This Ain’t Your Grandpas Field Rations

The Military Is Pushing the Bounds… of Food Science

Tremendous breakthroughs are often born out of military pursuits. In the past, military research has directly or indirectly led to technological innovations like the microwave oven, nuclear power, and the Internet.

You can also add M&M’s to that list — yes M&M’s. Those delightfully crunchy and satisfyingly chocolatey candies that melt in your mouth (not in your hand) were originally intended for American troops in World War II.m & m

Legend has it that Forrest Mars, Sr., while traveling in Spain during the Spanish Civil War, found soldiers eating tiny chocolate pellets coated in hard, sugar shells. Returning to the states in 1940, Mars perfected the candy and negotiated an amicable deal with the Hershey Corporation, which already had an agreement to provide chocolate to the army. When World War II rolled around, M&M’s became an instant hit with the troops because the candies could travel well and withstand high temperatures without melting.

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Today, M&M’s remain a troop favorite, but the battleground has changed. While the first rendition of the delectable candies could withstand the temperatures of Europe, Africa, and the Pacific fairly well, they were found to be no match for the incessant heat of the Middle East. So, in the midst of Operation Desert Storm, food technologist Tom Yang led a team that redesigned M&M’s so they wouldn’t turn into a “sticky mess.”

“Regular chocolate is protein in the center coated with fat, so that fat can easily melt,” Yang explained to PBS’ NOVA. “So we came up with sort of a reverse phase chocolate, putting the protein on the outside and the fat in the center. And protein is not that easy to melt.”

A Meat Roll-Up

Yang isn’t solely focused on the sweet side of food, however. He’s recently been investigating a method called osmotic dehydration for use in military MREs (meals, ready-to-eat). The process involves rolling meat into thin sheets, extracting water via osmosis, osmotic dehydration of meatthen running the product through a brine composed primarily of an oligosaccharide food additive called maltodextrin. The end product is a meat roll-up, very much like a fruit roll-up.

Yang plans to adapt osmotic dehydration to all sorts of foods. “The beauty of this technology is you can use beef, you can use  pork, you can use poultry or you can even use fish or a combination of  fruit, vegetable and meat together,” Yang said.

Years of Freshness

An American army soldier’s “meat and potatoes” is the MRE. Available in 24 different varieties, the meal must — as described by Director of Combat Feeding Program Jerry Darsch — have at least “a minimum shelf life at three years at 80 degrees Fahrenheit, six months at 100. It has to be stored, distributed for minus 60 degrees Fahrenheit to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.  It has to be able to be thrown — free fall out of a chopper at 100 feet, and obviously airdropped with parachutes from about 2,000 feet and higher.”

320px-MRE_20071124.PNGIt also has to be at least mildly pleasurable to eat. Military food scientists’ constantly try to balance taste and longevity — a difficult task — but recently they made a breakthrough by creating a sandwich that can stay fresh for three years! The key to the near immortal sandwich was limiting moisture, which is necessary for bacteria to grow. The scientists utilized three surprisingly simple ingredients — honey, sugar, and salt — to retain moisture and seal it off at the same time, thus keeping the sandwich fresh and safe-to-eat. Oxygen, a primary cause of food deterioration, was also limited. A small package of iron filings placed within the sandwich bag traps the gas in a layer of rust.

Another part of the food pleasure equation is warmth. All MREs come equipped with a flameless heater. It’s a small pad filled with magnesium dust, salt, and a little iron dust. Add water, and an oxidation reaction begins that releases a good amount of heat, which can be used to warm the food packages.

Military food scientists continue to push the envelope. During the Civil War, salted pork and hardtack was the faire du jour. Today, it’s lemon pepper tuna, chicken pesto pasta, and beef roast with vegetables. Vast improvements have been made, but the work is never done.

Soldiers have been clamoring for pizza, but technologists have yet to master a version that fits to the MRE’s stringent requirements.

Attribution: Ross Pomeroy, Real Science

Round Trip Ticket

Deported Criminals Return Illegally at Alarming Rate

by:

There are hundreds of thousands of aliens crossing the US border illegally every year.  Less than half of them are ever detained and even fewer of the detainees are ever deported back to their home countries.  Working under President Obama’s orders most illegal aliens are rewarded for their actions and released back into our society where they steal jobs, food and medical benefits from US citizens and often ruin neighborhoods and property values.

Supposedly, the government concentrates mostly on illegals who already have a criminal record.  (Doesn’t violating our immigration laws automatically classify them as a ICEcriminal?)  In the fiscal year of 2011, a total of 188,380 illegals with criminal records were deported.  However, 86,699 of them had been previously deported at least once.  That’s a return rate of 46%, which indicates that we have a complete failure to secure our borders from known criminal elements.

Additionally, there were another 43,307 illegals without criminal records who had been previously deported and again illegally entered the US.  Even though it is a crime to cross the US border illegally, none of the 43,307 are considered to have criminal records.

According to a report issued by the Center for Immigration Studies:

“It cannot be ascertained from the available data how many of the 86,699 previously deported criminals committed new crimes other than their illegal return, but unless they were detained shortly after re-entering the United States, it is likely that they came to the attention of the immigration authorities as a result of new crimes (committed after their illegal re-entry) for which they were convicted or arraigned.”

“The 46 percent may also be understated due to reclassification of criminal deportees. Thus existing data indicate that a minimum of 46 percent of the 2011 criminal deportees were previously deported and returned to the United States.”

“The high percentage of repeat deportees is due in part to the mexicali-deporteesease of re-entry to the United States for earlier deportees and the knowledge that if apprehended there is only a small chance that they will serve any prison time for illegal re-entry.”

“In nearly all cases the deportee will go undetected unless charged with another crime or if the deportee returns to his old neighborhood and is recognized by local law enforcement officials. Thus the number of deportees who make an illegal re-entry is possibly much higher than indicated.”

“The extent of our revolving door for deported criminal illegal immigrants points to failures in securing our nation’s borders. These failures do not bode well for our future ability to intercept known and unknown terrorists who try to gain access to our country.”

Reports like this clearly indicate that the Department of Homeland Security is doing very little to secure our borders.  Their cavalier attitude towards illegal immigration is a disgrace and an affront to most US citizens.  If this many illegals are returning and many going completely undetected, then how many terrorists are also crossing into our country illegally?

The US-Mexico border is an open door for anyone, including terrorists, to just walk rightbig sis in to the country, where they can then carry out the planning and execution of their jihad activities.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  Bring our troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan and station them along the US-Mexico borders with orders to detain and shoot if necessary.  Military patrols should be stationed in a line of sight with each other across the entire extent of the border.  They should also be the ones to man and operate all border crossing stations.  This would result in a drastic cut in the amount of illegal aliens and drugs that are currently flowing into the US across the Mexican border.  It would also make it harder for terrorists to gain entry in to the country.  I believe it’s a win-win answer to illegal immigration, drugs and keeping our military safe at home securing our borders instead of the borders of countries that hate us.

Iran Endorsement

Iran Endorses Obama Pick Hagel for U.S. Secretary of Defense

Iran’s Foreign Ministry dumped more fuel on the fire of former Senator Chuck Hagel’s (R–NE) nomination for Secretary of Defense by announcing its approval for President Obama’s pick.

It’s no secret that Hagel, an outspoken critic of sanctions on Iran, has preferred a policy of engagement and direct talks with the rogue state. In 2001, Hagel voted not to renew the Iran–Libya Sanctions Act, denying said countries money that would be spent on funding terrorism and/or acquiring weapons of mass destruction.

Then, in 2007, Hagel voted against designating Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps as a terrorist organization, despite the force’s role in orchestrating attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq. Hagel further opposed the Iran Counter–Proliferation Act and sent a letter to President George W. Bush, urging him to engage in “direct, unconditional, and comprehensive talks with the Government of Iran.”  Continue Reading at Heritage

A Pilot Encounter

An American bomber pilot was fighting for his life and the lives of his six wounded crew members when he tried desperately to keep the plane from nose-diving into German territory during World War II.

Adding to his concerns, 2nd Lt. Brown feared a new threat when he spotted a German plane directly next to his plane, so close that the German pilot was looking him directly in the eyes and making big gestures with his hands that only scared Brown more.

The moment was fleeting however, as the German quickly saluted the American plane before peeling away as soon as one of Brown’s men went for the gun turret to attack their enemy.

