Harriet Miers is out

Bombshell. Another sign Bush is fighting for his life.


Taiwan’s claims to the Diaoyutais

I don’t know the history of these islands, so I admit total ignorance and an eagerness to learn from readers. I do know that some of the language the KMT uses in this article calls to mind, ironically, the language another country uses in regard to Taiwan.

On the 60th anniversary of Retrocession Day, the government should not forget about the Diaoyutais (釣魚台) and should continue the fight to regain their sovereignty, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said yesterday.

Making the remarks during the “Sixtieth Anniversary of Retrocession Day: Memorial of the Diaoyutais” ceremony, the Taipei mayor added that the islands belonged to Taiwan and should have been returned along with Taiwan when the Japanese renounced sovereignty over the island.

“The Diaoyutais were listed as part of China’s territory in written statements as early as the Ming Dynasty. How can these islands not be part of our territory? Japan failed to renounce control of them in 1945 and has since claimed sovereignty over the islands. This is called `stealing,'” Ma said.

The ceremony, organized by Taipei City’s Cultural Affairs Bureau at Zhongshan Hall, was designed to raise public awareness of the Diaoyutais.

Maybe Taiwan has an open-and-shut case for claiming the islands as its own. I don’t know. But if Ma is saying the islands were once part of China, if Taiwan isn’t a part of China how can he be saying the islands belong to Taiwan? God, you can get a headache thinking about this.


Taiwanese living in China “split” over reunification

Well, I wouldn’t say they’re split – judging from the article, most oppose it vehemently, though a few disagree and want to buddy up with the PRC. (After all, Taiwan is just another province of the Motherland.)

In an upscale Beijing restaurant, a youthful real estate developer from Taipei muses ruefully over the possibility of union between China’s communist colossus and his home country.

“When I first came here 18 months ago I thought that if China takes over Taiwan it’s OK,” says Chang Chieh, 24. “But now I think that the Taiwan government cannot allow such a thing to happen. It would be a terrible thing for our people.”

Beijing has been working to convince Taiwanese that “common” language, culture and ethnicity make integration into China an inevitability, and a national duty.

But interviews with Chang and others among the around 300,000 Taiwanese professionals who have come to live in China as a result of thawing relations suggest the gap between the two sides is substantial, going beyond China’s one-party rule and Taiwan’s democracy.

“Taiwanese people think differently from people on the mainland,” Chang says. “In China it’s been a real struggle to survive. So people are a lot tougher here. If you put a Taiwanese child down in China, he’ll be eaten up alive.”

Opinion polls in Taiwan say only about 10 percent of its 23 million people want immediate reunification with China. About 15 percent support formal independence, while the remainder favor maintaining the status quo.

Conversations with Taiwanese in China suggest that 56 years of separation have taken a toll on whatever once existed of a common identity.

Shen Zhi-xing, 35, an architect who came from Taiwan early last year, says a key divergence was the 1966-1976 Cultural Revolution that convulsed China.

She says Taiwan’s insulation from the event meant it preserved its “Chinese culture” while China was destroying its own.

“I don’t even think of myself as Chinese,” she says. “When I return to Taiwan I feel like I have come to a completely different place. The gap is very substantial.”

Vincent Yang, 42, a Taiwanese businessman now based in Shanghai, is also disdainful of talk of a common national identity.

“We really feel that China and Taiwan are different places,” he says. “I don’t see any reason why we should unify.”

Not all Taiwanese here agree.

Liu Jie, a 46-year-old businessman who has lived in China since 2001, thinks the cultural similarities are significant and argues that there can be a successful union between Taiwan and China — although he doesn’t think that can happen soon.

“These things take time,” he said.

Reading that, does it sound like they’re split, or that all but a few are dead set against reunification?

Link via CDT.


China BBS lauds Mao’s great achievements

This sounds absolutely delightful, but you have to read Chinese. Follow the links.


Anna Quindlen: “We’ve Been Here Before”

Read it and weep. What a great essay.

The most unattractive trait of the American empire is American arrogance, which the president embodies and which this war elevated. It is not simply that we have a good system. It is the system everyone else should have. It is the best system, and we are the best people. We can mend rivalries so ancient that they not only predate our nation but the birth of Christ. We will install the leaders we like in a country we scarcely understand, leaders who will either be seen as puppets by their people or who will eventually turn against us. We have been here before.

“In Vietnam we didn’t have the lessons of Vietnam to guide us,” says David Halberstam, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of that war. “In Iraq we did have those lessons. The tragedy is that we didn’t pay attention to them.” Or maybe only our leaders did not. The polls show the American people have turned on this war much more quickly than they did on the war in Vietnam. Of course, they are the ones who pay the price.

Definitely read the whole thing. It’s a classic.


Consummate Wanker: John Hinderaker (aka Assrocket)

Two very short paragraphs clearly demonstrate why Time magazine’s “blog of the year” is run by total wankers. Expect a lot of this kind of wanking from those who were oh-so-self-righteous about obstruction of justice and perjury just a few short years ago.

Via Atrios.


