Obama announces his starting line-up and the Russians announce they are going to upgrade their missiles.
Why, don’t they know everything has changed? Don’t they understand that when Obama speaks the winds still and the seas calm and there is peace everywhere? Don’t they get it?
Of course, the Russians get it. “The lock is off the door, boys!” THAT’S what Russia gets… and so will the rest of the world’s bullyboys very soon now.
Look…. Russia is a very old country. Much older than the US, and they have seen all kinds of leaders come and go and they have tweaked the noses of weak spined, weak kneed, and even weak-eyed leaders of countries, all over the globe, down through the ages. They have learned a thing or two about people who aspire to leadership. They have become more than a little adept at reading them.
Now, take Putin. He’s former KGB. (STILL KGB!) Hate ‘em, or despise ‘em, the KGB is more than just good at what they do. You can bet your bottom dollar they have a dossier on Obama about a foot thick. Unlike Americans, the KGB KNOWS where he was born. Bet on it!
The point is this: The Russians have Obama’s number. Their announcement concerning upgrading their missiles was a signal, not only to the US and Obama, but to the rest of the world. It reads, “Hey, look! This guy is a pushover! And so is the crowd he runs with. The lock is off the door and we are free to loot the pantry!” This is their first shove. It’s a mild one. It’s their elbows they’ll be throwing next— and they expect Obama to do nothing but plead for them to stop misbehaving. If I was a betting man, I’d put my money on the Russians winning this round.
Here’s the thing: Whether the US likes it or not, we have been appointed the policeman of the world. We’ve had the job since the Second World War — some say even before. As such, the US is expected to keep rogue states in check, or stop them when they jump the traces. Russia, whether doing business as the Soviet Union, or as Russia, is the chief troublemaker on the planet. Yes, ever since Ole Pete (Peter the Great) built the first Russian “blue water” navy Russia has been exporting their brand of mischief all over the globe. And they like nothing better than to cause discomfort for the US. I think it is envy more than anything else. Why, they are still embarrassed that they had to have US assistance in defeating Germany in the Second World War. They’ll never live down the fact that Germany was within fifteen miles of Moscow before Russia could stop them! They don’t even refer to that war the way the remainder of the world does. To the Russians it is The Great Patriotic War. See what I mean?
Russia excels in two things: Paranoia and boasting. They live their lives in fear that someone is going to attack them and take whatever it is we are supposed to want… and for the life of me I have never been able to figure out what Russia has that we could possibly want… other than their oil. Secondly, they are world-class braggarts. Those missiles, they are bragging about, are about as reliable as a Model T in subzero cold. Sometimes, they actually work!
But this is not about missiles. This is about Obama. It is a signal, as obvious as a mirror flashing sunlight in Obama’s face. If Obama is smart, he will continue to place the defensive missile shield in Eastern Europe and he will continue the weapons in space program. It’s the age-old response to a bully. You push back… hard.
But, I don’t expect Obama to do that. And neither does Putin. And you can bet Putin knows Obama better than any American alive.
J. D. Longstreet
Turning Boom into Bust
By Alan Caruba
Energy is called “the master resource” because every other aspect of life operates off of it. Nations that are rich in energy resources such as oil, natural gas, and coal, grow wealthy.
There is also something called “the curse of oil” because, if the price per barrel drops, the fate of some nations goes with it. This is the case, for example, of the former Soviet Russia whose government collapsed when it could no longer secure hard currency when oil and gas prices fell. Venezuela is an economic basket case these days, having nationalized oil and most of its financial and business sectors.
The history of nationalized oil and gas-rich nations is that they tend not to invest in their energy industries. They do not engage in sufficient exploration. They do not expand their capacity to extract their natural resources or to refine it. We have seen otherwise oil-rich nations like Mexico encounter financial tremors as in the 1990s when the Clinton administration had to loan Mexico billions to keep it functioning.
America has adopted anti-energy policies because of incessant environmental propaganda about “dirty” coal, out of the fear of nuclear power, and the refusal to permit exploration of 85% of the continental shelf and, of course, Alaska’s ANWR area, a tiny fraction of that State’s landmass.
