Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!!!


My son's jack-o'-lantern.

The Evils of Liberalism

This reminds me of some discussions I had with my daughter about why liberalism is evil, rather than simply misdirected concern for others. A review by Jim O'Neil of the "Kindergarden [sic] of Eden."
“If they weren’t so dangerous and destructive, one could smile and pat the Modern Liberal on the head and tell him how cute he is and go on about the business of being an adult. But he is dangerous and destructive, with the True Believer’s very purpose being the total destruction of everything that God and science—most obviously Western Civilization—has ever created. ...The Modern Liberal will invariably and, in fact, inevitably side with evil over good, wrong over right and the behaviors that lead to failure over those that lead to success.”—Evan Sayet “The Kindergarden of Eden”.

. . . Of all the harmful doctrines promulgated by liberals, perhaps none has been as devastating in its effects as relativism. Put simply, relativism is the belief that there is no such thing as objective truth—truth is relative—one person’s “truth"is no more or less valid than another person’s. Relativism has been incorporated into several insidious offshoots such as moral relativism, cultural relativism, deconstructionism, postmodernism, political correctness, and multiculturalism.

I would be more than happy to slice and dice the concept of relativism like a Cuisinart blender, but time will not allow for it at the moment. Suffice it for now to point out that one of the basal claims of relativism—“there are no absolutes”—is self-refuting. That is, if the axiom is right then it is wrong, for the statement itself is asserting an absolute.

Leftists will of course counter that argument with one of their own, and so on until you have boxed them into their ultimate fall-back position of nihilism—at which point they will tell you that words are meaningless, logic is senseless, science oppressive, and nothing matters. Why they do not just say that up front and spare us all the song and dance is beyond me—luring in the gullible I suppose.

(Sidebar: If you would like to delve into the subject in more depth, let me suggest the paper “Relativism”(available online) by Allen Wood, Professor of Philosophy at Stanford University. Dr. Wood is more refined than I in his dialogue with relativists, e.g.: “If relativists say that this isn’t what they mean when they assert a proposition or say they believe it, then they are apparently using the terms “assert” and “believe” in a new and mysterious sense, which they apparently can’t explain. Until they do explain the meanings these words have for them, we can’t be sure what (if anything) they are really saying when their mouths make noises that sound (to us) like assertions of relativism”).

Moving right along, let me next touch on the decline and fall of American education—triggered in no small part by members of the Frankfurt School. Most readers are at least somewhat familiar with the Frankfurt School—that group of German Marxists who were welcomed into the United States during the Nazi’s rise to power in the 1930s. Members of the Frankfurt School repaid America’s largesse by stabbing her in the back and spreading an especially virulent form of anti-Americanism throughout US academia. Perhaps the most infectious carrier of their disease was Herbert Marcuse (1898-1979).

“Sex sells"is a well known advertising axiom, and Marcuse hit upon the diabolically clever stratagem of combining sex with soft-sell Marxism. In 1955 Marcuse published his book “Eros and Civilization,“which lit the fire that would erupt into “the sexual revolution"of the 1960s (aided and abetted by the bogus “scientific findings"of pervert extraordinaire Dr. Alfred Kinsey—“Marquis de Sade with a research team"as Selwyn Duke describes him).

Eros and Civilization“popularized the concept of polymorphous perversity (a term coined by atheist and hater of Judeo/Christian tradition Sigmund Freud). Polymorphous perversity was put into the vernacular in the 1960s as “If it feels good do it.“Skillfully hidden within the “if it feels good do it"camouflage, Marcuse included anti-capitalism, anti-freedom, anti-American Marxist propaganda.

Polymorphous perversity leaves everything and anything of a sexual nature on the table—pedophilia, bestiality, necrophilia, you name it. Whatever floats your boat is considered tr√®s
[sic] chic, and any opposition to such perversions is considered to be hopelessly retardataire, repressive and anti-revolutionary. “No discrimination"is the operative catch-phrase, and as Evan Sayet observes, “Once you subscribe to indiscriminateness everything else is the evil of having discriminated.”

And here we come to Evan Sayet’s book “The Kindergarden of Eden"and its surprising, even stunning, conclusions concerning the mindset of America’s modern liberal. Although Sayet has a background as a humorist, his description of modern liberalism is no joke. Andrew Breitbart described Sayet’s talk given at The Heritage Foundation in 2007 as “one of the five most important conservative speeches ever given.“The video of his speech (”How Liberals Think”) on YouTube has had over 600,000 views.

Sayet’s description of the modern liberal mindset is summarized in the quote that opened this article: “...the Modern Liberal will invariably and, in fact, inevitably side with evil over good, wrong over right and the behaviors that lead to failure over those that lead to success.”

. . . In its simplest form, the culture war is a war being waged by the people who don’t do anything against the people who do everything. ...For the first part of the Modern Liberal era, the abject stupidity of the permanently infantilized could be absorbed…. So long as there were a sufficient number of people of God and science doing things and making things, these Modern Liberals could remain forever like Adam and Eve in Eden, or a child in a kindergarten playground….So long as there were people of God and science who could provide for him when he couldn’t provide for himself, he was sure to be safe and comfortable just being himself and doing whatever feels good. Today we are at a tipping point where the people of God and science will soon be overwhelmed by the demands of taking care of the permanently infantilized. It is unsustainable.
 Read the whole thing.

Did Global Warming Have Anything to Do with Sandy?

Short answer: no. 

From the New York Times, a discussion of whether global warming (in particular, the alleged man-made global warming) was responsible for making Sandy stronger than it otherwise would have been. (H/t Weasel Zippers).
There are several areas in which greenhouse-driven warming is thought to be a potential influence. The first is in the buildup of heat in southern surface waters. A paper published earlier this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences was the latest to draw this conclusion, in this case through detailed analysis of storm surges recorded by Atlantic coast tide gauges:
We find that warm years in general were more active in all cyclone size ranges than cold years. The largest cyclones are most affected by warmer conditions and we detect a statistically significant trend in the frequency of large surge events (roughly corresponding to tropical storm size) since 1923.
But on longer time scales, the situation is murky because so many factors shape the formation and growth of tropical cyclones. I wrote in 2007 about a Nature paper by Jeff Donnelly of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and others. Here’s the core conclusion:
Over the last 5,000 years, the eastern Caribbean has experienced several periods, lasting centuries, in which strong hurricanes occurred frequently even though ocean temperatures were cooler than those measured today, according to a new study.
That’s the Caribbean, of course.

What about the Northeast? Here’s Hurricane Sandy. Last year was Hurricane Irene and then there was Hurricane Floyd in 1999. But when you look back in time in this region, big questions arise about just what constitutes a superstorm.

As I’ve written before, the great tropical storm and floods that devastated Vermont in November 1927 (and after Irene) appear to have been minor compared to repeated past hill-scouring superfloods, according to an important study of lake-bed sediments revealing storm patterns and intensities in recent millenniums.

Here’s the lede from my story on that paper, published one decade ago:
Four times since the last ice age, at intervals roughly 3,000 years apart, the Northeast has been struck by cycles of storms far more powerful than any in recent times, according to a new study. The region appears to have entered a fifth era in which such superstorms are more likely, the researchers say.
 In an update to the author's post, he also includes the following:
Martin Hoerling, a meteorologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration focused on the forces influencing extreme weather, sent this note:
Great events can have little causes. In this case, the immediate cause is most likely little more that the coincidental alignment of a tropical storm with an extratropical storm. Both frequent the west Atlantic in October…nothing unusual with that. On rare occasions their timing is such as to result in an interaction which can lead to an extreme event along the eastern seaboard. As to underlying causes, neither the frequency of tropical or extratropical cyclones over the North Atlantic are projected to appreciably change due to climate change, nor have there been indications of a change in their statistical behavior over this region in recent decades (see IPCC 2012 SREX report).

