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April 16, 2010

Bin Laden and French Cowardice

Read Jay B Gaskill’s Lost Souls Coffee Shop, an allegory for the human condition.  More on the Bridge to Being Blog at http://jaygaskill.com/blog2/ .

 

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Print version link: http://jaygaskill.com/BinLadenFrenchCowardice1.htm

 

Bin Laden & French Cowardice

 

Maybe I should include the New York Times, here as well for the clever concealment of the French foreign office’s craven appeasement of Islamist extremists.  

 

Unfair, you say?

 

Here’s the Times’ headline, buried deep in today’s paper: 

 

France: Bin Laden Son Is Denied Visa

 

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/16/world/europe/16briefs-francebrf.html?scp=2&sq=bin%20laden&st=cse

 

At first blush an ordinary reader - if he or she noticed the piece at all - would probably conclude, as I did, that a member of the clan Bin Laden clan was on some terrorist watch, and the French simply did the prudent thing in barring entry.

 

The news snippet (really only a paragraph) reveals the truth, but without the necessary context: 

 

This was a book tour. 

 

Osama bin Laden: A Family Portrait,” written by one of the miscreant terrorist’s estranged sons, is really a hit piece, a negative portrait, written by an insider.  The bin Laden family is a respected Saudi clan with roots in the construction industry, and Osama is, to say the very least, not in favor with them. 

 

So why block the son and his mother at the very gates of the home of liberty, equality and fraternity?

 

Nicolas Sarkozy knows.  Nicolas Paul Stéphane Sarközy de Nagy-Bocsa, President of the French Republic, former Interior Minister, was once a strong critic of France’s “car burning” youth (hint- Muslim rioters – see - http://www.euronews.net/2009/01/02/sarkozy-slams-car-vandals/ ), is well aware of which members of Clan bin Laden pose a threat and which do not.  He also is well aware of the threat to domestic tranquility posed by some of France’s recent immigrants and their disgruntled youth.

 

The French Muslim subpopulation of only about 6% (in contrast with, say, four times that percentage in the Netherlands), but has been concentrated in “Sharia strongholds” that sometimes overmatch the French government’s capacity to enforce the civil law. 

 

To his credit, the French President has done far more than his predecessors to reassert traditional French culture.  But a daunting demographic fact confronts Western Europe.  Their Islamist subpopulations are out-reproducing the native populations, and remain strikingly resistant to cultural assimilation. 

 

France has begun its tightening immigration policies and has reasserted secular cultural standards, including the implementation of a partial burqa ban. [See http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/europe/01/26/france.burqa.ban/index.html .]  There is actually a fair to good prognosis for the preservation of western civilization in France, in contrast to be beleaguered Netherlands where a gay, freedom-loving leader was assassinated by a Muslim fanatic and cartoonists need bodyguards.

 

Although the French constitution protects free speech, the government is fully entangled with the media and, by American standards, the protection of what we Yanks proudly call “our First Amendment rights” is much less robust there than here.

 

So I think it is reasonable that the Bin laden book tour was stopped at the gates because of fear.  There is no other way to spin it. 

 

Mr. Sarkozy, your foreign office has surrendered core French principles.  Are you up for this fight?

 

JBG

 

 

April 09, 2010

RED FLAGS - Why the US - Russia Arms Treaty may Not Be Ratified

Print version - http://jaygaskill.com/REDFLAGS1.htm

"The President shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur."

Why the US-Russian Nuclear Arms Treaty May Not Be Ratified

 

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No reasonable person would contend that the US really needs its entire strategic nuclear arsenal.  On the face of it, a force reduction treaty viv a vis the Russian Republic looks like a good idea.  But the provisions of the treaty signed yesterday by Presidents Barak Obama and Dmitry Medvedev also constrain other national security capabilities and measures as they might affect, say, a crisis in the Middle East or in the Korean Peninsula or in the Taiwan Strait.

 

Given the sorry state of current Russian military strategic capability, we can reasonably ask:  Is not this treaty, in essence and practical effect, a unilateral disarmament exercise by the US dressed up as a bilateral treaty?

 

You can read the full text of the treaty: I have included some relevant treaty language below and a link to the full text.

 

However the last question is ultimately answered, this treaty may be “just” between the US and Russia but its operative effects degrade our ability to deter and meet threats from third party players, who are watching and hoping as we tie our hands.

 

Limits on Aircraft

 

Among the red flags that leap off the page at first reading.  There are limitations on the size, replacement and basing of our so called “heavy bomber” fleet.  

 

Each Party shall reduce and limit its ... heavy bomber nuclear armaments, so that ... the aggregate numbers... do not exceed:

 

 “(c) 800, for deployed and non-deployed ICBM launchers, deployed and non-deployed SLBM launchers, and deployed and non-deployed heavy bombers.

 

“(c) Existing types of heavy bombers ... for the United States of America... the B-52G, B-
52H, B-IB, and B-2A....

 

Note:

 

http://www.fas.org/programs/ssp/man/uswpns/air/bombers/b1b.html

 

“The B-1B is a multi-role, long-range bomber, capable of flying intercontinental missions without refueling, then penetrating present and predicted sophisticated enemy defenses. It can perform a variety of missions, including that of a conventional weapons carrier for theater operations. Through 1991, the B-1 was dedicated to the nuclear deterrence role as part of the single integrated operational plan (SIOP)”

 

“The B-1B's electronic jamming equipment, infrared countermeasures, radar location and warning systems complement its low-radar cross-section and form an integrated defense system for the aircraft.”

 

Note that the Stealth bomber is included:

 

 

http://www.airforce-technology.com/projects/b2/

 

“The B-2 is a low-observable, strategic, long-range, heavy bomber capable of penetrating sophisticated and dense air-defense shields. It is capable of all-altitude attack missions up to 50,000ft, with a range of more than 6,000nm unrefuelled and over 10,000nm with one refueling, giving it the ability to fly to any point in the world within hours.

 

“Its distinctive profile comes from the unique 'flying wing' construction. The leading edges of the wings are angled at 33° and the trailing edge has a double-W shape. It is manufactured at the Northrop Grumman facilities in Pico Rivera and Palmdale in California.”

 

 

Does this mean that we would have a single-basket aggregate limit for all designated missile launchers and “heavy” bombers of 800, such that our bomber aircraft inventory would be limited to the sum of 800 minus our launcher inventory?

 

It is clear from other treaty language that the restrictions apply to all such weapon-carrying aircraft, including planes carrying low yield tactical bombs and bunker-busting bombs so long as they are nuclear.

 

Basing Restrictions

 

Basing restrictions for US listed bombers are significant under this treaty, and include:
(a) No joint basing with nuclear missiles;
(b) No deployment at all unless on a US Base;
(c) No strategic weapons deployment (planes included) outside US territory.

 

Test Aircraft Limits

 

Should we want to develop new planes or test replacements, then note this treaty restriction:

 

“Each Party shall limit the number of test heavy bombers to no more than ten.”


 

News reports tell us that “U.S.-Russia arms treaty to face GOP scrutiny in Senate”

http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/04/08/start.treaty.senate/index.html .  Let’s hope so.

 

Ratification is by no means a done deal, particularly in light of the residual distrust of the president engendered by the heath care juggernaut, his hostility to Israel and over-conciliatory rhetoric on Iran.

 

Sixty seven votes will be needed.

 

 

Article. VI.

 

Clause 2: This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

 

 

 

Stay tuned.

