Friday, January 21, 2011

Catholic League News Release

SMITHSONIAN STILL DOESN'T GET IT

Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on the Town Hall Los Angeles forum held yesterday that featured the Smithsonian Institution's chief Wayne Clough:

Christians have waited in vain for Smithsonian officials to simply acknowledge that they understand why so many Catholics and Protestants—who largely fund the institution—might find the ants-on-the-crucifix video, "A Fire in My Belly," objectionable. But, no, we don't even merit a genuflection.

Clough had another chance to address Christian concerns yesterday, but he took a pass. Instead, he defended the video as "a work of art." Oh, yes, he did say that "there is a concern, absolutely," that the Smithsonian may lose donors because he bowed to our pressure. As usual, it's the cash that consumes these people.

And who are "these people"? They are basically the same people I dealt with in 1998 when the Catholic League protested the play, "Corpus Christi," and again the following year when we protested the "Sensation" exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum of Art: they are narcissists who worship at the altar of art. The artistic community is without doubt the most self-absorbed segment of American society. They believe they have a right to pick the pocket of the taxpayers to fund their "art," but the taxpayers have no right to complain when their religion is assaulted.

"Corpus Christi" depicted Christ having sex with the apostles. "Sensation" showed a portrait of Our Blessed Mother with elephant dung and pornographic cutouts on it. "A Fire in My Belly" features large ants running all over Jesus on the Cross. Never have any of those who defended these masterpieces shown one degree of empathy for Christian sensibilities.

The best case for defunding the arts comes from the leading spokesmen in the artistic community. They are impossible to beat.

Contact Clough:
cloughw@si.edu

Jeff Field
Director of Communications
The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights
450 Seventh Avenue
New York, NY 10123
212-371-3191
212-371-3394 (fax)

Ron Paul Floor Speech - Constitution

Traffic in D.C.

My Prediction - Packers 24, Bears 10

If the weather wasn't so bad and we weren't playing on Soldier Field's chewed up surface I would predict we win by a larger margin. I am saddened to admit that my wife is still a Bears fan. Despite many interventions by me and the children we have not been able to bring her back to the light. We won't abandon her though. We will keep her in our constant thoughts and maybe someday our family can enjoy harmony.

Of course I kid because I love my wife. It's really fun to tease each other back and forth as we prepare for the Packers victory this Sunday.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

ANWR - The Unvarnished Truth

The liberal left has spread many falsehoods about energy production in the United States, however one of their favorite areas to hyperventilate about is ANWR. Of course probably none of these liberals have ever been to Alaska let alone ANWR yet they feel they have the right to dictate to Alaskans which resources they can and cannot develop.

Rev. Paul at Way Up North cuts through the haze and gives you an Alaskan's response including multiple photographs and maps in his post titled, ANWR - The Big Lie.

Republicans Get Serious About Cutting Spending

Here is some real action from the Republican Party led by Sen. DeMint and Rep. Jordan. If the can get this through it would be a huge step in the right direction. The problem is special interest and entrenched politicians on both sides will no doubt fight tooth and nail against it.

The Frozen Tundra Lives Up To Its Name

So the weather forecasters are predicting -35 degree windchill tonight. It is amazing this winter has been so bitter cold. There seems to be a windchill advisory every other week. Standing at the bus stop has been absolutely brutal. I'll be out there with my four layers bundled head to toe and the high school students go by dressed in jeans and a jacket. I don't know if I am just that old or if they are just that stupid.

Rep. Michele Bachmann Votes to Repeal ObamaCare

Amazing Fundraising Numbers Release By Steve Daines' Campaign

If we are going to have any chance of restoring our Republic and getting out from under this crippling debt we have to win control of the Senate in 2012. We can't just have a 51 seat majority we need 60 and considering all the Democrat seats up it is possible. One of the seats we need to win is in Montana and Steve Daines announced an amazing fundraising achievement. Here is the release.

For Immediate Release

January
20, 2011

Contact: Jason Thielman
406-431-8236
Jason@Daines.com


DAINES RAISES $225,000 IN CAMPAIGN’S FIRST SIX WEEKS

BOZEMAN, Mont.__
U.S. Senate candidate Steve Daines released
his first financial report today detailing his fund-raising success in the first
six weeks of the campaign. Daines, who announced his campaign on Nov. 13,
reported raising $225,395 from 499 donors between Nov. 13 and Dec. 31.

“Cindy and I are grateful for the support we’ve seen across the state
for our campaign. The willingness of so many Montanans to invest in my campaign
for more jobs and less government is a clear message Montanans want fresh,
conservative leadership in Washington, D.C.,” said Daines, a Bozeman businessman
and Republican.

Daines’ fund-raising total is more than four times the
amount Sen. Jon Tester raised in his first financial reporting period in 2005.

