Symphony

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, December 2, 2019

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJDDexe-URI

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.

continue reading

Standard
Symphony

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, November 18, 2019

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgBxpk0zjRA

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.

continue reading

Standard
Symphony

Encore of Revival: America, October 21, 2019

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KuG1KwVzUeo

Trump is set to redefine historical trends. Every thumbscrew play from the political playbook has been tried on him and every single one has failed except the impeachment in progress, which hasn't failed or succeeded yet. The very impeachment process will only boost his support as already seen in Texas. It's all based on results.

Trump supporters and Conservatives—not necessarily one in the same—respond to and respond with results.

Divisions are solidifying along every line—religion, politics, social justice wars. Two people with opposing views can't reason with each other. Those on the Conservative side tend to be quiet and work and vote. Those on the Liberal side are loud and make anyone who dissents regret it.

The more these divisions and assaults build, the more we see rhetoric face off against results. Loud Liberals in America think they identify with the protesters in Hong Kong. But, it's not being outspoken that makes a protest work, it's the resolve to be left alone.

Many Conservatives would be glad to lift laws that make life difficult for the LGBTQ community. But, the social justice war now seeks to punish people for pronouns. That social justice war will likely lead to a backlash from the Conservatives who could eventually place more restrictions on the LGBTQ community than ever before. Overplaying is a danger for everyone. But, no one can be reasoned with these days.

With Senator Romney pushing against the president in his own party, a president popular among Conservatives and many Democrats, he could be paving the way for a third party two presidents after Trump.

continue reading

Standard
Symphony

Encore of Revival: America, August 19, 2019

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4_OWHRKUEM

The nation is polarizing even more. The anti-Israel sentiment from some members of Congress is only one part. The Russianewsgategate scandal surfaces more evidence every day, but no one changes heart or mind on the matter. Portland protests have the same non-effect on persuading people to change sides, only mobilizing everyone.

Chris Cuomo is grossly annoyed by Limbaugh's nickname for him. Perhaps he thinks he's the only one allowed to get offended. Senator Lindsey "Gramnesty" wore his like a badge of honor and Andrea "Tarantula" Tantaros welcomed Rush as a guest on her show to explain the good humor of it all. At this point, it's unlikely Rush will be able to grace the ratings of Chris, who seems to be the only one with a nickname the rest of us aren't allowed to use.

While protests and extreme voices raise their volume, the only thing provoking people to switch sides are Liberals in the spotlight. It's not all—neither those in the spotlight or those switching sides. But, some of the dumber and loudest among the Left have made themselves such an embarrassment that many social-minded voters are starting to think that they will get more social justice from the Right.

The election has always been and remains in Trump's favor. China will lose the trade war, as well as the other war it was always going to instigate. Gun laws and abortion laws will strengthen in both directions. While the Right seems to have the advantage for now, neither Right nor Left has any clear path towards domination, only further polarity. There's no stopping it. Buckle up, grab your popcorn, and stay safe.

continue reading

Standard
Symphony

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, June 10, 2019

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9LmAmHTuDbE

Chinese rhetoric spiked over recent weeks. They made threats. Trump made threats. They made more threats. Trump and Xi are BFF, just like Xi and Putin, but Xi and Putin are BFF-er. Now, we move toward quiet action. If China stops exporting "rare earth metals" to the US, the US would simply get them from somewhere else. "Rare" means many countries can get them, but few actually do because China does it so much.

The US is selling several tanks and tank-buster rockets to Taiwan. Beijing isn't happy—about the $2 Billion in weapons sales to Taiwan, but also because of the people who publicly express memory of what happened 30 years ago at Tienanmen Square.

Around the time Taiwan's primaries finish, the US launches its first Ford-class carrier in October, larger than a Nimitz. It still has a year of training and won't be commissioned until 2022.

continue reading

Standard
Symphony

Encore of Revival: America, May 27, 2019

The dark forces that have commandeered the party Andrew Jackson started are on full display. Investigation findings are being released that will purportedly prove use of politically-neutral government institutions to investigate political opponents.

