Category Archives: Lord Love a Duck

Cling-On SJWs Still Naming Ships for Obscure Politicians

Having forgotten many Naval heroes and distinguished ships of the past, the Navy named a Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, DDG 117, after an obscure political horse-holder for various Democrats, including LBJ, Saturday. The ceremony took place at one of the yards that builds these ships, Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Mississippi.

The future USS Paul Ignatius is named in honor of the Honorable Paul Ignatius, who served as assistant secretary of defense for installations and logistics and later as secretary of the navy between 1967 and 1969, both under President Lyndon B. Johnson. Ignatius had previously served as a commissioned lieutenant in the Navy during World War II. The future USS Paul Ignatius will be the first ship to bear his name.

So we’ll have a ship named after this obscure bureaucrat from LBJ’s micromanagement of Vietnam, one of Macnamara’s Harvard Business School beancounters, but we haven’t had one named after Esek Hopkins since 1945, or John Glover since 1990, or Abe Whipple since 1992, and that’s just distinguished Revolutionary War Naval heroes.

Who was behind this? As it turns out, the outgoing social justice warriors who have gutted the Navy rushed to lock in names for the Navy’s ships through 2024. While some ships were named after Medal of Honor heroes — mostly Marines — a number were named with a social message in mind. One Burke-class is named for a pioneering Navy… nurse. Others for service members whose distinction was to be a member of a particular race. Others… bedamned if they didn’t name one for Arleigh Burke (who deserves it if only for fighting the Kennedy brothers within an inch of court-martial to try to save Brigada 2506).

But Ignatius is puzzling. At least the nurse was the first Navy head nurse (stop snickering, you in the back rows). Why Ignatius, who wasn’t first at anything?

Well, when you read the following, bear in mind that his son is Washington Post columnist and Washington society kingpin David Ignatius.

“When the future USS Paul Ignatius joins the fleet, it will serve for decades as a reminder of Secretary Ignatius’s service to our nation as both a naval officer and as the civilian leader of our Navy and Marine Corps,” said the Honorable Sean Stackley, acting secretary of the navy. “This ceremony will honor not only the service of this ship’s distinguished namesake but also the service of our nation’s shipbuilders, who, for centuries, have helped make ours the greatest Navy in the world.”

It will serve for decades as a reminder that a guy named Sean Stackley wanted to give a slobbering tonguebath to a fellow Washington glitterato. Who knows, maybe if there’s a United States when the Ignatiuses and Stackleys are done profiting from underselling it, there will be a ship named USS Sean Stackley some day.

If there’s going to be a United States to do something that stupid, the US and particularly the US Navy has to pull its head out of its bilge drain with utmost dispatch.

Here is the Navy’s boilerplate on what DDG-117 is and what it can do.

Paul Ignatius will be the 67th Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, the fifth of 14 ships currently under contract for the DDG 51 program. The DDG 51 class provides advanced combat capability and survivability characteristics while minimizing procurement and lifetime support costs due to the program’s maturity. DDG 51 destroyers are warships that provide multi-mission offensive and defensive capabilities. Destroyers can operate independently or as part of carrier strike groups, surface action groups, amphibious ready groups and underway replenishment groups. DDG 113 and follow-on DDGs are being built with integrated air and missile defense (IAMD) capability.

 

via Navy to Christen Guided-Missile Destroyer Paul Ignatius > U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE > News Release View.

Of course, you probably wonder who the hell Esek Hopkins, John Glover, Abraham Whipple were. Hopkins was the first commander of the Continental Navy, who was ultimately sacked because he couldn’t outbid privateers for seamen. Glover was the first commander of a commissioned US ship, also the hero of the evacuation of Long Island and the crossing of the Delaware, therefore the First of the Gators, although he was technically an Army officer. Whipple, originally a privateer for the British against the French in the Seven Years’ War, was arguably the Colonies’ first naval victor — in 1772, he led the burning of His Majesty’s Ship Gaspee, which had run hard aground. Later he served both as a naval officer and (more lucratively) as a privateer, capturing dozens of British ships (once, 11 at once). The British captured him in 1780, and then his war was over.

Of Revolutionary War naval officers of distinction, only John Paul Jones and John Barry have active units named for them. And the motto of Barry was at some recent time changed to, we are not making this up, Strength and Diversity. Diversity is Our Vibrancy!

And the ship after DDG-117, DDG-118, will be named for… another politician, but at least a distinguished one, and a decorated veteran: Daniel Inouye.

Let’s Play Army-Marine Juxtaposition

OK, let’s start with a story from Army Basic Training. An official story from Army.mil, no less.

A bedtime snack for basic trainees? Nutrition experts with the Military Health System say it’s not coddling; it’s a way to make sure the nutritional needs of new recruits are met, preventing injury today and promoting healthy warfighters tomorrow. The problem is many recruits arrive with poor vitamin D status, which might make their bones vulnerable, leading to fractures and subsequent high dropout rates.

“Stress fractures occur after unaccustomed activities or overuse, such as wearing boots or carrying heavy loads — common during basic training,” said James McClung, Ph.D., deputy chief of the Military Nutrition Division at the U.S. Army’s Research Institute of Environmental Medicine in Natick, Massachusetts. “Up to 18 percent of recruits suffer from these stress fractures. Women beginning training with poor vitamin D status are particularly vulnerable.”

