“Gun Facts”: A Conversation with Guy Smith on the Truth of Gun Control and Gun Rights

A group of gun control proposals promoted by Virginia’s governor, including “universal background checks”, was defeated by the state’s legislature.

Guy Smith, the author of “Gun Facts”, a book that “debunks common myths about gun control,” joins the show to discuss the latest news from Virginia and elsewhere as it relates to gun rights.

Topics include:
– Why gun control keeps failing.
– What are “universal background checks”, and would they be effective?
– Why he says the problem isn’t primarily about gun but primarily about criminals.
– And more…


My Summary of Sarah Palin’s First Speech of her 2016 Non-Campaign

Sarah Palin gave at speech at the Iowa Freedom Summit where a bunch of other Republican politicians (Cruz, Christie, Huckabee…) also gave speeches.

She said a lot of very Sarah Palin-y things. Here is my Twitter summary which should give you the gist of the first speech of her soon-to-be aborted 2016 presidential campaign.

My Profiles on 2016 Presidential Candidates

With 2015 comes the start of the presidential race. Already Jeb Bush and Mike Huckabee have announced they are considering running, and others have hinted at it. As such, being an American columnist for China.org.cn, I began this year by analyzing a few of the candidates:

Here they are:

Jeb Bush

Bush’s two terms in office were widely considered to be huge successes. He had relatively high approval ratings in office and got a lot of policies enacted. He was innovative on some fronts, being the first governor to successfully introduce school vouchers, now a popular conservative education reform idea in other states. But since leaving office, Bush has been slammed by the Tea Party for taking positions on Common Core, a national movement to reform education standards, and immigration reform that right-wingers detest. In truth, when you look at his record in office, he was a very conservative governor, cutting taxes up to US$19 billion, vetoing about US$2 billion in spending, strengthening gun rights laws, and suing to keep a feeding tube inserted in the body of Terry Schiavo, a brain dead woman whose case the “pro-life” community rallied around. All of these positions are clear conservative positions, but the Tea Party has moved the Republican Party farther to the right since Bush left office.

Jeb Bush: A bipartisan punching bag

Mike Huckabee

In 1957, the Soviet Union released the satellite Sputnik 1, beating the United States in the first round of the Space Race. Non-reproductive sexual relations were criminalized in the privacy of one’s own home. Jim Crow laws and segregation prevailed across the South, and Sen. Strom Thurmond spent 24 hours filibustering the Civil Rights Act of 1957.

It doesn’t sound like it was a very good time to be an American, but you wouldn’t know it if you heard prospective presidential candidate Mike Huckabee describing it. Huckabee, who announced on Jan. 3 that he was quitting his Fox News talk show to consider a 2016 presidential run, never misses an opportunity to wax nostalgic about the bygone era of “Leave It to Beaver” and “Father Knows Best.”

Mike Huckabee: stuck in the past

Mitt Romney

Is the third time a charm? Mitt Romney is quoted as having told supporters that he is strongly considering a run for the presidency in 2016.

Skepticism abounds. As Romney said in the documentary “Mitt,” those who lose are branded as losers for life. Richard Nixon was the only president in the last century to win the presidency in a general election on his second try.

But Romney is a driven man who learns from his mistakes. It was easy to see in the 2012 primary debates, where Romney made pointed attacks on his challengers, how much Romney had improved from his 2008 primary loss.

Moreover, Romney has earned the respect – if not the love – of the GOP’s conservative base and the Tea Party. The way the race is shaping up, he might have a path to victory that builds on both “conservative” and “moderate” support.

How Mitt Romney can win conservatives

Rand Paul

It’s impossible to say who is the most dishonest politician. There are too many good choices, and the most dishonest politicians are often the hardest to find, anyway. If they’re good at it, then you won’t know they are lying.

