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Member since: Sun Jun 24, 2018, 08:54 AM
Number of posts: 155

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A tinpot dictator up close

My husband and I moved to Cambodia in the mid 90's where UN forces were in the late stages of mopping up after the tragic rule of the Khmer Rouge. The Vietnamese had intervened had already installed their man, Hun Sen, as the de facto ruler.

Publicly, Hun Sen made all the right noises about democracy and elections, and so the business community and outside powers were initially bullish on the future of the young country, but we knew almost immediately things would eventually turn bad. Here's why:

We played quite a bit of golf during our nine years in Cambodia. A good day out was easily ruined however if Hun Sen happened to be playing that same day. Play would practically grind to a halt as his giant entourage meandered around, oblivious to the rules, course etiquette, or other groups.

The big man would have a knot of about 10 people closely following him down the fairway. Encircling this group at about 100-200m distant would be 15 or so security personnel. But they weren't really there for security. You see every time Hun Sen's ball veered off into the rough or a neighbouring fairway, which happened a lot, the nearest flunky would rush to scoop it up, rush back to the correct fairway/green, and place it in the most favourable position possible.

This ridiculous cheating happened on virtually every hole every time he played and was legendary among the entire golfing community. We personally witnessed it numerous times.

One weekend our foursome had started play behind well Hun Sen's mob, but quickly caught up to them. After a few holes waiting impatiently while his crew chased after his every errant shot, we jumped ahead of his group as soon as we found an opening. This was standard procedure for all other golfers.

Later, as we sat in the club house having a beer at the end of our round, in walked Hun Sen. He walked straight up to our table with a big smile on his face and asked my husband what he had scored. (They had met a couple times previously.) My husband answered him truthfully - he hadn't had a great round - and Hun Sen laughed. Then he pulled out his score card, pushed in front of my husband's face, and started bragging about shooting a 78.

It was completely ridiculous. This pathetic man surrounded by his nodding and laughing equally pathetic flunkies all pretending that he was a star player. (You know, his swing wasn't half bad, and I always had the feeling that if he actually cared, and actually put some effort into it, he could have been a decent player. But why bother when you and everybody around you are willing to lie?)

I don't know what kind of human being can  not be deeply ashamed to behave in such childish, self-indulgent, dishonest way. What kind of person lies, knows that everyone is aware of the lies, but deliberately keeps on lying anyway? It was embarrassing to watch, and recalling it years later still makes me cringe.

Sadly, Hun Sen is still in power and has gone from bad to worse. But at least he showed some initial promise and the people of Cambodia cannot be blamed for  their early enthusiasm towards him. Most were desperately poor with minimal education. Hun Sen's promises of stability and economic growth were hugely appealing.

Americans have no such excuse. Trump was ALWAYS a lying charlatan. And yet 40% of Americans nod and laugh when he cheats and lies. There is something deeply, deeply wrong with a nation when so many are willing to go along with the lies. I don't know if you can fix that, but I sincerely hope you do.

Hillary first to speak - Whitehouse silent

It is inconceivable that the first national figure to address this situation is the defeated candidate for president.

Pence goes on stage at campaign rally in PA and procedes to whoop it up with the crowd - nary a word about the bombs.

Utter silence from the Whitehouse.

Incompetence does not explain this. This is a disgrace.

Dems need Leadership with capital L

Reposted from reply:

The Dems need to stop going down the path of extreme caucuses that have split the GOP and prevented it from being able to govern. 

What is desperately needed right now is leadership that promotes unity and a strong cohesive message. 

This isn't rocket science people. Get serious and get the job done.
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