Tag Archives: Pentagon

Memory Hole: Militarized Police Edition

I’m glad the Ferguson protests have sparked a debate about our militarized police. When I first heard the reports I immediately thought of this post I did back in March 2008. Though the post was ostensibly about CBS’ “60 Minutes” journalistic failure, the point relevant here is that the Pentagon had developed a crowd-control device called the “Active Denial System” which, thanks to blasted government bureaucracy, had yet to be deployed. Even though “60 Minutes” — and the Pentagon — were just certain we needed to use this new weapon in Iraq, of all places. Can you imagine!

But the Pentagon tipped its hand in its promotional video, which did not show this fancy new weapon used in a foreign land. Nope, it showed the Active Denial System deployed on anti-war protesters here at home.

From the post:

The “Active Denial System” is a non-lethal “ray gun” which zaps its target with super high-frequency radio waves. In other words, it’s a crowd control device. Gee, now I wonder how the government would use something like that?

Perhaps we have a little clue in the Pentagon’s demonstration video, which they aired as part of last night’s segment. The clip shows a group of people carrying signs that read “Love For All,” “End The War” and “World Peace.”

Coming soon to a police department near you? I can only imagine.

From gun loonz carting military assault rifles at Walmart and Kroger to armored vehicles manned by local police departments, the lesson is clear: Be careful what weapons of war you choose, taxpayers. They will soon appear in your own backyards.

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Filed under Pentagon

Wait I Thought Socialized Medicine Was EVIL

Oh, the irony:

Troops provide free medical care in KY, TN

July 28, 2013 18:35 EDT

PADUCAH, Ky. (AP) — Licensed medical professionals serving in the military are on a mission to provide free medical care to residents in western Kentucky and Tennessee.

The Paducah Sun reports (http://bit.ly/15ppIjQ ) that a program called Innovative Readiness Training provides medical screening, non-emergency medical treatment, minor lab tests, optometry exams and free glasses.

Services also include prescription assistance services, educational information and dental exams.

The program wrapped up a deployment in Martin, Tenn., on July 17. More than 3,200 patients received services ranging from general health and optical care to oral care in Martin.

The program will begin taking patients Aug. 5 in Mayfield, Ky. The mission also will visit Hayti, Mo., Dyersburg, Tenn., and Blytheville, Ark.

The mission is part of a partnership with the Delta Regional Authority and the Department of Defense.

First of all, yay. This service is really needed in this part of the country, so good on them.

Second of all, if you’re out there waving misspelled signs about the evils of socialized medicine while cheering free healthcare provided by the most socialized agency of the U.S. government then I have a cup of STFU with your name on it. Seriously, y’all: yesterday at the grocery store I saw a car plastered with Tea Party bumper stickers (“Don’t Tread On Me,” “Liberty And Freedom!,” “End Socialism,” “Abolish The IRS,” etc. etc. along with a lovely U.S. Army specialty license plate. I didn’t think it was possible for that much stupid to fit on the back of one vehicle.)

Thirdly, if this is your solution to the nation’s healthcare crisis, then you are out of ideas and need to get to the back of the line and shut up.

Fourthly, if you can’t at least admit that “the best healthcare system in the world” wouldn’t have stuff like this going on somewhere every weekend, then you shouldn’t be crafting healthcare policy:

Sampson was one of an estimated 3,000 uninsured or under insured patients who lined up for hours — even days — to receive free medical, dental and eye care at the 14th annual Remote Area Medical clinic at the Wise County Fairgrounds in far Southwest Virginia.

The three-day event draws thousands every year from the coalfields of Appalachia for charity health care and is staffed by a small army of nearly 2,000 volunteers.

Sampson, 47, from Hiltons , arrived Saturday with her boyfriend, his son and a friend and slept overnight in a compact Kia Sephia so they could be seen Sunday. They waited in line more than eight hours Saturday just to wake up and be back at 5 a.m. Sunday.

The best healthcare in the world ain’t worth a fart in the breeze if the people who need it can’t access it. And there is no way on earth you can convince me that a compassionate, “Christian” nation would treat its sick and poor this way.

This is the sign of a broken system, not a functioning one. I read stories like this and I know I’m supposed to get the warm fuzzies, aww ain’t it sweet this medical student is volunteering his time! Yes, it’s sweet, good for him, good for all of them. Thank God for them. But dammit, people! He shouldn’t have to!

It shouldn’t have to be this way!

Get a damn clue.

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Filed under healthcare, Pentagon

A Tale Of Two Federal Budget Items

Wow, to hear House Republicans these days, the food stamp program called SNAP is rife with fraud and corruption, has grown too big and is adding to the budget deficit. It must die.

