Saturday, June 30, 2012

"Addressing U.S.-China Strategic Distrust."

Alright fine, I'll read this...


I should have read this a long time ago...


Important...




F****** Chinese!...Why are they so stupid...kick their a***...God they're exasperating...
















I KNEW I shouldn't have read this...




Oh God...F****** Americans, why are we so stupid...Dec of Ind...Pennsylvania...Exasperating...








WHY did I pick this up...


It's not as bad as with the Soviets...


This should be doable...


IS this doable...I don't know if that is wise...That's it?....Maybe this isn't doable...Damn Chinese.






This is from the Brookings Institute. I wrote a post on it a few months ago based on a summary in a New York Times article. The Times article was accurate as far as it went. I have now read the monograph itself.
The monograph is important because it gives a candid look at how PRC leaders think of the U.S. Kenneth Lieberthal and Wang Jisi are the co-authors. The finished product resembles the Shanghai Communique with each author writing a separate section on his government's views of the other with no co-editing.


Distrust is more pronounced among Chinese leaders than among American leaders. Chinese (typically) blame their distrust on the Americans, on American "policies, attitude, and misperceptions," according to Wang. Typically, Chinese distrust is rooted in history, in the founding of the PRC in 1949 and going back to 1900 and the "Century of Humiliation." They do not get over things...Zhou Enlai REPEATEDLY brought up Dulles' handshake snub with Kissinger and Nixon. Chinese distrust has DEEPENED in recent years.  How could that be?  Why would they be MORE distrustful of America after thirty years of contact and trade?  Because they are paranoid (Wang doesn't say that) and have a bone in their brain (or that).  Wang says the reasons for the distrust are, inter alia, human rights, that every time the Americans raise that subject the Chinese see it as interference in their internal affairs and interference in their internal affairs is one prong of an American conspiracy "to prevent China from becoming a great global power."  Every bilateral disagreement or negotiating point is viewed as part of this American conspiracy:

-A strong dollar: part of the American conspiracy for world domination.

-A weaker dollar: American attempts to get China to allow the Renminbi to rise in value against the dollar are viewed by Chinese as "unreasonable."

-The weaker dollar caused by the 2008 financial crisis: "Kidnapping," "cheating," "stealing," "plundering," "irresponsible."  Why?...How?...Because, see, since China bought (not "was forced to buy," bought) strong-dollar U.S. Treasury securities China lost money in the financial crisis. But, China continues to buy them, is practically being forced to continue to buy them because China's leaders "see few alternatives."

-Bush41 Iraq War over Kuwait: For oil. Number of oil fields seized by America in war: zero.

-Bush43 Iraq War: Ditto. And Ditto.

-Arab Spring: "U.S. sympathies" for the protesters part of longstanding U.S. conspiracy of "peaceful evolution" against communist countries like China.

-Libya, Syria 2011-12: "Western" intervention (to enforce a U.N. resolution) "perturbed" China. Current "U.S. schemes" (Wang's term) calculated to be to China's detriment.

-U.S. counter-terrorism generally: Done simply to expand American influence.

-Global warming: This is one of my favorites. Chinese leaders agree with American right-wingers that global warming is a myth.  Why do they believe that, or what is the consequence of that belief?:  it's a scientific myth perpetrated by Americans to get China to cut greenhouse gas emissions because the Americans want to deprive China of the use of its coal for its economy. China really does see economics as a zero-sum game as both authors note.

-Chinese attacks on Google: Google was "inflaming anti-government sentiment among China's netizens" so American support of Google was interference...Yeah.

-Liu Xiaobo Nobel Prize: "Orchestrated" by U.S.

-Dalia Lama: U.S. support of and sympathy...interference. With every American human rights effort "Leading Chinese observers continue to view U.S. policy toward China as aimed to 'Westernize' and 'divide' the country."

-North Korea: U.S. fault.

-Better U.S. relations with India, Vietnam: Both threats to China because China fought wars with both (American Vietnam War doesn't count; close Indian ties with former Soviet Union don't count).

It just goes on and on. Everything America does--and doesn't do--is seen as a threat to China.

The 2008 financial crisis, and the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis did not make China's leadership skittish about Deng Xiaoping's paradigm shift to capitalism, they emboldened the leadership, according to Mr. Wang. The Center now believes that China presents a competing authoritarian model to democratic capitalism to the world, "The China Model" or the "Beijing Consensus."  This is the Chinese historic arrogance, the flip side of their fear. America, the Center believes, lacks confidence and "competence," a much-used term here recently. China has achieved on its own: "Chinese leaders do not credit these successes to the United States or to the U.S.-led world order...In the past when they respected America for its affluence and prowess it [i.e. America] was somewhat credible...; now this nation is no longer that awesome, no is it trustworthy..."


"In the past."  China's leaders today do not even respect America!  Astonishing.


The astonishing attitudes of the "New" confident, competent China date from 2008 according to Mr. Wang, the year of the Beijing Olympics and the world financial crisis. And one more thing in 2008, the election of Barack Obama, a black man, to the presidency of the United States. Given these three things from 2008 it is  no wonder America lacks confidence and competence. Americans know they are in decline compared to China.  This is how Mr. Wang summarizes the thinking of Chinese leadership:

"The rise of China, with its sheer size and very different political system, value system, culture, and race, must be regarded in the United States as the major challenge to its superpower status."


They think we think China is our main challenger because of China's "size, political system, values, culture, race."

"Many" Chinese people, not just the leaders, according to Mr. Wang, expect new, confident, competent China to have a more "can-do" (his term) foreign policy. With this I retract my prediction that the Chinese people will resist any foreign military assertiveness by their government.


Both Mr. Lieberthal and Mr. Wang point to certain international flashpoints in Asia that could lead to a military confrontation between America and China. Taiwan is one.  For ten years this page has taken the position that America should cut loose from Cold War-inspired treaties and alliances: NATO, for instance. Instead, NATO has been expanded.  Taiwan is another. Taiwan is one proof that Chinese can be democratic. Democracy is one of America's deeply held values. The United States government and its people have deep respect, affection for and commitment to the Taiwanese Chinese. The United States also recognizes the unity of Taiwan and the People's Republic. Yet...yet, the U.S. continues to sell advanced military equipment to Taiwan. Thus when the PRC decides to unite Taiwan and the "mainland" politically, that is forcibly, American leaders will either defend Taiwan militarily, or back down. This was folly ten years ago, 30 years ago, today. America does not have will, nor the strategic interest to engage in a military conflict with the PRC across the Taiwan Strait, for godssakes. If war is to come between China and America, America must fight where it has the will and when it's national security is at stake. America should stop selling military equipment to Taiwan.

The Philippines are another potential flashpoint. America has a 1951 military treaty with the Philippines, relations between the two countries go back to the beginning of the 20th century. China has been testing this relationship recently in a territorial dispute. America has an interest in the sea lanes, in the natural resources in the South China Sea; America's national security is not at stake. The treaty should be abrogated, should long have been abrogated,  America should not put itself in a position of having to defend the Philippines against China.

