Currently viewing the tag: "Stealth"

As the Republican led House, and many Republicans, and some Democrats, in the Senate look to keep the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases, Mr. Obama has quietly implemented his own rules

On March 4th, in a move surely designed to side-step Congress, Obama’s Council on Environmental Quality issued instructions to all federal agencies on how to adapt to climate change. All agencies, from the Food and Drug Administration to the Department of Defense, will be required to analyze their vulnerabilities to the impacts from climate change and come up with a plan to adapt. Thousands of governmental employees will be trained on climate science, like it or not.

The changes aren’t limited to just federal agencies. Countless numbers of private businesses that sell, build, provide logistics or maintenance, or anything else to the government will be forced to comply with new Federal climate adaptation guidelines—all because of Presidential Executive Order 13514.

Got that? Any company that has dealings with the Federal government will have to implement all the requirements of EO 13514, which include things like

  • Appoint a Climate Adaptation specialist
  • Establish an Agency wide Climate Change Adaptation Policy and Mandate by June 2011
  • Participate in Climate Adaptation workshops and then educate all employees throughout 2011
  • Identify and analyze climate vulnerabilities that would interfere with accomplishing the Agency’s mission by March 2012
  • Implement the adaptation plan by September 2012

No wonder Obama has avoided most talk about “climate change”: he’s stealthily implemented the Warmist idiocy.

Say, I wonder if this would apply to anyone paying taxes?

It also “requires Federal Agencies to set a 2020 greenhouse gas emissions reduction target within 90 days; increase energy efficiency; reduce fleet petroleum consumption; conserve water; reduce waste; support sustainable communities; and leverage Federal purchasing power to promote environmentally-responsible products and technologies.”

So, the power of the federal government will be used to push one product over another. So much for a fair and impartial government.

Crossed at Right Wing News and Stop The ACLU.

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Over the weekend, Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) secretly removed from a state building an 11-panel mural depicting working families’ history. Like Republican state legislators in Wisconsin who passed a bill killing collective bargaining through a series of dirty tricks, Maine’s Republican governor operates away from the public eye-despite being an elected official accountable to taxpayers.

LePage resembles Wisconsin Republicans in another way-giving jobs to personal connections, in this case, his daughter.  LePage made sure his 22-year-old daughter got an entry-level job in the Governor’s office paying $ 41,000-$ 10,000 more than those who pass teacher and police tests. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s top aides found a comfy job—with a $ 12,000 raise—for the girlfriend of one of his staunchest allies.

Like Walker, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and other newly-elected Republican lawmakers, LePage turns his nose up at democracy. During a rally Friday in Maine to protest the removal of the mural, an artist at the rally suggested

that people form a human chain to block the mural’s removal. When asked what he would do if that happened, Governor LePage said, “I’d laugh at them, the idiots. That’s what I would do. Come on! Get over yourselves!”

Last week, LePage sparked outrage in the state and across the nation when he ordered the removal of a 36-foot mural depciting the state’s labor history from the Department of Labor. The mural  in part depicts a 1986 paper mill strike and “Rosie the Riveter” at Bath Iron Works.

AFL-CIO NOW BLOG

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Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has already proven he doesn’t care about the will of his constituents. Now, he thinks he’s above the law.

In a late Friday move-so as to get little media attention-Walker defied a court ruling and published the bill killing collective bargaining rights for the public employees. A judge had issued a restraining order on the law, passed by state Assembly and Senate in a set of dirty-trick moves. The restraining order barred its publication, but apparently the rule of law doesn’t apply to Walker.

The Wisconsin Law Journal reports that the Republican state senate leadership sees publication of the bill as enacting the law-in short, bypassing due process in the court system.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, who said he went to the Reference Bureau with the idea, wasted no time in saying that the law’s online publication meant it would take effect Saturday. His brother, Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald, agreed, according to a spokesman.

“It’s my opinion it’s published, it’s on the legislative website, it’s law,” Scott Fitzgerald said. “It was clear to me after our discussions this morning, if it in fact it is posted and it says published and there’s a specific date on it, it would be very hard to argue this was not law.”

Not so, says Dane County Circuit Judge Sarah O’Brien, who

refused to take up a request for emergency action made late Friday by the Democratic district attorney, Ismael Ozanne, saying there was no “critical urgency” in her addressing the posting because the temporary restraining order preserves the status quo. She said she didn’t know what effect the online posting had, and that the issue could wait until a previously scheduled hearing Tuesday in one of the lawsuits challenging the law’s legitimacy.

With residents now calling their state ”FitzWalkerstan” because of the Fitzgeralds’ close ties to Walker, seems to show again how dictatorships often start with Troikas.

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Attacking ground troops?


NBC has a fairly comprehensive report on the American attack on Libyan forces this morning, complete with totals thus far on cruise missiles (114 of them) and attacks by stealth bombers on air-defense systems, with 20 of those targeted. Military airstrips around the country have been bombed as well, up to 40 of them. Libya [...]

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Big Peace

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Chinese give up after stealth move was exposed.
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Will Obama behave like a good puppet?
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We are steps closer to becoming the Unionized States of America.
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In the aftermath of the current economic downturn, German policy makers turned to Keynesianism with ambivalence, hesitation, and no small amount of bad faith. Notoriously fearful of debt, government spending, and state power, the German government was among the last in the G-20 to adopt a stimulus package, as one might well have expected. And yet, German stimulus measures were actually more than met the eye and represented one of the more extensive efforts in Europe, though the rhetoric surrounding the debate over the package hewed closely to traditional German narratives about fiscal probity, debt, and inflation. This inconsistency between rhetoric and reality also characterized the German turn to austerity in summer 2009. While excoriating the Greeks for fiscal profligacy and egged on by an unsavory public discourse about southern European work habits, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced plans to cut euro 80 billion from the German federal budget over the next four years. And yet, these cuts amounted to less than they appeared and spared politically powerful groups.

Much of the puzzling aspects of the German response to the crisis can be explained with reference to the ideas that lie at the center of German understandings of the role of the state and a distinctly German variant of liberalism, which I term “corporate liberalism.” This tradition is quite different from the Anglo-American liberal tradition of expansive markets and limited states, but is no less liberal for that. The German variant assumes groups to be integral components of the social and political order and conceives of equality and political responsibility largely in group terms. Its conceptual core rests on the tension between liberty and group responsibility, with each group responsible for the welfare of its members and sharing political responsibility with other groups. The state’s role in this tradition is to establish and maintain the legal and institutional context and to intervene when necessary to support a competitive, fair framework. This tradition grew out of the Ordoliberalism of the inter-war period, which rejected the more atomistic liberalism of Smith and Hayek and was reinterpreted after World War II by the architects of the German Social Market Economy at the dawn of the Economic Miracle.

With the financial meltdown of 2007-2008 and the prolonged downturn that has followed in its wake, German policy makers turned to demand stimulus in order to boost economic growth, though in ways that were true to this tradition. At first glance, Germany’s response indeed seemed to conform to conventional images of a country fearful of inflation and debt, ambivalent about state power, and skeptical about government intervention in the economy. Its stimulus package was adopted much later than most. In November 2008, when the government finally unveiled it, it did so with reluctance and apparently ruling out additional future spending. Merkel stated flatly that Germany would not join other countries “in a senseless race to spend billions,” and Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück claimed that the package was “not a stimulus package of the old style.” So far, so traditional.

