Rule 5 Blogging: If it ain’t rainin’, it ain’t trainin’!

It’s the weekend and time, once again, for THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL’S version of Rule 5 Blogging. Robert Stacey Stacy McCain described Rule 5 as putting pictures of pretty women somewhat déshabillé, but, on this site, our Rule 5 Blogging doesn’t put up pictures of Daryl Hannah in her summer clothes, but women, in full military gear, serving their countries in the armed forces. The terribly sexist authors on this site celebrate strong women, women who can take care of themselves and take care of others, women who have been willing to put their lives on the line in some not-so-friendly places, women who truly do have the “We can do it!” attitude.

The post title comes from my older daughter, who said that was the attitude of her drill sergeants. Today’s pictures are from the 165th Brigade, 1-61 Infantry Regiment, Delta Company Dragons. Two weeks ago, in the rain, they faced off against rival platoons in a pugil stick competition.

Cheering their fellow soldiers on in the rain

Continue reading ‘Rule 5 Blogging: If it ain’t rainin’, it ain’t trainin’!’ »

From Around the Blogroll

From The New York Times:

New Tack for de Blasio: Wooing Business Leaders He Once Denounced
By Alexander Burns | April 11, 2015

Mayor Bill de Blasio, in a photograph provided by his office, appeared at a town hall-style event at Morgan Stanley’s offices in Manhattan last month. Credit Demetrius Freeman/Office of the Mayor, Bill de Blasio

Gone are the self-conscious jokes, the dry references to business leaders as a tough crowd. His vocabulary is careful, smoothed free of buzzwords likely to offend. Mayor Bill de Blasio still talks about inequality, but for these audiences he emphasizes that the causes of New York City’s economic divide are complex and global in nature.

More than a year after taking office, Mr. de Blasio is engaged in his first sustained courtship of the city’s most powerful private sector executives. The mayor, who ran for office railing against “moneyed interests,” is now making what corporate chieftains describe as a long delayed, sometimes awkward, attempt to meet them on their home turf.

He has wooed them in private phone calls and unannounced meetings at City Hall, and has staged several striking events: On a visit last month to Morgan Stanley, for example, he posed for selfies with employees and joked that moving into Gracie Mansion was like living in a museum. Mr. de Blasio, as part of his getting-to-know-you tour, also dined recently with about a dozen business and nonprofit leaders at the home of Ralph Schlosstein, chief executive of the investment firm Evercore Partners.

As a candidate, Mr. de Blasio defined himself in opposition to big business, vowing to increase taxes on the rich and to turn the page on the policies of his billionaire predecessor, Michael R. Bloomberg. Upon taking office, he quickly pressed for a new tax on wealthy New Yorkers to pay for universal prekindergarten. (Mr. de Blasio got a prekindergarten program, but state lawmakers blocked the tax.) . . .

Yet business leaders say they have also detected a softening of Mr. de Blasio’s tone and posture, and perhaps new traces of ambivalence about wielding the executive set as a political foil.

The mayor has embraced opportunities to introduce himself more personally: When Mr. Schlosstein, who is married to Jane D. Hartley, the United States ambassador to France, suggested in a private meeting that he should better acquaint himself with the business world, Mr. de Blasio responded by asking the investment executive to host an event designed to help him do just that, according to associates familiar with the conversation, who asked to speak anonymously about the off-the-record event.

During the meeting at Morgan Stanley, Mr. de Blasio paid homage to Wall Street: “The financial services sector supports 310,000 New York City jobs and accounts for 22 percent of the city’s economic output,” he declared in the firm’s cafeteria. “This industry is crucial to the city’s future.”

There is a lot more at he original, but he message is clear: a quasi-socialist, (mistakenly) put in power by the voters of New York City, is learning a lesson that must be hard for him, that business and capitalism and free enterprise are what make an economy strong and prosperous. Mayor de Blasio will still engage in stupid polices, because, as a socialist, he just naturally gravitates to stupidity, but maybe, just maybe, the businessmen can rein in some of what would be his worst excesses.

And now, on to the blogroll!

The Execution of Eddie Slovik – WW2

In Light of Bowe Berdahl, what should we do?

There were desertions in WW2, This one was the only execution.

Edward Donald “Eddie” Slovik (February 18, 1920 – January 31, 1945) was a United States Army soldier during World War IIand the only American soldier to be court-martialled and executed for desertion since the American Civil War.[1][2]

Although over 21,000 American soldiers were given varying sentences for desertion during World War II, including 49 death sentences, Slovik’s was the only death sentence that was actually carried out.[1][3][4]

Desertion[edit]While en route to his assigned unit, Slovik and a friend he met during basic training, Private John Tankey, took cover during an artillery attack and became separated from their replacement detachment. This was the point at which Slovik later stated he found he “wasn’t cut out for combat.” The next morning, they found a Canadian military police unit and remained with them for the next six weeks. Tankey wrote to their regiment to explain their absence before he and Slovik reported to their unit for duty on October 7, 1944. The US Army’s rapid advance through France had caused many replacement soldiers to have trouble finding their assigned units, and so no charges were filed against Slovik or Tankey.

The following day on October 8, Slovik informed his company commander, Captain Ralph Grotte, that he was “too scared” to serve in a front-line rifle company and asked to be reassigned to a rear area unit. He told Grotte that he would run away if he were assigned to a rifle unit, and asked his captain if that would constitute desertion. Grotte confirmed that it would. He refused Slovik’s request for reassignment and sent him to a rifle platoon.[8]

The next day, October 9, Slovik deserted from his infantry unit. His friend, John Tankey, caught up with him and attempted to persuade him to stay, but Slovik’s only comment was that his “mind was made up”. Slovik walked several miles to the rear and approached an enlisted cook at a headquarters detachment, presenting him with a note which stated:

I, Pvt. Eddie D. Slovik, 36896415, confess to the desertion of the United States Army. At the time of my desertion we were in Albuff [Elbeuf] in France. I came to Albuff as a replacement. They were shelling the town and we were told to dig in for the night. The following morning they were shelling us again. I was so scared, nerves and trembling, that at the time the other replacements moved out, I couldn’t move. I stayed there in my fox hole till it was quiet and I was able to move. I then walked into town. Not seeing any of our troops, so I stayed over night at a French hospital. The next morning I turned myself over to the Canadian Provost Corp. After being with them six weeks I was turned over to American M.R. They turned me loose. I told my commanding officer my story. I said that if I had to go out there again I’d run away. He said there was nothing he could do for me so I ran away again AND I’LL RUN AWAY AGAIN IF I HAVE TO GO OUT THERE.

—Signed Pvt. Eddie D. Slovik A.S.N. 36896415[4]
The cook summoned his company commander and an MP, who read the note and urged Slovik to destroy it before he was taken into custody, which Slovik refused. He was brought before Lieutenant Colonel Ross Henbest, who again offered him the opportunity to tear up the note, return to his unit, and face no further charges. After Slovik again refused, Henbest ordered Slovik to write another note on the back of the first one stating that he fully understood the legal consequences of deliberately incriminating himself with the note and that it would be used as evidence against him in a court martial.

Slovik was taken into custody and confined to the division stockade. The divisional judge advocate, Lieutenant Colonel Henry Sommer, again offered Slovik an opportunity to rejoin his unit and have the charges against him suspended. He offered to transfer Slovik to a different infantry regiment where no one would know of his past and he could start with a “clean slate”. Slovik, convinced that he would face only jail time, which he had experienced and found preferable to combat, declined these offers, saying, “I’ve made up my mind. I’ll take my court martial.”

Question is, does Bergdahl deserve the same?

The Iranian nuclear deal

Two obvious points:

  1. President Barack Hussein Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu both dislike and distrust each other; and
  2. Prime Minister Netanyahu’s primary concern is with the safety and security of Israel; if this new deal — which is still only an agreed-to framework — increased the safety and security of Israel, as President Obama claims, Mr Netanyahu would not be opposed to it.

Netanyahu on Iran: I’m Trying to Kill a Bad Deal

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday continued to call for the rejection of the framework of a multi-country deal that with Iran that seeks to limit the country’s nuclear capability.

“I’m not trying to kill any deal. I’m trying to kill a bad deal,” Netanyahu said on “Meet the Press.” He argued that the current plan “leaves the preeminent terrorist state of our time with a vast nuclear infrastructure.”

The prime minister went on to say that “not one centrifuge is destroyed.” However, according to the paramaters for the deal released by the U.S. State Department, Iran has agreed to reduce installed centrifuges by two-thirds and place the excess in internationally monitored storage.

Netanyahu also said he believes lifting some of the sanctions on Iran and leaving them with some nuclear capability could result in a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

“It would spark an arms race among the Sunni states, a nuclear arms race in the Middle East,” the Israeli leader warned. “And the Middle East crisscrossed with nuclear tripwires is a nightmare for the world. I think this deal is a dream deal for Iran and it’s a nightmare deal for the world.”

More at the link.

The question is: is it a bad deal? Reducing the number of centrifuges in service means that Iran will have less capacity to enrich uranium,1 which ought to be a good thing; it does not stop Iran from enriching uranium, but slows down, by about two-thirds, its production capacity. From The Wall Street Journal:

Nuclear Deal Allows Iran Significantly to Boost Centrifuges After 10 Years
Detail could worry skeptics about too little being done to prevent Iran from building atomic weapon in medium term
By Laurence Norman | Updated April 4, 2015 3:30 p.m. ET

France on Saturday outlined one part of what the gradual ramp-up of Iran’s nuclear program could entail after the initial 10-year phase of a framework accord.

Since Thursday’s deal between Tehran and a group of six world powers on the outlines of a final agreement, the U.S., the Iranians and the French have each produced their own documents outlining what they see as the highlights of the deal. That has led to squabbling between U.S. and Iranian officials over differences in their versions.

According to a French fact sheet, Iran would be able to carry out a “gradual, clearly defined increase of (enrichment) capacities between the 10th and 13th year, with the introduction of the advanced IR-2 and IR-4 centrifuges.”

While there wasn’t detail on how many of the advanced machines Iran would be able to deploy, Tehran’s agreement with the U.S. and its negotiating partners could strengthen concerns among skeptics that a future deal would do too little to prevent Iran’s access to a nuclear weapon over the medium term.

More at the original.

The French concern is that the deal, if Iran didn’t cheat, would give Iran greater capacity in ten years; the Israeli concern is that Iran will cheat, and can reinstall the centrifuges taken out of service quickly if it chooses, since those machines will be stored in country, rather than being shipped out or destroyed. Further, it allows Iran to retain it’s hardened development facility, protected from a surprise Israeli air strike like the one which eliminated Iraq’s atomic weapons program in 1981.2

Prime Minister Netanyahu has no reason to be opposed to this agreement if it is one which actually makes the world safer: he’s already won his recent re-election campaign, so there’s no domestic political advantage for him in continuing to fight it, and President Obama still has 21½ months left in office in the United States; he cannot be re-elected or defeated in that time, and there’s no advantage to Mr Netanyahu in continuing to annoy Mr Obama.

The Washington Post editorial board expressed real reservations about the deal, but columnist Fareed Zakaria, also in the Post made the case that the deal is the better option.3 Dr Zakaria’s position is that the deal isn’t perfect, but that it’s better than no deal at all; with no deal at all, Iran keeps more centrifuges in service, which would (supposedly) enable them to make weapons grade uranium more quickly. The best that I can say about it is that President Obama will be out of office in 21½ months, and we can hope that the next President will have more sense than our current one.

  1. Wikipedia has a decent article on the equipment and physics involved in the separation of Uranium235, the fissionable isotope, from Uranium235, the most common form of the element.
  2. Colin Kahl, writing in The Washington Post, claimed that the Israeli attack on the Osirak reactor backfired, because Saddam Hussein hadn’t really embarked on a nuclear weapons development program, that the attack made him start planning for one, and that the same thing would happen if Israel launched an attack to take out the Iranian program. His logic is flawed, because the Iranians have already taken the decisions Mr Kahl claims Mr Hussein had not.
  3. Your editor’s opinion of Dr Zakaria’s renowned intellect is not as high as his reputation would have it; I believe that he is seriously over-rated, and attempts to “overnuance” simple situations.

Rule 5 Blogging: Blondes!

It’s the weekend and time, once again, for THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL’S version of Rule 5 Blogging. Robert Stacey Stacy McCain described Rule 5 as posting photos of pretty women somewhat déshabillé, but, on this site, our Rule 5 Blogging doesn’t put up pictures of Malin Åkerman in her summer clothes, but women, in full military gear, serving their countries in the armed forces. The terribly sexist authors on this site celebrate strong women, women who can take care of themselves and take care of others, women who have been willing to put their lives on the line in some not-so-friendly places, women who truly do have the “We can do it!” attitude.

This week, as I was searching through my photo source, the question arose: are all Swedish soldiers blondes? :)

Swedish soldiers participate in joint Russian-Swedish military training exercises, 12 December 2007, outside St. Petersburg in the town Kamenka. The chairman of Europe’s security watchdog, the OSCE, on Wednesday urged Russia to reconsider its decision to withdraw from a key Cold War treaty that sets limits on troops and weapons across Europe. AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER DROZDOV (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER DROZDOV/AFP/Getty Images)

Continue reading ‘Rule 5 Blogging: Blondes!’ »

From Around the Blogroll

It’s over.

Wisconsin steals Kentucky’s perfect ending in Final Four, 71-64
by Jerry Tipton | | April 4, 2015 | Updated 7:10 AM April 5, 2015

INDIANAPOLIS — A team stayed undefeated in the Final Four Saturday night. Sadly, for Kentucky, that team was Wisconsin.

Kentucky guard Devin Booker in the locker room following the Wildcats’ loss to Wisconsin in the national semi-finals.

The Badgers, a veteran team with unshakable resolve, had a 34-0 record this season when holding a lead with five or fewer minutes remaining in a game (117-3 in such situations since Feb. 3, 2011).

A clutch three-pointer by Sam Dekker put Wisconsin in such a situation against Kentucky with 1:41 left. The Badgers again closed the deal, beating previously undefeated Kentucky 71-64. With the victory, which avenged a national semifinal loss to Kentucky last season, Wisconsin will play Duke in the NCAA Tournament championship game Monday night.

In the immediate grip of defeat, Kentucky saw the loss as ruining a historic season of achievement.

“It really means nothing,” Tyler Ulis said of Kentucky’s final 38-1 record. “… It takes everything away. All the winning, to me, means nothing.”

Assistant Coach John Robic had a simple explanation for such an all-is-lost reaction.

“It’s the pain,” he said.

Read more here. And now, on to the blogroll!

The unreality-based community

I don’t usually follow Pamela Geller’s Atlas Shrugs, but she normally has a lot of good stuff; I spotted this one due to a link from Robert Stacey Stacy McCain:

No Insurance Available for Jewish Kindergartens in Belgium

Europe nearly “exterminated” all of its Jews, and chose instead to import tens of millions of Muslims. As country after country caves and cowers to Islamic supremacist demands, violence and hatred, the Jews, the most despised of people under Islam, are fleeing in droves — and those who stay must deal with situations like this.

Europe will reap what she has sown. The rampant violence and hate Muslims in Europe display towards Jews is never covered by the mainstream media. Instead, we are subjected to the non-stop fiction of of “islamophobia” and the mythical victimhood narrative employed by Islamic supremacists and their media quislings.

Christians, of course, will suffer the same cruel fate, and the same scourge that ushered in Europe’s Dark Ages will usher in the Modern Dark Age.

Advertisement on the bus says: “Islamic Jew Hatred: It’s in the Quran. Two-thirds of all US aid goes to Islamic countries. STOP THE HATE” Click to enlarge

Meanwhile, our ads calling attention to Islamic Jew-hatred are the problem.

