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我本來想用「美國政情」、「美國報導」、或「美國風情」等做本欄標題;但它們或過於狹隘,或大而無當;難以滿足提綱挈領的功能。現在這個標題雖然不夠理想,至少俏皮一些。  

由於當下的熱門話題在「政治」,以下先轉載兩篇這方面的評論。

扎卡瑞阿
先生大作討論美國國力」(本欄第二篇)。我不確定他所引用統計數字和他論點之間的相關性有多大,但一般而言,我同意他的看法。我曾說過,百足之蟲,死而不僵;50 – 100年內美國還是能夠跟中國平起平坐。此之謂:「瘦死的駱駝比馬大」。這也是我一向主張「中美和則兩利,鬥則俱傷」的原因之一。這篇文章甚長,一時之間我也無法全部消化。有空再寫讀後。

教授曾任美國國安和外交官員他的大作從外交政策討論美國明年大選結果對未來走勢的影響(本欄第三篇)。他對美國優越論」基礎的分析,我並不苟同。以後有空再做評論。

除了政治評論外,有機會我會選擇一些其它方面的報導與分析。

我在美國住了近26年,在1993回台定居以前,我在美國的時間比我在中國的時間要長。在美期間,除了工作之外,我也花了些時間了解和接觸美國文化、企業、政治、社會、科技、和人群;雖然都只能說是皮毛,但在「認識美國」上還是不無小補。

如上所說,我真正的成長期在美國,根據「社會建構論」,我的行為與思考方式免不了些許美式「作風」。例如,我的「務實模式」與「現實主義」大都源於過去在美國的生活經驗。此外,我的「行文風格」常常不合中國士大夫「溫柔敦厚」的傳統,除了來自盧卡契的「意識型態」理論外,有一部分也受到美國學者間相互批評文字的影響。

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美國汽車工會在田納西州又下一城--TOM KRISHER/KRISTIN M. HALL
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我對美國和台灣的工運並不熟悉。我1967到美國讀研究所時,美國工會勢力極大;時任最大工會主席的米尼先生,可說炙手可熱。三不五時就可以在電視和報紙上看到他的尊容或大名。

2002
後,因為許多社運團體支持釣運,我也開始走上街頭友誼聲援社運。我發現:台灣這個巴掌大的地方,工運團體有四、五個之多。我雖然搞不明白,但也世故到不亂問敏感問題。趁介紹美國工運之便,丟出此困擾我20多年的疑惑。


Tennessee Volkswagen employees overwhelmingly vote to join United Auto Workers union

, 04/20/24

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — Employees at a Volkswagen factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee, overwhelmingly voted to join the United Auto Workers union Friday in a historic first test of the UAW’s renewed effort to organize nonunion factories.

The union wound up getting 2,628 votes, or 73% of the ballots cast, compared with only 985 who voted no in an election run by the National Labor Relations Board.

Both sides have five business days to file objections to the election, the NLRB said. If there are none, the election will be certified and VW and the union must “begin bargaining in good faith.”

President Joe Biden, who backed the UAW and won its endorsement, said the union's win follows major union gains across the country including actors, port workers, Teamsters members, writers and health care workers.

“Together, these union wins have helped raise wages and demonstrate once again that the middle-class built America and that unions are still building and expanding the middle class for all workers,” he said in a statement late Friday.

Twice in recent years, workers at the Chattanooga plant have rejected union membership in plantwide votes. Most recently, they handed the UAW a narrow defeat in 2019 as federal prosecutors were breaking up a bribery-and-embezzlement scandal at the union.

But this time, they voted convincingly for the UAW, which is operating under new leadership directly elected by members for the first time and basking in a successful confrontation with Detroit’s major automakers.

The union’s pugnacious new president, Shawn Fain, was elected on a platform of cleaning up after the scandal and turning more confrontational with automakers. An emboldened Fain, backed by Biden, led the union in a series of strikes last fall against Detroit’s automakers that resulted in lucrative new contracts.

The new contracts raised union wages by a substantial one-third, arming Fain and his organizers with enticing new offers to present to workers at Volkswagen and other companies.

Next up for a union vote are workers at Mercedes factories near Tuscaloosa, Alabama, who will vote on UAW representation in May.

Fain said he was not surprised by the size of the union's win Friday after the two previous losses.

“I think it's the reality of where we are and the times that we're in,” he said Friday night. “Workers are fed up in being left behind.”

The win, he said, will help the growing unionization effort in the rest of the country.

“This gives workers everywhere else the indication that it's OK,” Fain said. “All we've heard for years is we can't win here, you can't do this in the South, and you can.”

Worker Vicky Holloway of Chattanooga was among dozens of cheering workers celebrating at an electrical workers union hall near the VW plant. She said the overwhelming vote for the union came this time because her colleagues realized they could have better benefits and a voice in the workplace.

“Right now we have no say,” said Holloway, who has worked at the plant for 13 years and was there for the union's previous losses. “It’s like our opinions don’t matter.”

In a statement, Volkswagen thanked workers for voting and said 83.5% of the 4,300 production workers cast ballots in the election.

Six Southern governors, including Tennessee’s Bill Lee, warned the workers in a joint statement this week that joining the UAW could cost them their jobs and threaten the region’s economic progress.

But the overwhelming win is a warning to nonunion manufacturers, said Marick Masters, a business professor at Wayne State University in Detroit who studies the union.

“This is going to send a powerful message to all of those companies that the UAW is knocking at the door, and if they want to remain nonunion, they’ve got to step up their game,” Masters said.

He expects other nonunion automakers to become more aggressive at the plants, and that anti-union politicians will step up their efforts to fight the union.

Shortly after the Detroit contracts were ratified, Volkswagen and other nonunion companies handed their workers big pay raises.

Last fall, Volkswagen raised production worker pay by 11%, lifting top base wages to $32.40 per hour, or just over $67,000 per year. VW said its pay exceeds the median household income for the Chattanooga area, which was $54,480 last May, according to the U.S. Labor Department.

But under the UAW contracts, top production workers at GM, for instance, now earn $36 an hour, or about $75,000 a year excluding benefits and profit sharing. By the end of the contract in 2028, top-scale GM workers would make over $89,000.

The VW plant will be the first the UAW has represented at a foreign-owned automaking plant in the South. It will not, however, be the first union auto assembly plant in the South. The UAW represents workers at two Ford assembly plants in Kentucky and two GM factories in Tennessee and Texas, as well as some heavy-truck manufacturing plants.

Also, more than three decades ago, the UAW was at a Volkswagen factory in New Stanton, Pennsylvania, east of Pittsburgh. VW closed the plant that made small cars in the late 1980s.


Krisher reported from Detroit. Associated Press journalist Chris Megerian contributed from Washington.

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美國聯邦憲法簡介系列 -- Paul G. Summers
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U.S. Constitution offers this nation structure, direction and strong institutions

This regular feature offers citizens lessons on the founding documents of the United States: Declaration of Independence and Constitution.

Paul G. Summers, 04/11/24

Editor's note: This is a regular feature on issues related to the Constitution and civics education
written by Paul G. Summers, retired judge and state attorney general.

Our rules of government are established in the Constitution of the United States and the 27 amendments. They are the bedrocks of our government.

They structure government; allocate and establish power and authority; and provide for the three branches of government. Constitutions secure freedoms and liberty. Amendments are just as much a part of the Constitution as is the document which was originally ratified.

The U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of America. Our Constitution provides: “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land….”

Amendments are part of the Constitution just as is the original document. The first 10 amendments, or Bill of Rights, were submitted to the state legislatures in September 1789. The Bill of Rights was ratified in December 1791.

Another view by Paul Summers:
Without compromise, American states would never have ratified the U.S. Constitution

How the judicial, executive and legislative branches differ

Our Founders created three separate and equal branches of government: legislative, executive and judicial.

