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back to article US navy-v-dolphins judge says Bush can't overrule her

A federal beak whose judgement against US Navy sonar exercises in waters off California was countermanded by George Bush has now ruled that the President's order was invalid. The dispute has arisen following assertions by environmentalist groups that naval sonars cause harm to marine mammals such as whales and dolphins. US …

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Coat

Ecos want dolphins to starve?

> However, environmental groups contend that all active sonar* is injurious to marine mammals and that it should only be used under heavy restrictions.

hang on a minute, don't dolphins hunt by active sonar?

So we can take it that "environmental groups" want the dolphins to starve. I suppose that serves them right for not being veggies.

Warning this posting may contain comments of an ironic nature. If you are at all offend, please acquire a sense of humour and try again.

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a glimmer of hope

There is absolutely no evidence to link whale beachings and other forms of potential marine distress with sonar equipment... why? because no one will pay a consciencious scientist to perform a consciencious study... why? because a scientist would report the truth as it was found... and the truth is the one thing that politicians the world over have learned to fear and distrust.

Good on "El Beak"... now then... if we could only persuade the Queen to disolve the government over here there might just be a glimmer of hope.

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Problems with active

You can detect someone pinging a lot further away than you can pick out the return. And, depending on the design of the sub, a LOT further. Signal processing isn't needed either (you don't have to work out whether the active signal is a return from something benign: nothing goes Boo like that.

So using active sonar is a lot like yelling "is anyone there".

And power is limited: more than about 250dB and the water around the transducer boils.

Now if they'd develop a directional sonar that could be steered in directions, you could manage something with less power and damage (and less chance of giving your presence away (see how radar aquisition has changed with phased array and locking profiles recently).

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Anonymous Coward

What's your source/reference

What is your source/reference for passive sonar no longer being the detection method of choice? I find it hard to believe, but don't know either way for sure.

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Total rubbish...

The environmental groups are all over this aren't they?

Self beaching whales have always existed. It's more like due to water reflectivity and bottom loss absorption than anything else.

People get lost, why shouldn't whales?

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Coat

Priorities

I cannot comment on the number of marine mammals that are affected by Mid range Sonar pulses, but would it not be prudent, to first of all put an immediate stop on the Japanese culling a thousand whales per year for 'scientifc purposes'.

However, I am delighted that double-ya has been over-ruled that he cannot, in fact, do whatever the hell he likes based on flaky information.

Shame the same judges were not paying attention when he went digging for free oil in Iraq and a disgusting number of people had to die for the sake of 'liberation' ??

Getting way off topic, so I'm heading towards the coat dispensing utility stand for a quick exit before I turn into a hippy.

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Stop

King George

At some point he'll have to accept that he is under the law just like the rest of us.

@Dazed and Confused

Ironic or snide?

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Black Helicopters

Rule of Law

Although I'm not convinced by the science of this (it doesn't sound like enough real science has been done or allowed to be done), at least we can see a glimmer of what is good about America for a change. Those in power should not be allowed to steamroller the rule of law based on scare-mongering and bullshit. Even the most ardent TWOT fanatic wouldn't believe there's a serious theat to the US Navy off the coast of California at the moment.

So long, and thanks for all the fish.

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Flame

Re: Total Rubbish

Ok, it does seem to be de rigeur to drop the hackneyed 'beardy, sandal-wearing, hemp-munching eco warrior' stereotype *every* single time something crops up in El Reg that concerns the impact of *any* human activity on non-human species but is it possible that just one of these debates could be conducted without unqualified 'this is bullshit' postings from (usually anonymous) 'contributors' who don't tell us anything of their qualification or experience for knowing so much about how we manage to live as a species in a fucking bubble with nary a single adverse outside effect.

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@Dazed and Confused

I certainly have a sense of humour, but I get very annoyed at SLIPSHOD GRAMMAR AND SPELLING!

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Pirate

Active sonar-because they can't find them otherwise

The US navy is desperate for a reliable method of detecting modern non-nuclear boats, that time and time again in exercises have proven to be able to get in range of their expensive carriers and sink them. The next generation of fuel cell powered subs are an even bigger threat. The nuclear boats that are supposed to hang around to protect these carrier groups are inherently more nosier than the conventional boats as they have to keep their coolant pumps running all the time, so for a non-nuclear boat with good passive sonar, they can see the nuclear boat as just another target. The US recently "hired" the Swedish sub Gotland and her crew to practise finding the non-nuclear boat. They reported that they could track her, but what else could they say?

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@Total rubbish... by AC

"People get lost, why shouldn't whales?"

Recent studies have shown that it is the female of the species and gays who due to some lack of spatial awareness get lost so your comment is inaccurate.

Now if it could be proved that the pre-sonar beached whales were all female and let's just assume that the odd male was not beached because he was following one of them and show that post-sonar whales are a representative mix of male/female then you could definitively conclude that an increase in beachings is due to sonar experiments.

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Anonymous Coward

Hmmm

The trouble is that the information about the effective use of passive sonar and the use of active sonar is always distorted, as are the power levels. Defence industry has a lot to hide.

Do they have systems on board that provide an environmental impact analysis of going active, based on known migration patterns? Do you think the navies of the world design thier submarines to sound like marine wildlife, deliberterly to cause these problems?

As I said, hmmmm

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Happy

Atleast now we know...

... who's been cutting them Network cables in the Mid-East....

Don't be surprised if the sale of Dolphin-Friendly Tuna drops off significantly in the Mid-East. We need more of them killer Tuna to protect us from the Dolphins...

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Linux

So what happens next ?

Judge rules King George acted outside his remit. Federal judge says his actions were constitutionally suspect...

... so what next ? Any penalty for the Mad King George ? Do the Navy now have to comply ?

Article seems unfinished !

Nothing to do with Linux but the picture is marine related !

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Unhappy

just out of curiosity

who do america view as a naval threat these days? Does China have a fleet of subs? North Korea? I thought Russia was an ally now, and their silent catepillar drive was detectable way back in 1984! ;-)

and on an unrelated topic Intergalactic Proton-Powered Electrical Tentacled Advertising Droids!

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US Navy = idiots

"The Navy's current 'emergency' is simply a creature of its own making, i.e., its failure to prepare adequate environmental documentation in a timely fashion,"

In other words; lack of preperation on your part doesn't constitute an emergency on my part.

Sounds like the navy had the opportunity to study the effects of active sonar on marine animals, but either couldn't be bothered or prefered to live in ignorance.

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Emergency

A submarine from the Chinese navy was able to navigate undetected close to an American warship and surface within firing range during an American training operation. I imagine the Americans are a little antsy about that.

George Bush has released a budget prioritizing "defense" (even though America has never actually used a defense force for anything other than invading) that will see America borrowing money to expand its military powers even though the economy is slumping. He really takes his military seriously, because it props up the supply of oil which is strategically essential (and makes his friends rich).

Sacrificing a few dolphins so that America can defend itself against a Chinese threat is probably a cost Dubya is willing to take. There is no oil in dolphins, but there are votes in having the American people worried about Chinese invasion fleets off the coast of California.

Votes in America aren't won on policy and principle, they're won on slander, emotive pleas, and showboating. Look at the size of a campaign budget to see what I mean.

The ability for the American government to continue to erode the liberty of the American people is entirely dependent on their ability to convince the people of impending threat. It is only the perception of threat that matters, the threat can be fictional (as were the WMD in Iraq) or delusional (China is not likely to invade America).

That's why it's an emergency.

That judge is lucky she isn't in Gitmo bay, but I'm betting that her telephones are tapped and that her office is under surveillance.

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@Dazed and Confused

Well it's a big pair of lungs on a dolphin that can manage 250dB of sonar...

F wit.

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Non-nuclear subs...

It's not just the Gotland which is impossible to detect on passive sonar.

Just about ANY non-nuclear sub moving at below 5knots speed is virtually impossible to detect.

A couple of years ago, a norwegian sub finished its mission in the mediterranean, and set course for home(they had been spying on weapons smugglers, mostly), and they had to pass through the Gibraltar strait...

This was heavily guarded by warships of all kinds.

None of them ever detected the sub passing under them...

(The captain wrote something like 'decided to pass through submerged to avoid the traffic' in the log... )

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She would say that?

I might be missing something about the legal system, but isn't a judge quite likely to rule that her own judgement can't be overruled? Shouldn't another judge have looked at it? It looks a bit like a judicial game of 'No you can't/Yes I can/No you can't!' at the moment.

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Passive Sonar...

Passive sonar... that'll be the very popular type of sonar that has sensors down the length of a hull and by appropriately processing the time differentials between signals received at each sensor the sensors can be used to build up a two or more dimensional image. Pretty much how many dolphins and many fish sense their surroundings really...

Normal submarine stealth is akin to painting something black, holding it against a black sky and shining a light on it - you can't see it because no light is reflected by the black object and, obviously, nothing is reflected by the sky. This works very nicely, until somebody lights up something *behind* the object... and the silhouette is very obvious.

This is where passive sonar comes in: the noisier the environment, the more background noise there is blocked by the submarine and therefore it produces a nice audio silhouette.

Finding a submarine that's in close quarters to a lot of noisy surface ships becomes a relatively trivial task as a result. [And yes, this is just the basic view - there are various thermal layers and other factors involved that complicate the matter considerably]

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re: So what happens next ?

"... so what next ? Any penalty for the Mad King George ?"

<KindOfJoking>

I await some foreign nation to steamroller into America and 'liberate' the people from such a despicable leadership ;)

I'm waiting for the same thing in the UK too, we are no better ;)

</KindOfJoking>

Seriously though, its really impressive to see a judge with the balls to stand up and be counted, let alone bitch slap the president of the US *yay*

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Go

Fishermen will need to worry

Commercial fisheries have depended on a vertical equivalent of sonar for the last 50 years. Anti-sonar legislation should be good for fish breeders.

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@Chris W

Only women and 'gays' get lost ? Who sponsored that research, the Daily Mail ?

And a link, please, to your source.

You seem to be suggesting that heterosexual males universally have good spatial skills, which is provably false, and that such ubermenschen never get lost. Which is simply bullshit. I doubt the study you think you are quoting supports this rather bigoted opinion, which I hope, for your sake, is just flamebait.

Idiot.

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Stop

Oily mammals

"There is no oil in dolphins"

Not true! Wouldn't expect Dubya to know that, of course...

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bob

Sonar

Passive sonar is always (100%) used on subs and surface ships. It is constantly (100%) manned. You need to listen to what's out there, and on a sub well below surface you don't have any other way of detecting anything you might hit and you may have to move fast. Acurate directional passive sonar had been used for over 40 years.

As for the Chinese sub, this was well outside the 12 mile limit set by the judge.

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Boffin

Talking of oil...

Since dolphins are small whales, and whales were the prime source of oil before 1863, I think you will find thata dolphins <are> full of oil

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: @Chris W

Heh. Apparently so.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=335026&in_page_id=1770&in_a_source

I would have posted this earlier but I got lost coming back from the shops.

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@The Other Steve

Seeing as you asked so politely

"Research has revealed that both perform poorly in tasks involving navigation and spatial awareness when compared to heterosexual men."

The research was conducted by Psychologists at the appropriately named Queen Mary, University of London.

If you want to go remain in denial then do not Google for

"spatial awareness" "queen mary" university

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@Spleen

> I might be missing something about the legal system

Indeed, you are.

When a judge is overruled by the Supreme Court, does he say 'Yes I can' ?

He doesn't, because constitution allows the Supreme Court to override the judge (or rather, only allows it on constitutional grounds, but Supreme Court actually believes in the rule of law and thus really tries to apply the constitution andn ot push its own agenda).

If a judge says 'No you can't ', it's because there's a reason, and the reason is explained in a filing (11 pages, here).

Bush has a right to overridea decision from a judge only in case of a national emergency.

