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

Monday, February 28, 2005

Shooting down "Bulletgate" -- Part 17

"But we always used to win!"

We're on the second half of page 15, and "Bulletgate" continues to make shit up:
Extraordinary Measures Ordered
Another key point of Mr. Chiou's announcement was that the government had activated the so-called "National Security Mechanism"(NSM) as an emergency measure. Oddly, the sole effect of that alert was to cancel all leaves, so that large numbers of military and police personnel, could not leave their barracks or duty posts, to return home to vote the next day, as was the norm in every past election. After the election, officials in the National Security Bureau(rough equivalent of the CIA), under questioning from lawmakers admitted that the term "NSM" never existed on paper. This unprecedented and indeed fictitious operations plan had the effect of depriving large numbers among the 380,000 armed forces personnel, 80,000 police and 16,000 coast guards of their constitutional right to vote in this particular election. Traditionally the majority of these personnel would vote for the Blue.
Let me begin by dismembering the last sentence of that paragraph.

Could they mean the "tradition" of the "Nakashi-Jazz Discharge Party Hats"?
"Traditionally" doesn't mean "always" or even "now," but if they want to use that argument, it is "traditionally" pan-blues who work at the polls and buy votes! In 2000, the KMT lost power to the DPP in only the second direct election of the president by the people of Taiwan, and they had been in power for more than 50 years by that time. The post just before this one also links to Jerome F. Keating's writings which mention that "[In 8 years], the KMT lost and/or failed to gain approximately 4,197,384 votes." They don't know "tradition" from a hole in the ground.

Counting like sheep
Maybe if the pan-blues throw out some numbers that sound like the number of votes by which they lost, they can fool enough people into supporting them. But this section of "Bulletgate" -- like all the other sections -- is not supported by the facts:
The exact number of military and police personnel forced to remain at their posts became a point of argument. The government at first said only 13,000 military men and women were affected, then adjusted the figure up to 37,000, but those who should know contended that the actual figure was much higher. The Defense Minister, Gen. Tang Yao-ming, tendered his resignation two days after the election, a gesture interpreted by many as his silent protest over the disfranchisement [sic] of those servicemen and women.
This argument has been countered multiple times, but I'll do it once more here, and I'll do it much more simply.

As I hinted at in Part 16 of this shootdown, I had the occasion to speak with a Taiwanese police captain on duty at one of the scenic spots I visited during my Lunar New Year holiday. I asked him about the situation on March 20, 2004 and if any police officers had been prevented from voting because of anything related to the shooting of the president and vice-president. While this captain told me that he didn't vote that day, it had nothing to do with the shooting. It was merely because his regular post is too far from his voting precinct.

More importantly, he told me quite clearly that no police officers were told that they could not vote that day.

There's also the matter of military personnel, but I've got that one covered equally well. My brother-in-law is currently serving in Taiwan's military, doing the mandatory service required of all able-bodied male citizens. Actually, he was "not allowed" to vote, but: 1) He would have voted for the Chen-Lu ticket; and 2) Because a certain number of military personnel are required at their posts on election day anyway, the arrangements regarding who could and couldn't vote were made weeks in advance of the election; therefore, this had nothing to do with the shooting.

Straight from the horses' mouths, so to speak.

Picture this
An image (which I probably should've grouped with the previous post) is centered on this page of "Bulletgate":
[IMAGE: Chen Shui-bian is seen lying on a table while two men in medical garb (scrubs, surgical masks, and latex gloves) tend to his wound.]

[PHOTO CAPTION:] Chen calls home while undergoing gunshot wound treatment. Surgeons have voiced their disbelief that both doctors in the picture are holding scalpels, contrary to professional protocol, and in a serious breach of professionalism, both failed to wear hygienic caps.
So the fuck what?! In emergency situations, all kinds of protocol is breached. To repeat a phrase from the previous post, the pan-blues are clearly grasping at straws.

The final paragraph of this section of "Bulletgate" brings us to page 16:
Reflecting popular sentiment, the Pan Blue alliance asked for the establishment of an independent commission modeled after the U. S. Warren Commission, following President John F. Kennedy's assassination in 1963, to look into all aspects surrounding the alleged attempt on the life of Chen, and its effects on the election. So far, the government has continued to refuse this just demand. The National Security Council also rejected a court subpoena for the NSC minutes of the meeting activating the NSM in the afternoon of March 19.
I've already told you how the so-called "319 Truth Commission" that was created was neither constitutional, impartial, nor interested in the truth, so go back to the archives and read about it (even if you already have, read about it again) so I won't have to repeat myself.

NEXT UP: The World Series of non sequiturs, or "Chen and Lu were shot, but we were (sniffle) insulted -- Boo hoo!"
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