Month: June 2008

Old Pinko’s Says

Or more accurately, to what Old Pinko links to on Tim Russert.

I know nothing of the man as a person, but as a journalist, some of the reviews are out from some people in the know, and they are not pretty.

I’m sure that Olbermann will take the opportunity to make them “Worst Persons in the World”.

In a related nowt, it also appears that Olbermann will have a special comment tomorrow, where he promises to address (that means alibi) his disgraceful behavior excusing Obama’s sellout on Telco Immunity.

I’ll have a review of it tomorrow night.

God is Beyond Our Comprehension, So Many Use Him to Justify Hate

So at best, we only see bits and pieces of the totality that is called in Kabbalistic thought the Ein Sof, and what see reflects far more on us than it does on the nature of the divine.

For conservative Anglicans, it appears that when they look for God, all they find is hate, because that is all that they look for:

Conservative evangelicals representing half of the world’s Anglicans launched a new global church yesterday, challenging the authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury and vowing to rescue people from the forces of “militant secularism and pluralism” created by a “spiritual decline” in developing economies.

The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, Foca, will sever ties with the main churches in the US and Canada, whose leaders they accuse of betraying biblical teaching. Foca architects will tomorrow go to the conservative evangelical church of All Souls, in central London, to discuss global Anglicanism and English orthodoxy.

Hundreds of disgruntled clergy, representing many Church of England parishes, will be in the audience and the speakers will include the Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, and the Archbishop of Uganda, Henry Luke Orombi.

So much training in theology, and all they can think to do is to search scriptures for reasons to hate.

Retired Anglican Bishop John Shelby Spong asks more generally, “Has religion in general and Christianity in particular degenerated to the level that it has become little more than a veil under which anger can be legitimatized?”

The answer is, “yes”, and for these people, this is all that religion is for them.

Sy Hersh: Bush and His Evil Minions&trade Escalating Covert Ops In Iran. Goal: Create Casus Belli

Seeing as some in the administration *cough* Dick Cheney *cough* they see this as a win, win, I find the idea that they are funding military and terrorist actions in Iran to be credible.

My guess would be is that if an American special ops soldier were captured by Iran, they would consider it to be a lucky break for them, because it would allow them to strike.

It reinforces their view that American military might is the only way to conduct foreign policy, and they believe that it would benefit Republicans in November.

Keith Olberman Gets Owned by Glenn Greenwald and John Dean

Glenn Greenwald savaged Keith Olbermann because he is endorsing Obama’s sellout as clever politics, when earlier he had one of his vaunted “special comments” denounced telco immunity as textbook Fascism.

Olbermann promptly went on Kos, and called Glenn Greenwald names, and asserted that John Dean said that a President Obama could prosecute the telcos criminally.

There are two problems with this assertion:

  1. Nothing prevents a Bush pardon on this, and given the language Bush is using on the civil immunity, such a pardon is almost certain.
  2. John Dean did not say that a President Obama could president the telcos criminally. I saw the interview. What he said was that the had not yet seen anything that would prevent this in the bill.

In fact, we now know that :

I said that when I read the bill, and talked to the folks at the ACLU who had been following it, that it was not clear. I raised it when appearing on Countdown with the hope that someone might figure it out. But that is the nature of this badly drafted bill that it is not clear what it does and does not do, and the drafters are not saying.

But even if the bill is unclear there is no question the Bush Administration is not going to do anything to the telecoms, so the question is whether a future DOJ could — and here there is case law protecting the telecoms. But there may be language buried in the bill that protects them as well but it can only be found by reading the bill with a half dozen other laws which I have not yet done.

I made no declarative statements rather I only raised questions that jumped at me when reading the 114 page monster.

(emphasis mine)

For Keith Olbermann to laud Obama’s decision to sell out, and to suggest that Dean supports this action, when on his own show, Dean called telco immunity a, “grave assault on the Constitution”.

It’s not OK when Bush does it, and it’s not OK when Obama goes along with, Mr. Olbermann.

USAF May Have Improperly Lobbied Congress on BRAC

It appears that they lobbied Senators Ted Stevens (R-AK) and Daniel Inouye (D-HI) to insert language allowing the services to veto joint bases decisions made by the commission.

Once again, it looks like the USAF’s real core competency is gaming the federal budget process.

According to the article, it looks like the USAF then used this language to blackmail the other services at joint bases more control and more of the budget.

Where Can I Get Some for My Car?

A company called Inframat was showing a series of coatings the Eurosatory show that are supposed to greatly reduce the IR signature of objects. So it could be used to hide a tank:

More accurately, it could be used to hide a second tank:

The company also makes IR suppressive fibers that can be used in uniforms and cammo netting, and claims to have an anti radar coating in development that gets you -15 dB to – 25 dB signature reduction at 8.8 – 10.5 GHz. It’s not full stealth, but it would make ECM much more effective.

