|China Myths Debunked|
|WE all know the facts: In
1949 when the Communist
Party took over, China had
been mired in civil wars
and dismembered by foreign
aggressions; its people had suffered
widespread famine; average lifeexpectancy
was a mere 41 years.
Today, it is the second largest economy
in the world, a great power with global
influence, and its people live in
increasing prosperity; average life
expectancy has reached 74 years.
But the assessment has to go deeper
than that, for reasons none other than
the apparent discomfort, if not outright
disapproval, Western political
and intellectual elites feel toward the
Communist Party´s leadership. Five
|PETER Oborne, writing in
the conservative Daily
Telegraph, recently suggested
Conservative British Prime
Minister, David Cameron, was not
merely in a mess, he "is in a sewer."
That seems about right. Cameron
lost it over Rupert Murdoch. He
showed staggering lack of judgment
in hiring Andy Coulson, the former
News of the World editor, as his first
director of communications at
Downing Street, a hubristic decision
made against the best advice and
apparently with a dual aim: to show
he was not an old Etonian "toff" and
to get favourable treatment from the
37 percent of the British print media
owned by Murdoch.
He then spent a fair chunk of time
during his first year in office in 26
meetings with various News Corp
honchos, including Rebekah
Brooks, who was...
Republicans pass token measure on debt ceiling
WASHINGTON THE political fight to keep the United States out of default turned on Wednesday to a resurrected bipartisan plan in the Senate, after conservative tea party-backed Republicans in the House of Representatives passed largely symbolic legislation that would slash $6 trillion from the US debt and make additional borrowing contingent on passage of a constitutional balanced budget amendment.
The 234-190 House vote on Tuesday night was a move driven by deeply conservative first-term Republicans and faced almost certain defeat in the Democratically-controlled Senate.
President Barack Obama has vowed to veto it should it ever reach his desk.
Before the House could vote or even fully debate its bill, Obama moved to undercut it when he marched into the White House press room to laud an unexpectedly rejuvenated bipartisan Senate plan‚ that cuts spending and raises taxes‚ as “broadly consistent” with his ideas for cutting the nation’s debt.
He held out hope it would provide an opening for both houses of Congress to raise the debt ceiling.
The plan by the Senate’s socalled bipartisan Gang of Six is far too complicated and contentious to advance before an August 2 deadline to avoid a default that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and other experts warn would rattle markets, drive up interest rates and threaten to take the country back into a recession.
But its authors clearly hope that it could serve as a template for a “grand bargain” later in the year that could erase perhaps $4 trillion from the debt over the coming decade.
Unless Congress agrees to increase the federal borrowing limit beyond the current cap of $14.3 trillion, the administration will be unable to pay all the government’s bills.
That would leave the Obama administration with the hard choices of whether to make payments to holders of Treasury bonds or send out checks to retirees relying on Social Security, the government- run pension plan.
Democrats said the House measure, with its combination of cuts and spending limits, would inflict damage on millions who rely on the government’s social safety net.
“The Republicans are trying to repeal the second half of the 20th century,” said Democratic Rep.
Still, the House vote‚ by allowing the Republicans to demonstrate their ideological purity‚ might give lawmakers from conservative districts the political cover need to move toward support of the bipartisan Senate plan as a means of raising the debt ceiling to avert an unprecedented US default.
The alternative Senate plan languished for months but returned to the fore when Republican Senator.
Tom Colburn rejoined the group this week.
It would seek an immediate $500 billion “down payment” on cutting the deficit as the starting point toward slashing indebtedness by slightly less than $4 trillion over the coming decade.
That action would be finalized in a second piece of legislation.
The Gang of Six ‚ three senators from each party ‚Äî briefed other senators on the group’s plan after a seemingly quixotic quest that took months, drew disdain at times from the leaders of both parties and appeared near failure more than once.
The plan as described Tuesday was almost certain to upset the core constituencies of both parties.