Dusk falls on Beijing

An open thread – let’s keep it 100 percent abortion- and religion-free, okay?

The Discussion: 130 Comments

Pick a topic, any topic. How about the wherabouts of Liu Qibing?

November 16, 2005 @ 3:52 am | Comment

Yesterday an independent British news service broadcast a previously unair clip form a video of one of the London suicide bombers. In it, he said that British involvement in Iraq was one of his primary motivations for his bombing.

To date, the British government still denies that Iraq was a motivation for the bombers and is in the midst of rolling out a legal bill that would have prevented the independent news agency fro broadcasting the video clip on the grounds that the clip was glorifying terrorism. It would have prevented the British public from hearing a bomber say, rather directly, why he did it, in direct contradiction to the government line on events.

Now, who was it that aid that the west were honest?

November 16, 2005 @ 4:04 am | Comment

Who cares why they said they did it?

The bombers say they did it because of Iraq? Oh my, let’s pull out of Iraq immediately.

The bombers say the did it because of support for Isreal? My goodness, lets abandon Isreali forthwith.

A jihadist kills Theo Van Gogh because he makes a “blasphemous” film. So sorry, let’s not make anymore blasphemous films.

Al Qaeda releases sarin in the New AYork subway because we aren’t veiling our infidel whores? Come on, into the burqa honey, it’s for the good of the country.

Osama blows up the US Capitol building because we are not stoning our homosexuals. Come on folks, let’s buy some bricks and head over to Castro Street.

I personally don’t give a f#@k why they siad they did it. (1) Political and religious opinions are of absolutely no interest to me whatsoever once the proponant start murdering innocents; and (2) It’s all bullsh&t anyway. If the entire coalition pulled out of Iraq tomorrow and humbly apologized, who really thinks that the attacks would stop? The jihadists will always find a reason to continue their nihilistic killing spree. As the spokesman for the Islamic Army of Aden said after attacking a non-Iraq invading French oil-tanker: “we would have preferred to hit a U.S. frigate but no problem because they are all infidels anyway.

November 16, 2005 @ 7:34 am | Comment

Conrad I think your point can easily be made by looking at the situation in Israel.

The “Palestinians” have been using the occupation of “their” land as an excuse to commit acts of terror against the Israelis for decades. Now the Israelis have made concessions and begun a withdrawal of the settlements, but the “Palestinians” still keep blowing themselves up in hopes of killing a few Israelis. No matter what we do, it will never be enough….

November 16, 2005 @ 8:21 am | Comment


If you try to hide the reasons for a terrorist attack from your own people, what kind of government are you?

The British government are in denial and it is lieing to its own people. Worse still, it is bringing in laws that would make it a crime to tell the people the truth.

It matters because they are a democracy and if the people know that they are a target because of Iraq and they decide that they want out, it doesn’t matter how just the cause, then they should get out because that is how a democracy works.

November 16, 2005 @ 8:26 am | Comment

Has anybody noticed this great story at Imagethief?
“Top Signs You Are a Banana Republic”


November 16, 2005 @ 10:54 am | Comment

The most interesting story in the Western media about the Hu Yaobang rehabilitation…

November 16, 2005 @ 1:38 pm | Comment


Does the fact that the fifth most common language in Blogosphere is Farsi send up any “Red” flags?

November 16, 2005 @ 1:51 pm | Comment

>>If the entire coalition pulled out of Iraq tomorrow and humbly apologized, who really thinks that the attacks would stop?

It would stop the attacks on US troops in Iraq, for one.

The usual conflation and contradiction:

We can’t affect terrorism by changing our policies because terrorists will use any excuse to kill because they “hate our freedom.” If that is true — if nothing we do can decrease (or increase) terrorism — then why do anything? Why topple the Taliban or Saddam? I would assume the rationale behind those actions was that our actions do directly affect terrorism. If that is the case, then we can ask, “Do our actions decrease or increase terrorism?”

>>The jihadists will always find a reason to continue their nihilistic killing spree.

In other words, there is no reason to analyze our own actions. Nothing we do or don’t do has any effect on terrorism. This is a very binary and simplistic way of seeing the situation. For example, should we burn Mecca to the ground? Will that increase or decrease terrorism? According to your theory, it wouldn’t matter because if the jihadists didn’t use that as an excuse, they would just use gays, or women, or Iraq, or something else. It’s as if terrorists spring hydra-headed out of a vacuum.

So let’s say we stay in Iraq for 20 more years. Would that increase or decrease the threat of terrorism against us? And over the next 20 years, if bombers claim the occupation of Iraq as their motivation for their acts? Well, we can just dismiss it because they are “inhuman” and would just use something else as an excuse anyway.

November 16, 2005 @ 2:10 pm | Comment

I want to you show you guys a totally non-political post!

“On the Air of the Chinese People”

November 16, 2005 @ 4:12 pm | Comment

All my posts to date have been following a engineering mindset, and may appear very dry and boring to many of you. So, this time, I’ll change for once and write a post in the style of a humanity majors. You may laugh at me and say, Math, don’t think too highly of yourself, your writing is bad. Well like I said, I write for enjoyment, so whether you like it or not, I’ll attempt a humanity major’s “essay”.

This essay wants to talk about the “personal flair” of the Chinese people. “Personal Flair” is translated from the Chinese word meaning “the air of a person”. So that is the closest translation I can do. What exactly is the “air of a person”? Well, it is very difficult to precise define it. Air includes the personality, mannerism, behavior, mindset of a person. Sometimes you say a person has “an air of nobility”. That means he gives off the feeling of nobility, but it’s hard to capture what exactly about him that gives that feeling. Is it his clothes, speech, mannerism, hair,etc? Well, if I wear his clothes, emulate his speech, follow his mannerism, copy his hair style, people will still not think I’m a nobility. So this “air” is a very elusive, and hard to define clearly. But I think all of you will understand what it means.

“Air” is actually very very important to a person. It is a result of the environmental and cultural upbringing. “Air” determines one’s manners, personality, behavior, thinking, taste, smell, etc etc etc. And it is critical to a person’s success in life.

Now what about the “air” of the Chinese people? Well the air of the Chinese people is not very attractive, not very popular, the root cause of that is that Chinese people’s pyschological characteristics are too plain and too bland, it almost lacks characteristics. In fact, it is sometimes so uncharacteristic that it is suffocating.

Chinese people’s air is very simple and uniform 1.3+ billion Chinese all feel like they are born from the same mold. There’s only the tendency to keep things unchanged, all Chinese want to be “obedient” citizens, all seek “stability”, all repeat the thousand year old sayings of Confucious, all have only “emperors and kings” in their hearts, and sometimes it is difficult for Westerners to understand, and because of this, conflicts are born between China and the world.

The over-uniform air results in very repetitve and boring acts. 5 thousand years of Chinese history, and Chinese were never interested in new and foreign things, no matter how exciting and fun they may be.

The air of the Chinese people has been collected for 5 thousand years, and that’s why Chinese people smell very bad. Many Chinese do not have the habits of brushing teeths, do not go to dentists, and many have very bad breath. There are even more Chinese (even those living in the US) who do not take bathes or showers. Why? Because energy has always been very limited throughout China’s history. YOu want shower? Where’s the water? Where’s the fuel to make hot water? Chinese also do not change their clothes often, where is the money? Chinese had only solved the problem of feeding and clothing for less than 30 years, so perhaps showering and changing clothe is still a luxury. So even in America today, the air of Chinese can overcome modern life. Perfume? you must be joking….

Chinese people’s facial expression is also not very exciting. They look like yellow papers, and all look the same. The happiness and sadness of a chinese person is very hard to detect, and when you are communcating with a Chinese person, you sometimes feel it’s hard to know what he/she is feeling.

The air of the Chines people is mostly focused on human societies and material worlds. Chinese people are all very good at mathematical abilities and interpersonal abilities and Chinese history is a history of scheming and plotting and betrayals and entrapment and backstabbing. That is one reason Chinese people like living in America: interpersonal relations are much less complicated and much easier to manage than in China. However, Chinese people very much lacks a independent spiritual world, and does not plan to develop such worlds, and does not think they are important.

Chinese people air has a very foul smell. It forces 1.3 billion Chinese to behave the same, feel the same, emote the same. If we cry, 1.3 billion Chinese cry in one voice, and the voice is so shattering that it can move seas and moutains. If we laugh, 1.3 billion Chinese laugh in one thunder and would shake the earth. If you have listend to shouts of “Long Live xxxx” or to emperors of previous dynasties, you’ll appreciate such power. Even in democratic areas like Taiwan, Hongkong, the air of uniformity is very much the same as in Mainland. So this air is not a political thing, but really true an “air” thing.