McClung said about 60 percent who suffer these types of injuries end up dropping out of the military altogether, and those injured who make it through can suffer long-term health effects. A new fortified snack bar developed at Natick boosts calcium and vitamin D levels, making trainees less vulnerable to the fractures.

“Our test soldiers eat these bars each evening,” he said, “and we are seeing marked improvements in their nutritional status and their bone health. An added benefit may be better performance during physical training before the next morning’s breakfast.” McClung said eating the bars reinforces education for choosing the right foods and learning when to consume them for the best performance.

On the one hand, they’re tuckin’ ’em in with a chocolaty licky-chewy these days in Army Basic. Lord love a duck.

Perhaps with smoke breaks gone, they can introduce… recess?

On the other hand, the docs argue that when they tried to provide nutritional supplements in their native state, recruits wouldn’t ingest the nasty stuff. The only way to get Recruits Joe Tentpeg and Jane Snuffy to choke the stuff down was to wrap it in chocolate, disguising it as something edible.

Then again, on the gripping hand, if there’s an organization on the planet that could make chocolate unappetizing, it’s the Army. Look at that package again, especially its distinctive [adjective] brown color. Yes, the Army can wreck chocolate. Anyone remember John Wayne Bars?

Now, if you’ve read this far, and you’re a Marine, you’re gloating at the soft, coddled doggies who don’t go to a real man’s boot camp that puts hair on your chest (which is, incidentally, why women Marines have uniforms with high collars). But wait: here’s another story, from the very same source:

Best practices for training: Marine drill instructors review Army training methods

Can the Lean Mean Marine Performance Bar be far off?

Enjoy your chocolate, kids. And get off our lawn.

Calling All Razorbacks

The State of Arkansas is in a jam, and only state legal residents willing to volunteer can get it out. What kind of jam? And volunteer for what?

A traffic jam. Specifically, on Death Row; and volunteer, to witness the executions.

First, two answers before you ask the questions that are already on your mind:

  1. Yes, you really have to be domiciled in Arkansas; and,
  2. No, you can only witness, you can’t throw the switch.

(We asked). Heh.

The State has eight murderers queued up to pay their debt to society this month, and is plumb out of death penalty witnesses.

The state of Arkansas is struggling to find enough volunteers to witness eight death row inmate executions scheduled in April. Witnesses are required to ensure that the execution is carried out according to law, but so far volunteers are scarce.

“It’s a very sobering thought,” says Bill Booker acting as substitute president of the Little Rock Rotary Club.

Why? How is this different from swatting a mosquito?

At Tuesday’s meeting Booker says after a presentation by Wendy Kelley, Director of the Department of Correction, she casually asked the audience to volunteer as citizen witnesses for the state’s upcoming executions. “Temporarily there was a little laugh from the audience because they thought she might be kidding,” says Booker.  “It quickly became obvious that she was not kidding.”

Hey, if Ms. Kelley is still having trouble, just put an ad on Craigslist. That’s how Soros does it when he needs warm bodies. In Arkansas, you’ll probably have plenty of warm bodies turning out to watch other warm bodies become cold bodies.

Volunteer witnesses, hell’s bells: you could probably sell tickets and plug any gaps in the corrections officers’ retirement fund.

Eight inmates are scheduled to receive the death penalty between April 17th and 27th.

State law says six to twelve citizen volunteers must be present at the executions in order for them to take place, but right now the state is short volunteers.

You have to wonder, Arkansas and all, if an idiot and a banjo were involved in the writing of this lunkheaded law. “Sorry, Jethro, your execution doesn’t count, on account of we was a witness short. So we’re gon’ hafta execute you again.”

“I could understand not even wanting to read about these occurrences let alone have to be in the room or watching,” says Michelle Frost, a Little Rock resident.  Frost is not sure how she feels about the death penalty, but is sure she would not want to witness an execution.

Say it with us, kids: “Mercy to murderers is violence to victims.”

Solomon Graves, spokesperson for the Department of Correction, says they are taking an informal approach to find those witnesses and are confident they will be able to do so by the set dates.

Solomon Graves! What a great name, one worthy of Dickens (or at least, Rowling), and bedamned if it isn’t the guy’s real name.

Marianne McKinney supports the death penalty.  She says “they made their decisions and have to suffer the consequences.”  McKinney believes the inmates on death row have been rightly convicted and would not mind witnessing an execution. “I know it may seem cold, but we need justice on our streets to protect us,” says McKinney.  “I don’t think it’d bother me at all.”

Your head’s in the right place, Marianne.

The Department of Correction says nothing prohibits a volunteer from witnessing more than one execution.

Collect ’em all! Some day it will be a category in the Guinness Book of World Records.

The Attorney General’s office released a statement saying: “She’s fully committed to working with the Governor and the Department of Correction to ensure that the law is followed as executions are carried out.”

We still like the tickets idea. If that’s not in the law now, somebody light a fire under the legislature.

Finally, for any Razorback readers:

If you want to sign up to volunteer as a witness you can write to the DOC Director.

