Seriously, this guy is up there with the Primitive Technology guy among my favorite channels on YouTube.
BREAKING: Trump names Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster his national security adviser.— Steven Portnoy (@stevenportnoy) February 20, 2017
McMaster is one of the brighter lights intellectually in the Army.
But he’s also, in spite of a brilliant career and combat record, faced a serious headwind just getting into the general officer ranks.
So I can see Big Army being pleased at this, as it gets him out of the way, so to speak.
How about a little love for our Canadian friends. The Royal Navy’s fight against the U-Boats is fairly well known, but here’s a wartime propaganda drama about the Royal Canadian Navy’s contributions to the Battle of the Atlantic. It’s not the most historically accurate, but it is a pretty good movie. There’s a hitch in the audio midway through, but that only lasts a couple minutes.
Seems yet again the Global Warming Alarmist Industry has manipulated the "science" part of the "settled science" to push for signatures on the 2015 Paris Agreement, a massive plan to tax the life out of the US and UK economies in the name of saving the planet. The Daily Mail tells us the story.
Once again, we have a scam by the US Government perpetrated at taxpayer expense. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) produced the so-called "version 4 data set", along with the "pausebuster" paper to which the deliberately misleading numbers contributed.
The contentious paper at the heart of this furore – with the less than accessible title of Possible Artifacts Of Data Biases In The Recent Global Surface Warming Hiatus – was published just six months before the Paris conference by the influential journal Science.
It made a sensational claim: that contrary to what scientists have been saying for years, there was no ‘pause’ or ‘slowdown’ in global warming in the early 21st Century.
It turns out that when NOAA compiled what is known as the ‘version 4’ dataset, it took reliable readings from buoys but then ‘adjusted’ them upwards – using readings from seawater intakes on ships that act as weather stations.
They did this even though readings from the ships have long been known to be too hot.
No one, to be clear, has ‘tampered’ with the figures. But according to Bates, the way those figures were chosen exaggerated global warming.
And without this new dataset there would have been no Pausebuster paper. If, as previous sea water evidence has shown, there really has been a pause in global warming, then it calls into question the received wisdom about its true scale.
Then there is the matter of timing. Documents obtained by this newspaper show that NOAA, ignoring protests by Dr Bates, held back publication of the version 4 sea dataset several months after it was ready – to intensify the impact of the Pausebuster paper. It also meant more sceptical voices had no chance to examine the figures.
Lieutenant General Harold G. "Hal" Moore US Army (Ret.), famous for his command of the 1st Battalion of the 7th Cavalry during the November 1965 battle of Ia Drang, has died at the age of 94.
A 1945 graduate of West Point, Moore was assigned occupation duty in Japan, before beginning his unusual career path in the exploration of battlefield air mobility. Moore commanded a company of 4.2-inch mortars in combat in Korea, and then continued with the experimentation with air mobility/air assault concepts using helicopter lift, which would place him in position to command 1/7th Cav of the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile).
Hal Moore served more than 32 years in the United States Army, retiring in 1977. For his actions on LZ X-Ray, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.
Moore wrote, with correspondent Joseph Galloway, his account of the fight around LZ X-Ray in Ia Drang, We Were Soldiers Once, and Young. The book, published in 1992, quickly made its rounds in the circles of Company-grade and Field-grade combat arms leaders in both the US Army and US Marine Corps. The book was, of course, made into the movie We Were Soldiers, starring Mel Gibson as Moore, and Barry Pepper as Galloway, who was a witness/participant in the fight. Of the movie, Moore said it was one that Hollywood finally "got right".
Godspeed, sir. An honorable life of service. (URR here.)
Many thanks to reader Sean Walsh, who pointed out that Hal Moore retired as a Lieutenant General. Good gravy. Fixed.
At least five players from the Super Bowl-winning New England Patriots will be skipping the traditional trip to the White House to meet the President.
Why? Because they're racists. Yep. No question about it. How do I know? Because the President is white, and they are black.
See, back in 2012, when the Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins made their trip to the Executive Mansion, star goalie Tim Thomas declined the offer. He gave as his reasons his political beliefs that the Federal Government had grown too large and had too much power.
When the media found out that Thomas was going to skip meeting President Obama, the knives came out. See, Thomas is white, and the President was black. And that made Thomas a racist.
