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Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? 370

theodp writes to mention a C|Net article about Chinese President Hu Jintao's historic first visit to the U.S.. The catch is that his first dinner won't be at the White House. It will be at Bill Gates' manse. From the article: "The approximately 100-person guest list is a who's who of the U.S. Pacific Northwest power elite, including Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz and Washington state Gov. Christine Gregoire, said event organizers. The guests will undergo strict security checks before entering Gates' lodge-style, 66,000-square-foot home overlooking Lake Washington with a reported seven bedrooms, six kitchens, 24 bathrooms, a domed library, a reception hall and an artificial estuary stocked with salmon and trout. Gates and Gregoire are expected to introduce and welcome Hu, who will then offer a toast in front of the gathering."
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Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?

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  • by Infernal Device ( 865066 ) on Saturday April 15, 2006 @11:22PM (#15136544)
    Given what they're probably going to discuss (opening markets, etc.), Gates and the NPE (Northwest Power Elite) are probably more relevant than the President, since they've got all the money.
  • Figures (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 15, 2006 @11:24PM (#15136551)
    China's system of statist capitalism is neatly breaking new ground in erasing the dividing line between what it means to rule a country and what it means to own a country. Someone like Bill Gates or Rupert Murdoch probably more correctly approximates the role of the Chinese President at this point than George W. Bush does.
  • by pHatidic ( 163975 ) on Saturday April 15, 2006 @11:24PM (#15136552)
    Doesn't anyone have values anymore? I'm not against all consumption, or even against all conspicuous consumption, but when it gets to the point where there's no longer even any pretext I think it shows a lack of character.
  • Animal Farm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by twitter ( 104583 ) on Saturday April 15, 2006 @11:46PM (#15136638) Homepage Journal
    It's hard to tell who should be more ashamed of this meeting, but a brief quote from Animal Farm [] is appropriate:

    "Gentlemen," concluded Napoleon, "I will give you the same toast as before, but in a different form. Fill your glasses to the brim. Gentlemen, here is my toast: To the prosperity of The Manor Farm! "

    There was the same hearty cheering as before, and the mugs were emptied to the dregs. But as the animals outside gazed at the scene, it seemed to them that some strange thing was happening. What was it that had altered in the faces of the pigs? Clover's old dim eyes flitted from one face to another. Some of them had five chins, some had four, some had three. But what was it that seemed to be melting and changing? Then, the applause having come to an end, the company took up their cards and continued the game that had been interrupted, and the animals crept silently away.

    But they had not gone twenty yards when they stopped short. An uproar of voices was coming from the farmhouse. They rushed back and looked through the window again. Yes, a violent quarrel was in progress. There were shoutings, bangings on the table, sharp suspicious glances, furious denials. The source of the trouble appeared to be that Napoleon and Mr. Pilkington had each played an ace of spades simultaneously.

    Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

    Forty years ago, Nixon invented the policy of engagement to balance the dangerous Soviet Union against an equal dangerous but hungry Communist China.

    Ten years ago, with the Soviet menace defeated, Bill Clinton invented the complete sell out. Slave made goods have flowed into out country, jobs and money have flowed out. Parallel to this was born the myth of the "information economy" where the US would own ideas and the rest of the world would do our bidding because of it. Of course, for this ownership to be complete, it must apply to our own citizens. To enslave others, we must first prove our dedication to ruling by enslaving ourselves.

    You can draw a straight line to today, with the DMCA, Patriot act and rampant domestic spying from a tremendously expanded federal government. As the rich and powerful gateher in Redmond, ask yourself where the rhetoric of freedom has gone and why your boss is dining with a Communist. What in the hell are we doing?

  • by 7of7 ( 956694 ) on Sunday April 16, 2006 @12:02AM (#15136709) Journal
    If you'll look, after the mess in Tiananmen in 1989 ests_of_1989 [] the Chinese government basically said something to the effect of "ok, you know we'll kill you if you embarass us again like that" and that they were going to turn the country capitalist in the sense that foreign companies could do whatever they want and they decided to invest heavily in technology and modernization. Their bread and circuses decision has lead China to be one of the fastest growing economies in the world if not the fastest. There were sweeping reforms economically that took place while the political landscape remained as barren as before. True communists they are not in any sense.
  • by Anpheus ( 908711 ) on Sunday April 16, 2006 @12:12AM (#15136742)
    Somehow, I don't see Bill Gates being a big contributor to George Bush.
  • by Dis*abstraction ( 967890 ) on Sunday April 16, 2006 @12:12AM (#15136745)
    Nowadays the government calls it "socialism with Chinese characteristics," not because they think they're fooling anyone, but as a pretense to legitimacy. Socialism is being redefined as something roughly along the lines of Nordic-style welfare capitalism. It's not even clear that the burgeoning urban bourgeoisie would care if the Party apparatus were to repudiate socialism once and for all.

    Certainly we should petition for greater freedoms in mainland China and in particular for the rights of imprisoned [] journalists, political opponents, and religious leaders. Still, considering how terribly China's citizens suffered under previous incarnations (Mao) of the present post-Tiananmen regime, I'm optimistic for the future. I believe the Party will continue on its path of liberalization as a younger, more cosmopolitan generation of Oxford- and Columbia-educated Chinese accedes to power. Who needs revolution, after all, when you can build democracy from within?
  • by naaaaak ( 873640 ) on Sunday April 16, 2006 @12:47AM (#15136839)
    From s/2010-1071_3-5576230.html []:
    When CNET asked Bill Gates about software patents, he shifted the subject to "intellectual property," blurring the issue with various other laws. Then he said anyone who won't give blanket support to all these laws is a communist.
    And now he invites a communist to his house. In the words of Lucille Bluth from Arrested Development, "How the worm has turned."
  • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Sunday April 16, 2006 @01:21AM (#15136939) Journal
    It is time for a good political rant. Big business is too powerful and interfering in international relations to a frightening extent.

