Monday, March 24, 2014

The Endless Double Standards

I don't normally read Peter Hitchens, but when he has something good to say it really is worth hearing. A recent of post of his on his webpage (thanks to David Lindsey for the link) explains the ridiculous coverage by the West about the events in Ukraine and the Crimea. Yet more double standards by the Western media about Russia being recklessly aggressive, as if the West nor anyone else ever did such a thing.

I will make this clear, I do not condone what Russia has been doing. The fact that Crimea had a large Russian population was a lame excuse for Russia to move in and annex the region. That is not right, no matter who does it. The kicker is... many countries do this around the world; Turkey is doing this to Cyprus. Indonesia is doing this to West Papua. Neither actions are condemned by the West, and the West even recognizes the latter.

The only reason the West condemns the Crimea grab is because Russia did it. You could say that American foreign policy in a nutshell is to oppose what Russia does, whether noble or malicious. That would be a very accurate claim.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Formosa Betrayed

Taipei has flared up. The youth of the nation taking to the Legislative Yuan itself to show utter disapproval of the new trade deal with the PRC, a deal that was pushed through the lawmaking process in a way that reminded me of a certain anti-union law that was pushed in Walker's Wisconsin not too long ago.

Cross-Straight Service Trade Agreement... that is what the trade deal is called. Essentially various sectors in both PRC and ROC will be open to each other, with specialists in those sectors from both countries being sent across the straight to the other China. Executives from China, in particular, are given a 3-year visa that can be renewed without limit (essentially, they are free to live in Taiwan without having to deal with the residency paperwork headache I and so many other expats here did). Another goodie is the exchange of goods across the straights. China will get Taiwanese technological commodities while Taiwan will get Chinese cheap plastic crap like the stuff found in Walmart stores. And here is another special idea, handing over Taiwan's infrastructure industry to China with virtually no conditions!

Without its own specialists, Taiwan will become very dependent on those from the PRC. The industries of publishing, telecommunication, and transportation will have control from mainlanders. With the strong economic influence they will bring, who knows what kind of legislation they can convince the ROC to pass. Maybe a large campaign donation to the party who proposes outlawing criticism of the PRC? Or a nice pension for the politician who pushes to create work conditions like those on the mainland?

Proponents of CSSTA keep to the rhetoric that it is much needed economic aide to Taiwan and will bring positive effects to the stagnating economy. Taiwan is not doing well, this is true. Something must be done to move away from OEG and exploit the island's potential. A blank check to the PRC will provide AT BEST short term benefits. The long term economic and political winners will be the plutocrats in Beijing and KMT leadership. Taiwan's status will be at their mercy... that could get me to get the heck out of here really quickly!

I hear the predictable cry of hope from a few protestors that President Ma Ying-Jeou would "come to his senses". What, you mean do the right thing and serve the people, at the cost of losing his possible luxurious gifts from the CCP for giving Beijing the economic leverage they need to absorb their runaway province? As a jaded American, the words of wisdom I want to offer the Taiwanese are that 9 out of 10 times there is no force of nature or act of (any kind of) God that would make a politician do the right thing. What are you going to do, vote against him and hasten his post-career reward?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Not-so Mysterious Orient

Farewell, my Golden State!

I am finally in Taiwan. And it is so humid...
Despite trying to learn Mandarin, none of it sunk in, so now I must deal with a thick language barrier as I start the next year or two of my life.

As a fitting reminder of why I'm doing this, I caught a distressing CNN report about Europe's youth going abroad to find work. A much needed generation of new blood leaving home thanks to the empty promises of college degrees and neoliberalism's need to goad migration, breaking families up to fulfill globalization's need.

I always wanted to see Asia. But not for such a prolonged period of time as a contracted migrant worker. I'm literally traveling on the economy's terms, not mine. I will make the best of it; I have no choice if i want this all to work out. Here's to seeing home sooner rather than later.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Resilient Ones

As I prepare for my adventure into the orient for the next few years of my life, I must still give some attention to my faithful viewers.

Victor Mendalo in the Political Science Department at the University of Washington gives a rather lengthy presentation comparing the results of the Arab Spring in respects to regime. What has been noticeable are the steps taken to improve conditions in monarchies versus the steps taken to improve conditions in the republics. You know, those republics that were formed out of former monarchies that were overthrown by military coups (every one, with little exception) and began to brutally remake the Arab world through their lens of nationalism and despotism, making personalistic regimes with more nepotism that ever existed under the Arab monarchies. Corruption, human rights abuses, economic stagnation, and the proliferation of extremism (religious or otherwise), all under the boot of presidents using brutality and propaganda to stay in power, knowing that there is nothing traditional or legitimate in their regimes. Expansion of voting rights, economic concessions, and little to no violence, are what are found in the Arab nations still fortunate enough to have a living, breathing crown concerned with preserving the kingdom's people rather than purifying the land with "Islamism" or "Arab Nationalism".

Monday, April 8, 2013

Worse Than They Say

Claire Gordon at AOL on how the number of jobless is actually worse than what is reported in mainstream media. Remember, government records only count those who are without jobs and are actively looking for work. That is, of course, no where near a full representation of the entire demographic. Have a look.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Enemies of Monarchy

They are everywhere, even among the wealthy.