In terms of pre-election analysis, Republicans win by energizing the base. Nothing will energize the Republican base like the declassification about to drop onto the other end of what Mueller was investigating, except one thing. War with China is coming.

Censorship is having a blossom effect and it is difficult to know how it will end, other than to know that public utility status is coming for any company deemed to be a social media giant. Radicals don't exist on any single end of political spectrums. When one radical end calls for censorship of the entire half of the other spectrum, boomerang and escalation effects soon kick in. But, the call for censorship from the ever self-radicalizing Left was so extreme in degree and scope, it made a monster that couldn't not grow beyond the control of its mad creator. Now, it isn't as predictable as a boomerang nor does it escalate in nice, even, measured steps.

The wars of China and Mueller are much easier to predict than the zombie war created by censorship.

continue reading

Standard
Symphony

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, May 13, 2019

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9jmNHc2RqM

Trump knew the Chinese all along, all too well. The "trade war" never risked creating a real war; the "trade war" was a ploy the whole time—part of an elaborate scheme to provoke the Chinese into striking too soon. He says talks are going well with China—he can't not say that. China is indeed willing to have another talk. Trump announced tariff hikes and they still showed up. That's not exactly bad on the part of the Chinese.

Trade might never go well, but the talks certainly are for now. When has talk in politics ever looked bad?

But, don't make the mistake of thinking for even one second that negotiations aren't going exactly as Washington planned, whether with China or North Korea. The US provoked Japan through trade wars and embargoes leading up to WWII. This isn't just a strategy, it's a proven playbook tactic, and China's irritability is performing right on cue.

As Symphony said previously, the war will start when the US is ready to field-test the F-35 in an actual combat situation that we really need to win. The F-35 was made for this and, like nuclear technology at the end of WWII, if the US doesn't use its fifth-generation fighter jets before Russia and China perfect theirs, it will have failed its initial purpose. Japan is ready to buy the worlds largest non-US fifth-generation F-35 fleet. They want the Marines' vertical take-off model for their helicopter carriers. Perhaps those carriers also had a purpose all along.

Talk isn't deteriorating, not with China anyway, but trade suddenly is. That's because the F-35 is ready to make its entrance onto the world's stage. Taiwan's election could prove to be a convenient lynch pin.

Businessmen are the presidential trend. Foxconn Chair and Founder Terry Gou is running under the KMT, a political party whose platform is "Chinese-Taiwan re-unification", yet he demands that China recognize Taiwan's history of de facto existence; China never will. Moving some production from among Foxconn's twelve factories in China back to Taiwan in Kaohsiung shows that his loyalties don't reside in Beijing nor in Nanjing as KMT old-hats still pine for. He's also beefing up supply in Houston, Indianapolis, and Mexico, atop his newest plant in Wisconsin. That will make the US less dependent on China and better ready for war. As an accomplished businessman, Terry will tear up the inexperienced populist Mayor Han of Kaohsiung in the primaries. After all, he brought jobs back to Kaohsiung.

Even if Gou loses primary or presidency, his campaign rhetoric, though less unacceptable to China than others, could force all other viable candidates to sympathize with Taiwan independence, if that proves to be the only electable platform. That's more than likely. Equally likely, China will see no way to "talk" its way toward absorbing Taiwan. Talk would thus breakdown and "the military option" would be the trigger in the gas tank known as the South Sea. Then, F-35 moves to centerstage.

Trump says China has one month. If we make it that long, then China would be stupider than we thought because the F-35s would have more time to fuel up.

continue reading

Standard
Symphony

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, April 22, 2019

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2RcUN3V9j_4

China faces more scrutiny from its own propaganda while Taiwan searches its own soul. Taiwanese elections are fast approaching. Demagoguery is in full swing. Even the founder of Foxconn says a Chinese god told him to run for president.

