Crashes of All Sorts

Welcome back to the Scuttlebutt. Pull up a seat and pour something, let’s talk about crashes.

There have been all kinds of crashes in the news lately, from those of aircraft to those of the stock market. So that seemed to be a good lede into today’s piece.

Back when I started this blog, I told my publisher that “the beat will be S/F, Nerddom, (Totally a word, shut up spell check!) the US Navy, politics, and whatever else crosses my bow that looks worthy of talking about.

Well for the past year, that has been mostly politics.  Not because nothing else interesting has happened, but because politics has been such a train wreck of late.  Yeah, there’s going to be a little of that in this issue too, just because it seems like it’s impossible to get away from lately.  It’s not going to be the primary thrust of the piece though.

First, let’s talk about Plane crashes.  The Military has had a SHIT LOAD of them lately. Five “mishaps” in the last two weeks!  So, what are we talking about under the heading of “mishap?” The Navy defines that as “this cost more than two and a half million dollars, or we killed someone.” 

We crashed an MH-60 Seahawk helicopter near El Centro CA, 
Splattered an MV-22 Osprey near Glamis CA killing 5 Marines, 
a F/A-18E super Hornet, lawn darted near Lemoore CA, (killing the pilot) 
and just outside the “two-week window” we crashed an E-2D Advanced Hawkeye AWACS type bird in VI (also killing the pilot.) 

The Army crashed an AH-64 in Alabama, and a Taiwanese F-16 being delivered by a US Airforce Pilot had to conduct an emergency landing in HI, breaking the front landing gear.  In addition, the AF National Guard wrecked an F-16 on landing in South Dakota.

Of all the services involved, the Navy and Marine Corps are the only services that are having a stand down to look at why we have so many planes becoming lawn art.  (Note, the Osprey crash that just happened is the second one in 6 months, and both were fatality crashes.)  The Army and Air Force say that “well we are below the usual crash rate, so we see nothing worth doing a stand-down for.”  Well, OK, guys, you do you. Seems to me, I would want to learn what I can from any service that’s seeing birds crashing, and while the SH-60 belonged to the Navy, you guys fly H-60s too (the S means it’s a Navy version of the bird) and you also fly Ospreys, so… Aren’t you just a LITTLE curious as to why there have been problems with those things becoming bloody scrap metal?

All of this, on top of the three COs that have been relieved for cause this week, has made it “a hell of a day at sea, Sir!” 

What’s driving this shit? Well, I don’t know all of it, but I can tell you that a lot of it comes from the same thing I was talking about last week. Poor leadership, driving low morale ends up with people doing things in half-assed ways.  The sea and the sky are very unforgiving of people doing things in half-assed ways. When we spend more time training on “PRIDE month” and how Birthing Persons should be addressed, than how to do your damn job, people die.

On a not unrelated note, I see that the US Military is now officially allowing HIV-positive personnel to enlist in the service, even though they are kicking out healthy troops for refusing the ‘Rona vaccine.  I am sure that this makes sense to someone, but I will be damned if I can see how.  You’re really going to deploy someone with HIV to the battlefield??? And if not, why in the hell are you letting them enlist?  Shit, my son got medicaled out for scoliosis, in spite of the fact that he was making the Marine PTs… but AIDS is OK?

While we’re talking about idiocy causing crashes, let’s take a trip down Mexico way.  According to an article in “the Daily Upside,” it seems that the president of Mexico, Manuel Obrador, having learned not one fucking thing from history, has decided to reclaim the oil and gas industry from private firms.