As it turned out, this rhetoric was misleading as to both the substance and scope of German efforts. The two measures were more extensive than those of most other European countries, amounting to a full 3.4% of GDP, despite moderate baseline jobless rates, deficits, and levels of debt. The first law, whose wooden moniker Konjunkturpaket I (“Economic Conditions Package I”) revealingly avoided any mention of “stimulus,” provided for a trivial euro 12 billion (0.25% of GDP) of additional spending, which Merkel claimed hopefully would trigger about euro 50 billion in total investment. This apparent reluctance to adopt a robust Keynesian strategy was certainly not dictated by fiscal circumstances in Germany, which was among the few advanced countries with a balanced budget in 2008. In response to widespread criticism, including a surprising push by the country’s five conservative economic “wise men” to expand spending, the government announced a second in February 2009. This legislation provided euro 50 billion in additional spending (about 1.4% of GDP) and included euro 17 billion for infrastructure and a euro 2500-per-person rebate for drivers who trade in old cars for new, more environmentally friendly ones. The bulk of the package consisted of tax cuts for firms, a cut in payroll taxes, a small cut in personal income tax for the poor and increases in tax thresholds. The newly elected center-Right administration enacted a third measure in September 2009, dubbed the “Economic Growth Acceleration Act,” which consisted mostly of tax cuts, including an annual euro 2.4 billion for companies and euro 945 million in hotel VAT, as well as a euro 4.6 billion boost in child benefits.

These measures were informed by German corporate liberalism’s privileging of core constituencies, including industrial workers, families, and small and medium-sized enterprises. One of its key aims was to reduce taxes for the Mittelstand, the traditional backbone of the German economy and a symbol of Germany’s self-image as a hard-working, self-reliant exporter. The majority of the reductions (about 54% of the total) involved an increase in the standard per-child tax exemption coupled with a euro 20 increase in monthly child allowances. Merkel promoted the measure with a narrative of group-based prosperity, which fit well with its other, arguably more effective component: an extension of the Kurzarbeit (“short-time work”) program. Enacted under the previous government, this program provides subsidies for (mostly industrial) workers to compensate for wage reductions resulting from cuts in working hours, thereby limiting firms’ incentives to lay them off. This program was typical of German strategies of protecting jobs and subsidizing existing capital and labor constituencies rather than attempting to create new employment through the force of the state. It was also largely responsible for German firms’ avoidance of mass layoffs in 2008 and 2009, even as the economy shrank by an eye-popping annualized 7% in the last quarter of 2008, resulting in unemployment of only 7.6% in July 2010, compared to 9.6% in the US. This program offered many German workers income support and continued employment during the downturn and thus represented a sort of Keynesian “automatic stabilizer,” but avoided connotations of a profligate state in much the same way as the stimulus packages had focused disproportionately on tax cuts rather than high-profile spending measures.

Germany’s fiscal stimulus measures were thus surprising in their scope but broadly consistent with the German liberal tradition with respect to their composition and political packaging. Despite strong reluctance to boost spending and ambivalence about state intervention, Germany adopted the largest fiscal stimulus of all major European countries and the fifth largest in the G-20. In 2009, Germany’s total stimulus amounted to about $ 130.4 billion, which was almost six times as large as ostensibly statist France’s ($ 20.5 billion) in monetary terms and nearly five times as large as a percentage of GDP. This German strategy of “Keynesianism by stealth” prioritized tax cuts, subsidies to firms, and other masked measures that did not attract public criticism of public profligacy.

This past summer, mounting fears of (not to say hysteria about) a so-called European “sovereign debt crisis,” stemming from alarm at Greece’s fiscal situation and growing pressure in bond markets on other (mostly southern) European countries, led Germany to undertake a partial reversal of course. The government unveiled an austerity program that pledged to cut euro 80 billion from the budget by 2014. It proposed small cuts to pension contributions for the poor and cuts in heating subsidies and child benefits for some welfare recipients. However, the so-called Sparpaket sheltered the same groups (largely families and SMEs) that had been favored by the stimulus measures. The cuts were as much an exercise in symbolic politics as they were evidence of a commitment to fiscal rectitude. They left unemployment benefits untouched and continued funding of the Kurzarbeit program, as well as the child benefits and other targeted subsidies contained in the original stimulus packages. They largely spared the families and middle-class households who constitute the primary constituencies of Germany’s employment-based welfare state. In this sense, the SPD’s claim that the measure represents a “continuation of clientelistic politics” rings true. Just as Germany’s original stimulus was much more extensive than it appeared, the subsequent reversal was less dramatic than it appeared.

