featured-rand-paul

Rand Paul’s Slim Lead in 2016 Polls Is Misleading

I wrote yesterday that the polling data for the 2016 GOP nomination is almost useless due to pollsters polling so many contenders who aren’t running.  However, if there’s one bit of information we can pull from these numbers, it’s that Rand Paul is in trouble.

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Rand Paul is difficult for most Republicans to take seriously, let alone the general electorate.
Rand Paul is difficult for most Republicans to take seriously, let alone the general electorate.

Now, you might be confused.  At first glance, it looks like Rand Paul is sitting pretty good.  He’s polling strong relative to the other candidates and has a slim lead in the RCP poll of polls.  However, as I discussed in the previous article, 1/3rd of respondents in these polls (possibly more) are either undecided (12.5%) or supporting a candidate who isn’t running (20% or more).

Now, there’s no way of knowing who the remaining 1/3rd of the Republican primary voters are going to support.  However, it’s a safe bet that the vast majority of them aren’t going to support Rand Paul.  Rand Paul is not a conservative, but a radical who lacks the discipline necessary to convince Republicans (let alone the general public) that he’s the man we want in the Oval Office.  Republican primary voters are going to recognize that easily and they are going to vote against him if for no other reason than they don’t think Rand Paul can win.

The sniping between Rand Paul and Ted Cruz has been heavy since both began vying for the 2016 GOP Presidential Nomination
The sniping between Rand Paul and Ted Cruz has been heavy since both began vying for the 2016 GOP Presidential Nomination

Unfortunately for Rand Paul, he is perceived as a wacky nut job and few people outside his father’s legion of obnoxious libertarians are going to take him seriously.  And the vast majority of those voters are already supporting Rand Paul in the polls.  Rand Paul’s only hope is that Ted Cruz doesn’t run because Cruz is one of the few candidates with any large number of voters who might break for Paul.  Of course, Cruz and Paul aren’t exactly chums on the Senate floor, so Cruz might try to direct some of those votes elsewhere if he doesn’t run or drops out.

When these remaining 1/3rd of voters make up their minds or pick their second choices, it doesn’t matter who gets how many votes, Rand Paul is going to start trailing by increasing margins in these polls.  Despite all the good press Rand Paul is receiving, he is not going to be the 2016 nominee.

I think when it all plays out, Rand Paul is going to be behind Marco Rubio (or Jeb Bush), Mike Huckabee, Rick Perry, and Chris Christie; putting Paul in 4th place or lower.

Sorry, Democrats.  You’re not going to be handed the next Presidential election like the last two.

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Polls for 2016 GOP Nomination Almost Unusable

Everyone wants to start polling on who the front-runners are for the 2016 Republican Nomination.  There’s just one problem: the pollsters are polling with too many candidates.  Take a look at the Real Clear Politics Poll of Polls.

rcp2016

We’ve discussed this before.  Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio are not BOTH going to run.  It will be one or the other.  That’s 7% to 10% for a candidate who won’t be in the race.

Former Arkansas Governor Huckabee addresses the third session of Republican National Convention in TampaFox News isn’t polling Mike Huckabee as a 2016 contender; which I assume is because it might be a conflict of interests for Fox News to be “polling for” one of its employees.  This wouldn’t be horrible, except that CNN/Opinion Research isn’t actually polling registered voters, so RCP data on Huckabee (one of the early front-runners) is shady at best.  It’s still pretty clear that Huckabee is among the front-runners, but we don’t know where among them he is with any degree of accuracy.

Paul RyanI really don’t think Paul Ryan is seriously considering a 2016 campaign, either.  It’s more likely that Representative Ryan (R-WI) is waiting for Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker to run for President and win the nomination; making him the next obvious choice for Governor of Wisconsin.  He’s young enough that a Presidential campaign in 10 years (12 years after running for Vice President and losing)  might be the best thing he can do.  I’m sure there are Senate contests Ryan may want to consider before jumping into the 2016 competition, too.  This just keeps his name out there and builds credibility with Wisconsin voters.  So that’s 9.3% of support that’s again going to a candidate who isn’t going to run.