We could say that billionaires are the presidential trend, but Terry Gou's (郭台銘) money is largely in China, which is planning to attack Taiwan. Trump's investments were mainly in American companies with satellite projects globally. Gou can't rightly be compared to Trump. While there were proven-to-be-unsubstantiated suspicions of a connection to Russia with Trump, Gou's connection to China is both widely known and undisputed, Foxconn having 12 factories in China. Gou opposes the US selling weapons to Taiwan. I wonder why.

If business tycoon Gou were to take the de facto pro-unification KMT-Nationalist party nomination, he would need to overcome Mayor Han of Kaohsiung, a populist with little political experience who's primary vehicle of campaigning is complaint and demagoguery. Han recently accused Taiwan's military of being "eunuchs" in uniform, which stirred up the voters who don't like compulsory military service, but he failed to provide a solid path to making any improvements.

The controlling party's incumbent president will need to face a primary challenger, former Premier and Mayor William Lai, who has his own past list of non-accomplishments.

While Taiwan fights with itself, China's new best-friend-forever is Venesuala. The press highlighted China's high-pressure work culture this week with a story about Alibaba founder Jack Ma's defense of 12-hour, 6-day work weeks. Did Ma think that would make the American public more or less likely to support US military action against China? Some in China are starting to see Trump as China's savior.

So, with a seemingly unstable Taiwan and a China with something to prove, we are approaching flashpoint, where "liberators" will get the justification they need to come out of the woodwork and split up China like fire ants on a dead tiger.

continue reading

Standard
Symphony

Encore of Revival: America, January 21, 2019

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TF_HXLTO2hA

Trump has transformed America's view of a "government shutdown" to a point where it could very well become a campaign promise in future elections. Not only did the shutdown become a "non-event", it's actually kind of nice to not have government messing with everything. If Congressional Democrats allow the shutdown to please Reagan Republican Americans much longer, political debates may even include strategy for how to keep the government closed for longer amounts of time.

It's difficult for Americans to sympathize with the purported "horror" of a government shutdown when the lives of hard-working Americans—who work in the private sector—continue their daily lives with little to no interruption. IRS agents being out of work won't be seen by Americans as a bad thing. If America's "tax collectors" hoped to get back to work sooner, they probably should have followed Biblical advice—to keep out of trouble by keeping their mouths shut. You'd think "IRS agents not working" should have been kept a State secret.

While those who depend on taxpayer dollars to fund their livelihood will be angry that the milk has run dry, the shutdown won't come close to affecting enough Americans to make a shutdown less popular in the future. In fact, the shutdown should prove to make America stronger on three levels: as a warning to government employees that the private sector is less likely to be destabilized by politics, that government and socialist -created "jobs" will eventually have the same problems in America as in North Korea, and that Americans will have to learn how to make due when government isn't operating in its greatest glory.

Look on the bright side. If America knows how to function without as much government, we will all get through tougher times with more colors flying.

continue reading

Standard
Symphony

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, November 26, 2018

Taiwan held something akin to a "mid-term" election this past Saturday. The people revolted against the previous revolt. When electing the DPP two years ago, the people were fed up with the capitulation policies of Ma. Now, they are fed up with bad management of infrastructure, also an "establishment culture" surfacing in what should be the "opposition party", among other grievances. Taiwan's government cautioned China to wait and see how the election affects cross-strait policy before jumping to any conclusions—because they think China can't figure that out.

China's government and the Western press are going head to head. China held the American children of an estranged father and money laundering defendant. The New York Times made sure to plaster the picture of the young adult brother and sister at the top of the story. Exploiting children to sway outcomes just isn't fair.

But, it didn't stop at children. The New York Times also posted about cheap labor building Chinese AI. And, Forbes published an article with a graph that makes it look like China's economy has bottomed out. The battle between China and its great and powerful foe—the Western press—rages on. China is at an unfair disadvantage, but presses forward fearlessly and valiantly.

continue reading

Standard
Symphony

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, November 19, 2018

In Taiwanese politics, a mayor candidate's comments about his own benefits from drinking honey-lemonade sparked retribution from the medical community. After a lump under his eye went away, apparently from a vegetarian and honey-lemonade diet, he actually said so. A professional from a hospital was quick to weigh in. It's understandable. If people learned that honey could cure disease, hospital profits would plunge. More importantly, Taiwanese political debates would become outright boring without the ability to, as the saying goes, make lemonade from political debates.

