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Monthly Archives: July 2011

These are a bunch of quick thoughts that I wrote down, and are subject to reform or expansion at a later point …..

The cooperative diplomatic participation of the United States with the regional players of South East Asia is of a relatively new phenomenon and as a result many variables and new challenges have emerged for the United States to settle as it attempts to ensure regional stability. China can no longer be pushed to the periphery of regional security developments as it advances its own military forces and technology, and smaller regional players such as the Democratic People’s Repubic Korea [DPRK] need to be responsibly addressed as the fear of nuclear proliferation rises. Further, the ballistic missile proliferation of the DPRK and the People’s Republic of China should be greatly monitored by the Missile Technology Control Regime [MTCR]. There are several consequences that result from the proliferation activity of the DPRK and China that affect not only US interests in the region, but also pose a direct threat to the national security of South Korea Japan, and potentially Vietnam, major allies and partners within the region. Therefore, several measures should be sought after to create a stable and secure environment for the United States and its allies within the region. Of these measures include:

 

(a)                    Continuing the Six-Party Talks to find a peaceful resolution to DPRK’s nuclear activity;

(b)                   Further efforts of joint US-Japanese ventures in ballistic missile defense [BMD] technology communication and interoperability; and

(c)                    Reform existing Japanese export law that bans any company from selling military technology or equipment to a third-party.

 

The United States has roughly 42,000 soldiers stationed on Japanese territory and 35,000 more stationed on the border of North and South Korea; thus these US security personnel are under a direct threat posed by the DPRK’s nuclear development and ballistic missile proliferation activity. Given the sensitive interpretational history of the Korean War by China and both Koreas, in conjunction with the current military presence maintained by the United States, it becomes conducive for all parties to utilize the existing Six-Party Talks as the most beneficial outlet to resolve this issue. It was deeply distressing to learn of the DPRK’s 2009 move to quit the talks and resume nuclear activity, naturally causing a good deal of pessimism on future success, however the talks must remain the primary tool of ensuring US and allied regional security. By retaining cooperative and stable relations with the DPRK’s neighboring countries, such as China who exerts some influence on the DPRK at times, allows the US to further contain North Korean nuclear advances.

 

The United States Department of Defense has issued the Phased Adaptive Approach [PAA] strategy to target current and potential future ballistic missile threats. The PAA calls for the use of developing Aegis BMD intercepting technology that is installed on navy vessels and easily adaptable and mobile to any concentration of a potential threat. In addition to the joint venture of developing the technology, the Japanese and US security personnel are pursuing the enhancement of the Active Layered Theater Ballistic Missile Defense (ALTBMD) approach, which utilizes the integration of command and control systems that operate and oversee the functionality and execution of the BMD systems. A faster and more efficient form of communication is a necessary quality of defense technology in an age where threats emerge quickly and in a region where security threats presented by the DPRK regime and China are in no short supply.

 

The current Aegis BMD technology is in transition as the US and Japan implement the next-generation advancements of the systems. As a result, the first-generation equipment shouldn’t be disregarded, bur rather put to use to protect allies and partners within the region from the DPRK’s conventional and nuclear threats. Japan previously had a full-out ban on weapons export to any country, but in 1983 relaxed it to allow export with the United States. In a 2005 agreement, Japan relaxed the export law to allow missile interceptors to be deployed by both countries. Japan however, will have to reform the law once again in order to re-export to third parties the SM-3 Block IIA [Aegis BMD technology]. Third parties would potentially include South Korea who is seeking to further its means to defend its homeland against ballistic missile attacks from the DPRK. If Japan commits to this export reform it will greatly enhance regional deterrence as well as help secure an ally in the region against the aggressive stance of the DPRK.

 

The Six-Party Talks will ensure a useful interlocutor for the US to the DPRK regime, as well as foster the necessary stable relations with the country’s surrounding neighbors, such as China. In order to deter the immediate threat posed by the DPRK’s nuclear and ballistic missile activity, the US should seek to enhance its deterrence capabilities alongside its allies; and to find affordable and appropriate measures to supply and secure its allies homelands who are under direct threat and are home to tens of thousands of United States military personnel.

 

 

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Connecticut, and the dedicated, hard-working and persistent [polite for stubborn] people who have comprised its public offices over the centuries, have helped shape and lead our state to a level of economic stability and prosperity few others can match. It is therefore unfortunate that partisan ideology, the polarizing and stagnating disease of sound political activity, has infiltrated our state to such a degree that our current economic health and capability to adapt and grow has been put in jeopardy. The “balanced-budget” proposal sent out from the Governor’s office today, demonstrates the Governor’s serious lack of leadership and vision to reign in our state’s out-of-control spending and put our fiscal house back in order.

For too long has our state’s government been under the spell of a one-party ideology that has stagnated growth, put off difficult fiscal decisions and muted those who have sought to go against the political status quo. What is deeply distressing was the Governor’s boast that he passed a state budget in record time and it was thanks to his disciplined leadership on the “road less travelled.” This victory, as we have all come to know so well for both Republicans and Democrats, tells us one thing: the road less travelled is so for a very good reason.

We watched Dannel Malloy (a) steal an election [not legitimately or with honor; and yes sometimes there is a “legitimate” way to steal an election] by union votes in Bridgeport who were allowed two extra hours to head to the polls due to “insufficient number of ballots”; (b) ram through an unsound budget awarding hefty gifts to union workers [2.5% of total CT workforce]; and (c) before our very eyes watch SEBAC completely spit in the face of not only Malloy but those of the hardworking citizens of CT who would only dream of such a comfortable work package, by rejecting the Governor’s proposal.

What resulted from such political chaos and uncertainty? The General Assembly’s solution to this dire set back was to award [for lack of a better word] Governor Malloy an increase in power so that his office could make more significant cuts to the state budget than previously tenable. Once triumphant figures, House Speaker Donovan and Senator Prague, who championed the lightning passed budget and $1.6B concessions deal with the unions, were fumbling to give answers to the state on SEBAC’s vote “NO”. The only honorable and proper thing left for them to do was to release themselves from any form of legislative responsibility and increase the power of the Chief Executive; [thus washing their hands of anymore tough choices. Afterall Donovan has to campaign for the CT-05 Congressional Seat and cannot afford any potential for failed legislation to be associated with his character; yet it might be too late for that].

The state of Connecticut and its budget lay prostrate asunder the unsteady hands of Doctor Malloy; he told the mangled state of Connecticut that he truly wanted to get the budget in order, so that the state would be “open for business”. Upon looking at the “balanced-budget proposal” sent out by the Governor’s office yesterday, it becomes all too clear that the Governor lacks the necessary leadership, knowledge and vision to get Connecticut back on the right track. Many of the reduction in agencies’ budgets have come from eliminating the “funded vacancies” spread throughout our state government. The Governor has stated that it was his priority to get our fiscal house back in order, yet in his first “lighting-passed” budget he not only increased taxes and gave raises to unionized workers but kept thousands of government jobs that were funded, but vacant [that is a hell of a lot of ‘nothing’]. Further, to be an economically competitive state, naturally one would expect incentives for companies to move their headquarters to the quiet, green pastures of Connecticut. On July 1, 2011, the day after the General Assembly awarded the largest increase in Executive authority in state history, they brought to life another state record: the largest tax increase Connecticut has yet seen of almost $2 billion.

With the recent CIGNA deal, an insurance company that has moved their headquarters to Connecticut in return for creating 200 jobs and a tax break of nearly $50 million, the Governor insisted that his First-Five Jobs Plan was working, here is what Courant columnist Kevin Rennie had to say about the CIGNA deal:

Those jobs come with a hefty price tag in a season of discontent. The state will provide at least $47 million in incentives to CIGNA for adding a minimum of 200 jobs to the 3,900 it must maintain here. That could be a subsidy of as much as $235,000 per job for the company that does business in dozens of countries. Part of the deal includes a $15 million interest-free loan that will be forgiven if CIGNA meets the requirements of the agreement.

This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the effects of Malloy’s policies on not only the financial health of hits individual citizens but also the growth of the state’s economy as well.

Connecticut has a rich and vibrant history within the United States of America, starting well into the founding of our Colonial beginnings. Our state has had leaders who created an economically competitive environment, challenged the status quo helping to establish the comfortable climate enjoyed today. Connecticut did not earn the reputation as the Constitution state or the Land of Steady Habits for doing nothing, promoting stagnation or a single, unbending political ideology. If Connecticut is to save itself, if Connecticut is to truly recover from the illusion it has been suffering from as of late, it will need to seek a balanced political approach, break its one-party shackles and manifest the courage to become a state all others seek to model after. We have the great, and unique, opportunity to become a genuine economic and political leader of this country, all we have to do is act, but act with courage. And also find that wretched exist from this road less travelled…..

The Budget and Debt Ceiling Talks:

The Congress, in conjunction with the President of the United States [only as of recently], is currently attempting to find a common ground regarding the nature of the federal budget. The fiscal future of our country hangs in the midst. The focal point: whether raising taxes or cutting spending should be the fundamental means to cut our deficits and lead us into another era of American prosperity. Republicans want serious and responsible cuts without raising unnecessary taxes, and Democrats insist that raising taxes with minimal cuts is of intelligent design. The national discussion on the budget is in of itself, I believe, a vivid representation of the divisive philosophy and nature of the American People.

There is a deep division in society today, between those who want to work and enjoy the fruits of their labors and abide by and uphold the laws of the land, and an increasing number of what it has become fashionable to call the disaffected, the disadvantaged, the differently motivated, what we use to call, lazy people; dishonest people, people who don’t want to take responsibility for their actions, or their lives. As a result, the means of solving our budget problem have to take on difficult and at times drastic measures with the sole purpose to safeguard not only our immediate fiscal and economic health, but also that of our and the succeeding generations’ prosperity. Not to do so, would be irresponsible and a blatant affront to the Liberty of future Americans.

Entitlement spending is the core of the issue, yet is the topic with the least amount of national coverage. The position of not raising taxes and insistence on cutting spending [in return for raising the debt ceiling cap] by the members of the Republican caucus is a responsible approach. It demonstrates the GOP’s commitment to the pledge they made to the electorate [which resulted in their current majority in the House of Representatives], as well as the depth of insight and understanding regarding our country’s fiscal follies.

The budget proposal in which the Obama administration has submitted completely disregards the heart of the issue and enables our spending to skyrocket further out of control. Roughly 58% of the entire budget proposal is centered on entitlement programs and spending, a clear indication of petty politics and a fundamental lack of serious initiative from the Democratic leadership to buckle down and make tough choices. The administration and their supporters attempt to portray the current debate to the American public as “stalled” by Republican “stubbornness”. It is further distorted by claiming the rich “don’t pay their fair share” and that the Bush tax cuts “are the cause of our problem”; yet both of these concepts are false and a direct attack on the integrity of this debate. As of 2008, the top 1% of the highest income earners paid 38% of the total income tax, while the bottom 50% of taxpayers paid only 3%.[i] Entitlement spending will consume all tax revenue by 2049[ii], therefore if we faithfully follow the logic of the Democrats’ proposal we would have to continue to raise taxes at an irrational and unsustainable level in order to cover the costs of egalitarianism running rampant through the streets of those Americans who have minded their own business and played by the rules.

It is clearly a time for choosing, between seeking to continue an unsustainable federal spending scheme or to put aside petty politics and make the difficult but necessary choices that will allow America to consolidate into a new era of stable economic prosperity. Entitlement spending needs to be properly addressed, adequately reformed and responsibly consolidated. Taxes should not be raised, for it is fundamentally a short-term political solution that only ensures that wealth is taken out of the prosperous and productive private sector, and thus threatening the very structural integrity of our economy’s life source. One thing is certain, the American Public have spoken to the Obama administration by electing the current 112th House of Representatives, to ignore this fact would not just be a potential cost to partisan political clout, but the overall integrity and fiscal future of the United States of America.


[i] ” The Top 10 Percent of Income Earners Paid 71 Percent of Federal Income Tax .” Conservative Policy Research and Analysis | The Heritage Foundation . N.p., n.d. Web. 5 July 2011. <http://www.heritage.org/budgetchartbook/top10-percent-income-earners&gt;.

[ii] ” Entitlements Will Consume All Tax Revenues by 2049 .” Conservative Policy Research and Analysis | The Heritage Foundation . N.p., n.d. Web. 5 July 2011. <http://www.heritage.org/budgetchartbook/entitlements-historical-tax-levels&gt;.