The Taiwan Election

I think I mentioned in passing last week that Taiwan was coming up on an important election. They had it last Saturday and re-elected President Tsai Ing-wen. A massive landslide actually with 58% of the vote. Bryan Preston at PJ Media has the story.

President Tsai campaigned on taking a hard line against the mainland and in favor of independence. Today she wasted no time in sending another strong signal that Taiwan is not interested in adopting the “one country, two systems” Beijing insists on. Tsai met with the head of the American Institute in Taiwan today.

Fresh from a landslide re-election victory, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen met Sunday with the de facto U.S. ambassador to Taipei.

William Brent Christensen, a U.S. diplomat who is director of the American Institute in Taiwan, congratulated Tsai on her victory in Saturday’s election, and she thanked him for his support.

The meeting came as China warned that countries should stick with recognizing communist-ruled Beijing as the rightful government of “one China,” including Taiwan.

This follows a strong statement of support from the Trump administration.

Meanwhile, observers from Hong Kong were on hand to witness Taiwan’s vote.

At a raucous election rally for Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen, Hong Konger Karen Leung surveyed the huge crowd of excited flag-waving voters as a rap song blasted over the loudspeakers and sighed: “We want to have elections like this.”

Leung is one of scores of Hong Kong election tourists who have travelled to Taiwan this week to witness something denied to them – universal suffrage.

The entire Hong Kong Free Press story linked above is worth reading, [here] to get a sense of how Taiwan and Hong Kong now see each other. Hong Kongers recognize Taiwan’s long fight for independence and now democracy. Taiwan recognizes and is supplying Hong Kong as an ally, with gas masks, de facto asylum, and other support.

When Tsai appeared at a Thursday night rally, the crowd shouted the popular protest chant: “Free Hong Kong, revolution of our times.”

Hong Kong and Taiwan are separated by about 700 miles of water and together add up to about 30 million people. Up against mainland China’s billion, they would seem to have no chance. But Hong Kong’s potential impact on mainland China makes it the most important city on earth at the moment. China has not cracked down hard on the pro-democracy protesters, because it knows how much it stands to lose. At the same time, allowing Hong Kong to go its own way encourages Taiwan, and dissidents and anti-communists within mainland China itself, particularly Hong Kong’s neighboring province, Guangdong. China could lose no matter what it chooses. Hong Kong could break the last large communist empire. They know it, Taiwan knows it, and Beijing knows it.

And again we see the appeal of liberty, to those under the gun, Taiwan has been since 1949, and Hong Kong since 1997. We watched last year as the Hongkongers started with the old Hong Kong Colonial Flag and the Union Flag, and then borrowed the Stars and Stripes. I can’t say about you but I was moved. For all our problems, we remain the last best hope for liberty in this world, as we have been for centuries. And note that President Ing-wen was also quick to thank us for supporting her.

Not since the fall of the wall have so many clamored so loudly for freedom, not the artificial freedom that entities like the EU offer such as freedom from want, but real freedom to think and to say what one believes, you know American style freedom built on God-given rights.

This is what happens when America leads, people are empowered to seek their own freedom. We are seeing it in Europe, we are seeing it in Iran, and we are seeing it in Asia. Some call it the Trump Effect, and in truth, he is a focal point for it, as our president. But truly it is America and our history that produces this effect. The beacon fire in the city on the hill still burns brightly. May we keep it so.

China’s teething Problems

Yesterday we looked at how the Royal Navy is progressing smoothly in its return to big deck carrier aviation. Most of that is down to British know-how and the professionalism of the Royal Navy. But some of it is also due to the United States Navy, who has helped Britain maintain the skills and ethos of air warfare at sea. It’s been a remarkably successful program for both countries.

But another country wants to play in this league, Communist China. And no surprise its program isn’t running so smoothly. Strategy Page explains.

Earlier in 2019 it looked like China was moving forward to expand its carrier force by building four steam powered carriers followed by a larger nuclear powered class similar to the American ones. At the end of 2019 it was announced that plans had changed. There were numerous problems that contributed to the decision and it meant a smaller Chinese fleet with far fewer carriers.

