Winston Churchill III

Winston Churchill III, the grandson of THE Winston Churchill, gave an interesting speech a month ago at the Jewish National Fund of Australia's annual dinner at Crown, Melbourne.

Some excerpts, but it's well worth reading it all:
We must all play our part in combating intolerance and racism, including anti-Semitism, wherever it rears its ugly head, and redouble our efforts to extirpate this cancer that afflicts almost every land and which, tragically, shows no sign of abating.

For more than 40 years I have reported and observed the Middle East scene. As a young war-correspondent twenty-six years of age, I found myself in Israel in mid-May of 1967. I happened to be with David Ben-Gurion, former Prime Minister of Israel, interviewing him at dawn one morning in his suite at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem when - as I recall about 6.50am - Kol Israel interrupted their programs to announce that President Nasser of Egypt had closed the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping - cutting, at a stroke, Israel's oil lifeline.

Ben-Gurion, with a gesture of the hand, ordered his assistant to switch off the radio and, shaking his great mane of white hair gravely, declared with sorrow:

"This means war. I am very frightened. Not for Israel, for she will survive - we cannot afford otherwise - but for the younger generation. It is always the best of their generation who never return."
Turning to the situation in the Middle East today, the recent declaration by the Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, that the Holocaust never happened, and that Israel is a “tumour” to be “wiped off the map”, can only be a matter of the gravest concern, linked as it is with his decision to remove the UN seals from Iran's nuclear research facilities and press ahead with its program to develop nuclear weapons and delivery systems.

It is by no means impossible that this reckless action will provoke an Israeli, or even American air-strike to take out Iran's budding nuclear capability, as the Israeli Air Force so brilliantly did in 1981 with Saddam's Osirak reactor, named after the Egyptian mythological God of Death.

In such circumstances the political temperature in the Middle East would go stratospheric; Iran might sink a couple of super-tankers, closing the Straits of Hormuz and the price of oil could well go through $200 per barrel.
I wish to congratulate the JNF of Australia on your important initiative to raise funds to relocate half a million Israelis from the narrow coastal strip adjacent to Tel Aviv, to the under populated region of the Negev.

This is a project that is not only environmentally desirable but - given the great vulnerability of Israel's densely concentrated population to a potential nuclear attack - strategically sound. While hoping for the best, it always makes good sense to prepare for the worst.

As you may imagine, I am deeply proud to be Winston Churchill's grandson and to have the immense privilege of bearing the name of the man who, more than any other individual, turned the tide of war in the greatest and most terrible conflict known to man.

You may say I am biased - which of course I am - but I firmly believe that, but for Winston Churchill, Great Britain would have surrendered to Nazi Germany in that fateful summer of 1940, when all effective resistance to the Nazi power in continental Europe was coming to an end.

Though the situation seemed hopeless, Churchill, in the words of that great CBS Radio reporter, Edward R. Murrow - made famous by President John F Kennedy – “mobilised the English language and sent it into battle”.

Telling his fellow countrymen that he had “nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat,” he persuaded them to fight on for eighteen months alone, but for the strong, unstinting support of Australia, Canada and the other dominions of the crown.
But today a new challenge confronts us: Extremist Islam has declared war on the rest of the world, as we see from their ruthless attacks - overwhelmingly targeted at innocent civilians - with the outrage of 9/11, the bombings in Madrid, in Bali, in London and most recently, in Jordan.

Meanwhile the Fundamentalists are doing all in their power to mobilise against us the large Muslim communities living in our midst. There today are an estimated seven million Muslims in North America; nearly half a million in Australia, while in the European Union, the Muslim community is estimated at 20 million, including nearly 2 million in Britain.

The scale of the problem confronting Europe today is epitomized by France, which has a Muslim community of some 6 million, or 10% of its population. But, taking the population aged 20 and below, that figure rockets to 30%, such is the birth rate among the immigrant communities.

In other words, within one further generation, France will have become an Islamic country - a truly awesome prospect.

It is clear that the writing is on the wall for Judeo-Christian Europe, as we have known it over the past 2000 years. Why are the alarm-bells not ringing? Can it be that we would sooner commit national suicide than risk being labeled 'politically incorrect'?
It is deeply worrying the extent to which - unlike all other categories of immigrants - the Islamic communities are reluctant to bond with their fellow countrymen and women, while harbouring a separate, indeed alien agenda of their own.

While the US imports its bombers from Saudi Arabia, and Spain from North Africa, it is a deeply disturbing feature of the 7/7 attacks on London that our bombers were home-grown - a fact that should cause us to ponder, swift and hard, just where we have gone wrong. America and Britain are now experiencing what Israel has lived with for years: the curse of the suicide bomber.

While on Australian soil, I wish to pay tribute to your Prime Minister, John Howard. Unique among Western leaders, he has had the courage to stand up for those values - freedom, democracy, liberalism and tolerance - that inspire our Western democracies, bluntly endorsing the view that those who would prefer to live under Sharia law, rather than Parliamentary law, should pack their bags and go.
Intriguingly the dangers of extremist Islam were forseen by Winston Churchill all of 85 years ago, as I discovered to my amazement, while compiling my most recent book Never Give In! The best of Winston Churchill's Speeches.
On 14 June 1921, hard on the heels of the Cairo Conference, at which he presided over the re-shaping of the Middle East, including the creation of modern day Iraq. He warned the House of Commons:

“A large number of (Saudi Arabia's King) Bin Saud's followers belong to the Wahabi sect, a form of Mohammedanism which bears, roughly speaking, the same relationship to orthodox Islam as the most militant form of Calvinism would have borne to Rome in the fiercest times of (Europe's) religious wars.

“The Wahabis profess a life of exceeding austerity, and what they practice themselves they rigorously enforce on others. They hold it as an article of duty, as well as of faith, to kill all who do not share their opinions and to make slaves of their wives and children. Women have been put to death in Wahabi villages for simply appearing in the streets.

“It is a penal offence to wear a silk garment. Men have been killed for smoking a cigarette and, as for the crime of alcohol, the most energetic supporter of the temperance cause in this country falls far behind them. Austere, intolerant, well-armed, and blood- thirsty, in their own regions the Wahabis are a distinct factor which must be taken into account, and they have been and still are, very dangerous to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina ….”

In Churchill's day, of course, the viciousness and cruelty of the Wahabis was confined to the Saudi Arabia peninsula, and their atrocities were directed exclusively against their fellow Muslims, whom they held to be heretics for not adhering to the Wahabi creed - but not anymore.

Today the combination of the oil wealth of Saudi Arabia and the supine weakness of the Saudi royal family which - as the price for not having their own behaviour subjected to scrutiny and public criticism by these austere extremist clerics - has bank-rolled the Wahabi fundamentalist movement, and given these fanatical zealots a global reach to their vicious creed of hatred and extremism.
Whether the decision to invade Iraq was right or wrong, wise of foolish, is immaterial.

The reality is that Iraq today is the epicenter of the Islamic militants' assault on the West. They are determined that democracy shall not succeed in Iraq. For our part, we cannot allow it to fail.
What has happened to the mighty United States? Is she going soft? Are the elected representatives of the American people really ready to surrender to those who threaten their homeland - indeed their civilian population - with death and destruction?

I pray that they are not, and I call to mind the words of my Grandfather, addressing the Canadian Parliament on New Year's Day 1941, in which - referring to the British nation dwelling around the globe, but it applies equally to our American cousins today - he declared:

“We are a tough and hardy people! We have not traveled across the centuries, across the oceans, across the mountains and across the prairies because we're made of sugar candy!”

In conclusion, I would remind you all of Winston Churchill's words to the House of commons on becoming Prime Minister in May 1940, which applies every bit as much to the situation that confronts us today:

"You ask: What is our aim? I can answer in one word. It is Victory. Victory at all costs, Victory in spite of all terror. However long or hard the road may be; for without Victory there is no survival."
Let us fight the good fight - and let us fight it together! How pleased my Grandfather would be to know that - 40 years on from his death - the Anglo-American alliance is still strong and that British, Australian and American soldiers tonight as we are gathered here, stand shoulder-to-shoulder in Iraq and in Afghanistan, confronting the peril of the jour!

Long may we stand together! God bless Australia!
Of course, the Alexander Method solution to this Gordian Knot would be to simply separate the Wahabi Saudis from "their" oil fields, the wealth of which is used to churn out Sunni jihadi footsoldiers primarily in the madrassas of Pakistan.

After using their support to neuter Shiite Iran, of course.

Four Modest Proposals

Brilliant sci-fi author Dan Simmons has Four Modest Proposals on how to handle Iraq.

Pick one!

Useful to read in relation also to this analysis on the Surge from embedded reporter Micheal Totten.

Totten also observes,
Only just now has it finally started. It can’t yet have failed.

Fun With Islamic Rage Boy

Remember Islamic Rage Boy?

We first saw him here, protesting the Pope:

Recently some sharp-eyed observers noticed that same mug showing up in several photo-ops of islamic rage, i.e. he's a "professional" protester and part of the islamic propaganda campaign, like Green Helmet Guy.
In each case, these bloggers have engaged in the kind of probing, contextual, fact-based (if occasionally speculative) media criticism I have always asked of my students. And the results have been devastating: news photos and video shown to be miscaptioned, radically altered, or staged (and worse, re-staged) for the camera. Surely “green helmet guy,” “double smoke,” “the missiles that were actually flares,” “the wedding mannequin from nowhere,” the “magical burning Koran,” the “little girl who actually fell off a swing” and “keep filming!” will now enter the pantheon of shame of photojournalism.

A few photo-illusions are probably due to the lust for the most sensational or striking-looking image—that is, more aesthetic bias than political prejudice. Also, many photographers know that war victims are money shots and some will break the rules of the profession to cash in. But true as well is that local stringers and visiting anchors alike seem to have succumbed either to lens-enabled Stockholm syndrome or accepted being the uncredited Hezbollah staff photographer so as to be able to file stories and images in militia-controlled areas.
So said a photojournalism professor last year. Add to the list, Islamic Rage Boy!

Evidence and full roundup of Islamic Rage Boy is here.

Even Christopher Hitchens wrote about the truth behind these enemy propaganda efforts, which are transmitted to us by gullible and/or willing wire services:
We may have to put up with the Rage Boys of the world, but we ought not to do their work for them, and we must not cry before we have been hurt.
Rage Boy keenly looks forward to anger, while we worriedly anticipate trouble, and fret about etiquette, and prepare the next retreat. If taken to its logical conclusion, this would mean living at the pleasure of Rage Boy, and that I am not prepared to do.
The appropriate response, of course, is mockery.

See the photoshop fun they're having with Islamic Rage Boy Parodies!

(above parody found at Pajamas Media)

Totten has more analysis on what MSM photos hide and distort about the Middle East as well:
The previous year Lebanon’s Syrian-installed President Emile Lahoud remarked that the March 14 rally against his patrons was tiny. March 14 responded by saying Zoom Out so the world could see how many people actually showed up to protest downtown.

Here’s the zoomed out picture.

That crowd was genuinely enormous. That’s Martyr’s Square, the area Hezbollah wasn’t allowed to even set foot in. Almost a third of the country’s population showed up that day.

When you zoom out the cameras on Hezbollah, Rage Boy, and the masked men of Fatah, they look pathetic and small by comparison. Zoom out on the liberals of Lebanon and you’ll see an ocean of people.

According to an old saying, cameras don’t lie. But sometimes they do. They conceal as well as reveal.

Reality is largely irrelevant in my profession, I'm sorry to say.

Passing Of My Hero -- Gene Fluckey

I just received an E-mail from one of Admiral Gene Fluckey's grandchildren, passing on a message from one of RADM Fluckey's shipmates aboard USS Barb (SS 220):

Dear Barb Shipmates and Friends

It is my very sad duty to advise that our beloved skipper, Admiral Eugene B. Fluckey, went on Eternal Patrol at 11:45PM EDT 28 June 2007. He was in the Hospice Unit at Anne Arundel Hospital, Annapolis MD.
He will be cremated and inurned in the Columbarium at the Naval Academy. A service will be held at the Naval Academy Chapel with inurnment following, at a later date,estimated at least four weeks. All will be advised when arrangements are complete.

He is at Peace.
Here's what I wrote about him last year, when it was clear his health was starting to fail. I haven't seen anything in the news to confirm this yet (other than this post from Rontini, which is pretty good confirmation), but the nature of the E-mail (and the fact that the writer of said E-mail is listed in Thunder Below as one of Admiral Fluckey's shipmates) convinced me that I should share this sad yet ultimately uplifting news with Gene's submarine brothers. I know in my heart that he truly is now at peace. Sailor, Rest Your Oar.
Update 1747 29 June: Navy Times has a report on the passing of Admiral Fluckey.

Light Blogging Through The 4th

Unless something big comes up in the world of submarines, expect light blogging through the middle of next week as I head back to the land of the dial-up Internet connection in semi-rural Nebraska. Feel free to use the comments for whatever you want.

From here in the Boise area, have a great Fourth of July, everyone!


Many think they know the script for this Fall: Petraeus will report on the Surge, and Congress and the MSM will spin it in a negative light calling for redeployment no matter what is said.

That ignores the impact of unforseen events.

For example, a multi-country region-wide war could be in full swing by then, and discussing redeployment would sound rather silly.

For example, Iran suddenly started rationing gasoline unexpectedly, causing widespread riots. What were they up to? Pre-empting the impact of sanctions? I doubt it. More likely diverting fuel to their army for an expected war. Building up a Strategic Reserve.

I had meant to mention this for some time, but for YEARS now Bush has been building up the US Strategic Oil Reserve, in spite of high prices. Just buying and buying, even when some academics were calling for releasing oil from the reserve to squelch the price to help the economy. Wasn't interested.

Kept buying and buying.

And at last January's State of the Union Address, in a point that nobody remarked on buth which I thought extraordinary, Bush also called for further dramatic increases in the size of the Oil Reserve!

Last week, Debka reported the following news about a third, and perhaps a fourth, carrier strike group arriving in the Gulf. The fourth could mean all is in place:

DEBKAfile: A third US carrier, the nuclear-powered USS Enterprise Strike Group is speeding towards the Persian Gulf
According to DEBKAfile’s military sources, the US naval build-up off the shores of Iran marks rising military tensions in the region, accentuated by last week’s Hamas victory which has endowed Iran with a military foothold on Israel’s southwestern border.

The USS Enterprise CVN 65-Big E Strike Group will join the USS Stennis and the USS Nimitz carriers, building up the largest sea, air, marine concentration the United States has ever deployed opposite Iran. This goes towards making good on the assurances of four carriers US Vice President Dick Cheney offered the Gulf and Middle East nations during his May tour of the region.

The “Big E” leads a strike group consisting of the guided-missile destroyers USS Arleigh Burke DDG 51, USS Stout DDG 55, Forrest Sherman DDG 98 and USS James E. Williams DDG 95, as well as the guided missile cruiser USS Gettysburg CG 64, the SS Philadelphia SSN 690 nuclear submarine and the USNS Supply T-AOE 6.
DEBKAfile’s military sources report Washington is considering deploying the fourth US carrier for the region in the Red Sea opposite Saudi Arabian western coast to secure the three US carriers in the Gulf from the rear as well as the Gulf of Aqaba and Suez Canal.
Carrier battle groups usually also are accompanied by an Expeditionary Unit of Marines.

And of this previous unconfirmed report of Iranian infiltration into Iraq, Debka offers this analysis (though at this point it is customary to mention that Debka's analysis is often wrong):

DEBKAfile reports: Iranian Revolutionary Guards suicide unit’s incursion of S. Iraq is another step in undeclared war

Early this week, Tehran deployed in southern Iraq and southern Iran contingents of Revolutionary Guards Corps of suicide fighters in anticipation of an American attack on Iranian soil.

Those units were posted to fight off a possible US Marines landing in southern Iran. Tehran believes the American force will be assigned with destroying RG bases and infrastructure in the south and sabotaging the oil wells and installations of Iranian province of Khuzestan.

The RG fighters were dropped by helicopter in southern Iraq on June 24 and 25. Their task will be to launch suicide attacks on US and British bases and command posts in the region the moment Iran comes under American attack.

Also in anticipation of a showdown, Tehran announced Tuesday at only two hours notice the rationing of gas for Iran’s private motorists to 100 liters per month. Protesters started torching gas stations Wednesday.

For lack of refining capacity, the oil-rich country imports 40% of its gasoline needs and oil products. Tehran sharply reined in private consumption to free up reserves for the armed forces in case of war and keep power stations and water supplies running in an emergency.

DEBKAfile’s military sources report that these two steps in three days attest to the certainty of Iran’s government and military that a military confrontation with the US is around the corner.
We could see Hamas and Hezbollah as well as Syria warring openly with Israel, as well as Hezbollah and Syria and AQ against Lebanon, and Iran and AQ against Iraq, Kurds, and the US, with Turkey even maybe seeing a chance to get involved. Then Sunni regimes such as Egypt and the Bandit Kingdom may help either Iraq vs Iran, and/or "palestinians" vs Israel!

Some keen observers are now seeing the "Surge" as actually a cover story of policing Baghdad for what is now unfolding as a multi-pronged, coordinated corps-level operation in wide-ranging belts far from Baghdad to deny AQ any sanctuaries to run to.

Was it also cover to confront an expected surge by Iranian forces in response to strikes on their nuclear program?

A calm discussion of troop redeployment may be the least-likely scenario for this Fall!

Anything can happen between now and year's end.

Events, my dear boy; events!

"Hello. My Name Is Harry Potter. You Killed My Father. Prepare To Die."

A few days back, the web reporter for the local newspaper asked readers to submit their ideas on what they think will happen in the seventh and last Harry Potter book when it comes out next month.

Our family got involved in Pottermania back when the third book came out, and we've all been hooked ever since -- buying multiple copies at midnight for the last three books, for example. Needless to say, we're all very excited about the conclusion of the series, and we have many different opinions on how the book will turn out.

In the past, I've been (somewhat jokingly) part of the "Dumbledore Lives!" crowd (using the assumption that Dumbledore = Aslan = Gandalf, and both Aslan and Gandalf came back to life). The truth is, I've accepted the fact that Dumbledore is dead (based on J. K. Rowling's explicit statement), but one thing I'm very sure of is that Dumbledore's plan is still playing out, and that Snape is actually still opposed to Voldemort. The theory I like best (I'm assuming here that those still reading have read the 6th book) is that Dumbledore's burned hand was actually due to a curse put on the horcrux he recovered prior to the book starting, and this curse actually "killed" him; somehow he was able to get back to Snape, who was able to "put a stopper in death" (like he said he could when he first met the students in the 1st book) -- but only for a short time. Since Dumbledore knew he was going to die, he and Snape came up with a new plan that would get Snape completely inside the Voldemort organization, and make Harry completely hate Snape -- this is important because Voldemort can read Harry's mind easily, and would suspect Snape if Harry didn't hate him.

I don't know how the "final battle" will turn out (I'm assuming it will end with Voldemort's death and Harry's survival -- these are children's books after all), but there's one thing I know -- if Neville isn't the one to give Bellatrix LeStrange her just desserts, then the whole series has no point.

J. K. Rowling has said that the last word in the last book will be "scar". One of the favorite activities my family enjoys is coming up with the worst possible last line for the series. An example: "As Hermione looked lovingly at Draco, she continued shoveling dirt into Harry's grave, with the last thing she covered being his scar." In the comments, feel free to contribute your own theories or favorite possible "last line".

The Awkward Truth

Researcher Publicly Leaves IPCC Due to Tainted Science

This is an open letter to the community from Chris Landsea.

Dear colleagues,

After some prolonged deliberation, I have decided to withdraw from participating in the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). I am withdrawing because I have come to view the part of the IPCC to which my expertise is relevant as having become politicized. In addition, when I have raised my concerns to the IPCC leadership, their response was simply to dismiss my concerns.

With this open letter to the community, I wish to explain the basis for my decision and bring awareness to what I view as a problem in the IPCC process. The IPCC is a group of climate researchers from around the world that every few years summarize how climate is changing and how it may be altered in the future due to manmade global warming.
As I had in the past, I agreed to assist the IPCC in what I thought was to be an important, and politically-neutral determination of what is happening with our climate.

Shortly after Dr. Trenberth requested that I draft the Atlantic hurricane section for the AR4's Observations chapter, Dr. Trenberth participated in a press conference organized by scientists at Harvard on the topic "Experts to warn global warming likely to continue spurring more outbreaks of intense hurricane activity" along with other media interviews on the topic. The result of this media interaction was widespread coverage that directly connected the very busy 2004 Atlantic hurricane season as being caused by anthropogenic greenhouse gas warming occurring today. Listening to and reading transcripts of this press conference and media interviews, it is apparent that Dr. Trenberth was being accurately quoted and summarized in such statements and was not being misrepresented in the media. These media sessions have potential to result in a widespread perception that global warming has made recent hurricane activity much more severe.

I found it a bit perplexing that the participants in the Harvard press conference had come to the conclusion that global warming was impacting hurricane activity today. To my knowledge, none of the participants in that press conference had performed any research on hurricane variability, nor were they reporting on any new work in the field. All previous and current research in the area of hurricane variability has shown no reliable, long-term trend up in the frequency or intensity of tropical cyclones, either in the Atlantic or any other basin. The IPCC assessments in 1995 and 2001 also concluded that there was no global warming signal found in the hurricane record.
It is beyond me why my colleagues would utilize the media to push an unsupported agenda that recent hurricane activity has been due to global warming. Given Dr. Trenberth’s role as the IPCC’s Lead Author responsible for preparing the text on hurricanes, his public statements so far outside of current scientific understanding led me to concern that it would be very difficult for the IPCC process to proceed objectively with regards to the assessment on hurricane activity. My view is that when people identify themselves as being associated with the IPCC and then make pronouncements far outside current scientific understandings that this will harm the credibility of climate change science and will in the longer term diminish our role in public policy.

My concerns go beyond the actions of Dr. Trenberth and his colleagues to how he and other IPCC officials responded to my concerns.
I personally cannot in good faith continue to contribute to a process that I view as both being motivated by pre-conceived agendas and being scientifically unsound. As the IPCC leadership has seen no wrong in Dr. Trenberth's actions and have retained him as a Lead Author for the AR4, I have decided to no longer participate in the IPCC AR4.

Sincerely, Chris Landsea
Ooo, that's going to leave a mark.

And on a related note,
In a remarkable contribution to Nature magazine's Climate Feedback blog, Trenberth concedes GCMs cannot predict future climate and claims the IPCC is not in the business of climate prediction. This might be news to some people.

Among other things, Trenberth asserts ". . . there are no (climate) predictions by IPCC at all. And there never have been". Instead, there are only "what if" projections of future climate that correspond to certain emissions scenarios.

You do remember that the IPCC has been leading the charge with Al Gore on the whole "scientific consensus" on man-made global warming.

Carter also relates that in a paper to be presented at the 27th International Symposium on Forecasting in New York this week, Scott Armstrong and Kesten Green find other discrepancies within the relevant chapter in the IPCC's latest report. They conclude:

"because the forecasting processes . . . overlook scientific evidence on forecasting, the IPCC forecasts of climate change are not scientific."

Go To Bed, Old Man

Tutu calls for better media reporting of religion
LONDON (Reuters) - Archbishop Desmond Tutu called on the media on Wednesday to be more careful in their choice of words when reporting on religious conflict.
In other words, all that tiptoeing around about islamic jihad is still shedding too much light on an uncomfortable subject.

"I would hope that you in the media would be passionate about letting people judge for themselves, that you would be careful about some of the language that you do actually use," he said.

"'Muslim terrorism' - have you ever read anywhere 'Christian terrorism'? - as if Islam propagates violence...
Yeah, as if!

"We Christians ought to get off our high horse and learn to be a great deal more humble, when you look at our history, the bloody things that we did in the name of religion," he said.
Anyone can do anything in the name of anything; who cares? The point should be whether such behavior is actually justified by the ideology.

We know people can be bad. Duh.

In judging belief systems, the real question is does it tend to bring out the best or worst of human tendencies?

Oh, I guess I forgot about all that "strike off the head of the unbeliever until they submit to dhimmi status and agree to pay the jizya" and "rape is the god-sanctioned reward to the jihad warrior" that Jesus personally preached -- never mind, Tutu is right.

Oh, sorry, that wasn't Jesus, that was mo-ham-mud.

Tutu: Go to bed old man!

More News From The Tip Of The Spear

Submarines deployed to the Fifth and Seventh Fleet OpAreas continue to excel at that under-appreciated but important part of submarining -- Allied relations. Here are a couple of recent stories of boats and crews doing good:

USS San Juan (SSN 751) In Bahrain
On 15 June 2007, USS SAN JUAN hosted naval liaison officers for lunch and a tour while inport BAHRAIN. CDR Markus Wetekamp and CDR Michael Knafla from Germany , LCDR Bo Albertsen from Denmark, CDR Paul MacNeill from Canada, and CDR Clay Riales from the United States toured the submarine and received an overview of the ship's capabilities.
Following the tour, the Commanding Officer dined with the visiting officers in the wardroom. The visit provided the visiting officers the chance to better understand the operations of the submarine as well an opportunity for crew members of the SAN JUAN to interact with and share ideas from officers of foreign navies.
Here's a picture of the visit:

There's something unique and... well, depressing... about Manama Harbor.

