Mao’s Last Supper, by Zhang Hongtu

Be sure to check it out. Funny.


HR 418: Vehr are your papers? Vee half vays of making you talk.

A friend of mine is trying to get me riled up about HR 418, the appalling law passed by the House today that mandates national ID cards and takes us one giant step closer to the controlled utopian society Orwell prophesied in 1984. The law is over the top, and even many on the right say it goes too far (libertarians and gun owners are particularly nervous). More than once I saw policemen in China ask people at random for their ID cards, and I thanked God that could never happen in America. But now, anything can happen. Absolutely anything.

So as I was saying, my friend’s trying to get me riled up and outraged, but the outrage well is totally dry. I’m blogging on empty, with almost no passion or vitriol. How can I be vitriolic? How can I be impassioned? How can I be outraged? If I allowed the horrors of the Age of Bush to outrage me, I’d simply explode in a fireball of rage, with just a dash of despair.

I mean, how many times can I say the once-unthinkable things they’re doing are “unprecedented”? Everything they’re doing is unprecedented. The unprecedence itself is unprecedented. How many times can I call for outrage? How many idiocies do I need to point out? Is there a quota, at which point everyone will join in and see the light? Sadly, no. You can only bludgeon your own head against a wall for so long.

Everyday, every minute I am bombarded with another Bush shocker. Superlatives are used so often to describe them (“worst,” “stupidest,” “most hateful,” “vilest,” “nastiest,” “meanest,” “most outrageous,” “most brazen,” “sickest,” “most grotesque,” etc., etc., etc.) that the words begin to lose meaning. Sometimes it seems everything he does is the most grotesque thing ever done. There is never a respite. The hardballs keep flying out at us. And now it seems the only way to keep one’s sanity is to duck and cover.

I watched him again last week in response to a question about why we were killing and dying in Iraq, and again he replied with the tritest and most meaningless cliche, something like, “The world is a safer place without Saddam Hussein….” No explanation of how or why that is, no measurement, no evidence of Saddam’s danger to the world. Just a hot-air assertion from a mentally deficient shrub. And for that, so many had to give up their lives. Is there anything there aside from hollow platitudes? “The world is safer….” (Are our 1400 dead soldiers and scores of thousands of dead Iraqis safer now than when Saddam was in power? He was an evil bastard, but Baghdad was way safer when he was in power.) As I listened to him, I wondered, how did we get to the point where we let the King of the World get away with this shit? I mean, that awful liberal media used to put Clinton’s every word under the microscope, just like his DNA; the cable TV stations became all Monica all the time for months. Here the levels of the crimes are so immense, so much blood is being spilled, so many laws are being mangled, so many freedoms being tidily disposed of, so many voices silenced and so many rich and corrupt parasites being rewarded with mind-boggling gifts while Bush chips away at healthcare for the poor…. And this is the man through whom Jesus himself speaketh.

Well, I said I wouldn’t get riled up, and the truth is, I’m not. I’m resigned. Pissed, but no longer furious, no longer bursting with rage and demanding of justice. I feel if America can simply survive the Bush years it will be a great victory. There’s no hope of stopping the Bush machine. They have tied things up too nicely, and we are now on the verge of true authoritarian one-party rule, even if most people don’t recognize it as such. Only one thing can bring down George W. Bush, and that’s George W. Bush. I’m going to hope that between Social Security and his fire bombing of the US economy he’ll bring himself down before long, if we’re lucky.

I think that’s enough for now. Let me conclude by saying it’s a miserable time in America, and it’s just starting. America now exists for corporations and the fat cats who sit on their boards, and all they live for is to fire as many of us workers as possible. Globalization, the lean and mean world of competition. It may make the corporation very rich, but is that all that companies exist for? Didn’t they used to also be about people and contribution to society and a sense of commitment to those who make the company work?

What’s gotten into me? That’s girly-man talk. I’d better quit here before I ramble on into a whole new direction and generate even more boredom.


Happy Valentine’s Day


(Via Tian.)

Update: Go here to see the story behind these characters.


China must declare war on Japan!

I am so not in the mood to blog, but I just got a new comment to an old post that was so extreme, I wanted to put it out for discussion. Here goes:

