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The Atomic Rose

April 28th, 2014 - 4:49 am

What’s in a name?

Foreign Policy in an article titled “An Intercontinental Ballistic Missile by any Other Name” says that “since 2011, there has been growing evidence that Russia is violating the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which bans missiles with a range between 500 and 5,500 kilometers.”  Fortunately Obama is on the job.

To its credit, the Obama administration has apparently raised these issues privately with the Russians for some time — but to no avail. …

But Russia’s new nuclear weapons do pose a political problem. Moscow’s ability to threaten capitals throughout NATO represents a challenge to the cohesion of the alliance. Although Western Europe has never been invulnerable to Russian nuclear forces, the elimination of the SS-20 dramatically reduced the threat to Western Europe. Russia’s new missiles put that threat back into place, exacerbating a fundamental uncertainty about the alliance: Is Germany willing to risk Berlin for Riga? Is the Netherlands willing to risk Amsterdam for Tallinn?…

So what should Washington do now?…

As a first step, it’s time to make Moscow’s cheating a public matter. …

That should change. State should make very clear what it is the Russians have done, how Washington views that compliance, and whatever excuses the Russians are offering for their sorry behavior.

But may be the phrase ‘cheating’ would be a bad choice. That would be like calling the European observers now held prisoner by militias in Eastern Ukraine ‘hostages’, which would exacerbate tensions. What’s in a name?

NBC News reports on something called a Japanese nuclear ‘Bomb in a Basement’. Of course it’s not really a bomb. As Robert Windrem writes, “technical ability doesn’t equate to a bomb”. But it’s close.

Experts suggest getting from raw plutonium to a nuclear weapon could take as little as six months after the political decision to go forward. A senior U.S. official familiar with Japanese nuclear strategy said the six-month figure for a country with Japan’s advanced nuclear engineering infrastructure was not out of the ballpark, and no expert gave an estimate of more than two years.

Japan now has 9 tons of plutonium stockpiled at several locations in Japan and another 35 tons stored in France and the U.K. The material is enough to create 5,000 nuclear bombs. The country also has 1.2 tons of enriched uranium.

Moreover Japan’s building a new plant that will make plutonium on a far larger scale. Another NBC News story says.

Rokkasho, Japan — With its turquoise-striped walls and massive steel cooling towers, the new industrial complex rising from bluffs above the Pacific Ocean looks like it might produce consumer electronics.

But in reality the plant 700 kilometers north of Tokyo is one of the world’s newest, largest and most controversial production facilities for a nuclear explosive material. The factory’s private owners said three months ago that after several decades of construction, it will be ready to open in October, as part of a government-supported effort to create special fuel for the country’s future nuclear power plants. …

When the plant is operating at full capacity, it’s supposed to produce 8 metric tons of plutonium annually. That’s enough to make an estimated 2,600 nuclear weapons, each with the explosive force of 20,000 tons of TNT.

That’s a lot of potential firepower and naturally the Chinese are suspicious.

Steve Fetter, formerly the Obama White House’s assistant director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, thinks China’s concerns are not purely political.

“I’ve had private discussions with China in which they ask, ‘Why does Japan have all this plutonium that they have no possible use for?’ I say they made have made a mistake and are left with a huge stockpile,” said Fetter, now a professor at the University of Maryland. “But if you were distrustful, then you see it through a different lens.”

So to allay these baseless fears the Obama administration is persuading Japan to turn it over to the US. “Pressure has been growing on Japan to dump some of the trappings of its deterrent regardless. The U.S. wants Japan to return 331 kilos of weapons grade plutonium – enough for between 40 and 50 weapons – that it supplied during the Cold War. Japan and the U.S. are expected to sign a deal for the return at a nuclear security summit next week in the Netherlands.”

The US is also working on getting South Korea to turn over any nuclear material to Washington. “There are fears that if Japan opens the Rakkosho plant, it will encourage South Korea to go the same route as its neighbor. The U.S. and South Korea have been negotiating a new civilian nuclear cooperation pact. The South wants to reprocess plutonium, but the U.S. is resisting providing cooperation or U.S. nuclear materials.”

Which only proves the sagacity of Washington. Having one nuclear armed country on the Korean peninsula is bad enough. Two would be disastrous. Anyway as NBC News points out that “Japan signed the international Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which bans it from developing nuclear weapons, more than 40 years ago.”  And Russia signed an arms control treaty with the US.  So despite the so-called ICBM in development there’s nothing to worry about.

