Newsnotes 2008 04

Notes On The News

By Gwydion M Williams

Tibet’s race riots – the Losers of Lhasa

Was Kublai Khan a Chinese Emperor?

Fighting to the Last Tibetan

Boeing going down

Never mind the multi-billion dollar frauds, let’s agonise about sex [US Politics]


Tibet’s race riots – the Losers of Lhasa

The Beijing Olympics offered a good opportunity to embarrass China on all sorts of issues. The Tibetans in exile and their followers inside the People’s Republic have let themselves be used for this, when negotiating a deal would have been much wiser. But even this went wildly wrong on Friday 14th March, when protests by monks turned into a race riot in which a mix of monks and ordinary Tibetans first attacked the security forces and then began a pogrom against the Han and Hui (Muslims) who had dared settle in Lhasa, Tibet’s ancient capital.

The Western media have been dishonest. Tibetan violence gets played down, despite photographic evidence and despite several Western eye witnesses. The facts are there but you need to dig them out from long articles that try to stick to the original script, peaceful Tibetan monks being repressed with brutal force. That was how it began, certainly. But alarmist rumours stirred up a wider popular response that was anything but peaceful. Even then, the first reports played down the extent to which it was a race riot of the sort we’ve seen in dozens of other cultures across the years and all round the world. The BBC usually calls such things ‘mindless’ and ‘barbaric’. On this occasion they already had another idea scripted and were reluctant to change:

“British journalist James Miles, in Lhasa, told the BBC that rioters had taken control of the city centre.

“‘Some of them are still attacking Chinese properties – shops, restaurants, owned by ethnic Chinese,’ he said.” [A]

“Well it’s early evening here, and the old Tibetan quarter of Lhasa still is very much in the control of the ethnic Tibetans who have been rioting for the last several hours since midday.

“Some of them are still attacking Chinese properties, shops, restaurants, owned by ethnic Chinese. Some of them are looting those shops, taking out the contents and throwing them on huge fires which they’ve lit in the street.” [D]

Another news service compared it to the Palestinian’s intifadah:

“Fresh protests broke out in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa on Friday, with indications that what had until now been peaceful demonstrations had turned violent…Whatever the outcome, though, it seemed to be a turning point in the history of Tibet and perhaps also China. ‘This is massive,’ said one Tibet specialist who was in touch with many Lhasa residents, ‘it is the intifadah. And it will be a long, long time before this ends, whatever happens today or tomorrow.'”[F]

The BBC were slow to admit that people as well as property were being attacked. But there was little excuse for not knowing: many people saw it or talked to eye witnesses. Ethnic Hans – the Chinese majority – were being targeted. So too were the Hui people, Muslims whose culture is similar to the Han and who have moved into Tibet as its economy developed.

“A Han girl who spoke to CNN from Lhasa said she had been beaten by a group of Tibetans.

“‘I am now in hospital with a bandage on my head,’ she said. ‘The trains are closed and I am not sure if I can take a plane back, or if I can reach the airport. All is chaotic now.'” [G]

“This is an eyewitness account of a foreign resident in Lhasa…

“‘The residents are very angry. They are throwing stones at anyone who is Han [Chinese] or from other minorities like the Hui, who are Muslims. It seems like it’s ethnic – like they want to kill anyone not Tibetan.

“‘I would say it’s a riot here but I think in the centre it’s worse. There’s a lot of smoke – we can see it where there have been burnings. I heard people saying the authorities were firing, using guns. We don’t know.

“Here we have seen people trying to stone anyone they can – Han and other minorities, not foreigners. The Tibetans had stones and knives. I saw Chinese people running away – there was nothing they could do…

“‘I saw three people assaulting a man – I was 50 metres away, but I think he was Chinese. They kicked him and then one man had a knife and used it. He was lying on the floor and the man put the knife in his back, like he wanted to see he was dead.

“‘I had to get away, there were people throwing stones.

“‘When I came back he was gone – I don’t know if he’s dead. Then I saw people who had obviously been beaten or stoned. There wasn’t blood on them but they were so shocked.

“‘This area used to be a place where Tibetans and the Chinese were friendly.” [H]

“‘I am too afraid to go out,’ the resident, who asked to remain anonymous, said. ‘It is chaos out there.’ The resident, who is from the Chinese Han ethnic group, said he saw Tibetans attack two fire engines.

“‘I saw Tibetans throwing stones at the vehicles. They dragged drivers from vehicles, took off their uniforms and helmets, then beat them.

