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

Thursday, June 29, 2017

New Book Out!!!

My Blogbuddy Jim, who is a class act and all around good guy but we don't tell him that.  He has released a new novella(I'm not sure what that means lol), but anyway, I have bought everything that Jim has written from the Stellar "Gray Man" series which are now 4 of them, he also has branched out into MilScifi and they are worth the read.  Jim is a very good storyteller, he is the kind of guy you would have around the campfire and he can spin some good stories. 

Here is the Link To Order

A year after Calexit, the last US bases in Southern California are under siege, with their power and water cut off. Their perimeters are under constant probes by a now hostile nation. There is intelligence the government of California is planning a final all-out action to overwhelm the last bases and claim the spoils of victory for their own…
But the men and women in uniform aren’t going to let their bases be overrun, especially after the murder of their dependents. This is their story, a novella of the last military withdrawal from California. And if there’s one thing the Sailors and Marines are not going to do, it’s go quietly!

The Cover alone is real cool looking

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The HMAS Melbourne and the U.S.S. Evans Collision

 I was reading from my bloglist like I do every morning and got to "Grouchy Old Cripple"and they were talking about the collision of the Fitz and the container ship.  And this was in one of the comments.  Well I decided to do some digging and used Wiki to do some research and learned something new.

Remember back in “69” when the Frank Evans was cut in half by the Melbourne during exercises in the So China Sea. Captain was sleeping, he was Court Martialed and flushed out like a turd in the crapper. The two incompetents on the bridge had no business being there, Captain should have known their capabilities which, were shit. They survived the court martial, even with guilty pleas, but never got rank after that. Go figure. The Asshole Admiral that presided over the board of inquiry tried to put all the blame on the Melbourne and made a real spectacle (or was that Testicle) of himself. What a Dickhead. In that case, 74 Sailors died, and the two unqualified Assholes responsible for their deaths skated. We saw the remains of the Evans in dry dock in Subic and it looked like a giant Sawsall sliced it in half. Still can’t imagine how the rear half stayed afloat. With the Fitzgerald there are no excuses. It will be interesting to see how it all goes down and how the discipline gets dished out.

The MelbourneEvans collision was a collision between the light aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and the destroyer USS Frank E. Evans of the United States Navy (USN). On 3 June 1969, the two ships were participating in SEATO exercise Sea Spirit in the South China Sea. At approximately 3:00 am, when ordered to a new escort station, Evans sailed under Melbourne's bow, where she was cut in two. Seventy-four of Evans' crew were killed.
A joint RAN–USN board of inquiry was held to establish the events of the collision and the responsibility of those involved. This inquiry, which was believed by the Australians to be biased against them, found that both ships were at fault for the collision. Four officers (the captains of Melbourne and Evans, plus the two junior officers in control of Evans at the time of the collision) were court-martialled based on the results of the inquiry; while the three USN officers were charged, the RAN officer was cleared of wrongdoing.

HMAS Melbourne was the lead ship of the Majestic class of aircraft carriers. She was laid down for the Royal Navy on 15 April 1943, but construction was stopped at the end of World War II. She was sold to the Royal Australian Navy in 1948, along with sister ship HMAS Sydney, but was heavily upgraded while construction was completed and did not enter service until the end of 1955. In 1964, Melbourne was involved in a collision with the Australian destroyer HMAS Voyager, sinking the smaller ship and killing 81 of her crew and one civilian dockyard worker.

USS Frank E. Evans was an Allen M. Sumner-class destroyer. She was laid down on 21 April 1944, and commissioned into the United States Navy on 3 February 1945. She served in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, and earned 11 battle stars.

Melbourne's commanding officer during the SEATO exercise was Captain John Phillip Stevenson. Rear Admiral John Crabb, the Flag Officer Commanding Australian Fleet, was also embarked on the carrier.  During Sea Spirit, Melbourne was assigned five escorts: the US destroyers Everett F. Larson, Frank E. Evans and James E. Kyes, and the frigates HMNZS Blackpool and HMS Cleopatra. Stevenson held a dinner for the five escort captains at the start of the exercise, during which he recounted the events of the MelbourneVoyager collision, emphasized the need for caution when operating near the carrier, and provided written instructions on how to avoid such a situation developing again. Additionally, during the lead-up to the exercise, Admiral Crabb had strongly warned that all repositioning maneuvers performed by the escorts had to commence with a turn away from Melbourne.
Despite these warnings, a near-miss occurred in the early hours of 31 May when Larson turned toward the carrier after being ordered to the plane guard station. Subsequent action narrowly prevented a collision. The escorts were again warned about the dangers of operating near the carrier and informed of Stevenson's expectations, while the minimum distance between carrier and escorts was increased from 2,000 to 3,000 yd (1,800 to 2,700 m).

On the night of 2–3 June, Melbourne and her escorts were involved in anti-submarine training exercises.  In preparation for launching a Grumman S-2 Tracker aircraft, Stevenson ordered Evans to the plane guard station, reminded the destroyer of Melbourne's course, and instructed the carrier's navigational lights to be brought to full brilliance. This was the fourth time that Evans had been asked to assume this station that night, and the previous three maneuvers had been without incident. Evans was positioned on Melbourne's port bow, but began the maneuver by turning starboard, toward the carrier. A radio message was sent from Melbourne to Evans's bridge and Combat Information Center, warning the destroyer that she was on a collision course, which Evans acknowledged. Seeing the destroyer take no action and on a course to place herself under Melbourne's bow, Stevenson ordered the carrier hard to port, signalling the turn by both radio and siren blasts.  At approximately the same time, Evans turned hard to starboard to avoid the approaching carrier. It is uncertain which ship began to maneuver first, but each ship's bridge crew claimed that they were informed of the other ship's turn after they commenced their own. After having narrowly passed in front of Melbourne, the turns quickly placed Evans back in the carrier's path. Melbourne hit Evans amidships at 3:15 am, cutting the destroyer in two.

The paths taken by HMAS Melbourne and USS Frank E. Evans in the minutes leading up to the collision
Melbourne stopped immediately after the collision and deployed her boats, liferafts and lifebuoys, before carefully manoeuvring alongside the stern section of Evans. Sailors from both ships used mooring lines to lash the two ships together, allowing Melbourne to evacuate the survivors in that section.  The bow section sank quickly; the majority of those killed were believed to have been trapped within. Members of Melbourne's crew dived into the water to rescue overboard survivors close to the carrier, while the carrier's boats and helicopters collected those farther out. Clothing, blankets and beer were provided to survivors from the carrier's stores, some RAN sailors offered their own uniforms, and the ship's band was instructed to set up on the flight deck to entertain and distract the USN personnel. All of the survivors were located within 12 minutes of the collision and rescued before half an hour had passed, although the search continued for 15 more hours.
Seventy-four of the 273 crew on Evans were killed. It was later learned that Evans's commanding officer—Commander Albert S. McLemore—was asleep in his quarters at the time of the incident, and charge of the vessel was held by Lieutenants Ronald Ramsey and James Hopson; the former had failed the qualification exam to stand watch, while the latter was at sea for the first time.

Following the evacuation of Evans's stern, the section was cast off while the carrier moved away to avoid damage, but against expectation, it failed to sink.  The stern was recovered and towed by fleet tug USS Tawasa to Subic Bay, arriving there on 9 June. After being stripped for parts, the hulk was decommissioned on 1 July, and was later sunk when used for target practice.

Melbourne travelled to Singapore, arriving on 6 June, where she received temporary repairs to her bow. The carrier departed on 27 June, and arrived in Sydney on 9 July, where she remained until November docked at Cockatoo Island Dockyard for repairs and installation of the new bow.
817 Squadron RAN—which was responsible for the Westland Wessex helicopters embarked on Melbourne at the time of the collision—was later awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for their rescue efforts. Five other decorations were presented to Australian personnel in relation to the rescue of Evans's crew: one George Medal, one Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), one Air Force Cross, and two British Empire Medals.  Fifteen additional commendations for gallantry were awarded by the Australian Naval Board.

A joint RAN–USN board of inquiry was established to investigate the incident, following the passing of special regulations allowing the presence of Australian personnel at a U.S. inquiry.  The board was in session for over 100 hours between 9 June and 14 July, with 79 witnesses interviewed: 48 USN, 28 RAN, and three from other navies.
The board was made up of six officers. The RAN representatives were Rear Admiral David Stevenson (no relation to Melbourne's Captain Stevenson), Captain Ken Shards, and Captain John Davidson. The USN officers were Captains S. L. Rusk and C. B. Anderson. Presiding over the board was USN Rear Admiral Jerome King: considered to be an unwise posting as he was the commanding officer of both the forces involved in the SEATO exercise and the fleet unit Evans normally belonged to, and was seen during the inquiry to be biased against Captain Stevenson and other RAN personnel.  King's attitude, performance, and conflict of interest were criticized by the Australians present at the inquiry and the press, and his handling of the inquiry was seen as detrimental to relations between the two countries.
Despite admissions by members of the USN, given privately to personnel in other navies, that the incident was entirely the fault of Evans, significant attempts were made to reduce the U.S. destroyer's culpability and place at least partial blame for the incident on Melbourne.  At the beginning of the inquiry, King banned one of the RAN legal advisers from attending, even as an observer.  He regularly intervened for American witnesses, but failed to do so on similar matters for the Australians.  Testimony on the collision and the subsequent rescue operation was to be given separately, and although requests by American personnel to give both sets of testimony at the same time in order to return to their duties were regularly granted, the same request made by Stevenson was denied by King. Testimony of members of the RAN had to be given under oath, and witnesses faced intense questioning from King, despite the same conditions not applying to USN personnel.  There was also a heavy focus on the adequacy of Melbourne's navigational lighting.Mentions of the near miss with Larson were interrupted with the instruction that those details could be recounted at a later time, but the matter was never raised by the board.
The unanimous decision of the board was that although Evans was partially at fault for the collision, Melbourne had contributed by not taking evasive action sooner, even though doing this would have been a direct contravention of international sea regulations, which stated that in the lead-up to a collision, the larger ship was required to maintain course and speed.  The report was inconsistent in several areas with the evidence given at the inquiry, including the falsity that Melbourne's navigational lights took significant time to come to full brilliance.  Several facts were also edited out of the transcripts of the inquiry.

Stevenson was informed on 29 July of the result, although not the details, and was told that a court-martial charging him for his role in the incident might be required.  Two charges of negligence—for failing to explicitly instruct Evans to change course to avoid collision and for failing to set the carrier's engines to full astern—were laid on 15 August, with the court martial held from 20 to 25 August.  Evidence presented during the hearing showed that going full astern would have made no difference to the collision, and on the matter of the failing-to-instruct charge, the presiding Judge Advocate concluded that reasonable warning had been given to the destroyer and asked "What was [Stevenson] supposed to do—turn his guns on them?". Of the evidence and testimony given at the court-martial, nothing suggested that Stevenson had done anything wrong; instead it was claimed that he had done everything reasonable to avoid collision, and had done it correctly.
The reasons for the court-martial given by historians vary. One reason suggested was that it was to appease the USN, which had court-martialled three officers from Evans and had threatened to prevent US ships from operating as part of Australian-led forces if no action was taken against Stevenson. The other view is that the court-martial was used in an attempt to clear Stevenson's name and to allow the RAN to distance itself from the findings of the joint board of inquiry.
The defence submitted that there was "no case to answer", resulting in the dropping of both charges, and the verdict of "Honourably Acquitted". Despite the findings, Stevenson's next posting was as chief of staff to a minor flag officer; seen by him as a demotion in all but name. The posting had been decided upon before the court-martial, and was announced while Stevenson was out of the country for the courts-martial of Evans's officers; he did not learn about it until his return to Australia.  Following the events—publicly considered to be another scapegoating of a commanding officer of Melbourne (the first enquiry into the collision between Melbourne and HMAS Voyager had laid significant blame on Captain John Robertson, the ship's commanding officer at the time)—Stevenson requested retirement, as he no longer wished to serve under people he no longer respected.  This retirement was initially denied, but was later permitted.

Commander Albert S. McLemore and Lieutenants Hopson and Ramsey also faced courts-martial for their contributions to the collision. Hopson and Ramsey both pleaded guilty to charges of dereliction of duty and negligence, and had their positions in the promotion list moved down. McLemore, who pleaded not guilty to the charges against him, was found guilty of dereliction of duty and negligently hazarding his ship. The formal reprimand effectively ended his naval career.