Rick SantorumI also have a hard time believing Rick Santorum is seriously considering a second run for President.  Especially if Mike Huckabee runs for President in 2016, Rick Santorum won’t have a leg to stand on.  He would be reduced to attacking Huckabee and, in effect, supporting Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Chris Christie, and Jeb Bush/Marco Rubio.  All the while, he’s going to anger a lot of the Iowa evangelicals who delivered an upset victory for Santorum in 2012.  I have to believe Rick Santorum is going to end his political career on a high note if Huckabee gets in the race.

All together, we’re left with RCP polling data in which 20% or more of the respondents might as well be saying they’re voting for Darth Vader because their first choices aren’t going to be running.  Some of this 20% may very well have a more realistic second choices that are being dealt a great injustice in the polling results (Cristie, Bush, Ryan, and Huckabee the most likely victims).

That’s in addition to the 12.5% of respondents who were undecided or supporting other candidates.  All together, that’s 1/3rd of respondents saying they support a candidate who isn’t running or aren’t sure.  These problems aren’t unique to the RCP poll of polls.  They’re in every poll that’s testing all of these candidates.

Keep that in mind before using one of these polls to boast your candidate or act surprised someone else’s isn’t more popular.  You can still do some analysis on these shady numbers, but I’ll save that for tomorrow’s post.

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FEATURED Huckabee

Huck PAC still Losing Money Despite Huckabee’s Speaking Fees

Mike Huckabee's leadership PAC, Huck PAC, is bleeding money while the potential 2016 contender is raking in big bucks in speaking fees and television appearances.
Mike Huckabee’s leadership PAC, Huck PAC, is bleeding money while the potential 2016 contender is raking in big bucks in speaking fees and television appearances.

Huck PAC released their mid-year finance statement to the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) and, not shockingly, Huck PAC is still failing to raise any kind of serious money.  Also not shockingly, I’m going to call former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee out… again… for the failure of Huck PAC to make the kind of impact a Leadership PAC needs in order for have its head run for President.  Fundraising has been an enormous stain on Huckabee’s record; which possibly prevented him from winning the GOP nomination in 2008 and may easily sink his 2016 aspirations, too.  And that’s unfortunate, because in a field of guys like Rand Paul and John Bolton, someone like Huckabee would have a lot of appeal.

What’s most disheartening about Huck PAC’s numbers is that Mike Huckabee isn’t struggling at the moment.  His speaking fees aren’t quite as outrageous as Bill and Hillary Clinton’s, but they’re still impressive.  According to Celebrity Talent International, a Huckabee speaking engagement will cost anywhere from $30,000 to $75,000 for a speech depending on various factors.  Two or three speeches could pay off my mortgage at that rate!

Between 1 April 2014 and 30 June 2014, Huck PAC raised $124,007, SPENT $141,806, and has $195,035 cash on hand.  If Huckabee was combining his talents with fundraising for Huck PAC, they certainly wouldn’t be bleeding money and it stands to reason that Huck PAC could play a great role in many important 2014 Congressional races.  That in turn would translate directly to support for a Huckabee 2016 presidential run.

But it’s not happening.

For what it’s worth, Huckabee was able to pull in $15,000 from churches and $25,000 from corporations for a single speech in 2007 (even as much as $35,000 from stem cell researchers) as his campaign was underway.  I don’t know if that ever translated into major campaign donations, but I don’t think it happened – at least not very often.  If anyone wants to go digging through old campaign finance reports to prove me wrong, feel free.

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FEATURED Voting

John Johnston: When Good Candidates Make Bad Mistakes

John-Johnston
Major John Johnston is one of the most personable, authentic candidates you’ll find.

Retired US Marine Major John Johnston is my candidate for the Indiana State House here in district 10.  District 10 encompasses most of Portage and parts of the Westchester community.  He’s a stand up guy and a great American.  He served as a Marine Intelligence Officer for years before heading the Portage High School JROTC program; where he changed thousands of teenagers’ lives for the better.  While District 10 leans Democrat, the Indiana HRCC and our local leaders all believe it’s winnable with the right candidate.  Major John Johnston fits the bill.

