This Island in the Pacific that you Have Never Heard of is Vital to US Naval Power

Here’s What You Need to remember: In the event of a Pacific war, American bombers would have to carry out a high number of sorties against enemy missile and air defense outposts in the Western Pacific. In that conflict, Wake Island would be the last American outpost in the Pacific able to get bombers into the air and keep fighters alongside them fueled up and ready to go.

Wake Island is not particularly impressive. Made of coral, the atoll is a mere twelve feet or so above sea level at its lowest point. It is remote, too. It is twenty-three hundred miles or about thirty-seven hundred kilometers west of Honolulu, and about two thousand miles, or thirty-two hundred kilometers, southeast of Tokyo. Wake Island’s remote location is what makes the speck of rock so important to the United State’s presence in the Pacific Ocean region.

Wake Island was claimed by the United States in 1899, though European contact with the island had been made multiple times before then. The island remained mostly uninhabited, minus the occasional castaway or stranded ship’s crew until the late 1930s, when the United States placed a small Marine garrison on the coral outpost. During World War II, Wake Island was the scene of intense fighting between Marine elements defending the island against the Japanese, simultaneously with the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

Wake Island Now

Today, Wake Island remains one of the most remote islands in the world, protected by miles and miles of open ocean. The rocky outpost has been modified extensively since World War II and hosts a nearly ten-thousand-foot-long runway, which can accommodate all aircraft currently in United States service.

In the event of a war in the Pacific, American bases on remote outposts like Guam or Okinawa would likely have a very difficult time fending off hostile missile attacks, partly because of their proximity to Asia. Okinawa in particular is only around five hundred miles or so from the Chinese coast.

Even though both islands have missile defense systems—the Patriot surface-to-air missile system and Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system—both could be overwhelmed by a large enough missile salvo. Losses at islands nearer to Asia at the outset of a conflict could be immense and next to impossible to prevent. Wake Island however is harder to hit—and it might just be out of reach.

Another factor besides sheer distance that would keep Wake Island better protected is the United States’ Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GBMD), a missile intercept system. Whereas missile defense systems like THAAD or the Patriot missile defense system are shorter range and provide regional protection, the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense missile system has a much, much larger flight envelope.

The GBMD system is deployed in both Alaska and California and is specifically designed to counter longer-range missile threats against the entire United States and Canada. Wake Island is likely just inside the interceptor’s defense umbrella. 

Postscript

In the event of a Pacific war, American bombers would have to carry out a high number of sorties against enemy missile and air defense outposts in the Western Pacific. In that conflict, Wake Island would be the last American outpost in the Pacific able to get bombers into the air and keep fighters alongside them fueled up and ready to go. Bombs away!

Caleb Larson holds a Master of Public Policy degree from the Willy Brandt School of Public Policy. He lives in Berlin and writes on U.S. and Russian foreign and defense policy, German politics, and culture.

Image: Wikimedia Commons



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Seahawks sign Baylor basketball big man Mark Vital as tight end

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For the second time since training camp began, the Seattle Seahawks are giving a former college basketball player a shot at playing tight end.

The Seahawks signed Mark Vital, a four-year starter for the Baylor Bears’ basketball program, to their practice squad Thursday.

Vital was a key part of Baylor’s run to the national title last April. The 6-foot-5, 250-pounder averaged 5.6 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.1 steals per contest in 30 starts in his final collegiate season. He was a three-time Big 12 All-Defensive Team selection and made the All-Big 12 third team two years ago.

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After spending NBA Summer League with the Portland Trail Blazers and failing to make an NBA roster, Vital announced earlier this week that he would pursue an NFL career. He told a news station in his native Louisiana that he hasn’t played football since middle school.

“I was never going to leave basketball just to leave basketball. I had a plan, but I had to make sure that the plan was right,” Vital said. “I’m leaving basketball with things on the table. I had exhibit 10s, two-ways and overseas deals. For me to leave that, I actually had to have something in football.”

Meanwhile, the Seahawks continue to experiment with the concept of a basketball-to-football transition. On Aug. 6, they signed former Nebraska and Iowa State college basketball player Michael Jacobson to play tight end. They released the 6-9 Jacobson four days later.

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Seattle has three tight ends with NFL experience on its initial 53-man roster: Gerald Everett, Will Dissly and Colby Parkinson. But Parkinson has a broken foot and his status for Week 1 is unknown.

The Seahawks nearly had found a solution when they brought back Luke Willson, who played for the franchise for parts of seven seasons. But one day after signing a one-year contract, Willson changed his mind and retired from football, citing a “severe” pericardial effusion that he battled over the offseason.

