Category Archives: Lord Love a Duck

Bubba’s Glock is Baaaaack! And, A Safe Alternative

Something about the way a Glock’s nylon parts interact with a Dremel, a woodburning tool, or a soldering iron, seems to bring out the best beast in Bubba. For example, we had the infamous “stricken with Gleprosy” Glock we described as “a marital aid for a Komodo lizard” back in May, 2014:


Can’t unsee that, can you? That was ugly, but the one that probably inspired the most shock and horror was this one, from 4 July 2013, which we billed as: The Continuing Adventures of Bubba the Gunsmith — Glock edition.


Indeed, most sentient Bubbas would disclaim any involvement in the horror above.

The Gunbroker auction (which has now aged off GB) ended, if we recall, without the gun meeting what struck us as a stratospheric reserve.

Well, guess what? It’s baaaack!glock-19-trigger-guard

Hat tip Miguel, who says “The Fitz Special is NOT a fashionable or safe thing.” We’d actually disagree with that, because a Fitz Special was a double action revolver, so it had a stiff enough trigger pull that it would not, essentially, shoot you itself. In 2013, Bubba was selling the Frankenglock with a “DeSantis Belly Band,” which made us note:

‘Cause nothing says “Bubba is My Gunsmith” like a testicle with a 9 or 10 millimeter hole in it.

We’re not sure the twitter ad is for real because the Glock in the GB ad is described as a G23, and the Glock in the twit pic is described as a G19, even though it’s the same picture from 2013. It may be a sales scam or a come-on for a holdup.

On the other hand, the 2013 bravado about a belly band is a pretty good match for the

Anyway, if you feel unreasonably impeded by trigger guards, and don’t want to blow your balls off (or, maybe you’re a female without any, or Caitlyn Jenner/Bradley Manning looking for some way to get rid of a pair, but you’re still diffident about inflicting gunshot wounds upon your nether regions), then consider a real Fitz Special. Here’s a nice one from GunBroker; it’s on a .455 Colt New Service military pistol, with uncertain origins, but it sold for $1,000.

Colt Fitz Special

Here’s another undocumented Fitz, with a story it’s an original Fitz on a Smith and Wesson Model 37, again a completed auction from GunBroker. This one sold for $400 — somebody got a steal, even if it’s a clone.

Smith 37 Fitz Special

Conversely, the muzzle of this one looks a bit crude. Not Bubba crowning, but not as good as it might be. And the host gun is an economy-priced Charter Arms .44 Bulldog, so it’s priced accordingly: starting bid of $250.

Charter Arms Bubba Fitz

Exercise for the reader: compare the old revolver Fitz Specials or clones, to this abortion of a Glock, and count your blessings that the capability to hack metals is not as widely indulged as the capability to butcher plastics.

And if you want a Fitz Special, be patient and set a GunBroker alert. One will come to you in due course. You can stick that safely in your belly band, unlike a similarly hacked Glock.

And leave the sex-change surgery to board-certified surgeons.


Hey, this one was a gun homicide.


It has been brought to our attention that we ran this assclown as a When Guns Are Outlawed three days ago. We dindu nuffin. Hands up, doan shoot. Blog lives matter. We plead insanistry your Honor…. -Ed.

End of Update

This is a closeup of Kevin Canty, before he shot his wife seven times.

This is a closeup of Kevin Canty, before he shot his wife seven times.

See, impulse killings like this are why no one but the police should have guns. When the cops rolled up, Kevin Canty expressed remorse for killing his wife — but also called her a “whore” who “had it coming.”

Kevin Canty, 44, pleaded guilty Tuesday to hitting his wife Jessica, 40, with seven bullets as their 6 and 9-year-old children watched in horror inside their Ozone Park home.

“My nephew saw everything. … I’m just glad he doesn’t have to go through anything he already went through the grand jury. No child should have to go through this,” said Jessica’s sister Lisa Caccavale outside of Queens Supreme Court.

The children are both in therapy.

Yeah. That’s going to help… have ’em talk to someone who was mentally ill enough to pursue psychiatry in pursuit of self-diagnosis.

Ah, that’s too cynical. Maybe it will help the kids. How do you deal with mom dead and dad in jail for it, when you’re six or nine years old? It’s not like we have better ideas. Might as well try the talking cure.

And let's take a step back and see the whole picture of Kevin Canty.

And let’s take a step back and see the whole picture of Kevin Canty.

Canty dodged a life sentence when he coped a plea to first-degree manslaughter. He’s expected to get sentenced to 25 years in prison by Queens Supreme Court Justice Kenneth C. Holder on January 6.

We need to get guns out of the hands of ordinary people, because only the police can… wait… oh, he was an NYPD cop himself.

via Ex-NYPD officer pleads guilty to shooting wife to death – NY Daily News.

