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

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Motion to recall Taiwan president Chen Shui-bian fails

Pan-blue leaders try to move the goalposts yet again

With a DPP boycott of the vote in effect, only 119 of the Legislative Yuan's 225 legislators (just under 53%) voted today in favor of recalling President Chen. (In addition, there were 14 null ballots.) This fell far short of the required two-thirds majority (148 votes = just under 66%) required for the motion to succeed, and Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng declared that the motion had failed (不成立).

Not surprisingly, the pan-blues couldn't face up to the facts. I saw KMT chairman Ma Ying-jeou on TV a few moments ago whining, "What kind of victory is this? Is it a victory for liars?"

Obviously not.

The China Post reports that PFP chairman James Soong had this to say about the result:
"Over half of the legislators voted to recall him, so he should quickly tender his resignation."
Let me reiterate: The law (which the pan-blues participated in writing) requires a two-thirds majority, but for James Soong, "Over half" is good enough.

That's called "moving the goalposts" -- a clear sign of a crybaby sore loser and standard behavior for authoritarians who have been slapped in the face by democracy yet again.

UPDATE: More than 10 hours after the recall motion failed, CNN (the TV version) still has only this to say in their newsbar:
Supporters and opponents of Taiwan's pres. clash
I didn't see anything in their headlines at 9:30 PM, and a Google News search for [Taiwan recall source:CNN] only brings up one online article. [Note the misspelling "tariwan" in that URL.] They'll have to pay a little more attention than that if they want to get the actual story at all. Oh, I see. That's not what they're after.

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Sunday, June 25, 2006

Pan-blues obsessed with death

Demonstrate once again that Ma Ying-jeou's apology meant nothing

KMT chairman Ma Ying-jeou spoke to a crowd of supporters in Kaohsiung, Taiwan yesterday afternoon to rally for the recall of President Chen Shui-bian (DPP).

Not only did Ma speak Mandarin and Hoklo (Taiwanese) to the crowd (yet another double standard?), but if you remember Ma's recent fake "apology" about "set[ting] a bad example for society" after saying that President Chen would "die a horrible death" if he didn't step down, less than two weeks later, he is rallying the already incensed rabble in front of funeral photos of President Chen and first lady Wu Shu-jen. Chen's photo is captioned with the words "Taiwan's Marcos" in reference to the Filipino dicatator Ferdinand Marcos. The black placard below Wu's photo uses a phrase common to funerals, while simultaneously attempting to make fun of Minister of Education Tu Cheng-sheng. ("音容宛在" is the correct version, and "音容苑在" is the one that was supposedly penned by a security guard at the Ministry of Education and sent to the family of a recently deceased professor, but the KMT wrote it as "音容'夗'在.")

It isn't the first time pan-blues and their supporters have done this kind of thing either. After the 2004 presidential election, the crybaby sore losers gathered on Ketagelan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office and placed mock-up funeral photos of Chen before the news cameras -- and this just after Chen had been shot by a pan-blue supporter.

Ma Ying-jeou is the one who needs to be recalled!

Further reference:
* Chinese funeral photos
* A fake funeral photo for former president Lee Teng-hui, made by KMT supporters
* A similar photo at the funeral of Chinese actor Fu Biao
* Colors and styles will vary.
* Here's one in yellow.
* Similar effect on a wreath at a Hakka funeral
* Here are two cartoon funeral photos of Chen Shui-bian (dated June 14, 2006, 8:13 AM -- the same day as Ma's "apology") on a Chinese web site. Note the person with the gun at bottom right of the second image. The text on that image says, "Today we take down Liar Bian."

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Friday, June 23, 2006

KMT legislator acts out fantasies of murdering Chen Shui-bian

What will it take to get rid of them? (I mean their sick fantasies)

While Taiwan's DPP boycotted Thursday's legislative session in protest of the recall motion against President Chen Shui-bian, the KMT and their pan-blue co-conspirators were busy acting out in the LY.

As I flipped through the TV channels late Thursday night, I saw footage of KMT legislator Chiang Lien-fu holding up an A-bian doll and pretending to shoot it with (what appeared to be) a toy pistol. This is pure idiocy.

