One Lousy Ship?

On Tuesday, President Obama sent the USS Lassen to the South China Sea where it sailed within 12 nautical miles of one of China’s artificial islands. Publicly, the Chinese are outraged, but behind the scenes they are probably snickering considering what happened the last time the U.S. Navy sent China a message.

Back in 1996, when the Chinese were harassing Taiwan, President Clinton sent two carrier groups to the area. And one of them led by the USS Nimitz sailed right through the Taiwan Strait. Now that sends a message. Why? Because the ships sailed very close to China, and the closer you get, the more enemy territory comes under your guns. The Nimitz could have inflicted some serious mayhem on a wide swath of China that day (click the map to enlarge):

Taiwan_Strait

The Chinese had their Silkworm cruise missiles back then, but perhaps the Navy was confident in their countermeasures. Of course, during the intervening 20 years we have transferred a tremendous amount of technology to the Chinese, so their anti-ship weapons are far more sophisticated now. Sending a carrier that close to China today might not be feasible. And I would be surprised to see it considering how the USS Theodore Roosevelt pulled out of the Middle East two days after the Russians started launching cruise missiles at ISIS on October 7th.

Perhaps there will be more “Freedom of Navigation” operations, but if it ends after this puny show of force, the Chinese will likely be emboldened rather than deterred – just like the Russians are now in the Middle East.

I’m for scaling back our imperial footprint, but it has to be done in such a way that our military rivals don’t sense weakness.

Putin’s Cuban Carrier Not Sunk After All

In “Sinking Putin’s Cuban Carrier” back in February, I speculated that Obama’s policy of trying to normalize relations with Cuba was a geopolitical strategy aimed at depriving Russia of an ally in a cold war that was heating up.

Well, it looks like it didn’t take. DEBKAfile is reporting that Putin has air-lifted 2,000 Cuban troops into Syria who will soon be driving tanks over the CIA’s jihadis.

Is Putin mopping the floor with Obama, or what? You have to wonder if this will effect the presidential election. If the Democrats are perceived as grossly incompetent at foreign policy, that might be the issue that will allow Trump to catch up to Hillary. All the head-to-head polls I’ve seen show Hills defeating Trump by a wide margin. But can that last, when the USA is in a military retreat?

Recently, there has been talk of a US Navy “drive by” in the South China Sea to show China who’s boss. That may partly be designed to divert attention away from the Middle East as we quietly fold our tent in Syria. If the Navy were to sink one of China’s artificial islands, then that would provide a long-lasting media circus that would dwarf events in the Middle East…

…Unless Putin keeps marching. Putin’s on a roll, and Obama’s a sissy, so why wouldn’t Putin keep right on going? In 1974, Russia deployed Cuban tank and helicopter crews to the Syrian border with Israel where they fought the IDF. Does Vladamir Putin see this as an opportunity to take out a US ally? Probably not, but I think this is the most danger Israel has been in in a long time.

America’s Dead Zones

A while ago, I heard somebody say that the there are so many homeless people in the Skid Row neighborhood of Los Angeles that it looks like a scene from The Walking Dead. Now they say that large swathes of adjacent neighborhoods have been absorbed into the dead zone. The situation is so dire that the city of Los Angeles has declared a state of emergency. Click here to see some pictures.

You know those economists who said that offshoring thousands of factories while simultaneously importing millions of workers was a perfectly wonderful economic policy? This is their handiwork. Oligarchy bootlickers; every last one of them.

How many more dead-zones like this are there across the nation? I don’t know, but I’ll bet there are quite a few. This would be a good topic for an investigative journalist. I would recommend looking into Fresno next, having recently watched the documentary: “The City Addicted to Crystal Meth.” The Brits seem to really enjoy documenting that depths to which the USA has sunk. And yes, the USA has become a laughing stock.

Shocking Deceleration of Payroll-Tax Growth

That’s the title of an email that I sent out to my Daily Jobs Update subscribers on August 3, 2015. At the time, the Dow stood at 17,598. What happened next? KABOOM! That’s what. It’s been pretty much straight downhill since then with the Dow shedding 1,138 points by the time of this writing. Here is the payroll-tax chart that I sent (click to enlarge):

Trailing-Quarter

The chart is made by taking a quarter-over-quarter growth rate of federal withholding-tax collections every day, and then applying a moving-average.

Note that the vertical axis starts at 3.5% instead of zero, so the growth-rate was still positive, though way off the 6% peak in February.

Has the data continued to plunge since I made the chart three weeks ago? Good question; for the answer simply subscribe to The Daily Jobs Update.

We Are All Confederates Now

The crowd in Columbia, South Carolina cheered today as the Confederate flag was taken down. But you have to wonder: how many of those cheering people were wearing clothes made by Asian slave-children? Most of them, probably.

Sorry to rain on your Confederate-flag taking-down party, but the hard truth is that the South has already risen again. Dixie’s slave-labor ideology has not been eliminated; in fact, it has been raised to the status of a holy-sacrament for the entire nation with cheap-labor being the beating heart of record corporate profits.

Arkansas’ Bill Clinton was the chief political operative who made David Rockefeller’s “free trade” cheap-labor dream come true. And it was Arkansas’ Walmart that pressured Congress to pass Clinton’s NAFTA. Speaking of which, you have to wonder: was the wealth-disparity between southern “planters” and their chattel slaves greater than that of the Walton Family and their Walmart wage-slaves? Maybe not. Slaves may have not been paid anything, but they were fed and housed, while many Walmart workers aren’t paid enough to afford food and must rely on food stamps

Arkansas was also one of the first states to adopt the union-busting, wage-suppressing “Right to Work” law. And in recent years, right-to-work has actually conquered three northern states: Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

America’s middle class has been mauled by Confederate ideology, and this nation is hurtling backward toward a fascist slave-state with shocking momentum.

But it gets worse.

At The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina, CFR member and Fox News contributor Mallory Factor teaches cadets that “labor is a commodity.” And of course, commodities can be bought and sold, and disposed of at will, since they are your property. Sort of like slaves were. However, workers are not lumps of bauxite; they are people raising families, and some of their children will grow up to join the military and fight and die for this nation. So no, I don’t believe that Factor’s explicit fascist ideology should be taught to our future military leaders.

To read more about working conditions in the South, see this piece by Michael Lind. Here’s a quote:

“The Southern strategy of attracting foreign investment from New York, London and other centers of capital depends on having a local Southern workforce that is forced to work at low wages by the absence of bargaining power.”