Vital, who played guard for Baylor, follows in the footsteps of former Baylor forward Rico Gathers, who spent 2018 playing tight end for the Dallas Cowboys.

–Field Level Media



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Ilhan Omar asks Biden to pardon leaker Daniel Hale for shining ‘vital light’ on drone program

Rep. Ilhan Omar wrote President Biden on Thursday to request that he pardon Daniel Hale, an Air Force veteran serving a 45-month prison sentence for leaking secrets about the government’s drone program.

“I take extremely seriously the prohibition on leaking classified information, but I believe there are several aspects of Mr. Hale‘s case that merit a full pardon,” wrote Ms. Omar, Minnesota Democrat.

Hale, a former drone operator in his mid-30s, pleaded guilty in March to one count of violating the U.S. Espionage Act for having illegally retained and shared classified national defense information.

In her letter, Ms. Omar, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Hale‘s disclosures revealed details about U.S. drone operations abroad but did not place any individual person in danger.

“The information, while politically embarrassing to some, has shone a vital light on the legal and moral problems of the drone program and informed the public debate on an issue that has for too many years remained in the shadows,” Ms. Omar wrote Mr. Biden.

“The legal question of Mr. Hale‘s guilt is settled, but the moral question remains open,” she added. “I strongly believe that a full pardon, or at least a commutation of his sentence, is warranted.”

The White House did not immediately respond to a message requesting comment.

Hale served in the Air Force during the Obama administration from 2009 to 2013 prior to working for a U.S. defense contractor that allowed him to access the classified material he ultimately leaked.

“I contacted an investigative reporter, with whom I had had an established prior relationship, and told him that I had something the American people needed to know,” Hale said in a recent letter from jail.

Public court records do not identify anyone on the receiving end of the leaks, but Hale is understood to have disclosed the documents to a journalist and editor for The Intercept, an online publication.

“These documents revealed the truth about the U.S. government’s secretive, murderous drone war, including that the killing of civilians was far more widespread than previously acknowledged,” Betsy Reed, The Intercept’s editor-in-chief, said previously. “The Intercept will not comment on our sources. But whoever brought the documents in question to light undoubtedly served a noble public purpose.”

Hale faced multiple counts of violating the World War I-era Espionage Act before pleading guilty to the single charge. He was sentenced last month to nearly four years in prison. Prosecutors sought nine.

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“Vital” by Vector Is Just That – RedState

In a world gone quite mad, finding something to hang onto has become even more a matter of necessity than before. Over the ages humanity has clung to the arts, finding solace and inspiration for perseverance through music, painting, sculpture, dance, or other expressions of tapping into the divine nature reminding us we are not alone and this world is not all there is. Now, just in the nick of time, the much-loved yet little-known band Vector has made Vital, its first album in 26 years. And oh, was it worth the wait.

Vector was and is the brainchild of bassist/lead vocalist/main songwriter Steve Griffith and guitarist Jimmy Abegg. Originally rooted in Sacramento, California’s Warehouse Ministries, alongside fellow bands and artists such as The 77s and Charlie Peacock Vector pursued an artistic path of alt rock with Christian-based if not always overtly evangelistic lyrics. The band never achieved the public recognition, or same within Christian rock circles, of its compatriots. Still, it established a small loyal core of aficionados who since 1995’s Temptation have longed for Messrs. Griffith and Abegg to give it another go. Finally they have.

The new album leans heavily on Vector’s more straightforward rock tendencies and steers clear of the techno flavorings of its first few albums. The band is that rarity of having a sound familiar enough to be comfortable yet with more than sufficient innovation and edginess to be original.

The fortunate few music duets create a synergy lifting the end result to something far greater than either artist can accomplish individually. Griffith and Abegg have that quality in spades. The two blend together and feed off of one another in a seamless, exhilarating whole. Twenty-six years apart? Sounds more like 26 minutes, if that long.

Lyrically, Vital is a much more straightforward Christian album than one usually associates with Vector. This is accomplished without sloganeering or “Christianese” clichés. instead, Vector weaves its faith into its words organically. The lyrics flow with the melody, the melodies sitting atop powerful, tasteful riffs and rhythms.

In short, Vital belies the notion of older bands reuniting strictly for the paycheck when artistically they have long been a spent force. Setting aside the notion there is any money involved (this is classic Christian rock, after all), Vector has graced up with a superb effort laced with truth and unbridled enthusiastic rock’n’roll. It is albums like this that make the search for nuggets amid the morass of popular music worth the effort. The performance is impassioned and precise, the songs meaningful. Vital by Vector is everything one can want in a rock album and then some.