President Obama's "Pacific Pivot."  Taiwan, the Philippines--and Vietnam, Myanmar, Korea--are flashpoints more so now because the president has shifted American military attention from the Middle East to the Western Pacific, which is now a "vital region for its future" according to Mr. Lieberthal's section on American thinking.  Meanwhile the People's Liberation Army wants to limit foreign military involvement in what it terms the "near seas." Okay, if we shift from the Middle East to the Far East what is next, an interstellar pivot? America should pivot back to the Atlantic.

China is giving indications it is preparing to come closer to America to fight a war, according to Mr. Lieberthal. China's military has given top priority to adding attack capabilities specifically targeting American "military platforms," i.e. satellites and aircraft carriers. China has also been actively engaging in cyber warfare against U.S. government and private entities. Those actions are the product of China's arrogance. Chinese leaders are deeply overreaching here and deeply underestimating America's ability, and will, to fight back. This is the ground on which America will go to war with China, and win. We should let China "pivot" to cyberspace.

Lieberthal and Wang jointly wrote the concluding section, "Building Strategic Trust." They italicize that they are not making specific recommendations, just suggesting some "ideas." One is to encourage direct Chinese investment in America, like Toyota has, for example. I would make that a specific recommendation, I don't know why they wouldn't or why anyone would object. American companies have long set up shop in China. It would, as they say, build trust on both sides, by letting Americans see that Chinese can be good employers, by letting Chinese see what the attitudes of the American people are. Another idea is sort of the reverve, to have America sell advanced technology to China (rather than have them steal it). The Obama administration has indicated from the beginning that they would do that, according to the authors, and failure to deliver by the November elections would add to China's view of the U.S. as untrustworthy. The authors also suggest that the U.S. should make its intentions clearer to China in international situations like those discussed above. The Americans are not going to do that, we're pivoting toward the Pacific instead.

As America pivots toward the Pacific it is encountering a competent, relevant regime that shares none of its values and distrusts everything it does. China is paranoid, the definition of which is irrational fear. I retract my assertion that Chinese would not sneak attack America because they are rational. With Chinese attitudes being as deep and multi-faceted as Mr. Wang lays out, the ideas suggested by the authors stand paltry chance of changing them. The Chinese attitudes are just, plain wrong.

Friday, June 29, 2012



The image above is an example of minimalism in interior decorating. A lot of white. This was the "look" I consciously intended for that post. See?  
You're welcome.
Yesterday's post on the United States Supreme Court's ruling on Obamacare was written in the "communications minimalist" style. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Dr. Weimin Mo is visiting in New York City and sent these sketches.


Yep, that looks like two people you'd see on the subway!  In addition to relaxed, bored, they also look heat-wilted. 86 degrees today in the city, 97 tomorrow.





And that looks like two people you'd see at the library.

U.S. Supreme Court: Obama Health Care Law Constitutional.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

China."We are not a revolt. We support the Communist Party. We love our country."



There are 500 riots, protests or demonstrations per day in China. "The volatile society unleashed against the state by Mao almost 50 years ago bubbles like a caldron," Roderick MacFarquhar, New York Times, May 20. Yeah, right?  


So why do I continue to write that China is "stable" and that the government has the support of the people?  I really, really believe the number of riots and I really, really don't believe Professor MacFarquhar's bubbles. 
How can those two be reconciled?  One answer obviously is that they can't, I am wrong, and Professor MacFarquhar is right. That is perhaps the leading contender. I couldn't reconcile them so I did a little research:


"About a week after protesters in the southeastern Chinese village of Wukan forced out all police and political officials, establishing a brief independence from Beijing, they taped a sign to the wall of the makeshift press center where foreign reporters congregated. It instructed journalists, in English and in Chinese, not to call their movement an uprising. 'We are not a revolt. We support the Communist Party. We love our country,' it read."
                       -Max Fisher, The Atlantic, January 5, 2012.

I believe the sign too. 

Mr. Fisher goes on to write, 

"Protests appear to part of the system not a challenge to it-- a sort of release valve for popular anger that, if anything, could have actually strengthened the Party by giving them a way to address that anger while maintaining autocratic rule. In the absence of real democracy, this give-and-take between state and society could actually help maintain political stability in China -- for now."

I don't know if that is true, Mr. Fisher does not appear to know ("appear") either, it is his informed theory but maybe there's something to it. Maybe the People's Liberation Gendarme are like the gendarme in Casablanca, shocked, shocked that protests are going on in their establishment. How did the Brothers Chen escape?  It's a Chinese thing, we wouldn't understand. I believe Fisher's signs and valves more than I do MacFarquhar's bubbles. I really believe the sign. 

Image: Rioting in Wukan, Guangdong Province, September, 2011 (There were riots in Guangdong yesterday, too).

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Quote of the Day.



"The challenges are very strong, said Mohammed Habib, a former deputy chairman of the [Muslim] Brotherhood who has worked with [new Egyptian president-elect Mohamed] Morsi. "Everyone is watching him through a microscopic lens."


Asked if Mr. Morsi had what it takes to overcome those challenges, Mr. Habib said, "No, he doesn't."
                                                                                                                 -New York Times, June 25. 


Image from website "Fantastic Egypt."

China, Power.*


Above we have three women and a man being devoured by an octopus.

The three women are "Truth," "Justice," and "Law."

This is Jurisprudence** (1903) by Gustav Klimt. 

Some years ago I read an article in The Economist. The author, British, wrote that America's legal system acts as an unseen tax on the American economy, that the costs for lawyers to do everything that we do, file suits, defend suits, win suits, collect judgments, is built into the cost of all the products of the American economy. Law inhibits the intercourse between consenting capitalists and makes the American economy less efficient was the point of the article. In The Economist’s sense, maybe in an economist’s sense, there is a conflict of laws going on here; there is a conflict between the law in Klimt’s painting and “the law of supply and demand,” a sort of “natural” or “higher” law. 

Now, via an Austrian painting, an English magazine and intercourse among consenting Americans we come to the subject of this post.

Before Deng Xiaoping assumed power, China did not have much of a legal system.  Thus, in The Economist’s view of things Deng would have been able to shift the Chinese economic paradigm from communism to capitalism “efficiently.”  And he did.


The law is a power source (a pole?) in the West (especially in America according to The Economist). The legal power pole in America is…separate from…different than…it is in some meaningful sense “not the same as” the political power pole. "All are equal under the law" makes explicit that the law is over everyone. Until Deng there was no “civil” law, the kind that applies to business, to speak of in China.  Even today, 30 years after Deng’s economic paradigm shift, civil lawyers have a lesser role in China and civil law is subservient to the Chinese Communist Party, that is to politics. There are no law schools as in America.

In China there has always been the political power pole and few others and those others have always had less “wattage.”  Power has never been as centralized in the West as it always has been in China. Power in Middle Ages Europe was shared or competed for among the “Three Estates,” the clergy, the nobility, and the commoners.  China, without religion, never had a clerical power pole. It did not have an aristocracy separate from the Crown. It always had commoners of course. China did not develop a bourgeoisie as did Europe (1) That merchant middle class power pole did not exist.  Much more so than in Europe, there was the political power pole within the Forbidden City and little else. The Communist revolution has wiped out the pre-existing civil society in China. This is the key aspect of China today. Even as Deng and his successors have led China on the greatest continuous economic expansion the world has ever seen they have kept a capitalist middle class from becoming a competing political class. Political power is more centralized within Zhonghanhai then it ever was in the Forbidden City.

