‘Tojo Hideki’, who caused and led the Pacific War, is known as Asia’s Hitler. For 64 years until he was executed in 1948, he lived his entire life as a bloodthirsty warmonger. During his term as a Military Commander, he established himself as a notorious symbol of the barbaric Japanese Army. From 1941, for 44 years, Tojo served as the 40th Prime Minister of Japan while also serving as the […]

Categories: Column / Opinion

As we step into a new year, we have been witnessing President Obama’s vigorous operation of the government administration. There is an unseen atmosphere of confidence in President Obama’s appearance in the White House briefings. Many say that this change is due to the fact that many of the most sensitive and important economic issues for citizens have been dramatically improved under Obama’s administration. The decline in the unemployment rate […]

Categories: Column / Opinion

In 1898, the USS Maine sank after an explosion at Havana. This marked the beginning of Spanish-American War. The war concluded as US victory and Spain handed over Cuba to United States. This is also when the US naval base was installed in Guantanamo. For the next three years, US put Cuba under military administration, and the primary functions of Cuban government came to be controlled by US capital. The Cuban upper class who studied in the United States went back to Cuba to assume the role of the ruling class, backed by US powers. The Cuban government heavily relied on United States while alienating its own people like any other decolonized states that gained power with the aid of a larger empire (e.g. Philippines, Vietnam, Iran, Korea). In January of 1959, Fidel Castro’s revolution succeeded in overthrowing Fulgencio Batista’s dictatorship.  Castro then proceeded to confiscate all foreign capitals within Cuba and severe diplomatic ties with the United States (January 1961). This created a problem for US which had just declared a war on communism in response to the Korean War. After much thought, US devised a plan to invade Bay of Pigs by recruiting Cuban exiles who had fled to United States and training them into guerilla fighters. US recruited 1,500 Cuban exiles in Miami. Although the recruitment was supposed to be a secret, it did not take long for Castro to learn about the United States’ scheme. Castro had his younger brother, Raul Castro (the current President of the Council of Cuba), who was an expert in guerilla warfare, and his most trusted fellow revolutionary Che Guevara to support him. The invasion was carried out on July 15th, 1961, and the operation soon proved to be a mistake. President Kennedy’s plan to fabricate the invasion as an independent action on part of the Cuban exiles was exposed to the world. The invaders were eradicated by Castro’s revolutionary army, with 118 killed and 1189 captured. Kennedy ended up paying 5,300,000 dollars to Castro administration in exchange for 1100 prisoners of war. Castro’s government was solidified and strengthened as a result.

 

It was only natural for the newly found nation of Cuba to rely on the Soviet Union in response to the blatant threats from the US. And it believed that placing the Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba would fend off American military aggression. The situation quickly escalated and the world was soon engulfed in the fear of a full-scale nuclear war. After tense negotiations, United States and the Soviet Union reached an agreement, with the Soviets returning their weapons in Cuba to the Soviet Union and the United States declaring an agreement to never invade Cuba without direct provocation. The Cuban Missile Crisis set the tone for United States policy toward Cuba. CIA under President Kennedy authorized Operation Mongoose to assassinate Castro in secret, and openly pushed for isolation of Cuba. Cuban exiles in the United States lobbied the Congress intensely to overthrow Castro’s government as well. Approximately 1,200,000 exiles escaped from Cuba to United States into mid 1990’s. Most of them settled in Florida and New York. Bob Menendez, New Jersey Senator and Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, is son of Mario Menendez, who escaped Cuba in 1952. Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who is a former Chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and played a big role in convincing her fellow Republican congress members to support the Comfort Women Resolution, is a Cuban immigrant herself. Marco Rubio, junior United States Senator from Florida and a GOP hopeful for presidential candidate, is also a son of a Cuban immigrant. The fervor of the Cuban American community to stop communization of their home country is almost awe-inspiring. The mainstream media never forgets to mention Cuban Americans along with Jewish Americans in its discussion of immigrant groups with large political influence.