“‘The chanting mob beat up around five or six drivers who had to be carried away with blood on their faces … then they put a motorbike under the fire engine and set fire to it so the engine was burned.'”[J]

“Patrick Conaghan, a tourist from St. Louis, said he had just stepped off a bus Friday afternoon when ‘all at once, black smoke. Police were blocking off streets and people running. It was just chaotic.’

“Conaghan said the protesters did not hassle him. ‘They were shaking hands with us and telling us to get the message out,’ he said in an interview as he got off a flight from Lhasa at the Beijing airport Saturday. ‘You know if I was Chinese, I would have felt like I was in a race riot in America. I would have been in . . . trouble.’…

“A regional government official defended police actions on Friday. He said that the police had not fired their weapons but rather had rescued more than 580 people, including three Japanese tourists, from burning buildings. He said many of the 10 dead were business owners who burned to death when their shops were set ablaze. He said Lhasa was not under martial law.” [K]

“The violence was undoubtedly racial. Its prime targets were the Chinese merchants who have flocked to Tibet by road and on a prestigious new train across the roof of the world.

“The mobs were the losers of Lhasa – the poor who seethe with resentment, outwitted commercially by Chinese traders, out-gunned by the Chinese army and, many fear, ultimately to be outnumbered by Chinese migrants.” [M]

“Swiss tourist Claude Balsiger told the BBC’s Charles Haviland in Nepal about the violence he witnessed in Lhasa…

“I was personally there when they [the crowd] started beating up an old Chinese man on a bicycle. They hit his head really hard with stones. And some old Tibetan people went into the crowd and made them stop.

“But after that it just went insane. It was mainly young people but the young people were in the action and the older ones were just supporting them with screaming. They were making a wolf sound, howling like wolves.” [P]

“They described scenes in which mobs relentlessly beat and kicked ethnic Han Chinese, whose influx into the region has been blamed by Tibetans for altering its unique culture and way of life.

“Mr Kenwood said he saw four or five Tibetan men on Friday ‘mercilessly” stoning and kicking a Chinese motorcyclist.

“‘Eventually they got him on the ground, they were hitting him on the head with stones until he lost consciousness.

“‘I believe that young man was killed,” Mr Kenwood said, but added he could not be sure.

“He said he saw no Tibetan deaths…

“Mr Kenwood recounted another brave rescue when a Chinese man was pleading for mercy from rock-wielding Tibetans.

“‘They were kicking him in the ribs and he was bleeding from the face,” he said. ‘But then a white man walked up… helped him up from the ground. There was a crowd of Tibetans holding stones, he held the Chinese man close, waved his hand at the crowd and they let him lead the man to safety.'”[Q]

“Mr Kenwood also saw boxes of stones being supplied to Tibetan throwers.

“‘To me it was like it was planned,’ he said. Both men said a rumour spread that a group of monks arrested on Monday had been killed by the Chinese, and that this inflamed emotions.” [R]

Beijing seems to be taking care not to inflame emotions. A Chinese television video documentary of events shows many scenes that closely match what individual Westerners saw. It avoids racism, including positive images such as a Tibetan doctor injured while protecting a Han child from the mob. [W]. People’s Daily Online has articles like Facing riot, Tibetans, Hans side by side.[ac] It also has plenty of detailed descriptions of acts violence, with named victims and survivors in hospital. [ad, ae] All of this is being ignored by Western media, who show no interest in discovering truths unfavourable to the Tibetan separatist cause. They have been slow to face up to what the race-riot means.

Ordinary commentators have seen it much more quickly:

“What would happen if the ordinary English people vented there anger on the large immigrant populations in England by rioting and burning businesses and people?…Would the police and Army not try to stop it with force?” Posted by John Jordan on March 16, 2008 9:37

“People have the right to protest, but do not have the right for violence. The killings of innocent bystanders by the rioters are criminal acts.   Tony, New York, US” [N]


Was Kublai Khan a Chinese Emperor?

The case against China ruling Tibet is based on a loud claim that it was a completely separate country before Mao’s army invaded it in 1950. As I’ve mentioned before, this skips over most of the past ten centuries of history and confuses Western Tibet (the current Tibetan Autonomous Region) with Eastern Tibet. More than half of the Greater Tibet claimed by the Tibetan exiles remained part of the Chinese Republic when the Chinese Empire was overthrown.

It is indeed true that outside rulers of Tibet were mostly Mongols or Manchus. But they were Mongols or Manchus who either ruled the Chinese Empire or were seeking to do so. Most of them were the actual rulers of what has always been a complex multi-ethnic entity. The ‘Han’ are not really an ethnic group, they are rather a pooled identity of peoples with many different origins. Mao himself is said to be have been recognisably a descendant of a former minority people, but one which had been largely absorbed into a ‘Han’ identity that was mostly based on shared culture.

Tibet was and is a part of this mix.

Since the 7th century of the Christian era, rulers of Western Tibet have either been at war with the Chinese Empire, or at peace as a nominal subordinates, or actual subordinates to the Chinese Emperor, or actual subordinates of someone who aspired to rule the Chinese Empire. The only exceptions were when West Tibet was fragmented and the central Chinese government didn’t see any point demanding tribute from insignificant local rulers in what was always a poor and thinly-populated land.   There was never a coherent and independent government after the original Kingdom of Tibet fell apart when their last strong king was murdered by a Buddhist hermit in the year 842.

In 1904 the British invaded Western Tibet, the Tibetan Plateau with its focus in the Lhasa Valley. The idea was to draw it into Britain’s Indian Empire, which had been steadily extending northwards despite the setback in Afghanistan. But the British never denied that Western Tibet was part of the Chinese Empire. They did later argue that China had ‘suzerainty’ rather than full sovereignty, but the Chinese never accept this.

Under British encouragement, Western Tibet claimed independence after it became clear that the Chinese Republic that was founded in 1911 was going to be weak and fragmentary. The process was not really separate from the encroachments of Japan, Britain’s ally from the Anglo-Japanese Alliance of 1902. Britain – or rather those Britons who ran the Indian Civil Service – aspired to add Western Tibet to the Indian Empire, with Eastern Tibet to follow if China were partitioned. Britain’s exhaustion after the Great War led to this plan being delayed by Britain. But meantime Japan followed its own variant, seizing first Manchuria and then Inner Mongolia, both of which had Han majorities and no wish to be ruled by Japan.

The USA restored Inner Mongolia and Manchuria to the Kuomintang-run Chinese Republic after World War Two. They also gave it Taiwan, ceded by treaty to Japan at the end of the 19th century and which should have been given the chance to choose its own fate. But International Law is based more on strength than justice: the USA and USSR had conquered Japan and they thereby gained the right to dispose of its former empire as they wished.

The USSR also persuaded the Kuomintang-run Chinese Republic to recognise Outer Mongolia as legally independent, as the Mongolian Republic. This was important, because although Outer Mongolia had declared independence in 1911 and had been actually independent from that date apart from one Chinese invasion, its status was uncertain until the Chinese Republic recognised it as legal.

Western Tibet, sometimes known as Outer Tibet, had also claimed independence when the Chinese Republic proved weak. But this was never conceded by any Chinese government, nor was Tibet’s supposed independence recognised by many outsiders. Still, in the 1940s the idea of an independent Western Tibet remained a possibility. There was actually a Tibetan flag flying at the independence celebrations of the Republic of India, but the Kuomintang-run Chinese Republic protested and made them take it down.

Mao in 1950 sent his armies into China’s ‘Wild West’ to mop up the last of the Kuomintang, who had thought about trying to make a stand in Sichuan, the same area where they had held out against the Japanese. The Red Army mopped up the various warlords and also imposed their control over various rulers of Eastern Tibet, not all of them Tibetan. One Tibetan who lost status was the Dalai Lama’s elder brother, ruler of a major monastery, which made him political boss as well as religious figure. He took the first opportunity to join the anti-Communist cause, perhaps hoping to profit from a US conquest of Communist China.

The Dalai Lama initially took a different view. With the Seventeen Point Agreement for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet, he threw away Western Tibet’s weak claim to independence by accepting that Tibet had only a ‘local government’, not sovereignty. He also seems to have had a brief enthusiasm for Mao and his mission. In the revolt in 1959, he sent a letter claiming that he had been kidnapped by ‘reactionary forces’, but later changed his mind and joined them. (Pro-Dalai sources gloss over this incident.) He emerged in India claiming once again that Tibet was independent. Not just for West Tibet, which had certainly had a few decades without outside control, but also Eastern Tibet which had never been separate and which by then had a Han majority. It was a ridiculous claim. His only support came from an outfit called the International Commission of Jurists, a body with no official standing and who’d call themselves Lawyers Without Borders if they were honest – but they are lawyers, so honesty is not to be expected.