 

JBG

 

[][][]

 

TREATY BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION ON MEASURES FOR THE FURTHER REDUCTION AND LIMITATION OF STRATEGIC OFFENSIVE ARMS

 

Full text at:

http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/140035.pdf

 

Some Highlights

 

Article II

 

1. Each Party shall reduce and limit its ICBMs and ICBM launchers, SLBMs and SLBM launchers, heavy bombers, ICBM warheads, SLBM warheads, and heavy bomber nuclear armaments, so that seven years after entry into force of this Treaty and thereafter, the aggregate numbers, as counted in accordance with Article III of this Treaty, do not exceed:

 

(a) 700, for deployed ICBMs, deployed SLBMs, and deployed
heavy bombers;

 

(b) 1550, for warheads on deployed ICBMs, warheads on
deployed SLBMs, and nuclear warheads counted for deployed
heavy bombers;
(c) 800, for deployed and non-deployed ICBM launchers, deployed and non-deployed SLBM launchers, and deployed and non-deployed heavy bombers.

 

(c) Existing types of heavy bombers are:

 

(i) for the United States of America, the B-52G, B-
52H, B-IB, and B-2A;

 

[][][]

 

Article IV

 

1. Each Party shall base:
(a) deployed launchers of ICBMs only at ICBM bases;
(b) deployed heavy bombers only at air bases.
[]

 

7. Each Party shall limit the number of test heavy bombers to no more than ten.


8. Each Party shall base test heavy bombers only at heavy bomber flight test centers. Non-deployed heavy bombers other than test heavy bombers shall be located only at repair facilities or production facilities for heavy bombers.

 

9. Each Party shall not carry out at an air base joint basing of heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments and heavy bombers equipped for non-nuclear armaments, unless otherwise agreed by the Parties.

 

[][][]

 

Article XIII

 

To ensure the viability and effectiveness of this Treaty, each Party shall not assume any international obligations or undertakings that would conflict with its provisions. The Parties shall not transfer strategic offensive arms subject to this Treaty to third parties. The Parties shall hold consultations within the framework of the Bilateral Consultative Commission in order to resolve any ambiguities that may arise in this regard. This provision shall not apply to any patterns of cooperation, including obligations, in the area of strategic offensive arms, existing at the time of signature of this Treaty, between a Party and a third State.

 

[][][]

 

11. Strategic offensive arms subject to this Treaty shall not be based outside the national territory of each Party. The obligations provided for in this paragraph shall not affect the Parties' rights in accordance with generally recognized principles and rules of international law relating to the passage of submarines or flights of aircraft, or relating to visits of submarines to ports of third States. Heavy bombers may be temporarily located outside the national territory, notification of which shall be provided in accordance with Part Four of the Protocol to this Treaty.

 

2. This Treaty shall remain in force for 10 years unless it is superseded earlier by a subsequent agreement on the reduction and limitation of strategic offensive arms. If either Party raises the issue of extension of this Treaty, the Parties shall jointly consider the matter. If the Parties decide to extend this Treaty, it will be extended for a period of no more than five years unless it is superseded earlier by a subsequent agreement on the reduction and limitation of strategic offensive arms.

 

3. Each Party shall, in exercising its national sovereignty, have the right to withdraw from this Treaty if it decides that extraordinary events related to the subject matter of this Treaty have jeopardized its supreme interests. It shall give notice of its decision to the other Party. Such notice shall contain a statement of the extraordinary events the notifying Party regards as having jeopardized its supreme interests.

 

This Treaty shall terminate three months from the date of receipt by the other Party of the aforementioned notice, unless the notice specifies a later date.

 

 

 

 

April 07, 2010

The Power of Choice (in Health Care)

As Published On
→The Human Conspiracy Blog: http://www.jaygaskill.com/blog3
→The Policy Think Site: http://www.jaygaskill.com
All contents, unless otherwise indicated are
Copyright © 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 & 2010 by Jay B. Gaskill
LINK TO THIS ARTICLE OR FORWARD IT TO OTHER READERS, AS YOU WISH.
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License to print copies for use in group discussions is usually given on request.
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Print version: http://jaygaskill.com/ThePowerOfChoice1.htm

 

THE POWER OF CHOICE

 

The HMO from Hell –
It Begins...

 

 

In today’s New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/07/business/economy/07leonhardt.html?ref=business

How can we learn to say no?

