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Journalists, fans, and support staff betrayed by false "open internet" pledge

A secret order to foreign-owned Chinese hotels compels them to spy on guests during the Olympic Games, according to a memo revealed Tuesday by U.S. Senator Sam Brownback.

Brownback, a republican representing Kansas, said he received a document issued by the Chinese Public Security bureau, which orders hotels to install spying equipment on their internet connections and threatens owners with “severe retaliation” – including the possibility of losing their operating licenses – should they fail to comply.

“These hotels are justifiably outraged by this order,” said Brownback at a news conference Tuesday, noting that it forces them into the “awkward position” of having to “craft pop-up messages” informing guests of their loss of privacy.

Brownback said he received a copy of the original document, translated from Chinese, from attorneys representing two different “foreign-owned” hotel chains. The companies want to remain anonymous so that they don’t face further reprisal. Several other international hotel chains confirmed the order.

An AP report said the Chinese embassy was unavailable for comment.

According to the memo, hotels were told that “all hotel rooms and offices” are considered subject to “on-site or remote technical monitoring at all times.”

With little more than a week remaining before the 2008 Summer Olympics begin in Beijing, Chinese hotel owners appear to have little choice. Despite their outrage, hotel companies are more concerned about the long-term repercussions of non-compliance – failure to obey could place an entire company’s operations in jeopardy, potentially locking them out of a lucrative, growing Chinese market.

Meanwhile, athletes and participants staying at the Olympic Village have a unique set of woes for their internet access: an IT contractor recently leaked a list of rates for DSL service charged by BOCOG (Beijing Organizing Committee of the 2008 Olympic Games), with the cheapest option being a 512/512 kilobit line available for 11,700 RMB ($1716.05 USD). 

“I just can't believe that not only do I have to deal with the Great Firewall of China, but also pay through the nose to use it!” wrote the anonymous contractor.

According to Australian newspaper The Age, the International Olympic Committee issued a formal apology Wednesday for “misleading” the world’s press about the China’s “open internet” pledge. Senior IOC member Kevan Gosper, who originally delivered the promise of “unfettered freedom to report in China,” said he was unaware of the apparently backroom negotiations with Chinese censors, which will keep a number of “sensitive sites” blocked from access.

Age reporters said they were unable to access a number of sites involving human rights discussions, Tibet, and the Falun Gong, with merely intermittent access to a larger portfolio of websites including the New York Times, BBC China, al-Jazeera, Radio Free Asia, and Taiwanese newspapers.

 BOCOG spokesman Sun Weide said that China promised journalists that they would “be able to use the internet for their work during the Olympic Games. So we have given them sufficient access to do that.”



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And how is this a surprise?
By DaveLessnau on 7/31/2008 7:53:50 AM , Rating: 5
And how is this a surprise to anyone? China's very form of government and its past behavior practically demand that this happen. And, as far as I'm concerned, the Olympic Committee and everyone else associated with it (excepting the athletes) deserve this. Countries should not even be allowed to compete in the Olympics, let alone host them, if they're not an honest-to-goodness Democracy.




RE: And how is this a surprise?
By FITCamaro on 7/31/2008 7:58:23 AM , Rating: 3
Most of Europe would be out. Not disagreeing with you, just saying.


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By jhb116 on 7/31/2008 10:09:03 AM , Rating: 4
Technically - this would also eliminate the US as well. We are a republic - not a full fledged democracy.


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By Verran on 7/31/2008 10:15:04 AM , Rating: 5
I pledge allegiance
to the flag
of the United States of America
and to the democ-

...

Well I'll be.. You're right! :P

It's amazing how people don't even know their own government. You'd think more people would know this after the whole "Bush didn't get the popular vote" debacle.


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By FITCamaro on 7/31/08, Rating: 0
By GhandiInstinct on 7/31/2008 10:59:11 AM , Rating: 3
No...it's "Constitutional" republic.


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By Yawgm0th on 7/31/2008 11:46:30 AM , Rating: 3
We are a federal republic, not a democratic republic. We can best be described as a "Federal republic with strong democratic tendencies."


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By FITCamaro on 7/31/2008 11:48:37 AM , Rating: 1
We can bicker on the technical details of what to call it for eternity.


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By Ammohunt on 7/31/2008 3:23:13 PM , Rating: 3
You mean we can discuss the infinite details.


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 7/31/08, Rating: -1
RE: And how is this a surprise?
By HsiKai on 7/31/2008 6:05:00 PM , Rating: 4
I'm not sure what you were getting at after the part about "we are not a republic" and "I blame so-and-so for turning us into a socialist government," however perhaps we should clear some things up.

Democracy:
"... is a system of government by which political sovereignty is retained by the people and exercised directly by citizens. In modern times it has also been used to refer to a constitutional republic where the people have a voice through their elected representatives." - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy

Who was the first democracy?
Greek city-states. Not the United States. The Greeks used a representative democracy upon which ours (the west) is loosely modeled.

Republic:
"A republic is a state or country that is not led by a hereditary monarch, but in which the people (or at least a part of its people) have impact on its government. The word originates from the Latin term res publica, which translates as "public thing" or "public matter." - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republic

This is the United States, fundamentally. And as such is a Federal Republic or a Constitutional one. Both terms fit and are cited as such.

