Mostly today, we’re talking China. Of course, me being me, you know I’m going to bring in some other stuff too. In fact, I’m going to start with other stuff.
The NYT (the New York Slimes) is, as everyone that’s a regular here knows, one of my favorite whipping boys. The “old gray lady” or as they prefer to be called, “the newspaper of record” has been an inaccurate, and lying partisan hack for most of my adult life. (which is sad, because I’m nearly 60.) Nevertheless, they occasionally get it right. Twice in this week believe it or not!
The second time I’ll get to during the discussion on China, but the first one is so rare that I feel like I ought to mention it upfront.
Yeah, I hear you in the back, “So, what’s the catch?” You ask.
Their pundits, their “masters of information.” Their “Smartest men in the room.” Stood up and did a Mia Culpa. Yeah, that’s right, they admitted they were WRONG.
Further, their “Nobel Award winning Economist and public intellectual, Distinguished Professor of Economics at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.” (Yeah, no shit, that’s what his autobio pic says) Paul Krugman, their top economic brain was one of the folks having to stand and admit they had screwed the pooch:
“Some warned that the package (Biden’s $1.9 TRILLION “American Rescue Plan”) would be dangerously inflationary; others were fairly relaxed. I was Team Relaxed,” Krugman wrote. “As it turned out, of course, that was a very bad call.”
Now Krugman is what’s considered a Keynesian economist, which means he thinks the people are idiots, the “invisible hand” that Adam Smith wrote of, is either make-believe, or is bound to mess it up, and that the only way to have a stable economic policy is to get the government to “fix” it, to pick winners and losers, and basically to “run” the economy thus making it better for the “little people.” In short, he’s about a half hair to the right of Marx.
Needless to say, this makes him my mortal enemy. So when he actually admits he was wrong, (and by implication, I and those that think the same way I do, were right…) Pardon me if I take a short second to bask in the nuclear glow, as his head explodes.
Of course, in typical lib fashion, Krugman, as well as the other two OpEd guys that had to eat crow, hedged their bets, and said, “Well, I wasn’t THAT wrong, a lot of the stuff in the package was absolutely RIGHT, but I couldn’t see the Russia Ukraine thing, so I couldn’t possibly know how badly Putin was going to screw over the world, and COVID really caused the problems, not printing over one and a half trillion bucks out of thin air… however, “In any case, the whole experience has been a lesson in humility.”
Gosh Paul, maybe if you weren’t so DAMN sure that a centralized, government-controlled, top-down economy was the absolute ideal, you wouldn’t have to eat crow.
The other two dining on corbie includes Bret Stephens, who had to admit that when he wrote about Trump’s candidacy in 2015 and said “If by now you don’t find Donald Trump appalling, you’re appalling.” Now mind you, he stands by everything he said about Trump, but finally came to realize that calling half the nation “appalling” MIGHT be counterproductive if your goal is to persuade those dumb unwashed bitter clingers to let brilliant people like yourself run the world… He also admitted that “It also probably did more to help than hinder Trump’s candidacy.”
“[I]n my dripping condescension toward his supporters, I was also confirming their suspicions about people like me,” Stephens added.
Of course, in a final “burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;” he finished with “if Trump supporters are still with him after the Jan. 6 incursion, they are “morally” wrong.” See the Hoi Polli gotta be governed and put in their place damn it.
And finally, Mr. Farhad Manjoo admitted he had been completely wrong when he predicted that Facebook would be a force for good in Society. “I didn’t consider the far-reaching implications of Facebook’s ubiquity,” he wrote. He admits to not seeing the rise of the Cell phone, nor Obama’s regulators allowing FB to buy up all of his competitors. Of the three, he’s the only one that just said that he had missed the boat… So I’ll give him that. Then there’s the fact that his calls were probably the least damaging to the nation.
OK! On to China.
In the last week, we’ve seen some really “Interesting” developments on the China front.
The NYT reports on the passing of a technological funding bill that will assist the nation in building more semiconductor plants here in the US, among other things. See the article here: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/27/us/politics/senate-chips-china.html for the full and politically tilted report. Look, I’m not a fan of the federal government picking winners and losers, you guys know that. If that was what this bill was all about, I would be against it. But this isn’t (as far as I can see) the Government picking winners as much as it is the government looking at the international playing field, realizing that the game is rigged, and trying to re-level the field.
