The Incredible Shrinking Middle Class by Michael Moffitt

Headline: Shrinking Middle Class A Threat to Stability
Dateline: April 11, 2019, The Wall Street Journal, p. A6

This article opened, “The middle class is shrinking and its economic power diminishing in the U.S. and other rich countries, a development that threatens political stability and economic growth according to a report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. (OECD)”

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Scandinavian Author M M Justine Talks About Her Publishing Journey.

My debut novel was not a standalone book, but a trilogy. I wrote three books in five years. The Traitors Trilogy is the engrossing story of Martina, a young woman who was fated to save the world from utter destruction. It is a riveting thriller filled with action, suspense, and deception.

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Remembering the origin of garden’s past by Jim Fabiano

 

Glancing out the back window where my water saturated mud filled garden had once flourished, I remembered how the past decades of gardening began. Like today it was early spring and my neighbor and I decided to cordon off a 400 square foot area between our properties. It was not a pretty site. The ground was brown and slightly frozen because the mid-April sun did not have the strength to completely thaw out the soil. We didn’t care. We were going to produce a garden that would become the envy of the neighborhood. I am proud to report this is true today.

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The Deplorable Old Man and the Sea by Michael Moffitt

It surely was my watery grave. Cold and pitch black. I was almost overcome by fatigue. Then there was a sound. Then there was a light. It was a decrepit craft, once majestic mahogany planks now patched with pink fiberglass. A single old man aboard was crude and angry. He shouted profanely, “What kind of fool are you out there? Don’t you know you can drown or be eaten by sharks?” At first I thought he would speed by. I waved feebly and he threw a line with a tattered ring at its end. Not a very good throw, it missed me by at least thirty yards. It took every vestige of my will to reach it and grasp it and hold on as he pulled me in. As he dragged me aboard he continued his profane insults.

I did not complain about his decrepit craft or his profane insults or his tattered life ring or his lousy aim. It was all I could do to hug his legs and kiss his ankle. The memory is still vivid and real, even though I now know I was dreaming.

My country was founded on a unique and exceptional principle. Its government is guaranteed to be subordinate to its citizens by its constitution and its separation of powers. It is obligated above all other things to guarantee freedom to its citizens. Freedom to own property, to choose what they think and believe and to speak freely about it, freedom to move about both geographically and up and down the economic ladder, freedom to trade their property, their skills and services and to spend their profits, all according to their own values and ambitions. My country’s government is obligated to consider these freedoms as granted by a higher authority and to protect them from external threats and from degradation from within.

When I began first grade in 1945 I did not understand any of this. I did not understand the value of this gift, or the one hundred sixty nine years of wars, booms and depressions that had led to that magic moment. Freedom had begot innovation and charity. Innovation had begot prosperity. Charity had begot the will to perfect our union, to strive continuously for the vision that all Men are created equal, to be a generous society and to save much of the world from tyranny, twice. The guiding principal that my government is subordinate to its people had made my country the master of the universe and enabled its people to be the most powerful and prosperous in the world. I did not understand how good it was or how much better it was about to become.

I searched my memory for the first time we broke our stride. When was the first step we took toward the abyss? Perhaps it was August 13, 1961. That day construction began on the Berlin Wall, condemning nearly four million people, the second largest city in Europe, to slavery for three decades. Our young president said little and did nothing. Could anyone imagine Truman or Eisenhower standing for this breach of Pottsdam where they had struggled to restructure the Western World to avoid World War III? Just twelve years earlier and less than four years after Pottsdam the Soviets had blockaded Berlin. Truman’s response, executed by Eisenhower’s former comrades in arms was a massive airlift of supplies to that beleaguered city. For nearly a full year as many as 1500 flights daily each carrying three tons of cargo challenged the Soviets to shoot them down. The soviets blinked and the blockade fell. In a single day our President abandoned our defense of Pottsdam, all of the effort and risk and cost of the airlift and our best defense against ever fighting World War III. It took only fourteen months after the wall, until in October 1962 the Soviets moved missiles into Cuba and further threatened our people and our way of life. By then, our President had learned the lesson of power and is rightly applauded for his steely response, but the crisis was born of our weakness and the message of our vulnerability was etched in the Berlin Wall and received by evil forces around the world.

