Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Attorney Tony Pham is recognized as Leader in Public Safety at the Asian American Appreciation Day on Dec 3 in Fairfax - Virginia

Press Release

Wednesday, November 30, 2011
VVA Press Contact:
Vel Hernandez
(703) 362-7873

Asian American Appreciation Day to Honor Attorney Tony Pham
for Efforts in Public Safety


Local, state and national leaders to be recognized at Dec. 3 event


FAIRFAX, Va. (Nov. 30) Asian American Appreciation Day, hosted by Voice of Vietnamese Americans in coalition with other local organizations on December 3, will recognize attorney Tony Pham for his efforts in bringing much needed attention to public safety and crime prevention.

Mr. Pham, who is the immediate past president of Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Virginia (APABA-VA), rallied local police departments in Fairfax and Richmond, Va. and brought to their attention the recent trends of crimes involving Asian American victims, including the unsolved murder case of Vanessa Pham (no relation). He will be receiving the Leader in Public Safety Award.

“Over the past years, our community has regrettably been inflicted with an alarming rate of violent crimes involving AAPI victims,” Genie Nguyen, VVA President, said. “We are extremely grateful for Mr. Pham’s tireless work. His efforts in making public safety a priority have made lasting impacts on our community, and as we continue to support him in his tremendous endeavors, we deeply thank him.”

Mr. Pham, who is currently General Counsel of Richmond City Sherriff’s Office, successfully secured the participation of several Fairfax County Police Department officials and helped organize a compelling Public Safety presentation at VVA’s Asian American Community Advocacy and Resource Day, which over 100 local residents attended. FCPD Detective Robert Bond spoke about the ongoing criminal investigation into the murder of Vanessa Pham, 19, who was killed last summer in Fairfax. Other officials presented crime and gang prevention tips.

Earlier this year at the 2011 Vietnamese American Youth Leadership Conference organized by National Congress of Vietnamese Americans and supported by VVA, Mr. Pham participated as a panelist and talked to dozens of young Vietnamese Americans about public safety and his line of work as an attorney.

Other award honorees at the Dec. 3 event include U.S. Senator Jim Webb, U.S. Senator Mark Warner, Congressman Gerry Connolly, and other elected leaders and community advocates at the state and local levels. Please see the below for the full list of award honorees. The event is free and open to the public.

“The increasing challenges our people facing daily have illuminated the stellar leadership Virginians in Fairfax enjoy, and we are very grateful,” said Genie Nguyen, VVA President. “We are thankful for leadership by Senator Jim Webb, Senator Mark Warner, many state senators, state delegates and county leaders as well as the countless community advocates who have worked hard all year long to protect the diverse interests of Virginians.”

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Asian American Appreciation Day

December 3, 2011 – 10:00 am – 03:00pm

Fairfax County Government Center

12000 Government Center Parkway

Fairfax, VA 22035

The event is hosted by Voice of Vietnamese Americans, in coalition with many other local Asian Americans
and civic engagement organizations. Please join us to honor our leaders from the Commonwealth of Virginia.


Award Honorees

Congressional Leaders:

Leader in Foreign Affairs:

The Honorable Jim Webb, U.S. Senator from Virginia

Leader in Jobs and Economic Development:

The Honorable Mark Warner, U.S. Senator from Virginia

Leader in Health Care and Education:

The Honorable Gerry Connolly, U.S. Congressman from Virginia*

Leader in Human Rights Advocacy:

The Honorable Frank Wolf, U.S. Congressman from Virginia

Cultural and Diversity Leader:

Reme Grefalda, the Library of Congress, Asian Division, APA Collection

Legislative Leaders in the Commonwealth of Virginia:

The Honorable Janet Howell, State Senator (VA-32)

The Honorable Vivian Watts, State Delegate (VA-39)*
The Honorable Mark Keam, State Delegate (VA-35)*

Best County Management Leader in the Commonwealth of Virginia:

The Honorable Sharon Bulova, Chairman of Fairfax County Board of Supervisors*

Mason District Best Leader:

Supervisor Penelope A. Gross

Business Leaders:

Asian American Chamber of Commerce
Asian Real Estate Association of America, DC Metro Chapter

Education Leaders:

Ilryong Moon, Member of Fairfax County School Board, At-Large

Sandy Evans, Member of Fairfax County School Board, Mason District

Public Safety Leader:

Tony Pham, General Counsel, Richmond City Sheriff’s Office

Youth Training Leader:

The Vietnamese Youth Education Association


Advocacy Leaders:

Christine Chen - APIA Vote

Kevin Simowitz - Virginia Organizing
Vel Hernandez - Voice of Vietnamese Americans


*
Denotes confirmed attendance among elected officials. More to come.


Please bring an item to contribute to our care packages for our troops abroad.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Sen. Mark Warner Expresses Greetings for Asian American Appreciation Day


In anticipation of VVA's Asian American Appreciation Day on December 3, U.S. Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, a longtime supporter of Virginia's Vietnamese American and AAPI communities, has expressed support and war
m greetings to all attendees and participants at next month's event.


Once again, we deeply thank Sen. Warner for the tremendous support he has shown in serving and helping our growing Asian American community.





















United States Senator
Washington, D.C.


December 3, 2011

Dear Friends,

I am pleased to extend warm greetings to all who are gathered for the Voice of Vietnamese Americans' Virginia "Appreciation Day".

This event is an occasion to honor the strength of the mission that characterizes your organization as well as the various other civic organizations which are part of today's efforts. The programs and services you offer provide important resources to make a positive impact on families and workers in Virginia. You continually provide information regarding jobs, health care and transportation issues as well as promote small businesses. I commend all those who work with your organization to help strengthen the community and improve the lives of others.

On this important occasion, I am very pleased to join with your families, friends and community in wishing the Vietnamese American community the very best for a successful meeting.

Sincerely,

s/Mark. R. Warner

MARK R. WARNER
United States Senator






ASIAN AMERICAN APPRECIATION DAY Dec 3 - Honoring Leadership from Fairfax, Virginia

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ASIAN AMERICAN APPRECIATION DAY -
Honoring Leadership from Fairfax, Virginia


“The increasing challenges our people facing daily
have illuminated the stellar leadership Virginians in Fairfax enjoy,
and we are very grateful” – Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders



AWARD HONOREES

Congressional Leaders:
Leader in Foreign Affairs:
The Honorable Jim Webb, U.S. Senator from Virginia
Leader in Jobs and Economic Development:
The Honorable Mark Warner, U.S. Senator from Virginia
Leader in Health Care and Education:
The Honorable Gerry Connolly, U.S. Congressman from Virginia
Leader in Human Rights Advocacy:
The Honorable Frank Wolf, U.S. Congressman from Virginia

Cultural and Diversity Leader:
Reme Grefalda, the Library of Congress, Asian Division, APA Collection

Legislative Leaders in the Commonwealth of Virginia:
The Honorable Janet Howell, State Senator (VA-32)
The Honorable Vivian Watts, State Delegate (VA-39)
The Honorable Mark Keam, State Delegate (VA-35)

Best County Management Leader in the Commonwealth of Virginia:
The Honorable Sharon Bulova, Chairman of Fairfax County Board of Supervisors

Mason District Best Leaders:
Supervisor Penelope A. Gross

Business Leaders:

Asian American Chamber of Commerce
Asian Real Estate Association of America, DC Metro Chapter

Education Leaders:
Ilryong Moon, Member of Fairfax County School Board, At-Large
Sandy Evans, Member of Fairfax County School Board, Mason District
Public Safety Leader:

Tony Pham, General Counsel, Richmond City Sheriff’s Office


Youth Training Leader:

The Vietnamese Youth Education Association

Advocacy Leaders:
Christine Chen - APIA Vote
Kevin Simowitz - Virginia Organizing Project
Velginy Hernandez – Voice of Vietnamese Americans


On Saturday, December 3rd, Asian American Pacific Islanders will have their first “Appreciation Day” at the Fairfax Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035, from 10:00am – 03:00pm. The event is hosted by Voice of Vietnamese Americans, in coalition with many other Asian Americans and Civic Engagement Organizations. Please join us to honor our Leaders from the Commonwealth of Virginia. The event is free and open to the public. Please bring an item to contribute to our Care Packages to our troops abroad.

