Friday, August 31, 2007

**Top 5ive Things NOT to Buy Online

Top 5ive Things NOT to Buy Online -

By Kelli Grant

THESE DAYS, YOU can buy pretty much anything online, from wedding dresses to cars.
The perks are obvious: There's no need to move off the couch and you can take advantage of online-only discounts and sales tax breaks.
But believe it or not, there are still some things you should buy in-store। Here are five:

1. Luxury Goods
Sure, you can find good deals online, but how about a Rolex for $50? A Prada handbag for $150? If you believe you're getting the real deal when you spot such steals, there's also a bridge for sale in Brooklyn that you might be interested in.
Counterfeit goods account for about 13% of Internet purchases, says Stephen Polinsky, vice president of sales for GenuOne, a security technology company specializing in brand protection. "There's a real chance for an item to be misrepresented," he says. For example, you'll spot plenty of trendy Louis Vuitton Globe Shopper handbags on eBay. The photos, pulled from the brand web sites, are of the real thing. But the real bag retails for $1,280, so what you see isn't going to be what you get when the sale price is $100.
Many luxury brands don't allow online transactions, period. Head to the web sites of two high-end watch manufacturers, Breitling and Corum, and the first thing you'll see is a warning — genuine products are not sold on the Internet. What you're getting from sites like and SmartBargains are grey-market products that are missing key components like a serial number or the manufacturer's warranty. Without those, the brand will refuse to repair or service your purchase.
Getting around it: Put simply, know the item and the retailer। Getting familiar with the little details is the easiest way to separate the knockoffs from the real thing. To find authorized retailers, visit the brand's web site and check for store locations.

2. Prescription Medications
Question: Just how badly do you want to save a few bucks on that Viagra prescription? Fact is, knockoff prescription meds are as plentiful online as other fake goods, says Polinsky — but they are much more dangerous. At best, you're buying sugar pills. At worst, according to the Food and Drug Administration, the meds could be expired, contaminated or contain improper dosages.
In 2004, for example, the FDA shut down several web sites that had been selling contraceptive patches that contained no active ingredients. More recently, a Colorado doctor is facing criminal and civil lawsuits for filling a prescription for antidepressants over the Internet to a 19-year-old Stanford University student who later committed suicide. The civil suit alleges that the doctor signed off on the prescription without a consultation.
Getting around it: If you do fill prescriptions online, head to a reliable source। There are plenty of legitimate places, from to 1-800-Contacts. Your state board of pharmacy must license a web site to fill prescriptions in your state. A quick phone call (click here to find your state's board) can tell you if a site is on the up-and-up.

3. Fragile Electronics
When you buy a flat-screen TV from your local electronics store, you expect that it'll be handled with care by store employees every step of the way, from the store to your living room. But online, you have no way of knowing if that delicate screen will be schlepped to your doorstep on a truck that's also carrying a carton of loose bowling balls.
The retailers don't make it easy, either. Most foist responsibility on the shipping carrier, rather than handle it themselves. PC Connection, for example, requires you to refuse damaged goods from the carrier, or note the damage when you sign for the delivery.
Online buying also means you're making an expensive purchase sight unseen, which isn't smart when it comes to electronics. It's impossible to gauge the clarity of a TV or picture quality on the digital viewfinder of a camera by looking at images on a retailer's site. Change your mind, and you'll be subject to additional fees. only accepts returns within 10 days of receipt-and you'll have to pay a 10% to 20% restocking fee, on top of the shipping charges to mail the item back. At, Apple products can't be returned at all.
Getting around it: Online prices can easily be 30% lower than those in-store, so the key is to do your homework. Visit your local electronics retailer to check out the color on that plasma screen, or the ease of use for that digital camera. While you're there, ask if they match prices. Best Buy, for example, will offer the same deals as its web site (and those of major competitors) if you bring in a print-out.
When you do buy online from a mom-and-pop retailer, it's best to be the squeaky wheel। Call up before you order and get the details on how your item will be shipped, and whether it will have any extras like padding or shipping insurance.