The first two are political; the judiciary is not. Judges must be independent, follow the rule of law, and act as checks and balances on abuse of power by any branch of government.

The Supreme Court ultimately decides whether a law or activity of any branch of government comports with the Constitution. The Court makes the final decision.

We need to keep these principles in mind, especially during political and national debates. The independence of the third branch is the crown jewel of our constitutional republic. We named it the United States of America.

Powers not delegated to the federal government, nor prohibited by the Constitution to the states, are reserved to the states, or the people.

These are the five freedoms outlined in the First Amendment

Our review will be at the 10,000-foot level to give our readers an overview of each of the 27 amendments.

Our goal is that we have a working understanding of the amendatory part of our Constitution, which is just as important as that which was ratified originally.

Libraries have scores of books and treatises written on just single parts of the First Amendment.

This amendment states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Constitution keeps government from infringing on Americans’ rights

The First Amendment prevents any governmental interference with freedom of religion or freedom of expression.

It prohibits any laws that create a national religion or hinders the free exercise of religion, or abridges freedom of speech or of the press (media publication).

The amendment prohibits any law that interferes with people who peaceably assemble or petition our government over issues or grievances.

We shall explore more on the First Amendment.

Learning, reading and studying the Constitution and Declaration of Independence are times well spent. We applaud the hard work and diligent attitude of our dedicated readers.

Both this publication and the author strive to be nonpartisan and objective. Please understand that the interpretations involving documents are that of the author. Others may have different interpretations of the same words. We always welcome comments from others.


Paul G. Summers, a lawyer, is a former appellate and senior judge, district attorney general, and the attorney general of Tennessee. Raised in Fayette County, Judge Summers resides in Nashville and Holladay. 


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《美國大選民調分析》小評
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這篇評論分析當前美國大選的民調結果(請見本攔上一篇貼文);重點如下

1)  數字上川普不但在全國性民調領先拜登好幾個關鍵州的地方性民調川普也領先拜登
2)  但這個事實並不表示2024美國總統大選已成定局因為
2)a
在白人選民中拜登支持率比他2020年的或相當或增加
2)b 川普之所以在全國性和地方性民調領先主要因素是他在黑人選民與西裔選民的支持率比他在2020年的有大幅增長
2)c
川普能不能繼續維持他目前在黑人/西裔選民兩者中的支持率是個變數
3)  因此11月投票時拜登仍然有翻盤的可能

其它民調數字和細部解讀此處就從略了

我以前分析過對中國來說川普在今年11月入主白宮將是大大的利多

但站在一個支持民主制度者的立場,我認為川普這種粗鄙貪婪、毫無道德底線的人,根本就沒有資格從政。

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美國大選民調分析 -- Ronald Brownstein
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請參考本攔下一篇《小評》。


The unexpected dynamic that could decide the Trump-Biden rematch

, 03/28/24

Democrats have been growing increasingly anxious about public polls showing former President Donald Trump making unprecedented inroads among Black and Hispanic voters. But there may be reasons for Republicans to feel uneasy about these polls too.

Surveys now consistently show Trump leading President Joe Biden nationally and in almost all of the key swing states. But those same surveys generally show Biden matching or even exceeding his winning 2020 share of the vote among White voters. Trump’s lead in polls is often based solely on him significantly improving on his 2020 showing among voters of color – and in fact, running better among Blacks and Hispanics than any Republican presidential candidate in decades.

These results have provoked a fierce debate about whether those numbers are accurate. But the more important question may be whether Trump can sustain whatever level of support he now has among non-White voters as more of them learn about the aggressive agenda he has adopted on race-related issues.

The presumptive GOP nominee is now benefiting from the best of both worlds politically: he is energizing his base of White social conservatives with incendiary ideas such as the largest deportation drive against undocumented migrants in American history and attracting historic numbers of non-White voters on other issues, principally the economy. If Trump can continue to do both things through November, he will be very hard to beat. Biden’s position would look much better if Democrats can push Trump off of that tightrope by raising unease in minority communities about the former president’s most militant proposals and rhetoric – like his claim that undocumented immigrants are “poisoning the blood of our country.”

“I don’t want to say it’s going to come down to any one group, but to me getting these voters of color, especially Hispanic voters, back to the margins where they have been historically for Democrats may be the most important thing” Biden must do to recover, said Democratic pollster Andrew Baumann.

Under any scenario, Trump in 2024 will receive the vast majority of his votes from Whites. But the incremental improvement from 2020 that could carry him to a second term now looks to be concentrated preponderantly among non-Whites.

Both national and battleground state public polls consistently show Trump, at this point, drawing more support from Black and Hispanic voters than any Republican nominee since at least 1960. When The New York Times/Siena CollegeNBC NewsWall Street Journal and CBS News/YouGov all released national polls a few days apart earlier this month, each of them found Trump winning from 20% to 28% of Black voters and 45% to 48% of Hispanic voters. That’s far more than the 12% of Black, and 32% of Hispanic, voters he won in 2020, according to the Edison Research exit polls conducted for a consortium of news organizations including CNN. (The Pew Validated Voters study found Trump winning slightly fewer Black, and slightly more Hispanic, voters in the 2020 election.) A CNBC poll released Tuesday showed Biden drawing just 57% of all voters of color, compared to 71% in the 2020 exit poll.

Polls in the key swing states are returning similar results. The CNN/SSRS polls released last week showed Biden drawing only 55% of all non-White voters in Michigan and 69% in Pennsylvania – down in each case from about 80% in 2020. Marist College polls released last week showed Biden winning three-fourths of Black voters in Georgia and about four-fifths in North Carolina, well below the roughly 9-in-10 exit polls showed him winning in each state last time. A recent Fox News Poll in Arizona showed Biden winning only about half of Hispanics there, down from over 3-in-5 in the 2020 exit poll. Biden won over 9-in-10 Black voters in Wisconsin according to the 2020 exit poll, but a compilation of the two most recent Marquette Law School polls in the state showed him holding only a little more than 6-in-10 of them.

Some Democratic pollsters who focus on voters of color question the size of the minority polling samples that produce these results and insist they do not find nearly this much erosion for Biden in their own polls. But others in the party acknowledge the trend of diminishing non-White support for Biden is real (even if they do not believe it is always as pronounced as these public polls find.)

The convergence of long- and short-term trends has brought Biden to this perilous point. Alfonso Aguilar, the director of Hispanic engagement for the conservative American Principles Project, said Hispanics are simply following the tracks of earlier immigrant groups like the Italians and Irish who became less likely to instinctively align with the Democratic Party as each successive generation assimilated more fully into American society. Initially those earlier immigrant groups “identified with the Democratic Party but with time they started voting like other Americans, and I think that is happening with Hispanics,” Aguilar said. As the cultural identification with Democrats has waned, Hispanics who hold conservative views have become more willing to “vote their principles and values” by supporting Republicans, Aguilar said; his assessment is supported by Edison exit poll data showing that Trump in 2020 won a much higher share of Hispanics who identify as conservative than he did in 2016.

The other long-term trend lifting Trump is that non-White voters appear increasingly subject to the same long wave of educational realignment that has reshaped voting preferences among Whites for over half a century. Since 2016, Republicans have increased their vote more among non-White voters without a college degree than they have among those with advanced education, according to the exit polls and the detailed voting projections by the Democratic targeting firm Catalist. That has placed minority voters more in line with what I’ve called the “class inversion” among Whites, in which Democrats run better among voters with advanced education than those without it.

Biden’s immediate challenges have compounded these long-term shifts. His numbers are especially weak among younger Hispanic and Black voters, a reflection of the president’s difficulty connecting with young voters of any race. Biden is “a poor fit generationally for a non-White electorate that skews young,” said Republican pollster Patrick Ruffini, author of “Party of the People,” a recent book on the GOP’s gains among non-White voters. “He’s the anti-Obama in his appeal to different segments of the Democratic electorate,” he added.

