Taiwan’s Representative To The U.S. Slams China For Using Pelosi’s Visit As A Pretext To “Manufacture A Crisis”

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Taiwan’s Representative to the United States Hsiao Bi-Khim appeared on CBS’ Face The Nation to discuss House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent visit to her country, which has caused an uproar in China. Rep Bi-Khim slammed China saying it was using Speaker Pelosi’s visit a pretext to “manufacture a crisis.”

Rep(0:24): “We have been living under the threat from China for decades, and we cannot let their ongoing threats define our desire to make friends internationally. If you have a kid being bullied at school, you don’t say, ‘you don’t go to school’, you try to find a way to deal with the bully, and that’s exactly what Taiwan is doing, working on making our society stronger and more resilient, fortifying our defenses so that we have means of managing risks. The risks are not posed by Taiwan, nor are they posed by the United States, the risks are posed by Beijing.”

Asked whether Taiwan is worried about a full scale military invasion from China, Rep Bi-Khim said (1:11): “The Chinese have not renounced the use of force. They have been intensifying threats towards Taiwan that is not only on a military level, it has involved a hybrid toolkit of public disinformation, cyberattacks, economic coercion, they have a broad toolkit that we have become more and more accustomed to. Again, that is not going to change our determination to defend our freedom.”

Asked whether she thought China’s military exercises at the Taiwanese coast following Speaker Pelosi’s visit were a drill, Rep Bi-Khim said it appears they have been preparing for this for a while, even before Speaker Pelosi decided to visit Taiwan.

Asked whether she had any assurances from the Biden administration that the U.S. will provide Taiwan with actual military protection as opposed to just providing them with weapons in the event China invaded, Rep Bi-Khim said (3:08): “We have a very strong security partnership that ensures the protection of our shared interest in the regional peace and stability”–which reasonable people will agree, is diplomat-speak for “yes”.

Asked about the criticism that Speaker Pelosi’s visit amounted to provocation, she responded (3:27): “I think the word provocation has only one place, and that’s with China right now. They are the ones that are provoking regional instability…Sometimes it’s hard for other countries from afar, to fully understand the feelings and perspectives of the Taiwanese people, and that is, for too long, we have been bullied, isolated, and surpressed, and banned from international organizations, so when friends come from afar, and wish to lend their support to Taiwan, we generally take that with gratitude.”

Asked about the reality that China’s invasion of Taiwan would be markedly different from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, given the fact that China is far more powerful militarily and economically, and thus difficult to sanction, Rep Bi-Khim said that was part of the reason Speaker Pelosi visited–to give them assurances of support. Rep Bi-Khim specifically said (5:11): “I think that was one of the messages that Speaker Pelosi was trying to convey, and that is, despite all challenges, we have friends in the international community who will stand with us.”

Asked about China’s threat to pull out of important global negotiations on climate etc, if it doesn’t get its way with Taiwan, and the effect that may have on other countries (discourage them from defending Taiwan), Rep Bi-Khim responded (5:50): “Are we concerned? Yes we are concerned about the disruption of these very important discussions on global issues that are matters of interest to not only the United States, but to China and everyone in the world, but the fact is, again, congressional visits to Taiwan have been going on for decades, and for decades it hasn’t prevented the United States and China from having constructive discussions on matters of mutual interest…” Rep Bi-Khim added that Beijing was using Speaker Pelosi’s visit as a pretext to “manufacture a crisis”, and finished with this powerful admonition: “If China is to evolve as a responsible stakeholder in the global community, it’s really up to Beijing to decide if China’s rejuvenation will evolve with international respect, or with international condemnation.”

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Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s Interview On CNN’s State Of The Union Show

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Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese appeared on CNN’s State of The Union show (07/31/22) for a wide ranging interview that touched on among other things climate change, and specifically, his pledge that Australia will achieve net zero carbon emission by 2050.

Asked whether Australia’s 2050 goal will be thwarted because of reluctance by India, China and the United States to come together, and address climate change with the urgency it deserves, PM Albanese responded(video at 0:38): “Well, I certainly hope not, and I’m very optimistic. At the Madrid NATO Summit, I had discussions with world leaders and also of course at the Quad leaders meeting, and I regard people as being very prepared to take much stronger action. There’s a greater recognition now as well, that dealing with the challenge of climate change represents also an economic opportunity. We will see the greatest transformation that we have seen in our economy since the industrial revolution, with the shift to clean energy, and clean energy will of course see jobs being created at the same time, something that the Biden administration recognizes, something that our European friends certainly recognize as well.”