Arkansas Department of Correction
Attn: Director Wendy Kelley
PO Box 8701
Pine Bluff, AR 71611

via State Needs Volunteers to Watch Inmate Executions – Story.

Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: Right by Ike

This is a classy memorial to Ike. Naturally, it wasn’t what no-class Gehry had in mind. (It’s in a traffic circle in Bayeux).

We’ve written before about the shambling zombie calamity of a memorial that the talentless po-mo society architect Frank Gehry designed for the Eisenhower Memorial.  Which is how we get to Right by Ike, our Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week. (A bit light on “weapons,” even if Ike wasn’t, commanding arguably the most powerful combined joint force ever to bestride the planet).

The premise of Right by Ike is that any memorial should do right by the 20th Century military and political leader — which the Gehry selection and his deliberately insulting, demeaning design does not.

The selection of Gehry was done by a sham “competition” set up by Gehry pal Rocco Siciliano with the eventual “winner” — Gehry — preselected. The design itself is an eyesore, with steel chain-link-fence-like “tapestries” stretching high into the sky, signifying nothing. Gehry’s design contract has already experienced a 65% overrun, with one of the few things actually constructed to date — mockups of the “tapestries” — came in at 2,300% of budget. Still, Gehry insists that the overall project budget — initially $50 million — is finally stable at $150 million.

Gehry does not have a track record of successfully estimating costs:


A Poor Track Record for the Architect

Project Name Estimated Completion Actual Completion Estimated Cost Actual Cost
Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles 1997 2003 $100 Million
(rev. from $50m)
$274 Million

Jay Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park, Chicago 2000 2004 $10.8 Million $60 Million

Ray and Maria Stata Center, MIT, Boston January 2004 May 2004 $165 Million $315 Million

Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC 2005
orig. 2003
Cancelled for lack of funding $40 Million $200 Million
at cancellation

Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial 2017
orig. 2015
$55-75 Million Currently $150 million

More than that, the buildings he has built have often had leaks, corrosion, and other structural problems. He’s very, very fashionable… he’s just not very good. And here’s what Gehry thinks of the guy he’s supposed to be memorializing, President and General of the Army Dwight David Eisenhower:

Kind of like what the thinks of you. 

Then, there are the aesthetics of the memorial. The Eisenhower family was opposed until recently, but has been bought off by some added statues of Ike. Bruce Cole in The New Criterion described the architect’s jarring style as “gehrish,” in a review of a biography of the “starchitect” featuring this insight into Gehry’s love for chain-link:

Gehry… had a complicated psychological relation with chain-link fencing, which he discussed with the long-time Los Angeles celebrity therapist Milton Wexler.

…Wexler didn’t share Gehry’s admiration and deep feelings for chain-link fencing. He, Goldberger says, thought of the material “more in terms of prison yards . . . and he was troubled by Frank’s fondness for it.” Gehry was offended when Wexler told him he “was expressing anger with chain link” and that he needed to do “angry things with this corrugated metal and things to piss people off, to get attention.”

But wait. Why are we raving about a bad architectural design, from a poseur of an architect, in a Website of the Week? Because the Eisenhower Memorial is at a crossroads — rumor is that a few of the weasel Republican Congressmen who dream of circulating in Society are willing to suck up to Gehry to do it. For example, critic Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) has been bought off with a seat on the commission board — cha-chingg! Right By Ike, which wants to do right by Ike (naturally), is a website that consolidates everything you need to know about this fiasco.

Here’s one more graphic from the site: comparing the three most revered Presidential memorials with the Ikesore, what would it cost to build them in current dollars?

An Expensive Proposal

Thumbnail 1 Thumbnail 1
Washington Memorial
Cost: $45.3 million*
Lincoln Memorial
Cost: $48.6 million
Thumbnail 1 Thumbnail 1
Jefferson Memorial
Cost: $42.4 million
Eisenhower Memorial
Currently $150 million

Right by Ike’s Sam Roche points out (at Breitbart) that it’s not too late: there’s a guy in Washington who’s built a few buildings without 2,300% budget overruns before. What’s his name?

If there’s anything helpful to be done, it’ll be noted at Right by Ike.

The TSA Excels Again.. at Power Tripping

This is an old report, but the title is always true.

We all know the basic readout on the TSA: No one good, decent, honest, competent, moral, ethical or intelligent has ever been employed at the TSA in any capacity whatsoever.

And we haven’t had much to say about them since they walked a bunch of imams affiliated with the Moslem Brotherhood and other pro-terrorist groups through their procedures back in August.

You know what that means, right? It’s time to clear the TSA spindle.

Item: Texas Group Grope

Here’s a story from DFW, where mom of a special-needs kid, Jennifer Wilson, posted, as reported in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

We have been through hell this morning. They detained Aaron for well over an hour at DFW. (And deliberately kept us from our flight… we are now on an alternate) We were treated like dogs because I requested they attempt to screen him in other ways per TSA rules. He has SPD and I didn’t want my child given a pat down like this. Let me make something else crystal clear. He set off NO alarms….

I wish I had taped the entire interchange because it was horrifying. Somehow these power tripping TSA agents who are traumatizing children and doing whatever they feel like without any cause, need to be reined in.

Good luck with that. They’re untouchable, and you must not Question Their Authoritah.

Mrs Wilson said she was held for “over and hour” so the TSA group could grope her kid. The TSA’s six-figure PR officials, as competent as the rest of the agency, countered with “35 minutes.” The spokesman later admitted that was a lie, but now wants the public to believe “45 minutes.”

In case you ever wondered what happened to Joe Isuzu, the answer seems evident.

Item, 2016: Gross Mismanagement

In front of Congress last year, TSA workers complained about “gross mismanagement.” And they said that “more turnover is needed.” Since then, the TSA has turned over whistleblowers, not the mismanagers.

Item 2016: Over $70 Billion had been wasted on the TSA by this time last year, including $1B on the failed “Behavioral Detection Officer” program. This doesn’t cost the economic cost of the time Americans waste waiting on TSA, estimated in the same article as an additional $8 Billion. More people have actually died driving to avoid the TSA gropers than died on 9/11, given the greater per-mile death hazard of driving over flying.

Item Aug 16: TSA Cracks Down on Batarangs

Only the payroll patriots of the TSA can fight the fans of the masked man who fights crime. Or something.

The TSA has priorities, and one of them is making sure that the attendees of comic conventions don’t get their novelties home. TSA’s six-figure overpaid PR flacks:

Passengers are not allowed to bring anything on a plane that resembles a weapon, so anything like a boomerang or anything like that would not be permitted in the airplane cabin.

And

Every year during Comic-Con International, our officers have issues with the various items that people purchase and then either carry-on or place in their checked bags. These come in the form of figurines, costume items (including replica and real weapons) and other mementos that generally alarm our checkpoint and checked baggage screening systems and result in a bag check.

In other words, “We’re too stupid to tell toys from weapons.”

But maybe they’re on to something. Right around the same time, some nutball threw one at a police cruiser. Of course, that was in ever-weird Seattle. The cruiser, as you might expect for a steel thing that had a toy thrown at it, was unharmed.

Lord love a duck.

Item, Feb 2017: “Wave of Security Lapses”

A series of reports on leaked security documents from Stewart International (a reliever airport northwest of New York City) demonstrate both TSA overreach (on an airport that sees only occasional flights) and that TSA’s overreach vastly exceeds its grasp. One of the things it dropped the ball on was checking pax against the no-fly list.

Item, Feb 2017: TSA’s Legacy of Failure

As TSA waits for a new political-appointee director, a news story recounts the agency’s immediate history: nothing but a litany of failures and misconduct, just that month:

  • On Monday, 11 people walked through a security lane at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport without being screened;
  • Last week, TSA employees were indicted for smuggling cocaine from Puerto Rico
  • Earlier this month, a House Homeland Security Committee report indicated the TSA failed to properly vet and screen potential employees, uncovering examples of “insider threats” within U.S. airports.

If you really want to see the entitled incompetence of TSA employees, read the comments to that story where one of them speaks up to prove that no one good, decent, honest, competent, moral, ethical or intelligent has ever been employed at the TSA in any capacity whatsoever.

Shorts (clearing a large spindle)

Conclusion: is it time to disband this thing yet?

General Gets Crucified, Congress Complains

Then-LTG Ron Lewis. Looks like he was a Master Aviator & combat vet before getting kicked upstairs.

Why does the military leak so badly that trusting a secret to the Pentagon is like trying to cross the Atlantic in a colander? Well, we give you Ron Lewis (Brigadier General, Retired) who has been in receipt of a number of Good Deals For Brass since making an ass out of himself on a world tour with then-Secdef Ash Carter. Carter selected Lewis as adviser for the same reason Carter did everything — affirmative action virtue signaling, which is what Carter did in lieu of leading the Department.

Lewis didn’t do anything many other officers and soldiers don’t do — got drunk, hit the whorehouses and had a few drinks (stories implied he got his ashes hauled, but that doesn’t seem to have happened), hit on the girls. Difference is, Joe Schmo gets this out of his system while he’s a 2LT or a PFC and a certain amount of juvenile carousing is excused. When you’re a fifty-something senior representative of the US military, you’re expected to conduct your whoremongering and carousing on a less-epic scale, and with an adult’s discretion.

Expectation of discretion is probably one of the greatest reason that many of the Army’s greatest combat leaders are terminal at Colonel and are never seriously considered for a star; Courtney Massengales are horrible, but only to their troops, and never embarrass their leaders. Lewis went too far and embarrassed Carter, and worse, he did it overseas, in Korea and EUCOM.

Had he been a Speedy Four working in a radio intercept battalion somewhere, he’d lose some stripes, spend a couple weeks extra duty on the First Sergeant’s $#!+ Detail Squad, and lose his clearance. The equivalent for Lewis was losing two stars — but his clearance, which is a key to cashing in through the revolving door between Pentagon and boardroom,  is inviolate, and that ticks off the reporters at Gannett:

Lewis endured a spectacular flame-out in November 2015 when he was fired from his job as the three-star officer and top military adviser to then-Defense secretary Ash Carter. Lewis had run up tabs at sex clubs on “Hooker Hill” in Seoul and Rome on his government credit card, drank excessively on a trip with Carter and had been overly friendly with young women, the Pentagon inspector general found.