Socialist/Socialism:
"Socialism refers to any of various economic and political concepts of state or collective (i.e. public) ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods and services, some of which have been developed into more or less highly articulated theories and/or praxis. In a Marxist or labor-movement definition of the term, socialism is a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done with the goal of creating a socio-economic system in which property and the distribution of wealth are subject to control by the community." - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socialism

In this way "Socialism" is equivalent to the use of the term "Republic" when describing a country and the way it is governed. In addition it loosely applies to the form of economy. This is in contrast to communism (little "C").

Communism (little "C"):
"Communism is a socioeconomic structure that promotes the establishment of a classless, stateless society based on common ownership of the means of production and property in general." - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communism

Communism (big "C"):
"In modern age, the term communist party is generally used to identify any political party which has adopted communist ideology." This is also called Democratic centralism and is likely the method of government people think of when the word "communism" is tossed around. - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democratic_centralism

Communism is a form of economy, not that of government. Socialist governments tend to use communism (little "C") as a form of economy so that the people under their power feel as though they are treated equally and their rights are not being taken advantage of.


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 7/31/08, Rating: 0
RE: And how is this a surprise?
By HsiKai on 7/31/2008 7:01:57 PM , Rating: 2
If you view history as just short moments, and in terms of the rest of the world the United States has not been around for very long, then there are a great number of successes and failures of every form of government. Looking at history too broadly and even the Romans weren't a successful civilization since they are not technically around.

However, you can't objectively look at "success" and "failure" without looking at what impact that government, society, or individual has had on the rest of the world. That is how progress is made, by taking those successes and improving upon them. We just can't let our definition of "success" become perverted.

Otherwise, I generally agree with your point that each administration is by definition a method of stalling the eventual collapse of what we perceive as our rights and government, however I do not think that we are now a socialist state. Though that might be a preferable alternative to the last eight years.


By Seemonkeyscanfly on 8/1/2008 11:04:11 AM , Rating: 2
I did not say we were socialist state. I said we are heading down the path of socialism (blindly). I also stated we are no longer a republic - that's just a fact. We see left overs from a republic state and think we are republic because we do not know better. We never lived in a republic state - unless you are over 100 years old. It's like growing up the poorest kid in the wealthiest city in the world. You might think you are poor because you have to wait a month to get the latest toy, or it needs to go on sale, or you do not have all the cool toys just a few of them. However the reality is, you have no idea what poor is like, because you never lived it or saw it. You would have no way to compare wealth from poor, because you only know levels of wealth. So, it is for most people in the US to understand a republic state....we think we know it but truth is we never live in one....Our parents never lived in one, and many of our grandparents never lived in one. We have no way of understand what it was like, other then reading about it in books, and most will not do that.

At one point you posted we need to fight for our rights. You are 100% correct. However, that's my point, over the years we have fought off big political changes, but let all the little ones go by. So now we do not even understand what we use to have and we are not fighting to keep it or bring it back around. Just remember, the more a politician say he wants to give you and control for you so you do not have to worry....the more of the republic he wants to take away from this nation.

Use your own noodle to figure out which one will take more of your freedom and rights. After all that one of the great right we do still have... to vote for whom we like best. However, do not kid yourself, I have not seen a politician who has fought for less government control and influence since Ronald Regan, the deregulation master. So, both current people will take more of your rights away, just who will leave you with more?


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By HsiKai on 8/3/2008 7:15:59 PM , Rating: 2
Upon further consideration I realized that SMCF might have meant fascism instead of socialism. The only thing worse than a group of corrupted politicians is one with the ear of the people.

Fascism:
quote:
Various scholars attribute different characteristics to fascism, but the following elements are usually seen as its integral parts: nationalism, corporativism, militarism, authoritarianism, statism, dictatorship, populism, collectivism and economic planning. In addition, Fascism opposes classic political and economic liberalism, conservatism and communism. Furthermore, fascist regimes subordinate free enterprise to perceived national interests.


Sounds like we've knocked a few of those out of the ballpark and if FITCamaro gets his way he can have his right-wing populism and eat it, too.


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By rudolphna on 8/2/2008 9:46:25 PM , Rating: 1
shut up libertarian.


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By Sandok on 7/31/08, Rating: -1
RE: And how is this a surprise?
By Hare on 7/31/2008 10:27:55 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Either you're the stereotypical American who has never left his Hometown
FITcamaro has already answered this question and no, he has never been abroad...


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By FITCamaro on 7/31/2008 10:48:02 AM , Rating: 2
Glad you know me better than I do.

Yes I've only been overseas once. Sorry. I didn't have rich parents who could send me on European vacations growing up. And I don't have the money to take them now. I hope to visit other parts of the world more one day. But I'll never live in them.

And I'm about 1100 miles from my hometown.

And I said most of Europe. Greece has a government much like ours here in the US. Of course much of Europe belongs to the EU which definitely is not a democratic organization. And Greece is a member. It's only a matter of time before EU members form into a single country.


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By Hare on 7/31/2008 11:22:46 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
It's only a matter of time before EU members form into a single country.

The EU is an economic union with a common trade policy etc.

I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for the EU to become a single country... What would be the benefit and why would this happen?


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By JustTom on 7/31/2008 12:52:44 PM , Rating: 2
While the EU is certainly an economic union it has reach far beyond economic activity. And yes, there are attempts, ongoing in fact, to broaden its powers. The latest proposed EU Constitution would, if ratified, codify the Charter of Fundamenta Rights into binding law for all members of the Union.