Asked about the growing threat from China, and specifically, a troubling poll that shows 75% of Aussies believe China will attack Australia within the next 20 years, PM Albanese responded (1:44): “What we are preparing for is strengthening our alliances. We want to have good relationships with China and cooperate where we can, but we’ll stand up for Australian values where we must, and that is my approach to the relationship with China. Clearly it has changed in recent years. Under [President] Xi, China has become more forward-leaning, more aggressive in the region. We have strategic competition.”

Asked whether Australia would defend Taiwan if it was invaded by China, PM Albanese punted, saying he did not want to deal with hypotheticals. He then went on to say(2:38): “Australia supports a One China policy, but we also support the status quo when it comes to the issue of Taiwan, that people respect the existing structures which are there. I believe that clearly is in the interest of all parties, and I have taken the view as well, that it is not in the interest of peace and security, to talk up those issues of potential conflict.”

Asked what Australians think about “the health” of democracy the United States in light of the ongoing January 6th investigation, PM Albanese responded (3:57): “Democracy in the United States remains strong. The United States remains a beacon for the world in terms of democratic nations, I firmly believe that. And whilst the assault on democracy that we saw on January 6th was of real concern to all those who hold democratic processes dear around the world, the fact that you are having an open and transparent process, these hearings are being broadcast to the world, indeed underlies, in my view, the strength of U.S. democracy, the strength of those institutions.”

Asked what America can learn from Australia regarding how to deal with gun violence, PM Albanese responded(5:26): “In Australia we had a bipartisan response to the Port Arthur massacre, and we haven’t had once [mass shooting] since, and I just say that people should look at our experience. It’s up to the United States as a sovereign nation what direction it takes of course, but the truth is that Australia’s experience shows that less guns, particularly less automatic weapons, the less crime occurs, and the less tragedy occurs.”

Asked whether he supports the growing sentiment among Aussies to break away from the Queen of England and become a republic, PM Albanese responded(6:24): “Well, I do support a republic, but that doesn’t mean I don’t respect the Queen, who has presided over the Commonwealth for 70 years, it’s quite an extraordinary achievement. Our priority this term, is the recognition of First Nations people in our constitution. Our history didn’t begin in 1788 with the arrival of the British First Fleet, it goes back some 65,000 years with Aboriginal and Torre Strait Islander people, the oldest continuous civilization on the planet. It should be a source of great pride, and my priority is getting that constitutional change done first.” Hmm, very interesting.

Bottom line folks, interviews with world leaders are always interesting(at least to Your Truly-a nerd), because they give you a glimpse into how others view/deal with the same issues confronting us here in the United States. I think reasonable people will agree that by far, the biggest takeaway from PM Alabanese’s interview, is how politicians in Australia came together to stump out mass shootings after the Port Arthur massacre(1996). Simply put, there is zero excuse for the nonsense we get from Congress, when it comes to addressing gun violence in the United States. Zero!!

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TSMC Chairman Discusses Semiconductor Chip Production & Possible China Invasion Of Taiwan

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Mark Liu, the Chairman of Taiwan Semicondictor Manufacturing Company(TSMC), the most valuable company in Asia, and tenth in the whole world, appeared on CNN’s GPS show (07/31/22) to discuss the growing global shortage of semiconductor chips, and efforts by his company to ramp up production in the United States. TSMC is building a $12 billion advanced chip manufacturing plant in Arizona, thanks in large part to subsidies from the recently passed Chips Act. As expected, the interview also delved into growing global concerns about a possible invasion of Taiwan by China, especially given what is currently happening in Ukraine.

As it currently stands, the whole world relies on TSMC for the supply of advanced semiconductor chips, and as concerns grow about a possible invasion of Taiwan by China (especially after Russia-Ukraine), many in the tech world fear that their industry could be turned upside down without a free TSMC.

Asked what would happen to the chip industry if China were to invade Taiwan, Chairman Liu said even though the production of advanced semiconductor chips is critical to the Taiwanese economy, the chip industry/economy would be their least concern because such an attack would upend the world’s rules-based order, and dramatically change the geopolitical landscape.

Asked whether China may be interested in invading Taiwan so it can have total control of TSMC, one of the world’s most valuable assets, Chairman Liu responded (video at 3:15): “Nobody can control TSMC by force. If you take a military force, or invasion, you will render a TSMC factory non-operable because this is such a sophisticated manufacturing facility, it depends on the real time connection with the outside world–with Europe, with Japan, with the U.S., from materials, to chemicals, to spare parts, to engineering software diagnosis, and it is everybody’s effort to make this factory operable, so if you take it over by force, you can no longer make it operable.”

