Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Rounding up Midweek

A KMT candidate in Taichung. 

The stock market crash in China is going to wipe out the small fry, while the big players will get subsidies. Hopefully this will silence a lot of the idiocy about the greatness of China's economic management one hears from time to time, and reduce its appeal.

THE IRRITANT POLICY: Many times now I've noted that Ma Ying-jeou's policy for the ROC's legally indefensible and historically absurd claims to the South China Sea and the Senkakus is a purposeful policy designed to keep relations between Taiwan and its neighbors irritated. In facing China Taiwan needs the support of those nations. The Ma Administration has artfully prevented any such movement. This week Ma was at it once again with a declaration that the ROC would defend its claims in the South China Sea. The Irritant Policy at work...

Note that China made a last second offer to Philippines to negotiate about Manila's resistance to Chinese expansion in its territory. The purpose of these offers is not to impress Phils, but to impress domestic audiences with the idea that China had done everything it could have done to prevent war, but in the end, it had to go to war because of the intransigence of Manila, Hanoi, and Kuala Lumpur. It's all about shaping domestic opinion to if not support, at least be resigned to, Beijing's ultimate end, which is war.

GOOD STUFF: Ketagalan Media on who Taiwan's aborigines area. Tsai's New York visit profiled at Chinafile. Oh, and this classic article in Taiwan Review breaks new ground in chutzpah: Government support for young people’s engagement in social action is paying dividends. When the government isn't sending police to beat and indict them, I guess.

HUNG GOES FOR THE SYMPATHY: A flutter of news about Hung -- first the story came out that she had health problems which might prevent her from running. Then the next day she held a press conference to explain that she had breast cancer which had been successfully treated. Looks to me like that was professionally set up: the health issue "leaked" to make everyone nervous, and then the press conference set up the next day to gain sympathy. Good work by the Hung campaign. DPP candidate Tsai Ing-wen sent down orders to everyone in the DPP to not mention Hung's health.

The poll above from the pro-KMT TVBS has Tsai up by 12 on Hung. Note large group undecideds, nearly as many as Hung voters. Too early to be meaningful, but still nice to see.

The big news this week was several KMTers were talking about putting the question of Hung's nomination as the candidate to a floor vote of the delegates at the KMT Congress July 19 -- the usual method is by acclamation of the delegates. Frozen Garlic analyzes the possibility that she might be rejected in such a vote and says "don't count on it"...
I haven’t been able to find a breakdown of the delegates to the party congress, but the rough outlines are as follows. There will be about 1600 delegates. Most will be elected by the various party branches, Central Committee members are automatically delegates, and Central Standing Committee members can designate some other delegates. Recall that the KMT has lots of party branches other than simply the various local city and county branches. They also have a youth branch, a women’s branch, and, most importantly, they have the Huang Fu-hsing party branch. The Huang Fu-hsing branch represents military veterans, and it is so big that it has its own local branches in every city and county. Moreover, since party members over 75 no longer have to pay dues, these military veterans are all party members in good standing. They all get to vote, and their votes will be overwhelmingly in favor of Hung.
We've seen this before. In 2005 Ma Ying-jeou and Wang Jin-pyng contended for the party chairmanship, with Wang having the support of the elites against Ma. Ma crushed him (Jujuflop). Instead of having the chairman chosen by insiders, the party went with a vote, and the Deep Blues mainlander soldier faction, knowing that Ma was one of them, all voted for him overwhelmingly. A Hung vote would very likely be a repeat of that.

And so we move toward the Party Congress on July 19: Judgment Day. Will Skynet annihilate the KMT?

The water park disaster sadly continues. Over two hundred in intensive care around Taiwan. Mackay said that at least ten more deaths there could be expected. Quite possibly 50 or more could die, with the survivors horribly scarred for life. Saddest of all, there will be no change in the attitude towards safety here...
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