sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

North Korea: War or Peace

US Navy will deploy the USS Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group to the Western Pacific today. "Haze Gray and Underway"-- as reported in the Navy Times "Three surface ships will depart Naval Station San Diego today and join the USS Carl Vinson for a Composite Training Unit Exercise, or COMPTUEX, off the Southern California coast before heading west (toward North Korea)," Hicks, a US Navy spokesman said.

Background: COMPTUEX, or Composite Training Unit Exercise, is a rehearsal each US Navy Carrier Battle Group performs before departing for deployment. COMPUTEX is normally conducted during a two-week to three-week period six to eight weeks before deployment. Successfully completion of COMTPUEX certifies the carrier and its air wing as qualified for open ocean operations. COMPTUEX consists of an 18 day schedule of even driven exercise which the follows with an 3 day Final Battle Problem. It's conducted and directed by the training carrier group commander and the focus is to bring together the carrier and it's air wing as a working team that can operate in a combat environment, as well as integrating with other assets of the battle group. 

What is being implied, but not explicitly stated, is that the USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and escorts will be conducting their rehearsals in transit in the general direction of North Korea.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak said, "For the past two decades, we’ve made efforts to resolve the nuclear issue through dialogue and cooperation. But the reality is that North Korea doesn’t stop provocative acts and is still developing nuclear weapons...Only a few meters away from where shells landed, there was a school where classes were going on. I am outraged by the ruthlessness of the North Korean regime, which is indifferent to the lives of little children."

With the ball firmly placed in China's court, we see the next bounce.

Chairman of North Korea's Supreme People's Assembly, Choe Thae Bok, arrived from Pyongyang, breezing past reporters at Beijing's Capital Airport without comment. (LINK) (Choe concurrently serves as a ruling Workers' Party Secretary) was expected to meet top Chinese communist party officials and discuss last week's artillery barrage, the North's nuclear program and the U.S.-South Korean military drills.

Choe will return to North Korea this coming Saturday, suggesting that if China doesn't come out in support of North Korea tomorrow, then China won't make a statement about the situation on the Korean Peninsula until Saturday. 

So China will jump in one direction or the other by Saturday. This is the key to knowing whether there will be a war -- possibly a nuclear exchange -- or not.

Background: The USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), which transited from the east coast to the west coast earlier this year is making her first major overseas deployment since her 3 year nuclear refueling and significant systems upgrade. As nuclear powered aircraft carriers go, she is one of the most modern and prepared in the US inventory. 

Escorting the USS Carl Vinson is the also recently upgraded and super modernized USS Bunker Hill (CG 52), which might be the most modernized and powerful surface combatant on the planet today, plus the USS Stockdale (DDG 106) and USS Gridley (DDG 101) who combined have only been commissioned for 5 years and 1 month. They are likely to pick up additional escorts as they pass Pearl Harbor.

So this is how it stacks up:

The USS George Washington (CVN 73) Carrier Strike Group escorted by a large and capable number of US and South Korean Navy warships are exercising in the Yellow Sea. The USS Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group is deploying from the US west coast, heading to the area. More than half the Japanese fleet is either at sea or on high readiness. The US Air Force is quietly positioning assets to take part in anything that might happen. 

The USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) is likely also heading to the area, though this isn't confirmed.

Expect a very large gathering of very capable US submarines in the area to both defend the carrier strike groups and to provide offensive capability against targets in North Korea with sub-launched nuclear and conventional cruise missiles.

If I was a US war planner, and I'm not, I would target the North Korean missile and nuclear enrichment facilities for strikes and would also decapitate the North Korean command, control and communications capability first -- and if regime change happens, so be it. Hopefully it will not come to war - but if it is war, we must act decisively to make it a short war. 

China has allowed editorials critical of North Korea run in the daily papers all week. We didn't see this following the Cheonan incident in March 2010 (when a North Korean submarine sank the South Korean destroyer Cheonan).

If I was a betting man, and I'm usually far too conservative for that, I would anticipate Chinese condemnation of North Korea and some sort of measurable and punitive sanction to be levied as a result. There will NOT be six party talks aimed at curbing the North Korean nuclear program - China will kick its dog and remove the food bowl for a few days to reinforce its position in the situation. Maybe one day in the future we will see some sort of "negotiate from strength" talks by the six parties involved -- but not soon and not in the form of a reward to North Korea for murdering people for 'shits and giggles'.