Inflation, analysts in both parties agree, has also disproportionately hurt Biden with Black and Hispanic voters, many of whom live paycheck to paycheck. And conservative analysts believe Biden is also being hurt because many non-White voters view Democrats as too liberal on cultural issues including LGBTQ rights, crime and even control of the border – although polls make clear a majority of non-White voters side with Democrats on other marquee social issues, particularly abortion and gun control.

Together all these factors have converged to produce the slippage for Biden among non-White voters that has drawn enormous attention in political circles. But there’s been much less focus on the other column in the racial ledger: the polls that now mostly show Biden matching, or even exceeding, his support level among Whites from 2020 – when he comfortably won the national popular vote and carried six of the seven most closely contested states.

The same four national polls that earlier this month showed erosion for Biden with minority voters each put him between 30% to 34% among White voters without a college degree and 50% to 56% among White voters with a degree; both of those results virtually replicate the 2020 exit polls that showed him winning 51% of Whites with a degree and 32% of Whites without one. The latest CNN poll in Pennsylvania, Marist polls in North Carolina and Georgia, the Fox poll in Arizona, and Marquette polls in Wisconsin all showed Biden close to his 2020 share of the White vote. In some of these polls, Biden declined slightly compared to 2020 among Whites without a degree and gained slightly among Whites with a degree, but after those small offsetting shifts, his totals among Whites showed little overall change. In the CNBC national poll released this week, Biden drew 40% of the vote among all Whites, virtually unchanged from his 41% in the 2020 exit poll. (The biggest exception to this trend was the latest CNN Michigan poll, which did show a meaningful decline for Biden among Whites there, although another recent Quinnipiac University survey in the state did not.)

Ruffini, the GOP pollster, said that Biden’s White vote is so stable largely because the two previous presidential elections have already pushed the process of educational resorting among Whites about as far as it can go. “White voters are pretty well sorted after two straight cycles of education polarization,” Ruffini said.

Even a small additional decline among the non-college White voters present in such large numbers in the key industrial states could doom Biden. But today, many Democrats believe Trump has less opportunity for further gains among non-college Whites than Biden has to expand his margins among college-educated Whites, who mostly take liberal positions on social issues like abortion and are more receptive to Democratic arguments that Trump represents a threat to democracy.

If Biden can hold his current overall support among Whites, the key question in the race may flip to whether Trump can sustain his support among non-Whites while offering such a bristling message and agenda on race-related issues.

Even as polls show Trump posting unprecedented Republican numbers among Hispanics, he 
is promising the largest deportation drive of undocumented migrants in American history, including the creation of detention camps and the use of the National Guard to participate in mass round ups; military action against Mexico, including a naval blockade, to combat drug cartels; the end of birthright citizenship; and the possible reinstitution of his policy of separating migrant children from their parents at the border.

Activists working in the community say that very few Hispanic voters know that Trump is proposing any of this. “I don’t think people are really tuned into it at all,” said Melissa Morales, founder and president of Somos Votantes, a group that mobilizes Hispanic voters.

Matt Barreto, a Democratic pollster and political scientist advising the Biden campaign on Hispanic voters, said “there’s no chance” Trump can maintain his elevated level of support in the community as more learn about his language and proposals. Barreto maintains that Trump improved among Hispanic voters in 2020 because he dialed back his anti-immigrant rhetoric from 2016 and focused instead on reopening the economy from the Covid pandemic – a position that appealed to many economically struggling Hispanics. But now, Barreto said, Trump is “definitely running a more extreme cultural White supremacy … agenda than he did in ’16.”

Given that two-thirds of Hispanics in Barreto’s polling say they know someone who is undocumented, he believes the threat of mass deportation and detention camps will prove especially damaging to Trump’s support as more voters become aware of it. “I’m not saying Trump’s going to lose all his voters, but the worse and the louder he gets on immigration, the harder it is for a financially conservative Latino … to stick with Trump,” Barreto said.

Ruffini and Aguilar both express confidence that Trump’s hardline immigration proposals and rhetoric won’t hurt him among Hispanics nearly as much as Democrats expect – largely because Hispanics also feel Biden has lost control of the border. When Trump talked about mass deportations in 2016, “that became an issue immediately. This time it’s not,” Aguilar said. “And why is that? I think it’s because the circumstances have changed and people are open to a deportation campaign because of this mass wave” of asylum seekers at the border.

Leaders of several groups that work to mobilize Hispanics told me that they believe Trump’s immigration proposals will damage him, but they still anticipate that the centerpiece of their message this year will be the populist economic contrast with Trump that Biden drew in his State of the Union address this month. “I think the economic arguments are really top of mind for people,” Morales said.

For years, the most effective force organizing and turning out Hispanic voters in Nevada has been the Culinary Workers Union Local 226, which represents 60,000 workers on the Las Vegas strip and in Reno. In an interview, Ted Pappageorge, the local’s secretary-treasurer, told me that higher prices for food, rent and gas are by far the top concerns for his mostly Hispanic membership. “For Democrats, this idea of taking on big food, big oil and Wall Street landlords, that is their lane,” Pappageorge said. The union, he added, will make the case to its members that “Trump is a boss and a landlord, and those are all his buddies.”

“When we roll out our program and talk to working class voters face to face, workers talking to workers, that’s the path to victory here,” Pappageorge said. “We beat Trump before and we can beat him again, but it’s not going to happen overnight.”

The situation with Black voters is similar. Even as Trump is posting historic numbers among Blacks, he has proposed, as a condition of receiving federal funds, 
to prohibit school districts from discussing “critical race theory” in classrooms, and to require local police departments to implement the “stop and frisk” tactics that civil rights leaders say unfairly target young Black men. Many Black leaders see Trump’s unwavering defense of the January 6, 2021, rioters as a clear signal of his embrace of White supremacists – including those who evoked dark memories of lynching by constructing a gallows outside the US Capitol that day.

For all those reasons and more, Cornell Belcher, a Democratic pollster who advised Barack Obama’s campaigns on reaching Black voters, believes Trump will not receive anywhere near as much Black support on Election Day as polls now show for him. “If the story doesn’t make any sense you have to question it,” Belcher said. “Someone who has a well-documented history of discrimination and racism and corruption, along with being fundamentally mispositioned on almost the entirety of African American issues … that person is going to do better than George W. Bush, than Ronald Reagan, than John McCain, than any Republican over the last four decades?” Belcher said. “It’s absurd on its face.”

Ruffini agrees that he would not be surprised “to see some movement back to the previous historical norm among Black voters.” But he added that emphasizing the claim that Trump is racially biased is unlikely to provoke the turnout Democrats need unless they can also convince Black voters that Biden has a plan to improve their economic condition – which polls show many of them now doubt. “Leaning into cultural and racial identity as a motivator has been a losing strategy,” Ruffini said.

Belcher and other Democratic operatives focusing on Black voters acknowledge that even if Trump’s vulnerabilities ultimately limit his African American support, frustration over high prices and a sense that Biden has not accomplished much for the community could still threaten him. “Really people are looking for an offramp because they feel the president hasn’t done enough, and that offramp is third-party candidates,” said Adrianne Shropshire, executive director of BlackPAC, a group that organizes Black voters. “That’s the thing [the Biden campaign] needs to really pay attention to.”

Most of the arguments Democrats are hoping will recapture minority voters look forward – to create a contrast between what Biden and Trump would do with a second term. 
The risk for Democrats is that many voters of all races primarily may be looking backwards – to compare their lived economic experience under Trump’s presidency to Biden’s.

