What You Say?!?

March 18, 2005 8:02 am

The craziness at work continues! I've lost one of my devs for 2 weeks, which is a huge deal when you've only got 2 full-time programmers. So not only is it stressful now, but the weeks proceeding her vacation were incredibly insane. It's amazing how much we do around here. It defies description.

On a good note, we won a major contract in PA. There are a few online articles regarding this, but basically we are handling the tax collection operations of the Montgomery County Tax Claim Bureau. Reactions have been mixed; everything seems to boil down to two viewpoints: (1) outsourcing government functions to private companies theoretically saves taxpayer dollars and (2) outsourcing government functions to private companies is bad in principle, even if it's cheaper. It all depends on whether you trust a corporation to perform public functions efficiently, without corruption or ulterior motives. I think we'll do a fantastic job and will ultimately save the County money without any loss of service. But of course, I have a biased opinion. Certainly there are government contracts that stink, robbing revenue and trapping officials in bad deals. But I think our track record speaks for itself. If we can shave $100K off the County's costs, then we'll do everything in our power to make it happen.

On a not-so-good note, what the hell is up with China? Passing a law that says "The state stands for the achievement of peaceful reunification," then says "In the event...that possibilities for a peaceful reunification should be completely exhausted, the state shall employ non-peaceful means and other necessary measures" is pretty much bullshit. Any mention of "peace and stability" is rebuked by claiming "The state shall never allow the 'Taiwan independence' secessionist forces to make Taiwan secede from China." Grow up, China. Pick up the shambles of your pride, suck it in, and move on. Taiwan doesn't need you to protect their "rights and interests...in accordance with law." What "law?" Are you referring to your laws of controlled media, religious persecution, human rights abuses, government bribery, state corruption, taxation without representation, and unregulated business operations? No law of yours should ever replace the laws of democracy and freedom that Taiwan has in place. Fuck your "protection" - all you have ever protected is wealth and power being funneled into government at the expense of your citizens.

And while I'm ranting, the reaction of the world to this news is disappointing, especially in the U.S., where the idea of "spreading democracy" has been used to justify hundreds of deaths. Imagine if a group of people in Iran or Congo or Saudi Arabia or even Cuba stood before the world and proclaimed: "Hello! We have broken away from an oppressive dictatorship and established a democracy by the people, for the people. We grant full freedom of speech and religion; we do not discriminate, treating all equally before the law. We grant due process, habeas corpus, and full individual rights to property ownership, basic education, and free trade. Our people's standard of living is first world and our policies evolve to fit global needs, including environmental protection and sci-tech investments. We have proven that our electoral process, while not perfect, is fair and just. Please allow us membership in the UN, WTO, and WHO as a sovereign state, so that we may enjoy the benefits of any other free nation on the planet. Please acknowledge our right to rule ourselves: only those that we elect to lead us should be able to do so." Isn't this what the U.S. is advocating? Isn't this part of Bush's grand scheme for a better world? Don't we support democratic revolution and the right to elect leaders and take part in civic action? Aren't we hoping all societies will eventually grant such freedoms?

This is exactly what Taiwan has done. And yet, nobody, not even the U.S., has the balls to stick up for them. China has bullied the whole world into ignoring Taiwan. The U.S. preaches empty ideology - we only fight for democracy if it means money in our pockets. And while I favor selfish foreign policy (after all, I don't want to piss off a country with nuclear capabilities), I absolutely can not and will not condone hypocrisy in that policy. If the U.S. is willing to sacrifice lives in the name of "democracy," if the U.S. is willing to pour billions into building democratic capitalist regimes, then the U.S. should also be willing to sacrifice lives and spend billions in defense of Taiwan. But it's not. Why? Because we're not sending soldiers to war and spending tax revenue to uphold the principles of freedom. We're doing it because we want in when trade springs up in the Middle East. We're not fighting for some higher moral ground, we're fighting because we want to invest, open the market, and increase our own commerce. It's not a bad idea, but it shouldn't be hidden behind a veil of "freedom" and "human rights" and "democracy." The real truth is that since we already have free trade with Taiwan, it doesn't matter a horse's ass to us whether Taiwan is struggling for democratic independence. We should make it clear: we're not supporting Taiwan's request for independent recognition because we're pussies afraid of China's retaliation. We actually don't give a shit about democracy, if that democracy doesn't increase the bulge in our wallets.

And that is why listening to the garbage spewing from our President and his Cabinet makes me want to scream (and briefly entertain the idea of moving to Canada). We could care less about freedom and democracy, and our consistent refusal to recognize Taiwan is incontrovertible proof of this mindset. We're just too cowardly to admit it.



See archived entries for February 2005.
See archived entries for January 2005.
See archived entries for December 2004.
See archived entries for October 2004.
See archived entries for September 2004.
See archived entries for August 2004.
See archived entries for July 2004.
See archived entries for June 2004.
See archived entries for May 2004.

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