I don’t want to hearken any comment but only one thing to declare which is war against all white apt japanese. As we chineses once were perished by england with their wicked opium then bullied and humiliated while we’re unconscious by japanese. So this time, I encourage all chineses all over the world to be united to uproot all young or old japaneses just like Israels uprooted all Canaans. But we also need to acquire, invent, etc techniques to tackle all japanese annihilation program. We need to philosophize just like an ancient time to stimulate our brothers Chineses to sustain their stamina against japaneses to recover our dignity by sacrificing all the japanese heads before our suffered ancestors. So You Chineses, would you leave your scars called humiliation upon your descendants or would you be the ones to recover dignity for your descendants by annihilating all japaneses. So we all Chinese would stand together with you until we achieve our motive to regain our glory days. We need an sophisticated organization(similar to Mossad organization in Israel) which would analyse the need to be implemented including philosophy and sophisticated weapon systems to be applied on the japan empire. So we encourage the able one man to lead us all chineses to regain our dignity and the able leader name will be inscribed as our chineses’s savior for the dignity forever. So I hope that day won’t be faraway anymore according to the chineses situation right now. I hope all chineses not to be like an apt japanese by serving japaneses and buying japaneses’s products to prolong the existence of all japaneses. You, all my brothers and sisters, have the power to control the situation of japan by boycotting japaneses’s products and contributing ideas and finance to the japanese annihilation group which would be organized soon by one brilliant god whom I don’t know but I hope to be. We chinese are not humiliated easily for example Khun Sa (Chang Chi Fu), the golden triangle opium leader was an chinese. We are blessed as much as God’s people Israel. And once we were as the driving force of invention in an ancient time and we are going to be now too. We chineses have many achievements in all over the world right now. Very soon we no need to stay in foreign countries anymore but to go back our mother land to serve our country and to regain our dignity back. So at that time, war between China and japan won’t be avoidable anymore. But these countries assisting to the japan, be careful for we won’t forgive you but we won’t fight your country but Isolate you forever. I urge Chinses Government to allow The Japaneses Annihilation Organization be allowed to perform their duty and remember Government must know we want our dignity back so as the protector of us chineses during the invasion of japan, you Government couldn’t do anything to annihilate all japaneses until now to compensate for us. So this time, let’s cooperate with you, Government in this annihilation mission for the dignity of our descendants not to be despited anymore.

Let’s begin our mission, all Chineses

Posted by: Jang at February 12, 2005 09:18 AM



The joys of Anhui Province

Another great monologue and great comments, too. I’m a little late to this, but don’t miss it — the comments are sizzling right now.

Update: Hmmm, looks like Hank decided to take it down. You’ll have to take my word for it, it was very heartfelt and I related on more than one level.


Three Gorges Dam Update

You’ll find absolutely everything new here. Just be forewarned — none of the news is very uplifting.


China’s Viagra, condom sales soar in the Year of the Cock

No, I’m not making it up:

Sales of condoms and the anti-impotence drug Viagra have skyrocketed in China’s capital Beijing as citizens celebrate the annual Lunar New Year festival, state media said.

On the first day of the Year of the Rooster, drugstores in the city reported daily sales more than double compared with the end of January, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

A staff worker at the “Good for Every Day Drugstore” said he sold 100 packs of condoms a day, twice as many as usual, while a “Brand New Drugstore” pharmacist said the increase in sales of Viagra had been “dramatic.”

Xu Yan, a psychology professor at Beijing Normal University, said the phenomenon showed people were under massive psychological pressure from stressful city life.

“Their physical needs have been long neglected due to overwork and lack of sleep,” she said, according to Xinhua. She added the week-long holiday enjoyed by all city dwellers offered a good opportunity for “the awakening of their physical needs.”

Well, isn’t that what holidays are for? May they all enjoy a hot and happy new year.


Big chunk of China’s Great Wall used to pave a road

Well, I guess the builders were being pragmatic; after all, the Wall was just standing there and not serving any purpose, so why not tear some of it down and put it to good use?

Road builders demolished a large section of China’s World Heritage-listed Great Wall last month in an indication of the perilous state of one of the world’s best known landmarks, state media said today.

Almost 100m of the wall in northern Ningxia autonomous region was levelled in two overnight raids by construction workers who used the material to pave a road, the Ningxia Daily said.

The destroyed area near Zhongwei city was constructed during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) in an region known as “the Great Wall Museum” because of the profusion of rammed earth sections of the wall.

Less than 2500km remain of the 6300km long wall that was first built in the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC).

Via, which snarkily asks whether the road will be visible from space.


The story of the 42 journalists imprisoned in China

This article should be read (or at least scanned — it’s long) by anyone interested in the new freedoms now being enjoyed by the press in China. And the press really is enjoying many more freedoms, at least in some ways (like writing about sex or other social issues). When it comes to writing about politics, however, there’s still a way to go.

From the Committee to Protect Journalists, brought to my attention by ACB.


The land of the free

I’ve been wondering for many months why conservatives aren’t upset at the cocooning of the president to the point that only toadies are allowed to ask him questions at his “town halls” and attendees at his rallies must sign loyalty pledges and even peaceful protestors are arrested simply for their T-shirt or a sign they hold. When did this become acceptable, and why isn’t there outrage?

I honestly don’t know the answer, but I do know the outrage isn’t there, and that this passivity has led to a mindset where this is okay. The scary thing is where this will take us next, because it’s certainly going to get worse before it gets better. As Orcinus points out, the situation has already metastasized, and we are accepting actions that clearly criminalize the dissent that is at the heart of American liberty. Just a few short years ago such repressive actions would have been utterly unthinkable. Now they are commonplace and no one flinches.

I hate to make the Nazi comparison because it’s so tired, and Bush isn’t Hitler. But forcing people to wear yellow stars was shocking at first, and soon it became a part of everyday life. That’s how society shifts from decent to indecent. It starts with indifference or a willingness to look away. And then, suddenly, it’s too late. Despite all the warnings, no one acts, no one questions, and the door is open to calamity.