 

United States and Cuba have declared normalization of their diplomatic relations for the first time in 53 years. Immediately after his re-election in 2012, President Obama instructed his advisory staffs to “think big” when it comes to US relations with hostile countries, mainly referring to Iran, Cuba, and North Korea. The normalization is the result of nine secret meetings held since last June. Raul Castro, who saw sincerity in Obama when he sent his closes advisor to the negotiations, reciprocated the gesture by sending his henchman to represent him as well. The two countries reached their agreement as they exchanged three Cubans imprisoned for espionage, and one American spy imprisoned in Cuba. This was announced simultaneously in Havana and Washington DC.

Experts had already foreseen such outcome when the footage of Raul Castro shaking hands with Obama at Nelson Mandela’s funeral aired worldwide.  Obama’s bold move to settle the past has resulted in another historical feat.  US nuclear negotiation with Iran, a country formerly defined by Obama as an enemy state, has reached a final stage.  The one remaining place is the Korean peninsula.  North Korea is the only country that is being neglected. There is no other person who is pacifist enough to attempt negotiations with the hermit empire as Obama. I am probably not the only one who is wondering what US’s next move on North Korea would be, or even entertain the idea that there are already secret exchanges going on between the two nations…

In 1898, the USS Maine sank after an explosion at Havana. This marked the beginning of Spanish-American War. The war concluded as US victory and Spain handed over Cuba to United States. This is also when the US naval base was installed in Guantanamo. For the next three years, US put Cuba under military administration, and the primary functions of Cuban government came to be controlled by US capital. The […]

Categories: Column / Opinion

mindy kotler

ASHINGTON — In 1942, a lieutenant paymaster in Japan’s Imperial Navy named Yasuhiro Nakasone was stationed at Balikpapan on the island of Borneo, assigned to oversee the construction of an airfield. But he found that sexual misconduct, gambling and fighting were so prevalent among his men that the work was stalled.

Lieutenant Nakasone’s solution was to organize a military brothel, or “comfort station.” The young officer’s success in procuring four Indonesian women “mitigated the mood” of his troops so well that he was commended in a naval report.

Lieutenant Nakasone’s decision to provide comfort women to his troops was replicated by thousands of Imperial Japanese Army and Navy officers across the Indo-Pacific both before and during World War II, as a matter of policy. From Nauru to Vietnam, from Burma to Timor, women were treated as the first reward of conquest.

We know of Lieutenant Nakasone’s role in setting up a comfort station thanks to his 1978 memoir, “Commander of 3,000 Men at Age 23.” At that time, such accounts were relatively commonplace and uncontroversial — and no obstacle to a political career. From 1982 to 1987, Mr. Nakasone was the prime minister of Japan.

Today, however, the Japanese military’s involvement in comfort stations is bitterly contested. The government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is engaged in an all-out effort to portray the historical record as a tissue of lies designed to discredit the nation. Mr. Abe’s administration denies that imperial Japan ran a system of human trafficking and coerced prostitution, implying that comfort women were simply camp-following prostitutes.

The latest move came at the end of October when, with no intended irony, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party appointed Mr. Nakasone’s own son, former Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone, to chair a commission established to “consider concrete measures to restore Japan’s honor with regard to the comfort women issue.”

The official narrative in Japan is fast becoming detached from reality, as it seeks to cast the Japanese people — rather than the comfort women of the Asia-Pacific theater — as the victims of this story. The Abe administration sees this historical revision as integral to restoring Japan’s imperial wartime honor and modern-day national pride. But the broader effect of the campaign has been to cause Japan to back away from international efforts against human rights abuses and to weaken its desire to be seen as a responsible partner in prosecuting possible war crimes.

A key objective of Mr. Abe’s government has been to dilute the 1993 Kono Statement, named for Japan’s chief cabinet secretary at the time, Yohei Kono. This was widely understood as the Japanese government’s formal apology for the wartime network of brothels and front-line encampments that provided sex for the military and its contractors. The statement was particularly welcomed in South Korea, which was annexed by Japan from 1910 to 1945 and was the source of a majority of the trafficked comfort women.