In 1999, McLemore publicly claimed that the collision was his responsibility, as he had left two inexperienced officers with the con of his ship.

A training film, I Relieve You, Sir, was developed by the USN for junior watch keeping officers. Based around the events of the collision, the film demonstrates the responsibility junior watch keeping officers hold, and the potential consequences of failing to do their job.
Unlike other naval casualties during the Vietnam War, the names of the 74 Evans crew killed are not inscribed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Despite operating in Vietnamese waters immediately before deployment to Exercise Sea Spirit, and being scheduled to return to activities supporting the war effort after the exercise, it was determined that as Sea Spirit was not directly linked with U.S. operations in Vietnam, and the exercise took place outside the geographical limit for the conflict as defined by the outer edge of Market Time operations, the crew was ineligible for inclusion on 'The Wall'. Exceptions to the geographic limit rule have been made for other personnel killed as part of the conflict but not in Vietnam itself; for example those involved in operations in Laos, and those dying in transit to or from Vietnam. However, an act of Congress specifically permitting the inclusion of their names on the memorial is required: legislation to have those killed in the MelbourneEvans collision has been introduced on several occasions, but has so far failed to gather sufficient support.
A memorial to the collision is located in Niobrara, Nebraska. The memorial specifically commemorates the three Sage brothers, all of whom were aboard Evans and were killed in the collision. They were the first group of siblings permitted to serve on the same ship since World War II, a result of the policy introduced when the five Sullivan brothers were killed following the sinking of USS Juneau. Collision survivors and family members of Evans personnel have held annual reunions to memorialise the accident. Australian sailors who served on Melbourne often attend.
In December 2012, Stevenson announced that his son had received a letter from the Minister for Defence, Stephen Smith, saying that he was "not treated fairly" by the government of the day and the Australian Navy. It also said, "Your father was a distinguished naval officer who served his country with honour in peace and war." "Should your father have continued his naval career, the Chief of Navy advises me that he would undoubtedly have been competitive for flag rank." Stevenson also said that he was supported throughout his ordeal by his wife, who had died just five months before the letter arrived.

 Official Apology by the Australian Navy for what happened to the Capt of the Melbourne

In September 2014 American journalist Louise Esola published American Boys: The True Story of the Lost 74 of the Vietnam War, which chronicles the lives of the 74 men killed on the USS Frank E. Evans and the efforts by survivors and families to have the men memorialized on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Origin of the Knife Hand

To those that have experienced the "Knife Hand", something that is uniquely American Military, I know the crayon eating group A.K.A. the U.S.M.C. say that they invented the Knife Hand, but they are trying to "culturally appropriate" the Knife hand from the grand daddy of all the services, the U.S. Army.  I and many others have experienced the "Knife Hand" first hand in Basic, it is a time honored tradition passed down from the mist of time like the lore of Old.  The Knife Hand.  I shamelessly cribbed the article from "Angry Staff Officer".

There are many iconic images in U.S. military history: Washington crossing the Delaware, the surrender at Appomattox, troops landing on Omaha Beach, to name a few. But few paintings or photographs have managed to capture one of the most significant weapons in the U.S. arsenal: the knife hand.
Army Reserve drill sergeant, Staff Sgt. Robin Brown of Belton, S.C., with Company C, 1st Bn., 518th Inf. Reg., 98th Training Div. (IET), uses a demonstrator to teach the proper way to do several basic movements to Clemson University Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets during a drill and ceremony lab conducted by drill sergeants of the division on Clemson’s Bowman Field, Sept. 3, 2015. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Ken Scar) (Photo Credit: Sgt. Ken Scar)
Able to cleave the air with a thunderous blast of justice while projecting command aura, the knife hand serves as one of the single most effective weapons for modern U.S. military leaders. Indeed, new recruits into the U.S. military are greeted by knife hand-wielding drill sergeants, inspiring fear, respect, and awe. The knife hand can be used to discipline wayward troops, drive a point home during a briefing, or to direct the firepower of America’s finest in combat. It is no stretch of the English language to say that the knife hand has done more for the U.S. military than when they started putting the Skittles packets in MREs. But where did this monumental motion come from?
The origins of the military knife hand are shrouded in mystery and legend. As with all important facets of history, scholars are divided on the subject. Some say that it dates from the American Civil War. In its original form, the knife hand was known as the doigt de guerre, seen in the image below, in a historical recreation of that gesture employed by Capt. Canastadus Rufudus of the First Georgia Fusiliers (light). This gesture was inherited from the French military tradition.
Author Emo Mutz’s recreation of the doigt de guerre.
Unfortunately, the doigt de guerre proved difficult to see in the era of black-powder musketry, so the revised System of Infantry Tactics by Brig. Gen. Silas Casey established the knife hand in its current form, as noted in “Title Fourth, School of the Battalion Part First, Article Third, couteau à main:
“The hand, dexter, shall be formed as of a plane, inclined so the distal side of the hand is perpendicular to the ground. The hand shall be raised smartly to an angle of 45 degrees and, through rapid vigourous motion, be brought down in a series of strokes viz a trebuchet.”
The couteau à main was quickly adopted by the Federal Army who had, without the benefit of the knife hand, gone through a rapid succession of commanding generals before Lt. Gen. Grant’s staff implemented it as a means of communicating orders. Grant would often keep his knife hand holstered at the ready as seen in the below photograph, using a popular military pose as a sheath for his deadly weapon. This procedure was widely adopted as can be seen in many surviving images of Civil War Soldiers to this day.
Knife hand, holstered. 
However, some scholars believe that the knife hand comes to the U.S. military from the Prussian tradition. It was during the Seven Years War that a young Second Lieutenant Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben first used the messerhand to direct his troops during the Battle of Prague. Some say that his time as aide-de-camp to Frederick the Great further enforced his belief that the use of the messerhand could be used not only in combat, but in instruction as well. In 1777, when von Steuben – now bearing the title of “Baron” – arrived in the United States, he brought his theory of the messerhand with him.
During the grim winter at Valley Forge, Baron von Steuben began a training regimen for the Soldiers of the Continental Line. Often frustrated by the language barrier, von Steuben would demand for someone to translate his profanity into English. However, the Prussian officer did find one thing that exceeded the bounds of simple language: the knife hand.
As we read in a letter from a young Pennsylvanian officer in 1778, “Brite and early today, We stood to for Drill, the Colde pierced my Bones, but then we did see the Prussian noble, and unleasheth he a Mighty Hand, borne aloft with a Precise and Dread Purpose. Even as unto the Maker shall I never forget the swift Fury and Exactness with which he did upbraid us, as the way the Creator of the Universe set all in His Image. Strange to tell, my feeling of chill vanished away when his Hand did stab in my face and all was replaced with a Fierce and Fiery feeling of Awe.”
Because of von Steuben’s regimen of training – as well as the knife hand that he had empowered them with – the Continental Army was able to go into battle in 1778 equipped with the tools needed to stand toe-to-toe with the British Redcoats. Because of the knife hand, American gained its independence from England. From then on, the knife hand entered into unwritten U.S. military doctrine.
Two Soldiers in the background can be seen attempting to brandish the knife hand at the Battle of Monmouth, 1778. It is possible that von Steuben’s technique may have been too difficult to grasp. Fortunately, Molly Pitcher knew what she was doing.
Of course, the knife hand could have merely developed out of the habitual need to brandish something. And since officers and non-commissioned officers may no longer use a sword, saber, riding crop, or spontoon to point at things, the knife hand has rapidly come into vogue, a pattern beginning after World War II.
Whatever its origins, the knife-hand has left its imprint on the U.S. military. Its use has come under some criticism lately, as being too harsh. However, used at the correct time and place, the knife hand is still a crucial weapon, whether on the battlefield under fire or when keeping colonels awake during a 3 hour staff meeting. The knife hand: don’t leave home without it.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Monday Music "New Song" by Howard Jones

