The increasingly acrimonious relations between Beijing and Washington over the vast area of ocean indicate a rising role for the US – in defence of not only the Philippines’ stake in the waters but also of Vietnam, where 40 years ago the US was ousted in a war for which Subic Bay provided strategic support. On Monday, fresh from proclaiming the right of US ships and planes to move unmolested in waters and airspace claimed by China, the US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter was in Hanoi, listening to a Vietnamese band play “The Star Spangled Banner” and declaring: “We’re both committed to deepening our defence relationship.”
That rhetorical flourish came as a rebuff to China’s second-highest military officer, Admiral Sun Jiunguo, deputy chief of the People’s Liberation Army’s general staff. The previous day, he told regional defence ministers in Singapore that a controversial drive to reclaim land from the shallow waters around Chinese-held islands in the Spratlys was “justified, legitimate and reasonable” and “well within the scope of China’s sovereignty”.
The US and other nations say that China aims to build airstrips and station aircraft on the islands, vastly increasing Beijing’s military reach.
Mr Carter had told the same gathering that “the pace and scope of land reclamation in the South China Sea” sharply raised “the risk of miscalculation or conflict” between China and others who also claim the same islands, reefs and atolls. China, he said, had to bring its project to “an immediate and lasting halt”. He did not say it, but those others include the US, whose planes have been challenged by Chinese aircraft when flying in contested airspace.
Although open warfare does not seem imminent, the prospect of the US returning in force to Subic Bay, once America’s largest overseas naval base, has increased tensions. The Shiloh, one of the most advanced US cruisers, armed with guided missiles and cannon, is expected to ply the South China Sea after taking on fuel and supplies. Other vessels, including at least one destroyer, are likely to join it in a mini-flotilla, posing an immediate challenge as China builds airstrips and other facilities on 2,000 acres of land reclaimed in the past 18 months.
The arrangement under which the Shiloh is docked is controversial, with left-wingers seeing it as a first step to renewing the bases agreement. But protests have receded as President Benigno Aquino III has hit out at Chinese encroachment. Former naval offices near the dock are in disrepair, but there is talk of rebuilding them as a possible successor to the base. US officials talked only of strengthening “people-to-people ties through community outreach”. But as China flexes its muscles, the enclave once famed among US sailors, Marines and soldiers on leave from Vietnam as a wild base town may be about to regain its key strategic importance.
Ever wonder why Obama does not sit with Putin? Because Obama does not want to be seen with a man who knows what he is doing, even if some of it may be against our own nation. But herein lies the problem: Obama and Kerry both are powerless in the world, and Russia and the world know this—they laugh and joke about how incompetent both of these men really are and at how dumb they look in the eyes of the world. When was the last time anyone heard of our leaders being laughed at, scorned at nearly every word?
This really gets to the very core of Obama, Kerry, and the entire Obama Administration, as they believe they are royalty and that, even when they lie (which they do nearly on a daily basis), the people should bow down and respect every word they say. Here, Mr. Lerma even calls out Obama as "The Clown." Now that is pretty good for a sitting president to be called a Clown in the very first paragraph of a Russian paper. But it gets worse, when it is declared that those in office are "punks" who continue to lie to themselves and the voters. This is very sad for our elected officials to be so noted in such lowly standards. How does that make you, the Citizens of the United States feel? Do you want to reach out and slap Mr. Lerma for telling the truth or do you want to slap the daylights out of those at whom Mr. Lerma tosses his words? It would not be wrong to be mad at the Russian paper for allowing this to be said of our nation; but, before we condemn them, let us remember that it is Obama, Kerry, and their administration who have led to this type of criticism from the world. We had a choice to stop Obama in 2012, but we as a nation did not see past our nose for facts and the truth. Now that lack of attention falls squarely upon our shoulders, and any insults from anywhere have to be accepted because we as a nation did not do the right thing in 2012.
In the next paragraph, Mr. Lerma recognizes the fact that the United States does, in fact, have not just good people within its borders, but great people that hopefully have been stirred up to see what is going on in our nation today under the Obama regime.
I am not speaking about the hard working conservative Americans who know there is a God in heaven. People who pray "Thy will be done" bowing in obedience to the Almighty. They carry the Word of God in their hearts. I am speaking about that brood of vipers in Washington who dare live in a city named after a great general, president and man of deep faith. The insanity comes from the politicians who sold their souls to the devil. Men and women who would never bow at Christ's Holy Sepulcher like Putin did more than once.
Here we can see that Mr. Lerma knows that good people sat the last election out and now have to take a stand if our beloved nation is to succeed. This also reflects upon the seeming hatred of the religious Christian groups in the United States today, with Obama himself taking stabs at our Christian heritage, wishing to replace it with what some would call Obama's Muslim faith and Sharia law.
The land of illusion; the land of entertainment producing songs and movies to warp reality. People pretending to be something they are not. Likewise, Washington DC has people who pretend to represent the people's interests. Pretending to bring hope and a change for the better. Pretending to bring unity and peace among all races. Lying through their teeth and laughing like clowns behind closed doors. Setting up a consumer based economy forcing the once mighty middle class to shrink and work at customer service jobs. "Ya want fries with that?"
Here, it seems that Mr. Lerma has observed what Congress and the White House do: laugh behind closed doors at the wool they pulled over the eyes of unobservant United States Citizens. He shows how our entertainment industry tosses out the illusion world of film, song, and lies to a people so caught up in their own small world that the politicians in Washington, D.C., laugh at what they can get away with without showing the people anything if they want to. He observes what we should have known back in 2012, but failed to see--the shrinking middle class and the broadening elite in Washington, D.C. He even mocks what some people do for a living,
While some may be cheering the expiration of the Patriot Act – however temporary it may be – former presidential candidate Ron Paul notes: before Americans applaud a minor step toward transparency, they should recognize the corrosive nature of the CIA, a secret government operating far above the law.
Paul and McAdams also point to the CIA’s drone operations. Despite the fact that drone strikes essentially amount to military operations, and should therefore be under the jurisdiction of the Pentagon, most drone operations in Yemen and Pakistan have been carried out by the CIA.
China Responds: "Expiration Of The Patriot Act Is Not The End Of Washington's Intrusive Spying" | Zero Hedge
Writing in the Politburo-owned mouthpiece The Global Times, China responds to the 'expiry' of The Patriot Act...
Expiry of Patriot Act is not end of Washington’s intrusive spying
Some provisions of the USA Patriot Act, the foundation of the massive US foreign and domestic wiretapping program and other controversial intelligence-collection operations, are set to expire on June 1, if they are not renewed. Although the House passed the renewed bill, the Senate failed to do so on May 23, leaving those controversial provisions with a pressing deadline for expiration. Without them, some intelligence operations currently carried out by the National Security Agency (NSA) and other intelligence agencies will be illegal. It seems to be a big deal for the US intelligence community and all those affected.
After 9/11, the post-traumatic urge pushed forward the most profound intelligence reforms in decades, and as a result, intelligence budgets were raised, intelligence organizations and structures aligned, and laws enacted. The USA Patriot Act has generated a great deal of controversy since its enactment.Supporters defend it by saying that the act provides a legal basis for many effective intelligence operations against terrorists. Opponents argue that the act violates fundamental constitutional principles, for it allows investigators obtain "any tangible things (including books, records, papers, documents and other items)," as long as the records are sought "in connection" with a terror investigation, which may put citizens' privacy in jeopardy.
The question is, it has been more than a decade after the first enactment of the Patriot Act, and it has undergone several extensions, why block it now?
First, after the extensive expansion in the first several years post 9/11, people started to wonder about the real effectiveness of the US intelligence reform. The annual published intelligence budget of US was over $50 billion for many years and that amount was larger than most countries' total defense budgets.
But the results were neither conclusive nor transparent, stirring public doubts. In as early as 2009, the National Intelligence Strategy of the US implied that the golden time for intelligence expansion may have passed, and they need to adjust to an era of austerity. Now it seems that legislators would like to move a step further, holding them more accountable, and putting a short leash on them.
Second, in recent years, US intelligence operations have faced many accusations. With sources such as WikiLeaks, and especially Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor, leaking a lot US wiretapping stories to the public, the fear of the US intelligence community becoming a "rogue elephant" is on the rise, and calls for stronger intelligence oversight have strengthened. Some of the US foreign partners or even allies are subject to US surveillance, which they expressed anger about, and the trust between them has been seriously undermined.
US domestic public opinion was also affected. When phones are tapped, and personal information is no longer personal, people's nerves get stirred. US intelligence has often had a negative image at home, the most infamous incident being the Watergate scandal, in which then president Richard Nixon used multiple intelligence services to illegally spy on his political adversaries and was impeached as a result.
US authorities need to take serious actions to show some sincerity, and to prove that they are not bad guys. Perhaps letting one of the most controversial intelligence-related acts expire is an acceptable solution.
It is only one more year from the next US presidential election. Rand Paul, a presidential candidate playing a role in blocking the act from extension, may win the favor of the US public since the act is already a notorious one.
Nevertheless, the Patriot Act is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many laws, regulations and policies that make sure the US intelligence community functions well enough to achieve its own purposes. Even if the act really expires after June 1, the US foreign intelligence operations will remain intact. Its assets are still out there, and its guiding principles remain the same. In that case, we may expect to hear more tales of US spying in the future.