HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » unhappycamper » Journal
Page: « Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Next »


Profile Information

Member since: Wed Mar 16, 2005, 11:12 AM
Number of posts: 60,364

Journal Archives

It’s not about Democracy: Top Ten Reasons Washington is Reluctant to cut off Egypt Aid


It’s not about Democracy: Top Ten Reasons Washington is Reluctant to cut off Egypt Aid
Posted on 08/17/2013 by Juan Cole


1. The US doesn’t give much aid to the Egyptian people per se. Only $250 mn a year out of $1.55 bn is civilian. The aid is to cement a relationship between the Egyptian officer corps and the Pentagon.

2. The military aid, $1.3 billion a year, is mostly in-kind, a grant of weaponry . It must be spent on US weapons manufacturers. It is US arms manufacturers like Lockheed-Martin and General Dynamics (and their employees) who would suffer if it were cut off.

3. The Congress gave the Egyptian Generals a credit card to buy weapons, and they’ve run up $3 billion on it for F-16s and M1A1 tanks. If the US cancelled aid, the US government would still have to pick up that bill.

4. Even most of the civilian aid is required to be spent on US goods and materiel. It is corporate welfare for the US
Posted by unhappycamper | Sat Aug 17, 2013, 06:51 AM (1 replies)

Sordid details spill out in rare court-martial of a general on sex charges


Poppa Panda Sexy Pants

Sordid details spill out in rare court-martial of a general on sex charges
By Craig Whitlock, Published: August 14

FORT BRAGG, N.C. — It was an illicit and volatile love affair that spanned two war zones and four countries. The married general couldn’t stay away from a captain on his staff. She fell hard for her boss and called him “Poppa Panda Sexy Pants.” The three-year entanglement ended disastrously for both, at a time that could not be worse for the Army.

All the raw and sordid details are spilling out in an austere military courthouse here, where the Army is girding — for only the third time in half a century — to court-martial one of its generals.

Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair, an Army Ranger and paratrooper, stands accused of forcible sodomy, adultery and other charges that could land him in prison. Prosecutors say he abused his command authority by sleeping with a subordinate officer, a taboo in the armed forces and a violation of military law.

They charge that the relationship turned violent on two occasions, when he allegedly forced her to perform oral sex.
Posted by unhappycamper | Fri Aug 16, 2013, 08:58 AM (4 replies)

No Tanks: Let's Not Kid About It, the Government Is Afraid of Its Own Citizens


No Tanks: Let's Not Kid About It, the Government Is Afraid of Its Own Citizens
by Abby Zimet
08.15.13 - 12:50 PM

Happily, residents of sweet little Concord, N.H. are saying thanks but no tanks to a proposal to accept a $260,000 grant for a Bearcat - as in, Ballistic Engineered Armor Response Counter Attack Truck - to deal with the pesky "domestic terrorists" - aka peace activists - they actually cite in their request. Scores turned out to blast the city council for the gross militarization of local law enforcement, or what a former marine colonel in Iraq slammed as "building a domestic army."

“It was presented here as a rescue truck but it’s designed to be a military attack vehicle, to destroy the enemy. So given that, since we have been designated the enemy, we have some concern about that.” - resident Ray Fitzgerald

Posted by unhappycamper | Fri Aug 16, 2013, 07:52 AM (1 replies)

DON’T SAY ‘DRONES,’ Beg Drone Makers


Our photo, by colleague Mike McCarthy, was shot yesterday in front of the Washington Convention Center, where the AUVSI conference is being held.

DON’T SAY ‘DRONES,’ Beg Drone Makers
By Richard Whittle on August 14, 2013 at 5:39 PM

AUVSI: When you read or hear the word “drone,” is your first thought, “killer robot?” The leaders of the drone industry fear it is, which is why they’re hoping to persuade the news media to stop using a nice, clear, five-letter English word and instead clutter their reports with eye-glazing acronyms such as UAS, UAV, RPA or some such. (Yes, that was an editorial comment.)