The scope of the Union's power has been increasing for decades. I am not arguing whether this is a good or bad thing (IMO I think it is some of both) but it is happening.


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By Hare on 7/31/2008 1:17:50 PM , Rating: 2
The Union's power is indeed increasing but there are so many different countries and cultures involved that I don't really see anyone willing to give up their independence for one huge country with centralized government.

EU countries can't even pick a single currency (there are 12 different currencies currently), so I doubt we'll see the member countries mergin soon ;)


By Alexstarfire on 7/31/2008 3:49:42 PM , Rating: 2
Things don't happen all at once, they happen slowly. Unless a war breaks out, the EU isn't going to merge into one country overnight. It'll be a couple decades longer...... but it'll happen at this rate.

It's like the way things are now in the US. We don't just give up our freedoms.... they slowly get taken away with each stupid law that gets passed. A bit here, a bit there... but those bits add up damn it.


By Rodney McNaggerton on 7/31/2008 4:42:25 PM , Rating: 2
BAWWWWWWWFEST ANYONE?


By Seemonkeyscanfly on 7/31/2008 4:47:14 PM , Rating: 1
Look to the USA as an example. Most even in the USA do not understand the set up of our Government. The USA is not one country, nope. Currently it is 50 independent countries acting as one. The idea is to work together on expensive things like protection from invasion (military), postal (transfer of information), easy trade between countries (one common bank system).... then each country has rights to pick for themselves other laws like; death penalty or not? Maybe top speed limit, Motorcycle helmets....
It's just when they wrote the USA Constitution it was decided to call them states and not countries.
The USA had an advantage, we were forced to work together otherwise as 13 nations trying to break away from another we would have failed.


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By Ringold on 8/1/2008 12:52:24 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
EU countries can't even pick a single currency (there are 12 different currencies currently)


I don't know if its that high or not, but most of the major members use the Euro, and some eastern ones peg to it.

Beyond that, I don't see how you could be ignoring the clear trend for the EU; further and further pooling of tidbits of sovereignty in to Brussels. For example, you're probably going to see Ireland be forced to continue to vote on Lisbon until it gets it "right." The politicians clearly want Lisbon to succeed, as Ireland has been the only one to hold a referendum. Other governments, more cowardly, ratified the treaty in parliament (or whatever, senate, etc) despite public opinion polls.

The EU is simply undergoing the same process the United States has undergone. We went from independent, sovereign states to a single federal government in about 90 years, roughly 1776 to 1865. It may take Europe as long, but perhaps not. American's had the spine to stand up against the federal government, and slowed its expansion for decades before finally fighting a vicious civil war. Europe, lacking such spine, will probably put up little such resistance, speeding the process along.

Plus, you sound like you're from Europe. Maybe you live in a strange part of Europe, but the Europeans I know, and the papers I read from Europe all treat nationalism as a dirty, ignorant thing. That bodes well for the expansion of EU powers, and badly for the sovereignty of the individual nations within it.


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By boogle on 8/1/2008 4:42:57 AM , Rating: 2
You're ignoring the UK, we like to be independant and hate extra power going to the EU. When the Euro came along, there was no chance at all of the UK going with Euros. UK also has the biggest military force in Europe and since the US would inevitably back the UK up, then the EU becoming a federation is less likely. Assuming of course we have a 'civil' war like the US did. It's unlikely though, chances are as has been said, it'll just be a slow gradual process where the population are slowly converted over to the EU idea.

Personally though, I'm a fan of the EU. It doesn't take crap, it loves free trade, and unites Europe. Can only be a good thing (tm). Then again if someone said we're giving up pounds sterling, I might suddenly reverse that view :p

There is a fairly common question people talk about in the UK, 'go with the US or the EU?', since there's a underlying throught that we'll need to go with one or the other. People obviously preferred neither, but prior to Afghanistan / Iraq the thought was slightly in the US favour. Now its with the EU.


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By Ringold on 8/1/2008 12:40:51 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
It doesn't take crap


What? I'm almost speechless here. The EU has bent over and taken Russia's belligerence like a cheap whore on energy, partly because Germany's in bed with them. This is why Eastern European states have wanted to join NATO; deep disappointment with Brussels, which has failed to protect them from Moscow. Where was the EU when Russia launched its attack on its neighbors networks? Where is the EU when Russia threatens to cut off nat-gas? Where is the EU trying to be a good neighbor and involving itself with South Ossetia / Georgia?

I'll say one thing though.. the ECB sure doesn't take crap. Jean Claude Trichet should perhaps run the entire EU.

quote:
it loves free trade


Unless, of course, it doesn't involve the untouchable agriculture sector. Thanks, Europe, for helping to kill Doha. With the emission scheme, it may soon be an issue to trade with any country not employing a similar carbon restriction program. That'll cripple trade with the developing world if protectionist forces manage to get the upper hand.

quote:
'go with the US or the EU?'


How about a third option? Glorious independence! If you guys need an example, you could look to Switzerland or Norway. They seem to be getting along well without having any special sugar-daddy.


