Pentagon bloat, etc. thread

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Vrede too
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Re: Pentagon bloat, etc. thread

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The Air Force polluted 4 SC bases with a toxic firefighting foam, didn’t tell neighbors

Four Air Force bases in South Carolina are severely contaminated with chemicals that scientists continue to investigate for possible links to thyroid disease, pregnancy complications, and kidney and testicular cancers.

The man-made chemicals are from an industrial foam the military used to extinguish fires at bases since 1970 — a toxic legacy that has only recently come to light.

Three previously undisclosed studies obtained by The Post and Courier show Shaw Air Force Base, Joint Base Charleston, the North Auxiliary Airfield and the former Myrtle Beach Air Force Base are all saturated with the compounds — known as PFOS and PFOA.

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Some of the groundwater collected from the four sites contained chemical levels thousands of times higher than an advised limit laid out by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

And at Shaw, in Sumter County, the study suggested the chemicals could leach into wells that provide drinking water to several nearby trailer parks....

South Carolina isn’t the only state where these contaminants have raised serious concerns. The Department of Defense found similar pollution in at least 27 other states, including Florida, Georgia and Virginia.

And the list continues to grow.

Defense Department officials reported last year that nearly 400 Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force bases could be contaminated around the globe. And they noted that roughly 600 drinking water systems on or near military bases have already tested positive for significant levels of the pollutants....

The environmental study at Shaw was finished in January. But over the past six months no public notices were issued. No community meetings were held. And neither the Air Force nor the state health department tested the tap water at the communities that surround the base.

“Why don’t they come and test this water?” asked Grant Head, a Navy veteran who has lived at the Crescent Motor Home Park for the past four years.

During the study, groundwater samples were collected from six locations around Shaw. And all six tested positive for the chemicals....

Back in Sumter County, William Byrd just wished someone would have told him about the tainted groundwater under Shaw. He and his wife, Shannon, recently signed a new lease on a trailer at the Crescent Motor Home Park.

The water is included with the rent.
:cussing:
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Toxic chemicals from firefighting foams could be found at 11 SC military bases

A list provided to Congress shows the U.S. Department of Defense believes the chemical-laden foam could be found at seven other current and former military bases throughout the Palmetto State. It’s all part of a growing mountain of liability related to the military’s decades-long use of the firefighting foam.
Who is the threat to the health and safety of Americans, and who is NOT defending us from it?
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Re: Pentagon bloat, etc. thread

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I signed a similar petition to my Senators.
Response from Senator Tillis

Thank you for taking the time to contact me about the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20 NDAA) and an amendment analyzing the cost of U.S. military installations, which was included in the House of Representatives version of this legislation. I appreciate hearing from you.

The Senate Armed Services Committee’s most important obligation is to our men and women in uniform, federal civilians, and the families that truly are the backbone of those who serve our great nation. Their service represents the ideals upon which this country was built. The best way this committee can honor their service and sacrifice is by providing the tools and resources needed to maintain a strong national defense.

As you may know, on June 27, 2019, the full Senate passed the FY20 NDAA by an overwhelming and bipartisan vote of 86-8. I was proud to support this legislation, which now awaits conference negotiations with the version passed by the House of Representatives. The FY20 NDAA authorizes $750 billion in defense spending, which is vital to the security of our nation and ensures our men and women in uniform are properly trained, equipped, and ready to defend our nation at a moment’s notice.

As Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel, I was proud to work with my subcommittee colleagues on a bipartisan basis to provide an across-the-board pay raise of 3.1% for our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines. I also worked on a bipartisan basis to secure a number of reforms that take significant steps to address critical issues with the Military Housing Privatization Initiative (MHPI). Furthermore, the personnel subcommittee included provisions that will improve both military sexual assault prevention and response, provide impact aid for local educational agencies, increase military spouse employment, and expand health care for servicemembers and their families.