Imperial Japan’s military authorities believed sex was good for morale, and military administration helped control sexually transmitted diseases. Both the army and navy trafficked women, provided medical inspections, established fees and built facilities. Nobutaka Shikanai, later chairman of the Fujisankei Communications Group, learned in his Imperial Army accountancy class how to manage comfort stations, including how to determine the actuarial “durability or perishability of the women procured.”

Japan’s current government has made no secret of its distaste for the Kono Statement. During Mr. Abe’s first administration, in 2007, the cabinet undermined the Kono Statement with two declarations: that there was no documentary evidence of coercion in the acquisition of women for the military’s comfort stations, and that the statement was not binding government policy.

Shortly before he became prime minister for the second time, in 2012, Mr. Abe (together with, among others, four future cabinet members) signed an advertisement in a New Jersey newspaper protesting a memorial to the comfort women erected in the town of Palisades Park, N.J., where there is a large Korean population. The ad argued that comfort women were simply part of the licensed prostitution system of the day.

In June this year, the government published a review of the Kono Statement. This found that Korean diplomats were involved in drafting the statement, that it relied on the unverified testimonies of 16 Korean former comfort women, and that no documents then available showed that abductions had been committed by Japanese officials.

Then, in August, a prominent liberal newspaper, The Asahi Shimbun, admitted that a series of stories it wrote over 20 years ago on comfort women contained errors. Reporters had relied upon testimony by a labor recruiter, Seiji Yoshida, who claimed to have rounded up Korean women on Jeju Island for military brothels overseas.

The scholarly community had long determined that Mr. Yoshida’s claims were fictitious, but Mr. Abe seized on this retraction by The Asahi to denounce the “baseless, slanderous claims” of sexual slavery, in an attempt to negate the entire voluminous and compelling history of comfort women. In October, Mr. Abe directed his government to “step up a strategic campaign of international opinion so that Japan can receive a fair appraisal based on matters of objective fact.”

Two weeks later, Japan’s ambassador for human rights, Kuni Sato, was sent to New York to ask a former United Nations special rapporteur on violence against women, Radhika Coomaraswamy, to reconsider her 1996 report on the comfort women — an authoritative account of how, during World War II, imperial Japan forced women and girls into sexual slavery. Ms. Coomaraswamy refused, observing that one retraction did not overturn her findings, which were based on ample documents and myriad testimonies of victims throughout Japanese-occupied territories.

There were many ways in which women and girls throughout the Indo-Pacific became entangled in the comfort system, and the victims came from virtually every settlement, plantation and territory occupied by imperial Japan’s military. The accounts of rape and pillage leading to subjugation are strikingly similar whether they are told by Andaman Islanders or Singaporeans, Filipino peasants or Borneo tribespeople. In some cases, young men, including interned Dutch boys, were also seized to satisfy the proclivities of Japanese soldiers.

Japanese soldiers raped an American nurse at Bataan General Hospital 2 in the Philippine Islands; other prisoners of war acted to protect her by shaving her head and dressing her as a man. Interned Dutch mothers traded their bodies in a church at a convent on Java to feed their children. British and Australian women who were shipwrecked off Sumatra after the makeshift hospital ship Vyner Brooke was bombed were given the choice between a brothel or starving in a P.O.W. camp. Ms. Coomaraswamy noted in her 1996 report that “the consistency of the accounts of women from quite different parts of Southeast Asia of the manner in which they were recruited and the clear involvement of the military and government at different levels is indisputable.”

For its own political reasons, the Abe administration studiously ignores this wider historical record, and focuses instead on disputing Japan’s treatment of its colonial Korean women. Thus rebuffed by Ms. Coomaraswamy, the chief cabinet secretary, Yoshihide Suga, vowed to continue advocating in international bodies, including the United Nations Human Rights Council, for Japan’s case, which is to seek to remove the designation of comfort women as sex slaves.

