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Bloggingheads
04-15-2008, 04:54 PM

Joel_Cairo
04-15-2008, 05:34 PM
I think we have a new winner for precision of expression on BhTV in Jane's articulate and elegant rebuttal of Erik here (http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/10189?in=00:33:45&out=00:33:54).

Well said, Jane, well said.

Wonderment
04-15-2008, 05:47 PM
Even though the contradiction in Erick's position is obvious -- that he condemns human rights violations in China while supporting US torture and mendacity-based preemptive war -- I think Jane is correct to commend him for his position on the Olympics, Tibet and the plight of religious minorities in China.

Progressives and conservatives should come together to protest human rights violations whenever possible, even if hypocrisy and double standards are evident.

At the end of the day, however, it is individuals and NGOs that will be most effective in reducing human rights violations, not heads of state.

Wonderment
04-15-2008, 05:49 PM
Aweswome, Joel! That is the best ding-a-link I've seen since your all-time-classic of Jonah Goldberg (http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/427?in=46:05&out=46:21) embodying compassionate conservatism.

gwlaw99
04-15-2008, 06:54 PM
It's amazing how many times Jane switches topics to prove the moral equivalency between the US and China. For example

First we as bad as China because China deliberately kills and imprisons civilians, while we sometimes mistakenly kill a civilian.

Then we are bad as the North Vietnamese because we used water boarding on three high level al-qaida leaders for 2 minutes or less. In case you are interested is just a few of the torture techniques used by the North Vietnamese, here is one article (http://www.aiipowmia.com/inter24/in150904captivity.html)to look over.

On the other hand, Erick needs to explain why he doesn't think water boarding is torture and not just assert it is so.

Both Erick and Jane need to back up their assertions regarding fault at Abu Graib.

bjkeefe
04-15-2008, 08:11 PM
After listening to Erick tell me how rosy the economy is, how more free trade will be great for everybody, how we all have been getting new and better jobs and moving to higher economic strata, how wonderful McCain will be, how great a job Bush has been doing, how Cheney could finish the term even better, and how swimmingly things are going in Iraq, I have only one question:

Where's my pony?

Compared to this guy, Michael Goldfarb has nuance.

Eastwest
04-15-2008, 08:34 PM
Wow. Where does BHTV come up with folks like Mr. Erickson?

It's because of the support of such folks that the US has lost all moral standing on the world stage whereby Bush's boycotting the Olympics wouldn't just be a source of international rolling-in-the-aisles gesticulating guffaws and laughter.

Perhaps he could be reminded that failure to read is functionally equivalent to being unable to read. That he could keep such deferential reverence for Cheney & his lies with such lock-step allegiance even now makes one wonder if he isn't third-generation home-schooled with a total adult erudition limited to past and present Cheney speeches.

And the functional equivalent of refusing to think? What's that other than a "Persistent Vegetative State"?

Stunning. Perfect specimen for Madame Tussaud's wax museum. Should be sculpted cradling in one hand a little cassette recorder constantly replaying a tape-loop of the pronouncement that torture is only torture if it involves organ failure (whilst clutching a Bible in the other hand).

Complete intracranial organ failure is torture. (Torture to have to listen to.)

Best pronouncement: "I don't really think water-boarding is torture...."

At least he's amiable about it. Makes him all the spookier, though.

EW

deecue
04-15-2008, 08:36 PM
hold on everyone....
aren't we all complicit in lots of ways in condoning a China's poor record on human rights? This might be a very strict moral interpretation, but when was the last time you bought anything from China? Was it recently? Let's step into the way-back machine. Don't have to? Oh yeah, it was, like, this morning? Right, right.
It looks as though, as a nation, we've got a real cognitive dissonance problem thinking about China's economics and their politics, that or we've totally compartmentalized the two things. Are we still going along with the Clinton premise for accepting China's WTO membership, that the continued progress of China into the modern world will moderate their politics? I'm not saying that this is not a good position, it's just that I want to know: have we all bought into that? Do we all still believe in that?
Our relationship with China is very complicated; we are very interwoven--globalization is not just a buzz-wordy trope, it's also true.
A boycott of the Olympics at this point is, imo, pure politics.
Hypocrisy is not okay.

