Friday, February 22, 2008

Missile Defenses, Marriage and the Gay Agenda

Good Shot!
Congratulations to the US Navy! This weeks' effort to hit a defunct spy satellite was a stunning success. Obviously we don’t want a spy satellite to fail, but here is a good example of making “lemonade out of lemons”. The satellite that we hit from an Aegis Navy cruiser unfortunately had failed almost immediately after being launched in 2006. Once it was clearly not working and plummeting back to earth, the military needed to figure out how to deal with it. There were several obvious concerns: it could hit land, putting people and property in jeopardy; it was carrying toxic fuel; and it had sensitive technology on board that might survive impact.

So, our military devised a plan to shoot it with a missile interceptor – highly sophisticated missiles developed in America’s defensive anti-missile system that Ronald Reagan initiated against tremendous opposition from media and political elites. To be clear about the difficulty of this effort, the Associated Press reported that the satellite was traveling in “polar orbit at more than 17,000 mph.” And our military didn’t hit the “bus-sized” object just anywhere – initial observations strongly suggest that the Navy scored a direct hit on the hydrazine fuel tank, which was exactly where they were aiming!

Here’s a personal observation: As I listened to the Pentagon briefing this morning, I could only think that had this happened in 1960, there would have been tremendous applause, or at least appreciation, from the press corps, given the extraordinary technological accomplishment of their country. Yet, many in the room seemed almost depressed that the effort was so successful. That’s not to suggest that the media were hoping someone’s house would get smashed by a stray spy satellite. I suspect their dour attitude likely stemmed from a recognition at some level that Ronald Reagan had once again been proved right.

First he said tax cuts would stimulate the economy, and he was right. Then he said America would defeat the “evil empire” of Soviet communism, and he was right. Reagan went to Berlin and said, “Tear down this wall.” A few years later, the Berlin Wall came down, the Iron Curtain collapsed and the Soviet Union was discarded onto the ash heap of history. Ronald Reagan went over the heads of political and media elites and took his idea of a “Strategic Defense Initiative” directly to the American people. The system that Reagan envisioned, mocked by the Left at the time as “Star Wars,” and President Bush has boldly championed, is quickly becoming a reality.

The world is a very dangerous place where Holocaust-denying extremists are frantically pursuing nuclear weapons. If the United States is ever attacked by a rogue nation with nuclear and ballistic missile technology and successfully defends itself, it will be due to the vision and leadership of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, not liberal defeatists who said it couldn’t be done and who would prefer to negotiate with our enemies as moral equals.

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Four SSGNs, No Waiting
The U.S. Navy has completed the conversion of the last of four Ohio class ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs), to cruise missile submarines (SSGN). Each of these boats now carries 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles, and provides space (for living, working and training) for 66 commandos (usually SEALs) and their equipment.

The idea of converting ballistic missile subs, that would have to be scrapped to fulfill disarmament agreements, has been bouncing around since the 1990s. After September 11, 2001, the idea got some traction. The navy submariners love this one, because they lost a lot of their reason for being, with the end of the Cold War. The United States had built a powerful nuclear submarine force during the Cold War, but with the rapid disappearance of the Soviet Navy in the 1990s, there was little reason to keep over a hundred U.S. nuclear subs in commission. These boats are expensive, costing over a billion each to build and over a million dollars a week to operate. The four Ohio class SSBN being converted each have at least twenty years of life left in them. The conversions weren't cheap, each one cost over $400 million.

The idea of a sub, armed with 154 highly accurate cruise missiles, and capable of rapidly traveling under water (ignoring weather, or observation) at a speed of over 1,200 kilometers a day, to a far off hot spot, had great appeal in the post-Cold War world. The ability to carry a large force of commandos as well was also appealing. The Ohio SSGNs can also carry a wide variety of electronic sensors and other data collecting gear. Thus in one sub you have your choice of hammer or scalpel. More capable cruise missiles are in the works as well. Whether or not this multi-billion dollar investment will pay off remains to be seen. But it's certainly a bold move, and the navy already knows that Tomahawks and SEALs work.

Like the SSBNs, the SSGNs will have two crews (each with 159 personnel, not including commandoes), which will switch places in the boat every 3-4 months, flying out (if need be) to wherever the boat is for the swap. The SSGNs will apparently spend most of their time on intelligence collecting missions. As such, it may be a while before you hear any details.



