Cynical Synapse

Mon, 29 Aug 2011

Cold War vs. Cyber War—China Has Already Crossed the Virtual Fulda Gap

Filed under: China, Deceit, Government, Legal, Military, National security — cynicalsynapse @ 6:19 am

11th Cav watching the Fulda Gap

I miss the Soviets. While we didn’t think so then, they pretty much followed the rules and believed in mutually-assured destruction, just like us. While we were concerned the Soviets would come pouring through the Fulda Gap in great armored hordes, it turns out their state-planned and state-controlled economy could not have supported such an imperial expedition. Alas, the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, ending the bipolar balance of world affairs that had been in place for 46 years.

Post-Cold War, Russia still seeks to be a first-world power. While Russia has much potential, and much in its corner, it’s an even more distant second place than was the Soviet Union. More importantly, as the attacks on 9/11 showed, threats to our national security don’t even need to be nation states.

US 'cyber warriors'

During my studies in the Command and General Staff Officer’s Course (2000-2002), there was a lot of discussion about information technology being the next revolution in military affairs. Proponents believed this to be a strength, while I questioned the soundness of the validity of information as revolutionary. Even ten years ago, I thought connectivity was too subject to interruption.

Today, personnel systems, pay, and logistics are all managed by web-based applications in the US military. Even artillery fire depends on the connectivity of radars with fire direction centers to firing batteries. The problem, as I have always seen it, is the tenuousness of this connection.

China's BluFor

The real threat comes from China. While China is building conventional capability, the real threat is in the cyber realm. China tipped their hand in this regard about a week ago when a Chinese propoganda piece unintentionally showed cyber attack software screen shots.

Intentionally, or not, China substantiated it’s involvment in cyber warfare. If you ask me, this definitely appears to be the “smoking cursor”.
 

Previously on China:

Sun, 28 Aug 2011

Senate Candidate Mike McCalister Abuses His Military Career

Filed under: Behavior, Candidates, Congress, Deceit, Hypocrits, Military, Opportunists, Politics, Rants, Take action — cynicalsynapse @ 8:53 am

Senate candidate Mike McCalister (R)

Visit Florida GOP Senate candidate Mike McCalister’s campaign website. Do you see any of his political views? No. Do you see any of his stands on the issues? No. Do you see he was a Colonel? Why, yes! That seems to be the only thing his website is about. He’s a Colonel. In fact, the website’s title is “Colonel Mike McCalister for Senate”. There’s no “about the candidate” section, but there is a “Meet the Colonel” tab that does nothing but justify the “facts” of COL (Ret) McCalister’s 33 year career in the Army National Guard, Army Reserve, and a few years on active duty. In short, this guy’s entire campaign is based on his being a retired Colonel. While I respect his service, it doesn’t automatically translate into credentials for elected office.

Not much of a platform, but ok. Unfortunately, it seems the Colonel has embellished his record, implying he participated in “black ops” when, in fact, he was a desk jockey. McCalister thinks he’s a superior operator when, in fact, he was just a staff officer.

COL (Ret) Mike McCalister at a political fundraiser

While every officer knows they are entitled to their own political views, they also know they cannot use their military position to support those views. In particular, it’s clearly against regulations to wear the uniform—retired or not—to political events. Yet, COL Mike McCalister did so, wearing his Mess Dress Blues to a fundraiser in February. Any claim by him that he didn’t know any better is inexcusable; a Colonel should know better or research the regulations to know what is permissible.

COL McCalister (“Ret”) says he’s waiting for DoD approval to post copies of his Officer Evaluation Reports (OERs). Dude, they’re your OERs; you don’t need DoD approval to post them. Along the same lines, the award citations on your website are not the official citations presented with your claimed Legion of Merit and Defense Meritorious Service Medals. How about copies of the actual citations accompanying the presentation of the medals? You know, the ones with the signature of the awarding authority.

Pinocchio

Hello, Florida voters: can it be any more obvious this guy is only about padding his resume and personal gain? Even worse, it seems McCalister is not a serious candidate, playing on public goodwill toward the military for nefarious and, as yet, undisclosed purposes. Is that why he’s got absolutely no political positions regarding any issues on his website?

