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East Asia Watch
12.08.04; 12.09.04 Update: Military personnel enlistment is for as long as there is war
American troops volunteer for military duty that is open-ended. The contract they sign says that the term of the contract may be extended indefinitely in times of war. Copy of the contract: enlistment.pdf.
Scott Pelley's report Wednesday, CBS 60 Minutes "Deserters:..," dealt with the issue of about 5,500 American deserters, some of whom are in Canada and filing for asylum. The situation recalls the sequence of the Vietnam War, where soldiers becoming more informed about the war began to object to the war on principals involving "non participation in an illegal war." For those of you who are history buffs, the Vietnam War was launched by John F. Kennedy to take up the slack of the French pull-out and based upon what was called, "The domino theory," supposing that Communism was evil and would spread from nation to nation from China and Russia. Korea, Berlin, and Vietnam were the frontiers that the West chose had to be defended against the evil. When an American ship was attacked in the Gulf of Tonkin, the President asked for authority to conduct an act of war against North Vietnam, which was invading South Vietnam. The authority the President received was called "The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution." Under the Constitution, Congress, however, did not have the authority to authorize acts of war by the United States via the vehicle of a "resolution." A resolution is an "opinion," and such is not legally an "act of Congress." Thus, the United States did launch an illegal war against Vietnam under the foundation of a "resolution." The war lasted 10 years.
These appear to be the main issues and precedents involved in George W. Bush's War in Iraq, and some legal arguments available to soldiers who refuse to participate in the war.
An article posted by Bruce Klingner is of interest. He begins, "Continuing indications that the administration of US President George W. Bush will pursue a firm and potentially more activist policy towards North Korea are exacerbating regional concerns, straining already frayed United States relations with South Korea, and spurring Seoul to seek a more independent role in efforts to resolve the North Korean nuclear impasse...Despite US assertions that northeast Asian nations agreed on the need for North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons programs, Bush's counterparts concurrently emphasized the need for US restraint and a measured diplomatic approach." [More>>atimes.com]
12.09.04 Panel urges use of Shuttle to help Hubble telescope
After six months of study conducted at the request of Congress, 21 experts urged the use of the Shuttle to maintain Hubble. There were too many uncertainties in using a robotic device for the mission. [More>>nytimes.com]
WASHINGTON, Dec. 9 President Bush on Thursday flatly ruled out raising payroll taxes to ensure the solvency of Social Security as he began a push for historic changes in the retirement program. Bush renewed his call for legislation that would let workers create private retirement accounts within the government-run program. "We will not raise payroll taxes to solve this problem," Bush said as he met in the Oval Office with a panel of advisers on the Social Security issue.
12.09.04 Five dead, including gunman, in Columbus shooting
COLUMBUS, OHIO, Dec. 9 A gunman charged onstage at a packed nightclub and opened fire on the band and crowd, killing top heavy metal guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott and three other people before a police officer shot him to death, authorities and witnesses said. The gunman was identified as Nathan Gale, 25, of Marysville, 25 miles northwest of Columbus. [More>>(AP) latimes.com]
12.09.04 Explosions rock Italian embassy in Iraq
ROME, Dec. 9 Iraqi Defence Minister Antonio Martino announced in Rome, "Several mortar shells fell about 50 metres from the embassy but there were no Italian victims. We don't know if there were Iraqi victims." Martino added: "Our intelligence services have for some time been passing us information that an attack against the embassy may be possible. This time there was no harm done." Italy has 3000 military personnel in Iraq based in the area around the southern town of Nasiriya. [More>>Al-Jezeera]
12.09.04 Israelis suffer from '"anti-Frenchism" according to French ambassador to Israel
The French ambassador to Israel accused Israelis on Thursday of suffering from "a mental disorder of anti-Frenchism," sparking protests from the Foreign Ministry. "I think there is a neurosis that causes anti-Frenchism," the ambassador, Gerard Araud, told Army Radio. "This anti-French neurosis has led to France being so hated in Israel. The relationship between the two countries is very difficult. You simply love to hate us." [More>>Haaretzdaily.com and Jerusalem Post]
12.09.04 Powell asks European nations to commit more forces to Iraq and Afghanistan
A statement by NATO foreign ministers, meeting in Brussels, said the alliance wanted to enhance and expand its commitments in those countries. But there was no sign the Europeans had come up with the numbers requested. However, amid calls for improved ties between the US and Europe, diplomats said President George W. Bush will visit Brussels on 22 February next year. [More>>Bignewsnetwork]
Korea's consumer confidence plunged to its lowest in four years in November, suggesting that domestic demand will continue to be a big drag on Asia's third-largest economy. The consumer confidence index fell to 86.6 last month from 88 in October, the sixth decline in seven months, the National Statistical Office said yesterday in a statement from the government complex in Gwacheon, southern Seoul.
BEIJING, Dec. 9 The European Union says it is willing to work towards lifting the arms embargo on China, president of the European Council Jan Peter Balkenende said. Netherlands Prime Minister Balkenende, who holds the 25-nation bloc's rotating presidency, confirmed that work to strengthen the application of the EU Code of Conduct on arms exports was continuing.
12.09.04 Coast Guard copter crashes, six missing
(CNN), Dec. 9 A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crashed Wednesday off Alaska's Aleutian Islands while attempting to rescue crew members from a derelict Malaysian-flagged cargo ship, dumping 10 people into the frigid waters of the northern Pacific Ocean, a Coast Guard spokesman said. [More>>Bignewsnetwork]
12.09.04 Miracle in the Philippines
Three adults and a three-year-old girl were pulled out alive Thursday from the rubble of a two-story building that collapsed in a storm 11 days ago in the town of Real, Quezon province, reports culled by INQ7.net said. Major Bartolome Bacarro said an estimated 50 people were still trapped in the collapsed building in Barangay (village) Tignoan. [More>>INQ7.net]
12.09.04 Export zone on Vietnam-Laos border successful
More than 50 foreign firms have set up in a special export zone established by the Government of Vietnam at Lao Bao, near the Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) border at Lao Bao-Dansavanh. Foreign investments in the Lao Bao commercial area have so far created more than 1,000 jobs in one of Vietnam's less developed regions, where 1 in 10 people is from an ethnic minority.
KABUL, Dec. 9 Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai Thursday declared a holy war on the drugs trade gripping his war-shattered country, which produces nearly nine-tenths of the world's opium. Karzai, who was sworn in on Tuesday as the first democratically elected Afghan leader, told a conference of key figures whom he wants to involve in the crackdown that the trade was more dangerous than terrorism. [More>>jang.com.pk]
BAGHDAD, Dec. 9 The electoral list backed by the highest religious authority among Iraq's Shiite Muslim majority includes all the country's Shiite parties except that of radical leader Moqtada al-Sadr, a Shiite party official said Thursday. [Jang.com.pk]
12.09.04 NATO increasing training mission to Iraq
BRUSSELS, Dec. 9 NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer Thursday announced an increase in the organisation's military training mission in war-wracked Iraq, which would be boosted from 60 to 300 officers. [jang.com.pk]
China will move gradually toward a more flexible exchange rate. Premier Wen Jiabao said that loosening control requires macro-economic stability, and a sound banking system in the world's fastest-growing major economy. Wen spoke at the 7th China-EU Summit in the Hague. Trading partners like the US, want China to alter the exchange rate system. They argue that the fixed rate gives Chinese exporters an unfair advantage. But Wen said China has always kept the world's interests in mind. During the 1997 Asian financial crisis, China maintained the RMB exchange rate under great pressure, making considerable efforts to maintain world economic stability.
A Pakistan-based nuclear proliferation ring has been broken up and its mastermind, Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, has been "brought to justice," and is under house arrest. According to a CIA report November 23, Khan not only sold advanced uranium-enrichment centrifuges to Iran; he likely sold it an actual nuclear weapon design along with nuclear fuel material. [More>>atimes.com]
BEIJING, Dec. 8; Update Dec.9 China and the U.S. signed a memorandum of understanding on tourism cooperation, which adds the US to China's list of approved destination tours. According to the National Tourism Administration, Chinese citizens will be able to travel to America before next May at the earliest or no later than the end of next year.
