Please bookmark Orders of Battle as a backup in case site is inaccessible.
We began after September 11, 2001 as America Goes To War. With the US out of Iraq and leaving Afghanistan, we now cover whatever interests the Editor.
Poland 4/8/2013; Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Aruba 3/31/2013; New Zealand 03/31/2013; Australia 3/29/2013; Argentina 3/28/2013; Panama 3/27/2013; Guinea-Bissau 3/24/2013; Guinea 3/23/2013; Greece 3/22/2013; Germany 3/21/2013; Guatemala 3/10/2013; Grenada 3/9/2013
All historical orbats are being made open access in stages (5 added 6/27/2012 including detailed Soviet forces in the West, June 22, 1941)
Several articles posted to Center for Indian Military History, and one to Center for Pakistan Military History
Taking Back Kashmir
Taking Back Kashmir
Folks, Editor was cleaning up the draft when he realized he had made a crucial error in programming the scenario. There is a countermove available to Pakistan that he had not forseen and which could prolong the campaign against Pakistan to the deteriment of the campaign against China. This increases complications whereas the object of the scenario is to reduce complications facing India. BTW, this is not a scenario like The "Fourth Round". It is a practical economic, military, diplomatic "how to" to fight a 2-front war and recover all of Kashmir. The scenario problem has been resolved but many details of the book have to be changed. So expect by mid-December 2013.
Friday 0230 GMT December 6, 2013
· Another letter from Editor to President Obama Yes, I know you must be getting fed up of these letter from the Editor. Doubtless you are thinking “Aren’t letters supposed to be TO the Editor?” That’s an excellent question. Do let me know when you’ve figured it out. Let me say I don’t take it personally when you don’t write anymore – oopsies, you never wrote so there’s no “any more”. Seems I’m getting my songs mixed up. Indeed, can today’s young people even write any more? Yes, you are indeed a young person as far as I am concerned. Just today, at the Senior’s Table in our school staff lounge we were discussing this and it was generally agreed that kids cannot write cursive anymore. Seems only a matter of time when they won’t be able to write at all. Their gadgets will all be voice, so they won’t need to know how to read any more. Since the advent of pocket calculators, folks have not needed to know arithmetic. So soon it will be the end of the 3 Rs, and we can shut down the public school system. That will save $500-billion a year, which you, dear Mr. Prezzyness, you can use to help in your new quest, income equality.
· Senior’s Table, you ask? Yes, that’s where the oldest teachers sit. At nearly 70, your truly is the spring chicken. Are there teachers still teaching past 70? Of course not, silly. We’re all substitutes. My colleagues at the Senior’s Table have long since retired, outlived their husbands, and substitute because it gives them the opportunity to leave the house and earn a bit extra. That bit extra is the problem, if I may say so without complaining. You see, when you have led a blameless life, taught for 35+ years, get a decent pension, stayed married to the same person who is now dead and therefore whose pension you get in addition, and there’s Social Security, well, sub wages - $135/day before taxes, $107 after in my case – is nice little bit on the side, as the English say. Of course, they are referring to a girlfriend that the wife doesn’t know about. I don’t want to complain, but Mrs. R the IVth never let me have a girlfriend so there was nothing on the side. Mrs. R IV was a great believer in the Double Standard, with which I am sure, my dear Prezzyness, you are well familiar, being a Washingtoon and all that. She had lots of boyfriend and when at last I objected to one, she walked out. Is that fair, I ask?
· I bet you’re thinking “Is this Editor ever going to get to point?” Well, this Editor IS on point. Its your new program to rid America of income inequality I am writing about. But first I have to set background, don’t I? “Don’t I?” is also English, to be appended to the end of the sentence as a sort of rebuke, whining complaint, rebuttal, what have you. So, for example, should Michelle catch in flagrante with the Nanny, you should say, “Well, you’re always so busy in the gym and growing broccoli in the White House garden, I deserve some relaxation, don’t I?” Not that Editor is wishing for you to get caught – man to man that would be a betrayal of the Brotherhood of Men, even if all the other men seem to be getting lots of IT and the Editor NONE OF IT, if you know what I mean. No sir, Editor is a loyal member of the Brotherhood of Men, even if he has reached the stage of life where even if he got a date on Saturday, even if it were with Beyonce, he’d have to spend the evening discussing urgent questions such as: Was God right to expel Lucifer from heaven just because ol’ Lucy was better looking and getting LOTS OF IT whereas God was getting NONE, because, as you know there is no Mrs. God. How was that Lucifer’s fault?
· Talking about getting SOME, I must tell you, Mr. Prezzyness, that yesterday the Senior Ladies (I am an Honorary Senior Lady – that’s how I get to sit at the Table, no men are allowed) spent all of lunch insanely laughing their heads off with stories of someone or the other died right on top of the person he was getting IT with. Before yesterday I did not know that the normal cause of death in America is men’s tick-tocks giving out while they were – um – discussing the Bible. Each of the ladies seemed to have at least ten cases to their individual experience, and they were just getting started. The story that cracked them up the most was the gentlemen who – er – left for his heavenly abode while doing IT, and the lady couldn’t get him off her. So she had to holler for help till the neighbors came and got the gent squared away. Personally Editor thought this was a bit macabre, and how is the poor fellow’s fault that he has inadvertently created a rude situation? Also, the substitute ladies seem to think that every man wishes he dies while doing it. I wanted to discuss this matter and analyze it, because I thought it was an ill-considered prejudice. Us men are not shallow, you know. We have nobler things on our minds that die in the process, so as to speak? A great source of worry for every man is that he may not be able to – er – consummate the deed before he dies. As for nobler thoughts, everyone knows that a man’s real wish is to die in the process of being – er – assailed by Hugh Heffner’s personal harem. Yes, ladies, we don’t want to die doing IT with one lady, but with a whole bunch of ladies a quarter our age. Please don’t assume that men are just shallow creatures. But there’s one thing one does not do if one is an Honorary Lady at the Senior’s Table, and that is question or contradict the Senior Ladies. Not if he wants to continue with being Honorary.
· So, as I was saying, not having a job except for substituting for $100 a day, and the best year Editor has had so far was 150 days – not bad when you consider school is in session for 180 class days, plus a miserable pension from a few years spent at Catholic Schools, whose administration expects its teachers to live on the Quality of Mercy That is Not Strained and Falleth Like a Gentle Rain from Heaven, and a pathetic Social Security check that just about pays the heating/cooling bills, Editor feels this business of Income Equality very keenly and very immediately. Particularly when the Quality of Mercy is Gently Raining and Editor’s umbrella has giant holes in it.
· Why does his umbrella have giant holes in it? Because he won it in a wrestling match from the Giant Raccoon who feasts on Editor’s garbage. Well, shouldn’t say “feasts”, because Editor’s weekly garbage is less than half a 30-gallon bag. I mean, to generate garbage you have to have some money to buy things. Hopefully your expertise in Economics Minus 101 leaves you aware of that fact, my dear Prezzyness. The plus side of the half garbage back per week is that Editor does not have to tip the sanitation crew at Christmas. The crew spends the whole year grabbing garbage from the neighboring houses to the amount of 1 ton per house per week. They are so grateful that the Editor is considerate of them, occasionally they leave HIM a fat tip at Christmas. Its usually enough to buy three sets of Target underwear and three pairs of socks, which has to see Editor through the next two elections. Have you ever had your underwear and socks pleading to be shot and out out of their misery, Mr. Prezzyness? It is indeed a sad and sorrowful thing when you have to tell them: “Sorry, guys, you have to bear up for at least eight more years.” Then you have to immediately remove all the cyanide, firearms, ovens and car from the property because after being told to buck up, the underwear/socks have been known to try and commit suicide. I mean, its lovely if the 20- or 30-something lady teachers arrive at work sans underwear and socks, assume they look like a Botticelli model – yes, we realize Botty’s models wore size 50 underwear, but it didn’t matter that this size was not yet invented because the Renaissance ladies were anorexia compared to today’s American Beauties. Because, you see, while ol’ Botty’s models had no Size 50 underwear available in the mall, they didn’t wear any underwear. You doubt the Editor? Hie over to a top notch museum and you will see Editor is not making this up. Yes, surely it crimped the conversation when you were having tea with Botty's models and you could not chant: “I see England, I see France, I see Sabrina’s underpants” because when you had tea with them, the models greeted you with see through scarves carefully draped to hide nothing. So you wouldn’t be chanting any ditties about England or France, because you could see Italy, and it was all good.
· So, back to the Giant Raccoon and the umbrella with holes in it. One rainy night said Raccoon – no, his name was not Rocky, but Andrea – he is a bit confused about his gender – was majestically proceeding across the lawn to Editor’s garbage, holding an umbrella to keep himself/herself dry. Editor leapt into action, tackled Andrea, and after a battle worthy of Unlimited Cage Fighting, Editor won the umbrella, but not before Andrea spitefully chomped many holes through it. Sure there was a bit of blood on the Editor, but you should have seen the other guy/gal! Boy (or should it be Girl?) was he (or should it be she?) a mess. It was all good till a court summons arrived requiring Editor to present himself on such and such day. Yes, Andrea, who has been feasting – okay, hors de ouvere-ing on Editor’s garbage slimly tried to get money from Editor claiming he had given her rabies! Imagine that! You cannot even bite anyone these days without sued for giving rabies. Luckily Editor had his vaccination all up to date, as he was able to show the judge when he, Editor, handed over his collar for inspection.
· So, back to the income inequality. Editor whole heartedly supports your noble effort, my dear prezzyness. Editor looks forward to the day, very soon, when you equalize his income with that of Bill Gates. That would be fair and equal, no?
Thursday 0230 GMT December 5, 2013
· Minimum Wage in news again In Editor’s part of the world, the minimum wage is back in the news because three jurisdictions – Washington DC, and Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties Maryland are setting minimum wages in the $12 range.
· The argument whether this is going to cost jobs or help the economy without costing jobs is complex and without nuance, as folks tend to use the figures that suit their case. Nonetheless, in the spirit of “people, can’t we just all get along?” Editor has three not-original thoughts about the minimum wage.
· First, is it wrong to set it to match inflation? In 1963 Editor, while in college, worked part time for Peter Bent Brigham hospital in a cancer research lab. Impressive, you will think. Not so impressive when Editor tells you what he did: his job was to wash glassware used for the research seven times over to reduce the chances of contamination skewing findings. If he lost count, the counter was reset at zero and seven washings had to be repeated.
· Okay, so we all have our place in the world, humble or not so humble. Let’s just say Editor was serving in God’s good works, because he was paid $1.00/hour, whereas minimum wage was $1.15/hour. The hospital was exempt for some reason. When one is in college and working hard to earn money to take out that gorgeous redhead one has been chasing, then one is rather fixed on the date and not the details of labor law.