It took less than three years from the construction of the wall until Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin resolution on August 7, 1964. On that day we condemned all Americans to eleven more years of wasted blood, spirit and wealth in Vietnam. The tragedy of Vietnam is not that bad tactical judgments were made, or stronger enemies met, or the domino theory flawed. The tragedy is that the domino had already fallen. Many in government knew at the time the duplicity of the lies underpinning the resolution and learned shortly the futility of the endeavor. How could there be a more eloquent display of contempt and disregard for the electorate, than subordination of the citizenry to a feckless government overreaching to save face? How great a testimony to the power our government will use to deceive us is the fifty-three years it took for Ken Burns and PBS to get the whole story out to the American people?

By 1974, the Baby Boomers were all in school and our birth rate was approaching its nadir. It was clear that pension reserves for many citizens were not being adequately funded. Life spans were increasing. There was a call for government action. The response was The Employee Retirement Income Security Act, (ERISA), signed into law on Labor Day, September 2, 1974. This law requires companies, associations and unions with stewardship over pensions to fund their reserves to standards that will assure promises made to our citizens will be promises kept. This was a powerful law and caused many needed reforms.

One reform was conveniently forgotten. In 1973, Social Security paid $51 billion to thirty million beneficiaries. All of the same demographic and life extending issues were clear and applicable to all pension funds, including Social Security. The same remedies required of corporations, unions and insurers could and should have been required for future Social Security beneficiaries. The resulting deficits of today and tomorrow were clear at the time. Our government chose for itself a path that it declared immoral and made illegal for all others. It chose to subordinate its citizen’s retirement income security to its own convenience and political gain. According to the Annual Report of the Social Security Trust Funds, the actuarial deficit for the next 75 years is approaching three percent of taxable payrolls. Along with Social Security, ERISA neglected most state and federal employee pensions and the future taxpayers who would fund them. Our tradition now is to continue to defer these debts, hopefully to be paid by the yet unborn. There will, however, come a day when we reach our credit limit and the accounts will be reconciled. This is taxation without representation on steroids and we are all complicit.

These were perhaps the three most consequential of many foundational leaps toward the abyss. The ground is now shifting under our foundation, bringing on an accelerating tsunami that we seem to accept without noticing. Lets look at the recent record and seriously ask if we are not on a collision course with doom.

In 1990 auditors reconciled tribal accounts owned by individual Native Americans. The auditors found $2.4 billion in shortages in two thousand accounts and were unable to reconcile seventeen thousand others. A class action suit based on audit reports was filed in 1996 and finally settled in 2009, but only after two cabinet officers were held in contempt for, “Flagrant disregard for the orders of the court and … lack of candor in concealing their wrongdoing!” Damages to the 300,000 Native Americans in the class action suit were estimated at $10 billion to $40 billion. The settlement included $1.4 billion, pennies on the dollar, for these damages with no penalties, no interest, no acknowledgement of malfeasance by the government and no commitment to manage or account for the trusts differently in the future. The President proclaimed in consummate newspeak, “This is an important step towards reconciliation.”

On March 23, 2010 the Affordable Health Act was signed into Law. It was sold to the people with with cost estimates known to be fraudulent and the hollow promise that, ”If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor.” and “If you like your insurance you can keep your insurance.” We were told that even Congress could not read the over 20,000 pages in the law and, “We will have to pass it to see what is in it.” Organizations that behave this way toward their customers do not survive.