In addition, the FY20 NDAA authorizes more than $2 billion in military construction and infrastructure improvements in North Carolina alone. These funds will provide critical improvements to Special Operations facilities and dining facilities at Fort Bragg, build a new access point on Slocum Road at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, and continue to modernize infrastructure at Camp Lejeune. This bill also provides wide ranging base infrastructure redevelopment for the buildings damaged by Hurricane Florence at Camp Lejeune, Cherry Point, and Marine Corps Air Station New River.

Please know that as the Senate debates the FY20 NDAA, I will keep your concerns regarding funding for U.S. military installations in mind.

Again, thank you for taking the time to contact me. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with me again about other issues that are important to you.

Sincerely,

Thom Tillis (R-NC)
U.S. Senator
:roll: :confusion-scratchheadblue: He acknowledges my reason for writing in his first paragraph, befuddles it at the end, and flings a bunch of irrelevant shit against the wall for several paragraphs in the middle.
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Re: Pentagon bloat, etc. thread

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Vrede too wrote:
Wed Jul 31, 2019 11:07 am

:roll: :confusion-scratchheadblue: He acknowledges my reason for writing in his first paragraph, befuddles it at the end, and flings a bunch of irrelevant shit against the wall for several paragraphs in the middle.
You do know those are form letters using some type of document management software, right? I'll bet every response you've ever gotten from him starts out "Thank you for taking the time to contact me about the <insert topic> I appreciate hearing from you." They insert text repeating your issue, insert text stating standard party line on that topic, and tell you thanks for writing. Tillis never saw your question nor his "response."

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Re: Pentagon bloat, etc. thread

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O Really wrote:
Wed Jul 31, 2019 11:40 am
You do know those are form letters using some type of document management software, right? I'll bet every response you've ever gotten from him starts out "Thank you for taking the time to contact me about the <insert topic> I appreciate hearing from you." They insert text repeating your issue, insert text stating standard party line on that topic, and tell you thanks for writing. Tillis never saw your question nor his "response."
Of course, but I can still gripe that they need better staff/software. They do themselves no favors by pissing folks off by not even getting the issue correct.
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Re: Pentagon bloat, etc. thread

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They probably figure if they have to handle form-field petitions, they can send out form-field responses. I'm thinking the quality of your message to them is probably way better than what they usually see, and they probably don't care if they piss off somebody with your views.

But I guess there is some value to be gained in saying "hey, Asshole - you've got some opposition out here."

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Re: Pentagon bloat, etc. thread

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O Really wrote:
Wed Jul 31, 2019 1:07 pm
They probably figure if they have to handle form-field petitions, they can send out form-field responses. I'm thinking the quality of your message to them is probably way better than what they usually see, and they probably don't care if they piss off somebody with your views.

But I guess there is some value to be gained in saying "hey, Asshole - you've got some opposition out here."
Aw shucks, but it was just a petition I signed, with the subject tweaked and a new first sentence in order to maybe avoid their petition detector. I'm not sure that content matters beyond getting a check mark on one side of an issue or another.

My Senators and Rep suck so bad that I rarely write my own notes to them. Usually it's just when one of their replies is truly awful, thinking that the responsible staffer/programmer might receive the scathing. This one doesn't rise to that level.
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Re: Pentagon bloat, etc. thread

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Re: Pentagon bloat, etc. thread

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O Really wrote:
Wed Jul 31, 2019 1:56 pm
Water on a duck's back...
https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/pe ... s-an-hour/
Yep, but I don't know why they're disparaging, "notes tied to rocks ... being thrown through Congressional windows." That sounds pretty effective to me. ;)

2 conclusions can be taken from the article, seemingly contradictory but not really:
An individual contact doesn't mean shit.
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Re: Pentagon bloat, etc. thread

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Individual opinions don't matter, nor even the opinion of a majority of citizens the scumbag ummm "represents." The only thing that counts is significantly large funding or voting blocs. The NRA has been able to say, with some accuracy, "support us or we'll vote your sorry ass out." Nevermind that a majority of voters would like to see better gun laws. Unions used to be able to do that, but they've no longer got teeth.

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Re: Pentagon bloat, etc. thread

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That's pretty cynical. It's often true, but I think that stating it as an absolute is going overboard. Do you really think that all of the advocacy groups urging citizen contacts are FoS?
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Re: Pentagon bloat, etc. thread

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Vrede too wrote:
Wed Jul 31, 2019 5:00 pm
That's pretty cynical. It's often true, but I think that stating it as an absolute is going overboard. Do you really think that all of the advocacy groups urging citizen contacts are FoS?
FoS might be a little harsh, or at least disrespectful, but yes, I absolutely believe that members of Congress and state Legislatures are moved only by strong voting blocs and money. There are some exceptions, undoubtedly, and some issues that may turn too hot to ignore, but just look at the records. I think the Congressional staffers receive a petition and blow it off as "more click-votes from the <insert group> loons. The groups are well-meaning, and I suppose there's an argument that doing something is better than doing nothing. But if you can't deliver or deny votes - a lot of votes - or you can't deliver a pile of money, you're getting nothing but "thoughts and prayers" from your ummm "representative."

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Re: Pentagon bloat, etc. thread

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You don't see any connection between citizen contacts, money and "voting blocs"?
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Re: Pentagon bloat, etc. thread

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Vrede too wrote:
Wed Jul 31, 2019 5:54 pm
You don't see any connection between citizen contacts, money and "voting blocs"?
Maybe, if the citizen contacts are sufficiently organized, have a lobbying group that actually gets to meet with the scumbags, and can get their members to vote according to their recommendations, or has a PAC representing a sizable number of people who will really vote. AARP comes to mind. But look at the enormous pressure put on Collins both for Obamacare and for Boofer and what did she do? The election was far away, the opposition was somewhat one-issue people not likely to control enough real votes to unseat her. Hopefully she was wrong - we'll see, but she still ignored the citizen contacts as well as public polling data.

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Re: Pentagon bloat, etc. thread

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O Really wrote:
Wed Jul 31, 2019 7:51 pm
Maybe, if the citizen contacts are sufficiently organized, have a lobbying group that actually gets to meet with the scumbags, and can get their members to vote according to their recommendations, or has a PAC representing a sizable number of people who will really vote. AARP comes to mind. But look at the enormous pressure put on Collins both for Obamacare and for Boofer and what did she do? The election was far away, the opposition was somewhat one-issue people not likely to control enough real votes to unseat her. Hopefully she was wrong - we'll see, but she still ignored the citizen contacts as well as public polling data.
Susan Collins Raised More Money From Brett Kavanaugh Supporters Than Mainers
The vast majority of the senator’s money at the end of 2018 came from outside of Maine.
Cook Political Report moves Susan Collins Senate race to 'toss up'

... Collins won her last reelection bid in 2014 by more than 30 points but is expected to face a much tighter race this time around, with the leader of the state's House of Representatives, Sara Gideon (D), announcing she would challenge the four-term senator.

A press release Friday from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) claimed that the incumbent senator's support had cratered in the state following her confirmation vote for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh last year, a controversial vote that Democrats argue pushed her outside the label of "moderate."

"This is the latest in a string of bad news for the vulnerable incumbent, who has continued to lose support among Mainers and seen her net approval drop by a 'stunning' amount since President Trump took office," the DSCC said in a press release, quoting a Morning Consult analysis....
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Re: Pentagon bloat, etc. thread

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Yeppers, the only "citizen contact" that works is when that citizen contacts the ballot. She went with the money, but maybe she'll still pay the price.

