US AND CHINA HEADED FOR WAR OVER TAIWAN?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST AND FROM ANDY TAI’s GOOGLE+ ACCOUNT)

 

ARE THE US AND CHINA HEADED FOR WAR OVER TAIWAN?

As Beijing and Washington position themselves for a trade war, Trump should beware playing the Taiwan card – or he may find his actions lead to a real war

BY WANG XIANGWEI

Are the Chinese mainland and Taiwan headed down an inevitable path to war – one that is likely to see the United States join the fray?

This slow-burning question came to the fore again last week when the mainland launched live-fire drills in the Taiwan Strait on Wednesday amid fiery rhetoric from Chinese state media. On Thursday morning, Chinese state media started to post online videos of helicopters and warships firing at targets at sea but Taiwandismissed the exercises as “routine”.

This came after President Xi Jinping had presided over a massive naval parade off Hainan island a week earlier, one that involved 48 warships including China’s sole operating aircraft carrier and more than 10,000 servicemen – the largest such exercise since the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949.

PLA submarines, naval vessels and fighter jets accompany China’s aircraft carrier Liaoning on exercises in the South China Sea. Photo: Xinhua

The state media said Beijing was sending a loud and clear warning to Taipei and Washington amid heightened tensions caused by Taiwanese leaders’ open advocacy for independence and increased American support for the Taiwanese government.

Over the past few weeks, Chinese officials and state media have ratcheted up the rhetoric against Taipei and Washington, the largest supplier of arms to the island.

Trump’s trade war with China is just his opening gambit

Referring to Thursday’s live-fire drills, Cui Tiankai, the Chinese ambassador to US, warned in a lecture at Harvard University that China would try every possible means to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen speaks on the telephone to Donald Trump. Photo: EPA

Earlier this month, a spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office, said any outside forces that attempted to “play the Taiwan card” would find their efforts “futile” and would hurt themselves if they went “over the line”, according to the official China Daily.

The remark was clearly aimed at US President Donald Trump and his administration which in recent months has taken a number of significant steps to warm ties with Taipei. As Beijing and Washington are currently positioning themselves for a possible trade war, Trump’s intention to play the Taiwan card again is even more dangerous because this would further destabilise bilateral ties or even worse, could lead to a real war.

A nasty US-China fight is inevitable. But it needn’t be terminal

True to Trump’s unconventional and unpredictable presidency, he first started to play the Taiwan card in the transition to the White House when he took a congratulatory call from the Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen, breaking a nearly 40-year-old diplomatic protocol governing China-US ties.

At that time, Trump made it clear his intention was to use Taiwan as a play to force more concessions on trade from China. His suggestion then was overwhelmingly met with criticism and cynicism almost everywhere, even in Taiwan where it raised concerns that the island could be used as a pawn and discarded easily.

China sees Taiwan as a province and usually reacts strongly to any foreign country having official contacts with the Taiwanese government or sale of arms to the island, particularly from the United States.

Now one year later, Trump’s intention to play the Taiwan card again signals a much broader agenda targeting China. Almost all the moderating voices in his administration have been forced out and replaced by more hawkish officials including the soon-to-be secretary of state Mike Pompeo and the National Security Adviser John Bolton – both of whom are known for tough stances against China and pro-Taiwan views.

Tough on China: US national security adviser John Bolton. Photo: Reuters

In recent months, his administration has approved licences for American firms to sell Taiwan technology to build submarines and signed the Taiwan Travel Act to encourage visits between American and Taiwanese officials. All these have invited protests from China.

A major test will come in June when the American Institute in Taiwan, the US de facto embassy, is slated to move into a new building. There has been growing speculation that Bolton or some other senior US official will attend the ceremony. If that happens, Beijing will regard it as a major provocation.

It is interesting to note that amid the war of words with Washington over trade, some elements in Beijing’s propaganda machine have been using warlike language to give the impression that China will not back down from the trade spat and will fight the US to the very end. That could well be a negotiation tactic, as trade issues are negotiable after all. But from the Chinese perspective, the Taiwan issue is absolutely non-negotiable. It is a clearly marked red line.

The Taiwanese leaders, encouraged by the latest warming signs from Washington, have started to openly advocate independence, which is a major taboo for Beijing and seen as breaking the status quo.

Over the past 40 years, Beijing and Taipei have tried to maintain the status quo in which both sides recognise the island as part of China, even while neither government recognises the legitimacy of the other. Taiwan agrees not to broach independence, in return mainland China does not use force to take over the island. Washington recognises this one-China principle but maintains close unofficial ties with Taiwan and provides the island with arms under the Taiwan Relations Act – a constant source of friction with Beijing.