David Thomson
04-15-2008, 08:45 PM
Free trade is endorsed by the vast majority of economists of both major political parties. But many of these individuals describing themselves as Democrats are cultural leftists and therefore keep their mouths shut during election time. Austan Goolsbee may be the quintessential example of this mindset. Allow me to be blunt: if they educate blue collar voters about the real value of free trade---the Democrats will win fewer elections. Also, the unions will donate a lot less money. Do you doubt what I say? If so, I encourage you to corner the next Democratic Party economist you know and ask them some hard questions. In private, they will agree with me. However, they will then beg you not to tell the hoi polloi in places like Ohio and Pennsylvania.

bjkeefe
04-15-2008, 09:28 PM
David:

I am aware that most economists favor free trade. I share that judgment -- over the long run, it will be for the greater good, especially considering the planet as a whole. But that doesn't have much to do with the point I was making, which was that it's a crock to pretend that free trade is immediately good for everybody, which is what Erick was pretty much saying. It is completely naive to expect that there won't be pain, localized devastation, and a corresponding backlash among those most disaffected. Some people have, and will continue to have, their lives ruined by a sudden change in the game.

It is also completely naive to say that one just needs to "educate blue collar voters about the real value of free trade." (And who's being elitist now? I might add.) A guy in his fifties who has lost a good factory job, the only one he's had since high school, may be able to acknowledge the greater good if he's an unusually open-minded sort, but meanwhile, his own position is that there aren't any other jobs in his area to replace what he lost. He also feels like he might be too old to start over, and/or to get more education, and/or to pick up stakes and move to a more booming region.

You're probably right that the unions aren't going to be first in line to cheer for NAFTA and the trend towards outsourcing. On the other hand, why should they? There's a lot of substance to some of their complaints; e.g., the lack of a level playing field for American workers competing against foreign workers. It's not just crass clutching for political power.

And what's so bad about unions wanting to maintain clout in the political process, anyway? For all of their warts, unions are the only thing standing in the way of an oligarchy. Most of us would have much worse working conditions were it not for unions' efforts in the past, and their weakening has cost us some of these gains. There's another piece, too: The decline in power of unions has corresponded with the increasing disparity in wealth over the past quarter-century. It's not the only cause, but it's a contributing factor.

And as far as politics go, so what if leading "Democratic economists" aren't going around the Rust Belt preaching the wonders of free trade? Why should they? We already have guys like Erick Erickson doing that. Probably, people would like a choice. I expect you would like there to be permanent GOP hegemony. I think the years 2001-2006 show how well that works.

The American government (whether controlled by Reps or Dems) has failed in two important regards in their eagerness to open up trade: First, they didn't try to ease the transition. Second, they have not allocated resources to help out those who were, and continue be, most hurt. Instead, elected representatives from both parties have been happy to do what their big-money donors have wanted and content to mouth platitudes to the rest of us.

You can argue that Democratic candidates are perhaps a little insincere in what they campaign on and what they believe, as far as free trade goes, and I'll agree, but don't try to tell me the GOP is any different. Well, actually they are -- they don't talk about it at all. Instead, they preach homilies about "family values" and tell fairy tales about how wonderful life is in America for the average Joe.

dankingbooks
04-15-2008, 10:45 PM
Wow! That's some lipstick! Better red than dead, I guess.

www.dankingbooks.com (http://www.dankingbooks.com)

graz
04-15-2008, 10:52 PM
[QUOTE=Eastwest;
At least he's amiable about it. Makes him all the spookier, though.
EW[/QUOTE]

I got the creeps at that point also... when I realized that he is completely earnest, not just "talking points."

bjkeefe
04-15-2008, 10:55 PM
We can always count on Dan King to elevate the discourse, can't we?

AemJeff
04-15-2008, 10:59 PM
Progressives and conservatives should come together to protest human rights violations whenever possible, even if hypocrisy and double standards are evident.

Yeah. What Wonderment said.

Glaurunge
04-15-2008, 11:38 PM
Free trade is endorsed by the vast majority of economists of both major political parties. But many of these individuals describing themselves as Democrats are cultural leftists and therefore keep their mouths shut during election time. Austan Goolsbee may be the quintessential example of this mindset. Allow me to be blunt: if they educate blue collar voters about the real value of free trade---the Democrats will win fewer elections. Also, the unions will donate a lot less money. Do you doubt what I say? If so, I encourage you to corner the next Democratic Party economist you know and ask them some hard questions. In private, they will agree with me. However, they will then beg you not to tell the hoi polloi in places like Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Dave, you're right about the free trade consensus among economists. However, what's left out of your econ 101 lecture is that the losers from trade are clearly identifiable and thus easy to empathize with. There are actual workers holding pink slips lined up at the unemployment office, and you can witness in real time their deteriorating standard of living.

