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.

Sunday Funnies; Narwhal Tusks and Impeachment

Another week nearly beyond description, but we’ll try

There are still, I guess, Democrats who want to be president, but they have it wrong, we usually don’t elect the most stupid candidate. 2d most maybe, but not the most.

I can’t really blame Nancy Pelosi for running away from reality last week though.

Die Hard Advent Calendar

And, of course:

Or maybe this suits this audience better

How about an advent special?

NATO at 70, Uncivil Serpents, and Doing the Right Thing

So, this week looks like it will be about foreign affairs – until something changes, I reckon. But that’s where we start.

The North Atlantic signatories are meeting today and tomorrow in Britain. There is a lot of noise, between the president’s concern about European funding, which is certainly justified, French (which has not been a military member since the 1960s) carping about this and that. Macron is only staying for one day, he has other problems. There is a general strike coming in France on 5 December, that will pretty much shut the joint down. Not to mention the shouting matches between Macron and Erdoğan of Turkey.

In a sense, this looks to me like an alliance looking for a purpose. 70 years ago when it was formed under US and UK leadership it clearly was a counterpoint to the USSR and the Warsaw Pact. That war ended 30 years ago, and it seems to me that NATO doesn’t have a real mission anymore. It’s protected by deep state practitioners in all the allied countries, a fair number of whom seem to have not gotten the memo that the cold war is over.

Rule 5 is the heart of the whole thing. It is the provision that an attack on one is an attack on all, and lead to the American assertion (in the bad old days) that America’s eastern border was the Elbe River. That was good sense and admirable clarity. But now what? Some vague line in the middle of Ukraine, the Turkish, Syrian border. Really? Do we want to commit American boys and girls to fight for those things?

In many ways, Europe for the United States, and perhaps for Russia as well, has become a backwater, and its stultifying economy and penchant for internecine dispute and internal imperialism strengthens that notion. So the real question is Quo Vadis.

More here and here.

So in the middle of an election campaign, this is the team that Boris Johnson will attempt to harness this week. Good luck with that, he’ll need a barge load, I suspect.

When we talk about the deep state, we are referring to the same thing as the cousins call the Civil Service (actually most of my friends refer to them as uncivil serpents, for cause). It happens in all bureaucracies, people get aligned with something and no matter what the politicians do, there they stand.

One of the worst cases was in Neville Chamberlin’s tenure in Downing Street. Adrian Phillips wrote the book on Sir Horace Wilson. He published an excerpt on History News Network this weekend, and it looks fascinating. A paragraph or so:

In 1941, as his time in office drew to a close, the head of the British Civil Service, Sir Horace Wilson, sat down to write an account of the government policy with which he had been most closely associated. It was also the defining policy of Neville Chamberlain, the Prime Minister whom Wilson had served as his closest adviser throughout his time in office. It had brought Chamberlain immense prestige, but this had been followed very shortly afterwards by near-universal criticism. Under the title ‘Munich, 1938’, Wilson gave his version of the events leading up to the Munich conference of 30 September 1938, which had prevented – or, as proved to be the case, delayed – the outbreak of another world war at the cost of the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia. By then the word ‘appeasement’ had acquired a thoroughly derogatory meaning. Chamberlain had died in 1940, leaving Wilson to defend their joint reputation. Both men had been driven by the highest of motivations: the desire to prevent war. Both had been completely convinced that their policy was the correct one at the time and neither ever admitted afterwards that they might have been wrong.

The book has joined my list, which you’ll not be surprised, is long, but this looks very good. It also appears to bear on much of what we have talked about today.

Churchill apparently never said that “Americans can always be trusted to do the right thing, once all other possibilities have been exhausted.”  But it’s a fair bet that he thought it pretty often, and pretty often it is true. But we do most often get around to doing the right thing.

As we did with the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act. It’s not something we can credibly go to war about, as I said back on 15 June, this is likely to be a replay of Hungary in 1956, where we simply cannot physically support our friends.

