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China Warns Australia to Choose “Godfather” — China or U.S.

It is rare in diplomatic circles for governments to speak bluntly, particularly in the Orient, where manners are highly prized.

The exceptions to this rule are retired military officers, who are often able to voice sentiments too impolitic for other channels.

One of the more startling pronouncements in this vein occurred last week when Song Xiaojun, a former senior officer of the People’s Liberation Army, warned that Australia cannot juggle its relationships with the United States and China indefinitely and “Australia has to find a godfather sooner or later. Australia always has to depend on somebody else, whether it is to be the ‘son’ of the US or ‘son’ of China. (It) depends on who is more powerful, and based on the strategic environment.” Noting the rising importance of China as an export market Song added that Australia depended on exporting iron ore to China “to feed itself,” but “Frankly, it has not done well politically.” Read the rest of this entry »

 

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24 Outrageous Facts About Taxes In The United States That Will Blow Your Mind

The U.S. tax code is a complete and utter abomination and it needs to be thrown out entirely.  Nobody in their right mind would ever read the whole thing – it is over 3 million words long.  Each year, Americans spend billions of hours and hundreds of billions of dollars trying to comply with federal tax requirements.  Sadly, it is the honest, hard working Americans in the middle class that always get hit the hardest.

The tax code is absolutely riddled with loopholes that big corporations and the ultra-wealthy use to minimize their tax burdens as much as possible.  Many poor people do not pay any income taxes at all.  The dishonest are rewarded for cheating on their taxes (if they can get away with it) and the ultra-wealthy have moved trillions of dollars to offshore tax havens where they can avoid U.S. taxation altogether.  Our system is incredibly unfair to the millions of hard working people in the middle class and upper middle class that drag themselves out of bed and go to work each day and try to do the right thing.  In addition, the current U.S. tax system is incredibly inefficient, it diverts a tremendous amount of resources away from more valuable economic activities, and it has chased thousands of businesses and trillions of dollars out of the United States.  The U.S. tax code is such a complete and utter mess at this point that it can never be “fixed”.  The only rational thing to do is to abolish it completely, and any politician that tells you otherwise is lying to you. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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U.S. Aircraft Carriers Departing Persian Gulf?

Click on image for enlargement.

The latest Stratfor Naval Update map suggests that reports speculating a potential Israeli attack on Iran has been delayed until next year are accurate. With the U.S. having positioned numerous aircraft carriers and other warships in the Persian Gulf, it now appears at least some of them are departing.

Only last month it appeared that the attack on Iran was imminent given the fact that no fewer than three U.S. aircraft carriers were either already stationed in or on their way to the Persian Gulf , in addition to four anti-mine ships and other warships.

However, the latest naval map suggests that the U.S. is removing its hardware from the region.

The USS Carl Vinson, which has been patrolling the Strait of Hormuz since January, has been re-assigned to the 7th fleet area of operations and is set to take part in a naval exercise with India.

The USS Lincoln, which was deployed to the Persian Gulf in December, is still listed as operating in the 5th fleet, but the map shows it is now moving away from the Strait of Hormuz. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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