"Pay close attention to that man behind the curtain!"

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Have you ever seen an earthworm count backwards from ten?

In the print edition of today's Chinese-language Liberty Times, there's a clear picture of PFP legislator Chiu Yi (AKA "earthworm") in the early morning hours of the day after Taiwan's presidential election, standing atop the campaign truck that was being used to crash the gate in front of Kaohsiung's prosecutor's office while police stood immediately on the opposite side of the gate. The picture is unfortunately not available in the online edition, but the Chinese-language article which appears beneath the photo in the print edition is.

According to this article, Kaohsiung police chief Hsieh Hsu-nen was called to the scene in the wee hours of March 21 after officers on the scene had reported the situation as having gotten out of control. At the same press conference described in my previous post, Hsieh said he clearly witnessed Chiu atop the truck "loudly counting down '10, 9, 8, 7, 6... charge!'" as it repeatedly crashed into the gate. He also reminded reporters that eight officers were injured during this incident. Hsieh was in possession of video taken at the scene which will be used as evidence in court, but didn't show the footage at the press conference.

Chiu is being charged with treason as a result of his involvement in this riot, and claimed at the press conference that he "was trying to calm the people, not incite them." I watched the riot on live TV as it developed, and even from that vantage point, it caused my heart to skip a beat.

An English-language article describing some of the same events can be found in today's Taipei Times.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Have you ever seen an "earthworm" cry?

Taiwan legislator Chiu Yi of the opposition "People First Party" (PFP) has been charged with treason, according to an article on Bloomberg.com.

The charge stems from his involvement in a riot at government offices in Kaohsiung on the night of March 20 after votes were tallied and Chen Shui-bian declared victory in Taiwan's presidential election. The article also says Chiu denied this, saying that he "was trying to calm the people, not incite them." I caught the tail end of his press conference in response to the charges this afternoon, in which the media described him basically as "whining" this denial.

I watched the riot on live TV, and it sure looked to me like he was inciting the crowd. Although the charges of treason apply specifically to the incident in Kaohsiung, Chiu was involved in other such incidents during the following week in which he is quoted by the Toronto Star as saying, "The horn of the revolution has been sounded."

This statement is related to another event that I watched with amazement on live TV, where Chiu was way up in the front of the crowd as protesters kicked in the glass on the bulletin board announcing the official results of the election at the Central Election Commission building in Taipei. I was also watching when the protesters smashed the glass doors of the building, pelted police with eggs, and finally forced their way inside. An article called "Taiwan radicals pushing for violent demonstrations" appearing in today's Straits Times cites Chiu Yi telling the Financial Times that "Only a revolution could succeed in overturning Mr Chen's government." Chiu is also quoted as saying, "We need to storm the fortifications," that "demonstrators should ram through the police barricades in front of the presidential office," and "You cannot conduct a revolution if you think about your public image. Only with open conflict will we be able to scare Chen Shui-bian."

Whether he said these things in Taipei or Kaohsiung, it doesn't sound very much like a person who "was trying to calm the people."

Chiu Yi's name (spelled "Chou Yi" in some reports, Hanyu pinyin: Qiu1 Yi4 [the numbers representing "tones"]) sounds enough like the Mandarin for "earthworm" (Hanyu pinyin: qiu1 yin3) that it has earned him that nickname among some. He has a long history of making outrageous accusations without any evidence backing them up. Now he's been caught on video inciting riots twice in a week's time, and he thinks that being a crybaby will get him off the hook. As he has been hoisted on his own petard, I can only say, as we do in Taiwan when someone verbally "passes gas," [\bang.pui]! What a fucking hypocrite!

Monday, March 29, 2004

A recap of recent events in Taiwan

Taiwan is like an "orphan" among the world's nations. Many people simply can't understand that it's not part of China. To travel from Hawaii to the U.S. mainland, you don't need a passport, but to go from Taiwan to China, you do. People in Taiwan don't pay taxes to Beijing, and Beijing doesn't allow the supposedly non-political World Health Organization to assist in events such as the SARS crisis. In fact, during that very crisis, Chinese ambassador Sha Zukang said with contempt to the people of Taiwan, "Who cares about you?"

It's no wonder! In almost every English-language news report about Taiwan, you'll see a sentence that begins with something like, "Taiwan, which Beijing considers to be a 'renegade province' of China...," but you rarely hear it from the other side. This meme has been repeated so many times people simply accept it as the truth.

Even Counterspin's Hesiod got it completely wrong when he accused Chen Shui-bian last week of "trying to pull a Bush." Chen won the election. He wasn't the one crying "unfair" because his opponent "stood on a box" during their debates -- that was Lien Chan crying. It was almost funny when he said it the first time, but when Lien used the word shortly after the election results came in, it sounded like a script he had at the ready.

The opposition accused Chen of "staging" an assassination attempt on himself the day before the election, but they have no evidence. The opposition -- which is infamous for its vote-buying and "black gold" politics -- threw out unsubstantiated claims of "election fraud" and shouted to the world that "Democracy is Dead," but the fact is that they just couldn't accept that the loss, no matter how slim the margin was. They haven't a fucking clue what "democracy" is!

Instead of using legal methods to file complaints, who was it that rallied ruffians to riot at the prosecutor's office and the Central Election Commission like Bush did to stop the recount in Florida? Leaders of the opposition parties did that. And most of the news the international media is publishing about this election is coming directly from the mouths of Lien Chan, James Soong, and their supporters. The Lien-Soong camp are the ones that are imitating Bush's moves in the Florida recount fiasco quite closely.

These are people I see in my local news every day, and I'm quite familiar with their methods. They'll say whatever sounds best at the moment, and when somebody calls them on their bullshit, they pretend the very next day that they never said it. In the end, however, you can see that all their actions are aimed at allowing China to take over Taiwan.

During the recent protests, they had their supporters out in the rain for days screaming for a "recount" after Chen Shui-bian had already made overtures to appease the opposition. The opposition "leaders" never told any of those rain-drenched dupes this and claimed that the protesters were "out of [their] control." They just left them out there to get soaked in the cold weather.

When asked if they'll accept the results, Lien and Soong are non-committal. They'd rather have a whole new election. And anyway, if the recount still shows Chen as the winner, they want the military personnel who are usually on alert to protect Taiwan from China's threats during elections to be allowed to vote. How brainless can you get?! They can't "change the rules in the middle of the game." If the military alert status is "unfair" to them, they should help write a law that allows people to cast absentee ballots! After all, the opposition still holds a large majority in the legislature, yet they love to blame the DPP for all their problems. The DPP, on the other hand, meets resistance every step of the way, yet they keep trudging forward in spite of it all.

And so will I. But for now, here are some headlines and excerpts from articles about some of these as provided by this morning's Taipei Times [with emphasis added].

Riot police clean up Ketagalan Blvd
The crowd that continued protesting in Ketagalan Boulevard after the end of Saturday's massive rally was finally dispersed by the Taipei Police Bureau at 5:25am yesterday morning.


"I can't go on anymore. I have to go home today. I am just too tired," said a woman only identified by her surname, Liao, sitting on the stairs of the National Concert Hall.

She said that she would not adhere to a call by lawmakers of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to keep up the protest for the next few weeks.

President Chen challenges his critics
"I am willing to pay money to hire the best shooter in the world to make a test. If KMT Chairman Lien and PFP Chairman Soong would stand still on a Jeep to receive shots from the shooter and if the two could get the same wounds as I and Vice President Annette Lu did last Friday, I would step down as president," Chen said.

"If they [Lien and Soong] can't do it or if they are afraid of doing it, they had better keep their mouths shut," he said.

