Sunday, January 31, 2016

Tomorrow It Begins

The run up to the Iowa caucuses have been going on for months and months and months.  And months.  Is there anyone who isn't tired of it?  The ups and downs.  The agony of the debates.  The media spin.  The blame game.  Like I said...most want it to be over.

So it finally begins tomorrow.  After that things will start to accelerate.  Who knows where it's going, but it seems that this year is pretty difficult to predict.  But what the hell.  What do I have to lose.  So here goes.

Bernie wins tomorrow.  And will win New Hampshire in a few days.  But I think he fizzles after that. The Dems aren't going to let a socialist represent their party, even if a significant number of them have gone over to the dark side.  And even if Hillary is indicted, which absolutely should happen but probably won't, Bernie can't be the standard bearer.  Where do they turn if she's out?  Beats me.  So this one is pretty difficult to predict.

As if the other side was easier to predict.  I think Trump wins tomorrow.  But Rubio has a surprisingly good showing.  Cruz?  He does well but I sense people are starting to realize what a sleaze he is.  Maybe that's hopeful thinking.  New Hampshire?  Trump could do well but I think it's all about who does good enough.  Rubio, Kasich, and Christie have real chances to make a mark.  Question is who will do it.  I think the other big question is who gets out and when.  The field has be narrowed.  So some of these guys gotta go.  After New Hampshire?  Don't know.  Check back.  I'm hoping it becomes a battle between Rubio, Kasich and Christie.  But I'm not naive enough to believe that.  The other two jackasses will hang around.  Question will be when and what knocks them out.

Motivation Monday

The Internet

Show this to your sons and daughters.  Hell, show this to everyone.  Hiding behind the veil of the internet are a lot of unsavory characters.  The lesson?  Don't believe everything you read.  And always be skeptical.  Be very, very skeptical.


I think this is about right!

Bond...James Bond!

I don't know if this is real.  But if it is, it's interesting.  By all accounts Steve Jobs was a world class prick.  Guess Sean Connery got that gouge.  


This is an exaggeration, but there's also a lot of truth here.  We seem more and more and more obsessed by recording everything we do and reporting on it.  Hell...I find myself doing it all the time. It's a weird obsession.  And it's sorta fun.  But the question is, when you're recording everything, what is important?  What really matters?  Good question and one to ponder.

Dogs are Cool!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Friday Funnies

This is pretty funny.  And I'm pretty proud to say totally and completely not politically correct!


Meant as a joke...or is it?

Fundamental Advice

A matched set.  You're welcome!


Only One Question

Why are all those guys in front of her?

Tonight's Debate

The debate tonight was interesting.  I really liked that Trump wasn't in attendance.  There have been differing opinions on the wisdom of his decision to not attend and the impact it will have on his candidacy.  I think it will be a net loss.  He comes across as a petulant jackass.  Simple as that.  The hard core supporters won't think so, but the people he's trying to woo will.  And remember, with his numbers he has about 14 million supporters (in the whole electorate).  He needs 60 million to win.  A stunt like tonight won't help him win any supporters.  I really think a lot of people who were trying to figure him out are starting to think he's the knucklehead that they thought he was.  So he will continue to be a factor, but at the end of the day, he's not going to get the nod.

The rest of the debate had some good substance.  I did think that the Fox crew was trying to be a bit "gotcha" in some of their questions, but overall pretty good.  Thought my guy Rubio did well.  Of course, all the talking heads are weighing in.  So who knows.  Thought Cruz was as slimy as always.  150 years ago and that guy would be selling snake oil on the corner.  He really is a turnoff and his radicalism is pretty repulsive.  Christie did well.  Continue to like his prosecutorial demeanor.  Think he'd be a pretty good VP.  Or AG.  Bush had a good night.  But my gut tells me too little, too late.  And a weird phenomenon is that the longer he is around, the more the Bush name hurts.  Weird.  Paul?  Clearly a fringe candidate.  Like his libertarian leanings in many ways, but don't think he could ever get traction.  I'll provide the usual assessment of Carson.  Nice guy.  Could never make it.  Kasich?  Still like him but he seems like he's continually focusing on the past.  He needs to take a page out of Rubio's book.  Focus on the future.  The "undercard"?  Still like Fiorina.  Think she should be a factor but for some reason has never caught on.  If they are looking for a woman VP, then she could play.  But I'd prefer Nicki Haley.  

