Friday, November 28, 2014


Outlaw Mike & family stay warm through the winter with heating oil, since we're too far out in the country to have natural gas mains near our home and besides, I don't like gas. For Americanos, by gas I mean methane of course, not petrol.

We have but a 2,000 litre tank under the lawn in front of our house, but still we need to fill it only twice a year, in February and November.

Last February I paid around 1,700 EUR for some 2,000 litres. Cripes.

Then last week when my wife woke me up saying I'd have to wash with cold water Outlaw Mike feared he would have to scrape the bottom of the money barrel again.

But no - imagine my surprise when my supplier left an invoice of only 1367 or so EUR for 1,935 litres! Well, okay, it's not that a boon of around 350 euros suddenly makes a world of difference. For the Clintons it might, poor bastards that they are.

But that don't mean we can throw with it either, so that little extra was more than welcome.

The Telegraph's Jeremy Warner has some thoughts. Happy thoughts:

"...For big oil-consuming regions – America, Europe and Asia – the collapse in the price is a boon, which ought to provide a substantial stimulus to economies becalmed by deficient demand. In both Britain and the US, there is already evidence that lower fuel prices are helping to boost consumer spending and confidence.

Yet for many oil exporters, it is a disaster. Ever since the Arab Spring, there has been an unwritten understanding that the price required to keep the natives quiescent is $100 a barrel or higher. The benchmark for Brent crude is now down to $71, with every possibility, given the abundant supply, of it going as low as $50.

For a low-cost producer like Saudi Arabia, with its huge financial cushion of overseas assets to fall back on, this may just about be tolerable, at least for a while. For many others, it’s a living nightmare with massive domestic and geopolitical implications.

We shouldn’t mourn that much. Ever since its foundation back in the Sixties, Opec has been a brutally destructive force on the global stage, whose malign grip on oil prices has helped sustain some particularly unsavoury regimes. The best analogy I can think of for its influence is that it is a bit like having your interest rate policy set by a small caucus of self-centred outsiders, who pay little or no regard to wider economic needs.


This monstrous cartel, an organisation which in any other line of business would be hunted down and prosecuted, may now be about to get its comeuppance. By ensuring that the price stayed above $100 a barrel for much of the past six or seven years, Opec has sowed the seeds of its own destruction. Those sky-high oil prices are one of the reasons why the global economy has been struggling. There is even quite a bit of evidence to suggest they were a key factor in tipping the world into crisis in the first place.

The effect on the oil market has been both to depress demand, while at the same time encouraging the development of other, non-Opec sources of production – the most striking example of which is American shale. There is a sense in which Opec's hubris has created its own nemesis. This is not unlike what happened after the oil price shocks of the Seventies, when by hiking up the price, Opec similarly pole-axed demand and spawned a worldwide search for alternative sources of energy supply, including Britain’s North Sea. Opec lost market share on a hitherto unprecedented scale amid the consequent glut.


Admittedly, some big growth markets remain – notably China, where new car sales are running at around 1.5 million a month. There’s life in the black stuff yet. Even so, the once-fashionable idea of “peak oil” – that the petroleum would run out before we’d found alternatives, or at least that the low-cost supply was close to exhaustion, leaving the world dependent on much more expensive sources – looks ever more misplaced.

I’m not saying that the oil price will never again get much above $80 a barrel. Inevitably it will. There are, no doubt, at least another couple of cycles left in the oil market yet. Hydrocarbon consumption still accounts for around a tenth of global GDP, and much of the rest of it owes its existence to the transformative power of oil. It will be many decades before the world frees itself of this dependence.

All the same, oil is steadily losing its power to shock – and so are Opec and its Bedouin masters. This is an overwhelmingly positive development, and in a gloom-ridden world, a matter for some celebration."

Mr Warner is right. By keeping prices so high for so long, OPEC has shot itself in the foot, spurring the West to look for alternatives. A considerable effort has of course gone to false leads, like solar and wind power. Don't get me wrong - there IS a niche for these things, but they can never substitute for the substantial demands of our industry and infrastructure.

However, part of the search for an alternative to OPEC oil has ultimately led to the exploitation of shale oil. And now that we have discovered its abundancy, and developed a technology to extract it - fracking - there's no stopping it anymore.

