“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Friday, December 23, 2016

F-35 : Trump is Right About Costs but Does Stealth Matter? If so, Use Drones - The Enemy Will

The Official F-35 Price Tags Are Bogus

Pentagon statements do not reflect real costs or original estimates


On Dec. 12, 2016, president-elect Donald Trump asserted that F-35 unit cost was “out of control” through his preferred medium Twitter. On Dec. 19, 2016, U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, in charge of the Joint Strike Fighter project, gave the press his version of things.

Multiple media outlets passed along the officer’s comments, but with no analysis of the completeness and accuracy of Bogdan’s assertions. The reports offered no context or alternative views on the stealth fighter’s actual cost per plane.

The general said each one of the Air Force’s F-35A would cost $102.1 million, while both the U.S. Marine Corps’ F-35Bs and and U.S. Navy’s F-35Cs would set the taxpayer back 132 million each. Those costs average to approximately $122 million for a “generic” F-35.

Bogdan got these numbers from the funds Congress set aside in the 2015 defense budget for what the Pentagon called “Lot 9,” just one of a number of planned F-35 purchases. In November 2016, the U.S. military was still negotiating the final deal with plane-maker Lockheed Martin.

Needless to say, the unit costs Bogdan gave the media were incomplete. They involve only the Pentagon’s existing contracts with Lockheed and engine-maker Pratt & Whitney to build the airframes and jet motors.

The numbers do not, for example, include the cost to buy maintenance equipment and other necessary support elements. They do not include money the Pentagon will spend to fix design errors discovered in testing now and in the future.

These figures are not the “sticker price.”

One could calculate a far more complete price from the appropriations that Bogdan told Congress he needed to buy functioning airplanes. The difference between what he is telling the press now and what he told Congress in 2015 is significant — it is also the difference between a factory simply putting together a airplane and delivering an airplane that can actually fly and operate.

For the 2015 fiscal year, the F-35 project chief petitioned Congress for $6.4 billion to produce 34 F-35s for the Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy. This amount did not included separate funds for research and development and other costs that the Pentagon asked for in budget request.

With the production data, we can calculate a F-35A has a price tag of $157 million, not $102 million. It’s $265 million for a F-35B and $355 million for a F-35C, not $132 million for either variant.

On average, these F-35s cost $188 million apiece, not $122 million.

More basically, Bogdan says the F-35’s price has been coming down, and indeed it has. The $188 million generic price in 2015 was less than the $250 million the Pentagon quoted in 2001.

For the 2017 fiscal year, Congressional appropriations showed us that the total costs came down again to $128 million for a generic F-35. That’s $113 million for an F-35A, $142 million for an F-35B and $241 million for a F-35C.

However, an old Congressional Research Service report on the F-35 tells us that in 1994 the Pentagon was promising F-35As for $31 million, F-35Bs for $31 to $38 million and F-35Cs for between $30 and 35 million. In 2017 dollars, those costs would be $53 million per F-35A, $53 million to $65 million for each F-35B and $51 million to $60 million for a single F-35C.

Put another way, in 2017, a F-35A costs about twice what the Pentagon promised Congress more than two decades earlier. Compared to this initial estimate, the F-35B costs more than twice as much now, while an F-35C is about four times more expensive.

I suspect Trump can recognize when he is being scammed. In this case, the Pentagon is telling him American taxpayers can get F-35s for only two to four times what they originally advertised.

In 2014, Winslow Wheeler retired as the Director of the Straus Military Reform Project at the Project On Government Oversight. He worked on national security issues for 31 years in the U.S. Senate for members of both political parties and at the Government Accountability Office.


You can't replace the F-35 with an F-18 any more than you can replace an aircraft carrier with a cruise ship
Popular Science

An F-18 cannot do everything an F-35 can do, unless stealth doesn't matter.

Stealth planes are complex machines. The science of stealth is really two sciences carefully put together: materials and shape, forming an outer casing of an airplane that hides the sensitive guts inside from hostile RADAR. Only a handful of countries have ever developed stealth fighters. Only the United States has ever deployed them in war.

Today, president-elect Donald Trump tweeted about the F-35, America’s long-in-development and expensive new family of stealth fighters.

Stealth is integral to the design of the F-35. A low radar signature means the plane is harder for enemies to see, and so can get closer to targets before it’s in danger. Keeping that stealth body while developing three version: the F-35A for the Air Force, the F-35B with short takeoff and vertical landing capability for the Marine Corps, and the F-35C for the Navy (rugged enough to land on aircraft carriers) meant the planes had to make some compromises in design, like small internal bomb bays for stealth missions. In the 20 years from the start of the development of the F-35, stealth remained a consistent part of the program, one deemed essential by the Air Force and a shared bonus for the Navy and Marines, as well as the foreign allies who are buying the F-35.

Those limitations, and the cost overruns, have left the F-35 both unpopular and without a real, obvious alternative. Trump’s proposal is simple: “I have asked Boeing to price-out a comparable F-18 Super Hornet!” It also ignores the stealth at the heart of the much-maligned fighter. An F-18 is many things, but it is not a stealth jet and the systems built around the F-35 are all built to take advantage of the stealth.

It is as absurd as suggesting that a standard 747 airliner can perform the same role as the expensive, highly specialized Air Force One variants built from the 747 airframe. Or, more plainly, it’s like suggesting a cruise ship can do the job of an aircraft carrier: the body is essential for the role, and whatever else the flaws of the F-35, it has a stealthy body and the F-18 doesn’t.


  1. If stealth matters why not use drones?

    1. The United States is focusing on producing a very few exquisite systems. When fully operational, the F-35 will bring a leap in capability. However, a creative enemy might choose not to fight the F-35 in the air but instead send cheap drones to hunt them at their air bases.

      These relatively inexpensive drones will rely on sheer numbers. If an enemy prints 1,000 a day, he doesn’t care if 500 suffer in-flight failures. Nor does he care you shoot down another 300 near your airfield. He still has 200 hunting a couple of dozen F-35 revetments. If those are not available, the drones can autonomously switch their aim points to radar antennae, fuel points, or ammunition sites.

      The United States cannot overcome swarms of autonomous weapons by increasing our production of old weapons. A parallel might be drawn with the U.S. Navy’s pre-World War II focus on battleships, which produced behemoths that were far more capable (and expensive) than their World War I predecessors yet proved largely helpless against the revolutionary new technologies of naval aviation.

      Today, our own focus on improving the weapons of the past is leading us astray. As our weapons become ever more exquisite, we can afford fewer and fewer. Bomber proponents say we need 100 to 200 LRS-Bs, but a realistic appraisal of the last 40 years of U.S. aircraft development and production indicates we will purchase many fewer – perhaps as few as the 21 B-2s. Meanwhile, commercial firms are creating drones that can deliver precision fires at ranges over 1,000 miles.

      Like previous technological revolutions, this one will roll out over the next decade or two. There is still time to change direction to meet it — just as the prewar Navy ultimately began to invest heavily in aviation, and won, instead of lost, the coming war.

      (We’re several years past the ability to 3D-print a drone in a single day; researchers are now refining prototype systems that can print 25 to 100 times faster than that. A single small facility with only 10 such printers will soon be able to produce 1,000 drones a day. These will be autonomous weapons that can attack with precision to destroy vehicles, parked aircraft, fuel, and ammunition stores.)

      3D Printing of Drones


    2. The Generals are always planning to fight the "Last" war, not the "Next" one.

  2. By the way:

    This is Xmas X here at the Elephant Bar. I hardly believe it. All the best and Merry Xmas to all.


    Sunday, December 24, 2006

    Peace on Earth and goodwill to all.

    I have no particular theory about Christmas and its meaning. As a student of history, I recognize the not so un-coincidental congruence of holidays that coincide with the winter solstice. Some of the first US Christians, the Puritans, did not celebrate Christmas at all. They thought the German settlers with their yule logs and fir trees were more concerned with pagan rites than Christian practices.

    The customs and practices of Christmas are rooted in many cultures and practices including Roman, Jewish, Germanic-paganism and Zoroastrianism. I prefer the Christmas times of my youth that were much less commercial, simpler and less filled with anxious expectation. I recognize January 2nd as one of the happier days of the year for me because the burdens and obligation, the hysteria and frantic worries of Christmas are over. The days get a little longer. Everything is less crowded and people do not have to pretend to be nice or happy or grateful. They can be themselves again.