Monday, November 29, 2010

South Korea - No More Mr. Nice Guy

Maybe the leadership in North Korea thought it was great sport and high international drama that would bring them more food, fuel and maybe even weapons, but their recent shelling of innocent civilians and their sinking of a South Korean warship operating under in South Korean waters has but the Republic of Korea (South Korea) to the brink of war. (LINK to the Washington Post)
"South Korea will abandon its long-standing policy of not responding militarily to the North's hostile acts", President Lee Myung-bak said, following the artillery bombardment of a South Korean island last week that killed four people, two of them civilians.
That means that some sense of sanity is returning to the Republic of Korea as they have decided not to be North Korea's abuse puppet. Weakness only encourages a bully. Cowards understand strength and resolve.
"In the past, North Korea has provoked us on many occasions, but this is the first time they have made a direct attack on South Korean soil," said Lee, making his first public remarks since the Nov. 23 attack on civilian-inhabited Yeonpyeong island heightened fears of an all-out conflict. "Launching a military attack on civilians is a crime against humanity, even during wartime.
Now, Lee said, "South Koreans realize that tolerance and generosity bring more provocation." He said that South Korea would strengthen its military capability and would "make North Korea pay the due price by all means for its provocation from now on."
Baek Seung-joo, a researcher at the Korea Institute for Defense Analysis, called the speech "a turning point for South Korean government policy dealing with North Korea...With the nation's support, Lee will make sure any further provocation is met with military action."
South Korea is taking steps to respond more quickly and more aggressively to attacks by North Korea. They are upgrading weaponry in border areas and are giving the military more flexible standards for returning fire (rules of engagement/ROE).

Kim Jong Eun, heir to the North Korean dictatorship may or may not be a figurehead for the North Korean military once his father is planted in the ground and a shrine is constructed over his withered corpse. The truth is that nobody will know how that will unfold until it happens. Clearly Kim Jung Il wants to see his bloodline linger in command of the crumbling nation.

Will China put North Korea in their place, or will they wait for a nuclear war to develop on their doorstep?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

China calls for talks on N Korea Nukes -- really?

Today China is calling for multi-nation talks on the North Korean nuclear program.

My response: NO

China doesn't need the US, Japan, Russia and South Korea to sit down in order to determine that their puppet state is out of control. They can tell North Korea to shut it down all on their own -- and that's precisely what China should do.

China doesn't need six party talks to determine whether or not North Korea sank a South Korean ship or fired artillery on innocent civilians last week. A trained chimp can figure out that (a) there is a problem and (b) who is causing the problem.

People in North Korea are starving to death and winter is upon them. China supplies more than fifty percent of the foodstuffs to feed North Korea. A trained chimp can figure out that (a) China can turn the switch off on imports to North Korea and (b) North Korea will listen.

Maybe China doesn't care? That's the only conclusion I can draw from this refusal to act unilaterally to reign in their attack dog. The world's reaction should then turn to CHINA, not to North Korea. It's not as if a Chinese submarine attacked the South Korean destroyer, however if they do nothing -- perhaps they approved of the sinking and the loss of 46 lives. Perhaps they approved of the artillery attack on a civilian city? What other conclusion can we draw if China doesn't take ACTION against North Korea? 

You feed the dog.
It's on your leash. 
If it bites somebody. 
Isn't it your fault?

I'll say the same thing to President Hu Jintao that I regularly say to President Barack Obama. "It's time to man-up."

My Take: Dealing with North Korea

Over the past few days I have blogged about the situation in North Korea and have offered suggestions that  have been made by others, the news media, and have offered a few of my own concepts into the mix. I think that it's time that I offer my concept(s) of a response. I don't expect anyone to listen or agree, but blogging is one of those "lonely impulses of delight" that W. B. Yeates wrote of. I'm sure that the Obama Administration will chart a different course than the one I offer - but who knows? I'm an optimist. 

(1) Financially isolate North Korea. Really do it and keep the pressure up. China will do what China does, but the United States needs to hold the line and try and pull the rest of the planet into lock step. Obama has burned a lot of our international capital (and George Bush did it to toward the end of his presidency) and we need to use what we have left here, in this situation. This means that the United States must show resolve.

(2) Economically quarantine North Korea. To the extent possible, we need to build an international consensus NOT to allow shipments of goods or food to North Korea. Again, China will do what China will do, however, even China has some sense of what is at stake here.

(3) Encourage South Korea to meet force with force. Chicago rules. North Korea understands it and strangely, Obama might get it too. In order to make this happen, the US needs to deploy a permanent naval presence in the Yellow Sea, (no, China won't like it - but it might remind them that THEY created and continue to sustain this North Korean monster) and on the other side of Korea in the Sea of Japan. Conclude a basing agreement with our Japanese allies that would allow for increased basing of US naval vessels and crews there.

(4) Aid our South Korean allies by declaring a quarantine on all North Korean submarines in the South Korean Naval Defensive Zone out to 12 nm. Keeping in mind that a North Korean submarine sank as South Korean destroyer in March 2010, authorize US (submarines primarily) vessels to engage and sink North Korean submarines found in that area.

(5) Increase our clandestine warfare in North Korea promoting regime change. 

(6) Increase our strategic capabilities in North Korea to assist our allies in being able to meet their security needs.

The list of North Korean outrages is sufficient to justify these actions. They'll accept them at first, and simply wait for our resolve to weaken the way it always does. Obama could (in a small way) being to redeem himself by showing strength here instead of endemic weakness.