Hosted by Voice of Vietnamese Americans, in Coalition with: the Asian American Chamber of Commerce, the Asian Real Estate Association of America – Metro Chapter, Asian Fortune Newspaper, Asian Pacific Islander American Vote, Brigitte Galleries, the Indian American Forum of Political Education - VA chapter, Skillsource, Virginia Organizing Project.


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Asian Real Estate Association of America- D.C.Metro Chapter to be Named Leader in Serving the AAPI Housing Needs of Virginia At AAPI Appreciation Day

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For Immediate Release
Contact: Genie Nguyen
703-593-7182


Asian Real Estate Association of America-DC Metro Chapter to be Named Leader in Serving the AAPI Housing Needs of Virginia At Asian American Appreciation Day on Dec 3 in Fairfax

Fairfax, Va. -- Asian American Appreciation Day, hosted by Voice of Vietnamese Americans (VVA) in coalition with many other AAPI communities, will recognize Asian Real Estate Association of America-DC Metro Chapter (AREAA-Metro Chapter) as Leader in Serving the Housing Needs of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community of Fairfax County and Virginia.

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have historically very high demand for housing. For years, these needs were not easily addressed due to language and cultural barriers. AREAA responded to the needs by supporting professional realtors from AAPI communities with valuable knowledge, skills, and support systems. With the national organization headquarter based in California, the AREAA-Metro Chapter was established in 2008 to serve the AAPI communities in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia.

“Since the beginning of the housing crisis in 2009, AREAA-Metro Chapter has championed foreclosure prevention efforts in Fairfax and Prince William Counties, helping hundreds of families keep their homes,” said Genie Nguyen, VVA President. “AREAA-Metro Chapter also led educational sessions for AAPI realtors to provide information about properties in distress and short sales. These sessions support neighborhoods’ stabilization efforts during the worst time in the housing market. Asian Americans appreciate the compassion illustrated through actions of the AREAA-Metro Chapter Board of Directors.”

Actively involved with grassroots organizations, AREAA–Metro Chapter also works closely with other real estate professional associations in the area and has partnerships with the Northern Virginia Realtor Association (NVAR), the Greater Capital Area Association of Realtors (GCAAR), and many financial institutions such as Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, as well as with other professionals in the real estate related industry.

“We are planning to have an International and Commercial Committee to serve increased Asian Americans’ demands” said Grace Choi, AREAA-Metro President, “as well as setting up more educational sessions in default properties with real connections to all the Asset Managers, to support our member realtors.”

George Soo Hoo, Chairman of AREAA-Metro Chapter, proudly asserts: “Our members enjoy tremendous benefits, ranging for valuable connections with financial institutions, asset managers, housing policy makers to a vast networks and support system, from local, state, to national and international level,” Chairman Soo Hoo is also the attorney leading an established Title and Settlement Company.

At the same time, Song Hutchins, Founder of the Chapter, emphasizes that her main focus remains on bringing homeownerships to all Asian Americans, to realize our American dreams. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are grateful to all the accomplishments that AREAA-Metro Chapter has contributed to our community.

“We invite everyone who cares about our nation’s housing market, our Commonwealth’s issues, and our Fairfax County quickly bounced back real estate values, to join us on December 3 in expressing our appreciation to all the volunteers working to propel AREAA-Metro Chapter,” said Ms. Nguyen.

Event: Asian American Appreciation Day
Date: Saturday, December 3, 2011
Time: 10:00 am – 03:00 pm
Venue: Fairfax County Government Center
12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035

Event is free and open to the public. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who are in the real-estate-related industry are highly encouraged to attend and be a member of AREAA-Metro Chapter – the leader in serving the AAPI’s housing needs.


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The mission of Voice of Vietnamese Americans is to empower Vietnamese Americans by promoting civic engagement through community organizing and capacity building. Voice of Vietnamese Americans enhances, defends, and protects the American core values of human rights, civil rights, democracy, liberty, and justice for all.


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Voice of Vietnamese Americans Stands with the People of Yemen In Calling for a Peaceful Transition to a Democratic Society

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For Immediate Release
November 28, 2011 \
Contact: Genie Nguyen
703-593-7182


Voice of Vietnamese Americans Stands with the People of Yemen
In Calling for a Peaceful Transition to a Democratic Society.



Washington D.C, November 28, 2011: Voice of Vietnamese Americans congratulates the United Nations’ success on November 23, in encouraging President Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen to sign the agreement to end his dictator regime.

Voice of Vietnamese Americans applauds President Saleh for his wise determination to step down, and urges all of Mr. Saleh's loyalists to respect his decision, to immediately stop violence in Sanaa. Voice of Vietnamese Americans urges all leaderships of Yemen to quickly form a government with equal participation of the opposition and the ruling party, to end the current chaos of the nation.

Voice of Vietnamese Americans stands in solidarity with the people of Yemen in their quest for a peaceful transition to a democratic society. As Americans, we thank our President Obama of the United States for taking a position to support the will of the people, to confirm the American values: that of liberty and justice for all.

Voice of Vietnamese Americans celebrates the global democratic movement, with hope and faith in humanity. We call for a few remaining authoritarian regimes to honor the United Nations’ Declaration of Human Rights, to recognize the power of the people, to bring about sustainable world peace.

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The mission of Voice of Vietnamese Americans is to empower Vietnamese Americans by promoting civic engagement through community organizing and capacity building. Voice of Vietnamese Americans enhances, defends, and protects the American core values of human rights, civil rights, democracy, liberty, and justice for all.


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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

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Nhân dịp Lễ Tạ Ơn, Tiếng Nói Người Mỹ gốc Việt xin chân thành cảm tạ sự hy sinh cao quý của nhừng chiến sĩ đã và đang chiến đấu cho tự do, dân chủ, và công bằng xã hội. Chúng tôi xin cố gắng để không phụ sự hy sinh cao cả của quý vị, và sẽ tiếp tục vinh danh lý tưởng tự do, dân chủ, nhân quyền, bình đẳng cho mọi người dân.

Tiếng Nói Người Mỹ gốc Việt xin tri ân mọi hỗ trợ của Quý vi Lãnh Đạo Tinh Thần, Lãnh Đạo Hội Đòan, Quý vị Giáo Sư Cố Vấn, và nhất là quý bạn trẻ cùng quý đồng hương.

Xin kính chúc quý vị một Lễ Tạ Ơn nhiều hạnh phúc, bình tâm, an tọai.

Xin hồn thiêng sông núi phù trợ chúng ta.



This Thanksgiving Day, Voice of Vietnamese Americans would like to express our sincere thanks to all who have blessed this life with their own sacrifices to the ideals of Democracy, Liberty, and Justice for all.

Voice of Vietnamese Americans would like to thank all of our community leaders, our advisers, our members and friends from all walks of life,

May many blessings come to you this season,

May your contributions to the community be great blessings to all others.

Our sincere thanks to all of your support given to Voice of Vietnamese Americans. We are very grateful and will strive to serve our community better together with all of you.

May God Bless America


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Asian American Appreciation Day On December 3 in Fairfax County, Virginia

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Asian American Community Advocacy and Resource Day

FAIRFAX, Va. (Nov. 21) – On Saturday, December 3rd, Asian American Pacific Islanders will have their first “Appreciation Day” at the Fairfax Government Center (12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035) from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. The event is hosted by Voice of Vietnamese Americans, in coalition with many other Asian American and Civic Engagement Organizations.

“The increasing challenges that our people face daily have illuminated the stellar leadership enjoyed by Virginians in Fairfax, and we are very grateful,” said Genie Nguyen, VVA President. “We are thankful to Senator Webb and Senator Warner representing Virginia; many State Senators and State Delegates representing Fairfax; Fairfax County Chairman Sharon Bulova; Mason District Supervisor Penelope Gross and other Supervisors; the Fairfax County School Board; as well as many strong community advocates who have worked hard to protect the diverse interests of Virginians.”

Fairfax County is regarded as one of the best-governed counties in the nation. Senator Warner is among the most experienced legislators in issues such as jobs, budget, and fiscal responsibility. Senator Webb championed the focus on foreign affairs in Asia and the Pacific, resulting in significant Trans-Pacific-Partnerships that will raise US exports, translating to revenue and jobs for Americans.

