Bloated wasteful government agency is found to have used money inefficiently.

Everyone acts surprised.

The real story is from the Washington Post.

Pentagon buries evidence of $125 billion in bureaucratic waste

I saw this at Brock’s Free North Carolina Site.

I cared about this until I saw it was in the Washington Post. After their election coverage, I don’t believe a single thing they print, not even the date. The WP can be depended on to even lie about the horoscopes.  But I did go back and read the story because I work at the Pentagon and I wanted to see if they were reporting about me and I should be watching for the 60 minutes van to pull up in my driveway.  And (after breathing a sigh of relief) the story made me angry.  It is just more yellow journalism by writers who wouldn’t know how to really investigate anything to save their own mothers.

First.  The Pentagon is a building.  It has several addresses depending on which agency you want to write to and the address is “Washington, DC”, even though it is obviously in Virginia.  As a building, the Pentagon is an inanimate object (except for all the ventilation fans, and pumps motors).  It has no volition of it’s own.  It’s just a building.  In this case, it is intentionally being used by the “journalists” as a metaphor for “evil military people”.  The real way this works is, everyone in the Pentagon works for someone.  In most cases, that someone is ultimately the Secretary of Defense.  That guy has a name.  This year, that person’s name is Ashton Carter.  He is appointed by the President of the USA.  THAT person has a name.  Right now, that person’s name is Barrack Obama.  So, the real headline should be:

Obama wastes $125 billion in military spending and then covers it up.

A real thoughtful investigation would have actually named the name of the person who ordered the coverup.

On top of that, the word “Pentagon” is being used as a metaphor for the entire military structure, world wide.  There aren’t actually a million people working in a building that only holds 27k.

So, where is the money being wasted…

The report, issued in January 2015, identified “a clear path” for the Defense Department to save $125 billion over five years. The plan would not have required layoffs of civil servants or reductions in military personnel. Instead, it would have streamlined the bureaucracy through attrition and early retirements, curtailed high-priced contractors and made better use of information technology.

Ah.  There it is.  Use less people.  That’s not a “buried” recommendation.  That is standard operating procedure that has been implemented ever since Obama got elected and is always the first thing suggested in every efficiency report.  It is the low hanging fruit of saving money.  In other words, the report was rightfully “buried” because it was nothing more than another example of waste and bloat in action.

The study was produced last year by the Defense Business Board, a federal advisory panel of corporate executives, and consultants from McKinsey and Company. Based on reams of personnel and cost data, their report revealed for the first time that the Pentagon was spending almost a quarter of its $580 billion budget on overhead and core business operations such as accounting, human resources, logistics and property management.

Another “outside agency” telling us how to run our business.  Thanks guys.  Here’s your check. Now go away.  I notice they didn’t mention the money the Pentagon wastes every year on consultants telling it how to save money (it is in the hundreds of millions).

For the record, the Pentagon doesn’t need these guys to tell us we are a fat bloated bureaucracy.  We also have GSA, GAA, and AAA telling us every year the same thing.  Their reports aren’t “buried”, they are a matter of public record.  And they are all a bunch of crap.  They are all written by junior and middle bureaucrats who think they are so damned smart that they know more than the people in charge.  So they attack nameless “efficiency” instead of attacking the real problems, people in charge, who have names, who create policy that is just plain stupid, wasteful and inefficient.  This year, that person’s name is Ashton Carter.  He works for another guy who has a name.  His name is Barack Obama.

Examples of expensive policy decisions:

  1.  The services will use bio fuels whenever possible:  cost 4 times the price per gallon of regular fuels.
  2. The services will integrate women into all jobs at all levels.  Cost:  No telling.
  3. DoD policy to eliminate anti personnel land mines:  5-10 billion dollars.
  4. DoD policy to eliminate cluster munitions:  $10-15 billion.