So, while it will rain like “black cats and Frankenweenies” over the midatlantic, this is not some spell conjured upon us by great external forces….unless you believe in the monster flicks of Universal Stuidios fame!
 Comments from other scientists also discount that Sandy was caused by man-made global warming.

So, in short, this is just another example that the 20th Century was actually rather benign in terms of extreme weather and other natural disasters, but we may be entering more "normal" periods. The greater destruction of property is simply a result of people building in flood-prone areas, and a greater concentration of people and buildings. If we had weather and climate events, earthquakes and tsunamis, comparable to the first two decades of the 19th century, we would be seeing hundreds of millions of people dead or displaced.

Tempers Flare in NJ Town Where Thousands Remain Stranded

From the AP (via Yahoo news):
Officials in the city of Hoboken, N.J., are defending their response to severe flooding from superstorm Sandy.

Public Safety director Jon Tooke says at least 25 percent of the city on the Hudson River across from Manhattan remains under water. He estimates at least 20,000 people are stranded and says most are being encouraged to shelter in place until floodwaters recede.

Tempers flared Wednesday morning outside City Hall as some residents complained the city was slow to get food and other supplies out to the stranded.
If you rely on the mercy of others, you are at the mercy of others. This is a good reminder to pay attention to evacuation warnings and to have food and water stored up for an emergency.

Reforming China's One-Child Policy?

NBC reports that a Chinese government "think tank" has suggested phasing out China's one-child policy by 2020. The article states:
The official Xinhua News Agency said the foundation was recommending a two-child policy in some provinces from this year and a nationwide two-child policy by 2015. It also proposed all birth limits be dropped by 2020.

"China has paid a huge political and social cost for the policy, as it has resulted in social conflict, high administrative costs and led indirectly to a long-term gender imbalance at birth," Xinhua said, citing the report.
The article also goes on to note possible opposition to changes within the government. It relates that while the policy has been unpopular among the common people, some credit it for China's current prosperity.

China's current prosperity is primarily a result of its people's work ethic and ability to provide cheap labor, neither of which depended on the one-child policy. However, any changes to the policy now, while welcome, will probably be a case of too little, too late. As it is now, even if given the option of having children, more and more Chinese will voluntarily opt to have one (or none), just like most other countries around the world.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Would Obama Incite Civil Unrest to Win Election?

This piece at the American Thinker argues that not only would Obama incite violence, but that he already has.
There is, however, another side to Obama's Benghazi lie -- a side most instructive on the present question.

Administration officials knew, on September 11, that the attack was in no way related to the airing of the obscure YouTube video, and that in fact there was no protest in Libya on that day. In spite of this knowledge, they systematically cited the video as the primary source of the (nonexistent) protest in Benghazi and implied that the murderous attack grew spontaneously out of that protest.

The political fallout of that lie is devastating. But we must not neglect its practical results for the world beyond the Obama campaign.

By making the video the centerpiece of its various public statements over the days following the Benghazi attack -- including of Obama's September 25 address to the U.N. -- the administration itself publicized and aggrandized it. They repeatedly branded it a "disgusting" and "intolerant" offense against Islam, thereby giving credence to the mock outrage being stoked by a television host on the Egyptian Islamist station al-Nas and Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood government. In other words, their repeated apology for the video's offense against Islam, couched as a (feeble) defense of Western values -- "we protect free speech, but we hate religious intolerance" -- helped to justify, heighten, and prolong the Arab outrage over a video almost no one had seen.

Rather than responding to the Ansar al-Sharia attack with force in real time, labeling it accurately at once, and promising with credibility to crush any copycat incidents -- a response which might have defused or defanged any further uprising from the "Arab street" -- Obama, Hillary Clinton, and others in the administration told a story that justified and empathized with Islamic anger, while weakly pleading for non-violent protests. In addition to inviting a bounty on the filmmaker's head; the administration's rhetoric helped to swell the protests, to increase the intensity of subsequent violence at U.S. diplomatic missions, potentially to endanger the lives of Coptic Christians in Egypt; and to legitimize the sharia advocacy of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Deaths have been reported at post-September 12 "video protests" in various countries. At the peak of this Obama-fed furor, even al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri jumped on the bandwagon, calling for more anti-U.S. "protests" against the video.

In short, the administration's Benghazi cover story, by repeatedly citing and publicizing a supposedly grave insult against Islam, endangered many lives, and risked igniting a much larger outbreak of anti-Western violence in a region of the world Obama claims to admire and respect.

And it must not be forgotten that the inflammatory words with which Obama and his team carelessly stoked Muslim outrage, thereby needlessly endangering so many Arab and Western lives, were a calculated, bald-faced lie, and Obama knew it.

This lie, with all its resulting risk to human safety, was apparently judged to be worth it simply in order to shield Obama's re-election campaign from harm.

Think about that. Think about Obama's attempts to brand Romney a threat to every leftist cause of the last fifty years. Think of his supporters among the New Black Panthers, the SEIU, and the Communist Party USA. Think of his condemnation of Romney at this final, desperate hour, as a "bull*****er" from the one percent who wishes to revoke the equal rights of blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, gays, women, and immigrants.

Benghazi teaches us that Obama is willing to risk inciting civil unrest abroad for the sake of protecting his re-election hopes. Is he willing to take the same risk at home?

Entanglement in Africa

 I had posted earlier today about possible U.S. intervention in Mali. Here are a couple other articles about the expanding issue of U.S. entanglement in Africa.

First, from Wired's Danger Room is the following about expanding military bases in the horn of Africa:
The Pentagon’s secretive drone and commando base in the Horn of Africa is getting a lot bigger and a lot busier as the U.S. doubles down on its shadowy campaign of air strikes, robot surveillance and Special Operation Forces raids in the terror havens of Yemen and Somalia.

Camp Lemonnier, originally a French colonial outpost in Djibouti, a tiny, impoverished nation just north of Somalia, has been the epicenter of America’s Indian Ocean shadow war since just after 9/11. What was once little more than a run-down compound adjacent to Djibouti city’s single-runway international airport is now a sprawling complex of hangars and air-conditioned buildings housing eight Predator drones and eight F-15E fighter-bombers plus other warplanes, as well as around 300 Special Operations Forces and more than 2,000 other U.S. troops and civilians.

According to an investigation by The Washington Post, the Pentagon is spending $1.4 billion to expand the base’s airplane parking and living facilities. The extra housing could accommodate another 800 commandos, the Post reports. The military is also adding new lighting to a emergency landing strip a few miles from Camp Lemonnier — an urgent precaution as more and more planes and drones pack onto the main base’s sole runway.

The Djibouti base is just one of a constellation of hush-hush U.S. drone, commando or intelligence facilities in East Africa. Others are located in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and the island nation of the Seychelles. But “those operations pale in comparison to what is unfolding in Djibouti,” the Post’s Craig Whitlock notes.

As previously reported by Danger Room, the scale and intensity of covert U.S. operations in Djibouti has increased steadily since 2001. Navy SEALs, Army Delta Force commandos and other Special Operations Forces stage from Djibouti on surveillance infiltrations, counter-terrorism raids, hostage rescues and pirate take-downs. And those are just the operations we know about.
Second, from the Washington Times, is this piece about increased cooperation between Al Qaeda in Mali and Boko Haram in Nigeria:
The Islamist militant group Boko Haram has conducted terrorist attacks in Nigeria that bring it closer to al Qaeda in northern Mali, making linkages between the groups more likely and more dangerous, according to a paper published by the Combating Terrorism Center.

In the past year, Boko Haram has carried out several large-scale attacks across a 900-mile swath of Nigeria, roughly the distance between New York City and Atlanta, the paper states. That puts the Nigerian extremists just 300 miles from northern Mali, which is controlled by al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and other affiliated groups.

Boko Haram, which aims to overthrow Nigeria's government, and al Qaeda advocate a fundamentalist interpretation of Sunni Islam.

The danger is that it is much easier for Boko Haram and AQIM to coordinate their operations, said the paper’s author, Jacob Zenn, a West Africa analyst at the Jamestown Foundation, a strategic research think tank in Washington. The Combating Terrorism Center is at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.

The report was released as Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton traveled to Algeria to seek its help in supporting any international intervention in Mali and counter al Qaeda insurgents at its southern border.

Nigerians have crossed into Mali to join al Qaeda and could cross back into their own country, Mr. Zenn said. What’s more, Boko Haram militants could learn bomb-making and other deadly skills from their AQIM compatriots.

“It’s a one-day road trip to get to Mali [from Nigeria],” Mr. Zenn said Tuesday in a phone interview with The Washington Times.

He said Boko Haram’s attacks and weaponry have become “dramatically” more sophisticated and noted that the Nigerian militants’ most lethal assaults have occurred in the country’s northwestern area, close to al Qaeda-controlled territory in Mali.

Is Benghazi Another Gunrunning Scandal?

Benghazi may be another gunrunning scandal. From Front Page Magazine:
Over the weekend, the newest, and by far the most disturbing, revelations surrounding the Benghazi attack were revealed. Several sources have pointed to the possibility that a major CIA gun-running operation aimed at arming anti-Assad Al-Qaeda-affiliated forces was in danger of being exposed. If true, the information casts an even more devastating pall over the Benghazi terrorist attack and the administration’s botched handling of the region.

The decision to stand down as the Benghazi terrorist attack was underway was met with extreme opposition from the inside. The Washington Times‘s James Robbins, citing a source inside the military, reveals that General Carter Ham, commander of U.S. Africa Command, who got the same emails requesting help received by the White House, put a rapid response team together and notified the Pentagon it was ready to go. He was ordered to stay put. “His response was to screw it, he was going to help anyhow,” writes Robbins. “Within 30 seconds to a minute after making the move to respond, his second in command apprehended General Ham and told him that he was now relieved of his command.”

If true, Ham has apparently decided he wants no part of the responsibility for the decision not to help those in harm’s way. He is not alone. As the Weekly Standard‘s Bill Kristol revealed late Friday, a spokesperson, “presumably at the direction of CIA director David Petraeus,” released the following statement: ”No one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate.”

Obama himself is stonewalling.

. . . Several sources have come up with explosive answers accounting for the administration’s reticence.

According to WND’s Aaron Klein, “Egyptian security officials” revealed that Ambassador Christopher Stevens “played a central role in recruiting jihadists to fight Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria.” Stevens was reportedly a key contact for Saudi Arabian officials, who wanted to recruit fighters from North Africa and Libya, and send them to Syria by way of Turkey. The recruits were ostensibly screened by U.S. security organizations, and anyone thought to have engaged in fighting against Americans, including those who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, were not sent to engage Assad’s regime.

Yet as Klein further notes, reality is far different. The rebels the administration armed to fight Gaddafi, as well as those we may have armed to fight Assad, do include al-Qaeda members, and fighters from other jihadist groups as well.

As to the nature of the arms themselves, an October 6 report by the New York Times’ Robert Worth reveals that “Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been funneling money and small arms to Syria’s rebels but have refused to provide heavier weapons, such as shoulder-fired missiles, that could allow opposition fighters to bring down government aircraft, take out armored vehicles and turn the war’s tide.” The reason they have refused to provide more lethal weapons to the rebels is partly because “they have been discouraged by the United States, which fears the heavier weapons could end up in the hands of terrorists.”

Yet as Business Insider reveals ”there’s growing evidence that U.S. agents–particularly murdered ambassador Chris Stevens–were at least aware of heavy weapons moving from Libya to jihadist Syrian rebels” (italic mine) and that, beginning in March 2011, Stevens was “working directly with Abdelhakim Belhadj of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group–a group that has now disbanded, with some fighters reportedly participating in the attack that took Stevens’ life.” In November 2011, the Daily Telegraph reported that “Belhadj, head of the Tripoli Military Council and the former leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, ‘met with Free Syrian Army leaders in Istanbul and on the border with Turkey,’ said a military official working with Mr Belhadj.” Reportedly, many of the militia groups that helped oust Gaddafi were eager to export their revolution to Syria.

Three days after the attack in Benghazi, it was revealed that ”a Libyan ship carrying the largest consignment of weapons for Syria…has docked in Turkey,” with a cargo that “weighed 400 tons and included SA-7 surface-to-air anti-craft missiles and rocket-propelled grenades.” Business Insider speculates the weapons came “most likely from Muammar Gaddafi’s stock of about 20,000 portable heat-seeking missiles–the bulk of them SA-7s–that the Libyan leader obtained from the former Eastern bloc.”

The Insider then reaches a devastating conclusion. “And if the new Libyan government was sending seasoned Islamic fighters and 400 tons of heavy weapons to Syria through a port in southern Turkey–a deal brokered by Stevens’ primary Libyan contact (meaning Belhadj) during the Libyan revolution–then the governments of Turkey and the U.S. surely knew about it.”

But not just Turkey and the U.S. Canada Free Press columnist Doug Hagmann, citing a ”well placed source with extensive knowledge about the attack,” claims that “Russia was fully aware of this operation and warned the U.S. not to engage in the destabilization of Syria, as doing so would endanger (Russian) national security interests.” He further asserts that Stevens’ final meeting in Benghazi on September 11 was with ”his Turkish counterpart, who reportedly warned Stevens that the (gun-running) operation was compromised.”

That the administration was helping to arm the worst elements in the region — jihadist rebels also at war with the United States — may explain the administration’s vigorous stonewalling to date. Far from just a diplomatic mission in Libya, the evidence suggests that one of the explicit functions of the U.S. “consulate” was to oversee the transfer of Libyan weapons from the Gaddafi regime’s stockpile, including to the opposition in Syria.

“In short, it seems President Obama has been engaged in gun-walking on a massive scale,” Center for Security Policy president Frank Gaffney explains in the Washington Times. “The effect has been to equip America’s enemies to wage jihad not only against regimes it once claimed were our friends, but inevitably against us and our allies, as well. That would explain his administration’s desperate, and now-failing, bid to mislead the voters through the serial deflections of Benghazigate.”
What is interesting to me is, shortly after the attack (Sept. 20), the White House Insider (WHI) at the Ulsterman Report speculated that gunrunning to terrorists may have been behind the Benghazi attack:

UM: How about the Middle East stuff? The embassy attacks? I have been trying to get out as much information on that as possible. Is that going to hurt Obama like it should?

WHI: It will – it IS hurting him. Not as much as it should – media is in 24/7 protect mode. That whole things stinks…not just the president’s reaction to it. Not just the lying by the administration…but the fella who was killed…that ambassador. Now this is me – this is just me thinkin’ here. What my gut is tellin’ me on this…that guy was no ambassador. Officially yeah – but off the books. He was CIA. Had to have been. You made a comment in one of your stories…’bout how it was like Fast and Furious except in the Middle East. Somethin’ like that.

UM: That if Obama was willing to arm Mexican drug lords, why not Muslim extremists.

WHI: Right – somethin’ like that. Think you might a nailed it there without knowing it. You meant it as…like a bit of sarcasm there at the end of what you wrote – but you actually said what the real deal is. Obama sent a sh-tload of weapons into Libya during the Gaddafi thing. Had no idea who they were going to…just…tens of millions of dollars worth of high grade weaponry. Now you think folks like al Qaeda and other militant groups won’t notice? It was a take what you need weapons supermarket courtesy of the Obama government for them! Not much different than what happened in Egypt.

UM: How so?

WHI: You got Egypt. You got Libya. Both of them were run by…basically they guys running the show were non-practicing Muslims, right? Mubarak – he couldn’t stand the Muslim hardliners and he beat the sh-t out of them every chance he got. Him and his military cronies. So he kept the peace that way. He kept business open to American and European interests. Things weren’t perfect, but a hell of a lot better than say,Iran. He could tell Iran to shut the f-ck up, and Iran had to consider it because Egypt had some real muscle. It had a military, and it had the backing of the West.

