Open thread?

Slow news time, with CNY around the corner. Feel free to talk amongst yourselves.

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Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 135 Comments

BlackBerry-using Barack Obama set to become first President 2.0

Mr Obama is widely touted as the first “wired” President of the United States, keen to use technology to communicate directly with the American people. “Obama 2.0″ has more than 1 million MySpace “friends”, 3.7 million Facebook supporters and a YouTube channel. He has posted weekly video addresses as president-elect as part of his change.gov website which is poised to become WhiteHouse.gov tomorrow.

It’s good for our leaders to stay in touch online – I think David Cameron’s “webcameron” is a good idea, and I hope he keeps using something like it if/when he becomes PM. Perhaps Obama can keep making the video addresses too.

January 19, 2009 @ 8:02 pm | Comment

Obama tells rally of hope for US

US President-elect Barack Obama has told a huge crowd of supporters at a pre-inauguration rally in Washington that “anything is possible in America”.

As the US fights two wars and tackles an economic crisis, Mr Obama said he was “hopeful” the US would overcome its toughest challenges in generations.

Definitely the right note to strike in a situation like this.

January 19, 2009 @ 8:31 pm | Comment

This is part of the reason why the Republican Party as it now stands is doomed – they have never gotten the Internet, much the same way the Dems never got talk radio. There’s a whole new generation out there who will have been born into a digital world, in which the internet is their primary means of communication (whether this is good or bad is irrelevant; I have very mixed feelings). Team Obama’s use of online fund-raising, social networking, blogs, email, online video, etc., was masterful. The Republicans, meanwhile, came across as square as they come. The GOP needs a facelift badly. They’d be smart to study what Obama’s been doing.

January 19, 2009 @ 9:05 pm | Comment

An open thread that has opened with exactly the right note. If I may be permitted to quote myself:

“Forget the Spring Festival – we tried that last year, and the year before that. Dismiss, I urge you, the overrated end-of-month Superbowl, which is bearing down on us like a hungry pack on steroids. And file last year’s Olympics under ‘M’ for meaningless. The greatest show on Earth, and the most challenging job description in living memory, begins tomorrow. Get ready.

Anyone whose parents sat them on their knee for Armstrong’s Giant Leap should gather their own offspring, or even their offspring’s offspring, and sit together with their loved ones and neighbours to watch – with popcorn if you really must – the most positive sign of human progress since July ‘69.

There is a reason nobody remembers the hand over from Jiang Zemin to Hu Jintao: because it changed nothing. In 24 hours time, as Obama officially accepts the keys to the Oval Office, we will witness a moment that changes everything.”

January 19, 2009 @ 9:15 pm | Comment

they have never gotten the Internet, much the same way the Dems never got talk radio

That reminds me of a comment made about Clinton’s campaign – that it was great in her husband’s time but wrong a decade later. I wonder if she’d have adopted it had she won the nomination.

Team Obama’s use of online fund-raising, social networking, blogs, email, online video, etc., was masterful.

Yes, it’s very convenient after all. If I donate to anything/anyone I do it online.

In retrospect it probably suits the US and bit more than the UK because it’s easy to get enthused about one person for the presidency – it doesn’t quite work that way with the PM, although Cameron is popular. In fact during an election Obama-style fundraising just might work – the more Cameron is on TV the higher his party’s polling goes.

January 19, 2009 @ 9:53 pm | Comment

Stuart, we’d better not get so optimistic about Obama’s “ascension.” There’s only so much the guy can do to hold back a flood of trouble. My heart goes out to the guy, and I worry that when he fucks up or fails to move mountains, people will be stunned with disappointment. It is a great moment, the day so many of us have been waiting for. But things are so deep in the crapper, no one man can make a big difference overnight. Let’s hope he has what it takes to achieve what is nearly impossible, putting a splintered and wounded America back together again after 8 years of hell.

For an uplifting look at how much of America feels the way Stuart does, you have to see this clip of Bruce Springsteen and Pete Seeger singing Seeger’s This Land is Your Land in front of the National Monument today. Hard not to surrender to all that emotion, all those people singing of their love for America and clearly believing they’re about to get their country back back. I sure hope so….

January 19, 2009 @ 10:01 pm | Comment

And on a less positive note, some links:

3rd case of bird flu in 2 weeks is reported in China after a full year of zero cases.

A horror story of Chinese teens in Shaanxi kidnapped, sent to Burma and tortured, then ransom demanded from their parents. Almost too frightening to read; I was sick by the end.

January 19, 2009 @ 10:05 pm | Comment

This is starting to worry me as well now. What is worrisome is that they don’t know where it’s coming from this time, hence can’t destroy the source.

I’ve put the geographic information in Google Earth and the cases are pretty much spread apart. On such a short period of time, it could potentially mean that the virus spread this time through travel contacts (trains or planes, buses).

I’m not sure about the intervals that are usually occurring between infections, I’m looking into that right now. But so far that seems like a lot in such a short amount of time, and so far apart.

“There are two main areas that we are concerned with. One is if there is no avian flu outbreak in poultry and yet there are human cases, whether there’s a change in the virus,”

This part is very scary, as it could mean the first step toward human to human contamination.

I’m taking the train in 3 days, and I’ll definitively be wearing a mask. So you might see me soon on the front page of the China Daily… ;)

January 19, 2009 @ 10:42 pm | Comment

Americans come off as such simpletons. Complex ethnic/religious/political/economic Middle East dynamic? Blame Osama, Saddam, Hammas, etc. Complex political/constitutional/economic dynamic in the US? Blame immigrats, “liberals,”"conservatives,” etc. Right to life? Capital punishment? Blame religion rather than looking at the social/power/gender dynamic.

With a piss-poor primary and secondary education system that is crumbling even further, an uninformed and/or misinformed populace who take all of their rights for granted, with an economic system that rewards short term financial gain above all else, the US needs more than one man who can solve it all. And it needs more than the pretty words or yet another television “spectacle.” Everyone is behaving as if time were moving slow motion. The economic/political/military crises have been with us for months and years and yet we’re all caught up with the magic and spectacle or yet another politician making yt another political speech or two or three making yet more promises.

The reason for my rant? WAKE UP! Read! Teach! Travel! Learn! Do something other than sit and around on overweight behinds eating potato chips watching the TV!

This rant is not aimed at the folks who participate on this board (in fact, I think that the level of discourse generally found on here is the exception to the generalities I mentioned above).

January 20, 2009 @ 12:32 am | Comment

The election of Obama shows that American Whites have degenerated.

There is a huge population of whites in America, and they all receive generally good education, and have the number one standard of living in the world. But why was did it not produce any competent candidate for the Presidency? The reason is wealth. When one becomes wealthy, becomes a member of the upper class, of the aristocrat class, one will start to degenerate and regress. We can safely believe that today’s American Whites cannot compete at all with their predecessors. They have become lazy, “eat-when-food-is-at-the-mouth”, are not eager to learn, no longer strive hard in life. As a result, important positions in America are slowly being occupied by foreigners that are eager to learn and are much more industrious. If you look at the population of the American police force, or the American army, minorities are occupying more and more. Why? Because rich White Americans (and their children) do not want to be a police or a marine, what do they want to do? They want to sit at home, eat when the food is at the mouth, play some ipod, some mp3, have sex with 3 or 4 people at the same time and use drugs.

After 911, the American government commissioned a study to find out how the terrorists were able to hijack 4 planes and bypass all the security at airports. Among many other findings, the most shocking finding of the study was that the security personnel at most American airpots were non-Whites, and most were not even American citizens – the airports have to hire minorities because American whites are totally unwilling to work at Airport security checkpoints.

Is there a chance that the son or daughter of Bill Gates or Warren Buffets have a chance to run for the American Presidency? My opinion is, not a chance at all.

George Bush is a true reflection of today’s rich American children.

Unavoidably, I start to compare this with the late Qing Dynasty. The collapse of the Qing Dynasty was due in large part to the continual denegeneration and degradation of the children of the Manchus. While the first generation Mancus were fierce fighers, industrious workers, ambitious rulers were able to defeat the much larger in number Hans. But their 4th, 5th, 6th generation children? I’m sorry, they were no the same fighters their predecessors were, and the children sat on the fruits that their great-grandprants emperors toiled for them, and let the fruits go rot.

Similary, why were the first generation Manchus able to defeat the much larger in number Hans? Same reason, the Hans also had degenerated and lost their fight, their industriousness, their spirit. Both the Manchus and the Hans had similar weapons, it’s not like the Manchus had newer technology. And Hans had much more people, and were already the governing class of China. How did the Hans lost? Very simple, it was a battle of physical ability, of mental toughness, of determination, of human will. How did the Hans get massacred?

Same thing with the Romans’ collapse. The upperclass of the Romans were too comfortable in their lives, too worry-free, too cozy. As a result, your intellects, your physical ability start to degenerate. If everyday, when you wake up, you have a nicely made bed, free luxurious food, free luxurious mansion, free beautiful women, all stuff done for you by servants. Why do you need to feel the need to train your army, to feel the need to think hard and worry for your future, to feel the need to plan ahead? You have no such need at all. Life was too comfortable, too warm, too cozy.

When a group of people no longer have to worry about food, about clothing, about surival. Then, their children will very quickly start to degenerate, to regress. American cannot avoid this fate either.

In modern history, Mao Zedong constructed an able Army who can turn very simple weapons and completely slaughter the American-equipped KMT, slaughter much more modern UN forces in Korea. But soon, the sons and daughters ( and in a larger extend their grandchildren) of the first generation revolutionary fighters of the CCP start to degenerate. If you read the memoir of one of Mao’s daughter Li Na, she says in the book, “Grandpa once told me that the children of the revolutionaries were scum. I didn’t understand what he meant. But today, I understand completely.”

