The escalating proxy war in Syria

The proxy war between Israel and Iran, Russia and the US escalated this past week after Putin delivered their fourth generation S300 Surface-to-Air-Missile (SAM) system to Syria. This move is in response to Israeli Air Force F-16I Sufas attacking Iran’s ballistic missile infrastructure in the city of Latakia, right under the nose of the Russian S400 SAM system defending their huge base at Khmeimim. The Russia air base is defended by two S400 systems. The IAF F-16I strike package attacked a storage facility the Iranians store their ballistic missiles threatening Israel. The facility was completely destroyed. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu says he will continue to attack Iranian targets in Syria and Lebanon.

Iran's missile facility east of Latakia Syria. Photo courtesy ISI

The issue with giving Syria next generation SAMs comes from the same Israeli air attack. During the actual strike, the Syrian SA-5 site in the mountains above Baniyas Syria fired at the F-16 Sufas, only to hit and destroy a Russian IL-20 COOT reconnaissance plane orbiting just off shore over the Mediterranean Ocean. All 16 crewmembers were killed by the Gammon’s 478 pound warhead, blowing the airplane to pieces.

IL-20 COOT reconnaissance plane similar to the one shot down by the Syrian SA-5 Gammon missile.

But the IL-20 COOT wasn’t the only aircraft destroyed during the air attacks. ImageSat International published pictures on their twitter page of an Iranian cargo plane destroyed at Damascus International Airport on the same night the storage facility east of Latakia was attacked. Iran created an air cargo company to move men and material to Syria and arm their terror organization Hezbollah. What was the 747 carrying the Israeli leadership felt the cargo needed to be destroyed? 

Iranian Fars Air Qeshm 747 debris strewn about the cargo ramp. Photo courtesy ISI

President Trump Administration has approved the sale of more Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighters to Israel after the delivery of the S300 SAM system to Syria. When those aircraft will be delivered remains to be seen. The Israeli Lightening II’s receive some sort of “upgrade” when they arrive to their units, making them unique from the US version. Bet on the Israeli Air Force using those Fifth Generation stealth fighters against the S300s and more targets in Syria and Lebanon soon.

About the author, Mark Hasara

Author of Tanker Pilot: Lessons from the Cockpit, Mark Hasara is a retired US Air Force pilot with 24 year in the KC-135 airborne tanker. He is a speaker and aviation industry consultant in campaign planning and cockpit architecture. Follow his weekly newsletter “On the Nations DIME”.

Offensive Due Process: Thursday’s Kavanaugh hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee

In Rodney Smith 9 September op-ed in the Salt Lake Tribune, he states, “Over the past half century, we have tragically witnessed the death of due process in the Supreme Court confirmation process, in direct contravention of the oath senators have taken to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” From a Due Process point of view, the Judge Kavanaugh hearings on Thursday will be a farce. I blame both sides of the Senate, Democrats and Republicans. Senator Grassley accommodated Dr Ford and her lawyer’s request, which infuriated conservatives. Senator Grassley stated many were non-starters. Again, Due Process took another massive hit in the very building which should be defending it. I feel this gave progressive protestors hope they can stop Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation

I find it ironic Brett Kavanaugh stated Monday  night on Fox News he was innocent and Bill Cosby, “America’s Father,” is on his way to state prison for 3-10 years today.

Judge Brett Kavanaugh testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee

What I’d like to see on Thursday:

The conservatives on the committee go offensive. There is no basis for any of the accusations. Make no mistake about these hearings, the Democrats know and understand another conservative constitutionalist on the Supreme Court potentially will be the death toll for their agenda.

Ask the tough questions of any witness brought before the committee. Some of these questions may not be politically correct, such as which organizations are you affiliated with, or better yet, are you misrepresenting yourself before this committee! Leave no doubt to everyone watching what the truth is and who’s telling it.

Women assaulted in by President Bill Clinton, Senator Cory Booker, and Representative Keith Ellison should have front-row seats during testimony. Unlike Dr. Ford, these women have concrete evidence of rape and sexual assault. Every time a Senator looks at Dr. Ford, her lawyer, or Ms. Ramirez if she testifies, these women appear as the backdrop. Any attempt to remove them should be resisted by the Chairman.

