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By the waters of the Leman I sat down and wept...
Sweet Thames, run softly till I end my song,
Sweet Thames, run softly, for I speak not loud or long.
But at my back in a cold blast I hear
The rattle of bones, and chuckle spread from ear to ear.
Lots of stuff in the news this week -- and none of it much good. Yesterday the Taipei Times printed an editorial from its sister paper, the Liberty Times, on the mad plan to allow Taiwanese to take positions in the local governments in China, which it described as "selling out the country, step by step."
A few days ago, the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) held talks with China-based Taiwanese businesspeople. During the meeting, the head of the Taiwan Business Association requested that the government allow Taiwanese businesspeople to hold positions in the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) to increase their say on China’s government policy and help protect their rights and interests in China.
Giving in to such a demand, however, would irrevocably destroy Taiwan as a nation.
Nevertheless, Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Chairwoman Lai Shin-yuan (賴幸媛) said that the provincial and municipal levels of the CPPCC were not as politically sensitive as other Chinese government posts and that her council would look into the issue to see if the law leaves room for interpretation.
She also said she hoped it would be possible to relax regulations to let Taiwanese businesspeople achieve some measure of political power in China.
Xinhua news agency recently reported that Taiwanese businesspeople had complained to Ma about not being allowed to become CPPCC members, telling him they hoped the law could change and that Ma had said the idea was a good one that would be a breakthrough in protecting the rights and interests of Taiwanese businesspeople.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Kuo Su-chun (郭素春) and his colleagues are planning to push for the required amendments in the legislature.
But a Presidential Office spokesperson said Ma had only told the businesspeople that the MAC would look into the matter of low-level CPPCC membership.
This is evidence that the Ma administration already has decided that it wants Taiwanese businesspeople to become CPPCC members. Restricting such membership to provincial and municipal levels would be just the first step.
As the editorial points out, the Regional Administrator Ma has already downgraded Taiwan's status by saying it is not a state. Now the KMT wants to change the law to bring Taiwan under China's control even further by integrating Taiwanese into the China government. Current law absolutely forbids Taiwanese from assuming positions in the China government.
As if to reinforce this, current Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Chairwoman Lai Shin-yuan told a group of Taiwanese-Americans yesterday that Taiwan can't afford to ignore China. That's right -- with exchanges of every kind in motion, with thousands of tourists going every month, hundreds of thousands of Taiwanese living there, and tens of billions in investment, and a whole foreign policy driven by China's ongoing campaign to annex the island -- yes, Taiwan has been ignoring China. Lai's sage advice was couched in the euphemistic, patronizing language of Establishment doubletalk....
“While mainland China must blend into the international community, Taiwan cannot continue to guard against the Chinese Communist Party [CCP] and block cross-strait exchanges,” she said.
“The survival and development of Taiwan will depend on whether we can incorporate with the world. The sooner we do so, the faster and deeper the assimilation will be,” she said.
Lai made the remarks at a gathering held by the Taiwanese Association of America in Chicago, Illinois.
When Taiwan tries to connect with the rest of the world, it must not avoid China deliberately, but must reduce unnecessary obstruction to cross-strait interactions, she said.
I love that phrase.... "reduce unnecessary obstruction." It has the same ring as the free-market fundamentalism of "reduce unnecessary regulation" -- a signal that safeguards are about to be taken down and wholesale looting to begin. It is jarring to recall that when she was appointed to the MAC, there were international headlines announcing that she was a "pro-independence" politician. R-R-Right.....
Meanwhile the US Federal Reserve extended credit to the last independent bank on Wall Street. After years of free market yammerheads immiserating the universe by telling the Third World that utopia was just around the corner, if only their governments would stop all that nasty socialist care for their own people, the US government has socialized its financial sector. With its invasion of Iraq, the Bush Administration has gravely wounded American leadership in democracy and human rights, and with its catastrophic mismanagement of the financial sector, it has now savaged the US position as a champion of free markets and arbiter of world financial markets. And this from a "conservative" Administration. The Bush Administration's response, with its blatantly corrupt and completely predictable demand for unlimited power, was merely the last vicious act in the Administration's gutting of the US and its political and social institutions. It introduced, however, an ugly new player in US financial markets....
Morgan Stanley, which has some US$36 billion in bank deposits, said it sought the new status from the Federal Reserve “to provide the firm maximum flexibility and stability to pursue new business opportunities as the financial marketplace undergoes rapid and profound changes.”
Some reports said Morgan Stanley was in merger talks with Wachovia, one of the largest US banks, and that China Investment Corp could take a stake in the company as part of a deal.
Anyone out there remember that other world, the one where Chinese companies ran into trouble and had to drop $18 bids to buy a US oil firm? My how things change... China Investment Corp (CIC) is a subidiary of China's massive sovereign investment fund, a $1.8 trillion monster that China has already demonstrated it will use for political purposes. Now Chinese government firms are being brought in to help stabilize our socialized Wall Street firms.... "The creatures outside looked from pig to man , and man to pig, and from pig to man again but already it was impossible to say which was which...."
Which brings us to the real issue: China is flush, and in Washington DC there is an entire political class with a giant FOR SALE sign on the front lawn. China awash in money, the good ship US dismasted, rudderless, and adrift, and Taiwan run by a party bent on annexing it to China... well, things haven't looked this bleak in a long time.