2003年隨小女到其當時就讀初中之SMCC開放日,在附設之小型書展買了這本“Stupid White Men & other Sorry Excuses for the state of the Nation”。好看的文章不外乎內容與文筆, What to say & How to say it。這書完全符合這兩個條件,作者Michael Moore 筆鋒諷刺抵死, 自此成為他的擁躉,讀過他3本書及在Amazon買了他拍制的幾套紀錄片。
近年來很多人說香港言論自由減少,自我審查增多。Stupid White Men 成書於2001年911事件之前, 因內容嚴厲批評布什二世2000年『贏』了選舉之過程及其政權首半年之所為,出版商認為911事件所觸發美國人團結愛國之情緒不可能接受作者的論點,臨時要求作者大幅改寫內容及要他支付書本更改後重印之費用10萬美元否則不把書發行並將已印好第一批5萬本作廢紙處理。雖被出版商封殺幾個月, 惟Michael Moore堅持己見,在他一次介紹其作品的演講中有一名聽眾是圖書館長, 經其專業圈子的壓力, 出版商在2002年初屈服--把Stupid White Men在沒有宣傳下發行。完全出乎意外, Stupid White Men 竟然立刻成為暢銷書, 迄今已重印43次, 且在2003年擊敗後來由李安大導拍成電影的The Life of Pi(少年派的奇幻漂流)奪得“英國書獎”The British Book Awards。
大家可能知道或者讀過柏楊先生的名著『醜陋的中國人』, Michael Moore正是美國的柏楊。Stupid White Men 這書名就是說美國是由蠢人、白人、男人組成的國度, 亦是其中3課的主題。
除了絕大多數的美國人外, 世界其他國家都知道美國人蠢。在發達國家(地區)中, 美國人懂得第二語言的比例最低, 這或許可說是自滿。但有一國際認可的客觀測試Programme for International Student Assessment(PISA), 3年一度比較15歲學生的數學、科學及閱讀程度, 近數屆3個科目3甲位置長期由上海、香港及新加坡佔據。發達國家(OECD)中, 日本、南韓、芬蘭、加拿大, 多能排在10名內, 美國則20名也進不了亦低過澳門、越南。Stupid White Men 書裡解釋美國教育失敗是政府投放資源嚴重不足, 校舍不夠、設備殘舊甚至廁紙也沒有。因為美國投放於在世界各地打仗、製造武器核彈等等是教育經費的10多倍。
現在談談書的第二及第三主題: 白人與男人。在拙文春風化雨裡已說過美國獨立宣言裡政治正確但其實是欺世盜名的一句『人人生而平等 All men are created equal』。下面兩張相片(請點擊放大細讀)是余今年7月到Philadelphia的UNESCO World Heritage世遺Independence Hall 所拍, 清楚說明獨立宣言裡的人人只是包括Michael Moore所指的白人男人, 白女人不是與男人平等的更遑論為奴隸的黑人。美國的白人女人到1920年才有投票權, 比獨立宣言賦予男人的所謂平等遲了逾一個半世紀。黑人更要到1965年才有投票權。固然世遺展示的是美國獨立後至女人及黑人取得平權之間的歷史, Stupid White Men 裡舉出例子說直到21世紀初情況仍是這樣。
書裡其他各課談到美國的刑法、貧富不均、環保各方面。香港太多人盲目崇美, 余深信這些人對美國政治生態與制度幾近全無認識。作者用了不少篇幅來說官商勾結, 美國有一個牽涉巨額資金而影響力無遠弗屆的行業叫Lobbyists ~『說客』。美國各級選舉都是金錢的比拼, 而利益集團則通過說客同時資助兩黨的候選人, 不論哪個贏了也同樣虧欠人情。
書的第一課及最後一課都是說2000年大選的細節。作者把布什二世稱為Thief-in-Chief, 竊國者『皇』。當年的選舉最後是取決於Florida的點票, 作者詳細列舉當時由布什二世弟弟作州長的Florida選舉過程中多處不尋常。但在重新點票時卻遭美國聯邦最高法院緊急煞停。作者指出了另一個很多香港人喜歡掛在咀邊的謬誤: 司法獨立或三權分立。余不知道世界有沒有國家實行司法獨立, 但美國則絕無其事。看官如果有留意世事, 今年2月美國聯邦最高法院法官Antonin Scalia猝死及之後Obama提名繼任法官一直遭到共和黨參議員阻延都有廣為報導。香港人所認知的政治制度由開埠到2002年, 所有官員都是鐵飯碗的公務員, 做錯任何事、錯到什麼程度都不會炒魷魚的, 直至董伯伯在司局長階層引入西方的政治問責制。政治委任制有兩大特點: 第一是棄車保帥/替死鬼, 政府施政出了問題, 有關的部長/大臣下台換掉, 明天又是晴朗的一天。可惜香港歷任特首均不曉得利用這制度的優點, 往往護短把情況弄僵。第二則是親疏有別/用人唯親, 當大位者上台分封打江山(競選上位)的功臣, 這一點狼英發揮得瀟灑自如、淋漓盡致。在美國的司法制度, 檢控官(DA)是選舉出來的(即是政客), 而法官則是政治任命。聯邦最高法院法官由總統提名給參議院投票通過。