Infamous Angel Island—the Ellis Island of America’s West Coast

October 22, 2014

There is a poem on the Statue of Liberty that ends with “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Angel Island in San Francisco Bay was America’s west coast Ellis Island, but those famous last lines on the Statue of Liberty Poem did not apply to the Chinese and other Asians.

From 1919 to 1940, mostly Asian immigrants entered the US through Angel Island.

After 1940, the immigration station on Angel Island was forgotten until a California Park Ranger, Alexander Weiss, discovered the stories carved in the walls.

He thought that there were stories here as if there were ghosts waiting to be heard.

Over half of the Angel Island immigrants came from China and Japan and most of the carvings on the walls were poems written in Chinese.

A former detainee, Dale Ching, went through the station in 1937 when he was sixteen.  Even though Dale’s father was born in the United States, he still had to go through the immigration station.

While the East Coast’s Ellis Island welcomed immigrants, Angel Island’s story was one of sadness and suffering.

Most European immigrants who went through Ellis Island stayed a few hours, but immigrants on Angel Island were kept locked up under armed guard with barbed-wire fences surrounding the buildings and some people stayed for days, weeks, months and years.

The park service wanted to tear the Angel Island buildings down but Weiss found supporters and they struggled to preserve this history.  They succeeded and the restoration project was challenging.

Alexander Weiss sums up the video saying we should know both the right and the wrong from U.S. history.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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Let’s take a close look at how many deadbeats there are in the United States living off welfare

October 13, 2014

If you live in China and you think the streets in America are paved in gold, take a close look at how many deadbeats there are in the United States living off welfare, and you might be surprised who the real welfare queens are.

First, a few numbers to get started: there are more than 316 million Americans and 150.8 million are between the ages of 18 to 65—the primary working years for adults. In 2013, 47.1 million Americans lived below the poverty level; 73.6 million were under the age of 18, and 44.6 million were age 65 or older.

Wow, and in September 2014, there were 146.6 million Americans who were working at paid jobs.

But, a few, far-right billionaire oligarchs—for instance, the Walton family and the Koch brothers, and the fools who swallow their propaganda—think that more people in the United States are on welfare and are deadbeats than those who are working and supporting them.

I think it is arguable and safe to say that it would be a misleading lie that the majority of the Americans who are not working are deadbeats on welfare. Only a fool could think that. Is it possible that there are only 4.2 million Americans—who could be deadbeats—between 18 and 65 who do not have a paying job—that’s only 1.328% of the total population? I bet most of those 4.2 million are probably disabled and can’t work or are a stay at home parent.

Did you know ABC reported that Americans work more than anyone in the industrialized world—more than the English, the French, the Germans or Norwegians and even, recently, more than the Japanese?

In addition, according to the OECD, in the United States 67% [that is almost 70%] of people aged 15 to 64 [the working class years] have a paid job. … And having a good education is an important requisite for finding a job. In the United States, 89% of adults aged 25-64 have earned the equivalent of a high-school degree, higher than the OECD average of 75%—and yet some billionaires, including Bill Gates [worth almost $80 billion], the Koch brothers and the Walton family, would have you believe that the public education system in the United States is failing and must be reformed.

20 Something Finance even says “The U.S. is the Most Overworked Developed Nation in the World.” And Business Insider says the average person spends 90,000 hours at work over their lifetime—based on a 5 day 8 hour workweek with a two week vacation annually, that equals 45 years. I worked 45 years, starting at 15 and I retired at 60.  My retirement check comes from CalSTRS, and I paid 8% of my gross income into CalSTRS for the 30 years I was a classroom teacher.

But a Houston based billionaire, according to the Democratic Underground, is attacking public pensions with a goal to kill the guaranteed-benefit plans that are run by teacher retirement systems in every state. This billionaire’s name is John Arnold, who is worth $2.9 billion dollars. Arnold runs a Houston-based hedge fund, and before that he worked for Enron, and it is said that he earned $750 million for Enron the year it went out of business. Huh, how do you earn $750 million for a company that goes out of business the same year?

Contrary to the popular thinking of fools, Social Security is not a form of welfare because workers and employers pay into that program for their entire working life, and in 2013, there were 38 million retired workers—nine out of ten individuals age 65 or older—who collected an average monthly benefit of $1,294. There were 4.9 million dependents; 8.8 million disabled workers, who were paid an average of $1,145 a month, and 6.2 million survivors—survivors are young children and a surviving spouse who cares for the children.

What about food stamps—a real welfare program?

From Media Matters.org we learn that nearly half (47% or 23 million), who get food stamps, were under the age of 18, and another 8 percent (3.9 million) were 60 or older; 41% (more than 20 million) lived in a household with earnings from a job. These workers are known as the “working poor”, and the average household on food stamps received a monthly benefit of $287.

