Monday, June 30, 2008

Peace of Mind

I am drinking "Mountain Sage Oolong" at the Lotus Tea house. Its the chill spot no one knows about. I can ease back and be online, drinking my tea and doing what i please ... all day ... and no one can find me.

This tea is a rare oolong from Guangdong Province ... it starts sweet and looks like honey, changes to amber and becomes a tart dew. then back again ...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The elephant in my bathroom

how silly we humans be.

Sports are and have been one of the ultimate political experiences for societies since the dawn of the ball. A discus tossing match between a Spartan and an Athenian was the grand catharsis of the day. A football match between Turkey and Germany is passionate, bloody and emotional because it synthesizes political and social realities onto the pitch and makes us cheer and cry for our collective people. Sports replaces war, simply said, and therefore will always be political.

Football has saved Europe from destruction as much as the Euro.

These Games are the most politically charged in a long time -- since 1984 I would say. Or 1980. China, of course, denies this reality and decries those who live in it. But nothing could be more important politically and socially for the Chinese than a successful Games. And we all know it.

we all just want the elephant to finish his deed without destroying the commode ... if we acknowledge that the commode is in danger, isn't that as cathartic as a gold medal?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

perhaps ... perhaps ...

This here is an interesting article on Obama, if only for the defense of his rejection of public financing. Dowd here says that going after the money is what Kerry failed to do and will keep Obama from being a "chump" like Democrats in years past.

I am getting more skeptical, but you never know. Perhaps Obama just wants to get into power, then we'll really see what the deal is.

Monday, June 23, 2008

2008 Olympics: For Chinese only!

The visa situation in China is getting more and more frustrating for foreigners trying to do anything here. How to extend or wiggle one's way into a longer stay burrows itself into every conversation at least once or twice these days.

If you have a Z-Working visa and want to extend it, you must leave the country first. So for those with jobs here, teaching most likely, they opt to find jobs elsewhere instead of paying for a return flight just so they can stay in a country that doesn't seem to want them.

F-Business visas were once the bribe visa for every expat. An F visa can be for 6 months or a year, can be multiple entry and was once upon a time easy to extend. No longer. F visas are now gold. If you have one (hehehe) you be chillin. If you don't, then you are trying to get one. By flying to Hong Kong or whatever.

L-Tourism visas are still not that bad, but now you have to show 3000USD in cash to the authorities (100USD per day for a 30 day extension HAHAHAHAHAHA!) or provide a bank statement to the same tune.

So not only is the visa situation getting a little stricter, which is a pain in the ass for all those who have been lounging here in China, but it is STILL as arbitrary and capricious as ever. This is actually what is most frustrating.

In Chengdu, they will throw the book at you. In Leshan, they stamp yer visa in 20 minutes. Or vice versa. No PSB official has any clue what will happen in the next few weeks, as all depends on decrees from on high, so all rules are subject to change without notice.

So what this means is that China, in the name of security, is tossing out all crackers or at least restricting access. Now this in and of itself is no big deal, it is what should be going on: doing things by the rules. But these rules are all bullshit because they only apply here and there and between the hours of X and X and (hello) its the Olympics. Last I heard they were supposed to be Games for the world to get down with each other.

And another thing:

China "demanded" that all foreign TV networks have a 10 second delay on their coverage of the Games, to minimize the effect of any ... unwanted visitors. From what I have heard the networks said "eat poo and expire."

And another thing:

This whole Olympics thing is all about Chinese athletes winning enough gold medals to beat the USA so all Chinese on the Mainland can gain face. No matter what the cost. So athletes are imprisoned in large complexes and fed lord knows what so they can fulfill an adolescent, insecure, anxiety driven need to win ... medals ... so they can tell everybody:

"Look! We are the ones with the most medals! That means we're the Big Man in Charge now! It confirms everything the Grand CCP has been telling us for all these years!"

All this Olympics stuff has nothing to do with the international community per se. Its about China telling China that China is the Bomb and having foreigners hold a mike to the conversation and tell other foreigners what they heard.

And believe me. If China does not win all the medals or anything happens to "make poor China lose face" then all hell will break loose.