The grave truth about the Abe administration’s denialist obsession is that it has led Japan not only to question Ms. Coomaraswamy’s report, but also to challenge the United Nations’ reporting on more recent and unrelated war crimes, and to dismiss the testimony of their victims. In March, Japan became the only Group of 7 country to withhold support from a United Nations investigation into possible war crimes in Sri Lanka, when it abstained from voting to authorize the inquiry. (Canada is not a member of the Human Rights Council but issued a statement backing the probe.) During an official visit, the parliamentary vice minister for foreign affairs, Seiji Kihara, told Sri Lanka’s president, “We are not ready to accept biased reports prepared by international bodies.”

Rape and sex trafficking in wartime remain problems worldwide. If we hope to ever reduce these abuses, the efforts of the Abe administration to deny history cannot go unchallenged. The permanent members of the United Nations Security Council — all of whom had nationals entrapped in imperial Japan’s comfort women system — must make clear their objection to the Abe government’s perverse denial of the historical record of human trafficking and sexual servitude.

The United States, in particular, has a responsibility to remind Japan, its ally, that human rights and women’s rights are pillars of American foreign policy. If we do not speak out, we will be complicit not only in Japanese denialism, but also in undermining today’s international efforts to end war crimes involving sexual violence.

Mindy Kotler is the director of Asia Policy Point, a nonprofit research center.

A version of this op-ed appears in print on November 16, 2014, on page SR4 of the New York edition with the headline: The Comfort Women and Japan’s War on Truth.

ASHINGTON — In 1942, a lieutenant paymaster in Japan’s Imperial Navy named Yasuhiro Nakasone was stationed at Balikpapan on the island of Borneo, assigned to oversee the construction of an airfield. But he found that sexual misconduct, gambling and fighting were so prevalent among his men that the work was stalled. Lieutenant Nakasone’s solution was to organize a military brothel, or “comfort station.” The young officer’s success in procuring four […]

Categories: Column / Opinion

We Are Also Victims of “Racial Profiling”. – Dongsuk Kim

‘Racial Profiling’ is a controversial police investigative tool used by the American police force. Although profiling typically refers to a gathering of information, when used in forensics, it refers to an act of apprehending a suspect by deducing an offender’s habits, age, personality, occupation, characteristics, and crime scene behaviors and methods based on the evidence gathered at the crime scene. Making prosecutorial charging decisions based on the offender’s race and ethnicity during a crime investigation, and randomly stopping and frisking African-Americans or Latino on streets are a few common examples of racial profiling.

Since the 9/11 terrorism attack, Arabs and people of the Middle East have been easily regarded as terrorist suspects and have become targets of focused body searches on airports, and this too, can be seen as an epitomizing example of racial profiling.

In 1693, a district court of Philadelphia assigned a special authority to its local police force; the police were conferred a legal right to stop and frisk any African Americans and arrest suspects without a warrant. This initiated the onset of “Racial Profiling”, which has been practiced in the U.S. for more than 300 years. Such discriminatory practice has plagued ethnic minorities for a long time. Ironically, although New York City is known as the hodgepodge of multiethnic groups, NYPD is the most notorious for its practice of racial profiling.

For 8 years since 1993, the former mayor Giuliani employed “Zero Tolerance Policy” in an attempt to reduce the crime rates in New York City. Following the implementation of Giuliani’s policy, New York City experienced a significant decline of crime rates, and soon his policy started to gain an epidemic popularity. Based on the crime statistics that indicated that a majority of violent criminals are males of color in their 10~30’s, the police was able to lower the crime rates by performing a ‘preliminary inspection’ of anyone who fell under the above category. Such is the underlying reason that African Americans in their 20’s~30’s have become the easy targets of NYPD. Not long after the policy was implemented, the authority was exploited and many young African males who did not comply with the police’s forceful inspection were either shot to death or battered by the police, further leading into a race riot or protest against police brutality and discrimination. In order to put a halt into the cycle, the former president Bill Clinton proclaimed a ban of “Racial Profiling” but the practice still continues to exist.

