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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, January 16, 2017

China had so much going for it. Billions of US dollars had gone across the Pacific. The Olympics went to Beijing, where the world watched a one-hour history introduction about China leading into one world with one dream. Hong Kong was regained and prospering. But, like Captain Ahab determined to take revenge on the whale, China is about to lose everything over a few islands that either have never flown the Chinese flag or never existed until a few years ago.

Trump has out-smarted everyone he has come across. He knows more about China than China knows about him. When Trump had his ties made in China, he learned a lot about them and could stop giving them money any time he wanted—he had the power the whole time. If China defeats Trump, they will be the first. But, this Chinese government has never lost a battle because the only war they fought in—the Communist Revolution—they still haven’t declared victory over. They are just too new to the game.

This week, China rattled sabers around Taiwan, drawing out Taiwan’s defenses. And, Trump drew out China’s press statements in his defense of Taiwan. Normally, China can sing loud bravado and get things done wherever their flag flies. But, the rest of the world doesn’t dance to Beijing’s tune. The Chinese just don’t know that yet, but they seem determined to find out. And, it looks like they’re going to.

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Encore of Revival: America, January 16, 2017

President-Elect Trump criticized the intelligence community for having fake reports and allowing those reports to leak. He conducted his own “leak” fishing expedition and plugged the leak—or “caught, fired, and fried” the leak. If he can find his leaks with no power of the pen, why can’t the “intelligence” people find their leaks? That must be Trump’s question, anyway. Of course he Tweeted against the agencies.

Is it wrong for a president-elect to criticize people he can soon fire? There is no way that this president-elect has criticized his soon-to-be subordinates as much as the soon-to-be ex-president will continue to criticize without end. Obama plans to stay in Washington, and it isn’t because he likes gazing at the Eisenhower Building.

When Brennan lectures, “It’s more than about Mr. Trump; it’s about the United States of America,” he’s talking about his future boss. That’s not right or wrong; that’s just not smart. Even Comey was smart enough not to go up against Obama. Maybe Brennan expects to be fired anyway.

A lot of people aren’t thinking about what will happen when the man they continue to criticize becomes president. They weren’t thinking about all the deals they made that weren’t going to last. Whether the trade deals were good or bad, Americans were never going to tolerate China and Mexico taking American jobs forever. Clinton’s and Bush’s and Obama’s trade deals weren’t going to last. But, people didn’t see that either. They didn’t see a lot of stuff that was coming. That’s somewhat of a unifying quality among the anti-Trumpists. It still is, apparently.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, January 9, 2017

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen (蔡英文) is in Houston, TX. Joshua Wong (黃之鋒) and a few lawmakers from Hong Kong are in Taiwan. A new wave of smog is in Beijing. And, more threats from Beijing to Trump are in the headlines.

Wong was a Hong Kong Umbrella Movement leader and is now secretary-general of the Hong Kong center-left pro-democracy party, Demosisto. The lawmakers accompanying Wong in Taiwan are Edward Yiu (姚松炎), Nathan Law (羅冠聰), and Eddie Chu (朱凱迪).

Senator Cruz gave a few educational remarks on democracy to Beijing over the Communists’ requests that US lawmakers not meet with Tsai. Tsai is on her way to Central America, but her connection in Texas brought lots of opportunity to discuss the strong and strengthening relationship between Taiwan and the US.

Back in Hong Kong, Wong and Law, elected but disqualified by the courts as a legislator, are facing charges for connection with protests that stormed a political office in Hong Kong in 2014. So continues the generational disputes. Establishments do what they will and the people, especially younger generations more willing to take action, never seem to find a way to lodge their objections in a way that is both effective and agreed to by the establishment. Perhaps, the objection to the protest was not its manner or location, but its political objective: Hong Kong Independence.

Asian news in early 2017 is back to the usual: Which territories ought to comply with China’s policies regardless of their will; and the smoke in Beijing, both environmental and political. And, of course, America is managing to remain in Asian headlines and Chinese talking points, as well as China’s backyard ocean.

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Encore of Revival: America, January 9, 2017

Ford’s move to do exactly what Trump anticipated—while claiming they made the move independently of Trump—raises deeper questions. “Only” investing $700M in Michigan rather than $1.6B in Mexico should have made sense all along—unless the real reason Ford planned to move to Mexico was about confidence in the future American economy.

American confidence seems to be up. Construction companies think so, at least.

Not much else has dominated US political-economic news, except a Texan visit from Taiwan’s president. With all the good things happening, there just isn’t much news to report.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, January 2, 2017

The recent UN Security Council vote against Israel won’t help China’s claim to Taiwan. Taiwan and Israel are poised to gain closer ties in light of last week’s “unintentional Antisemitism” that was heavily condemned and harshly responded to by Taiwan’s president. Now, with China having voted against Israel, and Israel breaking ties with Security Council members who voted, China’s “one country, two systems” policy won’t be as important in Jerusalem.