· So, inflation wise, that should now be $8.78/hour. That was the first not-so-original thought: many have been calling for the minimum wage to at least keep up with inflation.
· The next not-so original thought was that $8.78 in Anniston-Calhoun, Alabama is not the same as $8.78 as in Manhattan, New York. The latter is about three times more expensive. So a minimum wage would have to be about $26/hour in the Big Apple. On that basis, a minimum wage of about $12+/hour in Editor’s county would be reasonable.
· Now, opponents of higher minimum wages sometimes point out that that the wage income of lower income families is not their real income. They get federal and state transfers of income such as food stamps, Medicare, Earned Income Credit, lower tax rates and so on. But here is our third not-so-original thought. Is there not something wrong with our economy if private corporations shift part of the cost of paying their workers a living wage to the taxpayer?
· Admittedly, some of our conservative friends will see nothing wrong with that. Government, as far as they are concerned, exists solely to help them make more money. We don’t have to be Libertarians to argue that Government’s job is to provide a level playing field for corporations, not to subsidize corporate profits by taxing everyone to boost corporate bottom lines. Yes, yes, we realize some of our readers are saying “Poor Editor, he is so naïve” But we’re talking morality here, not the sordid reality of American political practice. If money transfers from the rich to the poor are immoral, are not money transfers from the poor and just-managing to the rich also immoral?
Wednesday 0230 GMT December 4, 2013
· India Abroad says: “America sacrificed Mumbai” This explosive charge is that to protect its informant David Headley, America let the 2008 attack on Mumbai (Bombay) proceed. The India Abroad issue of November 29, 2013 features an interview by a correspondent for the weekly with Adrian Levy who has coauthored a book “The siege: 68-hours inside the Taj Hotel”. Levy has used unclassified reports and interviews with US officials and others.
· Levy himself makes a somewhat less inflammatory statement: “America concealed its knowledge, its true knowledge of the growing risk to Mumbai”.
· The problem is that the interview does not support either charge. Levy carefully points out that the US caught wind of the plot to attack Mumbai in 2006, and constantly kept Indian intelligence informed of development. Except that the US did not know the specific targets within Mumbai, it identified the city, the number of terrorists involved, their mode of arrival, their possession of RDX, etc. etc.
· So why does Levy say America concealed its true knowledge of the growing danger? Because it did not tell India the source of the information – America’s double and triple agent David Headley; nor did it arrest Headley.
· Incidentally, David Headley, despite his name, is not an American. He is of Pakistani origin and changed his name at some point, and became an American citizen. Just thought we’d get that out of the way for our American readers.
· Editor has no doubt that Levy has worked hard and sincerely to uncover the story behind Mumbai 2008. Indeed, his first reaction was to curse the tribe he once belonged to, Indian journalists. Why did this story have to be left to two Americans? What on earth have the Indians been doing since 2008? Sorry, this needs another explanation. While in India for 20-years, Editor did various things, including write for the print media. He has never been a journalist in the sense of an accredited person working for a particular person. So Indian journalists are not, strictly speaking, his tribe, but he did run with them, so as to speak. Back to Levy.
· Levy likely has done a great job – Editor has not read the book but you can tell from the interview he is very well informed. But that does not mean he understands how intelligence works. You never, ever, identify your agent to the intelligence of another country. It does not matter if that country is your BFF. This is not something you do. We won’t go into the whys, we’re just saying secrecy of your sources is paramount.
· Nor did America “allow” Headley to go ahead to protect him for more important American purposes. From the Levy interview, it becomes apparent Headley was a source inside Pakistani terror groups and perhaps even Al Qaeda. Headley, it needs to say, was a rank opportunist of the worst kind. His sole purpose was to promote himself. He had a consistent record of doing things he shouldn’t have, and when he got caught, of turning in everyone and offering to work as an informant. So everyone knew he was a DEA informant, but Editor at least did not know that he was allegedly working on the US’s behalf by infiltrating Pakistani terror groups and so on.
· Being the sort of person he is, Headley – it now appears – was not just reporting on the Mumbai plot. He was an active part of the plot, and one presumes he justified hanging around with all these unsavory terrorists by telling his handlers he needed to look authentic. After Mumbai – one assumes – the US realized what Headley was up to, arrested him and put away for a good long time. Headley, of course, betrayed everyone involved in the plot in America, including a childhood friend with whom he had plotted.
· The question the Indians are not asking is: how would the US arresting Headley before anything happened have helped in stopping the plot? He was not crucial to the plan, beyond intellectual input and some scouting, the plan belonged to Pakistan ISI. So arresting him would not have stopped the attack. Moreover, it is in hindsight that America knew he was part of the plot. At that time he was a deep cover agent. So on what basis would America have arrested him? You do not arrest your own deep cover agents who presumably are risking their lives to get information to you. Even Indians should be able to see this makes zero sense.
· The other question the Indians are not asking, because they plain are too scared to: when Indian intelligence had precise details, why was India unprepared for the attack? So much so that Indian authorities have said they were aware of something being up, but had no inkling the attack would come by sea. Sorry, folks. Levy makes clear the Americans said specifically the attackers would come by sea.
· What Levy is saying, even if he does not mean to, that the Indians are guilty of criminal negligence and extreme dereliction of duty. The first is a criminal code offense; the second is a hanging offense. Moreover, something Editor at least had no clue. The Pakistanis had a mole inside India’s Ministry of Defense that kept them informed on the modus of Indian Special Forces and how they would react. So which Indian official has been shot for allowing a mole to wreck havoc? No one. Was the mole found and shot? Indian intelligence does not arrest moles and prepare lengthy court cases. It merely finds out everything it can and shoots the mole/spy and the body is cremated with the family told “he was killed in a car accident”. No one asks questions – if you know Indian intelligence, you would not either.
Tuesday December 3, 2013
We did not update
Monday December 2, 2013
We did not update Monday December 2, 2013
· The Shopping Drone: New US weapon against Terrorism Amazon is working on drone deliveries of stuff you order on-line. The UAVs will have only a 15-km radius of delivery and packages will be limited to about 2.3-kilograms. Obviously the whole thing has been funded the CIA. Extending range is no problem as the US already has weapon UAVs with hundreds of kilometers range and payloads of a couple of hundred kilometers.
· It is easy to see how this will work. Amazon will have special promotions targeted specifically at the known wants and desires of the terrorist, say faux leopard-skin underwear and pink panties. We are reliably informed that these are big faves among terrorists, not for their girl-friends but for themselves. The terrorist orders online, and in keeping with Amazon’s delivery-within-hours policy, the drone is dispatched with missiles instead of undies.
· Doubtless the next CIA step is to develop remote control exploding pink panties. Terrorist puts them on, this triggers a signal, and a button is pushed at HQ.
· We’ve always said no one can beat the US at weapons innovation. http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-12-02/amazons-drone-fleet-delivers-what-bezos-wants-an-image-of-ingenuity
· New Russian improved Kilo submarine The first of six conventional Type 636.3 submarines has entered service. The only reason we mention this is because of the Russian habit of calling it the “Black Hole” submarine. This is supposedly a reference to its stealth capability, allegedly the submarine is undetectable.
· Hmmm. Now, Editor has not looked at new submarine stealth technologies in a while. So if he is completely off track, please do write in. Some questions do nonetheless come to mind. Does the new boat have a super-quiet propeller? If not, we are unsure to what degree the boat is undetectable. Contrary to the movies, which have submarines going around pinging away, submariners prefer to use passive detection. Pinging is a quick giveaway of your own position. Boats are covered with sonar absorbing material precisely to aid stealth. But the Kilo-class already has sonar absorption.
· Are the Russians referring to the Air Independent Propulsion/Stirling Engine that is standard on new design boats everywhere? Since the engine is electrical, it enormously reduces engine noise. But should we refer to all AIP boats as “black hole” submarines? Moreover, you can reduce engine noise but unless the boat has a super-quiet propeller, it will still be sound.
· Further, submarines can be detected as they push through water. Is the Kilo 636.3 hull advanced or is it just an improvement on the standard Kilo?
· BTW, US has technology to generate false ship and submarine images, so that the enemy is wasting time and effort on attacking phantoms. US has long had electronic systems that deceive an enemy as to the position of a carrier task group, both by countering long-range radars and by control of own electromagnetic emissions.
· What bothers Editor is the use of “black hole” in the context of submarine stealth. Black holes are detected precisely because they absorb all electromagnetic waves. If we use the black hole analogy, a black hole submarine will be very easily detectable. The idea with anechoic absorption tiles is to attenuate the sonar signal, degrading detection range. It seems to us if pinging is used on a black hole submarine, you will get a beautiful sonar picture because there is no return at all. With advanced signal processing – something the US is very good at – the US boat will be able to tell if the ping is simply disappearing into the ocean because it did not hot anything or is it being totally absorbed.
Friday 0230 GMT November 29, 2013
· Japan and ROK defy China by flying through the recently declared Chinese Air Defense Interception Zone. Of particular interest is that ROK has been trying to improve relations with China. The Chinese reaction? Precisely zero. Moreover, China has had to make a retreat, by saying that commercial aircraft flying through the zone do not have to notify the Chinese authorities such as filing flight plans. That China has lost serious face is undoubted.
· Nonetheless, for Americans or others to gloat about the three black eyes the Chinese have received, from the US, Japan, and ROK, would be a mistake of much greater magnitude than the Chinese made by proclaiming an exclusion zone they had no ability to enforce.
· The point is the Chinese dared to declare the zone in the first place. They are not going to withdraw the zone. Today they cannot enforce it. Tomorrow, as Chinese military power continues to grow, they will. Even more worrying is China’s absurd willingness to act on pre-modern and imperialist claims, as the Japanese apparently wanted to publically say, but instead issued a toned down statement.
· The real issue is this business of using selected historical documents, many of little independent authenticity, and with some going back to the 5th Century, to justify an imperialist expansion. Editor has heard it said that the Chinese feel everyone else had their imperial hey-day, now it is China’s turn. Well, one guesses the Chinese are not big on history after all. Just for Beijing’s information, you all have HAD your imperial hey-day. Western China which you still hold is a result of that imperialism. What you are trying to do is push claims that date from your imperial days. Pre-modern as the Japanese so delicately put it; five short of a six-pack as the Editor rudely puts it. Sheer Looney Tunes. We’ve said this before: if the African Eve theory is correct, then the entire world belongs to that one small group of people, perhaps as small as 20-people, who migrated north from southern Africa and spread throughout the world. (This theory is based on tracing the world’s DNA back to one African woman.)
· Has China forgotten that Germany and Italy made the same excuse when they went into North and East Africa? That the Japanese made the same claims to attack China and East Asia? They said the Great Power had got theirs, and Germany and Italy and Japan were going to get theirs. We know how well that turned out for Japan, Italy, and Germany. That China was a huge victim of Japanese imperialism should, one would think, lead it to some restraint.
· But asking the Chinese to be sensible is like asking a wolf not to eat the unprotected sheep it comes across. This line of action is absolutely pointless. China understands only one thing – as have all expansionist nations in their time. That is force.
· The alleged subsidy of 3rd world medicines by Americans We were a bit surprised to hear, the other day, a new theory. This is that Americans consumers subsidize medicines in the 3rd world. So its another reason for Americans to feel aggrieved.
· This is a case where the facts can be arranged to give what seems a logical outcome, but actually is completely wrong.
· The facts are that Americans pay 10-times, twenty-times, maybe even in some case 50-times more for the same medicines as people in – say – India pay. So obviously we are subsidizing the Indians. Except we are not.
· First, it is best to define “American” when talking about pharma companies. Be hard to find any American companies in the Big Leagues, because they are multinationals.
· Second, multinationals are not in the habit or the business of subsidizing anyone. We’re not making moral judgments here, simply making an observation of fact. Companies exist to make money. Particularly in America management can be taken to court if shareholders/investors feel their company is not maximizing profit.
· The real issue is that multinationals are charging Americans so very more than the cost that we’re paying outrageous prices. But they do make a handsome profit on 3rd World sales too. That they can make a good profit on a medicine that is multiple times more expensive in America shows only how much they are sucking American blood. Again, no moral judgment. It is called the law of supply and demand. Since we do not have a command economy where some bureaucrat gets to set the price of medicines at what he considers fair – as happens in Venezuela, and we know the results – companies charge what the customer is willing to pay. Econ 101.
· Sure, there are some cases where multinationals have sold drugs for less than they would have liked, say AIDS drugs. But that is for PR, to make themselves look noble. But how do you explain that made-in-India generic drugs which cost cents per prescription there, are exported to the US where they are sold for many times that? Take Atorvastatin, generic from Lipitor. I don’t know what you pay for it, but from my Medicare health plan I pay 30 cents a tablet. In India, Abbott Laboratories is one of many companies that makes it, and it sells for 7 cents a tablet. This is for a generic, the price gap for brand names will be far higher. You can amuse yourself by looking at http://www.medindia.net/drug-price/ for Indian drug prices. The same asthma inhaler for which I have a co-pay of $40 and for which my plan pays $120 total, costs $3.60 in India. Read about your drugs on the site and weep. Those Indian companies are not in the charity business any more than multinationals. They’re making good money. Which means the multinationals that supply Americans are making outstandingly great money.
Thursday 0230 GMT November 28, 2013
· Chinese October naval exercises We’d casually read about these exercise and didn’t think much of them, even if they involved passage through the straits separating Japan’s Home Islands. After all, the Chinese were in international waters, and Japan recognizes the PRC’s right to transit them.
· But now we come across a Reuters article http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/11/27/us-china-navy-specialreport-idUSBRE9AQ04220131127 which has the Chinese boasting that they have “demolished” the First Island Chain and would never again be confined within its boundary.
· It is always interesting to get the other side’s perspective, but honestly we are baffled at this demolishing and never will be confined again bit. Who precisely came up with the idea of the First Island Chain as a barrier? The Chinese. As we noted above, they’ve always had the right to sail through/past the First Island Chain. Seems a bit neurotic to us to first set up a barrier and then say you have busted through it, when it has never occurred to anyone to stop you from sailing the high seas. But then who can tell what the Chinese are really thinking. They are so sophisticated that certainly those of us who live on the periphery of the Middle Kingdom can never under the depth of their thinking. Ultimately it doesn’t matter to anyone that the Chinese are playing games with themselves. And as for completely pointless boasting, well, we Indians are hardly strangers to that habit.
· But there is a consequence for all this boasting. The East Pacific states are already extremely paranoid about China’s belligerence in pushing claims to their waters, and all this talk about demolishing barriers and busting out beyond is not going to reassure any of the local states. The US reaction to the Chinese declaration of its Air Defense Interception Zone accurately shows what the US thinks of China’s boating. The US ran two B-52s into the zone and out again and said succinctly “we don’t recognize no bleeping zone”.
· Naturally since the US these days is into compassionate foreign policy, the Washington had make an idiot of itself by saying the exercise was long planned and the bombers were unarmed. When you’re giving the other guy a rude gesture involving fingers, it really does not help to say, in effect, we’re not seeking a confrontation. Perhaps the Giant Brains in the administration of He Who Has Bored All His Life don’t understand that by making reassuring kissy faces, they were actually boosting China’s prestige by saying they, the Americans, didn’t want a confrontation. Would the US have acted in so circumspect a manner ten years ago? No. US would have made its bomber run and jeered at the Chinese.
· The Chinese, with 1000-year old egg on their face because they couldn’t do a darn thing about the “intrusion”, gruffed and muffed and said they tracked the US bombers throughout the “intrusion”. Oh for heaven’s sakes, Charley. Tracking two B-52s is a technological feat of some kind? Ever seen the size of these monsters? Of course, we are assuming the Chinese did indeed track, and the bombers were not wrapped in the electronic cloaks of invisibility. We’re guessing they were not, because why would the US want to give the Chinese a chance to study all the good stuff up close and personal.
· A retired Japanese admiral with some ice in his veins as opposed to his lily-livered co-citizens struck the right tone. He said he welcomed the Chinese exercises. Earlier the Chinese hid their warships. Now that they were sailing around Japan, it gave the Japanese an opportunity to get a good look (electronically) at the warships.
· Why do we say “lily-livered”? Well, its been obvious for years the Chinese have been poking the Japanese in the butt. In 2013 Chinese intrusions into Japanese airspace were over 100. The Japanese bravely responded: by intercepting intruders using F-15s – armed with flares. The Japanese have bravely announced they will respond to intruders who refuse to leave by firing flares. This is the same country that conquered China, Manchuria, Southeast Asia, and the Eastern Pacific just two generations ago?
· The Japanese do not want confrontations. But when you are dealing with a rising power that is taking every chance it gets to confront you, backing off only emboldens the other guy. It rewards his bad behavior and makes him more aggressive. The Indians should know this, but after all, the Indians are beyond hope. Editor at least had thought the Japanese were made of sterner stuff.
· At this point, apparently the support for a sterner Japanese defense policy does not exist. Japan is building what these days are called air control ships because they’re too small to be carriers. They have a ship in the woks that could take fighters. They have stopped cutting their defense budget further. But they still go freak-freak-freak if anyone suggests that instead of 1% GDP on defense they’d better start looking at 2%. After all, they waste hundreds of billions a year in infrastructure projects they don’t need, and with a $6-trillion GDP it’s not like they don’t have the money.
· Now, fellers, a few sage words of advice from your old buddy the Editor. You have overdone this business of “we are committed pacifists and cannot raise defense spending”. It was a great way to get rich, shifting the burden of your defense to the US. But you are rich now. The US is declining relative to China. If you all do not start getting your act together, you’re going to pay. China will not suddenly making nice because you are non-confrontationist. They will push you harder because you’re weak. No ifs-buts-maybes. The Chinese are poking you in the eye several times every month. If you don’t get those aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines on the slip-ways, you’re going to regret it. It takes a minimum of 20-years to build a navy, even if you have the rich naval tradition that you are famous for. You have already wasted ten years.
Wednesday 0230 November 27, 2013
As a life-long asthmatic, Editor has recently been going through his 4 times a year cycle of allergies leading to asthma attacks leading to pneumonia. These cycles take six weeks to work their way through, whereupon there is six weeks of health, and then we start again. For several years, after Mrs. R. IV took off and he lost the great insurance she has, Editor has been toughing it through. After a month into the current cycle, Editor asked himself what in heck did he think he was doing? He decided to take the asthma protocol again. Being well is better than not being well. Well, a few days later he was out of inhalers of all kinds, not surprisingly because they were last used in 2005 for several cycles. He called in, doctor immediately authorized refills. Editor went to pick them up. And then he realized why he had decided, years ago, to tough it out. His copay (Medicare) for 90 days of inhalers came to $175. He immediately got a severe asthma attack. The pharmacy people wanted him to report to emergency care across the hall. Editor said: “I’ll have to pay an additional $60 for emergency care and that’s supposed to make me feel better? No thanks.” Guess who will not be returning to pick up refills at the end of 90 days.
· Thanksgiving So here we are at Thanksgiving, and for the first time Editor reads that Native Americans are protesting this holiday because the arrival of the settlers was not something that merited thanks on the part of the native Americans. So are we one day going to abolish Thanksgiving because it offends someone?
· Back in the day, about 3 ½ centuries ago, it was a different world. The strong took and thrived, the weak lost and went under. We may all agree the Native Americans have no reason to celebrate Thanksgiving. So no one is asking them to so do. For the settlers, it was a completely different experience. They have every reason to celebrate, and since they were the winners, they have every right to so do.
· Is this not insensitive and non-inclusive? Is this not, as has been suggested, misappropriation of an Indian tradition? Let’s take Christmas. It is an appropriation of a pagan festival. Christianity became supreme by wiping pagans out. So should pagans not say their festivals have been misappropriated and they feel excluded and disrespected? Okay, so they can say, is anyone going to pay them attention? Doubtful.
· There is only one lesson here: don’t lose the war.
· At which point someone might say: “But American culture is supposed to be inclusive”. First question: says who? The only reason we even talk inclusion is that the once vast white majority allowed folks to migrate from any part of the world and because this same majority decided it had to be fair and include everyone. In other countries, folks have been less generous.
· Is Editor standing up for white folks? Hardly. Because white folks, through their idealism, decided not to be racist and to allow anyone to settle here (President Kennedy), fairly soon this country is not going to be white majority, perhaps as soon as 40-50 years. Then things are going to change, and the way things are going, Hispanic festivals and so on will become the mainstream.
· So, Editor does feel bad for white folks: after all, they gave him many chances when his family first came – that Editor rejected because at some point (age 19, he thinks) he figured he was not a real American and went into a rebellion mode – and they gave him a chance again when he returned. White civilization, as in Western European civilization, has a lot to recommend it, for example, the right to equality before the law, one person one vote, inalienable rights simply because one is human and all that.
· But is Editor going to mourn when Spanish becomes our first language? No. For one thing he will be dead by then, which is a relief because he can barely speak any language. He got a 394 on his French SAT after seven years of taking French in school. (The youngster cannot understand this, because he says you get 400 out of 800 points just for filling in your name right. Easy for him to say. He got 1560/1600 on his SATs, without studying for a single minute. Not all of us can fill our names correctly on a form, you know.)
· For another thing, this move to let everyone in (from which he has benefited) was a conscious choice by white people to prove what nice they are. And you know what they say about nice guys and where they place in the race. You do not see the Israelis and the Japanese trying to prove what nice guys they are. To them the preservation of their culture is paramount and they make no excuses for it. In the real world you get zero points for being nice guys. You get a lot of points for kicking everyone else’s butt so hard they can never sit again.
· PS: of course, Chinese will be our second language since no Chinese in their right mind want to live in China. Soon they’ll own every nice house on the West Coast.
· PPS: Native Americans: Likely you in your turn pushed out the real original inhabitants of North America. It happens.
· PPPS: Maybe the Hispanics and the Chinese will let us celebrate Thanksgiving Day. Or maybe when they take over they’ll have their own separate Thanksgiving Days and we’ll all have to celebrate along with them. Then the white folk can complain about being excluded.
· PPPPS:And so it goes.
Tuesday 0230 GMT November 25, 2013
· China’s new Air Defense Identification Zone Readers will know that a couple of days back China announced its first Air Defense Interception Zone, which happens to cover the Senkaku Islands, occupied by Japan and wanted by China.
· An ADIZ – India and Pakistan have them, surprising that China did not till now – has many implications. The simplest is that if you fly in a country’s ADIZ, you have to be under control by that country’s radar network and in constant communications with the ADIZ controller. If you refuse to comply with these conditions, you can be shot down.
· The Senkakus are 330-km from mainland China, and it’s a bit unusual to declare an ADIZ that from your mainland. Japan has an ADIZ extending several hundred kilometers southwest from its mainland, primarily because of the Ryukyu Islands that are under Japan’s sovereignty. US, being the US, has ADIZs but does not recognize anyone else’s, at least for purposes of naval operations. There’s no sense in our getting involved in a highly technical discussion of the legalities of the Chinese ADIZ because like our readers, we know next to nothing about the law.
· Suffice it to say China has established such a zone unto the West Pacific. This is all of a piece with China’s strategy to assert control over what it calls the First Island Chain. This encloses the South and East China Seas, and effectively limits nations on the periphery of these two China Seas to 12 nautical miles off their coast. This includes the western side of the Philippines, Vietnam, part of Cambodia, all of Taiwan, and between South Korea and Japan.
· It is on the basis of the First Island Chain claim that China objects to anyone exploring for resources even if the area is in a country’s Exclusive Economic Zone. It is also on this basis a couple of years ago the Chinese tried to stop an Indian Navy warship from sailing off the Vietnam coast after the warship had visited Vietnam.
· Now, everyone, including India, is quite familiar with Chinese imperialism post 1950, but till this First Island Chain and now ADIZ business, the imperialism has been limited to land borders. As China has risen and the US has fallen – relatively – and as the US Navy has shrunk, it makes perfect sense for China to get force the US Navy east of the First Island Chain, whereupon the Chinese will start pushing east toward the Second Island Chain. This lies east of Japan to Indonesia. And doubtless after that the Chinese will try and declare the Western Pacific as theirs, leaving the Pacific east of Hawaii to the US. That doesn’t mean they will not sail the Eastern Pacific. Like the US has done since 1945, no doubt the Chinese would like to regularly run carrier groups off Alaska and the US West Coast.
· The Indians, of course, go out of their way not to confront China. They are saying “What does have to do with us? It’s a quarter of the world away, far from the Indian Ocean. It’s a US-Japanese problem, NOB.” NOB = Not Our Busyness.
· The Indians have a valid point. But have they considered that China is going to start pushing into the Indian Ocean, also? It already has port rights in Burma, can have access to Bangladesh ports if they want, have built a “communications station” off India, are constructing a major port in Sri Lanka, and have, of course, unlimited access to Karachi and Gwader.
· Note the irony about the Sri Lanka port: Mrs. Gandhi was duped by the Soviets into thinking the US wanted naval bases in Sri Lanka; a lot of her Sri Lanka policy including the LTTE was to preempt the US. Mrs. G. went on and on about US threats to India from the Indian Ocean, US imperialism, and so on. Now it’s the Chinese are building a port. Government of India’s reaction? “There’s no one here but us meecees.” Seen no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. India for the better part of 40 years abused the US at every turn; the US being civilized, objected every now and then, but with the exception of Nixon and Kissinger’s bad behavior during the 1971 crisis, never tried to punish the US. In any case, as Editor has said in an unpublished book he wrote and now cannot find, Kissinger-Nixon were bluffing, allying with the USSR to deceive India. There was nothing the Dynamic Duo could have done; indeed, Kissinger toward the end drew a line, refusing to carry out Nixon’s orders to punish India because he realized if the Congress found out, his goose would have been cooked. The book is entirely based on declassified cables.
· Anyway. India’s attitude is when the Chinese start applying pressure against us in the Indian Ocean, we’ll take up the matter then. When that day does come, we’ll quickly decide the Indian Ocean is not all that important to us.
· Just like we decided after 1962 that Indian territory in Kashmir was not that important to us.
Monday 0230 GMT November 25, 2013
We did not update Friday November 22, 2013
· Iran Okay, let’s try and calm down and detach the Iran deal from our dislike of President Obama. It does not help to say “To what extent will he go to distract attention from Obamacare fiasco.” This deal has been years in the making, and builds on work done by the Clinton and Bush Administrations. It also does not help to say “US accepts Iran’s right to enrich uranium” because US has not accepted such a right, and Mr. Kerry, SecState explicitly said so. If Iran claims the US has, there’s nothing US can do about it. It also does not help to say, as the Israeli PM has said, that this is a “historic mistake”. Neither is there a mistake, and even if it were, it will be a very minor mistake – as we shortly explain. Nor is it a good idea to forget the failures of three administrations, Clinton, Bush, Obama, to curb the DPRK program to make Mr. Obama look bad. We’re not clear even those rabidly useless deal rise to “historic mistake.” And of course, it takes very little to make Mr. Obama look bad, due primarily to his Giant Inflated Ego. Nor should we be saying Iran has tricked the US, because no such thing has happened, as we shortly explain.
· All that has happened is an interim deal has been signed. It buys six-months grace period to negotiate a lasting agreement. If Iran ceases its cooperation during the next six months, then its back to sanctions.
· The deal does not stop Israel and its new Sunni Arab allies from clobbering the Iran N-program if that is what they want to do. All the US has done is rule out its own attack option for six months, and no, Mr. Netanyahu, Iran is not about to build a bomb in 6-months. When you spread disinformation, however noble your cause, it inevitably degrades your credibility. We’ve already explain a couple of times that Iraq’s bomb with come from Arak and plutonium production, not from enriching uranium. Iran needs to enrich uranium to above commercial grade to help Arak produce more plutonium than it otherwise would.
· Arak has not been dismantled, but its construction is on freeze. Let’s see what happens after six months.
· Meanwhile, Iran has given so many concessions that Editor, at least, is mildly boggled. Aside from Arak, it has (a) said it will not enrich beyond 5%; (b) that it will convert its stocks of 20% enriched U to oxide from which further enrichment is difficult; (c) that it will make changes in its U enriching cascades so that they cannot enrich beyond 5%; and (d) that no new centrifuges will be installed.
· The essential question is: Iran has said it will do all this, but how will we know for sure? Well, again this is mildly boggling, Iran has agreed to daily monitoring and installation of sensors to record data. If inspectors suspect something is amiss, they will not certify compliance, and its back to sanctions.
· Iran has gained no time. Time to do what? It need not have agreed in the first place, because six months buys it no time worth mention. What does access to $7-billion in its overseas account accomplish if Iran is going to cheat? That’s a small fraction of its annual revenues. We need to take a look at the items on which sanctions are being lifted. Doubtless this will include limited sales to customers like India which cannot afford to do without Iranian oil. (India is buying anyway, under US Government exemptions, but it cannot pay in dollars because no bank – including Indian banks – will handle the money for fear of US retaliation. Paying in rupees and barter trade is working out badly.) As for imports, right now, folks, we need to remember even food and medicines are embargoed. This is a very tough embargo which may actually be violating the UN charter on human rights and Geneva conventions on mass punishment.
· We still believe Iran will not give up its quest to go nuclear. But as we’ve said before: This. Is. Not. An. Existential. Problem for the US. It is an existential problem for Israel and the Sunni Arabs. The US solution should be to provide – very quietly – whatever strengthening of Israel/Saudi attack capacity that is needed. More tankers, for example. Intelligence when required. Add US naval Search and Rescue facilities if an attack is decided on. Perhaps even electronic deception and countermeasures. Etc.
· The two states that are most affected should be the ones to do an attack. US should not get involved – not for the reasons others say, but because US has proved totally incompetent at realizing real benefits from the use of force.
From Phil Rosen, who makes an important point about the quantum
computing company D-Wave
You should read up a bit about what D-Wave is doing.
While their machine may technically be using quantum entanglement to
solve a single specific problem, it is not at all commercially
viable. It is designed to solve one problem and one problem only. It
costs $10m, and is still slower at solving that problem then a
commercial laptop running conventional software. It is a research
project with lots of PR that is still far off from
· India, Israel, and the Barak-8: Just what is going on? Last week Times of India reported that the Barak-8 70-km SAM being jointly developed by Israel and India, is so far behind schedule that no one is sure if the Indian Navy and Indian Air Force will ever get the missile. http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-11-14/india/44073265_1_joint-venture-indian-air-force-indian-navy
· What particularly irks us is that a few days ago Israel-US staged a flawless test of the Stunner missile. It is to be the second tier of the Israeli ABM system http://www.army-technology.com/projects/stunner-terminal-missile-defence-interceptor-israel/ At the short end will be the highly successful Iron Dome, which intercepts rockets and short-range missiles at ranges out to 7-km. Stunner, the missile part of David’s Sling, is good for 70-km to 300-km. The long end is taken care of by the Arrow missile system.
· So how come Israel is going great guns on its own systems, but failing to deliver on the Barak 8, whose development apparently is funded entirely by India at $2-billion? (We don’t know if that includes some systems or is just the R and D cost.)
· Now, we realize for all the bragging and boasting the Israelis do about their missile interception technology, they get a lot of help from US companies. Stunner, for example, is co-developed with Raytheon. Arrow is co-developed with Boeing http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/israel-successfully-tests-arrow-theater-missile-defense-01571/ The US apparently places no claims to intellectual property on Barak 8, which means the US is not involved. Since India’s SAM technology is not particularly advanced, presumably even though India is part of the R & D, the majority contribution is by Israel – without US help.
· We further realize that despite the innocuous designation “Barak 8”, suggesting this is just another variant of the Barak SAM family, the 8 is actually a very advanced, world-class missile
http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/india-israel-introducing-mr-sam-03461/ Meaning this is not going to be an easy-beazy weapon to develop.
· Nonetheless, what exactly is going on here that an Indian newspaper, which obviously was briefed by someone in the know, says India may never see this missile, which was to enter service in 2012 for the Navy, and 2017 for the Air Force? There seems to be some dispute about sharing the technology. But when India has financed the whole show, why should there be any dispute? Both countries should be sharing the rights equally.
