Setting in Sunday

What’s setting in?

  • Fall is setting in, and winter is in the air at Hog Manor. The blogparents are departed to their three-season digs in Florida, after a summer that would have been perfect, considering, if it hadn’t been for that broken hip and pelvis. Aging is tough.
  • The school season is setting in. Kid has runner’s knee and he is unhappily warming the bench at x-c meets. (Usually, in this sport, everybody can run). This is a Teachable Moment (“Make yourself useful to the coach and manager”).
  • Various end of year activities need to be cued up so they can execute on command in just three short months. Tax documentation. Security paperwork. A call to NFA branch, “where is….”  That long, huh?
  • Dissatisfaction with the summer PT program, which went out the window even before the folks had their bolance ride, is more than just setting in. On the plus side, the fix-a-flat they stuffed into the ailing ticker last year appears to be working, so far.
  • The need for fall planning is setting in. When does the lawnmower get stored on trickle charge; when to shut down the fountain, which delights us with hummingbirds in the summer. Will the contractors get the last couple tasks done on the exterior this year? What sort of gun building will make the long nights entertaining.
  • Election year is setting in. This is an off election, so it’s probably no worse for us than for all of you. Presidential elections are different, and they start getting bad two years out. Most of the people we know here in NH have given up their landlines because of the surveys and robocalls that come with the nation’s first primary. A relative who bitterly clings to the landline is already getting one call a day, usually at dinnertime, usually some drone who wants you to take a 20- or 30-minute survey for a pollster. So next time you see a poll, remember that they only got the people with landlines, who don’t mind having their dinner rudely interrupted, and have literally nothing better to do that listen to a poll for half an hour.

That list probably sounds curmudgeonly, and things aren’t all that bad.

There are benefits to seeing the folks go, after all. Dinner is no longer at 5:30 (5 if they think they can get away with it). But it’s all bittersweet; one of these good-byes will be the last, and either you will all know it’s the last one, something that’s unpleasant to contemplate, or you won’t, something that’s even worse to contemplate.

Perhaps we’ll contemplate gun building instead.

Road Trip this week, exact days uncertain, along damn near the full length of I-95. Posting may be enfeebled as a result.

ISIL VBIED with American Suicide Operator

aby_hurayra_moner_abu_salahMeet al-Hurayra al-Amriki, the last bit of which means “the American.” He blew himself up in an attack on the Syrian Army in Jebel al-Arba’een in Idlib Province on 25 May 14. (Al-Hurayra, “The one with the kitten,” was one of the companions of Mohammed; al-Qaeda’s glamor shot of his suicidal namesake shows him holding a kitten, presumably his love interest).

This long video, captured by the Middle East Media Research Institute, is his “martyrdom video,” the crude mohammedan imitation of the genteel Shinto tea and saki ceremony that saw the kamikazes off. The parallels are remarkable, notably the shallowness of awareness of the propaganda-soaked suicides. Our interest is not in his reasons, nor in his message — the first is shallow, juvenile angst and gang-identification, the death-seeking of a 22-year-old going on 16; the latter the empty boasting of a child-man about to die in futile service to a lost cause and cynical leaders — but in his means. If you skip ahead to about three minutes from the end, you’ll see what’s purported to be the VBIED that he used to make an attack on Syrian government forces, and film that purports to be the explosion that may or may not have injured the Syrians, but presumably was, as SVBIEDs always are, 100% effective in punching “Abu’s” ticket. Did he see the “smile of allah” he so wished for? We’re doubtful.

An ideology that tells you, “Blowing yourself to smithereens in the hopes you indiscriminately kill somebody, practically anybody, is the path to salvation,” may be bearing a message from a supernatural being, but it ain’t God.

As he tells us, he’s the spawn of an Arab palestinian man and an Italian-American woman. Well, this neckbearded numbskull is not the worst result ever of an airheaded broad getting her multiculti mandingo on; he’ll be a forgotten footnote to these decades of barbarism.