I will let you read the rest of the article for yourself.  It isn’t worth parsing because the conclusions they reach are unsupported by the evidence in their article.  They do not have any idea what the “right number” of back office people is.  So, the money they claim they could save is just an estimate, derived from thin air.  You cannot compare the military to other business models because, unlike other businesses, the military is intentionally wasteful.  We are designed that way.  We intentionally have 3 Aircraft carriers for every one that is “on duty”, the other 2 are in maintenance and training cycles.   We don’t buy our supplies “just in time”, we buy them “just in case”.  We intentionally buy things we hope we will never use, (looking at you, nuclear arsenal).  We intentionally stockpile uniforms, guns, fuel and munitions well in excess of our annual needs.  On top of that, we have Congress interfering in our budget every year.  Of the DoD budget, there are about 9000 program elements (things we spend money on).  Of them, 3000 are “must pay” bills that congress demands we spend, like more C-17s when the Air force says they have enough and more M1 Tanks when we already have enough new ones parked in the California desert to replace our entire fleet, and a specific amount of money to give to the University of Florida to study sea turtles.   Then we have the things we need to spend money on, but don’t have much choice about how much it costs like the utility bills at the local camps. Then there are operations.  The US Army is currently doing things in 170 of the world’s 198 countries.  We aren’t doing any of that because we Army guys just love to travel.  In every case, some state department person arranged some sort of military exchange or service.  The State department is run by someone who has a name.  Right now, his Name is John Kerry.  A few years ago, that person was named Hillary Clinton.  They work for someone who has a name.  His name is Barack Obama.   Part of that wasteful overhead is because Congress and the President force us to hire people they know and want to reward.  The entire EEO system, chaplains, most of the lawyers, and the marching bands are sacred cows that cannot be cut even though they don’t add a nickle of benefit for national defense.  There is even a full time military guy who does nothing but play piano for the Vice President.  So, the real waste isn’t just “inefficiency”.  It is the people in charge, making decisions that cost you taxpayers money. Those people in charge all have names.  The chief person in charge is named Barack Obama.

The real problem with the Trump administration is not that he will find this report and appoint someone to cut the waste.  He has already decided to appoint someone who is perfectly fine with the waste and doesn’t even see it anymore.  I can tell you for a fact, that since the announcement of Mattis for SECDEF, the senior Army generals have been spending all their time gleefully adding things to their wish lists like they have an appointment to sit on Santa’s lap.  Internally, they have already announced plans to expand the Army by a huge number.  If anything, Mattis, like everyone before him, is very likely to send money to a place like Potomac institute* to give him some recommendations on how to make the military more efficient.

I can tell you for a fact.  In times of Plenty, discipline is scarce.  No one cares about saving money or spending every dollar wisely when they are all in a hurry to open their Christmas presents.

‘*  Potomac Institute is a think tank in Washington that hires retired Generals as a money laundering scheme so the military can pay them on contract for “advice”.  The people who agree to the contracts just happen to be their old friends who are also generals.

Posted in "Journalism", Current Events, Defense, Politics | 2 Comments

Churchianity pulled in the modern world.

Vox has a post this morning about some people I don’t know, writing an opinion in a fake news site I don’t read to tell me what I should think about things that I don’t care about.  Well done, guys.

As is my custom, I prefer to comment here rather than hog someone else’s comment stream.

As the election retreats like a hurricane heading back out to sea, first responders are assessing the damage left in its wake.

Drama queen much?  A majority of Americans elected Trump, according to our election laws.  It’s only a disaster if you were supporting the other guy.  If you don’t like the result, try again in 4 years, just like EVERY 4 years.

One casualty is the reputation of evangelicalism. Evangelicalism was closely associated with the campaign of Donald J. Trump, and more than 80 percent of white evangelicals voted for the president-elect.

Typical Post Hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy.  Evangelicals vote as individuals, like everyone else and they individually vote the better choice of 2 candidate running, based on the candidates platforms.  This has nothing to do with evangelism or evangelists.  Since they are unrelated, there is no blowback or harm to the reputation of evangelists.

