In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz

The Book of the Week is “In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz, Living on the Brink of Disaster in Mobutu’s Congo” by Michaela Wong, published in 2001.

Various dictators have looted the Belgian colony alternately known as “Zaire” and “Congo” in recent centuries. The late 1800’s saw light-skinned people enslaving the dark-skinned to try to enrich themselves by poaching, harvesting, mining or drilling for the colony’s ivory, rubber, timber, cocoa, diamonds, gold, copper, cobalt, uranium and oil on behalf of King Leopold II of Belgium. However, many died of malaria, typhoid or sleeping sickness.

Belgium was still greedy even after Congo, still racked by unrest, declared its independence in 1960. The Soviets wanted a piece of the action, sending troops in to pretend to quell the violence. The United Nations troops entered, throwing soldiers with good intentions, after bad. For the next thirty years, what did change was that the United States and other countries wasted an inconceivably large amount of money supporting the lavish lifestyles of the Congolese dictator and his family and friends, until the CIA discreetly decided it was time for the dictator to go.

In late September 1960, Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu Wa Za Banga (Mobutu, for short) came to power. That translates to “the all powerful warrior who goes from conquest to conquest, leaving fire in his wake.” He ran the nation’s one political party, called “Movement for the Revolution.” He had the charisma, and lack of academic-smarts but plethora of street-smarts of the late American president Ronald Reagan.

However, Mobutu used divide and conquer in his palace politics– telling naive individuals that others were slandering them behind their backs. They believed him. He also assigned the same tasks to subordinates who hated each other without telling the others of the duplicated project-teams. When they learned that the boss had favorites other than them, petty jealousies arose. The hostilities between Mobutu’s underlings kept them busy fighting among themselves, and kept him in power.

Mobutu held rallies all the time. He created jobs galore for his people, in the rubber and cocoa industries. Foreigners who had previously been running operations that exploited Congo’s resources, fled the country. The new native Congolese who were given businesses to run, had no clue how to run them. When the economy crashed, Mobutu, his family, his cronies and his private army had no worries, because their real estate in Brussels, Paris and South Africa, and their Swiss bank accounts remained safe.

In the mid 1980’s, the journalists and diplomats in Kinshasa could spot the Congolese elites by their SUVs and mobile phones from Telecel. Congolese peasants, in order to eat, were forced to grow vegetable gardens throughout the city.

In the 1990’s, desirous of a better life, native Congolese were able to obtain student visas that allowed them to secretly become low-level restaurant or construction workers, or drivers in Brussels. They fled their native country rather than collectively revolt in order to fight for it, having adopted the pessimistic attitude of every man for himself. They had seen with their own eyes that “… politics is a game played by conmen and hypocrites.”

Congo’s cycle of dictatorship had yet to be broken due to the education system, which didn’t teach Congolese history. The younger generation knew nothing of how their recent leaders had come to power. “Knowing nothing about the past of course, frees a population from any sense of blame for the present. How convenient was all this forgetting…”

May 1997 was crunch time similar to that in 1986 in the Philippines and Haiti. In Kinshasa, Tutsi youths were shot in the streets, Japanese journalists sought photo opportunities, journalists of other nationalities and Belgian tourists sought haven in the Hotel InterContinental.

Read the book to learn much more about the history of Congo and its one nuclear reactor, Mobutu, the Congolese people in the 1990’s– rich and famous, poor and unknown, their black markets, their Mutual Benefit Society, their religions, corruption at their airport and with the IMF and World Bank, and about the lingering colonialist nostalgia of Belgium and France.

Armenian Golgotha

The Book of the Week is “Armenian Golgotha, A Memoir of the Armenian Genocide 1915-1918” by Grigoris Balakian, translated by Peter Balakian with Aris Sevag, originally published in 1922. [Armenian, not American.] This large volume recounted the author’s personal experiences during the decade he became a victim of tensions that boiled over between Turks and Armenians in Turkey during and after WWI. As is well known, hatreds between peoples ebb and flow, but it was the first time in human history that one specific ethnic group sought total extermination of another.

The author pointed out that, “… the principal causes of a country’s downfall are internal dissension, violent partisan struggle, lack of religion, political crime, and economic unraveling; all these per se bring with them unbridled excesses.”

On the eve of WWI, the author of this personal account was a reverend who had gone to Germany to study. The outbreak of war prompted him to go from Berlin to Constantinople via rail and steamship (a two-week trip) to fight on behalf of his people, the Armenians. He was street-smart, and declined to go the rural Turkish diocese of Erzinjan, despite having been named to the position of locum tenens there. Another minister went in his place, and was shot and dismembered by the Ittihad Special Organization. Such atrocities were to be repeated in spades for the next several years.

Pasha Talaat, the interior minister of Turkey, had a secret service working for him, reporting all lifestyle-information on Armenians in Constantinople. He wanted to finish the job that was started in 1909– a small-scale massacre of a few tens of thousands of Armenians. The naive victims had no clue what they were in for. They believed the pervasive government propaganda that told them everything was dandy. No one wanted to believe they were in danger.

The Ittihad government in Turkey executed its unspeakable horrors methodically. It divided the Armenian population into various segments in order to commit its now-infamous genocide. Different groups in different parts of Turkey were subjected to largely similar treatment: were sent reassuring messages, disarmed, stripped of their assets, arrested, deported purportedly for their own protection (from the Russians), and were finally hacked to death by sociopathic, sadistic common Turkish people, largely with martial-arts weapons and timber and farm implements, not with firearms. The females were put through the same process, but they were raped before their deaths, except for a small number, who were forcibly converted to Islam and sent to Turkish harems instead.

The Turkish authorities began by conscripting all Armenian males between the ages of twenty and 46, sending them to the fighting at the Russian border. Then they enslaved them in road-building in the interior of Asia Minor. Unsanitary, cruel, starvation conditions resulted in many deaths. In summer 1915,the Minister of War ordered Turkish soldiers to ruthlessly slaughter the remaining survivors. There was a small resistance movement in the mountains, but it was weak. Of course, too, there were unsung heroes– German, Swiss, Austrian and Italian civil engineers working on the railroad who secretly tried to save Armenian lives.

The author was able to pull some strings through his contacts so that he escaped conscription. However, he was eventually arrested and made to travel for months in a caravan of tens of people like himself, about half of whom survived, suffering near-death experiences over and over. A few of them had been able to bring some of their wealth with them in the form of gold coins, with which they were able to bribe local officials and law enforcement.

Read the book to learn every emotionally jarring detail of the author’s story; and: the Germans’ connection to, the historical backdrop of, and about the three Turkish leaders most responsible for, the whole sordid affair; and the fates of the major figures involved.

Paris 1919

The Book of the Week is “Paris 1919, Six Months That Changed the World” by Margaret MacMillan, originally published in 2001. In penning this large volume, the author gained access to “horse’s-mouth” documentation, largely thanks to meticulous recording of the peace conference’s participants’ every verbal exchange in more than two hundred meetings for three months, beginning in late April 1919.

After the usual needless deaths and ruined lives brought on by a war among a large number of diverse peoples (of different histories, religions, languages and cultures)– in the whole first half of 1919, the hegemony-possessing countries of the world engaged in complex, emotionally heated negotiations meant to achieve world peace. Alas, human nature intervened.

By the end of the extravaganza, there were nearly sixty commissions and committees that tried to put their two cents into the Versailles Treaty– that primarily tried to make Germany pay for its WWI aggression.

Throughout, the negotiators experienced the five stages of psychological loss theorized by Swiss-American psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

Desire for: revenge, and financial and territorial compensation were the order of the day. Of course, those were the reasons for going to war, too. This was not unlike the political situation in 2020 in the United States between its two major political parties which have been fiercely fighting a roughly forty-year war; amid an epidemic, and a work-in-progress-national-healthcare-system.

One power-exercising technique used by certain local American politicians is to allow their citizens the option of wearing a mask (allegedly a preventive measure in spreading the current epidemic; a humiliation ritual that lacks significant scientific evidence for its existence)– giving the appearance of restoring a freedom the citizens lost.

The politicians can then see the proportion of people who are still fearful of contracting or spreading the disease. They can then further their abuse of power accordingly by imposing or reimposing such a tool of oppression on a whim!

Another example of the mentality of power-hungry nations of the last hundred years comes in the form of a ditty– a parody of “This Land” –Woody Guthrie’s song about the United States:

This land is my land, and only my land.

If you don’t get off,

I’ll shoot your head off.

I’ve got a shotgun, and you don’t got one.

This land was made for only me. Not you.

Anyway, each participant in 1919 Paris had largely similar arguments for their demands (unsurprisingly, the colonizers presented fanciful statistics as facts as part and parcel of their propaganda):

  • millions of their people made the ultimate sacrifice in the war.
  • the war-winners thought they were entitled to take back territories they had previously colonized (euphemistically calling the authority to recover them “mandates”) because peoples living in those territories weren’t sufficiently sophisticated to govern themselves (i.e., they were inferior, uncivilized), and
  • Statistically or ethnologically, there were significant populations of the conquering peoples in the sought-after cities or regions; likewise, the land had historically been theirs, or else it had been on a trade route important for their economic survival.

Except for a short break in March, American president Woodrow Wilson was physically present in Paris the whole time. He pushed for his idealistic agenda of “Fourteen Points” and a League of Nations.

The latter was supposed to be a group of countries that agreed to militarily protect each other in the event they were attacked. Pacifists felt that members should agree to get rid of their weapons and refrain from fighting in the first place.

Postwar, France favored the League. Feeling vulnerable, she was seeking to make nice with nations that had the resources she needed to feel secure: Russia for manpower, and Great Britain for naval and industrial strength. In general, the English-speaking peoples of the world wanted to believe in the rule of law– that wronged peoples could obtain recourse through international agreements and tribunals.

