Michelle Obama: Hooray for People Who Look Like Me!

michelle-obama-pointing

Continuing the theme of Identity Politics of her race-baiting husband, Michelle Obama declares “Black Girls Rock!”

Oh, I know, it is just a harmless event to boost the self-esteem of a racially defined section of our population.   I am also certain that any similar event called “White Girls Rock!” would be accepted with open arms by “da Black Communitah”, and no celebrities who spoke there would ever be accused of being hateful racist bigots who have neo-Nazi tendencies, or might, in fact, be Klan members.

Sectarianism and the racial double standard.  The gifts that keep giving.

 

Loss of Liberty, One Amendment at a Time

Soviet_Union_radio

The FCC voted today to make broadband internet a “public utility”.    A quietly terrible tragedy, the effects of which will be disastrous for our liberties.   DaveO at Op-For spells it out superbly.

From 1983 until today, February 26, 2015, America had the freest press the world has ever known because of the free (in terms of controls, not necessarily in cost) the internet. Through Obamacare we have seen the government directly attack the free exercise of religion, and today we have lost the last truly free press. Just like Obamacare, the authors and FCC Chairman ramrodded the s through with zero oversight, zero accountability, and a whole lot of lies to the people. The risk of blogs and the internet informing principled opposition to the Tyranocracy was too much to bear. What next? The Second Amendment?

For those of you who actually believed that control of broadband internet by the same Federal Government that used the IRS and Justice Department to persecute political opponents of Barack Obama and the radical Left had anything to do with “net neutrality”, your naïve stupidity in trusting the motives and explanations of this Administration contributed materially to handing control of the last semblance of independent press to the most malignant Presidency in the history of our Republic.

You were warned.  But you would rather be willfully blind.  And so you shall remain.  Let’s hear from an expert on censorship:

Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas?

-Stalin

Make no mistake, Barack Obama believes precisely the same.   And forget not that he counts our nation’s enemies among his friends, and domestic political opposition as his enemies.  He is once again employing his regulatory agencies, and his Führer’s Decrees, er, Executive Orders, to make sure we, his enemies, have neither.

Retroactive Global Warming!

The Daily Telegraph has a none-too surprising article on how the climatologists have adjusted recorded readings to fit the Global Warming panic meme:

When future generations look back on the global-warming scare of the past 30 years, nothing will shock them more than the extent to which the official temperature records – on which the entire panic ultimately rested – were systematically “adjusted” to show the Earth as having warmed much more than the actual data justified.

…Paul Homewood, who, on his Notalotofpeopleknowthat blog, had checked the published temperature graphs for three weather stations in Paraguay against the temperatures that had originally been recorded. In each instance, the actual trend of 60 years of data had been dramatically reversed, so that a cooling trend was changed to one that showed a marked warming.

Nothing screams “scientific validity” like changing recorded results to fit a hypothesis.   When the bleeding-heart tree-huggers ask with such self-righteous indignation how we could possibly doubt “climate science”, you would do well to share information such as this with them.  And just who is leading the charge to re-write the weather data from yesteryear?  Why, it is the UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT.

Homewood checked a swath of other South American weather stations around the original three. In each case he found the same suspicious one-way “adjustments”. First these were made by the US government’s Global Historical Climate Network (GHCN). They were then amplified by two of the main official surface records, the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (Giss) and the National Climate Data Center (NCDC), which use the warming trends to estimate temperatures across the vast regions of the Earth where no measurements are taken.

Booker-graph-2_3175679a
GISS Raw Data
GISS "Adjusted" Data
GISS “Adjusted” Data

And it isn’t just South America.  Other “adjustments” have been made on existing and recorded data sets in other areas of the world.   Adjustments that is so severe that major climatic events are erased from the records.   Iceland faced severe economic impact from extreme cold weather from about 1965 to 1971, with a dramatic drop in agriculture and fishing.

…in nearly every case, the same one-way adjustments have been made, to show warming up to 1 degree C or more higher than was indicated by the data that was actually recorded. This has surprised no one more than Traust Jonsson, who was long in charge of climate research for the Iceland met office (and with whom Homewood has been in touch). Jonsson was amazed to see how the new version completely “disappears” Iceland’s “sea ice years” around 1970, when a period of extreme cooling almost devastated his country’s economy.

So there you have it.  According to the Global Warming panic mongers, the rather traumatic times of extreme cold, so indelibly etched on the memories of Icelanders, didn’t really happen.  It was instead, insists Global Warming alarmists, merely a recording error.

Note to tree-hugging liberals:  When you become outraged at our skepticism about “anthropogenic climate change”, and consider us to be “flat earthers” for not buying into the politically profitable nonsense that is man-caused global warming, try to understand why we think you are brainwashed and lemming-like nincompoops for pledging allegiance to anti-capitalist politicians whose “scientific methods” would not be accepted by a tenth-grade chemistry teacher.   The same politically-driven ideological crap “science” was once heaped upon me as a school boy when the dire prediction was of a coming ice age.   The solution to which was the same socialist wealth-redistribution malarkey that will now halt the fictitious Global Warming.

Here’s hoping your Prius gets stuck in a snow bank on the coldest day of the year.

The Third Yeltsin Story

In this story Boris was not directly involved.

I was flying as flight escort and translator for an IL-76 carrying Yeltsins’s limos and security vehicles into NYC. Yeltsin was scheduled to speak at the UN that week.

It was late at night, we were headed into JFK. Cleared to fly the Carnousie VOR approach. The Carnousie VOR approach was a bit odd because the VOR is off the field and it has a visual segment.

These are things the Russians did not know.

As we fly over the water I’m thinking, ‘Hmm, we just fucked up. Shouldn’t we be turning left to follow the breakers?’

I look at the Captain’s Nav Display, it shows us on course.

I look up at the nav radios. They are tuned to the JFK VOR, which is NOT the NAVAID that the approach is based off of.

I’m trying to explain this to the crew: yes, you’re on course, but you’ve got the wrong navaid tuned. Just then all of Yeltsin’s secret service guys barge into the cockpit.

‘Piotr, где статуя свободы?’

Uh, where is the statue of freedom? Trying to translate…Crap. Just realized they were looking for the Statue of Liberty.

And it just passed off our right wing.

And I was looking up at the torch, that’s how low we were.

Actual radio transmission from JFK tower: Aeroflot, where are you going?

Captain: We are on course!

Phat: No you’re not! You’re flying the wrong approach with the wrong navaid tuned!

JFK tower: Aeroflot, do you have the airport in sight?

Captain: Airport in sight!

JFK tower: Aeroflot, you are cleared to land on ANY runway at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Secret Service guys: So we just passed the Statue of Freedom?

Phat: Facepalm.

I called the tower after we landed, expecting to get a lot of grief.

The ATC controllers said, don’t worry about it, it’s a diplomatic flight and we can’t do anything about those.

Just as I was getting ready to hang up the tower controller said,, «we could hear you in the background and it sounded like you were having a worse day than us!»

"Empathize"

isis-burn-jordanian-pilot1

The former Secretary of State and likely front-runner 2016 Democratic Presidential Candidate:

Trying to understand… empathize with their perspective and point of view. Helping to define the problems, determine the solutions. That is what we believe in the 21st century will change — change the prospects for peace.”

Fundamental transformation complete.

World War II Armor in the Balkans Wars of the 1990s

sherman balkans

The eight-plus years of bloody conflict in the Balkans that began with the break-up of Yugoslavia in 1991 and (more or less) ended with the Kumanovo Treaty of 1999 displayed for the world the lingering bitter ethnic and religious divides that made the fighting in both world wars so savage earlier in the century.  The 1980 death of Yugoslav strongman Josip Broz Tito uncapped the regional tensions which led to the successful  independence movements in Slovenia and Croatia, and wars in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and in Kosovo.

The grim history of these events is replete with the age-old themes of conflict in that area of the world.  Atrocities, massacres, rape, savagery.  To which was added the feckless and ineffectual UN Protection Forces (UNPROFOR), arms embargoes, belated NATO participation, and a Europe once again largely unconcerned with a conflagration in the Balkans.