This is very good news. Of course, the lower oil prices are a bad thing for the couple of decent OPEC members; Ecuador, Nigeria. As for the rest, I couldn't care less. Finally, there's payback for four decades of being in the claws, energy-wise, of deranged Arabs who f*cked up our economies for the first time in 1973-74 because those monsters were unable to live in peace with a small prodigious country harming no-one: Israel. From the US over Europe to Japan, we all had to pay dearly for the malignant whims of the oil sheikhs. Degenerated religious idiots who were themselves incapable of extracting the very oil they were sitting on. They needed western intelligence, engineering and management to produce their riches, and what did they do with it? Finance the spreading of their hateful islamic message throughout the world. That barbaric appeal was directly responsible for decades of terror, culminating in 2001 in two airliners plunging themselves in the WTC, their tanks full of dearly paid kerosene.

 photo OPEC_oil_crisis_zps0f0c8fcf.jpg

Payback time!

Of course this evolution will not lead to an immediate collapse of the Saudis & Co. Like Mr Warner observes, global demand is bound to increase, spurred by China and other major countries taking off. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, this is not the end. It's not even the beginning of the end.

But the West, and especially the US, finally being able to provide for its energy needs without having to beg degenerated terrorism sponsors - that's certainly the end of the beginning. A matter for celebration, certainly.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014


Over at Townhall, John Stossel has an interesting angle to look at Thanksgiving:

"This Thanksgiving, I give thanks for something our forebears gave us: property rights.

People associate property rights with greed and selfishness, but they are keys to our prosperity. Things go wrong when resources are held in common.

Before the Pilgrims were able to hold the first Thanksgiving, they nearly starved. Although they had inherited ideas about individualism and property from the English and Dutch trading empires, they tried communism when they arrived in the New World. They decreed that each family would get an equal share of food, no matter how much work they did.

The results were disastrous. Gov. William Bradford wrote, "Much was stolen both by night and day." The same plan in Jamestown contributed to starvation, cannibalism and death of half the population.

So Bradford decreed that families should instead farm private plots. That quickly ended the suffering. Bradford wrote that people now "went willingly into the field."

Soon, there was so much food that the Pilgrims and Indians could celebrate Thanksgiving.

There's nothing like competition and self-interest to bring out the best in people.

While property among the settlers began as an informal system, with "tomahawk rights" to land indicated by shaving off bits of surrounding trees, or "corn rights" indicated by growing corn, soon settlers were keeping track of contracts, filing deeds and, alas, hiring lawyers to sue each other. Property rights don't end all conflict, but they create a better system for settling disputes than physical combat.

Knowing that your property is really yours makes it easier to plant, grow, invest and prosper.

In Brazil today, rainforests are destroyed because no one really owns them. Loggers take as many trees as they can because they know if they don't, someone else will. No one had much reason to preserve trees or plant new ones for future harvests; although recently, some private conservation groups bought parcels of the Amazon in order to protect trees.

The oceans are treated as a commons, and they are difficult to privatize. For years, lack of ownership led to overfishing. Species will go extinct if they aren't treated as property. Now a few places award fishing rights to private groups of fishermen. Canada privatized its Pacific fisheries, saving the halibut from near collapse. When fishermen control fishing rights, they care about preserving fish.

Think about your Thanksgiving turkey. We eat tons of them, but no one worries that turkeys will go extinct. We know there will be more next year, since people profit from owning and raising them.

As the 19th-century economist Henry George said, "Both humans and hawks eat chickens -- but the more hawks, the fewer chickens; while the more humans, the more chickens."

(Sadly, even Henry George didn't completely believe in private property. He thought land should be unowned, since latecomers can't produce more of it. Had he seen how badly the commonly owned rainforest is treated, he might've changed his mind.)

Hernando de Soto (the contemporary Peruvian economist, not the Spanish conquistador) writes about the way clearly defined property rights spur growth in the developing world. Places without clear property rights -- much of the third world -- suffer.

"About 4 billion people in the world actually build their homes and own their businesses outside the legal system," de Soto told me. "It's all haphazard and disorganized because of the lack of rule of law, the definition of who owns what. Because they don't have (legally recognized) addresses, (they) can't get credit."

Without deeds, they can't make contracts with confidence. Economic activity that cannot be legally protected instead gets done on the black market, or on "gray markets" in a murky legal limbo in between. In places such as Tanzania, says de Soto, 90 percent of the economy operates outside the legal system.

So, few people expand homes or businesses. Poor people stay poor.

This holiday season, give thanks for property rights and hope that your family will never have to relearn the economic lesson that nearly killed the Pilgrims."

