Monday, June 25, 2018

By Taking Care Of Its Ships The U.S. Navy Can Reach Its Goal Of 355 Ships By 2032

Popular Mechanics: The US Navy Could Grow to 355 Ships by 2032

The key is taking care of them.

The U.S. Navy wants to grow its fleet to 355 ship, and it may have found a way to reach that goal a full 20 years early: by keeping ships in the fleet longer. Surface ships, including frigates, destroyers, cruisers, and even amphibious ships could extend their operational lifespans while at the service beefs up its total number of vessels.

U.S. Naval Institute News reports that Vice Admiral Tom Moore, head of Naval Sea Systems Command, believes the Navy could reach its vaunted 355-ship fleet by putting into practice something already done with aircraft carriers: periodically putting them into drydock for maintenance and upgrades. This would stretch the lifespan and usefulness of existing ships, a cheaper and more cost-effective alternative to simply buying more ships.

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WNU Editor: Maintenance is always key. I am surprised that the US Navy does not take this heart with their fleet (with the exception of the aircraft carriers).

There Is A Problem In The U.S. Military's Drug Testing Program

Specimen bottles are collected for packaging for drug testing Jan. 7, 2014, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. The 19th Medical Group Drug Demand Reduction office collects and tests service members and civilians for substance abuse. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Caleb Pierce)

Task & Purpose: How Many Troops Did The Pentagon Boot Out Over Botched Drug Tests?

The Department of Defense announced a two-day pause to court-martial and administrative separation proceedings involving the wrongful use of controlled substances, due to worries over the integrity of the lab tests involved — a move that could also cast a pall over past drug-related dismissals, Military Times reports.

* A May 2018 study conducted by the Air Force Drug Testing Laboratory, which oversees drug-related urinalysis testing for the service, found that potential leaks between urine samples during transport could result in cross-contamination of drug-free samples with “hot” urine, tainting the samples of ostensibly innocent airmen.

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WNU Editor:  Can anyone do anything right?

The U.S. Army Is Extending The Range Of Its Artillery Rockets By Putting Control Fins On Its Tail

Warzone/The Drive: Army Plans To Double Guided Artillery Rocket's Range By Putting Control Fins On Its Tail

Moving the control surfaces from the nose to the tail allows the weapons to be more aerodynamic and strike the enemy nearly 90 miles away.

The U.S. Army has begun flight tests of a new variant of its 227mm guided artillery rocket that could eventually hit targets out to a maximum range of more than 85 miles. The new design will significantly increase the capability of the service’s tracked and truck-mounted launchers and comes amid a surge of artillery developments intended to help American troops defeat potential near-peer opponents, such as Russia, in a major conflict.

Earlier in June 2018, the Army’s Aviation and Missile Research, Development, and Engineering Center (AMRDEC) disclosed the successful test at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, which had occurred months earlier. During this experiment, the rocket hit a target around 70 miles away, but the goal is to extend that range by at least another 15 miles.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Russians have a huge advantage when it comes to artillery. It is advantage that the U.S. military better learn quick to match.

Gold Will Be King In Any Currency War

© Leonhard Foeger / Reuters

RT: Currency war can end global US dollar dominance & those who own gold have power

The world is facing a currency war and the only hedge against the crash of the US dollar is real gold, a precious metal analyst has told RT. With geopolitical power shifting from West to East, US dominance may be ending.

One such sign is the recent repatriation of gold from the United States. Countries such as Turkey, Germany, the Netherlands have been moving the bullions home. The reason is the Cold War is over and countries don’t see Russia as a threat anymore, says Claudio Grass, an independent precious metals advisor and Mises Ambassador.

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WNU Editor: RT is right on this one. And in the case of Russia, they are putting their money where their mouth is .... Russia gets rid of US Treasury securities and buys gold (RT).

What Will War Look Like In The Fourth Industrial Revolution

David Barno and Nora Bensahel, War Is Boring: War in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Retiring Chinese general He Lei recently made news by suggesting that China’s greatest military weakness compared to the United States was that it has never fought a real war. He noted none of Beijing’s increasingly advanced weapons, jets, and ships have been tested in combat. Moreover, the large People’s Liberation Army continues to rely upon conscripts rather than the long-serving professionals in the U.S. military. He argued the Chinese military “will be ridden with doubts until they get into a real fight.”

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WNU Editor: Bottom line .... wars in the future will be different than how we fight wars today. This is a good summary on what is coming down the "pipeline".

