Category: Features (Page 1 of 6)

8249444804_7fd7f71324_b

Going forward, conservatives must not bow to Trump

January 20 we’ll all watch as Donald Trump is sworn into office, a spectacle most of us never thought would happen. For over a year we repeated the mantra of “keep calm, it won’t be Trump,” but that didn’t play out as we expected, obviously. In the midst of our astonishment we’ve been called to question much of what we’ve believed for so long, and, without doubt, I’ve had someone ask me a variation of the following at least once a day:
“I mean, didn’t we technically win? What do we do now as a movement? Should we give him a chance before judging his presidency? How will you handle things going forward?”

In reply I’ve given a slew of answers, from ideas on building a new party, to helping middle ground Democrats who are willing to meet us half-way. Maybe we stay on the right side of the aisle and be a voice of reason, or maybe we traipse over to the left and forge a new alliance. The options are endless, and everyone is walking around those options on eggshells, pondering the vast number of possibilities, and worried that they’ll choose the wrong one. However, regardless of how difficult the choice is, for so many it seems a choice must be made. They’re not content in the wilderness, and they desperately want to be a member of the tribe again.

I’ve listened to people say that, despite their refusal to vote for Trump, they must now join in the thunderous applause – “albeit reluctantly,” they’ll proclaim – of a Republican sweep until their fears are confirmed, because that’s what a good team player does. I’ve watched them cheer on Sessions, Tillerson, and Carson, despite obvious issues, simply because that’s what people on the right are doing.

As though getting behind the schoolyard bully is the only logical option, because while he’s shaken down all of the defenseless kids on the playground, it’s only reasonable to stand beside him until he shakes down the next, and then the next, and so on and so forth. They’re willing to wash, rinse, and repeat until there’s nothing left of their principles but a shell that barely tells the story of what they once were.

Read More

nanking_bodies_1937

The long legacy of the Nanjing Massacre on Asian politics

“When will Japan’s war with China become history?”

Today, as with every December 13 for the past four years, Chinese officials gathered at the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall and rang the bell for the up to 300,000 killed by Japanese imperial soldiers who invaded and captured Nanjing in 1937.

The conquest of the Republic of China’s capital six months after the Second Sino-Japanese War started inspired joy and complacency in Japan. Just weeks earlier the Japanese had completed their capture of Shanghai, a three month battle. Nanjing fell in less than two weeks. General Iwane Matsui was confident that taking Nanjing would result in China’s surrender. (It didn’t, and the war went on for seven more years before Japan surrendered.)

Upon victory on December 13, soldiers committed random acts of violence throughout the city. Civilians fleeing were shot in the back. Homes were invaded, women raped and then stabbed. Pregnant woman were bayoneted in the stomach. Dead bodies were thrown in rivers. Much of the city was destroyed by looting and arson.

Japanese soldiers rounded up masses of men on the grounds they were suspected of being soldiers. Some soldiers had indeed thrown off their uniforms and tried to blend in with civilians, but many more of those taken out to be executed had never fought in the first place. Hundreds of POWs were tied up and shot to death by the Yangtze River on December 18.

Read More

img_8160

Taiwanese are becoming more pro-independence–with or without Trump’s call

Having analyzed the dynamics of how the precedent-breaking phone call between Donald Trump and Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen played out between the U.S. and China, I now place my gaze on Taiwan itself.

In my observations visiting the island during the cross-straits meeting in 2015 and interviewing academics, I found Taiwanese youth especially likely to be pro-independent, and moreover the ethnolinguistic divides that used to animate their parents’ politics in the aftermath of the Chinese Civil War are becoming less intense.

I wrote about it in detail for Red Alert Politics:

For all the focus on how Donald Trump’s phone call with Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen has outraged China, the point of view of the country whose leader was on the other side of the phone has been neglected.

The Taiwanese people have lived for centuries in the shadows of foreign powers, having faced colonialism, invasion, and martial law, before winning democracy. Now, they face missiles pointed at them from an ascendant Communist state intent on eventually conquering them.

For Taiwan and its new pro-independence president, speaking directly to America’s incoming leader was a bold display of its autonomy in the face of Chinese threats.

It wasn’t an overnight shift in Taiwanese policy, but rather the culmination of a trend that has been underway for years. And Taiwanese millennials have played a significant role in that change.

Millennials helped propel Tsai to a resounding 25 percent victory in January’s general election and gave her Democratic Progressive Party its first legislative majority in history.

Read the rest: What Trump’s call meant to Taiwan’s “strawberry generation”

B+D editor begins contributing to The Buckley Report

“Congressional Republicans have a mandate for their agenda. Trump doesn’t,” Blatt writes in first article.

Bombs + Dollars editor Mitchell Blatt published his first article at The Buckley Report, a conserverative outlet that launched this year. In it, Blatt analyzes the results of the election on both the presidential and Congressional levels and how it should impact policy if the will of the voters is heeded.

