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Sufi Muhammad arrested
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Page 6: Politix
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China-Japan-Koreas
Our Fading Pacific Legacy
Posted by: charger || 06/05/2009 16:30 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [303 views] Top|| File under:


The Axis of Evil, Again
Every nuclear-weapons state had foreign help
By BRET STEPHENS

Not 24 hours after North Korea's nuclear test last week, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad issued a statement insisting "we don't have any cooperation [with North Korea] in this field." The lady doth protest too much.

When it comes to nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them, history offers two hard lessons. First, nearly every nuclear power has been a secret sharer of nuclear technology. Second, every action creates an equal and opposite reaction -- a Newtonian law of proliferation that is only broken with the intercession of an overwhelming outside force.

On the first point, it's worth recalling that every nuclear-weapons state got that way with the help of foreign friends. The American bomb was conceived by European scientists and built in a consortium with Britain and Canada. The Soviets got their bomb thanks largely to atomic spies, particularly Germany's Klaus Fuchs. The Chinese nuclear program got its start with Soviet help.

Britain gave France the secret of the hydrogen bomb, hoping French President Charles de Gaulle would return the favor by admitting the U.K. into the European Economic Community. (He Gallicly refused.) France shared key nuclear technology with Israel and then with Iraq. South Africa got its bombs (since dismantled) with Israeli help. India made illegal use of plutonium from a U.S.-Canadian reactor to build its first bomb. The Chinese lent the design of one of their early atomic bombs to Pakistan, which then gave it to Libya, North Korea and probably Iran.

Now it's Pyongyang's turn to be the link in the nuclear daisy chain. Its ties to Syria were exposed by an Israeli airstrike in 2007. As for Iran, its military and R&D links to the North go back more than 20 years, when Iran purchased 100 Scud-B missiles for use in the Iran-Iraq war.

Since then, Iranians have reportedly been present at a succession of North Korean missile tests. North Korea also seems to have off-shored its missile testing to Iran after it declared a "moratorium" on its own tests in the late 1990s.

In a 2008 paper published by the Korea Economic Institute, Dr. Christina Lin of Jane's Information Group noted that "Increased visits to Iran by DPRK [North Korea] nuclear specialists in 2003 reportedly led to a DPRK-Iran agreement for the DPRK to either initiate or accelerate work with Iranians to develop nuclear warheads that could be fitted on the DPRK No-dong missiles that the DPRK and Iran were jointly developing. Thus, despite the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate stating that Iran in 2003 had halted weaponization of its nuclear program, this was the time that Iran outsourced to the DPRK for proxy development of nuclear warheads."

Another noteworthy detail: According to a 2003 report in the L.A. Times, "So many North Koreans are working on nuclear and missile projects in Iran that a resort on the Caspian coast is set aside for their exclusive use."
Ok, Israel, send a couple of missiles there in the middle of the night.
No, no, no. As part of Operation Lemony Snickett, there should be a tragic hotel fire at the resort. Faulty electrical panel, you know. Terrible what happened to all those nuclear and missile project workers ...
Now the North seems to be gearing up for yet another test of its long-range Taepodong missile, and it's a safe bet Iranians will again be on the receiving end of the flight data. Nothing prevents them from sharing nuclear-weapons material or data, either, and the thought occurs that the North's second bomb test last week might also have been Iran's first. If so, the only thing between Iran and a bomb is a long-range cargo plane.

Which brings us to our second nuclear lesson. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has lately been in Asia taking a tough rhetorical line on the North's nuclear activities. But it's hard to deliver the message credibly after Mr. Gates rejected suggestions that the U.S. shoot down the Taepodong just prior to its April test, or when the U.S. flubbed the diplomacy at the U.N. So other countries will have to draw their own conclusions.
Indeed.
One such country is Japan. In 2002, Ichiro Ozawa, then the leader of the country's Liberal Party, told Chinese leaders that "If Japan desires, it can possess thousands of nuclear warheads. Japan has enough plutonium in use at its nuclear plants for three to four thousand. . . . If that should happen, we wouldn't lose to China in terms of military strength."

This wasn't idle chatter. As Christopher Hughes notes in his new book, "Japan's Remilitarization," "The nuclear option is gaining greater credence in Japan because of growing concerns over the basic strategic conditions that have allowed for nuclear restraint in the past. . . . Japanese analysts have questioned whether the U.S. would really risk Los Angeles for Tokyo in a nuclear confrontation with North Korea."
It depends on who has his/her finger on the button. This term it's President Barack Hussein Obama, as he currently styles himself.
There are still good reasons why Japan would not want to go nuclear: Above all, it doesn't want to simultaneously antagonize China and the U.S. But the U.S. has even better reasons not to want to tempt Japan in that direction. Transparently feckless and time-consuming U.S. diplomacy with North Korea is one such temptation. Refusing to modernize our degraded stockpile of nuclear weapons while seeking radical cuts in the overall arsenal through a deal with Russia is another.

This, however, is the course the Obama administration has set for itself. Allies and enemies alike will draw their own conclusions.
Posted by: Steve White || 06/05/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [305 views] Top|| File under:

#1  "Japanese analysts have questioned whether the U.S. would really risk Los Angeles for Tokyo in a nuclear confrontation with North Korea."

With BHO in office, definitely not.

In fact, I think it would take the nuking of five or more major cities in the U.S. before the current administration would use any military force at all in response to an attack, and then only reluctantly.
Posted by: no mo uro || 06/05/2009 5:56 Comments || Top||

#2  Doesn't a Nork threat to nuke Los Angeles give Mexico justification to have nukes?
Posted by: Glenmore || 06/05/2009 8:33 Comments || Top||

#3  In fact, I think it would take the nuking of five or more major cities in the U.S. before the current administration would use any military force at all in response to an attack, and then only reluctantly.

No, I disagree - unfortunately our current administration will need only one event to declare martial law here in the states.

American Patriots will be then be fighting a two front war. Both overseas and internally.

I pray I will be wrong.

Posted by: GORT || 06/05/2009 9:28 Comments || Top||


Economy
Taxpayers Should Look to Colorado
Across the country, Americans are suffering at the hands of out-of-control state governments and spending.

But guess what? There exists an immunization that helps relieve some of the pain associated with that sort of fiscal calamity.

The remedy already is working wonders in Colorado. So, one might ask, why, rather than exporting the treatment, are local Colorado officials in the process of killing it?

Colorado has enjoyed more than a decade of above-average economic growth. The state, with its low taxes and highly educated work force, is cited regularly as one of the best places to do business and live. Colorado ranks high in income and consumption levels and, not surprisingly, also has managed to avoid some of the recession's brute force.

Colorado's dynamic economy relies on a multitude of factors, but none of those factors happens to be the presence of governors or legislators. Sensible governance is made compulsory by the Taxpayer Bill of Rights and other state spending limits, which keep government lean and responsible yet also allow the state the flexibility to ask voters for more funding.

Now, as you can imagine, politicians abhor few things more than engaging in the unpleasant task of justifying their spending to the riffraff. Even more distasteful is dealing with bothersome spending limits that retard elected officials' transcendent power to help you out.

Accordingly, the bellyaching over spending caps in Colorado is ceaseless. Only a shyster politician would argue that allowing a budget to grow 6 percent over the previous year's total (and more, if you count transportation and capital projects) is unfair. Few Colorado families or businesses, I am relatively sure, enjoy that kind of latitude.

Yet this week -- only days after California voters overwhelmingly rejected their state's bid at economic anarchy -- Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter signed legislation to eliminate Colorado's spending limit, which henceforth will be referred to as "Californiacation."

For those Coloradans who still see usefulness in fiscal prudence, John Morse, a Democratic state senator from Colorado Springs, believes in you. "In the late 1400s, very few people believed the Earth was round," he explained. "By the early 1500s, we knew what was going on."

Colorado voters, treated like the dimwitted Middle Age peasantry of the 1400s, need to get their heads on straight and build a bridge to the 16th century. I agree. Morse's fight for unaccountable and disconnected government screams 1500.

Once spending limits are gone, Californiacation can begin. Having already raised property taxes -- with the help of friendly courts -- Colorado's patrons will have extra billions at their disposal. And now that the Democratic-controlled Legislature has unleashed its collective imagination and started referring to taxes as "fees," billions more will head to Denver.

Gov. Ritter has said that he would like to revisit the Taxpayer Bill of Rights question in 2011 -- bravely, a year after he runs for a second term.

What could be done with TABOR? Well, it could be eliminated. And when Morse and Ritter -- and other demagogues of doom -- push Colorado toward an Age of Enlightenment, they won't tell citizens this: Colorado governments spent almost $26 billion for the 4.3 million living in the state in 2000. And in 2008, they spent nearly $42 billion for 4.7 million people. Imagine what might have occurred without TABOR. Or just imagine California today.

In truth, TABOR forces elected officials to justify every penny they spend and constrains them to rational growth. In many ways, it cleans up government by stripping bureaucrats of power -- and nothing, I assume, is more bothersome to them.

More immediately, TABOR has helped insulate the average Colorado taxpayer from the disasters of overspending and mitigate a recessionary economy.

Other states serious about protecting taxpayers should take notice.

While they still can.
Posted by: GolfBravoUSMC || 06/05/2009 07:31 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [439 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Politicians abhor anything that smacks of cutting off the flow of funds. If there ain't no money in politics why that would mean getting a real job.
Posted by: JohnQC || 06/05/2009 10:21 Comments || Top||

#2  Ritter is gonna find himself out of a job, right quick.

Damn waste of skin.
Posted by: DarthVader || 06/05/2009 20:22 Comments || Top||

#3  Colorado has been Californicated.

Damned influx of people fleeing the mess in California, and what do they do? The repeat the same damned political things they did in CA.

Too bad there is no way you can prevent California moron liberals from voting till they have been in Colorado for 4 years.
Posted by: OldSpook || 06/05/2009 20:36 Comments || Top||

#4  The general process for dealing with such laws is to spend all the general fund on your pet projects and then go to the voters with a 'we don't have enough for { Police | Fire | Hospitals | Schools } we need to raise taxes or have a levy.'

I think 'Tax-to-the-Max' Ron Sims of King County Washington used to do it all the time to get around the 6% yearly tax-raising limit.
Posted by: CrazyFool || 06/05/2009 22:40 Comments || Top||


Home Front: Politix
Pelosi's Pork Problem
Picture a freight train roaring down the tracks. Picture House Speaker Nancy Pelosi positioning her party on the rails. Picture a growing stream of nervous souls diving for the weeds. Picture all this, and you've got a sense of the Democrats' earmark-corruption problem.

This particular choo-choo has the name John Murtha emblazoned on the side, and with each chug is proving that those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. Republicans got tossed in 2006 in part for failing to police the earmarks at the center of the Jack Abramoff and other corruption scandals. Mrs. Pelosi is today leaving her members exposed to an earmark mess that might make Abramoff look junior varsity.

Federal investigators are deep into a criminal investigation of PMA Group, a now-defunct lobby shop founded by a former aide to Mr. Murtha, Pennsylvania's 18-term star appropriator. The suspicion is that some members of Congress may have peddled lucrative earmarks to PMA clients in exchange for campaign contributions. To get a sense of this probe's scope, consider that last year alone more than 100 members secured earmarks for PMA clients.

Mr. Murtha, who in the past two years alone directed $78 million to PMA companies, has so far not been accused of wrongdoing and has proclaimed his innocence. The feds, for their part, are picking up speed. Federal agents have raided PMA, as well as a defense contractor to which Mr. Murtha had directed earmarks, Kuchera Defense Systems. By last week, Mr. Murtha's fellow defense appropriator and PMA-earmarker, Indiana Rep. Peter Visclosky, had disclosed he'd received subpoenas in connection with PMA, while the Navy said it had suspended Kuchera from doing business with it because of "alleged fraud."

The result is growing dissent among Democrats, on full display this week. On one side is Mrs. Pelosi, who has demanded her party protect Mr. Murtha, a man hugely responsible for her ascent. One the other side are younger, first- and second-term Democrats who won their seats off GOP scandals and who have no interest in sacrificing them at the back-scratching altar.

Republican Rep. Jeff Flake this week gave notice he was introducing his ninth resolution calling for an ethics committee investigation into PMA. This scourge of earmarks worries that, since the 1990s, some lawmakers have been "refining" earmarking, moving beyond "bring home the bacon" pork for districts and instead viewing earmarks as "fund-raising tools" -- a way to deliver money to companies that produce campaign cash. "We've crossed a line," he tells me. "And we in Congress need to understand that this is why Justice is interested."

