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Stick that in your clipboards and paste it, you so-called "lazy journalists"!

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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

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Remembering two 228 Incidents

First, the one less talked about

On February 28, 1980, while Lin Yi-hsiung (林義雄) was in prison on charges stemming from the Kaohsiung Incident, his seven-year old twin daughters and his mother were brutally murdered while their home was under 24-hour surveillance by secret police under the rule of Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國). Another daughter survived that incident despite being stabbed several times, but grew up without her grandmother or her two sisters. This horrific act took place 33 years after another incident which led to the deaths (including executions on the street), political imprisonment, and disappearance of tens of thousands of people in Taiwan at the hands of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) under the lead of the aforementioned Chiang's father, Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石).

The "228 Incident" of 1947
On February 27, 1947, a woman named Lin Chiang-mai (林江邁) was selling cigarettes illegally on a Taipei street when KMT officers attempted to confiscate her wares. In the struggle, the officer struck the woman in the head with his gun, and she later died. Witnesses to the event chased the officers away from the scene. They fled to a police station, and when citizens gathered there to ask for justice, the officer fled out a back door.

The next day, February 28, a larger crowd gathered at the Governor-General's Office to protest, but were met with machine gun fire. This doesn't sound like the "uprising" the China Post and the BBC's Caroline Gluck would like you to believe it was.

In the subsequent months and years, Taiwan's intellectuals were methodically killed off, jailed under false pretenses, and terrorized by authorities in the period of Taiwan's history that is known as "White Terror."

Sixty years after the 228 Incident of 1947, the embattled presidential wannabe and disgraced former KMT chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬應九) and his minions are still obfuscating history with their whines of "Stop bringin' up old stuff" and "Japan did it." Yet until this "transitional justice" is dealt with, this "old stuff" will continue to be raised against the party which perpetrated the crime.

More info
Articles from today's Taipei Times:
* Decades later, 228 still haunts Taiwan
* Hardline academics blame Japan for 228 Incident
* Amendment calling for 228 trial halted by pan-blue camp
* A series of 7 more articles: The 228 incident: Sixty years on
* An op-ed by Randall Schriver which states bluntly that "senior US officials are largely unaware and ignorant of what transpired in Taiwan after Feb. 27, 1947, including the White Terror era."
* Today's editorial: Historical record is key to justice

UPDATE 1:
The March 1, 2007 edition of the Taipei Times continues the "228 Incident: Sixty years on" series with four more articles.
Other blogposts:
* Michael Turton on Taiwan's Own Holocaust Revisionists
* Wulingren wrote last Friday about a May 24, 1947 article in The Nation.
* Previous posts on INDIAC
* Previous posts on Taiwan Matters!
Videos (most in Taiwanese or Chinese with Hanzi subtitles):
* 台灣的歷史-戰後與二二八事件 [Taiwan History - Post-WW2 and the 228 Incident]
* A 2-part video from CassidyTW: 二二八60週年 - 紀念殞落的228菁英 [60th anniversary of the 228 Incident - In memory of the fallen elite of 228] (lots more links there)

UPDATE 2: Here's a 3-part video from SET that I uploaded to YouTube:
* Part 1/3 6'58"
* Part 2/3 8'01"
* Part 3/3 9'33"
* Here's another video to think about when the KMT pulls their "Stop bringing up old stuff" act and tries to sweep 228 back under the rug where it couldn't be talked about for so long. Via the Hanzi titles which accompany the images onscreen, it reminds viewers how France, Poland, and Germany haven't done so with the Holocaust, but have instead faced up to that dark part of history. In contrast, every city in Taiwan has downtown streets named after Chiang Kai-shek (中正路). That page also has links to WMV versions of the video. Check out the plethora of links listed at the end of the video as well.
* And here's a WMV video of a Taiwan "anthem" performed karaoke style (they sang right through the bridge) by the president, the V-P, and lots of DPP stalwarts.
More links:
* Wikipedia entry on the 228 Incident
* Wikipedia entry on George Kerr
* George Kerr's Formosa Betrayed [PDF, 1.1 MB]
* See chapter four of Jerome F. Keating's Island in the Stream (co-written with April C.J. Lin)

UPDATE 3:
* Here's the page for the 228 Incident Memorial Foundation.
* Here's a poignant song sung in Taiwanese about the 228 Incident -- from the site that brought the "Surgical Blade Action" (手術刀). They've already gathered some 62,000 signatures, BTW.
Because of KMT control of the media and education system, many younger people in Taiwan don't know enough to even care about the 228 Incident. However, in order to secure their own future, it is something they must learn about.

Lest we forget: , , , , , , , ,

Cross-posted at It's Not Democracy, It's A Conspiracy!

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Venusian Politics

And if he went back, there was a warrant waiting for him from the Federation Member Republic of Venus. That was standard procedure. If you got voted out of office, they indicted you for corrupt practices. There were no other kind in Venusian politics.-- H. Beam Piper, When In the Course --

The China Post, the pro-KMT paper, reported the other day on a burgeoning structural problem that Ma Ying-jeou is facing. No longer KMT Chairman Ma, he's just an ordinary jeou now....

He had planned a series of events to commemorate the massacre of tens of thousands of innocent native islanders while he was still heading the largest opposition party.

Ma took part in a 60th anniversary memorial rally yesterday to upstage Wu Po-hsiung, acting chairman of the Kuomintang, who led opposition party leaders to commemorate the victims of the incident before the cenotaph of the February 28 Memorial Museum in the heart of Taipei.

This was two days before President Chen Shui-bian will unveil a cenotaph at the National February 28 Memorial Museum.

Wang Jin-pyng, president of the Legislative Yuan and a former vice chairman of the Kuomintang who is expected to be Ma's rival to get the party nomination for president in 2008, was not included.

Appearing in black, Ma shook the hands of members of bereaved families who attended the event in memory of the tragedy in which hundreds of innocent Chinese mainlanders were killed as well by native islanders rising in a riot six decades ago tomorrow.