********************************* oh yeah? ***********************************

I am an American citizen, so I have enjoyed being a member of the gold-medal havin-est nation in the world. So:

If I were Chinese and I have

-- helped pull myself and 300 million of my brothers and sisters out of poverty in less than 20 years
-- exploded onto virtually every scene in the world, from oil exploration to space flight to pianists to college house parties
-- enjoyed 20 years of political stability (no mean feat for a nation of this size and scope)
-- given 1.3 billion people a TV, shoes, electricity, education and so on, all the basics

AND STILL have to deal with all sorts of hypocritical white people telling me what to do, how to do it, watching my every move, non-stop shit-talkin about everything I do, stealin my damn women(!) and other annoying things, well

I would hold a party for me and mine too, and to hell with whitey and what he thinks.

China is probably thinking to itself right now: Fuck Whitey, Lets Party!

And who can blame em ...

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Read This

My MAN Rindy dropped it on this piece right here. I urge everybody to read it and pass it around. Send it to Obama's braintrust.

He is already beginning to betray us, everybody: Isreal vs. Iran, public financing, ethanol ... not complete sell out yet, but its early yet.

Obama needs to know that we are powerful and can get him in, but if he goes on transforming himself into the politician he ridiculed during the primary, he will lose.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Blogger up in China!

Well i'll be damned. After all this time, China has decided(?) to let blogger do its thing. So i am visible in China. This is a good thing.

I am in shanghai now and chillin with my man Ferchak. I love his house. And his style too. A true gentleman scoundrel of the most elegant and sordid sort. Last night I went around Shanghai and enjoyed myself. From Attica on the Bund I smoked la and gazed at the skyline with my man Rizlee and his woman Candace. He has been the food writer for this area for years. Now he is headed off to Thailand -- or maybe south america -- to continue being a food critic (Q, if you read this, i know your dream).

Its hard work. eating, writing. thinking. eating. writing. maybe some drinks. thinking ...

Shanghai is very interesting, but nothing for me. There are thousands of foreigners here -- many of them very very young -- and it seems like a big college town on friday nights. reminds me of nights in Minneapolis drunkenly chasing drunkeness down the sidewalk to Santana's for burgers and fries. Shanghai has good burgers and fries at a place called Beaver that also has Rogue Beer (from OR) and Dead Guy Ale. But Shanghai aint got santana's.

There are beautiful women everywhere being targeted by a growing force of pirates, bush pilots and aces.

Its like if San Francisco were a football and you turned it inside out, so the Asians in the Bay were the majority ... but not as chill. So young. A very young city. A wanton woman in her 20s, defiantly throwing her skirt up at the male gaze.


i actually encourage all young kids to roll through china and have as much sex and fun as possible. I did it. and now we pass each other in the revolving door of shanghai as i exit stage (P-town foo'!) west and they enter stage east.

i head back to the Dirty Du tomorrow and start bidding farewell. On wednesday i start working on the torch relay convoy.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

it just keeps gettin thicker

ya'll don't even know.

I went to Hanyuan the other day and just got back in the Du. I was planning on staying a month there, but things didn't work out that way. On the way to Hanyuan I got a call from my man Philly in Beijing and he said:

"yo, that security job you wanted for the Olympics? well its on. Git yer ass to Shanghai with a suit on for an interview pronto."

I hung up and looked at Fraggle Beanmilk -- my companion and right hand fraggle -- and was about to say somethin, when the phone rang again:

"Herro! Is thees Ma Shan? We have big job fo U."

Now i get to write 15 stories about Chengdu over the next five weeks. Word is bond. So i will be on the road, protecting the torch with my Master Li Cuan (Philly gave him a job a month ago) and writing stories about the Du all the way up till the O-limp-iks. I was about to let Fraggle Beanmilk in on this, when the phone rang again. (i ain't playin):

"Herro! Is thees Ma Shan? We have big job for U."

Now they want me to write a BOOK on the Du -- tentatively titled: Laowais See Chengdu! Now I will probably change the title and all ...

And this all happened on the road to Hanyuan, where I am researching for a book on (secret shit can't let ya'll know).

So i finally get to Hanyuan, and here's what's goin on:

"Wang Tao's in the livin room, eatin cherry pie
Gramma Gongfu's in the kitchen pluckin chicken up to fry
Shiye's in the courtyard beatin up some budding hoz
I'm out front with Beanmilk feelin good down to my toes ...

Justa swingin ... Swingin ..."

(name that tune, and i'll buy you a scepter)

So you know. things is gettin deeper. My man Big Tenz thinks that a broad conflict is about to go down between China and the rest of the world, cuz China is playin hell with anyone who wants to come in/stay by being real pricks about the visa. Plus, of course all this recent nationalism and such ... and we can't neglect the various disasters and heavenly portents that spell doom for us all in 08.