Chinese people’s air has only foul and muddled smell, like the smell when you enter a room that has not been opened for days. There’s American movies, Japenese cartoon, European fashion, Paris perfume, London elegence, Italian classicness, all those exhibit various “coolness” and “stylishness”. But we don’t see a “Chinese something”. “Chinese food”? It is a sign of cheapness as opposed to Japanese food. “Chinese kungfu”? it is often a sign of ridicule in movies. Chinese have nothing that is really stylish and attractive to others. That is because the Chinese air is too shallow, too gaudy, lacks depth and sophistication, you can see everything in one glance and there’s nothing more.

Now, I’ll suddenly change the direction of this post.

The Chinese air does not look much. But it has a remarkable life, and ability to survive. In world history, we dont know how may cultures and civilizations have been conquerered and have vanished. But the Chinese lasted till today without vanishing. THe Chinese air has a long-lasting endurance, and has a bullish resistance to survive, even after countless military defeats. Almost every region in the world has had history of assimilation and colonization, yet Chinese are the least assimilated by others. Even when the Mongols ruled China, they spoke Chinese, wrote Chinese poetry, ate Chinese food, and were totally assimilated by China. Can you imagine when a ruler adopts the customs of the ruled? That was what happened in all the foreign powers that occupied China.

Perhaps you’ll say the Jewish are the most resilient in the world. But the Chinese air is so corrosive that the Jewish living in China in the ancient past had all been “assimilated”, all that was left was some artifacts. This was almost a miracle in human history, it is almost amazing that the air of Chinese can change and corrode any visiting civilization.

The Chinese air created this vast land of China today. There are 1.4 billion and many many minorities, yet ethnicity is not a problem in China. Look at how many countries were Europe divided into. Even though Europe is trying to integrate today, its political system is so loose and lax that it’s uncomparable to the air of China. The air of China almost glues and embraces all Chinese together, even if you want to break apart, you cannot.

The Chinese air is bland and plain and foul, yet it is also the strongest and the most pungent air today. The competitiveness of 1.3 billion people all united, all working together, is perhaps the most formidable force today. America is very smart, that’s why they decided very early to avoid confronting this “monster”, and instead cooperate with it.

The Chinese air caused great headaches for America during the Kor1an War. American generals cannot even understand this air. How could people equipped with rice and rifles defeat tanks, bombers, and machine guns?? Perhaps they gained a deeper understanding of this Chinese air? And from that point on, they realized this Chinese air must be dealt with very carefully to avoid repeat another pain like the Korean War.

The Chinese air is changing today. Of course the pace is very very slow. Yet the change is happening and it is irreversible. The air is spreading into th world, spreading around the globe, and perhaps the world should be ready to smell this air.

That is the air of the Chinese people.

November 16, 2005 @ 4:13 pm | Comment

The Chinese air is bland and plain and foul, yet it is also the strongest and the most pungent air today.

Sounds like you’ve been hanging out too long in a Chinese toilet.

November 16, 2005 @ 4:21 pm | Comment

I want my 10 minutes back now.

thank you.

what in the hell was he talking about????

November 16, 2005 @ 4:58 pm | Comment

Math’s Fan:

Have you been talking to the winos at the Port Authority Bus Terminal? Didn’t anyone explain to you that those guys are NOT “humanities majors?”

November 16, 2005 @ 5:47 pm | Comment

Math, are you talking about 民族气质?

or something else…? Whatever, a lot of wierd metaphors going on in that “essay”.

November 16, 2005 @ 6:27 pm | Comment


While I think that taking anything the terrorists say at face value is worse than a waste of time, you’ll never hear me defending British media laws, which I agree insufficently protect freedom of the press.

In response to 88, pulling out of Iraq with the job unfinished would make the world more, not less, dangerous. If you are listening to terrorists, Al Qaeda itself said that they were emboldened by the “weakness” the US showed in cutting and running from Somalia.

Finally, on an unrelated note, I know Richard said no religion, but this site is too funny to miss: http://tinyurl.com/279tj

November 16, 2005 @ 7:45 pm | Comment

I’ll take you more serously, Conrad, when I see an agreed-upon definition of what it means to “finish the job.” What is the job? What are the definitions of its completion? What’s the strategy for getting there?

November 16, 2005 @ 8:06 pm | Comment

Hell Richard, I gave you a definition of victory in the earlier thread. Here it is again: To create a situation where the US can draw down its forces, leaving a democratic Iraqi government protected by Iraqi security forces.

It’s not going to happen tomorrow, but it is still doable.

November 16, 2005 @ 8:27 pm | Comment

Okay, I can’t keep up with all the threads. I’m not convinced the goal is achievable, but maybe it is. I’ve heard it could take ten years or longer. That’s why setting some target dates for our withdrawal would be a very smart thing to do, proving we actually have an exit strategy. Saying “as long as it takes” only increases the anxiety, as it answers no questions. Most Americans don’t want to be bogged down there for decades, especially after being promised it would be a cakewalk, with flowers and chocolates and all that crap.

November 16, 2005 @ 8:33 pm | Comment

‘The “Palestinians” have been using the occupation of “their” land as an excuse to commit acts of terror against the Israelis for decades. Now the Israelis have made concessions and begun a withdrawal of the settlements, but the “Palestinians” still keep blowing themselves up in hopes of killing a few Israelis. No matter what we do, it will never be enough….’

Whoever made such a simple sanctimonious comment has never studied the history of the region. What tactics the Palestinians are using were employed by the Israelis against the British who had just finished a war freeing Europe from Nazi tyranny and liberated death camps and now found themselves being bombed (King David Hotel anyone?) simply because they weren’t alowing the Palestinians to simply be ethnically cleansed to create a new state.

November 16, 2005 @ 8:47 pm | Comment

If the Iraqi forces are not yet ready to take over — and they aren’t. And it’s not clear when they will be, how does setting an arbitrary exit date assist in securing victory? If you stick to the date, there is a very good chance that you pull out to early, ensuring defeat. Meanshile, you send a very clear signal to the insurgents that they only have to wait us out to X-date and they ae home free.

Plus there’s the propaganda victory for Zarqawi and al Qaeda and company who, like Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon, will claim to have driven out the occupier and won a great victory.

This can only, like Somalia, embolden them to further attacks.

Whether going into Iraq was wise or not, we’re in. It is crucial now that the US win it. Setting an arbitrary pullout date is strategically the worst thing that could be done.

November 16, 2005 @ 8:59 pm | Comment

Doesn’t that sound like the plan America originally had in mind for Vietnam? Forget democracy, what Iraq needs is a home grown version of Ataturk, a visionary strongman to muscle the country into the modern age and keep the islamic fundamentalists at bay. Hmm…come to think of it, wasn’t Saddam Hussein on the right track after all?

November 16, 2005 @ 8:59 pm | Comment

Jesus what is wrong with me today. Yet again I typed the name of the person I was responding to in the sender box.

Sorry again Richard.

November 16, 2005 @ 9:01 pm | Comment

Yep, those damned towelheads aren’t fit for self rule.

And Saddam was perfect, except for the invasion of Iran and Kuwait. The threats against Saudi Arabia. The gassing of the Kurds. The oppression of the Shiites. The torture. The executions. The mass graves. The dungeons. Uday and Qusey. Nuclear ambitions. Oil for palaces.

November 16, 2005 @ 9:05 pm | Comment

Conrad, I was all for liberating them. Remember? But we had to have a plan and a strategy. We fucked up. Saddam was always my nemesis; I hated him with a passion and still do. But how much American blood and dollars do we spend to give freedom to people who mainly want us to go away, and many of whom are determined to destroy us?

We’ve been through these questions a million times. Saddam sucked. His removal could have and should have waited. There was no imminent need for war, and many reasons to postpone it.

November 16, 2005 @ 9:16 pm | Comment

P.S. Conrad, don’t you have a job anymore? I hope you aren’t billing this time to your clients. (Just kidding.)

November 16, 2005 @ 9:17 pm | Comment

Actually, Richard, my profession situation has changed dramatically. I’ll drop you an e-mail and give you the update.