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Saved: Charlie Brown was the lone pilot controlling an American bomber in 1943 when a German soldier decided not to shoot at the bloodied soldier
Saved: Charlie Brown was the lone pilot controlling an American bomber in 1943 when a German soldier decided not to shoot at the bloodied soldier
Saved: Charlie Brown was the lone pilot controlling an American bomber in 1943 when a German soldier decided not to shoot at the bloodied soldier
Re-enactment: The German plane came purposefully close to the American plane Re-enactment: The German plane came purposefully close to the American plane

The New York  Post details the ensuing struggle that Brown dealt with after he was able to fly and land his battered plane safely and go on to live a happy and full life following the war, all because that German pilot decided to go against orders and spare the Americans.

As soon as he landed, Brown told his commanding officer about the spotting of the German soldier, but he was instructed not to tell anyone else for fear of spreading positive stories of the German enemy.

The kind pilot’s was Franz Stigler, 26-year-old ace pilot who had 22 victories to his name with just one alluding him before being awarded the Knight’s Cross.

His moral compass was more powerful than his need for glory, however, as the lesson he learned from an earlier mentor kept him from shooting at the American plane.

Mercy: Franz Stigler thought it was wrong to shoot at the damaged plane because it was like aiming at a 'parachute'
Mercy: Franz Stigler thought it was wrong to shoot at the damaged plane because it was like aiming at a 'parachute'
Mercy: Franz Stigler thought it was wrong to shoot at  the damaged plane because it was like aiming at a ‘parachute’

His officer told him ‘If I ever see or hear of you shooting at a man in a parachute, I will shoot you down myself. You follow the rules of war for you — not for your enemy. You fight by rules to keep your humanity.’

The test of his humanity came when he saw Brown’s plane, trying to fly while half of it’s wing was blown apart and as crew members were rapidly trying to help one another tend to their injuries.

‘For me it would have been the same as shooting at a parachute, I just couldn’t do it,’ Stigler said.

In 1987, more than 40 years after the December 20, 1943 incident, Brown began searching for the man who saved his life even though he had no idea whether his savior was alive, let alone where the man in question was living.

Honoring past moves: Brown and Stigler met with then-Florida governor Jeb Bush in 2001Honoring past moves: Brown and Stigler met with  then-Florida governor Jeb Bush in 2001

Brown bought an ad in a newsletter catering to fighter pilots, saying only that he was searching for the man ‘who saved my  life on Dec. 20, 1943.’

Stigler saw the ad in his new hometown of Vancouver, Canada, and the two men got in touch.

‘It was like meeting a family member, like a brother you haven’t seen for 40 years,’ Brown said at the pair’s first meeting.

Their story, told in the book “A Higher Call”,  ended in 2008 when the two men died within six months of one another, Stigler at age 92 and Brown 87.

Attribution: Daily Mail

Bush Didn’t Lie and More May Die

Remember the Lefty chant, “Bush lied, People died”?

The infamous mantra regarding the revelation that George W. Bush knew Saddam Hussein had no “Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)” prior to the invasion of Iraq.

Apparently there were top-secret CIA briefings that “W” dismissed or kept from Congress and the American people, thus cementing a positive Congressional vote for force against Iraq.

It was indeed a scandal and one that seemed to leave egg on the facebush-lieds of the administration. I believe Colin Powell still has not forgiven Bush for that.

The fact that virtually every country with an intelligence service emphatically stated that Hussein did have WMD was of no account.

In 2006 CBS even interviewed a former CIA agent who claimed documentary evidence for the lack of mass destruction weapons.

So why were all these countries intelligence services so convinced Saddam did have WMD? Could it be that the dictator used chemical weapons to put down his own people years before? That may have been a factor. Could it also be that Iraq did in fact try to acquire yellowcake uranium despite the fraudulent reports to the contrary?

Could all these countries, including our CIA and the Israeli Mossad, quite possibly the best intelligence agency in the world, have been mistaken?

According to some sources, Bush and the “NeoCons” warmongers had already written the script. Regardless of what was known or not known of WMD, Americwmdsa was going to invade Iraq and depose Hussein. That’s what “NeoCons” do, don’t ya know.

I was not a big fan of George W. Bush, but I believe he would never invade a country without actionable intelligence. One important factor that was not widely publicized and that in most are unaware of even today, is what I and very few others were convinced of, both in 2002 and still today.

By all accounts of numerous intelligence agencies, Saddam did have stockpiles of weapons and evidently, just like magic, they disappeared.

The press hailed Charles Duelfer, chief of the Iraqi survey group, when he reported no WMD findings and the transfer of WMD did not occur.

But the press, as they too often do, failed to give us the specifics of Duelfer’s report. Deep within his report he concluded that he could not confirm WMD or its movement, due to poor security situations.

Satellites and dissCharles Duelferident intelligence did however confirm the movement of some 50 trucks and two aircraft from Iraq to Lebanon and Syria in 2002 and in March 2003.

I surmised, as some others had, working off this intelligence, that the Russians were helping move the WMD to the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Iran and Syria,  where it could be stashed away in a remote location or locations.

This Russian maneuver was exactly what the Soviets used to do during the Cold War. The Soviets called these types of covert movements, “Operation Sarinder”, which would scrub any evidence of underhanded Soviet weapons involvement.

I believe that then and still do now, that George W. Bush knew it was the Russians moving WMD from Iraq to Lebanon and Syria.Bekaa Valley

I also believe he purposely-kept quiet about it so as to not provoke an international incident with the Russians.

So what is the point of this history lesson?

Well, it’s simple. Syrian President Assad is said to have authorized the use of chemical weapons against the rebel forces trying to depose him. Where, pray tell, did he acquire said weapons?

Gee, I wonder. Maybe from the Bekaa Valley? Could it be he has had them in his possession for all these years with the knowledge and blessing of the Russians?

I guess the question we should be asking isn’t whether he will use the WMD, but whether Vladimir Putin will alloPutin, Assadw him to.

If Putin does, or even if he doesn’t, would it be possible to trace them back to Iraq and then to their origin, Russia?

If Assad is deposed, I doubt Vladimir would allow those weapons into rebel hands.

The last question might be, where will the Russian WMD turn up next?

Sunshine and Swastikas

This collection of rare color photos of Berlin in 1937, taken by Thomas Neumann and uncovered from Norwegian archives,  show life in the German capital during a tumultuous decade.

They capture scenes in the vibrant city,  which was under the iron grip of Adolf Hitler and his Third Reich at the very height of his power. Yet just eight years later the city was in ruins as Russians and Allies occupied it in victory.

But at the time these images were taken,  Hitler’s Berlin was vibrant. Hitler had taken power after the collapse of the democratic Weimar Republic in 1933 as severe economic problems caused by the Depression drove ordinary Germans into the Nazi party’s arms.

As well as chilling pictures of  buildings emblazoned with swastikas, there are scenes of ordinary life as Germans go about their business. They show a child in a sun-drenched square, smiling friends at a train station, a cart selling bananas and a food vendor in a sunny  park.

Regal: These rare color photos of Berlin in 1937 give a unique perspective of the capital's pre-war period. The Stadtschloss, or Berlin City Palace. It was heavily damaged during bombing and demolished by East German authorities after the warThese rare color photos of Berlin in 1937 give a  unique perspective of the capital’s pre-war period. The Stadtschloss, or Berlin  City Palace, was heavily damaged during bombing and demolished by East German  authorities after the war
Devastated: The Stadtschloss after it was gutted by Allied bombs. It was torn down by East German authorities after the war but is currently being rebuiltThe Stadtschloss after it was gutted by Allied bombs. It was torn down by East German authorities after the war but is  currently being rebuilt
Ominous: In 1937 Hitler was at the very peak of his power. Ordinary Germans were content and opposition was being ruthlessly crushed In 1937 Hitler was at the very peak of his power. Ordinary Germans were content and opposition was being ruthlessly crushed
Smiling: An unknown trio at a train station. it is likely they were friends or colleagues of the photographer An unknown trio at a train station. It is  likely they were friends or colleagues of the photographer
Rally: Soldiers and civilians at a rally on the decorated streets in Berlin. This photo is believed to have been taken on Labour Day (May 1) in 1937Soldiers and civilians at a rally on the decorated streets in Berlin. This photo is believed to have been taken on Labor Day (May 1) in 1937
Bustle: A cart sells fruit on a busy Berlin streetA cart sells fruit on a busy Berlin  street

Norwegian engineer Thomas Neumann (1901-1978)  took the photos while working in Germany. The film he used was the first of its kind, and there are few similar images preserved in Norwegian collections. His colored pictures gives historians a valuable view of the interwar period.

In 2007 his photo gallery given to the  National Archives of Norway by his daughter.

Thomas Neumann trained as an electrical engineer in Dresden. After graduating in 1928 he worked in Berlin until 1933.  Neumann was a member of the National Unity party, a fascist organization and was appointed its propaganda leader in Oslo and Akershus. He left the party in 1937 and in October 1944 he was arrested for illegal activities and sent to the notorious Grini concentration camp.

Echoes of history: This street scene shows the Augustiner Keller, a beer cellar in central Berlin. Few buildings were not festooned with Nazi regalia This street scene shows the  Augustiner Keller, a beer cellar in central Berlin. Few buildings were not  festooned with Nazi regalia
Power: Hitler had consolidated his power by the mid-1930s, thanks to widespread disillusionment with the Weimar Republic Hitler had consolidated his power by the  mid-1930s, thanks to widespread disillusionment with the Weimar Republic
Youth: A little boy outside an unknown sunny square in BerlinA little boy outside an unknown sunny square in  Berlin
Order: This intimidating picture shows troops lining a boulevard festooned with swastikas in anticipation of a parade This intimidating picture shows troops lining a boulevard festooned with swastikas in anticipation of a parade
Relaxation: Berliners enjoy snacks in a sun-soaked park Berliners enjoy snacks in a sun-soaked park
Crowds: The pictures were taken by Thomas Neumann, a Norwegian engineer who worked in Germany The pictures were taken by Thomas Neumann, a  Norwegian engineer who worked in Germany
Church and state: Swastikas and a maypole outside Berlin CathedralSwastikas and a maypole outside Berlin Cathedral
Docking: Two men in suits aboard the steamer Preussen, presumably approaching GermanyTwo men in suits aboard the steamer Preussen,  presumably approaching Germany
Quiet moment: A driver leans against a state car and enjoys a cigarette. The photos show candid moments among Berliners A driver leans against a state car and enjoys a cigarette. The photos show candid moments among Berliners

One candid picture shows a Brownshirt  (a member of Hitler’s paramilitary force) lounging against a state car  in front of a building draped with the maligned Nazi symbol.

On 30 January 1933, President Hindenburg, under pressure from Franz von Papen, appointed Hitler as Chancellor of Germany.  Shortly after the Fuhrer seized power.

The Nazi government restored prosperity and ended mass unemployment using heavy military spending. Extensive public works were also undertaken, including the construction of the Autobahns, to boost employment.

Just two years later Germany would invade Poland and begin the most destructive war the world has ever seen. An estimated 60 million people lost their lives as a result of the Second World War and the global political landscape changed forever.

Ripple: The 1937 May Day celebration was also a celebration of 700 years of Berlin's history The 1937 May Day celebration was also a  celebration of 700 years of Berlin’s history
Grand: The Messe Berlin situated in Berlin-Westend. It was completed in 1937The Messe Berlin situated in Berlin-Westend. It  was completed in 1937 yet heavily bombed by Allied aircraft
Masses: A lkarge crowd in Berlin, presumably in connection with Labour Day A large crowd in Berlin, presumably in  connection with Labor Day
Force: In this picture we see military personnel father beneath decorations. An officer appears to be inspecting the men  In this picture we see military personnel father beneath decorations. An officer appears to be inspecting the men
Overseer: A guard in a pristine white uniform looks on at a gathering crowdA guard in a pristine white uniform looks on  at a gathering crowd
Civilians: Walkers on a mystery German street. Eight years later it would have been filled with Russian, British and American troopsWalkers on a mystery German street. Eight years later it would have been filled with Russian, British and American  troops
Serene: An unknown park in Berlin. The heat of the summer of 1937 meant sprinklers were required to keep the grass verdantAn unknown park in Berlin. The heat of the summer of 1937 meant sprinklers were required to keep the grass verdant
History: Flags snap and flap in the breeze among a throng of Germans celebrating May day Flags snap and flap in the breeze among a throng of Germans celebrating May day
Colourful: Berliners gather to look at a giant maypole outside the Berlin City CathedralBerliners gather to look at a giant maypole outside the Berlin City Cathedral

Attribution: Sam Webb

As Much Fun as Stripping Paint

Prototype robots autonomously strip paint from aircraft using lasers

Team of robots decoating a cargo plane
Team of robots decoating a cargo plane

If you think stripping paint off an end table can be a messy, time consuming job, imagine removing paint and other coatings from an aircraft like the C-130 transport plane. Tasked with developing a robotic system that would take such a chore out of the hands of maintenance personnel, Carnegie Mellon University’s National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC) and Concurrent Technologies Corporation (CTC) of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, developed a team of robots that gets the job done – using laser beams, no less.

Close up of Laser Removal Arm

The prototype robots are being tested at the Hill Air Force Base in northern Utah as part of a program sponsored by the National Defense Center for Energy and Environment to develop ways to cut down on the labor costs, health hazards and environmental problems of repainting military planes. CTC is building six autonomous, mobile robots that work in teams to remove paint and other exterior coatings from fighter and transport planes.

Coating removal system

The large robots consist of a mobile platform on which is mounted a large, articulated arm that moves up and down on hydraulic lifts. On the end of each arm is an array of sensors that allow the arm to glide evenly over the plane’s surface and a continuous wave laser that removes the paint in selective layers. The sensors can also assess the plane’s condition as they go. The speed at which they work needs to remain even so that the laser can strip the paint without overheating the plane’s skin. Meanwhile, a custom High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) system safely collects paint debris as it is removed from the aircraft.

How many robots are required for each team depends on the aircraft. Two robots are enough for a fighter, but four robots might be needed for a cargo plane. The system controlling the robots generates plans for stripping the plane, which can be updated as the job proceeds. It also “virtually” masks areas of the plane that shouldn’t be touched, so maintenance crews don’t have to run about with masking tape and paper.

Mobile robot teams

Using robots means that plane maintenance can carry on around the clock, but it also offers other advantages. For one thing, since they operate autonomously, crews aren’t exposed to harmful chemicals or laser light. According to Jim Arthur, CTC principal process engineer and project manager, “automated laser decoating is expected to significantly reduce labor, waste volume, environmental risk, and overall cost.”

The system is currently in the testing and demonstration phase, but NREC/CTS foresee the robots being used to not only strip, but to also apply paints and coatings as well as inspecting aircraft and doing maintenance and repair work.

Attribution:  , Real Clear Science

Faux Ceasefire

Report: Spy Satellite Detects Iranian Long-Range Rocket Shipment to Gaza

by:  at the Blaze

Showing just how fragile the Israel-Hamas ceasefire declared Wednesday is, a new report says Iran was already preparing a new shipment of long-range rockets for terrorist groups in Gaza even while the ceasefire was being finalized.Sunday Times Reports Israeli Spy Satellite Detects Iranian Long Range Rocket Shipment to GazaIsrael’s Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepted incoming rockets fired from Gaza (photo credit: IDF)

Britain’s Sunday Times reports Israeli spy satellites last week detected a cargo ship being loaded with rockets and other weapons at the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas. Israeli intelligence officials believe those weapons are headed for Gaza.

Ynet provides further detail on the route Iranian secret shipments take via Sudan and Egypt:

Israeli intelligence sources believe the weapons-laden cargo ship will pass through the well established Iranian weapons smuggling route to Gaza, through Sudan and the Red Sea. Sources told the British newspaper that they believe Iranian ships stationed in Eritrea will escort the ship from the moment it enters the Red Sea. “Regardless of the ceasefire agreement, we will attack and destroy any shipment of arms to Gaza once we have spotted it,” an Israeli defense source said.

It appears that the ship’s cargo includes Fajr-5 missiles, which terrorist groups have already fired at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem during Operation Pillar of Defense, and possibly Shahab-3 missiles, which can hit deep in Israeli territory.

Adding another layer to the threat facing Israel, the report suggests those Shahab-3 missiles wouldn’t even need to make it all the way to Gaza and could be fired at Israel from Sudan.

Intelligence officials believe the Fajr-5 missiles are broken apart for shipment, whisked through smuggling tunnels into Gaza and then reassembled by terror groups on the ground.

Last month, a weapons factory in Sudan was destroyed in a bombing Sudanese officials blamed on the Israeli Air Force. Some reports suggested the factory was being used to build Iranian long-range missiles. The Israeli Defense Ministry’s Director of Policy and Political-Military Affairs Amos Gilad then said Sudan is a key transit point for shipment of arms to Gaza terrorists.

