Trump, Turner, The F35 and unicorns

The F35 is made of moneyTrump says the F35 costs too much. Congressman Turner has never met a weapons program, especially one run out of his district, that he’s not in love with. The F35 is a mythical air superiority, one size fits all services, fighter, that was obsolete before it ever flew. A unicorn is a mythical creature that allegedly looks like a horse, but has a single large horn protruding from its forehead.

On 13 June, 1944, the Germans sent the first V-1 across the channel to bomb London. This was a week after the Allies had landed on Normandy. V stood for Vengeance. 1 was because it was first. The first crude cruise missile, long before microcomputers, GPS, and laser guidance systems were developed.

The modern cruise missile can deliver a larger payload, across longer distances, faster and can be retargeted in flight. It was the beginning of the end of the need for slow, large, manned bombers.

The Air Force, run by pilots, high on testosterone and brainwashed by watching the movie “Top Gun” too many times, still believe that battles in the sky are won by men in cockpits. They’ve pushed for newer, faster, stealthier, more lethal, planes even though the Germans were smart enough to take their pilots out of danger to deliver bombs back in 1944. The Japanese, who hadn’t yet become the geniuses to give us the Walkman and the transistor radio, gave up on the idea of trying to bring their pilots home and invented the Kamikaze, a one way ticket to Valhalla, as a desperation move to do what the Germans were doing without a guy in the sky.

The F35 is our Kamikaze, no matter what the technology, no matter what the price. There is no sane reason to put a human in a plane to go battle with other aircraft. The future, is in drones/unmanned aerial vehicles/remotely controlled aircraft. Yes, that thing you bought the kids for Christmas for $49.95 is the entry level air superiority fighter. Just add a few million more, and you have a craft that can go faster, farther, deliver more payload, and pull as many G’s in a turn as you want- because without a pilot in the plane, you don’t have to worry about the fundamental limitations of humans- they weren’t meant to go on a roller coaster without rails traveling at mach 2. Typically a fighter pilot is trained to manage up to 9g’s in very short bursts. Much longer, and the risks become deadly.

For those of you who don’t comprehend mach 2, it’s 1534.54 miles per hour, twice the speed of sound. The fastest roller coaster in the world right now tops out at 150mph, and may max out at 4-5 G’s for very short periods of time.

Remotely controlled vehicles don’t care how many G’s they pull or how fast they go. They can even be disposable, just like Kamikaze pilots. This is, and has been the future of warfare, and the defense industrial complex doesn’t care. They want to sell us the most expensive buggy whip ever in the day of the electric, self-driving car.

The F35 pilot is equipped with a helmet that costs over a half-million dollars each. It’s a marvel of technology- by turning his head to the floor- he can see through the bottom of the plane and what’s below, swivel his head back- and he can see all the way behind him, look at something- and mark a target- all while flying at hypersonic speeds, but why? All this information can feed a pilot on the ground- far away- or not feed a human being at all. We know what the enemy looks like, just program the computer to kill it.

Unfortunately, while President Trump knows the public has been getting shafted with cost overruns and on the most expensive weapon ever, he thinks that shaving 20% off the cost changes things and makes it better. It doesn’t. It just makes it a cheaper coffin for our pilots who will be facing hordes of unmanned craft that cost next to nothing comparatively and can pull 20 G’s and not pass out.

Last summer, I sat down with Moshe Arens, former ambassador to the United States from Israel, and their 3 time defense minister. He’s an aeronautical engineer by training, and was a staunch opponent of Israel buying the F35 (he lost that by one vote). His answer was a much less expensive plane built and flying with Israeli battle tested technology, that first flew in 1986. The Lavi was cheaper, single mission, and higher tech than what had been proposed by the US. However, Arens lost his battle by one vote, with Israeli politicians believing that by helping the American military industrial complex get what they want, Israel would solidify its interdependence with the US.

While Trump is asking to look to an upgraded F18, maybe, he should be looking to the Lavi, or to the Swedes who went the low cost route with the JAS 39 Gripen, of course, either of these aircraft wouldn’t come with nice fat campaign donations that fund chicken hawk politicians like Turner’s campaign. Lockeed Martin is his number one contributor, and the defense industry is his number one segment.

As always, follow the money. In 2018, the Montgomery County Democratic Party must run a better candidate against Turner, or realize that we’re just backing turning our pilots into kamikazes instead of winning battles so that Mike can have money to continue to be your congressman suck up to the defense industry.