The politicians who are bad at lying are easy to spot. They’re right there on cable news or in print spewing transparent contradictions. When Sen. Rand Paul went on CNN in March 2013 to discuss his proposed anti-abortion Life at Conception Act, he responded to the host’s first question by saying, “I don’t think we’re in any real rush towards new legislation.”

This is Rand Paul’s approach to controversial questions across the spectrum. Unlike his father, Ron Paul, who would go on CNN and unapologetically defend his radical positions, Rand Paul will run from them in an instant in order to try to win votes.

Rand Paul: Too radical for America

Charlie Hebdo Articles

Last week, the terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo’s office in Paris was the topic dominating conversation and commentary. As a columnist as China.org.cn, of course it was a topic I and my colleagues analyzed from many angles. China.org.cn has summarized the articles in a brilliant format, which you can see here.

round table copy

My column espoused the need for tolerance of many religious and political views so that we don’t try to silence people’s speech by force or otherwise. You can read it here:

Everyone has their own ideas about religion. Everyone has their own ideas about what is offensive or blasphemous. No one should be forced to live under the rules of a religion that they don’t believe in. Charlie Hebdo brutally mocked Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, not to mention many political issues, but they didn’t deserve to die or be censored for doing so.

Tolerance is key in the wake of tragedy

Of course there were many other great articles by China.org.cn writers, so click the link to see the full summary: Charlie Hebdo Paris shootings

Podcast: Bush, Romney, and Huckabee (Oh my?)

2015 is here, and that means the campaign has started! Will Romney run? Why does Huckabee still support banning all abortions? Bush!

Political commentators Mitchell Blatt and Noah Rothman discuss the early candidates to express interest. Also a discussion of the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack at the end and the Pope’s comments, which seemingly justify violence.



“Jay-Z is a Pimp”: Mike Huckabee Opens ’16 Presidential Campaign with Pointless Attack on Music Stars

Last week, I wrote a column on how probable 2016 presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is stuck in the past. His stump speech in 2006 was focused on extolling the virtues of 1950-60’s America.

And yet, one of Huckabee’s favorite lines on the campaign trail in 2006 was, “We’ve seen our country go from ‘Leave It to Beaver’ to ‘Beavis and Butt-head.'” The former was a squeaky clean black-and-white (although without many black people) TV show about a nuclear family that ran from 1957-1963, and the later was a controversial cartoon that ran on MTV from 1993-1997. (Even his example of immoral modern day American culture was 10 years old when he was using it.)

“Mike Huckabee: stuck in the past”, Mitchell Blatt, China.org.cn

Well, it wasn’t a few days after that article was published that Huckabee made an even more pointless, stupid, and “cloying” and “insipid”, as Hot Air’s Noah Rothman said on my podcast, comments attacking modern-day pop culture.

Continue reading

Bill Donahue, Master of Offending People, Blames Dead Journalists for Offending Religious Fanatics

On January 8, in an interview with Hugh Hewitt, Catholic League president Bill Donahue said, “People who are in the artistic business or in journalism, in the dissemination of ideas need to put brakes on themselves as well.”

Unfortunately, when Donahue was given a chance by Hewitt to follow up on his own advice by apologizing for blaming the Charlie Hebdo victims for the role he alleged that they played in their own deaths, he didn’t oblige.

Bill likes to think people are twisting his words. Okay, it is too bad he didn’t apologize for saying “he [Stephane Charbonnier, the publisher] didn’t understand the role he played in his tragic death.”

It should first be noted that Bill is wrong on the facts; people who publish social or political commentary that offends are not to blame for their deaths, nor is the commentary that was published so offensive as to warrant censorship or self-censorship or strong rebuke.

By his standards, Bill is simply saying that anything that offends or could offend a large group of people shouldn’t be said.

    Even if his view on the attack was factually correct, why is he saying it when it could offend? Why didn’t he “put the brakes on”?

He also said people shouldn’t insult each other: “Muhammad isn’t sacred to me, either, but it would never occur to me to deliberately insult Muslims by trashing him.”

