Sunday, September 26, 2021

Japan Could Mix Things Up in the Taiwan Straits

The USA plus the rest of Asia would make a powerful counterweight to China. Even Vietnam could join in. They have no love of China. China did invade them a few decades back

After the disastrous meeting in Anchorage earlier this year, China is on the offensive. If not, it's certainly making moves because it easily slapped around Secretary of State Antony Blinken. It was an embarrassment. The adults are back, right? Well, they're getting the belt—by everyone.

China and the Taliban have both clinched wins over the Biden White House. And knowing how Biden seems wholly disengaged with everything, I'd take some things out for a spin. Our shambolic exit from Afghanistan showed the world that American was "rudderless." The world sees we're a nation deeply divided. Now is the time to make some moves—and China certainly is exhibiting that in the Taiwan Straits. Yet, one nation could throw a wrench in Beijing's neo-imperial plans.

Look, if we were to compare Asia to a sports division, it would be the National Football Leagues' NFC East. It's stacked with powerhouse teams (historically), vicious competition, and no love among its members. Taiwan's defensive strategy heavily relies on US support. Its immediate goal is to hold off a Chinese onslaught long enough for American carriers and troops to arrive. Will that happen? Nothing's really set in stone, and it would take a long time for us to reach the besieged island should this happen. Frankly, this is a World War III situation and carriers be damned—ICBMs would be flying. Yet, Japan decided over the summer to get a bit more aggressive as well.

Japan knows that Taiwan's security is tied to its own—and discussions of a defense pact were in the works. In June, Japan's deputy defense minister was quite clear that defending democratic Taiwan was a national security priority for Japan. It did not sit well with China—at all. In August, Japan and Taiwan held a virtual meeting on the matter (via Asia Times):

Taipei and Tokyo held unprecedented security talks…a move that prompted China’s diplomatic displeasure.

The discussions were held under a “2+2” format and attended by a pair of senior lawmakers from Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). They took place online and lasted half an hour longer than the planned hour, according to Reuters.


Experts who have spoken to Asia Times on the potential for security cooperation between Tokyo and Taipei have suggested a range of feasible options the two sides could agree on.

The two could, for example, coordinate their intelligence, communications and responses to Chinese air intrusions in the gap between Taiwanese air space and Japan’s southern Ryukyu Islands.

A legal-logistical mechanism could be established in Japan to assure backup for Japan-based US forces if they deploy to or around Taiwan. Or, a joint Japan-US headquarters could be established, possibly on Okinawa, where the US deploys a Marine division and related assets to coordinate Japanese-US forces in regional operations.

Now, in September, the talks are still unofficial. There's no official security pact, but The Diplomat argued that this "renaissance" in Taipei-Tokyo relations may not last, though the fact that both islands have a shared interest in keeping China at bay will remain. We shall see what happens.


Why does Biden's vaccine mandate not apply to welfare recipients and others?

On Sept. 9, President Biden declared that all companies with more than 100 employees must “ensure their workforces are fully vaccinated or show a negative test at least once a week.”

According to Biden’s federal vaccine mandate, any company that does not comply will face a fine of $14,000 per case.

During his speech, Biden also declared that “all nursing home workers who treat patients on Medicare and Medicaid” and that “those who work in hospitals, home healthcare facilities, or other medical facilities” as well as “all executive branch federal employees” and “federal contractors” must get vaccinated.

If these Americans choose not to get vaccinated, they will lose their livelihoods. As Biden said, “This is not about freedom or personal choice.”

But Biden’s federal vaccine mandate does not apply to Americans on welfare, illegal immigrants, members of Congress, U.S. Postal Service employees and several other groups.

This is not only unfair, but it flies in the face of Biden’s goal “to require more Americans to be vaccinated, to combat those blocking public health.”

So, per Biden’s edict, Americans who work at a company that employs more than 100 people have no choice but to get vaccinated. The same standard applies to the health care workers who have heroically put their lives on the line treating COVID-19 patients.

But for reasons unexplained, Biden refuses to mandate vaccines for the 59 million Americans who receive welfare benefits.

Put another way, Biden is mandating that the Americans who supply most of the tax revenue to pay for America’s welfare system be vaccinated or lose employment. But the beneficiaries of the welfare state are exempt.

This is even more flummoxing given that data shows Medicaid recipients are among the least vaccinated.

In Georgia, for example, only 10 percent of Medicaid recipients were fully vaccinated, compared with 33 percent of the Peach State’s general population, as of May 31. Similarly, in Idaho, only 20 percent of Medicaid recipients were fully vaccinated, while 44 percent of the state’s general population had been fully vaccinated, as of June 1.Similar trends apply throughout the states.

Illegal immigrants are also exempt from Biden’s vaccine mandate.

According to a spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, “The Department of Homeland Security continues its vaccination efforts to include voluntary vaccinations for individuals in the care and custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.”

Once again, for working American citizens, Biden says it is not about freedom or personal choice, but for illegal immigrants, vaccinations are voluntary.

When pressed about this blatant double standard, Biden’s White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, simply replied, “That’s correct.”

Apparently, voluntary vaccination also applies to Postal Service workers. According to Dave Partenheimer, a Postal Service spokesman, “The COVID-19 vaccination requirements included in the White House executive order issued on September 9, 2021 for federal employees do not apply to the Postal Service.”

Finally, Biden’s vaccine mandate does not apply to Congress, even though there are 535 members, which puts Congress well over the 100-employee threshold.

Federal judge upholds hospital system's COVID-19 vaccine mandate
Federal appeals court blocks NYC teacher vaccine mandate
Biden’s vaccine mandate is narrowly targeted toward the 80 to 100 million American citizens who get up and go to work but ignores the 60 million Americans on welfare, the thousands who illegally cross our southern border every day, the 640,000 Postal Service workers and Congress, among others.

Biden’s vaccine mandate is not about getting the vulnerable vaccinated. It is about the Biden administration unfairly and unnecessarily forcing hard-working Americans to choose between their bodily autonomy and their livelihood.


Federal Judge Strikes Down Portions of Florida Law Banning ‘Sanctuary Cities’

A Florida law prohibiting the establishment of so-called sanctuary cities, or municipalities trying to shield illegal immigrants from arrest, violates federal law, a federal judge ruled this week.

Florida Senate Bill 168 bars sanctuary policies, or policies that prohibit or impede law enforcement from complying with federal immigration law or that block law enforcement agencies from communicating or cooperating with federal immigration agencies.

The Florida Legislature passed the legislation in 2019 and Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, signed it into law.

But some of the groups that supported and were involved with crafting the law, including the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), have “been described as anti-immigrant hate groups,” U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom, an Obama nominee, wrote in her 110-page ruling.

“This involvement strongly suggests that the Legislature enacted SB 168 to promote and ratify the racist views of these advocacy groups.”

As part of the ruling, Bloom highlighted a press conference held by state Sen. Joe Gruters and state Rep. Cord Byrd with Floridians for Immigration Enforcement (FLIMEN) that highlighted victims of illegal immigrant criminals, including a couple who spoke about how their son was killed by an illegal alien who had been deported twice before reentering the United States.

“We are very, very proud to be here today with these groups of people and to stand with our Angel families—to end the kind of anarchy that does exist with the criminal activity of some members of the illegal alien population,” Karyn Morton, of FLIMEN, said at the time.

“By referring to immigrants as illegals, criminals, murderers, and victimizers, the press conference was clearly intended to cast immigrants in a demeaning and threatening light, thus demonstrating the speakers’ racial animus toward the immigrant population,” Bloom said.

Gruter’s description of illegal immigrants as “illegals” also revealed a racial animus, the judge claimed.

That contributed to the finding that the passage of the bill was racially motivated, she added. She struck down some portions, including parts aimed to ban sanctuary cities.

The Community Justice Center, one of the plaintiffs, said in a statement that the ruling was “a victory for immigrants across the state of Florida.”