This song came on the "80's" channel my Sirius XM on the way to work and I like the song and decided to incorporate it into my Monday Music.  I remember this song being part of the 2nd British invasion and riding the "New Wave" that was getting a lot of airplay on MTV, you know back when they played Music rather than the crap they play now. 

"New Song" is the debut single by musician Howard Jones, released in September 1983. The song, from the album Human's Lib, reached number three on the UK Singles Chart. The single spent 20 weeks on the Top 75. In the US, "New Song" peaked at #27 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, although it was not released there until early 1984.
The B-side was titled "Change the Man". The 12" single featured an extended version of "New Song" together with "Change the Man" and the original version of "Conditioning", which would be re-recorded for Human's Lib.
"New Song" itself was later re-recorded for The 12" Album, in a version titled "New Song (New Version)". This featured a lot of multi-layered piano, in contrast to the austere synthesizer sound of the original 7" and 12" versions.
On the UK 7" single, the song's lyric is printed in a spiral on the A-side label, with all the credits printed on the B-side.

The video opens at a food processing plant, where Jones works as a caretaker. As the owner arrives on the site, Jones strips off his uniform overalls and begins to sing to the other workers. One of them, a man wearing black/white face paint removes his overalls and begins to dance through the plant. As the owner begins to mop the floor, Jones, the dancer, and several employees pile into his luxury car and drive off. Jones and the dancer next visit an Underground station to perform for the patrons, then visit a window cleaner and get him to take a break from his work. Finally, the two arrive at a public school and interrupt a class of unruly students, who follow them outside to play on the lawn, followed by their teacher.
This is a video showing him playing the song live

Original Recording

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Russia-Gate flops for the democrats.

I saw this on Consortium news and it touched on the Democrats continually pushing the Russia thing

Exclusive: The national Democrats saw Russia-gate and the drive to impeach President Trump as their golden ticket back to power, but so far the ticket seems to be made of fool’s gold, writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry
The national Democratic Party and many liberals have bet heavily on the Russia-gate investigation as a way to oust President Trump from office and to catapult Democrats to victories this year and in 2018, but the gamble appears not to be paying off.

A sign at the Women’s March on Washington points out that the demonstration attracted a larger crowd than Donald Trump’s inauguration. Jan. 21, 2017. (Photo: Chelsea Gilmour)
The Democrats’ disappointing loss in a special election to fill a congressional seat in an affluent Atlanta suburb is just the latest indication that the strategy of demonizing Trump and blaming Russia for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 defeat may not be the golden ticket that some Democrats had hoped.
Though it’s still early to draw conclusive lessons from Karen Handel’s victory over Jon Ossoff – despite his raising $25 million – one lesson may be that a Middle America backlash is forming against the over-the-top quality of the Trump-accusations and the Russia-bashing, with Republicans rallying against the image of Official Washington’s “deep state” collaborating with Democrats and the mainstream news media to reverse a presidential election.
Indeed, the Democrats may be digging a deeper hole for themselves in terms of reaching out to white working-class voters who abandoned the party in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin to put Trump over the top in the Electoral College even though Clinton’s landslide win in California gave her almost three million more votes nationwide.
Clinton’s popular-vote plurality and the #Resistance, which manifested itself in massive protests against Trump’s presidency, gave hope to the Democrats that they didn’t need to undertake a serious self-examination into why the party is in decline across the nation’s heartland. Instead, they decided to stoke the hysteria over alleged Russian “meddling” in the election as the short-cut to bring down Trump and his populist movement.
A Party of Snobs?
From conversations that I’ve had with some Trump voters in recent weeks, I was struck by how they viewed the Democratic Party as snobbish, elitist and looking down its nose at “average Americans.” And in conversations with some Clinton voters, I found confirmation for that view in the open disdain that the Clinton backers expressed toward the stupidity of anyone who voted for Trump. In other words, the Trump voters were not wrong to feel “dissed.”