Following are a list of statements that Bill “People Need to Put Brakes on Themselves” Donahue has made over the years:
“The refrain that child rape is a reality in the Church is twice wrong: let’s get it straight — they weren’t children and they weren’t raped.”
– Catholic League, New York Times full-page ad, 2011

Continue reading

“The Interview” Perfectly Summarizes Controversy Surrounding “The Interview”

Congratulations, Kim Jong-un. I wasn’t planning on watching The Interivew before the country you control allegedly hacked it (and undeniably complained to the UN about it). It was just a stupid Seth Rogen and James Franco comedy right? Not entirely right.

Writers like Adrian Hong of The Atlantic panned it even before it was released, for trivializing and ignoring important issues.

“It is not a stand against totalitarianism, concentration camps, mass starvation, or state-sponsored terror,” she said. “It is, based on what we know of the movie so far, simply a comedy, made by a group of talented actors, writers, and directors, and intended, like most comedies, to make money and earn laughs.”

Wrong. It is indeed a comedy intended to make money, and it is furthermore full of stupid jokes about bodily functions. What do you expect from the genre? But, super serious journalists like Max Fisher of Vox are kind of overanalyzing it (just a little) when they write–in reference to a joke about whether Lil’ Kim has ordinary human bodily functions–that, “While Kim is thought to speak English, it’s difficult to imagine him ever discussing his ‘pee and poo.'”

No, shit, and I bet he also doesn’t invite clownish Western journalists to interview him in his private palace.

UPDATE: One more thing about that joke. It is in fact widely reported that Kim Jong-il claimed in his official biography that he doesn’t defecate. So even that widely panned joke was a real political criticism. That it sounds so stupid says more about the Kim mafia than it does about the critics. Admittedly I didn’t think to look into the matter until after I posted it, and Hollywood Reporter was already on it.

But he does do other crazy things, like complaining to the UN about a film and hosting basketball games with Dennis Rodman. The caricature of him in the film is not too far off as far as satirical bromance films go.

In fact, The Interview makes some good points about Kim and helps spread the messages about his regime’s human right’s violations. What follows are a few observations about the political and entertainment content of the film:
Continue reading

ChinaHush’s Hottest Blog Posts of 2014

This spring, I worked as the editor of ChinaHush. As part of my end of the year wrap-up, I would like to share the hottest blog posts I wrote for ChinaHush this year according to Google Analytics.

1.) The Most Disgusting Trains in China
Wang had the unfortunate shock of discovering the filth the next morning, when he had been looking for his phone under the covers, after he had slept under it the whole night. “You can clearly see the quilt wasn’t changed in a long time, nor was it hung to dry.”

As dirty as the blanket in Wang’s bed was, it is nowhere near the most disgusting train blanket in China, or the most disgusting train car. ChinaHush searched the internet to find some that will make you never think about riding a train again.
Read full article.

2.) China’s Most Polluted Cities of 2013
Greenpeace China released the summary of its 2013 survey of Chinese air quality, and the results are clear: The air isn’t.

Of the 74 cities in the report, none of them met the World Health Organization’s recommendations for particulate matter of 2.5 micrometers or less (PM2.5). Only five met the Chinese government’s less stringent standards for PM2.5 levels.
Read full article.

3.) Matchmaker Shares the Best Places to Pick Up Girls in Beijing
A matchmaker in Beijing shared information on where to look for single girls and what to look for in a recent issue of China Weekly (中国周刊).

The woman, Rong Chaoran, who works for a private dating website, singled out individual malls and brands, going so far as to diss the uneducated girls who shop at Xidan who are too poor to shop at Shin Kong Place.
Read full article.

