Sarah Palin's enemies are automatically added to the Endangered Species List.

calendar   Wednesday - June 10, 2020

Nice Catch

Still, it’s just a drop in the bucket

US Coast Guard Seizes 15 Tons Of Cocaine And Weed Since April

I guess they weren’t on lockdown one bit.

Nearly 15 tons of drugs seized by the U.S. Coast Guard, at an estimated value of $408 million, were offloaded Tuesday at Port Everglades.

About 23,000 pounds of cocaine and approximately 6,900 pounds of marijuana were confiscated in international waters off the coasts of Mexico, Central and South America, and in the Caribbean Sea. Four Coast Guard cutters and two U.S. Navy ships combined for 11 separate seizures aboard suspected drug-smuggling vessels since April 1.

“We continue to take the fight to the drug cartels and make an impact on these criminal organizations who spread this poison on our streets,” said Capt. Jeffrey Randall, commanding officer of the Coast Guard Cutter James.

Four Coast Guard cutters and two U.S. Navy ships combined for 11 separate seizures aboard suspected drug smuggling vessels, since April 1.

Samples of the drugs will be kept for evidence to prosecute the smugglers, the Coast Guard said, but the bulk of it will be given to federal authorities to be destroyed per standard procedure.

The Coast Guard said it has seized more than 1 million pounds of cocaine in international waters over the past three years.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 06/10/2020 at 09:16 PM   
Filed Under: • CrimeLatin-AmericaMilitary •  
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calendar   Friday - June 05, 2020

Another Bit Of History Lost For Now

Another one of my “rabbit hole” posts, in which a small news story leads to looking up all kinds of links and uncovering some impressive stuff. Hours wasted, but insight gleaned.

Confederate monument removed from downtown Mobile overnight

image  image

MOBILE, Ala. (WPMI) — City of Mobile Director of Communications George Talbot has confirmed to NBC 15 that the City of Mobile removed the monument of Confederate icon Admiral Raphael Semmes from its pedestal in downtown Mobile overnight.

Mayor Stimpson issued the following statement Friday Morning:

On June 4, 2020, I ordered that the statue of Admiral Raphael Semmes be moved from its location at the intersection of Government and Royal streets in downtown Mobile.
The task was completed this morning, June 5. The statue has been placed in a secure location.

To be clear: This decision is not about Raphael Semmes, it is not about a monument and it is not an attempt to rewrite history.

Moving this statue will not change the past. It is about removing a potential distraction so we may focus clearly on the future of our city. That conversation, and the mission to create One Mobile, continues today


The statue of Admiral Semmes was desecrated with graffitti just the other day, and the city immediately cleaned it up.


The Admiral Raphael Semmes Confederate Statue in downtown Mobile was vandalized early Tuesday morning, right around the time Birmingham was pulling apart its own memorial to those who had fought and lost in the American Civil War.
Down in Mobile, the statue of Semmes, who defected from the U.S. Navy after 35 years of service to fight for the Confederacy, was being cleaned vigorously by city workers.

Using industrial power washers, the workers not only washed away the red graffiti but also the green patina from the copper plates surrounding the light sandstone. Parts of the statue have now been restored to its original state as when it was first erected in June 1900.

A city of Mobile spokesperson said a suspect has been identified and any decision to remove the statue would have to be collaborative.

Acting on what must have been awareness of a continuing threat, the statue was removed to somewhere safe. Hopefully, some day when saner heads prevail (as if) this statue can come out of hiding again.


I read a post on Facebook the other day, put up by a long ago friend who grew up to be a super liberal. “Until Blacks Lives Matter, No Lives Matter”. Uh huh. Another quipped how her 7 year old daughter gets it, why can’t the adults?

Well, here’s one for all you woke-sters out there to grok. All these Confederate statues and memorials you want to destroy and erase are there to commemorate gallant men who served their country with bravery and pride. Duty called, they answered, and many paid the ultimate price. Generally, this has nothing at all to do with slavery, sexism, racism, or any of your 21st Century rose colored glasses. Nor, by long ago federal edict, are any of these men traitors or enemies. They were brothers, brothers in arms, on the wrong side of a family quarrel that claimed the lives of almost three quarters of a million Americans. And they were damn good at their jobs; these statues memorialize the best of the best.

So who was this Semmes guy? ( and the rabbit hole beckons ... )

Raphael Semmes was one of the most effective fighting sea captains in American history. Having served honorably in the US Navy for 35 years, surviving a famous shipwreck during the Mexican War (that ship itself “cursed” and famous for the only near mutiny in US Navy history, and probably the source for Herman Melville’s book Billy Budd, seeing that his cousin was on that ship at the time. That was before Semmes was aboard the USS Somers.), he joined the southern side when the war began.

. On 8 December 1846, while commanded by Lieutenant Raphael Semmes, Somers was chasing a blockade runner off Vera Cruz when she was caught in a sudden storm. Capsized by the heavy winds, she quickly sank with the loss of more than thirty of her crew

When Secession happened Semmes fought for Alabama. And he was so good at it that, over the years, the US Navy has named two destroyers in his honor.

After appointment to the Confederate Navy as a commander and a futile assignment to purchase arms in the North, Semmes was sent to New Orleans to convert the steamer Habana into the cruiser/commerce raider CSS Sumter. In June 1861, Semmes, in Sumter, outran the USS Brooklyn, breaching the Union blockade of New Orleans, and then launched a brilliant career as one of the greatest commerce raider captains in naval history.