The album is available at the band’s record label’s site.



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Lab founder shows damage COVID jab’s spike protein inflicts on vital organs 

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – (LifeSiteNews) An independent lab founder and seasoned pathologist has graphically displayed the inflammatory damage to vital organs inflicted by the COVID jab-created spike protein.

During a one-year anniversary White Coat Summit on vaccines, Dr. Ryan Cole emphasized the finding that the spike protein created by injected mRNA spreads throughout the body, and itself causes disease – and he had the lab images to show it.

Cole presented these images, which showed post-COVID jab inflammation in organs such as the heart, lungs, and kidneys, as corroboration of lab studies in which injecting the spike protein “with no body of the virus” in animals “induced the same disease” that COVID-19 causes.

Cole supported the finding by other scientists that the spike protein doesn’t remain in the shoulder area, but “circulates in your blood” and “lands in multiple organs in the body,” where ACE2 receptors allow the spike protein to bind to organ tissue.

Cole kicked off his visual evidence of spike protein-induced damage with images displaying the spike protein’s effects on mitochondria, the “engine” of our cells. The microscopic image showed that post-COVID jab, one person’s mitochondria became abnormally disjointed and fragmented.

 

 

Cole went on to show that the image of lung tissue of a jabbed individual appeared dramatically different than normal, healthy lung tissue, with denser pigmentation that Cole said indicated inflammation.

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“That’s all inflammation,” said Cole. “Why?”

According to Cole, the spike protein bonded to the ACE2 receptors in the lung, provoking an inflammatory response in which the immune system “attack[s] your own body.”

Cole then pulled up a study demonstrating that the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 crosses the blood brain barrier in mice, backing it up with scans showing that the jab’s spike protein took a similar path.

“I kind of like my brain cells to be where they are and not be blown apart. So why in the world would we put a toxin into the human body that’s going to disrupt the blood vessels in your brain, allow the spike in there [to] cause inflammation,” said Cole.

“The brain fog you hear about in the COVID patients? Guess what, you hear about it in the post-vaccinated damaged individuals as well,” he continued.

Cole also displayed a post-COVID jab image that appeared to show the swelling of heart tissue. “See those blue arrows around the white? That’s inflammation in the heart. That’s not normal. That’s after a shot. That’s a spike protein landing there. That’s your immune system attacking your own tissues,” said Cole.

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“Once you have heart damage, the heart does not heal itself. So tell me you want to give a 12 year old, a 5 year old, a 13 year old, an 18 year old a shot. Let’s give a kid a toxin, ruin his heart for life. Stop and think about what we’re doing. We need to stop the insanity immediately.”

He proceeded to show pictures of inflammation in the kidneys, liver, and testes that occurred after injection with the mRNA jab, adding that a Japanese study showed that the lipid nanoparticle surrounding the mRNA concentrates in the ovaries.

During his talk, Cole underscored the glaring absence of medical literature on the COVID-19 jab effects, and pointed out that of at least 11,045 post-vaccination deaths in the U.S., the first investigational autopsy had only occurred a month prior to Cole’s talk.

“Where are the autopsies? Crickets. They’re not there,” said Cole. “One cannot find that for which they do not look.”

Noting that autopsies are costly, Cole asked why “billions” are being spent on advertising the COVID shot “to children who don’t need it,” but almost nothing is being invested in autopsies to investigate the safety of the COVID shots.

“When an unapproved new drug, therapy, vaccine is put onto the market, we need to use the French legal system. Guilty until proven innocent. So if there’s an adverse reaction, if there’s a death, it happened from that therapy, until you prove that it didn’t,” said Cole.

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Powerful nations of the world, including China, the UK, and Canada are discussing plans to require so-called ‘vaccine passports’ as a condition for travel, and possibly to restrict entry to shopping and entertainment venues.

Israel has already put in place a system to discriminate against those who choose not to take the COVID vaccine, and, in the United States, Joe Biden has signed a new executive order which could pave the way for the implementation of a ‘vaccine passport’ system. [See more below.]

This kind of medical dictatorship must be resisted, and therefore, we must act quickly before these authoritarian notions take root and spread!

Please SIGN and SHARE this urgent petition to SAY NO to government ‘vaccine passports.’ Tell your legislators to respect your freedom not to vaccinate without fear of repercussion.