November 16, 2005 @ 9:20 pm | Comment

It does’t happen that often but I’m with Conrad on this issue. The job has to be finished. Everything else would be a disaster.
Though I think the war in Irak radicalised some that otherwise would not have been so commited to fight against the “decadent west”. Conrad is also right I think that nothing the West does will change the attitude of those who allready believe in the ideology of those fanatics. In their eys this is not a war about a specific territorry it is about destroing all infidels. And everybody who does not follow their ideology is one, be they muslims, christians, jews or atheists.

BTW I’m always a little iritadted by the use of this 88. What was the meaning again in the Chinese websphere? Here in Europe it is a code of Neonazis for Heil Hitler. Wonder if this allready led to some strange conversations in cyberspace between Chinese joungsters and European Neonazis.

November 17, 2005 @ 2:39 am | Comment


Re the above, I wish you all the best mate.

November 17, 2005 @ 2:41 am | Comment

Shulan, I am not for cutting and running necessarily. But no one knows what our goals are – despite Conrad’s generalizations about them – and how we intend to achieve them. If we are talking about building up the iraq forces, it literally could take decades. Look at how much trouble the world’s greatest fighting force is having against the insurgency! Then think about the time and manpower it will take to train a rag-tag army that has a history of running to join the insurgency when things get tough. Can America make this kind of commitment? Maybe we have to, I don’t know. But let’s discuss it honestly instead of speaking in tongues about it with meaningless catch phrases (“as long as it takes”). Surely we deserve some hint of a timeline and some insight into our exit strategy at this point.

November 17, 2005 @ 3:09 am | Comment

See your point Richard. If I’m informed correctly the senat as you just demanded more information about strategy and results. Seems also some republicans have a funny feeling about this war. Or are they just afraid that Bush’s bad polls could backfire on them and want to get some distance between them and the white house?

November 17, 2005 @ 3:31 am | Comment

Publicly most in Congress are standing by their chimp. Some, like Chuck Hagel and John McCain and Lindsey Graham are daring to ask questions, and that once-solid wall of support is beginning to show signs of serious cracking. Many are deeply concerned about the upcoming elections; they saw what just happened in Virginia and New Jersey and California are are scared shitless. The macho language of 2004, when Bush was falsely portrayed as the can-do, no-nonsene, get-the-job-done tough guy — that’s all out the window. The steady grind of Iraq with no clarification, the discovery that we were sent there on false pretences and doctored intelligence, the indictment of a high White House official, the travesty of Katrina and Bush’s “heckuvajob” cronyism, the Harriet Miers debacle, the lies about torture, the price of oil and the general deterioration of the nation’s morale – these things have made Bush politically radioactive, and I predict more and more Republicans will be scrambling soon to get off the Titanic. And the game’s just warming up. Fitzgerald’s just starting, and once Libby starts to squeal, the whole house of cards can come crashing down.

November 17, 2005 @ 3:58 am | Comment

If today were 1941 Hitler would be banging away on his keyboard slaming away to his blog knowing full well the power of propaganda.

Unfortunately, many of us reading this blog would be dead and Hitler would be praised like Mao, Dear Leader and Castro.

Farsi would likely be a required course in University.

November 17, 2005 @ 10:13 am | Comment

Tian Li, there are so many logical fallacies in your statement above that I hardly know where to begin. So instead I’ll mention the part you got right: Hitler would have LOVED blogs. LGF comes to mind…

November 17, 2005 @ 11:23 am | Comment

I’m an aborted child that survived only to become a travel writer. God save my soul.

November 17, 2005 @ 7:35 pm | Comment


You cite the Democrat’s favorite Republican, John McCain. So, let’s see what McCain actually says. From his speech on the Senate floor this week:

America’s first goal in Iraq is not to withdraw troops, it is to win the war. [. . .] If that means we can draw down troop levels and win in Iraq in 2006, that is wonderful. But if success requires an increase in American troop levels in 2006, then we should increase our numbers there.

“. . . [A] date is not an exit strategy. This only encourages our enemies, by indicating that the end to American intervention is near, and alienates our friends, who fear an insurgent victory. Instead, both our friends and our enemies need to hear one message: America is committed to success in Iraq and we will win this war.

“Imagine Iraqis, working for the new government, considering whether to join the police forces, or debating whether or not to take up arms. What will they think, Mr. President, when they learn that the Democrats are calling for a withdrawal plan? The Republican alternative, while an improvement, indicates that events in 2006 should create the conditions for a redeployment of U.S. forces. Are these the messages we wish to send, Mr. President? Do we wish to respond to the millions who braved bombs and threats to vote, who have put their faith and trust in America and the Iraqi government, that our number one priority is now bringing our people home? Do we want to tell insurgents that their violence has successfully ground us down, that their horrific acts will, with enough time, be successful? No, Mr. President, we must not send these messages. Our exit strategy in Iraq is not the withdrawal of our troops, it is victory.

“If we can reach victory in 2006, that would be wonderful. But should 2006 not be the landmark year that these amendments anticipate, we will have once again unrealistically raised the expectations of the American people. That can only cost domestic support for America’s role in this conflict, a war we must win.

“I’d repeat that, Mr. President. This is a war we must win. The benefits of success and the consequences of failure are too profound for us to do otherwise. The road ahead is likely to be long and hard, but America must follow it through to success. While the sponsors of each version of this amendment might argue that their exact language supports this view, perceptions here and in Iraq are critical. By suggesting that withdrawal, rather than victory, is on the minds of America’s legislators, we do this great cause a grave disservice.”

November 17, 2005 @ 7:44 pm | Comment

It’s good to know what McCain thinks. I agre with him about a lot of things, especially torture. I think he’s a bit confused about the war and its winnability and am sure he’ll come around now that Murtha has helped give us all some clarity.

November 17, 2005 @ 8:37 pm | Comment

People seem too ready to forget the King David bombing.

November 18, 2005 @ 1:00 am | Comment

A “100 percent religion free” thread?
I’ll agree to that. Now, if ANYone says “Jehovah”, we should…..

(…ducking from a hail of stones…..)

….no, I wasn’t trying to say “Jehovah,” I just meant…..

….(ducking from more rocks….)

….if anyone ELSE says “Jehovah….”

….(more stones)…….

🙂 (Sorry, couldn’t pass that one up….. 🙂

November 18, 2005 @ 3:19 am | Comment

Dear TPD,

My son is NOT the messiah, he’s a VERY NAUGHTY BOY!

Sincerely yours,
Miriam of Nazareth and it’s none of your bloody business whether I’m a virgin

November 18, 2005 @ 3:28 am | Comment

Good post. Okay shameless plug time. My friends and I have created a website called http://www.domeafavorbuddy.com The idea behind it is that people from across the globe can come together on a secure platform and exchange favors for each other.It’s crazy, I know but we had this idea that we could push the world to being smaller and get past the retraints of the online community be activities happening in the real world as a result of an online meeting. It doesn’t cost anything to join and in theory the more people that join, the higher the probability of finding someone with exactly what you need, be it a new, bike, a new girlfriend, or smuggling something past US customs (that last one was a joke). Check out the site, give us feedback. Let’s build something tangiable. Thank you.

November 18, 2005 @ 7:07 am | Comment

Dear “buddy”,

FIRST of all, let me tell you that I am (unofficially) a bit of a policeman/detective on this site. And so I checked out your website,

And I WAS going to write you a very beatiful response about your high ideals. However:

When I checked out your site, “domeafavorbuddy”, I realized that it was a commercial site, and that your comment was SPAM. And then I did even more research about you. And I did not like what I saw, not at all.

Go fuck yourself, “Buddy.” And by the way I’ve checked out your IP and I have reported you to the intelligence services of several countries, and soon there will be an INTERPOL criminal warrant out for you, you SPAMming sack of shit.

Sincerely yours,
Ivan, the Russian Spesnatz Commando of TPD.

🙂 (And hey, Richard, you know I don’t even get paid for this! 🙂

November 18, 2005 @ 8:59 am | Comment

Hi, one question for you guys:

Recently Austria Arrested David Irving, the writer Known as a Holocaust Denier.
How this arrest is compatible with freedom of speech? It’s very puzzling for me.

How come those Japanese historians who constantly deny Nanjing Massacre still live normally outside of the jail?


November 18, 2005 @ 10:37 am | Comment

Lin, Germany – and I guess Austria, from what you are reporting – have very strict laws on the books about promoting Nazism – I’m sure there are folks here who can cite these more exactly. This is how these nations have decided to deal with their Nazi past – Germany has also laid a great deal of emphasis on honest historical evaluation in their educational system. This is one way in which Germany responded to their defeat in WW2 very differently than Japan did.

In the US, Irving would not be arrested unless it could be proved that through his speech he was inciting violence against another group.

