Monday, December 24, 2007

"Charlie Wilson's War"



I have a couple of 8 x 10 color glossies of the real Charlie Wilson. In one he's accepting a certificate of some kind from a friend of mine who at the time was working for the Forest Service in Bishop, CA. The other shows Congressman Charlie on a mule in Afghanistan, supposedly among the mujahadeen. The award in Bishop was something to do with their "Mule Days" celebration, as I recall, and acknowledged his role in providing the Yankee mules used by the mujahadeen in support of their campaign against the Soviet invasion. The other showed Charlie with the resistance fighters, "on location" as it were. I'd like to see this movie just to witness how the Hollywood myth makers have distorted the true history. It's quite a jump from a string-of-mules to stinger missle, but then they're Hollywood. I suppose the mules could have been used to carry stingers. After 9/11 I had the photos tacked up alongside a map of Afghanistan in my living room. I pinned battle areas like Tora Bora and Mazar-e-Sharif.

This line from the following Bill Gertz article is hard for me to interpret: "That anti-American aspect of the film, namely that the Afghan operation ultimately caused the September 11 attacks, reportedly was altered after protests from Mr. Wilson and his former fiancee, Joanne Herring." Does Gertz mean that Charlie protested the implication, or lobbied to include the implication? My gut tells me it's the former. I guess now I'll have to see the movie.


December 21, 2007
Notes from the Pentagon

Charlie's movie

Conservative officials who served in the Reagan administration are upset by the left-wing slant of the new movie about the covert action program that helped Afghan guerrillas defeat the Soviet army during the 1980s.

"Charlie Wilson's War," out today, is based on a book about former Rep. Charles Wilson, Texas Democrat known widely on Capitol Hill during his tenure as "Good Time Charlie" who helped fund the semi-secret war that ultimately helped fell the Soviet Union.

The Reagan-era officials said the movie promotes the left-wing myth that the CIA-led operation funded Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda and ultimately produced the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Bin Laden, the officials said, never got CIA funding or weapons, and was not directly involved in Islamist extremist activities until years after the Afghan operation ended after the withdrawal of Soviet troops in 1989.

That anti-American aspect of the film, namely that the Afghan operation ultimately caused the September 11 attacks, reportedly was altered after protests from Mr. Wilson and his former fiancee, Joanne Herring.

The movie also erred by showing Mr. Wilson and his CIA collaborator, Gust Avrakotos, as enthusiastic backers of supplying advanced U.S. Stinger anti-aircraft missiles to the Afghan rebels.

Fred Ikle, the undersecretary of defense in the Reagan administration, said the CIA initially fought against sending Stingers, while Mr. Wilson was lukewarm on the matter. Both later supported the plan once rebels began downing Soviet gunships with them.

"Senior people in the Reagan administration, the president, [CIA Director] Bill Casey, [Defense Secretary Caspar] Weinberger and their aides deserve credit for the successful Afghan covert action program, not just Charlie Wilson," Mr. Ikle said in an interview.

The officials blamed the anti-Reagan slant of the film on the movie's screenwriter, Aaron Sorkin, the Hollywood liberal who regularly attacked conservatives on his television drama "The West Wing," also known as "The Left Wing" because of its liberal bias.


If you see the movie, just remember that Charlie was an enthusiastic backer of supplying mules, not necessarily stinger missles.

I watched part of The West Wing once. That was more than enough.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Chaos revisited

I was browsing at M. Simon's Power and Control blog when I came across his Practicing Chaos post.

Following his link to Michael Ledeen's article
at NRO I uncovered the following gem. After picking myself up off the floor, it got me to ruminating.

"The difficulty in planning against American doctrine is that Americans neither see fit to follow their doctrine nor even read their manuals." KGB Document

The KGB demonstrated incredible perception. The day-to-day activities recollected from roughly 30 years in the Federal bureaucracy bear out the truth in their statement. Must have been hell for the Soviets, until they realized what they were up against, and by then it was probably too late. One could paraphrase Churchill endlessly on the frustrations one encountered almost daily while coping with the bureaucracy, citing for instance, the unwilling led by the uninformed in pursuit of the worthless.