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By boogle on 8/1/2008 1:16:14 PM , Rating: 2
I was talking about internally. The EU has no requirement to become a world policeman, only the US seems to have delusions of being morally superior and therefore controlling the world with its police force, often named 'Officer Carrier Group' and 'Corporal USMC' found in countries where there is oil but curiously not in countries without oil. I'd rather be in a country that doesn't interfere, but should you attack, you'll get more than a bloody nose. Unfortunately the UK interferes because the US interferes so our political well-being has gone from good to abysmal.

Trade again, I was talking internally. There's very little red-tape between EU states when it comes to trade. But I'm sure the US' trade is supremely fair and doesn't benefit the US at the cost of other countries whatsoever. A model for us all.

I like your 'sugar-daddy' reference. Which state are you from? Your state has its own sugar-daddy, the US government.


By MamiyaOtaru on 8/1/2008 8:44:34 PM , Rating: 2
"the papers I read from Europe all treat nationalism as a dirty, ignorant thing."

No kidding. I remember reading thoughts from a bunch of Spaniards who regretted Spain winning the World Cup because of all the nationalist feelings that came to the surface.


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By Logica on 7/31/08, Rating: 0
RE: And how is this a surprise?
By FITCamaro on 7/31/2008 8:15:26 AM , Rating: 4
While every American soldier lost is tragic, and every civilian lost is tragic, American soldiers are not dying "many by the day".

China's economy is growing so quickly because they are artificially keeping the value of their currency low so that business continues to be cheap there. If they were to bring the value of their currency in line with the rest of the world's, all the jobs being moved there would stop because the total cost of doing business there would be higher than it would be locally.


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 7/31/2008 8:34:43 AM , Rating: 2
It's communism, you can do whatever you want and they know it.


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By WTFiSJuiCE on 7/31/2008 3:43:07 PM , Rating: 4
It's not communism, its a socialist-authoritarian gov't that was built on communist ideals just like the Soviet Union was.

If it was communism, there'd be no gov't and there would be no class divisions or oppression since everyone would be equal.

Socialism and Capitalism, according to Marx, are merely steps taken before the step to True Communism is made; so in his dead eyes, the U.S. is actually closer to Communism than China is. =\

Communism always gets a bad rap since Revolutions based on Communistic ideals succeed and then soon fall into dictatorships simply because the leaders realize the power they really have.


By Seemonkeyscanfly on 7/31/2008 5:20:29 PM , Rating: 2
Humans can never live in a pure communist or pure republican Government. For either to exist in a pure state (which would mean no military, police...) would mean all man would treat each other fair, no stealing, no cheating, no lying, no murder, you could only do the right thing for others. This is 100% against human nature. We (if good up bringing) are taught at an early age how to share and take turns. No one was born with these ideals.
In communist the government decides how to distribute wealth (not good, means a man some where controls this). In a republic the people and market place distribute the wealth...(this is good because it's hard for one man or small group to control the whole market place.)


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By Ringold on 8/1/2008 12:57:50 AM , Rating: 2
I don't know why people decide to be so anal about political vocabulary. FFS, the meanings change by the decade. If you all want to be picky, then the Democrat party is an extreme right-wing conservative party, the Republican party harbors many liberals -- but not nearly as radical of liberals as the Libertarian Party does.

Liberal, in the original American sense, was an ideology in favor of free-market capitalism and a minimal state. Outside of economics ("liberalized" labor markets, etc), however, who actually uses it that way?

Ya'll remind me of Catholics. Lets all pray in Latin. Nevermind 99% of us don't know Latin. That's the way it originally was, and now we must stick to it!


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By danrien on 8/1/2008 3:26:32 PM , Rating: 2
Catholics haven't prayed in Latin since the turn of the 20th century at least.


By WTFiSJuiCE on 8/1/2008 4:28:45 PM , Rating: 2
Catholics pray? (couldn't resist >.<)


By WTFiSJuiCE on 8/1/2008 4:56:50 PM , Rating: 3
I dun really feel that i'm being anal by pointing that out, but then again if my post was anal, wouldn't it be just as anal,if not moreso, to take the time out and post what you did?

I simply pointed out that there's a difference between Socialists, Authoritarians, and Communism. People are still blurring the lines because back when Stalin took over the Communist Party, which paved his way to becoming the ruthless dictator that he was. Just because people were made to work on communal farms back then does not make it Communism, it makes it FORCED LABOR! If you have a dictatorship, then its not Communism, its a DICTATORSHIP (a.k.a. Totalitarian regime)!

So many Americans unforunately are ignorant(not idiots, just uninformed) of what Communism is because of the horrible stigmas it received after revolutions based on the Marxist ideals turned from fights for freedom into Large Dictatorships and Authoritarian gov'ts that opposed the American ideals and capitalistic way of life. Even today we hear the word Communism or Socialism and i'll guarantee at least 3 out of 10 if not more will start spewing out some McCarthy type jargon about how Communism and Socialism is = to things like Satan or Tom Cruise

Terms don't change, people use the same terms to explain the beliefs that their nations were created on, yet are now only partially true as to what their nation really is now.

Either way, I guess we'll just hafta be anal together bro. Cheers! :D


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By sxr7171 on 7/31/2008 8:37:00 AM , Rating: 1
You don't think other countries peg their currency to the dollar?


