Archive for December, 2010


Roger Vernon Scruton (born 27 February 1944) is a British philosopher specializing in aesthetics. He is the author of several books on philosophy and politics, including Art and Imagination (1974), The Meaning of Conservatism (1980), Animal Rights and Wrongs (1996), England: An Elegy (2000), and A Political Philosophy: Arguments For Conservatism (2006). He has also written several novels and two operas.

From 1971 to 1992 he was a lecturer and professor of aesthetics at Birkbeck College, London. In 1982 he was one of the founders of The Salisbury Review, a conservative political journal, which he edited for 18 years. He first embraced conservatism during the student protests of May 1968 in France: “When I asked my friends what they wanted, what were they trying to achieve, all I got back was this ludicrous Marxist gobbledegook. I was disgusted by it, and thought there must be a way back to the defence of Western civilisation against these things. That’s when I became a conservative. I knew I wanted to conserve things rather than pull them down.”

From 1992 to 1995 he was a professor at Boston University, from 2005 to 2009 research professor at the Institute for the Psychological Sciences in Arlington, Virginia, and in 2009–2010 a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. A.C. Grayling described him in 2000 as a “wonderful teacher of philosophy.”

In January 2010 he was awarded the title of visiting professor at the University of Oxford for three years, an unpaid appointment, where he teaches graduate classes on aesthetics, and in spring 2011 he takes up a quarter-time professorial fellowship in moral philosophy at the University of St Andrews. In 2010 he delivered the Scottish Gifford Lectures at St Andrews on the topic, “The Face of God.”

In The Meaning of Conservatism (1980), Scruton sought to shift the emphasis of the Right at that time away from economics towards moral issues, describing the book in 2005 as “a somewhat Hegelian defence of Tory values in the face of their betrayal by the free marketeers.” He told The Guardian that the book blighted his academic career. He was “vilified” by his colleagues at Birkbeck because of his political views, according to the newspaper, and as a consequence he left British academia in 1992 for a teaching post at Boston University.

In Gentle Regrets: Thoughts from a Life (2005), he writes that when he read Edmund Burke‘s Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790) he was persuaded by several of his arguments, particularly that socialism is accompanied by an abstract vision of the mind that bears little relation to the way most people think. Scruton argues that there is no direction to history, no moral or spiritual progress; that people think collectively toward a common goal only during a crisis, such as war, and that trying to organise society this way requires a real or imagined enemy.

Although society can be seen as a contract, most parties to the contract are either dead or not yet born—he writes that to forget this is to “place the present members of society in a dictatorial dominance over those who went before, and those who came after them.” He also argues that “our most necessary beliefs may be both unjustified and unjustifiable, from our own perspective, and the attempt to justify them will merely lead to their loss.”

In Arguments for Conservatism (2006), he marks out the areas in which philosophical thinking is required if conservatism is to be intellectually persuasive. He argues that human beings are creatures of limited and local affections. Territorial loyalty is at the root of all forms of government where law and liberty reign supreme. Every expansion of jurisdiction beyond the frontiers of the nation state leads to a decline in accountability. But he opposes elevating the “nation” above its people, which would threaten rather than facilitate citizenship and peace.

He argues that “conservatism and conservation” are two aspects of a single policy, that of husbanding resources. This includes both the social capital embodied in laws, customs, and institutions, and the material capital contained in the environment. According to Scruton criminal law depends upon moral consensus; the law should not be used as a weapon to advance special interests. He argues that people impatient for reform, for example in the area of euthanasia or abortion, are reluctant to accept what he writes may be “glaringly obvious to others—that the law exists precisely to impede their ambitions.”

He defines post-modernism as the claim that there are no grounds for truth, objectivity, and meaning, and therefore conflicts between views are nothing more than contests of power. He argues that, while the West is required to judge other cultures in their own terms, Western culture is adversely judged as ethnocentric and racist. He writes: “The very reasoning which sets out to destroy the ideas of objective truth and absolute value imposes political correctness as absolutely binding, and cultural relativism as objectively true.”

Scruton argues that we are in an era of secularisation without precedent in the history of the world. He writes that writers and artists such as Rilke, T.S. Eliot, Edward Hopper, and Schoenberg “devoted much energy to recuperating the experience of the sacred—but as a private rather than a public form of consciousness.” He argues that because they directed their art at the few, it has never appealed to the many. He defines totalitarianism as the absence of any constraint on central authority, with every aspect of life the concern of government.

Advocates of totalitarianism feed on resentment, he argues, and having seized power they proceed to abolish institutions, such as the law, property, and religion, that create authorities. He writes: “To the resentful it is these institutions that are the cause of inequality, and therefore the cause of their humiliations and failures.” He argues that revolutions are not conducted from below by the people, but from above, in the name of the people, by an aspiring elite.

He suggests that the importance of Newspeak in totalitarian societies is that the power of language to describe reality is replaced by language whose purpose is to avoid encounters with realities. He agrees with Alain Besancon that the totalitarian society envisaged by George Orwell in 1984 can be only understood in theological terms, as a society founded on a transcendental negation. He agrees with T.S.Eliot that true originality is possible only within a tradition, and that it is precisely in modern conditions—conditions of fragmentation, heresy, and unbelief—that the conservative project acquires its sense.

Source:  Wiki

 

Muslim Inbreeding: Impacts on intelligence, sanity, health and society

EuropeNews – By Nicolai Sennels

Massive inbreeding within the Muslim culture during the last 1.400 years may have done catastrophic damage to their gene pool. The consequences of intermarriage between first cousins often have serious impact on the offspring’s intelligence, sanity, health and on their surroundings

The most famous example of inbreeding is in ancient Egypt, where several Pharaonic dynasties collapsed after a couple of hundred years. In order to keep wealth and power within the family, the Pharaohs often married their own sister or half-sister and after a handful of generations the offspring were mentally and physically unfit to rule. Another historical example is the royal houses of Europe where royal families often married among each other because tradition did not allow them to marry people of non-royal class.

The high amount of mentally retarded and handicapped royalties throughout European history shows the unhealthy consequences of this practice. Luckily, the royal families have now allowed themselves to marry for love and not just for status.

The Muslim culture still practices inbreeding and has been doing so for longer than any Egyptian dynasty. This practice also predates the world’s oldest monarchy (the Danish) by 300 years.

A rough estimate shows that close to half of all Muslims in the world are inbred: In Pakistan, 70 percent of all marriages are between first cousins (so-called “consanguinity”) and in Turkey the amount is between 25-30 percent (Jyllands-Posten, 27/2 2009 More stillbirths among immigrants”

Statistical research on Arabic countries shows that up to 34 percent of all marriages in Algiers are consanguine (blood related), 46 percent in Bahrain, 33 percent in Egypt, 80 percent in Nubia (southern area in Egypt), 60 percent in Iraq, 64 percent in Jordan, 64 percent in Kuwait, 42 percent in Lebanon, 48 percent in Libya, 47 percent in Mauritania, 54 percent in Qatar, 67 percent in Saudi Arabia, 63 percent in Sudan, 40 percent in Syria, 39 percent in Tunisia, 54 percent in the United Arabic Emirates and 45 percent in Yemen (Reproductive Health Journal, 2009 Consanguinity and reproductive health among Arabs.).

A large part of inbred Muslims are born from parents who are themselves inbred – which increase the risks of negative mental and physical consequenses greatly.

The amount of blood related marriages is lower among Muslim immigrants living in the West. Among Pakistanis living in Denmark the amount is down to 40 percent and 15 percent among Turkish immigrants (Jyllands-Posten, 27/2 2009 More stillbirths among immigrants”.).


More than half of Pakistani immigrants living in Britain are intermarried:

The research, conducted by the BBC and broadcast to a shocked nation on Tuesday, found that at least 55% of the community was married to a first cousin. This is thought to be linked to the probability that a British Pakistani family is at least 13 times more likely than the general population to have children with recessive genetic disorders.” (Times of India, 17/11 2005 Ban UK Pakistanis from marrying cousins).

The lower percentages might be because it is difficult to get the chosen family member to the country, or because health education is better in the West.

Implications for the Western and the Muslim World

The consequences for offspring of consanguineous marriages are unpleasantly clear: Death, low intelligence or even mental retardation, handicaps and diseases often leading to a slow and painful death. Other consequences are:

Limited social skills and understanding, limited ability to manage education and work procedures and painful treatment procedures. The negative cognitive consequences also influence the executive functions. The impairment of concentration and emotional control most often leads to anti-social behavior.

