“The readiness of our Armed Forces is at a tipping point.”
That’s how General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, began a letter to the Senate Armed Services Committee while discussing the Department of Defense’s (DOD) budget woes.
What effect this will have on specific military programs remains unclear. However, the DOD already has countless readiness concerns to show for years of underfunded modernization efforts. “Not enough people, not enough parts, not enough training, not enough everything,”lamented Vice Admiral Thomas Copeman, commander of naval surface forces for the U.S. Pacific Fleet. He put the equation thusly: “[Operational] tempos have increased, resources have gone down.” This conundrum occurred before sequestration has taken effect, it is worth noting. Continue reading
Just five weeks before America’s presidential election, US intelligence reports signs that al Qaeda leader Ayman Zuwahiri is preparing a string of terrorist attacks as the sequel to the murders of US ambassador Chris Stevens and three other US officials in Benghazi on Sept. 11, according to evidence collected across Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
His planning for a new offensive has taken advantage of the Arab Spring upheavals in the Middle East and North Africa and turned them around to strike at the heart of the Obama administration’s Middle East policy objectives. The Arab revolutions have let Islamist extremist and fundamentalist Salafi groups off the leash in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, while Lebanon Jordan, Iraq and Syria teeter on the brink of chaos. The extremists now enjoy free rein to organize for political action while also gaining access to vast stocks of modern arms.
Last week, General Sergei Karakayev, Commander of the Strategic Rocket Forces, announced plans for a new heavy intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) to go into production as soon as 2018. He emphasized that the new missile would be capable of penetrating the NATO missile shield Russia dislikes so much. The new delivery system will carry a five-ton payload into orbit, almost as much as its predecessor, the infamous R-36m/SS-18 ICBM known by its NATO designation, “Satan.” Like “Satan,” “the Son of Satan” will use highly poisonous liquid propellant.
This escalation comes after President Obama once again hailed his Russia policy. The Russian announcement delivers a blow to the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), which limited U.S. and Russian warheads. An Obama Administration “reset” policy, New START traded real concessions to Moscow for promises of imaginary cooperation in arms control, in a vain effort to reach President Obama’s dream of a nuclear-free world.
As NATO countries are reducing their military budgets in response to economic crises, the Russian announcement is a sad case of jingoism: The U.S. has not deployed or tested a new nuclear weapons platform since the Reagan Administration. Nevertheless, Russia continues to treat the U.S. as its “principal adversary,” despite the proclaimed “reset” in relations.
My colleague, Baker Spring, notes that “this is in line with Russia’s longstanding policy of creating a multi-polar environment and actively working against U.S. interests all over the world.” Russia is spending more than $700 billion on military modernization, including a missile which, according to Col. General Viktor Yesin, has “a payload four times bigger than that of the Yars missile.” The Cold War rhetoric and price tags indicate a belligerent Kremlin unable or unwilling to fulfill promises of a “reset.”
This demonstrates the White House’s naiveté. The Obama Administration has not learned from Russia’s recent threat to relocate its short-range, nuclear capable Iskander rockets closer to borders with Poland and other NATO countries, or from the announcements of high-ranking Russian military personnel that faithfully represent the political will of the Russian national leadership.
Full article: Russia to Create “Son of Satan” Missile (The Foundry)
One does not go to Harvard, obtain a law degree, become a professor… then make 500 mistakes in a row in the course of almost (only) four years and get to claim incompetence. Having said this, to the contrary of having an incompetent in the White House as the author puts it, Obama comes off as quite purposeful and methodical — and it proves difficult to claim otherwise. Being called and believed to be an idiot makes for great cover, and grants more leverage in continuing to make more “mistakes”.
This latest split underscores the point of his well-thought planning. In this case, the purpose on reneging on partnership with Israel is (at least) four-fold:
1. Obama won’t be labeled a collaborator should Israel strike first.
2. Abandonment puts Israel, feeling its entire existence is at stake, in a dangerous position needing to strike first — therefore looking like the “bad guy” and the cause of all the worlds ills in the wake of destruction from the domino effect likely setting the entire Middle Eastern region on fire.
3. With the threat from Iran that an attack from Israel is the same as an attack from the United States, an Israeli first strike would indeed drag the US into the fold. The crucial point here is that the US will have pre-positioned itself in a “defensive” position that now justifies an American strike on Iran.
4. Whatever the catalyst for war may be, which seems to be right around the corner, Obama will have gained sufficient political leverage he has always wanted over the tiny Jewish state. As one article puts it, should he be re-elected — and with or without war, he will make them pay.
GOP candidate for President Mitt Romney released the following statement in response to the actions of Obama and the democratic party:
“It is unfortunate that the entire Democratic Party has embraced President Obama’s shameful refusal to acknowledge that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. Four years of President Obama’s repeated attempts to create distance between the United States and our cherished ally have led the Democratic Party to remove from their platform an unequivocal acknowledgment of a simple reality. As president, I will restore our relationship with Israel and stand shoulder to shoulder with our close ally.”