I’m stating this very crudely and would welcome a more erudite and educated perspective here.

November 18, 2005 @ 11:30 am | Comment


I’m sending you a private email about David Irving. I’d rather not tell what I know here.

November 18, 2005 @ 12:39 pm | Comment

Thank you Lisa!
Ivan, your comments are very annoying :p

November 18, 2005 @ 1:14 pm | Comment

The Rehabilitation starts today:

“China commemorates late CPC senior leader Hu Yaobang”

A symposium was held Friday in Beijing to commemorate the 90th birth anniversary of the late senior leader of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Hu Yaobang.

The official commemoration, organized by the CPC Central Committee, was attended by Premier Wen Jiabao, Vice President Zeng Qinghong and Secretary of the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection Wu Guanzheng.

Addressing the commemoration, Vice President Zeng said, “Comrade Hu Yaobang was a long-tested and staunch communist warrior, a great proletarian revolutionist and statesman, an outstanding political leader for the Chinese army, and a prominent leader who had long assumed crucial leading posts of the CPC.”

“In his revolutionary career of six decades,” Zeng said, “he contributed all his life and built immortal merits for the liberation and happiness of the Chinese people, for the development and prosperity of the Chinese socialism, for implementation of the reform and opening-up policy as well as the country’s socialist modernization drive.”

“His historic achievements and moral character will always remembered by the Party and our people,” Zeng said.

Hu was born on Nov. 20, 1915, to a poor peasant family in central China’s Hunan Province and joined the CPC in September of 1933.

In December 1978 at the landmark third plenum of the 11th CPC Central Committee, Hu was elected a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee. In February 1980, he was elected general secretary of the CPC Central Committee. In September 1982, he again took the post of general secretary of the CPC Central Committee. In November 1987, he was elected a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee.

After leading the CPC Central Committee Organization Department at the end of 1977, Hu helped correct numerous misjudged cases during the Culture Revolution (1966-1976) and exonerate more than three million purged cadres.

Never having received higher education, the open-minded Hu stressed the importance of knowledge for a modern China. “Without intellectuals,” he ever said, “we could not achieve the four modernization in industry, agriculture, defense and science and technology.”

Zeng said all Party members should learn from Hu’s merits of caring for the overall situation and frankness.

Zeng also praised Hu for safeguarding interests of the Party and the people.

About 350 senior officials and celebrities, including Hu’s relatives, also attended the commemoration.

Source: Xinhua

People’s Daily Online — http://english.people.com.cn/

November 18, 2005 @ 6:56 pm | Comment

Irving WAS NOT arrested for “promoting Nazism”, though such laws exist. Irving was arrested for alleged violation of a statute making it a crime to “deny the holocaust”.

This is not compatable with free speech as it is understood in the US. However, European law does not recognize a right to free speech as it is understood in the US.

Other examples:

In France, actress Bridgette Bardot was convicted and fined last year, under a criminal religious hatred statute, for saying that she believed that France was being Islamified.

Italian author Oriana Fallaci faces trial next year on criminal charges that she defamed Islam in a book she wrote criticizing Islamic practices.

A Swedish court sentenced Pentecostal minister to a month in prison for describing homosexuality as abnormal during a sermon at his church.

November 18, 2005 @ 7:03 pm | Comment

“Sincerely yours,
Miriam of Nazareth and it’s none of your bloody business whether I’m a virgin”
Great post. Anyway, I’d like to shamelessly plug my new blog “Iamnotanidiot.co.au”. It’s all about my interesting life as an important person in a wholly-Chinese operated Italian restaurant and the fascinating customers we get regularly, most of whom are very Marxist and extemely interesting. In fact, they have promised to offer their valuable opinions about how wonderful the 5,000 year old Chinese civilisation is and how it advances worldwide revolution through censorship. I will also provide cheesecake pics of my gorgeous fiancee for the past 3 months and who can be seen behind the bar at the Den most nights if you don’t believe me.
Kindest best wshes,
Reginald Worcestershiresauce-Smedley, Esq.

November 18, 2005 @ 10:33 pm | Comment

Dear Mr Worcestershiresauce-Smedley,

You are obviously the reincarnation of the Tang Dynasty poet, Li Bai.
Or you would be if you believed in reincarnation – which you don’t, because you don’t believe you’ll ever die. And neither do I!

Alison Bridgewater the Third

(and me too! Paul Smith, PhD)

PS, do you have very big naughty bits like all three of us do? Please send photos! (Cutting and pasting permitted)

November 18, 2005 @ 10:58 pm | Comment

Dear Meester Smedley-Jones,

You no my fiancee anymore, you cheap charlie, never pay me for last time I let you look at me. Bye Bye.

Mr Smedley’s Former Fiancee Behind The Bar

November 18, 2005 @ 11:05 pm | Comment

Interviwe with the guy from East South North West blog on BBC World Service NOW

November 19, 2005 @ 6:33 am | Comment

Conrad: although the EU does not — thanks largely to French socialists and Dutch Islamophobes — have a constitution, there is a treaty called the European Convention for Human Rights to which all member states of the Council of Europe (not to be confused with the EU) are signatories. This includes every single European country except Belarus.

Section I, article 10:


1.Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. this right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information an ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.

2.The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or the rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.

So there is such a thing as a “first amendment”-style guarantee, but with loopholes.

I’ve been away from the U.S. for a while, but it’s still illegal to yell “fire!” in a crowded theater there, right?

November 19, 2005 @ 6:41 am | Comment


As an international lawyer, I am well aware of the European Convention for Human Rights and the ECHR is not by any definition a a “First Amendment” style guarantee of free speech.

Article 10.2 is the antithisis of the First Amendment, particularly as it has been interpreted to allow for the criminalization of what are in reality merely unpopular opinions.

Are you really suggesting that a minister in a church pulpit telling his congregation that homosexuality is abnormal is a threat to public safety and order on par with shouting fire in a crowded theatre?

Of course you’re not. You are far too sensible to even attempt that argument. And the fact that the latter can be criminalized in Europe is irrefutable evidence that there is no protection of free speech there a free speech is understood in the US.

In “post-Christian” Sweden ministers can be imprisoned for criticizing homosexualality because the political class and much of the elctorate have more sympathy for gay rights than they do conservative Christian doctrine.

However, were Europeans as conservative as American southerners, there is no constitutional impedement that would prevent them from making it illegal to espouse homosexuality or criticize the church instead.

In neither case is that anything like free speech as Americans understand it.

November 19, 2005 @ 8:59 pm | Comment

From the NY Times on Bush’s trip which should put a healthy dose of reality to any optimists still out there:
Bush says that market-oriented economic policies would eventually lead to political freedoms in China, but the country has in fact moved in the opposite direction under Mr. Hu. who has jailed journalists, rights activists and lawyers, and put tighter controls on the news media and on many outspoken intellectuals.
Human rights groups and others devoted to the rule of law, environmental awareness and other causes have been harassed or shut down.
Chinese dissidents fear that the situation will only get worse after Mr. Bush’s trip, when the leadership feels less pressure.

Wait a minute- why the hell did we give the CCP the Olympics then? I thought it was to liberate the people, not help further oppress it.

November 19, 2005 @ 10:49 pm | Comment

Because people can’t bring themselves to admit Keir that after 15 years of economic engagement since Tiananmen, things aren’t much better in terms of human rights and political freedoms, despite the rhetorical mantra that economic engagement will lead to politcal freedom. Too many in the West have put their stake in the ground on that one, too many vested interests exist now who would lose a lot of face and money if they admitted the policy hasn’t worked.
But it hasn’t.

November 20, 2005 @ 12:00 am | Comment

I don’t know. I look back to 1979, which was when I first went to China, and obviously people have considerably more personal freedom than they did back then. I don’t know how much that can be traced to economic engagement, but surely China’s prior isolation fed extremism there.

This media crackdown and the suppression of public discourse leaves me feeling less optimistic though. With the scale of problems China has to deal with, especially considering local corruption, I don’t know how the central government can get a handle on what’s really going on without the feedback that a less fettered press could conceivably provide, particularly when there’s no political competition to challenge decision-makers.

November 20, 2005 @ 12:33 am | Comment

Re: the exchange between Vaara and Conrad about limitations on freedom of speech, esp vis a vis Conrad’s suggestion that US law would never restrict anti-homesexual speech:

Beauharnais v. Illionois, 343 U.S. 250 (1952), the US Supreme Court affirmed the constitutionality (under the First Amendment) of a statute which prohibited any publication which portrayed “depravity….unchastity….
or lack of virtue of a class of citizens of any race, color, creed or religion….”

