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November 2010

Giving Thanks

Crossposted at Laughing Wolf

Today, Americans gather to eat a massive meal, watch parades, events, and competitions on television, and otherwise enjoy a day off.  The original meaning is, honestly, probably lost for many because we do not fear starvation in the coming months of winter cold.  Despite that, quite a few will take at least a minute to say thanks for the last year, and it is especially right that I do so today with you. 

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Thanks to our audience

It has been a privilege to write here at B5 and one of the biggest reasons is our amazing audience. You people are the only reason this site is worth a damn. You are active, engaged, informed, charitable and outspoken. Thanks for making this a powerful weapon for good. We have helped the war effort by telling and then spreading the truth around, and we have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars, probably more than a million over all for all kinds of great charities and people. Well done, and we are not done.

It has been one of the most enjoyable years of my life and this site was a huge part of that. But it is family that makes it all worthwhile. Mine are all well from my Grandmother (that's right we Swedes are long-lived) to my parents who finally retired (which means my old man has time to read the site, uh oh), my sister and her family (with her son in Basic Training as we speak), and my brother's family here in DC (where I will be tomorrow playing w/ my niece and her new puppy), to my daughter who I love more than anything and who makes this planet tolerable.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!


90,000 tons of floating diplomacy

President Obama is sending the USS George Washington and friends to go play Navy w/ the South Koreans. Bravo sir, nice opening gambit.

The exercise will include sending the aircraft carrier George Washington and a number of accompanying ships into the region, both to deter further attacks by the North and to signal to China that unless it reins in its unruly ally it will see an even larger American presence in the vicinity.

USS_George_Washington_at_Sea The only nice thing about this whole goat screw is that nobody benefits from a war. Everyone knows that, but the problem is that one of the four most interested parties in this multi-national Mexican standoff (racist) is batshit crazy. There is no way to guarantee that at some point Kim Jong WTF? doesn't just get out of the boat and go all the way. That means that more often than not cautious moves are best. That is unless we decide to get out of the boat and go all the way ourselves. If we see the shot and there is no danger, we could try a strike on their nuke facilities if we were only under the hard deck for a few seconds.


That is how far out this whole situation is, the best movies don't even have good answers. In the end it needs to be the Chinese and I like the idea I have heard floated around about offering additional capabilities, nuke or otherwise, to the South Koreans or Japanese to provide leverage against the Chinese. But what are the odds of "No Nukes" Barry O using even the threat of proliferaton as a weapon? Near zero, the cognitive dissonance would cause even him to pull a mental muscle. But as far as sending that big old boat with all it's fancy toys, nukes included, well if we were sitting at a poker table, that looks like somebody who knows he's holding pocket aces and just wants you to fold.

Can you tell I love aircraft carriers? Next to my own squad of Marines it would be my favorite Xmas present. Just sayin'.

Uber Pig Moves To "This Ain't Hell" For Triple the Pay

Just an announcement for all of you who are wondering where the enlisted swine have gone to, our own Uber Pig is moving over to This Ain't Hell and we're putting him in emeritus status on our sidebar.  I fully support this move by my compadre, and UP has an open invitation to blog here whenever he may desire, even if he had his pay tripled by the Donald Trump of milbloggers, Jonn Lilyea.

Be sure to visit the guys that will be running the show Internets soon enough...

Can We Finish This Please????

I have to qualify my remarks by saying that I am someone that doesn't believe that we can work this out with the Norks, it is my belief that it has become time to affect a regime change in North Korea.  By removing this one of the last festering sores of totalitarianism on this planet, that really contributes nothing to the world, we could help the North Korean people realize their own dreams of freedom.

And in fact, as most everyone knows, we have only signeda "cease fire" with the Norks, so we could really just reload and "go back to war" and get the job done.

My evidence for the fact that the Norks are a wart on the behind of the world?  The CIA Factbook:

North Korea, one of the world's most centrally directed and least open economies, faces chronic economic problems. Industrial capital stock is nearly beyond repair as a result of years of underinvestment and shortages of spare parts. Large-scale military spending draws off resources needed for investment and civilian consumption. Industrial and power output have declined in parallel from pre-1990 levels.  Oil exports--0.00 barrels per day, Natural Gas exports--none.

And this...

risking arrest, imprisonment, and deportation, tens of thousands of North Koreans cross into China to escape famine, economic privation, and political oppression.....North Korea does not fully comply with minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so; the government does not acknowledge the existence of human rights abuses in the country or recognize trafficking, either within the country or transnationally....for years, from the 1970s into the 2000s, citizens of the Democratic People's Republic of (North) Korea (DPRK), many of them diplomatic employees of the government, were apprehended abroad while trafficking in narcotics, including two in Turkey in December 2004; police investigations in Taiwan and Japan in recent years have linked North Korea to large illicit shipments of heroin and methamphetamine, including an attempt by the North Korean merchant ship Pong Su to deliver 150 kg of heroin to Australia in April 2003

And, as detailed very well by Uncle J, they do this in order to get something in return so that we will go back to ignoring them. 

