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If you were blessed with one too few neurons and found the numbers flung back and forth between Delmarva and the rest of us, to be mildly put, as slightly bewildering, and were to be blunt, scared to pass the Bluewater Wind HCR 38 because you didn’t want to be saddled with another Delmarva Price increase around your neck……………………………well, you can relax. Help is on the way!

Courtesy of Delmarva.

Here is the line your lobbyists have been giving you.

over the 25 years of the PPA, into above-market cost of, respectively, $1.7 billion (ICF) and $2.0 bilion (Pace). (In its October 29 Report, the Commission Staffs independent consultant (the “IC”) made certain above-market calculations. If the commodity pricing escalators are removed from those calculations, the result is similar above-market costs of $1.3 billion.)

There it is.

Now let’s break it down. The actual “facts” between both parties are the same, or very close. By that, I mean that the actual cost estimated to build an offshore plant is not far apart, whether the consultant came from Delmarva or was truly independent. What is at stake is frank discussion about how much the offshore wind will cost us over market and just exactly what over market is.

What we need in this discussion is a floor that determines exactly what “market” is.

Delmarva originally used 2005 prices (Table 2.1.2) to determine what market was. When called out on that, they used 2007 prices, which shrunk the differences considerably. Most of us independents doing analysis on prices use the future’s index as a guide for “what we anticipate we will pay in the future”.

(For example: if one takes todays cost of $110MWh and applies it to Delmarva’s original formula for determining cost above market, Delmarva is already predicted to run (1106GWh/year X 1000 MWh/GWh X 25 dollar increase X 25years) = $691,250,000 above-market in less than six months since Russ Larson voted no!)

We seem to have the upper hand. Bluewater’s bundled price, which means it includes REC charges and something called capacity costs, is close to $105 per MWh., and will stay so over the next thirty years. Currently, as mentioned above, Delmarva in March announced the lowest cost of energy it would receive over the next three years, would be $110 per MWh and by everyone’s estimate, is expected to rise considerably.

Who seems to have a better handle on the market now?

Realistically at their prices right now, Bluewater Wind and Delmarva are close to a statistical wash. Whether or not Bluewater Wind is a really good deal boils down to one thing: whether the cost of getting our energy the old way, from fossil fuels will rise over the next thirty years……..or fall.

You have only to fill up your car to get your answer.

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The former head of Central Command, John Abizaid, the retired Army general said the United States could deal with a nuclear Iran.

“There are ways to live with a nuclear Iran,” Abizaid said in remarks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank. “Let’s face it, we lived with a nuclear Soviet Union, we’ve lived with a nuclear China, and we’re living with (other) nuclear powers as well.”

How true. Imagine the neocoms jumping in that Iran is a special case, solely because it is Muslim. Abizaid responds to them with:

“Iran is not a suicide nation,” he said. “I mean, they may have some people in charge that don’t appear to be rational, but I doubt that the Iranians intend to attack us with a nuclear weapon.”

Abizaid suggested military action to pre-empt Iran’s nuclear ambitions might not be the wisest course. Instead we could modify their behavior with our overwhelming strategic capabilities.

“I believe that we have the power to deter Iran, should it become nuclear,” he said, referring to the theory that Iran would not risk a catastrophic retaliatory strike by using a nuclear weapon against the United States”.

It is funny how all the good sense is filtering out now……..and not before Cheney led us into war after Iraq’s oil…….

There is nothing worse than the loss of a son or daughter. Somehow it takes all the good in your life, packs it up and steals it away.

It was with deep sadness that I read of his passing. My and my families prayers go out to this young man’s family. He was so full of life, so full of hope for a better world, and so devoted to his roots, regional and spiritual. I can only hope that justice on this world prevails. It wrenches my heart that these things are allowed to happen. It is sad. Sad that not compromising your home grown American values, can cost your life. I hope the world finds out what a hero he truly was……

It is in God’s hands now. I have trusted Him, and He has come through when I most needed Him. I can only hope the family and friends, of Todd Blue, can maintain their faith through such trying times. It will be very tough. My, and my families’ hearts, go out to you……

Hi, this is an open letter to those at Quantico who have the unfortunate task of monitoring me. Yeah, I know that I am the most boring case you have had to deal with, but, orders are orders.

I hope in the short time you have been impressed by how much I love this nation, how exciting it is to see it grow. I know many of you had preconceived notions about bloggers, particularly those who disagree with your commander in chief, but I hope over time, you have changed your opinion.

As you know, I am a human, and have to deal with human issues…..such as needing more money than I have to raise a family. But still, life is good when you suscribe to a simple code: Duty, Honor, Country.

That is what I want to talk to you about…..You have jobs to do and you have been told that doing such will benefit our country. Hopefully you have come to understand that I love this country as much, if not more than you do…….. That arguing for a better way is not destructive to this country’s interests.

I guess the difference between you and I is that, as someone who himself must use people to accomplish my means, I can see when others are doing the same. It is one thing to do what I do in the context of making money, and sharing it with those who work for me. For when I am successful, so are they. But it is far different for someone to delude others into giving all, and then taking it for himself and disappearing.

As you have so sworn, you are there to defend the Constitution. As a matter of fact, that is why I am here as well. Following orders, makes you loyal to your commander in chief… That is fine except in this rare case. But what if …….he is not pursuing America’s best interests, which are those outlined in the Constitution? Do you still have a duty to protect the reputation of our president, or then does it become your duty to honor your country?

Most of you, who hail from a rural beginning, know what it like to take a walk in the woods. Most of you would give anything now to be back home, wandering around your homesteads. So in a sense we are working on the same line. You are working to keep America safe from external threats….That is your job and you do it well. Me, and those like me, are working to keep America safe from internal threats, often more dangerous in the long run, than those outside the country.

One must fight a bar bully and cancer in different ways. Being tough helps in a bar fight, but being sensitive, knowing exactly where the cancer is, can save ones life in this other fight. Both fights require great courage……

I know as youthful persons, you have the belief that you need to channel peoples attention away from what you are doing. You need to watch us in secret. But think for a minute of the real reason and of whom you are fighting for……Your commander in chief, or you mom and dad, brother and sisters, family and friends?……..

If your leaders actions endanger their safety, are you helping the right side?

Just questions only you can answer……But I hope as you plod through my boring epistles and phone conversations, that you keep in mind that sometimes , those in power can go a little too far off center for this country’s own good……..

And when something leans to far and starts to fall, it takes quite an effort to straighten and right it up again………..

Just keep it in mind, that’s all……

I disagree with some of those who put down Petraeus as a liar, simply because they fail to agree with his assessment. It may come across to some as funny that I have thought, if not said, some to the same things against which I am now taking issue, and if so, so be it……

What changed?

What happened was this. I became more familiar with what was going on within Iraq. Of course, being of skeptic I tended to look at things hard. Very hard. To my surprise, I found out that I was seeing real signs of hope. This hope was not in the eyes of the politicos; it was the eyes of Iraqis. Since desperate souls grasp any rope tossed to them, I have waited quietly to make sure that these Iraqis were not suffering any type of delusion. I listened to all three reports expecting to see something in them dash my half submerged optimism, upon the reality of Iraqi shores.

I think my conversion may have come about when I was studying the conversion of Al Anbar province. Those Sunnis chose to back us because they like us. Of course it wasn’t much of a contest, considering who their alternative was…..But it may have also come while studying the criticism leveled at us by the British, as they packed up and split. They criticized our arrogance , heavy handedness, and unwillingness to trust: all valid complaints Each of these were addressed under the Petraeus doctrine. After reading the Petraeus Book on the suppression of Insurrections, I realized his tactics were not part of the problem. They were in direct opposition to the problem. I understood what he was trying to accomplish.

What happened under Petraeus, happened not because of the amount of troops we had at our disposal, but because of the way we used them, that made a difference.

The surge may have helped. For before the surge, we, due to our insufficient numbers, acted like Soviets, if I may be blunt. We were there to suppress and pacify. We, with our own patriotic roots, should have been more aware that by taking that stance, we directly increased our own opposition.

Once we added just a few more troops on the ground, we were able to interact with the local population, while still having enough force surrounding us to protect us. Prior to the surge, the problem was that whenever a few shots were fired, we would have to shut down our clinic, and head out across the desert. However with additional troops able to chase the insurgents, the military medical corp could continue to cure the local citizen’s ills. That was the difference. We could finish what we started.

Of course the original problem was created by republicans, Rumsfeld in particular. Had we ramped up enough ground forces from day 1, we never would have needed the surge in the first place. Yes, we know their insurrection began because they believed we wanted their oil. (That republican Cheney messed everything up). But if I understand correctly, we dropped that privatized oil plank as a “no go” and are now supporting the nationalization of oil assets. We are pursuing more of a Biden local strategy, tribal leader by tribal leader, and doing so because of the surge. Paul Bremmer’s national unification strategy was not working.

What I found, in essence, was that everything I said eight months ago that we needed to do in Iraq to win, we were now doing.

Can this late development be twisted to mean I justify this war that was fought on false pretenses? Hell no. It will always stand as a stupid war, instigated by stupid ass republicans. Nothing can ever change that. We could have achieved much better results at far less cost, had we chosen to use other means.

But we didn’t. We went in against all common dignity, history and sense. So since we did, does the resulting mess lie at our doorstep? Does we broke it, mean we own it?

Perhaps. But instead of a “oops, I broke it” moment, it is more of an “Honey, I’m pregnant” moment. Whatever happened way back then, has now changed things permanently.

Of course we can put up our hands and say, “Whoa, that’s your problem bitch…” and walk out the door. Many people do and feel no remorse about doing so. But that is not how I want my America to be perceived. I want My America to be responsible. I want My America to do the right thing. My America will be no punk. My America will be a Dad……….

So emotionally, that is how I have come around about to see how we could win in that barren land. It is nothing new. Biden has pushed it for years.

To win, these things must happen. They are in our control.

Congress must finally stand up to the President. If Iraq can finally realize that America does not equal Bush, that we too think he’s a moron, that we too can admit and correct our mistakes, our relations will improve. If the American Congress ever gets some backbone, and forces upon the president a withdrawal timetable, the Iraqis too will get some backbone and begin controlling their own affairs.

Congress must stand up to the president, and eliminate the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy 2%, and invest that money into Iraq’s infrastructure, hiring Iraqis to build their own sewers, roads, and buried electrical conduits. If Congress could do that, then the Iraqis might get some back bone and start controlling their own affairs.

Congress must stand up to the President, and force impeachment if he fails to comply with Congress’s orders. Only then will Iraq realize that America is not over there to conquer, but sincerely is over there to help. If we are decisive over here, they will be decisive over there,……. instead killing time and each other until our next inauguration day.

The long awaited Petraeus report is due today. Since the White House has admitted it will be responsible for content, one can assume that it will represent the Republican take of the war in Iraq.

However, timed to break just before the Petraeus report, were two other reports of which we have heard already. One, by David Walker of the GAO, could be said to represent the Democratic view of the crises at hand. The other, sponsored by Senator Warner, featuring General Jones (Retired: who looks like he stepped out of the move “White Christmas”) could be said to provide a centrist, or otherwise unbiased, review.

Oh boy….here we go again……surprisingly, all say the same thing………WHAT?…….. All say some progress has been made militarily, but the true solution needs to be political.

So when asked if the surge worked, the answers are all the same. There are gains in stability in some regions as a result of the surge. But politically, we are in the same spot or worse, as we were in January 07.

At each of these hearings, each time this same conclusion is uttered, the Dems posture and say the surge didn’t work….and the Republicans hunker down and say some progress shows momentum…..you can’t quit while you are moving forward.

Oh No! Parallels to Vietnam: In Vietnam, the US Military won every engagement it fought against the enemy. However our State Department was unable to matriculate a political solution. So it is in Iraq. I heard Lindsey Graham, (R-SC) make a speech that would have fit quite nicely in an anthology of “Hawk’s” statements from the early ’70’s.