As he doesn’t tell us, his real name was Moner Mohammed Abu-Salha. He was from Vero Beach, Florida. His father carried a Jordanian passport; his mother converted to the religion of death and barbarism, and they raised their children — including two other boys and a girl — in the ways of Mohammedanism. The father was a grocer, but the family was improvident with money and lost their home to foreclosure. Yet they managed to find money for visits to the middle east.

Moner was a loser, suspended from high school for fighting, then dropping out. He obtained a ticket-punch GED from a “school” that specializes in that kind of thing, then stumbled through three different colleges, dropping out of each without measurable achievement.

The jihadis who launched this not-so-smart bomb were smart enough to avoid any opsec violations that tell us much about the bomb and its triggering device(s). It is customary to have multiple initiators: a command initiator for the splodydope himself to pull, a remote initiator for the commanders to use if the splodydope loses his nerve or is disabled, and a dead-man switch. Judging from the fireball, there was a lot of low-grade explosive in the truck, probably a mix of ANFO and fillings melted out of ordnance (or complete shells if they were in a hurry). Other jihadi social media postings have suggested that the truck contained 17 tons of explosive, primarily artillery shells.

svbied_truck_01

The vehicle is a commercial dump truck, crudely armored. It’s a good choice as it has plenty of power and a very strong frame, just the ticket for carrying the explosives and the armor. The armor appears to be mild steel plate, little respected by armor buffs, but wait… what are the steel targets at your range made out of? Exactly. This thing isn’t a tank designed to go into combat, fight, disengage and then go back later, keeping the crew safe: it’s designed to go into combat and keep the crewman alive long enough for him to trip the bang switch, or to get close enough to the enemy for his ever-helpful masters to trip the switch for him.

(These masters are surely going to shaheed themselves, surely, one of these days, just not right now).

svbied_truck_03

The armor, then, is meant merely to delay the vehicle’s penetration. In front of the main front armor plate, there is an additional flat front plate, and a sort of cow-catcher plow to remove road obstacles. The heavy armor on the front indicates that they intended a straight, direct assault against their objective.

svbied_truck_06

This second shot of the cow-catcher was taken as the vehicle drove off to perdition. The bags may contain explosives. The cow-catcher was rather high, probably in order to clear the unimproved roads where the vehicle started out. It appears to be welded in place. The cow-catcher also adds to the protection of the vehicle’s powerplant; a mobility kill is a mission kill against a VBIED.

The flags are those of the al-Nusra Front, one of the al-Qaeda-associated jihadi groups fighting against Bashar al-Assad. After literally years of American dithering, there are no significant anti-Assad groups left that are not also anti-American. Arming Syrian rebels now means arming American enemies. Naturally, Washington is all for it.

svbied_truck_02

Visibility from inside the vehicle was poor straight ahead. The driver had a small window in the armor plate in front of him, and an even smaller one in the vertical armor plate in front of that. Standoff between the two plates provides some protection from RPGs as well. Jihadi slogans and Koran quotes painted in the cab bolster his will.

svbied_truck_01

There was no armor visible on the side of the cab.

svbied_truck_04

The nose was not the only vital part of the VBIED to be armored. Jihadi welders added plate to the rear wheel area and the fuel tanks, and armored the tires with big disks attached to the lug nuts. It’s impossible to tell if the steel plate alongside the nose end of the dump body is armor or trim. (The part that is forward of the slanted front of the dump body).

svbied_truck_05

We are not sure what make of truck this is. We have ruled out most of the Japanese brands, Mercedes, Magirus, Renault, and Kamaz. Any ideas?

The armor shows that the enemy is a learning enemy, even if his splodydopes themselves can’t pass on their lessons learned. It’s a far cry from the SVBIED of ten years ago, which was a couple of 155 rounds in the trunk of a taxi driven by some martyrdom wannabe. But it’s not invulnerable.

Vulnerabilities of this kind of SVBIED include antitank weapons and enfilading fire. Accurate .50 M2HB or DShK fire would also be effective, even from dead ahead. If you’re operating in SVBIED country, you want to have flanking outposts on your high-speed avenues of approach, able to light up the cab of your would-be al-Jazeera star from the side. You need them on both sides, and they need aiming stakes so that they know to check fire when their fire would otherwise fall on the opposite outpost. (The enemy will be trying hard enough to kill you. Don’t do his work for him).