In the past Ma was assured of a wide audience and access to all the Party resources and functions. Luckily for Citizen Ma the media, largely pro-Blue, still serves him.

The article also reported on the continuing rivalry of Wang and Ma:

Wang, who has yet to declare candidacy for president, is furious. Ma declared he would run next year when he announced he resigned as Kuomintang chairman.

According to his aides, Wang did not receive an invitation to attend the memorial rally.

"We received no word," said one aide. "How could Wang Jin-pyng attend, if he was not invited?"

There is a special concert in memory at the old Taipei City Hall today. Ma will speak at the concert, to which Wang was not invited, either. Ma will also hold a 2/28 incident press conference there tomorrow.

"It's apparent that Ma wants to ostracize Wang," said another aide to the parliament speaker, who, unlike Ma, is a native islander.


The paper makes a point of noting that Wang's aide is a Taiwanese, while Ma himself is a mainlander -- and refers also to "innocent Chinese mainlanders" versus "native islanders." This is a sly way of reminding readers that Wang is a Taiwanese without saying so directly -- and thus pointing out who, in the paper's view, is the good guy. And this from a paper that constantly hacks on the DPP for fomenting "ethnic tension" -- when in fact that tension is one of the key underlying issues between Ma and his support base, and a Presidential run for Wang.

The article goes on to note that if Ma is convicted of corruption -- and it is hard to see how he would not be, since the money is there in his account for all to see -- then he'd run for President anyway, even though the KMT by-laws forbid it. That by-law was added at the insistance of -- who else? -- Ma Ying-jeou. The gods love irony... A potential independence run for the Presidency was also mentioned, an idea that is constantly floated as an outside possibility. This is unlikely, since the KMT has already demonstrated that is it so committed to Ma it will suspend or change any of its Party rules. Dankwort Rustow once observed that the more the legitimacy of institutions is in question, the more it is necessary to find legitimacy in persons.

A couple of papers reported that Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng, Ma's rival, had pointed out that Ma may not be able to take the Presidency even if he wins the popular vote.

But Wang said Sunday the Central Election Commission may initiate litigation to deprive a successful presidential candidate of his office if he is convicted and sentenced to more than 10 years in prison.

He cited the Statute Governing the Election and Recall of the President and the Vice President as the source and called the Kuomintang's attention to the impending trial of Ma Ying-jeou.

The crime with which Ma was charged is punishable by imprisonment of at least seven years. "However," Wang said, "he was indicted as a repeat offender, and that would make the sentence longer -- to 10 years -- if he were convicted."


Wang is close to PFP Chairman James Soong, currently in self-imposed Olympian exile in the United States, brooding, watching, waiting. An alternative Wang-Soong/Soong-Wang ticket might well be a possibility if Ma manages to terminally offend Wang, and if it occurs the "southern legislators" -- the legislators who support Wang and oppose the "Ma troop" -- may become a problem for a Ma victory. Last year they feared Ma was slating them for elimination under the new legislature. With Ma gone as KMT Chairman, he has much less influence over who goes into the pot for the legislative elections. And you can be certain it won't be an overly large number of Ma supporters.

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

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Tancredo Lambastes the State Department, Tkacik rolls in the Weekly Standard

I've just blogged on a Weekly Standard article on Taiwan and the name changes from John Tkacik and Gary Schmitt over at the View. But this piece from Tom Tancredo (R-Col) is so good I thought I'd bring it here in its entirety. The redoubtable Coen Blaaw at FAPA passed this around. Enjoy some snark by a Congressman at the State Department's expense.

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February 20, 2007

The Honorable Condoleezza Rice
Secretary
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Secretary Rice,

I was somewhat confused by a recent statement issued by the department criticizing President Chen's "name rectification" efforts in Taiwan. The written statement distributed by the department expressed concern that changing the name of a few businesses in Taiwan will "change Taiwan's status unilaterally or move [Taiwan] toward independence."

First, it is rather difficult to understand how a decision about what the name of a local business might be in Taiwan is any of the State Department's concern. It seems to me that Taiwan's elected leaders and investors are perfectly capable of determining what the name of a particular shipbuilding company ought to be.

Second, for the State Department to equate the renaming of a gas station with a change Taiwan's international status is, to say the least, rather puzzling. While there are many important factors to be concerned with when it comes to cross-strait relations, I am not sure the name of Taiwan's national airline or post office are among them. After all, "Taiwan Beer" has been brewed and sold on the island for quite some time and I am not aware of the beer label triggering any sort of geopolitical crisis.

We often hear that the State Department is concerned about unilateral actions by either China or Taiwan that might change the "status quo." In practice, however, the department seems more than willing to criticize Taiwan's leaders (often for quite trivial things), yet very reluctant to rebuke the leadership in Beijing.

For example, compare the State Department's reaction to Taiwan's name rectification effort to that of China's adoption of the so-called "anti-secession law" in 2005. The "anti-secession law" by Beijing's own admission was intended to create a legal framework for China to initiate military action against Taiwan. The "law" represents a clear-cut, belligerent and dangerous step toward a military attack of Taiwan.

Clearly, this act represented a change in the "status quo" yet the strongest and most direct rebuke to China that State Department spokesman Richard Boucher could muster was "[W]e think it's important for both sides to focus on dialogue." The best then-White House spokesman Scott McClellan could do at the time was to characterize the law as "unhelpful."

But perhaps I am being too critical.

Maybe the State Department is simply waiting for China to do something extremely "provocative" like renaming their airlines or gas stations before issuing a similarly stern warning to Beijing.

Sincerely,

Tom Tancredo

Member of Congress

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LOL. Great work, making clear the State Department's pro-Beijing bias. Sad.


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Sunday, February 18, 2007

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Lunar New Year

It doesn't just belong to the Chinese

Nor is it just "politically correct." Read about it in English and/or Chinese.

Happy Lunar New Year! And 萬事如意! [=van.su_ru.yi! / wàn shì rú yì! Best of luck in all things!]