So, you may ask “Math! So how can we avoid degeneration after our lives become comfortable and worry-free?”

Mao actually invented a technique to avoid such things. And this technique can be applied to any group in the world. If the American whites want to regain their former glory, regain their former strength, then it is completely possible by following Mao’s technique. But this technique has been demonized by people around the world and no one trusts it anymore. This technique, to avoid the degeneration of the rich, is the Cultural Revolution.

January 20, 2009 @ 2:19 am | Comment

I just saw this and wondering if anyone of you know the truth behind this? http://foarp.blogspot.com/2009/01/devonshire-ellis-saga-continues.html

Pretty unbelievable if true. Pretty unbelievable it went up there if not true. Is the word on this spreadding in Beijing?

January 20, 2009 @ 3:32 am | Comment

Personally, I am getting sick and tired of all the hype and other glamorous parties and other celebrations, and especially by the African American community around Obama’s Inauguration. Gees, while he is celebrating maybe he can start thinking of fixing America’s problems instead of selling us snake oil.

January 20, 2009 @ 6:20 am | Comment

Gregory, tell me more about this – is this a smear campaign against someone? It looks that way to me. Looks like you’re trying to spread the word yourself.

Pug, I don’t think Obama is necessarily selling snake oil; he’s surrounding himself with people (Sanjay Gupta aside – bad pick) who have track records for getting things done unlike the ideologues who surrounded Bush and I think they are well-focused on the problems. The inauguration is a key moment in America’s history and it’s not surprising that a lot of people donated to it and a lot of people are fascinated with it. I do think, however, that the glamour and the parties and the costs should have been scaled down – they can easily be accused of waste and poor taste in a time of near-depression. Of course, those making the accusations have wasted literally trillions, so their credibility is somewhat limited.

January 20, 2009 @ 8:42 am | Comment

It was Europeans that first said Chinese people were degenerative, because they were smaller people, including the second-generation Eurasian mix. If it was an absurd claim, then people would laugh at it and forget it very soon (just like if you say Black people have a small penis). However, it would become a complicated and tough issue if it happened to have some truth in it. Truth often hurts. More issues and psychological problems arise when the concerned people can’t handle the truth. Counterattack and denial are common, the example of which is what Math said, even though it is a very pathetic argument.

The succession of Chinese dynasties repeated its viscous cycle of rise and decay of one dynasty followed by the defeat by the next one, including Qing and with no exception of the Communist dynasty. The reason lies in its hereditary nature and the fact that even a retard could be an emperor. The degenerative nature of the Chinese empires doesn’t apply to the competitive and democratic American society, even though Math and his comrades wishfully hope so and daydream of the collapse of American empire.

Chinese people are psychologically immature and like petty child. Because their fragile self-esteem was once brutalized by the Westerners, they have been attempting to use every small chance to insult back the big bully who once humiliated him. What they get is being ignored and further despised.

January 20, 2009 @ 9:43 am | Comment

Tom Vilsack is a pretty bad pick too, IMO. He’s a tool of really bad companies like Monsanto.

But Obama has to be better than the last eight years.

My prediction: We will see an improvement in America’s foreign policy and international standing. We will see an improved energy policy and investments in green technology and infrastructure.

I worry about continuing domination by Wall Street, lack of real health care reform, the threat of social security privatization, etc.

January 20, 2009 @ 2:52 pm | Comment

@ Lisa,

Considering the level of nationalization of banks and such that is going on, privatization is a waning concern.

@ Math

China now has to kiss up to a black man. Deal

January 20, 2009 @ 3:07 pm | Comment

Lisa, I worry about those things, too, especially in light of Obama’s eagerness to reach consensus. Maybe we’ll be pleasantly surprised? Either that or we’ll be disappointed- since it’ll be one or the other, I’ll remain cautiously optimistic for now. But honestly, how can he deliver on all of the different things that so many of us are looking to him for? (Rhetorical question.)

January 20, 2009 @ 3:17 pm | Comment

America expects too much. Now is a time for sacrifice. But o one wants to bite the bullet. After the “honeymoon,” it’s business as usual. We have only emasculated politicians in office these days, there are no leaders, only those who follow the wishes of the people who put them in office. Always, foremost, and eternally indebted to the elite and the new money who purchase for them the Office of the President of the United States of America.

I wish I were not so cynical. America, as I once knew her, is dead.

January 20, 2009 @ 4:26 pm | Comment

Well, politics is the art of compromise, and all that, and I don’t have a problem with that. But there certain bottom-line issues, places where you take a stand. I don’t expect to get everything I want from an Obama administration – far from it. If I can see improvement in a few areas and no blatantly horrid decisions, that will work for me.

Nan-h, last week Obama mentioned the need to reform “government entitlement programs” yet again. He has economic advisors who favor privatization of SS. He has huge Wall Street banking and of course they are always looking for new sources of investment capital.

This worries me.

January 20, 2009 @ 4:33 pm | Comment

He’ll lose the Social Security privatization battle, if he’s foolhardy enough to start one. And it will be interesting to see how beholden he is to Wall Street. Big money interests were behind all the candidates to some degree, maybe more behind Obama, and we should know pretty soon how much he feels he owes Wall Street. Krugman is on his case big-time just about every day; I’ll be, too, if he turns out to be a lackey for Big Business. For now, benefit of the doubt.

January 20, 2009 @ 5:09 pm | Comment

I’m not big on benefit of the doubt – I look at the track record and who the appointments are. So I’m at the “Show me” place. Prove to me that you’re going to do the right thing, by, you know, doing the right thing.

Here’s Krugman’s latest. It’s not pretty.

January 20, 2009 @ 5:11 pm | Comment

Heh. I just noticed my “Wall Street banking” above. That should be “backing.” Ooptie.

January 20, 2009 @ 5:12 pm | Comment

“THE mother of a 2-year-old girl, who has been confirmed to be infected with the bird flu virus, died early this year from pneumonia in Hunan Province.”

http://www.shanghaidaily.com/sp/article/2009/200901/20090120/article_388681.htm

“Yesterday, Shu Yuelong, vice director of virus control and prevention at the National Center for Disease Control and Prevention, warned that China was likely to experience “an epidemic” of human bird flu cases this winter and spring.”

They do not confirm that she was also infected with the bird flu (the mother) but that sounds awfully like a human to human transmission to me. There has been cases confirmed in Indonesia, but not in China yet.

What do they mean exactly by an “epidemic”?

As a reminder, from the PANDEMIC BIRD FLU PREPAREDNESS:

How can you tell that a pandemic is about to start?

Most likely, if you read or watch the news, you will hear about it.
The most important warning signal comes when clusters of patients with clinical symptoms of influenza, closely related in time and place, are detected. This suggests human-to-human transmission is taking place.

The detection of cases in health workers caring for H5N1 patients would also suggest human-to-human transmission.

Let’ hope all these cases are just isolated, I really do not want to witness this happening first hand in China.

January 20, 2009 @ 5:46 pm | Comment

Bao, the world is long overdue for the next pandemic. Let’s hope this is not it. Memories of 2003….

Lisa, go back to that article you just linked, and then compare it to the NYT version. I am as wary as you (though I am trying to give the benefit of the doubt; no one can say what Obama will do before he’s sworn in), but that link you posted cries out for criticism.

Here’s the comparison. NYT, where Krugman has some control of the headline:

Wall Street Voodoo

The picked-up version you linked to, with subhead (NYT has no subead at all):

Obama’s Team Signals It’s Taking the Taxpayer Ripoff Route to Saving Our Financial System

Obama’s team is talking a whole new economic voodoo: the belief that by performing elaborate financial rituals we can keep dead banks walking.

Whether we like Obama or not, this is inexcusable bias on the part of the headline writer. Let’s look at the first two grafs:

Old-fashioned voodoo economics — the belief in tax-cut magic — has been banished from civilized discourse. The supply-side cult has shrunk to the point that it contains only cranks, charlatans, and Republicans.

But recent news reports suggest that many influential people, including Federal Reserve officials, bank regulators, and, possibly, members of the incoming Obama administration, have become devotees of a new kind of voodoo: the belief that by performing elaborate financial rituals we can keep dead banks walking.

Aside from that, there is not a singe other mention of Obama in the entire article. But look at the headline! That is shocking, blatant and very ballsy headline writing. The only mention of Obama, to repeat, is and, possibly, members of the incoming Obama administration. It’s okay to question Obama or say we don’t like where he’s coming from, or that we see trouble already. But to base it on a tragically flawed, stab-in-the-heart headline…. Now, that headline may in fact be fully accurate. But it in no way is related to the column that then follows.

January 20, 2009 @ 5:57 pm | Comment

Yeah, I just grabbed the Alternet version because it popped up in my inbox. They definitely tend to go for the sensational, and I don’t always like them. To be honest, I didn’t pay any attention to the headline, I just went for the Krug.

There’s some buzzing around about this whole proposal though. Barney Frank may or may not be onboard. I tend to think Obama is from his embrace of telco immunity. But I’m hoping not, not just because it’s, well, unfair to bail out these people and subsidize their screw-ups, but because it doesn’t seem like it will achieve the result we need, which is fixing our effed up banking system.

January 20, 2009 @ 6:15 pm | Comment

I already tweeted this, but at the risk of blog-wh0ring, here are my thoughts on the inauguration at greater length.

January 20, 2009 @ 6:18 pm | Comment

You and I had the same issues with the telco immunity. I’ve been wary ever since, but also know there has never been a president who hasn’t infuriated me, so I’ll have to see what he actually does in office.

