Celebration Thread

Karl Rove’s going to be indicted in a few days (fingers crossed) and my lucky friends in China are enjoying this entire week off. Time to celebrate. Open the champagne. Open a thread.

The Discussion: 39 Comments

What article were you trying to link to? There’s no article about Rove there. Anyway, Bush will simply pardon the bastard.


October 6, 2005 @ 8:28 am | Comment

The link works fine Michael, I just checked. Takes you to the article “US officials brace for decisions in CIA leak case” which mentions Karl Rove.

October 6, 2005 @ 8:54 am | Comment

An Analysis on the Stability and Longevity of the Chinese Communist Party

Recently, the Communist Party of China published two internal regulation documents: the first one is entitled “Regulations on Supervision within the Chinese Communist Party” and the other is “Regulations on Censure and Punishment within the Chinese Communist Party”. I think these two are very powerful documents that will ensure the long-term stability of the Party rule over China, or at least ensure that the party will not collapse any time soon.

Sun Yat-Sen, the famous Chinese revolutionary once said “Politics is the matter of managing people”. In fact politics is simply the art of management, and the art of management is simply trying to create an effective and stable management system through constructing rigid frameworks.

I think a management system should be built like the system in a bank, such that it will be impossible for anyone within the system to steal money from the bank’s vault, even the bank’s CEO himself. In a nation, it should be impossible for the leader to do something subversive due to a strict framework of peer supervision. The Soviet Union’s system was clearly not a good systems, as individuals like Krushev and Gorbachev were able to wreak havoc inside the system.

Now, you may say “Well, then America’s system is the best! We have checks and balances and can even impeach the President!”.

Well, I’m sorry, but I think the current system in China is even better. In China’s laws, everyone is equal before the law, there’s absolutely no need to start “impeachment procedures” for anyone. If you need to “impeach” a president if he breaks the law, doesn’t it already imply that the president is “special”? How come if a regular citizen breaks the law, there’s no “impeachment process” ? Clearly, in America’s system, everyone is not equal before the law, but in China’s system, everyone is equal, China has no such impeachment process.

I have read the text of the “Regulations on Supervision within the Chinese Communist Party”, it specifies that superiors can supervise subordinates, and subordinates can supervise superiors as well. Even the most powerful Political Bureau is supervised by Central Committee, and members inside the political bureau supervise each other. This forms a very reliable and stable political structure.

If, for example, there is a leadership group in the provincial level in China. And every member of that group has self-interests, then what will happen? Well, there’ll be power struggles. In a power struggle, there are two ways to defeat your opponent. The legal way and the illegal way. The illegal way is of course assassination. But that breaks the rule, and will cause insecurity within the group, and clearly is not the recommended way. So from a safety point of view, one should use a legal way to defeat the other and promote oneself. In other words, the rules of the game must be “civilized”. So legally, you can find some acts by your opponent that is improper/illegal, and then hold on to that, and use that to defeat your opponent. And of course your opponent can use the same methods to defeat you. And this way, people will think twice before doing something improper/illegal.

I also noticed that the “Regulations” are very strict, and that if an entire leadership in a locality is corrupt and the members collude with each other to harm the public, then that entire leadership will be replaced by a new team.

In fact, it makes no sense for some democracy-lovers to analyze the Chinese political situation using the Western political structures/concepts. The current political structure in China is basically “rule by license”, all politicians in China are licensed professional politicians. We know that any work that’s dangerous, such as driving or piloting a plane, need licenses. And politics is a very dangerous work, sometimes even more dangeorus than driving, and so every Chinese Communist Party member is licensed to ensure that they are best at what they do. That also partially explains the longevity of the Party.

And every citizen in China has the ability to get that license and be a member of the Party and be involved in politics. In fact, in China, the chances for a person with no background to rise to the top of the Party is just as good as that with background. For example, the current Chinese president Hu Jintao and premier Wen Jiabao, both were born in poor regular families, and worked at the lowest levels of the government for decades and decades, and slowly moving up and up. Their rise took 50+ years of their lives, but they made it. In America, almost 60% of politicians are there because of family background, connections, etc etc. If you are not “in the circle”, then the most you can do is be a local city assembly member, or some regional attorneys for the government.

In fact, the President of China today has much less executive power than the President of USA today, simply because China has a lot more intra-party supervision. The president of China today cannot just dominate a meeting of the Political Bureau, he has to talk as peers to other members of the Bureau. But when Bush has a meeting with his cabinets, he sits in a larger chair, and basically is the boss (officially) of everyone else.

Therefore those two documents, “Regulations on Supervision within the Chinese Communist Party”, “Regulations on Censure and Punishment within the Chinese Communist Party”, and along with another one published a few years back: “Regulations on the Usage of Party Members”, will ensure a system in which everyone must work from the buttom rung of the system, and move up only according to his merits, and those who move up to the very top and become senior leadership will for sure be ones with true abilities. These three documents will be the three strong pillars of the Chinese Communist Party, and ensure that it lives for at least another 100 years.

