sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

China - In the News

Please feel free to differ when it comes to the commentary that you read here. It's a blend of what's in the press in Asia and my personal experiences with the Chinese in the People's Republic up to and including Politburo members, in Hong Kong and my experience working directly with the Public Security Police, etc. It doesn't mean that I'm right. Only that I have had enough exposure to form opinions.

1. China is inherently unstable. If the People's Liberation Army wasn't there to keep the place in line, Western China (Muslim); Shanghai; and Guanzhou (was Canton) in Southern China would leave the People's Republic TODAY. None of those areas appreciate Beijing, and all feel that they would be better off on their own. I leave it to you to decide whether they would be or not, but in my opinion capitalism and more personal freedom is always better than communism and less personal freedom. Add Hong Kong into the mix and you have a festering wound created by "one country, two systems". 

2. Chinese people as a cultural group are inherently capitalistic. They just are. There are a million examples of this in their nature that can be seen in the West. They're industrious and smart and work toward personal goals which revolve around, (a) make money, (b) get married to a Chinese lady and have children, (c) build a monument to yourself. 

3. Chinese dysfunction that resulted from the one-child policy created an unnatural male/female imbalance that conflicts with "b" above and generates huge social pressure. The Floating Population (homeless Chinese in mainland China) consists of about 200 million Chinese people and they create social friction and add to a lack of harmony in Big China.

President-for-Life Xi has declared a 'new' Long March
with the USA in the crosshairs.
4. The Chinese milked the West eight ways from Sunday in trade, in tech transfer, and it allowed for this to become a "Chinese Century". Fools like Slow Joe Biden spout that China is not competition to the US. It's goofs like him that created the situation that we find ourselves in. The unexpected arrival of President Trump and his demand for 'fair trade' upset the apple cart. Fair trade in China means trade that benefits China. 

Hong Kong

One quarter of all the citizens of Hong Kong turned out to protest the government. Those are people who took to the street, and that number doesn't reflect the OVERWHELMING dissatisfaction of Communist China absorbing Hong Kong like a malicious amoeba. Hong Kong flies the Hong Kong flag, not the flag of the People's Republic of China.

If the protest was in the US you'd have seen 81 million people out on the street (proportionate to population). That's a BIG problem to Beijing and they have to figure out how to crush it and at the same time keep Hong Kong and its money intact. Sending the People's Liberation Army in to kill people won't work when you're talking about millions of people. I'm not saying that the oligarchs who run the PRC are squeamish. They're not. But they're building this massive belt road project on the pretense that they are not the bloodthirsty killers of the Cultural Revolution. Slaughtering several million people in Hong Kong would not give the world a warm and fuzzy feeling.

China and North Korea

North Korea has always been a Chinese satrap. Sometimes the Norks forget who calls the shots. This week, Chinese President Xi will make his first state visit to North Korea. On 17 June, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) published an announcement. 
“At the invitation of Kim Jong Un, chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea and chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and president of the People's Republic of China, will pay a state visit to the DPRK from June 20 to 21.”
The visit will be the first by a Chinese President to North Korea in 14 years. Hu Jintao was the last Chinese President to visit, in 2005. His host was Kim Chong-il. As a Vice President, Xi visited Pyongyang in 2008.

Xi Jinping accepted Kim Jong Un’s invitation during Kim’s visit to China in March 2018 to try to thaw relations with China. In accepting the invitation, Xi said he would visit at a convenient time.

Preparations for this visit explain North Korea’s relative lack of attention to South Korea and the US in the past few months. President Xi’s visit will complete the rehabilitation of North Korea as a partner of China under Kim Jong Un’s tenure. It also implies that the Chinese communists have accepted North Korea’s dynastic form of socialism. 

China appears to be intervening to prevent the return of instability on the Korean peninsula. Kim Jong Un’s deadline for terminating his peace offensive on 31 December, influenced the Chinese decision to intervene. The Chinese support North Korean denuclearization for their own reasons, which include prosperity and stability. They oppose a return to a campaign of provocations and increased tension with the US and its Allies.

What has China demanded from Kim in return for President Xi’s visit? Likely it is a commitment to maintain the suspension of long-range ballistic missile tests and nuclear tests, especially while China grapples with the US in the trade war, on cyber security issues, freedom of navigation and marketing 5G technology. 

In late May, President Xi said China “is now embarking on a new Long March and we must start all over again.” He blames his 'friend', President Trump for the need to reset. That declaration implies a long campaign of struggle, mainly with the US. The Chinese strategists cannot afford to be distracted by crises in Korea, in Hong Kong or with Taiwan. President Xi will advise Kim to behave, and China will promise to work to get sanctions lifted.