That an attack like this is still effective over 30 years after they did it to the USMC in Beirut shows that the attack, while easily frustrated by effective fire, can often be executed in the time it takes defenders to shake off the cobwebs. Also, too many gate posts are expected to stop an attack with a rifle or a rifle-caliber light machine gun; what happens when the attack looks like this? We’ll tell you what: your gate can’t stop the attack, not in time.  Give them something that can hit a moving tank and turn it to slag… and give them no-hesitation ROE. (The enemy will probe your ROE with unarmed civilian vehicles, and then go all lawfare on you if you smoke ‘em. Smoke ‘em anyway. You’ll have sent some jihadi impersonating a civilian to the martyrdom he seeks, and your guys will not go to the martyrdom they most definitely aren’t seeking — win all round.

More on Moner al-Deadmeat:

The Greatest Jet Never – the TSR-2

These short newsreels depict the TSR.2, a revolutionary warplane that was quietly taken out and shot (literally; the protype ended up on a tank range as a target) by a declining Britain in 1966.

TSR2-Newsreels.mkv

(You need a .mkv video player to play this. We recommend VLC).

The TSR-2 had planned capabilities than nothing in RAF service quite matches today. These inclue a design speed of Mach 1.1 at 200 feet, and Mach 2 at altitude, with a combat radius of over 1,000 nautical miles. It was designed for nuclear and conventional strikes. It had a precision strike capability 10 to 20 years ahead of the US’s developments in that genre, including capability to deliver television-guided smart weapons. It had modular reconnaissance capability, including live datalink. It was, militarily speaking, a revolution in the air.

So why did it die so early, and so hard? What killed the TSR-2?

  • British politics, in part. It became a football contested by the Labor and Conservative parties of the time, not on its merits but as a way to score points on the other side. It didn’t help that the plane was designed with a potential war with the USSR in mind, and Harold Wilson just couldn’t see the Soviet Union as an enemy.
  • Galactically bad judgment by British MOD and parliamentary leaders, going back to Sir Duncan Sandys (pronounced “Sands”) and his 1957 Defence White Paper which concluded that the manned aircraft was obsolete, and Britain henceforth would place its faith entirely in missiles and other robotic systems. Was this decision the dumbest in the history of air war — dumber than Hitler’s 1942 decision not to produce jet fighters? Unlike Hitler, Sandys was a man of generally good judgment; he had been deeply involved in the nation-saving development of Radar, and many other British technical coups of WWII. But unlike England, Germany’s aeronautical industry recovered (until pan-European consolidation, but that’s another complaint). The British leaders who actually killed off the jet, Secretary of State for Defence Denis Healey and Minister of Aviation Roy Jenkins (who later, as Home Secretary, would do his best to decriminalize crime),
  • Britain’s Soviet-inspired postwar industrial policy, which relied on central planning and forced consolidations in the thriving and innovative British aeronautical industry. (The one holdout against forced consolidation, Handley-Page, was forced into bankruptcy instead, and the planners counted this a victory). Thousands of aeronautical engineers and tens of thousands of skilled workers lost their jobs (perhaps a third to a half of them found new jobs in Canada or the USA. The guys who went to Canada wound up in the USA when Canada had a similar brainstroke vis-a-vis the CF-105).

english_workers_use_an_english_wheel_to_make_tsr_skins

  • The inability of the consolidated firms, wracked by personnel turbulence and culture clashes, to perform at the level of the previous, private industry. This led to the actual TSR.2 failing to meet many of its optimistic performance goals.
  • Further bad judgment in assigning responsibility, which left the stumbling Vickers firm (descendant, in part, of Hiram Maxim’s machine gun enterprise) in charge over the capable, proven (they designed and built the successful Canberra and Lightning jets), team from English Electric.
  • Still further bad judgment, in the political assignment of the untried Bristol Olympus design. All the delays, and most of the cost overruns, came from the immaturity of this powerplant.
  • Even further bad judgment, in making the subcontractors report to the Ministry, rather than to the prime contractor, which had no control whatsoever. This was symptomatic of Ministry micromanagement, which included delaying the project so that non-pilots could haggle over the position and labeling of instruments and switches.
  • Failure to plan for the normal problems found between drafting board and first flight, including engines that fell short of spec and weight gain. This left the design team and the MOD managers facing new decisions, one option of which was always to cancel the whole project.

In the end, they canceled the TSR.2, and they scrapped, burned, and shot up the airframes, tools and tooling, and burnt and shredded most of the paperwork, to make sure it did not rise from the dead to embarrass Whitehall. They also ordered that the scrapping and burning be as well publicized as possible — the broke British government managed to film the arson with color film.

tsr-2_prototypes_burn

 

 

And when they canceled the plane, they initially required industrial managers to keep the decision secret from their own, doomed-to-layoffs, workforces.

Why were these extreme measures taken? As with other instances where this has happened, like the cancellation of the Avro Arrow CF-105 in Canada, and the cancellation for further Republic F-105 Thunderchief acquisitions in the USA in favor of the on-paper TFX, the decisionmakers probably knew that they were screwing up. Hence, the seemingly vindictive destruction of the ability to reverse the decision — a reversal which might ding the decision-maker’s “legacy.”

Healey and Jenkins, the only men who could have issued these orders of vandalism, have made pro-forma denials ever since the initial British public reaction to the cancellation and destruction of the TSR turned out to be negative. Neither is a man of any particular demonstrated integrity (quite the contrary), but it’s anyone’s guess whether the vandal was one or both. They also canceled the nascent Harrier project (then called P.1154) on the grounds it would never fly, and canceled a transport plane. Healey would scrap new (and renewed) aircraft carriers and preside over the greatest unilateral disarmament of an undefeated nation in world history.

Had Denis Healey been in the pay of the KGB he could have done no more damage to British defense policy and strength. (The same is true of Jenkins; his junior position meant he could do less damage than Healey). The TSR cancellation, especially when coupled with the many other cancellations that came out of the 1964 Labour government, fundamentally ended a half-century of British aeronautical industry leadership, and ultimately led to the near-dissolution of the British aerospace industry.

The TSR.2 cancellation continues to have repercussions. Britain and its European defense partners are looking for a replacement for the aging Panavia Tornado jet. Rumor is they’re looking for a plane that’s supersonic on the deck, and with a 1000 nautical mile radius of action….

Did the Mayor Brandish a Gun? and other official foolishness

Mayor-FlanaganA story so weird that it could only come from the People’s Republic of Massachusetts: a tense political situation in the decaying mill town of Fall River has escalated to this: one politician accusing another, the sitting mayor, of pulling a gun on him.

The mayor, Will Flanagan, says he was showing the other guy, who’s a leader in a movement to recall the mayor, the gun and teaching him about self-defense.

Since it’s Massachusetts, you want them both to be wrong and go to jail, but since it’s MA, that’s not in the cards. Flanagan has a license to carry, something his subjects find hard to get. He has no voting record on guns, not surprising as an executive, not a legislator. He did endorse the extremely anti-gun Martha Coakley for Governor. Due to the sheer number of anti-gun mayors acting badly, and the shame of having had so many its members turning out to be embezzlers, rapists, pedophiles and violent criminals, the Bloomberg anti-gun group has removed its list of suspects, crooks and pervs Mayor members, but Flanagan was not listed on their last published list of gun-ban mayors.

The Eisenhorror Continues

This mess is the "tapestry" for the Ike Memorial.

This mess is the “tapestry” for the Ike Memorial. And we thought that Chairman Maotin Luther King was bad.

We have covered, long ago, the saga of the abominable Eisenhower Memorial, which even earlier we called, deservedly, emetic. This disaster is the result of a runaway commission of Washington insiders, who chose society architect Frank Gehry sight unseen. Gehry produced an abominable hackery of chain-link-fence “tapestries” and a statue of a child in an empty field.