Perp Locked Up, Guns Remain At Large, in the Case of the Filched Firearms

500px-US-FBI-ShadedSeal.svgBecause the newspaper reporter missed it, we have to drag it out of her story for you. The Worcester, MA, Telegram: 

James Walter Morales of Cambridge was arrested without incident Wednesday night in New York by the FBI and the Nassau County Police Department, authorities said.
According to an affidavit filed in connection with the case, Mr. Morales was at the Army Reserve facility on North Lake Avenue on or about Nov. 12 to obtain copies of his discharge papers.

Want to bet it was bad, or borderline, paper?

A surveillance video from a nearby building depicts Mr. Morales spending about six hours, from 6:43 p.m. until shortly after midnight, going back and forth from his car to the armory with duffel bags. The FBI declined to comment when asked if the six M-4 rifles and 10 Sig Sauer M11 9 mm pistols that were stolen have been recovered. According to the affidavit, the M-4 rifles are capable of firing a single shot, or a three-round burst for each single pull of the trigger.

That’s the indicator that they haven’t recovered the firearms. If they had, they’d be crowing about it. Ever known the FBI to be reticent about a success? We neither. If the Bureau is being reticent, the success didn’t happen.

At the time of the theft, Mr. Morales was wearing an electronic monitoring bracelet, according to the affidavit. Investigators said he cut off the device at 8:48 a.m. Monday.

We’re getting a vibe here that he’s not one of nature’s noblemen, and when the postman comes, he’s not bringing the monthly MENSA chapter newsletter.

Authorities said Mr. Morales got into the building by breaking a window of a kitchen located near the drill room. They were able to identify the suspect through a DNA analysis of blood the thief left after he used a power saw and pry tool to cut a hole into the roof to access the gun vault.

FYI, a “drill room” or “drill hall” is a large, gymnasium-like concrete-floor area in an Army Reserve or National Guard building. It normally has a big door so large trucks can be loaded inside, and its wide floor is used as a place to hold formations during monthly training “drills.” Off the drill hall, smaller rooms are used as offices, supply rooms, and armories. The Arms Room is usually accessed through the supply room’s outer door, and is strongly vaulted and equipped with a moderately sophisticated alarm system, which regulations require to be in use at all times.

This drill hall had a de facto waiver for the alarm system during ongoing construction, which someone must have told Morales was the case. Not real bright, that.

Morales was ID’d by DNA. For decades, the military has taken a DNA swab of all personnel. The claim was that it was for battlefield ID, but the real reason was to build the FBI’s DNA database. (The same mechanism used to build a national fingerprint file). As veterans commit fewer crimes than their non-vet cohort, this tool has been limited for crimefighting, but the FBI is also attracted to its potential for population control, as they keep getting greater and greater domestic warrantless surveillance powers.

In this case, though, the DNA swab they took from Morales paid off in a crime solution — or part of one. The guns are still out there.

Investigators were able to obtain Mr. Morales’ phone number from his Facebook page. They located a second phone number for him from the Probation Department at Middlesex Superior Court. Authorities executed a search warrant to track the phone to Mr. Morales, according to the affidavit.

Is that how they got the warrant, or simply the “parallel construction”? As always in cases with Federal agencies tapped into NSA’s universal domestic surveillance, you’ll never know — even if you’re Morales’s defense attorney. (Probably a Designated Diver from the Public Defender’s Office, anyway).

It’s not like Morales is a sterling character. He’s enough of a perv that even Massachusetts has laws against him, although note they kindly enabled this crime wave by dropping his bail:

Mr. Morales was indicted by a Middlesex grand jury on May 19, on charges of aggravated rape of a child, forcible rape of a child, and indecent assault and battery on a child under the age of 14 (two counts). His bail was later reduced from $25,000 to $5,000. A condition of his release was that he wear an electronic monitoring device. A warrant was issued for his arrest on Nov. 16, after the Probation Department notified the Middlesex District Attorney’s office that he was not being monitored by GPS. Mr. Morales was scheduled to appear at a previously-scheduled pretrial hearing on Nov. 17.

Well, that was the day after he cut off his GPS anklet and burglarized the armory, so at least they caught the dead bracelet quickly.

Mr. Morales is expected to make an appearance Friday in U.S. District Court on Long Island and then to be taken to Worcester to face charges in U.S. District Court. He is charged with unlawful possession of a machine gun, unlawful possession of stolen firearms (two counts), and theft of government property.

via Arrest made in theft of weapons from Worcester armory – News – – Worcester, MA.

Note that the criminal-friendly MA prosecutors are already dealing him some wild cards. He stole sixteen firearms, but they’re not piling on with 16 counts. He isn’t even in court yet, and he’s already had 13 felony charges go away.

keep-calm-and-carry-a-fbi-badgeAnd he has something the FBI really wants: knowledge of where the 16 missing Army guns went.