“In the more than a dozen statewide Republican campaigns where I’ve
served as treasurer, I’ve never seen such a strong start,” said Lorna Kuney
about Daines’ impressive showing.

Daines had more than $200,000
remaining as cash-on-hand as of 12/31/2010

“I am not a career
politician,” Daines said. “I’ve spent my life investing, building and growing
businesses. I am running my campaign the same way you run a start-up business by
carefully watching every penny.”

Key Statistics:
77% of
contributions from Montana
Average Donation: $436
Cash on Hand: $206,512
Candidate Contribution: $0
Number of donors: 499

Obama Hears a Hu

Chinese Espionage and French Trade Secrets

Chinese Espionage and French Trade Secrets is republished with permission of STRATFOR.

By Sean Noonan

Paris prosecutor Jean-Claude Marin on Jan. 14 began an inquiry into allegations of commercial espionage carried out against French carmaker Renault. The allegations first became public when Renault suspended three of its employees on Jan. 3 after an internal investigation that began in August 2010. Within days, citing an anonymous French government source, Reuters reported that French intelligence services were looking into the possibility that China played a role in the Renault espionage case. While the French government refused to officially confirm this accusation, speculation has run wild that Chinese state-sponsored spies were stealing electric-vehicle technology from Renault.

The Chinese are well-known perpetrators of industrial espionage and have been caught before in France, but the details that have emerged so far about the Renault operation differ from the usual Chinese method of operation. And much has been learned about this MO just in the last two years across the Atlantic, where the United States has been increasingly aggressive in investigating and prosecuting cases of Chinese espionage. If Chinese intelligence services were indeed responsible for espionage at Renault it would be one of only a few known cases involving non-Chinese nationals and would have involved the largest amount of money since the case of the legendary Larry Wu-Tai Chin, China’s most successful spy.

STRATFOR has previously detailed the Chinese intelligence services and the workings of espionage with Chinese characteristics. A look back at Chinese espionage activities uncovered in the United States in 2010, since our latest report was compiled, can provide more context and detail about current Chinese intelligence operations.

Chinese Espionage in the U.S.

We chose to focus on operations in the United States for two reasons. First, the United States is a major target for Chinese industrial espionage. This is because it is a leader in technology development, particularly in military hardware desired by China’s expanding military, and a potential adversary at the forefront of Chinese defense thinking. Second, while it is not the only country developing major new technologies in which China would be interested, the United States has been the most aggressive in prosecuting espionage cases against Chinese agents, thereby producing available data for us to work with. Since 2008, at least seven cases have been prosecuted each year in the United States against individuals spying for China. Five were prosecuted in 2007. Going back to about 2000, from one to three cases were prosecuted annually, and before that, less than one was prosecuted per year.

Most of the cases involved charges of violating export restrictions or stealing trade secrets rather than the capital crime of stealing state secrets. As the premier agency leading such investigations, the FBI has clearly made a policy decision to refocus on counterintelligence after an overwhelming focus on counterterrorism following 9/11, and its capability to conduct such investigations has grown. In 2010, 11 Chinese espionage cases were prosecuted in the United States, the highest number yet, and they featured a wide range of espionage targets.

Ten of the 11 cases involved technology acquisition, and five were overt attempts to purchase and illegally export encryption devices, mobile-phone components, high-end analog-to-digital converters, microchips designed for aerospace applications and radiation-hardened semiconductors. These technologies can be used in a wide range of Chinese industries. While the mobile-phone technology would be limited to Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs) such as China Mobile, the aerospace-related microchips could be used in anything from rockets to fighter jets. Xian Hongwei and someone known as “Li Li” were arrested in September 2010 for allegedly attempting to purchase those aerospace-related microchips from BAE Systems, which is one of the companies involved in the development of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Similar espionage may have played a role in China’s development of the new J-20 fifth-generation fighter, but that is only speculation.

(click here to enlarge image)

Five other cases in 2010 involved stealing trade secrets. These included organic light- emitting diode processes from Dupont, hybrid vehicle technology from GM, insecticide formulas from the Dow Chemical Company, paint formulas from Valspar and various vehicle design specifications from Ford. These types of Chinese cases, while often encouraged by state officials, are more similar to industrial espionage conducted by corporations. Since many of the major car companies in China are state-run, these technologies benefit both industry and the state.

But that does not mean these efforts are directed from Beijing. History shows that such espionage activities are not well coordinated. Various Chinese company executives (who are also Communist Party officials) have different requirements for their industrial espionage. In cases where two SOEs are competing to sell similar products, they may both try to recruit agents to steal the same technology. There are also a growing number of private Chinese companies getting involved in espionage. One notable example was when Du Shanshan and Qin Yu passed on technology from GM to Chery Automobile, a private, rather than state-run, manufacturer. In the five trade-secret cases in 2010, most of the suspects were caught because of poor tradecraft. They stored data on their hard drives, sent e-mails on company computers and had obvious communications with companies in China. This is not the kind of tradecraft we would expect from trained intelligence officers. Most of these cases probably involved ad hoc agents, some of whom were likely recruited while working in the United States and offered jobs back in China when they were found to have access to important technology.