Economics is about who gets what size slice of the pie. That’s a pretty big slice of our lives; it’s not the whole pie though. Americans can make money with the best of ‘em; we can consume with the best of ‘em.  There is a sense in which Americans have subsumed political power to economics while the Chinese have subsumed economics to political power. And there is a sense in which, I believe at least, that is overstated. I think it is more true to say that, unlike Chinese, Americans have more paths to power open to them, and consequently more power. Both can now get rich. Both have a political path to power, Chinese by entering government service, not through elections. Both of those paths overlap to a degree, that is politicians tend to be rich in both countries. It seems to me that there is greater freedom of movement for Americans along these two paths to power. “Freedom” to fall back on the path of power, to fail. It is just my impression but it seems to me that Americans are more likely to lose the wealth they’ve made than in China. If that is correct, then the riches path to power in America is more open to those behind. He who has fallen does not present the same obstacle to those following the same path. It (only) seems to me that Chinese further along the path of riches stay there, more effectively blocking others.  Similarly with political power in the two countries. Isn’t that what the resentment over the “princelings” is about?  The sons and daughters of revolutionary heroes have an aristocratic leg up on the rest?  America has its political dynasties but could an Abraham Lincoln, or a Lyndon Johnson, ever become Paramount Leader in China?

No religion, no religious path to (worldly) power.  Priests, ministers, Rabbis, tele-evangelists, have “social standing” in the West, especially it seems to me, in America. Social standing is a form of power, it can lead to political power but it too is a separate path. It is part of the “civil” society of the West that does not exist in China. Teachers and professors too have always had their own social standing--in both China and America. In China, what they teach is determined by the Party, thus their status is subsumed to politics. Doctors, writers, artists: in China more under political control; in America less so, another separate power pole.

No religion, no “higher law” either. Christianity and Judaism do, among other things, a similar thing to what Klimt’s law does. Morality in the West operates as a check on the behavior of homo sapiens.  In a sense barbarous to this Westerner, religious morality can be seen as depriving us of "freedom,"  the freedom to, for example, beat to death a high school principal or pelt to the ground the president of the country.

Law of either kind demands obedience. Chinese are good at that.  Americans have so many laws to obey, man-made laws, higher laws, natural laws, we have to think: Is this man-made law sensible? Does that other one conflict with the higher law of morality. Chinese don’t have much of either kind of law to obey, never had much of either to obey, and so don't have to think as much. Chinese have orders. Orders must be obeyed without thinking.

Law of either kind has “thought consequences” in addition to behavioral consequences. This is part of the meaning in Mao Lushi’s statement. Calls for a Cultural Revolution in America would be laughed, or strangled, out of existence. In China the calls for a Cultural Revolution received a universal response. To some of us Westerners the most astonishing thing about Deng’s economic paradigm shift was the facility with which ordinary Chinese went along with it.  The behavior was completely different, the politics the opposite, in the one, to be the reddest communists, in the other to be capitalists. The mind-set was the same, “we will obey.”

So, what of it?  Isn’t this how Chinese want to be?  It is. It diminishes the soul of mankind. In my opinion. The obedience mind-set is in conflict with the values of America--and Western values generally. If the soul of China is survival and if this obedience mind-set has always been present in China, then it was present in 1600 when China was as advanced, as competent, as it ever was in its history until Deng's paradigm shift. The key difference for our purposes between 1600 and 2012 is that China today is relevant, it was not in 1600. China today is projecting power, emanating from its soul, a product of its mind-set, around the world. It sees economic competition as a zero-sum game where it will be the winner and America the loser. It openly talks of the need to resolve common international disputes with America "in order to avoid war," which means it thinks of war with America. I don't think China is planning war on America but I don't think China is planning war because that would be irrational: they would lose. I think China knows that. Their society is not agile, their military is not agile; there are communications and logistics difficulties within the Chinese military that come with such a centralized behemoth. I think Chinese are rational so I do not think they plan war on America. But they would not be constrained from making war on America by morality. So that's what of it. In my opinion.

*Originally posted June 25 at 7:36 pm, reposted with today's date and time because I added on to the last paragraph and neglected to include the footnotes below last night.

**Destroyed by fleeing Nazis, along with Medicine and Philosophy, in 1945. No color photographic copy of Jurisprudence that I could find.

1. Law in Modern Society, Roberto Mangabeira Unger. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Seeking the Soul.



Even-tempered, mellow. Very mellow. Melodious.

Seeking the Soul.



Good-natured.

Seeking the Soul of Benjamin Harris.


I think the reason I'm such a good dad--and really such a success in life--is because I'm so easy to get along with.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Penn State Scandal.


Sometimes, not often, I write something and then sit back and relax...and then I read something I could have written:

"Over the coming weeks, much energy will be devoted to the attempted closure of the Penn State scandal; to the isolation of Jerry Sandusky...to the alleged dereliction of duty by Penn State administrators...and to the renewal of a university now home to the worst scandal in the history of American sports."


"While Sandusky must stand alone, responsible for his individual choices and pathologies, the answer to why he was allowed access to kids, why no one stood up to stop him, why so many people felt it necessary to make phone calls to everyone...but not to the police, is simple: Joe Paterno and Penn State football. There is no other reason." 


"Acting against Sandusky would have negatively affected the program,...Paterno,...the big institution in the small town...No community likes to challenge its false notions of itself."


"Only the permanent destruction of that sort of deferential treatment...will prevent a repeat." 


"The question of why will stay with Penn State long after Sandusky is gone to prison..."


"...[I]t is up to us to decide whether once and for all to crush the runaway culture of the coach, the outsized elevation of mortal institutions, and to demand accountability and responsibility." 


"It is the price of power."


-Howard Bryant, ESPN. http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/8087426/jerry-sandusky-crimes-failure-stop-hang-penn-state



"The searing and unforgettable testimony from Sandusky's victims, testimony that rocked seasoned veterans of courtroom drama, should remind us of the monstrous deceits that allowed Sandusky to operate, all in the name of protecting what was supposed to be a model football program."

"The verdict and the incarceration of Jerry Sandusky should remind us of what Grantland writer Charles Pierce said after the scandal broke: "It no longer matters if there continues to be a football program at Penn State.'"

"If they persist in their claims of innocence, the trial is likely to produce evidence of a systemic cover-up of Sandusky's actions, a cover-up that extended into the higher echelons of the university and makes Watergate look benign. The trial will present a picture of people at the highest level acting at the lowest level."

-
Lester Munson, ESPN. http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/8087666/jerry-sandusky-guilty-verdict-produces-no-closure-healing



"Throughout Sandusky's trial, I've thought back to the crowds of students angrily defending Joe Paterno.  It's not that those students were particularly monstrous...on the contrary, it is the normalcy of their behavior, the humanity of it, that amazes."

"What you see is the human impulse to squelch the rights of individuals for the greater glory of a nation."

