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Member since: Wed Mar 16, 2005, 11:12 AM
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Truckin' to Treason: The Hot Air of Secession


Truckin' to Treason: The Hot Air of Secession
By Walter Brasch
OpEdNews Op Eds 11/24/2012 at 09:07:02

A white Ford F-250 pick-up rumbled through town, a Confederate rebel flag on a pole behind the cab; on the rear bumper were a pro-life and three Anti-Obama stickers, two of which could not be revealed in a family newspaper.

It wasn't a lone wolf protest; several cars, trucks, and homes in the area sport similar flags and messages. During the summer, when a 4-wheel Jamboree and a Monster Truck rally are held at the local fairgrounds, attracting thousands from a multi-state area, many trucks fly rebel flags, insignia, and political statements. During the annual eight-day fair at the end of September, vendors sell all kinds of items with the Confederate battle flag, most of them made overseas.

The rebels say they are fierce independents. But, being a "rebel" doesn't mean you can complain about paying taxes, while also denying climate change and evolution. Nevertheless, those flying rebel flags, although they may be disenchanted and alienated from the mainstream, are still part of traditional mainstream America.

They may claim they oppose "Government" (also known as "gummint" intruding upon their lives, but think it's perfectly acceptable for government to make rules about the people's sexual practices and to invade women's bodies.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sun Nov 25, 2012, 07:40 AM (2 replies)

Election Spurred a Move to Codify U.S. Drone Policy


Pakistanis displaced by a drone strike. Under President Obama, more than 300 have occurred.

Election Spurred a Move to Codify U.S. Drone Policy
Published: November 24, 2012

WASHINGTON — Facing the possibility that President Obama might not win a second term, his administration accelerated work in the weeks before the election to develop explicit rules for the targeted killing of terrorists by unmanned drones, so that a new president would inherit clear standards and procedures, according to two administration officials.

The matter may have lost some urgency after Nov. 6. But with more than 300 drone strikes and some 2,500 people killed by the Central Intelligence Agency and the military since Mr. Obama first took office, the administration is still pushing to make the rules formal and resolve internal uncertainty and disagreement about exactly when lethal action is justified.

Mr. Obama and his advisers are still debating whether remote-control killing should be a measure of last resort against imminent threats to the United States, or a more flexible tool, available to help allied governments attack their enemies or to prevent militants from controlling territory.

Though publicly the administration presents a united front on the use of drones, behind the scenes there is longstanding tension. The Defense Department and the C.I.A. continue to press for greater latitude to carry out strikes; Justice Department and State Department officials, and the president’s counterterrorism adviser, John O. Brennan, have argued for restraint, officials involved in the discussions say.

Posted by unhappycamper | Sun Nov 25, 2012, 07:34 AM (8 replies)

EXCLUSIVE: Drill sergeant, company commander failed to report sexual assault allegations at Ft.Jacks


EXCLUSIVE: Drill sergeant, company commander failed to report sexual assault allegations at Ft.Jackson
Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012

COLUMBIA, SC — In the wake of a Fort Jackson drill sergeant’s sexual assault charges, investigators have determined that a second drill sergeant had threatened one of the victims after she came forward and that a company commander had failed to report the accusations to military police.

Last week, The State newspaper reported one victim’s complaints about an institutional failure in how drill sergeants and officers responded when she stepped forward to say she had been attacked. Now, Fort Jackson officials say they may reopen an investigation into how the leaders of F Company, 1st Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment reacted.

“We want to do this right,” said Col. Kenneth Royalty, Fort Jackson’s chief of staff. “If a soldier brings up a new allegation tomorrow, we will review it.”


Luis Corral, a former drill sergeant, was sentenced last week to five years in prison, busted in rank to private from sergeant first class and forfeited his $2,886 monthly salary. He was convicted by a military jury on one count of forcible sodomy, one count of abusive sexual contact, two counts of indecent conduct, one count of assault, one count of adultery, five counts of maltreatment, and five counts of failure to follow a lawful order, said Col. Steven Weir, Fort Jackson’s staff judge advocate.

unhappycamper comment: Previous thread on these cretins: http://www.democraticunderground.com/11791541
Posted by unhappycamper | Sun Nov 25, 2012, 07:24 AM (5 replies)

The Real Military Sex Scandal


The Real Military Sex Scandal
Maria Cuomo Cole and Laurie David
Posted: 11/19/2012 8:28 am

Flirtatious emails. Jealous threats. Consensual sex. Scandalous? Hardly. Try... Foolish. Ubiquitous. All too human adult behavior. And frankly none of our business.

The real scandal is that this type of behavior -- stumbled upon via highly questionable investigative practices -- is what garners nonstop media coverage and glaring headlines while a real military sexual scandal, our U.S. military's horrific rape epidemic, affecting tens of thousands of our service members (annually!!), goes unreported and ignored.

And thanks to widespread institutional coverup and lack of responsible media attention, allowed to continue unabated, inflicting debilitating damage on victims, imperiling troop cohesion, and posing a much more grave threat to our national security than a highly forgettable personal drama of soap opera import.


We watch as countless young service members (both male and female), who have pledged their lives to protect our country, undergo vicious assault and then are, all too often, themselves blamed and exiled in a kafkaesque miscarriage of justice, their lives shattered and worlds transformed into a never ending echo chamber of horrors.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sun Nov 25, 2012, 06:54 AM (3 replies)

The Last Time We Tried This We Ended Up Selling Them For Scrap


New U.S. Presidential Helicopter Program Kicks Off
Nov. 23, 2012 - 05:06PM |


The aim, according to the request, is to acquire up to 23 operational helicopters, the first of which is to enter service in 2020. The Navy is seeking a proven design as the basis for the VXX.


The last time we tried this:


[link:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_Martin_VH-71_Kestrel|Lockheed Martin VH-71 Kestrel0

AW101 undergoing VH-71 testing near the Lockheed facility in Owego, New York

The Lockheed Martin VH-71 Kestrel is a variant of the AgustaWestland AW101 (formerly EH101), that was being developed to replace the United States Marine Corps' Marine One U.S. Presidential transport fleet. It was being produced by the Lockheed Martin–led "US101 Team" of Lockheed Martin Systems Integration – Owego (LMSI), AgustaWestland and Bell Helicopter.

In February 2009, President Barack Obama asked Secretary of Defense Robert Gates about placing the project on hold or canceling it because of its high cost; over $13 billion for the planned 28 helicopters. In June 2009, the U.S. Navy terminated the contract and said remaining funds would be spent to upgrade to the existing Presidential fleet of VH-3D and VH-60N helicopters. The VH-71 helicopters were then sold to Canada to use as spare parts for its fleet of AgustaWestland CH-149 Cormorant search and rescue helicopter.


Canada bought all nine ( http://www.defencetalk.com/vh-71-us-presidential-helicopter-delivered-18283 ) of these bad boys for around $164 million US dollars ( http://defensetech.org/2011/06/28/fire-sale-canada-buys-marine-one-choppers/ ).

on edit: to correct header
Posted by unhappycamper | Sat Nov 24, 2012, 12:36 PM (0 replies)

Why Pentagon won't say how it would cut $55 billion starting Jan. 1


Why Pentagon won't say how it would cut $55 billion starting Jan. 1
By Anna Mulrine, Staff writer / November 8, 2012

Washington - The Pentagon is staring at some $55 billion in spending cuts – 10.5 percent of its annual budget – that it will have to make immediately come January, if Congress does not act before then to avert the "fiscal cliff." Officials there, no fan of these automatic cuts or of the process on Capitol Hill that spawned them, have alternately called this approach to financial discipline a "blind meat ax," a "goofy meat ax," and "fiscal castration."

In fact, they assert that the impact of the cuts is so grim – and poses such an “unacceptable risk” to America’s national security, as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey has warned – that the Pentagon refuses to even plan for them.

Why, in a building filled with US military commanders who pride themselves on preparing for every contingency, particularly those considered dire, is there such a reluctance to plan – or at least to acknowledge any planning – for severe spending cuts mandated under this Washington budgetary regimen known as sequestration?

One reason is because the Pentagon would then have to show its cards, some argue. That is, it would have to tell Congress how it would reallocate funds from its lesser priorities to its higher priorities, says Todd Harrison, senior fellow for defense budget studies at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA), warned back in August.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sat Nov 24, 2012, 10:19 AM (2 replies)

Another Lost War: Defeated in Afghanistan


Another Lost War: Defeated in Afghanistan
by Brian Cloughley | November 22, 2012 - 10:35am

A week after the spokesman for foreign forces in Afghanistan made his ridiculous pronouncement about peace and stability four rockets were fired into Kabul city, home to one of the world’s most corrupt governments. Mercifully, only one person was killed, and there wasn’t much damage, but the militants had made the point that they can continue attacks whenever and wherever they want. The amazing hi-tech gadgets of all the foreign forces can do a bit to reduce the number and effectiveness of attacks all over the country, but the fact that a few thousand raggy baggy Taliban (or call the insurgents what you will) can even begin to take on such a massive war machine is astonishing. So far this month they have killed twelve US and British soldiers, who — all of them — have died for nothing. And the politicians and generals continue to feed us upbeat garbage about their lost war.

Almost everyone has forgotten the Davis Report of January this year in which one of the few honorable professional military commentators on the Afghanistan shambles made it clear that “Senior ranking US military leaders have so distorted the truth when communicating with the US Congress and American people in regards to conditions on the ground in Afghanistan that the truth has become unrecognizable. This deception has damaged America’s credibility among both our allies and enemies, severely limiting our ability to reach a political solution to the war in Afghanistan.”

The writer of this well-researched exposure of inefficiency was Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Davis, who is decidedly not of the West Point upper crust like Petraeus and his embedded Broadwell. Predictably, his analysis was smothered in a hazy maze of media-savvy pronouncements by military mouthpieces. And journalists whom you would think might support the cause and carry on his fight to influence government and public opinion seemed to wither away after the first (unavoidable) necessity to report his revelations. The Pentagon and the army were clever in avoiding direct criticism of Davis because this would have resulted in public exposure of inefficiency and misrepresentation on the part of many senior military officers. The Pentagon has learned a lot about manipulating the media, but it’s a pity it hasn’t devoted comparable energy to examining the terrible leadership blunders in Iraq and Afghanistan. And for the current situation there are few people more to blame than the bright shining liar Petraeus.

In March last year Petraeus testified to the Senate Armed Services Committee that the Taliban’s momentum “has been arrested in much of the country and reversed in a number of important areas”. He claimed that progress was “significant,” though “fragile,” but “on the right azimuth to accomplish the objective” of having Afghan troops take over from western forces by the end of 2014.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sat Nov 24, 2012, 08:47 AM (12 replies)

Air Forces React To JSF Delays


Air Forces React To JSF Delays
By Bill Sweetman
November 26, 2012

The failure of so-called “fifth-generation” fighters, the F-22 and F-35, to arrive on time and on cost is having cascading effects throughout U.S. and allied fighter forces, ranging from fundamental changes in U.S. Air Force F-22 pilot training to accelerated upgrade and life-extension efforts for F-16s.


One of the major shifts is toward joint training with F-15s, F-16s and other non-stealthy assets. This is in recognition of the fact that sliding F-35 deliveries and the small number of F-22s—the Air Force's buy having been truncated in 2009 because of its high costs and to help fund the JSF—will mean the service will not have a majority-stealth tactical air force before 2030.

F-22 pilots are now training to operate in “sensor formation,” spread 10-15 nm apart, and to act as “quarterbacks” for Boeing F-15C/D fighters. “We used to operate the F-22s four to five miles apart—and as we ran out of weapons, the enemy kept coming,” Wells said at Defence IQ's International Fighter conference here this month.


On the positive side, Wells says F-22 capabilities are improving, as are training standards. “We've been flying the F-22 like an F-15,” he says. At the same time, steps are being taken to prepare pilots better for the F-22. New pilots coming from T-38 training fly eight “high-performance lead-in” sorties in F-16s before taking on the Raptor because, Wells says, “we learned that pilots coming out of the T-38 on to the F-22 did not do well. That's something that nations buying the F-35 should consider.”


While we're on the 'good' news subject:


F-22 Raptor Crash Not Likely Related to Oxygen Problems: Air Force
By Lee Ferran
Nov 16, 2012 8:32a

The Air Force is investigating the cause of an F-22 Raptor crash near an air base in Florida, but an official with the service told ABC News it was likely not related to mysterious and potentially deadly oxygen problems that plagued the $420 million-a-pop war planes for years – problems the Air Force believes it has already solved.

The Air Force announced Thursday afternoon that an F-22 pilot had managed to bail out of his $420 million fighter jet before the crash near Tyndall Air Force Base. The Air Force official told ABC News the pilot is in “good shape” and has been speaking with investigators about the crash.

“Initial indications are, from talking to the pilot and from analyzing initial evidence… [that] it doesn’t look like it was related to any physiological problems,” the official said.

He said the pilot did not report any physiological problems and the crash didn’t seem to be related to “any of the life support system issues,” emphasizing that the Air Force will not know for sure what caused the crash until a full investigation has been completed.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sat Nov 24, 2012, 08:26 AM (2 replies)

Harper government seeking alternatives to troubled F-35 fighter jet: sources


Harper government seeking alternatives to troubled F-35 fighter jet: sources
John Ivison | Nov 23, 2012 6:43 PM ET | Last Updated: Nov 23, 2012 7:03 PM ET

OTTAWA – The Conservative government will signal it is serious about buying an alternative to the F-35 fighter jet by asking rival manufacturers about the cost and availability of their planes, according to defence industry sources.

The formal request for information will be issued to rivals like Boeing, which produces the Superhornet, and the consortium that makes the Eurofighter Typhoon, asking them what jets are available, and at what cost, if the Canadian government decides to ditch the trouble-plagued F-35 purchase.

The pricing and availability information request falls short of a formal tender but government sources said the “market analysis” will send a signal to voters and industry that it is taking seriously the Auditor-General’s spring report that was heavily critical of the F-35 procurement process.

Rona Ambrose, the Public Works Minister, is now responsible for the F-35 purchase. She has signaled in the House of Commons in recent days that the government is not simply seeking to justify its previous decision to buy the F-35.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sat Nov 24, 2012, 08:08 AM (2 replies)

King David


King David

As the Petraeus scandal unfolded last week, we got a crash course on the Tampa social scene, General Allen's superhuman ability to write 20,000 to 30,000 pages of "potentially inappropriate" emails, and the romantic attraction of the six-minute mile. What we did not get was a serious discussion of whether it was a good idea to let a warrior-general run the CIA in the first place.

The real Petraeus story is about much more than a seedy tabloid sex scandal. It's about what he did on the job -- his brief tenure at Langley and the militarization of intelligence it represents.

To the outside world, intelligence and defense don't seem so different -- they're both vaguely national security-ish. But looks are deceiving. Military officers, as Samuel Huntington famously wrote, are professionals in the "management of violence." Intelligence, by contrast, is all about the management of information -- how to get it, analyze it, hide it from the wrong people, and share it with the right ones. The Pentagon's primary mission is to fight. The CIA's primary mission is to learn. Fighting and learning are related, but distinct, producing different organizational cultures, activities, and leadership requirements in the Pentagon and the CIA.

Three concerns arise whenever a military leader runs the agency. The first is the risk of tactical tilt -- that war-fighter directors will favor tactical military operations over long-term strategic assessments. Even with a $75 billion overall budget, U.S. intelligence agencies cannot do it all: Too much focus on today leaves us vulnerable to nasty surprises tomorrow.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sat Nov 24, 2012, 07:48 AM (1 replies)
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