Chen made the remarks Saturday night at a press conference in which he made a formal response to accusations of foul play in the March 19 shooting incident in Tainan.

"I cannot accept the false accusations of my conducting the shootings or the suspicions that the incidents were faked. Would they believe them only if Lu and I were killed?" he said.


Chen denied allegations by the pan-blue camp that over 200,000 service members were forced to stay on base and were deprived of their right to vote because of the activation of the security mechanism.

"These allegations were totally irresponsible and unfounded. The Ministry of National Defense has explained again and again that only one-ninth of the service members were kept in camp to execute combat missions on the day of the elections," Chen said.

"In comparison, one-sixth of the armed forces had to be on duty for the presidential election in 1996," he said.

"No extra service members were added to the forces that had to stand on guard on the election day this time," he said. "All the service records are available to be checked," he said.

Chen also attacked the blue camp for being mistrustful, saying it suspects everything that could be blamed for its election defeat.

Chen trying to calm pan-green supporters
Cabinet spokesman Lin Chia-lung said yesterday, "For almost a week pan-green supporters have been suppressed and felt frustrated."

"They have clamored to hold a massive rally to counter the pan-blue rally. But it is not a good thing for the pan-blue supporters and the pan-green supporters to provoke each other, so President Chen's talk last evening was also intended to calm pan-green supporters," he said.

"President Chen Shui-bian chose to hold a press conference after the March 27 rally had finished because by then the Central Election Commission had officially declared his re-election, and the US had issued an official statement to congratulate him on his re-election," Lin said. "Plus it was difficult to predict the result of the pan-blue rally, so the president had to wait till the rally finished to give his talk."

Lin said that he thought the timing of Chen's speech was appropriate because many foreign reporters were still in the country to observe the pan-blue rally, so it was necessary for Chen to explain what was going on and what was on his mind.

Editorial: Do we need a recount or a shrink?
President Chen Shui-bian's speech on Saturday night was one of the best he has ever made, combining exactly the right tone of reason with toughness, gently mocking the more absurd claims of the pan-blue camp and showing an iron determination to stick to the letter of the law and not give in to the mob rule that the pan-blues have tried to whip up in the past week, which culminated in the storming of the Central Election Commission building on Friday night to prevent the election commissioners from fulfilling their legal duty.


That Lien and People First Party Chairman James Soong still haven't, at the time this was written, said they would accept the result of a recount is worrying. It shows a level of irresponsible brinkmanship that makes us question their suitability, under any circumstances, to govern.


There is another thing that people should already know, unless their minds have been rotted by too many bad action films. You cannot "shoot to wound" a man in the stomach standing on a moving vehicle. And yet people believe these things.


And as to the shooting, some wacko, his mind turned crazy by the endless diet of pan-blue hate propaganda against Chen in the last few weeks -- the analogies with Hitler, bin Laden, Saddam and the like -- decided that Chen simply couldn't be allowed to win, and tried to kill him to prevent it.


What is truly disturbing is the way that common sense has simply been thrown aside. Sane and rational people have been willing to overlook the obvious and believe the most preposterous things, rather than face the truth. A large number of people in this country are in the grip of hysterical self-delusion.

Lien and Soong: on a hunt for the white whale
Ahab never got his whale, and Lien and Soong aren't going to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

All of the desperate efforts they have used to fan the flames of anger surrounding their defeat won't make any difference.

They have tried all of the legal solutions available.

They have whimpered, whined, begged and thundered for a new election, a new recount -- anything to give them victory. But it is to no avail.

Lien has gotten his recount, but this is not Florida, and the vote-tallying process is both swift and accurate. Besides, the pan-blues smeared the entire election as "unfair," but they never alleged impropriety in the initial tally of ballots. It is improbable that a recount will alter the final result of the election, and Lien knows it. Hence the theatrics.

So let the old KMT -- the corrupt, authoritarian and ruthless KMT -- die the spectacular death it deserves.
My apologies to the Taipei Times for the massive excerpts, but like Chen Shui-bian's speech, today's issue hits back at the lies, distortions, and attacks (which are always supported by the pan-blue-controlled media -- I'm talking Fox times 100!) about as hard as it ever has. Go Taipei Times!

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Chen Shui-bian offers Lien and Soong "equal opportunity for sympathy"

This blog welcomes Sisy Chen to join in the fun

What would have been "over the top" if Taiwan's president had said it a week ago is now oh-so-appropriate. After enduring an entire week of unsubstantiated claims from the opposition that an unsuccessful assassination attempt on himself and Vice-President Annette Lu was "staged" in order to gain sympathy votes in the March 20 election, President Chen Shui-bian hit back hard:
Chen's voice quivered with rage when he described his humiliation at suspicions he staged the shooting.

"I do not want to bear this bad name [I guess he means "cheater"] any longer," Chen told his first news conference since winning another four-year term.

The president vowed to step down if his rival could prove the assassination attempt in which a bullet gashed his abdomen had been staged and challenged Lien to find the world's best sniper to re-enact the shooting.

"If you can't do it or you are afraid of doing it, then shut up,"
he told Lien [Chan] and his running mate, James Soong. [Emphasis mine]
I'd encourage Sisy Chen, the greatest promoter of this crackpot theory, to also try it out for the "sympathy" factor. She's going to really need it in the next election.

During their sore loser protest yesterday, supporters of Lien and Soong erected a "crying Statue of Liberty," evoking memories of the Tiananmen Square incident -- only without the machine guns, tanks, and dead people -- perhaps to remind the rest of us (as if we needed reminding) what crybabies they are. "I want my KMT!" Haha!

By the way, I'm still avoiding local TV, and it looks like somebody else -- independent of me -- had the same idea. I just came across a letter to the editor published in yesterday's Chinese-language Taiwan Daily in which a reader suggested for people to leave their TV sets turned off from 6 AM until 7 PM on Saturday. One of these days, I might just "kill" my television.

Good news for Taiwan?

(Updated with links to Sunday's Taipei Times)

I'm still avoiding the local (mostly) Chinese-language news, which tends to exaggerate, distort, and outright lie (even more than others) [UPDATE LINK 1], but the New York Times has a headline that sounds hopeful:
Despite Rally, Taiwan President Tightens Hold on Office
The first picture accompanying the article below that headline also provides a hilarious example of the hypocrisy of the pan-blue supporters. The headband on the (apparently) screaming woman reads jìng zuò -- literally, "quiet sit," or according to my Chinese-English dictionary, "to sit still with a peaceful mind; to sit still as a form of therapy." She doesn't look very quiet to me. Even if it's short for "sit-in protest," it doesn't describe the situation very well. [UPDATE LINK 2]

Another interesting thing is the caption to that photo:
The Taipei police estimated with unusual precision that 468,000 people participated in Saturday's rally.
Have you ever heard such an "unround" number when talking about protesters? The only thing I can make of it is that the number "168" sounds lucky in Chinese, and the number "4" sounds like "death" and is considered unlucky. I have no verification of this, however. It's simply a guess.