Fernand Amandi, a Democratic pollster who advised Obama’s campaign on courting Hispanics, already sees that comparison opening more Hispanic voters to Trump. “The nightmare phrase I keep hearing in focus groups … is ‘I really dislike Trump, I don’t like what he says, I don’t like what he stands for, but if I’m being honest, when he was president prices were a lot lower and I was doing a lot better economically,’” Amandi said.

Biden is undoubtedly facing much deeper discontent over his performance than Democratic presidents have usually confronted in minority communities. But from 
the “birther” slur against Obama, to the echoing of Nazi imagery about immigrants “poisoning the blood” of the country, Trump throughout his political career has systematically stoked White racial resentments with inflammatory and racist language.

The supreme irony taking shape is that Trump’s fate in the 2024 election may turn on whether he can hold, for seven more months, more support among Black and Hispanic voters than any Republican presidential nominee since the Civil Rights era six decades ago.

For more CNN news and newsletters create an account at 
CNN.com

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額爾哈特女士的飛機殘骸在何處一樣,三不五時在網路上就能看到枯培先生到底是誰的報導。但到目前為止,兩者仍然是個謎。

一個案子有六或七位人士「領功」或「吹牛」,可見枯培先生事跡的魅力。它也顯示出美國「文化」的某些面向。


7 People Have Confessed to Being D.B. Cooper. A Twist in the Case Says One Told the Truth.

After 52 years, a credible revelation may finally unmask the mystery man behind history’s greatest unsolved skyjacking.

, 02/29/24

The case of the elusive D.B. Cooper stands as aviation’s most captivating unsolved mystery since Amelia Earhart vanished without a trace. For over half a century, the identity of the infamous skyjacker, who boarded Northwest Orient Flight 305 on November 24, 1971, parachuted into the night, and disappeared with $200,000, has remained an enigma. Despite Cooper’s discarded tie and the countless theories spun from thin air, not a single individual has been definitively unmasked as the man behind the moniker.

But that may soon change, as the U.S. Sun reports a startling new claim: a man says he knows the true identity of D.B. Cooper, because he received a confession from none other than his own mother.

No, Richard “Rick” McCoy III isn’t claiming that his mom was the skyjacker who daringly dove from the plane clutching all that cash. Rather, he firmly believes the mystery man is his father, Richard Floyd McCoy Jr., a Vietnam veteran and seasoned skydiver.

Rick says that it was his mother, Karen McCoy, who stood as his father’s accomplice. In a series of candid disclosures, Karen McCoy allegedly revealed to her children that she assisted in orchestrating not just the most notorious skyjacking in history, but also an additional one, confessing she “helped plan both of his heists.”

Of course, only one heist was ever attributed to D.B. Cooper, who actually called himself “Dan Cooper,” according to Biography. The other crime that Rick McCoy references has unequivocally been credited to his dad, Richard. Unlike Cooper’s unsolved caper, Richard McCoy’s skyjacking on April 7, 1972, led to his quick capture just three days later.

After his arrest, Richard was sentenced to 45 years in prison, “but escaped after two years and was killed in 1974 in a shootout with cops in Virginia,” per the Sun. According to their report, Rick has even provided DNA evidence to the FBI in hopes of finally resolving the long-standing mystery of D.B. Cooper’s identity. Rick had previously refrained from collaborating with the Bureau, choosing to wait until after his mother’s death in December 2020.

So, that should solve it, right? Since law enforcement seemingly has a Cooper confession, that means we can answer the question, “What happened to D.B. Cooper?” with, “We shot him 52 years ago! Case closed!”

Except, not quite. It’s going to take much more than a confession to truly identify D.B. Cooper. This alleged new lead will need to be subject to heavy scrutiny. Why? Because if you’re inclined to take a D.B. Cooper confession at face value, then it would appear as though the fateful Flight 305 had more hijackers on board than passengers, as Rick McCoy is hardly the first person to claim a Cooper confirmation.

The 6 Other D.B. Cooper Confessors

On Thanksgiving Eve 1971, the man we now call D.B. Cooper “used a bomb threat to hijack a flight from Portland, Oregon, to Seattle,” according to BiographyHe demanded “$200,000 in $20 bills” as well as four parachutes. After his terms were met, he jumped from the aircraft, never to be seen again.

In 2016, with no announced solution for who was behind the famously misstated alias, “the FBI said it was closing its investigation.” However, the U.S. Sun also reports that the FBI has “quietly reopened” the case, in relation to the new McCoy leads.

Based on eyewitness statements, the FBI described Cooper as a “white male, [6-foot-1], 170-175 pounds, age-mid-forties, olive complexion, brown eyes, black hair, conventional cut, parted on left.” With more than a half-century passing since that middle-aged man pulled off his heist, it’s likely that whoever made away with all that money won’t see a jail cell before they skydive off of this mortal coil.

What isn’t so certain is that the mastermind behind the famous NORJAK heist carried their secret to the grave. So let’s meet six more possible D.B. Coopers, who may or may not have told the truth when they confessed to the legendary crime.

D.B. Cooper Confessor #1   Bryant “Jack” Coffelt

Would you believe that D.B. Cooper has a connection to Abraham Lincoln? Would it stretch credibility to think that the individual who famously parachuted from Flight 305—his only remnants being a “clip-on necktie and eight cigarette butts”—also served as both chauffeur and companion to Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith, the great-grandson of the 16th President of the United States? If this tale seems plausible to you, then you just might have been an ideal target for the notorious swindler Bryant “Jack” Coffelt. And you certainly wouldn’t have been alone.

In 1972, Coffelt reached out to his former cellmate, a man named James Brown (not “The Godfather of Soul” James Brown) with a confession that he was behind the D.B. Cooper hijacking. As the book NORJAK: The Investigation of D.B. Cooper lays out, Coffelt claimed he landed near Mount Hood, injuring himself and losing the money in the process. He then burned his parachute with magnesium powder and fled in a Jeep he had stashed nearby.

At Coffelt’s urging, Brown pursued a movie deal for this dubious confession. FBI records show that the Bureau was aware of Coffelt’s claims, as well as Brown’s assertion that they had embarked on a camping expedition to retrieve the missing money, though they returned without a dime. But the particulars provided by Coffelt and Brown about the incident didn’t match up with confidential case details, leading both the FBI and Ralph Himmelsbach, the original head investigator of the case and author of NORJAK, to suspect that Coffelt, a known scam artist, was merely attempting to pull another con.

D.B. Cooper Confessor #2   Duane L. Weber

It’s quite likely that Duane L. Weber harbored some secrets. As a World War II veteran with a post-war record of incarceration spanning over 20 years for crimes like forgery and burglary, it stands to reason that a man with such a checkered past might have some skeletons in his closet.

So when Jo Weber heard her husband’s confession from his Florida hospital bed during his final days, as reported by CBS News, she may not have been entirely surprised.

“He says, ‘Come here. Come closer.’ He wanted me about two feet from his face,” Jo Weber told CBS News. “He says, ‘I have a secret to tell you.’ I said, ‘What?’ He says, ‘I’m Dan Cooper.’”

The bombshell confession meant little to Jo at first. She didn’t know who “Dan Cooper” was. But over time, CBS News reported, she began to put together the pieces:

“Jo recalled the sleep-talking nightmare Duane had about ‘leaving finger prints on a plane,’ an old knee injury he claimed he got from jumping out of a plane, the local library book on D.B. Cooper with Duane Weber’s handwriting in the margins.”

However, the problem with Weber’s confession is that if he claimed to have left fingerprints on the plane during the NORJAK heist, they weren’t his own. The prints and DNA found on the plane didn’t match Weber’s, leading the FBI to rule him out as a suspect based on this evidence.

D.B. Cooper Confessor #3   Barbara Dayton

The description of D.B. Cooper that every FBI agent and amateur sleuth has been relying on for 52 years starts with “white male.” This detail has been one of the few consistent elements accepted in the Cooper case—but maybe that’s why they’ve never caught the culprit.