The Eisenhower family is unsatisfied with this insulting abortion of an art-school undergrad C-minus design, and Congress tried to pull the plug on the failed commisssion and the Gehry eyesore. Gehry, for his part, has taken his fee (paid up front) and rather than produce the construction plans he was paid for, spent the money on a sleazeball lobbyist, figuring that with enough of a lobbying presence he can always hit the taxpayers up for more money (he’s received, and blown, $15 million so far).

From Mona Charen’s syndicated column:

The Eisenhower Memorial Commission was established in 2002 with a budget of $64 million. It is staffed by nine full-time employees, some earning six-figure salaries, and presided over by a 93-year-old, ailing board chairman.

Without a design competition, the commission chose a design by Frank Gehry that critics, including the Eisenhower family, regard as insulting to Eisenhower’s memory. Featuring enormous metal “tapestries” eight stories tall that would depict the Kansas prairie, the block-long memorial park with its enormous metal curtains would dwarf the statuary in the center. The original design called for Ike to be portrayed as a barefoot boy. Thus is a key figure in the history of the 20th century reduced to insignificance. Historians sometimes do that to people — memorials are meant to do the reverse.

The boy Ike has since been replaced, after protests, with a proposed statue of Ike as a cadet. Not much better. West Point has produced many cadets but only one Eisenhower. Gehry now proposes to eliminate the tapestries, but keep the pillars. Commission member Bruce Cole, who believes a simple statue of the man would have been best (and most consistent with Ike’s wishes), says the pillars standing alone “look for all the world like industrial smokestacks.” Others say they evoke an unfinished highway overpass or the final scene of Planet of the Apes.

Since the memorial has been stalled, you may ask, what happened to the money? After 15 years, the commission has spent $41 million, including paying Gehry 95 percent of the price of construction drawings before the design was approved. According to the set Washington Examiner, Gehry used some of the $15 million he received to hire former Clinton counsel Gregory Craig to help secure approval of the design. That’s how it goes when you’re well-connected in Washington.

Republicans in Congress declined the commission’s request for $50 million more. They appropriated just $1 million last year, which still leaves the corrupt commission in business. Is this farce to be the only memorial to one of our greatest leaders?

via Memorial to Waste | National Review Online.

You gotta love Washington. It’s the only place where anybody would kill something off by giving it “just” $1 million a year.

Here’s a better idea:  give it $0 a year, and let Ike’s family hire a sculptor, and do a Kickstarter or Indiegogo fund raiser to pay him. We’d hit that. What’s the problem with doing it that way?

Ah, yes. No scope for grifters, grafters and grabbers of the Gregory Craig variety. If there is no waste, no carrion, there is nothing for him to feed on, and he would have to get a job in the productive economy — something he has never learned how to do.

As for Gehry, let him find people that want to live in leaky, rusty eyesores, or corporations that want to make their employees work in them, on his own. He’ll survive, or not, without a handout from the US Government.

Whining Their Way Up: Women Demand Equal Results for Unequal Effort

Some months ago, in April, actually, we noted the whinging of failed Marine infantry officer Sage Santangelo. She bombed out of the infantry officers’ course, and then hit the WaPo in a welter of finger-pointing.

Here’s a blog entry that we missed at the time, in which a real infantry Marine lets her have it.

In going to General Amos you proved that you are not interested in being a leader. You’re interested in a career. Amos gave you special treatment because you’re a woman, which you accepted. I wonder what General Mattis would have told you. Either way, you’re not qualified to lead troops and they’re going to put you into an administrative billet that’s going to be a cakewalk. It might be great for your career, but I imagine your command is going to hide you in a corner because you’ve already proven that if you have a problem, you’re going to go to the media (when some ruck runs might have been more fruitful to your conditioning, Devil).

Yep, I just devil-dogged you, ma’am. Since I’m a civilian, I’ll even throw in a fully modified knife hand for this next part.

Did any of the 24 male Marines who didn’t pass your IOC class get a sweet-talk from the Commandant? No. Did they go to the Washington Post to complain about it? No. They’re probably training to take the course a second time. What about the other female 2nd Lieutenants, were they given a career boosting deployment to Afghanistan? No. Not to mention, those 24 men were trained to the standard that you say would have allowed you to pass the course, so what caused their failure? I  agree that women should be given a second chance to take IOC, but you have to take responsibility for your lack of preparation. In combat, you can’t call the Commandant. You take charge of the troops under you or good men (and women) die. Aren’t there leadership principles (that you learned in The Basic School) that lay this out for you? # 11. Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions.

“We need to set women up to succeed in combat roles,” you said. To put it another way, women need special treatment. This undermines your whole argument of women being equally capable of serving in combat. The Marine Corps needs self-starters in leadership roles, especially in counterinsurgency operations and asymmetric warfare. We don’t promise you a rose garden either, an old recruiting poster states to potential female recruits. Perhaps you need a reminder that it’s called serving your country, and not the other way around.

via Dear 2nd Lt. Santangelo, the Marine Corps Promised You a Rose Garden. | Don’t Ever Call Me A Hero.

The likelihood of Santangelo taking any of this advice? Zero. She’s already learned that all she has to do is pout and whine and be daddy’s girl to the dotty old commandant. Her career, her sole focus, is irredeemably tainted with the stench of special pleading and special favors. Nothing she achieves from here on out will lack an asterisk.

SPARTY, Circa World War I

This grainy, moïre-wracked image comes from American Machinist, Volume L (50) Jan-Jun, 1919.

wwi_sp_arty_experiment

It appears in the bound volume of the trade magazine on page 266, and does not seem to be referenced in the text. A few pages earlier, there’s another self-propelled artillery piece, a 9.2 inch howitzer.

wwi_sp_arty_experiment_9-2_inch

The first of these weapons, at least, is well known to specialist researchers. The Holt Tractor Company of Stockton, California made early tracked tractors for agriculture. Their initial models steered not by differential braking or power to the tracks, but by a “tiller wheel” that was mounted out in front of the machine. By World War I their ag tractors were very successful, and their engineers adapted them to military use around the time of the US’s entry into the long-running European war in 1917.

All the military tractors were experimental. The Army Ordnance Department experimented with them, but deployed none of them to France.

The versions included what may have been the first manufactured tank, and at least seven or eight iterations of the self-propelled artillery design, most of which mounted the US 75mm M1916 field gun, a variant of the French 75.

The popular Holt tractor was also adapted in Britain, experimentally, and France and Germany produced tanks based on Holt running gear. The most famous of these tanks was the German A7V, a tank that was outnumbered in German service by captured British tanks.

The Holt company is a trademark you may not recognize today, as the forerunner of a modern giant whose trademarks you definitely know. As the company was best known as the maker of the Holt’s Caterpillar Tractor, it changed its name first to Holt’s Caterpillar and finally, just to Caterpillar. So Holt’s tractor is still with us.

While Caterpillar (and small-c caterpillar) tractors would be successful as artillery prime movers, the company does not seem to have adapted their post-war tractor models into potential military sales. The engineering requirements for tank tracks and suspensions are too different from those needed for tractors, bulldozers and earth-moving equipment. And also, the US didn’t get serious about tanks until it began to seem clear that we’d need to start numbering our World Wars, so there was no money in tank development for an American firm in most of the interwar years.

Weds Thurs Weapons Website of the Week

spy vs spyIf you’re a prepper…

If you’re a veteran…

If you’re interested in how the world of intelligence works at the nuts and bolts level…

…you’ll want to read GuerillAmerica.

The blog provides practical, doctrinally-based instruction in intelligence tradecraft across a wide range of disciplines. In particular, its analytical tradecraft posts like this one about evaluating single-source information are pure gold (and something that is often covered poorly in analytical training, even inside the IC).

Few people think about UW intel tradecraft beyond collection, or perhaps beyond agent handling. Those things are important, but anything from networks to entire countries that has been rolled up after being taken unawares, usually had collected all the information they needed to see the fist that was about to hit them. It was their failure to evaluate and analyze this information — failure to process raw information into usable, actionable intelligence – that condemned them to be bystanders at Pearl Harbor, the roll-up of SOE’s réseaux in the Netherlands, the Nork invasion of South Korea in 1950, the abject failure of the Bay of Pigs Invasion in 1961, or the al-Qaeda attacks on 11 Sep 2001.

(Yeah, this was supposed to go up on Wednesday. It didn’t. So sue us. Our next scheduled date for lawsuit service is 29 Feb 15).

When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have lighters

Anyone who’s ever read a gun control organization’s website knows, accidents are a reason to Do Something!!!1!

So, what do you do about an “accident” like this?

A SUV full of teenagers crashed in Idaho after one of the passengers lit the driver’s armpit hair on fire with a lighter, authorities said Wednesday.

All five young people in the Ford Bronco were hurt in the crash Sunday and received medical treatment, the Ada County Sheriff’s Office said.

Two of the passengers, ages 15 and 16, were thrown from the vehicle, but none of the five suffered life-threatening injuries.

The sheriff’s department said the rollover occurred after a 16-year-old boy was goofing off in the front seat and lit 18-year-old Tristian Myers’ armpit hair on fire while Myers was driving. The crash happened at about 5:30 a.m. in southeast Boise.

It looked like this:

armpit hair prang

Deputies cited Myers with inattentive driving, while the 16-year-old was cited for interfering with the driver’s safety. The passenger’s name wasn’t released. A 17-year old also was in the front seat but was not cited.

Deputies also said none of the teens was wearing a seatbelt, and there was evidence Myers was driving too fast.

via Sheriff: Burned armpit hair led to Idaho car crash – Yahoo News.

Too fast. No seatbelt. Stupid prank. About the only dumb-ass driver stunt these kids missed was a skinful of Judgment Juice. At what point did it cease being An Accident and become A Lead-Pipe Certainty?

One is reminded of Forrest Gump’s Mama’s principle: “stupid is as stupid does.”

Come to think of it, but not only applies to the prank pulling kids, but also to the gun control organizations.

IG Final Report: 313 VA Patients Died, but we dunno if we kilt ‘em

VA-veterans-affairsThe war of the spin between the grandstanding pols in Congress and the political hacks and payroll patriots at VA continues.

Can’t they both lose? By a knockout?

The VA whitewash language, previously reported here when it was leaked in August, was inserted by a senior executive after the report was done. Using a proof-beyond-a-reasonable-doubt standard, the VA Office of Inspector General, the Palace Guard that has been whitewashing VA failings since, well, its inception, can’t prove that any of these patients, at least 20 of whom were documented as having received substadard care (at that same reasonable-doubt level of certainty), died because of their craptastic VA treatment.

Other side of the coin? The IG admits that they can’t prove any of the 313 died from anything but their craptastic VA treatment.

Occam’s razor suggests that some of these vets would have kicked the bucket anyway, but some of them were killed by the VA’s corruption and underperformance.

For which, despite the Andrei Vyshinskiy show trial aspect of the House hearings, and despite the no-harm-no-foul resignation of the inept and unconcerned Secretary Rick Shinseki, no one has been held accountable. 

The show trial analogy breaks down pretty quickly. What happened to the guys Vyshinskiy prosecuted? Oh, that. Why can’t that be in the future for the patient-killing VA bonus-grabbers?

None of the VA crooks has even been charged. None of the bogus bonuses has been revoked and reclaimed: the cheaters who took them still go to the office (we nearly said “to work,” which would have been an error) at VA every day. Why, most of them are in line for more bonuses this year.

Government is never having to say you’re sorry.

And security in the knowledge that, at every level, someone else pays for your failures and misdeeds.

The heads of the VA don’t know who’s responsible. The head of the IG can’t find his arse with both hands and a lensatic compass. The VA heads who leaked a misleading description of the IG final report whitewash (suggesting it was even a greater whitewash than it is, to preempt release of the actual document) have no idea how their spin got to friendly (i.e. Dem-partisan and anti-veteran) newsmen.

Maybe it’s time for some new heads. How about using the appropriations power and cutting VA SES headcount by 25%? Senior managers do not deliver care to veterans, anyway; they just get in the way. Then, evaluate the survivors’ level of cooperation with the investigation, while teeing up another 25% of overpaid overhead. There’s nothing an SES does at VA that a GS-13 can’t do.