Saturday, November 29, 2008

What he said ...

If you are sickened by the people who only like those in the military when they can be seen as victims - this SEAL has something to say to them.


The proper farewell

Friday, November 28, 2008

Fullbore Friday

Earlier this month a rare man passed. Let's give him his due.
Les Sayer flew in a 120mph part-fabric Swordfish biplane which crucially damaged the 50,000-ton vessel, the most feared in the world with eight 15-inch guns.

Mr Sayer was a telegraphist air gunner on the plane flown by Lieutenant Percy Gick when they found the warship in the North Atlantic in May 1941 after Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill had ordered: “Sink the Bismarck”. In a night attack, Gick and Gunner Sayer were the only Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm crew to score a torpedo hit.

Forty-eight hours later another Swordfish jammed Bismarck’s rudder and it was finished off by the Royal Navy.

Last night, Mr Sayer’s widow Valerie, of Wakes Colne, Essex, paid tribute to the former Barnardo’s boy, who died on November 1.

Mrs Sayer said: “It was not something he would boast about. He remembered dropping the torpedo and hitting the Bismarck, causing an oil leak. “But as they pulled away the Bismarck couldn’t hit them with her guns because they were so low, so they were putting shells into the water. One splash caused the fabric to split. So Les sat looking down at water.”

Mr Sayer won the Distinguished Service Medal for the mission. After the war he spent more than 30 years in civil aviation and was awarded an MBE.
Did you catch that? In an age where people claw for attention, exaggerate their contribution, or blame their service for their every trouble - this is why he is so rare.
Mrs Sayer said: “It was not something he would boast about."
That is a warrior, a Sailor. Nothing to prove. BZ and rest in peace.

Hat tip SL.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

An appropriate reminder

As we as a nation start to wander into a swamp that has destroyed so much from Argentina to Zimbabwe - perhaps it would help to take a moment to remember an episode from our own history. Facts are hard things - economics in the end is nothing but the end result of the factual results of policy and the response to crisis.

On that note, a link to someone I link to about once a year. You don't have to agree with anything he says - but this stands alone as a piece worthy of anyone. From Rush.
Ladies and gentlemen, every Thanksgiving, there's a tradition on this program, every Thanksgiving I go and grab my book, the first book that I wrote, See, I Told You So, hardback, two and a half million sold, counting the paperback, probably close to five million. On page 70, there's a chapter on The Real Story of Thanksgiving. Now, how many of you grew up and how many of your children are growing up today being taught this: The Pilgrims arrived, and it was cold, and it was inhospitable in the New World. And they were ill-equipped to fend for themselves, and they were bedraggled and they were tired and they were hungry and they were thirsty and they were incapable of getting along, and finally the Indians, who they would later massacre, the Indians befriended the Pilgrims and showed them about corn and maize and created a big feast of turkey and dressing and cranberry sauce and maybe even some cheese broccoli. They all sat down and they had Thanksgiving together, and it was the Pilgrims thanking the Indians for saving their wretched lives. And then of course after all of this mercy showed by the Indians, these Pilgrims and their descendants went out and wiped 'em out and put 'em on revolutionaries where they became alcoholics and now they run casinos.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is the traditional story of Thanksgiving, is it not? In fact, the Pilgrims and their descendants not only brought all of the plagues, they brought syphilis, they brought environmental destruction, racism, sexism, bigotry, even brought homophobia. Stole Manhattan for 24 bucks, they cheated the Indians, they cheated the Indians who had saved their lives by buying Manhattan for 24 bucks and some trinkets. It was the first ever subprime loan, ladies and gentlemen, the first ever subprime mortgage, 24 bucks. The Indians got screwed royally. This is what your kid is likely taught these days in the multicultural curricula in school. Do you know the real story of Thanksgiving? The Pilgrims arrived and they had to immediately find a way to make a living. They had to find a way to support themselves, and this is, by the way, all contained in William Bradford, he was the first governor, if you will, of the colony. William Bradford in his own writings, which I quote in my book See, I Told You So, William Bradford describes their first experiment.

They gave everybody a plot of land. Everybody produced what they produced and it went into a single store, it went into a communal store where everybody was then able to partake what they needed and what they wanted from what everybody else had produced. Bradford found that this led to a bunch of slackers, a bunch of slackers not producing anything. They just sat around and waited for what the others in the colony produced. It didn't work! The first ever experiment with socialism on this country was undertaken by the Pilgrims in the 1600s. Bradford said this isn't gonna work and got a different idea. He gave everybody their own plot of hand, he assigned them their own plot of land and said whatever you produce here is yours. You keep it. And he writes of the miracle that happened after that. The industriousness and the ambition that was utilized by the Pilgrims, that is when they became prosperous, that is when they had bounty, that is when they had more than they knew what to do with.

So they invited the Indians over, and the whole notion of Thanksgiving was William Bradford and the original Pilgrims thanking God for their blessings. It was not thanking the Indians for saving their lives and showing them how to make broccoli with cheese for Thanksgiving. They might have been grateful for the popcorn, I'm sure they didn't have that over there in England, but nevertheless, that's the story. The first ever experiment with socialism failed, and liberals have been trying to reinstitute it ever since.
Socialism hard or soft never works. Ask everyone east and south of the Oder River from Poland to Mongolia if you don't think old dead white guys have anything to teach you.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

It is global - it will be generational

A reminder that Islamic terrorism continues to practice its death cult rites. This time India.
The attacks targeted the heart of India's financial district, but the shock waves were felt around the globe. On Wednesday, a group of heavily armed assailants carried out a series of coordinated strikes in Mumbai—killing at least 80, wounding hundreds more, and claiming an indeterminate number of hostages. A group calling themselves the Deccan Mujahedeen claimed responsibility for the mayhem, but their identity could not be immediately confirmed, and many terrorism specialists said they were unfamiliar with the name. Whoever did it took aim at Western passport-holders and prominent targets; among the locations hit were two major hotels, a train station and a hospital. Several top Indian security officials were among the casualties.
More good details here.

India has a history as being a prime target. Next to the West - predominately pagan India will always be a target, especially with radicals from Pakistan.

A bit of luck, but mostly a lot of very hard work by some very dedicated people has prevented this from happening, yet, in the USA. Say what you want about GWB, but give him that. He cashed in a lot of political capital to keep the fight away from our shores. Let us hope the next administration has just as great of a record.

Make no mistake - Islamic terrorism will be with us for a very long time; demographics guarantee it.

Why pick on Diversity Bullies, Phib?

There will be only one post tomorrow - and I won't spoil such a day with a Diversity Thursday - so let me give you a little bit to chew on today.

My usual focus is on, ahem - them - and the cancer they inject into the Navy's unit cohesion and personnel policies by their discredited, archaic and racist mindset, but I want to open the aperture a bit in light of the economic goo we find ourselves in.

Though this cyclical downturn has many fathers, the greatest accelerant to this raging economic arson job was the sub-prime fantasy world and its gov'munt sponsored guardian Fannie and Freddie. Once again, I want to remind you who brought this to your 401K. Diversity Bullies.

From the IBD.
Bruce Marks, founder of the leftist Neighborhood Assistance Corp. of America, makes a good living shaking down banks for loans to deadbeat borrowers that he thinks are entitled to homes.