Asked about the so-called “TSMC shield”–this notion that because mainland China relies heavily on TSMC for it’s high end chips, it may be hesitant to invade–Chairman Liu responded (video at 4:45): “Our[TSMC] interruption will create great economic turmoil on either side–in China because, suddenly their most advanced components supply [will have] disappeared…it is an interruption, I must say, so people will think twice on this.” It appears Chairman Liu agrees with the “TSMC shield” theory. He then added that we should draw lessons from the Russia-Ukraine war because as we can see, there are no winners. Russia is suffering, Ukraine is suffering, and the rest of the world is suffering as a result of the war. China’s invasion of Taiwan would be no different.

Asked to explain how Taiwan has managed to grow at 5% per year for five decades straight–the so-called “Taiwan miracle”, Chairman Liu said a lot of it had to do with the fact that the Taiwanese are generally, very peaceful people. He said that since 1949, when the island transformed from authoritarian rule, they have managed to live peacefully. He also added the education system as another reason for the “Taiwan miracle.” Apparently, university education in Taiwan is available to anybody who wants it. As a result, 80% of adults in Taiwan are college educated.

Bottom line folks, as host Fareed Zakaria correctly put it, Chairman Liu is probably the most important man in the world, that you don’t know about. All in all, a fascinating interview, with a fascinating business leader, from a fascinating island, which I hope, the world does everything, to shield from an invasion by China.

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Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro’s Interview On Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Show

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Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson show (06/30/22)

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro sat down with visiting Fox News host Tucker Carlson (06/30/22) for a wide ranging, and quite interesting interview, that covered issues such as his upcoming reelection fight, China’s expansion into Latin America, COVID, Christianity, the media, LGBTQ rights, and even a pitch by Tucker Carlson to Bolsonaro to allow Fox News in Brazil (yeah, he really did that, I promise).

President Bolsonaro and Hungary’s President Viktor Orban, are two notable world leaders who have struck a resonance with Trump’s wing of the Republican Party, which appears to be on a path towards Christian Nationalism. Yours Truly was therefore very interested to hear what President Bolsonaro had to say regarding a whole host of issues, and so should you.

The first topic of discussion was Bolsonaro’s very interesting, even miraculous rise to the presidency. Here’s how he described it (video at 5:22): “My election itself was almost a miracle. I had nothing going for me to be elected. I was just an isolated member of Congress, known as the lower segment of national Congress in Brazil. I conducted my campaign anchored on a Biblical passage John 3:33–‘Thou shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.’ The media never gave me any visibility or space, much to the contrary, they attacked me all the time throughout the campaign. On 09/06/2018, on the eve of the election, I suffered an attempted assassination. Doctors said my survival was a miracle. The same is true for my election, and a very important factor which you may perhaps not be aware of, is the fact that Brazil is a country that upon taking office as the President, the incumbent President surrenders strategic positions in the cabinet and political parties, including the cabinet ministries, state banks, state companies. I did not do that.”

Bolsonaro then went on to attack his left wing opponent, Lula da Silva, using strikingly similar attacks you hear Republicans in the United States leveling against Democrats. Bolsonaro, for example insinuated that the left was planning to rig the upcoming elections, that they are using the pandemic to bring down his administration, and importantly, that if the left defeats him, they will never lose any election again after that–an argument strikingly similar to the one used by former President Trump during his 2020 reelection campaign, and after his loss to Joe Biden. Bolsonaro then went on to list a long laundry list of Republican-like attacks against Lula/the left wing; that they want unfettered abortions, they are soft on crime, that the left is anti-freedom, that the left wants to disarm the public (Brazil’s “second amendment”, I guess), that the left wants amnesty, that the left is manufacturing opinion polls which show him losing, so as to suppress his vote. Very interesting indeed.

Asked how he plans to win reelection despite what Tucker Carlson characterized as “the entire Brazilian media” against him, Bolsonaro responded (11:25): “Yes, there is the weight of the media against me. True, but social media has been doing a great job in Brazil. My social media channels are the most interactive in the world. I believe that today we have 40% of the population who has not yet expressed their voting intentions. Most of the voters we believe, will vote for me in the elections.”