    Expectations are back to normal and the insanity of excess is put back into hibernation. I never did care about the daily countdown as to how the retailers are doing.

    Do not confuse my lack of enthusiasm as Scrooge-like. It is all just not as important to me as it seems to be for most everyone else. There are important parts to Christmas that I treasure, the great Church music of Handel’s Messiah and the honest stated desire of peace on earth are two of my favorites. They both can bring a tear to my eye. I decorate my own ancient house in traditional Christmas pagan boughs of holly and red and gold garlands. I will take comfort in the joys and blessings of my own life and express them as a wish for all of you, whether you deserve them or not. Merry Christmas.


    1. Merry Christmas to you too, D. Neezer.

    2. Peace on earth begins with goodwill towards man, and women, and transvestites, and...and...and...

      In my opinion, peace on earth begins with responsible reproductive practices. Or, safe sex.

      Merry Christmas everyone.

  4. Gautama held that producing arms and dealing in the arms trade was not conducive to liberation.

    Diogenes told Alexander the Great to quit blocking his sunlight.

    Diogenes chats with Alex,_and_Diogenes_the_Cynic

    As I age, I agree with these folks....and with those Hindus basking stark naked on a rock that didn't care to move a muscle when Alex marched by....

    Would Jesus choose the F-35 or the F-18 ?

    That's what I want to know.

    It's his Birthday, after all.

    1. Then I'd be interested in cray cray Quirk's opinion.

    2. Gautama also held, in a little known saying, that the advertising business was not conducive to liberation.

      He considered farming, though, as a noble profession, as the folks gotta eat, and a small step up the ladder towards liberation.

  5. I'm in one of those moods where the printing of 3-D drones seems crazy as hell, even if they are put to good use.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Good use, such as nailing liquor store robbers, as Rand Paul once suggested.


      I am going to see if youtube has archived this remarkable suggestion by Senator Paul, and will post it if I can find it.

    3. Aha !!

      Got him !!


  6. "Q"Nit of the Day: Phoenix, Arizona

    Phoenix: Muslim arrested, plotted jihad massacre at midnight Mass

    December 23, 2016 8:37 pm By Robert Spencer

    “Get down with this ISIS s-t.”

    Where did Abu Talib al-Ameriki learn Islam? Was he “radicalized on the Internet”? Has his mosque been investigated? Did he attend the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix, where the Garland jihadis were regulars? Does anyone know? Does anyone care?

    “Phoenix cops arrest alleged ‘jihadist’ plotting midnight Mass attack: ‘Get down with this ISIS s-t,’” by Douglas Ernst, Washington Times, December 23, 2016:

    An Arizona man was arrested earlier this week for alleged ties to the Islamic State group and a plan to target midnight Masses in Phoenix.

    Derrick Thompson, 30, was arrested on Tuesday and charged with one felony count of participating in a criminal syndicate, one charge of assisting a criminal syndicate and one felony count of misconduct involving weapons. Court documents released Thursday say he has been an “avowed jihadist” since July 2014.

    “From the period of July 2014 to the present Derrick Thompson was involved in communications and activity that show material support for the Islamic State Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/ISIS/IS),” court documents said, a local CBS affiliate reported Thursday. “Specifically, on our about January 26, 2015, Thompson attempted to obtain a handgun from a seller on”…

    “The search history from his Google accounts include numerous contacts with ISIL websites, and a post to his Google Plus account in October 2016 stating, ‘Right, we need to get down with this ISIS s-t.’ His Google account has been used as recently as October 2016 to search for midnight mass,” the court documents continued.

    Mr. Thompson also goes by the alias Abu Talib al-Ameriki, court documents show.


    1. Obama's FBI, which Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson has told us is a corrupt and unethical governmental organization, was integral to the arrest of the suspect.

    2. Ah the AZ FBI, wasn't that the place that you claimed to have an inside source to look at ongoing investigations? That you claimed your "mole" gave you unfettered access to classified information?

      You remember, when i call them and reported you?

      You remember you claimed to have seen my "file"?

      Were you lying about seeing my "file"? or were you lying about seeing classified information and hanging you mole out to dry?

      Either way Jack? you lie..

      BTW still stalking the wrong Jew in Cleveland? You remember Chocolate Emporium?

      Jack, you are still the lying pond scum you always were...