"The impulse is to be horrified by people defending Penn State's handling of this, because, at the end of the day, it's only football. But when football becomes your identity, when football raises buildings on your campus, when you so much relate to the players on the field that their affairs absorb your weekends, then it's no longer 'just football.' You take on aspects of the religious and the national."


Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic.  http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/06/penn-state-and-the-nationalist-impulse/258860/


Of course I am the first to recognize that there is a common psychological product to these harmonic convergences, something like "My God, we have arrived at ontological truth!"  

And we have. 

Necessarily in America, a criminal trial isolates the accused from context. Only he is on trial, only evidence relevant to his guilt is admissible, only that evidence is considered by the jury. This is to protect his rights.  That is the way it will be if Tim Curley and Gary Schultz have trials. 

Yet they're connected.  They are inextricably intertwined, Jerry Sandusky, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz--and Joe Paterno and Graham Spanier. And Penn State. There's one more "and" but let's stop there for a second.

Penn State must be investigated with the aim of criminal prosecution.  I have previously suggested that Penn State could be criminally prosecuted under racketeering laws. I am familiar with the racketeering law, I reviewed it again albeit only in the time it took me to finish the previous post on this subject, it seems to fit to a tee, I don't see any way that it does not fit. Or, I suggested, the various tax laws, but those I am completely unfamiliar with. It just seems to me, but it really does seem to me, that with tax dollars flowing to a university, with tax exemptions bestowed upon a university, that this university's conduct somehow violated its legal entitlement to that beneficence. If, in Mr. Bryant's words, there is to be "permanent destruction," if we must "once and for all crush the culture" here, as indeed I agree that we must, then Penn State as an institution must be prosecuted if legally possible.

The one more "and" that is inextricably intertwined with the rest is Penn State people, Mr. Coates analogizes them to a "nation."  An appropriate analogy, sports fans commonly refer to themselves as such, there's a "Penn State Nation," a "Miami Heat Nation," there's a nation for every team.  Mr. Coates' article immediately brought to my mind China (but then everything reminds me of China).  Recently my writing on China has focused on the Chinese people not just their rulers.  I quoted the Chinese economist Mao Yushi who said that the ordinary people of China bear responsibility, along with Mao Zedong,  for the Cultural Revolution because the ordinary people of China supported it. The Chinese people support the present fascist regime, the people supported Mao Zedong's Communism, they supported Imperial rule. All of those governments have brutalized the Chinese people, but those governments had--and have--the support of the people.  There is, as Mr. Coates says,  a "religious" as well as "national" character to Penn State fandom, as there is to Alabama fandom, Oklahoma fandom, sports fandom generally. As there certainly was to Mao fandom.  If I don't see quite "the human impulse to squelch the rights of individuals for the greater glory of a nation" in Penn State Nation protests on behalf of Joe Paterno, I see Coates' point with that imperfect analogy. As I see with perfect clarity in the Chinese nation.  I have written that the Chinese people are responsible for their past and their present and that however China is to be in the future is also their responsibility. So it is with Penn State people. I have written that if future China is to be different the "soul," the animating principle," of the Chinese people must change. So too with Penn State people. And I have made the melancholy prediction that the Chinese soul will not change. So too I predict with the soul of Penn State Nation. "We Are Penn State."

Friday, June 22, 2012

Seeking the Soul: Miami Heat, LeBron James World Champions.


You can't spell Hate without H-e-a-t.

The Miami "Heat" and LeBron James won the National Basketball Association championship, the de facto world championship, last night. I own a distinction I bet is uncommon. I am a long-time supporter of the two most hated teams in professional sports, the "Heat" (since 1988) and Manchester City Football Club (since 2002). I am a hate magnet. One day several years ago a friend said to me with an impish grin "There he is, the most hated man in the office" (I am no longer employed there). I was surprised. I was surprised because although I covet my enemies--and my friends, my friends too--I don't like to be hated. Nobody does. I saw a bumper sticker about a year ago, "Don't Hate the Heat." That made me sad. Hatred is so extreme. Can't we all just not get along?  Can't we save such an extreme negative emotion for Nazis or Muslims?  Do we have to waste it on sports?  Often (not always) here's an irrationality to the violence implicit in hatred, a frothing-at-the-mouth, out of control, pure Id-ness, speaking of which:

Dear Cleveland, All Of Northeast Ohio and Cleveland Cavaliers Supporters Wherever You May Be Tonight;

As you now know, our former hero, who grew up in the very region that he deserted this evening, is no longer a Cleveland Cavalier.

This was announced with a several day, narcissistic, self-promotional build-up culminating with a national TV special of his "decision" unlike anything ever "witnessed" in the history of sports and probably the history of entertainment.

Clearly, this is bitterly disappointing to all of us.

The good news is that the ownership team and the rest of the hard-working, loyal, and driven staff over here at your hometown Cavaliers have not betrayed you nor NEVER will betray you.

There is so much more to tell you about the events of the recent past and our more than exciting future. Over the next several days and weeks, we will be communicating much of that to you.

You simply don't deserve this kind of cowardly betrayal.

You have given so much and deserve so much more.

In the meantime, I want to make one statement to you tonight:

"I PERSONALLY GUARANTEE THAT THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS WILL WIN AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP BEFORE THE SELF-TITLED FORMER 'KING' WINS ONE"

You can take it to the bank.

If you thought we were motivated before tonight to bring the hardware to Cleveland, I can tell you that this shameful display of selfishness and betrayal by one of our very own has shifted our "motivation" to previously unknown and previously never experienced levels.

Some people think they should go to heaven but NOT have to die to get there.

Sorry, but that's simply not how it works.

This shocking act of disloyalty from our home grown "chosen one" sends the exact opposite lesson of what we would want our children to learn. And "who" we would want them to grow-up to become.

But the good news is that this heartless and callous action can only serve as the antidote to the so-called "curse" on Cleveland, Ohio.

The self-declared former "King" will be taking the "curse" with him down south. And until he does "right" by Cleveland and Ohio, James (and the town where he plays) will unfortunately own this dreaded spell and bad karma.

Just watch.

Sleep well, Cleveland.

Tomorrow is a new and much brighter day....

I PROMISE you that our energy, focus, capital, knowledge and experience will be directed at one thing and one thing only:

DELIVERING YOU the championship you have long deserved and is long overdue....

Dan

Leaves you kind of breathless, don't it?

That was the letter that Dan Gilbert, owner of the Cleveland "Cadavers," wrote two years ago to supporters after LeBron James announced that he was leaving the "Mistake by the Lake" and going to Miami to play for the "Heat"...My God, I nominate Dan Gilbert's letter as the most stupendous document in sports history ("Stupendous documents in sports history" being a modestly-populated category, Gilbert might win this.). To think Gilbert wrote this.  Writing slows you down, it's a buffer between thought and expression, a medium in two senses. If Gilbert had expressed these sentiments orally, hearers would say, "It's just talk, ignore him."  But the guy actually wrote it out.  This is Dan Gilbert Plugged.