Tucker then pulled the quintessential “shameless plug” and pitched Fox News to President Bolsonaro (11:49): “Why is there no Fox News in Brazil? CNN is here, you got over 50 million votes in the last elections, CNN’s a political player here, so is Globo, but there’s no TV channel for your voter?” Bolsonaro responded to Tucker Carlson’s pitch saying (12:00): “Well if I could launch an appeal for you, I can only say that you will be the most welcome in Brazil. You will be an excellent counterpart to the other vehicles or outlets. There are very few media outlets that are really unbiased in Brazil.” Hmm, again sounds awfully similar to what Republicans say in the U.S.

Asked how he felt about opposition to him, not only inside Brazil, but also from virtually all the neighboring countries, Bolsonaro gave this interesting answer (12:50): “Brazil is an economic powerhouse in South America. The 10 countries with which we have political, geopolitical, physical borders are not that economically strong as compared to Brazil. We are what you might describe as a cherry on the cake. If Brazil goes down or collapses, the whole of South America will go down, and be colored red(bloodshed) if you understand…”

The interview then moved to the topic that shot President Bolsonaro into the international spotlight, and that is, his opposition/refusal to take the COVID vaccine at a time when COVID cases were sky high in Brazil. This move endeared him to anti-vaxxer movements worldwide, but alienated him from Western governments who were at that time (height of the pandemic), desperately trying to get sufficient numbers of their populations vaccinated.

Asked why he refused to take the COVID vaccine, here’s how he responded (22:05 ): “As I said before, maybe I was the only head of state in the world who did not accept restrictive measures, or was against restrictive measures, and perhaps one of the few heads of state in the world who did not take the vaccine because I had already contracted the virus. The left was so worried about taking me out of office that they wanted me to take the vaccine, and I said well, ‘let me die, just let me die then and choose my policy.’ In South America we are the one country that best addressed the issue involving the need for vaccines, and we very properly and adequately equipped our hospitals with equipment and medications, and I believe we have pretty much turned the page there.”

To be clear, Bolsonaro’s argument was that he did not need a COVID vaccine because he had already contracted the virus. He therefore sought medications instead (including in Africa), that were being advertised at the time as cures for COVID. He says even though he was personally against the vaccines, he did make them readily available to the Brazilian public. He also said that part of his reluctance to take the vaccines, was the fine print from the vaccine manufacturers, which said they were not responsible for any side effects from their vaccines.

The interview then moved on to religion, and specifically, Christianity. Asked how he thought his opponent Lula and the left viewed Christianity, Bolsonaro responded (35:27): “The left wing, I mean the vast majority of them are atheists. They do not respect anything. They criticize priests and pastors and Lula himself has said that he will, if elected, he will place priests and pastors and the military in their rightful place, or in the right place in society. For instance, when the U.S. Supreme Court recently changed its understanding and ruling on abortion, the left wing in Brazil did not like that. We did like the new stance taken by the U.S. Supreme Court because we defend life from its very conception, but not so among the left wing people and Lula. Lula and the left wing, they often say that abortion is a matter of public health, and it is the woman that should decide. We believe that the life that has been given to a woman does not belong to the woman, and that is a stance espoused by our religion.” Hmm, interesting. Is this the TrumpGOP stance on abortion, too?

Asked about racism in Brazil, Bolsonaro, much like Republicans in the United States, blamed it on weaponized identity politics pushed by the left. He specifically said this about identity politics (38:17) :“It is a way to divide and conquer. Even before Lula took office in 2003, the left wing would already preach that, I mean, the division of people along identity lines such as Blacks and Whites, and employers and employees, and people from northeastern Brazil vis-a-vis southern Brazil. They have gained followers as a result of that approach, and the major divisionary split today is between employers and employees…and they say that, ‘hey you are not doing well today because of your employer’, and that divide approach or policy… has gained them at least one-fourth of the Brazil population. They have always been supported by at least one-fourth of the Brazilian population. My father-in-Law is…a Black man, and I am a blue-eyed White man. Racism is there in Brazil, yes, but not as it is often described. Most of our main football (soccer) players are, you know, people of African descent, no worries.”

The topic then shifted to gun control, where he was asked why he chose to make it easier for Brazilians to acquire firearms. He responded (39:25) :”I was unable to actually change the Brazilian law, but by means of a presidential decree, and also through ministerial orders, we interpreted the existing legislation as best as possible, and there has been a substantial increase in the number of people who legally own firearms in Brazil, and the consequences you see in the Brazilian media, is a drop in the number of people who are killed by firearms in Brazil. We understand that once people get armed, the crooks, the thieves will think twice before they break into other people’s property. If of course the number had gone up, I would be blamed, but just the opposite is going on today, and if reelected, if everything goes well, we will have a substantial support in Congress, and we’ll be able to pass laws on firearms, very much along the same lines as in the U.S.”

