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unhappycamper's Journal
unhappycamper's Journal
August 26, 2012

It Should Be Over. It's Done. No More. Get Out.


It Should Be Over. It's Done. No More. Get Out.
by Abby Zimet
08.24.12 - 10:58 PM

This week marked the 2,000th American death in a 12-year war that has barely been mentioned by either candidate in this election season. In honor of that obscene milestone - never mind the 100,000-plus dead civilians - the New York Times ran The Roster of the Dead, a four-page spread showing the face, age and hometown of every dead American servicemember. Stop and look at it. And remember: when people get blown up, not everyone dies.

August 12, 2012

Lockheed Martin's 'Flying Humvee' Concept Gets a Lift from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter

Lockheed's 'Flying Humvee' Design for DARPA's Transformer Program

Lockheed Martin's 'Flying Humvee' Concept Gets a Lift from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter
By Clay Dillow Posted 08.10.2012 at 9:40 am

When DARPA launched its Transformer (TX) program back in early 2010, PopSci responded as most media did by applauding the ambition while simultaneously harboring serious skepticism. In essence the DoD was asking for a flying car, a “1- to 4-person transportation vehicle that can drive and fly,” capable of vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL), for troops looking to avoid rough terrain and IEDs. The very idea simply feels impossible--at least until you have a sober conversation with the guy building it.


It’s a good time to conduct a little PR. Both Lockheed’s and AAI’s projects recently passed a preliminary design review by DARPA, one that included computer modeling of the designs. Both designs passed muster. From an engineering perspective (albeit a theoretical engineering perspective), the modeling didn’t reveal any show-stopping flaws in either concept. For Renshaw and Lockheed, that means that for now they are on the right track.


Of course, the F-35 is over budget, behind schedule, and riddled with challenging design problems--and it’s an actual airplane, something Lockheed has designed and built countless times before (to be fair, it’s an extremely complicated aircraft to build). The Transformer program expires in 2015, and that’s when DARPA wants to have a working prototype of its flying humvee (the agency will choose which of the two designs will move forward into the prototyping phase at the end of this year after a further design review). And while both designs have their merits and demerits--Lockheed’s would maintain a controlled hover while AAI’s would not; AAI’s likely has more design leeway in terms of weight (and potential up-armoring) while Lockheed has a lot of weight sitting on top of the vehicle--neither is going to be easy, or cheap, to build.


The designs are marching forward and DARPA might just have its “flying car” in as few as three years. The question is: will anyone be able to afford it?
August 12, 2012

Woo Fucking Hoo

The F-35B dropped an inert bomb in the Atlantic Ocean last week. And the cost of the F-35 has risen from $243 million each to over $300 million a pop. Along that same line, Canada is trying to find a firm who can audit f-35 costs accurately. Sounds like they are having problems with Lockheed's and DoD's books, color me surprised.

FYI, there were NO positive articles in the military rags last week about:

* the $40 billion dollar CVN-78, aka the USS Gerald R Ford
* the $5+ billion dollar DDG-1000 Zumwalt-class destroyer (Yup, you read that correctly - $5+ billion dollars for a fucking destroyer. That's almost what a Virginia-class submarine costs.)
* the $500+ million dollar Littoral Combat Ships (Previously the DoD admitted they will need to increase the number of bodies on these 3,000 ton POSs by 50%. LCS-class ships still have a 57mm gun as primary protection AND the Mission Modules are not-ready-for-prime-time.)

The above goodies represent only weapons systems that are being developed. It does NOT include 'stuff' We The People have already bought. Things like:

* the $100 million dollar MV-22 Osprey (I'll bet Bell Boeing is pissed that the Japanese will not let the MV-22 fly in Japan until somebody proves to them they are safe to fly over residential areas.)
* Landing Dock Pad (LPD) ships built at the Avondale shipyards in Mississippi are crap. (But here's a smackdown coming your way --> http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/lpd17-reliability-issues-surface-again-03235/)
* Congress keeps pushing M1A1 tanks at the Army who does not want them. (You and I own 3,000 of these things sitting in the Arizona desert. And we keep building them in Ohio; go figure.)
* we learned last week that our $418 million dollar F-22 air superiority fighter (s) got waxed by a German Typhoon in a war games exercise. http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=journals&uid=166578

And then there are the crybabies about sequestration. Here's a tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny few; google "sequestration and a politicians name" to see where s/he stands on military spending :

* Sen Lindsey Graham (Too many to count - google "lindsey graham sequestration&quot
* Rep. Paul Ryan (same as above - google "paul ryan sequestration&quot
* Rep. Buck McKeon (same as above - google "buck mckeon sequestration"

Even the Cato Institute sez "Don’t overdramatize sequestration". (Sorry - couldn't get the link to work correctly) -->

When was the last time you took a 5% cut on your salaries, benefits, stock market holdings, standard of living or aid from Uncle? Have your Public Transportation costs risen? Are your roads and bridges turning to shit? Guess where that money goes? Hint - look in discretionary spending.

All we are talking about here is an additional 5% budget cut for the military.

Five fucking percent.
August 5, 2012

Fucking Welfare Queens

During the 2008 ~ 2009 financial meltdown, my 401K dropped around 40%. In other words 40% of my retirement savings disappeared. Poof. Gone. Many of you also experienced similar involuntary reductions in your 'wealth'; some lost their jobs and homes; 99% of us have experienced cutbacks in one way or the other. Some of us work two or three jobs to feed their family. Other have just given up.