Geoffrey Gray’s Skyjack: The Hunt for D.B. Cooper includes the story of Barbara Dayton. The aviation enthusiast, World War II veteran, and U.S. Merchant Marine, who died in 2002, may have been the first person to undergo gender reassignment surgery in the state of Washington, in 1969.

Dayton purportedly made a bold confession to her friend Ron Forman and his wife, claiming that two years after undergoing a gender reassignment surgery, Dayton boarded a plane while presenting as a male, altered her voice, and carried out the greatest unsolved aviation heist ever. Dayton, who had been denied a commercial pilot’s license, allegedly sought revenge on the airline industry with this act and proclaimed to have hidden all the stolen money in a cistern in Woodburn, Oregon.

At least, that’s what Dayton said until she realized that the government was still ready, willing, and able to prosecute whoever committed the hijacking. Then, she swiftly recanted her confession and swore she had made the whole thing up. To date, there has been no actual evidence linking Dayton to the crime.

D.B. Cooper Confessor #4   William Pratt Gossett

What did your father give you for your 21st birthday? A car? A savings bond? Your first legal beer? How about the keys to a safety deposit box at a bank in Vancouver that he claimed was full of money stolen during a plane hijacking?

If you answered “yes” to that final one, then hello to you, Greg Gossett. We have some questions.

According to an ABC News article from 2008, Greg Gossett claimed that on his 21st birthday, his father, William, showed him two keys for a safety deposit box, claiming that within that box was the money from the D.B. Cooper heist, which he himself had committed. “He said that I could never tell anybody until after he died,” Greg said. Greg’s brother, Kirk, also claimed their dad told the story several times: “He had the type of temperament to do something like this.”

But it seems the FBI requires more concrete evidence than someone’s temperament and an old family tale. “There is not one link to the D.B. Cooper case other than the statements (Gossett) made to someone,” FBI Special Agent Larry Carr said in the ABC News piece.

But would William Gossett, a man who “worked as a radio talk-show host in Salt Lake City, where he moderated discussions about the paranormal” really make up a story like that? Surely, there’s an easy way to prove the story. Greg Gossett merely needs to take that key to Vancouver and open the box that’s apparently filled with bills with serial numbers the FBI can verify.

It’s been more than 15 years since that ABC News story, and it doesn’t appear anyone has bothered to check that alleged safety deposit box.

D.B. Cooper Confessor #5   Walter R. Reca

D.B. Cooper enthusiasts are quite familiar with the name Walter Reca. Compared to other alleged confessions to being D.B. Cooper, often told vaguely to friends or relatives, Reca’s case sticks out. In his confession, the former paratrooper specifically described how he pulled off the heist—and anyone can hear it. Reca’s close friend, Carl Laurin, recorded his confession and released it to the public via the Daily Mail.

Laurin, who wrote D.B. Cooper & Me: A Criminal, a Spy, My Best Friend, claimed he had additional evidence beyond the audio recordings. Oregon Live reported that Laurin possessed documents detailing how he allegedly used a large portion of Reca’s $200,000 heist money. As for the “Spy” in the book’s title, Laurin contended that after the heist, Reca served as a high-level covert intelligence operative for various governments, as noted by the Daily Mail.

In Reca’s version of events, after jumping from the plane, he landed in Cle Elum, Washington, where he went to a roadside diner and asked a dump truck driver to give his friend directions to the diner over the phone.  

Decades after the alleged encounter, Laurin said he found Jeff Osiadacz, who reportedly recalled a man at a diner requesting that he provide directions to someone else on the phone. This man, similar to Walter Reca, did not match the sketched composite of D.B. Cooper. This discrepancy is offered as a reason why Osiadacz remembered the unusual diner meeting for so long, yet never mentioned it in connection with the D.B. Cooper case.

But many skeptics find Osiadacz’s memory hard to believe, especially since Cle Elum is over 150 miles from D.B. Cooper’s presumed landing area, given the aircraft’s position during his jump. King5.com highlights these and other inconsistencies, casting doubt on the purported confession. Reca may have the most thorough and detailed confession, but within those details is room for reasonable doubt.

D.B. Cooper Confessor #6   Robert Rackstraw

Hijacking a plane and parachuting away with $200,000, hoping to never be caught, is a wildly risky move. And if a disposition for wildly risky moves is key to profiling potential D.B. Cooper suspects, then Robert Rackstraw should be a prime candidate The pilot and Vietnam veteran was on U.S. law enforcement’s radar in 1977, when he was “suspected of kiting checks for $75,000,” the Daily Mail notes. Yet, he managed to elude capture and flee the country.  

Now, leaving the U.S. for Iran in the late 1970s to “teach the Shah’s men how to fly helicopters” during the 1978 Qom protests—a precursor to the Iranian Revolution—is an entirely new level of death-defying. Rackstraw was eventually extradited back to the U.S. after authorities discovered 14 rifles and 150 pounds of dynamite in his storage units.

Then, of course, there’s his arrest for the alleged murder of his stepfather, a charge for which he was later acquitted.

That’s when Rackstraw decided the only real course of action left for a man who had generated that much heat from the Feds was to die himself. So Rackstraw faked his own death, by pretending to crash his plane into Monterey Bay.

Rackstraw was never formally linked to the D.B. Cooper case by any law enforcement agency, but author and amateur investigator Tom Colbert went to great effort to prove that Rackstraw was the man behind the heist.

Colbert pressured the FBI to release its D.B. Cooper case files via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and utilized this information to build his case against Rackstraw. He highlighted letters sent to The Seattle TimesThe New York TimesThe L.A. Times, and The Washington Post, allegedly from Cooper himself. While some wrote these off as hoaxes, Colbert argued that they were, in fact, coded admissions of guilt from Rackstraw.  

Indeed, Rackstraw frequently suggested he was D.B. Cooper. He even said it to Colbert’s face. In Colbert’s 2016 HISTORY Channel documentary series, D.B. Cooper: Case Closed?, Rackstraw is captured on camera telling Colbert, “I told everybody I was,” after Colbert proposed to pay him $20,000 for the storytelling rights to his life.

But Rackstraw was simply confirming that he had claimed to be D.B. Cooper, not that he actually was the skyjacker. This is a distinction he doubled down on when the surge of interest from the HISTORY series led to attention Rackstraw found unwelcome. “It’s a lot of [expletive],” he told PEOPLE following the show’s airing, and he later said the notoriety cost him a job. Rackstraw passed away in 2019, having firmly denied any involvement in the D.B. Cooper case until the end.


This story is a collaboration with Biography.com.

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克魯格門教授這篇短小精悍的評論,可以說是罵人不帶髒字的典範(請見本欄上一篇)。他所引用的卡爾森先生是美國頭號「援嘴」(該文附註1)。克魯格門教授把眼見為憑」這句成語中的兩個字移形換位做為他這篇短評的標題 -- 以信為真」;可見其畫龍點睛的功力。

以下摘錄克魯格門教授大作中三句精彩的文字並略做評論

Perceptions on issues from immigration to crime to the state of the economy are driven by political positions rather than the other way around.

用孫中山先生的定義:「政治是管理眾人的事」;一個使用(工具)理性來處理眾人/公共事務的人;或者說,一個以解決問題為優先考量的人;應該根據對「現實情況」的理解(上文中的Perceptions),來制定「政策」(上文中的political positions)。但從克魯格門教授的分析來看目前美國(共和黨)選民的行為卻是根據「政治立場」來理解「現實情況」也就是說,戴上一付有色眼鏡來看世界。

… any discussion of economic sentiment that doesn’t take partisanship into account is missing a key part of the story.

這段話強調美國輿論和部份選民對經濟議題的了解是從「黨派角度」而來,而非「現實情況」

How are we going to function as a country when large numbers of people just see a different reality from the rest of us?