On June 8, 2010 Uranium-One signed an agreement that would transfer not less than 51% of the company to Rosatom, the Russian Nuclear Agency. The agreement was reviewed and not objected to by all nine members of the Committee on Foreign Investments and the President. The Nuclear Regularity Commission then approved it on November 24, 2010. The result of this transaction was to transfer control 20% of domestic uranium production to the Russian Government while we still need to import over 80% of our requirements. During the approval period, while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, a Canadian charity connected to Uranium-One made multiple seven-figure, initially unreported donations to the Clinton Foundation and an investment firm related to Rosatom paid a $500,000 speaking fee to Bill Clinton. These are the uncontested facts. It is a marvel that so many people of high rank could see this transaction as a benefit to the citizens of a nation obsessed with fear of Russian interference in our domestic affairs and international security.

On September 11, 2012 an organized attack was made on an American Embassy compound in Bengazzi, Lybia with no military response by the United States. We were told it was spontaneous. It was not. We were told that there was no time to deploy a response. That too was a lie. We were never told why our Ambassador was in such an obviously vulnerable and threatened location. Congressional investigations were stonewalled. No analysis of the attack or our failure to defend was ever published by the State Department or the Military.

In 2013 the IRS revealed that it been selective in approving applications for tax-exempt status based on keywords associated with political convictions. No one was disciplined or fired.

In 2014 veterans died while waiting for medical care from the Veterans Health Administration. Managers there falsified reports to hide the problems and protect their bonuses. The senior executive at the VA was replaced but it is not clear that the guilty were punished or that the system has been improved.

On June 14, 2018 Bill Clinton met with Loretta Lynch in an airplane on the tarmac in Phoenix. Soon thereafter Lynch watered down the language in a report of investigations of Bill’s wife Hillary Clinton. In any such situation involving a private sector plaintiff or defendant, any prosecutor would automatically recuse herself from any decisions regarding the case, if only to avoid the appearance of impropriety. Apparently in this case, the people were assumed to be too dumb or too irrelevant to question impropriety.

We could go on, but it is not necessary. It was not long ago we ended a presidency for participation in a cover-up of overactive gumshoes for a petty off the clock burglary of an opposition political party office. That offense pales in the shadow of an active campaign of eavesdropping and unmasking members of an opposition campaign by a national security team acting on the clock, under orders and without customary constitutional process. Every one of the above scandals illustrates abdication of power to unaccountable administrators un-checked by Congress and in many cases unchecked by courts or the President. Each replaces rule of Law by rule of Men, unelected men. Each was an opportunity missed for investigative reporters coveting a Pulitzer. Each demonstrates subordination of our citizens to our government. Taken together do they not threaten our existence?

The “administrative state” makes countless regulations and decisions about every aspect of our lives: Where we live, what we teach our children and what bathrooms they use, what foods we eat, what medicines we take, what cars we buy, what businesses we can operate, who gets and does not get what tax benefits, research grants or subsidies, what priorities local governments must set to receive federal grants. It is not relevant whether the people in the “Administrative State” are good or bad, wise or foolish. The fact is that these are human beings, flawed just like the rest of us, they spend twenty two percent of all that we all produce and make many important decisions with our money and about our lives from a great distance without any accountability.

Many people say, “The world is so complex today, we need more rules!” These are perhaps the same people who say we need the same minimum wage in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Philadelphia, Mississippi or who think the VA should be protected from loosing customers to others who serve them better or that all immigrants should be equally welcome.

Many people say, “We have always had scandals.” Yet who can argue that we are not witnessing a tsunami of disregard for the individual citizen? Who cannot see this as a reversal of the responsibility to our founding principle that government is by the people and for the people and its responsibility is to defend the rights of its citizens from external and internal threats, and especially from the government itself?

How can we be rescued from this tsunami? Can we find a leader who will reduce tax payments by at least 20% for every family with income under $75,000 who previously did not itemize deductions? Can we find a leader who will recognize and begin to act upon the dangers presented to and too often financed by us from actors like, China, North Korea, Iran, Russia and Venezuela? Can we find a leader who will carve down the Federal Register by 36,000 pages of new regulations and administrative decrees, or decrease the number of “Economically significant” (as defined by the OMB) new administrative rules from 72 to 19 in his first year? Can we find a leader who could survive two years of intensive investigation and relentless attack by those fully committed to his destruction, without any evidence yet presented worthy of prosecution?

