Cadence of Conflict: Asia, November 18, 2019

America and China are getting fed up with China and America being fed up with each other. Americans tried patience and negotiations; that didn’t work. China hid its agenda for global domination, denouncing so-called “interference” except when China did the interfering. Now, China’s true colors are showing and it looks like a lot of debt. Municipalities and local governments are buried in debt, which is eating at China’s central economy like Asian ants on a morning worm.

Amid riots and threats, encroachments by police on university campuses and by China upon Hong Kong rule, the primary issue in Hong Kong is the upcoming revolution election in March. On October 4, Hong Kongers declared the current government already nullified and that interim government elections would take place in March. That election is not the primary concern for most reports coming out of Hong Kong, if it gets mentioned at all. But, that election should be the primary concern of China, the United States, and the current—and denounced—Hong Kong government. Perhaps those upcoming elections have not been taken seriously, and, if so, that would be perhaps the most serious miscalculation.

But, rather than carefully calculating the right way forward, China is more concerned with optics—not with causing good optics, but with countering bad optics with more mere optics.

The same Plague from the Black Death has re-emerged in China’s Inner Mongolia province. Historically, whether in 541, 1347, or 1894, the Plague always had its origins in the Far East. Rather than promptly confronting the source, the Chinese are basically doing what the San Francisco government did in the early 1900s: covering it up.

Even Chinese soldiers play the optics game. Chinese Communist PLA soldiers are not allowed to leave their garrisons in Hong Kong without a formal request from Hong Kong’s government. But, they did anyway—to clear streets blocked by protestors. They didn’t clash with protestors, they simply picked up stuff in the street, mostly bricks. They weren’t armed nor did they wear fatigues; they wore running shorts and OD-green T-shirts, the same that they exercise in on a daily basis. But, they weren’t invited by the Hong Kong government. As a result, their presence was technically illegal, though seemingly helpful in the minds of some residents who want to drive down the street.

Interestingly, the unarmed, seemingly-harmless soldiers were accompanied by cameras; it was a publicity stunt. Voices in the British Commonwealth are especially concerned because this beautiful, warm, kindhearted photo-op sets a precedent of PLA soldiers breaching Hong Kong illegally. Chinese thinking puts logic before law, which feels like justice at first, but then operates with no standard of conduct, deciding right and wrong from one moment to the next. In other words, Beijing thinks that China’s soldiers must not enter Hong Kong uninvited—unless they want to.

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Encore of Revival: America, November 18, 2019

The trade war with China has hurt American farmers—just as a year of bad weather also hurt American farmers. Notwithstanding questions of why Americans chose to become dependent on Communists as their customer, the larger culprit should be large corporations competing against small farmers, seeking a de facto monopoly. Bigness is set against the small guy in America. Trump’s trade war sees the biggest competitor of any American business as the Chinese Communist government itself—since the Chinese government financially supports companies competing against non-government companies in America.

This is a recipe for war. Rather than hating Trump, farmers will blame the Chinese and support the coming war that the fake trade war was meant to lead up to all along. Secretary of State Pompeo certainly is ready.

Few things re-elect presidents like a widely-supported war. Washington Democrats are not playing to win the next election; they are playing for employment. They know that they can’t win the presidency or the Senate in 2020 and will most likely lose the House. Everything they have done in 2019, and are continuing to do through this next election, is designed to keep their voters preoccupied and distracted from the approaching failure.

If the Democratic electorate stays singularly focused on victories that will never happen, then enough of them will go to the polls to keep the majority of current Democrats in Washington employed, but Democrats will no longer be the majority in Washington. The entire assault against Trump is a shear distraction, designed by Democratic politicians to dupe their own base into marching toward utter failure so they can keep some of their seats on Capitol Hill.