Seems like i'll be in the thick of it. wish me evasive tactics.

When I get to a safe spot with herbs and coffee, I'll give you the low down on Hanyuan.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Gov's Side of the Story

So the meeting between the local government officials of Three God's Village and the villagers took place today at 10am. The meeting was held in a bed and breakfast inn, one of the largest, across from the local Party Secretary's house. WE sat under peach tree in bamboo chairs as the officials explained what was going on.

The mad land grab I described in earlier posts -- in which the gov gives land to appease the peasants, then slowly takes it back -- is still in full effect. In fact, the farmers of Three God's mentioned 1978 several times, in reference to Deng Xiao Ping's reversal of the past 20 years, when he gave land back to the peasants.

The government is taking the land back and consolidating it under one owner (the State) so it can be developed according to a central plan. With peasants scattered across the land, the gov has to negotiate with each and every one before they decide on a course of action.

With high rise buildings closing in on Three God's from all sides, the local gov decided it was time to get with the program.

The plan is to get the peasants to move out for two years, while the gov hands the land over to developers. Developers will build high rises for the peasants that once lived here and another developer -- run by a consortium of artist/entrepreneurs -- will turn the rest of the land into a modern park area with houses and workshops designed for artists from Chengdu and the rest of China (and the rest of the world).

The artist developer wants to have an incubator from which things like "Harry Potter" might emerge. The regular developer wants a big building full of tenants.

The peasants have two choices:

accept roughly 8000USD over two years and at the end of this period get 30m2 per person (usually 90m2) which is enough for 2 small apts in the high rise building


roughly 100,000USD cash and that's that.

I gave my speech. Everybody clapped. Then it quickly went to furious haggling between the peasants and the officials about exactly hw much money is coming to whom, when ...

the numbers I have above are, naturally, subject to change without notice.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Might as well face it

"Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen it ..."

I always loved that line. So much power and confidence. A calm declaration laced with pride. An intimation of secret channels, open only to the few, that bring the blissful touch of the Divine.

I enjoy the way it rolls out of my mouth when i say it. the double long "e" ... anyway. I sit and dream a lot, and usually i dream of the possible future, but also the possible past, the possible present. I set my daunting intellect against the legions of possibilities and intone to myself, mid dream: "Everything is proceeding ..."

I nod and make a face of inscrutable wisdom, don my dunce cap and stumble into the sunlight. A few friends might be thinking that all of the interesting things that have happened in the past few months here might be getting me down. But I am actually in the most perfect place, in a time of perfection. Everything is proceeding.

Allow me to elaborate on what "everything" actually is:

I arrived in China 8 years ago on August 25th, 2000. My current visa expires on the 25th of August, 2008. The number 8 ... well I like it and so do the Chinese. The Olympics end on the 25th of August. The Beijing Olympics were sought after in 2000, announced a year later.

So I am leaving to Portland and such, and just in case I couldn't get out of my house on my own, China has decided to help me out by tearing it down, sometime in the next two months.

When I first arrived in China, I was living out of a bag, writing random stuff about everything. Seems like I'll be leaving that way. I figured 2008 would be a crazy year, personally as well as in general. And it is. Obama, Tibet, earthquakes and volcanoes, floods and the dollar sinking ... I'll be headed to Portland basically when the shit hits the fan concerning Obama vs. McCain. The Celtics gonna take the title ... it seems to me to be a perfect circle, and of course my perspective is the only one that counts.

I knew all along that it (this first stint in China) would end like this. It only ends like this. In my daydreams of possibilities spanning time, i foresaw all of this. Still I stumble and shield my eyes. I find staring at my cats, plants or wandering butterflies helps.

(I am a child of the 80s and 90s .... my deep thoughts are gleaned from shallow puddles in the pitted asphalt -- and i dare to say that puddles reflect sunlight as well, my friends, as true as bell peals, cricket hums and reflections of stained glass in the holy water.)

What is actually happening is the observer and the actor are wrestling again.

I had dreams of rage last night, righteous and impotent. My friends say I have a pit of rage in my belly. I think its just fire. I am too dim to comprehend all of the layers of reality that make my belly burn.

I just know that everything is proceeding (as I have foreseen it), but if i were to constantly rely on that statement, well I might meet the same fate as the one who uttered it ...


Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen it, Inshallah.