If we could find such a leader, should we care if he were a deplorable and profane old man who we would not invite to dinner or introduce to our children? Should we scorn if he is imperfect in many ways we see ourselves superior, at times profane and inarticulate and off target? If we could find such a leader would we not dream that somehow he was saving us? At the end of our dream, might we not hug his legs and kiss his ankles, our only emotion being relief from the cold abyss and the sharks within it who he just deprived of our flesh for dinner? Would it be a surprise if the sharks in our dream were not happy?

Michael Moffitt
Michael Moffitt Column
Email: mikemoff3@msn.com

Granddad’s Dictionary: Reflections on Life in America
by Michael Moffitt
ISBN: 978-1-4908-2916-6 (sc)
978-1-4908-2917-3 (hc)
WestBow Press
Published April 7, 2014
170 pages
Softcover: $12
Hardcover: $23 [ Read more ]

If we have to have a dictator let it be Donald Trump By Jim Fabiano

I have to admit I was shocked. As I watched the news on TV I viewed a woman clearly state that she never thought she would say this but if we have to have a dictator let it be Donald Trump. Staring at the television I never heard the commentary or the beginnings of the next story. I just couldn’t believe I just heard what I heard. The audience wasn’t shocked. In fact, I heard a few of the people involved actually applaud her comment.

I guess now is the time for all to accuse me of being a leftist snowflake fool who hates Donald Trump. I write to many far right organizations that totally support our President. Many have asked me why I do this and I answer by stating why would anyone waste his or her time writing to people who agree with everything you say. The problem is I believe in Constitutional Law and fiscal responsibility. In other words, I agree with Republican views and Conservative issues. It is obvious to me that Republicanism no longer exists. The Trump Party does and as soon as everyone clearly understands this reality the better.

What does all this have to do with all of our futures? Actually, I am more concerned with the future of my daughter and grandchildren. I had a good life full of opportunities and success. Of course, I had a few failures and mistakes mixed in. I am concerned with their education. They are interested and interesting. Their enthusiasm makes me feel as though I had a few extra years left in my life. Understanding that the Trump people want to cut as much as possible from public education and hand it over to private profiteers concerns me. When I listened to Betsy DeVos again want to cut most education policies including ‘Special Olympics’ my heart grows very heavy. I am a retired teacher whose life observed all levels of my students try. Some need a bit of extra help and anyone or any power that wants to eliminate this help makes me a bit ill. Hell, it makes me very ill. I guess this defines the categorization of being a snowflake.

I clearly understand there is an immigration policy in our nation. I also clearly understand who immigrants are. They are not murderers and drug dealers. They are people who want a better life for themselves and their family. It wasn’t so different a hundred years ago. The Irish and the Italians came to our country for the same reasons. The people who were already here also did not like these people attacking our nation. The Irish drank too much and the Italians were called ‘WOPS’ because they were without papers. I have to admit seeing children in fenced cages also make me very ill.

Trump’s foreign policy confuses me. The nations that were considered our allies have become our burdens. The nations that were considered our enemies are now our friends. Dictators have become what we strive to become while democracy is something that should be put in the graves of our future. Please remember NATO has kept our world at peace for 74 years. The time between World War One and World War Two was only 28 years.

Our fiscal policy is frightening. We are now in more debt then we have ever been before. This includes times of war and peace. It seems logical the only way we can attempt to balance a budget would be to eliminate all social programs like ‘The Affordable Health Care Act’, ‘Medicare’, ‘Medicaid’, ‘Social Security’, and all programs established to help the poor survive. Remember this massive deficit was amplified by giving tax breaks to the richest people on our planet. Personally this terrifies me because I’ve been paying into these programs for well over 55 years. I never asked for help in my life and paid in every week with every paycheck I earned with the knowledge of a promise I would be taken care of when I was no longer able to work. Am I defined as a snowflake because I can’t understand why this promise is being taken away?