 

“The federal government is now starting to build the institutions that will try to reduce the soaring growth of health care costs. There will be a group to compare the effectiveness of different treatments, a so-calledMedicare innovation center and a Medicare oversight board that can set payment rates.

 

“But all these groups will face the same basic problem. Deep down, Americans tend to believe that more care is better care. We recoil from efforts to restrict care.

Managed care became loathed in the 1990s. The recent recommendation to reduce breast cancer screening set off a firestorm. On a personal level, anyone who has made a decision about his or her own care knows the nagging worry that comes from not choosing the most aggressive treatment.

 

“From an economic perspective, health reform will fail if we can’t sometimes push back against the try-anything instinct. The new agencies will be hounded by accusations of rationing, and Medicare’s long-term budget deficit will grow.

So figuring out how we can say no may be the single toughest and most important task facing the people who will be in charge of carrying out reform. “Being able to say no,” Dr.Alan Garber of Stanford says, ‘is the heart of the issue.’”

 

 

[][][]

 

The “heart of the issue?” ...or the heartlessness?

 

 

Entitlements will always drive limited resources to zero, always, always forcing painful choices. 

 

The illusion of free medicine, with zero patient cost participation at the point of service, creates a culture of zombie-like dependency in which bureaucrats take over all the critical decisions from patients who are simply herded into “treatment models”, cookbook medicine increasingly devoid of fine tuned individuation.  

 

The process of bureaucratization is incomplete in the US only because vestiges of the older physician-patient model still survive here.  But the trend is clear and it has been accelerated by the latest health care legislation.

 

In the latest interaction of health care reform, bureaucratic limits will take even more choices away from physicians and patients and vest them with committee structures. 

 

One result of denied treatment is death.  Intelligent people in the public square are forced to use sound bites to encapsulate a complicated idea.  Governor Palin used the term “death panels” and was roundly criticized.  The architects of bureaucratic cost containment weren’t foolish enough to use that name.  But the governor’s sound bite captured much more than a grain of truth.

 

It remains true that health care resources are limited and, given the looming public debt crisis, things will get worse before they improve. 

 

The republicans and their blue dog democrat allies will have a brief time window to reset the course of health care into a much less bureaucratic model, one with more patient cost participation and greater physician professional independence.

 

More on that topic is on the way, but here’s a preliminary peek. 

 

The option of privately held, tax sheltered medical savings accounts needs to be made available to every individual and family in the US.  New legislation needs to provide a physician and patient bill of rights, guaranteeing unfettered private practice access for each.  Subsidies for the poor are appropriate, of course.  But any help-the-needy models need to preserve patient choice and cost participation, wherever and whenever feasible. 

 

Stay tuned.

 

JBG

 

April 05, 2010

Reality Break

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→The Human Conspiracy Blog: http://www.jaygaskill.com/blog3
→The Policy Think Site: http://www.jaygaskill.com
All contents, unless otherwise indicated are
Copyright © 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 & 2010 by Jay B. Gaskill
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Otherwise,
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License to print copies for use in group discussions is usually given on request.
For all permissions, comments or questions, please contact Jay B. Gaskill, attorney at law, via e mail at law@jaygaskill.com

 
Printable Version: http://jaygaskill.com/RealityBreak1.htm
 

 

\____________

/

 

When any mainstream media outlet breaks the story that the federal government is on a collision course with a catastrophic federal debt crisis, you know their editors are seriously concerned.

 

[The current federal debt is about 63% of GPD, a number that has already destroyed smaller economies that were – or will be – partly bailed out, and is heading to 95%, a number that, in classic economic understatement, is a “tipping point”.  As I have pointed out earlier, the US federal government has temporarily been propped up by Chinese lending, but can no more be bailed out than, say, Godzilla can be rolled into a local clinic for an emergency appendectomy.]

 

See today’s San Francisco Chronicle piece.  National Debt on Course for Crisis”

 

 

“Lost amid last month's passage of the new health care law, the Congressional Budget Office issued a report showing that within this decade, President Obama's own budget sends the U.S. government to a potential tipping point where the debt reaches 90 percent of gross domestic product.

 

“Economists Carmen Reinhart of the University of Maryland and Kenneth Rogoff of Harvard University have recently shown that a 90 percent debt-to-GDP ratio usually touches off a crisis.

 

“This year, the debt will reach 63 percent of GDP, a ratio that has ignited crises in smaller wealthy nations. Fiscal crises gripped Canada, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Ireland when their debts were below where the United States is shortly headed.”

 

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/04/05/MNI21COVR1.DTL#ixzz0kFk3691a

 

Adjust for political bias (The Chronicle has not uttered a harsh word about the congressional democrats or Mr. Obama over last two years).  Translation:  We have to actually do something about this, the neglect of the congress and POTUS notwithstanding.

 

When neither political party seems to know what to do with the latest, “everybody knew we were heading to the edge of the cliff’, fiscal warning, floated as fresh news, we should all be scared.

 

Here’s the problem in a nutshell: The democrats have become the party of impossible promises.  And the republicans are being maneuvered into becoming the party of dashed hopes.

 

To the Toxicrats and the Procrasticans:  Your time is up.

 

This is what football fans recognize as a turnover moment.  The democrats have dropped the ball somewhere in center field.  The republicans have no choice but to pick it up and run with it.  The heavy lifting required cannot be underestimated.  The urgently needed changes in federal spending and borrowing practices required will collide with existing law (most federal spending is not “discretionary”, meaning that making the necessary bankruptcy-avoidance cuts will require the congress and executive to radically change the legal status of the heretofore sacred programs).  There is an equally wrenching collision in the making, with entrenched interests, a mix of democratic and republican core constituencies. 

 

For example:  Private sector unions and corporate bureaucrats were complicit in destroying two American car manufacturers, then in corrupting the bailout packages.  Worse, public sector unions have infested federal employment, operating as a huge obstacle to achieving leaner, smaller and more efficient operations.   Crony capitalism, the selective use of subsidies, regulatory punishment and favors, profoundly cripples the free market job creation machine, the “golden goose” on which liberal programs have depended all these years.

 

In an earlier piece, I advanced the notion of “ruthless optimism” based on an assessment (a recap of my argument and additional details will follow in a later post) that the latent wealth-creation capacity of the USA provides us with a one-off supply-side path out of the fiscal crater, provided we act early enough.  [Climbing out of a mere crater is easier than crawling out of an abyss.]  

 

I didn’t use the word “ruthless” lightly:  The productive private sector of the US economy is so seriously hobbled by regulation and repressive taxation by every level of government that its mere removal will spark exponential growth if the resulting development paths are kept secure and level for at least ten years.  Why at least ten years?  Investors are like the Peanuts character whose repeated attempts to kick a football was frustrated by the trickery of the character Lucy; they are not willing to engage in long term investments if they believe that their rewards will be sucked out prematurely.  Hint:  the pathological predilection of the investment class to seek out short term bubbles is a result of the tendency by the political class to punish long term investors by starving the golden geese (forgive the overused metaphor here).  Unleashing the US productive sector will work only if we don’t wait too long.   Putting the suite of measures in place to accomplish that, including facing down some union and other political blowback, will require more than ordinary optimism and grit. 

 

Stay tuned...

 

JBG

 

PS

Jay B Gaskill’s electronic fiction is available at

Amazon (enter Jay B Gaskill)

And Barnes and Noble at this new Link

 

http://productsearch.barnesandnoble.com/search/results.aspx?store=EBOOK&WRD=jay+b+gaskill&box=jay%20b%20gaskil&pos=-1

 

“The Stranded Ones” is a thriller set in a not too distant world where the patent laws have collapsed and we face a real “alien immigration’ threat.

 

“Lost Souls coffee Shop” is a real “trip”.


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