If Congress imposes a windfall profits tax on the American oil industry, it will quite simply wreck the economy. As my friend, Seldon B. Graham, Jr., a longtime oil industry attorney as well as a petroleum engineer, points out, “”President Jimmy Carter started the ethanol subsidy on November 9, 1978 and signed the oil windfall profits tax on April 2, 1980.”
In effect, Carter put in motion an anti-oil policy that has existed for over three decades. Why is that a bad thing? The ethanol policy has severely disrupted the price of food worldwide as corn is diverted into fuel. The justification for this is “energy independence” from the purchase of foreign oil, but U.S.-produced oil has always been cheaper than imported oil.
If, however, the government creates conditions under which it is simply too risky, too expensive or prohibited to explore for more oil reserves, obviously oil production declines. There has been a 59% decline in U.S. oil production since 1980, the year the windfall profits tax was imposed. It was later repealed, but U.S. oil companies have a responsibility to their investors to act prudently and that has driven them to explore for oil outside of the U.S. or, to put it another way, to find foreign oil.
When you add in the idiotic ethanol mandates, you compound the problem. Graham points out that, “After thirty years, U.S. ethanol production was only able to produce less than 3% of our oil demand last year.” Moreover, “ethanol cost taxpayers $3.3 billion in subsidies in 2007.” Environmental claims that ethanol is cleaner than oil are false. Not only do you get less energy and poor mileage when ethanol is blended with gasoline, it actually emits more carbon dioxide per mile. “It is absolutely impossible for ethanol to replace foreign oil,” says Graham.
The justification for a windfall profits tax on oil companies ignores, for example, that ExxonMobil, just one of the few remaining oil companies operating in the U.S., pays more than $100 billion in taxes on the average.
Less than 11% of ExxonMobil’s profits come from marketing and refining in the United States and the company recently announced it was spinning off its retail outlets. Yes, it made great profits in recent years, but it also had enormous, risk-filled expenses.
Imposing a windfall profits tax on oil companies will give them cause to consider moving their corporate headquarters to other more congenial nations. The city of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates has been engaged in a vast office building effort, perhaps anticipating the movement of corporate headquarters.
Americans greeted the expiration of the ban on offshore exploration and drilling with the expectation that American oil would begin to flow and thus lower their costs for this vital national asset. That will not happen if the President or a Democrat controlled Congress reinstates the ban and/or imposes a windfall profits tax.
The city of Houston has been enjoying a boom due to the increase in the cost of a barrel of oil. Even at $80 dollars a barrel, it is enough to have created “its strongest resurgence in more than 20 years” according to a 2007 New York Times article about Houston. “Some energy companies are expanding and putting up new buildings.” Others, like Schlumberger among the hundreds of service providers to the energy industry have established their headquarters in Houston.
Houston is home to the headquarters of ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, and foreign owned companies like Citgo, BP and Royal Dutch Shell also maintain corporate offices there.
About half of Houston’s jobs, an estimated 1.1 million positions, are tied to the energy industry. The impact of a windfall profits tax would prove devastating to Houston.
Destroying the oil industry in America, a process that has been in place since the Carter administration, has left the nation vulnerable to foreign sources. The U.S. already imports some 70% of its oil. There has been a significant decline in the exploration and development of national reserves.
Unleashing the energy industries in America could dramatically improve our present financial troubles. Congress, having turned boom into bust, has a historical opportunity to reverse that trend.
Editor’s Note: “Why Your Gasoline Prices Are High” by Seldon B. Graham ($10.95) is available from Amazon.com.
© Alan Caruba, November 2008
USDOD Approves Sale of Bunker-Busters to Israel
Is Permission to overfly Iraq next?
By: J. D. Longstreet
Well, well, well. Who applied the pressure to the Pentagon to let Israel have these guided-missile” bombs? The last we heard, just a few days ago, was that the US was dragging it’s feet on the sale of these missiles to Israel. My, oh my, how things change… and so quickly, too.
The sale to Israel is pending Congressional approval, but nobody thinks that will be a problem.
The JPost (Jerusalem Post) is reporting that Israel has ordered 1000 of these precision bunker busters. You’ll find the entire article at:
Would you care to hazard a guess as to what use these GPS guided missiles will be used for? No, really?
The folks over at the Iran Almanac have taken notice. See the article at:
See, Israel, has told the world if has no interest in taking a defensive “Wait and See” position on the promised attack by Iran, but instead will use preemption in order to stop an attack from Iran in the first place. You can see this report at:
Israel simply cannot survive an atomic “First Strike” by Iran. They just are not physically large enough to absorb it. So, they do not have what some seem to think is the luxury of sitting back and allowing themselves to be “hit” first in a display of “good sportsmanship”. Ain’t gonna happen. It cannot be allowed to happen.
So far as we have been able to determine the US has not yet granted Israel permission to use Iraqi airspace to reach Iran with their fighter/bomber aircraft. That doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened…it simply means we don’t know. When it does, I expect we will hear a howl go up from the new Iraqi government. Unless a bit of subterfuge is used… a little slight of hand, shall we say, we can expect those squeals of injured Iraqi pride to sound loud and clear and be amplified by the left wing media in this country and around the world… and you can bet, from the UN.
Some in Israel and in the US government are calling for more and stronger sanctions on Iran. Yeah, it’s the rose-colored glasses thing, again. People with their feet planted firmly on terra firma already know that more sanctions will not deter Iran. They are on what they see as a Holy Mission. That is the eradication of Israel… and… the United States, the little Satan and the BIG Satan! Sanctions will work on Iran about as well as they worked on Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. We all know how that eventually turned out. Iran’s Ahmadinejad said, just a few days ago: “Let them put sanctions on us. We are a very strong nation.” The Iranian president went on to say that many around the world would come to Iran’s defense in case of a US strike. (To Ahmadinejad, an Israeli attack is the same thing as an American attack.)
As I look back over the events of the past few weeks, I have to wonder if the Russian incursion into the sovereign state of Georgia keyed this move by the US to supply Israel with the missiles it would need to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities and thwart so much of the Russian supplied material both in Iran’s nuclear facilities and in Iran’s arsenal. Is the US prepared to give Russia a taste of it’s own medicine? Why, if Iran’s Russian arsenal holds up against Israeli/America tactics and armament as well as the Iraqi’s Russian supplied weapons did, well, that would be more humiliation on the Russian armament makers.
Ahhhh. International intrigue. Ain’t it grand?
J. D. Longstreet
Keeping An Eye on Iran
How much more diplomacy with Iran before the Mad Mullahs slam Israel with a nuclear tipped missile? HUH?
Weston European nations including Great Britain, France, and Germany, are once again trying to “talk” Iran out of continuing to enrich uranium to weapons grade. Once they have accomplished that, would anyone care to hazard a guess as to how long until they choose Israel as a target for a “test” fired missile?
The Mullahs are rather enjoying the “Jaw-Jaw” of the westerners. It makes them feel important. Much the same reason they feel it necessary to build nuclear weapons. That have a gigantic inferiority complex and all the attention from the west strokes their HUGE egos into believing they are something more modern that a backwards 13th century, third-world nation state.
I am beginning the think it is a “toss up” as to which nation is at the top of the hit list in the War on Terror. Syria, or Iran. Surely we must hit one or the other, or both. Both have a lot going for them as they vie for first place on that list.
Syria, while a pain in the backside of the world, is not really threatening anybody outside of their immediate circle of Middle Eastern neighbors.
Iran, on the other hand, is a different story. Once they have mounted those nuclear warheads on the missiles they already have, they can strike far outside the Middle East and deep into Europe. I still feel their first target will be Israel, simply because they know the minute they light up the first nuclear missile, the US will blast them back into the Stone Age. So they have to make that first shot count. It may be their last. Their deep-seated hatred for Israel will not allow them to chance losing an opportunity to visit death and destruction upon the Israelis.
Even more worrisome behavior, by Iran, is their rumored support of Hamas and Hezbollah in South America. If true, that puts them clearly inside the US sphere of influence. The presence of Hamas and Hezbollah in the “tri-border area” of South America (Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay) and, recently, in Venezuela have not gone unnoticed by US intelligence agencies. The US may find it necessary to clean up around it’s own doorstep in the near future. It is, indeed, an area that needs intense scrutiny.
