The Empire in Decline
Jun 30, 2014 - GDP Plunge
Our corporate controlled media mostly ignored this story, so in case you missed it, our nation's economy plunged the first three months of 2014:
The brilliant Paul Craig Roberts explains:
"June 25, 2014. A final number for real US GDP growth in the first quarter of 2014 was released today. The number is not the 2.6% growth rate predicted by the know-nothing economists in January of this year. The number is a decline in GDP of -2.9 percent.
The negative growth rate of -2.9 percent is itself an understatement. This number was achieved by deflating nominal GDP with an understated measure of inflation. During the Clinton regime, the Boskin Commission rigged the inflation measure in order to cheat Social Security recipients out of their cost-of-living adjustments. Anyone who purchases food, fuel, or anything knows that inflation is much higher than the officially reported number.
It is possible that the drop in first quarter real GDP is three times the official number.
Regardless, the difference is large between the January forecast of +2.6 percent growth and the decline as of the end of March of -2.9 percent.
Any economist who is real and unpaid by Wall Street, the government, or the Establishment knew that the +2.6 percent forecast was a crock. Americans’ incomes have not grown except for the one percent, and the only credit growth is in student loans, as those many who cannot find jobs mistakenly turn to “education is the answer.” In an economy based on consumer demand, the absence of income and credit growth means no economic growth.
The US economy cannot grow because corporations pushed by Wall Street have moved the US economy offshore. US manufactured products are made offshore. Look at the labels on your clothes, your shoes, your eating and cooking utensils, your computers, whatever. US professional jobs such as software engineering have been moved offshore. An economy with an offshored economy is not an economy. All of this happened in full view, while well-paid free market shills declared that Americans were benefiting from giving America’s middle class jobs to China and India."
Jun 29, 2014 - American "Trains" Iraqis
A reader reminded me of this great video clip of an American solider "training" Iraqi police. It shows why the USA failed in Iraq -- ignorance and arrogance. Unfortunately, your average American GI can watch this video and conclude that Iraqis are lazy cowards. In reality, the GI trainer in this video was too lazy to read some history and talk to the locals to define the problem so he could address it. He just marched out from his secure base camp, tossed out stuff, issued decrees, threaten and demeaned his trainees, then marched back home. This reminds me of a part from the great movie "Go Tell the Spartans" about American advisors trying to rally the locals to fight in Vietnam with a mindless base camp strategy.
Jun 28, 2014 - ET Visits the Shuttle
If you are interested in alien life, one the best websites is run by a former career NASA employee. He tells of personally watching an ET aboard our Space Shuttle communicating with two astronauts during a secret DoD mission. It seems our corporate media deemed that story too boring to squeeze into their 24-hour news networks.
Jun 27, 2014 - Secretary Bacevich?
If you are confused by American foreign policy, watch this report from Bill Moyers. He interviews the brilliant Col. Andrew Bacevich AUSA (ret.) who is not allowed on corporate TV. The good Colonel never mentions it, but his son was killed in Iraq. If I were president, I'd make this guy my Secretary of State.
Jun 22, 2014 - American Suicide Mission in Iraq
President Obama sent 300 American advisors on extremely dangerous non-combat missions in Iraq. The Iraqi army is in chaos and many American leaders are demanding that Prime Minister Maliki resign. Iraqis blame the Americans for this mess and these advisors are at risk of being killed by any Iraqi, especially those they are advising. The U.S. military advised the Iraqis for years, they know how to fight, they just don't know why they should. If the situation worsens, Iraqis will blame the foreigners who dismembered Iraq, and kill any American they see.
Jun 21, 2014 - Accidental Democracy
Here is a great article about the shock democracy can cause when a key representative for the corporate powers, Eric Cantor, was accidentally defeated in a primary election. I say accidentally because it caught the powers that be by surprise. If they thought this might occur, they would have ensured that Cantor won by filling their "news" shows and advertisements with smears against Brat and resorting to dirty tricks if needed. Preparations to oust Brat in the next election two years from now began immediately, painting him as a tea party extremist.
Jun 15, 2014 - Empire Comedy in Iraq
One can only laugh at President Obama's predicament in Iraq. That nation was always an unstable mess best run by Saddam Hussein, who was ousted by President Bush because he wanted to become a wartime President. Now fragmented Iraq is falling apart despite billions of dollars spent, and the USA can't put Humpty Dumpty back together.
The current breakdown came from our effort to conquer Syria. CIA buffoons spent millions of taxpayer dollars to arm terror groups in Syria to overthrow its government. This included funneling billions of dollars from oil wealthy Middle East dictators who enjoy playing international mobster by shipping arms from Libya and elsewhere into the Syrian mess. However, the Syrian army has proven solid and the effort failed.
These militia groups (all labeled "al Qaeda" by the U.S. government) began fighting amongst themselves until they discovered opportunities in northern Iraq. The new Iraqi army consists of unmotivated rabble who joined for paycheck and have little loyalty to its American anointed dictator in Baghdad. These militia discovered that Iraqi forces would flee if attacked, and undertook conquest. They swept through northern Iraq in Toyotas and now threaten Baghdad. The U.S. government is baffled by events, and the only option under consideration is to bomb, bomb, bomb. That has several problems:
1. None of our "allies" will allow us to use their modern airfields since they fund the militias now terrorizing Iraq. A recent report said that Iraq provided information on targets inside Syria to that government and coordinated air strikes by Syrian MIGs. Recall that Obama has been under pressure to impose a no-fly zone over Syria.
2. Iran expressed concern about the Iraqi government (led by friendly Shiites) and wants to coordinate the defense of Baghdad with the U.S. military. This places the USA in an awkward political vice, especially since destroying these American armed militias aids Syria as well.
3. There are few targets for airpower. There are no tanks or military truck convoys, just small trucks that look like civilian vehicles. Fast zooming fighter-bombers can only guess who is an enemy, and this would result much destruction in cities and of innocents. Placing some American troops on the ground to guide aircraft bombing puts them at risk for death or capture, possibly by soldiers of the Iraqi Army who are angry the USA allowed this to spin out of control.
4. In my Aug 20 blog of last year, I noted: "A favorite method of looting Middle East allies is by selling them expensive weapons they don't need. For example, Iraq will buy $2.4 billion in American weapons. You might assume they will snap up hundreds of new "excess" MRAP vehicles from the USA that are good for counter-insurgency and riot control." I noted Iraq was spending its oil wealth to buy advanced anti-aircraft systems and was about to receive 36 American F-16s at the American built billion-dollar airbase at Balad.
Balad airbase was quickly overrun by Toyotas and hundreds of American contractors may have been captured. The U.S. government craftily refers to them as Iraq contractors to evade the issue. If Baghdad falls, thousands more Americans may be trapped. So long as the U.S. military stays out of the fighting, there is a good chance all these Americans will be safely released. If bombs start to fall, look for youtube videos of slain Americans in ditches. Meanwhile, crazed American warmongers like Senator John McCain will act crazier, demanding that Obama bomb both sides in these conflicts.
Jun 9, 2014 - Ten Million Jobs Missing
Our media failed to mention what Paul Craig Roberts explained:
"First, consider the news report that finally as of May 2014 as many Americans had jobs as had jobs in January 2008. That might seem like good news until you take into account that since January 2008 the US has experienced 6.5 years of population growth. Economists seem to have settled on population growth adding 129,000 people to the work force each month. That comes to 10,000,000 people. Where are their jobs? The “jobs recovery” doesn’t provide for the 10 million who have come of working age since January 2008. We can conclude from this that the official 6.3 percent unemployment rate is nonsense. The unemployment rate is in the neighborhood of 23 percent as John Williams has established."
Jun 8, 2014 - As the Border Opens
More details are coming out on my May 31st blog about the Border Patrol dumping illegals. Word of Obama's do-not-deport families edict spread southward, and the hordes are coming. One group of 250 hopped off buses and raced across the knee deep Rio Grande for their welcoming. Large refugee camps have been established at two U.S. military bases.
More from Reuters: "...in a memo that describes an "urgent humanitarian situation," Obama has put the Federal Emergency Management Agency in charge of coordinating humanitarian relief to the children, including housing, care, medical treatment and transportation. The Obama administration estimates that about 60,000 "unaccompanied minors" - children under 18 - will enter the United States illegally this year. It projects that number to grow to nearly 130,000 next year. As recently as 2011, the number was only some 6,000. Many of the children are from Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico."
There are almost a billion people south of the border, plus millions of Chinese, Filipinos, and Indians trying to fly to Mexico so they can obtain a new "walk across" visa. I'd say 130,000 is a very conservative estimate, more than a million refugees should be expected to flood across next year.
Jun 2, 2014 - Congrats to the BLM
Let me offer a late congratulations to the Fed in charge who showed the courage to back down from the Bundy ranch mess in Nevada. It has become the policy of most American law enforcement to never back down to defuse a messy situation. I can't recall a Fed doing so in recent years. During the Bundy standoff, people pointed loaded automatic weapons at federal officials, which normally results in instant execution.
This big cattle seizure had been poorly planned and a confrontation arose in which dozens of people might have been killed, including federal officers, all over unpaid grazing fees. A wise and brave Fed backed down. I'm sure a more stealthy plan is underway.