Hillary Clinton at the Code 2017 conference on May 31, 2017.
It seems the Republicans – and Trump in particular – have done a better job in presenting themselves to these Middle Americans as respecting their opinions and representing their fears, even though the policies being pushed by Trump and the GOP still favor the rich and will do little good – and significant harm – to the middle and working classes.
By contrast, many of Hillary Clinton’s domestic proposals might well have benefited average Americans but she alienated many of them by telling a group of her supporters that half of Trump’s backers belonged in a “basket of deplorables.” Although she later reduced the percentage, she had committed a cardinal political sin: she had put the liberal disdain for millions of Americans into words – and easily remembered words at that.
By insisting that Hillary Clinton be the Democratic nominee – after leftist populist Bernie Sanders was pushed aside – the party also ignored the fact that many Americans, including many Democrats, viewed Clinton as the perfectly imperfect candidate for an anti-Establishment year with many Americans still fuming over the Wall Street bailouts and amid the growing sense that the system was rigged for the well-connected and against the average guy or gal.
In the face of those sentiments, the Democrats nominated a candidate who personified how a relatively small number of lucky Americans can play the system and make tons of money while the masses have seen their dreams crushed and their bank accounts drained. And Clinton apparently still hasn’t learned that lesson.
Citing Women’s Rights
Last month, when asked why she accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars for speaking to Goldman Sachs, Clinton rationalized her greed as a women’s rights issue, saying: “you know, men got paid for the speeches they made. I got paid for the speeches I made.”

The Wall Street bull statue by Arturo Di Modica
Her excuse captured much of what has gone wrong with the Democratic Party as it moved from its working-class roots and New Deal traditions to becoming a party that places “identity politics” ahead of a duty to fight for the common men and women of America.
Demonstrating her political cluelessness, Clinton used the serious issue of women not getting fair treatment in the workplace to justify taking her turn at the Wall Street money trough, gobbling up in one half-hour speech what it would take many American families a decade to earn.
While it’s a bit unfair to personalize the Democratic Party’s problems, Hillary and Bill Clinton have come to represent how the party is viewed by many Americans. Instead of the FDR Democrats, we have the Davos Democrats, the Wall Street Democrats, the Hollywood Democrats, the Silicon Valley Democrats, and now increasingly the Military-Industrial Complex Democrats.
To many Americans struggling to make ends meet, the national Democrats seem committed to the interests of the worldwide elites: global trade, financialization of the economy, robotization of the workplace, and endless war against endless enemies.
Now, the national Democrats are clambering onto the bandwagon for a costly and dangerous New Cold War with nuclear-armed Russia. Indeed, it is hard to distinguish their foreign policy from that of neoconservatives, although these Democrats view themselves as liberal interventionists citing humanitarian impulses to justify the endless slaughter.
Earlier this year, a Washington Post/ABC News poll found only 28 percent of Americans saying that the Democrats were “in touch with the concerns of most people” – an astounding result given the Democrats’ long tradition as the party of the American working class and the party’s post-Vietnam War reputation as favoring butter over guns.
Yet rather than rethink the recent policies, the Democrats prefer to fantasize about impeaching President Trump and continuing a blame-game about who – other than Hillary Clinton, her campaign and the Democratic National Committee – is responsible for Trump’s election. Of course, it’s the Russians, Russians, Russians!
A Problem’s Deep Roots
Without doubt, some of the party’s problems have deep roots that correspond to the shrinking of the labor movement since the 1970s and the growing reliance on big-money donors to finance expensive television-ad-driven campaigns. Over the years, the Democrats also got pounded for being “weak” on national security.
President Bill Clinton, First Lady Hillary Clinton and daughter Chelsea parade down Pennsylvania Avenue on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, 1997. (White House photo)
Further, faced with Republican “weaponization” of attack ads in the 1980s, many old-time Democrats lost out to the Reagan Revolution, clearing the way for a new breed of Democrats who realized that they could compete for a slice of the big money by cultivating the emerging coastal elites: Wall Street, Silicon Valley, Hollywood and even elements of the National Security State.
By the 1990s, President Bill Clinton and the Democratic Leadership Council defined this New Democrat, politicians who reflected the interests of well-heeled coastal elites, especially on free trade; streamlined financial regulations; commitment to technology; and an activist foreign policy built around spreading “liberal values” across the globe.
Mixed in was a commitment to the rights of various identity groups, a worthy goal although this tolerance paradoxically contributed to a new form of prejudice among some liberals who came to view many white working-class people as fat, stupid and bigoted, society’s “losers.”
So, while President Clinton hobnobbed with the modern economy’s “winners” – with sleepovers in the Lincoln bedroom and parties in the Hamptons – much of Middle America felt neglected if not disdained. The “losers” were left to rot in “flyover America” with towns and cities that had lost their manufacturing base and, with it, their vitality and even their purpose for existing.
Republican Fraud
It wasn’t as if the Republicans were offering anything better. True, they were more comfortable talking to these “forgotten Americans” – advocating “gun rights” and “traditional values” and playing on white resentments over racial integration and civil rights – but, in office, the Republicans aggressively favored the interests of the rich, cutting their taxes and slashing regulations even more than the Democrats.

The run-down PIX Theatre sign reads “Vote Trump” on Main Street in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota. July 15, 2016. (Photo by Tony Webster Flickr)
The Republicans paid lip service to the struggling blue-collar workers but control of GOP policies was left in the hands of corporations and their lobbyists.
Though the election of Barack Obama, the first African-American president, raised hopes that the nation might finally bind its deep racial wounds, it turned out to have a nearly opposite effect. Tea Party Republicans rallied many white working-class Americans to resist Obama and the hip urban future that he represented. They found an unlikely champion in real-estate mogul and reality TV star Donald Trump, who sensed how to tap into their fears and anger with his demagogic appeals and false populism.
Meanwhile, the national Democrats were falling in love with data predicting that demographics would magically turn Republican red states blue. So the party blithely ignored the warning signs of a cataclysmic break with the Democrats’ old-time base.
Despite all the data on opioid addiction and declining life expectancy among the white working class, Hillary Clinton was politically tone-deaf to the rumbles of discontent echoing across the Rust Belt. She assumed the traditionally Democratic white working-class precincts would stick with her and she tried to appeal to the “security moms” in typically Republican suburbs by touting her neoconservative foreign policy thinking. And she ran a relentlessly negative campaign against Trump while offering voters few positive reasons to vote for her.
Ignoring Reality
When her stunning loss became clear on Election Night – as the crude and unqualified Trump pocketed the electoral votes of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin – the Democrats refused to recognize what the elections results were telling them, that they had lost touch with a still important voting bloc, working-class whites.

