7/31/12

The Real-life Horror




血一道道淌,政客一個個致哀,半旗一次次下,白蠟燭一根根燒,淚一滴滴流...所有的震驚,憤怒,惋惜,都將隨之麻痹。黎明將照舊,明天,又是另一天。

不忍見無辜犧牲者的照片,看著紅髮兇手徬惶的臉,失神的眼,竟也心酸。他真病了。如果,他買不到槍,沒那些子彈,那個狂暴的夢,也就不會實現得那麽徹底了吧?

承認吧,美國再也無力禁槍。那麽多人認爲擁槍是憲法賦予的人權,和言論自由一樣。他們說,人發胖,能怪糖嗎? 他們說,槍不會殺人,殺人的是人。他們說,要是人人皆能帶槍,那名"小丑"在戯院發第一槍時,早被擊斃了。他們說,禁槍只會傷害好人....

厭槍的你我,能做的,或許就只能如圖中的父子了吧?

(圖刊於7/29/2012 北美世界日報民意論壇《刁觀點專欄》)

Diagnose China Economy

大家千萬別太害怕厚。

"我是華陀"的葫蘆裏的"靈丹",不但可醫治中國那顆越來越慘白發黃的紅蘿蔔,應也可救治病入膏肓的全球經濟。

紅蘿蔔大不了就乾脆變種成白蘿蔔唄,以之入藥,好歹也可為濁世清清熱解解毒,免得人類個個吃得跟小白兔一樣紅了眼。

溫陀家寳說了:宜"增長底缐"! 瞧見沒?就這麽短短四字,即已道出生機無限!但可別揠苗助長,拔出了根。

大家,尤其是西方,得腳踏實地,別再衍生那些有的跟沒有的商品了,買空賣空,五鬼搬運,製造需要,浪費資源,害人誤己,藥石罔效啊!

(圖刊于7/22/2012 北美世界日報民意論壇《刁觀點專欄》)


7/22/12

Sino-Japan War Déjà vu?



註:“忘戰必敗"是日本首相野田佳彥對自衛隊的訓示。
(7/15/2012 北美世界日報民意論壇《刁觀點專欄》)

Published:7/15/2012, World Journal Sunday Forum 《Tiao's Perspective Column》


找出兩年前的作品,再次聼聼這首由美國指揮,沒完沒了的交響樂吧.
(註:日本前首相菅直人的英文姓"Kan"與英文"can"(能)形音近似。
圖中美副縂統以腹語說:“是的,我們"能".)
 
1920年,法國作曲家Joseph-Mauriice Ravel作了一首很奇特的交響樂,叫Bolero(波雷露)。全曲節奏從頭到尾完全不變,只有一個主旋律,重覆了九回。這樣前所未聞的編曲,非但不單調,反而讓人聽得痴醉。隨著各式樂器一個個加入,主調質感越來越豐富。由於下一個節奏是可預期的相同,聽者會像被催眠似地失去戒備,情緒遂被由弱轉強的旋律緩緩導引,像扭發條似地,由鬆到緊。耳膜傳震脈動,心律加快,身體會不自覺地跟著輕晃,當合奏節拍越來越烈,到達高潮的一剎那,突然間所有的聲音,嘎然而止。

這首曲子後來成為電影《戰火浮生錄》(Les Uns et Les Autres) 的主題曲,劇中人物複雜,三代故事,同個人分飾數角,刻意呼應了主旋律的不變。這部1981年的電影風行一時,讓許多人首度接觸到這首一聽就忘神的Bolero。
不知怎地,每次看到有關釣魚台的新聞,我就會想到這首帶著嘲諷,有幾分荒謬,卻又散發悲壯的曲子。當偶逢或不得不聽時,仍會被那熟悉的主調,一次次地牽引。它的嘲諷在於主題不斷地重覆;它的荒謬,就在最悲壯的那一刻,無疾而終。

1972年美日安保條約將釣魚台列嶼的行政管轄權劃歸日本,自此主權歸屬紛爭不斷。每隔一段時間,保釣運動的主題旋律就會反覆,總是始於漁船或航艦在禁區的衝突,隨之以民間兩岸三地和海外華僑的熱血填膺,加入媒體的撻伐獻策,參注國與國的協商角力……,然後在劍拔弩張的當兒,一夕間,又是船過水無痕,危機暫時解除。

可是釣魚台主權問題畢竟不是耐聽的Bolero交響樂,它的主題太不悅耳,一再重覆,只會令人神經疲乏,當心一次又一次的扭緊又放鬆後,將使所有中國人的熱血從奔騰到冷卻。


Obamacare vs. Romneycare


Published:7/8/2012, World Journal Sunday Forum 《Tiao's Perspective》





畫中那隻龜原本要說的是「無論如何,你那邊看起來還是較人性化些…」, 交稿前一刻把它改了。因爲我不想為Obamacare 背書。

千瘡百孔的健改通過又如何? 不透明的罐裏裝的不僅是舊葯,更加了許多混沌不明,包藏禍心,令各方利益團體「垂涎」(covet)之處方。 即使歐巴馬連任成功,也絕難斷除那巨大的黑腕,如HMO (Health Maintenance Organization)的更深介入。或許,這才是保守派大法官 John Roberts 樂於臨陣轉向的原因吧? 因爲改不改,差別有限。