But Major Johnston lacks the instincts of a career politician and is prone to making some bad mistakes.  Last month, John Johnston was engaging in a debate on Facebook (mistake #1) and wrote this on a community forum (mistake #2).

For almost three generations people, in some cases, have been given handouts. They have been ‘enabled’ so much that their paradigm in life is simply being given the stuff of life, however meager. What you see is a setting for a life of misery is life to them never-the-less. No one has the guts to just let them wither and die (mistake #3). No one who wants votes is willing to call a spade a spade. As long as the Dems can get their votes the enabling will continue. The Republicans need their votes and dare not cut the fiscal tether. It is really a political Catch-22… People simply are not hurting enough, or simply happy enough that they will do nothing. Consequently the dole continues.”

John Johnston (R-IN)

I was hoping this story would just go away, but Democrats (and John Johnston) won’t let it die.  After this got picked up in the NWI Times and a plethora of liberal blogs, John Johnston returned to Facebook (mistake #4) to defend his statement (mistake #5) by blaming the reporter (mistake #6) for taking the quote about letting the poor die out of context.

Now, I’m probably going to be yelled at for writing about John Johnston.  I typically avoid writing about local politics on this blog because I have what some would call, “insider knowledge.”   However, seeing as how liberal national bloggers are talking about it, and media outside the region is picking up on it, I figure I should probably step in as well; especially since I live in this district.

Major John Johnston made a boneheaded comment.  We all have made them.  Sometimes we do it for shock and entertainment value (as I often do).  Sometimes we do it because some liberal says something so outrageous that we feel we need to respond in kind.  Sometimes we make bad analogies.  Sometimes we don’t know something will be offensive.  Sometimes we secretly hope it is offensive to wake people up.  Sometimes the words just slip out of our mouths and we don’t realize it until someone repeats them back to us (Hillary Clinton: “What difference does it make!?”).

Major John Johnston claimed he was just speaking in hyperbole.  The truth of the matter is that John Johnston is not a disciplined, refined candidate.  He’s not some portrait of the perfect candidate anybody has painted to run for State Representative.  He’s the real deal.

John Johnston doesn’t have an experienced, full-time campaign manager or communications director.  If he’s writing something on Facebook, it’s not some conceived strategy to set the campaign message or woo a certain segment of the population.  He’s writing it because he feels it needs to be said or simply because he wants to say it.

As a political operative, John Johnston’s lack of political discipline makes me excessively nervous because there are so many opportunities for mess ups like the one above.  However, that lack of discipline does show off one of John Johnston’s best assets…

Himself.

John Johnston is an absolutely incredible community servant.  He loves this area, he loves the people in our community, and he’s a really likable guy with a powerful presence (and Krista says ‘too powerful of a handshake’).  Anybody who learns about what he’s done for the thousands of kids in his JROTC program are going to want to vote for him.  But when you meet him, he really is every bit of the fantastic person that narrative tells.

90% of the candidates I meet put up an incredible shield around themselves.  It’s a shield that doesn’t let anybody close and everything that comes through it has been sanitized and pre-approved for political correctness.  It doesn’t feel real and everybody senses it, but it’s everywhere so we just generally accept it anyway.  John Johnston doesn’t have that shield.  When you meet John Johnston, you are actually meeting John Johnston, not some fake portrait of John Johnston that campaign managers and communications directors want you to see.  (Again, he doesn’t have them).

The approach has a lot of benefits, but a lot of risks.  Because Indiana District 10 leans Democrat, John Johnston was going to have a tough go of things as it was.  When mailers start coming out in September and October that say “John Johnston wants poor people to die,” it’s going to get even tougher.  Normally, I would just say that this candidate is dead in the water.  But John Johnston has a lot of former students supporting him, a great story revolving around service, and a fantastic personality.  Despite everything that’s happened, John Johnston might still find a way to upset Chuck Mosley.  And you can bet Krista and I are going to do everything in our power to help him do it.

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FEATURED Congress

GOP Can’t Impeach Obama

More and more, people I talk to are saying we ought to impeach Obama.  While Barack Obama deserves to be impeached more than any President in US history; the GOP simply can not and should not do it.  Here’s why.

To Impeach Obama is to Impeach the First Black President

obama-childishWe are desperately trying to undo the horrible effects of Richard Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” and the consequential southern Republican opposition to the civil rights movement.  For 50 years, the party of the KKK and the of the racist Planned Parenthood (the Democrats) have been successfully tagging Republicans as racists.  We are desperately trying to undo that reputation and have in recent years begun making inroads into minority communities.  We have had some setbacks, like Rand Paul saying he wouldn’t support the civil rights act if he was voting on it, but we are making progress.

The absolute worst thing we can do for the Republican Party is impeach the first black President.  If we do that, the Republican Party will always be the party of racists that decided to impeach Obama.  That’s going to stick with us more than 50 years.

GOP Lacks The Votes to Impeach and Remove Obama

Democrats absolutely will not support any attempt to impeach Obama.  Without Democrat votes, the GOP stands no chance of actually kicking Obama out of office.  Even if we have big, enormous wins in the November 2014 mid-term elections, we’re not going to have the 67 votes in the US Senate necessary to remove him. So, if we were to impeach Obama, it would accomplish no more than being able to say he was impeached.  And, as we learned from the impeachment of Bill Clinton 16 years ago, a stain on a blue dress is a bigger stain than what impeachment left on his legacy.

Impeaching a Lame Duck

If we were to impeach Obama, it would have to be after the mid-term elections in November.  Too many Republicans in contested seats would vote “No” for impeachment to succeed in the House of Representatives before the election.  So therefore, the proceedings to impeach Obama couldn’t begin until early 2015 at the earliest.  Through all the debate and committees and Democrat hurdles they would throw up, the vote to impeach wouldn’t be until early summer 2015.  By this time, the 2016 Presidential Primaries will be entering full swing and, when the primaries are going on in the final term of a President; the President is essentially a lame duck.

So, you’re sacrificing 50+ years of ridicule for impeaching the first black president to kick the first black lame duck president out of office a year and a half before he resigns anyway.  Oh wait… we wouldn’t actually be kicking him out.  We won’t have the votes in the US Senate for that, remember?

A Presidential Caliber Distraction

angryhillaryobamaI just wrote that if the GOP decided to impeach Obama, the vote would likely be in the summer of 2015.  Well, summer of 2015 is going to be when the Presidential Primaries are kicking into full swing.  We want the focus of the Republican Party on our great candidates, the dangerous foreign policy of Rand Paul, and the failed foreign policy of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party.  If we attempt to impeach Obama, it’s going to be an enormous distraction that will make it impossible to focus on whatever platform message our guys (and possibly girls) are trying to get out.

Furthermore, every Presidential candidate is going to have a plethora of Republican Congressmen supporting them.  Guess what?  Those Congressmen are going to be under incredible pressure from  their respective candidates not to let impeachment go to the floor.  The only candidates who will support impeachment are the candidates who don’t have significant support in Congress and are in desperate need of winning conservative voters.

Two-In-A-Row Sets a Bad Precedent

Look, the GOP impeached the last Democrat who served as President for lying about having oral sex.  We looked miserably out-of-touch and petty.  It backfired in every way imaginable.  Well, every way imaginable at the time.  Because 16 years later, we would have another Democrat President who actually DOES deserve to be impeached.  And now, if we impeach two Democrats in a row, we’re going to look twice as petty, twice as miserable, and twice as out-of-touch.

Let’s not make this more difficult than it has to be.  The GOP cannot impeach Obama, and it wouldn’t get through the Senate if we could; so let’s drop the idea and focus on what legislation we’re going to make Obama veto in 2015 and what candidates we’re going to run to replace him.

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FEATURED POPE FRANCIS

FULL VIDEO: ‘Desire of the Everlasting Hills’

Okay, when you get an hour, you NEED to watch this documentary called “Desire of the Everlasting Hills.”  Krista and I watched it on Friday night and were convinced this is the best example of the Catholic teaching on same-sex attraction that either of us have seen.  It’s personable, humorous and entertaining, and most importantly it’s brutally honest. ‘Desire of the Everlasting Hills’ runs about an hour-long, so make sure you have some time to make this video full screen and just watch.

The makers of ‘Desire of the Everlasting Hills,’ the fine people with Courage RC, like true artists passionate about their work, made this documentary 100% free to watch online.  It’s a bit mature for younger audiences (as you might suspect by the subject matter I described above), but it’s still worth watching.  If you or a loved one is carrying the cross of same-sex attraction, Courage RC has a lot of great resources and ‘Desire of the Everlasting Hills’ is one of them.

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12 Lessons Learned After My Car Accident

imageI was on the receiving end of a hit and run on Wednesday while driving in Chicago. While my car came through it relatively unscathed, it appears as though I was not as fortunate. Luckily, X-Rays and a CT scan show that my back pain was nothing more than muscle strain compiled on a previous back injury from the Air Force. Unfortunately, they found nothing that explains the numbness on my face. So I’m off to see a neurologist sometime next week to see if they can figure that out.

Anyway, I thought I would share everything I have learned from this experience.

1. Regardless of whether you think whoever hit you is pulling over, get as much detailed information as you can on the car that hit you. Hit and Runs are especially a pain in the ass.

2. Chicago offers you the opportunity to file a police report by phone. Don’t waste your time. They don’t answer and they don’t call back.

3. Some Chicago police officers are too lazy to file a police report and make you go to the police station.

4. Chicago Police stations offer inferior parking.

5. Because of this,  I think it might be okay to park illegally in front of a Chicago Police Station.

6. Make sure you have the latest car insurance cards on you. Keeping old ones around is just going to set you up for a stressful and embarrassing situation.

7. Chicago Police probably aren’t going to care unless gunfire was involved or somebody died.  (instead of getting angry, you should still treat them with kindness)

8. Those people who say their injuries don’t manifest for 24-48 hours after a crash aren’t lying.

9. NorthShore health clinics in Northwest Indiana refuse to treat victims of car accidents.

10. Just because you set an appointment and told them you were in a car accident, North Shore won’t tell you that they won’t see you until you limp into their lobby and start filling out their paperwork.  That’s because they’re incompetent assholes.

11. When doctors and nurses ask you if you want something for the pain, YOU SAY YES!

12. Car accidents are a time consuming pain in the ass. Avoid them if at all possible.

This unfortunately cancels my plans to go golfing at Notre Dame this weekend.  Instead, I’ll be praying that the neurological MRI scan goes well.

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Praise for Rand Paul (I’m serious!)

Rand Paul is a nutcase and the best thing he's got going for himself is that he hides it better than his lunatic father.
Rand Paul is a nutcase and the best thing he’s got going for himself is that he hides it better than his lunatic father.

I don’t like Rand Paul a lot.  In fact, I dislike Rand Paul quite a bit.  I think he’s a lunatic and conspiracy nut who would lead this country to ruin like only a Libertarian could if he were elected President, God forbid.  But for all the complaints I have about Rand Paul, and I have a lot of complaints, I feel he should be praised for one thing.

Outreach to traditionally liberal segments of the population.

Rand Paul at a forum on his latest trip to Silicon Valley.
Rand Paul at a forum on his latest trip to Silicon Valley.

This was most recently demonstrated on his trip to Silicon Valley to meet with leaders of new technologies who have deep pockets and are traditionally huge donors to Democrats.  Late last year, Rand Paul also spent time in Michigan and Detroit in particular to try undoing the stronghold Democrats have in the city.  In 2010, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate won 94% of the vote in Detroit.

Quite frankly, as the 94% number illustrates, we can’t win elections only campaigning to ourselves by preaching to the choir.  At a time when liberalism is becoming increasingly powerful in media outlets and effective in its messaging, we can’t just sit back and wait for people to start exercising common sense when they vote.  We need to get our message out to people who aren’t hearing it, and we need to frame it in ways they can understand.

Rand Paul and Mike Huckabee are probably the only potential 2016 candidates who have proven themselves willing and able to do this.  The difference between Rand Paul and Mike Huckabee is that Rand Paul exercises quite a bit of strategy when choosing where he is spending his time.  Huckabee manages to connect with people on an individual basis; which is why he’s a great campaigner.  But while Huckabee uses this as a tactic; Rand Paul uses it as an impressive strategy.

Seeing as how I'm going to Detroit next month, I'll avoid making any quips about the city...
Seeing as how I’m going to Detroit next month, I’ll avoid making any quips about the city…

Michigan will prove to be an important primary state if Rand Paul manages to win the New Hampshire Republican Primary.  It will be even more important for Rand Paul to win Michigan if he loses New Hampshire.

It’s impossible to state how awesome Silicon Valley’s financial support would be to a Republican in the 2016 primary process.   As I’ve written about before, the 2016 Republican primary process is going to be accelerated compared to previous years and money is going to be more important than ever so candidates can campaign simultaneously in a multitude of states.  Silicon Valley support is especially crucial for Rand Paul.  Traditional sources of big campaign money are probably already reserved for traditional conservative candidates like Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Condi Rice, and other potential contenders.  Rand Paul is so far down on their list that even if the conservative donors’ first, second, and third choices all decided not to run; they still wouldn’t send money to Rand Paul.

For Rand Paul to have any chance at winning the Republican nomination for President in 2016, he needs money from a non-traditional source for conservatives.  Silicon Valley was one of the few places where he could have gotten it and, according to early reports, it sounds like he found gold in California.

Of course, I doubt Tea Party people like Chris McDaniel are going to cry foul that liberals are tainting our Republican Primary when the liberals are supporting their guy.

So kudos to Rand Paul (for once).  He’s not my candidate, but I really wish some of my conservative Republican guys and gals would take this page from Rand Paul’s playbook and start messaging to yesteryear’s liberals today.

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Japan Is World’s Fastest Growing UAV Force

A graphic displaying how a single Global Hawk UAV can provide complete coverage over islands contested by China and Japan.
A single Global Hawk UAV can provide complete coverage over islands contested by China and Japan.

Japan is rapidly building its UAV capabilities in an effort to boost its surveillance activity of China’s military build up and North Korea’s nuclear program.  The government of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe recently purchased several long-range and high-altitude RQ-4 Global Hawk UAVs from the United States and “reinterpreted” Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution (commonly called the “Peace Clause”) to allow, among other things, significant investment in indigenous unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) procurement.

Even though Japan has not yet announced an intention to develop a combat UAV, China didn’t hesitate to blast Japan for escalating tensions between their countries by developing their UAV capabilities.

China parading its UAV assets through the streets in true communist style.
China parading its UAV assets through the streets in true communist style.

That’s a bit ironic, considering China began testing a stealth combat UAV last year.  It’s reasonable to predict Japan will eventually follow China’s example and develop combat UAVs for herself.  China has been developing and researching UAV technology for quite a few years now.

While UAVs are highly controversial in the United States, there is no denying that they are the future of military technology.  While I personally don’t like the idea of combat UAVs (for the risk of making war too much like a video game) or where the technology will eventually lead; it is painfully apparent that UAVs absolutely must be a part of a modern, early 21st century military.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been taking an aggressive "Peace Through Strength" policy towards China.  While his seemingly-hawkish stances have sometimes been unpopular at home, there is little doubt that he has cause a great amount of hesitation inside the Chinese government.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been taking an aggressive “Peace Through Strength” policy towards China. While his seemingly hawkish stances have sometimes been unpopular at home, there is little doubt that he has cause a great amount of hesitation inside the Chinese government.

Beyond 21st century necessity, a large UAV force can offer Japan another unique benefit.  For almost 70 years, Japan’s pacifist constitution prevented the country from having anything more than a very limited self-defense force.  Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is bravely reinterpreting that, having decided that it would be better to deter conflict with strength than rely on the United States to defend its interests.  (Yet another example of what happens when our allies don’t trust Barack Obama to uphold our defense agreements.)  However, as we in the United States know, building a large military capable of deterring emerging superpowers like China can be insanely expensive due to ever-evolving technology, force protection needs, and the corruption caused by the unending special interests groups tied to the Military Industrial Complex.

