Posts Tagged ‘military’

Massive flash over Urals in Russia unexplained

by Douglas J. Hagmann on Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

19 November 2014: Remember the Chelyabinsk meteor that reportedly exploded in the statosphere in February 2013? The impact wave from that incident damaged several buildings, blew out thousands of windows, and injured about 1,200 people, a few seriously. On November 14, 2014, a year and a half later, it appears that another similar explosion occurred in the Urals. An extremely bright orange flash lit up the sky in Russia’s Sverdlovsk region in the Urals.

Falling bolide… or something else? We’re keeping our eyes on these incidents based on the military tensions. Read it all at RT HERE – also includes photos and video.

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China! China! China!

by Alan Caruba on Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

This is article 1253 of 1256 in the topic International
By Alan Caruba
For two days there was the usual news and analysis about President Obama’s summit meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. We are going to hear that China will bump the U.S. from first place among the great economies of the world, challenge us in Asia, and will be the next great global power.
Secretary of State John Kerry recently said that “the U.S.-China relationship is the most consequential in the world today and it will do much to determine the shape of the 21st century.” When a nation has 1.35 billion people it is going to get a fair amount of attention, but that does not mean the current predictions will come true. The reason? Those 1.35 billion people.
There is no denying that China’s rise to become the largest exporter over the past three decades has been impressive. It is expected to become the largest economy and militarily powerful as well, but Peter Zeihan is a geopolitical consultant and author of “The Accidental Superpower” (the U.S., not China) reminds us that the “China mythos is ingrained nowhere more deeply than in the American psyche—the same psyche that was recently convinced of the ‘obvious and inevitable’ rise of the Soviet Union and Japan.”
Both the former Soviet Union—now the Russian Federation—and Japan are in decline for a variety of reasons, but demography, the age of their population, plays a major role. When a nation’s population becomes top heavy with elderly people, but does not have an expanding younger generation, its economy begins to shrink for lack of a labor force.
The other factor that determines a nation’s success is its geography. Zeihan reminds us that “China is a land of failed empires and shattered hopes” and part of its problems stem from the fact that it is really three very distinct geographies in the north, the central region, and the south. They could be separate nations in themselves.
I have always thought that the supreme irony of China is that it adopted a capitalist economic system while remaining politically communist. Why? Because communism doesn’t work and the collapse of the former Soviet Union will be China’s fate as well.
As President Obama meets with President Jinping, both will be doing so with significant domestic problems. Obama’s include the midterm elections that returned power in the Senate, along with the House, to the Republican Party. It is widely interpreted as a massive rejection of the U.S. President, leaving him weakened in the eyes of the world.
As for President Jinping, Zeihan notes that “Even once a Chinese leader succeeds in rising to the top of his local heap—or even commanding the entirety of China—he then must begin the even longer and more painful slop of purging all those who have visions that clash with his own.”
A look at the map and a thought about its huge population would make anyone think it was an economic colossus immune to problems, but the numbers tell another story. “The real surprise of China is that the north, central and south account for just half of China’s 1.35 billion people.

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At what point do people have the right to defend themselves: Paul Begala misquotes Joni Ernst and bizarrely misinterprets the rest of her quote

by John Lott on Saturday, October 25th, 2014

This is article 586 of 592 in the topic Gun Rights

Iowa Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst made this statement in 2012:

“I do believe in the right to carry, and I believe in the right to defend myself and my family — whether it’s from an intruder, or whether it’s from a government, should they decide that my rights are no longer important.”

Paul Begala, always one to misinterpret what someone says when it serves the right political cause, has this comment:

This notion — that the Second Amendment gives citizens the right to fire upon federal officials, or their local police, or sheriffs or even U.S. military personnel — is common among right wingers. But it’s one thing to hear, say, goofball Ted Nugent honk off that way. (The Nuge, by the way, has boasted about how he avoided taking up arms in defense of his country during Vietnam.) It is another to know that someone with those loopy views is one step away from the United States Senate.

The Washington Monthly blogger Ed Kilgore has asked the right question — the one any Iowa voter should be putting to Ms. Ernst: “Since you brought it up, exactly what circumstances would justify you shooting a police officer or a soldier in the head?”

Good question, Ed. Is it OK to do so if, say, the Supreme Court stops the counting of votes so as to give the presidency to the candidate who got fewer votes? I don’t think so.

How about segregation? If ever American citizens were oppressed by their government it was African-Americans under Jim Crow. Thank God we had Dr. King and not Ms. Ernst leading the civil rights movement. . . .

Clearly, with just over a week to go before the election, we have officially entered the political silly season.  First, I should note that Begala misquotes Ernst in a small but very significant way.  Ernst talks about “a government” taking away her rights, not “the government” as Begala claims.  Begala’s misquote makes it appear as if she is referring specifically to our government, when she is obviously referring broadly to governments (including a foreign power).

In any case, Ernst isn’t just talking about one right or even some rights that people have, but all rights.    She didn’t say if the government takes away “one of our rights” or “some of our rights,” but clearly “my rights.”  Presumably, Begala would be upset if Americans tried to fight back against a foreign or domestic totalitarian government that would tried to take away all their rights.  But others would think that it is reasonable.  Begala asks bizarre questions of whether it is OK for us to shot federal officials if they take away segregation.  Seriously? Is this what Begala thinks anyone would define as all their rights?

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One of the Canadian shooters, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, recent convert to Islam, long criminal record

by John Lott on Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

This is article 796 of 800 in the topic Terrorism
Michael Zehaf-Bibeau’s name was apparently previously known as Michael Joseph Hall prior to converting to Islam.  He had been designated a high-risk traveler and that his passport had recently been confiscated.  Zehaf-Bibeau had a long criminal history with arrests for robbery, making threats, and various drug offenses.  He served time in prison on at least a couple of occasions, but he was still able to obtain a gun.

This attack comes on the heels of another recent muslim convert who used his car to run over two soldiers in Canada, killing one of them.

Terrorist ideology inspired a recent convert to Islam to drive his car into two Canadian soldiers, killing one, before he was shot dead by police, authorities said on Tuesday.
Quebec police spokesman Guy Lapointe said the act was deliberate and that one of the two soldiers was in uniform. There were no other suspects.

Public safety minister Steven Blaney called it a “terrible act of violence against our country, against our military and against our values” that was “clearly linked to terrorist ideology”.

Police identified the dead military member as Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, 53.
The suspect, Martin Couture Rouleau, 25, was known to authorities and recently had his passport seized, police commissioner Bob Paulson said. . . .

Sadly, but not surprisingly given these two attacks on soldiers, the Canadian government is urging members of the military not to wear their uniforms when they are off duty.  In the attack today, the ceremonial guard who was in uniform was definitely targeted.

In Jerusalem, an Arab terrorist rammed his car into a crowd, killing an infant and wounded several others.

A three-month-old girl, identified by her grandfather as Chaya Zissel, was killed and several US citizens and Israelis were wounded Wednesday evening when a convicted Palestinian terrorist from the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan rammed his vehicle into a crowd of people in the capital. . . .

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Killing Confidence in Our Government

by Alan Caruba on Sunday, October 19th, 2014

This is article 465 of 468 in the topic Government Corruption
By Alan Caruba
What has been the over-riding theme of life in America since Barack Obama became President in 2008?
It has been the continued loss of confidence Americans have regarding various elements of the federal government. From the Centers for Disease Control, the Veterans Administration, the Secret Service, to the Department of Justice and the Internal Revenue Service, these and other agencies have been tainted in ways that have turned his two terms into a litany of scandals and failures.
Obama is a President for whom politics is the sole reason against which every decision is made.

The latest example was the naming of an Ebola Czar. “Sources confirm to Fox News that President Obama plans to name Ron Klain, a longtime political hand with no apparent medical or health background.” In the past, Klain has served as chief of staff to Al Gore and Joe Biden. Does this make you feel any better about the Ebola threat?

I think that most Americans—not the “low information” ignorant ones—are experiencing a generalized depression about the nation these days. It’s a sense of weariness because our paychecks don’t stretch enough in the supermarket where the cost of food, particularly meat and fish, is soaring.
We wonder about the quality of education our children or grandchildren are receiving. It’s poor when compared to other nations and it undermines a belief in America’s exceptionalism.
In growing numbers younger Americans are choosing not to marry because of the costs involved and because we live in a society that no longer frowns on a couple living together; nearly half of marriages end in divorce. And then there’s same-sex marriage, a concept that was unthinkable not that long ago and for centuries in all societies.
We’re now six years into the Great Recession thanks to a White House that thought that, if the government spent $834 billion on top of the national debt, it would somehow “stimulate” the economy but government spending did not relieve Americans during the Great Depression, generate new jobs or achieve anything else that this tried-and-failed liberal theory was said to do. Who was in charge of Obama’s “stimulus” program? Ron Klain, the new Ebola Czar.
Cutting taxes, slowing and reducing regulations, and generally getting out of the way to allow people to start or expand their businesses works, but the White House went the other direction.

As an October 16 Wall Street Journal editorial noted, “Millions of American families haven’t had a raise in after-inflation incomes in years, but in Washington times are flush…the U.S. federal government rolled up record revenues of $3.013 trillion.” Individual income tax receipts rose by 5.9%, along with payroll taxes and corporate income taxes—very nearly the highest in the world—increased 16% to $321 billion.

Only the naïve or ignorant believe that the government knows how to spend our money better than we do, but liberals—Democrats—do.

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Obama administration scrapped 16 aircraft that cost US taxpayers $500 million for $32,000, apparently didn’t consider alternative

by John Lott on Sunday, October 19th, 2014

This is article 526 of 526 in the topic Government Spending
From Reuters:

A U.S. government watchdog agency is asking the Air Force to explain why it decided to destroy 16 aircraft initially bought for the Afgan air force and turn them into $32,000 of scrap metal instead of finding other ways to salvage nearly $500 million in U.S. funds spent on the program. 

John Sopko, special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, asked Air Force Secretary Deborah James to document all decisions made about the destruction of the 16 C-27J aircraft that were stored at Kabul International Airport for years . . .

“I am concerned that the officials responsible for planning and executing the scrapping of the planes may not have considered other possible alternatives in order to salvage taxpayer dollars.” Sopko said in a letter to James that was dated Oct. 3 and released Thursday by his office.

Sopko also asked if any other parts of the planes had been sold before they were destroyed by the Defense Logistics Agency.

Sopko’s office has been investigating the matter since December 2013 after numerous non-profit groups and military officials raised questions about funds wasted on the planes. . . .

 

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President Ebola

by Alan Caruba on Sunday, October 5th, 2014

This is article 692 of 698 in the topic Healthcare
By Alan Caruba
What does it tell you when Britain and France have stopped flights to and from the nations in Africa where Ebola has become a threat and the United States has not taken a similar measure?
What does it tell you when the President sends 3,000 U.S. troops on a “humanitarian” mission to West Africa? It tells me he has put the U.S. at risk if any or a portion of these troops return after having been infected.
As always history has lessons that cannot be ignored. In 1918 and 1919, there was a pandemic of the Spanish influenza that caught nations by surprise, infecting an estimated 500 million people and killing between 50 and a 100 million of them in three waves. It began in the U.S. in March 1918 at a crowded army camp, Fort Riley, Kansas.
As these troops, living in close proximity to one another, were transported between camps, the disease spread quickly even before they were assembled on East Coast ports on route to France. They in turn bought it to the trenches of war in Europe.
The second wave struck in 1918 at a naval facility in Boston and at the Camp Devens military base in Massachusetts. October 1918 was the most deadly month in which 195,000 Americans died. The Harvard University Open Library notes that the supply of health care workers, morticians, and grave diggers dwindled and mass graves were often dug to bury the dead. There were subsequent outbreaks in 1957 and 1968.
And, at some point, 3,000 U.S. troops will be returning from West Africa to military facilities here at home.
Thus far we have been fortunate to have identified the case of the Ebola victim who had entered the nation from Liberia, but there are few guarantees that more will not be found or deterred. The Oct 4 Washington Post reports that “Since July, hospitals around the country have reported more than 100 cases involving Ebola-like symptoms to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
Largely unknown is that 90,000 Americans die annually from preventable infections they acquire while in hospitals!
The concern about illnesses entering the U.S. is particularly true of our southern border which remains porous. Thank goodness Texas has taken measures to tighten its border security, but I am reminded that the Obama administration sued Arizona when it attempted to increase its security against the influx of illegal aliens.
Obama is the President who engineered an invasion of thousands of children and others from Latin America and then distributed them to various states without informing their governors or other authorities of who and where they were. Not surprisingly, in recent months cases of an enterovirus respiratory disease affecting school-age children have been reported around the nation.
Obama has no regard for the sovereignty of the nation or its immigration laws.
This is the same President who has made it clear that he intends to extend amnesty by executive order to an estimated eleven million illegal aliens, but not until after the midterm elections in November. I doubt that he has the constitutional power to do this. I hope the U.S. Congress has the means and the will to negate this.
The U.S.

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The U.S. is Becoming a Weaker Nation

by Alan Caruba on Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

This is article 1245 of 1256 in the topic International
By Alan Caruba
The news that the U.S. Air Force, joined at long last by some of the Arab nations most threatened by the Islamic State (ISIS), began bombing their headquarters and military sites in Syria was long overdue, but welcome. It took time because Obama had originally dismissed ISIS as a threat.
It no doubt took time to get Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia to team with the U.S., but missing from the action is Turkey that borders Syria and Egypt. Turkey has become increasingly Islamist, but appears determined to stay out of the war with ISIS. By initially refusing to provide arms to Egypt, Obama drove it into the waiting arms of the Soviet Union, but has since reversed its policy and is seeking to woe Egypt back as an ally.
In a September 23rd column, Bret Stephens of The Wall Street Journal opined that “…every President gets things wrong. Mr. Obama is not exceptional in those respects. Where he stands apart is in his combination of ideological rigidity and fathomless ignorance. What does the President know? The simple answer, and maybe the truest, is: not a lot.”
Obama’s combination of ideology and ignorance is analyzed in an extraordinary book by Douglas E. Schoen and Melik Kaylan, “The Russia-China Axis: The New Cold War and America’s Crisis of Leadership.” It provides a fact-filled look at his failure to provide leadership to a nation that other nations have looked to for leadership and protection since the end of World War II.
Indeed, in addition to the ISIS videos of Americans and others being beheaded, it has taken the outspoken criticism of retired U.S. generals to mobilize public opinion to support a return to the battlefield. It is a battlefield that Obama has fled at every opportunity, pulling out all of our troops from Iraq and planning to do the same in Afghanistan.
In the September 14th issue of Defense News, General John Michael Loh, retired, a former Air Force vice chief of state and Air Combat Command commander, said, “ The right solution is neither exclusively boots on the ground airpower. The right solution is a one-two punch: a massive air campaign followed by a ground force offensive to defeat ISIS. If executed the way airmen and soldiers have worked together in the past, most notably in Desert Storm, the result is not just a decisive victory, quickly and with few casualties, but the basis for deterrence of any ISIS-like movement in the future.”
“The Russia-China Axis” delves deep into the failure of both the Presidency and Congress to address the threats to our nation around the world. “As China and Russia beef up”, the authors note regarding our military expenditure, “Congress is set to cut nearly $1 trillion from the defense budget over the next ten years” and while the full brunt of those cuts is a ways off, the military is already taking it on the chin thanks to the cuts negotiated during the sequestration of January 2013.”
Citing the warnings of Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, “What he and others have found so far is alarming; impaired combat-troop readiness; inability to modernize equipment and weapons and technology systems; and the need, potentially, to slash as many as five of the Air Force’s tactical aircraft squadrons.”
“Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warns that the effects of sequestration alone will leave the United States with our smallest ground fighting force since 1940, the smallest naval fleet since 1915, and the ‘smallest tactical fighter force in the history of the Air Force.’”
While the headlines of the strikes against Syrian ISIS locations are exciting, in addition to our Defense Secretaries, we need to pay heed to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen.

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The deadly jihad attack on Camp Bastion: Two years later

by Michelle Malkin on Monday, September 15th, 2014

This is article 792 of 800 in the topic Terrorism

Today is the 2nd anniversary of the deadly attack on Camp Bastion in Afghanistan.

Regular readers of this website have been fully informed about the horrible jihad siege on the base, which occurred three days after the Benghazi attack. But for most Americans, Camp Bastion holds no significance.

Two years later, there has been little remembrance and scant justice for the families of the 2 fallen American hero Marines who died in the attack and the 17 servicemen who were wounded.

Please do not let their sacrifice go in vain.

Refresher:

Three days after the bloody 9/11 siege on our consulate in Benghazi, the Taliban waged an intricately coordinated, brutal attack on Camp Bastion in Afghanistan. The murderous jihadists released video exactly one month ago this week showing off their training exercises in preparation for the assault. Where are the questions?

Where’s the accountability? Where’s the Obama administration? Where’s the press? Where’s the outrage?

Two heroic U.S. Marines were killed in the battle. Their names — Lt. Col. Christopher Raible and Sgt. Bradley Atwell – have not been uttered publicly by the commander in chief. Their arrival back in the U.S., in flag-draped coffins, was not broadcast on network TV. But their brothers-in-arms did not and will not forget. And neither must we.

On September 20, John Gresham of the Defense Media Network wrote a scathing detailed breakdown of this little-noticed terrorist attack on our troops. He called it “arguably the worst day in USMC aviation history since the Tet Offensive of 1968.” Eight irreplaceable aircraft were destroyed or put out of action by Taliban warriors dressed in U.S. combat fatigues — amounting to “approximately 7 percent of the total flying USMC Harrier fleet,” Gresham reported.

His summary is bone chilling: “A Harrier squadron commander is dead, along with another Marine. Another nine personnel have been wounded, and the nearby Marines at Camp Freedom are now without effective fixed-wing air support. The USMC’s response to this disaster will be a telling report card on its leadership and organizational agility.”

On September 21, the left-leaning magazine The Atlantic published an article on the Camp Bastion attack titled “The U.S. Suffered Its Worst Airpower Loss Since Vietnam Last Week and No One Really Noticed.” A few right-leaning blogs raised troubling questions about preparedness and security.

“How did this band of radicals even manage to approach a highly advanced multi-national military base without being detected, much less force their way inside en masse?” asked Kim Zigfeld of the American Thinker. “How were they able to attack so quickly and efficiently that, even though nearly every one of them was killed in the effort, they were able to harm the mighty leathernecks more than they had been in half a century?”

National Review’s Jonathan Foreman wondered whether Pakistan was behind the attack. “It seems likely that the special forces of a professional army planned the raid, and trained, advised and led the raiders — that is if they did not actually take part in it. Those special forces would, of course, be those of Pakistan,” Foreman posited.

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The War Neither Obama, Nor Any Other Nation Wants to Fight

by Alan Caruba on Sunday, September 14th, 2014

This is article 1241 of 1256 in the topic International

By Alan Caruba

Two trends have emerged since President Obama’s September 10 speech regarding his intention to “degrade and destroy” the Islamic State.
One is the understanding that he will not commit U.S. troops as “boots on the ground” to fight a force estimated variously between 10,000 and 30,000 depending on intelligence guesswork.
The other trend is the reluctance of any other nation to engage in the warfare that would be necessary to defeat the terrorist army occupying northern Iraq and a swath of Syria.
This was initially signaled at the NATO meeting in Wales and, according to a September 12 page one report in The Wall Street Journal, “A day after President Barack Obama outlined a strategy to combat Islamic State militants, Washington’s international allies didn’t make clear how far they would go to join military operations even as they pledged support.”
Who would support a President who said he had no intention of being “dragged back into a war in Iraq”?
That is not a “strategy.” It’s surrender. It is an admission of a lack of intent to confront what will surely emerge as a major threat to the Middle East and the West.
Word Games
The Obama administration was initially reluctant to even call it a war. It was a “counter-intelligence operation” according to Secretary of State Kerry.  The President and his administration have spent six and a half years labeling terrorist attacks as anything other than acts of war. But 9/11 was an act of war.
The killing of soldiers at Fort Hood was called “workplace violence” when it was clearly a terrorist act. Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told us that the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya that killed our ambassador and three security personnel was just a bunch of militants angered by a video no one ever saw.
In Iraq—a nation now in name only—its military fled from combat with ISIS. The result has been a demonstration of the barbarity of ISIS, killing Muslims and “infidels” alike in large numbers. The videos of the beheadings of two American journalists sent the U.S. a message that dramatically altered the simmering reluctance of Americans to make war on the Islamic State. The beheading of a British citizen will no doubt echo the U.S. population’s desire for revenge and a full-scale war on ISIS.

Middle East expert, Walid Phares, says ISIS’s message is that it has concluded that neither the U.S. nor Great Britain will engage it with troops, preferring only air strikes. No military expert believes that will be sufficient to defeat ISIS.

Turkey, that shares a border with Syria, Iraq and Iran, is fearful for the lives of nearly fifty of its diplomats taken hostage in Mosul when it was captured in June. They have cause, but Turkey has been increasingly Islamic in its outlook for nearly a decade, shedding its secular approach to governance. It has refused to allow the U.S. to use bases there to fight ISIS.
In Europe, Germany said it would not take part in any airstrikes against ISIS. Other EU nations will likely follow its lead. In a similar fashion, Arab nations have not indicated any intention to actively—militarily—participate in what appears to be a “coalition” in name only.
A post by Steve Eichler, CEO of Tea Party, Inc.

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