Cadence

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, February 20, 2017

Keeping 70 years of war on the books is not only a bad idea, it is a hazard. That period is longer than copyright laws and ten times longer than debts can be collected and taxes audited. At some point, old debts are better to be sold off to keep the books clear of overdue accounts receivable. China has its reasons to want Taiwan, just as the Taiwanese have their reasons not to want China’s flag flown on their soil. But, keeping the discussion unresolved has resulted in growing opposition, not for Taiwan, but for China.

China’s “One Belt One Road” project in Europe is under investigation for legal compliance. Just the investigation is an insult and, even if it ends in China’s favor, that investigation could be reopened at any point in the future, even after the railroad has been completed. The two main points to note in the deal are that the government of China is negotiating in the manner of a private business entity and that China is consistent in wanting singularity in more areas than just maps.

The US has sent carrier group USS Carl Vinson to what it is calling “routine operations” in China’s backyard. Without 70 years on the books, not so many changes could be so easily chalked up to “routine”. Now, India wants in on the game.

When resisting Beijing control, many will cite Communist States like North Korea or Cuba. People don’t want their country to change in a way that introduces the need to join the government or military in order to have hope of a stable future. Taiwanese see smog in China’s air and feces in China’s streets and they think that more territory would make life even worse on an already strained government.

But, then there is what happened in Hong Kong. Regardless of which side of the issue people are on, media mogul Jimmy Lai, students, police, government, and businesses in Hong Kong saw quite a disturbance in Central during the “Umbrella Movement” occupation. But, Taipei’s “Sunflower Movement” only lasted three weeks and ended voluntarily, not three months only ending by forced eviction. Taiwanese elect whomever they want and they are happy.

Hong Kong’s theater and controversy, on all sides of the biases, can’t happen in Taiwan as the island’s situation now stands. If China’s flag flew over Taiwan’s, that would change and ways of life that are as subtle as they are constant would be up for grabs.

Chinese have their reasons for wanting to reclaim Taiwan. Taiwanese have everyone’s way of life in Asia as their reason for wanting the countries to call status quo what it is. Regime change would be a disruption, no matter who makes it.

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Encore

Encore of Revival: America, February 20, 2017

The First Lady opened President Trump’s first presidential rally speech with the Lord’s Prayer. All the while, Washington is entangled in a “game of chairs”. Everyone defends himself. Flynn doesn’t remember what he said to Russia. Democrats are angry that whatever Flynn said surmounted to a reminder to Russia that a lame duck president is a lame duck president. Leak-hubs, such as The Intercept, defend the right to illegally leak information to expose greater illegality. And yet, nothing at all has changed for the Trump administration.

The sad element of Flynn’s resignation is how little young Socialists in America know of their history. Every president has appointees in his administration surrounded in rapture and scandal. JKF had Marilyn Monroe and Cuba; not Maryland, Monroe, and Cuba. Johnson had Vietnam. Nixon had himself, Chuck Colson, and G Gordon Liddy. Ford had Nixon. Carter had Iran. Reagan had Olly North and the air traffic controllers. HW Bush had Clarence Thomas, broccoli, and the price of milk. Clinton had too many to name, but begin with Joycelyn Elders, Vince Foster, Jennifer, and Monica. W Bush had Scooter Libby, Karl Rove, and Scott McClellan. Obama had Eric Holder, Hillary Clinton, and his own birth certificate. But, if you read only reblogs from voters whose first elections had Obama on the ticket, you’d think that Trump was the first political leader to have any scandals and that he probably invented scandals altogether.

Gasoline is on the rise. California is under assault from the weather—both north and south. While some media voices claim that Trump’s goals are under assault, the better illustration is Trump and his sweeping supporters laying siege to the walled-in establishment in politics.

Forces often have a reverse effect. Rising gas prices will encourage the Keystone Pipeline, which will help bring oil pricing control in the Western Hemisphere to the Western Hemisphere. Protests against Trump will make the “precious Independent voters” more sympathetic to his cause—whether those protests come from rioters or from the Washington establishment under siege. With only 20 months until the next election, which won’t have Trump on the ballot, Trump supporters will focus their efforts to unseat non-cooperative Congressmen and any Senator—Republican or Democrat—who bleeds “political blue” when cut.

