Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Why I support Rudy

Well, he crushed crime in NYC for one....crushed it! He also restored civility to New York's public spaces, reformed welfare, broke the grip of organized crime on trash collection and food wholesaling, restored academic standards in the city university system, chased the sex industry off the streets, held the line on taxes, and set in motion one of the greatest property booms in city history.

Giuliani's many accomplishments were put to the ultimate test on 9/11. Compare what happened in New York that day with what happened in New Orleans four years later. The mayor did not panic. Public order was consistently maintained. There was no looting, no lawbreaking, no criminal activity. An evacuation of about half a million people from lower Manhattan proceeded smoothly and safely. The local economy recovered almost immediately. The disaster zone has not only recovered, but erupted into new life.

That's what I want him to do for the rest of our great country....




DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL TURNS 15
By MARK THOMPSON

It was 15 years ago, Tuesday, that President Clinton rolled out the policy that came to be known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," which relaxed the long-standing bar against gay men and women serving in the U.S. military. While the move was initially hailed as progress for the rights of gays in the military, today many see it as a liability.

Her Navy career had been "relatively stress-free" before "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" took effect, says Joan Darrah, a retired captain, and a lesbian, who served in various intelligence billets from 1972 to 2002. She kept her sexual orientation secret during her career, but that denial took its toll after "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" led to increased focus on homosexuality in the ranks. She recalls having to administer a survey on the topic to 250 subordinates in the wake of the new policy. "We all sat down taking this survey asking, 'Do you know a gay person, and, if you did, what would you do?' " Dannah recalls. "I was physically sick after I did it - I went into the bathroom and threw up because of the stress of standing in front of the command and saying, 'We're now doing a survey about gays in the military.' "

The issue exploded during Clinton's first week as President, triggered by those in the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill opposed to his campaign pledge to reverse an executive order barring gays and lesbians from serving. "The issue is whether men and women who can and have served with real distinction should be excluded from military service solely on the basis of their status," Clinton said at the time. "And I believe they should not."

While the phrase "don't ask, don't tell" wasn't used at that January 29, 1993, press conference, that's what everyone soon began calling the policy. It boiled down to this: the government would no longer "ask" recruits if they were gay, and so long as military personnel didn't "tell" anyone of their sexual preference - and didn't engage in homosexual acts - they were free to serve. But, by the end of 1993, opponents of the change, led by Georgia Democrat Sam Nunn, who chaired the Senate Armed Services Committee, succeeded in writing into law the ban on openly gay men and lesbians in uniform. Barring the pre-enlistment question about homosexuality "was the only compromise Congress let Clinton get away with," says Elaine Donnelly, president of the non-profit Center for Military Readiness which supports continuing the ban. "The law respects the power of sexuality and the normal human desire for modesty in sexual matters."

Writing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" into law meant that no new President can eliminate the ban without first convincing a majority of Congress to go along - a far higher hurdle than Clinton faced. All the Democratic candidates favor lifting the ban; the GOP candidates support keeping it. "I think President Clinton meant well, but when he set out to implement his vision he ran into a buzz saw," says Aubrey Sarvis, an ex-GI and executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a nonprofit group dedicating to lifting the ban. "I see very few, if any, good things about 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' - it means you have to lie or deceive every day."

About 12,000 service members have been booted from the military since the law took effect, including dozens of Arabic speakers whose skills are particularly prized by the military since the advent of the war on terror. While the number discharged for their sexuality has fallen from 1,273 in 2001 to 612 in 2006, Pentagon officials insist they are applying the law as fairly as ever. Gay-rights advocates disagree, suggesting the military - pressed for personnel amid an unpopular war - is willing to ignore sexual orientation when recruiting becomes more difficult. Last May, a CNN poll found that 79 percent of Americans feel that homosexuals should be allowed to serve in the military.

But Americans in the military seem less friendly to the idea of junking the ban. A 2006 opinion poll by the independent Military Times newspapers showed that only 30% of those surveyed think openly gay people should serve, while 59% are opposed. "I don't think they'll succeed, but I think they'll try," Donnelly says of the Democrats' efforts to repeal the ban. Darrah, the retired Navy officer, says success depends on who moves into the Oval Office a year from now. "I believe if we get a Democratic president we'll get rid of the ban," says Darrah, who is backing Hillary Clinton's bid for the White House. "The younger generation doesn't care one bit."



