Sunday, November 30, 2014

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Monday, November 24, 2014

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

On Nuclear War

Nuclear War: Russia Shocks US With Tactical Weapons, Pentagon Retaliates
By Athena Yenko | November 15, 2014 6:25 PM EST

Russia is in possession of strategic nuclear weapons far more advance than the United States, and it will continue to lead the game with its new generation of missiles, according to a comprehensive report. Indeed, if World War 3 erupts, Russian Vladimir Putin will win hands down, the report said.

The report claims that Russia was able to amass its massive nuclear power because the U.S. had been dismissive and neglectful of achieving innovations in decades after winning the Cold War. Specifically, the U.S. had closed the possibility of developing high-precision long-range weapons that could eradicate enemies even without coming to direct contact. But Russia never stops innovating despite much criticism and the more accepted notion that the country is weak and the west is superior.

At this point, Russia has "long-range cruise missiles of a new generation that will soon be deployed on submarines of the Black Sea Fleet and missile ships of the Caspian Flotilla," the report stated. And not only that - Russia's tactical nuclear weapons are far more superior to that of NATO's, the report said.

NATO's member countries have only 260 tactical weapons. The U.S. has 200 bombs with an overall capacity of 18 megatons - located in Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Turkey. France has 60 atomic bombs, as outlined by the report. "Russia, according to conservative estimates, has 5,000 pieces of different classes" of tactical nuclear weapons "from Iskander warheads to torpedo, aerial and artillery warheads," the report from PRAVDA highlighted.

The report seemed to have solid basis. Russia's plans of sending long-range bombers to the Gulf of Mexico are being widely reported. Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu declared that Russia has to maintain its military presence in the western Atlantic and eastern Pacific, including the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. This included sending long-range bombers as part of the drills. Russia will also be sending more troops in Crimea. Shoigu noted that the deployments are in response to the "fomentation of anti-Russian moods on the part of NATO and reinforcement of foreign military presence next to our border," CNN reported.

U.S. officials did not buy the idea that Russia has the capability of deploying long-range bombers. A source had reportedly told CNN that the U.S. found no security threat proving that such bold and destructive activity is happening. U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki echoed the same opinion.

However, Pentagon retaliates with Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel announcing a proposal of an additional $1.5 billion to the $15 billion a year worth of maintenance to U.S.' nuclear arsenals.  He admitted that US Air Force and Navy were beleaguered with scandals over the years. These scandals resulted to the neglect of the country's nuclear programmes, rendering some infrastructure outdated and maintenance deteriorated, The Washington Post reported.  

At one point, inspections of the nuclear weapons became burdensome for the force, Deputy Secretary of Defence Robert Work said. For a time, there was shortage of specialised tools for the maintenance. A single tool kit for intercontinental ballistic missiles had to be shipped from base to base to conduct maintenance.

Hagel said that nuclear mission remains the military's most important job. Hence, Pentagon officials will now be working anew to improve the status of the government's nuclear programmes by modernising nuclear warheads, long-range bombers and ballistic missile submarines - with the billion worth boost to the annual maintenance budget.

Members of the Congress agreed to the budget proposal. Republicans lauded it too. They said the $1.5 billion boost to the funding is just right. The nuclear programmes had suffered too much neglect because of "insufficient resources, indifferent leadership, and poor morale," Rep. Howard McKeon, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Friday, November 07, 2014

The Republican MANDATE

Republicans Must Seize Momentum After Midterm Victories
Published on on November 5, 2014

The Republican Party now has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to define its brand by passing legislation through both houses of Congress. Even if President Obama vetoes the bills -- as he will -- they will answer the nagging question among the voters: What does the Republican Party stand for?

Conventional political consultants will be content to luxuriate in the negative image Obama has created for himself and for his party. But the wiser leaders of the GOP will realize that it is only by articulating a programmatic alternative that Republicans can really seal the deal with the majority of Americans.

Nobody pays attention to political platforms or candidate speeches. White papers from campaigns are best for lining wastebaskets. The media won't cover one-house bills passed by Republicans knowing that the Senate will never assent.

But if the Republicans pass serious legislation through both houses of Congress, the media has to take it seriously. And if these bills are in sync with the concerns of most Americans, it will only be to the advantage of the GOP if Obama vetoes them.

Republicans in the House have amassed a considerable body of good proposals that passed the House but Harry Reid has refused to bring up in the Senate. More are lying on desks in committee, ready to be reported out.