“You are reprimanded for unprofessional conduct while serving in a position of great trust that impugns your personal and professional judgment,” Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Daniel Allyn wrote in a letter to Lewis in December that was obtained by USA TODAY. “Specifically you engaged in a pattern of inappropriate behavior that included patronizing establishments of questionable character, drinking to excess in public venues, and inappropriately interacting with female civilian and military personnel.”

Carter canned him immediately, and the investigation dragged on for more than a year. The Army demoted him to one star, docked his pension by about $10,000, and filed the stinging letter of reprimand in his personnel file.

“Docked his pension” is simply the result of the demotion, it’s not an independent action. They can reduce any officer (or NCO) administratively to “the last rank in which he satisfactorily performed.”

The Army says, hey, we’re not going to strip him of clearance because Carter could have done it, but didn’t:

“Maj. Gen. Lewis was suspended from his job by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and was under investigation by the Department of Defense for nearly a year,” said Army spokesman Michael Brady. “During that time, DOD allowed him to retain his clearance. Given that DOD deemed him fit to retain his clearance, and that there were no allegations of mishandling classified materials in their investigation, the Army did, in fact, recommend he be allowed to retain a clearance. However, the decision is not the Army’s to make.”

The problem with clearances is this: they are necessary for many kinds of employment; as t hey are processed by a government organization, they are very slow, inefficient, and expensive to get; therefore, private employers want to get people the military has already spent money to clear.

It is an article of faith in the government that the clearance system is effective, yet the system, developed from an earlier British system of “positive vetting” after some damaging spy scandals, has not prevented the continuation of spy scandals or exposed any spies. It does not prevent leaking to potential enemies through the media, an act that is not taken seriously by Pentagon bureaucrats or their leaders but that has cost billions.

Perhaps everybody should surrender his clearance on leaving government employment, and let employers start everyone from zero. Your clearance ultimately belongs not to you, but to the people of the nation. Perhaps they should be easier to get — and easier to revoke.

The Army’s recommendation comes in spite of an Army policy enacted late last year that triggered the suspension of clearances for senior officers under investigation for serious misconduct. That policy stemmed from the case of then-Maj. Gen. David Haight, the so-called “Swinging General,” whose serial philandering got him fired and demoted. But he was allowed to retain his security clearance several months until USA TODAY reported on his alternative lifestyle and raised questions about his access to sensitive material.

If there’s one thing the Army doesn’t need, it’s more sexual puritanism and top-down alcohol prohibition. The Army of 1941-45 drank, caroused, and fornicated its way from Operation Torch to Hitler’s own sitting room, while our opposite numbers were fueled as much by vodka and rapine as by their understandable thirst from revenge as they drank, caroused and fornicated from their banks of the Don to their enemies drowned in the Elbe. Handshakes and toasts all around on the meeting of the two great victorious armies.

But that’s okay, that was then and this is now. And now, the Elmer Gantries of America’s ever-sanctimonious Native Criminal Class, Congress, are going to enforce the New Puritanism. Yes, a bunch of people you wouldn’t trust to valet-park your pickup truck, have decided that the Army needs to Do As I Say, Not As I Do on the subject of booze and broads.

Rep. Jackie Speier, a Democrat from California on Armed Services Committee, said she would demand an explanation from the Army for its decision on Lewis. She also raised the case of the Army’s decision in the case of retired Maj. Gen. John Custer. USA TODAY reported on March 9 that in 2011, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, his four-star commander at the time and eventual chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, intervened to have a substantiated allegation of an improper relationship stricken from the record being considered by a board reviewing Custer’s fate.

It’s the Army, and different spanks for different ranks is part of the deal. The same way that Congress members can and do diddle their pages, rip off their donors and taxpayers, and conduct themselves generally like a crew from UMass-Amherst on Spring Break, with impunity. (Anybody remember the Congressman who hit a — parked, and lighted! — Capitol Police car in the wee hours of the morning, out of his mind on illegal hard drugs, and didn’t get charged? You remember his name — Kennedy).

“If these reports are accurate, I would certainly want hear from the Army about their rationale for this recommendation,” Speier said in a statement. “The official reprimand by the Army Vice Chief states that Gen. Lewis’ conduct impugns his personal and professional judgment, bringing significant discredit to the Department. Secretary Carter agreed and fired him. If that isn’t disqualifying for a position of trust that requires a security clearance, I don’t know what is.

“Coming so soon after the revelations about Major General Custer, it appears that the Army is simply unable to hold senior officers fully accountable for their misconduct and I think we need to look more closely at why that is,” Speier said.

One interesting fact about Rep. Speier: during her run in Congress, her net worth has increased enormously. In fact, since 2008 alone it’s more than doubled, and sits somewhere in the low tens of millions, not counting her happily-enriched-by-her-service hedge-fund husband. Ah, the sacrifices they make for the three-day weeks of a public servant!

For now, the reprimand is the Army’s final word on Lewis. And it is one that dresses him down emphatically.

In it, Allyn slams Lewis for binge drinking, saying he drank “enough to impact your memory and exercise of good judgment.” Allyn cites incidents in Korea, Italy and, the worst, in Hawaii in 2015. “During this visit, after consuming an unknown amount of alcohol, you made inappropriate advances toward a female non-commissioned officer,” Allyn wrote. “Additionally, in Malaysia, witnesses observed you interacting with a subordinate female civilian in a manner inappropriate for a senior leader.”