People should not have to live in fear of government retribution for refusing a vaccine which is being rushed to market by Big Pharma and their fellow-travelers in NGOs, like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

It would be intolerable and immoral for the government to coerce someone, and their family, to take a COVID vaccine against their will just so they can do their weekly grocery shopping, go to a high school soccer game, travel on public transport, or visit their relatives who live in a different part of the country, or overseas.

Medical freedom must be respected in principle and also in practice.

So, it is now time that our policy-makers listen to all voices involved in this vital conversation, and start to represent those who will not tolerate being punished, restricted, or tracked for refusing an experimental vaccine.

Simply put, legislatures must begin to act as legislatures again.

Questions must be asked. Hearings and investigations must be held. And, the legislatures of each state and country must return to the business of representing the people who voted for them, assuming their rightful place as the originator of legislation.

We will no longer accept the dictates of executive branches without question. And, neither can we accept the dictates of some doctors who seem detached from reality and from science.

Please SIGN and SHARE this urgent petition which asks national political leaders (as well as state and provincial legislators in the U.S. and Canada) to pledge to respect the rights of those who refuse a COVID vaccine, and NOT introduce ‘vaccine passports,’ or any other system which would discriminate on the basis of taking the COVID vaccine.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

‘Biden executive order directs government to evaluate ‘feasibility’ of vaccine passports’ – https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/biden-executive-order-directs-government-to-evaluate-feasibility-of-vaccine-passports

‘China lobbies WHO to develop COVID vaccine passports for all nations’ – https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/china-lobbies-who-to-develop-covid-vaccine-passports-for-all-nations

‘UK advances plans for vaccine passports to travel, enter stores’ – https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/uk-advances-plans-for-vaccine-passports-to-travel-enter-stores

‘Canada’s health minister: Gov’t ‘working on the idea of vaccine passports’’ – https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/canadas-health-minister-govt-working-on-the-idea-of-vaccine-passports

‘European Commission president plans to introduce vaccine passports’ – https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/european-commission-president-plans-to-introduce-vaccine-passports

‘Israel’s ‘Green Passport’ vaccination program has created a ‘medical Apartheid,’ distraught citizens say’ – https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/israels-green-passport-vaccination-program-has-created-a-medical-apartheid-distraught-citizens-say

‘LA schools to track every kid using Microsoft’s ‘Daily Pass’ COVID app’ – https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/la-schools-to-track-every-kid-using-microsofts-daily-pass-covid-app

Cole also pointed out that experiments are showing that the COVID jabs “dysregulate your immune response,” citing a Netherlands study that Cole said shows that immune cells are being “paralyzed” after injection with the COVID jab.

Cole suggested that CD8 “killer T-cells” that “keep cancer in check” are among the immune cells being dysregulated.

“I have seen a 10 to 20 fold increase of uterine cancer in the last six months in my laboratory, and I keep data year to year in the last six months. When did we start the shots? January,” said Cole.

“What’s the real answer?” Cole continued. “We don’t know. And sometimes that’s the most honest answer in medicine, is we don’t know. A doctor that tells you he or she knows everything — don’t believe them. Find a new doctor.”

LifeSiteNews has produced an extensive COVID-19 vaccines resources page. View it here. 



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Liberal Outlet Runs COVID Scare Piece but Leaves Out 1 Vital Stat Every American Should Know

Axios, a sometimes reliable outlet that is also often a source for Democrats to spread their message of hopelessness and despair, reported Tuesday on rising hospitalizations of young people amid a reported surge in coronavirus cases.

The story contained all the right attribution from a reliable source: doctors from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

But Axios conspicuously left out a very important detail, which was in the source material. That detail is that while children are becoming sick, they are not dying from the coronavirus at an alarming rate. In fact, doctors continue to share grave concerns about their mental wellbeing as the world is still going berserk.

“More kids are landing in the hospital due to COVID and it’s not yet clear if it’s because the Delta variant is causing more serious illness in kids,” Axios reported.

“Why it matters: Hospitals are raising concerns about the increasing impact of COVID on kids at the same time schools around the country are preparing to head back for in-person instruction — many without the protection of vaccination or mask mandates,” the report said.

Trending:

Gov. Newsom Snaps, Goes Off During Interview: ‘Everybody Outside This State Is B****ing About This State’

Indeed, the AAP reported 94,000 cases of COVID among children within the last week in its “Children and COVID-19” report. In fact, children made up roughly 15 percent of total cases.

According to the report, between 1.5 percent and 3.5 percent of those currently hospitalized with COVID are kids.