USS Cheyenne (SSN 773) In Brisbane
CDR Mike Tesar, Commanding Officer USS CHEYENNE hosts Australian VIPs during their port visit to Brisbane on 14 June 2007. The evening included a tour of the submarine and a gourmet four-course meal, followed by presentation of gifts to the official guests. Guest list included members from the Royal Australian Navy, Australian American Association, Australian Submarine Association, and the American Legion.
The event was a huge success and showcased the expertise of CHEYENNE's Culinary Specialist division who catered the event. "USS CHEYENNE won the 2007 Ney Award for excellence in food service and tonight they had a chance to show off their skills," said CDR Tesar as he congratulated his crew for a job well done.
Captain Tesar was one of my fellow JOs on USS Topeka (SSN 754) back in the early 90s, so I always like to see how he's doing on his command tour. Here are a couple pictures from the visit; the first one shows CDR Tesar giving a tour topside:

The last one shows LCDR Axel Spens, Cheyenne's XO, exchanging dolphins with Mr. Don Currell, Vice President of the Australian Submarine Association Queensland Branch:

I only got to exchange dolphins once (with a Japanese submarine officer) but I think it's one of the greatest traditions we have.

William Arkin Dips His Toe Into Sub Waters Again

Back in early 2006, Washington Post National and Homeland Security writer William Arkin (best known in the mil-blogosphere for his recent "the troops have obscene amenities" article) wrote about USS Virginia's initial deployment to SOUTHCOM; his story had so many errors that he was forced to devote another column to correcting them a few days later. (My responses to those articles can be found here and here.)

He's venturing back into the submarine waters again with today's post, based on an E-mail he received from an alleged Trident JO with a bad attitude who was responding to his post earlier this month expressing horror at the SSGN conversion program. (That first post this month managed to make it all the way past the first comma before providing a factual error, saying their are five Tridents in the SSGN conversion process instead of four.)

For today's post, here's some of what the alleged submarine officer wrote:

Submarines, however, having such a smaller number of people, are in a bit of an internal quagmire as they attempt to figure out how they can be relevant in a post cold war world.
The answer is really, that they can't be. Submarines, in this day and age have little to no practical use. I've been an officer aboard a Trident Class submarine for about two years, and can tell you that I have done nothing of value to this nation or its taxpayers in this time. In some esoteric sense, you could say that strategic deterrence is necessary, but in actual fact, the imminent nuclear threat doesn't REALLY exist anymore, and any idea that the USA would respond to a nuclear terrorist attack with a nuclear strike is at best COMPLETELY frightening to any level headed person. I also think it's highly unlikely, even with the current administration.
Further, the fast attack submarine community is at a loss due to the fact that there is no more cold war country producing similarly classed submarines to track and trace anymore. The threat just doesn't exist. The SSGN is an attempt by the submarine community to re-establish its relevance. Personally, I acknowledge the value of maintaining a submarine community for the sake of not losing the proficiency (submarining is highly specialized work, and developing it again from the ground up in 10-20 years would not be to nation's advantage), I really think that the current nuclear submarine community is perhaps the largest single waste of money in the military. I literally do nothing but train for inspections, go out to sea, wait for the supposed end of the world due to completely laughable scenarios as seen in your blog, and come home. We're far too afraid of terrorist attacks to even let the people that work aboard the sub to park within 2 miles.... 2 MILES of the submarines, showing a complete sense of irrational fear, as well a complete disregard for the quality of life of the individual sailors. It's infuriating...
The first thing I noticed was that he called his boat a "Trident-class submarine". I mentioned in Arkin's comments that this shows that he might not be a real submarine officer, since he made the simple mistake of not saying his sub belongs to the "Ohio-class". Based on the whining that goes on later in the E-mail (bolded above), I really don't have any doubt that the writer is at least a Sailor on an SSBN -- possibly he's a Petty Officer, and Arkin just shortened that to "officer".

Regarding the points the alleged officer makes about the Sub Force looking for a mission in the post-Cold War world, there's no doubt that we're trying to find a way to convince the public that we're still relevant -- since all the GWOT missions (like our Cold War missions) are classified, we can't go out and trumpet our successes like other branches can. Based on this E-mail, though, we might want to think about giving the Trident crews some briefings on some of our SSN missions, if for no other reason that to let them know that there's light at the end of the tunnel for their next sea tour (if they can get on a sea-going SSN, that is).

Arkin concludes with some thoughts that I really can't quibble with:
Before 9/11, I would have never thought the military needed more Trident submarines. Now, however, I see their value: Quietly patrolling, threatening no one directly, occupying no one's soil, they help to keep order. And they send a powerful message that says we all have no choice but to play by certain rules and respect each other.
I would add that the existence of our submarine-based nuclear deterrent is what really tells people who would do us harm that they can't ever really "win" a war against the U.S. -- if we chose to bring all of our power to bear. They continue to exist only because of our restraint, and if they do something to make us lose our patience, their fate will be horrifying and final.

Crybaby Culture

Read it, for it is good.

Insensitivity Training: Facing the Crybaby Culture

Some of the middle:
Every once in a while, there are collisions between various aggrieved peoples, which make the suffering they must endure all the more terrible. For instance, a few years ago Native Americans in Washington State (members of one of the highest-ranking Approved Victim Groups) decided they wanted to revive the ancient sacred mystical ancestral tradition of going out in a power boat with echo locators and lots of high-tech gear to kill a whale.

This presented the sensitive people in western Washington with an apparently insoluble conundrum: If the local media complained about the murder of our cetacean brethren suckling at the breast of Gaia, they would be imposing their Dead White European Male Cultural Hegemony on the bleeding wounds of suffering Native Americans! The depths of pain that could well up in the Native American community made strong editorial writers and TV pundits blanch with terror. But if the Manufacturers of Culture in Seattle media didn’t complain, they would be letting Free Willy die at the hands of evil predatory Homo sapiens who have been raping Gaia for eons. The high-pitched cry of pain from the Green Community would be audible to our mammalian animal companions for miles. We would once again have failed to act while our Mother Earth was taken one step closer to extinction by the defiling disease that is humanity!

At last, after much deliberation in closed-door sessions, the hierarchy of values was clarified by the arbiters of correct sensitivity: Native Americans trump Euro-Americans, but whales trump all humans. Accordingly, media reports were filled with cries of anguish from the Green Community on behalf of outraged whales, but there was a moratorium on reports about Native Americans outraged over chardonnay-sipping Euro-American TV pundits telling Native Americans how to run their lives. Instead, Euro-American critics of Native American environmental destruction would only be reviled for their cultural imperialism and insensitivity when they were white sports fishermen complaining that Indian gill netters were indiscriminately denuding the rivers of all fish. For as everyone knows, people who hunt and fish for sport are a form of life lower than Neanderthals, murdering Mother Earth for the sheer pleasure of killing. No one cares what they think. Problem solved.
The conclusion, describing the Three Kinds of Idiots:
1. Ask yourself, “Am I an idiot?” There are three basic kinds of idiots: intellectual, emotional, and moral. An intellectual idiot is too stupid to know or find out what a word means. An emotional idiot is too stupid to care what a word means if it stands between him and a good temper tantrum. A moral idiot may be intellectually and emotionally sound, yet still be willing to sacrifice the happiness of others simply to file a lawsuit on behalf of intellectual or emotional idiots who don’t know what, say, “picnic” or “niggardly” mean. If you are any of these kinds of idiot, proceed immediately to step two.

2. Consider the possibility that you just need to get a life. Signs of this need include spending all day in a sweat of irritation because religious people exist, hallucinations that you are being raped by classical music, constant convulsive outrage over words like “history” and “master/slave” or “outing,” and a gasping sense of oppression at the thought of urinals. Wigging out over leprechauns and tomahawk chops is another “get a life” indicator. Still other signs include loss of sleep and anger-management issues over presidential greeting cards, cartoons, ice cream lids, and books with pigs in them. If these symptoms persist, proceed to step three.

We Should Be So Lucky

Is it soup yet?

Iranian forces crossed Iraqi border: report

Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces have been spotted by British troops crossing the border into southern Iraq, The Sun tabloid reported on Tuesday.

Britain's defence ministry would not confirm or deny the report, with a spokesman declining to comment on "intelligence matters".

An unidentified intelligence source told the tabloid: "It is an extremely alarming development and raises the stakes considerably. In effect, it means we are in a full on war with Iran -- but nobody has officially declared it."

"We have hard proof that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps have crossed the border to attack us. It is very hard for us to strike back. All we can do is try to defend ourselves. We are badly on the back foot."

The Sun said that radar sightings of Iranian helicopters crossing into the Iraqi desert were confirmed to it by very senior military sources.
Maybe the fiction of no war with Iran can be maintained if everyone just curls up in a little ball and dies for their new masters.

Or maybe events will finally end this phoney war sitzkrieg.

'Mighty' Movie Reviews: "Evan Almighty" And "A Mighty Heart"

SubBasket and I saw two movies this weekend -- "A Mighty Heart" on Friday night with our daughter, and "Evan Almighty" on Saturday afternoon with our boys. While they're clearly intended for different audiences, I felt I didn't waste my money seeing either one of them.

"A Mighty Heart" tells the story of the Daniel Pearl kidnapping and murder through the eye of his wife. While people are talking up Angelina Jolie for an Oscar, I thought that she should only deserve it if she was supposed to be playing an emotionless character for 99% of the movie. What I liked about the film is that I think it did a good job of portraying Karachi, Pakistan, the way I always thought the city would look like. In other words, you won't see a lot of people who see the movie saying, "Hey, let's vacation on the Pakistani coast this year." It's hard for a movie to keep the suspense up when you know how it's going to end, and this one didn't really do a very good job of it. But, because of the intensity and assumed accuracy of the "travelogue from hell" aspect of the film, I give it three kidnapping-suspects-hanging-from-the-ceiling out of five.

There's been a bit of controversy regarding "Evan Almighty" from the Hollywood chattering classes. The incomparable ninme provides a link to a review by a Hollywood blogger who claims the movie has a "Christian message" -- even though Jesus isn't mentioned once in the film! I didn't really like "Bruce Almighty" (I'm not a big Jim Carrey fan, except for his In Living Color stuff), so I was prepared to not like this film (even though I really do like Steve Carell). In the end, I was pleasantly surprised -- it was a whole lot funnier than Shrek 3 (which I recognize isn't saying very much). As long as you go in with moderate expectations, and enjoy funnyanimals who poop all over people and hit them in the crotch, you'll like this movie OK. I give it three spitting llamas out of five.

Idaho Astronauts In The News

Astronaut Steven Swanson, who flew on the recently-completed Atlantis mission, has parents here in the Boise area; they flew to Florida to welcome him home, but missed out on the landing when weather diverted the shuttle to California.

In August, Idaho will really be in the news when Teacher in Space Barbara Morgan flies on Endeavour during STS-118. This will be especially exciting for our family, because Mrs. Morgan was one of my wife's teachers in McCall, Idaho, back in the '70s. She'll be taking all of Idaho into space with her when she blasts off, and we know she'll do great!

British SBS

A few weeks ago, we were all cheered to hear Mullah Dadullah was Dead-ullah.

He was the feared Taliban commander, set to lead the dreaded Spring Offensive which has gotten hammered by NATO, with the Canadians and Brits doing fantastic work.
He was the Taliban's most senior military commander and reported to have been one of Mullah Omar's most trusted advisers. Dadullah joined forces with the Taliban at its formation in 1994, but fell out of favor "after he was accused for a bloody genocide in the central Bamyan province."

"Largely known for his brutality on the battlefield, he is labeled a blood-thirsty sadist who enjoys killing and torturing by military analysts," said Dupee. "Hazara residents in the central highlands who endured mass killings and a scorched earth campaign by Dadullah and his men in the late 1990's agree; referring to him as the 'Black Mullah,' a term signifying his dark heart."
Two interesting items, however, came to light a little later that made the story so-much-more satisfying, which didn't get much attention.

The first item was the curious report that Dadullah had been dispatched not by, say, an unexpected bombstrike like Zarqawi, or by a hail of bullet and missile fire like the Hussein boys.

No, he got his 72 raisins from two precise bullet shots to the gut, followed by a third to the back of the head.

That immediately got my attention, for the "double tap to center of mass" followed by a headshot coup-de-grace is the hallmark of the professional warrior, particularly the special forces.

And it meant someone got to rather close range as well, meaning Dadullah knew exactly what was happening, and that his guards had been overwhelmed in a precise well-planned operation.

And the detail about the "back of the head" means nobody bothered to try to take him prisoner -- thanks to the human rights people who would agitate for his release.

Ha ha.

So of course I thought to myself, hmm, who did this?

Was it our Delta Force?

Was it the British SAS?

Surprisingly, it was neither, but I was close!

Turns out, the SAS (Special Air Service) is operating mainly in Iraq.

But in Afghanistan, it's the British SBS (Special Boat Service) -- which I had never heard of. They are the Royal Navy's special forces, and their motto is, appropriately (as will be seen below),
By Strength and Guile.
And it was their operation, jointly with the U.S. Task Force Orange.

And the second interesting thing, is the whole thing was a devious set-up!

Like many others, I had been dismayed when a few months back, a top terrorist was released in Afghanistan in exchange for an Italian hostage. This seemed like a bad precedent.

But the terrorist released was Dadullah's brother -- and he was tracked as bait by the signals experts of Task Force Orange to see if he'd lead to Dadullah.

And he did:
THE one-legged Taliban commander whose death was hailed as a coup for coalition forces in Afghanistan was killed in an attack by British troops rather than Americans and Afghans as previously claimed.

Mullah Dadullah, the bearded warlord who lost his leg fighting the invasion of Soviet “infidels” in the 1980s, was cornered by a squadron from Britain’s Special Boat Service (SBS), after a remarkable surveillance operation mounted against his brother. The SBS has been charged with carrying out special operations in Afghanistan while the SAS concentrates on Iraq.

Until now, the killing had been attributed to a joint American-Afghan force of special operation troops but defence sources revealed last week that the US contribution, although a key to success, was limited to intelligence from a secret unit called Task Force Orange, which was monitoring a satellite phone used by Dadullah.

How the task force came to be tracking the powerful mullah’s movements is a story of military cunning and opportunism. It began with an exchange of prisoners which, at the time, had all the appearance of a humiliating setback for coalition forces.

The release of Daniele Mastro-giacomo, an Italian journalist kidnapped by Taliban militants in March, in exchange for five Taliban fighters – including Mullah Shah Mansoor, Dadullah’s brother – raised eyebrows throughout the region.

It was a doubly controversial deal. First, it did not include Mastrogiacomo’s Afghan translator – and to calm dissent in government ranks President Hamid Karzai was obliged to promise that it was a “one-off”. At the same time, the release of such a high-ranking Taliban leader as Dadullah’s brother appeared to go against coalition policy.

Task Force Orange took advantage of the situation by using sophisticated signals technology to monitor Mansoor’s movements. In this way he was followed back to a Taliban training base in Quetta, Pakistan. [The jihad won't end until Pakistan is dealt with. --ed.]

A satellite phone used by Dadullah’s men then came under surveillance and the signal was followed when the group set off two weeks ago from Quetta to Afghanistan. The convoy led by Dadullah – and believed to include Mansoor – was tracked to Brahmcha in the southern Helmand province close to the border with Pakistan.

On the basis of such intelligence, Task Force Orange would normally have summoned Delta Force, the American special operations group, to launch a strike on the mudwalled compound in which the fighters were hiding. Delta was occupied elsewhere, however, and it fell to crack British troops – SBS’s C squadron – to finish the job.

A reconnaissance team in a Supacat 6x6 all-terrain vehicle moved in to watch the compound and work out how best to attack it. It was decided that an airstrike by itself would not be certain of killing Dadullah so the rest of the squadron, in two Chinook helicopters, was called in.
A four-hour battle ensued, of about 50 SBS commandos against 20 jihadists. Facing lightly armed attackers, defenders in a fortified compound can usually expect to hold out against at least 3:1 odds -- but not against the SBS!

“It was traditional infantry tactics,” said a defence source. “Give fire and run, give fire and run, constantly manoeuvring for the best position.”

Dadullah appeared to have been killed by one of the US-trained Afghan soldiers. The two wounds to his chest and one to the back of his head had all the hallmarks of a classic US special operations shooting – a so-called “double tap” to the chest and a “finisher” shot to the head.

Also among the dead were suspected members of Al-Qaeda, said the sources. The dead were believed to have included Mansoor but this was denied by the Taliban who have named him as their new military leader.
Dadullah’s death was a significant triumph for coalition forces. As a senior Taliban commander, he won a reputation for ruthless-ness after ordering the massacre of thousands of Hazaras in the northern Bamiyan region. More recently he had appeared to try to mimic the actions of hardline Iraqi insurgents such as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi by putting a video of a 12-year-old boy beheading an American spy on the internet. Zarqawi was also tracked down and killed as a result of a Task Force Orange intelligence operation.

Four of the 50 British commandos who took part in the battle were wounded but only one had to be brought back to Britain.
SBS 20, Taliban ZERO.

Scratch One Flattop

At the end of 2003, pundit Rick Brookhiser at an NRO symposium predicted,
Bush's second term will be awful (all have been, except Monroe's).
And it seems he was absolutely correct.

However, let us not overlook the major successes, in spite of the many disappointments.

Remember the Axis of Evil? Iraq, North Korea, and Iran? The great danger was that any of them would become a nuclear power.

If the secret strategic goal of the Bush administration had been to decide that no matter what, for the security of the US and the world, those nuclear ambitions of the Axis would be terminated, we see that they are steadily making progress.

Recall that Saddam Hussein will now definitely never have an atomic bomb.

Recall that we also got Libya's secret atomic program shut down as a bonus.

And now by diplomatic means -- made credible by the use of regime-changing force elsewhere -- another dramatic result is in the works.

It isn't shut down until it's shut down, but:

US, N.Korea set timeline to shut reactor

TOKYO - The top U.S. nuclear negotiator arrived in Japan Saturday to discuss his surprise visit to North Korea, which he said yielded an agreement that could lead to a shutdown of the communist state's plutonium-producing reactor in July.
The trip — the first by a high-ranking U.S. official since October 2002 — came amid growing optimism that North Korea may finally be ready to take concrete steps toward fulfilling a promise to dismantle its nuclear programs.

Meanwhile, the North's state media reported that the country held "comprehensive and productive" discussions with Hill.
North Korean officials told Hill during his visit that Pyongyang was prepared to shut down the Yongbyon facility as called for in the disarmament agreement reached this past February, under which the North pledged to close the reactor and allow U.N. inspectors in exchange for energy aid.

Pyongyang was to have done that by mid-April, but missed the deadline over a delay in resolving a separate financial dispute involving North Korean funds frozen at a Macau bank.

The bank was blacklisted by the U.S. for allegedly aiding North Korea in money laundering and counterfeiting, leading to the freezing of some $25 million of North Korean money.

The money was freed earlier this year, but it was only last week that it began to be transferred to a North Korean account at a Russian bank.
Imagine that, we essentially forced their hand over a measly $25 million. When it's the little dictator's own money, it get's his attention! It's such an incongruously small sum, really, for the stakes involved, that it's almost funny.

Hand it to those Whispering Bankers...and the Evil Bush Patriot Act!

As I reported nearly four months ago,
Because all the circuits of the global financial system are inter-wired, the U.S. quarantine effectively extends to all major banks around the world. As Levey observed in a recent speech, the impact of this little-noticed provision of the Patriot Act "has been more powerful than many thought possible."

Treasury applied the new tools to North Korea in September 2005, when it put a bank in Macao called Banco Delta Asia on the blacklist. There was no legal proceeding -- just a notice in the Federal Register summarizing the evidence: Banco Delta Asia had been providing illicit financial services to North Korean government agencies and front companies for more than 20 years, according to the Treasury notice. The little Macao bank had helped the North Koreans feed counterfeit $100 bills into circulation, had laundered money from drug deals and had financed cigarette smuggling. North Korea "pays a fee to Banco Delta Asia for financial access to the banking system with little oversight or control," Treasury alleged.

Wham! The international payments window shut almost instantly on Pyongyang's pet bank. Transactions with U.S. entities stopped, but the Treasury announcement also put other countries on notice to beware of Banco Delta Asia. The Macao banking authorities, realizing that they needed the oxygen of the international financial system to survive, took regulatory action on their own and froze the bank's roughly $24 million in North Korean assets. And around Asia, banks began looking for possible links to North Korean front companies -- and shutting them down.
With Iraq and North Korea out of the way, that leaves only Iran, and Iran is being squeezed similarly.

Though the media portrays the Iranians as Supermen, simultaneously bankrolling Hamas, Hezbollah, Taliban, and Iraqi terrorists with hampered access to the world financial system has got to be difficult.

If the administration really made a long-term strategy decision (I bet Cheney was instrumental) to the effect, Iran has to be next on the "list."

That would leave dealing with Pakistan and Saudi Arabia -- required to really squelch the global jihad -- for any following administration, but at least the budding not-yet-but-almost-nuclear rogue states would have been neutered!

A fantastic legacy, all things considered, if pulled off.

When the reactor shuts down, for some reason I can only think of the immortal words, Scratch One Flattop!
Admiral Dixon was a lieutenant commander in charge of dive bombers on the carrier Lexington in the May 1942 Battle of the Coral Sea. He planted one of a dozen bombs that, with seven torpedoes, sank the Japanese carrier Shosho [the first Jap carrier sunk during WW2].

Stanley Johnston, war correspondent for The Chicago Tribune, was aboard the Lexington at the time of the attack on the Japanese ship and reported:

"All the tension on the carrier exploded the moment we heard Comdr. Dixon's voice come in strong and clear: 'Scratch one flattop! Dixon to carrier: Scratch one flattop.' "
And it was the first of many to be scratched.

Scratch one reactor!

Remember, after the Coral Sea, came Midway...

Keep Up Pressure

The "No Amnesty" pressure is working, keep it up!

The vote on cloture has now been delayed until Tuesday, and more Senators are wavering. Facts on the bill's provisions are here (the old number was S 1348, now it is S 1639).

But a few more have to be shown the light. Contact info for your Senator is here or here.

Talking points are here.

I just sent the following e-mails to my CT Senators:
Dear Sen. Lieberman,

I urge you to vote NO for cloture on S 1639, the flawed immigration bill.

While this is clearly a complex problem requiring careful solutions, the current bill is a mistake in that it does not first require border security and a demonstration of effective enforcement before contemplating the status of the illegal population -- this is simply unacceptable to most legal American citizens.

Because in the real world, we know that otherwise enforcement will remain the same old sham it is today. Fix that first, and then we are willing to discuss the terms of legalization, which are already too broad and generous in the current bill.
From the aptly named We Need A Fence,
The foundation of support for reconsideration of the Senate immigration
bill is crumbling. Just in the last two days, three major shifts have

1. Senator Mitch McConnell, who had led the Republican effort to bring the bill back for reconsideration, announced that he was not personally committed to supporting it.

2. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, who had been expected to support the bill in return for her amendment being added to the list of permitted amendments once the resurrected bill is back on the floor, announced that she would now oppose the bill, even if it includes her amendment.

3. Several unnamed Democrat Senators appear to have begged their leader, Senator Reid, to delay the cloture vote on the “motion to proceed” to consider S 1639, the new number for the Senate immigration bill, because they were feeling the heat from constituents opposing it.

As a result of these three developments, it now appears that the first vote in the reconsideration process will not occur until Tuesday, when just a few days ago it looked like it would occur today, Friday. We don’t think that delaying will work; each day, as the pressure builds, more and more Senators realize that supporting this bill will cost them votes the next time that they run.


Go to We Need A Fence Contact for a list of each Senator’s Washington and State telephone numbers and website links.

The tide is turning in our favor, and you are the reason why. You are awesome!!
And NumbersUSA reports,
We need 41 Senators to vote NO on cloture next Tuesday or to not show up for the vote.

Sen. Johnson (D-S.D.) is still seriously ill and expected to be a no-show.

We believe we have solid commitments from 32 other Senators that they will vote NO on cloture that would allow the Kennedy/Bush amnesty (S. 1639) to come to the Senate floor for debate.

That would give us 33 of the 41 we need.

Congratulations to all of you who have elected Senators solidly in our camp or who have persuaded Senators to move to the anti-amnesty side -- those Senators in this list:

Many of you will find ways to express tremendous appreciation and to help solidify them so that no offer from the White House or party leadership can turn them at the last moment.

Alexander (R-Tenn.)
Allard (R-Colo.)
Baucus (D-Mont.)
Byrd (D-W.Va.)
Bunning (R-Ky.)
Chambliss (R-Ga.)
Coburn (R-Okla.)
Corker (R-Tenn.)
Cornyn (R-Texas)
Crapo (R-Idaho)
DeMint (R-S.C.)
Dole (R-N.C.)
Dorgan (D-N.D.)
Enzi (R-Wyo.)
Grassley (R-Iowa)
Hutchison (R-Texas)
Inhofe (R-Okla.)
Isakson (R-Ga.)
Landrieu (D-La.)
McCaskill (D-Mo.)
Pryor (D-Ark.)
Roberts (R-Kan.)
Rockefeller (D-W.Va.)
Sanders (I-Vt.)
Sessions (R-Ala.)
Shelby (R-Ala.)
Smith (R-Ore.)
Stabenow (D-Mich.)
Sununu (R-N.H.)
Tester (D-Mont.)
Thune (R-S.D.)
Vitter (R-La.)

Please do everything you can to get to these Senators and help them understand what is at stake and where the citizens of your state stand.

Bond (R-Mo.)
Bingaman (D-N.M.)
Burr (R-N.C.)
Boxer (D-Calif.)
Cochran (R-Miss.)
Conrad (D-N.D.)
Ensign (R-Nev.)
Levin (D-Mich.)
Gregg (R-N.H.)
Nelson (D-Neb.)
Hatch (R-Utah)
Webb (D-Va.)


largest amnesty for illegal aliens in history
largest increase in foreign labor in history
largest expansion of social welfare programs in history (to handle the 35-40 million -- mostly low-educated, low-skilled -- foreigners who would get Green Cards over the next 20 years alone

All those Senators need your constant phoning, as well. A few could still be brought to the side of American workers, students and communities and vote NO on the amnesty. And the rest need to be shown full wrath to help the others decide to stay on the side of the voters.
To head off accusations of xenophobia, NumbersUSA is careful to explain,
Nothing about this website should be construed as advocating hostile actions or feelings toward immigrant Americans. (Even illegal aliens deserve humane treatment as they are detected, detained and deported.)

Unfortunately, to write about problems of immigration is to risk seeming to attack immigrants themselves. Even worse is the risk of inadvertently encouraging somebody else to show hostility toward the foreign-born as a group.

To talk about changing immigration numbers is to say nothing against the individual immigrants in this country. Rather, it is about deciding how many foreign citizens living in their own countries right now should be allowed to immigrate in the future.

None of this is to suggest that no immigrants are scoundrels or contribute to problems of immigration because of their bad personal behavior. It is not unfair, nor does it constitute immigrant bashing, to criticize the behavior of specific immigrants who violate our laws or otherwise behave in a manner unworthy of guests who have been invited into this country.

It IS immigrant bashing, however, to ascribe those bad characteristics to whole groups of people based on their ethnicity or foreign-born status. All of us should be careful of the language we use so as not to inadvertently appear to be making such negative generalizations.

Not only is it ethically wrong to engage in such stereotyping, it is tactically short-sighted. There is much to suggest that most immigrants already among us would support reductions in immigration numbers. The reasons are not surprising. Virtually any reduction designed to help native-born Americans would be even more beneficial to foreign-born Americans. That is why so many immigrants are supporters of

Perhaps the greatest "immigrant bashers" are those Members of Congress who refuse to look at the abysmal conditions of so many immigrant Americans and who every year insist on adding more than a million more immigrants into their occupations, schools and communities.
Build the fence first!

USS Minneapolis-St. Paul Inactivated

USS Minneapolis-St. Paul (SSN 708) was inactivated today in a ceremony in Norfolk. Eleven Twelve of the boat's 12 13 COs were there:

It's always a bittersweet moment when a boat ends her active service. For those of us, like me, who know that ships have "souls" (made up of all the blood, sweat, and tears of the men who have served on her) it's nice to know that a boat that has served honorably and well can get some well-deserved rest.

Update 2156 24 June: Corrected to update the number of COs present; I had fallen for the classic blunder of believing the Navy NewsStand text that said 11 of 12 former COs were there, and assumed those were in addition to the current one.

Also, the MSP Family Support Group has a photo website that includes pictures the families took of the inactivation ceremony; here's one of them:

The other family photos of the inactivation ceremony are here.

The 'Phib Speaks Truth To -- Well, Just About Everyone

CDR Salamander's been on a roll this week! If you haven't been visting out his site daily, check out these recent posts that really stood out:

Too Many People On Shore Duty (check out the comments too)

Oooooo, More Training Opportunities (submarine-related discussion on how the Venezuelans have agreed to provide us with all the diesel ASW training well need in the next decade -- if they'll even be able to get their planned new boats to sea)

The Collaborators (more make-work BS for professional shore duty Sailors)

Keep Gitmo Open

This is just unbelievable, if it is to be believed:

White House near decision to close Gitmo

WASHINGTON - The Bush administration is nearing a decision to close the Guantanamo Bay detainee facility and move its terror suspects to military prisons elsewhere, The Associated Press has learned.

Senior administration officials said Thursday a consensus is building for a proposal to shut the center and transfer detainees to one or more Defense Department facilities, including the maximum-security military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., where they could face trial.

President Bush's national security and legal advisers had been scheduled to discuss the move at a meeting Friday, the officials said, but after news of it broke, the White House said the meeting would not take place that day and no decision on Guantanamo Bay's status is imminent.
This is madness!

Maybe it's just a trial balloon.

Maybe the "consensus" is in the head of the AP reporter.

But we cannot allow our government to capitulate like this!

Ordinary prisoners of war have always been held indefinitely in detainment camps, with no prospet of release until hostilities end (which has no time limit), and without "charges" filed and without access to lawyers. Why? Because it's not a criminal matter!

And these illegal combatants don't even rise to that status level of ordinary prisoners of war -- historically they could be summarily executed, and ought to be.

And how is keeping them in other prisons going to "solve" anything and end the criticisms, unless they're planning to give up the whole warfighting idea and treat them all as common criminals -- which will result in many if not all of them being freed, most likely, as they weren't Mirandized, where they? Might as well just shut it down and let them all go. Give them green cards!

The basic problem is much of the legal establishment refuses to believe we are fighting a real war. One wonders why the lawyers and judges somehow feel they don't have a stake in the outcome of this war. As post-modern "citizens of the world", perhaps they feel above it all.

But, We the People still ultimately control the government, and my vote counts just as much as any lawyer's does, and there's more of us than them.

So let your political servants know Guantanamo must stay open.

its closure will NOT result in any beam of light from Heaven in which the world suddenly loves us for regaining the "moral high ground", but will instead be treated as an admission of guilt and a sign of weakness and capitulation, upon which more and more demands will be made until we completely surrender and shut down our counterattacks against the jihad.

Send the lawyers to Gitmo if they want to visit the inmates -- and keep them there!

I sent the following e-mail to the President, and a similar one to the Vice President:

Dear Mr. President,

Recent news reports say your administration is "close to a decision to close the Guantanamo prison" for terrorsts.

I strongly oppose such a closing! It will be perceived as a capitulation and will be followed by more demands designed to turn the War on Islamic Terror into an impotent police matter.

The "moral high ground" is an illusion that our enemies will never grant to us no matter how much we surrender to their will in a futile attempt to appease them.
Don't just sit there reading a blog, do something!

You can contact the White House here, or e-mail directly to the President and Vice President.

The (Couch) Boys Of Summer

Today marks the official beginning of summer --the solstice occurs at 1806 UTC. When I was growing up, this was always one of my favorite days of the year; I lived for summer. I grew up on a farm, so I'd be outside as much as I could -- exploring the pasture, diving into the swimming holes, doing chores -- and I knew I'd never give up my love of summer and the outdoors.

Fast forward 30 years or so. Now summer means that the house will always be too warm and sticky, and it's often too hot to open the windows at night, so that means a higher electrical bill to keep the A/C running. I like fall a lot better; the new TV shows are on, there's football to watch, and I can sleep comfortably at night.

So what happened to the boy to make him such a curmudgeony middle-age man? I'm not sure; I always used to wonder why my parents didn't want to spend all their time in the water when we were at the beach -- now my kids have a hard time getting me into the pool at all. Living here in Idaho, it seems like just about everyone loves camping, or hunting, or biking, or skiiing, or some other outdoor activity. Not me -- I figured out one day that I'd probably charge $500/day for someone to make me go camping in the mountains. Skiing? $60/hour, including transportation time there and back. That's not to mean I haven't done outdoors stuff as an adult -- I took my kids camping in order to let them decide for themselves if they liked it or not. Now that I've done that, I figure I shouldn't have to do anything that I find unenjoyable if I don't have to.

There was an article in the paper today about how this generation of kids could become the first "indoors generation". I can see their point -- there are a lot more inside entertainment options than there were even 20 years ago. (Speaking of indoors entertainment -- and completely off-topic -- I got a Super Mario 64 cartridge for my old N64 system for Father's Day. My youngest son already beat the game, but I'm plodding along more slowly; it's been several years since I too beat Bowser. For those who forgot just how revolutionary and good that game was, check out this video of a guy who beat the game in 80 minutes when you have the time.)

So is it bad for people to spend most of their time indoors? Almost certainly. Do I plan on changing my ways? Almost certainly not. I like who I am, and when people make snide comments about how sedentary people have lots of health concerns, I'll smugly think about how I never missed a day of work because of ailments like "road rash". This is one of those things where I'm not trying to change anyone's mind about the importance of getting outside and having fun -- I'm just saying I don't plan on doing it myself. There's an old BNL song, "Pinch Me", that has a verse that pretty much describes my perfect summer afternoon:
It's the perfect time of day
To throw all your cares away
Put the sprinkler on the lawn
And run through with my gym shorts on.
Take a drink right from the hose
And change into some drier clothes
Climb the stairs up to my room
Sleep away the afternoon.
(Before you say anything, yes I know the song is making fun of this lifestyle choice. I don't care.)

"But, Bubblehead," you might say, "what about impressionable children who might be reading your blog and might want to emulate you." To those children, I say this: get outside and pull some weeds and rocks out of your Mom's garden -- you'll be glad you did. Wake me up when you're done, and we'll watch some TV.

The Joys Of Being Parents Of Teenagers

So tonight, my youngest son is trying to get to sleep, when he hears a car loudly peeling away from in front of our house. He gets up to see what's going on, and finds -- this:

(Oldest son pictured) It was a pretty thorough job of TP'ing -- probably 10 6 rolls; here's another angle:

It's lucky we found it tonight, since our sprinklers turn on before any of us go to work in the morning. At first, we wondered which of our three teenagers might be the target of the TPing; then we found a clue in the yard:

We assume that "HALO" indicates not that it was disgruntled California Angels fans, but rather the oldest son's video game-playing buddies. Just another example of how video games are warping the minds of America's youth! After all, did any of us do this to our friends in the days before video games?

Update 0718 21 June: Upon overnight reflection, I reduced the estimated number of rolls used from 10 to 6. TP is like lube oil -- when it's all over the place, the amount you think you're seeing is always overestimated.

Sun Power

With China now generating more CO2 than the USA, the whole Human Global Warming/Kyoto boondoggle is crumbling:
China has surpassed the US as the world's largest producer of CO2, the chief "greenhouse gas" said responsible for Global Warming. What will environmentalists say? Barking Moonbat Early Warning System thinks they will say nothing because the real goal of "climate change" activism was to hamstring America.
As a further blow, real scientists are speaking out more and more about the real causes of the recent warming: sun cycles, cosmic rays, and clouds.
The only constant about climate is change; it changes continually and, at times, quite rapidly. Many times in the past, temperatures were far higher than today, and occasionally, temperatures were colder. As recently as 6,000 years ago, it was about 3C warmer than now. Ten thousand years ago, while the world was coming out of the thou-sand-year-long "Younger Dryas" cold episode, temperatures rose as much as 6C in a decade -- 100 times faster than the past century's 0.6C warming that has so upset environmentalists.

Climate-change research is now literally exploding with new findings. Since the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the field has had more research than in all previous years combined and the discoveries are completely shattering the myths. For example, I and the first-class scientists I work with are consistently finding excellent correlations between the regular fluctuations in the brightness of the sun and earthly climate. This is not surprising. The sun and the stars are the ultimate source of all energy on the planet.
It could hardly be otherwise! Look, I was for many years as a physicist working with the heat absorption coefficients of atmospheric constituents -- such as CO2 -- in the infrared spectrum.

My application was the transmission of high energy laser beams for missile defense.

That is generally the same part of the spectrum, however, as the heat re-radiated from the earth.

And guess what, CO2 is a rather weak contributor to heat absorption in the atmosphere!


Because most of the heat that exists to be absorbed, is already being absorbed quite handily by that very strong absorber, water vapor!

The amount of heat to be trapped is finite; once it's all absorbed, you can pump out CO2 to whatever level you like and it won't make a bit of extra difference. The planet cannot get arbitrarily hot due to extra greenhouse gases; that requires more energy input. The available heat energy is supplied by the Sun.

And sometimes the Sun is hotter, and sometimes cooler.

Yet, I see news article after news article blithely refer to CO2 as "the major greenhouse gas" or something like that.

That of course is a lie. What they mean is, CO2 is the only heat-absorbing constituent of the atmosphere that humans can appreciably affect.

It doesn't follow, however, that our changing this relatively minor absorber has much impact on overal heat trapping. It is at worst a minor second-order effect. Maybe it changes the moisture content of the air and/or affects clouds, but such models are dubious. And yes, CO2 will have more of an impact where the air is already cold and dry (because water vapor isn't trapping as much heat), which is near the poles -- but the poles are in such a deep freeze, that warming them from, say, -30 degrees to -20 degrees isn't going to make a "meltdown"! If the poles were hovering near the melting point of water, then I'd worry, but they aren't.

Here is a fascinating example of the new scientific consensus that is emerging among the young discipline of atmospheric science, none of which is a surprise to hard-science physicists:
Specifically, we find a very strong and consistent 11-year cycle throughout the whole record in the sediments and diatom remains. This correlates closely to the well-known 11-year "Schwabe" sunspot cycle, during which the output of the sun varies by about 0.1%. Sunspots, violent storms on the surface of the sun, have the effect of increasing solar output, so, by counting the spots visible on the surface of our star, we have an indirect measure of its varying brightness. Such records have been kept for many centuries and match very well with the changes in marine productivity we are observing.

In the sediment, diatom and fish-scale records, we also see longer period cycles, all correlating closely with other well-known regular solar variations. In particular, we see marine productivity cycles that match well with the sun's 75-90-year "Gleissberg Cycle," the 200-500-year "Suess Cycle" and the 1,100-1,500-year "Bond Cycle." The strength of these cycles is seen to vary over time, fading in and out over the millennia. The variation in the sun's brightness over these longer cycles may be many times greater in magnitude than that measured over the short Schwabe cycle and so are seen to impact marine productivity even more significantly.

Our finding of a direct correlation between variations in the brightness of the sun and earthly climate indicators (called "proxies") is not unique. Hundreds of other studies, using proxies from tree rings in Russia's Kola Peninsula to water levels of the Nile, show exactly the same thing: The sun appears to drive climate change.

However, there was a problem. Despite this clear and repeated correlation, the measured variations in incoming solar energy were, on their own, not sufficient to cause the climate changes we have observed in our proxies. In addition, even though the sun is brighter now than at any time in the past 8,000 years, the increase in direct solar input is not calculated to be sufficient to cause the past century's modest warming on its own. There had to be an amplifier of some sort for the sun to be a primary driver of climate change.

Indeed, that is precisely what has been discovered. In a series of groundbreaking scientific papers starting in 2002, Veizer, Shaviv, Carslaw, and most recently Svensmark et al., have collectively demonstrated that as the output of the sun varies, and with it, our star's protective solar wind, varying amounts of galactic cosmic rays from deep space are able to enter our solar system and penetrate the Earth's atmosphere. These cosmic rays enhance cloud formation which, overall, has a cooling effect on the planet. When the sun's energy output is greater, not only does the Earth warm slightly due to direct solar heating, but the stronger solar wind generated during these "high sun" periods blocks many of the cosmic rays from entering our atmosphere. Cloud cover decreases and the Earth warms still more.

The opposite occurs when the sun is less bright. More cosmic rays are able to get through to Earth's atmosphere, more clouds form, and the planet cools more than would otherwise be the case due to direct solar effects alone. This is precisely what happened from the middle of the 17th century into the early 18th century, when the solar energy input to our atmosphere, as indicated by the number of sunspots, was at a minimum and the planet was stuck in the Little Ice Age. These new findings suggest that changes in the output of the sun caused the most recent climate change. By comparison, CO2 variations show little correlation with our planet's climate on long, medium and even short time scales.
In a 2003 poll conducted by German environmental researchers Dennis Bray and Hans von Storch, two-thirds of more than 530 climate scientists from 27 countries surveyed did not believe that "the current state of scientific knowledge is developed well enough to allow for a reasonable assessment of the effects of greenhouse gases." About half of those polled stated that the science of climate change was not sufficiently settled to pass the issue over to policymakers at all.

Solar scientists predict that, by 2020, the sun will be starting into its weakest Schwabe solar cycle of the past two centuries, likely leading to unusually cool conditions on Earth. Beginning to plan for adaptation to such a cool period, one which may continue well beyond one 11-year cycle, as did the Little Ice Age, should be a priority for governments. It is global cooling, not warming, that is the major climate threat to the world, especially Canada. As a country at the northern limit to agriculture in the world, it would take very little cooling to destroy much of our food crops, while a warming would only require that we adopt farming techniques practiced to the south of us.
The author is professor and director of the Ottawa-Carleton Geoscience Centre, Department of Earth Sciences, Carleton University.

Lots of links to copious data at that above-linked National Post story.