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F-35B Will Fly, Hover, Not Land Vertically At RIAT, Farnborough


F-35B Will Fly, Hover, Not Land Vertically At RIAT, Farnborough
By Colin Clark on May 30, 2014 at 2:15 PM

WASHINGTON: Will the F-35B land vertically at the Royal International Air Tattoo or the Farnborough Air Show? No. Will it hover? Yes.

One of my colleagues had raised the issue that the F-35B will not perform a vertical landing this July, inferring this might be because it would damage the plane or the runway.


The blast from an F-35B as it lands vertically is pretty fearsome, but the Marines, Navy and program office all say the effects are manageable. I’ve seen the landing spots on the USS Wasp after several days of F-35 testing and spoken unsupervised with crew members. The Wasp deck crew told me they were seeing less damage to the deck than it sustains from some other aircraft that routinely fly from the Wasp and other LHD class ships.

The deck on the USS Wasp where F-35s land.

The Wasp desk was coated with Thermion, a new product composed of aluminum and ceramic that are bonded together by heat at application to form a very smooth and tough heat-resistant coating. By contrast, the runways at Farnborough are designed to handle general aviation jets and airplanes. Nothing larger than a 737-800 is permitted to land except during the air show. The RIAT runways are designed for Royal Air Force and American jet aircraft, including B-52s. Fairford is a standby air base, not one used regularly except for the annual air show. A source familiar with the plane’s testing tells me the aircraft could easily and safely perform several vertical landings on an up-to-date military grade runway.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sat May 31, 2014, 10:34 AM (1 replies)

VA Scapegoat Sacrificed, So Now Can We Fix The VA?


VA Scapegoat Sacrificed, So Now Can We Fix The VA?
by Dave Johnson | May 31, 2014 - 8:30am

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki has been forced out. A scapegoat has been found. Maybe now we can step back and look rationally at the real problems at the VA. These problems include:
* Inadequate funding.
* Not enough primary care doctors.
* Not enough clinics.
* Doctors and staff are underpaid.
* Lots of other problems resulting from chronic underfunding.

Republicans filibustered a VA funding bill in February. Next week Sen. Bernie Sanders is re-introducing his bill to fix these problems. Republicans have a second chance to fix things.


In February Republicans blocked, killed, filibustered — whatever you want to call it, they obstructed Senator Bernie Sanders’ Comprehensive Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Pay Restoration Act that would boost VA funding and help fix these problems. The bill was supported by a majority of the Senate and would have passed except for the obstruction. Now they are blaming President Obama, Democrats and government generally for the damage resulting from their own obstruction. And they are even already running campaign ads against Democrats based on the scandal they caused.

Next week Senator Bernie Sanders is reintroducing his bill. The bill increases the VA budget by $21 billion, improves veterans’ health and dental care, authorizes 27 new veterans’ clinics and medical facilities, adds to veteran education programs and repeals a provision of the Murray-Ryan budget deal that slashed military pensions. And it does a number of other things to improve the situation for veterans. Again – Republicans blocked, killed, filibustered, obstructed, whatever this bill just 3 months ago!
Posted by unhappycamper | Sat May 31, 2014, 10:26 AM (2 replies)

Japan Hits the Skids


Japan Hits the Skids
by Mike Whitney | May 31, 2014 - 8:39am


Abe’s retail bloodbath is the result of a class-based economic policy that attempts to shift more of the nation’s wealth to fatcat stock speculators, corporations and establishment elites while the working people shoulder more of the costs of funding the government. Behind the public relations hype about “fighting deflation”, Abenomics so-called “structural reforms” are nothing more than a full-on attack on the meager incomes of Japan’s working people, 37 percent of whom are limited to part-time work with no benefits, retirement, health care or security. For these people–who number in the millions–life has only gotten harder under Abe.

