Sunday, April 20, 2008

Pacifism enables thugs

thuglist: Hitler, Stalin, Saddam, The current Chinese communist party, Hezbollah....
The Mafia, your neighbourhood thug.

A good article about the illusory nature of pacifism:


To all those out there with the "Free Tibet!" stickers, here are a few facts that will help the world make sense:
  • There will always be bad people.
  • Bad people don't care about hurting good people. Appeals to shame, empathy and guilt don't work on them. That's why they're bad people.
  • Bad people respond to force. They don't like it and will change their behavior to avoid it.
  • Good people need to use force to stop the bad people from hurting other good people.
    It's not the same when a good person uses force to stop a bad person as when the bad person uses it to harm a good person.
  • Not letting good people use force against bad people encourages more bad behavior.
  • Good people using force against bad people should be encouraged. This will make the world a better place.

To all the pacifists out there who think guns are the problem, all the moral lightweights harping about the "cycle of violence", please remember:
Guns liberated Auschwitz and violence ended slavery. The world you "imagine" is not here on Earth but in the next life, and you're really gumming things up for the rest of us by confusing the two.

Free Tibet - Hell yes! But to whom do we send the weapons?

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Misery in Rural China: The Emperor has no clothes

I just came across a very detailed account of the miseries of millions of chinese people, and the not-so-hot economy, by a real journalist: the Frenchman Guy Sorman.

I remember saying a month or so ago, that I had the feeling that the arrogant Chinese authorities would have their come-upance in the Olympics.
They have already had some due to the Tibet protests, and I have a feeling all will not be well during the Olympics, what with incredible smog levels and such.
China has the most polluted cities in the world… an atrocious human rights record, and massive poverty in the countryside. There are regularly riots against corrupt or abusive local officials in the countryside; the locking out of 100 000s of AIDS sufferers due to blood transfusions; the 3000 killed in Tianamen square in the 90s; the concentration camps in the north with Falun Gong members and others tortured horribly; the cracking down on Tibet protests in the 90s (led by the current Chinese leader), which involved torturing of nuns using electric shock and beatings…
Not to mention the forced mass forced abortions and murder of new-borns due to the one-child policy.
Systematic censorship of internet forums, allowing no criticism of the govmt ;attempted blocking of websites such as BBC and CNN; students put in prison for 10 yrs for the crime of posting an opinion on an internet forum; a huge array of radio jamming towers to stop foreign radios being listened to…

What a shit place…what a shit government.

Quite illuminating. It’s hard for us spoilt westerners to imagine a country where you need a permit to work in another state, and where you can’t send your kids to schools outside your district….

From the stories I read, corruption on a local scale is endemic, as are arbitrary beatings (sometimes to death) by local police, for offences such as not paying taxes. Reporters without borders and amnesty intl. Websites have hundreds of detailed and depressing accounts of such events.

Full article:

The Empire of Lies
by Guy Sorman
The twenty-first century will not belong to China:


But China’s success is, at least in part, a mirage. True, 200 million of her subjects, fortunate to be working for an expanding global market, increasingly enjoy a middle-class standard of living. The remaining 1 billion, however, remain among the poorest and most exploited people in the world, lacking even minimal rights and public services. Popular discontent simmers, especially in the countryside, where it often flares into violent confrontation with Communist Party authorities. China’s economic “miracle” is rotting from within.

Riots against local authorities and such:

The government puts the number of what it calls these “illegal” or “mass” incidents—and they’re occurring in the industrial suburbs, too—at 60,000 a year, doubtless underreporting them. Some experts think that the true figure is upward of 150,000 a year, and increasing.
The uprisings are really mutinies, sporadic and unpremeditated. They express peasant families’ despair over the bleak future that awaits them and their children. Emigration from the countryside might be a way out, but it’s not easy to find a permanent job in the city. All kinds of permits are necessary, and the only way to get them is to bribe bureaucrats. The lot of the peasant migrant—and China now has 200 million of them—is to move from work site to work site, earning a pittance when payment is forthcoming at all. The migrants usually don’t receive permission to bring their families with them, and even if they could, obtaining accommodation and schooling for their children would be virtually impossible.
The Party’s primary concern is not improving the lives of the downtrodden; it seeks power more than it seeks social development. It expends extraordinary energy in suppressing Chinese freedoms—