This guy casts a bad name on military officers from all branches and components of the services. His underhandedness and self-aggrandizement makes me sick. It’s time to “terminate the Colonel’s command.”

Take Action: Contact Mike McCalister’s campaign and tell him what you think of his embellishment.
 

Sat, 27 Aug 2011

PC Gone Berserk; Goshen College Bans “Too Violent” National Anthem

Filed under: Behavior, Citizen rights, Paradoxes, Rants, Society — cynicalsynapse @ 3:23 pm

burning the US Flag

As a commissioned officer in the Army National Guard, I took an oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic”. As a result, and because of the First Ammendment guarantee of free speech, I believe in the right to speak against government actions and policies, even to the point of burning the US Flag in protest, which makes me cringe in a mixture of horror, anger, and restraint. This is significant since, in the military, the US and organizational flags—the Colors—symbolize the lineage and honors of the fighting formation and their national patriotism. Military personnel always salute the US Flag in passing.

While not often considered, I submit the First Amendment equally guarantees the right to not say things. This is the basis for not requiring students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. For many, the politically correct issue in the Pledge is two words: “under God”. For others, refusal to participate is a form of demonstration. So, we have Constitutional basis for disrespecting national symbols such as the Flag and Pledge.

National Anthem, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, June 14, 2011

I didn’t pay it much attention when Goshen College banned the words of the National Anthem last year. But, this year, Goshen College banned even the score of the US National Anthem! Their reason for this abberation is the song is “too violent”. For real.

Located in north central Indiana, Goshen College operated by the Mennonites, a Christian denomination. Instead of the Star-Spangled Banner, Goshen will play America the Beautiful, which better suits their pacifist traditions. All of this makes me wonder two things. First, do they keep score at their sporting events, even at the risk of winners and losers? Second, have they banned the Old Testament, which has far more violence in it than the National Anthem?

Fri, 26 Aug 2011

Citizenship by Proxy?

2d BN 503d IN Scouts pull overwatch above the Chowkay Valley in Kunar Province, Afghanistan

Regular readers know I’m a member of the Michigan Army National Guard. I personally know a lot of people who have served on the front lines in the Global War on Terror. Some have had 3 or more deployments. So, for me, this whole thing is personal.

My personal view is I don’t believe we had any business in Iraq. I think it was a personal vendetta of George W. Bush’s to avenge his father’s failure to kill Saddam Husein. That said, once we went there, it became critical we saw it through. There are plenty of analogies of “unfinished business” requiring considerable follow-up action.

As for the warfight in Afghanistan, it’s more clear to me, even 10 years after the Global War on Terror began. As far as I’m concerned, the Taliban cannot have any significant measure of power. These are, after all, the same clowns that allowed Bin Laden and his cronies to launch their 9/11 attacks.

While, for me, it’s easy to view the issues in such clear black-and-white, the reality on the ground is more gray. And, so it is from the political perspective, as well. William Deresiewicz raises such concerns in his essay An Empty Regard:

No symbol is more sacred in American life right now than the military uniform. The cross is divisive; the flag has been put to partisan struggle. But the uniform commands nearly automatic and universal reverence. In Congress as on television, generals are treated with awed respect, service members spoken of as if they were saints. Liberals are especially careful to make the right noises: obeisance to the uniform having become the shibboleth of patriotism, as anti-Communism used to be. Across the political spectrum, throughout the media, in private and public life, the pieties and ritual declarations are second nature now: “warriors,” “heroes,” “mission”; “our young men and women in uniform,” “our brave young men and women,” “our finest young people.” So common has this kind of language become, we scarcely notice it anymore.

There is no question that our troops are courageous and selfless. They expose themselves to inconceivable dangers under conditions of enormous hardship and fight because they want to keep the country safe. We owe them respect and gratitude — even if we think the wars they’re asked to fight are often wrong. But who our service members are and the work their images do in our public psyche, our public discourse, and our public policy are not the same. Pieties are ways to settle arguments before they begin. We need to question them, to see what they’re hiding.

The new cult of the uniform began with the call to “support our troops” during the Iraq war. The slogan played on a justified collective desire to avoid repeating the mistake of the Vietnam era, when hatred of the conflict spilled over into hostility toward the people who were fighting it. Now the logic was inverted: supporting the troops, we were given to understand, meant that you had to support the war. In fact, that’s all it seemed to mean. The ploy was a bait and switch, an act of emotional blackmail. If you opposed the war or questioned the way it was conducted, you undermined our troops.