UPDATE:
Being in a bit of a rush to begin my vacation, I missed these links (all are presented in both English and Mandarin):
* How the people of Vietnam celebrate Lunar New Year
* How the people of South Korea celebrate Lunar New Year
* How the people of Singapore celebrate Lunar New Year
* How the people of Malaysia celebrate Lunar New Year

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Cross-posted at It's Not Democracy, It's A Conspiracy!

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Friday, February 16, 2007

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Ma Lien Wang Threesome

Ma announcing a presidential bid after getting indicted for corruption? That's like getting caught in bed cheating by your wife, and then inviting her to have a threesome! -- tart comment found in my email inbox.

The fawning and crying over Ma yesterday had its lighter moments. As I sat in our usual haunt eating soup and watching TVBS, a sequence showing the Savior of the KMT giving blood at some point during the day was shown. Local media was all over this key story, showing him sitting in the chair (good advert for blood giving, I strongly approved), but also showing closeups of the bag of blood with its medical information, and the doctors discussing every tiny detail. Thank god the newest candidate for president hadn't given a stool sample.

On the evening of the indictment the KMT showed its continuing commitment to corrupt government by convening an emergency meeting to lift the prohibition on indicted members running for President. The Taiwan News reported that the measure was opposed by Jason Hu, Mayor of our fair hamlet of Taichung, and by the representatives from the Wang Jin-pyng camp. Wang, the legislative speaker, is Ma's chief rival in the KMT. This little tidbit was what really cracked me up:

Juan Kang-meng (阮剛猛), chairman of the KMT's Evaluation and Discipline Committee, said the membership of Hsinchu County Magistrate Cheng Yung-ching and Legislator Chang Chang-tsai, both of whom had violated the clause, would be reinstated.

Not only did the KMT make itself out to be completely hypocritical, they also brought back into the party people even they had kicked out for corruption. I'm curious to see how this affects the problem of the KMT Mayor of Keelung, who was both indicted and convicted for problems relating to bogus land deals, but whom the KMT has been strangely reluctant to move against (didn't see that in the international media reports on the pious "anti-corruption" campaign). Readers may recall that Ma took some fire for his support of that politician.

Early call: the key gainer from the indictment? None other than Ma Ying-jeou himself. As we saw with the Chen Shui-bian family indictments, core support has rallied around Ma. Ma's move to announce his Presidential candidacy the day of the indictment was brilliant. He's pre-empted everyone else, placed himself in the front-runner position, exploited the focus on the indictment for maximum publicity, made everyone forget that his position is that he is guilty but ignorant, and psychologically, made the effect of the indictment shrink. Whoever is handling Ma did a bang-up job with that move. Now instead of competing for the Presidential nomination, whoever announces next is in the psychological position of having to dislodge Ma from the driver's seat.

The anti-Ma side also was another big gainer. There've been mutterings from below about a ticket with Lien Chen on it -- they will only get louder. Wang Jin-pyng's stock also rose, but ultimately Wang is a Taiwanese in a party whose core support is anti-Taiwanese (Taipei Times article on Wang supporters complaining about party rule change to support Ma). They will never accept Wang as a President, remembering how Lee Teng-hui "betrayed" them by supporting Taiwan. A Lien-Wang ticket is not out of reach, but it will be hard. The possibility of a Lien-Ma or Ma-Lien ticket, however, has risen. At some point someone may recall that Ma is only 58 this year, and that "Chairman for Life" Lien deserves to be President.

Ah, the future. What happens if Ma is convicted?

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Fawning over Ma

A pro-China Malaysian journalist, making no pretense of objectivity, comments in the online Asia Times on the Ma indictment....check out the pro-Beijing code phrases:

As the KMT still nominally accepts the "One China" principle, while the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) under President Chen Shui-bian has been pushing vigorously its separationist agenda, including cultural "de-Sinization", Ma's election is widely expected to be a key for the improvement of relations between the communist-ruled mainland and the democratized Taiwan. That has been called into question.
Taiwan independence is presented as "separationist" although Taiwan isn't and never was part of China....etablishing a local identity is labeled by the code-phrase "de-Sinization" although Taiwan culture retains all of its Chinese elements. Really, all the DPP advocates is labeling things what they are. Nobody is saying that Chinese languages should not be used, or Chinese gods not be worshipped, or Chinese characters dropped. "De-Sinization" is a common code phrase used by Chinese to describe the DPP's policies on establishing a local Taiwan identity.

The article then moves into unabashed Ma worship:

Until last November, Ma's image as "Mr Clean" was almost unassailable. Son of a KMT cadre, Ma's life has been prim and proper and blessed with many open doors. Soon after completing his doctorate in law from Harvard, he was recruited as president Chiang Ching-kuo's personal aide. He moved on to become a minister under Chiang's successor, Lee Teng-hui.

As justice minister, he earned his reputation and made many enemies combating "black gold politics", Taiwan's term for collusion between politicians, businessmen and mafia bosses. He went on to frustrate Chen Shui-bian's bid for re-election as the Taipei mayor in 1998, incidentally pushing Chen to run for and win the presidency two years later.

Though also known for his good looks and athletic stamina, Ma's largest asset is undoubtedly his near-dogmatic hold to rules and civility in Taiwan's notoriously rough and tumble politics. Such qualities, often attributed to his family upbringing and legal education, attract middle class and urban voters but arguably distance him from others.

Parts of this are downright hilarious. Ma is not the mere "son of a KMT cadre" but the son of a prominent mainlander general. Far from advocating civility in discourse, Ma has a silken nastiness that is right at home in local politics. He has repeatedly accused President Chen of being corrupt, has threatened prosecutors who don't come up with answers he likes, and has accused his rival Wang of vote-buying and busing in supporters in connection with the KMT chairmanship election. Ma is all about image, not reality, an image which his many supporters in the media enthusiastically promulgate. Ma is a personality type that many of us are familiar with, the little boy who fetches breakfast for his mother, sucks up to teachers, and then bullies kids on the school playground.