When they got to immigration, I kept wondering why we can't solve this.  Is it that the threat outweighs the solution?  Is it economic?  Is it racism?  Is it ignorance?  Probably some of all the above.  It was obvious to me that most of them have been all over the landscape.  Seems to me that this a problem ripe for a compromise solution.  Most Americans believe in and know we are a nation of immigrants.  "Give my your tired and your poor..." and all that.   We've got to get a policy in place that results in reasonable immigration policies so that we can continue the proud tradition of welcoming people from around the world, especially those fleeing from oppression, while at the same time protecting our people.  At the end of the day, we have it pretty good here.  And we ought to be figuring out how to share this wonderful experiment in freedom.   Expose people to freedom, get them an education, turn them loose to better themselves...that is the American way.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Great Green Fleet

The USS John C. Stennis Battle Group left San Diego last week on deployment.  There was much hype about this being the "Great Green Fleet".  Powered by rendered beef fat don't you know.  Huge cost savings.  Moving to the future.  Attacking climate change.  Lots of media hype.  SecNav was in town and was all over the local channels and the local fish wrap.  Like in many of his other endeavors, there is a wee bit of controversy.  Think Midship-person.  Think USS Gabby Giffords.  And those are just a few that come immediately to mind.  Personally, I think he's a low life, opportunistic, idiot.  But hey...that's just me.

CDR Salamander has a great post over at USNI Blog about the Great Green Fleet.  You can read it here.  It's really good so I'm going to also post it below.

Where, exactly, is the “Great Green Fleet” great?
By CDRSalamander
Experimentation is good and fine, but when is it time to take a cold view and say – that’s enough?
In a time where we complain of tight budgets, are we throwing too much at one of the SECNAV’s pet projects?
Via David Alexander at Reuters;
When the Navy first tested biofuel versions of marine diesel and jet fuel in 2012, it spent eye-popping sums for small amounts.
In one case, it paid $424 a gallon for 20,055 gallons of biofuel based on algae oil. To test the Great Green Fleet in the summer of 2012, it spent nearly $27 a gallon for 450,000 gallons of biofuel, later mixed into a 50-50 blend. The $15-per gallon-cost was four times that of conventional fuel.
The fuel for the Great Green Fleet deployment over the next year is a competitively priced blend of 90 percent diesel and 10 percent biofuel made from beef fat, Navy officials said.
A California firm, AltAir Fuels, is contracted to supply 77 million gallons of the fuel between Oct. 1, 2015, and Sept. 30, 2016.
The Navy pays $2.05 a gallon, thanks in part to a subsidy of 15 cents a gallon from the Commodity Credit Corp, a government-owned enterprise that supports farm products.
Fuel costs in the last few years have fallen through the floor. We are now an oil exporting nation once again, and via fracking, we have greatly expanded access to fuel at inside our lifelines. Supply is no longer an issue for the economy in general, and well beyond a threat to our Navy.
Why are we doubling down on an idea that seems from the 1970s? Why are we also creating our own pet industrial policy?
To boost production of alternative fuels, the Navy has awarded $210 million to help three firms build refineries to make biofuels using woody biomass, municipal waste and used cooking grease and oil. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is providing an additional $161 million in crop supports.
The refineries are expected to begin operations this year, with full production not likely until 2017.
Is this what we need to spend our money on?
There is a financial cost, but what other risks are we taking on? What are we buying in to? What are we investing our reputational capital in?
Robert Bryce has outlined some shoal water we should all note;
One of the companies that got a lucrative biofuel contract from the military was the San Francisco–based Solazyme Inc. According to the Congressional Research Service, in 2009, Solazyme got a $223,000 contract for 1,500 gallons of algae-based motor fuel. That works out to $149 per gallon. Perhaps it’s a coincidence, but Solazyme has also been a big donor to Democratic causes, giving some $300,000 to Democratic candidates and committees. The company has also donated between $100,000 and $250,000 to the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation.

Last month, Fortune reporter Katie Fehrenbacher wrote an excellent piece about the spate of failed cellulosic-biofuel companies that have been backed by Silicon Valley promoter Vinod Khosla. In 2006, Khosla claimed that we “can replace most of our gasoline needs in 25 years with biomass.” One of Khosla’s investments was in Range Fuels, the failure of which I wrote about on NRO back in 2011. Range Fuels got a $76 million grant from the Department of Energy as well as an $80 million loan that was guaranteed by the federal government. Despite the failure of Range, Khosla plunged forward with a company called KiOR, which claimed it could profitably produce liquid fuels from the wood of pine trees. The company got tens of millions of dollars in government money, but its process never worked as promised, and it filed for bankruptcy in 2014. The state of Mississippi, which provided the company with a $75 million loan, is now suing Khosla, as well as several KiOR executives, claiming the state was deceived about the company’s technology.
… the marketplace is trumping government mandates and subsidies. Today, ethanol distilleries are consuming about 40 percent of all domestic corn output in order to produce fuel equivalent of about 600,000 barrels of oil per day. (Total U.S. consumption in 2014 averaged about 19 million barrels per day.) And it took roughly four decades of mandates and subsidies for the corn-ethanol industry to grow to that size. Let’s compare that result with what has happened in the oil patch. Since 2006, thanks to the shale revolution, domestic oil production has increased by more than 3.6 million barrels per day. Thus, in just this past decade, the oil sector has increased production by six times the total output of every ethanol distillery in America. That increased oil production didn’t happen because of congressional mandates or subsidies. It happened because privately owned companies risked billions of dollars, and in doing so they innovated in everything from drill bits to mud pumps.
With the service still suffering from the Fat Leonard scandal, all this money going to places it has no economic reason to makes me a bit itchy. That is the worst-worst case. Best worst-case, just a boondoggle. Best case? You were just following orders.

My instincts are that this remains what it looks like, a well meaning but misguided personal priority of the SECNAV. It does not make sense from an economic or national security point of view – but that is just my view, and he’s the SECNAV. His call.

Government money chasing hard to defend programs do not result in a kind judgement from history. Sal’s recommendation: let this be pushed by the civilians and political appointees – this is their business. If in uniform, do what your job strictly requires, but edge your way out of the picture when the PAO comes around. The reward is small, but the potential frag pattern is huge.

So this is an interesting experiment.  But the more this renewable energy thing gains momentum, the more it costs.  I'm not a naysayer.  But I am a realist.  And part of realism is trying figure out and recognize corruption.  And a lot of this stuff stinks, but literally and figuratively.  As I've said many times and in many venues when it comes to climate change and renewable resources...follow the money.  Always follow the money!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Do I Really Want A Beer?

Cool Pic

Dogs Are Cool!

News You Can Use

There are a lot of things parents learn on the job.  This was one of those things.  We were sorta young as parents and sometimes it seemed like there was a lot of trial and error.  My kids always pitched in but I never saw a guide.  Luckily I was married to a wonderful woman who not only put up with me (and that may be the biggest understatement of the century) but also had a very good instinct on raising kids...and she sometimes had 3 of us!


Now this is a great protest!  Really makes about as much sense of some of those you see on the news these days!

Cool Pic

Monday, January 25, 2016


Every issue these days proves to be a loser for her.  Like this disgusting water crises in Flint, Michigan.   She just can't get ahead of things.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Motivation Monday

News You Can Use

You're welcome!


Do you get it?  If not...sigh...

Before and After

This is Syria.  Think about this in context of your street.  And then think about our role, or non-role.  Should we have engaged?  If so, how?  And what now?


There is a lot of inside baseball that goes on in Washington.  It's also true in the news business.  Put them together and it's positively incestuous.  The ties below show some very, very troubling connections.  And of course these are not the only ones.  So when you hear or see something on the news always, always be skeptical.

Drinking Around The World

A lot of truth here.  We've become a fighting and a litigious society.  And beer doesn't particularly help.  And I guess the Brits have their share of fights.  Don't see the Aussies.  They don't have fights...they have brawls.

Let's Party!

Another bride who's going to have a lot of fun at here wedding...Maybe!

Four Bottles

There are a lot of life analogies out there.  Have never seen this but in a weird sort of way it makes some sense.  Of course, you gotta see the bottles as representatives of stages.  But works pretty well.  Not liking stage 4 though.  Think I'll stay at stage 3 as long as possible!

Group Projects

I do quite a bit of volunteer work now that I'm retired.  I can relate.  And if I think about it, the reality is that it has always been this way, from school days through work days and into retirement.  Maybe not always, but I think I'm pretty much the guy on the left.  And here's the question...which guy are you?


I've been thinking for a while that the whole polling culture that has come to dominate our elections is seriously screwed up.  The media is gaa-gaa over them and touts this poll or that poll as if they are the gospel.  But there are so many things that can impact polling, so many different variables, so much hype, so many differing questions and populations, and on and on and on.  I feel really stupid when I hear of some poll and think that it matters.  Because it doesn't.

Frank Bruni has written a really good piece in today's NYT called "Our Insane Addition to Polls".  You can read it here.  He makes a ton of good points!