I have my own scars to bear witness to the feckless leadership of our Federal bureaucracy, and yet their situation was one to evoke sympathy from even the most callous observer when it was realized they were forced into institutional schizophrenia by the conflicting demands of their purse masters in Congress. I offer into evidence only the environmental vs timber production direction given to the US Forest Service from the 70s through the turn of the century. But even that conflicting direction cannot begin to explain why the bureaucratic machine insisted on reinventing the wheel at every shift in program direction or new daily work challenges.

The Forest Service Manual and Handbook contained relevant digests of both the Congressional direction and proven, nuts-and-bolts solutions to just gettin' the job done. These references were hugely ignored, gathering dust on bookshelves in empty offices, while the occupants of those offices attended an endless succession of workshops, training sessions, program indoctrination, and team building seminars. We quipped then about forest sociology having replaced forest science, but as in so many instances, our black humor concealed a sad truth. Toward the end of my career we had some of the prettiest hallways known to civilized man, covered with inspirational posters of eagles soaring into celestial skies so beautiful they brought tears to your eyes.

So, even while the American penchant for chaos may inadvertently have served us well in the Cold War, its application daily to the domestic chores of government would seem to have detracted from our communal well being. But wait. That bureaucratic chaos may have seemed a burden only until one realizes that those same inefficiencies of government may have enabled private enterprise to prosper, relatively unfettered by the full force of a truly efficient regulatory establishment.

That's the memo.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Overheard While Lurking

Defeating the environmentalist movement is thus as critical to the environment as defeating the socialist movement is critical for the poor. Graeme Bird

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Cosmic Rays, Solar Flares, and Clouds

The following commentary is extracted from yesterday's e-mail to the kids.

From M. Simon's post, "Clouds in Chambers", quoting a review of Dr. Henrik Svensmark's work (emphasis added):

For more than a decade, Henrik Svensmark of the Danish National Space Center has been pursuing an explanation for why Earth cools and warms. His findings -- published in October in the Proceedings of the Royal Society -- the mathematical, physical sciences and engineering journal of the Royal Society of London -- are now in, and they don't point to us. The sun and the stars could explain most if not all of the warming this century, and he has laboratory results to demonstrate it. Dr. Svensmark's study had its origins in 1996, when he and a colleague presented findings at a scientific conference indicating that changes in the sun's magnetic field -- quite apart from greenhouse gases -- could be related to the recent rise in global temperatures. The chairman of the United Nations Intergovernmental panel on Climate Change, the chief agency investigating global warming, then castigated them in the press, saying, "I find the move from this pair scientifically extremely naive and irresponsible." Others accused them of denouncing the greenhouse theory, something they had not done.

Svensmark and his colleague had arrived at their theory after examining data that showed a surprisingly strong correlation between cosmic rays --highspeed atomic particles originating in exploded stars in the Milky Way -- and low-altitude clouds. Earth's cloud cover increased when the intensity of cosmic rays grew and decreased when the intensity declined.

Low-altitude clouds are significant because they especially shield the Earth from the sun to keep us cool. Low cloud cover can vary by 2% in five years, affecting the Earth's surface by as much as 1.2 watts per square metre during that same period. "That figure can be compared with about 1.4 watts per square metre estimated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for the greenhouse effect of all the increase in carbon dioxide in the air since the Industrial Revolution," Dr. Svensmark explained.


To which I add:

Why do you suppose the Al Gores, the IPCC, and the other warming enthusiasts are so rabid in denoucing other scientists who challenge their pet theory that human caused CO2 is to blame for the insignificant amount of warming observed to date, and further challenge that their projections of catastrophic warming in the future are a fallacy? There are a couple of reasons, depending on who's talking.