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By BansheeX on 7/31/2008 10:01:23 AM , Rating: 3
That was good when they had no infrastructure and immature markets, but now would be a good time to depeg. As the U.S. inflates the living crap out of its currency to prop up artificial non-exportable sectors, the price of everything unnecessarily goes up in that country. China has billions of potential consumers, they don't need to export actual goods to overleveraged Americans to grow their economy. Perhaps in nominal terms, but that's pointless. They would be far better off with cheaper oil and being able to afford their own products instead of shipping them all here in exchange for paper. We export practically nothing but inflation anymore, our trade deficit is enormous and is doing nothing but subsidizing our consumption for things we can't afford.

A painful recession was supposed to happen in 2000 to fix that and reallocate service jobs to manufacturing exportable products and save the dollar. That wasn't allowed to happen, the Fed blew up the housing bubble with 1% interest rates and created an even bigger seed of destruction which is again trying to be reinflated with massive bailouts. Either we let everything collapse and allow the market to reallocate or we slowly destroy the dollar with inflation. Choose.


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By Noya on 7/31/2008 10:09:24 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
Either we let everything collapse and allow the market to reallocate or we slowly destroy the dollar with inflation. Choose.


That sounds about right.


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By FITCamaro on 7/31/2008 10:52:07 AM , Rating: 2
Sadly you're mostly right. I don't think everything will collapse though. But yes. The market needs to be allowed to fluctuate as it used to. Not continue to be propped up whenever something bad happens.

The problem is the idea that the government should step in and fix everything when something bad happens has flourished. And liberals love the idea of looking like saviors to the poor, down and out, and unwitting.


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By ats on 7/31/2008 2:12:13 PM , Rating: 4
Yes the poor, down and out, and unwitting like large wall street firms and banks...

This is what people get for voting republican though, bailouts and increased debt.

Republicans now own over 90% of the US national debt. Party of fiscal responsibility, yeah right!


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By FITCamaro on 7/31/2008 2:45:42 PM , Rating: 2
Uh...the recent housing bill and previous "Economic Stimulus" packages were crafted and pushed by Democrats. Bush signed them yes, but do not act like the Republicans were behind these measures.

House vote:
quote:
A ”yes” vote is a vote to pass the bill. Voting yes were 227 Democrats and 45 Republicans. Voting no were 3 Democrats and 149 Republicans.


Senate vote:
quote:
Voting yes were 43 Democrats, 27 Republicans and two independents. Voting no were 13 Republicans.


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By ats on 7/31/2008 3:07:08 PM , Rating: 2
So the bailouts in the financial industries don't count?

The Economic Stimulus package was proposed by Bush and pushed by Bush. Regardless of what you may or may not want, Bush IS the republican party atm and everything he does reflects on the republican party, just like Reagan and Bush 1 were the republican party and everything they did reflected on the republican party.

All three have the opportunity for fiscal responsibility and none availed them of that opportunity.


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By Alexvrb on 7/31/2008 7:00:14 PM , Rating: 3
Bush is not the republican party. That said, who is in Congress right now? How much longer are people going to let Congress off the hook and blame Bush for everything? Like the House and Senate in their entirety are blameless all these years? They're the biggest culprits, democrat and republican alike. They're all a bunch of windbags, especially the bush-finger-pointing-glass-house-living-stone-throw ing democrats we've got in there now. Like they're powerless to do anything.

That aside, even on a state government level a lot of us have problems that have nothing to do with Bush. I for one have ol' Kaine trying to increase gas taxes. I'd like to see him stripped of all his money, pay him $50K a year, and make him commute to work every day. See if he raises gas taxes then.


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By Ringold on 8/1/2008 1:13:49 AM , Rating: 3
So far, how many tax payer dollars have been spent "bailing out" the "financial industries"?

Woops. That's right. Zero. In fact, the Fed has made money off the Bear Stearn's sale. IndyMac also cost nothing; it was sold right off to another bank.

Yes, there is immense risk, particularly with Fannie & Freddie (which could, for bond investors, simply be renamed Freddie Pae). Don't fool yourself in to thinking Democrats are not also behind all of this. Barny Frank's plump face was all over the TV today, calling for more bailouts.

If you're going to attack the Republican's as being bailout-kings, I'd like for you to identify, with links to evidence, a few Democrat Senators on record of favoring a suspension of the implied Federal backing of Fannie & Freddie, as well as interfering with the Federal Reserve and requiring it to withdraw commercial banks access to funds.

It also appears you make the common liberal mistake of associating the Federal Reserve's acts and mistakes with those of who happens to occupy the White House at the time. The President of the United States, as you would know if you bothered to ever read the constitution, has no direct power over banks. The current problems can be traced back to a combination of forced subprime spending by banks in low-income areas by pressure groups like ACORN and lax monetary policy by Greenspan. Correctly identifying the origins of the credit crisis is, I suppose, too boring and intellectual of an exercise for liberals though. Far easier to point a finger and whine.


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By Donkey2008 on 7/31/2008 6:02:49 PM , Rating: 2
The Chinese own over a trillion dollars of U.S. debt, so they have a bigger part in prooping up the dollar than anyone. Their economy is directly tied to the buying power of the American consumer and they are the ones subsidizing the American life-style. That fact became more than obvious during the sub-prime collapse, for which Chinese investment was a major player.

We keep a severe trade imbalance and the Chinese keep our dollar afloat with large-scale investment in our treasury notes. It's a win-win scenerio (/sarcasm) until the Chinese decide to dump that debt on the market and completely devalue the dollar.

They can't of course because it would hurt them even more, but last I read it wasn't Iraqi or Iranian subs surfacing in the middle of American navy exercises or North korean missles shooting down satellites in orbit.

It puts an entirely new spin on the old adage "you keep your friends close and your enemies closer".


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By tastyratz on 7/31/08, Rating: 0
RE: And how is this a surprise?
By Logica on 7/31/2008 10:28:50 AM , Rating: 2
So what exactly are you going to do? Nothing is the bottom line, because you can't do a thing. Do you really think antagonising the Chinese is in any way, shape or form a productive idea? Sure you can show your disgust or disagreement with what is being done but in all honesty, who cares what you think?

The last country that did a rapid transition from communism to democracy nearly had its economy crash and burn and that was Russia. China just being cautious is not exactly a bad idea. The Yanks are probably just bitter at the fact that they can no longer effectively compete like they used to in the global economy with so many jobs moving over to China.

Also, this idiotic talk about China allowing their currency to freely float. Well, is it REALLY surpising that China don't want to? Wait, it won't benefit them in the least and only the Americans. Then why do it? Geez, sometimes I think some people here have wood between their ears. The US would do exactly the same if the situations were reversed in this case.


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 7/31/2008 10:32:40 AM , Rating: 2
It would complicate the Chinese economy if they allowed their currency to float. This way they don't really need to handle that side of economics. This way they also guarantee an export market. Resolutions from the U.S. side would be to throw up heavy tariffs to artificially raise the prices of chinese imports. Of course doing this would cause prices in the U.S. to skyrocket in the short term.


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By jconan on 8/1/2008 1:06:36 AM , Rating: 2
What does the we know about the economy? We were bailed out by importing cheap products and now look at the US economy? It's in a recession because of 2 main issues the housing market and the gas price caused by artificial tampering of the federal interest rates and denial of infinite gas supply thinking that US is the only gas user and no one else. As a whole we should definitely fix the problems here before being a hypocrite and talking trash about other countries.


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By Ringold on 8/1/2008 1:19:16 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
by artificial tampering of the federal interest rates


Thats part of it... but oil has become more dear relative to other goods in every currency I'm aware of, including the inflationphobic Euro-zone. There is no escaping the impact of a couple billion people experiencing growing prosperity and demanding more energy.

But if you think about it, your two main issues that you indicate are one in the same. Both, one could argue, were caused by lax monetary policy.


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By FITCamaro on 7/31/2008 10:57:13 AM , Rating: 2
China's undervalued currency isn't just hurting America. Why would any corporation set up shop in Europe either considering the extremely high corporate taxes when they can go to China? I'm sure BMW and Mercedes would love to move some of their manufacturing to China. But the local governments would likely have a sh*tfit.


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By HsiKai on 7/31/2008 4:25:44 PM , Rating: 2
No, they wouldn't. Also, quite a few Mercedes are built in Mexico so transportation costs to the North American remain low. (This is true of Toyota keeping most or all of their North American factories in NA, as well.)

Also, with respect to undervaluing their currency, who do you think gave them that idea? It sure wouldn't be the west subjugating their people and keeping their labor rates artificially low. It wouldn't be American Big Business threatening to take their business to Malaysia, Indonesia, or India where there are an equal number of people willing to work for such little pay.

If you can't afford to go to Europe you might try going to Jamaica. The last time I was there the Jamaican Dollar was worth half that of the U.S. Dollar and due to a large part of their economy being based on tourism they, as a society, were happy to undervalue their Dollar for tourists. This is true of many countries when you go to exchange money at financial institutions, they will typically give you a "discount" or more for your money that would be the normal value so that you will feel that you can spend more while abroad. Unfortunately this has led to the Jamaican people undervaluing it below that in some cases.

So please do not think that the Chinese are playing unfair. Undervaluing their currency, if it's best for them, is a fine economic, and mainly political, strategy the same way tariffs on foreign products or embargoes are perfectly acceptable business practices.


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By HsiKai on 7/31/2008 5:44:06 PM , Rating: 2
Grammar check: That first sentence should read "to the North American market" or "to North America." I guess I couldn't make up my mind.


By codeoferics on 8/1/2008 3:14:47 AM , Rating: 2
I don't quite understand everyone ranting off about the Chinese currency...

http://finance.google.com/finance?q=CURRENCY%3A+CN...
Aug 2007: Chinese Yuan = 0.1322 USD
Aug 2008: Chinese Yuan = 0.146 USD

That's an increase of more than 10% in a year between the two world currencies which a significant portion of the world's trading works off of. From what I understand they are letting the Yuan rise in value gradually to market value. If they suddenly unpegged it overnight and it rises like mad in a short period of time, imagine the chaos for importers and exporters (some would easily go bankrupt from cash flow problems immediately).


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By Min Jia on 8/1/2008 4:28:51 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
China is one of the most oppressive governments that offers the least service and assistance to its citizens.

That is comopletely untrue. We do care about our citizens, a lot actually. What happened after the Wenchuan earthquake in May is proof.

By the way, there's a Chinese saying, To gauge the heart of a gentleman with your own mean measure. And that is exactly what you're doing. So please stop.