In Spike Lee's controversial film Do the Right Thing, the weather played an important factor in the outcome. Although it wasn't much help on Friday, the weather may have also been a factor here in Taiwan yesterday, according to the same NYTimes article:
Scuffles on Friday between riot police and a few hundred People First Party supporters, who smashed windows and doors at the Central Election Commission, had raised fears about possible disturbances on Saturday. But in cool weather and under a light but steady drizzle, the crowd stayed calm.
A local English-language news source also has some encouraging news that President Chen Shui-bian's DPP party is hitting back hard with the hypocrisy charges after giving the pan-blues lots of "rope" with which to hang themselves [UPDATE LINK 3]. Here are some excerpts from an article in the Taiwan News:
DPP disputes opposition allegations
2004-03-28 / Taiwan News, Staff Reporter / By Wang Chung-ming

Democratic Progressive Party officials yesterday criticized the leaders of the opposition Kuomintang and People First Party for allegedly feeding their supporters unsubstantiated allegations at yesterday's rally which cast doubt on the legitimacy of Taiwan's March 20 presidential election.

"The KMT and PFP are unwilling to respect legal procedures," DPP legislative caucus whip Tsai Huang-liang told reporters at the DPP headquarters.

"In suing to nullify the election, they accused the DPP of fraud and manipulating the vote-counting process without offering any concrete evidence," Tsai said, "They are trying to distract the people's attention from the key points."

DPP Deputy Secretary-General Lee Ying-yuan also denied claims by the opposition that the government was not interested in solving the political stalemate.

"The government has shown goodwill in responding to their appeals for a recount, a clarification of the shooting incident, and examination of the wound," Lee said.

According to the DPP, an eight person task force was invited to the Bureau of Criminal Investigation on March 24 for a briefing on the evidence gathered by that time.

This group included Academia Sinica researchers Chu Hung-yuan and Cheng Yang-chun, National Taiwan University professor Lu Rei-chung, scientist Wu Yung-yu, overseas citizen Cao Hsiang-sheng, Chu Li-jung, Central Police University professor Chang Kuang-ming and Central Police University professor and ballistics expert Lin Mao-hsiung.

"Has any one stood out to contradict the CIB's conclusions?" Tsai asked. "Obviously, it's the KMT and PFP who have not told the truth to Taiwan's people," he said, responding to independent Legislator Sisy Chen's demand that the government reveal the truth behind the March 19 attack on the president.

The DPP's goodwill was also evident when President Chen instructed State Public Prosecutor-General Lu Jen-fa to invite Henry Lee, a world-renowned forensic scientist recommended by the KMT, to join the special task force, Tsai contended.

Secretary-General Lee urged the opposition not to insult Taiwan's civil, medical, and investigative agencies' personnel.

"Please litigate your case. Please respect the court," Lee said.


Lee also slammed as "irresponsible" Soong's claims that a senior DPP leader told him that the March 19 shooting of the president and Vice President Annette Lu was a DPP plot, and asked Soong to reveal his source.

He also dismissed Soong's allegation that DPP supporters attempted to set fire to PFP headquarters on Friday night.

"We cannot accept such accusations made without evidence," he said.


"The KMT and PFP are projecting their experience when they totally controlled the military during their decades of rule," Chen [Chung-hsin, the director of the DPP's Chinese Affairs Department] said. [Emphasis mine] [LINK]
I'm looking forward to the Sunday Taipei Times (usually online around noon, Taiwan time) for more details about Saturday's events.

Saturday, March 27, 2004

Lien Chan's memory less than 24 hours

How else could he say these words without choking on them?

I'm staying away from the 24-hour local coverage of the news because it literally makes me feel ill, but I just saw a lead story on Yahoo! News with some unbelievable quotes:
The losing candidate, Nationalist leader Lien Chan, addressed the crowd and repeated his demands for a recount of the vote that Chen won by a tiny margin.

"If someone uses nasty means to gain power, such power won't be effective and won't be respected," said Lien, a 67-year-old former political science professor and ex-vice president.


Those who believed conspiracy theories that [President] Chen [Shui-bian] staged the shooting to gain sympathy votes carried signs that said, "Democracy shot in the stomach" and "Shooting tricks shall be revealed." [Emphasis mine]
Really? Lien Chan is the nastiest of the nasty, contradicting himself from one day to the next when his tricks don't work. To my own ears, it sounds like his supporters are equating Chen Shui-bian with democracy, even if they're really trying to say the opposite. If Lien Chan follows Bush's examples of Florida 2000, then I'd agree: his "power won't be effective and won't be respected."

Chen Shui-bian has already been trying to work out a deal to allow a recount of the vote, yet the opposition puts on their best crybaby faces and pretends this hasn't happened.

At least I haven't heard any news of more violence today, but as I'm purposely not watching the local news in the interest of my health, I can't be sure what has happened yet. I'm wearing my yellow ribbon, though. How about you?

Tie a yellow ribbon for Taiwan

(Updated with links to later news reports backing up my uncanny "fortune-telling" ability, where indicated)

After the last post, I did my best to avoid local TV news, but the last time I crossed one of the news channels (a few hours ago) there were still protesters at both the Central Election Commission building and in front of the Presidential Office.

This past week's violence is giving China an excuse to rattle its sabers more loudly than usual, too. In an usually smart move, the U.S. Press Secretary has also spoken up and "congratulate[d] Mr. Chen on his victory" after the election results were officially announced yesterday afternoon. This was smart because doing so before the announcement would have been seen as favoring one candidate over the other. Originally, the opposition took advantage of the U.S.' ambiguity to claim American support for their side. Once again, they've been proven wrong by simple, verifiable facts.

Chen Shui-bian and DPP legislators have been doing their best to appease the opposition while holding firm to the letter of the law, and even going so far as offering to create a retroactive law to allow for a legal recount of the votes. However, the opposition are as stubborn as lobotomized mules. Faced with a crisis of their own creation, then offered a face-saving way out, what do they do? They balk, balk, balk (sounding an awful lot like chickens)!

I anticipate even more [UPDATE LINK 1] violence Saturday as the KMT-PFP "leaders" are supposedly organizing 500,000 protesters to "surround" the Presidential Office. There have been rumors that they will "plant" people wearing clothes, hats, face paint, etc. [UPDATE LINK 2] indicating support of Chen Shui-bian's DPP (the Democratic Progressive Party, Taiwan's "green" party) among and around the demonstrators in order to give them an excuse for their pre-planned [UPDATE LINK 3] violent [UPDATE LINK 4] behavior [UPDATE LINK 5]. DPP lawmakers, on the other hand, were holding a candlelit vigil earlier wearing yellow ribbons and carrying signs reading "peace" in Chinese and English, while pleading with their own supporters not to be drawn into the violence of the "pan-blues." [UPDATE LINK 6]

I know it takes two to tango, but what the fuck are you supposed to do when faced with half a million people hellbent on creating havoc after having their flames lit by people who cannot calm them down? Seeing their actions over the past week, I don't need no stinkin' fortune teller to know what's coming, and it doesn't look good.

Maybe the current rain shower will turn into an all-out electrical storm and wash most of the dirt off the streets by tomorrow. They really need to go home, turn off their TVs, and calm the fuck down.

Everybody around the world -- I have a simple request. Please wear a yellow ribbon with us until this is over. Get everybody you know to do it, too, and tell them why. Do it for peace!

Friday, March 26, 2004

More developments in the Taiwan riots

Dozens of protesters have broken through the police line at the entrance to the Central Election Headquarters in Taipei. Police are simply maintaining their defensive positions and holding back the others while some of those who have gotten through are standing atop the desk in the lobby waving their flags and shouting for President Chen Shui-bian to step down.

You would think the police would be firing tear gas and beating up people by now, but it doesn't appear to be the case.

In other breaking news, the announcement has just been made that Chen Shui-bian and Annette Lu have been declared the official winners of the March 20, 2004 election.