“This law was clearly developed to encourage racial profiling, civil rights violations, isolation of immigrant communities, and unjust deportations. It did more harm for the causes of public safety than good. This should send a clear message to Gov. DeSantis and all those proponents of this racist law that they will not go unchallenged,” the center stated.

The Southern Poverty Law Center and the University of Miami School of Law’s Immigration Clinic joined with the center in filing the lawsuit.

Dan Stein, FAIR’s president, told The Epoch Times that the ruling is an example of judges legislating from the bench.

“This is a mockery of justice; this is a complete insult to the democratic process and the freedom of Americans to petition the legislature,” he said.

He said Bloom repeatedly put forth “unsubstantiated derogatory pronouncements” in “an attempt to usurp the legislature’s prerogative to decide what the laws state are.”

FLIMEN and two legislators singled out in the ruling, Gruters and Byrd, both Republicans, didn’t immediately respond to requests by The Epoch Times for comment.

The state plans to appeal the ruling; Stein and a spokesperson for DeSantis both predicted the appeal will be successful.

“Yet again, a federal trial court judge partially enjoins a plainly constitutional state statute,” Taryn Fenske, the governor’s spokesperson, said in a statement to news outlets. “We disagree with the judge’s ruling and expect to win on appeal.”


George Floyd's alleged killer, former police officer Derek Chauvin, launches appeal against his conviction

The former Minneapolis police officer convicted in George Floyd's murder intends to appeal against his conviction and sentence, saying the judge abused his discretion or erred during several key points in the case.

He is appealing on grounds of a tainted jury pool and juror misconduct, among others

The former police officer was convicted on two counts of murder and one count of manslaughter

According to documents filed on Thursday, Derek Chauvin intends to appeal on 14 grounds.

Among them, he said Judge Peter Cahill abused his discretion when he denied Chauvin's request to move the trial out of Hennepin County due to pretrial publicity.

He also said the judge abused his discretion when he denied a request to sequester the jury for the duration of the trial, and when he denied requests to postpone the trial or grant a new one.

Chauvin was convicted earlier this year on charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Mr Floyd's 2020 death.

He was sentenced to 22 and a half years in prison — a sentence higher than the presumptive 12 and a half years after the judge agreed with prosecutors there were aggravating factors in Mr Floyd's death.

Chauvin was also charged in the federal court with violating Mr Floyd's civil rights when he knelt on his neck for about nine and a half minutes he was face down on the ground, not resisting and pleading for air.

He has pleaded not guilty to those charges.

Chauvin had 90 days from his sentencing to file notice that he intended to appeal. In addition to his notice, he also filed a motion to put the appeals process on hold until the Supreme Court reviewed an earlier decision to deny him a public defender to represent him in his appeal.

In an affidavit filed on Thursday, Chauvin said he had no attorney in the appeals process and no income aside from nominal prison wages.

His case before Judge Cahill was funded by the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association's legal defence fund.

Chauvin wrote: "I have been informed that their obligation to pay for my representation terminated upon my conviction and sentencing."

The grounds of his appeal

All grounds that Chauvin raised in his notice of intent to appeal had been raised previously by defence attorney Eric Nelson as the case worked its way through the district court.

Mr Nelson had previously argued that intense publicity around Mr Floyd's death tainted the jury pool and the trial should have been moved away from Minneapolis.

There were reports in February that Chauvin had been prepared to plead guilty to third-degree murder and an announcement during jury selection that Minneapolis reached a $US27 million ($37.18 million) settlement with the Floyd family.

Chauvin's court filing also said the district court erred when it concluded that Morries Hall, the man who was with Mr Floyd on the day of his arrest, would not be forced to testify on behalf of the defence.

He also said the court erred when it permitted prosecutors to present cumulative evidence on use of force.

Chauvin said he also intended to argue that Judge Cahill abused his discretion when he failed to allow Chauvin to strike "clearly biased" jurors for cause, when he allowed the state to add a charge of third-degree murder, when he limited the admissibility of evidence from a prior arrest of Floyd, and when he denied Mr Nelson's post-verdict request for a new trial and request for a hearing to question jurors to investigate alleged misconduct.




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