Recently some concern was raised about the fact that the administration never defined the term “al-Qaeda” before declaring victory over it.  But rest assured those arms control and nuclear nonproliferation treaties are very carefully worded. Only the best attorneys were employed drafting them. It’s wonderful to live in a world run by lawyers, who by mastering the word, master reality; and financiers, who by printing paper, create money. What’s in a name?

What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,
Retain that dear perfection which he owe
Without that title.

Names are everything to the Obama administration. How sad it is that Russia, Japan and South Korea show so little faith in parsed words on paper or in words spoken from the teleprompter. It’s almost as if in their doubt they’re putting their stock in actual things and leaving the palaver to Obama.

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Top Rated Comments   
Well, Wretchard, as I posted in the previous article and as we all know, Obama's sworn word, written or otherwise means nothing. The people of the Ukraine have already learned that sworn promises expressly stated in writing (as in the Budepest Memorandum) are nothing to Obama. One must consider Obamas actions, not his words. Obama has:

1. Crippled US ballistic missile defense programs, withdrawn defensive systems from Europe at Russian insistance and cuts funding for land and sea based defense systems alike.

2. Continues to cut US nuclear deterrent weapons, cuts money for stockpile maintenance and steadfastly refuses to perform any actual live tests.

By these actions Obama has made the posession and use of nuclear weapons much more desireable - because aggressor states know now that Obama does not value US nuclear weapons and will not use them. So, for all practical purposes the US nuclear umbrella has been folded.

In all honesty, I would be advising EVERY country now under threat from aggressor states armed with nuclear weapons to build and deploy their own deterrents as fast as they can. Not just Japn and South Korea, but Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Poland, the Baltic States, etc; etc; After all, if the Hegemon is not going to protect you, you had better get ready to protect yourself.

A world without nuclear weapons? No, a world where nuclear weapons are more valueble than ever before. A world of nuclear armed states, nervoulsy fearing attack from others, some of which (Pakistan? Saudi Arabia? Turkey? ) may some day become Islamic Fascist states as Iran already is. The chances of accidental launch, nuclear terrorism, even regional nuclear war will of course be correspondingly higher.

As for Obama and those who voted for him, I have only one thing to say: THAT is the entirely foreseeable outcome of your policies. Do not say this was not your intention. And may you enjoy the world you are willing into being, you bloody fools.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'll state the obvious:
Obama uses American power to bully and disarm friends, but will do nothing substantive to stop enemies from both arming and aggressive acts.

Draw your own conclusions.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
Words. I am not a lawyer, but have spent a career in contract law. When one writes a letter concerning contractural obligations I have learned the hard way the the fewer and more direct the words the better.

"The sky is blue." as a statement of fact is better than "The sky is azure blue." The adjective being much more subject to sophist's parsing. This is especially true when the fact is a little tenous.

Lawyer's btw, up to and especially including judges, actually believe they can understand the facts no matter how technically complex, while the practitioners of a given field are reluctant to stray from their own plot (excepting Actors, Liiberal Arts PhDs and MDs)
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (120)
All Comments   (120)
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Asphalt Potatoe: "U.S. banks are wasting the Federal Reserve’s largesse."

Depends on the definition of "largesse", as Billie Clinton would have said. Largesse implies giving away something that one has worked hard to acquire. The Fed shipping digital dollars they made up today to their politically well-connected friends sounds more like Fascism than Largesse.

But that aside, "waste" is also in the eye of the beholder. Most human beings act in what they perceive to be their own best interests. The British teenage girl who spreads her legs to get the amazing benefits that Brits shower upon unmarried mothers is being rational, gaining an income far in excess of what she could earn by hard work; the politician who deplores the explosion of single motherhood but expands the benefits some more is not being rational, unless he sees single mothers as a captive voting block.

Let's stipulate that Wall Street Bankers are at least as bright as pregnant teenagers. If the bankers find it makes more sense to take newly printed Quantitative Easing and deposit it back with the Federal Reserve to gain risk free interest, there probably is a good reason for it. Notice that most of those unreal QE dollars end up subsidizing FedGov, to the benefit of the Political Class.

Democrats have given us Fascism, pure & simple. And the Institutional Republicans have gone along. This is how societies die.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
OT. Marie Claude. You frequently comment about the power of WS banks. While banks are very important and powerful, they are not nearly so powerful in the US as in Europe.
There are 6,799 banks in the US (FDIC Feb. 2014). Some of these banks are Federally chartered and regulated, others are State chartered and regulated.
While the larger banks own and operate many other financial services (brokerage houses, etc.) the pure banking portion of their business activity is requred to be held separate from those activities with co-mingling of resources more or less constrained.
It is true the the five largest 'Banks' in the US equal about 50% of the business, but as above, these are Bank Holding Companies wherein banking is a smaller subset of the entire balance sheet.

