To stupidity and beyond

Today's look at war from the cheap seats

In space no one can hear you talk like a pirate

It’s the 29th of August, 2019, the first annual Sing Like A Space Pirate day, since the US Space Force launches today. To counter, you know, the space pirates.

“Pirates threaten the open seas, and the same is possible in space.” -- Ted Cruz, senator and Wolverine cosplayer if Wolverine was actually a badger and the whole franchise went direct to DVD.

So rest easy, America, we’ve got the ice pirate threat covered.

Kids, before there was a Space Force, there was the Air Force, which is still a thing, apparently, and its X-37B space drone just set a new orbital record of 719 days in continuous orbit. I’d get more excited about that, except that it’s possible that the Air Force just forgot it was up there, since the USAF does lose track of things.

Like nuclear weapons: during the Cold War at least eight nuclear bombs wandered off into the wild blue yonder (or the deep blue sea).

Apparently they weren’t as ready to drop a nuke on a hurricane in the 1960s as the Tweeter In Chief is in 2019.

Before we laugh too hard at the sentient creamsicle, someone had this idea before: one Jack W. Reed, an Air Force meteorologist who rode through a few typhoons in a B-29 while serving in the Philippines. Said typhoons left an impression on Mr. Reed, mainly, “Fuck typhoons. Let’s nuke ‘em.”

The initial idea involved weakening the storms and changing their trajectory — not necessarily destroying them. He theorized America could achieve this by detonating nukes in the air just outside the eye of the storm.

“It seems such a burst would, for at least 15 minutes, greatly influence the horizontals circulation of a hurricane … if a burst were made on one side of a storm or two bursts on opposite sides of a storm, considerable asymmetry in circulation could result,” Reed wrote in his proposal to the Plowshares committee.

Now the Air Force is more worried about how to ship a couple of Dodge Chargers to the UK, since, well, Dodge wasn’t thoughtful enough to equip their muscle cars with tie down points.

“The chase vehicles we received have no Air Transportability Test Loading Agency certification. They have no fixed area to be restrained or tied down in the aircraft, so there’s no black and white way on how to transport them. When they arrive to our area like that, they are deemed non-airworthy and that’s when we have to figure out how we can load them safely or we may have to make the call that we can’t load it.”

And before we all bro out over this, the vehicles aren’t just another poor life choice made by America’s airmen, but serve as chase cars for a U2.

The plane, not the most overrated band in the world.

So the Air Force has gone from figuring out how to nuke hurricanes to asking…

Different times.


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Air Force: "He's a Nazi." Army: "Hold my stein."

It’s good to have a hobbies, and Air Force Master Sgt. Cory Reeves has a couple, like skiing in Colorado, and posting his white nationalist views to the social media pages of Identity Evropa, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has identified as a white nationalist organization, and the Anti-Defamation League labeled a white supremacist organization.

It’s that second bit that caught the attention of the USAF, and a three month investigation has led to…his keeping his job. In uniform. At his current rank.

And lest you think he just posted to the wrong Facebook page because he was looking for his sister-in-law’s essential oils, allow Reeves himself to retort.

While congratulating another member for posting fliers across Front Range colleges, Reeves wrote: "We all applaud you. Colorado will be sieged relentlessly and become the capital of the ethnostate."

Of course, whatever the Air Force can do, the US Army can do better, and in the most “hold my beer” way possible, a commander of a Houston-area recruiting company in Texas went uber German trying to get his recruiting numbers up.

To be fair to the (former) commander, the memo wasn’t distributed with the image, just the phrase, Arbeit Macht Frei, which is German for “you’re so fucking fired,” and also, “Work Will Set You Free,” and the photo’s from a Nazi death camp at Auschwitz.

The phrase headlined a section of the memo explaining incentives, including time off, available to recruiters depending on the number of contracts that they are able to complete.

Could’ve gone with…well…anything else.

And Navy, what are you snickering at? Because your SEALs aren’t exactly poster boys for good behavior of late, what with the raping, murdering fellow special operators, and the world’s most ill advised re-enlistment props. Navy Special Warfare commander Rear Adm. Collin Green has a fix: haircuts.

