The later model SP-2 Neptunes are one of my favorite aircraft.
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Two navy fighter jets flew to Portland today to deliver a special thank you.
They appreciated the help of two Air Force Reservists stationed with the 304th Rescue Squadron. The pararescue jumpers (PJ's) helped save lives during an awful aircraft malfunction at the naval base on Whidbey Island.
On December 16, 2016, three Navy F-18 jets warmed up at the Whidbey Island naval base alongside Puget Sound.
Suddenly something went very wrong.
“During the start sequence, one of the aircraft experienced an over pressurization,” said Commander Jon Crawford.
With the pilot and weapons officer inside, the pressure built to incredible, deadly levels.
“To the point where the cockpit failed and it exploded outward,” he said.
Commander Crawford said that has never happened before to an F-18.
The two on board, members of his squadron, were badly hurt and barely alive. He's not revealing their names.
Here's a bit more on that really bizarre cockpit overpressurization incident at NAS Whidbey back in December.
Making fun of the Air Force is fun and easy, but the PJ community is special, and having them there seems to have contributed greatly to saving the lives of two aviators.
Some time in 2018, the People's Republic of China is expected to launch an indigenously-built conventionally-powered aircraft carrier. She likely owes much of her pedigree to a most unlikely source, the World War II Royal Navy. How so? The story is but a part of the interesting, sad, and some might say jinxed career of the last of Australia's aircraft carriers, HMAS Melbourne.
HMAS Melbourne was originally laid down in April of 1943 as HMS Majestic, the namesake of a six-ship class of British light fleet carriers, which was a modified design of the 16-ship Colossus class. Slightly larger and heavier initially than the Colossus design, HMS Majestic was still incomplete when the Second World War ended in August of 1945. A prostrate and bankrupt Great Britain obviously could not afford to continue building capital ships for which there was suddenly little or no need, so Majestic and her sisters (along with hundreds of other warships in various stages of construction) were laid up incomplete.
At 690 feet in length and around 18,000 tons loaded, HMS Majestic's original design put her somewhere between the US Essex-class fleet carriers (880-feet, 27,000 tons), and the Independence-class light carriers (622 feet, 12,800 tons) for both size and capability. The aircraft complement was about fifty. Speed, however, was just 25 knots, significantly slower than the US "fast carriers".
Late in the war, and in the immediate post-war period, the size and weight of carrier aircraft grew significantly. As a result, the design for Majestic and her sisters underwent many revisions. A reinforced flight deck, angled to allow for simultaneous launch and recovery operations, a steam catapult, and updated radar and electronics all made their way into completion plans. As with many Royal Navy ships considered surplus, the Majestics (and Colossus class) were offered up for sale (along with dozens of pre-war and wartime cruisers, destroyers, corvettes, and auxiliaries). Construction would be accelerated once sale was likely, and Majestic herself, bought by Australia as HMAS Melbourne , was finally completed in 1955. She followed her near-sister HMAS Sydney into service, the latter commissioned in 1948. By this time, weight had crept up to almost 22,000 tons, and increased draft decreased Melbourne's top speed to 24 knots.
HMAS Melbourne would serve the Australian Navy until 1982, when she was decommissioned and laid up. During that service, Melbourne was sometimes thought to be a jinxed ship. That reputation grew from two tragic incidents. Incredibly, the two incidents were eerily similar.
The first occurred on 10 February 1964, as Melbourne was shaking down near Jervis Bay after a long refit. Accompanying her was the destroyer HMAS Voyager, a modern post-war ship also coming out of refit. While positioned as plane guard for Melbourne, Voyager and the rest of the formation reversed course, a maneuver which put the smaller ship forward and to starboard of Melbourne. The details of the incident are better chronicled elsewhere, but Voyager, in maneuvering to return to plane guard station (astern and to starboard of the carrier), inexplicably turned not to starboard but to port, taking her across Melbourne's bow. The bigger ship sliced through Voyager, and 82 sailors were killed or drowned.