There are plenty of pictures of Senators Gillibrand and Schumer with Harvey Weinstein. WalMart has gobs of poster board too. Make the cable news networks broadcast those in the background.

There is no doubt in my mind the Code Pink, #MeToo and a host of other progressive protestors will be out in force. Conservatives should fill the room as a counter-protest so there is no room for the progressives. Step up conservatives.

Speaking of stepping up, Senator Hirono said “Men should just shut up and step up.” The Duke Lacrosse Team accused and exonerated of sexual misconduct should share the front row with women raped and assaulted by the Democrats. All of these young men can testify “No, you don’t always believe a woman’s story.” Since the dawn of time, men and women are lie, destroying people’s lives. No amount of money will repair a life broken by a false sexual assault trial. Ask those young men from Duke how their trial affected them.

Judge Kavanaugh has legal grounds to sue any of these women for defamation if the allegations are proven false. In a case this week, an Army Colonel was awarded $8.4 million dollars after a jury found the woman’s allegations of rape 30 years ago were false. Colonel Wil Riggins was on the Brigadier General list until blogger Susan Shannon accused him of raping her while attending West Point as Cadets in a 2014 blog post. A Virginia jury sided with Colonel Riggins.

Bottom line, there is a coup happening in America, a Civil War right in front of us. The campaign to impeach President Trump and silence conservatives is real. President Trump has gone on the offensive against his accusers and is why many support him. Decorum has left the building and now it is time for the Republicans and conservatives to fight for what they believe in and defend the truth.

About the author, Mark Hasara

Author of Tanker Pilot: Lessons from the Cockpit, Mark Hasara is a retired US Air Force pilot with 24 year in the KC-135 airborne tanker. He is a speaker and aviation industry consultant in campaign planning and cockpit architecture. Follow his weekly newsletter “On the Nations DIME”.

Back to the Future: Ayn Rand and The Accountable Capitalism Act

Senator Elizabeth Warren introduced the Accountable Capitalism Act yesterday, which you can find the text of the bill here. Senator Warren describes why she feels this act needs to be law in a guest op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. Her Senate office published a single page summary of the bill.

The bill has created a lot of conversation, pro and con. My focus is on the cons because the Accountable Capitalism Act is a classic case of government overreach. Reading the bill, I thought of Ayn Rand book Atlas Shrugged and some of her famous quotes. Here are a few items in the bill and quotes from Ms. Rand.

My favorite line in the bill is the rich are getting richer and her bill seeks to change income inequality. I’ve memorized this quote from Ayn Rand because it identifies what his bill is really about, “Run for your life from any man (or woman) who tells you money is evil. That is the leaper’s bell of an approaching looter.” The Accountable Capitalism Act is nothing but income redistribution and has looter written all over it. 

Senator Warren echoes a character from Atlas Shrugged. There is a scene where Horace Mowen says “Something ought to be done… “A friend of mine went out of business – last week – the oil business…couldn’t compete with Ellis Wyatt. It isn’t fair. They ought to leave the little people a chance. He shouldn’t be allowed to produce so much…there’s a shortage of oil in the city…. Things aren’t right. Something ought to be done about it.” The bill creates a government office in the Commerce Department requiring any corporation with more than $1 billion in revenue to have a federal charter of citizenship. Don’t remember anything in the constitution about “Office of Corporate Citizenship.” But we must make things fair according to Senator Warren. John Stossel stated in a piece “In fact, the free market sorts such things out far more efficiently than bureaucrats. It’s just not good business to hurt your customers. My 30 years of consumer reporting taught me that businesses rarely do this, and—here’s the market’s self-regulation—those that do don’t stay in business long. That’s not a perfect system, but it’s much better than central planning. Had today’s bureaucrats been in charge decades ago, they would have banned things like aspirin, cars and airplanes.” Amen. 