The boy had gone, out of curiosity, to Tiananmen Square to watch pro-democracy student demonstrators seek a dialogue with the authorities. The world knows how Deng Xiaoping reacted: he ordered a massacre that cost 3,000 their lives, many of them barely adults. Ding Zilin was one of the few parents to recover the body of a child lost at Tiananmen. Most disappeared without a trace, their families never learning for sure whether they were dead or alive.

In 2004, the internationally esteemed economist sent a polite petition, signed by 100 fellow intellectuals, to the Chinese government, asking it to apologize for Tiananmen and thereby help bury the tragic past. He, too, lost his university position and wound up under house arrest.

Massive Aids infection due to contaminated blood:

having the blood, sans plasma but pooled with that of other donors, reinfused, absent HIV tests—a recipe for massive contamination. The AIDS sufferers of Henan are now dying in the hundreds of thousands, trapped in their impoverished villages with no one to care for them.
The government’s initial reaction was to deny any problem, isolate AIDS-affected areas, and let the sick die (a pattern that initially repeated itself when SARS broke out in the country).

Nazi-like forced abortions:

Villagers often told me that it wasn’t the local Party secretary whom they most hated but rather the family-planning agents. To ensure the proper implementation of China’s single-child policy (in some provinces, the limit is two children, if the first is a girl), the agents keep close watch on childbearing women, often subjecting them to horrific violence. In 2005, a family-planning squad targeted the city of Linyi and its surrounding rural area, in the Shandong Province, because the population had far exceeded the Party’s child quota. The agents kidnapped 17,000 women, forcing abortions on those who were pregnant—in some cases, immersing seven- to eight-month-old fetuses in boiling water—and sterilizing those who weren’t. The agents tortured the Linyi men until they revealed the hiding places of their daughters and wives.

Unemployement and mass inefficiency, nepotism

Many goods that China produces are worthless, Mao Yushi reminds me—especially those made by public companies. About 100,000 such Chinese enterprises continue to run in the old Maoist style, churning out substandard products because they’ve got to hit the targets that the Party sets and provide employment to those the Party cannot dismiss, not because they’re responding to any market demand. Most public-sector firms don’t even have real accounting procedures, so there’s no way of ascertaining profitability. “China is not a market economy,” Mao says bluntly.

The Party gives the banks lists of people to whom loans should go, and the rationale is frequently political or personal, not economic. Indeed, in many cases, banks are not to ask for repayment. That investment decisions obey political considerations and not the law of the market is the Chinese economy’s central flaw, responsible at least in part, Mao Yushi believes, for the large number of empty office buildings and infrequently used new airports and an unemployment rate likely closer to 20 percent than to the officially acknowledged 3.5 percent.

“Do you dare deny China’s success story, her social stability, economic growth, cultural renaissance, and international restraint?” Yan Yfan (a pseudonym) asks me, back in Paris. A scholar on the payroll of a Beijing foundation, an extension of the Party, he has the assignment to handle my case. I respond that political and religious oppression, censorship, entrenched rural poverty, family-planning excesses, and rampant corruption are just as real as economic growth in today’s China. “What you are saying is true, but affects only a minority yet to benefit from reforms,” he asserts.

Yet nothing guarantees that this so-called minority—1 billion people!—will integrate with modern China. It is just as possible that the “minority” will remain poor, since it has no say in determining its fate, even as Party members get richer. Yan Yfan underscores my fundamental error: “You don’t have any confidence in the Party’s ability to resolve the pertinent issues you have raised.” He’s right; I don’t.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

In the House of Pain Again

Mon 31 March and half of tuesday:

Hopefully the final chapter on my ruptured Appendix (see Jan 08 of this blog for the first one). Had keyhole surgery – 3 holes, they fill your lower abdomen with gas, stick in cameras, cutters, and snip off the appendix.

All went easily – they were concerned the appendix might be hard to get at, as the body tends to wall it off when it ruptures. Was out of hospital quickly, thank God

Guy opposite, ex-fisherman from Caloundra, came in about 11pm, was up a lot with pain – inflamed testicle area due to abcess, which would be drained today. Had a hard history – caught HepC via blood transfusion in 1989, before screening was properly put in place. Had quite a bit of character – working class battler. We talked of the silliness of no-smoking regulations( the 4m rule etc), I brought up the fact that 2nd hand smoking is now known to be harmless (latest research) , over-regulation in Australia: “the do-gooders have to find ways of justifying their jobs” as he says. Cars are probably the most dangerous weapons in Australia – but no-one has suggested they be banned. There is quite a bit of misunderstanding re risk: there is
What we call in the outdoor industry: “perceived risk” and “real risk”.
As an example: you are statistically safer climbing bolted sport-climbing routes than driving a car (much safer).

Always a bit of a soap going to hospital. Getting more used to having things stuck into me, but still not to happy about it. The staff was really good – doctors, nurses. Nurses have to keep up a cheerful working spirit to maintain competence and to counter the natural tendency to despair/depression/self-pity in hospitals. And they do a good job of it. I probably would be a fairly good nurse – might prefer the paramedic side of things. I know I’m good when the shit hits the fan during mountaineering situations, and have several times got myself and my climber partner(s) out of trouble.

It was good to be reminded about the house of pain. Always a humbling, earthing experience. And I can get into very procrastinating/lazy modes, when I’m not working on a specific task, such as on a kids camp. So it kind of jolts me out of that. And it certainly jolts you out of taking life for granted and putting things off for tomorrow.

For something to do, I picked up some Cleo magazines in the ward and read them.I Like reading Women’s magazines once in a while, because it gives me an insight into women’s minds and desires.. as do girly novels and films.

Also, I get to look at lots of classy girls in nice clothes, and get business tips from savvy entrepreneuresses. In another life, I am a designer or model manager like Yves St Laurent- I dress up beautiful women, nix bad designs and have models with their arms around me. I really liked “The devil Wears Prada” – a film with several levels – comedy, but also a message re getting ahead.

Jessica Alba is a yummy girly.
Read that Billie Ray Cyrus and family get articles on Britney Spears , Lindsay Lohan to show their daughter what to avoid. As I mentioned in an earlier post – I think that’s Britney’s divine mission (!) – to live a life of drugs, sex, hedonism with a multi-million dollar fortune, and be obviously very unhappy, for all the world to see, as a counter-example. It’s sad to see the former fit and sexy girl looking so trashy and ordinary.

Cyrus’s daughter plays the part of “Hannah Montana” -
Which I’ve seen briefly on TV. Quite a dynamic and healthy teen show
After so many trashy teens , boring and uncouth “neighbours” teens, and swearing 15 yr old girls in the street here in Aus, some US teen shows are a breath of fresh air. Pretty, pleasant and savvy – the girls have “quelque-chose” :“something”, sparkle, whereas a trashy teen/ girl in her 20s who swears and binge drinks has zero appeal. Take note, ladies, if you want to attract my attention….. and of other boys out there. Stand out of the crowd by having a bit of class and personality, even though it might be “cool” to be trashy.

Madonna, Christina Aguilera (victim of abuse) are good models of entrepreneurial female spunk. I remember listening to Madonna’s songs at parties, on the radio and TV when I grew up as a teenager in the 1980s… and thinking – “this is really good, this will be a hit in 10 years” (and they still are, 20years on). There’s so much dynamic energy in her songs – fitting for a girl who started of as a dancer and singer living out of a grimy apartment with rats in New York. Such a “New York” rags to riches story- beautiful. That’s one of the things I admire about the US – the whole atmosphere, remarks to you by people poor and rich, encouraged you to be the best you can be, rather settle for routine, or less – which is the European attitude.

My pulse varies from 54 to 63. Am told I have an athlete’s pulse – good to hear.