As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have dragged on, other purposes have come into play. The greater the sacrifice that has fallen on one small group of people, the members of the military and their families, the more we have gone from supporting our troops to putting them on a pedestal. In the Second World War, everybody fought. Soldiers were not remote figures to most of us; they were us. Now, instead of sharing the burden, we sentimentalize it. It’s a lot easier to idealize the people who are fighting than it is to send your kid to join them. This is also a form of service, I suppose: lip service.

The cult of the uniform also bespeaks a wounded empire’s need to reassert its masculinity in the wake of 9/11. “Dead or alive,” “bring it on,” “either you’re with us or you’re against us”: the tenor of official rhetoric in the ensuing years embodied a kind of desperate machismo. The war in Iraq, that catharsis of violence, expressed the same emotional dynamic. We’d been hit in the head with a rock; like a neighborhood bully, we grabbed the first person we could get our hands on and beat him senseless. Mission accomplished: we were strong again, or so we imagined, and the uniform — as George W. Bush understood when he swaggered across the deck of the Abraham Lincoln in a flight suit — was the symbol of that strength. The soldier is the way we want to see ourselves: stoic, powerful, focused, devoted.

This helps explain why the souring of the wars failed to tarnish the military’s reputation. There seems little doubt that our armed forces today are more professional, and at the small-unit level, at least, more effective, than they were in Vietnam. Still, Iraq descended into stalemate, and Afghanistan gives little hope, 10 years on, of ever being anything else. Does the fault lie with our civilian leadership alone, or with our client states? Do “our brave young men and women fulfill every mission we ask them to,” as the catechism goes? These are not rhetorical questions; these are the real questions that we haven’t been willing to ask ourselves. At the very least, our generals ought surely to come in for some criticism — as they did, when it was appropriate, in other wars. And yet the cult of the uniform has immunized them from blame, and inoculates the rest of us from thought.

There are other questions. Has the military really ceased to be the big, bumbling bureaucracy it was always taken to be? And if it is supremely efficient now, is that because there’s something uniquely effective about its command structure and values — a frequent implication these days — or rather because we’ve given it a blank check? Is America the world’s cop, as we like to say, or is our military something more like an imperial police force? (When it comes to places like Darfur or Ivory Coast, which are not felt to threaten national security interests, we leave the dirty work to someone else.)

It seems extremely unlikely anything like My Lai has taken place in Iraq or Afghanistan, but there have been some terrible crimes: the abuses at Abu Ghraib; the premeditated gang rape of a 14-year-old girl in Mahmudiya, Iraq, and the murder of her family; the executions of Afghan civilians by the self-described “kill team” from the 5th Stryker Brigade. Only the first has been widely discussed, likely because there were pictures. How many more of these have there been? Maybe none, maybe a significant number: until we ask—until we want to ask—we’ll never know.

As the national narrative shifts from the war on terror to the specter of decline, the uniform performs another psychic function. The military is can-do, the one institution — certainly the one public institution — that still appears to work. The schools, the highways, the post office; Amtrak, FEMA, NASA and the T.S.A. — not to mention the banks, the newspapers, the health care system, and above all, Congress: nothing seems to function anymore, except the armed forces. They’re like our national football team—and undisputed champs, to boot—the one remaining sign of American greatness.

The term most characteristically employed, when the cult of the uniform is celebrated, is “heroes.” Perhaps no word in public life of late has been more thoroughly debased by overuse. Soldiers are “heroes”; firefighters are “heroes”; police officers are “heroes” — all of them, not the special few who undoubtedly deserve the term. So unthinking has the platitude become that someone referred to national park rangers on public radio recently as “heroes” — reflexively, in passing — presumably since they wear uniforms, as well. Stephen Colbert picked up on this phenomenon long ago, which is why he slyly refers to his viewers—and now, to the donors to his Super PAC—by the same term.