Now for those of you that weren’t paying attention the first time, or didn’t read it in the history books, Mexico used to have the Government control all of their energy, whether Electricity or the mining of gas and oil.  This started in 1938, and by ’57 Mexico (one of the largest owners of petroleum reserves in the world) was an Oil importer. By the mid-80s they had brought outside firms back in and allowed the big international firms to go back to drilling… This was in part because some really bad decisions by the guys running Pemex were in the process of crashing the Mexican economy.  When I was in Mexico in the 80’s the exchange rate was fluctuating between about 80 pesos to the dollar to several hundred pesos to the dollar, sometimes in the span of a weekend.   All of this led to the 1993 official rebasing of the Mexican Peso when the citizens were told to “bring in your old money and we’ll exchange it for the New Peso by knocking three zeros off the bill” So 1,000 peso notes were now worth a peso (nuevo).

Well, all of this led to multiple bailouts (thanks Bill Clinton) of the Mexican government, and more power for the cartels, who were the only ones making any money in Mexico, because of the failure of their internal oil industry, among other things.

(Here’s something I’ve learned along the way, any time a government screws up, or bans something, or nationalizes something, the guys that make out like bandits are, well, the bandits.  Criminal enterprise will always take advantage of government failures, and are frankly the ultimate in a “free market” economy.)

Seemingly oblivious to this, the Mexican Senate tried to nationalize the oil industry again in 2013. At that point, they were not successful.  Now the president is doing it by executive order, and guess what? He’s crashing the economy AGAIN. To quote from the article:
He’s taking sharp action to return the power, literally, back to the government — consequences be damned:
• Last year, a new law went into effect forcing the national electric grid to prioritize electricity produced by the state-owned Federal Electricity Commission (CFE). A study by the US government’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory found this could raise Mexico’s overall energy bill by over 50%, worth roughly $5.5 billion a year, and increase carbon emissions by 65%.
• The Mexican government has also halted all new auctions for private oil-and-gas exploration, as well as investments into private electricity generation. That includes wind and solar farms that could produce power at 33% of the CFE’s average cost, according to The Wall Street Journal.
In sum, according to environmental groups such as the Natural Resources Defense Council, the moves will likely prevent Mexico from achieving the carbon reduction goals outlined in the Paris Climate Agreements.

A private equity firm, KKR (worth $679 Billion, these guys are not small players) is suing the Mexican government for $667 Mil in damages because the government seized one of their fuel terminals, and Talos Energy is also suing; after Mexico seized operating control of the oil field Talos had discovered.

How does this affect you and why should you care?  When Mexico fucks up and crashes their economy, their government puts their hands out to Uncle Sam, and their citizens mass at the border and try to get in to where there is money and food… Namely HERE.  All of this costs us ridiculous amounts of cash, both directly and indirectly.  Do you think we have waves of illegal immigrants now? You ain’t seen nothing yet.  Oh and of course, as I mentioned, when the government is weakened, the shadow governments of the criminal enterprise are strengthened. “I’ll take failed Narcostates for a thousand, Alex.”  When you put that on top of what we already have to deal with economically… Well, when I asked my Financial Advisor what I should be buying, he said canned food and ammo.

Speaking of which, I see where our “duly elected” president gave a speech before the only people left in the US that even might like him, the AFL-CIO.  Now we all know this guy is detached from reality, but it appears his writers are too.

With whoppers like:
“Do you remember when our economy was like — what it looked like before we took office? … Twenty million Americans had lost their jobs under the last guy.
“Folks, we need an economy built from the middle out and the bottom up, not the top down. … So we went to work… It started with the American Rescue Plan. (Yeah it did, the inflation, the stock crashes, all of it.)
“We brought down COVID deaths by 90%. We opened schools and businesses that were shuttered. It all created the greatest job recovery in American history. … Since I’ve become president, we’ve created 8.7 million new jobs in 16 months. An all-time record. (Uh, Joe, restoring jobs that COVID killed is not creating jobs, and you didn’t introduce the vaccine, Trump did.)
“Since I took office … families are carrying less debt … [and] they have more savings. (straight out lie here.)
“Republicans like to portray me as some kind of big spender. We have spent a lot of money, but let’s compare the facts. Under my predecessor, the deficit exploded, raising — rising every single year. … Under my plan, last year we cut the deficit by $350 billion. (Only because your 1.5 trillion emergency spending bill was shot down in flames.)
“I don’t want to hear any more of these lies about reckless spending! We’re changing people’s lives! (yes, you are changing them, but change isn’t always for the better, ace.)
“Under my plan for the economy, we’ve made extraordinary progress. We put America in a position to tackle a worldwide problem that’s worse everywhere but here — inflation.” (and, another complete lie.)