The community of climate scientists pushing the warming mantra have literally billions of dollars in grant money flowing toward them for furthering their research along their own avenues of inquiry. The more they reinforce the political biases of the policy wonks who control the purse strings, the more they gain. Yes, children. Science is not pure as the driven snow. There is bias, fiddling with the data, withholding of data from those who would critique it, elitist posturing, and even some some nasty name calling. These folks have a lot of their lives invested in proving a certain outcome, and have become "believers" in the religious sense. That's not science as it should be, but it's never been a perfect world. Ask Galileo. The "believers" he encountered also had a religious bias; they gave us the science that said the universe revolved around the earth, but that was the "consensus science" of the day. Remember that the next time the warmers speak of the vast consensus for warming prognostications.

The other community that's just as dangerous, if not more so, is the leftist liberal elites who can't wait to seize control of the economic engines of the world's strongest economies to push through their command and control policies of social, business, industrial and energy regulation. No long term beneficial results have ever resulted from a socialist command and control government. You have only to look at the failed Soviet Union, the rust bucket states of Eastern Europe like Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, and East Germany before the yoke of Soviet oppression was lifted, the failing French economy, China under Mao, Cuba under Castro, today's Venezuela under Chavez, North Korea under Kim, the entire middle east under the oppressive yoke of 12th Century Islamic psychopaths, Laos under Pol Pot, Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, and Pemex...the government controlled Mexican oil industry. The United Nations, sponser of the IPCC, is a bloated, self-serving, feckless, impotent, inefficient debating society. Their "scientists" cannot even publish their latest IPCC update until it passes the scrutiny of the political bosses who have commissioned it. The IPCC Summary Report, intended for policy makers (i.e., politicians), was published months in advance of the final scientific report, and then the scientific report was revised to fit the conclusions presented in the Summary Report. Word games by word smiths with Ph.D. after their names.

Al Gore belongs to this second group, the elitists, who are forever telling everyone else how to live their lives, but who exempt themselves from the hardships they promote for the masses. Al Gore needs to get over himself, but sadly, he's probably so invested in his own messiah complex that it won't happen. He can't even accept that he lost the 2000 election to (gasp) George Bush.

Think of global warming as a period of really nice weather before the next big chill. You could witness a drift into the next ice age within your life times.

No pix tonight. Sorry.

Love, Dad

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Blue Angel Crash, MCAS Beaufort, SC

Last Maneuver, 4-21-07. Plane No. 6, just above center of photo, crashed about 2 minutes later.

Smoke rises over treetops, Beaufort, SC, 4-21-07. Plane No. 6 had been
banking through turns over the neighborhood, then disappeared below the treeline.

My daughter, granddaughter, and I saw these fellows doing the same
routines over her little cottage in Tucson last month. We loved it. The pilots appeared to be doing a bit of hotdogging over the Univ. of Ariz. campus area at that time. I joked that they were probably just tweaking the college liberals.

This is *a very strange incident.* These planes are maintained in absolute
top condition, the pilots are the best of the best, and the maneuvers, while noisy to both the willing and the unwilling spectators, are not that dangerous. The ship that crashed was flying solo...not in formation, so a midair collision is not a factor. I suspect somebody on the ground could have played a role.

[Edit: 10-11-08, The "not that dangerous" comment referred to the solo stunting being done across Tucson that day, not the formation flying done as part of their exhibition. Those maneuvers are breathtaking, as anyone knows who's seen them.]

We'll never know.

I don't expect any conclusions to come out of the Navy other than "pilot error."

via Drudge

Saturday, April 21, 2007

An Inconvenient Benchmark

In An Inconvenient Truth and elsewhere, Al Gore is on record predicting that a sea level rise of 20 feet is a realistic short-term prospect. This mantra drones on despite the fact the IPCC's current estimate, prepared by Global Warming enthusiasts, predicts a worst case end of century sea level rise of about 1/30 of the Gorean doomsday scenario.

John L. Daly has something to show the warmers, particularly Al Gore.
The 1841 sea level benchmark (centre) on the `Isle of the Dead', Tasmania. According to Antarctic explorer, Capt. Sir James Clark Ross, it marked mean sea level in 1841. Photo taken at low tide 20 Jan 2004.
Mark is 50 cm across; tidal range is less than a metre. © John L. Daly.
(Emphasis added.)