Last month, he and about 100 urban protesters stormed Fannie Mae’s headquarters, demanding it stop foreclosures on subprime houses—the same homes his group pressured Fannie to fund. As usual, the bullying tactics worked: Fannie Mae is now reviewing every foreclosure, while increasing the number of mortgages it restructures by lowering interest rates and extending loan terms to make payments more affordable. The government-backed firm guarantees some 30% of the nation’s outstanding mortgages.

Marks founded Boston-based NACA last decade to fulfill his warped sense of the American dream.He thinks owning a home is a right, not a goal. And he thinks every American should have a house —even those who can’t pay for one. Marks,who proudly calls himself a bank terrorist,has extorted billions of dollars from Citigroup and other large banks to subsidize uncredit-worthy borrowers in the inner city, where he accused the
banks of “redlining.”

In 2004, for example, he threatened to blow up a merger deal between Bank of America and Fleet Bank by complaining to regulators that the banks weren’t making enough loans to minorities under the Community Reinvestment Act. The banks, in turn, paid him off with $6billion in mortgage commitments.

The nonprofit NACA uses such ransom money to fund its own mortgages to high-risk borrowers without requiring down payments or good credit. Marks considers such underwriting requirements“ patronizing and racist.” He boasts that 99% of the mortgage applications taken through NACA are approved, giving new meaning to the term “easy lending.” Listen to NACA’s pitch:
“Come to NACA, and regardless of how bad your credit is, regardless of how little you have saved, we will work with you for as long
as it takes, until you are prepared for a mortgage better than what the wealthiest, most connected borrowers get.”
These are the standards NACA and ACORN and other bank terrorists foisted on the banking industry, using as their cudgel the Community Reinvestment Act, which mandates (under threat of severe penalty) that banks make inner-city loans to people who can’t afford them. Now these groups have the nerve to demonize the banks for the inevitable foreclosures.

How many of NACA’s borrowers default on NACA’s own loans? We don’t know.Marks won’t disclose his internal data. But by the end of the last decade, 8% of the mortgages NACA had arranged through Fleet Bank were delinquent, compared with the national average of 1.9%

Congress’ banking committee chiefs, Sen. Chris Dodd and Rep. Barney Frank, are also demanding banks stop foreclosures. And guess who they’ve invited to testify about that? That’s right: Marks, who has proposed stopping all resets on subprime adjustable mortgages and allowing late payments forupto90days. Marks insists that regulators “force” lenders to restructure their loans to prevent foreclosures from going forward.

“For noncooperative lenders,” he says, “the regulators can and must impose ‘cease and desist’ orders.” For future underwriting practices, Marks urges lenders to adopt the NACA model.

“NACA has done lending the right way,” he says. “No down payment. No closing costs. No fees. No perfect credit. At a below-market fixed rate.” And no repayment or profit. Call it Marksism.
Bank terrorist - the Diversity Bully that destroys your economy. Those who love them now own both the Legislative and Executive Branches of gov'munt. DeltaBravo, mind if I hide under the covers with 'ya?


A little varsity football being played by the USMC in Afghanistan...
“The day started out with a 10-kilometer patrol with elements mounted and dismounted, so by the time we got to Shewan, we were pretty beat,” said a designated marksman who requested to remain unidentified. “Our vehicles came under a barrage of enemy RPGs (rocket propelled grenades) and machine gun fire. One of our ‘humvees’ was disabled from RPG fire, and the Marines inside dismounted and laid down suppression fire so they could evacuate a Marine who was knocked unconscious from the blast.”

The vicious attack that left the humvee destroyed and several of the Marines pinned down in the kill zone sparked an intense eight-hour battle as the platoon desperately fought to recover their comrades. After recovering the Marines trapped in the kill zone, another platoon sergeant personally led numerous attacks on enemy fortified positions while the platoon fought house to house and trench to trench in order to clear through the enemy ambush site.

“The biggest thing to take from that day is what Marines can accomplish when they’re given the opportunity to fight,” the sniper said. “A small group of Marines met a numerically superior force and embarrassed them in their own backyard. The insurgents told the townspeople that they were stronger than the Americans, and that day we showed them they were wrong.”

During the battle, the designated marksman single handedly thwarted a company-sized enemy RPG and machinegun ambush by reportedly killing 20 enemy fighters with his devastatingly accurate precision fire. He selflessly exposed himself time and again to intense enemy fire during a critical point in the eight-hour battle for Shewan in order to kill any enemy combatants who attempted to engage or maneuver on the Marines in the kill zone. What made his actions even more impressive was the fact that he didn’t miss any shots, despite the enemies’ rounds impacting within a foot of his fighting position.

“I was in my own little world,” the young corporal said. “I wasn’t even aware of a lot of the rounds impacting near my position, because I was concentrating so hard on making sure my rounds were on target.”
Marines as I know them. BZ Corporal.

Emmett hits the right tone‏

R. Emmett Tyrrell says in a much better way part of what I was going for in my "2 our of 3 ain't bad" post.
Yet beyond my little play on words, I, a Reagan conservative through and through, join with so many of my fellow Americans in taking pride in this election. Old Europe has disdained this country for years as racially prejudiced, though for years some of our most beloved popular figures have been African-Americans. At this point we have had black generals in our military, black members of our presidential Cabinets, black Supreme Court justices, black political leaders throughout the states, and black CEOs all over the lot. No European nation has shown such tolerance to color, ethnic origins, or religious and political disagreement. Spare us your canards about racial prejudice in the Great Republic, and may I remind our European critics that 2009, the year in which Mr. Obama will be inaugurated to the presidency, is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln, the Great Emancipator.
Read it all. It will put you in a good mood - until you read about President Elect Obama's appointments.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

SLOCs or socks?

So, what gets more play our there - defending SLOCs or stuff to wear with socks? FOD will let you know.

What about Nacho & Jose?

I was looking over the slimy and not so slimy on GWB's first pardon list - but I still don't see Nacho Ramos and Jose Compean — serving 11- and 12-year terms, respectively, for shooting a drug smuggler in the stern in 2005 (the criminal was subsequently arrested smuggling drugs while waiting to testify against the agents and is serving a nine-year sentence in federal prison). They should be set free at the first possible moment - but something tells me that GWB's blind spot about the Mexican border will stop that - to his great shame.

I would like to see G. Gordon Liddy pardoned as well as one last swipe to the hippies - but that is just me.

Hat tip Mark.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Vice Chairman turns Salamander

From the lips to Gen. James E. Cartwright, USMC, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, to great Neptune's ear....
The military must end its quest for “exquisite” weapon systems that are too costly, take years to design and build, and don’t reach troops fast enough, or in quantities large enough, to address ever-changing threats.
Cartwright recalled the wry observation made by some critics of current weapon-buying practices that, by 2015, America’s armed forces will have one airplane and one ship operating in the Pacific, one airplane and one ship in the Atlantic and a single space vehicle orbiting the Earth.

“What they’re really saying, in my mind, is we have gone overboard with exquisite” ships and aircraft, Cartwright said, and “that we have got to get back to scale [and] platforms that are adaptable and flexible.”
If the Vice Chairman isn't a reader of this blog - well he hangs out with some right thinking folks anyway.