LeBron James doesn't like to be hated either.  Even on this little blog I see it. Many, many times, the keywords that land people here have been "lebron james devil," "lebron james devil worship," and variants. As I write this "lebron james soul devil" is a keyword that got one person here. 

LeBron James did nothing illegal in leaving Cleveland; LeBron James did nothing immoral; he did nothing mercenary--he would have gotten more money if he had stayed with Cleveland.  He had stayed with Cleveland for seven years!  He left to play for Miami because they could, like, win, which they, like, just did, which is, like, the object of the game of basketball.  See, Dan?  Dan doesn't see. He is so blinded by his hatred, irrationality with violence implicit: "Some people think they should go to heaven but NOT have to die to get there."

Despite LeBron James having done nothing illegal, immoral, mercenary, or un-sporting, there is explicit Old Testament, Judgment Day, fire-and-brimstone, vengeance in Gilbert's letter.  There's heaven and dying to get there; curses, spells, doing "right;" and four times, "betrayal:" Judas Iscariot to Jesus; four times this son of Judas uses that word that has been fuel for so much antisemitism in history; there's betrayal's synonym "disloyalty," "King," "chosen one," "our very own"--all very Old Testament, very Jewish, ways of viewing the world. Even "bank," "you can take it to the bank."  Gilbert's letter so perpetuates anti-Jewish sentiments as to become anti-Jewish itself. 

And, as with much irrational expression, it is just factually wrong:

"I PERSONALLY GUARANTEE THAT THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS WILL WIN AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP BEFORE THE SELF-TITLED FORMER 'KING' WINS ONE"  

"the town where he plays will unfortunately own this dreaded spell and bad karma."

Today, the beautiful, exciting, wonderful town of Miami is under the ecstatic spell of its adopted King, its Chosen One.  The Miami "Heat" and LeBron James are champions and Dan Gilbert is writing Cleveland fans for suggestions on who to choose in the draft lottery. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

China.*


A Kuhnian paradigm shift accurately applies to China's change under Deng. Characteristic Chinese obedience substitutes for rational consensus reached among scientists to make the shift happen. What of the other political changes in Chinese history?  Does shift just happen in China? What of the 1949 change to communism?  I don’t think we need reach over to the history of science to explain the 1949 change, or if we do it is a “reach.”  The change under Deng was unusual; 1949 seems pretty garden variety for the 20th century, a Marxist victory after a pretty garden variety civil war following a half-century of “chaos” following the breakup of an old imperial order. That all sounds pretty familiar.

Does shift happen to communism?  Is that what happened to communism in the former Soviet Union under Gorbachev?  No…but why not? Why does that not sound right? Communism, communism; Deng, Gorby; capitalist, capitalist. One difference is in the names, the communist “People’s Republic of China” stayed, the communist “Soviet Union” didn’t. What’s in a name?  Lenin is still entombed in Red Square (Is it still called Red Square?...It is.), Mao is still entombed in Tienanmen Square. The Chinese flag stayed the same; the old Soviet flag didn’t.  This symbolism, if that’s what it is, or all that it is, is different.  Chinese leaders don’t dress in Mao suits anymore though, they wear the standard-issue Western suit…probably made in Hong Kong. Gorby wore a suit, but Brezhnev did too, I think; Poot-poot wears a suit…probably Savile Row though.  Castro doesn’t wear a suit!  And he was, is, a sure-enough, garden variety 20th century Marxist. The Soviet “Union” ceased to exist—the Eastern satellite states were freed, the “Greater Russian” republics of Georgia, Ukraine, etc. were freed. That is a big difference. China became fascist, Russia became a democracy…sort of. That’s a difference. The Soviet crackup was accompanied by more of the imagery, the symbolism, we expect of a crackup, people dancing in the streets, walls falling, leaders changing, names and flags changing. Deng…Did Deng change suits? Wasn’t he wearing a Mao suit in Texas?  He was!...Deng was brought back from (his second) exile by Mao himself. If Mao had known that Deng was to say “to be rich is glorious” do you think Mao would have brought him back?  I think not. But Mao knew what Deng said about cats. It’s not a Great Leap from cats to glorious riches. Didn’t Mao bring Deng back as a check on his own wife and the Gang of Four Maoist radicals?  Yes, he did. Had Mao gone “pink” in his dotage?  No, he had not. Then why did he bring back that rich cat Deng, huh?   Mao certainly intended a “correction” in bringing back Deng; Mao brought back other old cats along with him.  Did Mao intend a paradigm shift?  No. Absolutely not did Mao intend Coca-Cola and Starbucks and the capitalism that Deng’s fascism brought. Did Mao intend “tinkering?”  When Mao brought Deng back was it Mao’s intent to tinker with communism the way FDR tinkered with capitalism? Yes, I think so. Mao intended to tinker, and tinker toward the “right.”  Mao had a history of tinkering; all those goddamned campaigns: “Let a Hundred Flowers Bloom” (so he could chop of their heads), the Anti-Rightist campaign, the Cultural Revolution. Tinker, tinker, tinker. Those campaigns were violent though, intended by Mao to be violent. Bringing Deng back wasn’t violent, it wasn’t a campaign. It was non-violent tinkering.

Mao’s violent campaigns produced less change in China than his non-violent tinkering with Deng produced. 

Tinker, Tailor,
Soldier, Sailor,
Rich Man, Poor Man,
Beggarman, Thief.  

Mao intended to tinker; China got rich men, poor men, beggarmen, and thieves. In between Mao’s intent and the result for China lies Deng’s intent. I find it indisputable that Deng intended market capitalism.  That is a paradigm shift. Indisputable.

Then why did Deng continue to wear Mao suits?

Deng intended, and wrought, a paradigm shift in economics.  He did not intend a paradigm shift in politics. Nor of course did Mao Zedong.  Politics means economics to a lot of people. Americans “vote with our pocketbooks” it is said. Mao however said “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.”  Mao voted with his rifle. Well Mao didn’t vote but if he had voted it would have been with a rifle.

Politics is about power. 

In democracies political power is shared among millions of voters.  China has never had shared political power, it has had emperors, communists, and now fascists. Deng Xiaoping never intended a political paradigm shift in China; he intended political power to remain in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party. And it has.

The most important word in “Chinese Communist Party” is “Chinese,” not “Communist.”

*This essay originated in email correspondence with Dr. Weimin Mo in May, proof that a muddy stream can still have snow at its source.  Any credit goes to Dr. Mo. The faults are mine.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Rise and Fall...and Rise

I used the word "resilient" to characterize Chinese and why they rose after falling when Greece, Egypt, and Rome stayed down. That suggests one of those knock-down, bounce-up inflatable toys kids (I guess mainly boys) have.

Yeah, like that.  But that's an inanimate object. Chinese (being animate objects) have learned...somewhat, they've changed somewhat over millennia. Since I've termed the soul of China "survival," it's tempting to try out "Darwinian." But, evolution is unconscious change: species didn't consciously decide to grow more hair to adapt to a colder environment. Chinese consciously decided to be communist, then they consciously decided to be capitalist. I remember reading a funny anecdote. Deng Xiaoping met with some African leaders shortly after he assumed power. The African leaders earnestly asked Deng about the advantages of socialism in their countries since China had had, like, some experience with socialism. Deng said, "It doesn't work, socialism doesn't work."  Deng had decided socialism didn't work and capitalism would and just about overnight China became capitalist. "It is glorious to be rich."  Astonishing.