    Most innovation and growth comes from small and medium companies. Large companies exaggerate the power of economies of scale because being nimble is more important in a fast changing world. Big biz survives by bullying smaller companies, not by doing the job better or being more efficient. Anybody who has worked for a big company knows that they are inharently disfunctional.

    American car companies didn't grow bloated and slow because of lack of foreign competition, but because of a lack of domestic competition, ei. smaller but more car companies. Japan's auto makers grew competitive because Japan had about 12 car companies before going overseas.

    Big businesses should be split, or at least mergers above a certain size should curtailed. Most mergers result in a net loss of profits. The only reason they still happen is because of a select few who make big bucks off such deals and the ego power of being big.
  • Re:geek pres (Score:1, Insightful)

    by MonsoonDawn ( 795807 ) on Sunday April 16, 2006 @01:44AM (#15137018) Homepage
    Hu Jintao is the president of one of the most repressive and least humane governments on the planet. There is NOTHING about this man worthy of admiration.
  • by alphakappa ( 687189 ) on Sunday April 16, 2006 @02:58AM (#15137166) Homepage
    The Indian prez (Dr. Abdul Kalam []) is a rocket scientist while the prime minister (Dr Manmohan Singh []) is a PhD in economics from Oxford.
  • by the_duke_of_hazzard ( 603473 ) on Sunday April 16, 2006 @06:21AM (#15137545)
    Erm... that's the past too... have you not studied history?
  • by Vadim Makarov ( 529622 ) <> on Sunday April 16, 2006 @09:24AM (#15137745) Homepage
    I'm a Russian who has lived in Norway for six years. Judging on propaganda's definition I recall from Soviet days, those Nordic bastards have built communism.
  • by Damek ( 515688 ) <adam.damek@org> on Sunday April 16, 2006 @09:59AM (#15137830) Homepage
    Kudos, you wrote the most useful, relevant, important post in this whole thread.

    Related to that, everyone, and I mean everyone - liberal & conservative alike (including libertarians ;) ...should read Myths of Free Trade [] and learn something real about our relationship with China and the rest of the world.
  • Free markets (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SonicSpike ( 242293 ) on Sunday April 16, 2006 @11:01AM (#15138029) Journal
    See, the beauty is that under free markets businesses that can't turn a profit, or corrupt the market, will collapse under their own weight eventually.

    Legislation and governmental action is not needed unless that specific entity has been playing unfairly by being anti-competitive or predatorial.

    I agree that smaller companies tend to be more innovative, but larger companies have their place as well. Large companies allow for mass production, thus lower costs and more savings to the end consumer. This means they are (usually) a more efficient producer in the marketplace.

    American car companies grew bloated and slow for two reasons. The first was due to union stagnation. The second was because the US DOT heavily regulates the auto industry thus creating a higher barrier to entry and effectively limiting competition.

    And about regulation, big business LIKES big government. Think about it. When the government has the power to regulate the market, it creates regulations, red tape, legislation, and other obstacles that smaller and medium sized businesses cannot afford to participate in. Think drug companies. It takes over $1 BILLION (USD) to release a new drug, most of which is due to FDA regs. Thus, the only people who can participate are larger companies with deeper pockets; smaller firms are excluded.

    And you are wrong about how big business survives. Some survive on their own free-market merits. Others however, and this is unfortunately becoming more and more common, survive to due influence in legislation and a bloated far-reaching government.

    If the US government were limited and allowed the free-market to naturally self-regulate, like the US Constitution originally set forth, we would all be in a better situation now.
  • by Ucklak ( 755284 ) on Sunday April 16, 2006 @12:09PM (#15138276)
    You don't start with 3-400K. You start (at least in my case, $0). I used to have to sneak around in office complexes to sleep and clean up in the bathrooms, hiding from security guards, etc... in my adulthood beginnings.

    I'm not against social services to a point. At the cost of inflating government, I'm against it. You just can't give out handouts because people will expect them and rely on them. People have to - absolutely have to - learn how to fish on their own.
    I want better things in life and I am willing to do what it takes to get there. Plenty of people (a relative I have) have a sense of entitlement, spend their money on negative assets then complain how expensive everything is, and continue to not have anything.

    You have to start some somewhere. Saving for your first $300K starts with your first quarter that you don't put in the candy machine/video game.
  • by be-fan ( 61476 ) on Sunday April 16, 2006 @04:50PM (#15139444)
    Gates, Harvard undergraduate dropout. GDub, Yale BA, Harvard MBA. Who is the intellectual?

    MBA's aren't intellectuals. The intelligence required to get an MBA, even somewhere like Harvard, is a fraction of the intelligence required to get into Harvard as a technical major. Given that Gates has shown both far more intellectual capacity than Bush, technically, as well as having been orders of magnitude more successful as a businessman, I find your point to be positively silly.

    If you call opposing the creation of a race of subhumans bread only for their stem cells to be anti-intellectual then I hope we have more of it. You are intellectually dishonest.

    Who exactly is proposing creating a race of subhumans breed for their stem cells? Do you have a good grasp on how the technology works? The stem cells come from disposed fetuses (which are about as human as a piece of steak), and it is the cells that are cultured, not the fetuses.

User hostile.