  7. The following video has the F-22 taking out multiple F-15's.

    Originally I think the 35 was sposed to be cheaper than the 22, but not now.

    Maybe keep making Superhornets until they can make a Carrier Capable 22?

    One big problem is restarting 22 production after Obama stopped it.

    Should have canceled the 35 and kept the 22's running.

    ...but that would have been Obama making a good choice, which is asking way too much.


    1. The reason that Mr Obama canceled the F22, Dougo, goes back to General Dynamics being squeezed out of the manufacturing consortium.

    2. But Jack you used to tell us that General Dynamics OWNED Obama...


  8. As Groundwater Dwindles, a Global Food Shock Looms
    By mid-century, says a new study, some of the biggest grain-producing regions could run dry.

    Agriculture is by far the leading groundwater user, and overexploitation is on the rise. The volume of groundwater depletion climbed 22 percent in the past decade, with nearly all of it going to watering crops, according to another study presented at the San Francisco conference.

    Fully 20 percent of agricultural irrigation is now unsustainable, University College London researcher Carole Dalin reported. Nearly half goes to commercial crops of wheat and rice. And Pakistan, India, and the United States are responsible for two-thirds of that outsize groundwater use.

    Studies like these show how today’s unsustainable practices jeopardize the future of our planet’s aquifers, says Thomas Harter, a University of California, Davis, hydrologist who studies California’s Central Valley, but was not involved in either project.


    Soda Stream almost double from it's low just a year ago...


    Up yours Jack

    1. Sodastream ...

      It is not how it has done in the last year, but how it has done since your "BUY" recommendation, "O"rdure.

      Soda What is "Occupation" Sat Jul 19, 2014 10:54:00 PM EDT

      it's a great time to buy the stock (Sodastream) Herr Rodent..
      It's undervalued. ($29.11)
      you really just don't understand business..

      That was then ...
      This is now

      Let us review ...
      "O"rdure recommends buying Sodastream on 19July 2014 at $29.11 telling us it was undervalued.
      Now he tells us that Sodastream was selling on Dec 23, 2016 for $40.97 USD

      An increase of $11.86.
      Not a doubling, but an increase of 28% over 31 months

      Not terrible, but ...
      "O"rdure just can't help but to try spinning the truth.

    2. So, "O"rdure, with regards Soda Stream, are you now advising a "Buy, Hold or Sell"?

    3. And, "O"rdure, if you had any brains at all, you'd have told us that SodaStream had more than tripled from it's recent lows ...

      Your really are ignorant in the use of both numerical reasoning and the English language

    4. Jack, spin spin spin...

      can't admit you were wrong, perfect example of a narcissist personality defect...

    5. What I am advising is that you and your comments about Soda Stream are garbage.

  10. It must be disheartening for Crapper Jack Hawkins to be passed over by Santa year after year.

    Reason being he doesn't have a jolly in his entire being, and landed on the 'naughty' list long ago.

    1. By the way, how is that 'rat doctrine' working out for you in ISISland, Jack ?

      ISIS, according to your prediction, was supposed to have been gone long months ago.

      Yet, tis not so....


    2. Put out a few bucks for a Christmas gift for your abandoned daughter this year, did you, Dead Beat Dad ?

    3. Aleppo is no longer held by ISIS
      Mosul -
      2 days ago - A military offensive to reclaim the northern Iraqi city of Mosul from so-called Islamic State (IS) is under way.

      Just can't deal with reality, can you "Draft Dodger"

      Oh, how is your Cousin Sally?

      The "Rat Doctrine" is working fine, Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson.

      Number of US casualties, under a dozen -- a great success for US.


    heh :)

    I doubt he's going to get it.


    Cheers !

  12. .

    Well, it's good to see everyone is holiday happy this morning and full of good cheer.

    God bless us everyone.


    1. No kidding. The children are all home for the holidays. Sigh......:

  13. While Bibi confirms Israel's "Outlaw" status.
    Joining North Korea in ignoring the United Nations

    Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu says will not abide by UN resolution

    1. Actually it confirms that the world is out of step with Israel.

      No matter Jack, the world will correct itself soon...

