The Incontiguous Brick

March 24, 2010

What does the passage of the Health Care Reform Bill mean for Israel?

Filed under: Israel,Our World,politics — iknowkeith @ 2:29 pm
Tags: , , , ,

On the surface…  Nothing.  But look a little deeper and Israel could be scrambling.  Here’s why…

Status quo for US-Israel relations has not changed for a long time.  US says, “let’s have peace in the Middle East”.  Israel say, “sure.”  US says, “stop expanding settlements and treating Palestinians like animals.  Israel say, “Bite me!”

Although this may be a  simplification of the issues, it does paint the picture of our relationship.  US has continually supported Israel both in rhetoric and financially since Israel’s inception.  This support has come at a great cost to US relations with the rest of the Middle East but it has been unwavering.

Health care reform has also been status quo for a very long time.  President Obama just shook that up.  He demonstrated his ability to change the status quo.  He flexed his political muscle and made change.

Whether you agree with the new bill, you have to recognize that President Obama has made a change in our country.

Israel now has to deal with a man who can change the status quo.  Israel has to worry that President Obama may turn on them and he has the political power to change policy. This is dangerous territory for Israel after years of not playing nice in the sand box.

February 10, 2010

The Speed of a Sniffing Dog

Filed under: Our World,politics — iknowkeith @ 12:01 am

Andrew Johnson writing  for the Independent stated that:

“Taliban fighters have developed a deadly new generation of their most lethal weapon, the improvised explosive device, or IED, which is almost undetectable because it has no metal or electronic parts.”

and…

“Earlier in the war, IEDs would be mostly triggered by two hack-saw blades separated using a spacer. When the blades were stepped on or driven over they would complete an electronic circuit which so detonated the explosive – often an artillery shell…

metal saw blades have now also been replaced with graphite blades and the artillery shells with ammonium nitrate. The damage is caused by the power of the blast rather than metal fragments, or shrapnel.”

In case you were not sure… this is bad.  Without metal or electronics, the only way to detect that type of bomb (before detonation… after is easy) is with dogs.

“One brigade commander posted to Afghanistan said that sniffer dogs were the most reliable way of detecting IEDs, but this method took a long time and required a lot of animals. Already convoys have to move at very
slow speeds while roads ahead are checked for explosives. “

All our modern military transportation technology has been reduced to the speed of a sniffing dog by a pile of wood and fertilizer?   Wow.

This is the pain that is  guerrilla warfare…  and a great illustration of how low-tech insurgencies can throw sand in the gears of high-tech conventional forces.  This kind of war is not what our forces are optimized to fight.  I am not suggesting we completely retool our military to be optimized against Taliban and the Wooden Bomb Brigade because that would leave use vulnerable to other modern military forces and that is not cool.  But I think we will have to acknowledge that this is going to be messy and no fun and if we are going to keep slogging it out with these guys then we are going to have some losses.  You can “out tech” a low technology but modern army (i.e. Iraq in 1991), but that doesn’t work if the enemy plays by different rules all together and goes for “no tech”.

One criticism… in the beginning of the article he called these IED’s a “new generation” weapon.  I have a problem with that.   Typically, when talking about new generations of weapons and styles of warfare, it refers to a technological advance that must be matched or surpassed to be defeated.  (cannons over catapults, guns over swords and bows, maneuver warfare over trench warfare, etc).  This is not a “new generation” weapon any more than insurgency/guerrilla tactics are a “new generation” of warfare.  Traps, tricks, underhanded terror tactics (assassination, bombs, etc) have been around for centuries.  These are not new.   They are just becoming more difficult to fight against because we hate to admit that they are still effective against all our expensive toys.

October 19, 2009

Only in Thailand

Filed under: Life,Our World — iknowkeith @ 12:06 pm

On a recent trip to Phuket, Thailand…

Baby on motorbike

This is a very common scene. I even saw a man driving a scooter in traffic with a woman and two small children (one on each leg) sitting side saddle. But if you are thinking they are not concerned about safety… think again. Check out this safety warning on a Patong Beach street corner…
Drunk Crossing
See? Thailand cares about safety.

Here is another example of good motoring sense…

kids in sidecar

September 12, 2009

Links to Everything Geo-Political

Great blog that links to what is being discussed in the geopolitical world…
http://gretaslinks.blogspot.com/

April 2, 2009

Man records encounter with TSA

Filed under: Our World,politics,TSA,Warnings — iknowkeith @ 3:18 pm

I wish there was a way to require a basic ethics class for all government/public service employees. Something that covers the principles of freedom, democracy, liberty, privacy and our constitution that our laws our based on. I don’t think enough people understand how our country is supposed to work anymore.

note: FOX news actually had a story with substance and worth my time! Shocking!

