“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Chinese Anti-Carrier Missiles

Internatuonal News

TOKYO/SEOUL: China is stepping up efforts to deploy a “carrier-killer” missile system, the commander of the US Pacific Command has said in an interview with a Japanese newspaper, published on Tuesday.

“The anti-ship ballistic missile system in China has undergone extensive testing,” Admiral Robert Willard told the Asahi Shimbun in Honolulu, according to a transcript of the interview on its website.

Willard said China appeared to have achieved “initial operational capability” but it would take “several more years” before fully deploying the system.

US military analysts have warned China is developing a new version of its Dongfeng 21 missile that could pierce the defences of even the sturdiest US naval vessels and has a range far beyond Chinese waters.

Washington has expressed rising concern over China’s military intentions following a string of double-digit increases in Chinese military spending and the rapid modernisation of its armed forces. In the interview, Willard also said China aims to become a global military power by extending its influence beyond its regional waters.

“They are focused presently on what they term their near seas—the Bohai, Yellow Sea, South China Sea, East China Sea,” Willard said.

“I think they have an interest in being able to influence beyond that point, and they have aspirations to eventually become a global military,” he said. “In the capabilities that we’re seeing develop, that is fairly obvious.”

Referring to tensions on the Korean peninsula, Willard warned that North Korea is ready to take another provocative step and called on China, Pyongyang’s sole major ally, to play its role in defusing the situation.

“I think, for now, we’re past this particular crisis, but we have no doubt, given North Korea’s history, that a next provocation is readied,” Willard told the daily.

“It’s a matter of assessing how it might be deterred or how the North Koreans might be dissuaded from exercising the next provocation,” he said.

Meanwhile, according to news reports earlier on Tuesday, Beijing is getting tougher with South Korean spies caught collecting intelligence there on North Korea, jailing one of them for more than a year despite pleas from Seoul.

The army major had been trying to collect information on the North’s nuclear and missile programmes when he was caught in July last year in a sting operation, Yonhap news agency and the Korea JoongAng Daily said. A defence ministry spokesman declined to comment.

The newspaper said the man it identified as Major Cho was arrested in the northeastern Chinese city of Shenyang following a rendezvous with a Chinese military officer posing as an informant.

Cho gave tens of thousands of dollars to the Chinese officer for information about the North’s nuclear development and missiles, it said. He was jailed for 14 months despite the South’s request that he be repatriated;

Fortress at Sea? The Carrier Invulnerability Myth
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Aircraft from Carrier Air Wing 14 perform a diamond formation fly-by over the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) during an October 2009 Tiger Cruise for friends and family of Sailors assigned to the ship. These ships project power, but at what cost?
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America's nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, especially in today's irregular, asymmetric warfare climate, could be little more than slow-moving targets.
The recently renewed debate over aircraft carrier requirements has focused mainly on the factors of cost and utility. These issues notwithstanding, analysts often overlook or understate the carriers' inherent vulnerabilities. Regardless of the number of carriers national leadership decides to maintain, because they remain the U.S. Navy's preeminent capital ship and a symbol of American global power and prestige, they are a potential key target for both unconventional and conventional adversaries. Carrier proponents, however, universally seem to accept on faith alone the premise that a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier (CVN) is essentially invulnerable.
Yet an intelligent adversary could potentially exploit carrier weaknesses. The sudden, unexpected loss of a CVN, especially by unanticipated asymmetric means, would shock both the military establishment and the American psyche-perhaps being a military equivalent to the Twin Towers' collapse on 9/11. The truth is, a deployed aircraft carrier is more vulnerable to mission kill than is commonly believed, and the Department of Defense should consider efforts to prevent or mitigate such an exigency.
The carrier debate is alive and well. The current effort surrounding the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR)and the near-term decommissioning of the nearly 50-year-old USS Enterprise (CVN-65) are raising the volume of the argument, specifically on the number of carrier strike groups (CSGs) needed to meet national and combatant commander demands.
Recurring congressional statutes also dictate minimum carrier fleet size, often despite differing advice from Navy secretaries and military leaders.1 The carrier's value in the post-9/11 era?amidst a global security paradigm defined by the often ambiguous characteristics of irregular, asymmetric, or hybrid warfare-remains an unanswered question. While combat-proven in conventional conflicts and for certain aspectf irregular warfare, future roles and structure of the carrier force remain murky.
Assessments of aircraft carrier vulnerability are not new. The Soviets debated building a significant carrier fleet in the 1960s but determined that large carriers had no place in the nuclear age, partly because of their vulnerability to missiles with nuclear warheads.2 While later choosing to build larger carriers, Moscow always retained the view that carriers remained vulnerable. While the American carrier debate has continued since 1945, it has focused largely on missions, cost, and force structure-not vulnerability.