4. Groceries
If you're the type of shopper who likes to tap the melons, purchasing groceries online may already sound a little dodgy. But the price is the real reason to head to your local supermarket instead of online, says Teri Gault, founder of the Grocery Game, a consumer savings program.
When shopping online, expect to pay a premium for the convenience. You also miss out on the two hallmarks of savvy shopping: store specials and manufacturer's coupons. "You can't use manufacturer's coupons online," says Gault. And there's no way for the store to translate some steals, such as half-price meats and bakery breads at the end of the shopping day. Add in a delivery fee of $4 to $15 and the convenience of shopping online seems a little less handy for your wallet. Here's a breakdown of how much more you might spend online:
Price Comparison*
Grocery Store(Gristedes)
Grocer Web Site(
Cascade dishwasher detergent, 45 oz.
$3.99-0.40 (store sale)-1.00 (coupon)
$3.99-0.40 (store sale)
Colgate Simply White toothpaste, 4.6 oz.
$4.99-1.00 (coupon)
Folger's Classic Roast, 13 oz.
$4.79-1.80 (store sale)
Coca-Cola, 2 liter.
$1.70-0.20 (store sale)
Hunt's Tomato Paste, 29 oz.
Delivery Charge
Subtotal (not including tax)
$13.36($17.76 without coupons)
$23.21($18.66 without coupons or delivery fee)
* Prices from Gristedes, a supermarket chain in New York City.
Getting around it: Despite the higher prices, the appeal of buying online may still be alluring — there's no need to make a grocery list when you're ordering within yards of your pantry। If the convenience outweighs the costs, there are a few ways to cut down your bill. Some virtual supermarkets offer free delivery ( or accept manufacturer's coupons (Peapod and Shop Rite, among others). To weigh your options, see our column Visiting Your Virtual Grocer.

5. Intimate Clothings
No one relishes swimsuit shopping, so the inclination to do it online — without the harsh and unflattering lights of a dressing room — is tempting. But retailers may charge you an additional shipping fee to send items back, as well as restocking fees of up to 15%.
While women have come to expect that finding the right bathing suit will take hours of try-on trial-and-error, buying bras and underwear can be equally tricky. Bra-cup size varies slightly by manufacturer. And many online retailers are (rightly so) finicky about accepting returns for such personal items.
Getting around it: The easiest solution is a little legwork। "Go in the store and try the item on and then buy it online," suggests Kathryn Finney, author of "How to Be a Budget Fashionista." That way, you can take full advantage of stackable online sales and discounts. At Victoria's Secret, for example, you might browse the Summer Clearance (up to 70% off), take $30 off your purchase of $150 or more (code AUG at checkout) and get free shipping (code FA62365 at checkout). Or you might seek out web sites that offer free return shipping. (Some examples include and Bluefly.) Order the item in various sizes, and send back the ones that don't fit.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

**Bin Laden art 'not offensive',22049,22330964-5001021,00.html
Bin Laden art 'not offensive' - The Daily Telegraph,UK
By Elizabeth Fortescue and Heath Aston
August 30, 2007 03:००प्म्