From this perspective, there’s not much need for more political reforms in China. I think the reforms as embodied in those three documents are good enough.

October 6, 2005 @ 10:59 am | Comment

not to change the subject, but I hear links are welcome in this part of town, so……..

Jon Ungphakorn, a member of the Thai Senate and the Asean Inter-Parliamentary Caucus on Democracy in Myanmar comes down very strong on Burma

October 6, 2005 @ 12:31 pm | Comment

Harriet Miers has a blog!

October 6, 2005 @ 3:19 pm | Comment


October 6, 2005 @ 3:19 pm | Comment

ZT- I understand exactly what you’re saying. In another repressive single-party state, a mere chicken farmer just had to join the club and he ended up becoming the Head of the SS!

October 6, 2005 @ 3:46 pm | Comment

Kier, I’m surprised you didn’t mention Austria as an example of a “nation” being split up into several states. It is certainly easier to make that point in German (Oster Reich?), but I’m still sure that bingfeng would refuse to see the light. History is a living process. Bismarck united the majority of German states, Hitler took the “Volksreich” idea to its extreme, annexing Austria, Luxumbourg, and Alsace-Lorrain. The Allies unraveled that dream, but added a few touches of their own, leaving Bismarck’s Germany split into two states, each intent on eventual reunification. Strangely enough, that idea never seems to have taken a deep root in Austria, or any root in the Deutsch speaking part of Switzerland. Ample proof that the historical process can divide people of the same language, race, and culture. European history is full of such examples. The Scandanavian countries, the Netherlands. It also contains states composed of different peoples who have banded together (Belgium, Switzerland)Taiwan has the right to develop into a separate Chinese state from the mainland. My argument has always been that their right to do so is not (presently) worth a single American life. I presently view Taiwan independance as a possibility, not a probability. What will make it more likely to pass will be continued hostility from China. Bingfeng might well take a quick look at Dutch history. The Netherlands was a subject state of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles the Fifth (coincidentally also the King of Spain) in the 1500s. When he tried implementing total centralized Spanish control over the Netherlands economy, the seven northern (Protestant) provinces sought to retain their independent control. Rebuffed, they resorted to a series of maritime raids. Charles sent the Duke of Alba up to the Netherlands to “straighten things out”. After two years and some 18,000 people hung, the Duke only succeeded in unleashing Europe’s longest war of independence. When it was over, the seven northern provinces were united into what we now call the Netherlands, while the southern provinces remained the “Spanish Netherlands” until Napoleon saw fit to create Belgium. Without the Duke’s narrow minded counter-reformationist zeal and tendency for harsh measures, the Netherlands might today be a much larger country. China’s present attitude towards Taiwan can only reinforce the “TIQ” tendencies of Taiwan’s voters.
ps: Despite its name, “Duque de Alba” is still the very best Spanish brandy. I suspect that not much of it is sold in the Netherlands.

October 6, 2005 @ 7:15 pm | Comment

I had mentioned Austria in mylast post on the issue…

October 6, 2005 @ 8:04 pm | Comment

Do you think Bush will actually fire him if he does get indicted, or will he merely parse his previous statements about firing those involved?

My guess is that he’ll do the latter and still insist that the “ongoing investigation” play out (i.e. legal battle). It’ll take a total conviction to oust anyone from this Administration.

October 6, 2005 @ 8:22 pm | Comment

I think he’ll have little choice but to let Rove go (though he won’t be “fired” per se). And if Rove is smart (which he is), he’s cutting a deal with the prosecutors even as we speak to avoid indictment. That means there’s even bigger names involved. Like maybe Dick Cheney…?

October 6, 2005 @ 8:28 pm | Comment

More cause to celebrate:

This CBS News Poll finds an American public increasingly pessimistic about the economy, the war in Iraq, the overall direction of the country, and the President. Americans’ outlook for the economy is the worst it has been in four years. Most expect the price of gas to rise even further in the next few months.

A growing number of Americans want U.S. troops to leave Iraq as soon as possible, rather than stay the course, and the highest percentage ever thinks the U.S. should have stayed out of Iraq. When given a set of options for paying for rebuilding the hurricane-racked Gulf Coast, only one โ€” taking money from the Iraq War โ€” gets majority support.

President George W. Bush’s overall job approval rating has reached the lowest ever measured in this poll, and evaluations of his handling of Iraq, the economy and even his signature issue, terrorism, are also at all-time lows. More Americans than at any time since he took office think he does not share their priorities.

October 6, 2005 @ 9:21 pm | Comment

Prediction: Rove will leave for “personal reasons completely unrelated to the ongoing investigations.”