Presumed Impregnable

The U.S. view of carrier invulnerability is a perilous assumption. If 9/11 taught Washington anything, it clearly demonstrated that fortress America was vulnerable in ways its citizens and defenders never imagined. Terrorists selected targets with maximum psychological impact, employing a relatively sophisticated asymmetric method, seemingly incorporating many of the basic principles of war and operational art: simplicity, synergy, simultaneity and depth, surprise, tempo and timing, security, etc.
The basic operational plan also reflected an awareness of the efficacy of the classic indirect approach-a key aspect of asymmetric warfare. They also exploited a basic vulnerability of open, democratic political systems-a benign operating environment. If a handful of Saudis could plan and carry out effective attacks halfway around the world in a foreign land, why then could other adversaries not accomplish the same in local waters familiar to them?
The typical carrier capabilities that lead to presumptions of impregnability include: speed, armor, compartmentalization, size, defenses (air wing, own-ship, escorts, etc.), blue-water sanctuary (range from shore and from adversary/targets), and technological superiority of U.S. weapon systems. Not often discussed, though, is how a smart enemy might exploit technology or subterfuge to obviate some traditional carrier strengths. Some potential examples include:
  • Mass media, satellite communication, and the Internet can provide location and disposition of U.S. carriers when they are near shipping lanes or coastal waters; carrier presence is obvious well before the silhouette appears on the horizon.
  • Carriers not supporting a conflict requiring continuous air wing operations will not be operating at higher speeds, especially at night.
  • Fast, low profile, open-ocean craft are widely available.
  • Armored hangar bay doors are useless when open, typical to lower conditions of readiness.
  • Carrier crew size and diversity would likely allow unfettered access to clandestine infiltrators of almost any ethnicity.
  • While nuclear power provides virtually unlimited steaming, carriers remain dependent on forward staging areas and supply ships for food, aviation fuel, and stores.
  • The insatiable appetite for information afloat is satisfied by way of precious, uninterrupted bandwidth flowing through multiple nodes with varying vulnerabilities.

Next-Generation Weapons Are Here Now

Emerging technologies and new classes of advanced conventional weapons are also making the carriers' ostensible invulnerability more suspect. Most experts see recent advances in foreign antiship cruise missiles (ASCM), offensive information operations capabilities, stealthy diesel and nuclear-powered submarines, deep water rising mines, and antiship ballistic missiles (ASBM) as direct threats to carrier strike groups proximate to the littorals (i.e., when supporting air operations inland). While contemporary conflicts demonstrate no such apparent threats to carriers, they also involve state adversaries without advanced conventional naval weapons.
Hezbollah's effective use of a C802 ASCM against an Israeli warship in 2006, however, illustrates that state order of battle calculations alone cannot provide a total picture of enemy capabilities. Although most Navy leaders avow carrier invulnerability, then-Pacific Fleet Commander Admiral Timothy Keating admitted that the ability to defend against such advanced threats is uncertain.3 While it is beyond the scope of this article to cite specifics, a quick scan of any recent DOD global threat assessment reveals a plethora of emerging weapon systems of concern.4
A corollary to the expanding advanced conventional weapons threat could change the fundamental calculus of the carrier's value. Simply put, increasing adversary offensive threats to carriers require concomitant carrier and strike group defenses to mitigate them. For instance, if the security environment changes such that carriers are threatened with new, better weapons, but in much the same way they were during the Cold War, the brunt of the carrier air wing will again be needed for strike group defense.
The resultant reduction in offensive carrier strike capability-not to mention the significant shift in aircraft/weapons mix and predeployment air wing and ship defensive training-may diminish the carriers' primary role of power projection. Similarly, increased defensive tasking to strike group escorts would limit their support for the myriad regional non-combat missions espoused in the current maritime strategy. Indeed, the reliable provision of air power from an unchallenged carrier witnessed during Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom may well not be the future norm.

Asymmetric Challenges Loom

Conventional threats notwithstanding, carriers are also vulnerable to unconventional or asymmetric threats.5These potentially include terrorism, sabotage, infiltration, denial and subterfuge (information operations [IO], including cyber and psychological operations), interdiction, and homeport or logistics hub attacks, among others. While many admirals discount such threats outright, again, one need only recall the shock and confusion following the 9/11 attacks.
One reason these threats make military leaders uncomfortable is that they are vague and indiscriminate. Another is that few weapons in the Carrier Strike Group arsenal can directly address them. Indeed, the strike group's inherent capabilities are usually irrelevant against asymmetric threats. Finally, since an unconventional adversary may seek any of these means-and perhaps yet unknown methods-to achieve a mission kill (i.e., not necessarily a catastrophic kill), leaders often swear off as impractical the vouchsafing of every potential carrier vulnerability.
Just as operational art demands a rigorous assessment of adversary center of gravity and critical vulnerabilities, one cannot assume away the enemy's ability to do the same. The 2006 Israeli experience in Lebanon is a recent example of a hybrid conflict, wherein an unconventional enemy knew its opponent well, exploited technology to defeat its armor, directed a sophisticated IO campaign to manage perceptions, and threatened the homeland with incessant rocket and missile barrages.
Gone are the days when the most serious unconventional threats were ignorant, lightly armed fanatics conducting improvised attacks on hardened targets. As such, it is a relatively simple task with readily available information to evaluate the carrier as a system, with critical elements of varying dependency, many of which could degrade mission capability if assailed. Admittedly, adversaries require global reach and significant capability to threaten some elements over the longer-term, but a creative opponent could still seriously limit a carrier's effectiveness, at least temporarily.
Any neophyte can generate a basic list of forward-deployed military unit vulnerability: communications, logistics/lines of communication, crew readiness/morale, mobility, etc. Because the CSG cannot protect everything, the aggressor has the advantage in target selection and surprise.