China subsidizes the absolute hell out of their industry. Actually, it’s more to the point, since their industry for semiconductors is wholly owned by the PRC PLA (the People’s Republic of China, People’s Liberation Army) to say that China’s government doesn’t care if they make money off of their semiconductor industry because they have more important goals that their industry meets for them.
Those goals include espionage, sabotage, and hegemony. (More on that coming)
We simply can not put our defense industries in a situation where they can’t get American-made computer chips. One way or another we’re going to end up subsidizing this industry… Either by this bill or by seeing the cost of chips and materials for DOD industry triple in price, if we don’t want to buy foreign. (And here’s a nasty little secret, if we buy from, oh say, for example, Mexico, there’s absolutely no way to know that these aren’t Chinese chips, repackaged in Mexico.). Now the politicians interviewed by the NYT in this article all wanted to talk about how this was going to increase jobs, increase our trained workforce, bla-bla-bla. Frankly, I don’t care about that. It’s nice, but it’s not as important to me, as knowing that the gear we use to do things like target enemy aircraft, and launch nuclear weapons, ISN’T made by who I consider to be our most important enemy.
Of course, Bernie Sanders is against this, which, hell is a reason to be for it, all by itself! I don’t believe Bernie has EVER been on the right side of an argument, discussion, or decision… How he keeps getting elected is a complete mystery to me.
And in late-breaking news, Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN) says he’s got an agreement from House leadership that they will pass this bill in tandem with the Senate.
That’s one piece of the puzzle, now let’s look at a couple more.
Nasty Pelosi wants to go on a junket to Taiwan. Other than for “optics” purposes (she wants to look important) and maybe a shopping spree for some of the amazing stock market profits she makes, I can’t imagine WHY she wants to go, but she does. Well, that brings up the question of “what’s China going to do about the Speaker of the House visiting their ‘province in revolt?” I mean we’re honestly thinking that China might just “accidentally” shoot her ass out of the sky.
Now, other than the loss of the aircrew on the bird she’s flying in, I think this would be a great thing. Killing two birds with one stone… Because I promise you, if you shoot the head of the HoR out of the sky, you just got yourself a war, and any way that we can get rid of Nancy’s nasty ass is alright by me. Still. Bidet isn’t exactly happy about this, for one thing, I’m sure he’s getting pressure from his son’s buddy Xi to keep it from happening.
See, the problem right now, is that Xi is about to go up for a vote on whether he gets to stay Premier or not. If he’s reelected it would mean basically that he’s in there for life, like Mao. But he’s not exactly covered himself in glory lately. Between the economy, foreign relations, the unhappiness in the outer reaches of the empire, the way Hong Kong was handled, and how that set with the rest of the world, how the whole belt and road initiative is going, oh, and let me say it again, the economy… plus population issues, and suddenly using tanks to keep investors from withdrawing their money… Well, let’s just say that he needs a win, and he cannot afford a loss. All of which helps explain why China has had especially sharp elbows in the world lately.
We’ve seen bad miscalculations before over less, especially if he thinks he can cow the late-stage dementia patient we have sitting at 1600 PA AVE. We can’t understand all that is going on in Xi’s mind on this shit, and whether or not he realizes it, he can’t understand OUR mindset. For one thing, I bet he thinks the President actually gets to decide if we’re going to war or not. Yes, I know the Constitution says he does, but here is the thing: In reality, if you piss off We the People bad enough, the President is just along for the ride. He’ll ask for a declaration, or his successor will, while he decorates a lamppost. All of this has the US military muttering into their contingency plan folders, and staring at maps while wondering if Pelosi is going to go through with it, and if China is going to be stupid. For a full review of this situation, you can go here: https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2022/jul/27/us-military-making-plans-case-nancy-pelosi-travels/
Remember that little bit about “Those goals include espionage, sabotage, and hegemony?” The Wall Street Journal reports that a Senate investigation found out that China has been offering contracts with Chinese talent recruitment programs, often including cash payouts to Fed employees (note we’re talking “the fed” the Federal Reserve Board here, not the Federal government.) In return for information on the US economy, interest rate changes, and policies, in at least one case, they snatched a US Fed employee off the streets of Shanghai, and attempted to coerce him to share data and information on US policies… In other words, to spy for China. No one is talking about whether or not this guy leaked anything… The Fed Chairman is of course disputing these findings.
