Saturday, July 8, 2006

Images: Combat Camera, Sat. 8 July

A U.S. Navy aircraft director guides the pilot of an F/A-18E Super Hornet aircraft to the catapult for launch off the flight deck of the USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) as the ship operates in the Pacific Ocean on June 23, 2006. The Kitty Hawk Carrier Strike Group is participating in exercise Valiant Shield 2006, a joint exercise consisting of 28 naval vessels, more than 300 aircraft, and approximately 20,000 service members from the Navy, Army, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. DoD photo by Airman Stephen W. Rowe, U.S. Navy. (Released) A U.S. Navy aircraft director guides the pilot of an F/A-18E Super Hornet aircraft to the catapult for launch off the flight deck of the USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) as the ship operates in the Pacific Ocean on June 23, 2006. The Kitty Hawk Carrier Strike Group is participating in exercise Valiant Shield 2006, a joint exercise consisting of 28 naval vessels, more than 300 aircraft, and approximately 20,000 service members from the Navy, Army, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. DoD photo by Airman Stephen W. Rowe, U.S. Navy. (Released)

U.S. Navy Sailors prepare to launch a C-2A Greyhound aircraft assigned to Fleet Logistics Combat Support Squadron Three Zero off the flight deck of USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) during flight operations in the Pacific Ocean July 5, 2006. DoD photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Marc Rockwell-Pate. U.S. Navy. (Released) U.S. Navy Sailors prepare to launch a E-2c Hawkeye aircraft assigned to Fleet Logistics Combat Support Squadron Three Zero off the flight deck of USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) during flight operations in the Pacific Ocean July 5, 2006. DoD photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Marc Rockwell-Pate. U.S. Navy. (Released)

The USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) departs from Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, to participate in exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) July 5, 2006. RIMPAC brings together military forces from Australia, Canada, Chile, Peru, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States in the world's largest biennial maritime exercise. DoD photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Rebecca J. Moat, U.S. Navy. (Released) The USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) departs from Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, to participate in exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) July 5, 2006. RIMPAC brings together military forces from Australia, Canada, Chile, Peru, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States in the world's largest biennial maritime exercise. DoD photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Rebecca J. Moat, U.S. Navy. (Released)

U.S. Navy Aviation Warfare Systems Operator 3rd Class Terra Lathrop ensures a patient is securely fastened on an MH-60 Knighthawk helicopter before being shuttled to the hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) July 1, 2006. Mercy, now moored outside Chittagong, Bangladesh, is conducting humanitarian and civic assistance missions during a five-month deployment to South Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands. DoD photo by Chief Photographer's Mate Edward G. Martens, U.S. Navy. (Released)U.S. Navy Aviation Warfare Systems Operator 3rd Class Terra Lathrop ensures a patient is securely fastened on an MH-60 Knighthawk helicopter before being shuttled to the hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) July 1, 2006. Mercy, now moored outside Chittagong, Bangladesh, is conducting humanitarian and civic assistance missions during a five-month deployment to South Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands. DoD photo by Chief Photographer's Mate Edward G. Martens, U.S. Navy. (Released)

NOTE: Updated July 3, 2008

COMBAT CAMERA More Combat Camera Imagery on THE TENSION

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Hot Economy Drives Down U.S. Deficit

COMMENTLINES
It's the economy, stupid.

Even with all of the cautionary blather that follows, the opening salvo from the Times story, Surprising Jump in Tax Revenues Curbs U.S. Deficit, says it all:

An unexpectedly steep rise in tax revenues from corporations and the wealthy is driving down the projected budget deficit this year, even though spending has climbed sharply because of the war in Iraq and the cost of hurricane relief.

President Bush says, "The tax relief we delivered has helped unleash the entrepreneurial spirit of America and kept our economy the envy of the world."

However, not to go a moment without spin from the crisis mongers and pessimists, those who hate Bush say:

Overall revenues have barely climbed back to the levels reached in 2000, and that the government has spent trillions of dollars from Social Security surpluses just as the first of the nation's baby boomers are nearing retirement.

But in the end, they only remind us about how vaporware Clintonomics led to the dot.com meltdown in 2001.

Another favorite myth busted by the news is the notion that tax breaks help only the rich when one-third of all income taxes are paid by households in the top 1 percent of income earners.

