Guys who protect nuclear weapons — can’t find their hand grenades!


Something looking like this

The Air Force is offering $5,000 for leads on the whereabouts of a box of explosive grenade rounds that its personnel accidentally dropped on a road in North Dakota while traveling between two intercontinental ballistic missile sites — the facilities scattered across the U.S. heartland that stand ready to launch nuclear warheads at a moment’s notice.

Airmen from the 91st Missile Wing Security Forces team were traveling on gravel roads May 1 in North Dakota when the back hatch of their vehicle opened and a container filled with the explosive ammunition fell out, according to a statement from Minot Air Force Base.

❝ On May 11, the Air Force sent more than 100 airmen to walk the entire six-mile route where the grenades were probably lost, according to a statement from the local Mountrail County sheriff. But two weeks after it was lost, the box of explosives still hasn’t been found.

I think the appropriate phrase is “they can’t find their butts with both hands”…

Death [and beer] from the skies

❝ It has been a bloody 24 hours in Gaza after Israel Defense Force (IDF) killed at least 61 Palestinians and injured more than 2700 as some protestors attempted to cross the border into Israel…

Israeli soldiers often fire teargas en masse to dispurse protestors. It was only in March, however, that they started using drones as a method for teargas delivery.

At another more crass intersection of tech and greed…

❝ With the 2018 FIFA World Cup scheduled to start in Russia on June 14, sponsor and beer maker Budwesier launched an ad showing swarms of beer-carrying drones deliver brewskies to people while travelling through different countries. The ad was made in part of Budweiser’s global campaign, which is called “Light up The FIFA World Cup.”

Same as it ever was. Advances in technology are neither beneficial nor destructive by definition. It takes human beings to introduce decisions based on greed – or most often – yeah, it’s still greed.

Pentagon’s “Encyclopedia of Ethical Failure”

❝ …the military maintains a database of the federal government’s worst ethics violators. Unlike many government documents, the encyclopedia is clear, easy to read … and actually quite funny. Many of the stories are as amusing as they are aggravating.

It might be the most light-hearted official report anyone’s ever written about criminals…

❝ The Army pays its soldiers a monthly housing allowance. Married soldiers get more cash than singles do.

To game the system, one sergeant convinced his girlfriend to pretend to be his wife. He even forged a marriage license to substantiate the union. He took taxpayers for almost $30,000 in healthcare and housing.

“The relationship must have gone sour, though,” the report reads. “She ended up turning him in to military investigators. After such a betrayal, one can only assume he will now be filing for a fake divorce.”

I’ve known a few military lifers who figured all of this out. Track down old episodes of “Sergeant Bilko” for an education. My best representative example – though not alone – was a master sergeant who told me his biggest fear was of accidentally being promoted. His rank was ideal for all the hustles he ever imagined. Promotion would cost him money.

His wife didn’t do badly either. During the post WW2 occupation, she followed hubby to Japan and took a job in a military support office. Every morning, she brought a dozen eggs fresh from the PX to work and left them in the bottom drawer of her desk. Every night, she’d open the drawer and the eggs were gone. Replaced by a single pearl. When they left Japan for assignment elsewhere, she simply wore the newly-strung pearls through customs. Five strands.

Two of the costliest fighter jets in the world can’t talk to each other


Click to enlargewired.com

❝ With the F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Lightning II, the U.S. has fielded two of the world’s most sophisticated, maneuverable and stealthy fighter jets. They both function as airborne shepherds of America’s flock of older combat aircraft, using their state-of-the-art systems to communicate threats and targets on the ground and in the air.

Unfortunately, they have a difficult time communicating with each other

❝ In a recent story on the situation, Air Force Magazine likened U.S. combat communications among the various aircraft to “a kind of Tower of Babel.” And the necessary modifications haven’t been fast in coming. “There’s a lot of improvements that could have been done and should have been done 15 years ago,” said David Rockwell, a senior defense electronics analyst with Teal Group. “The Air Force postponed a lot of things for [the] F-22.”

What’s another few billion$ parceled out to outfitters to the military-industrial complex? You can I can afford it. Or not. Congress and the Pentagon don’t care.

Opioids are killing thousands of veterans and the VA played a role in that

❝ Opioids, mostly illegally obtained counterfeit pills and heroin, now account for 63 percent of all drug deaths in the U.S., with fatalities climbing at an astounding rate of nearly 20 percent a year. In fact, the estimated number of drug deaths in 2016 topped the total number of soldiers killed in the Iraq and Vietnam wars. There’s a grim irony in that statistic, because the Department of Veterans Affairs has played a little-discussed role in fueling the opioid epidemic that is killing civilians and veterans alike. In 2011, veterans were twice as likely to die from accidental opioid overdoses as non-veterans. One reason…is that for over a decade, the VA recklessly overprescribed opiates and psychiatric medications. Since mid-2012, though, it has swung dangerously in the other direction, ordering a drastic cutback of opioids for chronic pain patients, but it is bungling that program and again putting veterans at risk…

❝ Today, the number of patients affected by the VA’s swinging opiate pendulum is staggering: 60 percent of veterans who fought in the Middle East and 50 percent of older veterans have chronic pain. Since 2012, though, there has been a 56 percent drop to a mere 53,000 chronic pain VA patients receiving opioids—leading to swift, mandated cutoffs regardless of patient well-being and with virtually no evidence that it’s a safe approach…

RTFA. The VA stumbles from one side of the wrong-way highway to the other. Crippled by the fake president and tame bureaucrats relying on positions already corrupt and ineffectual – our veterans’ medical treatment is on the way to being as useless as any Republican-designed healthcare system.

Life in an American Small Town – called Guantanamo


Click to enlarge

❝ Guantánamo Bay, known for orange jumpsuits and abuse of detainees, has school field trips. Also a McDonald’s, a bowling alley, a kickball league, Monday night flamenco lessons for parents and a pretty good water slide in the center of town. It’s the oddly small-town wholesome Guantánamo you rarely hear about.

A single main street runs through the base. It starts at the gate to Cuba, where diplomats from the two countries hold monthly meetings, and winds along the bay to the ivory-colored, century-old Windward Point Lighthouse, perched on a grassy cliff above rough beaches of crushed coral. Along the road are wharves, piers and warehouses to service ships, but also an outdoor movie theater, an espresso bar and a gift shop selling “GTMO” shot glasses and tank tops.

An enjoyable, informative read. Probably unnoticed by folks like our fake president or even policy wonks in the two political parties we’re allowed.

US soldiers reveal their location by jogging, working out

❝ An interactive map posted on the Internet that shows the whereabouts of people who use fitness devices such as Fitbit also reveals highly sensitive information about the locations and activities of soldiers at U.S. military bases, in what appears to be a major security oversight.

The Global Heat Map, published by the GPS tracking company Strava, uses satellite information to map the locations and movements of subscribers to the company’s fitness service over a two-year period, by illuminating areas of activity.

❝ Most parts of the United States and Europe, where millions of people use some type of fitness tracker, show up on the map as blazes of light because there is so much activity.

In war zones and deserts in countries such as Iraq and Syria, the heat map becomes almost entirely dark — except for scattered pinpricks of activity. Zooming in on those areas brings into focus the locations and outlines of known U.S. military bases, as well as of other unknown and potentially sensitive sites — presumably because American soldiers and other personnel are using fitness trackers as they move around.

❝ The U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State said on Monday it is revising its guidelines on the use of all wireless and technological devices on military facilities as a result of the revelations.

You can file this under: barn door, horse already gone