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Flightline Friday: A-10 safe, for now January 15, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Flightline Friday, fun, non squitur, silliness, Society, technology.
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All you Warthog aficionados can rest easy, at least for the next couple of years.  Due to the much larger new federal budget and the end of the threat of sequester, the A-10 has terminated its drive to retire the A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft:

The U.S. Air Force is reportedly scrapping what has become an annual attempt to retire the A-10 Thunderbolts from the fiscal 2017 budget request being drawn up.

Maj. Melissa J. Milner, an Air Force spokeswoman on budget matters, said Wednesday she could not comment on the Defense One report that the Cold War-era attack aircraft had been spared indefinitely, but boosters of the plane affectionately known to ground troops as the “Warthog” hailed the move to keep them in the inventory…….

…….For the past three years, the Air Force has sought to begin mothballing the A-10s in favor of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to take over the close air support mission. Each year, the House and Senate have blocked the cuts…..

….The debate over the A-10s appears to have been shelved as commanders in the Iraq and Syria air war increasingly call upon the Thunderbolts flying out of Incirlik air base in Turkey and other bases in the Mideast for attack missions.

Army Col. Steve Warren, a spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, has repeatedly cited the “devastating” effects of the A-10’s GAU-8/A seven-barrel, Gatling-type cannon on the positions and fighters of ISIS. [Has it been used much, then?  Almost all CAS these days is done from medium altitude using PGMs, though certainly strafing runs occurred in the permissive air defense of environment of Afghanistan many times.  I thought ISIS might be a bit more well equipped, forcing abandonment of low-level attack, but I could be wrong.]

In a session with reporters last September at the Air Force Association’s annual conference, Air Force Gen. Herbert J. “Hawk” Carlisle, head of the Air Combat Command, called the A-10 “a fantastic airplane doing fantastic work downrange” in Iraq and Syria.

“One of the questions I get is if you’re going to retire the A-10s why are you still using them in the fight? Well, that’s an easy answer. I don’t have enough capacity. I’ve got to use every single thing I’ve got. I don’t have enough capacity” to handle the missions in Iraq and Syria without the A-10s, Carlisle said.

For the longest time, I thought the jibe against the Air Force that it is a service dominated by fighter pilots who only want a sexy plain with an F- at the front of its designation a bit overwrought.  But I’m not so sure, anymore.  The A-10 doesn’t cost a lot to operate.  While it would be utterly dead meat against any kind of near-peer adversary (ground-based air defenses have come a very long way in the last 25 years), it’s proven very useful in the Middle East, where air defenses are generally slight to non-existent.  The F-35 is so expensive and vulnerable it would virtually never, ever be used for low-level CAS.  So you’re losing an entire capability for $4 billion, a capability that will probably never be regained given the budget environment.

I really feel the US military took a disastrous turn when it shelved aircraft types suited to one particular mission role for multi-role types.  This began with the F-18 replacing the A-7 in the light attack role, even though the A-7 could carry much more ordinance further, and deliver it with more accuracy (until the advent of GPS, which it could have benefited from as much as the F-18 has).  The idea behind multi-role was the developing one type to do many jobs was cheaper than developing many types to do the same jobs.

The thing that’s been given up in that exchange is often capability.  The F-35 may do many things well, but it won’t be a low-level CAS asset equal to the A-10.  And these multi-role types, especially since the onset of stealth, have become crushingly expensive.  There is an argument to make that numbers do matter, and at some point we might be better off with a variety of mission-specific types of far lower cost than the hugely expensive, and not always as capable, multi-role items we’ve been developing.  Preserving an industrial base by having a number of lower-cost types in development and production is another consideration.  Since we’ve gone to the “all our chips in one pot” methodology, the industrial base has shriveled to the point where there are only two production lines capable of producing fighters, down from 15 or more about 25 years ago.  And one of those – Boeing in St. Louis – will probably close within a few  years.  And then we’ll be down to one, Lockheed in Fort Worth.  Nice for Lockheed.  Maybe not so good for the country.

At this point, I really don’t know if it wouldn’t be cheaper – and a lot better – to go back to producing role-specific types, genuine attack planes with A-s in the designation, fighters that only do air to air, long range interdiction types like the F-111, and the like.  I’m sure I’d be told there’s just no money for that, but if stealth is not required for every platform (and if we made some other changes to defense posture, like drastically reducing the Army and putting a 10 year moratorium on the Navy building and retiring any non-carrier surface ships), I wonder if it could not be afforded.  The benefit of not having much of a standing army is that politicians won’t have one to use and abuse in endless wars.  That was Eisenhower’s philosophy, and I think it was a good one.

I’m out.  Have a blessed weekend.

