General Mattis Declares Strategic Atrophy

By: Denise Simon

How can anyone argue with General Mattis, former Commander of CENTCOM when he tells the audience there is no strategy and the cost of blind leadership causes a full tilt of the balance across the globe.

On Russia:

Mattis: U.S. Suffering ‘Strategic Atrophy’

Because the United States lacks a global strategy, “volatility is going to get to the point that chaos threatens,” a former Central Command (CENTCOM) commander told a Heritage Foundation audience Wednesday.

Speaking in Washington, D.C., retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis said, “the perception is we’re pulling back” on America’s commitment to its allies and partners, leaving them adrift in a changing world. “We have strategic atrophy.”

He said Russia’s military moves against its neighbors—taking Crimea and backing separatists in Ukraine is “much more severe, more serious” than Washington and the European Union are treating it.

The nationalist emotions that Russian President Vladimir Putin has stirred up will make it “very, very hard [for him or his successors] to pull back from some of the statements he has made” about the West. At the same time, Putin faces problems of his own with jihadists inside Russia’s borders that threaten domestic stability.

But Putin also demonstrated Russia’s nuclear capability with long-range bomber flights near NATO countries. His intent is “to break NATO apart.”

Mattis said China “is doing a pretty good job of finding friction points between our allies,” such as Korea and Japan.

While Putin creates instability along Russia’s border, China’s approach is a “tribute model,” Mattis said, executing a “veto authority in each of the countries around their periphery.”

In the Middle East, he described a Sunni and Shi’ia civil war where “terrorism is only part of the problem.” He said there is a more important question: “Is political Islam [in both sects] in our best interest?”

Mattis said it is important “to find the people who want to stand with you.” He cited the United Arab Emirates and Jordan, stepping forward to help fill the gaps in Afghanistan when the United Kingdom and France began removing forces there.

He said since World War II the United States helped create a world order—diplomatically [United Nations] , economically [World Bank and International Monetary Fund], culturally and militarily.

By renewing that combination of inspiration and intimidation, “I have no doubt we can turn this around.”

Outside the scope of Russia and militant Islam sweeping the globe, there is China. Many months ago, the White House announced an Asia Pivot. The pivot to Asia was obscured under the real guise of trade and not a security strategy even while China has continued to threaten U.S. allies over control of the South China Sea. China is not impressed and the disputed waters and islands in the South China Sea are still being challenged.

Meanwhile it is important to telegraph what China is doing while the National Security Council, the White House and the State Department look the other way.

Report: China Hacked Two Dozen U.S. Weapon Designs

Chinese hackers have obtained designs for more than two dozen U.S. weapon systems — including the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System, the F-35 Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter, the Littoral Combat Ship and electromagnetic railguns. A partial list of stolen U.S. military technologies by China is found here.

Making matters worse, at the Pentagon is under sequestration which stifles innovation, repair, weapons systems, defensive systems and acquiring advanced technology keep a competitive edge of adversaries, the U.S. is lagging while China has advanced beyond the scope and imagination of the Department of Defense and contractors.

Pentagon: China Developing New Anti-Satellite Weapons, Jammers

China is designing weapons to counter advanced Western satellite technology using directed energy weapons and jammers and may have already tested some, according to a Friday Chinese military assessment to Congress.

The West — particularly the U.S. — relies on ever expanding constellations of communications and surveillance satellites to maintain its information edge over potential rivals and China is seeking ways to erode that advantage in the event of a conflict, according to the Military and Security Developments
Involving the People’s Republic of China 2015 report to Congress.

“China continues to develop a variety of capabilities designed to limit or prevent the use of space- based assets by adversaries during a crisis or conflict, including the development of directed-energy weapons and satellite jammers,” read the report.

Dubbed counterspace, the efforts follow several demonstrations of China’s capabilities to interdict satellites with ground-based missiles in the last several years.

Perhaps the most well known is Jan. 11, 2007 test in which a modified Chinese ballistic missile successfully destroyed a defunct weather satellite in polar orbit — littering Earth’s orbit with debris and surprising the West.

Since then, the Pentagon report has cited several instances in which it appears the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has conducted similar — albeit non-destructive — tests.

A July 2014 missile test “did not result in the destruction of a satellite or space debris, read the report.
”However, due to the evidence suggesting that this was a follow-up to the 2007 destructive test, the United States expressed concern that China’s continued development of destructive space technologies represented a threat to all peaceful space-faring nations, and was inconsistent with China’s public statements about the use of space for peaceful purposes.”
Additionally, in 2013 a suspicious Chinese launch sent an object into an orbital neighborhood crowded with geosynchronous communications satellites.