The most recent episode of Russianewsgategate is a glaring example. Marie Yovanovitch, an Obama-appointed ambassador, was working as if still for Obama even though Trump was president. The Ukraine president didn’t like it. She was rightfully fired. Disgruntled, now it’s her moment of payback—as a witness in matters she had nothing to do with. The House hearings on Trump are a mere show trial. Don’t expect the electorate to respond any differently—those who enjoy the show will keep their plans to vote against Trump and those who don’t like the show will vote for him.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, November 11, 2019

Hong Kong has presented the world with the ethical question of confronting bullies. Say there is a bully at school who quietly eats whosever lunch he wants, stealing anyone’s homework he wants, until one day someone says something and the bully gets violent. In theory, most people agree that the bully started it. But in practice, when it comes time to stand up to the bullies of life, even the biggest Braveheart fans place the blame for the fight on the one who had the conscience to stand up to the bully. So, are Hong Kong protestors to blame for not going along to get along while China quietly violates its treaty with the UK, denies human rights, and refuses to regulate police conduct?

China says restoring social order in Hong Kong is the “most pressing issue”, but obviously not as important as destroying anything that stands in the way of Chinese Communist hegemony.

In a double-standard, Taiwan is having to adjust its laws to deal with Chinese interference. The CCP is paying news outlets to spread its propaganda in Taiwan. It got caught having a fake news site and is now resorting to outsourcing. The Taiwanese don’t think that publishing what China tells someone to publish is “free speech”.

Xi Jinping’s decision to keep Carrie Lam as CEO of Hong Kong only makes sense, notwithstanding it proves interference by pure definition. The Chinese Communist Party would never dispose of such an efficient creator of chaos. Chaos is always the first phase of the CCP taking over a resistant people; the second phase is to send in the military and—well, do what China’s military does so well. While the Western press explains keeping Carrie as a way to avoid opening a can of worms, the Chinese have much more sinister intentions as history proves.

More crud hit the fan this week, over and over, again and again, evermore. A college student not connected with a nearby protest tried to escape a parking lot just after police fired tear gas, then fell to his death. As expected, police denied any wrongdoing.

A woman rumored to be only 16 years old passed a police station Tsuen Wan where she claims to have been ordered inside, then gang raped by four masked men. Meeting some of the criteria of a rape victim, she found she was pregnant a few weeks after the incident, the young woman was reportedly suffering from depression, and had an abortion last Thursday. The investigation is ongoing, but, in the current atmosphere, police have done little elsewhere to stop such stories from being believable.

Over the weekend, police arrested six lawmakers who effectively filibustered Carrie Lam’s annual report back in May. Six reporters wore Chinese letters on hardhats at a police press conference, spelling a Cantonese request to investigate police. This was in response to two reporters having been arrested. The police department sent formal objection letters to the six reporters’ press agencies. Lawmakers and journalists should be immune to such arrests in order to prevent political interference. But, Hong Kong police no longer wear ID tags on their uniforms, and China says the unrest in Hong Kong started because police don’t have enough power.

Western foreigners visiting Hong Kong have started to join protests. It’s arguably bad form, though it indicates that the world feels a sense of solidarity in standing up to China’s bullying anywhere and everywhere it happens. China sees it as proof of interference while the West sees it as successful marketing from the Hong Kong protesters. The problem with China’s “interference proof” argument is that foreign attendees after the fact do not prove any causality before the fact. But, when being a mouthpiece rather than a think tank has been the habit for so long, Chinese wouldn’t understand the difference.

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Encore of Revival: America, November 11, 2019

Scandal after scandal, controversy after controversy—America is divided over ideas. For many, their solution is to talk, argue, theorize, analyze, and strategize. While their constant clucking reaches ears outside the hen house, other people in Washington are actually doing something.

The DOJ is pursuing a genuine criminal investigation of the FBI’s role with what has become the Russianewsgategate scandal. It started with an accusation about Russia based on the news rather than evidence, then they tried to make it into a scandal, then the fake scandal became a scandal. Now, Comey and Brennan could be looking at jail time, even treason, in an attempted coup.