Taiwanese Premier William Lai. Photo: EPA

This month, the Taiwanese premier William Lai publicly described himself as “a political worker for Taiwanese independence”. Although this was not the first time he has said this, Lai’s latest declaration caused serious worries in Beijing in the context of Washington’s warming ties with Taipei.

The heightened tensions over the Taiwan Strait have come as Xi embarks on his second term as China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong. Last month the national legislature repealed the term limits on the presidency, enabling Xi to rule as long as he likes.

With Xi trying to assert China’s power on the international stage, flexing China’s military muscle in the Taiwan Strait in the name of pushing back against the independence movement is likely to bolster Xi’s support on the mainland.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has been trying to assert China’s power on the international stage. Photo: AFP

China’s official line has always been that it will seek peaceful reunification with Taiwan but not rule out using force to take it over. In the past, officials and state media have tended to emphasise the peaceful reunification part – more recently they have highlighted the bit about using force. Moreover, China has never publicly stated a timetable for reunification with Taiwan but some mainland analysts have started to preach the idea that reunification could take place by 2035 or 2050.

As China beats its war drum, who should hear its call?

These assumptions stemmed from Xi’s landmark report at the Communist Party’s 19th congress in October when he outlined a clearly defined timetable to realise what he called the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation – China would basically become a modern country by 2035 and a world power by 2050.

For an ambitious leader like Xi, reunification with Taiwan has to be an integral part of the dream.

So will the US join the fray if push comes to shove? Many people have mistakenly assumed the Taiwan Relations Act requires the US to come to Taiwan’s defence. In fact, the law contains no explicit guarantee.

Besides, there is a big question over whether the US would risk waging a full-blown war with China over Taiwan. In the short term, if the current trend continues with the US determined to play the Taiwan card – which in turn helps embolden the pro-independence movement in Taiwan – China will probably feel compelled to accelerate its military preparations and increase the frequency of military shows of strength like the one last week. All this means that tensions over the Taiwan Strait will get much worse unless Trump rethinks his plan to play the Taiwan card.

Wang Xiangwei is the former editor-in-chief of the South China Morning Post. He is now based in Beijing as editorial adviser to the paper

The V.A. Refuses To Pay Their Own Bills: Yet It Is Your Credit Rating That Gets Tanked

The V.A. Refuses To Pay Their Own Bills: Yet It Is Your Credit Rating That Gets Tanked

This post today is a first hand story, not a second, third or any other kind. I know this story is 100% true because it is my own story. There are quite a few issues that I could talk with you about concerning the VA but for the purpose of keeping this post to readable length I am only going to talk about my largest medical bill that is on my personal credit. I have a hospital bill among other medical bills from an event that happened on September 13th, 2011 in N.W. Atlanta Georgia. I had blacked-out face first into an exterior steel doors steel hinges, made me even uglier than I used to be. I got awaken by three of the workers there where I was at. I then drove myself to a clinic there locally where once I had gone inside I blacked out again there. It was only about a quarter of a mile from the clinic to the huge Medical Center Hospital so I was taken by ambulance (unconscious) to the ER. It was three days before I remember anything, I was there five days total and their bill was $60,000 and some change. On day three once I had gotten my consciousness back I remember a few things the Doctor told me about my condition when I came into the ER. I was told that besides not being awake that both of my kidneys had shut down and that my BP was in the 50/20 range and dropping. So, was this hospital bill something that the VA should have paid for? Under the agreement that the VA has with America’s Veterans, this definitely qualified as a life or death emergency wouldn’t it? O, by the way, the reason that my BP tanked the way it did? The Georgia Doctors said that the VA had me on four times too much blood-pressure medicine and that it had kicked me down, very obviously (my opinion) once again, the VA Doctors almost killed me, again.

 

To make this a shorter story the VA has time and again refused to pay the hospital the money owed them. I have been told that it is their opinion that I could have made it to the closest VA, really! Thus being I could have made it to the Atlanta VA Hospital many miles away, it is my bill, not theirs, really! (This is how local Doctors, Clinics, Ambulance services, and Hospitals are being treated all over Our Nation by the VA, REALLY). Besides the fact that these fine people who kept you alive not getting paid for their work preformed, now the bills show up on your credit report. Why doesn’t it show up on the VA’s credit report and leave the people’s credit report alone? If the bill by law belongs to the VA why can that bill be held against the credit and good standing of a person when it is plainly not the persons bill?