Excellent post you wrote, and we’re pretty much on the same wavelength. I just want to feel optimistic – there’s been so precious little to feel optimistic about the past 8 years, let’s celebrate the change and then, if need be, sink back in despair mode. Rick Warren was another bad mistake, but I at least understand why it happened, and appreciated the efforts to balance it out. But hell, it made me furious.

January 20, 2009 @ 6:27 pm | Comment

Fingers crossed, Richard. Like I said, if a few good things happen and nothing terrible does, that’ll work.

‘Night. I’m up past even my bedtime!

January 20, 2009 @ 6:36 pm | Comment

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VeEh7wQ-J1I&feature=channel_page

“The End of an Error”

January 20, 2009 @ 11:30 pm | Comment

You’re lucky. Given how the polls are going for the UK government we’ll have to wait over a year for our chance for change….

January 21, 2009 @ 12:37 am | Comment

Obama is certainly a good speechwriter and a orator. But is he a good president, well, let’s find out.

January 21, 2009 @ 1:43 am | Comment

I just watched the inauguration live tonight on the net. Obama’s speech was very good. If we put side the fact that he was extremely nervous and forgot the required words he should say when they officially made him president.

I noticed two direct blows at China in his speech, not even subtle ones:

“The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.”

Democracy ? OK, nothing so unusual here, he’s the US president.

And the strongest one…

“To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”

I think the tone has now been set officially. I was quite surprised for it to be mentioned in the inauguration, I thought it would come later, part of the soft politic agenda. This is everything but soft.

No wonder since a couple of days, China is yapping constantly to urge the US to reinforce military and diplomatic ties.

I wonder if they will be willing to “unclench their fist”?

And I wonder if tomorrow, the entire ceremony will be presented by CCTV 4, uncensored…

January 21, 2009 @ 4:16 am | Comment

@Bao
Could you imagine the bruhaha that could arise if Obama received the DL?

And if he received him before going to CH.. Whoa, that would be something to see.

January 21, 2009 @ 5:19 am | Comment

Bao, well, those remarks strike me as pretty generic and they could be referring to a whole lot of countries other than China. I don’t think you are going to see some huge human rights focus in American foreign policy. I do think you will see a greater emphasis on diplomacy, and that’s all to the good.

Possibly an increase in protectionism, but I don’t know about that either. Obama is pretty neo-liberal in his economic leanings. He’s forced to act in a more Keynesian fashion because of the economic crisis, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to an increase in protectionism.

January 21, 2009 @ 5:30 am | Comment

@bao
“To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, ”
I think these words are rather directed to Mr Mugabe and the likes.

On the other hand, what a coup has accomplish the US with Africa with Mr Obama election! With just one stroke it has bested all the efforts of CH to gain influence and appreciation in the country.

CH think tanks must be scratching their heads to find a proper counter move.

By the way, it seems Mr Bush is more loved in Africa than anywhere else. Something to do with medicine program I think.

January 21, 2009 @ 5:31 am | Comment

Bao, I am surprised that you focused so much on O’s few words…

“The enemies of liberty and our country should make no mistake, America remains engaged in the world, by history and by choice, shaping a balance of power that favors freedom. We will defend our allies and our interests. We will show purpose without arrogance. We will meet aggression and bad faith with resolve and strength. And to all nations, we will speak for the values that gave our nation birth.”

Remember this? Sounds familiar? Well the rest of the story is known now.

China is causious of course. Every new president is an unknown character. O is just another one. I do not worry about DL at all. Trade probably is a more difficult problem. Lets wait and see.

January 21, 2009 @ 5:44 am | Comment

@fatbrick
” I do not worry about DL at all. Trade probably is a more difficult problem”
I was just wondering at the CH fireworks that such a meeting would produce. (fireworks by the way are another great CH invention ;-)

And yes. IMHO Trade is the key issue in this crisis, much of how the ongoing crisis develops will depend on how it will be handle.

The mermaids of protectionism are calling…. lets put some wax in our ears.

January 21, 2009 @ 5:52 am | Comment

“On the other hand, what a coup has accomplish the US with Africa with Mr Obama election! With just one stroke it has bested all the efforts of CH to gain influence and appreciation in the country.

CH think tanks must be scratching their heads to find a proper counter move. ”

errr, why African cannot have a good relationship with both US and China is beyond me. China never has more influence on Africa than U.S., on trade, military supports or any other fronts. US might compete with China on resources: at the current prices, there are more than plenty for both countries. As for export markets, I just do not see China and U.S. compete at all for exports to AF. So what else is at stake right now?

January 21, 2009 @ 6:00 am | Comment

“I was just wondering at the CH fireworks that such a meeting would produce. (fireworks by the way are another great CH invention ”

err, what difference does it make if O meets DL? China will do the routine official talks I am sure. Bush met DL, France Prez, German PM, and UK PM all met DL. What exactly came out of those meetings? We might well see another riot in T this year. It has not relevation with the meeting between O and DL, if there is one. I doubt that much would change on the ground no matter what will happen.

Trade indeed is the most difficult issue. I expect at least some degree of protectionism and suspect the worst. I am guessing Beijing fully understood this issue based on my observations on the media coverage.

January 21, 2009 @ 6:09 am | Comment

@fatbrick
IMHO access to natural resources is always important, no matter how low current prices are.

Even if US did not need them, a good strategic position there is another good lever to influence CH. Africa is one of the places where CH tries to expand its market and influence, and get good share of much needed resources.
Even if you don’t need it, better to had some control on that stuff a possible competitor may need… ;-)

On the other hand, Africa resources if not already, will be great interest for US, specially west Africa Oil.

And beyond material things, there is the issue of promoting US image, mindset and ideals in a populated, natural resources rich and strategic continent.

CH has been for some time, with some success, promoting its economic/political model as a better solution for Africa woes. A system that some of the authoritarian regimes there could find appealing, for their own interest… Would you like an Africa populated with CCP-like regimes?

January 21, 2009 @ 6:28 am | Comment

@fatbrick
Sure, if the DL meets OB, it may well have no influence whatsoever in the current
sorry state of things in Tibet, present and future. That is not the issue I wanted to comment.

I was just wondering at the usual (un)diplomatic reaction/remarks the CH gov has get us used to each time a similar event happens. That is what I called CH fireworks. I usually find the CH reaction quite.. pyrotechnic, and often quite damaging for their PR image.

The last CH+EU+DL incident for example, raised some eyebrows here in the EU. It was perceived as a very.. pyrotechnic reaction by CH.

It would be interesting to compare the different CH reactions after a DL+Sarkozy meeting, DL+Merkel meeting and a DL+OB meeting.

January 21, 2009 @ 6:48 am | Comment

You points on resources are well taken. I would argue then the going after the resources rely on hard power: money and gunboat. Good will can only get you so far, money talks as always. People do not sell you cheap oil just because you have the same skin color…you still need to pay for it. We all need good PR as covers of course. The power difference between US and China would not change over night. Thus, both countries’ relative influencess on AF won’t change very soon either. The so called success you mentioned by China is based on the growing Chinese economy, not because China won AF’s hearts. I think that AF countries knew this quite clear: more bidders mean higher prices, and that is good for them.

And the idealogy? I do not know if Beijing cares that much about the Washington/Beijing models. I tend to see China is quite consistent on this front: It is just about business and the friends are good for business.

“Would you like an Africa populated with CCP-like regimes?”

I personally couldn’t care less…

January 21, 2009 @ 6:50 am | Comment

Trade is an issue mostly because CH unfairly protects its markets and underprices its products. By keeping its currency artificially low, it underprices its exports and makes imports expensive. It is no different than the US using import tarriffs and export subsidies to narrow its trade balance. Apart from the currency issue there are numerous restrictions by CH on foreign firms and imports, which the US does not impose. The only surprising thing is that the current unfair trading system went on for so long. Now that the US economy is having trouble it only fair and long overdue for the US to insist on free trade (which includes a free floating currency). It makes perfect sense for the US to use tarriffs or threats to impose tarriffs to make to force CH to free its currency.

January 21, 2009 @ 7:00 am | Comment

@ecodelta ,

About DL, at the end of day, only who is on the ground matters IMO. The comparison on official reactions might interesting to you. It is really not the core issue in my mind.

January 21, 2009 @ 7:01 am | Comment

MT,

Those usual media talk points on trade are nothing new. I have to run so I won’t argue point by point right now. Anyway, we have no influence on the real policy.

January 21, 2009 @ 7:04 am | Comment

@fatbric
“I would argue then the going after the resources rely on hard power: money and gunboat.”

Money+gunboat+good_will_of_local_people=perfect combination. You may even get a cheap military base as bonus.

“It is just about business and the friends are good for business.”
I disagree here, there is more than just business. And specially for CH, strategic considerations. AF is one of the places where CH can get foothold on much needed resources. Ideology , ideals, etc may be or no the wrappings or real intentions, depends with whom you speak, but they are quite useful tools.

By the way. You may find this interesting
http://sten.tamkivi.com/2008/07/chinafrica.html

“I personally couldn’t care less…”
I do.

January 21, 2009 @ 7:11 am | Comment

fatbrick,

Those usual media talk points on trade are nothing new.

They are not new, but more and more policymakers and economists are paying attention now because the economy is in bad shape in the US. Also the US companies and wallstreet who were mostly for the status quo, because they were making profits are significantly weakened now.

January 21, 2009 @ 7:17 am | Comment

@MT
“By keeping its currency artificially low, it underprices its exports and makes imports expensive. ”
They are forced to do it to create jobs, jobs, jobs and more jobs. Prosperity is now the sole source of legitimacy for CH gov. If the job creation stops….