Language in the bill states, “The term “general public benefit” means a material positive impact on society resulting from the business and operations of a United States corporation, when taken as a whole.” The bill does not define what the “general public benefit” is or “taken as a whole.” I’m certainly not going to use a definition from Senators Warren and Schumer. Shall we go with the Wesley Mouch version of public benefit? You cannot have more than another or you are a criminal. I feel the term “general public benefit” in the liberal Democrats mind says the rich are now criminals because they are both rich and powerful but worse… free. Free to do whatever they want whenever they want. Socialism is the opposite of free. Atlas Shrugged deals a blow to Senator Warren here also, “The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them…you create a nation of lawbreakers – and then you cash in on guilt.” Making new criminals and cashing in on guilt defines the progressive left, right out of the Saul Alynsky playbook.

There are no benefits to another layer of government regulation to the economy. There are already laws on equal opportunity, environment, security exchanges, and the list goes on. From Ayn Rand, “Government “help” to business is just as disastrous as government persecution… the only way government can be of service to national prosperity is by keeping it’s hands off.” The economy is in the midst of a huge boom, and Senator Warren’s bill would change all that. Yes, in many cases the economy is not “fair” and there are some clear demographic reasons for that. Life is not fair, get used to it.

Reading more of Ayn Rand’s book, written in 1957, it truly is an expose’ on our time and what the progressive left is trying to do to America’s wealth generating corporations. 


Reap what you Sow: What has capitalism done for the world?

Michael Moore released a documentary in 2009 called Capitalism: A Love Story. According to Wikipedia, the film centers on “the late-2000s financial crisis and the recovery stimulus, while putting forward an indictment of the current economic order in the United States and unfettered capitalism in general.” I’ve not seen the movie… probably won’t either. I listened to the Glenn Beck program yesterday while driving my son to school. How many times have you heard outrage of how US capitalism has destroyed the planet? Like Glenn Beck, I’m also tired of the outrage.

In the last hour of his program, Glenn asked the question “What has capitalism done for the world? He gave some fascinating statistics from his forthcoming book Addicted to Outrage. Glenn lays them out in chapter thirteen. 

The 320 million people are lucky to call America home, representing 4.4% of the world’s population.

Americans own 25% of the world’s wealth.

The US consumes 33% of the world’s energy. 

We command the seven seas and own 48% of the satellites orbiting the earth right now. The US is the only nation to land men on the moon seven times, Apollo 11 through 17, except for Apollo 13 because of an explosion in the Command Module. Those three men made it home because of incredible innovation and teamwork.

US citizens consume 41% of the world’s chewing gum. I always chewed gum while flying.

In barely 120 years, we became the world’s most powerful nation. During World War II, the Essex Class aircraft carrier USS Bon Homme Richard was built in 14 months. Twenty-four carriers made up the Essex class.

100 years after becoming the world’s most powerful nation, we became the world’s only superpower.

As far as resources go, the US has more than 55% of the world’s oil shale inside our boundaries. Sixty-five percent of the world’s uranium is in the US.

The United States has enough power to provide the planet, including projected growth, with enough energy for the next 2000 years. Go look up Terra Power Wave Reactor and see what is coming in the world of energy.

The bottom 10% of the US population by way of wealth is still in the top ten percent compared to the rest of the world’s population.

Sixty-eight percent of the world’s Ph.D.’s live in the US, and most of the world’s doctoral candidates come to the US for education.

How has this affected the world? Malaria cases have dropped 33%, and examples of HIV infection are down 55%. The World Health Organization now says malnutrition is not the problem, obesity is.

Here is one which struck me… because of capitalism and the western way of life, the amount of money we spend on necessities such as food, transportation, homes, clothing, furniture, utilities, and gas, has been cut in half in the last 90 years! What your grandparents were paying in the Great Depression of the 1930s has been cut in half.

Yep, this is what American capitalism and free trade have done. Again, these figures from Glenn Beck’s program are included in his new book Addicted to Outrage, out in stores today.  

Proxy Wars: Putin’s Cold War against the US and the Syrian Alamo

Russian officials are warning the US they will attack Anti-Assad forces and their support near our military outpost west of the Syrian village of At Tanf. The Google Earth picture below shows the At Tanf base near the Syrian/Jordanian border. Joe Trevithick at The Warzone has written a great article on what this means. I recommend The Warzone to all my readers.

The US military base near At Tanf Syria.

In anticipation of possible conflict, the US has deployed additional forces to the base. One hundred US Marines with their fire support have been moved to the desert base. US forces held live fire exercises from the At Tanf base over the last few days.

Syria has become a very dangerous place. The Israeli Air Force have made over 200 air strikes across Syria. The air strikes have destroyed Iranian ballistic missile infrastructure, UAV facilities at T4 Air Base in central Syria, and Iranian Republican Guard Corps facilities. The twitter page for ImageSat International has some excellent articles and satellite photos of the targets, another page I recommend.

The Russians continue to build up their forces in Syria. Russian supplies come by ship to the Syrian port in Tartus. Yoruk Isik took great pictures of Russian Navy ships transiting the channel on his twitter page. The Russian sent a Krivak destroyer to escort freighters and amphibious assault ships to Tartus, where they unloaded.

Russian amphibious ship carrying military hardware to Syria

The US is also deploying forces to the region. The amphibious assault ship USS America is now positioned in the eastern Mediterranean Sea with it’s contingent of US Marines and air wing. What makes America’s air wing unique is it’s the first deployment of F-35Bs, the Takeoff and Vertical Landing or STOVL version of the Lightening II. The Israeli Air Force has been very successful with their F-35s, now we will see how the US version does.

The last time a Russian and Syrian force came against US forces in Syria it was a blood bath for the Russians. Several hundred On the night of 6-7 February 2018 Syrian forces aligned with Bashar Assad and mercenaries from the Russian Wagner Group attacked an outpost near Deir Ez Zor with about 40 American troops in it. Over three hundred Russian mercenaries and Assad troops were killed in airstrikes during the Battle of Khasham. Members of the Wagner Group who survived said it was a massacre.

I doubt Secretary of Defense Mattis is resting on his laurels, he openly says he keeps other people awake at night, and I’m sure US Central Command is ready for whatever may happen if  the Battle of Khasham is an indication.

My Dad

My father lost his battle with pancreatic cancer Monday evening 27 August. I feel it is a blessing from the time he was diagnosed with his passing was only 39 days. We were gathered around him Monday night, as we all had been for the five weeks he was here at home.

Dad made the conscious decision to be at home through this. His doctor told him chemo and surgery would only extend his life two months at best but make him miserable. So he chose to have home hospice take care of him and spend his remaining days with all of us around him.

Here are a few things I learned from this:

My Dad told stories which we’d never heard. I am so glad when Dad began giving us a family history lesson, we recorded it on our iPhones. I learned what Dad and Mom did on their first date, with my Mom’s twelve-year-old brother tagging along! He told us about his first job working as a draftsman in the aviation industry, a story I’d never heard. I’m so glad we recorded almost all of those history lessons.

I felt it a blessing to serve my Dad. As time passed, he could not do certain things. While ministering to my Dad, we had many very touching moments, just like Val and I had with my son Jeffrey during his illness. I’m glad I got to spend the time with him because we were told he had about 100 days. He lasted only 39. You never know how long a loved one will be here. Your relationships here on earth are the only thing taken with you when passing. I firmly believe I will see him again because of my LDS faith.

Serving my son Jeff and Dad was tiring and exhausting but was incredibly rewarding. My son John and I were on the night shift so Mom could rest. We created a flexible schedule which served us very well, and all of us got at least six to seven hours of sleep. Medical trials can be physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausting. Take care of yourself while you take care of your loved ones in their final days.

My Dad’s bucket list was food! He got to eat everything he loved, washed down with Pellegrino. He knew his appetite would soon be gone, so Dad enjoyed all his favorite food… Mexican from Mi Ranchito, Brick Oven spaghetti, and COSTCO Key Lime or Apple pie out the wazoo. His doctor told him there were certain pills he no longer needed to take since he was terminally ill, so we figured he could eat whatever. And we let him.

So many people wanted to be involved in helping him and us. We all have an inclination to serve others. Dad had a pretty constant flow of visitors, all wanting to help in whatever way they could. I learned when Jeff was sick to let people help however and whenever they wanted. There were times we told people not now and they understood. I felt it was their way of blessing our family and why not let them.  

Dad’s funeral service was held on 6 September with his family and friends all around him and us. Thanks to all of you who made the trek to Provo to pay your final respects. We love him and miss too.