4.) Vista Profiles Woman Forced into Sex Slavery by Japanese
Wei Shaolan hadn’t moved out of the mountains for very long before the Japanese invaded Guangxi. A Yao minority from a village outside of Guilin, she had recently married a Han man when she was captured by Japanese troops in December 1944. She remembers a soldier piercing her bamboo backpack to prevent her from running away, and she saw half a dozen other captured women. They became some of the over 100,000 sex slaves imprisoned by the Japanese during World War II.
Read full article.

5.) Father has Affair with Daughter’s Roommate, They Have Child
The scandalous story of a father having an affair with her daughter’s roommate and having a child went viral in February when the daughter exposed her father in order to get revenge.
Read full article.

6.) Anti-Chinese Protesters Yell at Mainland Shoppers in Hong Kong
On February 17, 100 Hong Kongese protested and yelled slurs targeting mainland Chinese shoppers in the crowded shopping district of Tsim Sha Tsui.

Protesters held signs that said “locusts” and “zhi-na” (支那), a slur that has been linked to the Japanese invasion of China, and waving colonial era Hong Kong flags. Some of them approached mainland shoppers and yelled at them.
Read full article.

7.) Expats: It’s Your Own Fault if You Don’t Integrate
“Why do so many foreigners still insist upon living in a land where, at this point in history, integration is impossible?” Kevin McGeary writes in a post at The Nanfang.

I am reading his post while I sit in a coffee shop after getting back from seeing the plum blossoms at Zijin Mountain with two Chinese college students I met yesterday at Xuanwu Lake (see post: Plum Blossom Festival photos). I met the two students when one of them looked at me and said, “Hello,” and I replied, “Nihao.” They were so happy to met me. Li Jiawei said I was the first foreign friend she has ever made.
Read full article.

The Hottest Blog Posts of 2014

It’s the end of the year, so you know what that means: end of the year posts.

What were the hottest posts on China Travel Writer according to Google Analytics?

1.) Xinhua Reports Snowden Claims Aliens Control the U.S.

Xinhua, China’s state press agency, reported on the morning of January 28 that Snowden had claimed aliens controlled the United States. They deleted the story within 24 hours, but the story has spread all over the Chinese blogosphere and become a trending topic on Sina Weibo.
Read full article.

2.) Dispute Over United Airlines Canceled Flight
After United Airlines canceled a flight and lied about the reason, denying compensation, I wrote about my experiences, and United ultimately issued me a travel voucher.
First post: United Airlines Flight Canceled Due to Crew
Second post: United Lies then Doesn’t Compensate for Canceled Flight

3.) Results of the Final Occupy Central Deliberation Day: Here are the Three Proposals that Made the Referendum Ballot
Today, they deliberated over 15 proposals and 2,594 of their members voted. On June 22, they will include the three winning proposals in a referendum they are hosting that will be open to Hong Kong residents, and then they will demand the government adopt the winning proposal.
Read full post.

4.) 6 Books Describing Wenzhou People as “The Jews of China”
The people of Wenzhou city in Zhejiang province are lauded in China for apparently being very successful and business savvy. The Wenzhou people are referred to as “the Jews of China,” and there are even lots of media accounts and books using this phrase to describe them. Here are some selections from Taobao:
Read full post.

5.) Obama Offers Ambiguous Backing of Japan on Senkaku Islands, Resurrects 2013 Syria Argument
President Obama expressed the “We Didn’t Start the Fire” doctrine during his visit in Tokyo, stating that the Senkaku Islands, disputed by China but administered by Japan, would fall under the U.S.-Japan security agreement if China claimed them by force, but the strength of his support remains very ambiguous.

He didn’t start the fire. It was always burning since the U.S. and Japan signed the revised Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan in 1960. The flames were lit in 1938 when the Second Sino-Japanese War began. Or in 1931 when…
Read full article.

6.) Sarah Palin Endorses Religious War
2008 Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is being torn apart, even by a few Christian conservatives, saying she supported waterboarding at the National Riffle Association convention. She said, “If I were in charge, they would know that waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists.”
Read full article.