So has China really gone green?

We’ve been reading some jubilant reports of China’s participation in the Kyoto protocols. I can’t say for sure, but I strongly suspect there is much less here than meets the eye.

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Goss warns of growing Chinese threat

This is a busy blog day — lots of news about lots of topics. CIA boss Goss has been in the news all day, warning about inevitable nuclear strikes from terrorists on US soil (be afraid — be very, very, very afraid) and the blossoming of terrorism in US-occupied Iraq. And now we come at last to China.

The director of the US Central Intelligence Agency has warned that China’s military modernisation is tilting the balance of power in the Taiwan Strait and increasing the threat to US forces in the region.

Delivering the agency’s annual assessment of worldwide threats on Wednesday, Porter Goss, a former Republican congressman who was named in September to head the CIA, dropped any mention of the co-operative elements of the US-China relationship that characterised recent CIA statements. Instead, he said China was making determined military and diplomatic efforts to “counter what it sees as US efforts to contain or encircle China”.

[...]

[T]he statement on China indicated the CIA is paying growing attention to what it considers potential military threats amid China’s growing economic ties with its neighbours and the US. Mr Goss referred to US concerns over the increase in Chinese ballistic missiles deployed across the Taiwan Strait and the improvements in China’s nuclear and conventional capabilities.

The change in tone was notable given US concerns over Europe’s plan to end its embargo on arms sales to China. Experts on China said that, while warnings about China’s military capabilities were not new, the CIA had in the past underscored the co-operation between the US and China.

I’ve been saying for a while that Bush has to play good cop/bad cop on China, placating his psychotic right-wing base whilst soothing the anxieties of his big-business donors, whose very existences now revolve around the People’s Republic. This is, however, the most dramatic example yet of China baiting, and I’ll be surprised if the ever-prickly Chinese don’t have a cow over it.

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Billmon

I took him off my blogroll because he closed down, but he’s now back with a vengeance. For a real eye-opener, check these juxtaposed quotes regarding JimJeff GannonGuckert. This is nothing short of ingenious, especially as you scroll to the end and learn what happened to Craig Spence– it blew my mind. I promise, you will find it hard to believe, it’s just so incredible. Thank God someone is jarring our memories like this.

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Predictable: Bush & Co. cracking down on pornography

This could be the start of a showdown. As though, with all the traumas the country is going through, this has to be our No. 1 priority. If people want to buy porn, have a drink, smoke, watch goth music videos, just let them do it and get out of our lives. This is supposed to be a government that was going to get out of our way, and it’s the most intrusive we’ve seen in our lifetimes.

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CIA Director Goss admits it: Iraq is now a breeding ground for terrorists

Not that there was ever any doubt, but it’s good that we’re at least facing up to the fact that, in the name of fighting terrorism, we have simply succeeded in throwing gasoline onto the smoldering hatred of Islamofascism.

Islamic militants waging a deadly insurgency against U.S.-led forces in Iraq pose an emerging international terrorism threat, CIA Director Porter Goss said on Wednesday.

In his first public appearance as U.S. spymaster, Goss described Iraqi insurgents, including al Qaeda ally Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, as part of a Sunni militant movement inspired by Osama bin Laden and intent on attacking Americans.

“The Iraq conflict, while not a cause of extremism, has become a cause for extremists,” Goss told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

“Those jihadists who survive will leave Iraq experienced in and focused on acts of urban terrorism. They represent a potential pool of contacts to build transnational terrorist cells, groups and networks in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and other countries,” he said.

Congratulations, Bush — you are a total fuck-up in every conceivable way. The world was supposed to be safer, and now it’s more dangerous than we could have dreamed. The terrorists win again. No wonder Osama Bin Laden came out and shook his pom-poms for Bush days before the election, giving him what his own campaign called “a gift.”

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New China-related blog

A frequent commenter here has recently started a blog of her own that I’m enjoying, although I’m afraid it’s on blogspot so Chinese readers will have to use some creativity to access it.

Please be sure to see her latest post on our friend Hu Jintao being named the world’s third worst dictator. Lisa, you’re off to a good start!

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A plush “spa” in China — for AIDS sufferers

Now, this is a difficult article to process.

As many of us know, China’s history of taking care of its AIDS victims has been less than exemplary. So what are we to make of today’s very strange and incongruous story?

A hospital in north China’s Shanxi province has set up an unique spa for HIV/AIDS patients where they can receive treatment and make a living too.