China spit into the wind once again with stepped-up rhetoric over dissidents in the Mainland and in Hong Kong. When Hong Kong left Britain, it’s economy flourished—something similar to how things went in the United States after the colonies left Britain. But, rather than piggy-backing history, Beijing seems determined to repeat it, namely angering the people with unilateral restrictions in policies that mildly resemble the Stamp and Tea Acts.

Beijing had inherited paradise. All the Communists had to do was keep their promise to leave it alone. Instead, they vetted Hong Kong legislators before elections rather than reviewing Hong Kong laws after they are passed. And, Beijing still doesn’t understand. Soon, the former British colony will echo the old, “No taxation without representation,” and insist that money never leave Hong Kong for Beijing.

It is sad. It has been sad. It will be sad. And, it is all without need.

Now, China has opponents on five fronts: Mongolia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Islam, and, as of this week, Israel.

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Encore of Revival: America, January 2, 2017

Carrie Fisher died over the Holidays, may she rest in peace. She was best known for Leia in “Star Wars” and second-best known for her wit. Having finished filming for Episode VIII due in 2017, Episode IX for 2019 is still in on the drafting board, though she was intended to play a substantial role. There has been no official comment on what Leia’s role will be.

When anyone dies, our natural response is to discuss their work. It seems cold, but is its own form of respect. People want to know how her life’s work will end up, a question about justice to her and her work. People ask what will become of her unfinished work because they love her. They’ll make it good. They always do.

But, deeper meaning surfaces for all of us. Han Solo’s death, his speculated return, the runaway son, and the complexity of Leia and Han’s family opened one of the deep problems in America: broken families. Any runaway child should come home quickly because parents don’t live forever. Carrie’s mother passed away the next day.

Carrie Fisher left us with many messages, both in life and in death, both good and bad, both filial and professional, both pithy and elaborate, and always poetic.

A team that works in web security dug into claims about the so-called (and now seemingly mislabeled) “Russian hack” and they made some reports. In sum, it likely wasn’t Russia in particular. The hack seemed to use out-of-date Ukrainian hacker tools, had multiple origins and targets, and, as usual with hacks, the main vulnerability was: compromised user accounts—something easily prevented by using Ubuntu rather than Windows for a desktop operating system and knowing a few basics about hyperlinks, apps, and websites.

If Russia did have anything to do with the [non-]Russian hack, it would have been to get Democrats to merely cast the recent and unnecessary doubt on the perfectly-in-tact election system itself.

Obama continues to work diligently—between golf trips—to smack someone on the wrist in his remaining less-than-three-weeks. Israel may be stalling too much to receive a good slap; instead, he went after the adversary who outsmarted him time and again, including this time: Putin.

In life, many of us know what we have lost, but few of us ever learn to know when we have lost.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, December 26, 2016

Beijing continues rattling prototype sabers over Trump’s talk and his walk. The Trump cabinet will be packed with savvy Secretaries who are wise to bad deals. People who want good deals will be supportive. People who want bad deals will object. Everyone has made his own position clear. Now, it’s time to see whose ideas will work and whose will produce change, not mere talk of change.

At the close of WWII, General Eisenhower ordered that as many pictures be taken of the Jewish Holocaust as possible because, so he explained, “some bastard will say this never happened.” Soon, Trump’s opponents, both in America and around the world, will try to claim that they “always supported” him. But, they are already on record.

The WWII Jewish Holocaust came up in Taiwan, however. Probably innocence fueled by ignorance and driven by anti-Simetic propaganda led teachers to approve a Nazi-style parade in a Taiwanese school courtyard at an assembly. The students didn’t know how bad it was. The teachers at the private school probably didn’t know either—even though it was their job as teachers to know history. It is worth mention that private schools in Taiwan usually are a “lower quality” than private schools in the West, which are considered for the “elite”. Taiwan is very misunderstood, but now Taiwan has misunderstood Israel. Outrage sparked across the nation.

Taiwan’s president is taking heavy action, demanding apologies to Israel and cutting whatever funding the private school received. But, therein lies the new dilemma. Since Beijing objects to Taiwan’s president giving a common courtesy call to America’s new president, will Beijing object to Taiwan apologizing directly to Israel for selectively portraying events in WWII? That would paint Beijing as anti-Simetic. If Beijing does not object, then their own objection to the Tsai-Trump phone call would be self-invalidated by mere precedent. If Beijing says nothing, it will surely face more opposition from anti-Semitic groups.

But, then we have Israel’s position. Israel does not recognize Taiwan as a state. Israel has its own dissident states that refuse to recognize Israel. So, the golden rule, “love your neighbor as yourself” raises interesting questions about whether Israel has a double standard. Taiwan has suffered its own holocaust—though on a much smaller scale—from the Chinese Nationalists who seized Taiwan assets and slaughtered Taiwanese. Remember, “Nazi” means “National-Socialist” and German National-Socialist seizure of Jewish property paid for 30% of Germany’s action in WWII, according to studies. There are many other striking similarities between Taiwan and Israel, though the two are nowhere new identical.

Now, with Taiwan’s honest-innocent mistake facing fierce self-correction, Taiwanese support for Israel is seen loudly throughout the globe. We are now at a point where Beijing’s policy toward Taiwan is a catch-22 and it is now in Israel’s self-interest to formally recognize the island that bears such relevant likeness to itself. No matter what the decision is, the people will know, and public support will swing more toward both Israel and Taiwan.

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Encore of Revival: America, December 26, 2016

Yesterday was Christmas. Her Majesty and Defender of the Faith, the Queen, missed the Christmas service for the first time due to a severe cold. People are concerned for her health. The pope is concerned for the health of the world with Christmas being “taken hostage” by materialism.

Leading up to Christmas, the electoral college finalized Trump’s victory. The basic argument for the electoral college goes something like this: Without the Cities of Los Angeles and New York, Trump would have the popular vote by quite a margin; one State doesn’t get to decide against the other 49, let alone two cities; and, if the popular vote alone decided then Republicans in upstates California and New York wouldn’t have stayed home and Trump would still have the popular vote. The election system drew the usual criticism while the usual system was upheld to preserve the Republic and prevent metropolitan tyranny over the farmland.

As for Obama going golfing after learning about a truck attack and the Russian ambassador’s death, worse news demands more sympathy: America’s election system was still working at 4:00 p.m. last Monday. Attempts to “change” America had clearly failed. That was stressful enough. And, that was the real bad news Obama needed a break from. This golf trip wasn’t meant as any snub against an ambassador. There were other problems, you see. After all, it’s the holidays. We all need to just get away for a week and unwind.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, December 19, 2016

All eyes went to Taiwan this week. The Taipei Times shows an uptick in article views. China held no less than three military activities that made headlines in Taiwan’s backyard, and is reported to have broken its promise not to militarize it’s freshly-made islands. In one incident, the Japanese even responded.

The topic of Taiwan’s Independence is not going away anytime soon. The topic was formally debated in Taipei with careful scrutiny over the implications of Nixon’s (1972) and Carter’s (1979) policies involving Taiwan and China. The Taiwanese, reading the tealeaves as it were, suspect that they won’t be able to trust the current political party that just took power, and the new “Power” party is already on the rise with “Independence” as a “crucial” talking point.

China has gone full-swing into testing it’s one-and-only operational aircraft carrier, the diesel-powered, Soviet-made Liaoning. The other carriers are still being assembled in the docks and aren’t scheduled for commission for a few years. But, China already has its own “unsinkable aircraft carriers”, man-made airport islets in the Spratly Islands.

With the Western and Eastern press in full-swing, with military events moving as they are, neither the West nor the East will be lacking, neither in force nor in press nor in public support for what’s been brewing in the South Sea.

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Encore of Revival: America, December 19, 2016

Socialists worldwide claimed Trump would be bad for America and predicted his loss in the election; Russia probably would think the same and try to help him. If Russia aimed to help Trump, that would be yet one more mistake on behalf of the global club of socialists—both official and unofficial. There is no news here, though many report it as such.

The faithless elector movement has already found it’s scrutiny, already fulfilling Symphony’s prediction from just last week. Their point man is reported as a would-be fraud. And, the dwindling movement itself does not include most of the people who voted against Trump. These are only the few who don’t know how to accept loss.

The anti-Trump alarmism has an interesting history since his announcement to run. Trump makes public comments that reflect a private self-talk of “no excuse, no whining, and know which battles you’ll lose”; his opponents lost, don’t seem to know it, make progressively-more dramatic excuses of how it’s “someone else’s fault” (this time the Russians), and won’t stop whining. They seem to follow the Kübler-Ross five-stages of grief. This current suspicion of the Russians has a few contradictions…

In the “election hack” narrative, no one claims that votes were directly altered. Though, precincts in Wisconsin had more Republican votes than registered voters and Democratic precincts in Detroit had something similar. Both parties can thank Hillary for exposing those precincts in her generous reverence for honesty—but, we don’t hear much thanks.

The purported “bias” in the leaked-hacked info. implies that an unbiased leak would have been preferable. And, it ignores the reversed bias from the American media, not to mention its failure to recognize the use of “fear marketing” from the Trump opposition.

Moreover, the clearer influence of Russian propaganda has always been in sectors of education, where the Constitution is attacked, turning points in American history are left out, and Communism is touted as an ideal theory. Those who opposed Trump seem to agree with one or more of those talking points, but only seem concerned as if Russia wanted to pick and choose candidates rather than sowing doubt of the entire process itself; and they certainly show no concern for the Russian influence in their own ideology. The Russian-conspiracy theorists should suspect themselves most of all—and they will, sooner or later.

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