In July, in Staten Island, Eric Garner, who was suspected of illegally selling single cigarettes from packs without tax stamps, was surrounded by a group of policemen. In a cell phone video taken by a pedestrian, Eric Garner, a heavily built man, appears to be gesticulating with his hands. Later, one of the policemen, present at the scene approached Garner and wrapped his arm around Garner’s neck in an attempt to pull him down. After lying face down onto the ground, Garner repeated “I can’t breathe” 11 times, which the police ignored. Garner was handcuffed while he was still unconscious, and was pronounced dead approximately one hour later at the hospital. On December 3, 2014, a grand jury decided not to indict the officer Pantaleo. After the Staten Island grand jury decided not to indict Pantaleo, people in New York City gathered in protest. This incident further ignited the wrath of the black community which was already deeply enraged by the non-indictment decision of the police shooting of an unarmed teenage black man, Michael Brown. Many days have passed since the deaths of two black men, but the heat of the protests still continues.

Michael Brown, an 18-year-old black man, visited his grandmother’s house in Ferguson, Missouri. On his way home from a nearby convenience store, Brown was fatally shot to death by a 28-year-old white Ferguson police officer, Darren Wilson. Brown, an unarmed teenager, was shot seven or eight times, all from the front.

This happened in August, 2014. Enraged black people gathered in groups and violently protested against the police brutality on ethnic minorities. The prosecutor in charge handed the case over to the grand jury of the county, leaving to jurors the decision of what charges might be brought, if any. After nearly four months, the jury decided to drop the charges against the white officer, Darren Wilson. Angered by the decision of the grand jury, the black community started to come together for protests and civil disorder, which lasted for several days.

Although the victim’s family and representatives of the black community had questioned the impartiality of the investigation and asked for an appointment of an independent special prosecutor to take over the case, the prosecutor in charge passed the decision making authority to the predominantly white grand jury. A civil protest was not unforeseen, which eventually turned into a chaotic civil disorder and vehement riot, including arson and robbery.

These two incidents remind me of the hurtful memory of L.A. riot that happened nearly twenty years ago. And I would like to take this opportunity to emphatically address the two recurring problems of the Korean American community. The first is our chronic racial bias, and the second is our lack of interaction with other ethnic groups. In fact, other ethnic minority groups, especially the Hispanic and Latino Americans and black community, don’t consider the Korean American community as intimate. We should look at ourselves with an objective point of view and see if we are tolerating or even utilizing the white supremacy mindset. Additionally, other ethnic minority groups have pointed out that the Korean American community do not come together and work with one mind at times of troubling difficulties. Indeed, despite the high prevalence of Korean churches and other religious organizations, the Korean American community is somewhat apathetic toward the problems of the local community. We need to resolve these issues. In order to interact and cooperate with other ethnic minority groups, we need to engage ourselves in the political exchanges with them—Korean Americans need to promote our civic engagement.

Even though protests against the excessive exercise of police and governmental power are spreading throughout communities, the Korean American community is still maintaining its silence; it is saying nothing about the current incidents of racial prejudice. Such passive reaction is so drastically different from the time when it used to speak up and shout out for representation of Korean Americans. If not now, when is it important to show the leadership of the Korean American community?

We Are Also Victims of “Racial Profiling”. – Dongsuk Kim ‘Racial Profiling’ is a controversial police investigative tool used by the American police force. Although profiling typically refers to a gathering of information, when used in forensics, it refers to an act of apprehending a suspect by deducing an offender’s habits, age, personality, occupation, characteristics, and crime scene behaviors and methods based on the evidence gathered at the crime scene. […]

Categories: Column / Opinion

KACE-LOGO-Small-e1394865162217

 

A Message to Korean American Candidates – Dongsuk Kim

In 2000 presidential election, Al Gore was elected as a Democratic candidate for vice president. During the 8 years of the Clinton Administration, the U.S. market economy was in a fairly stable condition, enabling the Democratic Party to earn widespread support from the electorate. The only problem was Clinton’s involvement in the Lewinsky scandal. Al Gore selected Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut as his vice presidential running mate. Lieberman was chosen because he was known as a man of integrity and moral character among the Democratic Party’s vice president candidates, and he was also the only person who publicly censured Clinton for his unethical wrongdoing.