More riots in Taiwan

Led by PFP legislator Chiu Yi, supporters of the KMT-PFP ticket which lost last Saturday's presidential election are once again rioting at Central Election Headquarters in Taipei. A phalanx of riot police are trying to block the entrance but are greatly outnumbered by protesters who have already broken several of the glass doors (I think one TV reporter said that stones were being thrown, though I haven't seen this) and are throwing eggs. The remaining glass is awash in egg yolks.

A woman standing near the FTV microphone keeps saying loudly, "Don't hit us! Don't hit us!" but it doesn't look like the police are the instigators. From what I can see, it looks like they have subdued several people who have broken through their line of defense and merely pushed them back outside without making arrests.

Still, the situation on the ground is quite noisy and chaotic. More on this as it develops.

Lien Chan parodies self

Downloadable tune lets us laugh at him some more

While I did my best to leave the TV turned off for most of the day on Thursday, one thing that came to my attention was a song parody (Big-5 Chinese encoding) which uses the melody and some of the words to Taiwanese singer/guitarist Wu Bai's "Sa Diu Li" ("Crush on You") and turns it into a tune about Lien Chan's self-contradictions and embarrassingly childish behavior.

(Lien's starting to seem like the "Donald Rumsfeld" of Taiwan.)

For those who may not be familiar with the story which has inspired this parody, in last Saturday's presidential election in Taiwan, Lien lost to incumbent Chen Shui-bian by less than 30,000 votes just one day after a failed assassination attempt on Chen. Lien had also lost the election to Chen in 2000 but had teamed up with the third candidate, James Soong, in the hopes that their combined votes would exceed Chen's. Apparently it didn't work, as polls showed the opponents running neck-and-neck just before the election, and after the votes were counted all hell broke loose. Accusations by Lien led to riots between his supporters and police, and an "immediate recount" was demanded. Because they are either ignorant of the law or have no respect for it, Lien's supporters have been making noise in front of the Presidential Office in Taipei 24 hours a day since midnight Saturday in a face-losing effort to get what they want -- and get it now.

The lyrics of the song parody were written by someone calling himself "A-Lan" ("Bigmouth") and sung by "A-Hsing" ("Scent of Blood") in Taiwanese (Hokkien) and one Japanese phrase sung twice. It includes two samples of Lien Chan speaking after Chen Shui-bian was shot (last Friday afternoon) and one (and a half) from the riot-inciting speech he gave his supporters after learning that he had lost the election (Saturday night). Let me translate the samples for those of you who don't understand Taiwanese or Chinese:
3/19 (the eve of the election)
* (Speaking in Taiwanese) "People should maintain a calm and rational attitude about today's events." (Scotland on Sunday version: "I must sincerely call on everyone to be rational and cool-headed.")
* (Taiwanese again) "It's impossible for just one violent act (the assassination attempt on Chen Shui-bian and his V-P Annette Lu) to affect our election." (Boston.com's paraphrase: Lien condemned the assassination attempt, insisting that it would not weaken Taiwan's democracy or influence the election's outcome.)

3/20 (election night, after the votes had been tallied)
* (Speaking Mandarin Chinese) The narrow margin, under a cloud of suspicion, has brought about many, many doubts, giving everyone a common impression, and that is: this has been an unfair election!. (BBC News version: "This slim gap has been achieved under clouds of suspicion. ... It's not a fair election.")
* (Lien gets a little help from his friend Kuo Su-chun, both speaking Mandarin) Invalid election! Invalid election!
What a difference a day makes, as they say. Could it be any clearer that what we have here in Lien is a two-faced, sore loser?

Some more history of this may be helpful. When Lien Chan lost the 2000 election, he blamed former president Lee Teng-hui (under whom Lien served as V-P) for his loss, and Lee was forced to step down as the KMT chairman after week-long riots in the capital Taipei. Lee had already taken several steps toward a more democratic Taiwan, and he later became an ardent supporter of Chen Shui-bian. This time around, Lien can't accept the loss either. Since he'll never blame himself, he blames "rigged" voting (where the ratio of staff at polling stations is 60:40 in his favor), an excess of "invalid" ballots (which increased greatly in number this time both because of an alliance to cast such ballots as a "protest" and because of recent laws the KMT helped to pass!), the "dictator" of democracy, Chen Shui-bian (for getting shot and not dying?), video footage of 2 little girls helping an older, visually handicapped relative to vote (the evidence, supposedly inaccessible, being conveniently handed over to his side to be put on TV), and probably bad feng shui! (Not really, but I wouldn't be surprised if he did make such a claim.)

Start with my March 19 post "Assassination attempt on Taiwan's president, vice-president," and work your way upward to get a more linear idea of the recent events surrounding this election. Contained within, you'll find things about the assassination attempt, smiling "sympathizers," magic bullets, illusory blood, "faked" photos, media whores, lies, damn lies, and statistics, crybabies, more media whores, the failed referendum, calls for an annulment, riots (where a truck was used as a weapon in one), Florida 2000 tactics, John F. Kennedy, passing the buck, abusing the international media's lack of understanding of Taiwan's situation, impeachment studies (or secret meetings with Beijing authorities -- you decide), unsubstantiated rumors, bin Laden, Saddam, peaceful DPP rallies, historic riots of the KMT, unlawful local languages, leadership abilities and the opposition's lack thereof, countering some of the rumors, Chen Shui-bian's contributions to Taiwan's democracy, the events leading to his wife's paralysis, opposition balking when their demands are met, "predictions" vs. "warnings" vs. "(thinly veiled) threats" (when spoken by fucking liars), and so much more.

If I have the time and energy tomorrow (and an assistant translator!) perhaps I'll translate the whole song and post it on the blog.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Lien Chan is a crackpot and a fucking liar

Whoever believes him is fucked in the head, too

While warning (some might say "threatening") of a "very serious problem" if there isn't a recount of the votes from last Saturday's presidential election in Taiwan, loser Lien Chan told the world that (as paraphrased by ChannelNewsAsia.com) "200,000 soldiers and police were unable to cast their ballots ... [many of whom] were KMT supporters" because of an emergency mechanism put in place after the attempted assassination of incumbent president Chen Shui-bian the day before the election. The interview Lien gave on CNN, during which he expressed those thoughts to Mike Chinoy, was conducted in (very slow) English, and although I couldn't quote him exactly (the above excerpt from the article sounds pretty close to the words he used), I heard him very clearly with my own ears as he told the scowling reporter.

Yep. He said it. I do know this much.

An article in the Taipei Times says that according to the Ministry of National Defense:
... only 13,000 military servicemen, who were part of the normal combat alert status used during all previous elections, were required to stay at their posts instead of going home to vote after the "national security mechanism" was launched. [National Police Administration] Director-General Chang Si-liang, when approached by reporters, said that he never ordered his fellow officers not to vote.

"We needed more manpower for the mechanism. However, all officers took turns voting, unless they voluntarily gave up that right. I never asked them not to vote," Chang said. [Emphasis mine]
A day earlier, it had already been reported by Deputy Minister of National Defense Lin Chong-pin in another Taipei Times article that these "13,000 troops had been unable to vote ... because they were on combat alert, a standard procedure on election days because of the threat from China." [Emphasis mine]

One might imagine that if there were 200,000 of Lien's followers -- with guns -- who felt the election was stolen from them, they might be throwing a coup right about now. However, there aren't that many protesters right now, many of them are women, children, and seniors, and the only "weapons" used so far have been air horns and a campaign truck.

Yet on Wednesday, according to local Chinese-language media, Lien Chan spoke words that would invoke charges of perjury were he in court. Here's my translation of the pertinent section:
[NOTE: The original press conference was being conducted in English, so this is a second-generation translation which may account for some discrepancies. However, I'm confident that my point remains valid.]