But we eventually found a way, that will hurt China if they suppress the Hong Kongers without a direct military challenge. But look again at the picture that accompanied the article in June (pretty close to the beginning of the protests). Who are they looking to for help? Right, the British, after all, Hong Kong is a former Crown Colony. But that soon changes as the Hong Kongers realized that Britain wasn’t going to be there for them, and so the flags changed, from flags with the Union Flag, or the Union Flag itself, to the American flag. That change was important, for the US does have a habit of as John Kennedy said.

 We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans—born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage—and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this Nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.

  Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

And so we found a way, a no doubt an imperfect way, but the American people first, and then the US government moved to align ourselves once again with freedom, and against tyranny.

The sad part is that Britain should have been on the rampart with us, but was MIA when it counted, whether they were too preoccupied with Brexit, or too in hock to their Chinese paymasters (as some say), or still another reason, doesn’t really matter. When it mattered, they, like Achille, were skulking in their tent. A sad commentary.

What wasn’t sad all, was that these polite protestors, brought out their flags, and even the new poster of our President, and sang our National Anthem by way of saying “Thank You”. I’d trade our leftists for these brave people anytime. What great Americans they’d make!

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?

 

Leadership in the News

Thanksgiving week is always a bit strange, and this year is no exception. I think today we’ll cover some stories that we missed in the last few days since they have some serious repercussions.


First, those amazing Hong Kongers managed to turn an election for essentially dogcatcher, in the American idiom, into a Chinese regime shaking moment that gave the lie to the entire Chicom propaganda effort. As Claudia Rossett writes for PJ Media

Their Finest Hour.

And she’s right, it’s a moment of English speaking history to stand with Agincourt, with Lexington and Concord, and with Churchill’s vaunted Few. All those, just like Hong Kong’s stand were very marginal efforts with long odds against tyranny. It’s what we do, or at least what we used to do. The rest of us need to be worthy of the Hong Kongers.


The Secretary of the Navy got fired last weekend, and it was decidedly for cause. The Colonel explains at Townhall.

Here’s what happened. The president used his constitutional prerogative to pardon or otherwise restore the rank of three accused military personnel, which some of us in the military community had mixed feelings about but which some flag officers vehemently opposed. The most clearly correct action was the restoration of the rank of SEAL Eddie Gallagher. His shameful prosecution had been replete with JAG misconduct, including the mind boggling decision of the prosecutors to electronically spy on defense attorneys. Beyond this outrage – and I note, incredulously, that apparently no one was prosecuted for doing it[…]

There’s more, he explains the situation very clearly. He also explains how command works.

In any case, the president was unequivocal about what he wanted, and this pipsqueak admiral publicly defied and disrespected him. Then Trump tweeted that it was not going to happen. What should have happened is the Chief of Naval Operations should have picked up the phone breathing fire, but he didn’t, and it got worse. Rear Admiral Charlie Brown, Chief of Information, issued a statement reading:

“The Navy follows the lawful orders of the President. We will do so in case of an order to stop the administrative review of SOC Gallagher’s professional qualification. We are aware of the President’s tweet and we are awaiting further guidance.”

At the same time, according to NPR, the Navy pressed on with its administrative review of Gallagher’s status.

This is intolerable.

Fire them all.

Indeed so, in fact to this old fashioned guy, the term “Conduct unbecoming to good order and discipline” comes to mind. Maybe court-martial them first and retire them as an E1.

I’m pretty easy going as a boss, but if you tried that on me, you’d be walking back to town, on your own freaking time. Simply not tolerable.


The Babylon Bee
@TheBabylonBee

And speaking of talking out of both sides of your mouth, have you been keeping up with Chik-fil-A? Robert Gagnon at The Federalist has.

“I picked up the phone and called Dan Cathy. Dan was very clear that they have not bowed down to anyone’s demands, including the LGBTQ community,” [Rev Franklin] Graham said. “They will continue to support whoever they want to support. They haven’t changed who they are or what they believe. Chick-fil-A remains committed to Christian values. Dan Cathy assured me that this isn’t going to change.”