The United States; having been a central figure in World War II, the Cold War, and the Global War on Terrorism; has been able to slowly evolve to eat the ever-increasing costs of being a superpower and pass the financial burden on to adversaries like China.  Had the United States skipped any of those conflicts; we would not be a superpower today, even if the allies still won WWII and the west still won the Cold War.

That’s the position Japan is in.

It would be outrageously expensive to just rearm itself to pre-war levels.  Taxes in Japan would have to skyrocket, entire industries would have to stop exports to meet the demands of Japanese remilitarization, military service might have to be compulsory for a generation or two, and the third largest economy of the world would crumble.  But by using UAVs, Japan is able to cut a lot of those costs, keep the number of military personnel relatively low, and potentially create an entirely new industry based on UAV technology.

Having a parliamentary system, the opportunities for corruption via a Japanese Military Industrial Complex are significantly fewer than we see in the United States, so Japan may have a huge economic advantage over the United States in developing UAV technologies quickly and without the excessive waste.

While I don’t particularly care for UAV technology, there are obvious benefits for Japan and any other country seeking to defend itself against a country that is drastically larger such as China.

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FEATURED Air Force

VIDEO: Russian Separatists Had SA-11, Shot Down MH17

The SA-11 seems like the likely culprit for the destruction of Flight MH17.
The SA-11 Gadfly seems like the likely culprit for the destruction of Flight MH17.

I posted an article very early yesterday morning about my suspicion that Ukraine shot down Malaysian Airlines flight MH17.  About 10 minutes after I posted that article, evidence began making its way to my news sources that suggested the separatists fired the missile.   I took the post down, not wanting bad information being proliferated by my site, but re-published it based on popular demand.

Among the various items I’ve seen to make me change my mind,  this may be a smoking gun. Someone shared the video below that reportedly shows an SA-11 Gadfly being transported by the separatists into Russia.  If you look closely, you will see the SA-11 is missing two missiles.

I cannot verify that this video was shot when and where it claims, but if true, it’s pretty damning evidence.  It would also raise a lot of questions.

Why would Russia give the separatists such a valuable weapon system?

The SA-11 is a very decent surface to air missile system.  They would sell for millions and could sweeten any number of trade deals or treaties.  It’s such a waste to give them to militias who aren’t properly trained and can bring down almost any air target with a much cheaper MANPAD like the SA-7 or SA-14.

Why would Russia risk giving large, advanced weapon systems to separatists?

A Russian soldier aiming an SA-24 Grinch.  The SA-24 is the latest MANPAD produced by the Russian Federation.  If Russia is smuggling MANPADs to separatists in Ukraine, they would likely send older SA-7, SA-14 or SA-16 systems.
A Russian soldier aiming an SA-24 Grinch. The SA-24 is the latest MANPAD produced by the Russian Federation. If Russia is smuggling MANPADs to separatists in Ukraine, they would likely send older SA-7, SA-14 or SA-16 systems.

I find it incredibly hard to believe that Russia would send these rebels SA-11s, or anything bigger than a MANPAD for fear of their finger prints being undeniably attached to the separatist military operations.  Russia can be careless from time to time, but this is carelessness taken to a new extreme.

Had Ukraine managed to capture one of these and found a serial number or dated the age of the rocket fuel to link it back to Russia, it would have been impossible for Russia to continue denying their involvement in the Ukrainian Civil War.  This seems like such an enormous risk for Russia that I really have a hard time wrapping my head around it.

How Did The Separatists Learn How To Use The SA-11?

Russia does have an extreme surplus of Soviet weapons that it has always been eager to pawn off on their short term interests, but a weapon system like the SA-11 Gadfly is a lot more advanced than I think the separatists would be able to operate without some help from the Ukrainian military or outside the country.

Then again, they shot down a passenger plane, so they’re obviously lacking the technical expertise needed to use the equipment properly.  It suggests a Russian officer of some level gave the separatists a crash course in how to use the SA-11, but didn’t operate it themselves.  In other words, they taught the Separatists just enough to be very dangerous (as we saw with the destruction of Flight MH17).

How Did The Separatists Hide It?

Seriously, these things are gigantic.  Ukraine has been flying aerial surveillance over rebel areas and they somehow missed the giant SA-11 sitting in some schmuck’s back yard.  They have loyalist informants throughout these areas (probably like the guy who shot the video of the SA-11 being transported) and they all missed the delivery of this weapons system and its storage.

