Time, boys and girls, for yet another myth that stupid conservatives believe:
Liberals believe that guns, in the hands of law-abiding Americans, are more of a threat than U.S. nuclear weapons technology in the hands of Chinese communists.
Not sure what the main point of this one is. There's another stupid myth later about guns and the NRA, so I'll save the gun talk for then. So let's talk about how liberals are apparently in favor of putting nuclear weapons technology into the hands of Chinese communists. The root of this story goes back to a failed missile launch in 1996. At the time, a US company (Loral) had been granted a "waiver" to put a "black box" guidance system on Chinese rockets (for reasons why we would do this, see below). It was one of many routine waivers.
But the rocket crashed and, presumably, the Chinese military were able to then get their hands on the black box and learn something about guidance systems from it (although later reports by various agencies greatly downplayed the significance of this, saying it would have at best a marginal impact, if any, on Chinese technological research). After the crash, trying to help the Chinese troubleshoot the cause, someone from Loral faxed the Chinese some documents which may or may not have contained sensitive information. Note that this was done without the knowledge of *anyone* in the government. The Security Council didn't even find out about the incident until 1998, when Loral was requesting another waiver and the justice department tipped them off that they had been looking into it.
Nutball conservatives are convinced that because Clinton received some campaign contributions from Loral's president, Clinton sold out his principles to allow Loral to consult and/or "sell" technology to the Chinese. Of course, any transfer of sensitive documents that took place did so without Clinton's knowledge or approval, and there was never any "sale" involved. At least, no such accusation was ever formally entered into the record, even by the blowjob-obsessed idiots in the House of Representatives, who were damned well looking for ANYTHING to pin on Clinton. Their actual investigation exhonorated him but criticized the waiver policy in general, but of course the waiver policy was a product of the Reagan and Bush administrations. Oops!
A very brief internet search reveals a bunch of loonies who think Clinton is the devil and wanted the Chinese to kill us all as long as he could get some campaign cash out of the deal, but also a treasure trove of informative articles archived by the Washington post dealing with key events in this story. Here is some important perspective from one of those:
A reconstruction of the administration's handling of the 1998 launch permission ñ technically a "waiver" of prohibitions against some high-technology dealings with China ñ reveals a complicated, and in many ways mundane, picture of a bureaucratic process propelled by a policy forged in the Reagan and Bush administrations.
For the past 10 years, the U.S. government has permitted ñ even encouraged ñ U.S companies to launch commercial satellites atop Chinese rockets. Not only are the Chinese launches cheaper than those of other countries ñ a boost to U.S. industry in a highly competitive business ñ they are seen as facilitating future U.S. commercial entree into other lucrative Chinese markets and, most important for policymakers, as enticing China into a more cooperative relationship on such sensitive issues as nuclear proliferation. [...]
The initial policy decision to allow U.S. satellite makers to launch their products atop Chinese rockets had its roots in the shutdown of the space shuttle program after the 1986 Challenger crash, and the failures of several satellite launches using U.S. rockets. On Sept. 9, 1988, the Reagan administration announced it would reverse policy and allow China to launch American-made commercial satellites within a year.
Before the new policy could be implemented, however, Tiananmen Square happened. After the bloody, June 4, 1989, Chinese crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators, the Bush administration ñ followed by Congress ñ imposed sanctions prohibiting exports to China of weapons as well as hardware and technology that could be used for military purposes. Although the sanctions also prohibited the Chinese launch of U.S.-made commercial satellites, a provision was included for case-by-case waivers if the president determined a launch to be in the national interest.
Bush signed three waivers covering nine separate launches of satellites manufactured by U.S. companies ñ including the Loral-made satellite destroyed in the 1996 crash. Clinton has signed eight waivers covering 11 launches. The waiver process is fairly routine, with negotiations between satellite firms and government agencies often beginning years before a proposed launch.
A quick search of Bob Somerby's Daily Howler archives reveals the incredibly dishonest and rotten way that the right-wing media took hold of this story. Since that's all most of the wingnuts listen to, it is no surprise that they think Clinton is some kind of traitor. Kind of like how the mainstream media is the only thing most Moron Americans listen to, so it is no surprise they think Iraq and Al Qaeda are linked.
And so at the end of the day, it turns out that the claim that Clinton somehow sold nuclear missile technology to the Chinese is completely full of crap. It has been extensively documented, and the accusation thoroughly refuted, both by the bipartisan report of the congressional investigation and by other organizations like the non-partisan Federation of American Scientists, which routinely advises the government about science and technology issues, regardless of which party is in power.
So why do conservatives still accept it as gospel? This takes us to item #4 that you must believe in order to be a good conservative:
Posted by Observer at September 18, 2003 07:02 AM
Every single negative accusation made about Bill and/or Hillary Clinton or anyone associated with that administration is absolutely, positively true. No amount of evidence to the contrary can change that FACT.
Corollary: If any Republican is guilty of any similar accusation (i.e. "lying to the American people", "adultery", "favorable treatment of campaign donors", "too much polling", etc), you must COMPLETELY ignore it and focus ONLY on Clinton. It may help to cover your ears and go: LA LA LA LA LA LA LA...
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