Semmes’s command of CSS Sumter lasted only six months, but during that time he ranged wide, raiding U.S. commercial shipping in both the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean; his actions accounted for the loss of 18 merchant vessels, while always eluding pursuit by Union warships. By January 1862, Sumter required a major overhaul. Semmes’s crew surveyed the vessel while in neutral Gibraltar and determined that the repairs to her boilers were too extensive to be completed there. Semmes paid off the crew and laid up the vessel. U.S. Navy vessels maintained a vigil outside the harbor until she was disarmed and sold at auction in December 1862, eventually being renamed and converted to a blockade runner.

Semmes and several of his officers traveled to England where he was promoted to captain. He then was ordered to the Azores to take up command and oversee the coaling and outfitting with cannon of the newly-built British steamer Enrica as a sloop-of-war, which thereafter became the Confederate commerce raider CSS Alabama. Semmes sailed on Alabama from August 1862 to June 1864. His operations carried him from the Atlantic to the Gulf of Mexico, around Africa’s Cape of Good Hope, and into the Pacific to the East Indies. During this cruise, Alabama captured 65 U.S. merchantmen and quickly destroyed the USS Hatteras, off Galveston.

CSS Sumter, a 437-ton bark-rigged screw steam cruiser, was built at Philadelphia as the merchant steamship Habana. Purchased by the Confederate Government at New Orleans in April 1861, she was converted to a cruiser and placed under the command of Raphael Semmes. Renamed Sumter, she was commissioned in early June 1861 and broke through the Federal blockade of the Mississippi river mouths late in the month.
Early in July, the pioneering Confederate Navy commerce raider captured eight U.S. flag merchant ships in waters near Cuba, then moved to the South American coast where she took another pair. Two more merchantman fell to Sumter in September and October 1861. While coaling at Martinique in mid-November, she was blockaded by the Federal sloop of war Iroquois, but was able to escape to sea and resume her activities. Sumter captured another six ships from late November into January 1862, while cruising from the western hemisphere to European waters.

So after capturing 18 ships but being blockaded in Europe, the crew managed to sneak off, get back to the Confederacy, and were assigned to the CSS Alabama.

The C.S.S ALABAMA in the course of 22 months boarded 447 ships of all nations, captured 69 Union vessels, took 2,000 prisoners, sank the Union warship HATTERAS, and engaged the U.S.S. KEARSARGE.
During that time not one prisoner was injured to accident or disease, a large feat even today.  She observed international law and the finest “laws of the sea”.  Following her battle with HATTERAS the CSS ALABAMA put all her boats in the water and rescued all except two who were killed in the action...this at night with a Union squadron less than twenty miles away.

An officer and a gentleman, and a real fighter. When the Alabama engaged the USS Kearsage off of Cherbourg France, they lost. The massive guns of the Kearsage shot the stern of the Alabama to bits, and the ship sank. The commander of the Kearsage sat and watched the crew of the Alabama drown, until some were rescued by nearby English ships. At that point he bravely captured the surviving crew in the the two lifeboats they had managed to lower. Semmes got away.

Did he sit out the war after that? Oh heck no. He somehow got himself back to Cuba, snuck into Texas, made his way all across the South, and took command of the James River squadron defending Richmond His flagship was the new ironclad CSS Virginia II. They fought until Richmond finally fell, the squadron’s ship being burnt after losing a last, desperate river battle.

And still that was not the end. The sailors came ashore and became soldiers, running another blockade on land this time, to evade Union troops and join up with Gen. Johnston in NC. Semmes and his crew did not surrender until nearly 3 weeks after the war was over.

After the destruction of the naval squadron, Semmes’s sailors were turned into an infantry unit and dubbed the “Naval Brigade.” Semmes was then placed in command; Semmes intention for the brigade was to join Lee’s army after burning their vessels. Lee’s army, however, was already cut off from Richmond, so most of Semmes’s men boarded a train and escaped to join General Joseph E. Johnston’s army in North Carolina. A few men of the Naval Brigade were able to join with Lee’s rear guard and fought at the Battle of Sailor’s Creek.

Semmes and the Naval Brigade were surrendered to Union Major General William T. Sherman with Johnston’s army at Bennett Place near Durham Station, North Carolina, on April 26, 1865, and subsequently were paroled on May 1, 1865. Semmes’s parole notes that he held commissions as both a brigadier general and rear admiral in the Confederate service when he surrendered with General Johnston’s army.

I’d say he may have been the only General Admiral in US military history. But the guy was one helluva fighter. An inspiration to generations of sailors, I’m sure.

His story ought to be a movie. He had more swash in his buckle than any Douglas Fairbanks or Lionel Barrymore movie ever made, and as many amazing escapes as in any Indiana Jones movie. Maybe throw in a few flirtatious scenes with some beauties in period costume, although I gather he was married the whole time.

So naturally, his memory has to be eliminated. Because RAYCIS.



Posted by Drew458   United States  on 06/05/2020 at 09:50 AM   
Filed Under: • Democrats-Liberals-Moonbat LeftistsHeroesMilitary •  
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calendar   Saturday - April 04, 2020

Hospital Ship Empty

Floating Physical Virtue Signaling?

Process Problems And Red Tape Cause Empty Hospital Ship

UPDATE 4/6/20 5pm: NY Governor Cuomo Tweets that President Trump will allow the USNS Comfort to accept COVID-19 patients, adding 1000 beds to the NYC health infrastructure.
I guess you could say the ship is in “re-mission”? nyuk nyuk nyuk.

The USNS Comfort, the Navy hospital ship that docked in New York Harbor this week as part of a greater effort to relieve hospitals overrun by an influx of coronavirus patients, only had 20 patients aboard as of Thursday evening.

The ship, equipped with 1,000 beds, 12 operating rooms, and 1,200 personnel, has not come close to reaching its capacity, taking on just 20 patients as of Thursday, a Navy spokeswoman confirmed Thursday evening.

“The process continues and we are honestly looking forward to seeing a significant increase in patients being transferred to the Comfort,” Capt. Patrick Amersbach said.

The ship was never intended to take patients with coronavirus. Rather, it is expected to lessen the load on local hospitals battling the virus by taking patients with other illnesses or traumas. However, there are reportedly 49 medical conditions “that would exclude a patient from admittance to the ship.”

Some say the bureaucratic tape is preventing the ship from accepting more patients. Officials, for instance, cannot transfer a patient to the vessel until he or she is thoroughly examined at a local hospital, including undergoing a test for the virus, and cleared.

Ambulances cannot take patients directly to the Comfort; they must first deliver patients to a city hospital for a lengthy evaluation — including a test for the virus — and then pick them up again for transport to the ship,” according to the Times.

Ok, how to fix this? Idea: set up a couple of tents or Quonset huts on the dock to work as a triage center, and process walk-ins as well. Keep the patient transfer system they have in place, but augment it with a few dozen military ambulances if necessary. It may be a stretch, a fantasy, but I’d extend the triage center to also include something like the Urgent Care offices that are all over the place. Regular doctor’s office for walk-ins, staffed by docs and PAs. And everybody who comes in the door gets one of those 15 minute COVID tests, and then a pack of HCQ and a pack of zinc supplements. People who actually test positive get a Z-Pack too (and a free mask), and the folks with mild symptoms or no symptoms are sent on their way. Maybe severe virus patients get transferred back (or to) a regular hospital. Maybe they need to put up a couple more tents on the dock just for that. My point is that you deal with the medical need you’ve got, and it doesn’t have to be an either/or thing.

I don’t know what these 49 exempted conditions are. Duh, it’s a good bet the hospital ship isn’t an oncology center. Cancer. But I bet they’ll deliver babies. Come on, theses ships were designed to handle combat casualties. So gunshot victims, blunt force trauma, burns, concussions, etc, are their bailiwick. OTOH, they’ve got doctors and nurses, so see what you can do to extend their care coverage. General illness, asthma, rashes, poisoning. Eye care and dental? I really don’t know what the ships are capable of, but if they can do something close to full service medical care, than that’s what they should do. And it’s free.

But cut the red tape. Don’t thin it out, eliminate it. And cut the fiscal aspect of it too: is there even a tiny chance that hospitals aren’t transferring patients because that would cut their insurance billing? Can’t have that kind of attitude, not right now.

On the third hand, with the city pretty much shut down, shootings, car accidents, and job injuries are way down. I don’t have the numbers for domestic violence or other medical things that happens when everybody stays home all the time. 


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 04/04/2020 at 09:07 AM   
Filed Under: • Health-MedicineMilitaryPandemic Pandemonium •  
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calendar   Thursday - April 02, 2020

Chain Breaker

US Navy Relieves Captain Of Corona Carrier USS Roosevelt
He emailed his concerns to too many people. In the Navy. And one of them leaked it to the press. So he gets burned. Douche-a-rama.

Yeah, and if he’d strictly followed the chain of command, and sent it encrypted, they would have buried it, denied it, and sat on it forever.

The Navy announced it has relieved the captain who sounded the alarm about an outbreak of COVID-19 aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt.

Capt. Brett Crozier, who commands the Roosevelt, an aircraft carrier with a crew of nearly 5,000, was relieved of his command Thursday, but he will keep his rank and remain in the Navy.

Crozier raised the alarm this week, sending a strongly worded letter to Navy leadership that detailed his concerns about the spread of the virus on the ship. The letter leaked to the media and generated a series of headlines.

Speaking at a news conference Thursday evening, Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly said Crozier was removed from his post because he sent the letter over “non-secure unclassified email” to a “broad array of people” rather than up the chain of command.

“I have no doubt in my mind that Captain Crozier did what he thought was in the best interest of the safety and well-being of his crew,” Modly said. “Unfortunately, it did the opposite. It unnecessarily raised the alarm of the families of our sailors and Marines with no plans to address those concerns.”

There’s the truth: the Navy has no plans to address these concerns. Because they’ve only known about the virus since ...before Christmas? Seriously, if our zillion dollar intelligence agencies didn’t spot this well ahead of the international media, and get word out to the military, especially those in that theater, then WTH good are they??

Holy crap. I’m just a doofus blogger and I had heard of the virus before New Year’s and the chloroquine approach since mid February at the latest.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 04/02/2020 at 08:15 PM   
Filed Under: • MilitaryPandemic Pandemonium •  
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calendar   Wednesday - December 18, 2019

Christmas From Above

This Year’s OCD Airdrop In Micronesia


C-130 delivers Operation Christmas Drop supplies for natives on Woleai Atoll, 440 miles south of Guam

A U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules out of Yokota Air Base, Japan, delivers five Low-Cost, Low-Altitude humanitarian aid bundles filled with critical supplies as part of Operation Christmas Drop 2019 to the island of Woleai, Federated States of Micronesia, Dec. 10, 2019. In its 68th year, OCD is the world’s longest running humanitarian assistance airdrop training mission, providing critical supplies to 55 remote Micronesian islands like Woleai, impacting approximately 20,000 people across 1.8 million square nautical miles of operating area.

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam— “Santa 31 is headed your way!!”