His resolutions are forcing members to take sides, and with each vote he's peeled off a few more of Mrs. Pelosi's caucus. His first resolution, in February, got support from 17 Democrats. These were folks like California's Jerry McNerney, who spent his 2006 campaign lashing his GOP rival to Abramoff. And New Hampshire's Paul Hodes, who in the same year criticized his opponent for failing to return campaign donations from former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

By last month's Flake resolution, 29 Democrats had jumped on board. Welcome Mike Quigley, newly elected in Illinois after a campaign focused on Rod Blagojevich. Welcome, too, New York's Scott Murphy, who in March squeaked out a special-election victory after attacking his opponent on ethics. Some Democrats have fretted that even lining up with Mr. Flake won't provide adequate cover from a possible Murtha train wreck. In April, Mr. Hodes and Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords debuted a bill to ban lawmakers from taking contributions from companies on whose behalf they've requested earmarks.

Mrs. Pelosi has relentlessly fought to tamp down this uprising. In April, she recruited the former top Democrat on the ethics committee, Howard Berman, to lecture members in a closed-door meeting as to why they should continue to oppose Mr. Flake. In May, as the House prepared for another vote, Mrs. Pelosi's assistant, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, sent an email to staffers warning "Don't Be a Flake" and making clear defections would not be viewed charitably.

But the news of the Visclosky subpoena, and the possibility of another Flake vote, this week threatened a mass revolt. Majority Leader Steny Hoyer pre-empted Mr. Flake with his own resolution calling on the ethics committee merely to disclose whether it is already looking at PMA. Democrats then watered this down further by referring the resolution to committee, where it can be buried. Many of the GOP's biggest earmarkers, in particular Alaska's Don Young and Florida's Bill Young, went along with this charade, proving Republicans have yet to exorcise their own earmark demons.

As political cover goes this is pretty scant, and Democrats are in control. If and when this train derails, the exposure could be huge. For Mr. Flake, it's all a bit mindboggling. "This is a well-trodden path of denial that we Republicans already walked down. Democrats are now walking down that path. Philosophically, it's nuts."
Posted by: GolfBravoUSMC || 06/05/2009 07:20 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [306 views] Top|| File under:

#1  This is not a problem for Democrats. The MSM will bury it behind stories of the Obamas date nights in NY.
Posted by: DoDo || 06/05/2009 11:12 Comments || Top||

#2  Speaking of Date Night, was the cost to taxpayers over or under $1 million for Barak and Michelle's night at the opera? Babysitting fees not included.
Posted by: ed || 06/05/2009 11:17 Comments || Top||

#3  Like I've said before, this is not a real problem for the Democrats. All they have to do is to pass a law that says that it is ok for Democrats to give earmarks to companies that will pay for them in campaign contributions. That will make everything they do legal. They can add a clause that makes it all retroactive, so Murtha can't be prosecuted. And another that covers Democratic former members of Congress like Bill Jefferson. They could slip this into another 10000 page stimulus bill that nobody has a chance to read before Obama signs it. Once it becomes law, who will people believe? Their beloved Democratic congressman who brings the pork to their district, or some flakey republican?
Posted by: Rambler in Virginia || 06/05/2009 19:01 Comments || Top||



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Two weeks of WOT
Fri 2009-06-05
  Sufi Muhammad arrested
Thu 2009-06-04
  Three killed in renewed Hamas-PA clashes in Qalqiliya
Wed 2009-06-03
  Hafiz Saeed sprung
Tue 2009-06-02
  NKor names Kimmie's successor
Mon 2009-06-01
  Mass kiddy abduction by Talibs in Pakistan
Sun 2009-05-31
  Former director of National Security Intel was owned by ISI
Sat 2009-05-30
  Mighty Pak Army clears Piochar valley
Fri 2009-05-29
  Pakistan: Suspects arrested for ´plotting attack against spy agency´
Thu 2009-05-28
  7 killed in attack on Somali presidential palace
Wed 2009-05-27
  Taliban strike ISI headquarters in Lahore, 35 killed, 250 wounded
Tue 2009-05-26
  SKor military bolsters defense readiness
Mon 2009-05-25
  N. Korea appears to have conducted second nuclear test
Sun 2009-05-24
  Pak security forces enter Mingora
Sat 2009-05-23
  Car boom kills 10, injures 75 in Peshawar
Fri 2009-05-22
  Thousands flee tense Wazoo

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