更要命的是委任是終身制, 只有法官本身可自己退休, 否則做到鞠躬盡瘁死而後已, 就像享壽79歲的Antonin Scalia一樣, 他是1986年由Reagan委任。當然法官本身一般沒有為爭大位的人抬轎, 但往往一做三幾十年的委任, 總統一定會找價值觀/理念相近的人來提名。昨晚Now TV新聞專題談到像今年因Scalia猝死而引致關鍵的第九名法官位置懸空, 最長竟然試過800多天, 可見美國兩黨政治爭拗數十年來都把國家利益置諸道外！話說回來, Michael Moore 謂在2000年大選時聯邦最高法院之9位法官中之5位是由之前共和黨總統委任的, 所以這五人在最關鍵時刻以迅雷不及掩耳的速度以5:4終止Florida重新點票, 把總統寶座裁定給予布什二世以報之前共和黨總統知遇之恩。終身制中的9個有一個壽終, 而『民主制衡』(實則政黨爭拗)下不能委出繼承者, 變成8個, 4:4就沒有有效裁決。
有成語曰『選賢與能』,可惜與堯舜禹湯(即是韋小寶說的鳥生魚湯)一樣俱往矣不復返矣。在所謂民主選舉制度下, 梁耀忠議員於1996年在垃圾局的金句: 『臭坑出臭草』才是今後的真理。香港選出游蕙禎、梁頌恒、劉小麗這些議員不是因為有3個喪心病狂的人而是有數以十萬計這種人。今天的選民不是選賢能而是『物以類聚、人以群分』。
余曾於70及80年代合共在美國工作居住過一年多, 完全認同Stupid White Men。Donald Trump作為一個成功高調的商人當然不是Stupid White Man, 但他深諳我們梁耀忠議員的真理, 競選時盡說Stupid White Men啱聽的話, 所以他能在共和黨初選輕易脫穎而出。美國今天著實需要一個像Trump這樣的總統。Trump說日本、歐洲(NATO北約)、沙地如果要美國駐軍保護, 必須負擔美國軍費。言下之意是否代表若不付款, 美國便會撤軍裁軍？豈不是世界的大喜訊？又說要把製造業搬回美國以解決貿易赤字, 重回門羅主義更是好！
2008年Obama當選總統至今8年, 余一直都難以置信。可惜美國人大多數是基督教而非天主教徒, 而余又不是教宗, 否則Obama及投票給他的人都應該因這個神蹟的發生而被封為聖人(Canonized)。
後記： 本文得到眾多同學及朋友, 尤以旅居美國者, 熱烈發表高見(幾天已達16篇), 非常值得看官一讀回應欄, 請點擊
- 16樓. 美國肥佘2016/11/10 17:39buy back US debt at a discount
This is the worst time in American history that we could not find better President candidates that we have to choose the lesser of two evils. Whilst I have not dealt with Trump directly, I would not trust him based on my prior company's dealings with him and discussion with friends who dealt with him directly.
Subject to the advice and consent role of the U.S. Senate, the President negotiates treaties with foreign nations, but treaties enter into force if ratified by two-thirds of the Senate. The President is also Commander in Chief, however only Congress has authority to declare war, and the civilian and military budget is written by the Congress. In nearly all of these circumstances, Congress can either support the President's approach or seek to change it. In the case of independent Presidential action, it may be very difficult to change policy in the short term; in the case of a legislative proposal by the executive branch or treaties and international agreements submitted to the Senate or Congress for approval, Congress has a decisive voice. US President does not control our foreign policy. Both parties have made bad decision on US foreign policy.
