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unhappycamper's Journal
unhappycamper's Journal
August 31, 2013

To The Members of Congress; Are you the Worthless Cowards You Seem to Be?


The members of Parliament have shown the rest of the world what abject, worthless, useless cowards the majority and the leadership of congress probably are.

To The Members of Congress; Are you the Worthless Cowards You Seem to Be?
OpEdNews Op Eds 8/30/2013 at 13:43:51
By Rob Kall

After having entered a tragic, useless war in Iraq based on lies and deceptions, which George Bush cast the US and England into, using false CIA information ginned with the conniving of Dick Cheney, the British have shown signs of sanity, courage and integrity-- standing up to one more national leader with all-powerful king syndrome.

But the members of the US congress don't have it-- they don't have the courage, the character, the will to take a stand, to defund the military and send the message to an out-of-control rogue president that the American people do not want him to start a war or send a message or fire cruise missiles at Syria.

There may be some questions of whether Obama needs congress's authorization or whether the congress can stop Obama. But they can surely take a stand and put Obama in a position where he's standing without any support.

It is sad, pathetic and disgusting that the Democratic leadership is not pulling together the Democratic party members of the house to stand united against a war that makes no sense. Of course, they are standing with Obama, though he as pretty much thrown them under the bus or ignored them, whenever it counts.

August 31, 2013

Iran, Not Syria, Is the West's Real Target


A general view shows a heavily damaged street in Syria's eastern town of Deir Ezzor on August 26, 2013.

Iran, Not Syria, Is the West's Real Target
by Robert Fisk
Published on Friday, August 30, 2013 by The Independent/UK

Before the stupidest Western war in the history of the modern world begins – I am, of course, referring to the attack on Syria that we all yet have to swallow – it might be as well to say that the cruise missiles which we confidently expect to sweep onto one of mankind’s oldest cities have absolutely nothing to do with Syria.

They are intended to harm Iran. They are intended to strike at the Islamic republic now that it has a new and vibrant president – as opposed to the crackpot Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – and when it just might be a little more stable.

Iran is Israel’s enemy. Iran is therefore, naturally, America’s enemy. So fire the missiles at Iran’s only Arab ally.

There is nothing pleasant about the regime in Damascus. Nor do these comments let the regime off the hook when it comes to mass gassing. But I am old enough to remember that when Iraq – then America’s ally – used gas against the Kurds of Hallabjah in 1988, we did not assault Baghdad. Indeed, that attack would have to wait until 2003, when Saddam no longer had any gas or any of the other weapons we had nightmares over.
August 31, 2013

If the British Can Stop Their Government From Waging War in Syria, Why Can't We?


If the British Can Stop Their Government From Waging War in Syria, Why Can't We?
Joseph A. Palermo
Posted: 08/30/2013 8:49 am

Today, once again, it feels like we're being herded into supporting a military action in Syria that will end up, like the Iraq War, making the world an even more dangerous place than it is now. Then, as now, we see influential journalists tripping over themselves to fall into line.

The British parliament's vote against going along with the United States' attack on Syria is a direct result of that country's attempts to come to terms with the lies of the Iraq War. Unlike the United States, the people in the United Kingdom forced their government to convene a commission where former Prime Minister Tony Blair and other Iraq War luminaries were asked some uncomfortable questions. (When was the last time you saw George W. Bush or Dick Cheney grilled for their roles in fomenting the Iraq War?) The vote in the U.K. shows that there are just enough people there who have apparently wised up to make a difference and aren't willing to let their elected representatives hoodwink them into another precipitous military action based on dubious "intelligence."

In 2008 (and in 2012) the American people rejected the neo-con, John Bolton view of the world, where the U.S. acts as the world's "indispensible" nation meting out "justice" through its awe-inspiring military power. Yet President Barack Obama is apparently preparing to bomb Syria unilaterally without even the pathetic "coalition of the willing" that had backed George W. Bush's attack on Iraq.

President Obama is moving us into another "national security" area where neo-con belligerence is considered the "new normal." He has already normalized executive branch assassinations, warrantless NSA surveillance, and cracking down on whistle blowers. Now, if he goes through with his unilateral bombing of Syria without a Congressional resolution or a United Nations mandate we'll be right back in the bad old days when George W. Bush set loose John Yoo to interpret the legal "limits" to presidential power. While claiming the moral high ground Obama is losing the moral high ground.
August 30, 2013

F-35 purchase could cost Canada $71-billion under worst-case scenario: report


The whole thing demonstrates how risky and frankly, for a government, reckless to throw so many eggs into this basket of one plane that hasn’t even been determined is suitable for Canada’s needs,' says NDP MP Jack Harris.

F-35 purchase could cost Canada $71-billion under worst-case scenario: report
Published: Thursday, 08/29/2013 9:20 pm EDT

PARLIAMENT HILL—A worst-case scenario of cost risks in a Department of National Defence report on a possible acquisition of 65 Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighter jets estimates the airplanes could cost Canada up to $71-billion through acquisition, sustainment and operations over 36 years.

The costs, $25-billion more than the current National Defence estimate, are contained in a section of the department’s latest report to Parliament on the F-35 that outlines “cost risk and uncertainty” and is intended to provide a range of effects on the cost of buying and operating a fleet of stealth attack planes if factors such as inflation, the exchange rate between the Canadian and U.S. dollar, the cost of fuel and the rate of aircraft to be produced by Lockheed Martin fluctuates either higher or lower than the estimates that are behind the current National Defence figures.

If Lockheed Martin expectations of more efficiency through continued production and economies of scale as it makes and sells an expected 3,100 jets are even just three per cent less than expected, the extra cost to Canada would be $6.1-billion over a current acquisition calendar which has the 65 aircraft being delivered over a seven-year period beginning in 2017.

That timeline is up in the air after Prime Minister Stephen Harper (Calgary Southwest, Alta.) and his government put the F-35 project on hold last year following a scathing report by Auditor General Michael Ferguson. The government is now engaged in reviewing final cost and industrial benefit submissions from four aircraft manufacturers, including Lockheed Martin and its F-35, as part of an options analysis it promised at the same time it suspended the F-35 plan.
August 30, 2013

New Snowden Leak Reports ‘Groundbreaking’ NSA Crypto-Cracking


New Snowden Leak Reports ‘Groundbreaking’ NSA Crypto-Cracking
By Kevin Poulsen
08.29.13 4:25 PM

The latest published leak from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden lays bare classified details of the U.S. government’s $52.6 billion intelligence budget, and makes the first reference in any of the Snowden documents to a “groundbreaking” U.S. encryption-breaking effort targeted squarely at internet traffic.

Snowden, currently living in Russia under a one-year grant of asylum, passed The Washington Post the 178-page intelligence community budget request for fiscal year 2013. Among the surprises reported by Post writers Barton Gellman and Greg Miller is that the CIA receives more money than the NSA: $14.7 billion for the CIA, versus $10.8 billion for the NSA. Until this morning it’s generally been believed that the geeky NSA, with its basements full of supercomputers, dwarfed its human-oriented counterparts.

The Post published only 43 pages from the document, consisting of charts, tables and a 5-page summary written by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. The Post said it withheld the rest, and kept some information out of its reporting, in consultation with the Obama administration to protect U.S. intelligence sources and methods.

One of those methods, though, is hinted at in the Clapper summary — and it’s interesting. Clapper briefly notes some programs the intelligence agencies are closing or scaling back, as well as those they’re pouring additional funds into. Overhead imagery captured by spy satellites was slated for reduction, for example, while SIGINT, the electronic spying that’s been the focus of the Snowden leaks, got a fresh infusion.
August 30, 2013

The Soul of Our Nation: War


US guided-missile destroyer USS Barry French anti-submarine frigate Jean de Vienne during an exercise. The Barry carries Tomahawk land-attack missiles and is on its way to the eastern Mediterranean for a possible strike on Syrian military targets.

The Soul of Our Nation: War
by Bruce Gagnon
Published on Thursday, August 29, 2013 by Common Dreams

The US has been providing Egypt with nearly $2 billion a year in "aid" since 1979. Most of this is military aid. That "aid" is then used to buy weapons from American corporations. So in reality most of US foreign aid becomes more welfare programs for the military industrial complex.

Because of current civil war conditions in Egypt the Obama team is having to hold off on providing more aid to that embattled nation. A recent Pew Research Center poll found that 51% of respondents said it's better to cut off military assistance to Egypt, while 26% backed continued aid.

The "aid" now on temporary hold would include: F-16 fighter jets from Lockheed Martin; M1A1 tanks from General Dynamics; and Apache attack helicopters made by Boeing Co.

CBS News reported on August 20: "The billion dollars in aid Congress approved for Egypt does not go directly to Cairo, it goes to places such as Archbald, Pennsylvania. The General Dynamics factory there makes parts for the M1A1 tank. General Dynamics is filling an order for 125 tank kits for the Egyptian Army. One-hundred-thirty people work at the Archbald facility."
August 29, 2013

Viral Photo Sparks Honor, Not Pity — Finally


Viral Photo Sparks Honor, Not Pity — Finally
August 28, 2013, in Spouse & Family News, Wounded Spouse by Amy Bushatz


Former Marine Staff Sgt. Jesse Cottle lost his legs in Afghanistan in 2009 when he stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED). The picture, taken this month at a family photo shoot near Boise, Id., shows Cottle and his wife Kelly just after their one year wedding anniversary as she carries him back to his legs which he had removed for a different part of the shoot.
August 29, 2013

NSA Spying Abroad isn’t OK Either (Kurzman)


NSA Spying Abroad isn’t OK Either (Kurzman)
Posted on 08/29/2013 by Juan Cole

Many Americans were upset to learn this month that the National Security Agency is recording cellphone conversations in the United States, violating its mandate to operate only outside of the country.

According to an internal agency audit that was leaked to the Washington Post, almost all of these incidents involved what the NSA calls “roamers”: “Roaming incidents occur when valid foreign target selector(s) are active in the U.S. … Roamer incidents are largely unpreventable, even with good target awareness and traffic review, since target travel activities are often unannounced and not easily predicted.”

Debate over the “roamers” has focused on a narrow legal concern: Did the NSA overstep its authority by continuing to record the conversations of foreign targets once they arrived in the United States? The NSA’s chief compliance officer assured reporters that the agency erased the recordings as soon as it identified them as domestic calls.

In other words, the NSA labeled these foreigners as enough of a threat that it recorded their conversations. Then it let them in the country. Then, when the NSA realized they were in the country, it stopped recording their conversations. Really?

August 27, 2013

Exclusive: United Tech, Pentagon in $1 billion-plus deal for F-35 engines


Exclusive: United Tech, Pentagon in $1 billion-plus deal for F-35 engines
By Andrea Shalal-Esa

WASHINGTON | Mon Aug 26, 2013 1:42pm EDT

(Reuters) - Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies Corp, has reached an agreement in principle with the Pentagon on a contract to build 39 engines for a sixth batch of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, three sources familiar with the deal said on Monday.

The agreement - which Pratt had expected to reach over a month ago - is valued at more than $1 billion, said the sources, who were not authorized to speak publicly.

The Pentagon agreed on the terms of a contract for the sixth and seventh orders of F-35s with Lockheed Martin Corp, which builds the jets, in late July. The government buys the engines separately from Pratt & Whitney, which is the sole producer of engines for the radar-evading warplane.

The negotiations between Pratt and the Pentagon's F-35 program office had focused only on engines for the sixth batch, with separate discussions planned for a seventh batch of F135 engines.

unhappycamper comment: I like the way Lockheed tries to get the cost of the F-35 down.

$1 billion dollars / 39 = $25,641,025 per engine.

August 27, 2013

High PCB Levels in Mongooses: The US Must Make Past Use and Storage of PCBs Public


Soil and water pollution caused by chemical substances and heavy metals from the U.S. bases have been identified time and again, but the recent test results showing a potential impact on wildlife are really shocking.

High PCB Levels in Mongooses: The US Must Make Past Use and Storage of PCBs Public
Ryukyu Shimpo, Japan
By Editorial
Translated By Katie Tremmel
20 August 2013
Edited by Brent Landon

Research groups from Ehime University and Meio University have discovered high concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in mongooses found near two U.S. bases in Okinawa. Soil and water pollution caused by chemical substances and heavy metals from the U.S. bases have been identified time and again, but the recent test results showing a potential impact on wildlife are really shocking. It was reported that “there is a possibility that this could spread to other animals and the local residents.” Both Japanese and U.S. government officials should take this matter seriously and begin investigating the source of the pollution immediately.

In August and September of 2008, the research groups collected six mongooses in the area surrounding Futenma Air Base and a seventh near the Makiminato Service Area in Urasoe, most of which had been killed in traffic accidents. PCBs were detected in all seven mongooses.

The report showed that the concentration of a type of PCBs called mono-ortho PCBs was more than one order of magnitude higher than that of mongooses in other areas of Okinawa, and one to two orders of magnitude higher than that of animals such as cats and wild boars on the mainland. The research group pointed out, “There is a possibility that PCBs are leaking from transformers or condensers in the surrounding area.” We need to make the search for the source of this pollution our top priority.


At the end of November 1995, the Onna communication site was returned to Okinawa; in March of the following year, cadmium, mercury and PCBs were detected there. However, on the grounds of the U.S.-Japan Status of Forces Agreement, which exempts the U.S. military from any obligation to restore military sites to their original condition before returning them to Japan, the U.S. refused to deal with the mess. To this day those dangerous substances are still being stored in the Air Self-Defense Force Onna subbase.

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