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)

ISIS Ruined Our Vacation

613.jpeg

So we rolled the dice this Thanksgiving vacation and came up sort of empty.


We were supposed to go to Las Vegas, but then there is ISIS threatening to strike the U.S. 


Already, ISIS is claiming 71 soldiers in 15 states in the U.S., and the FBI is saying that ISIS terrorists are being recruited in all 50 states


Yet our leadership doesn’t want to fight ISIS while they are still over there–instead, we are foolishly waiting for the next big terror attack over here, as if 9/11 with 3,000 dead wasn’t enough!


We are stubborn, deaf to the terror threats, reactive, and refuse to wake up to the danger that is facing our country. 


Dancing around the issue with some drone and airstrikes–no matter how lethal–is not going to remove this enormous terror threat–coming from some of the most barbaric of enemies that we have ever faced. 


My sister told me from a lecture she heard recently about the terrorist threats we are facing, “We are used to fighting finite wars–there is a start/middle/end. [But] they [ISIS] fights infinite wars–not defined [by time or space].”


So how did we come to cancelling our Vegas holiday vacation?


Here is our story…


The number 613 in Judaism is very important–it represents the number of commandments in the Torah.


We have been seeing this number lately wherever we go: We look at the clock, it’s 6:13. We are driving and look at the license plate in front of us–613. We go shopping and the receipt is for $6.13. We rolled a pair of dice (above), that’s right 613, and much more. 


We asked what this means and were told it’s a warning and to do teshuva (repentance) and follow the commandments more stringently. 


On Shabbat this week, I was reading the Wall Street Journal, and then saw an article on a new illustrative book of the commandments called, “The 613.”


That night, I dreamed the entire night about 613–and the need to unlock the code of what it meant for us. 


The next day, my wife said “I have a really bad feeling about Vegas, let’s go visit your parents graves.”


When we got there, my wife touched the tombstone, and said she could hear my dad telling her not to go to Vegas–was this just playing on her imagination?


So she calls her father who is chasidic and he contacts a famous, pious and mystical Rabbi, the Vizhnitzer Rebbe–and without asking him about the trip–the Rebbe just pops out to my father-in-law that he should tell us not to go on our trip, and if we have to go, to take a different path.


My wife tells her father that we already made plans, have tickets, and don’t want to cancel the trip, so we are instructed to give charity (so I immediately write a check for $613!) and do other deeds for repentance instead. 


Then the night before we are supposed to fly out, my daughter comes out with her iPhone and a news items on the State Department issuing a global travel alert “amid concerns that terror groups and individuals plan more attacks after the Paris massacres.”


If all this wasn’t enough, my back which has been hurting the last week, then completely gives out out on me–and in enormous pain, we simply can’t go anywhere.


One warning, two warnings, three warnings…we can’t be deaf to G-d’s message.


So on this Thanksgiving, a sincere thank you to Hashem (and the Vizhnitzer Rebbe) for guiding us and keeping us from danger.


And a not so thank you to ISIS for implicitly spoiling our Thanksgiving holiday plans to Vegas. 


A small and insignificant, but nevertheless a casualty to our political disengagement, false appeasement, fearfulness to recognize the enemy, and war-weariness to take the bastards down and take them down hard and for good before something, G-d forbid, serious and much worse happens. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

When Terror Strikes–We Do What?

When Terror Strikes

Bret Stephens in the Wall Street Journal today writes compellingly about how tolerance for terror (or what he calls tolerance for intolerance) is allowing it to happen. 

For example, Jews are getting knifed, stoned, and intentionally run over almost daily in the Holy Land and not a peep from anyone, except to blame it on settlements, even though this extreme barbaric violence was happening long before there ever was a single settlement

It has become okay to use violence–even terrible sickening and brutal violence against civilians–and as much of it as one can muster–if you have a perceived gripe. Shall we talk burning victims alive, running over live bound victims with tanks, throwing gays off of the roofs of buildings, beheadings and crucifixions, serial killings and mass graves, abducting young girls as sex slaves, use of chemical weapons and indiscriminate bombings and shootings, and more. 

So what do we do?

– We tolerate the intolerable by excusing absolute insufferable violence against innocent men, women, and children, because some are feeling upset or aggrieved–so we show maybe misplaced compassion, where we should be expressing outrage at inhumane acts of murder and barbarism.

– We negotiate to try and appease the terrorists, but they couldn’t care less about deals when blood is the only thing that will quench their thirst for Jihad, power, and a new Caliphate.

– We use bold but empty phrases to placate the public and victim’s families–such as we are at war or we will be merciless and we will destroy them. and then we perform another single bombing run and drop 20 in retaliation (on perhaps empty buildings as the enemy claims) after the U.S. has already run 6,000 bombing runs previously. 

– We are afraid to name the enemy, with democratic candidates at Saturday’s night debate even refusing to use the term “radical Islamists

– We are afraid to fight the good and necessary fight–after the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, some are “war weary,” or perhaps pacifists to an out of bounds extreme–where we are willing to risk another major attack on U.S. soil rather than appropriately defend ourselves and bring the fight to the enemy. 

WAKE UP USA, EU, NATO, AND UN. 

This problem is not going away–it is not “contained”–the war is not won–far from it. 😉

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

Big Bike, Little Bell

This photo that I took stuck in my mind for Independence Day tomorrow.

We are a great nation of 50 states founded in freedom, ruled by democracy, and driven by human rights for everyone.

Yet in many ways, we have been squandering our national strengths:

– Spending it forward (living as a nation in debt) and creating yet another bubble economy driven by low interest rates (hence another Dow record today of over 17000) with still the lowest workforce participation in over 36 years and 92 million Americans not working!

– Stretching our military muscle in over 10 years of hapless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and now we are war weary and in proverbial retreat across the Middle East, in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, and with Iran and North Korea).

– Partisan politics freezing our government with the Executive Branch saying they will go it alone on everything from immigration reform to fixing highways and Congress threatening to sue for various claims of abuse of power.

Like this Photo, this country is in danger of becoming a big bicycle with a lot of potential to move things forward, but with a very small bell barely audible with anything of significance to our citizens at home, let alone everyone else in the world.

We have the ability to continue our path of greatness in building our country’s economy, military, and social systems, as well as steering the world toward peace, prosperity, and freedom. However, to do this, we must be able to ring the bell of Independence loudly, with leadership, confidence, and a determination for genuine progress for a union greater than ever before.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Bigger Smaller Navy

The Bigger Smaller Navy

So our Navy is shrinking for real, but growing on the books.

Steve Cohen writes in the Wall Street Journal how the “U.S. Navy is stretched too thin.”

And we are down to just 283 ships, but for reporting purposes it’s 293–that is–because we now include hospital ships, small coastal patrol vessels (“lightly armed [with machine guns]…and not true oceangoing”), and a high-speed transport in the calculus.

Moreover, “only 35% of the U.S. Navy’s entire fleet is deployed, fewer than 100 ships, including just 3 aircraft carriers.”

According to the Heritage Foundation, gone is the promise of a mighty U.S. with a formidable 600-ship navy, and instead “U.S. naval leaders are struggling to find ways to meet a new requirement of around 300 ships…with “predictions [that] show current funding levels would reduce the fleet to [just] 263 ships.”

Sure, today’s fleet is comprised of ships more capable than predecessors, but our enemies are also not resting on their laurels.

China is now building its 2nd aircraft carrier, and Russia has formally secured Crimea home to it’s Black Sea fleet.

The function for military readiness includes not only capability of each, but numbers available to fight.

There are times that less is more, but less can also be less. 😉

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Jon Olav)