這句話語重心長它也顯示了當下美國社會和政治的難局

克魯格門教授大作的主旨是:根據犯罪和經濟兩個議題的民調數據」,指出美國(共和黨)選民的「認知偏差」和「認知障礙」。在我看來他把矛頭指向美國(共和黨)選民,未嘗不是「黨派性」在作祟

我對以上兩個現象很有興趣在網路上搜尋了一下,找到關於「認知偏差」和「認知障礙」的中文成語有

1) 
「囿於成見」、「固執己見」、「一偏之見」、「世俗之見」、「書生之見」
2)  「以管窺天」、「以蠡測海」、「坐井觀天」、「夏蟲語冰」、「少見多怪」
3)  「先入為主」、「視而不見」、「一葉障木」、「見樹不見林」、「聽見風就是雨」
4)  「見人見智」、「瞎子摸象」
5)  「門戶之見」、入主出奴
6)  亡鈇疑鄰(《說符--34)、「齊人攫金(《說符--36)、「安於所習,毀所不見」等等

以上自然沒有涵蓋所有相關成語;它們也只是我望文生義的分類,是否適當有待各位指正

建議心理系或中文系的學生,可以用上述方向寫篇碩、博士論文,研究研究中國典籍裏對這兩個「認知」課題的看法和理論

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索引:

amenities
便利設施,生活福利設施
Carlson, Tucker
:卡爾森,美國頭號「援嘴(該文附註1)
euphoria
狂喜,亢奮
jaundiced狹隘的,刻薄的,此處為(因嫉妒或從前不愉快的經歷而對世事)有偏見的,(因患黃疸而)面色發黃的。
obsequious
巴結的,諂媚的,卑躬屈膝的低三下四
opulent
豐裕的,豐富的,豐饒的,奢侈的,華麗的,豪華的,富麗堂皇的
partisanship
:黨派性
Potemkin villages
波坦金村莊搭建出來的、自欺欺人的政治門面工程
ramshackle
要垮掉的,搖搖欲墜的,東倒西歪的,行將解體的,組織混亂的組織鬆散的;
spiffy-looking
時髦的,吸引人的,令人愉快的一塵不染的


Believing Is Seeing


Of Moscow, New York and partisan perception
(從對莫斯科紐約的觀感看黨派觀點)

Paul Krugman

What was most startling about Tucker Carlson’s recent trip to Russia wasn’t his obsequious interview with Vladimir Putin but his gushing days afterward over how wonderful a place 
Moscow is. But then again, he was a special guest of the country that invented Potemkin villages (even if the original story is dubious), and making sure he saw only good stuff must have been easy.

Imagine, for example, that you brought people to New York and made sure that all they saw was the Upper East Side near the Metropolitan Museum of Art. They’d come away with the impression that New York is a very clean, spiffy-looking city.

The truth is that while parts of Moscow offer a small elite an opulent lifestyle, Russia as a whole is more than a bit ramshackle. Around a fifth of homes don’t even have 
indoor toilets. For many Russians, life is poor, nasty, brutish and short: Life expectancy is substantially lower than in the United States, even though America’s life expectancy has fallen and lags that of other advanced countries.

Anyway, while praising Moscow, Carlson trashed American cities, especially New York, where, he said, “you can’t use your subway” because “it’s too dangerous.” No doubt, there are some New Yorkers afraid to take the subway. Somehow, however, there were around 
1.7 billion riders each year before the pandemic — yes, I take the subway all the time — and ridership, though still depressed by the rise of working from home, has been recovering rapidly.

It’s possible, of course, that Carlson has never ridden the New York subway, or at least not since the days when New York had about 
six times as many homicides each year as it does nowadays. In this he might be like Donald Trump, who probably hasn’t flown commercial in decades, declaring the other day that America’s airports — which have annoyingly long lines at security but have far more amenities than they used to — make us look like a “third world nation.”

Oh, and while New York’s subway stations don’t have 
chandeliers like Moscow’s and sometimes do have rats, the system does its job and, as I’ve written, plays a hugely positive role in the life of the city.

But right-wingers seem immovable in their conviction that New York is an urban hellscape — only 
22 percent of Republicans consider it a safe place to live in or visit — despite the fact that it’s one of the safest cities in America.

More generally, there’s a striking 
disconnect between Americans’ perceptions about crime where they live — relatively few, from either party, consider it a serious problem — and their much more pessimistic assessment of the nation as a whole. This disconnect exists for both parties but is much wider for Republicans:

兩黨人士對地區性和全國性犯罪情況的觀感 (請至原網頁參看統計圖;需訂閱)

This is part of a broader phenomenon. America has become a country in which, for many people, especially but not only on the political right, believing is seeing. Perceptions on issues from immigration to crime to the state of the economy are driven by political positions rather than the other way around.

To take a subject I’ve obviously spent a lot of time on: During the Biden years, most measures of consumer sentiment have been much lower than you might have expected, given standard measures of the economy’s performance. This is still true, even though sentiment has 
risen substantially over the past few months. There’s practically a whole genre of analysis devoted to arguing that people are actually right to feel bad about the economy because of something or other.

So here’s a pro tip: Ignore anyone who says that Americans are down on the economy without noting that the reality is that Republicans are down on the economy.

I wrote about this 
last week, but let me make the point again using slightly different data and graphics. The widely cited Michigan survey of consumers provides data on sentiment broken down by partisan affiliation, although it has been a regular monthly feature only since 2017. I prefer to focus on the current economic conditions index, since people might legitimately have different expectations, depending on who’s in charge. So here’s what this index looks like, using three-month moving averages to cancel some of the statistical noise:

兩黨人士對美國經濟情況的觀感 (請至原網頁參看統計圖;需訂閱)

Democrats appear to feel that the economy now is about as good as it was in late 2019, which is what you might expect, given that the unemployment rate is about the same and inflation only slightly higher. Republicans, however, have gone from euphoria about the economy under Donald Trump to a very jaundiced view under President Biden.

What about independents? Never mind: For the most part, they 
lean toward one party or the other and behave like partisans.

Now, this comparison doesn’t prove that negative perceptions of the economy are all about partisanship — maybe things really are somewhat bad and Democratic partisanship is holding the numbers up — although Democrats don’t seem to experience the kind of mood swings when the White House changes hands that Republicans do. But at the very least, any discussion of economic sentiment that doesn’t take partisanship into account is missing a key part of the story.

As I wrote last week, the believing-is-seeing nature of public opinion may mean that perceptions of the economy, and perhaps crime, won’t matter very much for this year’s election: Americans who believe that things are terrible probably wouldn’t have voted Democratic, no matter what. But to take a longer view: How are we going to function as a country when large numbers of people just see a different reality from the rest of us?

Quick Hits

Dictators 
lie about their economies.
News reporting on the economy has become 
more negative.
Who believes in the 
great-replacement theory?
By a wide margin, Trump voters say that 2023 was OK or better for them 
personally but bad or terrible for the country.

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美國大使級外交官被控為古巴間諜 – J. Goodman/J. Mustian
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值得思考的三點

1) 
羅夏先生為古巴「服務」的動機。
2) 
美國國安機構真的無能到容許被曝光的高級間諜隱藏近20
3) 
美國國安機構是否利用羅夏先生傳遞假情報


Key points of AP report into missed red flags surrounding accused US diplomat-turned-Cuban spy

, 02/15/24

MIAMI (AP) — Friends and colleagues of Manuel Rocha knew him for an aristocratic, almost regal, bearing that was fitting for an Ivy League-educated career U.S. diplomat who held top posts across Latin America.

So former CIA operative Félix Rodríguez was dubious in 2006 when a defected Cuban Army lieutenant colonel showed up at his Miami home and told him Rocha was actually a Cuban spy.

No one believed him,” Rodríguez said, adding he passed the tip along to a similarly skeptical CIA. “We all thought it was a smear.”

That exchange took on new relevance after Rocha was arrested in December and charged with serving as a secret agent of Cuba since the 1970s. In the weeks since, FBI and State Department investigators have been working to decipher the case’s biggest missing piece: exactly what the longtime diplomat may have given up to Cuba.

Here are some key findings from an Associated Press investigation into Rocha's alleged betrayal and the missed red flags that could have helped him avoid scrutiny for decades.

WHO IS MANUEL ROCHA?

The Justice Department's case against Rocha dates back to 1973, the year he graduated from Yale. The FBI says he traveled to Chile that year and became a “great friend” of Cuba’s intelligence agency, the General Directorate of Intelligence, or DGI.

Authorities also are scrutinizing the first of Rocha's three marriages that began around that time, according to those who have been questioned by the FBI.

Rocha was born in Colombia and at age 10 moved with his widowed mother and two siblings to New York City. A talented soccer player with a sharp intellect, he won a scholarship for minorities in 1965 to attend The Taft School, an elite boarding school in Connecticut, catapulting him overnight into a refined world of American wealth.

But as one of the few minorities at the school, Rocha says he suffered discrimination, something that friends now suspect may have fueled a grudge that led him to admire Fidel Castro’s revolution.

WHAT DID HE DO FOR CUBA?

Prosecutors have ranked Rocha's betrayal among the most brazen in U.S. foreign service history. But the 15-count indictment offers few details about what he allegedly did for Cuba.

What is known is that an undercover FBI agent secretly recorded Rocha praising Fidel Castro as “El Comandante” and calling his work for Cuba’s communist government “more than a grand slam” against the U.S. “enemy.”

One former colleague, Liliana Ayalde, recalled a 2002 controversy in which Rocha, then serving as ambassador to Bolivia, intervened in that country’s presidential election to help a Castro protégé.

Rocha warned Bolivians that voting for a narcotrafficker — a not-so veiled reference to coca grower-turned- presidential candidate Evo Morales — would lead the U.S. to cut off all foreign assistance.

The comments amounted to Rocha's biggest known favor for Cuba. Ayalde, who later served as U.S. ambassador to Paraguay and Brazil, now wonders whether it was an act of self-sabotage, done at the direction of a foreign power to further damage the U.S.’ standing in Latin America.

“Now that I look back,” she said, “it was all part of a plan.”

Rocha’s attorney did not respond to messages seeking comment.

WHAT RED FLAGS WERE MISSED?

Authorities are conducting a damage assessment that's expected to take years, retracing Rocha's steps and speaking with former colleagues and officials about their interactions with him.

Among those they interviewed is Rodríguez, the former CIA operative who participated in the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba and the execution of revolutionary “Che” Guevara.

Rodríguez told the AP that he believed at the time he received the tip from the Cuban defector in 2006 it was an attempt to discredit a fellow anti-communist crusader.

“I want to look him in the eye and ask him why he did it. He had access to everything," an angry Rodríguez said.

It wasn’t just Rodríguez’s tipster — whom he refused to identify to the AP but says was recently interviewed by the FBI. Officials told the AP that as early 1987, the CIA was aware Castro had a “super mole” burrowed deep inside the U.S. government.

Some now suspect it could have been Rocha and that since at least 2010 he may have been on a short list given to the FBI of possible Cuban spies high-up in foreign policy circles.

The FBI and CIA declined to comment, and the State Department didn’t respond to requests.

“This is a monumental screw-up,” said Peter Romero, a former assistant secretary of state for Latin America who worked with Rocha. “All of us are doing a lot of soul searching and nobody can come up with anything. He did an amazing job covering his tracks.”

Contact AP’s global investigative team at Investigative@ap.org or https://www.ap.org/tips/

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Jury Orders Trump to Pay Carroll $83.3 Million After Years of Insults

The ex-president was found liable for sexually abusing E. Jean Carroll, but called her a liar. The award was “a huge defeat for every bully who has tried to keep a woman down,” she said.

Benjamin WeiserJonah E. BromwichMaria Cramer
 and Kate Christobek, 01/26/24

Former President Donald J. Trump was ordered by a Manhattan jury on Friday to pay $83.3 million to the writer E. Jean Carroll for defaming her in 2019 after she accused him of a decades-old rape, attacks he continued in social media posts, at news conferences and even in the midst of the trial itself.

Ms. Carroll’s lawyers had argued that a large award was necessary to stop Mr. Trump from continuing to attack her. After less than three hours of deliberation, the jury responded by awarding Ms. Carroll $65 million in punitive damages, finding that Mr. Trump had acted with malice. On one recent day, he made more than 40 derisive posts about Ms. Carroll on his Truth Social website.

On Friday, Mr. Trump had already left the courtroom for the day when the judge, Lewis A. Kaplan, called in the nine-member jury shortly after 4:30 p.m., warning the lawyers, “We will have no outbursts.” The verdict was delivered nine minutes later to utter silence in the courtroom.

In addition to the $65 million, jurors awarded Ms. Carroll $18.3 million in compensatory damages for her suffering. Mr. Trump’s lawyers slumped in their seats as the dollar figures were read aloud. The jury was dismissed, and Ms. Carroll, 80, embraced her lawyers. Minutes later, she walked out of the courthouse arm in arm with her legal team, beaming for the cameras.

“This is a great victory for every woman who stands up when she’s been knocked down and a huge defeat for every bully who has tried to keep a woman down,” Ms. Carroll said in a statement, thanking her lawyers effusively.

Mr. Trump, who had walked out of the courtroom earlier during the closing argument by Ms. Carroll’s lawyer, said in a Truth Social post that the verdict was “absolutely ridiculous.”

“Our Legal System is out of control, and being used as a Political Weapon,” he said, pledging to appeal. “They have taken away all First Amendment Rights.”

Notably, he did not attack Ms. Carroll.

Outside the courthouse, Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Alina Habba, combined complaints about how Judge Kaplan had handled the case with sloganeering, echoing Mr. Trump’s claims that he was being ill-treated by a corrupt system. “We did not win today,” she told reporters, “but we will win.”

Mr. Trump’s appeal will likely keep Ms. Carroll from receiving the money she is owed anytime soon.

Ms. Carroll’s lead lawyer, Roberta A. Kaplan, said the verdict “proves that the law applies to everyone in our country, even the rich, even the famous, even former presidents.”

The verdict vastly eclipsed the $5 million a separate jury awarded Ms. Carroll last spring after finding that Mr. Trump had sexually abused her in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room in the mid-1990s and had defamed her in a Truth Social post in October 2022. The verdict came after Mr. Trump attended nearly every day of the latest trial, and testified, briefly, this week.

Judge Kaplan, who presided over both trials, had ruled that the jury’s findings last May would carry over to the current one, limiting the second jury’s focus solely to damages. Mr. Trump, who is running for president again, was not allowed to stray beyond that issue in his testimony. On Thursday, the judge, out of the jury’s presence, asked Ms. Habba for a preview of that testimony. “I want to know everything he is going to say,” the judge said.

In the end, Mr. Trump, by his actions and words, was his own worst enemy. During the trial, he attacked Ms. Carroll online and insulted her last week at a campaign stop in New Hampshire. Inside the courtroom, the judge warned Mr. Trump that he might be excluded after Ms. Carroll’s lawyers complained that he was muttering “con job” and “witch hunt” loudly enough for jurors to hear.

“You saw how he has behaved through this trial,” Ms. Crowley said. “You heard him. You saw him stand up and walk out of this courtroom while Ms. Kaplan was speaking. Rules don’t apply to Donald Trump.”

There could be more financial damage to come for Mr. Trump. He is still awaiting the outcome of a civil fraud trial brought by New York’s attorney general that concluded this month. The attorney general, Letitia James, has asked a judge to levy a penalty of about $370 million on Mr. Trump.