And, these so-called deadbeats—that a few billionaires and a lot of fools think outnumber working Americans—are allegedly robbing us blind while they sit around drinking beer, eating popcorn and watching TV or having sex 18-hours a day to make more babies so they can collect more food stamps. If you believe that, then you might want to look in a mirror to see a fool.

If these billionaires succeed, what will replace progressive era plans like CalSTRS, Social Security, Medicare, unemployment and food stamps?

If we look back at history, we might discover the answer to that question. In 1900, before Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Taft, Wilson, FDR, Kennedy and LBJ, ushered in the progressive era, 40-percent of Americans lived in poverty with only a 5% unemployment rate, and up until 1938, in some states, children could be sold as young as five to factories, coal mines and whorehouses. Imagine your five-year old child working as a prostitute, because boys and girls were sold into prostitution back then when the U.S. was ruled by capitalist Robber Barons.

Is this the America a few billionaires, with help from some fools, are fighting to get back?

By the way, did you watch the video that comes with this post? It really is an educational eye opener.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves

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Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

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Steel—NOT steal—from China

October 7, 2014

I read a post on So Far From Heaven.com (a blog) about U.S. dependence on China for steel.

As usual, when I read a claim and/or complaint about China, I often research the issue to see if the complaint is valid.

What I discovered in this case was another lie—the type often generated and spread by Sinophobes, who fear or dislike China, its people, or its culture. Then again, these critics could be McCarthyites, who will publicize accusations of political disloyalty or subversion with insufficient regard to evidence and/or the use of unfair investigatory or accusatory methods in order to suppress opposition.

So Far From Heaven’s post complained that the poor quality of tools in the United States was because of Chinese steel, which, I discovered, probably has nothing to do with steel produced in China, but more to do with capitalism/consumerism and planned obsolescence.

Britannica.com says of planned obsolescence that “This term was supposedly coined after World War II by American industrial designers and writers to indicate industry’s desire to produce consumer items that would be replaced.”

For example, if a U.S. company wants its tools to wear out within a specific time frame, the company’s designers and engineers are told to come up with products that will need to be replaced, which helps boosts profits when customers have to buy a replacement—that is called capitalism 101.

In addition, since most products manufactured in China for the U.S. market are ordered by American companies such as Wal-Mart, Apple, Home Depot and Lowe’s, the contracts often specify exactly how the product is to be manufactured, and the American side of the manufacturing equation decides the quality and life span of the product. If you want to learn more about this business practice, I suggest visiting the China Law Blog to discover how it works.

To discover if the U.S. depends on Chinese produced steel for manufacturing products sold to U.S. consumers, I spent some time Googling (another term is research) for facts—something Sinophobes and/or McCarthyites should do before spreading opinions that are false.

What I discovered about Chinese steel may surprise you.

From InfoPlease.com, I learned the U.S. produced about half of the world’s steel in 1945.

“After World War II,” InfoPlease.com said, “the U.S. steel industry faced increased competition from Japanese and European producers, who rebuilt and modernized their industries. Later, many Third World countries, such as Brazil, built their own steel industries, and large U.S. steelmakers faced increased competition from smaller, nonunion mills (“mini-mills”) that recycle scrap steel.” Did you notice that China or Communism wasn’t mentioned once in this paragraph?

CRS Report for the US Congress said, “China’s steel industry has grown significantly since the mid-1990s. China is now the world’s largest steelmaker and steel consumer. In 2009, China produced over 567 million tons of crude steel, nearly half of the world’s steel. That was 10 times the U.S. production.”

However, CRS reported, “The majority of Chinese steel has been used to meet domestic demand in China.”

Today, the United States is in third place for steel production while Japan is the second largest producer of steel. Source: Index Mundi.com

Here’s the surprise—the United States steel industry exports steel to China. For example, in 2004, the U.S. exported 8 million tons of steel to China up from 5 million tons in 2000 and by 2010, China was buying $34.5 billion in steel from countries such as the U.S., Australia, and Brazil to meet its domestic needs.

I wonder what the Chinese were doing with the U.S. steel being exported to China. Is it possible that products made in China to be sold in the U.S. were being produced using steel made in the U.S.?

In fact, John Surma, president and CEO of US Steel Corp, said, “China generally has been good for our industry.”

Meanwhile, we learn from Qingfeng Zhang writing for Perspectives that the United States produces approximately 80% of its domestic steel demand.