But, lemonade really is important. Google search results even saw a spike after this essential talk of Taiwanese politics made news.

Meanwhile, at the ASEAN summit in Singapore, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong called for nations to come together at a time when Southeast Asian stability was under threat. In anticipation of APEC after ASEAN, Mike Pence started talking tough, wanting results and genuine action from China concerning an even-flow of trade. He elaborated, that the US has a quarter of a billion dollars in tariffs and isn't afraid to go twice as high as well as take more "diplomatic" action. It was a strong "they know that we know that they know what we think" remark, the kind that precedes otherwise objectionable action to make the action unobjectionable.

Later, at APEC, Pence warned of returning to a "cold war" while making plans for a US-Australian naval base in Papua New Guinea. Rather than dropping its tilted tariffs on goods, China has been openly gearing up for all out war three weeks. APEC ended without a written agreement between member nations for the first time ever because of the disagreements between the US and China.

This past weekend, Taiwan did something that China despises every bit as much as it cannot identify with: Taiwan hosted democratic election campaigns. With all the strong rhetoric concerning Taiwan, independence, and China's loudly and often-spoken determination to invade Taiwan, there shouldn't be any question where China's war-in-preparation will start and why America will easily get involved.

America is already involved in Taiwan to quite an extent. AIT, the unofficial yet de facto US embassy in Taiwan, had an interview scheduled for release with a large TV network in Taiwan. But, after the interview, the TV network, TVBS, scrapped the interview. So, AIT shared the interview in its Facebook page, rather than relying on TVBS.

With the history lessons about Taiwan in almost every Taiwan-related story in the Western press, Americans will take an advancement against Taiwan as an advancement against themselves. China would be perceived as an aggressor and rightly so. Everything the US has done to provoke and irritate China would have only worked if China possessed the old school "Asian Pride" that Sun Tzu warned against, a pride that can't be permitted in a world's superpower because such pride is easily provoked just as much as it is easily shattered. Hardened pride makes for brittle peace. That's something that the entire West won't allow, the US notwithstanding.

continue reading

Standard
Symphony

Encore of Revival: America, November 12, 2018

This was an astonishing victory for Republicans for any year, especially a controlling party midterm. Senate Republicans have rarely held this many seats since the FDR days except Reagan and W Bush. Losses in the House were among the lowest losses for a controlling party midterm. By gaining seats in the Senate, Republicans are winning the long game. We are headed for a possible supermajority by the end of Trump's second term. In the next two years, House Democrats will have just enough power to be irritating, but not enough to make any difference, other than helping Trump get re-elected in 2020.

Democrats are darned if they do and darned if they don't. Trump's appointees can be approved faster and impeachment in the House would die in the Senate. Opposition party power is good for presidential elections. Trump's best course of action would be to deliver the strongest Conservative proposals so Democrats can go on record as obstructionists. The best course of action for Democrats would be to talk and vote like Republicans, which has always been historically favorable, proven with Democratic Rahm Emanuel -led "blue dog" victory in 2006.

Results are still being counted. At last count, Democrats gained 30 seats in the House and had control of the House by 7. Most of those states had Democratic Senate and gubernatorial victories. In this victory for Democrats, nothing seems out of the ordinary. The election results appear to be real and fair; Democrats won the House fair and square.

The question of some after-election counting and recounting, however, seems sketchy. The Arizona Senate race looks like a lost cause for the Republican candidate. Arguably from Senate voting records, the Arizona seat up for grabs was not gained by Democrats except in name only. That Senate seat will be up the election Trump leaves office. But, that's a different story from a cluster of recount fiascos in Florida and Georgia, where recounting is a matter of procedure, not questionable results. The losers in those elections are pushing in hopes that close results can easily be tipped. If recounts were to change those results, that would open bigger questions, bigger objections, and bigger investigations. So far, the number of ballots in question would not change the results; miscounts would.