The economic costs and consequences for society of inbreeding are of course secondary to the reality of human suffering. However, inbreeding among Muslims has severe implications for both the Western societies and the Muslim world.

Expenses related to mentally and physically handicapped Muslim immigrants drains the budget for other public services: “When cousins have children together, they are twice as likely to have a disabled child – it costs municipal funds dearly. Disabled immigrant children costs Danish municipalities millions.

In Copenhagen County alone, the number of disabled children in the overall increase of 100 percent at 10 years. … Meredith Lefelt has contacted 330 families with disabled children in Copenhagen. She estimates that one third of their clients have a foreign cultural background.” (BT, 10/11 2003 Immigrants inbreeding costing one million.

On top come the expenses for Muslim immigrants who – because of different consequences of being born from blood related parents – are not able to live up to the challenges of our Western work market: Muslim immigrants and their descendants in Europe have a very high rate of unemployment.

The same goes for Muslims in USA, where the Gallup Institute made a study involving 300.000 people concluding “The majority of Muslims in USA have a lower income, are less educated and have worse jobs than the population as a whole.” (Berlingske Tidende, d. 3. marts 2009: Muslims thrive in USA.

The cognitive consequences of Muslim inbreeding might explain why non-Western immigrants are more than 300 percent more likely to fail the Danish army’s intelligence test than native Danes: “19.3% of non-Western immigrants are not able to pass the Danish army’s intelligence test. In comparison, only 4.7% of applicants with Danish background do not pass.” (TV 2 Nyhederne, 13/6 2007 Immigrants flunk army test.

It probably also explains – at least partly – why two thirds of all immigrant school children with Arabic backgrounds are illiterate after 10 years in the Danish school system: “Those who speak Arabic with their parents have an extreme tendency to lack reading abilities – 64 percent are illiterate. … No matter if it concerns reading abilities, mathematics or science, the pattern is the same: The bilingual (largely Muslim) immigrants’ skills are exceedingly poor compared to their Danish classmates.” (Rockwool Foundation Research Unit, May 2007: Ethnic students does not make Danish children worse.

The high expenses on special education for slow learners consumes one third of the budget for the Danish schools. “Immigrant children are clearly overrepresented on Copenhagen’s schools for retarded children and children with physical handicaps. … 51 percent of the children on the three schools in Copenhagen for children with physical and mental handicaps har immigrant back ground and on one of the schools the amount is 70 percent. … These amounts are significantly higher than the share of immigrant children in the municipality, which is 33 percent. The many handicapped children are a clear evidence that there are many intermarried parents in the immigrant families.” (Jydske Vestkysten, 4/4 2009 Tosprogede i overtal på handicapskoler).

Our high level of education may also make it harder for inbred students to follow and finish their studies: “Young people with minority backgrounds have a significantly higher dropout rate at secondary schools than youth with a Danish background. For trade school education, the dropout rate among immigrants is 60 percent, twice as high among adolescents with a Danish background….

There is great variation in educational outcomes when compared with national origin. For example, dropout among young people with Lebanese or Iranian background is far greater than among people of Vietnamese background.” (Center for Knowledge on Integration in Randers, May 2005 “Youth, education and integration“). ”Among immigrant children that are born and raised in Denmark, more than a third has no education. Among native Danes it is less than one fifth that do not get an education. (Statistics Denmark: “Indvandrere i 2007”.

The negative consequences of inbreeding are also vast for the Muslim world. Inbreeding may thus explain why only nine Muslims ever managed to receive the prestigious Nobel Prize (5 of them won the “Peace Prize” – for peace that turned out not to last for very long).

The limited ability to understand, appreciate and produce knowledge following a limited IQ is probably also partly the reason why Muslim countries produce 1/10 of the World average when it comes to scientific research: “In 2003, the world average for production of articles per million inhabitants was 137, whereas none of the 47 OIC countries for which there were data achieved production above 107 per million inhabitants. The OIC average was just 13.” (Nature 444, p. 26-27, 1. November 2006 ”Islam and science: The data gap”.

The lack of interest in science and human development in the Muslim World is also clear in the UN Arab Human Development Reports (AHDR). AHDR concludes that there have been fewer books translated into Arabic in the last thousand years than the amount of books translated within the country of Spain every year:

“The Arab world translates about 330 books annually, one fifth of the number that Greece translates. The cumulative total of translated books since the Caliph Maa’moun’s [sic] time (the ninth century) is about 100,000, almost the average that Spain translates in one year.” (Eugene Rogan ”Arab Books and human development”. Index of Censorship, vol. 33, issue 2 April 2004, p. 152-157). “70 percent of the Turkish citizens never read books.”(APA, 23 February 2009 “)…

Thoroughly Modern Mill

By ROGER SCRUTON

May 20 sees the 200th anniversary of the birth of John Stuart Mill, the greatest exponent of 19th-century liberalism, whose philosophy still dominates jurisprudence in the English-speaking world. Mill was a many-faceted intellectual who wrote on all aspects of philosophy, on law and morals, on political economy, and on poetry and the arts. His home-schooling at the hands of his father, the economist and historian James Mill, was a model of rigor, causing him to read and write Greek aged 6, to master Latin aged 9, and to have acquired a thorough grounding in history and mathematics aged 10, when he began work on a history of Roman government. Mill later developed a taste for poetry, acquired a perfect knowledge of French, and, despite his agnostic upbringing, read deeply in the Bible, which he believed to be one of the two Great Books, the other being Homer.

Mill was never a member of a university, but devoted his life to self-education while holding lucrative posts at the India Office. He suffered a serious nervous breakdown in 1836. This breakdown, described in Mill’s remarkable “Autobiography,” was in part a response to the hard-headed utilitarianism of his father and his circle of “Philosophical Radicals.” The cost-benefit morality that James Mill had inherited from Jeremy Bentham, and which he had instilled into his son, left Mill bereft of all emotional succor.

Utilitarianism (“that action is right which promotes the greatest happiness of the greatest number”) was a philosophy of the head which seemed to make no room for the heart. Mill recovered through reading Wordsworth, found consolation with Harriet Taylor, the wife of a tolerant gentleman who no doubt had good grounds for trusting in his wife’s chastity, and subsequently married the widowed Mrs. Taylor to continue in an apparently sexless union.

Mill’s rebellion against utilitarianism did not prevent him from writing a qualified defense of it, and his “Utilitarianism” is acknowledged today as one of the few readable accounts of a moral disorder that would have died out two centuries ago, had people not discovered that the utilitarian can excuse every crime. Lenin and Hitler were pious utilitarians, as were Stalin and Mao, as are most members of the Mafia. As Mill recognized, the “greatest happiness principle” must be qualified by some guarantee of individual rights, if it is not to excuse the tyrant.

In response to his own wavering discipleship, therefore, he wrote “On Liberty,” perhaps his most influential, though by no means his best, production. At the time, Benthamite ways of thinking were influencing jurisprudence, and arguments based on the “general good” and the “good of society” appealed to the conservative imagination of the Victorian middle classes. It seemed right to control the forms of public worship, to forbid the expression of heretical opinions, or to criminalize adultery, for the sake of a “public morality” which exists for the general good. If individual freedom suffers, then that, according to the utilitarians, is the price we must pay.

According to Mill’s argument, that way of thinking has everything upside down. The law does not exist to uphold majority morality against the individual, but to protect the individual against tyranny — including the “tyranny of the majority.” Of course, if the exercise of individual freedom threatens harm to others, it is legitimate to curtail it — for in such circumstances one person’s gain in freedom is another person’s loss of it. But when there is no proof of harm to another, the law must protect the individual’s right to act and speak as he chooses.

This principle has a profound significance: It is saying that the purpose of law is not to uphold the will of the majority, or to impose the will of the sovereign, but to protect the will of the individual. It is the legal expression of the “sovereignty of the individual.” The problem lies in the concept of harm. How can I prove that one person’s action does not harm another? How can I prove, for example, that other people are not harmed by my public criticism of their religious beliefs — beliefs on which they depend for their peace of mind and emotional stability?

How can I prove that consensual sex between two adults leaves the rest of us unaffected, when so much of life’s meaning seems to rest on the assumption of shared sexual norms? These questions are as significant for us as they were for Mill; the difference is that radical Islam has now replaced Scottish puritanism as the enemy of liberal values.