“Heroes,” like “support our troops,” was also deployed early, in Iraq. Within a couple of weeks, we were treated to the manufactured heroism of Jessica D. Lynch, the young supply clerk who was rescued from an Iraqi hospital a few days after her capture by enemy forces (both events turning out to be far less cinematic than initially put out) and who finally felt compelled to speak out against her own use as an instrument of propaganda. In the case of Pat Tillman, the former professional football player who died the following year in Afghanistan by friendly fire, not in an ambush as originally claimed, it was left to his family to expose the lies with which the Army surrounded him. The irony is that our soldiers are the last people who are likely to call themselves heroes and are apparently very uncomfortable with this kind of talk. The military understands itself as a group endeavor. As the West Point professor Elizabeth D. Samet recently noted, service members feel uneasy when strangers approach them to—as the well-meaning but oddly impersonal ritual goes—thank them for their service, thereby turning them into paradoxically anonymous celebrities. It was wrong to demonize our service members in Vietnam; to canonize them now is wrong as well. Both distortions make us forget that what they are are human beings.

What is heroism? What kind of psychological purpose does the concept serve? Heroism is bravery and selflessness, but more than that, it is triumphant action, and in particular, morally unambiguous action. In most of life — and certainly in public life — there is scarcely such a thing on either count. Politics is a muddle of moral and practical compromise. Victories are almost always partial, ambiguous and subject to reversal. Heroism belongs to the realm of fantasy—the comic book, the action movie—or to delimited and often artificial spheres of action, like space exploration or sports.

The Marine who saves his buddies in a firefight, the cop who rescues a child from a well—the challenges they face are clear and simple and isolated from the human mess. Capt. Chesley B. Sullenberger III, the pilot who successfully landed an airliner in the Hudson River, was, everyone agreed, a hero. But note how frequently the element of salvation or rescue comes up when we talk about heroism. It was a beautiful coincidence that Captain Sullenberger’s moment came just five days before the last presidential inauguration, for heroism and rescue were the subtext of Barack Obama’s campaign, especially for his legions of young believers. He was the one we’d been waiting for; you could almost imagine the “S” on his chest, underneath the suit. (Once in office, of course, he descended into the muddle, and showed himself a mortal after all.) Heroes are daddies: larger-than-life figures, unimpeachably powerful and good, who save us from evil and hurt.

“America needs heroes,” it is sometimes said, a phrase that’s often uttered in a wistful tone, almost cooingly, as if we were talking about a lonely child. But do we really “need heroes”? We need leaders, who marshal us to the muddle. We need role models, who show us how to deal with it. But what we really need are citizens, who refuse to infantilize themselves with talk of heroes and put their shoulders to the public wheel instead. The political scientist Jonathan Weiler sees the cult of the uniform as a kind of citizenship-by-proxy. Soldiers and cops and firefighters, he argues, embody a notion of public service to which the rest of us are now no more than spectators. What we really need, in other words, is a swift kick in the pants.

Wed, 24 Aug 2011

Just When it Seemed There Was Hope, Michigan Voters Get Stupid Again

Filed under: Behavior, Candidates, Hypocrits, Michigan, Opportunists, Paradoxes, Politics, Rants — cynicalsynapse @ 7:55 pm

sheeple

In the last election, Michigan voters turned out US Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D), gave newcomer Rick Snyder (R) the governor’s office instead of several seasoned politicos, and changed the state legislative landscape. Despite reelecting all but one US Congressional incumbent in the general election (throw out the incumbents, but mine’s ok), it seemed like Michigan voters might actually be starting to think for themselves. Could it be they’re no longer interested in superfluous hype? Will they really hold elected officials accountable to do their jobs?

Alas, probably not. Did I mention, Michigan voters returned 10 of 11 incumbents to Congress? The reason for this rant is polls show Mitt Romney leading Republican challengers in Michigan. Seriously? Just because he was born in the state and his father served as Michigan governor January 1963 to January 1969 doesn’t mean Mitt should be Michigan’s favorite son. He left the state in 1965 and hasn’t been back for any appreciable time since. That’s 46 years—more than 2/3 of his 64 years and all his adult life!

Mitt Romney at auto plant

George Romney had been an auto company executive, but Mitt opposed the auto company bailout, calling for GM and Chrysler to go bankrupt instead. Still, even though Michigan jobs rely heavily on the auto industry, Romney stood in front of an auto plant and promised jobs in his 2008 presidential bid. So, which is it, Mitt? Pro automakers and Michigan jobs or not?

