Don’ t Upset The Barista

Guns and Coffee on Smartphone.jpeg

Interesting sticker on this guy’s smartphone this morning:

“Guns and Coffee”


And the Starbucks mermaid in the center is packing two pistols in her hands, instead of the usual fishy fins. 


Now the good thing about this particular guy was that he was also wearing a lapel pin from a prominent law enforcement agency here in Washington, D.C., so that was comforting. 


I’ve heard about the economic trade-off (“opportunity costs”) between “Guns and Butter,” meaning how much we choose to budget for defense vs. civilian goods/social entitlements.


But this is novel–“Guns and Coffee”–I guess you can have your coffee and your 2nd Amendment rights as well. 


What happens if you haven’t had your coffee yet, does the little mermaid shoot first and ask questions later? 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Paper Navy Tiger

Damaged Navy Warship.jpeg

We spend $600 billion on defense and this is what we get?


In the middle of the night our U.S. Navy DESTROYER crashes with a ginormous container ship.


The commercial vessel (yes it’s bigger, but it’s a civilian ship) is lightly damaged, but the U.S. Navy BATTLESHIP (after having undergone a recent $21 million upgrade) has 7 dead, the captain injured, and it can barely make it back to its port except with tugboats for extensive repairs. 


WTF!


How does an battleship with the latest sensors and technology collide with a civilian ship–how did such a foreign vessel even get close to our navy ship let alone collide with it–was someone completely “asleep at the wheel?”


This is no joke!–this is our first line of defense in our ability to project force globally. 


What if this had been a terrorist ship laden to the hilt with high explosives or an Axis of Evil Iranian or North Korean fast attack craft or even a Russian or Chinese attack submarine–surprise!


Doesn’t a battleship need to be ever-vigilant and -ready for battle? 


How can we fight sophisticated 21st century militaries with advanced ship-killer cruise missiles, torpedos, and mines, if we can’t even avoid the essential sinking of one our own fighting ships in peacetime. 


Our brave men and women who take up the uniform to serve this great nation–and this country–DESERVE BETTER!


Does this paper navy ship with a punched hole in it represent a larger forgotten or war-weary military in dire need of modernization and genuine readiness to defend the beautiful and free America? 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal via The Guardian)

A New Diplomacy In Town

Aircraft Carriers 3

A wonderful colleague sent me this really impressive photo.

This was one of my favorite of 3 aircraft carrier strike groups taken together (Abraham Lincoln, Kitty Hawk, and Ronald Reagan)–the 1st and the 3rd of which are Nimitz-class nuclear-powered supercarriers. 

According to the slides, there were literally 4 four nuclear submarines standing guard in the waters beneath, as well as a B-2 stealth bomber flying overhead.  

What I really liked the most though wasn’t even the photos, but rather the motto for the carriers of:

“Over 90,000 tons of diplomacy…wherever… whenever…”

Diplomacy can be listening, negotiating, and compromise, but it can also be through the projection of the ultimate national and human strength. 

With a staggering rise in global terrorism, militaristic adventurism, and the proliferation of dangerous weapons of mass destruction, perhaps it’s time to harden up on some of the soft power, and demonstrate as well the very credible hard power and resolve we have for protecting American lives, freedom, and human rights. 😉

(Source Photo: here)

Fist With Parachute

Fist In Parachute
I took this photo in Miami yesterday.


A fist attached to a parachute. 


Sort of a strange image of strength, fighting, and resolve with making a safe landing. 


Perhaps that’s the intersection of defense and diplomacy.


Where we employ soft and hard power to achieve worthy goals and follow one’s moral compass. 


My grandfather used to joke that he would come with the big stick if anyone bothers us. 


He, like my dad, was a very good man! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Merkava IV With Anti-Missile System

Merkava IV
I came across this video and photo online of the Israeli Mekava IV Tank with the Trophy Anti-Missile System. 



This tank looks so cool–a little fortress on treads. 



And with the Trophy system it can track and take out incoming missiles with a shotgun like blast. 



For a small country like Israel in the middle of a pretty bad and dangerous neighborhood–this is a necessity. 



Great for defending the Holy Land! 😉



(Source Photo: here with attribution to Michael Shvadron)

Why Have We Gone Soft On Terror?

Captain America
So today, we saw the movie American Sniper, which topped the long weekend box office with over $105 million in receipts.

Why are people loving this movie?

Because Chris Kyle (played by Bradley Cooper) was a true patriot, and as a Navy Seal sniper fought the war on terror with 4 tours of duty overseas and over 160 confirmed kills.

Chris Kyle loved this country and what it stands for and he loved his fellow warfighters, who gave so much of themselves to protect this nation.

The people of our country are watching the world events unfold with one terrorist attack and atrocity after another…and they are aghast at how we have apparently gone soft when we are still at war!

Iran misses deadline after deadline for disarming their nuclear WMD program, and rather than leading the charge on sanctions, instead there is a vow to veto both houses of Congress on any legislation that even threatens sanctions that would only take effect if they fail to reach a deal by the July 2015 deadline.

Al Qaeda conducts series of horrific terrorist attacks in Paris on Charlie Hebdo magazine and a kosher grocery store, and 40 world leaders and millions of citizens come together for a Unity Rally, but our leadership bows out of attending, instead of being arm-in-arm with our allies such as France, Germany, England, and Israel.



Hamas rains thousands of missiles indiscriminately on Israeli cities and digs terror tunnels to abduct and murder across the country, and in the ultimate hypocrisy of justice, the International Criminal Court protects the terrorists and investigates our ally for defending themselves in a 50-day war against those who vow to destroy them.

ISIS is capturing huge swaths of Iraq and Syria and is murdering and torturing the populace and beheading our journalists and aid workers and our response is tepid and inadequate.

– The Taliban slaughter 145 mostly schoolchildren in Pakistan and where is our indignation?

Boko Haram kidnaps hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls and they threaten to sell them and we hold up signs to “Bring Back Our Girls,” but where is the action to actually free them.

– With terrorists hunted down and captured–at great risk to our own military and intelligence men and women–and held at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, instead of locking them up and throwing away the keys, we are releasing them, while many yet return to perform more terrorist activities against us.

These are just a few to mention…yet where is the outrage at all the ongoing terrorism around us? Where is the determined action to protect our people, freedom and democracy?

We need to honor those who fought for this country–like patriot Chris Kyle–and decisively win this war on terror. Anything less is a losing strategy. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)