Mill’s defense of liberty, which was enunciated with great force and seeming clarity, soon followed the path taken by his defense of utilitarianism, and died the death of a thousand qualifications. “On Liberty” sees individual freedom as the aim of government, whose business is to reconcile one person’s freedom with his neighbor’s.

“The Principles of Political Economy” by contrast, while pretending to be a popular exposition of Adam Smith, accords extensive powers of social engineering to the state, and develops a socialist vision of the economy, with a constitutional role for trade unions, and extensive provisions for social security and welfare. The book is, in fact, a concealed socialist tract. While “On Liberty” belongs to the 18th-century tradition that we know as classical liberalism, “Principles” is an example of liberalism in its more modern sense.

Mill’s hostility to privilege, to landed property, and to inheritance of property had implications which he seemed unwilling or unable to work out. His argument that all property should be confiscated by the state on death, and redistributed according to its own greater wisdom, has the implication that the state, rather than the family, is to be treated as the basic unit of society — the true arbiter of our destiny, and the thing to which everything is owed.

The argument makes all property a temporary lease from the state, and also ensures that the state is the greatest spender, and the one least bound by the sense of responsibility to heirs and neighbors. It is, in short, a recipe for the disaster that we have seen in the communist and socialist systems, and it is a sign of Mill’s failure of imagination that, unlike Smith, he did not foresee the likely results of his favored policies.

Taking “On Liberty” and “Principles” together we find, in fact, a premonition of much that conservatives object to in the modern liberal worldview. The “harm” doctrine of “On Liberty” has been used again and again to subvert those aspects of law which are founded not in policy but in our inherited sense of the sacred and the prohibited. Hence this doctrine has made it impossible for the law to protect the core institutions of society, namely marriage and the family, from the sexual predators. Meanwhile, the statist morality of “Principles” has flowed into the moral vacuum, so that the very same law that refuses to intervene to protect children from pornography will insist that every aspect of our lives be governed by regulations that put the state in charge.

Mill famously referred to the Conservative Party as “the stupider party,” he being, from 1865, a member of Parliament in the Liberal interest. And no doubt the average Tory MP was no match for the brain that had conceived the “System of Logic” — an enduring classic and Mill’s greatest achievement. Yet Mill suffered from the same defect as his father. He never understood that wisdom is deeper and rarer than rational thought.

He never understood that the intellect, which flies so easily to its conclusions, relies on something else for its premises. Those conservatives who upheld what Mill called “the despotism of custom” against the “experiments in living” advocated in “On Liberty” were not stupid simply because they recognized the limits of the human intellect. They were, on the contrary, aware that freedom and custom are mutually dependent, and that to free oneself from moral norms is to surrender to the state. For only the state can manage the ensuing disaster.

Forget the liberal hype about a comeback: 2010 was a stunningly bad year for Barack Obama, and 2011 could be even worse

Telegraph – By Nile Gardiner

Ignore the revisionist hype in sections of the liberal media about President Obama staging a (mythical) political comeback – this is a presidency with an approval rating of 45 percent (according to the RealClear Politics poll of polls), that presides over a nation where just 27 percent of voters think the country is moving in the right direction, and which just 29 percent of Americans think will be returned to power in 2012.

The White House may be claiming a couple of political wins in the dying embers of the lame duck Congress after expending a great deal of political capital in the Senate over the reckless ratification of the Moscow-friendly START Treaty and the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, but these are issues barely on the radar screens of most American voters in the lead-up to 2012, an election which will be dominated by the economy and health care reform.

The political landscape still looks strikingly bleak for the “transformational president” as he goes into 2011. 2010 was a stunningly bad year for Barack Obama, no matter how much the likes of The New York Times or The Washington Post might try to sugar coat it. Here are four key reasons why it was a year Obama will want to forget:

1. The midterm elections were a defeat of epic proportions for the Obama Presidency

When Barack Obama spoke of a “shellacking” at the midterms, it was a huge understatement. The Republicans scored a significantly bigger win than they did in 1994, with their biggest gain in the House of Representatives in 62 years – since 1948. Fortunately for the Democrats, just 37 Senate seats were up for election, preventing what would have been an almost certain handover of power in the upper house too. Republicans also made huge gains at the gubernatorial level, with the GOP now holding 29 governorships to the Democrats’ 20. Republicans also picked up 680 seats in state legislatures, the highest figure in the modern era.

2. Conservatism grew increasingly dominant in America

The midterms were certainly no flash in the pan, but part of a broader conservative revolution that swept America in 2010. As a recent Gallup survey showed, 48 percent of Americans now describe themselves as “conservative”, compared to 32 percent who call themselves “moderate”, and just 20 percent who call themselves “liberal”. Conservatives now outnumber liberals by nearly 2.5 to 1, a ratio that is likely to increase in 2011. The percentage of Americans who are conservative has risen six points since 2006 and eight points since 1994. Barack Obama, the most liberal US president of the modern era, has a natural liberal constituency comprised of just one in five Americans, which certainly does not bode well for 2012.

3. The Left lost ground and engaged in a brutal civil war

2010 was a monumentally bad year for the liberal establishment in the United States, not only in electoral terms but in terms of increasing divisions within its ranks, as well as the continuing decline of the “mainstream” liberal media. Conservative media, from Fox News to The Wall Street Journal, have had a tremendous year, increasing market share while establishment giants from CNN to network news outlets continue to decline.

The White House unwisely took on Fox in a major offensive, and spectacularly lost. Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and a constellation of conservative talk show hosts have had a bumper 2010. In the meantime, America’s disillusioned liberal elites are increasingly aiming their fire at each other, in scenes reminiscent of the bloodthirsty finale of Reservoir Dogs. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman perfectly captured the brutal post-midterm atmosphere on the Left in a fiery broadside against the president: “Whatever is going on inside the White House, from the outside it looks like moral collapse — a complete failure of purpose and loss of direction.”

4. The Tea Party became more powerful than the president at the ballot box

The Tea Party was the big victor of 2010, and spectacularly humiliated the White House by running rings around it. A small grassroots movement with barely any resources evolved into the most successful US political movement of this generation, sparking a national protest against the Big Government policies of the Obama administration, and a powerful call for a return to America’s founding principles.

The Tea Party was initially mocked and jeered by its political opponents, including the president, but later came to be feared by the Left as it flexed tremendous political muscle. As I noted in September, a CNN poll showed that “while just 37 percent of Americans are more likely to vote for a candidate if backed by Barack Obama, a far larger 50 percent will vote for a Tea-Party endorsed candidate.” The Tea Party continues to gain momentum following the midterms, where it scored significant successes, and a late November USA Today/Gallup poll showed the Tea Party virtually neck and neck with President Obama in terms of voter opinion on who should influence government policy.

Law in the Empathetic Society

American Thinker – By Jeremy Egerer

…So how do we, as a society, objectively determine on whom to bestow our empathy?  How do we know when the law should champion the cause of the suffering?  First, let us look to John Stuart Mill, the grandfather of the sexual revolution and one of the most influential philosophers of classical liberalism.

Mill proposed that the cause of freedom limits our legislative capacity to banning only that which harms others, an idea known as the Harm Principle (most clearly explained by philosopher Roger Scruton).

But this philosophy of harm isn’t nearly as clean and simple as we might think, especially considering the unlimited number of instances which may be considered “harmful” and the fact that many harmful behaviors do not necessarily inflict the prohibited harm 100% of the time (think “hate speech” and drunk driving, respectively).

In short, while the Harm Principle gives the initial appearance of government restraint, this restraint exists only as long as society remains culturally cohesive — as long as “harm” is a widely understood, clearly-defined concept.  Perhaps in Mill’s day, harm was understood this clearly.  Today, it is not.

But John Locke, one of the most influential natural rights philosophers, had an answer to the proposition of empathetic subjectivity.  In his philosophical masterpiece, Two Treatises on Government (section 136, including footnotes), he states that “The Law of Nature stands as an eternal rule to all men, legislators as well as others. The rules that they make for other men’s actions must … be conformable to the Law of Nature, i.e., to the will of God.”

And, in his quoting of Richard Hooker’s Ecclesiastical Polity, “[l]aws human must be made according to the general laws of Nature, and without contradiction to any positive law of Scripture, otherwise they are ill made.”  Not such a popular statement these days, but Locke’s writings were revered by our founding fathers, and they provided the essential philosophy of our very Declaration of Independence and the understanding of unalienable rights.