Then there’s that health care thing. Romney signed insurance mandates into law for Massachussetts but opposes Obama’s health care reform. How does that even make sense? The similarities are so coincidental, Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty calls health reform “Obamneycare”. He’s not the first to point out so-called Obamacare is patterned after the like-named Romneycare.

Why do voters in other states get it but those in Michigan don’t?

Previously on Mitt Romney:

Sun, 21 Aug 2011

Romney to Supersize $12 Million Oceanfront Mansion

Filed under: Behavior, Candidates, Hypocrits, Life, Michigan, Opportunists, Paradoxes, Politics — cynicalsynapse @ 4:59 pm

Romney's ocean front mansion

Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney plans to replace his west coast mansion with one over 11,000 square feet in size. The two-story behemoth will be nearly four times the size of the current $12 million estate overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The Romneys also own a $10 million home on Lake Winnipesaukee in Wolfeboro, NH. Their townhouse outside of Boston is the Romneys’ official residence. Meanwhile, average homeowners just want to keep their house.

It seems the 3 bedroom, 3,000 square foot beachfront mansion is “inadequate for their needs”, according to a campaign official. The rationale? Five married sons and 16 grandchildren. As to why he bought the La Jolla CA house in the first place, Romney explained:

I wanted to be where I could hear the waves. As a boy, we spent summers on Lake Huron and I could hear the crashing waves at night. It was one of my favorite things in the world; being near the water and the waves was something I very badly wanted to experience again.

Mitt Romney in a FL coffee shop

Uh, Mitt, then why not come back to Michigan? He’s the son of a Michigan governor (George W. Romney), but went into politics in Massachussetts. He doesn’t own any property in Michigan, chosing three other states instead. And, even though his father was the head of American Motors before getting into politics, Mitt opposed automaker bailouts, writing an op-ed titled “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” in the New York Times.

In the 2008 primaries, Michigan voters bought Romney’s snake oil because they associated him with George Romney. But, it’s becoming clearer just what kind of charlatan Mitt is. wishy-washy on taxes. As Massachussetts Governor, Romney a healthcare bill very similar to the Federal bill he opposes. How does that work?

Romney: 'Stop me when you've heard something you like'

It should be obvious Romney has no clear vision nor commitment to a stand on the issues. Mitt’s only concern for Michigan is nostalgic voters casting their ballots for him based on his father’s reputation as Governor. As if that’s not enough, Romney’s campaign received $1 million from a shell company set up by a Bain Capital crony, Edward Conrad. Two other shell companies may also be investigated.

Exit question: Why won’t construction at La Jolla begin until after the campaign? Can you say taxpayer funded?
 

Previously on Mitt Romney:

Sat, 20 Aug 2011

Seriously? Space Aliens Might Kill Humans over Global Warming

Filed under: Deceit, Environment, Global warming, Government, Hypocrits, Politics — cynicalsynapse @ 12:48 pm

'aliens' ponder their risk over so-called climate change

You just can’t make this stuff up! The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA, released a research report warning aliens may be forced to attack to save themselves. Researchers at Pennsylvania State University collaborated with NASA scientists. It seems these pseudo-scientists believe so-called climate change is more than just a global threat:

A band of moralistic, environmental-loving aliens may attack and destroy humanity (for the greater good of the universe, of course!), unless we can get our carbon emissions under control.

Forgive me, but I don’t recall any proof extraterrestrial life actually exists. While I concede there are several places in the universe where life as we know it could exist, there’s no evidence it actually does. This makes me wonder why a taxpayer funded government scientific organization (NASA) could produce such a fatally flawed, laughable research paper. Was it peer-reviewed? If so, do those peers all take up residence in insane asylums?

Al Gore

Climate change proponents will get a boost from NASA’s science fiction. Global warming fanatics already want to suspend democracy so they can impliment Draconian measures for our own good. Never mind their plans would destroy an already feeble economy.

Many highly respected scientists have refuted claims of man-made climate change. Remember the blizzards in January, 2011? Al Gore said the blizzards proved the effects of climate change. Tell me that’s not quackery. Then there’s the University of East Anglia’s ClimateGate in which hacked emails show manipulated data by the Climate Research Unit.