Another story during the same news cycle featured a smiling young man with a T-shirt with an image of somebody with a gun to Chen's head.

The context, for those who didn't read my earlier post, is that the KMT has been a party of ultraviolence since its inception. Recent statements by KMT chairman Ma Ying-jeou that President Chen "would die a horrible death" if he didn't step down finally opened a lot of people's eyes to what I've seen clearly for quite some time -- that the KMT is still a sick, violent, authoritarian party which doesn't believe in democracy because it bit them on the ass in 2 successive presidential elections.

Go ahead, make my day
In President Chen's televised 2-hour address to the people of Taiwan Tuesday night, he spoke of Ma's stupid words ("It's time to load the gun, but not yet time to pull the trigger, because you only get one shot at recalling a president.") and said, "I am also willing to sacrifice myself for the country if my 'horrible death' could ease the grudges some people hold against me," adding that people with such ideas should go ahead and "pull the trigger."

Since Chen used the same words that Ma used (purportedly in a metaphorical sense), does the toy gun in the legislature reveal anything (that you didn't already know), or did Chen somehow suddenly change the meaning of what Ma said? While Ma subsequently made a public apology for his words, it didn't seem sincere then (as it came on the same day that he compared Chen to Yuan Shih-kai), and it certainly doesn't seem sincere now.

And for those who aren't part of the reality-based community, saying "Go ahead and shoot me" doesn't make it legal for the shooter to do so.

Will the KMT condemn such behavior, or will they try to "justify" it? I think I already know the answer to that.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Pan-blue crybabies find Taiwanese incomprehensible

Do they even know they're in Taiwan?

In an address to the people of Taiwan last night, President Chen Shui-bian spoke for 2 hours responding to several allegations given by the pan-blues as their reasons for initiating a presidential recall.

Just a couple of hours after the address was over, the China Post had an article online saying that the address "fail[ed] to clear things up" and "failed to turn the tide to [Chen's] side." (The same article appeared on the front page of today's print edition.) In this supposedly "non-editorial" article, the paper called Chen's address ethnically divisive because (they claim) they couldn't understand him!

President Chen used a lot of Hoklo (also known as Taiwanese) language in his address (by my own estimate, about 70%). The so-called "non-editorial" article called this an "elaborate choosing [sic] of using the local dialect" which was made "to speak only to his supporters in southern Taiwan." The article cites unnamed "critics" who said that "using the dialect and ignoring people who do not comprehend the language, [sic] shows that Chen only wanted to address the people who choose to stay on his side."

The article then refers to these faceless/nameless speakers as "analysts" who go on to say that "Chen's refusal to use mandarin [sic] is a major flaw in his defense."

And they want to paint Chen as the one who's ethnically divisive?

Ironically, it's the China Post which "fails to clear things up." The facts are these:
* During his address, Chen spoke in a mixture of Hoklo and Mandarin, a habit that is common all across Taiwan due to the oppression of the use of the Taiwanese language during KMT rule. ("[R]efusal to speak mandarin [sic]," my ass!)
* Even the BBC's Caroline Gluck, who was present when Chen gave his address, apparently understood enough (or cared enough to acquire a translator) to write a report on it.
* There are also some people in Taiwan who speak little Mandarin -- for example, some of my in-laws who are fervent pan-blue supporters! (It's very difficult for me to communicate with them in Mandarin.)
* Chen was speaking to "the 23,000,000 people of Taiwan" -- you know, the island country of which he's the president.
* Taiwan isn't just "southern Taiwan." Taipei is in Taiwan, too. It's the capital, in fact. People there can -- and do -- speak Taiwanese, too, though not as often as in the south.
* According to Omniglot.com:
Today about 70% of the population of Taiwan (15 million people) speak Taiwanese and most also speak Mandarin. Outside Taipei most people prefer to speak Taiwanese, though will speak Mandarin if they have to. Mandarin tends to be used in formal situations while Taiwanese tends to be used in informal situtations. [see my earlier related comment about the reason for this]
* The KMT appears to think that this 70% of Taiwan's population is "not worthy." That's not democracy.
* As recently as last April, pan-blue gangsters were beating up people for speaking Taiwanese.
As Chen said during his address, this is not a problem of "ethnic divisiveness" (as the pan-blues so often claim), but rather a problem of political identity, as the China Post shows us without even having to say it.

The response to the response
Taipei Mayor, KMT Chairman, and metaphor-mangler Ma Ying-jeou responded to Chen's address this evening in a 30-minute speech which was followed by a lengthy press conference. I only got to hear the last couple of minutes of the speech, but according to the questions that followed, I thought I heard him say that he used Mandarin, Taiwanese (which he referred to as "閩南語"), and Hakka. Is there a double standard here?

Lastly, the response to the response to the response
As soon as the press conference ended, ETTV News anchor Lu Shiow-fang editorialized that Chen's address last night "left many questions unanswered," but gushed that Ma was "smart" and "spoke very clearly." What she failed to clarify, however, is that her sister, Lu Shiow-yan, is a KMT legislator (and Ma Ying-jeou hugger) and that her father-in-law, Hsu Li-teh, is a former Vice-Premier.

Can you say "pan-blue media"? I thought that you could.

Further reading:
* An article in the 11/26/2001 edition of ETToday News features a photo of Ma Ying-jeou holding a (paintball) gun as he helps Lu Shiow-yan canvass for votes in Taichung prior to the 2001 legislative elections
* An article from Bloomberg after Chen's address chooses quotes which paint the president as "combative" and talks about the stock market dipping.
* An article in today's Taipei Times about Chen's address
* An op-ed by Taipei-based political commentator Liu Kuan-teh in today's Taipei Times which fails to note that the media and the KMT are much more than "hand-in-hand"
* CleverCLAIRE's post where I found the Bloomberg and BBC links used above.
* Michael Turton at The View from Taiwan blogs on the address.
* Jason at Wandering to Tamshui gives it his usual humorous treatment.

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Sunday, June 04, 2006

KMT still fantasizing about murdering Chen Shui-bian

I know there's been a lot of shit going on with Chen Shui-bian and his family recently, and talking about a recall would be expected from a party that hasn't stopped crying since they lost the presidency 6 years ago. But the KMT has once again crossed the boundaries of acceptable rhetoric.

A report in Friday's Taipei Times quotes KMT chairman Ma Ying-jeou making this very poor choice of words just days before the 17th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre:
"It's time to load the gun, but not yet time to pull the trigger, because you only get one shot at recalling a president."
Just to be sure that was an accurate translation, I searched for the original Chinese-language version. Here's what it said in the Liberty Times:

[My translation of the above] About the timing of the recall, Ma responded that attempting a recall is like firing a gun (with a single bullet), there can be no second chance in [Chen's] remaining time in office, "so the gun is ready to fire, but it's not the right time to take a shot."
Would you like some more context with that?
Bullets? Guns? While this is a common description in the Chinese language, you must remember that it's coming from the same people who made up "Bulletgate"?

What? Still not enough context? Let's look at some of the events of the past 2 years alone.
* March 19, 2004: The day before Taiwan's presidential election, a pan-blue supporter shoots incumbent president Chen Shui-bian and his running mate Annette Lu (DPP). Both survive the shooting with relatively minor injuries. This really pisses off the pan-blues.

* March 20 - 21, 2004: Riots led by pan-blue politicians occur in Taiwan's 3 largest cities. Habitual liar Chiu Yi (currently KMT, then-PFP) leads the charge atop a campaign truck attempting to crash through the gate of Kaohsiung's District Prosecutors' Office. PFP legislator Shen Chih-hui incites crowds in Taichung, telling them that "Chen Shui-bian is scared to have a recount."

* March 26, 2004: Riots led by pan-blue politicians occur at the Central Election Commission headquarters in an attempt to prevent election results from being officially announced. PFP legislator Pang Chien-kuo said that PFP legislator Liu Wen-hsiung was ready to give up his life and would bring a bulldozer to smash the barricades in front of the Presidential Office at the next day's protests. Then-PFP legislator Chiu Yi said he would bring 500,000 people to surround the Presidential Office and that the "horn of revolution had been sounded."

* April 5, 2004: PFP Chairman James Soong threatened that if Chen Shui-bian would not respond to the demands of the pan-blues, he would bring students to break into the Presidential Office.