THE artist behind a highly controversial artwork showing a holographic image of Osama bin Laden that morphs into Jesus Christ has claimed she did not mean to be offensive - but readers and leaders are furious.
Labor Leader Kevin Rudd this afternoon backed Prime Minister John Howard's condemnation of the piece and an equally controversial entry in the Blake Prize - Australia's top religious art competition.
Mr Rudd said the painting depicting Jesus and bin Laden is "off in the extreme".
"I accept you know people can have artistic freedom, but I find this painting off, off in the extreme," he added. "I understand how people would be offended by it."
Meanwhile the majority of readers in our poll - follow the link below right - and in our feedback forum below are also disgusted by the bin Laden holograph and a statue of the Virgin Mary shrouded by a Muslim burqa.
Mr Howard said the pieces were insulting and lacked any artistic merit.
"The choice of such artwork is gratuitously offensive to the religious beliefs of many Australians," he said.
He was backed by Premier Morris Iemma, who said the inclusion of the artworks was extremely questionable.
"I haven't seen either of these pieces but from what has been described to me, it's a pity they were not stolen instead of the Dutch masterpiece," Mr Iemma said, referring to the recent theft of a painting from the Art Gallery of NSW.
The artworks are the latest in a string of offensive pieces that have infuriated Christians while their creators hide behind the veil of "art".
However bin Laden artist Priscilla Bracks denied she had deliberately set out to be offensive.
"Absolutely not, no, no. I am not interested in being offensive. I am interested in having a discussion and asking questions about how we think about our world and what we accept and what we don't accept,'' she said.
Read more of her comments this morning by clicking here.
Last night Queensland lawyer Ms Bracks told The Daily Telegraph her double portrait was not meant to compare Jesus with bin Laden, but was a commentary on the way the terror leader was treated in the media.
She was concerned bin Laden would be unintentionally glorified in years to come.
Describing him as a "common criminal", Ms Bracks made the bizarre assertion bin Laden - whose whereabouts are unknown - should be extradited and put on trial.
Sydney artist Luke Sullivan, who created the Virgin Mary piece entitled The Fourth Secret of Fatima, said his work was not meant to be controversial but provocative.
"It poses the question of what's the future of religion," Sullivan said. "They (religions) are hegemonic in their nature. They can be all-encompassing and powerful."
Joining Mr Howard and Mr Iemma in condemning the art was the Australian Christian Lobby, which said placing Jesus in the same piece as Osama bin Laden was "a big mistake".
"Jesus brought a message of love and forgiveness that has nothing to do with terrorism," ACL spokeswoman Glynis Quinlan said. "It's a concerning thing to Christians to have Jesus and Osama bin Laden as part of the one artwork.
"If the artist is trying to portray any similarity, that is a big mistake."
Ms Quinlan questioned whether the artists would have been so bold in using icons of Islam.
The Uniting Church minister who chairs the Blake Society last night defended the pieces.
Reverend Rod Pattenden, who awarded the $15,000 prize to the competition winner in Sydney yesterday, said his mission was to spark debate about spirituality in a world that was "cynical, degraded and in crisis".
Mr Pattenden said he did not expect controversy to result from the exhibition "because the Christian community doesn't look at art a great deal".
He said the Virgin statue embodied "iconic representations of two different religious traditions". "He (Sullivan) is making a comment about gender in a religion dominated by men," Mr Pattenden said.,22049,22330964-5001021,00.html
'offensive' ... the Virgin mary wearing a burqa and (inset bottom) a
holograph of Osama bin Laden that morphs into Jesus (top)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

