Quick Hits

The best thing about falling oil prices per barrel (today it is $54 a barrel), is not the price of gasoline — it is the devastation caused to the economies of Russia and Venezuela! Both are dependent upon $70 a barrel to prop up their economies, and both blame the United States for everything, including the price of oil. It is certainly correct that the world is now awash in oil since the US started fracking, and a Republican administration of the future is likely to open public lands to exploration, adding to the oil glut.

The Russian ruble fell again today. The Russian economy is in shambles as a result of tightening EU and US sanctions, combined with oil prices. The question is “How do we punish the Russians, without them reacting militarily” much like Japan did in striking Pearl Harbor…which they did partially because of US sanctions against Japan for their push into Southeast Asia?

The problems caused to Venezuela are just a bonus!

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Jeb Bush has virtually declared, and eventually the Republicans will have more than eight candidates — all fine candidates — while the Democrats have few. Dr. Ben Carson will be an attractive candidate for the Republicans, but he has too little executive experience  for my taste. (We have elected one bright attractive person with no experience, and look how THAT worked out!)

The massive federal election results of the past month were not the most important results, that would be the results in the states. There are now only seven states under complete Democratic control, while there are now 30 states under complete Republican control of the political apparatus, according to Rush this morning.

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Jaguar has announced a new style of navigation system for its future cars. The new system projects a “ghost” car onto your windshield so that you simply follow the “ghost car” visually. This will negate the necessity to look at your nav system and its arrows.

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The Army/Navy game is REALLY important to me, because that was my first REAL date with my wife of 57 years. Our relationship in marriage has been legendary — an unkind word has never passed between us.

And it is every important to the Army Corps of Cadets and the Navy Brigade of Midshipmen, all of whom are steeped in the 105 year old contest, and the Cadets and Midshipmen (who actually exchange places a few of a time for a week) bet their very distinctive bathrobes on the outcome. Bill Shankly is quoted as saying, “Football is not life or death, it is much more important than that. It certainly is at the Academies!

Navy won this year, narrowly, for the 13th consecutive time, something that must grate terribly on West Point.

A “W” is a W, but that was uninspiring to say the least!

The Point was in the game until the whistle blew.

From the time at the beginning of the season when I read that Navy could win 10 games, it was obviously downhill.

Now they face a decent, but certainly larger and stronger San Diego State — and I think that Navy has gained some respect for West Coast teams, but SD Sate has now faced six Academy teams, and never lost.

Reynolds, the outstanding Navy Quarterback is going to have to bring his “A” game, and open up the passing game. Reynolds obviously can pass, six for seven today, but he is going to have to use the short pass to keep the pass rush off his nose — Army gave him little time today, and State is stronger.

Reynolds is good…great in fact…but either the game plan was not, Reynolds still has nagging injuries, or Army is just getting a hell of a lot better.

Maybe all of the above.

Still, I’ll take 13 straight!

 

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Liberals Avoid The Fight, Bayonet The Wounded

I guess it is something for the Guinness Book of records: The United States has the largest bus in the world — it must be huge, because the Democrats have thrown the CIA, the NSA, and local police under it!

Liberals are people who watch the battle below from Spectator Hill, then when the fires die and the canons are quiet they rush onto the field of battle to bayonet the wounded!

I don’t contend that the results of liberal attacks on our protective services have demoralized the services — that takes sustained attacks — but the morale of those who protect us at home and abroad, took a hit. It is the kind of hit that impacts recruiting years and decades from today.

The only demonstrate negative impact has been by the New York Police Union, which has provided police with a form to request that the Mayor, Bill de Blassio, not attend their funeral if they should die in the line of duty.

And three past heads of the CIA — Democrat Leon Panetta being visibly absent —  have leapt to the defense of the CIA, as has the current head of the FBI.

First the NSA were roundly condemned by the press and many civil libertarians for overreaching in their surveillance, then the local police were taken to task because Michael Brown attacked a policeman, David Wilson..

Now, a Democratic controlled Senate Committee has published what can ONLY be described as a selective, partisan attack on the CIA.

Let’s review the bidding: reacting to a nation on its emotional heels after the attack on September 11, 2001, this nation was not looking for cultural niceties in capturing and interrogating those responsible, because a follow-on attack was expected. I was near Cape Cod, in the heart of liberal country, and on the afternoon of September 11 I went to a local Dentist. The Receptionist asked, “Did you see that?” And when I sad I had, she said, “I oppose the death penalty, but for those who do this…” Her voice trailed off.

We are told that the Democrats then in charge of the Intelligence Committee, knew and approved of the enhanced interrogation, and we do know that the interrogators were acting under the “Color of Law” in that the Attorney General’s office approved their actions. The current Attorney General has investigated, and declined to prosecute anyone.

(I have the distinct impression that the current AG has not weighed in, lest some new and different AG under a Republican administration, call the use of deadly drones a violation of some law.)