“As of August 5, nearly 4.3 million children have tested positive for COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic. Almost 94,000 cases were added the past week, a continuing substantial increase,” the AAP reported. “After declining in early summer, child cases have steadily increased since the beginning of July.”

Axios shared the data from the AAP and also included some additional sources. The outlet noted that a rare condition in children associated with the coronavirus called multisystem inflammatory syndrome tends to flare up during case outbreaks. Right now, we’re in an outbreak.

“Experts say the concerning rise makes the case for both masks and vaccinations for kids in the Delta era,” Axios said.

The news certainly sounds super scary, and that is clearly the gist of why Axios shared the data from the AAP.

Nobody wants to see anyone hospitalized, especially children.

But was the news all bad? Not when you independently look at the same source that Axios used.

Axios left out that the AAP used information provided by dozens of states that cumulatively reported a very low death rate, while some states reported no deaths at all among kids.

“Among states reporting, children were 0.00%-0.26% of all COVID-19 deaths, and 7 states reported zero child deaths,” the report said. “In states reporting, 0.00%-0.03% of all child COVID-19 cases resulted in death.”

Related:

Homeless Take Over Elementary School: Parents Terrified After Death Threats, People Robbed at Gunpoint

One death among children is too many. But the AAP noted that since last March, roughly 4.3 million children have tested positive for the coronavirus — and yet some states have recorded no deaths among kids, while other states reported very few.

We know the coronavirus tends to challenge the elderly and those with existing health conditions. But the mortality rate is low enough for children that the AAP specifically mentioned the pandemic’s effect on their mental and emotional health prior to releasing mortality statistics in the report.

“At this time, it appears that severe illness due to COVID-19 is uncommon among children. However, there is an urgent need to collect more data on longer-term impacts of the pandemic on children, including ways the virus may harm the long-term physical health of infected children, as well as its emotional and mental health effects,” the report said.

Are you alarmed about the impact of COVID on children?

We need to protect vulnerable people from becoming sick, especially children. Axios rightly reported that kids are becoming ill during the current wave of reported cases.

But what the AAP reported was not gloomy. It was hopeful.

Despite a rise in coronavirus cases among children, almost all of them are surviving.

That part might be inconvenient for the establishment media, which is only interested in running COVID pieces designed to terrify people into embracing further restrictions. But it’s remarkable news for which we should all be thankful.

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children, Coronavirus, death, establishment media, health, liberal media, masks, media watch, medical, medicine, politics, US news



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Arizona Audit: Analysis Continues Despite Maricopa Officials’ Refusal to Submit Vital Information

Maricopa County ballots cast in the 2020 general election are examined and recounted by contractors at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix /AP Images

As previously reported by The New American, preliminary findings of the Republican-led Maricopa County audit in Phoenix, Arizona, were released during a state Senate hearing on July 15, when auditors testified to widespread irregularities found in roughly 2.1 million ballots cast in the state’s largest county during the November 2020 presidential election.

During the nearly two-hour, live-streamed hearing, Ken Bennett, former Arizona secretary of state and Senate liaison for the audit; cybersecurity expert and CyFIR founder Ben Cotton; and Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan briefed Arizona Senate President Karen Fann and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Warren Petersen on the progress of the full forensic audit so far.

According to the auditors, the review revealed significant discrepancies in ballot batch counts; the mismanagement of ballot storage, including cut seals over ballot batches intended to ensure the validity of the batch; hundreds of mail-in ballots missing a chain of custody; images of envelopes with unverifiable signatures; more than 10,000 voters registered after Election Day; and a staggering 74,000 mail-in ballots with “no evidence of ever being sent.”  

Yet on Tuesday, Fann released a statement that it was “irresponsible to disclose partial information to the media since they are not ‘confirmed’ facts until the audit is final. This only leads to confusion and misinformation with the public.” Continued Fann, “for that reason, it is imperative anyone working with the audit is required to adhere to the rules of not disclosing unconfirmed information.”

Bennett admitted earlier in the week that he had “shared some box counts of how many ballots were in each box, and that was leaked to the press and I apologized to Senate President Fann. I had promised that information would not be leaked to the press, but it indirectly was done, so that’s how I was barred from the audit.”

The audit from which Bennett is allegedly barred is a third recount of ballots, conducted by the Arizona Senate, a process Republicans in the state legislature hope is the final measure of quality assurance to restore Arizonans’ trust in the electoral process.

