Tag Archives: US

WORKING WITHOUT A NET

INDEPENDENCE

There is something somewhat ironic about this (how good a shape the carrier still appears to remain in despite repeated attempts to utterly destroy it), but if you ask me, not very…

Our ancestors built extremely well and with great purpose.

We could still learn much from them.

(For slideshow and video see original article link in title.)

Aircraft carrier that survived atomic blasts lies at bottom of Pacific

By Brad Lendon, CNN

Updated 2:15 PM ET, Fri April 17, 2015
Story highlights

USS Independence was sunk in 1951 after weapons tests
Carrier was close-in guinea pig to two atomic bomb tests
Agency: Ship looks remarkably intact 2,600 feet below surface of the Pacific Ocean

(CNN)A former U.S. Navy aircraft carrier that survived a Japanese torpedo strike and was a massive guinea pig for two atomic bomb blasts looks remarkably intact at the bottom of the Pacific, according to federal researchers who surveyed the wreck last month with an underwater drone.

The USS Independence was scuttled in January 1951 during weapons testing near California’s Farallon Islands. Although its location was confirmed by a survey in 2009, researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration went looking for it again in March as part of a project to map about 300 wrecks that lie in and around the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary.

“After 64 years on the seafloor, Independence sits on the bottom as if ready to launch its planes,” mission leader James Delgado, the maritime heritage director for NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, said in a statement.

Indeed, sonar images show what looks to be an airplane on one of the elevators that took planes from the Independence’s hangar deck to its flight deck. The ship sits upright with a slight list to starboard, according to NOAA.

NOAA’s survey of the 623-foot-long, 11,000-ton carrier was conducted by the Echo Ranger, an 18.5-foot-long autonomous underwater vehicle provided by the Boeing Co. The Echo Ranger traveled 30 miles from its base in Half Moon Bay, California, and hovered 150 above the carrier, which lies 2,600 feet below the surface of the Pacific Ocean. The drone used a three-dimensional sonar system provided by Coda Octopus to get images that showed how well the warship has weathered 64 years in the deep.

“This ship fought a long, hard war in the Pacific and after the war was subjected to two atomic blasts that ripped through the ship. It is a reminder of the industrial might and skill of the ‘greatest generation’ that sent not only this ship, but their loved ones to war,” Delgado said in the statement.

In its 20 years in the Navy, the ship played a role in some of the most important events of World War II, earning eight battle stars in the process, and the dawn of the nuclear age.

Independence was seriously damaged by Japanese torpedo planes during the Battle of Tarawa in late 1943. The ship returned to California for repairs and made it back across the Pacific by July 1944 to participate in the Battle of the Sibuyan Sea and the sinking of one of the Japanese Imperial Navy’s biggest warships, the battleship Musashi. Later, in the Battle of Cape Engano, planes from the Independence were involved in the sinking of four Japanese aircraft carriers.

After the war, Independence became part of a fleet used to measure the effects of atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll in the Pacific on July 1, 1946. It sat just 560 yards from ground zero in the first test, a 23-kiloton air blast of a fission bomb similar to the one used over Nagasaki, Japan, a year earlier, according to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization. Twenty-four days later, Independence was 1,390 yards from the center of a second atomic blast — also a 23-kiloton device but an underwater detonation.

The ship was later brought back to California for nuclear decontamination before being sunk during the weapons training in 1951.

NOAA said no signs of radioactive contamination were noted during the survey of the sunken carrier last month.

The agency has no plans for further missions to the ship, according to the NOAA statement.

BRIDGE OF SIGHS – ACCULTURATION

For your Monday Acculturation

 

WHEN MEN HESITATE – FROM HUMAN EFFORT

When men are hesitant to overthrow Hell then Hell is the very first to know and the very last to fear.

CRUZ ANNOUNCEMENT – ACCULTURATION

I watched the announcement a few minutes ago. Video later when I can get it.

Sen. Ted Cruz announces presidential bid with Twitter post, video

Published March 23, 2015
·FoxNews.com

Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz announced that he will run for president in 2016 via a Twitter post early Monday, becoming the first major candidate to officially declare.

The 30-second video accompanying the tweet featured Cruz speaking over a montage of farm fields, city skylines and American landmarks and symbols, calling on “a new generation of courageous conservatives to help make America great again.”
More on this…

Will Ted Cruz throw his hat in the 2016 ring?
“I’m ready to stand with you to lead the fight,” Cruz says as the video concludes. Shortly after midnight Monday, the campaign had launched its website.

Cruz had been expected to make the official announcement later Monday during a speech at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. He is expected to start his campaign immediately rather than launch an exploratory committee, which many do as a precursor to a campaign.

Watch Cruz on Fox News’ “Hannity” on Monday at 10 p.m. ET.

Amy Kremer, the former head of the Tea Party Express, told the Associated Press Sunday that the Republican pool of candidates “will take a quantum leap forward” with Cruz’s announcement, adding that it “will excite the base in a way we haven’t seen in years.”

