Sunday, 15 November 2009

One telling similarity between the the Wehrmacht and the US Military

A very interesting insight into the how effective the US military is at doing the wrong thing, as Fabius Maximus says "From a larger perspective this article shows how the 21st century US military is locked into a historically common trap. No matter how good, it remains harnessed to US elites’ geopolitical thinking " poorly reasoned, emotional (ruled by hubris and fear). Our military apparatus consistently provides professional, smooth execution of bad strategy. We do the wrong thing, but brilliantly."

Some clips below but follow the links for the full article.
Our military apparatus consistently provides professional, smooth execution of bad strategy.   We do the wrong thing, but brilliantly.
America seems now to have taken this German error and extended it. The present American way of war assumes that superiority at the tactical (or perhaps merely technical) level, manifested in high technology, will overcome massive failures at the strategic and moral levels
It would be an historical oddity if the United States, having failed to copy the Germans in what they got right, instead duplicated what they got wrong. In view of the almost lighthearted military optimism that currently prevails in Washington, one cannot help remembering Marx’s comment about history occurring as tragedy, then repeating itself as farce.
What was the contribution of money vs. force?
 More importantly and revealingly, it is a question seldom asked — as it conflicts with the dominant victory narrative.
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Saturday, 14 November 2009

Going Green the Brammo Way

How would you like to save at least $2000 a year in fuel (estimated at the average US car making 17mpg and the average commute of 32 miles)? While using a vehicle that costs only $10 a year to travel the same distance! You could also reduce your carbon footprint by 27% and your transportation footprint by 93%! Not too bad eh?

Well, have you heard of the Brammo Enertia Powercycle? Well it is basically an electric motorcycle and the people at Brammo have just come up with a fun tool to help show you the possible savings of going green. To give it a try just CLICK HERE and hopefully learn some interesting facts on the way.

Below is a video showing the Brammo Enertia Powercycle in action

I have got to admit, for the average commuter they have many plus points. Personally I would like to see a small screen, slightly better range from the battery and lose the chain for a belt instead...but even as it is I would be very tempted. Though I see these being much more popular in areas where you do not need to ride in rain gear all year round (here in Ireland a case in point).

Keep up the great work Brammo, this is certainly a move in the right direction.

As always, keep the rubber side down.

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Wednesday, 11 November 2009

EU citizens' initiative raises political and legal headaches

The EU has opened the door to direct democracy to the citizens of member states but are making sure there are enough limits in place not to let them get out of control. Time will tell if this becomes what it should be for the citizens or a tool for interest groups.
clipped from

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Hailed as the EU's first real step towards direct democracy, a right contained in the new Lisbon Treaty allowing EU citizens to ask the European Commission to initiate a law is shaping up to be a political and legal minefield.

The wording of the 'citizens initiative' article requires one million signatures from EU citizens for the commission to consider a legislative proposal, but its implementation throws up practical problems.

The commission proposes giving itself wiggle room for repeated petitions on issues it does not want to follow up, noting that "disincentives or time limits" could prevent "successive presentations of the same request."

EU communications commissioner Margot Wallstrom has in the past predicted the tool will be "used immediately" by citizens, noting that it will be "the better if it causes some problems for the commission" as it will bring the institution more into contact with ordinary people and what they are looking for from the EU.

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UK is now spelt C-H-I-N-A

The UK government is moving in leaps and bounds to becoming the most repressive state in Europe. Already they have the most comprehensive DNA database of citizens in the world (it has taken an EU court ruling to restrict the holding of innocent citizens DNA to 6 years) now they will be monitoring and storing every call, text, email and website a citizen visits. Sad times, shame this news did not come out of the 5th of November...
clipped from

Every phone call, text message, email and website visit made by private
citizens is to be stored for a year and will be available for monitoring by
government bodies.

All telecoms companies and internet service providers will be required by law
to keep a record of every customer’s personal communications, showing who
they have contacted, when and where, as well as the websites they have

The Home Office admitted that only one third of respondents to its six-month
consultation on the issue supported its proposals, with 50 per cent fearing
that the scheme lacked sufficient safeguards to protect the highly personal
data from abuse.

Chris Huhne, the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, has criticised the
amount the scheme will cost for what he said is effectively “state spying”.

John Yates, Britain’s head of anti-terrorism, has argued that the legislation
is vital for his investigators.

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Friday, 6 November 2009

The Enemy Within

Yesterday a Major in the US army perpetrated the worse terrorist attack on US soil since 9/11, with 12 dead and 31 wounded. Some links about the event:

* US Army major behind Fort Hood murders expressed sympathy for Islamic terrorists
* About the killing in Texas and is the US Army broken?
* Fort Hood Attack the largest on US soil since 9/11

From the above there is an argument that this is more of a case of 'SJS' (Sudden Jihad Syndrome), but we can also see that this individual had reservations about serving in Iraq and has made this clear persistently over the last several years. Even warranting an FBI investigation 6 months ago towards his apparent support for suicide terrorists.

Most would agree that the key defence against acts of terrorism with national borders are well designed homeland security initiatives and intelligence (essentially tight border controls and surveillance of 'high-risk' individuals). From the above initial reports emerging after this event I find myself asking how many more signs do the intelligence services need, especially as 'profiling' seems to be at the top of most policy makers wish-lists when it comes to counter-terrorism measures?

Maybe this will simply become a case of SJS, but from what I have read so far this was wholly preventable and should have been acted on. I can not find the link now, but I am aware of US veterans from Iraq supplying IED to gangs in the USA, this is a criminal act and not terrorism but we can see how there are sufficient numbers of very skilled people within the USA now capable of supplying these devices. The killing of the radical Iman in Detroit has also sparked threats of retaliation from certain quarters.

Do we now see the possible emergence of an insurgency at home? People like this Major and the Iman will be portrayed as martyr's for the cause, the tools to wage the war are easily available while most can see Obama's hesitancy at committing forces to the conflict zones, maybe an well orchestrated domestic campaign will prove the tipping point?

Of course these are just observations and opinions on my part, but if I am thinking it, others must be too.


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Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Grading Obama

"After U.S. President Barack Obama's first 100 days in office, Foreign Policy asked a group of experts to grade him on everything from North Korea to nukes. On the anniversary of his historic election, we've reprised the experiment -- and found out that the White House isn't doing so well." - FP
The As
"In the next
year, Obama's final grade will depend on such issues as his decisions on
Afghanistan and how he handles an Iran that refuses to live up to its
commitments. But if the past is prologue, he should do well."
The Bs

"Progress has
been evolutionary, not revolutionary, because U.S. policy is rooted in national
interests that do not change dramatically with a change in the occupant of the
White House."

"While the
administration cannot be blamed for the mess it inherited, it as of yet offers
no real strategy for the future."

The Cs

"The Obama
appeal? It is fading fast."

The Ds

"It seems almost a cheap shot to give the president
low marks on a foreign policy that is so obviously failing."

"The president's
UN general assembly speech presented the problem: Obama positioned himself
above the nation, mediating between us and the world, his job to restrain
America's ugly aggressive instincts and apologize for past crimes. No wonder
friends and allies wonder where this all leads."
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Sunday, 1 November 2009

2010 Kawasaki Concours 14 First Ride

"But the big story this year are those touring improvements. Are they enough to vault the Concours ahead of its class? Well, the Kawasaki has certainly gained ground on its competition. At $14,599 in base form and $15,299 for the ABS/TC version we sampled, it delivers a lot for the pricetag (A comparably equipped BMW K1300GT with heated grips and ASC (Anti Slip Control), for example, is well over $20K.) The new Connie is also possibly the best looking sport-tourer out there, available for 2010 in Candy Neptune Blue and Flat Super Black.

One thing is certain, Kawasaki took a great bike, listened to its customers, and then made the bike even better. Sounds like a winning formula to us." ~Bart Madson

Kawasaki scored a hit when it re-built its sport-touring flagship around the ZX-14 motor and dubbed it the Concours 14. Debuting as a 2008 model, the sharp-looking C14 leaned heavy on the sport side of the ledger with incredible performance from its 1352cc Inline-Four. However, the overall touring package needed refinement and Kawasaki delivers with a reinvigorated 2010 model.
Breaking the rear loose on a 140 horsepower  700-lb motorcycle... Even with the outriggers the brain had trouble accepting the idea -2010 Kawasaki Concours 14The KTRC system engaged  the 2010 Kawasaki Concours 14 handled the wet skid plate in stride  with no noticeable slip.
Turn the KTRC off and it's time to slip and slide, but turn it on and steady as she goes in the wet.
The point of Kawasaki’s first TC system isn’t to push the limits, like a roadracing application, but to add traction on suspect surfaces.
The Little Things Doth a Tourer Make
An all-new fairing was designed to increase cooling air flow for the motor and a lower sheild seals off the previous engine heat from riders legs - especially on the right side.A heat shield on the exhaust further aids rider protection from engine heat.
A redesigned fairing and exhaust cap improve the previous complaint of engine heat
blasting on the riders leg - the worst on the right shin at idle.
Heated grips as a standard feature is a huge plus  and the 2010 Kawasaki Concours 14 grips heat up well with an adjustable knob.The control panel looks the same but accessing information on the LCD can now be controlled by a left-side Mode Select Button.
Heated grips added a tangible, twistable creature comfort and information at the
instrument console is easier to shuffle through thanks to a left-side info trigger switch.
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