…that particular case concerned a statute which prohibited racist publications portraying Blacks as immoral.

If you argue that portraying gays as immoral is categorically different from portraying Blacks as immoral, then you’re getting into essentially contested questions.

(And how did I dig up the Beauharnais case? Well you just have to know about these things when you’re a mad Russian poet…..

November 20, 2005 @ 1:51 am | Comment

By the way: I added a strongly worded disclaimer to the latest Madge thread over at flowing waters. I know he’s an easy target and a lot of the stuff there is funny when it sticks to the issues (plagiarism, pomposity, self-absorption, creative character creation). But may I request it be toned down and not leave anyone open to charges of inciting someone to…do a bad thing? Thanks a lot.

November 20, 2005 @ 2:25 am | Comment

Idea- I’m sure it’s probably stupid as each comment pretty much replies to an earlier one, but is it feasible to start comments with the latest post? By the time you get to #60, it’s quite a long drag to get to the comment you last read…

November 20, 2005 @ 3:52 am | Comment

“Are you really suggesting that a minister in a church pulpit telling his congregation that homosexuality is abnormal is a threat to public safety and order on par with shouting fire in a crowded theatre?”

Well, what about publicly calling for the execution of homosexuals? A mosque here in Amsterdam was prosecuted for selling books advocating precisely that. And France has deported an Algerian imam for advocating wife-beating and polygamy.

My point is, where do you draw the line? There are limits to free expression everywhere — not least in the U.S., where it is illegal in many states to purchase or possess certain types of naughty material (and I don’t just mean the kind that involves people under 18). It’s also illegal to threaten the life of certain prominent politicians.

November 20, 2005 @ 4:09 am | Comment

Keir, that way you’d be reading comments out of context. You can always start at the bottom and read up. The comments are like the blog – the latest information comes first.

November 20, 2005 @ 5:46 am | Comment

Ivan, the Beauharnais case was a 5-4 decision. Underlying the decision was the majority’s keen awareness (they spent several pages discussing such), of racial violence and tension during the 50s. The Court’s reasoning was not that hate speech was not constitutionally protected (in other circumstances without the likelihood of violence, it likely would be). The Illinois statute’s purpose was to prevent speech which would create racial friction. Within the context of a deeply divided and racially tense era, the court found that such hate speech amounted to libel, a form of speech unprotected by Constitutional free speech protections.

“Libelous utterances not being within the area of constitutionally protected speech, it is unnecessary, either for us or for the State courts, to consider the issues behind the phrase ‘clear and present danger.’ Certainly no one would contend that obscene speech, for example, may be punished only upon a showing of such circumstances. Libel, as we have seen, is in the same class.” Beauharnais v. Illinois, 343 U.S. 250, 266 (1952).

November 20, 2005 @ 7:53 am | Comment

Shameless self-promotion is a-ok in open threads, I seem to recall Richard saying. And since I’m not trying to make any money off my self promotion, I think Ivan (the site police) will approve too.

I recently posted an analysis of China’s ballistic missile capabilities and I’d love to hear what you all think.

November 20, 2005 @ 11:02 am | Comment

George Bush is visiting China right now.

He said that he was amazed at the fast level of development of China, and that he says both America and China are great nations and need to cooperate. He even took the time to have a bicycle ride in the outskirts of Beijing.

This is clearly due to the highlevel and deep strategic diplomacy of China in the recent months, and clearly tamed the most bullish country in the world. Even the most hawkish neocons in the US has now accepted the fact the containing China will not work, and is grudgingly forced to work with China.

There’s a famous saying in the International Diplamcy circles that “Chinese diplomats are the most cunning and strategic.” Senior Bush’s secretary of State Baker once said that “You’ll be crazy to go against a Chinese diplomat, he will play in your his palms.” A French diplomat once demoaned, “If it weren’t for China’s military and economic weaknesses, we are no match for Chinese strategies.” This is of course no surprise, as China has 5000 years of interpersonal relations, strategic manuevering, in depth culture, in depth handling of nuances of human relations, etc. A foreign friend of mine once complained to me “Chinese inter-personal relations are too complex! I don’t understand! Why can’t they be more straightforward!”

I think most reporters covering the US-China Summit concluded that Hu Jintao displayed his leadership and strategic abilities greatly. He showed steel but with flexibility, he showed politicalship but with friendless, he showed majesty but with personal charm, he acted with enthusiasm but with composure. I think the American yankee has been totally conquered by Hu Jintao. Good! President Hu! You are good! I support you! The Chinese people support you!

Finally, I want to hope that China will rise day by day and make me feel proud!

November 20, 2005 @ 3:24 pm | Comment

Reember, everyone, this is the genius who wrote an article fomenting the rumor Sun Zhigang had visited a prostitute before he was arrested and murdered by corrupt police officers. As though that somehow made what the police did okay. Every word is for effect and propaganda.

November 20, 2005 @ 3:38 pm | Comment

Bush is not a Yankee. He might have been born in Connecticut but he is NOT a yankee and I resent the improper use of the term. GW is a cowboy.

The Yankees (baseball) aren’t even yankees. Yer only a yankee if you’re from New England, and even then you have to have grown up or have a few hundred years of history in New England, preferably north of massachusetts.

November 20, 2005 @ 4:17 pm | Comment

Amen to Laowai. They should properly be called the knickerbockers, but folks down in Georgia would call them damnyankees anyway. on a more serious note: Conrad, while we generally agree on much, I do believe that there are advantages to setting a departure date, at least in general terms. It does serve notice on the locals that their time for getting their act together is running out. It should be coupled with a policy that says: No U.S. exile for any Iraqi politicians, senior civil servants, or senior officers. In other words, no more Nguyen Van Thieus and Nguyen Cao Kys. Those two worthies violated their oaths and ran, leaving a lot of small fry to fight on and die. (On the other hand, we did fail to deliver the air support that we had promised.) The message to the Iraqis should be: You either win this war, or you go down the tubes when we pull out.

November 20, 2005 @ 4:43 pm | Comment

Say, Richard, you’ve been there long enough, how about some personal reporting?

What’s your impression of Taiwan? How does it compare, socially, economically, and general atmosphere-wise, with what you know of China? Just going through a normal day, are there vast differences?

November 20, 2005 @ 6:36 pm | Comment

Sam, my SO is with me this week so not a good time for writing. I promise, it’s coming. But work has been brutal and I’m saving my take on Taiwan for the right time. Soon.

November 20, 2005 @ 6:38 pm | Comment

Richard, what is your job in Taiwan?

November 20, 2005 @ 6:43 pm | Comment

None of your fucking business.

November 20, 2005 @ 6:45 pm | Comment


1. The point about Beaharnais is that the First Amendment is not as protective of “unpopular ideas” as Conrad suggests, and

2. “Clear and Present Danger” have been interpreted as narrowly or broadly as the Court wants to on any given occasion. In the first World War the Court approved of imprisoning anti-war protesters for doing things (passing out leaflets urging draft-dodging) which pale in comparison to the (now unprosecutable) anti-war publications appearing on the internet today.

In other words, the First Amendment, in practice, is not as pure or magical as Conrad suggests. It’s no better than the people who apply it.

November 20, 2005 @ 7:20 pm | Comment

HongXing, what is your name, passport number, Green Card number, and can you post your fingerprints too? And send a voiceprint and DNA sample too.

November 20, 2005 @ 7:25 pm | Comment

Oh, WOW! SOMEbody named “HongXing” just sent me his DNA sample, and my quick lab study shows that it matches up with a rat!

November 20, 2005 @ 7:29 pm | Comment

Yeah, Bush took time out to get his pics taken with the Chinese cycling team (the only real-time coverage allowed) while any chance that a Q&A or real discussion was vetoed by the regime.

November 20, 2005 @ 7:59 pm | Comment


Please stop pontificating on the law, you are emabarrassing yourself.

First, I never said that “US law would never restrict free speech”. That would be both wrong and stupid.

First, I said that restrictions of the type under discussion would violate the First Amendment. Legislators violate the Constitution all the time, that’s one of the reasons we have a Supreme Court.

Second, the First Amendment does allow for restrictions on Free Speech. See, Denver v. FCC, (“this Court . . . has consistently held that the Government may directly regulate speech . . .”). “Fighting words” and obscenity are two examples of areas where speech can be restricted.

However, the fact remains that the First Amendment does not allow for the type of restrictions permitted in Europe.