Germany’s response to the post-2007 crisis has thus been puzzling in a number of respects. It was among the last advanced industrial countries to turn to Keynesian demand stimulus but did so more extensively (but much less explicitly) than most other nations. Under the mantle of aggressive fiscal rectitude, it then enacted a series of budget cuts that were as much an exercise in symbolic politics as they were an embrace of fiscal austerity and which left most politically powerful constituencies relatively untouched. In both cases, there were significant discrepancies between rhetoric and reality. This fact alone is perhaps not surprising-this is politics, after all. What is surprising is the extent of these discrepancies and the coherence of an economic strategy couched in significantly inconsistent rhetoric.

Clearly, institutions-in this case automatic stabilizers such as the Kurzarbeit program, collaborative arrangements for cooperation between labor and capital, and the legally enshrined principle of self-administration by capital and labor-sheds light on some aspects of the German response (such as the reluctance to engage in aggressive industrial policy and the need to mask state efforts to revive the economy). To understand the contradictions and tensions within this response, however, we must also pay attention to ideas, as manifested in elite interpretations of the crisis and public expectations of government. Recent German experience reminds us that politics operates on both substantive and symbolic levels and that liberalism comes in many flavors, many of which taste remarkably different than the typical American recipe.

The Monkey Cage

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China’s President Hu Jintao was possibly hugely embarrassed on Tuesday during a meeting with US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in Beijing.

Robert Gates and Hu Jintao on Tuesday (VOA)Robert Gates and Hu Jintao on Tuesday (VOA)

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) conducted a major test of a stealth fighter on Tuesday. That alone would be a big signal to both Hu and Gates, given that it occurred just before their meeting.

But even worse, Hu appeared not to be even aware that the test had occurred when Gates asked him about it, according to the Wall Street Journal (Access).

Hu later acknowledged that the test flight had occurred, and assured Gates that the test was not directed at the U.S. The sequence of events indicates that hawkish elements in the PLA are taking control of military policy, overriding Hu’s civilian control.

During their meeting, Gates also said that within five years, North Korea will likely have a nuclear intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the United States, according to VOA. Gates asked Hu for help with this situation but, not surprisingly, no such help was offered.

According to an analysis in the Washington Post, the surprise flight test incident illustrates the weakness of Hu as a leader:

“The bizarre drama that Gates - a former U.S. intelligence chief who has dealt with China for decades - witnessed highlights a significant trend in Chinese politics as the fourth handover of power in communist China’s 62-year history approaches: the increasingly assertive voice of the People’s Liberation Army in the country’s foreign policy.

Throughout the past year, the PLA has been a catalyst in a series of national security crises. Chinese fishing vessels have clashed with Japanese and South Korean coast guard cutters near disputed islands in the Western Pacific. PLA officers have engaged in verbal fisticuffs with senior American officials from Singapore to Beijing.

And PLA officers have appeared on Chinese state television, enunciating, much to the chagrin of China’s senior diplomats, what appears to be an ever-expanding list of China’s core interests. …

To that end, the PLA has found a perfect foil in Hu - considered the weakest leader in communist China’s short history, said Andrei Chang, editor of Kanwa Asian Defense magazine. Chang said Hu’s apparent ignorance of the test was part of a “soap opera” that is unfolding as China changes leaders. Hu is slated to step down, and China’s vice president, Xi Jinping, who met with Gates on Monday, is expected to succeed him.”

Calling Hu “the weakest leader in communist China’s short history” is an interesting statement, but one that I fundamentally disagree with in the form stated.

A more accurate description is that Hu is a fine leader but an anachronism, someone who would have been more successful ten years ago.

Hu, born in 1942, is a member of China’s “Artist generation,” having been born and raised during China’s last crisis war, Mao’s bloody Communist Revolution that climaxed in 1949. As such, he is like America’s Silent Generation — people who are mediators and conciliators and implementers, but not decision makers. (See “Basics of Generational Dynamics.”)

Hu would never lead China’s central committee to declare war on the U.S., but once such a decision were made, he would implement it ruthlessly, as I described in my 2006 report, “Eerie similarity: Chinese President Hu Jintao and Donald Rumsfeld.”