The topic then shifted to the Amazon rain forest, and specifically, whether it was being destroyed (deforestation) at an alarming rate causing global climate problems. Climate activists blame Bolsonaro’s administration for the deforestation. Here’s what Bolsonaro said when asked whether the Amazon was being destroyed at the high rates claimed by the news media (46:25): “No, that is not true. Two-thirds of the Brazilian territory are currently preserved, and remain pristine, just as they were back in the 1500s when this country was discovered by the Portuguese. The criminal acts that do happen, we will not deny that, are ultimately given too much visibility because there is a huge interest in making our sovereignty over the Amazonian region a relative fact, or perceived in a relative light. I met with President Putin and thanked him because on two occasions when this issue was discussed with other countries, he stated that the Amazon region belongs to the Brazilian people, not to anyone else. The Amazon region is as vast as eastern Europe. It’s huge, it’s wonderful, it’s just not possible to, you know, take care of every square meter in the Amazon region. There is illegal deforestation, yes, there are fire outbreaks, yes, but not at the rate that is announced out there. California itself always you know, catches fire, and it’s not given that much visibility, French Guyana likewise, I mean, you can’t possibly set a rain forest to fire, but there is illegal deforestation, yes, and we are working to tackle that.”

Asked about criticism regarding the Amazon, by celebrities-turned-climate activists, like Mark Ruffalo, Bolsonaro said (49:30):”These are people who do not understand anything about Brazil. I think these people have never been to the Amazon region, and I would actually invite them to come to the Amazon region, and overfly the region…They talk about the Amazon region because it’s trendy, it’s a fad. I mean, in Europe, if someone says that the Amazon region is not being devastated, they are politically doomed to fiasco. So, it’s politically good for them, you know, the criticism yields power, yields media visibility, yields votes, and that’s what celebrities feed on. They are not at all familiar with the Amazon region. They are not at all knowledgeable about the region, and the difficulty of investing in it. They just criticize it because it’s a fad.”

Asked whether he has enjoyed being President of Brazil, Bolsonaro said (50:30): “I must admit, you know, I first launched myself as a candidate, of course I intended to become the President, but I was all too aware of the challenges and the difficulties, and the experiences we have undergone, or I have undergone, I could never ever have imagined what it would look like, but I am comforted by the fact that the other candidate, the Workers Party candidate, Haddad, if he had won, Brazil would certainly be what Venezuela is today. So that’s a source of comfort to me, and that encourages me to say to the population that God is the one who has placed me where I am today…A message to the Americans–God, the homeland, family and freedom.”

The final topic of discussion was China, which Tucker Carlson said, was the primary reason for his visit to Brazil. Carlson contends that China is on a quest to colonize Africa and S. America–basically invest heavily in these regions and then take them over as colonies.

Tucker Carlson(58:50): “Given your natural resources, are you worried about the level of Chinese investment in Brazil.”

Bolsonaro:”I would very much like the Americans to also take part in more investments in Brazil. We of course have trade flows with China, and they have of course at least at first shown interest in ensuring their food security.”

Bottom line folks, I came out with the impression that President Bolsonaro is trying very hard to identify himself with the Republican Party in the United States, and specifically,, Trump’s wing of the party. His campaign message appears to be:“If you want Brazil to be God-fearing, rich, prosperous, and free, like the United States, vote for me. If Lula wins, Brazil will become a socialist nation and descend into bloodshed. I am the only one standing between Brazil and socialism/bloodshed, so vote wisely.” Will this campaign pitch be enough to earn Bolsonaro a reelection victory? Hmm, we’ll see what happens.

***Updated to include the fact that on 08/04/2022, Hungary’s President Viktor Orban addressed the CPAC Conference in Dallas, Texas. Orban and Bolsonaro appear to be playing from the same playbook re American conservatives–Christian Nationalism ***

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Pompeo Slams Biden Admin For “Allowing China To Walk All Over Them” In The South Pacific

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Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appeared on Fox News’ Ingraham Angle show(04/21/22) to discuss among other things, reports this week that China has signed a security pact with the strategically located Solomon Islands in the South Pacific. Pompeo slammed the Biden administration over this, saying they are “allowing China to walk all over them.” He added that China will “park missiles” in the Solomon Islands, and could in the future use this strategic location to block trade routes that are important to the United States.