The crowd at President Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017. (Screen shot from Whitehouse.gov)
Rather than face these facts, the national Democrats – led by President Obama and his intelligence chiefs – decided on a different approach, to seek to reverse the election by blaming the result on the Russians. Obama, his intelligence chiefs and a collaborative mainstream media insisted without presenting any real evidence that the Russians had hacked into Democratic emails and released them to the devastating advantage of Trump, as if the minor controversies from leaked emails of the Democratic National Committee and Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta explained Trump’s surprising victory.
As part of this strategy, any Trump link to Russia – no matter how inconsequential, whether from his businesses or through his advisers – became the focus of Woodward-and-Bernstein/Watergate-style investigations. The obvious goal was to impeach Trump and ride the wave of Trump-hating enthusiasm to a Democratic political revival.
In other words, there was no reason to look in the mirror and rethink how the Democratic Party might begin rebuilding its relationships with the white working-class, just hold hearings featuring Obama’s intelligence chieftains and leak damaging Russia-gate stuff to the media.
But the result of this strategy has been to deepen the Democratic Party’s reliance on the elites, particularly the self-reverential mavens of the mainstream media and the denizens of the so-called “deep state.” From my conversations with Trump voters, they “get” what’s going on, how the powers-that-be are trying to negate the 63 million Americans who voted for Trump by reversing a presidential election carried out under the U.S. constitutional process.
A Letter from ‘Deplorable’ Land
Some Trump supporters are even making this point publicly. Earlier this month, a “proud deplorable” named Kenton Woodhead from Brunswick, Ohio, wrote to The New York Times informing the “newspaper of record” that he and other “deplorables” were onto the scheme.
New York Times building in New York City. (Photo from Wikipedia)
“I wanted to provide you with an unsophisticated synopsis of The New York Times and the media’s quest for the implosion of Donald Trump’s presidency from out here in the real world, in ‘deplorable’ country. … Every time you and your brethren at other news organizations dream up a new scheme to get Mr. Trump, we out here in deplorable land increase our support for him. …
“Regardless of what you dream up every day, we refuse to be sucked into your narrative. And even more humorously, there isn’t anything you can do about it! And I love it that you are having the exact opposite effect on those of us you are trying to persuade to think otherwise.
“I mean it is seriously an enjoyable part of my day knowing you are failing. And badly! I haven’t had this much fun watching the media stumble, bumble and fumble in years. I wonder what will happen on the day you wake up and realize how disconnected you’ve become.”
So, despite Trump’s narcissism and incompetence – and despite how his policies will surely hurt many of his working-class supporters – the national Democrats are further driving a wedge between themselves and this crucial voting bloc. By whipping up a New Cold War with Russia and hurling McCarthistic slurs at people who won’t join in the Russia-bashing, the Democratic Party’s tactics also are alienating many peace voters who view both the Republicans and Democrats as warmongers of almost equal measures of guilt.
While it’s certainly not my job to give advice to the Democrats – or any other political group – I can’t help but thinking that this Russia-gate “scandal” is not only lacking in logic and evidence, but it doesn’t even make any long-term political sense.
Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).

The Scout Law according to John Wayne

I had posted this a few years ago.  Today I sent to a Eagle Scout ceremony where the New Scout was going into the Service on Tuesday.  The Scout Noah had overcame soo much adversity and he gave credit to the scoutmasters and the Oath and Law for keeping him focused.  I was very proud of him.  he had this movie playing the tape of John Wayne talking about the Law.   When I talk to the scouts, I tell them that if they focus on the Oath and Law, even of they fall off the path, If they know the Oath and the law, it will pull them back on the path to being an honorable man of society.

In 1979, dignitaries including President Gerald Ford honored Academy Award-winning actor John Wayne at a dinner hosted by the BSA’s Los Angeles Area Council.
The council named the John Wayne Outpost Camp after The Duke, paying tribute to the actor only a few months before his death on June 11, 1979.
It was at this dinner that Wayne shared his own interpretation of the Scout Law and what it means to him. (This script is from the May-June 1979 issue of Scouting found in our archives.)
“A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent,” he said.
“Nice words. Trouble is, we learn them so young we sometimes don’t get all the understanding that goes with them. I take care of that with my family. As each boy reaches Scout age, I make sure he learns the Scout Law. Then I break it down for him with a few things I’ve picked up in the more than half century since I learned it.
“A Scout is …

Trustworthy – The badge of honesty. Having it lets you look any man straight in the eye. Lacking it, he won’t look back. Keep this one at the top of your list.
Loyal – The very word is life itself, for without loyalty we have no love of person or country.
Helpful – Part sharing, part caring. By helping each other, we help ourselves, not to mention mankind. Be always full of help — the dying man’s last words.
Friendly – Brotherhood is part of that word. You can take it in a lot of directions — and do — but make sure and start with brotherhood.
Courteous – Allow each person his human dignity, which means a lot more than saying “yes ma’am” and “Thank you, sir.” It reflects an attitude that later in life you “wish you had honored more … earlier in life.” Save yourself that problem. Do it now.
Kind – This one word would stop wars and erase hatreds. But it’s like your bicycle. It’s just no good unless you get out and use it.
Obedient – Start at home, practice it on your family, enlarge it to your friends, share it with humanity.
Cheerful – Anyone can put on a happy face when the going’s good. The secret is to wear it as a mask for your problems. It might surprise you how many others do the same thing.
Thrifty – Means a lot more than putting pennies away, and it’s the opposite of cheap. Common sense covers it just about as well as anything.
Brave – You don’t have to fight to be brave. Millions of good, fine, decent folks show more bravery than heavyweight champs just by getting out of bed every morning, going out to do a good day’s work, and living the best life they know how against a lot of odds. Brave. Keep the word handy every day of your life.
Clean – Soap and water help a lot on the outside. But it’s the inside that counts and don’t ever forget it.
Reverent – Believe in anything that you want to believe in, but keep God at the top of it. With Him, life can be a beautiful experience. Without Him, you are just biding time.
Wayne thanked the hosts for putting his name on the Scout camp, adding, “I would rather see it here than on all the theater marquees the world over.