By April 1919, South African leader Jan Smuts had drafted a proposal for the League. The plans included neither a military force, nor a tribunal. Not much would get done anyway, because a unanimous vote would be required to make decisions.

Early on at the conference, Italy was beginning to exhibit the Fascism it would become known for. Poet, playwright and WWI hero Gabriele D’Annunzio oozed charisma, but his jingoistic bragging about Italy was based on nothing but energy and ego: “Victorious Italy– the most victorious of all the nations– victorious over herself and over the enemy– will have on the Alps and over her sea the Pax Romana, the sole peace that is fitting.” He passionately demanded that his country should get, among other territories, the town of Fiume, strategically located on the Adriatic.

By March, the peace talks had been narrowed down to four countries whose representatives (arrogant drama queens, all) would hammer out the documents that described the terms and conditions, benefits and limitations that would, it was fervently hoped, keep peace in the future. However, they snuck in vague language to invite loopholes.

Those four consisted of France, United States, Italy and Great Britain; in the form of statesmen Georges Clemenceau, Wilson, Vittorio Orlando and Lloyd George, respectively. The leaders were obligated to consult dozens of other treaties and agreements, usually between pairs of countries, that were signed on an ongoing basis during and after the war. A large number of agreements had been signed in secret.

Just a few wrenches in the works of the good-faith talks included:

  • In 1917, the Bolsheviks in Russia had begun creating a new society in which people would live happily ever after. But they were committing atrocities to do it.
  • The Balkans weren’t particularly interested in forming one big, happily family called Yugoslavia; they were comprised of Serbs, Croats, Albanians, Bulgarians and Macedonians; arguably Greeks and Romanians, and a slew of minorities; a few pairs of which hated each other, and
  • The Ottoman Empire was breaking up; in late 1918, hapless Hungary was militarily invaded by Bolsheviks, and in summer 1919 by Romania, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia.

Read the book to learn who swayed whom and why and how; the fates of: Shantung, Turkey, Mesopotamia, Palestine, Egypt, Syria, Smyrna, Kurdistan, Armenia, Germany; of the personalities involved; and of numerous other political footballs.

Sovietstan / Kabul Beauty School

(WARNING: Long Post)

The First Book of the Week is Sovietstan, Travels in Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Taijikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan” by Erika Fatland, (translated by Kari Dickson), published in 2020.

In the past decade, the author personally visited countries whose names end in “stan” except for Afghanistan. Those Central Asian nations became, more or less, independent from the former Soviet Union in the early 1990’s.

The author accepted hospitality from numerous people in the region, and related the historical backdrops of the respective lands. She spoke with several people who thought life was better under the old Soviet system, because they had had education, healthcare and culture then. Americans would consider the said countries to be dictatorships, although the author courteously called their leaders “presidents.”

Turkmenistan has oil and gas, the latter of which it exports to China. Its geography is comprised of more than eighty percent desert. Its political system is authoritarian.

Claiming she was a “student” (but was actually a tourist collecting information to write her book) in order to obtain a visa that was issued to very few applicants to begin with, the author was supervised every second of her stay; limited to a maximum of three weeks.

The author saw only a few Mercedes (and hardly any other cars) on the eight-lane main roads in the capital, Ashgabat. The bus shelters were air-conditioned. Most of the buildings were made of white marble.

There were a luxury Ferris wheel, and bright, colorfully lit fountains at night. However, there were only three ATMs in the whole nation that accepted foreign bank cards. Seven days a week, cops surveiled people on the streets to enforce the 11pm curfew.

Photos of the “president” hung everywhere in public places. Starting in 1992, he provided free utilities and car fuel for everyone. In 1999, he declared himself the nation’s ruler for the rest of his life. He wrote a book called Ruhnama, meaning Book of the Soul. No one questioned its greatness. Or else. It became the only reading material in schools. No more science or humanities were taught.

In the course of about four years, the dictator rid his people of Soviet culture, and banned dogs and recorded music. The health and welfare systems went to hell. Although no one paid taxes, more than half of the people were unemployed. That explained the almost empty roads the author saw in the capital city. Mercifully, the dictator died in late 2006.

Another ruler replaced him who forced the people to read his books. The author visited a rural farming village where the people herded camels and goats. They spoke only Turkmen, not Russian.

When the author and a cab driver were in the desert where no one else was present for miles around, she asked him why people had only the highest praise for their leader — worshipped him like a god and would never dare say a negative word about him.

The driver criticized himself for not working hard enough. He said, “Each one of us has a responsibility to play our part and to help our country develop.” The author wrote that he was born into the system– had never known any other mentality. This aspect of authoritarianism that the author witnessed bears a chilling resemblance to a recent line of propaganda in the United States (!): “We’re all in this together.” Who paid people to say that??

The author was forced to attend a horse show, and the next day, horse races. Attendance was mandatory for the nation’s every town, all of which had hippodromes. The dictator was a jockey in one race, but he accidentally fell after his horse crossed the finish line first, of course. Security compelled all attendees to delete any presidential-mishap footage from their cameras. The next day, a bootleg clip of the embarrassment surfaced on YouTube, anyway.

Predictably, very few citizens of Turkmenistan could afford to stay in the skyscrapers in the resort town of Turkmenbashi. The ones who could afford to go anywhere, holidayed on Turkey’s beaches instead because the former offered “Soviet-style service, bad food and no Internet.” Moreover, Turkmenistan’s dictator owned and controlled nearly all of their homeland’s hotels, restaurants and shops.

Kazakhstan— the most resource-rich nation in Central Asia– is flush with oil, gas, minerals, gold, coal and uranium; the first of which it extracts through Russian pipelines.

The author was pleased to see that the country had an open, Westernized society. It purchases most of its consumer goods from China. People spend their leisure time horse-racing and playing a game mounted on horses, batting around a goat carcass. They eat horse meat and drink soured mare’s milk regularly.

The author was able to travel around unaccompanied by a chaperone. Even so, at the entrance to the capital city of Astana, all buses’ passengers had their identity papers and baggage checked by security, while she and her cab driver weren’t subjected to what Americans would consider undue privacy intrusion.

As an aside, the privacy pendulum has finally swung the other way for political candidates in the United States. In the last several decades, in every election, every candidate’s political enemies have subjected candidates to increasingly punitive fishing-expeditions (It might be recalled that vice-presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro and her husband were mercilessly put through the wringer in 1984).

Supposedly, a candidate’s history of financial dealings are an indicator of a candidate’s character. BUT, it is not necessarily an indicator of how well a candidate will do his or her job in the elective office.

Case in point: President Jimmy Carter’s tax returns were presumably squeaky-clean– as was his character— but there is general consensus that he did a poor job as president. That just shows that the real purpose of the privacy intrusion has been political vengeance!

There are plenty of ways other than scrutinizing personal financial behavior, to try to ascertain whether a candidate will be the public servant the voters want them to be.

Anyway, by the early 1950’s, high incidences of birth defects, mental illness, high blood pressure, and a cancer cluster plagued the region of Semipalatinsk in Kazakhstan, thanks to secret testing of weapons of mass destruction by the Soviets beginning in 1949. The author learned this by personally visiting with the victims and their descendants, only the poorest of whom were still living there.

Tajikistan is resource-poor and has primitive infrastructure. Its geography is comprised of more than ninety percent mountains. In autumn 1991, the Communist party candidate won the election for president. He became increasingly unpopular. For, between June 1992 and March 1993, the nation suffered a bloody civil war, in which tens of thousands died. During the fighting, “Having regained power in parts of the country, the Rahmon [Nabiyev] government chose revenge rather than reconciliation, in keeping with old clan culture.”

Tajikistan’s fourth largest town lacks full-time electricity and heat, and has no indoor plumbing. Most of the people who live there are alcoholics. The vast majority of its people are Sunni Muslims. The men go to Russia to earn money to send back to their families. Some divorce their wives and never return home. But such income accounts for about half of the nation’s gross domestic product.

The author’s cab driver bribed three different border guards to minimize trouble when she traveled from Tajikistan into Kyrgyzstan. In the latter country, it was refreshing for her to see an absence of the dictator’s portraits everywhere, and to hear people speaking freely, both verbally and in the press, even negatively (!) about their government, with no punishment whatsoever.

Kyrgyzstan is, comparatively, the freest nation in Central Asia– the first to have a Parliament. Nonetheless, people tolerate corruption and nepotism from their leaders to avoid repeating the two difficult, past periods of political instability they suffered in the past three decades. They’ll vote for the same criminals over and over– which shows how much they want peace at all costs.

Also, at the time of the book’s writing, they lived in a culture in which any man could take a bride (even a Russian one) by abducting her, and she could not protest. He could even take more than one wife. In most cases the bride was likely headed for a life of marriage and children anyway, as she was unlikely to have an education, her own money, or somewhere to flee. Most families encouraged the practice.

Uzbekistan is one of the most oppressive States in Central Asia. The author wrote, “With great cunning, Karimov has used the fear of ethnic violence, Islamist fundamentalism and unstable neighbors as an excuse to rule with an iron fist.” The government’s imposed collectivist Soviet model of cotton growing was an epic economic fail. The author was subjected to unrelenting public scrutiny via police officers and video cameras everywhere she went.

Read the book to learn of numerous other adventures the author had in the aforementioned countries of Central Asia.

The Second Book of the Week is “Kabul Beauty School, An American Woman Goes Behind the Veil” by Deborah Rodriguez with Kristin Ohlson, published 2007.