These cases show how Chinese state-run companies can have an interest in espionage in order to improve their own products, both for the success of their companies and in the national interest of China. The U.S. Department of Justice has not provided specific details on how the stolen defense-related technologies were intended to be used in China, so it is hard to tell whether they would have enhanced China’s military capability.

First-generation Chinese carried out 10 of the 11 publicized cases in the United States last year. Some were living or working temporarily in the United States, others had become naturalized American citizens (with the exception of Xian and Li, who were caught in Hungary). The Chinese intelligence services rely on ethnic Chinese agents because the services do not generally trust outsiders. When recruiting, they also use threats against family members or the individuals themselves. Second- and third-generation Chinese who have assimilated in a new culture are rarely willing to spy, and the Chinese government has much less leverage over this segment of the ethnic-Chinese population living overseas.

In the 11 cases in 2010, it is not clear what payments, if any, the agents might have received. In some cases, such as those involving the trade secrets from Valspar and Ford, the information likely helped the agents land better jobs and/or receive promotions back in China. Cash does not typically rule the effectiveness of newly recruited Chinese spies, as it might with Western recruits. Instead, new Chinese agents are usually motivated by intelligence-service coercion or ideological affinity for China.

The outlier in 2010 was Glenn Duffie Shriver, an American student with no Chinese heritage who applied to work at both the U.S. State Department and the CIA. His was the first publicized case of the Chinese trying to develop an agent in place in the United States since Larry Chin. Shriver studied in China in 2002 and 2003. The recruitment process began when he returned to China in 2004 to seek employment and improve his language capabilities. After responding to an ad for someone with an English-language background to write a political paper, Shriver was paid $120 for producing an article on U.S.-Chinese relations regarding Taiwan and North Korea.

The woman who hired him then introduced him to two Chinese intelligence officers named Wu and Tang. They paid Shriver a total of $70,000 in three payments while he tried to land a job with the U.S. government. Shriver failed the exams to become a foreign service officer and began pursuing a career with the CIA. He was accused of lying on his CIA application by not mentioning at least one trip to China and at least 20 meetings with Chinese intelligence officers. It is not clear how he was exposed, but customs records and passport stamps would have easily revealed any trips to China that he did not report in his CIA application. On Oct. 22, 2010, Shriver pleaded guilty to conspiring to provide national defense information to intelligence officers of the People’s Republic of China and was sentenced to 48 months in prison in accordance with his plea agreement.

A few Americans have been accused of being Chinese agents before, such as former Defense Department official James Fondren, who was caught and convicted in 2009. These cases are rare, though they may increase as Beijing tries to reach higher levels of infiltration. It is also possible that the FBI has been reaching only for low-hanging fruit and that Chinese espionage involving Americans at higher levels is going undetected. If this were the case, it would not be consistent with the general Chinese espionage MO.

China takes a mosaic approach to intelligence, which is a wholly different paradigm than that of the West. Instead of recruiting a few high-level sources, the Chinese recruit as many low-level operatives as possible who are charged with vacuuming up all available open-source information and compiling and analyzing the innumerable bits of intelligence to assemble a complete picture. This method fits well with Chinese demographics, which are characterized by countless thousands of capable and industrious people working overseas as well as thousands more analyzing various pieces of the mosaic back home.

Another case in 2010 was an alleged China-based cyber-attack against Google, in which servers were hacked and customer account information was accessed. Last year, more than 30 other major companies reported similar infiltration attempts occurring in 2009, though we do not know how widespread the effort really is. China’s cyber-espionage capabilities are well known and no doubt will continue to provide more valuable information for China’s intelligence services.
The Renault Case

Few details have been released about the Renault case, which will likely remain confidential until French prosecutors finish their investigation. But enough information has trickled in to give us some idea of the kind of operation that would have targeted Renault’s electric-vehicle program. Three Renault managers were accused: Matthieu Tenenbaum, who was deputy director of Renault’s electric-vehicle program; Michel Balthazard, who was a member of the Renault management board; and Bertrand Rochette, a subordinate of Balthazard who was responsible for pilot projects. Various media reports — mostly from Le Figaro — claim that the State Grid Corporation of China opened bank accounts for two of the three managers (it is unknown which two). Money was allegedly wired through Malta, and Renault’s investigators found deposits of 500,000 euros (about $665,000) and 130,000 euros (about $175,000) respectively in Swiss and Liechtenstein bank accounts.

Assuming this is true, it is still unclear what the money was for. Given that the three executives had positions close to the electric-vehicle program, it seems that some related technology was the target. Patrick Pelata, Renault’s chief operating officer, said that “not the smallest nugget of technical or strategic information on the innovation plan has filtered out of the enterprise.” In other words, Renault uncovered the operation before any technology was leaked — or it is intentionally trying to downplay the damage done in order to reassure investors and protect stock prices. But Pelata also called the operation “a system organized to collect economic, technological and strategic information to serve interests abroad.”

