Wednesday, December 20, 2017

LINKZ: All the News that's Fit to Pimp

"Then you will find yourself easy prey for the Dark Lord! Fools who wear their hearts proudly on their sleeves, who cannot control their emotions, who wallow in sad memories and allow themselves to be provoked this easily -- weak people, in other words -- they stand no chance against his powers!
Well. Ranking members of the Chinese United Front Fifth Columnist Party, junior version New Party were raided this week as prosecutors suspect them of involvement in an espionage case. Beijing naturally condemned this raid on its allies in Taiwan. The New Party, not exactly a collection of longtime pro-democracy activists, complained this was "green terror" or "white terror" and former President Ma Ying-jeou said it was fascism. It must be admitted that Ma, an admirer of one dictator and servant of another, has a lot of experience with fascism. J Michael discusses it here.

He's b-a-a-a-a-a-c-k! Pasuya Yao is taking another crack at the DPP candidacy for mayor, fresh of being rudely ignored in the 2014 elections. Yao, who took an aboriginal name cuz it sounded cool, has confirmed for the 2018 DPP primary. He's been a source of endless comedy in his previous incarnations has head of the GIO and other positions. I posted one of Jason Wright's classic old posts here. This promises to be an entertaining but pointless primary -- the DPP needs to forego the waste of time and money and simply back Ko Wen-je again. Then in 2022 Taipei will be ready for a DPP politician. But word has it there's a lot of anger in the DPP against Ko Wen-je.

Sunday we had a march in Taichung against air pollution. Donovan, ICRT's man at the helm for central Taiwan news, writes:
The organizers, a grouping of mostly NGOs, issued four specific demands: First, to move the Executive Yuan, including the Environmental Protection Agency and Ministry of Economic Affairs south. It is widely thought in the centre and south of Taiwan that the bureaucrats in Taipei, sheltered from most of the air pollution but consuming the power produced here, are indifferent to the issue because it isn’t a personal experience for them. Their second demand is to reduce the use of bituminous coal by 20% starting in January, with an annual 10% reduction thereafter. Third, they want the top 30 stationary pollution sources to reduce output by 20% by the end of 2018. Finally, they the current air quality status to be added to the Taiwan Air Quality Monitoring Network immediately.
He adds:
As an indication of the strength of the issue locally, through November polls had the KMT mayoral candidates within very low single digits behind incumbent Mayor Lin as the KMT candidates pounding him on the issue. A poll taken right after his announcement of deal with Taipower, the operator of the Taichung Power Plant, to enact a major cut in coal usage saw the mayor get an over 10 point bump.
Pollution is going to be THE issue and Donovan covers it in detail over at the News Lens.

The US gov't issued its national security strategy (link) which my man  Michal Thim argues is "the gloves off" in another solid piece in SCMP on Trump and Asia. The new strategy re-affirms the US commitment to Taiwan with the TRA at its center. Boilerplate, but you can see how far things are from normal when boilerplate was greeted with relieved enthusiasm in Taiwan circles. GTI's Russell Hsiao pointed out on Twitter that "It also bears mentioning that #Taiwan was brought up as a "#priority actions" item for "military and security" issues in the section covering the National Security Strategy's application to the "#IndoPacific."

Taiwan GDP is expect to grow over 2% in 2018. This would be tolerable, except that given Taiwan's income and wealth distribution, little if any of that growth will reach ordinary people. That will hurt the DPP in the midterm elections, unless Commonwealth's CEO survey is right in saying CEOs plan to hand out raises. Tsai and the DPP have been posing as champions of small business -- recall that she said the new labor laws were to help small- and medium-sized businesses -- and she was in the news this week touting Taiwan's SME success and how other nations viewed it as a model.

However, Commonwealth hosted a great interview which conveyed the brutal reality about our SME heaven: it lies in the past....
It may not seem intuitive, but overseas competition has had an effect on domestic capital formation. Capital is becoming concentrated at a far faster rate than could have been imagined, even faster than many examples seen in capitalism’s history.
We talk about South Korea being monopolized by a few large conglomerates, but Taiwan is not much better. Hon Hai’s revenues account for 22 percent of Taiwan’s GDP, exactly the same as Samsung’s share of South Korean GDP.
Over the past 20 years, the influence of the 10 biggest companies has grown from 25 percent of the economy to more than 40 percent.

Exports are also heavily dependent on large companies. In 1987, 78 percent of Taiwan’s export value was generated by SMEs, but that had fallen to only 18 percent by 2004 or 2005, indicating that 60 percent of exports had shifted into the hands of big business. That has happened either because big companies have taken over SMEs or SMEs themselves have grown bigger and now exceed the size threshold used to define an SME.
The capital concentration means that without at least a million US bucks, or $34 million NT, you can't really survive in a new business. The whole interview is informative and terrifying, read it.
Daily Links:
  • Saying the unsayable: the always insightful Mark Harrison on Aus-China relations.
  • Longtime US gov't specialist Shirley Kan with a strong piece at GTI arguing that Taiwan isn't doing enough in its defence.
  • Gordon Chang is purged from Forbes because of Chinese ownership?
  • SCMP with a surprisingly sympathetic commentary from Cary Huang on the laws removing CKS from public life
  • Ketagalan Media on transitional justice
  • NOT TAIWAN: Highlights from Backstroke of the West: Star War: the Third Gathers. My kids just turned me on to Backstroke of the West: the proper way to watch the unwatchable prequels to the 1977 Star Wars movie. Some genius ran the original script through Google translate to get Mandarin, then ran the Mandarin back to English in Google translate, then he and some buddies voice acted the script over the original movies. I peed myself laughing.
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!


Jenna Cody said...

AH-HEH-HEM you mean JENNA LYNN CODY in Ketagalan Media writing on transitional justice


Matt Stone said...

Star War: the Third Gathers is brilliant. Although nothing can really compensate for the Sins of George Lucas: i.e. making the prequels, creating Jar Jar Binks, "Han Shot First", etc., etc.