Any readers in OKC want to help me with a small project? January 15, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin.
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I’m not absolutely certain you would have to live in OKC, but it would help.  I’ll give you a hint what it’s about: proving hypocrisy or a double standard, as in whether Oklahoma City government possesses an anti-Catholic bias.

You can probably figure out from there what I’m getting at.  E-mail me at larryr103@gmail.com if you are interested in collaborating. Note, this project is fraught with repercussions, many of which could be ugly. Those need to be taken fully into account before proceeding. We can discuss that offline.

Thank you for your consideration.  God bless you.

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Like so much left-wing moral grandstanding, Live-Aid accomplished the exact opposite of its do-good intent January 15, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in asshatery, Basics, disaster, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, horror, It's all about the $$$, paganism, persecution, scandals, secularism, self-serving, Society, unadulterated evil.
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I’m sure that to anyone not steeped in the manner of thinking I’ve developed over many years, that some of my statements sound ridiculous.  Extreme.  When I say that leftism is a competing and implacably hostile religion to Catholicism, I’m sure they scoff.  And when I say that leftism is destructive in virtually every single one of its effects, even when it tries to do good, they probably think I’m nuts.  Just a rabid right-winger.

So let me provide a concrete example of that latter bit.  Remember Live-Aid, back in 1985?  A huge rock concert cum media circus on two continents to raise money for starving Ethiopians?  Run by Bob Geldoff, an Irish leftist whose anti-Catholicism has to be seen to be believed, the event raised, purportedly, around $100 million.  Did that money benefit starving Ethiopians?  Did it help end the war that precipitated the starvation?  No.  In a very long series of reports at Spin Magazine, dating from 1986, it turns out that Live-Aid gave the entirety of the money to the Ethiopian dictator who was the cause of the crisis in the first place, who then used it to build up the strongest army between the Sahara and South Africa, and inflicted that army on his own people to finally and definitively win the ongoing civil war.  It should be noted that the Ethiopian dictator, Mengitsu, was a client of Soviets and was in the process of turning Ethiopia into a communist country (which is what the civil war was all about to begin with).

It seems that Geldoff simply could not comprehend that a fellow hard leftist would not have a heart of gold.  So in spite of warnings from every single aid agency present in Ethiopia NOT to give Mengitsu the money, he did so, probably as much out of ideology as out of foolishness.

Since we’re a bit past the 30th anniversary of Live-Aid, Spin has re-released the articles it ran back in 1986 exposing the scam.  Like I said, they’re quite long, but make very informative reading.  I excerpt below from the preface to the articles that neatly sums up the total failure of the moral preening Live-Aid:

One night at dinner in late 1985, a friend talked about Ethiopia being in a civil war. Neither I nor anyone else at the table had heard that. It hadn’t been covered in the American press. This was just six months after the Live Aid concerts in Philadelphia and London had directly and indirectly raised over $100 million dollars for famine relief in the African nation. The next day I asked my sister Nina, an assistant at SPIN then, to research this, because if the country was at war, it would surely be difficult to move aid around and get it to people who needed it.

In those days we didn’t have the Internet, so research was done by going to the library and trawling through endless spools of microfiche — film of newspaper pages from around the world. That evening she came into my office ashen faced — she had discovered it was clear, and very well evidenced, that this famine, the awful depictions of which had pulled on the world’s heartstrings, was man made, by government planes deliberately napalming rebel farms. 

Every year Ethiopia experiences some degree of drought, the worst ones bringing famine. But the country historically dealt with this. Some years were worse than others. In 1984 the famine that inspired first Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” and then Live Aid, was very bad and people were dying of starvation. But the cause was less nature than cynical genocide. A fact apparently so easy to discover that an editorial assistant barely out of college did so in a matter of hours at the library. 

I asked Bob Keating, a superb young investigative reporter who had just started working with us, to look into this for a story. The assignment was simple — all this money had been raised, where was it going, was it actually doing good?

He discovered it was not doing good, but, horrifically, unimaginably, the exact opposite. The Ethiopian dictator, Mengistu, until then deadlocked in the war, was using the money the west gave him to buy sophisticated weapons from the Russians, and was now able to efficiently and viciously crush the opposition. Ethiopia, then the third poorest country in the world, suddenly had the largest, best equipped army on the African continent. [This is exaggeration.  In the 70s and 80s, I don’t think any country on the African country could compare to South Africa, militarily.  I imagine Egypt and others along the Med were also stronger than Ethiopia at that time, but they were strongest of anyone in between]

By this time we had all seen the pictures and TV footage of Bob Geldof, the figurehead of Live Aid, bear hugging and playfully punching Mengistu in the arm as he literally handed over the funding for this slaughter. It was on TV now alright, but as an endless, relentless reel of heroic Bob Geldof highlights. He drenched himself in the adulation and no one begrudged him it, until our investigation exposed the holocaust that Live Aid’s collected donations had help perpetrate on the Eritrean independence fighters. 

Most damningly, Keating reported that Geldof was warned, repeatedly, from the outset by several relief agencies in the field about Mengistu, who was dismantling tribes, mercilessly conducting resettlement marches on which 100,000 people died, and butchering helpless people. According to Medicins Sans Frontiers, who begged Geldof to not release the money until there was a reliable infrastructure to get it to victims, he simply ignored them, instead famously saying: “I’ll shake hands with the Devil on my left and on my right to get to the people we are meant to help.” [This is so typical. Self-congratulatory moral grandstanding is the true end, not so much actually helping people. Leftism in a nutshell.]

In the course of preparing our story, we tried to interview Geldof, who in the beginning, perhaps expecting more of the same media worship, was apparently willing to talk, but as soon as he and Live Aid realized what we knew and were going to ask him about, he declined. For more than a month we kept calling and faxing requests for his comments. As we were nearing our deadline, we Fedex’ed him written questions and two cassettes, every day for two weeks. Two cassettes because I urged him to record his answers on two machines, send us one cassette and keep the other as a record, so there could be no dispute about quoting him out of context.

He never replied, and our report, in July 1986, shocked the world. That is not an overstatement. It comprehensively exposed the fraudulent use of the charitable money by unmistakably the world’s most brutal dictator, and the naive, hubris-drenched, unwitting complicity of Live Aid and Geldof. 

After the story broke, Geldof lied, claiming we published it to punish him because he wouldn’t grant us an interview. That sounded as ridiculous as it was, and, more crucially, was a pretty thin rebuttal for the serious issues revealed in the article……

……..This week, SPIN is republishing the stories that we ran then over a several-month period, starting with the first article today, which is the 30th Anniversary of the concerts in 1985, and continuing with our follow-up investigation published in September ’86, and the publication in the August ’86 issue of a statement Geldof distributed to the media (but not to us), which we then rebuffed, point by point.

Once again, 29 years later from the original publication of these articles, we have asked Bob Geldof to respond. [He hasn’t]

Did the liturgical revolutionaries use Article 37 of Sacrosanctum Concilium to “ban” the TLM? January 15, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, disaster, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, Latin Mass, Liturgy, paganism, Revolution, scandals, secularism, Society, the struggle for the Church, Tradition.
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Just a bit more from Michael Davies The Liturgical Time Bombs of Vatican II.  Davies examines Article 37, and then the practical treatment received by the Mass of St. Pius V (TLM) in the wake of Vatican II, and asks some trenchant questions:

Article 37 claims that “the Church has no wish to impose a rigid uniformity on matters which do not involve the faith or the good of the whole community.”  It explains that anything in the way of life of various races and peoples that “is not indissolubly bound up with superstition and error she (the Church) studies with sympathy and, if possible, preserves intact.” [And this reveals itself in many ways: pagan dance, clown masses, balloon masses, introduction of pagan music, the list goes on and on]   Sometimes, in fact, she admits such things into the liturgy itself, as long as they harmonize with its true and authentic spirit.”  In practical terms this has meant unrestricted pluriformity – with one exception.  And in this case the most rigid uniformity prevails in the overwhelming majority of dioceses in the Western world.  This is the rigid uniformity of not allowing the Traditional Latin Mass codified by Pope St. Pius V……..[And this remains true today, even after Ecclesia Dei, Summorum Pontificum, and Universae Ecclesiae.  The TLM is far more available than it was when Davies first wrote this book, but his claim remains true to this day.]

…….The Traditional Mass would appear to be the one thing in the way of life of so many Catholic peoples around the world that is so “bound up with superstition and error” that almost all bishops consider that it cannot be admitted to the liturgy.  This has historically been the unanimous view of every protestant sect [that the TLM was so bound up in error] – but some now take a very different view where the “reformed liturgy” is concerned.

The ultra-evangelical Church of the Confession of Augsburg issued a statement after the meeting of its superior consistory on Dec 8, 1973, permitting its members to receive Holy Communion in Catholic churches: “We attach great importance to the use of the new prayers (of the Catholic liturgy), with which we feel at home, and which have the advantage of giving a different interpretation to the theology of sacrifice than we were accustomed to attribute to Catholicism.  These prayers invite us to recognize an evangelical theology of sacrifice.”  Dr. M. G. Siegvalt, a professor of dogmatic theology in the protestant faculty at the University of Strasbourg, testified that “Nothing in the renewed Mass need really trouble an evangelical protestant.”  The protestant theologian Roger Mehl wrote in the September 10, 1970 issue of Le Monde:

If one takes account of the decisive evolution in the Eucharistic Liturgy of the Catholic Church, of the option of substituting other Eucharistic Prayers for the Canon of the Mass, [recall, Anibale Bugnini, architect of the liturgical revolution, desired the total expurgation of the Canon from his Novus Ordo, but Pope Paul VI would not permit that.  In practical terms, however, most Catholics have never heard the Canon, but only the gravely deficient Eucharist Prayer II] of the expunging of the idea that the Mass is a sacrifice, and of the possibility of receiving Communion under both kinds, then there is no further justification for the reformed churches forbidding their members to assist at the Eucharist in a Catholic Church.  