The USA never recognised Tibet as independent – their Kuomintang allies rejected the idea, for one thing. The CIA funded some guerrillas, or maybe they were just bandits who took the CIA’s money while pursuing their normal criminal careers. In any case they were not a success and the USA basically dropped them when Nixon made peace with China in the early 1970s. Only then did the Dalai Lama switch and say he wanted ‘autonomy’, but without distancing himself from those who still demand independence. He’s said nothing against protestors who burn or trample the Chinese flag, his flag if his words were honest. That’s why Beijing continues to mistrust the Dalai Lama. Really, who would trust such a fickle fool?

He’s not now facing up to the fact that the carefully-planned Olympic protests became an ethnic riot, with deadly force and massive destruction of property by the Tibetan rioters. This undermines his case and does not suggest he could govern even Lhasa, supposing anyone were to let him try.

The Dalai Lama should immediately have condemned the violence. If I’d been an advisor seeking to achieve as much Tibetan separation as possible, I’d have told him this was unavoidable. He should have said that anyone who attacked ordinary Han or Hai had committed a grave crime and should give themselves up, admitting guilt. That would have kept world’s perception of him as occupying the moral high ground. Attacks on innocent bystanders is different from attacks on the security forces, who have chosen to be the state’s enforcers. Attacks on firemen should be classed with those on ordinary citizens – they may wear a uniform, but they are there to protect life and property, not to enforce the will of the state.

That would have been wisdom, but the Dalai Lama is a bungler who has caused splits even in the exile community by taking a hard line against worshipers of a regional god called the Shugden. Pro-Shugden demonstrators came up with an interesting slogan: “During the London demonstrations some placards read, ‘Your smiles charm, your actions harm’.” [X] Vastly more true in this case, which has shown him to be a total incompetent in politics

The Dalai Lama’s promotion from child to God has not given him any notable wisdom (and unless you believe in reincarnation of a very specific sort, his ‘recognition’ of items belonging to the previous Dalai Lama has to have been a pre-planned fraud). It is also interesting to note that his elder brother was already destined for high office as the supposed reincarnation of another notably but lesser Lama. All dirty politics, I’d reckon, but not suitable for the modern world.


Fighting to the Last Tibetan

The number of Tibetans in the Tibetan Autonomous Region is about the same as the number of regular troops in the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army – which isn’t a particularly big army, if you count numbers of soldiers per thousand of the population. Including paramilitary forces, there are more Chinese military than there are Tibetans, women and children included.[C] Since a sizable fraction of Tibetans accept being part of China, and many more don’t plan to take risks to oppose it, Tibetan use of force is a lunatic tactic.

It made a limited sort of sense when the USA was backing them. As mentioned above, the CIA funded Tibetan guerrillas, but they achieved nothing much. The US dropped its support for Tibetan separatists when it normalised relations with China under Nixon, and subsequent US governments have tried to keep on good terms. This year, India and Nepal cracked down on Tibetan separatist protestors in much the same way China did, though only China’s actions drew major international protests. It is hardly surprising they are cool towards the Tibetans: India has its own problem with separatists – remember the Sikhs and the violence at the Golden Temple? It also holds half of Kashmir on rather doubtful grounds, so naturally it does not Tibetan protests:

“More than 100 Tibetan refugees who were detained in India while attempting to march to the Chinese border have been placed in custody for 14 days.

“The marchers, protesting against China hosting the Olympics, were detained near Dharamsala town, headquarters of the Tibetan government-in-exile…

“As the Olympics draw closer, Tibetans have begun a global campaign to protest against Chinese rule in Tibet.

“On Monday, some 1,000 Tibetan exiles clashed with police in the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu, while trying to march to the Chinese embassy. “[B]

“Nepal has agreed to a Chinese request to temporarily block access to Mount Everest, amid fears Tibetan activists may stage a protest at the peak.

“Meanwhile police in the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu, have used force to break up a gathering of Tibetan refugees for the second time this week.

“Tibetan eyewitnesses say that nuns were among those beaten with sticks.” [E]

Are the Tibetans expecting Beijing to back down? How many times has that regime ever backed down? I suspect they’ve not asked themselves that question, because the correct answer would be never. They don’t concede. They may delay or change in the face of demonstrators in Beijing or Shanghai but that’s different, Communist Party factions using demonstrators but demonstrators within the party framework and not against it.

What’s the sense in getting confrontational with a regime that has never yielded to such pressure and is never likely to? The only logic is if you think you might overthrow it. The Tiananmen protestors in 1989 had a small but real chance – and anyway that would have been a shift in party factions, not an anti-party success. Besides, the fate of the Soviet and East European regimes was not encouraging to anyone who wanted minor reforms that would not wreck the existing system, the first coherent government China had after their overthrow of the Chinese Emperors.

