I am communicating with Matthew VanDyke, described as “an American who fought with Libyan rebels to oust Gaddafi.” He wrote to Business Insider right after the Benghazi consulate attack with a theory about what happened, and again this week stating that he’d been proven largely correct. He is a Mensa member, and there is a LinkedIn forum only accessible to members. Here’s what he said there:
In Antarctica, there is a place along the frigid coast called Mawson Station. It is named for Sir Douglas Mawson, an Engligh-born Australian explorer who was one of the early Heroic Explorers of Antarctica. His story is quite interesting, especially his survival during one grim trip where things went south, so to speak. There is a bit of info on that in the Wikipedia article, and the story is the subject of the book Alone on the Ice: The Greatest Story in the History of Exploration.
[UPDATE Dec 10, 2013: I reported below that in the bill passed by the US Congress "Mandela is not mentioned specifically." He is, in the final language, which is posted by Marmoe. I regret the mistake. Marmoe's comment also provides details of the "roundabout process that would lead to prisoner release" I mentioned. Also, I imply that Mandela, in his "evolution," distanced himself from ANC's violence early on. But even upon release from prison, he was still threatening that ANC's "armed rebellion" would continue until demands were met.]
Nelson Mandela did an excellent job as president of South Africa. He honored the notion of a limited constitutional republic, avoided wealth redistribution policies, kept the national budget close to balanced running a relatively small deficit despite extraordinary circumstances, and emphasized people coming together rather than pitting groups against each other. Mandela maintained a reasonable foreign policy and careful alliances with other countries.
From the carefully released snippets of his “note” and “literature” it would seem that Paul Ciancia, the LAX TSA shooter, is part of the Sovereign Citizen movement. The news media has not, so far, mentioned this phrase. Instead, they simply describe him over and over as “anti-government” — intending to evoke the Tea Party, also portrayed as “anti-government” (it is not, of course).
The “most transparent administration in history” has been putting those NSA phone records to use, against reporters — and whistleblowers. Even the Washington Post, normally a reliable water-carrier for the administration, has taken notice:
The woman who tried to breach the barricades around the White House (and perhaps the Capitol building) allegedly had a history of mental illness. You can tell that there was insanity going on: She fired seventeen shots at an unarmed person.
Well, actually, that was the police. But in any event, Miriam Carey was not in her right mind, and is no longer in her body as well. After she slammed into the barricade, knocking down one officer, then slamming into a police care as she sped away, I can understand the officers’ excitement. They are charged with protecting President Obama, and it is a credit to their professionalism that they take this job seriously.
As many of the articles about this incident mention the mental illness and note that it was only two weeks ago that the Navy Yard killed went on his killing spree. The news media, perhaps a bit cautious, managed not to allege that the Infinity sedan was an AR-15, nor did they suggest that Ms. Carey was a conservative. Good for them.
Mistakes were Made
As we’ve seen from the sequester to the shutdown to various other situations, the Obama administration has taken active steps to cause grief for two groups: conservatives and the military.
In the case of the World War II veterans attending the WWII Memorial, President Obama had a “two-fer”; they are certainly military, likely conservative, and revered by conservatives elsewhere. Merely allowing these veterans, who are in their 80s and 90s, to visit the open unguarded memorial would cost the government nothing. But President Obama refused a request to allow this, and spent extra money and used extra people to attempt to prevent the vets from paying homage to their fallen brothers.
That hasn’t worked for him, so far, despite media and Democrat spins that this is all the Republicans’ fault. (In fact, part of it is — but that’s a separate topic.) I’ve heard today that the people guarding the monument have decided to defy the administration an allow the veterans in, on the basis of them “exercising their First Amendment rights.” Good for them.
What About the Rest of the Time?
Click on the thumbnail for the full PDF.
I’ve traveled further yesterday than the crew did on their entire journey, but I had a rather easy time of it. In any event, there will probably be some final wrap-up post from me, as the two posts today from the crew aren’t quite the final ones.
They’ve made it to the halfway mark; I understand that the northwest passage is now blocked at both ends by ice. It was a tough year for the attempt, and they were hoping for a repeat of last year’s unusual conditions. No such luck.
This crew does not sound excited about trying it again in 2014 — perhaps that will change. I will be ready.
===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle
The crew of the Arctic Joule are now blogging openly about their planned end when they reach Cambridge Bay:
After 2 days of stormy winds, we got going again today and I think we were all definitely beginning this morning with the end in mind. This has been an incredible experience so far but I know I am ready to get this done now and get to Cambridge Bay. We were chatting about this earlier today and we’re all on the same page.
So far, they’ve not mentioned anything about trying again next year. They’ve made almost 60 kilometers so far today, and I expect that they’ll be in Cambridge Bay sometime late tomorrow night (Tuesday) if the weather holds. But that weather has been notoriously treacherous (from their perspective, at least).
===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle
The Arctic Joule is moving again. From their blog (and that weather report!) the winds were quite fierce. And they’ve reported a bit of controllability issue going through the Dease Strait. The updated chart PDF is here, with the front page snapshot here.
That controllability issue is very likely connected to their loss of the ability to extend their centerboard. From the Irish Times article, this was a key element in their deciding to quit. It seems to me that Cambridge Bay’s rough-and-ready population of 1,000+ people would be able to address it quickly, but of course the ice ahead on their route seems to be the real issue. The melt season is coming to a rapid end, with buildups already taking place in spots.
A pity, in a sense, as the following wind of the previous few days helped them a lot. The storm cost them 2.5 days, but they’ve already shaved half a day from this (40km!) now that they’re under way again. They’re now at 46% done, by longitude and by track distance. It’s the first time these two numbers have been within a percent of each other.
Now they’re on the final stretch — less than a hundred miles to go — and need to stay safe. It looks good for them at the moment, but of course the Arctic is famously unpredictable, other than being predictably harsh and unforgiving.
In the meantime, Charles Hedrich is plowing ahead, alone, and has come up from the Northern Pacific to have just reached the point the Arctic Joule started from. He will not make it much farther, but he’s come a very long way and at least started from the Pacific proper. (And been thrown from the boat, and suffered a number of other mishaps that are pretty dire in a one-man vessel!) Click on a recent map thumbnail to see where he was recently.
I will be ready next year to track attempts, and I may have multiple sheets going if there is interest. What do you think?
By the way, if you’re itching for another voyage to follow, the captain of the Grey Goose has posted a list of 29 attempts launched this year at the Northwest Passage (more or less).
===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle