Add a gun that can’t shoot straight to Lockheed Martin’s F-35 track record

Add a gun that can’t shoot straight to the problems that dog Lockheed Martin Corp.’s $428 billion F-35 program, including more than 800 software flaws.

The 25mm gun on Air Force models of the Joint Strike Fighter has “unacceptable” accuracy in hitting ground targets and is mounted in housing that’s cracking, the Pentagon’s test office said in its latest assessment of the costliest U.S. weapons system.

The annual assessment by Robert Behler, the Defense Department’s director of operational test and evaluation, doesn’t disclose any major new failings in the plane’s flying capabilities. But it flags a long list of issues that his office said should be resolved — including 13 described as Category 1 “must-fix” items that affect safety or combat capability…

The number of software deficiencies totaled 873 as of November…That’s down from 917 in September 2018, when the jet entered the intense combat testing required before full production, including 15 Category 1 items. What was to be a year of testing has now been extended another year until at least October.

But, don’t worry. Uncle Sugar seems to be keeping up with the printing of tax dollars they ship by the bale to Lockheed Martin.

The Fake President Called Former President Jimmy Carter To Talk About China

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute

❝ President Trump called former President Jimmy Carter for the first time…[weekend of April 13/14]

❝ Earlier this year, Carter sent Trump a letter with some advice about managing the U.S.-China relationship. Carter oversaw the normalization of diplomatic relations between the two countries 40 years ago.

On Saturday evening, Trump called Carter to talk about it. It was the first time they’d spoken, Carter said. He said Trump told him that he is particularly concerned about how China is “getting ahead of us…”

❝ Carter said he agreed with Trump on this issue.

“And do you know why?” Carter said. “I normalized diplomatic relations with China in 1979. Since 1979, do you know how many times China has been at war with anybody? None. And we have stayed at war,” he said…

❝ Carter said the United States is “the most warlike nation in the history of the world” due to a desire to impose American values on other countries, and he suggested that China is investing its resources into projects such as high-speed railroads instead of defense spending.

If you read up on uses for a national military, China follows an old model where the military is truly constituted for national service. That primarily means damage control and service to communities hit by natural disasters. Enough of those to go around to keep any standing forces occupied. Plus actual defense.

The wasted money in some quarters is viewed as production of non-consumable goods to aid our economy. A subsidy without calling it such. The Cold War took care of motivation for politicians who got subsidized industries and employment in their districts. Little or no inflation resulted from the subsidies because consumer goods don’t really include tanks or aircraft carriers.

U.S. Has Special Forces in 149 Countries, Ambassadors in 144

❝ A strong legacy of U.S. leadership and engagement in global politics has been reduced today to what I call kinetic diplomacy – diplomacy by armed force.

As of March 2018, the Trump administration has appointed only 70 of 188 U.S. ambassadors. At the same time, it has increased the deployment of special operations forces to 149 countries – up from 138 during the Obama administration in 2016. So while U.S. ambassadors are operating in one-third of the world’s capitals, special operations forces are active in three-fourths.

❝ The use of military force expanded not only under the Trump administration, but under Barack Obama’s as well. Now the Trump administration and Congress are also cutting back on foreign aid.

As a scholar of international security, I’d like to suggest this raises two related questions: Does kinetic diplomacy advance U.S. interests, and how does kinetic diplomacy affect U.S. leadership abroad?

RTFA and decide. I recall when the American public debated changing the name of our War Department to the Department of Defense. We’ve not yet been invaded. But, the claim of “defense” always seems to justify sending our military abroad.

New U.S Navy combat ship sucks at defending against little attack boats

Click to enlarge — Navy strategists still travel in Cold War circles

The U.S. Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship struggled in drills at sea to fend off a swarm of small attacking vessels like the Iranian boats it could encounter in the Persian Gulf, according to the Pentagon’s chief weapons tester.

The fast-attack boats were ultimately defeated by the USS Coronado during three mock engagements in August and September to test its guns and targeting gear. But in two exercises an attacker came too close, penetrating the vessel’s “keep-out” zone, Pentagon testing director Michael Gilmore said in his annual report on major weapons submitted to congressional defense committees.

While Gilmore didn’t mention Iran as a threat, its Islamic Revolutionary Guards operate small boats with crews trained for swarming attacks in the contested waters of the Persian Gulf. The Coronado’s “inability to defeat this relative modest threat beyond ‘keep-out’ range routinely under test conditions raises questions about its ability to deal with more challenging threats…”

“Challenging threats” like military trained for years in tactics using these small attack craft – and fighting to defend their homeland.

The report adds to questions about the vulnerability and reliability of the ships, designed in two versions by Lockheed Martin Corp. and Austal Ltd. and intended to operate in shallow coastal waters…

Gilmore also cited reliability issues with both versions of the ships, from troubles with generators and air-conditioning units to “cybersecurity deficiencies that significantly degrade operational effectiveness.”

