Saturday, August 25, 2012

Introducing Suzie Dershowitz Part 3

Still ‘Provoking Accountability’….Of the ‘Unaccountable’

POGO's Suzie Dershowittz, Source: POGO
Back to Part 2

Major Ploy Du Jour #2: “This Proves/Refutes Our POV/Their POV” (In this case both). Only.... it doesn't. Hint: You could lay all the economists in the world end to end and you still wouldn't be able to reach a conclusion.

Ms. Dershowitz’s cogitative effluence attempts to use the CATO ‘study’ as evidence (may I say ‘proof’?) that one particular defense industry economic impact study, which we shall refer to as the “Fuller study”, and one that points to destructive effects from an imminent and abrupt downturn in defense acquisition spending, is not to be trusted and is also out of the ‘mainstream’ of economic thought. Now, I have many problems with using the CATO ‘study’ in this manner (as I would for any study used in the same way). BUT… for this exercise we will focus on problematic areas of the CATO analysis (because as much as POGO might like to think it is a study-- it is not a study, but is merely an analysis that is critical of the Fuller study) where Ms. Dershowitz unwisely attempts to use in support of her assertion that ‘left, right, and center’ agree with POGO: that there will not be the kind of damage that the industry-sponsored study warns us will happen.

The key points that POGO is relying on and promoting in the Dershowitz piece are twofold:
  1. Dershowitz/POGO relies on the CATO claims that the Fuller study overstates the adverse impact of lost defense acquisition programs because it does not take into account the impact of applying freed resources in the economy elsewhere.
  2. Dershowitz/POGO relies on CATO claims (and claimed ‘evidence’) that the Fuller study overstates the net economic ‘multiplier’ of defense acquisition spending.

Fatally-Flawed POGO/CATO Point #1

The CATO claim of Fuller overstating the adverse impact of defense cuts by not taking into account the redirection of resources for other purposes is relayed to us by POGO/Dershowitz as follows:
What's more, Zycher explains that redirecting resources (such as labor and capital) to more productive uses can yield long-term benefits for the economy as a whole:
The process of allowing market forces to redirect resource use increases aggregate output and wealth, thus making virtually all individuals better off over time on net. The movement of resources from less to more profitable sectors increases the aggregate productivity of the economy.
The first problem with this complaint is how it is framed. What Dershowitz fails to mention is that the CATO author’s problem with the Fuller study is a ‘problem’ he has with all such studies. In the notes of the CATO analysis we find (pg 15): 
I criticize the Fuller analysis here not because it is necessarily more flawed than most such analyses, but instead because it is quite typical of that body of literature, and is the most recent that I have found. 
What exactly is the CATO author referring to? The CATO author’s complaint is that the Fuller study ONLY deals with the jobs and economic activity lost in the defense sector and NOT what the impact is when resources get reallocated as a result. The implication from the POGO piece is that this is a deficiency. In fact, it is a design OBJECTIVE.

Fuller’s methodology was designed to estimate the direct adverse economic impact of a rapid contraction in defense acquisition activity on the defense industry, and this was clearly expressed on Page 4 in Fuller’s report “The U.S. Economic Impact of Approved and Projected DOD Spending Reductions on Equipment in 2013: Summary of Research Findings”.No more, no less.

Academic Slap Fight

That the author of the CATO paper found sufficient ‘fault’ with Fuller’s limiting the scope of his study to prompt CATO to in effect, pick a prissy academic ‘slap fight’ over Fuller conducting the study such that it is more relevant to current events and the population at large, rather than making it more relevant to ivory tower academics, is more indicative of contrivance on CATO’s part to promote their agenda than any by Fuller and the Aerospace Industries Association who sponsored the Fuller study. I believe I can state this without fear of cogent disagreement or recrimination because it can be shown that there are clearly sufficient reasons to NOT include speculation on downstream effects as advocated by the author of the CATO paper. Before we get to those reasons, it will be helpful to spend a paragraph or two on what really drives 1) any economic impact study, 2) what data is analyzed and 3) how it is interpreted when conducting and reporting the study.

Models Drive Studies and Ground Rules and Assumptions Shape the Models.