[One of three requests Lien and Soong had regarding the outcome of the election was] an explanation of why military and police personnel, because of a "national security mechanism" being invoked, were unable to cast ballots.

A French reporter didn't understand, and asked, "According to the information provided by the Minister of National Defense, the number of people involved in the national security alert was fewer than 20,000. Why does the KMT and PFP support the claim that over 200,000 people were unable to vote (because of this)? Also, how can you be so sure that these people would have voted for the KMT-PFP ticket?"

Lien Chan replied that the number "200,000" was mentioned by his chief international policy advisor Su Chi, and that he (Lien) never said such a thing. [Emphasis mine]
Monkeys were then seen flying out of his ass.

Going back to the top of this post, one must recall that a little over three weeks before the election, he also "warned" of possible riots. Let me repeat "the opposition's theme" as quoted in an earlier post:
"[T]he 'complexities' of collecting and casting three ballots will inevitably spark election conflicts and 'riots.'" [Emphasis mine] [LINK])
How could he know such a thing? Planning the riots himself would be one possibility. Or maybe he knows a really, really good fortune teller.

Yeah. That's the ticket!

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Cutting off their noses

(Updated with links to Wednesday's news, as some of this came from things I saw on local TV which could not be immediately backed up with English-language sources)

Like a religious fanatic refusing urgently needed medical treatment, Taiwan's opposition parties (AKA "pan-blue"), whose "leaders" lost Saturday's presidential election by a small margin and have been demanding an "immediate recount," balked today when presented with a chance by the ruling party to change the law to do just that. [UPDATE LINK 1]

President Chen Shui-bian initiated the idea that members of his Democratic Progressive Party should discuss the idea in a meeting called today to revise the current election law to allow for an immediate recount "if the margin of difference was one percent or below," according to the Washington Post. It would also be retroactively effective so as to be applicable to last Saturday's election. Nevertheless, the pan-blue dumbasses objected to the idea, thus "spiting their faces."

This is the event which set off the melée [UPDATE LINK 2] mentioned in the previous post, though that wasn't completely clear to me at that time.

Showing a bit more class, incumbent Chen Shui-bian has already stated that he would "accept [the result of a recount] one hundred percent,", adding that his opponents must also accept the outcome, according to an article in the Washington Post. Opposition presidential candidate loser Lien Chan, however, said, according to the article, that he "promised to accept the result of a recount," but said he "hoped the courts would order a new election because of voting fraud." It doesn't sound like much of a promise to me.

I guess you can please some of the people some of the time, but you can't ever please Lien Chan or James Soong. [UPDATE LINK 3] [UPDATE LINK 4]

Chen Shui-bian is no "pink tutu" Democrat!

Chen Shui-bian came out swinging -- four days after being shot in the stomach -- in his first public appearance since declaring victory in Taiwan's March 20 presidential election. He called accusations of "staging" an assassination attempt on himself and Vice-President Annette Lu the "biggest insult to [his] integrity." He also stated, "It was very painful ... We are the ones who were shot. We are more eager than anyone else to find out the truth." Three particularly "valuable" leads are supposedly being pursued in the shooting investigation.

On local TV news today, President Chen talked about how his wife Wu Shu-chen had been run over by a truck on November 18, 1985, paralyzing her from the waist down, after his failed campaign for local government office in his hometown of Tainan. Chen said that at that time, he thought he might never see his wife again and that those same thoughts crossed his mind as he laid in the hospital after being shot last Saturday. It looked like tears might start flowing any second, but he maintained my respect by holding onto his emotions.

Since at least 1979, Chen Shui-bian has been promoting democracy in Taiwan. In 2000, running as the DPP (Democratic Progressive Party) candidate, Chen won the presidential election in "Taiwan's first ever democratic transfer of power." This past week, his two opponents in the last election (Lien Chan and James Soong) teamed up in an attempt to beat Chen Shui-bian in an election with only 2 choices, yet they still lost, and are crying like babies. "Unfair!" they endlessly repeat, citing things like the box Chen stood on during his debate with Lien Chan as examples.

Other DPP (Democratic Progressive Party) members also rid themselves of their pink tutus in a brawl with opposition lawmakers. This particular scuffle started between a single DPP legislator and several opposition members after which other DPP legislators joined in to defend the first one. In a press conference afterwards, one of the opposition gangsters put a poster up on the wall behind him describing the DPP as "violent." They really need to look in the mirror! Don' t tell me that they have already forgotten that just this past Sunday morning one of their own -- PFP legislator Chiu Yi -- incited a riot during which a campaign truck came dangerously close to killing people.

Countering more of the Taiwan rumors

Another of the recent rumors about Taiwan's president Chen Shui-bian, which occurred in the post-election period, has been that because of the assassination attempt Chen "activate[d] the national security apparatus, meaning 200,000 military and police — traditionally Nationalists — were too busy to vote." While I'd heard of this one previously, I hadn't mentioned it because I had neither heard of it in the local media nor had any evidence to dispute it. Today's Taipei Times provides some details and background on the matter in this excerpt from an article in today's issue:
Rumors have been rife in the aftermath of the presidential election that the activation of the emergency response system was responsible for some 200,000 to 250,000 soldiers being unable to return home to vote.

Opposition legislators attacked Lin [Vice Minister of National Defense Lin Chong-pin] yesterday saying that the activation of the emergency response system was unnecessary given the lightness of the president and vice president's injuries, yet might have significantly influenced the election outcome.

Lin said that only 13,000 troops had been unable to vote, and that this was because they were on combat alert, a standard procedure on election days because of the threat from China.

Their status had nothing to do with the emergency response system, Lin said. [Emphasis mine] [LINK]
In a separate pre-election smear on Chen Shui-bian, a flyer featuring Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein was distributed to residents of the KMT-led central Taiwan city of Taichung reading: "I am terrorist leader bin Laden, and I admire Taiwan's A-bian!" In regard to Chen's supposed "order" to participate in the referendum which took place on election day, the flyer attempts to portray him as a dictator [UPDATE LINK, 3/24/2004] when it says: "I am Hussein, and you will all do as I say." It then goes on to instruct people not to participate in the referendum. I received one of these very flyers in my own mailbox. Too bad I didn't catch the person who put it there. You can read about that one and see one side of it here. [UPDATE LINK, 3/27/2004]

In the meantime, CNN is showing footage of fisticuffs which occurred between elected officials earlier today in the legislature, while not clearly stating who instigated the incident. The pugilistic lawmakers were fighting over a proposed new law which would allow an "immediate" recount in the event of disputed election results. One could deduce from this simple statement that the current law does not provide for such a thing and that the pan-blue protesters are indeed behaving illegally (round-the-clock protests led by legislators) while simultaneously asking the government to give into demands which are not required by law to be met.

Like the Republican thugs in Florida 2000, the KMT (Chinese Nationalist Party) are a violent bunch and are once again showing their true colors. I hope that members of Taiwan's Dems (AKA, the DPP) will fight this with all their might.

Losers of Taiwan's election demonstrate why they lost

Complete lack of leadership abilities

(Updated with additional links)

The protests in front of Taiwan's Presidential Office in downtown Taipei, led by the losers of this past Saturday's election, are going on for the third night in a row. In one artificial attempt at creating the illusion of "civility" that was demonstrated on Monday, loser V-P candidate James Soong asked protesters to not blow their air horns after 8 PM. As of about 2 AM, they seemed to be complying, but otherwise, things were still noisy. Politicians [UPDATE LINK 1] are giving speeches throughout the night from atop a sound truck, and fireworks were being shot into the air as late as 11:45 PM. While the few English signs visible in the TV images say things like "FRAUD" and "A-Bian a cheater" (sic), I read at least one which began in Chinese: "Fuck this..." (but it was turned away from the camera before I could finish reading it).

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black! These are the same people responsible for policies which forbade my wife from speaking Taiwanese at school when she was a child! While the DPP was responsible for the very peaceful "228 Hand-in-Hand Rally," the KMT government was responsible for killing between 10 and 20,000 Taiwanese in the "228 Incident" of 1947. Fifty-seven years later, the KMT and its splinter group, the PFP, are still responsible for inciting riots. The same people who worship former dictator Chiang Kai-shek have compared Chen Shui-bian to Hitler in their campaign ads. (See photos of the ad here.)

In two posts on this blog, I recently supported the ads which compared Bush to Hitler, providing lots of links to back up my claim that it was a fair comparison. In the case of Chen Shui-bian, it's quite the opposite.

Since Chen was elected to the presidency in 2000, the opposition has done nothing but stand in his way and attempt to tarnish his reputation with repeated unsubstantiated rumors. In his first month in office, Chen was accused of having an affair with a famous actress. In November of 2003, an unnamed Houston businessman was the supposed source of rumors that Chen paid US$1 million to meet with Neil Bush, brother of that asshole currently occupying the White House. He's been accused of taking bribes by the China Times, which later had to issue a printed apology, but cried that their "freedom of the press" was being crushed. The Journalist magazine even tried to blame Vice-President Annette Lu for spreading a rumor that Chen had an affair with his translator, but were later forced to apologize. Then there's the insanity of the speech in which Lien Chan "left out" the part about Chen being a "kickback president," then gave the original speech to the media so they could report it, then denied having ever accused him of such a thing. None of this stuck to Chen because there was never any evidence, but the damage had already been done. And that's just a small sample of the rumors that have been spread for the past four years.

Later today, I hope to post more about Chen Shui-bian's huge contributions to Taiwan's democracy, but I want to reiterate that he's not at all the "dictator" his opponents like to call him. If he was a dictator, he would've used his power to shut down the media instead of going through normal judicial procedure.

The impression given by reports on CNN demonstrates that they have no one on the scene of the post-election protests and/or that their reporters know nothing of the background to this situation. The truth is that the opposition is pulling completely illogical conspiracy theories out of their asses and making more groundless accusations based mostly on hearsay. Over the weekend, they demanded an "immediate recount" of the votes without first submitting a request in accordance with the Public Officials Election and Recall Law. Instead, they are asking the president to handle judiciary matters, which doesn't fit within the framework of a democracy. The opposition is showing a complete disregard for and lack of knowledge of the very laws which they are decreed to uphold. [UPDATE LINK 2]

Lien and Soong held a press conference for international media on Monday night. While local news obscured much of the English sound while simultaneously translating everything into Mandarin, one question I could make out was when a reporter asked Lien if a recount still showed that Chen Shui-bian won the election, "would he concede?" Of course, he gave an evasive answer, citing Bush's Florida recount debacle, and as I could only expect, he never gave a simple "Yes."

The United Daily News, a local pro-unification paper which favors the Lien-Soong camp, reported yesterday that 42 percent of people they surveyed can accept a recount. However, 63 percent of respondents said that they didn't approve of the protesters' behavior which is being fueled by the "leadership" of this pair of rotten losers. This doesn't support the idea that Lien and Soong could lead a country club, much less a real country.

Fucking lunatic Sisy Chen returned to Taiwan yesterday from a trip to South Korea. Local news reported that she went there to "study" how S. Korea recently impeached President Roh Moo-hyun. My own guess is that she went there to meet with Beijing officials without it being too obvious. I guess she didn't think I was paying attention. Upon her return, she mentioned to a TV news reporter that Chen Shui-bian should "thank his assassin(s)" for being such a good shot. If she really thinks he did this to get a "sympathy vote," perhaps she could try it out herself the next time she's up for election. Yeah! That's the ticket!

Monday, March 22, 2004

Crackpot theories

Spokespersons for Taiwan's president Chen Shui-bian have already told the Lien-Soong camp (the crybaby losers in Saturday's election) that they have the right to the judicial process of determining the legal status of the election's outcome, but that they should wait until Monday morning when the court is in session and go about it in a reasonable manner.

Despite an earlier promise by Taipei mayor Ma Ying-jeou (KMT) that he would order everyone to clear the area by 10 PM Sunday night (in accordance with existing laws regarding rallies) -- a promise on which he later reneged -- thousands of supporters, led by KMT and PFP legislators, are still gathered in front of the Presidential Office in Taipei demanding an immediate recount -- which will not happen without proper judicial procedures being followed. These procedures include submitting a written statement to the court declaring reasons for requesting a recount, and presenting evidence to support such claims -- not just making lots of noise and crying "Unfair!" This kind of behavior is unacceptable even for junior high school students.

These crackpots have now spread their silly conspiracy theories to the international media that Friday's assassination attempt of President Chen and Vice-President Annette Lu was a "stunt." Certain doubting Thomases [LINK] want Chen to "show the people his wound to prove the shooting was not a stunt." Photos of Chen taken while he was being treated at the Chi Mei Hospital, as well as video of his arrival there, has been shown on local TV news late Sunday night and are being kept as "potential evidence" to ward off such crackpots. The doubters also say that "too many questions remained about the apparent assassination attempt just hours before the polls." I guess these people aren't very familiar with the doubts which remain surrounding the assassination of John F. Kennedy over 40 years ago.

How about this for a crackpot theory? Since Lien and Soong "predicted" both the assassination attempt ("[The] DPP might resort to all sorts of dirty tricks" [LINK]) and the riots ("[T]he 'complexities' of collecting and casting three ballots will inevitably spark election conflicts and 'riots.'" [Emphasis mine] [LINK]), they must be to blame for both of these events.

I want to add that I think it's the Lien-Soong camp that has likely cheated in this election, and they're crying foul because they still lost despite their efforts. According to the people I've talked with, the numbers at pro-Chen rallies I've attended, the number of campaign signs visible on the streets (keep in mind that the opposition is filthy rich), and the nature of the campaigns conducted by each side, I had predicted that Chen would get between 60 and 80 percent of the vote. His supporters are enthusiastic, but not loud and violent like so many of Lien's and -- especially -- Soong's.

The raucous nature of last night's protests in Kaohsiung, Taichung, and Taipei may give the impression that these people are everywhere, but while I was out on the streets of Taichung Sunday afternoon, there was no sign of such people. Like Bush's Republican protesters for hire, they're a loud minority with lots of money backing them up. I hope that Taiwanese supporters of Chen's Democratic Progressive Party have learned some lessons from the 2000 debacle in Florida and have a plan to prevent a similar outcome in the aftermath of this election.

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Then came the riots

As I predicted in my last post early this morning, rioting did break out in Taiwan's 3 largest cities: Taipei (the capital), Taichung (central Taiwan), and the southern port city of Kaohsiung. As I also predicted, protesters supporting the losing Lien Chan (Kuomintang, AKA KMT or Chinese Nationalist Party) / James Soong (People First Party, AKA PFP) ticket and demanding a recount of the ballots from yesterday's presidential election are still gathered in Taipei in front of the Presidential Office, though things have gotten slightly less chaotic there. The sealed ballot boxes have already been seized, so these protests are absolutely unnecessary.