His Mouthpiece Karine Jean-Pierre is just as ridiculous: 
“We see the economy in a stronger place than it’s been … in decades.” 
“The American people are well-positioned to face these challenges because of the economic historic gains that we have made … under this president in the last 16 months.” (are you HIGH girl? This is the worst position we’ve been in since Jimmy Carter was president, maybe before that.)
“The American Rescue Plan met the moment and it has put us in a place where we can actually … take on inflation. … In order to take this on, we gotta be in a good historic economic place, which is where we are right now.” (see previous snark)
“We have to remember where this country was more than a year ago when [Biden] walked into office. The economy was not in a great place.” (again, see previous snark)
“That is not a question that we should be even asking.” —Karine Jean-Pierre when asked, “Does the president has the stamina, physically and mentally, do you think to continue on even after 2024?” (No, the question we should be asking, is: “Is this doddering old fool even going to survive to 2024, and should we be talking 25th Amendment?)

Look, I realize that inside the beltway is a different nation than the rest of us live in, but I was there just a few months ago.  It’s not any better there than it is anywhere else.  The really sad thing is that this doddering old fool might actually BELIEVE what he’s reading off the teleprompter.  I suppose that sitting at 1600 PA ave. not actually buying anything, not actually going to a store or a restaurant, or Gods forbid, a gas station, you could be deluded into believing that those clothes they’re lying out for you are the absolute latest in high couture, even if you can’t see them, but seriously dude? 

Oh, and he’s claiming that we’re “approaching record levels of oil and natural gas production.”  Well, “approaching” is a very slippery word. 

We’re still a couple of MILLION barrels a day short of 2019 levels, according to the DOE, so while we have increased production since he took office while the whole damn world was shut down due to Covid, no we’re NOT anywhere near where we were before COVID, under Trump. 

Much like R. Reagan said of the only other president this horrible in the last hundred years: “A recession is when your neighbor loses his job, a depression is when you lose your job, and a recovery is when Biden loses HIS job.”  At this point, I think even Hillary could have done a better job.  (Come to think of it, maybe that was her plan all along…) 

Last week I mentioned the bill for protecting the Supreme court justices, well this week, the house finally passed that bill, over the objections of 27 Democrats that voted against it, including the usual suspects “the Squad” and several other ultra-left wingers.  Now I understand, they’re working for their “Base” who might just want to off a justice or two… see below. 

The notoriously right-wing (pardon me while I retrieve my eyes, which just rolled so hard they fell out) Southern Poverty Law Center did a poll, which that revealed that 44% of “younger Democrat men” (they didn’t say if these were “self-identified as men” or “Cismale”) approved of “assassinating a politician who is harming the country or our democracy.”  You’ll find the data here: 

I’m pretty sure that some of the things they found aren’t what they WANTED to find, so they buried them near the bottom of the article, but in fairness, it IS there.  What the article wants you to understand is that Republicans are more willing to agree that “some violence may be necessary to get the country back on track.”  They really bury the lede that Democrats are more willing to assassinate anyone they don’t agree with.

In fact, the article mentions “Republican” or “hard right” at a ratio of 5:1 vs “Democrat” and the phrase “hard left” is NEVER used. This thing has more spin than a Major League pitcher’s curve ball and makes it mostly about how the Republicans view LGBTQI+MOUSE as threatening, and that they view Gender role rights as having gone too far… as well as believing that the government party in power is supporting bringing in noncitizens to vote per “replacement theory” while glossing over the fact that a fair number of Democrats agree with all that.  In short, please read it, but read it critically, look at the spin, and look at the actual numbers, then draw your own conclusions.

