Cadence of Conflict: Asia, December 9, 2019

Money doesn’t lie; it’s in the airline figures. Cathay is reducing its capacity, largely from loss of demand for flights in and out of China. Hong Kong Airlines is dropping long hauls to and from Australia, the US, and Canada. Clearly, both Chinese nationals and Pacific English speakers have lost confidence in Hong Kong. Hong Kong was special—for tourism, culture, lifestyle, trade, finance, and a slough of other things—all because both Chinese and the English-speaking West had easy and overlapping access. They could meet, they could do business, they could speak their own language, and they could enjoy Chinese culture without the oppression of a Confucian-Communist government. But, neither wants to play ball anymore.

In response to the US ending exports of riot-control weapons and defining autonomy as “being autonomous”, China banned the US Navy from making port stops in Hong Kong. The port stops had been an encouragement to international business, reassuring investors that everything was alright between the US and China. But, apparently China doesn’t want that illusion of reassurance to continue. And, more importantly, China obviously is less fearful of the US Navy making its R&R port calls in Taiwan instead.

Watch for many things to shift to Taiwan. While the first finance leaders in Hong Kong are exiting to Singapore, watch for a swath to relocate in Taipei once Singapore’s galore wears off and finance centers discover the difference in real estate prices and cost of living.

China will still be angry enough to blow a few gaskets when the US Navy does make more port calls in Taiwan, it’s just that they are less fearful of it for the time being. China’s leaders have been had, largely due to their thirst for respect, which blinds their judgement. But, they are incapable of learning, so they are only going to be had more and more.

Read More

Encore of Revival: America, December 9, 2019

This week, we caught a closer glimpse of what the impeachment hearings in the House are truly about: election 2020. Democrats can’t win and they know it. This impeachment is their best chance to lose less of the vote, but it may backfire.

The reason opposition news against Trump doesn’t sway his base is because of what it reveals about actual, normal life. Usually, the president and Congress are portrayed as operating “above” everyone else, never having any problems, or at least that they only have problems that us normal people never have. But, every accusation and difference of opinion reported about Trump reveals that every president—not just he—deals with the same, constant, nonsensical heckling from people at the office that all the rest of us deal with.

Some friends always act like they have a better idea when they actually haven’t a clue. Doing the only thing that can save a company or school always makes people mad—especially if those are the very people who drove problems to the brink of crisis. As movers and shakers shake and move to save the world from idiots who shouldn’t have been put in charge, those idiots refuse to give us a moment’s peace, even when they are close friends and family.

So, you see, Trump deals with the same kind of nonsense that every competent person deals with. We just didn’t know until his adversaries told us so—as if we hadn’t already seen it before.

Read More

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, December 2, 2019

Opinions on Asia aren’t just flying, but swarming the Pacific. Hong Kongers vote against China in an unmistakable slap to Beijing’s face, then Beijing blames the US—because Beijing still thinks that voters only vote how the government tells them to. And, everything is all America’s fault anyway, right?

It took a day of silence for Beijing’s media machine to figure out how to spin the election. Beijing accused Hong Kong’s dissent on violence. But, that doesn’t hold since last week’s election went uninterrupted. Yet, Beijing sticks to the same script.

A commentator predicts that Hong Kongers don’t want independence—even though they already declared independence on October 4. Perhaps Doris Lam’s article on Channel News Asia was an attempt to tell Hong Kongers what they should want. Or, it could have been an attempt to tell Beijing to think that Hong Kongers don’t want what they want. Either way, it is a delusional olive branch in the form of a typical long-worded think piece. There is a growing trend of commentators who make their articles longer when they know that few readers will accept their opinions.

After Trump signs two laws about Hong Kong—one to define an autonomous region as autonomous, the other to stop exporting police tools for riot-control—Beijing calls it “interference”. Then, Trump drops tariffs on China because good ole Benjamin is hard to argue with. Yet, Beijing wants more. Now, as in Chinese business negotiation, China wants to change the deal after everything has been agreed to. They want even lower tariffs in Phase One.

Great Britain wants UN access to Xinjiang.  China wants the world to believe Xinjiang is happy, an Islamic utopia; new documents prove otherwise. China also faces a food shortage, but a good marketing effort is underway for investment in Chinese farming. Stopping any possible abuse of Uyghurs in Xinjiang is interference in Beijing’s opinion, but accepting foreign money to build better farms isn’t. Perhaps Beijing will call it interference if the rest of the world does not invest in Chinese farms.

Taiwan’s election is fast approaching. Though Tsai Ing-Wen, the pro-democracy incumbent president, leads in the polls, many Taiwanese are scared that there are too many voters in the old, beaten-down generation for her to win a second time. Older Taiwanese, like many Chinese, have been so dominated by East Asia’s shame culture that they truly believe that “bigness” always wins and therefore they must vote for politicians who will surrender to China. Younger Taiwanese have seen this older generation get its way so many times, even polls can’t keep them from being scared. But, as John Maynard Keynes said, “Men will not always die quietly.” Few things drive voters to the polls like fear of dying at the hands of politicians who want to surrender. Tsai Ing-Wen is set to win by an even greater margin than she did in her first term—and everyone has something to say about it.

Read More

Encore of Revival: America, December 2, 2019

“Order in the ranks” of military discipline includes that the president is the commander in chief who always gets his way—in the military. Generals and secretaries in the US Armed Forces have zero preference in any disagreement of decision with the president. As commander in chief, the president can overturn any court-martial conviction and fire or dismiss anyone for any reason. This is intended by the Constitution so that the Armed Forces serve the will of the people. The military does not give orders to the democratically elected president. Anyone in the Armed Forces attempting to circumvent a decision of the president should be discharged and possibly prosecuted for mutiny—based on Article 94 (§ 894)(a)(1) of the 2004 Uniform Code of Military Justice definition of Mutiny or Sedition. It is inappropriate for anyone to claim fowl play in the the Navy secretary’s firing.