You heard the good news; now here's the not-so-good-news:Thursday the Chinese government revealed that Chinese tourists to America will will have to put down a substantial deposit before booking a trip to America. Group tourists will be required to pay travel agencies a deposit of about 100,000 yuan (US$12,000) before their trips, which is refundable after they return. [More>>Xinhuanet]
12.08.04 Planned cut-back in oil supply by OPEC
Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi Wednesday questioned the need to cut back oil supplies. Cut-backs were being proposed as a prelude to Friday's ministerial meeting of OPEC oil producers in Cairo. OPEC is concerned about falling prices in crude oil, though the cartel's reference crude price was still above its official target. [More>>The Daily Star]
12.08.04 China's computer giant buys IBM's computer business
BEIJING, Dec. 8 China's personal computer giant, Lenovo Group Limited, signed an agreement Wednesday with IBM to take over the latter's personal computer business for 1.25 billion US dollars. According to the agreement, Lenovo will acquire IBM's entire global desktop and laptop computer research and development and manufacturing business. In return, Lenovo will pay IBM $650 million in cash and grant it $600 million worth of Lenovo stocks, which will make IBM an owner of around 18.5 percent of Lenovo's equity stake. [More>>Xinhuanet]
12.08.04 Rumsfeld says, "You go to war with what you have."
Based upon TV broadcasts Wednesday, apparently the need to go to war in Iraq was so urgent President Bush could not plan on supplying the troops with necessary equipment and resources. The strategy revealed Wednesday in an appearance before our troops at Camp Buehring, Kuwait, by Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld now is, "You go to war with what you have." He said this in answer to a soldier's complaint at the briefing, having to do with soldiers still not having armor and forced to raid rusted debris to add armor to their vehicles and equipment. Although March will be the second anniversary of Bush's invasion, troops still don't have proper equipment. Rumsfeld explained that it is a matter of logistics. With reference to supplying armored Humvees Rumsfeld said America can't build them fast enough. Let's face it, the 250 tons of ammunition that came up missing after Bush's army rushed by Saddam Hussein's unguarded armories heading to Baghdad to secure the oil ministry might possibly be the reason why America can't keep up with the demand for armored Humvees.
12.08.04 New missile system about to be tested in Alaska
The first test of a new missile defense system in two years is waiting on the weather. The $85 million test comes as the military is in final preparations to activate missile defenses designed to protect against an intercontinental ballistic missile attack from North Korea or elsewhere in eastern Asia. [More>>CNN.com]
According to the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronoth, the incident took place in March when a group of newly graduated soldiers were on a hike near the town of Khan Yunus. According to the report, an undisclosed number of Givati brigade soldiers shot and killed Khalid Sulaiman Mahdi while he was working with his father on their farm. The boy's father, Sulaiman Mahdi, told the paper the killing was "just for the sake of it...Seven bullets pierced my son's head..."[More>>Al-Jezeera]
THE HAGUE, Dec. 8 Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao arrived in The Hague Wednesday for a summit with the European Union. Beijing's desire for the EU to lift a 15-year-old arms embargo seems to be part of his mission.
12.08.04 Turkey economically strategic to Russia
The terrorist attack Monday on the US consulate in Jiddah shows that Saudi security is vulnerable. After the attack that killed eight or possibly nine people, Tuesday the US government made announcements for Americans not to travel to Saudi Arabia. One assesment on the attack explained that the American consulate did not have a multiple gate structure as other American consulates. The terrorists attempted to break through a barrier with their vehicle, and failing that got out and attacked the consulate on foot, getting through the gate. Securing American consulates in these perilous times poses the same problems known to builder's of ancient castles. The Mycenneans about 1,500 B.C. used a wall-projection in front of the gate, on the left, that allowed defenders to shoot down on the men attacking the gate. Since soldiers then were right handed and kept their shield in their left hand, they were vulnerable from their unshielded side. During the Middle Ages castle builders went a bit further and installed a "keep" behind the main gate. Also in front of the main gate might have been a moat and other breastworks. The idea behind the keep which can be seen in American prisons such as San Quentin involves iron gates that close, front and aft, trapping those attacking in a confined room at the gate. Above the room are windows or parapets from which defenders can shoot down on the trapped men.
According to most media sentiments, Bush side-tracked and essentially scuttled much of the economic agenda of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Conference (APEC) in Chile, November 20. But that was expected since he had Korean missiles on his mind.
This method of disrupting economic conferences may be a new diplomatic strategy of the Bush administration.
THE HAGUE, Dec. 8 The Chinese government and the European Union (EU) on Wednesday agreed to work together to strengthen the international nonproliferation and arms control regimes.
Iyad Allawi, interim prime minister of Iraq, visited Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, Tuesday. Putin told Allawi that he could "not imagine how elections could be organized under a full occupation of the country by foreign troops."
What would not have been possible a few years ago, because of historical concerns: Cold War alignments making Turkey the West's first wall of defense against Russia, Turkey's genocide against Armenians (Russia came to the Armenian's aid), the ancient conflict between Imperial Russia and the Ottoman Empire, etc. is now becoming reality. Russia is seeking close economic ties with Turkey. Turkey lies in the crossroads of pipeline routes and Russia needs them.
Putin's visit also involved the discussion of military equipment sales to Turkey, according to Zardain. This should be a burr in the collar of Commander-in-Chief George W. Bush's new military jacket.
12.08.04 President Musharraf of Pakistan meets with French President Jacques Chirac
President Musharraf of Pakistan met with French President Jacques Chirac to discuss a number of global and regional issues, including F-16 fighter planes. Replying to a question about purchasing French F-16 fighter planes, the Musharraf said: ³We would shore up defence cooperation with France in a number of matters.² Both Chirac and Musharraf agreed that tension in the Middle East would never be overcome until the Palestinian issue is resolved. [More>>jang.com]
BEIJING, Dec. 8 European aircraft maker Airbus SAS said Tuesday it might let Chinese aviation manufacturers supply up to 5 percent of parts on the proposed A350 jetliner, a day after signing a $1.33 billion deal with Air China. The Chinese companies would join Airbus in research, development and production of its A350 parts. [More>>Xinhuanet]
12.08.04 Japan shelves long-range offensive missiles
The development of Japan's long-range missiles was somewhat cancelled based upon a meeting of the Japanese ruling parties task force Tuesday. Long-range surface-to-surface precision-guided missiles in the next Midterm Defense Program (fiscal 2005-09) were considered to be too offensive. Nevertheless the missile's range of up to 300 kilometers "for counterattacks if remote islands were attacked" could be extended to reach neighboring countries. [More>>Daily Yomiuri.co.jp]
Paul Cochrane, The Daily Star staff, posted an article December 8, saying that Mideast stock markets are booming and oil revenues have hit record highs this year, but large sections of the oil producing populace have not benefited economically. Labor productivity has averaged just 0.1 percent growth in the past decade. A new report from the Geneva-based International Labor Organization published Tuesday says that GDP figures among the region's oil-producing countries are close to "three times higher than the average for non-oil-producing countries." [More>>dailystar.com.lb]
American veterans from Iraq are already showing up in homeless shelters, according to a December 8 article by Mark Benjamin. Advocates fear they are the leading edge of a new generation of homeless vets not seen since the Vietnam era. [More>>bignewsnetwork]
Coming under attack is Bush's thesis of waging war using Iraq as an example to overthrow Mideast regimes and install a "market-based democracy" (another way of expressing the ambition to overthrow oil-producing regimes to get control of their oil fields). We can compare Bush's methods of establishing trade relations to the new paths being led by the new Big Four: the EU, China, India and Russia, that are [so far] based upon peaceful economic interchange.
[More>>www.pinr.com via Asia Times Online]
Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey offered an article Wednesday on the dire circumstances of the drought ridden countries on the horn of Africa whose plight is being ignored by the International Press who are engrossed in, or distracted with, Bush's war on Iraq. Curiously the story was only covered by Pravda. In Eritrea 900,000 people are suffering, a quarter of the population is dependent upon food supplied by the United Nations, and the malnutrition rate is 19% of the population (The UN classifies a rate of 15% as an emergency). Bancroft-Hinchey ends his story on a poignant note: "We apologize for being so disturbing, but there is a humanitarian crisis in these countries and millions of people need help. They do not wish to be bombed, they do not wish to be invaded, they simply request the right to survive." [Story at pravda.ru]
12.08.04 National Geographic gives Persian Gulf new name; infuriates Iranians
In what appears to be typically Bush mentality, the National Geographic Society published its latest issue with a picture of the Persian Gulf now called "Arabian Gulf." What's going on? Is the National Geographic anticipating that the Saudis will own the Persian Gulf area? American Iranians are understandably upset and Iran has banned National Geographic Magazine. [More>>Radio Free Europe]
12.07.04 Interest for 2004 exceeded outlays for essential Bush administration departments
Most people, and it is sad to say, most congress persons, are not aware how much American tax dollars go to service the National Debt, which is now pushing $8 trillion. Group A outlays, comprising 13 out of 22 categories of outlays for the government, are about what Bush spends on interest to service the debt each year. The 13 categories of expenditures include: Legislative, Judiciary, Executive Office, International Assistance, Agriculture, Commerce, Civil Defense, Education, Energy, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, and the State Department. They total 320 billion, one hundred eighty-three thousand dollars ($320.183 billion). Bush is paying bankers (most of them foreign) about the same amount: $321.566 billion. It pays to be a friend of the Bush family. Click here to view the chart.
An article by Linda Heard [Article is at>>arabnews.com] reminds us though we live in perilous times now dominated with threats by terrorists data released by the US CDC show Americans have a one in 9,396 chance of death due to excessive heat, as compared to one in 88,000 chance in dying from a terrorist attack or a one in 10,455 chance of dying in the bathtub. We have some comments with regard to her article.
12.07.04 Taiwan considering name change
Dec 6 The US has been fighting two wars in Iraq: a war to eliminate insurgents and another war to eliminate witnesses, according to a November 26 article by Naomi Klien in London's Guardian newspaper. She wrote, "In Iraq, US forces and their Iraqi surrogates are no longer bothering to conceal attacks on civilian targets and are openly eliminating anyone - doctors, clerics, journalists - who dares to count the bodies...General Franks said, "We don't do body counts." Her initial concerns were of the pattern of US forces attacking hospitals first and confiscating communicatin devices, non-embedded reporters are shot, etc. Anyone in Iraq - doctors, clerics, journalists - who dared to count the bodies of civilians were killed. The U.S. Embassy in London complained, but the columnist hit back [More>>Big News Network] See also, story by Ashish Kumar Sen, "Confusion over Aids workers in Iraq makes workers sitting ducks."
12.02.04 New meeting for progress in the Middle East and North Africa
US DEBT & ECONOMICS
12.07.04 Heavy sell-off of US dollar in Shanghai
12.06.04 President Musharraf of Pakistan says world less safe after Iraq invasion
PALESTINE AND KASMIR SOLUTION
12.06.04 Prime Minister Blair refuses to mediate Kashmir dispute
12.07.04 Yawar warns Iran against meddling in Iraqi election
12.06.04 Russian President Putin accuses US of dictatorial foreign policy
12.07.04 Situation deteriorating in Iraq says CIA
This is an ongoing article. We received a response from Senator Diane Fienstein which we cuddled midst a general review of the historic repeat of Deficits from father to son: Bush I to Bush II.
The US deficit, being the source of the declining dollar, perpetuates further debt and increases interest rates and inflation. About half of the US $6 Trillion debt is owned by foreign investors (primarily banks). When investors redeem their bonds in a period when the dollar is declining, as is the case in the two Bush administrations, they lose money on their investment in US bonds. This causes potential buyers of US bonds to back out of the US bond market. When buyers back away from the US bond market, the US has to raise interest rates to draw them back into the market. Following the increase in the prime rate, mortgages and other loan rates increase.
The National Debt is an exponential debt. The adding of interest, plus continued borrowing / sales of US Bonds, compounds the debt. The debt takes on the form of a "J" curve. President Bush claims that he will "halve the debt," presumably in the next four years. The Clinton years, 1993-2000, represented the most fiscally responsible administration since Nixon (see "Running a government with a credit card" below). During Clinton's term Congress had adapted and applied a "pay as you go" process, preventing further borrowing to fund the government and actually paid down the National debt through their diligence. The dedication of Congress and the President during the Clinton years is not present in the current administration of Bush II, and reducing the deficit, let alone the National Debt, would seem improbable. It appears that the National Debt has reached a point of no return, where interest on the debt alone will consume any efforts to retire the debt. The debt from 1974 through 2009 (the data are current as of 11.22.04, from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB); the years 2004 - 2009 are OMB estimates) look like this:
The National Debt data are as follows: US Office of Budget & Management National Debt
A forty-year amortization table on a loan of $5 trillion (double everything for a loan of $10 trillion) at 7% interest:
It is no wonder that foreign governments are concerned about the decline in the dollar. Americans should have studied some basic fundamentals in home financing It is no wonder that foreign governments are concerned about the decline in the dollar. Americans should have studied some basic fundamentals in home financing and not allowed their spendthrift President to get out of hand. Then again, there is hope that Americans will start to pay attention to their accounts and those they elected to manage them. Total receipts estimated in the Federal Budget for 2004 are just short of $2 trillion." Growth in receipts. Total receipts in 2004 are estimated to be $1922.0 billion, an increase of $85.8 billion or 4.7 percent relative to 2003. Receipts are projected to grow at an average annual rate of 7.0 percent between 2004 and 2008, rising to $2,520.9 billion. This growth in receipts is largely due to assumed increases in incomes resulting from both real economic growth and inflation." [2004 FEDERAL RECEIPTS AND COLLECTIONS, p. 57]
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