Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Random Stuff

I just came back from two weeks in China. (Thats why I haven't "blogged" in a while.)

So here are some random thoughts that have accumulated.

1) China is big and booming and modern and bleak and totalitarian and chaotic and rich and poor. It the U.S.A. in 1901. It the up and coming world power. Its blowing the hell out of the environment.

2) While I was there I was aware that the following world leaders came to visit Beijing: The Admiral of the U.S. Pacific Command, the Foreign Minister of South Korea, the Foreign Minister of Germany, the Prime Minister of England, and the Prime Minister of India. That was in two weeks, and that was only what I caught wind of on the English Language T.V. station.

3) In one hotel we got 200 T.V. stations (all Chinese, though some had U.S. shows dubbed into Chinese), internet, and NO HEAT. (They don't heat in half of China because its "never cold" - except it is cold. It was around zero degrees Celsius and snowing.

4) Chinese food in China is GREAT. But watch out for the high proof Chinese rice "wine".

5) While there I heard a speech (with translations) by the Chinese President to Communist Party cadre, urging them to improve communications and tend to the spiritual needs of the people. I though that was interesting. What do ubber-capitalist communists know or think about spiritual needs? Or maybe it was some sort of translation error.

On other notes:

What about those Gazans!! Good for them for breaking out and into Egypt. They don't deserve to be cooped up in Gaza like chickens in a coop. This display of people power may disturb and scare both Israel and Egypt, but peoples interests should always come before those of nations or states. On the strategic front thsi blew the hell out of Israel's stupid (and immoral) siege policy. Not only did it not cow the Gazan'a it empowered them. Now they are going to feel more defiant and more anti-Israel than before siege. When is Israel going to learn that it cannot impose its political will (even if that will is reasonable) by force. Israels military is needed for defense (and it is mostly effective in this regard) but it can never succeed - by itself - in creating diplomatic or political progress. How about trying sincere negotiations?

BTW here is an interesting video clip of Israeli citizens peace activists) in convoy of food relief to Gaza. It is mostly in Hebrew, but hopefully interesting to non-Hebrew speakers as well. The first speaker (in the white jacket) is Uri Avneri - 80 year old peace movement icon. Later in the film you can see Jeff Halpern (bald guy with check jacket) of ICAHD speaking in English.

To change subjects again, John Edwards, my second favorite candidate for the U.S presidency Mike Gravel - see here - was my real favorite) dropped out of the race today. I found his concession speech quite moving and sincere. How is it we have moved so far from the days of the "War on Poverty". Its not as if we ever won that war. It just shows how much to the right the the centre of political gravity in the U.S (and Canada too) has moved in 40 years.

Well now it between Hillary and Obama for the good guys. Which is sort of like tweedle dum and tweedle dee - except, of course, on the symbolic level. I challenge anyone to tell me what the substantial policy differences between them are.

But that all might not matter anyway. Polls show that John McCain would beat either if the election where held today. So we can probably look forward to many more years of U.S involvement in Iraq, and no universal health care for Americans. On the other hand, he doesn't beat his dog, and he is somewhat reasonable on immigration. BTW I have bet $34 on McCain to be the next President.

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