This is Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, a nineteenth century French socialist theoretician and anarchist. He is universally known as the father of the catchphrase 'La propriété c'est le vol': 'Property is theft'.

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And this is Ujamaa, a book written by former Tanzanian president Julius Nyerere.

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Nyerere was indeed the father of the Afrosocialist socio-economical doctrine Ujamaa, of which the main hallmarks were the 'institutionalization' of social, political and economical equality, the nationalization of key economic sectors, and the forced villagization of local economies. The latter facet meant that collective farming was forced upon the people, who would then all receive equal rewards for their output irrespective of its quantity or quality.

Predictably, Tanzania went bust.

These are just two instances of the sickly, degraded utopian thinking that socialist 'scientists', demagogues and politicians have tried so hard to instill in humanity's global 'psyche' as the correct way to harness our powers for achieving a 'Great Society' on Earth.

Unfortunately, their message has always sounded far sexier than that Pilgrim story.

Had the Right managed to export essential ideas like the importance of property rights and a legal apparatus to enforce them, instead of letting the Left sell its Development Aid snake oil to generations while simultaneously sell the locals absurd notions such as collectivization, there might not even be a Third World anymore.

The older I get, the more I tend to think that us Rightwingers should start paying far more attention to some serious marketing.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014


See all the riots, the flames, the destruction? It's always been there - correction, no, only since the sixties courtesy Earl Warren and the leftist destruction of the Black Family - but... when did the shit really begin to hit the fan?

From 2008 on.

Ever since that MONSTER was elected pResident of the United States.

Ferguson burns, and with it other places, because the Creep-in-Chief does NOT miss an opportunity to stoke the flames of racial division. Either it's Hispanics vs. Whites with abusive executive action, or Blacks vs Whites by unnecessary and wholly unhelpfully intervening in issues that should be solved at the local level.

Over at Pajamas Media J. Christian Adams has a good piece on the vile policies of the Divider-in-Chief and his mafiosi:

"When history remembers the Obama administration, the flames of Ferguson will light up our memories. It wasn’t just an AutoZone and Jade Nails burning up in the fires of Ferguson, it was also the “Hope” of 2008 going up in smoke.

Instead of hope, the age of Obama has been characterized by racial division and discord.

Obama and Holder commanded the police to behave themselves. The police behaved, and look what happened.

Last week, members of the New Black Panther Party were arrested by state officials for plotting to use pipe bombs against the St. Louis Gateway Arch and for purchasing guns in a plot to kill as many policemen as possible.

Notice it was state officials who made the arrests. The Washington Times had a no-longer-surprising quote from an Obama administration official characterizing the plot to blow up the arch and kill (presumably) white police officers as “not a serious threat.”

Why do avoidable subplots involving the New Black Panthers keep shadowing this president? From the time he marched with them in Selma in 2007, to this past weekend, there has been a strange ambivalence toward their racially soaked radicalism.

Why would an administration official say anything to downplay a gun and bomb charge against New Black Panthers? Better yet, why didn’t the Justice Department bring their own domestic terrorism charges against these New Black Panthers?

Critics will say all these questions about the administration coddling the New Black Panther Party are getting old and tiresome, and I wholeheartedly agree.

Obama and Holder stoked division, strife and anger in Ferguson, culminating in last night’s violence.

 photo obama_divider_zps2b4bb935.jpg

Sure, President Obama called for calm in Ferguson. But that was after the damage was done. Calls for calm came after Attorney General Eric Holder tripped the time bomb during his visit to Ferguson by meeting with activists and agitators and assuring them the administration was on their side against the police.

When Holder complained about the police, when Obama talked about problems with policing in the United States, everyone understood the administration’s loyalties.

President Obama’s call for calm in Ferguson provided the administration deniability that the administration bore any responsibility for the riots, even after Holder flooded the zone with swarms of FBI agents and Civil Rights Division lawyers to investigate the police.

The Obama administration led their legions to believe that if Officer Wilson was not charged, it was due to racial injustice, racial injustice Obama would help remedy one way or another. Holder and Obama made the protesters think their cause was just and correct.

It was no accident that President Obama named Vanita Gupta acting head of the Civil Rights Division weeks ago. Gupta is beloved by the radical left for her militant hostility toward law enforcement officers. It’s why another Justice Department lawyer, Karla Dobinski, who illegally railroaded police officers in Louisiana, still hasn’t been fired.

Today, Holder announced that a federal criminal investigation will be ongoing. Holder is barely telling the truth.

Here’s some news that I suspect the mainstream media will ignore. My sources familiar with what is happening on the ground in Ferguson say DOJ Criminal Section lawyers have been encamped in Missouri. Nevertheless, sources familiar with the federal process say federal charges are very unlikely due to lack of evidence of a crime by Officer Darren Wilson.

Yet Holder will maintain the charade that federal civil rights charges might yet come.

Maintaining the pretense of an expensive investigation, too, is another dual message. Just like calling for calm while stoking the protests, prolonging the promise of a federal indictment against Officer Wilson keeps the folks energized on the side of the administration. Obama will use their anger, for example, to implement anti-police policies at the Justice Department while he outlasts the short memories of the protesters."

There's two more years to go before this swine leaves office. In only three weeks since the clear repudiation of his policies in the midterms, he has managed to shake the country to its foundations by effectively acting like a dictator on immigration, and by stirring up the flames in Ferguson (and soon God may know how many other places).

I shudder at the thought of what this criminal is still capable of before he finally leaves the White House in January 2017.


Monday, November 24, 2014


A simple and concise summary that shows you the pitfalls to avoid and the areas where you can score! Brought to you for free by Outlaw Mike!

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Keep the above points in mind and you'll be just dandy.

Unscrupulously stolen from Theo Spark. Ik ben een Outlaw voor iets hee.


Sunday, November 23, 2014


1.) In the 2006 midterms, the Republicans lost both the House and the Senate.

Forced by this new reality and tremendous pressure from the media, President Bush replaced Donald Rumsfeld as SecDef with Robert Gates, a man who was confirmed in his position with bipartisan support and who was so acceptable to the Democrats that Obama kept him as Secretary of Defense after the former winning the 2008 Presidential elections.

It was a clear example of President Bush reaching across the aisles after a serious defeat in the midterm elections.

As for Rumsfeld, he took the dismissal like a man, 'accepting a bullet in the chest' for the good of his country.

Rumsfeld's firing can be argued to be grossly unfair, since he had been a very effective SecDef. That he was ever mired in the so-called Abu Ghraib scandal was a disgrace, since in the bigger frame of things Abu Ghraib was a joke - a bad joke, true, but a joke nevertheless - that did not warrant affecting the career of a top minister. It was akin to firing John Ashcroft for prison guards molesting inmates in some prison in Dipshitville, and it should have been treated at the local, operational level - which means not higher than Brigadier General Karpinski.

But in this story, all of that is not the point.

The point is that President Bush made a serious effort 'to listen to the other side', however wrong that side was. The GOP was defeated, the President listened. And made concessions.

2.) Fast forward now to the 2014 midterms, in which the roles were inverted. On November 2, the Democrats received such a clobbering that the Republicans gained control in the Senate, as well as the largest majority in the House since 1946. Overall, they achieved the largest majority in Congress since Calvin Coolidge. FYI, that was in 1928.

Not only that, but simultaneously the GOP won two governors' seats as well as countless races on the state and local level.

These sweeping gains together actually accounted for the largest Republican majority in the entire United States in almost a century. As victories go, they were far more impressive than the Democrats' win in the 2006 midterms.

And that is what makes Obama's reaction so very interesting vis-à-vis Bush's one. As we have seen, Bush changed his policies - the Rumsfeld dismissal was possibly but the most obvious example.

Obama, by contrast, actually acts as if the midterms have not taken place. A President worthy of the title, would have shown the voters a De Gaullesque "Je vous ai compris" gesture.

Instead, by pressing on lightning quick with immigration reform and using executive action to push amnesty for roughly 5 million illegals through, he basically just flipped the general American public the finger - and a big one at that.

Don't look to European media to see Obama's latest abuse of power through this prism. Below, for instance, you see how our 'prime' newspaper De Standaard covered the issue:

 photo obama_amnesty_zps1617b899.jpg

The choice of the caption is so obviously a pro-Obama spin that calling this kind of coverage yellow journalism is an understatement. It's rather piss-yellow journalism, for it reads :'ONCE WE WERE FOREIGNERS TOO'. The author of the piece goes on to say that Obama effectively halts the 'deportation' of 4 (sic) million illegal immigrants, and promises 'a more just immigration policy.'

That the political mores in the United States require presidents worthy of that title to use executive action only with wisdom and above all, restraint, is apparently unknown to the De Standaard editor. That this one-man initiative is not only a slap in the face of every American who just showed contempt for Obama's policies, but just as well for every serious-minded immigrant who took, or takes, the trouble of going for the long, difficult, and legal way to become an American citizen, also does not cross the man/woman's mind.

There is yet another angle to look at Obama's appalling lack of respect with regards to the voice of the American voter.

On 17 June 1953, the East Germans rose up in defiance against Walter Ulbricht's de facto dictatorship in the laughably named German Democratic Republic. It was brutally put down by the Soviet military, with the full consent of the East German leaders. Reliable West German estimates put the death toll on June 17 at 513 people. 1,838 were wounded, and around 5,100 arrested. Of the latter, around 1,200 were later sentenced for 5 years on average to penal camps.

17 June was another clear repudiation of the government's policies, but unfortunately, in this case the government had the backing of Soviet T-34s.

This is the Marxist playwright Bertolt Brecht:

 photo Bertolt-Brecht_zps953f9ca5.jpg

Following the uprising, he wrote the following poem:

"After the uprising of the 17th of June
The Secretary of the Writers Union
Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee
Stating that the people
Had forfeited the confidence of the government
And could win it back only
By redoubled efforts.

Would it not be easier
In that case for the government
To dissolve the people
And elect another?"

I know, I know, there are those who say it's satirical. But with Marxists you can never be sure. In any case, it looks like, unable to digest the defeat of his cronies in the House and Senate, Obama is heeding the advice of a fellow Marxist.

Because, regularizing 5 million illegals means adding, oh, 10 million, no, make that 15 million voters to the American electorate ten years down the line. Because 5 million who are suddenly allowed to stay will mean that their relatives will have it that much easier to come over, and before you know it, they too can determine who sits in Congress and the rest. And of one thing you can be sure: they are NOT going to vote for the GOP.

The American people may just have elected another Congress.

But Obama, has in effect indeed...

... just elected another people.

Are you Americanos finally beginning to understand what this creature meant when he promised to 'fundamentally change the United States'?


Saturday, November 22, 2014


First Level 42 with Leaving Me Now. 1985 hit from the album World Machine.

An essential eighties sound from a band composed of 4 virtuosos: Mark King with his unmistakable slap-bass guitar technique, the Gould brothers with Phil as a drummer and Boon as a guitarist, and Mike Lindup on keyboards but best known for his falsetto backing vocals. The piano solo in the middle and at the end in Leaving... is from a guest musician however, Wally Badarou.

Then it's The Non-Commissioned Officers with Just North.

Indie band from Nashville.

Slaap wel.


Friday, November 21, 2014


Well, why, just like you thought they would!

Earlier this month, TV producer Ami Horowitz conducted a candid camera experiment at Berkeley University whereby he himself was first waving an ISIS flag to see how the students would react. Keep in mind that even in San Fran the airheads must have heard that it was ISIS responsible for the beheading of Foley and Sotloff, let alone for the biggest butcher's bill in the region since the Iran/Iraq war.

The reaction? Absolute apathy. No big deal here. Apart from a couple of blokes muttering in agreement when Horowitz starts railing about US imperialism and colonialism.

Then Horowitz starts flying the Star of David:

Oh, the HORROR!!!

"Israel is a thief in the night!!!"

"Tyranny isn't cute!"

"Fuck Israel!"

"Fuck Israel!"

"Fuck Israel!"

Just FYI, Israel is the only functioning democracy in the entire region and 'occupies' in itself about.... 0.5 per cent of the entire Arab world. It's such a bloodthirsty tiranny that last month it admitted one of Ismail Haniyeh's 13 children - Haniyeh is Hamas' leader in Gaza - into Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv for treatment. One year ago one of Haniyeh’s granddaughters was also admitted to an Israeli hospital. And last June, his mother-in-law sought treatment for cancer at yet another hospital in Jerusalem.

Mr Haniyeh refuses to recognize Israel's right to exist.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out.

Well, it appears like with an upcoming intellectuall class the caliber of Berkeley students the future of the US of A is in the best of hands.



Thursday, November 20, 2014


A report by the Swedish Police lists 55 no-go zones among 186 troublesome muslim areas. In these 55 zones, the police effectively dare no longer venture. Some are guarded by some sort of militia, who keep a close watch on who enters.

