Webster

The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions." --American Statesman Daniel Webster (1782-1852)


Sunday, July 22, 2018

Operation "Eagle Claw"

I was in High school in Alabama when the Hostages were seized in 1979 and how impotent the United States appeared to be.  We as a nation was humiliated by the seizure of the Embassy  against all international Law.  We were further humiliated when "Desert One" happened, it showed how poor shape the United States Armed forces were in after Vietnam and the resulting "Hollow Army" as it was called.  I remembered the shame we felt as a nation when the hostage rescue failed from a myriad of reasons and plain bad luck, Murphy ran amuck with the planning and execution of the mission.  I remembered President Jimmy Carter on national TV apologizing for the failure of the mission. 
I had a lot of bad things to say about President Jimmy Carter, but he took full responsibility for the debacle which shows good character.  After this Jimmy Carter asked congress to massively increase the Military budget.  After the 1980 elections when President Ronald Reagan pushed for even a bigger increase in the budget because of the poor state of the U.S Armed Forces.  Back in 1980 I as a kid supported Jimmy Carter because he was from my State of Georgia.  Jimmy Carter was a good man but a poor president and his economic policies were a disaster. 
The April 24th Op is a major event in the history of the United States’ Special Forces operations not just because it was among the first missions of the Delta Force, but because its widespread failure would be a moment of profound humiliation for the United States.
Following the Iranian revolution, which saw the overthrow of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and an end to his 22 years of autocratic leadership over Iran, the Iranian Hostage Crisis, on the 4th day of November 1979, ensued.
A group of militant students who supported the Iranian revolution had stormed the US embassy in Tehran, capturing the building and taking 52 American diplomats and citizens hostage for 444 days, in what would become the longest hostage crisis in history, and widely described by western media as an entanglement of vengeance and mutual incomprehension.

Iran hostage crisis – Iraninan students comes up U.S. embassy in Tehran.1979
In the state-sanctioned act, the Iranian assailants demanded the return of Shah Reza, who had been taken to America for cancer treatment. Reza had been accused of committing crimes against the people and was summoned by Iran’s new leader, Ruholla Khomeini, to stand trial.

Two American Hostages During the Crisis.
The hostage incident was initiated by Iran to spite America for her alleged complicity in Reza’s atrocities. Jimmy Carter was less than pleased by the event, and would succinctly declare that America would never yield to blackmail. The hostage-taking, to America, was an egregious violation of international law.

Ayatollah Khomeini in front of his house at Neauphle-le-Chateau in a media conference.Photo: Sa.vakilian CC BY-SA 3.0
After 6 months of failed attempts at diplomatic negotiations, the United States, on April 16th, 1980, under President Jimmy Carter, approved a military action. The president, having broken diplomatic associations with Iran, ordered the Pentagon to draw up a plan in a bid to storm Iranian soil in a covert rescue mission codenamed Operation Eagle’s Claw.


The Shah of Iran in the 1970's

The US military spent about 5 months in planning the op. The aircrew trained in Florida and Andersen Airfield in Guam. Based on the plan, 3 USAF MC-130 aircraft would fly an assault group of about 118 Delta Force soldiers from Masirah Island to a remote spot located 200 miles southeast of Tehran; this location was codenamed Desert One. The MC-130s were accompanied by 3 EC-130s which served as fuel transport.
Under the cover of night, 8 US Navy RH-53D Sea Stallion helicopters, would fly from the USS Nimitz, which was sailing in the Arabian Sea, to rendezvous with the assault team where they would all fly to Desert Two, another location 65 miles from the target zone, Tehran.

RH-53Ds of HM-16 on the USS Nimitz before repainting.
Once the force was in place it would be show time; the team would be flown the rest of the way into Tehran where they would break into the embassy, neutralize the security, and rescue the hostages. All through the raid, an E-3 AWAC would keep a lookout on Iranian airspace, while establishing command and control communications between Washington, the Carrier Force, and the mission commander.

US Army Rangers 75th Regiment.
They would then fly to Manzarinyeh Air Base, which by that time would have been secured by US Army Rangers. At Manzarinyeh, USAF C-141 Starlifters would fly the hostages and assault team out of Iran, while the Rangers would stay behind to destroy all used equipment including the helicopters before flying out themselves.