The most immediate problem was the trade war with the United States. Exports to the U.S. are down 23 percent and devaluation of the yuan (the Chinese currency) mean that dollars coming from the U.S. trade is down by nearly 30 percent. […]

The second problem is military technology. China expected difficulties developing and implementing all the many technologies needed to effectively operate carrier task forces. Fixing those problems is taking longer than expected. This is especially true with the carriers and aircraft that can operate from them. Most of China’s modern aircraft are illegal copies of Russian designs and efforts to implement lots of stolen American aircraft tech has not gone as smoothly as hoped. […]

There is another problem with those claims; many Chinese neighbors have increased their defense spending specifically to deal with the Chinese navy. The American naval forces in the western Pacific plus the fleets of South Korea and Japan were already a formidable naval force blocking Chinese use of gunboat diplomacy. But now many smaller nations are allied with the larger anti-Chinese nations and those smaller nations are buying lots of submarines, fighter-bombers with anti-ship missiles as well as shore based anti-ship missiles. The Chinese plan to build more warships and intimidate neighbors into submission backfired. The many threatened neighbors united and joined an arms race China cannot afford.

One could almost feel sorry for them if they weren’t bloodthirsty tyrants. But they are, and so the most likely targets for US (and British, YAY!) carrier planes in the next decade or so is likely to be those carriers of the Chinese Army Navy

Look, there’s not much to add if you read the link. But it’s good they are having problems, and we should do what we can to make them worse. We had a huge head start back in the day, started as a British colony, and adopting many of the RNs attitudes. And still, 250 years on, we speak the same language, and not only English but other little things, like always seeking the weather gage, so to force the engagement, even against odds. That’s why the single-ship actions in our wars against Britain were so thrilling, nobody was will to run.

The Chinese are assiduous students of history, but there remains a chasm between reading what needs to happen and knowing it instinctively, and that’s the difference. Can the Chinese overcome that? sure, eventually, but it will be expensive in both money and blood. The Royal Navy has been around since the launch of HMS Mary Rose in 1510, the US Navy back to 13 October 1775. That’s a lot of knowledge and tradition to overcome. Many have tried, none so far have succeeded. There is a reason why Catherine the Great of Russia once declared that the greatest Russian admiral was John Paul Jones.

Seventy-eight years ago this year the US Pacific fleet sailed into battle against Japan against overwhelming odds and in five minutes won the war against Japan. It’s what we do. And it is what the British taught us as well.

Things That Grabbed My Attention Yesterday

We’re going to pull back from the daily nonsense today, the Brits are voting and there’s not much new in the Washington nonsense. Let’s take a look at some background on various things. Some days there is just so much good material out there that I can’t decide. It’s a pleasant problem.

Ben Domenech at The Federalist disagrees with Time Magazine’s choice of Greta Thunberg as person of the year, as do I. He says in relation to her…

[…] a teenager who skipped school to travel around the world telling people that they are horrible and the planet is doomed. It’s a living. Perhaps her Malthusian visions will be fulfilled by future experience. But it’s not very likely.

Heh! I wish I’d written that! His choice I also agree with…

In defiance of the most powerful authoritarian regime in the modern world, the protester in Hong Kong has stood against the authority of Red China with courage and dedication. […]

There is no bigger fight. And so, the Hong Kong protester is the Person of the Year.

He’s right. That is the person/people that free people should be honoring.


There’s a remarkable (and remarkably long) essay by George Callaghan at The Duran on the problems (and possible solutions) in British education. Some are specific to Britain and/or England, but many apply to America, as well. My curation software says 45 minutes, it’s well worth it.

I don’t see anything short enough to give you a taste, so if it is an interest of yours, go read it. I agree with all of it that I think applies to the US, I simply don’t know enough about British education to have a valid opinion.


Unintended Consequences has made Britain a frustrating laughingstock for the last three years. Why? Abram N. Shulsky at Law and Liberty has figured out some of the reasons why the British government has gotten so pear-shaped. It’s a danger we face as well, as so many (especially on the left) want to tinker with our constitution.

The recent chaos resulted from two innovations that weren’t entirely consistent with the underlying principles of the British regime: the Fixed-term Parliament Act of 2011 (FTPA) and the Brexit referendum of 2015.  Both were introduced to solve short-term political problems.

It’s an excellent explanation of how the (primarily) Conservative Party has failed to conserve the things that made the Westminster System work.


Walter E. Williams at The Daily Signal tells us that Richard Ebeling, professor of economics at The Citadel, has an essay in the American Institute for Economic Research that clarifies how Capitalism is a morally superior system.