自歐巴馬當選後,在財經上與各利益團體「妥協」的速度與程度,比預期的還要快且深。對既有的權勢結構與誘惑,他非但無招架之力,且更進一步,曲意配合。他放任華爾街作手勾結聯儲局,上下其手。他的軟弱,短視與自私自利,不僅讓美國經濟更形惡化,更將全世界推進危險深淵。

身為美國史上第一位黑人總統,他錯失歷史賦予的契機,只剩下滿嘴漂亮口號。雖不甘為棋子之命運,仍將難逃被操控,甚至「用過即丟」的命運。

已然面目全非的「歐記健保」,非但無助改善嚴峻的經濟現實,還會激化兩黨惡鬥。最高法院判決此法不違憲,不無挑動對立的企圖,反而壓制了歐巴馬的連任之路。

(圖刊於7/8/2012 北美世界日報民意論壇《刁觀點專欄》)

Show Me Your Papers!



 


Show Me Your Papers!(出示你的證件!)

Published: 7/1/2012, World Journal Sunday Forum 《Tiao's Perspective Column》

(註: "自由女神像"是法國送美國的禮物)
此圖刊於7/1/2012 北美世界日報民意論壇《刁觀點專欄》

「出示證件」 維權人士憂種族偵防

多位移民維權人士、移民律師及移民政策分析家26日針對聯邦最高法院日前的判決指出,亞利桑納州的「出示證件」反非法移民條文,只會加深美國種族對立,且違反憲法對人權的保障。
聯邦最高法院25日對亞州強硬掃蕩非法移民的州法做出裁決,儘管最高法院推翻其中大部分條款,但卻保留「出示證件」(Show me your papers)條文,該條文賦予警方在進行攔檢或逮捕行動時,碰到疑似非法移民,可以檢查其居留身分的權力。不少維權人士對此條文表示反對,認為如果亞利桑納州警方執行該項權力,將會引發種族偵防。
「新美國媒體」(New America Media)26日主持全美電話會議,邀請多位移民維權人士、移民律師及移民政策分析專家檢討聯邦最高法院的裁決。
美國民權自由聯盟(American Civil Liberties Union)代表律師嘉華(Omar Jadwat)表示,這條文明顯讓移民淪為種族偏見的犧牲品。在該條文下,警察有權要求「貌似非法移民者」出示身分證明文件,因此可預見英語能力有限、貌似移民者,將可能隨時被警察檢查,將成為族裔偏見下的受害人。
嘉華表示,如果亞州開始執行此條款,將助長其他有相同法律的州、或是全國各地警方僅憑膚色攔截檢查民眾的氣焰,加重美國民權危機。但他強調,在亞州確認該條款無濫權之虞前,其實不能立即執行該條款,否則會有違憲的顧慮,各移民團體已在準備再一次挑戰機會。
移民團體「爭取時機」(The Opportunity Agenda)代表杜卡拉(Juhu Thukral)則表示,現在最怕與亞州制定類似法律的五個州,包括阿拉巴馬、喬治亞、印第安納、南卡羅來納和猶他等州會同樣獲得最高法院的正面裁決,執行類似條款。他說:「我們反對非法移民和種族偵防的法律,一旦法律遭到誤用,違反民權,我們會向司法部門抗爭,要求司法部門負責。」
加州移民政策中心(California Immigrant Policy Center)代表則批評該條款將使移民社區成為族裔偏見政策下的受害族群。加州移民維權團體為替移民爭取更平等權利,包括該中心在內,目前正積極呼籲加州州長布朗通過加州的「信任法案」(TRUST Act)。該案禁止州府協助聯邦政府扣留非暴力的非法移民,除非被逮捕的非法移民涉及暴力犯罪或重罪。該案由舊金山加州眾議員阿米亞諾提出,目前已在州眾議會獲得通過,正交由州參議會討論。加州移民政策中心代表表示,希望該案能夠通過且讓他州效尤,喚醒美國日漸消失的人權。
Op-Ed Columnist

Show Me Your Papers

THE Arizona law requiring police to check the immigration status of anyone they suspect of being in the country illegally — a statute tentatively blessed last week by the Supreme Court — is an invitation to abuse. It is all too likely to be used, as the court itself seemed to fear, to intimidate and demean people with the wrong accent or skin tone, thus delivering a get-out-the-humiliated-Hispanic-vote bonus to President Obama. The less likely alternative is that it will be applied more like the random T.S.A. searches at airports, thus infuriating Arizonans across the board.
While we wait for this to play out, let’s turn our attention to another aspect of the so-called “show me your papers” law: Show me WHAT papers? What documents are you supposed to have always on hand to convince police that you are legit?
Welcome to an American paradox. This country, unlike many other developed democracies, does not require a national identification card, because the same electorate that is so afraid America is being overrun by illegal aliens also fears that we are one short step away from becoming a police state.
I’ve suggested before that, as part of any comprehensive reform of our senseless immigration laws, Americans should master their anxieties about a national identification card. The Arizona controversy reinforces my conviction.
This is not a peripheral issue. The reason Arizona and other states have deputized police as amateur immigration agents — and contemplated making enforcers out of school principals, emergency-room nurses and other civil servants — is that we have failed so utterly to fortify the most obvious line of defense. No, not the Mexican border. Employers. Jobs are, after all, the main magnet for illegal immigration. If we had a reliable way for employers to check the legal status of prospective workers, and held them strictly accountable for doing so, we would not feel the need for all these secondary checkpoints.
What we have now is a laughably ineffective program called E-Verify, in which employers send information supplied by job applicants to be matched against databases in the Social Security Administration or the Department of Homeland Security. The most extensive study of this program, published in 2009, found it to be so easy to fool the system with stolen or fraudulent documents that more than half of the unauthorized job applicants got a green light.
In the absence of a credible federal system, frustrated states are improvising their own controls. For example, in many states you now have to prove U.S. citizenship or legal residency to get a driver’s license. This is presumably what most Arizonans will show police if they are challenged under the “show me” law. But by transforming a driver’s license into a kind of internal passport, Arizona and states with similar laws have created a different problem. Illegal immigrants don’t stop driving; they just drive unlicensed, untested and uninsured.
I understand that the idea of a national ID comes with some chilling history, which is why it has been opposed by activists on the right and left — by the libertarian Cato Institute and the A.C.L.U., by People for the American Way and the American Conservative Union. Opponents associate national identification cards with the Nazi roundups, the racial sorting of apartheid South Africa, the evils of the Soviet empire. Civil rights groups see in a national ID — especially one that might be required for admission to the voting booth — a shadow of the poll taxes and literacy tests used to deter black voters in the Jim Crow South. More recently, accounts of flawed watch-list databases and rampant identity theft feed fears for our privacy. The most potent argument against an ID is that the government — or some hacker — might access your information and use it to mess with your life.
“The one thing we know with certainty about databases is that they grow,” said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, which includes national ID cards on its list of threats. The official urge to amass and use information, he told me, “takes on a life of its own.”
But on the subject of privacy, we are an ambivalent nation. Americans — especially younger Americans, who swim in a sea of shared information — are casual to the point of recklessness about what we put online.
The trick, and I won’t pretend it’s always easy, is to distinguish the reasonable and constructive from the invasive and excessive. We want the sales clerk at the Gap to know our credit card is good, but not to have access to our whole credit history. We want our doctors to share our health histories with one another, but probably not with our employers. We may or may not want retailers to know what kind of books we read, what kind of car we drive, where we are thinking of traveling. We may or may not want those who follow us on the Web to know our real-time location, or our real name.
So imagine that you wanted to design an ID that would effectively control illegal hiring without stirring fears of Big Brother. It would be a single-purpose document, containing only the information that establishes you are eligible to work here. As passports are required for traveling abroad, as library cards are required for checking out books, the ID would be required for starting a job. I’d apply it to future hires only, to avoid forcing employers to be part of a national witch hunt.
You might start with the Social Security card. You would issue a plastic version, and in it you would embed a chip containing biometric information: a fingerprint, an eye scan or a digital photo. The employer would swipe the card and match it to the real you. Unlike your present Social Security card, the new version would be useless to a thief because it would contain your unique identifier. The information would not need to go into a database.
The Government Printing Office already embeds biometric information in passports — 75 million of them so far — and a slew of other documents, such as border-crossing smart cards for Americans who commute to Mexico or Canada, and security passes for the F.B.I. And one major employer is already rolling out a system of biometric IDs for all its millions of workers and contractors: the federal government. This is not exotic technology. I just stayed in a hotel in Barcelona that uses a fingerprint reader in place of a room key.
There would be a significant cost to set up and maintain the system, though it’s reasonable to assume that some of that money could be recouped through modest fees and fines on violators.
This will not satisfy those who fear that any such mandate is potentially “a tool for social control,” as Chris Calabrese of the A.C.L.U. put it. But the only way to completely eliminate the risks of a connected world is to burn your documents, throw away your cellphone, cancel your Internet service and live off the grid.
As it happens, the proposal I described is already on the table. Senators Charles Schumer and Lindsey Graham included it in their menu for comprehensive immigration reform in 2010. For obvious reasons, they didn’t call it a national ID. They called it an “enhanced Social Security card.”
Like just about everything else, immigration reform is stuck in the mangle of election-year partisanship. And if Congress ever does revert to the business of solving problems, there should be many parts to a humane, sensible immigration bill — including expanded legal immigration and a path to citizenship for many of those already here. But a fraud-proof, limited-use national identification card is an essential part of the package.
Then the Arizona police can go back to doing their real jobs.