Meanwhile, the Europeans seem to have learned nothing from two world wars, nothing. They are still, to this day, attempting to placate their adversaries by bowing and scraping and diplomatically “kissing-up”. They had better wake up and get a grasp on the situation. You see, their perennial protector is sorta busy. The US has its hands full, right now. The US is, as they say, otherwise occupied.
The point of all this rambling is to say simply, it’s time to stop talking with Iran and start doing. Take out a few of their nuclear installations, their enrichment plants, and such. That will get their attention. They do not believe the West has “the stones” for it, so they simply disregard all the diplomatic blather and continue their menacing ways. The quickest way to get them to the negotiating table is to slap them around a little.
It is trite to say, I know, but the Iranians understand power and the application of power. Sad to say, our European cousins, apparently, do not.
We have said for a very long time now that the US is in Iraq to stay. They have constructed permanent military installations there and I do not see the US giving up this “forward” position for US ground troops in the Middle East. Besides, with our continued presence in Iraq, we have or friend (Israel) close… and our enemy (Iran) even closer!
J. D. Longstreet
By Alan Caruba
Mamoud Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran, was bouncing off the walls in August. Hardly a day went by without his getting crazier and crazier about Zionism, Israel, and Jews in general. The last guy who talked like this was Adolf Hitler and he started World War Two.
Here’s just a sample of Ahmadinejad’s ravings:
“About 2,000 organized Zionists and 7,000 to 8,000 agents of Zionism have dragged the world into turmoil.” Last time I checked most of the turmoil is being generated by the likes of the Russians, al Qaeda murderers, Hezbollah, Hamas, and, oh yes, Iran.
I have no idea where Mamoud came up with his numbers, but it is safe to say that most citizens of Israel can be called Zionist insofar Zionism was a movement to reestablish Israel. I know a lot of Christians who proudly call themselves Zionists, so I think Mamoud is off by a couple of million.
“The era of the Zionists has come to an end, and I recommend that the leaders of Europe and the U.S. not submit to the Zionists. If they help them, they will be harmed.” Whoa! Anybody hear a threat to nuke Europe and the U.S. in this statement? I do. And I am thinking, “preemptive strike.”
“We will witness dismantling of the corrupt regime (Israel) in a very near future,” said Mamoud during World Mosque Week in August. He went on to say that Israel is “the main cause of all corruption and wickedness in the contemporary era.” He has likewise described Israel as “a dirty microbe”, “a wild animal”, and “the West’s scarecrow.”
Mamoud is not just talking about Israel. He’s really talking about Jews because, like a lot of Muslims, he has absorbed all the anti-Semitic teachings of the Koran. It’s worth noting that Mohammad also mocked Christianity and committed all Muslims to impose Islam on the world.
But Mamoud wasn’t finished. He went on to advise “writers in the West” to avoid referring to the Holocaust, the extermination of six million Jews by the Nazi regime, because that would be “tantamount to backing the identity of the Zionists.” Mamoud doesn’t believe the Holocaust ever happened or so he says.
“Soon the world will celebrate the elimination of the oppressing Zionism.”
So much for the wit and wisdom of Mamoud Ahmadinejad circa August 2008.
What one can swiftly discern from this selection of comments is that Ahmadinejad is doing a poor job of hinting that an attack on Israel is coming. He may just have in mind something similar to the Hezbollah attack out of Lebanon in July-August 2006 or a combined attack with Hamas.
Or he may be saying that, as soon as Iran can put nuclear warheads on top of missiles, it will not only destroy Israel, but threaten Europe as well.
I will leave the parsing and analysis of Ahmadinejad’s ravings to people who do this for a living. I am sure that August alone gave them cause to send a number of lively intelligence reports for inclusion in President Bush’s daily briefings.
For my part, though, I’m thinking the sooner Israel and/or the United States blows Iran’s nuclear facilities off the face of the Earth, the better.
We don’t need to invade Iran or occupy it. We just need to send a message that we have read the history of World War II and we don’t want to repeat the errors of the past by not believing what our enemies are saying.
I have no ill feelings for the people of Iran. They are descended from an ancient civilization and they deserve to be liberated from the insane ayatollahs that hold them captive to their primitive and barbaric interpretation of Islam.
What the world must rightly fear is the madness of Ahmadinejad and his cronies. He lives for the return of the mythical Twelfth Imam and he believes the only way that can be brought about is with the maximum spilling of blood.
Just because America, Europe, Israel and a host of other nations may want peace does not mean they will permitted to have it. When there’s a nut loose in the neighborhood, he needs to be removed from the streets.
Bristling at Being Threatened by Putin
by: J. D. Longstreet
The US has just been challenged to a duel. Hey, I’m a Southerner! I’m a throwback to the days of defending one’s honor on the field of honor by a duel! Yep, I’m a hopeless romantic, I suppose.
That doesn’t change the fact that Putin is threatening us through Poland. Secretary of State Rice can “dismiss” Putin’s threat if she dares, and apparently she does dare, but I have to tell you, it will be at our peril and the peril of the good people of Poland if we do. If Putin says he will attack Poland… Putin WILL attack Poland. (See: Georgia!) To her credit, Dr, Rice did say this: “When you threaten Poland, you perhaps forget that it is not 1988,” Rice said. “It’s 2008 and the United States has a … firm treaty guarantee to defend Poland’s territory as if it was the territory of the United States. So it’s probably not wise to throw these threats around.”
Look, the deal to place Interceptor missiles in Poland is a done deal. It is going to happen. If Putin sends troops into Poland by land or by air, there will be hell to pay. If Russian air forces, missiles, or ground assault troops, take the lives of American troops and/or American civilian support personal, the proverbial “ship will hit the sand”! The US Military WILL respond. Most likely, the Russian airbases, from which the attacking Russian aircraft took off for their raid on Poland, will cease to exist… in short order.
Somehow, the world has come to believe the US military is fighting at it’s maximum in the Middle East today. That is far from being true. We have military assets that have not been committed to battle in the Middle East and are standing by for such an eventuality as an attack by, oh, say… Russia. Our enemies should not believe all they read, hear, and see in our leftist mainstream media today. The US Military is, even at it’s weakest, a force to be reckoned with. The Russian military may be a mile wide, but look past the width and you will quickly see it is only an inch deep.
I sincerely hope the Administration is taking Putin seriously. I happen to think that Putin WILL carry out his threat. It may come in a way we least expect, but, rest assured Mr. Putin does not make idle threats.
Poland is a member of NATO. If there is indeed a Russian strike on Poland, according to the NATO compact, it will be considered an attack on all the nations of NATO and ALL the Nations of NATO will respond with Military attacks on Russia. I have an idea that US subs are making their way to stations off Russia even as I write this and they are “loaded for bear” with everything from cruise missiles to the big boys, the boomers, the nuclear ballistic missiles. Those black bat-wing bombers are ready, at a moment’s notice, to take to the skies in retaliation.
Putin has been stretching the envelope recently, anyway. It is as though he is deliberately tweaking the nose of the US. Rumors of Russian nuclear bomber refueling bases in Cuba, more in Venezuela, and probing our air defenses, and Great Britain’s, as well, would indicate that he is up to something.
If it sounds scary, that’s because it is! If this “dust-up” with Russia causes you concern, it should. I would expect, and I would hope, any US strike against Russia would be limited to those Russian assets having made the raid on Poland. After that, the next step by the US would be determined by Putin’s reaction.
These are, indeed, perilous times. It is not a stretch to say we could be on the threshold of a war with Russia. An American of my generation can hardly forget it was Germany’s attack on none other than Poland that kicked off The Second World War. I remember, also that American military forces, totaling some 8,000 US troops, landed, once before in Russia, (in August of 1918) in defense of the 40,000 man strong military force of Czechoslovakia trapped by Russian forces as they tried to make their way to the “Western Front”. It is said that history repeats itself. Note, if you will, that… as it happens… Putin is currently exorcised about (Who else?) Czechoslovakia becoming one of the recipients, or “hosts”, of our defensive missile shield. US troops finally left Russia, in April of 1920. I think it is safe to say US forces are in no hurry to return to Russia.
Nevertheless, one of the costs of freedom is “eternal vigilance”… that is simply another way of saying… we cannot take our eyes off Putin’s Russia.