I would NOT arm South Korea with nuclear weapons, but I'd increase the number of US nuclear weapons we keep on hand in South Korea.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

113 Drug Tunnels

One hundred thirteen tunnels have been DISCOVERED by US Authorities running under the border from the Mexico to the United States in the past ten years. (Connect to the story on FOX NEWS)

Some of the number were not completed when the the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Drug Enforcement Administration or county and municipal law enforcement officers found them. They'd seem to be difficult and time consuming to complete. 

In the story referenced above, a tunnel took a year to dig and was only in operation for one month before it was discovered. ICE agents intercepted a truck leaving the warehouse and discovered 20,000 pounds of marijuana. An additional 32,000 pounds were found in 10-kilo bricks throughout the warehouse, making it the second largest seizure of marijuana in U.S. history.

Authorities said an underground passage located on Thursday (Thanksgiving Day) was similar to one found earlier - both running around 610 meters from Mexico to San Diego and equipped with lighting, ventilation, and a rail system for drugs to be carried on a small cart. (LINK)

The tunnels are believed to be the work of Mexico's Sinaloa cartel, also known as The Federation. "We think ultimately they are controlled by the same overall cartel but that the tunnels were being managed and run independently by different cells operating within the same organisation," Mr Unzueta, a spokesman for ICE, said on Friday.

The tunnel found on Thursday is more than seven football fields in length and extends from the kitchen of a home in Tijuana, Mexico, to two warehouses in San Diego's Otay Mesa industrial district.

Friday, November 26, 2010

China Cautions the US over North Korea

This from the People's Republic of China: (REUTERS - LINK) "We oppose any military act by any party conducted in China's exclusive economic zone without approval," China's Foreign Ministry said in an online response to a question regarding China's position on the George Washington participating in joint naval exercises. This is the first reaction to the US moving the USS George Washington (CVN 73) into the Yellow Sea. As far as China is concerned, they believe no one should be allowed to operate a warship, much less an aircraft carrier, within their exclusive economic zone. There is no international law that China bases their political protest on, as maritime boundary definitions in the UNCLOS are defined as:
  1. Coastal waters—the zone extending 3 nm. from the baseline
  2. Territorial sea—the zone extending 12 nm. from the baseline
  3. Contiguous zone—the area extending 24 nm. from the baseline
  4. Exclusive Economic Zone—the area extending 200 nm. from the baseline except when the space between two countries is less than 400 nm
China's criticism is expected - and they know that International Law only authorizes control of the sea out to the 12 nm limit. Beyond there all nations have the right of innocent passage - even it it's a carrier battle group.

The press has been given access to Yeonpyeong island to see the damage done by North Korean artillery and it puts more pressure on the Governments of South Korea and the United States to do something in response.

"South Korea's Kospi dropped 1.3%, Japan's Nikkei Stock Average shed 0.4%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 0.8% and China's Shanghai Composite declined 0.9%. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 edged up 0.1%. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were down 75 points in screen trade." The Wall Street Journal  Asian markets are jittery but are in no way panicked. The US dollar is up against other currencies with the threat of war.

The Navy exercise in the Yellow Sea between the US and South Korea begins on Sunday. (Watch Fox News Sunday for great commentary on the situation) The unprovoked submarine attack on the Cheonan earlier in the year and now this latest incident has highlighted is a broad flaw in US policy. The patience of the region with the US government's ineffective diplomatic solutions for North Korea has all but expired. Both South Korea and North Korea have stopped working with the Red Cross, which was the last link the two countries had before this latest incident. Japan is skeptical of our repeated inadequacies, Taiwan wonders if they're next if we waffle on North Korea.

The US Navy will deploy a second carrier battle group to the area - but it won't enter the Yellow Sea. It's a show of resolve but there are teeth to back it up. Perhaps the US will deploy a computer virus the way it was suspected of doing in Iran a month ago. (LINK - STUXNET) The virus targeted the Iranian power plants...
Peace -- though superior firepower?

I do not advocate that the US engage in yet another land war in Asia. I don't think that provoking a nuclear exchange involving the Korean Peninsula is in anyone's best interests. China knows this most clearly.  The Obama Administration squandered what prestige the US had early in it's existence, by showing itself as weak and indecisive. A perception of weakness, sadly, means that rogue states will become opportunistic. Now Barack Obama has a situation on his hands that nobody feels he has the skill sets to manage. One can only hope that talented staff people can lead him in the right direction and at the same time, muzzle Vice President Joe (Slow Joe) Biden.

Should the US Arm South Korea with Nuclear Weapons?

The South Koreans government has petitioned the US Government for decades to provide it with nuclear weapons to protect it from North Korea. Those pleas have always been rejected and the US assured their friend and ally, South Korea, that the American nuclear arsenal stood ready to assist. There were US presidents who could be trusted to act, but the North Koreans don't seem to be much impressed with Obama. No, nobody else seems to be either.