Marriage Matters
Coast to coast the institution of marriage is under assault once again from the radical homosexual rights lobby. In early March the California Supreme Court will hear arguments against the Golden State’s marriage law. In Maryland, pro-homosexual legislators have introduced a bill that would effectively eliminate traditional marriage in favor of domestic partnerships for everyone. A judge in New York recently issued a ruling ordering that state to recognize homosexual “marriages” performed in Canada. And in New Jersey, an attempted civil unions “compromise” has just been rejected by a commission for creating “a second-class status” for homosexuals.

But the real agenda behind the commission was laid bare with this statement: “The commission also heard testimony that the term ‘marriage,’ were it applied to the relationships of same-sex couples, would make a significant difference in providing equality to same-sex couples in New Jersey. Civil union status is not clear to the general public, which creates a second-class status.” First of all, if there is any confusion about civil unions, I would respectfully point out that the general public in much of the country has been crystal clear about the idea of men “marrying” other men. But, as the commission noted, it’s not really about the rights conferred by law through civil unions -- it’s about the term “marriage” and the larger agenda of forcing the public to accept a radical notion about men and women and family that has never been embraced in all of human history. Perhaps it’s not the general public that is confused.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Cindy Sheehan and the Islamists

Late yesterday afternoon, the Associated Press ran a story that immediately caught my attention. Anti-war radical Cindy Sheehan has taken her demonstration road show overseas once again. You may recall that she previously cavorted with Venezuela’s anti-American dictator Hugo Chavez. Now, she is evidently in Cairo, Egypt. I’m sure she will find time to see the sights, like the Great Pyramid of Giza, but the purpose of her trip was to demonstrate her solidarity with Islamic extremists.

According to the Associated Press report, Sheehan joined “50 heavily veiled wives and children of 40 senior members of the Muslim Brotherhood” to protest outside of the office of Egypt’s first lady, Suzanne Mubarak. Sheehan told reporters, “I am here to protest the trial of civilians in front of a military tribunal as this is a violation to international law. As a mother of a son who was killed in the war, I presented a letter to Ms. Suzanne Mubarak to realize how those women and children are suffering.”

I really want to be sympathetic to the mother of one of our soldiers who gave his life for our country. Out of Christian charity, I will assume that there is some terrible psychosis at work here, something akin to the Stockholm Syndrome. But for those who don’t know, the Muslim Brotherhood is a terrorist front group that one expert described as the “parent organization of Hamas and Al Qaeda.” The Egyptian government has been fighting the Muslim Brotherhood since the 1940s and officially banned the organization in 1954. It has, however, in recent years made a comeback as a political party, but its agenda has not changed. Instead of taking power by force, it now tries to subvert the political process to achieve the same goal: the imposition of an Islamic state in an Egypt ruled by Sharia law. Among its members was Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the al Qaeda terrorist who orchestrated the atrocities of September 11th.

That Cindy Sheehan would protest in support of the Muslim Brotherhood is unconscionable. The Muslim Brotherhood is indistinguishable from the thugs who attacked us on September 11th and those who killed her own son. Her common sense has been utterly consumed by her grief, and her actions now border on sedition.

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Baliunas Says Global Warming Related To Sun
Staff Photo by Jaime R. Carrero
Astrophycist Dr. Sally Bulinas speaks to members of the press before her conference about Global warming and the Sun's interaction with the Earth's environment.
In her lecture series, "Warming Up to the Truth: The Real Story About Climate Change," astrophysicist Dr. Sallie Baliunas shared her findings Tuesday at the University of Texas at Tyler R. Don Cowan Fine and Performing Arts Center.

Dr. Baliunas' work with fellow Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics astronomer Willie Soon suggests global warming is more directly related to solar variability than to increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, an alternative view to what's been widely publicized in the mainstream media.

"Some people argue solar influence is large; some argue it is small. I'm somewhere in the middle," she said during a press conference Thursday afternoon.

Her research goes back to time periods when the amount of carbon emission was small enough that it wasn't a major player.