Renault is convinced a foreign entity was involved in a sophisticated intelligence operation against the company. The question is, what foreign entity? On Jan. 13, Renault filed an official complaint with French authorities, saying it was the victim of organized industrial espionage, among other things, committed by “persons unknown.” French Industry Minister Eric Besson clarified Jan. 14 that there was no information to suggest Chinese involvement in the case, though he previously said France was facing “economic war,” presuming that the culprits came from outside France. The source for the original rumors of Chinese involvement is unclear, but the French clearly backed away from the accusation, especially after Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei called the accusation “baseless and irresponsible” on Jan. 11 (of course, even if the Chinese were the culprits they would certainly not admit it).

The Chinese have definitely targeted energy-efficient motor vehicle technology in the past, in addition to the Ford and GM cases, and Renault itself is no stranger to industrial espionage activities. In 2007, Li Li Whuang was charged with breach of trust and fraudulent access to a computer system while working as a trainee at Valeo, a French automotive components manufacturer, in 2005. The 24-year-old was studying in Paris when she was offered the trainee position at Valeo. Investigators found files on her computer related to a project with BMW and another with Renault.

The new Renault case, however, is very different from most Chinese espionage cases. First, it involved recruiting three French nationals with no ethnic ties to China, rather than first-generation Chinese. Second, the alleged payments to two of three Renault employees were much larger than Chinese agents usually receive, even those who are not ethnic Chinese. The one notable exception is the case of Larry Chin, who is believed to have received more than $1 million in the 30 years he spied for China as a translator for U.S. intelligence services. Renault executives would also be paid as much or more in salaries than what was found in these bank accounts, though we don’t know if more money was transferred in and out of the accounts. This may not be unprecedented, however; STRATFOR sources have reported being offered many millions of dollars to work for the Chinese government.

Another problem is the alleged use of a Chinese state-owned company to funnel payments to the Renault executives. Using a company traceable not only to China but to the government itself is a huge error in tradecraft. This is not likely a mistake that the Chinese intelligence services would make. In Chin’s case, all payments were made in cash and were exchanged in careful meetings outside the United States, in places where there was no surveillance.

Thus, STRATFOR doubts that the Renault theft was perpetrated by the Chinese. The leak suggesting otherwise was likely an assumption based on China’s frequent involvement in industrial espionage. Still, it could be a sign of new methods in Chinese spycraft.

Higher-level Recruitment?

The Shriver and Renault cases could suggest that some Chinese intelligence operations are so sophisticated that counterintelligence officers are unaware of their activities. They could mean that the Chinese are recruiting higher-level sources and offering them large sums of money. Chin, who got his start working for the U.S. Army during the Korean War, remained undetected until 1985, when a defector exposed him. There may be others who are just as well hidden. However, according to STRATFOR sources, including current and former counterintelligence officers, the vast majority of Chinese espionage operations are perpetrated at low levels by untrained agents.

There is little indication that the Chinese have switched from the high-quantity, low-quality mosaic intelligence method, and cyber-espionage activities such as hacking Google demonstrate that the mosaic method is only growing. The Internet allows China to recruit from its large base of capable computer users to find valuable information in the national interest. It provides even more opportunities to vacuum up information for intelligence analysis. Indeed, cyber-espionage is being used as another form of “insurance,” a way to ensure that the information collected by the intelligence services from other sources is accurate.

If China is responsible for the Renault penetration, the case would represent a change in the Chinese espionage MO, one aiming at a higher level and willing to spend more money, even though most of the cases prosecuted in the United States pointed to a continuation of the mosaic paradigm. Nevertheless, counterintelligence officers are likely watching carefully for higher-level recruits, fearing that others like Chin and Shriver may have remained undetected for years. These cases may be an indication of new resources made available to Western counterintelligence agencies and not new efforts by the Chinese.

One thing is certain: Chinese espionage activities will continue apace in 2011, and it will be interesting to see what targets are picked.

Read more: Chinese Espionage and French Trade Secrets STRATFOR

Catholic League News Release

ABORTION FUNDING IN JEOPARDY

Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act" that is being introduced today:

In 1976, Illinois Rep. Henry Hyde succeeded in getting a ban on abortion funding by federal agencies, and it had sailed along without serious challenge until the Obama administration. Today, a bill to ensure that the Hyde bill remains intact is being introduced. It is occasioned by the fear that the health care bill signed by President Obama last March allows for the federal government to underwrite abortions.

When this issue was debated last year, the pro-life community was told to settle down—the bill did not fund or otherwise subsidize abortions. Unconvinced, Catholics, led by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), mounted a protest. The bill passed anyway. Now we are being told by abortion advocates such as NARAL that the legislation being introduced today should be condemned. But why? If abortion funding is already a moot issue, how could a bill that codifies the Hyde amendment undo things?

The obvious answer is that the pro-abortion community lied last year: they knew that the health care bill provided for the federal funding of abortions, and now they are worried that the "liberty" they champion is in jeopardy.

The USCCB is not seeking to overturn the health care bill, even though it knows it is flawed. But in his letter to the Congress on January 14, Archbishop Timothy Dolan, the head of the USCCB, explicitly said, "The Hyde amendment and other provisions which for many years have prevented federal funding of abortion have a proven record of reducing abortions, and should be codified in permanent law." That is what this bi-partisan bill intends to do, and that is why it has the support of the USCCB, as well as practicing Catholics.

Jeff Field
Director of Communications
The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights
450 Seventh Avenue
New York, NY 10123
212-371-3191
212-371-3394 (fax)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Way Up North: Random Thought - Response

Way Up North: Random Thought - Response

"There's no point in questioning authority if you aren't going to listen to the answers."


The problem with that is, when Americans finally woke up & started to listen, the answers didn't make any sense. And of course, when we point that out, we're a bunch of tea-bagging, racist, homophobic, Constitution-loving, redneck, illegal immigrant-hating, Sarah Palin/Glenn Beck/Rush Limbaugh-worshiping, Fox News-watching, domestic terrorists [read more]

Merely Symbolic

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Good News On Baby

Back from Children's Hospital for the last time, for the next 11 months. The check up could not have gone better. His healthy kidney is enlarged and growing like it is supposed to be, and his bad kidney has now completely died without complication.

Barring any complications he should lead a normal healthy life. He will just need to be checked regularly and cannot play contact sports. An easy sacrifice to make considering what we were facing. SR and I are so grateful for God's blessings and everyone who kept him in prayer.

On a personal note our Catholic faith has been a huge blessing through this entire ordeal. God is great.

Alaska: Great Deal on 'The Great Land'

Russia's perspective on Alaska's past and present. Very thought provoking.

World Over - Catholic healthcare

h/t: A Catholic Mom in Hawaii

Update from the House Republican Study Committee (RSC)


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

RSC Update: Repeal ObamaCare, Cut Spending

From the Chairman
After decades of irresponsible spending and government expansion, the national debt is nearly equal in size to our entire economy. Recognizing the need for a new course, House Republicans have pledged to cut spending and repeal the budget-busting and unconstitutional law known as ObamaCare. This week, we will take steps to keep those promises and begin tackling the growing debt crisis, which threatens to derail our already struggling economy.

Earlier this month, House Republicans released a detailed report on what ObamaCare will do to our budget and our economy. I encourage you to read the full report, but here’s the short version: it imposes painful new costs on job-creators and will add $701 billion to the deficit over its first decade of full implementation. Beyond that, the law creates a maze of new bureaucracy that will put Washington in between you and your doctor. Personal health care decisions should be made by patients, families, and their doctors, not politicians and bureaucrats in Washington. For all of these reasons, House Republicans will vote tomorrow to repeal ObamaCare.

With the national debt now over $14 trillion, Congress must also act swiftly to cut spending. That is why members of the RSC will unveil new legislation on Thursday that makes substantial spending cuts immediately and throughout then next 10 years. This Spending Reduction Act is a first step towards fiscal sanity, but it will not be the last. We must begin charting a new course now before the weight of our debt burden grows insurmountable. Stay tuned for more details.

God Bless,

Congressman Jim Jordan
Chairman, Republican Study Committee

RSC Media Activity – RSC members work hard to ensure that the conservative viewpoint is well-represented in all corners of the media. Visit our Media Center for more.
· Video: Rep. Scott Garrett (NJ-05) and Bill Huizenga (MI-02) recently discussed spending cuts with John Stossel on Fox Business.

· Rep. Darrell Issa (CA-49): A Federal Carrot and Stick to Ease Public Pension Crisis; The San Diego Union, January 14.

· Rep. Glenn Thompson (PA-05): Maintain Our Freedom by Nonviolent Means; Centre Daily Times, January 17.

RSC Member Activity – RSC members make it a priority to introduce productive, conservative solutions for America’s future.
· Rep. Dan Lungren’s (CA-03) 1099 Bill, H.R. 4, which would repeal the 1099 mandate in ObamaCare, garnered the support of 245 members.

· Rep. Geoff Davis (KY-04) will reintroduce the REINS (Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny) Act, which would require that Congress must approve every new Major Rule (95 in 2010) proposed by the executive branch before they can be enforced on the American people.

· Rep. Ted Poe (TX-02) introduced the Ensuring Affordable Energy Act, which would prohibit federal funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to be used to implement or enforce a cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gases.

