Message to Donald Trump from Mexico’s Ambassador to Malaysia


October 1, 2016

Message to Donald Trump from Mexico’s Ambassador to Malaysia

READ Bunn Nagara’s article here:

http://www.thestar.com.my/opinion/columnists/behind-the-headlines/2016/09/25/realities-behind-the-wall-the-fuss-over-measures-to-prevent-illegal-migration-seems-as-out-of-touch/

Mexico is convinced that the phenomenon of migration and refugees demands an integral approach with a shared responsibility of all the governments involved, with an inclusive and solidarity vision and full respect of human rights. Walls cannot solve the complexity of this global reality.–Carlos Félix, Ambassador of Mexico to Malaysia

 

http://www.thestar.com.my/opinion/letters/2016/10/01/mexico-is-against-putting-up-walls/

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REFERRING to the article “Realities behind the wall” by Bunn Nagara, (Sunday Star, September 25), I wish to make important clarifications about the view of Mexico on the polemic issue of building walls to deal with migration flows and the best way to treat migrants.

1. Migration is a complex social and economic phenomenon in almost all the regions of the world. In the case of Mexico, Central America and the United States, this issue has related mainly to complementary labour markets and family ties which have prevailed for many years without an integral solution.

2. Mexico recognises the important contributions of migrants. We are a country of origin, transit, destination and return of migrants. Mexico always has promoted the respect of human rights of all migrants with a dignified treatment as human beings looking for better opportunities.

3. In the discussion of the issue of undocumented migrants – no human being can be illegal – Mexico has proposed an integral approach with a shared responsibility of the governments involved to look for an orderly, safe and regular migration with full respect of human rights.

 4. Mexico recognises the sovereign right of all countries to build whichever structures inside their own territory. Nonetheless, history shows that there are no physical or natural barriers that can stop the flow of people, fusion of cultures, cycles of demand and supply of labour markets or reunification of families.

5. For all these reasons, Mexico does not favour walls in any place as part of the solution to this complex reality, as was cited in the article by Bunn Nagara.

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Nieto (Mexico), Trudeau (Canada) and Obama (United States)

6. During the 71st Session of the UN Assembly, President Enrique Peña Nieto (pic) reaffirmed this position. He reiterated that the migrants and their rights, dignity and well-being should be the central element in the global dialogue to find solutions that require international cooperation to strengthen the capabilities of nations to address an integral attention of the migration phenomenon.

7. With this vision, Mexico has proposed to be the host for the preparatory conference for the adoption of the Global Pact for the Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration of 2018.

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8. Mexico is convinced that the phenomenon of migration and refugees demands an integral approach with a shared responsibility of all the governments involved, with an inclusive and solidarity vision and full respect of human rights.

9. Walls cannot solve the complexity of this global reality.

Carlos Félix, Ambassador of Mexico to Malaysia

The Buffoons in UMNO


September 30, 2016

The Buffoons in UMNO

by Mustafa K Anuar

Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah has received a death threat and understandably is concerned for her safety.

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UMNO Chief Buffoon

In the meantime, Mohd Ali Baharom, or infamously known as Ali Tinju, the man who was alleged to have made that threat, surrendered himself recently to the Police for investigation – and was later released on Police bail.

In an effort to show even-handedness by the Police in the face of public accusations of double standards, Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar announced that the Police had summoned Ali who then dutifully went to the police station concerned in a jiffy.

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UMNO Buffoon No.2

For the uninitiated, Ali Tinju initially denied that he had ever made such a threat and that he was merely misquoted by the media. But a recording of an interview with him by Free Malaysia Today, which was made public, implies that he wasn’t truthful.

It is worrying that these days political and ideological differences are often responded to by certain groups in society with a threat of violence or show of force, if not the use of brute force itself. It is as if addressing such conflicts in a peaceful and civilised way is no longer tenable.

Former Bersih co-chairman Ambiga Sreenevasan was in May, 2012 “entertained” to a butt dance by Ali Tinju and his army veteran colleagues in front of her Bukit Damansara house to register their disapproval of the Bersih 3 rally. Co-chairman Pak Samad, it appears, was not treated to similar entertainment.

