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Politics (formerly Election 2012)

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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Brekkie » Tue Feb 25, 2014 8:14 am

Kal wrote:OK, at first I was thinking "Holy crap, tone it down, how bad could it be?". Now I'm like "Holy shit! What the fucking fuck!?"

"The recommendations would limit pay raises across the board to 1 percent, and they would freeze pay entirely for generals and admirals for one year."

Anything less than a pay raise equal to or above the inflation rate (1.6% through 2013) is an effective pay cut. But never mind the pay, it's not that big of a deal.

In addition to reduced housing allowances, the recommendations would slash the subsidies for commissaries that provide groceries to veterans, service members, and their families at reduced cost.

Housing allowances, I could see getting a trim, if done judiciously. I know some locations are over funded. Still, no big deal.

The Commissary has always been a way to provide at-cost goods to soldiers. It's purpose has always been "Care for our own." That's what the DoD civilians that work there will say when asked why they work there. Written on the seal of the Defense Commissary Agency are the words "Quality First, People Always", a phrase reminiscent of the Sergeant's Motto "Mission First, Soldiers Always".

I'll unpack that distinction between "First" and "Always" for anyone who might not have heard this. There's a difference between priorities and values. We all have priorities in the morning before heading to work. Eating breakfast, showering, shaving, etc., but if we happen to be running late, some or all of these priorities get tossed aside because we instead prioritize being on time. But there's one thing we all do before walking out the front door, no matter how late we are. We put clothes on. We value modesty. Values never change.

Sergeants prioritize the mission and value our soldiers. It took me some time before I understood this myself, as I was worried I might have to decide between the two some day. That day never came, and I have never heard any other NCO ever relate any time they had to decide between completing the mission or taking care of soldiers. There is no conflict between the two.

Likewise, I see the Commissary say "Quality First, People Always", and I see quality as their mission, to bring us at-cost goods. I see people as their value, always. There is no conflict here.

Chuck Hagel used to be an NCO. He should understand this. This is the guy who gave back some of his pay when others were furloughed during the shutdown. This is the guy who is currently pushing the state National Guards to provide same-sex marriage benefits. This is just so out of the blue, I don't understand how anyone could be OK with this.


I don't understand how you'd be ok with reduced housing allowance, but reduced commissary subsidies is somehow a big deal.

If anything, the commissary should be the first item on the chopping block.
-It primarily benefits retirees. Why should old farts save thousands of dollars on groceries every year for no apparent reason, on the taxpayer dime?
-The majority of the force is single, lives in the barracks, and eats at the chow hall. This demographic, the primary group that services for the military should be designed to support, gets very little benefit out of the commissary.
-Cutting the commissary subsidy helps the local communities around bases, by giving local grocery stores more business. As opposed to alternatives such as cutting military pay, which would harm local communities by reducing the amount of business they get.

Commissaries make sense on overseas bases, because there may not be adequate grocery stores in the area, the food may not be high-quality, and familiar US brands and staples may not be available.
In CONUS, on the other hand, I see absolutely no reason for commissaries to exist. They are a waste of tax dollars, and have a negative impact on the local economies.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Brekkie » Tue Feb 25, 2014 8:29 am

Klaudandus wrote:http://www.cbsnews.com/news/defense-secretary-chuck-hagel-to-recommend-deep-budget-cuts-targeting-pay-benefits/

Fuck this guy. How bout he targets unnecessary purchases like those italian planes no one wants to fly and were sent straight to the junkyard some months ago, or the purchase of M1 Abrahms that the Army did not want?


The unwanted tanks is a common rant about the stupidity of government pork, but consider this counter-argument:

Tank factories are extremely specialized facilities, full of extremely specialized, high-skilled workers. It costs an extremely large amount of money to set one up from scratch, and it also costs an extremely large amount of money to properly decommission one so that no one could come in and reverse-engineer the sensitive technology.

If you close the plant, all those experienced, expensively-trained, highly-skilled workers will leave and go find other jobs. If you suddenly needed to re-open the plant due to, say, the outbreak of war, you would have a hard time finding all those old workers and convincing them to quit their new jobs and come back to the plant that you may close at some point again. You would either need to offer large financial incentives to get the old workers back, or invest considerable resources to train up new ones to the same standard.