Look closely for this symbol marking the benchmark inscribed in the rock just slightly left of center of image: ___V___

I can't find the permalink for this photo post at John Daly's website, but as of April 21, 2007 it's the latest update, captioned: Last update - 2155 GMT, 31st Mar 2007.


Actually, the sea level dropped for a while during the mid-1990s.


Notes over coffee

Nigerian violence and election uncertainties contribute to a current spike in crude oil prices. Let's all try to remember this when we hear the democrats re-echo their anti-big-oil chants and Congressman Waxman initiates another congressional inquisition. c. 4-20-07


Starbucks news. Brace yourself. They plan to expand. I have a thought re Starbucks. Their coffee is considered burnt and bitter by some with good taste, like Melody. McDonalds' coffee has been voted far superior in taste tests. Why? Consider the size of Starbucks empire and the challenge of furnishing all those little green trimmed stores with quality beans. If they can devise a market for bitter coffee, and develop a house blend that permits cheaper beans to be roasted in such a way as to provide their signature taste, they have reduced the challenge of providing the raw material for their shops. In other words, train the American yuppie taste buds, as well as diluting that crappy taste in overpriced boutique latte's, mochas, and cappochini, and you can cash in on selling crap for chic. Until the public wakes up and realizes they've been had. c. 4-21-07


One ancient and revered civilization, let's say it was the Romans for the sake of this monologue, had a technique for avoiding endless debates and technical arguments while assuring quality control. When it came time to remove the braces and scaffolding from a new arch, the chief engineer was required to stand beneath it.

Off hand I can think of a few NASA "accidents" that might have had different consequences if certain program managers had been held to this standard.

But, I digress.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Stopping Power

Today, April 16th, the day of the Virginia Tech massacre, is my birthday.

Every year for the rest of my life, I am going to be reminded on my birthday that my attempt to alert the American people to the lethal dangers of victim disarmament did not succeed in preventing this act of criminal terrorism.
Thus begins a post I just found at Free Republic in which author J. Neil Schulman generously makes available a free pdf copy of his Stopping Power, a book I encourage you to obtain and read.


Monday, March 26, 2007

From an email from a different friend: I'm Tired

Pasted below just as received is the text of an e-mail from a less liberal friend:


Fw: I'm Tired . . .


"I'm Tired"

Two weeks ago, as I was starting my sixth month of duty in
Iraq, I was forced to return to the USA for surgery for an injury I sustained prior to my deployment. With luck, I'll return to Iraq to finish my tour.

I left
Baghdad and a war that has every indication that we are winning, to return to a demoralized country much like the one I returned to in 1971 after my tour in Vietnam. Maybe it's because I'll turn 60 years old in just four months, but I'm tired:

I'm tired of spineless politicians, both Democrat and Republican who lack the courage, fortitude, and character to see these difficult tasks through.

I'm tired of the hypocrisy of politicians who want to rewrite history when the going gets tough.

I'm tired of the disingenuous clamor from those that claim they 'Support the Troops' by wanting them to 'Cut and Run' before! victory is achieved.

I'm tired of a mainstream media that can only focus on car bombs and casualty reports because they are too afraid to leave the safety of their hotels to report on the courage and success our brave men and women are having on the battlefield.

I'm tired that so many Americans think you can rebuild a dictatorship into a democracy over night.

I'm tire d that so many ignore the bravery of the Iraqi people to go to the voting booth and freely elect a Constitution and soon a permanent Parliament.

I'm tired of the so called 'Elite Left' that prolongs this war by giving aid and comfort to our enemy, just as they did during the Vietnam War.

I'm tired of antiwar protesters showing up at the funerals of our fallen soldiers. A family who's loved ones gave their life in a just and noble cause, only to be cruelly tormented on the funeral day by cowardly protesters is beyond shameful.

I'm tired that my generation, the Baby Boom --
Vietnam generation, who have such a weak backbone that they can't stomach seeing the difficult tasks through to victory.

I'm tired that some are more concerned about the treatment of captives than they are the slaughter and beheading of our citizens and allies.

