Cadence of Conflict: Asia, May 31, 2021

China is in many crosshairs and Taiwan won’t have water trouble tomorrow. A long drought was going to put limits on TSMC’s chip maker in Taiwan. But, some heavy rain over the weekend and into Monday saved the day. While water rationing has yet to be implemented or delayed at press time, things are looking up, including water levels in Taiwan reservoirs.

Water wasn’t Taiwan’s only problem. A small COVID outbreak has put the nation on partial lockdown. Numbers have slowly been creeping down, but Taipei Mayor Ko is practicing for a level-up in security steps if it became necessary. But, then there is the issue of masks and vaccines.

While Taiwanese face their own trouble, they still donate masks to other countries in need. And, while Taiwan’s government seeks the Pfizer vaccine, the president says China is meddling, making access difficult. Reportedly, China signed some regional distribution rights contract with Pfizer, but unless the vaccine is ordered from Pfizer directly, the vaccine comes with no warranty. Given many recent events, including the undetermined origins of the COVID pneumoniavirus, Taiwan is unlikely to place non-warranted orders for the vaccine through China.

As for verifying any Chinese connection to COVID, China has opposed investigations that would stand to vindicate China. Australia called for an inquiry; China responded with sanctions. Them seem like fightin’ words. Prime Ministers of Australia and New Zealand met over the weekend to discuss this very matter.

China is in many crosshairs, and it took a lot of work to get there. The Chinese probably won’t want to leave any crosshairs anytime soon. But, Western consumers bought from China. So, it was a team effort.

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Encore of Revival: America, March 15, 2021

The Court always rules in favor of the Court. When Chief Justice Roberts dissented against the other eight, he ruled against the court to preserve order in the Court. In this case, the students suing over free speech censorship probably don’t want to allow a private settlement to enable it to happen again. The concern at stake was whether the court can decide a real lawsuit after the basis is settled, but the injured party files suit for $1 anyway. Thomas thinks that $1 makes it real. Roberts doesn’t want judges giving opinions on problems that don’t exist—a judicial practice called “advisory opinion” that expired over 200 years ago. The problem is that this case is real, but it was privately resolved, thus the basis disappeared before the court had opportunity to rule.

The result is that anyone can sue anyone for $1 and SCOTUS could hear the case. That certainly favors the Court’s expanded abilities. The Court always rules in favor of the Court.

Europe isn’t happy about COVID-19 vaccines or the predicted third wave. Americans aren’t happy about how Democratic Governors Whitmer and Cuomo handled the pandemic. If nothing else, someone could sue them each for $1 and a Republican-appointed SCOTUS would get to decide their fates.

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