The journalist then goes on to cite the pro-Blue polls on Ma:

The public are more sympathetic to Ma. His approval readings in various opinion polls have risen after his resignation and declaration of candidacy. In a poll by United Daily, 61% of the respondents believed in Ma's integrity, a rise of 5% from November when he was investigated. His leads against DPP hopefuls have widened. He leads Prime Minister Su Tseng-chang by 59% against 21% and former premier Frank Hsieh by 61% against 20%. Among Pan-blue voters, he is leading Wang as the favorite candidate by 87% to 6%.

Anyone really believe that in the Real Taiwan Ma leads Premier Su by 38 points? Isn't this the same UDN that had the KMT up by 15 points on the eve of the Kaohsiung election they lost by a point? None of these polls are trustworthy, and relying on them is pathetic. The last sentence is especially great:

Despite the pro-China image painted by his Pan-Green opponents, Ma is the only Taipei heavyweight who every year commemorates the Tiananmen massacre in Beijing in 1989 . Much to Beijing's displeasure, Ma has categorically listed democratization of China as the pre-requisite for any reunification.

The reason that DPP politicians don't publicly commemorate Tiananmen is because it happened 20 years ago in another country. That Ma conducts pious public ceremonies about events that happened in China simply shows where his true loyalties lie: with China. Ma is a pro-China ideologue making pro forma mouthings about democracy. The writer's fawning over Ma's alleged commitment to democracy fails to note that democracy as a prerequisite for annexing Taiwan to China was the position of the National Unification Council, founded in 1991 under Lee Teng-hui -- which China protested for that very reason. Ma's best ideas always originate with others, usually long before he takes them up.

And terminology? Don't miss that "reunification" in the last sentence there.

Does Ma support democracy? There's no record of that until long after democratization had begun. Ma's mentor at NYU was the subject of an article in the Taipei Times the other day:

During an interview with CNA, Cohen, who is now a law professor at New York University, described Ma as honest and upright. He said he felt sympathetic and sad -- just the way he felt when another of his Taiwanese students -- Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) -- was jailed for her political activities in the 1980s.
....and the contrast couldn't be more clear. Lu went to jail for democracy, Ma became the private secretary to the dictator and murderer Chiang Ching-kuo. Had Ma been committed to democracy, he'd have been in the cell next to Lu......

Yes, Mr. Cohen, Ma is upright. It's because he's bipedal, not because he has integrity. Ma has already admitted downloading the money illegally, and fighting the indictment on the grounds that he never meant to steal it, and anyway, it's OK because everyone does it (Cohen's softball treatment of Ma during US visit. Cohen is a member of the US elite Establishment organ, the Council on Foreign Relations).

Expect plenty of fawning over Ma for the next few weeks until the prosecutors hand down the next set of indictments, probably against DPP heavyweights. Hopefully then the System will wise up, vote in a general amnesty, abolish the Special Funds, and move Taiwan forward...instead of forcing everyone to use the Taiwan DefenseTM: Hey. Everyone does it...

UPDATE: LOL. Ron Brownlow's latest Taipei Times feature on the well-known bar DV8 has this to say:

Like many regulars — and unlike DV8's owners — Liao is of the pan-green persuasion. The bar's resident yarnspinner, at 10pm on Tuesday he was regaling a reporter with his story about how, while attending Jingxin Kindergarten (靜心幼稚園), he was punished by his teacher after Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who is a year older than Liao, saw him teaching a few of his classmates how to speak Japanese. "I want you to print that," Liao told a reporter. "I want him (Ma) to sue me!"

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Taiwan: The Threatened Democracy

Matthew Greenwich of Taiwan Journal reviews the new book Taiwan: The Threatened Democracy by Bruce Herschensohn...

No stranger to government, Herschensohn's career took him from the U.S. Information Agency--the now-defunct institution dedicated to public diplomacy--to the White House, where he served as a deputy special assistant to President Richard Nixon. Starting in the present, he opens the book with a segment from President George W. Bush's 2005 second inaugural address, in which the president called for actions with the ultimate goal of "ending tyranny in our world." Immediately following this quote, any perception that Herschensohn would treat civil servants kindly is quickly dispelled, as the first chapter fires a salvo against the State Department, which is shown no love throughout the book. He constructs fictitious dialogues--though he claims they are based on actual conversations--between Foreign Service officers, in which they reject the president's comments as naive. State Department employees, the author writes, are often at odds with the president as they prefer stability, while presidents often pursue change. Even the military understands the capabilities and the threat of China, but the State Department, it seems, would rather keep its head in the sand.

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

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Ma Ying-jeou's double standards

In his own words

On the Wednesday, February 14, 2007 broadcast of Talking Show (大話新聞), host Cheng Hung-yi (鄭弘儀) presented several clips of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) which provide an interesting contrast between his attitude when talking about his political opponents and when the shoe is on the other foot.

The first set of clips shows Ma speaking just prior to the indictment against Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) wife Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍) and shortly afterwards. These clips are then juxtaposed with the words and actions of both Ma and his supporters just one day after Ma himself was indicted.

Under Ma's thumb
In the first part, Chairman Mao-without-the-o says that President Chen would "die a horrible death" if he didn't step down on his own. (What did Ma do? First of all, he waited to be indicted -- but that's not all. Just 2 hours later, he declared his candidacy for the 2008 presidential election.)

Referring to the ongoing cases surrounding Chen, Ma says (taking on the president's voice and ironically pointing at himself), "If my associates are corrupt, I need to take all of the responsibility. I can't blame anyone else, because I am the emperor." Ma says, "With problems like this affecting Chen's family, how can he talk to me about 'the law'?"

Rules are for other people
In the second segment -- with images from one day after Ma himself was indicted -- members of his party cheer, "Ma Ying-jeou, jiayou! (an expression of encouragement)" and "KMT, victory!" despite their party rules saying that an indicted member can't run for office. Well, if that was true to begin with, it's not anymore. They changed their rules in a move of desperation just hours after Ma was indicted. (Even though President Chen's wife hasn't yet been convicted, the DPP suspended her membership after the indictment, following their own rules the way they should.)