In order to allow South Korea the freedom to act in their own defense so that the US President doesn't have to do that --- and can disavow whatever they do, maybe it's time for us to provide them with two or three dozen tactical nuclear weapons and cruise missile (and/or other) delivery systems? What about it, Barack?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Should South Korea Attack North Korea?

Aftermath of the North Korean attack on South Korea two days ago. (Reuters)

Many South Koreans are urging their government to take a tough stand against their rogue Communist Cousins to the north. (LINK TO YAHOO NEWS)
South Korea's defense minister resigned Thursday amid intense criticism two days after a North Korean artillery attack killed four people on a small island near the Koreas' disputed frontier.
The move came as President Lee Myung-bak vowed to send more troops to the front-line South Korean island and as residents tried to salvage belongings from the blackened wreckage of their homes. Pyongyang warned of additional attacks if provoked.
Hours before Defense Minister Kim Tae-young's resignation, lawmakers had lashed out at the government, claiming officials were unprepared for Tuesday's attack and that the military response to the North's barrage was too slow. Even those in Lee's ruling party demanded Kim's dismissal as well as those of military leaders and some presidential aides.
South Korean President Lee accepted Kim's resignation and a new defense chief will be announced Friday. Watch for a salty old military hawk to take that position. The South Korean public wants to see this North Korean aggression end. First the North Koreans torpedoed** and sank a South Korean Navy ship with a great loss of life (LINK to LA Times) and now they launch an attack against South Korea. Think of a spoiled child that doesn't get it's way and you will have a sense of WHY the North Koreans are doing this. North Koreans starve to death and the winter is coming. The US is not giving them free food or oil - so they lash out and try to hold other nations hostage for their continuing failures to govern effectively.

Expect a South Korean military reaction if the US and China are unable to reign in the failed state in the North.

** Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called the evidence "overwhelming" that the Cheonan, a South Korean warship that sank in March (2010), was hit by a North Korean torpedo. Vice President Joe Biden has cited the South Korean-led panel investigating the sinking as a model of transparency.

The Korean Naval Vessel Cheonan

The South Korean investigation of the sinking of the Cheonan by a North Korean submarine in March was very thorough and included raising the destroyed naval vessel. What did the world do when 46 sailors were murdered in an unprovoked attack? Nothing. What did South Korea do? Nothing. Now North Korea shells South Korea with a loss of civilian and military people and what is happening? That is the question that the public in South Korea are asking their leaders.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

DPRK Crisis

The situation in the Democratic People's Republic of (North) Korea is becoming dire and with that political instability comes the increased possibility of war on the Korean Peninsula. A land war in Korea is a winter war scenario. During summer months the valleys are flooded with planting and are impassable and roads/bridges are likely to be demolished. So once the land is firm and cold, the tanks and trucks can roll.

Background: North Korea's attack on a South Korean island appears to be tied to the leadership succession, a top U.S. military official said Wednesday, as the elderly and frail Kim Jong Il prepares to hand control of his regime to his 27 year old son, Kim Jong-un.  (READ MORE ON FOX NEWS)

The President of the United States, no matter who it is, never gets to make easy choices in foreign policy. The North Korean attack on sovereign South Korea presents nothing but very tough choices. While the Army is fighting two wars on land, the Navy is being called to the northwest Pacific ocean to keep the peace. 

Driven by a near-recessionary economy the President has made a move attempting to portrait a mood of calm in this situation. Nobody wants the stock market to tank on fears of another land war in Asia. That is probably wise, but if things do not go as planned over the next week or so the result COULD be a political catastrophe for the United States.

The United States is exercising gunboat diplomacy by sending a remarkably well armed naval task force into the Yellow Sea. The move is intended to provoke a reaction from China. China feeds North Korea, and North Korea can not survive without Chinese support. That support dates back to the Korean war in the 1950's.

This is a game of chicken with the childish North Korean leadership that acts out in temper tantrums when they want something - and right now North Korea wants many things. This is also a game of chicken with the Chinese. China has repeatedly warned the US of consequences for moving an aircraft carrier into the Yellow sea, and many Generals have made threats including advocacy in editorials that China should strike with military power should the United States should a carrier move into the Yellow Sea. It is one thing to play chicken with a spoiled brat, and quite another to play chicken with China.

By making this move, the US is changing the issue from one of a skirmish to one of an out of control belligerent state in need of a spanking, and we are focusing the worlds attention towards China and demanding they wield the paddle. Whether the Obama administration is being smart or stupid depends on the results. If the US wants to scare China, President Obama needs to wield the option of allowing South Korea and Japan to go nuclear like North Korea. Because North Korea will not give up their nuclear weapons, China is will not control their buffer state without a military of more nuclear weapons pointed tentatively in their direction.

The naval exercise in the Yellow Sea has been put off until Sunday. The US is giving China time to condemn North Korean aggression, thus take the lead and reduce the need to move the naval armada into the Yellow Sea. 