This career memoir described the author’s early-21st century experiences in Afghanistan, teaching young women how to become beauticians. She wrote, “I love the Afghans, but their true national sport is gossip.”

The American author moved to Afghanistan in May 2002. Her mother owned a hair salon in Holland in the state of Michigan, so she had grown up immersed in that business’s culture. When she volunteered with an international aid organization to get away from her second husband, who was abusive, she realized her calling.

Also, the author wanted to help Afghan females, in one of the few environments that was strictly for them, where they could escape from the daily oppression they suffered, stemming from their culture and from their country’s war-torn situation.

The people of Afghanistan are descended from all different rivalrous tribes. Afghan females are treated as second-class citizens, especially if they are Muslims. They are still forced into arranged marriages. A prospective groom’s mother chooses a first wife for her own son. The men are allowed to take on additional wives if they so choose.

The later wives are those whose reputations have been ruined for one reason or another; some through no fault of their own. If they are not virgins when they are first chosen to be wives, say, due to having been raped, they are damaged goods, and might have an unusually horrible prospect pushed on them– one who is decades older, more abusive than usual, or poverty stricken.

The author’s Afghan friends planned to set up a husband for her. She had two previous failed marriages. The man they chose seemed nice and wealthy enough. He had an oil-drilling business in Saudi Arabia. By the way, the friends were finally pressed to mention, though, that he already had a first wife and seven daughters back in Saudi Arabia. He was hoping the author could bear him a son. The author had already had two sons from her first marriage, living in the United States.

The author felt obliged to get married because any woman seen alone with any man, engaged or not, was assumed to be a prostitute.

Read the book to learn a wealth of additional details about Afghan culture, the hardships the author faced in furthering her career, and more about her life.

full circle (sic)

The Book of the Week is “full circle (sic), Escape from Baghdad and the Return” by Saul Silas Fathi, published in 2005. The author interspersed his personal experiences with a brief history of everywhere he had traveled, and brief stories of numerous members of his extensive family tree. Some chapters repeated the same information again, in case the reader had a short memory. Clearly, he wanted his descendants to know all about him and their ancestors.

In 1938 in Basra in Iraq, born into an upper middle-class Jewish family that would eventually have eight children, the author had lots of aunts and uncles. When Israel declared its independence in 1948, Iraq began to oppress its Jews (Zionists), and Communists. The author’s father, a government official, lost his job.

In August 1948, the father paid people-smugglers to help the family’s oldest sons, the author and his younger brother– a year and a half younger– to take them to Israel. Their two uncles in their late teens, were also in the same group of refugees. They had relatives already living in Israel.

Starting in summer 1950 and for about ten months, the Iraqi government allowed its Jews to leave with only the clothes on their backs, forced them to give up their Iraqi citizenship, plus they had to promise never to return, among other conditions. Many who fled to Israel ended up living with Holocaust survivors (more traumatized than the author) in refugee camps.

Fathi was bored of Israel by his late teens, and thought he would go live in Brazil for a few months, beginning in 1958. In Sao Paulo, he and a friend went to a Baptist church that offered free food to the destitute. Lots of Jews worshipped there after escaping the Nazis, and some converted. Fathi was so down on his luck, he worked for food, too.

Fast-forward to spring 1960. Because the author was open to new experiences and met many people who assisted him in his life, he was finally able to obtain a visa to study in the United States.

However, by October 1960, he was running out of money because as a student, he wasn’t allowed to hold a job to support himself. That’s when a chance meeting with a guard at the New York Public Library’s research branch (the one with the lions in front) suggested that he join the U.S. Army to earn money to continue his college education. He did so.

In early 1962, U.S. Immigration sent Fathi a letter telling him that since he wasn’t a U.S. citizen and wasn’t in the process of becoming one, his “… recruitment was an unfortunate mistake, and that any law which permitted such action was abolished at the end of the Korean War, in 1953.” Absurdly, litigation in connection therewith dragged on for years.

But that is the American way. If one feels one has been wronged, the way to settle it is through the courts. However, this is always costly– financially, emotionally and temporally. The costs are what leaders who abuse their power count on, to allow them to continue their tyranny.

Such is the mentality of the current leadership in the United States. NOT ONE previous president lifted a finger to unduly oppress Americans to allegedly contain a contagious, fatal disease. Only this current one. Why is that?

The oppression has certain similarities to a psychological process called divestiture socialization– a ritual imposed on newcomers to social groups in which there is tight bonding of members. Such groups include those in the military, medical school, boarding schools, fraternities and sororities. The newcomers are beaten down and if they survive their hazing, are forced to adapt to the culture of the abusive hierarchy. The new recruits who go along to get along get Stockholm syndrome, because they know that someday, they will become the oppressors.

Along these lines, it’s time to name names of the COVID CONSPIRATORS– those elected officials who are most responsible for punishing the American people for electing a president they themselves don’t like, punishing even those who voted against the current president.

By the way, some American employers make employees clean up the mess they made. Then they fire them. One should remember the mess the following conspirators made, and– come their reelection time, vote them out of office. Besides litigation, that’s the American way, too.

[Please excuse any omissions or errors in the following lists, as WordPress is buggy and had trouble handling the large volume of text, and would not delete specific items. Hackers may also have modified specific items.]

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP

GOVERNORS

Alabama Kay Ivey
Alaska Mike Dunleavy
Arizona Doug Ducey
Arkansas Asa Hutchinson
California Gavin Newsom
Colorado Jared Polis
Connecticut Ned Lamont
Delaware John C. Carney Jr.
Florida Ron DeSantis
Georgia Brian Kemp
Hawaii David Ige
Idaho Brad Little
Illinois J.B. Pritzker
Indiana Eric Holcomb
Iowa Kim Reynolds
Kansas Laura Kelly
Kentucky Andy Beshear
Louisiana John Bel Edwards
Maine Janet T. Mills
Maryland Larry Hogan
Massachusetts Charles D. Baker
Michigan Gretchen Whitmer
Minnesota Tim Walz
Mississippi Tate Reeves
Missouri Mike Parson
Montana Steve Bullock
Nebraska Pete Ricketts
Nevada Steve Sisolak
New Hampshire Chris Sununu
New Jersey Phil Murphy
New Mexico Michelle Lujan Grisham
New York Andrew Cuomo
North Carolina Roy Cooper
North Dakota Doug Burgum
Ohio Richard Michael DeWine
Oklahoma Kevin Stitt
Oregon Kate Brown
Pennsylvania Tom Wolf
Rhode Island Gina Raimondo
South Carolina Henry McMaster
South Dakota Kristi L. Noem
Tennessee Bill Lee
Texas Greg Abbott
Utah Gary Herbert
Vermont Phil Scott
Virginia Ralph Northam
Washington Jay Inslee
West Virginia Jim Justice
Wisconsin Tony Evers
Wyoming Mark Gordon

U.S. SENATORS

Alexander, Lamar TN
Baldwin, Tammy WI
Barrasso, John WY
Bennet, Michael F. CO
Blackburn, Marsha TN
Blumenthal, Richard CT
Blunt, Roy MO
Booker, Cory A. NJ
Boozman, John AR
Braun, Mike IN
Brown, Sherrod OH
Burr, Richard NC
Cantwell, Maria WA
Capito, Shelley Moore WV
Cardin, Benjamin L. MD
Carper, Thomas R. DE
Casey, Robert P., Jr. PA
Cassidy, Bill LA
Collins, Susan M. ME
Coons, Christopher A. DE
Cornyn, John TX
Cortez Masto, Catherine NV
Cotton, Tom AR
Cramer, Kevin ND
Crapo, Mike ID
Cruz, Ted TX
Daines, Steve MT
Duckworth, Tammy IL
Durbin, Richard J. IL
Enzi, Michael B. WY
Ernst, Joni IA
Feinstein, Dianne CA
Fischer, Deb NE
Gardner, Cory CO
Gillibrand, Kirsten E. NY
Graham, Lindsey SC
Grassley, Chuck IA
Harris, Kamala D. CA
Hassan, Margaret Wood NH
Hawley, Josh MO
Heinrich, Martin NM
Hirono, Mazie K. HI
Hoeven, John ND
Hyde-Smith, Cindy MS
Inhofe, James M. OK
Johnson, Ron WI
Jones, Doug AL
Kaine, Tim VA
Kennedy, John LA
King, Angus S., Jr. ME
Klobuchar, Amy MN
Lankford, James OK
Leahy, Patrick J. VT
Lee, Mike UT
Loeffler, Kelly GA
Manchin, Joe, III WV
Markey, Edward J. MA
McConnell, Mitch KY
McSally, Martha AZ
Menendez, Robert NJ
Merkley, Jeff OR
Moran, Jerry KS
Murkowski, Lisa AK
Murphy, Christopher CT
Murray, Patty WA
Paul, Rand KY
Perdue, David GA
Peters, Gary C. MI
Portman, Rob OH
Reed, Jack RI
Risch, James E. ID
Roberts, Pat KS
Romney, Mitt UT
Rosen, Jacky NV
Rounds, Mike SD
Rubio, Marco FL
Sanders, Bernard VT
Sasse, Ben NE
Schatz, Brian HI
Schumer, Charles E. NY
Scott, Rick FL
Scott, Tim SC
Shaheen, Jeanne NH
Shelby, Richard C. AL
Sinema, Kyrsten AZ
Smith, Tina MN
Stabenow, Debbie MI
Sullivan, Dan AK
Tester, Jon MT
Thune, John SD
Tillis, Thom NC
Toomey, Patrick J. PA
Udall, Tom NM
Van Hollen, Chris MD
Warner, Mark R. VA
Warren, Elizabeth MA
Whitehouse, Sheldon RI
Wicker, Roger F. MS
Wyden, Ron OR
Young, Todd IN

U.S. REPRESENTATIVES
Abraham, Ralph
Louisiana’s 5th congressional district, 2015-2020
Adams, Alma
North Carolina’s 12th congressional district, 2014-2020
Aderholt, Robert
Alabama’s 4th congressional district, 1997-2020
Aguilar, Pete
California’s 31st congressional district, 2015-2020
Allen, Rick
Georgia’s 12th congressional district, 2015-2020
Allred, Colin
Texas’s 32nd congressional district, 2019-2020
Amash, Justin
Michigan’s 3rd congressional district, 2011-2020

Amodei, Mark
Nevada’s 2nd congressional district, 2011-2020
Armstrong, Kelly
North Dakota At Large, 2019-2020
Arrington, Jodey
Texas’s 19th congressional district, 2017-2020
Axne, Cynthia
Iowa’s 3rd congressional district, 2019-2020
Babin, Brian
Texas’s 36th congressional district, 2015-2020
Bacon, Don
Nebraska’s 2nd congressional district, 2017-2020
Baird, James
Indiana’s 4th congressional district, 2019-2020
Balderson, Troy
Ohio’s 12th congressional district, 2018-2020
Banks, Jim
Indiana’s 3rd congressional district, 2017-2020
Barr, Garland “Andy”
Kentucky’s 6th congressional district, 2013-2020
Barragán, Nanette
California’s 44th congressional district, 2017-2020
Bass, Karen
California’s 37th congressional district, 2013-2020
Beatty, Joyce
Ohio’s 3rd congressional district, 2013-2020
Bera, Ami
California’s 7th congressional district, 2013-2020
Bergman, Jack
Michigan’s 1st congressional district, 2017-2020
Beyer, Donald
Virginia’s 8th congressional district, 2015-2020
Biggs, Andy
Arizona’s 5th congressional district, 2017-2020
Bilirakis, Gus
Florida’s 12th congressional district, 2013-2020
Bishop, Dan
North Carolina’s 9th congressional district, 2019-2020
Bishop, Rob
Utah’s 1st congressional district, 2003-2020
Bishop, Sanford
Georgia’s 2nd congressional district, 1993-2020
Blackburn, Marsha
Junior Senator for Tennessee, 2019-2024
Blumenauer, Earl
Oregon’s 3rd congressional district, 1996-2020
Blunt Rochester, Lisa
Delaware At Large, 2017-2020
Bonamici, Suzanne
Oregon’s 1st congressional district, 2012-2020
Bost, Mike
Illinois’s 12th congressional district, 2015-2020
Boyle, Brendan
Pennsylvania’s 2nd congressional district, 2019-2020
Brady, Kevin
Texas’s 8th congressional district, 1997-2020