It must be remembered that economic impact studies are to varying extents “model-driven”. On some of my projects, I work with an Operations Research colleague (big ‘Shout Out’ to Doctor Dave) who is fond of opening any conference or meeting where we will be presenting study findings developed using model driven data on a cautionary note. Doctor Dave will begin by paraphrasing a quote attributed to statistician George Box. “Remember, ALL models are ‘wrong’, but some are useful.”.

For best illustrative purpose on our topic, I think one of Box’s more complete expressions of the point is even better:"Remember that all models are wrong; the practical question is how wrong do they have to be to not be useful." Given this ground truth, by extension we can safely observe:
Remember: All model-driven studies are wrong; the practical question is -- how wrong do the models have to be for the study to not be useful?

A study that would resemble what the CATO analysis advocates cannot be compared to the Fuller study. The CATO analysis advocates introducing additional assumptions and caveats and carries the analysis further than just determining the negative impact on the defense industry. Some examples:
…This shift of resources, including labor, across economic sectors is an example of what economists call “structural unemployment.” It is the result of changes in the underlying economic conditions of demand and supply that yield shifts in the relative price signals inducing resources to flow toward and away from various sectors. In other words, as demand and supply conditions change, the “structure” of the economy changes as well: some industries grow while others decline, either absolutely or in a relative sense. Structural unemployment is a fundamental feature of any dynamic economy driven by constant changes in individual preferences, individual choices, technological shifts, and a myriad other factors. Any owner of an input, including workers suffering from unemployment caused by a change in market conditions, is worse off, at least temporarily. But the process of allowing market forces to redirect resource use increases aggregate output and wealth, thus making virtually all individuals better off over time on net. The movement of resources from less to more profitable sectors increases the aggregate productivity of the economy...

…A change in the aggregate demand for defense services is more difficult to measure (or to perceive) than is the case for goods and services traded in the private sector—value in the public sector is a good deal murkier—and public decision makers may have weaker incentives to respond to such changes in demand conditions...
All true and interesting in an academic sense, but how much faith may one place in an academic exercise to confidently make major policy decisions? How well would such information benefit a decision maker with our current economic environment and problem? Both the Fuller and a CATOesque study would ‘inform’, but is a CATOesque study as ‘useful’ as the Fuller study, since a CATOesque study involves the modeling (how well done, i.e. realistic?) of a “dynamic economy driven by constant changes in individual preferences, individual choices, technological shifts, and a myriad other factors”? Would a CATOesque study effectively capture the inner workings and outcomes of a “process of allowing market forces to redirect resource use increases aggregate output and wealth” over the 10 year period affected by the looming sequestration debacle? How well would a CATOesque study quantify a relative value lost or gained, if “value in the public sector is a good deal murkier”? How long will it take for “virtually all individuals” to be “better off over time”, how bad will it be for them in the interim, and WHO exactly isn’t part of the ‘virtually all” in the picking of winners and losers?
Sidebar: I notice that the CATO analysis studiously refers to Defense Service costs and values instead of the Defense Acquisition costs that the Fuller study examines. What are the differences between the two definitions, if any? I suspect the CATO analysis is referring to services as well as acquisition of material defense products.

Coming Up: Part 4

I believe CATO understands the weakness of the argument that the Fuller study ‘doesn’t go far enough’ (and POGO doesn’t care: with POGO it is all about whether or not a vehicle can be used to peddle their noise). I believe CATO fully understands the notion of ‘usefulness’ and that it wasn’t enough to claim the sort of study they advocate would be more useful. At best it would be perhaps useful in a different way, and more likely it would be less than helpful through introduction of uncertainty via likely errors of assumption and deduction. This MAY be why CATO went to some lengths to employ (and POGO parroted) the additional complaint that the Fuller study somehow overstates the net economic ‘multiplier’ of defense acquisition spending in arriving at the results Fuller did find, and IMHO it used rather questionable methodology and tautology in attempting to ‘sell’ the idea that Fuller was out of the economics mainstream in employing the multiplier that he did.
By using CATO's own references, I will show how the Fuller multiplier is probably more appropriate than the Economic Aesthetes at CATO or the Progressive Proles at POGO would like us to believe. I will provide those arguments supporting my assertions on this point in the final part, Part 4, of “Introducing Suzie Dershowitz”.