 

In this closing paragraph I would like to give you their best slap in the face, your credit. Last summer my wife and I bought a home for the first time in our lives (I did pay off a house for an x-wife but it was never in my name). This $60,000 hospital is on my credit, I have challenged it a couple of times to no avail. This debt made my credit rating dive to about 680 and this forced me to have to go through the VA Loan Program to qualify for a home loan. I am not going to say that the VA system is all bad or that all of their employees are bad, that is not true. I believe I would not be alive today if it weren’t for the VA yet at the same time they have almost killed me several times through their ignorance and apathy (from some). So, what can a little person do when Goliath’s big brother won’t even pay his obligated debts and decides to dump his garbage on you? The only answer I could think of was to throw in my two cents worth on this subject matter which is now finally in the national news through this little blog in which I get to speak with you in.  I hope you have a great week, stay safe, God’s blessings I pray to each of you.

 

 

Israel-You Must Stand On Higher Ground And Not Abuse It

Israel-You Must Stand On Higher Ground And Not Abuse It

 

As almost all of my regular readers probably know all ready, I am very much a ‘Pro-Israel’ believing type of person, but, this does not mean that I give the people of Israel nor the government of Israel carte Blanche status.

 

As the people of Israel know, a couple of years ago an IDF Soldier shot and killed a wounded unarmed Palestinian man laying in the street. About a month ago in the Times Of Israel Paper I read that the Soldier had been sentenced to 20 months in jail but that he was going to be getting out about 4 months early because of good behavior while in jail. So, the Government of Israel decided that for this crime (my total opinion is that this was a case of first degree murder) the punishment was about 16 months in prison. Would justice have been counted the same by the people of Israel and the Government of Israel if a Hamas Member or Hezbollah Member killed an Israeli Soldier in like manner? Since the Sentence has been handed down, and the Time has been served the Sergeant should face no further jail time. Israel, the world is watching you. If you are a “godly” people, you are under the obligation toward God to prove it by your righteous.

 

The failed Government of Hamas, they do what failing Governments have done for thousands of years, they create a war. I know that Hamas’s war is rather unique in the fact that they have been at war with Israel ever since they began as an Islamic Movement. There is also the fact that Hamas has never actually had anything approaching a quality infrastructure. This past month with Hamas’s sponsored “March Of Return” (which is destined to either total victory, or total defeat, no draws) there is no doubt that the Rulers of Hamas are desperate. Yet the IDF Soldiers at the Fence area must use restraint whenever possible. This is just a personal idea, but what do you think of it? Each IDF soldier be issued one ten round clip each day of rubber bullets, then all the rest of the clips with live rounds. If a Soldier fires any live rounds they must have video of why they had to fire 10 rubber rounds, and why they felt they had the right or the necessity to use any live rounds. Do not kill if it is not required that you have to kill. Israel, take the High Ground, always!

Why Is The American Government Committing Treason Against Every American

Why Is The American Government Committing Treason Against Every American

 

There are going to be some folks who will be mad at me for insinuating such a thing about our government, some will call me unpatriotic for saying such a thing. Well, honestly, I think that the vast majority of the American People aren’t quite as naive as we were 50 years ago, or even say, one year ago.  I know that I am not the wisest human being to ever walk this planet but I have spent most of my 60 plus years trying to pay attention to reality. We all know by now that there are good and bad people in every profession. There are some professions that we all believe or joke about as being dirty whether it be so or not, like door to door magazine salesmen, used car dealers, bankers, insurance salesmen, NSA personnel, politicians, and oil executives. I have tried to always be completely truthful in everything I write on this site, always to the best of my knowledge and ability, and that is what I am going to do in this article.

Treason, yes treason, that is what I said. The first duty of any government is to keep its people safe. If they forsake this most basic vow, they are guilty of treason against their own people and this is what has been going on now for a very long time. Nothing this bad can last forever without horrible consequences and at any moment all of our lives can be changed in a flash. Back in 1980 I worked at a major U.S. oil company headquarters in Houston Texas in the executive protection field, I learned there just how easily major politicians can be bought and paid for with absolutely no regard for the welfare of the country by either the politician or the company. These actions I witnessed and heard sickened me to my core so I quit and moved many states away from that job.  Some of the things I heard there would make you mad, sick, or just laugh at some of the pure stupidity and out of touch with reality they could be there in their ivory towers.

For many years I have traveled all over the United States many, many, times. I am going to tell you some of the things I have seen and that I know are absolute truth. When you travel through west Texas and you go through the Midland, Odessa area on interstate 20 you are going through the Permian Basin. This is where the best crude oil in the world is at, it is the oil that the rest of the world’s oil is judged by, this is the land that the Bush family worked, lived, and prospered in. If you look out in the fields on each side of the highway especially if you travel at night you will occasionally see vertical lights out in the fields, these are oil drilling rigs digging for the black gold. Does it make any sense to still be drilling? Most folks would say yes, I think. But now, if you travel west Texas, Oklahoma, California, Wyoming, or North or South Dakota you will see something that might surprise you, at least at a minimum, even in west Texas, half or more of all the pump jacks are turned off and the new holes that get dug are then capped.