** Christiane's Nonsense Network

Christiane's Nonsense Network - (CNN)
By Joseph Puder

Cable News Network (CNN) showed America once again why it cannot be trusted to provide fair and balanced reporting. Its Iranian-born chief foreign correspondent –Christiane Amanpour produced and presented a six-hour special entitled “God’s Warriors.” The program aired over the weekend and dealt with the intersection of religion and politics. The first evening featured Judaism, the second dealt with Islam and the last with Christianity.
The overriding impression one gets from watching this six-hour program is that it is a case of pure moral relativism, presented with a secular agenda, and with a particular antipathy towards the Judeo-Christian belief system.
Amanpour’s efforts to convince the American and Western viewing public that Jewish “terrorism” in Israel (those who live in settlements in Judea and Samaria), and Christian “terrorism” (those burning abortion clinics) is basically no different from the terrorism of Hamas, Hezbollah, and al-Qaeda killers is farcical at best.
Nowhere does Amanpour mention the fact that Muslim Palestinians and Lebanese invented the modern version of “suicide bomber” and “aircraft hijacking.” Nor did she provide for the dichotomy that Islam unlike Judaism and modern-Christianity employs jihad as one of its prime tenets.
Jihad for Muslim warriors present and past is not an “inner search,” as Amanpour’s carefully chosen Egyptian Muslim woman interviewee tells us. Rather its meaning has been made crystal clear by members of the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, and Iran’s fanatical Shi’ite clergy whose “constitutions” define jihad as an unrelenting war against the infidels which will not abate until they accept the supremacy of Islam and adopt Shari’a laws.
In dealing with the “Muslim Warriors” Amanpour gave us a “whitewashed” version that defies reality. The leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, who are responsible for inspiring the creation of many extremist Islamic terrorist groups, were presented as benign and sympathetic figures incapable of inciting or perpetrating violence. One must ask why, in the name of balance and fair-play, she did not bother to solicit any views from members of the beleaguered and terrified Egyptian Coptic Christian community on the Muslim Brotherhood?
Amanpour employed hard-nosed, confrontational tactics with the Jewish settlers and at one point stated, “The Jewish settlements inflamed much of the Muslim world.” Amanpour’s injection is totally absurd. While Muslim masses worldwide were inflamed over the Muhammad cartoons in a Danish newspaper, there have been no similar murderous riots over the “Jewish settlements.”
Moreover Amanpour is wrong on the facts. When a Jewish settler argued that Jews have the right to live in Hebron, Amanpour interjected that the “West Bank was designated by the UN to be the part of an Arab state.” Amanpour incorrectly invoked UN Resolution 181, more commonly known as the Partition Plan, the plan that Palestinian Arabs rejected in 1947 thus invalidating the Arab-Palestinian claim and rendering the resolution null and void. (The Palestinians preferred to destroy the nascent Jewish State rather than exercise their right to self-determination). Conversely, the West Bank was included in the area of Jewish settlement under the Balfour Declaration and by Article 6 of the British Mandate. Hebron, it should be noted, is one of the four Holy cities for Jews. Jews had lived in Hebron continuously until the murderous Arab riot in 1929 that killed 67 Jews and forced surviving native Jews to flee, abandoning their properties in the process. This land was reclaimed after the Six Day War.
Presenting Jerusalem as the bone of contention between Muslims and Jews, Amanpour sought out the Mufti of Jerusalem Muhammad Husseini (perhaps a relative of Hitler’s ally and friend Haj Amin al-Husseini – the Mufti of Jerusalem who held sway until the end of WWII) for his views. Husseini told Amanpour, “The Jewish Temple did not exist (on the Temple Mount).” Instead of interviewing a counterpart to the Mufti, someone such as Israel’s former Chief Rabbi Israel Lau, she chose instead to question secular Israelis with little attachment to any religious sites.
Continuing on the issue of Jerusalem, Amanpour told the audience, “Israel captured the Arab part of Jerusalem.” Nowhere did she mention the sacredness of the Jewish Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem (which happens to abut Arab sections of Jerusalem) and the fact that the Arab Legion killed or expelled its residents and destroyed much of what was holy to the Jews. And, she neglects to note that Jerusalem has had a Jewish majority since 1840.
As an example of “Jewish terrorism,” Amanpour cited the Dr. Baruch Goldstein case. Goldstein had witnessed his closest friends being murdered by Palestinian terrorists and went on a crazed rampage killing Palestinian worshippers in Hebron. His actions were widely condemned in Israel by the government, media, and the general public. Compare this act of individual revenge to Palestinian terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians that are encouraged by the Palestinian Authority, blessed in the mosques by the Islamic clergy, praised in the Palestinian media, and supported by the general public. By way of contrast to the Israeli condemnation of Goldstein, Palestinian Arab Muslim suicide bombers and other terrorists are hailed as Shahids or martyrs.
And then from out of left field, Amanpour brings up the Jewish lobby – a subject that has no relevance to religion or religious extremism. Not only did she avoid mentioning the Saudi (Arab) lobby, which is by far the most powerful lobby in America, but she also chose to solicit the opinions of former U.S. President Jimmy Carter (himself a lobbyist for Arab causes), as well as professor Mearsheimer, both known for their controversial anti-Israel positions. Stunningly, no expert contradictory opinion to these two was offered during the six-hour program. It would have been just as easy for Amanpour to pose the same questions to Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz or Professor Fouad Ajami.
In her last segment on “Christian Holy Warriors,” Amanpour’s cynicism surfaced again when she solicited the “learned opinion” of Jimmy Carter who obliged the audience with his pearl of wisdom: “Faith and politics do not mix.” Jimmy Carter was not referring to the Muslim world that indeed does mix mosque and State. He was pointing an accusing finger at evangelical Christians. Unlike many Muslims throughout the world, including those in Europe and the U.S. who would like to impose Sharia laws in the West, few if any American Christians including evangelicals seek to end the wall of separation between church and state in America, or impose Christianity on Mecca and Medina.
Karen Armstrong, a former nun and an apologist for Islam, was frequently used by Amanpour to provide commentary and expert opinion. And, for Karen Armstrong, moral relativitism is her religion – not the Bible. In the end, Iran’s Muslim fanatics are seen as nice human beings no different from “crazy” Evangelical Christians or “terrorist” Jews in the West Bank. They all believe that God is own their side, is the conclusion reached by Armstrong and Amanpour. It might be true that many devout Jews and Christians believe that “God is on their side,” but Amanpour failed to mention that unlike devout Muslims, Jewish and Christian clergy do not order their flock to kill Muslims or others in order to reach paradise. URL:

** France's prospect of Iran airstrikes

France's Sarkozy raises prospect of Iran airstrikes
08.27.07, Israel News

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Monday a diplomatic push by the world's powers to rein in Tehran's nuclear program was the only alternative to "an Iranian bomb or the bombing of Iran."