2010 has been a brutal year for Chinese prestiege and the recent skirmish between North and South Korea appears poised to further discredit China with their neighbors in the region. The US believes/hopes that China might act responsibly, allowing America to offload some of the worlds concern for responsibility on Chinese leadership. The Chinese leadership is unlikely to take the opening because of ego and prestige issues. China is unlikely to attack the USS George Washington Carrier Strike Group and start a war with the United States over this issue, but China will have an asymetrical response.

The Obama Administration's move harkens to March 2006 when then President Clinton ordered the Nimitz and Independence battlegroups to sail through the Taiwan Strait. The consequence of that move was a vow by China of "never again". The unintended consequence of Clinton's policy decision has been the most remarkable modernization in human history of the worlds largest Army, Navy, and Air Force. In less than 14 years, China's military has essentially jumped 2 generations of combat capability. 

The Obama administration's policy is to follow South Korea's lead politically but position the US to lead militarily with a show of force. The political signal is to maintain the peace, but respond with strength. That means South Korea will update Rules of Engagement, reinforce military positions in vulnerable areas, and ask for the US for assistance in pressuring China into reigning in North Korean belligerence. 

Stand by for the Chinese reaction.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Will the US send troops to Mexico?

Mexican Narcotics Agents Prepare for a Raid (photo by author)

The cartel wars in Mexico that threaten to spill across the US Border in a far greater way than they have to date are causing some, including Texas Governor, Rick Perry, to suggest that US Military intervention may be one possible answer to the situation. Last week he spoke in San Diego, CA and said, "You have a situation on the border where American citizens are being killed. I think we have to use every aspect of law enforcement that we have, including the military. I think you have the same situation as you had in Colombia. Obviously, Mexico has to approve any type of assistance that we can give them."

To date the only SIGNIFICANT thing that the Federal Government has done for the Border States is to sue them. I know that the Secretary of Homeland Defense crowed about sending a few hundred National Guard troops in "support". Support consists of them monitoring video cameras. Some people say that's simply not enough and I agree. The Federal Government has held that the border security concerns of American citizens are simply the product of racial bigotry and bias. Unfortunately they have misread the situation completely.  Department of Homeland Security's Janet Napolitano, told Perry that if he wants border protection, it's up to him to pay for it with Texas National Guard troops. Is she saying border protection isn't her job? 

The Obama Administration hopes to add 20 million illegal aliens to the voter rolls and taking a national security stand on the Mexican problem would tend to throw that dream of 20 million additional Democratic Party voters off the rails

Mexico can not report the actual death toll from the cartel wars. The Mexican government puts the number at 31,000. I don't think that they or anyone else knows what the real numbers are, but insiders suggest that it's far more - well up to and possibly exceeding 100,000. Large areas of Mexico are under the total control of drug cartels and the Mexican government is not capable of dealing with the corruption and violence. The Mexican Army and Navy do the best they can -- but it's not enough. A new Mexican president will take office in 2012 and there are hopes that will herald a return to the old ways where the Mexican Army "managed" narcotics trafficking. That's not going to happen. The genie is out of the bottle/the blush is off the rose.

"Broken Neighbor, Broken Border" (LINK), a House Immigration Reform Caucus document was released November 20 (2010). It paints a bleak picture of the situation in Mexico. What will the Obama Administration do about it? Don't hold your breath. (download HERE)

Will US troops eventually be requested to eliminate narcoterrorist control of Mexican States? Only time will tell. For now these are the legislative recommendations made by Broken Neighbor, Broken Border:

  1. Let the States Secure their Borders: change “may” to “shall” in Title 32 for DOD funding for National Guard/State Guard deployments by the Governor within a state. 
  2. Community Impact Aid for Border Sheriff’s: The annual budget of Border County Sheriffs Departments shall receive 30% matching federal funds annually in advance of the fiscal year for which it will be used to compensate for additional law enforcement costs for the presence of an inadequately secured Border in or adjacent to their county. (Precedent – CID for county school systems serving military installations) 
  3. Amend 8 USC 1325 to correct change in 2007 bill, to allow illegals to be prosecuted in different sectors. 
  4. Appropriate $3 billion Annually for U.S. military/National Guard/State forces operations to secure the southern border, and to re-establish a chain of military installations from California to Brownsville. 
  5. Block dismissal of illegal immigration charges by the Obama Administration 
  6. E-Verify Mandatory Nationwide on W-2 forms – Subject to fine equal 100% of gross amount of each payroll check in violation, compliance as a positive defense for employers against all illegal employment liability 
  7. Prepaid Grants - Allow small budget rural counties to claim federal law enforcement grants before spending the funds. 
  8. Pave Old Mines Road (FM1472) as a DOT or Homeland Security project 
  9. Liability Shield for Border Patrol/USCG officers/Private Property owners 
  10. Remove foot bridges from the Rio Grande 
  11. Lower Federal Drug Prosecution Age to match States 
  12. Assure powers of detention by National Guard/State Guard on border duty 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Looking for Work? Try TSA

A lot of people have been critical of the Transportation Security Administration lately. I have a different take on the whole thing and am considering applying for a job at TSA. Some of you may be shocked, but the new guidelines offer some perks when you're on the front lines - with nothing between you and a potential international terrorist but your gloved (and sensuous) hands. The TSA Agents at right are wearing no gloves and one wonders what they're looking at?