I don’t care what way he gets outta Dodge, as long as he’s gone.

He won’t be far gone, though, he’ll just be planting his slanders from some other DC office.

October 6, 2005 @ 9:36 pm | Comment

About Bush’s approval rating, now lower than Nixon’s was during the Watergate hearings:

Winston Churchill said: “You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing, after all other options have been exahausted.”

October 6, 2005 @ 11:36 pm | Comment

By the way, about McCain’s anti-torture amendment – only nine senators voted against it! The White House must be stroking out at this point.

Here are the “Pro-Torture 9,” courtesy of Andrew Sullivan:
Allard (R-CO)
Bond (R-MO)
Coburn (R-OK)
Cochran (R-MS)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Roberts (R-KS)
Sessions (R-AL)
Stevens (R-AK)

October 7, 2005 @ 12:02 am | Comment

Round up the usual suspects. Those 9 are the scum of the earth.

October 7, 2005 @ 12:09 am | Comment

Could somebody please help me. I don’t get it, was torture then legal before this amendment?

October 7, 2005 @ 1:38 am | Comment

No, Shulan, but previously, it depended on what your definition of “torture” was, and it also depended on how you classified the prisoners under your jurisdiction (POWs? Enemy combatants?). This amendment, as I understand it, removes any possibility of ambiguity about both the definition of torture and the responsibilities that the US has towards any person under their control. No inhumane, degrading or abusive treatment. Period.

Yay, US Senate! May the Torture 9 be considered moral outcasts forever more…

October 7, 2005 @ 1:45 am | Comment

Other Lisa;
Would you consider “torture” permissable under certain circumstances?

October 7, 2005 @ 7:41 am | Comment

Oh, you mean the “ticking clock” scenario – e.g., terrorists have planted a bomb, do you torture one of them to find out where it’s planted?

My take on this is first, such scenarios are actually very rare (outside of movies and TV), and that given time, there are better ways to get information out of people. Some of the loudest objections to the practices at Guantanamo came from FBI agents who were skilled at interrogation – they felt that abusive/coercive methods simply weren’t very effective.

If there were an actual “ticking bomb” scenario, a real, genuine imminent threat? Then I’d say you do what you have to do and accept the consequences later. All you lawyers out there, isn’t there a “necessity” defense?

But what you don’t do is try to establish a legal framework for torture (and that includes defining torture down as the Bush Administration tried to do). I think this makes it far too easy to justify its use. And this is what happened in Iraq/Afghanistan. A permissive atmosphere was created in which the guidelines were unclear, but it was understood that abusive treatment was not only tolerated, but encouraged.

October 7, 2005 @ 10:23 am | Comment

I would like to reply to Shanghai Slim in the previous topic who said I was onesided and that it made him nervous, or something like that. It’s the nature of online discussion. I am quite open minded on any topic, whether be democracy in China or condemnation of Mao Zedong. Please, don’t get on your nerves, I am quite a reasonable person. I just care a lot about the Taiwan issue and I like to express myself clearly on this issue to avoid any misunderstanding.

October 7, 2005 @ 11:57 am | Comment

I would like to reply to Shanghai Slim in the previous topic who said I was onesided and that it made him nervous, or something like that.

I think you have me confused with someone else. I never discussed Taiwan with you.

October 7, 2005 @ 3:38 pm | Comment

Oh sorry, excuse me! It was Filthy Stinking No.9. Thanks, I hope Richard can correct my comment, if not, then please my apologies.

October 7, 2005 @ 4:44 pm | Comment

I had once had a regular contributor to this site (in terms of ‘contributing’ comments) email me personally expressing his profound anger and disillusionment over Richard daring to delete some of his comments, no doubt those which had been written in the guise of an elderly female sex therapist who glamorously jets around the world contributing (there’s that word again!) to various blogs, or those which had simply been copied and pasted from the latest China Daily editorial, and which were sent long after repeated promises never to contribute ever again to this site. It is instructive that in this person’s latest attempt at a blog he writes “I reserve the right to censor and to delete any comments.” Funny how he had threatened Richard with actual litigation for doing the same to him (no doubt using the services of a world-renown albeit entirely made-up barrister).

October 8, 2005 @ 12:54 am | Comment

Sorry- I’m having a hoot reading his Declaration of Goals…
He states how “(c)ontributors are also more than welcome to write under the guise of other personas, and even multiple personas if they feel so inclined.” That should help him have endless discussions with himself and increase perception of a great number of people contributing to his site, even if they all seem to be out of their minds. But no worry! Unlike what he expects from this site where he writes pages of comments each time, thankfully the “service available to me on this site only allows relatively short comments to be posted .”
His final point to anyone wishing to engage him in discourse (of the talking to the wall kind) is that they are “advised not to copy and paste from other online materials unless they are prepared to invest sufficient time and energy into also acknowledging those sources.”