Now, do you ask why? Good question, now I am going to start telling you why I think that you and I and everyone in our country are having our safety sold out, it’s all about money and greed folks. I have some friends in these High Plains areas who work in these fields and have been told the same thing goes on up there, wells get dug, then capped. You probably know of this oil pipeline that Canada and some U.S. companies want to lay pipe for from Canada down to the Gulf Coast but the government won’t approve it because environmental organizations don’t want it running through sensitive land areas in places like Nebraska. Here is a thought, I know for a fact that there are oil refineries in states like Wyoming and Montana, why does the oil pipeline have any need to go all the way to the Gulf Coast, is it so the oil companies can export it? We have been told for decades now that we don’t have the oil storage or refining capabilities that are needed. Why not? Create more jobs in these western states, build a lot more storage areas and the needed amount of oil refineries there to handle the new oil we are finding on our own land and if Canada want’s to run this joint pipeline adventure into the States there is plenty of unused government land to build these facilities on. These things should have been done many years ago for the reason of National Security, your security, my security, and the security of all of our families have been at stake for years, but we were then and now still being sold out.

Back as far as the early seventies our people learned that we are not and island unto our selves, that events outside of our borders can badly harm us. With the OPEC oil embargo OPEC countries cut way back on what they would sell us because we dared to back Israel. What has our government done to correct this national security issue? What is our current government doing now to correct this major safety issue? President Obama wouldn’t approve the Canadian pipeline, and he all but killed the cola industry and the nuclear industry is being phased out, plus there are many, many oil fields that the government wouldn’t give drilling permits for. But now, President Trump seems willing to give drilling permits just about anywhere except off the east coast of Florida where he has personal business interests. Yet still, where are the new refineries and storage units for all the oil we are producing and the gas we are producing on our own shores, where are they? I know that oil and gas and coal are not the only forms or energy we use in our country, but they are a huge part of it at this time. The U.S. Department of Energy say’s that in 2012 we imported 40% of the oil we consume at this time, 40% folks. In this country we have seen when we have a 2% down tick in the economy it throws us into a deep recession, at best. Folks, what would happen in this country if say even 30% of that 40% were shut off from us, that would be 12% loss. What would that do to our economy, to everyone’s lives, our jobs, our ability to get to them, also what would the cost of a gallon of gas be then?

If we the people are not the first concern for every one in our government why not? Now I am going to spout a few figures to you that come from the Independent Statistics and Analyst Department of the U.S. Energy Information Administration of the U.S. Department of Energy, from one of their web sites. We (oil companies) are exporting these following items, 1) Crude Oil 2) Crude Oil Products 3) Finished Motor Gasoline 4) Kerosene-Type Jet Fuel 5) Distillate Fuel Oil 6) Residual Fuel Oil 7) Propane/Polypropylene 8) here it just said “oil-oils”.  People, why is our government allowing the sale of any of this outside of our own borders? Their own stats say that we are importing 7.4 M.M.B.D. of crude oil while at the same time we are exporting 1.M.M.B.D., people, why is this being allowed. In the “Interest of National Security” these things could be stopped and corrected, why aren’t they? Money, greed?Treason?

There are many real things that could have been done already to cut down on our imports while they were building the refineries and storage facilities that are needed. Any secure nation is not secure unless it is 100% self-sufficient in its energy requirements with large energy stock piles in case of any type of attack on that country. Folks, we are nowhere near being in a safe zone. Another part of this issue is the fact that we are importing energy from countries that hate us and who are supporting militant groups so that they can attack and kill us all. How ignorant is it that you give the people who want nothing more than to kill you the weapons and the bullets to do it with? That’s what we are doing and have been doing for decades now, why is our government past and present trying to get us all killed? Is the answer the same as what I witnessed while working for that major oil company in Houston, is it all about power and greed and to hell with the people, it does seem that way to me.

One other quick issue I want to touch on before I close, again the government could have used the “for national security, or at least, for the good of the country” slogan to force these issues, and they do have the power to do exactly that in time of emergencies . Question is, why wait until you have the emergency before you make any plans or take the needed steps to survive the emergency? One of the things the government could have/should be enforcing is much more stringent MPG requirements for at least the past forty years yet President Trump just this past week canceled the higher MPG requirements. Think how much less fuel imports would be if all new cars sold in America were required to get 40 MPG in town and out, no exceptions, and all Pickups and SUV’s were required to get a minimum of 30 MPG in town and out. Why is it not a forced issue that every new vehicle made or sold in America has to be a Hybrid? These things can be done and should have been forced on the car makers decades ago. Would there have to be changes in the design and size of the units, of course. But think about it, if these laws were in effect now and our units were getting these MPG’s now how much of a savings would all of us have at the pump? Think of all the other places that money could be spent to improve our life styles and at the same time stimulate our economy. I will close now with this one very major issue. Our import export deficit is now over a trillion dollars a year and a huge portion is from imported energy. This policy is stupid and dangerous to every one of us. Our governments policies not only give our enemies the weapons they use to kills us with but in so doing, this export deficit is killing the value of our currency making the things we can buy much more expensive because the dollar is so down graded, and this hurts every one of us. So again, why the heck is our government putting every ones lively hood and lives at such risk? Is it as simple as money and greed, because they couldn’t possibly just be this stupid could they, well, maybe President Trump could, but no, in this case it is all about greed.

As I said earlier in this article, there are good and bad people in every occupation, even politics. When I lived in northern Illinois back about 40 years ago I had a real good Congressman in a man named John Anderson and I was blessed to have had an excellent Congressman when I lived in eastern Tennessee named M.D. Phil Roe. I have had contacts with Congressman Roe a few times and I beg you, if you have a good Congressman or Senator, state of federal, please try to communicate these concerns to them before we either end up with a totally crippled country, or before we’re all dead.

 

Out-liars: And The ‘Savage Theory Of Equality’

Out-liars: And The ‘Savage Theory Of Equality’

 

This post is basically a question to you, my effort to get you to think about this subject yourself, so that you will ask yourself exactly what your opinion is, this post is my opinion. I didn’t learn of the word out-liars until college, maybe I was conflicting it with the term out right liars, are they actually the same thing? No, I don’t think so, but could it be lodged in with the fact or fallacy of what ‘the truth’ is. Is it a fact that if people can honestly say that one percent of what they are saying is true, then they have spoken the truth? As we all know our politicians are well schooled in never really answering any question.

 

For those who are not familiar with the term as I wasn’t, here is my definition through and example that I will be able to get back to later. Today in our world we know that everything is analyzed for data including all of the Federal Governments stats that they use to tell us how our lives and the lives of other Americans is going. This is true whether it is about what the average income is to the average home cost to the average cost of gas and toilet paper. The problem with all of these stats are skewed because of the use of out-lairs.

 

If you own/run a company that has 1,000 employees you are entitled to a nice office and a real nice wage, but how well are the 1,000 households of the employees under you doing? That is a broad question because there are different levels of skills in the office and in the factory that are required to do their jobs so they should be paid different from the non-skilled jobs. But, how about those employees doing their jobs every day for the bottom end of your pay scale? Are they making a livable wage? Do you, do we, give a damn? $10.00 per hour/or less, that the bottom 80% make if calculated in with company Presidents and CEO’s total earnings packages, this tends to skew the average workers wages. If we don’t calculate in the short and long-term laid off and the “day workers” that makes the averages look better but if you do count in that other bottom ten percent of the population the ‘averages’ get skewed the other direction. Out-liars are what helps create the adage that “you can make figures say anything you want them to”.

 

Here is a theory that I think could/should be used, you could call it the “Savage Theory of Equality”. I as a lifelong working class, now broken-down person have never related to what the media and D.C. have always told us are “the averages”. Think about it for a moment, what are the average wages in America, how about price of cars, of homes, what is the real unemployed rate? (Part-time work should not be counted as being employed) About ten years ago I was living in eastern Tennessee and the City had its own radio station where a couple of different times I heard them say that the average wage in the area was seventeen dollars and about fifty cents per hour. My wife and I checked around a little bit with our friends and neighbors to come up with the conclusion that we didn’t know anyone personally there in our community that even made ten dollars per hour and they were just everyday working folks, just barely keeping their dignity month to month. (Dignity: working a full-time job, keeping a clean place to live, food, bills paid, transportation) If a person is working a full-time job that person should always be at the very least then financially able to have the aforementioned minimum level of dignity. If the figures we are given have the “out-liars” within them it is the people on the low-end that get squeezed the hardest and the ones at the very top that get ridiculous ‘bonus’ wages. Folks, we need to find adjustment spots on what we can call as being fair and on what basic dignity is.