The bottom line is that it can actually be MORE expensive to close the plant and re-open it again than it would be to just keep it open and continue producing tanks, even if you don't need them. And if you go with the later option, at least you are getting tanks out of the deal that are ready and available if needed in the future.

But beyond money, the other critical issue is time. Re-opening the plant in the event of a war would take too long. It might be up to a couple years before you could get it back up to full-production again.

These are the kind of factors that go into Congress deciding that a particular production line is a "strategic industry". There are really no good options. The choices are:
A) Close the plant, and regret it if war breaks out.
B) Keep the plant open and buy enough unneeded tanks to keep the workers employed.
C) Don't buy unneeded tanks, but let the company export tanks to other countries and sell them to them. But then other countries have our technology.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Shoju » Tue Feb 25, 2014 11:05 am

Klaudandus wrote:http://www.cbsnews.com/news/defense-secretary-chuck-hagel-to-recommend-deep-budget-cuts-targeting-pay-benefits/

Fuck this guy. How bout he targets unnecessary purchases like those italian planes no one wants to fly and were sent straight to the junkyard some months ago, or the purchase of M1 Abrahms that the Army did not want?



From where I'm sitting, right here, in my office, I could reduce the Defense Budget, and NEVER touch the pay of, or how many troops are in our armed forces. But it would require the Defense Departments to be smarter when it comes to their "stuff".

Which I doubt is going to happen.

You know who some of my biggest customers are for Military Surplus?

Procurement companies, purchasing it, to send it BACK TO THE ******* MILITARY

Seriously. You buy a starter for 1200 bucks.
A couple years later, you auction it off, as surplus.
A company like mine buys it for 1/10 of the cost you paid
I sit on it a couple of years, selling a few here and there to guys who have Military Trucks / Equipment that it will fit.
Then, a procurement company will buy them, and I ship them: Back to a military base. And I assure you, I made a profit on selling it. This is not an isolated incident. I have these kinds of sales multiple times a year, for all kinds of pieces, and parts, and what not. The starter just sticks in my mind, because it's happened multiple times, and it's always the same model starter. We bought ~200 of them. I've sold probably 50 back to the government in qty's of 4-6 at a time.

OR, conversely, when I buy surplus flight cases, we have to check them all now. because a few times, the boys at the base didn't bother to check them, and we've had things show up in the cases that we have had to call the closest place that will come get the stuff, to have them send someone to pick it up, because it's not something that I'm legally allowed to sell. I can't tell you everything that we have got in flight cases, but I'm not just talking crap helicopter guts here. One time, the guy was here in 45 minutes from a base that's a 3 hr drive. But, that was for a pretty serious mixup.

Why does this happen? I have no idea. Why, when we buy an auction of stuff, do they fill the truck with extra stuff, that we didn't pay for? Military Surplus is a shambles. If they actually.... Oh.... I don't' know... Paid attention to what they need, or didn't sell EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN when they might still need it, we could cut a HUGE chunk out of the military budget.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Io.Draco » Tue Feb 25, 2014 5:32 pm

To talk a bit about international politics it seems we have a nice pretty war brewing here between the Ukraine and Russia.

Ukraine threw down their president ( with western support ) and now Russia has deployed their troops from Sevastopol around the city with Russian tanks guarding the entrance to the city and Russian militias springing up in the Crimean and the people in the Crimean asking for Russian help because they are afraid of the extremists among the so called revolution. It also seems many among the Berkut have retreated to Crimea.

The Parliament in Ukraine has stated it's ready to send the army to deal with the Pro-Russian uprising...dear God have mercy on these imbeciles for Putin shall not.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Fivelives » Thu Feb 27, 2014 1:51 am

Brekkie wrote:
Kal wrote:snip


I don't understand how you'd be ok with reduced housing allowance, but reduced commissary subsidies is somehow a big deal.

If anything, the commissary should be the first item on the chopping block.
-It primarily benefits retirees. Why should old farts save thousands of dollars on groceries every year for no apparent reason, on the taxpayer dime?
-The majority of the force is single, lives in the barracks, and eats at the chow hall. This demographic, the primary group that services for the military should be designed to support, gets very little benefit out of the commissary.
-Cutting the commissary subsidy helps the local communities around bases, by giving local grocery stores more business. As opposed to alternatives such as cutting military pay, which would harm local communities by reducing the amount of business they get.

