Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Lawsuit Against State Senator Janet Nguyen?

With the upcoming general election finally getting some attention, a strange thing happens in Orange County and State Senator Janet Nguyen (R). 

Currently, she is an incumbent state senator (D34) running basically unopposed since her opponent, Tom Umberg (D), is not serious candidate by any stretch of imagination.   She has a war chest of close to $1.3 million while he has less than 1/10 in his campaign fund.   The Democratic Party has no interest in this race and is not supporting him financially.  He lost to Janet Nguyen 11 years ago in an OC Supervisor race and has not been in politics since.

With all the Vietnamese votes behind her, she is a sure in for landslide win.    However, whether it is paranoia or hubris, she sent out a hit piece to the Vietnamese community calling him a communist sympathizer because 26 years ago, he worked with Tom Hayden, a state legislature who opposed the Vietnam War.

Now, he is a retired Colonel in the Army after tour of duty as a paratrooper and a special prosecutor of terror suspects.    He served over 30 years  and  had top secret / SCI security clearance.  His wife is Brigadier General Robin Umberg.

To many people, this is a far stretch by Nguyen to call him a communist / communist sympathizer. 

But again, Nguyen and her cohorts have been attacking Westminster City Councilmember Tyler Diep as a communist sympathizer for the last 9 months, trying to derail Diep's state assembly campaign.  The reason for this defamation, Diep works for a Vietnamese TV station that is mostly owned by Thuy Nga Paris By Night, the show entertainment production company that hired singers and actors who are also performing in VN.

Umberg's lawyer recently sent out a cease and desist letter.  Nguyen did not response so now the ball is in Umberg's court.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Mai Khoi and The Dissidents

NationalSawdust+ in Brooklyn, NY is organizing a music event for Mai Kho and The Dissidents on Tuesday, Sept 11, 2018 at 7:30 PM.

The event is being promoted as follows by NationalSawdust+

NationalSawdust+ presents an evening of international music, literature, and conversation with Mai Khoi and The Dissidents, who make their US debut with this program. Khoi — often dubbed the “Lady Gaga of Vietnam” — has been persecuted for her open criticism of the state, particularly as she evolved from her pop star roots into an experimental folk artist chanting lyrics infused with themes of resistance and protest. Together with fellow activist musicians Quyền Thiện Đắc and Ngyugen Duc Minh, Mai Khoi and The Dissidents are a luminary voice captivating audiences interationally. They will be joined on the bill by the dazzling spoken word poet Paul Tran, winner of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe Grand Slam. The event, presented in partnership with Artists at Risk Connection (ARC) and PEN America, will feature a live performance and a reading, followed by a discussion and audience Q+A with NS+ curator Elena Park.
Artists at Risk Connection (ARC) is an initiative of PEN America dedicated to assisting imperiled artists and fortifying the field of organizations that support them. This event is supported by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and Artistic Freedom Initiative.
The event, presented in partnership with Artists at Risk Connection (ARC) and PEN America, will feature a live performance and a reading, followed by a discussion and audience Q+A with NationalSawdust+ curator Elena Park.
About NationalSawdust+
NationalSawdust+ is a lively performance and conversation series in which luminaries from across disciplines share their passion for music and explore ideas, making surprising connections. Curated by Elena Park, the series taps artists and thinkers from theater, film and visual art, literature, science and beyond, to create insightful programs that reflect their own interests. Whether through live performances, conversations, or readings, each program has its own alchemy, engaging the audience in new and unexpected ways. Often topical, and always imaginative, NationalSawdust+ is an ideal space for those with curiosity, adventure, and vision.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Janet Nguyen Stepping Up Her Attacks on Tyler Diep

What in the world is going on with State Senator Janet Nguyen (R) and  her vengeance and hatred against Westminster City Councilmember Tyler Diep (R)?

Tyler Diep is running for the 72nd state assembly seat left open by Travis Allen (R).  In the June primary, he came in second behind the lone Democrat Josh Lowenthal.  The race saw Josh Lowenthal (D) pitted against four Republican candidates.  This is a Republican dominated district that covers part of Westminster and Fountain Valley, a typical Vietnamese-American political strong hold.

Janet Nguyen endorsed  Greg Haskins, an unknown in the Vietnamese-American community and behind the scene asked Long Pham, a perennial straw candidate, to put his name in the ballot.   Nguyen was hoping these two candidates would be able to take the Republican votes away from Diep.  To ensure there would be enough fire power, from Sacramento, she lobbied $180,000 of PAC money from California Chamber of Commerce to send out mailers attacking Tyler Diep.

The cohorts of Nguyen also went on Vietnamese media and even staged a demonstration claiming that Diep is a communist sympathizer.   It is ironic since this group of anti-communist extremists -Phan Ky Nhon and cohorts.  Ironically, this is the same group  that had accused Nguyen of being a communist sympathizer for over a decade until 2016.   Now,  they are major allies along with the controversial Garden Grove City Councilmember Phat Bui. 

Why Diep is a communist sympathizer?  He works as a commentator for the local TV channel called VietFace TV.    The 24 hour TV channel is partially owned by Thuy Nga Paris, a popular entertainment production company that produces and promotes 4 live musical shows annually for the last 40 years.   In order to have enough shows to meet the viewers' demand, VietFace TV often purchases shows from Vietnam.  In the eyes of the extremists, this is dealing with the communist government.  Also, Thuy Nga Paris performers are also doing their gigs in Vietnam; thus, this is another  proof that Thuy Nga Paris has ties with the communist government.   And because Diep is working for VietFace TV which is partially owned by Thuy Nga Paris, he is a communist sympathizer.