The winners from trade are by and large anonymous, and there is no "free trade slip" handed out to recipients of the trade surplus. These workers, while no doubt existing, are almost impossible to pinpoint as individuals and can only be comprehended in the abstract.

Now, I think most value the life a known person over that of an unknown, hypothetical and abstract human being. Five abstract people who die randomly because of government policy are hugely different from the case where the Smith family down the street perishes when the government bulldozes their home to make way for a community parking lot.

So even if blue collar workers were "educated" on the value of free trade, it will still be hard for them to take solace in the abstract spoils of trade while the victims are right in front of them. This is to say nothing of what the actual victims themselves would feel.

Also, there are issues of morality to consider. The US would never sign a free trade agreement with a nation employing slaves, to take an extreme example. Well why then should it make free trade agreements with nations that execute labor organizers? How severely does a trade partner have to oppress and exploit its people before America stands up and says, "We refuse to be your accomplice in crime"?

Eastwest
04-15-2008, 11:39 PM
This whole conversation is distorted by a misperception of what actually genuinely constitutes "Free Trade."

"Free Trade" is not really "free" and such as should be forced in all cases on an economy unless it involves mutual adherence to consensus standards on:

Worker Wages (whereby a reasonable work week produces a reasonable living);

Worker Basic Hours and Overtime Standards;

Workers Rights genuinely allowing collective bargaining without fear of reprisal or summary job loss;

Workers physical protection from on-the-job injury via chemical exposures, hazardous work practices, etc.;

Workers care for any on-the-job injuries or toxic exposures sustained;


Once these sorts of consensus standards are established, then and only then can we talk about some sort of "equivalency" upon which "free and fair trade" might be conducted.

As it stands now, there's so much worker exploitation and oppression in third-world countries that "free trade" is a ridiculously deceptive term resulting in the driving of worker conditions in all countries down to the lowest possible level.

Hence "Free Trade" is a meaningless term. Where "free trade" involves provable flaunting of even the most minimal standards, countries should be free to deny reduced-duty entry of the offending countries products.

EW

Eastwest
04-15-2008, 11:42 PM
On Joel_Cairo's "Elegant Rebuttal" dingalink:

Wow. That really deserves entry into the "dingalink of the year" final four.

EW

JLF
04-15-2008, 11:51 PM
In your penultimate paragraph I would add a third item to your list: the failure to notice and take measures to offset the unequal playing fields that come from free trade. American workers are simply not going to be able to compete against Chinese and other third world workers in either the short or intermediate term. As high paying w/benefits jobs go overseas to be replaced by lower paying, no benefits jobs, government has to be the moderating influence because business sure as hell won't.

Eastwest
04-15-2008, 11:58 PM
On Deecue's:

aren't we all complicit in lots of ways in condoning a China's poor record on human rights?....

It looks as though, as a nation, we've got a real cognitive dissonance problem thinking about China's economics and their politics....

Are we still going along with the Clinton premise.... that the continued progress of China into the modern world will moderate their politics?

Although I can't go along with blaming this on Clinton, you're right. China is especially artful and technologically sophisticated to boot in the ubiquitousness of their nazi-like suppression of internal dissent (and, no, I'm not even talking about Tibet). I'm talking China-wide corruption of quality-control, product purity, and worker-protection standards, snuffing of dissent, strangling of all meaningful religious freedoms, viciously callous treatment of those not party to the new economy greed-fest, etc.

We are in effect enabling their human rights abuses.

It's almost impossible as a consumer to entirely avoid Chinese products. Still we can be very focused in refusing to buy them where there are alternatives, refusing to go there on vacations, refusing to give them any face where they haven't really earned it, etc.

brucds
04-16-2008, 12:37 AM
Gosh, Erick's a sweet guy. Nutty as a fruitcake, but likeable. I'm glad he was talking to the well-mannered daughter of a southern preacher and not some eltisit Hollywood liberal. Coulda gotten ugly given his penchant for weird, totally unsubstantiated opinions. Hope the bible study at his house goes well tonight.

Clamberite
04-16-2008, 03:00 AM
Why don't foreign companies locate here to save the shipping and costs that are inherent in delivering goods many thousands of miles farther than necessary, if they were located here? A rhetorical question. Here is my answer: They don't locate here because they can't compete here. If their workers had to pay the cost of living as our workers do, and if their companies had to comply with our laws and costs, the foreign companies couldn't make it. In a nutshell, they can only compete here by being over there. They couldn't compete if they were here. What this means is, our respective economies are competing. Not really the workers or the companies. Now if you apply market theory to economies competing, their economy will prevail. Therefore, we cannot compete with many of the countries we trade with and hence this explains a trade deficit of hundreds of billions of dollars, weakening our economy and eventually dragging us down to the economic level of these other countries.