Next, a KMT member who is currently on the Taipei City Council screeches (and I'm talking "fingernails-across-the- blackboard" here) that Ma is "like Jesus being nailed to the cross" and that Ma is "the greatest person in history." (Yes, she actually said those things!) They've mobilized a nationwide signature drive to get people to "swear" support for Ma. Check out the gangster-looking guys with the black gloves accusing the other side of having "black hands" controlling the judiciary. (Hogwash!) Be sure to notice how "enthusiastically" these guys throw down those black gloves.

What went around came back around
Remember all that redshirt bullshit about "not distinguishing between blue (Ma's side) and green (Chen's side)" (不分藍綠)? Remember this picture? Which direction are those thumbs facing now? Up their you-know-whats!

Can you spot the double standards of Ma and his supporters? I knew that you could.

At last, the video:



3'08" YouTube video: "Ma Ying-jeou's double standards"


Same thumbs, different ways: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cross-posted at It's Not Democracy, It's A Conspiracy!

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

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Ma Ying-jeou indictment available online

Read all about it (in Mandarin legalese)

The documents related to yesterday's indictment of Ma Ying-jeou are now online via the Taiwan High Prosecutors Office. Here are the links (MSWord documents and XL spreadsheets):
* 起訴書 [the indictment]
* 附表一(起訴書) [Attachment 1 (indictment)]
* 附表二(起訴書) [Attachment 2 (indictment)]
* 附表三(起訴書) [Attachment 3 (indictment)]
* 附表四(起訴書) [Attachment 4 (indictment)]
* 附表五(起訴書) [Attachment 5 (indictment)]
* 附表六(起訴書) [Attachment 6 (indictment)]
* 附表七(起訴書) [Attachment 7 (indictment)]
* 附表九-1、九-2(起訴書) [Attachments 9-1 & 9-2 (indictment)]
* 附表八、十、十一、十二(起訴 書) [Attachments 8, 10, 11, & 12 (indictment)]
* 附表十三(起訴書) [Attachment 13 (indictment)]
If at some point in the future they disappear, just write to us.

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Cross-posted at It's Not Democracy, It's A Conspiracy!

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

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Chinese Nationalist Party chairman Ma Ying-jeou indicted

Immediately announces he'll run for president

How ya like him now? Ma has been indicted on charges of "embezzling NT$11 million (US$333,000)." Yes, he's innocent until proven guilty, but his 5 different versions of what happened with his "special allowance fund" says a lot about the case.

While he said he'd step down as the chairman of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), their Central Standing Committee is reported to have just finished meeting and refused his resignation. They have also changed their own rules to allow him to run for president anyway. Nice, eh? Did Ma forget all that stuff he said about "rule of law" and "honesty" in his CNN interview?

Even the prosecutor is asking judges for leniency because "they said Ma had donated 15 million dollars to charity during the investigation." [As Michael Turton reminds readers below, the prosecutor is a friend of Ma's. Tsk, tsk!] Once again, if the money is stolen from public funds, it should be returned to the public. That's not too hard to understand, is it?

"Cover me!"
The international news coverage, as usual, leaves much to be desired.

The BBC, for instance, repeats the meme about Ma's "squeaky-clean image." As often happens, they also fail to include a byline on the article, and doesn't clearly identify the affiliation of an anonymous "spokesman" quoted within (though it appears to be a spokesman for the high court).

A Bloomberg article by James Peng and Chinmei Sung calls Ma's party the "Nationalist party," failing to include the eye-opening "Chinese" at the beginning of that name. It also repeats the usual memes promulgating China's perspectives about Taiwan. However, the article correctly included information about the KMT "alter[ing] its rules to allow Ma to run as the KMT's candidate."

Barely after the indictment was out, Channel NewsAsia pushed this quickly-melting meme: "Taiwan's opposition leader Ma Ying-jeou, seen as the front-runner for next year's presidential election..." "[S]een" by whom?

The local news is certainly no better. During a press conference Ma gave shortly after the indictment came out, people could be heard shouting, "Chairman Ma, jiayou!" (加油, an expression of encouragement). Only those present could tell for sure if those shouts came from the reporters themselves.

KMT secretary-general Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) recently said it would snow in June before Ma was indicted. I just heard the host of Talking Show (大話新聞) say that everybody had better buy their jackets now.

P.S.: Michael and Jason demonstrate their ability to type and post much quicker than me. Don't miss their takes on the topic.

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Cross-posted at It's Not Democracy, It's A Conspiracy!

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In Remembrance of The Great Jogger

In light of today's news, I think it only fitting to remember former Taipei Mayor/KMT Chairman/ currently indicted citizen Ma Ying-jeou not as the imperfect man he may actually be, but as the golden demigod everyone thought he was. His was a halo well-held, 'til it fell from his pomade-drenched head.

Rest in Peace, Sweet Prince. We'll always have Ketagalan Boulevard....




































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Ma indicted, resigns, runs for president

An eventful day for Ma.... indicted, resigns as KMT chair, then announces presidential bid. ESWN has the news via the pro-Blue TVBS station:

Former Taipei city mayor Ma Ying-jeou was indicted today for embezzlement. During the course of eight years as mayor, Ma Ying-jeou had NT$1.632 million transferred from the mayor's special fees into his personal account. While it is true that the special fees do not require receipts, they must still be spend for public purposes. Of these, it was determined that NT$1.1 million had no indication of being spent on public matters. Furthermore, the amount was also reported as personal assets. Therefore, the prosecutor determined that there was sufficient evidence to indict for embezzlement. In addition, Ma's secretary was indicted for falsification of documents as well as embezzlement of NT$760,000.

There was no joy in pro-China mudville tonight as the China Post noted of its fair-haired boy:

Taiwanese prosecutors indicted Nationalist Party leader Ma Ying-jeou on corruption charges Tuesday, dealing him a heavy blow ahead of the island's March 2008 presidential elections.

The prosecutors said Ma had diverted 11 million New Taiwan dollars (US$333,000; �257,000) from a Taipei city expense fund between 2002 and 2006 when he served as the city's mayor.


The pro-democracy Taiwan News has a more in-depth account:

Prosecutors probing alleged misuse of public fund by Kuomintang Chairman Ma Ying-jeou during his stint as Taipei mayor indicted Ma on corruption charge Tuesday afternoon.

Ma, widely considered the frontrunner in the 2008 presidential race, offered to quit the KMT chairmanship after an emergency meeting of the party's Central Standing Committee at 6pm.

Despite the indictment, Ma said he will enter the 2008 presidential race.

The party's charter bars indicted members from seeking its presidential nomination, however.

Chief Vice Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung will temporarily take over Ma's responsibility before the largest opposition party elects a new chairman within three months.

My favorite part of this report is what the prosecutor said:

Prosecutor Hou Kuan-jen, who was responsible for the probe, suggested in the indictment the judiciary deal with Ma lightly, noting that the former mayor was not fully aware of his misconduct.

In Taiwan, politics provides never-ending entertainment. Let's see...the former Minister of Justice is unaware of what the law is? He didn't notice that he put the money in his wife's account? (according to the pro-Green Liberty Times the other day). He didn't see his account burgeoning by thousands every month? Either Ma is so dumb that he shouldn't be permitted to sell newspapers in front of the metro station, let alone be President, or he's so corrupt that....you get the drift.

The report doesn't note that Ma and the prosecutor are friends -- Ma was a witness at his wedding.

There's a year ahead and anything can happen. But right now, me, a lemon, some soda water, and a bottle of Bacardi have a date. More tomorrow after I sober up.

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Monday, February 12, 2007

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CNN airs interview with Chinese Nationalist Party chairman Ma Ying-jeou

(Sorry for the delay in publishing this, but this has been a busy week, and the number of links within this post has continued to grow that whole time due to ongoing events.)

Mr. Ed revisited
Last Saturday (February 3, 2007), exactly one week after airing an interview of Taiwan president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), CNN host Anjali Rao interviewed Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九). [TRANSCRIPT] Let's take a look at the content and make some comparisons along the way to the previous week's interview as well as the general coverage of Taiwan by the international media.

The horse's talking head
If you can't access CNN's videos and want to see Ma Ying-jeou speak English and Newspeak simultaneously, I've uploaded the videos to YouTube. The first section was too long to be uploaded there, so I cut in into two pieces. Don't worry -- I didn't take anything out. Click the thumbnails below to view the clips. My analysis begins just below the images.

Mmmmmma Ying-jeou on CNN's TalkAsia, Feb. 2007
Intro
 Stop reading over my shoulder
Part 1
Taiwan Presidential wannabe/waffler, Ma Ying-jeou
Part 2
 TalkAsia host Anjali Rao
Part 3


The intro: Patting the horse's backside
It begins with the usual identification of the participants and a few sound bites to grab the viewers' attention, but just eight seconds in, the memes begin in grand fashion:
[0:08] Rao: "... the man many believe could be the next president of Taiwan." [Emphasis Rao's]
The more the international press repeats this meme, the more likely we'll have a reaction to his loss like the ones that occurred in 2000 and again in 2004. By continually feeding the audience this propaganda alongside pan-blue meda surveys telling us how far "ahead" they are, Ma's party will expect that audience to support the "sure winner" when they yet again acts like sore losers in 2008. The "many" Rao refers to, by the way, consists mainly of blue politicians, blue media outlets, and blue readers. Furthermore, Ma's party is already talking about changing their own rules so that he can run as their candidate even if indicted for misusing his "special allowance" -- as it seems more and more likely the case may be.

Rao knows the full name of Taiwan's DPP, but she fails to shine the tiniest bit of light upon the history of Ma's party:
[0:30] Rao: "... Taiwan's opposition Kuomintang Party."
The full, correct name of Ma's party -- which reveals so much more to non-Chinese speakers and those unfamiliar with Taiwan's history -- is the "Chinese Nationalist Party" (中國國民黨). It would be so much better if the international media would actually use that name and use it at least as consistently as they do their inaccurate memes.
[0:33] Rao: "... supports closer links with china [sic]."
There are no hints about what those "links" falsely imply -- that in Ma's eyes, they seem to somehow magically negate the bellicosity of China's "anti-secession" law (which "legislates" the arbitrary use of "non-peaceful means" against Taiwan) and their ever-increasing number of missiles.
[0:40] Rao: "... head to head with the pro-independence leadership."
Last week she repeatedly called Chen "president," but in Ma's presence, he's just a "leader"? What a difference a week makes.

At the 41-second mark, we see a picture of the Shanghai skyline while Rao talks about economics. Then we get this soundbite:
[0:44] Ma: "... politically, it [China] could be a threat..."
Ma actually addresses China's missiles in the full version of this statement (in Part 2 of the video). However, not only does he adjust the actual number of missiles downward by nearly 200, but those missiles apparently don't threaten too much more than his and his party's chances of winning elections. Oh, and by they way, they are apparently "all Chen Shui-bian's fault for refusing to give in to an even smaller number of missiles" (barely a parody-phrase) -- or so Ma would like you to believe.
[0:57] Rao: "... others admire him for his movie-star looks and all 'round squeaky clean image."
Astute observers would know that both of those descriptions are the fruit of the pan-blue media that dominates the public sphere brainwashing the public with such nausea-inducing nonsense.
[1:05] Ma (with a straight face): "That's not really embezzlement because..."
He means Chen Shui-bian, right? After all, Ma admitted that his "special allowance" went into his personal bank account (and reported as "personal income"), some of which was used "to reward staff members." (And this is looking worse for Ma by the day.)

Enough with the inflated introductions. Let's move on to the interview itself.