Federal aid to cities and towns has been cut, as have many, if not all social programs. Chances are the roads where you live are in dire need of repair; I know many of the roads in Massachusetts are shit. Many water systems are teetering on the point of collapse, and your school budgets have been cut. Private prisons, private public schools, private colleges and private highways throughout this country are now becoming the new norm.

Hungry kids, adults, seniors, shitty schools, roads and infrastructure, homelessness , no new taxes, and the Tea Party and has become the new hallmark of America.

St. Ronnie gave us the welfare mom driving a Cadillac as the rallying cry to cut social programs. After 30+ years of this bullshit rallying cry, I would like to introduce the 2012 version of that cry. First let's look at where that money goes in the Federal budget:

So the United States Military budget comes from the same pot as Education, Housing & Community, Veterans Benefits, Health, International Affairs, Enery & Environment, Science, Labor, Transportation and Food & Agriculture. The Military is taking 57% of all discretionary funds in the proposed 2013 budget.

So what are we getting for that 57%?

We have a fleet of 186 (or 187) $418 million dollar F-22 Raptors that were grounded for five months because the oxygen systems in those planes were causing pilots to lose consciousness. One plane actually augured into the ground in Alaska when the pilot blacked out. In a recent international war games in Alaska our $418 million dollar wonder did not do all that well:

[center]They (the military) found that the F-22, which Gates once said was supposed to “ensure U.S. command of the skies for the next generation, ”was in fact evenly matched against the German Typhoons. While the F-22s excelled at fighting from beyond visual range, thanks to their sophisticated radar and long-range missiles, close-range combat was a different story. The F-22 is bigger and heavier than the German Typhoon, putting it at a disadvantage. German pilots defeated the F-22s at close-range; they have outlined their tactics in the latest Combat Aircraft magazine.[/center]

The Typhoon cost less than half what an F-22 does and "German pilots defeated the F-22s at close-range". So much for air superiority.

The F-35 is but another example of spending money for the purpose of spending money. Current cost for one of these bad boys is at least $243 million dollars a pop. And the price just keeps going up.

The United States Navy has not had much luck keeping the cost of what they buy down. $200 million dollar Littoral Combat Ships now cost $500+ million dollars each. Our Nation Security Cutters cost at least $546 million dollars a pop. $4.5 million dollar aircraft carriers have given way to the new $40 billion dollar Ford-class aircraft carrier. And we are buiding $5+ billion dollar destroyers at Northrup Grumman's shipyard in Bath, ME.

The $1.5 billion dollar LPD ships and Austral-built ships are, in a word, crap. The USS San Antonio has been in the shop at least three times for repairs since the United States Navy took possession. A recent article surfaced about new woes for the San Antionio class of ships:


[center]A new issue involving improperly installed bolts has emerged in the latest ships built by the Avondale shipyard near New Orleans, delaying the delivery of one ship and affecting another.[/center]

The United States Army has also spent a shit load of money on useless crap. $40 to $50 billion dollars of $1 million dollar MRAPs that are no longer needed. $89 thousand dollar precision 155 mm artillery, bad helmets for the troops, bad body armor for the troops, and we are still trying to select another camouflage pattern for our troops. The $100 million dollar Osprey is an expensive helicopter that is still prone to crashes. Andthe Army is bitching about needing to replace HMMWVs, Strikers and all their wheeled and tracked vehicles.

In 2011 the United States Congress created a Super Committe to cut $1.2 trillion dollars in Federal spending. If they did not come up with $1.2 trillion dollars in spending cuts, the military would budget would cough up $600 billion dollars over ten years as would everything else in the discretionary budget.

The Super Committe failed to reach an agreement on where to cut so sequestration is now in effect. Starting in 2013, social programs AND the Military is supposed to take a $60 billion dollar per year reduction in their budgets.

democrats (small d) and Republicans are lamenting the fact that the Military is going to lose another $60 billion dollars of their annual budget because the Super Committe failed to reach an agreement. Cries of a 'hollow force', preparedness decline, 'our equipment is wearing' out and 'we-need-this-weapons-system' abound.

ds and Rs want to stop that additional $60 billion dollar a year cut to the Military budget.

A little perspective is in order:

* The annual budget of the United States Military is around $1 trillion dollars a year by time you add occupation costs, the cost of NATO (in Afghanistan and elsewhere), the cost of supporting the Israeli military, nuke weapons costs, black programs, and all sorts of other goodies to the pile.

* The Military already took an annual $50 billion dollar hit in their one trillion dollar budget. For those not strong on math, one trillion dollars is $1,000,000,000,000; fifty billion dollars is $50,000,000,000. A one followed by twelve zeros divided by five followed by ten zeros is: 1,00[s]0,000,000,000[/s] / 5[s]0,000,000,000[/s] = .05 or 5%.

* These guys (ds and Rs) are bitching about another 5+% hit on their budget and are crying 'foul'. They want the United States Military to remain the strongest in the world. Basically, fuck your jobs, fuck your homes, fuck your health, fuck your food, and fuck you.

Who are the Welfare Queens you ask? Here's just a few of them:

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