Encore of Revival: America, July 22, 2019

Washington is all excited because this week Mueller is scheduled to testify, again, about a report he already handed in. If the report had said enough on its own then there would be no need for him to testify, again. Democrats are all excited, but not as excited as Senator Graham, who plans to launch his own investigation investigation.  While Washington is distracted with theatrics of Russians and the “fab four”, a much deeper problem is swelling, one which will not escape Trump’s tenure unchanged: social media.

Social media giants are out of control. One current argument on the table is to make Google’s “index” public.

This “index” is Google’s inside stockpile of information that a “Google search” queries. Right now, it’s on lockdown and no one can access it without going through Google. Making it public would allow anyone to use it—if they know the right code, which code monkeys could learn. And, that’s where the trouble is…

Publicizing Google’s search index would be difficult to prove because it would need a new computer language—or API—to access. What’s to keep Google from making that API language too difficult to use? And, what’s to ensure the same idiots in Washington who tried to ram SOPA & PIPA down everyone’s throats—or wondered if Hillary wiped her server “with a cloth”—would know whether Google is making the API too difficult to use?

It could be done. It would need oversight. It should apply to Yahoo, Microsoft, and any other publicly traded tech giant with a search index. And, it would be a game changer.

According to Bloomberg, Google gets over 90% of all search traffic; Microsoft’s Bing at second place gets under 3%. That’s a lot of power to be in just one place.

While the current thinkers have “thunk” up this as the way to regulate Google under laws governing “public utilities”, there’s another important argument to consider. Google’s search index isn’t an index about Google’s own intellectual property—Google’s search index is an index about private information owned by everyone. So, the real question is whether it should be legal to “index the public”, which is essentially what Google does. If it’s legal to “index the public”, then of course the public should have access to that index, duh.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, February 18, 2019

Google’s negligence with Taiwanese military secrets certainly put Taiwan on the map—and it may list Google among the utilities. Being made into a public utility by force is a mild settlement for de facto espionage.

Taiwanese military tech is also growing. At an expo in Abu Dhabi, Taiwan hopes to sell its own tech to the Middle East; including its own supersonic anti-ship missiles. If China’s tech were so supreme, China would be courting the patronage of Middle Eastern states. Credibility is often in the money.

While trade talks drag on and on—and on and on—even the Leftist press supports President Trump in standing against China. Ah, yes—the one thing China hates about the West most of all: elections. Nothing could guarantee a sitting president’s re-election like a war against the self-polluted giant who ate America’s jobs. America’s ping-pong game of “talk and smack” with China continues. Wait until the US cozies up to Taiwan even more—with the Google spill being a perfect excuse—after the Huawei CFO suspect gets extradited to the US.

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Encore of Revival: America, January 28, 2019

American deadlock trudges on. Trump promised a wall and he won’t back down. Democrats won’t back down either. Both show solidarity with their respective platforms. The only group that seems to favor backing down is Congressional Republicans, who want Trump to get this over with any way possible. For the compromising Republicans on Capitol Hill, Trump’s refusal to sign a “wallless budget” isn’t a “wall” strategy as much as it is a “shut down” strategy. Trump and Congressional Democrats see it differently.

Keep watch; it just might be Jared Kushner who saves the day.

The term “free speech” has taken a new meaning. While speech has kept less and less freedom from the tech bosses, the monetary cost of speaking out has essentially become free. With speech becoming more and more “financially free”, the media industry can’t find a way to stay solvent.

Newspapers and local news broadcasters seek collective ways to work against the tech giants, but they only rearrange their immediate problems with no long-term solutions in sight. The dwindling news industry is attacking “free” platforms of semi-free speech: social media. That’s the clue of where news & information will head in the future.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, September 24, 2018

Google has gone off the deep end. The level of insanity matches The Bridge over the River Kwai. Actually helping China spy—Are Google execs loopy? From a Chinese company inside China that would make sense. But, Google is American. As if helping a non-ally spy isn’t enough, social media giants are already in trouble over censorship in the US. Google could be in bigger trouble with the White House than Wall Street is.

Taiwan hasn’t wasted any time irritating China. Now, a temple that was bought seven years ago by a Taiwanese business man, which was then converted into a “shrine to Chinese communism”, is having the lights and water turned off as the local government prepares to demolish the whole place. That won’t wash over well for anyone hoping to court friendship with China.

China seems to be taking the hint and finally getting offended. Beijing cancelled a trip to talk trade with Washington after figuring out that tariffs were set by imbalance and retaliation rather than rhetoric. As for the two steering factors—imbalance and retaliation—China shows no indication of making concessions. But, it’s not the tariffs or trade talks that deserve the headlines as much as the insults mounting against China.

The US is going after Russia for selling weapons to China. That’s even more irritation. And, China is even more angry. If we were to analyze the events of the past few months, even years more subtly, it could seem that angering China was an accident. But, the recent past makes more sense, just as events are more easily anticipated, if we consider that the US is irritating China on purpose. Expect more insults from the US, along with Taiwan.

And, Korea. Yes, the two nations are getting along. That won’t work well for any nation or pundit hoping to argue that Trump doesn’t know how to make a difference in the region.