More interesting is the fact that, with the over the top spending, compared with the size of the economy, tax revenues are still below historical norms and far below what the administration predicted as recently as 2003.

NEWSBYTES
Surprising Jump in Tax Revenues Curbs U.S. Deficit
WASHINGTON, July 8 (NYT) -- An unexpectedly steep rise in tax revenues from corporations and the wealthy is driving down the projected budget deficit this year, even though spending has climbed sharply because of the war in Iraq and the cost of hurricane relief.

Federal Deficit May Fall Below $300B
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The federal deficit appears on track to register less than $300 billion for the budget year ending Sept. 30, as surging tax revenues continue to signal significant improvement over White House estimates released in February _ though only modest gains over last year. More.

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Friday, July 7, 2006

The Tension Wire for Fri. 7 July

TENSION NEWSMAKERS FROM AROUND THE WORLD

The space shuttle Discovery as astronauts aboard the orbiter use the robot arm equipped with the Orbital Boom Sensor System (OBSS) to inspect the spacecraft's thermal protection system in this view from NASA TV, July 7, 2006. The space shuttle Discovery as astronauts aboard the orbiter use the robot arm equipped with the Orbital Boom Sensor System (OBSS) to inspect the spacecraft's thermal protection system in this view from NASA TV, July 7, 2006.

FINANCIAL

Gold-Oil Ratio Spiraling Downward

Oil falls after hitting record $75.78

Crude oil prices rise back above $75 a barrel on geopolitical tension, rising gas demand

TECHNOLOGY

NASA Engineers Assess New Shuttle Pictures

Shuttle Discovery not in the clear just yet

NATIONAL

Iraq takes center stage in Lieberman debate

INTERNATIONAL

Russian leader participates in Web cast

North Korea winds up tension, but leaves door open for talks

AMERICAS

Mexicans pray for peace as election tension mounts

IRAQ

U.S., Iraqi Forces Raid Shiite Stronghold

Sectarian TV Main Source of News in Iraq

IRAN

Iran keeps world guessing on nuclear answer

MIDDLE EAST

Israeli Tanks Roll Into Eastern Gaza

Israel kills militant in Gaza as troops dig in

AFRICA

Pray or die, Somali sheikh tells Muslims

ASIA

Sri Lanka: Paramilitaries abduct 35 children in Batticaloa

Seoul declines N. Korean talks

Tension mounts at Satkhira border, BDR put on high alert

No military talks with the North: S Korea

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Steve's Reading List

Click hereState of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America
by Pat Buchanan
Buy now from Amazon.com


Click here Without Precedent: The Inside Story of the 9/11 Commission
by Thomas Kean
Buy now from Amazon.com


Click hereCompany C: An American's Life as a Citizen-Soldier in Israel
by Haim Watzman
Buy now from Amazon.com


Click hereNever Quit the Fight
by Ralph Peters
Buy now from Amazon.com


Click hereLonely Soldier: The Memoir of an American in the Israeli Army
By Adam Harmon
Buy now from Amazon.com


Click hereThe UN Exposed: How the United Nations Sabotages America's Security and Fails the World
By Eric Shawn
Buy now from Amazon.com


Click hereGuests of the Ayatollah: The First Battle in America's War with Militant Islam
By Mark Bowden
Buy now from Amazon.com


Click hereWhite Guilt : How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era
By Shelby Steele
Buy now from Amazon.com


Click hereMyths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity: Get Out the Shovel--Why Everything You Know is Wrong
By John Stossel
Buy now from Amazon.com


Click hereThe Party of Death: The Democrats, the Media, the Courts, and the Disregard for Human Life
By Ramesh Ponnuru
Buy now from Amazon.com


Click hereGodless: The Church of Liberalism
By Ann Coulter
Buy now from Amazon.com


Click hereStand For Something: The Battle for America's Soul
by John Kasich
Buy now from Amazon.com


Click hereLondonistan
By Melanie Phillips
Buy now from Amazom.com



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Images: Combat Camera, Fri. 7 July