  14. What I learned about Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson after spending a week on jury duty with him

    Nine years ago, I showed up to the Denton County Courthouse for jury duty and got myself picked for the job. A young girl had accused her mom's boyfriend of sexual assault, and the case was being brought to trial.
    If you've ever served on a jury trial before, you understand the almost immediate yet very temporary bond that ties 12 strangers together who are randomly chosen from each of their private lives to fulfill a solemn public purpose.

    One of our first tasks was to choose our jury foreman. Perhaps it was his business suit, his impressive stature, or his charisma, but almost everyone in that jury room suggested that this middle-aged man with graying hair was likely the most fit for the task.

    Thanks, but I decline. I'm not interested in the spotlight, he told us. I didn't think anything of it.
    I had just bought my first BlackBerry and used my breaks to catch up on all the emails I was missing from my week at the courthouse. I recall leaving the jury room on a break with this man and remarking how busy I was and how much work I had to do. He smiled as he sat and read the paper.

    From the first day of jury selection, we all noticed another suited man always present in the courtroom. His presence was intriguing due to the ear piece in his ear. While grabbing lunch at Denton County Independent Hamburger on the square the second day of the trial, we noticed this mysterious man dining with our fellow juror who'd declined the foreman spot. The intrigue grew, and it was the talk of the jury: Who were these men?
    Finally, during a break in the jury room, one juror had the nerve to ask: "Who are you? And what do you do?"
    Our fellow jury member was reading the paper again and pointed out an article with Exxon in the headlines.
    I work for them, he said humbly. There are a lot of people in this world who hate me for what I do, so they give me and my family guys like that to protect me.

    I immediately felt embarrassed for complaining about how much work I had to do. It didn't take long before a few internet searches revealed that I was serving on this jury with the CEO of Exxon Mobil, Rex Tillerson.

    The trial concluded, and it was time for the jury to deliberate. The story was heartbreaking, and the facts of the case were clear enough to make the majority of the jury convinced of the guilt of this sexual offender of a little girl. But the defense did a good enough job to create a couple of hold-outs. As our deliberations came to a close, it appeared we might have a hung jury.

    1. That's when Tillerson began to speak. Humbly, delicately and without an ounce of condescension toward those who disagreed, he began walking us all through the details of the case. I even recall being moved by his thorough explanation about the nature of doubt and the standards set forth by our justice system.

      With great patience, this man who strikes multibillion-dollar deals with foreign heads of state brought our scrappy jury together — to bring a sexual predator to justice and to deliver justice for a scared and deeply wounded little girl.

      A local nonprofit was instrumental in fostering that young girl through this process, providing her counseling and legal help. I was so struck by their mission that I toured their facility the week after the case to learn how I could donate and volunteer to their cause.

      On a whim, I decided to reach out to Tillerson to encourage him to do the same. I found an email for him online and sent him a note, touting the role this agency played in our trial and urging him to consider supporting the great work they do. To my surprise, I received an email back thanking me for my note and my jury service, and ensuring me that he would contact the agency. I later received a call from the director of that nonprofit to let me know that Tillerson followed through and gave a generous donation
      I didn't vote for Trump. This is not an endorsement of Tillerson for secretary of state. I'm sure that the coming days and weeks will be filled with speculation and political discussion over this clearly controversial pick. I certainly appreciate those concerns and the process that ensures significant scrutiny for this important position.

      But during a recent news show, I heard the term "corrupt" applied to this man who I spent five days with back in 2007.

      All I know is that this man who holds one of the most powerful positions in the world and clearly has the means and ability to side-step his jury responsibilities, served as a normal citizen without complaint or pretense.
      I know that a scared little girl who was finally persuaded to come public with her account of abuse was inches away from a decision that would have sided with her abuser, yet this man put his negotiation skills to a noble use, and justice was served.

      I know that this man and his myriad aides could have ignored an unsolicited email from a girl in her 20s suggesting that he donate to a local cause, but he took the time to respond and opened up his pocket book.
      My five days with Rex Tillerson is all I know about this man and his character. And in light of the recent news, I thought this a relevant story to tell.

      Emily Roden is a small-business owner in Denton. This essay was adapted from a post that first appeared at Twitter: @RodenEmily

  15. December 24, 2016
    Black Slaveowners: A Review
    By Janet Levy

    It is widely believed that slavery in 19th-century America was the exclusive province of whites. However, as historian Larry Kroger reveals in Black Slaveowners, free black people in the United States owned slaves, fought for their right to do so and had little sympathy for abolition.