I'm tired that when we find mass gra ves it is seldom reported by the press, but mistreat a prisoner and it is front page news.

Mostly, I'm tired that the people of this great nation didn't learn from history that there is no substitute for Victory.

Joe Repya,
Lieutenant Colonel, U. S. Army
101st Airborne


Minnesota's Lt. Col. Joe Repya volunteered to return to active duty for service in Iraq at age 59. His previous service includes command of a rifle platoon in Vietnam and flying helicopters in the first Gulf War.

Joe first came to public attention in March 2003 when, disturbed by the anti-war campaign mounted by Minnesota liberals, he arranged for the production of lawn signs saying "Liberate Iraq -- Support Our Troops." His effort garnered a lot of publicity, and Joe eventually distributed 30,000 signs.

From an e-mail to a friend: The Reality of Evil

Following is from a recent e-mail to a liberal friend. Seems appropriate to share with my wide ranging and erudite audience.


Liberals would have us abandon Iraq to these animals. Americans should ask themselves which side of this equation they're on, and if they decide good trumps evil, they ought to back away from the cut-and-run Bush Derangement Syndrome Democrats.

From a post by Teresa Monroe-Hamilton at the Noisy Room:


The Reality of Evil and the Men and Women of Munich

Courtesy of Newt Gingrich:

The news report came about mid-week. Maybe you saw it.

The Associated Press reported that terrorists in Iraq have passed an unthinkable threshold: They used two children to disguise a car bomb.

The car was waved through a checkpoint by American soldiers who could not imagine that children would be in a car filled with explosives. When the terrorists got to their target, they got out of the car and ran. They left the children behind in the car, and then blew it up.

There is a word for people who put children in a car to be blown up. The word is evil.

It’s Important That We Say It: Our Enemies Are Evil




Sunday, March 11, 2007

Getting to the Point

Daniel Pipes speaking to Danish Jews:

"In other words, either Israel ceases to exist, and the Arabs win, or Israel is accepted by the Arabs, and it is no longer at war.

Those are the true possible outcomes.

Compromise and mediation have proven to be a failure.”

From a Baron Bodissey post at Gates of Vienna.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

This Post's for Bodhi: SB 861, More Nanny State Travesty

Following is a MySpace bulletin received from my daughter Melody. Mel's dog Bodhi was the gentlest, friendliest pup I ever encountered. He converted me from being a pit bull hater to a friend of the breed. He was part boxer, part chow, and part pit
bull, if my memory is correct. All are "fighting breeds", but Bodhi put the lie to the myth of the visious *Pit Bull*. Just as with humans, it's the love and affection, or training and abuse that the child or the dog receives that creates either a loyal friend or a monster.

As this campaign suggests, "Ban the deed, not the breed."

Bodhi is most commonly translated into English as enlightenment. In Bodhi's case, Mel once explained it meant "less than fully enlightened."

Mel lost Bodhi when he was hit by a car in Tucson, September 29, 2006. I would never have expected the sorrow we all felt with his passing. It was like losing a member of the family.


Date: Jan 18, 2007 8:20 PM
Subject Please Read. This is awful.

Against it.

If any of you out there are my friends, I ask you out of the kindness of my heart to repost this. If you're not my friend, I ask you search for the source compassion in your soul and repost this anyway. More importantly, if you're in a position to, DO something about it.

This is about California legislation being passed to exterminate pit bulls. If it passes in California, it could be on it's way to anywhere. Someone has to try to make a difference...what if it were your pet?

It would be great if Myspace could be used for something good other than getting dates. Please pass the word along and post as many people can see this as possible.


This has to be stopped. We need to save these dogs.

Please repost this to your bulletins.

*****End of Melody's MySpace bulletin*****

Bodhi and Melody*

*Until recently Melody ran a snowcat for three winter seasons on the grooming crew at Heavenly Valley, Lake Tahoe, and operated backhoes and water trucks during the off season. She's now in Portland.