That’s a particularly serious problem for the Littoral Combat Ship because its ability to survive in combat depends on communicating with better-armed vessels and support on shore through a maritime battle network linked by computers and sensors.

The lightly manned vessel also relies on ship-to-shore and satellite communications to help crews monitor the ship’s condition, perform repairs and order medical supplies. At least 245 functions traditionally performed aboard a Navy ship will be done onshore.

Of course, this is a discussion about a vessel designed solely to attack the coastal defenses of another nation as part of our crap foreign policy, military policies — which says we’re “defending” the United States by invading countries all around the world.

Measuring the risk of A-Bomb equivalent asteroids


The California-based B612 Foundation has released a video displaying the distribution of 26 multi-kiloton asteroid impacts known to have struck the Earth since the year 2000. Many of the impacts – detected by a network of satellites operated by the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization – exploded with a force greater than that of the city-leveling bomb dropped on Hiroshima, which had an explosive yield of 15 kilotons.

Our planet orbits the Sun alongside a swarm of asteroids. Most of these celestial wanderers pose no threat to Earth, however one need only observe the cratered face of the Moon to understand that, not only do asteroid impacts take place, but they do so with surprising regularity. In 2013 alone, one asteroid was caught on video striking the surface of the Moon, with another exploding in the sky over Chelyabinsk, Russia. The impact caused only superficial damage, but raised alarming questions as to what precautions we have in place to counter a potential asteroid strike…

The B612 Foundation, in conjunction with Ball Aerospace, intends to implement an infrared survey mission, which will catalog 90 percent of all asteroids larger than 140 meters within the area of our solar system that may pose a realistic threat to our planet. The mission will run for six and a half years and will involve the commissioning and successful deployment of a Sentinel satellite, which will maintain a Venus-like orbit around the Sun, searching out and following up on asteroids with the potential to strike Earth…

Once the project is complete, it is hoped that the Sentinel catalog will provide decades worth of early warning for potentially hazardous asteroids, allowing organizations such as NASA to develop and execute missions to avert a potentially devastating impact.

If this project gets sufficient publicity I can sense a growing profit to be made in asteroid shelters. Poisonally, I think the stats on living or dying by asteroid aren’t even close to all the truly stupid things a small number of human beings – in uniform or holding elected office – do to the rest of us.

Thanks, Mike

ATM strikes back

Hot foam may soon send criminals running if they damage ATM. ETH researchers have developed a special film that triggers an intense reaction when destroyed. The idea originates from a beetle that uses a gas explosion to fend off attackers.

Its head and pronotum are usually rusty red, and its abdomen blue or shiny green: the bombardier beetle is approximately one centimetre long and common to Central Europe. At first glance, it appears harmless, but it possesses what is surely the most aggressive chemical defence system in nature. When threatened, the bombardier beetle releases a caustic spray, accompanied by a popping sound. This spray can kill ants or scare off frogs. The beetle produces the explosive agent itself when needed. Two separately stored chemicals are mixed in a reaction chamber in the beetle’s abdomen. An explosion is triggered with the help of catalytic enzymes…

The researchers use plastic films with a honeycomb structure for their self-defending surface. The hollow spaces are filled with one of two chemicals: hydrogen peroxide or manganese dioxide. The two separate films are then stuck on top of each another. A layer of clear lacquer separates the two films filled with the different chemicals. When subjected to an impact, the interlayer is destroyed, causing the hydrogen peroxide and manganese dioxide to mix. This triggers a violent reaction that produces water vapour, oxygen and heat. Whereas enzymes act as catalysts in the bombardier beetle, manganese dioxide has proven to be a less expensive alternative for performing this function in the lab…

While protective devices that can spray robbers and banknotes already exist, these are mechanical systems, explains Stark. “A small motor is set in motion when triggered by a signal from a sensor. This requires electricity, is prone to malfunctions and is expensive.” The objective of his research group is to replace complicated control systems with cleverly designed materials.

Clever, yes? Effective, very likely? Likely to be instituted in the United States? Doubtful – we have enough lawyers and politicians dedicated to making the work environment as safe for criminals as we do for protecting victims.

Killer seeks to avoid justice – claims he’s too obese to be executed

Lawyers for convicted killer Ronald Post says he is too heavy to be executed…They asked U.S. District Judge Lesley Wells late Friday to stop his execution Jan. 16. They said that at 480 pounds Post, 53, is “morbidly obese.”

His weight and poor veins “have a substantial likelihood of causing severe complications with attempts at an intravenous execution,” the lawyers said. To attempt the execution would amount to cruel and unusual punishment.

Post was convicted in 1985 of killing Helen Vantz, a desk clerk at an Elyria motel, two years earlier. Her son, William, laughed Monday when he heard about the request. Then he became serious.