"If you go back far enough you eliminate some of your variables," she said. "I've always been interested with the changes of the sun and how they impact the earth. I decided to look at a narrower time scale this time."

Baliunas asserts that increases and decreases in solar output led to historically warmer and cooler periods.

Baliunas said concerns for world energy poverty should be more significant than worrying about something 100 years from now.

"I'm all for saving energy resources and eradicating energy poverty around the world," she said. "One can be concerned by the amount of carbon dioxide in the air and come to it from the philosophical idea of caution. We just don't want to take the chance; still we can take a view of precaution."

She also said civilizations have always looked for the cause of climate changes.

In 16th and 17th century Europe, thousands were executed for what was called "weather cooking," where religious and political institutions blamed witches - mostly women - for poor growing periods or storms.

Dr. Baliunas received her M.A. (1975) and Ph.D. (1980) degrees in Astrophysics from Harvard University. She serves as senior scientist at the George C. Marshall Institute in Washington, D.C., and chairs the Institute's Science Advisory Board.



Analysis: NATO keeps eye on China
by Andrei Chang
Hong Kong (UPI) Feb 8, 2007

NATO is closely watching China's military expansion, with an attitude of rising concern and wariness. Led by the United States, NATO members are starting to view China as a possible emerging common adversary.

In June 2007 the Stockholm Peace Research Institute of Sweden claimed in a published report that China's military spending had overtaken that of Russia by a very large margin. U.S. defense officials have expressed concern over the lack of transparency in China's military budget and the purpose behind some of its weapons acquisitions.

In light of these concerns, chances are very slim that the European Union will lift its arms embargo on China this year; in fact, the embargo may remain in effect for a long time to come.

At the Paris Air Show and other major European exhibitions of military equipment, major arms manufacturers from Germany and France have shown little interest in the Chinese market; they are not pressuring the EU to lift the embargo on China.

French and Italian arms manufacturers learned their lessons through brief attempts at cooperation with China in the 1980s. Not only did these efforts yield little profit, but the companies found their technologies had been stolen and replicated by the Chinese.

The United States and Japan are behind a plan to strategically isolate China, which has been very successful so far. Both Tokyo and Washington believe that the scale, pace and strategic intent of China's arms expansion in recent years are far beyond its needs for a future conflict in the Taiwan Strait. They see China posing an immense challenge, over a much broader area, against the United States, Japan, NATO and even India. China's latest moves to construct an aircraft carrier and build new nuclear-powered submarines are specific examples of this challenge.

Why is NATO planning to locate ballistic missile defense bases in Poland and the Czech Republic? The United States managed to convince NATO that China's intercontinental ballistic missiles may pose a threat to NATO members' territory. These facilities would not only be directed at Russia, according to multiple military sources within NATO countries.

On several occasions, the United States has replaced China with North Korea as the potential target of missiles from Eastern European bases. But why should Europe and NATO be on guard against non-existent intercontinental ballistic missiles from North Korea? In fact, the bases are related to the fact that NATO views China as a potential threat and an unstable factor that directly influences its security.

Generally speaking, the strategic friction between China and NATO is related to the following factors: First, China's military is expanding at a pace unmatched by any other country in the world, and China's strategic arsenals, including its ICBMs and SLBMs, can easily reach the territories of all NATO member countries. China is one of the few major countries that have the capability to pose a direct military threat to NATO members, and yet China's military expansion is nontransparent and restricted by no international treaties.

Second, China's construction of an aircraft carrier and other large-tonnage surface battleships suggests that China will directly challenge the interests of NATO countries in the Pacific Ocean and in the Indian Ocean as well. This includes the interests of the United States and Canada.

Thirdly, China's rising military, political and economic prowess in central Asia and Afghanistan is also in conflict with NATO's frontline strategies in the region. Several reports published in the United States have claimed that 90 percent of the weapons used by insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan are from China. Moreover, China has close political, military and diplomatic ties with those countries that are considered "rogue nations" by the United States and NATO, for instance, Iran and Syria.

In particular, Iran's ballistic missiles are considered the most practical and direct threat to NATO territories, giving NATO an excuse to develop its own ballistic missile defense program and for the United States to deploy anti-ballistic missile systems in Eastern Europe. In fact, China has been the key source of Iran's arms over the years.