Pondering the Unthinkable

Carrier proponents typically fail to mention such vulnerabilities. Instead they promote the carriers' inherent ability to operate unfettered off an enemy coast-a virtual fortress at sea. In fairness to the carrier admirals, when threat assessments on the future operating environment present only shadowy non-state actors with undefined or unpredictable capabilities, it is easy to see how some would prefer to focus on the black and white conventional threats. Listing a few hypothetical examples might help demonstrate potential asymmetric carrier threats:
  • A carrier operating with only a single escort on an OEF no-fly day, far separated from other strike group warships, is approached by a small team of highly trained, well-armed saboteurs in a low-profile, fast boat at night in international waters. They gain access via a lowered elevator when the ship is in low readiness conditions for a quick surprise attack with satchel charges in the hangar and flight decks to destroy most carrier air wing aircraft before the ship musters a response.
  • An adversary state about to seize several small islands in the Persian Gulf directs a small team of special forces to commandeer a large container ship, which veers into the path of a CVN exiting the southern Suez Canal in a restricted waterway. The resultant collision and carrier grounding causes enough damage to limit the carrier to ten knots, preventing most fixed-wing flight operations indefinitely.
  • An extremist group targeted by carrier air wing operations identifies the less protected fleet auxiliaries providing carrier strike group logistics in a forward theater and targets them simultaneously with waterborne improvised explosive devices. Critical fuel, food, and stores shortages severely limit air wing operations for a period of weeks.

We Must Not Assume Away Threats

Instilling paranoia is not the intent of these examples; it is only to present the art of the possible. So what can naval leaders do to lessen the likelihood of asymmetric attacks focused on carrier mission kills? First, they must admit that such attacks are possible. Then, undertake a comprehensive assessment of carrier vulnerabilities, with most likely and most dangerous scenarios addressed first for prevention and mitigation plans. Next, naval war game and doctrine developers should make a commitment to present warfighters and defense leaders at war games and red team exercises with situations where conventional, unconventional/asymmetric, and/or hybrid threats marginalize or threaten CSGs.
This will force leaders to challenge traditional assumptions of carrier invulnerability. Finally, leaders and strategists should evaluate military plans and force capabilities in light of the fact that asymmetric attacks may come from either conventional or nontraditional adversaries.
Presuming carrier invulnerability is dangerous. It promotes complacency, prevents a healthy degree of critical thinking, and limits America's ability to prevent and respond to a completely new class of threats. As a CATO Institute study amidst the post-Desert Storm carrier debate related, "Carriers and their battle groups are awesome instruments of war, but they are not juggernauts, as their supporters claim. . . ."6
Pre-9/11 American society provided opportunity enough for a band of radical Muslim brothers to shut down the United States temporarily. Why then could peaceful international waters or territorial seas not provide a similarly benign operating environment today? As defense leaders prepare to make hard QDR decisions, it is high time to renew the carrier vulnerability debate. As former President George W. Bush was wont to state, "Bring it on."


  1. I know where he stands...

    He stands for the destruction of all we used to call America.

    Appeasement to the rest of the world, because he believes the issue is American created...

    We are the evil doers...

  2. It wasn’t long after Obama’s victory that liberals began trying on patriotism like an old ill-fitting coat, admiring themselves in the mirror, and even denouncing conservatives as unamerican (yes it happened). Caught in the afterglow of their win, basking in the radiance of their man addressing the country, beaming down from the carefully arranged set pieces and choreographed events, guzzling the myth like hopeandchangey brew—they could almost believe that the great clock of history had wound back to the Kennedy Administration.


    The moral of the story is that the left destroys itself. At the beginning of the 20th century, Moscow was swarming with every breed of socialist, radical, anarchist and leftist.


    The left always destroys itself. Every time it takes power, it unleashes the seeds of its own destruction.

    Drinking to Death

  3. The snow is starting to come down hard now. Tomorrow supposed to be bad. Temperatures going to plummet.

    I get the feeling that these carrier groups are more or less sitting ducks to nations like Russia or China these days. Might be effective against Chavez but the big fellas, man I don't know.

  4. Good grief Melody, that's almost shocking. Simian, really.

    What could possibly be on your mind?

  5. Primal, passionate, forestry, jungley, like an arboreal bordello, but no pay to an animal dream, never a thought of the higher chakras....a male crazy mentation....

    Does your husband know how you feel?

  6. I read an article the other day over at American Thinker that showed girls in their forties get a real boost in sexual interest, a kind of final reproductive swam song of sex, sensuality and abandon, but isn't that fellow a little hairy for you?

    I thought you liked the more bare chested look, no hair on the back, the Don Johnson, Brad Pitt know, the civilized look....

    But not to sex...goes on and on....


  7. I took off my cape
    To get fucked by an ape
    He took me by the nape
    Of my neck
    He went bump
    He went thump thump
    He went hump hump hump
    And I swooned
    A sexually fulfilled wreck
    Ah, at the last

    Night, I got a wife in the other bed

    Philly football sucks

  8. Will the stupidity ever cease in trade with China?

    (Reuters) - China has raised fresh international trade concerns after slashing export quotas on rare earths minerals, risking action from the United States at the World Trade Organization.

    China, which produces about 97 percent of the global supply of rare earth minerals, cut its export quotas by 35 percent for the first half of 2011 versus a year ago, saying it wanted to preserve ample reserves, but warned against basing its total 2011 export quota on the first half figures.

    The U.S. Trade Representative's office was "very concerned" about China's export restraints on rare earths and had raised its concerns with China, a spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

  9. Or to paraphrase a Palinism:

    How's that very concerned thingy doing for you?

  10. An apt ode to Hubert Humphrey, Bob, et al.:

    "Dump the Hump"

  11. Way back when I had a friend who was an assistant navigator on the Enterprise.

    He told me that, during war games, the Enterprise was sunk something like 10 out of 12 times.

    By just one "enemy" sub!!!

    With the whole battle group, a dozen or more surface ships, subs below, air group above, doing their best to protect that one vessel.

    It was quite an eyeopener for him and he didn't continue his Naval career past his contracted term...