Now Libya…Gadaffi was a real sh*t. Sick bastard. But like Mubarak – he didn’t like the Muslim hardliners in Libya either. Especially if they were gonna cause trouble for him. So he would intimidate the sh-t out of them too. At least over the last decade or so. Gaddafi had two coming to God moments in his life. The first was when Reagan bombed the hell out of his palace. He knew he coulda died then. He knew the West could come in and take his life if it wanted. So he moderated. Then there was 9-11. And when Bush went into Iraq and did his thing – they found Hussein and put him on trial and hung the bastard…that scared the hell out of Gaddafi. Really got inside his head. So he moderated some more. He was actually…my understanding…he was actually becoming a regular contributor to our Intel. By that time he couldn’t stand al Qaeda anymore than we could. Maybe less so because they posed an even more direct threat to him.

And what happens? The dumbest pile of sh-t that has ever sat in that White House helps to force Mubarak and Gaddafi out – and we got no real plan for the aftermath. All kinds of people are telling the administration the Muslim Brotherhood could take overEgypt. Could take over Libya. They either ignored those warning or that is EXACTLY what they wanted to happen.

They are warned that Gadaffi’s departure will create more chaos in Libya and there are a sh-tload of weapons that will be unaccounted for. That is exactly what happens. Obama doesn’t give a sh-t. Too busy golfing. Doing the talk shows. Right? Telling Israel to go f-ck themselves. Dancing around Iran instead of punching them right in their f-cking face. Jarrett is Iranian. Jarrett has long ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. You would think, maybe for one f-cking second, enough people in the media would think maybe – just maybe…we should take a closer look at all this.

(Pause)

What if that ambassador fella…what if he was killed by weapons sent there by Barack Obama? Just like you said in that off-handed way. And what if there are tens of thousands of those weapons being used by al Qaeda right now? Maybe on their way to the Israeli border? And not just guns ‘cause that’s not all we were sending into Libya you know. We’re talking some high powered take down an airliner kinda stuff.

And take it a bit further. We did that. And we did it knowingly. We did it willingly. The Obama White House. Their hand picked stooges in the military, in State. They did that.

Now let me go one little step more here. What if that ambassador…well…let’s say he came across certain information…damaging to the administration. Why is he flying into that consulate in Benghazi? Cover of night. No security precautions. Anti-Western sentiment reaching critical levels. It’s almost like he was trying to keep his whereabouts unknown to his own government. Right? And that bullsh-t little YouTube video thing? It had been out for…what – months? Nobody gave a sh-t about it. NOBODY.

But then it is being used as the spark to start the fire? Who did that? Who would want to get those sand…get those people are riled up like that? And the administration – they are saying it was that video right out of the gate, right? Like it was a packaged excuse ready to go. Packaged means it was part of something bigger. A bigger plan, right?

UM: (Interrupts) Hold on – I apologize. I just want to ask you if this is all your own speculation – or if you received information. (Military Insider?) You’re getting pretty specific here – and that usually – all the times we’ve done this…usually means you received information from another source.

WHI: This is me. Just me.

…so like I said…the video thing…it’s part of a packaged plan. They are running that excuse HARD. Libyans are saying it’s bullsh-t. London media…they got a sh-tload of people in Libya too who know – there is stuff going on between us and the Brits…they ain’t happy with Obama. Not all of them.

So basically everyone BUT the Obama administration is saying the Benghazi attack was pre-planned, right? Terrorist attack. And what is Barack Obama doing right at that time? He’s flying to Vegas. He’s doing goofy interviews. His White House just keeps repeating the video excuse over and over again.

So is this all just a pile of incompetent sh-t by the Obama administration? By Clinton? Did you notice how Defense said very little? And the CIA…Petraeus… has said nothing? In this town, some times the ones speaking the loudest are the ones not saying a word.

UM: And then we get the “secret” Romney 47% video released.

WHI: Right – right. Obama was starting to take on just a little bit of heat on the Middle East sh-t and that tape comes out. That thing wasn’t meant to come out this early. Late October, maybe – certainly not now. But they are so spooked and confused over the polling data, they released it sooner. That means the Middle East situation has them afraid. People are actually asking some questions now. Sniffing around the situation just a bit. And if they get somebody in the military…somebody like that…to go on the record with this…with whatever had that ambassador acting so strangely right before he was killed…well-well-well…

UM: So you’re going conspiracy on this?

WHI: Oh yeah. That was no accidental killing of the ambassador. And it wasn’t just al-Qaeda acting alone. They had approval. From somebody linked with our side of the fence.

UM: And you’re really just speculating here?

WHI: (Pause)

…Sure. Just me on this…just me thinking on Barack Obama – the Butcher of Benghazi.

Mali Invasion in the Works?

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton sought Algeria’s backing on Monday for an emerging international effort to push Islamic militants out of northern Mali, in a meeting here with the president of Algeria, Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

In several hours of discussions, the two sides focused on the deteriorating situation in northern Mali, which has become a sanctuary for terrorists, including militants from Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, since the national army lost control of the region after a coup in March.

After the meetings, American officials asserted that the Algerians’ and Americans’ political and military approaches to the crisis had begun to converge, but that more work was needed. “We have agreed to continue with in-depth expert discussions,” Mrs. Clinton said, “to determine the most effective approaches that we should be taking.”
 Some additional thoughts here.

Sandy--The Aftermath (Updated)

NBC News has a good summary of the aftermath and impact of the storm. Some highlights:
  • More than 7 million homes and businesses were without power across many states, and nearly half of the outages were in New York and New Jersey. NBC News meteorologist Bill Karins warned to "expect the cleanup and power outage restoration to continue right up through Election Day."
  • A massive fire destroyed at least 50 homes in Breezy Point, a seaside community in Queens, N.Y. Firefighters had difficulty reaching the blaze due to the severe weather. The cause of the fire was not immediately known.
  • Seven subway tunnels under the East River in New York City were flooded, leading MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota to declare: "The New York City subway system is 108 years old, but it has never faced a disaster as devastating as what we experienced last night."
  • PATH train service between Manhattan and New Jersey is likely to be suspended for 7-10 days, Gov. Chris Christie said Tuesday.
  • Half of Hoboken, N.J., was underwater, preventing emergency crews from reaching areas of the city, according to Mayor Dawn Zimmer. "We want people to be aware that it's a very dangerous situation," she told MSNBC.
  • At least four towns in north New Jersey — Moonachie, Little Ferry, South Hackensack and Hackensack — were submerged by up to 6 feet of water after a levee broke.
  • New York University Medical Center evacuated 215 patients to other hospitals because its backup generator was out. Critical patients — including infants in neonatal intensive care — were taken by ambulance to Mount Sinai Hospital, Memorial Sloan-Kettering and New York Presbyterian Hospital.
  • The storm surge destroyed a number of houses on Fire Island, N.Y., where some people had decided to sit out Sandy.
  • Over 15,773 flights have been canceled so far, including 6,047 Tuesday morning and 635 already listed for Wednesday. Rail traffic was also heavily affected, with Amtrak canceling all of its Northeast Corridor service, in addition to some other lines.
  • Rising waters sparked an alert at the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant in New Jersey Monday night, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said. The alert was the "second lowest of four NRC action levels," it added, and was "due to water exceeding certain high water level criteria in the plant’s water intake structure." Exelon said there was no danger to equipment and no threat to public health or safety.
They also report:
Seawater surged into lower Manhattan and areas of Brooklyn, submerging entire streets and parks Monday. An all-time record tide level of 13.88 feet was set at The Battery in Lower Manhattan, Monday night, breaking the previous record of 11.2 feet from 1821, as well as Sandy Hook, N.J., shattering the previous record from the Dec. 1992 Nor'easter and Hurricane Donna in 1960, according to weather.com.
 And:
Blizzard warnings have also been posted for the mountains of West Virginia, western Virginia and Garrett County, Md. The largest amount of snow reported as of Monday evening was 16 inches in Tucker County, W.Va.
Fox News has a summary as well. It notes:
New York was among the hardest hit, with its financial heart closed for a second day and seawater cascading into the still-gaping construction pit at the World Trade Center. The storm caused the worst damage in the 108-year history of New York's subway system, and there was no indication of when the largest U.S. transit system would be rolling again.