So. The damage has been done and a price will be exacted.
Obama, in league with Comrade Putin of Russia, has made sure that Iran will acquire a nuclear weapon. In turn, they have also assured that Israel WILL attack Iran. The only question now, for this scribe, is whether Israel will feel the need to employ their substantial nuclear arsenal against the nuclear facilities of Iran. I mean—tactical or strategic nukes could be substituted by Israel for the MOP (Massive Ordnance Penetrator) deep depth bunker buster bombs the Obama Administration has refused them.
Far from deterring Israel, Obama has all but assured there WILL be a confrontation between Israel and Iran, which will, in all likelihood, envelope the entire Middle East and surely draw the US into the fray within days—if not hours.
This act of utter lunacy on the part of Obama—AND the Democratic Party—may very well be the spark that ignites the region in nuclear war.
Not since the Carter Administration has America had such an incompetent in the White House. His incompetence may now cost the lives of untold thousands, even hundreds of thousands, of Middle Easterners—as well as US military personnel.
It is a well known fact that a man, backed against a wall with is life in imminent danger, will fight more fiercely. He will use whatever means, anything he can lay his hands on, to defend and preserve his life. Israel is that man with his back against the wall fighting for his life.
Full article: Will Israel Nuke Iran? (Canada Free Press)
Savage was outraged when he learned that Marine veteran Brandon J. Raub had been detained for psychiatric evaluation after posting anti-Obama messages on his Facebook page.
“Are we living in the USA or in the USSR?” Savage wondered, warning that these sorts of arrests were commonplace in the former Soviet Union.
“Ask any Russian who lived in the Soviet Union,” he continued, “and you’ll find that President Obama is doing exactly what occurred in the early days of Stalinism.”
Those people lived behind an iron curtain. Everything they knew, all the information they received about the world, came to them from the government.
The average Soviet had no idea what kind of lives people were leading outside the USSR. They didn’t even know there were tomatoes in Western grocery stores; such “luxuries” weren’t available to them.
They were living with very little but were told they were living with a lot, and their lives were wonderful thanks to socialism.
Soviet people had no idea what reality actually was.
Meanwhile, here in America through the late 1950s, liberal newspapers ignored and buried stories about work camps and prison camps in the USSR.
The truth is, more than 20 million people who were accused of opposing centralized government were worked to death or executed in the Soviet Union.
Now we are seeing the beginning of this in the United States of America.
If the U.S. government can snatch a Marine off the streets simply for posting anti-government feelings on Facebook, then we’re living in the old Soviet Union.
Full article: Michael Savage: ‘We’re seeing the beginning of Soviet-style repression here in the U.S.’ (Michael Savage)
One can only conclude that, even after Iran has the bomb, the mantra “there is still room for diplomacy” will continue to issue from official US mouths and the Washington-Tehran dialogue drag on, possibly through new channels, as it does with Pyongyang.
After they meet, the US President may reward the Israeli Prime Minister with a marginally more assertive statement about Iran as a sort of consolation prize for his restraint. But that will not change the fact that neither has raised a finger to halt a nuclear Iran, both preferring to bow to domestic political pressures and considerations.
Their inaction has given two Middle East leaders a major boost for progress on their own nuclear initiatives.
Last March, Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan, who was recently appointed head of general intelligence, travelled secretly to Beijing and returned with Chinese President Hu Jintao’s consent to sell Saudi Arabia nuclear-capable CSS-5 Dong-Feng 21 MRBM ballistic missiles. He also agreed to send over Chinese nuclear engineers and technicians to help Saudi Arabia develop uranium enrichment and other nuclear production capacities.
This work is already in progress at the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology near Riyadh.
In the last few weeks, Saudi Crown Prince Salman launched negotiations with Tehran on a non-aggression pact and other understandings covering bilateral cooperation behind America’s back on such issues as Syria.
It should be obvious from this development alone that the Middle East nuclear race, which both President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu admitted would be triggered by a nuclear Iran, unless preempted, is in full flight, a fact of which they have neglected to inform the general public in both countries.
But there is more.
After less than three months in office, the Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi is following in Saudi footsteps: He will kick off his first foreign trips next week with a visit to Beijing, where he hopes to take a leaf out of the Saudi nuclear book. He then touches down in Tehran, ostensibly to attend the Non-Aligned Organization’s summit opening there on Aug. 26, but meanwhile to cultivate ties with Tehran for common action in the Middle East.
He has laid the ground for this by proposing the creation of a new “contact group” composed of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey to disentangle the Syrian conflict – again behind America’s back.
The optimistic presumption that the Egyptian president will have to dance to Washington’s tune to win economic assistance is proving unfounded.