Restating, banks and bankers are important in the US, as everywhere, but they are not nearly so powerful as some would have you believe. It is all part of the US Imperialism Agiprop foisted on the world. It is done by equating US practices with the practices of Europe or even the 3rd world, where the local banker carries great power and influence, by blood and money.

In the US Banks are not even allowed to be owned by a single individual/ family. Most of us do not use one of the big banks, but have our money closer to home.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
I have recently been reading “British Security Coordination: The Secret History of British Intelligence in the Americas, 1940-1945”. It documents British intelligence, counterintelligence, and propaganda efforts in the Americas for that period, including British interference in American internal politics. It also documents how Nazi Germany interfered with not only American internal politics, but how German companies cleverly used business deals to undermine American preparations for war.

This document does not refer to any cabal of “Wall Street bankers” promoting Axis power; if there had been such a conspiracy, this report would probably have said something about it. The “unofficial” British document does refer to extensive cooperation between Standard Oil of New Jersey and I G Farben; the cooperation was so close that the two corporations basically acted as one organization. Discovering and publicizing this cooperation was a major triumph for British intelligence.

For anybody who hasn't read this book, I highly recommend it. It was published in 1998 (in 1999 in the United States), so it is not a secret. (Well, not anymore...)
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Ford Corporation and General Motors had important subsidiaries in Nazi Germany; Ford also ran an automobile plant in Nizhny Novgorod in cooperation with the Soviet Union. Gorkovsky Avtomobilny Zav is hardly proof that the Ford Corporation was a Communist front, although such a deal does suggest that the Ford Corporation was rapaciously capitalist. Industrialists (of any nationality) tend to be focused upon generating revenue regardless of the ideological persuasions of governmental leaders. Morals only makes sense for an industrialist if morality pays for itself; otherwise, industrialists tend to regard morality as a luxury.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
And somehow, FDR replaced virtually every vehicle in Stalin's USSR, over 600,000 of them, but was not Stalin's ally. Right. He wanted to save Jews or something, sure.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
Marie Claude, I responded to your note below.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
AP says:
“As to the Keynesian nature of Military spending is it the “most Keynesian”? No! Building things that explode have little multiplier effect when compared to, say, the multiples one can get through US located infrastructure. “

The short answer is that not everything military goes bang. Personally I think Keynesian is a limited effect not a complete system of economic theory. Paul Krugman would advise us that military spending is effective that preparing for a non-existent attack from space aliens would be a boon to the economy and Nancy Pelosi in the same vein has informed us that unemployment checks were not just charity but a boon to the economy as well. I don't agree with either of them but believe that you reward those things in the economy that you want to keep and a ship building industry seems like a no brainer as far as strategic industries are concerned. Our economy from academia to aerospace is deeply entangled in politics so we have corporate welfare. Too much of it.

Then there are the other intangibles of economic side effects from military spending that lay the foundation for the internet, laser eye surgery, and so many others. Grant it we may not collectively want these things in our society but spending your future productivity in borrowed and printed money to pay off pensions and social costs for today is simply unsustainable. Think about it, children born 5 years from now will be paying taxes to pay the interest on dollars borrowed today to fund Cash for Clunkers. All of this will lead to an uneasy peace or war.

So the answer to everything is to have the economic health to do it and pulling the plug out of the economy you have so you can create a new state economy which would give you total control is no democratic answer. It is a Chavez style tyranny but it may not be possible to be king of the dung heap in the US, not with potentially 100 million armed combatants ready to break things and kill people in a futile attempt to undo the harm. In the end all that can be hoped for is bloody vengeance against your near enemies, those who crashed the system through preaching communism and sucking the coffers dry with illegally awarded pensions. You might want to rethink your disdain for the military. They may be all that stand between you and the 100 million people that you loathe.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes, definitely not everything military goes bang and there are multiplying spin-offs from the military spend that are good. One wants the maximum bang for the buck though and I'm not convinced that, from a Keynesian point of view, the military spend gives it - there are a lot of fat cats piling up heaps of money running defense industries creating multi-dollar toilet seats ect. At least a welfare check gets wholly spent in the economy as opposed to stashed in an off-shore account, or, better still, becoming on-shore 'dead money'.

I think we agree that bringing the US federal budget closer to balance would be a good thing, lessening the deleterious effects of the printing press (heavily buffered by reserve currency status). The military spend is a HUGE proportion of the budget so a continual increase in that budget item shouldn't be in the cards, rather that budget item, as well as the others, should be held constant or decreased while increased revenues raised. Tis a tough situation but it is the situation we find ourselves in.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
Just for clarity, here is a pie chart of DISCRETIONARY Federal spending for FY 2014. The "Defense" category includes everything that can be included such as VA, etc. Discretionary spending means that it is subject to annual changes by Congress [in theory, actually Congress has lost the power of the purse] And yes, it looks huge at 57%. But that is because almost everything else automatically increases by statute, and is outside even theoretical control unless Congress starts abolishing entire departments and programs.

Democrats and their Leftist allies point to that chart.

Here is the chart of the ratio of Discretionary spending to Non-Discretionary spending.

So all Defense spending is actually 57% of 30% of Federal spending, or 17.1% of all Federal spending. We are taxed and indebted based on the second chart, not the first. Looking at the total figure, there are a lot of places where cuts could be made, however that would break rice bowls which is more important to the ruling class than defending the country.

The Defense segment still includes ALL aspects of defense, and is affected by the fact that we no longer pay our troops a few hundred a month. The variables of defense purchases are a much smaller part of that unless you are willing to cut the size of the armed forces even more. Numerically, we have reduced our military to PRE-WW II levels, and the world is getting busier, which has been our topic here for some time.

I would note that if you look at the Quantitive Easing program alone; which funnels vast sums created out of thin air by the Federal Reserve, to cronies of the regime who then kick back part of that money to the regime's political machine, it dwarfs the defense budget. And the Multiplier Effect of that slush fund is negative. We lose ground economically with every dollar of QE.

Somewhere near O'Toole's Corollary to Murphy's Law there has to be reference to The First Rule of Holes. I note that the other 6 Rules apply also.

Subotai Bahadur

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43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment

USDA Made $6.2 Billion in Improper Payments Last Year
Failed to comply with law to avoid fraudulent payments for third year in a row

The report noted that the agency runs more than 300 programs, spending $159 billion a year. Sixteen of those programs are considered “high-risk” for waste, fraud, and abuse, including the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), which administers food stamps, and the school breakfast and lunch programs.

The School Breakfast Program had the highest rate for improper payments in 2013, with over a quarter of all disbursements being incorrect. The 25.26 percent of improper payments amounted to $831 million, of which $716 million were overpayments to schools.

The lunch program was not much better, as 15.69 percent of their payments were improper, amounting to $1.8 billion.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps, issued $2.6 billion in improper payments, and 65.92 percent of the errors were “agency-caused.” More than $2 billion were overpayments.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
One should note that the primary bulk of newly printed money from QE has not made it into the general economy but rather sits on the Banks balance sheets:

"U.S. banks wasting Fed’s $2.7-trillion of stimulus
Martin Hutchinson
NEW YORK — Reuters
Published Tuesday, Apr. 29 2014, 12:19 PM EDT
Last updated Tuesday, Apr. 29 2014, 12:19 PM EDT

U.S. banks are wasting the Federal Reserve’s largesse. The central bank has swollen the cash balances at financial institutions with quantitative easing, but loan growth has not even kept pace with nominal GDP.

The numbers are stark. Since March of 2008, the Fed has increased its holdings of Treasury and federally-backed mortgage securities to $4-trillion (U.S.) from $700-billion. To pay for these, it mostly printed money. More technically, it provided banks with $2.7-trillion of new reserves, according to St. Louis Fed data.
The banks didn’t use the funds to stimulate the economy. Commercial and industrial loans, the principal driver of sustainable expansion, have increased by about 12 per cent, to $1.7-trillion. Consumer debt has jumped 44 per cent, but accounts for a smaller piece of the pie. The banks could have afforded such slow paces of loan growth, well below the 16-per-cent increase in nominal GDP, without any help from QE.

Rather, the Fed’s money printing accounts for the extra cash on banks’ balance sheets. Their holdings of cash, according to Fed data, have increased by 779 per cent to $2.8-trillion over the past six years. For banks, that does not mean piles of crisp new bills, but the balances at the Fed do pay a 0.25-per-cent interest rate. Meanwhile, banks now lend out just three-quarters of their deposits, compared with more than 100 per cent in March, 2008.


43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
" Paul Krugman would advise us that military spending is effective that preparing for a non-existent attack from space aliens would be a boon to the economy and Nancy Pelosi in the same vein has informed us that unemployment checks were not just charity but a boon to the economy as well."

Thesis - antithesis.

Krugman may well be right having based his observations on WWII but the reason is not government largesse and welfare spending but from mobilizing the economy. Getting people off their asses is the answer. Unfortunately killing the middle class, and small business while simultaneously handing out unemployment checks is not sustainable either. Eventually you run out of rings to pawn.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
All you need to know about our petty, delusional leader-
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
Dem Donor Wants Defense Contracts
Billionaire Elon Musk attempts to break open DoD contract bidding

A pillar of Musk’s messaging on the Hill has been his competitors’ ties to Russian businessmen being targeted by U.S. sanctions over that country’s invasion of Crimea.
ULA has a $2.8 billion contract with NPO Energomash, a Russian firm, to purchase RD-180 rockets for ULA launch vehicles.

“How is that we’re sending hundreds of millions in U.S. taxpayer dollars to Russia?” Musk said of the contract.

However, industry observers note that the United States comprises a mere 0.04 percent of Russia’s conventional arms trade, meaning Moscow will likely shrug off U.S. attempts to target that market.

“The cancellation of these contracts by Western and Central European countries would have very little effect,” Dr. Sam Perlo-Freeman, an expert on military spending and arms production with the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, told the Hill.

SpaceX did not return requests for comment.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
U.S. RD-180 Coproduction Would Cost $1 Billion
Pentagon guards Russian Atlas V engine options as discord with Moscow deepens

The RD-180 sourcing plan was established over years of regulatory review once Lockheed Martin, which developed the Atlas V in the late 1990s, selected the engine as its propulsion system. To mitigate concerns about supply, the U.S. Air Force maintains a stockpile of roughly two years' worth of engines, ULA CEO Mike Gass told lawmakers this month. The stockpile was approved as a change to the U.S. policy with regard to foreign sourcing in 2000.

The policy today is three-pronged. In addition to the stockpile, the Pentagon also has a plan to “gracefully” transition to U.S. production if needed. And, finally, should the supply be interrupted, Pentagon officials can prioritize what missions would use Atlas V while a production facility is being established stateside.

The coproduction requirement for the RD-180 that was set early in the program was eventually lifted by the Pentagon in part because missions could be offloaded to the Delta IV family, Schumann says. The Pentagon has long held to a strategy of “assured access” to space by operating two distinct rocket systems.

The Delta IV was originally developed by Boeing as a competitor to the Atlas V, but both rockets were subsumed into ULA in 2006 when the government approved a monopoly for such missions in the U.S. However, the Delta IV is a less attractive option for some payloads because its RS-68 propulsion system is less effective. “For some missions [such as lofting Lockheed Martin Advanced Extremely High Frequency and Mobile User Objective System satellites on the A2100 bus] this would be more expensive than using an Atlas V because it would require a multi-core heavy launch vehicle instead of a single-core vehicle,” Schumann says.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said he would review the Pentagon's policy on the Russian sourcing in response to queries from Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.) during a House Appropriations Defense subcommittee hearing March 17. The Air Force regularly reviews supply for both the Atlas V and Delta IV Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicles (EELV), Schumann says.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
Report: Pentagon Has No Plan For Troops, Military Assets

Pentagon fails to issue legally mandated policy on troops, materials

The Pentagon has failed to produce a legally mandated policy report that outlines to Congress its upcoming plans for overseas troop deployments and the allocation of military hardware, according to an oversight report.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is required by law to inform Congress about its plans and strategy for the military. However, officials have failed to issue any policy and it could be months before a concrete plan emerges, according to Department of Defense officials who spoke to the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

The Pentagon’s failure to craft a “warfighter support” plan for America’s military operations means that Congress cannot provide the required oversight over these critical plans.

As of mid-April, the DoD “has not established a policy or submitted an implementation plan to congressional committees as mandated by public law,” according to a newly issued GAO report.

The Pentagon says that the major policy document will not be ready until at least November 15, according to one “senior DoD official” who spoke to the GAO.

“DoD is in the process of developing the strategic policy and implementation plan,” according to the report.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
Gee, the brilliant Hugh Hewitt did not know that the great Reverend Al led an Anti-Jewish Rally that resulted in 9 Jews Burning to Death.

"I knew about Tawana Brawley, but I've never heard of that.

We're just talking about Donald Sterling.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
Marie Claude appears to be channeling Anthony C. Sutton--a world-class crackpot.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
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