Recipe Corner

White Wolf Salsa

This isn't a recipe blog. But I think that it's time to post up a salsa recipe, so that you all can enjoy the best salsa for yourself. I know, "Cooking with LSP" is a favorite edition of yours and I don't intend to compete with my good friend, but I had to this once

Ingredients:

1 can of whole, peeled tomatoes (big can - 102 oz)
1 medium size yellow onion
1 bunch of cilantro (bunch is a relative term, so you can use two bunches if they're small)
6 to 10 jalapeño chilis (you can add serrano chilis, habaneros, etc. up to you. You need to titrate the   heat to taste. more on that later.
salt to taste.

Directions:

Place the chilis in a pan, and cover them with water. Bring the chilis to a boil.

Blend the tomatoes in a food processor/blender until they reach the consistency that you like. Pour that into an extra large bowl. Follow the same procedure with the onions and cilantro, placing each into its own bowl. Add some tomato juice to each blend to help hydrate it.
Blend the onion until it looks like pulped juice, pour it into a bowl.
Rinse the cilantro and use all of it. Blend until it's a chunky green sauce, pour it into a bowl.
Take the chilis out of the water that was boiling, chop off the stems. Take the seeds out if you want the salsa to have the flavor with less heat. Add them to the food processor slowly until you get the heat that you're looking for.
Add your ingredients into a large bowl, sprinkle about 1/2 tablespoon of salt over the mix, and stir everything together to taste. Test the seasoning with a tortilla chip.

Pour into jars and refrigerate.

Yes, it's simple salsa, but I'm a simple cook, and it is quite delicious mainly because you can tinker with the ingredients and come out with something that is better than the stuff you get at the store (no preservatives) 

I recommend that you make the tortilla chips yourself as well from fresh, delicious corn tortillas if you want the treat to be complete. It's better than popcorn when you're watching political debates, and even though you're culturally appropriating an Arizonan, nobody need know. 


Monday, June 17, 2019

Monday Madness

Global Warming

The climate warmed to melt the ice sheet that was miles thick. That ice age ended officially between 10,000 and 15,000 years ago, depending on who you talk to. There have been mini-ice ages between then and now and nobody is sure what caused them. The progressive movement latched onto the idea that if the US paid trillions of dollars each year, that the weather would improve, while China, India, etc., pumped greenhouse gas into the atmosphere with reckless abandon - and volcanoes did the same. Complex Physics of Global Warming is worth review if you have an interest. 

Monsoon comes to Arizona in July and August, cooling the desert, driving up the relative humidity and killing the odd fool who doesn't understand what a flash flood is and camps in a dry wash. Some people attribute this weather pattern to something sinister. Others just counsel that one should get used to it since it happens every year.

Here at the White Wolf Mine, we're trying to get the hovel painted between the last snow storm (Memorial Day) and the onset of the monsoon. Getting this house completed has been an ordeal. I moved in on January 1. Things still are not complete. Heating and A/C people will be by the place today to fix what they didn't do correctly the first time.

Boom-Boom

The painting crew brought a boom down the logging road to calk and paint the higher portions of the structure.




Fredd asked about scaffolding, and normally, it would work. But the scaffolding would have to tie into the building to keep it attached and that would mean damaging the exterior in favor of scaffolding. 


Hong Kong (update)

Another large demonstration and march took place on 16 June after Hong Kong's Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Lam announced the government decided to suspend debate on the extradition amendments on the 15th. The citizens of Hong Kong are not amused and they are now calling for Lam's removal and installing a replacement who is not the pupped of Beijing (good luck with that).

Organizers claimed that Sunday’s demonstration and march were larger than those a week ago. No sources reported clashes or casualties

On 15 June, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang called the decision to suspend the amendments, announced hours earlier by Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, an attempt to "listen more widely to the views of the community and restore calm to the community as soon as possible".

In public statements, the Chinese leaders continue to back the Hong Kong government. They are maintaining the pretense of autonomous decision-making and non-interference in Hong Kong’s affairs. Nobody is fooled, but there are issues of face involved.

With the crowds escalating demands and now calling for Lam’s resignation, the challenge of restoring stability becomes even more important and difficult. Communist leaders have limits to their tolerance of mass demonstrations that they did not organize.  They will not surrender to mob rule, even if a third of the city population is involved.

If Lam resigns or the city government makes more concessions, a harsh crackdown will follow to send a message. Chinese oligarchs in Beijing cannot afford to let Hong Kong’s exercise in popular democracy serve as an example of a mechanism for city populations in other Chinese cities to effect changes in laws, programs or policies with which they disagree. 

Historical Corner - for your review

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Sunday Sermonette

Father's Day Poll

Did you follow in your father's footsteps in terms of occupation?

(Yes/No/Sorta)

Happy Father's Day

My father died a long time ago, but thoughts of him often attend me and of course, in a way he continues to live though me.


Here's a photo from 2000 with my wife, and my four girls, taken at San Francisco, before the place went to hell. Nineteen years later, there are also nine grandkids, and I've arranged for all of them to be at a pool party & BBQ in two weeks! It's like herding cats.

The Clock is Ticking


The US is behind Great Britain where free speech has been suppressed in favor if Islam.

Everyone has a Favorite


Either one makes a really nice Father's Day gift.

White Wolf Mine Update

There are still workmen here every day and they're bringing a 66' bucket lift to paint the higher parts of the hovel on the mountain side rather than the ridge side of the building. I had a grease fire in the kitchen and a different painter is coming in on Monday to paint the ceiling, which received some soot. The A/C people are also coming over because the new A/C doesn't work. I did all of the diagnostic work that I could and can't figure out why it didn't work. I didn't turn it on until -- yesterday. We've had the Forest Service going insane with proscribed burns and it's been very smoky here in the high country. They announced that their goals for burning and back burning and what they do have ended. After this, a fire is a regular wildfire, and not the government making everyone who lives or camps on the Mogollon Rim miserable.

The new motto for the White Wolf Mine:


Friday, June 14, 2019

Iranian Mischief

Ever since the Gulf of Tonkin Incident (fake news) dragged us into war in Viet Nam, I have looked at these predicates for war with a very jaundiced eye. You see, there is a tendency among Americans to trust their government, their leaders, and to follow somewhat blindly. So I always urge caution.

You've read about it in the news and I don't have much to offer beyond what is circulating. Two tankers were attacked in the Gulf of Oman by Iran and the crews have been evacuated. .

Imagery showed one ship, the Front Altair, on fire, drifting and in danger of sinking. The other ship is the Kokuka Courageous, which is reported to be drifting.

The US released a video that the US says shows an Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) boat alongside the Kokuka Courageous, removing an unexploded limpet mine before the tanker was attacked. 

The US Secretary of State said US intelligence pointed to Iran as being responsible for the attacks. 
"This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping and the fact that no proxy group operating in the area has the resources and proficiency to act with such a high degree of sophistication," Pompeo said.
Assuming the identification of the boat in the video is accurate, this attack was the work of an element of the IRGC.

What should the US do?

Is it 'our fight'? No American ships, citizens or territory was involved and the oil was headed for Asia. National Security Advisor John Bolton is pushing for war with Iran. But the aggrieved nations are Norway (who leased the ship to a Taiwan firm) and Japan. Japanese Prime Minister was in Teheran holding talks with the Iranian Supreme Leader. Message sent and received.

If Japan wants oil, let them buy it from the USA. The same for Taiwan. We are now exporting energy, you know, and with Canada have by far the largest proven reserves on the planet.

And that applies to all nations that would rather not have their ships damaged/sunk by Iran. Just boycott Iranian oil. Buy from the USA. That will solve the problem and the US doesn't need to worry about a crazy, costly war.








Modern China

Social Credit Scoring

It's already in place in much of China and based upon discussions that I've had with people in major cities in China, the coercion is in place and it depending on where you stand, it works. The system ranks everyone based on their social credit. If you marry somebody that is not Han Chinese, your ranking drops. If you criticize the local or national government, that all-important ranking drops. And so forth.

As with private credit scores, a person's social score can move up and down depending on their behavior. The exact methodology is a secret. However playing games on the Internet too long, buying luxury items in excess (unless you're elite), a bad driving record, posting on social media, etc. will spike your score. And everyone knows that if you're part of the party elite, the rules do not apply.

Naturally. A bad social credit score can keep you from traveling on a train, restricting your travel outside of China, reducing your internet speed, banning you and your family from attending good schools, 17 people who refused to carry out military service last year were barred from enrolling in higher education, applying for high school, or continuing their studies, Beijing News. You can't register to stay in a nice hotel, can't get better paying jobs, and being black listed publicly/socially shamed. There are also incidents reported where the government will take your dog from you because of your low score. Want a credit card, so sorry. Orwellian tactics are alive and well. Yet, it's the Red China blues for those who are not elite, and are subject to the often subjective social score.

Intentional Ramming

On June 9, a Chinese fishing boat struck and sank a Philippine fishing boat in the Spratly Islands. The Philippine boat sank off Reed Bank in the Spratly Islands, and the Chinese boat left the area without attempting to rescue 22 fishermen in the water. Typical behavior of the Navy of the People's Republic of China (all "civilian" Chinese fishing boats are part of the Chinese Navy).

A Vietnamese ship operating nearby rescued the Philippine crew.

The action most annoying to the Manila government is the Chinese abandonment of the Filipino fisherman in the sea. That establishes a preliminary basis for culpability, if not deliberation.

This year Chinese boats, coast guard ships and navy ships have become more aggressive in the Spratly Islands as US and allied ships have increased their freedom of navigation and other operations.

The Chinese fishing boats backed by coast guard or naval ships have driven Philippine fishing boats from Scarborough Shoal and other fishing grounds. A deliberate ramming is certainly not unprecedented. 

The Philippines are learning the disconnect between Chinese diplomatic entreaties and maritime practices. It's all part of the Long March, to make the world China.

Hong Kong

The Chief Executive closed Hong Kong government offices for the rest of the week. The Legislative Council has not yet announced when it will next attempt to convene a session to debate the extradition amendments.

Some demonstrators said they will return to the streeets to prevent that from taking place. The Civil Human Rights Front, one of the organizers, said it has applied for a demonstration permit for another mass rally on Sunday, the 16th.

China - Helping to Make Japan Great Again

A US and Japanese naval task group is operating in the South China Sea. The USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) and the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force’s (JMSDF’s) aircraft-carrying destroyer, JS Izumo (DH-183), held a joint naval exercise in the South China Sea from 10 to 12 June. 

The USS Ronald Reagan, JS Izumo, JS Akebono (DD-108), and JS Murasame (DD-101) conducted communication checks, tactical maneuvering drills and liaison officer exchanges designed to address common maritime security priorities and enhance interoperability at sea.

An open source naval locator map placed the USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group in the South China Sea, south of the Paracels, east of central Vietnam. The Chinese have not yet commented on this show of force.

The JS Izumo, at 27,000 tons, is the largest naval combatant in the JMSDF for now. However, the Japanese government has approved the construction of two full-size aircraft carriers. 

For most of the post-World War II era, no Asians, including the Japanese, sought the reconstitution of Japanese naval power. Chinese leaders were in the forefront in denouncing any Japanese military activity outside Japan, regularly reminding Japanese leaders to review their recent history and its outcome.  But China is working hard now to convince the Japanese that they need to build a navy to halt China's imperialism.

For a time, North Korea seemed like a primary driver in Japanese military development, after it test launched a ballistic missile over Japan in 1998. Despite Kim Jong Un’s aggressive missile test program in 2016 and 2017, the Chinese naval threat emerged to eclipse the North Koreans.

China is a bad neighbor, unless you want to be folded into the worker's paradise and ship your money along the Belt Road to China. 

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Big Trouble in Little China

The anti-extradition rally turned violent today (it's after midnight in Hong Kong as I write this). The South China Morning Post (SCMP) published a running blog with imagery of events in Hong Kong on the 13th. 

The protest gathered slowly and peacefully in the morning. The apparent trigger for more aggressive action was the arrival around noon of legislators at the Legislative Council building to debate the amendments to the Fugitive Offenses Ordinance and a related ordinance. Then things got nasty and the Hong Kong Police fired more than 150 tear gas canisters to disburse the protesters.

It's not just anti-extradition that is at stake, and hauling Hong Kong Chinese to mainland China and the tender mercies of the PRC that are at stake. It's the 'one country, two systems' philosophy. The Red Chinese have been trying to woo Taiwan into their orbit using means fair and foul, but THIS shows how the Beijing government handles dissent in "another system". 

Clashes with the riot police went on for about three hours in earnest. Authorities said 21 police officers were injured. Medical officials reported 72 civilians treated for injuries, two people were seriously injured.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang strongly denounced rumors that the People's Liberation Army will be deployed to clear the streets of Hong Kong.
“I can assure you that it is a groundless rumor designed to mislead the public and incite panic. Such heinous intention must be condemned,” Geng said. 
Will Taiwan accept the blandishments of Beijing now? Will they follow Hong Kong into the dragon's mouth with promises?

International judgment that the principle of “one country, two systems” has failed is coming. And this on the heels of economic woes in the worker's paradise.

Hong Kong belongs to communist China and the public disorders in Hong Kong are China’s internal affair. The implications of that seem lost or deliberately played down. The central leadership has very limited tolerance for public expressions of dissent.  Millions of people in Hong Kong are expected to return to the streets tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

An Assault on Academia

How many "professions" require specific instruction and how many could be handled by apprenticeships until the candidate reaches "journeyman" status. The law and medicine are two such areas which would streamline the pipeline to get qualified people in place. A test (bar exam, etc) could be administered to insure that standardized education is achieved. But do we need uber expensive schools? 

Kim Kardashian is going the apprentice route in California, which allows for that prior to a bar exam. Many licenses such as a private investigator license requires apprentice hours or on-the-job experience (such as police officer). 

Oh, but how academia would HOWL if that became the gold standard.