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unhappycamper's Journal
unhappycamper's Journal
July 15, 2015

Another Good Man Gone


Anthony F. "Tony" Flaherty

Tony getting arrested with 17 others on Veteran's Day, 2007

FLAHERTY Anthony F. “Tony” Flaherty, 84, of South Boston, died following a brief illness on July 13, 2015. Tony was a retired Naval Officer with more than 26 years of service to our country. He was a civic activist who, as a member of Veterans for Peace, advocated for an end to hatred, violence and war. Father of Paul Flaherty and wife Barbara of SC, Colin Flaherty of Boston, Barry Flaherty and wife Susan of NC, Ellen Flaherty Shatwells of TX, and Kathryn Flaherty Robichau of Marshfield. Brother of Kathleen Flaherty of South Boston and the late Barbara Adams. Also survived by his long-time loving companion Barbara Kenney of Centerville, seven grandchildren, four great grandchildren and many close friends and family including John Lipton of Boston. Visiting Hours from 3:00P.M.-6:00 P.M. Friday July 17 at the Hamel, Wickens & Troupe Funeral Home, 26 Adams Street, QUINCY CENTER. Immediately following the visitation, relatives and friends will gather at the Neighborhood Club of Quincy located nearby at 27 Glendale Road, Quincy, for a service of remembrance, after which all will be invited to enjoy a time of fellowship and refreshment. Funeral and burial details are private. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions in Tony’s memory be made to the following Catholic charity: Agape Community, 2062 Greenwich Rd, Ware, MA 01082 Hamel, Wickens & Troupe hamelfuneralcare.com


Tony was an amazing man.

I first met him in March 2004 when I went to a rally on Boston Common protesting dubya's Iraq Adventure. IIRC it was kinda coolish and we were still wearing winter coats. Howard Zinn was one of the speakers. A bunch of guys standing behind this banner caught my attention:

I distinctly remember Tony - he was wearing a Tirolean Hat (I haven't seen one of these since I left Germany in 1973).

I'd like to share a Tony Flaherty story with you:

Last year Tony was having problems with his appetite and sleeping. I had just received both my Mass Medical Marijuana card and was trying different 'flavors' to determine was worked best for back (and brain) pain. At the time I had Girl Scout Cookies and two flavors of Kush.

I go down to a local head shop near Kenmore Sq and pick up a vaporizer and I'm off to Tony's place. I'm explaining how the vaporizer works when his sister (Katy) walks in. I fire the vap up and put in a pinch of Girl Scout Cookies - Tony takes a hit and is wearing a really stupid grin inside of a minute. Katy's looking at Tony's grin and I asked her if she wanted to try. "Yup" she says. Five minutes later both of them are grinning like fools. GSC helped Tony to sleep the last year of his life.

RIP Tony, I'm gonna miss you.

April 21, 2015

(SECNAV) Mabus: F-35 Will Be ‘Last Manned Strike Fighter’ the Navy, Marines ‘Will Ever Buy or Fly’


Mabus: F-35 Will Be ‘Last Manned Strike Fighter’ the Navy, Marines ‘Will Ever Buy or Fly’
By: Sam LaGrone
April 15, 2015 1:55 PM • Updated: April 15, 2015 3:56 PM

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus said the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) will be “almost certainly will be, the last manned strike fighter aircraft the Department of the Navy will ever buy or fly,” signaling key assumptions in the Navy’s aviation future as the service prepares to develop follow-ons to the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.

“Unmanned systems, particularly autonomous ones, have to be the new normal in ever-increasing areas,” Mabus said.
For example, as good as it is, and as much as we need it and look forward to having it in the fleet for many years, the F-35 should be, and almost certainly will be, the last manned strike fighter aircraft the Department of the Navy will ever buy or fly.”

To address the emerging role unmanned weapon systems, Mabus announced a new deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for unmanned systems and a new Navy staff position — alongside warfare directorates like surface and air warfare — N-99.

The positions were created “so that all aspects of unmanned – in all domains – over, on and under the sea and coming from the sea to operate on land – will be coordinated and championed,” Mabus said.


If the F-35 is going to be “the last manned strike fighter aircraft the Department of the Navy will ever buy or fly” , why the fuck do we need to spend another $1 trillion dollars for this not-ready-for-prime-time POS:

a) has been on the drawing board for over 14 years
b) has triggered Nunn-McCurdy at least twice
c) has (very) short legs
d) is underpowered
e) needs a half-million dollar brain bucket (helmet)
f) adds nothing to the combat mix
g) and costs at least $300+ million

The US Navy has lost its way.


Navy, Newport News Seeking Ways to Cut Carrier Costs, Introduce More Competition
By: Megan Eckstein
April 15, 2015 4:09 PM

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. – Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert said the Navy is making good progress learning lessons from first-in-class Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) aircraft carrier and lowering costs for the follow-on John F. Kennedy (CVN-79), but he said more innovative ideas might be needed to introduce competition and continue to cut out cost.

Asked during the service chiefs panel Monday at the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space 2015 Exposition whether he was confident the aircraft carrier program could meet its congressionally mandated cost caps by identifying and implementing lessons learned, Greenert responded: “I am not personally so confident that I can declare here just based on lessons learned. But on the other hand, what I am confident of, because we’re seeing it, that we are learning lessons.”

“We are learning that you need detailed design before you should start construction because designing and constructing at the same time on such a huge project is inefficient at best. That you have to purchase, you have to have an efficient and effective way to purchase materials and define that as quickly as possible so that the buyer – which there are so many subvendors involved here – can get on with what they’re doing.”

Greenert said he meets regularly with Navy acquisition chief Sean Stackley to discuss ways to not only meet the cost caps for Kennedy but also how to bring further innovation and cost-savings into the program.


The lessons learned:

a) accept an UNFINISHED aircraft carrier for $13 billion dollars to avoid ANOTHER Nunn-McCurdy 'ding' (another two years before it's done)
b) lay the keel on the next Ford-class aircraft carrier and see how much that one costs.


The Littoral Combat Ship is another Navy fuck up.


CRS Report for Congress Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program:Background, Issues, and Options for Congress


Unit Procurement Cost Cap

LCS sea frames procured in FY2010 and subsequent years are subject to a unit procurement cost cap. The legislative history of the cost cap is as follows:

The cost cap was originally established by Section 124 of the FY2006 defense authorization act (H.R. 1815/P.L. 109-163 of January 6, 2006). Under this provision, the fifth and sixth ships in the class were to cost no more than $220 million each, plus adjustments for inflation and other factors.

The cost cap was amended by Section 125 of the FY2008 defense authorization act (H.R. 4986/P.L. 110-181 of January 28, 2008). This provision amended the cost cap to $460 million per ship, with no adjustments for inflation, and applied the cap to all LCSs procured in FY2008 and subsequent years.

The cost cap was amended again by Section 122 of the FY2009 defense authorization act (S. 3001/P.L. 110-417 of October 14, 2008). This provision deferred the implementation of the cost cap by two years, applying it to all LCSs procured in FY2010 and subsequent years.

The cost cap was amended again by Section 121(c) and (d) of the FY2010 defense authorization act (H.R. 2647/P.L. 111-84 of October 28, 2009). The provision adjusted the cost cap to $480 million per ship, excluded certain costs from being counted against the $480 million cap, included provisions for adjusting the $480 million figure over time to take inflation and other events into account, and permitted the Secretary of the Navy to waive (see below) the cost cap under certain conditions. The Navy states that after taking inflation into account, the $480 million figure equates, as of December 2010, to $538 million.

Section 121(d)(1) states that the Secretary of the Navy may waive the cost cap if:

(A) the Secretary provides supporting data and certifies in writing to the congressional defense
committees that—
(i) the total amount obligated or expended for procurement of the vessel-
(I) is in the best interest of the United States; and
(II) is affordable, within the context of the annual naval vessel construction plan required by section 231 of title 10, United States Code; and
(ii) the total amount obligated or expended for procurement of at least one other vessel authorized by subsection (a) has been or is expected to be less than $480,000,000; and
(B) a period of not less than 30 days has expired following the date on which such certification and data are submitted to the congressional defense committees.

The first two Littoral Combat Ships cost around $1.5 billion. I can hardly wait to hear the next excuse why .....................

February 12, 2015

‘Lone Wolf,’ ‘Self-Radicalized': Islamophobic Buzzwords never applied to White Terrorists


‘Lone Wolf,’ ‘Self-Radicalized': Islamophobic Buzzwords never applied to White Terrorists
By Juan Cole | Feb. 12, 2015

Did a self-radicalized lone wolf white terrorist kill three young Muslim students in cold blood in Chapel Hill? It is a kind of a stupid question, but its stupidity is just more apparent when asked of someone with an English last name. What does self-radicalized or lone wolf even mean?

Craig Hicks constantly shared anti-Muslim and anti-Christian links on social media and proclaimed to believers, ““I have every right to insult a religion that goes out of its way to insult, to judge, and to condemn me as an inadequate human being — which your religion does with self-righteous gusto…” I think we may conclude that he didn’t like Muslims, and one of the victims told her father that before her death. While he may have been provoked to his rage by a parking incident and while he clearly is one egg short of an omelette, the “new atheist” discourse of believers as oppressive and coercive per se is part of his problem.

“Terrorism” has been racialized in the American press and law enforcement community, marked as having to do with Muslims but almost never used to refer to people of northern European background. A few years ago, when a police spokesman said that “We have concluded that event was not terrorism,” likely what he meant is that no Muslims were involved or that no cell or organization was.

Racializing dissent has an old genealogy in American politics. In the early twentieth century, Jewish-American immigrants were suspected of socialism and Italian-Americans of anarchism. In the Red Scare of 1917-1920, workers who joined labor actions were falsely accused of Communism and were targeted for mob violence, especially if they had “foreign names.” African-Americans who had come north to work in factories during the war, filling a domestic labor shortage, were likewise tagged as subversive. Somehow persons of English ancestry with names like Worthington — even if they were blue collar workers– were not assumed to be Communists or foreign agents or radicals. Russian-Americans were deported. In Illinois after the war, a mob attacked Italian-Americans and razed their homes.
February 2, 2015

War Is the New Normal: Seven Deadly Reasons Why America’s Wars Persist


War Is the New Normal: Seven Deadly Reasons Why America’s Wars Persist
By contributors | Feb. 2, 2015
By William J. Astore | (Tomdispatch.com) –


1. The privatization of war: The U.S. military’s recourse to private contractors has strengthened the profit motive for war-making and prolonged wars as well. Unlike the citizen-soldiers of past eras, the mobilized warrior corporations of America’s new mercenary moment — the Halliburton/KBRs (nearly $40 billion in contracts for the Iraq War alone), the DynCorps ($4.1 billion to train 150,000 Iraqi police), and the Blackwater/Xe/Academis ($1.3 billion in Iraq, along with boatloads of controversy) — have no incentive to demobilize. Like most corporations, their business model is based on profit through growth, and growth is most rapid when wars and preparations for more of them are the favored options in Washington.


2. The embrace of the national security state by both major parties: Jimmy Carter was the last president to attempt to exercise any kind of control over the national security state. A former Navy nuclear engineer who had served under the demanding Admiral Hyman Rickover, Carter cancelled the B-1 bomber and fought for a U.S. foreign policy based on human rights. Widely pilloried for talking about nuclear war with his young daughter Amy, Carter was further attacked for being “weak” on defense. His defeat by Ronald Reagan in 1980 inaugurated 12 years of dominance by Republican presidents that opened the financial floodgates for the Department of Defense. That taught Bill Clinton and the Democratic Leadership Council a lesson when it came to the wisdom of wrapping the national security state in a welcoming embrace, which they did, however uncomfortably. This expedient turn to the right by the Democrats in the Clinton years served as a temporary booster shot when it came to charges of being “soft” on defense — until Republicans upped the ante by going “all-in” on military crusades in the aftermath of 9/11.


3. “Support Our Troops” as a substitute for thought. You’ve seen them everywhere: “Support Our Troops” stickers. In fact, the “support” in that slogan generally means acquiescence when it comes to American-style war. The truth is that we’ve turned the all-volunteer military into something like a foreign legion, deploying it again and again to our distant battle zones and driving it into the ground in wars that amount to strategic folly. Instead of admitting their mistakes, America’s leaders have worked to obscure them by endlessly overpraising our “warriors” as so many universal heroes. This may salve our collective national conscience, but it’s a form of cheap grace that saves no lives — and wins no wars.


4. Fighting a redacted war. War, like the recent Senate torture report, is redacted in America. Its horrors and mistakes are suppressed, its patriotic whistleblowers punished, even as the American people are kept in a demobilized state. The act of going to war no longer represents the will of the people, as represented by formal Congressional declarations of war as the U.S. Constitution demands. Instead, in these years, Americans were told to go to Disney World (as George W. Bush suggested in the wake of 9/11) and keep shopping. They’re encouraged not to pay too much attention to war’s casualties and costs, especially when those costs involve foreigners with funny-sounding names (after all, they are, as American sniper Chris Kyle so indelicately put it in his book, just “savages”).
January 18, 2015

The United States Is Open for Business in Iraq


"Every mistake by Washington is a boon for future arms sales," writes Van Buren.

The United States Is Open for Business in Iraq
Thursday, 15 January 2015 13:15
By Peter Van Buren, TomDispatch | News Analysis

The current American war in Iraq is a struggle in search of a goal. It began in August as a humanitarian intervention, morphed into a campaign to protect Americans in-country, became a plan to defend the Kurds, followed by a full-on crusade to defeat the new Islamic State (IS, aka ISIS, aka ISIL), and then... well, something in Syria to be determined at a later date.

At the moment, Iraq War 3.0 simply drones on, part bombing campaign, part mission to train the collapsed army the U.S. military created for Iraq War 2.0, all amid a miasma of incoherent mainstream media coverage. American troops are tiptoeing closer to combat (assuming you don't count defensive operations, getting mortared, and flying ground attack helicopters as “combat”), even as they act like archaeologists of America’s warring past, exploring the ruins of abandoned U.S. bases. Meanwhile, Shia militias are using the conflict for the ethnic cleansing of Sunnis and Iran has become an ever-more significant player in Iraq's affairs. Key issues of the previous American occupation of the country -- corruption, representative government, oil revenue-sharing -- remain largely unresolved. The Kurds still keep “winning” against the militants of IS in the city of Kobani on the Turkish border without having “won.”

In the meantime, Washington’s rallying cry now seems to be: “Wait for the spring offensive!” In translation that means: wait for the Iraqi army to get enough newly American-trained and -armed troops into action to make a move on Mosul. That city is, of course, the country’s second largest and still ruled by the new “caliphate” proclaimed by Islamic State head Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. All in all, not exactly inspiring stuff.

You can't have victory if you have no idea where the finish line is. But there is one bright side to the situation. If you can't create Victory in Iraq for future VI Day parades, you can at least make a profit from the disintegrating situation there.
January 6, 2015

An Elephant (the US) in a China Closet (the world)


An Elephant (the US) in a China Closet (the world)
OpEdNews Op Eds 1/5/2015 at 12:25:45
An Elephant (the US) in a China Closet (the world)
By Joseph Clifford

Imagine unleashing an elephant in a large room filled with precious antiquities collected from around the world over the millennia. The elephant would destroy, smash, and break, priceless artifacts that had survived thousands of years. Now imagine the elephant as the United States as it conducts its foreign policy around the world. We have smashed, broken and destroyed, ancient civilizations that had survived for thousands of years. We have destroyed infrastructure, health care systems, and entire cultures, on our rampage around the world. Iraq, known for thousands of years as the "cradle of civilization" has been smashed to pieces, its economy destroyed, the rule of law is gone, and over a million people have died since the elephant began its stampede in Iraq. We are the elephant, and we did this to the birthplace of civilization. We reduced it to its present state of 50,000 deaths in 2014 because the elephant unleased the worst weapon possible; sectarian hatred, in a formerly stable country. Even the name and the boundaries of the former Iraq have been wiped from the maps of the world forever. Iraq as a nation is gone and in its place is a lawless, death filled, area of a now primitive society.

But the elephant is on a rampage and the he continues to smash other cultures and civilizations in that area of the world. Libya was "helped" by the elephant and Libya is now a failed state characterized by tribal warfare and a completely non functioning government. The elephant spent 2 billion dollars bombing Libya for 90 consecutive days, pretending to "help" the people of Libya. Government has all but disappeared, and rival tribal chieftains kill for control. The elephant did this to Libya. Mainstream media no longer covers Libya, but rest assured it is almost as bad as Iraq, and will only get worse as the rule of law continues to erode with no one able to restore a semblance of order. The French Defense Minister is now saying Libya is becoming a "terrorist sanctuary" and the weapons that flooded Libya are being sent to other nearby countries to be used in spreading more death. Libya, like Iraq has been destroyed, smashed, and broken by the rogue elephant, and Libya just like Iraq is no longer a country. Its boundaries will disappear in the next few years as the anarchy continues.

Now the elephant is rampaging through Syria, once again tearing that society apart and breaking all in its path. The rogue elephant decided to "help" Syria by getting rid of a leader the elephant did not like, and in an effort to rid Syria of the leader we don't like, we have escalated an already brutal civil war by flooding the country with weapons of death, and by bombing whomever we feel should be bombed. An estimated 76,000 deaths have occurred in 2014, and possibly millions have been displaced. The US bombing has slowed as of late because the elephant has run out of targets, but that won't stop the elephant for long. He will turn around and smash his way through already destroyed areas to insure total devastation. Syria in the next few years will disappear as a nation, and the same kind of lawlessness society will emerge where the rule of the jungle is in effect, yet another country completely destroyed by the elephant will be reduced to anarchy, death, and despair.

Under the guise of "helping", the elephant has completely destroyed Iraq, Libya, and Syria, and the elephant is not done his work. Two ambitious targets are still in the room with the rogue elephant. Already the elephant has the scent of Iran and Russia, and knows the road to Iran must go through Damascus which explains why Syria is being destroyed. Syria leads to Iran. Once Tehran is destroyed, the elephant can turn his attention to the biggest prize, Russia. The rogue elephant might just have met its match in the taking on Russia, for she too is a large elephant, and everything in the arena will be destroyed in the clash. Wake up folks. US foreign policy has been co opted by a group of sub humans who thrive on anarchy and destruction. If you believe the architects of foreign policy have just made ignorant mistakes your wrong. No one could be this stupid; this is all by design. If you don't make an effort to contain the rogue elephant you're going to be trampled in the great fight to come.
January 6, 2015

National Shame: 50,000 Homeless Veterans Nationwide


ABC News | —

“ABC News’ Bob Woodruff travels the country examining new efforts end homelessness among US veterans.”

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