Sunday, November 20, 2005

You know, it wasn’t all that long ago that people were not allowed to worship openly in this society


In my last, I mentioned Bush going to an officially-sanctioned Protestant church in China. There, he said this: “You know, it wasn’t all that long ago that people were not allowed to worship openly in this society. My hope is that the government of China will not fear Christians who gather to worship openly. A healthy society is a society that welcomes all faiths and gives people a chance to express themselves through worship with the Almighty.” This is curious. Not that he specifically mentions only Christianity and not, say, Tibetan Buddhism, which is obnoxious but typical. But what’s with the thing about worshipping openly, which he says twice? He surely knows that the majority of Christians in China, and especially, hello, Catholics, worship in underground churches, which he seems to be going out of his way not to endorse.

(Update: twice as many, according to the WaPo, and there’s been a recent upsurge of repression of underground Christians.)

But Boeing got to sell some planes to China, and Bush will be photographed mountain biking with Chinese Olympic athletes, and that’s the important thing. “The idea, [Bush aides] said, was to signal directly to the Chinese people that no matter what they hear from their government, Bush is not hostile toward their country.” That should reassure them. Wasn’t that what we told the Iraqi people before we, you know, invaded them?

“Oh man, all that effort in the Sixties to avoid Orientals with guns, but here they are...”

LA Times article on Russian moves to clamp down even further on NGOs.

The LAT also looks at one of Scalito’s death penalty cases, in which he said an incompetent/crappy defense (mitigating information was not put before the jury) was ok under the 6th Amendment as long as “counsel’s conduct falls within the wide range of reasonable professional assistance”. The Supreme Court overruled him. I was snickering earlier at a WaPo article quoting various Republican congresscritters bemoaning how Iraq was derailing other items on their Agenda of Eville, but it may also prevent D’s getting media attention on Alito, whose nomination could be derailed by his 1985 memo, if only (sigh) the media and the D’s were to keep up the pressure, which would require them to have a) balls, b) the ability to think about more than one issue at a time.

And your final must-read: the WaPo on the incompetence/waste/extortion/crappy quality/utter and complete chaos etc in American reconstruction projects in Afghanistan, you know, that other country we invaded, even before Iraq, only know no one’s even asking when our troops are leaving because not even 100 of them have been killed so far this year. Favorite sentence: “Locals tied a contractor to a tree in a pay dispute”.

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