Meanwhile, the same people overwhelmingly supported a new defense bill which, while offering some good protections to victims of sexual assault, also was padded with lots of extra spending. Such as:

The bill also restricts the transfer of detainees from Guantánamo Bay, funds construction of a new East Coast missile defense site and gives the Pentagon $5 billion more than requested for the war in Afghanistan.

Well isn’t that peachy! Sequester, semeshter! Because we all know the Pentagon is never, ever corrupt, fraud never happens, and the Pentagon would never add to our budget deficit. Hey, empires are expensive, y’all! :

huffpo-20120208-militaryspendingUS

What a bunch of fiscal phonies. Guess they’re going to force Senate Democrats to vote against this, so they can run those lovely ads accusing such-and-such liberal of voting against helping sexual assault victims in the military. I can hear it now: “They accuse us of waging a war on women, but look what Senator McLefty CommieHippie did!”

Assholes. Two can play at that game. Look who took food out of the mouth of a hungry child so they can continue to fund wars and killing? And you call yourselves Christians? For shame.

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Filed under budget, Congress, defense, deficit, food, Pentagon, Republican Party

$700 Toilet Seats

Hey guess what, everybody! Someone found $900 million worth of stuff in the Pentagon’s sofa cushions:

The Army program charged with keeping thousands of eight-wheeled Strykers running over the past decade had its eye so much on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that it neglected to keep its books.

It accumulated nearly $900 million worth of Stryker replacement parts – most of them in an Auburn warehouse – with much of the gear becoming outdated even as the military continued to order more equipment, according to a Defense Department Inspector General report released late last year.

Take, for instance, the $57 million worth of obsolete infrared equipment the Army has not installed in Strykers since 2007. It lingered at the Stryker warehouse until the Inspector General called attention to it last year.

Or, the 9,179 small replacement gears called pinions the Army bought as a temporary fix for a Stryker suspension problem that surfaced between 2007 and 2009. The Army took care of the root malfunction in 2010, but kept buying pinions.

It needed only 15 of the gears. The 9,164 extra pinions are worth $572,000, the Inspector General reported.

Yes, Republicans. Do tell me how we can’t possibly cut the Pentagon budget without “endangering the homeland.” I’m all ears. And while you’re at it, remind me how food stamps and Head Start are budget-busters but the Pentagon ordering hundreds of millions of dollars of parts it can’t even use is not.

The Stryker inventory is purchased from major defense contractor General Dynamics, which has a no-bid contract. They, of course, had no comment. Of interest:

The military had awarded General Dynamics a no-bid contract that promised to reimburse its expenses for maintaining the Strykers while adding a fee, giving the company little incentive to control costs.

Yes, that would be wrong. Because freedom and SHUT UP.

BTW I find it amusing that the article quotes Lexington Institute “defense analyst” Daniel Goure, who is quoted as saying of the error,

“This is truly much ado about nothing” he said. “It’s essentially miscommunication.”

Goure appears all over the mainstream press with regularity. You’ll see him quoted in the New York Times and he’s on NPR, Fox and NBC, to name a few. As he was in this story, Goure is always identified merely as a “defense analyst with the Lexington Institute.” First of all, he’s a vice president, not a mere “analyst.” And then, of ocurse, no one ever bothers to mention that Goure worked in the Bush Administration Defense Department, was part of the PNAC study group that gave us the glorious Iraq War, and that the Lexington Institute is another one of those free-market, the-Constitution-is-cemented-in-the-18th-Century far-right talking point factories which has taken such extreme positions as advocating we withdraw from NATO. Furthermore, the Lexington Institute is funded by the same defense contractors that its “analysts” are always defending in the press (indeed, Lexington Institute founder James Courter was a lobbyist for such defense contractors as Lockheed Martin and SRI International.) So, y’know, just your average military industrial complex neocon.

This $900 million “no big deal” is proof of the grift and graft you get when the for-profit private sector bellies up to the government sugar tit. But again, it’s no big deal! Only $900 million! Quit yer whining! (By the way, that’s 90 times more than what we give Big Bird.)

Fiscal phonies.

By the way, we only needed 15 pinions but somehow managed to buy 9,179 of them? And nobody noticed? Shouldn’t there be some kind of Congressional investigation?

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Filed under budget, military contractors, Pentagon

Pigs At The Trough, Etc.

A whistleblower lawsuit has been filed against private defense contractor Jorge Scientific, described in the link as a “billion dollar government contractor.” According to the lawsuit, Jorge’s Kabul, Afghanistan operation indulged in such flagrant and gross misconduct, it placed the U.S. mission in Afghanistan at risk.

