Bureaucrat Beat: Ocean everywhere, drones too and a for-sale scientist?

frankoceanews“From city halls to county courthouses, from the State house to the White House – bureaucrats control our lives.  Public servants who often try to become our masters.  People whose salaries we pay, but what goods and services do we get?  On Sierra Wave’s Bureaucrat Beat, we’ll report what they’re up to.”  That’s the Bureaucrat Beat declaration of dissatisfaction, but as you may know, Bureaucrat Beat talks about so much more.

What’s up with this?  Seems like everywhere I look, there is the name Frank Ocean.  Yeah, the guy stopped twice over New Year’s in the Eastern Sierra – speeding, suspended license, marijuana.  Then, there’s his name again in The New Yorker in a story about an attempt to establish a music festival on a luxury cruise liner.  Musicians included, you guessed it, Frank Ocean, along with Radiohead and the Shins.  Then I start to review a CD of the 2013 Grammy nominees.  Yep.  He has a pleasant voice but the hip-hop thing eludes me.  Maybe Frank Ocean was there all along, and I never noticed until he made our police beat.

People around the nation notice Sierra Wave.  Since we started to stream the radio station, someone in Oregon emailed to say they used to live in Bishop and they still listen to Bob Todd in the morning.  As this person said, “Good music and a real radio personality!”

Someone else noticed old Christmas Trees headed to Buckley Ponds.  Yep.  A project of Dick Noles to help create under water habitat.  People are doing this in many places.

People in the Mammoth business community recently resorted to political drama at a planning commission meeting when Steve Klassen pulled out a pair of boxing gloves and challenged Phil Hertzog of Mammoth Outdoor Sports to a fight.  Klassen was clearly miffed that Hertzog had asked the commission to extend his Rail Jam special event for several more months.  They didn’t.  Police Chief Dan Watson kept a wary eye on the whole thing.  Business is war, folks.

The Bishop City Council members have not turned into Drama Kings and Queens, but some have once more questioned the somewhat schizophrenic way the Council handles agenda items.  They talk about them and hash them over at 4pm study sessions and then reconsider them again at the regular meeting that night.  Deliberation without public participation?  That’s the risk.  City Administrator Keith Caldwell said the City would consider televising the study sessions as they do council meetings.  He also points to the fact that study sessions are public meetings and they give staff a chance to answer questions before the prime time regular meetings.  We in the Bureaucrat Beat Newsroom feel that deliberation and decisions should take place at the same time and place.

Is it time to manufacture and use drones all over the place?  A feature article in Time magazine reveals that’s already happening.  The U.S. uses the targeted, un-manned drones to kill terrorists, mostly in Pakistan.  Innocent bystanders lose their lives as well.  But the drone technology serves other uses.  Law enforcement can track suspects, farmers can spread pesticides and look for other problems without walking all over the back forty, as they say.  We found out that the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office sometimes has access to drones, if they’re available, to help look for search and rescue victims.  China Lake Naval Weapons Center provides the drones.  That’s a good thing.

Drones come in all sizes, depending on where someone wants them to go and what they will do.

Drones come in all sizes, depending on where someone wants them to go and what they will do.

Not so good, the prospect of drones spying on Americans.  This whole alleged need to know things about Americans’ private lives has gone too far.  The government can look at our emails if we appear to hang out with the wrong people and now send robot aircraft into our private property to see what’s up.  This does not bode well.  Ethics have to keep up with technology.

Good luck with another trick invention – the creator of Twitter has come up with a new company to reinvent how we pay for stuff.  It’s called Square Wallet.  iPhone to iPad, for example.  Customer walks in with an iPhone and a payment app.  Store owner has the other component.  They talk to each other and extract money from your credit card or bank account.  OK.  I guess we all thought credit cards were new-fangled when they came out.  But what if somebody steals your app?  Try not to think about it.

Don’t think too much about this one either.  The Pakistan government will build an amusement park near the former hide-out of Osama Bin Laden.  No, they won’t call it Osamaland, but they will build a zoo, paragliding club, water sports facilities and cultural heritage park.  Cost?  $50 million.  I wonder if that comes out of the jillions in aid spent by the U.S. in Pakistan?

