countzero's blog

Lawmaker in California Tries To Bring Loaded Gun On Plane and is cited for a misdemeanor? What?

grope.jpgLawmaker in California Tries To Bring Loaded Gun On Plane and is cited for a misdemeanor. Huh?

Now, I know that I have not been in the United States for a long time, but I'm a bit surprised to see a Califronia lawmaker being cited for a misdemeanor and released after being caught trying to board a plane with a loaded gun.  "I apologize for the regrettable error that I made this morning," said Donnelly.  

 Um...sorry but what the hell?  Are you kidding me?  If anyone out there believes that would happen if he spoke Spanish, Farsi or Chinese as a first language then I have some swamp land for sale that I'd like to talk to you about.

I guess the point is that from out here it makes the US look pretty silly to be spending a zillion dollars on the TSA sexually assaulting people before they get on planes, while letting some white guy caught trying to board a plane with a loaded gun off the hook with an 'I'm sorry...'

China's New Rich and what some of them think about themselves... Michael Sylvester

We have tried hard to describe the impact of living in a boom economy and what it makes people think of themselves...and this weekend my wife and I snuck off for a quiet beach getaway and found this article as the cover story of a magazine available in each room of the hotel.
The Top Percentile

Corporate counsel in China: Tap dancing in a mine field? Michael Sylvester

This quick post is aimed at those of us who are providing guidance as corporate / in house counsel for our multinational clients operating here in Mainland China.
In Mainland China, as in the West, corporate or in house counsel are charged with evaluating a proposed or actual course of conduct of their client, generally in the form of Board reports on where to draw the line between permissible and impermissible activity and risk / reward scenarios. For example, we have all heard the oft asked question, what is the downside if we get caught?
So, we advise what should be done and then, quite often, are overruled by the Board that chooses to carry forward some questionalbe course of conduct because of how it impacts the bottom line. And damn if that whole attorney client privilege thing prevents us from doing much other than putting our hands in our pockets and looking at our shoes as it all happens.

Being a small town lawyer in Shenzhen, China Michael Sylvester


Occasionally we are asked what it is like living in China...chaotic, crowded & forward thinking might be a good start -- as you can see from this snapshop of a part of the city center.


But at base, we are just small town lawyers in the 'city' of foreigners here.  According to Chinese immigration records, there are about 700,000 foreign workers here in China with 200,000 of them being here in Shenzhen.


So, when you add in the family members of those ex-patriots here, you might say there are half a million of us here.  Like I said, we are just small town lawyers...



Bull Moose Party 2012?? Why the hell not...

The primary aim of the 1912 Progressive Party, also called the Bull Moose Party was to "to destroy this invisible Government, to dissolve the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day."
A third party candidate, while not winning the election, put the following issues on the national agenda that changed the course of goverment for a generation...the US might use a bit of that kind of thinking right now.
So, I'd like to hear from anyone out there on this and if you agree -- let's find a few zillionaires and get them to put up the funds for the campaign of someone we do not want elected.  Hell, I'll do it if we can't find anyone else willing to run and lose.  The goal is not to try to win, but to change the rules of the game by getting what really matters back into the discussion.  One definiton of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
In the social sphere the platform called for

China initiates 15 year public education requirement starting in the 2015 school year

Well, they do not think small and here is another example of why, sometimes, they deserve to kick our asses...
China has initiated a program of 15 years of mandatory public education starting in 2015, to allow for people already in the system and planning to head to trade or technical school to stick to thier already started goals.  Otherwise, children will be starting school at 3-4 years and going through to high school as part of the mandatory public education system here in the Mainland.
That used to be us....

Managing a Chinese Joint Venture -- hiring your own mother to be your country manager... Michael Sylvester

Embedded in the following article banned by the Chinese Public Security Bureau, but published by the American Chamber of Commerce, there are a few points of note:  
(1)  Make sure you know what "being in control" means...
(2)  If you do not trust your country manager as much as you trust your own mother, hire mom...

That used to be us from -- Forget China and pay attention to your own back yard too...

flaming hoop jump.jpgHow America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back

America has a huge problem. It faces four major challenges, on which its future depends, and it is failing to meet them. In That Used to Be Us, Thomas L. Friedman, one of our most influential columnists, and Michael Mandelbaum, one of our leading foreign policy thinkers, analyze those challenges—globalization, the revolution in information technology, the nation’s chronic deficits, and its pattern of energy consumption—and spell out what we need to do now to rediscover America and rise to this moment.

"But we have been operating like this in China for many years without a problem..." Michael Sylvester

"But we have been doing this in China for many years without a problem, why should we stop now?..."   says the client sitting across from me in the conference room recently.  And while it is not any fun to be the bearer of bad news, the fact that one has engaged in an illegal course of conduct without getting caught for a decade or more does not make the choices you made correct.  It just makes you lucky because you have not gotten caught...yet.
If you found out your teenager was habitually drinking and driving would you pull them aside and congratulate them for not getting caught?  
Come on folks, grow up... just like we all ask our kids to do.  It is not that hard to follow the rules. If we force people to follow ours in the US, there is nothing unfair about China doing the same.

Suing someone in Mainland China or Hong Kong Michael Sylvester

Let's say that one of your transactions melts down and you end up losing half a million dollars on an outsourced manufacturing contract and you want to try to find a way to recover funds you advanced as a deposit.
Generally, the first thing that folks from the US do is to hire a litigation team in the United States to file a lawsuit in, let's say Ohio, and then they mail service of process to your supplier in Shanghai saying 'we'll kick their asses down the Columbus courthouse steps, hee hee hee...."  
Then what?  Well, then nothing.
Not only is such a strategy not very pragmatic, it actually violates both the Chinese and US law on international service of process.  Even attempting to collect evidence, or trying to take depositions -- where you try to collect enough information to support your claim -- can actually get your lawyer thrown in jail.  

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