By selecting Lieberman, the most conservative candidate, Gore targeted to win the conservative voters by showing that he was different from Clinton. However, what was troubling Gore was the fact that Lieberman was Jewish. In fact, the Jewish community leaders expressed their opposing views for choosing Lieberman as Gore’s running mate. A Jewish organization even paid a visit to Al Gore and pleaded him to renounce his decision of Lieberman. The Jewish community were deeply concerned because they were afraid that excessive prominence of Jewish presence, whose population accounts for less than 3% of the total U.S. population, might instigate the deeply rooted anti-Semitic sentiments. They also viewed that political mobilization of the Jewish community is more important and effective than electing Jewish politicians. Their decision was based upon the report that since the 1960s, non-Jewish politicians who are influenced by the Jewish community are much more conducive to the welfare of the Jewish community.

In the metropolitan cities of the U.S., Korean American community is respected as a community whose economic and educational levels are higher than those of other ethnic groups. However, Korean American’s social and political influence is below par. Therefore, the challenging task for the Korean American community to solve is promoting political empowerment and mobilizing the Korean Americans to increase civic participation both at local and national levels.

Knowledge of the benefits and rights of the Korean American community is necessary for people who wish to empower the Korean American community as a whole. The reason that the Jewish community, which comprises of less than 3% of the entire American population, is so powerful is that it is dedicated to protecting and promoting its political rights and interests. The Jewish community is effectively fulfilling their duties as American citizens while maintaining a solid sense of communal unity. It is evident that the Jewish community realizes that a politician who lacks a strong ethnic identity is virtually impotent in the multiethnic political circles of the U.S.

Since the late 1980s, there has been quite a number of Korean candidates who attempted to run for an office in L.A. and New York. The appearance of Korean candidates who bravely knocked on the seemingly formidable walls of the U.S. politics elicited extreme enthusiasm and confidence among the Korean American community. The candidates sought election funds from the Korean American community. Although many Koreans still do not fully realize that running for an election requires a large sum of monetary resources, they have continually made contributions for the common goal of advancing into the mainstream society. I imagine what it would have been like if Koreans followed the path of the Jewish and re-routed their monetary contributions directly to the Korean American community organizations instead of giving them to candidates as election funds.

In a capitalist economy, there is no contribution without reward. In other words, political contributions should not be taken for granted. It cannot be stressed enough how valuable and important it is to appreciate the support of Korean Americans who have willingly contributed for the common hope of empowering their community.

The midterm elections are imminent. Although I have many things that I wish to address to the Korean candidates running for office, I would like to ask them to keep their promise and attitude toward the Korean American community regardless of their election results. Their identities as Korean Americans should remain consistent regardless of the results. I do not wish to witness another Korean candidate who disappears without a trace once the election is over after the many days and nights of ‘fighting’ for the rights and interests of the Korean American community. Every year, an election is held but I have always been afraid of the aftermaths of elections—it’s because I am in a position to shout for voter registration and voter participation at every annual election amidst the apathy.

 

 

  A Message to Korean American Candidates – Dongsuk Kim In 2000 presidential election, Al Gore was elected as a Democratic candidate for vice president. During the 8 years of the Clinton Administration, the U.S. market economy was in a fairly stable condition, enabling the Democratic Party to earn widespread support from the electorate. The only problem was Clinton’s involvement in the Lewinsky scandal. Al Gore selected Senator Joe Lieberman […]

Categories: Column / Opinion

2014 midterm election

<Losers who fulfill their duties are not losers>

The 2014 Midterm Elections have ended with the ruling Democratic Party suffering a complete defeat. The Republican Party gained control of the Senate by keeping its 3 seats and picking up 7. In addition, the GOP also picked up 10 seats in the lower chamber. While the Republican Party has achieved a sweeping victory in 70 years, the Democratic Party, which once seized control of both the Senate and the House in the 2006 Midterm Elections during the Bush administration, has degenerated into a minor party within 8 years. As the opposition party became the majority in D.C., it seems inevitable that the remainder of President Obama’s political journey be a daunting and formidable one.