QUOTE
The most radical revolutionary will become a conservative the day after the revolution. Hannah Arendt

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Relations with Russia sink like a Battleship

Relations between Russia and the West, especially with America and the NATO Alliance, has reached new lows yesterday as the Russian Armed Forces launched a missile attack deep into NATO rear areas, sparking alarm in European capitals. This missile attack, located in a the Bay of Biscay (a region Russia has never brooked, even during the Cold War era) shocked officials in Washington DC as well.

Relations between Russia and the West have seriously deteriorated over the last 12 months as Russian President Vladmir Putin fixed the newly revitalized Russian armed forces might. Just last week a top Russian general was quoted as saying his nation would attack ANY nation that threatened Russia OR ITS ALLIES, a blatant threat to the United States who is in a slow-moving show-down with Iran, a major Russian ally. Since the vast majority of US armed forces are completely bogged down in Iraq, Russia has the next 12-18 months to maneuver, until US forces start to head home in 2008-2009. Putin is milking this window of opportunity and along with China appears to be moving towards grabbing strategic goals while the USA is occupied.

Diplomatic relations between Russia and the United Kingdom have also plunged following the radiological attack by Russian secret agents on London, an attack which killed one man and exposed dozens (perhaps hundreds) to high level polonium radiation. Russia also continues to threaten NATO members Poland and Czech for hosting US forces on their territory, saying they would bomb them with ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons. Russia also engaged in a massive cyber-attack on Estonia last year, which completely crippled the computer-dependant nation. Estonia called for help during the attack and asked NATO forces to respond. NATO is now looking into ways to fend off such an attack but the Alliance as a whole is seeing Russia for what it really is; a rogue power-mad bear intent on destroying its neighbors.


The recent Russian bombing run, deep into NATOs strategic rear, is sure to alarm some NATO members and anger others. The Bay of Biscay is in clearly French waters and a French rebuke is likely to come. Madrid may respond as well. US and UK armed forces will now be on hair-trigger alert for any future Russian bomber runs against Europe and North America.

Russian adventurism has also spread to the North Pole, where Russia recently planted a flag in the region which clearly belonged to Canada, trying to illegally claim resources in the area. This move alarmed Ottawa so much that in response it deployed troops and helicopters to the region and began seriously thinking about buying numerous coast guard cutters and naval forces (including submarines) for protection.

Clearly the bear is awake and on the move again.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Iowa and the US-China War of 2008

On Iowa
I haven't blogged much about politics on my site, other than to promote my candidate (Giuliani) but I would like to throw out an idea. Obama's and Huckabee's wins in Iowa really don't matter, nor does whoever wins New Hampshire in both parties. Neither of these two states really represents America in ethnic makeup, social mobility, financial standing, or political outlooks. Both are rural low population states and the really important states that matter are Florida and Michigan. Both of these large states matter because they represent America much more than Iowa or New Hampshire. In fact, the whole system of electing party representatives should be completely revamped now that we are in the 21st century. States that move up their election dates shouldn't be punished either, as the National Democratic Party did to their Florida delegates this year. Democratic movements like moving up election dates should be promoted, not punished and the Democratic party had better wake up lest they be left back in the 20th century.




China versus the USA
I believe that a major war will break out between the USA and China this coming year, mainly over Taiwan. As a democratic country, America has always had a strong moral mandate to protect other democracies around the world, but unfortunately this American-held ideal will drag the US into a disastrous war with China. Taiwan has been in independent and sovereign country since World War 2, when the survivors of the Chinese Civil War fled to the island to escape the communist takeover of the mainland. Taiwan has even had diplomatic status as a member of the United Nations and many nations to this day recognize it is as soverign state.

However, China sees things quite differently and has threatened the inhabitants of Taiwan many times. In fact, communist China has built up an enormous arsenal of ballistic missiles directly across from the island. Over 1,000 missiles have been built and now target the Taiwanese, so many in fact that the President of Taiwan publically rebuked China this week for the missile build-up. Taiwan's president accused China of attempting to change the status quo in the Strait by stockpiling more than 1,000 missiles, stepping up the rhetoric against Beijing. China has "parked" hundreds of missile batteries along its eastern coast that will bring an island-wide firestorm to Taiwan without having to go nuclear.