Social Issues are now being discussed to not strengthen what they represent but to attempt to eliminate them so we can go back into a history we are trying to forget. Religion scares me the most. I believe in a good God whose grace is based on life and forgiveness. I have to clearly admit I have no idea what this new form of religious power is. Christ had no use for power. In fact, he fought against it. Why does our nation now strive for it?

As a retired chemistry teacher I believe in science. I believe in data and reality that is based on fact. We have a problem with our environment. I live on the Southern Coast of Maine. For years, my family and I have enjoyed the soft sands of beaches that led to the ocean. For the past few years this soft sand area has diminished. Last year it disappeared. The water is rising not only in text books or as part of a science fiction movie but in reality. All one has to do is open their eyes and look out their windows.

Ethics and morality seem to be memories of our past. The concept of lying and deceiving was something we were taught was wrong. Today in our present reality it has become the rule of how to retain power. I wonder how we can teach our children to respect each other and have disdain for bullying when the leader of our nation defines who he is by his art of the bully.

I have to admit I was shocked. As I watched the news on TV I viewed a woman clearly state that she never thought she would say this but if we have to have a dictator let it be Donald Trump. As an accused snowflake I vote for never having any dictator.

Jim Fabiano
Email Jim: james.fabiano60@gmail.com
Writers Journal column

Author of two books “Laugh it Off” (2003) and “Humor from York Town” (2005)

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Another High-Flying Success For Missile Defense By Ed Feulner

You probably didn’t hear about the latest test of the U.S. missile-defense system. And that’s just the way the military wanted it.

Not because it was bad news. Far from it. When two interceptors were fired from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California against an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)-class target launched from Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific Ocean, they scored a direct hit — exactly as they were designed to do.

It’s another vindication of the philosophy behind the Strategic Defense Initiative. In fact, the March 25 test came just two days after the 36th anniversary of when President Reagan gave his famous SDI address from the Oval Office.

He took a lot of heat for proposing what was then derided as “Star Wars.” Critics insisted you couldn’t hit “a bullet with a bullet.” But as usual, betting against American willpower and technology proved to be a losing position.
You’d think they would have learned after the moon landing, but no. For some people, it’s too important to score political points than to dream big.
That’s exactly what Reagan did. In his address to the nation on March 23, 1983, he said:

“What if free people could live secure in the knowledge that their security did not rest upon the threat of instant U.S. retaliation to deter a Soviet attack, that we could intercept and destroy strategic ballistic missiles before they reached our own soil or that of our allies?”

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Could it be time to throw a gate to the wind by Jim Fabiano

I don’t believe I’ve ever been so stressed out over something I never thought I would be stressed out about. My wife and I are getting ready to drive over to Portsmouth to listen to a potential Presidential candidate. We are fortunate to live near New Hampshire because all the candidates have to survive this state in order to keep their hopes of election alive. It took me minutes to get ready because my getting ready consists of a pair of jeans and a sweater. My wife, on the other hand, takes a bit more time.

So here I am sitting at my desk in hopes to participate in discussions that could save the most important institution of our nation being our Constitution. My monitor is shining its white light daring me to write something unique. Something that maybe, just maybe someone would want to read.

We have the same enemy this year. They are in the same part of the world and are conspiring to do the same things. We tried to blow them up again this year and, of course, failed. We are told we succeeded but how can one destroy a people that existed long before we decided to exist. I remember, not so long ago when the saying was, “when you blow up a rice paddy all you have left is a rice paddy”. I guess the same goes for a desert.

We have a very different President this year. He started off in trouble because he can’t figure out where his ego ends and his mind begins. Many people like him because they believe he will lead them to a better life. I don’t worry about that because I am old. I only worry for my daughter and my grandkids. They are the ones who have to live in his future. There are now new people trying to get rid of him but I am told changing would be like throwing a gate to the wind.