Yeah, Bullshit.

‘There’s no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are,’ Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos said in an interview with Bisnow. ‘There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A [critical of our support of anti-gay-marriage charities], and we thought we needed to be clear about our message.’ … Future partners could include faith-based and non-faith-based charities, but the company said none of the organizations have anti-LGBT positions. … After years of ‘taking it on the chin,’ as a Chick-fil-A executive told Bisnow, the latest round of headlines was impossible to ignore. This time, it was impeding the company’s growth.

That is not what Dan Cathy has been saying all these years. Either they’ve changed or they’ve been lying to us for a decade, while we social conservatives made them the third-largest restaurant chain in America. Which is it?

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council was quite right in his comment on this interview: “Chick-fil-A didn’t just switch their giving practices, they broadcasted it. They made a conscious choice to draw attention to this very public divorce from two Bible-believing charities. And then, in a calculated move, announced their support was going to an organization that, on its website, openly and proudly supports everything about the LGBT community.” […]

Compromise has been going on for a while. It is just now getting more blatant. Back in 2015, Chick-fil-A was listed as a sponsor for an LGBT film festival. By 2011, CFA had stopped giving to LGBT bullies’ big-target organizations, such as Family Research CouncilExodus International, and Eagle Forum, in an obvious effort to mollify critics.

Chick-fil-A had a record $3 billion in earnings for 2018. Apparently, that was not enough. What does one call prostituting one’s values for the sake of still more money and more social approval, dumping one’s loyal lover in the process?

I can tell you what Old Testament prophets would have said: Chick-fil-A is now officially a greedy and cowardly corporate whore, like nearly all other large corporations. Its betrayal now is worse than if it had started out with such an MO. It would have been better if it had never existed.

That’s the thing about God, isn’t it? He doesn’t brook much bullshit. It’s possible, I suppose, that Chik-fil-A has a communication problem similar to the one we talked about above in the Navy. Then Cathy needs to fire that chain of command and fix it.

Meantime, I prefer honest whores. So Chik-fil-A won’t be getting my money. In addition, it is a living demonstration that “When you pay the Dane, you never get rid of the Dane”.

Of Eagles and Dragons

Sometimes the government gets it right. From The Federalist by Madeline Osburn.

The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a bill in support of pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong on Tuesday evening. If signed into law, the legislation would empower the Trump administration to sanction Chinese officials who violate human rights.

The bill will now go to the House of Representatives, which approved a similar version last month, and then on to President Trump’s desk for consideration.

Rather late in the day for the protesters, but there is this, the dragon remains afraid of the eagle, as it should, and it will have an effect. China may be the number two economy in the world, but still, it’s only around 65% of the US economy and built primarily on stolen western technology.

“The people of Hong Kong see what’s coming – they see the steady effort to erode the autonomy and their freedoms,” said Republican Sen. Marco Rubio on the Senate floor.

Under the Senate bill, the U.S. secretary of State is required to certify, at least once a year, that Hong Kong retains enough autonomy of its government’s decisions to qualify for trade special considerations.

Officials in both Beijing and Hong Kong angrily condemned the the passage of the bill. A statement from Hong Kong said they expressed “deep regret” about the legislation, and commented that “foreign legislatures shouldn’t interfere with its internal affairs.”

It appears as if marching with the US flag and calling for liberation still matters, at least to many of us. Now to see if the UK will follow or will stick with their original sell out of Hong Kong. If you remember only the New Territories were covered by that 99-year lease. Hong Kong itself was a Crown Colony with the UK holding full sovereignty.

It’s nice when we can report that Congress is doing something both right and useful instead of simply making trouble for its own citizens.

Still, there are a lot of Hongkongers who are and will pay an inordinate price for holding the line. Good for them. They know the rule, “Where the government fears the people, there is liberty, where the people fear the government, there is tyranny”.

 

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

John F. Kennedy

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