In a key section of his article, Ebeling lays out what he calls the ethical principles of free markets. He says:

The hallmark of a truly free market is that all associations and relationships are based on voluntary agreement and mutual consent. Another way of saying this is that in the free market society, people are morally and legally viewed as sovereign individuals possessing rights to their life, liberty, and honestly acquired property, who may not be coerced into any transaction that they do not consider being to their personal betterment and advantage.

Ebeling says that the rules of a free market are simple and easy to understand:

You don’t kill, you don’t steal, and you don’t cheat through fraud or misrepresentation. You can only improve your own position by improving the circumstances of others. Your talents, abilities, and efforts must all be focused on one thing: What will others take in trade from you for the revenues you want to earn as the source of your own income and profits?

They are both spot on.


Dylan Pahman at Law and Liberty has an essay on why economic nationalism fails.

However, at present economic liberty has fallen out of favor with some who see a sea change in recent events—from the election of President Trump in the United States to Great Britain’s “Brexit” referendum—moving away from a perceived elitist, globalist liberalism and back toward the old order of nation states, not only politically but also economically.

He does an excellent job of laying out the underpinning, and I mostly agree with him, completely in theory in fact. This is the Libertarian/Conservative rationale for free trade, and mostly it is true.

But


Curtis Ellis at American Greatness lays out why Globalism and Progressivism make such a toxic stew.

The reformers of the Progressive era championed safety standards for food, drugs, and labor.

The Pure Food and Drugs Act of 1906 gave birth to the Food and Drug Administration. The chief chemist at the Department of Agriculture had mobilized a coalition of women’s clubs, physicians, and pharmacists to lobby for uniform national standards for patent medicines.

It worked, mostly, although it was and is very expensive. Now add Globalism

Communist China is the world’s largest producer and exporter of “active pharmaceutical ingredients,” the base components drug companies use to manufacture most of the medications found on store shelves across America. Today, 80 percent of prescription drugs consumed in the United States originate in India and China.

Drug companies are not required to disclose the country of origin of the active ingredients in their products. That means consumers are unknowingly exposed to the risks associated with drugs made in China.

What are those risks? Well, in 2008, 100 Americans died after taking the anticoagulant heparin that was made in China. Some of the heparin was fraudulently replaced with chondroitin, a dietary supplement for joint aches.

Now what? The free traders say the Chicoms are the low-cost producer and it makes economic sense for our drug hoses to buy their product. The families of a hundred dead Americans are likely to disagree. And if we are going to use uninspected raw material, what exactly is the point of the FDA?

That’s the kind of real-world problem that always screws up those lovely theoretical solutions. The answer? We don’t really have one yet.

That should be enough to keep you out of trouble for a while! 🙂

Cheap Stuff Makes You (and America) Cheap

This needs to be said, nay it needs to be shouted from the housetops. From Curtis Ellis, writing in American Greatness.

It’s well past time to ask whether procuring cheap imported consumer goods should be the goal of our foreign trade policy and if it’s the best way to raise Americans’ standard of living.

These questions have been the subject of debate throughout our nation’s history. America’s Founders answered with a resounding “No.”

The tea sold by the British East India Company underpriced the leaf colonial merchants were offering. King George’s prime minister Lord North believed that would convince Americans to buy it. “For,” as North said, “men will always go to the cheapest markets.” The Sons of Liberty tossed it in Boston Harbor instead.

The new nation’s first significant piece of legislation, the Tariff Act of 1789, among other things, sought to prevent lower-cost foreign goods from being dumped in America and smothering our own infant industries.

To those who said America should continue buying its manufactured goods from Great Britain, then the world’s low-cost producer, Thomas Jefferson advised “purchasing nothing foreign where an equivalent of domestic fabric[ation] can be obtained, without regard to difference of price.” (Emphasis added.)

Abraham Lincoln’s economic philosophy gave production primacy over consumption as the way to raise the American standard of living.

The goal is “to produce dear labour, that is, high-priced and valuable labour,” wrote Henry Carey, Lincoln’s economic adviser. High-priced laborers would produce more and be able to spend more. Consumption would rise in tandem with production and earning.

“Every man is a consumer to the whole extent of his production. To that point he will go, and beyond it he cannot go,” Carey wrote.

That is: by earning (producing) more is one able to consume (buy) more.

But the American attitude toward “cheap” was perhaps best summed up by William McKinley in a campaign speech he delivered in 1889:

They say “everything would be so cheap” if we only had free trade. Well, everything would be cheap and everybody would be cheap. I do not prize the word “cheap.” . . . It is the badge of poverty . . . when things were the cheapest, men were the poorest. . . . Cheap? Why, cheap merchandise means cheap men, and cheap men mean a cheap country; and that is not the kind of Government our fathers founded . . . We want labor to be well paid, we want the products of the farm . . . we want everything we make and produce to pay a fair compensation to the producer. That is what makes good times.

Fair compensation to the producer is what makes good times.

Indeed it is so, just as it has always been.

I can remember a day, probably about 40 years ago, when I suddenly needed a new dress shirt, likely I dumped a cup of coffee or something on it. So I did what we all do. I drove over to K Mart (then the most common low-cost retailer) and bought myself a new white broadcloth shirt, yes it had way too much polyester in it, but it got me through the day. The most expensive shirt I ever bought, even though I probably paid less than ten dollars for it. Why? Because I never wore it again.

And also a bad deal for K Mart, it was the last time I was in one of their stores.

In whatever developing country it was made, quality didn’t count for much, and this shirt had a collar point that I could not make lay down properly, even after I removed the stay and put in a removable one. And so the shirt was useless, it wasn’t even a useful rag like a cotton shirt would have been, it was just trash to be disposed of.

These days I rarely wear dress shirts, other than for casual shirts, but mine have labels like Brooks Brothers, Ralph Lauren, and some others. They fit, they’re made properly, and they’re made with quality materials. If I need a cheap one, I buy it on eBay, although I do prefer to buy new ones.

And that is true all through society, I’ve long since found that an American (British, even Japanese) product from twenty years ago is a much better value than the cheap junk from China than Wal Mart sells. Yes, I miss Sam Walton, he really did try to find low-cost American products, but the kids are more interested in lining their pockets, than in providing a reasonable product at a reasonable price.

The only catch is that you have to know a little bit more about what you are doing, and some products simply aren’t made here anymore, like TVs. Well that what we get for buying cheap Chinese crap, we’ve put entire American companies, and their workers, and those that could fix things, out of business. When is the Last time you saw an RCA repairman when I was a kid they were state of the art?

William McKinley had it exactly right:

I do not prize the word “cheap.” . . . It is the badge of poverty . . . when things were the cheapest, men were the poorest. . . . Cheap? Why, cheap merchandise means cheap men, and cheap men mean a cheap country;

And if you are having trouble finding stuff made in the USA, this may help.

America stands with Hong Kong, and Hong Kong Reciprocates

This was a week that may well change the world. A lot of it is down to the Hong Kongers.

You remember that election they had earlier this week for mostly meaningless jobs (which is why China lets them vote, of course). There were absolutely no protests and nobody can complain the elections were anything but fair and free. And the protestors candidates won 17 of the 18 councils.

That is pretty amazing after all e disruption we’ve seen. It really is the population protesting. Then in a remarkably bipartisan effort, the United States announced that the Secretary of State is now required to report at least once a year on whether China is living up to the treaty that returned Hong Kong from Britain. What’s on the line for China? Their trade links with the largest economy on earth and the US will hold their personnel personally responsible via sanctions. You know the same tools that killed the Soviet Union and are killing the Mullahs of Iran

In response to that, Hong Kongers had something to say.

 

Of course the Chinese (and the HK puppet government) are already whining about it. PJ Media reports:

The Chinese ministry of foreign affairs has released a statement condemning President Trump for signing a bill in support of the Hong Kong protesters. Beijing told Trump to stay out of it because Hong Kong and China are “one country,” albeit with “two systems.” It is an internal affair, China says, and therefore none of Trump’s business. […]

“We are officially telling the U.S. and the handful of opposition politicians in Hong Kong who follow America’s lead to not underestimate our determination to protect Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability, don’t underestimate our belief to protect the ‘one country, two systems policy’ and don’t underestimate our capabilities and strategies in protecting our country’s sovereignty, safety, growth and rights,” the ministry said in response to these bills.

“This so-called bill will only make the Chinese people, including our compatriots in Hong Kong, further understand the sinister intentions and hegemonic nature of the United States. It will only make the Chinese people more united and make the American plot doomed to fail,” China’s foreign ministry added.

Yeah, whatever. Sometimes one just has to do what is right, and when the police are ing live ammunition already, how much worse can it really get?

In truth, these protestors remind me of a group of farmers, who started a war with the greatest empire in the world and won through, back in April of 1775. Will the Hong Kongers win? I don’t know, but like us long ago, they know they have to hang together or they’ll assuredly hang separately. I do know this, America’s place is always on the side of freedom. Keep that beacon fire lit, there are people who still believe. In us, and in the dream.

Sadly those do not include Britain. As you may know, the President will be in London on Monday for NATO’s 70th anniversary. Sounding almost exactly like the Chinese, Boris Johnson is pleading with Trump not to talk about their upcoming election. I wonder why. Could it be that he is afraid the British people will figure out that he is selling Britain out (as they sold out Hong Kong) to the EU, which increasingly resembles das vierte Reich?

 

“Be Brave. Be Water. Be Ready.” It Applies to Americans Too.

Ben Domenech, the publisher of The Federalist has an outstanding column on the Hong Kong protests.  It is a bit long but it also burrows down into the whole thing. It’s not very prone to excerpts, so I’m just going to suggest you read it. As the Hong Kongers say: “Be Brave. Be Water. Be Ready.” And for God’s sake don’t be a coward like LeBron James.

My other favorite from yesterday is from American Greatness, where Edward Ring visualized the Future that Trump portends. Here’s the opening:

Anyone who thinks President Trump’s victory is inevitable in 2020 is not paying attention. The entire weight of America’s profiteering elites is arrayed against him.

But what if he wins anyway? What if enough voters realize they’re being conned by the Democrats? What if enough voters decide they don’t want to feel like unwanted usurpers in their own nation? What if men and women of all ethnicities realize that despite the unrelenting avalanche of lies coming from the Left, America is a welcoming and inclusive nation and that the only way a society can stay healthy is by rewarding personal initiative?

What if a critical mass of independent voters were to conclude that, despite his pugnacity, President Trump cares about all Americans, and actually holds moderate, compassionate, common-sense positions? If these things happen, and they very well might, not only will President Trump get reelected, but control of the House of Representatives will return once again to the GOP. And if these sentiments sweep across the land, then politicians of both parties will realize it is time to stop fighting and get back to serving the American people.

Go ahead and read it and then come back, and we’ll talk a bit.

Quite the vision, isn’t it? Realistic? Perhaps not, but who can say. It reads as almost Pollyanish, embroiled as we are in the divisive culture wars. But who’s to say. In 1776, it was dead certain that Britain would regain its colonies, probably more certain than that the ChiComs will suppress the Hong Kongers. But it didn’t turn out that way, did it?

We often misapply the City on a Hill speech, but part of that is that we see beyond what Bradford could see. We can see how the American idea appeals all over the world. We have seen what free markets and free men and women can do. We saw a strip of dirt along the Atlantic Ocean, making a poor living as subsistence farmers turn into the greatest and freest and most powerful nation the world has ever seen both economically and militarily,   because of that freedom. And a bit of British gold to lubricate things, because of everyplace in the world, we were and are, the most like them with a trustworthy legal system.

Right now we have the divisiveness and vituperativeness of the left, as we have had (but worse) since Wilson a hundred years ago. This is why our greatest accomplishments – so far –  were in the nineteenth century. We have been swimming upstream against those who wish to shackle, for their own benefit, the people of the United States certainly, but actually all the world. Something for us all to remember, we are the ‘Keeper of the Flame’ of Liberty, if we go down, most likely all the world will follow us into a new dark age, made more sinister by the technology that free men developed. If we stand, the world has a chance.

You all know that I talk to many in Britain, like us, they have their eyeores, but when you really talk to them, they sound like the Hong Kongers, or Americans. I firmly believe that one of two things will happen there, Britain will exit the European Union, or Britain will destroy its left and destroy the European Union. God bless ’em. I said even before the referendum, that its significance is equal to July 4th, 1776, or maybe the Reformation.

In short, do I believe it will happen as Mr. Ring writes? Probably not. But if we stay the course, and continue to lead with our power and might, not only physically, but morally as well, we will win through, and others will follow us to Churchill’s broad sunlit uplands. You would be surprised how many Britons, and I suspect others, as well, read American blogs, for truthful information, of course, but also because of our thinking, and our willingness to speak.

Once again, I am reminded of the first lines of America’s first great anthem.

Let tyrants shake their iron rod
And slav’ry clang her galling chains;
We’ll fear them not. We trust in God;

%d bloggers like this: