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.

CIA investigates the CIA – finds nothing wrong with hacking Senate computers

We’ll let you have your paper Constitution back later on!

An internal CIA panel concluded in a report released Wednesday that agency employees should not be punished for their roles in secretly searching computers used by Senate investigators, a move that was denounced by lawmakers last year as an assault on congressional oversight and a potential breach of the Constitution.

Rejecting the findings of previous inquiries into the matter, the CIA review group found that the agency employees’ actions were “reasonable in light of their responsibilities to manage an unprecedented computer system” set up for Senate aides involved in a multiyear probe of the CIA’s treatment of terrorism suspects.

The agency panel, which was led by former U.S. senator Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), cited a lack of clear ground rules between the CIA and the Senate, and it faulted CIA workers for missteps including reading e-mails of congressional investigators.

But while such transgressions were “clearly inappropriate,” Bayh said in a statement released by the CIA, they “did not reflect malfeasance, bad faith, or the intention to gain improper access” to sensitive Senate material.

A perfectly representative piece-of-crap rationale from what passes for a leading liberal Democrat.

The findings are at odds with the conclusions reached by the CIA’s inspector general in a separate review last year and were quickly dismissed by lawmakers including Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, who led the investigation of the interrogation program…

The CIA also released a redacted version of the IG’s investigation, which found that five CIA employees had “improperly accessed” Senate files but also places new blame on congressional aides. It also disclosed that one person assigned to the committee from the office of the Director of National Intelligence was fired in 2010 after sneaking a camera into an office where Senate investigators had access to millions of classified files.

CIA experts…searched the Senate system on at least three occasions, according to the report, which described the last intrusion as “the source of greatest controversy” because it involved not only looking for CIA files but also reading e-mails of Senate aides.

But, then, why expect the CIA and their peers to treat elected officials with anymore integrity than offered ordinary American citizens. We are all suspects. We are all potential detainees in the eyes of big Brother.

RTFA for the thrilling details of our government’s corruption.

Do Nothing-Congress did all it could to protect Big Oil

A new report by Oil Change International…demonstrates the huge and growing amount of subsidies going to the fossil fuel industry in the U.S. every year. In 2013, the U.S. federal and state governments gave away $21.6 billion in subsidies for oil, gas, and coal exploration and production.

The value of fossil fuel exploration and production subsidies from the federal government have increased by 45 percent since President Obama took office in 2009 – from $12.7 billion to a current total of $18.5 billion – a side effect of his Administration’s “All of the Above” energy policy that promotes the U.S. oil and gas boom and amounts to nothing less than climate denial.

President Obama has repeatedly tried to repeal some of the most egregious of these subsidies, but these attempts have been blocked by a U.S. Congress that has been bought out by campaign finance and lobbying expenditures from the fossil fuel industry.

In addition to exploration and production subsidies to oil, gas, and coal companies, the U.S. government also provides billions of dollars of additional support to the fossil fuel industry to lower the cost of fossil fuels to consumers, finance fossil fuel projects overseas, and to protect U.S. oil interests abroad with the military.

Finally, while the fossil fuel industry enjoys record profits, U.S, taxpayers will pay the bill for external health and environmental costs from local pollution and climate change impacts.

Big Oil is an equal-opportunity purchaser of political loyalty. It doesn’t matter which of the two TweedleDee or TweedleDumber parties you belong to. Show the least inclination to favor fossil fuel anything and you will be awash in campaign contributions, “independent” supporters and PACs.

It’s the American Way.

Thanks, Mike

A decade of missed chances seems to foretell the future of the U.S.

Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

Two months ago, the U.S. marked the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. Sadly, we commemorated a tragedy without celebrating much triumph. The post-9/11 moment was an unheralded instance of national — even global — unity. The Bush administration could have used it for almost anything. And, to be fair, it did. The nation burned trillions of dollars in two wars and a budget-busting round of tax cuts. The president told us to go shopping, and the Federal Reserve held interest rates at extraordinarily low levels. The result? Deficits and a credit bubble. That was missed opportunity No. 1.

Three years ago, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. fell. The ensuing financial crisis dwarfed anything seen since the Great Depression…For a country with more than $2 trillion in unmet infrastructure needs, this is a remarkable opportunity. But it gets better. Weak global demand means raw materials are cheap. And the bursting of the housing bubble means unemployment in the construction sector is high. We can borrow at a bargain, buy at a bargain and ease the unemployment crisis in the hardest-hit sector of our economy, all while making desperately needed investments in our future competitiveness and quality of life.

Plus, if we don’t do it now, we’ll have to do it later. Delaying a dollar of bridge repair just means it’s a dollar we’ll have to pay later. And by that time, it might be more than a dollar, because it’s cheaper to repair a bridge than rebuild one that has crumbled.

So are we taking advantage of this opportunity? No. Are we seriously discussing it? No…That’s missed opportunity No. 2…

The Obama administration was able to use the aftermath of the financial crisis to pass health-care reform, which made a good start on both covering the uninsured and controlling costs. It also secured a package of financial- regulation reforms to limit the risks of another catastrophic meltdown. Today, Republicans want to repeal both laws, and if they win the next election, they might just get their wish. In the meantime, they’re defunding the implementation of the two laws, and bogging them down in the courts.