I'd dispatch a platoon of Feds with a couple cattle trucks to round up some of these "strays" that roam around thousands of acres of federal BLM land. Quickly haul them off for sale to repay part of the overdue fees. Rustle just a couple dozen cattle to hit Bundy's pocketbook and be gone in an hour before he can rally his local militia. Then a couple months later, round up some more. If a few locals show up and dare open fire on federal officials cleaning up on federal land, they deserve to die. There are thousands of great examples of citizens abused by their government, but this Bundy case is not one of them, which is why our corporate media covered the story. There are outrageous cases of abusive law enforcement in the USA every day, but our major media is not allowed to stir up the masses.
May 31, 2014 - Open Border Chaos Worsens
President Obama's gradual opening of America's border continues, despite overwhelming opposition by working people. Our corporate media mostly ignored news that not only have regular deportations ended, but over 36,000 criminal aliens were released from prisons into American cities. Read this "USA Today" article about the U.S. Border Patrol's solution to Obama's dictate not to deport children or their parents. Poor families are flooding across the border and hope they are caught, because the Border Patrol will provide free housing, food, and medical care.
But the Border Patrol hasn't the resources to run massive refugee camps and developed a solution. These penniless families are put on Greyhound buses and sent to the city of their choice. If they have no relatives or friends to help, they remain at the Greyhound station to fend for themselves. (Newly arrived "undocumented" immigrants forwarded inland courtesy of the Feds, then abandoned at a city bus station are pictured.) Local communities and charities are overwhelmed trying to cope with Obama's "do not deport" yet "do not support" policy.
A new illegal entry strategy has emerged. Don't avoid the Border Patrol, seek them out. In the past, the Border Patrol quickly sent illegal crossers back to Mexico. Obama now requires them to be "processed" by ICE. After that, most are released into the USA because they didn't commit a serious crime. Meanwhile, Obama has threaten to act as a dictator and change laws himself because Congress refuses to authorize instant work visas along with social security cards to the millions of illegals in the USA.
He also wants to import thousands more skilled workers to replace skilled Americans, spinning the myth that Americans are to stupid to fill such jobs, despite numerous studies that show no shortage of science, technology, engineering, and math “STEM” workers in the USA. And Obama doesn't care that America's biggest high-tech employer, Hewlett-Packard, just announced that it would lay of 50,000 workers in the USA this year! I'd bet none of their lower paid foreign workers here on STEM visas will lose their jobs.
Big business strongly supports Obama, knowing this will drive down wages further, and more consumers equal more profits. The American Chamber of Commerce is threatening to end support for Congressmen who fail to vote for immigration "reform." Yet even our corrupt Congress is afraid to endorse this disastrous idea. Issuing millions of social security numbers to foreigners will result in long lines at state welfare offices and cost governments billions of dollars each month. Millions more poor foreigners will flood northward so the Border Patrol can welcome them and provide transportation to their city of choice. America's embarrassing homeless camps will grow into homeless cities, full of new immigrant refugees and American citizens who lost jobs to this flood of cheap labor.
May 27, 2014 - The F-35B Blowtorch
Aviation expert Bill Sweetman unleashed an article very critical of the Marine Corps' new F-35B aircraft. He focused on problems with its extreme downward engine heat, which require specially built concrete landing pads. This is not a new issue, but one that has been ignored. F-35 salesmen will counter with their standard responses: 1. All new aircraft have problems. 2.This is an issue that has already been resolved. 3. How many hours has Bill Sweetman flown in an F-35B? Nothing can be done to correct this, but the program is politically unstoppable so the Marine F-35B will only operate VTOL at its home base at special occasions to show skeptics they are wrong.
May 25, 2014 - Ike Threatened to Invade Area 51
The new book "Area 51" reveals that President Eisenhower told the CIA that he was sending a team to inspect their secret Groom Lake base in central Nevada after reports of aliens and other odd activities. Ike was told that his team did not have a "need to know" and permission was denied. The former Army General did not tolerate nonsense and told the CIA that if his team was turned away, he would order a battalion from the 82nd Airborne to parachute in and secure the base, and they would invite his team.
The CIA backed down, but that was the last time uninvited outsiders were allowed inside Area 51. President Clinton has publicly said that he wanted to visit Area 51 but was denied permission by whoever really runs this nation. Here is an excellent documentary where insiders reveal how top secrets are so compartmentalize that very few know certain secrets, and these do not include the temporary occupants of the White House.
May 20, 2014 - V-22 Update
I no longer spend much time on the V-22 Scandal. Once Bell-Boeing's covert public relations representative became Commandant, the fix was really in. Despite all the talk of budget cuts, the Marine Corps actually increased its planned buy from 360 to 384 V-22 aircraft, even after it deactivated two new squadrons. More V-22s are needed because the fragile V-22 begins to suffer cracks after just a few years and service, and must be rebuilt or retired.
I had time to waste so I swept through V-22 sources on the net and turned up another seven V-22s that have been scrapped after less than a decade in service, and no mishap report was filed to explain serious damage. I added them to my list of V-22 Class A mishaps. I also noted that either the Marines' safety rate has inexplicitly improved to a record, or only mishaps that are first reported in the press are then reported to the Navy Safety Center.
May 19, 2014 - Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi!
Some Republican leaders are just crazy about the meaningless Benghazi thing. I can only assume that it's a desperate attempt to smear probable 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. There is nothing to this story, it is just another CIA blunder, one of hundreds since the end of World War II. In this case, the CIA had established base to ship Libyan weapons to Syria via Turkey. Newly conquered Libya was unstable, and for whatever reason, a group decided to attack the CIA base, probably because they wanted the weapon's cache. The base was poorly guarded by unmotivated African mercenaries. As is common, the CIA keeps such operations secret from other branches of government.
The base was attacked while the U.S. ambassador was visiting, and the foreign mercs melted away. The CIA desperately called out for help to the nearest American military forces, which are in Europe. As Generals have testified, the U.S. military "could" have responded "if" the CIA had asked them to ready a force and they obtained approval from the national command authority (the White House.)
The CIA had not prepared for the worst because of bravado or incompetence, and to preserve secrecy. When the CIA station began to scream for help, Generals rightly refused to dispatch military units to a foreign nation without approval. They probably alerted a unit to prepare, began to arrange air transport, and sent an urgent request to the Pentagon. By the time key White House staffers had been informed (probably for the first time about this secret CIA base), the base had been overrun as the few American mercs fled and left the dead ambassador behind. Just another "whoops" in the CIA's long history of covert ops, which was spun into a "terror" attack on a U.S. consulate and blame directed at the State Department, which never knew that it had a "consulate" in Benghazi.
May 18, 2014 - The Fed's Money Laundering via Belgium
The Federal Reserve has been pumping up the U.S. economy since 2008 by creating hundreds of billions of dollars each year with computer keystrokes, then lending this money to the U.S. government, called "Quantitative Easing" or "QE". This was required because there is not enough money in the private sector and foreign bank dollar surpluses to borrow from.
The "Fed" is now the largest holder of U.S. government debt, and this open debasement may cause a dollar crash. As a result, the Fed always insisted that QE is temporary, and finally began to reduce its purchase of U.S. Treasury bonds this year, called "tapering." This was overdue, but many worried that a lack of foreign interest in buying more U.S. Treasury bonds could cause bond interest rates to rise, thus requiring even more borrowing, and problem might spiral out of control as the dollar collapsed.
It seems this began as $100 billion of U.S. Treasury bonds were dumped on the market the past few months, but the Fed feared that ending the long promised "tapering" by creating money to buy these bonds might worsen a run on the dollar. So the Fed worked out as secret agreement with Belgium to lend them over $200 billion that it created, and Belgium used that to buy U.S. Treasury bonds. The brilliant Paul Craig Roberts was first to blow the whistle. One may doubt his claim, yet Reuters reported the same facts, and noted that Russia had recently dumped $26 billon in dollar assets. The rest of our corporate media chose to ignore this important story as enthusiasm for sanctions against Russia faded. So what happens now?
May 5, 2014 - Another Attempt to Restart the Cold War
After my Apr 20 blog, I recalled that I had written a detailed article about his subject for Sanders Research back in 2008. The Sanders website is gone, but I found a copy and posted it below, although most links are dead. I was hesitant to use that title "Perpetual War" for reasons I explained last year.
May 31, 2013 - Perpetual War Confirmed
Critics have accused the U.S. Government of waging perpetual war for decades, dating back to the 1948 publication of the famous book "1984". They claim citizens are kept in line and paying taxes for useless wars just to provide easy profits for millionaire insiders. This has always been denied, and those critics called delusional, until recently. A major military industry magazine just published an article: Top Marine Sees a Future of Perpetual War. It notes that our Generals see no end to combat once our forces leave Afghanistan, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey said the military expects to remain on a permanent war footing.
The head of the Pentagon, Chuck Hagel, recently declared that the Cold War has restarted, and toured Europe to rally NATO allies to "ramp up" military spending and isolate Russia. Our wealthy allies spend less than a third as much of their GDP for "defense" compared to the USA. This has met little enthusiasm, especially since Russia supplies 30% of natural gas in Europe. France has built two large, modern warships for Russia, but plans to deliver them anyway. Support for American led NATO expansionism is weak in Europe, and Ukraine has been a major target. NATO economies are struggling with an aging population, possible debt defaults, and remain angry at widespread American NSA spying. They will welcome more American bases and spending, but may refuse to increase military spending or sanction Russia.
Hagel also demands a major increase in U.S. military spending, but it is unclear if his "The Russians are Coming!" scream will be heard. Congress loves to spend money, especially on the military whose lobbyists are major "contributors." However, fiscally conservative Republicans think national bankruptcy is a bigger threat, while most Democrats insist that if budget caps are removed, social programs must benefit too. So here is my 2008 article about the last attempt to restart the Cold War:
May 4, 2014 - Corporate Media Advertises for Corporate America
It should surprise no one that corporate media advertises for corporate America. They call themselves "mainstream media" to imply any contradictory news is an extremist view. As I've blogged, the major goal of corporate America this year is a second amnesty for illegal aliens to ensure a steady flood of desperate foreign workers. Their main spokesmen, B. Obama, has been preparing the public by pencil whipping the unemployment stats each month by refusing to count "discouraged' unemployed Americans. Congress obeyed its corporate sponsors and discouraged even more workers by rejecting an overdue increase in the minimum wage, even though some 80% of voters support the idea.
Corporate America reports what President Obama reports, that 288,000 jobs were added in April and the unemployment rate fell from 6.7% in March to 6.3%. This "news" was highlighted on ABC News, with a very upbeat report: "Biggest Surge in Employment in 2 Years; Unemployment rate shrinks to 6.3 percent as job market rallies This "news" segment included free advertising for the banking and housing industry.
The first thing to note about the "great" jobs news is that because of population growth, the U.S. economy must add some 200,000 jobs a month just to stay even. That lengthy ABC report also failed to mention that President Obama dropped 806,000 Americans out of his labor force statistics last month. Total employment, as measured by the same BLS household survey, showed that jobs actually fell by 73,000 and the the employment-to-population ratio remained unchanged at 58.9%. This non-employment rate means 41.1% of non-disabled Americans ages 18-65 are unemployed for whatever reason, one of the highest levels in our history.
May 3, 2014 - Wanna Count Cards?
Recent news is that celeb Ben Affleck was banned from a Las Vegas casino for counting cards. This is not illegal, unless a counting device is secretly used. Casinos normally use four decks of cards in blackjack to make counting difficult, but not impossible. One must keep a tally in their head of all cards played, +1 for bigger cards and -1 for lower cards. This is difficult as others are talking, but having a babe standing by and counting works, who can squeeze a shoulder when the odds are now in your favor. Counters short of cash try to watch a new game and count without playing so they can jump in at the right time. Dealers know this and shoo away non-players seen closely watching the card play. If more are playing blackjack where the odds favor the house, the cards move faster and this helps a card counter, but it's really difficult to count with lots of cards being tossed about, especially with talkative players and casino mangers who show up with nasty looks if one starts to win.
No one is really caught counting cards because the strategy is blatant. Bet the minimum for most of the game and towards the end of some four-deck games, the odds of winning shift in your favor. When that happens, bet $200 or more per hand rather than $5, and you are likely to win. This requires an hour of play and is not fun as one must concentrate. The dealer knows you are counting based on your odd bets. Most card counters are amateurs who can't keep the count straight, and weaken odds trying to hide their counting with bigger bets at the beginning of a new four deck game.
If you win a lot the dealer may shoo off your babe counter if her eyes are glued to the table, rather than looking round the casino as babes should. If someone who can afford to bet big, like Affleck, starts costing a casino money, he is pulled aside and told they know he's counting cards and demand that he leave. However, counting cards is the only honest way to beat the house.
I once met a professional poker player who sounded like a real professional. He explained that his strategy was to sleep until late afternoon and hit the casinos at 11:00pm looking for a good poker game. He'd look for drunk, well-dressed tourists having a good time in a friendly game of poker. He'd join in and have a good time too, winning money from the happy drunks. As for the rest of casino gambling, participants are best described as mathematically impaired.
Apr 28, 2014 - Afghanistan's Aviation Industry?
Most people assume that US Air Force officers are intelligent. Then why did General Mark Welsh, US Air Force chief of staff, announce at a public lecture that: “The aviation industry in Afghanistan is an opportunity for that country. It’s an industry that could be incredibly successful and meaningful for them in that region, but it hasn’t been robust in the past."
He made these comments to the National Press Club! It's too bad our media is cowardly toward the Pentagon. General Walsh should be lampooned in editorial pages and ridiculed in news shows. I doubt Afghanistan has a single college degree program in aviation. The nation doesn't really doesn't manufacture anything. The General's prepared comments indicate two other problems. Either his staff was too afraid to tell the naked emperor that such comments would make him sound like an idiot, or they did tell him and his ego is so large that he ignored them. I now wait for Welsh announce that he plans to help Afghanistan put a man on the moon, if only we stay the course and keep troops there forever.
Apr 27, 2014 - A Real Threat
I have often noted that illegal aliens have killed far more Americans than terrorists. Illegal immigrants are no more violent than U.S. citizens, but if these foreigners were not here, these crimes would not occur. To grasp this problem, read through this website that shows faces and stories of some victims, which never appear in our national media. Note that many of these foreign killers had previous arrests, but were never deported. Taxpayers now spend billions of dollars a year to incarcerate illegal aliens for manslaughter and murder. Since many corrupted states and cities have passed laws prohibiting their law enforcers from checking the status of suspected illegal aliens with ICE, they never know if arrestees were deported for violent crimes and have returned.
Most of these killings are from automobile accidents. Few illegals have taken driver's training, understand all road signs, and grasp the dangers of driving drunk, since that is still tolerated in most poor nations. To make matters worse, many corrupted states now allow illegal aliens to obtain a driver's license. This cannot be done properly without a social security number to verify a name and date of birth and a valid U.S. issued birth certificate. State workers are instructed to waive requirements and accept foreign passports or foreign birth certificates, which they are unfamiliar with and cannot verify with their computer.
This is bonanza for criminals engaged in fraud, those hiding previous DUI arrests, and terrorists who need an ID to travel by air. Just use the internet to look up and copy a foreign birth certificate and show up at DMV claiming they are an illegal immigrant from Ireland or Trinidad or Angola or Bougainville. If they pass the driving test, they are issued a clean official state ID with whatever name they chose.
Apr 26, 2014 - SpaceX BS
Our corporate media makes bizarre comments that "SpaceX" corporation is the first private spacecraft company. Don't they realize that Boeing and Lockheed-Martin are private companies too? SpaceX is operating with government funding too, so there is no difference. Moreover, SpaceX is not trying anything new, it's even selling the old reusable booster con. I peed on their effort with this comment at Aviation Week (I added links here):
"This is the latest in a long series of reusable booster fraud scams, which have wasted billions of taxpayer dollars. Kistler's reusable scam ended just a few years ago. Until there is a big breakthrough in rocket technology, expendables remain the only practical method of launching into orbit. Less than 4% of a rocket's mass is actually payload. Once you start adding flyback weight, payload disappears. How much do these four landing legs and all that flyback fuel weigh? And you need a stronger (thus heavier) first stage to withstand multiple landings and launches. At best, they can make this work if they forget about payload, i.e. the grasshopper. Note all the sales spin about "success" when the most difficult (and impossible) part of flying back and reusing the booster has not been tested.
The only step forward is assisted launch (like rail or tunnel launch), but that's mostly civil engineering work that doesn't excite rocket scientists. So they've found a new mark, Musk, and conned him, but not the USAF. If Musk wants to save this program quickly, look at a mountain top rail launch. The first stage is an ultra cheap expendable with no guidance or moveable nozzles. High altitude launches eliminate the MaxQ problem, allow more efficient rocket nozzles, and allow a small pneumatic assist up the short rail, like the MX missile that was spit out a silo."
Apr 20, 2014 - Restarting the Cold War
Does anyone remember the Georgia crisis? Not the state, but that obscure, poor nation that was once part of the Soviet Union. The CIA had recruited and schooled someone they placed as President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, who they funded to lead a silent coup in 2004 and establish a CIA puppet government in a key area of the world. American military aid and trainers poured in and Georgian troops were dispatched to fight in Afghanistan.
In 2008, Saakashvili sought to expand Georgia by invading South Ossetia and driving away lightly armed Russian peacekeepers. He was stunned when Russian armored units quickly counterattacked and routed his army, despite the presence of thousands of American troops who happened to be in Georgia for "training." Crazed madmen like Senator John McCain called for American military intervention. The Military-Industrial-Congressional complex tried to stir up war hysteria and demanded billions more dollars in military spending.
NATO and the American people showed no enthusiasm and this "crisis" quickly faded away, despite efforts by America's corporate media to fan war fever. Hours of anti-Russian propaganda had little effect, and sometimes backfired. In this interview by Fox News, an American teenager who fled the fighting insisted on thanking the Russians for expelling the violent Georgian invaders, resulting in an immediate commercial break.
Saakashvilli was eventually forced to resign by angry Georgians in 2012, and the CIA gave him a nice lecturer spot at Tufts University. We see this game at work in the Ukraine. The CIA spent billions of dollars to back a coup that ousted its elected President, who fled to Russia. Russia responded to this threat, and warmongers have announced that a new Cold war has erupted. Plans to reduce American military forces in Europe have changed, and Generals are clamoring for more troops and new bases in Eastern Europe for another decades long "conflict."
Apr 19, 2014 - Philip Giraldi
One of the best commentators on the web is retired CIA officer Philip Giraldi. Here is a sample of his recent work:
I recently had an interesting lunch with a foreign academic who is in the US on a one year sabbatical to study how the political process in Washington shapes foreign policy. She asked me why the United States has a foreign policy that does not appear to serve actual US interests, citing the recent drive to revive the Cold War and to bomb Iran over a weapons program that it does not actually have. The question led to a discussion of how corruption works in the world’s oldest constitutional republic. I explained that money has corrupted every aspect of government at every level in the United States, creating a system in which laws are passed to make various forms of corruption legal rather than trying to have government do things that actually benefit most of the people. The United States has more lawyers than the rest of the world combined because what is “legal” becomes a substitute for what is “responsible or accountable” even though they are not the same, meaning that the interaction of government with its citizenry is now framed purely in terms of what people are and are not allowed to do.
We both noted the perfectly legal lobbying that is a huge industry in the United States, though many would regard it as the worst possible case of institutionalized corruption as it serves special interests that profit from the process and does nothing for the broader public interest. [cont]
Apr 18, 2014 - Con Man Plays the Race Card
America's billionaires have spent the past few years preparing American workers for bad news. Their spokesman, B. Obama, will soon decree amnesty for millions of illegal aliens to ensure that cheap, desperate laborers continue to flood into our nation. To fend off critics, Obama directed the Department of Labor to reduce the nation's unofficial unemployment rate, so they've pencil whipped data each month to show a steady decline, even though total employment has not risen.
The majority of Americans oppose a second amnesty, leaving the billionaires to use every trick in their propaganda playbook. This week one their key outlets, the "Washington Post" labeled anyone who opposes their effort as racist: Racism isn't just a GOP problem. This is written by a con man whose single issue assessment mentions nothing about unemployment, crowded inner cities, affordable housing, crime, and budget problems caused by mass illegal immigration. If you oppose his billionaire employer's open borders effort, you will be called a racist, causing spineless politicians and so called "liberals" to hide. Too bad American labor leader Caesar Chavez is no longer around to speak for American workers. He would oppose amnesty for what he called "wetbacks" and "illegals" who destroyed his farm worker's union and decent wages for Americans working legally on American farms.
Apr 13, 2014 - Another 9-11 Flick
This Italian documentary on the 9-11 attacks was highly recommended, and it is good, although the first half is a rehash of things better explained in the PBS documentary. It covers hard proof, like the fact that a 757 passenger jet could not have flown that path into the Pentagon. Big jets compress air underneath their wings, which provides the lift used to fly. It is impossible to fly a 757 at that speed for 400 yards just a few feet above the ground. An air cushion would instantly build up between the ground and wings and force the aircraft upwards. Another expert noted that even if it could skim the surface, the nice Pentagon lawn would have two long black streaks where the engine exhaust torched the grass. Anyone can see that there was no impact damage from two huge solid engines in the side of Pentagon. The answer was recorded on the dozens of security cameras around the Pentagon, but all those recordings have disappeared.
The unique material in this flick starts at the 1:16 (one hour, 16 minute) mark. I had read in many places for the years that "al Qaida" is a CIA term for "the base" in Arabic, in reference to Arab assets they trained and armed in Afghanistan. This film show that it is short for "database" the CIA's database for any Arab of interest, so anyone the CIA dislikes is in "al Qaida." It also exposes the CIA's effort to overrule State Department's visa officers and issue visas to hundreds of suspicious Saudis. Remember the blind Saudi cleric now in prison for organizing the first bombing of the World Trade Centers? His radical reputation was well known and he was unable to obtain a visa anywhere, including the USA, until the CIA intervened. Finally, the film notes that five of the "accused" 9-11 terrorists had fought for the CIA in Bosnia.
Apr 12, 2014 - Do you Hate Gays and Women, or Lawyers?
Demands for legislation to outlaw discrimination against homosexuals lacks support for good reason. Any homosexual who gets fired can then file a lawsuit no matter the facts. Businesses will be forced to pay thousands of dollars for legal defense, or choose to save money and settle the case. Businessmen will quickly learn to never hire homosexuals, because they may sue if fired.
The same will occur if equal pay for women becomes law. Lawyers will have a grand time filing lawsuits to force businesses to prove they don't discriminate. Even the U.S. government is unable to explain a 7% pay gap between genders. Will the federal government be sued? Will it be forced to pay billions of dollars to all female employees, even though no hard proof exists of direct discrimination, just very complex statistical inconsistencies?
Apr 6, 2014 - More Proof
I've never spent much time on the JFK assassination since the proof of a conspiracy is overwhelming. If you want more, watch this short video of JFK's Secret Service team being ordered off his limo shortly before he was shot.
Apr 1, 2014 - Budget and Base Closure Games
Has anyone checked allegations that Russians troops are massed on the
Ukrainian border? Yes, NBC news, and found
none, yet other media sources failed to issue a correction. And this occurs just as the Pentagon is pressing for increased spending as the FY2015 budget is proposed, and as a long delayed
review to close some of our excess bases in Europe is due for release.
Even the nuclear weapons MAD men have reappeared
to declare a need to spend trillions more dollars for a renewed Cold War.
For those interested in the U.S. Marine Corps, here is my very detailed proposal to cut fat and restore combat power:
Cut Marine Corps Overhead - eliminate 14,300 desk jobs
Mar 28, 2014 - Evil Syrians
Secretary of State John Kerry is not much of a diplomat, mostly a warmongering imperialist. He has no interest in discussing peace with the internationally recognized government of Syria. Kerry recently ordered the Syrian Embassy closed and made comments that war with Syria is still on the agenda. With Congressional elections scheduled for this November, October would be a nice time to bomb Syrians so they can be saved.
Mar 24, 2014 - Where No Man has Been
My worldview has been shattered! I just learned that my childhood TV mentor, Captain James T. Kirk (aka William Shatner), is a Canadian! I suppose the "Federation" could include Canadians. I admire this description of Shatner from Wikipedia: "...during the 1960s he became a working actor who showed up on time, knew his lines, worked cheap and always answered his phone. His motto was 'Work equals work.'" His low point occurred after the original Star Trek TV series ended. He couldn't find acting roles because of his Captain Kirk typecast, and ended up living in his camper for several months.
Mar 22, 2014 - Korean Threat Games
A year ago, I penned Withdraw from DMZ Bases about secret efforts by U.S. Army Generals to derail peace efforts and refuse orders by civilian leaders to move troops away from the DMZ and outside North Korea artillery range. I've added two updates so far this year.
Jan 2014 Update - Games Generals Play
The U.S. Army increased combat forces in South Korea by moving an armored battalion from Texas to camps near the DMZ that are suppose to close this year. All this extra spending is at a time when Army Chief of Staff General Ray Odierno is telling Congress that his army is devastated by budget limits and only two brigades are combat ready.
Mar 2014 Update - South Korea Slashes Military Manpower
Despite constant media stories about the North Korean threat, South Korea will cut its active duty military from 640,000 to 522,000 by 2022, citing the country’s declining birth rate as the reason for the downsizing. According the CIA Fact book, South Korea has almost 11 million men fit for military duty, so the "declining birthrate" excuse to downsize and cut costs is absurd. South Korea spends roughly half as much of its GDP on national defense compared to the USA and its economy continues rapid growth as it surpasses the USA in many areas of technology -- ever hear of Samsung? Most Americans would be outraged by these facts, which is why they never appear in our major corporate media.
Mar 21, 2014 - Deep State
If you are interested in who runs the USA, find time to watch this excellent video, which explains how powerful corporations who own the media also control our elections, bureaucracies, and foreign policy to function as an invisible government, immune from the law and public opinion. Luckily, some American billionaires care about our nation, such as Ron Unz, who started the Unz Review, which publishes articles shunned by the corporate media.
Mar 20, 2014 - Kill your General and get Promoted
Military rules are often relaxed during wartime, but this must be a record. On September 29, 1862, Union Colonel Jefferson C. Davis got into an argument with his superior officer, Major General William "Bull" Nelson, in the Galt House in Louisville, Kentucky. Davis had been offended by insults on prior occasions and when his face was slapped by Nelson, Davis shot and killed him. He was arrested and imprisoned, but Major General Horatio G. Wright came to his aid and was able to get him released from prison. He avoided conviction for the murder because there was a need for experienced field commanders in the Union Army. Davis was later promoted to Major General.
Mar 17, 2014 - Factual Comments
After reading a misleading and rambling opinion from a military-industrial complex propagandist working undercover as a newspaper columnist, an informed reader corrected him and other spinmasters who befuddle the American people with nonsense:
"Obama and the Democrats have not shifted money from national security to entitlement programs; Republican tax cutting efforts have finally “starved the beast.” If the Congressional Republicans were serious about our military readiness and the national debt then they would be for tax increases as well as spending cuts. But this has ever really been about the federal deficit for the Republican Party; it's about choosing winners and losers. It's about protecting the wealthy over the 47%. Despite our aging population, individual and corporate tax revenues today are lower as a portion of GDP than they were when Eisenhower was President of the United States.
We were actually running a budget surplus in 2000 when George W. Bush assumed the Presidency. Then the Republicans pushed through the Bush tax cuts and brought in a new era of budget deficits. The Bush tax cuts added an estimated two trillion dollars to the deficit (over the first ten years alone). Then in 2003 came Iraq and the Neocon war of choice. The Iraq war cost us at least two trillion dollars. Let’s not forget that the Republicans also passed the Medicare prescription drug benefit in 2003, which according to Bush White House figures released in 2005 was estimated to cost 1.2 trillion dollars over the first decade. By the end of the Bush presidency the United States had an annual deficit of 454 billion dollars – which the Congressional Budget Office forecast to grow even larger over the next ten years.
Then in 2008, at the end of George W. Bush’s second term, we experienced the worst economic crisis since the great depression. And of course the “Great Recession” significantly reduced tax receipts and has been responsible for contributing trillions of dollars to the deficit over the past five years. Then in August 2011, the Republicans brought the United States to the brink of disaster over the “Debt Limit” and got a fiscal austerity win by forcing President Obama and the Democrats to agree to the mandated spending limits known as the “sequester.” And now Congressional Republicans refuse to lift the “sequester” spending cuts even though the deficit has now fallen to pre-fiscal crisis/pre-great recession levels.
The only true increase in entitlement spending during Obama’s Presidency was the result of the recession and was caused by the increased need for food stamps and unemployment benefits. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Affordable Care Act actually improves the nation’s overall finances in the coming years, reducing future deficits by hundreds of billions of dollars. If someone’s drawing up a list of "Obamacare” complaints, worrying that it “can’t be paid for” arguably deserves to be at the very bottom. Health care costs have been increasing at double digits for a generation now. The Affordable Care Act attempts to get these costs under control.
Republicans talk out of both sides of their mouths. They force draconian spending cuts on discretionary programs but protect spending on corporations and the wealthy (check out this year’s Farm Bill), then scream bloody murder that Obama is cutting Defense but then refuse to provide him with the increase he’s requested. President Obama is seeking to spend $26 billion above the congressional caps next year and $115 billion more than the caps over the next five years. This could be paid for by closing the "carried interest" loophole (you know the one Mitt Romney used to reduce his federal taxes to 13.9%), enacting the "Buffett tax" that phases in a 30-percent tax rate on income above $1 million and caps on itemized deductions, repealing the tax loophole that allows wealthy self-employed individuals to avoid paying Medicare and Social Security taxes, and cracking down on offshore corporate tax loopholes we would have more funds to maintain an adequate defense budget.
Ask any Republican if they would pass a national sales tax or any other increase in taxes or revenues to continue funding our military at the current level and they will tell you no! If you don’t believe me then check out the February 27, 2014 Stripes article, “Most Pentagon savings would come on weapons, admiral says.” The key point being the interview with Randy Forbes (R-Va.), chairman of the House Armed Services Seapower subcommittee, in which he “acknowledged the political difficulty in the Republican-led House of preventing even further reductions in the defense budget. He said defense supporters need to make the case for national security and defense technology to small government Republicans who want to cut the federal budget.”
I am not an Obama supporter, but I like facts. If you like to peruse details, here is the official source for the proposed FY2015 Department of Defense spending plan. As most of you know, half of national security spending is budgeted outside the DoD. For example, $37.8 billion in military retirement costs for next year are found in the Department of Treasury budget. Pogo summarized the proposed one trillion dollar for FY2015 national security spending in a nice chart.
Mar 16, 2014 - China Threatens North Korea
Our media uses every excuse to heighten the threat of war in Korea. However, China recently announced that it will not allow such a war. South Korea is a major trading partner and war would disrupt China's rapidly growing economy, even if China did nothing about the fighting. North Korea would collapse economically in a couple weeks and millions of North Korean refugees would flood into China. Over the past several years, China has moved an extra 100,000 troops to its border with North Korea to deal with illegal immigration and prepare for chaos in North Korea, which may require Chinese intervention.
This means our military can finally bring our troops home, especially since the South Korean military is five times stronger than North Korea. This will not occur because U.S. Army Generals have ignored orders to pull our soldiers away from the DMZ and consolidate them at Camp Humphreys, south of Seoul and outside North Korean artillery range. To demonstrate arrogance and warmongering, in January the U.S. Army INCREASED combat forces in South Korea by moving an armored battalion from Texas to camps near the DMZ that are suppose to close down this year. All this extra spending was at a time when Army Chief of General Staff Ray Odierno was telling Congress that his army was devastated by budget limits and only two brigades were combat ready.
Mar 15, 2014 - Sole Survivor
I rarely like new movies, and "Sole Survivor" is yet another dud. It's based on a true story about a Navy SEAL team trapped in Afghanistan. Most of this screw up was the fault of incompetence at higher levels. In this disaster, four Americans are in trouble and unable to communicate with their base despite all their high tech tools, and their screwy "joint" headquarters is unsure of their status. The key problem is the U.S. military lacks OV-6Bs! These exact same problems were evident at Takur Ghar back in 2002, but nothing has been done!
If you watch this movie, note these points.
1. They get shot and scraped up but have no first aid kits? No gauze or tape to cover wounds? They just push dirt into wounds.
2. After discovered by three goat herders who they take prisoner, they decide to abandon the mission and call for an extract. They debate what to do with the civilians. Should they kill them because once let go they will run to their village and alert the Taliban? They free them and the Taliban are in pursuit shortly afterwards. Why didn't they just take their captives with them to the extraction point and release them as the helicopter arrives?
3. The four SEALs are pursued by three dozen Taliban. They are on a rocky hilltop with good cover among boulders gunning down advancing Taliban and could have held out for hours until help arrived. For some reason, they decide to flee and two were shot. During the panic they decide to jump off two steep, rocky hillsides, where they get banged up and end up trapped in the low ground. I thought SEALs were highly trained?
The movie depicts the SEALs worst disaster in Afghanistan. Despite the 1993 screw up in Somalia, SpecOps still thinks its cool to hover near hostile forces and fast rope down. In this case, they used a big CH-47 and hovered near a firefight to allow a Taliban to shoot it down with an unguided rocket (RPG), killing two dozen Americans. Helicopters no bigger than a Blackhawk should be used near enemy forces, while soldiers leap out side doors as the helo slows, but never hovers.
Overall, this movie showed the mindless SpecOps strategy in Afghanistan. Observe the locals, guess what they are thinking, assassinate, bomb, or torture any that seem hostile to the foreign invaders, and then act confused when locals complain and seem more hostile. Kill more and more until everyone hates them, including the Afghan president. When American civilian leaders tighten rules of engagement to limit the carnage, blame the rules for a failure to win hearts and minds. Now the final steps: declare victory, go home, blame civilian leaders for leaving Afghanistan too soon (after 12 years of no progress), and find another poor nation to rule.
Mar 14, 2014 - Counterpoints by a Freethinker
You have read corporate news that President Obama is under pressure to halt all deportations of illegal aliens because the numbers are large. What is not reported is that he only deports criminal aliens convicted of serious crimes, and that amounts to hundreds of thousands, which do not include crimes such as illegal entry or identify theft.
After reading an article of interest, I like to read comments for more insight. Someone called "Freethinker" offered a great commentary on yahoo after a corporate propaganda article supporting another amnesty:
are several of the arguments that have been used by misguided people to try
and justify illegal immigration. Next to each is the reason 'why' each
argument has no true merit:
Let me add that the U.S. government does not break up families of illegals. Some family members obtain legal status and help others enter the illegally. In other cases, they cross illegally and use American hospitals to give birth, so a child is legal, and if arrested, they threaten to abandon their child in the USA. Families are only broken up when some members choose to remain in the USA.
When you read that arrested illegals are detained in deplorable prison conditions, I can only say "Welcome to America." That is how arrested U.S. citizens are treated too. Moreover, the illegal aliens remain voluntarily by challenging their arrest, otherwise they are sent home immediately. They know that in most cases, a judge will release them without bail if they wait until their hearing, and once free they never show up for deportation, aka "catch and release." I wrote about a solution to this mess 14 years ago: Homeland Insecurity.
Mar 10, 2014 - An Undisclosed Location
Our warmongering corporate media had a grand time demonizing Russia for sending troops into Crimea. None reported on a 1997 Russian-Ukraine partition agreement that allows Russia to keep up to 25,000 troops in Crimea for training and defense purposes. Many American pundits (aka reporters) mocked Putin for refusing to acknowledge that Russian troops are in Crimea. The U.S. government plays similar games, like insisting that a "targeted killing" is not an assassination.
Another example is the huge American airbase in the UAE at Al Dhafra, with over 1200 American military personnel and dozens of aircraft in the 380th Expeditionary Wing, permanently based there since 2002. This is no real secret; Wikipedia even has a detailed description, yet the Pentagon refuses to acknowledge this airbase and refers to units operating from "an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia." A 2009 Freedom of Information Request about the 380th produced a historical document in which it's history abruptly ends in 2001. Yet this Wing has a big website with no mention of its location, which includes this Feb 14, 2014 photo whose caption notes these two American F-15E fighter aircraft are launching from "an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia."
Mar 8, 2014 - Hobgoblins Are Loose
In what has become an American tradition, we are told war threatens just as the annual proposed military budget is released. A new Cold War with Russia! We need more money to protect you! Last March, it was the good ole "North Korea Threat", and they were really crazy this time! ABC News reported:
A book "The Pentagonists" explained:
"The morning after the April 1986 bombing of Libya by the USAF, my associate Tom Amlie appeared live on Cable News Network and explained that the raid was necessary: “It was that time of year.” In other words, military budget time."
CNN promptly went to commercial and removed that Pentagon expert from their set. The Pentagon's budget strategy is always to evade cuts while complaining about mythical cuts. It has asked for $85 billion for overseas contingencies in FY2015, which is supposed to be war funding for Afghanistan and miraculously is not counted as Pentagon spending. However, most of this slush fund will be spent for other budget items, so the Pentagon will get the same amount as last year, which is more than during the peak or the Vietnam war and more than the peak year of Reagan's military spending spree.
Reading non-corporate news, one learns the conflict with Russia is over. After Obama's talk of imposing economic sanctions, Russia threatened to sell its $200 billion in U.S. Treasury bonds on the world market, and only accept payment for its exports from non-dollar accounts. President Obama wisely backed away.
Mar 3, 2014 - What is a Carbine?
I've learned that most U.S. Army officers are unaware of the purpose of carbines, so here is a lesson. Truck drivers, supply, and headquarters personnel may encounter enemy commandos and such soldiers need something more than a pistol for self-defense. Rifles are large and heavy. Toting them around while doing support work is difficult. As a result, carbines were developed for occasional close-in skirmishes by rear area troops. These are roughly half the size and weight of standard infantry rifles, with half the range and stopping power. Their lightweight metal parts heat up fast from sustained fire and cause jams, but they are much better than pistols. I first questioned the carbine knowledge of U.S. Army officers over four years ago, with a comment in my blog:
I've been out of the loop for some time, but what the hell is this picture from Afghanistan? After decades of complaints that the M-16's 5.56mm round is too weak, and whilst better body armor proliferates, one expects to see the introduction of bigger guns with bigger bullets. Yet colonial duty in Iraq has led to the adoption of a "cool" garrison weapon, the M-4 carbine, as the basic infantry rifle. Effective range drops from 600 meters with the latest M-16A4 to 300 meters with the M-4, and less if they don't brace it in their shoulder. The shorter barrel means less accuracy and less penetrating power. I'm told the M-4 is easier for troops to handle from within HMMWVs, so it has become standard. No bayonet, and no using the rifle butt to "hit and roll" or to whack bad guys.
I got a lot of e-mails agreeing with me. Recall my Feb 18th blog (below) where I congratulated Army LTC Daniel Davis for publishing an article about the questionable effectiveness of our Army. He wrote: "Since the Vietnam War, no American combat leader above the position of company commander has faced a situation where his unit was at risk of defeat by an unexpected enemy attack."
I recall comments by retired Army Colonel Douglas Macgreor a few years ago that the U.S. Army has become a constable force dedicated to colonial duties, like the British Army prior to World War II. That army was full of "combat vets" accustomed to chasing off and hunting down insurgents in the British empire. When World War II occurred, these soldiers were not prepared to fight a serious enemy with similar equipment and training. The performance of the British Army from 1940 through 1942 was pathetic. British troops fled whenever they encountered an attacking enemy, not just in France, but also North Africa, Malaysia, and Burma.
More evidence of a leadership weakness in the U.S. Army was the formation of LAV "Stryker" brigades, suitable for constable duties, but not a real war. The continued emphasis on airborne/airmobile/aviation brigades is further proof, which ignore advances in air defense weaponry and the math of logistics. U.S. Army General's recent speeches about the need to rapidly deploy light brigades to Asia within days demonstrates their ignorance of warfare. Had the U.S. Army dispatched an airborne division to the Philippines in 1942, the Japanese would have captured a lot more prisoners.
The most recent proof of incompetence are leaked details about the infamous Battle of Wanat in Afghanistan where nine American soldiers were killed. The Afghans attacked and engaged these soldiers in serious combat. Even though they were in defensive positions in a hostile area, they were armed with carbines that overheated and jammed. The after-action discussion focused on improving the M4 carbine. That is the wrong issue. Why were these infantrymen not armed with rifles!
While the M-16 rifle doesn't have the power of most combat rifles, it has more than the M-4, and a heavier barrel and components allow more sustained fire. In 2010, Marine Corps Commandant James Conway explained why the Marines were not following the Army's change to the M-4 carbine:
As I've noted many times in the past, our Generals brag that modern body armor and helmets can stop 7.62mm rounds (center pictured), but can't seem to grasp that foreign armies have them too. While shifting our entire military up from the 5.56mm (leftmost pictured) may be difficult, I've long advocated having two .338LM (8.6mm/rightmost pictured) rifles per squad, a scoped sharpshooter rifle and a bullpup with punching power needed to blast through walls, doors, cars, and body armor. Meanwhile, issue the rest of our Army infantrymen M-16A4 rifles!
Mar 2, 2014 - Is NATO Surprised by the Ukraine Uprising?
NATO conducted large military exercises in the Ukraine the past few years focused on stability and peacekeeping. As noted in my Feb 23rd blog, the USA spent billions of dollars stirring unrest in the Ukraine as part of a coup to overthrow its President, who opposed joining NATO. Now that Russia has intervened, American Generals are rightly afraid to deploy a few thousand NATO "peacekeepers" who might encounter Russian armored forces.
To understand this conflict, let us pretend that NATO and the American empire dissolves in 2020, and Texas spins off as an independent nation with Spanish as the official language after continued mass illegal immigration resulted in 60% of the people of Mexican descent. Meanwhile, Russia had reestablished its empire by borrowing trillions of dollars from China and added all of Europe and some Latin American nations to its revived "Warsaw Pact" alliance.
Russia wants to add Texas as a further blow to the weakened USA and has been conducting military exercises in Texas. It spends billions of covert dollars causing unrest in Texas and overthrows its President, who opposed joining the Warsaw Pact. Russian President Vladimir Putin Jr. warns the USA not to intervene in Texas. If all this occurred, would anyone be surprised if American forces crossed the border into Texas to restore order? Would Russian workers wonder why its government was wasting money and causing unrest on the other side of the globe?
Mar 1, 2014 - High Military Pay
Military groups are leading another media effort to boost pay. As I explained four years ago, GIs earn 2-3 times more than comparable Americans, with newly enlisted married GIs averaging $39,000 a year to start, E-9s pocketing $107,000 a year, and Majors earning even more! They also have one of America's most generous retirement plans that requires zero contributions. The Obama administration is trying to correct this by limiting pay raises to 1% for FY2015, as they did last year. With inflation at ~2% a year, this will total a 2% cut over two years. Federal civilian workers are hit even harder. After a three year freeze, they got 1% last year and will get just 1% next year. That's an 8% pay cut over five years!
The current spin is that a tiny increase in food stamp use at commissaries proves GIs are suffering. What these amateur reports fail to mention is that reservists have been allowed unlimited use of commissaries for several years now. Many are unemployed or underemployed, and they are the biggest users of food stamps at commissaries. The next group are enlisted who retired as E-6/7s with just 15-20 years of service and have no job and children at home. Finally, there are a tiny number of active duty troops who join up with a "Brady Bunch" family, i.e. seven dependents, and collect food stamps because a family of eight that earns less than $4294 a month is eligible for food stamps.
Feb 26, 2014 - Pentagon Spin
I read numerous stories his week about cuts in military spending. These are false. Spending for FY2015 remains mostly flat. Some areas will be cut, but offset by increased spending elsewhere, like retiree pay and health benefits. For example, a Colonel retiring today after 30 years of service will receive a monthly check twice as big as his next door neighbor, a Colonel who retired in 1984. Some reports note that "cuts" are from "forecasts" or "plans", meaning wish lists dreamed up by Generals that our nation cannot afford. The White House announced a separate proposal for $26 billion in spending growth for next year that is above the agreed long-term budget plan.
Everyone has read about plans to cut the Army to the smallest force since before World War II. However, it will be twice the size as in 1940, and the National Guard and Army Reserve will remain several times bigger. Moreover, our 1940 Army included the Army Air Corps. Adding today's U.S. Air Force manpower to the Army's total amounts to 800,000 active duty GIs, four times larger than in 1940.
Finally, manpower reductions are required because of past refusals to restrain soaring personnel costs, something the Pentagon has finally attempted for FY2015, by trimming (not slashing) some benefits after decades of rapid growth. Despite the whining about cuts in Army manpower, there is no plan to preserve combat forces by slashing overhead found in redundant headquarters and outdated overseas bases, as detailed here: Save our Army from Generals
Feb 23, 2014 - Restarting the Cold War
As the "war" in Afghanistan winds down, the Pentagon and its corporate and congressional allies are seeking new enemies. Russia has been chosen, as you've observed from countless "news" reports about evil Russians hosting the Olympics. And now the USA spent billions of dollars causing unrest in the Ukraine and is attempting a coup, something ignored by our corporate media, but details can be read here. Ukraine is one of Russia's few remaining allies that has refused to join American dominated NATO. Russia has ignored continual American meddling and insults, so far.
Feb 22, 2014 - Giant Americans
I am always pleased to stumble across fascinating history withheld from the public. "Giants with double rows of teeth" sounds absurd, but open your mind and watch this video. The first half is slow and focuses on archeology, so if impatient, skip to the 40-minute mark. Search the web to find hundreds of stories related to this idea, such as this one. Despite physical evidence in the form of skeletons, our official history ignores these mysterious giants.
Feb 18, 2014 - Ready for a Real War?
Congratulations to Daniel Davis and "Armed Forces Journal" for publishing the truth about our "invincible" military, which includes lucid comments such as:
"Since the Vietnam War, no American combat leader above the position of company commander has faced a situation where his unit was at risk of defeat by an unexpected enemy attack.
In fact, never since Vietnam has any enemy formation had any chance of inflicting a tactical defeat on U.S. forces. Not in Grenada, Desert Storm, Bosnia, Kosovo, Serbia, the conventional phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom, nor any phase of counterinsurgency operations since 9/11.
Not one of our combat opponents over the past four decades has had a capable air force, effective tank, artillery, or infantry force, helicopter fleet, missile force, anti-air capability, or an effective logistic and supply chain."
Feb 16, 2014 - National Priorities
Pat Buchanan's logic on protecting Americans:
"Yet, in 2010, not one death here in America resulted from terrorism.
That year, however, 780,000 Americas died of heart disease, 575,000 of cancer, 138,000 from respiratory diseases, 120,000 in accidents (35,000 in auto accidents), 69,000 from diabetes, 40,000 in drug-induced deaths, 38,000 by suicide, 32,000 by liver disease, 25,000 in alcohol-induced deaths, 16,000 by homicide and 8,000 from HIV/AIDS.
Is terrorism the killer we should fear most and invest the lion’s share of our resources fighting?"
Feb 7, 2014 - The War Economy
It's nice to occasionally read accurate commentaries, and unusual to see rational comments appear in the government published "Stars and Stripes", which includes:
"Ending wars means we get to shift military resources to other things we’ve been neglecting. That’s what it has meant, at least, in every war the United States has waged — possibly until now.
Somehow in the budget Obama just signed, spending on those wars we’re winding down went — up? Though we’ll have half as many troops in Afghanistan this year as we had last year, the war budget — mind-numbingly branded as “Overseas Contingency Operations” in Pentagon-speak — will get more dollars in it than it had in 2013. The cuts to the Pentagon’s “regular” (nonwar) budget from the Budget Control Act and sequestration are creating a military downsizing, of a sort. But the recent budget deal wiped away some of those cuts for the next couple of years. And as for the postwar defense downsizing that we’ve had after every one of our wars? Not so much this time.
Adjusting for inflation, we’ll be spending more on the Pentagon budget this year than at almost any time during the Cold War. Only a couple of years at the peak of the Reagan buildup took us any higher.
This is military downsizing hardly worthy of the name. Barely $5 billion will come out of a weapons budget of nearly $100 billion this year. And the list of neglected needs that could really use the savings generated by a real Pentagon downsizing is long. It includes the kinds of investments that will make our economy as a whole more productive — repaired infrastructure, a better educated, healthier workforce, and a transition to sustainably clean energy and transportation.
That’s what’s missing from this picture.
The end to our “permanent war footing” isn’t putting much of a dent in our permanent war economy. As we end the longest period of war in our history, we watch the military contracting industry’s profit margins and stock prices continue to soar. New money is providing those contractors the means to rush into production new weapon systems we don’t need."
Jan 27, 2014 - 49 cent stamp?
First Class mail is now 49 cents. Am I the only one who thinks this is nutty? Just make it a simple 50 cents! Or make it 40 cents! As I've blogged in the past, home mail delivery should be three days a week, not six. The manpower and fuel savings would be huge. I only check my mailbox every other day anyway.
Jan 26, 2014 - Obama Threatens American Democracy
This has been reported in our corporate media, but here is the best summary:
"White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer said Sunday that President Obama will offer “practical” proposals to move the country forward this year and suggested the president will take executive action to advance his agenda when Congress doesn’t cooperate.
“If Congress doesn’t act, the president will,” Pfeiffer told “Fox News Sunday.”
Pfeiffer’s comments mark the second time this weekend that he has attempted to prepare Americans for what Obama will say in his State of the Union address Tuesday before Congress.
In a letter Saturday to Obama supporters, Pfeiffer called 2014 a “year of action” and said the president will lay out a set of “real, concrete, practical proposals” to grow the economy and strengthen the middle class.
“President Obama has a pen and he has a phone, and he will use them to take executive action and enlist every American … in the project to restore opportunity for all,” he also wrote in the letter.
On Sunday, Pfeiffer said those proposals will include efforts to increase the minimum wage, extend unemployment insurance and pass comprehensive immigration reform."
As I continually blog, the top objective of our corporate masters is a second amnesty for illegal aliens, yet public opposition is so strong that they can't ram it through Congress no matter how much they contribute to the pockets of Congressmen. So they ordered Obama to pass his own law, with a pen, and flood the nation with millions more desperate foreign workers for another decade.
He will cover his dirty deed by providing small and overdue help to our poorest workers by increasing the minimum wage, mostly to make up for losses due to inflation. Then a direct bribe to millions of unemployed Americans by sending them checks for another year for doing nothing, so they are not enraged that millions of jobs were opened to illegal foreign workers. Once again, only in America would a government pay billions of dollars for extended unemployment benefits while granting legal work status to millions of visa-less foreign "visitors."
The minimum wage boost is overdue and will be overcome by inflation in another four years. The extended unemployment will run out in a year. But a second amnesty will cause massive damage for decades as millions more poor, desperate foreigners head to the the USA. They may claim they were already in the USA before the amnesty deadline, and there are thousands of "immigration advocates" willing to vouch for them or provide false documents. Otherwise, they'll just wait the for the next (third) amnesty.
Meanwhile, some 20 million new voters for the Democratic party will be created. They will not be legal citizens, but Obama has fought any state law requiring proof of citizenship or even an ID to vote. Spinmasters say none of this is needed since there are very few cases of voter fraud. That is correct, since there is no method to confirm a voter's identity, cases of voter fraud are never detected. I suspect the numbers of non-citizens voting in national elections are in the millions.
Meanwhile, cities will be further swamped with foreign refugees willing to work for cash at below minimum wage, and collecting billions of dollars in welfare, earned income credits/payments, and child tax credits/payments. Schools, jails, and hospitals will be further crowded. Congress will be forced to reduce benefits to poor Americans to control costs. Anyone who objects to Obama's obviously unconstitutional assault on American worker wages and America's poor will be called a racist to end serious discussion.
If anyone doubts that Obama will do this, just read about the Dream Act. That was rejected by Congress last year, so Obama used his pen to grant amnesty to a million illegal foreigners. No one in our corporate media objected, few in Congress protested, and no one took legal action. The same reaction occurred when the head of the NSA admitted that he lied to Congress several times under oath, which is a felony. He was not charged with a crime, and wasn't even fired! And he lied about massive illegal activity by the NSA, yet no one was indicted, no one fired, and nothing changed. The USA is now run like a dictatorship in which Congress has little power and the President and his appointees do as they please, regardless of the U.S. Constitution or laws. This problem has grown worse over the decades, yet it's reached the point where the President openly boasts that he does whatever he pleases, with a pen.
Jan 21, 2014 - Gold Runs Out as Immigration "Reform" Sold
It has been well documented that the U.S. Government has little physical gold left, and has improperly and secretly "borrowed" gold it holds on deposit for foreign nations. This caused the price of gold to soar this past decade, until the Feds intervened via its major banks to manipulate the trading price using naked shorts. Gold threatened the U.S. dollar's role as the world's currency when the Fed began "QE" in 2008. The U.S. government's need for funds to occupy the world, pay promised entitlements, and bail-out corrupt banks was greater than what could be borrowed.
As a result, the Federal Reserve began creating a trillion dollars a year with a few computer key strokes, then loaned that money to our government. Rational observers saw this as an unsound policy and began buying gold. That was no problem since the Fed and its partner banks create paper gold though ruses like "gold leasing" and contracts. Some nations wisely doubted these schemes and demanded physical gold, notably China and even Germany. As the brilliant Paul Craig Roberts notes in this detailed article, the Feds are scrambling to delay these delivery demands and acquire the physical gold. They've ramped up price manipulation to drive down the gold price and began a media campaign to kill demand by saying gold is a bad investment. What happens to the dollar when the rest of the world wises up to this ponzi scheme?
