25-Feb-17 World View — Border Adjustment Tax versus the 1930 Smoot-Hawley Law

By John Xenakis

Via GenerationalDynamics.com
NY Times, May 5, 1930 – over a thousand economists opposed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Bill (History Hub)

News reports indicate that Congressional Republicans, led by House Speaker Paul Ryan, are considering a “border adjustment tax” as one of the proposals for the tax reforms plans this year.

The details are vague, but it appears that the proposal is essentially an indirect tariff, using taxes charged to certain companies to raise prices of imported products, and tax reductions to other companies to encourage exports. It’s especially targeted to American companies that close factories in the U.S. and open factories in Mexico or other countries, and then import the products manufactured in those factories back into the United States.

There appear to be two major objectives. One is to generate revenue to pay for other parts of the tax reform package. And the second is to discourage companies from moving factories and jobs to other countries.

President Trump has not endorsed the idea, but on Thursday seemed to favor it:

[Begin quote]”It could lead to a lot more jobs in the United States. … I certainly support a form of tax on the border. What is going to happen is companies are going to come back here, they’re going to build their factories and they’re going to create a lot of jobs and there’s no tax.”[End quote]

VOA and Reuters and CNN

Historical comparison with the 1930 Smoot-Hawley Tariff Bill

In 1930, the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Bill was passed, increasing import tariffs on some 900 products. The 1929 stock market panic, and the subsequent loss of many families’ life savings, was blamed by the public on American banks and companies, and it was widely believed that the tariffs would save American jobs. Except for a few details, the public mood then is similar to the public mood today.

In my 2003 book, “Generational Dynamics – Forecasting America’s Destiny,” which is available as a free PDF from my download page, http://generationaldynamics.com/download, I wrote the following about the Smoot-Hawley bill:

[Begin quote]”Perfectly reasonable acts by one country can be interpreted as hostile acts by another country. Guns and bombs are not needed to create an impression of war.

And if one country’s innocent act is a shock to another country and is viewed as hostile by that country, and if the people of that country are in a mood for retribution rather than compromise, than they may well look for a way to retaliate.

In that sense, the enactment of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act in June 1930, can be viewed as the first of the shocking, provocative acts that led to World War II.

The Act was opposed by an enormous number of economists as being harmful to everyone, but it was very popular with the public, because of the perception that it would save American jobs. …

Interestingly, the Smoot-Hawley Act is still debated by politicians today, with regard to whether it caused or aggravated the Great Depression or had no effect. …

Those discussions are entirely America-centric because, for the purposes of this book, it makes no difference whatsoever whether or not the Act aggravated the American depression. We’re interested in the effect it had on foreign nations.

And the effects were enormous. The bill erected large trade barriers for numerous products, with the intention of saving American jobs. How many American jobs it saved, if any, is unknown, but it virtually shut down product exports to the United States. Both Germany and Japan were going through the same financial crisis America was going through, and they were furious that America as a market was closed to them.

Japan was the hardest hit. The Great Depression was hurting Japan just as much as it was hurting America but, in addition, Japan’s exports of its biggest cash crop, silk, to America were almost completely cut off by the Smoot-Hawley Act. Furthermore, Japan would have been going through a generational change: The country had undergone a historic revolution some 70+ years earlier, culminating in a major change of government (the Meiji Restoration) in 1868, and the people who had lived through that revolution would be dead or retiring by the early 1930s.

So one thing led to another, and in September 1931, almost exactly a year after Smoot-Hawley, Japan invaded Manchuria and later northern China. Britain and American strongly protested this aggression, and Roosevelt finally responded with an oil embargo against Japan.

This is the usual pattern of provocative acts on both sides. America saw Smoot-Hawley as its own business, but to Japan it was a hostile shock. Japan saw the Manchuria invasion as “Asian business,” while Britain and America saw it as attacking their own Asian interests. Roosevelt saw an oil embargo as a measured response of containment, while energy-dependent Japan saw it almost as an act of war, eventually triggering Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

Japan wasn’t the only country affected, of course. England, Germany, Italy, and many other countries were hit hard by the sudden trade barriers with America. Just like in Japan, nationalistic and militaristic feelings were aroused in many countries.

Germany was especially frustrated. The map of Central Europe had been redrawn some 70 years earlier during a series of wars in the 1860s, culminating in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870, and the unification of Germany in 1871. The Great War (WW I) had been a mid-cycle war for Germany, and had been a humiliating defeat, especially because the American and British led Allies had imposed harsh conditions — the loss of some German-speaking territories, and the payment of reparations. The loss of territories was especially provocative, since it partially reversed the German unification of 1871.

Germany was reaching the point where it was going to explode anyway, when the Smoot-Hawley Act was passed. On top of the reparations, the Act was seen as enormously hostile by the Germans. As in Japan, it gave rise to militaristic nationalism in the form of the rise of the Nazis. Germany remilitarized its border with France in 1936, and then annexed German-speaking parts of Eastern Europe in 1938.

So when did World War II start? It depends on what the word “start” means, but an argument can be made that America had started the war, and that the first act of war was the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act.”[End quote]

I wrote the above in 2003, so it should not surprise anyone that today I consider the proposed “border adjustment tax” to be a very dangerous idea.

A recent blog post by economists at the New York Fed will have little effect on either imports or exports, which means little effect on revenue or jobs. But whether or not that’s true is irrelevant to this discussion.

As in the case of the Smoot-Hawley bill, the main issue is not the effect on the US, but the effect on other nations. Any such border tax would quickly raise nationalist feelings in other nations. There would be retaliatory tariffs enacted in other countries. Some countries might be severely damaged economically, and even if they’re not, they would blame any economic problems they have on the American tariffs, and might look for even more far-reaching forms of retaliation.

Some people might argue that the proposed “border adjustment tax” is so small and so limited that it couldn’t possibly have such a negative effect. Once again we can look to history to see whether that’s true. According to an article in the June 21, 1930, issue of The Economist:

[Begin quote]”The signature by President Hoover of the Hawley-Smoot Tariff Bill at Washington is the tragi-comic finale to one of the most amazing chapters in world tariff history, and it is one that protectionist enthusiasts the world over would do well to study. The reason for tariff revision was a desire to restore a balance of protection which had been tilted to the disadvantage of the agriculturalist. But so soon as ever the tariff schedules were cast into the melting-pot of revision, log-rollers and politicians set to work stirring with all their might, and a measure which started with the single object of giving satisfaction to the farmer emerges as a full-fledged high tariff act in which nearly 900 duties have been raised, some extravagantly. Such is the inevitable result of vested interests working through political influence, ending in signature by a president, antagonistic to the bill, under compulsion of political necessities.”[End quote]

So the original Smoot-Hawley bill was to be very small, just providing a little protection to farmers, but once the door was opened, the bill exploded.

The same thing would happen today. Congress would be inundated with high-paid lobbyists from all sorts of industries demanding that their products be “protected” by the border adjustment tax. History tells us that that the final bill would be a hodge-podge of special interests and industries, with few winners but lots of losers, and a great deal of nationalistic fury in many other countries.

The proposal for even a “small” border adjustment tax starts us down a path that can lead to the same kind of disaster that the 1930 Smoot-Hawley Act caused. New York Fed Blog and Economist (18-Dec-2008) and Economist (21-Jun-1930) and History Hub and Generational Dynamics – Forecasting America’s Destiny (PDF)

22-Feb-17 – Russia Is Getting a Fleet of PAK DA “Stealth” Bombers

By Valentin Vasilescu

Translated by Alice Decker for Algora Blog

Russia has to update its fleet of strategic bombers if it is to maintain the status quo in nuclear power, where the Russian Federation has the upper hand. The traditional concept of deterrence is built on the “Strategic Triad” — long-range bombers, nuclear-powered submarines, and intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Currently Russia, the US and China have bombers capable of carrying nuclear warheads. China’s bombers have just 25% of the range of Russian and American bombers. And only the US has a fleet of nineteen 5th generation stealth bombers: the B-2 Spirit. ​

In 1999, Tupolev appointed a team of engineers to research and develop technologies to manufacture 5thgeneration bombers. Only, the Russian Air Force didn’t raise the question of making it a stealth bomber until 2007. The technical and tactical specs for the 5th generation bomber were finalized in 2012. In early 2013, the Russian Air Force designated the winner of the design competition for the new Russian 5th generation strategic bomber, the PAK DA (which stands for Prospective Aviation Complex for Long-range Aviation). PAK DA bombers will be built by Tupolev, which specializes in building heavy bombers and civilian transport planes. If everything goes according to plan, the first flight will take place in 2019, production will start in 2020 and the first squadron of twelve PAK DAswill be operational in 2025. The PAK DA planes will be produced only for Russia.