A U.S. Marine Corps McDonnell F-4N Phantom II aircraft (BuNo 150480) of Marine fighter-attack squadron VMFA-323 Death Rattlers on the aircraft carrier USS Coral Sea (CV-43) in April 1980. Sailors are applying black-red-black identification stripes for the (later aborted) attempt to rescue U.S. hostages from Iran, code named “Operation Eagle Claw” (or “Evening Light”).
This was an extremely complex plan that required a lot of synergy among all the units involved because Tehran was a city well inside Iran’s airspace and far away from any friendly territory. Furthermore, it was hard to get good intelligence about the forces inside the embassy. As a matter of fact, there was no room for any deviation from the stipulated plan as even the slightest mistake was bound to jeopardize the mission.

The first part of the mission went according to plan, with the arrival of the first MC-130 aircraft carrying Combat Control Team (CCT), mission equipment and fuel on board to Desert one. The team’s task at this point was to establish the airstrips and marshal the other aircraft when they arrived. But this was the only successful part of the mission because following the arrival of the other MC-130 aircraft, everything began to fall apart.

A photo of the “Desert One” landing site, a piece of desert in Iran used by U.S. forces as a refueling point in an attempt to rescue U.S. hostages in Iran. On 24 April 1980 a U.S. Navy Sikorsky RH-53D Sea Stallion (BuNo 158760, visible at right) collided with a U.S. Air Force Lockheed EC-130E Hercules (s/n 62-1809, wrecked in the foreground) during refueling after the mission was aborted. Both aircraft were destroyed, eight crewmen died. In the background is one of the five intact, but abandoned RH-53Ds. Original caption: “Wreckage at Desert One, Iran (April 1980) where eight Americans died.”
First, a passenger bus was spotted on a highway crossing the landing zone, and because this was supposed to be a covert op, the CCT was forced to stop and detain the passengers of the bus. A tanker truck was also found speeding close to Desert One.  The truck, apparently smuggling fuel, was blown up after refusing to stop, causing the death of the passenger.
The rest of the C-130 aircraft arrived and waited for the helicopters. The RH-53 helicopters took off from Nimitz but along the way, one helicopter—Bluebeard 6—was grounded and abandoned. The crew reported a damaged rotor blade as the cause of the malfunction. The remaining helicopters ran into a severe sandstorm known as Haboob. This would scatter the flight formation, with Bluebeard 5 also abandoning the mission.
The scattered helicopters would arrive at Desert One individually, running 50-90 minutes behind schedule. Bluebeard 2 arrived last but had indications of a broken hydraulic system which consequently made it unfit for the mission. With just five helicopters left and even more losses anticipated, the on-scene commander, Col. James H. Kyle, requested a mission abort.

Three RH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters are lined up on the flight deck of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS NIMITZ (CVN-68) in preparation for Operation Evening Light, a rescue mission to Iran.
The new focus was now on getting the assault team back on the MC-130s while the Bluebeards refueled on the Nimitz. During this procedure, tragedy struck.

US burned helicopter in Operation Eagle Claw
Bluebeard 3 was blasted by a desert storm, putting the pilot in a frenzied bid to maneuver his helicopter to stability. In the process, the helicopter’s main rotor blade collided with the wing-root of an EC-130 which was loaded with fuel. Both aircraft exploded, and in the ensuing inferno, 8 servicemen lost their lives – 3 US marines and 5 USAF aircrew.
The USAF pilot and co-pilot survived with severe burns. In the desperate evacuation of the rest of the team, classified files associated with the mission were burned, but the helicopters were abandoned in the desert. With that, Operation Eagle’s Claw, the nadir of the whole hostage rescue affair, came to an end.

Sand Storm of Tabas was cause of Operation Eagle Claw fail. This photo show the remaining aircraft burned.Photo: Tasnim News Agency CC BY 4.0
The failed rescue op resulted in some rather undesirable consequences. Firstly, the hostages were scattered across Iran, to make another rescue mission impossible. Also, the US government received heavy criticism from governments around the world for making such blunders in a very critical situation. As a matter of fact, experts believe that Jimmy Carter’s failure with Operation Eagle Claw was a major reason he lost the presidential election the following year.
Additionally, the failure brought attention to deficiencies in the US special operations system. The Joint Chiefs of Staff led an investigation which birthed the Holloway Report. The report cited failings in mission planning, command and control, and inter-service operability.

CH-53Ds Landing.
It revealed that training was usually conducted in a compartmentalized manner, taking place in scattered locations. Also, there was poor selection and training of aircrew, and it was said that not enough helicopters were put into the mission to counter any unforeseen issues or problems that jeopardized the mission. The hopscotch method of ground refueling which was chosen over air refueling was also criticized.
In reaction to these findings, the US military established United Special Operations Command, and the Air Force Special Operations Command. The lessons learned prompted the creation of the Night Stalkers (the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment) for the training of Army pilots in low-level night flying and aerial refueling.