Typically, Washington Congressional hearings carry clout and intimidation. The political puppets line up around the room on an elevated bench and look down on the witness giving testimony. Behind the witness is a packed crowd with standing room only. That’s how confirmation hearings and impeachment hearings and other televised hearings go. That was ENRON, General Motors, Condi Rice, Olly North, Brett Kavanaugh, Clarence Thomas, even John Kerry’s testimony about Vietnam before he was a Senator. It’s scary, even spooky, but that’s about it.

Lights, camera, action! Congressional hearings are a show designed to stir the pot of voters. As Americans grow bored with the news, Congressional theater is losing whatever power it might have wielded. So, while the actors, performers, and thespians give their show on Capitol Hill, the DOJ is actually doing something substantive. Attorney General William Barr isn’t putting on any kind of show trial. This is serious. And, it’s moving forward at the speed of law. And, perhaps for the first time, the usual performers will need to lawyer-up.

It doesn’t matter so much what people say; it matters what people do. America is divided over ideas. The biggest source of division is whether to perform or whether to actually do something real. Another performance will probably be their defense.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, October 28, 2019

China is playing a dark game with Taiwan over the murder suspect in the case that sparked the spark of the Hong Kong liberation protests. A young man from Hong Kong traveled to Taiwan with his girlfriend where he murdered her, then returned to Hong Kong. Because China plays politics with Taiwan, Beijing refused every channel of cooperation with Taipei to bring the suspect to justice. The only way Beijing would allow the arrested suspect to be transferred to Taiwan for prosecution is with a sweeping extradition bill that would allow any Chinese court to demand the extradition of anyone in Hong Kong to China.

Now, Hong Kong has released the suspect, arguing that a criminal is on the loose in Hong Kong because Taiwan won’t accept Chinese dictated rule.

We are witnessing the faceoff of Chinese Confucianism vs Western Christendom, a conflict which has been brewing for two thousand years. This is happening in our day. Many in the West said that Confucian Shame cannot be overcome, even with the Christian message of forgiveness and reconciliation. Others have said that nothing can ever stop China because big countries always win. All of these claims are about to be tested and proven wrong. Hard times lie ahead, but not all hardship ends badly.

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Encore of Revival: America, October 28, 2019

People must rise up for freedom on their own. Protestors in Hong Kong have stood up for their own freedom; the same should be expected of the Kurds in Syria. If they face persecution, offer asylum or refugee status. There could be a political solution or a referendum that must be honored, like the referendum in Crimea. But, don’t fight someone else’s freedom war for them. Freedom cannot be bestowed, only fought for and defended by the freed folk themselves.

Democrats seeking impeachment without a vote first sets a precedent for Republicans to more easily oust a Democratic president in the future. Many Democrat-driven laws initially meant to curb Republicans came back to bite Democrats when it was their turn to follow their own new laws. A no-vote impeachment proceeding could also impede Congressional ability to enforce subpoenas against another branch of government or to continue to hold hearings in the basement SCIF.

America faces a Constitutional crisis on two fronts: first, impeachment, subpoenas, no official impeachment vote, and whether a Supreme Justice who offered political comments about the President can preside over a trial in the Senate; second, California’s legal authority to enter into an international treaty apart from the Federal Government. By joining the “carbon credits” cult with Canada, California engaged in the kind of international negotiations that the Constitution explicitly prohibits in Article II Section 2 Clause 2, which made the Constitution different from its predecessor, the Articles of Confederation. While California focused on the environment more than the Constitution, it left kindling unattended throughout forests now on fire. Trump warned about the uncollected kindling wood and leaves in the forests of California over one year ago and is suing California for its carbon credit agreement with Canada.

We are in conflict. The nation is in conflict. There are two Americas today, just as there were two types of Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower. The battle in our divided nation rages hotter than California’s fires. Stewardship of the economy, national security, and the environment can all play well with rule of law. Whoever understands that the best will come out ahead in this great American conflict.

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