The inspector general’s conclusions “raise serious concerns about your fitness as a senior leader in the U.S. Army, and your conduct over the period addressed by the investigation has brought significant discredit to the Department,” Allyn continued. “Although no one has questioned your competence, the investigation exposed flaws in your character.”

via Army says general’s drunken escapades shouldn’t affect his secret clearance.

Frankly, we’d rather have a guy with competence and “flaws in his character,” especially flaws as seen by Representative Gantry Speier, than some bozo who got his stars by staying clear of every fight and never offending the perpetually offended — the traditional pathway to high rank in the peacetime US Army, which is why the first 2-3 years of an American war are often spent in a quest for a general who will fight.

So, the guy goes to bars. He might even have been in a bar fight. Is that a negative? Depends.

We were hiring him to mentor Sunday School teachers, right?

On the other hand, he also knew the rules before he hopped the Ash-n-trash VIP jet to the fleshpots of Europe and Asia. So maybe he’s not the right guy to be a general, but not for the reasons that rich-makler’s-wife Jackie Speier, whose knowledge of military officers consists solely of abusing them in committee hearings, thinks.

The guy you want? It’s the guy who gets his carouse on, but uses such discretion, and inspires such intense loyalty in his men, that Elmer Gantry in his many manifestations can’t prove it and can’t solicit or suborn testimony to it.

To paraphrase Jean Lartéguy, “That is the man for whom I should like to fight.”

Update

For anyone interested in more on Ron Lewis’s firing:

  • Jonn Lilyea at This Ain’t Hell, a superior military blog. (Reading between the lines, it looks like Lewis’s real problem was that he hit on an enlisted woman that a female military officer had already chosen as her own).
  • One of Lilyea’s commenters: “He could not have been too bright to use a government credit card in Korea and really dumb to pay the high prices at Hooker Hill when there is more cost effective pussy at the MI compound club.” D’oh! Target! Some of the other comments are worthwhile, too.
  • A more smart-ass take on Lewis’s rise and fall (attributing the rise to his youth as “a Chicago street kid”) at MilitaryCorruption.com.
  • The whole report is here (.pdf), and Lewis seems to have hanged himself. The worst of the charges seems to have been lying about using the government card. He even signed a form that he did not use the card at the off-limits Candy Bar in Itaewon, knowing that was false (!!). He used the government card in a Rome titty bar because he had no personal credit card, and his personal debit card was declined. (Suggests there’s something more there).
  • But the report does seem to confirm that what got him caught was none of this, but irritating a subordinate female officer who “asked the female enlisted Service member to leave MG Lewis’ hotel room with her, and warned MG Lewis that he was “being really stupid” and that the female enlisted Service member needed to come with her and stay in her room that night.” The enlisted woman and Lewis did not have sex, according to each of them interviewed individually.

Lesson to all: (1) don’t lie to investigators; (2) do your thinking with Head Nº 1; (3) exercise extreme caution around female subordinates — especially the ones that have a proprietary interest in your other female subordinates.

So That’s Where All the Weird Guns Came From

During the old unit’s first Afghanistan tour, we kept capturing, or having surrendered to us, caches of the most remarkable armaments. It didn’t take too long to figure out that there was a pattern to these things. Everything surrendered to us was either monumentally obsolete, or something for which ammunition was in constrained supply.

In other words, the local warlords (and war vassals) were fobbing us off with impressive quantities of armaments that were of no practical use to them anyway, and that were nothing but a storage problem and an “attractive nuisance,” in legal terms, that brought in thieves. All while ingratiating themselves with the new invaders, while there was still money to be made off of them. Sure, we got the occasional MANPADS or AK, but mostly, we got stuff that was granddad’s age.

And he was already dead.

But still, we marveled at all the weird weapons, many of them from the period between the end of the Third Anglo-Afghan War (1919) and the Second World War (1939). Everything from Renault FT tanks to Italian artillery to Czech ZB-26s and the bolt action rifles made everywhere from Iberia to Izhevsk showed up in our cache hauls.

And one had to ask: who was running Afghanistan’s weapons procurement in the 1920s and 1930s, Mad King Ludwig? It turns out, though, that the answer was committed to paper long ago, and by a most unlikely source: the British Conservative diplomat, Sir Samuel Hoare, Viscount Templewood. Templewood, whose contemporaries saw him as a “cold fish” in person, wrote several delightful books, including a memoir of his time as a senior diplomat from 1931 to 1940, Nine Troubled Years. In it, on pp. 123-125, he reprints a letter he wrote (in his capacity as Secretary of State for India) to then-PM Ramsay McDonald, in 1932, from the League of Nations Disarmament Conference in Geneva.

I got back from Geneva last night, very glad to have escaped from its curiously artificial and neurotic atmosphere. ….

After a short interval we all … adjourned to the Bâtiment Electoral, the grim hall in which the Disarmament Conference was to take place. …there are few more dismal buildings in Europe.