We have the same economy this year. It has been strong a long time since another President took over and literally saved it. Our new President states he was the one that made it better but I still can’t understand how he could have made something better that was made better many years before. We lead the world in spending to the point many economists state the world’s economy was saved because of the American need to have more. Of course this also means many of the people of the world are still struggling to survive because we want what little they have. Some say that trying to change this reality is like throwing a gate to the wind.

We still have people to hate this year. I never could understand why it is so important to have someone to hate. With the election it seems we are starting to hate anyone or anything that doesn’t look like us. I have yet to figure out who us is. I thought it included the Afro-Americans or Jewish people. I don’t think we hate the Chinese even though we are told they are probably our future enemies. We used to hate segments of our own society. Like the Gays, Transsexuals, or even women who believe they are as good as men. I’ve often read that strong men make the best leaders while strong women are just bitches who can’t find a man. This is a gate I’d rather not even pick up to throw. It’s not like they ever did anything to us.

I am told that our great economy is showing signs of weakening because of our ever-growing debt. The rich are obviously getting richer and the poor well they are remaining poor. In order to get rid of this massive debt there are few places we can cut and thus find the money. Now that I am older I fear many in our society will begin to hate retired people because they take too much money from our society in order to stay alive. It seems Medicare and Social Security will soon be under attack in order to finance programs our new government deem far more important. I wish older people would become more involved with their future and the future of their kids, grandkids, and sometimes even great grandkids.

So here I am sitting at my desk in hopes to participate in discussions that could save the most important institution of our nation being our Constitution. I assume my wife and I will be standing in a mass of people during a winter storm in hopes of throwing a gate to the wind.

Jim Fabiano
Email Jim: james.fabiano60@gmail.com
Writers Journal column

Author of two books “Laugh it Off” (2003) and “Humor from York Town” (2005)

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Love according to a box of cereal by Jim Fabiano

 

They all started to laugh. I guess your supposed to do that at a party of friends and family. I told them how I always know when it’s time to open a new box of cereal for breakfast. My wife has the new bowl and I have what was left out of the old box. In other words, I get the cereal dust. They laughed because they couldn’t believe my wife could treat me like that. They also couldn’t believe I would let her treat me so poorly. After they finished their laugh I told them a story.

I told them that I’ve known my wife for over 50 years. In this time she supported me in everything I tried to do. In fact, she backed me more than I supported myself. She always gave me the encouragement I needed; encouragement that would build me up while I ignored her. During many of our business and my writing enterprises she took the back seat. She let me shine while she stood in the background. I knew she was the strength but I allowed the glory to shine on me.

My Debbie kept our family together. She gave me the most beautiful daughter I had ever hoped to imagine. She brought her up to understand that treating people with kindness and respect was all that mattered and that hard work and perseverance was synonymous with success. She took a wonderful young child and evolved her into a beautiful young woman. A woman who was a mirror image of the woman I was destined to fall in love with. She is doing the same thing with our grandchildren.

My Debbie stood by me when my ego overwhelmed my intelligence. She survived my mid-life crisis that is second only to everyone’s ignorance as to what life is supposed to be. She continued to stand by me even though I was too stupid to realize the prize my God gave me. Even though I tried hard to destroy the gift she wouldn’t let me. It was almost as if she knew I needed our life together more than anything. Of course, she was right.

My Debbie keeps our house and life in order. I live in cleanliness and comfort even though she works harder than I could ever hope to work. Throughout all of this she also keeps herself remarkably beautiful; more beautiful than I have ever remembered her being even in her youngest of times. I, on the other hand, grow larger in width and balder in appearance. Like the picture of Doreen Gray, she is forever young and forever beautiful in both body and spirit. She continues to love me even though I don’t deserve it.

My friends stood in shock as I told them my story. Some couldn’t understand that after over 5 decades with one person I can still experience such deep love for my wife; I continue my story by telling them I would be nothing without her and she is not only my lover but also my best friend. I conclude by stating if she wants to give me cereal dust for breakfast, it is fine with me. For, in reality, that is the best way to tell her I finally realize what she is to me. My Debbie is simply my life.