Back in the good old U.S., the Los Angeles Times story on LADWP’s resolution of three fights that it picked was documented in a well-written and interesting story.  The headline, however, must’ve been submitted by DWP’s PR department.  “Truce in 100 years’ war.”  Really?  LA sued Mammoth for their water rights last year.  40 acres has fought for awhile as has Mono Basin, but the real 100 years’ war is in the Owens Valley where all surface water goes into the aqueduct and a great deal of groundwater too.  There is no truce here just painful and ongoing disagreements.

Inquiring minds also want to know who put James Enstrom, Ph.D. up to an alleged organization called IRATE.  Enstrom, according to Source Watch, “has accepted funding from the Philip Morris tobacco company’ and other industry groups and then “published research that contradicted scientific consensus about the health effects of secondhand tobacco smoke.”

When the U.S. Department of Justice sued tobacco companies, a judge ruled against them and, in part, sited a study done by Enstrom as a significant part of the tobacco companies’ ploy to deceive the public about the health effects of smoking.  Enstrom has also been criticized for his conclusions that particulate matter (like the Owens Dry Lake dust) does not hurt people.  Anyway, his new group, IRATE (Irate Ratepayers Against Ted’s Empire) attacks APCD Director Ted Schade.  Enstrom’s rants sound like the DWP playbook.  Bottom line – Schade is enforcing law on the books and in agreements LADWP signed.  As one onlooker put it, “That might be why someone unleashed this for-sale scientist on Ted, with an attempt to obfuscate the facts and laws.” End of story.

And, with that, this is Benett Kessler signing off for Bureaucrat Beat where we await your word on our lives in the Eastern Sierra and beyond.


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63 Responses to Bureaucrat Beat: Ocean everywhere, drones too and a for-sale scientist?

  1. Jeremiah's stance February 7, 2013 at 12:52 pm #

    Drone program needs limitations before that same technology is stolen or captured and used by countries that have it out for westernized civilizations. That’s a scary thought. (Drone warfare).
    Not to mention the so called “signature strikes” that happens to drop bombs on kids, woman and children indiscriminately. What ever happened to Due Process??
    If you have never heard of a signature strike in the drone program, well you can thank mainstream media for that. But of course the due process issue has to do with the 1st and 5th amendment and nothing to do with the 2nd amendment so there is no outrage.

    • Tourbillon February 7, 2013 at 1:27 pm #

      There is no need to gratuitously stoke fights 24/7 with those whom you disagree with. There is common ground here so let’s seek it instead of continuing the playground taunts.

      Like all infringements on liberty, drone use can do some good, and that’s how the camel’s nose gets under the tent. That is why we must be vigilant, on the left and on the right. Drones kill bad guys without risk to our airmen. They gather intelligence in the War on Terror. President Obama even used on to kill a US citizen abroad (Anwar Al-Awlaki) who was never alleged to have committed a violent act. Maybe preaching anti-US propaganda deserves the death penalty. In any case, Obama had him shot without the nuisance of a trial.

      This is where the concerns start. If US citizens abroad may be liquidated using drones, why shouldn’t bad guys here in the States be spied on? You want to reduce crime, right? And why should just violent criminals be spied on? You want to save money and raise revenue, put a drone over 395 and image license plates of everyone going over 65 for automatic ticketing, just like red light cameras and speed cameras in Illinois. Talk about a gusher of money while saving personnel costs and increasing safety. And before you know it, we’re all accustomed to being watched all the time. Don’t think it can’t happen. In England the entire country is on camera.

      We have to be able to respond to good intentions like those above with good reasons why domestic drone use, even though it can be a fabulous police tool, should either be banned or severely limited. Right now it is neither. You can’t just belittle your way out of this.

      • Like a talk-radio host February 7, 2013 at 5:14 pm #

        Notice how Tourbillon chides: “let’s not fight … both left and right .. blah, blah, blah.
        Then goes on to tell us how Obama killed Americans.
        Where was Tourbillon when the Bush Administration orchestrated America’s first preemptive war on Iraq (which ended with dead American solidiers, and no WMD’s were ever found?