 

Savage Theory of Equality: For a more true version of equal or average we should only use the middle eighty percent when looking for a more true average of what the middle is. The bottom ten percent should have their own category one through ten just as the top ten percent will have their bragging rights, one through ten. This theory in my opinion would give us all a more true center on just exactly what “the average American is”. In schools this theory would remove the exceptional students at both ends of the grading scale, just using the middle eighty percent to get a more true answer to what average truly is. Some may say that this would be a direct slam on the poorest of the poor especially on poor minorities but I look at this event in a different light. Yes it would point a light straight at certain parts of each city and county but that is what most of these people want. Dollars are limited so they need to go to the places most in need. Need for housing, food, clothing, education, job training and quality day care as well as quality full-time jobs in these ‘yes targeted’ areas of our populations are what is needed, it is where more targeted dollars need to go. If a household finds out that this past year they were in the bottom ten percent of income earners in your town a person would hopefully strive the best they can to come up out of this ten percent grouping the next year. The reality is that more aid such as training, jobs, and transportation are huge issues in this income bracket. What do you think Mr. Donald Trump?

 

For a moment think about the cost of housing. If the government stats say that in your city, lets us Lexington Kentucky as an example, where the average price of a home is a little over $250,000 and average rent for an apartment is a little over $1,200 per month, how does a person making anywhere near the minimum wage on their full-time job afford any place to live? What I am saying should be mandatory of all government agencies, this example in housing cost, is to remove the ‘out-liars’. The top 10% and the bottom 10% of people still matter but they should have their own separate categories. In the case of Lexington Kentucky, if the housing cost stats only used the middle 80% when looking for the ‘average’ cost of housing this would mean the stats would clip off houses that are only valued at 30, 40 or 50 thousand dollars. Also, it would clip out that houses that are at the top end of the scale, the ones that are 1,2,3,5 or 10 million dollar homes. I believe that both 10% clubs should have their own grid but it should not be counted as part of the ‘average’ home price simply because they have nothing in common with the real ‘center point’. Okay, that’s my gripe for the evening, now, what is your opinion on this? Do you believe that I am way off base here?

 

 

 

 

This small Japanese island could change the global economy

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

How the mud in this small Japanese island could change the global economy

Minamitorishima Island

(CNN)A small island in the Pacific Ocean is the site of a huge discovery that could change Japan’s economic future. How huge? One economist called it a “game changer.” The researchers who helped find it said it had “tremendous potential.”

It’s mud. A whole bunch of mud — an estimated 16 million tons, to be exact. And in that mud, there are massive, “semi-infinite” stores of valuable rare earth minerals.
Rare earth minerals contain rare earth elements (located here on the periodic table) that are used in high-tech devices like smartphones, missile systems, radar devices and hybrid vehicles. For instance, yttrium, one of the metals included in this recent discovery, can be used to makecamera lenses, superconductors and cell phone screens.
According to a new paper published by a team of Japanese researchers, this huge patch of mineral-rich deep sea mud lies near Minamitorishima Island, a small island 1,1000 miles off the coast of Japan.
The 16 million tons of materials could contain 780 years worth of yttrium, 620 years worth of europium, 420 years worth of terbium, and 730 years worth of dysprosium. In other words, according to the paper, it “has the potential to supply these materials on a semi-infinite basis to the world.”
That alone is a pretty big deal, but it becomes even more significant given the current supply and demand of rare earth metals. China currently holds a tight grip on the rare earth minerals — controlling about 95% of global rare earths production as of 2015. Because of this, Japan and other countries rely on China to set prices and availability.
However, Japan has complete economic control over the new supply.
Even though Minamitorishima Island is more than a thousand miles away, it is still technically a part of Tokyo, in the village of Ogasawara, and falls within Japan’s economic borders.

If You Are Poor And Can’t Support Yourself; Why Should You Be Allowed To Live?

If You Are Poor And Can’t Support Yourself; Why Should You Be Allowed To Live?

 

Playing the part of the devils advocate in this piece, all for the purpose of getting people to think deeper than the everyday surface that we see in our daily lives and to look at the bigger pictures in life itself.

Several months ago I wrote an article that was about world food supplies concerning an ever-growing world population. As we speak there are about 7.1 billion human mouths to feed here on the planet Earth. Fifty years ago the world could not have fed the current population, the shortfall would have been by at least a couple of billion mouths. If by the year 2050 there are ten billion people, will we as a human society be able to feed them all? What if they can’t, then what? There are thousands of people who die everyday on this globe because they did not have the food and or water they need to survive. There are millions of people right here in America that go hungry everyday, men, women, children, old folks. It is a national disgrace that this country has millions of people who are homeless and hungry, there is no excuse for this except pure greed and ego’s. Greed, that is an obvious answer, but ego’s? One of the sad lessons that I have learned during my years is that most people here in the States seem to look down upon anyone who has less than they themselves do. When a person has a problem in their life where they have a problem with their finances and they lose their car or their home many people mock them behind their backs and belittle them to their faces, and on places like Facebook. Brotherly love, where is it? Christian love? Multi-million dollar Church buildings that are financed on the backs of the very poorest, or in a community that is very poor, is a disgrace to the teachings of Jesus.

 

Now for the Devils Advocate part of this post. If I were a very wealthy person whether I be worth many millions or even worth billions, why should I have to give any of my money, my resources, to help the poor, uneducated, and untrained? Why should I have to take fewer profits just to give to those to sorry or to ignorant or to disabled to be able to support themselves? When there are ten billion children with let us say about three billion adults but technology has made it to where there are only two billion jobs with only about one billion that actually pays a living wage, why should I give a flip about all these lowlife peasants? Why should the top one-per-centers be forced to lower their life styles and give to the bottom rungs of society? Why feed the garbage, just let them die so they can get the heck off my planet sooner!

 

Is it my fault that ten percent of the people in my county are unemployed and another forty percent are underemployed? Well, if I am a business owner or an executive with an international company and my total earnings are leveled off at lets say five times the amount of my bottom scale I pay my employees, maybe then I would care about what my lowly scumbag employees make. Why should I have to give any of my money to the welfare system? If these people are to lazy or broken down to go earn their own living why the heck should I care if these people starve or freeze to death, they are not my responsibility? As an example, if the planet can only sustain five billion humans then why is it wrong for those of us who are energetic and have been successful in our lives to go forward with the eradication of the lowlife scum on this planet whom are not pulling their own weight?–Remember, Devils Advocate. Folks, if you honestly believe that there aren’t millions of people who think this way then I believe that you are clueless to reality.

Vietnam’s Fishing ‘Militia’ to Defend Against China

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE ‘VOICE OF AMERICA’)

 

Vietnam’s Fishing ‘Militia’ to Defend Against China


FILE - A Vietnamese boat (L) which was rammed and then sunk by Chinese vessels near disputed Paracels Islands in 2014.
FILE – A Vietnamese boat (L) which was rammed and then sunk by Chinese vessels near disputed Paracels Islands in 2014.

Vietnam is reported to be quietly developing a state-supported fishing boat militia to hold off China at sea. The fishing militia is being created at a time when the two sides talk about easing territorial disputes.

That is the opinion of experts who follow those disputes.

Vietnam watchers say the country is asking its commercial fishers to use stronger boats and take military-trained people to sea in case of a clash with Chinese fishers. China has its own fishing militia operating in the same waters.

“I think it’s a good policy to avoid future conflicts where militia fishermen are out in the sea,” said Trung Nguyen. He serves as dean of international relations at the Ho Chi Minh University of Social Sciences and Humanities.

Vietnam has been working to develop the fishing militia since at least 2009. Over that time, the two countries have been holding talks. Just last week, Vietnam’s Communist Party general secretary met the visiting Chinese foreign minister. The party official suggested “joint safeguarding (of) maritime peace,” China’s Xinhua News Agency reported.

Vietnam may be trying to appear strong now in case talks fail to produce results, noted Eduardo Araral of the National University of Singapore’s school of public diplomacy.

FILE - A Vietnamese naval soldier stands quard at Thuyen Chai island in the Spratly archipelago.
FILE – A Vietnamese naval soldier stands quard at Thuyen Chai island in the Spratly archipelago.

How the militia works

The Vietnamese fishing militia has not gone to battle with China. If the militia did, it would risk facing the third largest military in the world.

But Vietnamese military forces are arming fishing boats, said Southeast Asia expert Carl Thayer. That may be similar to the deployment of former soldiers to help keep order as needed on land in Vietnam, Thayer noted.

The Vietnamese government requires conscription, he added, so fishermen would already have some military skills.

“Putting them at sea would just be getting people the right age and giving them that training,” he said. “All they did is move what they do on land, how to defend factories … and extend that to sea.

Thayer is emeritus professor at the University of New South Wales in Australia.

Thirteen fishing militia platoons have been helping more than 3,000 fishermen work near the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea. That information comes from a 2017 study by the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore. China controls the Paracels, but Vietnam also claims the islands.

The study found that more than 10,000 fishermen and about 2,000 fishing boats in southern Vietnam have received military equipment.
In 2014, Vietnam prepared a list of rules to aid fishermen who build “modern large capacity ships” to expand their reach, the study found. It said Vietnamese banks had lent $176 million to fishermen for improvements to about 400 ships.

South China Sea territorial claims map
South China Sea territorial claims map

Record of clashes

China claims about 90 percent of the 3.5 million-square-kilometer South China Sea. Vietnam says it should control the sea’s waters off its long north-south coastline, extending into the Paracels and Spratly Islands.

Sailors died in clashes between the two countries in 1974 and 1988. In 2014, the deployment of a Chinese oil rig in the South China Sea caused a boat-rammingincident at sea and deadly rioting in Vietnam against Chinese interests.