· Or does Israel think it is dealing with the US, and it can simply take Indian money without giving any rights? Israel does this with Iron Dome’s interceptor? If so, big surprise, Tel Aviv! India is not the US! We are not your patron saint of protection who you can blackmail any time you feel like it because in so many issues to do with Israel you own the US Congress. India is a poor country. $2-billion is a whacking great amount of money. Its 5% of the Indian annual defense budget. The US would have to invest $30-billion in an Israeli system to make the burden comparable. And let’s make a wild, wild guess here: if US was paying over $30-billion for a weapon that Israel could not even give a tentative delivery date, we don’t think Washington would be too pleased.
· In India, of course, there is zero government accountability for the country’s failures to do with defense. The Government merely says “it is not in the public interest” to give defense information, one of the shabbiest and most hypocritical of excuses given by any government to its citizens. This short phrase allows the Indian government to be as foolishly incompetent, and to hide all degrees of malfeasance and corruption.
· Undoubtedly there is much more to this story. And undoubtedly we will not learn it from the Israelis. When the Israelis bribe someone, they have the good sense to keep their mouths shut – unlike their beloved patrons, the Americans, who are ready to blab every detail of a deal to the world, including how much was paid for the call girls
· But it is past time the citizens of India demand an accounting. Under what terms was this deal signed? How much money has been paid? How much, if any, has gone to people it should not have? Why is Israel not delivering on this missile when it has a history of very rapidly developing, testing, and deploying missile – albeit with US help, but Israel moves a lot faster than the US could ever dream of? Did the Israelis oversell themselves to a bunch of gullible Indian scientists and politicians? Indian citizens need to know all this because it is their money that is being spent on Barak 8. It is absolutely vital a project for the Indian Navy, which has predicated many of its warship weapons systems on the 8, and now has ships with only partial SAM coverage. The Indian Air Force’s SAM systems are in a mess. With Barak 8 it cannot protect its air bases and vital areas.
· Someone has to be held responsible, and if culpable, punished.
· Letter from Richard Thatcher on the SR-71 One thing to remember is that even to this day the SR-71 is the "gold standard" by which any high speed, high altitude plane is measured and, thus far in all known cases, found wanting. Another thing to remember is that Kelly Johnson and his crew designed and built both the U-2 and the SR-71 without the use of anything we would "properly" call a computer. They made their calculations on paper, with slide rules, and their brains. Wonder how many design and engineering folks could come close to do the like today. As to the attitude part, well, I think Mr. Waylon Jennings in this video tribute to the Blackbird can explain that. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1TGvvBrPVc Editor: Watching the video makes one thing this aircraft must have been designed by aliens.
Wednesday 0230 GMT November 20, 2013
· They were giants then: the SR-71 Blackbird When we consider how myopic Americans have become and how puny our technological achievements, it is difficult not to look back to the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s and feel envious admiration for what Americans could do. An example is the SR-71 Blackbird, a strategic reconnaissance marvel designed for spy missions.
· To this day the SR-71s true high-altitude reach and speed remain classified, though researchers and enthusiasts have pieced together some details. The SR-71, which was developed forty years ago, had an official ceiling of 85,000-feet. But there are people who say after refueling, the plane would climb to 102,000-feet to start its mission. If so, 102,000 cannot be its absolute ceiling. Then, the aircraft flew at Mach 3.2 – but this was not a burst speed, as was the case for the Soviet MiG-25 Foxbat, which could hit Mach 3 for a few minutes. The SR-71 could sustain Mach 3.
· Editor once talked to a person who had flown a light plane from the US to India in the late 1960s. He made refueling and rest stops in Iran, where other pilots told him about a new US reconnaissance aircraft that flew at Mach 5. It took Editor some time (as in a couple of days) to figure the US must have been launching a high speed drone from the SR-71. And it was decades later that he learned about the D-21 Mach 3 drone. The odd thing is the D-21 drone program using the SR-71 was unsuccessful, as was the program to launch it from B-52s carrying a pair, as were four missions over China. As a result, the D-21 was canceled. But pilots in Iran talked about a Mach 5 aircraft. So was it the D-21 was not, in fact, canceled, or did the US develop another drone altogether?
· Remember, this is all back in the 1960s, when just 20-years previous the jet fighter was just coming into service. How the US went from subsonic jets to aircraft capable of sustaining Mach 3 at very high altitudes is something that just is not explainable today. And, by the way, in now-year dollars an SR-71 would cost about $250-million. For that price you get a couple of F-35s. Also consider, the new SR-72, which Lockheed says it is ready to build, a Mach 6 reconnaissance/strike aircraft with intercontinental range, comes more than 40-years after the SR-71 was taken up.
· So what was it those old-timers had running in their veins that we don’t have today? Was it the urgency of the Cold War drove people to work harder and faster than is possible today? Was it that that they so believed in themselves and their country that “impossible” was not part of their mind-set? Was it that the aviation program managers of the era were special, that they knew how to get funding and the best design/testing teams together and then leave them alone to produce?
· http://www.sr-71.org/blackbird/sr-71/ will give you details and take you to several other pages on the SR-71.
· Talking about miraculous weapons, considered the Minuteman ICBM. It was tested in 1961, and went into service just one year later! It was a revolutionary missile, solid-fueled for quick launch and with an inertial navigation system using a digital computer. All stuff that would have seemed like science-fiction just five years earlier. The Titan missile was put under development in 1955, and was operational in 1962. It had a storable liquid-fuel propulsion system that required just one-minute to ready. The atlas ICBM was initially designed in 1953, and went into service in 1962. It was the world’s first ICM: recall that just ten years previous, missile high-tech was the V-1 and V-2. And of course, everyone is familiar with John F. Kennedy’s pledge to put a man on the moon within 10-years – at that time the US did not even have a reliable launcher! And the target was beaten by two years!
Tuesday 0230 GMT November 18, 2013
· India’s new mountain strike corps A friend writes to say that according to report, it is likely to be numbered XVII, be headquartered in Ranchi, and have three divisions, two in Panagarh and one in Ranchi. Presumably 23 Division already at Ranchi and assigned to XXI Strike Corps will go under this new corps. The process will take seven years, which is so pathetic it is not worth commenting on. The Indian Army has a base large enough to raise nine divisions and three corps every two years. The best part is there is supposed to a second mountain strike corps to be raised. That should take us to 2027 – providing the seven years per corps schedule is kept.
· PS: Don’t take anything for certain till Mandeep Bajwa confirms it. Which he may or may not.
· KY, WA, CT, and the ACA Yesterday WashPo had an op-ed by the Democratic governors of these states, and they say everything is working well and smoothly, people are getting better insurance for the same money or even less after subsidies, and if other governors just got down to work instead of complaining, there would be no problem. Apparently these governors have set up health-exchanges and so on, so we’d guess they aren’t relying on the Feds.
· The point we’ve made and continue to make is that could not the Administration see in advance that GOP governors were NOT going to cooperate, whatever the reason? That ACA passed without a single GOP vote didn’t trigger any alarm bells? It doesn’t matter why the GOP guvs are opposing. Mr. “I am the smartest person around”, had he the slightest political savvy, should have seen this coming and used his alleged smarts to make ACA work.
· Editor’s letter to Ms. V. Jarrett. Ma’am, I believe you said President Obama is so smart, he has been bored his whole life. I am not as smart and would not be as bored. Can you ask Mr. O. to make me the president in his place? I could build a really, really, big model train layout in the People’s House (using donations from the public, of course) and this would take up all my waking time. So I would have no chance to get bored. Plus with me doing nothing except working on the railroad, and not doing any of the Prezzy stuff, perhaps the country would have a better chance of surviving than it has now. Thank you, The Editor.
· PS: Ma’am, would love to know how you make the connection between smarts and boredom. I always thought it was the other way around, that smart people are seldom bored because there is so much for them to discover, learn, discuss, and do. If you are bored, it means you lack the smarts to be NOT bored, if you get my drift. Perhaps you can suggest to his Royal Prezziness that to alleviate his boredom he watch the Kardshian Sisters’ show? He should find that engaging. And I do apologize that us Americans are so stupid our problems bore him. It must be agony for a person with 1000 IQ to deal with us dumbos.
· The 512 Qubit computers A while ago we were bring told quantum computers were a pipedream. So now they have not just 128 Q-bit computers, but have jumped to 512 Q-bit machines. These are not experimental gizmos: you can buy them from a company called D-Wave. No clue as to how much they cost. Here’s the thing. A 512 is not four times as fast as a 128. Its 2^384 times as fast. http://www.naturalnews.com/040859_skynet_quantum_computing_d-wave_systems.html What happens to all the high end encryption in that case, your RSA 2048s and so on? It all becomes junk.
· But apparently quantum encryption is possible – read http://news.discovery.com/tech/quantum-encryption-goes-mainstream-131016.htm - and available to the private sector. How this plays out in the race to encypt/decrypt we haven’t the faintest clue.
Monday 0230 GMT November 18, 2013
· Report: Saudi to cooperate with Israel in possible anti-Iran strike Finally something out of the Mideast that makes sense. We’ve mentioned that the US does not necessarily have a vital national interest in disarming Iran. The countries that do are primarily Saudi Arabia and Israel, plus the Sunni Gulf states because nuclear Iran presents an existential threat to everyone in the Gulf save Iraq. Turkey too is at grave risk. Now an Israeli newspaper says Saudi has agreed to provide Israel with overflights rights, and tanker/SAR support. http://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-said-to-be-working-with-saudi-arabia-on-iran-strike-plan/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter
· Let us first make clear: on general principles Editor believes America should be the World Whacking Authority and do the job wherever it needs to be done. It reminds people they still need the US, and it is always fun to see the pictures/video of Bad Guy things being blown up. Americans are addicted to violence, as is Editor, and we badly some short, sharp, and effective violence to make up for the disappointments of Iraq and Afghanistan. Editor is perfectly happy to see US whacking someone even if it is not vital for US interests. As for example, Gulf One and Two. If Iran nuclear program has to be taken down, no better way to assure results than have the US do the job. We may be lousy at unconventional ground wars, but we’re tops at air wars. Be nice to show that to our lovely friends, the Russians and the Chinese, particularly the latter, who are really getting too big for their red bunny slippers and pink panties.
· That said, since World War II, the US has not done well with the aftermath of military action. We have a mortal inability to anticipate the consequences of our actions because we are terminally ADHD. As is Editor, BTW, that is why he loves it so much in America, which he feels is his natural home. The only sensible thing we’ve done in a long while is stay out of Syria once it became clear the time for effective intervention was past. And effective intervention would have meant US ground troops within the first six months of civil war. Which, everyone must admit, was a political impossibility.
