Monday, September 15, 2014

Monday Short Shorts: Richard Bush (UPDATED), Gangs, and Burning Bunnies

Toilets. Necessary when you're discussing politicians.

Gotta love Taiwan. Check out the KMT candidate for Miaoli:
The Taipei District Court in July last year sentenced Hsu to nine years in prison for illegal profiteering for accepting up to NT$10 million (US$332,000) in bribes in the first ruling on the case. He also lost his citizenship privileges for six years.

Hsu has appealed the verdict and continued to proclaim his innocence.

He said he would continue to fight to clear his name and to win in November.
He's been kicked out of the KMT but is still running as its candidate anyway. I said a few weeks ago that it wasn't the politicians, it's the voters. So it is predictable that according to Frozen Garlic, who has been tracking the polls, Hsu is up over the DPP's Wu by 35 points and leads another contender by 10 as of 31 July. It's axiomatic that in any election in Taiwan, the most corrupt candidate is the likely winner.

A stupid brawl in a Taipei night club led to the killing of an off-duty police detective when the infuriated minor gangster involved summoned 50 of his pals. Today the main suspect turned himself in. The lesson here is that manliness in Taiwan is collective -- you're a man when you respond all out for a friend's call for help, and you're a man when you can summon many friends to help. The mano-a-mano thing that westerners do doesn't register here. Hence, picking fights in Taiwan is really stupid, since even if you take the guy in the first round, he'll just summon ten dozen of his friends. There was some worry that this incident was one with two shooting incidents in Changhua and Taichung recently, but there doesn't appear to be a relationship.

The latest creation of that Dutch stunt purveyor who calls himself an "artist", Floretijn Hofman, a thoroughly stupid giant rabbit on an airbase in Taoyuan, has thankfully burnt. A service to humanity that was.

UPDATE: Bush has a statement clarifying:
As can be seen from the text of my remarks, the U.S. government clearly understands the tension between not stating support for a particular candidate and expressing itself on the U.S. interests at stake, when there are interests at stake (I have felt that tension myself). I provided the examples where we have expressed views in the past on the implications of the election for U.S. interests, by way of predicting that it would happen again. It was up to Taiwan voters in the past to decide what those statements meant and how to weight them in their voting decisions. It will be up to Taiwan voters to do so in the future, which is as it should be. But I don’t see any basis for extrapolating from my actual remarks to conclude that I was predicting that the U.S. government would side with one party over another.
But it's important to note, at the same time, that the US was not expressing an interest in stability or some such when Obama Administration officials attacked Tsai Ing-wen. They attacked her by name, (here/here) not in the abstract. So this is not a case of "tension between not stating support for a particular candidate and expressing itself on the U.S. interests at stake". That's Bush desperately wriggling to avoid the clear implications of his speaking: that the US Obama Administration would intervene on behalf of a particular candidate who served whatever parochial interests the Obama Administration views as the "US interest."

Finally, a longtime observer of Taiwan affairs offered another interpretation of longtime Taiwan expert Richard Bush's words that the US would definitely stick a hand in the upcoming presidential election (post). He pointed out that certain figures in the Obama Administration believe that -- brace yourself -- they are the ones who are going to achieve the historic "breakthrough" with China, whatever that means (imagine, it is 2014 and people still think that you can have a "breakthrough" with Beijing). This individual(s) view Taiwan as a nuisance and detest the DPP. Hence Bush was making a move to blunt the effect of any attempt by this crowd to affect the election as they did in 2012 with the anonymous attack on Tsai Ing-wen.
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Mike Fagan said...

"Hence, picking fights in Taiwan is really stupid, since even if you take the guy in the first round, he'll just summon ten dozen of his friends."

Then make sure there is no question of "rounds" in the plural, but otherwise I generally agree; avoidance is preferable until no longer possible (which is precept that a certain U.S. citizen in Hualien should have borne in mind a couple of years back).

That being said, I will attempt to make a subtle point: I do not think the State should be granted the power of putting criminals to death, but there are cases in which it is clearly the cheapest solution to a potentially very expensive problem.

Anonymous said...

I was just wondering the other day about the seeming rise in gang violence and its possible connection to the competition for resources under the new China-centered economic framework that has sidelined many of Taiwan's local organized crime figures in favor of the select pro-China groups. New players have been allowed to come in and intrude on old rackets.

It also seems that in this election year the gang violence is being underreported.

Anonymous said...

That entire KMT Chayi article posted yesterday is a perfect example of doublespeak.

Black is white, war is peace... kmt is democratic

Anonymous said...

Arab spring is a harbinger on what to come in Asia. Young people in HK, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan are under employed with stagnant upward mobility. This is a high pressure cooker which exhibit a lot of warning sign. So far all these governments have not been able to turn the heat off.

US did not handle Arab spring well(or they never had any leverage to handle it) The situation in Asia is the same.

Readin said...

I liked the bunny based on the pictures I saw of it. It may have been oversold as some kind of artistic statement (as modern art usually is), but it was cute and made me want to smile. It was much better than that duck that got so much press.

It reminds one of snoopy relaxing on his dog house on a warm spring day.