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Friday, January 31, 2014

Public’s Views of Economic News Low

More Hearing Negative than Positive News about Jobs

Public’s Views of Recent Economic News

As the Federal Reserve meets to discuss whether to keep up its $85-billion-a-month bond-buying program, the public’s perceptions of recent economic news have shown little change.
Six-in-ten (60%) are hearing a mix of good and bad news about the economy. Far more say they are hearing mostly bad news about the economy (31%) than mostly good news (7%). These views have not changed much over the past two years, although the percentage hearing mostly bad news is up five points since August.
The new national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted Dec. 12-15 among 1,000 adults, finds that perceptions of recent job news remain more negative than positive. Currently, 40% are hearing mostly bad news about jobs, while just 14% are hearing mostly good news; 41% say the news is mixed. These views also have changed little over the past year.
Perceptions of Economic Sector NewsNews about prices for food and consumer goods also is seen as more bad than good: 45% say recent news about prices has been mostly bad while just 9% say it has been mostly good, with 40% saying it has been mixed.
The stock market has made major gains in 2013, but just 17% are hearing mostly good news about financial markets; 28% say the news is mostly bad and 46% say it is a mix of good and bad.
Among other economic sectors, views of news about real estate values continue to be among the most positive. About one-in-four (27%) are hearing mostly good news about real estate values and 23% are hearing mostly bad news, while 40% say the news is a mix.
Economic Sector NewsA greater share of the public is hearing good news (24%) than bad news (17%) about retail sales. Although this rating is roughly in line with last December’s views, it is a decline from two Decembers ago, when about half (51%) were hearing mostly good news about retail sales.
The public is hearing less negative news about gas prices than earlier this year, when prices were much higher. Currently, 36% are hearing bad news about gas prices, down from 57% in June and 74% in March.

Income Differences in Views of News about Real Estate, Markets and Jobs

There are no significant differences across income categories in overall perceptions of economic news. But people with higher incomes are more likely than others to report hearing good news about some economic sectors. Higher Income Adults Hearing Better News About Some Economic SectorsAmong those with family incomes of $75,000 or more, 37% are hearing mostly good news about real estate values – about twice the 19% share of adults with family incomes less than $30,000 who are hearing mostly good news.
Those with higher incomes are also roughly twice as likely to be hearing good news about financial markets: 27% of those with incomes of $75,000 or more say this, compared with 14% of adults with $30,000-$74,999 annual incomes and 13% of those whose families earn less than $30,000.

The Week’s News

Economy, Health Care Rollout Top News InterestAbout one-in-four adults (26%) closely followed news about the economy last week, while an equal share closely followed news about how the rollout of the 2010 health care law was going. A smaller percentage of the public — 17% —closely followed negotiations about a new budget deal in Congress.

A week after the death of former South African President Nelson Mandela, one-in-five (20%) very closely followed his memorial service and other news about his death. Fully 54% of non-Hispanic blacks followed news about Mandela very closely last week, compared with 14% of non-Hispanic whites.
The analysis in this report is based on telephone interviews conducted December 12-15, 2013 among a national sample of 1,000 adults, 18 years of age or older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia (500 respondents were interviewed on a landline telephone, and 500 were interviewed on a cell phone, including 234 who had no landline telephone). The survey was conducted by interviewers at Princeton Data Source under the direction of Princeton Survey Research Associates International. A combination of landline and cell phone random digit dial samples were used; both samples were provided by Survey Sampling International. Interviews were conducted in English. Respondents in the landline sample were selected by randomly asking for the youngest adult male or female who is now at home. Interviews in the cell sample were conducted with the person who answered the phone, if that person was an adult 18 years of age or older. For detailed information about our survey methodology, see
The combined landline and cell phone sample are weighted using an iterative technique that matches gender, age, education, race, Hispanic origin and nativity and region to parameters from the 2011 Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and population density to parameters from the Decennial Census. The sample also is weighted to match current patterns of telephone status and relative usage of landline and cell phones (for those with both), based on extrapolations from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey. The weighting procedure also accounts for the fact that respondents with both landline and cell phones have a greater probability of being included in the combined sample and adjusts for household size among respondents with a landline phone. Sampling errors and statistical tests of significance take into account the effect of weighting.
The following table shows the unweighted sample sizes and the error attributable to sampling that would be expected at the 95% level of confidence for different groups in the survey:
About the Survey
Sample sizes and sampling errors for other subgroups are available upon request. In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.

AF Sec. sees 'systemic' problems in nuclear workforce

By Jared Serbu

Just a little more than two months into the job, the new secretary of the Air Force said it's already clear to her that there are "systemic" problems in the service's management of the personnel in charge of manning and maintaining land-based nuclear weapons. And the initial assessments from a high-level review group convened by the secretary of Defense appear to concur with her size-up.
Deborah Lee James was faced with issues in the Air Force's nuclear enterprise almost immediately upon becoming secretary.
Two weeks ago, she stood before cameras at the Pentagon to detail an investigation that implicated at least 34 officers in a scandal involving alleged cheating on nuclear tests and a handful of others for drug use.
By Wednesday, officials said the investigation had expanded to some 70 airmen, all of whom have been decertified from their duties.
James spent last week visiting three bases that host nuclear missiles, plus the headquarters of the Air Force Global Strike Command, meeting with commanders and conducting small town halls and focus groups with airmen.
She said she came back to Washington with several conclusions.
"The need for perfection has created way too much stress and way too much fear," James said. "I heard repeatedly that the system feels very punitive. It doesn't feel like you're incentivized for good, but if anything bad should happen, you're punished severely. I also heard repeatedly that there's a level of micromanagement within this force that should be turned into empowerment. And I heard that the airmen hear that the mission is important, but we don't put our money or attention where our mouth is. There's a difference between what we say and what they feel that we do."
Too much testing?
Speaking to an Air Force Association breakfast Wednesday in Arlington, Va., James stressed that all of the evidence to date shows the current scandal points only to integrity issues among certain airmen, and not that the Air Force has stumbled in the performance of its nuclear mission.
Earlier this month, the Air Force required every crew member in its ICBM force to retake the certification test the cheating scandal had been centered on, under stricter supervision standards, and more than 95 percent passed.
But James said the nuclear community's intense focus on testing may be one of its problems.
"In the current environment, there's no room for error, all of the time. But when you're talking about training, the whole idea is learning. Mistakes happen, and you get better, and that's what training is all about," she said. "But in this environment, everything's a test, and perfect test scores have become the only gauge that lets commanders differentiate among airmen in order to promote them. I think this is wrong. We need to address it, and I think that rather than making a test be the make-or-break element of a young person's career, we need to take a whole-person concept. We need to look at the totality of what they're doing, with the tests as an element."
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel also discussed the issue at the Pentagon Wednesday with the leaders of Global Strike Command, along with nuclear experts from the Navy and Air Force. His spokesman, Rear. Adm. John Kirby, said the consensus in the room was similar to James' — there likely is a systemic personnel management issue in the Air Force nuclear mission area.
At the Pentagon last week, Hagel also broached the notion of an over-fixation on testing.
"Standards must not be eroded, of course not. But is there a better way to do this?" he asked. "Can we be better attuned to their interests? When you put these people in these locations where there's a certain amount of isolation, that's a dynamic you have to factor in, too. Do they get bored? Are we doing enough to incentivize these young men and women?"
Incentives to attract, retain workers
James said that's one key question the Air Force is asking during a review over the next two months. She said the service needs to examine whether the Air Force gives missileers proper leadership training in addition to their nuclear training, whether the service has done enough to make sure airmen entering the nuclear profession have a viable career path ahead of them (and if so, whether they know it), and whether the Air Force offers enough incentives to attract and retain the most promising candidates into nuclear jobs.
"We need to make this career field something, both in fact and in perception, that people aspire to do," she said. "We need to examine the incentives, the accolades, the recognition. We need to ask ourselves whether we need to take more steps to make this career field more attractive, whether we need incentive pay or scholarships for certain types of work. Should we do a new medal or ribbon? We need to look at all of that."
James said the Air Force also needs to make clear to airmen that there are avenues to report illegal activity when they see it, even anonymously, and it's their responsibility to use them.
Many of the 34 service members who've been identified in the investigation thus far were not directly involved in the cheating scandal, but the service is pursuing potential disciplinary action against them because they knew what was going on and did not notify authorities.
Last week, Hagel ordered two independent reviews of the Air Force's nuclear mission: An outside panel to examine the overall strategic deterrent mission of nuclear forces over the next 90 days, and a second internal examination of management practices within the Air Force.
James said that second panel will report back with an action plan within the next 60 days.
"It's going to involve key stakeholders within OSD and the Air Force, and we're also going to bring in the Navy to see what we can learn from Navy practices," she said. "And we'll be sharing our best practices."
The cheating episode is not the only recent incident to tarnish the reputation of the Air Force's nuclear force.
The Associated Press documented several embarrassing incidents in stories during the past year, including instances in which missile crew members were deemed unfit for duty, the general in charge of the 20th Air Force was fired over an alcohol incident, and other officers were punished for violating restrictions against opening launch doors while crew members were asleep.
Those instances followed a larger Air Force controversy in 2007, when nuclear missiles were mistakenly loaded onto a B-52 without the knowledge of the pilot. After subsequent investigations, then Defense Secretary Robert Gates fired both the Air Force secretary and chief of staff when he concluded they were failing to take the nuclear mission seriously enough.

GOP's 6 Principles on Immigration Reform


House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Republican leaders released a set of immigration reform principles today, setting the stage for what could be a contentious fight in Washington.
Earlier today, The Heritage Foundation’s Derrick Morgan urged lawmakers to proceed with caution. “Given the President’s disregard for enforcing the law and changing the law without going back to Congress,” Morgan wrote, “policymakers have no real reason to trust the President to uphold any new immigration laws.”
The six principles are below. Heritage Foundation researchers will provide analysis shortly.
Standards for Immigration Reform
Our nation’s immigration system is broken and our laws are not being enforced. Washington’s failure to fix them is hurting our economy and jeopardizing our national security. The overriding purpose of our immigration system is to promote and further America’s national interests and that is not the case today. The serious problems in our immigration system must be solved, and we are committed to working in a bipartisan manner to solve them. But they cannot be solved with a single, massive piece of legislation that few have read and even fewer understand, and therefore, we will not go to a conference with the Senate’s immigration bill. The problems in our immigration system must be solved through a step-by-step, common-sense approach that starts with securing our country’s borders, enforcing our laws, and implementing robust enforcement measures. These are the principals guiding us in that effort.
Border Security and Interior Enforcement Must Come First
It is the fundamental duty of any government to secure its borders, and the United States is failing in this mission. We must secure our borders now and verify that they are secure. In addition, we must ensure now that when immigration reform is enacted, there will be a zero tolerance policy for those who cross the border illegally or overstay their visas in the future. Faced with a consistent pattern of administrations of both parties only selectively enforcing our nation’s immigration laws, we must enact reform that ensures that a President cannot unilaterally stop immigration enforcement.
Implement Entry-Exit Visa Tracking System
A fully functioning Entry-Exit system has been mandated by eight separate statutes over the last 17 years. At least three of these laws call for this system to be biometric, using technology to verify identity and prevent fraud. We must implement this system so we can identify and track down visitors who abuse our laws.
Employment Verification and Workplace Enforcement
In the 21st century it is unacceptable that the majority of employees have their work eligibility verified through a paper based system wrought with fraud. It is past time for this country to fully implement a workable electronic employment verification system.
Reforms to the Legal Immigration System
For far too long, the United States has emphasized extended family members and pure luck over employment-based immigration.  This is inconsistent with nearly every other developed country. Every year thousands of foreign nationals pursue degrees at America’s colleges and universities, particularly in high skilled fields. Many of them want to use their expertise in U.S. industries that will spur economic growth and create jobs for Americans. When visas aren’t available, we end up exporting this labor and ingenuity to other countries. Visa and green card allocations need to reflect the needs of employers and the desire for these exceptional individuals to help grow our economy.
The goal of any temporary worker program should be to address the economic needs of the country and to strengthen our national security by allowing for realistic, enforceable, usable, legal paths for entry into the United States. Of particular concern are the needs of the agricultural industry, among others. It is imperative that these temporary workers are able to meet the economic needs of the country and do not displace or disadvantage American workers.
One of the great founding principles of our country was that children would not be punished for the mistakes of their parents. It is time to provide an opportunity for legal residence and citizenship for those who were brought to this country as children through no fault of their own, those who know no other place as home. For those who meet certain eligibility standards, and serve honorably in our military or attain a college degree, we will do just that.
Individuals Living Outside the Rule of Law
Our national and economic security depend on requiring people who are living and working here illegally to come forward and get right with the law. There will be no special path to citizenship for individuals who broke our nation’s immigration laws – that would be unfair to those immigrants who have played by the rules and harmful to promoting the rule of law. Rather, these persons could live legally and without fear in the U.S., but only if they were willing to admit their culpability, pass rigorous background checks, pay significant fines and back taxes, develop proficiency in English and American civics, and be able to support themselves and their families (without access to public benefits). Criminal aliens, gang members, and sex offenders and those who do not meet the above requirements will not be eligible for this program. Finally, none of this can happen before specific enforcement triggers have been implemented to fulfill our promise to the American people that from here on, our immigration laws will indeed be enforced.

Krauthammer: How to debunk the ‘war on women’


What is it about women that causes leading Republicans to grow clumsy, if not stupid? When even savvy, fluent, attractively populist Mike Huckabee stumbles, you know you’ve got trouble. Having already thrown away eminently winnable Senate seats in Missouri and Indiana because of moronic talk about rape, the GOP might have learned. You’d think.
Huckabee wasn’t quite as egregious, just puzzling and a bit weird. Trying to make a point about Obamacare mandating free contraceptives, he inexplicably began speculating that the reason behind the freebie was the Democrats’ belief that women need the federal government to protect them from their own libidos.
Bizarre. I can think of no Democrat who has ever said that, nor any liberal who even thinks that. Such a theory, when offered by a conservative, is quite unfortunately self-revealing.
In any case, why go wandering into the psychology of female sexuality in the first place? It’s ridiculous. This is politics. Stick to policy. And there’s a good policy question to be asked about the contraceptive mandate (even apart from itschallenge to religious freedom). It’s about priorities. By what moral logic does the state provide one woman with co-pay-free contraceptives while denying the same subvention to another woman when she urgently needs antibiotics for her sick child?
The same principle of sticking to policy and forswearing amateur psychology should apply to every so-called women’s issue. Take abortion, which is the subtext of about 90 percent of the alleged “war on women,” the charge being that those terrible conservative men are denying women control of their reproductive health.
The charge has worked. Although the country is fairly evenly split on the abortion question, the Republicans’ inability to make their case in respectful tones has cost them dearly. In 2012, they lost unmarried women by 36 (!) points.
Yet there is a very simple, straightforward strategy for seizing the high ground on abortion in a way that transcends the normal divisions and commands wide popular support: Focus on the horror of late-term abortion — and get it banned.
Last year’s Kermit Gosnell trial was a seminal moment. The country was shown a baby butcher at work and national sentiment was nearly unanimous. Abortion-rights advocates ran away from Gosnell. But they can’t hide from the issue.
And the issue, as most succinctly defined by the late liberal Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, is infanticide. Describing one form of late-term abortion known as partial-birth, Moynihan said: “I had once remarked that the procedure was too close to infanticide. And now we have testimony that it is not just too close to infanticide, it is infanticide.” How else to describe crushing the infant’s skull in mid-delivery before the head leaves the birth canal?
Conservatives need to accept that no such consensus exists regarding early abortions. Unlike late-term abortions, where there are clearly two human beings involved, there is no such agreement regarding, say, a six-week-old embryo.
There remains profound disagreement as to whether, at this early stage, the fetus has acquired personhood or, to put it more theologically, ensoulment. The disagreement is understandable, given that the question is a matter of faith.
This doesn’t mean that abortion opponents should give up. But regarding early abortions, the objective should be persuasion — creating some future majority — rather than legislative coercion in the absence of a current majority. These are the constraints of a democratic system.
Not so regarding a third- or late-second-trimester abortion. Here we are dealing with a child that could potentially live on its own — if not killed first. And killing it, for any reason other than to save the mother’s life, is an abomination. Outlawing that — state by state and nationally, as was done with partial birth abortion in 2003 — should be the focus of any Republican’s position on abortion.
A test case for this kind of policy-oriented political strategy is the governor’s race in Texas: Wendy Davis, the Democratic candidatehas a complicated personal history. Stop talking about it. (Her capacity for veracity is a legitimate issue, but for God’s sake why go into her parenting choices? That’s a snare and a distraction.) Talk policy — specifically, the issue that brought Davis to national prominence.
What was her 11-hour filibuster about? Blocking a state law whose major feature was outlawing abortions beyond 20 weeks. Make that the battlefield. Make Davis explain why she chose not just to support late-term abortion but to make it her great cause.
Stay away from the minefield of gender politics. Challenge the other side on substance. And watch them lose.

Gvmt shuts down 11-year-old’s cupcake business


Breanna Deutsch

The government has pulled the plug on an 11-year-old Illinois baker’s oven.
A day after a local newspaper ran a story about the young and ambitious Chloe Stirling, who operated a cupcake business out of her parents’ kitchen, the local health department came calling.
“They called and said they were shutting us down,” Heather Stirling, Chloe’s mother, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Officials told Stirling Chloe could continue selling cupcakes on the condition that the family “buy a bakery or build her a kitchen separate from the one we have.”
“Obviously, we can’t do that,” Heather Stirling told reporters. “We’ve already given her a little refrigerator to keep her things in, and her grandparents bought her a stand mixer.”
The elder Stirling said that she was willing to get her daughter any necessary licenses or permits to operate a business, but could not meet the health department’s other demands.
“But a separate kitchen? Who can do that?” asked an astonished Stirling.
When reporters approached Amy Yeager, a health department spokeswoman, about the county’s decision to shut down Chloe’s business, she said that she was doing it for the sake of the public
“The rules are the rules. It’s for the protection of the public health,” Yeager said, according to the Post-Dispatch. “The guidelines apply to everyone.”
“People will react how they choose to react,” she added. “But it is our job.”
Chloe originally started selling the frosted cakes under the name “Hey, Cupcake” to save up for a car when she turns sixteen.
And before the government took her oven mitts, the sixth grader charged $10 for a dozen cupcakes and $2 for each specialty cupcake.
However, she was also known to donate her time and sprinkles to charity.
When a boy in her school was diagnosed with cancer in 2012, she donated cupcakes to helpraise money for his treatment. Adding a personal touch, she made them orange and blue because he “was a really big Cubs fan.”
Her largest order ever, amounting to 220 cupcakes, was also for a cancer fundraiser

Read more:

Top 25 liberal arts colleges restrict free speech

ACTA reports that fourteen of the top schools were given a “Red Light” freedom of speech rating.
None of the schools, which included private and public institutions, received a “Green Light” rating for free speech.

examines the country’s top twenty-five liberal arts schools—as ranked by U.S. News and World Report—on many topics, including tuition and general education requirements.
"The fourth school is Vassar College, which explicitly states in its faculty and student handbooks that it prizes civility over freedom of speech."  
ACTA reports that fourteen of the top schools were given a “Red Light” freedom of speech rating by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) because they have “at least one policy that clearly and substantially restricts freedom of speech.”
An additional eleven schools have a “Yellow Light” rating because their policies “restrict a limited amount of protected expression or could too easily be used to restrict protected expression,” the report states.
None of the schools, which included private and public institutions, received a “Green Light” rating from FIRE, which signifies that a school’s policies do not imperil free speech.
Because of several ties, U.S. News and World Report actually lists 29 schools in its top 25. However, three of these schools are the military service academies, which FIRE does not rank because the U.S. Supreme Court has held that the armed forces are not held to the same freedom of speech standard that “is required of the civilian state by the First Amendment.”
The fourth school is Vassar College, which explicitly states in its faculty and student handbooks that it prizes civility over freedom of speech.


Bank also handled finances for Osama bin Laden

Malik Obama, second from right, expressing support for Hamas at 2010 conference in Yemen


NEW YORK – While operating a nonprofit in the U.S. that was granted tax-exempt status by the official dismissed in the IRS scandal, President Obama’s half-brother, Malik Obama, has been supporting the terrorist organization Hamas as a fundraiser for the Muslim Brotherhood, according to bank-account information.
Malik’s work with the Sudan-based Islamic Dawa Organization has prompted criminal charges in Egypt of aiding and abetting terrorism.
“If you think Malik Obama, President Obama’s brother, dons a Hamas scarf for sentimental reasons, think again,” writes former PLO-member and native Arabic-speaking researcher Walid Shoebat on his blog.
Shoebat was referring to a report earlier this week of a photograph posted on the website of Malik Obama’s nonprofit, the Barack H. Obama Foundation. It showed him wearing a Hamas scarf that bears the well-known Palestinian slogan “Jerusalem is ours – We are coming!”
Now, Shoebat reports, evidence has surfaced confirming Malik Obama, as the executive secretary of the Islamic Dawa Organization, has operated bank accounts in the Middle East with known ties to al-Qaida that are being widely utilized to raise money for terrorist activities conducted by Hamas in Gaza.
Shoebat ties Bank Account No. 1782, set up in the Al Shamal Bank – an al-Qaida bank founded in Sudan by Osama bin Laden in 1983 to fund terrorist activities – with the bank account serving IDO.
To substantiate the allegations, Shoebat points to advertising on the IDO website that promotes the accounts at the Al Shamal bank, published in Arabic here and here, referencing the Muslim Brotherhood “Aiding our Brothers in Gaza.”
“Though small, the Al Shamal Islamic Bank enabled bin Laden to move money quickly from one country to another through its correspondent relationships with some of the world’s major banks, several of which have been suspended since Sept. 11,” noted University of California, Berkeley, professor Peter Dale Scott, writing on in 2013. “The Al Shamal bank was identified as one of bin Laden’s principal financial entities during the trial earlier this year of four Al Qaeda operatives convicted in the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa.”
A U.S. State Department Report in 1996 on bin Laden’s finances identified the Al Shamal bank as follows: “Bin Laden and wealthy National Islamic Front members capitalized Al-Shamal Islamic Bank in Khartoum. Bin Laden invested $50 million in the bank.”
Malik Obama’s IDO, Shoebat noted, is part of the Coalition of Islamic Organizations, which includes the Islamic Society in Gaza, a Hamas front organization founded by Hamas terror leader Sheikh Yassin. The society is headed by Hamas prime minister and terror leader Ismail Haniyeh.
Along with Malik’s Islamic Dawa Organization, Shoebat said, other members of the Coalition of Islamic Organizations are involved in the funding, including the World Assembly of Muslim Youth and the Commission for Humanitarian Relief and Medical Support.
Other websites throughout the years have advertised the call to aid, here and here.
In 2011, two years before the IRS targeting of conservative groups became a national scandal, WND reported Malik Obama’s Barack H. Obama Foundation apparently received IRS approval just one month after application. An IRS determination letter dated June 11, 2011, granted a highly irregular, retroactive tax-exempt status only after the group came under fire for having operated as a 501(c)3 foundation since 2008 without applying to the IRS.
WND reported complaints had been filed with Egypt’s prosecutor-general calling for Malik Obama to be put on Egypt’s terror watch list and brought to Egypt to be questioned by state criminal investigators for allegedly financing terrorism, according to Shoebat.
WND reported in August that the vice president of the Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt gave a speech and participated in an interview on Egyptian television identifying Malik Obama as “a major architect” managing investments for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
In September, as WND reported, a criminal complaint cited Malik for managing funds for both the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the Islamic Dawa Organization in Sudan, a country designated by the U.S. State Department as a terrorist state.
In November, WND reported Egyptian lawyers filed criminal terrorism charges in the International Criminal Court against President Obama, in addition to the criminal terrorism charges previously filed in Egyptian courts against Malik.
WND reported last week two leaked classified documents show Egyptian security forces have been monitoring Malik Obama’s activities and implicate President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton in the aiding and abetting of terrorists.
The documents were entered as evidence in the criminal trials of former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and other top Muslim Brotherhood leaders.



Report confirms weapon usable for 'surprise attack or an intimidation factor'


WASHINGTON – Members of the Chinese military are looking to use an electromagnetic pulse as part of a “one-two punch” to knock out – literally within seconds – all defensive electronics not only on Taiwan but also on U.S. warships that could defend the island.
This revelation comes in an article by Lou Xiaoqing who says the People’s Liberation Army sees an EMP weapon as the primary means of incapacitating Taiwan and disabling American defenders nearby.
Given that such a strategy was made public in an article entitled “Electromagnetic pulse bombs are Chinese ace,” it is seen as reflecting the official Chinese government position.
Xaoqing said that if the Chinese were to use a high-altitude nuclear device which would create the destructive EMP impact on Taiwan’s electronics, it would be exploded at an attitude of 18 miles to avoid damaging civilian and military equipment on the Chinese mainland, which might happen if the bomb exploded at a higher altitude.
“China is attracted to the fight against the U.S. military after the effective range, using them as a means of surprise attack or an intimidation factor,” Xaoqing said. “The United States will abandon the use of aircraft carrier battle groups to defend Taiwan.”
Xaoqing said that the Chinese military has calculated that the U.S. military is too fragmented and, coupled with the downturn in the economy, would be less likely to come to Taiwan’s assistance, forcing Taiwan to defend itself.
Contrary to popular belief, the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act does not require the United States to intervene militarily if the Chinese mainland attacks Taiwan. Instead, it has adopted what is called a policy of “strategic ambiguity” in which the U.S. neither will confirm nor deny that it would intervene on Taiwan’s behalf.
The legislation, however, does require the U.S. to “provide Taiwan with arms of a defensive character” and “to maintain the capacity of the United States to resist any resort to force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security, or the social or economic system, of the people of Taiwan.”
As WND previously has reported, China is giving a priority to developing EMP weapons that could be used against U.S. aircraft carriers, which increasingly are arriving in the South and East China Seas as part of the new U.S. “pivot” policy toward Asia.
That policy is to challenge China’s claims over all of the East and South China Seas and the increasing assertiveness by Beijing, which is trying to gain exclusive control over vital minerals and energy in the region.
There already have been instances of military confrontations between China and neighbors such as Vietnam, the Philippines and Japan.
With a history of animosity, China and Japan now have conflicting claims of ownership over two South China Sea islands.
China calls the islands Diaoyu while Japan refers to them as Senkaku. The Japanese have evidence of their claim – in having purchased them from private citizens years ago – and the U.S. supports Japan’s claim.
A 2005 U.S. National Ground Intelligence Center study that was classified secret but released two years ago said China’s development of high-powered microwave weapons is part of its “assassin’s mace” arsenal – weapons that allow a technologically inferior country such as China and even North Korea to defeat U.S. military forces.
Microwaves and the gamma rays from a nuclear blast are forms of electromagnetic energy. The bombs are designed to be exploded at a high altitude to knock out all unprotected electronics, including electrical grids, computers and automobiles over a wide geographical area.
Even the declassified NGIC report pointed out that the use of an EMP against Taiwan at an altitude of 30 to 40 kilometers would “confine the EMP effects to Taiwan and its immediate vicinity and minimize damage to electronics on the mainland.”
The report particularly said that China’s DF-21 medium-range ballistic missile could be the platform to be used to launch an EMP attack on Taiwan.
In outlining China’s one-two punch, Xaoqing said that in the first punch the Chinese military would disable non-hardened electronics and command and control centers.
He said that an EMP would be especially attractive because it acts with the speed of light in any kind of weather, would hit multiple targets over a wide area and minimize damage in politically sensitive environments.
Given the relatively low altitude of 18 miles at which a Chinese EMP would be detonated over Taiwan, Xaoqing said the second punch would create certain health effects from exposure to an EMP.
He said that based on Chinese research in 2005 that assessed the effects of an EMP on heart cells, it would make peoples’ hearts unable to function as well as they should, with possible death or serious damage of the heart and, by extension, death to those exposed to an EMP.
If exposed to explosions at higher altitudes, the effects of an EMP would be less damaging to peoples’ health, he said.
While there wouldn’t be a 100 percent kill rate, Xaoqing said, he said it could lead to long term disability to those most susceptible to an EMP, such as the elderly, young and unborn.