January 23, 2009

Homeland Security High

Filed under: Our World,School,Warnings — iknowkeith @ 3:36 pm

Sound like a “B” movie that you don’t want to watch?  Well, you are half right… you don’t want to watch.  The bad news is that is not a movie.  It is a real high school in Delaware set to open its doors in 2010.temp00000005

Students will be called cadets, will wear uniforms, and will follow courses of study in special weapons and tactics, prison guarding, and professional demolition, among others. The languages taught in the school will include Arabic, Chinese, and Russian. Physical training will be a big part, with daily after-school exercise programs already planned.

The tone of the “first responder” high school will be that of a military or police academy, complete with uniforms and daily physical training during and after school.

Read more here:
Charter high school to specialize in Homeland Security

So… do they get extra credit for turning in their neighbors?

January 13, 2009

Is Russian planning to invade Ukraine?

Filed under: Our World,politics,Russia,Ukraine,Warnings,Wordpress Political Blogs — iknowkeith @ 5:37 pm

Is the real reason to cut natural gas exports a trick to justify an invasion of Ukraine?

For nearly a week, A large portion of eastern Europe has been without heat. This is because hundreds of thousands of Europeans have been without gas since Gazprom cut supplies nearly a week ago. First, the Russian company claims Ukraine has blocked gas deliveries to Europe while Ukraine says Russian stopped the flow of gas. Then Russia admitted to stopping the gas but siad they resumed pumping again.

Gazprom deputy head Alexander Medvedev said Ukraine had failed to carry the gas westwards to Europe after it resumed pumping it across their border. Ukraine counters that the pipeline route that Russia is using to send the gas makes it technically impossible to deliver.

Kiev said it could not pump the gas as Russia had switched the transit route.

Either way, Europe is cold and people are getting desperate while Moscow has been unable to resolve differences with Ukraine over debts and pricing.

…So that sums up the situation as reported in the media.

sickleBut maybe there is more to the story than just corporate greed….

Perhaps Russia is ready to take back some of its former territory. Perhaps Russia is tired of pissant little countries like Ukraine (that Moscow once controled) attempting to dictate trade agreements to them. Perhaps Putin is rearing his head.

This may be one of those genius geopolitical gambits that history will look back on and say, “evil, but damn clever.”

With gas shut off to Europe during a cold spell and people getting desperate, this is one time when Russia can do anything as long as the gas flows again. If that means roll tanks into Ukraine to force a settlement and turn on the gas then Europe could accept that. As long as the gas flows again. Get ready for another land war.

Europe is hooked on Russian gas like a crack whore on the rock and will accept almost anything to get it back. Russian troops ensuring the stability of gas exports may be a big pill to swallow but not too big when you are cold.

Now is also a great time because the U.S. leadership is in a transition phase and in no place to do more than complain. With world economies on the brink and western armies stretched thin, this is a great time for a land war Russian style.

Need another reason? How about the Ukraine missile shield deal with the U.S.? Last August Ukraine said they wanted to join join other European nations to establish a ballistic missile shield defense system. Moscow was not happy.

With plummeting temperatures and unhappy people, most of Europe will probably welcome a Russian invasion of Ukraine if it means stable gas supplies.

January 7, 2009

Letter from Congressman Dennis Kucinich to Condoleezza Rice

Filed under: Israel,politics,Wordpress Political Blogs — iknowkeith @ 3:56 pm

This doesn’t need commentary. Here it is:

January 5, 2009

The Honorable Condoleezza Rice
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State

Dear Dr. Rice:

I am writing concerning Israel’s military offensive against Gaza, which began on December 27th. I support Israel’s security and its right to exist in peace, without the fear of rocket attacks from Hamas. Moreover, I abhor the violence being visited upon the citizens of our firm ally. However, no nation is immune from the legal conditions placed on the receipt of U.S. military assistance. I believe that with the current escalation of violence in Gaza, a legal threshold has been reached, warranting a Presidential examination and report to Congress. I hereby request an examination of Israel’s compliance with the provisions of the Arms Export Control Act of 1976 (AECA).