As for your attempt at case citation, it’s laughable.

No one with any knowledge of First Amendment law whatsoever would contend — as you do — that Beauharnais v. Illinois is good law. Or at least, they wouldn’t do unless they wanted to be ridiculed.

Beauharnais was clearly wrongly decided and the Supreme Court has since recognized that fact, overruled it and utterly rejected its holding. See, Collin v. Smith and R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul.

Beauharnais is as dead as Dred Scott. The Court recognized its grave mistake and has rejected the case’s holding. One would no more cite Beauharnais today for the proposition that hate speech can be restricted, than one would cite Plessy v. Furgeson for the proposition that “seperate but equal” satisfies the 14th Amendment.

If you made the argument on a law school exam that you have tried to make here, you would fail, and if you tried that argument in court you would lose, and probably be ridiculed by the judge.

As for Vaara:

You ask “where do you draw the line”.

Well, as you know, the Supreme Court has already drawn that line.

To respond to your specific examples:

Obscene material is not protected by the First Amendment. However, ordinary pornography and — as you put it — “naughty” material is protected and cannot be banned. The legal definition of “obscenity” is set forth in Miller v California.

Similarly, the Supreme Court has held that it is only illegal to threaten a political figure when the person making the threat actually intends to carry out the act. See, Watts v. US and Rogers v. US

As for your final point, mere advocacy — be it of polygamy, or the execution of gays (or Republicans for that matter) — is constitutionally protected. As the Supreme Court held in Brandenburg v. Ohio:

“[Our] decisions have fashioned the principle that the constitutional guarantees of free speech and free press do not permit a State to forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force or of law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.”

So, I can legally say that Republicans should be shot. But I cannot conspire or persuade others to go out and actually shoot said Republicans. In determing which is which, the Court will ask whether there is “a clear and present danger” that the words will be converted into action.

November 20, 2005 @ 9:05 pm | Comment

“Yeah, Bush took time out to get his pics taken with the Chinese cycling team (the only real-time coverage allowed) while any chance that a Q&A or real discussion was vetoed by the regime.”

What real discussion? Even the US does not expect anything concrete from this meeting, before Bush left China, the White House said not to expect any “deliverables” from the trip. This is just a way for both leaders to shake hands and look good on the cameras. China did pledge to buy 50 Boeing planes, however, to appease some calls to balance the trade deficit.

November 20, 2005 @ 9:11 pm | Comment

God save the world from cut-and-paste hack lawyers who know how to mouth black letter law without understanding it.

“Hey, I actually looked something up!” – Lionel Hutz, Quintessential hack, from “The Simpsons”

First Amendment jurisprudence is just about the most flexible, malleable and mutable body of case law you can find in the entire world, precisely because it concerns virtually the entire scope of ambiguity of language per se.

“Hey, here’s a sponge with the First Amendment on it! When it gets wet, the words get bigger! Isn’t that something?” – Lionel Hutz, again

November 20, 2005 @ 10:47 pm | Comment

Two random favorite Simpsons moments – the one guest-starring John Waters, Homer is afraid that Bart is gay and takes him to the steel mill – and when they go to Duff Gardens, Lisa drinks the water in the Duff World ride and trips, deciding she is the Lizard Queen…

November 21, 2005 @ 12:52 am | Comment

And then there’s another episode where Lisa says something like: “I no longer believe in anything. I’m going to go to law school”, and Homer shouts, “NOOOOOO!……”

November 21, 2005 @ 2:45 am | Comment

Well Richard, after I went out of my way to say something nice about your president (who managed to chicken-out from saying anything meaningful once he landed in China, waiting instead to put down communism upon reaching the safety of Mongolia) I have to compare him with your idol, here courtesy of the Toronto Mop and Pail:
“Most of (Bush’s) activities in Beijing, however, were noticeably more business-oriented than the visits in earlier years by his predecessor, Bill Clinton, who found venues to talk about human rights at Internet cafés, radio stations and universities.”

November 21, 2005 @ 3:27 am | Comment

He waited to get to MONGOLIA to put down Communism?

Good GOD! He can’t do anything right. Mongolia is one of the handful of places on the planet where conditions actually improved under Communism. Like, the total GDP of Mongolia went up from something like ten dollars a year to twenty, during Communist rule. Now it’s back down to something like 19 dollars a year again.

Anyway, Bush picked the wrong country to criticize Communism in. A lot of Mongolians want it back. They want their extra dollar a year.

November 21, 2005 @ 3:54 am | Comment

Please clarify: Mongolia’s ENTIRE national GDP is $19, or per capita each Mongolian makes $19 a year?

November 21, 2005 @ 5:30 am | Comment

Please clarify: Mongolia’s national GDP is $19, or per capita the average Mongolian makes $19? I need to know for tomorrow’s Geo class on resources and development.

November 21, 2005 @ 5:32 am | Comment

News alert: the water outage and unfolding crisis in Harbin, China:


http://www.peacehall.com/news/gb/china/2005/11/200511212251.shtml (controversial source)

November 21, 2005 @ 8:30 am | Comment

Richard is out of town for two days; sorry about the dearth of new stuff until the weekend.

November 21, 2005 @ 3:40 pm | Comment


I meant to say Mongolia’s ENTIRE GDP is something like 20 dollars a year.

I might be off by a bit, of course…..

At any rate, more seriously, Mongolia really did improve a bit under the Russian Communists – but mostly because it was so underdeveloped to begin with.

November 21, 2005 @ 7:27 pm | Comment

Actually I don’t know Mongolia’s GDP, or it’s per capita income (however anyone can define “income” for the half of them who are still a bunch of nomads.)

Many of them changed from living like nomads in yurts, to living in cities, under the Communists. It’s very debatable how much of an improvement it was. However, now that Communism has collapsed, many Mongolians in cities are even worse off than ever – although some of them are prospering under “free markets” etc (ie, “Wild East Banditry”)

ON THE OTHER HAND, I also know that MOST Mongolians would NOT want to exhange their current situation for that of the Inner Mongolians of the PRC. The Mongolians might be poor, but at least their free from the tyranny of the Chinese Communists, who of course would proceed to destroy whatever is left of traditional Mongolian culture if they ever got their grubby hands on it.

November 21, 2005 @ 7:33 pm | Comment

sorry, I meant to spell “ITS” per capita income. I’m one of those sticklers about punctuation….

November 21, 2005 @ 7:36 pm | Comment

I work at WangFuJing in Beijing, about 500 meters from Ti@nanmen. I just saw a HUGE plume of smoke rising up from where the big picture of Mao is… Does anyone have any info on this? could be nothing or could be something big…but I’m guessing that it won’t be reported in the local news here.

November 22, 2005 @ 2:01 am | Comment


I know WangFuJing very well.

WangFuJing is NOT 500 metres from Tienanmen. It’s more like 5000 metres away. So if you saw that smoke from 5 kilometres away, it must have been huge.

I hope what you have written is serious, because now I am worried and taking it seriously. I am not in Beijing, but if what you wrote is true, then it’s big news.

Please tell us more if you can.

November 22, 2005 @ 3:32 am | Comment

PS oh wait,

Sorry, I mistook WangFuJing for another place. You’re right, WangFuJing is only around 500 metres from Tienanmen.

Still, I wonder whether you had anything important to report.

November 22, 2005 @ 3:36 am | Comment

Has anyone here been talking about the water, er, blackout in Harbin (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4458802.stm)? It sounds like hell on earth..is anyone here there?!?

November 22, 2005 @ 3:40 am | Comment

Tian Li, there are so many logical fallacies in your statement above that I hardly know where to begin. So instead I’ll mention the part you got right: Hitler would have LOVED blogs. LGF comes to mind..

No, Hitler HATED writing and never wrote anything (that’s what minions are for). That’s how many experts knew the Hitler diaries had to be fakes. It’s strutting assholes like Goebbels who would have loved blogs, and been bright enough to use them. I would have loved to read the blogs of Speer and Rundstedt, though. But the best WWII blog of all would have been that of the mad, bad Masanobu Tsjui.

November 22, 2005 @ 6:09 am | Comment

It does’t happen that often but I’m with Conrad on this issue. The job has to be finished. Everything else would be a disaster.

The rationality of this position is predicated on the assumption that the presence of the Americans is not an obstacle to “finishing the job.” That assumption is the very one questioned by the “out now” supporters like myself. The fact is that we are the primary source of instability in Iraq, and that as long as we are there no stable democratic government will ever develop. Hence the job cannot be finished. It is that fact the ‘finish the job” crowd is refusing to see.


November 22, 2005 @ 6:13 am | Comment

I was once on a flight carrying the Dalai Lama, but it aborted.

November 22, 2005 @ 6:53 am | Comment

Does anyone know if we had an “exit strategy” after our invasion of Germany, Japan and Korea?(Korea was not technically an “invasion” though no doubt a number of Koreans think so)
By the way, John Nagl’s book on insurgeny is a must read on understanding that form of warfare.
“Eating Soup with a Knife”

November 22, 2005 @ 9:33 am | Comment


I’ve just gotten around to reading your last comment.

I can’t be bothered to refute it word for word, because this week I have to draft a memorandum on forced migrations, which will be argued in Washington DC. And I just cannot be bothered with refuting your First-Year (Affirmative Action) Law Student arguments, WHICH, I admit, are pretty good for a hack lawyer.

All I will say, in reply to your comment, Conrad, is:

You ARE a good black-letter lawyer! (For other readers here, “black-letter” means the strict, literal reading of the law.) I give you credit, for having good skills in reciting the law in literal ways!

But in practice, and in reality, the black-letter law is not the highest authority. If you do not understand how ambiguous our Constitutional Law is, then you are in exactly the right place now, as a second rate lawyer (who rose through the ranks through Affirmative Action) drafting two-bit briefs for a law firm in China.

A black-letter lawyer does not understand what a red-letter lawyer does. And a red-letter lawyer does not understand what a real lawyer understands.

That is the difference between you and me, Conrad. That is why you work for a second rate law firm in China, while I have had the ear of the President of France and the Queen of England.


And yes, Conrad, I am replying to you with aristocratic disdain. Yes I AM an aristocrat. And you are not. And never the twain shall meet, especially among lawyers.

But I am pleased to see that you, among other low level lawyers, are so good at reciting the exact words of whatever your read. We real lawyers are glad, to know that there are so many dedicated drones like you among the dregs of our legal guild.

We real lawyers would become very worried, if we ever thought that you drones in the lower depths ever thought for yourselves.

And yes this is brutally honest, but Conrad, you asked for it. The truth is, that YOU will NEVER be accepted as REAL lawyer, among those of us who know what the Law really is.

And yes I AM an aristocrat! Deal with it, Conrad. You asked for it, and now I’m telling you how it really is.

PS, God Save the Queen! 🙂

PPS, I have met Princess Diana in person. (Never mind the Queen.)
And yes that IS one of the differences between real lawyers and black-letter lawyers like you, Conrad. You will never be one of us.
We will carry on making the real laws, while you serve us in your humble ways, Conrad. That is the reality of the Law.

Oh, also, my kind and I are all very hostile to the Bush cabal. I just wanted to make that clear. 🙂 All real aristocrats hate the Bush administration….. 🙂 (If you doubt me, just ask Queen Elizabeth, if you can……. 🙂

Sorry, I don’t like to broadcast my social standing, but Conrad, you are such an arrogant vulgarian, and you really asked for it. You really deserve to be smacked down and reminded of your place, Conrad, because you are SO BLOODY arrogant and rude – and I mean rude in the VULGAR way.

I am an egalitarian East-Coast Yankee, EXCEPT when I encounter arrogant wannabes like you, Conrad, vulgar people like you who have forgotten what it means to be humble. THEN I get into my very White-Anglo-Aristocratic-mode, I only get into that mode when I encounter ARROGANT vulgarians like YOU, Conrad.

Sincerely yours,
Descendant (of a younger son) of the Earl of Morley, (and Lord Halifax) and of Sir Richard Seymour (regent during the reign of King Edward VI), and of all the Plantagenets, and of Eleanor of Aquitaine, and of Charlemagne……..Grandson of Judge “Ivan Senior”….conversant friend of the Royal Family of Britain – and reluctant to throw this in anyone’s face EXCEPT for an arrogant vulgarian two-bit “lawyer” like the Homophobe Conrad…………

… and OH YES, Conrad, what you have written on many threads here, identifies you as a vulgar homophobe. I am not gay, but I can smell a homophobe from a mile away, and I know that THAT is what most of your “Christianity” is about, Conrad……you just hate Gays, like so many of your kind of Black “Christians” do……….
…..Conrad, you vulgar homophobe, I am the descendant of Charlemagne, and I SAY that Jesus and all of Christendom love homosexuals. (And I say, Jesus was partly Gay – Jesus had something good going on with his Apostle John, “John, the Apostle whom Jesus loved”, who laid his head on Jesus’ breast in the most affectionate way.
Yeah, Conrad, I’m telling you that our Lord and Savior, Jesus, was partly GAY! GOD IS HALF GAY!
Oh, you don’t like that, Conrad? Well that’s the difference between you and me. I’m a Christian Knight, from ancient heritage of TOLERANT Christian warriors and kings – and you, Conrad, are just a vulgarian full of intolerance and fear.

November 22, 2005 @ 10:39 am | Comment

ha ha ha!
that is one of the funniest things I’ve read in a long time. “Ivan”, how do you make this stuff up?
for example, “I have met Princess Diana in person” .. that “in person” is priceless!! I like “in the most affectionate way” too.
hey, is there any chance Ivan is a large middle-aged Australian female with a husky voice (called Madge)?
anyway, more please!

November 22, 2005 @ 11:29 am | Comment

Ivan displays his literary skills nightly (Beijing time) on this here blog…he’s a writing, riffin’ machine!

November 22, 2005 @ 11:41 am | Comment

well he has a gift all right, a fantastical one.

Shulan, ages earlier you asked about 88 — I believe it comes from the chinese “ba ba” equivalent to “bye bye”.

November 22, 2005 @ 11:49 am | Comment

hi KLS

I have no idea where 88 comes from, but I think the chinese for “bye bye” is “bai bai”

cause they sound the same.

November 22, 2005 @ 3:21 pm | Comment

Oh and Conrad, Boy,

Those affirmative action quotas could get you a place in law school, and even some brass buttons. But in your case, no quota can ever turn you into a real lawyer or a real gentleman.

Although, I guess your degree DID get you enough income to buy some o’ dem bitches and hoes you go on about like a stereotypical gangsta.

November 22, 2005 @ 7:54 pm | Comment

Gawd, I love this internet. You can give yourself an LL.D. and meet Princess Di. It’s even better than government service!

November 22, 2005 @ 11:53 pm | Comment

Hey Richard, I just thought I would point out
that your criticism towards Hongxing against internet censorship in the US, no longer holds water.

Apparently the US has begun censoring websites as well.

18 USC 2257

Yes, that is correct. The things that used to be here, the very funny things that you want to see, have been made retroactively illegal by the US government, in a side-handed attack on the pornography industry.

The government is mandating that we meet certain bookkeeping requirements, ones impossible to meet for this site. Never mind that those requirements do not actually gain the public anything. This is the strongest attack on free speech since the passage of the CDA, and oddly, the media seems to have hardly noticed. The penalty for not abiding by these bookkeeping requirements is five years prison.

The regulations were promulgated by Alberto Gonzales, US Attorney General appointed by George Bush. If you voted for Bush, this is your fault. If you think this country is free, you are sadly mistaken. No nation has freedom when it is run by religious zealots.

Regulations effective 24 June 2005.

November 23, 2005 @ 12:54 am | Comment

hello Laowai, I just googled it, the “88” thing, and it yes apparently is bye bye (obviously not exactly the right sound, but close enough).
the link — http://tinyurl.com/ck3zg — is quite interesting. it says:
520 means I love you (wo ai ni, wu er ling, I guess); and 748 is go to hell (qu se ba??)! perhaps someone who does a lot of chinese internet chat could confirm?

Richard, are you *sure* Ivan isn’t MAJ? Conrad’s BS Radar is pretty accurate…

Oh, and have you guys seen this thing in the British press that your man Bush planned to bomb Al Jazeera? Looks like the UK government is, under the Official Secrets Act, gagging newspapers from printing the relevant material because it appears to derive from a leaked memo.

November 23, 2005 @ 1:40 am | Comment

I think its time for a new open thread, this one is getting too damn long to follow

November 23, 2005 @ 2:45 am | Comment

KLS – cool. learn something new every day. I would have guessed that 88 had something to do with 8 sounding like wealth in cantonese or something.

Ivan, please don’t use old new england blood as a defense or offense manoevre in whatever war you are waging against conrad. Your racialised statements and claims to blue-blood are obviously influenced by something other than stalwart Yankee blood, which runs like granite and doesn’t much take to suffering overblown hyperbole and rooster-strutting. I’ve never once met a real Yankee who has boasted of anything, unless it was that he was poorer than the next man, but that it was fine by him.

November 23, 2005 @ 3:19 am | Comment


So, you’ve stewed on your latest humiliation in silence for two days, and then finally, the best you can come up with is an ad hominem attack?

It seems that it bothered you tremendously having your ineptness — in citing as good law a case that had been explicity overruled by SCOTUS –revealed for the world to see.

And well it should, since that’s the sort of thing that can get a real lawyer sanctioned and disciplined by the bar. The law may be mallable, but not to the point where citing overruled cases is anything but an absolute embarrassment.

Nevertheless, I must give you credit for perseverance. Like an inflatable punching dummy, no matter how many times you get knocked on your ass, you wobble back up for more abuse.

As for the substance, such as it is, of your tirade:

You call me a “homophobe”.

That’s interesting for one who feels the need, in his post, to assure the world that you are not gay.

A bit insecure in your hetrosexuality are you?

As for my being a second rate, fake lawyer at a two bit law firm . . . as readers of my now defuct blog know, I graduated from Harvard Law, made law review there and clerked for the US Court of Appeals.

I was an associate at Sullivan & Cromwell and a partner at Skadden Arps. If those are “second rate” law firms, how does one account for this: http://tinyurl.com/bcu88 .

But that’s past history. Your assertions to the contrary notwithstanding, I don’t even work at a law firm, in China or otherwise, anymore. Rather, I am now General Counsel for a private equity fund.

I have no friggin’ idea what you mean when you refer to me as a beneficiary of “affirmative action”. As a white Anglo-Saxon male, I am at the bottom of the list in any quota scheme known to man.

Plus, I thought you liberals were in favor of affirmative action?

The fact is, my friend, I’ve forgotten more law than you will ever know, although I’ve not forgotten much. I certainly have enough sense to Shepardize a case before citing if as valid authority.

But enough about me. I’m glad you’re proud of the fact that you are “draft[ing] a memorandum . . . which will be argued in Washington DC.” I remember what is was like to draft memos for more experienced lawyers to argue. Let me know if you ever graduate to doing your own court appearances, leaving the drudgery of drafting to mere associates.

In the meantime, be sure this time that you check the cites in that memo to make sure that the cases haven’t been overruled. I doubt that the lawyer actually arguing the case would appreciate an embarrassing repeat of your fiasco here — and being fired can be a bitch even for an aristocrat.

You do have me on one point, however. I certainly can’t claim to be of noble birth. My grandfather went to work in the coal mines at age 13 and I was the first of my family to graduate from college. I stand convicted as a mere commoner.

On the other hand, your exaggerated sense of self-worth and entitlement, far in excess for your limited abilities and accomplishments, marks you as the architypical aristocrat.

Plus, you’re a prat.

I’d say “blow me” Ivan, but I seriously doubt that you’d be any good.

November 23, 2005 @ 4:34 am | Comment

And one more thing, Ivan, being called “vulgar” by someone who boasts about his aristocratic ancestry brings to mind the old saw about being called ugly by a toad.

November 23, 2005 @ 4:57 am | Comment

So much for turning the other cheek and the idea of the meek inheriting the earth….
Anyway, I’m amazed no one has referred to the water crisis in Harbin. Imagine- 3 days without water! And of course, the regime began the way it always does; lie about it. Only when it became ludicrous not to admit reality does it acknowledge the general reason behind the contamination. Of course, no need to go into detail as to why 3 million must go 3, 4, 5? 6?
a week without water….
As that Drudge link reports, China with no civil-based government would win hands down against the US as SE Asia seems to assert.

November 23, 2005 @ 6:47 am | Comment


The meek may inherit the Earth, but the bold will get the parking spaces.

November 23, 2005 @ 7:18 am | Comment

The meek don’t have cars! Who needs to park!

November 23, 2005 @ 9:42 am | Comment

Any live report from laowai living in Harbin?

November 23, 2005 @ 10:25 am | Comment

go to the bbc page, there are submissions from people who have relatives there, all english expats.

November 23, 2005 @ 10:47 am | Comment

The rationality of this position is predicated on the assumption that the presence of the Americans is not an obstacle to “finishing the job.” That assumption is the very one questioned by the “out now” supporters like myself. The fact is that we are the primary source of instability in Iraq, and that as long as we are there no stable democratic government will ever develop. Hence the job cannot be finished. It is that fact the ‘finish the job” crowd is refusing to see.

I doubt this very much. “Out now” would mean a civil war I think. In no way it would mean a developement to a democratic system.

On the freedom of speech issue:
Yes there are limitations to freedom of speech here in Germany. For example propagating racial hatred, things like that. It is also illeagal to deny the holocaust or to wear nazi-symbols in public. That is quite rational if you look at our history. It’s paradox that absolute freedom can leed to it’s contrary. It’s a mistake to be tolerant towards intolerance.
But, you hear things like what the swedish ministre said sometimes from conservative religious people (cardinals, bishops) and I know of no one that had to go to prison.

November 23, 2005 @ 10:53 am | Comment

Cheers laowai. How are you these days?

November 23, 2005 @ 10:57 am | Comment

Whoah, Ivan – sounds like some one may have been sipping a little too much of those “Flowing Waters”!

Really, after those dazzling claims to superiority based on … birthright (!), the following:

you who have forgotten what it means to be humble.

…was a bit rich!

November 23, 2005 @ 11:07 am | Comment

Please pass the popcorn.

November 23, 2005 @ 11:20 am | Comment

The “routine maintenance” Harbin’s water system is undergoing right now is exactly the kind of thing that makes me tremble when I read about China building more nuclear reactors.

November 23, 2005 @ 11:21 am | Comment

the MSM has got ahold of the “routine maintenance” and the chinese gov’t has owned up to the fact that it is due to benzene levels in excess of 108 times the Chinese safety levels.

The MSM says they cut the water supply on tuesday, the 22nd, but I have no idea if this is consistent with what we’ve been hearing. The explosion occured on the 13th (that was a sunday) and it was 9 days until they cut the water. The thing that REALLY worries me is the number of people along the river. City residents might be more often to drink bottled water…? But rural people… on the river…? doesn’t look good.

Shufan, I’m going out of my gourd! Very pressed for time. My lab work is going very well, but I don’t have any time anymore – i’m off to Beijing in 2 months! It’s not unfun, just not unstressful. How’s Berlin?

November 23, 2005 @ 11:39 am | Comment

check out ESWN:


good stuff on Harbin

November 23, 2005 @ 11:53 am | Comment

berlin’s cold and wet. quite buisy too. master’s theis turned out to be more work than I expected. Also my laptop was stolen and I didn’t have a backup of my work.( How stupid can one single human be?)

Indeed those nuclear reactors are worrying.

November 23, 2005 @ 12:04 pm | Comment

As adhoc site administrator, I’m throwing a yellow card here – please watch the profanities and gratuitous insults, including references to blowing prowess or lack thereof…

Oh, and I will put up a quick post – at the office, no time for any commentary, but there’s an update on the Harbin situation.

November 23, 2005 @ 12:34 pm | Comment

And I’ll put up a new open thread when I get home later…I think Richard is still on the road…

November 23, 2005 @ 12:43 pm | Comment

there are two or three articles on people daily about harbin too. haven’t read them yet though.

November 23, 2005 @ 2:50 pm | Comment

Of course, the articles are in Chinese. There’s nothing there in English. I did find this though – up on my blog.


November 23, 2005 @ 3:05 pm | Comment

I doubt this very much. “Out now” would mean a civil war I think. In no way it would mean a developement to a democratic system.

I never said “out now” would mean the development of a democratic system. I don’t believe Iraq will be able to put together a democratic state, at least one that we would recognize as a democracy. “Out now” simply recognizes that:

1) we’re beaten
2) Iraq cannot stabilize as long as it is occupied
3) The US forces are not nuetral or beneficial with respect to Iraqi democratization, but are in fact a problem for it in many ways, from illegal detentions to closing of newspapers to continued provocations that lead to more resistance.
4) The occupation is breaking both the US army and the US budget, and severely damaging democracy and civil rights in the US, as well as our image abroad. We will be a generation recovering the moral authority lost in the torture chambers of Iraq.
5) There is no legal basis for our invasion and occupation.


November 23, 2005 @ 4:16 pm | Comment

Time for a new thread. See you at the top of the page.

November 23, 2005 @ 5:22 pm | Comment

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