Pompeo specifically told host Ingraham(video at 1:20):“The Chinese have been trying to expand their footprint in the Pacific, and in particular, the South Pacific for an awfully long time. They began by building out a set of islands called the Spratlys. They put military bases on there after they promised President Obama they wouldn’t, and when they did, he did literally nothing. The Solomon Islands and other Islands in the Pacific are places where they can park missile systems, naval bases, other naval capabilities that they can use to foreclose trade, all of the important trade that moves through all of the South Pacific into the Eastern Pacific, into places that matter an awful lot to the United States of America. It’s why China is so focused on it, it’s why in the Trump administration we worked so diligently to try and build out alliances with those countries. The Biden administration has allowed China to walk all over them throughout the entire Pacific.”

Pompeo went on to add(video at 2:30):“I don’t think they[China]respect or fear the United States under the leadership of President Obama and the team…This administration hasn’t shown the same resolve and the same capacity to deter aggression that we did for 4 years…The Chinese Communist Party presents the single greatest external risk to the United States of America from any place in the world…We need to lead the effort to make sure that the Chinese Communist Party doesn’t dominate global trade and dominate the global economy in the years and decades ahead. We can do it, but it takes American leadership.”

Bottom line folks, even though reasonable people will agree that Trump GOP is currently mired in frivolity(fights with Disney, hyperventilating over CRT, going after transgender athletes etc), the China issue remains one of the few legitimate arguments they still have. Simply put, the United States cannot allow a perception to fester out there, that China is always running us over. So you ask, “Why should we care about such a perception”? Look no further than the current Russia-Ukraine war. Make no mistake about it, Putin invaded Ukraine because (1) he knows he has China’s support and (2) the United States has demonstrated no willingness to confront China in any way out of fear of “disturbing our trade ties”. This dynamic has to change. We need to make China respect and fear the United States, not just for our own national security sake, but also to deter autocrats around the world who have figured out that they can commit atrocities while hiding under China’s umbrella.

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Mitt Romney Says Second Trump Presidency Would Hurt NATO, Help Putin

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In an interesting interview on the brand new CNN Plus show, The Source w/ Kasie Hunt, Senator Mitt Romney(R-UT) made a bombshell admission that if former President Trump were to win the presidency again in 2024, that would hurt NATO, and help Vladimir Putin, something that should frighten every democracy-loving person in the free world. As Kasie Hunt correctly pointed out, the fact that Sen Romney brought up this issue, shows that it is a huge concern among establishment Republicans(Trump winning in 2024)

Romney told host Kasie Hunt: “I think if President Trump were to return as President, that the nations of the world would say they have to really rethink their own national security, and the extent to which they want to be aligned with us, and instead be aligned with someone else, and you saw that happened during the time President Trump was there. I’ve had conversations with leaders of other nations now, members of NATO, and they raise this question–We’re happy to see you committed to our mutual defense, but we don’t know whether you’re just committed short term, or whether this a long term and permanent commitment? I think this is a long term commitment. “

There is no other way to interpret Senator Romney’s remarks other than, him and fellow Republicans are very concerned about a second Trump presidency, and specifically, the disastrous effect that would have on NATO, while at the same time helping Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. This is a serious problem, not just for establishment Republicans, but also for the cause of democracy worldwide. Simply put, a Trump win in 2024 is a win for Vladimir Putin and other autocrats worldwide.

Bottom line folks, the Russia-Ukraine war has demonstrated very clearly that there is a global battle currently playing out between free, democracy-loving countries, and autocratic dictatorships like Russia, China, Turkey, et al. If Putin prevails in Ukraine, it will represent a win for autocrats, and as Senator Romney correctly points out, a second Trump presidency will be a major boost to Putin and other autocrats. Trump has already demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt(DC insurrection, friendship with autocrats), that he should never ever occupy the White House again. The only question now is whether his Republican Party will see to it that he is kept on the political sidelines.

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Excellent UTSW Webinar On Havana Syndrome

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On 02/10/2022 the Department of Psychiatry and the Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute at the University of Texas Southwestern (UTSW-Dallas), hosted an excellent webinar on Havana Syndrome featuring some of the leading minds in Neurology and importantly, offering suggestions on the path forward for both government investigators, and affected families (victims).

The webinar titled “Havana Syndrome: Medical, Scientific, and Policy Perspectives”, featured this esteemed panel of subject matter experts.

Among the visiting speakers(not from UTSW) were Cipher CEO Suzanne Kelly, Fox News National Security Analyst Daniel Hoffman, Former CIA Officer and Havana Syndrome victim Marc Polymeropoulos, NPR National Security Correspondent Greg Myre, and of course, the star of the show, the undisputed MVP, Dr. James Giordano(Georgetown), who they saved for last. Dr. Giordano’s entire presentation is below.

