Shutdown Theater Day 8

The Shutdown Theater of Fascism continues.

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From Ace

“Gestapo” is their word, not mine.

Vaillancourt was one of thousands of people who found themselves in a national park as the federal government shutdown went into effect on Oct. 1. For many hours her tour group, which included senior citizen visitors from Japan, Australia, Canada and the United States, were locked in a Yellowstone National Park hotel under armed guard.The tourists were treated harshly by armed park employees, she said, so much so that some of the foreign tourists with limited English skills thought they were under arrest.

The bus stopped along a road when a large herd of bison passed nearby, and seniors filed out to take photos. Almost immediately, an armed ranger came by and ordered them to get back in, saying they couldn’t “recreate.” The tour guide, who had paid a $300 fee the day before to bring the group into the park, argued that the seniors weren’t “recreating,” just taking photos.

“She responded and said, ‘Sir, you are recreating,’ and her tone became very aggressive,” Vaillancourt said.

The seniors quickly filed back onboard and the bus went to the Old Faithful Inn, the park’s premier lodge located adjacent to the park’s most famous site, Old Faithful geyser. That was as close as they could get to the famous site —barricades were erected around Old Faithful, and the seniors were locked inside the hotel, where armed rangers stayed at the door.

Continue reading Yellowstone Park Rangers Use “Gestapo” Tactics to Harrass Seniors on Tour Bus.

And this from the Washington Times, also via Ace

California Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, a copy of which was provided to The Washington Times, that read in part: “The President made it clear that there should be no disruption in pay and allowances for the men and women serving in uniform and their families. Contrary to this assertion … the Department of Defense, through careless legal interpretation, is now mistakenly denying payments of Death Gratuity and other benefits to the families of those who make the ultimate sacrifice. Since DoD has determined that it cannot provide this benefit, I am at a loss about why DoD did not take a more active role in notifying Congress and insisting that changes in law occur immediately.”
Republicans in Congress announced they’re drafting legislation to immediately restore the payment to families and hope it could be put to a vote as early as Wednesday.

This is America?

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Socialized medicine, from a survivor – Washington Times

I suspect all, or at least most of you know who James Delingpole is, so I’m not going to belabor the point. He has an Oped up at the Washington Times on how much we are going to enjoy Obamacare. In short, not so much, and its expensive too. Here, read for yourself.

Welcome, America, to the British NHS. That may not be what you were promised when your president first dreamed up Obamacare. But the National Health Service is what you’re going to get all the same.

I did warn you about this, four years ago in my (depressingly) prophetic book “Welcome to Obamaland: I’ve Seen Your Future and It Doesn’t Work.” I noted, for example, that your future president had grossly underestimated the costs of socialized health care. I warned that though he said at the time that it would cost between $50 billion and $65 billion, it undoubtedly would cost 10 times that amount. Look it up if you don’t believe me. It’s on Page 37.

But since last week’s Supreme Court ruling, we are where we are, unfortunately. So let me, as a Brit who has been living the whole socialized-medicine nightmare his entire life, give you a few tips as to what you can expect (assuming Mitt Romney doesn’t get in and boot the whole thing into the dustbin of history, where it belongs).

First, don’t panic: It’s not all bad. The National Health Service is what in Britain we call a “curate’s egg” – which is to say, it’s good in parts. The problem is, on any given occasion, you never quite know which it’s going to be. Will the hospital, doctor and nurses’ treatment be as it would by the cloyingly sycophantic maitre’d of your favorite high-class restaurant? Or will they treat you like Oliver Twist with his begging bowl, pleading piteously for a dollop of gruel? Are you a cherished customer or a darned nuisance? The NHS can never quite make up its mind.

Over the past couple of decades, I’ve experienced plenty of both. Only last week, for example, my wife had major surgery on her ear, performed brilliantly by a tweedy, well-spoken surgeon with a perfect bedside manner and a bushy Spitfire-pilot-type mustache. The hospital – Guy’s – in which she had the operation done was clean and well-run. And the nurses were not only efficient, caring, friendly and able to speak English but also – though this was of more interest to me than it was to my wife – extremely hot. For this complicated surgical procedure – which, no doubt, would have cost many thousands of dollars in the United States – my wife paid precisely zilch. (Well, so long as you don’t count the gazillions she pays in taxes.)

Continue reading DELINGPOLE: Socialized medicine, from a survivor.

Most of you know that I think we are very foolish and backward to start another big, ones size fits all program in a world that is increasingly customized to the individual. Besides, we can not afford it.

hattip to GDS44’s 

Nemesis?

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The Washington Times has a report up entitled PRY: If Iran already has the bomb, what then? They note that hardening would be key. They’re absolutely right of course. Let’s except the article, shall we?

A majority of Americans support a military strike to stop or slow Iran’s nuclear weapons program. But that assumes Iran doesn’t already have some.

What if Iran already has one or more nuclear weapons and the capability to make a nuclear strike on the United States – right now? If true, this would change the calculation for the American people. Then the risks of a U.S. or Israeli military attack on Iran’s nuclear program would change radically.

The truth is, no one knows for sure just how far advanced Iran’s nuclear weapons program is. There are sound reasons for doubting Washington’s official estimates that Iran does not yet have the bomb or the ability to make a nuclear strike on the United States.

The U.S. Manhattan Project during World War II, working with 1940s-era technology to develop nuclear weapons that were then merely a theoretical possibility, succeeded in building two working atomic bombs of radically different designs – in just three years. Iran supposedly has been struggling to develop nuclear weapons for 20 years, with help from nuclear-armed Russia, China and North Korea.

Like almost anything in engineering, the first time can be almost miraculous, especially when you don’t even know for sure that the theory is correct. The second time is almost easy enough for a high school shop class. Almost all of our (and probably the Russian’s, too) early designs are in the public domain. It’s a simple fabrication job IF you can obtain or manufacture the proper material.

OK, I hear you saying, that may be bad news for Israel but not the US. You’re Wrong, on a couple of counts.

  1. Do you really think any US administration (even this one) can allow Israel’s destruction, and survive?
  2. Iran doesn’t need a manned bomber or an ICBM to detonate a bomb in the US.

In fact that would be very stupid of them. They may be crazy but, stupid they aren’t. Why? Our Defense satellites would tell us in seconds if missiles were launched against us, that’s what NORAD is for. Why so fast? Because during the bad old days of the cold war when the Soviets fielded ICBMs before we did, we had to maintain a portion of our bomber forces on airborne alert for years. I doubt I’m the only one that remembers “Operation Chrome Dome“. What happens when NORAD detects a launch targeted at the US? This does:

And not only from Minot, and not only B-52’s. The Iranians may be suicidal but, I suspect they want to take some of us with them.

Back to the Times article:

But there is a much bigger threat. If the same small nuclear weapon postulated in the White House planning guide is launched to high-altitude over the United States, perhaps fired from a freighter operating off the U.S. coast, the resulting electromagnetic pulse (EMP) could collapse the national electric grid and other critical infrastructures that sustain our modern society. The Congressional EMP Commission warned in 2008 that, given our current state of unpreparedness, an EMP attack by rogue states or terrorists could kill millions of Americans from starvation, disease and societal collapse.

Iranian military writings describe making a catastrophic nuclear EMP attack to eliminate the United States as an actor on the world stage. Iran has practiced launching missiles to simulate an EMP attack, including from a vessel at sea.

That’s all well and good. An EMP strike will do all the author said and more. It will also shut down almost all communication systems that are not properly shielded (only a few military ones and maybe a few amateur set will work), almost every vehicle built in the last 20 years will suffer catastrophic damage (as will the stocks of replacement parts and the machines to make more), and on and on.

That’s one scenario, here’s another. Caracas, Venezuela is 2760 miles from Omaha, Nebraska; headquarters of Strategic Command. That intermediate range missile territory.

An EMP weapon is detonated at high altitudes, a circular error probable of a hundred miles or more probably wouldn’t make any real difference.

The thing is, there’s an even better scenario for an illegitimate terrorist regime like Tehran. Build a device in the hold of a ship and send it to an American harbor to detonate it. Long term it probably wouldn’t be quite as catastrophic but, casualties could easily be in the millions.

In all three scenarios, warning time would be a few minutes or less and damage catastrophic.

Defenses are few.

If properly placed Aegis ships and patriot batteries might be able to intercept the missiles but, I doubt they have been tested for this application.

On the ship scenario, the Coast Guard could get lucky or Iranian security might leak but that’s about it.

The best defense would have been to support the dissidents several years ago but, our ‘fearless leader’ chose not to do that.

A decapitation strike at Iran might work but, if it misfires it could be worse than nothing. Mostly, I hope the regime in Tehran isn’t as suicidal as their rhetoric suggests.

A hope somebody with a lot more knowledge than I have is working on this.

Hattip to a12iggymom’s Blog.

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