Now, a fun piece of this whole “replacement theory” bit, is that the Democrats got a hell of a surprise on Wednesday, a young republican gal born in Mexico just became the congressman in a Texas district that was given up by the Republican party as “not worth fighting for, because we will never win it.”  It seems like south Texas folks have had more than enough of the illegal immigration thing, and all of those Mexican Americans said HELL NO, WE WANT A WALL.

Elsewhere, it seems that the abortion rate rose in the US for the first time in years, roughly 1 in 5 pregnancies ended in abortion this year. “Safe, legal and RARE? Uh, where I come from 20% isn’t “rare.”  It would be interesting to compare the Abortion rate with the economic status of the nation.  I wonder how those two numbers track.  I bet you, you would find that when the economy is in the shitter, there are more kids aborted…

Here’s something I stumbled across that is interesting,

is the source document, the author is an engineer and energy expert: “Today, a typical EV battery weighs one thousand pounds.  It contains 25 pounds of lithium, 60 pounds of nickel, 44 pounds of manganese, 30 pounds of cobalt, 200 pounds of copper, and 400 pounds of aluminum, steel, and plastic. Inside are over 6,000 individual lithium-ion cells.

“It should concern you that all those toxic components come from mining. For instance, to manufacture each EV auto battery, you must process 25,000 pounds of brine for the lithium, 30,000 pounds of ore for the cobalt, 5,000 pounds of ore for the nickel, and 25,000 pounds of ore for copper. All told, you dig up 500,000 pounds of the earth’s crust for just one battery.”

See, just like how oil from the middle east or Russia or Venezuela is somehow preferred to American oil using American workers, and our environmental standards so too is it somehow better to pollute the shit out of Africa and China, than to do stuff here at home… At least for the watermelons.

Another Navy issue, sort of: China’s foreign minister in an interview, said that “Not an inch of the Taiwan Strait is ‘international waters.’ China has sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the Taiwan Strait.” Source:

Now, even if we buy into the argument that Taiwan is actually part of China, which seems still to be the official position of our government while hedging our bets by saying that: We will defend Taiwan maybe if China attacks it to regain control, and we will support Taiwan’s right to defend themselves from aggression using all means at our disposal.  (If that seems about as clear as MUD, well congratulations, you understand perfectly!) The claim  that “we OWN the 100 miles of water between the Mainland and this island.” Is about as reasonable as the US claiming that we own the eastern Pacific.  After all, Hawaii is our soil, and California is our soil, so everything in between is ours too, right?  Oh, and I guess the north sea belongs to Denmark because they own Greenland… the Irish sea belongs to England, and so on… No China put away the opium pipe, and join the real world.

China has been swinging sharp elbows in other areas too, trying to down an Australian P-8 by flying at it, trying to FOD its engines out by dropping down right in front of them and discharging flares and chaff and generally trying to cause the pilots to lose control.  If you think back a few years, they pulled the same thing on a US P-3 and caused it to crash, when they got a little too aggressive and rammed the aircraft.  Their pilot didn’t survive the experience, our crew was captured and held for a couple of weeks before being released.

Welcome back to the cold war, did you miss it?

I really wanted to go into the AI bot that Google has developed that may just have achieved sentience, but I’m already at 3K words, so I’m going to wrap this up.  Go take a look at this article:

and ask yourself if this thing passes the Touring test.  I read the whole transcript, located here:

(you have to go through a couple of articles to get to it, so I saved you the time.) and Oh, MY, this reminds me way too much of Mycroft Holmes from ‘The Moon is a Harsh Mistress’ by R.A. Heinlein. If that doesn’t concern you, you aren’t paying attention. Please, go read it when you have the time, then ask yourself if this is a good thing or a bad thing?

Take care, watch your six, 
Until next time I remain,
Yours in service.
William Lehman.

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