      • Jeremiah's stance February 7, 2013 at 5:17 pm #

        OK I am taking off my jacket Tourbillion. So If you feel it is OK to be Judge, Jury and executioner all in one, where does the Gov’t draw the line? Yeah I agree there is good in the drone technology for surveillance. But how are we OK with thinking we know whats best for all countries and how do we expect them to accept our narrow self interest’s?
        How is the drone attacks not promoting other rebels want to rise up when they see their neighbors and community members blown up, terrorist or not? In the name of keeping us safe I don’t see the right to infringe on others livelihood in such a one way style when really their is no immediate threat when you have a ocean and technology separating you. That’s where I feel the Surveillance should keep tracks.
        If you believe in the constitution then you believe all deserve Due Process. There is no Due Process in the Drone Signature Strikes.
        But hey I like where you are going with the Drones surveying HWY 395, if that was in place they would indiscriminately show the officers going 80 along with everybody else, also we wouldn’t need 50 cops in every small town.

        • Tourbillon February 7, 2013 at 8:54 pm #

          You missed my point. Completely. We are in violent agreement re drones. I don’t like them, you don’t like them. But you and Like a Talk Radio are so focused on demonizing your political opponents that it completely went over your heads.

          Lay aside the emotion, the blind ideology, the juvenile crap. Try to think a little. People who want to use drones inside the U.S. have arguments about “safety” and “crime fighting” and “the kids” and many of them are on your side of the political spectrum. You can’t disparage and ridicule your way out of this. We are going to have to respond to those rationales with persuasion, facts, and adult explanations, not infantilism. Capice?

          • Big AL February 8, 2013 at 8:57 pm #

            I don’t always agree with Tourbillon, but I totally got his point, what he is trying to say is truth, and he is agreeing with you Jerry. I don’t always agree with you either Jerry, but you have good points at times and what you want to see happen, I agree with, I think Tourbillon does too. Dr. Facts on the other hand … I agree with a thing or two he says, but any good points he has, get lost in the monotonousness of his rhetoric.

            The fact is … Obama is no worst than any other president in some years now, and if truth be known .. no different and any other president in all of the years.

            Some blame Bush for the woes, some blame Obama (Notice I don’t have much use for our current president) (Big Al, I changed the President’s name to his real name. Give the office due respect.) But the FACT is .. he is only carrying on a family tradition as Hank Jr. says. The family tradition of being a politician in this country, in any country for that matter.

            Every president in history has a dirty laundry hamper in the corner of his closet. But what makes this current president and his administration different, is they are trying to dismantle the constitution, to do the things they want to do. This present administration feels they have the right to know everything in your personal life and the right to treat you however they please.

            It seems now days, that so many people do not care about the constitution and what it affords them, but that shouldn’t be no surprise to anyone, after all .. we as a whole, seem to let it happen, for what ever reason .. some set back and watch it happen, like they’re watching a documentary on TV. Some are totally ignorant to what is going on, some believe that it is for the right purpose. Some, see it and do nothing to stop it, they don’t speak out, they don’t act.

            While other see it and speak out and act on their beliefs.

            I see a lot of that here. Meaning people caring about where our society and our country are going. And … I see it in all of the posts on this particular thread, but as Tourbillon says .. why don’t we agree on a common ground and realize we all want the same thing, if that is in fact what we want? It seems some are to busy thinking of what they want to say, while reading the posts, that they don’t see the truth.

            Like any thing that is .. can be used for good or bad, these drones are a perfect example. They save lives and they take them away, they help and they hinder, depending on how we use them or … allow them to be used.

            Tourbillon made a good point … we must be vigilant to guard against abuse! They have brought fourth this wonderful tool .. see what good it does! Ohh the humanity … hmmm … yes, the humanity. Because as they hold this wonderful tool in one hand .. they are hiding a knife behind their back.

            So what about this Frank Ocean guy .. is he related to Billy Ocean, does anyone know?

        • SierraFan February 8, 2013 at 1:27 pm #

          The drone thing is a slippery slope for sure! It has the good but I’m not sure if it’s worth it! I

      • Jeremiah's stance February 7, 2013 at 7:26 pm #

        @Tourbillion To me it’s a question of character, do we want to be known as the land of the free and home of the brave? Because it seems after 9/11 we have been the land of the constrained home of the cowardly…

        • Benett Kessler February 7, 2013 at 10:34 pm #

          Don’t forget paranoid.