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are trying our best to support Virginian leaders. We hope that this “Appreciation Day” will also inspire all AAPI voters and other ethnic Americans to be more engaged with our representatives at all levels. Voter registration will be conducted at this event.

For three weeks before the Nov. 8, 2011 general elections, VVA successfully mobilized a field team and several phone banks to contact Fairfax County residents to get out the vote. In August, VVA’s Asian American Community Advocacy and Resource Day drew area residents to meet and discuss our issues with nearly a dozen elected officials. In late October, nearly fifteen local candidates running for office, participated in VVA’s Candidates’ Forum at Mason District, where 22% voters are Asian American Pacific Islanders. This December 3, Asian American Appreciation Day hopes to spark the interest in our voters to join us in supporting our great leaders.

The event is free and open to the public. To be a sponsoring partner at Asian American Appreciation Day, please send an e-mail to voice.vietnameseamericans26@gmail.com.


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The mission of Voice of Vietnamese Americans is to empower Vietnamese Americans by promoting civic engagement through community organizing and capacity building. Voice of Vietnamese Americans enhances, defends, and protects the American core values of human rights, civil rights, democracy, liberty, and justice for all.



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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Richard Koo: turmoil results when policymakers do not understand balance sheet recessions

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Richard Koo examined the history of recession cycles worldwide, especially the cycle in Japan, to point out that at this time, the US Economy needs more revenue to stimulate growth. Drastic cuts of budget now can cause severe damage to our economy for a long time. For Japan, cutting spending as reactive decision in the 1990 recession cost them 10 years to climb out of the ditch. Now Japan suffers the national debt of 200% GDP. Americans can NOT afford the cuts.



Americans can NOT afford the cuts. Americans on main street ask for JOBS and pragmatic support to homegrown jobs. The American Jobs Act answers the demands. Congress should work more responsibly.


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Monday, November 14, 2011

VVA Congratulates the success of APEC 2011 hosted by President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama

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VVA Congratulates the success of APEC 2011 hosted by President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama on November 12 and November 13 in Honolulu, Hawaii.




Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum was established in 1989 to foster prosperity, cooperation, trade and investment.

The United States works within APEC to connect American exporters with markets in the Asia-Pacific region.

Today APEC has 21 member economies.

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The White House. President Barack Obama
APEC 2011
News Conference by President Obama

JW Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa
Kapolei, Hawaii

PRESIDENT OBAMA:
Good afternoon, everybody. Aloha. I want to begin by thanking the people of Hawaii for their extraordinary hospitality. Usually when Michelle and I and our daughters come back to visit, it's just one President, and this time we brought 21. So thank you so much for the incredible graciousness of the people of Hawaii -- and their patience, because I know that traffic got tied up a little bit.

Now, the single greatest challenge for the United States right now, and my highest priority as President, is creating jobs and putting Americans back to work. And one of the best ways to do that is to increase our trade and exports with other nations. Ninety-five percent of the world's consumers are beyond our borders. I want them to be buying goods with three words stamped on them: Made in America. So I've been doing everything I can to make sure that the United States is competing aggressively for the jobs and the markets of the future.

No region will do more to shape our long-term economic future than the Asia Pacific region. As I've said, the United States is, and always will be, a Pacific nation. Many of our top trading partners are in this region. This is where we sell most of our exports, supporting some 5 million American jobs. And since this is the world's fastest growing region, the Asia Pacific is key to achieving my goal of doubling U.S. exports -- a goal, by the way, which we are on track right now to meet.

And that's why I've been proud to host APEC this year. It's been a chance to help lead the way towards a more seamless regional economy with more trade, more exports, and more jobs for our people. And I'm pleased that we've made progress in three very important areas.

First, we agreed to a series of steps that will increase trade and bring our economies even closer. We agreed to a new set of principles on innovation to encourage the entrepreneurship that creates new businesses and new industries. With simplified customs and exemptions from certain tariffs we'll encourage more businesses to engage in more trade. And that includes our small businesses, which account for the vast majority of the companies in our economies.

We agreed to a new initiative that will make it easier and faster for people to travel and conduct business across the region. And yesterday, I was pleased to sign legislation, a new travel card that will help our American businessmen and women travel more easily and get deals done in this region.

I'd note that we also made a lot of progress increasing trade on the sidelines of APEC. As I announced yesterday, the United States and our eight partners reached the broad outlines of an agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. And today I’m pleased that Japan, Canada and Mexico have now expressed an interest in this effort.

This comes on the heels of our landmark trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia, which will support tens of thousands of American jobs.

And in my meeting with President Medvedev, we discussed how to move ahead with Russia’s accession to the WTO, which will also mean more exports for American manufacturers and American farmers and ranchers.

Second, APEC agreed on ways to promote the green growth we need for our energy security. We agreed to reduce tariffs on environmental goods and make it easier to export clean energy technologies that create green jobs. We raised the bar on ourselves and we’ll aim for even higher energy efficiencies. And we’re moving ahead with the effort to phase out fossil fuel subsidies. This would be a huge step toward creating clean energy economies and fighting climate change, which is a threat to both the beauty and the prosperity of the region.

Third, we’re redoubling our efforts to make sure that regulations are encouraging trade and job creation, not discouraging trade and job creation. And this builds on the work that we’re doing in the United States to get rid of rules and regulations that are unjustified and that are overly burdensome. Our APEC partners are joining us in streamlining and coordinating regulations so that we’re sparking innovation and growth even as we protect public health and our environment.

And finally, since many of the leaders here were also at the recent G20 summit, we continued our efforts to get the global economy to grow faster. APEC makes up more than half the global economy, and it will continue to play a key role in achieving the strong and balanced growth that we need.

As I’ve said, as the world’s largest economy, the best thing that the United States can do for the global economy is to grow our own economy faster. And so I will continue to fight for the American Jobs Act so that we can put our people back to work.

I was glad to see that Congress moved forward on one aspect of the jobs bill -- tax credits for companies that are hiring veterans. But we’ve got to do a lot more than that.

So, again, I want to thank the people of Hawaii for their extraordinary hospitality and for all that they’ve done to help make this summit such a success. I want to thank my fellow leaders for the seriousness and sense of common purpose that they brought to our work. And I believe that the progress we’ve made here will help create jobs and keep America competitive in a region that is absolutely vital not only for our economy but also for our national security.

So, with that, I’m going to take a few questions. I’ll start with Ben Feller of AP.

Q Thank you very much, Mr. President. I’d like to ask you about Iran. Did you get any specific commitments from Russia or China on tightening sanctions? Did you move them at all? And do you fear the world is running out of options short of military intervention to keep Iran from getting nuclear weapons?

PRESIDENT OBAMA:
One of the striking things over the last three years since I came into office is the degree of unity that we’ve been able to forge in the international community with respect to Iran. When I came into office, the world was divided and Iran was unified around its nuclear program. We now have a situation where the world is united and Iran is isolated. And because of our diplomacy and our efforts, we have, by far, the strongest sanctions on Iran that we’ve ever seen. And China and Russia were critical to making that happen. Had they not been willing to support those efforts in the United Nations, we would not be able to see the kind of progress that we’ve made.

And they’re having an impact. All our intelligence indicates that Iran’s economy is suffering as a consequence of this. And we’re also seeing that Iran’s influence in the region has ebbed, in part because their approach to repression inside of Iran is contrary to the Arab Spring that has been sweeping the Middle East.

So we are in a much stronger position now than we were two or three years ago with respect to Iran. Having said that, the recent IAEA report indicates what we already knew, which is, although Iran does not possess a nuclear weapon and is technically still allowing IAEA observers into their country, that they are engaging in a series of practices that are contrary to their international obligations and their IAEA obligations. And that’s what the IAEA report indicated.

So what I did was to speak with President Medvedev, as well as President Hu, and all three of us entirely agree on the objective, which is making sure that Iran does not weaponize nuclear power and that we don’t trigger a nuclear arms race in the region. That’s in the interests of all of us.

