Austin Bay from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Tue, 23 May 2017 20:59:41 -0700 Austin Bay from Creators Syndicate 8980b565570fb2b5d964ec602206faad Gray Area Attacks on Computers and Food for 05/17/2017 Wed, 17 May 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The so-called WannaCry computer virus attack that began on May 12 appears to be a global extortion operation. The attackers demanded that victims with infected computers pay a ransom if they wanted their information restored. Otherwise, the victims' information would be destroyed.</p> <p>Investigators speculate that a hacker group called The Shadow Brokers created the malware. According to the latest estimate, the WannaCry malware damaged over 500,000 computers in at least 150 countries.<p>Updated: Wed May 17, 2017</p> 92ca51702769b79075ef467c1bf8924a The Pentagon's Air and Sea Lift Deficit for 05/10/2017 Wed, 10 May 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>On May 2, U.S. Transportation Command commander Air Force General Darren McDew told the Senate Armed Services Committee that America doesn't have enough supply ships, transport planes and tanker planes to move a large combat force to a distant battlefield (like Korea) and sustain that force.</p> <p>To win a war, warriors and weapons must reach the battlefield and soldiers and machines must be supplied.<p>Updated: Wed May 10, 2017</p> 486313816693325b3ff448881c50889a Mexico Versus Mexico: The Battle over Impunity for 05/03/2017 Wed, 03 May 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Last month was a bad month for crooked state governors in Mexico, which means April 2017 was a potentially promising month for Mexican citizens disgusted with the culture of impunity.</p> <p>For outraged Mexicans, the word "impunity" signifies the deep injustice and corruption embedded within their nation's governing institutions. Mexico's politically-connected and wealthy can commit horrendous crimes and then avoid accountability. They steal &#8212; and even kill &#8212; with "impunity."</p> <p>Impunity has become a political problem for President Enrique Pena Nieto and his Institutional Revolutionary Party. As a presidential candidate in 2012, Pena promised to reform government and to penalize corruption. Then 2014 arrived with revelations that he and his wife had acquired luxury homes, with the help of wealthy media and business big shots.<p>Updated: Wed May 03, 2017</p> 97a948bfb3771db5ff1311368826355c North Korean Nukes and the Osirak Precedent for 04/26/2017 Wed, 26 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Call it the Osirak Precedent: a preemptive conventional attack on nuclear facilities can delay and possibly destroy a rogue dictatorship's nuclear weapons program.</p> <p>North Korea's Kim regime knows the history. In 1981, Israeli fighter-bombers attacked and destroyed Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor and support facility. Osirak was the critical facility in Saddam Hussein's nuclear weapons production program.</p> <p>At the time, military analysts estimated the air strike delayed Saddam's nuclear quest by 10 to 15 years. Had Saddam possessed nuclear weapon when he invaded Kuwait in 1990, Operation Desert Storm may have had a different outcome.<p>Updated: Wed Apr 26, 2017</p> 33acd7a2a52067fb48ecf948c6037e41 U.S. Diplomatic Strategy for 04/19/2017 Wed, 19 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>The Trump Administration is suggesting China will receive a favorable trade deal &#8212; and perhaps other unspecified considerations &#8212; if Beijing helps terminate North Korea's nuclear weapons program.</p> <p>Cooperate to terminate &#8212; that's the gist of the U.S. diplomatic strategy to deal with North Korea's rogue nukes.</p> <p>During his recent visit to South Korea, Vice-President Mike Pence gave a more expansive but still focused description. "...President Trump," Pence said, "is absolutely committed to marshaling the energy of the world community, in countries in the Asian pacific, to use economic and diplomatic power to isolate North Korea and achieve a goal of a denuclearized Korean peninsula."<p>Updated: Wed Apr 19, 2017</p> 348ed42df9ccc25fd398471f9e80c942 North Korea and Syria: Two Heriditary Dictatorships for 04/12/2017 Wed, 12 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is once again threatening war with South Korea, Japan and the U.S. He assures us his ballistic missiles will soon bear nuclear warheads.</p> <p>Last week, aircraft loyal to Syria's Assad dictatorship dropped nerve agent bombs on a civilian neighborhood. The U.S. retaliated for the war crime with a classic punitive strike. American cruise missiles hammered the airfield used by Assad regime jets.</p> <p>North Korea and Syria present the world with different diplomatic and military challenges. They differ geographically &#8212; East Asia and the Pacific basin versus Southwest Asia. They differ in historical origin.<p>Updated: Wed Apr 12, 2017</p> 7a78e8f6589f72c587b6a8a1e8bf566b Obama's Red Line Horror for 04/05/2017 Wed, 05 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Syria's Assad regime has once again used banned chemical weapons to inflict mass casualties on civilians.