According to the analysis of the 2014 Midterm Elections results, the voters seem to be holding the Obama Administration responsible; although they cast their votes for the GOP, it is not because they approved of its political strategies, but because they were deeply disappointed at the Obama Administration.

In fact, the ethnic minorities who voted for Obama in the last presidential election did not participate, making this year’s midterm election turnout the lowest in 30 years. For this reason, it is difficult to accurately comprehend the public sentiment based on this year’s midterm election results. Even though the GOP achieved a landslide victory, it is hard to predict that it will be in an advantageous position for the 2016 presidential election.

However, the current voting tendency of the electorate is favorable for the minority presidential candidates. This is because only the ethnic minority voter groups create the bandwagon effect in elections. An ideal presidential election requires two important things: a voter turnout and cohesiveness. First, the electorate must participate in elections. Voter turnout is far more important than the mere number of eligible voters because it leads to unity and cohesion, which further leads to a surge of votes. Although it is premature to say that Korean American voters show this tendency, experts are cautiously asserting that Korean American electorate possesses such potential. Thus, evidently the most important thing is voter participation.

From this year’s midterm election, the Korean American community must learn two important lessons. First and foremost, if a candidate runs for an election for the Korean American community, he or she must have a background in the grassroots activity of the community. Secondly, the election campaign fund must be made at an early stage. For example, the title as ‘a grassroots politician’ allowed Ron Kim to successfully win the seat of the House at the reelection in the fifth congressional district of Flushing. Ron Kim had a clear answer to the question, “Why should I cast my vote for you?”—his answer was “I am a son of Flushing. I was born and raised and was active in this area.” In a local district election, there isn’t a stronger winning tactic. One of the most apparent weaknesses of New Jersey’s candidate, Roy Cho, was that he did not have a valid answer to confront the overwhelming criticism that he suddenly appeared from a thin air to run for the office. Roy Cho needed to let his name be known among the local Korean American electorate at least a few years before the election. Moreover, he was also falling behind in amassing his campaign funds. Undeniably, a crucial factor in anyone who is running for an election is “Early Money”. Despite the fact that Roy Cho earnestly asked for Korean American voters to support him in raising his campaign fund, the actual fund raising campaign wasn’t initiated until June of this year, ultimately resulting in his failure. Clearly, timing is a crucial factor in a candidate’s success. Although Roy Cho had the determination, will, and capacity of being competent congressman, he did not utilize his time wisely in his election campaigns. In all, it is the responsibility of Korean American candidates to fully prepare themselves before running for an election, but at the same time, the Korean American community should also maintain a heightened level of professionalism.

The world of politics is a cold place. An incumbent assemblyman, who was able to keep his seat amidst the Korean voters who were wild for Korean American candidate, stated “Although not a single Korean supported me, I still managed to increase my polling rate compared to last year’s”. This is an important comment for the Korean American community, including Korean candidates, to acknowledge. Taking this into consideration and handling these kinds of things wisely is what promotes our political empowerment.

Midterm elections are over. What scares me is that there might be no future Korean American candidates running for elections any more. What is really needed is increasing voter registrations and encouraging voter participations for the growth of the Korean American community.

<Losers who fulfill their duties are not losers> The 2014 Midterm Elections have ended with the ruling Democratic Party suffering a complete defeat. The Republican Party gained control of the Senate by keeping its 3 seats and picking up 7. In addition, the GOP also picked up 10 seats in the lower chamber. While the Republican Party has achieved a sweeping victory in 70 years, the Democratic Party, which once […]

obamacare

“The Story of How Americans Became Pushovers and Doctors Became Slaves” – Dongchan Kim

Nowadays, I am hesitant to go to see the doctors. It is not that I do not have a health insurance; I am paying a higher insurance fee than I did a few years ago. Yet, a visit to a doctor’s office further entails a co-pay and a deductible. Although I have purchased a health insurance not only to prepare myself for a medical emergency but also because to avoid an accrued penalty, it is actually much cheaper to pay for each doctor’s visit by cash. It is assumable that there are many doctors who are still perplexed by the current health care situation—perhaps, they may be questioning why the insurance companies are delaying or declining their reimbursement for patients.