Almost unbelievably, five years later, while operating with the US Navy in the South China Sea, Melbourne would again collide with a plane-guard destroyer, with similar results. On the night of 3 June 1969, USS Frank E. Evans (DD-754), a Sumner-class destroyer, was on plane guard station, maneuvering with ordered course and speed changes which her captain believed were being mirrored by the rest of the formation. Again, the details have been well-chronicled. But a mix-up in code books, hence a mix-up in signaled course and speed, eventually put Evans in a position to cross Melbourne's bow. Once again, the stem of the Australian carrier sliced through a destroyer, cutting Evans in half, killing 74 US sailors. The stern of the destroyer somehow stayed afloat, and was towed into port.
Melbourne, despite her reputation as a jinxed ship, continued to serve, and was modernized extensively in 1971, which gave her the capability to handle A-4 Skyhawk and other modern carrier aircraft. She underwent refit again in the late 1970s, and was due for another in 1981, which was subsequently canceled as Melbourne was targeted for replacement.
She participated in a number of SEATO and NATO and joint exercises until, in 1982, the elderly ship was finally decommissioned. Parts availability was very problematic, and cost of maintenance was becoming prohibitive. Laid up in a 180-day status for reactivation as a helicopter carrier, Melbourne was eventually struck in 1984. She was sold for scrapping, finally (after a failed deal with a company to turn her into a casino), to a Chinese company in 1985, and subsequently towed to Guangzhou.
The Chinese, however, did not put ex-Melbourne to the cutting torch for many years. Instead, naval engineers and other PLA Navy officials closely examined everything about the hulk. Her design, construction, welding, catapult, metallurgy, and engineering layout were all extensively studied. Never had the Chinese had an aircraft carrier in their possession, not even a 43-year old one. They did not waste the opportunity. The intelligence community believes they compared their notes on ex-Melbourne with their thorough examination and refit of Liaoning, the former Soviet carrier they commissioned in 2012 after extensive renovation and modernization. Much, it is assumed, of what they learned from the two ships has guided their efforts in constructing their first Chinese-built aircraft carrier. There is even speculation that the flight deck of ex-Melbourne was removed and installed ashore to train Chinese naval aviators. (I wonder if pissing and moaning about crew rest sounds the same in Mandarin?)
Interestingly, one of Melbourne's sisters served even longer than she. HMS Hercules was completed and sold to India, where she was commissioned as INS Vikrant. She lasted in service until 1997, before being a museum ship until 2012. Sadly, she was scrapped in 2014. URR here, by the way.
My gameplay has been utter crap since I took a week off for Christmas. Seriously, not one game worth rendering to video. But WoWs has published the 2017 developer’s diary, with hints about what changes will come to the game in the coming years.
Patch 0.6.0 should be coming soon, and the biggest change it will bring is revamping the commander’s skills.
We should also see clans introduced soon. I’ve been urged to start a clan, and would be happy to do so. I need suggestions for a good name for the clan, so let me have your ideas. Also, if/when I do start one, I’ll likely start a Facebook page for it.
Faced with an acute need for Atlantic escorts on the eve of World War II, the Royal Navy adapted a whalecatcher design as an anti-submarine escort, known as the Flower class corvette. The ships were deliberately designed that commercial shipbuilders could lay them down, as opposed to only being built in traditional naval shipyards. Simple construction, and a simple triple expansion steam plant, kept building times low, and left more expensive steam turbines available for other, more capable warships. Above all, the need was to build large numbers of corvettes as quickly as possible.
Living conditions aboard the corvettes were spartan, even by the RN’s standards of the day. Of course, virtually all the crews were landsmen facing their first experience with the sea, so they didn’t quite grasp how poorly they had it.
The Flower class ships were extremely seaworthy, but had a very uncomfortable ride, and early ships especially were very wet.
Still, as crude as they were, they were effective escorts, with effective sensors and weapons to face the U-Boat threat, and helped greatly to keep Britain afloat during the early years of World War II.
And of course, no post on the subject of RN corvettes would be complete without mention of The Cruel Sea, the wonderful book and movie about the fictional corvette HMS Compass Rose.