Friday, June 23, 2017

The SURTASS Ships and a Tango (Red Storm Rising)

This is the latest installment of my "Red Storm Rising" posts.  In this segment I will be mentioning the SURTASS ships and one of the Submarines used by the Soviet Navy.  First off in the book, it was talked about the USNS Prevail, she was built along the lines of a tuna boat, but instead of a net for fish, the Prevail and her sisters hunted submarines, they would string behind them about 6000 ft of line and this would be her "tail", and the tail would detect submarines very far away when she would then notify Norfolk where the submarines were.  The Soviets knew about these boats,l but every time they approached one of these ships, they were vigorously prosecuted by an Orion.  Her crew were half civilian employed by the NSA and the other half were manned by the NAVY.   The only weapon on her was an M-14 against sharks.  She and her sisters were considered the most dangerous ASW platform that the United States had against the Soviet Submarines.  They would make tracks across the atlantic and detect all underwater emissions, from signals from U.S. Submarines to the propeller noises from Soviet Submarines, all submarines had a different "cavitation" noise based on powerplant type, propeller type and all submarines had their "quirks" that made Identifying them easier.

Stalwart-class auxiliary general ocean surveillance ships (T-AGOS) were a class of United States Naval Ship (USNS) auxiliary support Ocean Surveillance Ships commissioned between April 1984 and January 1990. Their original purpose was to collect underwater acoustical information using the Surveillance Towed Array Sensor System (SURTASS), a towed array passive sonar.

SURTASS began as development program in 1973 using the new research vessel Moana Wave. In 1980 SURTASS passed OPEVAL. The new Stalwart-class ocean surveillance ships had the first contract awarded on 26 September 1980 and were similar to the prototype ship, the Moana Wave. Initially the SURTASS system were passive, receive only sonar systems. The array was towed miles behind the ships and were designed for long range detection of submarines.
As the passive systems were being deployed, an active adjunct known as the SURTASS Low Frequency Active (LFA) systems was designed for long range detection. The active system must be used in conjunction with the passive received system. The active component transmits an audio signal between 100 Hz and 500 Hz from an array suspended below the ship while the passive SURTASS array is towed miles behind to receive the signal after it had reflected off the submarine. The active LFA system is an updated version of the fixed low frequency surveillance system known as Project Artemis.

Ocean surveillance ships have a single mission to gather underwater acoustical data. The T-AGOS ships operate to support the anti-submarine warfare mission of the Commanders in chief of the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets. The ships are operated and maintained by civilian contractors.
During the Cold War, ocean surveillance ships prowled the world's oceans searching for Soviet Navy submarines. Today, with the Cold War having thawed and the Soviet Union dismantled, these ships, operated by the Military Sea-lift Command and designated T-AGOS, now gather underwater acoustical data in support of U.S. Navy tactical operations in littoral waters. Their data is collected using the Surveillance Towed Array Sensor System (SURTASS) comprised of listening devices and electronic equipment that transmit the acoustic data via satellite to shore for analysis.
The ships first went to sea in the early 1980's, prowling the world's oceans in search of nuclear powered submarines belonging to the former Soviet Union. The SURTASS ships, with the hull designation T-AGOS, provided the world wide ocean surveillance, the US Navy required, with remarkable reliability. Today, they still patrol the vast oceans and also support fleet battle groups operating in littoral regions with the mission to gather underwater acoustical data. The T-AGOS ships operate in support of the anti-submarine warfare mission of the Commanders in chief of the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets.

SURTASS LFA is a long-range, all-weather, sonar system with both passive and active components, operating in the low frequency (LF) band (100–500 hertz [Hz]). USNS Impeccable has the original LFA system, weighing 155 tonnes; the 64-tonne Compact LFA derivative was developed for the smaller Victorious class. CLFA was installed on Able in 2008, on Effective in 2011 and Victorious in 2012; no further installations are planned.
The active system component, LFA, is an adjunct to the passive detection system, SURTASS, and is planned for use when passive system performance proves inadequate. LFA is a set of acoustic transmitting source elements suspended by cable from underneath a ship. These elements, called projectors, are devices that produce the active sound pulse, or ping. The projectors transform electrical energy to mechanical energy that set up vibrations or pressure disturbances within the water to produce a ping.
The characteristics and operating features of LFA are:
  • The source is a vertical line array (VLA) of up to 18 source projectors suspended below the vessel. LFA’s transmitted sonar beam is omnidirectional (i.e., a full 360 degrees) in the horizontal (nominal depth of the LFA array center is 120 m [400 ft]), with a narrow vertical beamwidth that can be steered above or below the horizontal.
  • The source frequency is between 100 and 500 Hz (the LFA system’s physical design does not allow for transmissions below 100 Hz). A variety of signal types can be used, including continuous wave (CW) and frequency-modulated (FM) signals. Signal bandwidth is approximately 30 Hz.
  • The source level (SL) of an individual source projector is approximately 215 decibels (dB).
  • The typical LFA transmitted sonar signal is not a constant tone, but a transmission of various waveforms that vary in frequency and duration. A complete sequence of transmissions is referred to as a ping and lasts from 6 to 100 seconds, although the duration of each continuous frequency transmission is never longer than 10 seconds.
  • Duty cycles (ratio of sound “on” time to total time) are less than 20 percent—20 percent is the maximum physical limit of the LFA system. Typical duty cycles are approximately 7.5 to 10 percent.
  • The time between pings is typically from 6 to 15 minutes.
The passive, or listening, part of the system is SURTASS, which detects returning echoes from submerged objects, such as submarines, through the use of hydrophones. These devices transform mechanical energy (received acoustic sound wave) to an electrical signal that can be analyzed by the signal processing system of the sonar. The SURTASS hydrophones are mounted on a horizontal receive array that is towed behind the vessel. The array length is 1,500 m (4,900 ft) with an operational depth of 150 to 460 m (500 to 1,500 ft). The SURTASS LFA ship must maintain a minimum speed of approximately 6 kilometers per hour (3.2 knots) through the water in order to tow the hydrophone array in the horizontal plane. The return signals or echoes, which are usually below background or ambient noise level, are then processed and evaluated to identify and classify potential underwater targets.

T-AGOS ships are operated by the Military Sealift Command and are under the administrative command of Commander, Undersea Surveillance. They are deployed under the Operational Control (OPCON) of the Theater ASW Commanders, CTF 84 and CTF 12. Civilian technicians who operate and maintain the mission equipment man the SURTASS Operations Center (SOC), the nerve center of the ship. When operating with tactical forces, military detachments are embarked for on-board analysis and direct reporting to fleet units. A SURTASS mission consists of 60 days on station while towing an array of hydrophones that collect acoustic data.

The ships are homeported at Little Creek and Saint Helena's Annex, Virginia; Anacortes, Washington; and Port Hueneme, California. When operating independently as in a deep ocean surveillance mission, acoustic data is transmitted to shore via satellite for analysis and reporting. SURTASS ships have proudly operated throughout the world supporting the Undersea Warfare/Anti-Submarine-Warfare mission of all five numbered fleets of the U.S. Navy.
The ship is designed to tow an array of underwater listening devices to collect acoustical data. The ship also carries electronic equipment to process and transmit that data via satellite to shore stations for evaluation. The ship, the listening devices and electronic equipment are all part of a system called the Surveillance Towed Array System, or SURTASS. SURTASS is a linear array of 8575 ft deployed on a 6000 ft tow cable and neutrally buoyant. The array can operate at depths between 500 and 1500 ft. Information from the array is relayed via WSC-6 (SHF) SATCOM link to shore. SURTASS patrols are of 60-90 days duration [which even with passive tank stabilization is a long time to wallow around at 3 kts].

The Monohull T-AGOS design, is based on the T-ATF Fleet Tug hull configuration. Various design features are incorporated to satisfy the SURTASS operating requirements and mission profile. The design is based on a mission duration of up to 90 days of towing operation at 3 knots, with a maximum sustained speed in transit of 11 knots. The ship's complement of 30 includes the SURTASS technical personnel, known as the (shipboard Operation and Maintenance (O&M) crew). In mission operations a total of 24 shipboard personnel, 18 ship's crew and 5 SURTASS O&M crew, is typical.
This program was completed after several rocky years stemming from the financial difficulties of Tacoma Boatbuilding Co. which built the first eight ships but initially was unable to complete T-AGOS 9-12 before filing for bankruptcy. Halter Marine built T-AGOS 13-18. The STALWART class T-AGOS vessels, T-AGOS 1 through T-AGOS 18, were originally ad-measured as less than 1600 gross tons and later re-admeasured as over 1600 gross tons.

The USNS BOLD (T-AGOS 12), the 12th ship of the Stalwart class, completed the 500th SURTASS mission, and a ceremony commemorating the milestone mission was conducted at U. S. Naval Station; Rota, Spain July 12, 2000 as BOLD made a portcall there following her historic patrol. Five hundred missions equate to over four million nautical miles of at-sea surveillance operations. Notable events included exchange of photo taking and greetings with helicopters, fixed wing aircraft and intelligence gathering vessels of the Soviet Union, at sea Medical Evacuations (MEDEVACS) for seriously ill or injured SURTASS ship crew members, sharks attacking the acoustic array, various periscope sightings, and iceberg evasion. Based on the number of BZ (Navy abbreviation for Well Done) messages received over the years, T-AGOS ships have time and time again proven their value both as strategic and tactical assets.

The SURTASS/Twin-Line Array Engineering Development Model was installed on the USNS Assertive (T-AGOS-9), and the first production model was installed on the USNS Bold (T- AGOS-12). Funding for six additional twin-line arrays was provided in the FY 2000 FYDP.
The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR), San Diego, manages the SURTASS program and contracts with the Raytheon Compny to operate and maintain the SURTASS equipment on T-AGOS ships. By early 1999 SPAWAR was inserting the second generation of commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) equipment into the SURTASS baseline. USNS BOLD became the first T-AGOS ship to complete this upgrade, which added a Twin-Line towed array, a surface ship tracking capability, and included a COTS processing refresh and communications upgrade. The upgrades will significantly enhance the ships and SURTASS anti-submarine warfare capabilities in the high surface clutter environments of shallow water operations.
When deployed with a military detachment that augments its predominantly civilian crew for on-board analysis and direct contact reporting, the ships provide the fleet with a highly effective ocean surveillance capability that supports both deep ocean and shallow water warfare missions.

In the Book, the submarines that were called "Tango's, they were difficult to detect, you needed a good team from the ship and the helicopter to get them.  The Tango's were mentioned almost as much as the Victor class submarines.  

The Tango class was the NATO reporting name of a class of diesel-electric submarines that were built in the Soviet Union to replace the Foxtrot-class submarines assigned to the Black Sea and Northern Fleets. The Soviet designation of this class was Project 641B and it was also known as the Som (Catfish) class. The first of the class was completed in 1972 at Gorky. A total of 18 were built in two slightly different versions. The later type was several meters longer than the first, possibly because of the installation of ASW missile equipment.
The bow sonar installations appear to be similar to those fitted to Soviet nuclear attack submarines. The propulsion plant was the same as the last subgroup of the Foxtrot class. The Tango class had far more battery capacity, far higher than any previous conventional submarine class in the Soviet Navy; as a result, pressure hull volume increased. This allowed an underwater endurance in excess of a week before snorkeling was required.

Coupled with new armament and sensor fit, the Tango class were ideal for ambush operations against Western nuclear submarines at natural chokepoints.
Because of its all-hull rubber coating, the sub class was nicknamed "rezinka" [rubber]
Construction of this class has now stopped. One unit remains in the Black Sea Fleet but it may have been decommissioned since 2010.

Type: Submarine
  • 3,100 tons surfaced
  • 3,800 tons submerged
Length: 91 m (298 ft 7 in)
Beam: 9.1 m (29 ft 10 in)
Draught: 7.2 m (23 ft 7 in)
  • 3 diesel engines
  • 4.6 MW (6,200 shp)
  • 3 electric motors
  • 3 shafts.
  • 13 knots (24 km/h; 15 mph) surfaced
  • 16 knots (30 km/h; 18 mph) submerged
Complement: 62 men (12 officers)
  • 6 x 533 mm (21.0 in) bow torpedo tubes
  • 24 x 533 mm (21 in) anti-submarine and anti-ship torpedoes or equivalent load of mines