And Obama’s hands are tied.
In June 2009, he bound his administration’s Middle East policy to mending American ties with the Muslim Brotherhood. Today, he can hardly starve the new Cairo administration of financial aid.
And the Egyptian president is riding high. Believing he can get away with it, he may even proclaim from Tehran that the two nations have decided to resume diplomatic relations after they were cut off for 31 years.
This chain of events confronts Israel with three strategic predicaments:
1. Even if Riyadh, Cairo and Tehran are unable to come to terms in their first efforts at understanding, the fact remains that Saudi Arabia and Egypt have set their faces toward détente with Iran.
2. Saudi Arabia and Egypt are on the road to a nuclear weapon although Egypt is still trailing far behind.
3. In the five weeks remaining before the Obama-Netanyahu meeting, Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and China will be moving forward vigorously toward their strategic, military and nuclear goals, while the US and Israel will be stuck in the doldrums of their interminable argument over who goes first against Iran – if at all.
The House approved language on Thursday that would prevent the Obama administration from sharing classified information about U.S. missile defense technology with Russia.
The language was proposed by Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) as an amendment to the 2013 Department of Defense spending bill and quickly approved by voice vote. Brooks said he proposed it as a reaction to the hot-mic conversation between President Obama and then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, in which he said he would have more flexibility on the issue of U.S. involvement in European missile defense after the November election.
“In light of recent statements by President Obama that he wanted ‘more space’ from the Russians in regards to missile defense, and his statement that he would ‘have more flexibility’ on this issue after the elections, I am concerned… that the United States’s critical hit-to-kill and other valuable missile defense technology may become pawns in a political chess game of appeasement with the Russians,” Brooks said.
“If Russia’s defense staff is wiling to blatantly threaten the United States, why should the United States hand them the keys to technology that gives America’s war fighter a decided advantage?” he asked.
Full article: House votes to prevent Obama sharing defense data with Russia (The Hill)
Here is a simple prediction: If President Obama wins re-election the market will respond negatively (for a brief moment, at least). If Romney wins the election, the market will show signs of optimism. This is based on the perception that Romney is good for the market, and Obama is bad for the market. How does this assertion measure up to actual polling data, and how might it shape the outcome of the election?
As for the actual outcome of the election, some observers might compare 2012 with the election of 1980. In both cases we have a Democrat with a bad economy running against a Republican promising deregulation and lower taxes. The Republican should win, right? The situation in 1980 is not a good comparison, because in 1980 President Jimmy Carter’s position was weakened by the Iran Hostage Crisis. Also, in 1980, a Gallup poll showed Reagan ahead at the end of the primaries with 58 percent of the vote. Recent polls do not show Romney with any lead whatsoever.
As for seasoned opinion, Rupert Murdoch is “doubtful” that Romney will beat Obama. According to an analysis of candidate fundraising by John Aloysius Farrell, Obama has more donors than Romney which translates into more campaign volunteers and more passion. “By the standards of the past, Obama is in the preferable position,” writes Farrell. Of course, the election is more than three months away. According to John Galt, writing for America’s Chronicle, “Today’s polls are bad long term predictors because they do not take into account events close to the election.”
Suppose we can predict a worsening economy by November, Obama’s numbers are bound to suffer; unless we adopt the cynicism of Oswald Spengler. “What is truth?” Spengler asked in his Decline of the West. “For the multitude, [the truth is] that which it continually reads and hears.” This is what Spengler calls “the public truth of the moment, which alone matters….” Spengler believed that democratic politics led to “an appalling caricature of freedom of thought” in which the “dictates of party leaders supports itself upon that of the Press. The competitors strive by means of money to detach … peoples … en masse from hostile allegiance and to bring them under their own mind-training.” According to Spengler, feudal obligations have been replaced by a regime that “shapes men’s souls with articles, telegrams and pictures….”
There is truth in Spengler’s words, which leave us wondering which party is more effectively shaping men’s souls. This answer should be obvious to the well-informed, though it will not be obvious to those who have been “shaped.”
Full article: Election 2012 and the Market (JR Nyquist | Financial Sense Online)
Apparently, President Obama has a compatriot at heart in Egypt’s new president Mohammad Morsi. Don’t like what the nation’s judges rule? Just issue an executive order and ignore the constitution. On Sunday, Morsi ordered Egypt’s Islamist-dominated parliament back in session—boldly defying the nation’s Supreme Court and the military leaders who enforced the order.
On June 14, the Supreme Court ruled that one third of the members of the lower house had been elected unlawfully—that they had been elected to seats that were reserved for secular and minority religious groups. The interim military rulers subsequently dissolved the lower house.
A few days later, Morsi was elected president. And now, one of his first moves is to annul the court’s decree and order lawmakers (most of whom are members of his party, or other ultra-conservative Islamists) back to work.