And in early 2014, Seputeh MP Teresa Kok got into trouble after she uploaded her “Onederful Malaysia” Chinese New Year video clip. A group of Malays reacted angrily by slaughtering chickens and offering a cash reward to anyone who would slap her in the face.

The above examples suggest sheer intimidation. But given our male-dominated society, one suspects that these brazen threats also involve bigotry of the sexist variety.

It seems that these women, like many other Malaysian women who dare to go against the grain, were considered easy preys particularly by the male perpetrators given the vulgarity deployed and the crass physical threat demonstrated.

Such gross misconduct should have been slammed in no uncertain terms by the so-called moral guardians, particularly among the male Muslim holier-than-thou-ers, because their silence is deafening here, as this may give the impression that these women – and non-Malay to boot — are “fair game.”

And yet there was not much “noise” from these quarters so much so that it suggests acquiescence.

Ali Tinju and gang could have just staged a peaceful street demonstration to register their condemnation of the said rally – minus, of course, the vulgarity and muscle-flexing, as is expected of any civilised citizen of the country.

Or better still, Ali Tinju and his band could have chosen to confront Maria Chin squarely in a cultured manner such as having a public forum where he could present his arguments against the pursuance of the Bersih 5 rally that is scheduled for November 19.

After all, Ali seems capable of engaging in a forum as was shown in his recent participation in such a public platform–although the intellectual level of this forum as as whole appears to be wanting, judging from Ali’s performance and that of other participants.

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UMNO Buffoon No.3 and his Patron, Prime Minister Najib Razak

Why, there was even a participant in the said forum who accused news portal Malaysiakini of being a “terrorist” outfit simply because it was perceived to be aggressively critical of the government.

It seems that the participant prefers only a government mouthpiece or servile media in our midst. This indicates a nagging intolerance towards differences of opinion and diversity, including dissent, in a democracy. Competing viewpoints are seen as unnecessary diversion and annoyance. It also hints at an anti-intellectual syndrome in society.

“Terrorism”, as mentioned in that forum, normally has the negative connotations of fright and horror, and evokes condemnation – and presumably it was hoped that this social stigma would stick onto the news portal. However, when used in such an indiscriminate and cavalier manner, it becomes laughable as it also implies imbecility.

Anyway, if Ali and friends are intellectually incapable of carrying out such a meaningful conversation, others who are a bit more cerebral could represent them and the ideas they champion.

In turn, Maria Chin and friends would then have an opportunity to explain, if not convince, to Ali Tinju and his ilk the importance of having a clean and fair election, among other Bersih’s demands, in a concerted effort to deepen democracy in Malaysia.

It is true that in any social and political struggle, there are risks involved. However, violence or the threat of violence should not be incorporated into this equation especially when it involves women, which lends credence to the suspicion of sexist intimidation. Resorting to such intimidation and bare brawn is darn primitive.

 http://www.themalaymailonline.com

The Economist: Donald Trump’s victory is a disaster for Republicans and for America


September 30, 2016

American politics

Donald Trump’s victory is a disaster for Republicans and for America

DURING its 160-year history, the Republican Party has abolished slavery, provided the votes in Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act and helped bring the cold war to a close. The next six months will not be so glorious. After Indiana’s primary, it is now clear that Republicans will be led into the presidential election by a candidate who said he would kill the families of terrorists, has encouraged violence by his supporters, has a weakness for wild conspiracy theories and subscribes to a set of protectionist and economically illiterate policies that are by turns fantastical and self-harming.

The result could be disastrous for the Republican Party and, more important, for America. Even if this is as far as he goes, Mr Trump has already done real damage and will do more in the coming months. Worse, in a two-horse race his chances of winning the presidency are well above zero.