Four years have passed since I wrote that report, and since that time, China’s “Nomad generation,” like America’s Generation-X, have moved powerfully into middle management positions throughout society. And just as the West’s Generation-X perpetrated the massive fraud in real estate securities that led to the global financial crisis (which is far from over and has barely begun), China’s new middle managers are exhibiting similar nihilism and destructiveness in their increasingly hegemonistic military policy. Unlike Hu, they are almost oblivious to the consequences of launching a war, and they would not hesitate to do so.

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Written by Oiwan Lam

Fauna from ChinaSMACK translates Chinese netizens' reaction to the recent J-20 stealth fighter test flight in China.

Global Voices in English

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(Stewart Baker)

The Center for Immigration Studies and Janice Kephart have released a remarkable new study about REAL ID, the controversial drivers license security requirements adopted to implement one of the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations. The law sets security standards for state licenses.  It was attacked from the start by civil libertarians as a privacy violation and by the National Governors Association as an $ 11 billion unfunded mandate. Reluctant either to wade into the controversy or to visibly retreat, the Obama Administration has been frozen at the stick since 2009, doing little to push the states to comply.

What the Kephart study shows is that, despite all its enemies and despite the Administration’s visible reluctance to act, REAL ID is in fact being widely implemented – and at a cost of roughly one-twentieth of what NGA claimed. This is good news for security and good news for people victimized by identity theft.




The Volokh Conspiracy

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Hours before Secretary of Defense Robert Gates landed in China, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) staged a test flight of its new stealth fighter, possibly termed the J-20.

In some quarters, it is being argued that this flight was deliberately scheduled to upstage the American visit. In the mystery that is Chinese politics, it is almost impossible to say whether this is actually the case or not; it is certainly just as possible that this was the result of bureaucratic scheduling.

What is very clear, however, is that the Chinese stealth fighter program is farther along than was generally recognized. When the first pictures of the Chinese fighter debuted last week, many pooh-poohed them as “merely” taxiing tests. Moreover, it is useful to consider that this fighter resembles the American F-22. Which begs the question: What preceded this aircraft? Was there a Chinese version of the F-117, the very first operational stealth fighter, which provided essential lessons in everything from tactics to manufacturing to logistical support for the current generation of American stealth aircraft?

More importantly, the test flight of the J-20 underscores the conclusions from the leaked DIA report, now over a year old, that the situation in the air over the Taiwan Straits is steadily shifting against Taiwan. While the US debates whether to sell F-16C/Ds to Taiwan, China’s air force is rapidly modernizing beyond that level.

Of course, it will take time for the Chinese to fully field the J-20. It is likely that the system has not reached large-scale production, much less initial operational capability (IOC). There is still time for the US to take corrective measures to hedge against these Chinese capabilities, both in its own arsenals and in what it provides Taiwan.

Whether intentional or not, the test flight of the J-20 should serve as a reminder to both Taipei and Washington of the evolving situation in the air. This flight was as much a test of Taiwan resolve and US commitment as of a new airframe.

The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

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NorquistKhan.jpg

Connections to Alamoudi, who is serving 23 years in prison for jihad finance activity, connections to Hamas-linked CAIR, connections to Hamas-linked ISNA — and check out Khan’s own words: “The early Muslims loved death, dying for the sake of almighty Allah, more than the oppressors loved life. This must be the case when we are fighting….What are our oppressors going to do with a people like us? We are prepared to give our lives for the cause of Islam.”

You gonna strap on a suicide vest, there, Suhail?

This is a man who has exerted an extraordinarily negative influence upon conservatives, selling them a bill of goods about the Religion of Peace and about himself, and aiding the execrable Grover Norquist in opening the corridors of power to Islamic supremacists. He was also the relentlessly biased “moderator” of what amounted to a two-against-one debate I had at CPAC 2007 with Dinesh D’Souza — they still ended up losing, not because I’m a great debater but because the facts weren’t on their side. Yet though he was willing to tip that playing field with deceit and detours, he won’t debate me one-on-one, and has ducked repeated invitations to do so.

What are you afraid of, Suhail? Being unmasked even more than you already have been?