Being able to carry on spotting submarines during training scheduled to take place very near a given american coast is hardly an emergency (let's postpone the test, or do it in plain sea). thus Bush has no right to overturn, and his decision is void.

And the judge is in his right to say so

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Anonymous Coward

A Clinton appointee - it figures

It figures that this judge was appointed by King Bill and hails from the land of nuts and flakes.

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@ Mark

I made no comment about volume, although apparently dolphins can kill with their sonar... at least if you believe what you get if you type "dolphin sonar" into Google. The statement was simply that

environmental groups contend that *all* active sonar is injurious to marine mammals

I merely pointed out that not ALL active sonar is injurious to marine mammals.

Personally I like dolphins, but I don't think there is ever going to be a really good scientific research done on this subject. Good science tends to rely on objective scientists. I don't think you are too likely to find such people available to do this study. They'll either be funded by the defence sector "He who pays the piper... etc." or they will come from one of the environment groups that have already decided that all active sonar is bad for dolphins. Not much chance of objective science here is there.

The rest of my posting was where the irony came in for those who seemed to have got lost in the middle somewhere.

@Louis, The intention was ironic, but perhaps I'm just naturally snide :-)

BTW I doubt that King George will accept anything, because that would require thought, and sadly like the other King George so important to American history, this one gives little evidence of doing much thinking.

Warning this posting may contain comments of an ironic nature. If you are at all offended, please acquire a sense of humour and try again.

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@AC

"Self beaching whales have always existed."

Maybe so, but whales who beach because of sonar are a modern development.

Plus, in the past, whales and their food sources were not hunted to the point of extinction. Now they *are* at the point of extinction, isn't it our responsibility, as the species who put them on the brink, to ensure they recover sufficient numbers to ensure their own survival? If you don't think so, leave the planet to people who give a shit.

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re: Chinese subs

China has a huge number of subs, almost all diesel-electric.

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Paris Hilton

Interestingly

Interestingly , the magistrate is merely reminding the executive current wowser in the white house like all fellow citizens they are neither above the law or exempt from it's provisions as it stands !

Buddy ! , if you wish to overturn the ban take it to the appropriate Appeal Court Division for that is the law no more no less !

As Paris would say "Ignorance of both the legal laws and the laws of physics of sound in nature(in liquid and air) is no excuse for total stupidity !"

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Pirate

Things have changed

Going active is a very good way to attract torpedoes in my day, I guess I am just to old for all this new fangled war stuff.

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Paris Hilton

stupid @sses

talking about "the rule of law" when you obviously didn't bother to read about it in the first place.

The US president, regardless of party affiliation, is the Commander in Chief of ALL US military forces. The LAW has been that way for centuries and doesn't change because the Chinese Navy wants it so.

Nor is the 9th Circuit court, the most overturned, anti-freedom, anti-Constitution and moronic organization to ever pretend to be law, The Supreme Court. NEVER has this "Rule of law" y'all pull out of your @ss said that a minor district court had the ability to override the Federal Government in anything.

Especially when it's some half assed non researched, non scientific, non tested, biased propaganda theory put forth by conflicted interest groups. Reactionary BS does not, is not and should never be allowed to make national policy-ESPECIALLY when it BYPASSES the votes of the people!

Court judges gotta remember they are servants of their nation and their People. Even though they're non-elected political hacks at the best of times, and elitist activists the worst of times. Keeping their jobs for life, since if they ever get threated with firing, the antiamerican media protects them with fake scandals and ignores the law and says that the Executive Branch is no longer allowed to exercise the Checks and Balances deliberately designed into the government at the beginning.

Propaganda spewing wankers like most of you are the same people who caused this country to become the government controlled cesspool it is. THIS is what you DEMANDED, and WANTED. You ignored people telling you otherwise, and what happened is what we predicted-a government that listens and fears its people less each day.

And now you apply Hiltonesque levels of ignorance because the decision was made by a man with a R party affiliation instead of a D. Soros got his money's worth outta you UIs.

PH because she's seems to understand her own ignorance at times.

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Go

@Stupid Asses AC

Awlright.

Rule of Law can have two definitions.

Ruled by the Law or the Rules that make up what the Law is.

The most positive view I have encountered of the Rule of Law is that those in power (the sovereign, the executive, the government, whatever) should be ruled by and subject to the same rules/laws as the people.

This has plenty of history behind it, including Greek philosophers like Plato and Aristotle suggesting this view.

Bush, on the other hand, seems to be of the view that Plato said 'the chosen few should rule the people as they are sheep' and chosen himself to be exempt from certain laws, chosen to silence some judges who question certain things (no, he didn't kill them, just told them they were not allowed to judge on the matters) and even exempt himself from any future action against him or his chosen few by anybody invoking the Geneva Convention at him for treating folk inhumanely.

Yup, the Dubya has seen that some folk might want him to be subject to the Rule of Law. He does not seem to want that to happen.

As for anybody who blames him for all the badness in the world speaking BS and voting him in in the first place - well shucks pardner; I hate to p on your parade, but it might well be the case that most of yall across the pond are a bit like us.

Most of us do not appear to vote. Reasons may vary, I think largely it is because we don't trust the devil or the deep blue sea and cynisim and apathy may have won the day.

This of course, has obvious bad consequences, as we have seen with the resulting rule of the three B's, Bush, Blair and now Bean (Brown).

Nevertheless, let it not be said that all those who do not vote are the only ones who are stupid.

Who for instance, chooses the candidates who run for leader of each party in the UK? Who chooses the ministers once they get in?

Who chooses the candidates for the primaries in the US?

Not the people - and who chose that they needed millions of £/$ to run for government?

Right, constitutional status rant over.

Now onto whales and dolphins - Japs leave them alone now. Aussies go hunt for Japs to escort out of Aussie sanctuary waters.

Hagbard - go tell Howard to tell everybody to get the hell out of dodge.

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Paris Hilton

@AC

@AC nice to see you remain ignorant of two very basic things :

1/ The absolute wording of Oath of Office as administered by the Chief Justice prior to taking up the third highest office in the land , for he is outranked by both the chief justice of the supreme court and both houses of congress as is defined in the oath.

It reads thus "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

2/ The Constitution Of The United States and amendments clearly defines the President as subordinate and subject to both their laws and and can clearly override and overturn his power of veto with ease as El Presidente can only play the card once the second time he has no further options left to play !

As for his stupid idiotic idea from of appending a nonsensical sub clause saying this does not apply to me when enacting the laws as passed by both houses of congress which do not contain said clause ! If tested and taken to the supreme justices given the rigid defence past rulings in regard the constitution they would rip it up and all to the last man standing start rolling on the ground laughing say "This is totally and absolute bogus nonsensical crap you broke your oath and we all know it to be so " and then point directly to the clause where the authority of the President is clearly the inferior to that of congress and and he is beholden to them for his authority is neither the equal to or better then the houses of congress and also the direct wording of his oath of office as administered by the Chief Justice !

As Paris would say "failed Constitution 101 at pre school did we ?"

As for the sonar in question if it cannot find a rather noisy Oz Collins Class Submarine the HMAS RANKIN in the known waters surrounding Pearl Harbour then it may appear to be just another useless appendage hung off the boats ass !

Perhaps you should read a good book on acoustic physics and the propagation of ultra sonic high frequency sound in a liquid medium with a book about submarine hunting in both WW1 and WW2 , it may improve your closed circular mind to allow it to think outside the square if that is possible ?

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Bullet magnet

Don't forget that modern US subs are often accompanied by (or in fact, are escorting around) carriers. Big, fat, nuclear powered, torpedo and missile attracting noise boats. Without their active sonar, how will they hear anything coming over their own noise?

Indeed, modern diesel-electric subs are extremely quiet, even if they are incapable of sustaining the kind of speed a nuclear sub can. A diesel-electric can still sneak up behind you and put a torpedo in your nuclear powered noisy behind. What's worse is that you won't hear the thing until it floods its torpedo tubes and by then you're already far too late.

He who sees the other guy first has already gotten a nice big advantage. But if you can't get into a decent firing position before the other guy sees you as well that does reduce your advantage.

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Pirate

@heystoopid

I guess you have completely forgotten about the whole "separate but equal" part of the Constitution??? The fact that the President swears an oath to uphold the Consitution doesn't make him beholden to Congress or the Supreme Court.

The fact that the Chief Justice is allowed to swear in the President is irrelevant. The Constitution only says the President must TAKE the oath. It doesn't say who gets to administer it, or even if there IS someone to administer it.

You also overlooked the fact that the Constitution grants the President the power to be Command and Chief of the U.S. armed forces. Not Congress. Not the Supreme Court. Not any other Judicial branch. Not even your beloved Chief Justice. The President.

Which means any judge issuing orders to the military to do or not do something is pretty much Constitutionally groundless.

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Pirate

sub detection

note too sure if this falls under the Official Secrets Act 1989 (uk) or the Espionage Act of 1917 (us) BUT there 'was' research in to smelling submarine.....

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Anonymous Coward

Harmful to Animals

You know what's really harmful to wildlife? The nuclear missile launched into the American heartland from a sub you didn't detect because you couldn't use sonar. 9 out 10 conservationists, when surveyed, listed "being melted into glass" as a possible contributor to poor health in fuzzy mammals.

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Pirate

@rrRoamer

Suggest you read the Supreme Court judgement that overturned Franklin D Roosevelt's unconstitutional executive internment order for US born and resident Japanese American citizens late in the war where the President cannot take arbitrary decisions outside the Constitutional limits and existing congressional laws to his authority and then come back on your comment again !

Guess who the final paymaster of the US Armed forces is none other then Congress itself !

Have trouble reading the financial section and purse strings section of the constitution where the El Presidente can set some of the terms of the annual budget but congress is the absolute master of the purse , so who is beholden to whom now !

So in theory , if Congress turns around and lops 500 billion pesetas from this years defence budget to balance the books El Presidente may be the war chief but he ultimately has no choice but to obey the man with the purse that pays both his and his armies wages because he has no choice in the matter at all !

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Pirate

Harmful to Animals

So hang on, subs don't know where land is if they don't have sonar?

Sonar of what type?

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Coat

@Harmful to Animals

"You know what's really harmful to wildlife? The nuclear missile launched into the American heartland from a sub you didn't detect because you couldn't use sonar. 9 out 10 conservationists, when surveyed, listed "being melted into glass" as a possible contributor to poor health in fuzzy mammals."

Everyone knows of course that missiles fired from subs detected by sonar are harmless, unlike faux-paranoia..

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Happy

@Harmful to Animals

The general principle is to kill the sub you detected via sonar before it launches any mammal killing quasi harmless nuclear missiles. It's a bit pointless to wait for them to launch, kill all the squirrels then sink them. Just ask a squirrel.

Steve Hive:

Everyone knows of course that missiles fired from subs detected by sonar are harmless, unlike faux-paranoia..

Anonymous Coward:

"You know what's really harmful to wildlife? The nuclear missile launched into the American heartland from a sub you didn't detect because you couldn't use sonar. 9 out 10 conservationists, when surveyed, listed "being melted into glass" as a possible contributor to poor health in fuzzy mammals."

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That's smart!

If there's anyone with more technical savvy, and about what's a national security issue - and what isn't -, Judge Florence is that person.

If anyone disputes Judge Flo's decision, (s)he will have to go up the food chain to Judge Judy. Then, there will be Hell to pay!

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@Dazed

OK, fair enough.

But that's killing to eat, not killing to find out if there's anything there. And are the US's ASW platforms turning any "seakill" into fuel or harvesting it for the seamen to eat?

No.

So active sonar loud enough to make a decent return from 8 miles away is not like a short range pulse that is loud enough to stun momentarily a small fish right next to a dolphin. And blindly firing to see if there's an invisible stalker out there is not as much an emergency as "if I don't kill this fish I'll starve".

Agreed?

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