First is that they have crazy variability.  Someone who is up today is down tomorrow.  What is a voter to think.  And there are way too many of them.
"Over a monthlong period ending Thursday night — a monthlong period, mind you, that included the Christmas and New Year’s break — there were 11 polls in Iowa, 10 in New Hampshire and nine nationally. There were polls focused on 10 different states. ... I’d say that we’re in a period of polling bloat, but bloat is too wan a word. Where polling and the media’s attention to it are concerned, we’re gorging ourselves into a state of morbid obesity."  
And they can be self-fulfilling.  If the media weren't so fixated on how Trump is doing in polls, would he be getting the coverage?
"If Donald Trump wins the Republican nomination — or, heaven forbid, the White House — it will be partly because we in the media justified saturation coverage of him by pointing to polls, which in turn legitimized his fixation on them as proof that he’s up to the job: He must be, because plenty of people apparently picture him in it."
Polling that shows candidates close isn't as good a story as someone getting trounced.  We've come to the place in society where we don't just like winners...we like big winners.  So I suspect pollsters sometimes arrange the questions or the audience so as to show just how badly someone is doing.  Because the the worse someone is doing, the better the story.
"Desperation makes a better story. So the media dwells on the most pessimistic projections, ensuring that polling, no matter how divorced from reality, shapes it. ... Polls determined which Republican candidates participated in which debates, although just a couple of percentage points — the margin of error, really — separated a few of the prime-time debaters from the early birds." 
Then there is the local poll vs the national poll craziness.  This far in front of the general election, national polls make no sense.  And the truth is that the vast majority of folks haven't made up their mind and are potentially open to change.
“A national poll is absolutely meaningless,” said Stuart Stevens, the chief strategist for Romney’s 2012 campaign. “One of every nine Americans lives in California. So one of every nine voters in that poll is going to be in California. When’s the last time anybody read a story about the Republican primary in California?” ... And if you dig below the surface of these national polls — or of polls in the states with the first contests — you find a crucial detail that we in the media blithely gloss over: Many, if not most, voters haven’t made up their minds. In last week’s CNN/WMUR poll of New Hampshire voters, for example, about one in three Republicans said that they had definitely decided on a candidate." 
The thing that is never talked about when the anchor or reporter breathlessly reports that so-and-so is getting trounced (heh, heh, heh) is who is being polled and what the questions are.  That seems like it might sorta matter.
“The entire industry rests on the idea that the people you get are representative of the people you don’t get,” said Jon Cohen, who supervised polling for The Washington Post from 2006 to 2013 and is now the vice president of survey research at SurveyMonkey. “I think that’s an increasingly questionable premise and one that I keep in mind every time I design a survey.” 
So if you're interested in this stuff, read the whole thing.  Polls are one of those things we all take for granted.  We hear what's being said but how often to we evaluate the truth behind it?  Maybe we should!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Ted Cruz, F**king Idiot

There is a good profile of Ted Cruz in today's WSJ.  I think it pretty much nails him.  You can read it here.

There are just so many things that are unsavory about him.  And scary.  Here's the quote that resonates with me:
"Mr. Cruz’s critics on Capitol Hill believe he converts differences over strategy into crucibles of purity and principles, and then goes on to assail his opponents as dishonest, illegitimate or motivated by bad faith. Thus he says GOP leaders opposed the 2013 ObamaCare shutdown because they were closet supporters of the entitlement, not because they thought the tactic was futile and would mislead voters about what was politically possible.
In a word, they think he is a supremely self-absorbed show pony."
As in many things I go back to my roots.  Can't remember where I heard this but it's supremely true.  In a Navy ready room, there are two types of guys (guys in the generic sense).  There are "good shits" or "fucking idiots".  And everyone knows the difference.  Ted Cruz is a fucking idiot.

Friday, January 22, 2016


Watching the Bernie phenomenon is pretty interesting.  HE'S A SOCIALIST!  Do people not get that?  His fundamental message is to spend trillions more dollars on theories that have proven over and over again to not work.  He has accomplished nothing in 25 years in the Senate.  And if by some wild collision of the stars he was elected, he could get nothing done.  Nothing.  It would be 4 years of nothingness.  But wait...4 years of the government at standstill?  Maybe that wouldn't be so bad!

An Age Old Truth...

Dogs Are Cool!

Election Update

So here we are.  A couple weeks out from the Iowa caucuses followed closely by the New Hampshire primary.  Tired of the coverage yet?  I know I am.  And I live in California.  Can't even imagine if I lived in Iowa or New Hampshire.  It would be brutal.  As we go through 2016 it's going to get even more intense, meaner, more grueling, more crazy accusations, and for some desperation will set in.  And that is on both sides.  

So this is my blog and I can do with it what I want, so I'm going to provide a periodic update from my perspective.  It will not be regular, just when the mood strikes.  Or I can't stand the stupidity any more.  I'll provide my thoughts on both sides because there is just so much to assess.  And remember, this is my view.  You might not agree.  You might think I'm full of crap.  Or you might think I'm a wise dude.  Whatever.  But what I hope is that you care, that you intend to vote.  If not, move along and live your life.  But do not ever, ever think you have any right whatsoever to comment or bitch or complain about the system.  Because you don't.