Jim Fabiano
Email Jim: james.fabiano60@gmail.com
Writers Journal column

Author of two books “Laugh it Off” (2003) and “Humor from York Town” (2005)

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INF Treaty: A Wise Withdrawal by Ed Feulner

 

To hear some critics describe it, the U.S. withdrawal from the INF Treaty is a disaster in the making.

“Dangerous, destabilizing and potentially counterproductive,” in the words of John McLaughlin, deputy CIA director from 2000 to 2004. Pulling out will “cause new tensions with European allies,” The New York Times opines. Adds the Stimson Center’s Michael Krepon in Forbes: “A new arms competition now beckons.”

Really? Let’s consider a few pertinent facts.

President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev signed the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty in December 1987. It prohibited the U.S. and the Soviet Union from possessing, testing and deploying ground-launched cruise and ballistic missiles with a range between 300 and 3,400 miles.

Signing the INF Treaty was in both nation’s national interests at the time. It permitted an entire class of weapons to be eliminated. But more than 30 years have elapsed. The world has changed. Russia, who inherited the treaty obligations from the Soviet Union, has been in violation of the treaty terms for at least five years. What was once a mutually beneficial arms control agreement is now serving no one.

The main objection to withdrawal is that it would encourage Russia and the U.S. to build more nukes and spark a new arms race. But that’s been occurring on the Russian side for a while now.

As The New York Times reported on July 28, 2014: “The United States has concluded that Russia violated a landmark arms control treaty by testing a prohibited ground-launched cruise missile, according to senior American officials, a finding that was conveyed by President Obama to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia in a letter on Monday.”

The Obama administration may have been good at voicing displeasure, but terrible at concrete actions or any sort of meaningful follow-through. Its fabled “reset” with Russia and the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) signed with Moscow in 2010 drew plaudits from the media, but in the end, nothing changed.

So we’re supposed to keep ourselves shackled to a treaty that we comply with, but Russia doesn’t. Yet if we decide to end this untenable situation, we’re the bad guys? We’re the ones touching off a “destabilizing” arms race?

The ship has already sailed on that charge. And the ones to chastise are in Moscow, not Washington.

“Continued efforts by the U.S. government over the last five years to engage Russia to persuade them to return to compliance with the INF treaty have failed,” notes defense expert Thomas Spoehr. “All U.S. inquiries and efforts have been met with lies, deceit and denial.”

Adding to the problem of Russia’s cheating is a feature of the new world environment: China.

China wasn’t a party to the INF agreement. Of course, it wasn’t a rising military superpower in 1987. Now it is, and guess what? It’s already spurned an offer to join the INF Treaty. Beijing is more than happy to keep building its arsenals unfettered.

Today, China has the world’s second largest military budget. And it’s been augmenting its forces for some time now, including in areas that threaten American interests.

Under those circumstances, and with Russia refusing to stop violating the treaty, it makes no sense to continue being a party to it.

As Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently said, the onus is on Moscow. But the government there only wants to complain, not change its behavior.

No wonder they preferred the Obama approach, which also relied primarily on words, not action. Fortunately, the Trump administration is trying a different tack.

If the president’s critics are worried about a “destabilizing” situation, they should be firing at Moscow, not the U.S. Things are already “dangerous.”

The first and sanest step we can take to change that is to stop pretending the INF Treaty has a role to play in preserving the peace in 2019.

Ed Feulner
www.heritage.org
Ed Feulner Column at Kingscalendar [ Read more ]

The Shamrak Report January 22nd 2019

Anti-Semitic Travesty of Population Transfer

by Steven Shamrak

In 1922, the British encouraged Arab anti-Jewish riots and were quite eager to implement the transfer of Jews from Trans-Jordan, Hebron and other parts of the Palestinian Mandate, which was created for a future Jewish state, but rejected an idea, presented by a Zionist committee, of transferring Arabs to trans-Jordan.

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