China has long had its own fishing militia with military support and attention from the Chinese President, notes the United States-based Naval War College. Armed fishing boats help defend China’s maritime claims by pushing away foreign boats, the political intelligence service Stratfor reported in 2016.

Five other governments claim all or parts of the South China Sea. They oppose Chinese efforts to build up and expand islands in the waterway.

Vietnam and China often hold talks about settling maritime problems, but talks often fall short of a decision because of historic distrust, Araral said. He added that Vietnam may be sending China the message that while we talk, we assert our rights.

A Vietnamese fishing militia will not be as large as China’s militia, he said, but Vietnam feels it must try.

I’m Susan Shand

Susan Shand adapted this story from VOA. George Grow was the editor.

China’s trade surplus narrows 21.8% in Q1

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHINE NEWSPAPER OF SHANGHAI CHINA)

 

China’s trade surplus narrows 21.8% in Q1

Xinhua

Imaginechina

A cargo truck drives amid stacked shipping containers at the Yangshan Deep-Water Port in Shanghai on March 29, 2018.

China’s goods trade surplus shrank 21.8 percent in the first quarter of this year as the country saw a better balance of trade, customs data showed on Friday.

China’s goods exports rose 7.4 percent year on year in the first three months while imports grew 11.7 percent, resulting in a trade surplus of 326.18 billion yuan (US$51.85 billion), according to the General Administration of Customs.

Total foreign trade volume expanded 9.4 percent to 6.75 trillion yuan in the first quarter from the same period last year.

Huang Songping, a spokesperson with the GAC, told a press briefing that the relatively fast trade growth was a result of a mild global economic recovery that has given rise to robust trading activities, as well as the sound development of the domestic economy, which has strengthened demand for imports.

Steady progress in the Belt and Road Initiative and stronger trading with emerging markets also supported the first-quarter growth, Huang said, as trade volume with Belt and Road countries jumped 12.9 percent in the three-month period, 3.5 percentage points faster than the overall increase.

Trade with countries along the Belt and Road reached 1.86 trillion yuan, accounting for 27.5 percent of China’s total foreign trade in the first quarter, according to Huang.

The European Union, the United States and ASEAN were the top three trading partners of China, which together accounted for 41.2 percent of foreign trade.

From January to March, trade between China and the United States rose 13 percent in dollar-denominated terms, with Chinese exports to the United States increased 14.8 percent and the China-US trade surplus standing at 58.25 billion dollars.

Chinese private enterprises played a bigger role in trade by contributing 38.3 percent to total trade, up 1.7 percentage points compared with the first quarter of 2017.

The country’s less developed regions, including central and western China, all outpaced the national average trade growth in the January-March period.

Huang said he sees rising pressure and challenges for the global economy and international trade in the second quarter stemming from global uncertainties and intensifying protectionism.

Fiercer competition in the global manufacturing sector will also pose challenges for China’s foreign trade, he said.

But Huang said he expects China’s foreign trade will maintain an upward trend as the country has pledged to take measures to further open up its market and expand imports.

$15.00 Per Hour For Flipping Burgers Isn’t The Issue: It Is About A Survivable Wage

$15.00 Per Hour For Flipping Burgers Isn’t The Issue: It Is About A Survivable Wage

 

Republicans and business owners do not want a $15.00 per hour minimum wage for people who do menial work. The comment that keeps resonating in my memories are those made by these folks who say the job simply isn’t worth that high of a wage and they are correct, it’s not. But the issue is not the question of if these same politicians are worth what they are being paid, by us. The question is being staged simply as value. Is the person flipping burgers worth paying $600.00 per week (15.00 x 40 hrs a week), probably not, but this issue isn’t about the employees value to the company, it is about your value as an employer to the employee. Simply put the workers are working there at your company everyday trying to make a living for themselves and their families. If I am working for you full-time yet I am not bringing home enough income to house and feed my family this is where the wealthiest should be ashamed of themselves. I don’t care what job it is in America, that job must pay a minimum wage that brings people ‘up to’ the poverty line. I have worked the two full-time jobs routine where I was working seven days a week and many times up over the 100 hour per week mark. This wasn’t because I was that interjected with energy, it was because they paid right at the minimum wage of the time (about $2.30 per hour) and I was trying to find a way to keep our very old single wide trailer heated and food on the table. That and keeping two (15-20) year old P.O.S. insured, tagged and gassed up. There would be less strain on the welfare system if there was an honest Federal  minimum wage. The term, the working poor when it is in regards to people working full-time jobs should never be included in the ranks of people who are below the federal poverty line. There, whatever that number is, that number should be the Minimum wage mark!

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