At the same time, corporate bosses and the IMF are encouraging Abe to implement unpopular economic reforms quickly before the economy slides back into recession. The anti-worker “third arrow” of Abenomics will further undermine job security and working conditions while cutting corporate taxes. According to the Japan Times, “The Cabinet is likely to approve this year’s growth strategy on June 27″ which will involve “corporate tax cuts…reforming public funding, utilizing foreign labor, promoting entrepreneurship and more women in the workforce, and revitalizing local economies.” In other words, tax breaks for big business, slashing public spending, more cheap foreign labor, tax incentives for startups, and “special strategic zones” where worker safety and other regulations are jettisoned so corporate kingpins can rake in more dough. Abe’s third arrow is a wish list for voracious CEOs and carpetbagging business tycoons whose only objective is to extract more wealth from the sweat of working people.

Abenomics has been particularly destructive for those living beneath the poverty line, Japan’s down-and-outs. Besides raising the national sales tax, Abe has cut welfare benefits to shore up the governments flagging finances. The policy has triggered a sharp uptick in the number of working poor. According to the Japan Times, “the number of part-time, temporary and other non-regular workers who typically make less than half the average pay has jumped 70 percent from 1997 to 19.7 million today — 38 percent of the labor force.” This is the crux of the problem that you will not read about in the business-friendly, pro-corporate dissembling media, that is, that Japan’s economy suffers from chronic lack of demand due to falling incomes, shitty wages and system that favors the upward distribution of wealth. All of these have gotten worse under the exploitative leadership of Shifty Shinzo, Japan’s all-time worst PM.


Also, higher inflation coupled with droopy wages (wages dropped 0.1 percent year-over-year) have pushed consumer confidence to its lowest level since 2011. Recent data show that consumer confidence plunged to 37.5 percent, the worst since the right-wing Abe took office. Additionally, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is about to drive the so called misery index, “which adds the jobless rate to the level of inflation, to its highest level since June 1981 when Japan was emerging from depression after the oil shocks of the 1970s.” (Bloomberg)
Posted by unhappycamper | Sat May 31, 2014, 10:23 AM (0 replies)

Denial Is Not A Policy.


Denial Is Not A Policy.
by Thom Hartmann | May 31, 2014 - 8:48am

Republicans in the House of Representatives are not only denying climate science – they’re actually blocking the Pentagon from taking any action on it. Earlier this month, the House passed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act which bars the Department of Defense from using any funds on to implement or research plans to deal with climate change. Republican Congressman David McKinley, who introduced the legislation, said, “This amendment will prohibit the costs of the President’s climate change policies being forced on the Department of Defense by the Obama Administration.”

However, this amendment blocks much more than the President’s executive orders on climate change. The bill also bars the DOD from spending any money to implement changes suggested by the National Climate Assessment, the IPCC, or the United Nations. Republicans even made sure to block any action on one of the Right’s favorite conspiracy theories – Agenda 21. This legislation forces Pentagon officials to stick their heads in the sand, and pretend that climate change is not a serious concern.

Despite the fact that the Pentagon’s own report warned that extreme weather and rising temperatures bring “conditions that can enable terrorist activity and other forms of violence,” – the DOD won’t be able to do anything to address those threats. Once again, House Republicans have gone too far. Their latest political game may work out great for Big Oil, but it leaves the our nation – and our military – at risk for the real threats associated with climate change. We will need every part of our government to deal with the effects of global warming, and the Pentagon can’t be barred from helping us find climate solutions.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sat May 31, 2014, 10:19 AM (0 replies)

The Right's Gamble


The Right's Gamble
By Richard Turcotte
OpEdNews Op Eds 5/29/2014 at 10:26:59

An observation worth noting ... and pondering, from Jon Favreau (former chief speechwriter for President Obama):

The goals of no-government conservatives are not primarily economic. They will propose more tax cuts in times of surplus and times of deficit. They care little when the nonpartisan experts and economists at the Congressional Budget Office say sequestration will cost up to 1.6 million jobs next year, or that immigration reform will boost our GDP, or that Obamacare will reduce the debt over time. No-government conservatives are not compelled by the evidence that temporary benefits such as food stamps and unemployment insurance put money in the pockets of those most likely to spend it at local businesses that will grow and create jobs as a result. Their only jobs agenda, their only growth agenda, their only deficit agenda is eliminating government, no matter how many people it helps or how big a boost it provides the economy....

Nor are the goals of no-government conservatives primarily political. They have advisers, they can read polls, and most of them probably know that shutting down the government or forcing a default would be, among other catastrophes, highly unpopular. They realize that rampant hostage-taking and filibuster-abuse are the chief contributors to the obstruction and gridlock that Americans of both parties hate.

Nice, huh?

Favreau wrote that a year ago, amid talks of a shutdown, and has anything changed in Republican Party "strategy" since then?
Posted by unhappycamper | Sat May 31, 2014, 09:52 AM (0 replies)

George Monbiot: "The Dangers of Continued Growth Now Demand a New Economic System. ASAP."


George Monbiot: "The Dangers of Continued Growth Now Demand a New Economic System. ASAP."
By Richard Clark
OpEdNews Op Eds 5/29/2014 at 20:46:18

Let us imagine that in 3030BC the total possessions of the people of Egypt filled just one cubic meter. Let us then propose that these possessions grew in amount by 4.5% a year. How big would that stash have been by the Battle of Actium in 30BC? This is the calculation performed by the investment banker Jeremy Grantham.


And once you've accepted that fact, it should not take you long, pondering this outcome, to reach the paradoxical conclusion that in that particular kind of 'salvation' (i.e. continued economic growth, at 4.5% a year ), lies inevitable economic and societal collapse.

Therefore, to 'succeed' in this way is to destroy ourselves. And yet to fail at the tasks we've perversely set out for ourselves, is also to destroy ourselves, if only in a different way. (If we don't maintain a certain amount of production (of whatever), we can't create nearly enough jobs to keep sufficient numbers of people employed -- at least not the way the economy is currently arranged. Translation: Computers and automation are doing ever more of the work, so unless we reduce the length of the work day, work week, and/or work year, ever more people are going to fall into long term unemployment and poverty. The only alternative to this is steadily ramped-up consumption, and this, as we've shown, cannot end well!)

So this is the societal and economic bind we have inadvertently created. Ignore, if you will, climate change, biodiversity collapse, the depletion of water, soil, minerals, oil; for even if all these problems were miraculously to vanish, the mathematics of compound growth make continuance of this maximized growth system of ours impossible to sustain. The hyperconsumption, hyperproduction treadmill is in reality a death machine that, while it creates fabulous wealth for some, and considerable wealth for those who succeed in the increasingly difficult, mad scramble for a good education and a decent job, it keeps millions of the less-fortunate poor and sick, many (worldwide) without clean water and enough food. Only with continued warfare and periodic destruction of enormous amounts of wealth (and people), can we sustain this perversely sick system. But that way too will eventually destroy us.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sat May 31, 2014, 09:44 AM (3 replies)

War: A History According to the Tea Party (and Fox News)


NOTE: This satire was coaxed from my novelist friend when he tossed off an email to me. I am only the messenger (who found the graphic) but I can confirm all the errors and blunders found within are intended by the speaker, clearly a well-read, meticulous Tea Party historian. RB

War: A History According to the Tea Party (and Fox News)
By Robert S. Becker
Life Arts 5/30/2014 at 14:35:20

First there was the Revolutionary War that was fought by the Founding Fathers in 1776 when they also wrote the Constitution and made sure that the State and Church were separated while keeping and baring arms was okay. They also wanted to end slavery and make sure that marriage was between a man and a woman, but not a black woman. Being good Christians, they also made sure that everybody with money had free speech and that corporations were people, even though there weren't any corporations in those olden days. That was okay, though, because they were all rich and famous and would go down in history. They started the Revolutionary War against the British because of the Act of Stamping and making the colonists drink tea in Boston. The whole thing started on the Lexington and Concord, which were battleships or aircraft carriers.

