Thursday, September 24, 2009

Beware the military industrial complex...

Wasteful Defense Spending Is a Clear and Present Danger - WSJ.com
When John McCain was shot down over Hanoi in 1967, he was flying an A4 Skyhawk. That jet cost $860,000.

Inflation has risen by 700% since then. So Mr. McCain's A4 cost $6.1 million in 2008 dollars. Applying a generous factor of three for technological improvements, the price for a 2008 Navy F18 fighter should be about $18 million. Instead, we are paying about $90 million for each new fighter. As a result, the Navy cannot buy sufficient numbers. This is disarmament without a treaty.

Having working in and around big defense contractors for more than 20 years I can say I fully agree with the former SECNAV's evaluation: the cosy relationship between the military, supplies and the civilans working in the pentagon has turned what should be a competitive market into a good ole boys network where BIG defense companies routinely milk money out of a contact for 2-3 or MORE years beyond it's orginal cost/schedule. 50-100% cost overruns are not uncommon.

In fact, I worked on one defense project back in the late '90's that was supposed to be about 3 years long and demonstrate, on orbit, new sensing and tracking technologies. Ten years later I know the program was still nursing at the government teet and the satellites STILL hadn't been launched.

How's that for return on you $100+ million investment?

Something has to be done. I'm not opposed to spending on the military, but we spend so much on so many ridiculous projects that its bankrupting the country.

People scream about potential increases in gov health care spending, but don't seem to bat an eye when we spend $350 MILLION on a single fighter jet - or worse, several hundred million on a program that goes no-where for more than a decade.

This is corporate welfare on a HUGE scale.

Will we ever get control? ... i doubt it. Something about the American pyche is at work here: spending money to kill people is "oo-raah" good; but try to spend some to help sick people and you get protests.

What the hell happened to people?

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

What is wrong with this country?

It was just a few years ago when the right was telling us that if you didn't support the president (in a time of war) you were NOT a patriot ... they told us it was our duty not to question warrantless wiretaps, torture, rendition and a host of other (at least) questionable activities taken on unilaterally by the executive branch...

Now, those same folks are telling us -- while we are still at war btw -- that they don't want their kids to watch a speech by the president ... a speech who's theme is "stay in school" and "help out in your local communities" ...

Has this country really gone this bat-shit crazy? I mean, we aren't supposed to question the violation of our 4th and 5th Amendment rights ... but we should teach our children that this president's words aren't to be trusted -- even when he speaks about something ALL of us (supposedly) agree on?

There truly is no hope for a people who are this screwed up... The politicization of EVERYTHING is at hand when a message like "stay in school" is seen as serving some evil, ulterior motive.