The Democratic Party has shellacked in the 2014 midterm election. Should this pattern continue, it is not surprising to see the Democrats fail miserably again in the upcoming presidential election. The Obama administration and the Democratic Party have pushed to re-shape the national healthcare system because it was apparent that America, the leading country in the world, was falling behind South Korea’s healthcare system.

Initially, the healthcare reform act was met with a cold reception by the insurance companies. But determined to use this as an opportunity to bring about a change, the insurance companies devoted themselves to lobby the federal government and the congressmen irrespective of their parties. From an idealistic point of view, the healthcare reform act was for the benefit of the whole nation. But from the private sector’s perspective, it was a lucrative opportunity in disguise.

Essentially, the Obama administration and the Democratic Party desired a reformation. However, the four-year administration and the political circles could not overcome the calculating scheme of the peddling insurance companies and ultimately brought forth a retrogressive not progressive revision of the healthcare system.

There is a saying that refers to such a situation; “One man sows and another man reaps.” In the 2014 midterm election, despite their assiduous efforts, the Democratic Party experienced the biggest defeat in the American election history. What remains worrisome is the fact that efforts to reform America continue to bring a change for the worse. Such unfortunate phenomenon is indicative that America is aging as a country. Can America really modify its aged structure and turn over a new leaf? Can the Democratic Party or the Republican Party reform the deteriorated system and better the well-being of the Americans? Perhaps the Republicans will carry the momentum to butcher the so called “ObamaCare”. Because the issue plays a vital role in deciding the results of the upcoming presidential election and the number of seats in the federal congress, the doctors and Americans will continue to be adversely affected by the fluctuations in the healthcare policy.

The problem not only lies in the insurance companies—it lies in the underlying tendency of people to exploit the benefit whenever a significant change is brought forth. It is evident that America is in the process of aging, but overcoming it depends on the determination and volition of the citizens. Do we want to live as pushovers of the insurance companies? If we don’t, then we clearly need to support the congressmen who can represent us on our behalf. Doctors, do you want to live as slaves for the insurance companies? If you don’t, then you should actively cooperate to cause an action. Unless we act proactively, citizens will degenerate into pushovers and the doctors will become slaves for the money-seeking insurance corporations.

“The Story of How Americans Became Pushovers and Doctors Became Slaves” – Dongchan Kim Nowadays, I am hesitant to go to see the doctors. It is not that I do not have a health insurance; I am paying a higher insurance fee than I did a few years ago. Yet, a visit to a doctor’s office further entails a co-pay and a deductible. Although I have purchased a health insurance […]

Categories: Column / Opinion

After centuries of being scattered throughout the globe as roaming wanderers, Jews returned to the so-called the “Promised Land” of Palestine and established a new state. On May 14th, 1948, David Ben-Gurion, a major leader of the Jews, proclaimed the establishment of the Jewish State two hours before the termination of British sovereignty in Palestine. United States was the first to recognize this declaration, and it has been maintaining a […]

Categories: Column / Opinion

The most addicted audience of the popular DVD rental company, Netflix’s political thriller drama “House of Cards” might just well be President Obama. It’s been said that President Obama contacted the producer of the show, and pleaded him to facilitate the showing of the next episode, which is originally supposed to air in 2015. It’s not only President Obama who is crazy about this drama; Hillary Clinton and her husband, […]

Categories: Column / Opinion
KOREAN AMERICAN CIVIC EMPOWERMENT
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NEW JERSEY OFFICE: 185 BRIDGE PLAZA N SUITE 306 FORT LEE, NJ 07024 TEL: (201) 488-4201