· So it is probably better for the US to stay out of an Iran n-strike because who knows what unwanted consequences we would unleash.
· The main point to ponder is that if Saudi is willing to the cooperate to the extent that is being suggested, why not have the Saudis, the UAE, Oman, and Qatar also join in. With these additional air assets, a thorough job can be done because no compromises are needed in the matter of targeting, and a campaign of several days or even weeks can be mounted.
· Now inevitably the matter of Muslim world reaction to Saudi enabling an Israel strike comes up, and even more so if the Mideast Sunni states join in the revelry. Some readers may find this simplistic, but Editor thinks this is not a problem. First, ideology has to be shelved when mortal threats arise. The perfect example is World War II where the US and UK had to ally with the USSR, the source of all evil in the 20th Century. There must have been some folks who were against this alliance with the children of Satan, but by and large people understood that with the Soviets as allies, the job of whacking Hitler became simpler.
· The Sunni-Shia schism is so deep that it transcends any reservations about Muslim reaction to joining with Israel. Besides, as someone has pointed out – is it David Ignatius of the WashPo – that with the US withdrawing from the Middle East, Israel becomes the natural guardian of the Sunni Muslims and the guarantee of peace and stability in the region. The Sunni states might as well face up to this starting, like, right now.
· On a large level, it is best for America to leave the Middle East. The area is just too messed up with unresolvable issues going back at least one millennia. Thanks to the American oil boom, we no longer need to be in there. And if the Greens could be persuaded that N-power is actually safer than oil, coal, solar, wind etc., plus it adds no CO2 to the atmosphere, we could forget about oil from other nasty places in the world such as Venezuela and West Africa.
· A potential Israel-Saudi alliance allows the US to leave.
Friday 0230 GMT November 15, 2013
· Mr. Obama’s Mea Culpa "I am not a perfect man and I will not be a perfect president…" said on the ACA snafu. That is okay, son. We forgive you. We were not expecting perfection because technically only the Divine is capable of perfection, certainly not us humans. On the other hand, we’d have gladly settled for some modest competence. (As an afterthought: may be the Divine is not so perfect, after all, else why did he create all the smart people who say they deserve to run this country.)
· Sometimes when Editor is doing his Jonah act “Why, God, do you persecute America so much by saddling it with such incompetent leaders?” he finds it calming to consider the Nobel Prize lot that gave Mr. Obama a Nobel for Peace before Mr. Obama had done a single thing for peace. Here was the US President, not even completed one term as senator, with no record of anything except the Big Yak, and they gave him the Nobel prize on the basis of the Big Yak? Is not the Nobel committee supposed to consist of the Best and the Brightest? Or is that the explanation for its perfectly useless decision?
· Speaking of Nobels for Peace. The committee made itself into an Ignoble Committee by overlooking the brave little Pakistani girl who defied the Taliban’s attempts to shut down girls’ schooling and was shot in the head and almost died as a result. Instead, they gave it to a UN group mandated to destroy Syria’s chemical arsenal. But what sacrifice, what brave deed did the UN group do? An agreement was negotiated by the big powers, the group, as a servant of the UN, was told to go in and do its thing. How does it deserve anything? The Taliban, after failing the first time to silence her, have now declared she is to be killed. Yet she continues to preach her gospel of education for girls. She’s 15-years old or something. She can never return home now. And she can never feel safe overseas, because the Taliban have plenty of agents who can try to murder her no matter where in the world she is.
· Internet ads So there’s one that says you can feed your family for $10 month, and says the man who came up by this plan is feared by grocery stores. The system was invented by the ancient Babylonians. It is called growing your own food. The concept is so revolutionary that Senate Bill 501 tries to ban it- another government conspiracy. Maybe we didn’t read Senate Bill 501 right, but it says nothing about growing food, it has got to do with FDA powers to inspect food – but excludes growers under $500,000/annually.
· There’s another ad that you will be shocked at how easy it is to learn a foreign language. The ads all feature buxom ladies scantily clothed. Not sure what this has to do with learning a foreign language. Unless the company provides you a buxom, scantily clad instructor, and to indemnify itself against law suits says in 1-point type “Not liable if you failed because you spent your time staring down the blouse of the instructor.”
· So Google is really, really smart in finding out which ads they should run on your screen, yes? So Editor is a perpetual on-line student at University Maryland University College. So does not matter which website he visits where in the world, there is an ad for UMUC. This does not seem clever to us. We are are being targeted because of typing in “umuc.edu” all the time to access the school’s website. We are already enrolled, so stop already, please, Google algorithm.
· Senator Lindsey Graham refuses to permit any nominee to come up before him for hearings until he is satisfied about the Benghazi cover-up. We have followed the Benghazi story fairly closely, and it seems to us two things were at work. Whatever the CIA was doing in that town was covert. So the information is available to only those Congress folks who are cleared for it.
· That is half the story. The other half of the story is that the US ambassador should not have been there with a minimal escort, as there is no secret that a very dangerous situation existed. So why did the ambassador go? He either was connected to the covert mission, or he went for his personal business. If he was on covert work, well, Senator Graham is unlikely to be told what was up in open session, is he? If the ambassador went on personal work, he did something he should not have done. Now that he is dead, do we really want to rake up all that personal stuff?
· Personally we pay no heed to all the cries of outrage about the people being misled. The people are not entitled to know about covert ops and what went right or wrong. If Senator Graham doesn’t like that, he should work to abolish covert ops. Personally we think that is not a bad idea, but we suspect 99% of Americans won’t agree with us.
· Talking about covert ops someone in Pakistan done gone murdered one of the big leaders of the Haqqani network, in public, on the outskirts of Islamabad. Boo hoo. The Haqqanis are possibly the leading killers of Americans in Afghanistan, and they belong lock, stock, barrel to Pakistan ISI. So as far as Editor is concerned, the only good Haqqani is a dead Haqqani. US has knocked off three of the family using UAvs.
· So naturally there is speculation the US did him in. Possibly, but the man did travel all the time to North Waziristan and worked from there. This looks more like an ISI hit, perhaps to remind the Haqqanis not to get any ideas about acting independent of its handlers, or a dispute with another insurgent group. In Pakistan, as in North India, the concept of the blood feud rules. So it might even have been someone with a personal grudge.
Thursday 0230 GMT November 14, 2013
We had to skip Wednesday November 13 because Editor has his last paper for the semester due as well as articles for which he – unusually – is being paid. Orbat.com is now 13 ½ years old. The business model was that “World Armies” would provide a better product than Jane’s, and enable the Editor to make a modest living and sufficient time and money to make the rest of the website into a high quality but free site that would continue after the Editor’s – er – appointment with the gentleman in the red satin clown suit and the large fork. Hasn’t happened. So thirteen and a half years later is Editor prepared to shift to a different business model? Well, he hasn’t been able to think of another model. So he sticks with what he does best: Bash On Regardless.
· The Affordable Care Act (Oh no, not again!) We received flak from some readers about our criticism of the ACA and its implementation. We are not printing the letters because they are based on a misreading of the Editor’s argument. Or maybe he did not explain well enough. Readers have brought up two points. (a) ACA will replace rotten health plans with good plans; (b) People are losing plans because so many states have refused to provide the necessary subsidies under Medicare; and (c) the number of policies signed for is much larger than the total used by opponents of the ACA, which focuses only on individuals with health plans
· Last first. We have said nothing about the numbers. We assume that once the glitches are sorted out, and repairs/modifications to the ACA made, the numbers will rise. Nonetheless, the numbers of healthy uninsured people signing up entirely relevant. The money to keep ACA affordable for all who take advantage it was supposed to come from the healthy uninsured group. So the ACA, contrary to what its supporters said, is going to up health care costs, which means increased taxes or a bigger deficit. But everyone knew this, so we are unsure why this is even an issue to be discussed. The ACA is very much about forcing more people into plans from which the insurance folks will benefit, because federal subsidies are supposed to make plans affordable for those who lose individual coverage.
· Next, our criticism was directed to the Administration, for lying about no one losing coverage, keeping their own doctors, and so on. The Administration knew this was going to happen and that the ACA’s success is based on this happening. As for people being forced out of rotten plans into good ones, we agree that is a noble objective. But because half the states are not prepared to take federal subsidies, the folks with rotten plans now have NO plans or face huge increases in premiums. How does this help anyone.
· Last, and we hope this will be the end of the discussion, it is entirely true that half the states have refused to take federal subsidies. There is a good reason and a bad reason for this. The good reason is the states have no assurance at some point the feds won’t reduce subsidies, forcing states to pick up the difference. The bad reason is many of the states hate Mr. Obama’s intestines and will take every opportunity to sabotage anything that gives his party more votes. But hello, this is called politics. More to our point, how is it the Administration’s best and brightest never foresaw this happening? These best and brightest, regardless of political affiliation, are destroying this country and that’s all there is to it. They are so arrogant they don’t see the need to get the consent of ordinary folks, or if they get consent, it is under false pretenses. The GOP did this with Iraq and Afghanistan, the Democrats are doing it with ACA, and both parties are doing it with the so-called War On Terror. We do not need the best and the brightest. We need honest people with simple, workable ideas.
· At no point has Editor said the right-wingers are correct and the left is wrong. BOTH sides are working together to make this country a 3rd rate power while their real constituents, Mr. and Ms. Money Bags, flourish. No one is saying both sides are deliberately putting America into a decline. But that is the effect of their policies, which provide short-term profits to the 1% at the cost of the country.
· There used to be a consensus in America: the rich and advantaged would make money, but they would also look after the poor and disadvantaged. People realized that impoverishing the 99% to make the 1% hugely rich was (a) anti-Christian; and (b) a threat to the stability the rich need in order to make money.
· That consensus gas broken down because the 1% have decided they want it all and they want it now. Their view of government is that it exists to (a) make them richer; (b) keep the 99% passive and quiet and suppressed so that they don’t create lawlessness and disorder.
· There are several things wrong with this on a purely practical level. First, the agents of repression – the people who make local, state, and federal government work, are going to realize they’re being taken for a ride by their government masters. They will refuse to repress anyone. Cant happen? What do the 1% think has been happening all over the world including the Former Soviet Union. Second, if you don’t look after the 99%, who is going to do the work that makes the 1% ultra-rich? Because of globalization, the 1% ditched American workers and replaced them with Chinese and Indian workers. But this cannot continue because as those countries develop, they are no longer going to be a source of cheap labor. China is already heading that way; in terms of white collar workers – where India excels – India is also heading that way.
· It is not in the long term interest of the 1% to keep repressing the 99%. If these people are really as smart as they tell us they should see that. But they don’t, because they too are Attention Deficit We Want It All Now people. By the way, the rich seem to think the upper middle class is their ally. One groans at the ignorance. The upper middle class is also getting badly squeezed. And remember what Hannah Arendt used to say: revolutions are made by the middle class, not the poor. The poor have nothing to lose and cannot rise from the business of making it from one day to the next. It’s the middle class that has everything to lose. When people who make $150,000 household income start feeling that everything is being taken away from them – and they do – then, 1% rich friends, it is the start of the beginning of the end.