My question to my readers is this: living in a secular, multicultural, postmodern world, we find an increasing cacophony within the world of compassion.  As a committed Christian, I know what the proper boundaries of compassion are.  My question to you is, do you know where to draw the line between compassion and injustice?  And if we are to combat American liberalism, which oftentimes confuses offenders with victims, can we necessarily proceed under a utilitarian method like Mill’s?  Or does the necessity of adequate government and the protection of unalienable rights demand a far different, objective standard?

end – 😉

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Hair Of The Dog…

Heart breaker, soul shaker
I’ve been told about you
Steamroller, midnight stroller
What they’ve been saying must be true

Talkin’ jivey, poison ivy
You ain’t gonna cling to me
Man taker, born faker
I ain’t so blind I can’t see

China’s J-20 Stealth Fighter In Taxi Tests

Aviation Week – By Bill Sweetman

…The J-20 is a single-seat, twin-engine aircraft, bigger and heavier than the Sukhoi T-50 and the F-22. Comparison with ground-service vehicles points to an overall length of 75 ft. and a wingspan of 45 ft. or more, which would suggest a takeoff weight in the 75,000-80,000-lb. class with no external load. That in turn implies a generous internal fuel capacity. The overall length is close to that of the 1960s General Dynamics F-111, which carries 34,000 lb. of fuel.

The J-20 has a canard delta layout (like Chengdu’s J-10) with two canted, all-moving vertical stabilizers (like the T-50) and smaller canted ventral fins. The stealth body shaping is similar to that of the F-22. The flat body sides are aligned with the canted tails, the wing-body junction is clean, and there is a sharp chine line around the forward fuselage. The cant angles are greater than they are on the Lockheed Martin F-35, and the frameless canopy is similar to that of the F-22.

The engines are most likely members of the Russian Saturn AL-31F family, also used on the J-10. The production version will require yet-to-mature indigenous engines. The inlets use diverterless supersonic inlet (DSI) technology, first adopted for the F-35 but also used by Chengdu on the J-10B—the newest version of the J-10—and the Sino-Pakistani JF-17 Thunder.

The main landing gears retract into body-side bays, indicating the likely presence of F-22-style side weapon bays ahead of them. The ground clearance is higher than on the F-22, which would facilitate loading larger weapons including air-to-surface munitions. Chinese engineers at the Zhuhai air show in November disclosed that newly developed air-to-ground weapons are now required to be compatible with the J-20.

Features at the rear of the aircraft—including underwing actuator fairings, axisymmetrical engine exhausts and the ventral fins—appear less compatible with stealth, so the J-20 may not match the all-aspect stealth of the F-22. There are two possible explanations for this: Either the aircraft seen here is the first step toward an operational design, or China’s requirements do not place as much stress on rear-aspect signatures.

The major open question at this point is whether the J-20 is a true prototype, like the T-50, or a technology demonstrator, with a status similar to the YF-22 flown in 1990. That question will be answered by whether, and how many, further J-20s enter flight testing in the next 12-24 months…

A rapid development program would be a challenge for China’s combat aircraft industry, which is currently busy: The J-10B, FC-17 and Shenyang’s J-11B and carrier-based J-15 are all under development. However, the progress of China’s military aviation technology has been rapid since the first flight of the J-10 in 1996, owing to the nation’s growing economy and the push by the People’s Liberation Army for a modernized military force in all domains. Before the J-10, China’s only indigenous production combat aircraft were the Shenyang J-8 and Xian JH-7, reflecting early-1960s technology from Russia and Europe.

Engine development has lagged airframe development, with reports that the Shenyang WS-10 engine, slated to replace Russian engines in the J-11B, has been slow to reach acceptable reliability and durability levels. That may not be surprising, given that high-performance engine technology is founded on specialized alloys and processes that often have no other uses. (The existence of the J-11B, essentially a “bootleg” version of the Su-27, has been a strain on relationships between the Russian and Chinese industries.)

Progress with avionics may be indicated by the advent of the J-10B, with new features that include a canted radar bulkhead (normally associated with an active, electronically scanned array antenna), an infrared search-and-track system, and housings for new electronic warfare antennas.

One question that may go unanswered for a long time concerns the degree to which cyberespionage has aided the development of the J-20. U.S. defense industry cybersecurity experts have cited 2006—close to the date when the J-20 program would have started—as the point at which they became aware of what was later named the advanced persistent threat (APT), a campaign of cyberintrusion aimed primarily at military and defense industries and characterized by sophisticated infiltration and exfiltration techniques…

Related (Air Power Australia): What China’s New J-20 Stealth Fighter Means for the F-35 JSF and F/A-18E/F Super Hornet

U.S. commander says China aims to be a ‘global military’ power

Asahi Shimbun – BY YOICHI KATO

HONOLULU–Adm. Robert Willard, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, said he believes that China aspires to become a “global military (power)” by extending its influence beyond its regional waters. “In the capabilities that we’re seeing develop, that is fairly obvious,” Willard told The Asahi Shimbun in a recent exclusive interview in Hawaii.

“They are focused presently on what they term their ‘near seas’–the Bohai, Yellow Sea, South China Sea, East China Sea,” he said. “(But) I think they have an interest in being able to influence beyond that point.” Willard also said he believes that China’s anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) system, known as “aircraft carrier killer,” has achieved initial operational capability (IOC), even though “it will continue to undergo testing ・for several more years.” The full text of the interview follows:

Question: What is your assessment of the current situation in the Korean Peninsula? Are the tense moments behind us? What kind of military posture and deployment do you maintain, and will there be any change because of the change of situation?

Answer: As we both know, there was not a response from the North Koreans to the artillery exercise that was conducted by the Republic of Korea on Dec. 20. Given that the South Koreans had been attacked two times by North Korea, I thought Ambassador Susan Rice, our ambassador to the United Nations, put it very well when she said that to everyone it should be obvious why the Republic of Korea feels it necessary to maintain their military readiness through the exercise of their military forces.

I think, for now, we’re past this particular crisis, but we have no doubt, given North Korea’s history, that a next provocation is readied. It’s a matter of assessing how it might be deterred or how the North Koreans might be dissuaded from exercising the next provocation. We think the U.S.-Republic of Korea alliance is part of that deterrence effort. We think the international community and China in particular are another part of it.

Q: Looking at what happened in the Cheonan incident and also the recent shelling of the island, some people ask whether deterrence is effective and if it’s working. Are the North Koreans deterred?

A: There are various levels of deterrence. For 60 years, we’ve successfully deterred war on the Korean Peninsula. The U.S.-ROK alliance, 30,000 U.S. soldiers, the command structure, the advances in the Republic of Korea military, all of those things together have been a successful deterrent across the DMZ and have enabled us to maintain this armistice for many decades.

That said, the other forms of deterrence, deterring their nuclear weapon advancements, denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, our ability to deter that development has not been successful to date, and likewise, in this instance, our ability to deter a series of provocations has not been particularly successful.

We don’t know what we’re able to prevent, given the closed nature of North Korea, but it shouldn’t stop us from continuing to attempt to posture ourselves and to have the international community apply what levers they can to try and deter the next provocations.

Q: In March, you told the Senate Armed Services Committee, “China’s rapid and comprehensive transformation of its armed forces is affecting regional military balances.” Could you elaborate on how China’s military expansion is affecting the regional military balance?

A: Two ways. In one sense, the tremendous advancement in China’s military itself is shifting the overall balance of military powers in the region. It’s been rare in history that any country underpinned by the kind of economic power that China possesses has developed its military so rapidly.

But at the same time, the other countries in the Asia-Pacific region that are troubled by and uncertain of China’s intentions are also advancing their own military capabilities, and this is particularly true in the acquisition of submarines and advanced aircraft. We’re seeing not only China advance, but (also) the other militaries in the region that can afford it seek to advance alongside.

Q: Do you think that kind of procurement, or arms race, is detrimental to stability? Or is it better to have other countries procure a certain level of weapon systems to balance out China’s expansion?

A: I think that’s a very fair question. I think that the nations in the region have a responsibility to be able to maintain security within their territory, and not all of the nations in the Asia-Pacific are self-sufficient militarily. To an extent, the acquisition of systems (and) the advancement of our regional militaries will assist all of us in sharing the responsibility to maintain security across Asia-Pacific.

To the extent the acquisitions are specifically to counter China or any other nation’s growing military, it would raise the question whether or not those acquisitions are properly balanced to achieve self-sufficiency or whether it’s targeted against counter-balancing other military powers.

Q: Is the strategic balance in the region tipping toward China’s favor because of its military expansion?