What kind of misconduct? Take it away:

For example, they indiscriminately fired weapons and possessed grenades (legally prohibited for government contractors), and drunken Jorge supervisors tossed live ammunition into house party bonfires causing the bullets to explode and destroy property. In one case, an errant bullet struck a Jorge employee near his eye and exploding bullets regularly found their way into the nearby civilian community causing Afghani civilian and military neighbors to complain – Jorge ignored those complaints.

Oooh that’s bad. But you know, not that bad, right? Wrong:

According to court documents alcohol abuse at the Villa was so prevalent, that in an inebriated and oxycodone induced state, Sullivan once placed a loaded gun in the mouth of an Islamic Jorge employee and called him “my nigga.” Another documented incident shows a Jorge executive drunk with a firearm snagged in his waist belt and disparaging “f…ing Arabs.” In another incident, two Jorge employees driving home drunk from a bar ended up in a ditch, clearly violating local customs and Islamic codes which prohibit alcohol consumption and driving under the influence.

Naturally, these alcohol-and-oxy parties were paid for by the U.S. taxpayer. And then we have this alleged incident, which is so bad you almost want to laugh:

In yet another incident captured on video, Jorge’s security manager for the entire country of Afghanistan was so intoxicated he was choking on his own vomit. When one of the relators tried to retrieve the medic from his bedroom to provide treatment, the relator found the medic himself intoxicated and drugged on ketamine to the point of incoherence, unresponsive with a syringe and a bag of horse tranquilizer on the floor and blood trickling from the medic’s arm.

Man I hope some of that video ends up on YouTube.

If these were military personnel there would be courts-martial and the like. But they’re not. They’re private contractors, and they’re going to keep feeding at the trough. Any repercussions will be swept under the rug. The company will change its name and land itself another cushy security contract, while Republicans continue to sell the idea that cutting our defense budget puts the country at risk.

Your tax dollars at work.

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Filed under Afghanistan War, defense, privatization, war economy

Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One Before

Q: What’s the difference between a single mother on welfare and the F-35 fighter jet?
A: The welfare mom actually works:

August 5, 2011 (by Lieven Dewitte) – For the third time in less than a year, the Pentagon has grounded all F-35 joint strike fighters because of a mechanical problem. The F-35s thus join the F-22 Raptors in stand down mode.

All flight and ground operations for the Joint Strike Fighter were ceased after the integrated power package (IPP) on a U.S. Air Force variant test aircraft failed on August 2nd during a ground maintenance run at Edwards Air Force Base.

The 20 operational test and training aircraft were parked and will stay that way until engineers and technicians can find why a power system that starts and cools the aircraft failed during an engine ground test Tuesday at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Flight and ground tests could potentially be suspended for a few weeks.

Heh. No wonder they call the F-35 the jet that ate the Pentagon. From last May:

The Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and many foreign partners plan to buy thousands of the fighter-attack jets over the next two decades to replace a variety of aging aircraft, but the development schedule of the stealthy fighter has slipped five years to 2018 and the projected cost to the Pentagon for 2,457 aircraft has ballooned to $385 billion, making it by far the most expensive weapons program in history.

The Government Accountability Office reported that although Pentagon management of the program is improving, developers have only completely verified 4 percent of the F-35’s capabilities. The program received another blow this week when the Senate Armed Services Committee learned that the Pentagon will likely have to spend $1 trillion over the next 50 years to operate and maintain the fleet of F-35s. Evidently reeling from sticker shock, Sen. John McCain demanded that “we at least begin considering alternatives.” But is it too late to prevent the F-35 program from devouring the Pentagon’s future procurement budgets?

That’s a rhetorical question, right? There’s always money for war, you idiots!

After the painful debt ceiling political theater we just endured, though, this is a hard pill to swallow. I just can’t believe we’re cutting programs vital to people’s health and welfare while sinking hundreds of billions of dollars into the bottomless pit that is the Pentagon. And yes, this truly is a black hole:

Air Force officials themselves may now doubt the wisdom of the size of the commitment to the F-35. According to a recent Aviation Week story, Air Force Undersecretary Erin Conaton placed new emphasis on the importance of the Air Force’s next-generation long-range bomber. With procurement funds sure to be tight in the decade ahead, Conaton hinted that the Air Force may have to raid the F-35’s future budgets in order to help pay for the new bomber.

Ah well, nothing to see here, let’s move along to the next trillion dollar bomber program! Bygones!

You know what’s funny? President Obama has already pledged to cut $400 billion from defense, while Leon Panetta has said anything over $350 billion would be tragic. So I guess that means we’ve agreed on $385 billion, the cost of this one failing program, hmm? You wanna bet?

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Filed under budget, defense, deficit, Pentagon