</p> <p>On April 4, Syrian Air Force jets bombed a rebel-held village in the Syrian province of Idlib. The U.S. State Department said banned chemical weapons were used in the attack. White House press secretary Sean Spicer blamed the Assad regime and didn't mince words: "Today's chemical attack in Syria against innocent people, including women and children, is reprehensible and cannot be ignored by the civilized world." Then he added "These heinous acts are a consequence of the past administration's (Obama Administration's) weakness and irresolution."<p>Updated: Wed Apr 05, 2017</p> 5369b642c184a6b759c7729266908201 Kony 2017: The Facebook World Didn't Catch Him for 03/29/2017 Wed, 29 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>In October 2011, the Obama Administration ordered 100 U.S. special operations troops to deploy to central Africa to help African and U.N. forces capture Joseph Kony, the psychopathic commander of the Ugandan rebel Lord's Resistance Army.</p> <p>Kony is an evil man. Note the present tense: is, not was.</p> <p>In the late 1980s, Kony took control of a movement whose goals linked the Acholi tribe's demands for autonomy in northern Uganda with a promise to govern Uganda according to the Ten Commandments.<p>Updated: Wed Mar 29, 2017</p> 5274282b5f93bf9e02c1a238929be437 Soft Diplomacy Didn't Stop North Korea's Nuclear Quest for 03/23/2017 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>More than five decades ago, the wry British humor magazine, Punch, observed that "Idealists maintain that all nations should share the atomic bomb. Pessimists maintain that they will."</p> <p>Nuclear weapons in the hands of North Korea's hereditary Communist dictatorship vindicate the pessimists.</p> <p>Yes, a hereditary Communist dictatorship. North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is the grandson of Kim Il Sung. In 1950, Kim Il Sung invaded South Korea and started the Korean War. He also began North Korea's nuclear weapons program.<p>Updated: Thu Mar 23, 2017</p> e5d17acf7a5b8a154d94a0d78cf6a99a Emerging Threats Drive the Navy's Frigate Controversy for 03/15/2017 Wed, 15 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>U.S. naval officers charged with making sure the future fleet can fight and win American wars have concluded the Navy needs a new generation of frigates.</p> <p>Building new frigates to replace the U.S. Navy's Perry-class frigates was something many naval officers and Pentagon budget analysts wanted to avoid. All told, 71 Perry-class frigates served with the fleet. The last one was decommissioned in 2015. </p> <p>Like most debates over military weapons acquisition, the frigate controversy has a complicated back-story.<p>Updated: Wed Mar 15, 2017</p> b8579898d19585ba67dcea79c0bf2b04 Paranoid Kim's Paranoid Spring for 03/08/2017 Wed, 08 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>North Korea dictator Kim Jong Un's 2017 intimidation offensive is so uniquely threatening it deserves its own nickname: Kim's "Paranoid Spring."</p> <p>In January, Kim Jong Un seeded this extraordinary season of fear by threatening to strike South Korea, Japan and the U.S. with ballistic missiles. The fear factor rose on February 12 when North Korea successfully launched a solid fuel intermediate range ballistic missile.<p>Updated: Wed Mar 08, 2017</p> 6817817859fb551ddd00a7ce5320e705 Retaining America's 'Hard Power' for 03/01/2017 Wed, 01 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Secretary of Defense James Mattis made reviving the U.S. Army his priority project. That meant he was going to give it the budget dollars it needs to be the Army America needs.</p> <p>A lot of people with real expertise in the complexities of national defense agreed with him, but that's no surprise. Jim Mattis himself ranks as one of America's foremost national security thinkers.</p> <p>Over the last decade, the Army has taken the brunt of Defense Department cutbacks and reductions. Last fall, the Heritage Foundation issued its "2016 Index of U.S. Military Strength." That study rated the Army's condition as "Weak." Heritage rated the Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and strategic nuclear forces as "Marginal."<p>Updated: Wed Mar 01, 2017</p> a28e004f1a601db575969de5f3d877dc Spy Novels and Whodunnit: North Korea's Criminal Reality Is Intolerable for 02/22/2017 Wed, 22 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and his vicious Pyongyang regime are on rampage, this time combining cold-blooded sibling murder with ballistic missiles and nuclear threat.</p> <p>On February 13, assassins murdered the dictator's half-brother, Kim Jong Nam. The hit team found their quarry in Malaysia, at the Kuala Lumpur airport.</p> <p>Initial reports echoed spy novel plots. At least two female assassins played key roles in Kim Jong Nam's dispatch. Japanese television has shown a grainy closed circuit television video clip that allegedly records the attack. A female agent approaches Brother Jong Nam and appears to spray his face with a poisonous aerosol. Novel? No, a criminal reality show.<p>Updated: Wed Feb 22, 2017</p> 373ff2375be91ebc97501e67d24ccd4d A Renaissance for Small Aircraft Carriers? for 02/15/2017 Wed, 15 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>The U.S. Navy may be on the verge of a light aircraft carrier renaissance. New technology spurs the revival, both new smart weapons in the arsenals of potential military adversaries and new American weapons systems, the USMC F-35B strike fighter being the most pertinent example.</p> <p>The issue is complex, so the back-story here is particularly relevant. In World War II, the U.S. Navy made extensive use of small aircraft carriers, ranging from very small carriers escorting convoys (CVEs) to light aircraft carriers (CVLs) that were essentially downsized models of the iconic big carriers (CVs).</p> <p>CVLs could handle post-WWII jets. However, the Navy concluded super carriers made more sense strategically and economically. Nuclear-powered super carriers (CVNs) could carry a wing of multi-mission, high-performance combat aircraft and pack an array of defensive weapons. They could remain at sea for months. <p>Updated: Wed Feb 15, 2017</p> 752f5915f7520e2e77d938a59c37a474 The U.S. Army Moves Back to the Future for 02/08/2017 Wed, 08 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>As a retired Marine Corps general officer, Secretary of Defense James Mattis knows firsthand that America's adversaries attempt to exploit American weakness, with the goal of making America pay a price.</p> <p>That's why Mattis intends to address emerging weaknesses and evident deficiencies in American defenses &#8212; to avoid paying a costly price.<p>Updated: Wed Feb 08, 2017</p> 6f98446d9c469d05371a1ec6957047e9 Russia's Probe in Ukraine Targets the Trump Administration for 02/01/2017 Wed, 01 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>It's mid-winter, with temperatures plunging to five degrees Fahrenheit, but Russia's creeping war of aggression in eastern Ukraine's Donbas region is heating up once again as Kremlin-supplied rebels attack Ukrainians defending the town of Avdiivka. </p> <p>Despite the Minsk Protocol ceasefire of September 2014, the Kremlin's Ukraine war has never ceased. It began in Spring 2014, an opportunistic follow-on to Russia's February 2014 invasion of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula. Then Russia annexed Crimea. The one-two punch of military aggression and territorial annexation by a major European power has a tragic historical record. The combination tends to produce Continent-wide mass slaughter.<p>Updated: Wed Feb 01, 2017</p> d9a219effa0bba9deeee49edba0d0b43 Confronting China's Slow Invasion of the South China Sea Is Long Overdue for 01/25/2017 Wed, 25 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Since the 1990s, China has insistently waged a slow and deliberate imperial war of territorial expansion in the South China Sea. </p> <p>"Imperial war" is the apt description. China exhibits classic imperial ambition. Using economic, diplomatic and military muscle (camouflaged by propaganda), Beijing adds territory to its imperial dominion at the expense of less powerful neighbors. </p> <p>In 1950, the newly installed Communist regime in Beijing took Tibet. The Communists defended their action by claiming that "traditionally" Tibet was a Chinese province. As progressive Communists they were liberating Tibet from non-progressives. If that sounds like old time Communist propaganda gospel, it was.<p>Updated: Wed Jan 25, 2017</p> bfa0e0d985fd7a4e910333d40a8de024 Bill Clinton's Kosovo War Isn't Quite Over for 01/18/2017 Wed, 18 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>This week Kosovo accused Serbia of preparing to emulate "the Crimea model" and annex a predominantly ethnic Serb enclave within Kosovo.</p> <p>The accusation reflected a surge of nationalist anger in both countries and stirred legitimate fear of rekindled war. "Crimea model" refers to the 2014 Russian invasion and annexation of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula &#8212; the Russia led by President and former KGB colonel Vladimir Putin.</p> <p>The Obama Administration responded to the Serbia-Kosovo tensions by asking their respective governments "to avoid dangerous rhetoric..."<p>Updated: Wed Jan 18, 2017</p> 819e5e0ae730f2e8fdbc457167f6e480 The Great Mexican Gas Price War Exposes Core Mexican Problems for 01/11/2017 Wed, 11 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Since January 1, the great gas price war has rocked Mexico. <span class="column--highlighted-text">The turmoil involves the four core problems Mexico confronts in the 21st century: economic adjustment, systemic political change, crime and national distrust.</span></p> <p>The ostensible match that lit this conflagration was the Mexican government's December 27 announcement that gasoline and diesel prices would increase from 14 percent to 20 percent during 2017. Economic adjustment &#8212; check, and one long overdue.<p>Updated: Wed Jan 11, 2017</p> 516fa0301a6f73948015d94b287f28fb North Korean ICBMs Mean U.S. Must Expand Missile Defense for 01/04/2017 Wed, 04 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>In March 2013, when Austin, Texas appeared on a map displaying a North Korean missile strike plan, dictator Kim Jong Un's ballistic missiles couldn't reach the Lone Star State. For the record, Honolulu, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. appeared on the same map.</p> <p>Hello, 2017. Almost four years have passed &#8212; four years filled with the Kim regime's usual threat, paranoid belligerence and murder, along with trial and error missile testing.</p> <p>In his 2017 New Year's Day message, the rotund Kim announced his country is on the verge of fielding an intercontinental ballistic missile. According to Kim, "We have reached the final stage in preparations to test-launch an intercontinental ballistic missile."<p>Updated: Wed Jan 04, 2017</p>