What will the PAK DA will look like?

The PAK DA will most likely be similar to the US B-2 Spirit bomber, that is, a subsonic flying-wing type. It will be invisible to radar and will have a range of 12,000 km without refueling. Propulsion will be provided by four “Product 30” (AL-41F1) engines, without “afterburner,” designed for the 5th generation Su T-50 (PAK FA) multi-role aircraft; they will have 10,900 kg thrust each. The American B-2 stealth bomber also has four General Electric F118 engines, with 8,700 kg of thrust. The Russians call it the “White Elephant.”

Although there has been speculation that the PAK DA aircraft might be supersonic or hypersonic, in these flight modes the PAK DA cannot be invisible to radar. At the speed of Mach 3 to Mach 5 (3,600–6,000 km/h), there is a phenomenon of dissociation and ionization of air molecules in the air surrounding the aircraft. The plasma formed around the aircraft is visible on radar, even if the aircraft itself, a few centimeters away, is invisible. Hypersonic aircraft are less maneuverable and have a high inertia, such that the flight path must largely be pre-calculated. The sensors on hypersonic aircraft are disturbed by the incandescent plasma. Communication with such aircraft is also difficult, for the same reasons. Hypersonic speeds exclude using manual controls; computerized piloting is used, which is most suited to small, possibly unmanned, aircraft.

Stealth Technologies

The Russian designers will have to really master stealth technology and 3D design. The Americans used the most advanced supercomputers to design the shape of the B-2, and it took them from 1980 until 1982. Many useful ideas will be borrowed from the Sukhoi design group’s Su-T 50 5th-generation multirole fighter aircraft, which is being flight tested. Since the PAK DA is designed to fly mostly at night, it will be dark in color. Onboard sensors will warn the crew to increase the altitude, as a function of the brightness of the sky. This is used to evade infrared sensors on enemy fighters. The “hotter” the plane is, the easier it is to see against the sky. Certain special situations are resolved by having an onboard computer; for example, in case one or more engines catches fire or when there is a forced landing.

The White Elephant bomber will require about ten times more hours of maintenance to restore its flight capacity than bombers currently in service. This will include fine sanding of abrasions in the special resin which will coat the radar-absorbent fairings. This coating can be damaged by rain mixed with hail that is encountered when flying in the clouds, and it is sensitive to hard landings when the shock is absorbed by the aircraft’s load-bearing structure and transmitted to the panels coated with this special paint. Accidental scratches can occur while the jets are on the ground, for example from pebbles kicked up by jets of air from the nozzles of other aircraft, and that also damages their radar invisibility.

The aircraft’s design accounts for much of conventional radar invisibility (in the centimeter range), by avoiding angles close to 90˚ at the vertical and horizontal junction of the wings and the tail with the fuselage, in the shape of the air intakes, etc. Special radar-absorbent paint, as thick as a radar wave is long, also helps reduce the radar footprint. An SAS (Signature Assessment System) will be installed on board the White Elephant which will indicate the extent to which the radar-absorbent coating is degraded. When the radar footprint of the plane compromises its invisibility, portions of the coating will remediated.

The PAK DA’s Avionics

The White Elephant’s cabin has been designed with the MMI concept (“man–machine interface” or “human computer interface”) in mind, which allows the engine to be started without first manually switching dozens of contacts according to a full check list, followed by the pilot activating a pushbutton starter motor. It only takes a unique command, and the on-board computer automatically runs the start algorithm without crew intervention.

The cabin is a “glass cockpit” with an EFIS (Electronic Flight Instrument System) digital display, with color LCDs (MFD-type — multi-function displays) for each of the two pilots. The White Elephant uses an electronicinterface for the flight controls (FBW — digital fly-by-wire). The communication system includes two radio systems, one of which also serves as a data line which transmits information, via satellite, from command and control points on the ground and on ships, and from far away AWACS/AEW warning aircraft.

The conventional navigation subsystem is comprised of a device combining inertial sensors, radio, GPS, and Terrain Contour Matching or TERCOM, which provides a digital map of the area overflown. The subsystem for low visibility navigation and fire control is composed of a common block of FLIR-type (Forward-Looking Infra-Red)and IRST (Infra-Red Search and Track) sensors. A laser rangefinder (mounted in the nose), and a laser projector guidance system for on-board weapons (mounted on the underside of the wing), together constitute the optical equipment for weapons guidance.

The main onboard subsystem for navigation, target discovery and weapon delivery is based on state-of-the-art AESA-type onboard radar (Active Electronically Scanned Array) which has a range of 300 km at an altitude of 10,000 m, which is why it is called a mini-AWACS. All data collected by the AESA radar and acquired onboard via an encrypted data line are processed by an onboard microprocessor. The radio-electronic warfare equipment (EW) consists of a Radar Warning Receiver (RWR) and Missile Approach Warning system (MAW). The EW equipment is an automated command system for the active and passive electronic countermeasures system.

Basic Weaponry on the PAK DA

The bomber does not have hardpoint mountings or weapons stations for bombs or missiles under the wings, which helps minimize the radar exposure. The White Elephant’s entire weapons arsenal is in the bomb bay with hermetically sealed hatches. The PAK DA can carry bombs of different calibers, and guided or unguided, and air-to-ground missiles or air-to-ship and air-to-air missiles. The White Elephant will be armed with ten Kh-101 cruise missiles with conventional warheads containing 400kg of explosives — or with Kh-102s with 250KT nuclear warheads. Both ALCMs (Air-Launched Cruise Missiles) are powered by a turbofan, have a range of 5500 km (over 3400 miles) and a top speed of 970 km/h. with a likely deviation of less than 5m. The Kh-101 has a radar cross-section about the size of a bird, uses radar absorbing materials, conformal antennas, and other stealth technologies.The Kh-101/102 can only be detected from a distance of 24–40 km or less, when it harder to combat.

Over the sea, the ALCM uses an inertial guidance system that allows it to make evasive maneuvers (sudden changes in heading), but only small corrections so as to maintain a flight altitude of 50–100 m and to maintain its direction. Once the ALCM is over the ground, the TERCOM equipment (Terrain Contour Matching) takes over for short- or medium-distance navigation. It has a relief map of the predetermined flight path stored in memory, which it compares with the radar image of the area overflown. It maintains a constant altitude above the ground using a radio altimeter.

At 10 km from the target, a precision control module comes into play, with the GPS coordinates of the targetpre-set. Here the rocket control head takes over for short-range fire-control, that is, a small, millimeter-wave radar that allows it to detect and recognize the target. To verify the accuracy of the strike, a TV camera mounted on the rocket broadcasts (via satellite) the last 10 seconds of the approach to target.

Targets in North America are hard to hit using bombers crossing the Atlantic or Pacific, because of the long distance. Russian bombers, including the PAK DA, can approach America undetected by flying over the North Pole, but, while flying over the Poles, conventional navigation is impossible as there are no landmarks from the ground. There are no radio beacons on the ground or sea in this isolated area of the globe. Inertial navigation systems and GPS lack accuracy. But unlike the American, Russian strategic bomber crews have plenty of experience flying over the North Pole. Russian bomber crews run hundreds of flight training exercises in the Arctic every year.

For example, two Russian Tu-160 Blackjack supersonic strategic bombers took off on October 28, 2013, at Engels airbase in the Volga region, heading for the Barents Sea and then to the North Pole. Both bombers had two crewmen on board, young pilots in training. Beyond the North Pole, the bombers flew parallel to the Pacific coast near the US, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador to Nicaragua. Once they crossed that country, the two Tu-160s flew over the Caribbean Sea, landing at the Maiquetía-Caracas air base in Venezuela. Their flight path covered a distance of over 10,000 km and lasted 13 hours, without any air supply. Throughout the entire mission the two Tu-160 bombers were in strict compliance with regulations of the Chicago Convention of the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) governing the use of international airspace.

19-Feb-17 – Forecasts and Market Trends for Multirole Aircraft

Written by Valentin Vasilescu for Algora Blog; translated by Alice Decker

Comparing the Main Competitors in 4++ Generation Aircraft

European

The twin-engine Eurofighter Typhoon is a British–German–Italian–Spanish co-production. The UK has 138 of the aircraft, Germany 125, Italy 83, Spain 61. Besides the producing countries, Austria has bought 15 Eurofighter Typhoons, and Saudi Arabia 66. Kuwait is also negotiating for 28 aircraft and Oman for 12. The Eurofighter Typhoon is very expensive, at USD 141 million per unit, and an hour of flight time costs USD 18,000. The UK and Italy have also ordered some F-35s, so massive contracts for new versions of the Eurofighter Typhoon are not anticipated from these countries.

French

After the Rafale fighter jet showed its capabilities in the war against Libya in 2011, the French company Dassault won enough contracts to keep the production line open, as it was in danger of closing. Of the 180 aircraft ordered (the Rafale B/C for the Air Force and the Rafale M for the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle of the French Navy), 140 have already been delivered. Another 24 Rafales were bought by Egypt, 36 Rafaleswill arrive in India by 2019 and probably another 36 by May 2022. Qatar is negotiating for 24 Rafale aircraft.France is pressing Belgium to replace its obsolete F-16 A/B fleet with the Rafale. Although it is the best in the 4++generation, the Rafale is also the most expensive, priced at USD 142–180 million, almost as much as the 5thgeneration F-35 stealth fighter. The cost per flight hour is USD 19,000.

Russian

One of the goals of the Russian military campaign in Syria was to showcase its modern multirole aircraft. Russia now has an advantage in the market for Gen 4++ aircraft. The Sukhoi and Mikoyan plants have foreign contracts for more than 120 aircraft (Su-30, Su-34, Su-35 and MiG-35), besides the fifty Su-35, 30 Su-30SM, 37 MiG-35 and 34 Su-34 to be delivered to the Russian armed forces over the next four years. Egypt signed a contract in 2015 to purchase fifty MiG-29s and will receive six of them by the end of 2017. Next, the Egyptian Air Force will replace the last F-7s (MiG-21s produced by China) with the MiG-35. China is currently receiving 24 Su-35 jets.

During the Singapore Air Show, an arms fair (16 to 21 February 2016), Algeria signed a contract for a first batch of twelve Su-32 aircraft (the export version of the Su-34). Algeria intends to acquire a total of forty Su-34sand fourteen Su-35s. By 2017, Algeria is also supposed to receive fourteen Russian Su-30MKI multirole aircraft. Jordan is in negotiations for the same Su-32 aircraft as it has to replace the old F-16 A/B. Malaysia, which has eighteen Su-30MKMs in operation, wants to purchase the Su-32 and Su-35. Indonesia, which owns nineteen Su-27 SKM and Su-30MKI/MKK2, would also like to have ten Su-35.

Russian planes cost less and hold up better under use, compared to Western ones, though their avionics are inferior. The price of a MiG-35 is USD 35 million and a Su-30 costs USD 50 million. Russia’s 5th generationaircraft, the Sukhoi Su T-50, will continue in testing in 2017, to begin production in 2018.

Chinese

In the last two decades, China has almost closed the technological gap that separated it from the main builders of multi-role aircraft, becoming one of the serious military aircraft producers. The Chinese 4++ generation multi-role aircraft is the J-10B. It has EASA radar (similar to that of the MiG-35) and is close in performance to the F-16 and Mitsubishi F-2, which are in the inventories of the USA, Japan and South Korea. The 4++ generation J-10 B is not expected to have any market other than China and Pakistan. The price of a J-10 is USD 41–45 million. Although China completed construction of new production facilities in 2014 that can produce a hundred J-10B multi-role aircraft per year, only 24 and 28 J-10Bs were delivered in 2015 and 2016 respectively.

The explanation is that they are preparing new production lines for the J-20, which is invisible to radar. On the first day of 2016, China announced that it was ready to move the J-20 aircraft to serial production, but said thatthis type of aircraft will not be for export. China aims to furnish its armed forces with two hundred J-20s, replacing the outdated fleet of J-8 and Q-5 tactical bombers by 2022.

The J-20 is inferior to the F-22 and F-35 due to a sub-par thrust/mass ratio and inferior avionics. The J-20 was not designed as an airplane able to fight US, Japanese and Korean aircraft, but as a light bomber, invisible to radar. The J-20 is a favorite of the Chinese navy because it can serve as an invisible platform specialized in strikingaircraft carriers and other warships far from shore.

It can be concluded that the Russians and Europeans have come to dominate the market for multirole aircraft of the new 4++ generation. Annual production of multi-role aircraft is 50–60% of that recorded in the last 10 years worldwide and this trend will continue. In the next five years, it seems unlikely that any new 4++ generation aircraft will appear and capture the market.

How the 4++ Generation Multi-role Aircraft Coexist with the 5th Generation

In the US, Lockheed Martin Corporation is preparing to decommission its F-16 production line at the plant in Fort Worth (Texas), due to lack of orders for new 4++ generation aircraft and a need to focus on serial production of the 5th generation F-35 aircraft. The same is true for Boeing, in terms of maintaining its production line for 4++ generation aircraft, the F-18 Super Hornet E/F and the EA-18G Growler, while the US has the option of replacing all the F-18s with F-35Cs on the Navy’s aircraft carriers and with the F-35B on helicopter carriers for the Marines.

The US has relied 100% on the new 5th generation F-35 aircraft. From 2006 until now it has produced only two hundred F-35, of which ten were for States which have contributed financially to its development program. Development delays have been based on ambitions of the Lockheed Martin Corporation to produce three new and distinct aircraft using almost the same subassembly. The F-35A takes off and lands on ordinary runways; the F-35B STOVL (short-take off and vertical-landing) operates on helicopter carriers; and the F-35C CATOBAR (Catapult Assisted Take-Off But Arrested Recovery) takes off and lands on aircraft carriers. The price of an F-35A is now USD 185.5 million, an F-35B is USD 299 million and an F-35C costs USD 252 million.

The Pentagon plans to buy 1,700 F-35As for the Air Force, 340 of the F-35C for the Navy, and 80 F-35Bs for the Marine Corps. They will replace the A-10, F-16, and F-15 aircraft for the Air Force and the F-18 and the AV-8 for the Navy and Marines. Lockheed Martin is counting on manufacturing a total of 3,100 F-35s by 2035, to be delivered in at least nine states.

Increasing production will mean a drop in the price (USD 95 million for the F-35A; USD 122 million for theF-35B; USD 121 million for the F-35C). However, Lockheed Martin’s 1989 rate of production — one F-16 a day —will not be achieved. There are many authoritative voices who say the F-35 project is too avant-garde. Instead of spending huge amounts on design and development for the F-35, it would be better to continue allocating money to manufacturing another two hundred F-22s. These 5th generation aircraft are much better than the F-35 and are designed to achieve air supremacy. For the remaining missions, the F-16 C/D, F-15 C/D/E, F-18 and AV-8 are more useful than the F-35 and they could fly for at least 15 more years of US aviation, without need for the F-35.

How Production of Multirole Aircraft Is Affected by Using Second-Hand Equipment

Many countries cannot buy new multirole aircraft and prefer the old ones, sold off by other, richer countries. The price of a new F-16 C/D is USD 70 million, while it costs USD 7,000 per flight hour. New NATO member states are forced to abandon their old Soviet aircraft and turn to used American aircraft, and the cheapest is the F-16. Until 2022–2025, Denmark, Netherlands, and Norway will not receive the F-35 planes they have on order. Until then, they will continue flying the old F-16 A/B. Belgium and Portugal cannot afford to buy the F-35, so they will continue to use the F-16 A/B as long as it can fly. Thailand, Indonesia, and Venezuela are moving towards replacing their F-16 A/B jets with new Russian Su-30, Su-34 and Su-35 aircraft. All these F-16 A/B are pretty worn out and have little time before overhaul (TBO) left before requiring capital repairs.

Between 2014–2019, the US will be discarding from inventory hundreds of military aircraft. On the list are mostly C-130 H and C-17 transport aircraft, and liaison/reconnaissance aircraft or VIP transport: the Cessna Caravan 208B, C-23A Sherpa, C-12R Horned Owl and C-12 MARSS II King Air. They were all used in campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan on poorly equipped and barely maintained runways. Also being cast off are high-altitude reconnaissance planes, the Lockheed U-2 Dragon Lady, and some of the unmanned reconnaissance aircraft (the MQ-1C Grey Eagle, MQ-1B Predator, RQ-5 Hunter, and MQ-9 Reaper, all belonging to Division 24 ISR —Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance). Twenty-one F-16 C/Ds will be withdrawn from use by the US Air Force but will go to the US National Guard, not NATO. Until 2019, there is no chance of any F-16 C/D being exported directly from the US military inventory.

Instead, around Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, the US Air Force has created a huge area for storing well-preserved American fighter aircraft, with a Time Before Overhaul of about 1,000 flight hours. This area is managed by the 309 AMARG (Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group). They are conserving 290 F-16 A/Bs and 180 F-16 C/Ds that have flown for 5–12 years.

NATO countries such as Romania, Poland (which expressed interest in at least 90 used F-16s), Bulgaria, Croatia and other members are interested in buying second-hand F-16s. They would prefer to get airplanes from Amarga, make them fit to fly again, and eventually modernize them.

At the end of 2016, Israel retired its last F-16 A/B Netz plane, which was 36 years old. About seventy F-16 A/B Netz are preserved and can be revitalized and modernized by Israel’s aircraft industry, if there are customers for them.

The trend of returning these used 4th generation planes to inventory will increase in the next 10 years, even as the 5th generation aircraft is adopted on a large scale by those armed forces that can afford to pay high prices for them.

19-Feb-17 – Can America reverse its decline?

It’s about Trump. It’s about America. And it’s about America’s role in the world.

Can Trump make it? Can America recover? In an ideal world, what would the magic solution be for America’s revival? As it is, America is just chugging along, at over $1 trillion in Federal debt alone, per year, plus state and local debt, and consumer loans such as mortgages, student loans, car loans and credit cards. At an average of 1.5% economic growth per year, for the last eight years[1], (as opposed to the average post WWII of 2.9%) while the population alone has been growing at 0.8%, this is actually, close to negative growth and it is self-destructive. But when the debt growth is added, it is negative both in relative and absolute terms.

Another ten years of this, and there is nothing left of the US. So again, in an ideal world, what would the magic solution be?

Besides cutting down on the over-extended military reach, and the corporate welfare (including the wastefully comprador health industry, 20 percent of the GDP), what would be the engine of growth?

Trump is proposing $1 trillion spending on infrastructure, such as highways, airports and bridges. But how would that be an engine of economic growth?

When a city’s port is too small to handle the traffic of the growing economic activity, spending on doubling the port capacity does represent a capital investment which is part of the government/business expansion. But building a beautiful boulevard in the middle of the city is a luxury, and it only offers an enhanced lifestyle. More highways, more fast trains, by themselves, cannot generate more productive forces.

If we look at the old book of the Soviet regeneration after the First World War, the programmatic manifesto, which was the basis of their economic revival, was the Leninist call to develop “the heavy industry with the machine-building industry as its pivot.” In the industrial age, “heavy industry” meant steel production and its derivatives, while the machine-building industry meant tool factories. 

Industrial England was the model where the ultimate productive branch of the economy, let’s say, the textile industry, or nail making factories, were premised on the condition of having textile machinery at hand, which presupposes a textile machine fabrication, which presumes an iron- and steel-making industry, Which is also conditioned on having a mining industry to produce the raw material for all of this, which was iron, coal, etc.

So the shortcut for a country like Russia or China was to start with the primordial industry: the extraction/mining industry which included oil and gas, and, for decades, pumping resources into the upstream industrial development.

If we look at today’s situation, what are the equivalents? What is the industry of the future that can build an economic powerhouse? Probably it is the robot industry. So where do you start with the robot industry? Definitely not with highways and infrastructure; but with the same paradigm: energy resources (that is extraction/mining, oil and gas industries), the heavy industry (such as steel, pipe-making industry, in the words of Trump), and the machine-building industry. One then needs qualified engineers and technicians.

Now, look at the US education system today. The only engineers that the US has are imported from India, China, Russia, etc. Where are the indigenous technicians? They are all getting Bachelor’s in business (19%), health (10%), social sciences (9%), etc. Master’s: MBA’s (25%), education (21%), health (13%). Doctorate  degrees: health (39%), legal (25%), education (6%), engineering (5%), biology (5%), psychology (4%), physical sciences (3%) [2].[3]

So, what are the chances of President Trump putting all this together? So far, his emphasis seems to be on the generals, law and order, and the “fake news media” epidemic – which is all to the good, at least as far as a wake-up call and a minimal re-establishment of the framework for going forward with a new plan, but it’s nowhere near to affecting the deep roots of the US malaise and its path to recovery.

Where are the builders of the future industry and of the new economy? I don’t see them as of yet.

[1] https://hudson.org/research/12714-economic-growth-by-president

[2] Of the 1,870,000 bachelor’s degrees conferred in 2013–14, the greatest numbers of degrees were conferred in the fields of business (358,000), health professions and related programs (199,000), social sciences and history (173,000), psychology (117,000), biological and biomedical sciences (105,000), and education (99,000).

At the master’s degree level, the greatest numbers of degrees were conferred in the fields of business (189,000), education (155,000), and health professions and related programs (97,000).

At the doctor’s degree level, the greatest numbers of degrees were conferred in the fields of health professions and related programs (67,400), legal professions and studies (44,200), education (10,900), engineering (10,000), biological and biomedical sciences (8,300), psychology (6,600), and physical sciences and science technologies (5,800). https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=37.

[3] Between academic years 2002–03 and 2012–13, the total number of postsecondary degrees conferred increased at all degree levels: certificates by 49 percent (from 646,000 to 966,000), associate’s degrees by 59 percent (from 634,000 to 1.0 million), bachelor’s degrees by 36 percent (from 1.3 million to 1.8 million), master’s degrees by 45 percent (from 519,000 to 752,000), and doctor’s degrees by 44 percent (from 122,000 to 175,000). Reflecting the overall increase in the number of postsecondary degrees conferred at each level, the number of postsecondary degrees conferred also increased for all racial/ethnic groups at each level between 2002–03 and 2012–13. https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=72.

19-Feb-17 – “Romania: from a “Two-Tiered Europe” to a Europe of the Double Bind”

By Modeste Schwartz.

via Visegradpost

Romania – Not only does Brussels act as a colonial despot toward all second-tier EU countries (or, even worse, considering that France, to take but one example, at least endowed its African colonies with infrastructure, whereas in Romania passenger trains currently run a bit more slowly than they did during the Austro-Hungarian era …), but, especially since the British referee walked off the pitch, a referee who, at times, succeeded in bringing a minimum of common sense to the Franco-German bargaining table, it has begun to look like a chip off the old block of its illustrious predecessor – the Austro-Hungarian empire.

To the question “what is a European”, after Brexit, we can reply by parodying Musil’s famous line: “it is a German, plus a Frenchman, minus the Frenchman”. Not only are the divergences of interest of this two-headed monster forbidding any long-term strategy, they even begin to affect its tactical effectiveness.

For example, in Romania, the Reich-Chancellor Merkel, through her official and unofficial representatives, supports the (nominally) National (and nominally) Liberal Party of president Klaus Johannis, which, alongside the Soros organizations and the secret services formerly controlled by Washington (fatherless since last December), strives, in defiance of both the popular vote and the constitution, to bring down the social democratic (PSD) government of S. Grindeanu, “guilty” (with the “complicity” of previous PSD governments) of having increased the minimum wage nearly two-fold (to the staggering sum of 300 €), without respect for the profits of the (chiefly German-owned) manufacturing sector, profits which up until now have been more than twice the European average.

In July of last year, this same Johannis, conscious of having (in spite of being of ethnic minority stock) a partly nationalist (although also Westernist and Russophobic) electorate, and some support from the ranks of local capitalists, ratified a law proposed by a provincial PSD official, aiming to impose a quota of local products to supermarkets, immediately arousing the ire of the large (mostly French-owned) supermarket chains operating within Romania. The commercial lobby in Brussels has taken up the matter, apparently convinced that a commercial oligopoly is better able to protect the “freedom of the Romanian consumer” (sic) than the government elected by this same consumer. As a result, the European Commission has just announced the initiation of an infringement procedure against Romania (and Hungary it should be noted, which has adopted similar laws). Romania therefore faces a fine of 1.8 million euros (plus 130,000 € / day of delay in compliance), for wanting to privilege the local producers so loudly praised in Western Europe by environmentalist movements, movements which tend to also be very vocal Europhiles (to the extent that some have even incorporated this profession of faith into the name of their respective political parties …).

And Brussels, under pressure from a lobby representing mainly French capital (hugely favored by the Keynesian stimulus policies planned by the Grindeanu government), is preparing to sanction a “protectionist” decision of the Johannis presidency, while Berlin is currently encouraging Johannis to depose the very same Grindeanu government, guilty of implementing … these very same stimulus policies. I can hardly wait to watch the wrestling bouts between EU commissioners, on the model of the Ukrainian Rada.

Having said that, let’s look at the bright side: according to my sources, for the time being, J. Cl. Junker has no intention of having his horse seated at the European Parliament. He would be too afraid of his horse being stolen.

18-Feb-17 – It’s Not Enough To Win the Election, Donald. You Have To Get the Deep State Under Control.

On how the hidden powers are trying to tame or to overthrow the new US president.

Written by Dmitry Drobnitsky; originally appeared at LIFE 16-Feb-17; translated by Alice Decker

Donald Trump, of course, did not think it would be easy. And he was not afraid of the difficulties. His business career was full of ups and downs. He fought rivals, the clumsy bureaucracy of American cities, a shortage of working capital, skeptical investors and staff inertia. And, to all appearances, he did well.

His 2015–16 campaign was probably one of the most unpredictable and difficult in US political history. It seemed like everyone was against him, all up in arms: the media, the political establishment, Democratic governors, the sitting president, the rating agencies and wealthy donors.

But the slander, the attacks, and the dirt did not stop him. The voters believed him. He won. But immediately after getting into the Oval Office he faced problems that were much more serious than the ones that he overcame during the presidential race.

During the election, he fought the political establishment in the open, in public. One way or another, every twist and turn in this struggle became known to the voters, on whom, strictly speaking, the outcome of the battle depended. And when the mainstream media lied or ignored Trump, the alternative media and social networks came to his aid.

Whatever may be said about American democracy and its electoral system — for which, no doubt, the past political season has been a serious challenge — they have shown to be reliable. The Big Donald was not robbed of his victory. The votes were counted, the vast majority of the electors fulfilled their constitutional duty, and the Senate followed the established procedure strictly.

So now Donald is President. Today there is no one in the world with more formal power than Trump. But this is the moment when his real troubles begin.

With his experience in corporate management (successful enough, by the way), one might have expected that the newly elected president, upon becoming master of the White House, would have full control over the state and its resources — of course, within the law and in accordance with the principle of the separation of powers.

If a lawful order is given, it will be executed. If a decree is signed, it will be put into effect and actions will be taken accordingly. If something is forbidden or unlawful, subordinates and “subcontractors” will not do it.

But it turns out that the state machinery doesn’t work. More precisely, it doesn’t always work.

Literally from his first days in office, Big Donald was faced with almost blatant sabotage by civil servants, judicial obstructionism, and secret opposition from the intelligence services. In the meantime, the attacks from the opposition in Congress and from the press didn’t stop, but rather intensified. Previously they called him a “bad candidate,” and now they are actually calling him a traitor.

Trump’s foes haven’t come up with anything new. They kept repeating the theme of “ties to Russia,” without any particular creativity. But if Donald could simply shrug off the accusations while he was a candidate and almost gracefully repel any attack with a couple of tweets, as the current President he has to take into account the rules of the game. No, not the official rules of the game established by the Constitution on the basis of the social contract, but rules that are informal, extra-legal, and that no one has spelled out, but which are no less strict and rigid.

Trump has not violated any law, has not exceeded his authority or encroached on the holy of holies — the separation of powers — but he has already garnered the charges of “authoritarianism” and even “illegitimacy”.

The president doesn’t even have any special leverage over the Congress — which almost every American leader uses when his party holds the majority in both houses. On the contrary, he is making deals with lawmakers and praising them. Again and again he has praised, and made a deal. It was Barack Obama, in 2009–10, who acted brazenly when it was his turn.

And if anyone has exceeded their authority, it is the judges in Seattle and San Francisco, when they suspended his immigration decree. This, in fact, was a case of everyday conspiracy. The lawsuit was filed in Seattle so that the appeal went to San Francisco, where the most liberal judges in the United States work. And it was a highly politicized decision. But to over-rule it, one has to apply to the Supreme Court. And that takes time. And while the lawyers are working away, it can be said that Trump failed with his first major act. And the press is happy to harp on that.

As for National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, the case against him is all built on “violations of the law.” While he was a member of the transitional administration, in December, Flynn had every right to talk to anyone he wanted to, including representatives of foreign powers, and discuss with them everything he considered necessary.

But did the intelligence services have the right to listen in on him? Was there a valid warrant or order, if not for an actual wiretap (theoretically, it could have been directed not at Flynn, but the Russian Ambassador Kislyak), for them to open a case? And if so, in reference to what? And even if everything is aboveboard, here, still no one had the right to disclose the details of the wiretap to the press. It turns out that those who should be sitting in jail for violating the national security law remain “unnamed sources,” while the honored general and patriot Michael Flynn is considered a traitor.

17-Feb-17 – DHS Insider Says

Image result for spy vs spy

Guest post by VicturusLibertas.com

Via The Burning Platform

VL has been fortunate enough to work with some awesome people! We have loyal and awakened followers who help bring us information, and we also have trusted insiders, whistleblowers and leakers who trust us enough to give us information, too. Today, we have an exclusive interview with a special DHS insider who has answered some critical questions we have on PizzaGate. Our insider prefers to call it PedoGate and what he told us blew our minds!

We are so fortunate that members of the Intel community like our work and feel they can trust us. We have been trying to get to the bottom of PizzaGate for months and the answers we got from our DHS insider stunned and shocked us. Here we go!

DHS interview

Q. So, in the Intelligence community, how chaotic is the atmosphere now?

A. In my 34 years of Governmental service, I have never seen anything like it. It’s the bifurcation of the entire intelligence apparatus.

Q. It seems the intel community has it in for Trump – is this your feeling?

A. There are many Trump supporters within the FBI. The CIA, however, is against Trump because Trump threatens to ruin their game in the middle east.

Q. Can you elaborate?

A. CIA and Mossad work in tandem with British intel. The goal for the CIA was to replace Assad with a puppet and to topple Iran so we could access their oil. Israel works closely with it’s “sister”, Saudi Arabia, to help this dark cause.

Q. So it seems like the intel community has it in for Trump. How can he protect himself?

A. Trump has a tremendous opportunity here, but needs to circle wagons. The travel ban included 7 countries chosen by both Jared Kushner and Rudy. Why did it not include Saudi Arabia, or Pakistan, or Turkey or other countries that hate us? The seven nations mentioned were chosen by Israel, that’s why. And the unspoken alliance of Israel and Saudi Arabia should be exposed. They are brother and sister. Jared Kushner needs to be careful with what he says and to whom. But, the biggest thing Trump can do is expose PedoGate via Sessions. Big names will go down hard, and it gets the blood suckers drained from the swamp. There are as many pedophiles on the Republican side as there is with democrats, but Trump is in a unique position to truly “clean up Dodge”, so to speak. I can tell you that what is in Anthony Weiner’s hard drive, and what videos exist via Jeffery Epstein, WILL BRING massive arrests – in time. Trump’s legacy could be truly great if he was to purge the CIA, stop the extortion, prosecute the pedophiles and reinstate the death penalty for pedo’s convicted a second time. Pedogate is his path to greatness.
Q. How does Russia fit into all this?

A. The CIA and Israel are responsible for the creation of Isis. Isis was created specifically to weaken Iran and destabilize Syria. It worked for awhile until Putin shored up Assad and bolstered Iranian Qud forces. The real reason you see such anti-Russian fever from both Schumer and McCain, Graham and Feinstein, is because the operation has blown up in our faces.

Q. Is Israel behind the anti Russian sentiment?

A. Yes. Israeli intelligence is furious with Trump, and will do anything to keep Trump from working with Putin. Understand that if Trump and Putin work together to defeat Isis, they are actually defeating a CIA/Mossad creation, and furthermore, Syria and Iran grow stronger, which the Saudis and the Israeli’s fear. Their goal was to divide Syria and ultimately destroy Iran’s regime. It is not just an oil grab, but a much bigger attempt at moving the chess pieces to allow Israel and Saudi Arabia to dominate the entire Middle East.

Q. So they demonize Putin and try to tarnish the Trump administration?

A. The Deep State is at war with both Trump and Putin. Understand that when Israeli intelligence hears “America first” from Trump, they go apeshit. Israel has bribed, extorted and intimidated our politicians for decades and suddenly this upstart billionaire threatens to ruin everything.

Q. You mention the word extort. Does that relate to Pizzagate?

A. PedoGate is only a modern term associated with a long history of Pedo-blackmail connected to both Israel and the Intel community. There is a full court press to stop PedoGate from being looked at because if people knew the true motives behind the pedophilia epidemic, they would do more than march on Washington. They could actually seed a revolution, with the spark coming from decent American parents who want to protect their kids. Our politicians are compromised. The senior analyst nicknamed “FBI Anon” alluded to this in his exchange with folks on 4chan and with you.

Q. What do you mean compromised?

A. Do you notice 2 central themes running through the MSM lately? Those themes are “Fear the Russians” and “#PizzaGate is fake news“. Both tropes come from the same place.

Q. Can you explain?

A. How do we exert power? Via fear. Do you ever wonder why both Democrats and Republicans fall all over themselves to kiss up to Israel? Odd, since Israel is the size of Rhode Island… The fact is, many of our politicians – on both sides – have been compromised by CIA and Mossad for years. It’s actually not admiration they are expressing for Israel, but fear. Notice Lindsay Graham and Chuck Schumer repeating the same salute when it comes to Israel. How does that even happen? The American people are finally seeing that there is no two-party system, but one big shadow Government pretending we have political dichotomy.

Q. So PedoGate is real and “they” have to get Americans to disbelieve it?

A. Let me explain how threatening PedoGate is… Who wins? Trump. Putin. Americans. Russians. The world…. Who loses? Israel, since they no longer can blackmail our politicians, the same goes for the CIA. The Shadow Government loses. But, the people win.

Q. Can you give me specific instances of politicians being compromised by Israel?

A. Sure. Lolita Island. Jeffery Epstein, a billionaire convicted of pedophilia received a soft sentence. His island was rigged with video recorders. Many politicians have been compromised. It was a Mossad/CIA operation. Contact ex-senior CIA CCS, Robert David Steele. Bob knows and has even spoken about this with numerous reporters.

Q. So an ex-CIA senior agent named Robert Steele is on record saying Epstein’s island was a honey trap to lure our most powerful politicians into a extortion scheme?

A. Yes. There are videos of some of the most powerful players in the most humiliating positions. If this gets out, not only are the politicians ruined, but the extortion game is over and suddenly, the influence CIA and Mossad wield over Washington, is gone.

Q. Wow ! Now its all making sense.

A. Yes. lets continue this conversation later.

The interview resumes

Q. So I checked out Robert David Steele, and he mentions Chuck Schumer being on Lolita Island. So does FBI anon. Is that why Schumer is targeting Trump’s cabinet picks?

A. Connect the dots.

Q. How many other politicians have been secretly extorted?

A. One in three, roughly. It’s not just the Island, its all of their activities. The reason #Pedogate terrifies the media, the CIA, the Israel Lobby, is because they are all part of this “shadow swamp”

Q. Former CIA agent, Robert Steele, says Mossad operated Lolita Island and CIA worked with them. That’s treason on all levels.

A. Yes, and its espionage. Just as these leaks from the intel community regarding Flynn. I expect that at some later moment, Trump will leak some of these videos

Q. Wait. Trump has videos of politicians in ‘delicate” situations?

A. No, But the Intel community has them, and Trump has strong support among certain players in the community. Trump has said he wants to “throw a spotlight on the cockroaches”.

Q. But Trump just met with Netanyahu and pledged the usual unbreakable bond with Israel.

A. Theatre. Netanyahu is desperate to both play Trump into attacking Syria,and hate Putin, and to convince him PedoGate is a conspiracy theory.

Q. That is what Robert Steele says, as well. So, exposing the Pedophiles diminishes Israel’s influence in American politics and also changes the map in a critical mass way?

A. The same media screaming “The Russians are coming” is the same media who says “Pizzagate is fake news” That’s CIA and Mossad talking points.

Q. How do social media giants like Facebook and Google fit in?

A. Facebook and CIA are literally the same petri-dish. Google became a Deep State organ courtesy of Eric Schmidt.

Q. Getting back to the Pedo stuff, FBI anon said in July of last year, that the Clinton Foundation sold secrets to foreign nations. Did they also engage in PizzaGate?

A. There are videos of WJC that would destroy him. FBI anon leaked weeks ago, on purpose. There was a reason.

Q. Ok, FBI anon gave Schumers initials, and Barnet Frank and others, but so far we have only seen low level arrests.

A . FBI anon did a “bank shot”. That’s a pool hall term we use. Ask Bob about it. FBI Anon rattled their cages as other DHS and local authorities rounded up all sorts of street-level human traffickers. The big arrests will come in time, but first the small fish are interrogated, and provide information that leads to larger fish. FBI Anon was firing a shot across the bow, much like you shake a beehive to infuriate the bees. Notice how blatantly hostile McCain, Schumer, Graham, and others are? It was what we call a “targeted trigger“.

It worked. By long-kniving Flynn, they exposed their hand. Now, Trump has full executive powers to investigate the CIA and Mossad. Notice how there is sound and fury about “Russian influence” and utter silence on “Mossad” influence in our power structure?

When FBI anon leaked in early July, the whole idea was to expose the Clinton Foundation,and to hint at the sale of “people” i.e. Pedogate. Look back at his exchange on 4chan. He is a gifted analyst, and knows just what stone to throw at Goliath’s noggin. By triggering the shadow Government, he helps citizen journalists ask the right questions and follow the right breadcrumbs, not the rabbit holes the Elite scum want you to follow.

Now, PedoGate victims are speaking out on their experiences! You just had a story on some lady who went through having her family abused by California-Deep-State-sponsored terrorism. If folks knew that CPS in California is tied into a huge racket that kidnaps children from parents, they would realize just how sick this is. Foster homes, CPS, etc… all get paid well to jail parents and then snatch their kids away. These kids suffer abuse, and perpetuate the growing cancer called pedogate. Politicians who have pedophile tendencies are groomed for power, because they can be later extorted and controlled. Meanwhile, victims have no voice- until now. Suddenly, we have citizen journalism, and it will end up saving the people, in the end.

I have to go, but please contact Robert David Steele, the former CIA agent we discussed. I am sure he would appear on your channel. You are providing a real service to the people and we hope you will continue to speak up for the regular folks who are concerned, rightfully, as to the state of our nation. Take care

 

 

16-Feb-17 – Obama Expanded NSA Powers Days Before Leaving Office, Now They’re Being Used to Sabotage Trump

By Chris Menahan

Information Liberation [1]
February 16, 2017

After President Trump won the election, Obama quietly expanded the NSA’s ability to spy on innocent Americans just days before leaving office.

Seeing as how the deep state, which includes the NSA and FBI, appear to be leaking all of Trump’s private phone calls with foreign leaders and took down General Michael Flynn by spying on his calls and leaking them to their friends in The Washington Post and The New York Times, the story is being looked at in a completely new light.

As the The New York Times reported on January 12th [2]:

In its final days, the Obama administration has expanded the power of the National Security Agency to share globally intercepted personal communications with the government’s 16 other intelligence agencies before applying privacy protections.

The new rules significantly relax longstanding limits on what the N.S.A. may do with the information gathered by its most powerful surveillance operations, which are largely unregulated by American wiretapping laws. These include collecting satellite transmissions, phone calls and emails that cross network switches abroad, and messages between people abroad that cross domestic network switches.

Trump questioned whether the NSA and FBI were behind a multitude of leaks handed to the New York Times and Washington Post.

The change means that far more officials will be searching through raw data. Essentially, the government is reducing the risk that the N.S.A. will fail to recognize that a piece of information would be valuable to another agency, but increasing the risk that officials will see private information about innocent people.

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch signed the new rules, permitting the N.S.A. to disseminate “raw signals intelligence information,” on Jan. 3, after the director of national intelligence, James R. Clapper Jr., signed them on Dec. 15, according to a 23-page, largely declassified copy of the procedures.

These are Obama loyalists who reports suggest may have worked to sabotage Trump by ousting Flynn in order to preserve Obama’s Iran deal [3].

Previously, the N.S.A. filtered information before sharing intercepted communications with another agency, like the C.I.A. or the intelligence branches of the F.B.I. and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The N.S.A.’s analysts passed on only information they deemed pertinent, screening out the identities of innocent people and irrelevant personal information.

Now, other intelligence agencies will be able to search directly through raw repositories of communications intercepted by the N.S.A. and then apply such rules for “minimizing” privacy intrusions.

“This is not expanding the substantive ability of law enforcement to get access to signals intelligence,” said Robert S. Litt, the general counsel to Mr. Clapper. “It is simply widening the aperture for a larger number of analysts, who will be bound by the existing rules.”

But Patrick Toomey, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, called the move an erosion of rules intended to protect the privacy of Americans when their messages are caught by the N.S.A.’s powerful global collection methods. He noted that domestic internet data was often routed or stored abroad, where it may get vacuumed up without court oversight.

“Rather than dramatically expanding government access to so much personal data, we need much stronger rules to protect the privacy of Americans,” Mr. Toomey said. “Seventeen different government agencies shouldn’t be rooting through Americans’ emails with family members, friends and colleagues, all without ever obtaining a warrant.”

Is this what happened to Flynn?

Is this why Trump’s calls with foreign leaders are being illegally leaked to the press in order to sabotage his presidency?

It sure as hell looks like that’s the case.

Remember, the point at which Donald Trump broke away from the pack and secured his victory during the primaries was when the Colorado GOP decided to deny Americans their right to vote and handed Ted Cruz all the state’s delegates, then tweeted: “We did it. #NeverTrump.”

A very similar story is now happening with the deep state’s open sabotage. Even though Americans came out in droves to elect a populist leader promising massive change, the deep state is sabotaging his presidency to prevent him from implementing the agenda his supporters voted for.

The Colorado GOP’s act of sabotage backfired spectacularly and was the turning point which secured Trump and his supporters their victory, if this deep state sabotage is exposed just the same, this too could be the turning point which sinks the establishment and secures our populist revolution..

16-Feb-17 – Trump White House Links to Neo-Nazis a Reminder of a Sordid Past

By WAYNE MADSEN |

via Strategic-Culture.org

Washington, DC has now joined Kiev as a capital city where neo-Nazis and nationalists rub shoulders with policymakers on an all-too-frequent basis. Ever since the 2014 coup in Ukraine, neo-Nazis in the mold of their «hero», World War II Ukrainian pro-Nazi nationalist Stepan Bandera, have provided the Ukrainian regime of Petro Poroshenko with crucial political support from the far right.

President Donald Trump’s «brain trust» of advisers also includes a close-knit group of far right American nationalists, some with links to a resurgent neo-Nazi movement in the Washington, DC region. These advisers include Trump’s chief political strategist Stephen Bannon; senior policy adviser Stephen Miller; deputy assistant to the president Sebastian Gorka; and Katharine Gorka, Sebastian Gorka’s wife and a reported adviser in the Department of Homeland Security. Bannon has cobbled together an inner White House advisory consisting of far right activists known as the Strategic Initiatives Group. Sebastian Gorka, the son of anti-Communist émigré parents who fled Hungary in 1956, is the former national security editor of the right wing «Breitbart News», where Bannon served as chief editor before joining Trump’s flagging 2016 presidential campaign as the chief executive officer. Gorka proudly wears an «Order of Vitezi» medal bestowed on him by the Hungarian government. The Order of Vitezi was established in 1920 by Hungarian regent Miklos Horthy, who later became an ally of Adolf Hitler.

On the periphery of the Trump White House is the recently relocated headquarters of the National Policy Institute (NPI), a rather innocuous name for what is essentially a re-branded American Nazi Party. NPI leader Richard Spencer, an avowed white supremacist, relocated the NPI’s headquarters from his former home town of Whitefish, Montana to a townhouse in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. Whitefish is a center for neo-Nazi activities. As Spencer took advantage of Trump’s election victory by pulling up stakes and moving to the Washington area, the neo-Nazis announced plans to hold a march in Whitefish to protest against «Jews, Jewish businesses, and everyone who supports either».

Although Miller is now denying it, he and Spencer were reportedly close friends while they attended Duke University in 2006 and were stalwarts of the Duke Conservative Union. Spencer, who conjured up the alt-right term used to describe far right conservatives, moved his headquarters to Alexandria because he is an avid supporter of the agenda of his old friend Miller, Bannon, and Trump. In mid-November, while Washington was still reacting to Trump’s surprise upset election, Spencer held a rally at the Ronald Reagan building for 200 supporters of the NPI who made the Nazi salute while he and the crowd shouted out, «Heil Trump, heil our people, heil victory!» Spencer railed against «the Jews» but made no mention of his close relationship with Miller, who is Jewish. However, Spencer appears to be fond of Theodore Herzl, the Zionist leader whose inspiration helped create the modern state of Israel. However, there is a precedent for such odd alliances in the history of neo-Nazi politics in the Washington area.

In the 1950s and 1960s, northern Virginia, specifically Arlington, was the home and headquarters of George Lincoln Rockwell, the enigmatic leader of the American Nazi Party. Rockwell’s parents worked in vaudeville and their best friends included Groucho Marx, Benny Goodman, Fanny Brice, Walter Winchell, Jack Benny, and George Burns, all of whom were Jewish. Benny, Marx, and Burns attended George Lincoln Rockwell’s church christening.

After serving in the Navy during the Korean War, Rockwell published U.S. Lady magazine from New York City. Among his major advertisers were all the major Jewish-owned department stores in New York, including Macy’s, Gimbel’s, Abraham & Strauss, Saks, Bergdorf-Goodman, B. Altman, and Bonwit-Teller. Ironically, Bonwit-Teller’s flagship store on Fifth Avenue was demolished in 1980 to make way for the Trump Tower.

In 1955, Rockwell moved to Arlington, Virginia. From a brick building on Jackson Street, Rockwell issued orders to his Nazi gauleiters to stage Nazi marches around the United States. Rockwell lived in a hilltop home, which locals nicknamed «Hatemonger Hill». A German shepherd, who Rockwell named «Gas Chamber», guarded the home. Phone calls to Rockwell’s home were answered by tape recorded anti-black and anti-Jewish messages by William Pierce, a Rockwell lieutenant. Pierce later founded the neo-Nazi National Alliance and National Vanguard Books. Pierce also wrote the neo-Nazi inspirational book «The Turner Diaries» under the pseudonym of Andrew Macdonald. Pierce died in 2002. However, Spencer and David Duke, the former Ku Klux Klan leader, eventually took up Pierce’s cause. During the presidential campaign, Trump claimed he never heard of Duke after the former Klan leader endorsed him. Trump’s claim was a lie, one of many the now-president would utter during the campaign trail to the White House.

Unlike Spencer, Rockwell never had a single friend or contact in the White House administrations of Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, or Lyndon Johnson. A former Nazi lieutenant assassinated Rockwell in 1967. When Rockwell and his Nazis lived in Arlington, area newspapers were reluctant to expose them and their activities for fear of retribution. Similarly, Spencer’s renting of a townhouse apartment in Alexandria, which sits above a chocolate shop, has resulted in protests from town folk but Washington area newspapers and websites have been reluctant to publish the actual address. Spencer has indicated that the townhouse, located on the second floor of 1001 King Street in Old Town, will serve as a hub for his alt-right activities. Rents in northern Virginia are extraordinarily high and it is not certain who financed Spencer’s relocation from Montana to Virginia. However, Spencer’s NPI receives financing from the Pioneer Fund, a «junk science» institute promoting eugenics that has been around since 1937 and pushes the notion of white genetic supremacy over other races. Spencer also runs a neo-Nazi publishing house called Washington Summit Publishers.

Spencer’s influence is definitely being felt in the White House. Trump’s favorite saying is the «lying press» or the «lying media». The «fake news» meme used by Trump to describe The New York Times and CNN, among others, is a derivative of the «lying media» trope. Spencer’s favorite slogan in German is «Lügenpresse», the German word used by Hitler’s Nazis for «lying press». The term was a familiar refrain in the speeches of Nazi Propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels to describe the mainstream media in Weimar Germany.

Others members of the far right who are involved with the Trump White House include Charles «Chuck» C. Johnson, who offered a bounty for anyone who could find «Satanic pedophile tunnels» beneath pizza parlors on Connecticut Avenue in Washington, DC. The so-called «pizzagate» story was a ridiculous hoax proffered by several unhinged right-wing conspiracy fanatics, all loyal followers of Trump. A Breitbart reporter, Julia Hahn, now works for Bannon in the White House. Hahn made her mark on Capitol Hill by attacking the conservative Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan as being too moderate.

The effect of the far right on U.S. foreign policy is hard to judge just a few weeks into the Trump presidency. However, given the past rhetoric of the propagandists inside the Trump White House regarding settling old scores with Iran, China, Cuba, Venezuela, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Palestine, it is not difficult to see the end game. Although Trump proclaims «America First», his administration is full of extremists who see an ultimate U.S. war with China, Iran, and, in the case of retrograde advisers like the Gorkas, Russia.

15-Feb-17 – Is the Two-State Solution Already Dead? A Political and Military History of the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict

By Hasan Afif El-Hasan

Via Algora Publishing

Born in Beit Eiba, a small village near Nablus, while Palestine was still ruled under the British Mandate, Hasan Afif El-Hasan, Ph.D, is a political analyst and journalist whose work is published in Al-Ahram, PalestineChronicle.com and other print and online media.

Dr. El-Hasan lived through the 1948 Arab–Israeli war, then the annexation of the West Bank to Jordan. He witnessed the defeat of the Arab armies, the exodus of the Palestinians, the total dissolution of their community and the ensuing chaos. The Iraqi military contingent camp was on his village’s land in 1948 but as the Iraqi commanding officer said, “We have no orders to fight.” This paradoxical situation inspired the author’s future research and writing. After completing high school in the West Bank, Mr. El-Hasan earned his teaching credentials in Nablus and taught math and science in its secondary schools. Later he came to the United States, where he earned a B.S. degree in electronics engineering and an M.S. in electrical engineering, and enjoyed a successful career in technology. He then earned a Ph.D. in political science from the University of California at Riverside and went on to study the origins and the context of the current conflict.

The “Palestinians” or “Palestinian Arabs” in this book are the people identifying themselves as Arabs who had been living in Palestine just before the establishment of Israel, as well as their descendants. The West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem are referred to as “the occupied land.” The Israelis call the indigenous Palestinians only “Arabs” to deny their linkage to Palestine and refer to the West Bank by its Biblical names “Judea and Samaria” to make the historical connection of the Jewish people with this land or the “disputed territory,” to deny its status as occupied land. The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) estimates that there were more than nine million Palestinians scattered throughout the world as of 2006. More than one million were living in Israel proper, three and a half million lived in the West Bank and Gaza, two and a half million lived in Jordan and the rest were dispersed through the Arab world, Europe and North and South America. The American–Israel Demographic Group disputed these findings and concluded that the PCBS total numbers are inflated by one million three-hundred thousand.

I strongly argue against the concept of using ethnic origin to define nations today because every community within a geographic area is a mixture of races that came in contact through conquest, migration and intermarriages across time. This applies especially to the self-identified Arabs and Jews in Palestine. Arabs or Jews, or any race for that matter, throughout the world, cannot support their claim of being closely related genetically, by biology. Palestine was successively conquered by Canaanites, Philistinians, ancient Israelites, Egyptians, Persians, Greeks, Romans and Turks, by Muslims and by Christian crusaders. The groups that lived in Palestine fought, interacted and collaborated, but no group was obliterated in history. The Palestinians are the descendents of all the groups that inhabited the land since the ancient Canaanites and beyond. I therefore reject the myth of race and racial superiority including the ideology that fed the Fascism of the last century.

No population has struggled more than the Palestinians to hold onto their land or to return to the homes they were forced to leave — and achieved so little, if anything. Only the American Indian tribes and the indigenous peoples of New Zealand and Tasmania suffered similar injustice when they were systematically destroyed and ethnically cleansed to make room for British and European colonialists. The Palestinians used diplomacy, negotiations, protests, uprisings and wars but they have failed to save their lands and the refugees never returned to their homes. Even after the establishment of the State of Israel, the signing of peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, and the recognition of Israel by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Israel still controls all of historic Palestine and the Palestinians, dispossessed and oppressed, are either living under brutal occupation in cantons surrounded by Jewish-only settlements and roads, check-points and the Israeli wall of separation, or they are living in refugee camps across the Middle East, and a sizable minority inside Israel is treated as second if not third class citizens.

This work condemns all violence for any reason and advocates for a just peace in Palestine based on human rights and international law, a peace which all parties to the century-old conflict and the people of the region need. To that end, the Palestinians should unite and do what is necessary to strengthen the “peace camp” in Israel; the Israelis should abandon the ideology of conquest and stop electing governments that may foreclose the possibility of peace with justice; and the international community (the US and Europe) should live up to the principles of justice that they claim their civilized societies hold dear.

Supporting the right of Israel to exist and prosper should not mean supporting it in subordinating Palestinians’ claims to their historical rights and controlling their destiny. Many Israeli individuals and groups love their country and also support the Palestinians’ right to have their independent state, but they are still in the minority. They question how their Jewish people can celebrate their ancient struggle against slavery and the anti-Semitism of today, claiming moral superiority, but at the same time accept oppressing another people, occupying and colonizing their land under false narratives. The Israeli novelist David Grossman spoke for many Israeli intellectuals and peace advocates when he wrote, “I could not understand how an entire nation like mine, an enlightened nation by all accounts, is able to train itself to live as a conqueror without making its own life wretched.”[1]

This study will put the stories of the two parties to the Palestinian conflict, the Israelis and the Palestinians, side by side and leave it to the reader to conclude why a just peace that addresses the rights of the Palestinians serves the interests of the Israelis as well. To that end, I try to present a critical political discussion based on facts that Israel cannot be simply erased, and it will prosper and be more secure without being a colonial power. And despite their weakness, the Palestinians will refuse to continue living under oppression and in refugee camps. Chapter 1 summarizes what this study is all about. It is an effort to explain the historical and ideological background of the parties to the conflict. It covers briefly major historical events since the 19th century that led to the present sorry state. Only by understanding what has transpired in the past, the reader may grasp the Palestinian issue and why it is time the international community should act with more responsibility and a commitment to resolve the conflict according to international law and justice.

Chapter 2 is a brief review of the Arab nationalism since the 19th century. The link between Arab nationalism and the Palestinian issue today is more emotions and less substance, but under Arab nationalism, regular armies of the neighboring Arab states waged wars against Israel. Palestine was ruled by the Ottoman Turks as a part of Syria for four-hundred years before Britain and France defeated Turkey in World War I (WW I). Syria was the center of Arab nationalism when the Ottoman Empire was dismantled and Palestine was promised as a homeland for the Jews by the triumphant British. Syria was home of al-Baath Party and the Syrian Socialist National Party, organized nationalist parties that advocated the establishment of national state which included Palestine. The two political parties were strong opponents to the establishment of a homeland for the Jews in Palestine. President Nasser of Egypt championed the Palestinian cause as the self-proclaimed leader of the Pan-Arab nationalism. After the 1967 war, Arab nationalism has been replaced by local traditional and sectarian Islamic nationalism. But most Arabs today, even in the countries that made peace with Israel, continue to support the Palestinians and refuse to accept normalization with the Israelis before the Palestinian issue is resolved.

Chapter 3 is a brief history of the Palestinians since the dawn of the 20th century when Palestine was ruled by the Turks. It covers the pre-1948 period, the 1948 war, the PLO and Fatah history in Jordan and Lebanon and the rise of Hamas movement.

Chapter 4 is a review of Zionism and its early leaders and how it succeeded in the creation of modern Israel. The State of Israel has been the crowning achievement of the Zionist movement. Zionism has been the most successful international political movement in modern history. Its founder promised a homeland for the Jews in fifty years, and he was on target. The Jewish community in Palestine before the establishment of Israel is sometimes called the “Yishuv” in this study.

Chapter 5 is a narrative of the Hashemites’ relations with Palestine since World War I. The histories of the Hashemites and Palestine are so intertwined that they can hardly be separated. Sherif Hussein Ben Ali, the patriarch of the Hashemite dynasty, lost his kingdom for refusing to accept the Balfour declaration, and when he was on his death bed, he asked to be buried in Jerusalem. King Abdullah the First of Jordan succeeded in keeping Jerusalem and the West Bank in Arab hands after the 1948 war. And until the 1967 war, the West Bank and Jerusalem were an integral part of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. It was only in1988 that King Hussein Ibn Talal disclaimed his sovereignty over the occupied West Bank and recognized the PLO as the sole representative of the Palestinians.

Chapter 6 describes the relationship between Egypt and Palestine since 1914. Egypt fought four bloody wars against Israel, controlled the Gaza Strip from 1948 till 1967, and now it shares Gaza’s life-line border. Jamal Abdel-Nasser championed the Palestinian cause under the banner of Arab Nationalism.

Chapter 7 reviews the development of Palestinian–Israeli relations after the 2003 Quartet “Roadmap for Peace” plan was announced. Representatives of the “Quartet,” an ad hoc American-dominated committee made up of the US, the EU, Russia, and the UN, endorsed a 2003 US-proposed schedule of conditions and events dubbed the “Roadmap” for breaking the Palestinian–Israeli impasse and paving the way to a peace settlement based on a two-state solution.

Chapter 8 reviews the politics of the Palestinians after the Legislative Council Elections of 2006 and the Hamas victory. The victors in these elections were boycotted by the West, and Israel refused to cooperate with any government headed by Hamas. The Palestinian experiment in democracy was aborted by the very countries that rightly criticize Arab states for their lack of democracy.

Chapter 9 describes the 2006 Lebanese–Israeli war and its impact on Israeli politics. The Lebanese Shiite military group Hizbullah ambushed an Israeli military patrol in a cross-border raid; Israel responded by bombarding Lebanese roads, bridges, ports and airports, as well as other targets. Hizbullah’s response was to fire hundreds of rockets on Israeli targets across the border, killing Israeli civilians including Israeli Arabs. Once it disengaged from Lebanon, the Israeli government was criticized for mismanaging the war, moved even more forcefully against the Palestinians, especially in the Gaza Strip which was governed by the Hamas faction and besieged by Israel.

Chapter 10 analyzes the so-called “peace process” including the 2002 Arab peace proposal and the 2007 US-sponsored Annapolis conference. The Palestinians have been clinging to the US “Roadmap” for peace and the Arab states have tried to revive the peace process, but Israel does not consider itself an occupier. Instead of withdrawing, Israel has built the separation wall and hundreds of new homes in major settlements in the West Bank.

Chapter 11, as the last chapter of the book, talks about the failure of Palestinian and Israeli negotiators to reach a final peace agreement. This study concludes that if there is any hope for establishing a sovereign Palestinian state, the Palestinians must end factionalism; the Israeli electorate political orientation must move away from the ideology of conquest; and the United States must transform its traditional Middle East policy of blind support to Israel into a genuine even-handed approach. The problem is that none of these players is ready to correct course. Chapter 11 thus reviews nonviolent options that the Palestinians may consider if the two-state solution is declared dead.

Nonfiction for the Nonplussed