House Floor Activity – The following key legislation came through the House of Representatives last week.
· The House agreed to a resolution honoring Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the other victims of the attack in Tucson, Arizona.

Outlook – A quick look at what’s on the horizon.
· The House will vote on a suspension bill H.R. 292, the Stop the Over Printing (or STOP) Act, today. This bill would direct GPO to send members electronic, rather than paper, copies of bills and resolutions.

· The House to begin debate on H.R. 2, legislation repealing ObamaCare, today. The vote to repeal ObamaCare will occur Wednesday of this week.

· The RSC’s Spending Reduction Act will be unveiled later this week.

RSC Reports
· Each week the House is in session, the RSC Budget and Spending Taskforce compiles a weekly report on the latest budget and spending news. Additionally, the RSC Money Monitor tracks how bills passed by the House affect authorizations, mandatory spending, and federal government revenue.

###
House Republican Study Committee
Rep. Jim Jordan, Chairman
Paul Teller, Executive Director
Brad Watson, Policy Director
Bruce “Fez” Miller, Professional Policy Staff
Curtis Rhyne, Professional Policy Staff
Ja’Ron Smith, Professional Policy Staff
Wesley Goodman, Director of Conservative Coalitions and State Outreach
Yong Choe, Director of Business Outreach and Member Services
Brian Straessle, Communications Director
Ben Miller, Deputy Communications Director
Cyrus Artz, Research Assistant
1524 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 226-9717

China's Military Comes Into Its Own

China's Military Comes Into Its Own is republished with permission of STRATFOR.

By Rodger Baker

Chinese President Hu Jintao is visiting the United States, perhaps his last state visit as president before China begins its generational leadership transition in 2012. Hu’s visit is being shaped by the ongoing China-U.S. economic dialogue, by concerns surrounding stability on the Korean Peninsula and by rising attention to Chinese defense activity in recent months. For example, China carried out the first reported test flight of its fifth-generation combat fighter prototype, dubbed the J-20, during U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ visit to China the previous week.
The development and test flight of China’s J-20 is not insignificant, but it is also by no means a game changer in the U.S.-China defense balance. More intriguingly, the test highlights how China’s military increasingly is making its interests heard.

The J-20 Test Flight and China’s Strategic Concerns

The J-20 test flight shone a light on China’s strategic concerns and reflected some of the developing capability that addresses those concerns. The Chinese fear a potential U.S. blockade of their coast. While this may not seem a likely scenario, the Chinese look at their strategic vulnerability, at their rising power and at the U.S. history of thwarting regional powers, and they see themselves as clearly at risk.

China’s increased activity and rhetoric in and around the South and East China seas also clearly reflect this concern. For Beijing, it is critical to keep the U.S. Navy as far from Chinese waters as possible and delay its approach by maximizing the threat environment in the event of a conflict. Though the J-20 is still a work in progress, a more advanced combat fighter — particularly one with stealth capabilities — could serve a number of relevant roles toward this end.

The Chinese are still in the early stages of development, however. They are experimenting with stealth shaping, characteristics and materials, meaning the degree to which the J-20 can achieve low observability against modern radar remains an open question. Significant changes to the design based on handling characteristics and radar signature can be expected. And true “stealth” is the product of more than just shaping. Special coatings and radar-absorbing materials only top a lengthy list of areas in which Chinese engineers must gain practical experience, even allowing for considerable insight gained through espionage or foreign assistance. China still is thought to be struggling with indigenously designed and manufactured high-end jet engines, not to mention the integration of advanced sensors, avionics and the complex systems that characterize fifth-generation aircraft. It is too early to infer much from the single flight-tested prototype, something the United States learned during the Cold War when initial U.S. estimates of the Soviet MiG-25 attributed far more sophistication and capability to the design than proved to be the case after a Soviet pilot defected with his aircraft years later.

The Chinese role for the J-20 is based on a different set of realities than those the Soviets and Americans faced during the Cold War, meaning the J-20 prototype should not be judged solely by the American standards for fifth-generation aircraft. More than having the most advanced aircraft in the sky, the Chinese value the ability to maintain high sortie rates from many bases along the country’s coast to overwhelm with numbers the superior U.S. combat aircraft, which would be expected to be operated from aircraft carriers or from more distant land bases.

The J-20 Test’s Timing

Perhaps more interesting than the test was its timing, with its associated political implications. For weeks before the test flight, Chinese message boards and blogs were filled with photographs of the new prototype on the tarmac, conducting taxi tests in preparation for its first test flight. Foreign military and defense observers closely monitor such sites, and their “leaked” images renewed attention to China’s fifth-generation development program, about which there has been plenty of speculation but little hard detail. Chinese defense and security officials also closely monitor such boards, but the officials chose not to shut them down — clearly indicating Beijing’s intent to draw attention to the test.