Other candidates who have been rumored to run for the GOP nomination include former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker; Florida Sen. Marco Rubio; and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.

Cruz, 44, a favorite of the Tea Party movement who has made headlines for his conservative stance on immigration, has gone after other Republicans for their more moderate views.

In December, Cruz defied party leaders to force a vote on opposing Obama’s executive actions on immigration. The strategy failed, and led several of his Republican colleagues to call Cruz out. “You should have an end goal in sight if you’re going to do these types of things and I don’t see an end goal other than irritating a lot of people,” Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch said at the time.

“Cruz is going to make it tough for all of the candidates who are fighting to emerge as the champion of the anti-establishment wing of the party,” GOP strategist Kevin Madden told AP. “That is starting to look like quite a scrum where lots of candidates will be throwing some sharp elbows.”

“He’s awfully good at making promises that he knows the GOP can’t keep and pushing for unachievable goals, but he seems very popular with right wing,” added veteran Republican strategist John Feehery. “Cruz is a lot smarter than the typical darling of the right, and that makes him more dangerous to guys like Scott Walker and Rand Paul.”

In recent weeks, Cruz has faced questions over his own citizenship. Two former Justice Department lawyers said last week there is no doubt the Canadian-born senator is eligible to run for the White House.

“There is no question that Senator Cruz has been a citizen from birth and is thus a ‘natural born Citizen’ within the meaning of the Constitution,” Neal Katyal, acting solicitor general in the Obama administration, and Paul Clemente, solicitor general in the President George W. Bush administration, wrote in a joint article.

Anti-Cruz “birthers” challenged his citizenship status because he was born in Canada. However, two years ago, Cruz released his birth certificate showing his mother was a U.S. citizen born in Delaware, presumably satisfying the requirements for presidential eligibility as a “natural born citizen.”

Last month, Cruz addressed the citizenship issue during a question-and-answer session with moderator Hannity at the Conservative Political Action Conference. “I was born in Calgary. My mother was an American citizen by birth,” Cruz said. “Under federal law, that made me an American citizen by birth. The Constitution requires that you be a natural-born citizen.”

With a little more than a year and half to go before the 2016 election, speculation is heating up that several presidential contenders will soon officially throw their hats into the ring. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who enjoys a wide lead among potential Democratic candidates despite the recent uproar over her use of a personal email account while leading the State Department, is expected to announce her candidacy next month.

DRONE DOWN?

Syria claims shooting down of US drone over Latakia

A wheel purportedly from a US drone shot down in Syria Syrian state media carried footage of what they said was debris from drone being taken away

The Syrian military says it has shot down a US drone near the city of Latakia, a stronghold of President Bashar al-Assad in north-west Syria.

US officials have said they lost contact with a drone but that it is unclear if it was shot down.

If confirmed it would be the first time Syrian forces have attacked a US aircraft since the start of coalition strikes against Islamic State (IS).

Syria has not been participating in the raids on IS.

The country’s state-run Sana news agency described the unmanned surveillance plane as “hostile”, without giving further details. The Pentagon said it was looking into the incident.

An MQ-1 Predator unmanned aircraft – it is not clear what model has been shot down The Pentagon said they lost contact with an MQ-1 Predator drone over north-west Syria
In a BBC interview last month, President Assad said “general messages” were provided to the Syrians about the coalition strikes via a third party.

A Jordanian jet involved in the coalition strikes crashed in northern Syria last year. IS captured the pilot and later burned him alive.

Chemical attacks

Meanwhile, Syrian activists have accused government forces of using chlorine in an attack in the north-western province of Idlib late on Monday.

Two groups reported that three children were among six people killed when aircraft dropped barrel bombs filled with the toxic chemical on Sarmin.

The Syrian military has denied the claim, describing it as propaganda.

A Syrian man stands next to the remains of a barrel bomb that activists say was dropped on the town of Sarmin on the night of 16 March 2015 A local activist said barrel bombs were dropped on two locations in Sarmin
Chlorine is a common industrial chemical, but its use as a weapon is banned by the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).

Syria signed the treaty after the nerve agent sarin was used in an August 2013 attack on several suburbs of Damascus that killed hundreds of people. Western powers said only the government could have carried out the attack, but it blamed the rebels.

In January, international investigators concluded that chlorine gas had been used in air raids on three villages that were blamed on the government.

Earlier this month, the UN Security Council approved a resolution that condemned the use of toxic chemicals such as chlorine in Syria, and threatened military action in case of further violations.

A map showing Latakia and Sarmin in Syria
More on This Story
Syria’s war
War in Syria

ISRAELI ELECTIONS

He still seems to have the advantage in forming a coalition government. Thank God though that the US doesn’t have to go through this kind of thing.

With no clear winner yet, Netanyahu and chief opponent both vow to form next government

Published March 17, 2015
·FoxNews.com

March 17, 2015: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu casts his vote during Israel’s parliamentary elections in Jerusalem. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner, Pool)

With no clear winner yet declared in Israel’s parliamentary elections, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed victory for his Likud Party early Wednesday, while his chief rival said he would make “every effort” to form the next government.

Exit polls conducted by the country’s three major TV stations late Tuesday showed mixed results in the acrimonious race between the Likud Party and opposition leader Isaac Herzog’s Zionist Union.
Two polls showed the parties deadlocked with 27 seats each in the 120-member Knesset, and a third gave Likud a slight lead of 28-27.

Netanyahu appeared to have fended off Herzog’s strong challenge, the Associated Press reported, but his victory was not guaranteed.

The prime minister said he had invited other rightist politicians to join him in a coalition government “without delay,” according to Reuters.
In an interview published Monday on the NRG news website, Netahyahu said withdrawing from occupied areas to make way for a Palestinian state would only ensure that territory will be taken over by Islamic extremists. When asked if that means a Palestinian state will not be established if he is elected, Netanyahu said “indeed.”

The prime minister doubled down on his remarks in a phone interview with Israel’s Channel 10 television after casting his ballot Tuesday, saying that any state established alongside Israel would “attack us with rockets … Who wants such a thing?”

The statements marked a reversal for Netanyahu, who laid out his support for Palestinian independence in a landmark 2009 speech, shortly after his return to the premiership after a decade away. In the intervening period, two rounds of peace talks have failed and Netanyahu has continued to expand Jewish settlements while portraying Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as the main obstacle to a peace deal.

Elections day is a public holiday in Israel. Most people don’t go to work, beaches and restaurants fill up, and stores advertise election-day sales.

Israeli election officials said 26.5 percent of eligible voters had voted by midday, a rate similar to previous years. Facebook featured a special “I voted” button in Hebrew, as it has during elections in other countries, in an effort to get out the vote.

Israelis cast ballots for a party list, rather than individual candidates. After an election, it typically takes weeks of negotiation to form a governing coalition and determine who will be prime minister.

Several smaller centrist and religious parties that have not pledged support for either Netanyahu or Herzog will likely tip the scales to determine who will become prime minister.

Polls have consistently show Netanyahu’s conservative Likud party slightly trailing the centrist Zionist Union in the race for the most seats in Israel’s 120-member Knesset. In response, Netanyahu has appealed to Likud’s staunchest supporters to “close the gap” and warned about the consequences of what he termed as a “left-wing government” coming to power. He has also talked about an international conspiracy funded by wealthy foreigners to oust him.

Netanyahu’s opponents have attacked him for what they call his inattention to Israel’s high cost of living and growing income inequality. Reports of the extravagant spending habits of the Prime Minister and his wife have done little to endear them to the public, and an expected bump from Netanyahu’s address to Congress about Iran’s nuclear program earlier this month failed to materialize.

Isaac Herzog of the Zionist Union has said he would revive peace efforts with the Palestinians, repair ties with the U.S. and reduce the growing gaps between rich and poor.

“Whoever wants to follow Bibi’s path of despair and disappointment will vote for him,” Herzog said after casting his vote, using a popular nickname for Netanyahu. “But whoever wants change, hope, and really a better future for Israel, will vote the Zionist Camp lead by me.”

That call resonated with 51-year-old businessman Ofer Benishti, who voted at a polling station in Kfar Saba in central Israel. He said he was a lifelong Likud voter but was now casting his ballot for the Zionist Union.

“I have had enough,” said Benishti. “Bibi tried and tried and tried, but it just hasn’t worked. It’s time to give someone else a chance. It can’t get worse than this,” he said, using Netanyahu’s nickname.

But Meshy Alon, 22, said she was sticking with the prime minister. “He is not great, but he is better than anything else out there,” she said. “I can’t vote for the left … It’s a Jewish country, not a Palestinian one.”

In his interview with Channel 10, Netanyahu ruled out a coalition with Herzog and said he would seek an alliance with the ultra-national Jewish Home party, which also opposes Palestinian statehood.

Netanyahu portrayed Herzog as someone who would easily give up territory for a Palestinian state. The Palestinians want to establish a state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, lands Israel captured in the 1967 Six Day War.

“We have a different approach,” Netanyahu said. “They (the Zionist Union) want to withdraw. I don’t want to withdraw. If I put together the government, it will be a nationalist government.”

Herzog, meanwhile, signaled he is going back on what had been perceived as an unpopular power-sharing deal with the co-leader of the Zionist Union, former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.

Under that deal, Herzog and Livni would each have served as prime minister for two years if they won the elections.

Meanwhile, police said they arrested an Israeli soldier on suspicion of incitement of violence. The soldier wrote on Facebook that if a leftist were to rise to power, the soldier would follow in the footsteps of Israeli extremist Yigal Amir, who assassinated dovish Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.