  12. For a while I was on this jag promoting the use of surplus tankers loaded with batteries of cruise missiles, etc.

    My logic being we could field a fleet of these cheapo launch platforms. For the cost of one carrier. Much less all the supporting vessels and aircraft.

    And crew them with as few as a dozen sailors...

    If one of those were sunk it'd be sad for sure. But compared to a carrier with 5000 of the nation's finest?

    I've worked thru the arguments - a carrier is a better, more flexible force projection tool, etc.

    But I ended up believing that it was more about who'd want to be the admiral of a surplus tanker with a crew of a dozen or two?


  13. I'm just pinched for time.

    But I'd like to wish you all the best for the coming year.

    I had a nice (I thought!) Christmas story started... But it'll have to wait.

    And I'm working on a response to Red's "malicious masturbation."

    There's also one on Cheney and a mysterious drug company buy out.

    And my favorite lesson, one that Rufus might enjoy as well, a story on that back scatter radar used for passenger screening at the airports.

    But, please, bear with me. I'm pinched...


  14. Blue, I think we're going to have to talk.

  15. I can't sleep for those damned apes dancing in my head.

    I'll take another prostate pill, they always make me drowsy. That might do it.

  16. So, the Chinese aspire to be a global power.

    Seems a reasonable aspiration, for a country that already represents 1.3 billion people. A billion more people than the US and about 20% of the total population of the whirled.

    One would expect them to want to wield four times the global influence, of the US.

    That Charlie Chi-com holds a monopoly on "rare earths" and is going to curtail their export, just another reasonable step for them to take.
    It is reasonable from their position as a developing industrial power and from their recent history of being dominated by foreign military and economic power projection.

    Particularly by those foreign countries of the Anglo-sphere.

    Those 12 US carrier battle groups, as obsolete a fighting platform as an Iowa class battleship.

    Learn it, live it, love it.

  17. A question for the Story of "o".

    Who is this "we" you refer to?

  18. And where and what is this America, that Obama is attempting to destruct?

    Your use of language is so sloppy, it is almost impossible to respond.

    Mr Obama is attempting to destroy Canada, Brazil? Even Mexico?

    All parts of what "we", of the US Army at the School of the Americas, referred to as America.

    Perhaps you are referring to the United States of America. It is one country, amongst many, in America.

    That is a position easily challenged and disproved, by any person that believes the United States is a representative Republic, and should remain so.

  19. CBS News

    Despite increasing public exposure on reality TV and in the news, Sarah Palin's popularity with Republicans has slipped below that of three other potential 2012 presidential candidates, according to a new poll.

  20. Interesting question:

    "How has any any or all of our twelve carriers improved your life lately?"

  21. Next question, if your previous answer related to oil:

    "Taking oil out of the picture, answer the question above."

  22. The majority of the perpetrators, of these police officer killings, they are not Muslims.

    No, indeed, they are not.

    Doubt that the majority of the perpetrators are foreign born, either. Though that is speculative on my part.

    Perhaps it is really the perpetrators of violent crime that are destructing America.

    It is probably best to deal with that reality, knowing that it is not the elected leaders of the US nor foreign boogymen that should be feared by our citizens, as the cause of their societal "destruction".

  23. Referencing the above, I forgot the paste that makes the comment understandable.

    (CNN) -- The shooting death of a Texas police officer late Tuesday adds to a grim toll: a law enforcement officer was killed every 53 hours in the United States this year, according to a new report.

  24. Interesting thought - what if China decides to minimize or avoid the carrier strategy for global domination?

    In what form would force/fear projection be manifested as? Would it be possible to project military might solely through missiles and airborne troops? Backed up by dozens of smaller craft like what gnossos suggested?

  25. The sudden, unexpected loss of a CVN, especially by unanticipated asymmetric means, would shock both the military establishment and the American psyche-perhaps being a military equivalent to the Twin Towers' collapse on 9/11. The truth is, a deployed aircraft carrier is more vulnerable to mission kill than is commonly believed, and the Department of Defense should consider efforts to prevent or mitigate such an exigency. from added article to original post.

  26. Wobbly, I added an article to the bottom of the original post that you may find interesting.

    It was inspired by DR's comment and Gino's observation.

  27. desert rat said...
    And where and what is this America, that Obama is attempting to destruct?

    Your use of language is so sloppy, it is almost impossible to respond.

    Mr Obama is attempting to destroy Canada, Brazil? Even Mexico?

    All parts of what "we", of the US Army at the School of the Americas, referred to as America.

    Perhaps you are referring to the United States of America. It is one country, amongst many, in America.

    That is a position easily challenged and disproved, by any person that believes the United States is a representative Republic, and should remain so.

    Rat, you are a self confessed murderer! I do not aim my comment to you. You lie, distort and misapply any and everything.

    You are part of the problem. not part of the solution.

    We have seen thousands of your posts, you are a piece of work to say the least.

    So ignore my posts, I do not post for you,

    Your opinion on anything is worthless...

    Did you hear me yet?

    Rat aka Dr Hiss aka Ishmael?

    Your opinion is like an asshole, everyone has one and yours does stink...

    We have heard you for years...

    You are note worthy of any real discussion on any topic..

    You bully, you lie, you simply put are full of shit...

    Go to hell...

    Eat shit and die...

    Shove it up your ass...

  28. The past forty years exemplify that 12 carrier battle groups do not project fear, nor civil dominance.

    This was especially true in the case of Vietnam, and was shown, again, to be a reality in Iraq/Iran.