October 8, 2005 @ 1:07 am | Comment

Amidst all the bashing of the corporate US media (which god knows they deserve), I have to pay a compliment to CNN.

Unlike Microsoft and Google, who have bowed to pressure from the Communist Party and censored themselves in order to do business in China, CNN continues to broadcast stories that are offensive to the CCP’s sensibilities. I know this because these stories are regularly blacked out by the Chinese authorities.

So kudos to CNN! May MS and Google follow their example and find some cojones.

October 8, 2005 @ 1:27 am | Comment


Are you sure that person’s “Declaration of Goals” wasn’t plagiarised?

October 8, 2005 @ 2:27 am | Comment

PS, Keir,

Hang on, my imaginary Girlfriend, Gao Thing, is researching it for me now.

October 8, 2005 @ 2:29 am | Comment

Keir, I also had a hearty belly laugh over those Goals. Hey, what’s wrong with a little harmless fraud and deception now and then? Has anyone ever been killed over a little innocent plagiarism, especially when it was just to “save time”? Ha!

Let’s hope his own blog keeps him preoccupied.

October 8, 2005 @ 7:00 am | Comment

Can someone refer me to that site, I am curious. รou can also mail me the address.

October 8, 2005 @ 7:57 am | Comment

Well, he’s kind enough to link to Richard’s and Simon’s site, even though he castigates both “of which view China, and the CCP in particular, through fiercely negative eyes.”
I have the same problem with all those sites purporting to be about the Third Reich but in fact are nothing more than anti-Nazi rants by narrow-minded and nationalistic johnny foreigners. And then those sites that claim to be objective but beyond the obligatory “he made the trains run on time”, seem more keen to play up Mussolini’s supposed excesses before and during the war. They both had tremendous singing voices!

October 8, 2005 @ 8:05 am | Comment

Thanks for the explanation Lisa.

What concerns the “ticking clock” scenario. We had such a case here in Germany recently. A guy kidnapped the son of a millionaire. The police found out who he was quickly and arrested him. Problem was they couldn’t find the boy and the guy wouldn’t say anything. After three days of interrogations the investigating officers threatened him with torture (only threatened) and he finaly told them where the boy was, when they arrived the boy was dead, he had killed him before.
The officers were fired and convicted (but didn’t have to go to jail, I think).

Though I am against torture such a case realy gives me a headache. A tragedy not only for the family of the boy, but also for the officers.

October 8, 2005 @ 8:47 am | Comment

Under US law there is no “necessity” defense for torture, although circumstances of perceived urgency might be considered as grounds for leniency in sentencing the torturers, as seems to have happened in the German case Shulan mentioned.

October 8, 2005 @ 9:53 am | Comment

Ah, I have already found the site. It seems some people have way too much time. ๐Ÿ˜›

October 8, 2005 @ 10:44 am | Comment

Thanks Ivan.

October 8, 2005 @ 2:48 pm | Comment

It’s a sad, dark day when Americans have to make decisions about how much our gov’t should support the use of torture, of all things. How did we reach this point? Even a few years ago I would have thought it unthinkable.

I wish we could have a national plebiscite and get it over with: do we Americans support torture, or not?

If the answer is (as I believe it would be) an unequivocal “NO” then we’ve got to do some serious investigating and housecleaning, if we are to gain back any scrap of our former credibility as a global advocate of human rights.

If the answer is anywhere from “yes” to “sometimes/depends” then it’s time for me to consult with the Canadian immigration bureau.

How can the use of torture even be a question?

October 9, 2005 @ 12:59 am | Comment


My take on this is that the US has been mutating – or corrupting – into a culture of bullying, ever since the decline in ACTUAL national strength accelerated after the Viet Nam war.

As some of us here can see, vis a vis many comments I’ve made, I have a pet peeve about bullies and fake warriors and fake machismo. Power exerted just for the sake of humiliating someone else – it drives me clinically insane.

It’s what weak AND arrogant people do. Weakness is not the only cause; lots of good people are weak. But when you combine weakness with arrogance, then you get bullying.

That’s why I think there’s so much more tolerance today – among Americans of intances of bullying like the Second Iraq War and Abu Graihb etc etc, things which very few Americans would have countenanced 60 years ago when the country was truly strong.

October 9, 2005 @ 2:27 am | Comment

God, just writing that last comment depressed me. I’m gonna go watch a sweet old Soviet comedy. (In English, “The Irony of Fate”, directed by Ryazanov, the same guy who directed “Ivan’s Childhood” (also known as “My Name is Ivan” – and no personal relation with me ๐Ÿ™‚ He’s just a great director. And Soviet romantic comedies are great remedies for depression…… ๐Ÿ™‚

October 9, 2005 @ 2:31 am | Comment

The celebration is over. Next thread, please.

October 9, 2005 @ 8:36 am | Comment

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