* April 10, 2004: Another night of pan-blue riots replete with Molotov cocktails, pummeled photographers, and pan-blue politicians who cried when their toes got stepped on. Ma Ying-jeou passed the blame for the "political instability" to President Chen Shui-bian.

* April 15, 2004: PFP legislator Thomas Lee (Lee Tung-hao) encourages the public to "shoot President Chen dead."

* April 17, 2004: KMT legislator Kwan Yuk-noan (Hanyu pinyin: Guan Wo-nuan) suggested that it would be better if President Chen Shui-bian would just "commit suicide." Kwan also refused to apologize for this comment when reporters asked him if he would do so.

* May 2, 2004: Lai Chu-hsing, a 40-year-old Taiwanese man who recently announced the creation of the "Revolution Party," was arrested for an alleged plan to kill Taiwan's president Chen Shui-bian and former president Lee Teng-hui. [MORE]

* May 3, 2004: BBC News reports that six foreign embassies in Taipei -- all from Latin-American countries -- have received "threatening phone calls" warning them not to attend Chen Shui-bian's inauguration ceremony.

* May 5, 2004: Hsieh Hung-yi, a former employee of the China Times, is taken in for questioning in the case of the May 3 threats.

* November 3, 2004: Lien Chan, quoting Confucius but talking about Chen Shui-bian, says during a KMT meeting, "Anyone can kill him."

* November 26, 2004: Yang Ju-man admits responsibility for 17 of the "rice bomber" explosions. The bomber claimed in at least one letter that he wanted the government to stop importing rice -- as per WTO agreements -- and protect local farmers.

* December 9, 2004: Two days before Taiwan's legislative election, a van packed with gas canisters was lit on fire near the Taipei Railway Station, setting off an explosion which destroyed the van and two other vehicles. The police released video footage caught by a security camera at a nearby convenience store as the suspect gave two letters to a FedEx courier to deliver to TVBS and TTV, and a reward of NT$1,000,000 was offered for information leading to his arrest. The letters contained threats to set off four more explosions before election day. Lien Chan said things on the day's TV news which implied that the explosion and threats were actually a "show" by the DPP. It was therefore no surprise when a pan-blue supporter I talked with the next day repeated those charges as if that were exactly what Lien had said.

* December 17, 2004: The pro-blue United Daily News publishes a large, front-page headline which reads, "Support the Rice Bomber: 10,000 People (Should) Protest Taiwan's Entry into the WTO."

* December 18, 2004: The gas bomber (see Dec. 9), who admitted that the bombing was "politically motivated," is caught.

* December 19, 2004: Gas bomber is released by a judge from the Taipei District Court because (get this) "he poses no further threat to society"! I should point out that former president of the Executive Yuan, Hsu Shui-teh (KMT), once said, "The courts belong to us." ("法院是我們家[國民黨]開的.") It looks like he was being unusually frank.

* March 14, 2005: China passes an "anti-secession" law which "legislates" the arbitrary use of "non-peaceful means" against Taiwan.

* March 17, 2005: Li Ao brandishes a knife during a legislative session and tells Minister of Defense Lee Jye that he should castrate himself.

* March 31, 2005: Lien Chan, then-chairman of the KMT, is in Beijing with a 30-plus-member 'delegation' of KMT politicians consorting with the enemy.

* April 6, 2005: Lien Chan returns from his so-called "journey of peace" in China. Supporters and opponents turn out at the CKS Airport in large numbers. Lien's supporters include known gangsters who beat people and leave them in pools of blood for simply "being Taiwanese" just like they did in the days of White Terror. In the end, the DPP apologizes for their part and "condemn[s] any form of violence," adding that "We are in favor of meting out punishment to those held responsible in accordance with the law and urge agencies concerned to conduct a swift and thorough examination of the matter to prevent any similar occurrence from happening again."
The pan-blues, however, call for more bloodshed. [MORE]

* June 9, 2005: After it is revealed that Taipei City Council member Wang Yu-cheng's (PFP) recent claims about food "offerings" from funeral parlors being "recycled" and served at restaurants in the vicinity of Taiwan Normal University were fabricated (the videotape "evidence" was made by his assistants), Wang cries like a baby. [MORE]