Even with the ground Republicans took, Democrats outspent Republicans by roughly $300M. Ironically, Democrats campaign on a platform of opposing big money and suspect business man Trump of trying to buy the presidency. The spending was bad optics for them.

Trump's proved helpful on the campaign trail. Many Republicans who pushed him away lost. Senate Republicans defeated incumbents in Florida, Indiana, Missouri, and North Dakota. Senate Republicans also held vacant seats in Tennessee and Utah. 26 Republicans retired, more than any midterm year since 1974, the greatest retirements being 27 in 2008.

FDR holds both the greatest midterm gain and midterm loss since his time as president. After FDR, the greatest midterm loss was Obama's first midterm. The greatest midterm gain in the Senate was Trump, the second-greatest being JFK with +3. This was a favorable midterm year for Republicans. But, already you read that right here at Pacific Daily Times before the election. So, while Republicans had a historic election, Pacific Daily Times has set a new standard for accuracy in the media.

continue reading

Standard
Symphony

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, November 5, 2018

China is less and less popular in the news. It's almost conspiracy-like—how much negative news comes out against China in the Western press at once.

The Trump administration backs Micron with legal action against Fujian Jinhua, an American company vs a Chinese company, over tech theft. At the same time, Jeff Sessions suddenly decides to appear in front of cameras and decry China for cyberspying on the US—a completely unrelated matter except that it is bad press for China. Then, the Taipei Times runs a front page story on illegal Chinese crabs being imported, but not passing a health inspection, with involved companies given a hefty fine, while pushing a North Korean nuke "restart" story to page five! The Taipei Times ran another front page story of China creating fake social media accounts to meddle in Taiwan's upcoming midterm election.

The truthfulness of this flood of anti-China news is not as important as its timing and priority among headlines. Popular sentiment is more powerful than missiles in a conflict between nations. On that front, the West has already won. Don't think for a moment that missiles won't follow to secure what the war of words already won by a deck stacked in the news.

continue reading

Standard
Symphony

Encore of Revival: America, October 8, 2018

The confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh opens a new problem for Conservatives: supermajority. Any unchecked party is dangerous. Breyer and Ginsberg are aging. If one of them resigns or passes within the foreseeable election future, the Supreme Court would be packed with Conservative, Republican judges. Justice Kennedy had been a swing vote, a kind of wild card on the court. That time is gone. We live in a new era of a truly Republican court.

The path leading the country to this Republican control, however, was too bumpy to make Republican voters lazy. Had Democrats played friendly and kind, the coming wrath of the Republican voter wouldn't have become so big as we will see in November. With polls being reported as hopeful for Democrats, we could see even more Republicans provoked to vote in 2018 than in 2016. It almost seems as if Democrats and the media are in some kind of secret cooperation to push Republican voters.

With the economy clipping along and so many kept promises from Trump, who has a 50% job approval rating, Republican progress looks likely. There are many states reportedly in play, but that amounts to 44 Senate seats secure for Democrats and 48 secure for Republicans. The reported tossup is a steeper climb for Republicans than Democrats and, with the Kavanaugh turbulence, Republican voters won't be staying home.

In the minds of Democrat voters, a strong Republican court makes them paranoid that Republican police could come to their homes any minute now and burn them alive for flying rainbow flags. This kind of hysteria has been cultivated by Democratic propaganda, though never stated directly, being intended to get Democratic votes, though its effects will be dangerous when those votes aren't enough to win elections.

Republican strategy went correctly. By confirming Kavanaugh, Republicans acted like Republicans, which always brings out the Republican vote. Loss has always brought out Democratic demonstration. While we may be looking at an unusual mid-term victory for the president's party next month, we could also be looking at riots soon after. And, in America just as we see in the swelling #WalkAway movement, the aftermath of riots lead to one thing: repentance.

continue reading

Standard