Tibetans seem to think the West is on their side, hence the friendliness shown by rioting Tibetans to those of Western origin. It’s a pathetic delusion – even before the riots, there were few Westerners willing to make even a small sacrifice for the Tibetan cause. The Dalai Lama has also picked almost the worst possible time to make a big protest, a time when China could easily crash the world economy just by selling some of the US dollar bonds it own. China has gigantic reserves, and by using them destructively it could bring down world financial system. China could probably do it just by announcing that they were pulling out of the Dollar and switching to Euros, as some other countries have done. If this was done in response to a US boycott of the Olympics, they’d be garlanded with flowers by their own people, who would be hugely offended by outsiders not coming to their big celebration. So naturally the USA holds back on serious action, though they are ready to see the struggle fought to the last Tibetan:

“The Chinese crackdown on Tibet will not prevent President Bush from attending the Olympic Games in Beijing this August, in part because they will give China a chance to demonstrate good behavior, administration officials said today.

“White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said Bush believes that the Olympics ‘should be about the athletes and not necessarily about politics,’ but he will likely make it a priority to meet with Chinese President Hu Jintao during the Games to express his concerns.” [U]

As ever, the Dalai Lama is letting himself be used against China without regard for getting a practical deal for Tibet. He could have got a lot but seems to think China might fall as the Soviet Union did, even though every existing Leninist regime outside of Europe is still intact. (Even in Mongolia, the Communist party wins multi-party elections.)

The East European Leninist states created by the Soviet victory in World War Two collapsed when the Soviet Union vanished. This included those that had been independent in power-political terms, Romania and Yugoslavia and Communist Albania. The example of the nearby European Union was enormously tempting, along with the knowledge that they would get the chance to join if they changed their politics. Nothing of that sort exists in Asia. Even the attraction of Japan and the Asian Tigers faded when they hit economic troubles in the 1990s.

By going from protest to rioting, Tibet’s protestors have lost any possible appearance of the moral high ground, without the remotest possibility that their violence could actually win them concessions. Beijing would sooner lose the Olympics than let itself be seen to back down to any sort of anti-government protest, never mind one that has turned violent. Most likely there will now be some sort of punishment of the monasteries involved.

China isn’t going to be lectured about human rights by the West – they have noticed what was done to Yugoslavia and decided that they will not let Tibet become another Kosovo. They have been regularly hitting back at US criticisms by pointing out how much the US does badly:

“It is high time for the U.S. government to face its own human rights problems with courage, take actions to improve its own human rights records and give up the unwise practices of applying double standards on human rights issues and using it to suppress other countries, according to the report.” [Y]

The Lhasa riots have also alienated most Chinese, the people who theoretically might decide to abandon Tibet, but are feeling just the opposite after the recent events:

“Calibrating public opinion is difficult in China because of strict controls on the media and internet – especially on topics deemed sensitive – and the absence of public polling and elections.

“But a group of Chinese citizens, all well-educated, well-off Beijing artists and businesspeople, who gathered to discuss the issue with the Financial Times this week were uniformly unsympathetic to the Tibetan cause. Sending in the army was ‘the only response’ possible, they said.

“The group admitted all the news they had seen was on state television, which showed graphic images of Tibetan protesters, including scarlet-clad monks, looting, burning and beating ethnic Chinese people in Lhasa. There were no pictures of the Chinese response.

“‘America and foreigners always want to hurt China,’ was a typical response from this group after watching a live broadcast of premier Wen Jiabao’s annual press conference this week…

“Robert Barnett, a Tibet expert at Columbia University in New York, said the gap between Tibetan and Chinese perceptions had been narrowing in recent years because of the growing popularity of Buddhism, and religion in general in China.

“‘What is happening now is going to widen [that gap] again,’ he said, adding that it was a disaster for the Dalai Lama’s own strategy

“Mr Barnett added: ‘He has always said that the most important thing is support from the Chinese people. But he is now fighting a political wave in the other direction.'” [S]

This seems to be understood by at least some of the Tibetans outside of West Tibet:

“‘I am worried. China is so big. Tibetans are so few. We cannot possibly win. No good can come of this for Tibetans.’

“The lama has good reason to be concerned. The fragile harmony between Tibetan and Han Chinese communities is being ripped apart all around him. His small monastery – nestling high in the mountains of northern Sichuan – is in the region that has experienced the worst violence outside of Lhasa.” [T].


Boeing going down

One important human right is the right to a job for anyone willing to do an honest day’s work. This was maintained from the 1940s to 1970s, when there was real fear among the West’s rulers that the jobless might opt for fascism or communism, as had happened in the 1930s.

From the 1980s, the hard men and occasional hard woman of the New Right decided that the jobless were more likely to shift their interest to useful but unpaid work, to quietly despair, or else become idle slobs or minor criminals. They should have wondered what this would do to their society in the longer run, but in those days they were sure they knew. Natural forms of family and thrift would re-assert themselves once the unnatural Keynesian forms were dismantled. Joblessness was all to the good, an existing ‘pool’ of unemployed would impose hard work and good behaviour.

It hasn’t quite worked out, but they stick to what they know even as it all falls apart. The export of jobs continues:

“Here in my adopted hometown of Seattle, Washington, much civic pride is taken in the community’s reputation for friendliness, amiability, Pacific Northwest mellowness, and very good manners.

“The town’s unofficial motto, ‘Seattle Nice’, returns over 14,000 hits on Google. When my wife and I first moved here many years ago, we were amazed to learn that, much in contrast to the US Northeast where we came from, people actually expected you to, like, follow the traffic laws, as I learned from the traffic ticket I got driving away from the airport on our arrival.

“Not these days. Lately, the place has fallen into a distinctly ornery, crabby, cantankerous funk; I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you start hearing previously meek and mild Seattleites screaming, in Howard Beale ( Peter Finch) style from the 1976 classic Network , ‘I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!’ from the decks of the ferries or the top of the Space Needle.

“On Friday, February 29, the US Air Force rejected a tradition that had stood since the dawn of the jet age, and choose a supplier other than Boeing, specifically a partnership of Northrup-Grumman and the European EADS aerospace consortium, to receive the US$40 billion government contract to build the new KC-45 aerial refuelling tanker jet.” [Z]

There is also a general US neglect of science, technology and manufacturing in favour of financial games. And a need to keep Europe part of the US ‘coalition of the willing’ to fight their doomed wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Where things are now so bad that some of those who helped encourage the Iraq War now wish they still had Saddam ruling them, an efficient ruler who believed in secular values and could enforce them. [aa] That’s maybe a minority view, but seven out of ten Iraqis would like the West to pull out. [ab]


Never mind the multi-billion dollar frauds, let’s agonise about sex [US Politics]

The USA is giving the world a clear demonstration that popular democracy can lead to really lousy government. If they’d stopped the rich from buying up most of the media, it might have been different. But they didn’t, and instead the media was fine-tuned to direct resentment and rebelliousness at the wrong targets.

Former Governor Spitzer was not an admirable man. He was a hypocrite, passing tough laws against prostitution while himself making use of them.[af] He showed the typical weaknesses of the culture, but he was doing some serious work against the massive financial trickery that is doing so much damage to the society and the economy.[ag]

“His early cases [as attorney-general]involved gun control and environmental protection, but he really hit a nerve in financial services. Mr Spitzer’s staff found e-mails in which Merrill Lynch analysts privately disparaged the stocks they were publicly touting and discovered that mutual fund sponsors were allowing hedge funds to profit from sleazy trades that cut returns for small investors.” [ak]

None of this mattered when it was discovered that he might be enjoying sex, rather than viewing it as a dirty necessity in the standard Western Christian tradition. No one rallied to his support or suggested his error was forgivable. Presumably they knew the unbearable stupidity of the US voter.

This is separate from the question of whether prostitution should be legal, as it is in some places, including some states of the USA. True, there are abuses and violence. But wouldn’t this be best solved by discrete ‘sex warehouses’ where prostitutes could pay a fixed rate for a room and keep their own earnings (preferably paying tax)? Where they could seek protection from the law, and also pass on details of anything that they thought too bad to tolerate.

Would this give 100% protection against abuse. Clearly not, but what does? The garments trade involves both exploitation and illegal workers, So do we criminalise garment-making as such? Arrest dress-makers wherever they are found?



[A] []

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[C] []. China’s huge armies are still only 5.3 per thousand inhabitants: the USA has 9.46 per thousand and the UK 11 per thousand.

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[F] [,8599,1722509,00.html]

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[L] Comment on an article at []

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[N] One of numerous comments at []

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[Q] [,26058,23400691-5009000,00.html]

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[ad] Five young women burnt to death in a cloths shop, []

[ae] Details of other violence, []

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