Opposition encourages transparency and thus confidence. Everything happening good is bad and everything happening bad is good.

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Cadence

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, February 13, 2017

After three weeks, President Trump finally had his phone call with Chinese President Xi. The report is that Trump will uphold the United States’ long-standing “One China” policy, in which China proper and the island of Taiwan are one country and that country’s government seat is in Beijing. The effect is that the United States does not have an “embassy” with Taiwan, but the US has an “institute” and Taiwan an “economic and cultural” office; both are still considered envoys and consulates, offering passport and visa services. While self-important voices in news and politics view the phone call as a phone call, much more is happening beneath the surface, and Beijing may only be partially aware of what all is going on.

Being a Socialist State, China’s government is itself in business, both cooperative and competitive. China’s Communist Party can directly compete with social companies like Facebook, news networks like CNN, web service companies like Google, almost any manufacturer, and, of course not in the least, construction. China’s former business associate and new “boss”, as it were, of America calls all the “important” countries in the world, except China. The delay itself is a message to China like a father telling the disobedient son to wait his turn while everyone else at the dinner table has first choice. To China’s “indirect-implication” culture, it was no less than a smack in the face, no matter how friendly and reportedly positive the phone call was. No doubt China feels this somewhat, though President Xi probably doesn’t take the snub as seriously as he should.

Even allowing State-controlled newspapers, such as Xinhua news, to let three weeks of silence be known merely by reporting the phone call shows that Trump knows how to cut through promulgated gate keeping. Knowing how his old trading partner thinks, Trump knew that Beijing would jump to report the phone call to give President Xi notoriety, forgetting the deeper implication that the phone call didn’t happen for three weeks into Trump’s term. Now, the Chinese people know that Trump didn’t talk to their president until three weeks after taking office, yet he received a phone call from Taipei only days after he was elected—Beijing made sure the people knew that. When trying to control information in one’s own country, that was an oversight. If Beijing were wise to the three-week snub, no newspaper in China would be allowed to report the phone call until two months later, with the comment, “Oh, they are presidents. They talk when it suits them.”

In social battles of implication and indirection, the Chinese have endurance and mastery, but the West has a less frequent and even more subtle way of implication that often eludes the East. It is difficult to recognize deep implication when implication is used on a daily basis for routine communication. Americans trust Trump with China more, now, knowing that he can snub them for three weeks and State-run Xinhua news will consider it a “good first step”.

There are other problems—not being able to quit while so far ahead and declare victory after 70 years of war on the books, the US selling weapons to Taiwan—but the three week snub “trumps” them all. American people have often asked themselves who China thinks they are fooling. After this three-week snub thoroughly reported under the title of a “phone call”, the American people, Democrats and Republicans alike, certainly know who is successfully fooling China.

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Encore

Encore of Revival: America, February 13, 2017

Upheaval continues to take from in both protests and weather. Houston immigrants are in near panic and, now, the Oroville Dam in California is in trouble and 188k people are evacuating.

Trump’s executive actions have a long history of basis, including Congress having given the president indefinite power concerning national security, Presidents Lincoln and Jackson having arrested dissident judges—more extreme than anything Trump has done so far. Trump is complying with the rulings of the courts, even though he presses on.

The Senate has the “Constitutional Option”, often called the “Nuclear Option”, where the president of the Senate, the Vice President, can call the Senate to vote without the Senate’s consent where “matters of the Constitution” are concerned. This means that the standing majority of Senators will be able to approve judges. Problems of Senate rules have come up, seemingly that the Senate has made rules that tie its own hands. That itself is a Constitutional question: Can the Senate write its own rules making itself unable to function?