There’s not much you can do about a rebel with a MANPAD, but these mobile SAMs are not Formula 1 racing cars.  All it takes is one report and the Ukrainian military would make a separatist SA-11 a top priority target because of how lethal it is to the Ukrainian Air Force.

Why Didn’t Ukraine (or the United States) Know About The Rebel SA-11?

The SA-11 is a serious threat to not only the Ukrainian Air Force and Malaysian pilots who are notorious for deviating from their planned routes, but for the United States as well.  We have civilian and military air assets all over Europe and if a rebel group gets their hands on an SA-11, everyone needs to be made aware of it.  And an FAA advisory doesn’t cut it.

These things aren’t easy to hide and if Russia is transporting these SA-11 surface to air missiles to their border with Ukraine and then disappearing overnight, everyone needs to know why before a tragedy like this happens.

How did the Ukraine, NATO, the United States, and everyone else just happen to overlook it?

Why Didn’t Ukraine Capture or Destroy It After Shooting Down MH17?

When an SA-11 fires two missiles and destroys a passenger airline, you use every tool at your disposal and the disposal of everyone on your side to figure out where the missile was fired.  Then, you use every asset you have to ensure the SA-11 Gadfly is either destroyed or captured.  Instead, there was no dragnet and, according to the above video, the SA-11 in question is most likely back inside Russian territory where it will be safe from they inquisitive eyes of crash investigators.  I find that very difficult to believe.

Some Questions Answered

Russia giving the separatists large SAM systems like the SA-11 does explain some things.  For example, I didn’t believe it was possible for the Ukrainian Air Force to have so much success putting down the separatists in Eastern Ukraine if the separatists had access to SA-11s.  I found it hard to believe Ukraine let these weapons be captured and, once captured, I found it even harder to believe they wouldn’t destroy them or immediately try to recapture them for the risk they posed to Ukrainian Air Force operations.  If Russia was loaning one or two of these out, it stands to reason that the exchanges happened recently and that Ukraine wouldn’t have necessarily known where the SA-11s were or even that the Russian separatists had them; which is why they weren’t destroyed.

Evidence Pointing Increasingly to Separatists

Despite my initial reaction and suspicions, the evidence continues to grow pinning this on the Separatists.  Russia hasn’t denied that the rebels shot down the plane; which doesn’t bode well for the separatists in Ukraine in this matter.  Instead, Moscow is blaming Ukraine for not accepting a ceasefire that would have stopped the fighting that ultimately resulted in MH17 being shot down.  While there’s some legitimacy to that argument, it’s a pretty weak distraction from the fact that Russia may have given separatists a major surface-to-air weapon system, taught them enough to be dangerous, and is covering for them after they shot down a passenger plane.

Moments after the downing of MH17, there were several militants bragging that they brought down a military transport.  These Twitter posts were taken down lot long after it happened, but not before Ukraine managed to collect these messages.

I think it’s sad that the Ukrainian intelligence analysts can tell you what bands and Facebook pages a separatist “Likes” but can’t confirm whether or not there’s an SA-11 in someone’s back yard.

I still have a lot of questions about what happened and why, but the evidence is starting to point to the Russian Separatists shooting down the plane.

For the Love of All That is Holy, Enough With the Conspiracy Theories!

Reading through the comments of the video on YouTube, it’s becoming obvious that the conspiracy nuts are having their way with this, insisting two missiles were fired at the plane, proving MH17 was intentionally targeted.  That’s a load of crap.

If you’re firing missiles at a military aircraft equipped with contemporary countermeasures, there’s a very good chance that one surface to air missile isn’t going to be enough to bring it down.  Heck, the SA-11 isn’t the most able SAM in the town.  The first missile could be a miss for any number of reasons.  By firing a second missile, it gives the second missile a better chance of hitting the aircraft if the first one fails.  This is particularly important because if that plane survives, it’s going to report the position of the SA-11 and you can bet bombs or special forces (or both) are going to be falling from the sky in no time at all.

 

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