Friday, October 30, 2015

To be wrong is glorious: Chu's numbers in Hung Territory

Orchid Island sightseers

So the Taiwan ThinkTank poll gets passed around on Tuesday. It has the DPP's Tsai Ing-wen up 48-16 over KMT candidate Eric Chu with Soong at 10%. Wednesday I crash at my friend NewDad's place. In the midst of oohing and ahhing at his lovely new baby daughter, who fortunately for the rest of us resembles his very attractive wife, I remark that the poll is deep Green and probably deprecates Chu. "I'd give him another five points," I said.


The poll from the staidly establishment TISR came out a couple of days later. With nigh-on identical numbers (Solidarity): Tsai at 47, Chu at 16, Soong at 10. Tsai is crushing Chu around the nation, and by huge margins in New Taipei City. The Taiwan Thinktank poll observed that...
Voters appeared to strongly disapprove of Chu’s decision to run in the presidential election without first resigning from his post as New Taipei City mayor, as the poll showed that 63.5 percent of respondents said that Chu should quit as mayor, and 24.3 percent said he should not.
The CSPA poll earlier in the month (Solidarity) had 64% wanting Chu to resign as mayor.

Interestingly, Chu's stock has risen 7 points while Tsai's has fallen 9 points in the crucial central Taiwan battleground, but the poll doesn't give information as to why. Tsai continues to lead in all age groups and also in crucial middle voters.

I had a wonderful opportunity to talk politics on Thursday morning with a couple of attractive and intelligent young people. One of things I observed was that if the Deep Blues constitute 9% of the population -- judging from the support for eventual annexation to China in the polls -- and KMT voters comprise half the voters, then Deep Blues are probably around 20% of KMT votes. If half those voters stay home, then the KMT will lose 10% of its votes. This has happened before. In the 2004 legislative elections a huge chunk of the pan-Blue electorate, about 10%, stayed home. Here are the vote totals for the PFP and KMT in the legislative election:
2001 Blue vote: 5,136,827
2004 Blue vote: 4,552,831
Had Chen Shui-bian, then the DPP Chairman, not screwed up the elections, the DPP would have had an outright majority in the legislature and we might have been spared the vicious, vacuous incompetence of the last 7 years.

Hey, how about that 3Q economic growth? Worst since 2009, falling 1.01%. Another glorious victory for ECFA.

The Soong campaign? Is there one? He's been so quiet, not criticizing anyone. I wonder if he is hoping he can get the Veep slot in the Chu campaign.

Former candidate Hung Hsiu-chu was heavily scapegoated by the KMT, with articles in the international media reporting, without a trace of self-awareness, that Hung was thought to be too close to China. But the CSPA poll from earlier this month identified the problem: the public is sick of the KMT.
Who should take the responsibility for the KMT’s low election prospects, the KMT or Hung?
KMT: 75.8%
Hung: 5.8%
Chu's decline into Hung territory in the polls is more evidence of that.

This week the KMT took steps to retain the only remaining popular heavyweight, Speaker of the Legislature Wang Jin-pyng, by altering its rulz, which bear an eerie resemblance to actual rules, to permit him to stay on for another term. However, the alterations only affect the speaker of the legislature. They don't help Hung Hsiu-chu, who won't be on the party list for the deputy speaker slot since she has reached her term limit. When the KMT wants to betray you, it does a thorough job.

How different is Chu going to be than Ma? He's Ma 2.0: listen to him talk, defending his criticisms of Ma:
For instance, the direction of the government’s cross-strait policy is, without doubt, on target, but its 12-year national education program has been a magnet for criticism,” Chu said.

Chu, who is also KMT chairman, acknowledged during a radio interview on Wednesday afternoon with Sisy Chen (陳文茜) that the perceived poor performance of the Ma administration was the biggest impediment to his election prospects.

He cited Ma’s controversial proposal to levy a capital gains tax, 12-year national education program and raising of electricity and fuel prices as examples of the mistakes that the KMT government had made in the past seven years.
I said a long time ago that the KMT's only possibly move was to run against Ma, but that isn't going to work with Chu firmly supporting one of the things that has peeved voters: Ma is too close to China. The 12 year education program is widely hated, as were the necessary raises in electricity and fuel prices. But they wouldn't have cost the KMT the election were it not for Ma's additional sellouts such as ECFA, the services pact, and the free enterprise zones.

Someone needs to ask whether Chu supports the free enterprise zones...
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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Washington Times has no Google in its office

A lonely fishing spot. I once wanted to do a whole post of fishing pictures but decided not to, since fishing is the second most boring thing in the world. 

The Washington Times published an official editorial on Taiwan obviously written by someone with little expertise. It's rife with errors:
Eric Chu, a onetime accounting professor and the new nominee, will face Democratic Progressive Party candidate Tsai Ing-wen, who proposes formal independence for Taiwan instead of the current ambiguous de facto autonomy.
Dr. Tsai's position is quite clear: "status quo" not independence. She's said this about 1000 times. The DPP's long-term commitment is to independence. But Tsai will not move in that direction, as many commentators have observed.
The KMT, which once ruled everything on the island with a very firm hand, is trying to recoup its strength after disastrous parliamentary elections a year ago, when it paid a price for several deals it made with mainland China.
The legislative elections are next year. Last year was the local government elections.
However, the mainland meddling in Hong Kong, despite its political autonomy enshrined in the 1997 British agreement to turn the colony back to China, has raised suspicion of Beijing’s good faith elsewhere.
Um. No. Taiwanese have been rejecting annexation to China and One Country Two Systems, since forever, and it was Taiwan's experience of ECFA and other deals that drove anti-CSSTA sentiment, as well as close familiarity with China since a zillion Chinese work there. The editorial actually observes that above this. *sigh*
A study in 2007 by the Rand Corporation questioned whether the United States could — or would — fulfill its treaty obligation to defend Taiwan in event of an all-out attack from the mainland.
The US has no treaty obligation to defend Taiwan. Period. A gross error.

Is there any point in writing them? They won't correct it. The really sad part is that Washington Times has a long history of standing up for Taiwan and many experts on the island nation have published in it. Why wasn't one of them consulted?

Why O why can't we have a better media?
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Wednesday Short Shorts

Ad for a candidate for the New Power Party.

Well, Taiwan called for a peaceful resolution of the South China Sea disputes as the US sailed a destroyer uneventfully through international waters China is attempting to occupy. Since Ma Ying-jeou is every bit the Chinese expansionist that Xi Jin-ping is, his idea of "peaceful resolution" is the same as Xi's: nobody contests China's territorial grab. The US has the right idea but it is years too late on this -- it should have done this right away when China began expanding there. The US response instead was indecisive and dilatory. The President's previous top China policy guy just got a job with Eurasia group, which does much China consulting. I'm sure there is no connection between these facts.