In his first major foreign policy speech, Sarkozy emphasized his existing foreign policy priorities, such as opposing Turkish membership of the European Union and pushing for a new Mediterranean Union that he hopes will include Ankara.

Global Threat
Iran develops 900-kg ‘smart bomb’ - official media / Reuters
Guided bomb developed by specialists within Islamic Republic’s Defense Ministry and is now operational, IRNA news agency reports, adding it could be dropped from F-4 and F-5 jets
Full story
He also presented some new ideas, such as possibly renewing high-level dialogue with Syria and expanding the Group of Eight industrialized nations to include the biggest developing states.

Sarkozy said a nuclear-armed Iran would be unacceptable and that major powers should continue their policy of incrementally increasing sanctions against Tehran while being open to talks if Iran suspended nuclear activities.

"This initiative is the only one that can enable us to escape an alternative that I say is catastrophic: the Iranian bomb or the bombing of Iran," he said, adding that it was the worst crisis currently facing the world.

Tehran says it only wants to generate electricity but it has yet to convince the world's most powerful countries that it is not secretly pursuing nuclear weapons.

Sarkozy criticized Russia for its dealings on the international stage. "Russia is imposing its return on the world scene by using its assets, notably oil and gas, with a certain brutality," he said.

"When one is a great power, one should not be brutal."

Energy disputes between Russia and neighbors such as Belarus and Ukraine have raised doubts in Europe about Moscow's reliability as a gas exporter. It supplies Europe, via its neighbors, with around a quarter of its gas demands.

Sarkozy had warm words for the United States, saying friendship between the two countries was important. But he said he felt free to disagree with American policies, highlighting what he called a lack of leadership on the environment.

Franco-Syrian dialogue
Breaking with the policy of his predecessor Jacques Chirac, Sarkozy said he was prepared to hold high-level talks with Syria if it backed French efforts aimed at ending the political crisis in Lebanon. "If Damascus committed itself to this path, then the conditions for a Franco-Syrian dialogue would be in place."

But he stuck to his predecessor's stance in demanding that a timeline be drawn up for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq.

Sarkozy said the only option for Turkey's accession talks with the European Union was a form of privileged partnership short of EU membership, and said he wanted a Mediterranean Union to take shape next year.

Turkey has said that project should not be an alternative to Ankara joining the European Union.

Sarkozy proposed setting up a "committee of wise men" to consider the future of Europe, including the Turkish question.

He criticized Beijing's management of its currency, which he says is too low and gives it an unfair advantage on export markets. He said China and other developing powers Mexico, South Africa, Brazil and India should eventually join the Group of Eight (G8) industrialized nations to become the G13. URL:,7340,L-3442638,00.html

** China was aware of problems

China toy group says was aware of problems
By Ben Blanchard and Vivi Lin
Wed Aug 15