What is a curious aspect of these wars is the extent to which tanks and armored vehicles left over from World War II populated the battlefields of those wars.   In the post-World War II period and during the Cold War, Tito’s Yugoslavia was an officially “non-aligned” nation, and as a result was the recipient of both US and Soviet military aid.  This aid consisted of several hundred of the ubiquitous Soviet T-34 and US M4 Sherman tanks and M18 Hellcat tank destroyers, along with self-propelled guns, AFVs, and other implements.  Also, during the time when Yugoslavia seemed threatened by imminent Soviet invasion, nearly 30o 90mm-armed M36 Jackson tank destroyers were supplied by the United States.   The T-34 and M4 variants were late-war models, the T-34/85 and M4A3, respectively, the former carrying the 85mm D12 cannon, and the latter armed with the excellent long-barreled 76mm gun.

In the 1970s, Yugoslavia began to produce its own variant of the modern T-72 main battle tank, replacing the older T-54/55 in service.  It was thought that while some of the T-34/85s probably still existed in reserve, most of the American equipment was long since withdrawn from the inventory.  However, when the Balkan Wars began in 1991, and particularly after the so-called “Battle of the Barracks” that summer which led to the capture of large numbers of Yugoslavia National Army (JNA) tanks and heavy weapons by the Croatian independence forces, many of the old American and Soviet tanks and tank destroyers were employed by both sides.  This led to some very interesting images from the battlefields in Croatia, Serbia, and Bosnia.  And it was reported that at least one M36 was destroyed by a US F-16 strike before NATO air power forced dispersal and concealment of heavy weapons in the ample woodlands.

With a supply of replacement parts almost non-existent, many Shermans and Hellcats and Jacksons were cannibalized for spares, and some wildly improvisational local modifications were made.  This includes at least one M18 Hellcat with a Molotava truck engine replacing the US-made radial, and an M18 turret fitted to a T-55 hull.  (You can see both clearly in the images below.)  In addition, a considerable number of the M4s and M36s had their power packs swapped for Soviet T-54/55 engines, for which parts and fuel were relatively plentiful.

As ammunition grew scarce and keeping the ancient vehicles in operating order became nearly impossible, those veteran tanks of another age that were not destroyed (which was a considerable number) were retired from service.  The T-34s fared somewhat better.  By 2005, it was reported that virtually all of the American equipment was disposed of, and only a few T-34s remained in service.   With that, a number of M18 and M36 tank destroyers had been identified for purchase and restoration  by museums in the United States, and at least one has made it from the troubled region into American hands (featured in Season 1 of Tank Overhaul).

Here are some of the more interesting pictures from the battlefields of the Balkans, where, despite their age and obsolescence, many of the World War II-vintage tanks served their operators well, and were feared by opponents who did not have modern counter-mech weaponry.  (The photos that show tanks appearing to have an armored skirt are actually showing a hard rubber sheet, which was to protect against RPGs by prematurely detonating the warheads and dissipating the molten stream of metal.  This is reported to have actually worked to some extent, with some T-34/85s and Shermans surviving multiple strikes from RPG-7s.  I could find no corroboration of those reports.)

6aug5

7117033077_2894ea3a84_z

Bos010c

m3686uy

5395828736_b28980dd26_z

t34-8510

Hellcat

6974594028_c577281cdc_b

M36TD-1

SONY DSC

MZNDR-KA_Tank_destroyer_M18_Hellcat

m36balkans

m-36b2_jackson_05

yu-m36

Fiddy

Image (196)

Well, that day has finally come.  A bit of a strange sensation to leave your forties behind.  Especially when you’re the youngest, you always picture yourself as being young.  A childhood friend who lives in the area told me once that she still sort of thought of me as a little kid, because when she was ten years old, I was eight.  Which made me laugh.  Because I think I was 46 at the time.   Yep, that is me above.  First Grade, I believe.  I was a cute little kid, and am still not sure how I managed to evolve into this present hideous visage without some sort of tragic and disfiguring event.  But, here I am.

My “youthful outlook” consists largely of the sense of humor of 4th grader, who still giggles at cartoons, the Three Stooges, and bathroom humor.  (My mother used to warn that I was “confusing crudity with sophistication”.)  Anybody know where I can find re-runs of Beavis and Butthead?

I will say I do believe my 50th will be considerably less exciting than my 40th.  I spent that one in Ramadi, with the first order of business being told we are heading into the Governor’s Compound no matter what condition Route Michigan was (and it was invariably BLACK in May and June that year).   The operations staff sang Happy Birthday to me (thanks, Doc!), and we got mortared twice.

They say that 50 is the new 40.  Perhaps it is.  I am considerably “younger” than my parents were at the same age, as their generation did not get much exercise, and both of them smoked.  I still play basketball with guys half my age, and can hold my own in the weight room.  (I am not as strong at 50 as I was at 40, but I was stronger at 40 than 30.)  And my golf game is, believe it or not, improving.  But, running is really a chore these days, and has been since breaking my back in the early 90s.   And I don’t heal nearly as quickly.  But what the hell.  Never up, never in.

homer go getter

I just have to get used to the fact that I am no longer the “young go-getter in Sector 7G”.  Then again, I haven’t been for some time.

One cool fact about the day I was born is that it is 100 years to the day after the Battle of New Market.  Various friends who are VMI Alum commemorate that battle as New Market Day, where the VMI Corps of Cadets participated in the fight against Franz Sigel’s Federals.  Today is the 150th anniversary of the fight, one for which VMI should be justifiably proud.  Just the same, LTCOL P should mention that it is not only the 150th commemoration of New Market, but URR’s 50th birthday!  I am not asking for much, perhaps a stone monument somewhere….

 

IPCC Warns on Global Warming, after the Coldest Winter in US in a Century

Burlington-81-20-07694-453x300

Well, we have reached the last day of March in 2014.  Just in time for the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to send out another alarmist shill about Global Warming/Climate Change.   Anthropogenic Climate Change, to be exact.  Requiring “action”.   Which is a code-word for “money”.    Otherwise, disaster, death, murder, rape, starvation is sure to ensue.  You get the idea.  Seems like we have heard it all before, dunnit?

Of course, Socialist-Communist American President Barack Obama is solidly behind such “action”.  Especially since that action has the desirable side-effect of destroying our capitalist economy and providing further excuse for even more crushing environmental regulation, exponentially expanding the statist command economy he desires so much.   Vice President Biden, he of the “perfect skin”, is in full agreement.  Which means, it seems, that the inside of his head is not quite as well-kept as the outside.

1990_ipcc_graph

We are to believe, of course, that the natural cycle of changes in the Earth’s climate which we have proof occurred hundreds of millions of years before man came to be, is now entirely our fault.  And that the massive and growing number of skeptics in the scientific community remain “just a few deniers”.

Let’s give some local flavor to the debate.   Where I live, March 2014 has had a mean temperature nearly NINE DEGREES below normal.  That is an astounding figure.  In March of 2012, when we had temperatures in the 70s for several days and the global warming alarmists were in full frenzy, the mean temperature was just 7.2 degrees ABOVE normal.   Despite their prognostications of certain doom, March of 2014 is actually significantly colder than March of 2012 was warm.   Such is also not in isolation.  The previous 12 months have been a full 2.0 degrees below their average since 2006.   Talk about “hockey stick” graphs.

Nationally, the US just experienced the coldest six months in more than 100 years.  Since the winter of 1911-12.  If that is true in the US, it is very likely true in Canada and Mexico.  For the last six months, at least one quarter of the globe has been significantly colder than the norm.   Climate scientists have already been caught red-handed manipulating data sets to produce “global warming” outcomes.  As have US agencies.   These aren’t mistakes.  Not errors in calculation.  They are LIES.

Our President, not surprisingly, is using those lies to perpetuate HIS agenda, and the agendas of his political and financial supporters.   For people like Barack Obama, the truth is something to be avoided at all costs.   That should surprise nobody.  After Benghazi, Obamacare, the IRS scandal, Fast and Furious, “red lines”, etc., he can be called an inveterate liar.

And it shouldn’t surprise us that Obama embraces the Global Warming anti-capitalists.  It isn’t like he doesn’t have a history of hanging out with Weathermen.

*******************************

It would seem that the “just a few deniers” have a few things to say.    It makes a good read.

The Banya in the Arctic Circle

One of the more interesting trips I ever had as part of my Russian Flight Escort assignment was a trip to Russia to escort an AN-12 from Tiksi AB, Russia to Eielson AFB, AK for a joint Arctic Search and Rescue exercise between the Russian and US Air Force’s.

Tiksi had the distinction of being the most Northern permanent Air Base in the world (it has since been closed). We were going there in January. I shiver just thinking about it 20 years later.

Due to the high visibility of this exercise, the Assistant US Air attaché (a Lt Col) from the embassy in Moscow would be coming along and was going to be staying with the Russians for the duration. I was just along for the flight into Alaska.

I met up with the Attaché in Moscow and the next day we hopped on an IL-18 (4 engine turboprop) that was the personal plane of the Russian 3 star for the flight from Moscow to Tiksi.

IL-18

IL-18.

The Lt Col AF Attaché was a great guy (ethnic Ukrainian) who spoke fluent Russian. Unfortunately for this assignment, he was not a good drinker.

I was up front in the passenger section and the Lt Col was in the rear of the aircraft in the VIP compartment with the Russian 3 star and all of his staff.

About three hours into the six-hour flight a Russian Colonel came up to me, shook my shoulder to wake me up and invite me back to the VIP section.

Turns out the vodka was flowing and the Lt Col was not doing so well. I took his place at the table with the 3 star and told jokes/stories when it was my turn.  I had to hold the Lt Col’s head as he puked in the lav on our approach into Tiksi.

Tiksi

IL-18 getting deiced at Tiksi AB. Sun is out, so it must be summer.

We landed and it was -40C. That’s where Celsius and Fahrenheit meet on the back side. This is were the Russian tradition of always taking off your gloves to shake hands really started to suck. I had my AF-issue extreme cold weather mittens on over flight gloves so of course every damn officer on base came out to welcome us to their frozen base. The good news is you really can’t feel the frostbite once the appendage is numb (this will come into play later in the story). It was also very dark. In January in the Arctic Circle it’s always dark. You get a bit of glow on the horizon for about an hour in the morning. That’s it, daylight complete.

We got the Lt Col to bed and then I had to fill in for him for the afternoon and evening. The 3-star’s valet picked me up from the VIP quarters and drove me to the ‘Banya’ on base. It’s basically a sauna/steamroom and it is a very old school Russian tradition.

Banya

The Banya, complete with Birch twigs. Sadly, no girls are involved in this story.

I walk in and the General is already there. He starts taking of his uniform. All of it. EVERYTHING.

So I do too. We’re soon sitting buck ass nekkid in the banya when his valet comes in with champagne.

Drinking champagne naked with a Russian 3 star. Well, at least it can’t get any weirder than that.

Wrong.

Next thing I know he starts hitting me in the back with birch twigs. It’s a Russian thing, meant to improve circulation, but I was not warned of this. After a minute or so he hands the twigs to me so I can reciprocate. I do. Sadly, that was not the gayest thing I did that night.

After our mutual flagellation session the valet brought in chilled vodka and strawberries. That was nice, and it was soon time to go. The General informed me that since this was my first time in a Russian Banya I needed to ‘complete the experience’.  This involved diving naked into the snowbank outside. Evidently it is healthy to ‘close up the pores’ after sweating so much. So I did it. At 1:00 am, -40C.

It also does a great job of ‘shrinking the penis into the mid-section’.

The next day we hopped on the AN-12 (C-130’ski) for our flight across Siberia to Fairbanks, AK. The trip over was relatively uneventful and thankfully no one got naked.

Next up will be some stories about a few of my trips with Yeltsin. Will try to do one a week until my temporary retirement is over and I go back to 737 school in January.