Wednesday, January 2, 2013

President Flim Flam Wins as Republicans Roll Over!

Our elected officials resolved the so called "fiscal cliff" in typical "Peril of Pauline Fashion" by kicking the can down the road only to face a more pernicious problem 2 months from now - "The Debt Ceiling Canyon."

This is the efficient way a democratic process and government works.  More drama than the free market, more reality avoidance than the free market and a far more costly solution than the free market.  This is what Obama wants - expanded government, a government big enough to crush the life out of the free market, one stifling enough to re-distribute wealth according to his dictates and desires.

This is the approach all failed nations have taken.  Happy New Year.

A Paradox of U.S. Middle East Policy: 

 America once had a somewhat cohesive foreign policy.  (See 1 below.)

A Canadian view of America.  (See 2 below.)
Remember me?  (See 3 below.)
A dear friend and fellow memo reader's take on Obama: "I am reading In the Garden of the Beasts this afternoon.  I studied German history, lived in Berlin and have read these stories countless times.  I have even read diaries of the period.  But it never ceases to amaze me how much people were willing to rationalize what they saw with their own eyes, or what they heard, with some philosophy that could justify what was going on -- not American citizens, democracies are entitled to make mistakes, these actions are actions of a few misguided persons, or my favorite one, this can't go on.  And those who pointed out what was going on were called the "extremists." 

Reading this book against the backdrop of Obama and his cohorts is chilling.  I have heard from his SA thugs in the streets in Philadelphia, Chicago, and Dade County, I see his attempts to undermine the Constitution, and the political justifications for it printed in the paper of record.  I see the bills being passed without being read, the attempts to divide one group against another, and the attempt to put the government over all free market endeavors and yes, even religious beliefs. ."

What I found so amazing is the destructive GW  tax cut that President 'Flim Flam' railed against  is now the biggest destructive tax increase if Republicans do not go along with the Senate Bill.

Obama is being allowed to have it both ways because the press and media are in his pocket and he thinks, because he was re-elected, he has a mandate to do whatever the hell he can get away with.

Will Republicans never learn, will Republicans ever develop testicular fortitude in keeping with their philosophy? 
China moves forward while Obama's America shrinks.  (See 4 below.)

1)The Friend Who Acts like an Enemy is an Enemy

Here’s the issue: a number of supposed allies of the United States don’t act as friends. In fact, they are major headaches, often subverting U.S. goals and interests. But to avoid conflict and, for Obama, to look successful to the domestic audience, Washington pretends that everything is fine.

Consider, for example, Pakistan. The United States has given billions of dollars to that country in exchange for supposedly helping keeping the lid on Afghanistan—and especially to ensure the Taliban does not return to power—and to fight terrorism, especially al-Qaida.

In reality, Pakistan supports the Taliban, wages a terrorist war on India, and hasn’t been all that helpful in fighting al-Qaida. It would be interesting to see the U.S. intelligence document evaluating how high up in Pakistan’s government was their knowledge that Usama bin Ladin was “hiding out” a few blocks from a Pakistani military complex. The fact that Pakistan threw into prison a local doctor whose work helped find bin Ladin indicates which side that regime is on.

Moreover, Pakistan’s regime is ferociously oppressing the Christian minority, becoming more Islamist, and giving women the usual treatment existing in such societies. Obama claims to be protecting women and religious minorities yet lifts not a finger in Pakistan. And rather than be a force against terrorism, the Pakistani government has been sponsoring a terrorist war against India.

After the horrible massacre of civilians in Mumbai, it became clear that the attack was sponsored and planned by Pakistan using terrorists trained and enjoying safe haven in Pakistan. India was left helpless as Pakistan simply refused to cooperate with the investigation or to turn over terrorists from the group responsible. In short, the United States is massively subsidizing a major sponsor of international terrorism.

Yet for the U.S. government to admit that the Pakistani government is more enemy than friend would make it even more uncooperative and might lead to attacks on the U.S. embassy and diplomats. Pretending that a regime like Pakistan’s is helpful–and continuing to fork over U.S. taxpayer money to it–is a huge temptation. Only if the regime in question does something obviously horrible, and even the bin Ladin case wasn’t sufficient to sour the White House on Pakistan, will the situation change.

Of course, some measures have been taken but basically Pakistan isn’t paying for its behavior. Consequently, it will continue acting in a hostile way, subsidized by the United States to do so.

The scope of this problem becomes clearly visible if you add to this list such places as Egypt, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the Palestinian Authority, Turkey, Venezuela, Bolivia, and several other countries being in a similar situation.
Take Egypt for example. The country is now governed by a radical, anti-American, antisemitic government dedicated to spreading jihad, imposing Sharia law, and driving U.S. influence from the region. It could be argued that a mix of carrots and sticks from the United States would moderate the regime’s behavior. But what if that doesn’t work? The temptation is to continue with the carrots and forget about the sticks.

Obama says that the “red lines” are that the Cairo regime must adhere to the peace treaty with Israel; treat women and religious minorities (that is, Christians) well; and help fight terrorism. But what if it doesn’t? Suppose the Salafist burn down churches and massacre Christians and the government does not protect the minority? Suppose a Sharia regime reduces women’s rights to a minimum? Suppose Egypt declares itself no longer bound by the peace treaty with Israel or pretty openly arms Hamas in the Gaza Strip for an attack on Israel?

Will Obama be prepared for a conflict, even a confrontation, with the Arabic-speaking world’s largest country? Would even a President Mitt Romney do so?
In other words, the argument would be made that it is better to keep giving money, selling weapons, and shutting up about criticism than to make a break. Moreover, the president who did so could be accused of getting the United States into an unnecessary battle and making more enemies. To some extent, that’s what happened with President George W. Bush.

The possible difference between the two current candidates could end up looking like this:

Obama version: Although you act as enemies we will believe you are friends.
Romney version: We know you aren’t really friends but we don’t have a choice.
In practice, the difference would be that Romney would have a lower threshold for acting against betrayal than would Obama.

Of course, a large part of the problem with Obama’s policy is that he not only treated enemies as friends and did not pressure supposed friends that acted like enemies, he joined them. Thus, Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia are arming anti-American Islamist forces in Syria with U.S. intelligence officers supervising the weapons’ supplying. The only restriction is that the guns don’t go to groups affiliated with al-Qaida. Otherwise, it doesn’t matter how extremist they are. In Libya, one of the groups—treated as “good guys”– supplied with guns by the United States during the civil war there went on to kill the U.S. ambassador.
Yet given the current situation, especially in the Middle East, a realistic policy would make the enemies’ list seem too long and discouraging. In political and diplomatic terms that means the truth will be covered up. The important question is: How far does a country have to go, how futile and even counterproductive do the pay-offs have to be, before it is no longer treated as a friend.


1) Only in America could the rich people - who pay 86% of all income taxes - be accused of not paying their "fair share" by people who don't pay any income taxes at all.

2) Only in America could people claim that the government still discriminates against black Americans when they have a black President, a black Attorney General, and roughly 18% of the federal workforce is black while only 12% of the population is black

3) Only in America could they have had the two people most responsible for our tax code, Timothy Geithner, the head of the Treasury Department and Charles Rangel who once ran the Ways and Means Committee, BOTH turn out to be tax cheats who are in favor of higher taxes.

4) Only in America can they have terrorists kill people in the name of Allah and have the media primarily react by fretting that Muslims might be harmed by the backlash.

5) Only in America would they make people who want to legally become American citizens wait for years in their home countries and pay tens of thousands of dollars for the privilege while we discuss letting anyone who sneaks into the country illegally just 'magically' become American citizens.

6) Only in America could the people who believe in balancing the budget and sticking by the country's Constitution be thought of as "extremists."

7) Only in America could you need to present a driver's license to cash a check or buy alcohol, but not to vote.

8) Only in America could people demand the government investigate whether oil companies are gouging the public because the price of gas went up when the return on equity invested in a major U.S. oil company (Marathon Oil) is less than half of a company making tennis shoes (Nike).

9) Only in America could the government collect more tax dollars from the people than any nation in recorded history, still spend a Trillion dollars more than it has per year - for total spending of $7-Million PER MINUTE, and complain that it doesn't have nearly enough money.

10) Only in America could politicians talk about the greed of the rich at a $35,000.00 a plate campaign fund-raising event.

11) Only in America can a man with no background, no qualifications and no experience ... and a complete failure at his job ... be reelected.
3)What Do Abbas's Latest Threats Really Mean?