“A GOP ‘moderate Muslim’ — or not,” by Paul Sperry in the New York Post, January 10:

Suhail Khan, a major Republican supporter of the Ground Zero mosque, has been lobbying GOP leaders on the Hill to back off their opposition. He’s got their ear, mainly because he portrays himself as a moderate, patriotic Muslim. Yet newly surfaced videos contradict that.

Khan, a Bush administration vet who sits on the board of the American Conservative Union, assures skeptics that “Park 51 community center” imam Feisal Rauf is a “moderate.” Fears over the mosque are overblown, he insists, fomented by “anti-Muslim bigotry.” In a recent letter to fellow Republicans, he warned the party was “alienating millions of Arab-American and Muslim-American voters.”

But Khan’s assurances ring hollow against his own connections to radicals. While he strenuously denies such ties, evidence has emerged — including exclusive video footage — that exposes Khan comfortably in the company of known Islamic extremists. Consider:

* In June 2001, Khan personally accepted an award from the now-notorious Abdurahman Alamoudi, then head of the American Muslim Council.

* “We have with us a dear brother,” Alamoudi said as he prepared to honor Khan with a plaque at the group’s annual conference. “I’m really proud to be with Suhail Khan. Some of you saw him today in the White House, but inshallah [Allah willing], you will see him in better places in the White House, inshallah.”

Khan thanked his patron, saying “Abdurahman Alamoudi has been very supportive of me. . . . I hope, inshallah, we can keep working together.”

Just days earlier, Sen. Arlen Specter of the Judiciary Committee had cited a New York Post report documenting how Alamoudi had supported terrorists and “declared an interest in destroying America.” By 2003, Alamoudi had been busted for plotting a terrorist attack; the top al Qaeda fundraiser is now serving 23 years in federal prison.

* In September 2001, four days before the 9/11 attacks, Khan spoke at the Islamic Society of North America’s convention. Introducing him was Jamal Barzinji, whose offices and home were raided by federal agents after 9/11. “Barzinji is not only closely associated with PIJ [Palestinian Islamic Jihad], but also with Hamas,” according to the search-warrant affidavit. (A lawyer for Barzinji, who has not been charged, says he is the victim of a government “witch hunt.”)

At the event, Khan shared his experiences from “inside” the White House, and praised his late father, Mahboob Khan, for helping found ISNA — which the government now says is a front for the radical Muslim Brotherhood and has raised money for jihad. The founding documents of the Brotherhood’s operation in America (recently seized by the FBI) reveal that it is in this country to “destroy” the Constitution and replace it with Islamic law.

Khan’s father also helped found the Muslim Community Association in Santa Clara, Calif. This Khan family mosque is listed in the Muslim Brotherhood’s own documents as one of “our organizations.” In the 1990s, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, it hosted Ayman al-Zawahiri — now al Qaeda’s No. 2 — as he toured the US raising money.

Khan vowed in his speech to carry on his father’s “legacy.”

* Speaking at ISNA’s 1999 conference, Khan exhorted Muslims to sacrifice their lives to “protect our fellow brothers and sisters” in “Palestine” and Iraq and those held in the US as terrorist suspects.

“The early Muslims loved death, dying for the sake of almighty Allah, more than the oppressors loved life,” said an impassioned Khan, who wiped away tears throughout his speech. “This must be the case when we are fighting.”

He added: “What are our oppressors going to do with a people like us? We are prepared to give our lives for the cause of Islam.”

* More recently, in March 2008, Khan led a private Council on American-Islamic Relations workshop with Jihad Saleh Williams of the Congressional Muslim Staff Association on how to “jump-start” a career on the Hill….

Jihad Watch

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“We used be No. 1 at having the leading technology. … Now, we’re kind of in catch-up mode, where we’ve never really been before.”


We had a good run, my friends. Alternate headline: “All Pentagon budget cuts canceled.” Decorated Navy fighter pilot Matthew “Whiz” Buckley, a Top Gun graduate of the Navy Fighter Weapons School who flew 44 combat missions over Iraq, says, “It’s probably leaps and bounds above where we are, and that’s terrifying.” “As a former Navy [...]

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