A: Well, when you say “strategic balance,” you and I would have to help define that because there’s more to strategic balance than just a growing military. I would say that the military balance is undoubtedly shifting as China’s military expands faster than other regional nations, but the strategic balance remains in flux. And again, there is an economic factor in that. There is a diplomatic factor in that. There is a military factor in that. (And) there is an economic factor associated with that.

When we talk strategic balance, we have to talk about relative influence in the international community globally. China bears a responsibility, given its growing economic power, growing diplomatic power globally and growing military, to be a greater contributor to the overall security–of not only the Asia-Pacific but elsewhere–brought about by its many elements of national power. Japan and the United States, two longstanding economic powers, are good examples of nations that have achieved a strategic balance in the world and are meeting many of their global responsibilities.

Q: Let me go into China’s anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) capabilities. What is the current status of China’s anti-ship ballistic missile development, and how close is it to actual operational deployment?

A: The anti-ship ballistic missile system in China has undergone extensive testing. An analogy using a Western term would be “initial operational capability,” whereby it has–I think China would perceive that it has–an operational capability now, but they continue to develop it. It will continue to undergo testing, I would imagine, for several more years.

Q: China has achieved IOC?

A: You would have to ask China that, but as we see the development of the system, their acknowledging the system in open press reporting and the continued testing of the system, I would gauge it as about the equivalent of a U.S. system that has achieved IOC.

Q: Has China already perfected the technology to fly that missile and also the sensor systems for targeting? Has the entire system integration been completed?

A: Typically, to have something that would be regarded as in its early operational stage would require that that system be able to accomplish its flight pattern as designed, by and large.

Q: But they have not conducted the actual flight test or the test to attack moving ships yet, have they?

A: We have not seen an over-water test of the entire system.

Q: But do you believe they already have that capability?

A: I think that the component parts of the anti-ship ballistic missile have been developed and tested.

Q: Is it a bigger threat to the United States than submarines in terms of their A2/AD capabilities?

A: No, I don’t think so. Anti-access/area denial, which is a term that was relatively recently coined, is attempting to represent an entire range of capabilities and capacities that China has developed and that other countries have developed. It’s not exclusively China that has what is now being referred to as A2/AD capability. But in China’s case, it’s a combination of integrated air defense systems, advanced naval systems such as the submarine, advanced ballistic missile systems such as the anti-ship ballistic missile, as well as power projection systems into the region.

The anti-access/area denial systems, more or less, range countries, archipelagos such as Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam, so there are many countries in the region that are falling within the envelope of this, of an A2/AD capability of China. That should be concerning–and we know is concerning–to those countries. While it may be largely designed to assure China of its ability to affect military operations within its regional waters, it is an expanded capability that ranges beyond the first island chain and overlaps countries in the region. For that reason, it is concerning to Southeast Asia, (and) it remains concerning to the United States.

Q: Do you think China already has the area denial capability inside of the first island chain?

A: I think they are growing the capability inside of the first island chain. There is not one system that connotes an A2/AD capability. It’s multiple systems. Some of those systems have the range capability to encompass the first island chain. Other aspects of A2/AD do not. To the extent that China is developing that capability, it is in development and advancing. I think that eventually, it’s very likely that it will encompass what China is referring to as the “near seas,” that extend to the first island chain.

Q: What’s the impact of China’s growing A2/AD capabilities on the power projection capability of the United States? Is the U.S. power projection capability deteriorating because of China’s A2/AD capability?

A: No, I don’t think so. Certainly, this kind of capability should be a concern to the region, and it poses a challenge to any naval or air operations that would be conducted in that area were it to be employed.

Is it affecting my operations today? Not at all. Were it to pose a challenge to the United States, I’m confident that I have the capability to operate in that air space and water space.

Q: It may have an impact on the U.S. power projection in the years to come, but at present, there is no impact at all, right?

A: I would say that it’s my responsibility to assure that the U.S. capabilities pace those kind of challenges, and we’re endeavoring to do that.

Q: In 1996, China launched missiles over Taiwan to influence its election; the United States sent two carrier battle groups close to Taiwan. Some experts say the United States cannot do that anymore unless you are ready to take a lot of risks because of China’s A2/AD capabilities. Is it a fair statement to say you have to run much bigger risks to conduct the same kind of operations near Taiwan now compared with 1996?

A: The anti-access/area denial capabilities, fully employed, will present a challenge to military operations in the region. That will have to be overcome.

Q: The next topic is the collision off the Senkaku Islands. What should we read into the recent Senkaku incident between Japan and China in terms of China’s maritime strategy or expansion?

A: Clearly, China has articulated broad claims, both in the South China Sea and the East China Sea, and as a consequence of that, the Senkakus fall into (those) claims, as we all know, and remain a contested area between Japan and China. For the United States, we don’t take sides in those contested claims areas but rather leave it to the claimants to solve the sovereignty issue between themselves.

That said, in the case of the Senkakus, and regardless of the blame regarding the actual incident that occurred between the fisherman and the Japanese Coast Guard, China’s subsequent actions were illustrative, both to Japan, to us in our observation, and to the region, regarding their willingness to be very assertive regarding those claims.

From the detention of Japanese representatives that were in China to the suspension of rare earth mineral contracts, it was clear that China had intended to exert a number of levers in order to very strongly establish its position regarding the claim and the incident itself. At the end of the day, that was a signal to the region, and I think it was certainly eye-opening enough to raise concerns in ASEAN and in some of the dialogue that occurred subsequent to that.

Q: Don’t you think it backfired?

A: In a way, yes. It appeared to be overplayed and, as a consequence, revealed a great deal to many of the countries, such as that they will be guarded regarding their exposure or their vulnerability to levers such as (the ones) China was exerting.

Q: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the Senkakus fall within the scope of Article Five of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty. Don’t you think it is necessary for Japan and the United States to work out a joint operation plan for contingencies and conduct a joint exercise based on that plan?

A: First, Secretary Clinton was articulating a longstanding obligation that the United States has, so the fact that an administered set of islands falls under Article Five is not new. To the extent that Pacific Command is obligated to coordinate the defense of Japan with the Japanese Self-Defense Forces and that the U.S. government and the Japanese government are obligated to come together in issues regarding defense of Japan, again (it) is longstanding.

General (Ryoichi) Oriki, (chief of staff, joint staff of the Self-Defense Forces), and I are obligated to discuss my defense relationship and obligations as it pertains to our treaty together and plan accordingly.

Q: So is there going to be planning?

A: There is constant planning (for overall defense of Japan).

Q: The next subject is the air-sea battle concept. It got a lot of attention in Japan when it appeared in the Quadrennial Defense Review, but it hasn’t been clearly explained by the United States. Can you tell us what the joint air-sea battle concept is?

A: There was formerly a ground-air battle construct between our Army and our Air Force that was an effort some years back to more optimally combine the capabilities of our Army and the capabilities and capacities of our Air Force to optimize their ability to conduct joint warfare together.

This, similarly, is the same construct, related to our Navy and our Air Force. The secretary of defense was interested in ensuring that all the things that we’re procuring in terms of future capabilities in our Air Force and our Navy have been optimally combined to achieve the maximum synergy that those two services can achieve in their operations together, and that’s what the study has been about and has accomplished.

This is attempting to optimize not only our current capabilities but our future capabilities together, so that when we are conducting joint warfare between those two services, it is maximizing the capability of both. They’ve added Marine Corps capabilities into it, and in the future, we’re going to add and complement Army’s capabilities as they relate to the maritime domain. At the end of the day, it’s about joint warfare at an even higher level than simply combining our current capabilities and establishing command relations accordingly. Rather, this is about ensuring that our capabilities are optimized and synergistic.

Q: Is it against the A2/AD challenge?

A: That is one of the challenges that it’s designed to be optimized against, but it’s much more general than that. It’s trying to maximize the capability of the two services in any environment. If anti-access/area denial environments are considered to be a particular challenge, then it would optimize the two services’ ability to operate within that kind of an environment.

Q: How does it apply to the Western Pacific or Asia-Pacific in your area of operational responsibility (AOR)? What kind of change are we going to see?

A: The Asia-Pacific AOR is inherently maritime. Look at the Japanese archipelago as an example. It’s an inherently maritime environment, where naval forces and air forces become particularly important in addressing contingencies throughout this region.

As a consequence, the end result of this study and the actions that we take to optimize the naval and air contributions should benefit the Asia-Pacific as much as any other area of responsibility in the world.