          • Paranoid is the right term February 8, 2013 at 12:05 pm #

            Right on Benett!
            The most paranoid of us believe America must always rely on military intervention. Even to the point of our very first preemptive strike (against Iraq looking for WMDs that never existed) led the country to where it is today – bankrupt trying to pay for the mess. The effort should have been looking in Afghanistan where the Taliban is – NOT shock-and-aweing Iraq (including their holy structures – their mosques which has caused extreme hatred from the entire muslim world) to bring them to their knees. It’s a new time now America. And that time is to discuss and negotiate – NOP hop on the war-wagon … again … and again … and…

          • Big AL February 8, 2013 at 9:01 pm #

            Interesting Benett … paranoid. yeah I hear ya .. paranoia exists, no doubt about that, but there is also some just concern. Unfortunately there is too much complacency that drowns out the small voice of concern, that tries to inform people, before it is too late. Sounds like a good movie doesn’t it?

        • erik simpson February 8, 2013 at 9:31 am #

          I thought you promised we wouldn’t be hearing from you anymore.

          • Jeremiah's stance February 8, 2013 at 11:55 am #

            Yeah I did say “quote me on it” but there is no reason for me to stop giving my opinion when here in this setting you don’t hear many arguments from the other side.
            And these argument’s are something that I fight in the flesh as well, and fact of the matter Erik, I honestly believe our Democracy/Republic is under attack by the corporate and money take over, Not terrorist’s, liberals, or the tea party.

          • SierraFan February 8, 2013 at 1:28 pm #

            She needs to be here to balance us out and keep us in line. lol

        • The Industrial Military Complex February 8, 2013 at 10:21 am #

          Jeremiah must have forgotten about America once trying to stop the Red Menace of communism – hence the Vietnam tragedy. After trying to stop that “red menace” resulting in thousands of U.S. soldiers killed (and making obscene profits for the industrial military complex) today, those very same communists are trading partners with the U.S.

          Fast-forward to today and discover where the Vice-president of the U.S. and his wife (Dick and Lynne Cheney) were CEOs of defense contractors Halliburton and Lockheed Martin and a rush to war on Iraq took place that has bankrupted the entire country trying to pay for it.

          I hope Jeremiah can learn that things must change today and the military might of the U.S. can longer be used for world dominance.

    • Bad karma February 7, 2013 at 3:11 pm #

      Maybe its a karma thing.

      I’ve always felt America might have hit rock-bottom when the powers that be decided it was a swell idea to “drop bombs on kids, woman and children indiscriminately” (as Jeremiah puts it) at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

      • Big Rick OBrien February 7, 2013 at 8:53 pm #

        Bad K…pick up a history book. Do you have ANY idea how many more THOUSANDS of American lives would have been lost if we would have had to invade Japan ? GEEZ US H ______ !

        • Even the military condemned the nuking February 8, 2013 at 6:18 am #

          @ Big Rick .. I HAVE picked up a history book. And after all the flag-waving from some Americans over the carnage heaped upon innocent women and children, was pleased to discover the multitude of military leaders (including Eisenhower) condemned this atrocity. The act was a pure political power-play and may have issued the end of America as we know it as “always being the good guys.”

        • Top Brass against the nuking February 8, 2013 at 10:11 am #

          I think Big Rick might take his own advice, pick up a history book, and read how U.S. military officers who disagreed with the necessity of the bombings included: MacArthur, Leahy, Nimitz, and Dwight D. Eisenhower.
          Some in fact believed that the travesty should be listed among war crimes.

      • Desert Tortoise February 7, 2013 at 9:59 pm #

        My parents and uncles fought in that war. My mother worked on the Manhatten Project. Considering the barbarity of the Japanese in WWII (almost half of our POWs died in Japanese confinement while less than 10% died in German prisons) and the level of casualties experienced at Okinawa (considered a dress rehersal for the invasion of Japan) and the uncle I had on a troopship on his way for the invasion, you won’t hear any apologies from our family.
        Japan got what was coming. We spared ourselves a bloodbath trying to take them down with a land invasion, and you have to consider we hadn’t even touched their massive land army in China and Korea. Two big bombs and the war was finally over, instead of bleeding another 18-24 months had we not nuked them. No apologies. None.