Update 1-21-07, 12:30 AM:

Overcome by events:

It appears the bulletin Melody received and forwarded via MySpace is out of date.
Despite vehement protestation from animal advocates worldwide, SB 861 was signed into law on October 7, 2005. Thus, BSL (Breed Specific Legislation) has invaded California.

An initiative effort in California was mounted but failed in 2006.
A swift response followed. A January 2006 referendum effort failed to acquire enough signatures. Immediately after that two lawsuits were filed to defeat the legislation. Both are now pending. The first was brought in a federal court in San Francisco by The Chako Rescue Association of the Pit Bull Terrier. The second was filed in Sacramento by the American Canine Foundation (who will also intervene in the San Francisco case.) Unfortunately, the two sides appear to be completely at irreconcilable odds and at loggerheads. The former group favors a $1,000 breeder's permit fee. The later entity wants to protect rights of breeders.

But all may not be lost. It appears reason still prevails in more enlightened communities, even in California.
Good news perhaps for all came down on March 3, 2006. The Ohio Supreme court ruled in a Toledo case that local and state breed-specific "vicious" dog laws are unconstitutional.

There have been other successes combating BSL across the country:

Zuniga v. San Mateo Dept. of Health Services (1990) 218 Cal. App. 3d 1521, 267 Cal. Rptr. 2d 755. The court found there was not sufficient evidence to prove Pit Bulls have an inherent nature of being dangerous.

Carter v. Metro North Assocs. (1998) 255 A.D. 2d 251; 680 N.Y.S.2d 299 A New York appellate court determined that the alleged propensities of Pit Bull Terriers to behave more viciously than other breeds had not been authoritatively established.

Huntsville v. Four Pit Bull Puppies (Ala. 08-30-02), No.1010459, unreported. ACF sued the city of Huntsville Alabama in 2002 in a case that was heard by the Alabama Supreme Court. The court determined that American Pit Bull Terriers were not dangerous.

The anti-BSL movement is supported by a broad based collection of rational organizations who realize this legislation is faulty for a number of reasons. It penalizes responsible dog owners, does not ultimately stop the malicious breeding and training of problem dogs, is difficult to implement with any element of fairness due to the difficulty of identifying breeds by enforcement personnel, and fails to recognize that it's not the breed, but the conditioning of the pet, that's the root problem. The irresponsible or malicious owners are the group to target...not the breeds.

The American Kennel Club, the California Veterinary Medical Association, the Sacramento Council of Dog Clubs, The Animal Council, and a host of other animal organizations strongly oppose(d) SB 861.
Breed-specific legislation is opposed by the AKC, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the National Animal Control Association, the ASPCA, and a host of national animal welfare organizations that have studied the issue and recognize that targeting breeds simply does not work.

BTW: PETA supported SB 861.


Molon Labe

Friday, January 12, 2007

US Air Force Blows Recruiting Opportunity, Boosts Playboy Circulation

AP: "Michelle Manhart, seen here posing for a photo in San Antonio Thursday, is featured in the February issue of Playboy magazine. She has been relieved of her Air Force duties pending an investigation."


Associated Press
Jan. 12, 2007 09:39 AM

SAN ANTONIO - An Air Force staff sergeant who posed nude for Playboy magazine has been relieved of her duties while the military investigates.

In February's issue, hitting newsstands this week, Michelle Manhart is photographed in uniform yelling and holding weapons under the headline "Tough Love." The following pages show her partially clothed, wearing her dog tags while working out, as well as completely nude.

"This staff sergeant's alleged action does not meet the high standards we expect of our airmen, nor does it comply with the Air Force's core values of integrity, service before self, and excellence in all we do," Oscar Balladares, spokesman for Lackland Air Force Base, said in a statement released Thursday.
Manhart, who is married with two children, joined the Air Force in 1994, spending time in Kuwait in 2002. She trains airmen at Lackland.

As if trainees need to be protected from the unveiled female...just let her trainees fantasize I guess.

This nonsense is sponsered by the same people who are revising the Air Force uniform.

Which is the bigger crime?

via Drudge

USAF photo via PlancksConstant