Dianne’s China

More like the other way around

by baldilocks

We Californians who pay attention knew much of this about Feinstein. You all should know it, too. Remember the report about how one of her long-time aides turned out to be a ChiCom operative? Small potatoes.

The links between leading American politicians and companies and the Chinese leadership are now likely to come under increased scrutiny.

First on that list of those deserving of close attention is the [Democratic Party] senior U.S. senator from California, Dianne Feinstein—a longtime member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence—who briefly made headlines a few years ago when reports surfaced that she had been forced to fire a longtime aide after learning from the FBI that he had been recruited on behalf of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

No one represents the marriage of American policy toward China and doing business with the PRC better than Feinstein. Her promotion of trade with China to advance the interests of her constituents turned into apologetics on behalf of the Communist Party, as it aided her political ascent and augmented her husband’s portfolio. In October, USA Today listed Feinstein as the sixth-richest member of Congress, with a net worth of $58.5 million—a sum that vastly understates her actual wealth. Richard Blum, her husband, is himself worth at least another $1 billion.

Sixth.

In 1994, Blum’s company, Blum Capital, had entered a joint venture to found Newbridge Capital, specializing in emerging markets, including Asia. Blum said in 1997 that less than 2% of the approximately $1.5 billion that his firm managed was committed to China. He held a $300 million stake in Northwest Airlines when it operated the only nonstop service from the United States to cities in China. In 2002, Newbridge was negotiating to acquire 20% of Shenzhen Development Bank. After some rough seas, it paid $145 million for an 18% share two years later, marking the first time a Chinese bank came under control of a foreign entity.

Feinstein. You’d be smiling, too.

Feinstein says that Blum’s business in China had no effect on her foreign policy or trade positions regarding the country. “We have built a firewall,” she said of her relationship with her husband. “That firewall has stood us in good stead.”

Yeah, sure, Senator.

It’s very long and you should read it all – if only to get a handle on how long and how tightly the China octopus has been squeezing us, not to mention on how lucrative it is to be a professional American politician.

Read all the links, too. I know you have the time.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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The Navy is losing the information war, one Captain at a time

The USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT, from Task and Purpose

As more details emerge concerning CAPT Crozier of the USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT, its becoming clear he has a distinct possibility of being reinstated as commanding officer. Given his circumstances, people have asked me if the Navy learned any lessons from this.

My answer is, no.

The Navy is in the middle of grappling with information warfare, and its not doing a great job, mostly because there is a significant age (and thus cultural) problem in its senior officers. The average age of an admiral hovers around the 50’s, meaning most were born in the late 1960s (or earlier!) and spent their childhood without internet. They entered the Navy in an era when information could legitimately be controlled while underway. Censoring mail and family grams was normal. When bad things happened, the first response is to close off the news, solve the problem, and then tell everyone what happened, and during that process, it was (in the past) totally OK to hide details and be opaque. In general, these officers grew up in a time when information could be totally controlled.

The environment is very different now, and these old responses don’t work. CAPT Crozier would have grown up with some internet access, and he is probably more savvy online than most of his senior officers. When his boss tried to clamp down on information flow, CAPT Crozier easily worked around it. It was an ugly black eye to have a video showing him leaving to cheering Sailors, and it likely wasn’t an accident that this happened. In warfare terms, CAPT Crozier was flying an F-18 against an opponent using a biplane. It wasn’t a fair fight.

Despite this really ugly fight, the Navy is unlikely to learn anything. Contrary to popular myth, the Navy isn’t inherently a learning organization. It learns through death and injury. When Sailors die, or when ships get sunk, the Navy learns really fast, mainly through firing people and changing operating procedures. But its unlikely anyone will lose their job over this incident, and the Navy won’t put out any additional guidance on how to handle these circumstances. We’ll only learn as flag officers start coming from people that grew up in an age when information had to be managed, not controlled.

This also explains why Navy isn’t good at information warfare. Do you see Navy countering misinformation well? Not really. At best, Navy commanders engage on social media via their public affairs officers. But posting on the command’s Facebook page isn’t enough to go viral and get your message out. And yet you see commanders claim, time and time again, that because they posted articles and gave the occasional interview, they “maneuvered” in the information environment. Meanwhile, Russia and China run rings around the Navy, easily maneuvering against their stories and constantly pushing their own agenda.

While we don’t want to admit it, in the information realm, we are flying the biplane, and our adversaries are flying jet aircraft. It’s not a fair fight, and won’t be for sometime to come.

This post (clearly) represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.

This post was edited on 4/27/20 because I mistakenly listed the HARRY TRUMAN instead of the ROOSEVELT. That was an honest mistake, I had been working on something else and swapped the two carriers.

Hong Kong Commies Gotta Commie

If you are at all surprised at this story:

The arrests buttressed a week of coordinated actions by Beijing that experts say have redefined the status of Hong Kong. The effect was to demolish the “one country, two systems” framework that prohibits Beijing’s involvement in local affairs and is supposed to afford the financial center a high level of autonomy.

“The very important story is not my arrest,” Lee, who helped draft Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, the Basic Law, said in an interview after being released on bail. “What really concerns me is that the basic promise of Hong Kong has been completely changed.”

Then you have no knowledge of history or believe what Bernie and AOC are selling, after all a system that slaughtered 30+ million of their own people and unleashed a deadly plague on the world isn’t going to be all that worried about respecting promises to Hong Kong particularly when the western businesses that might have reacted poorly to it are likely already considering leaving anyways.

Commie’s gotta commie and that’s all there is to it, but I’m sure the UN will issue a tough statement as soon as they get permission on the wording from China