Since implementing the procedures, numerous complaints have arisen that the search is not a “pat-down” but rather feeling and grabbing along a person’s genitalia and other areas until they 'meet resistance'. Critics have said the pat-downs would be considered sexual assault if performed elsewhere. What's not to love about a job like that one?

If you were a TSA Officer, which woman would you prefer to pat down -- thoroughly?




Vote with your comments. You may vote as often as you like (Chicago Rules!)

Homeland Security (LINK) has indicated the government is considering the request of an Islamic organization that has suggested Muslim women be allowed to pat themselves down during a full body search that is part of new enhanced procedures at airports. One may opine that Muslim women may get carried away touching themselves - security officers need to stand by vigilantly and make sure that they're stopped if they begin to enjoying it too much. (LINK here)

Yes, it can be a demanding job - at times the ladies may not even thank you for your thorough pat down. Others may tip you - but it's unethical to take a tip from a lady you just frisked according to Department of Homeland Security guidelines. You can only take money in that way if you're Congressman Charlie Rangle (D-NY), Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Remember, they pat you down--thoroughly--because they care so much about YOU and your needs.

Bring Order to the Border

The narco-wars in Mexico get worse incrementally and nobody in Mexico or the US sees an improvement coming. The Obama Administration's luke warm response to what would otherwise be a matter of considerable alarm in Washington only serves to make matters worse. The death toll in Mexico, oft touted in the mainstream media is many times higher (based on sources of my own and US insiders who study the problem professionally).

The United States needs to change course and harden the US-Mexico Border to stop ILLEGAL immigration. Nobody is suggesting a halt to the legal process of immigration. Illegal aliens in the US need to be returned home.

One of the stalwarts in the fight against border-region crime is Sheriff Joe Arpaio. To shine a spotlight on the problem of illegal aliens in Mexico, some of whom made Phoenix the kidnapping capitol of the US, he has formed an "Immigration Posse. It's comprised in part of Hollywood actors who also have a legitimate law enforcement background. (LINK: Washington Times)

Since the time Sheriff Arpaio took office in 1993, he has built up the volunteer posse to nearly 3,000 members, with 59 different posses operating throughout Maricopa County. Each year, he said the volunteer posses work thousands of hours and also donate vehicles, planes, helicopters to the sheriff’s office as well as a variety of professional services, saving tax payers millions of dollars annually. Sheriff Arpaio said, "People from all walks of life have contacted my office saying they want to help me in this fight in some way. This is how they can do that by being members of a volunteer posse with the specific aim of fighting illegal immigration and lending their particular expertise to the fight,” the sheriff said. Of the 56 new Immigration Posse members, 33 are already qualified to carry weapons. They will work with deputies in searching for vehicles carrying illegal immigrants and the safe houses where the people are housed before being sent out of state."

The Obama Justice Department  filed a lawsuit against Sheriff Arpaio in part for his English-only policy within the Maricopa County Jails. The Obama Justice Department has also filed suit against Arizona for passing a law that would allow Arizona law enforcement officers to assist and support the US Government's "effort" to stem the flow of illegal aliens, many of whom are narco-terrorists into the US.

It's time for the House of Representatives to send a clear message to the Executive Branch of the US Government. HARDEN THE BORDER - NOW. We understand that the Democratic Party-controlled Senate is anxious to legalize illegals because they will vote for entitlements that they won't be paying for - and thus for Democrats who are happy to buy their votes with taxpayer dollars.

Monday, November 8, 2010

State Bankruptcy

Heavily Democratic US States such as California, Illinois, Connecticut, Michigan and New York are anxiously waiting for the Federal Government to bail them out* (with money taken from other states) because they are insolvent. There is another option and I believe that it should be taken up by the new Congress in January 2011. 

Change the law to allow US States that are insolvent to seek protection under US Code Title 11, Chapter 9 (Bankruptcy Code). The law presently provides for reorganizing municipalities** (which includes cities and towns, as well as villages, counties, taxing districts, municipal utilities, and school districts). This law should be expanded to states rather than bailing them out.

They can go bankrupt and put their debts at the feet of a Federal Court that will have to decide which bills will be paid and when they will be paid. It would result in NOBODY doing any business with the bankrupt state because there is no telling when they would be paid. The court could also order them to sell land holdings, etc. to try and satisfy the debts. I am sure that state parks would be exempt, but most states have an inventory of properties and assets they could put on the auction block.

