Monday, April 30, 2007

Structure and Steel...


Last month, I might have suggested that
The View's most parochial participant refer to the the Uniform or International Building Code to learn about the need for fire protection on structural steel. In fact, Rosie need go no further than Wikipedia to discover the depths of her insufferable ignorance and distressing pathology,

Fireproofing, a passive fire protection measure, subject to bounding, refers to the act of making materials or structures more resistant to fire, or to those materials themselves, or the act of applying such materials. Applying a bounded fireproofing system to certain structures allows these to have a fire-resistance rating. However, by no means does fireproofing allow treated items to be entirely unaffected by any fire. No conventional materials are immune to the effects of fire at a sufficient intensity and/or duration.
Today, I merely suggest to her and to Charlie Sheen and to the rest of conspiracy Hollywood, and the paranoid Left, that a picture is worth a thousand words, knitted in rebuke for anyone willing to read. And that picture appears today on frontpage news across the country,

From The Oregonian this morning, via AP... The crash occurred around 3:45 a.m. on the MacArthur Maze, a network of ramps and interchanges at the edge of downtown Oakland and about a half-mile from the Bay Bridge toll plaza. Witnesses reported flames rising up to 200 feet into the air.

Heat exceeded 2,750 degrees and caused the steel beams holding up the interchange above to buckle. Bolts holding the structure together also melted, leading to the collapse, California Department of Transportation director Will Kempton said. (emphasis added)
Imagine for a moment if the disintegrated overpass had been holding 20 more overpasses on top of it. Further imagine that the overpass had 100 decks below it. What do you think would happen to that structure if that one deck collapsed as shown? Its not too difficult to concieve, especially since we all saw it happen nearly 6 years ago.

Now, take a moment to realize how easy it was for James Mosqueda, 51, of Woodland, CA to destroy a major freeway, yesterday. Imagine again had Mr. Mosqueda ignited his rig at 5:15 pm Tuesday afternoon on that same freeway... or on I-5 at Olive in Seattle... Sunset Highway, Vista Ridge in Portland... Loop 1 at Research in Austin... anywhere along the Dan Ryan or Kennedy in Chicago... or someplace next to you and your children in traffic.

You see, while Rosie and Charlie and the majority of Democrats in this country exercise the luxury of decadent stupidity with regard to national security, real monsters probe, watch, and learn how and where to do very bad things. What's more they know that no matter what they do to inflict mass misery, the Left's first reaction will be to blame Bush!

The lesson to note here is that structural steel fails at prolonged temperatures in excess of 500 degrees fahrenheit. Political steel however, fails at the mildest application of heat, potentially taking the entire structure of civilization with it.

Which manner of steel do you posess?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Dean Barnett...ID'ing the real threat

Major Mike

Dean Barnett solidly hits one over the wall on this critique of Barack Obama's five ways for America to lead...with him at the helm of course. As Barnett points out, it is a superficial assembly of cliches and rhetoric, but the home run comes with Dean's finish...

"Terrorism isn’t the enemy. Terrorism is just a tactic. Al Qaeda is merely one group that uses that tactic. Declaring war against terrorism and Al Qaeda has all along never made sense. It has always been the logical equivalent of declaring war against U-Boats. And U-Boat captains.

The enemy is radical Islam. And it is a larger and more dangerous enemy than virtually any domestic politician has yet given it credit for being."

What it takes for America to lead going forward is to acknowledge the true threat and to manage a simple display of will...the will to continue to engage evil when it threatens us, and to see that engagement through to an American victory...a victory of good over evil.

Many Americans are lacking at both recognizing the threat, and possessing the will to counter it. We won't be leading anyone in the world until we can do both.

The sky is not falling

Major Mike

I love the doom and gloom pseudo-economists and their sky-is-falling mantra, they are great entertainment. But they do a great disservice to a significant portion of the population by screeching about home prices dropping, or home sales slowing. Does this shock anyone? After a red-hot five years of leveraging low-interest rates, the housing market is slowing in response to the interest rate hikes that the Fed has initiated in order to keep inflation under control. Higher interest rates…slower housing sales, possibly rolling back prices.

Anyone who has lived in California recognizes this cycle…it has occurred three or four times since I first lived there in 1979. Hawaii experienced a similar correction of prices in the late 1990’s. It is as predictable as the sun rising tomorrow…as interest rates rise, the market will cool, slowing sales, and possibly lowering prices.

There is no doom and gloom, just a shifting of opportunity. Just as when the stock markets receded significantly, there was opportunity to pick up some bargains and ride the wave of recovery over the last couple of years.