Diep and his campaign thought this convoluted logic was so ridiculous that they did not even bother to response.

A week after the primary,  as the extremists still harping about how they let a communist sympathizer won the race, Nguyen sent out an ultimatum to the OC Republican Party Chair (Fred Whitaker) demanding that the party refund her $2,500 donation to 2018 Flag Day (a major fund raising event for OC GOP).   The reason is because the OC GOP would not take back their endorsement of Tyler Diep as she had demanded.

Diep and his supporters finally had enough of the spoiler candidate, the false accusation, the strong- arm tactics to cut off the OC GOP's support.  Their first counter move is to discredit the flimsy accusation of being communist sympathizer by recounting the story of Janet Nguyen and her relationship with the Vietnamese Consulate in San Francisco.  His supporters cried out why attacking him as a communist when you should look at your own Janet Nguyen.

They went on radio and sent out email telling an incredible story -

On July 6, 2006, Janet Nguyen as residing councilmember of Garden Grove, along with her supporter, took a flight from Long Beach to Oakland.   From there she drove  to SF and had lunch with the Consulate General Anh Tuan Tran.   According to her companion, the purpose of the meeting was to ask for fund raising for her supervisorial campaign.   A day later, businessman Eric Le met with her at Monterey Park and donated $5,000.   Eric Le is a close friend of Consulate General Anh Tuan Tran and has  business in Vietnam.  Subsequently, he raised thousands of dollars for her from his business friends who were heavily invested in Vietnam.   She apparently met with Anh Tuan Tran a number of times afterward at Orange Hill via the arrangement by Eric Le.

On June 22,  2007, when the President Nguyen Minh Triet of VN visited Dana Point and had the reception at St. Regis Hotel, Eric Le was one of the main hosts and organizers.   By then as OC supervisor,  Janet Nguyen joined the protest that was organized mainly by Phan Ky Nhon and his group (yes, the same aforementioned extremists).  However, there is an interesting twist to this hot and humid summer afternoon.  According to a witness, while with the demonstration, she made phone call to Eric Le to give him an update on what was going outside the hotel with the demonstration.

TD supporters are waiting for Nguyen to response to the story.  In the mean time, they start to point out her indifferent record for the last 4 years.

There is an interesting point to note about the Vietnamese community and their politics.  Janet Nguyen has used her power and influence trying to destroy candidates before as the state highest elected Vietnamese-American official.  She fervently attacked OC Supervisor Andrew Do during his 2016 re-election campaign and now Tyler Diep and his state assembly campaign.   Yet, they are not even her rivalry or opponent since none are vying for her state senatorial seat.

Many Viet voters in OC are asking why Janet Nguyen is using her political power to divide the community.    She wants absolute power and control of the community?   Or this is a personal vendetta and really about her self-satisfaction and ego trip?   Whatever it is, she better be successful at it or she will be losing a lot of political leverage while spending her political credit negatively.  Well, Andrew Do won his re-election despite Nguyen's all out effort to derail his campaign. 

Latest news -

Rumor has it, she will soon endorse Josh Lowenthal (D) against Tyler Diep (R).  As a Republican elected official, she has endorsed Democratic candidates against her own party's choices before.  In 2016,  she endorsed Michelle Martinez (D) against Andrew Do (R).

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Anthony Bourdain, Rest in Peace

It is sad to hear that the famous chef, author and most of all a gifted story teller who took TV viewers around the world to explore cultures through cuisines has died.  He apparently committed suicide in his hotel room in France.

In his famous TV series " Part Unknown", he traveled in many places worldwide to film about food dishes and the people and cultural the dishes came from.  But his first love as he would fondly called it is the once capital city of Vietnam  - Hue.   Matter of facts he would made two more episodes about Vietnam and its cuisine.  He would say that Vietnam is a place he would visit again and again for the food and people.    In the 2016 season premier, he visited Hanoi and sat down President Obama for a beer and ate the popular Hanoi noodles with grilled pork.  It was an instant classic.

President Obama tweeted about the meal he shared with the chef:

“Low plastic stool, cheap but delicious noodles, cold Hanoi beer.” This is how I’ll remember Tony. He taught us about food — but more importantly, about its ability to bring us together. To make us a little less afraid of the unknown. We’ll miss him. 

Here are some of the links of his Vietnam visits

Friday, August 3, 2018

The Lottery Golden Triangle of America

Within 9 months of 2014,  three Northern California residents hit some of the largest lottery jackpots in history. 

In January,  Steve Tran, a truck driver, split $648 million with Ira Cury from Atlanta.  He bought the ticket at a gift shop in East San Jose.  A few months later in April, retiree Raymond Buxton won $425 million.  The winning ticket was bought at a gas station in Milpitas which is less than 10 miles from the gift shop.  Vinh Nguyen bought the winning $228 million jackpot ticket at grocery store in San Mateo which is about 30 miles from San Jose.

The total value of all three tickets are $977 million.  And now 4 years later in July 2018, a winning jackpot of $543 million will be shared by 11 co-workers at a financial institution.   The ticket, as you guess it, was bought at a liquor store in San Jose, less than 2 miles form the gift shop that sold the $648 million jackpot ticket. 

Just for the last 4 years, over $1.5 billion of lucky money has won here in the Bay Area.  If all other winning jackpots are considered for the last 12 years,  the Bay Area has captured almost $1.8 billion of lottery jackpot.   Not too bad for a place that are already rich with multi-millionaires.

Lawsuit Against State Senator Janet Nguyen?

With the upcoming general election finally getting some attention, a strange thing happens in Orange County and State Senator Janet Nguyen ...