Gates asked Hu about the test when the two met in Beijing. According to some media reports citing American officials present at the meeting, Hu appeared surprised by the question and somewhat perplexed by the details of the test — the implication being that Hu was unaware of the test and that the Chinese military may have acted out of turn. Gates told reporters that Hu had assured him the timing was coincidental. After being asked for his own thoughts regarding the relationship between the military and the political leadership in China after his meetings with Chinese civilian and defense leaders, Gates noted that he had become concerned about that relationship over time. He added that ensuring civilian and military dialogue between the two countries was important.

Although Gates did not say the Chinese military tested the J-20 without political clearance from Hu, the idea was certainly suggested by the media coverage and Gates’ response. On the surface, this seems rather hard to believe. Hu, as president of China and general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, also serves as chairman of China’s parallel Central Military Commissions (one is under the government, the other under the Party, though both have exactly the same makeup).

That the head of China’s military would not know about a major new hardware test coming a week before his trip to meet with the president of the United States and coinciding with a visit of the U.S. defense secretary seems a reach. Furthermore, given the amount of attention just beneath the surface in China to the imminent test, and the subsequent attention in the foreign media, it would be startling that the Chinese president was so poorly briefed prior to meeting the U.S. defense secretary. If indeed the test surprised Hu, then there is serious trouble in China’s leadership structure. But perhaps the issue isn’t one of knowledge but one of capability: Could Hu have stopped the test given the timing, and if so, would he have wanted to stop it?

The Rising Influence of China’s Military

Rumors and signs of the rising influence of the military establishment in China have emerged over the past few years. Since the 1980s, China has focused on and invested in a major reorientation of its military from a massive land army focused on territorial defense to one that emphasizes naval and air capabilities to protect China’s interests in the East and South China seas and beyond into the western Pacific. This has included expanding China’s reach and a focus on anti-access and area-denial capabilities, with accelerated development in this arena in recent years.

Some systems, like the DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile, are uniquely tailored to countering the U.S. Navy. Others, like an expanding and more aggressive Ocean and Fisheries Administration, is directed more at China’s neighbors in the South and East China seas, and at asserting China’s claims to these waters.

This change in focus is driven by three factors. First, China sees its land borders as being fairly well locked down, with its buffer territories largely under control, but the maritime border is a vulnerability — a particular concern for a trade-based economy. Second, as China’s economy has rapidly expanded, so has Beijing’s dependence on far-flung sources of natural resources and emerging markets. This drives the government and military to look at protection of sea-lanes, often far from China’s shores. Third, the military leadership is using these concerns to increase its own role in internal decision-making. The more dependent China is on places far from its borders, the more the military can make the case that it is the only entity with both the intelligence and the understanding to provide the necessary strategic advice and perspective to China’s civilian leadership.

There is also the issue of a modernizing military looking out for itself, battling for its share of China’s budget and economic pie. A key part of former Chinese President Jiang Zemin’s fundamental military reforms was stripping the military of much of its business empire. At the time, the state — while funding the military — assumed that military-run industry would supplement the defense budget. In short, the military ran industries, and the profits were used to support local and regional defense needs. That kept the official state military budget down and encouraged enterprising commanders to contribute to China’s economic growth.

But over time, it also led to corruption and a military where regional and local military commanders were at risk of becoming more intent on their business empires than on the country’s national defense. Money that largely had gone to support the living of the troops was sidelined and funneled to the military officials. And the faster the Chinese economy grew, the more profit there was for the taking. Regional military leaders and local governments teamed up to operate, promote and protect their own business interests regardless of the state’s broader national economic or social priorities. China’s central leadership saw troubling parallels to older Chinese history, when regional warlords emerged.

In response, Jiang ordered the military largely out of business. Military leaders grudgingly complied for the most part, though there were plenty of cases of military-run industries being stripped of all their machinery, equipment and supplies, which were then sold on the black market and then unloaded at bargain prices to the cronies of military officials. Other companies were simply stripped and foisted on the government to deal with, debts and all. Jiang placated the military by increasing its budget, increasing the living standard of the average soldier and launching a ramped-up program to rapidly increase the education of its soldiers and technical sophistication of China’s military. This appeased the military officials and bought their loyalty — returning the military to financial dependence on the government and Communist Party.

But the success of military reform, which also involved seeking greater sophistication in doctrine, training, communications and technology, has also given the military greater influence. Over time, the military has come to expect more technologically, and China has begun experimenting with technology-sharing between military and civilian industry to spur development. The drive for dual-use technology, from the evolving aerospace industry to nanotechnology, creates new opportunities for military officials to promote new weapons-system development while at the same time profiting from the development. As China’s global economic power has grown, the military has demanded more funding and greater capabilities to protect national interests and its own prerogatives.