This, despite large numbers of African-American, Latino, Asian, young and female evangelicals who were fiercely opposed to the racism, sexism and xenophobia of Mr. Trump’s campaign and the hypocrisy of a candidate who built a casino empire while flouting morality.

This despite the fierce stupidity of large numbers of blacks, hispanics and young women who believed the character assassination and attacks against personality instead of examining the facts.  He didn’t build a casino empire.  He built a real estate and entertainment empire, which included some casinos.  And he was running against Hillary Clinton.  Remember that when you toss out words like “flouting morality”.

As a result, much of the good that went by the name “evangelicalism” has been clouded over; now a new movement is needed to replace it.

(YAWN).  I’m sorry.  Were you saying something?  The guys who attack evangelism whenever it doesn’t suit them think it needs to change to suit them.  How astonishing.   Evangelism is the single focus on the spread of the Good news of Jesus Christ.  It has nothing at all to do with voting demographics or electoral outcomes.  NOTHING.  It does not need to be replaced.  It has nothing to apologize for.

When it comes to religious identity in America, the fastest-growing group is the “nones.” Nearly a quarter of all Americans, and over 35 percent of millennials, report no religious affiliation. Nones, many of whom grew up within evangelicalism, often still affirm faith in God. They left the church because they gave up on evangelical leadership. Nothing sums up their objections more clearly than evangelicals’ embrace of Mr. Trump. Didn’t Jesus say, “Blessed are the meek” and “Love your enemies”?

I have no idea where this is going.  Are they claiming that because “nones” are growing fastest (Moslems would disagree) that everyone else should follow their lead?  There are lots of reasons why younger people leave the church.  the Evangelical churches are not immune to this.  It is not a problem related to politics or elections.  And the last sentence reeks of desperation.  The need to throw in something Biblically, when you don’t know anything actually from the Bible that would back your claims.

But Jesus-centered faith needs a new name. Christians have retired outdated labels before. During the late 19th century, when scientific rationalism fueled the questioning of Scripture, “fundamentalism” arose as an intelligent defense of Christianity. By the 1930s, however, fundamentalism was seen as anti-intellectual and judgmental. It was then that the term “evangelicalism” was put forward by Christianity Today’s first editor, Carl F. H. Henry, as a new banner under which a broad coalition of Jesus followers could unite.

Right.  Because marketing is more important than ideology.  The form is more important than the substance.  You allow your enemies to frame the very words you use to describe yourselves then abandon those words because they are unpopular with your enemies.

But beginning with the culture wars of the 1980s, the religious right made a concerted effort to align evangelicalism with the Republican Party. By the mid-’90s, the word had lost its positive connotations with many Americans. They came to see Christians — and evangelicals in particular — as anti-women, anti-gay, anti-environment and anti-immigrant and as the champions of guns and war.

Who is this “they” you speak of?  America is dominantly Christian.  Are you saying Christians see themselves as all those “bad things”?  How can any group that is dominated by its women be called “anti-women”?  How can any group that is at the forefront in taking Ceasar’s silver to import and care for immigrants be called “anti-immigrant”?  How does the environment even come into the discussion about evangelicals and their voting habits?  What I really see is anti-christian intellectuals (the type of people who can get published in fake news sites like the NYT any time they like) telling Christians to stop being the straw men of Christians that the anti-Christian Left has created about them.

Mr. Trump did not create these contradictions, but his victory has pulled the roof off the building we once called home. It’s time to build a new home.

Who is this “we” you speak of?  I can tell you with near certainty that the evangelicals who voted for Trump are perfectly happy with their electoral choice and their church choice.  Just like the Black churches prayed feverishly for Obama and praised God when he won.