In terms of how we move forward, we will be consulting with them carefully over the next several weeks to look at what other options we have available to us. The sanctions have enormous bite and enormous scope, and we’re building off the platform that has already been established. The question is, are there additional measures that we can take. And we’re going to explore every avenue to see if we can solve this issue diplomatically.

I have said repeatedly and I will say it today, we are not taking any options off the table, because it’s my firm belief that an Iran with a nuclear weapon would pose a security threat not only to the region but also to the United States. But our strong preference is to have Iran meet its international obligations, negotiate diplomatically, to allow them to have peaceful use of nuclear energy in accordance with international law, but at the same time, forswear the weaponization of nuclear power.

And so we’re going to keep on pushing on that. And China and Russia have the same aims, the same objectives, and I believe that we’ll continue to cooperate and collaborate closely on that issue.

Dan Lothian.

Q Thank you, Mr. President. Last night at the Republican debate, some of the hopefuls -- they hope to get your job -- they defended the practice of waterboarding, which is a practice that you banned in 2009. Herman Cain said, “I don’t see that as torture.” Michelle Bachmann said that it’s “very effective.” So I’m wondering if you think that they’re uninformed, out of touch, or irresponsible?

PRESIDENT OBAMA:
That’s a multiple-choice question, isn’t it? (Laughter.) Let me just say this: They’re wrong. Waterboarding is torture. It’s contrary to America’s traditions. It’s contrary to our ideals. That’s not who we are. That’s not how we operate. We don’t need it in order to prosecute the war on terrorism. And we did the right thing by ending that practice.

If we want to lead around the world, part of our leadership is setting a good example. And anybody who has actually read about and understands the practice of waterboarding would say that that is torture. And that's not something we do -- period.

Norah O'Donnell.


Q
Thank you, Mr. President. If I could continue on that, the Republicans did have a debate on CBS last night. A lot of it was about foreign policy, and they were very critical of your record --

PRESIDENT OBAMA: That's shocking. (Laughter.)

Q So if I could get you to respond to something that Mitt Romney said. He said your biggest foreign policy failure is Iran. He said that if you are reelected Iran will have a nuclear weapon. Is Mitt Romney wrong?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I am going to make a practice of not commenting on whatever is said in Republican debates until they've got an actual nominee. But as I indicated to Ben in the earlier question, you take a look at what we've been able to accomplish in mobilizing the world community against Iran over the last three years and it shows steady, determined, firm progress in isolating the Iranian regime, and sending a clear message that the world believes it would be dangerous for them to have a nuclear weapon.

Now, is this an easy issue? No. Anybody who claims it is, is either politicking or doesn’t know what they're talking about. But I think not only the world, but the Iranian regime understands very clearly how determined we are to prevent not only a nuclear Iran but also a nuclear arms race in the region, and a violation of nonproliferation norms that would have implications around the world, including in the Asia Pacific region where we have similar problems with North Korea.

David Nakamura.

Q Thank you, Mr. President. Yesterday in a speech before business leaders, you said that you want China to play by the rules. And then your staff later said that, in a bilateral meeting with President Hu, that you expressed that American business leaders are growing frustrated with the pace of change in China's economy. What rules is China not playing by? What specific steps do you need to see from China? And what punitive actions is your administration willing to take, as you said it would yesterday, if China does not play by the rules?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, first of all, I also said yesterday that we welcome the peaceful rise of China. It is in America's interests to see China succeed in lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. China can be a source of stability and help to underwrite international norms and codes of conduct.

And so what we've done over the last two years is to try to develop a frank, consistent, open relationship and dialogue with China, and it's yielded considerable benefits -- for example, support for issues like Iran. But what I've also said to Chinese leadership since I came into office is that when it comes to their economic practices, there are a range of things that they have done that disadvantage not just the United States but a whole host of their trading partners and countries in the region.

The most famous example is the issue of China's currency. Most economists estimate that the RMB is devalued by 20 to 25 percent. That means our exports to China are that much more expensive, and their imports into the United States are that much cheaper. Now, there's been slight improvement over the last year, partly because of U.S. pressure, but it hasn’t been enough. And it's time for them to go ahead and move towards a market-based system for their currency.

We recognize they may not be able to do it overnight, but they can do it much more quickly than they’ve done it so far. And, by the way, that would not necessarily be a bad thing for the Chinese economy, because they’ve been so focused on export-driven growth that they’ve neglected domestic consumption, building up domestic markets. It makes them much more vulnerable to shocks in the global economy. It throws the whole world economy out of balance because they’re not buying as much as they could be from other countries.

And this is not something that’s inconsistent with where Chinese leadership say they want to go. The problem is, is that you’ve got a bunch of export producers in China who like the system as it is, and making changes are difficult for them politically. I get it. But the United States and other countries, I think understandably, feel that enough is enough.

That’s not the only concern we have. Intellectual property rights and protections -- companies that do business in China consistently report problems in terms of intellectual property not being protected. Now, that’s particularly important for an advanced economy like ours, where that’s one of our competitive advantages, is we’ve got great engineers, great entrepreneurs, we’re designing extraordinary new products. And if they get no protection and the next thing you know China is operating as a low-cost producer and not paying any fees or revenues to folks who invented these products, that’s a problem.

So those are two examples, but there are a number of others. These practices aren’t secret. I think everybody understands that they’ve been going on for quite some time. Sometimes, American companies are wary about bringing them up because they don’t want to be punished in terms of their ability to do business in China. But I don’t have that same concern, so I bring it up.

And in terms of enforcement, the other thing that we’ve been doing is actually trying to enforce the trade laws that are in place. We’ve brought a number of cases -- one that the U.S. press may be familiar with are the cases involving U.S. tires, where we brought very aggressive actions against China and won. And as a consequence, U.S. producers are in a better position, and that means more U.S. jobs.

So I think we can benefit from trade with China. And I want certainly to continue cultivating a constructive relationship with the Chinese government, but we’re going to continue to be firm in insisting that they operate by the same rules that everybody else operates under. We don’t want them taking advantage of the United States or U.S. businesses.

Jake Tapper.


Q Thank you, Mr. President. The other day you told ESPN that the scandal at Penn State -- which you said was heartbreaking -- should prompt some soul-searching throughout the nation. I’m wondering if you could elaborate on that, what exactly you meant and -- I know you’re a big fan of college sports -- if this something you think that is an indictment not just of what happened at Penn State, allegedly, but how athletics are revered in universities.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I think that’s the kind of soul-searching that I was referring to, Jake. You’re right, I’m a big college sports fan. I think that when it’s kept in perspective, college athletics not only provides a great outlet for competition for our young people, but helps to bring a sense of community and can help to brand a university in a way that is fun and important. But what happened at Penn State indicates that at a certain point, folks start thinking about systems and institutions and don’t think about individuals. And when you think about how vulnerable kids are, for the alleged facts of that case to have taken place and for folks not to immediately say, nothing else matters except making sure those kids are protected, that’s a problem.

It’s not unique to a college sports environment. I mean, we’ve seen problems in other institutions that are equally heartbreaking. Not all of them involve children, by the way. There have been problems, obviously, with respect to sexual abuse or assault directed against women, where institutions sort of closed ranks instead of getting on top of it right away. And that’s why I said I think all institutions, not just universities or sports programs, have to step back and take stock, and make sure that we’re doing everything we can to protect people who may be vulnerable in these circumstances, but also just keep in mind what’s important -- making sure that our excitement about a college sports program doesn’t get in the way of our basic human response when somebody is being hurt.

And it’s been said that evil can thrive in the world just by good people standing by and doing nothing. And all of us I think have occasion where we see something that’s wrong, we’ve got to make sure that we step up. That’s true in college athletics. That’s true in our government. That’s true everywhere.

Julianna Goldman.

Q Thank you, Mr. President. In conversations that you’ve had over the past couple of days with Asia Pacific leaders, have any of them brought up the rhetoric that we’re seeing from Republican presidential candidates when it comes to China? And does that kind of rhetoric or posturing jeopardize the progress that your administration has made with China and the Asia Pacific region as a whole?

THE PRESIDENT: I think most leaders here understand that politics is not always measured or on the level, and so most of our discussions have to do with substance: How do we put our people back to work right now? How do we expand trade? How do we expand exports?