"Over the past seven-plus years, the number of tactical ballistic missiles deployed by China on its side of the Taiwan Strait has increased from 200 in 2000 to today's 1,328, by our accounting," Chen Shui-bian said in his New Year address.

China regards Taiwan as part of its territory and has said it is prepared to use force if the island declares formal independence. Taiwan has deployed three US-made Patriot anti-missile batteries to defend the densely populated greater Taipei area, and is seeking to purchase more to shield the entire island.

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Shockingly, China has decided to not follow the Geneva Accords, saying it is a "Western" creation and China should not be bound by Western rules. This conflict with America will involve massive attacks against the US mainland, including sneaking over 200,000 Chinese soldiers in the steel containers that they usually send commercial goods over in. These vicious attacks will include assassinating major corporate figures like Bill Gates and Steve Forbes, blowing up US hydroelectric dams, attacking the US bases in Asia with nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. As an ally of the United States, both South Kora and Japan will be caught in the middle of this firestorm, resulting in millions of innocent deaths.

Many people say that this sort of war between the US and China is impossible because both are major trading partners and it would literally be "killing the Golden Goose". However, I disagree since right at the beginning of WW2, Germany's primary trading partner was......France. Nations often "kill the Golden Goose", that is why the saying is so infamous. Nations always act in their self-interest, even if it means crippling their own exports like China would do in a war with the USA. Sadly, it was the war in Iraq that made China to attack in 2008 as a weakened United States struggled in being mired-down in that Middle Eastern country. Their economic decisions lately have also signaled their intent: by refusing to lower their monetary rates and threatening a "nuclear option" against the USA by dumping all the US dollars they have hoarded over the last 10 years, effectively destroying the US economy in the process.

Every American should prepare for the major economic collapse that is coming. The gutting of the US dollar, sky high gold rates, crashing markets (including housing) are all signs of this sort of disaster that is rapidly approaching......you've been warned!

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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

New 2008 Posts

Happy New Year! Thanks for watching this blog in the last year. I hope to pursue more postings than last year. Damon


FUTURE OF THE US NAVY
After looking into the future, the US Navy has already begun (albeit haltingly) to discuss the possible need for more, but smaller, and more capable ships. Both the Navy and Air Force are peerless, in every sense of the word. Both of those services face no significant threats and enjoy an indisputable window of superiority that will last for decades, so now is the time to rethink both of them. This article will focus soley on the US Navy for now:

Among the many sound reasons for opposing the F-22 and the Virginia-class submarine is the fact that such systems, for all their technical qualities, are linear developments of the last century's weapons. Buying them locks us into obsolescent modalities of warfare. We become prisoners of our very expensive purchases. That is one reason why the US Navy is now looking beyond the Cold War and into the future, and designing ships like the "Streetfighter" or Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) to serve more potential needs at a lower price.

The LCS
The US Navy is continuing to explore the concept of small, expendable, gunboats that would have a key role in a future naval conflict along an enemy coast. The Streetfighter is designed to be small and cheap, something that can poke its nose into the kind of congested coastal waters that the blue-water US Navy hates and wants to avoid. The problem is that the smallest US warships (frigates, which are now being retired, and destroyers) are too expensive to lose, and fighting in littoral waters (where islands and bays could hide enemy ships as well as truck-mounted missiles, where submarines are hard to track, where mines are more useful, and where commercial ships clutter the radar screen) is as nasty and bloody as city fighting is to the Army. Expensive ships going into these congested areas will be bushwhacked at short range by much cheaper and smaller missile boats (and missile trucks) which can remain hidden until their targets are in range. The small Streetfighter class is intended to get into these areas and detect enemy forces (even if that means detecting them by getting sunk by them) which other units (larger ships farther from shore as well as aircraft) would then destroy. Such scenarios have been played out in many real and imaginary areas; recent scenarios have depicted a war with China in which the US tries to hunt down the Chinese submarine force which is hiding in shallow coastal waters.

