Dax, the Animal Destroyer

Dave Bautista is the big attraction in Guardians of the Galaxy, which opens today. He's gotta be the nicest destroyer going. The advance word is the movie is great, and Bautista kills.

Figuratively as well as literally, of course.

If you want to know more about Dave's early life and the bulk of his wrestling career, check out our book, Batista Unleashed. (You can see a preview here.)

Gaza - the blood is on Hamas' hands

As anyone with even a passing familiarity with Hamas could have predicted, civilian casualties in Gaza have climbed - by design.
Not Israel's - Hamas's. The death of their civilians is part of their plans.
Yet the Western media, and a number of Western leaders, rarely if ever acknowledge it. And even when they do, the acknowledgement is couched in mamby-pamby language that clouds the truth rather than illuminates it.
A case in point is a story in the Washington Post today by Terrence McCoy that does a good job attempting to point out what the real situation is. For example, it includes these paragraphs:

According to longtime Mideast analyst Matthew Levitt, Hamas has long planted weapons in areas inhabited by vulnerable residents. “It happens in schools,” he wrote in Middle East Quarterly. “Hamas has buried caches of arms and explosives under its own kindergarten playgrounds,” referencing a 2001 State Department report that said a Hamas leader was arrested after “additional explosives in a Gaza kindergarten” were discovered. . . .
 For years, Hamas has “planned carefully for a major Israeli invasion,” according to a Washington Institute for Near East Policy report. In addition to an elaborate tunnel system, there was the “integral use of civilians and civilian facilities as cover for its military activity; schools, mosques, hospitals, and civilian housing became weapons storage facilities, Hamas headquarters, and fighting positions … IDF imagery and combat intelligence revealed extensive use of civilian facilities.”

But it also begins with attribution presented in a way that inevitably introduces doubt: "alleges" rather than "states," for example, as well as a long paragraph that condemns an Israeli strike.

Don't get me wrong - that story is far, far better than most, since it does make clear that Hamas purposely stores weapons in area where civilians will die if attacked. But it quickly pulls back from making the obvious conclusions that Hamas wants its civilians to die - the weapons are stored in schools and hospitals in an attempt to have Israel kill them. It's as if the writer - or maybe his editors - are afraid to draw that obvious conclusion, because then they would have to admit that Hamas is in fact evil - and not the equivalent of Israel. I'm sure they know it; they just feel they can't say it, because that would mean they weren't objective.

But the object of journalism isn't objectivity; it's truth. And the truth here, even if no one wants to face it, is that a strong faction of Hamas leaders want civilians to die, since those deaths will give them power.

If you're not willing to acknowledge that, you'll never really understand what's going on there.

Overdue . . .

. . . and yet radical at the same time.


A 20-year Air Force strategic forecast, spurred in part by looming budget constraints, also calls for a faster pace, with lower price tags, in developing both airmen and the technology they use, warning that the current way of acquiring warplanes and weapons is too plodding.

Story. (NYT subscription) What's gone under the radar is how deep some of the cuts to the military have gone. It seems counter-intuitive - maybe even heretical - but it's possible we need to allocate more money to defense, or will in the near future.
Chris Kyle

A statement on the Ventura-Kyle trial result:
(updated 7/30)

The plaintiffs managed to convince eight people that three or four years before anyone ever mentioned the possibility of writing a book to him, Chris Kyle concocted a plot to catapult that unwritten book to fame, lied to his family, friends, attorney and co-writer, and enlisted a dozen or more people in the conspiracy.
I’m not sure whether that’s a statement about American jurisprudence, our education system, or our drinking water.
I stand by the testimony I gave in the case. According to media accounts, eleven witnesses for the defense verified the various aspects of the altercation that Chris and I wrote about in American Sniper. Those witnesses included people who didn’t know Chris, and even admired his accuser. I personally talked to four people who were there, as well as two people who’d spoken to others.

I continue to believe in Chris.

Marine mover . . .

The Marines are looking at a new concept for hitting beaches. This is essentially a promo video for the concept. Remind anyone else of Transformers?

Behind the lines in Ukraine

Interesting piece from a Bloomberg reporter from Russia who was arrested by the Ukrainian authorities:

In eastern Ukraine, one text message can turn you into an enemy. In my case, it was sent to my father. “Talked to Borodai at night,” it said about an interview I had with a rebel leader.

Dreaming of a Cold War world 

Russia continues to escalate its involvement in Ukraine. From CNN:

Aside from cementing Putin's grand vision of Russia as World Heel, it's hard to see the long-term benefit of any of this to Russia. But what's really baffling are the actions of the rebels, who are fighting for the right to become a rump state beholden to a dictator whose greatest ambition is to return to a 1950s world.

Clearly, teaching history is as out of favor in eastern Europe as it is in the U.S.