“Running on an agenda of fiscal responsibility, entitlement reform, tax simplification, and reeling in executive overreach, Paul Ryan and Congressional Republicans won at least 241 seats and well over 3 million more votes nationally than the Democrats. Meanwhile Donald Trump, running on an agenda of ignoring the entitlement crisis, spending twice as much as Hillary on infrastructure, raising taxes on consumer goods, and wasting billions on a white elephant wall, lost the popular vote by over 2.2 million.” (Read more.)

Although Trump won the most state-by-state electors at the Electoral College, many of his voters didn’t vote for him so much as they voted against Hillary Clinton. The Congressional Republican agenda and Trump’s “nationalist” agenda differ significantly in key areas of economics and immigration policy. Congressional Republicans haven’t been so keen as Trump on building an over $10 billion wall or raising tariffs to 35 percent.

Blatt argues the Republicans in Congress should pursue their own conservative agenda and resist Trump’s excesses. It remains to be seen whether they will do so or whether Trumnp will bend them to his will.

Trump caving on Muslim ban

Reuters reports that Trump advisor and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is advocating for the reinstatement of a Bush-era entry-exit program that put residents from certain countries deemed be at high-risk for terrorism under special scrutiny.

Reuters and Vox both used the term “Muslim registry” in reporting and commenting on the proposal, a reference to the Muslim registry (that would have applied to American citizens) that Trump briefly expressed support for. However, this is far from a Muslim registry. It would apply to citizens of specific countries, not just Muslims from those countries, and the countries would theoretically be selected based on the established risk of terrorism. Vox pointed out that most of those countries were majority Muslim countries, but that is just a function of where the risk of international terrorism is the highest. During the campaign, however, Trump raised the prospect of targeting French citizens for “extreme vetting” due to his idea that ISIS attacks in France indicated France was a high risk country. Either way, the system is far from the proposed registry of American Muslims that Trump expressed support for in November 2015.

The bigger news is that the program would blow up Trump’s promise to ban Muslims from entering the country.

Read More

Berlin (West) Staatsbesuch Korea, General Park
Ankunft: Flughafen Tempelhof
(rechts: Willy Brandt)

This Day in World History: The birth of Park Chung-hee

99 years ago today, South Korean strongman and father of today’s president Park Chung-hee was born.

Born the seventh, and youngest, child of a fallen scholar-official (Yangban) family in the years of Japanese colonialism, Park had dreams of leadership and military exploits from a young age. While attending a progressive “new-style” school, he became class captain and figured out how to get his classmates to “submit unconditionally to whatever I said.”

Interested in war heroes and military history, including that of Japan, he quickly developed the dream of becoming a soldier. When the Second Sino-Japanese War broke out in 1937, with the Japanese pushing south of Beijing and taking Tianjin and Shanghai, Park enrolled in Japanese military academy. Upon graduating as one of the best students, he was made a lieutenant in the Manchukuo Imperial Army in 1944 and served Japan in its last gasps of World War II. Though forced out of the military upon returning to Korea, he got back in when North Korea invaded the South. He rose quickly, and by 1960 he found himself Chief of the Operations Staff of the South Korean Army.

That same year, the Korean public rose up in protest after years of authoritarianism by Syngman Rhee, the first president of South Korea, who presided over the young nation’s defense in the Korean War but didn’t open up room for democracy. With the success of the April Revolution, Rhee was forced out of office and a parliamentary system replaced him. But with the economy ailing and protests continuing to rack the country, and fearing that he would soon be retired, Park and his allies took initiative and launched a coup on May 16, 1961.

Read More

hukou_zh

The broad impact of Chinese hukou on education restrictions

Children of white collar workers, college graduates denied education along with migrant laborers

Mr. Li digs the tunnels for Beijing’s subway system, but Beijing won’t let his daughter attend school. Mr. Li is one of the over 8 million people living in Beijing without a Beijing residence permit.

On October 12, they were among a group of parents of children without Beijing residence (hukou) who gathered outside a courtroom to support a fellow parent who had sued over access to education. News of the court date was censored after spreading online.

Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the hukou system has regulated where Chinese citizens can live and work and allowed for the government to have a great level of control over the economy and labor. While the system has been relaxed since the pre-reform days of a control economy, it still impacts access to public services, including education.

It’s not just temporary migrant workers, who provide much of the labor needed to build cities and keep them functioning, who are discriminated against. Some who have lived in Beijing for decades, including white collar workers and graduates of top universities, cannot enroll their children in local schools.

This could be a growing problem as the economy becomes more and more service-oriented and the population more and growing share of the population obtaining higher education and moving to cities to work.

Read More

thank-you-trump-t6ih0i

My endorsement: Why Hillary Clinton would be a more conservative president and stronger on defense

Donald Trump isn’t unqualified to be president just because of the latest video released on him bragging about sexually assaulting women. He’s already been rendered disqualified for the office of the presidency for multiple other things he has said and done. This video would be enough to disqualify him if it was only the first disgraceful thing released about him. As it stands, the video emphasizes and crystallizes the personality aspects that already disqualify him—his entitlement, his arrogance, his uncontrollable narcissism, his extreme sexism (which already had him spending a week attacking a Miss Universe winner for her alleged weight gain), and his general loutishness and hateful demeanor.