Part One (in which Ma declares himself "clean," the DPP "dangerous," and Taiwan merely an "island")
Get out your gasmasks, and prepare for more horseshit.
[0:14] Ma: "... I've got my eye on my party's reform."
Flowing out of Ma's trap, I can't tell if that's a Freudian slip or a desperate attempt to get people who care about clean government to somehow switch to his side. Either way, it sounds like even he thinks he's short of the votes he'd need to get the presidency in 2008 and that the public is aware that his party is corrupt to the core.

At the 0:16 mark, Ma Ying-jeou is written correctly onscreen, contrasting with the incorrect formatting of President Chen's name in the previous interview. However, the transcript abbreviates his name throughout as the even more unorthodox "MJ" and gives "China" a lowercase "c" in the second paragraph of the intro.
[0:59] Ma: "I think our popu, um, larity is getting, uh, higher compared to, uh, what we were before."
Um, I think, er, that, uh, Ma isn't very, um, confident about this, er, statement.
[1:36] Ma: "That's not really embezzlement because this is a special allowance for public relations. More than 6,500 'govermofficials' [government officials] have that.
Ma doesn't tell us what those other "govermofficials" did with their money, but it would be embezzlement no matter how many of them broke the law, too.
[1:51] Ma: "We all use that fund according to the method we are told to follow." [Emphasis his]
I'm pretty sure that "method" doesn't say to use it to reward staff -- unless you were "told" to do so by honorary eternal KMT chairman Lien Chan.
[1:58] Ma: "Though at the moment, I believe that I have done nothing wrong."
Again, he's not too confident here. Nor does he even mention the courts as Chen Shui-bian did in his interview.

Humbug! With "media friends" like these, who needs the courts?:
[2:15] Rao: "You've got this very clean image."
Notice, how that's stated as indisputable fact. You don't suppose that those "rewards" for Ma's staff members helped to perpetuate that "image," huh?
[2:38] Ma: "I'm probably the person who donated the most property to public charity or public interest, and I have engaged in those things for more than 2 decades."

[2:54] "I have donated blood for [sic] 174 times, so I think a lot of people believe that I'm still very clean."
It's quite interesting that Ma has this figure onhand, but we can see why Ma failed the bar exam. That argument wouldn't work in a court of law. As for the monetary donations, much of the money he's referring to wasn't his to donate in the first place. He can't pay Paul back to make up for stealing from Peter. That is highly illogical and does not amount to restitution to the victims or atonement for the crime. Besides, I hear that Chen Shui-bian donated a good chunk of money to various charity organizations (not run by his wife) -- something Chen didn't mention in order to "convince" anyone of his innocence.

Just after Ma tosses around a bunch of numbers regarding the supposedly "poor economy" (which, in my experience, sees Taiwan's citizenry spending like there's no tomorrow) this softball is thrown to him:
[3:49] Rao: "I assume you're talking about the deterioration, in part, due to the DPP's less-than-cozy relationship with mainland China.
And I assume someone fed that response to Rao.
[4:09] Ma: "security threat to Taiwan... 800 missiles... on the other hand... opportunity for Taiwan."
Here, Ma gives the impression that he values money more than democracy -- and to top it off, he gives China a 20% discount, as they currently have nearly 1,000 missiles targeting Taiwan.
[5:31] Rao: "If [China] is such a threat, then why does the KMT keep blocking arms sales to -- the US arms sales to Taiwan that the DPP has long been fighting for?" [Emphasis hers]
This question stands out, but doesn't do much to make up for the previous fawning. Ma's wordy response also obfuscates the fact that all that has happened so far is that after blocking the purchase 70 times, they finally allowed a discussion to be tabled. The fact remains that nothing in the budget has yet been purchased and that Taiwan's defense capabilities continue to wane as China's offensive capabilities advance, yet Ma is making the same arguments his predecessor Lien Chan did a year and a half ago.
[6:22] Rao: "... this island"

Ma: "... the autonomy of the island... dignity... sovereignty."
When talking about "dignity" and "sovereignty," the choice of the word "island" to describe Taiwan from a China-centered POV (in which "mainland" is the counterpart) won't do.
[7:27] Rao: "The DPP favors independence from the mainland, which has said it will attack Taiwan if it were to declare statehood."
Meme upon meme. The DPP favors international recognition of Taiwan's existing independence from China. "[M]ainland" only works if an island is part of the same territory. When bullies threaten to "attack" if a smaller kid's lunch money isn't handed over, one takes on a faux-neutral position by saying: "The kid favors spending his money on his own lunch, even though the bully said he'd beat him up if he did so." An objective view of the facts tells us, "The lunch money belongs to the kid, and the bully keeps threatening him, despite having no rights to that money."
[7:40] Rao: "Do you think that their [the DPP's] agenda is dangerous to Taiwan as a whole?"

Ma: "Yes, I think they will endanger Taiwan's not only security status but also international status as well."
As if Taiwan's "international status" is in more danger. Do you think it's dangerous for kids to hang onto their own lunch money, or should they just give it up? That's the same question, basically, and Rao handed that lunch money to Ma on a silver platter. His answer is just as ridiculous, pretending to be unaware of the bully's bellicose nature and placing the blame on the smaller, weaker kid who does his own homework and has to make do with his own lunch money. While both the question[er] and answer[er] lay the blame on Chen here, Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) is the one who harmed Taiwan's international status the most when he refused dual representation at the UN in 1971 and sunk the citizens of Taiwan into their subsequent diplomatic isolation.
[8:35] Ma: [My party sold out Taiwan 2 years ago.]
And right at the time of the "anti-secession" law, no less. (Go see that part of the video to hear how he stated his full inadvertant admission.)
[9:00] Ma: [a false re-assertion of the "1992 consensus" which KMT con artist Su Chi admitted in January 2006 was a fabrication]
And there you have Part One of the show. We'll be right back after CNN tries to sell me things for which I have absolutely no desire.

Part Two (in which Ma displays ways to dissemble regarding just about anything -- even things which don't exist in the real world)
After the usual commercials targeting the upper income bracket, we come back to hear Ma relate his goofy story about him being "both" Taiwanese and Chinese. (Do you think that's what he says in closed-door KMT meetings?). Oh, and he talks about it for a good 40 seconds or so before he can spit out the word "Taiwanese." Then, the host asks more questions based upon false premises:
[1:17] Rao: "How do you go about unifying a society that is so divided [into Taiwanese/Chinese identity] like that?" [Emphasis hers]

[...]

[1:35] Ma: "You see, Taiwan, in history, is a place for immigrants from all over the world."
I say this is based on false premises for this simple reason: While Taiwanese are indeed made up of immigrants, the ones who still identify themselves as Chinese as opposed to Taiwanese are the same ones who came here as occupiers and committed atrocities against the local population. They are the same ones who continue to deny people the right to identify with Taiwan instead of China. Who's to blame for that? Is Ma trying to defend China's aggression against Taiwan.
[2:20] [Ma tries to "explain" TECRO, but he skips the part about CKS and the UN.]
See the explanation of that back in Part One (below the quotes at the 7:40 mark).
[2:52] Rao: "Do you think that Taiwan will ever reunify with the mainland?"
Again, we're presented with the "mainland" construction, from which "reunify" is mistakenly derived. For Taiwan to "reunify" with the "mainland" (i.e., China), it would have had to be part of it in the first place. Just a reminder to all journalists: Taiwan has never been part of the PRC, and just because they've repeated it a million times (with your help) doesn't make it so.
[3:10] Ma: "Taiwan's future has to be determined by the 23 million Taiwanese -- by their free will."
Whoa, horsie! I thought your latest position was that independence was not an option for Taiwan!
[3:17] Ma: "At the moment, the majority of Taiwanese favor the maintenance of Taiwan's status quo."
The supposed "status quo" (a PRC construct if there ever was one) that people wish to "maintain" is the part about not being controlled by China. The 980 or so missiles that are currently aimed at the island, the constant threats made by China, the legislation of such threats, and KMT cooperation with the untrustworthy CCP in the wake of such legislation affect people's answers to such vaguely-worded polls. The most ironic part of this bit is what Ma said less than a week earlier, paraphrased here by the Taipei Times: "Arguing that the KMT would never seek independence, Ma said yesterday that the country's future should not be decided based solely on opinion polls."
[3:28] Ma: "Even the mainland today is not interested in pushing that [unification] because they know it is not ready yet. Nobody is ready. And what they are doing now is to prevent Taiwan from going further in independence instead of calling for reunification."
Again, Ma seems to dump the responsibility for the danger all in Chen Shui-bian's lap for "going further with independence" (i.e., the recognition of the existing reality), even though Ma just said himself that "Nobody is ready" (for unification).
[4:05] Rao (VO): "After the break Ma Ying-jeou tell us what he thinks about the air of celebrity surrounding him."
If you were watching this on TV, you might have wanted to stick your head out of the window during the following commercials to get some air.

Part Three (in which Ma runs short of oxygen and admits that despite referring to Taiwan moments earlier as merely and"island," it is (in his own words) "a democratic country")
Rao starts out the third segment with a this:
[0:12] Rao: "Chairman Ma, you're it's fair to say, a very popular politician around these parts. And you've always had this air of celebrity about you."
No kidding! I wonder how much "journalists" get paid to fluff this "air" of "fair[ness]."

I also have to wonder how the same journalists can ask questions like this next one -- unless, of course, such questions are just set up in order to allow answers containing unchallenged distortions:
[2:44] Rao: "[Y]ou did come under a lot of flack didn't you for your handling of the SARS crisis in 2003. Do you think that those criticisms against you were justified?"
Ma dissembles in this response, too, comparing an acute disease like SARS (where even Taipei doctors escaped their quarantines) to the much slower-acting and more-difficult-to-contract AIDS. Rao should have followed up about the most basic errors Ma made in handling the situation.

Rao then asks another question from the KMT perspective (and I wonder why she showed the ancient footage):
[3:31] Rao: "Politics in Taiwan can be a ferocious business. You know the world often sees these pictures of parliamentarians just losing their rag and brawling, hurling abuse and often objects at each other. Why do we see this happen so frequently just you know, the parliament descends to this undignified chaos here?"
Having painted Ma as "squeaky clean," she gives absolutely no real context to the uninformed viewer. Ma, in another unchallenged response, talks about "rule of law" [3:58, 4:43, 5:13, 5:26] -- as if he has any idea -- when he allowed the redshirts to run roughshod over the citizens of Taipei for over a month. Therefore, it portrays the violence as coming from those who Ma is opposing. The greens aren't the only ones doing such things, but in the latest brawl, they were fighting against the pan-blues' attempt to strongarm yet another unconstitutional piece of legislation by which the pan-blue majority would be given control of the Central Election Commission. Some people fight for democracy, others for total, perpetual control.

Wrapping up his "rule of law" run-on, Ma makes a statement which is surprising coming out of his mouth. However, he adds a qualifier which -- coming from a man whose party/supporters rioted for four weeks straight after losing a democratic election -- will only further confuse the casual viewer about his real feelings on the topic:
[5:35] Ma: "No doubt Taiwan is a democratic country, but our quality of democracy still needs a lot of refinement."
The interview ends with this unbelievable exchange:
[5:43] Rao: "You've been in politics for so many years now Chairman Ma. What sort of counsel would you give someone who wanted to follow this career path?"

Ma: "Be honest. Be honest with yourself, be honest with you know your fellow politicians. This is a rare quality of politicians. But integrity, honesty is still I think the most valuable quality for a politician. Don't think that politicians should cheat should fight each other all the time. People don't like that. People like to see honest persons. So I certainly will advise many young people who want to participate in politics, honesty is the best policy."
Honestly, I wouldn't even buy a used scooter from this guy. And I would certainly not advise any young people who want to participate in politics to vote for Ma. But don't just believe me. Check these things out for yourselves.

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Cross-posted at It's Not Democracy, It's A Conspiracy!

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