Here's where we are.  I'm a student of the Civil War.  That was the time of gravest danger to our country.  Period.  The peril to the Union was unprecedented.  That we survived is a testament to many things, not the least of which is the determination of our greatest President, Abraham Lincoln, to keep the Union together.  So I won't make a hyperbolic statement that we have never been in more danger.  But that doesn't mean we don't have really, really big problems.  We have a huge national debt that seems out of control.  We have lost a tremendous amount of prestige around the world.  We have made grave mistakes in national security strategy that will be tough to overcome.  We have been divided against ourselves and made to feel like a bunch of factions instead of Americans.  And we have a government that seems broken and incompetent.  Once again, from my perspective this all lies at the feet of Barak Obama.  He is, quite simply, the worst President in our history.  Oh, you could make a case that Andrew Johnson was worse for not carrying out Lincoln's intent and policies, but you'd be splitting hairs.  And the thing is, he could have been great.   But I really think he just didn't know how.  We elected a far left-winger who kowtowed to special interest groups without a spec of experience or any real accomplishments whatsoever, twice.  But...that's all history.  He has done the damage he's going to do, assuming he doesn't go even more rogue in the next year.

Here's a few soundbites that I think about the candidates.  As I said, either agree, disagree, or move along.

Hillary--she is a criminal.  She has exhibited dramatic incompetence her entire life.  But now she is a criminal.  She is spinning and lying about the email fiasco to deflect the fact that she has SAP info on her unsecured server.  She either doesn't get it, is breathtakingly stupid, or is a liar.  Simple as that. That's enough to disqualify her.  But her shameful performance as SecState during Bhengazi was terrible.  She in no way should she be CinC.  You can go back and look at some of my "Hillary" posts.  Decide for yourself.

Bernie--He is a democratic socialist.  That should be enough.  The reality is that he didn't do much in 25 years in the Senate.  The further reality is that he could not be elected.  The even further reality is that if by some chance he could get elected (which he can't), he could not get anything done.  His policies couldn't remotely get enacted.  So if he's the President, we have 4 years of nothingness.  Then again, maybe that would be good.  At least there would be minimal damage.

O'Mally--Please.  Irrelevant

Trump--I don't like that so many people like him.  He's brash, exhibits some racist tendencies, can be cruel, appears to be an inch deep and a mile wide, and says exactly what he thinks without any nuance whatsoever.  I worry about his depth.  I worry that he is a ready, fire, aim kind of guy.  I worry that he is writing a lot of checks that he can't cash.  So I got his book, "The Art of the Deal".  I still think all those things, but I also think he's a pretty smart guy.   And at least he has done things, accomplished things in his life.  He is a really, really smart businessman who has been extremely successful.  He's been talking about things that resonate with people.  "Make America Great Again"...who doesn't like that?  Immigration, trade, strong military, crime...all winning issues.  I also sense he'll reach across the aisle to get things done.  And I've seen some moderation and a turn to a more statesmanlike demeanor in the past few weeks.  Not a lot.  But some.  I'm still not sure what to think.  But one thing for sure.  I would vote for him every day and twice on Sunday before I'd vote for Cruz.

Cruz--Strident, smart, great debater, ruthless.  And a sleaze.  I sense a liar.  A guy who will say anything.  A guy who is a first term Senator and no one, literally no one, likes him.  I may worry about Trump and actions he would take a bit, but I'm scared to death of the actions Cruz would take.  I'm in the ABC camp...Anyone But Cruz.

Rubio--Smart, articulate, young, Latino, and personable.  He seems willing to reach across the aisle to get things done.  He can win.  But I worry that he is a first term Senator with limited experience.  Where have I seen this before?  But, he's my guy.  I think he's the guy who can win and reasonably turn the ship into the wind.

Kasich--Used to be my guy.  Experienced, smart, articulate.  But too much focus on the past.  Now seems sort of whiny.  If he gains steam and moves into contention, I'll be happy.  He would make a great President.  But I don't see it.

Christie--Could surprise.  He seems, more than any of the others, to fluctuate pretty wildly in the polls and with people's admiration.  It means something that he was elected in such a Democratic state like New Jersey.  His experience as a prosecutor would be good.  Think he'd make a pretty reasonable President.  But I just don't see it.

Jeb--Please.  Irrelevant.  Sad, but true.

The Rest--I think the only reason that they are still in is so that they can make the valid claim that they were a Presidential candidate and made it to a primary (which oh by the way they lost).  That info goes on the jacket of their book and into their resume when they apply for their job in a K Street lobby house.  Nothing else.

That's top level.  Obviously much more to each one.  I could sit here all night and write about Hillary.   But after a while I'd have to go throw up.  How any thinking person could support her is way beyond me.  The only good thing, and I mean the only good thing, is that it gets Bubba back in the spotlight.  And that is always good for a laugh.

As I said at the beginning, I'll update this as we go along.  I think after New Hampshire the field will narrow considerably.  It'll then be a little easier.  The Republicans will be down to 3 or 4 and Hillary will be under indictment.  I know, I know...wishful thinking!