“Our attorney suggested the Senate perform an independent counting of each ballot paper prior to the ballots being returned,” stated Fann in a press release. “This has been accomplished under the direction and authority of the Senate by Randy Pullen, who is a retired auditor with a nationally renowned auditing firm.”

Asked for comment about Bennett’s role in the audit going forward, Fann clarified that “Bennett will be involved and a vital part of the draft and final reports to ensure their accuracy with his knowledge and contributions throughout the audit process.” 

Determined Not to Cooperate

Meanwhile, Maricopa County Election officials continue to refuse vital information to the auditors, including the release of election routers used by the county on November 3, 2020.

Fann said the county’s unwillingness to cooperate has “created additional costs, months of delays and a lack of transparency on their [the county’s] part.”

“Instead of working with the Senate, our constituents, and the auditors,” she explained, “Maricopa County has engaged in a social media campaign to try to control the narrative, instead of providing the whole truth, facts and items required to be produced by the legal subpoenas.”

Released at the July 15 hearing were findings of the full-hand recount of ballots cast in the county, the paper evaluation, and voter data analysis — the forensic aspect of the audit is still underway.

The results seemed to indicate Arizona could be the first state in the Union to decertify its 2020 presidential election results, yet no definitive answer exists as to what decertification means, as no constitutional rule is in place to address a recall of state electors who have cast their ballots in a presidential election.

Is Decertification Coming?

Arizona Representative Mark Finchem, a Republican, told The New American that “Senate President Fann is right in that the Senate cannot act unilaterally to decertify the results, but it can act in concert with the House. It has to be the entire legislature.”

“Under the 10th Amendment,” added Finchem, “as long as the House and Senate work together — and the way this is all being presented is looking very much like a joint resolution coming from both House and Senate — as long as we come together as one body and a resolution is passed, it’s resolved. It [decertification] doesn’t call for an action by the governor or the secretary of state.”

The 10th Amendment states that “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” And Finchem explained how the Framers were wise enough to know they needed to put limits on the powers of government, so they put enumerated powers in place.

“But just because there is no rule [for decertification] in place, doesn’t mean the states cannot use their unenumerated powers to decertify or reclaim electors.”

Biden prevailed in the state of Arizona by a mere 10,457 votes over Trump, yet the number of ballots in question today vastly outweighs the number needed to declare Biden president.  

In her closing statement, Fann reminded Americans that “with the completion of the ‘hands on’ work this week, the auditors will now be doing the analysis of all the data collected to submit the results. We sincerely hope Maricopa County will produce the missing documents and information we have requested for the audit to be complete and finalized. The voters deserve to know their votes are safe, secure and legally counted.”





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Countering China: States, Nonprofit & Private Sectors Play Vital Role

(nantonov/Getty Images)

The states, and America’s nonprofit and private sectors, must play a role, too.

As the Biden administration begins to shape its China policy, from supporting Taiwan against Chinese provocations to strengthening export controls on entities aligned with the People’s Liberation Army, it is increasingly clear that it is following in its predecessor’s footsteps. Other key players in this conversation, however, are still formulating their respective approaches. Those actors are U.S. states, and they have a significant role to play in the unfolding great-power competition between China and the United States.

Take Chinese investment in state pension funds. At the federal level, the Trump administration spoke candidly of the risk posed by investing federal employees’ pensions in China through the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). Such investment “would expose the retirement funds to significant and unnecessary economic risk, and it would channel federal employees’ money to companies that present significant national security and humanitarian concerns,” wrote then-national-security-adviser Robert O’Brien and then-National Economic Council–director Larry Kudlow in May 2020.

Many U.S. states are reckoning with similar concerns posed by their own pension funds’ investments in America’s principal geopolitical rival. The California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) and the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System were long invested in Hikvision, the now-blacklisted company notable for making surveillance devices for China’s network of concentration camps in Xinjiang. The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), too, has been repeatedly questioned about its connections to Chinese-government entities.

But these egregious examples hide the more mundane challenge facing most U.S. states: investing pension funds in China, even if it doesn’t directly subsidize Chinese human-rights abuses or further Beijing’s military ambitions, places undue risk on already-burdened state pension systems. The opacity of Chinese corporate governance, combined with China’s official policy of refusing to comply with the oversight standards of bodies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), makes such investments inherently risky.

What’s more, investing state pension funds in Chinese companies exposes states to China’s political whims and its proclivity for economic blackmail, with billions of dollars in assets hostage to Beijing’s approval of any aspect of a state’s approach to China. (If this sounds hyperbolic, go ask Australian wine producers, Norwegian salmon fishermen, and Taiwanese pineapple growers whether China plays politics with economic decisions.)

There are many other elements of China policy that U.S. states must tackle independent of the federal government in the years ahead. While national security-sensitive investments will trigger review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS), states should begin to develop their own approaches to courting Chinese investment in light of the current era of great-power competition. Every state official must balance the potential, short-term economic gain of Chinese investment with the longer-term threat posed by persistent and pervasive intellectual-property theft and the dangers inherent in greater economic integration with Beijing.

This holds true as well for state colleges and universities, which have relied heavily on Chinese students and opened satellite programs in China in recent years. Washington may set immigration policy, but state universities have an obligation to think critically about their admissions policies and international relationships. It does not advance any state’s interests to have Chinese researchers obtaining sensitive intellectual property from its universities’ laboratories, or Confucius Institutes acting as a hub for the Chinese Communist Party to monitor Chinese students on American campuses.

Some governors and state legislatures are acting swiftly to address the multidimensional challenge posed by China at the state and municipal level. Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida legislature have banned Confucius Institutes on state campuses, and taken proactive action against intellectual-property theft by increasing penalties for such crimes. More states can and should follow suit, and indeed, some have already begun to do so; a number of states are now considering establishing bipartisan commissions to study the China question and recommend new approaches to their governors and legislatures.

If the United States is to compete successfully with China in the decades to come, it cannot be via an effort directed solely from Washington. State, municipal, and tribal governments, along with America’s private and nonprofit sectors, must take actions of their own to meet the challenges posed by Beijing, too. It is only by harnessing the full power of our federalist system that we will succeed in the competition to come.

Alexander B. Gray is a senior fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council. He served as the deputy assistant to the president and the chief of staff of the White House National Security Council (NSC) from 2019 to 2021.





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Not Everything on Earth is a Vital Interest for America

Washington policymakers spend much of their time on the frivolous. Especially when it comes to foreign policy.

American officials and diplomats constantly circle the globe issuing statements, making demands, proposing initiatives, and otherwise bothering people to little effect. Most of these efforts are harmless, and often provide a politically advantageous image of international activity and influence for home consumption.

More malign, however, are forceful interventions in other countries. In some cases Washington spends years, even decades, attempting to impoverish and starve other peoples, as in Cuba, into submission. The U.S. also engages in endless wars, as so often in the Middle East.

The human and resource costs of such actions are high, often tragically so. Yet the resulting benefits often are impossible to discern. For instance, some 58,000 Americans died in Vietnam, supposedly to prevent communist hordes from conquering Southeast Asia. Less than two decades after the humiliating U.S. withdrawal, the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact were gone, Maoism had disappeared from China, Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge had been ousted, Vietnam’s communist regime had battled China’s communist regime, and Hanoi was moving toward rapprochement with America.

Even more mysterious is the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, now finally set to end after two decades of war. The initial intervention had a serious purpose—destroy Al Qaeda and punish the Taliban. That was achieved within months, if not weeks. Then Washington spent the succeeding years attempting to impose Western-style democracy on Afghanistan, which always had been ruled tribally at the village and valley level. Thousands of lives and trillions of dollars later, Americans are finally going home.

For years both commitments were presented as somehow “vital,” warranting endless wars thousands of miles from home. An equally endless number of op-eds were written, television interviews taped, and arguments advanced warning of disaster and tragedy if Americans did not battle on forever, if necessary. Similar claims, though of even less credibility, are being advanced on behalf of U.S. deployments in Iraq and Syria. In these cases a few thousand or even hundred American military personnel supposedly are all that stand between utopia and the abyss.

New candidates for the next “vital interest” are constantly offered. There probably is no spot on earth that some analyst, journalist, or official has not at one point or another insisted was vital for American security. Imagine the dire threat if China dominated, say, Fiji! Washington’s Pacific presence would be at risk, Hawaii would be on the precipice, and San Diego would be under threat! Thus, it would be time to sign a “mutual defense treaty” with Fiji, establish an American base, deploy troops, and make clear that the island nation was part of the sacred U.S. defense perimeter. Let Beijing be warned! And so it goes.

At least Fiji is merely a possibility. Last week the Hudson Institute’s Walter Mead used his Wall Street Journal column to make the case for Americans doing something about the Caucasus. He observed:

The Caucasus is one of those complicated faraway but strategically vital regions that Americans often overlook. It’s the only exit oil and gas can take from Central Asia to the West without passing through Russian or Iranian territory. Since the former Soviet republics of the southern Caucasus declared their independence in 1990, there have been numerous conflicts in Georgia, two in Russia’s restive Chechen region, and two between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, which is largely populated by ethnic Armenians but internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan.