 

 

 

Posted in "Journalism", Crazy, Current Events, Religion | 2 Comments

Why I do not support GEN Mattis for SECDEF

Civilian control over the military.  It is one of the foundational principles of our Republic.  It is exercised through the President as commander in chief, and his primary national defense cabinet member, the SECDEF.  A General is always a general, even after he retires.  His is what got him there and cannot change that about himself.  Thus, he carries with him all the institutional prejudices, biases and blind spots that molded him since early in his career.  He drank the cool aid a long time ago and made a career out of serving the Kool aid to others.

Thus, he is unfit to be the master of the other Kool aid drinkers.

This is not a criticism of him.  ALL GENERALS are procurers, mixers, and dispensers of Kool aid in all it’s colors and flavors.  It is how they are made.

 

The DoD needs a new chief who is strong and capable and can tell the Generals to piss off.  Mattis would never do that, because he is one of them.

ADDENDUM:  Obviously, if Mattis is selected as SECDEF, I will definitely support him because that’s what I get paid for.  

Posted in Defense, Politics, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

A Few Basics About the Electoral College

I saw this video over at Free North Carolina.  I hated it.  Now, I have to tell you why.

The video is well produced and the speaker has good tone, modulation, and pace.  But what she is saying is wrong, misdirecting, and often irrelevant.  The claims she makes for the Electoral College are simply unsupported by the facts and counter to history.  One would expect a university professor to be more on the ball when it comes to stuff like academic accuracy than this.  The logic errors themselves are astonishing for just a 5 minute clip.

Claim 1. The Electoral College (EC) protects us from the Tyranny of the Mob.   FALSE.  That is actually the Senate’s role. That is also the role of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.   The EC outcomes almost always reflect the same outcome as the popular vote.  That is because the EC outcome is a product of the popular vote.  They are connected.  In those few times in history when the outcomes have been different, it is because the outcomes were so close that they amounted to a “tie”.  And the outcome of the EC was more a random outcome based on the randomness of state lines and population drifts than reflecting some magical protection being exerted by the EC members.  There is simply no mechanism in the EC which would deliberately permit them to over-rule the will of the people and vote counter to the rules that got them selected as electors for their party.  Even the phenomenon of faithless electors, in practice is so rare that they can be labeled as “attention whores” and dismissed.  The Mob voting to take away your guns, is Tyranny.  The Mob voting to elect a President, is not.  The EC did nothing to protect us from the Mob voting in Obama… TWICE.  The EC would gladly have coronated Hillary, if she had had enough votes in enough states.  People on the left will accuse the EC of ensuring Tyranny instead of protecting us from it by electing Trump.  And even Brock will remember that the EC did nothing to protect us from that great Tyrant, Lincoln.

2.  The EC Coalition and consensus building.  False.  Just how, exactly, does it do that?  Again, magic is the only answer.  There is nothing about the structure or rules governing the EC that enables it to create consensus or forces a party to establish coalitions.  It just doesn’t happen.  The outcomes are determined by people voting and the majority in each state totals up to award EC votes.  Simple.  No Magic.  It is entirely possible for candidates to skip whole states, and still win.  They do this all the time.  That’s why West is called “fly-over states”.  Both candidates KNOW that they aren’t worth fighting over.  They only need 270 EC votes to win.  They intentionally target states where they think they can get those votes at the least expense.  That means some swing states get LOTS of commercials and most of the West and California, get nothing.  That is also why both sides (in a normal year,  this year was NOT normal) spend big change on doing polling.  They need to know where the swing states are so they can target them efficiently.  And they do it at the state level, so they do it where the highest population densities are that are somewhat favorable.  Those will have the highest payoff.  No one cares if the Sheep and goats in Elko, Nevada favor Hillary or Trump.  They don’t matter.  Las Vegas and Reno swallow the rest of the state population as if it didn’t exist.  It’s basic math. Win each state by 1%.  Add to 270.  More is better.  If anything, the winner take all system that operates in almost every state defies consensus building.  It creates the patina of consensus where a state is strongly divided ideologically.  There is no middle ground but the EC makes it look like a state is unanimous.