Kevin Clinesmith from the FBI has been dubbed the title “frontline lawyer”. He reportedly doctored evidence in the FISA spy application as part of the Russianewsgategate scandal. If he was not acting under the explicit direction of his “behind the frontlines” superiors, then the Obama administration’s FBI, including James Comey, had even bigger problems. “Frontline lawyers” at the FBI are supposed to follow instructions of the director, otherwise the director is AWOL.

As impeachment moves forward, Democrats seal their fate. They’ve already gone too far. Whether the House votes to impeach, Democrats lose popularity. Either they let down their base or they anger everyone Right of staunch Democratic voters with unnecessary drama. Two unanswered questions remain: Will they choose to lose votes by impeaching or lose votes by not impeaching? And, more mysteriously, are they secretly trying to help President Trump or are have they been operating on kook-directed autopilot so long that they are no longer capable of knowing where they are headed?

The biggest danger Donald Trump always posed was that he would do too well and thus give Republicans a supermajority they couldn’t have earned on their own. No one seems to be helping that effort as much as House Democrats. Fortunately for the country, the ever-less-so silent majority doesn’t make political decisions on autopilot. And, that majority is growing larger.

Read More

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, November 25, 2019

Hong Kong’s election results from yesterday have confirmed the general public’s view: Hong Kongers reject China’s actions. Not that it will make a difference—elected officials don’t hold a majority in Hong Kong’s legislative process. But, pro-Beijing officials were voted-out, replaced with pro-democracy candidates who campaigned on “5-demands”. There had been speculation as to how much Hong Kongers supported the “5-demand” protests; this morning there is no doubt. Taiwan, the US, and the UK generally oppose the manner of Chinese expansion; this morning we know Hong Kong does too.

It was always easy to see why.

When the US Senate unanimously passed its own version of a bill that would annually evaluate whether Hong Kong was autonomous enough for it to be treated autonomously, China went berserk and accused the US of interfering. When Hong Kong’s High Court overturned Hong Kong’s recent ban on masks, Beijing rebuked the court, thereby proving that Beijing believes Hong Kong is not a separate jurisdiction from the rest of China. Apparently, Beijing thinks Hong Kong should have its government utterly determined by Beijing, but should be treated as if the opposite were true. In America we call this “wanting to have your cake and eat it too”; in China it’s called “Communism”.

US Congress has sweeping bipartisan agreement to determine what the US does in its foreign relations. The US decides whether to sell riot gear to another country. China calls this “interference”; in America that’s called “blame-shifting”. Albeit, China has been illegally interfering in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and even working to undermine Australia’s government, according to a Chinese Communist spy who recently defected Down Under. $200M USD to thwart Taiwan’s election—and China thinks the US is meddling by not selling rubber bullets to Hong Kong police. It’s no wonder yesterday’s election turned out as it did.

Several students holed up in Polytechnic University in Hung Hom tried to walk out, but police chased them back in with tear gas—purportedly because they wanted the students to leave. That was a few days before the US Senate passed its bill about Hong Kong’s autonomy being defined by autonomy. While the intentions of the police seem to be contradictory, there is a greater danger Hong Kong’s government is blind to.

While under siege and later trying to escape, the students and countless new protestors who joined the cause because of the police response, have learned new skills. They are gaining practice at launching Molotov cocktails, shooting police officers with old fashion archery, rappelling in free air, organizing supply and movement lines, along with other aspects of urban guerilla resistance that neither Hong Kong’s police nor China’s PLA are trained for. Carrie Lam has turned these now three plus million protestors into one of the most formidable military forces in Asia, if not the most per capita.

A civilian military is necessary for any nation’s independence. Before these protests, Hong Kong never met that unwritten-yet-real requirement. Since Carrie Lam made the decisions that she did, now Hong Kong has a different truth. As relevant and telling as yesterday’s election was, the more important election is coming in March, when Hong Kong’s October 4 Declaration of Independence scheduled its provisional election. With a now-experienced civilian militia, Hong Kong has all the pieces it needs for a successful revolution. That should not be ignored, but it is.

Read More

Encore of Revival: America, November 25, 2019

Calling on a foreign government to investigate its own dubious dealings with dubious Americans isn’t criminal. Not all political rivalries are trivial. The Bidens should be the political enemy of anyone honest. Trump should be praised for his call to the Ukraine, not impeached. But, it looks like impeachment is where the Democratic train is headed and there is no getting off.

Formally impeaching the president will irritate the American public into voting even more Republican in the next election than already was going to happen. And, it will give subpoena power to Republicans in the Senate. Somehow, Democrats in Washington think that is a victory. But, then Democrats and their most loyal voters have always evaluated by methods rather than results. We shouldn’t expect that to change. No matter how much the results hurt, Leftist thinking is generally numb to results.

While the impeachment saga trudges on toward a Republican supermajority, the DOJ continues to pursue criminal charges against the Russianewsgategate coup attempt of 2016. Eventually, that could implicate Schiff.

The world faces a transformative crisis. From defecting Chinese Communists to Hong Kong’s autonomy to Taiwan’s independence to US impeachment, all the way to Brexit—nations are soul-searching and wrestling with their demons. This is not any result of political “strategery”; it is the result of a praying Church. That worldwide, unofficial Church will only continue to grow and pray more transformation into being.

Read More