StillmanThomas
04-16-2008, 03:18 AM
Kudos to Jane for trying to get in contact with Erick, who seems to have gone into orbit around some dark star in a galaxy far far away. It's becoming painfully obvious that it's no longer possible to reach these right wing cosmonauts in their alternate universe.

I've just been re-reading William L. Shirer's superb Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. Shirer lived in Nazi Germany from 1934 through the end of 1940. Here's what he says about that experience. "Often in a German home or office or sometimes in a casual conversation with a stranger in a restaurant, a beer hall, a cafe, I would meet with the most outlandish assertions from seemingly educated and intelligent persons. It was obvious that they were parroting some piece of nonsense they had heard on the radio or read in the newspapers. Sometimes one was tempted to say as much, but on such occasions one was met with such a stare of incredulity, such a shock of silence, as if one had blasphemed against the Almighty, that one realized how useless it was even to try to make contact with a mind which had become warped and for whom the facts of life had become what Hitler and Goebbels, with their cynical disregard for truth, said they were."

There is no way to reach the neocon thugs who have take over our country. They need a very black and white demonstration of their insanity, but they won't understand it when it comes. Nevertheless, I hope to see all of the leading lights of this administration indicted and tried for crimes against humanity by an international war crimes tribunal.

bjkeefe
04-16-2008, 03:23 AM
Bokonon:

Very well said, although I would amend this slightly:

There is no way to reach the neocon thugs who have take over our country. They need a very black and white demonstration of their insanity, but they won't understand it when it comes.

Isn't it already here? I don't know how much more black and white it could be than with Iraq and Afghanistan, yet still they sing, "The Surge Is Working! Hi ho, Hi ho!"

I am a little frightened by how bad something would have to be to get them to say, "Yeah, maybe."

Wonderment
04-16-2008, 03:59 AM
Hope the bible study at his house goes well tonight.

Inshallah.

Thus Spoke Elvis
04-16-2008, 11:26 AM
Will this inane talk about confronting China over Tibet ever cease? Does anyone actually believe China is going to recognize Tibetan independence? The chances of that are less likely than the United States ceding control over Hawaii.

I'm hardly an expert on Chinese culture and history, but I've read enough and talked to enough people in China to know that the country doesn't give a %$# what the West thinks about its human rights record. It's a civilization that has been around for over 5,000 years, and at multiple points it has been the most important. Most people in China believe that it will be in that position again sometime in the 21st century.

So when China hears a country that's been around for a few hundred years criticize its practices as obscene or antiquated, its reaction ranges from indifference to annoyance. When is the last time China meaningfully changed its internal human rights practices in the face of significant external criticism? I'm at a loss thinking of an example.

Further, I'm not sure what exactly the U.S. gains by alienating China through some stupid gesture like Bush boycotting the Olympics. The utter failure of the communist ideology has caused the Chinese ruling party to increasingly rely on nationalism to keep the country unified under its leadership. U.S. attempts to "shame" China feed the government's proganda grinder, and are held up as examples of the West trying to keep China from reclaiming its rightful role as the maker of its own destiny.

In case people are forgetting, Chinese investment is the only thing keeping our currency from collapsing. They've dramatically improved their conventional military capabilities in the past decade, and that, combined with economic investment in other countries, has made them a significant hegemon in Asia. If they want to, they can place us in a very bad position -- if not now, then in the relatively near future. Simply put, they're not a country I'd want to piss off on account of something so inconsequential as Tibet.

deebee
04-16-2008, 03:06 PM
In a recent back and forth regarding who is out of touch, McCain used Obama's comment to Iowa farmers and a retort to Hillary to counter that Obama "worries about the price of arugula and thinks that you hunt ducks with a six-shooter". Clever and petty, but also illustrative of a perception that elitism relies more on demeanor and attitude than on biography, wealth or personal connections.

The last 7 1/2 years make it clear that we need an engaged intelligent White House resident, but everyone also wants see a part of themselves in that person. It's no coincidence that Obama's prime support comes from the black and academic communities -- and despite personal wealth and Hilton Head conferences the Clintons and McCain somehow come across as more down-home to many of those who resent being stereotyped by Obama in such a detached professorial way, ala his "typical white person" remark. What's more telling is that according to his aides Obama just doesn't get that he just insulted a wide swath of the electorate.