RICHLAND James Mattis, the retired Marine Corps general President-elect Donald Trump plans to nominate for defense secretary, came of age in a cloistered community created by the federal government at the dawn of the nuclear age.
In this town carved out of the sagebrush lands of Eastern Washington, nearly everyone had a parent working at the nearby Hanford Engineer Works, site of a large-scale nuclear reactor. The atom bomb was the town’s business, and Columbia High School, Mattis’ alma mater, bore a mushroom cloud atop its crest.
Mattis graduated in 1968, as a shy, skinny kid whose parents never bought a television and encouraged him to read from a big home library.
In a storied Marine career, he emerged as a keen student of history known for compassion and respect for those he commanded, impatience with bureaucracy and a relentless determination to pursue enemy forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.
An interesting look at the small town roots of GEN Mattis.
Read the whole thing.
STUTTGART, Germany — The U.S. Army began unloading tanks and other weaponry in the German port of Bremerhaven Friday, marking the arrival of the first wave of gear that will support the rotation of an armored brigade in Europe.
Over the next several days, the equipment will be offloaded and moved by rail, commercial lines and convoy into staging sites in Poland.
The arrival of the military hardware and troops from the Fort Carson-based 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division marks the start of the first full-time presence of a tank brigade in Europe since the last armored units on the Continent were inactivated several years ago.
Just need another dozen or so BCTs and the supporting brigades, and it will be about right.
The airborne divisions of the US Army in World War II were certainly glamorous, and even today are popular subjects of entertainment, as witnessed by the spectacular success of HBO’s Band of Brothers miniseries.
But when the 82nd and 101st divisions were first converted from infantry divisions to airborne divisions, they each only had one regiment of parachute infantry. The other two regiments in the division organization were glider infantry. And of course, the division artillery couldn’t be airdropped, so it too was gliderborne.
And unlike parachute infantry, glider infantry wasn’t a volunteer outfit. For that matter, for a long time, they didn’t get jump pay, or even wear the special uniform that the parachute guys wore.
Eventually, before the invasion of Normandy, the organization of the divisions would see two parachute regiments and one glider infantry regiment.
Training infantry to become glider troops was somewhat simpler than parachute training, but there was more to it than simply sitting down and going for a ride.
The primary mount of US glider infantry was the Waco CG-4A, a simple (but not crude) glider of tubular steel, wood, and fabric construction. Useful load was the two pilots and 13 troops, or a jeep, or a 75mm pack howitzer.
Waco was the designer of the CG-4A, but like many WWII aircraft, production was undertaken by several companies. We find it rather amusing that of the nearly 14,000 built, some 1000 were built by Gibson Refrigerator.
The massive F-105 Thunderchief is famed for its role in Rolling Thunder during the Vietnam war. Its early service, however, was plagued by technical issues. The first production model, the F-105B, was quite unsatisfactory, and only 71 were built. Lessons learned from that early model, coupled with improved avionics, were implemented in the main production model, the F-105D.
Between a trip out of town over the holidays, and a really nasty man cold, I’m sorry for the light posting. I’m trying to improve on that!
For the next week, not only will there be no U.S. Navy aircraft carrier in the Middle East, but there will be no American aircraft carriers deployed at sea anywhere else in the world, despite a host of worldwide threats facing the United States.
For the first time since World War II, the US Navy has no carriers underway.
URR here. Much hullabaloo has been made of supposed Russian attempts to influence the US 2016 Presidential election. Trumpeted repeatedly by the Obama Administration is the accusation that Russian black hats had hacked into the e-mail systems of the Democratic National Committee, and subsequently released the information stolen from those e-mails to Wikileaks, who released them publicly. They did this, according to Obama, to win the election for Donald Trump. The government, he said, had the proof.
Well, late yesterday, the DHS/FBI Joint Analysis Report on the incident(s) was published. The report calls the malicious cyber incident GRIZZLY STEPPE. The report might seem, to the uninitiated, a confirmation of evidence of Russian "hacking". However, to those familiar with the subject matter, the report is woefully lacking in anything resembling "evidence". The DHS/FBI report is a 13-page document that outlines HOW network exploits can be done, how a phishing/spearphishing scam works, and even points to some forensic evidence that MIGHT be attributable to the two identified Russian-affiliated cyber actors. Those entities most mentioned, however, Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) 29 and APT 28, are relatively well-known actors, having been mentioned in several software security firms' reports in recent years. Essentially, the DHS/FBI report provides nothing more than a summary of how APT 29 and APT 28 have been operating for several years. The report also lists, on Page 4, some forty-eight cyber actors, it claims, work for either Russian military or civilian intelligence services.
As mentioned here in a previous post, simply doing work for an entity is no evidence whatever that such an actor is controlled by, or a part of, any government or intelligence service. Quite the contrary, a skilled cyber actor works with and for myriad interests, government and private, often at the same time. While it is almost certainly true that some or most of those entities have worked with RIS (Russian Intelligence Services) at various times, the only "evidence" pointing to the intrusion into DNC e-mail systems being done at Russian government behest is the report's assertion that it is so. The report also neglects to mention that, for every known cyber actor, there are dozens or hundreds or thousands who are not known. The best of them avoid detection entirely.
The report is filled with helpful hints of how to try and avoid network intrusions through phishing and spear-phishing schemes, and the like. Actions such as permission and access controls, credentialing, firewall configuration, whitelisting, and a host of other things a prudent network administrator already does, are advised. This includes advocacy for several government-encouraged DHS programs such as Automated Indicator Sharing (AIS), which the private sector has been extremely hesitant to engage in. (Understandable, since this is the same Federal Government that allowed Office of Personnel Management database information to be available to a Chinese software company who was given rootkit access, among other such mind-numbingly foolish decisions in recent years which led to massive and damaging network breaches.)
Also accompanying the report is a series of files that show "Indicators of Compromise" (IOC) for each of the alleged Russian cyber actors. What the report assiduously ignores is that the trading of malicious code, including code in specific languages, is common in the Black Hat world. This is done both to leverage known successful codes for specific network exploits, and to obfuscate identity, making attribution all but impossible. While a network administrator may find one of those IOCs listed in the report, meaningfully attributing such a compromise to an actor identified in the report is extremely doubtful, at best. And those who produced this report know that good and well.
The other assertion the DHS/FBI report makes, that information from those DNC e-mails was exfiltrated and then sent to Wikileaks for public release, is NOT BACKED UP BY ANY EVIDENCE whatsoever. No screen shots of log activity showing exfil of data, no link to any exfil being directed by RIS, and certainly no evidence of that data being sent to, and received by, Wikilieaks. There is simply a statement on Page 3 that states "The U.S. Government assesses that information was leaked to the press and publicly disclosed. " Imagine that. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence to the contrary elsewhere, however, not to mention the undisputed fact that Wikileaks, as abhorrent as they can be at times, has never published or released a forged document. For their part, they assert unequivocally that the DNC e-mails were leaked to them via a DNC staffer disgusted with Hillary Clinton's (and the DNC's complicity with her) underhanded methods.
The DHS/FBI report is thunderously silent on the two critical topics that were central to the Democratic claims of Russian "hacking" and the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. The first is that there is nothing, not a word, in the report that Russian cyber actors in any way penetrated and/or altered the results of any electronic voting machines, or manipulated voter rolls. Because it was clear from the start that nothing of that sort had occurred. (Such direct manipulation, incidentally, is the ONLY bit of Russian intrusion about which Americans should be rightfully alarmed, given that the Russians/Soviets have tried to indirectly influence US elections for almost a century.)
The second assertion is in regards to Hillary Clinton's compromise of classified information following its illegal transmission and storage on an unauthorized private server at her home in Chappaqua, NY. We were assured countless times that the server was secure, and that there was no evidence that her private network had been compromised. Those who understand how the internet works, and how networks can be penetrated and exploited, knew these assurances to be either absurdly naive, or deliberately dishonest, and almost certainly the latter. Cyber actor entities such as the Joint Analysis Report identified (and the hundreds and thousands it didn't) likely knew within days, perhaps hours, that Hillary was setting up a private server for her official State Department business, and had breached that network very shortly afterward.
The DHS/FBI report, then, is little more than a restatement of unfounded assertions as to the depth and intent of Russian government involvement in influencing a US election. The admixture of technical details and mitigation strategies that comprise the majority of information on the thirteen pages simply provide filler to a document that is otherwise devoid of anything resembling the "evidence" we were all assured exists. While some will say that such evidence should not be made public, I would ask that comparison be made to the reports of the Sony breach in 2014, which provided extensive illustration of likely DPRK involvement. (Even with that, there is considerable room for doubt as to the origin and intent of the Sony cyber actors.) If this Administration had such "evidence", this report would be the place for it. With the lack of that evidence in these pages, further doubt is cast on the assertions of high-level Russian involvement.
So, to summarize, there is precious little "evidence" that any of the cyber actors who allegedly penetrated DNC e-mail networks did so at the direction of Russian intelligence. There is virtually NO evidence that those actors then provided those exfiltrated e-mails to Wikileaks. There is no mention of hacking of voting machines or voter rolls, things that would have a direct impact on vote counts. Certainly there is nothing resembling hard confirmation that Vladimir Putin was in any way personally involved in any of this, as the CIA assessment last month unequivocally stated. It isn't as if Putin paid taxpayer money to fund the activities of an opposition group, such as Barack Obama did in Israel, or as if Putin came to this country and warned against the consequences of the American people voting against his wishes, such as was done over the BREXIT referendum.
For all these thirteen pages contain, this report could have been written in a day, by a low-level staffer, before Hallowe'en. But then, with Hillary's victory all but certain, none of this was an issue. Funny, that.
GOP strategist and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich penned a column for Spero News that summarizes beautifully the journalistic malfeasance and lack of integrity on the part of the formerly great New York Times in their coverage of President-elect Donald Trump.
Unfortunately, the New York Times is trapped within the obsolete establishment mindset which was wrong about Trump throughout the primaries, then was wrong about Trump throughout the general election, then was wrong about who would win. This elite mindset has learned nothing. It is now enthusiastically being wrong about the transition. All of this is great practice for the paper to be wrong about the new administration.Thursday’s New York Times story on Trump and foreign policy was a perfect example of its willful ignorance.The Times reported that “President-elect Donald J. Trump seemed to suggest on Wednesday that the deadly truck attack on a Christmas market in Berlin vindicated his proposal during the presidential campaign to bar Muslims from entering the United States.”That is a willfully false and malicious mischaracterization of the current Trump proposal. Trump has been very clear that he would focus “extreme vetting” on people from dangerous areas. He has rejected a general ban. Why would the Times deliberately ignore the current policy?The Times went out of its way to assert that “It was not clear whether Mr. Trump was reaffirming his much-criticized call for a wholesale ban on Muslim immigration or his subsequent clarification that he would stop only those entering from countries with a history of Islamic extremism.”The Times had to repeat the “much-criticized” line even though that is not Trump’s current position.
It underscores Mr. Trump’s challenge in fashioning a coherent approach to the problems he will inherit in Asia, Europe and the Middle East, especially working with a team that consists of retired generals and an oil executive, few of whom have experience in the daily cascade of crises that confront every White House.”So, the Times believes General Jim Mattis lacks experience in “a daily cascade of crises”. They believe General John Kelly lacks experience in “a daily cascade of crises.” They believe Lt. General Mike Flynn lacks experience in “a daily cascade of crises.” It is unlikely anyone on the Times staff has experienced one day of the crises these combat-experienced veterans lived with for years.
I don't believe the Times ever described Hillary Clinton or John Kerry or Ash Carter or Susan Rice, or Barack Obama, for that matter, in such pejorative terms, despite their collectively much-greater lack of seasoning or qualification in their respective lines of work.
Give the whole article a read. Well worth the time. And though I disagree with Gingrich's views on a number of things, I do believe he is right about this:
This entire article is typical of the inaccurate and misleading coverage the Times has given Trump for two years.The arrogance of the Times is matched only by its willful ignorance. It is a disservice to its readers and to what was once a great tradition of serious journalism.
URR here. Christmas Day 1991 would prove an unforgettable one on the political scene. Twenty-five years ago today, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev resigned his office, bowing to the inevitable forces which pulled apart the increasingly coercive union of Soviet states behind the Iron Curtain in Europe. This day twenty five years ago, the Soviet flag flew over the Kremlin for the final time. Gorbachev's stepping down brought an end to the irretrievably brutal and repressive Bolshevik regime which had come in to being during the bloody revolt of 1917.
The Soviet Union had been invaded twice in its existence, in 1921 and again in 1941, wars which took the lives of countless millions. However, the terror of the Stalinist state would be responsible for the deaths of more of its own citizens than were external invaders. Brutal crackdowns on Lenin's NEP-men, the Great Hunger in the Ukraine (a result of agricultural collectivization), and the Great Terror purges of the Army and the intellectuals from 1936-39 are just the major incidences which led to the death of as many as forty million souls at the hands of their own Soviet government.
There had been previous attempts by Soviet satellite states to throw off the Yoke of Moscovite Communism. Hungary in 1956, and Czechoslovakia in 1968, however, were quickly and ruthlessly crushed. Increasingly, though, the near-omnipotence of Soviet Russia eroded. The 1980 establishment of Lech Walesa's Solidarity, the first Soviet-bloc independent trade union, in the Polish shipyard city of Gdansk, represented the first real challenge to Communist authority.
[Quick anecdote: I drew a political cartoon for a school project, showing a candle (labeled "Solidarity") in a room full of powder kegs labeled Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Rumania, and Lithuania, with a massive candle snuffer (with hammer and sickle) coming down on top of the candle flame. The caption was "We can't let this get out of hand, comrade." That cartoon won a district-wide competition. ]
Then in 1989, more fissures in the Iron Curtain appeared. Hungary opened its borders to Austria in August. In November, passage between East and West Germany opened as well. The Berlin Wall officially "fell" on 9-10 November. In mid-November 1989, the so-called "Velvet Revolution" in Czechoslovakia began, signaling a bloodless transition of power and independence from Soviet Russia. In Rumania, the coup was far from bloodless, at least for Nicoale Ceausescu and his wife. They were overthrown and arrested on 21 December, and brought to trial four days later, Christmas Day 1989. A drum-head Court Martial sentenced them to be executed, and they were shot later that afternoon. By the decisive year of 1991, the Soviet Union was in its death throes. The Baltic satellite of Lithuania declared its independence from the Soviet Union in January. The other Baltic States, Latvia and Estonia, followed in August.
Mikhail Gorbachev had attempted to reform the moribund political and economic situation in the Soviet Union beginning in 1985. His policies of Glasnost, the increasing of political freedoms, and Perestroika, an economic move toward market economy, met with fierce opposition and were crippled by decades of a corrupt and inefficient command economy and oppression of political dissent. So, on Christmas Day, 1991, Gorbachev resigned his office, effective the next day. In his speech that next day, Gorbachev laid out his case for reform, and identified succinctly the fundamental and fatal flaw of the Communist system:
I find it important because there have been a lot of controversial, superficial, and unbiased judgments made on this score. Destiny so ruled that when I found myself at the helm of this state it already was clear that something was wrong in this country.
We had a lot of everything -- land, oil and gas, other natural resources -- and there was intellect and talent in abundance. However, we were living much worse than people in the industrialized countries were living and we were increasingly lagging behind them. The reason was obvious even then. This country was suffocating in the shackles of the bureaucratic command system. Doomed to cater to ideology, and suffer and carry the onerous burden of the arms race, it found itself at the breaking point.
All the half-hearted reforms -- and there have been a lot of them -- fell through, one after another. This country was going nowhere and we couldn't possibly live the way we did. We had to change everything radically.
When the Soviet Union collapsed, many in the US, somewhat arrogantly and incredibly shortsightedly, believed that we were witnessing the "end of history". But Fukuyama's assertion of the final triumph of liberal democracy ignored the fact that the Cold War, all 45 years of it, represented a departure from the norm of many centuries, and not as significant a departure as believed. As I once wrote elsewhere, "like a person stepping away from a massive structure whose grandeur is lost in the visible details" some perspective on those events is an absolute must. Soviet Russia was far more Russian than Soviet. Like her Imperial predecessor, she was never as strong nor as weak as she seemed. Indeed, such is true today, as well. For the Russia of today, as well as the Russia of 1930, and of 1830, it is also true that, given the choice between order and freedom, the Russian will choose order every time.
In 1992, I watched a piece on the then-new CNN in which a little old bubushka was being interviewed in St Petersburg. It was during the first really serious economic downturn of Yeltsin's Presidency. She admitted that Stalin was a butcher, and had killed her uncle and her grandparents. But when Stalin was in power, they had toilet paper. And she wanted toilet paper. I remember thinking immediately that her admonitions were positively indecipherable to the Western political thinkers, but to a Russian, she made perfect sense.
So it is true today, as we see, especially in this Administration, a complete lack of understanding of Russia and her history, and why Vladimir Putin is so popular to his people. (Of course, Putin is now considered a brutal autocrat by the American far-left, the same far-left that mourned Fidel Castro as a revolutionary hero....) Not surprisingly, an entire generation of adults have no recollection whatever of the horrors of the Soviet Union, and in the textbooks and classrooms of America's education system, those horrors are minimized, misrepresented, or ignored entirely. Instead, the evils of capitalism are constantly trumpeted, and are often represented as being far worse than the Bolshevism of the Soviet state. Indeed, with those in the far-left that were (and remain) out-and-out communist sympathizers, the Soviet Union was no different than the United States, and is often recalled with a touch of nostalgia, despite the tens of millions of victims.
Yet, to those who lived through those dark and dangerous days on either side of the Iron Curtain, the collapse of the Soviet Union on Christmas Day 1991 was a longed-for gift of incomparable treasure. And it was a quarter century ago, today.
Secret CIA assessment says Russia was trying to help Trump win White House
So says WAPO. And the Obama Administration. (URR here.) Actually, Drudge beat me to the punch in calling the CIA assessments "fake". As with most of the agitprop produced by the Obama Administration and its minions, including sycophant mainstream media fops, whatever "truth" may be contained in these assertions is both debatable and nearly irrelevant.
The article admits that the alleged Russian "hacking" of the DNC cannot be directly tied to Russia. But, of course, the article states with near certainty that it was agents acting on behalf of Russia who were responsible. While this may (and I emphasize MAY) be empirically true, the untold portion of that story is that many of these "agents" are also in the employ of the US government, covertly, and work for other entities such as Wikileaks, other foreign governments, or business interests. That is, in the Black Hat community, how they make their money. And they make a lot of it.
And much more is left untold. The hue and cry over Russia providing DNC e-mails to Wikileaks for release in order to influence the election neglects to mention that many of the Wikileaks e-mails regarding Hillary Clinton's State Department time show thousands upon thousands of leaks and compromise of classified information, and a trail of influence-peddling via the Clinton Foundation that would put any recorded conviction under RICO to shame. It also fails to mention that Hillary Clinton expunged some thirty thousand such items of correspondence, directing that the unauthorized server on which they were stored be erased with a sophisticated application (Bleachbit) not readily available to you and me. Despite the fact that this deletion was done AFTER that evidence was under active subpoena. And all the while she acted the innocent bumbler whose knowledge of computers was rudimentary at best.
President Obama, for his part, claims that Russian interference, if indeed true, somehow "crosses a new threshold". Either he is startlingly ignorant Soviet Russia's intrusion in virtually every US national and Congressional election from the 1920s to the present, which I doubt in the extreme, or Obama is once again being deliberately misleading to the American people. Such misrepresentation has been a staple of Obama's far-left Alinskyite propaganda campaign, and is indistinguishable from the lies told on his behalf by the beholden media. (See: "If you like your doctor", et. al., under Obamacare affordable, or "Benghazi protesters", or myriad other such subjects.)
In a parting shot as he sees his "legacy" falling apart like wet cardboard, Obama wants to lend his fading influence to the idea that the 2016 Presidential Election wasn't really valid, and seems to intend a "deep dive" into the supposed Russian influence (at taxpayer expense, of course) to prove so. O, but were he so interested in Fast and Furious, the rise of ISIS, Benghazi, the Clinton Foundation, Hillary's classified e-mails, the IRS scandal, the EPA scandal, the DOJ subpoena scandal, San Bernadino, Orlando, Fort Hood, Chattanooga, etc. But alas. On such matters as those, he is conspicuously uncurious, as is the Mainstream Media.
So we will be told by Obama how Russia "stole" the 2016 Presidential Election. Sans anything resembling proof, of course. With CIA Director Brennan's seconding of the motion. Trust anything they say, assert, or point to as salient fact at your own risk. Because, though they and their fellow travelers decry "fake news", they are the very purveyors of the product. And even after the results of the 2016 election show so powerfully that a great deal of the American people are onto them, they seem intent on avoiding reality, and on trying to convince the rest of us to do the same.
Oh, one more thing. I don't believe Benjamin Netanyahu had to dive very deep to find Barack Obama's fingerprints all over US attempts to influence Israel's elections. Seems ol' Bath House Barry and his merry band of Bolsheviks couldn't pick a winner there, either.
So, last night, a NAVADMIN message started making the rounds on Facebook. And soon, CNO Richardson confirmed that it was genuine.
The Navy is performing a brisk about-face on a controversial plan that shelved ratings titles for enlisted sailors, according to a message Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson that was set for release on Wednesday morning but was leaked on social media on Tuesday night.
The NAVADMIN message cancels a late September decision in which service leadership announced it would no longer address sailors by their rating – a more than 200-year-old tradition in which enlisted were known by their job title – and instead refer to enlisted sailors with the generic titles of Seaman (E-1 to E-3) or Petty Officer (E-4 to E-6).
That Richardson and the senior leadership at the Navy even considered this shows a stunning disconnect from the sailors actually on the deckplates. Instead, they spent far too much time worrying about SecNav Mabus’ insane social engineering priorities, and trying to eliminate “man” from all the various ratings and job descriptions, even as there was literally no on in the fleet, male or female, calling for such.
I’m no fan of Donald Trump, but this reversal is surely a concession that the Obama era is over, and that presumptive future SecDef James Mattis will have priorities other than tossing out over 200 years of tradition.
Does the Navy’s enlisted personnel management system need improvement? I’ll leave that for you squids in the audience to argue. I suspect there actually are some good ideas in the plan. But this whole mess could have been avoided easily. And wasn’t.
So, yeah. Russia and Turkey had only just achieved a rapproachment after the Turkish Air Force shot down a Russian Su-24 last year.
And wire reports are saying the shooter was a Turkish policeman.
Between Russian war efforts in Syria, and the increasing Islamicist tendency in Turkey, things might get a little too interesting in the region.
And let’s not forget that Turkey is a NATO member. Go look up Article 5.
A Chinese Navy warship has seized an underwater drone deployed by an American oceanographic vessel in international waters in the South China Sea, triggering a formal diplomatic protest from the United States and a demand for its return, a U.S. defense official told Reuters on Friday.
The incident, the first of its kind in recent memory, took place on Dec. 15 northwest of Subic Bay off the Philippines just as the USNS Bowditch, an oceanographic survey ship, was about to retrieve the unmanned, underwater vehicle (UUV), the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
"The UUV was lawfully conducting a military survey in the waters of the South China Sea," the official said.
This is, of course, a deliberate provocation by the Chinese. How closely it is tied to US presidential politics, who knows?
The Chinese have been behaving obnoxiously in the region for some time now.
Mind you, this is a measured provocation- note that seizing property is quite different from seizing personnel.
As to the Chinese response to our demarche, I suspect the reply will be something along the lines of 'or what?"
Personally, my thinking is, if the PLAN wants to play a little rough with our oceanographic research ships, we should advise those masters to ram the Chinese.
Rubbin' is racin'.