Patterico's Pontifications

6/19/2014

Maybe Governments Don’t Know More About Wars Than They Know About Fixing the Economy

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:32 pm

Here is a question for you to muse on:

I don’t trust governments to make decisions about the economy, because those decisions so often lead to unintended consequences.

Is it time to start applying that same skepticism to trusting governments to make decisions about war?

The Machines Are Now In Control

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:04 pm

[guest post by Dana]

While Lois Lerner hunts for her missing emails, a Marine is fighting the VA to convince them that he is not dead. The problem? A computer glitch.

HOUSTON — A Houston-area veteran who as a Marine served two tours in Iraq has been trying to convince the Department of Veterans Affairs that he is not dead.

Joe Morris received a service-related disability check for seven years but in April there was an apparent computer problem, KPRC-TV reported Tuesday.

His parents received a condolence letter from the government and he wrongly was classified as deceased as of April 1, Morris said. He spoke to government officials on April 14 to set up direct deposit after his disability check seemed to have gotten lost.

“That’s when they told me there was a computer glitch. The computer had automatically classified me as deceased. They don’t know what happened, they just said it did it on its own,” Morris said.

VA benefits representatives are looking into the matter, according to KPRC. Messages left with VA media officials were not immediately returned Wednesday.

Morris also learned that the VA wrongly notified the Social Security Administration that he died. That error showed up as Morris and his wife were in the process of buying a home.

Morris, who has relied on his wife’s credit information toward purchase of the residence, is getting his government checks again but wants the problems corrected.

“I don’t want this to happen to anybody else,” Morris said.

Just an observation: The most troubling common denominator in both stories is that two federal agencies should have been in control of the machines – not the other way around.

–Dana

300 Is The New Number

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:29 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Today, President Obama announced that he is going to send up to 300 American military advisers to Iraq as a response to the Islamic militants who are threatening the government in Baghdad.

Speaking after a long meeting with his national security team at the White House, Obama also said that he’s positioning American assets in the region to “be prepared to take targeted and precise military action if and when the situation on the ground requires it.”

The president also reassured the public that he would take steps to prevent this from turning into a wider mission in Iraq:

American combat troops are not going to be fighting in Iraq again,” Obama said. “We do not have the ability to simply solve this problem by sending in thousands of troops and committing the kind of blood and treasure that has already been expended in Iraq.”

The administration has not ruled out future airstrikes.

Also, it is being reported that Isis has seized Saddam Hussein’s stockpile of old chemical weapons, which include Sarin and Mustard Gas, from a military complex 80km northwest of the capital.

The State Department reassured that they “don’t believe” Isis will be able to utilize the material.

“We do not believe that the complex contains CW materials of military value and it would be very difficult, if not impossible to safely move the materials,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

Psaki however added that the US remained “concerned about the seizure of any military site by the Isis.”

Further, we learn more about Isis. Apparently, they run like a well oiled machine and maintain detailed records of their yearly actions to fulfill their primary mission of setting up an Islamic caliphate in the territories the group controls. According to the Financial Times:

“They produce [annual reports] almost like a company, with details of martyrdom operations and targets. You have a clear overlay of structure, planning, and strategy to the organization,” said Nigel Inkster, a former assistant chief of Britain’s intelligence service MI6.

Two significant observations made by the Institute for the Study of War: The network pursues a traditional insurgency strategy known as “clear, hold, and build” and its organization of 15,000 armed men functions more like a military, than a typical terrorist group.

According to the article, the group recorded 1,083 assassinations in 2013 and 48 murders by knife in 2012, and they also document the number of “apostates run over.”

Analyst at the institute, Alex Bilger warns:

A counter-terrorism strategy that does not take these characteristics into consideration will underestimate and fail to defeat this enemy.

–Dana

Working for the Obama Administration: Like Working on the “Plantation”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:26 pm

Specifically, the part of the Obama Adminstration known as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau:

A former employee of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) on Wednesday compared the workplace atmosphere to a “plantation,” because of how black employees such as himself were treated.

In the third House Financial Services subcommittee hearing to address claims of discrimination against the CFPB, Kevin Williams, a former quality assurance monitor at the agency, painted a picture where black employees were constantly belittled – even to the point where they were stereotypically offered fried chicken at company lunches.

“I was a charter member in the intake unit, which, indeed, came to be referred to as the ‘plantation,’” Williams testified. “There, I personally witnessed and was the victim of racial discrimination perpetrated by black as well as white managers. The unit was dubbed the ‘plantation,’ because when we started, the majority of black employees were assigned to intake, which was basically data entry.”

After the team’s one white employee was transferred to another division, “someone then remarked that this looked like a ‘damn plantation,’ and the nickname stuck,” Williams added.

Racists

Awesome: ‘Shut Up And Stand Back’

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:21 am

[guest post by Dana]

A man to be taken seriously:

“Five years ago today, I was a captain in the United States Army in Laghman Province, so I think I will take the prerogative to speak on behalf of the soldiers who served in Afghanistan,” said Cotton.

“I find it offensive and insulting that this administration, up to and including the president, would cite the principle of leaving no man behind to justify this action. Every day in Ranger School, we recited the Ranger Creed that I will never leave a fallen comrade. You know who didn’t leave a fallen comrade? Cody Full, Darryn Andrews, or all the soldiers who went after him in the weeks and months after his disappearance, knowing that he had deserted. When we made those promises to each other, we didn’t promise that we would exchange five stone-cold Taliban killers for each other, nor would any soldier want that to happen. Would we exchange Khalid Sheikh Mohammed? Deputy National Security Advisor Tony Blinken said directly to me that we would not.

“Finally, I want to say something to the anonymous sources in the president’s administration who are disparaging the service of Second Platoon and Blackfoot Company. Show yourself, speaking your own name, have the courage of your convictions. If you don’t, shut up, stand back, and thank these men for their service.”

–Dana

Governor Perry Takes Action [UPDATED By Patterico]

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:14 am

[guest post by Dana]

In light of the federal government opting not to do its job in securing the border, Governor Perry is taking action.


The Texas border remains unsecured, threatening the safety of Texas citizens and provoking a humanitarian issue in our border counties. According to recent Texas threat assessments, the majority of Mexican cartels maintain control of networks in Texas to support drug and human smuggling operations. The various crimes directly related to cartels – murder, sexual assault, extortion, child prostitution, home invasion – put Texas citizens’ lives at risk and strain the resources of state and local law enforcement and criminal justice systems. In addition, apprehension of unaccompanied minor children in the Rio Grande Valley more than doubled last year, overwhelming federal resources and creating the potential for increased drug trafficking and human smuggling.

The responsibility for securing the border rests exclusively on the federal government. The federal government’s failure to secure the border has created an incentive for families to send their children on a dangerous, and sometimes fatal, journey. Until the federal government fulfills its duty, it falls on the state of Texas to address those obligations.

–Dana

UPDATE BY PATTERICO: Several days ago, I said:

Right now, Abbott is seeking federal funds to pay for this. What if the funds are denied? That’s where is gets interesting. What if Abbott decides to employ state resources to defend a border that the federal government is clearly taking no steps to protect?

It’s now interesting.

Texas’ top three lawmakers agreed Wednesday to spend tens of millions dollars to fund a surge operation along the border to deal with the influx of Central American children pouring into Texas.

Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov David Dewhurst and House Speaker Joe Straus authorized a deal for emergency funding of $1.3 million per week for a Department of Public Safety surge operation that will run through at the least the end of the year.

Will Obama try to stop this?


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