On Sunday, a Sudanese official said the arms factory that was bombed will be relocated away from residential areas, according to the Associated Press.

As TheBlaze posted Saturday, whereas in the past it was more secretive, Hamas is now openly boasting about the support it receives from Iran. Senior Hamas official Mahmoud Zahar said Saturday he believes Tehran will increase military support for Hamas and Islamic Jihad. If the Sunday Times report is accurate, it appears that is already happening.

Comment by the Common Constitutionalist: This ceasefire, like most all ceasefires is bogus. Hamas was getting their ass kicked by the Israelis. They (or one of their colaborators) asked for the ceasefire in order to regroup and rearm, with the help of Iran. Israel was foolish to agree to this. They must know they are the most hated country on earth. So what’s the point in agreeing to this farce? They will eventually sign their death warrant by doing these types of things. Victory is only achieved by beating the enemy into submission. They can’t do that if they keep letting the enemy up off the canvas. 

The Growth Triangle

by: the Common Constitutionalist

This past election has taught me a couple important lessons. One is that evidently, cheaters do prosper, at least temporarily. That, however, is a discussion for another time. The second is, what is really important to concentrate on going forward.

What I’ve discovered is that relatively minor issues are constantly sidetracking us.

It isn’t that they are not important, they are, but we need a grander vision.

Issues like pro-life versus pro-abortion, homosexual marriage, funding PBS and such. They are all important, but without a viable and vibrant free Republic to decide them, they are all meaningless.

Thus is my grand vision.

Going forward, I have decided to concentrate on three major issues. If I am unable to find candidates that concur on these positions, I cannot and will not vote for them. No more exceptions!

The three issues are the economy, national defense and illegal immigration.

I chose these because I believe them to be the fire triangle of America, as it were.

If you recall, the fire triangle is named for its three essential components; fuel, heat and oxygen (air). A fire must have these three components in order to be maintained.

If you take one of these components away, the fire cannot sustain itself and will extinguish. Likewise, if you are lacking just one of these the fire will not ignite.

Let’s examine the three components of my newly adopted “Growth Triangle”.

The fuel of the “fire triangle” would equate to the American economy. Mitt Romney touched on this during the campaign. Without it, obviously we would cease to exist as a nation.

But there are many types of fuel for fire. If one were to make a fire using only sticks and twigs, it would still be considered a fire, albeit a small one and not much good for warmth, cooking and fending off predators. The small fire could be sustained, however would service but a very few.

If however, you added large logs, thus greatly enhancing the fuel source, quite soon the fire would grow, providing ample warmth, a reliable cooking source and a formidable barrier for predators or enemies.

Merely maintaining a small economy is not good enough either. A weak economy is the twig and stick fire. Yes, it’s a fire, but a pretty sorry one.

The twigs, sticks and logs equate to jobs that fuel economy. Adding little twigs and sticks to your fire will never do. Large logs must be added to keep it stoked properly.

Without these logs, the fire cannot grow and without jobs, lots of jobs, nor can the economy.

The heat of the fire triangle, I liken to our national defense. Without heat the fire cannot be sustained, regardless of the fuel source. You may add all the sticks, twigs, logs or even gasoline you like and without heat they will never ignite.

Thus is the dependency of the economy and a strong national defense. No economy can thrive and grow without protection.

When the heat is drastically reduced, the fire will not extinguish, but will become much more vulnerable to attack by the slightest rain or wind.

Thus it is regarding national defense. By drastically reducing our military, we become more vulnerable to attack and not just by a large force.

Immigration has always been the oxygen of the “Growth Triangle”.

Without a constant stream of fresh air, no amount of fuel and heat will sustain a fire. On the other hand, too much wind and the fire will be blown out. The fires fresh air supply must be controlled. Two little and the fire will choke; too much and it will also succumb.

Such is it with immigration. Too few legal immigrants and our country becomes lazy and stagnant. Too many and the fuel and heat cannot maintain the imbalance.

No fire or economy can sustain the hurricane force winds of illegal immigration.

Looking ahead, I pray I can find at least a few viable candidates that fit into my “Growth Triangle”.

It is sad they all don’t.