That was my usual response before I retired. I was fortunate during my last working years to be able to work from home. I told people my morning commute was thirty steps downstairs to my home office. After I retired, I continued most of those habits…writing this blog being one.
Last Friday, I wrote a post about the apparent downward spiral to war in Eastern Europe. It is arguable whether the Ukraine is European. My definition is that all of the territory west of the Ural and the ‘stans, are European, if only by religion and heritage. The major religions are the Catholic varieties—Roman, Greek and Russ ion Orthodox. Those areas mark the furthest extent of the Turkish/Islamic advance of the 16th and 17th Century.
But Eastern Europe is not the only area where war warnings exist. WesPac is a potential point of conflict as well. Finally, someone in the Pentagon and Washington is looking westward instead of eastward.
During his trip to Japan, President Obama publicly affirmed long-standing U.S. policy that the bilateral security treaty applies to the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands. China claims sovereignty over the islands and, in recent years, has tried to intimidate Japan—much as Beijing has bullied the Philippines in pursuit of its extralegal territorial claims in the South China Sea.
President Obama’s statement was a welcome and proper confirmation of U.S. support for a critical Pacific ally.
During a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Obama declared, “let me reiterate that our treaty commitment to Japan’s security is absolute, and Article 5 [of the bilateral security treaty] covers all territories under Japan’s administration, including the Senkaku Islands.”
While this was the first time Obama publicly affirmed the parameters of the U.S. defense commitment to Japan, it is consistent with the long-standing policies of his predecessors. As Obama pointed out, “this isn’t a ‘red line’ that I’m drawing; it is the standard interpretation over multiple administrations of the terms of the alliance…There’s no shift in position. There’s no “red line” that’s been drawn. We’re simply applying the treaty.”
In 2004, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage stated that the U.S.-Japan Mutual Security Treaty “would require any attack on Japan, or the administrative territories under Japanese control, to be seen as an attack on the United States.”
During a 2010 flare-up of tensions between China and Japan over the Senkakus, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated, “we have made it very clear that the [Senkaku] islands are part of our mutual treaty obligations, and the obligation to defend Japan
The Obama administration’s public reassurance to Japan is meant to deter China from behaving aggressively. In recent years, Beijing has used military and economic threats, bombastic language, and enforcement through military bullying to extend its extra-legal claims of sovereignty in the East and South China Seas.
In November 2013, China declared an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) over the East China Sea, including the Senkaku Islands. Beijing threatened to use its military to enforce the ADIZ. Washington condemned this declaration as a provocative act that exacerbated tensions in the region and increased the risks of a military clash.
Beijing is also attempting to divert attention from its own actions by mischaracterizing Japan as a threat to regional security. China’s bellicose actions have fueled regional concern and triggered a greater Japanese willingness confront Chinese expansionism and strengthen its military. This willingness to defend its territory has been mischaracterized as a resurgence of Japan’s 1930s imperial militarism.
One of Japan’s problems isn’t with Chinese aggression. Their problem is toothless assurances from the United States when a significant portion of the US Naval Fleet…is along dockside, awaiting repairs, upgrades, or lacking the funding to return to the fleet.
According to sources, there are 430 ships believed to be in active service. That includes ships under construction and in reserve. The majority of these ships were built in the late 20th Century, some dating as far back as the 1960s. The Fleet is aging.
USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), USS Enterprise (CVN 65), USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), and USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) — Norfolk Naval Yard, December 2012.
During the Bush years, we had twelve carriers afloat, each carrier being the center of a battlegroup. That number has been reduced to ten. The photo to the left, taken over the Christmas and New Years holidays in 2012. Reduced those battlegroups on the high seas, from ten to five for a short period.
With those ship’s crews on leave for the holidays, how quickly could they have responded if the Chinese chose to ignore the treaty between Japan and the US? My guess would be a month to retrieve the crews, top off consumables and sail to the trouble area.
Does Obama’s, Kerry’s and Hillery’s statements affirming that US/Japanese alliance hold water? I don’t know. The question really is, does the Chinese believe it does.
Clive Bundy is in the news again. He stepped in it, big time. He had an interview with a reporter from the New York Times. The NYT did it’s usual hatchet-job, taking Bundy’s words out of context, changing the order, doing their usual job putting Bundy in the worse light possible. The MSM took it an ran with it.
In the end, Bundy did say those things. However his statements does not change the facts about the BLM’s aggression and overt attempts of land grabbing.
In response to the NYT interview, this column appeared in The American Thinker.
By J.R. Dunn, April 28, 2014
It has become clear that Cliven Bundy was transgressed by the New York Times, his words taken out of context and retailed in such a way as to mean something they were not. Bundy is no racist, and the attempt to make him look like one is another step downward in the collapse of American national media.
But conservatives still have a right — in fact, a responsibility — to be annoyed with Bundy.
To wit: Bundy did not walk, not stumble, did not swerve into the trap set by the New York Times. He was not ambushed, he was not taken by surprise. He instead ran full tilt and threw himself into that trap, exactly like the kid at the end of Million Dollar Hotel.
Bundy sat across from a reporter for the NYT, the most vicious, calculating, untrustworthy, and dishonest nest of vipers in the entire U.S. media network, and talked straight to him about matters of import and controversy, under the impression that he would understand and transmit his thoughts the way that he actually expressed them.
Nobody, a full century into the progressive era, seventy years into the epoch of big government, and fifty years after the mass media turned anti-American as a matter of course, has any right to do this. Nobody has a right to be that stupid, to be that ill-informed, or to be that self-centered.
Granted that Bundy, a lifetime Nevada rancher, is not the epitome of sophistication. He is not the typical Times reader, even for Nevada. He may well have never held a copy of the paper in his hands, much less read it. But that’s no excuse, because the status and nature of the New York Times has become a truism of American political culture. It is the bastion of left-wing thought in the media, the source from which everyone else takes their cue. In conservative circles, it’s what amounts to a punchline.
Bundy must have heard of this, at least vaguely. And yet he went out, and kindly loaded up Adam Nagourney’s pistol for him, then turned around, took his hat off, and waited for the bullet. The living portrait of middle-American conservatism in the 21st century.
How many times does this have to happen? How many Todd Akins do we need giving bizarre lectures on female biology exactly as if he knew what he was talking about? How many O’Donnells do we need providing ammunition to Bill Maher? How many Mourdocks? Even Sarah Palin, one of smartest political figures we’ve got, fell for this her first time out. (Granted, she was given plenty of help by McCain’s staff.)
I have been interviewed by newspaper reporters several dozen times in my various careers in business, writing, and conservative politics. How many times was I quoted correctly? Not once. Not a single time. Reporters typically mangle quotes, misunderstand what you’re saying, shift contexts, or deliberately rearrange statements to make them work the way they want. (And there’s nothing you can do about this. Once you speak to a reporter, what you have said is the newspaper’s property. That’s right. Your words no longer belong to you — according to their interpretation. Your statement is theirs, to do with as they see fit, with no input from you, the schmuck who merely spoke the words. Of course, there’s no legal backing for this whatsoever. But there’s no legal backing for airline baggage handlers destroying expensive musical instruments. Yet they still get away with it.) The first time you see this it’s annoying. The second time it’s infuriating. The third time it’s expected.
Why do they do this? Not necessarily out of maliciousness or stupidity. (Though that’s true often enough.) It’s the culture. The idea that newspapers are there to print “facts,” Who-what-where -when-and-why, is mythology gone with Jimmy Olsen and His Gal Friday. Today, reporters work with certain formats, to which they are expected to fit any related story. One such concept is “every conservative is a hate-filled, fanatic Neanderthal.” A corollary of this is “All Nevada ranchers are demented racists.”
Papers higher on the food chain, along with magazines and broadcast and cable networks, have agendas which these stereotypical patterns are used to support. I doubt I need to detail the nature of these agendas.
From these realities certain rules can be derived.
1) These people are not on your side.
2) Anything you say can and will be used against you.
3) Nothing you say will ever be used to support your position (or any conservative position at all.)
So what can we do in this situation? A friend of mine long experienced in public relations puts it very simply: you tell them exactly what you want them to say in the exact words that you want them to say it with. No ambiguity, no complications, no diversions. Then you stop. You don’t say any more. You add nothing. You don’t answer their questions. Their questions are not intended to shed light on your ideas or to develop detail. They are meant to trip you up and that is all. Anybody who acts as if they are truly interested in what you think about them there Negroes or legitimate rape is speaking as the enemy. You don’t feed them. You don’t hand them the weapon to strike you down with. You say “good afternoon” and turn on your heel.
The article continues at the website. It is a lesson to be learned. The media are not our friends, regardless of the medium and the reputation of the reporter. You are always on record and the media, like rapacious piranha, are waiting to feed upon you.
Politicians and candidates take note. Be careful what you say. If you are a conservative, the bottom-feeders are waiting for you to make a mistake or to misspeak.