Vital it might be, but precisely to whom? The U.S. has interests everywhere, but that doesn’t mean they are important, let alone vital. And the fact that Washington has some interests everywhere doesn’t mean it must assert or even protect them all.

Such is the Caucasus. Mead plays up the region’s significance:

Caucasian conflicts can have an outsize impact on world order. In 1999 the second Chechen war helped Vladimir Putin assume firm control of the Russian Federation. His 2008 invasion of Georgia marked the beginning of a Russian challenge to the post-Cold War international order. The recent Nagorno-Karabakh war, in which Azerbaijani forces equipped with Turkish and Israeli drones imposed a stinging setback on Armenia’s Russian-supplied army, also marks a shift in world politics as high-tech drone warfare becomes a factor in small-power conflicts.

That is all true, but strikingly irrelevant to America. Chechnya, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan were all part of the Russian Empire and Soviet Union, and as such received minimal attention from Washington. Chechnya remains part of Russia today. The other three have been free only the last three decades, and their travails have had minimal impact on America. If they pose a danger to the U.S., it is by threatening to suck America into their wars.

Indeed, Mead’s description indicates their much greater importance to other nations. In this case geography is king, followed by history. Chechnya was a brutal conflict within Russia which spun off terrorist attacks elsewhere in the latter, including in Moscow. The Armenia-Azerbaijan battle was hot as the Soviet Union collapsed; the former’s Nagorno-Karabakh grab was unsustainable and set off round two last fall. And that fight drew in Russia, Turkey, and Israel.

What should Washington do in such a geopolitical imbroglio? Mead argued that “the problem for U.S. political types engaged in Caucasus policy is that American values and American interests can pull Washington in different directions.” That is true, in the sense that Armenia is more democratic and enjoys much greater domestic political support, especially from the active Armenian diaspora. In contrast, Azerbaijan is the more significant nation geopolitically—with a larger population, bigger economy, greater energy resources, and broader international ties. But neither matters much to the United States.

The multiplicity of interests abroad and divergence in backing at home argue for maintaining civil formal relations with both nations, while encouraging commercial relationships as well as other private contacts. There is no reason to make either one a formal ally. Washington has no meaningful program for the Caucasus.

Mead hopes “the Biden administration can build on this success to make the Caucasus more peaceful and less vulnerable to Russia.” However, look at the map. Armenia is closer to Russia. Armenia matters more to Russia. And Armenia can expect military support from Russia. Absent a foolish, no, looney decision to intervene militarily, what could Washington offer Yerevan to displace Moscow?

And what would the U.S. conceivably gain from such a role? It is a bit like suggesting that Russia send troops to help bring peace to Central America. The great power nearby would be understandably suspicious of and hostile to an act not likely to yield any tangible benefits for Moscow. Remember Ronald Reagan and his response to Soviet-backed Nicaragua.

Washington is more likely to gain long-term success if it eschews direct competition with Russia and uses its outside status to encourage dialogue and diplomacy within the region. America will be better off if the relationships are friendly, but won’t suffer much if they are not. One advantage of being a superpower is that not much that goes on in the world is particularly important. Interesting, tragic, annoying, irritating, unpleasant, bothersome, insulting, unfortunate, and much more. But not important, let alone vital.

Such also is the case of Afghanistan. The U.S. first got involved there to bleed the Red Army, not because the country had much intrinsic importance. Unfortunately, Washington channeled assistance through the Islamist Zia government in Pakistan. The latter bolstered radical forces, including Al Qaeda, which eventually brought America back in.

Washington did what it had to two decades ago and now can leave. Central Asia is about as far from the U.S. as possible. The world is full of other ungoverned and badly governed spaces, which cannot all be occupied by America. Better that surrounding powers, most notably China, Russia, India, Iran, and Pakistan, act on their interests in Afghanistan, which are far stronger than those of the U.S. Let them enjoy playing hegemon for a day. Washington should attempt to maintain positive relations with Afghanistan and its neighbors, but has no reason to remain militarily involved.

American policymakers tend to respond to events by asking what the U.S. should do. Instead, the right question is should America do anything? Since few of America’s overseas interests are important let alone vital, the right answer most often is no, at least not much of anything beyond diplomacy. Like in the Caucasus. That region undoubtedly is vital to someone, just not to the United States.

Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. A former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is the author of several books, including Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire.





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