Why doesn't Abbas consider the possibility of handing the "keys" to another Palestinian? Abbas apparently believes that if he cannot lead the Palestinian Authority no one else should — that if he comes down, then the entire Palestinian Authority should also collapse. A changing of the guard is something that the US and the EU, the major funders of Abbas and his associates, could play a major role in bringing about.

Mahmoud Abbas has once again threatened to dismantle the Palestinian Authority which he heads in the West Bank.

This time he chose to make his new old threat in an interview with the daily Haaretz.
"If there is no progress [in the peace process] even after the election I will take the phone and call [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu," Abbas said. "I'll tell him…Sit in the chair here instead of me, take the keys, and you will be responsible for the Palestinian Authority."

Abbas's threat was made shortly after he met in his Ramallah office with Meretz chairwoman Zehava Gal-On ahead of the January 22 election in Israel.

The threat to disband the Palestinian Authority should be seen as yet another attempt attempt on the part of Abbas to influence Israeli voters.

Abbas is trying to scare Israeli voters by warning them that the re-election of Netanyahu would be a disaster for the "peace process" and would result in anarchy and chaos in the West Bank after the Palestinian Authority is dismantled.

In private, Abbas and his top aides have been talking about the need to strengthen the left-wing in Israel. They were hoping that former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert would run in the election at the head of a left-wing block that would remove Netanyahu from power.
But since Olmert has decided not to run in the upcoming election, Palestinian leaders in the West Bank have resorted to a new tactic to convince voters not to vote for Netanyahu and other right-wing parties.

This tactic is based on sowing fear and panic among Israelis of what could happen if they voted for Netanyahu once again.

By threatening to disband the Palestinian Authority, Abbas is hinting at the possibility that Israel may again find itself responsible for the day-to-day affairs of the Palestinians in the West Bank.

He is telling Israelis that a vote for Netanyahu would mean a return to the pre-Oslo era, when the Israel Defense Forces were fully responsible for the Palestinian education and health systems.

At the same time, Abbas is trying to persuade the Israeli public that he remains committed to the "peace process" and that he is the only Palestinian leader who is willing to make concessions for the sake of peace.

But this is the same Abbas who for the past four years had set pre-conditions for resuming the peace talks with Israel and violated the Oslo Accords by unilaterally asking the UN General Assembly to upgrade the Palestinians' status, which it did, to a non-member observer state.

In yet another (unsuccessful) attempt to impact Israeli voters, Abbas recently gave an interview to Israel's Channel 2 TV station, where he signaled his readiness to relinquish the "right of return" of Palestinians to their former homes inside Israel.

Within hours, however, Palestinian media outlets quoted Abbas and several of his advisors as denying that he had offered to relinquish the "sacred right of return."

What Abbas is not telling the Israeli public is that he simply does not have a mandate from his people to make any form of concessions to Israel.

Abbas himself seems to have forgotten that his term in office expired in January 2009. He is also ignoring recent public opinion polls showing a rise in Hamas's power and popularity among Palestinians.

This is not the first time that the Palestinian Authority leadership tries to influence Israeli voters.

In the past, Abbas's predecessor, Yasser Arafat, used to appear in Israeli media outlets on the eve of Israeli elections to talk about his deep commitment to peace and how he was doing his utmost to prevent Hamas and other terrorist groups from carrying out attacks against Israel. Some left-wing Israeli journalists who were close to Arafat spared no effort to help him in his effort to market himself to the Israeli public as a true peace partner.

Back to Abbas's threats, which so far do not appear to have impressed either Israelis or Palestinians. The Israeli public has long lost faith in Abbas and the "peace process," and is no longer taking any of his threats seriously.

As for the Palestinians, many wondered this week why Abbas was talking about handing the "keys" of the Palestinian Authority to the Israeli prime minister.

Wouldn't it be better, these Palestinians asked, if Abbas gave the "keys" back to his people and stepped down? Isn't there one Palestinian who could replace Abbas?

Why doesn't Abbas consider the possibility of handing the "keys" to another Palestinian? The answer is clear: Abbas apparently believes that if he cannot lead the 
Palestinians, no one else should -- that if he comes down, then the entire Palestinian Authority should also collapse.

Disbanding the Palestinian Authority will harm Palestinians in the West Bank more than it will affect Israel. The first to pay the price of such a move will be the 150,000 employees of the Palestinian Authority and their families.
This would also prove to be a dangerous step since it would facilitate a Hamas takeover of the West Bank.