You have no idea how if feels for me to hear this from a 4-Star - I am as giddy as a school girl,
He said making better choices in buying weapon platforms becomes more critical when growth in defense budgets slows, as Cartwright believes it soon will. A slowdown shouldn’t be allowed to affect force quality or the military’s ability to operate in multiple theaters simultaneously. He suggested pressure will be on the military, Congress and industry to make smarter, more efficient choices in weapons procurement.
Does he read The Long Game series .... is he a believer of "the future belongs to those who show up" Mark Steyn school of reality ...
Regarding worldwide threats, Cartwright said he and other members of the Joint Chiefs believe “we are entering an era of persistent conflict,” stirred by the world’s rising populations seeking shares of “finite resources” such as water, energy and irrigable land.

“Today, in any given minute in the United States, 40 babies are born. In China, it’s 160. In India, it’s 280. When you look at the population of age 18-to-35 males, there’s an explosion in southern Asia, in the Middle East, in Africa, in South America.” Persistent conflicts will be “broadly spread across the planet. So it’s not like we can go to one place, focus on a problem, solve it while the rest of the world waits for us to finish there and then move on.”
And I ask you - what ship does not fit this bill?
“Building platforms that can have multiple purposes, that can modify very quickly with software, that consume minimal amounts of energy for extended periods of time … are critical,” the vice chairman said.
...and don't feed my that "Mission Module" BS. That is not a multi-mission platform. Missions can change in minutes. Changing Mission Modules will take days to weeks depending on where you are and what you need to do.

War waits for no fools.

I have said it before, I will say it again - give us a Marine as the next CNO - one picked by the Vice Chairman and Gen Mattis. Change I can believe in.

Navy's Ethos - the final word

You have already read my monkey-like chattering on the Navy's "Ethos" FOD bucket. A buddy to this blog put it much better in NavyTimes. I don't think he will mind - I'll post in full.
Actions speak louder: Long-winded ethos statement can’t capture Navy’s legacy

Earlier this month, the chief of naval op­erations released the “new” Navy ethos, and like so many things put out by com­mittee, it falls short of the goal, except, of course, by word count. Some 140 words were evidently deemed necessary to re­state what, in earlier ages, was sufficient with far fewer:
“I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast, for I intend to go in harm’s way.” — John Paul Jones
Elegant, sufficient and to the point — any­thing not meeting that mission state­ment deserves to be pitched overboard. Some will argue that today’s genera­tion is different than all those before and, as a result, we need to restate what should be obvious. I have little patience for this kind of generational exceptionalism be­cause it lacks historical grounding. Through the ages, the constant in the naval services fighting under the Stars and Stripes is one of — dare I say it — honor, courage and commit­ment.

Ethos is acquired from living in an atmos­phere that is permeated with a certain way of doing things — a culture, if you will. It is em­bedded in every little thing we do, from the quarterdeck ceremonies to daily preventive maintenance. It is handed from one genera­tion to the next in our chief petty officer initia­tions and change of command ceremonies, in division offices and on flight decks, from the auxiliary conn to the cockpit. It is what we are and what we were and should form what we will be. It is tradi­tion passed in custom, word and deed. It is our history:

■ You can see it in the posthumous Medal of Honor citation for Cmdr. Ernest Evans: “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as commanding officer of the USS Johnston in action against major units of the enemy Japanese fleet during the Bat­tle off Samar on 25 October 1944. The first to lay a smokescreen and to open fire as an enemy task force, vastly superior in number, firepower and armor, rapidly approached.

Commander Evans gallantly diverted the powerful blasts of hostile guns from the lightly armed and armored carriers under his protection, launching the first torpedo at­tack when the Johnston came under strad­dling Japanese shellfire, ... outshooting and outmaneuvering the enemy as he consistent­ly interposed his vessel between the hostile fleet units and our carriers despite the crip­pling loss of engine power and communica­tions with steering aft, shifted command to the fantail, shouted steering orders through an open hatch to men turning the rudder by hand and battled furiously until the John­ston, burning and shuddering from a mortal blow, lay dead in the water after three hours of fierce combat.”

■ It is in Lt. j.g. Thomas Hudner ’s MoH cita­tion from the Korean War: “Quickly maneu­vering to circle the downed pilot and protect him from enemy troops infesting the area, Lt.
j.g. Hudner risked his life to save the injured flier who was trapped alive in the burning wreckage. Fully aware of the extreme danger in landing on the rough mountainous terrain, and the scant hope of escape or survival in subzero temperature, he put his plane down skillfully in a deliberate wheels-up landing in the presence of enemy troops. With his bare hands, he packed the fuselage with snow to keep the flames away from the pilot and strug­gled to pull him free. Unsuccessful in this, he returned to his crashed aircraft and radioed other airborne planes, requesting that a heli­copter be dispatched with an ax and fire extin­guisher. He then remained on the spot despite the continuing danger from enemy action and, with the assistance of the rescue pilot, re­newed a desperate but unavailing battle against time, cold, and flames.”
■ More recently, it is found in the exceptional fighting spirit of the crew members of the frigate Samuel B. Roberts in saving their ship after a mine blast or the sacrifice exemplified by Master-at-Arms 2nd Class (SEAL) Michael Monsoor, who smothered a grenade to save two shipmates in Ramadi, Iraq.
No buzzwords or hollow platitudes, nothing developed by focus groups — this is the “ethos” I always considered myself part of. I don’t think there was much in the way of dithering, taking cultural temperatures or tossing political straws in the wind before these sailors took the actions they did — it came naturally, because they lived it.

So maybe it’s time we put the mice and PowerPoint slides away, chiseled ourselves from the pier and headed back to sea to work on that ethos. More than 200 years seems to me a damn fine pedigree for an ethos for today and tomorrow.

Ethos is acquired from living in an atmosphere that is permeated with a certain way of doing things — a culture, if you will.
'Nuff said.

A friendly reminder

We have some new ones in the turning basin. I made the mistake of feeding one and now he won't go away. He hasn't done anything bad enough to get banned - and anyway he and the other one are kind of entertaining.

That being said - if we don't feed them and pretend they aren't there, maybe they will go away.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Team Obama's gun mask slips

Just an innocent job application ... I guess. Here is the part that got me.
Tucked in at the end of the questionnaire and listed under “Miscellaneous,” it reads: “Do you or any members of your immediate family own a gun? If so, provide complete ownership and registration information. Has the registration ever lapsed? Please also describe how and by whom it is used and whether it has been the cause of any personal injuries or property damage.”
Ummmmm --- we don't have gun registration in this country. Most likely = this was written by a Chicago or NYC lawyer who lives in time delineated gun registration .... or .... most dangerous (to the 2nd) this is the reality they would like for all.

I'll go with the most likely. Leftist understanding of the reality of guns is well known. Freud knew why.
...fear and loathing of guns is a sign of sexual immaturity and neuroticism...

Ali Bubba

An oldie but goodie Noonan found. The classics are meant to be enjoyed again and again.

"B-1 Bob" needs a powder too ...

Remember who defeated arch-right Rep. Bob Dornan (R-CA)?
Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) is pregnant with her first child, the Los Angeles Times reports this morning. Which is hardly unusual -- several other congresswomen have given birth in office -- except for the fact that Sanchez isn't married . . . yet.