Wonderment
04-16-2008, 04:03 PM
Simply put, they're not a country I'd want to piss off on account of something so inconsequential as Tibet.

Germany: Jews.

Israel: Palestinians.

USA: Negroes.

etc., etc., etc.

Thus Spoke Elvis
04-16-2008, 04:25 PM
Germany: Jews.


When China starts rounding up and gassing millions of native Tibetans, please get back to me.


75% of the world's population gets treated like dirt by their government. If we don't pick and choose our battles carefully, life can get a whole lot more miserable for the remaining 25% of us, too. If you want to pick a fight with China, you best be sure it's for something worth fighting and suffering for. Tibet ain't it.

Thus Spoke Elvis
04-16-2008, 04:36 PM
We can always count on Dan King to elevate the discourse, can't we?

C'mon, all Dan did was announce what all of us were thinking.

While we're on the subject of the diavloggers' appearance, Jane totally looks like a bleached-out version of former Go-Go Jane Wiedlin (http://youtube.com/watch?v=P4ZHP4HbA2M). And I very much mean that as a compliment.

bjkeefe
04-16-2008, 04:51 PM
Elvis:

C'mon, all Dan did was announce what all of us were thinking.

I'm not sure I agree, but in any case, that doesn't mean it's appropriate to give voice to every random thought. I think most of us in this forum agree that commenting on a woman's appearance in the manner that Dan did is beneath the level of discourse that we'd like to maintain.

Well, maybe I shouldn't project. But certainly I felt that way.

Wonderment
04-16-2008, 05:02 PM
Well, maybe I shouldn't project. But certainly I felt that way.

I agree. It was a contemptible and gratuitous sexist remark.

Thus Spoke Elvis
04-16-2008, 05:37 PM
I think you two are being a bit too uptight. First, most people like to be complimented about their appearance, and that's how I interpreted Dan's comments. Secondly, Jane chose that lipstick for the simple reason that she thought it looked good on her (I may disagree with her politics, but she's unquestionably right on this subject). I see no reason why we can't compliment her style, just as we occassionally compliment a male diavlogger for the tie that he wears (e.g., David Corn) or for his kick-ass hair (e.g., Will). Bloggingheads is a visual medium.

Third, I'd reserve my criticism for commenters who criticize a diavlogger on account of his or her personal attributes...some of which the diavlogger has little control over. For example, I've read plenty of comments knocking diavloggers for their head size, weight, hair style, clothing, or for the sound of their voice. I think those sort of comments are much more bothersome than those complimenting a diavlogger's sense of style. In fact, even if you interpreted Dan's comments as insulting (which I didn't), they pale in comparison to some of the comments about a diavlogger's appearance that have been made in the past.

Wonderment
04-16-2008, 05:56 PM
I see your point. But when a poster's sole comment about a discussion is to joke about a female speaker's lipstick choice, I suspect the hue is really scarlet sexist, a shade brighter than mauve misogynist.

bjkeefe
04-16-2008, 06:16 PM
Elvis:

I take your points. I agree with most of them. In an ideal world, I would agree with all of them: I think there ought not be anything wrong, in principle, with making a positive remark about someone's appearance. I also grant the certainty that Jane made decisions in light of her awareness that she would be appearing on camera.

However, there's a real problem in deciding what comes off as a unfettered compliment, especially when directed at a woman whose principle reason for appearing has to do with something other than the way she looks, and also taking into account the source of the original remark. (Hint: review some of his other comments and read his book excerpt on Amazon.)

Maybe I'm uptight about this in general, and probably this specific instance is not worth making a big deal about. Nonetheless, this seems like one of those areas where it just seems more sensible to err on the side of restraint. It's a less than wonderful aspect of our society that we have to tread carefully in certain areas, and that we expect certain subgroups to exercise more self-censorship when referring to other subgroups, but the reality is, we do. There's just too much baggage floating around.

I've gone on too long about this already. Let me just leave it at this: my immediate reaction was to find the remark unnecessary and borderline offensive, and my instinct was to nip it in the bud. I might be wrong, or I might have overreacted, but I just didn't feel that the remark had a place on this board.

thouartgob
04-16-2008, 06:48 PM
...

Further, I'm not sure what exactly the U.S. gains by alienating China through some stupid gesture like Bush boycotting the Olympics. The utter failure of the communist ideology has caused the Chinese ruling party to increasingly rely on nationalism to keep the country unified under its leadership. U.S. attempts to "shame" China feed the government's proganda grinder, and are held up as examples of the West trying to keep China from reclaiming its rightful role as the maker of its own destiny.