The key takeaway from Dr Giordano’s presentation was this(video at 17:00): “What this thing allowed us to do is to examine in greater detail, the technological readiness level(TRL),of forms of energy that could be directed in ways that would be scalable, fieldable, and therefore operationalizable. Now again, please understand that there is information that simply cannot be discussed in an open forum such as this, some of it exists as confidential and classified…but suffice it to say that information both at the time(2016, 2017, and part of 2018), and subsequently 2018 and 2019…reveal that there are two primary domains of directable energy that represented not only state of the science and technology, but were at a point of technological readiness that would allow or enable possible deployability and operational use. The idea of utilizing accoustic rangeable devices in the high sonic and/or ultrasonic range, very possible, very probable. The possibility of also utilizing some form of microwave energy particularly low to moderate gigawatt microwave energy that could be generated using very very rapid pulsing, perhaps utilizing a light source or laser source to be able to develop nanosecond or perhaps even quicker pulsing, would allow the scalability, the fieldability, and the containability of microwaves, and also get by some of the power source requirements that might be necessary. Why would such devices be in operation?…These types of devices can be used for surveillance, and/or they can be used either kinetically or non-kinetically, for disruptive effects. What do we mean by that[disruptive effects]? What we mean, is that there are a number of nations worldwide that have dedicated effort to employing these devices for testing organic and inorganic substances primarily in the occupational and commercial range…They[nations]include United States and many of its allies, China, Russia, among others. So the technology exists. We know the technology is being employed at least in part for the evaluation of vulnerability and volatility for organic and inorganic substances.”

A layman’s understanding of Dr. Giordano’s scientific analysis boils down to this(feel free to offer corrections/more insight): That microwaves and sound (accoustics) are the two forms of energy that scientists agree, could be harnessed, scaled and deployed to effect the kind of attacks experienced by U.S. Embassy staff in Havana, Cuba. Scientists also agree that this kind of technology(sound and microwave directed energy) is readily available in the U.S.(and its Western allies), China, and Russia, and is currently used for surveillance and other industrial applications(testing the vulnerability of organic and inorganic substances). This scientific analysis by Dr. Giordano is very important because to this day, mainstream media reports have characterized Havana Syndrome as being caused by some hostile foreign power(prime suspect Russia), using some mysterious technology that nobody in the U.S. knows about. Clearly, per Dr. Giordano’s analysis, this technology is already being used in the United States for surveillance and other industrial applications, meaning part of the inquiry into the causes of Havana Syndrome going forward, has to look inward, as opposed to only pointing the finger at Russia and China.

The webinar also featured a joint discussion by Cipher CEO Suzanne Kelly and Fox News National Security Analyst Daniel Hoffman, which focused squarely on the national security implications of Havana Syndrome, as opposed to the other panelists who delved into the clinical aspects. Even though this was an interesting discussion, it totally sidestepped the million dollar question which many attendees, including Yours Truly tuned in for, and that is, Havana Syndrome among regular civilians(not government employees).

Interestingly, the million dollar question found it’s way into the webinar at the very end(after Dr. Giordano’s presentation), as the panelists were entertaining written questions from attendees. One of the questions directed at Dr. Giordano asked what regular civilians(ding ding ding–magic word) who suspect they are victims of similar directed energy attacks, should do?(see video below @ 1:50) Dr. Giordano’s answer was very interesting. He said regular civilians should first consult their attending physicians with their concerns, and upon a traumatic brain injury(TBI) diagnosis, have their attending physician refer them to Walter Reed for further analysis. It has to be a physician’s referral–none of that self-diagnosis stuff. A question as to whether there’s any evidence of regular civilians being victims of directed energy attacks came up at the 18:45 mark, and Dr. Giordano answered in the affirmative, saying yes, there is evidence both in Europe and domestically. WHOA!!

Hopefully Dr. Giordano’s suggestion for regular civilians suffering from directed energy attacks will encourage them to seek the much needed medical attention, and crucially, provide enough leads for scientists and government investigators, to get to the bottom of the Havana Syndrome mystery. Hopefully , it also opens up debate about the plight of regular civilians vis a vis directed energy weapons in the mainstream media, and in the halls of Congress where strangely, this remains a taboo topic, as exhibited by the tweet below.