It is curious, but India is not forced to follow that path, there is not such a need to warp the economy. The Indian system with all its problems is quite stable in the end, and has legitimacy by itself.

In the long run I put my bets in India rather than in CH.

January 21, 2009 @ 7:20 am | Comment

ecodelta,

In the long run China can bring true prosperity only if it can stimulate consumption along with production. I am very happy that China is able to lift so many people out of poverty. I just wish they would do it without gutting the international trading system.

India has its own problems with its govt. The Indian govt needs leaders like Obama to reform it and set the stage for long run growth. But a parliamentary system makes it hard for fresh leaders to come up to the top.

January 21, 2009 @ 7:51 am | Comment

Btw what do you think about Brazil’s democracy and their “distributing of resources”.

Again, the only reason why India’s income inequality is so “low” is because hundreds of millions of them make one dollar a day and there aren’t that many super rich.. yet.

January 21, 2009 @ 9:30 am | Comment

wrong thread, sorry

January 21, 2009 @ 9:30 am | Comment

The CCP could lift the Chinese population out of poverty a long time ago, but it chose not to do it until the recent 20 years only after the demise of Communism. What the CCP has been doing is to figure out how to preserve its own interests and rule, as it is not elected. When the rule of terror and suppression were effective means to maintain its power, it would not bother to develop economy like it is doing now and did not care how many people were starved to death. Then, when the CCP’s survival was threatened after the collapse of the Soviet Union, it realized that oppression no longer worked and it was quick to adopt a different strategy to stay in power, which is to appease instead of terrorize people, use carrots instead of sticks. That is why we see the prosperity and limited freedom in China. The better life the Chinese enjoy today actually is only the byproduct of CCP’s endeavor to maintain its rule, which is the priority, not because the CCP has become less evil than in Mao’s era. If the circumstances demand, the CCP will not hesitate to go back to its old brutal way and wield a iron fist, for example, the 6.4 massacre. Another example, now it makes all kinds of good gestures to Taiwan, but when the time is right, it will not hesitate to resort to its military power to invade Taiwan and cause bloodshed.

DOn’t have illusion for the Chinese govt.

January 21, 2009 @ 1:14 pm | Comment

@ otherlisa

“last week Obama mentioned the need to reform “government entitlement programs” yet again. He has economic advisors who favor privatization of SS. He has huge Wall Street banking and of course they are always looking for new sources of investment capital.”

reform also means cutting off retirees who make over a certain amount off of investments (SS was meant to keep old people out of poorhouses and liberate their children’s and grandchildren’s income). It also means pegging increases in SS payments to inflation instead of letting the AARP dictate the level of pay increases. It can also mean making drug and medical equipment makers sell their wares at wholesale rates or a fixed percent markup instead of retail rates.

January 21, 2009 @ 2:08 pm | Comment

@lamb chop: reform also means cutting off retirees who make over a certain amount off of investments (SS was meant to keep old people out of poorhouses and liberate their children’s and grandchildren’s income).

Not correct. The idea of social security is that it is a universal program – everyone gets it. This was to prevent it being seen as an entitlement for the poor, because such “entitlements” lack a strong base for political support.

Take away the universality and you weaken the program.

I am in favor of adjusting the income level upwards that determines the cut-off for paying into the fund – right now I think you stop paying into social security once you’ve it around $85K (thereabouts anyway). I can’t think of a reason that SS deductions should not be extended into higher income brackets.

January 21, 2009 @ 2:16 pm | Comment

@otherlisa

I agree with you Lisa, after writing my comment and going to bed, I was reviewing the ensemble of the country that would fit this description, mainly being:

North Korea, Cuba, Myanmar, Russia(?), Iran(?), etc… But even after that, I still think the most significant one right now remains China. The reason being that it’s the one that will define ans shape the future of the political and military world, at least in the short term.

Combine this with the white paper release by the military 2 days ago and the recent outburst of some CCP dinosaurs because of the Chapter 08 (China must build defences against “erroneous” ideas involving Western-style democracy and) and for me it’s pretty clear that it was aimed at China directly.

As you mentioned, the specter of protectionism is making a comeback, we’ll see, things might turn OK on this side and I might be wrong also.

And actually… They censored his speech, how surprising…

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2009/1/21/worldupdates/2009-01-21T070025Z_01_NOOTR_RTRMDNC_0_-375658-1&sec=Worldupdates

January 21, 2009 @ 2:24 pm | Comment

@otherlisa

I agree with you Lisa, after writing my comment and going to bed, I was reviewing the ensemble of the country that would fit this description, mainly being:

North Korea, Cuba, Myanmar, Russia(?), Iran(?), etc… But even after that, I still think the most significant one right now remains China. The reason being that it’s the one that will define ans shape the future of the political and military world, at least in the short term.

Combine this with the white paper release by the military 2 days ago and the recent outburst of some CCP dinosaurs because of the Chapter 08 (China must build defences against “erroneous” ideas involving Western-style democracy and) and for me it’s pretty clear that it was aimed at China directly.

As you mentioned, the specter of protectionism is making a comeback, we’ll see, things might turn OK on this side and I might be wrong also.

And actually… They censored his speech, how surprising…

(removed the link it gets stuck in the spam filter, but you can easily Google this)…

January 21, 2009 @ 2:25 pm | Comment

Bao, sometimes I wonder why the CCP thinks of itself as so weak…because why else would you cut a reference like that?

January 21, 2009 @ 2:50 pm | Comment

Unless, it’s, I dunno, a way of…diffusing nationalism? Or something…

Okay, I got work to do.

January 21, 2009 @ 2:51 pm | Comment

Sorry for the 3 posts in a row, small correction: Charter 08, not Chapter…

January 21, 2009 @ 2:51 pm | Comment

Because in the current context, it’s basically stirring the shit even more in China and indirectly giving weight to the Charter 08. IMO it’s no coincidence. So far it seems the online reactions are very favorable to his (uncensored speech). This is exactly what the CCP doesn’t want to see right now. It might give “stupid” ideas to many people.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that currently in China there is a major operation going on:

- Crack down on the dissents (08)
- New law to forbid posting about officials
- Hundreds of “dirty” websites shut down
- 6 billions to create a worldwide official propaganda Channel
- The white paper
- The direct attacks from CCP member’s against the West values (including Hu)
- The potential civil unrest due to unemployment
- Bush not being there to support blindly this regime, eyes closed as long as the money flow
- The list is long…

Another thing to take into account is that for the past 8 years, the Bush administration improved ties with China, but the main reason was: Money (The see no evil hear no evil policy).

Obama, I think, is a bit more of an intellectual and ideologist. I would not be surprised that the words Democracy and Free speech actually mean something to him, as a value, not as a dollars sign. Also, the anoying thing for the CCP is that with Obama, if he really manage to improve the image of the nation, then America and its core values, will become even more attractive. Under the Bush era, there was this gloomy aura on the US that somehow was saying: US = Trouble for the world. So it was easy to dismiss the model and point at the numerous mistakes.

But not anymore (maybe)…

January 21, 2009 @ 3:17 pm | Comment

@Bao: Also, the anoying thing for the CCP is that with Obama, if he really manage to improve the image of the nation, then America and its core values, will become even more attractive. Under the Bush era, there was this gloomy aura on the US that somehow was saying: US = Trouble for the world. So it was easy to dismiss the model and point at the numerous mistakes.

I agree.

January 21, 2009 @ 3:21 pm | Comment

“China websites cut Obama’s reference to communism”
Not surprising, they are capitalist right now ;-)

January 21, 2009 @ 3:22 pm | Comment

@ otherlisa
“I can’t think of a reason that SS deductions should not be extended into higher income brackets.”

Because if they contribute they can extract their share.

January 21, 2009 @ 3:25 pm | Comment

“China must build defences against “erroneous” ideas involving Western-style democracy”

They say “erroneous democracy”. This is interesting, so democracy is not erroneous after all, that is quite a move.

Of course, they could wrap all sort of qualifications around the word democracy. People’s democracy, democracy with xxx charactestics, harmonious democracy, etc. to dilute the real thing.

But by just having to use the WORD, means something is not quite the same as before.

January 21, 2009 @ 3:33 pm | Comment

“Recall that earlier generations faced down ……………. fascism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”

January 21, 2009 @ 3:38 pm | Comment

@lambchop – you seem to be missing my point – maybe I’m not stating it well. Right now, once you hit about 85K in annual earnings, Social Security deductions are no longer required. There has been a lot of discussion about raising this ceiling so that deductions continue until you hit, say 200K or something like that.

Again, the strength of Social Security is that it IS a universal program – not something for “poor people.” Once a program acquires that perception, it becomes vulnerable because it’s seen as a special interest rather than something for everyone. A lot of people, particularly when they are young, tend to think that, “well, I’m going to do fine, I won’t need this, so why should I pay for it?” This kind of thinking undermines the entire system.

I’m not an expert, but Social Security isn’t in crisis. Medicare, on the other hand, along with our entire healthcare system, is. But fixing it is going to require a commitment to some sort of universal healthcare that so far, Obama shows no signs of making.

January 21, 2009 @ 3:42 pm | Comment

That should read, “I’m not an expert, but as I understand it, Social Security isn’t in crisis.” Feh. I’m procrastinating again. I need to stop doing that.

January 21, 2009 @ 3:43 pm | Comment

It was Europeans that first said Chinese people were degenerative, because they were smaller people, including the second-generation Eurasian mix. If it was an absurd claim, then people would laugh at it and forget it very soon (just like if you say Black people have a small penis). However, it would become a complicated and tough issue if it happened to have some truth in it. Truth often hurts.

The most painful truth you will hear is that the average IQ of Chinese is 110-116 with a standard deviation of 16, while the average IQ of Europeans is 92-102. Given the same environment, East Asians are also half as likely to get cancer, and when they do, they’re half as likely to die. They are also less likely to suffer from birth defects, Parkinson’s, diabetes, color blindness, chronic asthma, etc. All these factors result in, for example, Korean Americans having a life expectancy of about 86 years despite earning unexceptional wages. As for crime rates, the crime rates of East Asians are 2x-10x lower than that of European countries.

That doesn’t exactly qualify as “degenerative”.

January 21, 2009 @ 3:55 pm | Comment

Forgot Alzheimer’s, high blood pressure. They’re better drivers too, going by accidents per capita and especially accidents per 100,000 miles driven. Even more so with age-adjusted rates.

January 21, 2009 @ 3:56 pm | Comment

Ummmm….

I’ll only say two things. The average life expectancy in China is nowhere close to 86 years.

Diet.

Environment plays a huge role in all of this, both in longevity across large populations of people, and in intelligence – especially when we are discussing achievement. Measuring IQ is problematic too.

Yes, there seems to be some genetic role in intelligence, but given how tenuous and at times absurd racial classifications are, I approach this topic with a HUGE degree of caution.

January 21, 2009 @ 4:01 pm | Comment

@ yourfriend

Are you ferin? And where do you get these stats? Sources other than the CCPee?
Why is it that the WHO has such horrible statistics about cancer rates among Chinese? East Asians do have some very big vulnerabilities such as lung cancer from cigarette smoking (and yet many smoke like coal power plants) and Asians seem to have quite a taste for excessive and borderline suicidal drinking for business.

And that driving information? Haaahahaahahhhhaaaaaaaaaaahahahaaaaa

January 21, 2009 @ 4:09 pm | Comment

el chino is left free to repeatedly call Chinese people “racially degenerate”, so I guess this is what we come to discuss.

Environment plays a huge role in all of this

It does indeed, possibly equal to but not exceeding genetic contribution though. Most people tend to say both play a major part.

but given how tenuous and at times absurd racial classifications are

There is race the social construct and race the biological reality, the main problem is that some people have trouble discerning the two. I don’t think I have that problem, though.

January 21, 2009 @ 4:11 pm | Comment

And where do you get these stats? Sources other than the CCPee?

CCP doesn’t publish these stats. CDC does though, lol. I guess you’re going to say the American government is part of a “Chinese supremacist conspiracy”.

East Asians do have some very big vulnerabilities such as lung cancer from cigarette smoking

What’s funny is that the prevalence of lung cancer in Japanese male smokers is lower than that of American non-smokers if I’m not mistaken.

More: http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/lung/statistics/race.htm

Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic and Alaska Native/American Indian cluster together. Hmm I wonder why; maybe because these groups are clustered together genetically? Oh no, it must be an anti-white, anti-Indian conspiracy plotted by the U.S government and Lula Perez the maid!

And that driving information? Haaahahaahahhhhaaaaaaaaaaahahahaaaaa

Read it and weep:

Table 1. MOTOR VEHICLE CRASHES AS A CAUSE OF DEATH

Age-adjusted death rates
Caucasian American*
Males 21.7
Females 9.8

African American
Males 24.3
Females 9.4

Native American
Males 42.6
Females 31.5

Asian-Pacific Islander Americans
Males 12.7
Females 7.6

Hispanic American
Males 24.2
Females 8.1

http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/people/injury/alcohol/Archive/ethnicity/ethnicity.html

That’s not even taking into account the fact that South/Southeast Asians/Pacific Islanders inflate the numbers, and that they aren’t counting by miles driven.

Welcome back nanhe, I missed trashing you on every single point you make.

January 21, 2009 @ 4:22 pm | Comment

You are living in dreamland…

“Latest research shows that every day in China at least 300 people are killed in traffic accidents, ranking the country top in the world for both the death toll and the death rate. And the figure is accelerating by 10 per cent every year.”

Straight from the mouth of your beloved China Daily.

January 21, 2009 @ 4:23 pm | Comment

So I quote American government agencies and you rebut with an article from chinadaily.

Logically, we conclude that Chinadaily is more reputable than the American government.

I win either way, now shut your trap.

January 21, 2009 @ 4:31 pm | Comment

Some of the best studies on diet and longevity come from looking at Okinawans. Those who adhere to a traditional diet live a loooonggg time. The ones who’ve started chowing down fast food, not so much.

Listen, I truly hate getting into these kinds of discussions. There are strengths and weaknesses with every population and in every culture. I don’t know why some people need to either run other groups down or pump other groups up (excuse the bad SNL reference). I hate it when people make overly broad generalizations. People are individuals.

Me, I’m going to continue with my pretty much Mediterranean diet, exercise as much as I can and hope that I take after my two great Grandmothers, who both lived to ripe old ages and in good style.

January 21, 2009 @ 4:34 pm | Comment

The ones who’ve started chowing down fast food, not so much.

It’s noticeably lower, but still much higher than the (white) American average which is around 77.

There are strengths and weaknesses with every population and in every culture.

Pretty much true, except the “Retarded Goat Sodomizer aka Nanhe” population which are more or less 100% worthless. He could probably be used as biofuel.

If these kinds of discussions are not welcome it would probably be best for someone to delete the various crypto(or blatantly)-racist posts by el chino, Not_a_Sinophile, goatlicker, mor etc and the cultural supremacist notions of Raj and others that don’t really post anymore.

Or I will have to treat them to the sad truth.

January 21, 2009 @ 4:38 pm | Comment

Lisa, you are a rare voice of sanity in this dungeon of despair and derangement.

Ferin, this was actually a fairly non-toxic thread until you came and derailed it. Thanks again.

January 21, 2009 @ 4:40 pm | Comment

And Bao, some notes on traffic deaths-

http://www.dot.gov/affairs/dot5307.htm

PRINCETON, N.J. — U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary E. Peters today announced that traffic deaths on U.S. roads were down slightly in 2006 according to preliminary figures, but cautioned that far too many lives continue to be lost.
While the number of road deaths is projected to have declined slightly nationwide from 43,443 in 2005 to 43,300 in 2006, “even one death is too many,” Secretary Peters said. And over half of passenger vehicle occupants killed died unbuckled, the preliminary data shows.

300 x 365 = 109500 deaths per year in China

America’s population of 300mil is 4.4x lower than China’s. Yet their totals are at 1:2. Looks like China wins again.

Sucks for you.

January 21, 2009 @ 4:41 pm | Comment

this was actually a fairly non-toxic thread

Your definition of “non-toxic”

It was Europeans that first said Chinese people were degenerative, because they were smaller people, including the second-generation Eurasian mix. If it was an absurd claim, then people would laugh at it and forget it very soon (just like if you say Black people have a small penis). However, it would become a complicated and tough issue if it happened to have some truth in it. Truth often hurts. More issues and psychological problems arise when the concerned people can’t handle the truth. Counterattack and denial are common, the example of which is what Math said, even though it is a very pathetic argument.

The succession of Chinese dynasties repeated its viscous cycle of rise and decay of one dynasty followed by the defeat by the next one, including Qing and with no exception of the Communist dynasty. The reason lies in its hereditary nature and the fact that even a retard could be an emperor. The degenerative nature of the Chinese empires doesn’t apply to the competitive and democratic American society, even though Math and his comrades wishfully hope so and daydream of the collapse of American empire.

Chinese people are psychologically immature and like petty child. Because their fragile self-esteem was once brutalized by the Westerners, they have been attempting to use every small chance to insult back the big bully who once humiliated him. What they get is being ignored and further despised.

Scroll up to post number 14.

I guess Goebbels is also “fairly non-toxic”.

January 21, 2009 @ 4:42 pm | Comment

I hope I called out all offenders equally. Anyone here who needs to feel better about themselves by espousing racial superiority or racial inferiority has some real problems.

January 21, 2009 @ 4:43 pm | Comment

I loved the part where he talks about black people’s penises, because those black people just love it when you praise their penises.

January 21, 2009 @ 4:45 pm | Comment

And yes, @yourfriend, I agree there is some problematic stuff in what you quoted. Some of it I’m guessing is a problem in expression and some is just, well, wrong.

January 21, 2009 @ 4:46 pm | Comment

And can we not talk about penises? Seriously. It’s late. I’m tired. I’m procrastinating.

January 21, 2009 @ 4:47 pm | Comment

That’s not it though. This blog and most China blogs have a plenty of posters who make similar comments. All I’m saying is, you want to talk race we’ll talk race. These idiots don’t have the balls to come out and say what they’re thinking, instead they’ll *hint* at it so much that it’s obvious and then act surprised and so victimized when I humiliate them.

January 21, 2009 @ 4:48 pm | Comment

Even you, otherlisa, made a comment (in 2005) that Northern Chinese men were bigger than Southern Chinese men.. which is true.

So what’s off limits and what isn’t? Richard?

January 21, 2009 @ 4:51 pm | Comment

“And Bao, some notes on traffic deaths-”

Go argue with the Medical School of Jinan University in Guangzhou, I’m not the one that wrote this report.

January 21, 2009 @ 4:55 pm | Comment

But Ferin, all the adults skipped that nonsense just as they did Math’s comment; I’ve told that poster more than once to tone down the anti-China rhetoric (which he insists on spouting even though he is Chinese himself) if you check other threads. You know that attitude does not represent this blog.

January 21, 2009 @ 4:56 pm | Comment

Btw, is it possible to discuss with you Ferin, without getting a vitriolic answer each time as a reply?

Just trying to be civilized here. It’s annoying.

January 21, 2009 @ 4:57 pm | Comment

Here’s what’s off limits – hijacking every thread so the entire blog becomes all about fighting with Ferin. If you had an issue with that earlier comment, just let me know. I’ll call it out right away, as I’ve done with Nanhe and with you and HX when I think you’ve gone too far. I can’t read every comment all day the instant they appear, but that kind of comment is definitely off limits, and again, if you check you will find where I have told him so.

January 21, 2009 @ 4:59 pm | Comment

Thanks Bao, exactly right. Ferin, you’ve got the touch of death, and I think you take a certain pleasure in it.

January 21, 2009 @ 5:00 pm | Comment

But Ferin, all the adults skipped that nonsense just as they did Math’s comment; I’ve told that poster more than once to tone down the anti-China rhetoric (which he insists on spouting even though he is Chinese himself) if you check other threads. You know that attitude does not represent this blog.

He makes these posts consistently though, so I’m assuming everyone is just respecting his opinion but ignoring it. Makes sense.

Go argue with the Medical School of Jinan University in Guangzhou, I’m not the one that wrote this report.

Going by what they said, and using elementary school math, we conclude that the death rate in America is more than 2x higher.

Btw, is it possible to discuss with you Ferin, without getting a vitriolic answer each time as a reply?

Yeah. Don’t be a sarcastic ass, don’t say stupid shit, don’t make things up, and don’t be a hypocrite and I usually won’t bite.

January 21, 2009 @ 5:02 pm | Comment

@ yourfriend

Have to ask: did you just use stats about American drivers to illustrate the superiority of Chinese drivers?

Impressive.

January 21, 2009 @ 5:05 pm | Comment

Thanks Bao, exactly right. Ferin, you’ve got the touch of death, and I think you take a certain pleasure in it.

I do, actually. Every forum and web community I touch seems to wither and die.

I mean, to get posters like me you’ve gotta have fundamental problems though. That’s not to say your blog is bad by any means- it’s not- it’s just the type of people who post in China blogs (Ivan, nanhe, Raj, notasinophile, cina, el chino AIP, etc) that pretty much ruin all of them.

Then when these guys set up shop you get Maths, who are probably hired by the US government to make Chinese people look retarded. I mean Americans can spent 2 trillion blowing up Iraq, they can spare a few thousand to pay Math to post some inane garbage from his trailer in Alabama.

January 21, 2009 @ 5:06 pm | Comment

Have to ask: did you just use stats about American drivers to illustrate the superiority of Chinese drivers?

“Asian Americans” are not “real” Americans. Re-read the post above yours though, America has about 43,000 motor vehicle fatalities a year, and going by Jinan Medical’s statistics China has around 109,000.

Considering China’s population of 1,320,000,000 compared to America’s 300,000,000, America has a higher death rate on the road.

Now, lets conclude this evening of pointless dick-waving..

January 21, 2009 @ 5:08 pm | Comment

Wow! I’m sort of, well, honored and vaguely freaked out that you remember my comments from 2005.

Saying that a particular population is physically larger than another – and that would not necessarily apply today, with all the resettlement and movement of people – just isn’t as fraught as claiming that particular racial groups are genetically more intelligent. I’m sorry, but the latter claim is just tacky. And suspect. And wayyyy more complicated than we can probably discuss in a rational, informed way on a blog.

You know, I’m a sturdy woman (NOT fat, thank you very much). I’m olive-skinned. I probably don’t have to worry about, say, osteoporosis and skin cancer as much as more delicate, pale beauties out there. That’s a genetic reality.

I’m also smart. Sorry to be blunt. I tested high in various tests. Why is that? Who knows? Maybe genetics. Maybe because my parents brought me up in an environment that encouraged high performance. Maybe I’m just good at taking tests for whatever reason.

But do I ascribe this to genetics? Say, “oooh, I’m Caucasian, and that makes me naturally smarter than some other racial group”?

No, I do not. I don’t have enough evidence. I don’t even have reliable evidence for what my so-called intelligence actually means. Maybe not a whole helluva lot. There are all kinds of measures of intelligence and many different types of intelligence.

One thing I would not do is judge the genetic fitness of the Chinese people on traffic statistics.

January 21, 2009 @ 5:08 pm | Comment

Um @yourfriend, if you don’t factor in those statistics with the percentage of population that is actually driving and the number of miles they drive, it’s pretty meaningless.

January 21, 2009 @ 5:09 pm | Comment

“If these kinds of discussions are not welcome it would probably be best for someone to delete the various crypto(or blatantly)-racist posts by el chino, Not_a_Sinophile, goatlicker, mor etc and the cultural supremacist notions of Raj and others that don’t really post anymore.”

Racist? Are you kidding me? Take a look at what I’ve written and you’ll find rants about everything from the laziness and dimwittedness of the average American to the charm of a couple Beijing taxi drivers to my zealous hatred of anything to do with Mao and the CCP. Yes, I chose “not a sinophile” as my pseudonym. It’s because I am not in love with China. I do, however, own a home in China, married the love of my life who is Chinese, love and respect my Chinese in-laws, but all because I care for them as individuals not because they are Chinese. What I don’t like about China has more to do with deep rooted culture issues and superficial political/economic issues and nothing to with race. Can you say the same for your posts?

January 21, 2009 @ 5:18 pm | Comment

just isn’t as fraught as claiming that particular racial groups are genetically more intelligent.

They’re equally “off-limits”. Just one is more controversial, namely because the biggest whiners and dick-wavers are the same group of people who come up on the wrong side of the chart. The same group of freaks who go around the planet jacking guys off and measuring their dicks. Cough cough .. white males .. cough cough

And wayyyy more complicated than we can probably discuss in a rational, informed way on a blog.

Doesn’t this make it the most blogworthy? Where else can we have grade A colossal retards the likes of nanheyangrouchuan discussing such sensitive issues?

But do I ascribe this to genetics? Say, “oooh, I’m Caucasian, and that makes me naturally smarter than some other racial group”?

That’s not what I said. I just listed average test results. It goes without saying that there is considerable overlap. So am I smarter than nanhe because I’m Chinese? No, I’m smarter than nanhe because nanhe is a fucking idiot.

Um @yourfriend, if you don’t factor in those statistics with the percentage of population that is actually driving and the number of miles they drive, it’s pretty meaningless.

I know. But then I can say “oh they have less experience driving and they are driving in more crowded/poorly regulated areas with shitty roads”. bla bla bla bla, so on and so forth. If you want to calculate which group of people is less likely to think they’re really cool because they can step on the gas hard (and kill themselves in the process) it’s easier to just look at one country with several groups in it. This better adjusts for environment.

Wow! I’m sort of, well, honored and vaguely freaked out that you remember my comments from 2005.

Don’t be freaked out. I have a good memory.

January 21, 2009 @ 5:18 pm | Comment

Take a look at what I’ve written and you’ll find rants about everything from the laziness and dimwittedness of the average American to the charm of a couple Beijing taxi drivers to my zealous hatred of anything to do with Mao and the CCP

Oh yeah you said this and that and you also said, on an off day, that “the Chinese” needed to be “put in their place”, while hinting at open war which inevitably would lead to global nuclear holocaust. Even Richard chewed you out for that.

It’s because I am not in love with China. I do, however, own a home in China, married the love of my life who is Chinese, love and respect my Chinese in-laws

Oh really now.

January 21, 2009 @ 5:20 pm | Comment

“Don’t be freaked out. I have a good memory.”

Or you are assigned to this blog, being the elite of the CCP’s commenter, aimed toward the expat crowd on a site with a fairly good cross cultural visibility in China.

Just kidding, not need to blast me again.

January 21, 2009 @ 5:25 pm | Comment

@ferin

“All I’m saying is, you want to talk race we’ll talk race.”

Oh no, ferin, we don’t want to talk race. You and some looney tune who everyone is ignoring wants to talk race. You are the one who is obsessed with race, so as soon as you have the smallest sniff of blood in the water, you go after it like a great white and spew your crap all over the thread. You know as well as I do that everyone was ignoring el Chino and it is completely disingeneous to pretend otherwise.

Please grow up

January 21, 2009 @ 5:26 pm | Comment

I have a good memory too, but only for things like song lyrics and foreign languages. Not what somebody said on a blog 4 or 5 years ago. Truly the internet is forever.

And no, these things are not equally controversial. Physical differences can be easily measured. Intellectual differences, not so much.

And speaking of the absurdity of racial classifications, let’s look at, say, Africans. There is an incredible amount of diversity among Africans once you get beyond superficial skin color. And the same goes for Chinese and Caucasians, for that matter. It’s crazy to lump people whose ancestries are very different into one overarching genetic category, just because their skins are more or less the same tone. This is just one factor in a very complicated stew.

January 21, 2009 @ 5:26 pm | Comment

I certainly do deserve to be paid for my delightfully whimsical and friendly posts.

January 21, 2009 @ 5:27 pm | Comment

As an example, and please forgive my vague quoting here, I’m too tired to look this up. I recall reading that Africans and Australian Aboriginals are actually furthest apart genetically. Yet they both share a superficial characteristic of dark skin color. So how meaningful are “phenotypes” like this, ultimately? They are only meaningful in that we assign cultural significance to them.

