Monday, January 21, 2008

Upcoming Wargame Designs

The following are new designs slated for the first quarter of this year:

1. La Coruna Jan 1937 - A fierce battle between the Nationalists and Republicans for the highway from Las Rozas to Madrid. It was the last phase of the Nationalists offensive to surround and cutoff Madrid. Armed with German Panzer 1 and Italian CV-33tanks, the seemingly invincible Nationalists were met with stout resistance from the Republicans and their Russian T-26B tanks and I-16, SB-2 aircraft. What followed was a desperate battle to control this key road!

2. Rampage, August 1919- Using the well played and award winning system of the Russian Civil War Series, the game covers the last great cavalry offensive of the 20th Century! Mamontov's cavalry army attacked the Red line east of Voronzeh busting through with Mk V tanks. What followed was a deep rear raid on the Reds which were totally caught by surprise! During the two week attack, the Reds tossed everything they had, including aircraft. It was a very wild affair that ended with Mamontov almost being trapped!

3. Operation Sinyavino- August 1942- covers the dramatic Russian offensive to free Leningrad from the German blockade from two opposite directions! Includes the first use of the new Tiger tank!

4. Zolfaqar's Blow: Iranian Killing Fields - a future history game covering a surprise Iranian attack with fast attack boats, C-802 missiles, EM-53 mines, submarines upon oil tankers and US naval ships (incl. an aircraft carrier) in the narrow Straits of Hormuz.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Martin Luther King and the Reality of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

The recent comments by Hilary Clinton that King's call for racial equality was realized only with a president's action are correct, NOT incorrect. Hey, I hate to provide a reality check but without President Johnson's full support and backing and "pushing it through the legislature" at various tumes, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, would not have passed. Sure, maybe, it would pass in 1965, 66, 67 or whatever, but not in 1964. Anyone who thinks otherwise is making Martin Luther King a God-like creature. He could never have done it without the support and promotion by President Johnson and others. Without other key politcial figures in places of influence and power, and most were white then who agreed with Martin Luther King, the US Senate would not have passed it. It would never have reached President Johnson to sign into law. End of story.

It is not diminishing King's legacy, as he was instrumental in bringing to the public, galvanizing millions etc. But, he alone, could not create the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Give credit where credit is due. There is plenty to go around.......

US Presidential Campaign 2008 - Is it Really Up in the Air?

The 2008 US presidential election will most likely end in the following manner:

The Democratic party will nominate Hilary Clinton for President, and, Obama, for VP. if this sequence fails, then, it will be reversed. That is, Obama for President and Clinton for VP.

That makes for a very powerful ticket for the Republicans to beat. The appeal of this ticket would capture a majority of American votes (women, men, blacks, hispanic). I really cannot see John Edwards making it to the end.

For the Republicans, it is more complicated are harder to predict. There is no one strong contender at this point. I want to say John McCain, but his strength is debatable. Huckabee is likeable, kinda a down-home guy, but like all the Republican candidates, his strength is debateful.

Would a McCain- Romney defeat a Clinton-Obama ticket? I doubt it. How about a McCain - Huckabee? I doubt it. How about Romney - Huckabee? Some think that is a strong ticket. Let's not even discuss Thompson, he will be out by August.

So, the Republicans lack the passion, lack the ability to excite the voter. They are basically boring. The Democrats clearly have the edge here and I see no way that will diminish. I think the Democrats will win in November.. unless... world events and the US economy make the Republicans look attractive.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Iranian Swarming and its Potential

The recent events in the Straits of Hormuz between Iranian attack boats and the US Navy may be a clue of things to come at some point in time. Iran could create a major crisis by cutting the narrow 20 mile wide entry into the Persian Gulf. Using their 3000 Chinese made mines, many of the EM-58 type (rocket propelled), these can be easily laid in deep water. Once in place, ships moving over them are dead, they have a 80% success rate. Swarming single USN ships with up to 20 speedboats armed with weapons and explosives from divergent directions simulaneously might overload the ability of the ship's weapons to defend itself. In fact, some would get through. And, if that was not enough, Iran has perhaps 50 -60 cruise missiles from the Chinese, these are not rejects, but the S-300 and C-801, 802. The latter has a 90% kill rate and there is no real defense against them.