Can he legally do that? Probably not. But who can stop him?
Morsi’s move was a direct challenge to the former military rulers. It shows his strength. But more importantly, it shows the direction Morsi wants to take Egypt—away from the more secular constitution and into a fundamentalist Islamic future.
Astoundingly, America doesn’t seem concerned. Morsi’s defiance of the courts and Egypt’s constitution comes just days before a high-profile visit by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Morsi has little reason to fear. The moment America decided to embrace the “Arab Spring” and push former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak from power, it was consigned to dealing with Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.
But it is actually worse than that. America is embracing Morsi.
If America was truly interested in supporting parties that are committed to nonviolence and the way to peace, it never would have worked to overthrow Hosni Mubarak in the first place.
Egypt’s Anwar Sadat and Hosni Mubarak administrations have done more than any other Muslim regimes to work toward real peace. Neither were perfect men, but they both risked their lives for their beliefs—and actions—that actually brought peace to a region. In fact, Anwar Sadat was assassinated by terrorists with links to Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood (and Iran) for making peace with Israel. Isn’t peacemaking the ultimate nonviolence? After Sadat’s death, Mubarak upheld the peace treaty that was the foundation for the last 30-plus years of peace.
But Egypt’s new President Mohammed Morsi embodies the total opposite of what Anwar Sadat and Hosni Mubarak stood for. And if people understood history, that would scare them.
Morsi is also a 9/11 “Truther” who doesn’t believe terrorists blew up the World Trade Towers, but that it was some sort of U.S. government conspiracy.
This is America’s new ally. This is the man whom America helped put in power.
Full article: Why America Should Not Have Toppled Mubarak (The Trumpet)
Russia’s top military officer warned Thursday that Moscow would strike NATO missile-defense sites in Eastern Europe before they are ready for action, if the U.S. pushes ahead with deployment.
“A decision to use destructive force pre-emptively will be taken if the situation worsens,” Russian Chief of General Staff Nikolai Makarov said at an international missile-defense conference in Moscow attended by senior U.S. and NATOofficials.
Gen. Makarov made the threat amid an apparent stalemate in talks between U.S. and Russian negotiators over the missile-defense system, part of President Obama’s policy to “reset” relations with Moscow. The threat also elicited shock and derision from Western missile-defense analysts.
Full article: Russia threatens to strike NATO missile defense sites (Washington Times)
Panic is in the air as gasoline prices move above $4.00 per gallon. Politicians and pundits are rounding up the usual suspects, looking for someone or something to blame for this latest outrage to middle class family budgets. In a rare display of bipartisanship, President Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner are both wringing their hands over the prospect of seeing their newly extended Social Security tax cut gobbled up by rising gasoline costs.
Unfortunately, the talking heads that are trying to explain the reasons for high oil prices are missing one tiny detail. Oil prices aren’t high right now. In fact, they are unusually low. Gasoline prices would have to rise by another $0.65 to $0.75 per gallon from where they are now just to be “normal”. And, because gasoline prices are low right now, it is very likely that they are going to go up more—perhaps a lot more.
What the politicians, analysts, and pundits are missing is that prices are ratios. Gasoline prices reflect crude oil prices, so let’s use West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil to illustrate this crucial point.
Full article: Gasoline Prices Are Not Rising, the Dollar Is Falling (Forbes)
In 1935, one U.S. dollar would buy you 1/20th of an ounce of gold. By 1968, it was down to 1/35th of an ounce of gold. Today, one dollar will buy you only 1/1,750th of an ounce. The same thing happened against silver. In 1968, one dollar would buy an ounce of the silver metal. Today it will only buy you a mere 1/32 of an ounce.
Talk about debasement.
And the dollar hasn’t plunged just against precious metals. Against copper, nickel and zinc—the metals found in pennies and nickels—it is in free fall too. In fact, the dollar has plummeted against orange juice, whiskey, beans, bullets, pork bellies, single family houses, automobiles, coal, oil, good suits, healthcare, tuition, labor costs—and virtually every measurable commodity. If you can name it, it probably cost more today than it did 30, 10, or five years ago—probably more than it cost last year.
The mint reports that if it replaced the copper-coated zinc penny (it took the copper out of the penny in 1982 because it was too expensive) with a steel one, it would still not be profitable. What’s cheaper than steel? Tin? Nope a penny’s weight of tin would cost more than a nickel. A penny’s weight of aluminum would cost 2 cents. Lead is little cheaper. See the problem?
How about plastic? Anyone for a plastic penny? Clay? Asbestos?
Calls to just get rid of the penny altogether are growing louder. But that will only hide the danger to the dollar for a little longer.
And don’t be fooled. The dollar is in grave danger.
Full article: America Is Looking a Lot Like Ancient Rome — or Is It Modern Greece? (The Trumpet)