But the full extent of the damage in New Jersey was being revealed as morning arrived. Emergency crews fanned out to rescue hundreds.

A hoarse-voiced New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie gave bleak news at a morning news conference: Seaside rail lines washed away. No safe place on the state's barrier islands for him to land. Parts of the coast still under water.

"It is beyond anything I thought I'd ever see," he said. "It is a devastating sight right now."

The death toll from Sandy in the U.S. climbed to 18, including several killed by falling trees. Sandy also killed 69 people in the Caribbean before making its way up the Eastern Seaboard.

Airlines canceled more than 12,000 flights. New York City's three major airports remained closed.
Fox News also has a slide show of images of the destruction and the storm.

Update (2 pm): A few articles from the Daily Mail on the disaster. First, the death toll has been raised to 39 people (and, of course, the article includes more photographs of the disaster). 750,000 people in NYC were without power Tuesday morning (millions more, elsewhere), and power may not be fully restored for several days (which raises the question of whether we might see looting). And New Yorkers face infestations of rats driven into homes and businesses from the flood waters.

Antibiotic Resistant TB Spreads in Eastern Europe

TB, which cannot be cured with conventional drugs, is spreading in Eastern Europe. So far, strategies to fight the disease have shown little success because it is closely linked to poverty and exclusion.

Two years ago, most addicts in Eastern Europe died from a overdose or committed suicide; today, more and more of them are dying from multi-resistant tuberculosis (TB).

“The leading cause of death for people we treat is TB," says Daria Ocheret, who has worked with addicts in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius for 10 years. "And most of the time, it is multi-resistant tuberculosis.”

For many people, TB is a disease that was eradicated in the last century. But the fact is the disease has returned and is more dangerous than ever. Multi-drug resistant TB complicates the treatment of patients worldwide.

The past several years has seen the rise of strains that are resistant not only to conventional antibiotics but nearly to all medicines. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than 400,000 people are suffering from multi- or extremely-resistant TB.

. . . The former Soviet Union is especially at risk in Europe. Around 80,000 people with resistance to conventional TB medicines live in former Soviet states – a fifth of all cases worldwide, according to the WHO. A total of 15 European countries are considered high-risk, including Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Bulgaria, and Moldavia as well as the Baltic states.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

How to Tie a Shemagh Scarf


One of the better methods and explanations I've seen.

Reactive Draw Stroke

An article from Warrior Talk News about drawing a firearm (or other weapon) if you are threatened or attacked by someone else with a firearm. Synopsis: getting out of the way of the other person's weapon is your first priority, so practice moving and drawing at the same time.

Plans for a DIY Rocket Stove Using Wire Hangers

It is designed to be portable and uses rocks and the thick wire from wire coat hangers. (Link here).

The Decline of Japan

. . . The country is not just in a prolonged slump but also in an inescapable decline.

There’s frequent evidence for that in economic data, and in the country’s destiny to become ever-smaller, doomed by demographics that will shrink the population from about 127 million today to 47 million in 2100, according to government data.

The current doom is a sharp reversal from several decades ago, when Japanese companies bought up Columbia Pictures and Rockefeller Center, and Americans argued whether Japan was to be feared or envied.

. . . By 2050, Japan “will be the oldest society ever known,” with a median age of 52, according to the recent book “Megachange,” published by the Economist magazine. Even over the next decade, Japan’s aging population will drag down the gross domestic product by about 1 percent every year. That will further strain Japan’s economy, which in 2010 lost its status as the world’s second-largest, a position now claimed by China.
The decline likely has been demoralizing because the Japanese had such a sense of manifest destiny just at the time their real estate bubble collapsed in the late 80's. But that they thought a small section of Tokyo was worth more than all California was delusion and hubris of the grandest scale.

The article also mentions older worker complaining about young workers being risk adverse. But I would suggest that Japanese have been raised to be risk adverse--spoiled as (likely) a single child, and raised to take a job guaranteeing lifetime employment.

Rifle Field Positions

Warrior Talk News has started a series on field positions to use when shooting a rifle. The first two--on prone shooting and sitting--are already up. One point they bring up with prone shooting that I thought was interesting, because it contradicts everything I've ever been told or read before, is:
Use the magazine as a monopod. Those that tell you doing so will malfunction the rifle are wrong...or they are using substandard magazines. The goal is as much bone support as possible with the least amount of muscle strength necessary to maintain the position.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Crime Rockets in Stockton, CA

The SHTFplan blog discusses the increased violent crime in Stockton, CA (h/t Survival Blog). The basic post is that because of Stockton's bankruptcy and economic depression in the area, the city has had to cut back on law enforcement, which has led to an increase in crime. (Not necessarily agreeing with the cause and effect analysis, just summarizing the post). The author uses this as a warning that people need to be prepared to protect themselves and their property. The interesting part are the comments. Three, in particular, caught my eye.

First, this one:
Actually, I’m not surprised that folks would begin taking the law into their own hands:

“At some point between the beginning of crisis stage and governmental collapse (say, sometime before the cops pretty much give up), ordinary citizens will begin forming their own protection groups. This may be a group of neighbors forming a vigilante committee, or an existing street gang that decides to start protecting their neighborhood and neighbors from rival gangs and criminals coming in from other neighborhoods. It starts with groups that help the police, such as neighborhood watches and increased general awareness by neighbors. Then as police coverage becomes thinner? Unarmed, and then armed groups begin to appear to perform citizen arrests. Then, they become outright vigilante groups. Eventually? You become your own law. Unfortunately, the same maxim will hold true for everyone else in your vicinity.

While being with such a group will sound like a relief of sorts, these vigilante groups may well begin to make up their own laws as they go along, as due process will be whatever the whim of the lynch mob thinks it should be.

There will be exceptions to this rule outside of the large cities and suburbs. Smaller, more socially conservative populations will try to retain some of the existing structure of law enforcement. On the other hand, actual justice and due process (courts, detention, trial by peers, etc) may be curtailed or simply shortened to execution for most crimes – either real or perceived.”
Second (responding to the general theme of vigilante groups):
My father’s house was run over by the eye of Hurricane Katrina when it passed over the Mississippi coast. He lived in a small subdivision outside of a small town and his house was one of only three in the development that wasn’t seriously damaged or destroyed. The area went without electricity for six weeks, telephone service for five months, etc. They didn’t see the first outside assistance for a month, and when it came it was a private church group, not FEMA or the National Guard.

My dad evacuated to my home for a week and when he returned, he found that the residents who had stayed had formed an ad hoc security service. They were less than an hour’s drive from New Orleans and the radios were burning up with news of people leaving NO and essentially raiding surrounding areas. The residents had set up a rotating 24-hour schedule to guard the entrance to the development. Each had a weapon and would use it if absolutely necessary (fortunately the sight of armed men was sufficient deterrent.)

In addition, the residents determined who needed what and got it done. My dad had a generator and 50 gallons of gasoline we’d sent with him, so all of the residents who had medication, formula or whatever requiring refrigeration stored their stuff at his home. Others had gas-powered chainsaws to clear trees and debris. Others had carpentry skills and helped make temporary repairs to the less damaged homes using materials on hand.

It was HARD for them. I’ve heard the stories and it’s nothing any of them want to do again. Yet they all survived and unlike in New Orleans they worked together. No one died, no one suffered any indignity that the others were spared.