Here is the report. Among a plethora of incidents, it mentions a case in which a Swedish Police patrol car in pursuit of (muslim) criminals entered such a zone, where it was blocked and attacked by 50 muslims who extricated the officers. Police HQ did not dare to send reinforcements out of fear of provoking a civil war in the area and was only able to free the hapless cops through negotiations.

Outlaw Mike kids you not, people.

The Sweden Report, a blog by an American living in Sweden, has the goods:

"The Swedish police recently released a map of 55 areas where they publicly admit to having surrendered control to the criminal gangs. These areas have long had problems with mailmen, fire trucks and ambulances being attacked when trying to enter, which has led to them routinely requesting police escort. Now it’s the police being attacked outright.

These no-go zones are primarily so-called “exclusion areas” which is the politically correct term for the 186 ghettos that have sprung up around Sweden in the past two decades. These areas are predominantly populated by immigrants from muslim countries with low education and even lower employment rates. The exception being the enthusiastic entrepreneurs in the fields of drug dealing, protection rackets and robberies.

Since the real law doesn’t apply, the function of justice has largely been taken over by the gangs themselves, not unlike how the mafia is seen as the go-to place in rural Italy when the local police is too corrupt to serve its purpose. Unofficial courts are held and punishments are meted out based on the cultural norms of the dominant gangs. Some no-go areas even have vehicle checkpoints at the border. Not police checkpoints, but the gangs protecting their turf from law enforcement and rival gangs.

This development would have been inconceivable only 20 years ago, and one would think this official surrender by the police would have made big headlines. This is not the case; the most attention it seems to have received in mainstream media is an opinion piece in national paper Svenska Dagbladet.

It can be speculated that this is due to the fact that any reporting on this could be seen as “support” for nationalist party SD that wants to restrict the vast inflow to these ghettos, which is an absolute no-no amongst the journalists and could cost them their jobs. The world’s most extreme immigration from the MENA-region must continue unchallenged, and another 100 000+ must be added annually to the ghetto gangs’ recruitment base.

Edit: Scratch that. They just announced they’re setting the sights higher with a significantly increased immigration for 2015. The new forecast should put the total immigration above 200 000 per year by the time all is said and done."

This is Stockholm's centre, a map straight out of the Swedish Police report. Yup, these are the no-go zones.

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Happy thoughts to you.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014


For better or for worse, Remembrance Day always conjures up images of poppies, and as a consequence of World War One. It is no different this year, which is completely understandable since that conflict started a century ago.

While it is good and just that both World Wars remain etched in our memory most, since they are the "best" reminders of how utterly precious Peace is, I chose for this year's Remembrance Day post to highlight the War on Terror.

I do so because I am affronted by the gross and abusive lack of attention of the general public. This may well be the first war where the struggle of our combatants is treated as if they were performing non-hazardous routine tasks. Troopers are risking their lives every day, in defense of our way of life, and the general population is simply going about its business like if it was still September 10th, 2001 - most seems not to care, indeed, when asked their opinion about it they would be annoyed.

Below are some sober charts from icasualties dot org with western fatalities in Iraq and Afghanistan:

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Which means that the US military alone suffered some 6,400 plus fatalities in the War on Islamic Terror until now. As a rule of thumb, count at least three times that many wounded and maimed - Remembrance Day is for them too. Oh... and if that 'islamic' disturbs you, if you find it 'inappropriate' - I'm sorry for you. I just call it what it is.

Some may say, 6,400 dead is nothing compared to the charnelhouse that was WO I, and indeed, on the first day of the Somme Offensive some 20,000 Brits lost their lives, which means that on a single day they lost more than three times the number the US lost in thirteen years.

Yet I feel that thus minimizing the tale of human suffering behind the graphs above would be - can I say so, as a Christian? - a sin, nothing more or less.

I've been looking for a soldier to remember, and I came across Lance Corporal James Eric Swain, from Indiana. Here is an LDS obituary - James was a Mormon:

An LDS U.S. Marine from Indiana was killed during combat in Fallujah, Iraq.

Lance Cpl. James E. Swain, 20, of the Kokomo Ward, Lafayette Indiana Stake, died Nov. 15 "as a result of enemy action," according to the U.S. Department of Defense.

"It is such a loss, there is deep pain," said Lafayette Indiana Stake President Patrick Connolly.

Lance Cpl. Swain is survived by his parents, Daniel E. and Mona R. Warner Swain, a brother and two sisters.