Schumer, Charles
New York’s 22nd congressional district, 2019-2020
Brooks, Mo
Alabama’s 5th congressional district, 2011-2020
Brooks, Susan
Indiana’s 5th congressional district, 2013-2020
Brown, Anthony
Maryland’s 4th congressional district, 2017-2020
Brownley, Julia
California’s 26th congressional district, 2013-2020
Buchanan, Vern
Florida’s 16th congressional district, 2013-2020
Buck, Ken
Colorado’s 4th congressional district, 2015-2020
Bucshon, Larry
Indiana’s 8th congressional district, 2011-2020
Budd, Ted
North Carolina’s 13th congressional district, 2017-2020
Burchett, Tim
Tennessee’s 2nd congressional district, 2019-2020
Burgess, Michael
Texas’s 26th congressional district, 2003-2020
Bustos, Cheri
Illinois’s 17th congressional district, 2013-2020
Butterfield, George “G.K.”
North Carolina’s 1st congressional district, 2004-2020
Byrne, Bradley
Alabama’s 1st congressional district, 2014-2020
Calvert, Ken
California’s 42nd congressional district, 2013-2020
Capito, Shelley
Junior Senator for West Virginia, 2015-2020
Carbajal, Salud
California’s 24th congressional district, 2017-2020
Carper, Thomas
Senior Senator for Delaware, 2001-2024
Carson, André
Indiana’s 7th congressional district, 2008-2020
Carter, Buddy
Georgia’s 1st congressional district, 2015-2020
Carter, John
Texas’s 31st congressional district, 2003-2020
Cartwright, Matthew
Pennsylvania’s 8th congressional district, 2019-2020
Case, Ed
Hawaii’s 1st congressional district, 2019-2020
Casten, Sean
Illinois’s 6th congressional district, 2019-2020
Castor, Kathy
Florida’s 14th congressional district, 2013-2020
Castro, Joaquin
Texas’s 20th congressional district, 2013-2020
Chabot, Steve
Ohio’s 1st congressional district, 2011-2020
Cheney, Liz
Wyoming At Large, 2017-2020
Chu, Judy
California’s 27th congressional district, 2013-2020
Cicilline, David
Rhode Island’s 1st congressional district, 2011-2020
Cisneros, Gilbert
California’s 39th congressional district, 2019-2020
Clark, Katherine
Massachusetts’s 5th congressional district, 2013-2020
Clarke, Yvette
New York’s 9th congressional district, 2013-2020
Clay, Lacy
Missouri’s 1st congressional district, 2001-2020
Cleaver, Emanuel
Missouri’s 5th congressional district, 2005-2020
Cline, Ben
Virginia’s 6th congressional district, 2019-2020
Cloud, Michael
Texas’s 27th congressional district, 2018-2020
Clyburn, James “Jim”
South Carolina’s 6th congressional district, 1993-2020
Cohen, Steve
Tennessee’s 9th congressional district, 2007-2020
Cole, Tom
Oklahoma’s 4th congressional district, 2003-2020
Collins, Doug
Georgia’s 9th congressional district, 2013-2020
Comer, James
Kentucky’s 1st congressional district, 2016-2020
Conaway, Michael
Texas’s 11th congressional district, 2005-2020
Connolly, Gerald
Virginia’s 11th congressional district, 2009-2020
Cook, Paul
California’s 8th congressional district, 2013-2020
Cooper, Jim
Tennessee’s 5th congressional district, 2003-2020
Correa, Luis
California’s 46th congressional district, 2017-2020
Costa, Jim
California’s 16th congressional district, 2013-2020
Courtney, Joe
Connecticut’s 2nd congressional district, 2007-2020
Cox, TJ
California’s 21st congressional district, 2019-2020
Craig, Angie
Minnesota’s 2nd congressional district, 2019-2020
Crawford, Eric “Rick”
Arkansas’s 1st congressional district, 2011-2020
Crenshaw, Dan
Texas’s 2nd congressional district, 2019-2020
Crist, Charlie
Florida’s 13th congressional district, 2017-2020
Crow, Jason
Colorado’s 6th congressional district, 2019-2020
Cruz, Ted
Junior Senator for Texas, 2013-2024
Cuellar, Henry
Texas’s 28th congressional district, 2005-2020
Cunningham, Joe
South Carolina’s 1st congressional district, 2019-2020
Curtis, John
Utah’s 3rd congressional district, 2017-2020
Cárdenas, Tony
California’s 29th congressional district, 2013-2020
Davids, Sharice
Kansas’s 3rd congressional district, 2019-2020
Davidson, Warren
Ohio’s 8th congressional district, 2016-2020
Davis, Danny
Illinois’s 7th congressional district, 1997-2020
Davis, Rodney
Illinois’s 13th congressional district, 2013-2020
Davis, Susan
California’s 53rd congressional district, 2003-2020
DeFazio, Peter
Oregon’s 4th congressional district, 1987-2020
DeGette, Diana
Colorado’s 1st congressional district, 1997-2020
DeLauro, Rosa
Connecticut’s 3rd congressional district, 1991-2020
DeSaulnier, Mark
California’s 11th congressional district, 2015-2020
Dean, Madeleine
Pennsylvania’s 4th congressional district, 2019-2020
DelBene, Suzan
Washington’s 1st congressional district, 2012-2020
Delgado, Antonio
New York’s 19th congressional district, 2019-2020
Demings, Val
Florida’s 10th congressional district, 2017-2020
DesJarlais, Scott
Tennessee’s 4th congressional district, 2011-2020
Deutch, Theodore
Florida’s 22nd congressional district, 2017-2020
Diaz-Balart, Mario
Florida’s 25th congressional district, 2013-2020
Dingell, Debbie
Michigan’s 12th congressional district, 2015-2020
Doggett, Lloyd
Texas’s 35th congressional district, 2013-2020
Doyle, Michael “Mike”
Pennsylvania’s 18th congressional district, 2019-2020
Duncan, Jeff
South Carolina’s 3rd congressional district, 2011-2020
Dunn, Neal
Florida’s 2nd congressional district, 2017-2020
Emmer, Tom
Minnesota’s 6th congressional district, 2015-2020
Engel, Eliot
New York’s 16th congressional district, 2013-2020
Escobar, Veronica
Texas’s 16th congressional district, 2019-2020
Eshoo, Anna
California’s 18th congressional district, 2013-2020
Espaillat, Adriano
New York’s 13th congressional district, 2017-2020
Estes, Ron
Kansas’s 4th congressional district, 2017-2020
Evans, Dwight
Pennsylvania’s 3rd congressional district, 2019-2020
Ferguson, Drew
Representative for Georgia’s 3rd congressional district, 2017-2020
Finkenauer, Abby
Representative for Iowa’s 1st congressional district, 2019-2020
Fitzpatrick, Brian
Representative for Pennsylvania’s 1st congressional district, 2019-2020
Fleischmann, Charles “Chuck”
Representative for Tennessee’s 3rd congressional district, 2011-2020
Fletcher, Lizzie
Representative for Texas’s 7th congressional district, 2019-2020
Flores, Bill
Representative for Texas’s 17th congressional district, 2011-2020
Fortenberry, Jeff
Representative for Nebraska’s 1st congressional district, 2005-2020
Foster, Bill
Representative for Illinois’s 11th congressional district, 2013-2020
Foxx, Virginia
Representative for North Carolina’s 5th congressional district, 2005-2020
Frankel, Lois
Representative for Florida’s 21st congressional district, 2017-2020
Fudge, Marcia
Representative for Ohio’s 11th congressional district, 2008-2020
Fulcher, Russ
Representative for Idaho’s 1st congressional district, 2019-2020
Gabbard, Tulsi
Representative for Hawaii’s 2nd congressional district, 2013-2020
Gaetz, Matt
Representative for Florida’s 1st congressional district, 2017-2020
Gallagher, Mike
Representative for Wisconsin’s 8th congressional district, 2017-2020
Gallego, Ruben
Representative for Arizona’s 7th congressional district, 2015-2020
Garamendi, John
Representative for California’s 3rd congressional district, 2013-2020
Garcia, Mike
Representative for California’s 25th congressional district, 2020-2020
Garcia, Sylvia
Representative for Texas’s 29th congressional district, 2019-2020
García, Jesús
Representative for Illinois’s 4th congressional district, 2019-2020
Gianforte, Greg
Representative for Montana At Large, 2017-2020
Gibbs, Bob
Representative for Ohio’s 7th congressional district, 2013-2020
Gohmert, Louie
Representative for Texas’s 1st congressional district, 2005-2020
Golden, Jared
Representative for Maine’s 2nd congressional district, 2019-2020
Gomez, Jimmy
Representative for California’s 34th congressional district, 2017-2020
Gonzalez, Anthony
Representative for Ohio’s 16th congressional district, 2019-2020
Gonzalez, Vicente
Representative for Texas’s 15th congressional district, 2017-2020
González-Colón, Jenniffer
Resident Commissioner for Puerto Rico, 2017-2020
Gooden, Lance
Representative for Texas’s 5th congressional district, 2019-2020
Gosar, Paul
Representative for Arizona’s 4th congressional district, 2013-2020
Gottheimer, Josh
Representative for New Jersey’s 5th congressional district, 2017-2020
Granger, Kay
Representative for Texas’s 12th congressional district, 1997-2020
Graves, Garret
Representative for Louisiana’s 6th congressional district, 2015-2020
Graves, Sam
Representative for Missouri’s 6th congressional district, 2001-2020
Graves, Tom
Representative for Georgia’s 14th congressional district, 2013-2020
Green, Al
Representative for Texas’s 9th congressional district, 2005-2020
Green, Mark
Representative for Tennessee’s 7th congressional district, 2019-2020
Griffith, Morgan
Representative for Virginia’s 9th congressional district, 2011-2020
Grijalva, Raúl
Representative for Arizona’s 3rd congressional district, 2013-2020
Grothman, Glenn
Representative for Wisconsin’s 6th congressional district, 2015-2020
Guest, Michael
Representative for Mississippi’s 3rd congressional district, 2019-2020
Guthrie, Brett
Representative for Kentucky’s 2nd congressional district, 2009-2020
Haaland, Debra
Representative for New Mexico’s 1st congressional district, 2019-2020
Hagedorn, Jim
Representative for Minnesota’s 1st congressional district, 2019-2020
Harder, Josh
Representative for California’s 10th congressional district, 2019-2020
Harris, Andy
Representative for Maryland’s 1st congressional district, 2011-2020
Hartzler, Vicky
Representative for Missouri’s 4th congressional district, 2011-2020
Hastings, Alcee
Representative for Florida’s 20th congressional district, 2013-2020
Hayes, Jahana
Representative for Connecticut’s 5th congressional district, 2019-2020
Heck, Denny
Representative for Washington’s 10th congressional district, 2013-2020
Hern, Kevin
Representative for Oklahoma’s 1st congressional district, 2018-2020
Herrera Beutler, Jaime
Representative for Washington’s 3rd congressional district, 2011-2020
Hice, Jody
Representative for Georgia’s 10th congressional district, 2015-2020
Higgins, Brian
Representative for New York’s 26th congressional district, 2013-2020
Higgins, Clay
Representative for Louisiana’s 3rd congressional district, 2017-2020
Hill, French
Representative for Arkansas’s 2nd congressional district, 2015-2020
Himes, James
Representative for Connecticut’s 4th congressional district, 2009-2020
Holding, George
Representative for North Carolina’s 2nd congressional district, 2017-2020
Hollingsworth, Trey
Representative for Indiana’s 9th congressional district, 2017-2020
Horn, Kendra
Representative for Oklahoma’s 5th congressional district, 2019-2020
Horsford, Steven
Representative for Nevada’s 4th congressional district, 2019-2020
Houlahan, Chrissy
Representative for Pennsylvania’s 6th congressional district, 2019-2020
Hoyer, Steny
Representative for Maryland’s 5th congressional district, 1981-2020
Hudson, Richard
Representative for North Carolina’s 8th congressional district, 2013-2020
Huffman, Jared
Representative for California’s 2nd congressional district, 2013-2020
Huizenga, Bill
Representative for Michigan’s 2nd congressional district, 2011-2020
Hurd, Will
Representative for Texas’s 23rd congressional district, 2015-2020
Jackson Lee, Sheila
Representative for Texas’s 18th congressional district, 1995-2020
Jayapal, Pramila
Representative for Washington’s 7th congressional district, 2017-2020
Jeffries, Hakeem
Representative for New York’s 8th congressional district, 2013-2020
Johnson, Bill
Representative for Ohio’s 6th congressional district, 2011-2020
Johnson, Dusty
Representative for South Dakota At Large, 2019-2020
Johnson, Eddie
Representative for Texas’s 30th congressional district, 1993-2020
Johnson, Henry “Hank”
Representative for Georgia’s 4th congressional district, 2007-2020
Johnson, Mike
Representative for Louisiana’s 4th congressional district, 2017-2020
Jordan, Jim
Representative for Ohio’s 4th congressional district, 2007-2020
Joyce, David
Representative for Ohio’s 14th congressional district, 2013-2020
Joyce, John
Representative for Pennsylvania’s 13th congressional district, 2019-2020
Kaptur, Marcy
Representative for Ohio’s 9th congressional district, 1983-2020
Katko, John
Representative for New York’s 24th congressional district, 2015-2020
Keating, William
Representative for Massachusetts’s 9th congressional district, 2013-2020
Keller, Fred
Representative for Pennsylvania’s 12th congressional district, 2019-2020
Kelly, Mike
Representative for Pennsylvania’s 16th congressional district, 2019-2020
Kelly, Robin
Representative for Illinois’s 2nd congressional district, 2013-2020
Kelly, Trent
Representative for Mississippi’s 1st congressional district, 2015-2020
Kennedy, Joseph
Representative for Massachusetts’s 4th congressional district, 2013-2020
Khanna, Ro
Representative for California’s 17th congressional district, 2017-2020
Kildee, Daniel
Representative for Michigan’s 5th congressional district, 2013-2020
Kilmer, Derek
Representative for Washington’s 6th congressional district, 2013-2020
Kim, Andy
Representative for New Jersey’s 3rd congressional district, 2019-2020
Kind, Ron
Representative for Wisconsin’s 3rd congressional district, 1997-2020
King, Peter “Pete”
Representative for New York’s 2nd congressional district, 2013-2020
King, Steve
Representative for Iowa’s 4th congressional district, 2013-2020
Kinzinger, Adam
Representative for Illinois’s 16th congressional district, 2013-2020
Kirkpatrick, Ann
Representative for Arizona’s 2nd congressional district, 2019-2020
Krishnamoorthi, Raja
Representative for Illinois’s 8th congressional district, 2017-2020
Kuster, Ann
Representative for New Hampshire’s 2nd congressional district, 2013-2020
Kustoff, David
Representative for Tennessee’s 8th congressional district, 2017-2020
LaHood, Darin
Representative for Illinois’s 18th congressional district, 2015-2020
LaMalfa, Doug
Representative for California’s 1st congressional district, 2013-2020
Lamb, Conor
Representative for Pennsylvania’s 17th congressional district, 2019-2020
Lamborn, Doug
Representative for Colorado’s 5th congressional district, 2007-2020
Langevin, James “Jim”
Representative for Rhode Island’s 2nd congressional district, 2001-2020
Larsen, Rick
Representative for Washington’s 2nd congressional district, 2001-2020
Larson, John
Representative for Connecticut’s 1st congressional district, 1999-2020
Latta, Robert
Representative for Ohio’s 5th congressional district, 2007-2020
Lawrence, Brenda
Representative for Michigan’s 14th congressional district, 2015-2020
Lawson, Al
Representative for Florida’s 5th congressional district, 2017-2020
Lee, Barbara
Representative for California’s 13th congressional district, 2013-2020
Lee, Susie
Representative for Nevada’s 3rd congressional district, 2019-2020
Lesko, Debbie
Representative for Arizona’s 8th congressional district, 2018-2020
Levin, Andy
Representative for Michigan’s 9th congressional district, 2019-2020
Levin, Mike
Representative for California’s 49th congressional district, 2019-2020
Lewis, John
Representative for Georgia’s 5th congressional district, 1987-2020
Lieu, Ted
Representative for California’s 33rd congressional district, 2015-2020
Lipinski, Daniel
Representative for Illinois’s 3rd congressional district, 2005-2020
Loebsack, David
Representative for Iowa’s 2nd congressional district, 2007-2020
Lofgren, Zoe
Representative for California’s 19th congressional district, 2013-2020
Long, Billy
Representative for Missouri’s 7th congressional district, 2011-2020
Loudermilk, Barry
Representative for Georgia’s 11th congressional district, 2015-2020
Lowenthal, Alan
Representative for California’s 47th congressional district, 2013-2020
Lowey, Nita
Representative for New York’s 17th congressional district, 2013-2020
Lucas, Frank
Representative for Oklahoma’s 3rd congressional district, 2003-2020
Luetkemeyer, Blaine
Representative for Missouri’s 3rd congressional district, 2013-2020
Luján, Ben
Representative for New Mexico’s 3rd congressional district, 2009-2020
Luria, Elaine
Representative for Virginia’s 2nd congressional district, 2019-2020
Lynch, Stephen
Representative for Massachusetts’s 8th congressional district, 2013-2020
Malinowski, Tom
Representative for New Jersey’s 7th congressional district, 2019-2020
Maloney, Carolyn
Representative for New York’s 12th congressional district, 2013-2020
Maloney, Sean
Representative for New York’s 18th congressional district, 2013-2020
Marchant, Kenny
Representative for Texas’s 24th congressional district, 2005-2020
Marshall, Roger
Representative for Kansas’s 1st congressional district, 2017-2020
Massie, Thomas
Representative for Kentucky’s 4th congressional district, 2012-2020
Mast, Brian
Representative for Florida’s 18th congressional district, 2017-2020
Matsui, Doris
Representative for California’s 6th congressional district, 2013-2020
McAdams, Ben
Representative for Utah’s 4th congressional district, 2019-2020
McBath, Lucy
Representative for Georgia’s 6th congressional district, 2019-2020
McCarthy, Kevin
Representative for California’s 23rd congressional district, 2013-2020
McCaul, Michael
Representative for Texas’s 10th congressional district, 2005-2020
McClintock, Tom
Representative for California’s 4th congressional district, 2009-2020
McCollum, Betty
Representative for Minnesota’s 4th congressional district, 2001-2020
McEachin, Donald
Representative for Virginia’s 4th congressional district, 2017-2020
McGovern, James “Jim”
Representative for Massachusetts’s 2nd congressional district, 2013-2020
McHenry, Patrick
Representative for North Carolina’s 10th congressional district, 2005-2020
McKinley, David
Representative for West Virginia’s 1st congressional district, 2011-2020
McMorris Rodgers, Cathy
Representative for Washington’s 5th congressional district, 2005-2020
McNerney, Jerry
Representative for California’s 9th congressional district, 2013-2020
Meeks, Gregory
Representative for New York’s 5th congressional district, 2013-2020
Meng, Grace
Representative for New York’s 6th congressional district, 2013-2020
Meuser, Daniel
Representative for Pennsylvania’s 9th congressional district, 2019-2020
Mfume, Kweisi
Representative for Maryland’s 7th congressional district, 2020-2020
Miller, Carol
Representative for West Virginia’s 3rd congressional district, 2019-2020
Mitchell, Paul
Representative for Michigan’s 10th congressional district, 2017-2020
Moolenaar, John
Representative for Michigan’s 4th congressional district, 2015-2020
Mooney, Alex
Representative for West Virginia’s 2nd congressional district, 2015-2020
Moore, Gwen
Representative for Wisconsin’s 4th congressional district, 2005-2020
Morelle, Joseph
Representative for New York’s 25th congressional district, 2018-2020
Moulton, Seth
Representative for Massachusetts’s 6th congressional district, 2015-2020
Mucarsel-Powell, Debbie
Representative for Florida’s 26th congressional district, 2019-2020
Mullin, Markwayne
Representative for Oklahoma’s 2nd congressional district, 2013-2020
Murphy, Gregory
Representative for North Carolina’s 3rd congressional district, 2019-2020
Murphy, Stephanie
Representative for Florida’s 7th congressional district, 2017-2020
Nadler, Jerrold
Representative for New York’s 10th congressional district, 2013-2020
Napolitano, Grace
Representative for California’s 32nd congressional district, 2013-2020
Neal, Richard
Representative for Massachusetts’s 1st congressional district, 2013-2020
Neguse, Joe
Representative for Colorado’s 2nd congressional district, 2019-2020
Newhouse, Dan
Representative for Washington’s 4th congressional district, 2015-2020
Norcross, Donald
Representative for New Jersey’s 1st congressional district, 2014-2020
Norman, Ralph
Representative for South Carolina’s 5th congressional district, 2017-2020
Norton, Eleanor
Representative for the District of Columbia, 1991-2020
Nunes, Devin
Representative for California’s 22nd congressional district, 2013-2020
Ocasio-Cortez, Alexandria
Representative for New York’s 14th congressional district, 2019-2020
Olson, Pete
Representative for Texas’s 22nd congressional district, 2009-2020
Omar, Ilhan
Representative for Minnesota’s 5th congressional district, 2019-2020
O’Halleran, Tom
Representative for Arizona’s 1st congressional district, 2017-2020
Palazzo, Steven
Representative for Mississippi’s 4th congressional district, 2011-2020
Pallone, Frank
Representative for New Jersey’s 6th congressional district, 1993-2020
Palmer, Gary
Representative for Alabama’s 6th congressional district, 2015-2020
Panetta, Jimmy
Representative for California’s 20th congressional district, 2017-2020
Pappas, Chris
Representative for New Hampshire’s 1st congressional district, 2019-2020
Pascrell, Bill
Representative for New Jersey’s 9th congressional district, 2013-2020
Payne, Donald
Representative for New Jersey’s 10th congressional district, 2012-2020
Pelosi, Nancy
Representative for California’s 12th congressional district, 2013-2020
Pence, Greg
Representative for Indiana’s 6th congressional district, 2019-2020
Perlmutter, Ed
Representative for Colorado’s 7th congressional district, 2007-2020
Perry, Scott
Representative for Pennsylvania’s 10th congressional district, 2019-2020
Peters, Scott
Representative for California’s 52nd congressional district, 2013-2020
Peterson, Collin
Representative for Minnesota’s 7th congressional district, 1991-2020
Phillips, Dean
Representative for Minnesota’s 3rd congressional district, 2019-2020
Pingree, Chellie
Representative for Maine’s 1st congressional district, 2009-2020
Plaskett, Stacey
Representative for the Virgin Islands, 2015-2020
Pocan, Mark
Representative for Wisconsin’s 2nd congressional district, 2013-2020
Porter, Katie
Representative for California’s 45th congressional district, 2019-2020
Posey, Bill
Representative for Florida’s 8th congressional district, 2013-2020
Pressley, Ayanna
Representative for Massachusetts’s 7th congressional district, 2019-2020
Price, David
Representative for North Carolina’s 4th congressional district, 1997-2020
Quigley, Mike
Representative for Illinois’s 5th congressional district, 2009-2020
Raskin, Jamie
Representative for Maryland’s 8th congressional district, 2017-2020
Ratcliffe, John
Representative for Texas’s 4th congressional district, 2015-2020
Reed, Tom
Representative for New York’s 23rd congressional district, 2013-2020
Reschenthaler, Guy
Representative for Pennsylvania’s 14th congressional district, 2019-2020
Rice, Kathleen
Representative for New York’s 4th congressional district, 2015-2020
Rice, Tom
Representative for South Carolina’s 7th congressional district, 2013-2020
Richmond, Cedric
Representative for Louisiana’s 2nd congressional district, 2011-2020
Riggleman, Denver
Representative for Virginia’s 5th congressional district, 2019-2020
Roby, Martha
Representative for Alabama’s 2nd congressional district, 2011-2020
Roe, David “Phil”
Representative for Tennessee’s 1st congressional district, 2009-2020
Rogers, Harold “Hal”
Representative for Kentucky’s 5th congressional district, 1981-2020
Rogers, Mike
Representative for Alabama’s 3rd congressional district, 2003-2020
Rooney, Francis
Representative for Florida’s 19th congressional district, 2017-2020
Rose, John
Representative for Tennessee’s 6th congressional district, 2019-2020
Rose, Max
Representative for New York’s 11th congressional district, 2019-2020
Rouda, Harley
Representative for California’s 48th congressional district, 2019-2020
Rouzer, David
Representative for North Carolina’s 7th congressional district, 2015-2020
Roy, Chip
Representative for Texas’s 21st congressional district, 2019-2020
Roybal-Allard, Lucille
Representative for California’s 40th congressional district, 2013-2020
Ruiz, Raul
Representative for California’s 36th congressional district, 2013-2020
Ruppersberger, A. Dutch
Representative for Maryland’s 2nd congressional district, 2003-2020
Rush, Bobby
Representative for Illinois’s 1st congressional district, 1993-2020
Rutherford, John
Representative for Florida’s 4th congressional district, 2017-2020
Ryan, Tim
Representative for Ohio’s 13th congressional district, 2013-2020
Sablan, Gregorio
Representative for the Northern Mariana Islands, 2009-2020
San Nicolas, Michael
Representative for Guam, 2019-2020
Sarbanes, John
Representative for Maryland’s 3rd congressional district, 2007-2020
Scalise, Steve
Representative for Louisiana’s 1st congressional district, 2008-2020
Scanlon, Mary
Representative for Pennsylvania’s 5th congressional district, 2019-2020
Schakowsky, Janice “Jan”
Representative for Illinois’s 9th congressional district, 1999-2020
Schiff, Adam
Representative for California’s 28th congressional district, 2013-2020
Schneider, Bradley
Representative for Illinois’s 10th congressional district, 2017-2020
Schrader, Kurt
Representative for Oregon’s 5th congressional district, 2009-2020
Schrier, Kim
Representative for Washington’s 8th congressional district, 2019-2020
Schweikert, David
Representative for Arizona’s 6th congressional district, 2013-2020
Scott, Austin
Representative for Georgia’s 8th congressional district, 2011-2020
Scott, David
Representative for Georgia’s 13th congressional district, 2003-2020
Scott, Robert “Bobby”
Representative for Virginia’s 3rd congressional district, 1993-2020
Sensenbrenner, James
Representative for Wisconsin’s 5th congressional district, 2003-2020
Serrano, José
Representative for New York’s 15th congressional district, 2013-2020
Sewell, Terri
Representative for Alabama’s 7th congressional district, 2011-2020
Shalala, Donna
Representative for Florida’s 27th congressional district, 2019-2020
Sherman, Brad
Representative for California’s 30th congressional district, 2013-2020
Sherrill, Mikie
Representative for New Jersey’s 11th congressional district, 2019-2020
Shimkus, John
Representative for Illinois’s 15th congressional district, 2013-2020
Simpson, Michael “Mike”
Representative for Idaho’s 2nd congressional district, 1999-2020
Sires, Albio
Representative for New Jersey’s 8th congressional district, 2013-2020
Slotkin, Elissa
Representative for Michigan’s 8th congressional district, 2019-2020
Smith, Adam
Representative for Washington’s 9th congressional district, 1997-2020
Smith, Adrian
Representative for Nebraska’s 3rd congressional district, 2007-2020
Smith, Christopher “Chris”
Representative for New Jersey’s 4th congressional district, 1981-2020
Smith, Jason
Representative for Missouri’s 8th congressional district, 2013-2020
Smucker, Lloyd
Representative for Pennsylvania’s 11th congressional district, 2019-2020
Soto, Darren
Representative for Florida’s 9th congressional district, 2017-2020
Spanberger, Abigail
Representative for Virginia’s 7th congressional district, 2019-2020
Spano, Ross
Representative for Florida’s 15th congressional district, 2019-2020
Speier, Jackie
Representative for California’s 14th congressional district, 2013-2020
Stanton, Greg
Representative for Arizona’s 9th congressional district, 2019-2020
Stauber, Pete
Representative for Minnesota’s 8th congressional district, 2019-2020
Stefanik, Elise
Representative for New York’s 21st congressional district, 2015-2020
Steil, Bryan
Representative for Wisconsin’s 1st congressional district, 2019-2020
Steube, Gregory
Representative for Florida’s 17th congressional district, 2019-2020
Stevens, Haley
Representative for Michigan’s 11th congressional district, 2019-2020
Stewart, Chris
Representative for Utah’s 2nd congressional district, 2013-2020
Stivers, Steve
Representative for Ohio’s 15th congressional district, 2011-2020
Suozzi, Thomas
Representative for New York’s 3rd congressional district, 2017-2020
Swalwell, Eric
Representative for California’s 15th congressional district, 2013-2020
Sánchez, Linda
Representative for California’s 38th congressional district, 2013-2020
Takano, Mark
Representative for California’s 41st congressional district, 2013-2020
Taylor, Van
Representative for Texas’s 3rd congressional district, 2019-2020
Thompson, Bennie
Representative for Mississippi’s 2nd congressional district, 1993-2020
Thompson, Glenn
Representative for Pennsylvania’s 15th congressional district, 2019-2020
Thompson, Mike
Representative for California’s 5th congressional district, 2013-2020
Thornberry, Mac
Representative for Texas’s 13th congressional district, 1995-2020
Tiffany, Thomas
Representative for Wisconsin’s 7th congressional district, 2020-2020
Timmons, William
Representative for South Carolina’s 4th congressional district, 2019-2020
Tipton, Scott
Representative for Colorado’s 3rd congressional district, 2011-2020
Titus, Dina
Representative for Nevada’s 1st congressional district, 2013-2020
Tlaib, Rashida
Representative for Michigan’s 13th congressional district, 2019-2020
Tonko, Paul
Representative for New York’s 20th congressional district, 2013-2020
Torres Small, Xochitl
Representative for New Mexico’s 2nd congressional district, 2019-2020
Norma Torres CA35
Torres, Norma
Representative for California’s 35th congressional district, 2015-2020
Trahan, Lori
Representative for Massachusetts’s 3rd congressional district, 2019-2020
Trone, David
Representative for Maryland’s 6th congressional district, 2019-2020
Turner, Michael
Representative for Ohio’s 10th congressional district, 2013-2020
Underwood, Lauren
Representative for Illinois’s 14th congressional district, 2019-2020
Upton, Fred
Representative for Michigan’s 6th congressional district, 1993-2020
Van Drew, Jefferson
Representative for New Jersey’s 2nd congressional district, 2019-2020
Vargas, Juan
Representative for California’s 51st congressional district, 2013-2020
Veasey, Marc
Representative for Texas’s 33rd congressional district, 2013-2020
Vela, Filemon
Representative for Texas’s 34th congressional district, 2013-2020
Velázquez, Nydia
Representative for New York’s 7th congressional district, 2013-2020
Visclosky, Peter
Representative for Indiana’s 1st congressional district, 1985-2020
Wagner, Ann
Representative for Missouri’s 2nd congressional district, 2013-2020
Walberg, Tim
Representative for Michigan’s 7th congressional district, 2011-2020
Walden, Greg
Representative for Oregon’s 2nd congressional district, 1999-2020
Walker, Mark
Representative for North Carolina’s 6th congressional district, 2015-2020
Walorski, Jackie
Representative for Indiana’s 2nd congressional district, 2013-2020
Waltz, Michael
Representative for Florida’s 6th congressional district, 2019-2020
Wasserman Schultz, Debbie
Representative for Florida’s 23rd congressional district, 2013-2020
Waters, Maxine
Representative for California’s 43rd congressional district, 2013-2020
Watkins, Steven
Representative for Kansas’s 2nd congressional district, 2019-2020
Watson Coleman, Bonnie
Representative for New Jersey’s 12th congressional district, 2015-2020
Weber, Randy
Representative for Texas’s 14th congressional district, 2013-2020
Webster, Daniel
Representative for Florida’s 11th congressional district, 2017-2020
Welch, Peter
Representative for Vermont At Large, 2007-2020
Wenstrup, Brad
Representative for Ohio’s 2nd congressional district, 2013-2020
Westerman, Bruce
Representative for Arkansas’s 4th congressional district, 2015-2020
Wexton, Jennifer
Representative for Virginia’s 10th congressional district, 2019-2020
Wild, Susan
Representative for Pennsylvania’s 7th congressional district, 2019-2020
Williams, Roger
Representative for Texas’s 25th congressional district, 2013-2020
Wilson, Frederica
Representative for Florida’s 24th congressional district, 2013-2020
Wilson, Joe
Representative for South Carolina’s 2nd congressional district, 2001-2020
Wittman, Robert
Representative for Virginia’s 1st congressional district, 2007-2020
Womack, Steve
Representative for Arkansas’s 3rd congressional district, 2011-2020
Woodall, Rob
Representative for Georgia’s 7th congressional district, 2011-2020
Wright, Ron
Representative for Texas’s 6th congressional district, 2019-2020
Yarmuth, John
Representative for Kentucky’s 3rd congressional district, 2007-2020
Yoho, Ted
Representative for Florida’s 3rd congressional district, 2013-2020
Young, Don
Representative for Alaska At Large, 1973-2020
Zeldin, Lee
Representative for New York’s 1st congressional district, 2015-2020