Based on my dad’s experience I think an ad hoc security group can work well provided everyone is on the same page.
Third, this one responding to the first post above:
I have to disagree with you on a couple of points you have made. Let me preface my comments by saying that I live very close to Stockton and either I or one of my employees are working in Stockton every day doing home inspections. I think I am in tune with the thoughts and general feelings of the members of this community.

This situation has been going on for almost a year. There is no active neighborhood watches in effect that I know of nor is there any thought of vigilante justice.

The gangs black,white, hispanic and asian are the law. The Stockton police and San Joauqin County Sheriff have only one function at this time and that is to take reports and guard the coroners people as they haul off the dead. Neither has the manpower to do anything else.

The gangs also act as the judge and jury in Stockton. They protect thier own people. Plus theses gangs punish those who harm a member of thier community.

This is the picture of what you will see more and more of across the nation as things deteriate. The chemical make up of these gangs in other places may be different just because of the lack of ethnic distribution in any single area. None the less there will be some groups in every area that will be more than happy to fill the vacumn left when there is no police to enforce the rule of law.

You can call these groups gangs, bands of thugs, vigilantes or whatever but they will be the ones serving up frontier justice until:

In Northern California there are three main militia groups. They have been formed, they are well organized and they are currently training on a regular basis. The plan for when TSHF is to lay up and let the people destroy themselves. Gangs vigilantes and other self proclaimed enforcers will be systematicaly targeted by these militias who have already established between themselves who will control what area. These militias even have alliances with each other to come to and help each other if attacked by outside forces. I cannot say who those outside forces could be.

Once law and order has been re-established these militias like any other form of governmentr will require that the people living in thier area will be required to tithe a certain amount product or whatever to these militias for protection.

And the cycle will begin again. Smaller governments till they once again merger and get bigger and bigger. 150 years later and we will once again be in the same position that we are today. Who says history doesn’t repeat itself?
(Typographical errors in the original). Militias, gangs ... it all sort of becomes the same thing, and may be a real toss up of which is worse.

Important Hurricane Tips

From Coalition of the Swilling. Note especially the list of food and supplies (reproduced below), advice on how to board up your windows, and to close your garage doors and back your vehicles up against the door to keep the wind from blowing them down.


A Few Days PRIOR (three days out may be TOO LATE to find everything):

3 gallons BOTTLED water per person (for 3 days) minimum
enough prescription medication to get you through 10 DAYS if you take any
canned tuna/chicken/SPAM/shelf stable meats
those damned nasty vienna snausages
canned chili
beenie weenies
canned soups like “chunky” that don’t need water added
mayo/mustard/ketchup
bread (Get the one with the FURTHEST OUT SHELF DATE)
canned vegetables, like green beans or baby peas
kraft macaroni and cheese in a box
dry cereal
instant oatmeal
squeezy cheese
large jar(s) peanut butter
large jar(s) jelly
various boxes of crackers
instant coffee or tea
coffemate, dry milk or shelf stable milk
sugar, salt, pepper
juice boxes
instant potatoes (like a BIG box of “Potato Buds”)
whatever fresh fruit your family enjoys
butter or (gulp) margarine
dogfood/catfood if you have furry family members besides, well…
snacks and chips
canned or plastic jarred fruits, like cocktail or peaches
pudding cups
dish detergent
antiseptic hand soap
paper towels
paper napkins
plastic utensils (forks, knives,spoons)
paper plates
plastic trash bags
ZIPLOCK baggies, QT and GAL
DUCK tape
boxes of wooden matches
MANUAL CAN OPENER
large candles (and not really stinky ones) As leelu notes in the comments:WITH a GAS LEAK, CANDLES CAN BE BAD. **SITUATIONAL AWARENESS** KNOW what’s going on.
bug spray, both yard and personal
A BATTERY OPERATED RADIO (that voice in the dark from the local TV station will be your BEST FRIEND, trust me.)
LARGE BATTERY OPERATED LIGHTS that will sit independently (hard to go to a dark bathroom holding a flashlight)
small flashlights
LED poplights are great
BATTERIES and SPARES that fit EVERY SINGLE THING YOU NEED BATTERIES FOR!!!
FILL YOUR PROPANE CANNISTER NOW (if you are on a direct gas hook-up, get a charcoal grill)
3 bags of charcoal
lighter fluid for the charcoal
CASH
CAR CHARGER for cell phones (ours were worthless during Ivan but I’ve heard they’ve come a long way, tower-wise…)
COOLERS for the ice (and the stuff that’ll come out of that fridge)
FIRST AID KIT which I bolster with additional Ace bandages, BandAids of every size and description, sterile wraps, tapes, Neosporin, hydrocortizone, anti-histimine pills, aspirin etc.
Little Coleman tanks if you have camping stoves or lights (as always, to be used OUTSIDE AFTERWARDS…DUH)
Old fashioned board games, playing cards, Mille Bornes, Yahtzee, books (especially with wired little ones)

Hold off on ice until the latest you possibly can, which is why it’s NOT on the “go after work TONIGHT” list. TOP YOUR GAS TANKS off while you can, too, as Bingley points out. You all will have to fight a ton more people at the pump than we ever did down here. *DIRECT plug-in phone like a Princess type, if you have a PHONE COMPANY landline. Your multiple remote handset phone will not work when the power goes out, and your old fashioned one may very well get a call out on the substation batteries.

7.7 Earthquake Off Western Coast of Canada (Update)

A tsunami warning has also been issued. From the Associated Press (via the Washington Post):
A magnitude-7.7 earthquake has struck off the coast of western Canada and a tsunami warning has been issued. There are no immediate reports of damage.

The U.S. Geological Survey in Colorado says the quake hit the Queen Charlotte Islands at 11:14 p.m. Sunday local time (0314 GMT) and was centered 96 miles (155 kilometers) south of Masset, British Columbia.
The tsunami warning is for coastal areas of British Columbia, southern Alaska, Washington, Oregon and northern California. The initial quake was followed by a 5.8 aftershock.

Update: A slightly longer and more informative article at Fox News.

And That's The Rest of the Story...

While most of the focus on Benghazi has been the dishonorable conduct of political leaders, here is more detals on the two ex-Navy SEALS that died when they went to the aid of the consulate:
So what actually happened at the U.S. embassy in Libya ? We are learning more about this every day. Ambassador Stevens and Foreign Service officer Sean Smith, along with administrative staff, were working out of temporary quarters due to the fact that in the spring of 2011 during the so-called Arab Spring, the United States cut ties with then president Moammar Gadhafi. Our embassy was looted and ransacked, causing it to be unusable. It is still in a state of disrepair. Security for embassies and their personnel is to be provided by the host nation. Since Libya has gone through a civil war of sorts in the past 18 months, the current government is very unstable, and therefore, unreliable

A well-organized attack by radical Muslims was planned specifically targeting the temporary U.S. embassy building. The Libyan security force that was in place to protect our people deserted their post, or joined the attacking force. Either way, our people were in a real fix. And it should be noted that Ambassador Stevens had mentioned on more than one occasion to Secretary of State, “Hillary Clinton”, that he was quite concerned for his personal safety and the welfare of his people. It is thought that Ambassador Stevens was on a “hit list.”

A short distance from the American compound, two Americans were sleeping. They were in Libya as independent contractors working an assignment totally unrelated to our embassy. They also happened to be former Navy SEALs. When they heard the noise coming from the attack on our embassy, as you would expect from highly trained warriors, they ran to the fight. Apparently, they had no weapons, but seeing the Libyan guards dropping their guns in their haste in fleeing the scene, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty snatched up several of these discarded weapons and prepared to defend the American compound.

Not knowing exactly what was taking place, the two SEALs set up a defensive perimeter. Unfortunately Ambassador Stevens was already gravely injured, and Foreign Service officer, Sean Smith, was dead. However, due to their quick action and suppressive fire, twenty administrative personnel in the embassy were able to escape to safety. Eventually, these two courageous men were overwhelmed by the sheer numbers brought against them, an enemy force numbering between 100 to 200 attackers which came in two waves. But the stunning part of the story is that Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty killed 60 of the attacking force. Once the compound was overrun, the attackers were incensed to discover that just two men had inflicted so much death and destruction.