The Boston Globe's Kevin DuPont pilloried Thomas, upbraiding him as bigoted and selfish.
Keith Olbermann of ESPN lectured us that Thomas was disrespectful and hinted at racism as the real reason, and that the honor of meeting the President was what was most important.
David Hodge, Canadian hockey writer for TSN, also called Thomas a racist, and insinuated he is a Klansman (because his three children's names begin with 'K"). No, he was not joking.
Stephen Colbert, from Comedy Central, dismissed his stated reasons for not making the trip, and declared the REAL reason to be bigotry.
The Daily Kos was quick to remind us that Thomas was not an individual, but part of a team, and should have made the White House visit out of contractual obligation.
Dan Levy from Bleacher Report even called Thomas's action "borderline treasonous". (One cannot seem to find Levy's opinion on leaking Top Secret information on a non-secure server, but I imagine he thinks it somewhat short of borderline treason.)
Sports Illustrated's Stu Hackel piously informed us that Thomas's choice of the White House visit to make known his personal beliefs was inappropriate. The wrong place and time. And doing so was disrespectful to the United States and the American people.
And there were dozens, if not hundreds, of other commentary on a white man refusing a visit to a black President. So the only conclusion I can possibly come to is that the New England Patriot players who decided to skip the White House visit when a white man is President, are all racists. Based on previous precedent, it is the only reason I can think of. (Yes, I know Chris Long is white, but if the woman in Nashville who refuses to sell yarn to knit "pussy hats" is sexist, then Long can be racist. Interestingly, one writer for the NY Daily News labeled any WHITE players racist, for attending.)
So far, however, there has been virtually none of the near-universal and loud condemnation of the Patriots' players' actions as there was for Thomas. So allow me to begin, and paraphrase the 2012 DuPont Globe article:
Shabby. Immature. Unprofessional. Self-centered. Bush league. Need I go on? All that and more applies to what [the Patriots who skipped the visit] did. [They] needed to be there in solidarity, and celebration, with [their] team. It was the same government yesterday, and will be today, that protected [their] country, [their] security, [their] famil[ies], and [their] right to make $5 million a year, all last season. In [their] absence, [they] stole [their] teammates’ spotlight. Win as a team. Lose as a team. And when asked to stand up and take a bow, then stand up there and suffer if need be, even if you don’t like the setting, the host, or any of the political trappings and tenets that come with it.
And some re-work of the Hackel Sports Illustrated piece from the same time:
A segment of fans and media observers, who likely agree with [the Patriots players'] politics or don't really understand the notion of principle, have now hailed [them] as some sort of righteous figure[s]. [They're] not. There's nothing heroic in what [they] did. [They] trampled on the only principle that really matters here, the one that got [them] invited to the White House in the first place. [They] misguidedly and unprofessionally turned [their] back[s] on the group that propelled [them] into public prominence and the sport that has made [them] wealthy. Where's the principle in that?
Unless what is good for the goose is not at all good for the gander. Which is called a double-standard. And that would make everyone who condemned Tim Thomas so virulently to be intellectually dishonest hypocrites of the first order.
Oh, wait. Dissent is patriotic again. After an eight year hiatus. In which dissent was racist. Gotcha.
WASHINGTON — The Marine Corps’ top aviator is hungry for more F-35Bs, telling reporters on Wednesday that he would like to see the service’s buy rate increase to 37 jets per year.
That would almost double the planned rate of F-35B procurement over the next few years, which is projected to sit at 20 aircraft per year from fiscal years 2018 to 2021.
"We have the infrastructure in place,” said Lt. Gen. Jon Davis, deputy commandant for aviation. "Bottom line is we've had a very anemic ramp, so we've been holding onto the older airplanes longer. If asked by the American people to get the airplanes faster, I guarantee we'd put them into play very, very quickly.
“We'd transition squadrons faster is what we'd do,” he said, adding that if the service were allowed to purchase 37 B-variants a year, it would be able to retire its legacy F/A-18 Hornet and Harrier planes by 2026.
Over on the book of faces, every time the F-35 makes the news, someone pops in to cry that the F-35 can’t do Close Air Support.
Which, frankly, strikes me as silly. The Marines literally invented CAS. I’ll share what I posted as a response to this balderdash yesterday.
How many times do we have to go around in this circle?
CAS is a mission, not a platform.
What makes CAS isn't how low and slow the airplane is, it's the proximity of friendly forces to the effects.
The value of low and slow in the Vietnam era was that it improved the CAS pilot's ability to generate situational awareness (SA) of the location of both the friendlies and the intended target.
Amazingly, in the intervening half century, technology has evolved somewhat, and there are improved devices and procedures that allow the CAS pilot to generate that SA without having to stooge over the battlefield in range of small arms fire while leaning over and staring at the rocks.
Indeed, it was the fantastic performance of the F-15E Strike Eagle, and Sniper pod equipped F-16s that spurred the Air Force to integrate some of those same technologies into the A-10, and give it the ability to deliver modern PGMs, so that it would achieve something approaching the performance of the fast jets. Prior that, the "danger close" of the A-10 was much greater than other platforms.
Heck, the B-1B and the B-52 are both high demand CAS assets because of their large weapon hauling ability, their great ISR capability, and their endurance. And they aren't loitering at 2000 feet.
And the Marines, who invented CAS, and have a fetish for it like no one else, are happy with their F-35s, gun or no gun.
But if having a 30mm cannon is that important to you, let the Apaches come play.
I’ll add this, regarding an increased buy of F-35s in the next few years. You’ll end up paying more up front in total dollars, of course, but the single best way to drive down unit flyaway costs is to increase the rate of production. For instance, there’s certain costs that we’re paying for whether we buy 1, 10, or 100 aircraft a year, such as salaries on the LMT team. Might as well get 37 planes for the same salary.
Another thing- Marine Corps fighter aviation is in terrible shape. They bet the farm on the F-35 replacing both the F/A-18A/B/C/D legacy Hornet, and the AV-8B. But the delay in introducing the F-35 meant those older aircraft have had to serve longer than anticipated. And that has driven maintenance costs up, and availability down. Something approaching 70% of the Marine Hornet fleet is unavailable. Now, having a quarter of the inventory out of service for deep maintenance is fairly normal. And having a fair percentage down for minor maintenance issues on any given day isn’t unusual. But right now, the availability of jets to the Marines is so poor that they can barely maintain minimum flight proficiency, let alone tactical and operational proficiency.
The situation on the Navy side of the house is bad as well, but not so catastrophic yet. If bumping production of Marine F-35Bs means a slight slowdown in F-35C production, I’m not sure the Navy would object too loudly.
Throughout history, amphibious assaults have been among the most complex military operations, and had a success rate that was usually quite dismal. One fascinating aspect of World War II was the fact that few amphibious assaults, either Allied or Axis, failed.
The point of critical danger of an amphibious operation is not the first wave of assault troops. It is the buildup phase where the supporting arms and logistics still have not been landed. You have to get them ashore quickly before the defender can concentrate his forces upon you and defeat you. And one of the critical aspects of WWII assaults that helped them to be successful was the widespread use of naval gunfire to provide fires until such time as the ground forces artillery could be built up. Naval gunfire has the advantage of a very heavy weight of fire, combined with a very high rate of fire compared to conventional artillery.
The challenge is to provide timely control of those fires. Voice radio allowed units ashore to quickly nominate targets of opportunity, and observers ashore could control those fires. Well before WWII began, many cruisers and battleships carried their own float planes to spot the fall of gunfire. This was initially intended for long range gunnery duels with the enemy fleet, but it was obvious that they could also spot for fires ashore. Unfortunately, float planes operating over the assault beaches were quite vulnerable to enemy action, and losses were high.
The answer to that was to use either carrier based or shore based fighter aircraft to spot gunfire. In fact, for the invasion of Normandy, the US Navy created a special squadron equipped with Spitfires exclusively to support the gunfire mission. It was only operational for 20 days, but was an important tool in the gunfire support toolbox.
In the Mediterranean and European theaters, the Royal Navy provided a great deal of the gunfire support to Allied operations. While some of the vocabulary, and a few of the procedures, differ in minor details, the methods of control and gunnery are quite similar to the US Navy’s procedures, and even familiar to today’s gunfire support.
You’d be hard pressed to not have heard about hydraulic fracturing, more commonly known as frakking, as a means of increasing production of natural gas. Basically, less permeable rock formations have a water and sand mixture pumped into them. The hydraulic pressure of the water literally fractures the surrounding rock, freeing the natural gas deposits to be extracted. Frakking is also useful for certain types of oil deposits.
Frakking is controversial because certain environmental groups claim there are risks of groundwater contamination, or even seismic risks.
Of course, it’s hard to find evidence of those risks coming to fruition. While frakking has only been a trendy topic the last few years, the process has been around for quite some time. Indeed, the first hydraulic fracturing test was in 1947.
Interestingly, the concept of fracturing the substrata of a well has been around even longer, almost from the beginning of oil extraction. And the first attempts actually used high explosives, with limited success. The results were not encouraging enough to economically justify them.
Before hydraulic frakking became economically feasible, there was one other interesting attempt at explosive frakking. Well, actually, three. And they took the concept to an entirely new level.
Yes. You read that right. The Atomic Energy Commission, in cooperation with El Paso Natural Gas Company, had the bright idea to use a 26 kiloton nuclear device about 3/4 mile below the surface to fracture rock, and release trapped natural gas for extraction.
So, early in 1967, in northern New Mexico, they set off the device. And as far as fracturing went, it did just that pretty well. The problem, which should have been obvious, was that a fission device produces all sorts of very, very nasty radioactive byproducts. Normally, in a deep underground explosion, that’s not much of an issue. But tapping the natural gas meant that small quantities of the fission byproducts infiltrated the natural gas. The actual level of radioactivity was quite small. But even by 1967, the idea of a natural gas company sending radioactive natural gas to your average housewife was seen as a poor business proposition.
Nonetheless, bureaucratic inertia meant that the Atomic Energy Commission would try another nuclear frakking test in 1969 (40 kilotons- same infiltration problem) and yet again in 1973, where three 33 kiloton devices were set off together.
The third time was the charm, not in successfully frakking, but in convincing the Atomic Energy Commission that using nukes to extract natural gas was pretty much a waste of time.
Still, it’s interesting, in this era where building a pipeline becomes a focus of national protest, that only a relatively short time ago, it wasn’t all that controversial to be using nukes to support the energy industry. Can you imagine the howls of protest today?
That's why they're the Patriots. (URR here.)
After a dismal first half in which the Atlanta Falcons' speed on defense and running game on offense had their way, and after giving up a touchdown after a long Atlanta drive with 4:14 to go in the 3rd quarter, the Patriots found themselves down 28-3. Tom Brady was taking a beating, was sacked, hurried, and hit almost every time he dropped back until that point. Brady was out of synch with his receivers, missing open routes, and throwing a bad second quarter interception in Falcon territory that was returned 70 yards for a touchdown. Even when the Patriots finally put it in the end zone, the extra point hit the upright, and it was 28-9 with just over 2 minutes to go in the 3rd quarter.
But Belichick, his coaches, and his nonpariel quarterback made their adjustments. They took what a talented Falcons defense gave them, and stymied the Atlanta offense in which the running game suddenly had little room. Brady finally had some time in the pocket, and picked apart the Falcon secondary. In the 4th Quarter, Brady and the Patriots positively dominated on both sides of the football. Brady threw for 196 yards in the final quarter alone, and with just 50 seconds to play in regulation, the Patriots scored for the second drive in a row, and for the second time, were successful on the 2-point conversion. The game was suddenly tied at 28. The first overtime in Super Bowl history was about to begin. One football expert called Atlanta's second half the "biggest collapse since Hillary tried to get in the minivan". (Okay, that was XBRAD's cleverness.)
New England won the toss, and after a touchback on the kickoff, Brady methodically drove the Patriots 75 yards. From the Falcon 8 yard line, Brady got a favorable matchup with a linebacker on tight end Martellus Bennett, and got a blatant pass interference call to give New England an automatic first down and the ball at the 3. After an incompletion on the next play, halfback James White took it in for the touchdown, and the Patriots had completed the biggest comeback in NFL playoff history. There is little argument that can now be made that Brady is not the greatest quarterback ever to play the game. Five championships, four Super Bowl MVPs, and at 39, a performance for the ages (43 for 62, for a SB-record 466 yards) on the biggest stage of his sport. And Bill Belichick, he of the mumbling, tooth-sucking press conferences, is the greatest coach of the Super Bowl era, and one of the two greatest of all time, behind only some guy named Lombardi. An emotional Brady, whose mother is seriously ill, embraced his alter-ego coach once the game had ended.
If you get a chance, watch the highlights. Great plays, great performances from players on both teams. But the night belongs to Tom Brady, yet again, and his Patriots teammates. They were all but left for dead when down 25 points, but proceeded to score 31 unanswered, and hoisted their fifth trophy of the Belichick/Brady era.
(Perhaps the highlight of the night was not watching Lady Gag-me the walking petri dish with yet another inane political rant at halftime.)
URASOE, Japan — A Marine sergeant major stationed on Camp Kinser, Okinawa, is physically unable to choose any selection from a vending machine not labeled “E9,” sources confirmed today.
Sgt. Maj. Matthew Brooks is frequently seen checking vending machines on and off base in hopes of finding anything in the E9 slots that he enjoys, according to reports. Just this morning, for example, he was conducting recon on a new set of machines on a street corner just outside Gate 3.
So, as I write this, the world’s first nuclear powered aircraft carrier, is being formally decommissioned, and will be struck from the rolls of the Naval Vessel Register.
As long as I have been alive, there has always been a USS Enterprise as a part of the fleet.
Indeed, the day I was born, my father was aboard her undergoing workups for a deployment to Vietnam.
Fair winds, Big E.
I'm not much of a cruiser skipper, but GrumpWagon had a heck of an outing in the Tier VI Soviet cruiser, the Budyonny.
I make a guest appearance as a shell sponge.
A liberal friend on Facebook was decrying the right wing, and it occurred to me that some of her liberal friends might like to know why conservatives think the way we do, and as an example, I offered this regarding the recent controversial executive order on immigration.
Let’s talk about Trumps recent executive order halting visas from 7 majority Muslim nations. First, does the US have an absolute right to control its own borders, and determine who, if anyone, may gain entry? Per common law, predating even our founding, that is not just a given, but a sine qua non, a definitional characteristic of a nation state.
Our Constitution has placed the power over immigration wholly into the hands of the Congress. Congress in turn has passed laws detailing such. Much of what they passed was legislation that left the actual decision making process in the hands of the President, so as to address changing priorities in a more timely manner.
So far, so good. Congress clearly has constitutional authority to pass immigration law. And delegating the specifics of the execution of that law to the Executive in Chief is also constitutional. In this case, the the relevant statute grants authority to the President to exclude persons or classes of persons deemed by the President, in his sole judgment, to be national security risks from entry into the US. And judicial precedent has long held that the right to refuse entry is pretty much absolute.
Of those 7 nations listed in the EO, six are failed states where it is effectively impossible to truly determine whether visa applicants are who they indeed say they are, or if they are or are not radicalized threats. The seventh nation has as its de facto national motto “Death to America.” Instituting a pause to review our vetting procedures in these cases is well within the scope of the statute the EO references as its authority to implement the pause.
Note, to this point, I’ve been discussing whether or not Trump’s EO is constitutional and lawful. In my opinion, it is. Whether or not is is a good policy is another question. I tend to think it is, with some reservations. As to whether legal permanent residents (Green Card holders) can or should be subject to it is a bit more beyond my understanding. I’m not well informed on the jurisprudence on the matter. My understanding is that there is a tension in current law between “LPRs are different” and “still aliens, still can be denied.”
And springing it on a Friday night was probably pretty politically stupid. But stupid doesn’t amount to unconstitutional or illegal. And let’s not forget, for a large swath of the population who consider immigration an important political issue, and who feel their concerns have been ignored or ridiculed by both parties for three decades, any action is going to be something they will celebrate. You can say they are backwards, or they are mistaken, or they lack compassion. Maybe, maybe not. What they don’t lack is numbers, and they were a large part of how Donald Trump wound up in the Oval Office.
Let’s move on to the so-called Monday Night Massacre of Acting Attorney General Sally Yates. Lawyers for some aliens denied entry (or held for additional screening) obtained preliminary injunctions against the EO in some very limited cases. Fair enough. That’s what courts are for.* Acting AG Yates, a holdover from the Obama administration who was asked to stay on until the next AG is confirmed, issued an order to the DoJ to not defend the EO in the courts. Here’s the problem with that. She did not make an argument that the EO is unconstitutional, or that no good faith defense of its legality could be mounted. If she believed that to be the case, she should have resigned. The AG, acting or otherwise, is the head of the Department of Justice. And the department heads of all executive departments only enjoys authority as derived from the executive authority held solely by the President. There is no inherent authority in the office Ms. Yates held. Not only was President Trump well within his authority to dismiss her, he was practically obligated to do so.
As to the supposed hypocrisy of the Right suddenly celebrating EOs after condemning them for 8 years of the Obama administration, well, here’s the thing. It’s not the fact that EOs were issued. It’s that so often the EOs issued by the Obama administration clearly went beyond the authority delegated by the underlying authorizing statute passed by Congress. President Obama’s EOs had a terrible track record in federal courts, with more unanimous rulings by the Supreme Court against his policies than any other president.
So, from where I sit, I do not see the Constitution being trampled by an out of control executive. I see a president who is implementing policies that he promised, within the authority delegated to him by law. Again, whether those policies are wise or unwise, is, and forever will, be a matter of perspective.
*Though I could make a case that as the aliens have not been granted entry into the US (that is, until you clear immigration, you technically are not under the jurisdiction of the United States), they have no standing to sue in US courts.
The initial operations of B-29 Superfortress bombers of the 20th Air Force against Japan were, for a variety of reasons, not nearly as successful as the Army Air Forces had hoped. The stupendous costs poured into building the B-29 fleet were compared to the meager returns of strategic bombing of industrial targets, and the math was bad. For one thing, the jet stream over Japan (and the higher operating altitude of the B-29 compared to B-17 and B-24 types) meant bombing accuracy was somewhat appalling.
These poor results were a major factor in the well known switch from daytime precision bombing to night incendiary attacks that razed Tokyo and so many other cities in the last months of the war.
One other mission the B-29s undertook is virtually forgotten today, but had an impact far out of proportion to the effort expended.
That mission was Operation Starvation, the offensive aerial mining campaign against the Japanese home waters.
A simple glance at a map shows that as an island chain, Japan is critically dependent on sea traffic to move supplies, people, and commodities. Further, virtually all of Japan’s strategic industries were almost wholly dependent on commodities that had to be imported from either the islands of the South West Pacific or from the Asian mainland. From almost the first day of the war, the US Navy had instituted an effort to deny the Japanese the use of these sea lane, primarily through its submarine force.
At the urging of ADM King, GEN Hap Arnold agreed to devote a small percentage of 20th Air Force missions to aerial mining.
Beginning on March 27, 1945, B-29s of the 313th Bombardment Wing would eventually fly 1,529 sorties in 46 missions, and lay 12,135 mines. That accounted for just under 6% of 20th AF sorties. In return, postwar survey would reveal that the mines accounted for an astonishing 670 vessels sunk or damaged, with a tonnage of 1.25 million tons. Considering the Japanese merchant fleet was estimated to have only about 2 million tons available when the campaign began, this was a stunning return on investment.
Additionally, in addition to direct losses, the minefields effectively forced Japan to cease shipping to many ports, and through many sealanes. Operation Starvation was aptly named. Japan was unable to feed itself from domestic crops alone, and by the end of the war, the mining, combined with the submarine force blockade, meant that food shortages in Japan were rapidly becoming critical. Whether such a blockade would have been enough to preclude the need for the atomic attacks has been hotly debated for years, but clearly offensive aerial mining was a potent weapon against those nations that relied on the sea for their survival.
All this at a cost of only 15 B-29s lost, less than a 1% loss rate.
The US would not forget the success of Operation Starvation. When the US began its involvement in the Vietnam War, virtually the first request of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the Johnson White House was to allow the aerial mining of Haiphong Harbor. President Johnson declined.
Eventually, in 1967, President Johnson would authorize the aerial mining of several rivers in North Vietnam, and on the night of February 26, 1967, for the first time since World War II, and for the first time ever by jet, the US delivered aerial mines that effectively shut down traffic on those rivers.
For a more detailed analysis of aerial mining in World War II, and especially Operation Starvation, read the paper submitted below.