In addition, the US imports finished steel products from a large number of countries. The EU has been the biggest exporter with about five-million tons shipped to the United States in 2001. Canada is the second largest exporter shipping four-million tons, followed by South Korea (2 million tons), Japan (1.8 million tons) and Mexico (1.5 million tons).

China does import steel to the U.S.  The US Department of Commerce reported, “U.S. imports from China represent a total of 4.9 percent of all U.S. steel imports.” In 2010, steel imports to the U.S. totaled 23.9 million tons while America produced nearly 88.5 million tons of steel between January and December 2010. China’s share of steel imports to the U.S. would have been 1.17 million tons, or about 1 percent of that 112.4 million tons of domestic plus imported steel.

You tell me, does the U.S. depend on China for steel to meet domestic demand?

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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Hong Kong’s short history with Democracy—the facts will not set you free

October 4, 2014

It’s arguable that the history of democracy in Hong Kong is so short, it never existed.

China never willingly leased Hong Kong to the British Empire in 1842. Instead, China lost Hong Kong during the Opium Wars, and later leased adjacent terrorists to the British under duress when, in 1860, at the end of the Second Opium War, the UK gained a perpetual lease over the Kowloon Peninsula, which is the mainland Chinese area just across the strait from Hong Kong Island. This agreement was part of the Convention of Beijing that ended that conflict

In 1898, the British and Chinese governments signed the Second Convention of Peking, which included a 99-year lease agreement for the islands surrounding Hong Kong, called the “New Territories.”

On December 19, 1984, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang signed the Sino-British Joint Declaration, in which Britain agreed to return not only the New Territories but also Kowloon and Hong Kong itself when the lease term expired on July 1, 1997. China promised to implement a “One Country, Two Systems” regime, under which for fifty years Hong Kong citizens could continue to practice capitalism and political freedoms forbidden on the mainland.

However, for almost all of its history under British rule, executive power in Hong Kong has been concentrated in the hands of the colony governor, a position appointed by the British crown without any democratic input from Hong Kong citizens. The introduction of elected representatives determined by local elections, even limited to the role of “advisory councils,” did not begin until after the 1984 agreements by the British to hand Hong Kong over to China.

In conclusion, democracy in Hong Kong did not exist under British rule, but the British felt it would be acceptable once Hong Kong was returned to China.

But that history hasn’t stopped media critics in the United States from bashing China for the recent student-led unrest in Hong Kong that has been dubbed the “Umbrella Revolution”.

Now, I want to return to the title of this post. It should have said: “The non-existent History of Democracy in Hong Kong”, because Hong Kong has never been a democracy.

Is it possible that the so-called Umbrella Revolution in Hong Kong is a deliberate diversion from another truth?

Critics in the United States should be aware of the long history of America’s support for brutal dictators and authoritarian governments, before claiming that the United States supports democracy anywhere.

The previous video is a bit out of date but it still supports the idea that we should never accept what anyone says or claims.  Instead, we should pay attention to what they have done and what they are still doing, and the United States has the biggest private-sector weapons industry in the world.

In addition, Global Issues reports: “Heavy militarization of a region increases the risk of oppression on local people. Consequently reactions and uprisings from those oppressed may also be violent. The Middle East is a current example, while Latin America is an example from previous decades, where in both cases, democracies or popular regimes have (or had) been overthrown with foreign assistance, and replaced with corrupt dictators or monarchs. Oppression (often violent) and authoritarianism rule has resulted. Sometimes this also itself results in terrorist reactions that lash out at other innocent people.”

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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Taking the train to Tibet

September 30, 2014

Many know Tibet as the Roof of the World. For centuries, Tibet was isolated mostly because it was difficult and time consuming for anyone to go there—even armies.

In 1903, the British Empire sent an army to Tibet to protect its interests, and it took a year for Sir Francis Younghusband’s invasion force to reach Lhasa in August 1904.

A book was written about that invasion, The British Empire & Tibet 1900-1922. Asian Affairs says, “The great value of Dr. Palace’s study is to highlight the much neglected China angle to the Tibetan issue … [this book is] helping to indicate the very important place of the Tibetan affair in the story of Western imperialism”

Today, the journey to Tibet is not as daunting.  Besides an airport, there is the train that leaves Beijing and arrives in Lhasa forty-eight hours later. The length of the rail line is 1,215 miles (1,956 km), and it was opened for travelers July 2006.

Tourists, both foreign and Chinese, take the train to Tibet to learn more about the people while others stay—changing the demographics.

The train to Tibet sometimes reaches elevations over 5,000 meters (16,404 feet).

One Western tourist, who had been to Tibet twice, said that the ethnic groups in Tibet are not mixing together. She said there was a Chinese area and another where Tibetans lived.