It’s entirely possible that we could wake in 2013 only to realize that we have made no durable progress on any of our pressing national problems over the course of the Bush and Obama presidencies, and have, in fact, made some problems worse. That would mean a loss of 12 years during which we could have been moving forward as a country. And we won’t be able to blame it on a lack of opportunities.

I don’t read Ezra Klein often enough to know if his remedies would have differed or agreed with mine as we trudged down this primrose path. Rules made by the incompetent and administered by the inept seem predestined to ennui and unproductive finger-pointing.

The hope we had following universal revulsion at Bush’s policies has been undone by reliance on uncreative legislation and leadership that smacks more of cowardice than clarity. Heading towards the potential of a second term for Obama versus a Republican party that wavers between simple-minded allegiance to corporate America and truly reactionary scumballs – I can’t rev up very much enthusiasm for one more election where I get to not vote for the evil of two lessers.

Conference of Mayors wants American troops [and $$$] home

Antonio Villaraigosa, Los Angeles & Elizabeth Kautz, Burnsville, MN

Acknowledging it is out of the ordinary for city mayors to take a stand on military policy, the U.S. Conference of Mayors passed a resolution Monday calling for an early end to the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“This is not a war resolution,” said the newly elected president of the group, Democratic Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

“What we wanted to make clear,” he told reporters afterward, is that “the best way to support and honor those troops is to give them a job when they come back home…”

The Conference of Mayors last addressed American military policy when it called for an end to the U.S. war in Vietnam, and some mayors expressed concern that the current resolution could be taken badly by the troops now deployed…

Other mayors pushed ahead, saying there are economic problems in the United States with a more pressing priority than the massive spending on the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq…

Mayors then proposed and approved amendments changing the wording to express support for U.S. troops and acknowledging what was called the need for a strategic, stable pullout of American forces. With those changes, the mayors then approved their resolution with a call to “bring these U.S. war dollars home.”

Still – it ain’t too bad for local politicians some of whom probably were elected to bring change and aid to their cities – and expected [silly people] to be backed up by Congress.

Alaskans whine about the Feds, feast on U.S. taxpayer dollars

Carl Gatto alongside federal highway project in Wasilla, Alaska

Backed by a blue row of saw-toothed mountain peaks, the Republican state lawmaker Carl Gatto finds himself on a fine roll.

Roll it back, he says, roll back this entire socialistic experiment in federal hegemony. Give us control of our land, let us drill and mine, and please don’t let a few belugas get in the way of a perfectly good bridge.

“I’ve introduced legislation to roll back the federal government,” he says. “They don’t have solutions; they just have taxes.”

And what of the federal stimulus, from which Alaska receives the most money per capita in the nation? Would he reject it?

Mr. Gatto, 72 and wiry, smiles and shakes his head: “I’ll give the federal government credit: they sure give us a ton of money. For every $1 we give them in taxes for highways, they give us back $5.76.”

He points to a new federally financed highway, stretching toward distant spruce trees. “Man, beautiful, right?”

Alaskans tend to live with their contradictions in these recessionary times. No place benefits more from federal largess than this state, where the Republican governor decries “intrusive” federal policies, officials sue to overturn the health care legislation and Senator Lisa Murkowski, a Republican, voted against the stimulus bill…

Alaska has budget woes, and, more perilously, oil production is slumping. But its problems are not mortal; the ax falls on new police headquarters and replacement Zamboni blades rather than on teachers and libraries. The state avoided the unemployment devastation visited on the Lower 48 in part because federal dollars support a third of Alaskan jobs, according to a university study.

RTFA. It should surprise no one.

Alaska is the northern terminus of the Bible Belt – where populism and greed feed off ignorant voters to maintain a veritable army of freeloaders at the federal tax trough.

Democrat/Republican hacks squander tax-dollars on F-22’s

Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

Saying he “didn’t molt from a hawk into a dove on Jan. 20, 2009,” Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates sharply criticized Congress on Thursday for trying to push more F-22 fighter jets into the Pentagon budget than he and President Obama say the country needs.

If we can’t get this right, what on earth can we get right?” Mr. Gates said in an acerbic, sometimes withering speech to the Economic Club of Chicago. “It is time to draw the line on doing defense business as usual.” From his point of view, that means overbuying weapons for wars the nation is unlikely to fight.

Mr. Gates, a Republican who served as defense secretary during the last two years of the George W. Bush administration, is in a standoff with the Senate over the F-22, the world’s most expensive combat plane. Mr. Gates wants to cap the number at 187, but last month the Senate Armed Services Committee approved an amendment to set aside $1.75 billion for seven more.

To the consternation of the Pentagon and the White House, liberal Democrats like Senators Edward M. Kennedy and John Kerry of Massachusetts have said they support the additional planes, arguing that their production can help preserve jobs in districts across the country.

In response, Mr. Obama reiterated a threat on Monday to veto next year’s military spending bill unless the extra planes are removed. Mr. Gates went to Chicago to reinforce the message.

“The president has drawn that line, and that line is with regard to a veto, and it’s real,” Mr. Gates told the club…

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