I don’t care if they have to wheel him in on a tractor-trailer; 30 years is too long,” William Vantz said. “Enough is enough. This is just an excuse to get out of the execution…”

Post’s case is one of the most unusual capital cases in Ohio. He pleaded no contest to the murder charges. The plea meant he did not admit to the crime, but chose not to contest the facts the prosecutors presented. The unusual plea later became a focus of his appeals.

In general I support death penalty convictions as a waste of taxpayer dollars. In the United States such a sentence automagically adds another magnitude of avenues for appeal – this case being an example. He’s been sitting on Death Row for 30 years.

Somehow I doubt that the state of Ohio won’t be able to find someone willing to deal with sticking a needle into an overweight killer

China’s new warship affirms their Navy as a defensive force

Over recent weeks China defence bloggers have been excited by the emergence of pictures of what appears to be a new class of guided missile destroyer for the Chinese Navy…The hazy pictures on the blogs suggest that one of the vessels – dubbed the PLAN 052D – was launched at the end of last month. At least two others are already under construction.

Chinese warship design tends to evolve gradually. Here the PLAN 052D is no exception – it bears clear links to its predecessor, the 052C.

But it differs in important respects to the extent that many analysts believe what we are seeing is the first of what could be a series of new Chinese warships that could form the backbone of its fleet.

Prof James Holmes, a China-watcher at the US Naval War College, says the chief significance of the new vessel “is that China appears to have settled on a design for a top-of-the-line guided-missile destroyer after a lengthy period of ‘fleet experimentation’ – a gestation period, if you will”.

“One hopes it will finally settle the debate about the direction and permanence of Chinese naval power,” he adds…

James Holmes stresses that the modus operandi of the Chinese navy must also be taken into account when assessing the impact these new ships might have. The 052D may be an inferior vessel to its US counterparts, but it will not be operating alone.

“Let’s keep in mind that China operates its fleet almost entirely within range of shore-based anti-ship missiles, fighter aircraft, and ships like patrol craft and submarines.”

“These provide protective cover for the surface fleet and, Beijing believes (and I agree), that this is the great equaliser.”

“Why go to the effort and expense of building a mirror image of the US Navy if you can hammer away from shore? In short, China doesn’t need a fleet symmetrical to the US Navy to fight on ground of its own choosing, namely the China seas and Western Pacific.”

Meanwhile, Uncle Sugar and our Tory cousins in the UK continue to swear allegiance to the bellicose ideology of the Cold War rolling truckloads of time, money and manpower out onto the oceans of the world. Somehow, the idiots in command of our foreign policy still think that nothing succeeds like imperial might – and one of the best showplaces for that arrogance is afloat.

It’s stupid enough to spend 150% more per military body than needed for defense by stationing that person in one or another of our several hundred garrisons around the world. Spending even more in dollars measured by the ton to produce and sustain a floating edifice that says only one thing to the people of the world – “The United States is the cop of the world!”

Mother sends son to school with stun gun to confront bullies

An Indiana mother who sent her gay son to school with a stun gun after administrators apparently didn’t do enough to stop the bullying against him said she would do it again — even though the teen now faces expulsion.

“I do not promote violence — not at all — but what is a parent to do when she has done everything that she felt she was supposed to do … at the school?” the mother, Chelisa Grimes, told CNN’s Don Lemon on Sunday. “I did feel like there was nothing else left for me to do, but protect my child.”

The school district held an expulsion hearing last week but no decision has been announced…

Mail me a penny postcard when the school district questions the implementation of their failed policies.

After six other students surrounded Darnell at school on April 16, calling him names and threatening to beat him up, Young pulled the stun gun from his backpack. He raised it in the air, setting off an electric charge, and sending the group scurrying, Young said…

“I got kicked out of school for me bringing the weapon to school, but I honestly don’t think that that was fair,” Young said. “I didn’t use it on nobody. … All I did was raise it up in the air and went back to my class…”

School police officers arrested him a short time later and took him away in handcuffs, The Indianapolis Star reported. School officials are investigating the incident, but none of the students who allegedly surrounded Young has been positively identified…

And no one – from school officials to local coppers – has done a damned thing to protect this student.

Grimes contends that school officials haven’t done enough to protect all students on campus.

“I think that the self-protection device is what’s making the news, but the big picture is that my child is not the only one who does not feel safe at our school,” she said…

A 2009 survey of 7,261 middle and high school students found that nearly nine out of 10 LGBT students had experienced harassment at school over the previous year and nearly two-thirds felt unsafe because of their sexual orientation.

Accusing the victim is part of the American ethos. It’s always easier than trying to resolve questions of ethics. As a rule, authorities are generally cowards in the face of bigotry and bullying. They’ve only just learned that they must pretend to act to seem a little bit competent and concerned.

Yes, it would be nice to be able to count on officialdom to live up to the regulations they passed – but, the need to protect yourself from the violence of bigots is a stronger and deeper imperative. I applaud Mrs. Grimes and her son.