While scientific research is challenging work, its basic premise is simple. If you start with a flawed hypothesis and prove it with selective data and analysis, your results will be wrong. Just sayin…

Previously on Global Warming:

Update:

22 Aug 2011

On 18 August 2011, the Guardian reported research suggested aliens may destroy humans over global warming. They correctly noted the authors of the report as a NASA-affiliated researcher and colleagues at Penn State. From there, the Drudge Report picked up the story and it went viral. Drudge’s headline: “NASA REPORT: Aliens may destroy humanity to protect other civilizations…” Interestingly, there’s no sign of the headline, or Drudge’s post on it, on their website or even when googling it. Hmmm.

The problem? It’s not a NASA report nor even work funded by NASA. Shawn D. Domagal-Goldman says:

Yes, I work at NASA. It’s also true that I work at NASA Headquarters. But I am not a civil servant… just a lowly postdoc. More importantly, this paper has nothing to do with my work there. I wasn’t funded for it, nor did I spend any of my time at work or any resources provided to me by NASA to participate in this effort. …

But I do admit to making a horrible mistake. It was an honest one, and a naive one… but it was a mistake nonetheless. I should not have listed my affiliation as “NASA Headquarters.” I did so because that is my current academic affiliation. But when I did so I did not realize the full implications that has. I’m deeply sorry for that, but it was a mistake born our of carelessness and inexperience and nothing more. …

For anything I have done to mis-convey that to those covering this story, to the public, or to the fine employees of NASA, I apologize.

No apology for aliens potentially attacking over global warming, which Domagal-Goldman considers a low likelihood, but possible all the same. And never mind he’s, essentially, destroyed a likely employment opportunity. Sheesh.

Thu, 18 Aug 2011

Political Brinksmanship, the Debt Bubble, and Impending Anarchy

Filed under: Africa, Congress, Crime, Government, Hypocrits, Indecision, Opportunists, Oppression, Politics, Society — cynicalsynapse @ 4:48 pm

ready for a political fight

The recent refusal of either party to compromise on the debt ceiling issue, and the resulting lowering of the United States’ credit rating, should be proof enough of the dysfunctionality of our current Congress. People talk about debt reduction and deficit reduction as though they were one and the same, but they are two distinct issues. Every deficit adds to the debt. So, until the US stops spending more than it takes in, the national debt will continue to grow.

In theory, the debt reduction “Super Committee” will fix the national debt. In reality, it fixes nothing. It will not eliminate annual deficit spending. As a result, the national debt will continue to spiral out of control.

project funded by your grandkids

During his midwest bus tour, Pres. Obama actually called for more spending:

[T]he key is not to try to cut more out of programs for poor folks or programs for seniors. The key right now is to get a long-term plan for fiscal stability. And in the short term, we should actually make more investments that would put people to work and get the economy moving.

While many want to reign in entitlement spending, including Social Security and Medicare, new laws are actually expanding entitlement programs. Illinois, Kentucky, and Michigan are the three pilot states, with the program expanding to all 50 states by the 2014-15 school year. It’s all part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. The program will provide free meals to all students, regardless of ability to pay in districts where at least 40% of families are on public assistance.

flash mob

The rise of dissent via social media has resulted in peaceful flashmobs becoming violent menaces to society. In the absence of proof positive, it appears social media definitely fueled the London riots.

What does this matter to us, as in the US? How about we don’t have a clue what’s going through these peoples’ minds? We don’t have a solution to their economic or political disenfranchisment.

The riots we saw play out in London and the greater UK may have involved thuggery and looting, but the driving force was much the same as the protests, riots, and uprisings we saw in the middle east in the first half of 2011. As in the middle east (specifically, Tunisia), the catalyst for the London riots involved a single person, in this case a teenager who was reportedly beaten by police. In response and looking for any reason to rebel and revolt, large masses of people, namely those living in poverty in the UK, organized and then headed for town squares, where the burned, pillaged and fought. While the London riots are being written off by many as nothing more than a bunch of vagrants and welfare recipients looking to loot small businesses, there is a strong likelihood that similar incidents will play out on the streets of America. In fact, it can be argued that this is what we are seeing already, as groups of teenagers and gangs are organizing via social networks and subsequently causing chaos, violence and looting. For now, like in London, we are seeing the poverty stricken segments of society losing it, and it is being downplayed strictly as criminal mob-driven behavior. But soon, as Michael suggests in the article below, more and more people will lose everything. And, as our favorite trend forecaster Gerald Celente has oft repeated, “when people lose everything, and they have nothing left to lose, they lose it.”