We’ve seen the FBI’s warrant affidavit, and this story tracks it closely. We did note that the FBI agent, Colgan Norman, apparently can’t spell “hangar,”  and it made us wonder if he was one of these FBI agents (YouTube link).

Thank You for Serving Your Country… You Chump

Received by an SF Master Sergeant of our acquaintance (Name and PIN deleted).


By the way, when MSG Victim took this picture, his digital camera numbered the photo for him. IMG_6666. Isn’t that the Number of the Beast? Make of that what you will.

Shorter OPM: “We gave your personally identifiable data to the Chinese, and all you get is credit monitoring from some crony firm the same incompetent assclowns who lost your data in the first place picked after a suspicious no-bid process. Sorry ’bout that, GI.”

Even Shorter OPM: “Thanks for Serving Your Country. You chump. Now we screw you. Xin Loi!

You know, when this kind of stuff happens to the enemy he just takes the fatalistic attitude that, “It is the Will of Allah.” What are we supposed to believe? “This is the Will of Murphy?”

Monsters, There Really are Monsters

The monster: Graf in mugshot.

The monster: Graf in mugshot.

Of course, Gregory Graf, 54, didn’t see himself as a monster. They never do. “I’m not a bad guy,” he insisted to police — while confessing to a murder that left even the most cynical cop speechless with shock. At his trial — even after confessing, he insisted on a trial because, he told his lawyer, it was “an aberration” that was “not premeditated” — he put the jurors through an experience that left them as shaken as the cops, maybe more, considering that the jurors were strangers to the irrational and horrific world of homicide.

The last piece of evidence prosecutors presented was the disturbing video that Graf produced after he killed Padgett last November.

via Gregory Graf guilty of first-degree murder, jury takes just minutes to convict – The Morning Call.

We’ll get to the disturbing video in a moment, but Jessica “Jes” Padgett, the victim, was Graf’s stepdaughter, a mother of three. He shot her in the back of the head without warning and, as nearly as anyone can figure out, without motive, except just to kill her so he could… well, you’ll see. Then he made the video that sealed his fate. As he said during his confession — which came after days of stout denials:

In a 36-minute audio recording at a state police barracks, the Allen Township man admitted he shot 33-year-old Jessica Padgett in the back of the head as she sat by a fax machine at his house, saying he neither spoke nor gave warning before taking her life.

“I’m not really a bad guy and I just lost my mind temporarily. I don’t want to hurt anybody,” Graf told investigators Nov. 26, five days after Padgett’s disappearance sparked frantic search efforts.

On the recording, Graf says he knew “that I did wrong” but still tried to cover it up. He calls what happened “hell” and a “nightmare.”

“I wasn’t thinking,” he says. “I thought I could get away with something.”

The victim: Jessica "Jes" Padgett, 33, mother of 3, and Graf's stepdaughter.

The victim: Jessica “Jes” Padgett, 33, mother of 3, and Graf’s stepdaughter.

The recording was played Thursday during emotional testimony in the Northampton County trial of Graf, who acknowledges killing Padgett, a Whitehall Township mother of three, and later taping himself performing sex acts on her body.

“At that point, my mind was still spinning, basically thinking of sex for whatever reason,” Graf related to investigators, later adding: “During that time, I tried to video. I don’t even know why.”

The monstrous nature of the crime…. it reminds one of tales of demonic possession, except that Graf doesn’t even have that defense — he kept trying to get away with it.

On the recording, Graf says he couldn’t fathom his actions. He says he remembered a Peeping Tom incident when he was a boy in Bucks County, but denies ever fantasizing about violence. He watches “a lot of porn,” he told the investigators, and had been viewing some before Padgett arrived.

In explaining why he took a .22-caliber handgun from a closet, walked up to Padgett and executed her at point-blank range, Graf says only that a “crazy thought” had come into his head.

“Did you say anything to her when you shot her?” Szczecina asks on the recording.

“No, I did not,” Graf says.

“Did she know you were going to shoot her?” the corporal adds.

“No, absolutely not,” Graf says, his voice catching.

And the toughest moment is yet to come. On Friday, District Attorney John Morganelli will wrap up his case, and plans to present the six- to seven-minute video that Graf recorded of himself abusing the dead Padgett, whose head he had covered in a plastic bag.

“He didn’t want to look at her, and the blood was freaking him out,” Trooper Barton Josefowicz III said Graf later told him.

Proof, if more proof is needed, of Graf’s monstrosity:

Josefowicz said Graf admitted he killed Padgett “to have sex with her body,” and lamented that he hadn’t chosen his neighbor, 46-year-old Karen Gundrum, as his victim instead.

Graf, as he saw himself: Facebook selfie.

Graf, as he saw himself: Facebook selfie.

That can’t have been welcome news for Ms Gundrum.

“I would have gotten away with it,” Graf said, according to Josefowicz. “No one would have known.”

