President Clinton coming aboard the USS INDEPENDENCE in April 1996.

A larger version of the picture above sits on the wall inside the intelligence portion of US Pacific Fleet’s headquarters in Hawaii.  One of my side tasks when I worked there was to find historical pictures to decorate our walls.  This picture drew a lot of heads, as most service members weren’t fond of Clinton’s time as President.

The picture reminds us of an important time in history.  China had already caused plenty of problems with Taiwan, and in 1995 they started the Third Taiwan Straits Crisis.  In response, President Clinton put two Carrier Battle Groups near the straits.  This caused a lot of shame to the Chinese, because their Navy was unable to do anything about it.

There was a marked shift after that moment.  Chinese military focus was almost solely on the Army, with the Navy as a mere sideshow.  This changed.  China began focusing on building a blue water Navy after 1996.  It’s taken them 20 years, and they certainly aren’t done, but now the People’s Liberation Army (Navy) has modern destroyers and submarines, and their navy now exceeds the size of all of our allies.

This week, China moved its only aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, through the Taiwan Straits.  The carrier itself represents little threat to Taiwan, much less than the thousands of land-based missiles sitting on the other side of the straits.  But that’s not the point.  China is doing to us EXACTLY what we did to her in 1996.  The Liaoning transit was likely timed to minimize the chance of a United States response and maximize messaging to their people and President-elect Trump:

Whether it acknowledges it or not, the US is declining-otherwise Trump would not need to declare he wants to “make America great again”. And, like it or not, China is still rising, although its economy has slowed. The first Chinese aircraft carrier has become operational and a second one is in the works. 

Trump’s Presidency is going to be interesting indeed.


This post represents the views of the author and does not represent views of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other federal agency.


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Well NH, you decided that you didn’t want Kelly Ayotte as your senator so you sent governor Maggie Hassan to the US senate and on her first day in the sunlight she manages to beclown herself.

Here is the Daily Caller story:

New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan appeared to be unaware during a Senate confirmation hearing on Tuesday that a Washington Post story about Russian hacking into the Vermont power grid has been completely debunked and retracted.

“Two weeks ago The Washington Post reported that a hacking group connected with the Russian government managed to infiltrate the Burlington Electric power company in Vermont,” Hassan said to retired Marine Gen. John Kelley during his confirmation hearing to head the Department of Homeland Security.

Hassan, who took office this month after serving as governor of New Hampshire, showed no indication during the questioning that she was aware that The Post’s story has been found to be “fake news.”

The retractions on that story were rather epic and it’s quite an embarrassment for Senator Hassan and her staff.

Then again did anyone familiar with Senator Hassan’s record as NH governor or her campaign against Senator Ayotte really expect her to know or care about the difference between the truth and falsehood?

Gondorff: There ain’t a fix in the world gonna cool him out if he blows on ya.

Hooker: I’ll take him anyway.

Gondorff: Why?

Hooker: ‘Cause I don’t know enough about killin’ to kill him.

Paul Newman and Robert Redford in The Sting

“Sincerity? I could fake that.”

Alan Alda as Hawkeye Pierce, M*A*S*H,
“Foreign Affairs” Season 11, Episode 3

Christopher Harper did a great job of explaining liberalism in a recent post. I’d like to share a slightly different perspective.

I have long subscribed to Charles Krauthammer’s rule fundamental law of American politics that conservatives think liberals are stupid while liberals think conservatives are evil. Let’s face it, some of the policies that liberals promote are pretty stupid. But to ascribe many of the things liberals do to simple stupidity requires an underlying concession that they are good-hearted souls trying to do what they think is best for the country but, as Ronald Reagan said, “they know so much that isn’t so.”

However, seeing the behavior of the democrats since losing the election in November, and considering their behavior going back to Teddy Kennedy’s original “borking” of Judge Robert Bork in 1987, and his original immigration reform back in 1965, it’s obvious that, like in The Sting, they have been playing the “big con” for more than 50 years. In the space of a few hours, an entire party and their stenographers in the Press went from being “horrified” at the “direct threat to our democracy” that anyone might not accept the results of an election to not accepting the results of an election because John Podesta was too stupid to sniff out a phishing scam (hmmm… more evidence to support Dr. Krauthammer?). Even on what should be a decorous occasion for the “peaceful transfer of power” in the House of Representatives last week, Nancy Pelosi was ungracious enough to allege, with no evidence, that the election was “subverted by the dark operations of a foreign regime.” Everything they’ve done for the last two months has been to deligitimize the new administration, and for one very good reason. They are scared to death that Trump might actually Make America Great Again.

Having painted Trump and his cabinet nominees as hateful-corrupt-xenophobic-racist-homophobic-bigots who will be dedicated to accommodating their Russian masters to whom they owe their positions, the democrats have taken the only possible path out of the corner into which they’ve painted themselves. If Trump crashes and burns, they can say “we told you so” and if he succeeds, their only option is to try to claim credit for having chastened or otherwise boxed him in to prevent what would surely have been a disaster had it not been for their courageous stand against all they’re pretending he claimed to stand for.