In case people are forgetting, Chinese investment is the only thing keeping our currency from collapsing. They've dramatically improved their conventional military capabilities in the past decade, and that, combined with economic investment in other countries, has made them a significant hegemon in Asia. If they want to, they can place us in a very bad position -- if not now, then in the relatively near future. Simply put, they're not a country I'd want to piss off on account of something so inconsequential as Tibet.

Shorter version "what Tibet ?? " or "Dead Tibetans= More Soylent Green". Maybe we should assassinate the Dali Lama to assuage our Chinese masters :-)

I also think, based on the logic above, that we would be very foolish to prattle on about Taiwan as well. Sure Taiwan is more important to us but in the end if the chinese want it they will get it.

Tibet or the suffering of their population isn't inconsequential. I think it is more accurate to say there is not much that we can do about it. Since there are plenty of countries, not just the United States, that find the practices of chinese govt. criminal I would suggest just listening to that enemy of the state the Dali Lama since as as far as I know he hasn't called for any boycott.

Thus Spoke Elvis
04-16-2008, 07:16 PM
I also think, based on the logic above, that we would be very foolish to prattle on about Taiwan as well. Sure Taiwan is more important to us but in the end if the chinese want it they will get it.

Not at all. I'm saying that we need to pick and choose our battles, assesing the costs and benefits of confrontation. In the case of Tibet, there's very little benefit -- China doesn't listen to our criticisms, and certainly isn't going to liberate Tibet. There's also significant potential costs to pissing off China.

It's both easier and more beneficial for the United States to maintain support for Taiwan. Unlike in the case of Tibet, China doesn't exercise de facto control over the island, making it easier for us to defend Taiwan. Taiwan is also an important trading partner for the United States. Additionally, our quasi-commitments to Taiwan's defense have given their democratic institutions the time necessary to develop and become ingrained in the Taiwanese culture (Taiwan has been a functioning democracy for less the two decades). When Taiwan and China inevitably reunify, China will likely have to make significant concessions to Taiwan regarding their cultural autonomy. I can also imagine the addition of a new, democratic province to China having a significant impact upon the country's culture as a whole. It's in U.S. interests to maintain Taiwan's security until reunification is appealing to both the ROC and PRC. That being said, I certainly wouldn't be willing get in a full-scale war with China over Taiwan.

Wonderment
04-16-2008, 07:38 PM
When China starts rounding up and gassing millions of native Tibetans, please get back to me.

What sounded genocidal was the choice of words to describe the atrocities: inconsequential.

thouartgob
04-16-2008, 07:39 PM
... Additionally, our quasi-commitments to Taiwan's defense have given their democratic institutions the time necessary to develop and become ingrained in the Taiwanese culture (Taiwan has been a functioning democracy for less the two decades). When Taiwan and China inevitably reunify, China will likely have to make significant concessions to Taiwan regarding their cultural autonomy. ...

These are distinctions without differences. Our commitments, quasi or otherwise are merely bluffs that we believe the chinese are not likely to call. As for reunification with benefits, to paraphrase you, I don't see how if Tibet is dealt with mercilessly, why Taiwan would get any better treatment ?

Thus Spoke Elvis
04-16-2008, 08:14 PM
These are distinctions without differences. Our commitments, quasi or otherwise are merely bluffs that we believe the chinese are not likely to call. As for reunification with benefits, to paraphrase you, I don't see how if Tibet is dealt with mercilessly, why Taiwan would get any better treatment ?

Because the situations are totally different. China has had Tibet for over 50years. China gains nothing from changing Tibet's status to a more autonomous one. What could Tibet possibly offer China as a bargaining chip to make the deal worthwhile?

On the other hand, China gains an enormous amount, not simply economically but also psychologically, from getting Taiwan to accept reunification. And because they want Taiwan so badly, they're willing to make concessions to Taiwanese autonomy that they wouldn't do with any other province. This isn't my analysis, this is me repeating the uniform opinion of every expert on Sino-Taiwanese relations I've read, as well as news reports regarding Chinese overtures to Taiwan to begin reunification talks.

What's to stop China from changing their mind about Taiwan's status after reunification? Well, even the PRC have laws, and the legal rules ensuring Taiwan autonomy would likely be some of the hardest to change -- that would be a sticking point in reunification talks. Further, China doesn't want to mess with the good thing that Taiwan has going economically, so it's not in the PRC's interest to be intrusive (allowing Tibet to remain autonomous wouldn't have compatible economic benefits). For the most part, China has respected Hong Kong's autonomy, and Taiwan is in a much, much better bargaining position.

thouartgob
04-16-2008, 11:21 PM
...
Further, China doesn't want to mess with the good thing that Taiwan has going economically, so it's not in the PRC's interest to be intrusive (allowing Tibet to remain autonomous wouldn't have compatible economic benefits). For the most part, China has respected Hong Kong's autonomy, and Taiwan is in a much, much better bargaining position.

