Categories
Military

Let’s look at the Navy

With two oceans insulating us from Asia and Europe, along with friendly (and relatively weak) neighbors to the north and south, the United States has relied on the oceans as a buffer zone against hostile forces. Those oceans are the main reason why Americans haven’t seen a war in our cities in over 150 years.

In any conflict against the Russians, winning or losing will come down to how well we can get munitions, supplies, and reinforcements across the oceans.

Both of these facts mean that we need a Navy to protect the shores and to keep our sea lanes open.

During the cold war, the US had 15 carrier battlegroups. Now it has 10. A 1980s carrier battle group had the carrier, two cruisers, three destroyers, three frigates, and a pair of supply ships. (I am not counting the submarines as a part of the group, because they seldom stay close to the carrier. Besides, submarines are not there to keep sea lanes open, they are there to deny those sea lanes to others.)

The air wing of the 1980s consisted of an Airborne Early Warning Squadron flying E2 Hawkeyes, a pair of F14 squadrons flying the F14 Tomcat, a pair of attack squadrons flying the A-7 corsair, an ASW squadron flying the S-3 Viking, a squadron of A6 bombers and tankers, an Electronic Warfare squadron flying the EA6B prowler, an ASW helicopter squadron flying the SH-3 sea king. In all, there were 92 aircraft and 11 ships in a cold war carrier battle group. The aircraft back then had more than double the combat radius as today’s airwing. The battle group had a dedicated ASW capability that was far more capable than today.

Fast forward to today: The CBG has a much diminished ASW capability, and the group consists of the carrier, one cruiser, five destroyers, and a supply ship. The airwing still has 9 squadrons, but they are smaller than squadrons just 30 years ago and carry just 53 aircraft. The Navy has eliminated the submarine hunting S-3, and has combined the functions of the A-6, EA-6B, KA-6D, F-14, and A-7 into just one aircraft platform: the F/A-18.

It doesn’t do most of those jobs as well as the aircraft they replaced. The A-6F Intruder had a 16 ton payload (pdf alert). The A-7 Corsair could carry a 6.8 ton payload. The Hornet has a 4.5 ton payload.

The F/A-18 Hornet has a much shorter range than aircraft of the cold war. This means that the carrier group must get closer to potential adversaries, which is more dangerous.

As an example, the A-6 Intruder had a combat radius of 900 miles, the A7 a radius of 700 miles, the F-14 had a radius of 650 nautical miles. Compare that to the Hornet’s radius of only 330 nautical miles. Now the carrier has to get more than 300 miles closer to the enemy in order to conduct operations.

The CBG used to have the capability of carrying and delivering nuclear weapons. With the elimination of the carriers’ W division, and the elimination of the TLAM-N, that capability has been lost. The personnel who were trained to handle and load these weapons are gone, and it would take years to regain the knowledge and weapons.

Claims of technology

I can hear it now- the forces we have are technologically more advanced, meaning that we don’t need as many ships and aircraft to do the job. While I agree that our platforms and weapons are more capable, so are the platforms and weapons of any near peer enemy. Russian and China have stealth platforms. They have long range missiles. They have hypersonic weapons. So I don’t think we can rely on a technology edge to the point where we can do with fewer ships and aircraft with shorter ranges.

Smaller and top heavy, too

Not only are the ships we have less capable than in the past, the Navy is smaller, as well. In all, the US Navy is half the size now (289 ships) as it was under Secretary Lehman, when the Navy had 594 ships.

One thing the Navy has plenty of is senior officers. In World War II, there were 30 Navy ships for every admiral. In 2022, the Navy has 243 Admirals and only 289 ships. There is one commissioned officer for every five enlisted sailors.

Don’t think that the Navy is the only branch that has this problem. One in 400 soldiers in the US Army is a general. The Air Force has more 3 and 4 star Generals than the Army, despite having half as many personnel.

Generals and Admirals aren’t cheap.  Many of those top officers are surrounded with entourages including chauffeurs, chefs and executive aids. Top flag officers have private jets always at the ready. They live in sometimes palatial homes and frequently travel in motorcades. 

Investigations have shown some in power misuse these perks. General Wiliam “Kip” Ward was demoted for using his staff and military vehicles to take his wife shopping, to spas and on vacations in $700-a-night suites, all at taxpayer expense. Demoted. When I was in the Navy, I saw sailors get kicked out on an OTH discharge for being 15 minutes late to work, and this guy gets a demotion for stealing tens of thousands of dollars.

Our military is no longer capable of doing the job it needs to do. Like a banana republic, it is only really good at taking on small bands of civilian militia. It’s only a matter of time before it is used for exactly that.

The US has cut its ability to project power so severely, that it can no longer afford to be, nor can it be, the world’s policeman.

Russia and China know that.

Categories
Gaming the Courts

Not Political? OK

Justice Breyer just announced his retirement. He claims that the SCOTUS isn’t a political entity:

“It is wrong to think of the court as another political institution,” he said in an April speech at Harvard Law School. “And it is doubly wrong to think of its members as junior league politicians.”

He added, justices “are loyal to the rule of law, not to the political party that helped to secure their appointment.”

OK. Pull the other leg, it has bells on it. The Supreme Court is, and always has been, a political entity. Breyer is retiring at this particular point in time because there is a Democrat in the White House, and the Democrats hold a razor thin edge in the Senate. They rolled the dice in 2016 and lost that bet, so they aren’t likely to do it again.

The left is still salty because the Senate wouldn’t allow Obama to replace Scalia with a leftist, thus cementing a hard left SCOTUS for decades.

The Democrats could have selected Scalia’s replacement in 2016, and the accusation is that the Republicans wouldn’t allow his selectee to be voted upon. That is pure BS. The Obama administration could have had Scalia’s replacement in 2016. All they had to do was offer a replacement that was not a hard core leftist. Had the Democrats offered a more centrist candidate, the Republicans would have likely approved. The Republican Senate would have approved a left leaning centrist, rather than wait to see the hard core leftist that HRC was going to nominate.

But Obama didn’t do that. Why not?

Because everyone who mattered was absolutely convinced that Hillary was going to be the next President. Her victory was a guarantee. The Democrats believed it so much, they decided to stick to the extremist pick on the theory that HRC was going to ram through a leftist candidate to replace Scalia and swing the court to the left.

Instead, the Republicans got to install Gorsuch. That was bad enough from their point of view, but still didn’t swing the court to the left.

The real damage came because Ginsberg decided to hold out for the HRC presidency that never materialized. RBG could have retired in 2016 and been replaced by an Obama selectee, but chose not to. Why did she do that? 

Ginsberg wanted to be in the history books after retiring during a Hillary Clinton Presidency, so she could become the first female Justice to be replaced by the first female President. 

That big mistake became the decision that threw SCOTUS firmly to the right by giving President Trump a recently unheard of three SCOTUS picks. The last President who got to do that was Ronald Reagan.

Everyone who mattered thought that Hillary was going to be the next President. The Democrats believed it so much, they decided to stick to the extremist pick on the theory that HRC was going to ram through a leftist candidate to replace Scalia and swing the court to the left. They didn’t need to pick a moderate SCOTUS candidate. If the Senate didn’t confirm Obama’s pick, HRC would get the pick. RBG didn’t need to retire while Obama was in the Oval office, HRC would pick her replacement.

They bet on an HRC victory. Trump’s victory destroyed all of that, and this set up to make the SCOTUS a conservative court for the next 20 years.

The retirement of Breyer won’t change that.


Interesting trivia:

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt got eight of his nominees on the Supreme Court in six years while in office. There was also Dwight Eisenhower, William Taft and Ulysses Grant, each of whom got five nominees on the court.

Nixon, Truman, Harding, Harrison, and Cleveland each got four picks.

Reagan, Hoover, Wilson, Roosevelt, and Trump each got three.

Obama, both Bushes, Clinton, Johnson, Kennedy, and Hayes each picked two for the high court.

Ford, Coolidge, McKinley, and Garfield each only picked one justice.

Categories
War on the Right

Still with the Lists

Capitol Police, who you will remember have an office in the Tampa area, are conducting surveillance of Republican members of Congress, their contacts, and their donors.

There is a huge effort by Federal agencies to create and maintain a list of Americans who are enemies of the revolution. The post office is keeping a list. All they have to do is see who you get mail from. The NRA? Second Amendment Foundation? Conservative fundraising? Think about the mail you get, and ask if someone could determine your political leanings by looking at your correspondence. It’s basic traffic analysis.

After all, a sitting member of Congress is the one who suggested that the government keep an “enemies list” so they can be confronted. Even the media joined in, including the “conservative blogger” who works for the Washington Post:

These lists are going to eventually be used. Make sure that you have robust contact with others who may be on the list. Once prominent people on the list begin to disappear, you will know that the lists are being used.

It is a sure sign of a dictatorship when there are mass arrests and disappearances. The Soviets even had a word for it- “vzyali” meaning “they have taken,” and there was no pronoun or noun needed to indicate who “they” were- “they” were unspeakable. They were feared. It was never “arrestovani” or arrested, because there were no charges and no trial. They simply disappeared. Vzyali was a word that struck fear in the hearts of Soviet citizens.

The people who were vzyali were never put in jail. They weren’t executed, for the most part. No, they were put into camps where they were forced to work themselves to death. Read about the eight most evil gulags at this page, and remember that all communists wind up using their lists for this purpose.

Categories
Me

USPS

Fedex changed the world of shipping. They came up with the idea that everything would be taken to a regional hub, sorted, and then sent back out. So wanting to send a package from Orlando to Miami could result in the package going to Atlanta before being sorted and sent back out to Miami.

Even though it seems counter intuitive, it is actually faster and more efficient to do it that way. I fully understand that.

However, I don’t understand what is happening right now. I ordered a tablet computer on Monday.

  • It shipped via USPS two day air on Monday evening from Pineville, North Carolina.
  • Six hours later, it arrived in Charlotte, North Carolina.
  • Twelve hours later, it arrived in Jacksonville, FL.
  • Nine hours after that, it arrived in New Castle, Delaware
  • From there, it went to Wilmington, Delaware.
  • Another 13 hours, and it arrived in Philadelphia.
  • Twelve hours later, it left Philadelphia.
  • Now, six hours after it was last seen, and two days after it was shipped, no one appears to know where it is.

This is the tenth package that has disappeared for me in the past two and a half months.

I can’t even blame the train robbery in California for this one.

Categories
Crime Criminals

Crime DOES Pay

Orlando will soon be paying criminals to not commit crimes, and to counsel others to avoid crime as well. Called “neighborhood change agents,” they will be individuals who have similar backgrounds, come from similar communities as those who are at risk of committing violent crimes. They may be people who got in trouble as youth themselves, who have been arrested, and involved in gangs. According to the program:

Neighborhood Change Agents” (NCAs) who will intervene to disrupt situations when violence appears imminent, and maintain daily contact with participants, serving as mentors, case managers and life coaches. Their goal will be to pivot participants away from circumstances leading toward violence, and instead to non-violent, economically, and socially productive lives.

Paying criminals not to commit crimes. This was a program that began in Richmond, CA back in 2016. Fox News reported on it at the time. San Francisco started doing it last year.

So this year, as you are filing your taxes, remember that this is where your hard earned money is going: you are paying protection money to criminals in the hopes that they won’t kill you. I don’t even know why we need cops anymore.

Categories
Me

Credit Card

Those of you who read this blog on a regular basis remember my credit card problem. If not, let’s recap:

  • In October, I found a charge on my credit card for $340. It was from Google advertising.
  • I promptly disputed it.
  • Three months later, the CC company told me that they investigated the charge and determined it was valid
  • The reason for that determination was that the vendor had provided documentation.
  • I asked for a copy of this documentation.

In the meantime, I was not happy with the support I was getting from the credit card company, Barclay bank, so I decided to apply for a card from another bank. I figured that with a credit score of 815, I could get any card I wanted. I was correct. I got a cash back card with a large credit limit and even more favorable terms than the one I was using.

I recently got a call from Barclay’s management team. They decided that the charge was not authorized after all, and told me that the charge would be credited back to the card. When I asked the manager where the documentation was that I requested, the caller danced around it and made vague noises without actually admitting what I already knew: they don’t have any documentation.

Taking the charge off was too little, too late. My new card came in the mail today and I will be taking my business elsewhere. Of course I won’t cancel the card. I will simply stick it in a drawer and stop using it. That way it stays as a positive tradeline on my credit report.

Categories
Presidency

All hat, no cattle

Biden says that, should Russia invade Ukraine, it would be the largest invasion since World War 2. I am sure that the South Koreans, who were invaded by 2 Corps of North Korean troops numbering 107,000 troops in the first wave, would disagree.

While it is good news that we aren’t going to war, the fact that Biden is a completely inept pussy is bad news for the US reputation. Now that the rest of the world knows that the US is a paper tiger, expect more countries to make this nation into their bitch.

That doesn’t mean that I am trying to say that we should get involved with Ukraine, because we shouldn’t. The point is that Biden should have seen that from the beginning, instead of running his mouth and proving to the world that he is completely impotent.

The problem here is that Putin has just exposed the US for what it is- an Emperor that has no clothes. The US military, though large, is not capable enough to accomplish all of the missions that it has been tasked with.

Categories
Military

More Intel

An email from Jack asks what software I am using for my flight tracking. I tried to answer him, but the email bounced, so I am posting it here. The answer is that I am using globe.adsbexchange.com/ to do most of the flight tracking on this blog.

Another reader sends me a link to an excellent app called skyglass. It can be found online here. The advantage of this software is that it can see aircraft that the first link above can’t see.

Mark sends a link to the following intel briefing, that coincidentally uses skyglass. Check it out, it is definitely worth some of your time.

This supports my theory that the US is increasing its alert levels for CONUS security.

Categories
Military

Increased Activity

As I have mentioned before, I keep an eye on military air activity in and around the US, and there has been some unusual activity since the weird goings on from the unexplained ground stop on January 11. It’s been cold and raining, so I can’t get any work done outside. I already fixed the faulty sensor in the dishwasher, so I am sitting here online.

There are Russian ships doing what the Soviets did during the cold war: they are sitting just offshore of our Naval facilities, keeping an eye on things, as well as Russian long range aircraft nearing US Pacific bases. The US is responding by flying more P8 and drone patrols off the coast of Jacksonville and King’s Bay, Hawaii, Norfolk, and Puget Sound. For example, here is a track of two aircraft near Cape Canaveral:

The Blue one is a P8 Poseidon antisubmarine patrolling between 8,000 and 25,000 feet. The yellow is an unidentified military aircraft that has been patrolling at 6,000 to 10,000 feet.

There are similar tracks up and down the east coast. For example, here are another pair of P8s patrolling just to the north of Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point, which is the main ammunition shipping terminal for the east coast.

Here is a P3 Orion (the lime green one) and a P8, both patrolling off the coast of Jacksonville. The orange aircraft is a P8 that appears to be landing in Jacksonville. What is different about the P3, is that it has a magnetic anomaly detector, while the P8 does not. The MAD allows for the localization of large metallic objects, like submarines.

The P3 is being phased out of service, with only two reserve squadrons left that still operate the aircraft.

Also, last night I tracked an E6 Mercury that took off from Andrews and flew a racetrack that extended from Andrews down to Miami. They were on their second lap when I went to bed last night at around 2200. Here is an E6 taking off at noon from Pax River:

The E6 is a command and control aircraft for America’s nuclear submarines. Keep in mind that the US claims that no nuclear control aircraft are on airborne alert. Other than for training, the US has claimed since 1990 that they no longer maintain a continuous airborne alert. That apparently hasn’t been the case for the past two weeks, at least. The one that I have observed on the east coast flies up and down the coast. A west coast E6 has been seen flying out to sea before disappearing over the pacific, or has been seen appearing out of the pacific and flying back. Here it is, leaving California, headed out into the Pacific at 1315:

There was a surveillance drone circling off the Georgia coast at an altitude of over 30,000 feet for more than 12 hours yesterday. The racetrack ran from about the latitude of Jacksonville, FL all the way to the South Carolina border, about 60 miles offshore. The drone both took off an landed in the Jacksonville area.

There are two conclusions to be drawn from this: Either the US military is greatly increasing its training tempo, or its alert status. Either way, this is interesting.

Categories
Military

Just in Case

In the event that Russia DOES invade the Ukraine, expect Joe the Potato to use US troops in response. This won’t just be a land war like it was with ISIS. Russia isn’t sending over 100 ships to the region because they think it will be restricted warfare. Expect this conflict, if it happens, to quickly escalate to unrestricted air, sea, and virtual warfare.

There will be severe disruptions of Internet service, virtual attacks on infrastructure, and there is a real possibility of conventional Russian air attacks on US cities, especially cities with US military bases, large air ports, and US sea ports.

The Russians have made contingency plans for this escalating, which is why the Russian boomers all sortied back in late November. Just another thing to be prepared for. Be sure that you have the ability to do without Internet, power, water, and supply deliveries for a period of time.

Let’s hope that everyone comes to their senses.