Posted by: Mark Nielsen | August 22, 2017

Oh Pooh, You Silly Old Subversive Bear

!!!

It’s ON now, China! This means war!

CNN’s reporting last week on the Winnie Wars

You poor thing, Chinese President Xi Jinping. Your citizens compared your pudginess to Winnie the Pooh? How dare they!

So then in retaliation you go and ban Pooh entirely from your state-controlled social media?! Really? But I do get it. Internet bullies are awful.

However… Disney’s thug lawyers gonna be on yo’ ass shortly, and then you gonna be sorry. Mess with the Mouse, and you get the …umm… what? Chewed up server-farm wires? Bubonic plague?

Oh, yeah. Have you looked at the bottom of that Winnie the Pooh toothbrush that millions of our American toddlers are using? They all say “Made in China”. So what’s your endgame here, Xi Jinping?

Anyway, the point is: until now, China, we’ve let you suppress free speech to your heart’s content, all with the free world –as always– looking the other way, because it profits us to do so. In the name of commerce, we’ve been lenient about how tight your internet filters are, in what’s been called the Great Firewall of China (a censorship policy which negatively affects Google, Facebook, Twitter, and other MAJOR players as well).

But hey, at least you’re not running over your citizens with tanks anymore, right?

We’ve generally minded our own business, China, about how you bulldoze peasant homes to build Olympic facilities. We barely even try to make you kneel to world opinion on pollution or fair trade anymore. We keep our friends close, but our Chinese enemies closer.

Image result for Xi China president

…. Handshake deals to sell us down the river. The American Way….

Thus we’ve allowed your increased collusion and price-fixing with near-monopolies like Wal-Mart, because after all, business is business. We now let these two 800-pound gorillas control the zoo, because we don’t know anymore what could ever UNDO IT, now that bad trade policy and general deregulation have let it happen (since the 1980s, if not earlier).

Plus, when every American pop culture phenomenon under the sun is licensed, and packaged, and included in a Happy Meal… who CARES anymore that the manufacturing and packaging and exporting of those hard goods was all done IN CHINA. Too much of what gets made by multinational corporations–and then eventually tossed on a trash heap– is made by Chinese workers who don’t know,  nor care, about a closed plastic fabrication factory in central Tennessee. Or a Kansas wheat farmer who can’t get a decent price for his crop at market anymore.

The adorable and collectible Minions are still an American IDEA, right?

WE’RE STILL #1, RIGHT?!!!

(Pay no attention to that Chinese, Swiss, Danish, German, Japanese, Swedish and/or Mexican puppeteer behind the curtain…)

Universal Pictures (“owner” of the Minions) isn’t on the verge of bankruptcy, so who cares if a U.S. toy maker, steel plant or farming entity is being edged out by cheaper goods from China? Do we have a right to protest goods produced by workers with nearly zero protection of their own human rights or safety? (Yes, but we won’t protest. Or certainly not in enough numbers to force you to listen, to hear us, above the din of our own governmental corruption. Money talks and bullshit walks, as they say… and your silent conquest of U.S. markets –with the complicity of our own CEOs and politicians– proves it.)

Our Winnie the Pooh Christmas ornaments are universally created by your “godless communist” Chinese factories, under a system propped up by a tightly controlled Chinese state economy, which undermines fair trade, true competition, and democracy [and chews up people of conscience and dignity (especially the poor) throughout the world]. This all happened under the radar of the average American, while we fretted about Y2K bugs, Wall Street’s well-known fraudulent tendencies, our own endless wars on drugs and terrorism, and Miley Cyrus’ right to twerk with whomever she chooses, wherever she chooses. It happened all because a handful of politicans and multi-national CEOs/thieves decided taxes and labor unions are bad for their bottom line, and thus they implicitly had our blessing in handing over the keys to the Chinese.

We were up for sale and we didn’t even know it.

Sure, China, we still tepidly rattle our saber when you’re caught spying on us, or gaining lots of ground in the new space race to install and control satellites. But then we dismiss all manner of what we used to call injustice at the hands of your government, corporations and international mining contractors, because we really LOVE our iPhones. Who cares if an African worker– paid a pittance by a Chinese company– had to die or lose a hand getting the needed component minerals out of the ground for my phone? [Full disclosure: I’m typing this on an iPhone. Editing it later on an HP laptop, both of which were …you guessed kit… MADE IN CHINA.]

Pooh's fight exc

Classic Pooh is clearly the underdog, but he may yet have a shot. [Excerpt of a Mark Tatulli 2008 “Lio” comic strip.]

.

But NOW, all that former leeway is hereby rescinded, China. You’ve brazenly taken Winnie the Pooh (!!!) away from your own internet users, while refusing to open your immense market of consumers to OUR products,… so we are thus FORCED to take our Beloved Bear away from you in retaliation.

You have now awakened the sleepy, distracted, sugar-junkie Disney giant. And he is not amused. But wave your keys around a bit, and see if he forgets what woke him…

WAIT! What’s that you say? The ban only lasted a day?

Let the Cnet tech geeks set us straight about the internet

So what! They lifted the ban after one day, cuz they’re smart businessmen. It figures that’s how it would go down.

Nevertheless, they still banned it in the first place! And they still have the absolute power to do that –and much worse– again. Not just within their borders, but eventually beyond them as well (and probably soon, if not already).

You can’t shake the hand of the devil and say you’re only joking. Or can you?

We’ve moved on. It was barely a news story at all. It went away. And thus you’ve successfully dodged another bullet, China. The Devil lives on. We’re too busy attacking the orange-haired DEVIL WE KNOW to pay consistent attention to the martial arts Kung-Fu Panda master of worldwide economic warfare that we definitely DON’T know.

You win, China. By default. Again.

If Pooh is what passes for a subversive statement in the REAL Fourth Reich nowadays, then what does a true dictator even look like anymore? While we in the U.S. wring our hands about Trump, Putin –between Twitter wars over whether that British kid makes a decent Spider-Man– meanwhile Saudis chop off the heads of minor dissidents, or refuse to let women drive…

…and then China *steamrolls us all*, economically, technologically, and human rights-wise, simply because they’re holding better cards in this deadly political and economic poker game.

.  .  .  .  .
In other words, too many smiles come followed by a cringe nowadays. We in the developed West smile or laugh whenever, however we can… then move on to hopefully making others smile by any means necessary. Long-term losses go undetected when we are paying no mind to the oil-baron/Cabinet member/Chinese banking mogul/lobbyist behind the curtain, sneaking bad policy in right under our ignorant noses.

So when does the Asian Elephant in the room get called out and held accountable? How long can our collective denial go on?

Maybe if China violates Dumbo’s copyright next, and puts him on their national flag, then the West will finally start to realize we’ve been duped for a generation or more, as the most populous nation on the planet pollutes without ceasing and pulls the rug out from under us.

That’s a mighty impressive magic trick, China. Hiding in plain sight, picking my pocket.

But I see you. I do.

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