January 21, 2009 @ 5:30 pm | Comment

I have a theory about traffic issues as relates to those in less developed and developing nations vs nations with highly developed car cultures. In my entire life I have lived in a culture that relies on the automobile for nearly everything: work, play, travel, etc. My earliest memories are of riding in a family automobile. As young children and then as young adults we spend thousands of hours inside a moving vehicle and develop visual perceptions of time/speed/distance relationships vis-a-vis vehicles moving at high speeds. Now, imagine a culture where access to motor vehicles are limited or non-existent. Imagine a culture where walking on foot, riding in a bus/subway car, or using a bicycle is the dominant form of transportation. The same time/speed/distance perceptions are not highly developed. If thrust into a situation where one finds ones self at the controls of a vehicle in traffic or high speed, it takes quite a bit of time to gain the preceptive experience that many of us just take for granted.
It would also be very interesting to look at the statistics for auto-related deaths and injuries in post-WWII US when the car culture really exploded and many people obtained their first automobiles. My guess is that the abilities of drivers were very undeveloped. While I think it’s easy to point to a racial or national stereotype about driving skill, it’s simply a generalization that doesn’t hold up under closer scrutiny.

January 21, 2009 @ 5:31 pm | Comment

@not_a_Sinophile – re: car culture.

Yes. Exactly.

January 21, 2009 @ 5:33 pm | Comment

Physical differences can be easily measured. Intellectual differences, not so much.

Hm I don’t necessarily agree. IQ is very easily measured, and the ramifications of a few points of IQ are meaningful. The one thing that no one is sure about, and is undergoing continued research, is how fluid or plastic the score is and whether or not something is being overlooked. You have to start somewhere though, All in all psychometrics is a respectable field of study.

And speaking of the absurdity of racial classifications, let’s look at, say, Africans. There is an incredible amount of diversity among Africans once you get beyond superficial skin color. And the same goes for Chinese and Caucasians, for that matter. It’s crazy to lump people whose ancestries are very different into one overarching genetic category, just because their skins are more or less the same tone. This is just one factor in a very complicated stew.

The same would apply when comparing physical differences, then. However you can’t say anything containing the word “Asian” without some stupid American confirming that the IQ studies by saying “derp derp derp, little Asian people! ho ho ho, I’m really funny”. Despite the fact that Northern Chinese are larger than nearly all other groups.

And that’s the thing. This blog has a track record of simply letting retarded comments like that get posted, over and over and over. That’s why no Chinese people except the ones you guys love to hate post here. The rest of them are too fatigued by the (anti)China blogosphere.

@Si

You and some looney tune who everyone is ignoring wants to talk race. You are the one who is obsessed with race, so as soon as you have the smallest sniff of blood in the water, you go after it like a great white and spew your crap all over the thread

Well said. The thing you are overlooking is that this blog has a history of letting such comments fly, and that many of the less “looney” posters have said things that are similar.

Again, you wouldn’t get crapped on so much if you didn’t deserve. I ask once more, why are there almost no Chinese posters here? They are either a) Falun Gong morons or b) Math

January 21, 2009 @ 5:36 pm | Comment

reading that Africans and Australian Aboriginals are actually furthest apart genetically.

Indeed they are. And they are very different.

January 21, 2009 @ 5:37 pm | Comment

Well, duh. I mean about physical differences. Northern Chinese in the past had a large Manchurian population, and Manchurian people on average were larger than say, Southerners from Guangzhou. China culturally is far different from Japan. Etc.

You know, I’ve been chatting here tonight because I was feeling too damn lazy to do the work that I should have been doing, and I was looking for an excuse to procrastinate.

But this is just getting stupid, honestly. Average height is easily measurable, intelligence is not. There are all kinds of questions about the validity of IQ tests and how scores relate to cultural differences and prejudices.

I refuse to engage in a discussion where entire “racial” groups are considered inferior or superior, especially considering how suspect the construct of “race” actually is.

A lot of people are regrettably ignorant about other cultures, and that’s not a failing that can be assigned to any one nation, it’s pretty much across the board.

I’m just going to say that some people here seem to have an agenda that’s based on feelings of personal inferiority that they compensate for by saying really stupid and insulting things.

January 21, 2009 @ 5:45 pm | Comment

c) They can’t write or read English ?

I mean, I know you will reply something snarky, but my answer is honest, that’s the same reason why we can’t debate on Sina or any other Chinese blogs or forums.

Since not many Chinese (living in China) people able to debate and write in English in an elaborated way, it might explain partially why only a handful make it to this blog, hence probably not representing a significant sample of the population.

Others could just don’t care probably to debate about all these questions with Western people maybe?

January 21, 2009 @ 5:46 pm | Comment

c) They can’t write or read English ?

There are a lot of Chinese people who can speak English.

Others could just don’t care probably to debate about all these questions with Western people maybe?

Yeah I can see why.

January 21, 2009 @ 5:47 pm | Comment

Hey I have an idea. Yourfriend, since you seem to find this forum so objectionable, why don’t you start a blog? You could be a bridge between cultures, and languages, and all that. Maybe you and Nan-h could start something, since you both seem to argue in similar ways, albeit from different positions.

I’m done. Going to sleep. Tired and dispirited. Feh. I got my two pages of writing done anyway, between all this nonsense, which is pretty miraculous. Probably speaks to my innate Anglo Protestant work ethic, or something.

Except, whoops! I’m not a Protestant! Oh well. Must be genetic.

January 21, 2009 @ 5:53 pm | Comment

“There are a lot of Chinese people who can speak English.”

I agree, but it’s one thing to be able to communicate with basic language skills VS mastering a language, even me I’m struggling to do so in English.

So my guess is that it can be intimidating maybe for some to engage in the discussion. For example, by using a limited vocabulary, it’s easy to end up sounding like a retard, even if it’s not the case.

I wish sometimes that there would be more Chinese on this blog also. It would be great to have a wider range of opinion (especially coming from mainland Chinese).

January 21, 2009 @ 5:58 pm | Comment

There are all kinds of questions about the validity of IQ tests and how scores relate to cultural differences and prejudices.

The only reason this is so is because American society tolerates a “racial narrative” where blacks and to a lesser extent whites are portrayed as a “master race” because of “athletic ability” or “dancing ability” or other euphemistic statements.

I refuse to engage in a discussion where entire “racial” groups are considered inferior or superior, especially considering how suspect the construct of “race” actually is.

Again, bringing up differences in stature (on average) begets the question of whether or not smaller or larger stature is maladaptive or not. Even conveyed without el chino’s level of complete stupidity, this is more or less implied.

Lastly I am not saying “inferior or superior”. I’m just posting statistics. There is always a lot of overlap. The reason why I do this is because, evidenced by prior posting history, it seems like 70% of this blog enjoys “racial” shit-slinging when it comes to “the Chinese”.

it’s pretty much across the board.

lol, I don’t want to drag this out to an even more ridiculous level, but certain cultures are at least less willing to say offensive things to opinion pollers than others.

deleted

January 21, 2009 @ 6:02 pm | Comment

Obama has tremendous appeal across the whole spectrum, especially after the disaster called George W Bush, who seemed to think that all was needed for leadership was belief and conviction instead of critical thinking. Unfortunately his conviction led the US and the world over the cliff.

In order to succeed Obama will have to have clear policies which all Americans will be able to understand. This means that he will have to be a truly great communicator since there are a lot of Americans who really are not very bright people, and understand very little of the outside world beyond the US’s borders and how it has been changed by globalization. For those who do know what globalization is, their views are mostly shaped by Thomas Friedman’s “Globalization for Dummies” series.

The greatest challenge for Obama is that while many of America’s previous challenges were inflicted by war, virtually all of its current challenges are self-inflicted. There will be a strong temptation for Obama to look for a foreign red herring to blame all of America’s troubles on, since many Americans look at things in largely black and white terms. I don’t think that he will do this; but some of his advisors may push him in this direction. Just hope that he ignores them.

The worst scenario is that Obama is not able to bridge the deep divisions created by the liberal/conservative factions of the Democratic and Republican parties over the past 50 years, and that the society continues to fray along political, class, and ethnic lines. The Republican party under Nixon and Lee Atwater, Karl Rove’s ideological godfather, used this wedge politics to set the foundation for the rise of the disastrous George W Bush presidency.

If that happens, all bets for a US recovery and memories of greatness will be gone. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen. The world needs a US which can lead by good example and great ideas which are carried out, and not with a powerful and overstretched military which is feared by all and not respected by any.

In simple terms, President Obama needs to succeed. The alternatives are just too terrible.

January 21, 2009 @ 7:01 pm | Comment

Isn’t it agonizing, Paul, that the divide between the two groups was engineered, strategically thought out and put into play chiefly by Karl Rove, though its true roots can be traced back to Kevin Philip’s “Southern Strategy” memo and nurtured during the Reagan era. I really wonder if the gap is bridgeable because in recent years it has become so steep and so wide. Rush Limbaugh, an old-fashioned racist and hate-monger and general rogue is now mainstream, his show is broadcast to our troops in Iraq by the military. The right has gone so haywire, with monstrosities like these garnering large audiences. These spokespeople have been courted by the mainstream GOP machine; the blogger of the first link was actually given an exclusive interview with short-term UN ambassador John Bolton, while mainstream media interviews were refused. My simple point being, it didn’t have to be this way. While the Democratic party moved to the center under Clinton, the GOP swung way, way over into radical territory with the courtship of evangelical America, to the point of rejecting science and trying to break down traditional church-state barriers. And now we have a near-impossible tug of war. How can Obama bridge the gap with people who literally see him as a Muslim and a terrorist, who actually believe he is an enemy of America. Unfortunately, men who know better like McCain helped to cultivate the meme of the terrorist pal. And now we have to deal with this wreckage, and convincing many that Obama is not the Antichrist will be a huge challenge. So many in Congress are beholden to people who actually believe this, especially in AMerica’ reddest states. One beam of hope is Obama’s huge popularity coming out of the gate. Let’s see if he can make use of this and win both sides over. I know, not an easy task.