The dad is Sanchez's serious beau of more than a year, Connecticut consultant Jim Sullivan, and she tells LAT op-ed columnist Patt Morrison that they're "unofficially engaged." But since she's 39, they didn't want to wait any longer to start making a family.

So, no wedding date set yet. Their baby is due May 21, the Times reports.
Well, Rep. Sanchez (D-CA); I wish you and your child to be all the blessings possible in the future because that is what every child is - a blessing.

Now get married and snag a tax deduction or two. You have until mid-APR .... and Jim - man up! Millions have gone through the same thing. Everything will be just fine...even better.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Galrahn gets underway

If you haven't yet, head on over to InformationDissemination an read Gal's last few posts of his underway time on FREEDOM.

Nice, solid first hand reporting - his percolating thoughts on "hybrid Sailors" will be worth watching as it bubbles over the week or so. He had a little "Oh, am I in the way here?" adventure that will make everyone's face make funny shapes.
With the tug still trying to get free and moving at about 4 knots, the ship jerked again as the rope to the tug tightened and pulled Freedom towards the grate on the wall again. I turned to see the Captain, and his face had the look of helplessness as he jumped into the bridge from the bridge wing. Still calling orders to stop the ship, the bridge wing smashed again into the grate. Somehow Captain covered the bridge width in about 10 seconds, grabbed a fender from the starboard bridge wing, and was able to get back to the port bridge wing just in time to prevent a third massive hit, placing the new fender in position to prevent another massive collision between the bridge wing and the last protruding grate of the lock door. That fender exploded too, this time all I saw looking out of the bridge wing door was smoke and the Captain fighting to keep the bridge wing from taking another hit.

Take a Powder - anti-victory Moonbats

What a wonderful dish this is.
Keeping Defense Secretary Robert Gates at the helm would help give Obama political cover for a reduction of U.S. forces in Iraq,
Photo: AP

Democratic officials said they see new signs that President-elect Barack Obama will ask Defense Secretary Robert Gates to stay in his post.

If Gates stays, no reconfirmation hearing would be needed, officials said.

Keeping Gates at the helm would help give Obama political cover for a gradual reduction of U.S. forces in Iraq and would enhance his relationship with Gen. David Petraeus, the former U.S. commander in Iraq and now the head of the U.S. Central Command, which includes Iraq and Afghanistan.

The officials said emissaries of the presidential transition have talked to Gates about very detailed issues like who should be the assistant secretaries, the Pentagon’s structure and his philosophy of how he runs the operation.
I like President Elect Obama more and more ..... (don't worry, it's all relative).

Ed at HotAir and John at PowerLine make two very good points. First Ed.
Keeping Gates is a wise choice, and sends some important signals to the DoD and to our military allies. Rather than expecting wholesale Change, they can expect continuity in important areas, especially strategically in the current war theaters in Iraq and Afghanistan. Politico notes that keeping Gates may help keep David Petraeus happy and on the job — critical to Obama in the first few months of his administration as he gets up to speed on military matters.
Now John.
I think that Obama is similar to Bill Clinton in one important respect. Clinton famously wanted to be President not because there was anything in particular he wanted to do, but because he craved the status of being President. In Clinton's case, this seems to have been due to an insatiable need for approval and affection. Obama, likewise, wants to be President not in order to do anything, but because he believes that for Barack Obama to be President is an end in itself. In Obama's case, this view is due not to a psychological craving, but rather to the historical importance of being the first African-American President.

If I'm right about that, it makes sense for Obama to be reasonably moderate. He makes history simply by being a President with dark skin; what he desperately wants to avoid is for his Presidency to be seen as a disaster or a fiasco. Thus his sudden moderation on foreign policy: Obama is smart enough to understand that it is always possible for things to go wrong, but if the public perceives that an international setback is due to weakness, the President is in trouble. He's Jimmy Carter. If a President is perceived as tough on foreign policy and something goes wrong, voters will say that they're glad we have a hard guy in the White House.
Interesting to watch. Where is Code Pink in all this ..........

Senators Warner & Webb: pure politics

We don't need to review the lessons of Pearl Harbor, Port Author, and others over and over again - do we? Senator Warner (R-VA) and Senator Webb (D-VA) play a lot off their times as SECNAV and their "national security credentials" in their jobs in the Senate. They just tainted their brand among professionals.

Just because you say it doesn't mean it is true, or that others will not question it - even if you are a Senator. When you say things that cannot be supported by any study of history or study of the realities of warfare in the 21st century - then expect your word to be treated for what it is.

On Mayport's CVN - military-industrial pork barrel politics as basic as it gets.
Virginia officials are asking the Navy to delay its plan to base a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier at Mayport until President-elect Barack Obama takes office.

U.S. Sens. John Warner and Jim Webb and Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine said Thursday the plan to create a new homeport for a carrier in Mayport, instead of using the nuclear-capable one at Norfolk, is “strategically flawed ...”
The Navy said it chose Florida in order to spread out its Atlantic fleet beyond Norfolk. But Warner and Webb, both former Secretaries of the Navy and members of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, said the Florida base offers no strategic advantage over Norfolk.

“Moving a carrier to Mayport does very little to mitigate risk to the carrier fleet,” Warner, R-Va., said in a news release.
Shame on both of you. The money part of the argument (you can read that in the article) is fair game - especially if you know that the Obama Administration will act according to its nature and gut the military - but to make statements like you did about Strategic issues WRT Fleet Risk and Strategic Homeporting is just sad. Sad.

Fullbore Friday

After a couple of week's FbF on other subjects, let's catch up with the Battle Off Samar. This time the USS HEERMANN (DD-532).
HEERMANN screened transports and landing ships safely to the beaches of Leyte and then joined Rear Admiral Thomas L. Sprague's Escort Carrier Task Group 77.4 which was made up of three escort carrier task units, known as the three "Taffies" because of their radio call signs: "Taffy 1", "Taffy 2", and "Taffy 3". Destroyers HOEL and JOHNSTON joined her in screening Rear Admiral Clifton A. F. Sprague's unit, "Taffy 3" which also included his flagship FANSHAW BAY (CVE-70) and three other escort carriers.

Dawn of October 25, 1944 found Taffy 3 east of Samar steaming north as the Northern Air Support Group. Taffy 2 was in the central position patrolling off the entrance to Leyte Gulf, and Taffy 1 covered the Southern approaches to the Gulf some 130 miles to the southeast of HEERMANN. At 0645 Taffy 3's lookouts observed antiaircraft fire to the northward and with 13 minutes later were under heavy fire from Vice Admiral Takeo Kurita's powerful Centre Force of four battleships, 6 heavy cruisers, 2 light cruisers, and 11 destroyers. The battle off Samar was thus joined.

The only chance for survival of the little group of light American ships lay in slowing the advance of the enemy warships while withdrawing toward Leyte Gulf and hoped-for assistance. The carriers promptly launched their planes to attack the Japanese vessels, and the escorts promptly set to work generating smoke to hide the American ships.

HEERMANN, in a position of comparative safety on the disengaged side of the carriers at the start of the fight, steamed into the action at flank speed through the formation of "baby flattops" who, after launching their last planes, formed a rough circle as they turned toward Leyte Gulf. Since smoke and intermittent rain squalls had reduced visibility to less than 100 yards, it took alert and skillful seamanship to avoid colliding with friendly ships during the dash to battle. She backed emergency full to avoid destroyer escort SAMUEL B. ROBERTS and repeated the maneuver to miss destroyer HOEL as HEERMANN formed column on the screen flagship in preparation for a torpedo attack.