**post updated 05/11/222 to include a recent study by Texas A&M which also concluded that pulsed high peak power microwaves can cause traumatic brain injury. Below is a major takeaway from the study

“While the peak power densities used within this simulation study are large, they are achievable with known microwave hardware. For example, to produce a power density of 1 × 106 mW/cm2 at 25 m away from a 40-dBi antenna, a microwave source would require approximately 8 MW of power per pulse. This is within the capabilities of some commercial and military systems, and we therefore consider this as a relevant approximation for the simulations here. However, we also consider some more extreme conditions in the final analysis summary for scaling purposes against known mechanical TBI thresholds.”

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Senator Shaheen Says Havana Syndrome Most Likely Caused By “Microwave Directed Energy Attacks”

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Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) appeared on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports (12/15/21), where she gave an update on the investigation into the causes/origins of Havana Syndrome. Senator Shaheen said Russia remains the chief suspect, adding that she agrees with the assessment of the National Academy of Sciences, that these are most likely “microwave directed energy attacks.”

Sen Shaheen said part of the defense authorization bill currently being debated in Congress, seeks to provide a coordinator who will look into Havana Syndrome cases across all federal agencies, and keep Congress apprised on any new findings.

Sen Shaheen told host Andrea Mitchell:“What we want is a coordinator, not just within the various agencies where they’ve had personnel attacked, but also someone who can coordinate the entire effort, and that’s part of the amendment that’s in the defense bill, as well as a regular reporting to Congress. We want to know exactly what’s going on so that we can respond. It’s very troubling that this happened years ago, five years ago, and we still don’t know who’s responsible, we don’t know exactly the cause of the attacks, and we’re not sure who’s doing it.”

Neither Senator Shaheen nor MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchel addressed the growing elephant-in-the-room question regarding directed energy attacks, and that is, growing complaints by regular civilians in the U.S.(not diplomats), who claim to be victims of directed energy attacks, leaving them with symptoms of Havana Syndrome–complaints similar to the one below. Will the designated Havana Syndrome coordinator also hear from such regular civilians and report back to Congress? Hmm

Bottom line folks, the U.S. constitution intended for members of Congress to function as representatives of their constituents. Where, as here, we have Congress totally ignoring cries from regular civilians(their constituents) of directed energy attacks, while at the same time enacting a scheme to compensate and treat similarly afflicted government employees, one can only conclude that the era of representative government is long gone–a sad state of affairs indeed. At some point, hopefully soon, Congress will have to entertain Havana Syndrome complaints from regular civilians. Then, and only then, will the public have confidence in the government’s investigation into Havana Syndrome.

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Trump Repeatedly Praised China’s Covid-19 Response

Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping

If you’ve paid attention to President Trump’s covid-19 responses lately, then you’ve definitely noticed a common theme emerging, and that is, him blaming everything related to coronavirus on China. This appears to be the new tactic adopted by Trump, his Republicans in Washington, and their media surrogates. Trump’s chief media surrogate and in many ways his unofficial adviser Laura Ingraham, is one of the key proponents of this “blame it on China” strategy.

The problem with this “blame it on China” strategy is that Trump has previously gone on the record several times praising China’s response to covid-19.

Trump for example said on February 10 2020, “I spoke with President Xi and they[China] are working very very hard and I think it’s going to all work out fine.”

On February 17 2020 Trump said, “I spoke with President Xi of China and he’s working very hard on this. It’s a tremendous problem[covid-19] but they are very capable and they’ll get to it.”

One day after that on February 18 2020 Trump said, “I think he is doing it very professionally. I know this, President Xi loves the people of China, he loves his country, and he is doing a very good job with a very tough situation.”

No reasonable person presented with President Trump’s previous pronouncements about China’s response to covid-19, can take seriously the severe criticism and blame he now heaps at the nation and its leader Xi. Reasonable people will conclude that Trump’s new found criticism of China and its leader regarding covid-19, is nothing but a desperate effort to scapegoat the foreign nation, for his own administration’s bungled response to the pandemic.

There’s also this Jan 24 2020 tweet from Trump which further proves that the “blame it on China” strategy has no legs to stand on.

Bottom line folks, the record is very clear that the Trump administration was fairly warned about the severe threat of covid-19 and instead of heeding the dire warnings, Trump and key members of his administration, with the help of their surrogates on Fox News, chose to downplay the threat . 2020 is an election year which means covid-19 response will be on the ballot. It is very important that Team Biden and indeed Democrats nationally make sure that the voting public knows the real covid-19 response story. Simply put, Democrats must reiterate to the voting public that China is not the reason so many Americans needlessly died of covid-19.

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