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Zaimoni [userpic]
Magician? Ok. Vampire? Ok. Superman? Ok. Oba Mao? Send in the censors!

I doubt the censors were sent in because of the deleterious effects on U.S. politics:

President Obama spent the second day of his state visit to China in the capital Monday, and the government adopted a two-track policy toward Obama memorabilia for sale here: Obama dressed as Superman was in, and Obama dressed as a Red Guard was out.

Liu Mingjie learned the latter lesson. He is the designer and entrepreneur behind the popular "Oba Mao" image, which takes a silk-screen likeness of Obama and dresses him in a green jacket and cap to resemble the late Communist leader Mao Zedong.

Since September, Liu's shop had been doing a brisk business selling the hugely popular Oba Mao T-shirts, purses and magnets. Oba Mao became one of the hottest-selling items in town, particularly among urban young people and online "netizens." Oba Mao melded two iconic images -- even if no one could explain precisely what it meant.

But suddenly last week, Liu had no more supplies, and no explanation why.

Liu nervously did not want to answer a reporter's questions. He also removed most of the Oba Mao articles and photos from his blog.

But neighbors in nearby shops reported that they were all visited last week by uniformed officers from Beijing's Industry and Commerce Administration and were told they were not allowed to sell anything with Obama's image, and particularly not Oba Mao items.


But another Beijing shop, called Grifted, selling politically themed merchandise, seems to have been immune from last week's crackdown. The store was selling an Obama action doll dressed as Superman, right next to Mao in uniform.

P.P. Xiong, the creator of the Obama-Superman toy, said he came up with the design because "I like Obama a lot. And I made such a design after the inauguration. I think American people have high expectations for Obama, and I hope he will come to help the U.S. just like Superman."

For the record, at least two officials of the Industry and Commerce Administration denied the shopkeepers' claims that they had been asked to stop selling Obama merchandise.

"Now with the ever-deepening opening of Chinese society, things like those are more acceptable to the government," said Yang Yue, a media officer with the administration.


For example, the designers of a T-shirt depicting Obama as a horned vampire have managed to fly under the radar because their product is available only online.

The purveyors of the vampire shirt say their goal was to emphasize how the United States is sucking the life out of the global economy. But in addition, they offer an alternative: a T-shirt with Obama as a magician in a top hat, just in case his economic prescriptions turn out to work magic. There was no immediate word on which version was selling better.


Apparently 25% of US debt is owned by the Chinese. I worked out that a lot of it had to be them some time ago because it could only be a regime with a huge cash surplus, and that means being able to resist the demands of the population to get their hands on it in terms of more consumable goods. But now I've got a figure to work with.

If the US debt is about 3x GDP, that probably means you owe the Chinese 0.75x GDP --- unless the figure given referred ONLY to debt owed externally rather than total debt.

The result is that the present temporary stability is defined on the Chinese knowing that if they pulled the plug on the USA they would destroy their main customer and wreak terrible damage at home.

So the USA is basically stable now because it is too big a basket case to allow to fall to pieces.

The day that the Chinese have another judgment to make - such as, he who gets out first saves most - then the advantage of being effectively a dictatorship is that they can act as one and pull the rug out in one swift clean blow.

Given there are no larger economies that can in any way support the US against collapse on this scale, if the Chinese choose to demand their cash it appears to me to be a clean knockout with an oxygen mask all the way to the hospital. Probably the end of the dollar as we know it, or if someone has the guts to refuse repayment, the end of world trade as we know it. If America can't meet her repayments, the whole house of cards ceases to function.

Fallen, fallen is Babylon the Great ---

So the USA is basically stable now because it is too big a basket case to allow to fall to pieces.
More like "You starve, all food-importing nations". I think China currently can go self-sufficient on food, but they really need to handle (or better, prevent by intimidation) a parallel invasion by India and Japan to get away with pulling out the rug. I have little doubt India would resort to nuclear war if able to, and about to be wiped out conventionally.

(Red China quantitatively has the second-largest coal reserves on Earth, after the U.S. Fischer-Tropsch synthesized gasoline and diesel are practical if you have coal as a base stock -- and don't care at all about CO2 production. Red China definitely qualifies as not caring.)

Technically, the U.S. does not need either synthetic fertilizer or imported food to feed its own population; it just can't export food without synthetic fertilizer.

Fallen, fallen is Babylon the Great ---
A sentiment, in the U.S. PreMillenialist eschatological literature, going back at least to 1974 (especially the PostTribulationalist variant).

The only fact check that appears to fail, is the near-absence of a physical slave trade.

(The interpretation rules required to get post-Darby PreMillenialism, prohibit all avoidable allegorical interpretation: anything that can be interpreted literally, is. The advance of science has made far more things interpretable literally.

So, can't substitute wage slavery for physical slavery as long as there's a thriving physical slave trade in both Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe.)

It would be very bad for America, because America's credit rating would be mud. It would take a generation or more for us to recover from this.

And Obama is setting things up so that it will be inevitable.

Very bad for the U.S.: no argument there.

As for setting things up to so that is inevitable: the Obama administration has so few cards to play, in either direction, that it's unclear to me that anything more than minor nudges in either direction is possible. Leverage is with the U.S. Congress (accelerator on the hyperinflation pedal, no chance of getting any letup until the 2010 elections) and the U.S. Federal Reserve. (Is Helicopter Ben so fearless of deflation that he will try to destroy enough U.S.$ to stop Congress in its tracks?)

It would be a bit much to ask Congress to reinstate the key parts of Glass-Steagall act of 1933. Even that would probably take about a decade to cauterize the damage process.

Happy Birthday, Zaimoni!

And here we are, years later. In the original post, it appears that Obama with the Mao uniform is not far off the mark. Economically, he has earned the horns, not the top hat.

The credit rating has dropped in the interim, and we are rather closer to the mud-pit. Can it be fixed? Yes, but it would involve dramatic and heroic efforts.

===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

Oh, I don't think that it would totally crash the world economy. Merely cause a huge hiccup, during which trillions of dollars in paper profits would evaporate, and hundreds of millions of lives would be to some degree ruined. And afterward, it would be generations before anyone was much interested in holding the US dollar again.

But yes, it would be bad.

Probably badder than anything since the Weimar Republic?

Depends...I really haven't studied the international aspects of that in detail. I'd think bad-case scenario from here through 2012 would be worse than Weimar, assuming the epicenter for Weimar is Germany. (The epicenter for this is superficially some average of the U.S. and U.K. weighted towards the U.S., so the only reason the Iceland implosion hasn't already caused the severity to exceed Weimar is relative importance to the global economy pre-implosion.)

(Weimar/international aspects: other than as part of the civilization-saving chain of events leading to WWII. It is very hard to rigorously construct an alternate history that avoids an AIDS/HIV extinction event without both WWII, and an Allied victory.)