As she began the run, dye from enemy shells daubed the water nearby with circles of brilliant red, yellow, and green. HEERMANN replied to this challenge by pumping her 5-inch shells at one heavy cruiser, CHIKUMA, as she directed seven torpedoes at another, HAGURO. When these "fish" had left their tubes, HEERMANN changed course to engage a column of four battleships whose shells began churning the water nearby. She trained her guns on the battleship KONGO, the column's leader. Then she quickly closed HARUNA, the target of her of her last three torpedoes, which were launched from only 4,400 yards. Believing that one of the "fish" had hit the battleship, she nimbly dodged the salvoes which splashed in her wake as she retired. Japanese records claim that the battleship successfully evaded all of HEERMANN's torpedoes, but they were slowed down in their pursuit of the American carriers. The giant, YAMATO, with her monstrous 18.1-inch guns, was even force out of the action altogether when, caught between two spreads, she reversed course for almost 10 minutes to escape being hit.

HEERMANN sped to the starboard quarter of the carrier formation to lay more concealing smoke and then charged back into the fight a few minutes later, placing herself boldly between the escort carriers and the column of four enemy heavy cruisers. Here she engaged Japanese cruiser CHIKUMA in a duel which seriously damaged both ships. A series of 8-inch hits flooded the forward part of the plucky destroyer, pulling her bow down so far that her anchors were dragging in the water. One of her guns was knocked out but the others continued to pour a deadly stream of 5-inch shells at the cruiser, which also came under heavy air attack during the engagement. The combined effect of HEERMANN's guns and the bombs, torpedoes, and strafing from carrier-based planes was too much for CHIKUMA who tried to withdraw but sank during her fight.

As CHIKUMA turned away, heavy cruiser TONE turned her guns on HEERMANN who replied shell for shell until she reached a position suitable to resume laying smoke for the carriers. At this point planes from Admiral Stump's "Taffy 2" swooped in to sting TONE so severely that she too broke off action and fled. The courageous attacks of the destroyers and aircraft thus saved the outgunned Taffy 3.

Temporary battle-damage repairs were applied at Kossol Passage. From there, she was sent to Mare Island, California for a much-needed overhaul. She would not return to the Western Pacific until January 1945.
It's not the size of the ship in the fight .....

All is lost ....

Chap - Johnny Rotten has made a commercial for butter.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Take a Powder - Change Fetish Types

All those people wanting change in DC .... I guess they meant pocket change.
Obama, for example, is enlisting former Senate leader Tom Daschle as his health secretary. Hillary Rodham Clinton seems more likely than ever to be his secretary of state. Clinton is deciding whether to take that post as America's top diplomat, her associates said Wednesday.

And Obama is ready to announce that his attorney general will be
Eric Holder, the Justice Department's No. 2 when Clinton's husband was president. Rahm Emanuel, Obama's chief of staff, is another veteran of the Clinton White House.
I must say I am enjoying a lot of "I told you so" schadenfreude with this. This is exactly what everyone should have expected, and there is nothing wrong here. The list will get even longer of inside DC Politocrats.

The one thing that is actually quite sad and worrying is Holder as AG. Plenty of stuff at The Corner about him. Here is a sample.
...Holder and then-Attorney General Janet Reno claimed to have the authority to seize Elian Gonzalez. In retrospect, it seems like a joke made for Mickey Kaus — they declared the boy an illegal alien and then went after him with all the power available to them. And then, when they had Elian in custody, they declared him legal again.
...greased the skids to pardon 16 FALN terrorists, two Weather Underground terrorists, and Marc Rich...
One of my favorite Eric Holder stories involves his role in the Justice Department's handling of the Elian Gonzalez case. In the period before armed agents seized the child, the Justice Department had been leaking its intention to avoid any sort of armed intervention. It would all be done quietly, they suggested. When top Department officials were asked about it, they said nothing to change that impression. About two weeks before the raid, Tim Russert asked Holder, "You wouldn't send a SWAT team in the dark of night to kidnap the child, in effect?" Holder answered, "No, we don't expect anything like that to happen." Then the Department did precisely that. The day after the seizure, Holder appeared again with Russert, who asked, "Why such a dramatic change in position?" "I'm not sure I'd call it a dramatic change," Holder answered. "We waited 'til five in the morning, just before dawn."
...and yes - I have a pro-Cuba Libre bias for, ahem, my own reasons.

To ponder Holder in more details - read this.
He is convinced justice in America needs to be “established” rather than enforced; he’s excited about hate crimes and enthusiastic about the constitutionally dubious Violence Against Women Act; he’s a supporter of affirmative action and a practitioner of the statistical voodoo that makes it possible to burden police departments with accusations of racial profiling and the states with charges of racially skewed death-penalty enforcement; he’s more likely to be animated by a touchy-feely Reno-esque agenda than traditional enforcement against crimes; he’s in favor of ending the detentions of enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay and favors income redistribution to address the supposed root causes of crime.

In any other time, Holder would simply be an uninspired choice. But these are not ordinary times — we face a serious, persistent threat from Islamist terrorists. At the same time, Democrats have expressed outrage over both the alleged politicization of the Justice Department and the reckless disregard of its storied traditions. For these times, it is difficult to imagine a worse choice for AG than Eric Holder.

Much has been made, and appropriately so, of Holder’s untoward performance in the final corrupt act of the Clinton administration: the pardons issued in the departing president’s final hours. Of these, most notorious is the case of Marc Rich, an unrepentant fugitive wanted on extensive fraud, racketeering, and trading-with-the-enemy charges — but granted a pardon nonetheless thanks to the intercession of his ex-wife, a generous donor to Clinton’s library and legal-defense fund.

Holder’s role was aptly described as “unconscionable” by a congressional committee. He steered Rich’s allies to retain the influential former White House counsel Jack Quinn (Holder later conceded he hoped Quinn would help him become attorney general in a Gore administration); he helped Quinn directly lobby Clinton, doing an end-run around the standard pardon process (including DOJ’s pardon attorney); and he kept the deliberations hidden from the district U.S. attorney and investigative agencies prosecuting Rich so they couldn’t learn about the pardon application and register their objections.

There’s more. In 1999, over the objections of the FBI, the Bureau of Prisons, and prosecuting attorneys, Holder supported Clinton’s commutation of the sentences of 16 FALN conspirators. These pardons — of terrorists who even Holder has conceded had not expressed any remorse — were issued in the months after al-Qaeda’s 1998 U.S. embassy bombings, when the Clinton administration was pretending to be the scourge of terrorism. The commutations were nakedly political, obviously designed by Clinton to assist his wife’s impending Senate campaign by appealing to New York’s substantial Puerto Rican vote.

Equally noxious were the stealthy pardons of Susan Rosenberg and Linda Evans — Weather Underground terrorists associated with Obama’s friends Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn — issued on the same day as the Rich pardon. Rosenberg and Evans had been serving decades-long sentences for bombings targeting American government facilities. With Holder again helping to circumvent the pardon process and to evade objections from prosecutors, the terrorists’ jail terms were commuted just weeks after the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole.

Under Holder’s stewardship, moreover, the Justice Department chose, in the Dickerson case, to oppose its own prosecutors and seek reversal of the conviction of a bank robber whose voluntary confession had been elicited without Miranda warnings. Taking the Justice Department's signal, the Supreme Court overruled the lower courts and vacated the conviction, upending 30 years of precedent which had held that Miranda was not part of the core Fifth Amendment guarantee. Thanks to this ruling, rendered in the comfort of pre-9/11 complacence, terrorists tried in civilian courts — which is where Obama and Holder want them to be tried — will enjoy a powerful argument against the admission of critical confession evidence.
Remember, it isn't Obama that you need to worry about - it is who he appoints that will make the impact. At least we will have the Senate to balance things out .... oh - nevermind.

Go right young man (or woman, or whatever)

A little more Republican belly-button picking.

This bit from Brendan Miniter in the WSJ is close to what I am thinking.
That Republicans are coalescing around these three governors is also revealing for who is not included. Several years ago Christie Todd Whitman, former governor of New Jersey and EPA administrator, wrote a book called "It's My Party Too." She used that treatise to argue for the party to abandon its conservative roots. Even after two serious GOP drubbings at the polls, she has found no takers. Likewise, Lincoln Chaffee, the former Rhode Island Senator once labeled a "Republican in Name Only," was still complaining last week to the Washington Post that "right-wing talk show hosts and the Ann Coulters and that ilk" never understood that the GOP needs people like him.

Maybe that's because Republicans have looked closely at the election results. The country hasn't so much moved left as it has abandoned a GOP that abandoned its own principles. In Ohio, Barack Obama actually won about 40,000 fewer votes than John Kerry did four years ago. Mr. Obama took Ohio only because John McCain pulled 350,000 fewer votes than George W. Bush did in 2004. Republicans and Republican-leaning voters stayed home.

That's not an endorsement of the ideas of the left. It's a lack enthusiasm for a party that failed to deliver the smaller government it promised in Washington. At least the GOP, in settling on future leaders like Governors Jindal, Sanford and Palin, seems to understand that.
On the other side, we have Christine Todd and the Funky Bunch,
While a host of issues were at play in this election, the primary reason John McCain lost was the substantial erosion of support from self-identified moderates compared with four years ago. In 2004, Democratic nominee John Kerry held just a nine-percentage-point margin among moderate voters over President Bush. This year, the spread between Barack Obama and McCain was 21 points among this group. The net difference between the two elections is a deficit of nearly 6.4 million moderate votes for the Republicans in 2008.

In seven of the nine states that switched this year from Republican to Democratic, Obama's vote total exceeded the total won by President Bush four years ago. So even if McCain had equaled the president's numbers from 2004 (and he did not), he still would have lost in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina and Virginia (81 total electoral votes) -- and lost the election. McCain didn't lose those states because he failed to hold the base. He lost them because Obama broadened his base.
In the wake of the Democrats' landslide victory, and despite all evidence to the contrary, many in the GOP are arguing that John McCain was defeated because the social fundamentalists wouldn't support him. They seem to be suffering from a political strain of Stockholm syndrome. They are identifying with the interests of their political captors and ignoring the views of the larger electorate. This has cost the Republican Party the votes of millions of people who don't find a willingness to acquiesce to hostage-takers a positive trait in potential leaders.

Unless the Republican Party ends its self-imposed captivity to social fundamentalists, it will spend a long time in the political wilderness. On Nov. 4, the American people very clearly rejected the politics of demonization and division. It's long past time for the GOP to do the same.
The thing is - I don't think the issue really is social conservatives. What brought out my cleaning posts starting before the '06 election and on has everything to do with economics, leadership, and the role of gov'munt. Why do you think I was a Giuliani supporter?

No. I think there is a bit of projection on Christine's part - social conservatism is a critical part of the Republican base - but it is not at the front of what is and should be the discussion on why the base stayed home. As for Palin - just speaking for myself and her other supporters I have talked to, and remember I am an Evangelical, her social issues were not what we talked about. We talked about leadership, corruption, and the role of gov'munt first. I don't know what Palin supporters she has been talking to - if any.

Diversity Thursday

I'll take the dog and Chuck Norris; you can have the rest.

Folks, I don't need to parody it any more. It stands on its own.

Diversity Day: October 29, 2008

"Diversity at TSA is more than just visible differences. It integrates the unique variety of men and women in our workforce and community to include individuals from all ethnic, cultural and generational backgrounds. Each person brings an array of different skills, abilities and perspectives that reflects who they are. Creating an environment that welcomes, respects, and develops diverse individuals results in an inclusive culture."
-Diversity Advisory Council
Oct. 24: TSA Weekly Story
Have you noticed the broadcasts and fliers announcing TSA's first Diversity Day celebration on Oct. 29? Diversity Day is part of TSA's Diversity Initiative announced in 2007 to address lack of diversity in various mission critical positions.
Last February, Kimberly Walton, special counselor, used the IdeaFactory to challenge employees to write an essay on how TSA could create and sustain a diverse and inclusive workplace. The winning essay by Houston Behavior Detection Officer Jesse Santiago suggested a diversity gathering so that everyone in TSA could show pride in our diverse backgrounds. The gathering would also allow TSA employees to come together and to share our diverse cultures, talents, backgrounds, and heritage. Diversity Day at TSA was born.
Every office and every airport has been asked to plan their own diversity celebration, and a headquarters Diversity Day Planning Committee has met regularly since Aug. 1. Plans from field locations and headquarters' offices are varied, fun, and sound "delicious," with many locations planning pot luck lunches featuring ethnic dishes. Look for a Diversity cookbook that will feature these dishes. Some recipes are already posted on the Office of Civil Rights and Liberties (OCRL) Sharepoint site. You are encouraged to add yours, along with any pictures from your celebrations.
A "Diversity Day Toolkit" was distributed and is on the OCRL Sharepoint. Diversity theme posters, Diversity Day posters, and Diversity badge holder retractors were sent to headquarters and field locations for distribution.
On Diversity Day, an Armed Forces Color Guard will open the Headquarters Diversity Day program and senior TSA officials will speak. Tentative events include:
  • Dance demonstrations;
  • Hula for your health warm up for a Latin merenge fitness workout;
  • Film on how to communicate effectively with persons with disabilities;
  • Workshops on mentoring for success and how to use TSA's career enhancing services;
  • Poetry/prose reading of literature by diverse and international authors;
  • K-9 demonstration; and
  • Defensive measures and tactics workshop.
The program is as diverse as the day and we want all of TSA to participate, enjoy and learn.
Oh and Jim, I want to see the video of you and the hula. Mahalo.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Indian Navy get's some

Thus always to pirates.
An Indian naval vessel sank a suspected pirate "mother ship" in the Gulf of Aden and chased two attack boats into the night, officials said Wednesday, as separate bands of brigands seized Thai and Iranian ships in the lawless seas.
"Pirates were seen roaming on the upper deck of this vessel with guns and rocket propelled grenade launchers," said a statement from the Indian navy. Indian forces fired back, sparking fires and a series of onboard blasts — possibly due to exploding ammunition — and destroying the ship.

They chased one of two speedboats shadowing the larger ship. One was later found abandoned. The other escaped, according to the statement.
Watch, learn. Rinse - repeat. Eagle1 is most please, I am sure.

Hat tip to Tim for the Indian Navy Ensign.

Ben Franklin on Iraq

John covers well Gen (ret.) McCaffrey's memo that got a lot of play at work over coffee last week. Michael Yon adds some more meat to the argument. Greyhawk has been beating the drum as well.

The Salamander boil-down is thus: we have reached the point that few outside GWB, Keane, Petraeus, and those who had confidence in them thought we would have reached. The war is won - though the enemy always gets a vote and history throws sinking curve balls.

In essence, we can disengage while giving the Iraqis a chance few non-Western nations have been given. What has Uncle Sam and his allies given Iraq? One of my personal heroes, Ben Franklin said it best.
"A republic if you can keep it"
So, let's call it victory and go home; because that is what it is.

Nuke Mayport!

Very good news - especially for someone who is still a believer in Strategic Homeporting.
Naval Station Mayport will once again be host to an aircraft carrier, and the thousands of jobs that come with it.

"Full steam ahead...Jacksonville is going to have a nuclear carrier."

Those words from Senator Bill Nelson, D-Florida, Monday afternoon signify the big changes coming to the First Coast.

Nelson adds that the Secretary of Defense still has to officially approve the Navy's recommendation, but points out that it's a formality at this point. "For all intents and purposes, it's a done deal," he said emphatically.

Outstanding. Just outstanding. I remember when the best Sea & Anchor Detail in the Navy had two carriers .... sigh. Byron - let's hope they don't send a clapped-out one to you this time.

Now, if we could just talk about re-opening Charleson on the East and maybe Long Beach in the West.......

Quote of the Week

Women say the dard’dist things II: Electric Boogaloo.

NB: The senior female here is the same one as a last week.

PowerPoint Rangers take note: be very careful what your non-native English speakers put on their PPT slides for abbreviations.

So; for the story. There we are slogging our way through the Draft of a Draft to a Pre-Brief to a Pre-Brief, all very tired. The timeline slide comes up, and the Senior female asks, “Wait a minute, am I reading this right? Does that say ‘Mission Anal Brief?’ Do I need glasses?”

Without missing a beat, a nice Commonwealth officer pipes up,
“You don’t’ need glasses; just relax a bit.”
A three second count as everyone digests it, she laughs, we all laugh.

That is the great thing about being operational – all the thin-skinned non-hackers stay at home making HRO complaints while the rest of us find humor where we can and get to work.

I will miss Mrs. Salamander

Monday, November 17, 2008

Open letter to the CNO

Admiral Roughead,

It is often said that when the real important things get too hard, we distract ourselves with uniform fights - so, no time better than the present.

Often the simplest questions receive the most complicated answers. When we find ourselves on the receiving end of such answers, it is often best if we go back to the beginning and make sure that the question asked years ago match up with the answer given. Overly complicated answers are usually the result of an inability to understand the problem well enough - and not having the right leadership on a team to drive to a solution.

Task Force Uniform on balance has been a success. Though in deference to the Chief's Mess and well established tradition, I would have preferred that E1-E6 have the battleship gray shirt instead of the khaki one - but I am willing to accept that perhaps that was the best decision. I think the ongoing discussion on SDK is fine as well. I think the "Cracker Jack" improvements are fine. Progress is good.

There is one area however where I firmly believe that not only have we not answered the question - the answer provided creates more problems than it was supposed to solve. We have utterly failed to reduce the seabag portion presently taken up by the "camo" part of our wardrobe.

It is not too late. We have time. We can still admit that the Navy Working Uniform (NWU) is the wrong answer. Simply put; it fails in the following fundamental areas.
- It does not decrease the seabag. As designed, it is just for shipboard and MA use, along with a few other areas yet to be defined. It is not suitable for any land-based tactical use what-so-ever. We are still required to have the increasingly difficult to support BDU and DCU that the Marines, Army, and Air Force have already abandoned - which we are required to still have.
- It costs your Navy and your Sailors time and money. In addition to thousands of Sailors needing to have BDU and DCU ready to go, the new uniform will require a third set of camo uniforms to support (and you should have 2-3 copies of each). If you find yourself in cold weather (jackets are expensive, especially when you have to buy 3) - the cost to be ready to answer the call from Bahrain to Korea and back is excessive and exorbitant. Right now worldwide - it is exceptionally difficult to get everything from nametags to rank insignia for BDU and especially DCU as most places we find ourselves serve the Army, USAF and sometimes USMC - though Marines seem to take care of themselves just fine. It used to be that you could get what you needed regardless of whose uniform shop you were at - not anymore. The Navy's proposal will add another layer of inefficiency to an already inadequate NATEX/AAFES support structure.
- It is dangerous. Do we really need to discuss the foolishness of the NWU in a Damage Control, low light, or man overboard situation?

That is just the top 3; you are a busy man, so I will do my best not to ramble and get to what I owe you - solutions.

We should adopt wholesale the Army's ACU. Thousands of Sailors are wearing them right now in theater - mostly because the Navy does not support BDU and DCU for the majority of its deployed Sailors - and it will get worse as legacy stocks of BDU and DCU items via commercial sources dry up. We don't need our own camouflage uniform - the "US NAVY" on the left side of my chest will do. Like the Army, we can put our warfare pins on if needed. We can even keep the 8-pointed cover. The velcro on the shoulders will no only hold American Flags (color, gray, IR, etc) - better yet have enough room left on both shoulders for high reflective patches/flags/etc if needed - heck you can even put a unit, ship, or squadron patch on it like the Army does if you allowed it - highly reflective again for shipboard use if needed. In a DC environment, low light, and other situations where you need to be seen (why fire fighting uniforms have them) - the importance of such reflective items cannot be exaggerated; they make the difference between life and death. When you need to go "tactical" - you just rip them off. Easy.

With one uniform, we replace what would have been three. The Navy and its Sailors will save money and have more choices through economy of scale with the Army. Supply would be much easier worldwide. The Army has already figured out the "first in class" problems all uniforms have, so we avoid much of that mess. From an accessories point of view, industry is already producing innumerable additional items in that pattern. Our Sailors will be at full speed from day one.

The grey pattern will also hide paint splatter (the lamest reason given for the new Navy uniform I have heard) just as well - if not better.

One more point from a Gen. X officer who has spent the majority of his deployed time on/in and within a few days steaming of the Arabian peninsular - it will be a lot more comfortable in the direct sunlight of the equatorial and temperate summer. The light colored t-shirt will be much better - and will look better after a few months through ship's laundry - than the dark t-shirt proposed for the Navy's camo.

The more you think about it, the more sense it makes. All we need to do is not to make this a pride issue. Thousands of Sailors have no pride problems wearing the ACU while deployed in harm's way right now - we should follow their example. The only pride issue we should have is which side to put the flag on.

As a bonus, with the budget problems we both know are coming down the road - this will be a tremendous cost savings for the Navy over the next decade and beyond .... and from the E-3's perspective, his seabag just became lighter, easier to support, and more affordable.

Very respectfully,
Phibian Salamander

Caption Contest

Free swim with this one.

If you are wondering where it came from - AW1 sent along a link to this site with all kinds of pics from abandoned Soviet bases in the far north.

For you Old Cold Warriors who still know a little Russian, you would like this site as well.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Of Jews and Mormons ...

In cultures there are some early warning signs of political thuggery. When there is a group of people who are so sure of their own beliefs that they will not work through a normal, free political process - they will often turn to violence. That violence, like that of a narcissistic child, derives from and intellectual inability to accept that perhaps their chosen idea is not acceptable to the majority.

When that happens and there is a group that holds the majority in contempt - they will lash out. They won't lash out of the majority though, no that would be too hard. They will instead focus on a sub-set of the majority and attempt to bully, suppress, or destroy that segment to remove it from the equation - and therefor get close to winning thorough either changing the playing field, or intimidating the remainder of the majority.

That is one thing - another is when to distract from real problems with their goals, they find a minority to place all the blame on their failure. Externalizing their problem even though the problem is internal.

With the victory of Prop 8, we see a little of both. In California, when it was found out that majorities of the Hispanic and Black communities supported traditional marriage - the radical homosexual advocates attacked them. After a few days, they realized that Hispanics and Blacks are not only a large part of the CA political Left coalition, they are also a protected class.

Like all thugs however, they looked around for an easier target for their blame and anger. Falling on traditions thousands of years old, they went for a religious minority. Historically, the Jews have been the target. This time it is the Mormons.
The FBI says a letter containing a suspicious white powder sent to a Mormon temple in the Westwood area of Los Angeles was not hazardous.

The temple was evacuated Thursday while a hazardous materials crew tested the substance and determined it was non-toxic.

A temple in downtown Salt Lake City received a similar envelope containing a white powder that spilled onto a clerk’s hand. The room was decontaminated and the envelope taken by the FBI for testing. A spokesman for the Salt Lake City Fire Department says the clerk showed no signs of illness, but the scare shut down a building at Temple Square for more than an hour.
Both macro like above, and micro.
In Sacramento, a high-profile theater director resigned from his job of 25 years after a boycott threat over his $1,000 donation in support of the measure. In Los Angeles, a Mexican restaurant owner, a Mormon who donated $100, was reduced to tears and left town after hundreds of protesters confronted her at work, by phone and on the Internet.

"You express your beliefs and you have to be punished for it?" said Arnoldo Archila, an employee at the El Coyote restaurant. "This is not right, not in this country. This is not Iraq."
Where is President Elect Obama? What about this hate? Who will stand with the Mormons? I will. All good people, Spartacus like should proclaim,
I am a Mormon.
OK, maybe too much to ask for the beer drinkers out there - but you get the idea.

Such thuggery should not go unopposed. Saddleback Church Members should spend next Sunday at the Mormon Temple in LA - as should a delegation from the Catholic Church.

Sad thing - this hurts gay men and women everywhere. As most of you know, I have no problem with openly gay people serving in the military - but it is the radical fringe that is preventing many from being fully comfortable with the concept
. Full frontal political thuggery will not help your cause - and gives your benign supporters pause.

Laffer was .... wrong?

Yes he was. See this from 2006-07. Who was correct? Former Ron Paul adviser Peter Schiff. Team Obama - hire this guy.

They laughed at him. Don't think they are laughing at him now. Ben Stein .... ohhhh, sad. Wrong too.

If you want to know why I have been in 85% cash since last Spring and can pay off my mortgage (which I may do this summer) - it is because I listen to those who are willing to chew on facts - even if I don't think they are right - facts are facts.

And if you are waiting for a chance to join the Order of the Hand, this guy might help show you the way.

Hat tip HotAir.

Old girlfriends ...

There reaches a point in your life when you wish they just wouldn't resurface.

The mind was, you thought, fully purged. All of a sudden; a name - a face - a date - and then you come right back to the fact that 1985 was, no kidding, over 23 years ago.

It was just yesterday, wasn't it? Weren't we just off stage left - before I knew that short little window wedge of time would go? Like Michael's hair - you and that are gone and should not be seen again.

Victory at Gandamak?

If you need a reality check - go back to JUL 07 and see where we were. Almost everyone but GWB and a few others were ready to quit.

There was a time when few others would come out to support and many others had already admitted defeat, had hit the mattresses or had fallen into great despair.

I referred to this time as Gandamak; a place where the 44th Foot stood their ground to the end. That is the way I was starting to feel as the pro-Victory crowd thinned to almost nothing - and defeat was the direction that the President-elect and his Party wanted us to go.

Looks like we won just in time. From Instapundit,
"THE WAR IS OVER AND WE WON:" Michael Yon just phoned from Baghdad, and reports that things are much better than he had expected, and he had expected things to be good. "There's nothing going on. I'm with the 10th Mountain Division, and about half of the guys I'm with haven't fired their weapons on this tour and they've been here eight months. And the place we're at, South Baghdad, used to be one of the worst places in Iraq. And now there's nothing going on. I've been walking my feet off and haven't seen anything. I've been asking Iraqis, 'do you think the violence will kick up again,' but even the Iraqi journalists are sounding optimistic now and they're usually dour." There's a little bit of violence here and there, but nothing that's a threat to the general situation. Plus, not only the Iraqi Army, but even the National Police are well thought of by the populace. Training from U.S. toops has paid off, he says, in building a rapport.

He says the big problem everybody is talking about now is corruption. But hey, we have that here, too. He'll be heading to Afghanistan next week. "Afghanistan is a bad situation, but on Iraq I can't believe things have turned out so well."

He thinks that Obama will be able to pull troops out, and send some to Afghanistan, without creating problems in Iraq. Michael will be reporting from Afghanistan soon, and sending back video, so stay tuned. Things aren't going swimmingly there.
In the darkest times, one of the few bloggers out there that I felt covering my stern at Gandamak - Greyhawk.
I've been saying "we won" for some time now, so no argument on that point from me.
Folks who are arriving late to the "war is over and we won" bandwagon might want to get caught up. There are several places you could start here, but I suggest my post-election outlook for Iraq. It might be a bitter pill to swallow for Republicans, but therein I'll explain how you fumbled at the goal line.
Skippy, you owe me a beer.

Now, back to Afghanistan and fix what we allowed NATO to let fester.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Shoot me first

I think for next Monday I may put out a short open letter to the CNO about uniforms, but let me just put out a short note now about same. Especially now that we have many Sailors of all stripes going ashore in harm's way (ain't Joint lovely?) embedded with Army and Air Force types left, right, and sideways - I have a force protection issue.

While we in the Navy have spent the balance of the war creating Navy specific camo uniforms that no only are specifically for shipboard use and MA ashore only - the rest of the Navy is still stuck with the old BDU and DCU. For those unlucky enough to be the Navy guy in a cluster of Army and Air Force guys (smartly, from a sniper's perspective, it is hard to tell a USA vs. USAF digi-cam as tiger-stripe or not, they use the same rough color scheme) - we stick out like a wart on a forehead. Nice patch of tan in a sea of gray.

Yes, I had a sniper (designated marksman type I think) come over to me at a break and tease, "Colonel (not all SSG are Joint I guess), we need to get you a set of ACUs; you have 'shoot-me first' written all over your tall self."

Harumph - the other token Navy had the Army ACUs on. I guess his SKC likes him. Wait; I think he was an SKC....

Yep, I think it is time for a Monday open letter to the CNO.