Mr. Matthew has posted a touching tribute to King Charles I for January 30th, the anniversary of his horrible murder at the hands of plutocratic revolutionaries under orders of the kangaroo court presided over by said  traitors. And despite what testimony is given by constitutionalist Whigs and even American professors of history, Charles was no horrific tyrant who repressed his people; even his eleven years of Personal Absolute Rule were popular with the commoners as the king attempted political reform to better serve his people against the rising capitalism of land enclosures. The hostile takeover of England by Parliament in the name of fighting against "absolute tyranny" and making a representative government that was representative of whoever the political class allowed representation to was just a rebellion by rich people. It was the Royalist cause, the noble Cavaliers who stayed loyal to their righteous king, who had the interests of the people at heart. The goals of the pro-Parliament Roundheads was to consolidate their power over the crown and lowering their taxes on personal profits. Anyone who knows, really knows, what happened after the execution of the king is where the true tyranny began under the Interregnum.

This is not the only incident of plutocratic antagonism to monarchy. The Constitutional Monarchy in Brazil made the South American nation the hegemon of its continent both economically and politically, with progressive economics and social reform (such as the abolishment of slavery and the push for women's and civil rights). In the very early years of reign, Emperor Pedro I encountered an attempted separatist movement in the northeast spearheaded by wealthy land owners. The secession attempt was not very popular, even in the states that were supposedly to take part in the rebellion, and as such the movement failed. Antimonarchism remained prevalent among the economic elite, however, in particular coffee plantation owners and military officers. The monarchy's end came at the hands of these plutocratic traitors who were outraged when their slave labor was freed; the republican coup replaced the progressive monarchy with a dictator to serve their own interests over the interests of Brazil, paving the way to the glamorized corruption filled republic we know today.

On most monarchist blogs I encounter I often notice (and I am being superficial here... slightly) a trend of staunchly defending laissez-faire capitalism. Granted, I am sure that this is a reaction against the hostility from the collectivist ideals of socialism and especially communism. Dont get me wrong: communist movements have always actively worked against monarchy and are responsible for many, many abolished crowns up to as recently as Nepal's Maoists. And socialists have an irritating habit of always scapegoating the crown over the problems of poverty and national financial trouble; they are idealists just like their opposition, after all. With all that said, this does not mean that capitalists or free market proponents are crown-friendly. Yes, capitalism can be more pragmatic and open to monarchy than economic collectivists, as long as the crown does not interfere with the invisible hand. When that changes, you can count the invisible hand to demand revolution in unison with all the other anti-monarchy demagogues.

My fellow monarchists can keep writing their love letters to capitalism, but I wonder if they will ever realize that the feeling is not mutual. In reality, monarchy has no friends on the economic front. Or ideological, for that matter. Capitalism, communism, liberals, conservatives, their main purpose is to win hearts and minds and stamp out the rest. To them, the crown can either collaborate or be sent to the guillotine.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Gun-Control Debate: How Americans Exploit a Tragedy

I'm sure you all have heard of the massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School that took the lives of 26 innocents, 20 of them being little children. This is the second worse tragedy after the Virginia Tech massacre in terms of body count, but in terms of the victims' age I feel this is much more devastating; being a volunteer teacher assistant at an elementary school myself, I was utterly horrified. It is difficult to imagine this harmless age group being targeted by a lunatic for mass murder, and of all times of the year it has to be with the winter holiday closing in. I cannot begin to imagine the pain that community is going through.

Honestly, I really would rather not give any commentary about this event as I thought there was no need to. But lo and behold, like a scheduled appointment, politics rears its ugly head to exploit this tragedy and turn this time of mourning into a time of argument. Already, the debate over gun control is now the main issue for Americans whether for or against. Every time there is such a tragedy national attention shifts to one half of the country demanding stronger gun laws while the other half makes claims that things could have turned out better if one of the victims was armed.

Personally, I am undecided on gun control; true, the United States has the highest number of firearm related deaths per year by far, but I am not convinced that it is due to high rates of private gun ownership. Switzerland has a very high rate of private gun ownership, and yet their firearm-related death rate is much closer to Japan's (who to my understanding has strict gun control laws) statistics than the US's. What bothers me about the gun-control debate is that after each massacre both proponents and opponents blindly claim the event as the ultimate case for their side. In truth, both sides and the debate itself are all irrelevant. A firearm is nothing but a tool to be used for whatever the purpose. The weapon the murderer used was the absolute intent and desire to hurt and kill. When the will to kill is that strong, a firearm is not necessary; the killer could have easily has made this body count with a samurai sword, a kitchen knife, or a police baton. I wonder where the gun control debate would go if a massacre really did happen with one of those...

Having a firearm did not cause the Sandy Hook killer to go on a murder spree. We have not heard enough about what sent him over the edge (though clearly he chose to attack Sandy Hook due to it being a familiar comfort zone) and made him murder innocent children. It would not surprise me if he was mentally ill; thanks to Reagan the US is now really lacking in the field of mental health. And I will concede: mental illness combined with easy access to firearms is a recipe for disaster. So is mental illness with easy access to anything that can be used as a weapon. Which one is more of a problem?

As for opponents of gun control, they are equally clueless. Their number one argument is always that if one of the victims was armed, the tragedy could have been averted. First of all, this lacks common sense; a firearm at an elementary school? And what happens if the teacher is unaware while a student finds it and starts playing "Call of Duty in RL"? Secondly: a firearm is just a tool. It cannot defend you if A. You know nothing of the tool's capabilities and limitations. B. You have no training and/or experience using it. C. Have been antagonistic to the idea of using it up until when you need to. Even if a teacher had a Desert Eagle .50, she would have hesitated at the moment of truth (or even if she didn't, maybe hurt herself or another innocent) if it was her first attempt at wielding it while under the pressure of saving her class.

Bottom line, both sides are irrelevant. Their only concern is to prove the other side wrong, and thus each and every tragic massacre that happens is their ultimate case in point. How is this not exploitative? Until we start examining the true causes of what creates the will to kill in these crazies will we be able to take steps to prevent another tragedy.