It is possible that, with the nomination secured, Mr Trump will now change his tone. The crassness of his insults may well be muted as he tries to win over at least some of the voters, particularly women, who now abhor him. His demeanour may become more presidential (though there was little sign of that in this week’s bizarre and baseless pronouncements that the father of Ted Cruz, his erstwhile rival, had been around Lee Harvey Oswald before he shot John F. Kennedy). What he will almost certainly not do is change political course. For it is increasingly clear that Mr Trump has elements of a world view from which he does not waver (see article). These beliefs lack coherence or much attachment to reality. They are woven together by a peculiarly 21st-century mastery of political communication, with a delight in conflict and disregard for facts, which his career in reality television has honed. But they are firm beliefs and long-held.

Beyond the braggadocio

That world view was born, in part, on his father’s construction sites in New York in the 1960s. Mr Trump likes to explain that he once spent his summers working in such places alongside carpenters, plumbers and men carrying heavy scaffolding poles. That experience, he claims, gave him an understanding of the concerns of the hard-working blue-collar men whom American politics has left behind. It explains his deep-rooted economic nationalism.

Mr Trump has railed against trade deals for decades. He was arguing against NAFTA in the early 1990s. He now calls it the worst trade deal in the history of the world. Similarly, he has always viewed America’s trade deficit as evidence of foul play or poor negotiating skills. For a man with such convictions, it is plain that more such trade deals would be a disaster and that American companies should move production back home or face tariffs. Mr Trump might be willing to bargain over the penalties they should pay, but the underlying instincts are deeply held. He is a conviction protectionist, not an opportunistic one. And, judging by the results of the Republican primaries, at least 10m voters agree with him.

On foreign policy Mr Trump mixes a frustration at the costs of America’s global role, something that has become common after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with a desire to make the country feared and respected. Those outside America who dwell on his geographical and diplomatic ignorance (of which there is plenty) risk missing the simple principle that animates him. Mr Trump wants to make those outside America pay the full cost of the hegemonic protection it gives them. Allies should have to stump up more for American bases on their soil, and for the costs of equipping and paying the soldiers in them. It is not correct to call this isolationism, since Mr Trump has also proposed some foreign adventures, including the occupation of Iraq and seizure of its oilfields. Rather it is a Roman vision of foreign policy, in which the rest of the world’s role is to send tribute to the capital and be grateful for the garrisons.

Counting the damage

For those, such as this newspaper, who believe in the gains from globalisation and the American-led liberal order, this is a truly terrifying world-view. Fortunately, Mr Trump will probably lose the general election. A candidate whom two-thirds of Americans view unfavourably will find it hard to win 65m votes, which is about what the winning candidate will need. The share of women who disapprove of him is even higher.

But that should be scant comfort, for even without a victory in November Mr Trump’s coronation as candidate will cause damage. There may be violence at the Republican convention in Cleveland, where Trump supporters and protesters are likely to clash. Voters will spend the next six months hearing over and over again that Hillary Clinton, his Democratic opponent, is a crook and a liar. Much of that will stick even if she wins, leaving those who believe it enraged and Mrs Clinton weakened. America’s allies will watch the polls fearfully: whether at the UN Security Council or at bilateral talks in Beijing, Mr Trump’s spectre will loom over every meeting between America and a foreign power between now and November 8.

The Republican Party, always fractious, may actually fracture. Even if he loses, Mr Trump will have shown that there is a path to the nomination that runs via nativism and economic populism. Mountaineers know that the surest route to the summit is the one that has worked before. Some Republicans will say that Mr Trump’s message, shorn of its roughest edges, could deliver victory next time. Others will argue that he lost because he was not a true conservative. Without agreement on what went wrong, it will be hard to forge something new.

And then, of course, there is the possibility that he might just win. Mrs Clinton is not loathed by as many Americans as Mr Trump is, but the share who view her unfavourably is far higher than is usual for presidential nominees. Just as the killings in Paris in December energised Mr Trump’s campaign, a terrorist attack or other event that terrified Americans could tip the vote his way. The balance of probability is against, but none of this is impossible. That is why Mr Trump’s triumph has the makings of a tragedy for Republicans, for America and for the rest of the world.

http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21698251-donald-trumps-victory-disaster-republicans-and-america-trumpu2019s-triumph

 

 

 

NY Times–Hillary Clinton for President


September 29, 2016

Wake Up Americans–Hillary Clinton is your choice as the next POTUS

The New York Times Endorsement

In any normal election year, we’d compare the two presidential candidates side by side on the issues. But this is not a normal election year. A comparison like that would be an empty exercise in a race where one candidate — our choice, Hillary Clinton — has a record of service and a raft of pragmatic ideas, and the other, Donald Trump, discloses nothing concrete about himself or his plans while promising the moon and offering the stars on layaway. (We will explain in a subsequent editorial why we believe Mr. Trump to be the worst nominee put forward by a major party in modern American history.)

But this endorsement would also be an empty exercise if it merely affirmed the choice of Clinton supporters. We’re aiming instead to persuade those of you who are hesitating to vote for Mrs. Clinton — because you are reluctant to vote for a Democrat, or for another Clinton, or for a candidate who might appear, on the surface, not to offer change from an establishment that seems indifferent and a political system that seems broken.

Running down the other guy won’t suffice to make that argument. The best case for Hillary Clinton cannot be, and is not, that she isn’t Donald Trump.

The best case is, instead, about the challenges this country faces, and Mrs. Clinton’s capacity to rise to them.

The next President will take office with bigoted, tribalist movements and their leaders on the march. In the Middle East and across Asia, in Russia and Eastern Europe, even in Britain and the United States, war, terrorism and the pressures of globalization are eroding democratic values, fraying alliances and challenging the ideals of tolerance and charity.

The 2016 campaign has brought to the surface the despair and rage of poor and middle-class Americans who say their government has done little to ease the burdens that recession, technological change, foreign competition and war have heaped on their families.

Over 40 years in public life, Hillary Clinton has studied these forces and weighed responses to these problems. Our endorsement is rooted in respect for her intellect, experience, toughness and courage over a career of almost continuous public service, often as the first or only woman in the arena.

Mrs. Clinton’s work has been defined more by incremental successes than by moments of transformational change. As a candidate, she has struggled to step back from a pointillist collection of policy proposals to reveal the full pattern of her record. That is a weakness of her campaign, and a perplexing one, for the pattern is clear. It shows a determined leader intent on creating opportunity for struggling Americans at a time of economic upheaval and on ensuring that the United States remains a force for good in an often brutal world.

Similarly, Mrs. Clinton’s occasional missteps, combined with attacks on her trustworthiness, have distorted perceptions of her character. She is one of the most tenacious politicians of her generation, whose willingness to study and correct course is rare in an age of unyielding partisanship. As first lady, she rebounded from professional setbacks and personal trials with astounding resilience. Over eight years in the Senate and four as secretary of state, she built a reputation for grit and bipartisan collaboration. She displayed a command of policy and diplomatic nuance and an ability to listen to constituents and colleagues that are all too exceptional in Washington.

Mrs. Clinton’s record of service to children, women and families has spanned her adult life. One of her boldest acts as first lady was her 1995 speech in Beijing declaring that women’s rights are human rights. After a failed attempt to overhaul the nation’s health care system, she threw her support behind legislation to establish the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which now covers more than eight million lower-income young people. This year, she rallied mothers of gun-violence victims to join her in demanding comprehensive background checks for gun buyers and tighter reins on gun sales.

After opposing driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants during the 2008 campaign, she now vows to push for comprehensive immigration legislation as President and to use executive power to protect law-abiding undocumented people from deportation and cruel detention. Some may dismiss her shift as opportunistic, but we credit her for arriving at the right position.

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Mrs. Clinton and her team have produced detailed proposals on crime, policing and race relations, debt-free college and small-business incentives, climate change and affordable broadband. Most of these proposals would benefit from further elaboration on how to pay for them, beyond taxing the wealthiest Americans. They would also depend on passage by Congress.

That means that, to enact her agenda, Mrs. Clinton would need to find common ground with a destabilized Republican Party, whose unifying goal in Congress would be to discredit her. Despite her political scars, she has shown an unusual capacity to reach across the aisle.