Some 20 patients have received treatment at the 14.82 acre compound of hospital wards, entertainment venues and farmland since it opened on July 24 last year, state media reported Wednesday.

The Linfen City Infectious Disease Hospital last year rented the land from Licun Village, some 10 kilometres from the hospital, with an investment of $183,000.

Hospital staff have named it “Green Harbour” and hope that it could offer not only physical treatment but also psychological comfort for HIV/AIDS sufferers and their families.

The area is divided into three zones: treatment zone, logistics zone and work zone.

Patients and their families can grow grain, vegetables and flowers in the work zone, and then sell the farm produce to make some money. The facility also has an entertainment venue, a library and a gym.

Can they also get coconut body wraps and a foot massage? Facials and pedicures?

Now don’t get me wrong, I think this is great. But considering the 20 years of misery and stigmatization AIDS sufferers in China have had to endure, this strains my credulity. And when I say misery, I mean like having their brains beaten out by the police, being fired from their jobs, dying slow and wretched deaths with little or no care and, perhaps worst of all, having their existence denied altogether.

So suffice it to say I am quite curious when I see a story like this, and truly hope that it’s not only true, but a sign of things to come. I have no choice but to be skeptical, based on past performance.

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Leave it to the French…

…to rationalize lifting the post-Tiananmen Square EU arms embargo on China on the grounds that it will hamper China’s ability to develop advanced weapons systems:

Michèle Alliot-Marie, the French defence minister, has argued that sales of weapons technologies to China could slow Beijing’s push to develop its own capabilities, which was part of the reason why her country backed lifting a European Union arms embargo on China.

Ms Alliot-Marie insisted France had strict export regimes that would prevent most lethal technologies getting into China’s hands. But she told the Financial Times that Beijing was likely to have advanced arms in five years with or without western help.

“The lifting of the embargo could be a better protection for us than maintaining it,” she said.

I suppose there’s some sort of logic here, though I have no idea what it could be.

Thanks to the editors of the new blog Diderot’s Lounge for pointing this story out to me.

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Alan Keyes’ daughter comes out; family gives her the finger

Compassionate Conservatism?

The daughter of former Republican Party senate candidate Alan Keyes publicly acknowledged Monday that she is a lesbian.

During the Republican National Convention, Alan Keyes made headlines when he condemned gays and lesbians. His daughter says she has been ostracized from the family.

“God works in really strange ways sometimes. There are times in life when he just doesn’t sort of nudge you gently in the direction he wants you to go, he sort of takes a two by four and whacks you upside the head,” said Maya Keyes, Alan Keyes’ 19-year-old daughter.

At a gay rights rally in Annapolis, Md., Maya Keyes said she is coming out as a lesbian in response to escalating tensions with her parents, including her arch-conservative father, whom she worked for in last year’s Illinois senate race. Keyes said she also wanted to highlight the struggle of gays in the closet, including a gay friend who died last week after months on the street.

During last year’s senate race, Keyes referred to gays and lesbians as “hedonistic sinners” and talked hypothetically about his own family.

“If my own daughter were a homosexual, or a lesbian, I would love my daughter, but I would tell my daughter that she was in sin,” Keyes said in August.

Phyllis Schlafley, Randall Terry, Dick Cheney and now Alan Keyes — the club is definitely growing. Either God is punishing them for some past sin by inflicting a gay child on them, or maybe having a gay child is often just a fact of life that can happen to anyone, and is certainly no shame.

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Jeff Gannon/Jim Guckert — Gay male prostitute, White House lackey

I have avoided blogging on this sensational topic simply because the fulltime liberal blogs are doing such an incredible job exposing a story that would have brought down any president except George Bush. The implications on numerous levels are simply staggering.

First there’s the fact that a non-reporter is not only given a daily pass into the White House press briefings, but is constantly called upon by Scottie Boy whenever he gets into a jam. This alone is dumbfounding, an blatant example of choreographing the news, an act of fraud, deception and boundless deceit. Then there’s the fact that he “writes” for a site owned by GOPUSA. Then there’s the fact that real journalists are ignored as Scotty fields JimJeff’s softballs, designed to attack and embarrass Democrats. And how did he ever clear his background check? What’s going on??

Oh, and did I mention that JimJeff was the man to whom our great leaders leaked information (false, almost surely) about the Valerie Plame affair? Information that smeared her husband Joe Wilson. (That smear generated one of the ugliest clusterfucks ever among the right-wing bloggers like Tom Maguire and Glenn, who came down on Wilson with a savage and unapologetic ferocity. Was any of it true? Does anybody care?)