As it became apparent to these selfless heroes, they were definitely going to lose their lives unless some reinforcements showed up in a hurry. As we know now, that was not to be. I’m fairly certain they knew they were going to die in this gun fight, but not before they took a whole lot of bad guys with them!

A Sunni-Shia War?

Like Christianity, Islam is actually fragmented into different sects and cults. Islam has two primary branches: Sunni and Shia. The differences between the two branches are explained at History News Network.

Although the distinction is not always recognized, I am beginning to see more articles describing growing friction between the groups, such as this one from Pakistan.
About 20 men dressed as Pakistani soldiers boarded a bus bound for a Muslim festival outside this mountain town and checked the identification cards of the passengers. They singled out 19 Shi'ites, drew weapons and slaughtered them, most with a bullet to the head.

The shooters weren't soldiers. They were a hit squad linked to the Sunni Muslim extremist group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, or LeJ. They had trekked in along a high Himalayan pass that hot August morning to waylay a convoy of pilgrims.

Here and across Pakistan, violent Sunni radicals are on the march against the nation's Shi'ite minority.

With a few hundred hard-core cadres, the highly secretive LeJ aims to trigger sectarian violence that would pave the way for a Sunni theocracy in U.S.-allied Pakistan, say Pakistan police and intelligence officials. Its immediate goal, they say, is to stoke the intense Sunni-Shi'ite violence that has pushed countries like Iraq close to civil war.
And, of course, in Syria. The Independent reports:
Yet the Free Syrian Army fighter says his enemy was not President Bashar al-Assad's soldiers, but militants from the armed wing of the Shia movement Hezbollah, a long-standing ally of Iran and the Syrian regime.

Rebel fighters and fleeing residents have told The Independent that Hezbollah began a major assault on the Syrian side of the border in mid-October, after the FSA tried but failed to take control of border villages and crossing points. At night Katyusha rockets fired from Hezbollah positions in the Hermel area rain down on rebel positions over the border, they claim.

"Everyone knows they have fighters there," said the bearded 23-year-old Syrian, from the temporary sanctuary of an old agricultural outbuilding perched over the Lebanese town of Aarsal, a few kilometres from the border. However, he said the situation had changed in recent weeks as even more militants began to flow in.

Evidence shows that Hezbollah is sending ever more fighters across the border to back the Syrian regime. Its supporters have thronged to the Bekaa valley for funerals of militants – including that of a senior commander whom Hezbollah said died on "jihadist duties", without specifying where.

The movement's increased involvement threatens to further destabilise Lebanon, which is already reeling from the assassination of Wissam al-Hassan, a top intelligence chief, a week ago. Many speculate that the Syrian regime or its proxies were behind the killing.
See also this article at the Christian Science Monitor, which explains:
Hezbollah views the conflict in Syria as a confrontation with strategic consequences for the region. The collapse of the Assad regime and its replacement with a Sunni-dominated regime moderate in its foreign policy and more closely aligned with Turkey and Saudi Arabia would tear out the geostrategic heart of the axis of resistance.

WSI--Situation in Europe Stabilizing

The Wall Street Insider tells the Ulsterman Report that the situation in Europe is stabilizing:
You questioned my work in Europe. I cannot publicly disclose the specifics of those doings, but will simply say much danger remains, but for now, the patient, if you will, has been stabilized. Italy’s condition is not nearly so dire as it was, and some who helped to manufacture its demise are now being held accountable for their action or inaction. Germany remains resolute in its determination to push back against the demands of the Socialists. How odd is it for me to be working so closely now with a country whose people once destroyed so many of my own? God does indeed work in mysterious ways. The opportunity of redemption is always provided, is it not?
He also notes:
I was so pleased to read the words of our mutual friend yesterday! To think upon Mitt Romney as a man who truly recognizes that God’s will is what must be done if this country is to be saved, how long has it been such a person has occupied the People’s House? And how much do so many of us now yearn for such a man to lead America? I did not actually realize the depth of that yearning until I read that story of Mr. Romney’s quiet prayer amidst the sound of thunder. What a beautiful and powerful telling, and I am left to now wonder how many, like me, are so hopeful to have a humble and dedicated servant of God in the White House once again.
The story he is talking about was from the White House Insider's repeating some observations from Romney's Colorado rally the other day. WHI related:
Got this feedback earlier today and thought you’d like to hear it. You know, I’ve gone from just trying to defeat Obama to really trying to help Governor Romney be this country’s next president. I’m really starting to believe there might be something very special about this man. This took place out in Colorado. Just a couple days ago. Probably my favorite campaign trail story that’s come back my way so far this election. Wish I had been there. I’m going to try and get a little poetic on you here. Hope I pull it off OK and do this story justice.

. . . The governor returns backstage and he is smiling and shaking hands, taking congratulations from everybody around him. He’s saying how great it was. Somebody yells out he’s going to win Colorado and the governor laughs and says he thinks so too. And then something very interesting happens. He moves away from the group of people just a bit. Maybe ten or fifteen feet or so. Just enough to have a little space to himself. And enough people notice that the area gets a lot more quiet, and they are trying to watch the governor without looking like they are watching the governor. They can all kind of tell something is happening right then. It was described as something very peaceful and powerful that came over that backstage area for a moment. And the governor, he lowers his head and his eyes shut tight and you could see him take a slow deep breath and then he lets it out and says quietly, but just loud enough for some to hear, “Lord, if this is your will, please help to make me worthy. Please give me the strength Lord.” And then his eyes open up, and he’s back to smiling and laughing and shaking hands and being the candidate once again.

I’m 100% convinced Mitt Romney was shaken to his soul right then and there. I think at that moment it was sinking in he might really be the next American president, and it humbled him right to his core, in every nerve of his body. And as he was saying that little prayer, you could hear the sound of thunder from all those thundersticks outside. Like this huge low rumble that just surrounded all of them at once. A quiet little prayer, and the sound of thunder.

The sound of God.

Benghazi Scandel Getting Worse (Updated)

The reports coming out show that the Administration and senior military officials were well aware of the attack in Benghazi, including that it was by terrorists, even while the attacks were underway, yet did nothing. (CNN story about emails to the Administration) (CBS story about drones in the area)

The CBS story relates:
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Thursday defended the U.S. military response, saying the situation on the ground was too confusing.

"You don't deploy forces into harm's way without knowing what's on, without having some real time information about what's taking place," Panetta said.

He said senior officers, including Gen. Carter Ham, the U.S. commander for Africa, and General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, all opposed military intervention.

"General Ham, General Dempsey and I felt very strongly that we could not put forces at risk in that situation," Panetta said.

When asked whether they had forces on any heightened alert in that area because of the approaching 9/11 anniversary, Panetta said they did.

Gen. Dempsey added: "And let me point out, it was 9/11 everywhere in the world."
However, Fox News reported on Friday that CIA security personnel in the area were twice told to stand down, and denied military backup. The report states:
Former Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods was part of a small team who was at the CIA annex about a mile from the U.S. consulate where Ambassador Chris Stevens and his team came under attack. When he and others heard the shots fired, they informed their higher-ups at the annex to tell them what they were hearing and requested permission to go to the consulate and help out. They were told to "stand down," according to sources familiar with the exchange. Soon after, they were again told to "stand down."

Woods and at least two others ignored those orders and made their way to the consulate which at that point was on fire. Shots were exchanged. The rescue team from the CIA annex evacuated those who remained at the consulate and Sean Smith, who had been killed in the initial attack. They could not find the ambassador and returned to the CIA annex at about midnight.