This is not someone who is right in the head, but it is also someone who is a personification of evil. He planned the crime in detail, choosing a day when his wife — Jessica’s mother — was out of state, buying sex toys the day prior, prepositioning a truck at the remote site where he planned to ditch Padgett’s car, and pestering her at work to come to his home to help with a computer problem. (Those strange, persistent calls, remembered by her co-workers, led police to Graf while Padgett was missing).

After he raped her dead body — filming the misconduct — he buried her in leaves on his rural property. After his confession, he drew a diagram of her location for the police, and they were able to recover the body. He also told them where to find the video.

About that video:

it is one thing to describe the recordings, which show Graf performing sex acts on Padgett’s corpse several hours after he killed her. It is another thing to actually view them, as the nine men and three women who decided Graf’s fate now know.

He had covered her head with a plastic bag, because the blood was freaking him out. Killing her didn’t freak him out. Raping her dead body didn’t freak him out. Later, lying the whole five days she was missing wouldn’t freak him out. No, the blood freaked him out.

One juror’s eyes filled with tears while the video played. Another’s face twisted into a look of profound distaste. Another sat motionless with his hand over his mouth, his fingers pinching his eyes. The courtroom was silent.

The video was made up of eight recordings that were shot by Graf over a span of two hours using two cameras. It was presented on a screen that was purposefully placed away from the view of the audience, where many members of Padgett’s family sat. Others chose to stay away — including Bittner and Padgett’s father, Thomas Kaczmar, who took their seats only after it was over.

Even the sounds from the recordings were taxing to hear, with Graf at one point speaking profanely to Padgett’s lifeless body, whose head he had covered in a plastic bag. The actual images were even worse.

McMahon, the defense attorney, didn’t look at the display as the video played, keeping his eyes averted and swiveling his chair away. His client also did not look, busying himself reading court papers in front of him.

The only noise beyond the recordings was the occasional voice of Assistant District Attorney Patricia Mulqueen as each snippet ended.

“OK, the next video please,” she would say, breaking the silence.

She’s a hard woman. If she wasn’t before this case, she is now.

Beforehand, [Judge] Baratta had warned jurors that they should not allow the video to unduly sway their emotions, a cautionary instruction typical when potentially inflammatory evidence is presented.

“From what I understand this is not a pleasant video. It is maybe quite upsetting,” Baratta said.

“Please know,” he told the panel, “if you don’t feel comfortable watching the entire video, you don’t have to watch the entire video.”

The jurors all made it through, though when it was over, they sat silently with vacant expressions even several minutes later.

After that, the defense attorney, who never disputed that Graf committed the murder, who agreed publicly that it was “an evil act,” and who argued only for a second-degree verdict on grounds that the killing was an act of impulse, not a premeditated first-degree killing, chose not to put on Graf, or any defense witnesses or evidence at all. The case went to the jury, then, right after these videos.

The jury returned with the verdict: guilty, murder-one — in six minutes.

About the same elapsed time as the total of Graf’s unspeakable necrophilia videos.

Pennsylvania being a postcivilizational state, has a death penalty on the books, but Governor Tom Wolf is more opposed to the death of Gregory Graf than any number of Jessica Padgetts, so he has unilaterally suspended it, reprieving 186 bestial murderers, as well as taking the penalty off of Graf, whose case was pending when Wolf stepped in to save his life. (Hey, it’s a swing state: Wolf needs every vote, and it’s not like the victims were doing him any good. Right now, they can’t vote while they’re locked up, unlike other criminal-coddling jurisdictions, but Wolf is working on that. The State Supreme Court overturned prohibitions on parolees and probationers in 2000). The Pennsylvania DAs had a response to that:

A moratorium is just a ploy. Make no mistake, this action is not about waiting for a study– it’s about the governor ignoring duly enacted law and imposing his personal views against the death penalty.

Accordingly, Graf will be sentenced to life in prison. In Pennsylvania, apparently, Con Lives Matter.

Bradley Manning “feels like a freak and a weirdo.” No $#!+ ?

Bradley Manning Support NetworkIckle Bwadwey is suing the Army because they took away his tranny wank mag and made him cut his hair, even though the delusional traitor is getting hormones because he feels like he’s female. Michael Isikoff1 has the story at Yahoo (Isikoff’s errors in pronouns have been corrected).

“Plaintiff feels like a freak and a weirdo,” Manning asserts in his complaint, “not because having short hair makes a person less of a woman — but because for him, it undermines specifically recommended treatment and sends the message to everyone that he is not a ‘real’ woman.”

via Chelsea Manning ‘feels like a freak’ with 2-inch prison haircut, sues Army.

Er, he’s not a real woman. And he is a freak and a weirdo. (And a traitor, but that doesn’t seem to be in dispute in the instant proceedings).

Well, no matter what rough path he’s tread, the long journey to recovery begins with recognizing you have a problem. This is progress, Bradley.

When you feel like a woman, Brad, that’s not authentic and in harmony with the physical world. When you feel like a freak and a weirdo, we’re getting somewhere.

“I felt gross — like Frankenstein’s monster wandering around the countryside avoiding angry mobs with torches and pitchforks,” he wrote in a blog post from prison. Feeling “humiliated, hurt and rejected,” he felt like “giving up” and said he “cried and cried and cried and sniffled a little bit, and then cried some more.”

Cue Harry Nilsson! (NSFW)

No wait, he’d like that.

The drama-queen drag queen is working with the criminal liberties and al-Qaeda bar on multiple lawsuits.

With the help of a premier civil liberties law firm, he is working on an appeal —likely to be filed early next year — of his 2013 conviction for violations of the Espionage Act. He will argue, among other points, that he was in fact a whistleblower who exposed U.S. government abuses and was never given the opportunity to present his motives during his court martial.

Simultaneously, Manning is pursuing a separate lawsuit challenging his treatment in prison. It is a novel case that could pose an awkward dilemma for the Obama administration, which has publicly championed the rights of transgender individuals, including those in prison, yet now stands accused of violating those rights when it comes to the most high-profile transgender inmate in U.S. custody.

Right out of the Alinsky playbook, that.

It must be rough to be Bradley’s cellmate. Pro: uh, “release.” Con: you gotta get it from Bradley, and it’s the only way to get him to stop caterwauling in dramatic tears, or singing that GD Shania Twain song, “Man, I Feel Like a Woman.” But relax, guy, you’re not stuck with Brad forever.

He gets out in 2047.

Until then, close your eyes and think of some real chick.

Hey — if you’re a Unique and Special Snowflake™ who can’t deal with life in the jug, there are ways to stay out, ways that have been pioneered by 99 repeating percent of society since time immemorial. These prison-avoidance strategies are generally centered on not committing felonies. It’s so easy even most of your fellow mixed-up, tossed-up, never-come-down trannies do it, which is why you’re so ronery and so awfuwwy arone in Castle Leavenwolf.

Isikoff, who is sympathetic to Manning and generally hostile to the military, finds the Leavenworth loser’s predicament “poignant.” He’s missing the vast seam of humor to be mined here.


  1. Isikoff is the guy who at Newsweek initially reported, and then agreed to spike for politics’s sake, the Monica Lewinsky story, losing his scoop to Matt Drudge. He is beloved among journalists for taking one for the team, that way.

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have the Secret Service

US-SecretService-StarLogo.svgEver wonder just what the Secret Service is keeping secret? Read on. But you may be sorry you asked.

A Secret Service officer assigned to the White House was arrested after he was caught in a sting sending naked pictures of himself to someone he thought was a 14-year-old girl from Delaware, according to a criminal complaint unsealed Thursday.

Lee Robert Moore turned himself in to the Maryland State Police Barracks on Monday, the same day the complaint was filed against him in the U.S. District Court for Delaware.

The complaint details a series of online chats between Moore, 37, and a Delaware State Police detective posing as a 14-year-old girl from Delaware. Moore is alleged to have sent naked photos of himself to the undercover officer and requested to meet in person to have sex.

via First on CNN: Secret Service officer arrested in child sex sting | Politics – Home.

Don’t these guys know by now that every 14-year-old Lolita on the net’s real first name is invariably “Officer,” “Deputy,” “Trooper,” or “Special Agent?” Something tells us that Moore was not one of the intellectual giants of the US Secret Service. Their chess team will not have to forfeit any matches just ’cause he’s headed to the Big House.

Want the details? Brace yerself:

“May seem like a small thing in the grand scheme, but I would take immense pleasure in pulling those shorts off your hips and down your cute little legs. Be exciting to try I mean id be nervous but still be fun. Just wouldn’t want to bore u,” Moore wrote in the exchange, which was included in the complaint. He then began asking about sex and became more graphic.

On September 1, Moore reached out to the officer again via Meet24. Moore said he had deleted his Kik account to be safe, “do you know how many fake female profiles are out there, a guy needs some reassurance that he is talking to who he thinks he is talking to, and not, I shudder to think.”

secretservice_logoHe thought he was shuddering then? You should see him now. Two words, Moore: “general population.” Kind of puts the lie to the SS slogan, displayed left.

But wait, there’s one more detail that CNN missed… it’s where Moore was when he was pedotexting.

According to the liberal blog Talking Points Memo, Moore sent some of the texts from his duty station at the White House. (He was a uniformed Secret Service officer, not the Men In Black kind).

Yikes. We have our points of difference with the President but it seems to us that he is a proud and dedicated father of two teen daughters… this has got to creep him out, just as a dad. So you have to wonder, as you almost always do with criminals: what in the blue blazes was Moore thinking? Or maybe the question is what was he thinking with? Ewwwwww. For once we could not blame a President if he sicced every form of national retribution on this guy.

Exercise for the reader: imagine some low-level KGB dude doing this in Putin’s Kremlin. The only question is whether he’d enter the food chain: Arctic Siberia? Some barren continental desert? Or the depths of the Sea of Okhotsk?

Meanwhile, the senior managers of the Secret Service took time off from paying themselves and all their worst bad actors bonuses, to deal with the public relations impact of this latest scandal. Responses under consideration include leaking Jason Chaffetz’s 2001 application again.

Next-Gen HMMWV: Marginal Improvement, 10X the Price

Oshkosh's JLTV won, but LockMart is disputing the contract. Since 2008, tens of millions have been spent and zero vehicles produced.

Oshkosh’s JLTV won, but LockMart is disputing the contract. Since 2008, tens of millions have been spent and zero vehicles produced, apart from handbuilt prototypes..

In Roman times, a bad unit was “decimated” — which meant, in the precise Roman terms, that the unit would form up, count off, and every tenth man would be put to the sword. Pour encourager les autres, naturally.

Something like that seems like a good idea to apply to the Pentagon, after their latest spending binge. Except maybe for not killing every 10th man — instead, whacking the other nine.

Hey, it’s a start.

We complained in 1980 when they replaced the simple, light M151 Jeep with the large, complex, and unwieldy HMMWV, a vehicle so larded with requirement after requirement that it had the same four cramped seats as a jeep, but didn’t fit the roads of most of the world. It was, at the time, about ten to eleven times the cost of the M151, which were being bought by DOD for around $3,000 a pop; the new HMMWV, that was a bare improvement on the 151, sold for $33,000 — before the Pentagon started tinkering with it.

Lesson learned: When price is no object, we can make the grandest jeep ever. Three JLTV contenders.

Lesson learned: When price is no object, we can make the grandest jeep ever. Three JLTV contenders.

Now, the supposedly unlimited expansion headroom built in to the HMMWV has hit the wall, and they need something new, which is this abortion, the JLTV or Joint Light Tactical Vehicle. It’s still, tactically, a jeep, but it’s now a $400,000-a-unit Jeep. It’s so expensive that the Marines, after going along with the project, are drawing the line at the $2.2 billion of overpriced jeeps they’re already on the hook for, and trying to protect their budget for their amtrack replacement, the ACV, Amphibious Combat Vehicle; that project too is wildly over budget and setting record unit costs.

One of the losing contenders.

One of the losing contenders.

That’s right, the new jeep is 12 times more than the old one, and over 130 times more expensive than the admittedly Spartan One Before That.

Q: What’s the difference between a Pentagon procurement official and a glutton? A: The glutton may feel shame.

The Army will get approximately 11,500 of the overpriced, overweight JLTV jeeps. Each one weighs well over 15,000 pounds — contractors are having a hard time meeting the weight cap of 15,639 lbs (roughly 7100 kg) which is driven by the lift capacity of the services’ heavy-lift helicopters. Unlike the Hummers, which weighed from 6,000 to 11,000 pounds depending on armor and configuration, the new vehicles can’t be lifted at all by utility or cargo helicopters smaller than the heavy-lift champion CH-47F and -53K.

And what’s the services’ political leadership up to? Well, one of them is pursuing crony-capitalism deals that will line the pockets of the best-connected solar “entrepreneurs” and, no doubt, the secretary himself after he leaves office.

Yeah, the Army Personnel System is AFU. But…

Officer RanksThe Army personnel system is like the ancient Chinese mandarin system, except that it sucks even at producing mandarins. This should not be news to anybody. Certainly the best and the brightest — hell, even the dull and the dimmest — have been firing cannonades against DOPMA and “up-or-out” since Gabriel and Savage teed up Crisis in Command in the 1970s, and probably earlier. But along comes The Atlantic, commissioning retired general David Barno and some social (i.e., pseudo) scientist to write a jeremiad against the personnel system.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but it’s like one of our VA or TSA stories. Expecting anything other than inept and counter-mission performance from any stumblebum government bureaucracy will end in tears.

Still, Barno and whatserface try.

Let’s start with a spoiled Millennial MI officer who’s all a-whine that the Army is not seeing to his emotional needs:

Jost arrived at West Point during the summer of 2004, nearly three years after the 9/11 attacks. The nation and the Army were at war in Iraq and Afghanistan. But Jost took Chinese language classes to fulfill his single year of required language at the academy, and a summer program in China cemented his love of the Chinese language and culture. According to Jost, he gave up his vacation time nearly every summer to study in China, and graduated with a double major in Chinese and International Relations.
West Point cadets line up at their graduation ceremony in Michie Stadium. (Mike Groll / AP)
Jost excelled in his studies. He was academically ranked seventh out of 972 cadets in his graduating class, and was commissioned as a military intelligence officer. He won a Rotary scholarship for a graduate degree at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. He became proficient in Mandarin, and earned a master’s degree in Chinese studies after a year of intense study. Now it was time to join the Army and use his education.