“No Insurance Available for Jewish Kindergartens in Belgium!,” by Hana Levi Julian, Arutz Sheva, April 1, 2015 (thanks to The Religion of Peace):

A Belgian insurance company has refused to insure a Jewish kindergarten in Brussels.

The company claimed the risk of a terror attack on the European Jewish Association-run institution was too high.

EJA General Director Rabbi Menachem Margolin called on all European governments and heads of European Union institutions to provide security to all Jewish institutions that would satisfy insurance companies, and establish an alternative insurance mechanism that would secure any institution that might fall victim to anti-Semitic attacks.

See more here.

The left claim that being concerned about Muslims and their potential for terrorism and Islamic fascism is “Islamophobia;” I call their willing blindness Islamodementia.

But businessmen, on the other hand, don’t have the luxury of thinking with their hearts; they use cold, hard facts in assessing their decisions, because if they don’t, they are very likely to fail in business. And when businessmen in much-more-liberal-Europe won’t sell insurance to a Jewish kindergarten, because the risk of a terrorist attack is too high, you know that that was the result of a cold assessment of the risks.

The insurance companies have said what so many on the left — meaning: much of democratic Europe and far too large a segment of the United States — are unwilling to admit: terrorism is on the rise, it is led by Islamic extremism, and it is more frequently aimed at Jews.

The left managed to co-opt the name “the reality-based community” for themselves a few years ago, but they are, in fact, totally unrealistic: they would rather cling to their soft-hearted and soft-headed notions of peace and tolerance and multi-culturalism (as long as such tolerance does not extend to white heterosexual Christian or Jewish men) than to look at the actual facts, to look at a reality which is unpleasant, and which is intellectually devastating, to their positions.

Kane is unable

The woes of the Democrats’ one time “It Girl” are mounting! From The Philadelphia Inquirer:

AG Kane quashed subpoenas in casino investigation, sources say
Craig R. McCoy and Angela Couloumbis, Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Writers | Last updated: Thursday, April 2, 2015, 1:08 AM | Posted: Wednesday, April 1, 2015, 8:36 PM

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane quashed key subpoenas in a move that aides said undermined an investigation of a former state gaming official with ties to Louis DeNaples, a politically connected Scranton-area millionaire, The Inquirer has learned.

Just months after taking office in 2013, according to people familiar with the matter, Kane revoked subpoenas already delivered to former casino owner DeNaples and William Conaboy, another political power player in Northeastern Pennsylvania, Kane’s home turf.

Though one of her most senior aides had approved questioning the two men, Kane told colleagues that the prosecutor running the case was being “too aggressive” and was placing an unfair burden on DeNaples and Conaboy, a person familiar with the case said.

Five months after the subpoenas were withdrawn, public records show, DeNaples, through his Pocono Gardens Realty business, contributed $25,000 to Kane’s campaign fund – a contribution she ended up returning later that year.

Read more here.

Glamor photo of Attorney General Kathleen Kane (D-PA) from The New York Times. Click to enlarge.

The First Street Journal has run several stories about the silliness of Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane, (D-PA), who squashed a sting and an investigation into bribery by some members of the Pennsylvania state legislature because, surprise! everyone caught has been a Democrat, an action so egregious that even the editors of The Philadelphia Inquirer complained. And Attorney General Kane has had her share of legal troubles; such things tend to happen to unethical people. The state Supreme Court rejected her challenge to a grand jury’s recommendation that she face criminal charges of perjury, obstruction of justice, and other crimes for the alleged leak of information to a newspaper in a bid to embarrass a critic. Mrs Kane’s challenge was based not on objection to the charges themselves, but a technicality, her claim that Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman lacked the legal authority to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate grand jury leaks; the Court rejected that claim. Lanny Davis, the lawyer who always seems to represent Democratic politicians who run afoul of the law, said:

We have faith in the judicial system and that the district attorney of Montgomery County will look at the evidence and the law and find that Attorney General Kane is innocent of any violations of the law.

Uh huh.

Mrs Kane has stated previously that she will not resign if indicted, and it is true that she is legally innocent until proven guilty. But we will smile once she is proven guilty, and is forced to resign in disgrace.