In the end, all objection and opposition to Trump will make the Republican case stronger, including the protests from dissident constituents in Republican Congressional districts. Even if Trump did not have the majority support of the country, the Republicans in the House and Senate do. It seems clear that the minority is loud and the silent majority is busy at work, having finished their project in November. Still, dissidents have the evidence they need to encourage themselves to carry on. Difficult times remain ahead. Continue reading

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Cadence

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, February 6, 2017

Zuckerberg, king of messages and speaker of Mandarin, fails to get China’s main message. China doesn’t want Facebook’s mission. Facebook helps people talk to each other and know what’s going on. With all that’s already going on, China sees information as a serious threat to its goals.

JP Morgan manged to get a deeper foot in China, with a license to loan more money. Perhaps they think there is a market for that. It is unclear whether the reason this made headlines was because JP Morgan got a deal in China, because an American company thought it was safe to get a deal in China, or because there wasn’t much else in the news about China.

With Trump dominating the news, China didn’t help sell too many newspapers. China’s primary headlines this week came after the “Rocket Force” tested its relatively new medium-range DF-16 ballistic missile, which replaces older, shorter range DF-11. It carries up to three warheads, weighs up to one ton, and can deliver a nuclear bomb. It can adjust to strike slow-moving targets and to supposedly evade anti-missile systems like the US Patriot system, though the best kept secret about China’s military is that it is inexperienced in combat, let alone has any history in a conflict with the US.

Trump’s administration made it clearer this week: Head to head, China loses. The US isn’t joking. Trump’s staff understand Chinese culture well, specifically how important “face” is. But, it seems that China still doesn’t understand how determined Irish redheads can be, whether they make loud claims in Beijing’s style or not. Experts pipe in that the US and China can both have a win-win, but they also fail to understand that there is no such thing as win-win in old school Far East.

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Encore

Encore of Revival: America, February 6, 2017

Trump is going head on against judges. So far, the judges are keeping their power, which is a good precedent. It’s too bad that Senator Feinstein didn’t object to overuse of executive power a few years ago, but her reversal is both welcome and typical of a politician. The resistance will give more power to Trump’s base and he will gain sympathy for his cause. The “see I told you so” speeches and headlines are coming.

Californians are getting serious about seceding from the Union. If California left it would not be abandoning the US, but its sister State, New York. Without Los Angeles and Manhattan, Trump would have had the popular vote as well, even with Hillary keeping her estimated 800k illegal voters. Keeping some things separate has always been a goal of the United States since its founding. Californians should, however, be thankful that they are asking to leave the United States rather than asking to leave Mexico.

Senate Republicans have claimed that they can’t repeal Obamacare because the employee they can fire at any time, the Parliamentarian, says that Obamacare can’t be repealed the same way it was passed. VP Mike Pence can overrule the Parliamentarian without firing him. These are the same Republicans who said that they couldn’t change Obamacare without the presidency and that their fellow Republican, Trump, would never win the presidency. Now that they have what they said they needed that they said they couldn’t get, they say they can’t do what they said they would do if they got it. Whenever Republicans whine about what they can’t do, they always get more power. The best interpretation is that Republicans are hoping to inch toward a 60 vote Supermajority in 2019. Again, the trend is for slowness to stir sympathy to the cause. May Heaven help the United States if any political party ever gets a Supermajority in the Senate while having control of the White House.

The term “unemployment” has as honest of a definition as the lawyer-defined word “natural” on a box of cookies. The media has finally discovered that there are six ways to track “unemployment”, specifically U1-U6. U3 has been used recently and most famously during the Obama years when the claim was that “unemployment was low”, without emphasizing the qualification “U3”. The U3 figure only considers people who were looking for jobs while U6 considers all Americans without a job—a definition more likely associated with “national unemployment”. Congratulations to those in the media who have finally discovered the six degrees of unemployment figures.

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Cadence

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, January 30, 2017

The conflict in the Pacific is turning into a brick wall at the speed of sound. Trump vowed to deny China access to islands that don’t exist on household globes and maps. China is run by a party that has never lost—or won—in its 70 years of existence. Beijing wants Washington to recognize “one China”, but that “China”, regardless of which claimant defines it, is engaged in a publicly-funded military war between two political parties. There are two versions of “China”, officially, and no one knows which version to believe since neither waring party has declared victory in their 70 year war. Given the outstanding ambivalence, Trump may have just declared his own definition of victory for them.