Makes sense—in American cities emigrants tend to stick close to their ethnic/cultural group. In the past, there have been Irish, Jewish, and German communities, and today there are Vietnamese, Latino or Chinatowns.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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Corruption in Asia and the Power of the Peasant in China

April 29, 2014

Corruption is a fact-of-life in Asia, and China may be one of the few countries in Asia doing something about it.

The Corruption Perceptions Index of 2013 reveals most of Asia is “very” corrupt—the smaller number is better and 175 is the worst global ranking, and that infamy is shared between Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia.

Of 177 countries ranked for corruption, Myanmar (Burma) was ranked 157; Iraq 171; Laos 140; Cambodia 160; Vietnam 116, and Indonesia 114.

Even India, the world’s largest democracy, was ranked 94. Singapore, by comparison, is 5th—one of the least corrupt countries in the world and it’s tied with Norway. The countries with the least corruption in the world were Denmark tied with New Zeeland. Third place goes to Finland and Sweden, another tie.

Thailand, another democracy, was ranked 102, but China—you know—the country that gets so much bad press in the United States for corruption, was ranked 80th—55% of the world’s countries were rated worse.

The power of the Chinese peasant demonstrated in this video may have something to do with China’s improved score as one of the least corrupt nations in East Asia. Few were better than China. South Korea was ranked 46 and Japan 18 which is better than the United States at 19.

It may come as a surprise to many Western critics but in rural China, democracy’s ballot box has been active at the village level since the mid-1980s. In fact, in 1997, The Independent reported that China’s rural peasants were discovering the power of the ballot box.

“Under Communist Party rule, village elections are the only example of one-person, one-vote democracy in China. Launched in the mid-eighties, they were originally introduced to replace the village communes that were dissolved after the Cultural Revolution.”

Few outside China have heard of China’s rural democracy. Nearly one million villages with 600 million Chienese hold elections and each time there is an election, the peasants learn more about democracy in action.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

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A captivating story of Shanghai and China set in the early 20th century

April 8, 2014

Night in Shanghai by Nicole Mones kept me reading late into the night until I finished the book in record time. It’s all there: love, intrigue, suspense, drama, music and history masterly woven through the story.

Thomas Greene is an African American classical pianist who is recruited by Lin Ming—the illegitimate son of the powerful leader of Shanghai’s Green Gang, Du Yue-Sheng—to leave the United States and lead a jazz band of fellow African-Americans in Shanghai. It’s in Shanghai where Thomas discovers a life that isn’t plagued by the poverty and the racial discrimination he knew in America, and he falls in love with the city and people with no intention of going home.

Thomas has a lusty affair with a beautiful Russian refugee and makes friends with Jews fleeing the madness of Hitler’s Germany. Then Thomas meets the woman who will fill his life with passion and love. Her name is Song Yuhua, but she is the property of Du Yeu-Sheng. Song’s father gave her to the gangster to pay off a gambling debt.

In addition, you’ll discover the story of the Chinese Schindler, who risked his life while working in Europe as a Chinese diplomat to save more Jews than the real Schindler did—there should be a film about his courage but at least we now have this novel.

You’ll also discover the efforts by both some Chinese and China’s Japanese invaders to protect the Jews who escaped to China. Hitler pressured both Chiang Kai-shek and Japan’s leaders to kill all the Jews in China, but they refused. Instead, they did something no other country on the earth—even the United States—did. Chinese leaders and Japan’s military leaders in China protected the Jews and offered them a safe haven during the horrors of World War II.

And I learned something new—that Chiang Kai-shek admired Adolf Hitler. This kicked my curiosity into high gear and I did some Google research to discover that Chiang Kai-shek and Hitler were friends who admired each other. The two first met in 1912. In 1913, they even rented a room together in Munich. After Japan invaded China, Chiang asked Hitler’s for help with the Japanese but he didn’t know that Hitler was already forming a military alliance with Japan. In fact, The Nationalist Chinese led by Chiang Kai-shek cooperated with the Nazis from the late 1920s until the late 1930s.

“Night in Shanghai” also makes it clear that the Chinese Communists under Mao were nationalists first and communists second. In my Google research I discovered that the communists proclaimed: “There is the ‘patriotism’ of the Japanese aggressors and of Hitler, and there is our patriotism. Communists must resolutely oppose the ‘patriotism’ of the Japanese aggressors and of Hitler.”

The first character we meet in the novel is Song Yuhua. Near the end of the story, as the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor is imminent, she must choose between her loyalty to the Chinese Communists and her love for Thomas Greene. You’ll have to read the book to discover her choice.

I received an advanced reading copy of this novel through Amazon Vine and this review is my own opinion of the novel.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

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