Q: What kind of role do you expect Japan to play in this air-sea battle concept?

A: I would hope that, at the point in time when it’s matured enough, that we’ll have that discussion with the Japanese Self-Defense Forces in terms of assisting them in seeing the same benefits in combining the capabilities of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force.

We’ve learned a great deal through the course of this study and the development that’s resulting from it, and it should benefit our allies and partners as well.

Q: Japan has just renewed its National Defense Program Guidelines, a 10-year-long defense plan. One of the pillars is to shift the strategic focus from the north to the southwestern islands, including Okinawa. The idea is to enhance its role as a gatekeeper of those exits in the first island chain. Do you think this is the right way for Japan to shift its strategic focus?

A: In a discussion that I had with General Oriki, we were having a strategic-level discussion of the importance of maritime security (and) sea lines of communication in the region. He showed me a chart. It was a view from the coastline of China and Russia and Korea northward, or upward, to Japan. It was informative in terms of the expanse of the Japanese archipelago, and the relative importance of the East China Sea and South China Sea regions and the sea lines of communication to Japan.

General Oriki made the point to me that the East China Sea and South China Sea are vitally important to Japan and its economy for the purpose of the security of the commerce there.

The idea that Japan would balance Self-Defense Forces’ locations to try and optimize those regions that are of utmost importance to Japan’s economy makes very good sense.

Q: What is the main concern that the United States has for the South China Sea? Is it that the freedom of navigation along the sea lines of communication (SLOCs) would be jeopardized or is it that the South China Sea would be turned into what they call a “bastion” for China’s nuclear submarines equipped to launch ballistic missiles (SSBNs)?

A: It’s very much the sea lines of communication, the fact that this region of the world carries about something in excess of $5 trillion annually of commerce, $1.3 trillion of annual trade for the United States. Those sea lines of communication are exceedingly vital. They’re a national interest to the United States. I would offer they’re a national interest to Japan. And their safety is a major concern. The idea that any nation would become overly assertive in terms of its claims or in terms of its relative influence in the South China Sea, at the expense of the other nations who have that same commercial interest, is the issue at hand.

The ASEAN discussions–the ASEAN Regional Forum, the ASEAN Defense Minister Meeting Plus that occurred, the Shangri-la Dialogue, all of the multinational dialogue that occurred throughout 2010–that asserted the importance of the South China Sea, the importance of the sea lines of communication and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea and the relative national interests in the South China Sea were illustrative of that point and, I think, represent the answer to your question.

Q: Some experts I’ve talked with in Washington have said that one of the reasons why China calls the South China Sea a “core interest,” but not the East China Sea, is because of this “SSBN bastion” theory. You don’t quite buy that?

A: I don’t. In fact, we would cast it a little bit differently. We would tell you that the South China Sea “contains” what China refers to as their “core interests,” both economically and from a sovereign standpoint. So does the East China Sea.

Q: What do you think is China’s strategy beyond Taiwan? Do you think they’re just pursuing sea control out to the second island chain or do you think they seek a larger strategic goal, even global hegemony?

A: I think China has global aspirations, and economically, socially, diplomatically and militarily, they are focused presently on what they term their “near seas”–the Bohai, Yellow Sea, South China Sea, East China Sea. They are interested in minimizing foreign military influence in that region, and that’s what we see occurring.

I think they have an interest in being able to influence beyond that point, and they have aspirations to eventually become a global military. In the capabilities that we’re seeing develop, that is fairly obvious.

Q: What’s the strategic chemistry between the United States and China, and is that a competition between the United States and China over primacy in the Asia-Pacific? How do you characterize the nature of the strategic chemistry or competition between the two countries?

A: There is an effort on the part of the United States to engage China. I think there is an effort on the part of China to engage the United States. And I think that it’s very broad. At the Strategic and Economic Dialogue that I attended with Secretary Clinton, I was struck by the very rich and mature engagement across many of our secretariats and many of China’s ministries and the depth of commitment that they both had to their dialogue.

On the military side, we’re relatively immature and behind in our relationship, and I think it affects the perception of that strategic relationship between the two nations. I think that one of the purposes of the restart of our mil-to-mil engagement, on the part of the United States, is to be convincing to the United States regarding the importance of maintaining a continuum of that dialogue so that eventually it can catch up to the other engagement that’s ongoing.

I think there are differences, frankly, in China’s overall approach, strategic approach, and there is divergence in some areas, convergence in others with those of the United States. In those areas of difference, I think the two nations have got to (engage in) dialogue and eventually work those out. When you say, “competition,” I would offer “engagement, with areas of divergence that ultimately have to be resolved between the two countries.”

Q: You said the mil-to-mil dialogue between the United States and China has resumed. But it’s been suspended over half a year because of the Taiwan arms sale. Japan has also experienced a similar suspension because of the Senkaku and other issues. How can we overcome this kind of on and off dialogue with China and make it into a continuum?

A: We need China’s cooperation to do that obviously. The appeal that I made was the relative risk associated with the on-again, off-again nature of mil-to-mil. As China becomes a more consequential military and as the United States and Japan continue to maintain their forward presence in the region, we will come into contact at an ever-increasing rate, and we are doing that now. Therefore, it becomes very important that there be no misunderstanding or no miscalculation between our militaries as they contact with one another.

During those periods when mil-to-mil relations are suspended and there’s no dialogue, we will tend to lose fractions of or whole generations of young officers and enlisted personnel who aren’t familiar with the other military. As a consequence, when they do come into contact, there is risk of misunderstanding, miscommunication and miscalculation.

It’s very important that we prevent that, and it’s a responsibility that China bears, as do we, to ensure that that military dialogue is a continuum. We’re making that appeal to them now. It’s appealing to their leadership and to their responsibility. But again, unless they’re willing to embrace it, it will be hard to overcome what has traditionally been an on-again, off-again experience with them.

Q: Regarding multilateral relationships, Japan is pursuing the enhancement of a security relationship with South Korea and is perhaps looking at some sort of a virtual Japan-U.S.-South Korea trilateral arrangement eventually. I understand the United States is very eager to develop this kind of relationship. Will you discuss how you see the potential of a Japan-South Korea-U.S. trilateral security arrangement?

A: First of all, I think it’s a natural fit. I mean, when you look at our three militaries, and the fact that the United States is allied with both the Republic of Korea and Japan, we’ve grown our militaries to be very complementary, very interoperable and very capable.

All three nations’ militaries are a match, if you will. All three nations are like-minded in many ways. From a security standpoint, we have similar objectives. It would seem natural that we would combine those capabilities and cooperate with one another to ensure the future security of Northeast Asia and, frankly, the broader Asia-Pacific.

In our view, it’s a natural trilateral security arrangement if we can overcome some differences (and) some policy gaps. The things that would enable us to bring three nations’ militaries, three nations’ security establishments, more closely together. That’s been the purpose of the dialogue that has been occurring. I’ve had the opportunity to meet with chiefs of defense of both nations. We’ve had those similar dialogues at the ministerial level and higher. We’re eager to see this advance. I think Japan has been very forward-leaning. We’re encouraged by Korea’s willingness to engage as well.

Small things, like Japanese observers in the recent Sea of Japan exercise, or Korean observers invited into Keen Sword. Those are very positive steps to bring our three militaries together, and when we do come together, all three of us will find ourselves very similar in capability and very like-minded in terms of our military objectives.

Q: What is the impact of eventual operational control (opcon) transfer from the United States to South Korea, upon the future command structure of the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM)? Will it change the status of United States Forces Japan, which is currently an administrative command, so that it can assume the command of, perhaps, Joint Task Force (JTF) in time of war?

A: Well, when you refer to operational control transition in 2015 in the Republic of Korea, that’s intended to address the relationship of Combined Forces Korea and the ROK military, such that Combined Forces Korea becomes a supporting command to the ROK in time of war.

Right now, the Republic of Korea Forces chop to, become under the operational command of, a United States general, in time of war. And we think that, after so many decades of development of the ROK military, that they’re more than capable of assuming the supported role in their own defense.

In terms of how that opcon transition will affect broader command relations in the region, I would only offer that I see potential in U.S. Forces Japan, as a command and staff, in assuming a more effective role in dialogue with the Japanese Self-Defense Forces and their needs insofar as defense of Japan is concerned.

I’ve been working with General Oriki to imagine, at the operational level of command, the kind of command structure that would meet his needs the best, and whether or not United States Forces Japan is the right staff to have that dialogue with. Those discussions continue.