I’ve been very frank with Chinese leaders, though, in saying that the American people across the board -- left, right and center -- believe in trade, believe in competition. We think we’ve got the best workers in the world. We think we’ve got the best universities, the best entrepreneurs, the best free market. We’re ready to go out there and compete with anybody. But there is a concern across the political spectrum that the playing field is not level right now.

And so, in conversations with President Hu and others, what I’ve tried to say is we have the opportunity to move in a direction in which this is a win-win: China is benefiting from trade with the United States; the United States is benefiting as well. Jobs are being created in the United States and not just in China. But right now things are out of kilter. And that is something that is shared across the board, as we saw with the recent vote on the Chinese currency issue in the Senate.

And I think leaders in the region understand that as China grows, as its economic influence expands, that the expectation is, is that they will be a responsible leader in the world economy -- which is what the United States has tried to do. I mean, we try to set up rules that are universal, that everybody can follow, and then we play by those rules. And then we compete fiercely. But we don’t try to game the system. That’s part of what leadership is about.

China has the opportunity to be that same type of leader. And as the world’s second-largest economy, I think that’s going to be important not just for this region, but for the world. But that requires them to take responsibility, to understand that their role is different now than it might have been 20 years ago or 30 years ago, where if they were breaking some rules, it didn’t really matter, it did not have a significant impact. You weren’t seeing huge trade imbalances that had consequences for the world financial system.

Now they’ve grown up, and so they’re going to have to help manage this process in a responsible way.

Laura Meckler.

Q Thank you, Mr. President. Why did you get rid of the aloha shirts and the grass skirts? (Laughter.) Are you at all concerned that it not appear that you’re having a party over here while so many people are living with such a tough economy? And I’m wondering if those perceptions were at all on your mind as you were making plans for this trip, which, by necessity, takes you to some pretty exotic and fun locations.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I got rid of the Hawaiian shirts because I had looked at pictures of some of the previous APEC meetings and some of the garb that had appeared previously, and I thought this may be a tradition that we might want to break. I suggested to the leaders -- we gave them a shirt, and if they wanted to wear the shirt, I promise you it would have been fine. But I didn’t hear a lot of complaints about us breaking precedent on that one.

With respect to this trip, look, this is a pretty nice piece of scenery here and I take enormous pride in having been raised in the state of Hawaii, but we’re here for business. We’re here to create jobs. We’re here to promote exports. And we’ve got a set of tangible, concrete steps that have been taken that are going to make our economy stronger, and that’s part of what our leadership has been about.

When I went to Europe last week, our job was to help shape a solution for the European crisis. And a lot of folks back home might have wondered, well, that’s Europe’s problem; why are we worrying about it? Well, if Europe has a major recession, and the financial system in Europe starts spinning out of control, that will have a direct impact on U.S. growth and our ability to create jobs and people raising their living standards.

The same is true out here. If we’re not playing out here in the world’s largest regional economy and the world’s fastest regional economy, if we’ve abandoned the field and we’re not engaged, American businesses will lose out and those jobs won’t be in the United States of America.

So part of my job is to make sure that the rules of the road are set up so that our folks can compete effectively. Part of my job is to sell America and our products and our services around the world, and I think we’ve done so very effectively.

And as I said, just to take the example of exports, we’re on track to double our exports since I came into office. That was a goal I set, and we’re on track to meet it. That’s actually been one of the stronger parts of our economic growth over the last couple of years. And I want to make sure that we keep on driving that.

Chuck Todd.


Q Thank you, Mr. President. The Republican co-chair of the super committee, Jeb Hensarling, went on TV today and said if the sequester happens -- this idea of the automatic cuts in Medicare and defense -- that there was plenty of motivation and plenty of votes to change the makeup of these automatic cuts.

I know you had a conversation with him about this and said that changing it in any way was off the table, that means you’re going to veto this bill, if that’s the case, if it ends up they can’t get a deal in the next 10 days.

And then, can you clarify your end of the “hot mic” conversation with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, as it involved Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Could I just say that Chuck is the only guy who asked two questions -- so far. So just -- when I cut off here, whoever was next in the queue -- I’m messing with you, Chuck.

With respect to the super committee, in August we negotiated to initiate a trillion dollars in cuts over the next 10 years -- primarily out of discretionary spending -- but we also said that in order for us to move towards a more stable fiscal condition that we’re going to have to get an additional $1.2 trillion -- minimum. I actually argued that we needed more than that. And the whole idea of the sequester was to make sure that both sides felt obligated to move off rigid positions and do what was required to help the country.

And since that time, they’ve had a lot of conversations, but it feels as if people continue to try to stick with their rigid positions rather than solve the problem.

Now, I’ve put forward a very detailed approach that would achieve $3 trillion-plus in savings. And it’s the sort of balanced approach that the American people prefer. It says everything is on the table. We’ve got to have discretionary spending cuts of the sort we’ve already put in place. We’ve got to have non-defense cuts. We’ve got to have defense cuts. We’re going to have to look at entitlement programs. We’ve got to reduce our health care costs. And we’re going to need additional revenue.

And when we’re talking about revenue, if we’ve got to raise money, it makes sense for us to start by asking the wealthiest among us to pay a little bit more before we start asking seniors, for example, to pay a lot more for their Medicare.

Now, this is the same presentation that I made to Speaker Boehner back in August. It’s the same kind of balanced approach that every single independent committee that’s looked at this has said needs to be done. And it just feels as if people keep on wanting to jigger the math so that they get a different outcome.

Well, the equation, no matter how you do it, is going to be the same. If you want a balanced approach that doesn’t gut Medicare and Medicaid, doesn’t prevent us from making investments in education and basic science and research -- all the things we’ve been talking about here at APEC, that every world leader understands is the key for long-term economic success -- then prudent cuts have to be matched up with revenue.

My hope is that over the next several days, the congressional leadership on the super committee go ahead and bite the bullet and do what needs to be done -- because the math won’t change. There’s no magic formula. There are no magic beans that you can toss on the ground and suddenly a bunch of money grows on trees. We got to just go ahead and do the responsible thing. And I’m prepared to sign legislation that is balanced, that solves this problem.

One other thing that I want to say about this: When I meet with world leaders, what’s striking -- whether it’s in Europe or here in Asia -- the kinds of fundamental reforms and changes both on the revenue side and the public pension side that other countries are having to make are so much more significant than what we need to do in order to get our books in order.

This doesn’t require radical changes to America or its way of life. It just means that we spread out the sacrifice across every sector so that it’s fair; so that people don’t feel as if once again people who are well connected, people who have lobbyists, special interests get off easy, and the burden is placed on middle-class families that are already struggling. So if other countries can do it, we can do it -- and we can do it in a responsible way.

I’m not going to comment on whether I’d veto a particular bill until I actually see a bill, because I still hold out the prospect that there’s going to be a light-bulb moment where everybody says “Ah-ha! Here’s what we’ve got to do.”

With respect to the “hot mic” in France, I’m not going to comment on conversations that I have with individual leaders, but what I will say is this: The primary conversation I had with President Sarkozy in that meeting revolved around my significant disappointment that France had voted in favor of the Palestinians joining UNESCO, knowing full well that under our laws, that would require the United States cutting off funding to UNESCO, and after I had consistently made the argument that the only way we’re going to solve the Middle East situation is if Palestinians and Israelis sit down at the table and negotiate; that it is not going to work to try to do an end run through the United Nations.

So I had a very frank and firm conversation with President Sarkozy about that issue. And that is consistent with both private and public statements that I’ve been making to everybody over the last several months.

Ed Henry.

Q Mr. President, I have three questions -- (laughter) -- starting with Mitt Romney. Just one question, I promise. (Laughter.)

You started with a $447-billion jobs bill. Two months later, many speeches later, you’ve got virtually nothing from that. You’ve got the veterans jobs bill -- which is important, obviously -- and a lot of executive orders. Are you coming to the realization that you may just get nothing here and go to the American people in 2012 without another jobs bill, 9 percent unemployment, and then wondering about your leadership, sir?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I think -- I think, first of all, the American people, at this point, are wondering about congressional leadership in failing to pass the jobs bill, the components of which the majority of Americans, including many Republicans, think are a good idea.