Sikorsky’s S-97 Raider Is Back In The Air After A 2017 Software Error Resulted In A Crash

Task & Purpose: The Slick New S-97 Raider Makes the Black Hawk Look *So* 1974

The competition to be the next Army helicopter is heating up. On June 20th, Sikorsky’s S-97 Raider once again took flight completing a 90-minute demonstration, the first since an August 2017 crash caused by flight software errors grounded the program

According to Sikorsky, the S-97 will be capable of ‘light assault, light attack, armed reconnaissance, close-air support, combat search and rescue, and unmanned applications.’ which would make the Raider a virtual flying Swiss Army knife.

With a more conventional twin rotor design than its competitor for those sweet, sweet Army warbucks in the Bell V-280 Valor, the Raider is designed to allow maximum maneuverability, capable of speeds of around 250 miles per hour and dropping six fully loaded troops into the fray. It has a reported range of 350 miles and can cruise at an altitude of 10,000 feet. By comparison, the Valor the can reach speeds of 322 miles per hour, has a range of between 500 to 900 miles depending on the configuration.

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WNU Editor: It's 2017 crash did set back the program by one year, but it looks like Sikorsky is going to try its best to make up for lost time.

Here Are 5 Secret Military Projects That Accidentally Leaked

© Photo : Public Domain / U.S. Navy

Sputnik: From J-20 to Status-6: Top 5 Secret Military Projects That Accidentally Leaked

The world's top military powers are known for their strict secrecy regarding next-gen weapons. However, no country seems immune from accidentally leaking invaluable information about their new planes, ships or tanks to the public, as well as their adversaries. Sputnik breaks down the top five weapons accidentally exposed in the past few decades.

Red more .....

WNU Editor: China J-20 fighter jet and navy rail-gun surprised me. But Russia's naval nuclear drone was the surprise that got me that I do wonder if it was done on purpose.

Tweets For Today

Israel Wants A Railway Linking Haifa Seaport With Saudi Arabia

Government officials taking part in a test ride on a new train route near the northern city of Carmiel on March 21, 2017 (Basel Awidat/Flash90)

Times of Israel: Israel to begin promoting railway linking Haifa seaport with Saudi Arabia

Transportation minister says he has begun consulting with leaders of relevant countries regarding plan that would give Gulf easier access to Europe.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Transportation Minister Israel Katz agreed this week to begin promoting their “Tracks for Regional Peace” initiative that is intended to create a trade route connecting Europe with the Persian Gulf and Israel, Hadashot news reported Saturday evening.

“Tracks for Regional Peace” is based on the planned extension of railway tracks in northern Israel, which would link Haifa’s seaport to Jordan’s rail network, which in turn will be linked with that of Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Arab states.

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WNU Editor:  This is not receiving the news attention that it deserves.

Picture Of The Day

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan waves to supporters as he leaves his residence in Istanbul, Turkey. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

WNU Editor: The above picture came from this photo-gallery .... Turkey's Erdogan claims election victory (Reuters).

The Border Crisis

People climb the border wall fence in Mexico in front of crowd of supporters in San Diego.Mike Blake/Reuters

Richard Fernandez, PJ Media: The Border Crisis

On both sides of the Atlantic borders have become a big issue in the guise of the equivalent question of whether a country can restrict the entry of migrants to numbers the electorate regards as sustainable.

In the US the family impact of arresting illegal aliens has intensified political hostility nearly to the point of physical conflict. The New York Times sadly notes Trump supporters no longer even listen to the media's frequent denunciations of the incumbent president. How can they stand him? "This includes portions of the wealthy college-educated people in swing counties ... and the endless stream of tough cable news coverage and bad headlines about Mr. Trump only galvanizes them further."

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WNU Editor: As usual ..... Richard Fernandez nails it. Read the whole thing if you have the chance. On a side note, earlier today a regular reader of this blog emailed me to remind me that when the Soviet Union was falling apart, the leadership were oblivious to the changes that were happening around them until they were unceremoniously thrown out. He mentioned this because he sees similarities with what is happening today to what happened in the Soviet Union before the fall. Upon reflection .... I have to say that he is right. I know in my case my father was in shock when the Soviet Union was disbanded. We even went to Red Square to see them bring down the Soviet flag and put up the Russian flag ... something that he told me that never taught he would see in his lifetime. Flash forward to today, I definitely do see multiple similarities. Before the fall .... the Soviet media/much of the political class/special interests groups/pundits/ and especially the national and international policy think tanks and organizations in Moscow .... they were all collectively misreading and/or choosing to ignore what was happening outside of their bubble. And the end result .... to their shock .... within a year all of these people were thrown out of power, and what influence they had was stripped from them. Are we on the cusp of such a similar radical change happening in the West? I can only speak for myself, but when I am looking at today's U.S. and Western landscape .... I do feel that I am reliving history. That today's media/much of the political class/special interests groups/pundits/ and especially the national and international policy think tanks and organizations .... they are all collectively misreading and/or choosing to ignore what is happening outside of their bubble. President Trump was the first shock to the system .... but he is not going to be the last. I commented  after the recent G7 summit and the overwhelming negative coverage of President Trump that in two years the only one who would be left from the Quebec summit will be President Trump. The rest will be gone, or be on the verge of being kicked out. And as for the media/think tanks/special interest groups/etc. .... they are also not going to be immune from this shake-out. Something new is coming, the best that we can do is personally be prepared for it.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Study: Washington D.C. Is The Psychopath Capital of America

Politico: Washington, D.C.: the Psychopath Capital of America

A new study ranks each state, plus D.C., by their psychopathic tendencies. The race for first? It isn’t even close.

As Washington’s shock over winning the Stanley Cup demonstrates, the nation’s capital isn’t used to being first in anything. As a city, it’s not the oldest, nor the biggest, nor the richest, and its sports teams are notoriously snakebitten. But finally, the capital has a claim to No. 1—and unfortunately, it’s not just in hockey.

Ryan Murphy, an economist at Southern Methodist University, recently published a working paper in which he ranked each of the states by the predominance of—there’s no nice way to put it—psychopaths. The winner? Washington in a walk. In fact, the capital scored higher on Murphy’s scale than the next two runners-up combined.

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WNU Editor: Why am I not surprised. The study is here.

North Korea Is Erasing Its Anti-US Propaganda

New York Post: North Korea erasing most anti-US propaganda

Nix the nuclear warheads, cue the doves.

The North Korean government is erasing much of its anti-U.S. propaganda following dictator Kim Jong-un’s forays onto the world stage.

Gone are the posters depicting the U.S. as a “rotten, diseased, pirate nation” and promising “merciless revenge” on American forces for an imagined attack on the totalitarian country.

In their place are cheery messages touting praising the prospects for Korean reunification and the declaration Kim signed in April with South Korean President Moon Jae-in promising “lasting peace,” according to reports.

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WNU Editor: A prediction. If things go well, these propaganda posters will be collector items in 20 years. I should know. I have hundreds of real and genuine Soviet posters going back to the revolution (what can I say, my dad was a collector). And what I can get for them on eBay is nuts.

It Is Going To Be An Interesting Week In Washington On Russia-Gate, The FBI, And The Mueller Counsel

WNU Editor: A brief summary on what has happened .... and will be happening this week.

(1) On Friday the Justice Department sent to Congress a collection of files on the Russia probe .... DOJ gives Congress new classified documents on Russia probe (AP). The problem is that these files do not address the number one question that Congress has been demanding for months now and that is .... what evidence was found that was used to start the Trump - Russian collusion investigation. I do not know why the DOJ and Rod Rosenstein are refusing to turn over all of this information, but it is clear that Congress has now lost it's patience .... Devin Nunes sets new deadline for DOJ, FBI to hand over materials on Trump campaign informants (Washington Examiner).

(2) Former FBI agents are saying that giving this information to Congress would be disastrous .... The DOJ has turned over additional FISA records to Republicans, and former intelligence officials say the implications could be 'catastrophic' (Business Insider). My take is completely different. The Inspector General's report outlines in great detail how corrupt the agency has become in the past few years. IMHO the FBI has lost its morale authority to dictate to Congress what they can see or not.

(3) Expect fireworks on Wednesday over this hearing .... Judiciary Committee subpoenas anti-Trump FBI agent Peter Strzok (Washington Times)

(4) In the Inspector General's report Appendix Two has been completely redacted. I remember seeing this last week when reading the entire damn report and scratching my head wondering what was in it. According to IBDaily reporter John Sperry it is because of this (see link here). If true, former Attorney General Loretta Lynch may be having some legal problems.

(5) As this blog noted a few weeks ago, the Mueller Counsel's case on charging Russian entities for influencing the 2016 election campaign did not look solid when one of the defendants decided to challenge the charges. Now I know this case is not as solid as we have been led to believe .... Facing humiliation, Mueller backs away from prosecution of Russian entities (Thomas Lifson, American Thinker).

(6) I leave the best for last. Is the head of the Mueller Counsel telling U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (Democrat) and other Democrats the details of his investigation? .... Overheard at the DSCC retreat on Martha’s Vineyard (Politico). If this story is true .... the Mueller Counsel should be closed down immediately. I expect this story to be picked up by President Trump and others in the coming days.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis To Visit China, Japan, And South Korea This Week

Image Credit: DOD photo by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jette Carr

Ankit Panda, The Diplomat: Mattis to Visit China, Japan, and South Korea With South China Sea, North Korea in Mind

The trip will be Mattis’ first to China as U.S. secretary of defense.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis will visit Asia in the coming week, making stops in China, Japan, and South Korea. The trip will be Mattis’ first to China in his capacity as the United States’ top defense official.

The trip will Mattis’ second trip to Asia this month, following a trip at the beginning of the month that included a stopover in Singapore for the Shangri-La Dialogue, where he delivered a major address on U.S. strategy in the Indo-Pacific region.

Mattis will arrive in China amid heightened tensions between the United States and China over trade, the militarization of features in the South China Sea, and Taiwan. Earlier this month, the new American Institute in Taiwan, the United States’ embassy in all-but-name, drawing attention to the close U.S.-Taiwan relationship.

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Update: Mattis to Visit China as Taiwan, S. China Sea Tensions Rise (

WNU Editor: His trip to China is not going to be all smiles and handshakes.

Iran's Currency Conitnues Its Decline As U.S. Sanctions Loom

A man counts stacks of Iranian rials at a currency exchange shop in Kerbala , 110 km (70 miles) south of Baghdad January 23, 2013. REUTERS/Mushtaq Muhammed

Reuters: Iran rial plunges to new lows as U.S. sanctions loom

DUBAI (Reuters) - The Iranian rial plunged to a record low against the U.S. dollar on the unofficial market on Sunday, continuing its slide amid fears of returning U.S. sanctions after President Donald Trump in May withdrew from a deal on Tehran’s nuclear program.

The dollar was being offered for as much as 87,000 rials, compared to around 75,500 on Thursday, the last trading day before Iran’s weekend, according to foreign exchange website, which tracks the unofficial market.

Iran’s semi-official news agency ISNA said the dollar had climbed to 87,000 rials on Sunday from about 74,000 before the weekend on the black market, and several Iranian websites carried similar reports.

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WNU Editor: When Iranian Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed yesterday that Iran will not sign an international agreement that bans terror financing, he more or less drove the final nail into the coffin on any hope that sanctions would be averted .... Iran Will Not Sign An International Treaty That Bans Terror Financing (June 23, 2018). I know if I was living in Iran and I had cash .... I would be keeping it in gold and foreign currencies.

Massacre Of Civilians Reported In Mali

BBC: Mali Fula villagers were killed 'in cold blood'

Traditional hunters have killed 32 civilians in an isolated village in central Mali, a local group says.

The hunters, known locally as "Dozo", surrounded the village in the Mopti region and separated members of the Fula ethnic group from the other villagers before killing them.

Children were among the victims in Saturday's attack, an official said.

There has been increasing violence between Fula, who are traditionally herders, and other ethnic groups.

Read more ....

Update #1: Armed hunters 'surrounded the village, separated the people and killed 32 in cold blood' (
Update #2: 32 Fula civilians killed in Mali attack (ENCA)

WNU Editor: On a side note. Canadian peacekeepers are preparing to start their "peace-keeping" mission in Mali .... First Canadian peacekeepers arrive in Mali as year-long mission begins (Globe and Mail/Canadian Press). More here .... Canadian troops in Mali prepare for daunting, dangerous UN peacekeeping mandate (CBC).

Turkish President Erdogan Declares Victory In Today's Presidential Election

CNN: Erdogan declares victory in Turkish election

Istanbul, Turkey (CNN)Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared himself the winner of a high-stakes election, in which he sought to cement his power on the nation he has ruled for 15 years.

But the opposition has cried foul, claiming that state media and the election commission have manipulated the results.

The election commission is expected to announce official results later Sunday. If Erdogan's victory is officially confirmed, he will gain sweeping new powers when he resumes office. He narrowly won a referendum last year to transform the country's parliamentary system to a powerful executive presidency, in what his critics called a blatant power grab.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: A news roundup on today's election will be posted early tomorrow morning.