He went on at some length about the dreariness of the surroundings, and the mind-numbing boredom of the proceedings, which led to the diplomats present tuning out the droning speakers. Or bailing out of the conference completely.

Finding the proceedings very tedious, I interested myself in looking at my fellow delegates. On my left…we were seated alphabetically and I, being “India,” was with the I’s, was the representative of the Hedjaz, dressed as an Arab sheik. He was the only delegate in fancy dress.

In the front row were the Afghans. We asked the Afghans why, Afghanistan not being a member of the League [of Nations], they had come to the Disarmament Conference.

They told that they were short of arms, and that they thought that at a Disarmament Conference there would be a chance of picking up second-hand munitions cheap.

Those short paragraphs not only explain the presence of the output of what seems like all the member-states of the short-lived League in the caves and storerooms of rural ‘Stan, but many more things besides.

  1. Isn’t it just like an Afghan to attend a Disarmament Conference looking not to disarm, but to arm? Unless there was a Swiss Confederation or USA representative, the nations of the 1932 League of Nations Disarmament conference are gone, but this trait of the Afghan race abides.
  2. The Afghans obviously succeeded in their objective, even though the Disarmament Conference was a microcosm of the League of Nations (and its UN successor) in that it was a failure at promoting peace. Our stacks of Enfields, Mausers, and DP-26s tell the tale.
  3. Templewood goes on to note that the Russian delegation includes Litvinov and Karl Radek, perhaps explaining those prewar Mosins, DPs, etc.
  4. Finally, note that the nations that put their trust in diplomacy in general and the League of Nations in particular did not come out well. Ethiopia, Czechoslovakia, Poland, and the Baltic States would all go down the tubes as the diplomats in the talking-shop complained about the insufficiently palatial palaces in which they held their useless meetings.

The failure of the League is not only evident now, it was evident then, even to some of those immersed in it. The three contemporary cartoons (two by (David?) Low) that accompany this post demonstrate that somebody had a pretty good grasp on the utility and consequences of diplomacy and the League. But it’s not there for utility; it’s a salve to the egos of the players.

 That said, as bad as the League was, at least it didn’t turn loose a legion of third-world “peacekeepers” to bugger their way through the children of war-threatened lands.

(Note: Apologies for a bit of post lag today. We’re running about two behind after some technical entanglements yesterday we’re still sorting out –Ed.)

The Short Life of an Ammo Ban in National Parks

In practically his last minutes in office, political appointee Dan Ashe of the US Fish and Wildlife Service banned ordinary ammunition, not just for hunting but for all purposes including self-defense, on all federal lands.

Ashe waited until the last minute in hopes that the ban could take hold before his replacement could overturn it. (Ashe knew from the transition team that his services were no longer required, and his last day was 20th January. He has been found a job in a non-profit that does not require him to relocate from his beloved Imperial City of Washington, DC).

The ban, which took effect immediately, eliminates the use of lead-based ammunition on federal lands like national parks and wildlife refuges, as well as any other land administered by the Fish and Wildlife Service. The ban is expected to have a major impact on much of the hunting that takes place on federal lands across the United States as lead-based ammunition is widely legal and used throughout the country.

Ashe said the order was necessary to protect wildlife from exposure to lead.

“Exposure to lead ammunition and fishing tackle has resulted in harmful effects to fish and wildlife species,” Ashe said in his order. “According to the U.S. Geological Survey, lead poisoning is a toxicosis caused by the absorption of hazardous levels of lead in body tissues.”

Boy, are there some bureaucrats who need “a toxicosis caused by the absorption of hazardous levels of lead in body tissues,” or what? But we digress.

Ashe made a sanctimonious attempt to cloak his ban in concern for wildlife.

“Ingested lead pellets from shotgun shells have been a common source of lead poisoning in birds… The use of lead ammunition …[presents] an ongoing risk to upland or terrestrial migratory birds and other species that ingest spent shot directly from the ground or as a result of predating or scavenging carcasses that have been killed with lead ammunition and left in the field.”

via Obama Official Issues Ammunition Ban for Federal Lands on Last Day.

Unlike many Fish & Wildlife Service officials, who tend to be sportsmen from rural America, Ashe is a second-generation career bureaucrat who has never in his adult life lived outside of the National Capital Area and never held a job in the productive sector of the economy (He still hasn’t, in his new capacity as the head of the Association of Zoos, etc.)

Ashe’s 19 January order lasted all the way until 5 March… because the Senate took its time confirming current Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. Zinke, who rocked the Washington press corps, not to mention the Interior bureaucracy, by riding a horse to his office on his first day, hit the Ashe ban like a .600 Nitro Express:

Ryan Zinke’s first act on his first day as interior secretary was shooting down an order signed two months ago that banned use of lead ammunition on federal land managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Zinke’s order revoked a previous order requiring use of nontoxic ammunition and fishing tackle signed Jan. 19 by outgoing FWS Director Dan Ashe that had been criticized by some hunting and angling groups.

Zinke also signed a second order directing bureaus and agencies managing all federal land to immediately identify areas where recreation and fishing can be expanded.

Over the past eight years, Zinke said, there’s been a decrease in access to public land.

Of course, that access loss has come about at the hands of urban bureaucrats like Dan Ashe.

