Loss of Power

And of communications, air conditioning in hot and humid environs (and of heating in cold environs), food and water distribution, fuel supplies, and so on.

Block by block and city by city, utilities face one of the largest power restoration challenges in US history as they bring back electricity to more than 15 million people affected by Hurricane Irma.

Almost 60,000 utility workers from the US and Canada are descending on Florida and other states hard hit by the storm, with more line crews and contractors expected soon….

Willful Ignorance

Senator Diane Feinstein (D, CA) wrote a letter to the editor of USA Today that’s breathtaking in the sweep of its ignorance.

Should the United States adopt a policy of no first use, making clear to the world that our country will never launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike? The answer is yes.

The answer is, of course, No.  She began that question with a false premise.  No first use is not limited to a preemptive nuclear strike.  It simply means no first use.  We engaged in first use when we bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki (apart from the narrow tautology that we were the only nation with nuclear weapons), and contra Feinstein’s disparagement of the use and its casualties, that use ended the war, saving the lives of hundreds of thousands of American, Allied, and Japanese soldiers and the lives of millions of Japanese civilians.

Not Current

It turns out that most of the 7th Fleet ships were not—are not—current on their training.  In my old USAF parlance, that would render them non-OR—not operationally ready, not capable of doing their wartime mission.

As of late June, eight of the 11 cruisers and destroyers in the Seventh Fleet, and their crew members, weren’t certified by the US Navy to conduct “mobility seamanship,” or basic steering of the ship….

“And their crewmembers.”  That means, to me, that not only were the crewmen individually not positionally qualified, they weren’t qualified as the ship’s unified crew—the ships were not qualified.  Not operationally capable.

Chips and the PRC

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the US seems to be preparing to block the purchase of Lattice Semiconductor Corp, a maker of chips for civilian electronics, by Canyon Bridge Capital Partners, a company backed and funded by the government of the People’s Republic of China.  This is upsetting the deal’s backers.

Lattice management and other deal backers think we should all be “satisfied with their efforts to address national security concerns,” and they’re preparing to appeal to President Donald Trump to overrule the expected CFIUS decision.  This is nonsense.  Canyon Bridge is an arm of the PRC government; it isn’t possible to address successfully national security concerns when the government of an enemy is involved in buying one of our technology companies.

Iran and the Nuclear Deal

Somalia has written our State Department asking for help since al Shabaab, in concert with al Qaeda, has seized and is operating some of Somalia’s surface uranium mines, with a view to sending the output to Iran.

This issue can be summed up in a single word: uranium.  Al-Shabaab forces have captured critical surface exposed uranium deposits in the Galmudug region and are strip mining triuranium octoxide for transport to Iran.

That customer is somewhat speculative on Somalia’s part, but neither terrorist organization has much use for yellowcake except as a money-raising item for sale.  Beyond that, there aren’t many customers in the pool, either, and only Iran and northern Korea have much interest in illicitly obtaining the ore.

Sale of a Stock Exchange

Good idea?

The Chicago Stock Exchange wants to sell itself to Chongqing Casin Enterprise Group, a Chinese conglomerate whose parent is CHX Holdings Inc.  Never mind that this would be a camel’s nose of the People’s Republic of China into our financial system and expose it to PRC hacking, disruption, theft, etc, etc, etc.

Fortunately, a collection of Congressmen persuaded the SEC to indefinitely delay the sale and purchase.  Unfortunately, the deal hasn’t been killed altogether.

Casin…says it is independent of the Chinese government.

Of course it is. In a nation that is increasing its autocratic control over its economy and the businesses in it.  Sure.

Another Cynical Mueller Leak

Special counsel Robert Mueller is examining what role, if any, former national security adviser Mike Flynn may have played in a private effort to obtain Hillary Clinton’s emails from Russian hackers, according to people familiar with the matter.

It’s becoming increasingly crystalline that, whatever purpose Special Counsel Robert Mueller has in his “investigation,” it’s a dishonest one.  That’s the only reason that occurs to me for his careful string of “leaks” to the public, of which this is only the latest.

We’ll See

In an unprecedented move against North Korea, China on Monday issued an order to carry out the United Nations sanctions imposed on the rogue regime earlier this month.

Of course, in the days immediately following the first meeting between President Donald Trump and the People’s Republic of China President Xi Jinping, just after Trump’s inauguration, the PRC acted like it was going to start honoring then-existing sanctions against northern Korea.

That turned out to be just an act.  Is the present “order” serious, or is it just another empty gesture?

We’ll see, indeed.

A Disingenuous Protest

The PRC is upset over a US Navy ship sailing innocently in international waters.

The USS John S. McCain sailed within six nautical miles of Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands on Thursday as part of a “freedom of navigation operation,” US officials told news agencies.

Geng Shuang, the PRC’s Foreign Ministry Deputy Director General (Department of Information, Ministry of Foreign Affairs) claimed that the McCain’s passage

severely undermines China’s sovereignty and security.

This is disingenuous: the PRC has no sovereignty or security concerns involving the Spratlys (or any other part of the South China Sea, come to that).  Any sovereignty question involves only Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam, the claimants to the group.

Foolishness

German Chancellor Angel Merkel is fully engaged.

Germany will very intensively take part in the options for resolution that are not military….

Her alternative?

I see the need for enduring work at the UN Security Council…as well as tight cooperation between the countries involved, especially the US and China.

Because that’s worked so well in the past.  The UN resolutions have stopped northern Korea from building nuclear weapons and developing the means to deliver them?  Nope.  Not over the decades they’ve been tried.  The PRC has worked so closely with us to curb the PRC’s dog?  Nope.  The PRC is one of the biggest violators of UN sanctions, and even now they’re doing nothing material.