But the question is not one of strict legality, but rather what the participants AT THE TIME legitimately understood the legality to be, and how their organizations now feel about being held to today’s reading of that legality.

The obvious answer is being thrown under the bus!

And you can only guess what the Drone pilots at the Las Vegas site might be feeling today, about what future generations may think of their actions.

I am certain that neither liberal FDR nor liberal California Governor Earl Warren could have guessed that their internment of thousands of Americans of Japanese heritage; nor did Democrat Harry Truman suspect that he would be roundly criticized for ending the bloody conflict with Japan by dropping two atomic bombs, something that saved the predicted million man American casualties that would have been the result of an invasion of the Japanese islands; nor did George W. Bush suspect that his claim of Weapons of Mass Destruction — a claim also believed by the CIA, the MOSAD, the French and German intelligence  — ALL believed that Saddam had WMDs. (Come to think of it, so did Hillary, Bill, Joe Biden, Madeline Albright, Barbara Boxer, Arline Specter, Sandy Berger, Robert Byrd, Wesley Clark, Jacques Chirac, William Cohen, John Edwards, Dick Gephart, Al Gore, William Cohen, John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, etc.)

It is worth reminding ourselves that it is a liberal American tradition to bayonet our wounded. Today, the left excoriates our Founding Fathers for owning slaves, even though slavery had been a world-wide accepted practice since the Old Testament, even among the Greeks who gave us Democracy, and the Romans who gave us the Republic. Americans also self-flagellate over our treatment of the American Indians, although our founders acted no different than anyone who lived at that time. It is not as if the Indians were going to remain forever on this land, warring among themselves without being decimated with Smallpox brought by someone else, if not us!

We have no idea what shame future liberals, in generations to come will place upon our generation for behaving as we do in some current cultural norm.

 

The So-Called “Torture Report”

You know what the end result of the report of harsh interrogation will be?

CIA agents will demand that all instructions for actions that might get them in any conceivable problem anytime in the future be in writing!

As a Submariner for more than a decade, I can tell you that submarines — today — are violating International Law…because it is what submarines DO,

If we are all to hold hands and hum with our enemies  — you go first!

It is not the Submarines — or Submariners — who do things on their own, of course…they operate on written orders anyway, and if they are to penetrate a foreign port to photograph something, the President himself signs off on it. The same is true for flights over other countries.

I have no idea who knew what about the harsh interrogation, but the CIA says they briefed the Majority Head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Diane Feinstein, — which she denies, and it is she who has thrown the CIA under the bus!

CIA Directors would be wise to have all future briefings of Congressional committees, videotaped. I understand that CIA Directors risk terrible chances of a leak if they put anything in writing or on video, but Senator Feinstein just made that necessary.

None of the extreme measures revealed killed anyone, caused permanent injury or left scars, and the few instances where ANY of that happened (and there is no testimony that it did), it was pure accident.

If thermal discomfort is, in and of itself, for example, “torture” then my Korean service at minus 20 or minus 30 degrees was “torture” — and Incidentally that happens every year on the Korean DMZ for hundreds of our soldiers.

I understand torture — I served with Cdr. L. M. “Pete” Bucher in Submarines, and when he was captured by the North Koreans along with 82 shipmates on the USS Pueblo in 1968. I represented Bucher and his family, wrote his speeches and acted as his bodyguard upon his return.

Bucher refused to sign a confession after repeated beatings, but was shown a South Korean spy, chained to a wall — with a compound fracture of one arm sticking through the flesh, one eye gouged out with the eyeball and “black matter” hanging down his cheek, and the man was “gurgling.” (The NK then said, “Congratulations, Commander. You have withstood our beatings, but now you see what we are capable of, so unless you sign we will execute your men in front of you, one at a time. If you cannot stand to see all of them executed, and you crack after 10 or 20 or 50, then we win and you have needlessly lost those men. He signed.)

Years after Bucher’s return, the Navy was reconstructing the bones in Bucher’s face, and often each testicle were swollen the size of tennis balls.

I understand torture. I submit to the critics “you have no idea!”

The Democratic Report makes Zero claims that there was any permanent damage to anyone.

There is a US law against torture. (18 U.S. Code Chapter 113C – TORTURE) The Holder Attorney General’s office has investigated the situation, and declined to prosecute under US law.

Both Democrat and Republican administrations (including this one) have REFUSED to prosecute ANYONE!

But if you know something that Obama does not know…he has not even called for the resignation of HIS CIA Director that supported the interrogations!

(But Obama has sent Hellfire Missiles into wedding parties, which is a LOT worse than waterboarding!)

Now here is an interesting question: Does International Law trump US law, in the minds of the left?

 

 

Crossover Day 2004

Crossover Day 2004

This is a banner crossover day, one between a warmer season in San Diego North County (Inland) and our cooler season.

Today we picked: Roses (five varieties), Plumeria, Hibiscus, Oranges, Tomatoes, Tangerines, Lemons, and Grapefruit!

The flowers may continue for several more weeks (today’s high at my home will be 78 degrees), and the citrus will continue for the next six months but cooler weather approaches, but the appearance of Oranges, and the lower rate of Tomatoes presages several months of nighttime fires in our Soapstone wood stove.

(This is mostly for effect — my long-suffering wife is from New England, so the fires begin when the first cloud appears in the sky, or the first drops of rain announce “Winter”…)

Today was the crossover day when everything in all seasons comes on the same day.

Although this “Crossover Season” may only last a few weeks, it is a day to celebrate!

(And, is there also a large amount of Schadenfreude involved!)

I Hope This Rumor is True

Apple is rumored to be going Retro with a new, much smaller 4″ phone next year, and it will be designed for women who have smaller hands.

I, for one, a normal sized male with normal male hands, welcome the idea! As I have noted before, Apple can make the iPhone the size of a thumbnail for all I care. I don’t want to surf the net with my phone, or do e- mails…I want to send and receive phone calls!

I have an iPad for everything else.

Apple tried to match the “phablets” of its competitors, and kept growing the size of iPhones until even men needed two hands to control the damn things!

I ain’t goin’ there!

Deal me out!

I WANT a 4″ phone! (I know that Apple isn’t listening to me, but they might just note that as the size of their phones has grown, the sales of their iPads has slipped!)

Just sayin’

This Mary Had a Little Problem — President Obama

Mary Landrieu is toast, but it is not all her fault…admittedly, she bungled what little chance she had. Coming from a highly regarded political family, with decades of experience in Washington, she could have run against Obama and done better.

Unfortunately, Mary voted for Obamacare, so she couldn’t run against it. She supported Obama in too many areas, for too long, and was not able to nuance a position. Serving in Washington with her Democratic colleagues having dissed Obama would not be too comfortable.

So, what happened to the reliable Democratic stronghold of the South, that with Mary’s defeat there are zero Democrat Senators, zero Democrat Governors, and zero Democrat Legislatures?

CBS News (yes, THAT CBS News!) quotes Merle Black, professor of political science at Emory University, “The Democratic Party is now dominated by very liberal politicians from the Northeast and Pacific coast and from the metropolitan areas of the country,” he explained. “Their priorities, interests, and values have very little appeal among white southerners.”

…Black argued, though, that the opposition to the president has less to do with his race and more to do with his agenda.

“There may be a little bit of that,” he said of the possibility that white voters oppose Obama because of his race, “but that is a much smaller part of it than the policy positions of the president.”

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/how-democrats-lost-the-deep-south/

Remembering December 7 Lesson From a Personal Standpoint

As December 7 approaches it reminds me of my childhood experience.

I was about seven on December 7, 1941, and life changed for EVERYONE. War was much more cruel to those involved, but even back home nothing was the same — people left jobs to join the military, leaving a virtual female society, and many of them took the jobs men had left.

Everything was suddenly upside down! Food and gasoline were severely rationed, and everyone grew their own food gardens. It was the last war that impacted everyone!

Patriotism was the only thing in large supply — and by the age of nine, I was training on the streets of San Antonio, Texas, with a wooden rifle, in the Junior Yanks of America!

My education went from private boarding school to private MILITARY boarding schools — a Catholic Military Boarding School. (My family was dirt poor after I was orphaned by the age of five, but my mother had been the Executive Assistant to a Insurance Executive, and left money in Trust for my education. We lived in an apartment, my GrandMother and I, with no phone or car — but I lived relatively well in private schools.)

My life in Catholic Military School (I was a Protestant) for three years of war was completely isolated from what the civilian world was suffering. For reasons best known to the Sisters of Divine Providence, we had things civilians could not get…milk, butter, steak, etc. and our families never had to surrender our Ration Cards to eat.

Because I seldom left the confines of the school — my Grandmother knew I was better off under the Sisters and their discipline — I did not suffer nearly the deprivations of the rest of society, but few would think that I was exactly living well. Military schools are not exactly easy living!)

As the war was ending, I transferred to a Southern Baptist Military Boarding School (massive culture shock!), where my only relationship with the war was returning Vets, who were there to complete high school. I was then in the eighth and ninth grades, and I hope you can picture the cultural disruption of combat Veterans in a school competing for high school dates for the much younger, pretty girls against “wimpy” high school boys…

…and competing and playing on the football team with and against boys three and four years younger and far less physically fit and mature…

The disruption caused by the returning Vets only lasted a few years, but it was severe.

(The impact of staying in such military schools — a total of seven years — was that I was several academic years ahead, won First Congressional Nominations to West Point and Annapolis by age 15, and entered Trinity University as a Math Major at age 16, joined the U.S. Navy as an Enlisted Man at 17, and entered the U S Naval Academy at age 19.)

My favorite Cousin returned from the War with severe drinking problem, and soon committed suicide.

All wars have huge consequences.