America: we are smarter than this….We should not make the same mistake twice……

All three reports comment on the marvelous success we fell upon in Al Anbar province. However it was not our military that forced the issue. Rather it was the local population that became fed up with Al Qaeda’s brutality so much that they did something about it. It was fortuitous that the troops were there, to capitalize on the decision made by the Sunni sector.

Had we not had the surge and enough troops in the field, we could have still been holed up in the Green Zone, and the opportunity that presented itself, could have slipped through our fingers. Supposedly the tipping point for the Sunnis came when Al Qaeda made a point of punishing a tribe by killing 6 or 7 of its young boys. The chieftain asked for protection. The astute Lt Col. said “I’ll have a tank parked here in two hours”…… The domino effect rolled throughout the region based on the momentum off that one incident.

But one incident doth not a war make…. As we succeed in Al Anbar, we are unraveling in the South; insurgents are moving back in as the Brits pull out. This should surprise no one……going back 67 years ago:

hostile forces will withdraw into the more remote parts of the country, or will be dispersed into numerous small groups which continue to oppose the occupation. Even though the recognized leaders may capitulate, the subordinate commanders often refuse to abide by the terms of the occupation. Escaping to the hinterland, they assemble heterogeneous armed groups of patriotic soldiers, malcontents, notorious outlaws,…… and by means of guerrilla warfare, continue to harass and oppose the intervening force in its attempt to restore peace and good order throughout the country as a whole.

Anyone out there recognize that? That was taken directly from the declassified version of the Marines’ Small Wars Manual, first published in 1940. It suggests that to countervail such forces, similar to what we anticipate today, we need numerous presence patrols organized with the help of local, native militias, and outposts that are erected dispersed over a wide area in order “to afford the maximum protection to the peaceful inhabitants of that country.”

This blanket approach of embedding Marines into local tribes, and assisting them in regaining some type of stability in their lives vis a vis their experience with the chaos caused by terrorists, means we often wind up doing the work, and leaving local militias with the credit. This has worked well in the southern Philippines, and has for many years worked well in Afghanistan. We did not employ these type of winning tactics in Iraq, until Petraeus took over, and because of bureaucratic squeamishness over causalities, we have let up on our winning strategy inside Afghanistan.

Americans are good…..and as long as we fight on the “side of good”, we continue to win the hearts and minds of local populations. On this direct level no one can compete with us. No one! Our administration lost sight of that. Intent on imposing a government made to help the image of the republican party, American forces found themselves, instead of fighting for the good in the local populations eyes, fighting for oil rights and Cheney/Bush’s tough machismo.

I call this post Mosquito Wars, because as I sat through each of these hearing, listening to all everyone had to say, the war became less of a military adventure, and more of a politically psychological one. After all, that is how the Soviet’s broken regime crumbled…..not by nuclear strikes or preemptive invasions. They just imploded.

The Soviet analogy sets this up well. During the peak of Cold War, we were beset by Soviet spies. They were relative easy to find, hard to kill, and harder still for their agency to replace. Today against the terror threat, the parameters have changed. The terrorists are very hard to find. easy to kill, and easy for their agency to replace.

The way you fight terrorism is with intelligence. If you know what terrorists are going to do, you can prevent it. But finding out is hard, especially when they mimic regular citizens. But as long as the root causes of terrorism are still out there, as long as there are breeding grounds to replace the ones killed or captured, terrorism itself will be never conquered.

Which brings us to mosquitoes. You can live with them, by walking around with mosquito netting over your head whenever you choose to go out, or you can spend 100 % of your outdoor time, watching your bare arms, and swatting whenever one lands. But if you really want to kill mosquitoes, you change the environment to one where they cannot survive. We did so as we built the Panama Canal. We suffocated their breeding grounds with oil; we sprayed standing water. We succeeded.

Terrorists are not lions, tigers or bears…oh my. They are mosquitoes. Totally harmless entities until they land on you. So lets fight them the same way we fight mosquitoes.