Operation Eagle Claw Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery
A second rescue operation was planned, but it was never implemented. However, on 20th January 1981, just after Carter’s tenure, all 52 hostages were allowed to go back home.
To America, Operation Eagle Claw was a profound humiliation which exposed their flaws and vulnerabilities. But to Khomeini and his people, it was a plan foiled by divine intervention.
Operation Eagle Claw was the mission that marked the beginning of a change in America’s Special Operations.


Friday, July 20, 2018

"Walking in his shoes"

I have been very busy with "Meatspace" as they say, so I haven't been able to devote as much time as I want to blogging.  I still want to go shoot the Garand that I bought, but I have some stuff coming up at the end of the month, I will be at NOAC and I am planning that trip.    I saw this on Townhall and I thought it was a very good article so I shamelessly ripped it off.
President Donald Trump is not a figure many feel empathetic toward.  Nearly half the country hates him.  Hate may be too mild a word.  They despise him and equate him with the worst of human history, Hitler and the Nazis.  They want him destroyed, literally and politically, along with his family.  This includes Democrats, the media, and many Republicans.
His resignation or impeachment wouldn't be enough.  He needs to face treason charges and punishment at the end of a rope or in front of a firing squad, along with his family.  His supporters are guilty by association and must face similar justice.
But in To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus Finch told Scout, "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it."  This is the essence of empathy.  You can't understand someone until you've walked a mile in his shoes.
Let's for a moment climb inside Donald Trump's skin and walk around in it.
Trump was a successful businessman, a billionaire with properties, resorts, golf courses, and hotels around the world.  He owned a huge private jet, only a half-step down from the one he currently uses.  He has a beautiful wife and family; his children are smart and following in his business footsteps.  He hosted a wildly successful television show, was a household name and a darling of the media before he decided to run for president.

Yet he gave that up.  Why would he do that?  As a septuagenarian, did his ego demand one more even bigger prize?  Or, as some have speculated, was he approached by a group of patriots several years ago and told in no uncertain terms about the Deep State and America's trajectory into the abyss?  Perhaps he was told that he was the only one who could run for president, have a chance of winning, then slow or stop America's decline.
Did he, as a consummate patriot, take up the challenge?  Someday we may learn why he gave up a comfortable and successful life in exchange for years of scorn and derision.
In Hillary Clinton, he fought a political opponent who was challenging, not personally, but for what and whom she represented: the establishments of both parties, the donor classes, the media, Hollywood, academia, and the Clinton machine that has been active since her husband's presidency two decades earlier.
He worked his butt off, campaigning around the clock.  From his tweets at 4 A.M. to his campaign rallies in multiple states in a single day, he worked harder than any candidate in recent memory.  His opponent did the opposite.  Sipping chardonnay and napping, she listened to her cheerleaders in the media, fawning over her every utterance, telling her repeatedly that she would win the election easily, and doing most of the campaigning for her.
Media coverage of Trump was and still is over 90 percent negative.  His own party worked against his election, the party he represented and brought victory to.  The big names in the GOP tried to undermine him – McCain, Romney, Bush, Ryan – all past presidents or candidates, the heavy hitters in the GOP, not to mention the Republican NeverTrump whiners.
Then there was the Deep State, the unelected and unaccountable three-letter agencies, conspiring and working against Donald Trump, not only as a candidate, but also as president.  They spied on his campaign, creating fictional dossiers used to justify FBI surveillance of Trump, his entire campaign staff, and his family.  It was a concerted effort by the leadership of these agencies to prevent his election, then "an insurance policy" to destroy his presidency as a Plan B.
Phony accusations or Russian collusion tainted his presidency, providing a cloud over his election, much like a successful athlete winning a medal or championship fair and square and against all odds, then having his victory tainted with the accusation of rigging or cheating.  How would such a winner react to claims that he didn't really win?  Especially when he had worked so hard for victory and had so little help in the process.
The Russian collusion story taints Trump's successful campaign and election.  The Mueller investigation and drumbeat from the media share the common refrain that Trump is an illegitimate president, that he cheated to win, conspiring with an enemy country.  This is the same country, ironically, that so many of Trump's critics were in love with only a few years ago.
Trump has been working hard as president, accomplishing more in his first 500 days than any of his predecessors – tax cuts, a roaring economy, record unemployment, a reversal of 50 years of failed policy toward North Korea, strong judicial picks, and so on.  Does he get any credit from the media or his own party?  Hardly.  Instead, scorn and insults continue to rain down on his head.  Wouldn't you be frustrated and bitter standing in his shoes?
Last is the Mueller indictment of 12 phantom Russians over supposedly hacking the DNC computers – computers the FBI did not even examine.  Indictments are simply accusations, not verdicts in a court of law, and were announced the last business day before Trump's Russia summit.  What a coincidence of timing, painting Trump in a box where he has to either validate the Russian collusion narrative or question the veracity of the U.S. intelligence community.  Always the contrarian, he chose the latter option during his press conference with Putin.
Does Trump fully trust the intelligence services, the same ones that conspired to spy on his campaign and undermine his election, then tried to overturn his presidency?  All this is based on the nonsensical assertion that Russia hacked the election, an absurd concept that even the media's savior Barack Obama said was impossible: "There is no serious person out there who would suggest somehow that you could even rig America's elections."
This is the same Intelligence Community that exonerated Hillary Clinton for crimes proven but never investigated and indicted Donald Trump for crimes investigated ad nauseam but never proven.  The same Intelligence Community that told the world that Saddam had WMDs, dragging the U.S. and other countries into a costly and counterproductive war.
Put yourself in Trump's shoes: a highly successful businessman, in the latter years of his life, taking on the Herculean task of running for and winning the U.S. presidency.  In victory he finds nothing but abuse, scorn, and betrayal, by friend and foe alike.  He is surrounded by landmines, his intelligence community plotting a path to make sure he steps on one landmine after another.  This is a journey few mortals would undertake or survive.
Is it any wonder he is pushing back against those trying to destroy him and his presidency, including the FBI, DOJ, and CIA, all in the thick of seditious activity against the duly elected president?  He has few friends in Washington, D.C.; many who should have his back are eager to bury a knife in it instead.
The simplest explanations are often the best.  Walk a mile in Trump's shoes, and his actions make all the sense in the world.  A guy chosen by ordinary people, trying to make America great again despite so much of America trying to stop and destroy him.  How would any rational person behave when standing in Trump's shoes?

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Pickett's Charge and the high water mark for the Confederacy.

I normally do historical stuff on WWII or Vietnam or a couple of other wars, I do know a bit about the Civil War or The War between the States as it is referred to here in the South and to a few "The War of Yankee Aggression."  I do know that Pickett's charge was considered the highwater mark for the confederacy militarily.  This is the closest that the South would have had the chance to get recognized by Britain and France.  I also know that General Lee didn't blame Pickett for what had transpired, he had known that Pickett's division had done all what was humanly possible.


What had been a three-day showdown between the Union Army under the command of Major General George G. Meade and General Robert E. Lee’s Confederate forces reached its peak on the third and final day of the battle, July 3, 1863.
Pickett’s Charge was one of the most devastating infantry attacks recorded during the American Civil War. The charge led by George Edward Pickett, Confederate States Army general is best known for leading his division into the center of the Union lines.
General Pickett – When asked why his attack failed, he reportedly answered, “I’ve always thought the Yankees had something to do with it.”
The previous fighting which had transpired on July 1-2 left neither the Union or Confederate armies significantly better off.
71st Pennsylvania Infantry Monument, Gettysburg Battlefield.
General Lee’s military secretary, gave the following description of Lee’s plan for the attack on July 3:
“There was a weak point…where Cemetery Ridge, sloping westward, formed the depression through which the Emmitsburg road passes. Perceiving that by forcing the Federal lines at that point and turning toward Cemetery Hill, Hays’ Division would be taken in flank and the remainder would be neutralized….Lee determined to attack at that point, and the execution was assigned to Longstreet.”
A small portion of the Gettysburg Cyclorama
George Pickett was one of the three division commanders under General Lee’s “Old War Horse” James Longstreet. Pickett’s division consisted of three brigades as General Montgomery D. Corse’s Brigade was ordered to remain in the region of Taylorsville. However, all these units were fresh having arrived late on the previous day.
Cannons at Gettysburg battlefield representing Hancock’s defenses, stormed by Pickett’s Charge. 71st Pennsylvania Infantry Monument in middle ground. Photo by Joshua Sherurcij
On July 2, just two hours past midnight, the soldiers started their twenty-five mile march to Gettysburg, arriving late in the evening.
Cemetery Ridge, looking south along the ridge with Little Round Top and Big Round Top in the distance. The monument in the foreground is the 72nd Pennsylvania Infantry Monument.
In a council of war held by Union forces on the eve of July 2, Major General George G. Meade speculated about Lee’s line of attack to engage the center of his defenses. He correctly surmised that Lee would challenge the center of his lines having failed on both his flanks on preceding days
General Lee’s initial plan on the 2nd day was to send General Longstreet to attack the left flank of the Union forces with Lt. Gen. Richard S. Ewell leading the attack on Culp’s Hill on the Union right.
Copse of trees and ‘high-water mark of the Confederacy’ on the Gettysburg Battlefield; looking north.
However, while Longstreet was gathering his men, Union forces started a massive military bombardment against Ewell’s troops at Culp’s Hill and after a gruesome seven hours of battle, the Union Army had managed to hold their positions. Despite the early engagement by Ewell’s forces and their failure to take Culp’s Hill, Lee continued his offensive strategy to strike right at the center of the Union line on Cemetery Ridge.
Field of Pickett’s Charge, viewed from north of The Angle, looking west.
Brigadier General Henry J. Hunt came up with a brilliant idea to hold fire from their center lines when the Confederates carried out an artillery bombardment against their position early on in the afternoon. This led the Confederates to believe that their enemy’s batteries had been knocked out.
This further encouraged Lee’s decision to attack there and around 3 p.m., when the firing had died down, 12,500 Confederate soldiers in nine infantry brigades came tearing down the 1300 yards that led to the Cemetery Ridge.
Map of Pickett’s Charge of the American Civil War. Drawn in Adobe Illustrator CS5 by Hal Jespersen. Map by Hal Jespersen
Pickett commanded his three brigades on the right while Joseph Pettigrew with his four brigades and Trimble’s two brigades were on the left. As the infantry advanced, Union soldiers began hailing “Fredericksburg!,” referring to a previous charge which they, the Union forces attempted and failed in the 1862 Battle of Fredericksburg.
Pickett taking the order to charge from Gen. Longstreet, Gettysburg, July 3, 1864
Union forces reigned artillery fire from the flanks of Cemetery Hill, and heavy musket and canister fire came from Hancock’s II Corps. As Pickett and the others drew closer, the Union forces unleashed a heavy fire on their attackers, much to the surprise of the Confederate commanders and General Lee.
The charge only got as far as the low stone wall that acted as a shield for the Union soldiers, breaching it and temporarily breaking the U.S. lines; Confederate and Union soldiers battled and brawled, clawing at each other in an urgent attempt to hang on to their positions, one side advancing and the other defending until reinforcements were sent in, breaking off the Confederates’ short contact with the opposing forces and pushing them back.
Pickett’s Charge from a position on the Confederate line looking toward the Union lines, Ziegler’s Grove on the left, clump of trees on right, painting by Edwin Forbes
Massive casualties were sustained on the side of the Confederates; a hailstorm of projectiles were fired at Pettigrew’s men, while the other divisions also encountered heavy fire, sustaining losses too great to continue the march further.
General Lee’s army was exhausted and depleted both in ammunition and in physical condition. He thereafter ordered the retreat of his men and the three-day battle was finally over, resulting in a huge number of casualties on both sides.
The monument on the Gettysburg Battlefield marking the approximate place where Lew Armistead was fatally wounded. The wall behind the monument marks the Union lines.
During the three days of fighting, over 560 tons of ammunition were fired resulting in over 50,000 casualties almost equally shared by the Confederate and Union Armies, making this one of the bloodiest battles of the American Civil War.
General Pickett’s Virginian brigades went furthest in the assault, making a turn in what is called “the Angle” at the edge of the stone wall. Their position marks what is called the “High-water mark of the Confederacy,” arguably representing the closest the Confederates ever got to achieving independence from the Union through military action.
Thure de Thulstrup’s Battle of Gettysburg, showing Pickett’s Charge
General Lee gathered his wounded and exhausted Army, taking a whole day to prepare his retreat. However, Meade’s army did not try to pursue giving the reason that his army was also too battered and exhausted. Having had his own fill of bloodshed for the day, he allowed the Confederates to make their exit without further contact.
Pickett remained embittered long after the war, recounting in his memory the massive number of men he lost that day.  As I recall General Longstreet did blame the defeat on Pickett and his men.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Monday Music "Maniac" by Michael Sembello

I decided to run a few soundtracks for the next month, in the early 1980, if a movie came out, it released a soundtrack.  I never saw this movie believe it or not,  but I have the soundtrack on CD.  What can I say, I liked the music and it was a good album.  The video was memorable as was the song and it was a staple of the MTV rotation back in the day.

"Maniac" is a song performed by Michael Sembello. The song was used in the 1983 film Flashdance.
"Maniac" appears during an early scene in Flashdance and is used as the backing track of a montage sequence showing Alex (Jennifer Beals) training strenuously in her converted warehouse.
The song was included in Flashdance after Sembello's wife accidentally included it on a tape sent to executives at Paramount Pictures who were looking for music to use in the film.

Maniac" reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks beginning on September 10, 1983 and is one of the highest-grossing songs ever written for a film. In addition to producing "Maniac", Phil Ramone produced the song that would dethrone it from the top spot, Billy Joel's "Tell Her About It". The Original Soundtrack of Flashdance won the 1983 Grammy Award for Best Album of Original Score Written for A Motion Picture or a Television Special. The song was nominated for an Academy Award. Another song from the film, "Flashdance... What a Feeling" performed by Irene Cara, won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1983

A popular urban legend holds that the song was originally written for the 1980 horror film Maniac, and that lyrics about a killer on the loose were rewritten so the song could be used in Flashdance. The legend is discredited in the special features of the film's DVD release, which reveal that the song was written for the film, although only two complete lyrics ("Just a steel town girl on a Saturday night" and "She's a maniac") were available when filming commenced. Like the title song, it reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in September 1983

Flashdance is not a musical in the traditional sense as the characters do not sing, but rather, the songs are presented in the style of self-contained music videos. The success of this film is attributed in part to the 1981 launch of the cable channel MTV (Music Television), as it was the first to exploit the new medium effectively. By excerpting segments of the film and running them as music videos on MTV, the studio benefited from extensive free promotion, and thus established the new medium as an important marketing tool for movies.
In the mid-1980s, it became almost obligatory to release a music video to promote a major motion picture—even if the film were not especially suited for one. An example from the era is the song and music video "Take My Breath Away" from Top Gun (1986), also from Flashdance producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer. Giorgio Moroder composed "Take My Breath Away" and several of the songs for Flashdance.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

I've got nothing..



   I have nothing to post about, I want to post about the left side of the aisle having a meltdown about President Trumps SCOTUS nomination, the protestors had several different protest signs printed and ready to go.

 It didn't care who he picked, they were going to protest because they hate Trump.  President Trump could have nominated Obama (With his constitutional law gig from Yale, he would have been a shoo in.) they would have protested because the hated "Cheeto" man nominated him.   but I have nothing...
   
President Trump went to Europe a couple of days ago and put on notice that the NATO members ain't pulling their own weight, according to the charter, they have to contribute 2% of their GDP to their defense and most of the NATO members are not, they are averaging 1.2%

President Trump was especially critical of Germany who from the reports I have seen can't seem to field any tanks because they are down for parts, and out of 128 "Euro" fighters, only 4 are combat ready.  The latest German Frigate design can't pass combat trials, it is like the vaunted German efficiency isn't there anymore.  This is a far cry from the Cold War days where the German equipment was first rate and as was their training.  Now they can't defend themselves, and rely on the Americans to defend Germany while Germany pours money into the "Muslim refugee" crisis as they continue to invite men of Military age unaccompanied by their "Families" to settle in Germany and other NATO countries...Germany has killed off their nuclear power, and coal and hung their hopes on "Green" energy, but it don't work so Germany is piping natural Gas from Russia for their energy needs.  President Trump has concerns about the risk from the alliance if Germany is dependent on the Russian gas for their energy.  Will Germany act in the best interest of the alliance or Russia? But I have nothing....

   
There are rumors that Hillary is considering a 2020 run, she still can't accept that she was beaten by a person that by all rights she should have beaten in a race that was rigged in her favor and she still lost.  I have heard that the Clinton Crime syndicate  Foundation was fundraising during the immigration kerfluffle to the point of millions of dollars for "Immigration groups", I suppose it will be like Haiti where there was fundraising and for some strange reasons the money never made it but Chelsea had a heck of a wedding paid for by the foundation and she draws a heck of a salary.  But people still contribute hoping to purchase influence help out the needy.  But I have nothing..

  And finally the Thailand boys soccer team that got trapped in the cave by rising water was rescued after 12 days in a rescue that mesmerized the world.  It shows that there are still good in the world.

      Go check out the people on my blogroll....They are really good.