I am weary of the good countries of the world acting like the cavemen in North Korea are not lying to them when they bribe them with food, cash etc.  It is like trying not use the word "bribe" when some thug drops by your store to tell you that he is there to collect for "protection."  I say we just smash-cut to the end credits of this horrible and endless drama with about 100 (ish) Tomahawk missiles, (some of them nuclear tipped) being sent in response to this shelling of South Korean territory.  We should target key leadership locations, key government centers, and key military centers of gravity (who I am certain would be at their posts), instead of a ship full of food aid.  I think this would have the effect of allowing the Nork people the opportunity to seize their freedom and join the world as partner, and not continue on as the red headed step-child that is kept on a chain in the basement.

I think it is worth a try.  And I think it might send the message to a few of the other bad actors in the world that this is not the way the world expects you to act and that aggression will not be tolerated.  

And that the time for honoring themselves for this kind of activity will soon be at an end.

What is happening here?

Caption contest2 

Caption contest

The President of the United States Barack Obama and Gen. David Petraeus, commander of International Security Assistance Forces and NATO Troops in Afghanistan, meet at the NATO Summit in Lisbon, Portugal, Nov. 20. (Photos by U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Joshua Treadwell)



Lance Cpl. Steven Finlayson, a team leader with Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, pauses before returning to Forward Operating Base Geronimo after providing security in Nawa, Afghanistan, Nov. 17, 2010. Finlayson and his squad provided security while Afghan National Army soldiers and U.S. Army personnel gave out supplies as a goodwill gesture during the Muslim holiday of Id al-Adha, the Feast of Sacrifice.  Photo by Mark Fayloga, Regimental Combat Team 1.

We have always been at war with South Korea

I have a Big Peace piece regarding the latest North Korean aggression. Here is the conclusion and I think I have coined a term in NorkGeld, what say ye Grim?

The other benefit of saber-rattling is payment of  the NorkGeld. That’s right, every time they do this they are usually also in dire need of food, oil and cash. They do a fair business in the arms trade and have dabbled in nuclear proliferation, but they know they will get satchels of cash, barrels of oil, and some rice if they remind us they can make a big mess. So we will soon be partnering with our good friends and owners the Chinese to pay the North Koreans to chill. I assume we will have some questions tied to that new nuke facility, but honestly I doubt we will act strongly against it. Appease and pay ‘em off, can’t wait to add the Iranians to that list.
Update: It has been pointed out that my headline is ambiguous. I have several 1984 refs in the piece and the headline was an internal message to the Nork drones.

Meet Jennifer Giunta - Someone You Should Know

This is a very nice story that I though you would appreciate:


MOH recipient: 'My wife is my rock'
Nov 16, 2010
By Elizabeth M. Collins

Mrsgiunta Photo Credit: Courtesy of Jennifer Giunta.

Staff Sgt. Salvatore “Sal” and Jennifer Giunta on their wedding day in Mexico November 2009. She has stood by his side through two deployments and the confusing, surreal and bittersweet whirlwind that followed his Medal of Honor announcement by President Barack Obama in September. Giunta calls her his rock and his hero.

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Nov. 16, 2010) -- As President Barack Obama hangs the pale blue ribbon holding the Medal of Honor around the neck of Staff Sgt. Salvatore "Sal" Giunta in a White House Ceremony today, Giunta's wife Jennifer will be at his side, offering her quiet support, just as she has done throughout his two deployments, and especially during the whirlwind of media interviews and VIP meetings that followed the award announcement in September.

He is the first living servicemember to receive the nation's highest award for conspicuous gallantry in combat since the Vietnam War -- for stopping two terrorists from kidnapping his wounded friend during a fierce battle in Afghanistan in October 2007 -- which he said doesn't make him a hero, and she said makes her proud, of course, but doesn't change the way she feels about her husband.

"Sal's still the same guy he was before," Jennifer said as Giunta noted he still has to do the dishes at home.

"It holds a lot of meaning," she said about the medal, "and I think that he's a hero, but I think that everyone who goes is also a hero, and he did what he did, because that's the type of person he is."

They met soon after Giunta enlisted and was stationed with the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team in Vicenza, Italy, where Jennifer was doing a college internship, and they were soon inseparable, so much so that she didn't want to go home at the end of the summer. He would be deploying the next winter and she knew - she knew - she had to find a way to make it work.

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