I agree that Tibet offers them nothing and they are going to do what they are going to do. Taiwan is a rogue state unlike Hong Kong, whose transfer of sovereignty as hashed out in 84. In that case a "western power" entered into an agreement and China will abide by the terms (for the most part ). If Taiwan accepts reunification without the threat of force then they might indeed get a similar deal to hong kong but I don't see them as having a better hand than Hong Kong did. Taiwan is essentially alone. Hong Kong had no military to speak of but taiwan does and china would have to occupy taiwan for years at least (christ I don't know how long but it ain't overnight).

Taiwan could be taken by force and there would be consequences ( taiwan might fight back and/or china gets a black eye in the international press ) but really if china decides that it has had enough it might indeed take the chance. Besides anything in taiwan has can be replicated by china, over time. Hong Kong has been around for centuries, with assets that western powers really care about.

jh in sd
04-16-2008, 11:42 PM
Quoting bjkeefe-'"commenting on a woman's appearance....is beneath the level of discourse..."

Hey, if I were having a bad lipstick day, I'd want someone to let me know.
Take a joke.

Happy Hominid
04-17-2008, 12:45 AM
Obama sneers down his nose at Erick (http://www.bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/10189?in=00:12:51&out=00:14:02).

Really? REALLY?

This campaign, like all campaigns, like the American people, like the main stream media - is a joke.

OK, Obama is an intellectual. EXACTLY! That's what this country needs. Someone who is smarter than I am. Some one smarter than Average Joe, who took offense at what Obama said. We are finishing 8 years of a guy that Average Joe would love to have a beer with. We don't need THAT as a President.

Listen to Obama. You may disagree with him on any number of policy issues. That's fine. In fact, I look forward to the day when it's actual ISSUES that Average Joe cares about.

But do you really think he's a guy looking down at you? REALLY? That's the best you can do in figuring someone out? I don't think you have credibility as a commentator on politics if that IS the best you can do.

bjkeefe
04-17-2008, 03:03 AM
Hey, if I were having a bad lipstick day, I'd want someone to let me know.

I'm sure you would. If that someone were in the room with you and made the observation in private. That's not the same thing as people who don't know you commenting on your appearance in a public forum when the time when you could do anything about it has passed.

Thus Spoke Elvis
04-17-2008, 09:59 AM
The enormous costs arising from the forceful reunification of Taiwan and the mainland are the reason why it's definitely the option of last resort. China occassionally has done some saber-rattling when Taiwan has given signals that it might one day seek independence, but it has been doing that less than it did a decade ago. The desire among the Taiwanese populace for formal independence has waned. A growing number of Taiwanese wouldn't have any problem with reunification, so long as they could maintain their way of life. China's largely willing to make that concession.

Thus Spoke Elvis
04-17-2008, 10:10 AM
What sounded genocidal was the choice of words to describe the atrocities: inconsequential.

There is no comparison between the current situation in Tibet and the Holocaust, unless you equate authoritarian abuse with genocide. If the mistreatment of Tibetans is so terrible as to require the United States to change its foreign policy towards China, even though that change would certainly be to the detriment of U.S. and global economic and security interests, then the U.S. would presumably also have to change its foreign policy towards a significant number of Asian, Eastern European, African, and Middle Eastern countries who have treated segments of their population in a similarly harsh manner. That position is simply not tenable.

TwinSwords
04-17-2008, 04:11 PM
(Hint: review some of his other comments and read his book excerpt on Amazon.)
Oh good Lord. I just looked up his book on Amazon and read the first few preview pages.

My reactions are LOL and wow.

If anyone else is curious, go here (http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/1877053198/ref=sib_dp_pt#reader-link).

From the back cover: Like his protagonist, Dan King is a university professor somewhere in the United States. He has been a sex tourist and enjoyed the experience. He won't tell you anything else because that might have him lose his job.

jh in sd
04-18-2008, 03:00 PM
bj, It is sweet of you to come to the defense of Jane and her lipstick choice, and it's nice to know that chivalry is not dead. Someone poked fun at Jim Pinkerton's funky hair, and he came back with a fetching new haircut. I don't recall you springing to his defense. Maybe we'll see a less distracting shade on Jane's lipstick-covered mouth in her next diavlog.

bjkeefe
04-18-2008, 04:33 PM
jh:

... It is sweet of you to come to the defense of Jane and her lipstick choice, and it's nice to know that chivalry is not dead. Someone poked fun at Jim Pinkerton's funky hair, and he came back with a fetching new haircut. I don't recall you springing to his defense.