The horse thing matters, and the symbology is deeper than you think. Like the DC press corps, most of the employees of the Department of the Interior and the Fish and Wildlife Service can’t ride a horse, and would look silly trying to mount one. Hell, most of them can’t drive a stick shift — but they know their way around the Washington Metro.

When Theodore Roosevelt created National Parks as a thing, he never imagined enormous Washington bureaucracies exerting dictatorial power over the outdoors, but staffed almost entirely by strangers to the outdoors.

Even a hagiographic press release lauding Ashe in expectation of his departure scrambles to find actual accomplishments in his nearly six years as FWS supremo. In the end, they came up with: he was good at growing the bureaucracy and expanding quotas for racial minority hiring, and was good at opposing protests on Federal land, when he didn’t agree with the protesters.

Anti-Military Congressmen Undermine Medical Training

Then-PV2 Ron Westervelt, 12th SFG(A), in team live tissue training, March 1967.

The Washington word for “galactically stupid idea” is bipartisan, and before us we have a bipartisan bill to undermine military medical training. This is because these two partisans who are apparently bi (NTTAWWT… oh, who are we kidding, everything is wrong with that, it’s just not any of our business) … anyway, these two bi partisans value the opinions of their friends in PETA (the overt wing of the ALF terrorist group) more than they value the lives of soldiers. Which is not surprising, because they’re Congressmen, not a caste one normally associates with concern for les races oprimées. Such as, say, grunts.

Live Tissue Training, with which we have firsthand experience, is irreplaceable and necessary — as long as DC bums like these two soldier-haters keep sending our people into harm’s way. Want an example? Special Forces medics last year drew on skills learned in LTT in a heroic effort to save two SF troopers gravely wounded by a Jordanian Air Force gate guard. Despite what autopsy determined later to be the irrecoverably mortal nature of the wounds, they kept one man alive for the hours it took to fixed-wing evacuate him to King Hussein hospital, where he unfortunately expired. Elsewhere, that skill saves real, precious lives. We’ve seen it, live in full five-sense surround. (The smells stay with you).

Back to our “let-em-OJT-that-med-$#!+” Congressmen:

Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., and Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., introduced a bill on Tuesday that would require the military to use only “human-based methods” to train service members to treat injuries sustained on the battlefield and end the use of “live tissue training,” in which troops stab or shoot pigs and goats to simulate the treatment of combat trauma, by Oct. 1, 2020.

Representative Hank Johnson’s military service was… uh, he doesn’t appear to have had any. He’s a lawyer, and a second (at least) generation payroll patriot; his father was a high-ranking bureaucrat and he grew up in DC. Representative Tom Marino? Another lawyer with no military service. He was in the chronological sweet spot for the Vietnam Era draft (H.S. grad, 1970), but somehow didn’t manage to wriggle into a uniform — he wriggled out of service, instead.

Johnson told the Washington Examiner he intends to raise the issue during debate on the fiscal 2018 National Defense Authorization Act and hopes to use the must-pass bill as a vehicle to ban live-tissue training. He said simulators offer better combat training than live animals, are more humane and are ultimately more cost-effective.

“It may cost more for a simulator than for a live animal in terms of initial outlay, but you can only use that animal once, you can use the simulator repeatedly. So over the course of time, it’s better,” he said.

Before you give too much credence to what Johnson says, bear in mind he’s the brain-dead moron who didn’t want to add any more Marines in Guam, because too many Leathernecks might make the island capsize and sink. (And yeah, he’s a lawyer. We bet you’re glad this dimbulb isn’t your lawyer. Or maybe he was, and that’s why your ex got sole custody of the kids and dog, or you’re reading this in the Halfway House library after completing all your hard time).

The military already has transitioned many of its medical training courses to use human-based simulators, which advocates say are realistic and better prepare troops to handle combat injuries since the simulators have the same anatomy as a human.

“Advocates” — nameless “advocates,” like nameless “experts,” are a technique used by a dishonest journalist to inject his or her opinion into the story. The only “advocates” who say that are the tofu-burning weirdos and cat hoarders of PETA, and the snake-oil salesmen who sell these simulators.

You can write this down: if you ever have to do a cutdown on a bleeder for real, or even just treat for tension pneumothorax, you’d rather it wasn’t your first time doing it except on a computer screen.

But for some training, the military continues to use live goats and pigs that are anesthetized, injured, treated and then euthanized.

The Defense Department is not onboard with completely ending its use of animals in combat trauma medical training – at least not yet. Lt. Col. Roger Cabiness, a department spokesman, said the military is “actively working to refine, reduce, and, when appropriate, replace the use of live animals in medical education and training.”

This reporter, Jacqueline Klimas, like Johnson and Marino, literally values the animals expended in LTT — 8,500 pigs and goats per annum — more than a similar number of human souls. At least when the souls are those of soldiers.

What a despicable, dysfunctional, amoral human being!

Perhaps she could find some way to mortally wound herself, so that her local EMS can practice on her, and spare the live of one endangered caprine.

Or maybe we can replace goat lab with something that doesn’t take a precious life, like, say, journalist lab.

After all, if it saves just one goat, it’s worth it, right?

via The military kills 8,500 pigs and goats every year for medical training. A new bill would end that | Washington Examiner.