J. D. Longstreet
Russia… At It Again!
It didn’t take Russia long to begin flexing her military muscle, once she got her feet under her again, now did it? Yep! She’s up to her old tricks again, driving her troops across borders and into neighboring countries, stirring up trouble, just like in the old days. Some things just never change…well, not for long, anyway.
So, what is Russia’s incursion into Georgia all about, anyway? OK, to get to the truth and cut through all the garbage, this is a fight between Russia and the United States. Russia is royally PO’ed at the US for messing around in what it considers its backyard. Blame NATO.
You see, The Ukraine and Georgia are on the waiting list to become members of NATO, a US led alliance of nations. Once, an organization for nations along the North Atlantic Ocean, (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) Nato long since moved inland…. way inland! This does not sit well with Russia… not at all.
Georgia, in an attempt, we believe, to gain US support in its bid for NATO membership, lent some two thousand troops to the effort in Iraq. Until today Georgia had the third largest contingent of troops serving in Iraq after the US and the UK…. a fact little known by the remainder of the world. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Vladimirovic Putin didn’t miss it, however. Those troops are being flown back to Georgia, ASAP, to assist their own country in its struggle with Russia.
Georgia is pro-US… and… the US is pro-Georgia. That irks the living daylights out of the Russians. Maybe it would be more nearly correct to say that it irks Putin. Do not mistake the fact that even though Dimtry Medvedev is the “front man”, as the Russian President, Prime Minister Putin is pulling the strings.
Now that Putin is out of the persistent limelight, after turning the office of President of Russia over to Dimtry Medvedev, he has been freed up to REALLY instigate trouble all over the globe for the US… and he is allowing no grass to grow beneath his feet.
Just a few days ago we learned of Putin’s plans for a Russian Nuclear Bomber base being planned for the Island of Cuba, just 90 miles south of the US mainland. Of course, the Russians vehemently denied it, but nobody can convince me that it is not a tit-for-tat from Putin over the US insistence on placing defensive anti-missile “missile bases” in Putin’s backyard. He is furious about that. The Georgia adventurism, we believe, is all a part of his scheme to rattle America’s cage during what is probably one of the only periods of time when America is in a weakened state, and that is during the closing months of a Presidential election. For all intents and purposes the US government goes into limbo for those critical weeks and it is a prime time for enemies of the US to provoke trouble for the US. Putin is not unaware of the less that stellar leadership in the US Congress, currently, which is to say, basically NONE, and he is bound to take advantage of it. That is exactly what he is doing.
You will have noted, I take it, one of the Russian Air Force’s targets was that vital US supported pipeline, in Georgia, bringing that black gold from the Caspian Sea area. The oil coursing through that petroleum artery allows the US to reduce its dependence on Middle Eastern oil… and… at the same time, it bypasses Russia … and the other trouble spot in the Middle East… Iran. It is a persistent irritant to the “Russian Bear” now prowling the woods once again.
By the way, that pipeline carries some one million barrels of crude, per day. That is a bit more than one percent of the world’s crude oil output per day! That is HUGE! The oil, itself, comes from the fields of Azerbaijan located near the Caspian Sea. Mostly unknown, those oil fields are thought to hold roughly one-third of the world’s known oil reserves today. And to make matters worse… those vitally important oil fields are immensely important to the US! Crude oil prices, gasoline prices, and, yes, fuel oil prices are bound to skyrocket in a few days just when they had dropped to a level at which American voters could finally see a light at the end of the black, black, tunnel! To make matters worse, those Azerbaijan oil fields are extremely vulnerable to attack from Russian forces.
Even as US President George Bush was speaking to Russia’s New Prime Minister Putin, about the violence in Georgia, Russian tanks were rolling in. The Georgian Ambassador to the US was pleading with the US, and other Georgian friends, for assistance in stopping what can only be referred to as a Russian “Invasion” of Georgia. The US State Department, within hours, sent a message to Russia asking Russia to halt this invasion with a “cease fire” and prepare for a mediator from Washington due, on scene, almost immediately.
The truth is, that any way you parse it, this is Russian aggression, something we became accustomed to during the Cold War One It would now seem that Cold War Two is upon Us!