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Re: Pentagon bloat, etc. thread

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O Really wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 11:08 am
Yeppers, the only "citizen contact" that works is when that citizen contacts the ballot. She went with the money, but maybe she'll still pay the price.
It's a little more complicated than that. The Maine citizen contacts predicted her huge drop in the polls and her possible defeat, and she arguably would have been wise to heed them rather than the out of state money.
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Re: Pentagon bloat, etc. thread

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Want to Tackle Unemployment? Reduce Military Spending

... As Brown University’s Costs of War project has reported, “$1 billion in military spending creates approximately 11,200 jobs, compared with 26,700 in education, 16,800 in clean energy, and 17,200 in health care.” Military spending actually proved to be the worst job creator of any federal government spending option those researchers analyzed. Similarly, according to a report by Heidi Garrett-Peltier of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, for every $1 million of spending on defense, 6.9 jobs are created both directly in defense industries and in the supply chain. Spending the same amount in the fields of wind or solar energy, she notes, leads to 8.4 or 9.5 jobs, respectively. As for the education sector, the same amount of money produced 19.2 jobs in primary and secondary education and 11.2 jobs in higher education. In other words, not only are the green energy and education areas vital to the future of the country, they are also genuine job-creating machines. Yet, the government gives more taxpayer dollars to the defense industry than all these other government functions combined.

You don’t, however, have to turn to critics of defense spending to make the case. Reports from the industry’s own trade association show that it has been shedding jobs. According to an Aerospace Industries Association analysis, it supported approximately 300,000 fewer jobs in 2018 than it had reported supporting just three years earlier.

If the nation’s top defense contractor and the industry as a whole have been shedding jobs, how have they been able to consistently and effectively perpetuate the myth that they are engines of job creation? To explain this, add to their army of lobbyists, their treasure trove of campaign contributions, and those think tanks on the take, the famed revolving door that sends retired government officials into the world of the weapons makers and those working for them to Washington.

While there has always been a cozy relationship between the Pentagon and the defense industry, the lines between contractors and the government have blurred far more radically in the Trump years. Mark Esper, the newly minted secretary of defense, for example, previously worked as Raytheon’s top lobbyist in Washington. Spinning the other way, the present head of the Aerospace Industries Association, Eric Fanning, had been both secretary of the Army and acting secretary of the Air Force. In fact, since 2008, as the Project on Government Oversight’s Mandy Smithberger found, “at least 380 high-ranking Department of Defense officials and military officers shifted into the private sector to become lobbyists, board members, executives, or consultants for defense contractors.”

Whatever the spin, whether of that revolving door or of the defense industry’s publicists, the bottom line couldn’t be clearer: If job creation is your metric of choice, Pentagon contractors are a bad taxpayer investment. So whenever Marillyn Hewson or any other CEO in the military-industrial complex claims that spending yet more taxpayer dollars on defense contractors will give a jobs break to Americans, just remember their track record so far: Ever more dollars invested means ever fewer Americans employed.
Tax cuts that mostly benefit the working and middle classes also generate more jobs than the MIC due to consumer spending. I'm not sure about deficit reduction, but most agree that it's good for the economy in general.
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Re: Pentagon bloat, etc. thread

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Lil bush used military jobs to keep almost everyone from seeing his disastrous economy - until it burst


then the repugs blamed Clinton
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Re: Pentagon bloat, etc. thread

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Trump press conference today, was asked about Syria. He avoided discussion of how badly he screwed up the troop withdrawal on behalf of the Turkey and Russian dictatorships, and the mass murderous shame of betraying the Kurds, of course. His deflection was largely to speak at length in general terms about the "embarrassing" number of countries we have troops in, often ones where the residents don't want us there, and the enormous costs.

I found myself agreeing with him :wtf: , and wishing that I ever heard the same from any but the most leftwing of Dems. There's a difference between being anti-militarist /anti-imperialist and being isolationist. Trump may be the latter, but I'm not.
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Re: Pentagon bloat, etc. thread

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Tell Congress: Keep Amendment on Foreign Bases in NDAA

The U.S. House of Representatives passed an amendment to the "National Defense Authorization Act" introduced by Congresswoman Ilhan Omar requiring that the U.S. military provide Congress with the cost and the supposed national security benefits of every foreign military base or foreign military operation. World BEYOND War had flooded Congressional offices with the demand for Yes votes.

Now, as the House and Senate reconcile their two versions of the bill, they need to know that we want this amendment left in it....
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