Meanwhile the election is 90 days away. The domestic economy is still sluggish, giving voters every reason to punish Ma. This week campaign posters began appearing all over; hope to have some pics this weekend. Note that KMT Chairman and presidential candidate Eric Chu swapped himself for Hung Hsiu-chu 90 days before the election began, just before posters would be printed, and just right for the 90 day leave of absence, the longest civil servants are permitted to take. I'm sure there is no connection between these facts.

An interesting and inevitable new wrinkle appeared this week as well: Eric Chu's dad-in-law, Gao Yu-ren, a powerful, wealthy, well connected KMT heavyweight, is becoming an issue, as many predicted. Indeed, many observers thought that Gao's many deals were a factor keeping Chu from running. This week the first trickle in what is likely to become a flood...
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman and presidential candidate Eric Chu (朱立倫) might have pulled some strings to bring about an out-of-court settlement between the Ministry of National Defense and Vtron Technology, the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) caucus said yesterday.

TSU caucus convener Lai Chen-chang (賴振昌) told a press conference that Vtron owner Kao Yu-jen (高育仁), Chu’s father-in-law, won a ministry contract in 2013 to manufacture key components for the Tien Chien II (TC-2), a medium-range air-to-air missile, by tendering a bid that was 35 percent below the minimum and failed to deliver.

Vtron’s successful bid generated doubts in the arms manufacturing industry from the outset and Vtron did not disappoint, drawing a complete blank in terms of development, Lai said, adding it was very suspicious that the ministry had a sudden change of heart and did not pursue legal action against Vtron.
Today the TSU, obviously acting on the DPP's behalf so that the DPP avoids looking like the attacker, brought up another interesting case. They alleged that Chu hasn't been reporting that he owns a tiny portion of his father-in-law's firm for four straight years. Going to be difficult to claim ignorance since Chu is, well, an accounting professor.

This drip-drip-drip will likely continue throughout the election period -- indeed, a couple of friends suggested that the reason Chu waited until now to launch his bid is that there will be less time to bring up all the shady, sweetheart deals the dad-in-law is party to. Had Chu run in April, the DPP would have been hammering him for months.

DPP candidate Tsai Ing-wen won her case against Christine Liu for allegations over the TaiMed mess. The whole was a smear that fell apart in counter-allegations of forgery (old post). The DPP remains firmly in the driver's seat, and the real struggle will be over the legislature.

However, the most important thing that came out this week isn't about the election. It's about the nation's finances and investment. Just as ECFA was designed to increase Chinese imports to Taiwan and decrease Taiwanese exports to China, and the services pact to allow Chinese firms to overwhelm smaller Taiwanese firms as well as bring Chinese into Taiwan, so the financial services agreements are bearing fruit: Taiwan's development capital is being vacuumed up by China. Read it.
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Monday, October 26, 2015

International Conference on Taiwan Maritime Landscapes from Neolithic to Early Modern Times Nov 17-18

Taiwan as seen from Green Island

Ecole française d’Extrême-Orient (EFEO)
Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica
Centre de recherche sur les civilisations d’Asie orientale (CRCAO, EPHE-CNRS)
International Conference on
Taiwan Maritime Landscapes
from Neolithic to Early Modern Times:
Cross-Regional Perspectives
Conference Program below

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Huffpost Laffer on former Premier Jiang + Links -n- stuff =KEATING MEETUP UPDATE=

Hmm... do I want to pass this truck?

Huffpost had an annoying interview of former Premier Jiang Yi-huah. Comical. A friend critiqued it on Facebook:
This is a classic statement of Confucian political values. He hits all the major themes.

First, he is 'scholar' (note the pious invocations of Yale and NTU). Next he is reluctant to enter public life. He personally prefers the quiet life of a scholar, but he is persuaded by the Leader to set aside this selfish goal. He reaches his decision by thinking of his higher duties to his parents (xiao, filial piety) and society (zhong, loyalty).

In office, he wants to create harmony (he) and set an example to the people by his personal incorruptibility. He is hardworking ('nearly 24 hours a day seven days a week), patient, and humble.

Young people (AKA the Sunflower students) must not be impatient (i.e no street protests please) and need to "learn to coexist with other" (i.e sell out one's personal convictions).

I have no doubt that Professor Chiang is a very nice man and really believes what he is saying.

The reference to Weber is fascinating. On the one hand, Weber has been a special favorite of Taiwan's neo-Confucian Mandarins since Yu-Ying-shih popularized his 'applicability' to China. On the other hand, it is very telling that Chiang thinks that Weber's notion of a political vocation is actually a catechism for would-be politicians in Taiwan.
In other words, it's a carefully constructed alternate reality presented for outsiders. One reality left out: Ma's government was a government of mainlanders like Ma, and there is no way Jiang would have made Premier without being a mainlander like Ma. Wiki has more info on Jiang. Jiang, who set the police on the students in the Executive Yuan and has always supported the authoritarian colonial government of the KMT, was at the...
"The interview was done in Prague during Forum 2000 conference, an annual event dealing with human rights among other topics. Forum 2000 was co-founded by Vaclav Havel. Man who became first elected President in the then still Czechoslovakia after the fall of Communist rule following violent crack down on student protests known as the Velvet Revolution.

Irony is dead."
Of course, it was under Jiang that there was a violent crackdown on student protests...
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EVENT: Jerome Keating's meet up
Mark your calendars for Saturday November 7th; we have a great presentation... UPDATED WITH VENUE DIRECTIONS

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Update on 1781 Tsunami disaster

Dongchi Road in Dongshih.

The Straits Times had a nice piece on the tsunami risk for southern Taiwan and an explanation of the massive 1781 tsunami...
The scientists from Nanyang Technological University's Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS) have now found that it was likely caused by an underwater landslide on the upper portion of the continental slope offshore from southwestern Taiwan. This was likely triggered by an earthquake.

"A similar event today like that in the 18th century would endanger millions of lives in the coastal cities like Kaohsiung and Tainan and damage infrastructure located at the south of Taiwan," warned Assistant Professor Adam Switzer of EOS, who led the research into the 18th- century Taiwan tsunami.
I blogged on a paper about that horrific 1781 disaster when discussing the tsunami threat to the nuke plants in Taiwan, which is real and urgent:
The second suspected tsunami inundated Kaohsiung, southwestern Taiwan, in 1781 (Wang et al., 2006). Besides appearing in a contemporary Chinese travelogue and a Japanese historiography, it was also recorded by Dutch colonists in the 18th-century Taiwan. Flooding lasted upwards of 8 h and many villages were swept away, resulting in more than 40,000 casualties (Wang et al., 2006). Despite the severity of this event, no inland or nearshore earthquake was identified as the cause. This would be consistent with the theory that the tsunami was generated by a far-field earthquake from off the Philippines.
What the EOS finding really means is that there are two possible sources of tsunamis in southern Taiwan, a quake in the Manila trench or other nearby plate meeting, and an undersea landslide. Note that this time around any tsunami is going to be incredibly destructive, not only because of all the people who live in Pingtung and Kaohsiung, but because much of that area is under sea level thanks to groundwater withdrawal. Indeed, a truly devastating tsunami might alter the seacoast for a long period, pushing it back several kilometers and creating lagoons in low-lying areas.

REF: Another use of aboriginal folklore to document tsunamis
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What is The Assassin Really About?

Passion fruit flower.

Locally-based scholar Kerim Friedman observes on Facebook of Hou Hsiao-hsien's new film, The Assassin:
I'm also concerned about the film's politics. It seems to suggest that an independent break away province -- which unlike a neighboring state that was seized by the emperor, has been building up rapport with the people for 50 years (sound familiar?) -- is needlessly antagonizing the emperor. Doesn't this sound like Beijing's line, in which Taiwan is always cast as the troublemaker? It does call for a peaceful resolution to the division and recommends allowing the break-away governor's children time to grow up, but the politics are pretty far from what I think most Taiwanese would feel comfortable with. Surely something has been written about the film's politics?
Hou is a pro-annexation mainlander with close ties to China. He thinks of himself as a leftist, one of the many strains of Leftism that has a strong right-wing nationalist Chinese component. In other words, not much of a Leftist.

During the Chen Administration Hou helped feed the KMT propaganda line that Chen Shui-bian was "stirring up ethnic divisions" by founding the Ethnic Equality Action Alliance in 2004 (Taipei Times). Ostensibly devoted to the noble cause of ethnic equality, in reality its purpose was to attack the Chen Administration since it was, among other things, looking into Taiwan's past. You see, looking into 50 years of martial law and official terror is "creating ethnic divisions"... the Taipei Times noted at the time:
Representative figures from this group immediately launched an attack on the pan-green camp, accusing it of fomenting ethnic hostility more frequently than the pan-blue camp does. They said with a straight face that stronger ethnic groups are more inclined to bully weaker groups and to manipulate ethnic issues.

Brian Hoie has discussed the pro-independence left and the pro-annexation left at New Bloom:

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Thursday, October 22, 2015

KMT Makes Smart Moves

Orchid Island.

For months now, Eric Chu, Chairman of the KMT, has been denying he would run for president. On Saturday he reversed that decision.

How long ago was this date and move against Hung planned? Who knows? But Chu has to take a leave of absence, and although sources differ (Taipei Times), he can take about 90 days, which will get him to election day, more or less.

More importantly than running for President, the first thing Chu did was to move to give Wang Jin-pyng another term as a party list legislator... (TT), even though he repeatedly said the party would not be doing that...
One of Broadcasting Corp of China (BCC) radio show host Lan Shuan’s (蘭萱) questions was about about a possible re-election bid by Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), who is now in his third term as a KMT legislator-at-large.

“Current KMT regulations stipulate that legislators-at-large can only serve two terms, although those who have made special contributions to the party, meet the needs of the party and have served as legislative speaker, are eligible for re-election,” Chu said.
The KMT news organ reported that the Central Standing Committee is already putting this in motion, according to the KMT news organ.
Legislator Liao Kuo-tung (廖國棟), who is also a member of the KMT Central Standing Committee (CSC), stated yesterday that he had obtained the endorsements of 10 other CSC members to table a motion to amend the KMT’s nomination regulations on the party list for at-large legislators. He said that the amendment would lift the current two-term limit on a Legislative Speaker’s legislator-at-large seat, allowing Wang to be nominated for an unlimited number of terms.
It is difficult to see this as anything but a defeat of Ma Ying-jeou, who tried to destroy Wang Jin-pyng two years ago and lost in court.

Chu himself is not enough to save the legislature, only Wang Jin-pyng, the unofficial leader of the Taiwanese legislators in the KMT, can do that. Bringing Wang back on board was a sharp move. The KMT is now well positioned to recoup some of the seats it would probably have lost, but it is hard to say how many, perhaps only a few in the north. None of these moves, it seems to me, will have much effect south of Taoyuan.

Chu also made another important move: he announced a plan to visit the US in Nov.

Still, it's the old KMT. Chu posted on Facebook a post that allegedly was written at midnight, but appeared at 8, so I'm told, and was pilloried by netizens as the Straits Times observed.

Frozen Garlic was eloquent in his post on the weekend's events:
The other big contrast that I want to focus on is the assumed relationship between the party and the state. Near the beginning of his remarks, Chu stated that the KMT’s future is tightly bound up with the future of Taiwan and of the ROC. In other words, an election disaster leading to the demise of the KMT could be expected to spell ruin for Taiwan and the ROC. Chu was not alone in tying the party and state together. Several previous speakers made similar remarks. The KMT is, in essence, the ROC. It is disheartening for me to hear this sort of rhetoric after more than two decades of democracy. The KMT elite seems to still believe the Leninist assumption that it is a vanguard party leading the state. They seem not to understand that in democracies, parties are a level below the state. The democratic system can remain quite healthy even as new parties emerge and old ones fade away (or crash and burn dramatically). No party is irreplaceable.
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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Dutch period sugar exports went...where?

The globalized world is not a product of our era. The awesome Frances Chan sent this little shot from Samuel P. S. Ho's indispensable Economic Development of Taiwan, 1860-1970, around Facebook.
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Monday, October 19, 2015

KMT Crampain II: Cheese with that? ...and polls!

Two of the manliest men I know explore what passes for a beach in Taichung.

How do you know the KMT campaign buses have arrived in your neighborhood? Because when the engines shut off, you can still hear the whine...

Well, the new and probably far grimmer campaign got off to a start with both candidates promising not to get nasty. Next stage: the "they did it first!" claim.
Sitting down to talk "absolutely is not a problem for me," Chu said. He said he has never engaged in negative campaigning as he does not support malicious attacks or smearing tactics.

"It is absolutely not necessary to engage in negative campaigning, after which the winner will carry scars all over," he said.
Chu's lofty remarks at the Congress where he got the nomination:
During his speech, Chu called on all party members to unite, saying, “If the KMT suffers a humiliating defeat, Taiwan will be dominated by a single party, the DPP. Without checks and balances at all levels of government and parliament, there can be no democracy. Will there be checks and balances or democracy in Taiwan if we allow a political party to control Taiwan’s politics across the board, which tends to engage in confrontation/street protests, and to block legislative proceedings by occupying the Legislative Yuan Speaker’s podium? Will Taiwan become a nation ruled by one party? Will teachers teach their students a one-party ideology? Think about it. This is why we worry about the future of Taiwan’s democracy.”
The KMT deploring one-party rule? Irony is not only dead, its corpse has been exhumed, mutilated, and publicly displayed for 40 days. Of course, when Chu deplores "one-party ideology", he's speaking in code to the other members of his colonial ruling class: "if the population's identification with Taiwan expands, we're dead." That is why the Ma Administration is desperately attempting to get the curriculum changed before it leaves office.

The big news is that Chu is taking a leave of absence from his mayoral duties. They aren't giving up New Taipei City to the DPP. His leave of absence is essentially a public a concession that he is going to lose. The position is being handed over to his deputy, who, as Solidarity pointed out on Twitter, "Acting New Taipei Mayor Hou Youyi was a bodyguard for Chu's father in law and a police officer involved in Cheng Nanjung's 鄭南榕 suicide." Chu said that he was running for President to save Taiwan's democracy, the thing so many of his mainlander compatriots had fought so hard to suppress:
"I had previously said on many occasions that I would not join the 2016 presidential election. But at this crucial moment, it was a decision I had no choice but to make, to improve the health of Taiwan's democracy," he said
By "saving Taiwan's democracy" he means saving the legislature for the KMT, to preserve "balance." This whine is going to be their campaign theme! This is a remarkably defensive and inward looking stance to take, a symptom of how deeply the KMT has been wounded. It also means that the campaign is going to be negative -- since Chu can't win, he has nothing to lose. Which is good, because the KMT will not be offering policy packages (I mean, policy packages that aren't outright bribes) or kind words or empathy for the suffering public or long-term plans or even a coherent philosophy. At the moment, it looks like the Chu campaign is going to fail miserably.

If it does, it will be a failure of its own making, for the legislature is KMT dominated and has been for decades, and yet it is worthless. How can Chu offer a coherent and progressive policy package of any kind based on the legislature? The KMT has made it useless, and the public knows that.

Still waiting to hear whether any of Hung's campaign people are working/not working for Chu.

Even worse for the KMT, export orders fell again last month. The KMT will be running as the incumbent party that has presided over economic decline.

Rupert Hammond-Chambers at WSJ argues that the KMT election drama is a message to Beijing.

Early polls are out everywhere. The Cross Strait Policy Association, a pro-KMT organization, has a Tsai-Chu race at 54-27 for Tsai. With Soong in, it's 45-21-13 (Soong). Interestingly, the poll found that 41% of those polled felt Chu had no choice but to betray his promise not run, even though 53% felt he had broken it. Apple Daily had Tsai at 45 and Chu at 26.

The top chart for the SETV poll shows that Tsai leads in Yilan, Hualien, and Taitung, the latter traditionally KMT strongholds. It also shows that the one place in the nation where Tsai loses to Chu is the offshore islands of Kinmen and Matsu, where he beats her 23-21. Note that in the crucial central region battleground it's not even close (second image, third numbers), with Tsai in a blowout, 42.9 to 15.4. She also has double digit leads across the north. The bottom poll is the national one, with Tsai up 41-20.

In every poll Tsai enjoys ~20 point margins. Soong has faded to around 10% and will fall. Chu is not topping 30%. And given the way the campaign is likely to go, this might well be his high point...
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Saturday, October 17, 2015

KMT Crampain I: Eric Chu now The Man

Circulating on the net before the vote: Retain Hung!

Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss
Well, as expected, the Chairman of the KMT, Eric Chu, is now the KMT presidential candidate after an extraordinary KMT party congress repealed former candidate Hung Hsiu-chu's nomination and then nominated Chu. 812 of the 891 delegates voted to oust Hung. Chu was selected by acclamation, as party reps stood up to show their support.

They now have to cram the pain of a full blown election campaign into the next 90 days... alas, I mourn the loss of Hung, because the campaign is going to begin a long spiral of increasing nastiness, I fear. Hung's rhetoric was so absurd in its excesses it never managed to lower the tone of the campaign. The KMT has no positive policy to offer anymore, one reason it is suffering at the polls. All it has left is negativity... and the DPP has been rumored to have some pretty heavy stuff to use on Chu. That too will drag the tone down...

There were reports of rumors that heavyweights Wang Jin-pying, the Speaker of the legislature and the unofficial head of the Taiwanese KMT, and Wu Den-yi, the Veep who is known to covet the presidency, would stage a revolt, but as usual, nothing came of it. Those who wish to build on the strength of Wang Jin-pyng are basically trying to erect a tower out of tapioca pudding. Hung has said she will go quietly into that good night. Sorry, no split imminent, no revolt.

A key issue is how many of Hung's people will remain with the Chu campaign...

Many questions await, and much beer will be swilled in speculation. Frozen Garlic analyzes whether Chu should resign as mayor.
Let’s start with the calendar. The election law requires that a by-election be held within three months of a resignation. A few days ago in the legislature, the head of the electoral commission stated that they would need at least two months of preparation time after the resignation to hold a by-election. In other words, if Chu were to resign between October 16 and November 19, the by-election would almost certainly be held on January 16, concurrent with the presidential and legislative elections. If Chu wants the by-election to be held after the presidential election, he has to wait until at least November 20. Elections are always on a Saturday, and it is highly unlikely the CEC would schedule such a large-scale by-election on Jan 23 or 30, the two Saturdays immediately after the general election. Feb 6 and 14 fall during the lunar new year holiday, so the earliest reasonable date for a by-election is Feb 20. (February 27 is also out of bounds due to the national holiday for Feb 28.)


The recent speculation about the electoral calendar seems to imply that he will wait until late November or early December to resign so that he can run in the by-election. This is a bad strategy. If he waits until then to announce his decision, he will still have to answer questions for a full month. In other words, he will have a month of telling the public that it isn’t a problem, and then he will backtrack and admit that he needs to resign. He could also announce today that he will resign, but he won’t officially submit his resignation until late November because of the calendar. In that case, he will be open to attacks that he is playing politics with the mayor’s office. In order to maximize KMT interests, he will be leaving New Taipei City effectively rudderless for four full months. Moreover, if he resigns but then runs in the by-election, he will still be open to these same charges. What is the difference between having a lame-duck interim mayor appointed by the central government and delegating most of the power to his deputy mayor while he is away? Either way, the city government is leaderless for several months.
Read the whole thing, because it is excellent, but I just wanted to focus on the timing, because it is so important. Most everyone expects that the DPP would win a by-election in New Taipei City, which is the nation's most populous municipality. Any way you slice it, a significant portion of the voters of the nation's most populous municipality are going to be annoyed at Chu. If Chu does a(nother) cynical move like wait on the decision to force a later by-election in Feb, voters may well take out their annoyance on his city's KMT legislative candidates, of which there are 12.

Then there is the Veep choice.

TVBS polls done Friday before the Congress have Tsai over Hung, 47-31, with 66% saying they want Chu to step down as mayor of the City Formerly Known as Taipei County. Remember he promised not to run and promised to finish his term as mayor.

Interestingly, J Michael Cole, a better man than I who amazingly watched the Congress, which I could not do since there were no general anesthetics in my house, tweeted:
J Michael Cole (寇謐將) ‏@JMichaelCole1 
KMT's Eric Chu uses fear tactics against DPP in speech: "We're against violence...spit on populism...for cross-strait peace."
Chu has adopted some of Hung's vocabulary, including attacking the Sunflowers as violent, attacking the DPP as populist, and saying that a DPP victory would be a threat to cross-strait peace. The Legislature must be saved for the ROC!! That's why the switch was made, as my readers know. I am glad he wasn't conciliatory and statesmanlike, I feared he might be. Very reassuring to know that when you scratch a mainlander elite, you get the same ideologue underneath, whether it is Ma, Hung, or obviously, Chu.

J Michael Cole observes at Thinking Taiwan:
Although the effect on voters’ decision remains uncertain, Hung’s replacement will likely stop the bleeding at the local level and ensure a modicum of unity for the party, especially in the south, where Chu, a “half-Taiwanese,” may have more appeal than the “Mainlander” Hung. Whether the abandoned candidate, who has shown no interest in being Chu’s running mate, remains defiant will also have an impact on party unity.
Of course, I am looking forward to the articles in the western media duly promoting Chu as "charismatic" and "pragmatic." Can't wait to see Banyan transfer the crush on Ma to the crush on Chu.
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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Polls and Stuff on the Hung-Chu Swap

Waiting... waiting....

As we wait to see what Saturday's meeting of the KMT brings, there is a spate of articles in media saying that the Special Investigative Division is investigating accusations that the KMT offered a bribe to current KMT Presidential Candidate Hung Hsiu-chu to step aside. This is purely pro forma, despite media attempts to sex it up, and will not come to anything even in the highly unlikely event that it is actually true, but I just want to publicly inform the KMT that I will happily accept a large payment from the KMT not to run for President on a KMT ticket.

The papers here are reporting that Eric Chu, the current Chairman of the KMT, is going to accept the nomination. The KMT is getting around its lack of a mechanism for repealing the nomination by repealing the resolution making Hung the nominee. News that Chu is the man was coicident with reports saying that 2015 economic growth in Taiwan is, like KMT economic competence, essentially undetectable. Glad I am not running at the head of that ticket in this economic environment...

[fixing the chart!!! grabbed the wrong one, mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. That will teach me to blog after several hours of editing and translating late at night....]

TT on it:
However, if Chu replaces Hung 44.6 percent of respondents said they would still support Tsai, while Chu would receive 21 percent support and Soong 12 percent.
Chu's numbers will almost certain rise as the KMT campaign settles down and voters gradually mellow out, but how much will the rise be? Probably not much, is the verdict of most observers -- voters are readying to punish the KMT. Chu's campaign is basically going to be an exploration of how long a dead cat can be made to bounce.

Soong is still gently fading and not worth bothering about. Whatever election it is, the Soong retains the same.

Commentary is overflowing, so I won't add. WantWant won the internet this week with headlines: KMT mulling what word to use when it throws Hung under the busHung their heads in shame: Hsiu-chu classier than KMT colleagues, and of course, KMT chair apologizes to Hung for imminent backstabbing. Courtney Donovan Smith, who combines in his awesome self one of my favorite people and one of my favorite commentators, asks Can Anyone Save the KMT? Frozen Garlic mulls the effect of replacing Hung with Chu. WSJ commented on the KMT mess, but then veered into scaremongering. Peter Enav at Thinking Taiwan on the inevitability and history of the KMT implosion. Brian Hoie at New Bloom on whether the KMT is devouring itself.

Solidarity notes that Ma is still trying to suppress Chu and advance Wu Den-yi. After Chu loses the election he will likely step down, and we will see another round of red (non-mainstream KMT) versus blue (mainstream KMT) violence, with the "pragmatic" Ma backing the first crowd and trying to get his man into the chairmanship spot. We on the pro-Taiwan side might have to send a trade delegation to Iowa to purchase next year's corn crop to ensure we have enough popcorn on hand for the post-election KMT civil war.
Daily Links:
  • The stupid struggle over pork continues. Taiwan does not want heavily subsidized US pork to come in and wipe out its producers. Anyone who thinks that the TPP is about containing China need merely look at the purblind stupidity of US TPP policy -- the US will hold up Taiwan's TPP bid to make a handful of insanely wealthy, massively subsidized US producers of pork even wealthier. That's what we call stoopid. Please, Washington, let the pork slide, geostrategy is more important. 
  • Interview with the always interesting Wuer Kaixi in Taipei Times
  • FocusTaiwan: Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council hopes for institutionalized meetings with the Taiwan Affairs Office. I too hope everyone involved is institutionalized.
  • Dengue kills 106
  • Photoessay: encounters with Filipino workers in Taiwan
  • Taiwan to keep trying to get diesel-electric subs
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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Qing period irrigation systems

From Beyond Technology: Japanese Colonial Mapping of Water Estates in Taiwan 1901-1921 (Wu & Lay, 2015, link)
In traditional Taiwanese society, irrigation systems, including canals and ponds, were created as private property and shared by different communities. Usually, individuals or groups of landlords provided the capital for building such irrigation facilities (Chang, 1983; Chen, 2009; Tsai, 1999). These landlords were titled as canal owners, who owned the irrigation facilities and water. By signing contracts, they transferred the rights of water accessibility to farmers, who became canal tenants. Based on such water tenancy, a hierarchical framework of water management was formed (Chen, 2009). At the top of the hierarchy, canal holders were responsible for financial support of irrigation repair; at the bottom of the hierarchy, canal tenants paid fixed amounts of grain crops annually, a so-called ‘water tax,’ in exchange for secure water use. In this hierarchical structure, a middle position was fulfilled by canal managers, who were in charge of canal maintenance and water allocation. Compensated by the water tax, the positions of canal managers were also regarded as part of the water property and could be transacted (Liao, 1985).

Due to this hierarchical tenancy framework, it is complicated to define geographic distribution of traditional irrigation property. For an irrigation system, its service area was associated with residence of its interested parties, including canal owners, managers and tenants as mentioned above. With different rights and duties, each interested party had a dynamic geographical relation with irrigation water. Generally, canal tenants and managers lived adjacent to irrigation areas, because they held major responsibilities of water maintenance. In contrast, canal owners might live in town areas and exert control over irrigation operations remotely, since they were mainly concerned with the annual water tax and might not really participated in irrigation field work (Li, Ku, & Chuang, 2009). In reality, each irrigation system had its unique geographic pattern of ownership distribution, depending on various scales and stakeholder partnerships.

However, when Taiwan was ruled by the Ching Empire (1683–1895), comprehensive irrigation surveys and mappings were never done by the government.2 As irrigation affairs were dominated by the private sector, details of irrigation water ownership and tenancy relations were primarily recorded by civil contracts, which were textually based (Chen, 2009). Only when water disputes occurred, maps were made by official surveyors, and such cases were very limited.3 Consequently, a geographic overview of the existing irrigation systems in Taiwan was lacking, leading to the challenge for the Japanese to establish a national database of local irrigation resources at the onset of colonization.

Comments like this one are the reason I enable comments on this blog:
In 18th century Taichung and Fengyuan, eight Hakka families negotiated the novel exchange of water for land with the area's indigenous people. The Hakka would lend their expertise to the building of canals for shared use in the shadow of declining deer herds, and the Pazeh would, in exchange, transfer ownership of tribal land to the Hakka families (actually single men of eight surname groups). In this case, many of the Pazeh landlords owned land that was further from their village or was less ideal for wet farming. This led to both the rise of fruit orchards (many still exist in the areas between Daya and Shigang) and also regional ethnic strife in central Taiwan as the imbalance led some groups to a. move to Puli and Milan, b. resort to violence, c. seek out foreign missionaries for political leverage. It was also an excellent example of grassroots interethnic diplomacy that really highlights the unique dynamism of ethnic relations in Qing era Taiwan.

When the Japanese reconfigured the irrigation and water systems of Taiwan, they also played a role in redefining ethnic divisions by removing prior ethnic delineations along water boundaries.
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Monday, October 12, 2015

Hung saga zigs and zags toward close

Da-an River gorge north of Dongshih town.

DPP Presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen once again reiterated her support for the status quo and for the determination of cross-strait policy by the people....
Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), the chairwoman and presidential candidate of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), said Sunday that the orientation of Taiwan's next administration should be decided by the people.

Referring to President Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) statement on cross-Taiwan Strait relations in his National Day message, Tsai said there was a huge difference between the views of the people and that of the president, who said that "without the '1992 consensus,' 'maintaining the status quo' is just a slogan" that can never become reality.
Maddog pointed out on Twitter that Ma's remarks tacitly concede that the next president won't be KMT.

As I've noted many times before, the 1992 Consensus is not the basis of KMT-CCP cooperation, but just a cage to imprison DPP cross-strait policy, something which the international media simply refuses to report. The basis for KMT-CCP cooperation is China's desire to annex Taiwan...

Meanwhile, the saga of failed and soon to be replaced KMT Presidential Candidate Hung Hsiu-chu continues. Various reports say various things -- Hung will leave her fate up to the upcoming party Congress.
Chu has talked to Hung frankly recently about the uphill battle faced by the party as well as the party's candidates in the legislative race, also to be held on the same day as the presidential election on Jan. 16, 2016.

The legislative candidates fear that they are more likely to lose the legislative elections with Hung as the standard bearer.

Despite mounting calls to replace Hung or for her to step down voluntarily, Hung herself has said repeatedly that she planned to stay in the race.

Hung posted on her Facebook page Friday evening that she feels blue as she sees the nation shrouded in blue over the past few years, but she will more firmly defend the values and ideals that the KMT should stand for.
This weekend the KMT Secretary-General Lee Si-chuan apologized to Hung for the party's treatment of her. The public has been strongly disapproving of the KMT's handling of Hung and this will cost the KMT in the election.

Hung's strident pro-China stance was hurting the party -- the public sees Taiwan as an independent, sovereign country, according to the government-run news site -- and the KMT wants a candidate who will mouth the 1992 Consensus and pretend that the status quo isn't independence, like Ma does.

Some in the Hung camp -- the Deep Blue bitter-enders -- are calling for a secret vote at the Party Congress rather than the usual show of hands/acclamation. Eric Chu and President Ma both have called for party unity and consensus on the issue. These are codewords for the party base to obey the orders of the party elites.

Hung herself has constantly shifted positions -- last week on Wednesday she said she would not go quietly, then Friday she was saying she would go quietly for the good of the party, but then over the weekend she told a group of supporters that she would not back down. How do those supporters see Hung?
A crowd later yesterday gathered at the Martyrs’ Shrine, where Hung’s office had invited her supporters to “recapture the spirit of the KMT on which it was established” with Hung.

Some supporters were heard shouting “Eric Chu is a hanjian [漢奸, a traitor to the Han people].”
Chu is a traitor not to the KMT, Taiwan, or the ROC. Chu is a traitor to the Han people. Nothing better shows how at heart, the KMT is a colonial system whose legitimacy resides in ethnic chauvinism.
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Sunday, October 11, 2015

Then and Now: Zhongshan Green Bridge

National historic monuments of Taiwan sent around this view of Japanese-era Taichung across the bridge on what is now Zhongshan Road, the 新盛橋.

Today the buildings are gone, but the bridge, designated a historical monument in 2004, is still there, now known as the 中山綠橋 (location). According to Wiki, the bridge was built in 1908 to commemorate the completion of the north-south rail line. You can still see the ball atop the concrete railing on the bridge.
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Thursday, October 08, 2015

O Frabjous Day! =UPDATEDX2=

Heaven = full rivers and an empty KMT

"...he wondered, even as the sword came butchering between his ribs, how he had ever thought that the East, whose essence was treachery, could ever stand."
O my. Last night beer and politics. The KMT is now in its death throes, which will likely continue for another couple of election cycles, and those of us who have long supported an independent, democratic, western-allied Taiwan are enjoying every minute of its drawn out exit. In the whole world there's not champagne enough to celebrate this.