And that's part of the reason why the American people right now aren’t feeling real good about Congress. Normally, by the way, the way politics works is if the overwhelming majority of the American people aren’t happy with what you're doing you start doing something different. So far that hasn’t happened in Congress -- and the Republicans in Congress, in particular. They don't seem to have that same sense of urgency about needing to put people back to work.

I'm going to keep on pushing. My expectation is, is that we will get some of it done now, and I'll keep on pushing until we get all of it done. And that may take me all the way to November to get it all done. And it may take a new Congress to get it all done. But the component parts -- cutting taxes for middle-class families, cutting taxes for small businesses that are hiring our veterans and hiring the long-term unemployed, putting teachers back in the classroom -- here in the state of Hawaii, you have a bunch of kids who are going to school four days a week because of budget problems. How are we going to win the competition in the 21st century with our kids going to school basically halftime?
The jobs bill would help alleviate those budget pressures at the state level.

Rebuilding our infrastructure. Every world leader that you talk to, they're saying to themselves, how can we make sure we've got a first-class infrastructure? And as you travel through the Asia Pacific region, you see China having better airports than us, Singapore having superior ports to ours. Well, that's going to impact our capacity to do business here, our capacity to trade, our capacity to get U.S. products made by U.S. workers into the fastest-growing market in the world. And by the way, we could put a lot of people back to work at the same time.

So I'm going to keep on pushing. And my expectation is, is that we will just keep on chipping away at this. If you're asking me do I anticipate that the Republican leadership in the House or the Senate suddenly decide that I was right all along and they will adopt a hundred percent of my proposals, the answer is, no, I don't expect that. Do I anticipate that at some point they recognize that doing nothing is not an option? That's my hope. And that should be their hope, too, because if they don't, I think we'll have a different set of leaders in Congress.

All right? Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you.

END
5:50 P.M. HAST

Close Transcript

Source: The White House
http://www.whitehouse.gov/photos-and-video/video/2011/11/13/president-obama-holds-press-conference-apec-summit


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What is at stake in the South China Sea?

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Peter Dutton, Director of China Maritime Studies Institute in the Center for Naval Warfare Studies of the Naval War College, speaks with Ernest Bower, Director of the CSIS Southeast Asia Program, about the conflicting claims over the South China Sea and what that means for international relations.

Source: http://cogitasia.com/video-peter-dutton-on-the-sc/

Hoa Thịnh Đốn: Tham dự diễn hành ngày Cựu Chiến Binh

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Hoa Thịnh Đốn: Tham dự diễn hành ngày Cựu Chiến Binh
Tuyết Mai


Trong nắng ấm chan hòa và gió nhẹ của một ngày cuối Thu, trước hằng trăm ngàn người Hoa Kỳ và các sắc dân tại thành phố Manassas, Virginia, cờ vàng rực rỡ Việt Nam Cộng Hòa được giương cao, ngạo nghễ tung bay trong niềm hãnh diện dân tộc trên đường phố Center Street. Liên Hội Cựu Chiến Sĩ VNCH/HTĐ và Phụ cận đã phối hợp với CĐVN Washington, D.C., MD&VA đã tham gia cuộc diễn hành nhân ngày Cựu Chiến Binh HK được tổ chức vào lúc 11 giờ sáng ngày 12 Tháng 11, 2011tại Manassas, VA.

Tiến sĩ Tạ Cự Hải, Trưởng ban tổ chức cho biết, mục đích của Liên Hội và Cộng Đồng VN tham gia cuộc diễn hành là muốn vinh danh chính nghĩa của Việt Nam Cộng Hòa, vinh danh lá cờ vàng và muốn phô trương sức mạnh của cộng đồng Việt Nam ở hải ngoại.

Đó là mục đích chính, và mục đích thứ hai là để vinh danh Quân Cán Cảnh VNCH cũng như đồng bào Việt Nam đã từng chiến đấu bên cạnh những chiến sĩ đồng minh trong công cuộc bảo vệ tự do cho Miền Nam VN trước 1975.

Mục đích chính của cuộc diễn hành này, người Mỹ muốn vinh danh tất cả các cựu chiến binh Hoa Kỳ đã chiến đấu tại Việt Nam cũng như tại Đại Hàn. Những chiến binh này xưa nay đã bị bỏ quên vì Chính phủ HK có mặc cảm về chiến tranh cũng như chiến bại vv…Nhân ngày Cựu Chiến Binh Hội Cựu Chiến Binh HK muốn phục hồi danh dự cho những người cựu chiến binh đã chiến đấu tại Việt Nam cũng như tại Đại Hàn trước đây.

Ngày nay chúng ta cũng là công dân của Hoa Kỳ, cũng nên đóng góp vào ngày này, nhưng mục tiêu tối hậu của phái đoàn VNCH là muốn đưa chính nghĩa của VNCH, của Quân Đội và Quân Cán Cảnh, đồng bào Việt Nam đã hy sinh rất nhiều và cũng tỏ lòng biết ơn sự hy sinh của các chiến hữu đồng minh. Đặc biệt là những chiến hữu, chiến binh HK đã chiến đấu rất cam go trong cuộc chiến tranh VN kéo dài trong nhiều năm, đã hy sinh hơn 58 ngàn người. Đây cũng là một việc làm chúng ta bày tỏ lòng tri ân họ.

Trong cuộc diễn hành ở Manassas có sự phối hợp của tất cả bảy vị “Grand Marshal”, là những sĩ quan cấp, tướng, tá, đại diện, chỉ huy tất cả các đơn vị của họ trong cuộc diễn hành. Có năm “Grand Marshal” người Mỹ, một Đại tá Đại Hàn và Cựu Trung Tướng Lữ Lan là “Grand Marshal” của các cựu chiến binh Việt Nam Cộng Hòa. Cựu Trung Tướng Lữ Lan được BTC cung cấp xe jeep riêng lúc diễn hành. Hậu duệ Lữ Anh Thư là Ủy viên Liên lạc và Phối hợp với BTC Manassas Veterans Parade. Đặc biệt trong phái đoàn diễn hành của VNCH có sự tham dự của Hội Cựu Quân Nhân Ontario ở Canada, do Ông Trần Thiện hướng dẫn về tham dự.

Đây là lần đầu tiên LHCCSVNCH/HTĐ và CĐVN Washington, D.C., MD&VA tham dự diễn hành ngày Cựu Chiến Binh ở Manassas, VA. Tuần trước 6 Tháng 11, cũng là lần đầu tiên LHCCSVNCH/HTĐ và CĐVNHTĐ, MD&VA tham gia diễn hành Ngày Cựu Chiến Binh ở Brunswick, MD. Có lẽ phái đoàn Việt Nam CH là đông nhất, với hơn một trăm người tham dự, gồm các cựu quân nhân các quân binh chủng, Cảnh Sát Quốc Gia, Xây Dựng Nông Thôn và dân sự.

Cuộc diễn hành bắt đầu lúc 11 giờ sáng ở đường Pressott Avenue đi dọc theo Center Street và chấm dứt lúc 12 giờ. Đội hình của phái đoàn VNCH, đi đầu là “banner” của Cộng Đồng HTĐ, MD&VA do một số phụ nữ mặc áo dài vàng, khăn vành vàng cầm, kế đến toán quốc quan kỳ Hoa Kỳ và VNCH. Sau đó là “banner” của Liên Hội Cựu Chiến sĩ VNCH/HTĐ và phụ cận , cũng do một số phữ mặc áo dài vàng và khăn vành vàng và hai người mặc áo xanh cầm. Những phụ nữ áo vàng có tên là “Những Bà Mẹ Việt Nam”, có tinh thần phục vụ đất nước, cộng đồng rất cao. Đồng phục của họ là áo dài vàng và khăn vành vàng, trên vai áo có choàng màu cờ vàng ba sọc đỏ. Các chị em luôn có mặt để vinh danh lá cờ vàng ở bất cứ lễ lộc nào quan trọng hay trong những cuộc diễn hành, bất cứ ở đâu New York, Washington, D.C…. dù mưa dầm, nắng gắt, tuyết rơi.

Trong các phái đoàn cũng có những phụ nữ mặc áo xanh dương, là phu nhân và gia đình của các Cựu Sinh Viên Sĩ Quan Trừ Bị Thủ Đức có danh xưng là “Cư An Tư Nguy”, cầm lá đại kỳ VNCH trải rộng. Đây cũng là những phụ nữ có tinh thần phục vụ đất nước và cộng đồng rất cao. Các chị em là niềm hãnh diện của phụ nữ VN vùng HTĐ, luôn dấn thân phục vụ, giương cao màu cờ Tổ Quốc. Đồng phục của các chị em là áo dài xanh và khăn vành xanh. Màu xanh tương phản với màu cờ vàng ba sọc đỏ, luôn là nét đẹp tuyệt vời lôi cuốn sự chú ý, vỗ tay tán thưởng nhiệt liệt trong những cuộc diễn hành có sự tham dự của cộng đồng Việt Nam.

Ngoài những màu sắc rực rỡ, tươi đẹp của các phụ nữ, của quý đồng hương nam giới trong quốc phục áo dài xanh khăn đóng và các trẻ em cũng trong quốc phục, còn có sự diễn hành rất oai hùng của những cựu chiến binh VNCH trong sắc áo của các quân binh chủng Hải Lục Không Quân. Màu áo rằn ri chiến trận, của Nhảy Dù, Thủy Quân Lục chiến, Biệt Động Quân, Lực Lượng Đặc Biệt, Bộ binh , sinh viên của các Trung tâm huấn luyện, cựu Sinh Viên Sĩ Quan Võ Bị Việt Nam, cựu Sinh Viên Sĩ Quan Trừ Bị Thủ Đức, hậu duệ…đã gợi nhớ cuộc đời các chiến sĩ đầy gian lao, hiểm nguy ngoài chiến trận, được quan khách hai bên đường vỗ tay hoa nghênh nhiệt liệt. Đặc biệt trong cuộc diễn hành này có hai xe jeep và hai quân xa có treo nhiều cờ vàng, cờ Tổng Tham Mưu và cờ các quân đoàn, cờ các quân binh chủng… trên một quân xa c ó “banner” ghi “Thank you for your sacrifice in the Vietnam War” được khán giả hai bên đường vỗ tay tán thưởng, nhiệt liệt.

Trong dịp này Cựu Trung Tướng Lữ Lan cho biết một vài cảm nghĩ, người chiến sĩ VNCH vì tình huynh đệ và nghĩa đồng bào đã vui sống hơn ba mươi sáu năm qua ở hải ngoại. Những cuộc tập hợp như trong cuộc diễn hành này đã khơi lại niềm hãnh diện về tinh thần chiến đấu của các chiến sĩ VNCH trong những chiến trận năm xưa, đồng thời cũnng nuôi dưỡng niềm hy vọng trong một thế giới vô cùng sôi động trước những tham tàn của Tàu Cộng ở Đông Nam Á. Có lẽ thế giới tự do sẽ không khoanh tay ngồi nhìn.

Trong lúc đó tiềm năng của người Việt Quốc Gia ở hải càng ngày càng dồi, dào. Nếu các hội đoàn của ngừơi Việt Quốc Gia khéo kết hợp, có chính nghĩa, sẽ biến thành một thế lực chính trị có thể làm đổi thay đất nước. Mục tiêu trước mắt của cựu chiến sĩ VN hôm nay là giúp đỡ anh em thương phế binh ở quê nhà và cố gầy dựng một tập thể cựu chiền sĩ có quy cũ, có tôn ti trật tự, một lòng một dạ với lý tưởng quốc gia, đoàn kết tạo sức mạnh và nêu gương hào khí, tiếp nối sự nghiệp của cha ông . Đó là cảm tưởng của Cựu Trung Tướng Lữ Lan người đại diện, điều hợp chỉ huy LHCCSVNCH/HTĐ và phụ cận trong cuộc diễn hành Ngày Cựu Chiến Binh tại Manassas, Virginia.

Trở lại không khí cuộc diễn hành. Sắp vào Đông, thời tiết Miền Đông Bắc HK khá lạnh, nhưng niềm hãnh diện về sắc áo trong Quân đội và màu cờ của dân tộc, của quê hương, được giương cao giữa hằng trăm ngàn người Hoa Kỳ và các sắc dân, trên một đuờng phố lớn ở HK, đã làm cho nhiều người tham gia cảm thấy ấm lòng. Niềm hân hoan và phấn khởi đã tràn trào trên gương mặt, trong từng bước chân đi, trong từng cánh tay vẫy chào hòa cùng màu sắc của quốc phục VN lạ mắt, rực rỡ, tươi đẹp đã làm cho phái đoàn VNCH là một trong những phái đoàn lôi cuốn, đẹp mắt nhất trong cuộc diễn hành ở Manassas.

Trên thế giới này có một dân tộc nào như dân tộc Việt Nam, đã hơn ba mươi sáu năm lưu vong trên khắp hoàn cầu, vẫn luôn ôm ấp rong tim tình yêu Tổ quốc, vẫn gìn giữ trong tay lá cờ vàng rực rỡ, biểu tượng của quê hương mến yêu? Nhìn lá cờ vàng phất phới tung bay trong nắng ấm, giữa phố đông người ngoại quốc, nhiều người Việt Nam cảm động ứa nước mắt, thầm mơ ước một ngày nào lá cờ thiêng này sẽ được trang trọng rước về trên quê hương Việt Nam dấu yêu.

Cuộc diễn hành chấm dứt lúc 12 giờ, sau đó những phái đoàn được khoản đãi ăn trưa ở Harris Pavilion, có phụ diễn âm nhạc văn hóa dân tộc do Giáo Sư Kim Oanh phụ trách.

Hình ảnh cuộc diễn hành trong www.youtube.com/tuyetmai45

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Voice of Vietnamese Americans honors and thanks all who served in the United States Armed Forces

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On this Veterans Day, November 11, 2011, Voice of Vietnamese Americans honors and thanks all who served in the United States Armed Forces. We especially are grateful to all Veterans' families who have generously shared your loved ones with the nation.

As Vietnamese Americans, we would like to take this opportunity to express our deepest gratitude to all who served in the Vietnam War. You have fought a very noble war.

Vietnam Veterans have answered a noble call of not only their nation, but of humanity. Vietnam Veterans have responded to the noblest call of all wars: to fight against the genocidal ideology of Communism.[1]

On November 11, 1945, the people of Vietnam had made a clear choice in pressuring Ho Chi Minh to dissolve the Communist Party of Indochina.[2]

In 1954, one million Vietnamese had made a clear choice against Communism when they left the North to go South. [3]

After 1975, nearly one million Vietnamese risked their lives in the open sea to escape Communism.[4]

Until today, 90 millions of Vietnamese continue their fight against Communism and the Red China.[5]

The United States have sent troops to Vietnam to support the noblest cause against Communism since 1954 till 1975. The US left Vietnam in 1975, but the war against Communism and the Red China continues.[6]

What happened after 1975 in Cambodia, in Laos, in Myanmar, in Vietnam, have clearly illuminated the noble cause of the Vietnam War.

What happened today in Tibet, in Myanmar, in the South China Sea, on the bank of the Mekong River, on the bank of the Irrawaddy River, have clearly illuminated the noble cause of the Vietnam War.

Vietnamese Americans respectfully recognize and vindicate all Vietnam Veterans who have fought that Noble War. You are our true heroes and heroines.

In memoriam of 58,195 Vietnam Veterans who have sacrificed their lives for the Noble Cause [7], Vietnamese Americans send our best wishes to the Asia-Pacific-Economic-Cooperation (APEC) Conference starting this very day of November 11, 2011 in Hawaii, USA.[8]

May the efforts to bring about jobs for our US Veterans and Americans, to protect US National Interests, to secure sustainable global peace, be successful with democracy, liberty, and justice for all.

May God bless our Veterans and bless America,

Voice of Vietnamese Americans


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[1]The Black Book of Communism

[2] Thông cáo Đảng Cộng sản Đông Dương tự ý giải tán, ngày 11-11-1945

[3] Viet Nam: Cuộc Di Cư Lịch Sử 1954

[4] April 1975

[5] Vietnamese Boat People - The Price of Freedom

[6] Vietnamese People Still Fighting Against Communism and the Red China

[7] The Vietnam Veterans Memorial

[8] APEC Finance Ministers Issue Joint Statement on Economy in Hawaii


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2011 Election Results: Mixed Messages - NPR

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Source: NPR - by Mark Memmott
http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2011/11/09/142166876/2011-election-results-mixed-messages

As news outlets try to decipher what Tuesday's election results tell us about what voters are thinking, they're reaching various conclusions.

"Warning Sign" For Obama? The Washington Post, focusing on one key state, says "legislative elections in Virginia appeared likely to add more evidence — as if national Democrats needed it — that the terrain of the political map will be significantly more rugged for President Obama next year." With one Virginia Senate race still too close to call, Democrats were on the brink of losing control of that chamber.

"Pause In Conservative Trend? Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times casts a wider net and decides that because "Ohio voters overturned a controversial law that would have weakened public employee unions and Mississippians rejected an antiabortion 'personhood' initiative," the results suggest "at least a pause in the strong conservative Republican trend that swept Democrats from office in 2010."

And Politico reaches a similar conclusion, writing that Democrats did well because they "claimed victories in a number of races Tuesday, including in Kentucky, Ohio and Mississippi, where voters sided with their candidates or ballot initiatives backed by the party."

Continued Conservative Backlash On Health Care: Still, as the Plain Dealer reports, the "conservative base" in Ohio turned out in force to support a ballot issue that would "bar any legislation requiring Ohioans to buy health insurance" — a direct shot at the federal health care overhaul.

Rejection Of Conservative Stand On Immigration? In Arizona, though, state Senate President Russell Pearce "was on the verge of losing his Senate seat in Tuesday's unprecedented recall election," the Arizona Republic reports. And he has been, as the newspaper says, "one of the most influential state politicians in the nation and a powerful voice on illegal immigration" as the main force behind the state's controversial Senate Bill 1070 immigration legislation.

On Morning Edition, NPR's Julie Rovner reported about the vote in Mississippi on "personhood." As she said, "voters in Colorado had twice rejected similar amendments to declare that life begins legally at fertilization ... but Mississippi, with its far more conservative bent, was considered much friendlier territory." She adds that "supporters ... aren't giving up. Efforts are already underway to get similar constitutional amendments on the ballot in another half dozen states next year and to pass personhood legislation in at least two more."

Julie Rovner reports on 'Morning Edition'

There's more about the Mississippi vote at It's All Politics.

Also on Morning Edition, Bill Cohen of Ohio Public Radio reported from Columbus that "unions and their allies are basking in their big win" on the public employee unions issue. And at It's All Politics, Elise Hu writes that the the unions' victory could be "a momentum shift in their direction."

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/virginia-elections-may-be-a-warning-sign-for-obama/2011/11/08/gIQANhxg3M_story.html?hpid=z1



Tuesday’s legislative elections in Virginia appeared likely to add more evidence — as if national Democrats needed it — that the terrain of the political map will be significantly more rugged for President Obama next year.

It is difficult to draw a bright trend line from an election in which fewer than one-third of those registered voted. When turnout is as light as it was on Tuesday, those who do show up tend to be the most dogged partisans.

 Voters are considering a law limiting the collective-bargaining rights of public workers in Ohio and the so-called personhood amendment in Mississippi. Voters also chose governors in Mississippi and Kentucky.

But analysts and political strategists of both parties said the expected Republican gains — even if less than was expected — underscored the need for the president to reinvigorate his supporters and close what is becoming known as the “enthusiasm gap” between the two parties.

“The enthusiasm gap has been completely reversed in the state. Republicans have it. Democrats don’t,” said political scientist Bob Holsworth, a former professor at Virginia Commonwealth University who now runs a Web site called Virginia Tomorrow.

In 2008, Obama’s seven-point victory in Virginia marked the first time that any Democratic candidate had carried the state since Lyndon B. Johnson’s landslide national victory in 1964. Duplicating that feat in 2012 would make his reelection significantly easier.

The political tide, however, has been running the other way — starting with the 2009 election of Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell and continuing with GOP victories in last year’s midterm elections.

“Independents specifically have rejected the Obama agenda, and they are fully supportive of the McDonnell agenda,” said Phil Cox, who managed the governor’s campaign and is now executive director of the Republican Governors Association.

Meanwhile, the energy of the tea party movement has ginned up Republican enthusiasm in Virginia, as have conservative outside groups.

Tim Phillips, a veteran Virginia operative who is president of the tea party-aligned Americans for Prosperity, said his organization spent $300,000 in Virginia. Much of that money was aimed at drawing a connection between local contests and the anger that conservatives feel toward the president.

Particularly in Northern Virginia, Phillips said, polling shows “the vast majority of people really don’t know their state legislators.”

Obama’s campaign has continued to nurture his operation in Virginia. In the seven months since the president officially announced his bid for a second term, the campaign estimates that it has held 1,600 events — phone banks, house parties, voter registration drives and the like. And the president himself has been a presence in the state, most recently with a two-day swing last month to promote his jobs plan.

That kind of effort, however, doesn’t necessarily pay off for local candidates in an election in which the president himself is not on the ballot, said Mark J. Rozell, a professor of public policy at George Mason University.

“If anything,” he added, “the president is a negative right now for Democrats running in Virginia.”

Democrats in a number of tight races resisted their opponents’ efforts to tie them to the president. House Minority Leader Ward L. Armstrong found himself the target of one such ad by his opponent, Del. Charles D. Poindexter.

So Armstrong put up his own spot, in which he responded: “That’s a stretch, Charles. I’m pro-life, pro-gun and I always put Virginia first.” Armstrong was trailing Poindexter with 95 percent of the votes counted.

Bolstering the Democrats’ confidence for next year, however, is the expectation that the shape and the size of the electorate will be very different, in Virginia as elsewhere.

“Turnout is everything,” said Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, a Northern Virginia Democrat. He noted that presidential election years tend to bring out three times as many people as voted in Virginia on Tuesday, including large blocs of minority voters who tend to sit out off-year contests.

“Those are very different electorates,” Connolly said late Tuesday, “no matter what happens tonight.”



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2011 Virginia Elections: GOP Asserts Senate Majority As Recount In Houck-Reeves Race Still A Possibility

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/09/2011-virginia-elections-recount_n_1084700.html

WASHINGTON -- As Republicans prepare to assert majority rule in the Virginia Senate following Tuesday's general elections, the one remaining unsettled contest may remain unresolved in the coming weeks, leaving the slim possibility that Democrats may still end up controlling the narrowly divided chamber.

According to unofficial results from Tuesday's vote, the Republican candidate in the 17th District race, Bryce Reeves, held a slight lead, up to 226 votes as of the most recent count on Wednesday afternoon. But that finish falls within the margin needed to call for a recount.

While the Democratic incumbent, Sen. Edd Houck, hasn't said much on Wednesday, the apparently defeated candidate indicated the contest isn't over yet. According to the senator's Facebook page:

As I write, the outcome of yesterday's election is not complete with the proper legal procedures being implemented to ensure all votes are accurately counted to remove any doubt of the final result. What is not in doubt is my heartfelt appreciation for all of the support I have received from family, friends and colleagues. All of you have been fantastic! Stay tuned to get the final results.

If Houck formally requests a recount, what would that entail? Patch details the process, which would start once the election results are certified and would involve petitioning circuit courts in Richmond and Spotsylvania County:

Within five days of the recount petition, the chief judge of the circuit court will call a preliminary hearing where each party can inspect electronic voting machines used in the election and have access to pollbooks used during the election. The chief judge also can name the location for the recount.

The recount process could take a few weeks to play out.

In the meantime, Virginia Republicans are planning for a GOP majority to organize the Senate. As the Free Lance-Star reports, the GOP doesn't want a 20-20 split in the Senate -- which is the likely scenario assuming Houck doesn't return to the chamber -- to lead to a power-sharing arrangement with Democratic lawmakers like one in the 1990s.

"Make no mistake about it, there is a Republican majority in the state Senate and that majority fully intends to organize," Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling said at a Wednesday afternoon news conference, according to the Fredericksburg newspaper. In a 20-20 divided Senate, Bolling would cast tie-breaking votes. That would include votes on organizing the chamber under a Republican majority, including committees.

Source: The Huffington Post

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