It would be the last time Jost used his Chinese until leaving the service five years later.

Awwwwww, someone call that (now former) officer a Waaahmbulance. The Army didn’t dispose itself for one millennial’s ultimate self-actualization. Quel horreur! 

turkish water pipe

Sometimes, the Army is like a Turkish water pipe. The more you suck, the higher you go.

These Officer Selfie stories make up a good part of the long thumbsucker. Along with Jost, we meet a woman whose life was ruined, ruined, because she could only serve in combat as an attack helicopter pilot, when she really wanted to be an infantry officer. The whole attack-helicopter thing was a sideline for her, and her ambition for higher rank quickly drove her out of the cockpit into pursuit of other avenues towards fame and promotion, all collapsing in a Hindenburg FOOM when she and her officer husband didn’t get matching His & Hers assignments.

The promotion system, Barno and whatserface note, holds back officers of superior ability. Its Industrial Age men-as-interchangeable-cogs ethos has long been abandoned by industry, which can be even more dynamic (and even more focused on superficial, short-term results than the military, which is already too focused on knob-polishing for ticket-punching transient leaders). But it is an ill wind that blows no good, and that same personnel friction also holds back the toxic leader. We all know the type: the narcissistic careerist for whom military service is a love sonnet to self, the one who inverts the officer code of “the mission, the men, and me” to “me, me, me, then the mission, and bleep the men if they can’t take a joke.”

An example of the article’s focus on careerist vs. competent officers is its concern for officers’ graduate-school opportunities. In fact, the Army at least has numerous pathways to grad school and one of their selected whiners went directly from West Point to grad school, as noted above, but he wanted more grad school and he didn’t want to wait for it.  We have very seldom seen an officer apply his grad school effectively to the only real reason we need officers, combat leadership. In fact, officers who have led sports teams seem to do much better, on average, than their more intelligent supposed “betters.” (We make fun of colonels who majored in football, here, but it’s probably a better preparation for leadership than any graduate degree, although history and anything highly quantitative — like an MBA — have their applications). In our experience, the paid grad-school thing is mostly just a benefit that accrues to the individual officer, and that he or she takes “up or out” with him and may used to plus up a post-military civilian salary.

As an aside: that Barno seemingly wants to elevate such officers makes us wonder what stripe of leader he was. A friend writes, in introducing this article to us:

The two authors are currently prominent participants in think tank events around town focusing on military and defense. LTG Barno has some actual basis for what he asserts, having actually carried a rifle and rucksack on behalf of America. Dr, Bensahel apparently learned what she knows by reading books and being a member of the chattering class.

Full disclosure: LTG Barno and I, when we were captains over 30 years ago, were classmates (which does NOT translate to friends) in an Army course. While I recall him, I doubt that he would recall me.

So, is there nothing of value in Barno and whatsername’s report? No. They do manage to get in a good condemnation of up-or-out, the Original Sin in DOPMA which drives much of the ticket-punching, short-term, superficial activity of toxic leasers.

Quoting the RAND Corp:

While breaking new ground (permanent grade tables, single promotion system, augmentation of reserve officers into regular status), DOPMA [of 1980] was basically evolutionary, extending the existing paradigm (grade controls, promotion opportunity and timing objectives, up-or-out, and uniformity across the services) that was established after World War II.

They also note that, unlike civilian businesses, there’s no way to military leadership except the DOPMA-dictated process of plodding apprenticeship:

This legacy system is woefully archaic in the 21st century—and far removed from the best talent-management practices of the private sector. It may well be the last untransformed segment of an otherwise modern, flexible, and adaptable U.S. military. Yet the personnel system touches every single person in the military every single day of their career—and determines how much they are paid, where they live, what kind of jobs they perform, and how often they move or get promoted. Neither officers nor enlisted troops have any substantial input in how they fit into this system—nor how to maximize their talents for the greater good.

The U.S. military is largely a closed-loop system for talent. Lateral entry is nearly nonexistent outside of unique specialties such as medicine. The four-star generals and admirals who will be the chairman and members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) in 2035 are serving in uniform today as majors or lieutenant commanders with somewhere between 10 and 16 years of service. Even the members of the JCS in 2045 are already serving in uniform, just starting out as ensigns and lieutenants, most with fewer than four years of service. Losing talented, experienced, and innovative leaders in the first 10 years of their military careers means that those leaders will not be available to serve in ever-more senior military leadership positions during the next the 20 or 30 years. This problem deserves rapt attention because getting the quality of the force wrong—unknowingly keeping in less capable leaders while losing the best and brightest talent—could have debilitating effects on fighting and winning the complex wars of the future.