Part 4

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Kum-ba-frickin'-ya there CATO

I’m still working on part 3 of the POGO/Dershowitz takedown, but it requires actual reading that I don't think CATO or POGO actually bothered with. As a sidebar, I think it would be now helpful to note how well that CATO study seems to grasp the peaceful world we live in right now.

How about a taste of some of the actual goings on in the world?

We have the easing (not) of strain in China-Japan relations,

Israel not liking what it’s seeing in Egypt (we shouldn’teither)

Source: Voice of America

What could possibly go wrong?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Introducing Suzie Dershowitz Part 2

Today we will be ‘Provoking Accountability’….Of the ‘Unaccountable’

Smiling Suzie Dershowitz, with an incredibly hybris-ridden slogan. Source: POGO
(and why does this reminded me of a Jonah Goldberg book?)

POGO Major Ploy Du Jour #1: False Non-Political/Partisanship claims. Hint: Libertarian is NOT Conservative.

A Continuation From Part 1

Ms. Dershowitz opened her 'piece' (see part 1) by offering a title and a couple of paragraphs intimating POGO's position on reducing defense spending has broad support:
A recent study by Benjamin Zycher from the libertarian think tank the CATO Institute reaffirms what we've been saying all along: Cutting Pentagon spending will not cause the economic nightmare or job loss catastrophe the defense industry wants us to fear.
In addition to CATO, other right-leaning analysts, advocates, and politicians have also been vocally challenging the narrative that defense spending must not be decreased. Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, recently pledged to fight any efforts to divert tax reform revenues toward an increase in Pentagon spending or avoiding across-the-board budget cuts, known as sequestration. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.), a senior Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, has called for a national dialogue on sequestration, recognizing that "the average American out there, by big percentages, wants to cut defense by twice the sequester amount."
Got that? The 'spectrum' of support includes:
  1. ‘Big L’ Libertarian CATO which thinks of terms of Republic OR Empire, and that if you're not all at home, well then you must be an Empire
  2. A Cult of Personality ‘small government’ activist of the extreme self-serving more than tax-cut ilk, AKA Grover Norquist, and
  3. ONE Republican Congressional dinosaur who just happens to be in a fight to keep his seat: the sole Republican House Seat in a district that has been redrawn to his disadvantage since the last election.
Who in that group would today be likely to place a priority on defense spending compared to their other interests?
Answer: None of them.

 About ‘Big L’ CATO and Defense  

‘Big L’ CATO has a Pollyanna view of world affairs that lives under the delusion that the US can afford to downsize the military because THEY don’t see the ‘threat’ which, combined with a somewhat more ‘passive isolationist’ vision of the United States’ role in world affairs versus the current (and faded under Obama) role as the benevolent and last remaining Superpower. This is perfectly acceptable, if CATO would then make statements that were qualified with the caveat “In CATO’s opinion, view, vision, we believe X”. But they don’t qualify. They flatly assert we need to reduce our defense spending and our involvement in the world’s affairs, that there is no ‘threat’ that warrants defense spending levels, etc (see this video which could have been the germ for the POGO regurgitation) . In doing so they look right past the point that if the United States does not ensure its interests are taken care of around the globe, someone else will take care of them for us in the manner of their choosing. The focus on visible ‘threats’ conveniently prevents them having to recognize: 
  • The positive economic effects of close defense relationships with our allies, 
  • The deterrent effects to those who would seek to cause us indirect as well as direct harm, economic or otherwise, 
  • The advantages of having ‘friends’ and forces in place for any emergency (most likely unforeseen) no matter where on the globe that emergency might appear. 
As I’ve always said: I would be a Libertarian, if they had a frickin’ clue when it comes to defense, but then if they did, they would be good Conservatives. Here’s a tip for CATO.
If POGO and PDA are on your side—you are on the wrong side.
As it is, your defense ‘work’ just gives aid and comfort to the enemy. Sad.
BTW: Notice between the CATO ‘study’ and the CATO video, there is a conflation of the topics of ‘defense reductions’ in general and ‘defense sequestration’ specifically? This serves to abstract the issue and make it more ‘feely’ than ‘factual’. We’ll work on that later.

Part 3
Part 4

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Introducing POGO's Suzie Dershowitz

Know Your Reformers: Training Wheels Edition

The left-wing 'reform' group (they claim to be non-partisan, but their funding stream, especially as it relates to defense topics, tell a different story) Project on Government Oversight, aka POGO, has a budding young 'Public Policy Expert' named Suzie Dershowitz. Ms Dershowitz seems to have been given the opportunity to editorialize on defense spending in the relatively safe harbor of the Huffington Post with an 'article' titled: Right, Left and Middle Agree: Reshaping the Pentagon Budget Won't Hurt the Economy. Now, the Beta and Omega PuffHo's that haunt the joint should be considered 'training wheels' for young Suzie: You can float 'defense' turds all day long in that fever swamp with nary a complaint.
The reason I'm pointing Dershowitz's piece is twofold. First, I'm going to use it as another example to illustrate the sort of ploys POGO et al are far too comfortable in thinking they can pass off as 'thoughtful' on the unsuspecting public. Second, I'm using this as a sort of test to see if a typical POGO pattern emerges: POGO drops the turd, and the 'usual suspect' pseudo-news sites picks it up and passes it around (Eewww --the Imagery!).

The Major Ploys Du Jour

I'll just list them tonight, and expand on them later (Hey,it's late and I'm tired!) but I'm sure the reader can explain them once they're pointed out as well as I can.
1. False Non-Political/Partisanship claims. Hint: Libertarian is NOT Conservative.
2. This Proves/Refutes Our POV/Their POV (In this case both). Only.... it doesn't. Hint: You could lay all the economists in the world end to end and you still wouldn't be able to reach a conclusion.

The Pattern

Let's see who (if anyone) picks the POGO piece up and promotes it. (I'm running a risk here of tipping my hand, but I'm counting on the major site's tendency to focus on cranking out the pre-written memes instead of producing original journalism.

Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

F-35 Supportability: Now THIS is Promising

From Second Line of Defense:
“We (USMC) decided that the Air Force model for maintenance training was the right way to do business,” said USMC Capt. John Park, 372nd TRS commander. “The Marine Corps, when we go to a platform, we stay there for our whole careers…so this is new to us. Having Marines move to the F-35 from the F-18 Hornet or AV-8B Harrier is unheard of, so it’s a big change in our training process.”
This will go a long way towards reducing F-35 sustainment costs if the maintainers of all the services can develop an ‘F-35’ modus operandi versus everyone all going their own way. I don’t think it is particularly important which service model influences the joint approach the most, as long as it is as common as possible. Of course we would obviously expect the ‘afloat’ part of the fleet to involve the most variation in approach from the program norm. There will be tremendous direct (“Hey! I see a better way!”) and cultural (“This is how we do it now!”) pressure to make the F-35 conform to existing maintenance paradigms.  But there are certain things about the F-35 (such as the nearly complete reliance on composite structures, and no scheduled depot-level repair operation) that make it so very different from the planes it is replacing, there is a very good chance a cultural change can be achieved.
Keep Maintenance Simple and Keep Them Flying. Source: LM Code One Magazine Archives 
My favorite part of the SLD article is the voice of the expert maintainer:
“My dad calls me probably every day and asks about the F-35,” said Air Force Staff Sgt. Jeff Kakaley, F-35 crew chief instructor. “I tell him I’m proud to work on it and he’s proud to have a son who works on the F-35 too.”
“Being around this aircraft on a daily basis, both here and at Pax River (NAS), has been awesome,” said Johnson. “There’s nothing I’d rather do.”
 Students discuss a training problem during F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter training as Staff Sgt. Jeff Kakaley, right, observes during training at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., Jul. 19, 2012. The 372nd Training Squadron Detachment 19 at Eglin, part of the 982nd Training Group at Sheppard Air Force Base, trains both Air Force and Marines on F-35 maintenance. Kakaley is an F-35 crew chief instructor(U.S. Air Force photo/Dan Hawkins)
We’ll have to wait and see if the usual F-35 critics follow their pattern and falsely disparage SSgt Kakaley as just positioning himself for his next job as an ‘evil’ contractor.  

BTW, the above photo is cropped from the original in an AF,mil article titled : " F-35 maintenance training spawns USMC's first air FTD".  It appears to be the source of the SLD article.

Friday, August 17, 2012

F-35: Banging out the Sorties

...With a Swingin' Beat!

There are Potentially LARGE Ramifications

Source of Original: NAVAIR

From Dave Majumdar at FlightGlobal:
"During our first week of flying in March, we had two flights scheduled. Then in the fourth week of May we had twelve sorties scheduled and eleven flown. Now in August we are planning a standard of sixteen F-35A sorties a week," said Lt Col Lee Kloos, commander of the wing's 58th Fighter Squadron. "In September we will go to a planned twenty-sortie week as our standard."
You can’t do what Lt Col Kloos describes if a plane is not reliable or generates high maintenance demands. Nor can you generate the productive test sorties/test points at the rates Barry Graff detailed at his place back in June. From the article, I get the impression that the limiting factor in sorties to-date has been the number of pilots trained and being trained. As more pilots get on board, that limitation will disappear.

Update Note@1944 hrs: I see Barry Graff also found the money quote above before me!
Which brings me back to a detailed post that I put up in early July. There I posited the probable reason(s) for the minimal commentary from the pundits concerning the last, and rather muted, GAO Report: 
“Since the GAO report fails to highlight the existence of poor MMH/FH and MTTR numbers, AND we know from the program announcements that flight test operations are ahead of current schedule for flights and test points, we can be almost certain that the internals of the performance data shine a better light on the program performance than the GAO is attempting to cast.”
Based upon the GAO report contents (including that which was missing), flight test productivity, and Lt Col Kloos’ comments, I sense even more that the F-35 is at or ahead of the reliability and maintainability curve. If so, we will have to put on a keen lookout for the data. We will have to search it out because it will be merely business as usual for the F-35 program on the one hand, and ignored or minimized by the critics seeking to protect their Precious (meme) on the other.

Bye-Bye Scary Cost Estimates

If the F-35 is ahead of the curve as indicators seem to be 'indicating', then all the heretofore life cycle support cost numbers 'projected' (and now almost certainly based upon legacy systems and approaches) will have to revised downward once enough data is in hand.

A Cautionary Note

The F-35 MAY become the most expensive fighter to maintain over the next 50 years, but it is increasingly more likely that if it is, it will ONLY be because the Customers CHOOSE to make it so. Aside from aircraft reliability and maintainability performance and number of aircraft fielded, the key support cost drivers will be determined by how closely the F-35 program continues to embrace Performance Based Logistics (PBL) instead of being seconded to pork-barrel interests. Those interests will use nearly any means possible to suck up more work than the law requires into the existing DoD logistics activities under as uncompetitive a business model they can contrive. Do not misunderstand: There's VERY good people and EXCELLENT work done at the USG Depots, but without PBL it tends to be WAAAAY overpriced.
Why do I predict USG Depots will attempt to swallow as much F-35 work as possible for their own benefit? The ALCs and FRCs are where all the AV-8s, F-18s, F-16s, and A-10s are now sent for their depot-level maintenance. As most are having end-of-life issues, the total workload demands and numbers of associated artisans, engineers and their indirect labor (management) are much higher than what a new and moderen F-35 fleet will require. Factor in there will be fewer F-35s fielded than the legacy systems they are replacing (Air Force is talking 1 for 2) and you can be CERTAIN that the USG Depots have been and will be working overtime to preserve their capabilities and workforce. Without the extra F-35 work, the USG Depots will have to contract by law, and they have never done so without a fight (remember the BRAC closings?).

Callin' the Ball! Original from ?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Mitchell Was Wrong?

Heh. I've never seen it put quite this way.
(From AFA's short history photo record "The Air Force Century" )
Mitchell Was Wrong 
In 1924, Air Service Brig. Gen. Billy Mitchell submitted a report predicting that war in the Pacific would start with a Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that would begin at 7:30 a.m., followed by an attack on Clark Field in the Philippines at 10:40 a.m. He later added that this would happen on a Sunday morning.  
Mitchell was wrong, of course. When the Japanese struck Pearl Harbor on Sunday Dec. 7, 1941, it was at 7:55 a.m.—almost half an hour later than Mitchell had predicted—and Clark Field was not attacked until 12:35 p.m. 
Yeah, what would a guy like this know?

F-35 drops JDAM: Crickets on the Web

I decided to watch what happened on the web after the F-35 dropped it's first weapon (video here) while I was on vacation.

1000 lb JDAM Drop. (DoD Photo)

I first heard about it at Solomon's  SNAFU!. I noted at the time, that Nuno Gomes commented:

Impressive...if it was bad news about the JSF everybody would post...not one comment...
Mr Gomes comment at this time is STILL flying solo, and on the rest of the usual 'F-35 hatin' web there is barely a rumble since the event.

So far...

Av Week's ARES Blog put the video up essentially without comment, leaving the peanut gallery nothing to grasp onto with their limited imaginations, so the comments thread is particularly lame this time around and 'SufaViper' shamed the clowns easily. One person with the handle 'Horde' does expose himself/herself as completely ignorant on store separation testing, but that's about the extent of the entertainment.

I thought Flight Journal's DEWline Blog post had some comments, and I could've swore one was a poorly recieved smarta** one from Eric Palmer. If I am not mistaken, they appear to have been scrubbed, or perhaps I saw it somewhere else? - Oops! It was somewhere else: in the thread for  the F-35 post just before the 'bomb drop' one.

DoD Buzz? Nada. Ewing is practically all 'politics' over the past week. The 'politics' are unsurprising given Ewing's history at the left's contrived media organ called POLITICO, and ....whatta' ya'  know! Ewing apparently decided to just pass it to POLITICO along with a lot of other silly defense 'news'.

Defense Tech? Zilch.

Defense News? Nuthin'

Nuno called it right.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Long Range Strike Imperative

World's Finest Bulk Exporter of Tritinol and Steel 
An "Op For" post (more specifically a comment in the thread) reminded me that there are ‘those’ out there who think we are ‘fat’ with the most critical Long Range Strike assets (AKA Strategic Bombers).
For those so inclined, I would counter with (Emphasis Mine):
Nations that can maintain freedom of action and the ability to threaten and apply violent force without retaliation will hold the ultimate strategic advantage. Failure to maintain credible LRS capabilities diminishes the effectiveness of the other instruments of national power. Although the US military has provided a dependable backdrop of international security for over 60 years, the size of that force has diminished recently even though the need for a strong force has not. In light of the present situation, one that closely resembles the slow demise of the British and Roman global powers, we would do well to heed Julian Corbett’s remarks about the intrinsic advantage of sea control during the waning years of Britain’s global preeminence: “Yet the fact remains that all the great continental masters of war have feared or valued British intervention . . . because they looked for its effects rather in the threat than in the performance. . . . Its operative action was that it threatened positive results unless it were strongly met.” Just as sea control and power projection proved critical for Britain, so is LRS valuable for today’s leading nations. Global actors such as China, Russia, and India recognize LRS’s strategic value, considering it imperative to a successful national security strategy. These rising global competitors, especially China and Russia, seek to obtain or develop their own LRS and to cultivate antiaccess [sic] and area denial capabilities to diminish the enduring strategic advantage of the United States...

--- Major Wade S. Karren, USAF. Read it all HERE (PDF).

"It's ALWAYS the 'Fighter's Turn', It's just that every now and then the rest get their fair share". Even with whatever the NGB will become, this chart won't change much from when I first built it around 2000
We are not ‘fat’ with Long Range Strike/Strategic Bomber capabilities.  
We are not even ‘fluffy’.

'Marauder' in the comments nails it (Photo Added 18 Aug 2012)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

OPSEC Blackout Over: Back From Vacation

Just got back tonight from a very satisfying, week-long vacation. Am well-rested and looking forward to getting up to speed with what's happening in the rest of the world. For better or worse, blogging will re-commence shortly.
For the most part, we just happily hung out at an undisclosed location, but we did play the 'tourist card ' one day:

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Sequestration Cage Match: WSJ Puts a Beat-Down on DoD Buzz

Contrast the following:

1. Phil Ewing’s take on the state of the ‘Defense Sequestration’fiasco at DoD Buzz….
Wednesday’s now-infamous hearing of the House Armed Services Committee, which broke from its standard script of “where’s mine” to an unusually rancorous airing of partisan talking points, showed the depth of frustration in the defense world. A few years ago, defense was a prince of Washington interest groups. With two hot wars underway and a unanimous “support our troops” mentality in the country, the Pentagon, its allies and dependents got whatever they wanted, times two, yesterday. Now that same cohort has become just another victim in today’s politics of hostage-taking.
When Barack Obama has lost even liberal Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, the White House has a problem. In Washington, that problem is known as the "sequester." In the rest of the country, it's becoming known as a jobs disaster.

Jobs, and his own re-election, were on Mr. Brown's tortured mind this week, when he publicly called on the president to do something about Defense Department cuts that threaten to shutter his state's Mansfield Lahm Air National Guard Base—and with it, 1,000 jobs. The cuts might be "penny wise," griped the senator, but they were "pound foolish."
And (my favorite part)...
The White House is clearly starting to worry. In a sign of panic, the Obama administration this week moved to hide the coming job losses. The Labor Department directed defense contractors to ignore the law and skip layoff notices, since sequester remains "uncertain." (Companies may well send them out anyway, since Labor can't protect them from lawsuits for failing to give due warning.)

And the president knows his ranks are getting twitchy. Congressional Democrats cracked this week, signing on to Republican legislation that gives the White House 30 days to detail the sequester cuts; they aren't willing to risk looking like White House pawns for secrecy. Republicans are ratcheting up the pressure, with ads targeting vulnerable Democrats in defense-heavy districts, town halls to highlight the sequester threat, and governors calling on Mr. Obama to step up and lead.

Democrats heading home for the August recess will hear an earful from their local defense contractors. And the party is getting equally worried about the other half of the sequester, which will strip hundreds of billions out of their own cherished domestic programs. If this environment gets hot enough, Mr. Obama could find himself alone on the stand-firm-on-sequester ship.
Read both pieces and form your own opinion.

Any bets as to whether more politicians read the WSJ, and more of their constituents read Instapundit than DoD Buzz?

Pssst: Don’t tell Phil: I’d say it would bum him out, except I think he knows he’s whistling past the graveyard when it comes to how this is going to play out in the end.

My ‘take’ stands. The Evil Party suckered the Stupid Party (again). This time, the Stupid Party believed (surely!) NO ONE would be Evil enough to jeopardize National Defense, even if they deign to play games with it. But the Evil Party was too clever by half (as they are really the Evil Hybris-ridden Party).

Banish the Evil Party entirely and fire the Stupid Party Leaders (which would make it the ‘Smart Party’ overnight).

Hat tip for the WSJ Story: Instapundit

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Et Tu 'Flight Journal'?

I'm reading this month's Flight Journal, and you'll never guess who's penetrated the defensive positions of the editorial gatekeepers.This issue contains the rather nonsensically titled article 'Do We Really Need a Perfect Fighter?' (Talk about a question no one is asking).
I couldn't believe what I was reading, so I went to their website to get an e-mail contact, but found the opportunity to comment at the site itself. My comment as of this writing is awaiting moderation, but for the record, I posted:
Just picked up this issue at the Carswell BX, and thumbing through this article I saw the 'barf boxes' accompanying the photos. My first thought was: who wrote this (ahem) 'stuff'? By the time I got to the blurb claiming the F-35 has the lowest highest wing loading of any modern fighter, I knew who the author had to be.  
Odd thing though. The wing loading of the F-35 isn't public knowledge, and since the fuselage provides lift, you can't simply divide weight by wing area. And now having read the whole article, I'd say the wing loading trope is among the least of the offenses committed.
Can you guess who the author might be?
Would it help if I mentioned that within the article, among other delightful bits, he wrote "The latter underscores what Australian analyst Peter Goon terms the “BVR paradox”—the reality that modern BVR combat imposes higher performance demands on fighters than WVR combat does" as if Peter Goon was some disinterested party and not the long-time and close associate of the author that he is?

A portion of the article, with the authorship of same and opportunity to comment is to be found at the Flight Journal website here.