* June 21, 2005: More than a dozen idiot legislators accompany Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng aboard a Taiwanese Navy frigate with the purported mission of "protecting Taiwan's fisherman" from Japan after a Taiwanese fisherman who admitted being in Japanese waters (merely to provoke Japan?) gave the pan-blues a chance to attack someone who was trying to help Taiwan in the face of China's threats. [MORE here and here]

* October 29, 2005: DPP lawmakers reveal that TVBS (AKA "BS-TV") is "100% Chinese-funded. This causes the pan-blues to cry to the International Federation of Journalists, despite the fact that BS-TV looks, walks, and quacks just like a Beijing duck and the Hong Kong based TVB which owns BS-TV admits 100% ownership.

* November 9, 2005: KMT lawmakers Hung Hsiu-chu and Kuo Su-chun publicize Information Minister Pusaya Yao (DPP) and then-premier Frank Hsieh's (DPP) home and office telephone numbers in recent as retribution for charges made against TVBS that the station is in violation of the law for being Chinese-funded. As a result, both Yao and Hsieh receive death threats from crazed pan-blue supporters who have been stirred up by their so-called "leaders." [MORE]

* UPDATE 1: In the days immediately following publication of this post, Ma Ying-jeou continues the tradition. Read on.

* June 5, 2006: While answering questions at the Taipei City Council from member Li Keng Kui-fang (KMT), Ma denies being "too soft" on Chen Shui-bian and says that those who think he is need to "just wait and see" his "ferocious side."

* June 7, 2006: Yam News mirrors an article from the China Times which feeds their readers more of Ma's bloody rhetoric from the previous day:

[My translation] During the KMT meeting, Ma Ying-jeou said that if President Chen does not have the sense of responsibility to be ashamed and resign of his own accord, but instead waits for the people to overthrow him, "[Chen] will die a horrible death."
All of the above is considered by the KMT to be a great "improvement" over the "historical" KMT that was responsible for the "228 Incident" of 1947 and the subsequent decades of White Terror and martial law. Ma Ying-jeou's words, whether intentionally or not, and especially in the context provided above seem to indicate that killing is an integral part of the KMT's subconscious.

Any potential wrongdoing by Chen Shui-bian, First Lady Wu Shu-jen, and "first son-in-law" Chao Chien-ming must be dealt with according to the law, but their situation couldn't compare with the pan-blues' evil if they lived their lives a hundred times over.

Likelihood of the recall's failure
Although the scandals mentioned at the top of this post are close to Chen Shui-bian, he is not implicated in any wrongdoing. I'm also under the impression that the pan-blues won't actually go through with a recall, despite "the gun [being] loaded." One reason is that without Chen in office, the pan-blues would lose their favorite whipping boy. (Note that they've been "pushing for recall" since at least October 2000.) Secondly, if Chen has the balls to fight back, he could dissolve the legislature, and an election to choose new members would be carried out under new rules (enacted subsequent to the last election) which would cut the number of legislative seats in half.

UPDATE 2: As Michael Turton reminds us (via an excerpt from a Taipei Times editorial), "recalling the president requires the approval of two-thirds of legislators" as well. Commenter Echo, on the same post, provided the Yam News link in the update above. [/END UPDATE 2]

UPDATE 3: An article in the June 13, 2006 edition of the Taipei Times reveals an even higher threshold for a successful recall:
A recall motion requires approval from two-thirds of the legislature and a majority of eligible voters in a nationwide referendum to take effect.

Lastly, another meme-avoidance reminder
I keep reading about how all of Taiwan's elected presidents (all two of them?!) have previously been mayor of Taipei and how this is a supposed "stepping stone" to the office of president. This meme seems to not only be setting Ma Ying-jeou up as the favored KMT candidate in the 2008 presidential election but placing undue emphasis on who the DPP will choose for their Taipei mayoral candidate this December.

I would personally suggest reminding people that in all three of Taiwan's direct presidential elections, the two winners (Lee Teng-hui in 1996 and Chen Shui-bian in 2000 and 2004) have both been pro-Taiwan independence. Stick that feather in your cap! ;-)

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