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Encore of Revival: America, September 3, 2018

It’s all seen in his funeral. John McCain’s death, more and more, seems destined to symbolize the death of the Washington “establishment”. Put less friendlily, the death of McCain was the death of the swamp. More respectfully, and how things out to be, we mourn the loss of a senator while we move on with our convictions.

The Trump electorate, finally gaining the cooperation of the GOP, is proving more and more to be a valid and clear and enduring majority. They wanted Obama’s health care law repealed; only McCain—from their own political party—stopped them. They wanted to be descent and quiet at the funeral of the man who despised them. John McCain found Sarah Palin, then put her on a leash. She respected him and only spoke respectfully of him, then he put a muzzle on her. Now, he’s dead and she continues to respect him in her silence. Meghan McCain had a right to say whatever she wanted and her words agreed with her father’s sentiment; Trumpists didn’t like her words, but she stayed right on topic. Thank you Meghan. Trump would not attend, but his daughter did, a most appropriate discretion. Trump had more respect in his absence than in Obama’s venomous distraction toward the man who would not crash a funeral. Bush and Biden gave good and respectful speeches, celebrating and mourning him.

The Trump electorate lives on and they are growing in number. Now, with Kevin McCarthy calling an inquisition into the Silicon Valley tech giants, who have harassed the controlling votership for two years, Republicans are moving away from the maverick-moderate tactics of McCain—which did work in his day. Insulting and muffling public expression, including the Declaration of Independence, was a foolish error. If their defense is true—that they “didn’t know”—then they should have at least studied the electorate rather than despised it and known their own history well enough not to flag key words from our nation’s heritage. At least, Silicon Valley is guilty of not caring enough about what they should. They are already paying a punishment through the markets. Now, they will answer to Congress.

McCarthy’s move will energize the base—the one thing that the losing moderates of 2014 feared—the one thing that helps Republicans win elections. The Republican base is energized and we are now no longer looking at a possible and unusual midterm victory for Republicans; we are now looking at a likely and unusual midterm victory for Republicans.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, March 5, 2018

China’s changes include finances as well as politics. As the US unrelentingly inches toward absolute denuclearization of North Korea—one way or another—China delays solidarity at the UN. China has no lack of mixed messages in other areas, such as Taiwan.

Stepping up military drills near Taiwan while becoming more economically friendly to Taiwanese isn’t exactly something that causes democratic voters to fall in love with a nation without elected official term limits. Some Taiwanese will take advantage of the economic favoritism, but those will probably be the kind of companies run by bosses who have a moderately high turnover rate coupled with complaints about overbearing, old school Asian leadership style. When China suddenly changes colors again, they could lose their companies, all depending on what Chinese “national security interest” needs arise with the sun. That will become an unanticipated economic edge to “isolationist” companies that remain in Taiwan and prefer a “flattened-out” administrative structure. Notwithstanding, experts claim it could all backfire.

Then there is Korea and Vietnam. China won’t need to worry about US intervention stealing its customers in North Korea much longer since that customer will soon cease to exist. Calling off a potential meeting between Pyongyang and Washington officials at the Winter Games involved Kim Jong Un’s sister being present. It indicates paranoia; Un is evidently concerned about a coup. He should be. Many of his officials had just jumped decades forward in time travel, also called “crossing the border”, when they saw the life, joy, happiness, technology, and pleasures of the modern world. Top North Korean brass will pine to return and Un’s sister knew they would. Calling off the meeting only alerted the world to Pyongyang feeling threatened.

So much said in a denial. US Congress unanimously passes the “Taiwan Travel Act”, essentially allowing every diplomat even up to Trump and Tsai to meet face-to-face, in public, in celebratory AKA “respectful” conditions. But, the US media—always asking for bipartisanship—doesn’t care to report the passage of the unanimous bill. That means that the bill may actually accomplish something, and that is why China is furious, depending on the occasion of course.

The US sending 5,000 troops to stop in Vietnam for the first time in 40 years should be more disconcerting to China that the passage of any bill or the blockage of any trade ships with North Korea. Of course, China says that they have no interest disturbing the international status quo and they respect other countries, albiet the “Xi Thought” includes, more importantly than removal of term limits, that the entire world is China’s responsibility.

While the West would paint China as a villain, nothing could be farther from the truth. After all, a police officer didn’t even need permission to catch a girl falling from the forth floor. Her grandmother had locked herself outside of her own apartment and the key smith scared the girl into climbing out the window. The police officer caught the girl, both were hospitalized. And, of course, ruling party officials from China made sure to visit and congratulate the officer for such quick thinking.

Then, we have Google and Apple courting more favor with China. Maps and Translate are back, with a China-controlled remix, of course. National security is vital. But, therein lies a cloaked warning. China is already under attack by the West. Soon-to-be non-Communist and united Korea, US-Friendly Vietnam, soldiers waiting to flex their muscles in India, diplomatic visits to Taiwan, not to mention the ever pro-US Japan—China is surrounded.

This is dangerous. All that needs to happen is for China to send out its military like King John’s Crusade, then Apple and Google will have no opposition re-educating China’s population, without soldiers to protect what’s happening at home. It would be best for China to refortify and give Apple and Google the boot, but who is the West to give China any suggestion. The West has money and power, so they clearly don’t understand.

We live in historic times.

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