As President of his business empire, Trump has not taken care of his staff. He used all available legal loophole to succeed for himself at the expense of his people. Why do you think that he will change his character and take care of us after becoming President of the US?
The only thing I agree with Trump is to buy back our debt at a discount , say, 50 cents in a dollar. I hope he walks his talk if he gets elected. But this will reduce the reserve of China and Taiwan substantially. Both Trump and I have used this tactics against our creditors. Actually, I did 10 cents in a dollar when I first came to the US for corporate reorganization.
- 15樓. J Bob Wong2016/11/09 21:24cabinet prediction
My bold yet humble prediction:
President Trump, with Sarah Palin at State, Ted Nugent at the Pentagon, David Duke Amb to China, Rudy Giuliani in charge of Muslim relations, Chris Christie the Commissioner of Bridges...24 karat toilets for every Trump supporter.
Everyone in California deported to Canada, except for your Mexican gardener who self-deports to Veracruz.
- 14樓. DN2016/11/08 16:26lesser of the two evils ? I'm not so sure
Yes, I heard about Trump's past business dealings (not good). However, when talked about the lesser of the two evils, I'm not so sure.
Same can be said for HRC. Why did Debbie Wasserman have to resign? Why did DNC fire Scott Foval?? What happen to Seth Rich?? I believe the official version.
Obama: Middle East disaster (Europe has to thank Obama for that), Pivot to Asia (divide and conquer), giving amnesty to millions who break the law, transgender bath room (giving pervert excuse to woman bathroom), more crimes and murders (best illustrated in Chicago).
John McCain: Anti-Asian, warmonger
Mitt Romney: Part of the corruption establishment. Being a private equity guy, he gain millions in corrupt tax break. If you don't understand how private equity work, they charge 2/20 meaning 2% management fee (a fee that they charge you even you have a loss) and 20% carry/profits. They take a 20% cut of the gain of their clients and it's was treated as capital gain tax (about half of income tax rate) even though it's not their money that was invested. This is of course due to the legal corruption/lobbyist.
- 13樓. Joy Liu2016/11/08 13:54有機會脫離美式傳統思考框架
1. 用intellect做國家強盛指標不可靠，由美選舉就可看出智商高的人不見得有capacity,integretiy, wisdom, historical insight
2. Trump出來選很好, 能讓更多人了解美國有許多笨白男人而決定要不要繼續做偽君子，也許少數民族會再次讓民主黨獲勝
3. 民主的根本是'deliberation' 不是三權分立, 美在世界中心太久+沒有反省審議就變成collective ignorance.
4. 中國人說危機就是轉機 所以很難說 希望這選舉能讓人有機會脫離美式傳統思考框架
5. 關於Florida: https://www.facebook.com/prageru/videos/883270108382513/?pnref=story
- 12樓. A Chan2016/11/08 12:51social media vs the established news media
This election has been for the first time see social media vs the established news media – a lesson to be learned… - Trump exploits social media to the fullest – distorting facts, sending out lies. He exploits the populations inside manufacturing belt of the US that has lost jobs. Trump leveraged the news media at the beginning particularly the primaries to his advantage – always making statements that everybody like to hear but without details or offering specifics on how he fix problems. It works in the primary – where you have ~ 10 candidates where it is hard to press for details – but the media soon see through this. But such strategy cannot hold up with US presidential debate.. The last month, fact finding is everything to correct such a deceptive campaign. White educated, Hispanics, Asians, Women came out in forces to fight against this disaster.
I do not believe Trump has any place to be in any office. Hillary has her problems – but most of the claims against her has been exaggerated/distorted by the Trump campaign. Her email server practice was careless. It is very unfortunate that this FBI letter come in such a short time before the election – damage has been done – it was finally corrected Sunday.
- 11樓. DN2016/11/08 11:03US media is acting like the Chinese Communist media
CNN of course plus all other global media (with a few exceptions) and TVB and other HK media. They never cover the corruption of Clintons (WH in the 90's, Clinton foundation) and mysterious death of Vince Foster and Seth Rich. If you believe the official version of these deaths, you should also believe the official version of Causeway Bay Bookstore. If they cover only 50% of the Clinton Foundation corruption (vs. what were covered in the Malaysian and S. Korean corruptions), it would not be HRC.
I agree with Andrew's repeated assertion in emails that Hillary probably will win. Based on 1) gender and race cards played by DNC, 2) GOP split, 3) certain ethnic/religion groups (2 groups in particular) against Trump, 4) whole media against Trump as they are under the guidance from DNC, there is no way for Trump to win and it could be the biggest loss for GOP since Barry Goldwater.
Just to give you an example of how media is misleading the public, I was watching on Sunday morning on CBS morning show and they interviewed Trump whether he disavow the KKK/David Duke. Trump said something to the effect that he would not want the endorsement of KKK/David Duke. That same night on CBS evening news, CBS reported the opposite and use a clip of NBC news (without interviewing Trump) instead of its own because Trump said it would not want the KKK endorsement. Whether Trump wanted the KKK endorsement, that's a different story.
The US media is acting like the Chinese Communist media now.
- 10樓. Bon D2016/11/08 10:19lack of substantial leadership by established political parties
Arguments in support of Trump and the clear dangers he poses, coming from educated minds continue to baffle and frighten me. But I conceed this is what can happen in 'democracies' today. It clearly demonstrates that long term abuses of power and the lack of any substantial leadership by established political parties, can and will drive latent dissatisfactions to side with all forms of alternative directions available, no matter how ridiculously imbecilic and dangerous. Good luck to all our US cousins and our general state of battered but thin surviving threads of global stability on Tuesday. I sincerely hope sane minds prevail.
- 9樓. Tam JC2016/11/08 01:37mark the end of the so-called "American Empire"
Historically speaking, the "juxtapositionary" election tomorrow will mark the end of the so-called "American Empire".
Whoever will come out as the winner needs to face the ultra-complex-polarizing political, economic and social reality in this deteriorating world.
Actually, the winner can only climb into the driver seat, accelerate/decelerate the train.
The tracks have unfortunately been laid and the "deep-trenched-corporation-interests" hardly permit much changes in the course.
(That's why we have often witnessed the in-congruence between campaign promises and post-election actualizations).
On a different note.....
About a month ago, Deutsche Bank has accumulated over 1.3 trillion non-performing loans .
(Remember 2008, the world-wide financial crisis was set off by the 1 trillion non-performing loans of Lehman Brothers....)
Somehow, this event has escaped much scrutiny and did not register much on the "financial crisis radar".
Can any of our Josephians care to enlighten us on the possible "aftermath" of this event; particularly, after this US election?
- 8樓. Gerald2016/11/07 22:24Michelle Obama should have a go at it
Aside from the personalities, other important natural drivers are:
1. The desire for change. It's been 8 years. Parties are seldom allowed to stay in power past 2 terms. Throw the bums out lest they get big in the head.
2. Obamacare is a mess. People threatened with fines if they don't buy insurance yet 28 million, of the original 40, still don't have it. There's deep dissatisfaction there.
3. The ickiness of husbands and wives taking turns as president. They are already saying Michelle Obama should have a go at it. Really?
The media won't talk about this.
The Guam straw poll has predicted every race since '84. We'll know late tomorrow night. Read it in USAToday.
- 7樓. DN2016/11/07 21:26you don't really need ID to vote
I stand corrected. The Chee-Na kids are not "new born Babies not fearing tiger". They are like one Chinese hair salon name here, "No hair no sky".
Trump should be done. In addition to FBI, the ethnic group where most illegal alien/undocumented immigrants came from are coming out in huge numbers to vote (like I said, you don't really need ID to vote and illegal aliens in California can get driver license here courtesy of that ethnic group lawmakers and our governor). The crazy/mad person in politics is really the governor of California.
The governor pushed proposition #47 several years ago to release a lot of prison inmates (supposedly non-violent) and the crime rate in California has gone up substantially. I've been victimized several times this year and one police officer told me was because of that. Now, the governor is at it again pushing prop #57 (most likely to pass) to release more so-called non-violent inmates. These include rape criminals and drive-by shooting gangs plus a long list of other criminals. This is the ultimate insult to woman as it's hard to prosecute rape criminals to begin with and the governor now want to release them. "No hair no sky". So when you guys visit California, watch out.