    The challenges of the 21st century do not have purely military solutions. In fact the military component is the least important part of the solutions.

    The Chinese, if they were to follow a "Western" path, would probably follow the English model and use indigenous troops as their proxies in force projection.

  29. Notice that the Story of "o" is stymied, and refuses to address the question of the day.

    Typical of his past reactions, as well.

    His limited intellect and lack of language skills leads to name calling confrontations.

    A comical response, one that continues to make the Story of "o" truly entertaining.

  30. Aborting fetuses, that is what is "deconstructing" the "West". The lack of respect towards human life is at the root of the "Western" challenge.

    The industrialization of death coupled with a lack of respect for human life, resulting in a demolition project for the ages.

  31. I assume you have a corporeal self, however "private."

  32. Is that better? I didn't mean to cause any ruckus.

  33. Great news!

    2010 Record Year for Tourism to Israel

    by Chana Ya'ar

    The year 2010 set a record in tourism to Israel, according to the Ministry of Tourism, with 3.45 million arrivals registered.

    Statistics released Monday showed 26 percent more visitors than Israel had seen a year earlier, and 14 percent more than in 2008, Israel's previous record-setting year.

    Thank you world for voting with your tourism and visits!!!!

  34. More Great News!

    Hamas government Interior Minister Fathi Hamad, confirmed Monday for the first time that the Hamas in Gaza lost 700 fighters in Cast Lead, 250 in the first day alone.

    Immediately after the operation, Hamas had claimed that the IDF had killed fewer than 50 of their men. These new figures are close to data published by the IDF at the time of the war.

    Excellent shooting IDF!

  35. The Story of "o" giving us an example of reality overwhelming his propaganda.

    Obviously Israel is no "war zone", if the tourists are flocking, there.

    It is great news.

  36. As you watch our lamestream media and watch the stories about how in American airports people slept on cots and pillows... One lady even was in tears that she had worn the same cloths for a couple of days...

    Thousand-Strong Crowd Riots At Russian Airport After Delays

    MOSCOW -(Dow Jones)- A thousand-strong crowd of angry passengers stormed barricades at Russia's busiest airport Monday after being delayed more than 24 hours by a power outage, local news agencies reported.

    The situation at Moscow's Domodedovo airport is "very difficult," the Interfax news agency said. An ice storm Sunday caused power to fail at the airport, which did not have an emergency electricity source. Passengers reported being held in crowded waiting areas and not being given hot food or water.
    Reports said the crowd was milling around the airport's passport control zone.
    "It's hard to breathe and there is no drinking water here," a blogger wrote on her LiveJournal account. "There are children and old people here. They don't feel well."

  37. Did Ishmael say something?


    carry on...

    Just a Rodent pissing in the wind...

  38. Tourists, as safe and secure, in Israel, as in Miami Beach, San Fransisco or Cape Cod.

  39. More fun news...

    Iran hangs another "mossad" spy...

    One has got to wonder just how many spies the "zionist" entity has in Iran...

    Iran hangs man convicted of spying for Israel's Mossad

    The hanging took place at Tehran's Evin prison
    Continue reading the main story
    Iran nuclear crisis

    Fuelling Bushehr
    Squeezing Iran: Oil and sanctions
    Q&A: Nuclear issue
    UN sanctions
    Iran has hanged a man after finding him guilty of spying for Israel's intelligence service, the official Irna news agency says.

    Ali Akbar Siadat, an Iranian, was executed inside Tehran's Evin prison, according to judicial officials.

    Irna said he was in contact with the Israeli spy agency Mossad for several years, and had passed on information about Iran's military activities.

    He was arrested in 2008, when he tried to leave Iran with his wife.

  40. I had a dream that Melody is going bald and becoming emaciated. Skeletal.

    Except the hair, which was coming off in substantial hunks, was more like a wig on the underside.

    It was scary.

    At least I think it was Melody.

    Maybe it was Bob.

    Or sam.

    Or gnossos.

    Who gnossos?

  41. "Who gnossos?"

    I've wanted to say that for awhile.

  42. .

    DEUCE and/or WHIT

    The Bosco award production is rounding to completion. However, it has as they say 'grown like topsy'.

    It will take me some time to post it as some of the links no longer work and I am having to reconstruct them as I go.

    I would appreciate it if you could set up a separate blog stream later today that simply says


    This will allow me to post the awards there without interferring with any of the other streams or posters.

    Anyone not interested can easily skip it. No muss no fuss.

    Thanks in advance.



    This time last year, the song came through an open apartment window on my way to the grocery store...Past the upside-down Christmas tree suspended from the ceiling.

    I thought THAT was weird.

  44. Malicious masturbation.

    Masturbatory malice.

    After all, what's the difference?

  45. I want my beloved apes back.

    Melody's not skeletal
    Bob's not bald


    It's just Quirk trying to draw more attention to himself.

  46. I wasn't getting down on the apes. Just a little shocked at the newness of it all.

    I thought they were kinda cute.

    The big lug, such a heavy 'airy head, not a thought in't.

  47. "Melody's not skeletal
    Bob's not bald"

    I take that as a "yes" on both counts, FFB.

  48. "It's just Quirk trying to draw more attention to himself."

    And can you blame him, poor guy, being the dead, dull spot between your anus and your genitals?

  49. :)

    The Siberian Express is beginning to arrive here this morning, I can tell you.

    I just got a call from some guy in Pittsburg, wrong number, but we struck up a conversation.

    He said things aren't bad in Pittsburg, but it's hell back there all around everywhere else.