We have a ways to go to see whether the shift in who’s supported and who’s supporting on the Korean Peninsula, what ripple effect that could have in PACOM. But right now I would offer that I regard USFJ (U.S. Forces Japan) very highly and a command with more potential, perhaps, than the administrative nature of its work in the past.

Related Links:

Quadrennial Defense Review Report February 2010 (PDF)

CSBA: Air Sea Battle A Point-of-Departure Operational Concept (PDF)

Female cadet makes it three generations of IAF pilots in her family

Lieutenant C. inherits the flying tradition from both her father and her maternal grandfather.

Haaretz – By Anshel Pfeffer

One of the cadets completing Israel Air Force flight school today has a rich aeronautical family history: She is the daughter and granddaughter of air force pilots, and her great-uncle was one of the most prominent commanders in the air force in the 1970s.

It’s not rare for pilots to be the sons of pilots, but Lieut. C., who is completing the pilot academy’s combat course, is the daughter and also the granddaughter of one. On her mother’s side, she is a descendant of the Harpazes of Kibbutz Mishmar Haemek; her grandfather, Oded Harpaz, enlisted in the Israeli army in 1951, and served in the light plane division after completing flight school. After military service, he worked in agriculture and flew fumigation planes besides working in the kibbutz avocado plantations. He died in a Piper plane crash at age 43, together with his oldest son, Guy, then a 21-year-old paratrooper.

Lieut. C. inherits the flying tradition from both sides of the family. Her father flew Phantom jets in the air force and is today an El Al pilot. Her mother works in education.

An additional close relative is Oded Harpaz’s brother, Col. Rami Harpaz (res. ), one of the leading IAF pilots in the ’60s and ’70s and one of the first to fly a Phantom; in 1969, during the War of Attrition, his plane was hit by a ground-to-air missile, and he was held in an Egyptian prison for three and a half years. Harpaz is one of the writers of the well-known “pilots translation” of “The Hobbit” by R.R. Tolkien, which they translated from English into Hebrew while in captivity. After his release, he continued to advance in the air force; his last post was as commander of the Ramat David base.

Three women are completing the pilot’s course this week (two pilots and one navigator ), which is an all-time high since the academy first accepted women 15 years ago. No woman has finished the course in the past 30 months, but according to a senior IAF officer, steps have been taken to raise the number of women who do so, mainly by encouraging women to enlist in the training courses that precede the pilot course.

A ceremony was held Tuesday at the Hazerim base, in which those completing the course received their ranks. Major General Ido Nechushtan, commander of the IAF, said that “a broad range [of cadets] finished the course and I am happy about these young women, who are all highly skilled.” Nechushtan mentioned that the number of women in the air force engineering staff was also rising.

Littoral Combat Ship Contract Award Announced

DoD Press Rlease No. 1186-10 – December 29, 2010

The Navy has awarded Lockheed Martin Corp. and Austal USA each a fixed-price incentive contract for the design and construction of a 10 ship block-buy, for a total of 20 littoral combat ships from fiscal 2010 through fiscal 2015.

The amount awarded to Lockheed Martin Corp. for fiscal 2010 littoral combat ships is $436,852,639.  The amount awarded to Austal USA for the fiscal 2010 littoral combat ships is $432,069,883.  Both contracts also include line items for nine additional ships, subject to Congressional appropriation of each year’s Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program requirements.  When all 10 ships of each block buy are awarded, the value of the ship construction portion of the two contracts would be $3,620,625,192 for Lockheed Martin Corp., and $3,518,156,851 for Austal USA.

The average cost of both variants including government-furnished equipment and margin for potential cost growth across the five year period is $440 million per ship.  The pricing for these ships falls well below the escalated average Congressional cost cap of $538 million.

“The awards represent a unique and valuable opportunity to lock in the benefits of competition and provide needed ships to our fleet in a timely and extraordinarily cost effective manner,” said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus.

This award is a unique opportunity to maximize the buying power on the LCS Program by leveraging the highly effective competition between the bidders.  Each contractor’s 10-ship bids reflect mature designs, investments made to improve performance, stable production, and continuous labor learning at their respective shipyards.

The award was based on limited competition between teams led by Lockheed Martin and Austal USA.  Under these contracts, both shipbuilders will also deliver a technical data package as part of the dual award, allowing the government a wide range of viable alternatives for effective future competition.

This approach, which is self-financed within the program by adding a year to the procurement and utilizing a portion of the greater than $2 billion total savings (throughout the Future Years Defense Program), enables the Navy to efficiently produce these ships at an increased rate and meet operational requirements sooner.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead praised the Navy’s plan to add both ship designs to the fleet:  “The LCS is uniquely designed to win against 21st century threats in coastal waters posed by increasingly capable submarines, mines and swarming small craft.  Both designs provide the capabilities our Navy needs, and each offers unique features that will provide fleet commanders with a high level of flexibility in employing these ships.”

The innovation and willingness to seize opportunities displayed in this LCS competition reflect exactly the improvements to ‘the way we do business’ in order to deliver better value to the taxpayer and greater capability to the warfighter.  Moreover, the Navy’s LCS acquisition strategy meets the spirit and intent of the Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act of 2009 and reflects the Navy’s commitment to affordability.  The benefits of competition, serial production, employment of mature technologies, design stability, fixed-price contracting, commonality, and economies of scale will provide a highly affordable ship construction program.

“The rigor and diligence of the source selection process has resulted in the acquisition of quality, capable ships at fair prices,” said Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition Sean Stackley.  “This dual award strategy exemplifies the Navy’s compliance with Secretary Gates’ and Under Secretary Carter’s direction to improve the buying power of the Defense Department.  Both teams have shown cost control on their second ships, and we look forward to the delivery of these capable fleet assets in the future.”

The Navy remains committed to a 55-ship program and the LCS is needed to fill critical, urgent warfighting requirements gaps that exist today.  The LCS Program is required to establish and maintain U.S. Navy dominance in the littorals and sea lanes of communication choke points around the world.  The LCS Program operational requirements have been virtually unchanged since the program’s inception in 2002 and the both hull forms will meet the Navy’s operational warfighting requirements.

Media may direct queries to the Navy Office of Information at 703-697-5342.

WA company to build US navy warships

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end – 😉

A list of Tea Party Caucus members and their earmark requests in Fiscal Year 2010, courtesy of Citizens Against Government Waste’s Pig Book:

NAME                EARMARKS        AMOUNT
Aderholt (R-AL)        69        $78,263,000
Akin (R-MO)             9        $14,709,000
Alexander (R-LA)       41        $65,395,000
Bachmann (R-MN)         0                  0
Barton (R-TX)          14        $12,269,400
Bartlett (R-MD)        19        $43,060,650
Bilirakis (R-FL)       14        $13,600,000
R. Bishop (R-UT)       47        $93,980,000
Burgess (R-TX)         15        $15,804,400
Broun (R-GA)            0                  0
Burton (R-IN)           0                  0
Carter (R-TX)          26        $42,232,000
Coble (R-NC)           19        $18,755,000
Coffman (R-CO)          0                  0
Crenshaw (R-FL)        37        $54,424,000
Culberson (R-TX)       22        $33,792,000
Fleming (R-LA)         10        $31,489,000
Franks (R-AZ)           8        $14,300,000
Gingrey (R-GA)         19        $16,100,000
Gohmert (R-TX)         15         $7,099,000
S. Graves (R-MO)       11         $8,331,000
R. Hall (R-TX)         16        $12,232,000
Harper (R-MS)          25        $80,402,000
Herger (R-CA)           5         $5,946,000
Hoekstra (R-MI)         9         $6,392,000
Jenkins (R-KS)         12        $24,628,000
S. King (R-IA)         13         $6,650,000
Lamborn (R-CO)          6        $16,020,000
Luetkemeyer (R-MO)      0                  0
Lummis (R-WY)           0                  0
Marchant (R-TX)         0                  0
McClintock (R-CA)       0                  0
Gary Miller (R-CA)     15        $19,627,500
Jerry Moran (R-KS)     22        $19,400,000
Myrick (R-NC)           0                  0
Neugebauer (R-TX)       0                  0
Pence (R-IN)            0                  0
Poe (R-TX)             12         $7,913,000
T. Price (R-GA)         0                  0
Rehberg (R-MT)         88       $100,514,200
Roe (R-TN)              0                  0
Royce (R-CA)            7         $6,545,000
Scalise (R-LA)         20        $17,388,000
P. Sessions (R-TX)      0                  0
Shadegg (R-AZ)          0                  0
Adrian Smith (R-NE)     1           $350,000
L. Smith (R-TX)        18        $14,078,000
Stearns (R-FL)         17        $15,472,000
Tiahrt (R-KS)          39        $63,400,000
Wamp (R-TN)            14        $34,544,000
Westmoreland (R-GA)     0                  0
Wilson (R-SC)          15        $23,334,000
TOTAL                 764     $1,049,783,150

Introduction

When Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) released the first Congressional Pig Book in 1991, the group was a lonely voice in the pork-barrel wilderness.  There was only modest objection to the 546 projects worth $3.2 billion, and “earmark” was virtually unknown.  The one constant since then has been the undisputed reign of the King of Pork, Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.).