The war was soon over after Washington crossed the Delaware and hung out at Valley Forge and the British surrendered at Waterloo. Then he became the first president and built monuments in the city he had named after himself. Then there was the War of 1812, which was really fought in 1814, when the British burned down our capital and Francis Scott Key wrote the National Anthem while watching the Battle of New Orleans that was won by Andrew Jackson, Old Hickory, and John Paul Jones, our first admiral. We also won that war, which was started mostly because the British were impressed with our sailors.

After that came the Mexican War that was caused by Texas and California stealing themselves from Mexico and trying to give themselves to the U.S, which didn't really want them because of slaves and because they'd also have to take Utah where polygraphy was legal. We won that war, too, after we sailed to Mexico and fought in the Halls of Montezuma where the Marine Core was founded. We got New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado out of that deal, although nobody really wants to live in most of them except retired people who are afraid of Mexicans, and in Santa Fe. After that came the Civil War which Harriet Beecher Stowe started to make Robert E. Lee free all the slaves, something that Abraham Lincoln did, anyway, when he found out they didn't have to start a war to do it, but not until Grant burned Richmond and Sherman marched into the sea. There was also the Gettysburg Address. And a guy named John Wilkes Booth shot Lincoln at the play in the Ford. This caused Reconstruction.

Then came the Indian Wars where George Armstrong Custer was killed trying to make the Indians make a reservation and stick with it. He was killed at the Little Bighorn, which is a sheep of some kind. After that, the Indians were almost all dead, except for those that were later killed at Wounded Knee, which is in South Dakota for some reason, and those in Oklahoma, where most of them near some bingo parlors that they later turned into gambling joints. After that, there was the Spanish American War, when the US got tired of Cuba being owned by the Spanish, who kept sinking Maine, so we sent Admiral Dewey to the Philippines to take them away from Spain, and we sent Teddy Roosevelt from Texas to Cuba, where the Rough Riders invented the Cuba Libre--that's really Spanish for rum and Coke--after a storm on San Juan Hill. After that, Teddy used a big stick and built the PanAmerican Canal to make a shorter distance between the Atlantic and the Pacific and then gave Yellowstone Park to the people.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sat May 31, 2014, 09:38 AM (1 replies)

VA Problems Far From New


VA Problems Far From New
By Mary Pitt
OpEdNews Op Eds 5/30/2014 at 20:37:20

When the Walter Reed Hospital was found to be virtually uninhabitable during the Bush adminstration, due to filth, vermin, and neglect, most Americans thought that would be the end of complaints about the abuse and neglect of the returning veterans. It was, however, no surprise to this writer or to many others who had witnessed problems with the system for many years.

I was the youngest in my family and had seven big brothers, five of whom served in the military during World War II. The older two brothers were married when the war began and so did not serve. Brother #3 had enlisted in the Navy some time before the war and Brother #4 volunteered for the draft the day after Pearl Harbor. Brother #5 was still in his teens and stayed home for a few years to help his mother with a dying husband and three younger children. He did enlist at the age of 19 and went into the Army Air Corps. Shortly after he left, Brother #6 also enlisted in the Air Corps, followed two years later by Brother #7, who went into the Navy.


I am neither shocked nor surprised that the present breaches in the VA system have occured. There is no basis for blaming Obama, or Shinseki, or any other individual who tries to step into the breach to "straighten things out" unless it involves delving into the total operations of the entire system regarding not ony an admissions rate but thoroughness and efficiency.

Furthermore, we need a Congress that is more concerned with governance than politics. Failing that, the system is so riddled with a lackadaisical philosopy that, if left unattended by professionals, it will slide right back into "the way we've always done it."
Posted by unhappycamper | Sat May 31, 2014, 08:37 AM (2 replies)

Daniel Ellsberg: Snowden would not get a fair trial -- and Kerry is wrong


As the author knows from direct chat-log conversations with him over the past year, Snowden acted in full knowledge of the constitutionally questionable efforts of the Obama administration, in particular, to use the Espionage Act in a way it was never int

Daniel Ellsberg: Snowden would not get a fair trial -- and Kerry is wrong
By Daniel Ellsberg
OpEdNews Op Eds 5/30/2014 at 19:43:16

John Kerry was in my mind Wednesday morning, and not because he had called me a patriot on NBC News. I was reading the lead story in the New York Times -- "US Troops to Leave Afghanistan by End of 2016" -- with a photo of American soldiers looking for caves. I recalled not the Secretary of State but a 27-year-old Kerry, asking, as he testified to the Senate about the US troops who were still in Vietnam and were to remain for another two years: How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?

I wondered how a 70-year-old Kerry would relate to that question as he looked at that picture and that headline. And then there he was on MSNBC an hour later, thinking about me, too, during a round of interviews about Afghanistan that inevitably turned to Edward Snowden ahead of my fellow whistleblower's own primetime interview that night:

"There are many a patriot -- you can go back to the Pentagon Papers with Dan Ellsberg and others who stood and went to the court system of America and made their case. Edward Snowden is a coward, he is a traitor, and he has betrayed his country. And if he wants to come home tomorrow to face the music, he can do so."


More importantly, the current state of whistleblowing prosecutions under the Espionage Act makes a truly fair trial wholly unavailable to an American who has exposed classified wrongdoing. Legal scholars have strongly argued that the US supreme court -- which has never yet addressed the constitutionality of applying the Espionage Act to leaks to the American public -- should find the use of it overbroad and unconstitutional in the absence of a public interest defense. The Espionage Act, as applied to whistleblowers, violates the First Amendment, is what they're saying.


IIRC, Woodrow Wilson rammed the Espionage Act through Congress to suppress anti-war sentiments prior to (our) jumping into WW I.

Question: What ended WW I?

Posted by unhappycamper | Sat May 31, 2014, 08:29 AM (0 replies)

Obama’s hope for all our fears


Obama’s hope for all our fears
The Australian
May 31, 2014 12:00AM

BARACK Obama reaffirmed his belief in American exceptionalism in a speech this week aimed at reframing his foreign policy. This was no small point coming from a President who won office partly by capitalising on a decline in the US’s global standing. When he accepted the Democratic nomination in August 2008, Mr Obama made a bold promise. “I will restore our moral standing,” he declared, “so that America is once again that last, best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of peace, and who yearn for a better future.” Now that he is well into his second term it is difficult to offer a positive assessment against this mission statement. The US under Mr Obama has been slow, recoiling and tentative in international affairs. Because of the global leadership role the President accepts, this is a cause for concern.

Make no mistake, Mr Obama is himself an embodiment of the very exceptionalism he embraces. That a one-time slave-trading nation, not so long ago riven with state-sanctioned racial inequality, can elect an African-American to the White House shows the power of the ideas that form the Great Republic. His election, of itself, did much to revive US standing as the bastion of democracy and freedom. But looking for repercussions in American foreign policy achievements, we are bound to be disappointed. Unless he shows more resolve in his final two years, his presidency will be seen as a period of drift when global threats from Iran and Russia went unchecked, the Middle Eastern quagmires deepened and China ever so surely began to feel emboldened.

To be sure, Mr Obama points most proudly to scaling back and ending military engagements in Iraq and, in the coming two years, Afghanistan. But there is little evidence sufficient work has been done in either theatre to consolidate the gains. In his speech to graduating officers at West Point this week the President even promised to close Guantanamo Bay; the same turning point his predecessor aspired to and that Mr Obama pledged in his 2008 campaign.

In his reference to America’s age-old argument between isolationism and adventurism, at least the commander-in-chief seemed to comprehend that in this age of global threats the US cannot realistically isolate itself from its role as an international force for order. But he placed great emphasis on multilateral approaches; a surprising priority when his current nemesis, Russia, has played such a spoiling role with its UN Security Council veto on issues such as Syria and Iran. In Mr Obama’s own words: “A new century has brought no end to tyranny.” An end may have been too much to ask for, but we are entitled to question the lack of meaningful progress.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sat May 31, 2014, 08:14 AM (0 replies)
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