Lastly, Chinese intelligence agents are also a threat to the interests of NATO countries. NATO has the world's most cutting-edge technologies, and Chinese spies have been quite active in all NATO countries and even in Russia. A top official from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service openly acknowledged recently that the agency devoted more than half its personnel and material resources to dealing with these Chinese operatives.

How does China look at NATO's reassessment of its China policy? An internal Chinese document on the country's diplomatic relations talks about its policies on the European Union and NATO. A fundamental focus of the arguments in the document is that China should take advantage of NATO's "internal contradictions" and attempt to divide the alliance.

A large section of this document is devoted to a discussion of EU and NATO members' concerns about U.S. "unilateralism," claiming that the disappearance of a common adversary has led to the rise of internal differences. The document says that since the end of the Cold War, NATO's role as the hub of European and U.S. security has weakened, and Europe and the United States now have fewer common political objectives as a result.

The course of development in international affairs has meant that, due to their respective democratic political systems, changes of governments in the United States and within NATO member countries has also meant adjustments in their foreign policies. Nonetheless, because of their shared values, race and close cultural heritage, the United States and Europe still have some common goals, particularly in the fight against terrorism, preventing the rise of "rogue nations" in specific regions and guarding against the threats of Russia and China. The consensus of the United States and Europe on the issue of Iran's nuclear program is a best representation of such common strategic interests.

The Chinese document also claims that the European populace has generally lost confidence in the United States, and that relationships between the leaders of Germany, France and the United States have cooled. The author of the document believes that there is no close coordination between Europe and the United States on the Balkan and Afghanistan issues, nor have they formulated common policies on Russia and China.

The document concludes that China should actively strive to strengthen China-Europe economic and trade relations. China should not only continue its efforts to strengthen its strategic partnership with France, but should also reinforce its ties with Germany and Eastern European countries.

"Countries such as France and Germany do not like the United States to dictate what they should do. The United States has always tried to use NATO to interfere in affairs around the world, which is in fact to use NATO to serve the interests of the United States. Without France and Germany, Europe could have become a handy tool of the United States long ago," reads the Chinese analysis.

The document recommends that China reinforce its relations with the European Union to minimize the impact of the U.S. strategic squeeze upon China, and to win solid support from the European Union in a wide range of areas including the Taiwan issue, technology transfers and the lifting of the arms embargo. China's strategy of using Germany and France to create divisions between the United States and Europe has been a frequent topic of discussion in articles published by the Chinese media.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Russia Goes off the Deep End

Threatens Japan
Becomes Spam Superpower
Assassinates UK billionaire
Buzzes US warships
Threatens to Nuke Ukraine

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Russia threatens nuclear attack on Ukraine
By Bruno Waterfield in Brussels
Last Updated: 7:57pm GMT 12/02/2008

Russia has threatened to target the Ukraine with nuclear warheads if the former Soviet republic joins NATO and accepts the deployment of United States anti-missile defences on its territory.

Russia has revived the long-range air patrols that were once a standard feature of the Cold War and US defence officials confirmed that a pair of Russian TU-95 Bear bombers overflew a US aircraft carrier in the western Pacific at an altitude of 2,000 feet (660 meters) over the weekend.

Four F-18 fighters jets intercepted the Russian bombers on Saturday morning, but not before they had overflown the USS Nimitz.

It was the second time since July 2004 that a Russian Bear bomber has overflown a US aircraft carrier. It was not immediately known whether the United States issued any protests with the Russians.

More here.....and here.


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Russia Threatens Japan
by Shigemi SatoSat Feb 9, 7:27 AM ET

Japan scrambled two dozen military aircraft and lodged a protest, accusing a Russian strategic bomber of entering its airspace over the Pacific Ocean south of Tokyo Saturday. Russia denied the incursion, but the Japanese foreign ministry said it lodged a strong protest with the Russian embassy in Tokyo over the incident, which followed stepped up Russian long-range air patrols over the Atlantic.

"We have asked the Russian government to make a thorough investigation into the matter," a foreign ministry spokesman said.

The Tupolev Tu-95 bomber, which dates to the Soviet era, flew over the rocky isle of Sofugan, 650 kilometres (406 miles) south of Tokyo, for about three minutes from 7:30 am (2230 GMT Friday), the defence ministry said.

The air force scrambled 24 planes, including F-15 fighters and an E-767 radar plane, the defence ministry said.

They gave "a notice, then a warning and another a notice and a warning," a defence ministry statement said. "There was no response."

The Russian bomber then flew back north towards the Russian island of Sakhalin, it said.

Moscow said four Tupolev Tu-95 bombers completed a 10-hour mission over the Pacific on Saturday without violating Japanese airspace and that US fighters were also scrambled during the incident.

"Our strategic aviation planes did not violate Japanese airspace," deputy Russian air force commander Igor Sadofyev told the Russian Interfax news agency.

Alexander Drobyshevsky, a spokesman for the Russian air force, told Russia's ITAR-TASS agency the flights were carried out "in strict accordance with international rules on flying over neutral waters."

"The strategic bombers were accompanied by F-15 fighter jets from the Japanese air force and F-18 fighter jets from the US carrier Nimitz," Drobyshevsky said.

Japan said it was the first Russian violation of its airspace since January 2006.

Russia's Tupolev design bureau said last October it had begun a "serious modernisation" of the Tu-95 strategic bomber, a workhorse of the Soviet and Russian air forces for over 50 years.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced in August the resumption of long-range flights in international air space which were abandoned in 1992 amid financial difficulties that followed the Soviet collapse.

The Tu-95 MS was among the planes included in the patrols, which were seen aimed at another attempt by Putin to boost Russian prestige as his presidential term draws to a close.

In the lead-up to Putin's announcement, Russian bombers made increasingly frequent flights near US territory. Britain and Norway were scrambled last summer after Tu-95 bombers were spotted close to Norwegian airspace.

Last week, 14 Russian long-range bombers flew over the north Atlantic in the last of a series of military manoeuvres held off Europe's coasts since December, Russian media reported.

Russia and Japan have had uneasy ties. Last month, Japan also lodged a protest with the Russian embassy after saying that Russian embassy officials wined, dined and gave cash to a Japanese intelligence officer who handed over research information.

Japan and Russia have never signed a peace treaty to formally end World War II due to a dispute over four islands off Japan's northern coast seized by Soviet troops in 1945.

The Japanese government said Wednesday that Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda hoped to visit Moscow early this year and believed that Russian President Vladimir Putin was serious about resolving the island dispute.

Japan, which has been officially pacifist since World War II, is a close US ally and home to more than 40,000 US troops.

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Japan to boost air defences: report
Tokyo (AFP) Jan 27, 2008

Japan is to boost its defences against cruise missiles as China increases its air strike capabilities, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported Sunday. The defence ministry plans to increase the number of aircraft equipped with airborne warning and control systems and install state-of-the-art radar to allow early detection of precision-guided missiles heading for Japan, the daily said.

It is also considering developing an advanced long-range surface-to-air missile, the report said, citing senior defence ministry sources. The government has so far mainly focused on developing a ballistic missile defence system, primarily in response to a perceived threat from North Korea.

Meanwhile, China has equipped its fighter jets and submarines with domestically developed cruise missiles, which have a range in excess of 1,000 kilometers (625 miles), the newspaper said. Beijing is also believed to have started developing advanced precision-guided missiles with a range of about 3,000 kilometers -- similar to that of the US military's Tomahawk cruise missile, it said.

Chinese fighter jets repeatedly approached Japan last year, coming close enough to launch a cruise missile before returning to Chinese air space, the newspaper said.

"We believe these acts were unlikely to be part of information-gathering exercises, but rather drills to prepare for a possible cruise missile attack on Japan," a senior Japanese defence official told the Yomiuri.

Currently Japan relies upon a Patriot missile defense system, supplemented by a growing Aegis naval capability.

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Russia assassinates UK billionaire
More here....


Becomes Spam Superpower
More here.....



QUOTE
'Congressmen who willfully take actions during wartime that damage morale, and undermine the military are saboteurs and should be arrested, exiled or hanged.' President Abraham Lincoln

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Destruction of Sacajawea Park: PC at its worst

For decades people have enjoyed Sacajawea State Park, a large forested area located where the Columbia River and Snake River meet in central Washington state. Entire families from the Tri-Cities (Richland, Pasco, and Kennewick) used to come to the park during the week and on weekends, having picnics and launching boats from the nearby docks. However, no one goes there anymore and it is the fault of the fanatical priests of Political Correctness. Since it's creation in 70 years ago Sacajawea State Park has been used by citizens for decades but in the 1990s, hordes of illegal aliens invaded central Washington. Most settled in the heavily black city of Pasco, driving out the locals with the threat of violence and creating a nearly all-hispanic city in its place in just 10 years. Law and order within the city limits of east Pasco descended so badly that local police forces refuse to patrol in that part of the city, sparking outrage from the remaining poor whites and blacks in east Pasco. Sacajawea is located near Pasco and the lawlessness that flooded the city spilled over to the park as well. Whites and blacks were driven out of the park as hispanics took it over. Illegal aliens, not respecting the laws of the land, began to destroy the park by leaving tons of trash in the area and by urinating on the trees and defecating in areas of the park, made Sacawajea so unsanitary that state officials closed the park down permanently. Government leaders cited complete deterioration of public safety and sanitary issues for closing down the huge park but it was well known that even park officials (wardens and even trashmen coming to collect the trash) were threatened and shot at with guns by hispanics within the park who had "claimed it" for themselves. These illegals also devastated local fishing within the enormous Columbia River Basin. Ignoring catch laws that were meant to sustain local fish populations, hispanics were seen fishing the waters using several lines attached to beer cans. When fishing officials would pull up, the illegal alien would just walk away from his beer cans. Since they used this cheap method of fishing they would not lose expensive fishing rods and reels when caught. In not wanting to offend illegals, fish levels in local rivers are at critical lows and some areas have been totally fished out. Political correctness has totally destroyed one of Washington states' largest parks, put the general public in danger, and led to a collapse of fishing in the middle Columbia and lower Snake Rivers. It is this sort of absurd behavior by federal and state government that forces local citizens to act in their own defense. God help us all.

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U.S. sees Russia, China, OPEC financial threat

The United States should be worried that Russia, China and OPEC oil-producing countries could use their growing financial clout to advance political goals, the top U.S. spy chief told Congress on Tuesday.

U.S. National Director of Intelligence Michael McConnell voiced the concern to Congress in an annual assessment of potential threats, in which economic matters joined terrorism, nuclear proliferation and computer-network vulnerabilities as top security issues. McConnell told the Senate Intelligence Committee in prepared testimony that the global threat of terrorism remained, but that al Qaeda had suffered setbacks and its international reputation was diminishing. Among other top worries, Iran still had the potential to develop nuclear weapons despite stopping work on nuclear warhead design, he said.

But Pakistan's nuclear arsenal remain under military control, even amid the political turmoil there. In Iraq, violence had declined and al Qaeda in Iraq had been weakened, but the capabilities of Iraq's security forces remained limited while sectarian distrust was still high, McConnell said.

Discussing U.S. financial vulnerabilities, McConnell voiced "concerns about the financial capabilities of Russia, China and OPEC countries and the potential use of their market access to exert financial leverage to political ends." Russia was positioning itself to control an energy supply and transportation network from Europe to East Asia. China's global engagement was driven by a need to access markets and resources, McConnell said.

A weak U.S. dollar had prompted some oil suppliers to ask to be paid in other currencies, or to delink their currencies from the dollar. "Continued concerns about dollar depreciation could tempt other producers to follow suit," McConnell said. Discussing Cuba, McConnell said provisional President Raul Castro was seeking to bring about economic changes and aid from Venezuela was helping the country ignore outside pressure for reform. He said that in the event of Fidel Castro's death "the political situation is likely to remain stable at least in the initial months."




Tu-160s Back in Production

Russia is building heavy bombers again. It has built at least one new Tu-160, and this aircraft began flight testing last month. Production of the Tu-160 had ceased in 1994, with several of them partially completed. Apparently, this new aircraft is one of those left uncompleted in the 1990s. Lots of Russian weapons factories were shut down after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. That occurred, in part, because the Soviet Union was, literally, bankrupt. The defense budget was cut by more than two-thirds, and weapons production got hurt the most. The only plants that kept operating were those producing items for export. But many of the shuttered factories were preserved, and now many of them are in operation again, picking up where they left off.

The Tu-160 "Blackjack" is very similar to the U.S. B-1, but never really lived up to its potential. Still, it is the most modern heavy bomber the Russians have. It's a 267 ton aircraft, that can carry up to 40 tons of bombs and missiles, for up to 12,000 kilometers. The aircraft can refuel in the air. It originally entered service in 1987, and was built mainly to deliver cruise missiles. Noting the success of the B-1 in Afghanistan and Iraq with smart bombs, the Tu-160s were modified to do the same, in addition to retaining their cruise missile carrying capability.

Over the last eight years, Russia has revived its heavy bomber force. In the 1990s, most Russian heavy bombers were kept on the ground. But since 2001, heavy bombers have been refurbished and restored to service. This including getting some Tu-160s back from Ukraine (because half of the 36 Tu-160s built were stationed in Ukraine when the Soviet Union was dissolved, and thus belonged to Ukraine). Only about fourteen Tu-160s are still operational, plus about fifty Tu-22Ms and about the same number of Tu-95s. Exact numbers are not available on the Tu-22Ms and Tu-95s, because both of these aircraft serve other functions (reconnaissance, electronic warfare). Their ability to perform as heavy bombers depends on the current state of crew training and maintenance. Most of these aircraft are at least twenty years old, and spare parts are sometimes difficult to get. Factories had to be reopened, or new production lines established, to obtain needed parts. Increasingly, over the last seven years, heavy bombers have been increasingly showing up the Arctic, Pacific and Atlantic oceans, as well as the Black and Caspian seas. Some of these aircraft are firing cruise missiles, or simulating it, and practice bombing runs, during more frequent training flights.

This past Summer, Russian heavy bombers flew hundreds of sorties over land and water, including night aerial refueling (a tricky operation.) In terms of sheer numbers, the Russians have about as many heavy bombers in service (over a hundred) as does the United States. The American bombers are better equipped and more capable, but the Russian force is competitive, and now it is being expanded.

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Who Supports The Troops?
The liberal line on the Iraq war has always been: We oppose the war but support our troops. It’s a very nice rhetorical turn of phrase but, for most of the anti-war Left, it also happens to be patently false. The anti-war Left denounces our troops at every turn, burning them in effigy and spitting in the faces of pro-victory veterans at political rallies, not to mention opposing legislation that would protect troops from attacks on the battlefield.

In yet another outrageous example of the lunatic Left showing its true colors (that is: yellow and red) in regards to the U.S. military, the Berkeley City Council recently passed a resolution telling the U.S. Marine Corps that Marines are unwelcome. On Tuesday, public officials in Berkeley, California, passed by an 8-1 vote, a motion informing the Marines that one of its recruiting stations is “not welcome in the city, and if recruiters choose to stay, they do as uninvited and unwelcome intruders.” At the same meeting, the Berkeley City Council voted 8-1 to give the radical anti-war group Code Pink a free parking space in front of the Marines’ recruiting station, as well as a free sound permit for protesting once a week.

This entire episode is replete with ironies. First off, Berkeley, a suburb of San Francisco, is supposed to be a bastion of tolerance—for illegal immigrants, for homosexuals, for communists, for death row inmates, etc. But when it comes to showing a little tolerance for the Marine Corps right to recruit soldiers, the Berkeley’s tolerance vanishes. The Berkeley City Council’s actions come at a time when the influence of the anti-war movement is diminishing. With clear military successes emerging in Iraq, and increased public recognition of the dire consequences of a precipitous withdrawal there, the message of the anti-war movement—troops out now—seems irresponsible and even immoral to an increasing share of the American public.

Of course, you will hear little about this incident in the context of the ongoing 2008 presidential campaign. While the conservative candidates have all been probed about issues, such as evolution, that divide some of their supporters, the liberal candidates will undoubtedly never have to answer for their support for groups that denigrate our troops so brutally.

At the end of the day, do not expect the Marines to be fazed by fringe wacko anti-war protestors, whose verbal assaults are nothing compared to the lethal assaults our men and women in uniform face every day in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is ironic, though, that the troops the lunatic Left attacks are the very same troops whose efforts abroad protect the freedom of these groups to attack them as viciously as they do.