Sat, 13 Aug 2011

China’s Aircraft Carrier is a Threat No Matter How You Paint It

Filed under: Allies, China, Engineering, Military, National security — cynicalsynapse @ 10:18 am

Chinese military marching

I should know better, but it used to be I considered China’s military capabilities as behind the former Soviet, today’s Russians, the biggest threat being the sheer numbers the Chinese could field. The Chinese have no capability to directly threaten the United States. China is clearly a rising star (no pun intended) on the world stage, growing in prestige, consumption, and military might. It’s somewhat amusing to me the politically correct saw fit to change the Red Dawn remake invaders from Chinese to North Koreans. While the North Koreans are certainly pursuing a more aggressive, in your face, approach to their “national security”, they certainly have far less capability than China.

Meanwhile, China has been quietly improving its military capabilities, just as it has modified its economy. Significantly, China is leapfrogging, technologically, not increasing the size of its military substantially. While China claims its national security strategy is defensive, an international political expert at Peking University said:

At a time when China’s interests span the globe, it does not fit China’s national interests to have a naval defense strategy restricted to its territorial waters. It needs aircraft carriers to expand its sphere of operation throughout the world.

China's first aircraft carrier

The former Soviet varyag (Admiral Kuznetsovclass aircraft carrier) Chinese aircraft carrier began sea trials on 10 August 2011. While the carrier is most likely not state-of-the-art, it is one of many designs the Chinese have and are studying. Despite claims the as yet unnamed carrier is a research and training vessel, the Chinese implemented substantial security perimeters for the carrier as it departed on its sea trials.

One possible name for the Chinese carrier is Shi Lang, after the admiral who conquered Taiwan in 1681. That seems to give some credence to possible Chinese consideration to retake Taiwan by force or threat of force. As a result, Taiwan is very interested in China’s carrier program.

Chinese J-20 stealth fighter

China claims the carrier is for defensive purposes only. It will allow Chinese air power the ability to protect Chinese interests beyond the range of land-based aircraft. Having a carrier is also a matter of prestige for countries.

Nonetheless, northwest Asian countries are concerned about China’s carrier program. Japan and Vietnam have territorial disputes with China. And the Chinese plan more carriers according to a diplomatic source:

Based on the technological know-how gained from developing the Shi Lang, China will build two or three more conventional aircraft carriers and a nuclear-powered carrier.

Although not a significant threat to the US military, the Chinese buildup could threaten US interests and allies. China’s carrier is a game changer that bears close watching and strategic thinking.

Tue, 09 Aug 2011

Detroit Loses a Treasure in Focus: HOPE Founder’s Passing

Filed under: Civil liberties, Detroit, Education, Helping others, Heroes — cynicalsynapse @ 8:11 pm

Eleanor Josaitis

It’s no secret Detroit has its problems, but Focus:HOPE is one of its gems. Today we mourn the passing of one of Focus:HOPE’s founders, Eleanor Josaitis. While others fled Detroit following the 1967 riots, Josaitis moved into the city. She co-founded Focus: HOPE with Fr. William Cunnigham in 1968.

For the next 43 years, Josaitis worked to bring social justice, civil rights, and improved job skills to underpriviledged Detroiters. She cared about her community and its residents. Her goal was to overcome racism, poverty, and injustice. Josaitis frequently said:

There’s no greater way to eliminate racism and poverty than to see that people have education, skills, jobs and opportunities in life.

job training at Focus:HOPE

Josaitis’ legacy is an organization that provides an after-school photography program, gives people necessary and relevant job skills, and education, including engineering degrees.

Eleanor Josaitis “believed in Detroit and its people and believed each one of us can make a difference. … Her influence was felt from board rooms to soup kitchens.” Eleanor Josaitis was part of what makes Detroit great.
 

Previously on Focus: HOPE:

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