    A five-year investigation of federal census data, wills, mortgages, bills of sale, tax returns and newspaper ads from 1790 to 1860 provided the foundation for Koger's examination of black slave masters in the Palmetto state, culminating in his illuminating book, Black Slaveowners: Free Black Slave Masters in South Carolina, 1790-1860 (McFarland, 1985). Charleston City, in which 72.1% of African-America households owned slaves, was a valuable primary documentation source. Records that survived the Civil War indicated the existence of 260 black slave masters.

    This well-sourced book, which contains lengthy appendices of federal census data and well over 600 citations, represents an earnest attempt to examine a difficult and complex topic that too few have addressed: the phenomenon of black slaveowners.

    According to Kroger's comprehensive and well-researched volume, black slave owners lived in every Southern state that allowed slavery and even Northern states, including Maryland. The practice of black slave ownership was widespread and stretched from New York to Florida to Missouri, Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi. According to the 1830 federal census, free blacks owned 10,000 slaves, including in New York City eight free blacks who reportedly owned 17 slaves. Many black slave owners were large planters who raised cotton, rice, and sugar cane. Many inherited slaves from relatives or white kinsfolk who transported them from Africa to the New World.

    As the economy of Charleston City expanded in the early 19th century, many free blacks were able to buy slaves, making the city the center of black slave holding in South Carolina. Between 1820 and 1840, most free black heads of households in Charleston owned slaves....


    2. .

      And the point?

      Only the American Thinker would publish something like this...

      This well-sourced book...represents an earnest attempt to examine a difficult and complex topic that too few have addressed: the phenomenon of black slaveowners.

      Difficult and complex?

      What's so difficult and complex about it? They weren't trying to set up a jobs program for their fellow blacks. They did it for the same reason most (all?) did it. To make a buck.


    3. The point is that the practice was more widespread than most people realize.

      That would include you.

      It is a difficult and complex task explaining anything at all to you, much less something as counter intuitive as blacks having black slaves.

      You see, this takes the racial angle away from the topic.

    4. How can blacks having black slaves be seen as counter intuitive unless your looking at it through a racial angle prism?

      Humans having Goldfish Slaves, now that would be a whole nuther kettle of fish.

  16. Trump’s son goes hunting in Turkey amid signs of amity

  17. Update on the heterophobic cocksuckers

    1. They're both "Husbands"

      What's that mean in terms of positions?

    2. It just means they both can watch the Bravo channel at the same time.

  18. Ah, the nobility!

    Woman brutally beaten by mob of men after resisting groping creep

    December 23, 2016
    A woman in India was subjected to disturbing brutality by a man who attempted to grope her in public. A group of men gathered around the woman and escalated the violence alongside the groper while the woman's young daughter watched it unfold.

    1. Jeez Doug-O, I said it was a noble culture, not that all 1,000 million Hindus in it were all saints.

      Besides from the video it's hard to identify the classification of the participants.

      I was speaking of the literature and theological thought of the nation, not each and every street scene.

    2. Next you'll be defending the Mormons.

      I just read how many of the live in your (red) neck of the woods.

      Merry Holidays, and all that.

    3. Loved that Movie in the Avenal Cinema

    4. Dad's drug store was 2 doors down the street.

    5. This is the scene where I save the Damsel in her dress.

      ...or something like that.

      I was not yet into Damsels w/o their dress.

    6. Later in life I got into Dr. Harold Medfords' daughter Pat's panties.
      In the New Mexico desert, Police Sgt. Ben Peterson and his partner find a child wandering in the desert and sooner they discover that giant ants are attacking the locals. FBI agent Robert Graham teams up with Ben and with the support of Dr. Harold Medford and his daughter Dr. Patricia 'Pat' Medford, they destroy the colony of ants in the middle of the desert.

      Dr. Harold Medford explains that the atomic testing in 1945 developed the dangerous mutant ants. But they also discover that two queen ants have flown away to Los Angeles and they are starting a huge colony in the underground of the city.
      When a mother reports that her two children are missing, the team and the army have a lead to follow.

      Will they arrive in time to save the children and destroy the colony?

    7. Mutant ants were thought to be a greater threat than Climate Change, at the time.


      Love the old chopper at 28:30.