When London meets a spontaneous cloud of smog, the comparison is to China. We all know who Londoners are thinking about and what they are thinking about them. So, while Trump makes headlines in China, China made headlines in London. Just as “election recount” is linked to US Democrats and “unfair press” is linked to US Republicans, four topics link to China in the Western mind: pollution, economics, military, and territory claims.

To compound China’s precarious position, the EU is making demands about a lawyer’s human rights. The lawyer was reportedly tortured. In rare form, the EU is demanding that he be released and the situation investigated. The “tortured lawyer” report comes in the midst of a Chinese crackdown the VPNs Chinese people use to connect to social media banned by Beijing. China can’t maintain battles on so many fronts, not with a new Sheriff in the White House who isn’t afraid to make orders of his own. That deal where the Chinese were going to pour money into Hollywood—it’s had a few wrenches thrown into its gears. It’s funny how the Chinese block media in their own country, then their investment in American media also gets blocked, in a more round-about way, of course.

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Encore

Encore of Revival: America, January 30, 2017

Obama supporters have finally decided that overuse of executive orders is a bad thing. Too bad for them that many of Trump’s executive orders merely undo Obama’s executive orders. Trump finally adopted Obama’s policy of Federal intervention where local police fail, though, Obama probably never thought of it happening where it is most needed, such as his own backyard in Chicago.

Trump was elected in response to Obama. Obama’s policies, mostly by mere executive order, not only couldn’t last, they backfired. Anti-Trumpists still have not learned the important lesson of life: good or bad, right or left, whatever you build needs to last. If Trump harms America, Obama supporters have no one to thank but their own president who rolled out the red carpet for Trump as much as Bush rolled out the red carpet for Obama. The cycle only seems to continue with very few people getting wise to what’s going on.

All that “Russia interfered” jazz morphed into Democrats calling for investigations of voter fraud, which is likely to indite both parties. But, we can’t know how much voter fraud there truly was since asking for photo ID at an election isn’t legal, thanks to the same Democrats who are asking for an investigation. That makes no sense, except in Washington.

The elephant in the living room is the golden brick highway paved to today’s crisis. A Hawaiian Congresswoman told CNN that Obama was funding ISIS in Syria? Trump’s “ban” only affects people coming from seven countries that Obama’s DHS and US Congress decided sponsor terrorism—Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Yemen—these countries were not chosen by Trump, but under Obama. Trump’s order only names Syria, based on what Syrian refugees have done in other places they have gone to.

A federal judge made a very small exception to Trump’s sweeping executive oder: people with pre-approved papers who arrived on airplanes won’t be sent back immediately. This action affects very few people and confronts none of Trump’s campaign principles. Affected green card holders will be allowed to leave the US and return, but need to visit a US consular first. Protests against Trump’s orders are mounting. Some saw the judge’s order as victory against Trump’s goals.

A Sheriff in Travis County, Texas has refused to cooperate with the State’s requests, which are mainly aimed at not releasing people who entered the country illegally and are sought by US Immigration after they are arrested and in custody for a local crime. Travis County receives just shy of $2M from the State in law-enforcement grants, but the Sheriff says that she has neither the priority nor the authority to comply with the requests from Federal and State governments to hand over sought-after illegals already in her custody.

As fast as Trump wants to build his wall, he will have difficulty breaking Russia’s record in Berlin. Mexico’s president canceled his meeting with Trump once Trump Tweeted that paying for the wall was a requirement. President Neito told his people that “Mexico must protect its interests”, which, apparently, includes being able to cross into the US at non-border crossings. Building the wall would not change the number of entry points and, if anything, could create more entry points since patrolling the border would be easier. Canceling the meeting won’t change anything. A presidential candidate can skip out on one of an excessive number of televised presidential debates and still win the nomination and the election, but a sitting president can’t skip out on a meeting when his presence has been requested by a nation whom his own citizens are persistently entering illegally when that nation is about to rip up a trade agreement. The meeting with Trump was not going to negotiate whether Mexico will pay for the wall to contain its own people, but how Mexico will pay for the wall to contain its own people. By not attending, Mexico’s president is leaving that decision to President Donald J. Trump—which might have been exactly what Trump wanted in the first place. Now, Mexican Billionaire Carlos Slim wants to step in.

From the Office of the United States Trade Representative:

Mexico is currently our 3rd largest goods trading partner with $531 billion in total (two way) goods trade during 2015. Goods exports totaled $236 billion; goods imports totaled $295 billion. The U.S. goods trade deficit with Mexico was $58 billion in 2015.

The story compares to the rich, old uncle who told his nephew, “No, you’re gonna pay for the repairs to my barn you burned down or you might as well not even ask me to buy you another car.” The kid ran home to his daddy who said, “No, you are gonna’ talk with your uncle about his barn. I’m calling my brother and you’d better be here when I do.” By asking to step in to negotiate between the US and Mexico, Billionaire Carlos Slim has proven in Mexico what Trump proved in the US—people with actual business experience know more about getting things done than politicians. Maybe he wants to run for president in Mexico. Or, maybe he doesn’t want his own business empire to be at the mercy of a much younger president who can’t hold two candles to the adults in the room.

It seems that America isn’t the only country dealing with brats who complain all the time, repeat perfectly what they hear on TV, but can’t put a roof over their own heads. There’s nothing wrong with not having money, as long as you don’t lecture the people who do.

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Cadence

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, January 23, 2017

No one supports the Trump protests as strongly and loudly as China. They object, threaten, parade, demonstrate, opine, taunt, drill, march, and they do so despite response from America’s “riot police”, in the case of the Pacific, the US Navy. China is also getting closer to Hollywood, to the tune of $1B USD in a Paramount deal. China is reportedly dumping money into its stock market. China has a lot in common with just under half of America. Taiwan, siding with just over half, officially congratulated Trump. As of Friday, Trump had 56% popularity when he took oath, not counting China or Taiwan.

Taiwan is making upgrades. Just after Trump was inaugurated, and about the same time Taiwan officially congratulated him and Pence, Taiwan finalized the purchase of a high-tech military communication system that would, among many things, allow Taiwan’s Navy to communicate directly with the US Navy 7th Fleet’s command center.

Taiwan is also making a deal with Uber, to allow Uber-summoned taxis, just after Taiwan hiked it’s “unlicensed” driver fine to almost $800K USD. Taiwan has fined Uber over $2.3M USD and its drivers over $700K USD. With Taiwan’s new “unlicensed” taxi fine, Taiwan could earn all it has earned on Uber drivers in the past with just a single Uber driver offense. Yes, while Uber gave up on butting-heads with China and China doesn’t give up butting heads with Trump, Taiwan is one of those head-butting Uber. All four of them are still butting heads. It’s definitely been a week of the butt-head convention in “the Chinas”. Continue reading

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Encore

Encore of Revival: America, January 23, 2017

While everyone runs out to support or protest America’s new president, the best-kept secret of Washington remains the best-kept secret: No politician can be rightly judged on only campaign promises and threats, nor cheers and jeers from the masses. Until Trump has results to judge, any support and protest is a mere theater rating.

If background has any bearing on the future, the 19 months of Trump’s career have shown something unusual for a politician: a consistent message. That consistency has been tested more than any politician before him with constant objection at every turn, and he still has not changed his message, not even at his inauguration. And, the first executive orders he signed also stayed on message. So far, Trump has been consistent.

Trump protesters and supporters have a single, telling difference: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Trump supporters believe the bottom level of needs is in crisis (food, shelter, basic economics, physical safety); Trump protesters believe the middle levels are in crisis (social relations both foreign and domestic, emotional needs, individual identity); both believe it is a crisis that threatens America’s existence.

Before running for office, Trump fired people for not working hard or not correctly experienced for the specific job. His message and methods haven’t changed. Looking at the consistency in Trump, his supporters, and his protesters, the future will not go to arguers or defenders, but to the hard-working, no matter what their politics.

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