Adonis Diaries

Archive for November 11th, 2011

How serious is a preemptive military attack on Iran?

US State Secretary Hilary Clinton has recently published a lengthy essay in Foreign Affairs Journal on the future policies of the US.  The US is to focus its energy and investment on eastern Asia, from India onward to Japan and Australia, where over 35% of world population is located and where 65% of world economy is concentrated.  Half the world population will live there by 2020!

Russia is barely mentioned. Why? It appears to the US policy makers that Europe, which reached the cash cow declining cycle for the US economic interests, according to the majority of the US Think Tanks scholars, will rely heavily on Russia potentials for exporting 50% of Europe’s needs in energy, particularly gas, and the investment potentials in Russia natural resources… Let Russia, China, Brazil…buy the scrap parts of Europe’s industries and enterprises…The European university graduates and scholars have but one way out: Going west to the USA.  That’s how the US is considering the situation in the European Union States

This new trend in US strategic policies is sending a strong message that the current obstacle for the executing of the plan is to confronting Nuclear Iran.  The idea is that, as long as Iran is intent on acquiring nuclear weapons, the entire Middle-East, with its vast oil potentials, will be hostage to Islamic Iran hegemony.  Consequently, if diplomatic endeavors reach a dead-end, then a preemptive military attacks on Iran nuclear installations must be contemplated.

For example, if Iran was already nuclear, do you think that the US will be so persistent on deposing Bashar of Syria, without agreement with Iran?

It is to be noted that Iran has the military potential to close-off the Arab/Iranian sea strait for any oil shipping tankers…The US will be tempted to go it all out in the war because Iran does not need very sophisticated weapons to deter oil tankers from approaching the strait to replenish in Saudi Arabia oil and Qatar liquefied gas.

Russia will gain the most from “reducing” Iranian military might. Why? All Iranian oil and gas export will have to use the land pipelines linking Russia to China and Russia to Europe… In addition, Iran will purchase more heavy military hardware from Russia…Iran will inevitably become Russia sphere of influence for long time.

China is the main country exporting nuclear equipment to Iran and importing 50% of its oil and gas from Iran. But this is not a problem to China.  The negotiations between the US and China are to iron out two sticky difficulties:

First, China wants full guarantees that Iran oil infrastructures will not be damaged in the war, and that Iranian oil be permitted to reach China through the Russia/China pipeline across the central Asian States. Exports of Chinese products should not be included in any embargo or economic sanctions.

Second, the US wants full guarantees that oil prices will stay affordable during the war, until a peace treaty is signed, and that shortages in oil and gas export to Japan and the rest of the developed States be covered by China and Russia.

The US can unilaterally destroy Iranian nuclear facilities and ensure airspace security for aerial attacks.  The question remains: How far is Islamic Iran willing to suffer in order to keeping the strait closed-off for oil shipment?

In any case, Iran will eventually win in the medium-term, regardless of military damages. Why? The US wants out of this Greater Middle-East nightmare region, and this is not possible until Iran obtain hegemony over the Island Emirate States of Bahrain and Qatar, and possibly, a percentage on Saudi Arabia oil production. Iran will demand and obtain these conditions in order for the US to succeed a negotiated peace treaty. Mind you that destroying nuclear facilities does not mean that Iran will feel pressured to kneel under any conditions.  Maybe Iran welcomes a preemptive attack in order to shake off its internal problems and acquire a few more friends, and strengthen its influence in Iraq and Afghanistan…

So why launch this preemptive war if any regime in Iran will invariably be Islamic? What’s all this fuss again?

Cluster bombs usage should be illegal internationally: US beg to differ!

Within days, the US could push through a new law to allow the use of cluster bombs. It is a banned lethal weapon that kills children in playgrounds years after wars have ended.Why Obama is taking this nasty decision Not to prohibit cluster bombs?

Slightly more than two months after he was awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, President Obama secretly ordered a cruise missile attack on Yemen, using cluster bombs, which killed 44 innocent civilians, including 14 women and 21 children, as well as 14 people alleged to be “militants.”  Obama is taking a preemptive step against eventually be called to face an International tribunal for crimes against humanity! Obama had signed a long list of  2,000 “criminal terrorists” to liquidate using drones. About 250 drone attacks have been carried out since Obama took office.

But if we build a massive campaign now, we can persuade other governments to stop the US move and eradicate the usage of these weapons.

In August 11, 2006, Israel peppered south Lebanon by over 4 million cluster bombs, two days before the UN had decided for a cease fire.  These bombs were shipped by air from a Scottish military depot by order of Tony Blair PM.  This is the same Blair whom Bush Junior appointed to head of the quartite formed by (US, Russia, EU, and the UN) to negotiate establishing two States in Palestine.

The purpose of polluting south Lebanon with cluster bombs was to prevent the citizens from returning to their homes and fields! The Lebanese returned anyway: the day the UN voted for a cease fire, by all means available, on foot, on bicycle…and didn’t care for any warning to wait for any official order to return

Since 2006, Lebanese children are being killed and maimed, and funding for the removal of these cluster bombs are dwindling.  Barely a third of the affected land was cleared.

Ahmad picked up a bright metal object in a park where he was celebrating his 5th birthday in Lebanon. It was an unexploded cluster bomblet, which blew up in his face, killing him slowly in front of his family.

Three years ago, public pressure pushed through a ban of these cruel bombs. But now, the US is lobbying nations to quietly sign a new law that allows their use — signing the death warrant for thousands of other children. Most countries are still on the fence on how to vote. Only if we raise the alarm across the world can we shame our governments to block this deadly decision.

Positions are being drawn up now. We only have days until countries meet to send our leaders a clear message: stand up for the cluster bombs ban and keep our children safe. Click on and sign the petition — it will be delivered directly to delegates at the Geneva conference.

Thousands of people — many of them children — have been maimed or killed by these bombs. When they are fired, they spray small “bomblets” over a wide area, many of which fail to explode. Years later, people disturb them in their fields or school playgrounds not knowing what they are, and they explode.

In 2008, over half of the world’s governments outlawed these weapons by signing the Convention on Cluster Munitions. But now, shockingly, countries like France, Germany, Italy, Sweden and the UK, who all signed the Convention, are under pressure from the US, China and Russia to run rings round the ban by signing a separate agreement that would allow them to use cluster munitions. Only Norway, Mexico, Austria and a few others are fighting this horror.

Negotiators at the Convention on Conventional Weapons meet in Geneva next week. Most governments don’t really want this protocol and have not said which way they will vote, but they are under severe pressure from the US to comply and will only object if the global public persuades them.

There’s no time to lose — the conference starts on Monday. Let’s call on our governments to reject this deadly and cynical US campaign to legalize cluster killing.

Cluster bombs and land mines were banned because citizens raised the alarm across the world — with victims and survivors leading the way. For their sakes and to ensure no more lives are lost, let’s not allow these cruel weapons back and join together now to demand a more peaceful world.

As concerned citizens we call on you to do all in your power to stop cluster bombs being used. Over 100 governments have agreed to ban these indiscriminate weapons. The Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons that will be negotiated in the coming days must align with this ban, ensuring cluster munitions are comprehensively outlawed and innocent children protected.

Click on and sign the petition — it will be delivered directly to delegates at the Geneva conference.

Sign the urgent petition to save our children now!

Ethics that Japanese women must submit to…

In “Trembling and Quavering”, the French author Amelie Nothomb, listed 12 ethical standards that Japanese women had to submit to in the 1990’s

The Japanese fathers have an inkling of giving infinitive verbs for names to their boys such as “Work”; whereas females receive poetic names such as “Snow”, Rain”, or “Flower”.

Here is a list of prescriptions that women have to follow to the letters:

  1. If you are not married by the age of 25 then you have good reasons to be ashamed.
  2. If you laugh then you will not be distinguished.
  3. If your face shows feelings then you are vulgar.
  4. If you mention that you have a single hair on your body then you are vile.
  5. If a boy kisses you in public on the cheek then you are a whore.
  6. If you eat with pleasure then you are a sow.
  7. If you experience pleasure sleeping then you are a cow.
  8. If you go to the toilet for body releases then make sure nobody hear anything.
  9. You should never sweat  Thus avoid voluptuous love making.
  10. You should not marry for love.
  11. If you fall in love then you were not educated well.
  12. Stay thin because males do not appreciate round shapes in the body

All the sufferings in sticking to these precepts have the sole objective for women to preserving their honor, and nothing else. I am wondering: “Had these tenuous precepts changed since then? Particularly after the Fukushima nuclear disaster?”

How about listing the precepts of the Saudi Wahhabi Moslem sect for virtuous women and how they should behave?

How much your earning grew in the last 3 decades?

The Congressional Budget Office reported that average inflation-adjusted after-tax income grew by 275 percent for the 1% of the population with the highest income. For others in the top 20 percent of the population, average real after-tax household income grew by 65 percent.  By contrast, the poorest fifth of the population, average real after-tax household income rose 18 percent.  And for the three-fifths of people in the middle of the income scale, the growth in such household income was just under 40 percent.

These numbers or ratios and percentages hide the magnitude of the problem.  For example, suppose a household was earning $40,000 three decades ago, and this earning after-tax was considered more than sufficient for the standard of living at the time, do you believe that earning $55,000 today has the same value in standard of living?

I don’t know how the Congressional Budget Office computed the “average inflation-adjusted” thing, but I suspect this value is vastly under-reported.  For example, inflation since the end of WWII was consistently maintained at 4% every year, simply to wipe out by 50% the huge debt incurred during the war and the subsequent large federal budgets.  It appear that after the 1980’s, this inflation was reduced to 3% for political reasons.  A 3% inflation rate over 30 years is not just 90% to adjust, but it is cumulative.  Do the math, since you know that 10% interest on credit card expenses easily reaches 30% by the time you managed to pay off your debt, if you ever could manage it.  The real inflation-adjusted rate in the last three decades could easily be over 200%.

Maybe the top 20% richest classes maintained the same standard of living, but the lower middle class and the poorest class have witnessed drastic lowering of their standard of living, regardless of the fictitious increase that the report would like you to believe. These numbers obviously exclude owners of enterprises and the members of their board of directors who are paid on total revenues and not on after-tax profit.