So the change from communism to capitalism wasn't an unconscious evolutionary adaptation to a changing environment, it was a conscious revolutionary change made by decision-makers. I thought of "agile" as an alternative to "resilient" and immediately dismissed it. China more resembles that blow-up punching bag in agility: it ain't got none. LeBron James is agile, China is not agile. Efficient?  No: The Great Leap Forward.
China didn't change for so long a part of its history that you cannot sensibly use terms like efficient, agile, or resilient. There is a "dexterity" in those terms that China has not demonstrated. 

I then thought of "momentum," in some ways the opposite of those other dexterous terms. Chinese get behind some idea and the ball starts rolling and it continues to roll and roll and roll. It doesn't seem to matter if the idea is bad, like communism, the GLF, and the Cultural Revolution, they get behind it and they get on a roll.  Momentum is like evolution in the sense of being an unconscious process of nature or physical force, like a snowball rolling downhill and sometimes snowballs roll without being pushed but momentum is also commonly understood to apply to motion caused by conscious agency. A sports team gets momentum and is seemingly unstoppable. How is momentum in sports stopped?  The opposing coach calls a time-out. There is a sense in which China changed under Deng because Deng called a time-out to stop the momentum that had built up behind communism. Deng looked at the score, concluded "socialism doesn't work," substituted a bunch of players, and sent them back on the court with a radically different game plan. "I don't care if the cat is black or white as long as it catches mice."  Deng also said that (which got Deng purged by Mao). That's pragmatic. 

Pragmatism is rational choice regardless of ideological label or color of cat. Chinese have not made rational, pragmatic, decisions. They chose communism. It didn't work. And within the bad communism decision were nested the bad GLF and CR decisions. Pragmatism implies "tinkering," constant, incremental change, "adjustment" within a fundamentally unchanged model, like what FDR did. Deng didn't tinker, he chose a different color cat, he made wholesale team substitutions, not just told the existing players to do a little more of this a little less of that. In this sense the change under Deng resembles change in science as Thomas Kuhn described it. There's an existing model, a "paradigm," momentum builds behind that paradigm--the paradigm is unquestioned--and then a problem develops. The problem threatens the paradigm; scientists sometimes resolve it, sometimes they ignore it, and sometimes a problem develops that can't be resolved or ignored and in a flash, the old scientific paradigm is discarded and a new one substituted. That is what Kuhn said happened with Newtonian physics. Einstein came up with a problem that couldn't be resolved under the Newtonian paradigm, or ignored, the old paradigm went into "crisis," and a "paradigm shift" occurred to Einsteinian physics. That is more like how the change under Deng occurred.

Chinese went centuries, millennia, in unthinking obedience to the imperial paradigm then floundered in civil war and foreign invasion for a half-century; then they gave unthinking obedience to communism for 27 years, now they've given unthinking obedience to fascism for 36 years. There's a common thread there.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

China.


"The Cultural Revolution was initiated by Mao Zedong. But without the support of the nation, it would not have taken off. Calls for a Cultural Revolution in America would never receive such a universal response. Clearly, the common people of that time share a part of the responsibility. And the base of that group still exists today. This is China’s true danger."
                                                               

茅 于轼:文化革命是毛泽东发起的。但是如果没有全国人民的响应也搞不起来。如果在美国文革的号召就不会有全国响应。可见当时的百姓也有部分责任。而今看来, 这部分的群众基础还在。这是中国真正的危险。有人说毛的本意是好的。果真如此的话,事后他应该有深刻的反省.

The above was written by Mao Yushi, a prominent Chinese economist.  Chinese governments, whether royal, red or black have always brutally suppressed opposition. It is not just brutal suppression though. China is the way that it is, was the way that it was, and will be however it will be because of the people of China. With their support emperors ruled until the 20th century.  With their support the Chinese government was communist from 1949-1976. With their support the current government is fascist. Through 5,000 years of history the Chinese people have never sustained democratic rule. 

Mao Yushi was the recipient of the Milton Friedman Prize in Washington a few weeks ago. The ceremony was interrupted by a demonstrator yelling in Chinese. The demonstrator later wrote of his demonstration that Mao Yushi was "a traitor to his country." 


From my son, June 14, 2012 9:40 am:  Love you dads!!

Me, 9:55 am: I love you too son. Was this a random act of kindness?

Son, 10 am: Was just reading about a fest I have to attend on saturday, its called family and fathers fest.  I was reading the info and it said “research shows the po [sentence cut off].

Me, 10:03 am:  Message cut off research shows po…

Son, 10:11 am: …the positive effects on a child when they feel nurtured by their fathers and have a solid sense of involvement and commitment” it just ma…

Me, 10:16: “It just ma…”  I’m liking this so far unless the ending is “It made me feel how much I missed having a dick for a father.”

Son, 10:17:  LOL not even close “it just me think of all the great times we had and how awesome of a dad you are :D”

Me, 10:19:  Oh my God.  That is officially one of the highlights of my life, no joke. Thank you son, I love you so much.

Son, 10:22: Its true dads.  I learned everything from you and I feel so lucky to have you in my life. I deal with so many fatherless kids and I see how important just…

Son, 10:28: …having a dad in your life is.  Thanks for always being there for me dad.


Happy Father's Day everyone.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Seeking the Soul.

Why did the great ancient civilizations of Egypt, Greece and Rome decline into irrelevance?  Yeah, yeah, yeah, lead in the pipes, decline in morals, military defeat. Those are the causes of death as found in historical autopsies. Those civilizations did not die; autopsies are performed on the dead. Those civilizations live today, they are just irrelevant. They are not competent, is that part of why they became and remain irrelevant?  But how does a civilization lose competency?  Western civilization is built on what the Greeks bequeathed;  why didn't the Greeks build what others built on Greek foundations?  Why is Greece today such an embarrassment in a Europe it built? The American Founding Fathers took greater inspiration from Rome.  When President Kennedy gave his Berlin speech he said, "Two thousand years ago the proudest boast was 'civis Romanus sum.'" Even the goddamned language is dead now. Rome has gone from Marcus Aurelius to Benito Mussolini, Silvio Berlusconi, and Francesco Schettino.

China has been the most continuously great of the ancient civilizations, but it has been near the bottom too, particularly at the beginning of the twentieth century when eight nations successfully invaded it to put down the Boxer Rebellion and most spectacularly from 1937-1945 when Japan--Japan! An island nation--occupied one-third of its territory.

China has never achieved greatest-nation status either. There is one sense in which China can be viewed as an underachieving student, capable of being class valedictorian but never quite getting there. Napoleon said when China awakes it will shake the world, that kind of thing. Jonathan Spence says that at the height of the period in the West known as the Renaissance--the Renaissance--China was as advanced as any civilization on earth. And Chinese at the time (and long after) believed they were the greatest civilization on earth, they were the Middle Kingdom after all.  So let's say China was an "A" student then. We can only assign that grade retrospectively; Spence only knows that retrospectively; Chinese believed that without knowing. No one knew in the Renaissance because China was still so unknown to the world and the world was so unknown to Chinese. China did not explore, it did not compete, it was, if we continue the student-analogy, as if it was the only student in the class.  For this reason China, when it was an "A" student in 1600, was as irrelevant as Egypt, Greece, and Rome are today. China was competent but irrelevant. By the time there had been substantial contact between the West and China it was clear to everyone that China was far from the greatest civilization. Western trade had made China relevant but revealed it to be less competent in comparison with the ambitious, curious Western peoples.  China's competence was waning in absolute terms also as the Ming Dynasty weakened. By 1824 Emerson would call China "that booby nation" that could only say to the others, "I made the tea."

China has not remained incompetent and irrelevant. That distinguishes it also from Egypt, Greece and Rome. China has shown resiliency. Through 5,000 years of recorded history it has survived as those other civilizations have but it has also been competent. It is competent now as the world's second largest economy.  And now, unlike in the Middle Ages, China is relevant also. It is exploring, competing, projecting its power beyond its borders. These are all firsts for China and all these firsts have been achieved only in the last thirty years of their 5,000 year history.

Things I believe:  The soul, the "animating principle," of the Han-Chinese people is now and historically has been, survival; the soul is mutable; Han-Chinese obey in order to survive; conformity to a moral code is not obedience; creativity is not obedience; obedience has produced resilience, aiding survival; the present Chinese government has survived and surpassed survival; the present Chinese government is stable; the government is stable because a large portion of the Chinese population obeys the government and because the government ruthlessly suppresses disobedience; obedience and resilience have enabled present China to become more competent and more relevant, that is more powerful, than it ever has been before;  Chinese power, based on obedience, not based on morality, not based on creativity, diminishes the soul of mankind; in surpassing survival the present Chinese government threatens the soul of the Han-Chinese people; in becoming more capitalist, in projecting economic and military power beyond its borders and beyond the power needed to survive, the present government threatens its own survival;  China will become more competent, more powerful in the future; the Han-Chinese soul can change to accommodate this increased power projection but it will not change; obedient behavior toward the government will change to non-obedience and the Chinese people will overthrow the People's Republic of China government. The successor government will not be democratic, it will be authoritarian, consistent with Chinese history; the Chinese people will obey the successor authoritarian government minus the power projection.

Rudolph F. Ingerle

Ingerle was the "artist" who painted "The Glory That Was Ancient Greece," which I had the misfortune to find as the first painting in a Google search with keyword "the glory that was." Look at this dreck:

This one is "Minnehaha."  Ha-ha maybe but that's no Indian. Ingerle took some studio model and put a feather in her hair.  Look at the modeling of her right foot: that's about as realistic as plastic. What is that in the background, the purple mountains majesty?

"Redbird" here is a brunette studio model in a tube dress.  Minnehaha's in a tube dress too!  Very authentic Native-American costume.

Redbird is back in "Land of Enchantment."  Oh my God, these are hideous.

"The Last Rays."  Where?  Where are there sun rays in this masterpiece?  And what is that maroon blob at left?  Nice definition. Is that supposed to be a tree, the world's biggest bush, or did Rudolph F. Ingerle just have some left-over paint he had nothing better to do with?

Awful.  The man could not paint.

The Glory That Was (2f).


Do you think the Chinese could be persuaded to forget this docking thing and just go straight to Mars, and stay there?

The Glory That Was...


Three of homo sapiens most ancient and accomplished civilizations have big doings this weekend. 

Our Egyptian brethren and sistren, whose previous gift to mankind was the pyramidal geometric shape rendered as an architectural object now present to the world either a Mubarak holdover or an Islamist as president of New Free Egypt.  Unless the military, through the Supreme Constitutional Court or some such worthy lackey, invalidates that inspired choice as it did the elections which delivered to the world an Islamist parliament.  

Men (and a woman) in space!  Chinese, whose previous gift to mankind was a wall, and tea, tea, we forgot the tea, put three homo sapiens, including the first female, into orbit above the Middle Kingdom. This is a first for mankind. 
?  
Well, technically a Russian did it in 1961, a bunch of Americans have done it since but see, this was the first Chinese female to be blasted off, this is the first time that any blasting off has occurred via a rocket named the "Long March 2f" ("2f?), and the first time that Chinese astronauts have been blasted off on a docking mission. So yeah, this is the first time for mankind.

Greeks, whose previous gift to mankind was anal sex, and democracy, we forgot democracy, vote in new parliamentary elections their ownselves, the first round of which, sort of like the first round in Egypt, not having produced an acceptable result. Reuters headlines the choice for Grecians as between the "radical left" and "conservative right."  

And so there you have it, Egypt, China, Greece. Has anyone heard from Rome?

Image: "The Glory That Was Ancient Greece," by Rudolph F. Ingerle (1879-1950). Was that painted on velvet?  Where's Elvis?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Egypt


The first person to spot a report of Protesting Egyptians blaming the ruling of the Supreme Constitutional Court on America or Israel wins a free round-trip ticket to beautiful Tahrir Square in Cairo. The runner-up wins two round-trip tickets. 

Egypt


The Chief Justice of the Supreme Constitutional Court announces its ruling invalidating parliamentary elections.

Egypt


Everybody who wants to hear from this guy raise their hands.











See, nobody wants to listen to you.

Egypt


Hi. Sir, could you shut the f*** up?

Egypt.


What is their problem?

Today, the "Supreme Constitutional Court" dissolved Parliament. They just had parliamentary elections and the presidential election is coming up.


Here we go again. Protests from now until doomsday.


Why can't they do anything right?  They can't grab their asphalt with both hands.

I'm disgusted.

Image: the FIRST Google image with keyword "Egyptian people." Take a civics lesson instead of your next belly-dancing class.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Penn State

This is a great article, written by Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Phil Sheridan. http://articles.philly.com/2012-06-12/news/32196011_1_spanier-and-schultz-football-team-football-program.  Some excerpts below:

"And it all revolved around football.

Football.

Sandusky had power and access to these kids because of football. Adults didn't believe accusations because of a reputation he created through football. McQueary didn't rush to the proper authorities upon seeing Sandusky with a child in the shower; he went to the head football coach. It seems ever more clear that PSU president Graham Spanier, athletic director Tim Curley, and administrator Gary Schultz took no real action against Sandusky in order to protect the football program.

Football. When weighed against word that a child had been molested, and the possibility that others would be, these men decided football was more important. Football.

All that talk about honor and integrity, all that pride in a football team, and then all that cowardice and inaction and failure when it mattered most.

All in the name of football."

Penn State, Jerry Sandusky trial.


Speaking of organized crime, Gerald Arthur "Jerry" Sandusky  went on trial in Pennsylvania on Monday for fifty-some counts of various child rape offenses. Sandusky was a famous assistant football coach at Pennsylvania "Penn" State University for thirty-some years. The former athletic director Timothy "Tim" Curley and a former Penn State vice president who was in charge of university police named Gary "Gary" Schultz have also been charged with cover-up type offenses. University president Graham "Cracker" Spanier and head football coach Joseph "JoPa" Paterno also lost their jobs. The case decapitated the university.