While neither the AECA nor the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (FAA) define “internal security” and “legitimate self-defense,” I believe that Israel’s most recent

attacks neither further internal security nor do they constitute “legitimate” acts of self-defense. They do, however, “increase the possibility of an outbreak or escalation of conflict,” because they are a vastly disproportionate response to the provocation, and because the Palestinian population is suffering from those military attacks in numbers far exceeding Israeli losses in life and property.

Israel’s current military campaign in Gaza has inflicted a significant toll on Palestinian civilians and society. Israel’s recent aerial and ground offensive against Gaza has killed nearly 600 and injured over 2,500. The Associated Press reported: “children are paying the price. . . . The United Nations has said the death toll includes 34 children. . . . But the broad range of Israel’s targets–police compounds, fire stations, homes of militants, Hamas-run mosques and university buildings–means most shelling is occurring in residential areas.”[2] The extensive destruction of such civilian institutions violates Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits the wanton destruction of property and collective punishment of a civilian population. There have also been reports of bombings of United Nations (UN) schools, despite the fact that Israeli Defense Forces were allegedly given coordinates of the facilities prior to the current escalation in violence. The blockade that Israel has imposed on Gaza since 2006 has further exacerbated the extent of collateral damage, as hospitals and morgues have been unable to cope with the magnitude of deaths and injuries as a result of the current escalation in violence and hospitals lack proper supplies needed to treat the injured.

I believe that Israel’s use of defense articles provided by the U.S in the current Gaza military attacks may constitute a violation of the AECA. At a minimum, the conflict is sufficient to warrant an immediate report to Congress as required by 22 U.S.C. §2753. Please contact my office by close of business on January 7, 2009 with the date the report will be submitted.

Sincerely,

Dennis J. Kucinich
Member of Congress

The USS Liberty

Filed under: Conspiracy,Israel,politics,Wordpress Political Blogs — iknowkeith @ 9:00 am

From LewRockwell.com in 2001.

At 0800 hrs, 8 June, 1967, eight Israeli recon flights flew over ‘Liberty,’ which was flying a large American flag. At 1400 hrs, waves of low-flying Israeli Mystere and Mirage-III fighter-bombers repeatedly attacked the American vessel with rockets, napalm, and cannon. The air attacks lasted 20 minutes, concentrating on the ship’s electronic antennas and dishes. The ‘Liberty’ was left afire, listing sharply. Eight of her crew lay dead, a hundred seriously wounded, including the captain, Commander William McGonagle.

At 1424 hrs, three Israeli torpedo boats attacked, raking the burning ‘Liberty’ with 20mm and 40mm shells. At 1431hrs an Israeli torpedo hit the ‘Liberty’ midship, precisely where the signals intelligence systems were located. Twenty-five more Americans died.

The Israeli attacks killed 34 US seamen and wounded 171 out of a crew of 297, the worst loss of American naval personnel from hostile action since World War II.

The attack on ‘Liberty’ was fading into obscurity until last week, when intelligence expert James Bamford came out with Body of Secrets, his latest book about the National Security Agency. In a stunning revelation, Bamford writes that unknown to Israel, a US Navy EC-121 intelligence aircraft was flying high overhead the ‘Liberty,’ electronically recorded the attack. The US aircraft crew provides evidence that the Israeli pilots knew full well that they were attacking a US Navy ship flying the American flag.

Could someone explain to me why we are friends with Israel?

January 6, 2009

“If China puts a man on the moon”

Filed under: China,Our World — iknowkeith @ 7:52 pm

Recent article in Bloomberg,
Obama Moves to Counter China With Pentagon-NASA Link suggests that because of China’s space ambition they are catching up to the U.S. and the military needs to be involved with NASA to speed development of space vehicles.

Check this line:
s_full-moon
If China puts a man on the moon, that in itself isn’t necessarily a threat to the U.S.,” said Dean Cheng, a senior Asia analyst with CNA Corp., an Alexandria, Virginia-based national-security research firm. “But it would suggest that China had reached a level of proficiency in space comparable to that of the United States.”

Hmmm.  So if China sends a man to the moon (matching an achievement NASA managed in 1969) then they “reached a level of proficiency in space comparable to that of the United States?”  Seriously?  Are they suggesting that NASA has not advanced the science and technology of space exploration and travel in the last 40 years?  Appalling.

I have to agree with Obama on this one.  NASA needs a kick in the ass even more than it needs funding.  Hopefully they are paired with the U.S. Marines.  Maybe that would get them motivated to aggressively move ahead.

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