Republican Congressmen who had already put up with him spreading racism, attacking POWs, attacking the families of dead soldiers, attacking female reporters, attacking the profession of journalism, and attacking anyone who ever said anything halfway critical of Trump are starting to finally jump ship. Some have called for Trump to drop out and his vice presidential candidate Mike Pence to be promoted to the top of the ticket. Others have said they will not vote for Trump for president.

Bombs + Dollars has been against Trump since before he won the nomination. We pointed out the very things that made Trump deplorable before much of the GOP finally appeared to realize the problem (or, more likely, before they realized the political problem was so great they could no longer whitewash it). On January 24, I wrote, as a representative of this publication:

Here we have a candidate who threatens to sue newspapers for reporting on his bankruptcies, who said he would “certainly” create a government database of Muslims in America, who incited his fans to physically assault a non-violent protester and said that they were right to do so, defended Putin from charges that he kills political opponents by equivocating the United States with Russia (“Our country does plenty of killing, too”), and his personal account tweets racist messages about “white genocide”. This is all fact. He has done it all. No amount of politically correct denials from Team Trump can change the reality.

Since then, Trump has only added to the list of disqualifying actions.

When Trump won the Republican nomination, Bombs + Dollars reiterated our opposition: #NeverTrump means never Trump. In that editorial, we did not endorse a candidate, instead opting for an anti-endorsement of Trump. We will maintain our policy of not endorsing a candidate as a publication, but we will be printing endorsements of individual Bombs + Dollars writers and editors. As such, this functions as my personal endorsement.

First, the Republican Party doesn’t deserve to have Trump replaced on their ticket. Any attempt to replace Trump this close to the election would result in a three-way Syrian-style war of legal fighting that would make Bush v. Gore look boring. The Republican Party would be fighting both the Democrats and the Trump campaign. But aside from practical considerations, the GOP just doesn’t deserve to have a mulligan after having lost this election.

There have been many principled conservatives who knew Trump was a terrible person and an unelectable candidate. #NeverTrump had been saying loud and clear for months that the same man who insulted John McCain early on in his campaign for being a POW would implode. Imagine the surprise when he did!

Trump lost almost all of the public polls in the spring—and Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz won most of them. So now, one month before the election, when Trump is losing badly and a video just came out that would guarantee he couldn’t turn it around, much of the party’s elected Congresspeople finally wake up to the realization?

Sorry, Republican Party, but your denouncements at this moment look more opportunistic than principled. You should have let the #NeverTrump delegates vote at the convention on whether they could vote against Trump when they gave you an out. The party leadership didn’t even let them vote on it, and they even appeared to break party rules with arm twisting or outright fraud when they withdrew the petitions of three states. The Republican Party made its bed, and now it must lie in it.

My endorsement, and why the “burn it down” crowd is wrong

Read More

Taking a red pen to Donald Trump’s 1987 campaign ad

In 1987, Donald Trump placed an advocacy-style ad in the New York Times echoing the same basic foreign policy ideas that he would recycle for the rest of his political life about how America is being had. Even at the time, many of the arguments he made were typically questionable. In the long-view, however, his arguments have fared even worse. There he was praising Japan’s economic success just a few years before Japan’s Lost Decade began. He claimed the world was laughing at the United States, just a few years before the Soviet Union collapsed–and made no reference to the Soviet Union.

Yet the ideas he stated here are the same ones he’s pushing in 2016. He may refer to China’s economy in the place of Japan’s, but he still talks about making Japan “pay” for having troops there, which they do to the tune of US$4 billion a year in base-related expenses. You will see the rest:
enhanced-12123-1436563120-13

Feature Photo

Is the media really ignoring Louisiana? No.

There’s a narrative in the media that the media is ignoring the flooding in Louisiana.

The public editor of the New York Times wrote the Times didn’t give it enough coverage. Mike Scott of the Louisiana-based Times-Picayune wrote on August 16 that the Times had only published its first story two days after the rains began.

But is it really true that the Louisiana flooding has been ignored? It’s a major news story, and yet days after the Times published its rebuke of itself, the narrative that Louisiana has been or is being ignored continues to spread down the media stream to columnists and bloggers. If the city of New York were destroyed in a hypothetical super storm, wouldn’t the media cover it?

We actually have precedents we can look at. We don’t need to wonder about hypotheticals. Just months ago in June floods in West Virginia killed 25 people. The floods in Louisiana killed 13. The number of houses that were damaged is reportedly very high–the governor puts it at 40,000. But there are natural disasters that killed more while also causing much, if not as much, damage. (By comparison, West Virginia’s governor said “thousands” of homes were damaged, but CNN reported the significantly lower total of 1,200. It may be too soon to know the property damage in dollars for either.)

Two more large-scale floods: those that killed 21 in Utah in 2015 after Hurricane Linda and the 2010 floods that killed 21 in Tennessee and 10 more in Kentucky and Mississippi while causing over $2 billion in damage.

A theory can be tested: If a dozen or more people were killed in say, Nashville, Tenn. or Hildale, Utah, would the media pay more attention to it than they are doing to the Louisiana floods?

Read More

Page 1 of 6

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén

Get the most important and interesting articles right at your inbox. Sign up for B+D periodic emails.