The former president is also contending with four criminal indictments, at least one of which is expected to go to trial before the November election. His civil cases will soon be behind him, but the greater threat — 91 felony charges, in all — still looms.

The verdict on Friday provided a coda to two weeks of political success for Mr. Trump. He completed an Iowa and New Hampshire sweep in the first two presidential nominating states of 2024 and cemented himself as the likely Republican nominee.

He has used his courtroom appearances as a fundamental element of his campaign, painting himself as a political martyr targeted on all sides by Democratic law enforcement officials, as well as by Ms. Carroll. His loss to her will most likely sting for some time.

During the trial, Ms. Carroll testified that Mr. Trump’s repeated taunts and lashing out had mobilized many of his supporters. She said she had faced an onslaught of attacks on social media and in her email inbox that frightened her and “shattered” her reputation as a well-regarded advice columnist for Elle magazine.

Ms. Carroll told the jury she had been attacked on Twitter and Facebook. “I was living in a new universe,” she said.

The trial took about five days over two weeks, and was marked by repeated clashes between Mr. Trump’s lawyers and Judge Kaplan, who is known for his command of the courtroom. The former president’s testimony was highly anticipated for days, but on Thursday, he was on the stand for less than five minutes, and his testimony was notable for how little he ended up saying.

On Friday, Ms. Kaplan, who is not related to the judge, asked the jury in a crisp and methodical summation to award Ms. Carroll enough money to help her repair her reputation and compensate her for the emotional harm Mr. Trump’s attacks had inflicted.

Ms. Kaplan also emphasized that Mr. Trump could afford significant punitive damages, which come into play when a defendant’s conduct is thought to have been particularly malicious. She cited a video deposition excerpt played for the jury in which he estimated that his brand alone was worth “maybe $10 billion” and that the value of various of his real estate properties was $14 billion.

“Donald Trump is worth billions of dollars,” Ms. Kaplan told the jury.

“The law says that you can consider Donald Trump’s wealth as well as his malicious and spiteful continuing conduct in making that assessment,” Ms. Kaplan said, adding, “Now is the time to make him pay for it, and now is the time to make him pay for it dearly.”

Mr. Trump was not present to hear her. After scoffing, muttering and shaking his head throughout the first few minutes of Ms. Kaplan’s closing argument, Mr. Trump rose from the defense table without saying anything, turned and left the 26th-floor courtroom. Ms. Kaplan continued to address the jury as if the stark breach of decorum had not occurred.

“The record will reflect that Mr. Trump just rose and walked out of the courtroom,” Judge Kaplan said.

Mr. Trump returned about 75 minutes later, when his lawyer Ms. Habba began her summation.

Mr. Trump’s lawyers cast Ms. Carroll as a fame-hungry writer who was trying to raise a diminishing profile when she first made her accusation against Mr. Trump in a 2019 book excerpt in New York magazine about an encounter she has said traumatized her for decades.

Ms. Habba, her voice loud and heavy, her tone mocking and sarcastic, argued that Ms. Carroll’s reputation, far from being damaged, had improved as a result of the president’s statements. And she said Ms. Carroll’s lawyers had not proved that the deluge of threats and defamatory statements the writer received were a response to Mr. Trump’s statements.

“No causation,” Ms. Habba thundered, adding, “President Trump has no more control over the thoughts and feelings of social media users than he does the weather.”

Ms. Crowley, in an animated and passionate rebuttal to Ms. Habba, rejected her contention that Mr. Trump’s statements did not prompt the threats Ms. Carroll received. “There couldn’t be clearer proof of causation,” Ms. Crowley said.

The jurors remained attentive during the closing arguments. One watched Ms. Kaplan intently during much of her summation; others alternated between looking at the lawyers, staring at the exhibits on the screens and taking notes.

During the summations, Mr. Trump’s account on his Truth Social website made about 16 posts in 15 minutes mostly attacking Judge Kaplan and Ms. Carroll, with his familiar insults — the kinds of insults that have now become very costly.

Ms. Kaplan said in her closing argument that the only thing that could make Mr. Trump stop his attacks would be to make it too expensive for him to continue.

The jury, in its verdict, appears to have agreed.

Olivia Bensimon, Anusha Bayya, Maggie Haberman, Shane Goldmacher and Michael Gold contributed reporting.

Benjamin Weiser is a reporter covering the Manhattan federal courts. He has long covered criminal justice, both as a beat and investigative reporter. Before joining The Times in 1997, he worked at The Washington Post. More about Benjamin Weiser
Jonah E. Bromwich covers criminal justice in New York, with a focus on the Manhattan district attorney's office, state criminal courts in Manhattan and New York City's jails. More about Jonah E. Bromwich
Maria Cramer is a Times reporter covering the New York Police Department and crime in the city and surrounding areas. More about Maria Cramer

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《兩個總統和兩個美國的大選》讀後
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《從科學理論了解美國政治立場派別化》對造成兩個美國」現象的原因做了理論分析 (本欄2024/01/23)。這篇文章則對此「現象」做了深度報導。兩文合看可以幫助我們了解美國

略做觀察:

1)  集體名詞當專有名詞用的謬誤

這個謬誤源自把事務「簡單化」的傾向,以及不願面對複雜情況的懶惰

請見原文”… when Red and Blue Americas are moving farther and farther apart geographically, philosophically, financially, educationally and informationally.”

以及緊接著的

Americans do not just disagree with each other, they live in different realities, each with its own self-reinforcing Internet-and-media ecosphere.

2)  政治是爭奪資源分配權的活動

這個定義也可以用「凡政策必涉利益」這個命題來表達。

請見原文And this realignment is largely based on the winners and losers in the new 21st century digital economy, and the best predictor of whether you are a winner or loser is your level of education.

」、「的判準在上面這段話的脈絡中是「收入」或「薪資」。以及這一段

Trump has transformed the GOP into the party of the white working class, rooted strongly in rural communities and resentful of globalization, while Biden’s Democrats have increasingly become the party of the more highly educated and economically better off, who have thrived in the information age.

全球化在上面這段話的脈絡中不僅僅指一個「社會現象」;它指的是:和這「現象」相關的「政策」、「制度」、和「措施」等等。後者直接影響個人的「收入」,從而「利益」。

以上引述的兩段原文都提到「教育程度」。「教育程度」是社會階層的「函數」。也就是說,80 - 90%的情況下一個人的出身」已經預先設定了她/他的「教育程度」。套句俗話:「龍生龍,鳳生鳳,老鼠生的兒子只能學打洞」。過去美國學者們津津樂道,引以為傲的「階層流動性目前已經幾乎淪為一攤死水。這是美國社會日趨派別化或二分化的根本原因之一。

一個相關的有趣議題大概十年前我跟一位朋友談到:為什麼台灣「保守派」和「自由派」的界線不分明;也缺乏有活力的「保守主義」或「自由主義」。我當時的直接反應是:台灣沒有根深蒂固的「既得利益」階層,所以沒有值得一提的「保守派」和「保守主義」;台灣只有「貪汙派」和「(混水)摸魚派」以及相對應的「主義」。

3) 
認同政治

請見原文“It is at least partly about ideology, yes, but also fundamentally about race and religion and culture and economics and democracy and retribution and most of all, perhaps, about identity.”

請參看本欄《《從科學理論了解美國政治立場派別化》評介》,第1.2小節、1.3小節、以及2-2)小段等處的評論。

4) 
中、美角力展望

我在美國生活了26總的來說,我接觸到的美國人中,95%都很友善熱誠、和樂於幫助。讀了這篇文章,我真的為大多數美國老百姓感到婉惜和悲哀。另一方面,站在中國人的立場展望中美角力,我或多或少免不了幸災樂禍的欣喜。

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