Tuesday 0230 GMT November 12, 2013
· Iran Last Saturday the Six that have been participating in resumed negotiations with Iran about freezing its N-program adjourned with France objecting at the last minute. The Six – known as the P5+1 but easier to remember as Six – are Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States, and Germany. Negotiations are to resume eight days from now.
· Why are folks negotiating when a while ago it seemed the Six had called it a day after years of frustrating talks that seemed to go nowhere? Assigning cause and effect to Iran’s actions is problematical because the regime is quite opaque. Not helping is that while the Grand Ayatollah is a final authority of sorts, there are several faction competing for power and always willing to play hardball to increase their influence. So we hesitate to say US-led sanctions have forced the regime to the negotiating table. At the same time, the sanctions have bitten very hard and the people are hurting badly. Iran is quite the police state, at the same time, even in police states when people are pushed to the wall they tend to revolt. So the regime does have to take the people into account, though obviously not in the same way a democracy must.
· We’re not going to get into the details of the discussions and who wants what and when and where. France’s objection, which unnamed diplomats have characterized as last-minute spanners-in-the-machinery for the purpose of proving to its partners that Paris is still very relevant to any agreement, is actually reasonable. France wants work on the Arak plutonium production reactor frozen because the project could be complete before a final agreement is reached.
· The Israelis are going bananas, and understandably because their entire strategy vis-à-vis Iran nuclear has fallen apart. Their strategy has been to spread alarm about how Iran is just about to go nuclear and must be stopped. Preferably with the US making an attack while Israel sits on the sidelines griping about how they would have done it so much better. The Israelis say Iran cannot be trusted and no negotiations should be taken place because Iran is using negotiations to stall while it comes up with N-weapons, next month, next three months, or the next six months. The Israelis keep coming up with these estimates which they plant in the western press, and the estimates are magically pulled out of the air to suit whatever is the immediate Israeli agenda.
· Readers will notice that Iran has been on the verge of acquiring N-weapons for several years now. Let us say most politely that our Israeli friends have been taking the world for a ride. Let us also add in all fairness that they have every reason to assume the worst and to use any means necessary to force the US/West into attacking Iran. The Jewish people went through one Holocaust barely seventy years ago, and the Iranians, charming as ever, keep threatening to wipeout Israel even if it means they will die in the Israeli N-retaliation. It’s easy for outsiders to say “Oh, it’s just rhetoric on Israel’s part”. Us outsiders are not going to suffer if Editor is wrong and the Iranians really are (a) close to N-weapons; and (b) will actually use them.
· People supporting making an agreement with Iran argue that if the Iranians wanted to make N-weapons, they would have done so. So, they don’t want to. Such persons have their heads stuck up the nether regions of a moronic donkey. We have to say a moronic donkey because actually the donkey tribe are among the savviest of animals. This line of reasoning lacks any reasoning. Iran has not gone nuclear because it has not been able to, not because it doesn’t want to. Its negotiating position after it goes nuclear is so much stronger that we’d have to believe the Iranian regime are idiots by not going nuclear when actually they can.
· (Parenthetically we do sometimes wonder why Iran just doesn’t fake being a nuclear power, like DPRK and till just a couple of years ago, Pakistan.)
· After having slammed the Israelis for conning the world – or at least trying to – about the imminent emergence of Iran as a N-power, let us do one of those 180-degree turns Editor is so famous for. We happen to agree with the Israelis that (a) the Iranians are not to be trusted; and (b) they WILL go nuclear when they can regardless of any agreements they sign. We arrive at this conclusion by looking at the problem backward.
· To believe Iran will agree to truly freeze its N-program is to believe the following. (a) That Iran is not interested in competing with Saudi Arabia for Middle East supremacy. (b) That Iran is not worried about the prospect that Saudi has dibs on Pakistan nuclear warheads. (c) That Iran takes the US’s word that US will restrain Israel from attacking Iran’s N-program. (d) That Iran accepts the US word that America will not invade Iran – as opposed to a de-nuclearization strike. (e) That Iran believes the US has no intention to change the Iranian regime.
· Americans seem to have a congenital inability to puts themselves in other people’s shoes. Or at least, if they do, they don’t give a hang what other people think. But if our readers, at least, can put themselves in the Iranians’ shoes, they will see that the Iranians would have to become mushrooms incapable of thought before they believe these things. Iran gains zero by giving up its N-program. It loses right now by not giving it up. The solution is not to give up the program, but to stall for time – exactly what the Israelis are saying.
· Unfortunately for the Israelis, they have to realize by now that they cannot get the US to make a strike on their behalf. We’re not going into why the US has suddenly become coyly maidenish about the possibility of attacking; suffice it to say the US has very good reasons to avoid making that final decision.
· The Israelis must face the reality that they have to make a strike by themselves. Militarily it is not anywhere near as difficult as some people who say 25, 50, 100, 250 targets will have to be struck. We can discuss this sometime if our readers want. The Israelis can do the job with discreet help from the US. There will be consequences. Israel’s aim is to avoid those consequences by having the US do the job. But when Israel cannot persuade the US, it has to go solo.
Monday 0230 GMT November 11, 2013
· The Best and the Brightest Are Going To Sink America One of the things about America that has – till recently - surprised the Editor is the outright anti-intellectualism. Editor is an intellectual and proud to be one. Someone has to come up with ideas and to discuss their pros and cons. Editor acknowledges people who do things with their hands are as important, something most intellectuals do not realize. Editor believes in a partnership between thinkers and doers; thinkers are not automatically superior because doers are not so great at thinking. If it were not for these folks, who would make our ideas real?
· But after the Obamacare deal, Editor now understands why Americans are anti-intellectual. Was a time when the intellectual could not do anything without the doers – the engineers, craftsmen, worker etc. If the doers could not actualize the intellectual’s ideas, well, that was the end of it. Nowdays, however, it seems intellectuals can cause enormous damage just by giving orders. Take Obamacare as an example: it’s a bunch of rules and software, it is not like someone is manufacturing something and imposing a reality check on the intellectuals.
· This Best and Brightest thing started when Editor was young, with McNamara and Kennedy. McNamara was a data wizard and organizational genius. Supported by youngsters who loved data as much as he did, he completely changed the way the Department of Defense functioned. It may be agreed that he did good things. Before McNamara, there was little systematic thinking about defense and not a whole lot of efficiency. For example, the US had a vast reserve army structure but not the equipment for all those divisions. So he reduced the National Guard to eight high-readiness divisions and eliminated all Army Reserve combat divisions. It didn’t look good on paper. The Soviets were credited with 300 active and reserve divisions, US came down to 28 including the Marines. But US reserve divisions could be quickly prepared for war, the Soviet reserve divisions were mostly rubbish – as was the case for most of their active divisions. Probably only 40 divisions were worth anything in wartime, the Soviet Group of Forces Germany and the first follow-on echelon.
· But when it came to actually fighting a war, McNamara and his like proved to be total failures. They had all these fancy ideas about “gradual response”. All that did in Vietnam was permit the enemy to adapt to every fresh induction of US troops. Had the US sent ten divisions and 1000 fighters to Vietnam in 1965-66, the war would have been over in a year or two, with the North Vietnamese Army forced into China for its survival. You can legitimately ask “and what then?”, but it can legitimately be noted that the strategy the Pointy Heads came up was a massive failure from Day One.
· The US won the Cold War not by any fancy thinking, but by jumping the defense budget to the point the Soviets – who we now know were economically much weaker than they appeared at the time – realized they simply could not compete. The way the US won First Gulf was gathering everything it had and clobbering the Iraqi military. One million coalition forces took part, half of them American. No deep intellectual thinking here.
· But somewhere along the line, the Pointy Heads got this great idea: the US must fight to make the world democratic. Earlier we fought to protect western democracies who were under threat, or – as in Korea – to protect our global position. There was little ideology involved. Using military force to create democracies where none previously existed was a novel intellectual idea. And we know how well that has gone.
· Similarly it was the Pointy Heads that came up with the idea America didn’t need to manufacture anything, global economic superiority arose from coming up with ideas. We know how well that has gone. Our wages, which used to be highest in the world, are now so low that we have actually begun competing with China on manufacturing.
· Editor’s enlightenment on the Road To Damascus regarding why Americans hate intellectuals has come with Obamacare. Editor has already started seeing how dishonest the intellectuals had been about Iraq and Afghanistan – not just in what got us involved, but the way the wars were fought. The US military is universally admired globally because so many of its senior officers are highly educated, and so – intellectual. That they are so intellectual they cannot fight their way out of a paper bag seems to have evaded most Americans and foreigners.
· Now America learns that the President’s team knew from the start that millions of folks were going to lose their individual coverage. And they wanted it that way because - now we learn – forcing all these folks into ACA coverage was necessary to get sufficient numbers enrolled in the health care exchanges. Fair enough. But the President and his team not only did not think it necessary to share this information with the public, they believed we the ordinary folks were too stupid to understand the benefits of the ACA. So the truth had to be hidden from us, and soothing words such as “When people get ACA coverage they will realize what a great deal they have.”
· This is akin to forcing folks to take a new pill without telling them it makes them infertile for ten years, and urging them on with the promise it will be so much better after the pill. Then when people realize they cant have kids for 10 years, the Government says “but you see, with fewer people the stress on the environment will be less, and so you will be so much better off.”
· All this may be true, but in a democracy are we not supposed to be told the truth and permit us to make decisions for ourselves? The idea, of course, was to prevent such a debate which the President’s people feared would be taken over by his opponents who would misrepresent his ideas. So what the Obamacare folk were really saying is their idea was so weak they could not counter the right-wing’s propaganda.
· The Obamacare folks have sought to shift the blame to states that refused to expand Medicaid. This has denied people the opportunity to get subsidized coverage. So we are now confronted by the inevitable: the Pointy Heads are such blithering idiots that they could not tell half the states are governed by Obama haters? They could not make a plan that accounted for this?
· Well, yes. They couldn’t make a plan which accounted for this. They couldn’t make a plan that could be sold on its merits. THEY decided they knew best, and us Stoopids were to be corralled into the ACA for our own good.
· Seems to us we’ve heard that before – Stalin, Mao, and Hitler come to mind. The European Union is getting there. And we all know how well Stalin, Mao, and Hitler achieved nirvana for the ordinary folks.
· None of the above rant is to dispute that health care for all is needed, else the uninsured merely shift their costs to those of us who pay taxes. The ACA was originally a GOP idea, and there’s nothing wrong if a good idea enriches business people while helping everyone. The Tea Party should be all for something like the ACA if only to stop freeloaders, which they correctly hate. BTW, do Tea Party types actually drink tea? Just wondering.