The situation in Kaohsiung, however, became quite violent. Before I went to sleep (sometime after sunrise today), I watched (on live TV) protesters there -- encouraged by People First Party legislator and habitual liar Chiu Yi -- crashing a Lien-Soong campaign truck into the gate of the courthouse there, while police stood just on the other side.

These riots have resulted because of irresponsible politicians making several unfounded and highly ridiculous claims regarding their election loss to the incumbents, President Chen Shui-bian and Vice-President Annette Lu. The final trigger, coming mere seconds after telling his supporters to "stay calm," came when Lien Chan told the already "frenzied crowd" to "Prepare to annul the election."

These tactics are mimicking almost exactly those of Bush supporters in Florida after the U.S. presidential election of November 2000. Hopefully, people will have a long enough memory to realize just what the fuck is going on and will soon relegate this kind of "politics" to the same corner of history as Nazism.

Taiwan's referendum fails

Lien and Soong still behaving like spoiled brats

Due to a lack of votes, Taiwan's referendum has failed to meet the requirements set in place in order for its passage. Fewer than 50 percent of eligible voters picked up a referendum ballot, thus invalidating this part of Saturday's polling activities.

Meanwhile, all of the local 24-hours news channels are showing live coverage of a sit-in by Lien Chan, James Soong, and I can't tell how many of their supporters outside of their campaign headquarters in Taipei where people are waving party flags and blowing compressed air horns. Lien gave a speech after midnight urging his supporters to maintain calm and keep quiet so as not to disturb area residents, but his calls have gone absolutely unheeded. The 2 losing candidates sat down on the stage in front of television cameras and have remained there not speaking to either the media or the crowds since that time.

Supporters of Lien and Soong are also gathered outside both the Taichung and Kaohsiung prosecutors' offices. It's now past 2 AM, and someone from the Taiwan High Court is on TV giving a press conference explaining to reporters (who keep repeating the same stupid questions) the finer points of Taiwan's election laws and how this situation will be handled according to the law.

I imagine this will still be going on when I wake up later today. I fear that by then, rioting (threatened by James Soong -- and not unlike the ones he caused in 2000) will have already broken out.

Saturday, March 20, 2004

Chen Shui-bian re-elected to Taiwan presidency

Lien Chan loses -- sorely

The votes have been counted in the Taiwanese presidential election, and the winner is Chen Shui-bian! According to ETTV, who in my last post gave the largest lead to the Lien-Soong ticket, Chen and his partner Annette Lu received 6,472,510 votes compared to 6,441,912 for Lien Chan and James Soong -- a difference of only 30,598 votes, but a win nonetheless.

Lien Chan just gave what should have been a concession speech, but this is how it went (and I paraphrase):
1) Everybody stay calm.
2) Because Chen Shui-bian got shot yesterday, the election was unfair!
3) We declare this election invalid, and I'm gonna tell my mommy!
Again come the contradictory statements: "Stay calm, but be upset!" The crowd gathered before him was not calm, and I wouldn't be surprised if violence erupts because of this.

The accusations of an "unfair" election are also completely out of line. The media does nothing but help Lien and Soong while attacking Chen Shui-bian on a daily basis. The KMT (Lien's party) was (and perhaps still is) the richest political party in the world, which they achieved mostly by being thieves.

For some more perspective, in the election of 2000, when Lien and Soong were running against each other as well as against Chen, the vote count went like this:
Chen Shui-bian: 4,977,697
James Soong: 4,664,972
Lien Chan: 2,925,513
Does Lien Chan really think that yesterday's assassination attempt got Chen Shui-bian 1,494,813 extra votes since the last election? It's more likely that the public has been awakened by the constant unsubstantiated media attacks on Chen and his family. The opposition's supporters in the media have been repeatedly saying that the combined Lien-Soong votes from 2000 would easily beat Chen in 2004. The problem with this math is that "1+1" in 2000 doesn't necessarily add up to "2" in 2004. Chen now has 4 years of experience as president. Soong has a habit of getting on his knees in public. And Lien is a freaking crybaby, as he has just reiterated for the benefit of those watching live and those who will see it replayed over and over on the news.

UPDATE: Links added.

Let the lies, damn lies, and statistics begin

The polls have closed in the Taiwanese presidential election and referendum, and the votes are being counted as I type. Who knows where the TV stations are getting their results? Every single one has different numbers. Let's take a look at the 5:45 PM counts according to five of the local TV news stations. (Leaders marked with an asterisk)

CHANNEL(1) Chen-Lu(2) Lien-Soong
39 TVBS-N5,013,3575,108,677*
40 ETTV5,212,9535,489,759*
41 CTI5,320,5075,360,499*
42 FTV5,034,038*4,902,919
43 SETN5,243,3365,328,815*

Notice any disparity? It may be important to point out that other than FTV, all the stations listed are owned and or operated by the KMT (Lien's party), PFP (Soong's party), or people whose strings are being pulled by Beijing.

I'm holding my breath and hoping for a win for the Chen-Lu ticket. Final results are supposed to be available around 7:30 PM Taiwan time. Referendum results are slated to be available a couple of hours later.

Taiwan's president released from hospital

Chen Shui-bian was released from the hospital a few hours ago. Despite having a wound described as being 11 cm long, 2 cm wide, and 2 cm deep, Chen's injury was not life-threatening, and he was stitched up without undergoing general anesthesia. After being released, he and Vice-President Annette Lu, whose wound was relatively superficial, both appeared on local television to urge the public to remain calm in the runup to Saturday's election and to get out and vote for Taiwan's future.

"Independent" legislator Sisy Chen, who dressed as Osama bin Laden on her obnoxious talk show just days after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, was on local media just now accusing the president of "faking" this incident. Reporters at a press conference held by the National Security Bureau were asking questions which seemed to be trying to encourage the public to give credence to Sisy Chen's ludicrous claims.

For "doubting Thomases" like Sisy Chen, I'd recommend taking a look at the bloody images (nix the "blood") of Chen Shui-bian's wound, his jacket just after being shot, and the hole that "magically" appears in the windshield of the Jeep just before the blood becomes visible (part of today's constant video loop).

CORRECTION: Despite the lack of blood on the jacket, there's a lot of other evidence there. Here's the link about the "blood illusion" again. The same article also has a picture of doctors suturing Chen's wound. However, a caption below another photo in that article which reads "Protests have been peaceful so far" is patently false.

Friday, March 19, 2004

Assassination attempt on Taiwan's president, vice-president

With an election and the country's first referendum literally just over the horizon, President Chen Shui-bian and VP Annette Lu were both shot while campaigning in the southern city of Tainan this afternoon.

President Chen was shot in the stomach and Vice-President Lu was shot in the right knee ("grazed" according to breaking news on CNN), according to a report on CBSNEWS.com.

Throngs of reporters, as well as supporters of Chen and Lu, have gathered outside the Chi Mei Hospital where the pair was taken for treatment. While supporters are singing the campaign anthem "Xiang Xin Taiwan" ("Have Faith in Taiwan"), some idiotic reporters on local television are even telling viewers on which floor of the hospital the injured president and vice-president are staying. (Source: my own eyes and ears while flipping the channels between TVBS, ETTV, CTI, and FTV.) While international media has already reported that "the bullet has been found," the local media is frantically debating whether or not the sounds were "merely firecrackers" being lit in a celebratory fashion along the route of the motorcade while simultaneously showing the bullethole in the windshield of the vehicle in which Chen and Lu were riding.

Suspects? In my opinion, it would first and foremost be operatives of the opposition. My next guess would be operatives from Beijing. Thirdly, I'd suspect supporters of the opposition. Opposition presidential candidate Lien Chan was on television just a few minutes ago expressing his "concern" for Chen, all the while with a big smile on his face.

Luckily, the injuries to the president and vice-president don't appear to be life-threatening, and if anything, I hope this ensures a victory for Chen and Lu over the opposition Lien-Soong ticket in tomorrow's election as the Chinese missile "tests" in 1996 did for former president and current Chen supporter Lee Teng-hui.

Please support Taiwan, and don't believe the lies. Taiwan is NOT a province of China.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Then and now: what a Dick!

Dick Cheney is upset that John Kerry won't reveal the names of the foreign leaders Kerry says support him in his bid to oust Bush from his stolen spot in the White House. Let's remind Dick of some recent history, shall we?

In 2001, Bush formed the National Energy Policy Development Group (NEPDG) whose meetings were chaired by -- you guessed it -- Dick Cheney. Wanna know who he met with? Sorry. He refuses to reveal their names. If you were interested in finding out just how "willing" the administration's coalition supporting the Iraq war was, you might have trouble getting them to reveal the names of some of these supporters. Wanna know who's imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay? John Ashcroft won't reveal the names. This is starting to sound like a certain Yardbirds song.

So what's this they're saying about Kerry again? They want him to "reveal the names" of these supporters? Fat chance, Dick!

I guess they removed all the mirrors from the White House in January 2001, eh?

Friday, March 12, 2004

Ted Rall overthrows Haiti

(or, at least, the lack of real media coverage thereof)

Just when both Ted and Haiti have been in my recent thoughts, I just came across this week-old Yahoo! op/ed where Ted reminds us about the less-than-immaculate history of Haitian dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier, the "incurious US media," and the "deposing [of] a popularly elected* president." [*92 percent of the vote in an election judged "fair" by international observers]

And while the mainstream is dutifully ignoring this angle on the story in Haiti, my contact at The Poison Dart points out that the underground media has been covering it with vim and vigor.

Don't let Democracy Now's coverage go unseen and unheard. Spread the above link far and wide -- forthwith!

Friday, March 05, 2004

Censorship? Fuck that shit!

Ted Rall is being censored by the New York Times. Go read about it on Ted's web site (where you can still gain access to his 'toons), and write some letters. (Try the e-mail addresses you can find here.)

As Ted says, it's up to us.

UPDATE: Here are some more specific e-mail addresses to use.
* Martin Nisenholtz, CEO of New York Times Digital
* New York Times Letters to the Editor
* Ombudsman Daniel Okrent

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

It's not just a theory, it's a real live conspiracy!

From the horse's mouth:
DOBBS: Mr. Aristide, first, you're in good health, you're in appropriate accommodations?

ARISTIDE: Yes. But my mind is in Haiti, where they are killing people, burning houses ... And that's why I call it a real coup d'etat, a modern way to have modern kidnapping.

DOBBS: Mr. Aristide ... are you suggesting that you were then in point of fact taken by force by U.S. military?

ARISTIDE: Of course, from Saturday -- from Saturday night, the 28th ... I was told that ... I better leave. And under a kind of diplomatic cover, they talked to me. And military talked to me. American agents talked to me. Haitian agents talked to me. And I finally realized it was true, we were going to have bloodshed. And when I asked how many people may get killed, and they said thousands may get killed. So using that kind of force to lead a coup d'etat, it was clear, as I said. [LINK] [Emphasis mine, ellipses in original]
Those are the words of Jean-Bertrand Aristide being interviewed by via telephone by CNN's hack Lou Dobbs. Notice the phrasing of Dobbs' first question about "good health." Do we want to know if he has a disease or if he's been physically injured?

BuzzFlash has repeatedly mentioned the name of Otto Reich in relation to the recent developments in Haiti. Although it looks like a German name (his father was Austrian), Reich was born in Cuba and is a "special 'presidential' envoy" to Bush. Right Web -- part of "the growing national movement of concerned citizens who are working to check the rightward drift of the [U.S.]" -- has a rather lowly opinion of Reich, who has been involved in things ranging from the Iran-Contra scandal to WRAP.

This Reich fellow sounds like a bit of an "unsavory" character to me. For more background on his early involvement in Haiti, read this article from The Black Commentator.

Monday, March 01, 2004

Hand-in-hand for peace

I may be slow, but CNN didn't have much to say about it (I didn't see it on their broadcast edition at all), and what they did say included the apparently obligatory "renegade province" paragraph. What I've got on them is that I was a participant, and it was big.

Among the many activities occupying me this weekend (blogging obviously not being one of them) was the "228 Hand-in-Hand Rally." At 2:28 PM on Saturday, February 28, 2004, up to 2 million people -- perhaps more -- joined hands forming a 500-kilometer long human chain to protest the 496 Chinese missiles aimed at Taiwan and to urge the world to wake up and take notice of this sovereign country -- which is not a "province of China." Despite the international media's lack of coverage, I am quite proud to have been part of that chain.

There are about 23 million people in Taiwan. The above figure would put the rally's attendance at about 8.6 percent of the entire population! Even the lowest estimates of 1.2 million would put attendance at over 5.2 percent. Shouldn't this fact alone have made it worthy of a little news coverage?

The lady standing beside me was a Taiwanese who had lived in the U.S. for 40 years and had returned to Taiwan specifically to participate in this rally. She recounted to me her firsthand experiences of the infamous "228 Incident" which began on February 28, 1947. She told me that policemen would come to people's homes in the middle of the night and take family members away, many of whom were never to be heard from again.

Saturday's rally was both the largest and the most peaceful demonstration I've ever taken part in. At my location (near Taichung's Chung Yo Department Store), there were so many people we formed 2 parallel chains along the roadside. However, traffic was hardly affected at all, and the few police I saw at the event seemed to be handling that end of the responsibilities. Would total chaos have made it a more newsworthy event?

Standing out in the crowd, I was briefly interviewed by a reporter from a local newspaper asking why I had joined the rally. One of the things I told her was that the media contributes to Taiwan's low stature because it constantly publishes blatant lies and inaccurate information -- all the while crying about "freedom of the press." Of course the next day, the part they published about me contained 2 stupid mistakes. Go figure!

One of the lighter moments of the day occurred when a cart being pulled by 2 oxen came barreling down the road past me. One car whose driver had his bird finger held high out of the window also sped by the crowds blowing its horn. The people around me were stunned. I told them it didn't matter. "We've got him outnumbered." This drew a laugh.

After the crowds had begun to disperse, I hung around for a bit. An old man selling potted plants struck up a conversation with me about the event. He seemed to take a nihilist approach to the situation and inexplicably started complaining to me about "the government" cracking down on street vendors recently. When my wife reminded him that the mayors of both Taichung and Taipei are members of the "Chinese Nationalist Party" (also known as the Kuomintang or KMT), he backed down.

Just as we were about to leave, a man whose lips and teeth were reddened by the betel nut he was chewing accidently sprayed some water on me when he was opening one of the free cups of water which had been distributed to the crowds. At first I thought he had spit some betel nut juice on my back and in my hair. I must've given him a real "Maddog" look (though not purposely), because this guy -- who could easily be mistaken for a gangster (and may well have been one) -- apologized to me over and over. When I had confirmed that it was just water, I told him that everything was cool and not to worry about it.

Then I went home and watched CNN pretend like this wasn't important while the local pro-unification TV news channels tried futilely to minimize an event which proved that their constant lies about the "minority" pro-Taiwan identity population could no longer deceive anyone who has eyes or ears and an IQ above 50.

Did I mention how proud I am about having been a part of the rally?

[Edited due to slight lack of clarity]
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