The issue is why are they obtaining these weapons? Self defense? Come on, they know the US would never be able to invade the country and air attacks are more symbolic than of value. Why do they have 12 mini subs all capabale of laying mines and torpedoes?

The only reason is take some sort of offensive action in the Persian Gulf, at some point in time. Let's say they sink a few USN ships or begin attacking oil tankers or they mine the Straits of Hormuz. In all cases, the world oil skyrockets. Besides being isolated, and they already are, what could the US do about it besides make some symbolic air to ground attacks on iranian facilities? Nothing.

Bombing Iran may not be as safe as it was, they have acquired some 29 TOR M1 Russian air defense missile systems. Their early warning would react.

The only hope is that once the US does make some air attacks upon Iran, the local population (50% are under 30)would not like this and attempt some sort of overthrow of the government. The change would have to come from within because isolation has not worked well and the US does not have capacity nor interest in invading Iran. Such an invasion would only reinforce their resolve.

Stay tuned... the next war or battle will be in that area.

The Impact of The Beatles

If you are under age 50 or over 60, it is highly likely that you probably either underrate the Fab Four or minimize their impact on music and men's styles. Why? The reason is because if you are under 50, you were too young to experience the insanity of Beatlemania. It really was historical. If over 60, you probably did not like their radical look nor their music and style (your style is more in line with Elvis, which is ironic because all of The Beatles idolized Elvis).

There is a narrow age group and now middle aged Americans or Britons who were dramatically impacted by the band. Their ages are between 51 to 59 or so. It was this age group that was prime in 1964, when they were between 8 to 16, that took part and were eyewitnesses to their arrival in the US. If you watch the footage of The Beatles' Shea Stadium 30 minute concert, you will see mostly 60,000 fans of this age, screaming, fainting, climbing the fence, dazed. There has never been such an entertainment event.

The 73 million Americans who watched their debut on Ed Sullivan remains embedded in history-unsurpassed. Beatlemania lasted until 1966, but their influence then and now remain.

The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, Dave Clark Five, Jerry and the Pacemakers followed in the British Invasion as did many others. It was the British rock bands that showed America how it should be done.

America, then, was like the movie, "Hairspray". Very clean cut, the music-sappy and stupid-innocent. Even Elvis, who was the 50's rebel, seemed to have lost his edge and became too clean, too nice, his songs simply sucked.

Enter The Beatles. Long hair. Loud music. Radical yet cool look. Beatle boots. Tight suits. Witty personalities and great humor not mention four very distinctive and recongnizable voices. Add to this, harmony with good looks.

While they did do cover songs, they clearly were great songwriters from the start. After the Ed Sullivan broadcast, nearly all public pop stations were devoted to Beatle music. In some cases, they only played their music for days. That is yet another historical event in broadcasting.

For the age group mentioned, they were Gods. Despite naysayers, they knew this band would have a worldwide impact.

For guys, it meant style and long hair from that time onward. No more hair grease, no combing it back from the forehead like Elvis, no more haircuts with rims around the ear. That was a very major cultural event in the 60s. Teenage clothing copied the Beatle look with collarless shirts, tight jeans, Beatle boots. The Fashion originated in London on Carnaby street. Schools and many parents fought long hair for many years, some high schools had a policy of no long hair to the collar up until 1967-8.

Musically, The Beatles showed pop music how to be a rock band with their huge Marshall amplifiers or Vox equipment. Ask Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Oasis, Nirvana or any rock artist about influences, The Beatles are there.

The Beatles' impact is all over today. Listen to pop music, whether it is a guitar lick, harmonies, song structure, lyrics, if you are of the age group noted before, you know where the influence came from. You hear their songs on ads now. There have been two movies where the soundtrack consisted of only Beatle songs (done as covers).

The concept of Beatlemania is hard to comprehend if you were not alive or were too young, or simply missed it. It was one of those things that you say, "you had to be there". No amount of words can even begin to show the impact of The Beatles. The Beatles DVD set is the best we now have.

If you are still in doubt, well, look at any ad with teenagers. You will see the early Beatle look, just more unruly. The long hair the band introduced is just one of their legacies they left. Like Beethoven, The Beatles will always be with us in their music and how they touched all of us in either a small or large way.