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Scene above:  Constitution Island, where Revolutionary War forts still exist, as photographed from Trophy Point, United States Military Academy, West Point, New York
 

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JANUARY 12-13,  2023

MAJOR MOVE IN THE PACIFIC:  As readers know, one of the missions of Urgent Agenda is to direct attention to important events that don't get the attention they deserve in the mainstream media.

One of those events is the decision by Japan to reject the near-pacifism of the post-World War II decades and rebuild itself as a major military power.   The main reason for the change is the rise of a militant, threatening China.  From the German outlet, Deutsche Welle: 

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is meeting US President Joe Biden at the White House on Friday, just weeks after Tokyo revised its defense strategy to break from its postwar restraint to take on more offensive roles with an eye toward China. 

The US and Japan are currently strengthening their military, economic and technological cooperation in response to changes in the geopolitical and security environment in Asia brought on by the rise of China as a military power.

Last week, Kishida described the US visit, his first to the country as premier, as "very significant."

"We will show to the rest of the world an even stronger Japan-US alliance, which is a linchpin of Japanese security and diplomacy," Kishida said. "We will also show our further cooperation toward achieving a 'free and open Indo-Pacific.'"

A statement released by the White House last week said Biden and Kishida would discuss expanding cooperation on a range of regional and global issues, from climate change and critical technologies to North Korea's weapons program, the war in Ukraine, as well as stability in the Taiwan Strait.

Japan's defense and security policies will be high on the agenda when both leaders sit for talks on Friday.

Kishida's administration recently unveiled a massive $320-billion (€295-billion) military buildup over the next five years that would arm it with missiles capable of striking China and ready it for a sustained conflict amid growing regional tensions.

Tokyo said it would also stockpile spare parts and other munitions, reinforce logistics, develop cyberwarfare capabilities and cooperate more closely with the United States and other like-minded nations to deter threats.

"The strategic challenge posed by China is the biggest Japan has ever faced," it said in the national security paper released last month.

Kishida's plan will also hike defense spending to about 2% of gross domestic product over the next five years and increase the Defense Ministry's share to around a tenth of all public spending. It will make Japan the world's third-biggest military spender after the United States and China, based on current budgets.

"Until now, Japan has played the shield, i.e., taken on the defensive part, and the US has been the sword, responsible for offensive capabilities," said Alexandra Sakaki, a Japan expert at the Berlin-based German Institute for International and Security Affairs think tank.
"This division of responsibilities loses clarity if Japan now acquires offensive capabilities, so you have to define how to deal with this new division of roles," she said.

The strategic changes are the latest and biggest step in Japan's yearslong drive to move away from the constraints imposed by its pacifist constitution and turn itself into a stronger military power.

COMMENT:  Please read the whole thing.  This is big stuff, a change in the balance of power in the Pacific. 

The new Republican majority in the House is establishing a special subcommittee to deal with the threat of an aggressive China.  Already it is being attacked by the Democratic Party's lunatic fringe as "racist."  But the new subcommittee already has major bipartisan support.  The WOKE crowd is losing on this one...so far.

January 12-13, 2023       Permalink 

 

HIGH ALERT:  It is simply incredible that this urgent story has not been in the headlines in America.  Are we asleep, or worse than that?  It sometimes feels like 1939.   From Daily Mail: 

A shipment of uranium has been seized at Heathrow airport - sparking an investigation by counter terrorism police who fear there could have been plans to use it to make a dirty bomb. 

The undeclared material was discovered on December 29 on a passenger flight which arrived from Oman.

The package originated from Pakistan and was destined for an Iranian business with premises in the UK.

It has prompted fears the uranium may have been destined for use in a dirty bomb - which is a mix of explosives, such as dynamite, with radioactive powder or pellets.
When the dynamite is set off, it can carry radioactive material into the surrounding area.

Police have not made any arrests, but The Sun reports there is an overwhelming 'concern over what the Iranians living here wanted with non-disclosed nuclear material'.

An unnamed source told the publication: 'The race is on to trace everyone involved with this rogue non-manifested package.

'Security bosses are treating this with the seriousness it deserves. Protocol was not followed and this is now an anti-terror operation.'

Specialist scanners picked up on the undeclared parcel as it was transported to a freight shed. 

Border Force agents isolated the shipment in a radioactive room and, upon determining it was uranium, called in counter-terror police.

Met Police said in a statement: 'We can confirm officers from the Met's Counter Terrorism Command were contacted by Border Force colleagues at Heathrow after a very small amount of contaminated material was identified after routine screening within a package incoming to the UK on December 29.

'The material has been identified as being contaminated with uranium.'

Last year, Former Washington official Robert Joseph told MailOnline that Iran is a nuclear weapons state with enough uranium to build 'one, if not two' bombs.

'We have been saying for years 'they're approaching this breakout point and we've really got to negotiate with them.' They're there.'

Joseph was the chief negotiator to Libya in 2003 and is credited with convincing Colonel Muammar Gaddafi to give up his nuclear weapons programme. 

COMMENT:  A "dirty" nuclear weapon has always been a nightmare.  Exploded in an airport, a train station, or even a busy street, it can paralyze an entire area.  And it would terrorize a population.  We stand warned.  Anyone in the American press interested?

January 12, 2023       Permalink

 

 

 

JANUARY 10-11,  2023

THE DANGER PERSISTS:  As we debate our domestic issues, the danger to this country from foreign enemies continues to grow.  No one will give us a time out to settle our tax policies.  The secretary of the Navy, rarely heard from, is issuing a warning about the current state of our military readiness.  Please take it seriously.  From Fox: 

Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro warned Wednesday that continued support for Ukraine will be difficult if weapons makers don’t ramp up production in the next six to 12 months. 

The comments came on the sidelines of the Surface Navy Association conference in Arlington, Va. Del Toro was asked to respond to remarks by Adm. Daryl Caudle, commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command, that the U.S. Navy may ultimately have to decide between arming itself or the Ukrainians. 

Del Toro said the Navy wasn’t "quite there yet," but argued that the supply chain would be stressed if the conflict goes on for another six months. 

"It’s obvious that … these companies have a substantial pipeline for the future," Del Toro said. "They now need to invest in their workforce, as well as the capital investments that they had to make within their own companies to get their production up." 

During his talk, Caudle chastised defense companies for blaming the COVID-19 pandemic on missing weapons delivery deadlines, Defense One reported. 

"I’m not as forgiving of the defense industrial base. I’m just not," he said. "I am not forgiving of the fact that you’re not delivering the ordnance we need. All this stuff about COVID, this … supply chain, I just don’t really care. We’ve all got tough jobs."

Later clarifying on his remarks, Del Toro said the Department of Defense has been working "very, very closely" with the industry "to motivate them to find out what their challenges or obstacles are, to be able to increase their own production rates."

"It’s obvious that these companies have a substantial pipeline for the future. They now need to invest in their people, again, their workforce, as well as the capital investments that they have to make within their own companies to get their production rates up," he said. 

"So, when that occurs, we’ll be in a better place. How long that takes often varies from weapon system to weapon system." 

COMMENT:   Douglas MacArthur once said that all military disasters started with two words:  "too late."   I fear we may be heading in that direction.  We just went through a major midterm election campaign without a single discussion of foreign policy.  We know there are serious threats from China, Russia, and Iran, and yet they get only minor mention on most news programs. 

It may take a major jolt, another 9-11, to wake us up.  Not a happy prospect, but democracies always seem to be behind the times, and behind their enemies. 

January 11, 2023     Permalink

 

IT'S TIME TO THROW OUT YOUR 2023 CALENDARS;  IT'S 2024:  Well, not among normal people.  But among political people it really is.  The presidency will be up for grabs, the whole House again, and a third of the Senate.  Republicans have golden opportunities, if they seize them, which means waking up before eleven.

Already the announcements are coming.  From Fox:

Democrat Rep. Katie Porter of California announced Tuesday that she is entering the Golden State's 2024 Senate race.

The announcement comes before Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who has represented California in the Senate since 1992, has made any announcement about whether she will seek re-election in 2024 when her current term expires. 

Feinstein, who at age 89 is the oldest serving senator, is widely expected to announce in the coming months that she won't seek another term in office.

In a clip shared to social media, Porter, who won re-election to her House seat in the November midterm elections, said: "We're living through a time of extraordinary change. I'm Katie Porter. Change can be electrifying and exhilarating, but change can also be disruptive — like the constant assault on our democracy and the dangerous imbalance in our economy."

"The threat from so-called leaders like Mitch McConnell has too often made the United States Senate the place where rights get revoked, special interests get rewarded, and our democracy gets rigged, especially in times like these," she added.

Pointing to herself as a voice for residents in California, Porter said California "needs a warrior in Washington."

"I don't do Congress the way others often do," she claimed in the video message. "I use whatever power I have to speak hard truths to the powers that be — to not just challenge the status quo, but call it out, name names, and demand justice."

Porter represents California's 47th Congressional District, a coastal seat that stretches from Long Beach south into Orange County in the southern part of the state. 

COMMENT:  California is a strongly blue state, and, if Porter gets the Senate nomination, she is likely to get elected.  She's a gut fighter, mostly for the wrong things, and will have far more energy than the clearly aging Feinstein.  A senator representing our most populous state has automatic importance. 

One problem, though:  Porter has a reputation for mistreating her staff – at least that's what some have charged – and that could cloud her prospects.  Voters don't like it, and angry staff members, past and present, can knife a candidate behind the scenes.  I smell blood.

Also, she's a white woman.  The members of the Democratic Party of California are so far to the left they make Joe Stalin look like Mr. Conservative.  The race card can easily be played to deny Porter the nomination.

This will be a nationally important race.

It's 2024.-11

January 10,  2023     Permalink 

 

YOU KNOW, IT'S SO EASY TO MISPLACE THINGS:  So now Joe Biden is feeling the heat.  Someone found classified documents in his former office.  Didn't Donald Trump have a problem like that?  I wonder what they'll do to Biden.  Don't make me laugh.  From Daily Mail:

President Joe Biden, for the second day in a row, dodged questions about the classified documents found at his think tank in Washington DC, as a new report claims the files contained information on Ukraine, Iran and the United Kingdom.

Biden, who is in Mexico City for a meeting of the 'Three Amigos,' ignored questions shouted to him by reporters during his sit-down with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday.

"Mr President, did you mishandle classified documents?' a member of the press corps shouted at him.

He merely smiled and stayed silent as White House staff escorted journalists from the room. 

The cache of documents covered topics including Ukraine, Iran and the UK, CNN reported.

The boxes also contained personal Biden family documents, including materials about Beau Biden’s funeral arrangements. 

The files were discovered when Biden's lawyer saw an envelope that indicated it contained personal files, opened it and saw there were classified documents inside. 

The lawyer closed the envelope and called the National Archives, the news network reported.

Biden's team turned over several boxes out an abundance of caution, even though many contained personal materials, a source told CNN.

Meanwhile, Republicans demanded to know why the fact President Joe Biden had classified documents from when he was vice president wasn't revealed until after the midterm elections - with one calling it a 'cover up.' 

'When you cover up something before an election,' Republican Rep. Don Bacon of Nebraska told reporters on Capitol Hill Tuesday morning, 'that is probably a point that needs to be highlighted.'

He said the fact the White House didn't say 'a darn thing till after the election looks political me.'

The White House announced late Monday that Biden's lawyers discovered 10 classified documents in his former office at a Washington think tank on November 2. 

That was six days before the midterm election, where Republicans won control of the House but not by the landslide many had predicted.

The announcement of such a discovery likely would have a been a political explosion in the election, akin to the FBI announcing in 2016, 11 days before the election, the discovery of additional Hillary Clinton emails.

The delay in announcing the Biden discovery has sparked fury among the GOP, and many warned they expect the Justice Department to treat Biden like the agency is treating its probe of former President Donald Trump and the documents he had at Mar-a-Lago.

GOP Rep. James Comer of Kentucky, who is set to become the House Oversight Chairman, said he plans to send a letter to the National Archives on Tuesday demanding answers.

Comer said he had questions about why the two presidents were being treated differently.
'I'm wondering is Joe Biden's personal residence gonna be raided by the FBI,' he said on Tuesday.  

He said he was asking the National Archives about the documents in the possession of both former presidents.

'But we're just trying to find out exactly what went on at both Mar-a-Lago and the Biden's.'

COMMENT:  The double standard is outrageous but we on our side are used to it.  Look at the way Hillary Clinton got away with all kinds of strange stuff.  And how Biden gets away with one lie after another.  He could claim to be Superman and the press would cover for him.

I'm guessing that the Justice Department will "investigate," take plenty of time doing it, and come up with a minor slap on the wrist, if that, for the president.  After all, on Washington's animal farm, as on George Orwell's, all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others. 

January 10, 2023       Permalink 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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