In other words Penn State is on trial this week.

"Where were Sandusky's hands (and other body parts)?" is coupled with the familiar Watergate question "What did they know and when did they know it."  Penn State is on trial this week and it does not seem to be going well for the home team. Through Tuesday two, if I remember correctly, of the then-children had testified, it seems compellingly, since some jurors were seen to be dabbing tears from their eyes, as had former assistant coach Michael "Mike" McQueary.  McQueary told jurors he went to a Penn State locker room one late night and heard the distinct, rhythmic sounds of "skin-on-skin slapping" coming from the showers, in which he saw a naked Sandusky front-to-back with a naked child whose hands were on the shower wall. It is true as McQueary said in answer to a question from one of Sandusky's lawyer's that he did not actually see Sandusky's actual penis actually penetrating the actual anus of the actual child. That does not seem to have been a helpful line of questioning to Sandusky unless his defense team--and Sandusky may testify--has a non-sexual explanation for rhythmic skin-on-skin slapping sounds between a middle-aged man and a child in a shower. Anyone with any ideas please contact Joseph Amendola, c/o Bellfonte, Pennsylvania courthouse immediately.

Sandusky seems to be in denial.  Why would he take this case to trial?  He knows what he did, if these victims are telling the truth, and it certainly seems they're telling the truth (and there are more to come), why would he put the kids, now young men, through the excruciating re-telling of what he did in a public courtroom? If they're telling the truth he's going to get convicted and he will get no leniency in sentencing when he made these kids-now-men go through this. He will spend the rest of his life in prison. On the other hand, if he was not in denial and wanted to do the right thing for the victims he could have admitted his guilt before the court.  He then could reasonably have expected some sentencing "discount" from the prosecutors and judge.

Penn State people are in denial. Schultz and Curley tried to cover up, if the allegations are true, child rape by a prominent face of the university. To save face, to protect Penn State's image. Although not criminally charged, Spanier and Paterno were in denial too and did similar cover-up-like things. There was a mini-riot on campus when Paterno was fired. Penn State's image was good, it was carefully-crafted, and it was a fraud. Long before Jerry Sandusky committed his first alleged act of child rape, Penn State sold its soul to football.  The mission of the university was no longer education, Penn State was a better-than-average school, not elite, the mission of the school was to win football games with "honor" or whatever their phrase was.

Which brings us back to organized crime: Why haven't Pennsylvania prosecutors, or federal prosecutors, criminally charged the Pennsylvania State University as an institution?  Racketerring "RICO" comes to mind, there may be other statutes that would provide a legal theory of prosecution (Some kind of tax fraud?  Prosecutors finally got Al Capone on income tax evasion, not running a criminal enterprise.) but RICO seems tailor-made. Penn State is a legal entity; there seems to be a "pattern of racketeering activity" as that is defined; the activity involved more than one person, and high-ranking university officials to boot; rape and perjury are enumerated underlying crimes; there are several "predicate acts;"  Penn State as an institution, as an "enterprise" benefited financially from the racketeering activity, the original intent of the statute, but not a requirement.  That seems to fit, all of that seems to fit. Why is Penn State not charged with RICO or something?

Image: The first Google image under keyword "Penn State."

I have never seen a colder-looking human being. Catherine Greig, girlfriend of and accomplice with James "Whitey" Bulger in alleged organized crime. Greig was sentenced to eight years in federal prison yesterday.

Monday, June 11, 2012

China, Power.

"Fascism: a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition."


That fits China to a tee. 

China, Power.

"Racism:  A belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race." Merriam-Webster online dictionary.

Then no. I do not believe Chinese in the PRC are racist.

China, Power.



Approved violence.

"Bombard the headquarters!" wrote Mao Zedong in his own big character poster at the beginning of the Cultural Revolution. And the Chinese people obeyed.  Surrounding Zhongnanhai, they forced President Liu Shaoqi to come out and pelted him to the ground with Little Red Books. 



Liu's daughter, Tingting, went to Beijing to celebrate the anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic. She was still Chinese, after all. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

China, Power.


Paradoxically there is more official sanction against other-directed violence in America than in the PRC but there is more other-directed violence in America. This paradox is due partly to the many differences in the legal systems of the two countries: the presumption of innocence and the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt mean that in America more violent citizens are put back on the streets to commit more violence. For our purposes here however there is another crucial difference: violence committed by state officials is more likely to be “approved” in the PRC than in America.  For instance, law enforcement officers in both countries are of course permitted to use violence in their official duties but in America there are greater constraints on this approved violence: police officers are more likely to be arrested for excessive use of force in America than in China and when they are off-duty American police officers are subject to the same laws against violence as are other citizens.  There is then a “legal relativism” in the PRC toward violence. Is there a “moral relativism” also?

Is there less moral opprobrium to other-directed violence in China than in America--even though again there is more other-directed violence in America? I wonder at this because Anglo-American law is so influenced by Christian morality, because the English and the Americans are overwhelmingly Christian, because Americans are among the most religious people on earth, because China is among the least religious nations on earth, because it has comparatively little religious heritage, has little Christian influence, and has Confucianism and Communism as ethical influences, both of which teach obedience and neither of which are moral systems.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

China, Power.

I bet Ya Weilin never gave serious thought to attacking the Center.

It would not be "approved" violence against others, as it was during the CR. The Red Guard violence against Liu Shaoqi, even though he was president, was approved by Mao. It was "legal."

How much unapproved violence was there during the CR?  How much "street crime" is there in the PRC today? I would bet--I would bet a lot of money--there is not as much street crime in the PRC today as there is in America...I see I have no takers for that bet.

Why?

Chinese obey. If the Center gives its approval to other-directed violence then "to kill people is glorious," as Liu Tingting said back in the day. When Deng Xiaoping said "to be rich is glorious" the Reddest "morning suns" became capitalist, as Liu Tingting again did.

When the Center gave its approval to attacks on foreigners, Red Guards sacked the British Embassy during the CR. When the Center prohibits attacks on foreigners (as bad for business) even teaches Chinese to be friendly to foreigners (Say, "Hello. Welcome to Beijing." (2008 Olympics)) Chinese will-do.

Why this obedience to opposite commands?  I think part is the legacy of Confucian teaching of obedience over generations and centuries. But Confucianism became a dirty word during the CR, part of the "four olds" to be smashed. That message sunk in too. When the Center installed a statue of Confucius in Tienanmen Square, people objected and it was removed.

A part also, I think a larger part, is race or ethnic unity. China is 92% ethnic Han. "Don't talk to 'white' people," a friend was told. "What's a banana?  Yellow on the outside, white on the inside."  Unapproved acts of violence by Chinese against the Center, like assassinations or attempts, sabotage, terrorism? Unheard of.  Does not happen. 

No, Ya Weilin would not have seriously considered violence against the government that killed his son. That would be an attack on all China, on all Han. "Sacrifice yourself for Han-China" is a powerful, powerful appeal.  Whatever the sacrifice calls for, that has a great chance of being obeyed. Attack the Center?  That is just about unthinkable.