The GOP should declare its own "100 days" and pass a comprehensive set of proposals to capture the attention and admiration of the American people.

The legislation should include:

•  Approval of the Keystone oil pipeline

•  Repeal of limits on natural gas exports to Europe to fight Russian influence there

•  An override of Obama's forthcoming executive order ending certain deportations

•  Corporate tax reform to lower rates and repeal deductions

•  Regulation of derivatives

•  An end to the carried interest tax break

•  Repeal of special treatment for illegal immigrant children who show up at the border from Central America

•  A flight ban on arrivals from West Africa while Ebola remains a danger there

•  Privacy legislation to rein in the National Security Agency

•  Completion of a border fence with Mexico

•  Over-the-counter contraception sales

•  New sanctions on Iran unless it meets certain congressionally required thresholds for dismantling its nuclear program

•  Requiring the Department of Commerce to renew its contract with the Internet oversight group ICANN to forestall a United Nations takeover

•  Repeal of the one-sided regulations adopted by the National Labor Relations Board

•  Rejecting the Law of the Sea and Arms Trade treaties in the Senate

•  Repeal of the "death panel" Medicare Payment Advisory Board and repeal of the medical device tax in ObamaCare

•  Barring Environmental Protection Agency greenhouse gas rules and repealing subsidies of renewable sources of energy

•  Reinforcing the ban in the Affordable Care Act against forcing the cancellation of grandfathered policies. The Congress should specify that no changes in policies or premiums can evade the application of this ban.

Most of this ambitious agenda will meet with the approval of both the moderate and the Tea Party wings of the Party. With a minimum of posturing and squabbling, the Republican leadership of Congress should move to enact it and to seize the initiative away from the Obama administration.

Obama's vetoes will come to stereotype his administration and the Democrats as the real Party of No -- an appellation too often appended to the GOP in the past. And they will tie the hands of the Democratic nominee in 2016. If it is Hillary Clinton, she will have to disavow the vetoes to win the swing vote even as she has to embrace them to court the party base.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Goodbye Obama (and good riddance!)

End of the Age of Obama
Posted on Monday, November 3rd, 2014

The end of the Age of Obama. It began with high hopes on a winter’s night in Iowa in 2008 and ended in disappointment on a crisp fall day nearly seven years later.

Sure, the president has another two years in office, but he is now the lamest of lame ducks. He is soon to face a House majority that is one of the most Republican since the 1920s, and a Senate, we hope, about to be taken over by a Republican majority. But more than this, he seems to have no friends, and few allies, on Capitol Hill.

One fact of politics that the president never fully grasped is that Congress, not the White House, is the center of our political system. Sure, the president lives in a fancy house, enjoys a full-time chef, and has “Hail to the Chief” played when he enters a room. But Congress is—as Stanford’s Morris Fiorina once put it—“the keystone of the Washington establishment.”

The Framers gave pride of place to Congress, making it Article I of the Constitution, and were so worried about its potential power they divided it into two. Ideally, the modern president can use his prestige and acumen to lead Congress, but Obama has fallen far from that ideal. He has treated Congress in a supercilious manner, burned his bridges with Republican leaders, and alienated even Democrats.

With nobody to call on Capitol Hill, the president will have lots of free time over the next two years. He might use some of it to ponder this truth: There are no permanent majorities in American politics. For over a decade, Democrats have been salivating at the prospect of demographic changes propelling them to permanent majority status. Obama in particular has been active on this front, and has ruthlessly divided the country along race, gender, and class lines in the hope of speeding this process along.

We are seeing this play out right now. Obama’s coalition in 2008 was relatively large—at 53 percent of the vote—but unstable. In a country as vast and diverse as ours, all such coalitions are bound to be unstable. And what we have seen is Republicans poach a critical mass of the Obama vote away, in 2010 and likely in 2014, to foil his agenda. Just as Madison might have expected.

It is well-known that this president likes to golf and watch hipster favorites like Game of Thrones, so he probably is too busy to read dusty old books about men who lived  long ago. But those who aspire to succeed this sterling mediocrity in the White House would do well to spend their free time a little differently.

We would suggest a careful study of the words and deeds of the Founding generation. There is much to learn from Madison’s complex philosophy, Alexander Hamilton’s innovative economic program, George Washington’s careful and steady management, and Thomas Jefferson’s pragmatic policy of conciliation. Let’s hope our next president grasps that you have to respect our past to lead us effectively into the future.