This Ties into My Ballistic “Carrier Killer” Post

Basically, we have an enthusiastiac endorsement of an unmanned combat air vehicle launched from carrier decks:

Imagine a Navy strike plane launching off the catapult as its carrier begins steaming out of its San Diego naval base. The jet refuels over Hawaii, then again over Guam; it gets updated targeting data from its mother ship 6,000 miles away and launches its strike on an enemy nuclear missile silo in East Asia — all in one sortie.

Sound impossible?

And, oh, it could turn around and land on another carrier in the Red Sea after taking some surveillance photos of a suspected terrorist training camp in Pakistan and beaming them down to commanders in Bagram.

That’s just the half of what a naval unmanned combat drone could potentially do, says a new report from a respected Washington, D.C.-based defense think tank. Why land on the carrier in the Red Sea? Why not tank over the Med, fly up to the Arctic and beam back radio transmissions from an ongoing Russian war game, then fly back to its mother carrier now a few hundred miles from its home port?

Given the increasing effectiveness of conventional submarines and anti-ship missiles, this is one way to ensure that a carrier is able to provide support from relative safety.

Of course, you could do the same thing if you launched that drown from an airfield in San Diego, and it could do the same thing, and not buy the carrier at all.

Well, Now, Isn’t That Special?

More chocolatey goodness in the FISA bill:

The FISA law currently being debated in the Senate redefines weapons of mass destruction in a very broad way. Jason Sigger looks at Under title VII, section 110:

`(1) any explosive, incendiary, or poison gas device that is designed, intended, or has the capability to cause a mass casualty incident;

`(2) any weapon that is designed, intended, or has the capability to cause death or serious bodily injury to a significant number of persons through the release, dissemination, or impact of toxic or poisonous chemicals or their precursors;

`(3) any weapon involving a biological agent, toxin, or vector (as such terms are defined in section 178 of title 18, United States Code) that is designed, intended, or has the capability to cause death, illness, or serious bodily injury to a significant number of persons; or

`(4) any weapon that is designed, intended, or has the capability to release radiation or radioactivity causing death, illness, or serious bodily injury to a significant number of persons.’

(emphasis mine)

Two things of note:

  1. Significant number of persons is a very vague term, and a pipe bomb at a bus station might qualify under the law, even though the term was defined in the late 1940s to apply only to those things capable of causing A-Bomb levels of destruction.
  2. It defines an incendiary device as a WMD, which means that a WP 155mm howitzer round or an incendiary bomb are now defined as WMDs, a definition that the US military has been fighting against for years.

So Now The Europeans Sound Like Washington State Congressmen

There is no evidence that this is happening yet, but US merchants of death are worried that it might(paid subscription required):

Access to the European defense market for U.S. companies could be one of the first areas where the GAO decision will leave its mark. One senior U.S. industry official developing business opportunities in Europe says there’s concern that European countries will react by excluding U.S. products for consideration in competitions on their home turf.

If the Northrop Grumman/EADS North America team were to be stripped of the tanker contract, it would have “unpleasant” implications for the transatlantic security relationship on a broader scale, notes Giles Merritt, director of the Security & Defense Agenda, a Brussels-based think tank. “Europe will be in a distinctly unfriendly frame of mind” when it comes to matters such as troop commitments to Afghanistan and other initiatives that would require burden-sharing, he states.

Let’s be clear. This is not yet happening. What’s going on is that Americans are afraid that the Europeans will act like them.

Future Combat System Reworked

Basically, this is an acknowledgment that the program as currently was ill conceived (see here and here).

They will be accellerating the small airborn and ground vehicles, and soft pedaling the armored vehicles:

The moves will shift the focus of the overall FCS effort to infantry brigades instead of armored units. The Army will also work to get large numbers of robots and miniature aerial drones — both of which are designed for use in crowded urban areas — out to forces in Iraq and Afghanistan by late 2010, instead of in 2015 or 2016 as initially planned.

This is an admission that it will be infantry, and not armored units that will be necessary in the most likely future war fighting scenarios.

The manned ground vehicles will be small and lighter, and so in a number of ways inferior to their predecessors, so this should come as no surprise.

USAF Acquisition Officials Believe Tanker Purchase Can Go Forward Without Rebid

It appears that people in the USAF who have seen the whole GAO report do not believe that it will require a complete rebid of the contract.

I’m not sure if this means that the errors are small, or if the Airbus bid was that much better, or that they need the tanker right now, or some combination of all of the above:

“Their finding is that the full document is quite different from the summary,” issued last Wednesday, said a source familiar with the issue. The source said Air Force leaders believe much of what was challenged is “procedural” and can be resolved without rebidding the deal.

We should know in the next week.