How can anyone take seriously this group who, after painting Mitt Romney (Mitt Romney!) as the second coming of Satan four years ago, then urged the republicans to save themselves from the Trumpacolypse by screwing the rules and nominating Romney? Just like Hawkeye in MAS*H, they have become very good at faking sincerity, and I continue to be stunned how so much of our country can be so uninformed as not to notice. I submit that rather than thinking liberals are stupid, we conservatives would do better to recognize that liberals are power-craving weasels who will do anything to accumulate power for themselves regardless of whether it is good for the country as a whole or for the people in it. It will make it even more enjoyable to watch Trump’s cabinet get approved with a simple majority in the Senate after the Reid-weasels abolished the filibuster.

Back in 2001, Urinetown premiered on Broadway,

Urinetown is an hilarious musical satire of the legal system, capitalism, social irresponsibility, populism, bureaucracy, corporate mismanagement, municipal politics and musical theatre itself! is an hilarious musical satire of the legal system, capitalism, social irresponsibility, populism, bureaucracy, corporate mismanagement, municipal politics and musical theatre itself!

Of course, sophisticated New Yorkers loved it and it won three Tony Awards, three Outer Critics Circle Awards, two Lucille Lortel Awards and two Obie Awards. (You can watch the whole thing on YouTube, but I don’t recommend it.)

Fast-forward 15 years and Buzzfeed’s version of Urinetown premieres shortly before President Obama’s farewell address: Buzzfeed releases a document alleging kinky sexual behavior by Donald Trump on a trip to Russia (which involved hiring prostitutes to urinate on a bed Pres. Obama had slept on), and that Trump has a close relationship with Russia due to that compromising information. Ian Miles Cheong has a pretty good summary of the allegations.

Which brings to mind The Big Lebowski,

I just want to understand this, sir. Every time a rug is micturated upon in this fair city, I have to compensate the owner?

Buzzfeed’s Ben Smith also tweeted this at the time,

In Smith’s own words, his organization released an “unverified” report, of which “there is serious reason to doubt the allegations.”

David French finds all of it disturbing

This is ridiculous. How can “Americans make up their own minds” when they have no ability to fact-check the allegations? The public knows nothing about the sources, nothing about the underlying claims, and has no means of discovering the truth. Buzzfeed admits that “there is serious reason to doubt the allegations.” It’s been using its journalistic resources trying to verify the claims for “weeks” and hasn’t been able to. But “Americans” can somehow do what Buzzfeed can’t? This isn’t transparency; it’s malice.

John Podhoretz, hardly a Trump supporter, asserts that Buzzfeed’s Trump report takes ‘fake news’ to a new level (emphasis added)

There is literally no evidence on offer in these memos or from BuzzFeed that any single sentence in these documents is factual or true. What’s more, we know most major news organizations in America had seen them and despite their well-known institutional antipathy toward Trump, had chosen not to publish them or even make reference to them after efforts to substantiate their charges had failed.

BuzzFeed tells us that “the document was prepared for political opponents of Trump by a person who is understood to be a former British intelligence agent.” Indeed, the memos are designed to read as though they were cables sent from the field to the home office. And they should set off the bull detector of every rational person who reads them.

I’ve been a newspaper and magazine editor for 31 years, and like many in my profession, have had occasion over the course of four decades to work with people linked to intelligence agencies both domestic and foreign when they are retailing stories injurious to one or another politician or cause.

In my experience, there is no source of whom you need to be more skeptical, and whose information you need to verify to the letter before you can even begin to think of publishing it, than an “intelligence” source.

Now we’ll see the effects of Buzzfeed’s micturition of a seriously doubtful “report:” The discrediting of a President-elect, the waste of taxpayer money on investigations, hearings, and whatnot, and continued attacks from Dem sore losers; worst of all, a possible undermining of the electoral process.

Welcome to Buzzfeed’s Urinetown.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz posts on U.S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog.

Today Donald Trump will have his first press conference in a while and due to a combination of distance work and circumstances I won’t be there to ask questions as I have before, but for those interested here is the question I had planned on asking if I had been able to get there.

“Mr. President Elect, for over 50 years the entertainment industry has derided the Hollywood blacklist of actors and writers who supported the single most murderous ideology of the 20th century.

Given that history of opposing blacklists, what would you say to those in Hollywood and on Broadway who seem to suddenly have no problem blacklisting performers who might either perform for you or suggest support for you and furthermore how surprised have you been to see both an industry and individuals that you worked fine with for decades suddenly turn on you?

Given that this question doesn’t come at the question from the : “Why do you such so bad?” angle I predict that nobody at the press conference will ask anything like it.