3.  The EC makes stealing an election harder.  FALSE.  Again, there is nothing about the EC that gives it any benefit at all against stealing an election.  I posted previously that the value of the Johnson campaign was 31 EC votes for Hillary.  Those were 31 EC votes that she would not have gotten otherwise.  While cheating in a few states like California and DC is just spiking the ball, cheating in places like Florida, PA, Michigan, and Ohio would make a huge difference. In this case, not so much.  But in the Bush-Gore race, it was close enough that cheating DID make a difference.  While there are difficulties associated with cheating in a nation-wide election, the EC does nothing about cheating or reducing the impact of cheating.

What is the real point of the EC?  The EC was created because the Founders (TM) had no intention of electing the President by popular vote.  Doing anything by a nation-wide popular vote was unimaginable 250 years ago.  Distances were too expansive.  It could take several days to travel from parts of Virginia to DC. They intended that he be elected by the states. Each state would set its own rules for selecting electors.  It was through evolution of the state rules that we got to where we are today with the burden of an enormous popular election and primary elections.  It’s not better or worse, as ways go.  It’s just different.

Advocates of eliminating or preserving the EC change from one year to another depending on who wins.  This year, “our side” won the EC-popular vote split.  Next time it could be the Anti-Christ.  It really is a random thing, when the outcome is close.  When the outcome isn’t close, it doesn’t matter at all.  We really could eliminate the EC with no hard done.  It doesn’t actually do any of the things it gets credit for doing (good or bad).  It’s just an anachronism going back to a time when the country was only one state deep on the East coast, connected by horse-drawn carriages.

If you fear the mob, a better way to curb their stupidness would be to limit the vote to people who are smart enough or virtuous enough to merit it.  Pick your own measure for that.  But just as with the census and congressional districts, there is no plan you can devise that corrupt career politicians won’t find a way to exploit for their own benefit.

Finally, the EC, as it operates now, defies the American people, and waters down their votes with the votes of foreigners.  There are 535 EC votes.  55 from California.  That is based on the Census of population.  The Census does not ask a person if they are a legal resident or a citizen.  Thus, California gets about 10 extra EC votes for its illegal population.  It gets those and casts them in the EC at the expense of a small percentage of populations in states that have much lower densities of illegal aliens like, for example, Red states.  The EC by itself is an exercise in watering down votes  but watering down votes with the votes of foreigners is something every citizen should rebel against.  You can easily construct a spreadsheet to show that the value of the vote of each person in each state is not the same.  Divide the number of votes cast for the winner in that state by the number of electors in that state.  BINGO.  The cherished notion of “One person, One vote” is shown to be a total farce. It has never been true and it is getting less so every election.

You don’t like “mob rule”, fine.  You don’t like rule by the few over the many, fine.  Just admit, that what you really want is any system that will create the outcomes you like for yourself.  Nothing wrong with that.  Just admit it.  The best reason to get rid of the EC is simplicity and transparency.  There is no good reason to keep it.  None.  And I happen to like the outcome this time.

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A Time of Reflection: Not!

The extreme Left, as represented by the Democratic party and their habitual voter base, are showing themselves to be as extreme now as they were before the election.  At every opportunity, be it a live TV show, a Live play, a News cast, or a social media blip.  It is all the same.  Anti-Trump is strong and everywhere.  The part I don’t get is that it is unreasonable.