Fix the abject poverty in the area where they breed. For a mere 12 billion, it is estimated, we could permanently end poverty in the world…….Drill some wells, teach crop techniques, vaccinate their livestock, provide lifesaving medical attention, and do so with some M16’s standing by in case a lone mosquito slips in and needs a good swat…

It’s America…..it’s how we win…….and it is not to late to win in Iraq. Announce the timetable, work hard to build an Iraq ready for withdrawal, and leave whenever we are done, not a moment before. But announcing the timetable is the key to developing political will among all factions in Iraq.

Remember how the moment Reagan was sworn in, the Iranian hostages were released after 444 days of captivity? They were not going to budge an inch as long as Carter was still president.

Let us move things fast forward too, by changing our leadership on this side of the Atlantic, doing so on our fast forward timetable (67 votes), thereby giving Iraq some hope too………

It’s something to think about; the next time you swat a mosquito……

Finally found the original source on this. However there has been an update.

“It was originally reported that five nuclear warheads were transported, but officers who tipped Military Times to the incident who have asked to remain anonymous since they are not authorized to discuss the incident, have since updated that number to six.”

So it was indeed officers who tipped off the Military Times, as was speculated here. But wait! I am confused……which officers? For in the original story posted back on September 5th, we were told that Minot did not even realize nuclear warheads were missing, until they were confirmed as having landed at Barksdale, and once there, they sat unnoticed on the tarmac for ten hours until the Military Times verified they were indeed there. So by default, it was 1) neither officers at Minot, nor 2) the officers at Barksdale who were responsible for alerting the Military Times. And from what we understand, none of the officers aboard the plane knew they were flying “hot”.

The obvious implication from that one statement is that “somewhere out there” were other officers, privy to this transgression which violated nuclear weapons parameters, and were horrified enough to blow the whistle. Whether these warheads were sanctioned for removal by someone in the White House for official business, or were being smuggled out by an unscrupulous arms dealer for profit, it is obvious that all established protocol had been ignored in their transference.

“That’s perhaps what is most worrisome about this particular incident — that apparently an individual who had command authority about moving these weapons around decided to do so,” said Hans Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists.

“It’s a command and control issue and it’s one that calls into question the system, because if one individual can do that who knows what can happen,” he said. According to the Military Times:

Hans Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists, said a host of security checks and warning signs must have been passed over, or completely ignored, for the warheads to have been unknowingly loaded onto the B-52…..“It’s not like they had nuclear ACMs and conventional ACMs right next to each other and they just happened to load one with a nuclear warhead,” Kristensen said……The Defense Department uses a computerized tracking program to keep tabs on each one of its nuclear warheads, he said. For the six warheads to make it onto the B-52, each one would have had to be signed out of its storage bunker and transported to the bomber. Diligent safety protocols would then have had to been ignored to load the warheads onto the plane, Kristensen said……All ACMs loaded with a nuclear warhead have distinct red signs distinguishing them from ACMs without a nuclear yield, he said. ACMs with nuclear warheads also weigh significantly more than missiles without them………

Even though some officers knew that the plane was flying “hot”, the plane was allowed to fly SOP (Standard Operating Procedure). “The main risk would have been the way the Air Force responded to any problems with the flight because they would have handled it much differently if they would have known nuclear warheads were on board,” Steve Fetter, a former Defense Department official who worked on nuclear weapons policy in 1993-94, said.

The Air Force has disciplined those involved. Along with the 5th Munitions Squadron commander, the munitions crews involved in mistakenly loading the nuclear warheads at Minot have been temporarily decertified from performing their duties involving munitions, pending corrective actions or additional training,

It is quite possible that it was a simple mistake; someone did not know exactly what they were doing. (This error ironically comes after the Air Force announced last March, that the 5th Bomb Wing won two service wide safety awards during fiscal year 2006.)

Were it truly a mistake then it would be the first time in 39 years, since 1968, that it has been public that a nuclear warhead has flown on a US bomber. Nuclear weapons are normally transferred on special cargo planes, carefully constructed to contain radioactivity in the event of a crash; never on the wings of bombers.

According to Kristensen, the error could not have come from confusing the Advanced Cruise Missile with a conventional weapons since no conventional form exists. The munitions Airmen should have been easily able to spot the mistake. Other routine procedures were violated which awkwardly suggests a rather obvious explanation for the error. The military munitions personnel were acting under direct orders, though not under those passed down through the regular chain of military command.

The quick reaction of the Air Force, the issuing of a public statement describing the seriousness of the issue, and the launch of an immediate investigation, all suggest that whatever occurred, was outside the regular chain of military command extending from Gates downward.

If the regular chain of command was indeed bypassed, then we have no choice but to inquire as to whether the B-52 incident was part of a covert project, whose classification level exceeded those held by the very officers in charge of nuclear weapons at Minot. Some traits point out, that this was indeed a secret transference of nuclear warheads, known only to a select few within the military service. For 1) in this case, protocol was violated at Minot in not signing out the nuclear warheads, 2) was violated by installing “the red caps” under the B52, and 3) was violated by flying unrestricted between the airbases. Quite possibly, solely because of the tip provided by patriotic and non-corrupt officers, someone’s attempt to garnish 6 nuclear warheads was foiled.

After taking a hard look, all other explanations make little sense. Based on what we learned today, we do know this. Decommissioned nuclear warheads, as we were told these were, are to be taken to Kirtland AFB, where according to Kristensen, ” the warheads are separated from the rest of the weapon and shipped to the Energy Department’s Pantex dismantlement facility near Amarillo, Texas”

Instead, the plane flew to Barksdale, which just happens to be a major embarkation point for the Middle East. The speculation most in line with the current events happening today……… is that these advanced cruise missiles armed with nuclear warheads, were on their way to the Middle East, to be used, if necessary, against the underground nuclear labs of Iran…..

So what does it boil down to? Three officers may have stopped nuclear weapons going to the Middle East, by alerting the Military Times to some discrepancies in an otherwise routine landing of another B52 in Barksdale.

I know its strange;  our orders say Barksdale

The Ugly, of the Good, Bad, and the Ugly photo courtesy of College Humor.

The Petraeus Report is coming! The Petraeus Report is coming! Today it is hard to miss the calls echoing Paul Revere’s famous ride. For indeed we will soon have the White House report all have been waiting for since the surge began……. only a click away…….Of course we originally thought it would be written by Petraeus himself……(we were so naive.)

Since objectivity is out, I decided to search around and catalog the opinions of those who support the continued surge, and those who want us to withdraw.

First the Good. These will see the Petraeus report as representing what is actually going on in Iraq…….and recommend that we stay.

Bush/Cheney, Israeli lobby,Mitch McConnell, Mitt Romney, John McCain, Rudy Giuliani and other high level republicans. Mike Castle, the lobbyists being paid to support the war, Lieberman (I-CT). 12% of Americans, corporate mainstream media, defense contractors, and trolls.

I am sure there may be some more, but Google couldn’t find them. (It did include Delawareonline: how funny?_)

On to the bad. Ever since Milton’s Paradise Lost in the seventeenth century, studying bad has been much more fun. This group believes the opposite of the White House report. They see Iraq a imploding and think we should get out……sometime….eventually.

The British, Democrats, all Democratic presidential candidates, 85% of Americans, 99.9% of other nations, all of Delaware’s bloggers, Keith Olberman, Hollywood, the GAO, Association of Catholic Nuns, Vietnam Vets, US Labor, poets, environmentalists, the city of Austin, Texas, historians, military families, the NIE report, the General Jones report, artists, women, 1 million New Yorkers, West Point Graduates, lawyers, the City of Rochester, NY, librarians, and a (shock) surprising number of Republicans on the Armed Services committee listening to David Walker testifying in defense of his GAO report.

Thus we can judge by the support, that this war seems to be supported solely by one political party; and no one else. It is quite an odd situation to be in, the country which once was the standard the whole world looked to, now intently venturing down a path supported by only a handful of people. We will be paying for our mistake a long time.

As for the ugly? We touched on that with the picture at the top of this post…..Enough is enough. We have seen enough ugliness for a day…….

Fighting over me?

China has a shrimp problem. Too many people; too few shrimp. With over a billion people to feed daily, shrimp is the only protein source they consider dependable. Their coastline lacks adequate length to feed their population. Since they cannot support themselves, they must rely on foreign food, to sustain themselves.

This puts them at risk. Obviously should food become unavailable to them because of diplomacy, they will need the military means to back up their demands.

This has begun already. China has declared all shrimp areas to fall within its national interest. That includes the Gulf of Mexico right here at home. They also include Ecuador, Mexico, Indonesia, and other high concentrations of shrimp production. Some of this has been recently aggravated by Chinese mismanagement of their own fish farms. Various viral infections, and the excessive use of antibiotics, have contaminated Chinese food supplies. Therefore only other outside fisheries can now support its growing population.

Chinese officials have warned the US that it will take whatever steps are needed to maintain control of its future food supply. At one point the US and China may do battle over shrimp; whenever it becomes scarce. One may think of China of old and dismiss their military threats.

Dismissing China is not a wise thing to do…….

China has exploded in its amount of submarines. In two more years they are estimated that they will have around 85 submarines capable of active patrols. In contrast, Russia, which once had 90 submarines in the Pacific, has mothballed all but 20. Japan has 16 submarines and no plans to buy more. The U.S. Pacific Fleet has 35 submarines, with many considered to be the most modern in the world.

In response, the U.S. Navy is reversing an old Soviet-era formula, where the United States had 60 percent of its submarines in the Atlantic and 40 percent in the Pacific. In addition to shifting toward keeping 60 percent in the Pacific, the United States recently set up an antisubmarine warfare center in San Diego.

Reports of a recent build up of Chinese missiles has many analysts worried. China has bought or borrowed technology creating both short and long term missiles. As China woos many Central and South American countries, many of them hostile to the United States, some if not many of these missiles could already be in place.

China’s biggest weapon is the 1.2 Trillion investment it has in the economy of the United States. Should China create a financial crises, the fact they owe 3 years of this nations budget, would wreak havoc with international markets. With the future US in economic shambles, they could force us to choose between accepting their trade agreements on shrimp, or risk all out war.

We are their match today. But as they are booming; we are shrinking. Eventually, as all the nations we consider as allies start kow-towing to China, we will find ourselves becoming isolated internationally, and surrounded by Chinese bases.

This will not be a dumb enemy, we will fight. We are told that they hacked into Secretary Gates computer as recently as last June. Already we fear that they can disrupt our defenses with cyber-technology whenever they want.

Estimates show that China can field an active army of 2.2 million. We are having trouble keeping a level of 160,000 in Iraq. Should they decide to attack the US, there is little we can do.

Imagine a standing army of 2.2 million staged in bases located in Mexico, Cuba, and Canada? Imagine if they demanded total control over our shrimp processes. Imagine if they politely allowed us thirty percent after they had paid for all their expenses……

Imagine if we refused and they invaded. I am sure we would welcome them at first, having rid us of Bush and Cheney, but soon we would come to realize that they were not here to help us economically. They came to steal our shrimp!

It wouldn’t take long for groups of Red Dawn vigilantes to start guerrilla tactics designed to wear down the enemy and induce them to leave……our Katrina survivors would scuttle their boats, rather than let the Chinese take them. The only way for China to harvest their shrimp would be to bring over shrimp boats themselves……Our militias would make sure that they only way they could gather shrimp, was to be well protected.

The Chinese would install Americans sympathetic to them in positions of power. The People’s Parliament they would call it. However these true Americans, drafted and installed by the Chinese, would realize that cooperating with the invaders would yield to the capitulation of everything America had stood for. Instead of cooperating, they would stall, argue, complain, drag their feet, and do nothing about passing the legislation desperately wanted by China, giving the Chinese no incentive to stay……..

Ultimately the logistics and cost of controlling the US, as in Red Dawn, would eventually cause the Chinese to pack up and go home. It would be a function of the strength of the Chinese will over time, to determine how long their stay would continue.

We would, no doubt, as we gained strength militarily, have to put up with surges in the number of Chinese nationals brought in to pacify our feisty country……..but in the end, Chinese public pressure pushing back against China’s government, would eventually cause the communist government’s collapse and the future withdrawal of all Chinese troops from American soil………

Our shrimp would be ours again.

Wow! In writing this exercise I think, for the first time,………I now understand how those citizens of Iraq feel……….

steamed, peeled, and hung out on a glass

As we come off the summer and plunge into perhaps the most eventful Autumn of our lives, the fall election season begins getting underway at full steam. This time they are a full year too early.

Iowa and New Hampshire, as it stands now, are 5 and 6 months away. It is now do or die for political hacks supporting all candidates…….

Instead of fishing about for a candidate who I think could lead this nation forward, and then get caught up in their game of having them try to impress me………..a better approach would be to publish what I am looking for, and perhaps all of you can see how your candidates stack up against real standards: not other candidates……

This time I am looking for a person who has made mistakes. No big deal….I make mistakes. And when someone asks me how I know whatever it was (that I fooled them into thinking) I knew, I smile, dodge the question, and move on because I wish not to revisit my memory of falling flat on my face when I was so young. Mistakes, I think, build character. I fear those who are so timid of making a mistake that when they inevitably do, they cover it up. Me? I respect someone who says ‘Yeah, I messed up,” and then goes on to say….”and afterwards this is what I learned fromt it…..”

I am looking for someone who talks to me and is honest to the American people. I am skeptical of anyone who says he speaks for the American people, when his campaign treasure chest is stockpiled with corporate contributions. I would rather see one ad that tells me a great person is running, than twenty voice-overs on a flag waving background…….. Money is not important; character is.

I am looking for someone with wisdom. Having suffered the lack thereof in the White House for the last seven years, to finally have someone who will make decisions based on logic, and not on impulses from alien spaceships, would be a refreshing change.

I am looking for someone who will support the middle class, not with words or pap legislation, but with real changes that return the balance of power now held by global corporations, back to the people themselves.

I am looking for someone who has his eyes on the future, and his feet firmly planted in the past. Energy needs to become cheaper. Someone tough will have to do it. Our health care needs fixed. Someone tough will have to do it. Our insurance system is broken. Someone tough is needed to fix it.

Experience is part of my equation. As this country free falls through the next four years, I want someone who has had his hands on the nylon ropes before, and can steer the chute to nail its target. Not someone learning the ropes for the first time…..

I want someone who reaches out; not reaches in. Whenever he has to make a command decision and the choices are between awfully bad, and terribly bad, I want someone who will allow any idea that works to be considered, without worrying from which party it came.

I want someone with dignity, who can return that aura to the Oval Office again. Someone older, no longer plagued by youthful indiscretions. Someone who remembers how average Americans view their president and can live up to those expectations.

I want someone who will balance the budget.

I want someone who will return more of my income back to me, so I can spend it on things I want to buy, not have to pay through the nose just to survive.

I want someone who will employ thousands of Americans to build projects that are sorely needed. We have bled parts of our society for too long. It is time for a transfusion.

I want someone who remembers that America was once not a country, just a vague area across the ocean. The difference between then and now, is borne on the backs of those who build. Whether through work with their hands, through service to others, or through smart relationships, America did not just happen. It was built. I want someone who remembers that and rewards those who do the work…………

I want someone who is moral. But who is wise enough to divorce the government from trying to determine what is moral, from that which is not. We have other systems to decide those issues. Perhaps after we have fixed our economy, our quality of life, our imploding budget, our stature among the world, we can return again to the playfully fun, if not unproductive, arguments of what “morality” really is.

I want someone who will protect me. But will protect the Constitution even more.

Finally I want someone who understands the economy. Without it this country is sunk. But I want someone who remembers that the economy is also for the people, of the people, and by the people. To have a successful economy, all citizens must benefit from its growth, not one or two.

So tell me now….how does your candidate stack up?