Friday, June 13, 2008

China has no orphans

Today i sloshed through the rain to Du Fu's Cottage in Chengdu to attend a meeting of poets and lyricists. About a dozen read their works aloud -- all concerning the earthquake. There were old men with wispy beards, country farmers speaking Sichuan Hua and young kids with I love China T-Shirts on.

Some were nervous, others were peacocked out.

In today's poetry, the cadence is very important. I suppose. I wonder how it was back in Du Fu's day ... Anyway, the same cadence used by politicos when they announce new number-based theories filters down amongst the poets of today. I wish i could praise them and say that their words brought tears to my eyes. But it was stilted poetry. Appealing to heroic patriotism and ethnic pride. It wasn't emotional for me at all. It was slave poetry spun by the professional intellectuals Said derides in his seminal work on ... us ... the intellectuals of today.

perhaps i didn't understand. Perhaps its a cultural thing. Maybe i am just a dull American, jaded and arrogant.

But none of their words can match the scribbles in a schoolgirl's notebook found amidst the rubble of Beichuan. No one had the courage to be a true poet. It was backslapping mimicry and bent knee professions. Even the women couldn't resist it.

If Du Fu had been there, he would have clapped nonchalantly, peered dimly at the agenda and then stood up and leave for a smoke. He would have looked at the rain falling around the temples erected around what was once his leaky hovel, laughed derisively and composed something on the spot, using a pen borrowed from a bystander with a name-tag that said: Poet.

She's just a young girl ...

I met a woman a few months back in the city of Yaan, renowned for rain, fish and beauties. She's a young music teacher at a high school in town. She took me and Oliver around and we talked till 2am. She is married, has a child and is irrepressibly curious about the world outside her world.

She carries herself like a lady at all times. She knows what to say when, and how to inflect properly. Her skin is porcelain white and her make-up is immaculate. She dresses in the fashion of her day, which would not go over in the States, but is resplendent in reserved elegance here in Sichuan. Her dimple flashes when she laughs and her eyes betray suppressed emotions. She never mentions the word "marriage" and i have yet to see a photo of her son.

She's just a young girl doing grown woman stuff. Like raising her kid. And dreamin those dreams -- the ones half-men dont know what to do with. I have done nothing but look at her, smile at her and put my finger on her wrist. Her reaction is what i love about all women. No matter how long she has been keeping her self pent up, singing karaoke with her friends and smiling demurely at admirers, a brazen touch will bring a flush to her face and make the stiff doll soften. She laughs with abandon and widens her eyes. The porcelain cracks like an eggshell and reveals a throbbing heart. There are so many women like her in China, in the world. They live with Dilbert, dream of the Marlboro Man.

I know some of you are thinking "you dirty bastard."

I refute you all utterly.

If i possess the key, who am i to deny her the unlocking?

Wandering Blind

I can't read my blog right now, but that might end. It has been a common occurrence since I started this thing. Sometimes my proxy works, sometime it dont.

So here is a bit of an update on the "they tearin down my house" saga:

My neighbors and I had a powwow today and learned a lot about each other. They have lived in this village for 100 years. They were born here, they raised kids here, they love it here. They understand the desire of the urban folk for the life that they already have. They understand perfectly well the powers that put development in motion: personal greed and inter-agency corruption. They understand also that they are entiteled to some real money and a real chance at a new life.

But they also know that the city presents nothing to the first-timer. Many of them will struggle for work, the parents will be away -- maybe half-way across the country in some factory -- and the kids will be struggling to make it in the city schools.

What we are seeing is the culmination of a century-long tug-of-war between the people and the government for the land they live in. After the CCP won the wars against the Japanese and the Nationalists, they passed the land out amongst the farmers and workers that supported them, and thereby gained their loyalty. Ten years later, they took it back during the Great Leap Forward and made the land "state property" -- whatever that means. They gave it back again after the Cultural Revolution to calm the seething masses who had torn about the country in Mao's last years. And now .. now they are doing it again.

But this time is different. This time the farmers are moving to the city for good. To become the slaves of the machine that will bring China the glory we all talk about in all the media specials that grace magazines and papers around the world. This new development mirrors and warps that which we have experienced in the West.

In America it was white flight, now gentrification. Here it is the same. The rich head to the complexes in the suburbs, the poor head into the cities to work. Or migrate.


So this is what is going on, all over the world and with extreme prejudice in this country. If one fights against the state several things happen:

The state divides and conquers with bribes. The state terrorizes by shutting off utilities, sending in police and perhaps, if needed, the thugs. The state persuades with propaganda and appeals to patriotism and sacrifice for an improved future.