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The problem is that Streetfighter is designed to take casualties. For the cost of a destroyer, the Navy could buy ten to fifteen Streetfighters, and in a serious naval conflict on an enemy coast, could expect to lose many of them before destroying the enemy Navy. The alternative is to either not fight the war or to use (and lose) much more expensive ships. In the post-Vietnam era when the military fears casualties (and their negative impact on public support for the war in question), building an entire class of ships and expecting to lose half of them in a war is a tough pill to swallow. It is debatable if Generation Y will enlist to serve on "suicide boats" and whether Congress would vote to buy them. In one recent survey, a majority of Americans said they would accept 7,000 combat deaths if US troops could bring peace to the Democratic Congo, but a majority (including the same swing voters) said they would start calling for a withdrawal of troops when casualties hit 300. The Gulf War, which was won (against a blindingly incompetent enemy) with only 293 combat deaths may reinforce the idea that building ships for attrition warfare is the wrong idea. Some have proposed using unmanned aircraft and even small unmanned ships to "smoke out" the enemy hiding in such congested waters and target them with long-range missiles fired by real warships standing a hundred miles or more offshore.

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The situation that the American public cannot grasp (because no one dares explain it to them) is that the next war WILL involve serious casualties in personnel, ships, aircraft, and vehicles. Taking a serious look at how to win a naval war against an advanced diesel submarine force hiding in shallow water overwatched by truck-mounted anti-ship missiles is ultimately a responsible move, but nobody wants to have to explain this to the voters. It would be entirely too easy for the other party to present the case against building attrition forces within the limits of the attention span of the public.

Casualties may not be that big a factor, however. One recent wargame (hunting Chinese subs along that nation's coast) left the retired American officers and intelligence specialists confused. The imaginary Streetfighters programmed into the computers had only 13 people on board, so sinking them did not result in the large body count that would bring American public opinion to a boil. The "Chinese" were never certain that hunting down Streetfighters was worth the bother. The datalinked Streetfighters were, however, dangerous to the Chinese Navy. Any unit which attacked one had a very high chance of killing it, but an even higher chance of being destroyed minutes later as several other Streetfighters locked in its position. Trading one Streetfighter for each Chinese submarine was a swap the Chinese Navy could not afford. Navy officers, however, became shocked at their own callousness in sending Streetfighters into an area without really caring how many were sunk before the enemy was wiped out.

Opposition to the Streetfighter concept is deeper than just avoiding casualties. In one sense, such ships exist in the small gunboats used to deploy SEAL teams, and these small ships have given the US a tough lesson. The diminutive gunboats cannot stay at sea more than a week or two (they don't even do their laundry on board) and require more support than larger warships. They are less stable in bad weather and, while tactically faster, are strategically slower to get to an unexpected war. The US shipbuilding industry has relatively little experience with such vessels and would rather make the more profitable destroyers. In a sense, the Streetfighter may come to life more as an allied warship than an American one. Smaller nations facing shrinking budgets are looking at warships amazingly like Streetfighter. The low purchase price and low personnel cost are attractive, while the operational limitations for ships that would rarely operate far from home are not really a problem. The Swedes have just launched the Visby, a stealth version of Streetfighter that could conduct operations across the Baltic in waters near, for example, Latvia.

Only if we can look beyond the last war and strive to see the next one coming can we avoid the battleship mentality (and its obsolescence) of World War 2. Only then can we hope to survive and triumph in upcoming conflicts.

Our pursuit of hypercapable, devastatingly expensive aircraft and ships means that we have far fewer of them than we need. When the risk of losing an aircraft or ship becomes the dominant consideration in shaping a war plan, we have crippled oureselves before the shooting starts. The US Navy is terrified of losing a carrier (let alone several). Conditioned to peace, the US Air Force dreads risking a single B-2: and the F-22 (should we buy more of these grotesquely useless aircraft) is unlikely to be employed bodly, even if a mission could be found for it.

Too often ignored by strategists in the nuclear age, the command of the seas remains the fundamental basis for American military power and our national security. For that reason alone we should put much of our efforts into increasing the size and capability of the US Navy.

The military equipment we currently own shackles our imaginations. We cannot see beyond our trillions of dollars of hardware. Unencumbered by our wealth of possessions, our enemies are free to dream. By Ralph Peters