A member of the Headquarters Battalion, 1st Marine Division, Lance Cpl. Swain had reportedly been serving as an intelligence analyst in Osaka, Japan, before volunteering for combat duty.

"He wanted to be there and felt he needed to be there," his father, Daniel Swain, told the Kokomo Tribune.

A 2002 graduate of Kokomo High School, James Eric Swain was a member of the National Honor Society, was active in his school's drama club and was involved in many community projects.

Daniel Swain said his son was the type of person who unknowingly touched many lives.

 photo Lance_Cpl_Swain_zps0d053d55.jpg"James was an endearing person," the Marine's father told the Kokomo Tribune. "He tried to be invisible to everyone, even though he is 6-feet tall and a redhead. He was a practical joker."

Lance Cpl. Swain had reportedly hoped to study at Brigham Young University after finishing his military commitment.

A memorial scholarship in Lance Cpl. Swain's name is being created at Kokomo High School.

"It will be given to a student with good grades in a service position," Principal Harold Canady told the Kokomo Tribune. "James was so noted for his service to the high school. He was always involved in helping people."

Principal Canaday described Lance Cpl. Swain as an "All-American boy."
"He chose to serve his country and was willing to make the sacrifice."

Charlie Hall, a former coach at Kokomo High School, told the Kokomo Tribune that Lance Cpl. Swain was a person who would do anything that needed to be done, without hesitation.

"I bet he was one heck of a Marine," Mr. Hall said. "Anything he tried, he did to the fullest. He did well. I think it says a lot about the quality of our service people if there are people like James serving."

Memorial services were held for Lance Cpl. Swain on Nov. 23.

Lance Corporal James Eric Swain was just twenty when he fell. I won't use words to try to express some gratitude since they would ring false in my own ears. I will just say that I am ... incredibly humbled by the example of this young man.

One last word. What the graphs above do not show are the losses suffered by the Iraqi Army and Police and their Afghan counterparts. I have no data for the Afghans, but the tally for the Iraqis would have been close to 13,000. While I loathe anything islamic, I recognize the huge value of their sacrifice in combating an even seedier strain of their 'faith'. I do not publish here a number for the Iraqi and Afghan civilian deaths, which, believe me or not, I deplore immensely. But all these people ultimately died because of the incompatibility of islam itself within the upward movement of humanity through the ages. We in the West, we did not seek this war, all this suffering and death. The reason for it all merely lies in islam's inherent incapacity to offer its adherents a just, safe and prosperous society - AND in its inherent incapacity to live at peace with its surrounding civilizations and belief systems.

The sooner we realize that, the sooner the suffering will be over.

Pray for the dead and wounded and their loved ones.


Sunday, November 09, 2014


Last Friday, VTM News Online sported the following short video:

This video comes right on the heels of the news of the Belgian Air Force CINC change of command, since Lt Gen Claude Vandevoorde has just been replaced by Major General Fred Vansina, until then Chief Operations. After some 6 years at the helm of the BAF, general Vandevoorde now works in an advisory capacity for the new Minister of Defence, Steven Vandeput.

In the video, general Vansina explains that since the beginning of October, the Belgian F-16 detachment has carried out 58 missions and in the process attacked or destroyed 18 Islamic State targets. The most notable mission thus far was a night attack on November 3 whereby two of our jets were leading 6 other coalition aircraft in an airstrike on an IS facility. The facility served as an IED factory and a place where pick-up trucks were converted into the kind of 'technicals' first seen in Somalia: armed with a heavy machinegun in the back and provided with some armour plating. The general stressed that no collateral damage was to be deplored (although how they verify that I have no idea).

This is the ISIS facility in question:

 photo ISIS_target_zpsa9555c9b.jpg

The first bozo who finds this on Google Earth gets 10 randomly picked Playboy centerfolds from Outlaw's Famous Collection. Hint: according to the Belgian Armed Forces website it's in Iraq's north.

Another image released last week by the MoD:

 photo BAF_attack_zpsa47cae5d.jpg

On 31 October, Defence Minister Vandeput claimed that the Belgian airstrikes "make up 12 per cent of the number of interventions by the international coalition". I have no way to verify this, but given the huge number of US missions I assume that by 'international coalition' he means only the non-US flights. Anyway, with a military that has been starved for decades by successive center-left governments (and alas, center-right ones too), this percentage would constitute no mean feat.

Remains of course the question of how useful the coalition's airstrikes are. I would wager that up until now they have been absolutely necessary. ISIS has profiled itself thus far as an organization preferring open warfare involving movement of armor, large-scale infantry assaults, the seizing of strategic objectives and so on. In other words, they have picked up the kind of fights we like: where they are visible and therefore present decent targets.

Their choosing this way of fighting has certainly been an advantage for the coalition. It is for instance clear that the siege of Kobani ultimately ended in disaster for IS because of the airstrikes. As long as they continue to expose their military hardware, we can degrade their fighting capability. While they may be getting the hint that it's better not to present such easy targets, I do not see how they can radically change this kind of warfare without abandoning their goals, since IS has apparently committed itself to militarily act like a nation state. If you want to add territory, oil infrastructure, airfields, highways etc to your inventory, you are going for a wholly different game of ball than, say, Saddamite diehards planting IED's in the Sunni Triangle ten years ago.

The airstrikes should therefore go on, but I see no reason to deploy western 'boots on the ground'. After ten years of building up the Iraqi Army, they should be able to fend for themselves. In 1972, the South Vietnamese were able to stop the NVA's Eastertide Offensive with the help from massive airstrikes conducted by both USAF and VNAF. In the three-month period of the beginning of April to the end of June, 27,745 missions were flown in support of the South Vietnamese Army (ARVN) - 20,506 of these by the US Air Force. To the best of my knowledge, these missions stand even apart from the ones conducted under the Linebacker Operation, which targeted Northern Vietnams strategic assets - airfields, bridges, ports, roads, railway systems etc. Just like the Iraqi Army, the South Vietnamese Army had been trained for a decade too, and they were able to stand their own. No 'boots on the ground' were needed any more. No boots on the ground should be needed this time. Of course South Vietnam did collapse a couple of years later, but that was because the Democrats had cut off funding. The US should be careful not to make the same mistake again.

Of course the nascent Iraqi Air Force can in no way be compared to the well-oiled war machine that the South Vietnamese Air Force was (at its peak, in 1974, it fielded 2,076 aircraft of all varieties). Of course the Iraqi Army itself is a joke compared to the ARVN. But then, in the same manner IS is but a laughable opponent compared to the North Vietnamese Army. Plus, the IA is helped in no small part by Kurdish forces in both Syria and Iraq, which divert considerable IS resources. And to put things in perspective, after all IS fields perhaps only some 30,000 ~ 40,000 ground 'troops' - give and take 3 divisions, and they haven't even organised them as such. Possibly there's only a loose scattering of combat groups under the command of the biggest braggers who happen to be around. There may be some kind of general HQ, but I cannot imagine it's in any way comparable to a western army's HQ.

The best way for the West to manage this is therefore to simply continue, and pound. And pound. And pound. And pound. Eventually IS will crack. As for the Belgian F-16 detachment, it will in all likelihood stay over Iraq in 2015. I hope the other contributing countries will do the same.


Saturday, November 08, 2014


Hall & Oates with Private Eyes. 1981 single from the album with the same name.

Musical duo from Philly, big in the early eighties.

Led Zeppelin with Over the hills and far away.

Iconic 1973 song from the album Houses of the Holy.



Friday, November 07, 2014


I must have been a kid - 10 years old, perhaps - when I first saw Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove, or: How I stopped worrying and love the bomb.

There are a great many memorable scenes in that film, but for starters I picked this one. The movie is set in the middle of the Cold War, and the US maintains aloft permanently scores of B-52 bombers carrying H-bombs, which can reach Soviet territory within two hours if necessary. Dr. Strangelove has several parallel running threads which are all equally important; one of these is about an actual B-52 crew, commanded by a Major Kong (played by Slim Pickens).

In the following clip, the crew receives a coded message to prepare for an all-out nuclear strike on a Soviet missile base.

Dr. Strangelove is actually a dark comedy and has many instances where you can't help but smirk, giggle or burst out with laughter. But this clip is rather serious, and gives some idea of what it must have been like for those crews, spending hours high aloft, waiting for orders that might involve... starting a nuclear holocaust. What's funny though, and what is only getting more hilarious as the movie progresses, is Major Kong's character, with an inimitable Slim Pickens (real name Louis Burton Lindley, Jr.), whose Oklahoman/Texan drawl lends a burlesque quality to the dead serious instructions he has to give his crew.

For those of you who haven't already, discover this gem in its totality.