Maureen Dowd: Cheney “the heart of darkness”

He really is a bad guy. Evil? I can’t say that for sure, but definitely megalomaniacal and ruthless in a very nasty way. Maybe “his intentions were good” – liberty and all that (I’m sure oil never entered his mind) but so were Mao’s when he launched the Great Leap Backward. Most of us have no idea just how serious this is: Cheney was effectively running a shadow government, and Shrub’s antic were just window dressing for something far more insidious.

Dick at the Heart of Darkness
By Maureen Dowd
The New York Times

Wednesday 26 October 2005

After W. was elected, he sometimes gave visitors a tour of the love alcove off the Oval Office where Bill trysted with Monica – the notorious spot where his predecessor had dishonored the White House.

At least it was only a little pantry – and a little panting.

If W. wants to show people now where the White House has been dishonored in far more astounding and deadly ways, he’ll have to haul them around every nook and cranny of his vice president’s office, then go across the river for a walk of shame through the Rummy empire



Thomas Friedman: Chinese Capitalism

From the unlinkable Times Select.

Living Hand to Mouth
October 26, 2005
The New York Times


You don’t see this every day: A columnist for The China Daily wrote an essay last week proposing that the Chinese consider eating with their hands and abandon chopsticks. Why?

Because, Zou Hanru wrote, “we no longer have abundant forest cover, our land is no longer that green, our water tables are depleting and our numbers are expanding faster than ever. … China itself uses 45 billion pairs of disposable chopsticks a year, or 1.66 million cubic meters of timber, or 25 million full-grown trees.” The more affluent the Chinese become, he added, “the more the demand for bigger homes



Grim Milestone: 2,000 dead and still counting

We all know by now that, even though the mission was accomplished back in 2003, we continue to lose more and more soldiers in Iraq, the number today surpassing 2,000 killed in combat.

The grim milestone was reached at a time of growing disenchantment over the war among the American public toward a conflict that was launched to punish Iraqi President Saddam Hussein for his alleged weapons of mass destruction. None were ever found.

Earlier Tuesday, President Bush warned Americans to brace for more casualties because the U.S. military faces more challenges before it can restore stability to Iraq.

Possibly the most infuriating reaction to news like this is from war supporters who insist, “Hey, it’s not that bad! Look at how many people die every year in car accidents.”

So while we mourn our servicemen and women, and celebrate their heroism, and thank their families for their sacrifice, let’s keep this in perspective. More people (who have been born) are murdered in the United States in an average two month period, than members of our armed forces have died in Iraq since the conflict began. And over four times as many people die every month in accidents in the United States than have died in combat in Iraq.

As further proof that we shouldn’t get too upset, the thoughtful blogger lists statistics about Americans killed by various diseases and in other wars. See? 2,000’s a drop in the bucket.

Just two words: Bull shit.

Yes, there comes a time for each of us to die (write that down in case you’re hearing it for the first time). And a lot of people have died in wars and catastrophes and epidemics. But in the case of Iraq, the anguish and frustration arises from a single sad fact: there was no need for these deaths. This was a bogus and unnecessary war. Each of the 2,000 young men and women may have died in a car accident this year or from cancer five years from now — and they may have lived into their 90s, with lots of grandchildren and a timeshare in Mexico. We’ll never know now, will we? Nor will their parents, their wives, their children who must deal with their unbearable loss every waking moment.

To further demolish such foolish “thinking”: Fewer than 3,000 people in all died on September 11. A mere pittance, a trifling number according to Myopic Zeal’s statistics. So why the outrage and the horror? Why didn’t we say, “What a shame, but more people died from the flu last year than from today’s attacks, so let’s not get carried away”? We didn’t say that, nor should we have. We were in shock for a good reason. That’s 3,000 innocent American lives snuffed out for no reason, simply because some monster terrorist thugs thought their deaths would make a statement for their sick and perverted cause. Of course we went to war. Of course we were willing to sacrfice more lives in the pursuit of justice.

The lives of these 2,000 soldiers (not to mention the many tens of thousands of innocent dead Iraqis we all carefully push out of our memories) are as valid and as sacred as the 911 victims, and to trivialize them with comparisons with how many of our soldiers died in WWII is obscene. And facile. And sick.

The blogger tells us to relax, the number aren’t so high. At what point, might I ask, do the numbers become too high? At what point do you say, “God, this is getting out of hand, especially considering the promise we’d be greeted with flowers and chocolates”? When do you acknowledge it isn’t acceptable? 10,000 dead? 1 million dead? Is it when the number goes above that of car accident victims for the year? How do you measure when we should really get upset?

The real tragedy is that even a single death from this fucked-up spectacle would be too much. As the man who should be president now once said famously, “How do you ask someone to be the last man to die for a mistake?” More than 2,000 of our children have now died for a mistake — no, for an intentional lie. And a lot more than that has died over in America. Like our soul, our conscience, the reputation we built for doing good in this world (despite some terrible exceptions in our history). Lost, in a meaningless war that’s gutting our country of that which once made it great. That, plus 2,000 dead soldiers, and some people want to say it’s no big deal. To hell with them.


Great Hall of the People, XXIV

A new thread.