  50. There two camps wrt China: One that thinks China poses a military threat to the US and the other that does not. I tend toward the latter.

    I think there are hawks on both sides who could propel policies toward a needless confrontation. Granted, China is expanding it's sphere of influence around the Pacific rim but that's to be expected. I do not expect the US to confront the Chinese militarily, nor do I think we should unless events on the ground unimaginably spin far out of control.

  51. Join my Bosco Boycott, Trish.

    The disgusting bore attacked Allen for no reason at all. It was quite gross.

  52. Quirk,

    Email the Boscos to us and we will post them for you. Send photos, graphics, artwork, etc. Or perhaps the boss will assist in that department.

    Regulars may also wish to send photos from 2010 which they would like to share on the EB.

  53. One way or another, I'm coming in from the cold.

    Also, I'm having a Dos Equis.

    It's the last one.

  54. "Join my Bosco Boycott, Trish."

    Puhleeze. Bob.

    I'm skipping it because I've read enough...

    Well. I have, anyway.

  55. Trish

    That part of the anatomy is not a Quirk, it is a Taint.

  56. As in, "Taint dead and dull"?

    Yeah, I've felt the stitches.

  57. Or more like, "taint this or it taint that." You know, it's kind of inbetween.

  58. I think it's kind of quirky to be discussing taints!

  59. Gag Reflex said...
    Or more like, "taint this or it taint that." You know, it's kind of inbetween.


    Paper here today says hearing officer approves megaloads to Montana. This has been a big issue here, and has cost Conoco/Phillips a ton of money, all because of a few environmentalists.

    Finally a little good sense prevails.

    These massive oil drums are headed for the middle of Montana. Later over 200 loads are headed for the tar sands of Alberta.

    The management of Conoco/Phillips should have anticipated all this and gotten the permits nailed down first.

    These moving guys having been hanging around Lewiston for months, drinking the bars dry.

  60. "You know, it's kind of inbetween."


    I can't live like that.

  61. .


    Email the Boscos to us and we will post them for you. Send photos, graphics, artwork, etc. Or perhaps the boss will assist in that department...

    Thanks for the offer Whit. I am going through it now trying to clean it up. I will try sending you the file later this afternoon.

    Not sure it will work going through you guys but would save a lot of work for me if it did.

    It will be pretty large file. Some of the links have stopped functioning for whatever reason and I'm trying to reconstruct.

    Will wrap it up as soon as I can (in between making coffee for the guys putting new shingle on my house).


  62. If it's that big, break it down into multiple files and email them individually. If you're working in Word, attach the files and we'll copy code and all (fingers crossed)into blogger.

  63. This is the kind of weather here that will kill some winter wheat, high winds blowing some bare spots on the hills, and the temp going down to 10 degrees.

    Thankfully my neighbor apt. owner is out of jail now and can handle the snow removal in our common parking lot.

  64. Out of curiosity, how many squares and at how much $.

  65. .

    About 27 sq.


    But they are doing some additional repair work for me also.


  66. Quirk, don't you have a blog?

    When I did the horoscope I composed it in my blog and copied and pasted it into the comment section here, I didn't have one problem.

  67. Taint?

    You're talking about taints and I get shit for talking about hair removal.

    Taint it a good thing?

  68. .

    Mel, I'm busy.

    Quit distracting me with that ass.


  69. And when I talk about hair removal I mean that in a good way.

    Mel going bald is not just scary but down right bloodcurdling.

    Although, with the amount of money I spend on hair products I could probably get several decent wigs. With each new wig there would be that many more masks to unveil. Hm….

  70. I only created the blog as a joke because someone, I think Sam, couldn't find it.

    Are you sure you don't want to use it?

  71. "This time last year, the song came through an open apartment window on my way to the grocery store...Past the upside-down Christmas tree suspended from the ceiling."

    Remember, remember, remember, remember, remember.

    There you were, walking down the street.

  72. "With each new wig there would be that many more masks to unveil."

    And here we get back to the "you" of this blog.

    Perhaps it will reveal to you some secret worth knowing.

    Peeling yourself like an onion.

    Or creating more layers, as the case may be.

    Whatever does it.

    I am the un-mystery.

  73. There I was.

    Walking down the street.

  74. I've always liked storms, storms of all kinds. This is a ripper, snow coming down nearly horizontal now. Storms up in the mountains in summer, hail storms during harvest, spring storms, lightning storms in Ohio, storms on lakes with big waves, they always get my blood going, and then there's the storm, the storm of a kiss, as my poet says.

  75. I wish I could write like this -

    The Storm
    by Theodore Roethke


    Against the stone breakwater,
    Only an ominous lapping,
    While the wind whines overhead,
    Coming down from the mountain,
    Whistling between the arbors, the winding terraces;
    A thin whine of wires, a rattling and flapping of leaves,
    And the small street-lamp swinging and slamming against
    the lamp pole.

    Where have the people gone?
    There is one light on the mountain.

    Along the sea-wall, a steady sloshing of the swell,
    The waves not yet high, but even,
    Coming closer and closer upon each other;
    A fine fume of rain driving in from the sea,
    Riddling the sand, like a wide spray of buckshot,
    The wind from the sea and the wind from the mountain contending,
    Flicking the foam from the whitecaps straight upward into the darkness.

    A time to go home!--
    And a child's dirty shift billows upward out of an alley,
    A cat runs from the wind as we do,
    Between the whitening trees, up Santa Lucia,
    Where the heavy door unlocks,
    And our breath comes more easy,--
    Then a crack of thunder, and the black rain runs over us, over
    The flat-roofed houses, coming down in gusts, beating
    The walls, the slatted windows, driving
    The last watcher indoors, moving the cardplayers closer
    To their cards, their anisette.

    We creep to our bed, and its straw mattress.
    We wait; we listen.
    The storm lulls off, then redoubles,
    Bending the trees half-way down to the ground,
    Shaking loose the last wizened oranges in the orchard,
    Flattening the limber carnations.

    A spider eases himself down from a swaying light-bulb,
    Running over the coverlet, down under the iron bedstead.
    The bulb goes on and off, weakly.
    Water roars into the cistern.

    We lie closer on the gritty pillow,
    Breathing heavily, hoping--
    For the great last leap of the wave over the breakwater,
    The flat boom on the beach of the towering sea-swell,
    The sudden shudder as the jutting sea-cliff collapses,
    And the hurricane drives the dead straw into the living pine-tree.

  76. fishing fishing fishing it's always about fishing

    sex sex sex it's always about sex

  77. "I've always liked storms..."

    I have nightmares about them, FFB.

    Northwest Illinois. Always.

  78. Those lightning storms in the Ohio River Valley are a bitch, even I admit that. Never seen - or heard - anything like it. BOOOOOMMM

    Except once up in the mountains past McCall, which scared the shit out of all of us.


  79. I stopped chewing my fingernails.

  80. My wife was doing some research this morning on the story of Little Wolf of the Northern Cheyenne wanting to trade President Grant some ponies for some breeding white women - turns out that while there are some elements to it that are true, the basic story line about the trading isn't, so disregard that one. Kinda had the ring of truth to it to me. But I'm naive beyond belief on most things.

  81. There's always your toenails, and that really has the look of nuts to it, too.

    You can always chew your lips if nothing else.

  82. I actually still believe what people say, once in a while.

  83. I've been rereading Melody's Capricorn horoscope, and I am concluding it's not so much about the stars and Capricorns in general, but tends to reflect the outlook of the writer - it is a kind of astrohoroautobiography, let's call it.

    I keep seeing more and more in it.

    We have a Capricorn Ballroom here, or used to.

  84. Work sets you free.

    And I say that in only a good way.

    Too much free time is not a good thing. Work is good, it takes one mind off oneself. It is an escape from the daily monotony of nothing.

    Find something that you enjoy and throw yourself into it.

    My unsolicited advice for the day.

    Get a job.

  85. Wed Dec 29, 1:46 am ET
    PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – Untried rookie quarterback Joe Webb led the Minnesota Vikings to a shocking 24-14 upset victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Tuesday.

    Making his first NFL start in place of the injured Brett Favre, Webb threw for 195 yards without an interception and ran for a touchdown.

    Adrian Peterson ran for 118 yards and a score as the Vikings (6-9) snapped the explosive Eagles' three-game winning streak.

    "You always have to have composure as a quarterback," Webb told reporters.

    "You always have to show (your team mates) that you have confidence no matter the score. My team mates were rallying behind me the whole game and I have to give those guys credit."

    Philadelphia (10-5), who clinched the NFC East Division with the New York Giants' loss on Sunday, were coming off a stunning comeback from 21 points down in the final eight minutes to beat the Giants last week.

    MVP candidate Michael Vick threw for 263 yards and accounted for two touchdowns against Minnesota but was held in check and sacked six times.

    He also threw an interception and spilled two fumbles as he was harassed all game by the visiting defense.

    "You have to take the good with the bad," said Vick, who limped most of the night and appeared to suffer a minor injury early.

    "I've got to do a better job of protecting the football. The thing to do now is to regroup, look at our mistakes and get better.

    If Vick wouldn't scramble holding the football out at arm's length he'd do a lot better.

  86. "Get a job."

    : )


    And fuck off.

  87. Aristotle and my daughter would disagree with you, Whit.

    But I tend to agree.

    Too much work however makes one a dwarf, as the myths say, like those fellows up at the north pole.

    Farming is a good compromise.

    Work your ass off, then go to Hawaii for the winter.

  88. "Work sets you free."

    Wanna know what else sets me free?

    Not having my fucking conversations replayed here.

    Not having my life's story replayed here.

    Not listening to and seeing snippets of the Bar show up in my fucking real life.


  89. This is why I said Blue and I would have to talk.

    Blue and I are never going to talk.

    That leaves me with few options.

  90. My life as I knew it is gone.

    What do I have to gain?

    What do I have to lose?

  91. What do I want?

    That is the question.

  92. How can we help you, Madam? Is there a particular request?

  93. I actually have to think about that woman who was walking to the grocery store, hearing that music.

    I have to think about her.

  94. "How can we help you, Madam?"

    Oh, whit, I don't think you know what you're doing.

  95. No more than the fucking apes.

  96. No more than Bob and his poetry.

    No more than Blue and his anti-Democrat ire.

  97. desert rat said...
    Stark realization, aye

    Which realization is that?

  98. BAISHAZHEN, China — The elderly rice farmer was leading three outsiders into an illegal quarry to show them the gangster-run mine that has poisoned his village’s fields and streams.

    Suddenly, a blue Hyundai sport utility vehicle sped up to them in a cloud of red dust. A Toyota pickup pulled up behind, its windows tinted too dark to see how many people might be inside.

    “Shove off!” the Hyundai driver screamed at the old man and his visitors, who included an American reporter. “We’re going to carve all of you up, slaughter all of you and burn your car!”

    China Cracks Down on Illegal Mining of Rare Earth Metals

  99. This comment has been removed by the author.

  100. Europeon news of little consquence to any real Americans.

    COPENHAGEN, Denmark – Police in Denmark and Sweden halted an imminent terrorist attack Wednesday by arresting five men who planned to shoot as many people as possible in a building housing the newsroom of a paper that published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, officials said.

  101. Not when a police officer was gunned down every 53 hours in the United States.

    Sectarian political and criminal activity in Europe is of little concern.

  102. Little more than the anarchist attacks in Italy and Greece are really newsworthy, here.

  103. For some people, that realization is a good thing.

  104. Or the Red Brigades of the recent past.

    Political violence has a long history, in Europe.
    Where politics and religion are combined, the violence multiplies.

    Go with God

  105. No more than Bob and his poetry.


    But I know what I am - was - doing with my kind of farming.

    And the local development game too.

    Four lots are already spoken for.

    The formal plat was accepted and signed at the courthouse just yesterday.

    It's the last of that I'll ever do, I do believe.

  106. Where politics and religion are combined, the violence multiplies.

    I agree with that.

  107. Regardless of good or bad, it is a stark realization when it occurs.

    : sharply delineated - a stark contrast-

    When the twenty year life goals have been achieved, then the question of:
    What's next?
    dovetails closely to:
    What do I want?

  108. True.

    There are a whole lot of people who are asking what's next? What do I want to do? 20 year people, 30 year people. People who thought they were retired or retiring soon now find that their lives as they knew them are over.

  109. Many couples, as the children leave home find themselves in the same position, regardless of economics.

    Finding that what they had in common walked out the door.

    Add the trauma of retirement ...

    Many ask
    What do I want to do?
    Then ask ...
    Do you want to do it with me?

    Rather than:
    What do we want to do?

    That there is nowe is often more a sobering experience than an intoxicating one.

    . Marked by seriousness, gravity, or solemnity of conduct or character.
    . Marked by circumspection and self-restraint.

  110. That there is no we is often more a sobering experience than an intoxicating one.

    Rather than "intoxicating", liberating may be a better word choice.

  111. "I've been rereading Melody's Capricorn horoscope, and I am concluding..."

    They're written for me. And I don't fit a single one.

  112. Not really wanting or willing to leave the gilded cage they've built for themselves.

    But realizing that it is beyond their control, maintaining the status que.

  113. They were really clumsy in some respects.

  114. A) It's always about me. Here, there and everywhere. It always was and it always will be.

    B) The Capricorn post was not a reflection of the writer. I gathered the information from the same sources as the prior one. I just tried to write it a little different. I'm sorry if it didn't work out that way as I'm no writer.

    C) If you don't want your life replayed here at the bar then stop bringing it the fuck up. Because frankly, it's getting pretty fucking old. And the heartless way you talk to people around here really isn't a good way to get attention. Because eventually they're not going to give a flying fuck what happens to you or your precious little life as you knew it. It actually makes me sick to see people here try to care and all you do is treat them like dirt. Get the fuck over yourself. Your sarcasm is not appealing.

  115. Interesting and awful that it took me awhile.

  116. B.) A miserable misreading by myself. I am no writer, nor reader.

  117. I bow to your...

    Well, whatever it is.

  118. The Europeon story as relevant to Americans as:

    CNN International -
    (CNN) -- The three leaders representing a West African bloc will return to Ivory Coast next Monday to again try to defuse an escalating political crisis sparked by President Laurent Gbagbo's refusal to cede .

  119. 195 from Pullman to Spokane is now closed.

    I'm thinking 95 from here to Coeur d'Alene will be closed this afternoon.

    Think I'll call my daughter.

    I'd like to see her ride horses in this! :)

    In fact a horse might be the best way to get around.

    This is a ripper, kind I like.

  120. Well to get philosophical about it the bardo of becoming is not only after death but many times during this our changeful life some for the best some not so good but two steps forward one step back dance on dance on dance on fighting despair all the way an' relying on love only thing that lasts going to make up heaven and creating it now.

    Daughter says it's a mother of a storm up there too not that I didn't know that.


    I will pay for it.

    Makes me think of you.

  122. The fact that we here in Atlanta had a State Trooper gunned down two days ago has absolutely nothing to do with Muzzies and their worldwide violence.

    Ever heard of apples and oranges?

    Both are significant for different reasons to those of us who are not Muzzie lovers.

  123. WiO - I've been hoping you say that sometime. I was going to suggest it, but thought, he's a pretty private guy, so didn't.

    I most certainly will, and be looking forward to it.

    I'm moving into my condo in Moscow, but we absolutely have to get back there soon. Meaning probably, spring.

  124. "Makes me think of you"


    See Trish. The thing is, I really don't think anyone wants anything from you.

  125. That's okay.

    I actually got something from them.

  126. Deuce - Thanks for the link. However, the article fails to address the key part of my question - is there a non-carrier alternative to global dominance? It seems like Russia thought it had part of the answer... certainly China's top people would be working on it.

    I found the article funny, because of its emphasis on asymmetrical threats when direct threats like say... an anti-ship ballistic missile, could do the same, and probably with far more certainty of success.

  127. China is becoming a global power.That may be a seem to be a good thing for Chinese,but it is not,its not even good for the rest of the world.China is a like a big hungry monster.It is increasing its power day by day.And is allies ?Pakistan,North Korea...all rogue states.The news that this article brings is not good for anyone

  128. wobbly asked:
    ... is there a non-carrier alternative to global dominance?

    I believe the answer is not military but rather financial and legal. Make everyone your debt slave and enforce your rights through the courts or when necessary through corruption and force.