Commissaries make sense on overseas bases, because there may not be adequate grocery stores in the area, the food may not be high-quality, and familiar US brands and staples may not be available.
In CONUS, on the other hand, I see absolutely no reason for commissaries to exist. They are a waste of tax dollars, and have a negative impact on the local economies.


If I'm remembering right, Walmart is actually cheaper for produce than commissaries, and Costco/Sam's Club are cheaper in bulk.

Re: Ukraine and Russia. This ought to be interesting.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Klaudandus » Thu Feb 27, 2014 5:41 am

Sounds like part of a Call of Duty story for that matter...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne ... ament.html
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Io.Draco » Thu Feb 27, 2014 10:13 am

Well the west won't so much as left a finger to help Ukraine: Europe because of severe public backlash and because Russia controls the gas flow to the EU. The US...because well public backlash.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Shoju » Fri Feb 28, 2014 6:23 am

Io.Draco wrote:Well the west won't so much as left a finger to help Ukraine: Europe because of severe public backlash and because Russia controls the gas flow to the EU. The US...because well public backlash.



There are some people in the US, who look at it as a tipping point to WWIII.

Personally, I think that Everyone should back up, and GTFO, Russia included, and let them figure it out for themselves.

It's their problem. They should have a chance to figure it out for themselves.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Io.Draco » Fri Feb 28, 2014 9:11 am

There's a few problems with that mentality:

1) The protesters in Kiev demanded EU help and they want closer ties to the EU. The EU was critical to signing the deal....which was then ignored by the opposition who just removed the president.

2) Ukraine owes Russia a large debt on gas and electricity and if they don't pay up Russia has ever reason in the world to shut both down.

3) The Russia majority in Crimea is pleading with Russia for protection, they are worried that the opposition in Kiev is going to bring all hell down on them, and they have good reasons for it: One of the first things the new Parliament did was to remove Russian as an official language in the country, which it had been before in particularly in Crimea. Two there have been some members of Parliament who have expressed anti-Russian views against the Russian minority in the country.

4) This is a major sticking point, but Ukraine is pleading for a 35 billion dollar loan.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby KysenMurrin » Fri Feb 28, 2014 11:06 am

They won't sign the EU trade deal any time soon because they'll be seen as an illegitimate government forcing it through - it'll rile up the pro-Russian factions even more. They'll wait until they've got a new government up and running that can claim legitimacy and unity.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Fridmarr » Sat Mar 01, 2014 7:05 pm

Io.Draco wrote:The Russia majority in Crimea is pleading with Russia for protection, they are worried that the opposition in Kiev is going to bring all hell down on them, and they have good reasons for it

Well I can't say I have any first hand knowledge of life there, but I do have a good friend whose family immigrated there from Moscow and some of his family are still there. He said that after a long period of almost zero issues, that a sort of ethnic racism has surfaced in the last few years and the former Russians have suffered a good deal of violence regardless of their loyalties. And this was before this recent "revolt". It sounds to me like those folks have good reason to fear, and so I'm not all that surprised that Russia sent in troops to protect them even if there are other motives.

And of course we are in our typical no win situation. So we'll likely poke our nose in there, just enough to piss off both sides, per usual...
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Io.Draco » Sun Mar 02, 2014 12:53 am

Well tensions in Crimea have existed for years now, and it's only gotten worse recently.

Anyway Russia takes over Crimea and Ukraine mobilizes it's military to fight Russia.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Klaudandus » Sun Mar 02, 2014 8:58 am

I wish Ted Nugent would just go away
http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/st ... a-and-atf/
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Fivelives » Mon Mar 03, 2014 6:02 am

Ted Nugent wrote:And we are re-arresting fugitive felons let out of their cages after murdering and raping and molesting children, carjacking. And we keep going after these guys.


One of these things is not like the other. One of these things just plain don't belong.

I'm pretty sure Ted Nugent has mad cow disease. That's the only thing that can explain it.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Klaudandus » Mon Mar 03, 2014 7:14 am

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