    9. 31:45

      Good. They're getting serious.

      Setting up the bazookas.

      That's the way we cleared our land of the Giant Ants.

      Wonderful old movie....

    10. Ant larvii !!!!!!!


      I've had enough....

    11. Hope your link still works tomorrow, all the longer ones I found were taken down by copyright.

      Flamethrowers were always top-shelf weapons.

  19. Goo Goo Doll


  20. With Kazillions of Lethal Drones, I predict the future to be very interesting.

    Human existence, or the lack of it reduced to an inexpensive video game.

  21. Maybe Santa will be reduced to dropping bags of fragmentation bomblets.

  22. What about autonomy ?

    What about the sole noble individual alone with his divinity in his own lava tube ?

    In Conclusion

    The rate of human evolution is accelerating as we transition from the slow and random process of “Darwinian natural selection” to a hyper-accelerated and precisely-directed period of “evolution by intelligent direction.” In this post, I chose not to discuss the power being unleashed by such gene-editing techniques as CRISPR-Cas9. Consider this yet another tool able to accelerate evolution by our own hand.

    The bottom line is that change is coming, faster than ever considered possible. All of us leaders, entrepreneurs and parents have a huge responsibility to inspire and guide the transformation of humanity on and off the Earth. What we do over the next 30 years—the bridges we build to abundance—will impact the future of the human race for millennia to come. We truly live during the most exciting time ever in human history.

    Exponential Growth Will Transform Humanity in the Next 30 Years
    By Peter Diamandis - Dec 21, 201619974

    What about Quirk holed up in Ye Olde Mafia Barber Shoppe ?

    1. The last attempt to:

      accelerate evolution by our own hand

      was the lamented Nazi attempt of recent memory.

      I'll go with Robert Frost:

      "Eyes meeting eyes
      Ever upward towards the light"

    2. Two Sparrows in a Hurricane

  23. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker: A Convention of States "makes sense"
    Posted by Convention of States Project on December 21, 2016

    Add another high-profile name to the list of Article V supporters.

    Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker said in a telephone town hall earlier this week that it “makes sense” to hold the first-ever Article V Convention of States. Congress will never propose a balanced budget amendment or a term limits amendment, he said, so it’s up to the states to “sidestep Congress” and propose the necessary constitutional reforms.

    To those who worry about a “runaway convention,” Walker pointed out that amendment ratification is “not an easy process. Our founders intended that, so that only substantive changes that had the overwhelming support of the American people would go forward."

    Walker adds his name to a list of figures that includes Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, former Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn, radio personalities Mark Levin and Glenn Beck, and legal scholars Prof. Rob Natelson and Randy Barnett. All of these individuals support the Article V process and have voiced their approval of the Convention of States Project strategy.

    Their support comes at the optimal time for the success of the Article V movement. Over three dozen states will be considering the Convention of States resolution this year, more than enough to reach the 34-state threshold that triggers a Convention.

    With high-profile names joining the millions of Convention of States supporters across the country, this year promises to be the most successful year ever for the movement to end federal overreach and stop the runaway train in D.C.

    I aim to put the secession of Idawyotana on the agenda !

  24. Quirk, playing Santa, goes droning -


      There goes ol' Quirk, adroning....

  25. "Q"Nit of the Day: 'Assimilation' in Australia

    4 Suspects Charged Over Alleged Christmas Day Terror Plot in Australia

    By J.J. GALLAGHER Dec 23, 2016, 11:41 AM ET
    The Associated Press

    Four men have been charged in what authorities allege was a plot to launch a Christmas Day terrorist attack in Melbourne, Australia's second-largest city.

    Authorities detained five suspects, all men, in raids on Thursday night and Friday. Initially, three of the suspects were charged on Friday with preparing or planning a terrorist attack, The Associated Press reported. Authorities announced later in the day that a fourth man had been charged.

    Hamza Abbas, 21, Ahmed Mohamed, 24, and Abdullah Chaarani, 26, did not enter pleas or apply for bail. They will appear in court next on April 28. Each faces a life sentence if convicted. The fourth man, a 22-year-old that authorities did not name, was also charged with preparing or planning a terrorist attack.

    Four of the five suspects were born in Australia while the fifth was born in Egypt but holds dual citizenship.