When Mrs. Clinton was sworn in as a senator from New York in 2001, Republican leaders warned their caucus not to do anything that might make her look good. Yet as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, she earned the respect of Republicans like Senator John McCain with her determination to master intricate military matters.

Her most lasting achievements as a senator include a federal fund for long-term health monitoring of 9/11 first responders, an expansion of military benefits to cover reservists and the National Guard, and a law requiring drug companies to improve the safety of their medications for children.

Below the radar, she fought for money for farmers, hospitals, small businesses and environmental projects. Her vote in favor of the Iraq war is a black mark, but to her credit, she has explained her thinking rather than trying to rewrite that history.

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As Secretary of State, Mrs. Clinton was charged with repairing American credibility after eight years of the Bush administration’s unilateralism. She bears a share of the responsibility for the Obama administration’s foreign-policy failings, notably in Libya. But her achievements are substantial. She led efforts to strengthen sanctions against Iran, which eventually pushed it to the table for talks over its nuclear program, and in 2012, she helped negotiate a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.

Mrs. Clinton led efforts to renew diplomatic relations with Myanmar, persuading its junta to adopt political reforms. She helped promote the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an important trade counterweight to China and a key component of the Obama administration’s pivot to Asia. Her election-year reversal on that pact has confused some of her supporters, but her underlying commitment to bolstering trade along with workers’ rights is not in doubt. Mrs. Clinton’s attempt to reset relations with Russia, though far from successful, was a sensible effort to improve interactions with a rivalrous nuclear power.

Mrs. Clinton has shown herself to be a realist who believes America cannot simply withdraw behind oceans and walls, but must engage confidently in the world to protect its interests and be true to its values, which include helping others escape poverty and oppression.

Mrs. Clinton’s husband, Bill Clinton, governed during what now looks like an optimistic and even gentle era. The end of the Cold War and the advance of technology and trade appeared to be awakening the world’s possibilities rather than its demons. Many in the news media, and in the country, and in that administration, were distracted by the scandal du jour — Mr. Clinton’s impeachment — during the very period in which a terrorist threat was growing. We are now living in a world darkened by the realization of that threat and its many consequences.

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Mrs. Clinton’s service spans both eras, and she has learned hard lessons from the three presidents she has studied up close. She has also made her own share of mistakes. She has evinced a lamentable penchant for secrecy and made a poor decision to rely on a private email server while at the State Department. That decision deserved scrutiny, and it’s had it. Now, considered alongside the real challenges that will occupy the next president, that email server, which has consumed so much of this campaign, looks like a matter for the help desk. And, viewed against those challenges, Mr. Trump shrinks to his true small-screen, reality-show proportions, as we’ll argue in detail on Monday.

Through war and recession, Americans born since 9/11 have had to grow up fast, and they deserve a grown-up President. A lifetime’s commitment to solving problems in the real world qualifies Hillary Clinton for this job, and the country should put her to work.

 

A version of this editorial appears in print on September 25, 2016, on page SR10 of the New York edition with the headline: Hillary Clinton for President. Today’s Paper|

 

The Erudite and Prolific Noam Chomsky: A Man of Conviction


September 29, 2016

The Erudite and Prolific Noam Chomsky: A Man of Conviction

Knowledge and Power–A Documentary

Manufacturing Consent is my favorite Noam Chomsky book. It reminds me of the awesome power of government in shaping public perception and influencing the way we think about public and foreign policy.

The media dominates our lives for as long as I can remember. When I was very much younger in 1950s I relied on the media and the radio for news and views and never realised that I was being manipulated by Big Brother to support causes which I would not  have agreed to if I had access to sources of information other than what the government was sending out through the airwaves for public consumption.

Fortunately, to day I can no longer be led to accept “official truths”from my government and its controlled media. I have always maintained a posture of doubt and will not accept anything I read without subjecting them to careful scrutiny. Naom Chomsky’s books have influenced the way I think.–Din Merican