But China’s military officials are also growing more vocal in their opinions beyond the issue of military procurement. Over the past year, Chinese military officers have made their opinions known, quite openly in Chinese and sometimes even foreign media. They have addressed not only military issues but also Chinese foreign policy and international relations. This step outside the norm has left the Chinese diplomatic community uncomfortable (or at least left it expressing its unease with the rising influence of the military to their foreign counterparts). This may be an elaborate disinformation campaign or a slightly higher level of the griping typical of bureaucrats, or it may in fact reflect a military that sees its own role and significance rising and is stepping forward to try to grab the influence and power it feels it deserves.

One example of the ostensible struggle between the military and the civilian bureaucrats over Chinese foreign policy played out over the past year. Through nearly the first three-quarters of the year, when the United States carried out defense exercises in the Asia-Pacific region — whether annual or in response to regional events like the sinking of the ChonAn in South Korea — the Chinese would respond by holding their own series of exercises, sometimes on a larger scale. It was a game of one-upmanship. But the foreign ministry and bureaucracy purportedly argued against this policy as counterproductive, and by the fourth quarter, China had shifted away from military exercises as a response. Instead, it once again pushed a friendlier and more diplomatic line even as U.S. exercises continued. By the November 2010 crisis over North Korea’s shelling of Yeonpyeong Island, China had returned to its standard call for moderation and dialogue.

If this narrative is accepted, the military response to being sidelined again was to leak plans to launch an aircraft carrier in 2011, to reinvigorate international attention to Chinese anti-ship ballistic missiles, and to test the new Chinese fifth-generation aircraft while Gates was in Beijing and just before Hu headed to Washington. A Chinese military motivated by nationalism — and perhaps an even stronger interest in preserving its power and influence within China — would find it better to be in contention with the United States than in calm. This is because U.S. pressure, whether real or rhetorical, drives China’s defense development.

But the case could as easily be made that the Chinese political leadership has an equal interest in ensuring a mixed relationship with Washington, that the government benefits from seemingly endless U.S. criticism of Chinese defense development. This is because such criticism increases Chinese nationalism, distracting the people from the economic troubles Beijing is trying to manage. And this is the heart of the issue: Just how well-coordinated are the military and civilian leadership of China, and how stable is their relationship?

An End to the Chinese Miracle

The Chinese miracle is nearing its natural conclusion, as Beijing begins to face a reality like that seen by Japan, South Korea and the other Asian Tigers that all followed the same growth pattern. How that crisis plays out is fundamentally different depending upon the country: Japan has accepted the shared long-term pain of two decades of malaise; South Korea saw short, sharp, wrenching reforms; Indonesia saw its government collapse. The reliability of the military, the capability of the civilian leadership and the level of acceptance of the population all combine to shape the outcome.

A divide between the military and civilian leadership would mean that China, already facing the social consequences of its economic policies, is facing another significant issue at the same time: the balance of civilian-military relations. However, a carefully coordinated drive to give the appearance of a split may help China convince the United States to ease economic pressure to avoid exacerbating this “split” while also appealing to nationalistic unity at home.

But even small signs of a split now are critical because of the stresses on the system that China will experience when its economic miracle expires in the not-so-distant future. Mao and Deng were both soldiers. Their successors were not. Neither Jiang Zemin nor Hu Jintao has military experience, and incoming President Xi Jinping similarly lacks such training. The rumors from China suggest that the military plans to take advantage of Xi’s lack of experience and use its influence to shape his policies. The leadership transition may provide a chance for the military to gain more influence in an institutional way, allowing it to drive a hard bargain and buy a bigger share of the pie in the fifth generation set-up.

For most of modern China’s history, the military has been an internal force without much appetite for more worldly affairs. That is now changing, appropriately, due to China’s growing global prominence and reliance on the global economy. But that means that a new balance must be found, and China’s senior leadership must both accommodate and balance the military’s perspective and what the military advocates for.

As Chinese leaders deal with a generational transition, expanding international involvement and an increasingly difficult economic balance, the military is coming into its own and making its interests heard more clearly. How this balance plays out will be tremendously significant.

Read more: China's Military Comes Into Its Own STRATFOR

Ron Paul: On Gun Control and Violence

The terrible violence in Arizona last weekend prompted much national discussion on many issues. All Americans are united in their sympathies for the victims and their families. All wonder what could motivate such a horrible act. However, some have attempted to use this tragedy to discredit philosophical adversaries or score political points. This sort of opportunism is simply despicable.

We are fortunate to live in a society where violence is universally denounced. Not one public official or commentator has attempted to justify this reprehensible act, yet the newspapers, internet, and airwaves are full of people trying to claim it was somehow motivated by someone else’s political rhetoric. Most disturbing are the calls to use government power to censor certain forms of speech, and even outlaw certain types of criticism of public officials. This was the completely apolitical act of a violent and disturbed man. How sad that the attempted murder of the Congresswoman who had just read the First Amendment on the House floor would be used in efforts to chill free speech! Perhaps some would feel safer if the Alien and Sedition Acts were reinstated. [
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Founding Fathers Quote

A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.

James Madison