According to the KMT media organ, the KMT finally "activated its plan" to get rid of KMT presidential candidate Hung Hsiu-chu. Didn't know they had a plan, did you? Everything's under control, nothing to see here:
The reports say that in today’s KMT Central Standing Committee (CSC) meeting, the KMT party central is expected to deliberate on a motion said to be tabled by Chiang Shuo-ping (江碩平), a CSC member, asking the party central to hold an extraordinary session of the National Party Congress (NPC) to review Hung’s nomination in an effort to replace Hung. It is reported that after deliberations, it cannot be ruled out that KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) will put Chiang’s motion to a vote and that if the motion is passed, an extraordinary session of the NPC will be held at the end of October.

If Hung insists on running to the end, Chu, as well as high-echelon party officials, will resign, according to the Taipei-based United Daily News.
The same reports say that a high-ranking KMT official has revealed that the KMT party central is now looking for a venue to hold an extraordinary session of the NPC, adding that the extraordinary session would most likely to be held either on October 17th or 24th.

According to the reports, the KMT party central decided yesterday that it would seek to withdraw Hung’s nomination and draft Chu under the current party rules in an NPC extraordinary session, instead of first revising the current party charter at the NPC extraordinary session.

The same reports say that yesterday, high-ranking KMT officials called on Hung to “demonstrate forbearance for the good of the KMT.” However, in a press conference yesterday, Hung stressed that she would run to the end, saying that she would not accept any terms for her to withdraw from her Presidential bid, nor would she bow to any unreasonable forces.


According to a TVBS report, seven KMT party workers who had been on loan to Hung’s campaign office to provide assistance in her campaign were suddenly asked by the KMT party central to return to their regular posts. Although this was denied by the KMT in a press release yesterday, Hung’s campaign office staff confirmed last night that the seven party workers had already cleaned out their desks and left the premises, implying that it was the KMT party central that ordered them to leave, according to TVBS report. The staff said that a campaign rally for Hung scheduled for Thursday in Taoyuan City had also been hastily canceled, according to the same TVBS report.
I've included most of the report because it is rich. Several media reports were saying that the KMT would first have to revise its charter to repeal her nomination -- which after all happened according to the rules -- but this one says they will simply handle this problem without a revision and draft Chu. Any KMT meeting itself would be against the KMT charter since 60 days notice is required for a party congress. This may create multiple grounds for lawsuits by Hung, who is just the kind of person to pursue them. I listened to her presser at around 6:30. A longtime central Taiwan news hound summarized it thusly:
Few quick comments on her just finished press appearance. She repeatedly stressed one thing over and over again, that the problem was that she hadn't made herself clear enough. She stated that Eric Chu's comments on her cross-strait policies being at odds with the party was 'unacceptable', and went on to say that they just needed to sit down and discuss so she could...make everything clear. In answer to a question, she said 'I love this party [KMT], but I must stick to what I know is right' (paraphrasing, I don't remember the exact words). The entire thing can be summed as saying this simple message: "I'm right, the only problem is I haven't been able to make clear enough to everyone that I am"
That "I'm not communicating well" is the mantra of KMTers whenever their ideological fantasies run into the brick wall of reality. The Taipei Times recorded her words:
Hung later issued a strongly worded press release expressing her “deep regret” over the committee’s decision, which she said would only plunge the KMT deeper into crisis.

“The party … does not belong to any individuals, party staff or its members, but rather to whoever cares about it. Without public support, the party cannot survive, and will even lose its meaning and reason for being,” Hung said.
Everything has to happen by Nov 27, the last day to register a candidate. The papers have not been drawn up and stamped for Hung by the KMT, noted a local political observer to me over beers last night. Hence the emergency session slated for the next couple of weeks. The election is about 10 weeks away. LOL...

UPDATE: Today's news noise on the Congress from the KMT news organ.

One longtime observer's theory is that Beijing, which has never supported Hung, called up Chu's father in law, a longtime KMT heavyweight and Taiwanese, who is in deep in the China business, and demanded that he get his son in law the nomination.

A comic making the rounds. The "Change Hung!" team is on the upper tier of the KMT castle, while below the "Retain Hung!" team fights them. Outside the opposition enjoys the civil war. Note the subtle touch: the Retain Hung team flies the KMT flag, but not the Change Hung team.

Take a moment and consider. KMT Chairman and putative savior Chu is now deeply wounded, win or lose. He isn't going to save the legislature, and the Deep Blues are going to be deeply angered when their icon Hung who says all the things they want to say is replaced by the bland accounting professor Chu. They will stay home in droves, betrayed -- they lost their pension bonuses in retirement, Ma's reform of the bureaucracy has alienated many of them, their candidate Hung is going, and their homeland and source of their identity is lost -- the KMT has left them nothing, they will say to themselves. UPDATED: Solidarity posts Cross Strait Policy Association poll on KMT/Chu/Hung: Chu gets hammered in poll

How alienated are the Deep Blues? J Michael Cole noted in his piece at the excellent CPI blog on yesterday's protest at KMT HQ:
Outside, the anger was palpable.

“After 30 years, I’m beginning to wonder whether I made the wrong choice,” a supporter of Hung, surnamed Liao, told me outside the KMT headquarters. According to him, the KMT’s decision to drop Hung—and to change its party regulations at the eleventh hour—was “undemocratic” and did not respect due process.

“I feel betrayed by my party,” he lamented. “You can’t just drop her and change the rules because her numbers are low.”

Another protester, surnamed Lee, was also outraged by the recent developments at the party she had always voted for.

“Hung is the best person to protect our country, the Republic of China on Taiwan,” she said. “Tsai Ing-wen of the DPP is nothing but empty promises and lies … she wants independence and to cut off Taiwan from China.”
Like Hung herself, the type specimen of the Deep Blues, the Deep Blues never learned that the essence of the KMT is betrayal. Those who serve the KMT and help it betray others are always shocked when they themselves are betrayed...

Hau Long-bin, another mainlander princeling, is running for a legislative seat in Keelung. He's an outstanding example of how the mainlander elites screw the local Taiwanese politicians -- whom they have a deep-seated ethnic contempt for -- he was parachuted into a safe seat, and has now engendered 3 independent candidates there to run against him, as well as the DPP candidate. It's very likely that Hau won't make the legislature, and he can't be on the party list. He'll have nothing.

The two decade-long war between the bitter-end KMTers (non-mainstream faction) and the Taiwanese KMTers and their mainlander allies (the mainstream faction) will again play itself out at the coming Congress, where it is by no means assured that Hung won't win out in the end (though I do not consider that likely).

The one and only person who can save the KMT is Wang Jin-pyng, the Speaker of the legislature, who is the unofficial head of the Taiwanese faction politicians. But Ma Ying-jeou, the President who has the KMT in his grip, supports Hung and hates Wang. Thus, the best they can do is Eric Chu. It will cost them votes and likely control of New Taipei City, for a campaign that is destined to lose. After Chu loses he will have to resign as Chair, forcing a new election in the KMT for Chairman. A friend noted that King Pu-tsun, Ma's Piter de Vries, is preparing the chairmanship election. That makes it likely someone in the Ma faction will get the nod, meaning that he will continue to damage the KMT.

James Soong? His poll numbers have already tanked. As a friend pointed out to me over beers last night, he's been silent. Still angling for a deal, perhaps the Veep spot on the KMT ticket? It's not too late.

Inspired by Soong's gaffes about females, New Bloom talks about the election, Tsai, and Hung and Confucian family values. Several people I have talked to are excited to vote for Tsai not only because they are Green, but also because they want to see a female as president. Recall that Tsai is a Hakka and also puts a stake in the longtime KMT claim that the DPP would screw the Hakkas if it ever got power. There's a lot silently working for Tsai in this election...

Meanwhile China is inserting its hand in the election another way. The media here is reporting that China is going to slash tourist numbers -- which will be very good for the island, many of us who like its beautiful places are cheering -- in order to accommodate space on planes for Taiwan businessmen who want to return and vote.
The Mainland's tourism operators confirmed that as the KMT was facing an up-hill battle in the run-up to the January 16 general elections, and because the 2016 Presidential Election was close to the Chinese New Year holidays, the Mainland's plan to limit the number of tourists visiting Taiwan was intended to make seats available on cross-Strait flights for Taiwanese businessmen on the Mainland to return home to vote in the elections and enjoy the holidays. Mainland travel agencies reportedly would follow the government's policies so as to make it more convenient for Taiwanese businessmen on the Mainland to return home for the elections.
The Ma Administration continues its policy of irritating relations with nations whose support it needs, this time in the fisheries dispute with Phils. Just a taste of the kind of damage the KMT is doing to Taiwan in these last few months of Ma's failed Administration...
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Wednesday, October 07, 2015

UPDATED BREAKING: Hung isn't giving up without a fight + Polls + KMT Congress

An old temple in Tunghsiao

BREAKING: KMT approves Party Congress on issue of getting rid of Hung. English report

As so many predicted, KMT Presidential candidate Hung Hsiu-chu is not going to let herself be ousted without a fight. The TT reports:
“I am sorry to have let news reports in the past two days worry my supporters. All of a sudden, what started off as a groundless rumor has become a serious issue. This is all because of my insufficient campaigning efforts,” Hung told an impromptu press conference held at KMT headquarters yesterday afternoon.


Stressing that she is reluctant to believe rumors that the party wants to replace her, the deputy legislative speaker said that the public has always loathed the KMT for its backroom deals, close-doored meetings and quid-pro-quo agreements.
This mess is not over. Tracking all the news flow the last couple of days has been amazing. At one point the media was reporting that Hung was threatening to release tapes she'd made of her talks with KMT Chairman Eric Chu -- later denied -- and Chu and Hung went at it in the media. Hard to tell what's going on because so often our Golden Retriever media here is basically Pravda crossed with The National Enquirer.

Today pro-unification (former) gangster Chang An-lo, AKA White Wolf, threatened to storm KMT HQ in support of Hung, forcing the deployment of police. There were many reports of Deep Blues saying they'd never vote for another candidate, and a friend said his office mates in his government office were characterizing an election slate with Chu instead of Hung as "two traitors and Tsai". The KMT divided on the issue of its own internal divisions: there's nothing like the KMT proposing dropping a candidate because she's... too KMT.

Klaus Bardenhagen sent around this video on Facebook of a pro-Hung demonstration today, where he said they first shouted "Eric Chu come out!" and then followed that with "Eric Chu step down!"

By keeping Hung in the race, the Deep Blue KMTers are saving the legislature... for the DPP. On Monday there were news reports that the KMT itself was saying the Party would find it difficult to make 22 seats. A longtime central Taiwan news reporter who has been following the election told me that he doesn't see the KMT winning a single seat south of Miaoli -- Taichung and Changhua are all going to other parties. Even if someone else runs for President, there won't be any great change in this.

Of course Eric Chu was saying he was ready to shoulder the burden of running if Hung drops out. This will not make him popular in New Taipei City -- he promised many times to serve out his term if elected. If he has to step down as mayor New Taipei City will be lost because its denizens will be angered by his betrayal. Don't forget, the City Formerly Known As Taipei County is the most populous in Taiwan. Already roughly half of it votes DPP and the KMT only won by a nose last time. And those angry citizens will be voting in the mayoral, presidential, and legislative elections.

Wang Jin-pyng, speaker of the legislature, rival of President Ma, and unofficial leader of the Taiwanese faction politicians on whose loyal service KMT power rests, keeps saying "I dunno" whenever he is asked about all this. Not a factor, at least publicly. Many KMTers have either left or are threatening to leave the party, or have decided not to run. As I noted a while back, Wang is finished after this election. Who will the faction politicians turn to then? sent the latest TISR tracking poll results around, saying "Neutral 36.8, Pan-Green 33.2 (DPP 26.7, TSU 0.5), Pan-Blue 27.6 (KMT 19.5, PFP 2.6)". The left hand shows the color, the right hand, the party ID. The long KMT slide continues as young people are moving into the OTHER or DPP camps.

This goes hand in hand with the latest poll from the pro-KMT TVBS station (images courtesy of @FormosaNation, which finds that nationally DPP presidential candidate Tsai is crushing Hung 46-21 and Tsai is winning in every region....

...even the north which is a traditional KMT stronghold. It's pretty obvious what this will mean for the legislative election.

Now waiting on Hung's Veep choice. Will she choose a local faction politician? Or will it be another Deep Blue ideologue like herself?

Does anyone even care? The damage that Ma Ying-jeou has done to the KMT is incalculable and permanent. I'm lovin' it.

PS: Thanks KMT for making a boring election interesting again, for a minute.

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