An Anglican bishop, Dr. John Moorman, remarked: “In reading the schema on the Liturgy, and in listening to the debate on it, I could not help thinking that, if the Church of Rome went on improving the Missal and Breviary long enough, they would one day triumphantly invent the Book of Common Prayer.”

———-End Quote———

All this was far from accidental.  “St. Anibale,” as a certain reader cheekily calls him, desired a Mass that would be totally inoffensive to protestant sensibilities.  He cared not a whit for Catholic sensibilities, routinely excoriating those who argued against his revolution as foolish souls attached to an antiquated relic of a bygone age.  Looking at the consistent direction of his “reforms” (closely monitored and approved by Paul VI at virtually every step, though with a great deal of unscrupulous shenanigans on the part of Bugnini), and their immediate and lasting practical effects, one must conclude that Bugnini, whom Paul VI later became convinced was an active freemason, deliberately and with malice aforethought set out to undo the Catholic Mass and replace it with a protestant service commemorating, but not re-presenting, the Lord’s Supper.  He even used such language in the original 1969 version of the Novus Ordo.  The most key aspect was the removal of any and all reference to Sacrifice that he could possibly find.

What is one to make of this?  My takeaway, as a former protestant, is that Anibale Bugnini and his collaborators were either secret protestants (in effect, if not formally), or intentionally sought to ruin the Mass in order to inflict as grave a wound on the Church as possible.  Given European masonry’s 200 year death-struggle against the Church, the revelations that prompted his complete dismissal from the Vatican, subsequent exile to Iran (of all places!), and the complete disestablishment of his apparatus for permanent liturgical revolution (more formally than effectively) after his dismissal, many Catholics have concluded that Bugnini intended the latter.   It must be remembered that at the time of his dismissal, Bugnini was about to launch upon the third and final phase of his revolution – the devolvement of control over liturgical rites to national conferences, with the creation of dozens if not hundreds of “national liturgies.”  With that, the process of protestantization of the Mass would have been complete.

That particular effort was stymied, at least at the official, Vatican level, though national conferences do wield great, and largely negative, influence over the liturgy to this day.  And we must recall that many acolytes of Bugnini remain in the Church, and many have been rehabilitated by the current pontificate after years in the liturgical wilderness.  To this point, this pontiff does not seem interested in formally re-establishing the liturgical revolution of the 60s and 70s, but there are certainly players in his entourage who would like to.  I cannot imagine they are just blithely biding their time.  I’m sure they have plans and programs they’d like to implement, given the opportunity.

May God have mercy on His Church.

You guys are smart…….anyone recommend a new AK in the $7-800 range? January 15, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, blogfoolery, fun, silliness.
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I have two SKS, one of which is a Chinese-made SKS-M built at the factory to take AK mags.  They’re nice guns, though I’ve been having persistent minor, but annoying problems with the -M for a while now that I can’t seem to get permanently fixed.

As such, I’ve been looking at buying a proper AK-47 type in 7.62×39.  I’ve been reading about the various makes, and there seems to be a wide discrepancy in opinion on many of them.  For instance, some people advise to steer far clear of a WASR or Zastava (N-PAP), and go with a more expensive model.  I’ll tell you, I’ve handled a few of the cheaper ($5-600) models from Century and they felt like junk (sloppy action, loose fitting stock, splintery wood, etc).  But if you don’t go with Century, it seems like there is a huge price jump to a brand like Arsenal or similar that puts you in the $1000 price range, which is really higher than I want to go.  On the other hand, others say that new WASRs (that are actually available) are much improved and shouldn’t be a problem (and there are “better” types from Century that cost a bit more but may have a lot higher quality).

I should add that I’d like to buy new, I’ve bought some used guns and my experience has been mixed.  That’s another complication, it seems a lot of places are sold out of new AKs of any type (thanks, Obama).

I have read that the Century C39, which is entirely US-made, is pretty good and I have seen them in my price range.

Anyone have experience with different AK types and feels competent to make a recommendation?  I’m not a great expert in the type, there is a huge variety and I’ve barely scratched the surface of the many different makes and models available.

And, yes, I like Russian guns.  Always have.  I don’t have anything against ARs I just don’t want one.  I guess it’s my latent commie sympathy showing through, or something.

It’s also a way to respond positively to my bishop’s very negative rant.  See, I’m helping keep some Serbian or Bulgarian in a job!