· What was wrong with coming up with a plan that gave people the choice: get insurance, or if you don’t want insurance, you cannot get treatment except if health care providers are willing to give it free. You cannot make the rest of us pay for your choices. Such a plan would have been honest. Moreover, except for the most extreme anti-government types, most Americans would have been willing to pay a bit extra to make sure the plans were subsidized for the poorest.
· Alas, this goes back to something Editor has been saying. America has become a nation of liars. Don’t want to get all biblical about this, but lying is a sin. It was made a sin by the religious folks back in the day, the ones who gave us ethics under the threat God will punish us because lying destroys individual lives and it destroys societies.
· Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Nuclear Weapons According to an investigative report by the BBC http://tinyurl.com/ohupw4w Pakistan has nuclear warheads ready to be shipped to Saudi Arabia any time the latter wants them. Saudi has said it will not tolerate a nuclear Iran. With the US less-and-less likely to destroy Iran’s nuclear program, and with moves underway between the Six and Iran on curbing its nuclear program, Saudi Arabia has become more agitated. Like Israel, it sees all this as an Iranian bluff that the US is being suckered into. That, anyway, is the polite version of how the Saudis feel; there are other versions which are considerably less kind to the US.
· Now, Editor is not going to get into the plausibility of the BBC’s investigation results. It is not his job to defend Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. The days when the Editor took on these stories and did his own investigations for the sake of the truth and getting a little attention are long since gone. He doesn’t have the time anymore, nor does he have patrons that would provide a minimal living and cover travel costs while he works. So Editor is going to treat it as given that Pakistan has nuclear warheads and can hand them over to Saudi Arabia at any time.
· Editor’s argument is going to be entirely separate. The argument is that the US has zero credibility with anyone in the world when it comes to nuclear non-proliferation. Its entire program goal is not to make the world a safer place, but to rearrange the nuclear world to suit itself.
· To be clear: there is nothing wrong with this. Securing their interest is what countries do. What grates is the totally fake air of morality that the US puts on when it comes to Other People’s N-weapons.
· First, US is the only country to have actually used the weapons. Editor agrees whole-heartedly with the US’s use in World War II, and regrets only that the US didn’t bomb the Soviet Union before the latter got its own nuclear weapons. Again, however, this argument is not about what the Editor thinks. It is what the world thinks of US non-proliferation efforts. US has at times considered using N-weapons after World War II, for example, against China during the Korean War. (Another pity that the US turned out to be a gutless wonder when it refused to do the needful.) Accordingly, the entire US anti-nuclear weapons drive smacks of false piety.
· Second, US never has anything to say about its own N-weapons, or those of its allies UK/France. The US says: “But of course WE can be trusted with N-weapons because WE are responsible people. “ The rest of the world goes “Ha. Ha. Right. Do tell. You don’t say. And who has intervened all the world more than the US?” This shows the US is not against N-weapons. It is against anyone but its best buddies having them.
· Third, US has never punished Israel or South Africa for their acquisition of N-weapons. In Israel’s case it has been directly complicit. So again we have a situation if the US deems it necessary to its interests, other people can have N-weapons. Only if you as a country are deemed not be in the US interests, are you to be denied and punished for N-weapons or for the attempt to acquire them.
· Fourth, there’s Pakistan. Pakistan has pursued an active N-weapons program for 40 years. At various times, US has sanctioned Pakistan. At other times, it has turned a Nelsonian eye, for example during the First and Second Afghan Wars.
· What is truly strange about the US tolerance of Pakistan’s N-weapons program, is that Pakistan is an active nuclear proliferator: it has sold technology to Libya, Saudi, and North Korea. North Korean cargo ships are stopped and boarded for inspection on suspicion that they may be carrying weapons to other countries the US doesn’t like – like Cuba. Never heard of a Pakistani ship being stopped and searched.
· Still further, Pakistan’s Father of The Bomb, Dr. A.Q. Khan, was actually in the process of making a deal to sell Al Qaeda two nuclear weapons when the 9/11 thing came down. We don’t think AQ intended to use them for decorating Osama’s living room. Oh yes, the US made many threats to Pakistan – but they were of the variety “if you ever do this again”. Pakistani weapons would have blown big holes in New York and Washington, but Pakistan was, and remains, a US ally.
· Next, US’s Best Friend Forever, China. China supplied 50-kg of weapons grade uranium to Pakistan. But China has never been punished.
· The collaboration between Saudi and Pakistan on N-weapons has been long known. Saudi has provided money, and continues to do so. The Saudis are not doing this because they are simply loveable people. “You have a N-weapons program? Please, let us give you a bunch of money. No, we don’t want anything in return. We’re giving you the money because we want you to be successful with N-weapons. Sheer goodness of our heart.” Right. That rings really true, doesn’t it?
Thursday 0230 GMT November 7, 2013
· India kowtows to China again Editor supposes India is getting ready for when China becomes the biggest economy in the world. It is doing serious practice of kissing China’s butt. No need to ask what is India’s plan for when China is economic Number One. We already know: India will lie back and think of England in winter. A greater bunch of knaves, poltroons, morons, and idiots cannot be found outside of the Government of India. We are Number One in few things, but in running up the Yellow flag, we are by far and away Number One. In fact, Editor is going to have to come up with a new name for Indian yellowness.
· And no, Indian Yellow is not the name. Believe it or not, Editor wanted to be a painter in his youth, so he can tell you Indian Yellow is a perfectly decent color. They used to feed cows an exclusive diet of mango leaves, and the pigment was made when the cows went Number One. We need a new name like Poopy Indian Yellow or something.
· Here is what the Government of India had done most recently. It has downsized an annual Indo-US naval exercise. Why? Because the Chinese objected and we don’t want to offend the Chinese. And what are the Chinese doing for India in return? Trying to force the Indian Navy from transiting the South China Sea, surrounding India with naval bases, intruding several times a month on Indian territory, being Best Friends Forever with India’s mortal adversary Pakistan, occupying Indian territory both in East Ladakh and in North Ladakh, and leasing large parts of Indian Kashmir presently under Pakistani occupation for economic exploitation. And protecting their leases with their own security troops.
· Why on earth does the Government of India care one hang-nail what the Chinese think of our relationship with the US? How is it China’s business by any measure? Why does the Government of India and its Ministry of External Affairs take their marching orders from Beijing? We know China is working towards making India – and all neighboring states – into tributaries, but has India already reached that point?
· Why is the Government of India not telling China to get its nose out of our affairs? Because you have only to say “China!” and the Government of India goes all Poopy Indian Yellow. How does New Delhi expect to ever get any respect from Beijing when New Delhi does not even respect itself?
· Now let us be clear. According to Editor, India should NOT be holding any exercises with the United States. Reasons for Editor’s position can be discussed another time. Editor is not irate at GOI because it has reduced the scope of the naval exercises. Editor is irate because we’re acting at China’s behest after Beijing went “Boo! The Boogerman is going to get you!”, and the GOI is afflicted from an immediate and nauseatingly stinky case of terminal runs.
· Don’t the people care that their government’s chief function in life seems to be to humiliate the country? Why are we putting up with these cowards, who are hopelessly inefficient and massively corrupt to boot? India’s GDP growth is coming down to 4-5%, which means tens of millions of Indians, who have already waited near seven decades for the government to save them from crippling poverty, must wait again. If it was possible to sue the Government of India for dereliction of duty, failure to perform basic functions, criminal negligence, and making hundreds of millions of people suffer in abject poverty, the current and past governments of India would be jailed serving 100-year sentences. On Mars. Without space suits.
Wednesday 0230 GMT November 6, 2013
Another conversation with our Washington insider source
Who by now you have guessed is not one person
· Q: So why are the Republicans still getting so het up about Obamacare? They thing looks as if it will fail of its own contradictions.
· A: Aren’t you forgetting that Obamacare was actually a Republican program intended to force all Americans to buy insurance – from private companies, i.e., their big bucks sugar mommys? Despite all the farce in Congress, it’s the Tea Party who wants it to fail, not the mainline GOP.
· Q: Fair enough. But isn’t it going to fail? For one thing it doesn’t look like enough healthy people will sign up. Also, the millions of individual buyers who are being kicked off because the insurance companies can make more money not servicing them.
· A: We already knew from the start the ACA was not going to be revenue neutral, that it would become another entitlement. The Tea Party may be whacko birds but it doesn’t mean everything they say is nonsense. It doesn’t matter who is being kicked off the individual insurance, there will be adjustments made to the plans and they’ll have insurance sooner or later. This is going to be another subsidy and by golly Americans of every political shape do love their subsidies. This is going to be wildly popular.
· Q: You’ve said that a number of times. But I don’t see it: people are upset and angry.
· A: You don’t study much of American political history, I take it.
· Q: Try and avoid politics of all countries.
· A: Okay, so let me explain. When FDR introduced Social Security, go back and read the newspapers. You’d think a whole lot of America was going to secede, they were so angry about the socialism. Heard anyone criticize Social Security lately? It was the same with Medicare. It upset many no end. Heard anyone complain about it lately? Talk to me in ten years about Obamacare: the same folks who want to kill someone over Obamacare will kill you if you try and take it away.
· Q: But wasn’t it wrong for the President to say you can keep your plan and your doctor?
· A: You’re forgetting he’s a lawyer as much as Clinton. The Administration knew darn well people were going to lose their insurance. But did Obama say you can keep your plan and doctor at the same price?
· Q: But is that not lying?
· A: Sure. What are you going to do about? All politicians lie. All people in power lie. Lying is our national pastime.
· Q: But isn’t is cruel when you know people are going to lose their insurance and you don’t do anything about?
· A: The Administration arranged for subsidies through Medicare for people being kicked off. There was no intention that they should have to face 5X increases with no where to go.
· Q: Right. But didn’t the Administration anticipate that so many GOP states would refuse to take advantage of the subsidy?
· A: You tell me. Mr. Obama is supposed to be smarter than God – at least that’s what his people say. You going to question someone smarter than God?
· Q: But isn’t the roll-out disaster going to cripple his presidency?
· A: First, the American people have the attention span of a gant. Second, you’ve already heard me say many times the man’s entire presidency is a disaster because he is not a politician. He’s another of the “Best and Brightest” that led us to disaster in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan. A politician gets down in the muck and cuts deals. This man seems to think that because He Has Spoken, anyone who disagrees with him is sub-IQ. He does not like people. With one exception. He loves himself and the sound of his voice. Third, if he does not get the House back in 2014, he’s cooked – though it could hardly get worse than it is. If he gets the House back – which thanks to the Tea Boys he well may – he’ll get his way, and then God will have to help America because no one else can.
· Q: What do you suggest should be done?
· A: Migrate to Canada.