This introduction is in response to the article published by ROBERT PEAR in the New York Times, under the title “Top Earners Doubled Share of Nation’s Income, Study Finds” (with slight editing and rearrangement):

“WASHINGTON — The Congressional Budget Office , in a new report, said Tuesday: “The top 1 percent of earners more than doubled their share of the nation’s income over the last three decades…Government policy has become less redistributive since the late 1970s, doing less to reduce the concentration of income…”  This report is likely to figure prominently in the escalating political fight over how to revive the economy, create jobs and lower the federal debt. 

Hans Pennink/Associated Press.
Charmaine Marriott was a long way from Wall Street, but sympathy for the protesters there led her to make her own statement in Albany last week.

The budget office said “The equalizing effect of federal taxes was smaller in 2007 than in 1979 as the composition of federal revenues shifted away from progressive income taxes to less-progressive payroll taxes…Federal benefit payments are doing less to even out the distribution of income, as a growing share of benefits, like Social Security, goes to older Americans, regardless of their income…”

The report, which was requested several years ago, was issued as lawmakers tussle over how to reduce unemployment, a joint committee of Congress weighs changes in the tax code and protesters around the country rail against disparities in income between rich and poor.

The budget office found that from 1979 to 2007, average inflation-adjusted after-tax income grew by 275 percent for the 1% of the population with the highest income. For others in the top 20 percent of the population, average real after-tax household income grew by 65 percent.

By contrast, the poorest fifth of the population, average real after-tax household income rose 18 percent.  And for the three-fifths of people in the middle of the income scale, the growth in such household income was just under 40 percent.

The findings, based on a rigorous analysis of data from the Internal Revenue Service and the Census Bureau, are generally consistent with studies by some private researchers and academic economists. But because they carry the imprimatur of the nonpartisan budget office, they are likely to have a major impact on the debate in Congress over the fairness of federal tax and spending policies.

Factors contributing to the rapid growth of income at the top were the structure of executive compensation; high salaries for some “superstars” in sports and the arts; the increasing size of the financial services industry; and the growing role of capital gains, which go disproportionately to higher-income households.

Higher-income households got a larger share of the pie, while other households got smaller shares. Specifically the report made these points:

1) The share of after-tax household income for the top 1 percent of the population more than doubled, climbing to 17 percent in 2007 from nearly 8 percent in 1979.

2) The most affluent fifth of the population received 53 percent of after-tax household income in 2007, up from 43 percent in 1979. In other words, the after-tax income of the most affluent fifth exceeded the income of the other four-fifths of the population.

3) People in the lowest fifth of the population received about 5 percent of after-tax household income in 2007, down from 7 percent in 1979.

4) People in the middle three-fifths of the population saw their shares of after-tax income decline by 2 to 3 percentage points from 1979 to 2007.

On Tuesday, the White House endorsed another bill, which is likely to be passed by the House this week with bipartisan support. The bill would repeal a requirement for federal, state and local government agencies to withhold 3 percent of certain payments to suppliers of goods and services and to deposit the money with the Internal Revenue Service.

This requirement was originally adopted as a tax-compliance measure, and the Congressional Budget Office said its repeal would reduce federal revenues by $11 billion over 10 years.

House Republicans would offset the cost with a bill that reduces federal spending on Medicaid under the 2010 health care law. The White House said it supported the bill, intended to fix an apparent error in the law, under which hundreds of thousands of middle-income early retirees can get Medicaid coverage meant for the poor.

The joint Congressional committee on deficit reduction is considering changes in a wide range of benefit programs.” End of article

Consider the following data:

Lower middle class American have only 6% left of their income, which is $55 a week, after the expenses on Housing,  Food, Gas and Transportation, and Healthcare are taken care of,  to cover other necessities in life, debt, and savings. For example,

In the past decade:

1. housing now accounts for 50% of spending

2. food has tripled

3.  gas/oil has doubled

4.  healthcare has doubled

Income is stagnant and has only risen by 17% . Double the amount of people are unemployed. Today, the average family of four:

Makes an income of $42,028 a year; spends 94% of income on housing, food, gas/transportation, and healthcare (HFGH); cannot afford to put enough money toward investments, savings, or debt/loan repayment.


Note 1: The study was requested by Senators Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana and chairman of the Finance Committee, and Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, when he was the senior Republican on the panel. Representative Sander M. Levin of Michigan, the senior Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee, said the report was “the latest evidence of the alarming rise in income inequality.”

Note 2: House Republicans pushed back Tuesday against President Obama’s complaint that they were blocking bills to create jobs. Speaker John A. Boehner said he agreed with Mr. Obama’s new slogan, “we can’t wait,” and he said that 15 House-passed bills were “sitting over in the Senate, waiting for action.”

Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 House Democrat, said Tuesday that he was hopeful but not entirely confident that the panel would succeed in reaching a bipartisan agreement to reduce federal deficits by $1.2 trillion over 10 years.  “Hopeful is not confident,” Mr. Hoyer said.




November 2011

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