Big Labor will fight this sort of law tooth and nail. And the country needs to decide who is running the states - the voting public or corrupt unions.***  Applying bankruptcy rules to states would force them to get their financial houses in order under the supervision of the courts. There is no other practical way to do it. Allowing the "Chicago Way" to rule America despite the presidency of Chicago-based Barack Hussein Obama, is not sustainable.

According to the Wall Street Journal (speaking of California in particular), "You've racked up nearly $70 billion in general obligation debt, and that doesn't include your $500 billion unfunded pension liability. Your own analysts predict you'll face a hole of at least $80 billion over the next four years.

"Your government's run by a brothel of environmentalists, lawyers, public-sector unions and legislative bums. When they're not taxing or spending, they're creating regulations and commissions like the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology and the California Blueberry Commission. Many businesses would leave if it weren't for your sunny climate."****

*(LINK) Dick Morris' Blog

**(LINK) "The first municipal bankruptcy legislation was enacted in 1934 during the Great Depression. Pub. L. No. 251, 48 Stat. 798 (1934). Although Congress took care to draft the legislation so as not to interfere with the sovereign powers of the states guaranteed by the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution, the Supreme Court held the 1934 Act unconstitutional as an improper interference with the sovereignty of the states. Ashton v. Cameron County Water Improvement Dist. No. 1, 298 U.S. 513, 532 (1936). Congress enacted a revised Municipal Bankruptcy Act in 1937, Pub. L. No. 302, 50 Stat. 653 (1937), which was upheld by the Supreme Court. United States v. Bekins, 304 U.S. 27, 54 (1938). The law has been amended several times since 1937. In the more than 60 years since Congress established a federal mechanism for the resolution of municipal debts, there have been fewer than 500 municipal bankruptcy petitions filed. Although chapter 9 cases are rare, a filing by a large municipality can— like the 1994 filing by Orange County, California—involve many millions of dollars in municipal debt."

*** Election Day 2010 demonstrated the enormous power of public employee unions and their integral relevance to the Democratic Party. In state after state, the vote totals of Democratic candidates, particularly those running for Senate, exceeded the predictions of all pollsters. This gap between pre-election anticipation and Election Day results had one main cause: the militancy, money, and manpower of public employee unions. It was the combined efforts of the SEIU (Service Employees International Union), the NEA (National Education Association), the AFT (American Federation of Teachers), and AFSME (American Federation of State and Municipal Employees) that preserved the Democratic control of the U.S. Senate.

**** (LINK) The Wall Street Journal refers to California as the "Lindsay Lohan of States" -- that sums it up.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Hotel California

"They livin'it up at the Hotel California ...They gathered for the feast. They stab it with their steely knives but they just can't kill the beast!"
"You can check out any time you want But you can never leave!"

Californians are experiencing record unemployment. CBS reported that unemployment and underemployment in The Golden State is 22%. Unemployment approaches 15% in several large counties. Home foreclosure rates are exceeded only by Nevada. 

The solution: Jerry Brown. What did Brown suggest as a solution (no, I'm not making this up)? Electric cars. The state budget gap for 2009-10 was $45.5 billion, or 53% of total state spending — the largest in any state's history. Does Brown have any suggestion about what will happen in the future as welfare payments to the masses are among the highest in the nation? It seems that he will fall back to the concept of alternative fuels. Is Jerry Brown a drooling idiot? 

Meg Whitman was an unpleasant alternative to Governor Moonbeam - but she was better than Brown in any possible universe. Therefore who is worse, Governor Brown or the people that propelled him into another term in office?

California is toxic to business and the flight of jobs out of California will only increase as time goes on as it continues to be a sanctuary state to hoards of illegal aliens, who receive health, welfare and human services at an estimated annual cost of $10.5 billion. 

Soon, Governor Brown will mount an official plea to President Obama to reward California with a federal bail-out, as the state goes completely bankrupt. That is unlikely to happen with a House of Representatives in the hands of the GOP.

A thought for the day

I normally don't cut and paste from other people's blogs, but have below - from the heroic Pamela Geller from Atlas Shrugs.
There is no difference between communism and socialism, except in the means of achieving the same ultimate end: communism proposes to enslave men by force, socialism—by vote. It is merely the difference between murder and suicide. “Foreign Policy Drains U.S. of Main Weapon,” Ayn Rand, Los Angeles Times, Sept. 9, 1962, G2
(graphic leftt, h/t DALE)

Higher taxes imposed on the rich (and the semi-rich) come out of their investment capital (i.e., their savings). These taxes mean less investment, i.e., less production, fewer jobs, higher prices, etc. By the time the "rich" lower their standard of living, those who work in their companies or subcontract with them will be gone, along with their savings and their spouses' jobs — and no power in the world (no economic power) will be able to revive the dead industries (there will be no such power left). This is paraphrasing Rand decades ago, in “The Inverted Moral Priorities."