How seriously do drone makers take this issue? Journalists logging onto the Wifi in the Media Room at the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International conference in Washington this week had to use this password: “DONTSAYDRONES.”

AUVSI, the Air Force, the Navy, the Army and many defense industry leaders just hate the word “drones.” The Media Room Wifi login password, clearly, was a clever — but feeble — attempt to condition the media to drop a word whose primary definition used to be “lazy male bee” but today is a popular synonym for unmanned aircraft. The trade group and many of its members prefer the terms “unmanned aerial systems” (UAS) or “unmanned aerial vehicles” (UAV) or “remotely piloted aircraft” (RPA) or, as they’re officially known in Europe, “remotely piloted aircraft systems” (RPAS)

“The average person on the street, and even intelligent and informed people, when they think of the word ‘drone,’ they think of the military, they think hostile, they think weaponized, they think large and they think autonomous,” argues AUVSI’s president, Michael Toscano, especially after several years of Code Pink protests against drone strikes. That connotation is not only inaccurate but damaging, he told me, to a nascent industry whose products range in size from aircraft as big as an airliner to aerial vehicles that can fit in the palm of your hand, and whose potential peaceful uses far outnumber their role in combat operations and CIA targeted killings.

Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Aug 15, 2013, 09:36 AM (4 replies)

Northrop Builds Rental Drones For Air Force, Customs Training


Northrop Builds Rental Drones For Air Force, Customs Training
By Richard Whittle on August 13, 2013 at 4:45 PM

AUVSI: Northrop Grumman is pitching a new method of drone pilot training to the Air Force and U.S. Customs and Border Protection based on a business model likely to gain in popularity as the drone revolution expands into civilian airspace: “fee for service.”

Rather than training pilots on valuable MQ-1 Predators and MQ-9 Reapers or in costly computerized simulators, Northrop is urging the Air Force and CPB to give remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) pilots basic flying time on a small drone the company has developed called SandShark. They would pay by the hour for using the little planes, Karl Purdy, director of new UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) programs for Northrop, told reporters here.

A “conservative” estimate is that switching to a fee for service training scheme could save the government $70 million a year in aircraft costs, simulator costs and damage or losses from pilot errors, Purdy said at the annual Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International trade show in Washington. Pilots wouldn’t even have to go to the private airfields in Montana, Arizona or Oklahoma where the company has permission from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly the SandShark, he said. Operators can control them over any 4G cellphone network or the Internet.

“RPAs are 30 to 300 times more likely to crash than other small planes,” Purdy noted, citing published statistics. “The overwhelming majority – greater than 80 percent – are due to human error.” The overwhelming majority of accidents also occur on landing, when a UAS pilot has to look out a nose camera or the camera in a sensor ball to see the ground.
Posted by unhappycamper | Wed Aug 14, 2013, 09:36 AM (0 replies)

Air Force nuclear unit fails security test


Air Force nuclear unit fails security test
By Robert Burns
The Associated Press
Published: 12:00 AM, Wed Aug 14, 2013

WASHINGTON - An Air Force unit that operates one-third of the nation's land-based nuclear missiles has failed a safety and security inspection, marking the second major setback this year for a force charged with the military's most sensitive mission, the general in charge of the nuclear air force told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Lt. Gen. James M. Kowalski, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, said a team of "relatively low-ranking" airmen failed one exercise as part of a broader inspection, which began last week and ended Tuesday. He said that for security reasons, he could not be specific about the team or the exercise.

"This unit fumbled on this exercise," Kowalski said by telephone from his headquarters at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., adding that this did not call into question the safety or control of nuclear weapons at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana.

"The team did not demonstrate the right procedures," he said, and as a result was rated a failure.
Posted by unhappycamper | Wed Aug 14, 2013, 08:47 AM (1 replies)

Sinkhole collapses Disney-area resort


Sinkhole causes damage to condo resort near Disney World

Sinkhole collapses Disney-area resort
By Arelis R. Hernández, Orlando Sentinel
8:14 a.m. EDT, August 12, 2013

First came the cracking sounds. Then windows started blowing out. And before they knew it, guests felt the ground beneath their Lake County resort near Disney World sink into the ground.

