Biofuels for defense: Cronyism and the banality of evil

Millions for “defense.”

Are you able to work up indignation about cronyism at this point?  Or did your sense of moral outrage glaze over so long ago that you barely even notice now?

The tremendous apparatus dedicated to rewarding cronies of the Obama administration, and other elements of the Washington establishment, is mind-blowing, in its way.  We talked last week about the extortion side of state regulatory power.  Today, we’ll look at the cronyism side, with a peek at an under-the-radar project to spend national security funds on Democrats’ cronies in the uneconomic biofuels industry. Continue reading “Biofuels for defense: Cronyism and the banality of evil”

When playing for time, think big and strategic

There’s a better deal to be had.

So opponents of Obamacare have one big thing going for us:  the roll-out of the federal exchange has been epically awful.  Really, just so terribly bad that it appears very few customers have been able to sign up yet.  The federal exchange website had to shut down to try and repair some of its problems, and that doesn’t seem to have made anything better.

With an unexpected gift like this, an aggressive political strategist would try to capitalize on it.  Instead, House Speaker Boehner has decided to give President Obama the one thing Obamacare needs: more time.  Boehner proposes not just to let him have it, but to give it to him for free.  We’re hearing this morning that Boehner will offer a 6-week increase in the federal debt ceiling, “demanding” nothing more than a promise from Obama to negotiate on federal spending in the interim.

I have no doubt that Boehner sees this as playing for time for the GOP-held House, as well as giving Obama time. Continue reading “When playing for time, think big and strategic”

On the job but not getting paid?

This one bears watching.

I’m very glad Congress and the president decided to make sure the uniformed military will get paid during the government shutdown.  That was the right thing to do.  The move averts a game-of-chicken mistake made in late 1995, when Bill Clinton was dispatching troops to Bosnia while their pay was in jeopardy.

As long as preparations are made beforehand, meanwhile, there’s enough in the trusts to make sure Social Security and veterans’ pension payments go out next month as well as this month. That’s a relief to millions of elderly who can’t just go start harvesting vegetables or sweeping floors if their checks don’t come in.  We can assume Congress will keep a sharp eye out for the potential problems, and make provision for them.

That leaves our Continue reading “On the job but not getting paid?”

So…what should we be doing in foreign policy now?

Doing less with less.

The pessimism out there is palpable, and for good reason.  They’re all right.  Richard Fernandez: Olympus has fallen.  Bryan Preston: We are so screwed.  Stephen Green (VodkaPundit): Pastis in our timeNational Review: On Syria, from bad to worse.  Victor Davis Hanson: Putin – Saruman Come Alive.*  Peggy Noonan: Team Obama, people who know nothing – really nothing – about history.  Kori Schake (Foreign Policy): Obama speech remarkably – alarmingly – flabby.  Ann Coulter: Syrial losers.  Jackie Gingrich Cushman: Obama on Syria: Following from behind.  Hal G.P. Colebatch (American Spectator): Obama as Queeg: A few cruise missiles short in the leadership arsenal.

On it goes. Continue reading “So…what should we be doing in foreign policy now?”

State of unreadiness

Degraded.

My Liberty Unyielding colleague Timothy Whiteman highlighted last Thursday the number of Air Force squadrons that will have to cease training later this year because the Air Force doesn’t have funds for the flying hours.  This is real, and it is astounding.  It will mean that, at a certain point in the near future – as early as this fall, if no additional funds become available – the cost of mounting an operation big enough to eliminate Iran’s nuclear weapons-related installations is likely to be too high.

This is because there will be no force depth to either sustain follow-on operations or overcome the geographic constraints U.S. forces are increasingly likely to face.  Assuming all of the Air Force’s stand-downs and readiness losses do occur, the available front-line forces would be maxed out with a moderately scoped strike package.  To meet the task, they would require the most favorable basing options that could be available in the Persian Gulf under today’s conditions – but which may not be.  If we don’t have those favorable basing options, and the Air Force squadron groundings remain on track, the Iran strike goes from all-but-under-resourced to impossible.

There will not, after all, be two aircraft carriers on station near Iran, Continue reading “State of unreadiness”