It’s actually worse than they suggest, because it’s extremely hard for officers to choose and change branches. The signal or QM officer who burns to lead infantry units is practically a wachword, and there’s no way for him to do it, because we decided who was going to be an infantry officer when he was 17 or 21 years old, and that’s that. There’s little traffic  and few pathways between the officer and NCO ranks — given our educated enlisted corps these days, there should be more traffic on those paths, and it should be bidirectional. There are still restrictions on Reservists coming on to active duty, and there is no possibility for an officer to opt to take a few years in the reserves, perhaps to raise children or to bank some money for their future education. Sure, you can leave active duty and take a reserve or Guard commission, but you’re passing through one of the personnel system’s beloved one-way diodes on its busy wiring diagram: there is no return.

The personnel system’s drag isn’t just applied to the most ambitious officers (whom Barno and whatsername conflate with the best), either. The byzantine system is a huge brake on everything the Army does. Around the time of the Gulf War we were shocked to discover that the Army, admittedly larger then, had approximately 50,000 enlisted personnel clerks, almost 10% of its active duty strength. Companies with thousands of employees employ single digits of personnel in their HR departments: these clerks are 99.9% superfluous, and exist to serve the organization; while their assigments might be merely orthogonal to the mission, their practical effect is negative because they bear down so much on everything the service does.

Finally, one goal of DOPMA is not mentioned by Barno and whatsername, even though it is one of the few that the act actually met: removing partisanship from officer selection and promotion. This article does not exist in a vacuum, but is part of an organized campaign in support of an initiatiave by SecDef Ash Carter, whose objective is to remove these requirements from both DOD civilian and officer billets. This would allow free and unlimited hiring and firing — and it would allow the even more rapid advancement of the one kind of officer proven to beat the DOPMA system: the political suck-up.

Whatever new Frankensteinian abomination flows from this, they will call it progress.

Remember when TSA Failed 95% of tests?

tsa checkpointActually, the thieves and gropers failed 95.7% of tests, 67 of 70, but let’s not pick nits. No, this is the report where we tell you how much they’ve improved. Right?

Wait, what? Why are you laughing?

Well, you’re right to laugh. It turns out that the Turkeys Standing Around still Totally Suck at Anything. Except for sucking up $8 Billion annually, with nothing but a 4.3% success rate at detecting weapons to show for it.

Five months later, things at TSA haven’t improved, weapons are being smuggled onto planes, many layers of security are non-existent and morale among employees is in the toilet.

According to Homeland Security Inspector General John Roth, a second round of testing in September 2015 shows TSA is still missing major security breaches.

“In September 2015, we completed and distributed our report on our most recent round of covert testing. The results are classified at the Secret level, and the Department and this Committee have been provided a copy of our classified report.”

So, this guy can go before Congress and tell them his agency totally sucks, but he can’t tell them how or why the agency sucks at what remains, honestly, its single, solitary job, despite TSA bureaucrats’ attempt to grab power over other modes of transportation. Presumably to bring them the vastly overpaid sub-5% performance they bring to airport screening. But he can’t really say.

Why can’t he say? Channeling the Interim Number Two, “That would be telling.”

IG John Roth’s testimony to the House Oversight Committee continued:

TSA justifiably classifies at the Secret level the validated test results; any analysis, trends, or comparison of the results of our testing; and specific vulnerabilities uncovered during testing. Additionally, TSA considers other information protected from disclosure as Sensitive Security Information. While I cannot talk about the specifics in this setting, I am able to say that we conducted the audit with sufficient rigor to satisfy the standards contained within the Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards, that the tests were conducted by auditors within our Office of Audits without any special knowledge or training, and that the test results were disappointing and troubling,

Disappointing? Check. It’s always a disappointment when the TSA fails at its one, simple job. Troubling? Ditto, it’s always troubling, too. But notice that he didn’t say it was “surprising.” After a dozen years of privacy-invading Rapescan machines, literally thousands of stealing and groping employees quietly dismissed without being charged, and no security audit ever having been passed, ever, what surprise could remain? Perhaps if they succeeded at something, but who thinks that will ever happen?

We ran multiple tests at eight different airports of different sizes, including large category X airports across the country, and tested airports using private screeners as part of the Screening Partnership Program. The results were consistent across every airport. Our testing was designed to test checkpoint operations in real world conditions. It was not designed to test specific, discrete segments of checkpoint operations, but rather the system as a whole. The failures included failures in the technology, failures in TSA procedures, and human error. We found layers of security simply missing. It would be misleading to minimize the rigor of our testing, or to imply that our testing was not an accurate reflection of the effectiveness of the totality of aviation security.

via Surprise: TSA Hasn’t Improved Since Failing 95 Percent of Security Tests – Katie Pavlich.

So, to clarify, they can’t tell you anything about how the department is underperforming. Just that it is underperforming. And that no one has been, or will be, held accountable. Situation normal.

You had one job, TSA. One. Job.