Buy low…sell high, and keep an eye out for the opportunities that allow you to do so…such as a slowing in housing sales or a slight dip in housing prices. Pay no attention to the alarmists behind the curtain.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Nugent on gun-free-zones

Major Mike

CNN put up rocker Ted Nugent's commentary on the VT tragedy...he's right...gun-free-zones are simply killing fields for armed psychos, and slaughterhouses for law-abiding, unarmed citizens. Nuff said.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Extending tours is an admission of force mismanagement

Major Mike
(Reprinted with permission of

In manufacturing, overtime is problematic. It is typically used to cover short term gaps in manpower and training. It usually covers the gap created between production expansion, hiring to the increased demand, and completion of skills training for the new hires. Often the duration of the overtime is calculable, and its negative effects limited.

It is problematic nonetheless. Labor costs rise by a factor of up to, or over, fifty per cent. Workers can become fatigued and their individual productivity may diminish. During extended periods demanding overtime, this often results in the combined negative impact of both higher labor costs and lower productivity. Eventually, costs outstrip margins, and overtime may not be solving the gaps in labor.

Compounding the business costs are the human costs. Aside from fatigue and weariness, workers’ morale can suffer immeasurably from a perceived lack of management concern, manifested by the lack of management driven, long-term solutions. Soon the extra monies earned by overtime are viewed as uneven when compared to the sacrifices made in terms of reduced time off, increased productivity loads, fatigue, and the general loss of control of one’s schedule.

Eventually demanding more, produces less.

As is will be with today’s announcement by the Army that they will be extending tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Army leadership is failing to manage its part of the war, as today’s announcement, coupled with rocketing re-enlistment costs, highlight. It is the abject responsibility of Pentagon leaders to develop an overall strategy for manning their service in such a way that promotes not only accomplishing the near-term mission, but the sustaining of that mission over time.

It has been clear for a while that our presence in Iraq would be required well out into the future. Our Commander-in-Chief has repeatedly reemphasized our commitment to the mission and to the people of Iraq. Manning the Army with re-enlistment bonuses and gross tour extensions, hints that Army leadership either never grasped this concept, or if they did, were derelict by not implementing long-term corrective actions…the types of corrective actions that would fairly rotate our troops into the combat zones and with adequate rest and recuperative time between tours.

Potentially worse, is that Army leadership has been counting on Congressional intervention to solve their manning problems for them. Congressional blustering over Iraq funding, may have given the Army leadership the false hope that a Congressional timeline would solve their manpower mismanagement issues for them; before they manifested themselves as the failures they are. With Presidential vetoes threatening any calendar driven withdrawals; the Army is now forced to come to grips with their planning and manning deficiencies.

The drastic action that the Army took today is the result of a lack of vision and direction from within the Army, from its civilian staff on down. The Army should have been pro-actively implementing strategies that gave individuals and combat units reasonable respites from combat, and provided adequate opportunities to re-man, re-fit and retrain, prior to returning to combat. Not only are fifteen month tours too long, but one year respites are far too short.

Army leadership has failed at its primary function…developing sustainable force structures and deployment schemes that are capable of supplying combat ready forces uninterrupted out into the future. Their failure is even starker when compared to their Marine brethren who have demonstrated a capacity to sustain combat operations with seven month rotations into the combat zones. Meeting force requirements is the leading purpose in life for staff officers, and the Army staff is showing no aptitude for it.

Today’s announcements will have sent devastating shock waves through the Army’s deployed units, and across their base housing units. While the Army and Marine troops deployed in the field have earned the trust and respect of the country, the competency of the military leadership in the Pentagon, specifically the Army through these tour extensions, is rightfully called into question. It seems that the failings of those in the comfortable surroundings in the Pentagon are being covered by onerous dictums that are not sustainable out into the future.

Move Army HQ to Iraq for fifteen months, it would likely generate better solutions than calling on those who have served this nation so well, to work harder.

© Michael McBride 2007

Tuesday, April 17, 2007



Current politics is all about telling the story first so that one can own the political narrative. Those of us with scruples about making sure a story is factual, i.e. NOT the MSM, make the conscious decision to either remain silent and make up our own minds about issues, or we take part in measured, serious discussions about serious issues. At the risk of being labeled a political opportunist, I will now engage the discussion about the tragedy at Virginia Tech.

In the interest of full disclosure: I am an NRA member, gun owner, hunter, gun-club member and have possessed an Oregon Concealed Handgun License for about 6 months. But most of you wouldn’t think it by looking at me – a respectable, quiet, peaceful, law-abiding, professional young father with a Master’s degree. For those who would label me a "gun nut," I encourage you to consider the disposition, actions and beliefs of the people that have paved the way for the peace, prosperity and security you enjoy today.

Instead of talking about the specifics of the horrific event, I would like to walk you through a little exercise in logic and existentialism to put everything in perspective.

Do you have the right to exist?

Do others have a right to deprive you of your existence, or deprive others of their existence?

Do you have the right to prevent said person from depriving you of your existence?

By what means should you be allowed to defend your right to exist?

Who is responsible for sustaining your existence?

Do you, and those around you, have free will to decide between good and evil actions?

What will deter a determined person from committing an act of pure evil?

If somebody points a gun at your face, what are your rights and responsibilities?

Is a gun good or evil?

For those of you who are having trouble with answering these questions, I’ll make some suggestions:

You are a person with free will, surrounded by others with free will, that has a right to defend yourself against anybody who would deprive you of your existence. The means you choose to defend yourself depends upon the means and determination of the person attempting to kill you. There are often no adequate measures that will deter a determined person from taking the life of another person. The determination of an evil person to commit murder is quite possibly infinite and may be beyond your ability to thwart it. You are responsible for your own health and welfare, and have the right,
by any means available to you, to prevent yourself from being killed. When somebody points a gun at you, it signals their intent to kill you, and you are thus justified in any action to prevent that person from killing you. A gun is a tool and is neither good nor evil. Like any other tool, can be used for both good and evil purposes; it all depends upon the intent of the user of that tool.

The incidents in Blacksburg boil down to this: in spite of any laws or policies that can be put in place, i.e. “gun-free-zones” (in reality, “free fire zones”) or laws against murder, the essence of the human condition means evil people will always do evil things. To prevent,
by either peer pressure, coercion, force or outright mandate, those with the ability to stop such evil acts, is the height of immorality and injustice.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Survivng capture with your honor intact

Major Mike
(re-printed with permission of

Much of military life cannot be completely comprehended by those who have not shared the experience. This is not to say that the general populace cannot respect the efforts or accomplishments of the military, but they might not comprehend that the physicality of the beach landing at Normandy, demanded the equivalent of a couple of marathons…and it continued into the night, the next day, and on, and on.

Certainly civilians appreciated the success achieved in Normandy, but they may not really appreciate the enormity of the personal effort that made it the military victory it was.

And such it is with many aspects of military life.

How is it possible to trade nearly all of one’s privacy for the communal living conditions found in the field, and under nearly all combat scenarios? How is it possible to submit to a system that demands obedience and discipline, and still retain your ego and sense of self? How is it possible to do heroic things in the face of overwhelming odds, when the natural human response can be the polar opposite?

Much of military life seems incongruous to the outsider. I was struck my freshman year of NROTC by the idea that the mission of the Marine rifle squad was “to locate, close with, and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver, or repel the enemy's assault by fire and close combat.” It seemed a bit insane to me that we would actually try to find the enemy, because if we actually found him, the odds of getting killed would go up exponentially…seemed better to stay away from the enemy…easier to stay alive.

Unless the enemy was trying to “locate, close with, and destroy” you and your unit, in which case his offensive initiative, may result in your still getting killed… likely in a way far more devastating than forcing the enemy to respond to your initiative and offensive operations. Over time military strategists have come to appreciate that gaining and maintaining contact with the enemy is an effective way to hold the initiative, even if it results in casualties, because being surprised or ambushed is far deadlier.

Many might be surprised to find that the proper response to an ambush is to attack into it. Again, it seems a bit incongruous, but running laterally to escape an ambush or running away back to the enemy only keeps the victims in the kill zone for much longer periods of time, making the ambush more lethal. Attacking directly into an ambush is the fastest and least costly response to being ambushed. It keeps the victims in the kill zone for the shortest possible time, and forces the attackers to shift their focus to their own defense. It is also important not to underestimate the effect of this unexpected and aggressive action. The military response to ambush accomplishes many things, even in light of its apparent incongruities to human nature.

It is the ultimate acceptance of these and hundreds of other basic principles that eventually make the individual a competent warrior, and it is training that reinforces these beliefs with instinct, reaction, and proficiency. Training ingrains the warrior response, and shapes the warrior mentality. Belief in military principles and training are what make a warrior, not uniforms.

The first book I read after my commissioning was POW by John Hubbell. I have never forgotten the title, the author’s name, or its stark realities. The book is a documentation the experiences of about one third of our Vietnam War POWs. It was a wake up call for a twenty-one year old lieutenant with flight training in his future. It is a training primer for POWs, and I devoured it.

I read this book while attending the military inculcation that greets all Marine officers, six months of infantry training at The Basic School in Quantico, Virginia. This was the perfect time to formulate a personal strategy for my incarceration should I ever become a POW. It was a strategy developed from successful examples (Stockdale, McCain, Risner, Hegdahl, Day, and dozens of others), and one that ran counter to the human reflex. But its human incongruities can be readily rejected by a warrior who sees the ultimate utility in adopting proven military responses, and rejecting the natural, human responses.

It is a strategy that runs counter to the human reflex to accept early release when offered…as McCain rejected early release. It runs counter to the human reflex of self preservation …Stockdale and others disfigured themselves in order to avoid being used as pawns by their vicious and manipulative captors. It runs counter to the human reflex to discontinue escape attempts when vicious beatings await those left behind and you should you be re-captured…Day and others.

It was a strategy that rejected many human responses and replaced them with military responses that would ensure unit integrity, high morale, and personal honor had I survived such and ordeal. It was a military strategy…and I doubt this strategy was mine singularly. It was reinforced with SERE training and continuous introspection. It was my survival plan.

It is the suppression human instincts that ensure military unit integrity, and facilitates cohesive martial action. Individuals that cave in to their human instincts not only degrade their own units’ performance, but jeopardize adjacent units as well. Early Army actions in Korea were replete with surrenders and “bugging out,” to the point where Allied forces held barely a toehold around Pusan. There were dozens of examples of poorly trained units giving in to their human traits and not being able to muster the necessary martial qualities when it counted the most. The results were disastrous.

I was going to remain on the sidelines for the Iranian-Brit hostage crisis, and do my best to ignore the civilian punditry, and blog comment lines, as they poured the ammo into the British Sailors and Marines and their behavior in captivity, but with the announcements that these captives might be given the opportunity to profit from their experience, I must weigh in…I’ll be brief.

There is no substitute for aggressive offensive action on the battlefield, and there are no predictable results once that aggressive action is unleashed. We’ll never know what the outcome would have been had the Brits engaged the Iranians, and neither will those involved, but we do know that they will never re-claim the title of warrior, as their actions were both timid and irresolute…a pathetic combination on the battlefield, and disaster for other members of their units, or those serving adjacently.

It is hard to imagine that those Sailors and Marines are derived from the same lineage as those who defended Roarke’s Drift, battled the Luftwaffe over London, or manned the HMS Sheffield.

I am also a bit surprised that one’s honor goes as cheap as £250,000 these days. Had I allowed myself to be paraded around by an abject terrorist, with a smile on my face, and with my Persian goody-bag, I’d be looking for a rock, under a boulder, in a cave, in the far corners of Death Valley under which to hide, and hoping no one recognized me…I wouldn’t be hawking my “story” of shame and recalcitrance. Their performance when threatened smacks of inadequate training, and irresolute individual will…to sell that, shameful.

Lastly we should be leery of those pushing our participation in coalitions…when the Brits don’t have the courage to fire off a few rounds against the Iranian puppet masters, we are truly in a position where we may have the only combat forces left in the world.

Warriors fight…get a helmet and fire your rifle.

© Michael McBride 2007

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Global Swarming: The Vultures of Darkness...


UPDATE 04.03.07
As if to blatantly prove my point, Belgium imposes a tax on fire!

Freed from obligation, Prometheus resigns! The Vultures turn to feed on Men.


In the Middle Ages, the Medieval or Dark Ages as it was called, from the 5th Century to the 16th Century, the Roman Catholic Church ushered control of vast populations of Men by manipulating the darkness of their ignorance and fear.

Now, in the dawn of the 2nd millenium, the Church of Environmentalism is trying to return Man to darkness, for the very same reason as before... control by fear and ignorance.

From today's Washington Post...

SYDNEY, March 31 -- The Sydney Opera House, dozens of skyscrapers and countless homes switched off their lights Saturday evening along with many other sites in Australia's largest city to register concern about global warming.

The arch of Sydney's other iconic structure, the Harbor Bridge, was also blacked out in the city of 4 million as part of the hour-long gesture, which organizers said they hoped would be adopted as an annual event around the world.

In her most famous novel, Ayn Rand propheted, "Prometheus... changed his mind. After centuries of being torn by vultures in payment for having brought to men the fire of the gods, he broke his chains—and he withdrew his fire—until the day when men withdraw their vultures.

In the twighlight of Western Civilization, as Men of the mind are made to withdraw, the vultures can be seen on the dark fringe of the opposite horizon...

... swarming!