The MSM is ignoring it.  The Dems have their spin.  Fox is the only one keeping the pressure on.  The upcoming primaries are diverting attention.  But the fact remains...she's a criminal.  A liar.  And by what she is saying, breathtakingly ignorant of national security structures.  Where's it going?  Who knows.  But if there isn't an indictment at the end of this rainbow, then there is something very, very wrong.  Keep watching.

Bernie could have an easy path to the nomination.  That is unless someone comes out of the woodwork to save the day for the Dems.  Hmmmm...who could that be?  I about Joe.  Joe could be the knight in shining armor to save the Dems from themselves.  And if by some strange quirk of fate (or the Republicans continue to kill themselves) he is elected, I wonder who would be a good nominee for the Supreme Court when there is an opening?  Yep...good guess...we may not have seen the end of Barry.  Wonder if you can commute from Hawaii to the Supreme Court?

Wednesday, January 20, 2016


Things are getting really, really screwy in my Navy.  It's sad and maddening.  The latest is the purge of words indicating gender.  How stupid.  CDR Salamander has a great post on it today.  You can read it here.  It's all there.  Not much more I can say.


So now we hear that not only was the server unsecure and contained government email traffic and not only was the server maintained by some amateur outfit but that it was also linked to the Clinton Foundation.  And now we hear that it not only contained classified information, it contained Special Access (SAP) information.  Are you kidding me?  WTF is going on.  If you or me or anyone else (are you listening Gen Petraeus) even came close to this we'd either be in jail or out on bail miserably looking for a lawyer.  

And so what is the next logical thing to happen.  Well, you and I both know the Clinton's aren't going to sit back and not respond.  So what do they do.  They come out swinging against one of the investigators.  But not just any investigator.  This guy has stellar credentials.  I mean pristine.  And they accuse him of being in the tank for the Republicans.  Amazing.  You can read a good account on this post from Powerline.   I wish I could claim surprise.  But I can't.  Because nothing that they do surprises me anymore.  

National Security Strategy

I've been saying for quite a while that nothing of what we are doing internationally is reflective of a coherent strategy.  I've come to believe that the crowd currently in power not only don't have a strategy, they don't know what a strategy is.  But I know someone who does.  Lani Kass was my seminar lead at National War College and a brilliant strategist.  She has written an open letter over at War on the Rocks to the next President providing a bit of advice in this area.  You can read it here.  I'm going to copy and paste the whole thing below.  It's very good.  Read it all.  Don't know if any of the current candidates will see it, but I hope so.  And reading this advice you can't help but wonder how the two frontrunners will totally screw it up...

JANUARY 12, 2016

On January 20, 2017, you may be the one chosen by the American people to place your left hand on the Bible, raise your right hand, and “solemnly swear to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and to bear true faith and allegiance to the same.” The Constitution sets out, clearly and unambiguously, the priorities on which you must focus: “establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity” — in that order.

Today, you are one of over a dozen people competing to become the 45th president of the United States. But, it is never too early to demonstrate a clear grasp of what leadership at this level requires. Likewise, it is high time for the public and the media to demand clarity of vision and a holistic perspective from the entire slate of candidates.

Between now and Inauguration Day, you’ll be on the receiving end of thousands of policy proposals, issue papers, and all manner of expert advice. Each will attempt to tell you what to think and what to do, reflecting a variety of parochial and often conflicting agendas. This open letter, in contrast, offers a framework for how to think and how to act. It reflects the conviction that now is the time to focus on character, values, and strategic coherence. It urges you to develop a clear intellectual roadmap and explain to the electorate how you would approach the solemn responsibility of providing for America’s security and prosperity.

The next president will take office at a unique inflection point: an intersection of history and destiny, with lives in the balance. Learn now to own your decisions without searching for excuses or scapegoats. Never falter. The price of the mistakes you will inevitably make will be measured in blood, treasure, and America’s credibility. There are no do-overs. The clock cannot be rewound, and the conditions you will inherit at home and abroad will be your inescapable starting point. Blaming your predecessor’s policy choices will not change this reality, nor will it produce much of value. Look ahead and realize that how you act once you assume office will define the future in terms of both options and outcomes. Be awed, but not intimidated, by this responsibility. Your legacy starts today.

The Constitution vests the president of the United States with the dual role of chief executive and commander in chief. Invest time in understanding the institutions that will serve you or they will hinder your progress through bureaucratic inertia. Most importantly, learn all you can about the military — its capabilities, its role in the national security architecture, and its values and ethos. Earn the trust of our service-members, not merely their obedience. Perhaps more so than the other organizations comprising the mechanisms through which you will govern, the military needs your respect and a finely honed grasp of what it can and cannot achieve.

Unleashing the dogs of war is truly an act of kings. Remember that it is Congress who declares war and commits the nation to a fight. Seek their advice and support, or they will stymie you at every step. Do not commit force unless you are fully committed to win. You owe it to those who would sacrifice life and limb — and their families — to ensure the cause is just, the mission achievable, and the resources sufficient to the task at hand. Make sure the American people fully understand the nature of the fight and the value of the objective in both magnitude and duration. Without candor on all fronts, political support will evaporate when you need it the most.

It is impossible to win unless you lay out clearly what is at stake. Sun Tzu’s admonition to “know the enemy and know yourself” is as resonant today as it was when it was first written millennia ago. Never trivialize or equivocate when it comes to declarations of hostile intent. Mein Kampf and the Communist Manifesto were both initially dismissed as delusional ravings. The ensuing cost was millions of lives, two continents in ruins, and repercussions still felt around the world.

Strategic endeavors are notoriously difficult to end advantageously. Always consider your desired end state before taking the first step. Likewise, realize that indecision and inconsistency are debilitating and dangerous. There are no “time outs.” Your vacillation will not freeze world events. In a competitive environment, any vacuum will be filled — often by malign actors — leaving every subsequent action fraught with even greater risk. Never assume others are na├»ve, misguided, or willing to subordinate their interests for yours.

Beware of hubris. Humility is indeed a virtue, particularly in a volatile, inherently unpredictable environment. The “global balance of power” is a literal construct — it is truly about equilibrium. The only questions are who will lead and how the balance will be restored. Global peace and prosperity are inextricably intertwined. Both are anchored in America’s strength and resolve.

As a global power with global commitments, standing by our allies is the gold standard of trust and credibility — a standard by which you will be judged. While you should think long and hard before taking on new responsibilities, existing obligations must be honored. Therefore, the military you command must be able to deter aggression, defend allies, and defeat opponents across the full range of operations, in all domains — and it must be perceived in this manner. Deterrence is in the eye of the beholder, and it is measured in the breach. Trust cannot be surged on demand — it takes a long time to build, but can be shattered in a moment of inattention.

National security strategy requires a constant adaptation of ends, ways, and means to shifting conditions, in an environment where chance, uncertainty, fog, and friction dominate. To add to the complexity, strategy is both multi-sided and multi-dimensional: The objectives, intentions, actions, and reactions of allies and opponents are often opaque and variable. Policy goals (ends) play a critical role, as do diplomatic, financial, technological, and military resources (means). Other factors — history, culture, ideology, ethos, personalities — influence behavior in subtle, but important ways.

Three elements underpin strategic leadership: grasp of strategic practice; a knack for innovation; and the ability to align domestic and international concerns. Strategic practice is the essence of the president’s job. Strategy guides action. Its focus is on how to use available means to achieve the desired ends with acceptable risk — avoiding single-issue fixation while balancing current requirements with future imperatives.

Innovation is the ability to think anew and develop creative approaches to changing circumstances. Innovation stems from foresight — the aptitude to read current and emerging trends while anticipating their future direction. It requires courage and perseverance, as well as the readiness to “break some glass,” especially in entrenched and stultified bureaucracies.

Do not shy away from discarding assumptions that — while comfortable or comforting — fail to account for new strategic realities. Think holistically: capture both the whole and its component parts; grasp multi-dimensional, dynamic relationships as they are today and as they might evolve tomorrow; strive to relate seemingly disparate activities to one another; anticipate second- and third-order effects of both actions and inactions. The alternatives to strategic thinking are incoherence, confusion, and the disappointments that are sure to follow false expectations.

The president of the United States stands at the crucial intersection of forging grand, national, and international interests into executable objectives that yield desired outcomes once translated into feasible, acceptable, and suitable courses of action. It is not too early to work toward an understanding that lofty aspirations and good intentions must be anchored in fiscal and operational realities, or else be seen as empty gestures that create a dangerous gap between words and deeds.

Surround yourself with men and women of character. Seek a diversity of viewpoints, and think of diversity as encompassing far more than gender or ethnicity. Cherish those who speak truth to power, unbound by political correctness. These virtues are both rare and fragile. You are doomed to fail if you do not deliberately foster and protect the people who possess such attributes. Recognize the difference between facts and opinions. Ask your advisors how they know what they view as facts. Encourage people to identify pitfalls along the path and offer alternative solutions. But once you make a choice, the decision is yours to own, and the buck truly stops with you.

The challenges are daunting and threats abound at home and abroad. Forces of evil have been allowed to flourish. America’s credibility and stature are in dire need of renewal. Lead with commitment and consistency: Do not “pivot” and do not obfuscate. People of good will everywhere will follow if you chart a clear path and compellingly articulate the vital interests at stake.

The world is changing rapidly, and more dramatic upheavals are surely on the way. We have slayed the Communist dragon. In its stead, we face vipers’ nests of unpredictable, asymmetric perils. As the murderous attacks in Paris and San Bernardino clearly demonstrate, the global war against violent Islamists is far from over. Who will prevail and what kind of world will emerge in the aftermath remain open questions. The next president must make a serious effort to win this war in a manner that establishes a better peace and secures U.S. strategic interests. You should start today by understanding the nature of the threat and follow through with a compelling, fact-based narrative explaining the kind of war we are in, what “winning” actually looks like, and what is necessary for victory.

Concurrently, the likelihood of conventional interstate war with a peer competitor has grown. Global stability and security are threatened by a resurgent Russia, a rising China, a dangerous Iran, and an erratic North Korea. All either already possess or are close to acquiring nuclear, space, and cyberwarfare capabilities. Further proliferation of weapons of mass destruction represents a clear and present danger. The U.S. military can no longer rely on its technological edge or the advantages of its extant unchallenged global reach and global power. Every domain — land, sea, air, space, and cyberspace — is a contested environment. Emerging technologies make it easier for adversaries to deny access and target America’s core strengths, including the homeland itself. As a result, future conflicts will be more costly, violent, and difficult to control. The potential for strategic surprise is high, and our military’s residual capacity is at a historic low.

Beware of complacency and strategic myopia. History is replete with examples of disasters born of lack of foresight. Consider this: In the wake of its spectacular victory in 1967, Israel rested on its laurels, secure in the soon-to-be-proven fallacy that past success suffices to deter future attacks. Six years later, it was fighting for its survival, the victim of a devastating surprise orchestrated by a seemingly defeated — and grossly underestimated — foe.

The lessons of history are clear: Aggressors tend to assume risks that seem irrational and thus improbable to the intended victim. This leads to strategic surprise followed by a belated, often chaotic response, and the potential of a catastrophic failure. Do not trivialize adversaries’ stated intent merely because their aspirations appear far-fetched or their capabilities seem inferior. With the increasingly rapid diffusion of military technology, these facts can change overnight.

America is precariously close to the abyss. The national debt is staggering, approaching $19 trillion and growing by the minute. Mind the gap between ends and means! If you permit reality to outpace strategy and budgets, you will always be reactive and often unable to bring your power to bear in time to achieve your desired objectives. Worse, strategic incoherence undermines America’s credibility, stifles innovation, and diverts attention from true exigencies.

You will be taking the helm during a perfect storm fueled by the most toxic political atmosphere and racial tensions in recent memory — amid an extraordinary meltdown in respect for authority, law, and order. The social compact that makes the United States whole — as well as the rules-based global order — are both fraying at the seams. You must commit now to restore the moral compass that has guided America since its inception.

I leave you with Abraham Lincoln’s words: “It is for us the living … to be dedicated to the great task remaining before us … that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Dr. Lani Kass is the Corporate Strategic Advisor at CACI. She served as the Senior Policy Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, directed the Air Force’s Cyber Task Force, served as Special Assistant to CSAF, and was the first woman Professor of Military Strategy at the National War College. During her 20 years at NWC, Dr. Kass educated several generations of the nation’s senior-most strategic leaders. She served the U.S. government with great distinction for 28 years and retired from Federal Service in September 2011.This article expresses the author’s personal views and does not reflect the positions of any organization, public or private.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Dogs Are Cool

Especially compared to cats!

Good Advice


Another one of those photos I stumble upon that is really, really bizarre.

It's Gonna Be a Great Wedding!

Dogs Are Cool


Good question!

Been There, Done That


This practical joke requires patience that you don't see in the normal teenager!

Dogs Are Cool

No one can read a dog's mind.  But based on how the typical dog acts and the typical cat acts, I don't think is too much of a stretch....

Saturday, January 16, 2016

13 Hours

We went to see the movie tonight.  13 Hours is the dramatization of the disaster that occurred in Benghazi, Libya on Sep 11, 2012.  If you've never heard of this fiasco, then I guess you've been living under a rock somewhere.  The movie was powerful, suspenseful, made one proud to be an American, and showed just how chaotic, dangerous, and screwed up some places in the Middle East can be.  It also was a good depiction of a broken chain of command and how that kind of incompetence can put lives in jeopardy.  But most of all, it was a devastating indictment of Hillary and her ineptitude.  I wrote about this when it first happened.  You can read my initial post here.  As the events unfolded I wrote a couple of other posts and you can see one of the better ones here.   Bottom line, this has been a disaster from day one.

I get that this was a movie.  I know that there was some dramatization and exaggeration.  But if any part of the story is true, and we know that much of it is true, then Hillary's lying, capitulation, and mis-management at the very least disqualifies her from being Commander in Chief.  And if the information we have seen about her email shenanigans, including storing classified information on her home server and directing aides to remove classification markings from emails, are even partly true then there is very little doubt that she should be indicted.  And if she isn't, it will be one of the largest miscarriages of justice in my lifetime.  Simple as that.