January 21, 2009 @ 7:29 pm | Comment

@otherlisa,

I always understood the argument against social security was because it IS universal, in other words, perceived to be socialist? Rather than being an entitlement to a portion of the populace, it was instead a giant message from the government that people are too stupid to save for themselves and be self-responsible. You mention that people think “I won’t need this, so why should I pay for it?”, but then you don’t answer that question. I will never need social security (which is good, since it will be depleted by the time I retire), so in theory why should I pay for it? I also believe lambchop is right, SS was originally set up to prevent veterans from going to the poorhouse, nothing like what it has mutated into now.

The best thing to do is simply eliminate the system (set a timelimit or age limit for both benefiers and workers, and set it to happen in the next decade or less). The next best alternative would be to privatize it (after all, it is people’s money, they should have a say on how to use it), but that would be political suicide based on the current economy. And the last alternative is yours, which I agree with since the other two will never happen: raise the income level for paying. Right now, social security is stealing from the poor and giving to the old poor. But what really needs to happen is for people to get rid of the mentality that it’s the government’s job to feed you when you retire.

January 21, 2009 @ 7:45 pm | Comment

@Richard,

Do you think the Republican party will get back to its FISCALLY (ie not socially) conservative roots in the next 4 to 8 years? There is some serious soul-searching to be done.

January 21, 2009 @ 9:58 pm | Comment

Chip, I can’t predict the future, but I think that’s certainly what they are going to claim as their distinguishing characteristic. Already, they’ve started criticizing Obama’s proposed fiscal package, pleading that we need to be fiscally responsible. This, from the people who rubber-stamped every request by Bush for obscene amounts of money for highly questionable purposes.

January 21, 2009 @ 10:40 pm | Comment

@yourfriend #80

You don’t calculate the relative number traffic death based on population, but on the total number of cars. Even China Daily gets that:

“According to our research, the death toll and death rate per 10,000 automobiles here is eight times more than that in America,”

http://app1.chinadaily.com.cn/star/2004/0408/bz9-4.html

January 21, 2009 @ 11:58 pm | Comment

The Republicans are in a quandary because they are a party of contradictions. Against abortion and against sex education. Against abortion but pro capital punishment. Against government but pro intrusive government. Against government spending but pro earmarks, unlimited military spending. As a party they are socially/morally/politically bankrupt. Time to really reevaluate who they are.

Can’t there be a fiscally conservative party that doesn’t want to shove religious zeal down our throats? Isn’t it possible to be socially responsible without spending trillions on pet projects? Maybe I’m just too unrealistic.

January 22, 2009 @ 12:21 am | Comment

Chip,

Nobody can know for sure what the future might bring. You could kill somebody in a road accident, and end up paying all your savings to the victims. There are plenty of risks for which it is impractical to save for. If we as a society agree that we cannot have old people living on the streets, then we need a program like SS. A privatized SS will not serve this purpose, because then it becomes like savings which could be taken away by bad luck.

SS is not bankrupt. Infact with minor adjustments (like for example making the increases indexed to inflation instead of productivity growth), it could survive well into the future. All the talk about it going bankrupt is mostly propaganda towards some goal like privatization.

January 22, 2009 @ 12:31 am | Comment

@yourfriend #80

Road fatalities are not measured in the number of deaths per capita, but number of deaths per 10 000 vehicles. In 2004, China had 8 times more road fatalities than the US. Even the China Daily gets that.

http://app1.chinadaily.com.cn/star/2004/0408/bz9-4.html

January 22, 2009 @ 12:49 am | Comment

Some of the reasons for car accidents in Colombia according to govt report.

Women sprucing themselves up while driving.

Men looking at spruced up women on other cars while driving.

Men car accidents proportion still greater than women. No yet sure about about men/women car accident ratio due to sprucing up effect.

Some other car accidents causes ton taken into account, for example.

http://tinyurl.com/6tlfhx

Sill waiting for CH govt report

January 22, 2009 @ 1:21 am | Comment

Otherlisa, you said “As an example, and please forgive my vague quoting here, I’m too tired to look this up. I recall reading that Africans and Australian Aboriginals are actually furthest apart genetically. Yet they both share a superficial characteristic of dark skin color.”

The genetic evidence suggests that all non African populations are descended from a group of people who left the African continent more than 50,000 years ago. That was the first great branching of the tree of humanity. All non Africans – australoids (ie Australian aborigines), caucasoids, mongoloids &c – are equally distantly (or closely) related, genetically, to Africans.

The similarity of the skin colour of Australian aborigines to that of modern sub Saharan Africans is probably due to convergent evolution. Nobody knows what the skin colour was of the original, Africa dwelling, human Ur-population, the ancestors of all of us. A sort of medium brown may be the best guess.

January 22, 2009 @ 2:19 am | Comment

There will be a strong temptation for Obama to look for a foreign red herring to blame all of America’s troubles on, since many Americans look at things in largely black and white terms. I don’t think that he will do this; but some of his advisors may push him in this direction. Just hope that he ignores them.

Very true. It seems like multicultural and democracy societies, especially in large countries, tend to fracture on cultural/ethnic/political/religious lines.

All non Africans – australoids (ie Australian aborigines), caucasoids, mongoloids &c – are equally distantly (or closely) related, genetically, to Africans.

If I’m not mistaken, Caucasoids are the most related to Africans and Australo-Melanesians the least related.

January 22, 2009 @ 4:55 am | Comment

Oh, for god’s sake Chip. If you want to live in a libertarian society, try Somalia.

What Matt said. You don’t know what is going to happen in the future. People become too infirm or ill to work. We have a generation right now who have had substantial portions of their savings, money they thought they could count on, wiped out in this Wall Street debacle. We have many many working class and middle class people who despite their honest hard-working efforts can’t get ahead.

What do you want, old people living under bridges, eating cat food?

And yourfriend, speaking of generalizations, I have never EVER engaged in “racial shit-slinging,” here or anywhere else, and I resent the implication that I have. And frankly, if you want to argue racial superiority of one group over another, because in spite of your denials, that’s what you are doing, please go do it someplace else.

And that goes for anyone who’s doing that.

Except Math, because we all need a dose of humor now and again.

January 22, 2009 @ 7:30 am | Comment

I never said anything CLOSE to implying old people should live under bridges. They shouldn’t! What I am saying is that Social Security was once built to be a safeguard for VETERANS and the World War Generations who were busy fighting or working to fund the war to prepare for retirement. Out of fairness to them, a system was set up to guarantee a retirement. The trouble is, we have know come to expect social security to take care of everybody, regardless of whether or not they deserve it. meaning the payments will either have to get smaller (it’s to the point where many people can’t live on it, especially the ones who need it) or workers will have to be taxed more. Both you and MT are right, some things in the future can’t be predicted, like illness and infirmity, so THOSE people should receive benefits (although MT’s example of the traffic accident is folly, if you are at fault and kill somebody in a traffic accident, I can’t sympathize, retirement savings or not). But by letting EVERYBODY benefit, it’s 1. Creating an enormous bill to be paid by the taxpayer, one which would be much smaller if only people who legitimately need help to retire received the benefits, and 2. it’s encouraging the REST of America (everybody else who have the ability to save up) to be lazy and irresponsible, and 3. it is taking money from the poor and giving it to the poor, not a smart system.

Don’t privatize Social Security (or atleast privatize it while guaranteeing a set growth rate), just limit the benefits to people who actually need it (but ofcourse setting a future timeslot, otherwise everybody will get pissed off when they realize they actually have to save money).

Oh, and otherlisa, good point on the plight of middle class workers trying to get ahead but can’t. I don’t deny this, though I think social security reform isn’t going to help them much (unless ofcourse ss was cancelled, that way the middle class wouldn’t have that stolen from their paychecks? Just a thought). Certainly health care costs are a huge burden to the middle class, it will be interesting to see if Pres. Obama is able to get some changes done there.

January 22, 2009 @ 9:22 am | Comment

Chip,

How do you privatize SS without massive increases in SS taxes in the short run (when people stop paying in, but we still have to pay out benefits to people who already payed in), or not paying out SS to people who have already payed into the system?

In a privatized SS system, let us say somebody takes his savings and starts a business, and it fails. Would you be okay with this guy living under a bridge and begging for food in his old age? Would the American people be okay?

January 22, 2009 @ 11:54 am | Comment

Privatization? After what just happened on Wall Street? No freakin’ way. Though you can bet Wall Street would LOVE to get their hands on SS money – a fresh source of capital.

Sorry, if you want to play with your retirement, do that with your 401K or your IRA. Social Security needs to be left alone.

January 22, 2009 @ 12:05 pm | Comment

@ ferin

Btw, where did you get that stupid name?

Anyways, apparently you missed the fine print with respect to the driving stats, driving under the influence is the main cause of most of the accidents, and since the rest of us like to party, that is the result. But the rest of us also know how bad native Asian drivers are, I see it in the US. You bring those horrible habits with you. You think you can drive but you don’t see the carnage you left behind.

And since when does China keep reliable stats about anything, especially vehicle accidents?

January 22, 2009 @ 2:08 pm | Comment

@ otherlisa

Social Security is in danger of running out of money because 1. SS taxes are counted as overall tax revenue by the feds and have been for decades. 2. Originally, people were supposed to get $1 back for every dollar they contributed, but thanks to the AARP, today’s retirees get $5-$10 back from every dollar they invested and the baby boomers will want more than their fare share as the ultimate entitlement generation.

January 22, 2009 @ 3:08 pm | Comment

I just read that Obama’s inauguration speech was censored by CCTV. Hard to believe that the Chinese government still feels threatened by their own citizen’s possible response to these words.

http://www.iht.com/articles/2009/01/21/asia/china.4-413194.php

January 22, 2009 @ 10:36 pm | Comment

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