    Authorities say the men took inspiration from the Islamic State and planned to use explosives, knives and a gun to attack well-known landmarks in Melbourne, including the Flinders Street train station, Federation Square and St. Paul's Cathedral.

    The alleged plotters were under police surveillance prior to the raids and had moved quickly from the planning stages to being able to strike, authorities said.

    "Islamist terrorism is a global challenge that affects us all. But we must not be cowed by the terrorists," Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told reporters.

    Law enforcement officials said the suspects posed a serious threat, adding that it was one of the most substantial terrorist plots seen in the country in recent years.

    "In terms of events that we have seen over the past few years in Australia, this certainly concerns me more than any other event that I've seen," Australian Federal Police Commissioner Andrew Colvin said.

    The law enforcement operation, dubbed Operation Kastelholm, involved some 400 police officers and culminated with raids on five premises around Melbourne.

    Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews said there will be extra police on the streets of Melbourne on Christmas Day to make the public feel safe.

    ABC News' Matt Foster and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

    1. Australia: Islamic Centre in Melbourne linked to Christmas jihad terror plot


      “Despite it being linked again and again to young jihadi warriors from Melbourne, it keeps a reputation as a ‘moderate’ Islamic centre.”


      “The Islamic Centre in Melbourne linked to Christmas terror plot,” by Chris Johnston, The Age, December 24, 2016 (thanks to Rod):

      From their own social media posts, it is clear that several of the young Melbourne men accused of plotting a Christmas Day terror attack have spent time at a place called the Hume Islamic Youth Centre in Coolaroo.

      Despite it being linked again and again to young jihadi warriors from Melbourne, it keeps a reputation as a ‘moderate’ Islamic centre, primarily a place for young Muslims from the northern suburbs to meet informally. It has a gym, table tennis and pool tables, a boxing ring, a cafe and a shop. Next door in a shopping centre is another gym; nearby is Paradise Hijabs and Imran’s Warehouse, a discount store.

      Speaking from the site of a potential terrorist attack on Saturday, the Victorian Police Chief Commissioner, the Victorian Premier and the Lord Mayor of Melbourne urged residents and visitors to use the city as normal.

      Today the centre ran classes for kids, with the teachers coming from Tanzeel, a company offering Koran tutoring in Melbourne and Sydney as well as Malaysia, Canada and South Africa. On Christmas Day the centre will hold Koran classes for young women.

      “This Qur’an Program is our attempt at serving the Book of Allah,” Tanzeel’s website reads, “such that we may assist our students in developing a relationship with the Qur’an that is based on correct and proper recitation and an appreciation of the magnanimity and beauty of that which they read.”

      So the centre is not a place where young Muslims would as a matter of course hear firebrand clerics advocating violence against the West. But authorities believe it is a central focal point of the Melbourne community, and they know it is watched over by Sheikh Mohammed Omran​, a veteran and very senior leader of Australia’s Islamic fundamentalists.

      He is the highest ranked cleric in the country for the Salafi movement – Salafi being a more conservative strand of Sunni Islam, advocating a return to older and more purist traditions. Sheikh Omran also heads a Sydney Islamic Centre, ASWJ.

      Hardcore preachers Musa Cerantonio and Junaid Thorne, who have had their passports revoked by the federal government, have both given talks at Omran’s centres. His Brunswick mosque attracted 18 devotees who were later convicted in Victoria and New South Wales by Operation Pendennis, Australia’s largest counter-terrorism sting.

      Some of those, including men known to have attended the Hume Centre, were accused of being a part of a terrorism cell led by Abdul Nacer Benbrika (aka Abu Bakr), who was jailed for 15 years in 2009..

  26. Now this is really wonderful -

    December 25, 2016
    A little Irish girl's amazing Christmas song goes viral
    By M. Catharine Evans

    A Christian rock band from Kansas, USA and a 10-year-old girl with autism from Donaghadee in County Down, Northern Ireland have just given the world a profound and amazing Christmas present.

    In the true spirit of the season, a video of little Kaylee Rodgers singing the band Cloverton's alternative lyrics to Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" has touched the lives of over 2 million people worldwide.

    How impossibly opportune that a child should demonstrate to a world in crisis the indomitable human spirit and the true message of Christmas.

    Listen and enjoy Kaylee and the Killard House School Choir:


    1. You must watch this:

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