Released to senior leaders and then obtained by Navy Times, Green’s guidance returns the SEAL and boat teams to standards expected of service members across the fleet, with a mandate for leaders to conduct “routine inspections of your units and strictly enforce all Navy grooming and uniform standards, including adherence to all Navy traditions, customs and ceremonies.”

That’s a gross simplification on my part, as the whole memo reads better than that, and points to leadership wanting to slow the pace of force growth, emphasizing quality over quantity.

Except the beards are cool, right?

They are, even though a combat beard is pretty silly, since it immediately identifies you as a special operator. And is therefore not terribly covert. And the beards aren’t really the problem, it’s the pirate-y culture that’s pervaded particularly with the SEALs because, well, Navy, but for the other special operations units, as well.

It’s a force that collectively is made up of some of the most highly trained combatants on the planet, and like most things that you keep in a case that says “break glass in case of war,” need more than a few adults around to make sure they’re adhering to something that looks like institutional values.

Or, you turn them loose and let them shrug off whatever moral compass you think that slide deck you made on “Why You Shouldn’t Pose With Dead Bodies To Re-Enlist” gave them, and let them do whatever the fuck they want. Which, since we like to think of ourselves as civilized creatures? Not a good look.

Anchor babies away?

Here’s a fun fact: if you want to become a US citizen, one way to get there? Join the military. And if you’re not a citizen yet, but you’re serving in the armed forces, and your kid’s born overseas? Used to be that kid was a citizen. Because, well, humanity.

Looks like that’s changing…sorta, as the United States Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) attempts to get rid of confusing and competing paths to becoming a ‘murcan by getting rid of the whole “have a baby in uniform, and that baby’s from the US.”

Per the USCIS, the following children are exempt from having to apply for citizenship before they turn 18, since it’s no longer an automatic thing.

  • Those whose parents are both U.S. citizens, with at least one parent who had a residence in the U.S. or its territories before the child was born;

  • Those who have two married parents, one of whom is a U.S. citizen who "was physically present in the U.S." or its territories for at least five years, with two of those years occurring after the parent was 14 years of age;

  • Those who have unmarried parents, one of whom is a U.S. citizen meeting requirements listed in U.S. statute INA 309;

  • Those who are eligible to have their U.S. citizenship certified at birth;

  • And those residing in the U.S. with their U.S. citizen parent after being admitted to the U.S. for permanent residence.

First read by the oligarchs of outrage is that this is directed at the troops, a segment of Trump’s base that usually votes pretty red. Not always, since millenials are breaking a lot of the stereotypes around military service, but it certainly impacts those in uniform.

Well, just the ones aren’t citizens yet.

But I got my papers

Look, full disclosure: I hate how political this thing gets sometimes, because FFS I want to avoid talking about the Trumpster as much as possible. Because he’s not the real problem, it’s the policies that his administration is putting in place that worry me. And the deterioration of that office to the point where he’s flat out telling his subordinates to do all the crimes, he’ll just pardon them.

When aides have suggested that some of his orders are illegal or unworkable, Trump has suggested he would pardon the officials if they would just go ahead, aides said. He has waved off worries about contracting procedures and the use of eminent domain, saying “take the land,” according to officials present at the meetings.

“Don’t worry, I’ll pardon you,” he has told officials in meetings about the wall.

Yes, that wall, and not the Matt Damon culturally articulate biopic, or even the Pink Floyd children’s singalong album. Worth reading that whole Washington Post piece because it’s full of neat details like this one.

And in case you don’t know what it looks like when a despot gets his way:

Trump’s determination to build the barriers as quickly as possible has not diminished his interest in the aesthetic aspects of the project, particularly the requirement that the looming steel barriers be painted black and topped with sharpened tips.

In a meeting at the White House on May 23, Trump ordered the Army Corps and the Department of Homeland Security to paint the structure black, according to internal communications reviewed by The Washington Post.

Administration officials have stopped trying to talk him out of those demands, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is preparing to instruct its contractors to apply black paint or coating to all new barrier fencing, the communications show.

Hey, ‘murca, we have a president that’s worn down officials to the point where they won’t argue with him about painting a pointy fence. So that’s not great. And if you think the people who support him don’t see this all as a chance to shape America in their image? Hope you liked voting for Hillary.