Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Very, very forceful. Very.

ndy headline: “Cannibal Denies Sexual Motive.” Oh good, so it’s not like he’s some sort of pervert, then.

Seymour Hersh on the US’s use of Operation Phoenix tactics in Iraq, secretly advised by Israel. “Preemptive manhunting,” indeed.

Bush tells Taiwan not to “provoke” China by holding a referendum asking it to stop pointing quite so many missiles at the “province.” Trust Bush to see things from the bully’s perspective. Taiwan did not immediately respond that it would not take advice from a renegade British colony. Amusingly, Bush criticized Taiwan’s actions as “unilateral.” Do as we say, not as we do. He didn’t actually mention the proposed referenda on missiles and sovereignty, because that would make explicit his rejection of the right of self-determination by the Taiwanese--in the same way that PM Wen talked about separatism under the “signboard of democracy”--but instead personalized his criticism against the “leader” of Taiwan.

Bush is buying into China’s representation of itself as so hyper-sensitive that it will go ape-shit if it doesn’t get its way all the time, in every excruciatingly explicit detail--no doubt the reason Bush couldn’t bring himself to use the Taiwanese president’s actual name in front of the Chinese prime minister. That princess and the pea thing has worked pretty well for China in getting other countries, especially the US, not to “provoke” it. According to White House officials, Bush was “very, very forceful” in warning off China from attacking Taiwan--in private; those who saw the public performance noted that Wen said that Bush opposed Taiwanese independence, which is not supposed to be US policy.

Repulsively, Wen cited Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War in support of his position.

Bush said, and I’m pretty sure these are the exact words he’s used before, “The United States policy is one China.” What’s that, a Zen koan? There are words missing from that sentence, without which it’s close to meaningless: US policy is (that there is) one China; US policy is (that there should be just) one China...

Governor Ahhnuld has decided not to investigate himself for groping women after all. Seems it isn’t necessary after all because “the people have spoken.” They’ve said “Ouch, stop pinching my ass.”

William Saletan points out that when Al Gore was “trailing in the Florida recount, [he] urged the nation to wait until all the votes were tallied,” but his endorsement of Dean is intended to short-circuit a democratic process that hasn’t even started yet.

Some are portraying Gore’s choice of Dean over Lieberman as a sign that Gore has moved left. Possibly, but let’s take him at his own words, from today: “All of us need to get behind the strongest candidate.” Pure cynicism. Indeed, he told the other candidates to shut up and stop criticizing Dean. “We can’t afford to be divided.” In other words, the great Al Gore has had his say, lesser mortals should now desist from expressing their views. If the other candidates took that advice, tonight’s debate must have been as dull as it is possible for any such event to be, unless of course Al Gore participated--that would make it duller. Arguably, Saletan’s condemnation of Gore for opening his mouth is the mirror image of Gore’s advice to the other candidates to shut up and slink away. And everyone imputes to Gore way more influence in the real world than he actually has.

I’m using more dashes and fewer parentheses today. Have you noticed?

From AP: “The Pentagon has formally barred companies from countries opposed to the Iraq war from bidding on $18.6 billion worth of reconstruction contracts.” The policy is in a memo from Paul Wolfowitz, which says it “is necessary for the protection of the essential security interests of the United States.” How does excluding Canadian companies protect US security, precisely?

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