“Analysis of the launch determined that the booster was not on the appropriate trajectory to place objects in orbit and that no new satellites were released,” read the report.

After a little more than nine hours, the mystery object landed, leaving the rest of the space faring world puzzled to what the object was.

“The United States and several public organizations expressed concern to Chinese representatives and asked for more information about the purpose and nature of the launch. China thus far has refrained from providing additional information,” read the report.

The report feared the test could “have been a test of technologies with a counterspace mission in geosynchronous orbit.”

The U.S. relies heavily on satellites for communications and some targeting of its weapons a fact that has not been lost on the PLA.

“PLA writings emphasize the necessity of ‘destroying, damaging, and interfering with the enemy’s reconnaissance … and communications satellites,’ suggesting that such systems, as well as navigation and early warning satellites, could be among the targets of attacks designed to ‘blind and deafen the enemy’,” read the report.
“PLA analysis of U.S. and coalition military operations also states that ‘destroying or capturing satellites and other sensors … will deprive an opponent of initiative on the battlefield and [make it difficult] for them to bring their precision guided weapons into full play’.”

The report to Congress comes as some in the Air Force have called for a more robust defense of U.S. space assets, according to a Monday analysis from Jane’s Defence Weekly.

“The USAF’s outgoing military acquisition chief recently acknowledged that the Pentagon is devising new concepts for protecting its space assets, hinting at the need for new types of deterrence. ‘We have to put some resources and some focus on protection capability,’ Lt. Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski said in April,” read the Monday report.


Media Attack “Clinton Cash” Message Not Facts

By: Bethany Stotts
Accuracy in Media

Criticisms of Clinton Cash follow a common template, one which emphasizes that Peter Schweizer’s book is really an unsuccessful partisan attack on the Clinton family. Some of these critiques point to errors within the book while asserting that the rest of it has leaps of logic amounting to a false account full of speculation and innuendo. For good measure, some journalists throw in background information about the author that emphasizes Schweizer’s conservative ties, as if that should disqualify his analysis entirely.

“So, let me ask you this for the record—were you looking deliberately and hoping for this kind of pickup in the, quote/unquote, ‘mainstream media’ to blunt some of the criticism that you are just a Clinton critic and that this book lacks credibility as a result?” asked CNN’s Reliable Sources host Frank Sesno on the May 10 show. Sesno questioned the lack of a smoking gun, or definitive proof that the Clinton family was corrupt. “I mean, if you did that—if you were writing for a major newspaper, they’d send you back and say you haven’t got the story yet,” he said.

“Any serious journalist or investigator will tell you that proving corruption by a political figure is extremely difficult,” writes Schweizer in his first chapter of Clinton Cash. “…That is also why investigators primarily look at patterns of behavior.” He argues that the “repeated pattern of financial transactions coinciding with official actions favorable to Clinton contributors” warrants “further investigation by law enforcement officers.” In other words, Clinton Cash offers no smoking gun. It is meant, instead, to provoke a public investigation and discussion based on his initial research—not to offer all the answers.

There were some errors found in the book, including that Schweizer incorrectly asserted that the company Digicel had paid Bill Clinton for speeches, and that Digicel had not received USAID funds. Also Schweizer was fooled by a fake TD Bank press release, which he used to make a point, and he held former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton responsible for approving the Uranium One deal when it was actually an interagency decision.

“In a response to BuzzFeed News, Schweizer said that while Digicel had received previous USAID contracts, its charitable arm, the Digicel Foundation, did not receive USAID contracts until after the earthquake [in Haiti], and argued the basic premise of the book remains intact,” writes Buzzfeed.

As for Uranium One, the analysis seems to misconstrue Schweizer’s original words. “Besides the secretary of state, [the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States] includes cabinet officials such as the secretary of defense, the secretary of homeland security, and the treasury secretary,” writes Schweizer in his book. His allegation is, “Hillary’s opposition would have been enough under CFIUS rules to have the decision on [the Russian purchase of Uranium One] kicked up to the president. That never happened.”

In other words, Schweizer actually informed his readers that Mrs. Clinton wasn’t the only one responsible for the CFIUS decision on Uranium One, which gave “Russians control of one-fifth of all uranium production capacity in the United States.” However, he implies that Mrs. Clinton should have interceded, given her past political record. His allegation is one not only of corruption, but hypocrisy.

“The rooster doesn’t cause the sun to rise, but this is the thrust of Schweizer’s argument,” wrote Taylor Wofford for Newsweek on May 1. “But throwing up a bunch of dots and not connecting them isn’t great judgment either.”

“The only evidence is timing: people who would benefit from the sale made donations to the foundation at around the same time the matter was before the government,” writes Paul Waldman for The Washington Post about the Uranium One controversy.

The timing of events in the book do, in fact, seem very suspicious on their face. “Even as Bill was being introduced to the audience by the crown prince of the [United Arab Emirates], the prince’s brother (the foreign minister) was en route to Washington for meetings with none other than Hillary,” writes Schweizer. “Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan arrived in Washington on December 12 and met Hillary the day after Bill collected his half million.”

“Based on the Clintons’ financial disclosures, it does not appear that the UAE royal family had ever paid for a Clinton speech before.”

Schweizer doesn’t just rely on his own account of what the Clintons may or may not have done—he also produces a couple of witness statements alleging that they had either bought off the Clintons or were told that they needed to. These statements were made to law enforcement or foreign media outlets long before the release of his book, and critics can’t claim they were solicited in order to support Schweizer’s assumptions.

Mukhtar Dzhakishev, former president of the government agency “that runs Kazakhstan’s uranium and nuclear energy industry” told authorities in 2009 that “prime minister Karim Massimov ‘was in America and needed to meet with Hillary Clinton but this meeting was canceled. And they said that those investors connected with the Clintons who were working in Kazakhstan have problems. Until Kazakhstan solved those problems, there would be no meeting, and all manner of measures would be taken,’” according to Schweizer.

“I called them, and they came. I met them in Astana and then Clinton’s aide, Tim Phillips, began to scream that this deal involves Democrats and is financed by them, and that we were hampering the deal,” said Dzhakishev, according to Chuck Ross of The Daily Caller.

“In its 2010 article, The Post considers that Dzhakishev’s account is questionable,” Ross writes. But Dzhakishev “has proven more truthful” than either Frank Giustra or Bill Clinton, at least in one case, Ross writes, when in 2007 Dzhakishev told The New York Times that he’d had a meeting at the Clinton home, and Giustra and Mr. Clinton denied having the meeting. Giustra later admitted to it.

“But, other than Dzhakishev’s assertion, there’s no proof,” complains Wofford. He fails to mention Schweizer’s accounts of the statements by Sant Chatwal, who the author describes as one of Mrs. Clinton’s “largest soft-money donors,” made to Indian media.

“Even my close friend Hillary Clinton was not in favor of the [Indian nuclear] deal then,” Schweizer quotes Chatwal. “But when I put the whole package together, she also came on board. …In politics nothing comes free. You have to write cheques in the American political system.”

“This is 100 percent wrong. There is not even an iota of truth in it,” Chatwal told India’s Economic Times on May 7.

Chatwal is one of “at least four [members of the] Clinton Foundation board of directors [who] have either been charged or convicted of financial crimes, including bribery and fraud,” reported Breitbart on May 7.

In 2014 Chatwal pled guilty to funneling illegal contributions to federal candidates, writes Schweizer. “During the course of the federal investigation, FBI agents recorded Chatwal discussing the flow of money to politicians,” he writes. Chatwal said, “Without the cash, ‘nobody will even talk to you.’”

If Schweizer’s allegations were mere speculation and empty innuendo, then why have a series of mainstream outlets built on his initial research to expose Clinton conflicts of interest and “errors” made by the Clinton Foundation? Those include The New York Times and The Washington Post.

“When Mr. Clinton worked as a co-chairman of Haiti’s earthquake recovery commission, [Hillary Clinton’s youngest brother] Mr. [Tony] Rodham and his partners sought a $22 million deal to rebuild homes in the country,” reports The New York Times’ Steve Eder in a May 10 piece that does not mention Clinton Cash.

“I deal through the Clinton Foundation. That gets me in touch with the Haitian officials,” Rodham told the court three years ago, according to Eder. “I hound my brother-in-law, because it’s his fund that we’re going to get our money from,” said Rodham. “And he can’t do it until the Haitian government does it. … And he keeps telling me, ‘Oh, it’s going to happen tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow.’ Well, tomorrow hasn’t come yet.”

In an interview with Schweizer, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos said, “you take it pretty far,” and, “As you know, the Clinton campaign says you haven’t produced a shred of evidence that there was any official action as secretary that—that supported the interests of donors.”

“We’ve done investigative work here at ABC News, found no proof of any kind of direct action,” said Stephanopoulos, asking, “Is there a smoking gun?”

The author of Clinton Cash never claims to have found a smoking gun, only a suspicious pattern of behavior. Attempts to claim that Schweizer somehow failed in his attempt to reveal concrete proof of Clinton malfeasance are designed to deliberately set him up for failure by holding him to a standard higher than the mainstream media often expect of themselves.

How many times have pundits such as Al Sharpton called for further investigation into Darren Wilson’s shooting of Michael Brown with limited evidence available? “MSNBC titled one segment of Sharpton’s PoliticsNation show, ‘Still no arrest in Michael Brown shooting,’” reported Accuracy in Media.

The media were quick to leap to conclusions about the murder of three Muslims in North Carolina. They have accepted the word of anonymous government officials rather than reading public documents. And they constantly dismiss the overwhelming evidence of the ongoing Benghazi cover-up.

Demands that Schweizer, or any other author, find a smoking gun and present it to the media prepackaged demonstrate a sheer laziness on the part of reporters, and perhaps a hidden desire that his claims about the Clintons might not actually prove truthful. If reporters remain skeptical about Schweizer’s claims, they should get to work vetting the Clintons and find out for themselves what’s real instead of simply attacking the messenger.

Last week on Chris Matthews’ show, “Hardball,” on MSNBC, the host expressed his trust in Mrs. Clinton, and challenged the only skeptic on the set, Ron Fournier of the National Journal, to explain the reason for suspicion in the absence of concrete proof of a quid pro quo between any donors to the Clinton Foundation and favorable treatment these donors may have received from the U.S. government as a result. Fournier said, “What there isn’t evidence of is [that] somebody got a favor done because of money. But what we do have is a very obvious and big overlap between people who are donating to the foundation and people who are dealing with the government.”

Even Matthews tacitly admitted that these relationships are troubling. Fournier asked Matthews “Why did President Obama say she did not take donations from foreign companies? That the foundation should not take donations from foreign countries? Why did they say it would be disclosed?,” while Hillary was Secretary of State. Matthews replied, “For the reasons you’re arguing.” Fournier then asked, “So why didn’t she, and why did they still take funding and not disclose it?” Matthews replied, “I think Clinton advocates and Clinton critics see the same reality. They have different views on it…[the Clintons go] right up to the edge sometimes.”


Our Weasel Of The Week!! – 05/14/15

The Watcher’s Council

Yes, once again, It’s time to present this week’s statuette of shame, The Golden Weasel!!

Every Tuesday, the Council nominates some of the slimiest, most despicable characters in public life for some deed of evil, cowardice or corruption they’ve performed. Then we vote to single out one particular Weasel for special mention, to whom we award the statuette of shame, our special, 100% plastic Golden Weasel. This week’s nominees were all disgusting (aren’t they always?), but I have to say I would have bet money on whom I thought would carry off the prize this week… the envelope please…

The Internal Revenue Service, AKA ‘Them ##@#!! Revenooers!’

Don Surber: This outraged me:

The IRS did not fire those federal employees who did not pay all their taxes. The IRS gave them promotions.

From the Wall Street Journal:

IRS reform legislation adopted in 1998 said that the agency must fire any employee who violates tax laws, unless the agency decides to soften the punishment.

The new report found that over a 10-year period starting in 2003, 1,580 IRS employees were found to be willfully non-compliant with tax laws. Of that total, 620 or 39% were terminated, resigned or retired. The remaining 61% got lesser penalties such as suspensions, reprimands or counseling.

Specific violations included overstatement of expenses, claiming of a first-time home buyer tax credit without buying a home, and failure to timely file tax returns. Some employees had “significant and sometimes repeated tax noncompliance issues, and a history of other conduct issues,” according to the report.

Under President Obama, federal taxes no longer are collected to run the federal government. The politicians run it on borrowed money, and taxes collected to punish his political foes, such a the Tea Party.


Yes, they’ve become a law unto themselves all right. And as our pal William Palumbo remarked, they’ve become weaponized now, like a lot of other government organizations for the first time in history. Are they planning on going to war against their own people? Or merely just ensuring they can continue to plunder them at will?

Not that I need an answer to that question, not with a member of the IRS sitting here in front of us. We’re proud to honor a department of government that behaves with the standards the IRS exhibits with its own special Weasel. Here’s your statuette, sir and I hope all of you down at the audit department enjoy it. The exit’s over there.

Well, there it is!

Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum and every Tuesday morning, when we reveal the week’s nominees for Weasel of the Week!

And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council and the results are posted on Friday morning.

It’s a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere and you won’t want to miss it… or any of the other fantabulous Watcher’s Council content.

And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter… ’cause we’re cool like that, y’know?