The next article on Roberts blog addresses the fake plummeting unemployment rate. Overall employment continues to fall, yet our corporate media tells us the unemployment rate is lower because fewer and fewer Americans want to work. This fits into corporate America's top objective before Obama leaves office; a second amnesty for illegal aliens that will drive down wages further and encourage another 20 million desperate workers to flood across our borders. This is a hard sell since the vast majority of Americans oppose. Read the comments following any article on so called "Immigration Reform" if you doubt the overwhelming opposition.
Now that unemployment has been solved through government/corporate propaganda, they can move on to sell the "labor shortage" idea. This may sound absurd, but it has begun with recent articles like: Is Immigration Reform the Answer to Unfilled Jobs? This pretends to be a balanced article, but includes an absurd assumption with this statement: "Immigrant labor is vital to the American work force and economy, and an immigration policy that addresses those needs, as well as the well-being of both domestic and foreign workers, is essential."
It spins the standard implication that Americans are not smart enough to work in "high tech" jobs. Whenever this issue is addressed, there is never discussion about changing policies to ensure the American workforce is learning the correct skills. In reality, the skilled visa ruse is used to lay off skilled American workers and replace them with foreign visa slaves paid half as much. Only in America can you have Congressmen argue the need to extend unemployment benefits for those out of work over a year, and then argue for expanding the number for work visas for foreigners.
Jan 19, 2014 - Al-Qaida Everywhere!
The brilliant Eric Margolis recently repeated something that I've often noted:
"How can al-Qaida be all over the Mideast, North Africa, and now much of black Africa? This after the US spent over $1 trillion trying to stamp out al-Qaida in Afghanistan and Pakistan? The answer is simple. As an organization and threat, al-Qaida barely exists. But as a name, al-Qaida and “terrorism” have become the west’s handy universal term for armed groups fighting western influence, corruption or repression in Asia and Africa. Al-Qaida is nowhere – but everywhere."
And today, the esteemed Associated Press has a story appearing in hundreds of "news" outlets in the USA telling Americans why our troops are fighting illiterate tribesmen in Mali. The story includes:
U.S. officials have confirmed the existence of al-Qaida-linked camps in southwest Libya.
It's an al-Qaida pattern seen around the world, in hot spots such as Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and increasingly here in North Africa.
...one British official describing the security situation in the region as potentially more dangerous than before the French intervened.
Al-Qaida has developed ties with several different militias.
It's a situation that allows al-Qaida to operate at will.
This blatant CIA propaganda includes a picture that has no relationship to the article. It's a picture of the burned out CIA base in Benghazi, Libya (always misreported as a U.S. Consulate) where four Americans were killed in 2012 while organizing the shipment of Libyan weapons to Syrian terror groups. No one claimed that al Qaida was part of that attack, and Benghazi is hundreds of miles from the fighting described in this article.
This is part of daily propaganda fed to Americans by our Empire masters (see Jan 7 blog). If you wonder why we are now spending a billion dollars a year for this meddling and U.S. troops are dying in Africa, you know that it's because "al Qaida" is there; they are everywhere! They can never be defeated because they don't exist. Long live the Empire!
Jan 13, 2014 - Did the NSA Damage Target Stores?
As further proof of the American police state, read this article about the FBI openly asking a software company executive to install a "backdoor" in their secure systems to allow government access without permission or a warrant. At the same time, we read stories of massive security breaches at Target and other retailers. I suspect someone is exploiting these FBI and NSA installed backdoors. Either they found them in the software coding, stole them from a federal agency, or a disgruntled government employee or contractor sold or leaked them.
Jan 12, 2014 - Greed in the Pentagon
A great example of greed among flag officers was a change slipped into law a few years back that greatly boosted retirement pay for Generals and Admirals. Colonels and below must retire at 30 years, but Generals can serve longer. Military retirement pay is very generous and one can collect 75% of basic pay after 30 years of active service.
A few years ago, Generals fooled civilians leaders into thinking they need more incentives to remain in uniform, even though nearly all are forced out due to our odd "up or out" promotion system, which I once proposed be corrected. This new incentive allows retirement percentages to continue to grow each year past 30, so Generals can collect more in retirement than they did on active duty. This insightful article reports that a General earning $181,000 in base pay a year (and a free mansion as quarters) can now collect $237,000 a year in retirement pay the rest of his life!
Generals claim they earned that retirement windfall, forgetting that they volunteered for service and could have retired after 20 years with half pay, but chose to remain. Some complain about having to move every year, although they made no attempt to change that silly game when they were a General. Nearly all servicemen agree that if retirement costs are too high, the first place to trim is at the top. The U.S. military should return to the traditional limit so a General earning $181,000 a year retires at 75% basic pay ($135,000 a year) plus nearly free TRICARE healthcare for life. All Americans agree that he could survive.
Jan 7, 2014 - Who Controls the USA?
As you may suspect, the American president nor congress really control the USA. The world's billionaires run things indirectly through "think tanks" via the National Security Council (NSC). Think tankers frequently appear on corporate news shows to guide public and congressional opinion. Subservience to this system is required of prospective Republican and Democratic presidential candidates before they are allowed to run for office. Their key appointees are selected from these think tanks before they are elected.
If a president later attempts to place someone "unacceptable" in a high position or on the NSC staff, that person is rejected after the routine "security clearance" investigation turns up "problems." If a president becomes too bold and refuses to follow orders, he ends up with a bullet through his head (Kennedy), ousted with a fabricated scandal (Nixon), or denied a second term after relentless attacks by the corporate media (Carter). Since these coups, presidents have proved lame and cooperative; content to travel the world and enjoy royal life as King POTUS.
Here is an excellent overview of this system: Engineering Empire. I use the term "empire" for my blog, even though it strikes most Americans as kooky. This is because our nation's propaganda system, including its educational system, is so powerful that most Americans are unable to accept that the USA has become an empire, despite overwhelming evidence after the Cold War ended. Most Americans find this reality so disturbing that they assume any reference to an American empire is -- kooky.
Jan 6, 2014 - Not Spying, Just Storing
When the NSA states that it is not listening to everyone's phone calls or reading everyone's e-mail, they are honest since that would be impossible. However, it collects and stores everything in a searchable database that has grown so large that another massive facility was just opened in Utah. Should any federal investigator or "intelligence" SES show an interest in you, years of personal communications can be retrieved, including every airline trip, every credit card charge, every phone call, every website visited, every social media and website comment, every book purchased, and every e-mail sent.
Most Americans are not worried, because they are not criminals. But as many recent books note, there are so many vague laws on the books and loose interpretations that most Americans commit several felonies a week. Anyone who may cause trouble with website postings, journalist articles, political speech, protest rallies, alternative political party efforts, or anger any of the thousands of persons with access to this data, their life's secrets will be dug up. This may involve just personal conflicts due to business deals or lovers, as the NSA admits has been a problem.
This is why most congressmen and journalists are afraid to criticize the NSA. Imagine what will be available for blackmail when today's college students rise into the nation's power structure in 20 years, and all their collegiate e-mail, texts, tweets, and party photos are dug up, plus whatever immature political ramblings they wrote. A great example of how this power can be misused is the great 1998 movie "Enemy of the State." The entire movie can be seen for free on Youtube.
Jan 5, 2014 - Fake Pentagon Cuts
I like reading articles in the industry sponsored National Defense magazine, which for allows reader comments. Sometimes these insiders reveal inside info:
"With the military still at war in Afghanistan, the Pentagon has a bit of a fiscal cushion in the $80 billion overseas contingency operations budget. 'This account will be an important safety valve to help the Army and Marine Corps pay for manpower, operations and maintenance, and equipment ‘reset’ efforts over the next two to three years — essentially bridging the gap until growth resumes,' wrote Roman Schweizer, defense industry analyst at Guggenheim Partners, in a note to investors. 'Congress hasn’t balked at the administration’s $79.5 billion war-spending request for this year, and it probably won’t in the future either,' said Schweizer."
This reads more like an internal memo, or an national expose. The Pentagon and Congress have deceived the American people about budget cuts. That money is to be replaced by off-budget war funding, by vastly overestimating costs for Afghan ops, and misusing those funds for normal peacetime expenses. Once demands for cuts subside in a couple of years (or a new "war" is found) the endless growth in military spending can continue in regular budgeting.
This explains why our Generals refuse to leave failure in Afghanistan - it's used for political budget games. The Pentagon is cutting manpower and related expenses, but all those savings are to be redirected toward ever more expensive weaponry.
Jan 2, 2014 - Free Credit Reports
Most people do not realize that federal law created a system and website where people can get their credit report each year for free from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus. It's a good idea to check in case someone has used your identity to open accounts. Don't check all three agencies the same day, check one every four months.
Carlton Meyer editorG2mil@Gmail.com
2013 Blog - The Yellow Man's Burden
2012 Blog - The Empire in Turmoil
2011 Blog - The Empire Retreats
2010 Blog - The Empire Crumbles
2009 Blog - The Bankrupt Empire
2008 Blog - The End of the Empire
2000-2008 - Monthly Editorials