Speaking of the environment, the EPA is insisting that people take seriously its proposed rule that scooters turn off their engines at stop lights, then start them up again when the light turns green. This brilliant idea is actually up for expert review, despite overwhelming objections to it.
Fun fun fun as once again, our longtime anti-democracy President Ma Ying-jeou and mass murdering authoritarian Chinese President Hu Jintao are linked to a Nobel Peace Prize. The idea is parodic, but Taiwan News points to the hollowness at the core of the claim to cross-strait "peace" in the making:
Where a genuinely cross-strait peace process would end could be an open question, but any process that would have legitimacy in today's democratic Taiwan must begin with recognition that the majority of the Taiwan people still want peace with assent and without coercion, with democracy and without repression and with creativity and without preconditions or predetermined conclusions.
Indeed, any "peace" arranged by the KMT and CCP behind the backs of the 23 million Taiwan people will not "end hostilities" but is likely to trigger considerable domestic unrest within Taiwan and could even pave the way for genuine and drawn-out conflict throughout East Asia in the future.
Such a "peace" will not be "honorable" and Hu and Ma will be no more deserving of Nobel Peace Prizes than would have been Hitler or Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and French Premier Edouard Daladier, whom as leaders of "democratic" nations, reached agreement with the "rising" Germany's dictator over the heads of the democratic Czechoslovakian government and its president Eduard Benes to expedite annexation disguised as "peace with honor."
In our view, if Hu truly wishes to be known as a "peacemaker," he should first dismantle the 1,400 missiles and other offensive weaponry deployed across from Taiwan, revoke the belligerent Anti-Secession Law, cease opposing Taiwan's membership in all international organizations and drop the "one China principle" as the precondition to talks.
For his part, Ma should consult with opposition parties and civil society representatives to formulate a domestic consensus strategy for formal talks with the PRC, affirm that the result of any talks must be ratified by national citizen referendum in Taiwan and reaffirm his opposition to the coercive Anti-Secession Law, cease the illegal KMT-CCP "dialogue" and halt unilateral "deregulation" measures that would lock Taiwan into the PRC economy and hollow out the Taiwan people's right of free choice.
Submission is not "peace." When they gave away the Czechs to Hitler in '39, they engendered there broken treaties, burning cities, and 50 million dead -- all the result of "peace with honor" -- and China has territorial claims on all the nations around it, some relatively legit, some completely fanciful. But today's fancies are tomorrow's headlines....
On Jan 9 last week, FAPA sent this around:
"...during the first week of the new 111th Congress, long-time Taiwan supporter Rep. John Linder (R-GA) introduced a resolution urging the Administration to establish diplomatic relations with Taiwan. Similar resolutions were introduced in 2005 and 2007 by then Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO), who has since retired from Congress. Additionally, the resolution calls for end to the U.S. One China Policy and Taiwan's full membership in international organizations.Ah, we can dream. But as a dream it makes a nice antidote to the unreality that has pervaded the Bush Administration's self-congratulatory horse manure on the
Two legislative moves: first, the Taipei Times headline said today that our legislature stirred from its lethargy long enough to pass a bill legalizing gambling in the offshore islands.
The amendment stipulated that local governments must hold a referendum before building casinos.It also called for the government to create a US$900 million fund for island development (read: spraying concrete across precious natural resources while supplying central government funds to local patronage networks). The usual suspects protested, including the Catholic Church, busy protesting against other people's gambling while operating Bingo halls. Gambling in the Penghu is just more of the Cargo Cult dream that uncountable hordes of Chinese are simply standing there in Fukien in long lines from the coast, holding wads of cash just waiting to invest here and "save Taiwan." The legislature also approved the free trade zone at the airport. The new law allows foreign labor but prohibits Chinese labor, something that many feared it might permit. Aborigines, staunch supporters of the KMT, took it on the chin, of course. UPDATE: Penghu, longtime KMT country, has already scheduled a referendum for mid-year.
The referendums would only need to win support from more than half of the voters participating in the referendum.
The bill stipulated that casinos be located within international resorts that include an international hotel, tourism facilities, international conference halls and shopping malls.
Two links you should be looking at. First, the redoubtable and always excellent Brian Kennedy has a long piece in this month's AmCham Topics mag on the prosecutors. It appears to be a direct response to the recent letters that scholars have published condemning the apparent politicization of the prosecutors here. It is useful and informative, but does not directly grapple with the issue of politicization of the prosecutorial function in a substantive way. For example, anyone remember the press conference called by eight prosecutors to claim that they would follow the Chen case to the end, as good as a promise to prosecute Chen Shui-bian no matter what the evidence? UPDATE: Speaking of politicizing the prosecutors -- this is unbelievable -- for the 63rd annual law day, the prosecutors' office staged a skit that looks an awful lot like it was slyly aimed at Chen Shui-bian, with prosecutors playing the parts. My man Taiwan Echo has a description and vids on his blog. Words fail me. UPDATE 2: News report is here (Chinese) UPDATE 3: Taipei Times article.
Also, in case you haven't heard of it, the Reed Institute at the U of Oregon has a fantastic collection of 19th C Taiwan imagery and writing.
Finally, the Taipei Times had a piece on the revival here of Democrats Abroad. If you are not yet a member, sign up for the Taiwan Group at Dems Abroad and come to the organizational meeting on Jan 17 at Larry's Pizza (2 pm). Only registered members at Dems Abroad will be allowed to vote in the organizational elections. We have a fantastic slate of candidates for supervisory positions, although I may be biased, since I am one of them. Once you register at the website and log-in, you can get info on all the candidates.