Top hits on this include “In 2017, the Chinese government was offering to spend $100 million to build an ornate Chinese garden at the National Arboretum in Washington DC. Complete with temples, pavilions, and a 70-foot white pagoda, the project thrilled local officials, who hoped it would attract thousands of tourists every year.”
Pretty innocuous, right? Until we look at the fact that this site is the highest ground in DC, and China wanted to build the pagoda entirely with materials shipped in diplomatic pouches, which of course can’t be searched….
The Fearless Band of Idiots discovered that there were a bunch of cell towers in the Midwest, near Military bases that had Chinese-made Huawei equipment, set up to capture, and disrupt communications with military bases, including US Strat Com. (they’re the guys that launch the big missiles) Apparently we “can’t tell” if there was any actual data sent back… (and if you believe that, I have a wonderful financial opportunity for you, cash only, small bills.)
China of course is in full DENY mode.
Here’s the fun part, in 2020, congress approved $1.9 billion to remove Chinese-made Cellular equipment from US cell towers. None of it has been spent, all the gear is still there.
The FBI director stated in an interview that they open a new Chinese counter-intel investigation about every 12 hours.
This stuff is why we need to be making our own microchips. China sells them cheap, because their labor is cheap, yes, but also because making money isn’t their thing, getting information is.
Further down in the article we have this lovely piece: “Around 2014, Viaero started mounting high-definition surveillance cameras on its towers to live-stream weather and traffic, a public service it shared with local news organizations. With dozens of cameras posted up and down I-25, the cameras provided a 24-7 bird’s eye view of traffic and incoming weather, even providing advance warning of tornadoes.
“But they were also inadvertently capturing the movement of US military equipment and personnel, giving Beijing — or anyone for that matter — the ability to track the pattern of activity between a series of closely guarded military facilities.
“The intelligence community determined the publicly posted live streams were being viewed and likely captured from China, according to three sources familiar with the matter. Two sources briefed on the investigation at the time said officials believed that it was possible for Beijing’s intelligence service to “task” the cameras — hack into the network and control where they pointed. At least some of the cameras in question were running on Huawei networks.” And:
“By the time the I-25 investigation was briefed to the White House in 2019, counterintelligence officials begin looking for other places Chinese companies might be buying land or offering to develop a piece of municipal property, like a park or an old factory, sometimes as part of a “sister city” arrangement.
“In one instance, officials shut down what they believed was a risky commercial deal near highly sensitive military testing installations in Utah sometime after the beginning of the I-25 investigation, according to one former US official. The military has a test and training range for hypersonic weapons in Utah, among other things. Sources declined to provide more details.”
Now look, I’m no babe in the woods, yes, enemies spy on enemies. Hell, friends spy on friends, I know all of this firsthand from my Navy days. (one of the purposes of a submarine is intelligence collecting.) But just because it happens, doesn’t mean you make it easy for them! In point of fact, you make it as damn difficult as you possibly can.
Remember the discussions about China’s economy being in trouble? The WSJ reports on construction defaults in the $150 B to $370 Billion range this year. This is just one of several sectors that are reporting “issues” in China… Put it all together and China is about to have issues.
When countries have issues, they sometimes do things like start wars to cover them up.
I firmly believe the best way to convince Xi that this particular plan (Invading Taiwan) isn’t a very good idea, is to, in dead of night, land a couple of C17s full of US Marines on a “training exercise, to conduct joint maneuvers with our friends the independent nation of Taiwan.” Making it clear that if you want Taiwan, you’re going to have to kill US troops, and at that point, all the gloves are off.
Oh, and to top it off, the US is having real issues with recruiting, as in the US Army is only at 60% of target for the year, when it comes to recruitment and retention. Overall reports have us at 85% of target, but that’s because the USMC, the USAF, and the USSF (space force) are all at 100%. Basically, the army is going to be 10,000 troops short. That’s a problem. I’ve written before about how to solve it. The unit that doesn’t have recruiting issues is the USMC. People with first names like “General” need to ask themselves why.
Well, this is getting long, so I’ll sign off for now.