Guests had only 10 to 15 minutes to escape the collapsing buildings at the Summer Bay Resort on U.S. Highway 192 in Clermont, located about 7 miles east of Walt Disney World resort, where a large sinkhole — about 60 feet in diameter and 15 feet deep — opened in the earth late Sunday.

No one was injured but about three dozen resort goers left behind car keys, medication and other personal belongings inside their luxury condominiums after the crumbling edifices were evacuated.

"My heart sunk. I was sick to my stomach," said resort president Paul Caldwell after getting a call about 10:30 p.m. from his staff that the 15-year-old buildings full of guests were sinking into the ground.
Posted by unhappycamper | Mon Aug 12, 2013, 08:43 AM (12 replies)

The Border-Industrial Complex


The Border-Industrial Complex
by Jim Hightower
Published on Sunday, August 11, 2013 by OtherWords

At last, both Republicans and Democrats are beginning to respond aggressively to economic needs. “It has been a tough time,” admits one Washington insider, applauding a new spending proposal that “could help out.”

Unfortunately, he and Congress aren’t referring to your tough times. No, no — they’re rushing to the aid of the multi-billion-dollar Military-Industrial Complex.

The government, you see, hasn’t been getting our nation into enough wars to satisfy the insatiable appetite of Northrop Grumman and its ilk for government money. So those war profiteers have spied a new place they can militarize with their high-tech, high-cost weaponry: The U.S.-Mexican border.

These corporate predators are deploying an army of lobbyists to Congress to target what they see as a booming market. “Border security!” is their battle cry.
Posted by unhappycamper | Mon Aug 12, 2013, 07:29 AM (0 replies)

Yemenis call U.S. drone strikes an overreaction to al Qaida threat


Yemenis call U.S. drone strikes an overreaction to al Qaida threat
Posted on Friday, August 9, 2013
Adam Baron | McClatchy Foreign Staff

SANAA, Yemen — The United States’ launching of eight drone strikes in Yemen in the span of 13 days has ignited widespread outrage in the country.

The anger over the strikes, which came as an al Qaida-related threat shuttered U.S. embassies and consulates in Yemen and 15 other countries, has overwhelmed attention to the threat itself, which many here view skeptically anyway.

“In the end, I think the American reaction has been far more than has been reasonable,” said Abdulghani al Iryani, a Sanaa-based political analyst. “It comes off almost as a show of strength. But, ultimately, it may end up backfiring, as al Qaida is getting more attention now than they would have even if they carried out an attack.”

The U.S. State Department announced Friday that it would reopen all its diplomatic missions Sunday except for the embassy in Yemen and the consulate in Lahore, Pakistan, which had been evacuated early in the day because of an unspecified threat. There was no word on when the embassy here might be reopened. On Tuesday, what the State Department called “non-emergency” embassy staff members were flown to Germany.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sat Aug 10, 2013, 08:31 AM (1 replies)

Give Us Our Flag!


Give Us Our Flag!
08.09.13 - 12:01 PM
by Abby Zimet

Insult to Injury: Police at the Wisconsin capitol are not just continuing to arrest protesters, Solidarity Singers and residents - including at least one legislator - for simply watching democracy in action; they are arresting veterans, including Veterans for Peace attending their annual convention in Madison. There can be no more potent symbol of what's wrong here than the image of a phalanx of beefy cops descending on a balding, conscience-ridden veteran of our country's ill-begotten wars, duly exercising the rights for which he at least thought he was fighting - of them coming after him, seizing his flag, yanking his hands into handcuffs behind him, and unceremoniously hauling him away - and, in one case, dropping him on a marble stairway - while his peaceable cohorts yell "Shame!" Incredible. Also, in case you have any trouble deciding which side you're on, here are some songs from the Solidarity Singers alongside those from Walker supporters.

Posted by unhappycamper | Sat Aug 10, 2013, 07:22 AM (3 replies)
Go to Page: « Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Next »