The Palestinian Authority needs to stay, but its veteran leaders need to pave the way for new faces.

A changing of the guard in the Palestinian Authority is something that the US and EU, the major funders of Abbas and his associates, could play a major role in bringing about.

Eight ways China's military is catching up to the United States.


Although the Pentagon has routinely dismissed some of China's very publicly touted military advances as being decades behind the United States, they are still significant. Just because someone gets a new piece of tech later than you doesn't mean that you will always be better at using it than they are. So, we thought we'd bring you a list of the eight most noteworthy military enhancements that China is making by buying, stealing, and innovating: 
Wikimedia Commons 

Stealth jets
First up are China's J-20 and J-31 stealthy-looking fighters. We call them "stealthy looking" because until more information is made public, we won't know how well the jets mask their heat signatures, noise, and electronic emissions -- all critical elements of modern stealth that go beyond radar-evading shapes and radar-absorbent coatings. Nevertheless, China has developed two jets that appear stealthy. 
Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group's large J-20 made its first flight in early 2011 and is thought to be either a high-speed interceptor, designed to fly out and shoot down incoming enemy bombers (similar to the famous MiG-25 Foxbat), or a stealthy bomber along the lines of the U.S. F-111 Aardvark or the more recent F-15E Strike Eagle, meant to penetrate enemy defenses and bomb bases and ships. One has to notice the similarities between the cockpit and nose section of the J-20 and the U.S. Air Force's F-22 Raptor. 
Less than two years after the J-20 appeared, Shenyang Aviation Corporation unveiled China's second stealthy fighter, the J-31. This jet is smaller than the J-20, and its fuselage bears a striking resemblance to the U.S.'s F-22 and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. (It has been widely reported that the computers of numerous defense contractors working on the F-35 program were hacked and information on the jet was stolen.) Some speculate that the J-31 will be used as a complement to the J-20 -- similar to the role that F-16 Vipers play for F-15 Eagles or F-35s play for the F-22s. Others point to the twin wheels on the J-31's nose landing gear as sign that it is being developed as a carrier-based fighter. (Land-based fighters usually have just one wheel on their nose gear while naval fighters have two because of the increased strain of landing on ships.)
Chinese Internet/China Defense Blog

Aircraft carriers
Speaking of aircraft carriers...after decades of buying old British and Russian Cold War-era aircraft carriers and turning them into museums and theme hotels, China converted the hull of the incomplete 1980s vintage Soviet aircraft carrier Varyaginto its first operational carrier: the Liaoning. Chinese investors purchased the ex-Varyagfrom Ukraine in 1998, claiming they would turn it into a casino. That obviously didn't happen, and China spent much of the last decade completely modernizing the old hulk, installing new engines, electronic warfare gear, radars, defensive weapons, and modernized interior spaces (right down to the galleys). She took to sea for the first time in August 2011 and was commissioned into Chinese naval service in September 2012. The first carrier landings and takeoffs by Chinese fighters occurred in late November. 
Interestingly, China's first carrier fighter, the J-15, is a knockoff of another Soviet/Russian design, the Sukhoi Su-33. China may have purchased a partially completed Su-33 from Ukraine in 2001, after Russia refused to sell it the aircraft because China was reverse-engineering the very similar Sukhoi Su-27s that Russia was selling to China. (Got that?) While many are quick to point out that China is conducting its first carrier ops more than a century after Eugene Ely landed on the deck of the USS Pennsylvania, it's worth noting that China plans to have at least three carriers by the middle of this decade. Still, the learning curve is extremely steep for carrier ops. As we've said before, it took the U.S. Navy decades to master the art of landing jets on ships. 
Chinese Internet 

Next up is China's very own spaceplane, the Shenlong or "Divine Dragon," which first flew in January 2011 (roughly the same time the J-20 took its maiden flight). While there's been plenty of speculation about the mission of the U.S. Air Force's super secret X-37B robot space shuttle, the United States isn't alone in having a reusable spaceplane. What interests some China watchers most about the Divine Dragon is the fact that China flew such a craft less than a year after the United States did. (Granted, the United States could have done so much earlier, given its decades of experience with the Space Shuttle, which could easily have been flown as a large, unmanned spaceplane.) Speculation surrounds both the U.S. and Chinese spaceplane programs, with observers suggesting the vehicles could be used for everything from spying on and destroying enemy satellities to simply repairing their own nation's satellites.
Chinese Internet

