信也有不少人盯著螢幕,對劇情不甚了了,不過是好奇35歲的大S,在臉上究竟動過了那些「手腳」?



「我們兩口子都是研究生畢業,在買房的路上天天省吃儉用,可離買的起房越來越遠,都說不可能解決所有人的買房問題,可像我們這種收入中等的人怎麼也應該屬於買的起的啊? 是我們不夠努力? 還是。 。 。」(2/20/11, 北京網友)

中國躍居世界第二大經濟體,而人均,一般生活條件,卻仍落後,國富民不均,再加上社會誇富成風,這教老百姓如何提升心靈層次?早十幾二十年如果把買美國垃圾債券的天文數字,拿來踏踏實實地,由中央主導給老百姓蓋平價住宅,該有多好?貧富懸殊所累積的民怨已十萬火急了,這才推出打房政策,是不是太晚了?地方官僚盤踞太久太深?從去年的什麼國十條,新國五條,到新出爐的國八條,京16條,穗國八條….上海油條…. 成了急就章。

再多孔子來說教,也無法平靜人心。光溫爺爺一人,能掙脫得了政商勾結的貪腐密網嗎? 看到螢幕上那群樣板人的嘴臉,不禁想到2008北京奧運時寫的《天籟假唱》,一個虛浮偏斜的社會,是不容易導向富強康莊正道的。

Mu-Barak Must Go!

Published: 2/13/2011, World Journal Sunday Forum 《Tiao"s Perspective Column》

(本圖作於2/9,刊於2/13 北美世界日報民意論壇《刁觀點專欄》)




February 11, 2011 世界新聞網
埃及副總統蘇雷曼11日在電視台上宣布,埃及總統穆巴拉克(Hosni Mubarak)已經決定下台。消息傳來,全埃及各地示威的民眾都歡聲雷動。在解放廣場上數十萬的埃及群眾高聲歡呼埃及自由了,並揮舞埃及國旗。




What Egypt Can Teach America
Published: February 12, 2011
The truth is that the United States has been behind the curve not only in Tunisia and Egypt for the last few weeks, but in the entire Middle East for decades. We supported corrupt autocrats as long as they kept oil flowing and weren’t too aggressive toward Israel. Even in the last month, we sometimes seemed as out of touch with the region’s youth as a Ben Ali or a Mubarak. Recognizing that crafting foreign policy is 1,000 times harder than it looks, let me suggest four lessons to draw from our mistakes:
1.) Stop treating Islamic fundamentalism as a bogyman and allowing it to drive American foreign policy. American paranoia about Islamism has done as much damage as Muslim fundamentalism itself.

In Somalia, it led the U.S. to wink at a 2006 Ethiopian invasion that was catastrophic for Somalis and resulted in more Islamic extremism there. And in Egypt, our foreboding about Islamism paralyzed us and put us on the wrong side of history.

We tie ourselves in knots when we act as if democracy is good for the United States and Israel but not for the Arab world. For far too long, we’ve treated the Arab world as just an oil field.

Too many Americans bought into a lazy stereotype that Arab countries were inhospitable for democracy, or that the beneficiaries of popular rule would be extremists like Osama bin Laden. Tunisians and Egyptians have shattered that stereotype, and the biggest loser will be Al Qaeda. We don’t know what lies ahead for Egypt — and there is a considerable risk that those in power will attempt to preserve Mubarakism without Mr. Mubarak — but already Egyptians have demonstrated the power of nonviolence in a way that undermines the entire extremist narrative. It will be fascinating to see whether more Palestinians embrace mass nonviolent protests in the West Bank as a strategy to confront illegal Israeli settlements and land grabs.

2.) We need better intelligence, the kind that is derived not from intercepting a president’s phone calls to his mistress but from hanging out with the powerless. After the 1979 Iranian revolution, there was a painful post-mortem about why the intelligence community missed so many signals, and I think we need the same today.

In fairness, we in the journalistic community suffered the same shortcoming: we didn’t adequately convey the anger toward Hosni Mubarak. Egypt is a reminder not to be suckered into the narrative that a place is stable because it is static.

3.) New technologies have lubricated the mechanisms of revolt. Facebook and Twitter make it easier for dissidents to network. Mobile phones mean that government brutality is more likely to end up on YouTube, raising the costs of repression. The International Criminal Court encourages dictators to think twice before ordering troops to open fire.

Maybe the most critical technology — and this is tough for a scribbler like myself to admit — is television. It was Arab satellite television broadcasts like those of Al Jazeera that broke the government monopoly on information in Egypt. Too often, Americans scorn Al Jazeera (and its English service is on few cable systems), but it played a greater role in promoting democracy in the Arab world than anything the United States did.

We should invest more in these information technologies. The best way to nurture changes in Iran, North Korea and Cuba will involve broadcasts, mobile phones and proxy servers to leap over Internet barriers. Congress has allocated small sums to promote global Internet freedom, and this initiative could be a much more powerful tool in our foreign policy arsenal.

4.) Let’s live our values. We pursued a Middle East realpolitik that failed us. Condi Rice had it right when she said in Egypt in 2005: “For 60 years, my country, the United States, pursued stability at the expense of democracy in this region, here in the Middle East, and we achieved neither.”

I don’t know which country is the next Egypt. Some say it’s Algeria, Morocco, Libya, Syria or Saudi Arabia. Others suggest Cuba or China are vulnerable. But we know that in many places there is deep-seated discontent and a profound yearning for greater political participation. And the lesson of history from 1848 to 1989 is that uprisings go viral and ricochet from nation to nation. Next time, let’s not sit on the fence.

After a long wishy-washy stage, President Obama got it pitch-perfect on Friday when he spoke after the fall of Mr. Mubarak. He forthrightly backed people power, while making clear that the future is for Egyptians to decide. Let’s hope that reflects a new start not only for Egypt but also for American policy toward the Arab world. Inshallah.

Chinese Tiger Mother? Phew!

Published: 2/6/2011, World Journal Sunday Forum 《Tiao's Perspective Column》

本圖刊於2/6/2011 北美世界日報民意論壇《刁觀點專欄》

(申明: 那個呸的人不是我喔, 她是誰?她究竟是誰? )





3.在台灣有幾人能有像李遠哲和史英的資源,可供輸其子女? 可任其上森林學校,可請最優的家教,可跳過競爭留學海外?




2011 State of the Union

Published: 1/30/2011, World Journal Sunday Forum 《Tiao's Perspective Column》

( 刊於1/30/2011 北美世界日報民意論壇《刁觀點專欄》)