Maybe they are right. In America, we are now seeing the "final"stages of this circle of movement between the city and the country. Cities in America are now going green, as much as is possible. The people, my people, are demanding it. Perhaps the natural cycle in China will lead in the same direction. In fact, we can already see tinges of it here and there. Lip service, yet, but nevertheless ...

Here, the people have no rights, no power, no voice. They are thrown off and are thankful for the crumbs they get. How is this any different from what Americans experienced throughout the early years of last century and Europeans up until after the War?

If there is no difference and we can see patterns emerge, what can we do, what have we learned, what can we change ... ?

The questions would be then: what did we lose the first few times around?

Or should we just peer into China -- our time-warped mirror -- and do what we can in our own garden now, to atone for the things we did before.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Will Autumn Ever Come?

"Young Fool, only now, at the end, do you understand ..."

Yesterday I arrived back home from Dujiangyan and there was a small crowd of my neighbors laughing and gathering near my yard. I walked up and saw that the Local Party Secretary and his tall, thin greasy crony were present. I heard them talking about improving the lives of the local residents ... I went up and gave the secretary a cigarette. Everyone was laughing and rocking babies. One of the women said all the houses were going to be torn down in ten days. I laughed and said we can have a demolition party. Everyone laughed. I told the secretary to put up some internet so I dont have to keep rolling into town. More laughter. I then asked the crony if it was true that they were going to bulldoze the place. He matter of factly said yes. When i asked if he was joking, they said no. They then got into their car and left. The neighbors gathered around for a bit and discussed the compensation they were likely to receive. I went upstairs and sat in shock for a bit.

The peasants said: our Luo Secretary would never lie to us. I noticed the laughter was nervous. They didn't dare ask too many questions. They accepted being thrown out of homes they had lived in for 30 years, as long as the money came through.

All these years I have been writing about China's corrupt government, and only now, at the end, do I understand. In Germany we learn that when the Nazis came, they went after the Reds first. Then the intellectuals. Then the doctors and other rich semi-liberals. They broadened the attack against the privileged by lumping them together under Jewry. Then they came for the regular dude.

So here I am, preparing a speech for tomorrow's meeting between the developers, the government and the peasants of Wang Fu Si Dui, where I live. The peasants are interested only in compensation. They have to sign a document allowing the developer to go forward and they intend to hold out for the best deal.

The lessons I learned here are piling up and swirling through my brain, right up until the very last day.

Things are spinning through a vortex and i am unsure where or more specifically when I am.

I have written and preached about China and the US and liberty and revolution and hefted many a stained cup and crackling spliff in defense and support of anti-establishment activities.

When i was younger, I stole stuff and sold drugs. As I got older, I skipped classes at the University of Minnesota and rolled in to take the tests. I held parties and was chased by campus police. Actually, I have been harassed and chased by Smurfs (half-cops) many times, in Germany and in the US. I spoke loud at authority, when they had their backs turned, and encouraged others to drink heavily and destroy stuff.

I took off to China. I haven't paid taxes since I dont even know when. What a rebel.

My lifestyle is my rebellion. my observations are my acts of terrorism. I roll with outcasts and hobos, and together we ridicule the closely-cropped and clipped of speech. I slip through cracks and hide in the bushes, or behind doors, when the proverbial smurf sniffs in my direction. I talk my way out of things and offer cigarettes to my enemies.

When i give my speech tomorrow, if I am able to give it, I hope to take my naughty rebellions of the past and hurl them into myself, like admantium molecules, to prepare my bones for the real rebellions of the future.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Min River

The Min flows down from the Tibetan Plateau, through Dujiangyan where a 2000 year old irrigation project splits the river into two parts: one headed south to Chengdu and the other, which rushes along the mountains -- and the fault line -- all the way down to the Leshan Grand Buddha, where it swirls at the Buddha's feet with two other rivers, before draining into the Yangtze.

It is an amazing river. I always loved to stare at it as it rushes through Dujiangyan. I stood at the Southern Bridge and watched the eddies and waves slap into each other as the river runs white and silver through the town. The Min is always fast and powerful. The locks at the irrigation project control the flow, but in summer the locks open a bit to keep the "inside river" -- which irrigates the Chengdu basin -- from flooding.

Right now extra water released fro the Zipingdu Dam and from the quake lakes farther north has made the river a raging torrent, splashing high against the walls and battering the pillars of the Southern Bridge.

I am off to Mianyang. Again.

Some mo' Sichuan Hua

So i will try and put a few good Sichuan Hua phrases up here from time to time ...

such as this fine one right here:

zhaan hua'r kai huang qiang!

zhaan hua'r is that dude, wherever there is some commotion or excitement, his ass is there. talking as if he was the only one to witness/take part in whatever has everybody up in arms. "Man, i was just walkin, mindin my own biznass, when all of a sudden, these blonde women just started fallin from the sky all around me ..."

kai huang qiang is what the zhaan hua'r says: bullshit. he be speakin, but everybody knows its just some made up self-serving nonsense.

literal translation: zhaan hua'r:standing flower; kai huang qiang:shoot a yellow gun.

funny note: kai also means open, so people here sometimes get a kick out of saying "open yellow gun!" at someone who is talking shit.


For the past week I have been a scab for USAToday. I haven't actually written anything for them, but just in case the Tangjiashan quake lake bursts, then I should be there to write something up about the ghost towns of Beichuan, Mianyang and Mianzhu and all of the people whose houses and fields have been washed away.

People here are convinced that the Party will save them from any floods. Most people believe that the danger is over and that the lake will not break through its barriers and flood the Chengdu plain. In the foreign media, it seems to be a competition as to who can ratchet up the scariest headline. If the dam breaks, it will affect more than a million people and destroy the cities of Mianzhu and Mianyang.

Meanwhile, me and my man Andreas the Photographer are thinking of working on three different stories, all of them long and drawn out, complex and far-flung, insightful and underreported. We hope to sell them to universities or think tanks...hehehe

In Dujiangyan, we visited the tourist park around the 2000-year old irrigation project. The project itself and most of the works around it are intact and working. The only real casualty is the Two Princes Temple. A Daoist Temple built on the hillside overlooking the irrigation project which honors the Gods of Earth, Water and Sky, gives instructions on how to maintain the project in four-character verse and reveres Li Bing (head of the project back in the day) and his two sons.

Other than the loss of Two Princes Temple, there are cracks and shifts in the park's walkways and walls, but all in all it looks fine. The city hope to have tourists roam through and confirm this starting as early as the 20th of June.

Tomorrow we head back up to Qing Cheng Mountain and do some research on what was destroyed and what not up there. Part of the work is for the Sichuan Quake Relief people, the other part is for a *feature* on the impact of the quake on the tourism industry, from the big tour operators down to the actual sites and further down to Old Wang the innkeeper who ain't got no inn.

I wrote a column for the other day about China -- its kinda rambling, but the point was to A) show that aint nothing changed for the Party and B) there are sad similarities between the CCP and the Republocrats ...

I look forward to Portland and decompression time. my friends there think it will take me a year to un-China myself ...

These next few months will be very trying. Sometimes I wish i could fast-forward through to Portland.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

I've changed my mind

Well. It seems as if Hillary has finally decided to do the right thing and get behind the one candidate 100%. Of course its late and she managed to weaken Obama and strengthen her own hand in the process, but I suppose that is a politician's job. She has put herself in the best position possible to make it into the White House, as VP if not as the big P.

Her speech endorsing Obama was inspiring, so I have changed my mind. I apologize for calling Hillary a bitch and insulting her time and again in coffee houses and blog posts. I know she feels better now, as do I. SHe is a political animal, to be sure, so her movements are not nec. a surprise, but the good this is that even a power hungry woman like Hillary will get in line for the candidate that has mesmerized many of us this year.

But I am worried about Obama. He is already starting to bow down to the center-right and talk of doing "everything possible" to keep Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. He said this to AIPAC, the big Isreali lobby that many hold responsible for our destructive Middle East policies.

Now these words can be interpreted in a couple ways. One: Everthing includes war. Two: Everything includes sitting down and talking, which he has said before that he is willing to do.

We have seen this happen so many times, rhetoric before the big campaign to get us all hopeful and energized, then political reality sets in once the people are in line as they should be.

We the People are marginal actors in our own fates. We don't know any better and must be ruled by those who do. Obama in his words brought this truth out into the open and called for unity in the face of conflict, which will lead to changes in the American nation that will carry us past the war-mongering policies of the past and into a new future: We will grow up under his leadership and become a beloved leader in the world, instead of a hated bully.

well. I am worried. Obama folded once as a junior senator when squaring off against the nuclear power lobby ... He might just end up being a Clinton ... especially if he chooses the man's wife as a VP ...

"A people always gets the government they deserve ... "

*sigh* i always end up back with Candide:

"A man can only cultivate his own garden ..."

Saturday, June 7, 2008

War is Pure Sin

this here is one of the best articles about war i have seen in recent times, written by a contemporary ... I imagine the book to be amazing.

You can get with this, or you can get with that

The Case of Wang Shi

The Chinese government has decided to clamp down on the schoolchildren issue to ensure social harmony and stability. All protests are dealt with by black-clad police and the media has been warned from on high to keep their mouths shut about the schools. They can't even mention it.

Instead, Wang Shi, CEO of one of the largest real estate developers in China, Wan Ke, has been vilified in the press for only giving 2 million RMB to the victims. Wang is known for his high-class, carefree lifestyle and he was loved for it when he was on top. But the paltry two million and him flashing the peace sign for a pic in the quake devastated area has sent Wan Ke's stock price plummeting and unleashed waves of Internet insults against their CEO. The media has been all over it here in Chengdu and Wang Shi has now announced that he will step down as head of Wan Ke.

The same can't be said for the dozens of government rats that are responsible for the shoddy construction of schools. Schools are usually paid for with government funds, a prime cash cow for whore-mongering, BMW-driving officials in the Sichuanese hinterlands.

"We can take Wang Shi down," said a friend of mine, "but we can't possibly vilify the government so. Have you ever seen that happen here? Impossible ..."

Thursday, June 5, 2008


here are some pics that are circling the chinese blogosphere. The police and government officials in China haven't changed one iota. They are doing their damned-est to sweep the deaths of all those children under the rug. If they only knew how much love they would get if they would just do the right thing ...


i just got back from Beichuan a few minutes ago. Beichuan was near the epicenter of the earthquake, so most of the villages in that area were destroyed or flooded. I met groups of people from Xuan Ping -- a village near Beichuan that was flooded -- scattered throughout the disaster area.

One man was building semi-permanent drywall dwellings in Dujiangyan and fell off of a roof. He was recuperating in the field hospital set up by the German Red Cross.

Another woman was nursing her baby in Mianyang's Jiu Zhou stadium with the rest of the Beichuan refugees -- 50,000 of them on the 18th, now down to 4000 -- while her husband was working buildings dwellings in Mianyang.

Outside of Beichuan itself, Xuan Ping locals were rushing in and out of the "quake lake" area scavenging clothes, crops and other useful things in preparation for flooding that might occur soon. With thunderstorms brewing in Sichuan after a week of sultry days, the dam might just break this weekend.

I also met a Daoist monk outside of Beichuan in Huangtu Village whose house was destroyed. He was waiting patiently for the government to solve other more pressing issues -- like possible flooding -- before they got around to him and his family.

It is ironic that everyone is really impressed with the organization and efficiency of the relief effort. I have been here for eight years and although China has grown exponentially -- and Chengdu with it -- I always considered this place to be bordering on chaos, with red tape, corruption and outright laziness putting a damper on what could have been even more explosive growth.

There is a difference between the chilled out bureaucratic wrangling of the day-to-day life in China and the focused zeal with which Chinese carry out national projects and goals.

Beichuan refugees are now also being sent en masse to factories in Shandong and Guangdong Provinces to work and make money while the rebuilding phase takes over. Many of their children are also being sent to other provinces to continue their all-important studies.

It is raining in Chengdu.

"If it keeps on raining, the levee's gonna break, if the levee breaks, momma we got to go ..."

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

I peer down from the depths of crackerdom

Obama is finally the nominee. In this story here, i think the reasons why are clearly stated. He's one of us.

Unfortunately, "us" might not be the majority of the US. What we learned in the primary is that Hillary will do anything for political power, making her -- in my eyes -- exactly what I would never vote for: a political animal. Whereas Obama, precisely because of this political bullshit she spewed day in and day out, got irritated with her and it showed. I was irritated too. He was speaking the truth, she was moving her mouth.

Anyway. We learned that cracker-dom is alive and kickin in the US. "Working class whites" aka crackers voted for Hillary and will probably vote for McCain. Now working class in political jargon means uneducated white ex-factory workers. I worked with crackers before. I actually enjoy them for what they are. I have cracker friends, many of my best friends are crackers ... shit i'm a cracker at times. But i'll be damned if i'll let crackers run a country or put "their man" in office.