After Republicans took over Congress in 1994, pork-barrel projects started to be used as a currency of re-election.  Over the following decade, they became a currency of corruption, and the explosion in earmarks to their peak at $29 billion in 2006 helped erase the Republican majority.  The 9,129 projects in the 2010 Congressional Pig Book represent a 10.2 percent decline from the 10,160 projects identified in fiscal year 2009, and the $16.5 billion in cost is a 15.5 percent decrease from the $19.6 billion in pork in fiscal year 2009.

The reforms that were adopted when Democrats took over Congress in 2006 can be attributed to many years of work exposing earmarks, especially the outpouring of public outrage over projects such as $50,000,000 for an indoor rainforest in Iowa and $500,000 for a teapot museum in North Carolina.

The changes include greater transparency, with the names of members of Congress first appearing next to their requested projects in 2008; letters of request that identify where and why the money will be spent; and the elimination of earmarks named after sitting members of Congress in the House.

For fiscal year 2011, House Democrats are not requesting earmarks that go to for-profit entities; House Republicans are not requesting any earmarks (although there are both exceptions and definitional questions); not surprisingly, the Senate has rejected any limits on earmarks.  None of these reforms are sufficient to eliminate all earmarks, so CAGW expects there will still be a 2011 Pig Book.

The transparency changes are far from perfect.  The fiscal year 2010 Defense Appropriations Act contained 35 anonymous projects worth $6 billion, or 59 percent of the total pork in the bill.  Out of the 9,129 projects in the 2010 Congressional Pig Book there were 9,048 requested projects worth $10 billion and 81 anonymous projects worth $6.5 billion.

The latest installment of CAGW’s 20-year exposé of pork-barrel spending includes $4,481,000 for wood utilization research,  $300,000 for Carnegie Hall in New York City, and $200,000 for the Washington National Opera in the District of Columbia.

Following the exit of Alaska porker extraordinaire Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), the state slipped to number four in pork per capita.  Hawaii led the nation with $251 per capita ($326 million).  The runners up were North Dakota with $197 per capita ($127 million) and West Virginia with $146 per capita ($265 million).

The projects in this year’s Congressional Pig Book Summary symbolize the most egregious and blatant examples of pork.  As in previous years, all of the items in the Congressional Pig Book meet at least one of CAGW’s seven criteria, but most satisfy at least two:

     

  • Not specifically authorized;
  • Not competitively awarded;
  • Not requested by the President;
  • Greatly exceeds the President’s budget request or the previous year’s funding;
  • Not the subject of congressional hearings; or
  • Serves only a local or special interest.
  •  

2010 Pig Book Summary

The 2010 Congressional Pig Book Summary gives a snapshot of each appropriations bill and details the juiciest projects culled from the complete Pig Book. (.pdf)


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Mind Of The South…

Before Colour: photographer William Eggleston in black-and-white

As these rediscovered prints reveal, the man who made colour photography into an artform worked brilliantly in monochrome – and his eye for unsettling detail is every bit as sharp.

Guardian – Sean O’Hagan

Eggleston in black-and-white? It seems a contradiction in terms. But here, finally, is the evidence that even the most famous colour photographer of all once saw the world around him in monochrome. It is quite a surprise.

A new book, published by Steidl, is called simply Before Colour. It’s a great title: specific to the arc of William Eggleston‘s development, but suggestive of the wider impact that his first colour images had on photography in general. We now often divide the history of photography into before and after colour – a shift of consciousness that is often put down to Eggleston’s ground-breaking show at MoMA in 1976, which shocked critics with its dramatic, heavily saturated dye-transfer prints. In fact this wasn’t the first time that colour photography had appeared in a major American gallery: photographer Stephen Shore exhibited colour images of America at the Metropolitan Museum of Art four years earlier, and also caused something of a critical storm.

Eggleston’s exhibition is now regarded as the moment that colour photography became an art form in itself. Ever since, he has been regarded as the most dramatic colourist in American photography…

Part of the power of these photographs rests in the fact that we know what is coming, and where it will take photography. Yet even though it’s hard not to return to the question of what these images would look like if only they’d been shot in colour – let alone Egglestonian colour – this is an important work both for students of photographic history and in its own right. Before Colour tells us what we already know: that the greats do not suddenly become great, but work hard to establish a style and signature. But it also shows something more – the great iconoclast, honing his democratic vision before he found the perfect medium for it. The future is just around the corner, but it will take some time before the world catches up with William Eggleston’s brilliant – in every sense of the word – vision.

Myth, Manners and Memory: Photographers of the American South

These photographs of the American south offer widely differing views of the same elusive subject, writes Sean O’Hagan

Guardian – Sean O’Hagan

The American south has been mythologised in literature, film, popular music and photography. From William Faulkner to Muddy Waters, Tennessee Williams to William Eggleston, Gone With the Wind to Huckleberry Finn, it has colonised our collective imagination as a place apart, even a state of mind.

In photography, the American south has been viewed from the inside by native southerners such as Eggleston, William Christenberry and Eudora Welty (who was a very good photographer before she became a great writer) and from the outside, most famously by Walker Evans in the 1930s, and by the likes of Carrie Mae Weems, Alec Soth and Susan Lipper in more recent times. All of the above, with the exception of Welty, are included in Myth, Manners and Memory, a relatively selective, but nevertheless illuminating, group show at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill.

Walker Evans’s photographs of the American south, taken between 1935 and 1938 during the Depression, for the Farm Security Administration, are among the most celebrated images of the 20th century. You could even say that they made the south synonymous with poverty and struggle in a way that it was once synonymous with segregation and slavery. They changed the way America viewed the south, and the way the south saw itself…

The most wilfully problematic photographs in Myth, Manners and Memory belong to Susan Lipper. A New Yorker, she spends several months every year in Grapevine Hollow, a remote rural community in the Appalachian mountains. She calls her photographs “collaborations” and curator Celia Davies describes them as “much less documentary, far more cinematic in character”.

Lipper’s characters are real, but her scenarios are often staged. She plays with stereotypes of the Appalachian south –rednecks, white thrash, the ominous backwoods – while simultaneously portraying a place – and a community – where the often alcohol- or drug-fuelled violence and poverty are very real. It is a long way from Walker Evans but that, perhaps, is the point. The American south is not so much another country as several overlapping, and often contradictory, narratives, all of which continue to tug on our collective imagination even as they elude our understanding.

The South Is…

De La Warr Pavilion – Thinking Aloud Blog

…The South is…”a colourful, poor, cruel, historical, segregated, vast, messy, frontier.”

The South is…”a reminder that American culture isn’t as comfortably, tediously uniform as some might have you believe.”

The South is…”being able to walk freely across the beaches and the countryside, through the towns and cities – whoever you are…”

The South is…”in search of amusement…”

The South is…”stark, colourful, barren, lush”.

The South is…”not the North. Bruised, beat-up and abandoned – “this land is condemned at the way from New Orleans to Jerusalem” (Dylan).”

Three of the most interesting conversations I had during the afternoon were with visitors who are either American or who have lived in the United States for a while. They all separately expressed the view that the sense of hopelessness and melancholia they read from the photographs are only one facet of the “South”, and that the exhibition (although they all liked it very much) reinforces the myths we tend to believe about the place. While other powerful elements, such as the dynamism of the cities and the genteel elegance of the manner of the people (in all walks of life) are invisible.

As with the other days when I have been interacting in the gallery, there were a number of visitors who were enthralled to see original prints by their photographic heroes. In particular, William Eggleston’s highly saturated surfaces are so rich it looks as if the colour could bleed on to the floor. This intensity is a vital component of his vision and cannot be replicated in books about the artist’s work…

 

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