  1.  I realize that most Americans are stupid.  Statistically, half have below average intelligence.
  2. I realize that the Left campaigned forcefully and strongly on the character assassination issue.  But how many Libs really believe all that stuff about Trump being a Racist, Misogynist, loud mouth with small hands (whatever that is supposed to mean)?   Seriously.  Russians, living in the old USSR, KNEW that Pravda only printed lies.  They made up stories that they believed instead of what their government told them.  There must be some intelligent Libs who know they were being lied to, and repeated the lies themselves, just for the campaign.  But the campaign is over.  It’s OK to admit that Trump will probably of an OK president, and not nearly as bad as Obama who had no experience doing anything his whole life but riding in the back of the gravy train threatening to put on the brakes if he didn’t get to wear the conductor’s hat..
  3. So, why the hell are the media still playing the game as if it matters, as if Americans want to hear it, or as if it were true?  Even Hillary has given up and gone into hiding.
Posted in Crazy, Politics, Stupid | Leave a comment

Saturday Range report

I was at the gun show and it occurred to me that my previous range report failed to account for the use of good quality or bad quality ammo. So I bought some cheap ammo to get some specs.

Last week, I was shooting Federal.

This runs about $20 for a box of 50 at the gun show today.  At the range, today, ten rounds at 30 feet looked like this:

7 shots in the 9 ring, 3 more on the 8 ring.

Then there is the cheapest ammo I can get.  TulAmmo from Russia.  Steel case.  230gr FMJ round nose. $13 a box.

7 shots inside the 9 ring. 1 in the 8, 2 in the 7.

Finally, some gun show reloads from a guy I don’t know.  Again, 10 rounds at 30 feet.  The price of these was $20 a box for 50, but that was a few years ago.  I didn’t see their current price.

Results were about the same for all of them.  Middle of the road = cheapest I can get as far as accuracy.

Then I shot 15 rounds each of Federal and Tulammo at 25 yards to check for a noticeable difference in drop.  I circled each group with ball point pen.  They pretty much overlap.  

And they strike high and right.  So I still need to adjust those sights.

Of note:  I fired off the rest of that box of Tula.  Out of 50 rounds, there were 2 missfeeds.  I would expect that from my own reloads, using Hardcast bullets because they sometimes get a little stray lead around the casing mouth.  But that is way too unreliable for me to use any of this for anything but shooting paper targets.

Next time:   Reloading my own for some high quality ammo comparisons.

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Gun show saturday

At the gun show in Chantilly, VA.  

First stop is the target vendor to compare the B27 to B34 targets.

The B34 “9” circle is half the size of the B27.

2.  The pickle guy is doing big sales.  but seriously, this is a gun show, not a pickle show.  personally, I wouldn’t buy pickles from a home made pickler.  there’s no telling if the pickling process has finished if you don’t know how long it’s been in the barrel.

3. Something new:  Magpul furniture for your crappy AK guns.  now you can join the 21st century with color coordinated plastics and better ergonomics.

4.  Something new.  Someone just figured out that if you are using a CNC to cut vent holes in your AR floating barrel handguards, you can make those vents any shape you like .  I’m seeing some artistic designs here. Chain links, skulls, stars.  Really Purdy.

5.  Something new.  It was only a matter of time. 80% Glock lowers.  Finish it yourself.  I understand the appeal of making your own gun as a hobby.  I see the marketing for these as “no serial numbers”.  It is amazing that Americans still think serial numbers are a foolproof way to track crimes back to criminals.  The “I sold it years ago” ends the link cold.  Massive data bases tracking owners by SN, are pointless.  It only works for cars because cars are operated openly in public with proof of registration  posted on them (plates).   even then, the current owner could be removed from the user by as much as a year.  

6. Something old.  Road wheels for your WW2 Panther tank.  (limit 2).  Good condition.  Not retreads.  Get them while they last. $800.

  7.  To the  girl at the table selling those stupid gel packs from China, “Nice display”!!  You know what I mean.  The guy behind me noticed it too. So did his wife.  She noticed that he noticed.  Gun show is over for him.  Haha.

8.  The gun show organizers need to be more diligent in enforcing isle widths.  The vendors like to encroach on the isle to make the most of the space they have. It makes the experience bad for the customers. An isle needs to be wide enough for two black women to pass each other without needing to apply oil.  This ensures there is plenty of room for people with strollers and assisted mobility devices too.

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