And this is all a prelude before we get to the more lurid angle. I felt the liberal bloggers were jumping the gun, seizing on what last week seemed to be JimJeff’s possible association with a gay male escort service. I steered clear because it was too tenuous, too weak, too unsubstantiated — or so I thought.

Not any more. In a post of staggering importance, Americablog does the detective work and presents us with the hard evidence. It is shocking. It is unbelievable. It take blog sleuthing to a new level.

Imagine for one moment if the JimJeff scandal occured around Kerry. Or Clinton. Or Barbara Boxer. Imagine what Michelle Malkin and Charles Johnson and Glenn Reynolds and Mickey Kaus and Jeff Jarvis and Jonah Goldberg and Matt Drudge and Chris Matthews and Sean Hannity would be doing. The inimitable Digby lays it out for us:

I do know that if this were 1998, we’d be knee deep in congressional investigations into the gay hooker ring in the White House. Every news crew in the DC area would be camped out on JimJeff’s front lawn. A wild-eyed Victoria Toensing and panting Kelly Ann Fitzpatrick would be crawling up on the Hardball desk rending their silk teddies and speaking in tongues while Matthews’ exploding head spun around on his shoulders.

But, it isn’t 1998 and it will probably not even be mentioned. And I’m not a Republican so I don’t think, as they would, that it’s necessary to dig into every single White House staffer’s sex life to find out who leaked a confidential memo to a gay hooker.

Well, if that famously liberal media won’t investigate it, we bloggers will have to pick up the slack: Shout it from the tallest rooftops. Link to it everywhere. Make it clear, we’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore. This double standard simply must stop. Once our news media fail us, once they become a mouthpiece for the government, none of us is safe. This is why always, absolutely always, the first thing tyrants do to ensure their stranglehold is seize and control the media, without exception. If our media are emasculated and helpless, the door is wide open for authoritarianism.

James Wolcott brilliantly refers to today’s press corps as “attack poodles.” If they let this go, if they acquiece to the right-wingers who will shriek that this is all about “personal stuff” that is none of our business, then we will know for certain that all is lost. For this is in no way a matter of “personal stuff.” As America blog says:

So in the end, why does this matter? Why does it matter that Jeff Gannon may have been a gay hooker named James Guckert with a $20,000 defaulted court judgment against him? So he somehow got a job lobbing softball questions to the White House. Big deal. If he was already a prostitute, why not be one in the White House briefing room as well?

This is the Conservative Republican Bush White House we’re talking about. It’s looking increasingly like they made a decision to allow a hooker to ask the President of the United States questions. They made a decision to give a man with an alias and no journalistic experience access to the West Wing of the White House on a “daily basis.” They reportedly made a decision to give him – one of only six – access to documents, or information in those documents, that exposed a clandestine CIA operative. Say what you will about Monika Lewinsky – a tasteless episode, “inappropriate,” whatever. Monika wasn’t a gay prostitute running around the West Wing. What kind of leadership would let prostitutes roam the halls of the West Wing? What kind of war-time leadership can’t find the same information that took bloggers only days to find?

None of this is by accident.

Someone had to make a decision to let all this happen. Who? Someone committed a crime in exposing Valerie Plame and now it appears a gay hooker may be right in the middle of all of it? Who?

Ultimately, it is the hypocrisy that is such a challenge to grasp in this story. This is the same White House that ran for office on a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. While they are surrounded by gay hookers? While they use a gay hooker to write articles for their gay hating political base? While they use a gay hooker to destroy a political enemy? Not to mention the hypocrisy of a “reporter” who chooses to publish article after article defending the ant-gay religious-right point of view on gay civil rights issue.

We are owed answers, which can only be forthcoming with the weight of a massive investigation. This is not about a guy with a willing and eager intern of legal age behind a closed door harming no one (stupid though that guy’s actions may have been). It’s about deception of the American people on a massive scale, originating at the very top.

My predictions: The issue will soon be dead in the water from lack of diligent follow-up (I sure hope I’m wrong), and fat Scotty will have to resign no matter what — he’s lost whatever microscopic speck of credibility he may have had left.

My thanks to the commenter, Dodo, who drew my attention to these excellent links. Don’t delay — just go there now.

Update: The story is picking up traction with that evil liberal media, which has until now been treating it with kid gloves. Now that the porn pictures are out, that’s gonna have to change.

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