At that point, they called again for military support and help because they were taking fire at the CIA safe house, or annex. The request was denied. There were no communications problems at the annex, according those present at the compound. The team was in constant radio contact with their headquarters. In fact, at least one member of the team was on the roof of the annex manning a heavy machine gun when mortars were fired at the CIA compound. The security officer had a laser on the target that was firing and repeatedly requested back-up support from a Spectre gunship, which is commonly used by U.S. Special Operations forces to provide support to Special Operations teams on the ground involved in intense firefights.
This prompted a statement from the CIA that it (the CIA) had not told anyone present to stand down.

Significant here, though, was that there were two Predator drones in the area, "boots on the ground" including a CIA security officer with a laser target designator, and, at some point, a Spectre gunship. How much more intelligence and observation did they need? Not every mission can be like the raid on Bin Laden's compound where there are months to plan every little detail.

However, it appears that more may be about to become public. The White House Insider at the Ulsterman Report indicated yesterday (Friday, Oct. 26):
Got word an all-call went out at the WH A.M. today.

That means they are doing what’s called “huddling”. Has to be related to the Benghazi news now hitting. Have good source in Chicago saying their office is acting very odd today as well. Can’t say if this will break out all the way now, but we are getting very close to an all out WH red alert scenario. Not there yet but very close.

Significant activity from Ruemmler’s office over the last 24.

In this situation there will likely be 1 of 2 responses from WH.

-Highly controlled briefing response. Attempt explanation, then hope story gets buried over weekend and race to election day.

-Announced resignation of someone inside administration. President apologizes for mistakes by some in his administration. That deal could be under negotiation at this very moment.
(Kathryn Ruemmler is the White House legal counsel).

What could be going on? Well, it probably was that they had advance warning of the Fox News story, but might also have to do with an unsubstantiated report from Tiger Droppings:
The information I heard today [from a trusted military source] was that General Ham as head of Africom received the same e-mails the White House received requesting help/support as the attack was taking place. General Ham immediately had a rapid response unit ready and communicated to the Pentagon that he had a unit ready.

General Ham then received the order to stand down. His response was to screw it, he was going to help anyhow. Within 30 seconds to a minute after making the move to respond, his second in command apprehended General Ham and told him that he was now relieved of his command.


The story continues that now General Rodiguez
[sic] would take General Ham's place as the head of Africon.
Tiger droppings then notes this story from Stars and Stripes reporting that:
President Barack Obama will nominate Army Gen. David Rodriguez to succeed Gen. Carter Ham as commander of U.S. Africa Command and Marine Lt. Gen. John Paxton to succeed Gen. Joseph Dunford as assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced Thursday.
Just saw this from Yahoo News:

The White House on Saturday flatly denied that President Barack Obama withheld requests for help from the besieged American compound in Benghazi, Libya, as it came under on attack by suspected terrorists on September 11th.

"Neither the president nor anyone in the White House denied any requests for assistance in Benghazi," National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor told Yahoo News by email.


(Update): I decided to do a little more looking around about General Ham. Here were two articles that caught my attention:

First, this article from CNN on September 24, 2012, indicated that General Ham had warned three months earlier (i.e., in June 2012) about the growth of Al Qaeda in Libya:
Just three months ago, the four-star chief of the U.S. Africa Command warned of a growing threat from al Qaeda and other militant groups in Libya.
"There is a real concern in Libya. As Libya is coming out of the revolution and forming its new government, there very clearly are those who wish to undermine the formation of that government," said Gen. Carter Ham in a speech to senior military and civilian officials from Africa, Europe and the U.S.

"We see some worrying indicators that al Qaeda and others are seeking to establish a presence in Libya," Ham warned. Ham often worked closely with the late Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, killed in the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.
Ham has been trying to establish the initial stages of a military relationship with Libya, but the effort has been slowed by the presence and influence of armed militias, such as those suspected of being involved in the attack. Ham noted back in June the problem of bringing even more mainstream groups under the control of the central government.
. . . Ham has particularly made the case that al Qaeda in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb poses an increasing concern and that the group is operating unconstrained in a large portion of Mali and coordinating with other extremist elements across North Africa.
The second is from the September 19, 2012 New York Times:
Gen. David M. Rodriguez, a former top Army commander in Afghanistan, has been chosen by the Pentagon to take charge of the military’s Africa Command, which in the wake of the Arab Spring has become one of the Defense Department’s most challenging theaters of operation.

Under plans that still need formal approval from the White House and confirmation by the Senate, General Rodriguez, who is now head of the Army’s Forces Command, which trains and equips troops, would take over early next year from Gen. Carter Ham in what two American officials said was a routine change of command.
Ham had only been commanding AFCOM for about a year, which seems a pretty quick turnover. Interesting that only a week after the attacks, the decision was made to replace Ham.

(Second Update): Ace of Spades refutes that Gen. Ham was relieve of command.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Off Grid Survival Has a List of Survival Websites

(Link here). It is split into some general categories, so its a little better than just a long list.

Equipment for Urban Exploration

... and some of which may come in handy when scrounging after TEOTWAWKI. From Urban Explorers:


Rope Depending on the type of outing, this is sometimes a necessity. Many people always carry at least one short (20-30ft) climbing rope/handline. If you have confidence in your upper body strength, you can fashion a simple climbing rope in a few minutes; the kind you remember from your old phys ed. days. Just tie a big half knot every foot or so. Alternatively, tie short loops at slightly shorter intervals, and use them as holds. A longer length of weight-bearing rope for use as a safety line is sometimes useful.
Duct Tape I recommend a small roll in your sack, but don't worry about it for a simple trip. It's become kind of a joke, but people in the know don't laugh -- duct tape can do everything. It'll even work for shoe patches in a pinch.
Respirator One which is rated for asbestos is what you're looking for. You can find them at Home Depot or similar hardware outlets for about $40. It's kind of cumbersome, but if you're going to spend a lot of time in steam tunnels you should have one. Unless, you're sure that there is no asbestos, which is unlikely in steam tunnels -- don't count on word of mouth or what you think asbestos "looks like" for this question. Find official documents.
Radios Small handheld radios can be useful, especially in high-traffic areas requiring lookouts. Lapel mics and earpieces are good, as they are hands-free and inconspicuous. Remember that no radios travel very far through earth.
Hammer/small crowbar A lot of those pesky manhole covers can be popped with just a hammer. Those which can't will usually succumb to a small crowbar (aka prybar). A hammer is slightly more versatile, and doesn't raise as much suspicion as a crowbar. The crowbar can be useful at disused sites for crusty old hatches and doors. Be careful -- getting caught with a crowbar, especially if you also have things like rope or walkie-talkies on you (or god forbid, lockpicks) can get you a quick trip to city lodgings. "Burglarious instruments."
Water A water bottle is always a good idea, especially in steam tunnels. Tuck it into your ever-ready pack. A person can quickly get dehydrated when you're walking and crouching and crawling through 120 degree unventilated spaces. While you won't likely get into any real danger because of it, your endurance and enjoyment will suffer.
Maps/Blueprints/Etc. Many tunnel explorers prefer not to have maps beforehand, as it heightens the sense of adventure. Others like to have an idea of where to go to see things that are out of the ordinary. In drains, don't ever head downstream in an unknown drain. Maps are often inaccurate (yes, even if they come straight from the sewer department) and nothing will ruin your day like getting swept over a waterfall.
Camera/Film Or, a digital camera or video camera. Again, this is widely variable; some adventurers rarely leave the house without one, some just don't care that much. Keep your settings in mind and consider a beater.
Lighting rig If you're doing lots of photo or video work, or just want a really good look at where you're going, consider a car battery-based light rig. Labor-intensive to truck around, but sometimes useful.
Head Light When you are in the dark and you need both hands to get around, having a head light will be quite "handy." Get something like the Energizer Trail Finder 7 LED Head Light which is easy to pack to have ready when you need it.
Pen and Paper Take notes and make maps. It makes the trip much more interesting, and it will help your recollection when you set up that fancy website about your exploits!
Plastic baggies This is a must if you're draining, probably ignorable otherwise. A way to keep cameras, spare batteries, and anything else dry.