To be fair, the conspirators are punishing themselves, as well. They think the only way to oust the president is to crash the economy and have Americans vote him out of office. Ordinary Americans might never learn what the president did or didn’t do because he can hide behind executive privilege whenever his embattled administration is investigated for anything. Also, he and his attorney general are besties on the important issues.

The following quote from Bertrand Russell can never be repeated too often: “There is something feeble and a little contemptible about a man who cannot face the perils of life without the help of comfortable myths. Almost inevitably some part of him is aware that they are myths and that he believes them only because they are comforting. But he dare not face this thought! Moreover, since he is aware, however dimly, that his opinions are not rational, he becomes furious when they are disputed.”

This COVID campaign has had a cloak of phoniness on it from the start. True, over time, myths and misinformation have suffused all major historical events. However, electronic files are slowly replacing paper, so the recording of the institutional memory of the world can be modified with a few keystrokes all the time. Propagandists from each side are engaging in a constant battle (like “Spy vs. Spy” in Mad Magazine) to be the most recent editors of as many online information sources as possible.

Another aspect of the opinion war is that it is difficult to trust anyone who is being paid to say what they are saying. Of course, they want to keep their jobs so they sometimes (or always) say things they don’t actually themselves believe.

But– no need to get all stressed out like Barry McGuire in the song, “Eve of Destruction”– because this COVID crisis is not entirely unprecedented.

WARNING: SPOILER (OR RATHER, HISTORY) ALERT

During president Dwight Eisenhower’s two terms– most of the 1950’s– Americans were living the American Dream. They were enjoying peace and prosperity. Really? Peace and prosperity?

It might be recalled that it was the McCarthy Era! Anyone who worked in communications-related jobs or in Hollywood, sooner or later, became the victim of ideological persecution. Everyone was forced to take the Loyalty Oath.

Never mind the fact that minorities and foreigners were subjected to physical persecution, the likes of which this whole nation is currently suffering. Feel better now?

Read Fathi’s book to learn of the author’s fate, every detail of his life up until then, and his family’s diaspora.

Patriot Number One

Americans believe in the two-party system. One on Friday, one on Saturday.

Insanely enough, Americans are not allowed to have parties anymore. Because, ironically, America is becoming like China!

The following is an excerpt from a China-bashing opinion piece penned by Newt Gingrich for the Fox News website, dated April 30, 2020. However, every occasion of “Chinese” has been replaced with “American” and “Communist” with “Two-Party” and vice versa.

“Chinese and their allies seem to forget that the heart of the rise of the American Two-Party [system] was a deep dedication to effective education and propaganda. They have had nearly a century of experience at waging intellectual and psychological warfare as the necessary foundation of winning and keeping power.”

The following is a quote from Bertrand Russell: “There is something feeble and a little contemptible about a man who cannot face the perils of life without the help of comfortable myths. Almost inevitably some part of him is aware that they are myths and that he believes them only because they are comforting. But he dare not face this thought! Moreover, since he is aware, however dimly, that his opinions are not rational, he becomes furious when they are disputed.”

During the Cold War, America always stoked the fear that all countries had the potential to fall to Communism like dominoes. Currently, the local leaders of this country, America (!)– have fallen into line like dominoes. At any time, either major American political party has possessed the power to reject this oppression, but instead, both parties have collaborated to encourage it. Because they are comprised of people who will say or do anything to get elected or reelected in the event there continue to be free and fair elections.

AS IS WELL KNOWN, A SIGN OF DEMOCRACY IS FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS. IF THE INCUMBENTS ALMOST AUTOMATICALLY WIN THIS FALL, IS THAT FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS?

From the early 1960’s into the 1970’s, only men of military age had reason to fear the power of the government. Currently, every man, woman and child has reason to fear. It is not just the president who has the potential to wield outrageous power, but all government leaders across the entire country, not unlike in China.

The United States is now at a turning point in its history. Either it will become even more like China in its totalitarian ways, or its leaders will get back to restoring its citizens’ freedoms.

It might be recalled that Chinese Communist dictator Mao Tse Tung took the following steps, among many other steps, in acquiring more and more power:

  • Land reform– seizing private property from wealthy capitalists and landlords to redistribute it among everyone else (but this actually resulted in famine in which tens of millions of people died; famine is probably one thing Americans won’t suffer from)
  • nationalizing businesses
  • having a state-approved, heavily armed military force roam the streets, arbitrarily violating peoples’ civil rights
  • Inviting citizens to air their grievances, and then arresting, jailing and torturing them for speaking out against the government
  • Eliminating free speech, freedom of the press, and the right to assemble, and
  • Reducing the number of China’s political parties to one: The Communist Party, and forcing people to join it or be even more oppressed

For more information, see the following posts:

  • The Most Wanted Man in China
  • The Man on Mao’s Right
  • Colors of the Mountain

Is the above what America wants to be??

One more thing– ironically, China is in the stage of its economic development that the United States was in, about a hundred years ago: industrialization and operating factories galore (of course, China also has modern electronic technology). But the poorest of China’s citizens have yet to form labor unions to protest unjust working conditions. Some people in the United States government are pushing for a return to American manufacturing, strangely enough.

Anyway, the Book of the Week is “Patriot Number One, American Dreams in Chinatown” by Lauren Hilgers, published in 2018. This book described the Chinese immigrant experience in very recent years for a rural-village couple who are now in their thirties, and a student, who settled in the Flushing section of New York City, in Queens county.

Born in 1983 in the rural village of Wukan near Shenzhen, Zhuang Liehong grew up in a poverty-stricken family. His father was a sometime crab fisherman. He was handed off from one extended relative to another in Hong Kong beginning when he was about six years old.

Zhuang ended his formal education with middle school, not wanting to impose the financial burden of high school tuition on his family. In the 1990’s, his hometown became the victim of eminent-domain abuse of sorts, when investors invaded with infrastructure and modernization projects as a result of Deng Xiaoping’s 1980’s economic initiatives.

Zhuang was elected to a seat on Wukan’s village council, and became a political activist. Autumn 2011 saw common farmers and former landowners protest in the streets against the local government’s stealing their properties in the name of money. However, they themselves weren’t entirely innocent of law-breaking, as they had engaged in illegal building on their former land, or had been “smugglers, gamblers, ticket scalpers.”

As is very common with such unrest, the local authorities bashed some heads, rounded up the worst offenders and sentenced a few of them to a few years in jail, and trampled on what would be considered “due process” in the United States.

A few years later, after Zhuang (and his wife) had executed his carefully planned scheme to flee to the United States, the local government also set up a bribery scandal that involved the village council, prompting more oppression of the community.

A possible legal way, then, for Zhuang to move permanently to the United States, was for him to apply for political asylum. More people from China than from any other nation apply for political asylum, followed by Guatemala, El Salvador and Egypt.

Read the book to learn of Zhuang’s family’s adventures in the United States, and of the adventures of a young female student who became friendly with Zhuang’s wife.

The Man on Mao’s Right

The Book of the Week is “The Man on Mao’s Right, From Harvard Yard to Tiananmen Square, My Life Inside China’s Foreign Ministry” by Ji Chaozhu, published in 2008.

Born in 1929 in the Chinese village of Taijun, Ji lived a charmed early childhood, as his politically connected father was a law professor and commissioner of education. In 1937, his family was forced to move in with his paternal grandfather in Fenyang when the Japanese continued their siege of China.

By the end of the 1930’s, the family had fled from their palace to the United States. They moved into a tiny tenement in the East Village in Manhattan. One aspect of their living standards that was actually higher, was the modern plumbing.

Ji had a much, much older, politically connected brother– old enough to be his father– who purported to aid the Chinese Communists, then Americans, alternating between the two throughout his life. But his loyalties truly lay with the Communists.

Ji’s father behaved similarly, translating between English and Japanese for the U.S. Office of War Information after the Pearl Harbor attack, but also starting a secret pro-Communist Chinese newspaper sold in Chinatown. In 1946, he returned to China to become president of Peking University.

Ji learned English in a progressive private school. As he got older, he too began to believe that the Americans were imperialists, as they invaded Korea. He therefore quit Harvard in his junior year to return to China.

Ji had no problem enduring mean living conditions there– more than a hundred students in his Tsinghua University dorm had to share one bathroom. They had a communal bathhouse. A food shortage meant that his diet consisted of only sorghum, corn millet, dried sweet potato flour and pickled vegetables. There were no chairs in the cafeteria– students ate standing up.

When Mao Tse Tung’s Communist party took over China in 1949, the U.S. Seventh Fleet in Taiwan protected Chiang Kai-Shek, the corrupt, exiled leader of the defeated Nationalist party.

In April 1951, Douglas MacArthur was dismissed from his military leadership position by president Harry Truman for having grand plans to wage nuclear war against the Communists. Congress member Albert Gore, Sr. echoed MacArthur’s hawkish sentiments, proposing that the United States warn people to evacuate Korea, and then showering it with nuclear waste to force a stop to the war.

Ji began to attend self-criticism meetings and worship Mao as though he were a supreme being. But Ji wasn’t automatically accepted as a member of the Communist party because his reputation was tainted with Western values. His father and much, much older brother had worked for the American government in various capacities, and his family had lived in America for a time.

Nevertheless, Ji’s fluency in English, high-level education, and understanding of Western culture were major assets that few Chinese people had. So China’s Foreign Ministry recruited him to translate and take notes at the Korean peace talks in spring 1952. He and his fellow interpreters risked their lives in traveling to the site of the negotiations in Panmunjon in North Korea. They survived shelling, strafing and bombing.

Ji then survived the pressure to perfectly, manually type up the excessive number of revisions in Korean, English and Chinese that led to an almost-final written agreement in July 1953. This, after about two million war deaths over the course of two years, with neither of the multi-national sides making any significant progress geographically.

After a short stop at home, Ji was then sent to Geneva for more abuse, but without life-threatening dangers overhead.

Back in China, the landlords and the capitalists were under physical siege by the peasants in rural farming villages. Mao egged on the violence. However, in late 1956, after the common Hungarian people staged an uprising against their Communist oppressors, Mao realized he needed to take steps to avoid that kind of situation in China. So, “… for the first time, American magazines, books, and the occasional film became available. Before that, any Western literature or movies were banned.”

In a move that was nothing new under the sun, Mao gave the Chinese people a chance to air their grievances. One professor complained that Party members and cadres were living high on the hog while the peasants were starving.

Mao then wrote articles saying that the government then knew who the infidels were. He launched his Anti-Rightist campaign. A lot of bourgeois people were fired from their jobs, and sent to reeducation camps. Many people suicided, were executed or never heard from again. Unsurprisingly, the famine in China resulted in about thirty million deaths.

Beginning in the late 1950’s, over the next decade, Ji dutifully did the jobs he was assigned. For months at a time, he alternated between going to rural areas to help with manual labor, and sitting at Zhou Enlai’s side, sometimes even at Mao’s side– interpreting at diplomatic meetings.

In August 1966, a group of adolescents comprised of sociopathic sadists supplied with weaponry– also known as the Red Guards– terrorized anyone accused of disloyalty to Communist ideology (i.e., ownership by the dictatorial State, rather than ownership by private parties, of the means of production; plus other conditions). Anyone could be an accuser. Mao encouraged everyone to be snitches. The victims of violence also included embassy personnel of the former Soviet Union, India and Burma. Not to mention, in August 1967, people in the British consulate.

While ugliness raged in China and was exacerbated with U.S. intervention in Vietnam, there was a similarity with the two countries’ leadership. Zhou Enlai’s role under Mao was like vice president Hubert Humphrey’s under president Lyndon Johnson’s. The second fiddles both obeyed their bosses to keep their jobs, even though their bosses’s actions caused an excessive number of needless deaths and ruined lives.

Read the book to learn much more about the history of China, and Ji’s life and times.