You don’t have to believe in unicorns, or vote for Mike Turner, or believe that the F35 makes us safer. It just costs a lot, like President Trump keeps saying. If he wants to drain the swamp, killing the F35 would be a good start.

 

Let’s examine “job creation” – and a solution

The news about the economy is good (according to Nan Whaley and Matt Joseph and national statistics) with very modest job growth. But the real question is what kind of jobs are we creating?

I have a friend with a terminal degree in his field, working two jobs, one at Wright State, another at UD as a professor. Neither offers health-care benefits for him or his wife. She is working as a barista, a “career: she has held off and on for the last 8 years. They get their health care from another job he has- working 25 hours a week as an office manager for a small professional services firm.

Four jobs, 2 people, just to get health insurance. These aren’t “jobs”- they are rentals of personal services. We don’t need more jobs in this country- we need careers- with job security. We used to have them, right here in Dayton. We had people who built trucks for GM, car parts for Delphi, ran a  pet food business at Iams, created the systems for financial services management at NCR to name a few. You could go to work at any of these places and never have to write a resume or go on a job interview.

Some say those careers are forever gone- that our country has become a free-agent nation. I say horse hockey.

As a small business owner, I can tell you the most valuable assets you have are your people. It doesn’t matter what your business is – selling burgers in fast food is a job that is designed for low skills and high turnover is expected, but the best in the business will tell you that having good, reliable, committed, dedicated workers whom you may have to pay a little more is well worth it compared to having to train someone new every 90 days. Real businesses are best when real people are treated with respect.

Respect is what’s taken a leave of absence in our country. We’ve stopped caring about our workers and become slaves to the corporate line- the bottom one. There is no connection between our leadership and our rank and file. There is no accountability from the top to the bottom. Laying off people, ending careers is something that actually increases the benefits to those at the top. There is no reward for paying people more, unless you are at the top of the food chain.

It’s time, especially when our country has been at war for a decade, to require civic duty to trump the corporate quest for profit.

It’s a sad country where for many, the only option to support a family or to be able to afford college, is to have to volunteer to risk your life in the armed services to protect the people who won’t protect your family’s welfare one iota. While the CEO of Premier Health Partners has no problem making $4 million a year (that’s $77K a week) while running a “non-profit” health-care company, your job in “housekeeping” is something to be bid out to some subcontractor on an annual basis to see if they can save a few bucks.

Yet, Premier Health Partners can’t deliver 3 stitches to an uninsured contract laborer for less than $1,400? A procedure that should cost no more than $250 if done by a doctor in a private office. Instead, Premier claims that they provided “services to the indigent” and write off the exorbitant bill (while pursuing payment from the poor working stiff with the cut hand for years). Yet, the major source of income for these “non-profit” shysters is our tax dollars- through payment from Medicaid and Medicare.

Until we put America back to work, with real careers with real pay and real benefits, it’s time for some shared sacrifice. It’s time to bring accountability back to the spending of our tax dollars.

The United States government is the biggest purchaser of goods and services in this country. We’re horrible at controlling costs, if you need proof, just look to the F35 program for the military- a plane to fight other planes that don’t exist in a type of battle that disappeared with the propeller age. It’s doubled in cost in the last 10 years and it wasn’t cheap to begin with.

So instead of all our fancy Federal Acquisition Guidelines that make every bid proposal to the government look less like a contract and more like a bible, let’s just put a rule in place that we, the American people, won’t do business with any company that pays their top people more than 35x what they pay their average U.S. worker. And if you are a non-profit, the ratio is 20 to 1.

Un-American you say? Limiting the “American dream?” That’s fine. Don’t do business with the citizens of the United States. If the company’s average U.S. worker’s paycheck is $50K a year, the  CEO can make $1.75 million a year. That’s pretty good spending money.

We’d have to stop doing business with the Wall Street banks and do business with the remaining small banks in the country. We’d stop doing business with insurance companies, hospitals, defense contractors. We’d not be able to buy any cars from American car companies, or computers from American computer companies- but, that would only be a for a few days, because none of these companies can afford to survive without our money.

When employment is back to 95% and we’re not fighting wars that cost billions a day, we may relax this policy, but, I’m not sure we’ll find a need to. Because when all is said and done, you can’t spend $77K a week, even if you tried- that is unless you keep having to buy off all the politicians who’ve put us in the mess we’re in. These political campaigns are getting more expensive by the day- and it’s the only tax, the political campaign donation tax, that the richest people running this country aren’t complaining about- yet.

We’ll only see politicians accountable to us, when their price tag falls as fast as our earnings have. I’m David Esrati, and I approve this message.