LOGISTICS MARINES TAKE ON INSURGENCY

Marines arrive at Combat Outpost Falcon to emplace more than 300 concrete barriers, June 26, 2006. The five Marines, a part of Combat Logistics Detachment 115, Combat Logistics Regiment 15, out of Camp Taqaddum, Iraq, aided the Army's 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division in securing the combat outpost, a part of increased security operations in Southern Ramadi. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Daniel J. ReddingMarines arrive at Combat Outpost Falcon to emplace more than 300 concrete barriers, June 26, 2006. The five Marines, a part of Combat Logistics Detachment 115, Combat Logistics Regiment 15, out of Camp Taqaddum, Iraq, aided the Army's 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division in securing the combat outpost, a part of increased security operations in Southern Ramadi. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Daniel J. Redding

Marines listen as Capt. John P. Hiltz, a company commander with 40th Engineer Battalion, gives instructions at Combat Outpost Falcon shortly after they arrived to emplace more than 300 concrete barriers, June 26, 2006, in Ramadi. The five Marines, a part of Combat Logistics Detachment 115, Combat Logistics Regiment 15, out of Camp Taqaddum, Iraq, aided the Army's 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division in securing the combat outpost, a part of increased security operations in Southern Ramadi. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Daniel J. ReddingMarines listen as Capt. John P. Hiltz, a company commander with 40th Engineer Battalion, gives instructions at Combat Outpost Falcon shortly after they arrived to emplace more than 300 concrete barriers, June 26, 2006, in Ramadi. The five Marines, a part of Combat Logistics Detachment 115, Combat Logistics Regiment 15, out of Camp Taqaddum, Iraq, aided the Army's 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division in securing the combat outpost, a part of increased security operations in Southern Ramadi. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Daniel J. Redding

Marines and soldiers at Combat Outpost Falcon use an up-armored forklift, commonly referred to as a TRAM (Tractor, Rubber-tired, Articulated steering, Multipurpose), to emplace concrete barriers, June 26, 2006. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Daniel J. ReddingMarines and soldiers at Combat Outpost Falcon use an up-armored forklift, commonly referred to as a TRAM (Tractor, Rubber-tired, Articulated steering, Multipurpose), to emplace concrete barriers, June 26, 2006. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Daniel J. Redding

Cpl. Sean P. Boeler, a 24-year-old native of Columbia, S.C., provides security for Iraqi Security Forces and American soldiers treating a wounded Iraqi servicemember shortly after an attack June 26, 2006 near Combat Outpost Falcon. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Daniel J. ReddingCpl. Sean P. Boeler, a 24-year-old native of Columbia, S.C., provides security for Iraqi Security Forces and American soldiers treating a wounded Iraqi servicemember shortly after an attack June 26, 2006 near Combat Outpost Falcon. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Daniel J. Redding

Pfc. Michael E. Jordan, a 23-year-old native of Detroit, patrols the interior of Combat Outpost Falcon shortly after he and his fellow Marines arrived to emplace more than 300 concrete barriers, June 26, 2006. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Daniel J. ReddingPfc. Michael E. Jordan, a 23-year-old native of Detroit, patrols the interior of Combat Outpost Falcon shortly after he and his fellow Marines arrived to emplace more than 300 concrete barriers, June 26, 2006. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Daniel J. Redding

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From Amazon.com:
War Photography
Combat Photography
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Update: Counterbalance for Thu. 6 July

THE BUZZ OUTSIDE THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA

A sign denouncing North Korean leader Kim Jong-il is seen with a North Korean flag at a protest criticizing North Korea's missile launching in Seoul, July 5, 2006.A sign denouncing North Korean leader Kim Jong-il is seen with a North Korean flag at a protest criticizing North Korea's missile launching in Seoul, July 5, 2006.

COMMENTLINES

On North Korea:
On Tuesday, North Korea launched six missiles, including a long-range intercontinental missile, into the Sea of Japan. It followed up these tests with a seventh firing on Wednesday. Kim Jong-Il’s Communist government has threatened to launch further missiles.

The Heritage Foundation’s Baker Spring outlines a four-point program to deter North Korean aggression and defend against any future attacks:

1. Conventional defense of South Korea
2. Global, layered missile defense
3. New nuclear deterrent
4. Preemption


The Heritage Foundation's Michael A. Needham says:

"North Korea’s July 4 missile launches do not fundamentally alter the challenge of confronting North Korea’s provocative behavior. They do, however, provide Pyongyang with useful information on its Taepodong 2 ICBM technology, violate the North Korea’s 1999 self-imposed moratorium on missile launches and further isolate North Korea from the other nations in the Six-Party talks. While keeping yesterday’s events in the proper perspective, the United States should use this opportunity to encourage the international community to take a stronger approach towards Pyongyang and to underscore the importance of a ballistic missile defense system as part of a comprehensive American national security strategy. Finally, America must remain committed to the Six-Party talks no matter how Kim Jong-Il lashes out."

Michael Rubin, writing in the National Review says:

"The White House should condemn Pyongyang’s provocations. But it should also recognize the process by which the Stalinist state acquired such capabilities. That the Bush administration now seeks to replicate the same process with the Islamic Republic is little more than dereliction. The future of Iran’s nuclear program lies in the North Korean crystal ball."

When you see Madeleine Albright and Wendy Sherman condemning Bush and praising Clinton on North Korea while making the news circuit, just know it's because they have a business to promote: The Albright Group.

In this video from Fox, Wendy Sherman tries to convince us that the elder Bush allowed North Korea to make plutonium. Then, she elaborates, under Clinton, North Korea produced no plutonium. With a stern face she then says that under the younger Bush, North Korea was allowed to resume production of plutonium. Finally, Brian Kilmead jumps feet first into the interview in disbelief and attempts to set the record right. (This is the piece that started a firestorm on conservative talk radio today.) (Updated with news refs.)

NEWSBYTES

NORTH KOREA
A Comprehensive Set of Military Options for Countering North Korea’s Growing Missile Threat
By Baker Spring
(heritage.org) -- Starting on the Fourth of July, North Korea launched a salvo of seven short-, medium- and long-range missiles. Despite the failure of the single long-range missile, the Taepo Dong-2, the launches confirmed that North Korea is seeking to advance its missile arsenal in order to threaten both the United States and its allies in Asia. The short- and medium-range missiles, the Scud and No Dong respectively, all flew in the direction of Japan, so it seems that North Korea is focused on achieving a military capability to threaten Japan in particular. It remains unclear at this point whether North Korea can arm its missile arsenal with nuclear warheads. While North Korea is openly pursuing nuclear weapons and is thought to have a small number of such weapons, mating these weapons to ballistic missile delivery systems requires additional technological steps.

Responding to North Korea's Missile Provocation
By Michael A. Needham
(heritage.org) -- Adding an international relations angle to America’s Independence Day celebration, North Korea fired six missiles yesterday, and at least one more today, into the Sea of Japan. Among these missiles was the Taepodong 2 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which failed approximately 40 seconds into its flight. These launches, while a provocation that will further isolate North Korea from the rest of the world, should not lead the United States to alter its approach to confronting the bad behavior of the Kim Jong-Il regime. America should continue to work with its partners in the Six-Party talks to compel Pyongyang to cease its belligerent behavior. Further, the U.S. should join with Japan and other nations to impose additional economic sanctions on North Korea, both unilaterally and through the United Nations Security Council. Finally, U.S. policymakers should recognize that North Korea’s missile tests underscore the importance of developing a comprehensive ballistic missile defense system.

Dangerous Cycle
North Korea, Iran, and repetitive diplomatic failure.
By Michael Rubin

(nationalreview.com) -- Ignoring both international calls for moderation and Washington’s warnings, North Korea launched seven missiles on July 4 and 5, including the long-range Taepogdong-2, which will be capable of delivering a nuclear payload to the United States. That the Taepogdong-2 apparently failed after 40 seconds is irrelevant; engineers test missiles to identify and rectify problems, and so each test brings them closer to their goal.

ALSO SEE
Rocket's Red Glare
Not-so-crazy Kim tells the world to pay up one more time.
(WSJ) -- Most of the civilized world spent yesterday denouncing Kim Jong Il's July 4 fireworks display of launching several missiles into the Sea of Japan. The denunciations are all very nice, but the question is what lesson the world's leaders, especially those in China and South Korea, are going to learn from this latest North Korean provocation.

NEWS REFERENCES

CNN.com - U.S. official: North Korea tests long-range missile - Jul 4, 2006

North Korea Test-Fires Seventh Missile

CNN.com - N. Korea test-fires six missiles - Jul 5, 2006

CNN.com - Officials: More N. Korea launches possible - Jul 5, 2006

N. Korea Test-Fires Long-Range Missile

N. Korea Threatens to Fire More Missiles

U.S. and Japanese Diplomats Push for International Support on N. Korea

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Thursday, July 6, 2006

The Tension Wire for Thu. 6 July

TENSION NEWSMAKERS FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Sunset in Zikim : An Israeli soldier sits in an armored personnel carrier (APC) as he crosses the Israeli border into the Gaza Strip at sunrise from the nearby Kibbutz of Zikim. Sunset in Zikim : An Israeli soldier sits in an armored personnel carrier (APC) as he crosses the Israeli border into the Gaza Strip at sunrise from the nearby Kibbutz of Zikim.

ENTERTAINMENT

Yo-Ho-Hum

Apple's show hotly entertaining

FINANCIAL

Dow Closes Up 73, Nasdaq Finishes Up 2

Oil Prices Hold Above $75 a Barrel

Surging oil prices to stay in short run, say stock analysts

Global tension puts oil in spotlight

Oil Trades Near Record on N. Korean Missile Tests, Fuel Demand

Techs shake Japan stocks

TECHNOLOGY


Video Gamers Not Immune From Politics

Shuttle Docks With Space Station

NATIONAL

Trial Starts in N.D. Student Slaying

ILLEGAL ALIENS

NYC Mayor Says U.S. Depends on Immigrants

INTERNATIONAL

Indonesian envoy meets N. Korean foreign minister amid tension over missile launches

AMERICAS

Mexico Watches as Votes Are Tallied

Calderon Wins Mexican Presidential Race

IRAQ

Car Bomb Kills 12 Iranians Near Baghdad

IRAN

Bush Concerned Neighbors Undermining Iraq

MIDDLE EAST

Political tensions focus of Arab Strategy Forum

On the spot: high tension in north Gaza

AFRICA

Zimbabwe: Zanu PF Purges Top Officials in Masvingo

ASIA

Tension continues in Bhiwandi

In Defiance, North Korea Fires Missiles

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Images: Combat Camera, Thu. 6 July

Marines assigned to the Hawaii-based 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment climb a hill during a patrol in Haditha, Iraq, June 25, 2006. 1st Lt. Rick Posselt, a 25-year-old from Crystal River, Fla., was leading Marines and Iraqi soldiers through Haditha, June 14, on a similar patrol when his platoon came under attack. Posselt put his life in danger when he ran into enemy gunfire to pull a wounded Marine, Cpl. Michael Estrella, to safety. Estrella later died of his wounds. Capt. Andy Lynch, India Company’s commanding officer, says Posselt will be recognized for his brave actions on the battlefield that day. The Hawaii-based Marine battalion, also known as “America’s Battalion,” arrived in March and is scheduled to depart Iraq this fall and be replaced by another Hawaii-based unit. Photo by: Cpl. Antonio Rosas Marines assigned to the Hawaii-based 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment climb a hill during a patrol in Haditha, Iraq, June 25, 2006. 1st Lt. Rick Posselt, a 25-year-old from Crystal River, Fla., was leading Marines and Iraqi soldiers through Haditha, June 14, on a similar patrol when his platoon came under attack. Posselt put his life in danger when he ran into enemy gunfire to pull a wounded Marine, Cpl. Michael Estrella, to safety. Estrella later died of his wounds. Capt. Andy Lynch, India Company’s commanding officer, says Posselt will be recognized for his brave actions on the battlefield that day. The Hawaii-based Marine battalion, also known as “America’s Battalion,” arrived in March and is scheduled to depart Iraq this fall and be replaced by another Hawaii-based unit. Photo by: Cpl. Antonio Rosas

Marines of Company A, 2nd Tank Battalion ground-guide an M1-A1 Main Battle Tank toward a hangar aboard Camp Habbaniyah after a mission near Habbaniyah, Iraq June 26. The company followed 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment west to Habbaniyah to lend their 120 mm main guns to assist with highway security. Photo by: Cpl. Mark SixbeyMarines of Company A, 2nd Tank Battalion ground-guide an M1-A1 Main Battle Tank toward a hangar aboard Camp Habbaniyah after a mission near Habbaniyah, Iraq June 26. The company followed 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment west to Habbaniyah to lend their 120 mm main guns to assist with highway security. Photo by: Cpl. Mark Sixbey

Gunnery Sgt. Michael J. Kadlub, a 37-year-old from Atlanta, and a tank commander for 2nd Platoon, Company A, 2nd Tank Battalion looks out the hatch atop his M1-A1 Main Battle Tank inside the company’s tank bay at Camp Habbaniyah June 26. The Company is currently supporting the grunts of 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment by maintaining a constant presence along the main highways near Habbaniyah, Iraq. Photo by: Cpl. Mark Sixbey Gunnery Sgt. Michael J. Kadlub, a 37-year-old from Atlanta, and a tank commander for 2nd Platoon, Company A, 2nd Tank Battalion looks out the hatch atop his M1-A1 Main Battle Tank inside the company’s tank bay at Camp Habbaniyah June 26. The Company is currently supporting the grunts of 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment by maintaining a constant presence along the main highways near Habbaniyah, Iraq. Photo by: Cpl. Mark Sixbey

An M1-A1 Main Battle Tank rolls toward a hangar on Camp Habbaniyah after a mission near Habbaniyah, Iraq June 26. Marines of Company A, 2nd Tank Battalion are supporting the grunts of 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment by maintaining a constant presence along the main highways near Habbaniyah. Photo by: Cpl. Mark SixbeyAn M1-A1 Main Battle Tank rolls toward a hangar on Camp Habbaniyah after a mission near Habbaniyah, Iraq June 26. Marines of Company A, 2nd Tank Battalion are supporting the grunts of 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment by maintaining a constant presence along the main highways near Habbaniyah. Photo by: Cpl. Mark Sixbey

COMBAT CAMERA More Combat Camera Imagery on THE TENSION

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Counterbalance for Thu. 6 July

THE BUZZ OUTSIDE THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA

A sign denouncing North Korean leader Kim Jong-il is seen with a North Korean flag at a protest criticizing North Korea's missile launching in Seoul, July 5, 2006.A sign denouncing North Korean leader Kim Jong-il is seen with a North Korean flag at a protest criticizing North Korea's missile launching in Seoul, July 5, 2006.

COMMENTLINES

On North Korea:
On Tuesday, North Korea launched six missiles, including a long-range intercontinental missile, into the Sea of Japan. It followed up these tests with a seventh firing on Wednesday. Kim Jong-Il’s Communist government has threatened to launch further missiles.

The Heritage Foundation’s Baker Spring outlines a four-point program to deter North Korean aggression and defend against any future attacks:

1. Conventional defense of South Korea
2. Global, layered missile defense
3. New nuclear deterrent
4. Preemption


The Heritage Foundation's Michael A. Needham says:

"North Korea’s July 4 missile launches do not fundamentally alter the challenge of confronting North Korea’s provocative behavior. They do, however, provide Pyongyang with useful information on its Taepodong 2 ICBM technology, violate the North Korea’s 1999 self-imposed moratorium on missile launches and further isolate North Korea from the other nations in the Six-Party talks. While keeping yesterday’s events in the proper perspective, the United States should use this opportunity to encourage the international community to take a stronger approach towards Pyongyang and to underscore the importance of a ballistic missile defense system as part of a comprehensive American national security strategy. Finally, America must remain committed to the Six-Party talks no matter how Kim Jong-Il lashes out."

Michael Rubin, writing in the National Review says:

"The White House should condemn Pyongyang’s provocations. But it should also recognize the process by which the Stalinist state acquired such capabilities. That the Bush administration now seeks to replicate the same process with the Islamic Republic is little more than dereliction. The future of Iran’s nuclear program lies in the North Korean crystal ball."

When you see Madeleine Albright and Wendy Sherman condemning Bush and praising Clinton on North Korea while making the news circuit, just know it's because they have a business to promote: The Albright Group.

In this video from Fox, Wendy Sherman tries to convince us the elder Bush allowed North Korea to make plutonium ... that is until Brian Kilmead jumps into the interview in disbelief. (This is the piece that started a firestorm on conservative talk radio today.)

NEWSBYTES

NORTH KOREA
A Comprehensive Set of Military Options for Countering North Korea’s Growing Missile Threat
By Baker Spring
(heritage.org) -- Starting on the Fourth of July, North Korea launched a salvo of seven short-, medium- and long-range missiles. Despite the failure of the single long-range missile, the Taepo Dong-2, the launches confirmed that North Korea is seeking to advance its missile arsenal in order to threaten both the United States and its allies in Asia. The short- and medium-range missiles, the Scud and No Dong respectively, all flew in the direction of Japan, so it seems that North Korea is focused on achieving a military capability to threaten Japan in particular. It remains unclear at this point whether North Korea can arm its missile arsenal with nuclear warheads. While North Korea is openly pursuing nuclear weapons and is thought to have a small number of such weapons, mating these weapons to ballistic missile delivery systems requires additional technological steps.

Responding to North Korea's Missile Provocation
By Michael A. Needham
(heritage.org) -- Adding an international relations angle to America’s Independence Day celebration, North Korea fired six missiles yesterday, and at least one more today, into the Sea of Japan. Among these missiles was the Taepodong 2 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which failed approximately 40 seconds into its flight. These launches, while a provocation that will further isolate North Korea from the rest of the world, should not lead the United States to alter its approach to confronting the bad behavior of the Kim Jong-Il regime. America should continue to work with its partners in the Six-Party talks to compel Pyongyang to cease its belligerent behavior. Further, the U.S. should join with Japan and other nations to impose additional economic sanctions on North Korea, both unilaterally and through the United Nations Security Council. Finally, U.S. policymakers should recognize that North Korea’s missile tests underscore the importance of developing a comprehensive ballistic missile defense system.

Dangerous Cycle
North Korea, Iran, and repetitive diplomatic failure.
By Michael Rubin

(nationalreview.com) -- Ignoring both international calls for moderation and Washington’s warnings, North Korea launched seven missiles on July 4 and 5, including the long-range Taepogdong-2, which will be capable of delivering a nuclear payload to the United States. That the Taepogdong-2 apparently failed after 40 seconds is irrelevant; engineers test missiles to identify and rectify problems, and so each test brings them closer to their goal.

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Wednesday, July 5, 2006

The Tension Wire for Wed. 5 July

TENSION NEWSMAKERS FROM AROUND THE WORLD

A specialist pauses shortlhy after the closing bell, Wednesday, July 5, 2006, on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York. Concerns over North Korea's nuclear ambitions and record oil prices sent stocks lower Wednesday and added to Wall Street's worries about the economy and interest rates. After North Korea test fired a seventh missile Wednesday, stocks around the globe sagged as investors worried that tensions between North Korea and the United States could intensify. A specialist pauses shortlhy after the closing bell, Wednesday, July 5, 2006, on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York. Concerns over North Korea's nuclear ambitions and record oil prices sent stocks lower Wednesday and added to Wall Street's worries about the economy and interest rates. After North Korea test fired a seventh missile Wednesday, stocks around the globe sagged as investors worried that tensions between North Korea and the United States could intensify.

FINANCIAL

Missile tension sends oil surging

Oil Prices Climb to Record Above $75

Precious Metals Up on NKorean Missiles

Dow Closes Down 76, Nasdaq Closes Down 37

Crude Oil Zooms Higher

Tension over Iran and North Korea keep oil around $74

SPORTS

Germany and Italy serve up another classic

INTERNATIONAL

Chronology of N. Korea's Missile Program

Gist of Japan-circulated draft text of N. Korea resolution

Pakistan shares world concern over North Korean missile tests

South Korean demonstrators burn North Korean flags and a portrait of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il during a protest denouncing the North Korea's missile launch in dowuntown Seoul. South Korean demonstrators burn North Korean flags and a portrait of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il during a protest denouncing the North Korea's missile launch in dowuntown Seoul.

Belgian news in brief, 5 July 2006

Missile fails, tension remains

Indonesia to holds talks with North Korea

Russia Calls North Korean Missile Launches Regrettable

Russia criticizes North Korean missile test as certain to heighten tension(Updated 04:22 p.m.)

AMERICAS


Leftist has surprise lead in Mexico recount drama

Chavez Hosts 6-Nation Trade Summit

IRAQ

Marines Gain Control of Iraq Hospital

IRAN

Iran postpones nuclear talks

MIDDLE EAST

Hamas ready to compromise if Israel swaps prisoners

Gul Expresses Concern Over Palestinian - Israeli Tension

Continuous Tension in Gaza

AFRICA

Nigeria: Govt, PHCN in Cat And Mouse Game

Nigeria: Authorities Move To Stop Students Protest

Political tension flares between president, ex-premier

GAMBIA-SENEGAL: Ferry prices down but border tension still high

ASIA

Teen deaths spark mob fury

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