We are done with lies. We are done with "it's Bush's fault." We are done with "Obama inherited the second Great Depression." No. Obama's policies led to a great coming depression. Obama talks about Bush spending? The utter gall. Bush was Jack Benny to Obama's prolifigate mack daddy warbucks. The left can spin it any way they like -- the economic emergency of 2008 was a direct result of Democrat entitlement/financial policy: Carter's Community Investment Act (CIA), Clinton's sub-prime push and the ensuing Barney Frank Freddie Mac/Fanny Mae plunder. I do not fault Bush war expenditures. We are at war with a ruthless, bloodthirsty savage ideology that has no humanity. No expense can be spared in defeating jihad. Obama's sniveling like a little girl falls on deaf ears when you consider the trillions he stole from us for no reason but to pad the pockets of his shadow government.

You might find it worth the effort to click on the link above and read the entire article on Atlas Shrugs.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Fed's Stimulus Package

The ink is not dry on ballots, decrying government spending and at the same time, the Federal Reserve just bought $600 billion in debt from American banks. How do YOU feel about that? Essentially, what the Federal Reserve decided to do is to print another six hundred billion dollars between now and June 2011. (That's $600,000,000,000.00) 

1. It will make the dollar weaker in relationship to other currencies.
2. It will end up in trade disputes because contracts in dollars won't be worth as much.
3. Banks should see their burdens removed and will be free to loan money to small businesses and others and the Federal Reserve hopes that will stimulate the economy, helping to reverse economic stagnation.
4. In 2009, the Federal Reserve bought $1.7 trillion ($1,700,000,000,000.00) in mortgage and Treasury bonds (resulting in lower mortgage rates), so this isn't anything new. The Fed estimates that the $600 billion purchase will increase the annual growth of the economy from 2.4% to 2.7% and they feel that it won't do much to change unemployment. (source Yahoo News)
"Bottom line: The plan provides a boost to the economy's growth, but it is not going to solve our problems," said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics. "Even with the Fed's action, we're going to feel uncomfortable about the economy in the next six to 12 months." (Bloomberg)
The Federal Reserve is not an agency of the US Government, so I'm not throwing rocks at Obama. This is the people who control the money (see: Federal Reserve Notes in your wallet).

So will this particular Federal Reserve bail out help? The answer is -- yes and no.

Meanwhile,  Democrats used 2010 to begin losing 2012. George Will said that Democrats have, "described the electorate as suffering a brain cramp, an apoplexy of fear, rage, paranoia, cupidity — something. Any explanation would suffice as long as it cast what voters were about to say as perhaps contemptible and certainly too trivial to be taken seriously by the serious."

MSNBC, wallowing in their hatred of Fox News and conservatives the American people elected yesterday are declaring Americans to be bigots, fools and intellectually insensible - thus a Republican (admittedly a RINO) sits in the Obama chair in the US Senate and Illinois, Ohio, Florida, etc. repudiated Obama.

It is amazing the ingenuity Democrats invest in concocting explanations of voter behavior that erase what voters always care about, and this year more than ever — ideas. This election was a nationwide recoil against Barack Obama's idea of unlimited government control. But the electorate can't do much about the Federal Reserve since that star chamber exists outside of their mandate.

I'm not taking a swing at the Federal Reserve. At present can't be severed from our system of government. So I'm afraid that we have to live with it.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Obama's Accomplishments

The Obama Presidency has accomplished a great deal for America and out of a sense of gratitude, I want to thank him here on Virtual Mirage.

During the last presidential election, I wondered if America would ever wake up. President George W. Bush (not a conservative) embarked on the Iraq war, predicated on a lies to the American people and his fiscal policies worried me. By last Autumn, things looked bleak.  It seemed to me that Americans forgot what this country is all about. However, my lack of confidence was has been replaced by hope in the greatness and wisdom of the American people. Until this past two years, the last Tea Party we saw was back in in 1775-1776. Thanks for waking up the American people, Barack.

Scott Brown now sits in the Kennedy Chair in the US Senate. Obama killed off the Kennedy Dynasty - no more Kennedys trolling Washington looking for booze and women wanting rides home. Thanks for eliminating the Kennedy Democratic Machine, Barack.

Obama, and his "progressive leadership" style has sparked the greatest period of sales of firearms and ammunition this country has seen. States have passed laws supporting private ownership of firearms including laws that reject federal registration laws for arms and ammunition manufactured within a state. Law abiding citizens have rallied and have provided a "stimulus" to the sporting goods field while other industries have failed, faded, or moved off-shore. Thanks for (inadvertently) saving the firearms industry, Barack!

Obama is destroying the Democratic Party and the political careers of many party faithful. In December of 2008 the Democrats were on the rise. In the last two election cycles, they had picked up 14 Senate seats and 52 House seats. The press was touting the death of the Conservative Movement and the Republican Party. However, in just one year, Obama put a stop to all of this. Thanks for saving the Conservative Movement and the Republican Party, Barack.