And a cracker on the street will just replace "cracker" with "nigger" and say the same thing i just did. So these divisions which crackers like McCain and Clinton would exploit, being the political animals they are, are still alive and festering.

The beauty of Obama is not in his skin, but in his true desire to elevate us all -- my cracker ass and all the others -- above political divisive bullshit and make us what we could be. He is irritated because he wants to fly and the US is piling mud on his wings. He is above the political bullshit. His opponents can only win by dragging him -- and the rest of us -- down with them into the mud. I believe this.

Obama will need all of us. Especially if he has to contend with the wrath of a scorned bitch after he decides not to make her his VP. Can you imagine making that woman your VP? with old slick dick willy in the background? Man thats inviting the thieves into yer home and offering them dinner.

The Clintons will steal his thunder as often as possible, appearing on the stage left and right ... and make the office and the nation weaker, not stronger.

And i think Obama and his people know this. But who else is there? Who else can help bring all the crackers back into the fold? who else will have the cheddar, connections and political savvy to kill the Republican machine? Talk about a catch 22.

The choice of VP is one of the most important choices Obama will make. For those of us who support him, we gotta be there yo.

And it makes no sense to be in Portland hollerin at the choir. I am down to take it to Kentucky and sit and spit chaw with some crackers and holla. Shit, if they don't shoot me right off the bat, I will at least get some good BBQ and maybe a night with a white trash harlot. I'm cool with that.

what does it take

Today i rolled through Dujiangyan and took a look at the field hospital set up by the German and Sichuan Red Cross. The field hospital is there to take over from the seven local hospitals that are no closed due to damage from the quake. They take on all of the patients that are not in danger of dying ... the regular people who suffer from regular stuff. Many patients have quake-related stuff.

One man fell from a roof cleaning up debris and hurt his back. One old woman was dehydrated and delirious after hiking for six days to get out of Beichuan. She also fractured her foot early on in the hike, but it semi-healed, so now she lies there mumbling to herself. Two young girls had outbreaks of Lupus due to stress and shock and exposure to the sun.

The Germans are there to set up the operation and then turn it over to the Chinese. Across the board, hte Germans were impressed with the organization and determination of the Chinese. Dozens of volunteers showed up to translate. Doctors from Shanghai showed up to help. Volunteers from as far away as Liaoning and Shandong came to be helping hands. The Germans said that in no other Mission had they seen such quick response, concerted efforts and solidarity.

"This is definitely not an underdeveloped country," said one.

For the Chinese, this is a chance to learn the quick-response procedures that the Germans have perfected. The doctors from Shanghai will return to their hospital and set up an emergency response team with ability to throw up a field hospital anywhere in the world within 24 hours, just like the Germans.

This got me thinking.

Today, it would seem preposterous to think of Chinese emergency teams showing up in Western countries and doing work. They will most likely head to Africa and South Asia like all the rest of the response teams.

And further, it seems so easy for Germans to roll into Dujiangyan and set up a hospital and help them purify water for the semi-permanent settlements being built for the refugees. It seems easy for rich people in the West to throw money at Myanmar, China and Indonesia ...

Perhaps because as a disinterested party, helping out the poor and suffering of some far off nation is much easier then helping the poor and suffering down the block. Those down the block are disgusting. They're lazy. They can help themselves. And they're probably on drugs anyway.

I can't wait till China goes abroad and helps the needy around the world. Maybe they'll step into the US and clean up our ghettos for us.

Monday, June 2, 2008


today ... bout three minutes ago, a large aftershock shook chengdu. the largest in a long time, maybe since the original quake. and it lasted for about one minute. here things rattled and my heart raced, but nothing damaging happened. but if it was this heavy here, then up north people died.

and who knows what happened to the dam ...

Sunday, June 1, 2008

some pics


peep dude in the background. it was a good day.

for badass motorcycle love, hit up Carl

Luo Shui

We went to Luo Shui today, about 20 of us in several cars and trucks loaded with toys, paints, candy and other goodies for the surviving schoolchildren of Luo Shui town. We went to four different schools and each school had lost kids during the quake. The kids loved and we had a blast. My man olivier played the djembe, i talked shit and we gave a bunch of country kids living in tents a great time. Peep the Sichuan Quake Relief banner to the right for details. here are some pics:

max dancing with the kids.

playing catch the dragon's tail.

We gave the kids paints.

My man Olivier gettin the crowd hyped with the djembe