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By Alexstarfire on 7/31/2008 3:52:47 PM , Rating: 1
Want to go explain Hong Kong then? Once China got Hong Kong back they left it EXACTLY the way it was.... capitalism and all.


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By jconan on 8/1/2008 3:41:40 AM , Rating: 3
Yeah but China only guaranteed Hong Kong 50 years of sovereignty. After that HK has to tow in line with the rest of China's policies, no more 1 country 2 systems. That's exactly Taiwan will resist unless they have control of China and that doesn't seem likely.


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 7/31/2008 8:33:27 AM , Rating: 5
While I do not agree with the requirement to be a democracy to compete. I do not condone the hosting of the olympics by any country with a rights record like China. They are close to the bottom of the list when it comes to rights. Surpassed only by some of the african and middle eastern countries. But the IOC has long been a staple of corruption and stupidity, they thought by bringing the Olympics to China that they would get them to "see the light" but that thought in and of itself shows you how rosey the glasses are that the IOC wears. Hopefully this will serve as an example to the IOC and the international community in general what a mistake it is to host the olympics in such places.


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By WTFiSJuiCE on 7/31/2008 4:04:01 PM , Rating: 2
All China had to do in order to justify their claim that they believe in Human Rights was not try to run over their own people w/ tanks in the open streets for like....what....19 years?

To make themselves look like they were reducing the amt of pollution in their skies by blatantly manipulating their own weather data before submitting it to the IOC?

I mean, when your country is creating toxic winds thanks to the sandstorms that roll into China from the Gobi, pick up all the floating chemicals from the new "Industrial" Mines, Refineries, Etc., spreading it to other countries like Korea(N and S), Japan, and ultimately the U.S. and beyond (tradewinds don't stop) all the while making millions sick and the IOC sees them fit to host games as symbolic as the Olympics?

The people of China aren't to blame here, but a Gov't like China's is fit to host the Olympics?

To quote Sam Jackson: "Hmph....my d*ck wants to laugh."


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By HsiKai on 7/31/2008 4:59:13 PM , Rating: 2
So who then, would you let host or attend the Olympic games? Surely not Eastern European countries. Probably not South American countries either (except maybe Brazil?) unless you're okay with the revolutions and guerrilla warfare down there. Definitely not the United States if we're going by a net human rights abuse statistic. The UK and Australia are probably similarly negligent in their protection of international rights. The Geneva Convention sadly hasn't applied even after its rules were invoked by the world community. I really don't think the U.S. has the right to point fingers when we are so shortsighted when viewing our own history.

I suggest you read "Blowback" by Chalmers Johnson or go browse the internet for CIA operations from it's creation to present as well as Special Operations in Asia from 1962-present. (Specifically Myanmar, Korea, and Vietnam during those times.)

If anything the Olympics should be used as a gateway into positive participation on the international stage.


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By bfu on 7/31/2008 5:27:55 PM , Rating: 2
What human right? you guys have no clue what's like living in a poor country. first they must have enough to eat..., the basic necessites.., that's human right. To let monks worship Dali Lima and split the country apart or lift 150 million people out off poverty, I'll take later any day. But, I do beleive China is moving toward Democratic little by little and finally maybe 20 years from now, in a big nation like China, political things move slowly and it has been improved greatly for the last 20 years.


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By HsiKai on 7/31/2008 6:09:51 PM , Rating: 2
As bfu rightly points out, most people from the country in question believe they're moving in a positive direction, that their country is growing, sometimes slowly, sometimes quite rapidly. I think people too often forget that places outside the U.S. aren't just names, but have people who are just as passionately nationalistic about their country, and about improving it, as westerners are.

Thanks for your post, bfu!


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By swizeus on 7/31/08, Rating: -1
RE: And how is this a surprise?
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 7/31/2008 6:06:26 PM , Rating: 1
Even YOUR country will monitor you, only they don't say it.
Nope, to expensive and too much a waste of time. When you let thing be free you just have nothing to really fear. Yes, lies will be created, but they will be found and revealed. You have to be doing something funny (bad) to be monitor...traveling to questionable areas, transferring money to these areas, take on extreme habits, basically not fit in with the other citizens.
A question to you would be, Do you understand the volume of data (voice/telephone, e-mail, text, video....) that moves around the USA everyday? The girls between ages of 12 and 19 probably text enough data that equals 2 times the data the rest of the world combined transfers in one day....Now add in the boys, the businesses, a very active and well traveled retired age group. Really we are only a few steps away from homeless people having their own computers (which right now they do have access to use public computers), and cell phone. They do have access to indoor plumbing...I watched TV special on several places that the richest families do not have indoor plumbing. I say this not to show off, but to make you understand even our poorest create more data to monitor then some other places wealthiest people. Granted most of the data that would be monitor is garbage but that is why it would be to expensive to monitor.
Difference between the Red guard and FBI: well I have no idea what the Red guard can do, but somethings the FBI can not do:
FBI can not investigate anyone without probably reason/cause. FBI can not arrest, hold, or detain anyone with out a warrant or full charges being brought up. If I am brought in for questioning, I can walk out of the FBI's office anytime I wish unless they have a warrant or arrest me for a crime and have evidence that links me to the crime to make that arrest.
Perfect, no....but our own freedom really protects us too. Because of the freedom to wastefully text our days away we generate some much waste data, no one could truly monitor all the data.


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By HsiKai on 7/31/2008 6:18:45 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
FBI can not investigate anyone without probably reason/cause.


Yes they can, you remember the warrantless wiretaps? Those were illegal until Congress passed - or will pass - that telecom amnesty/immunity.

quote:
FBI can not arrest, hold, or detain anyone with out a warrant or full charges being brought up.


Perhaps the FBI can't, but the CIA can. As well, the U.S. doesn't have to respect international courts or the Geneva Convention when they do it.

quote:
Because of the freedom to wastefully text our days away we generate some much waste data, no one could truly monitor all the data.


No one monitors "all the data." Not even China, although from a technological stand point I would be impressed if they could. There is no amount of money that can possibly fund the decryption of all the packets, of monitoring every message; however they can scan for certain words, phrases, addresses, people, and events mentioned and act on that. That is where people's liberties fail to be protected when they think that they can slip away in the endless stream of information that is the internet. Don't fool yourself, no one is out to protect you except yourself. Every day is a fight for keeping your rights, just like everyone else in the world.


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 8/1/2008 10:26:15 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
FBI can not investigate anyone without probably reason/cause.

Yes they can, you remember the warrantless wiretaps? Those were illegal until Congress passed - or will pass - that telecom amnesty/immunity.

You just proved my point...No they can not. If congress is to vote to pass it to make it legal then it's illegal. So, no they can not. These were illegal and they also only used on International calls. Something people tend to forget.

Perhaps the FBI can't, but the CIA can. As well, the U.S. doesn't have to respect international courts or the Geneva Convention when they do it.

Aaaaa... No, you rights as a US citizen extends over all Government offices. They too can not touch you unless you have given them reason. You might be watching to many Hollywood movies. Can things get mixed up a bit once in a while? Sure, but the truth usually comes out. Again, nothing is perfect.

As well, the U.S. doesn't have to respect international courts or the Geneva Convention when they do it.

I'm guessing you are talking about times when the USA goes against the current UN staff. The reason the US has not gotten into trouble when seemingly going against the UN, is because the US is normally sticking to the original plan and the UN is altering course (the UN tends to change plans every 10 or more years). So, when the US says, No this is the original plan and we are sticking to it...the UN can not say no, because they are the ones who created the plan. Example: Iraq – Saddom Hussein after losing in 1992 was given strict set of rules to follow – allow inspectors in (without notice), report on missing chemicals and diseases (given to them by the US disease control center for study), do not participate in training of terroristic type of people, and so on (Remember they lost...being punished for invading Kuwait). fast forward about 10 years... Iraq had fulfilled none (zero) of the required steps. The US demand actions from the UN. The UN tried to back out saying oh this is not right, but the reality is US pointed out, this is the action demand by the UN if these conditions were not met. Most people tend to forget that side of the story, because the want to “create” their own new dictator verse seeing the real and cruel one being removed.


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By HsiKai on 8/1/2008 8:07:58 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
You just proved my point...No they can not. If congress is to vote to pass it to make it legal then it's illegal. So, no they can not. These were illegal and they also only used on International calls. Something people tend to forget.


It is illegal to make a law that absolves an illegal action. It is illegal to take something that is legal and prosecute it after passing a law that makes that act illegal..

That is the big deal here, that the United States of America is passing legislation that absolves our prior actions. There is no apology; there is only the government giving the law, the constitution, and our civil rights the finger.

Now that there has been a precedent set it gives the rest of the government a blank check as to what they can and cannot due, assuming they have an administration that is lenient with them.


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By HsiKai on 8/3/2008 7:06:26 PM , Rating: 2
Speaking of precedent, this furthers my point that now the government can walk in and do what they want with the expectation that society will either not take notice, or not take action:

quote:
Two FBI agents walked into a public library in Maryland, without a warrant, and walked out with two computers. The library director agreed to release the machines to these smooth-talking feds. According to the article, the director of Frederick County Public Libraries indicated that this was the third time in his 10 years there that the FBI had requested records, but the first time they had come without a court order. The director seemed to indicate no regrets, stating 'It was a decision I made on my experience and the information given to me.' He further justified his actions, noting that the agents indicated specific computers they needed (of the several dozen in the library) and further that they 'had an awful lot of information.'

- http://wtopnews.com/?nid=598&sid=1452848

Here's to another four years of McCainonomics and complacency!


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By LyCannon on 7/31/2008 1:06:09 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Countries should not even be allowed to compete in the Olympics, let alone host them, if they're not an honest-to-goodness Democracy.


This is such a bullshit statement. The great thing about the Olympics is that IT IS NOT POLITICAL. Don't mix politics and the Olympics. Don't rob the phenomenal effort of our worlds athletes with a boycott because you don't like the way the host country runs things.


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By ats on 7/31/2008 2:20:09 PM , Rating: 2
The Olympics are and have been political for decades. Anyone saying otherwise doesn't know anything about the history of the Olympics or the IOC.

If you don't think that China sees the Olympics as overtly political then you understand nothing about the Olympics OR China.


RE: And how is this a surprise?
By WTFiSJuiCE on 7/31/2008 4:08:55 PM , Rating: 2
You know, i'm sure they said the same thing after Hitler hosted his non-political Olympics. /sarcasm (to cover my own a** =])


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