[FoRK] "Two faces of the Tea Party"

Reese howell.r at inkworkswell.com
Fri Jun 25 13:33:47 PDT 2010

On 25-Jun-10 12:50, J. Andrew Rogers wrote:

> So we should just keep on using a 1960s model?

This has been addressed elsewhere, but I note it as you presenting
a herring. Or what seems like a herring.

>> Are you purposely failing to mention the JSF (F-35) program? The
>> increased costs of an alternate engine, parts inventory, training,
>> etc. etc. etc. and that whole boondoggle. Not to mention that as a
>> new design for a jet engine, it has been an abject waste with a
>> significantly higher testing failure rate than the industry standard
>> for new engine designs (about 1 failure per 13 hours versus 300 hours
>> IIRC)?
> I wasn't the one enumerating wasteful programs. Why would I mention it?


> As it happens, yes I think the JSF program is a boondoggle...


>>>> The Osprey program,
>>> Ignoring that this was again a very tiny fraction of the DoD budget,
>> You keep saying that. How about you document it with some numbers?
> You made the assertion, not I. Since you are too lazy, the annualized cost of the program to date is ~$900M.  Not even a lousy billion dollars.

Which assertion? That Osprey was a boondoggle or personnel accounted
for more cost than toys? Even if a particular toy amounts to less than
the total cost of personnel, does that make it not a boondoggle?

>> Great R&D, with a lot of technical problems that resulted in a lot of
>> crashes and the loss of a lot more lives than were necessary, with
>> inadequate reversions to the drawing board and sometimes proceeding
>> with operational testing even after flaws resulted in crashes and the
>> unnecessary loss of our lives.
> The Precautionary Principle is alive and well I see. I suppose you would have argued against the Apollo program too.

Herring. You would have us steaming full speed ahead with no lessons
learned from Mercury and Gemini or, Apollo 1 or 13. You'd have me not
getting beyond Mercury, if you could. You are wrong.

>> It seems like another costly solution in search of an insignificant
>> problem. Another style of mouse trap where the existing and less
>> expensive traps work just fine, thank you very much.
> Yes, so many countries and companies have tried to solve this design problem because there was no value in it. Naturally. It has a number of very compelling advantages that allow it to operate under a set of parameters no other type of aircraft comes close to matching.

Like I said: Another style of mouse trap where the existing and less
expensive traps work just fine, thank you very much.

What exactly is the capability the Osprey provides? Troop-carrying
capacity over slightly longer (short) distances? Larger landing
footprint and potentially, greater vulnerability to ground fire? Oh,
that'll turn the tide, win their hearts and minds. @@

>> Don't avoid the issue. How much has been spent, since the decision to
>> build Little Boy?
> A lot, a long time ago.

Well, you are half-right. Because we are still spending on the "nuclear
weapons" program, for maintenance and dismantling.

> What does this have to do with defense spending in the modern era?

Were we discussing cuts to the defense budget? My bad. You're the one
who claimed that DoD spending was personnel-tied, I was taking a longer
and larger view at DoD spending and trying to understand the breakdown
between "personnel" and "toys." Are you retracting your assertion?

> This is completely irrelevant.  Are we going to talk about the arms spending minutiae of the Spanish-American War next?  We probably still have those weapons in storage too.

Which would be another stupid DoD expenditure we should cut one way
or another. Next?

>> It is your claim that the bulk of DoD spending is on personnel. Do
>> you think the overseas bases are staffed by and paid for out of the
>> budget of the State Department? Even if you are correct about the
>> latter, what sort of wacky economics shell game is that?
> Overseas bases are a vehicle for foreign aid. You know this.

Yes, but. "Foreign aid" has been under fire for a very long time, it
was not the sending of a ship or stationing of a base there that drew
the most bilious ire, it was something quite different. Like the
State Department or other fixture sending. Like this - see Kenya,
Ukraine, Haiti, Ethiopia, Israel, Gaza, etc.:


Kindly name the US bases in Kenya, Ukraine, Haiti, Ethiopia, Israel
in or out of Gaza, etc.

> Yes, the DoD has to pay for it, but the DoD maintains bases in a lot
> of places

Are you attempting to appropriate my complaint on DoD spending? Yes,
the Dod maintains a lot of bases in a lot of places, that it should
not, even though...

> the DoD doesn't care about.

..those places. But some silli villian does. For some silly reason
that has very little to do with securing our national borders or
safeguarding our ships at sea.

>> I was expecting something that would make nuclear weapons impotent
>> and obsolete, just like Reagan said. What were you expecting, a few
>> [b|tr]illion a year for the military-industrial complex?
> The point of the program was to make long-range weapons non-viable.

Impotent and obsolete, yeah. Got that. Spades.

The latest round of Aegis anti-missile testing in the Pacific, vicinity
of Hawaii (that I have reliable feedback on), shows you the exact
advancements in almost every weapon system. Outside of some new rocket
motor designs that are still a bit dodgy. Right? You said:

    >>> almost every modern weapon system is heavily based on it.
    >>> Outside of some new rocket motor designs that are still a
    >>> bit dodgy -- no one understood the physics of such designs
    >>> when they started that project -

So here you are saying, no one understood the physics of the rocket
engine (not motor) designs. Confirm or deny?

Did you think that rocket engine scientists were lost on the new
engine design or, am I unfairly parsing the quote?

    >>>- the other bits are
    >>> basically completed and in many cases deployed. Were you
    >>> expecting spaceships and "pew-pew" weapons?

So, how about you name some of the "basically completed" bits and
where appropriate, give address to the "spaceships" and "pew-pew"
weapons you couldn't keep out of your last reply.

> It forces the battlefield toward a vastly more expensive equilibrium.


Oh wait. Wasn't the original complaint centered on the expense of DoD
spending with at least some part of that as spending to the military-
industrial complex (aka R&D programs), implementing the product (aka
R&D programs), and maintaining it for its own or any lifetime (aka
more spending to the R&D people)?

If it isn't, that ought to be game, set, and match. Right there.

>>> There are two problems.  First, the programs you mentioned add up to a drop in the DoD budget bucket.
>> Again, you keep claiming that. Prove it.
> You made the assertion that they were a big part of the DoD budget. If you haven't figured out Teh Interwebs then I can't help you. It isn't as though the DoD budget is a secret.

No, I agreed that pork formulated as "toys" needed to be cut and
I agreed that there was too much spending. On pork, formulated
as "fronts" and "OPTEMPO". And boondoggles. Lots and lots of

I named some programs with a very high pork-toy quotient, allowed
that there were more, and I dared you to provide facts and figures
to prove me wrong. Based on your original assertion that the major
expense was troops, not toys, toy-pork. I can't name a single
program or project that you've identified. At best, you've made
comments on some particular examples that I've given mention to.
Beyond that, you have not done anything that could not also be
accomplished by some goalie with a flag. A hit is a hit, a goal
or touchdown still a score. I can't say that I'm opposed to troops
reductions, but I do object to tropes involving false troops tropology.

>> So, what are these "many" that were "a monumental waste..."?
> There aren't that many that have a large absolute price tag.

So, a numerically large number of programs that do not have particularly
noteworthy price tags? As in, they add up. Kinda like the minor
fractions of the total DoD budget represented by the F-22 and Osprey
programs. @@

Again, and last time: what other programs would you add to the list?

> The JSF was and is a giant boondoggle.

Agreed. We ought to be able to do better, than adopt some new aircraft
that costs +10x above inflation, to field and operate. I blame the
Pinocchio Group. Whom do you blame? Do they have long noses?

> Rumsfeld was able to kill a bunch of expensive weapon programs
> that were designed for a backward-looking "land war in Europe" scenario.

Great. Why wasn't the F-22 included? Or did you mean Rumsfeld's first
time at bat?

>> You keep singling out R&D. I'm not. Here's another failed program:
>> Seawulf class submarines.
> I keep singling out R&D because the rest of the budget is largely
> operational expense and Veteran Administration,

Yes, operating 4-now-3 Seawulf class submarines is an operational
expense. Yes, I agree it should never have been an operational
expense, given everything else that was or should have been known
about the Seawulf class. How about you?

WRT The VA, it can serve as proxy for the Social Security Account
situation for all the civilians who stayed home. In either case,
why is there a cap on wages for FICA taxation purposes, for all
civilians and veterans alike?

> which you are studiously ignoring.

If I'm studiously ignoring anything, it's the paying gig. I've read
you closely and find fault with some of your conclusions. Here we are.

> The engineering that is done for US military R&D is extremely bleeding edge. Unlike many other countries, the US can't just copy design elements from other people in most cases. This, along with Congressional monkeying with the projects every year for pork-related purposes, creates a certain amount of risk that exists anytime you try to do something that has never been done before.  Or worse, several things that have never been done before, all in the same system.

So basically, you side with (if not confess to being a part of) the
military-industrial complex that we were warned about. Apologia and
a bit of disinfo. Yes?

>> I leave as an exercise for you, proving your claims.
> I really can't help someone who militantly refuses to use Google for something so widely documented that it is unclear why you are arguing from a position of ignorance in the first place.

1, I didn't ask for your help, I asked you to prove your claims
2, if it is that widely known, it would be trivial for you to provide
    even a half-hearted proof, any link - you haven't even tried.
3, you've already conceded that "boots on the ground" is in sunset mode,
    that it is being replaced by "active countermeasures..." or whatever
    it was you used as a euphemism, for military toys.
4, I called out "checkmate," above.

I really must get back to the paying gigs.


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