As I said, or at least alluded to, elsewhere on this topic, in an ideal world I'd agree with you. However, here in our imperfect world, there is baggage associated with commenting on a woman's appearance. This is especially true on the Web.

While I don't think the remark to which I responded originally was particularly heinous, it just seemed like something that ought to be discouraged. It seemed inappropriate in and of itself, and I also had hopes of nipping a potentially distasteful thread in the bud.

I don't remember the comment about Jim's hair. Either I didn't read it or I read right over it. I agree that, in the abstract, such a remark could be regarded as similarly pointless. In reality, it's a lot more loaded to comment on a woman's appearance when we're supposed to be commenting on her ideas. Because of the nature of our society, it's just different for men and women in this regard, that's all there is to it. To deny this is disingenuous.

jh in sd
04-18-2008, 06:11 PM
bj, I am not denying it; i am bemoaning it. I would not like it if anyone were afraid to say ANYTHING to me because of my being female. If you had jumped to Jane's defense as an individual rather than a woman, it would has sat better with me.

bjkeefe
04-18-2008, 07:25 PM
jh:

I am not denying it; i am bemoaning it. I would not like it if anyone were afraid to say ANYTHING to me because of my being female.

Very well put. Believe it or not, I completely agree with you. I certainly would not want you to be coddled, especially when responding to your expressed thoughts. And I, too, would like not to have to restrain myself from saying complimentary things about the appearance of our diavloggers. I must also admit that I've had to resist the temptation to make a few jokes, as well.

If you had jumped to Jane's defense as an individual rather than a woman, it would has sat better with me.

Another good point, although I agree with this more in the abstract -- dealing with the individual is far better than making statements about whatever groups that individual might happen to belong to, as a guiding principle. In this case, however, I think my view of this as a general matter pertains. I was not looking to "defend" Jane specifically. I was reacting to something that, to my mind, matters more as a general rule.

To give another example, if someone said about, say, John McWhorter, "That boy makes a good point," I would be strongly inclined to respond with criticism, even while letting slide the same statement made about a white male diavlogger. I would not be "defending" John, per se; I would be reacting to a characterization that I believe should not be used by white people when referring to black men. Not everything is equal, unfortunately, and until things are, I think awareness of context in support of preserving decorum is important.

I acknowledge that political correctness can go too far, and maybe I'm guilty of so transgressing in this case. It is just my sense, however, that such offhand remarks don't add much, and risk detracting a lot, so I'd like to see them avoided.

jh in sd
04-19-2008, 02:04 AM
bj, I do agree with you that criticism of the "heads" appearance is not relevant, but I don't think in this case it was done with any malice intended. Personally, I try not to take offense where none is intended, but this is often easier said than done. Red lipstick is a hard trick to pull off for most women, but it is dynamite if it works; unfortunately it doesn't work for a lot of us.

bjkeefe
04-19-2008, 03:34 AM
jh:

Noted. I think we've both made our positions clear on this, and I don't think we're going to get to complete agreement. But we're pretty close, and I think I've done enough scolding for one thread.

Thanks for your thoughts.

dankingbooks
04-19-2008, 11:03 PM
I posted the original "sink ships" remark. It's generated a lot of comment, which for an off-hand, mostly irrelevant comment, is quite a compliment. Just goes to show...

Anyway, I'll make the following points:

1. My comment was a compliment. I try to be polite & never to insult people. I do think Jane looked cute - sorry.

2. If one can't comment on appearance, then why is it Bh.tv, as opposed to, say, Bh.radio?

3. My comment is no more sexist than Jane's choice of lipstick is sexist.

4. It is true - I am the author of a dirty book - a semi-critical look at prostitution called Naked in Haiti: A Sexy Morality Tale about Tourists, Prostitutes & Politicians. You can buy a copy of your very own at http://www.dankingbooks.com. I will say, undoubtedly to Bob Wright's dismay, that plugging dirty books on Bh.tv is not an effective marketing strategy. So I comment here because I find Bh.tv interesting as opposed to useful. But having said that, my dirty book is a lot better than most other dirty books, i.e., it is worth reading. So please buy it. And Thank You.