Anti-satellite weapons
Of course, China doesn't need fancy robot spaceplanes to destroy enemy satellites. In 2007, China became only the second nation (after the United States) to shoot down a satellite when it destroyed one of its own weather satellites using a modified version of the DF-21 ballistic missile. Needless to say, the United States and several other nations condemned the test, saying the debris created by the shot posed a serious risk to other nations' satellites, spacecraft, and space stations. The incident also alarmed U.S. defense officials, who saw this development as evidence that Chinese military planners are preparing to knock out a major U.S. advantage in the event of war: its network of spy, communications, and navigation satellites. This worried some in the U.S. military so much that the Pentagon has begun working on terrestrial and airborne backups to its space systems, and the Air Force has even begun practicing operations without relying on satellites under the theme "a day without space."
Wikimedia Commons 

Next up is China's growing fleet of UAVs, which for now strongly resemble U.S. drones. Simply look at Shenyang's Pterodactyl, a recently introduced armed drone that appears to be a blatant copy of General Atomics's MQ-9 Reaper -- the U.S. Air Force's premier armed drone. According to Chinese press accounts, Beijing is testing up to 10 different UAVs, including high-altitude drones that may have a strategic reconnaissance mission similar to the United States's RQ-4 Global Hawk. Then there's China's fleet of small, stealthy-shaped models and miniature UAVs, which appear to be the precursors to full-size jet-powered stealth drones. (Remember, models of the design that eventually became the J-31 emerged years before we saw the production aircraft.)
Chinese Internet 

"Carrier killers" 
Remember the DF-21 China used to shoot down its satellite? Well, the ballistic missile has other uses as well. The missiles are designed to zoom into space and then rain down on U.S. bases or moving ships, such as aircraft carriers, as far as 900 miles from their launch sites -- hence the nickname "carrier killer" and the reason that the United States is sending many of its ballistic missile defense ships to the Pacific. China has been building a fleet of the missiles that is thought to have become operational in 2009 or 2010. And it is fielding the DF-21D in conjunction with a host of advanced radars, surveillance drones, spy satellites, and so-called triple-digit surface-to-air missiles designed by Russia that are capable of shooting down most U.S. aircraft. All of these systems are part of China's "area denial" strategy, aimed at keeping enemy ships and aircraft far from its shores. 
Chinese Internet 

Aegis Destroyers, SSBNs and amphibious assault vehicles
The Chinese navy has been investing in everything from a new fleet of hovercraft that will land troops ashore during amphibious assaults to the new Type 052D class guided-missile destroyers, equipped with Aegis-style phased-array radars designed to track missiles and aircraft. (This is in addition to the older Type 052C class equipped with similar systems.) The Chinese navy is also fielding a new generation of nuclear missile-carrying submarines, the Type 094, designed to fire the JL-21 nuclear-tipped ballistic missile. Beijing's navy is also beefing up its amphibious assault capabilities with the ZDB05fighting vehicle. The ZDB05 -- think of it as a swimming armored personnel carrier with guns -- is capable of hitting 16 knots in the water and then using its 30mm cannon, 7.62mm machine gun, and antitank missiles to protect the five to seven infantrymen it can deliver to the beach. Could be useful if China wanted to stake a claim on some islands in the South China Sea.
Chinese Internet 

No conversation about China's rapidly expanding military would be complete without mentioning the Chinese military's focus on using an enemy's own computer networks against it. Click hereto read the U.S. China Economic and Security Review Commission's report on the country's use of cyber to gain military advantage. While you're at it, click hereto read the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence's claim that Chinese telecommunications companies Huawei and ZTE, both of which have a large presence in the United States, may be doing the work of China's military and intelligence agencies. China has numerous military units dedicated to corrupting the data in enemy computer networks or taking those networks out entirely. As the Economic and Security Review Commission report notes: "PLA leaders have embraced the idea that successful warfighting is predicated on the ability to exert control over an adversary's information and information systems, often preemptively. This goal has effectively created a new strategic and tactical high ground, occupying which has become just as important for controlling the battlespace as its geographic equivalent in the physical domain."

No comments: