News & opinion on Greater China and the even Greater Beyond: by Biff Cappuccino.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Swenson's Breakfast Club -- Saturday, May 6: First, our May meeting will be on the first Saturday, May 6th, at the same place Swensen's on Keelung Road, at 9:30 am. [MT: ADDRESS 9:30 am at the same place as last month; Swensen's #81 Keelung Rd. Sec. 2, Taipei.]You will get a second reminder of this in the week before the meeting, but this is to help you plan ahead.
Our speaker will be member Syd Goldsmith and he will talk on "Impressions of Taiwan both personal and from the perspective of the American Presence in Taiwan"Syd first came to Taiwan as a language student in 1968 and from 1970 to 74 he served as Taiwanese Political Officer for the American Embassy (remember this was before the USA switiched its Embassy to Beijing). During this time numerous things were going on; Peng Ming-min escaped. Peng once a darling of the KMT had been arrested and imprisoned in 1964 for a manifesto calling for a democratic constitution and Formosan self-determination. It was later when he was under house arrest that he escaped. During this time Kissinger began his secret meetings in Beijing which led to Nixon's visit and the Shanghai Communique. Interesting times.
ESWN and Apple Daily: Reprise - ESWN once again goes for an Apple Daily piece that looks made up (Roland, when are you going to warn your readers that Apple Daily is known to make up, misreport, and exaggerate stories? Do you think it is ethical for a blogger who claims to have no agenda and who is an international news source not to place that warning there?).
Cost-Effective Warfare? It is often forgotten that Gen. Claire Chennault's famous Flying Tigers operated in China as a Private Military Corporation at the beginning of World War II. The pilots were paid a bonus for each aircraft kill. It was highly effective.
Two Chinas: There are two Chinas and they exist in separate universes. Now, this is not any great revelation. We've discussed it here many times, especially in regard to local officials who are free to act at whim with no fear of reprisal or justice, existing literally in a universe apart from The central Party. Lin said the great paradox here is that despite Hu's awesome power, he is literally helpless to make any changes in China's domestic situation, only in its foreign policy (which, granted, can then in turn affect China's domestic situation). ...Update: Just to be clear, Lin believes China is utterly intent on winning Taiwan, no matter how pacifist it makes itself appear. "Hu's idea is to seize Taiwan as a ravishingly beautiful and smiling bride and to hold her in China's embrace," he said. "He intends to win it as he would a shining trophy, which he will then place, undented, on a shelf." Biff- Undented? Hmm... First of all, one of China's prime considerations on taking over the island will be political: how to undermine Taiwanese independence ideology and keep it down? Using such excuses as the chaos of war and the martial exuberance known as collateral damage, permanently disappear specific pains in the ass. Exit all foreigners. Ban reporters save those with peckers affixed firmly in the CCP's pocket. Arrest various activists, politicians, reporters and writers and jail them for lengthy terms. Depress funding for local universities and move the better part of their equipment and libraries to China. Flood the island with Mainlanders who will work for peanuts and give them various economic/guanxi incentives and tax breaks. Put mainlanders in all positions of power from political to constabulary to bureaucratic. Eliminate the local currency at a punishing conversion rate to destroy people's savings and investments and thus further clear the way for mainlanders trying to get a leg over. Move local industry over to mainland China via fiat and regulation and/or nationalization for allegedly patriotic motives and otherwise turn Taiwan into a crony capitalist/carpetbagging backwater.
Much of this was done by the Soviet Union in 1945/46 with Japanese assets in Manchuria and by the KMT in the latter 1940's moving Taiwanese assets to China. Perhaps large economic migration out of Taiwan to the major cities of China will be encouraged. The focus of Taiwan's economy will return to agriculture and low-tech like Japan's islands of Kyushu and Hokkaido. New infrastructure will largely facilitate new military installations ringing the island as Taiwan's primary purpose returns to unsinkable aircraft carrier shielding China from the US, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, and Vietnam while extending its reach into the Pacific and acquiring additional South China Sea assets (Spratly Island oil and natural gas, for example). Not only does all of this win kudos from nationalists and job-seekers within China, but it ensures Taiwan's people lack wealth and leisure time to engage in political activism and other naughtiness. I presume the post-bellum poverty of the Southern Confederate states (whether deliberate or accidental) helped ensure that there was no significant resurgence of Southern Independence activism in the US post-1865.
As China, U.S. Vie for More Oil, Diplomatic Friction May Follow: In 2004, China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., also known as Sinopec, became one of just five companies to win the right to explore for natural gas in the uninviting desert known as the Empty Quarter, edging out U.S. companies interested in the area. The kingdom has invested in Chinese refinery projects, and in January, Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz visited Hu in Beijing. "Saudi Arabia is taking a Chinese wife," said Charles W. Freeman Jr., a former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia who has extensive diplomatic experience in China. "The Saudis are not divorcing us. In Islam you can have more than one wife and they can manage that."...Sinopec has also acquired a 40 percent stake in Canada's Northern Lights oil sands project, which is expected to produce about 100,000 barrels a day by 2010. Biff- So Canada's oil sands are financially viable after all. I first heard about the oil sands back in the 1970s when everyone knew that oil would run out in the 1980s. Environmental activists were screeching in detail about how pollution was causing global cooling and how we were on the verge of an Ice Age. The more things change, the more the underlying scams remain the same.
Japan: Soaplands and love hotels : The office ladies, secretaries and elevator-operators greet their bosses and customers in pristine white gloves and high-collared suits, their hair tied back into tight ribbons. But later that night, they don neon micro-minis and breast-clinging halter tops as they gyrate in nightclubs or rendezvous in "love hotels." Context, in other words, is everything. Even so, what's tolerated with little fuss or moral hand-wringing in Japan remains striking. Hiro Fujiwara, a man in his 30s who helped produce pornographic videos before manning his parents' noodle stand in an Osaka neighborhood, tells me that "pornography is sort of seen as a good outlet for men, a sign of a healthy man, like drinking a lot of alcohol." His friend, Kazuyo, a woman in her mid-20s, concurs, adding that "women don't mind so much because it means the man is normal. He watches when he is alone." Biff- It's so refreshing to see people be straight up about this kind of thing. Japanese men picking up chicks at random at train stations, Japanese women buying escorts in Bali and engaging in competitive sex in Hawaii. It's sex made as uncomplicated, or complicated, as can be. Choice (and competence) is a wonderful thing. Sylvia makes a vomit gesture. "Just like those love hotels -- can you believe it? You pay money for a few hours of just sex. It's so ... mechanical," she repeats. Biff- Like so many things in life sweetheart: your mechanical vomit gesture for example...
THE FRIGHTENING TRUTH OF WHY IRAN WANTS A BOMB: spelled out in commentaries by Ahmadinejad's strategic guru, Hassan Abassi, known as the "Dr Kissinger of Islam", President George W Bush is an aberration, an exception to a rule under which all American presidents since Truman, when faced with serious setbacks abroad, have "run away". Iran's current strategy, therefore, is to wait Bush out. And that, by "divine coincidence", corresponds to the time Iran needs to develop its nuclear arsenal, thus matching the only advantage that the infidel enjoys. Biff- Amir Taheri writes for a variety of publications such as the Wall Street Journal. This article is chock full of the inadvertant comedy which keeps the Third World poor and the developing world dangerously lunatic at times. ...According to Shia lore, the Imam is a messianic figure who, although in hiding, remains the true Sovereign of the World. In every generation, the Imam chooses 36 men, (and, for obvious reasons, no women) naming them the owtad or "nails", whose presence, hammered into mankind's existence, prevents the universe from "falling off". Although the "nails" are not known to common mortals, it is, at times, possible to identify one thanks to his deeds. It is on that basis that some of Ahmad-inejad's more passionate admirers insist that he is a "nail", a claim he has not discouraged. For example, he has claimed that last September, as he addressed the United Nations' General Assembly in New York, the "Hidden Imam drenched the place in a sweet light".
Outback 'skeleton' recalls ordeal: But he told the Times he stopped his Mitsubishi Challenger on the Buntine Highway to give an Aboriginal man a lift. Mr Megee told the paper: "The last thing I remember was driving up the road and getting a bit dazed and confused. "The next thing was waking up, face down, in a hole.
Biff- From Bruce Chatwin's book “The Songlines”:
'Because gipsies', I said, 'also see themselves as hunters. The world is their hunting ground. Settlers are "sitting game". The gipsy word for "settler" is the same as the word for "meat".
Flynn turned to face me.
'You know what our people call the white man?' He asked.
'Meat,' I suggested.
'And you know what they call a welfare check?'
'Also meat.'
'Bring a chair,' he said.' I want to talk to you.'


No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Archive