BEIJING (Reuters) - China knew about problems with magnets on toys as long ago as March, an industry official said on Wednesday, following a second massive recall of Chinese-made Mattel toys due to hazards from small, powerful magnets.
China has been struggling to convince the world its products are safe after a series of scandals over everything from tainted pet food and drugs to tires, toys and toothpaste.
Mattel Inc., the largest U.S. toy company, recalled millions more Chinese-made toys on Tuesday due to safety risks from the magnets and lead paint and warned it may recall additional products as it steps up testing.
"We knew about the situation, because since March some toys had been recalled due to magnetic parts problems," said an official with the China Toy Association, who declined to be identified.
She did not explain why it had taken so long for something to be done.
The new recall involves 18.2 million magnetic toys globally, including 9.5 million in the United States, with magnets or magnetic parts that can be dislodged.
About 253,000 Pixar Sarge die-cast toy cars with lead paint were also recalled. Lead has been linked to health problems in children, including brain damage.
The China Toy Association would meet the Commerce Ministry and quality watchdog later in the day to discuss the recall, the official said.
The recall will likely only add to U.S. consumer worries about the made-in-China label.
According to a poll last week, nearly two-thirds said they would support a boycott of Chinese goods.
"There is a very kind of widespread sense in America now that there may be something defective with a number of Chinese products," said James Fallows, a lecturer in U.S. foreign policy at Shanghai's Fudan University.
"I think it won't be so big an item in actual government-to-government negotiations, but in terms of normal commerce, it will be a factor."
Last week, China banned two factories from exporting toys following the previous week's high profile recall of Mattel products, including Big Bird and Elmo.
The China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Light Industrial Products and Arts and Crafts, another group which represents toy makers, said it was asking members to publicly sign a pledge to improve quality.
"We feel deep pain at the irresponsible behavior of some companies," it said in the pledge letter.
"We cannot let the actions of a small minority of firms hold back the pace of the march forward of the whole industry, and must use this lesson as an opportunity to raise management standards for everyone," it added.
Companies must not accept orders which are "low priced and with unclear quality demands" nor those which "demand delivery of a large amount of goods in a short space of time and obviously exceed the production capacity of companies," it said.
A statement on the association's Web site ( repeated the standard line that Chinese-made toys were overwhelmingly safe and that the government takes the issue very seriously.
"The Chinese government and industry have all along attached great importance to the issue of toy quality safety, and taken a series of measures such as strengthened authentication," it said.
Of about 300,000 batches for export, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission had only made about 29 recalls, it added. "The general safety level of Chinese toys is worthy of trust," the statement said. URL:;_ylt=Aoy5aUmngpf6AnF5YJIYHNsR.3QA
Related stories below:
Ordering food in Beijing makes me nervous -
Girl Got Infection From Mattel Magnets - AOL News
China's Bluff @

** Beijing Olympics: To boycott Or Not

Beijing Olympics: To boycott Or Not
By Mary Shaw 12 August, 2007
Courtesy: countercurrents

One year from now, the 2008 Summer Olympics will be taking place in Beijing, China. The media have already started covering the preparations and glamorizing the whole affair.
But, hidden away from the eyes of the world, far away from the glitz and the pageantry, is a much uglier side of China - its long and horrible record of human rights abuses.
In a recent press release, Amnesty International (AI) charges that "time is running out for the Chinese government to fulfill its promise of promoting human rights as part of the Olympics legacy." In the same press release, AI cites a number of key human rights areas that it has urged the Chinese authorities to address prior to the Olympics. These include the death penalty, detention without trial, persecution of human rights activists, and restrictions on media freedom (including Internet communication).
To make matters even worse, it appears that increased detentions without trial are being used to "clean up" Beijing in preparation for the Olympic Games. In other words, the Chinese authorities may be using the Games as an excuse for further human rights abuses.
Some people have called for a U.S. boycott of the Olympics. To that end, a resolution has been introduced in the House of Representatives calling for a boycott of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing unless China stops engaging in serious human rights abuses.
At first, a boycott may sound appealing. After all, a boycott by the U.S. would certainly focus a lot of media attention on the reasons behind the boycott. And, if a number of other nations followed suit, the resulting economic and political pressures on Beijing might lead the Chinese authorities to reconsider their policies lest they risk further global isolation.
Upon further analysis, however, a U.S. boycott of the Games could create more problems - for us - than it solves.
First, it could backfire on Wall Street, due to China's growing influence on the U.S. economy. According to a report by the Congressional Research Service, China is now our second-largest trading partner, our fourth-largest export market, and our second-largest source of imports. As the report also points out, "Inexpensive Chinese imports have increased the purchasing power of U.S. consumers. Many U.S. companies have extensive manufacturing operations in China in order to sell their products in the booming Chinese market and to take advantage of low-cost labor for exported goods. China’s purchases of U.S. Treasury securities have funded federal deficits and helped keep U.S. interest rates relatively low." Imagine the effects if China wanted to retaliate for an Olympic boycott.
Second, and more important from a moral standpoint, the U.S. is in no position to point the finger at China with regard to human rights. Yes, China has a horrible human rights record. But our own human rights record has become deeply stained in recent years with Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, and an Attorney General who thinks the Geneva Conventions are "quaint".
Yes, China needs to stop its human rights abuses and change the policies that lead to those abuses. And I hope that people around the world will be raising their voices about it before, during, and after the 2008 Olympics - for as long as it takes.
But for the U.S. to boycott the Games would be the height of hypocrisy, and the world knows it. Until the U.S. cleans up its own act, its criticism of China amounts to nothing more than the pot calling the kettle black.