For those on the island of Woleai in the Federated States of Micronesia and other islands throughout the FSM and the Republic of Palau, it’s radio calls like that from the North Pole at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, that make Christmas come a little early every year thanks to Santa’s C-130’s participating in Operation Christmas Drop.

“When we get that call saying it’s our drop day and word gets out, the island has a different feel to it,” said Allentino Riugiufmal, Northern Islands Central High School vice principal on Woleai. “The island just has this pure feeling of excitement that is shared across the community, like a child just waiting to see what’s under the tree.

“After the news is radio’d in its just a matter of time before the only C-130 we see all year long to grace our skies, delivering the bundles we’ve come to rely on throughout the years. When the day finally does come, and that plane is in the sky, it’s just like Christmas has come early.”

In now its 68th year, OCD has not only served as the world’s longest running airdrop training mission, providing critical supplies to 55 Micronesian islands like Woleia, but has also served as a coming together for elders and their communities on their respective islands across 1.8 million square nautical miles throughout the Pacific.

It is that gathering of the elders to determine who gets what goods that has created so many memories for all who have shared in the OCD magic, memories that have lasted almost as long as OCD itself.

“Every Christmas Drop is special for the island,” said Santos Bugoman, an 18-year resident of Woleai. “We all have our own memories of OCDs past. I got my first pair of shoes in one of my first Christmas Drops and it’s something I will always remember and cherish. I wore them until I had completely outgrown them and blisters were forming because they were too small. Maybe I was being just a little bit sentimental, but they were so special to me I didn’t want to let go of them.”

While memories of toys and shoes are what the children cherish, for the elders it is the food, medicine, and other supplies that have meant the most over the years.

The Woleai Atoll was occupied by the Japanese during WWII. The war brought vast destruction and death to this isolated little island group, but left behind a repairable 3000 foot runway. About 1000 people live on the atoll these days. It has a school, some electricity, one major road and even two vehicles.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 12/18/2019 at 12:13 PM   
Filed Under: • Military •  
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calendar   Wednesday - December 11, 2019

Local Defense Contractor Guilty

Defense Contractor Made Below Spec Machine Gun Bipods, Falsified The Data

image  NEWARK, N.J. – The former chief operating officer of a New Jersey custom manufacturing firm admitted today that he made false statements and submitted false documents to the Department of Defense in fulfillment of a machine gun bipod assembly contract, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Police say Mark Colello, 54, of Hackettstown, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge William Martini in Newark federal court to an information charging him with two counts of making false statements and representations.

Colello falsified test results for the hardness of steel used to construct the bipod assemblies and for the magnetic particle inspection of the head and collar joints for the bipods.

The weaker grade steel and the faulty head and collar joints caused the legs of the bipods to fail when soldiers attempted to use them to support their machine guns.

I gather that the bipod on this weapon has been an issue for some time, and that other kinds of fixes have been attempted. These things see pretty severe use, and have to be strong and durable.

Until such a new design becomes official, the current design needs to be made from the best quality materials. This is what “mil spec” is all about: tough and dependable. Yeah, expensive too

Colello runs the Applied Resources Corporation in Wharton NJ, about 3 miles southwest of the famous Picatinny Arsenal near Lake Hopatcong.

This is inexcusable. How many of our soldiers died because of his crappy parts?

PS - the bipod in the picture has the “field fix” on it: the collar has been welded to the base. While this will keep the thing from snapping in two, it does not allow the gun to traverse side to side. The current FN factory bipod does not traverse either. This is not a good thing.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 12/11/2019 at 01:35 PM   
Filed Under: • CrimeMilitary •  
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Chile Aircraft Vanishes

C-130 Missing, Not Much Hope

President Sebastián Piñera of Chile confirmed reports early Tuesday of the disappearance of a Hercules C-130 military aircraft en route to Antarctica, describing the incident as an “accident.”

The Chilean military, with aid from neighboring Uruguay, Argentina, and the United States, has begun a search of what officials consider the likely crash site of the plane. There is not at press time any evidence that the plane crashed, but its sudden disappearance off of military radar and complete lack of communication with the air traffic regulators monitoring it suggests the plane fell somewhere along its path to Chile’s Antarctic scientific research site.

Authorities in Santiago confirmed 38 people, about half members of the crew and half soldiers, were onboard the flight, which departed Punto Arenas, Chile, at 2 p.m. local time on Monday. Three passengers were identified as civilians. It was expected to land at Chile’s Eduardo Frei military base in Antarctica at about 7:30 p.m. local time, the armed forces confirmed in a press release, but disappeared about an hour before. By midnight on Tuesday, military officials declared that the airplane had likely crashed and launched a search and rescue operation in the Drake Passage, the waters in between the southernmost continent and South America.

The Argentina outlet Infobae described the aircraft’s mission as one of “supply and logistics support,” ensuring that the military base was both fueled and properly furbished in light of the difficult conditions on the continent.

The flight was from Punto Arenas to the airstrip on King Georges Island in the Southern Shetlands. This is only about 750 miles, in an airplane that usually flies about 300mph. But way down at the bottom of the world the weather is extremely unpredictable and can change drastically in an instant. The Southern Shetlands are a group of smallish islands at the north end of the great Antarctic Archipelago, that spit of ice covered land that juts northward towards South America. King George Island is home to the research bases of many nations, because one small area on the west end of the island is ice free for most of the year. The landing strip is gravel, which makes it a lot nicer than the typical ice strips on the rest of the continent. It’s late Spring there right now, and at this time the wind and wave conditions in the Drake Passage are relatively pretty mild, with waves only 10 feet high. The water is deadly cold though, as always. The C-130 aircraft is a sturdy and reliable design, a tough old workhorse from 1956 that is still in production.

Sad update 12/12/19: all 38 aboard are lost. The plane crashed into the ocean. Hard. 


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 12/11/2019 at 10:42 AM   
Filed Under: • Militaryplanes, trains, tanks, ships, machines, automobiles •  
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calendar   Tuesday - December 10, 2019

No More Saudi Military Flight Training Here

Well duh. Should have outlawed this on 9/12/01.

Pentagon suspends flight training for hundreds of Saudi students

Hope they sent them home too.

The Pentagon on Tuesday suspended more than 850 Saudi students from flight training in response to the deadly shooting by a Saudi student last Friday at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida, senior defense officials told Fox News.

The suspension was part of a broader Defense Department review of all international training on U.S. military bases after Friday’s massacre.

The officials said all 852 Saudi military students will be immediately confined to classroom training, while all operational training in the air, land, and sea “will pause.”

Navy Commander Clay Doss said classroom and flight training will resume for other students this week. He did not say how long the flight stand-down for Saudi students will continue.

Officials told Fox News the Saudi government has agreed to the Pentagon’s decision.

I hope like hell somebody with half a brain has changed the rules and let the base guards be armed ... with gun that have ammo in them. Same goes for base personnel. You wear the uniform? Then carry a gun. At least on duty.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 12/10/2019 at 11:20 PM   
Filed Under: • Military •  
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calendar   Sunday - August 14, 2016

What, this isn’t called the Ticonderoga?

#2 Looking Bomb Will Soon Be #1



The B61-12 bomb, described as the most dangerous ever produced, features a tail kit from aircraft manufacturer Boeing which will enable a precision-guided trajectory.

It also has a mechanism that enables an adjustment of the explosive force – ranging from a high of 50,000 tons of TNT to a low of 300 tons - and can be delivered by stealth jet bomber.

Military experts believe the weapon’s accuracy and variable power reduces the risk of collateral damage and potential widespread civilian casualties.

General James Cartwright, the retired commander of US Strategic Command, told America’s PBS News: “If I can drive down the yield, drive down the likelihood of fallout, does that make it more usable in the eyes of a president or national security decision-making process?

“The answer is yes, it likely could be more usable.”

But this has led to a number of former and current senior US defence officials voicing concerns that the precise nature of the weapon could provide a rationale for its future use in conflict.

OK, so they made a variable nuke into a guided glide bomb. That makes sense I’d say. And therein lies a whole can of worms. It makes so much sense that you’d want to use it. All the time!

Nah. As usual, the folks in charge aren’t seeing things properly. If you can make a nuke so precise that it becomes a tactical weapon, then there’s almost no reason for it to be a nuke in the first place. Or perhaps just a teeny tiny one. So tear out the variable power bits, and pull out the extra plutonium that could allow this piglet to be a 50Mt bomb, and just put in enough to make it a 5Kt. Enough to wipe out an airport, or a smaller city, or an aircraft carrier, or a military supply depot, etc. Now you’ve got something fearsome; a nuke that folks are eager to use.

I was hoping that this one had a cool name. Cool names for outrageous weapons are important. Like MOAB, for that giant standard bomb we spent a few billion developing and then never used. And this one could have been easy! Look at the picture! It looks like a pencil. It even says Number 2 on the side! So quick, let’s get the generic trade name for pencil and use that. You know, like Xerox or Kleenex; product names that define the genre. The Dixon! The Ticonderoga! The Pearl! ( Blackwing and Mirado are out because those aren’t yellow pencils ) ... oops, it turns out that, while any cheap ballpoint can be a Bic, and any halfway good one can be a Parker, we have no generic name for a pencil. It’s just a pencil. Or a #2. How about that crap?

Guess we should cancel the bomb program then. No cool name, no new nuke. It’s not like we don’t have plenty of other ones sitting around already. Hmmphh. Well fine. Screw you guys, I’m going home.

Here, have a bunch of links and some graphics (right click for larger versions). Free! WTH, and why not? After all, your friendly government is in the process of spending ELEVEN BILLION DOLLARS to execute this bomb overhaul project. Guess we still have quite a few of the buggers sitting around, what what? (drop test video. Spin rocket only burns for half a second, but it’s enough to spin ‘er up)

image image image 


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 08/14/2016 at 04:03 PM   
Filed Under: • Military •  
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calendar   Saturday - July 30, 2016

Hot Rounds

thermobaric bullet or “natural” dieseling?


This is the Army’s new M80A1 EPR 7.62 bullet. It is made just like the M855A1 5.56 bullet: a copper base core behind a hardened steel penetrator front core with a gilding metal jacket. Hey, it’s lead free and thus “green”! Weighs in at about 130gr I think. It is not fired at any kind of extreme velocity. The bullet has been designed to fragment, usually breaking apart at the cannelure line the way Ball 5.56 ammo did back in the early 60s.

I’ve seen a lot of ballistics test gelatin block videos. I can’t recall ever seeing one that created an internal explosion that sat there huffing smoke rings before.

The flash you are seeing is real. Apparently gelatin block has some kind of flammable vapors in it (news to me I thought it was just Knox and water); when the bullet passes through it creates an enormous primary temporary wound channel that sucks lots of air into the entrance hole where it can mix with those vapors. When the block collapses - again at very high speed - it’s Chem 101 and the old PV=NRT ideal gas law - air temperature and pressure soars as the volume instantly diminishes to almost nothing, and this self ignites like a diesel engine. FOOM. And creates a One Two punch of a second temporary wound channel. And then the block sits there blowing smoke rings.

Enemies beware: not only does this one kill you dead, it blows you to shreds - twice - and sets you on fire. Oh, and it also shoots right through Level III armor, even at long distances. Nowhere to hide.

Horry Clap.

link 1

link 2

link 3 - effect still there even at low velocity (ie extended ranges)

link 4

Slow motion video with the 5.56 M855A1 EPR bullet below the fold. Watch the fireball burst into life.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 07/30/2016 at 06:14 PM   
Filed Under: • Guns and Gun ControlMilitary •  
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calendar   Monday - July 25, 2016

dead in the water

Funny how this fiasco happened on Obango’s watch.


Gerald Ford Still Not Ready For Prime Time

No, not the former President. The new aircraft carrier. Biggest one ever made. And sadly, this news does NOT come from Chevy Chase Maryland

$13.8 BILLION Boat Can’t Do It’s Basic Job

The $13-billion USS Gerald R. Ford is already two years behind schedule, and the U.S. Navy’s newest aircraft carrier is facing more delays after the Pentagon’s top weapons tester concluded the ship is still not ready for combat despite expectations it would be delivered to the fleet this September.
According to a June 28 memo obtained by CNN, Michael Gilmore, the Defense Department’s director of operational test and evaluation, said the most expensive warship in history continues to struggle launching and recovering aircraft, moving onboard munitions, conducting air traffic control and with ship self-defense.

“These four systems affect major areas of flight operations,” Gilmore wrote in his report to Pentagon and Navy weapons buyers Frank Kendall and Sean Stackley. “Unless these issues are resolved ... they will significantly limit CVN-78’s ability to conduct combat operations.”
Fixing these problems would likely require redesigning the carrier’s aircraft launch and recovery systems, according to Gilmore, a process that could result in another delay for a ship that was expected to join the fleet in September 2014.
Sen. John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, slammed the latest delay as “unacceptable” and “entirely avoidable” in a statement earlier this month.
“After more than $2.3 billion in cost overruns have increased its cost to nearly $13 billion, the taxpayers deserve to know when CVN-78 will actually be delivered, how much developmental risk remains in the program, if cost overruns will continue, and who is being held accountable,” he added.

Horry Clap. It can’t launch or land planes, it can’t arm them for missions, it can’t control their flight patterns around the ship, and it can’t fight the ship when attacked. Crivens!! In other words, it’s a defenseless, worthless steel box in the water, filled with flippantly spent dollars.

Yeah, but the new one uses new technology, the first solid technical updates in 40 years. Of course, they’ve had 40 years to develop all that crap, and test it all in isolation, right? Right?? No???


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 07/25/2016 at 06:02 PM   
Filed Under: • Military •  
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calendar   Sunday - April 17, 2016

Turtler’s Game Corner: UFO Alien Invasion

After about half a month of preparing for moving, working on a few odd jobs, and getting school in order, I can finally come back and hack out a post on here. Well, thanks for holding down the fort Drew. Life has kind of been a bugger for me lately, though I should be thankful it is still better than many. Please keep your prayers and thoughts with Peiper and his wife.

I know there are dozens of things happening in the wider world for me to talk about, but right now it’s the start of a new week and I just want to catch my breath, kick back, and Relaaaax! So when I sat down I realized I wanted to make a post about something I enjoy doing in my off time, and which some of you might be able to enjoy doing as well. But which is still at least a little bit topical to the hell-in-a-handbasket way of the real world.

So without Further ado, allow me to present you with....



Ok, more specifically the explosions- and everything else- in a little thing called UFO: Alien Invasion. Some of you might have heard of it before, some of you might have played it before. But I figure that there are probably at least a few other videogamers out here who would enjoy it, and that in a time like this at least a few people who aren’t that would be able to appreciate it..

I figure the best way to introduce it would be to give a

It is the year 2084. You control a secret organisation charged with defending Earth from a brutal alien enemy. Build up your bases, prepare your team, and dive head-first into the fast and flowing turn-based combat.

UFO: Alien Invasion is a squad-based tactical strategy game in the tradition of the old X-COM PC games, but with a twist. Our game combines military realism with hard science-fiction and the weirdness of an alien invasion. The carefully constructed turn-based system gives you pin-point control of your squad while maintaining a sense of pace and danger.

Over the long term you will need to conduct research into the alien threat to figure out their mysterious goals and use their powerful weapons for your own ends. You will produce unique items and use them in combat against your enemies. If you like, you can even use them against your friends with our multiplayer functionality.

UFO: Alien Invasion. Endless hours of gameplay — absolutely free.

Yeah, you read that right… UFO: Alien Invasion is ABSOLUTELY FREE. It costs exactly NO MONIES. NADA. GOOSE EGG. You can (and I’d suggest should) download it from here:

I’d probably have to rate this game as one of the real gems you can find online if you like strategy and tactics. It isn’t the newest thing in the batch and it doesn’t look like a modern Triple A title- though I do think it looks good in its’ old way, and the globe is breathtaking.

(Yes, this is what it really looks like in gameplay.. and this still doesn’t really do it justice compared to how it Moves.).

But what really makes it sparkle is the sheer *Depth.* There is an awful lot of depth to the game, from being on the worldview map deciding where to place bases like you’re a command in chief pointing at a map, taking emails, and tracking allied and friendly aircraft. To being down on a base managing what it researches or builds, to probably the heart of the game: meeting the enemy on the ground, where your squad and theirs fights it out for the future of a world one turn at a time. All the while trying to keep your coalition above water and close the tech gap.

The storytelling is also pretty good. The backstory lore is… probably average to above average, with the world of 2083 being a rather peaceful, idyllic place where super-nations and federations live in relative peace and increasing prosperity and freedom, even for places like the Middle East. The actual backstory I’d say is hit and miss with a few liberal buzzwords thrown around but nothing that offensive (unless you figure working with the UN is offensive in and of itself.... and by the off chance you DON’T playing politics with your funding nations will swiftly change your mind). On the whole I’d probably say there are some things that come across as incredibly optimistic or off tone, but others that sound incredibly prescient (like what happened to the US because of reckless deficit spending and China’s totalitarian expansionism before it fell). But I’d probably say that it comes across mostly like they wanted to establish one big happy world to juxtapose it against the coming darkness.

But the actual story over the game is quite good and (from what I’ve been told and can figure out) relatively scientifically sound (or “hard") as far as Sci-Fi goes. Don’t expect the enemy to let you get complacent, because there will be a lot of twists and turns before the end, and it’s obviously where most of the lore attention and juicy technological red meat went into. And wisely so!

So, I’d highly suggest you give it a try, for something that *might* have you coming back a lot.

Now, I’ve tries to explain why I like this. But what makes it topical?

Well, this game- and ones like it- is probably one of the great anti-terrorist epics in recent game history.

Yeah, you heard me right. Because while the enemy are aliens and the game is set in a relatively utopian world (again, including the MENA, Africa, and Asia...), the means and messages are far more down to Earth than Angela Merkel is. You see, the enemy you face are terrorists in how they act and behave, they just happen to be aliens terrorizing the Human Race. You’re going to be facing an enemy that will spend much of its’ time dropping violent squads in cities, indiscriminately murdering whoever they can before trying to get out just as suddenly as they struck. Trying to identify and pre-empt these attacks and strike at the heart of those waging murderous war on you is the heart of the game. And it will not be an easy one, because this will be a rather long war and all the while you will have to keep a weak kneed public and their politicians from losing their cool and simply surrendering to the terror, and yourself from being wiped out by attrition against an enemy that seems to have no trouble replacing its’ cannonfodder.

Yeah, that’s not familiar at alllllll....

In a way, it’s a chance to spend some hours away in the kind of position that you might dream of. Or have nightmares of. The chance to lead a combined, international fight to understand and destroy an enemy that endangers everyone and seeks to shape the world in its’ image. To make the calls and avoid the mistakes that Merkel/Obummer/InsertNameHere has. But at the same time that means that you will have nobody to blame more for defeat than yourself.

So hope you guys enjoy. If things like this are popular enough, I might make these kinds of “Free Game Spotlights” a semi-regular feature. >/br>

I’ll probably will try and get more posts after a day or so. But until then, I’ll be killing some digital terrorists of the human and alien varieties.... 

Posted by Turtler   United States  on 04/17/2016 at 02:18 PM   
Filed Under: • Amazing Science and DiscoveriesFun-StuffInternationalMilitaryScience-TechnologySelf-DefenseTerroristsWar On TerrorWar-Stories •  
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calendar   Thursday - March 31, 2016

Army’s latest idea is 143 years old

Defense Department To Build “Buntline” Howitzer

In 1873 Sam Colt built a few dozen of his pistols with crazy long barrels. The idea was to give the rather anemic .45 Colt cartridge a bit of extra range. Or maybe he was just against any kind of concealed carry. Somehow the ungainly pistol became known as a Buntline Special.

The pistols looked about like this:


modern reproduction 1873 Buntline Special by Uberti

In 2016 the Defense Department announced that multiple subcontractors are working on several projects with silly sounding acronym names, spending huge amounts of money, to reinvent the wheel and stick a double length barrel on the M777, our current lightweight towable 155mm Howitzer.

It artillery piece looks pretty much like this:


modern pre-production 2016 Buntline Special 155mm Cannon by BAE Systems

While the general idea is to build a field gun with extra long range, the new gun will also have several other benefits, such as adding 1000 pounds to the idea of “lightweight”, making a gun just a tad heavier than can be safely carried by the 1947 design Chinook helicopters that the M777 was designed for, which in turn will really complicate things for our Marines and soldiers in the field, and eventually force the services to spend billions developing a new helicopter system with all sorts of cost overruns. The new extra long barrel makes the cannon a towing nightmare, taxing the ability of the standard trucks to haul the thing around and to be able to turn corners and negotiate uneven ground, which in turn will really complicate things for our Marines and soldiers in the field, and eventually force the services to spend billions developing a new truck and towing system with all sorts of cost overruns. Let’s not forget the further added cost and logistical benefits of carrying a grossly larger spare parts inventory to replace all the barrels that will get bent or broken, since the M777 is wisely designed to be pulled along by the end of the barrel, protecting that nice chassis and pretty wheels at the other end of the gun, where anyone with half a brain would hook up a towing hitch to. Sure, just stress the hell out of the barrel, because goodness, who cares if that stays straight or not?

Right. And don’t mention that South Africa already has a robust extra long range 155mm gun system, with autoloading no less, that we could simply just go and purchase.

PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J.—Picatinny Arsenal engineers have been working to create a longer, newly modified M777A2 howitzer that has the potential to double the system’s current artillery range.

The modification adds six feet to the cannon and less than 1,000 pounds to the overall system. A mobility demonstration is the first step to determine if the howitzer can be modified for extended range, or if a new system is required.

“Their [user] concern is that when the self-propelled program is done they will be left with a towed cannon variant that they can’t tow around, which is its number one mode of transportation,” said David Bound, M777ER Lead, Artillery Concepts and Design Branch, which is part of the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center, or ARDEC.

The Extended Range Cannon Artillery, or ERCA, project is funded by ARDEC’s science and technology office and charged with developing technology to extend the range of all 155mm artillery.

The ERCA program develops not only the XM907 cannon but also products, such as the XM1113 rocket assisted projectile, the XM654 supercharge, an autoloader, and new fire control system.

Program Manager Towed Artillery Systems, or PM-TAS, which leads the M777ER program, is taking the ERCA cannon design and adapting it to the M777 to determine if it can be a cross-platform solution.

This PM-TAS effort is a dual-funded program by the Army and the Marines.

PM-TAS is part of the Program Executive Office for Ammunition at Picatinny Arsenal.

“Right now (the M777) can shoot about 30 kilometers, but once all of the upgrades are complete it will be able to shoot about 70 kilometers,” said Bound.

“So, it will be able to reach out and hit targets well in excess before the targets can reach them. It will also give a lot of operational over match so the warfighter won’t have to worry about coming into a situation where they are under fire before they can return fire,” said Bound.

After the ERCA program, the M777ER program is engaged in making sure that ERCA’s system is suitable for the M777 system.

The final ERCA system will be demonstrated with an M109A7 system, which is the Paladin self-propelled howitzer.

Well ... except that the M777 has kind of had a 40km range for 9 years now, but that was pretty much only with the magnificent M982 Excalibur shell, a guided munition - I made a huge post about it and a few other boom toys back during the fighting phase of Gulf War II - that cost a mere $150,000 a shot. But double good news there! Not only has mass production lowered the cost to a bargain basement $70,000 per shot, a new, really inexpensive ($15,000 or less), replacement fuse with steering fins has been developed that works 99.5% as well (12m accuracy at 40km vs 5m at 40km, attached to an exploding shell that can destroy everything within a 50m radius of where it goes off), that will fit on any standard shell in the arsenal. This is the XM1156 Precision Guidance Kit:


A base canard? Nay nay, a fuse-ed one; the base is well blooded!


a base bleed artillery shell utilizing a thrustless rocket engine

So, 40km range with a couple types of shell. The base bleed design is pretty cool; a solid fuel rocket with no nozzle is built into the boat-tail base of the VLD projectile. Firing the gun ignites the propellant, which does nothing more than produce a lot of hot air. But this air fills the vacuum vortex behind the moving shell, and thus eliminates nearly all the base drag. The result is much higher retained velocity which means much longer range. And it makes a great tracer too! Just hanging a rocket engine back there doesn’t really help, as the thrust has to be absolutely perfectly even and aligned or else it will cause an imbalance and destroy accuracy, if not destroy the shell itself as it yaws sideways while spinning a couple hundred thousand RPM. Nope, neat idea but it don’t work.

I couldn’t find anything on the “supercharge” gun powder. But any slower powder will work better in a longer barrel, and if the barrel is long enough there’s no reason not to do a “supergun” style series of secondary powder charges. Just make sure your burn through bags are well tested first!

So, long barrel, bigger charge of slower powder, drag reducing Ultra Low Drag (ULD) projectiles ... add it all up and it very well could work out to 70km ranges. Hey, when you care enough to kill your enemies an extra long way away, and not harm anyone near them ... all it takes is buckets of tax money. 


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 03/31/2016 at 11:50 PM   
Filed Under: • Military •  
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calendar   Tuesday - March 22, 2016

BOMBING IN BRUSSELS!! Terrorists hit the Belgian Capitol!


A few hours ago, near-simultaneous explosions tore through the Belgian capitol. It seems pretty clear- even with the sketchy information- that there were at last two targets. One was the Maalbeek Metro Station, and the other Brussels Airport. Initial reports indicate that we’re looking at dozens of casualties, including at least a baker’s dozen dead. I don’t think that number is going to go anywhere but up in the next hours. This map is the best one I could find on short notice showing the relative locations of the two.

I’ll probably put more information- pictures I don’t trust putting above the fold, my two cents, and news articles- below the fold. But let’s make one thing ABSOLUTELY clear: This Had to have been a coordinated attack, and a daunting one at that. Half a dozen miles may not seem like a big distance but it can’t be easy to coordinate this kind of attack in a densely urban area like the heart of Brussels is. Which says nothing good about our security or the enemy’s capabilities.

God be with us all… I don’t pretend to know the full story behind this but I do hope that these savages get theirs.

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Not that very many people ever read this far down, but this blog was the creation of Allan Kelly and his friend Vilmar. Vilmar moved on to his own blog some time ago, and Allan ran this place alone until his sudden and unexpected death partway through 2006. We all miss him. A lot. Even though he is gone this site will always still be more than a little bit his. We who are left to carry on the BMEWS tradition owe him a great debt of gratitude, and we hope to be able to pay that back by following his last advice to us all:
  1. Keep a firm grasp of Right and Wrong
  2. Stay involved with government on every level and don't let those bastards get away with a thing
  3. Use every legal means to defend yourself in the event of real internal trouble, and, most importantly:
  4. Keep talking to each other, whether here or elsewhere
It's been a long strange trip without you Skipper, but thanks for pointing us in the right direction and giving us a swift kick in the behind to get us going. Keep lookin' down on us, will ya? Thanks.


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GNU Terry Pratchett

Oh, and here's some kind of visitor flag counter thingy. Hey, all the cool blogs have one, so I should too. The Visitors Online thingy up at the top doesn't count anything, but it looks neat. It had better, since I paid actual money for it.
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