        • Cause and effect February 8, 2013 at 6:25 am #

          @ Desert Tortoise –
          There should always be a moral obligation to NEVER deliberately annihilate innocent women and children … for any political/economic reasons.
          Not a good idea to take the mistake (nuking of the innocents) as a personal attack against your family.
          This horrible mistake rests in the hands of the politicians who orderd the unnecessary carnage (The Japanese high command was ready to surrender).
          There is no doubt that almost 70 years later, this country is finally experiencing the negative effects of karma and depending on military might for world leadership.

        • Jeremiah's stance February 8, 2013 at 10:05 am #

          I Will do my best to think in this post, kinda like your last one where you spent half of it bashing me.
          First off Tourbillion, I aggressively give my opinion because I feel that strong about it and Love my country as much as the next man.
          My political opponent is the whole establishment tourbillion! the whole right versus left stand still has really diverted us from the real issues. Yeah I favor left most the time because they actually act like they care about equal right’s and look out for the environment.

          @Desert Tortoise I as well have had a family member in every single war since WW2, I also would never apologize on their part for their service. But that doesn’t mean I have to agree with everything our government does, or have to believe everything our government does is right. Especially when you have mainstream media that is part of the establishment telling you what they want you to know and in the manners they want you to hear it.
          In recent years the whistle blowers of the governments shortcomings have been labeled enemy’s of the state. Bradley Manning and Aaron Swartz are perfect examples of good people trying to help a bad situation.

          • Cheese Wonton February 8, 2013 at 5:46 pm #

            Look, war is an ugly inhuman thing. We engage in them far too often, in large part I believe because we have not seen the horrors of combat up close and personal in our country, really since the Civil War. It is an abstraction to much of the population.

            Having said that, war is also a totality for a nation engaged in war, or it should be. In this country it seems to be “they” go off to fight and we go to the mall. It was not that way in WWII. Everyone had a part, the whole economy was mobilized, there were wage and price controls, strict rationing and civil production was converted to war production. WWII was a totality for the nation. Another salient point is that we held the whole population of both Germany and Japan fully responsible for the horrors their leaders visited on the world. That is important to consider. We held all of our enemy’s population responsible, not just their leaders and their military.

            From a very practical perspective, isolating civilians from a war guarantees defeat. It does no good to beat an enemy’s combat forces on the field of battle if they can reconstitute them over and over again. You have to eliminate an enemy’s ability to resist, and that means destroying their industry, infrastructure and making it impossible for people to carry on normal productive lives. If you do not degrade their economy, you cannot win a war. Had we not engaged in nuclear warfare against the Japanese you could expect another 18 months or more of combat and casualties in the millions. And that still does not address the Japanese armies in China and Korea we never engaged. We hoped the Russians would take that hit for us. Those two bombs were really a kindness to both sides because they forced the Japanese to finally confront the utter futility of resisting further. You are, I hope, aware that the Japanese Army was actively trying to find Emperor Hirihito as he made his famous surrender announcement, hoping to kill him before he could announce Japan’s surrender to the world. Even after two nuclear bombings, the IJA was intent on fighting on.

          • Big AL February 8, 2013 at 9:19 pm #

            Jerry, he wasn’t bashing you, I don’t see it that way .. just saying.

        • Big Rick OBrien February 8, 2013 at 7:19 pm #

          Thank You,DT…you took the words right out of my mouth. They started it,
          WE ended it.

        • Big AL February 8, 2013 at 9:17 pm #

          I hear what you’re saying Desert Tortoise, We lost a lot, the whole world lost a lot, at the hands of the countries that started all of that crap, they even lost a lot in it as well.

          But I think you are wrong to not feel bad for the people killed, who were people just like you in a country just like America .. only they were living their lives in the shadow of a imperialist dictatorial government. Who lost their lives and or suffered from those two bombs and the destruction they wreaked.

          They were just living life, I think you should have some apologies and some empathy for them. Yeah, we saved American lives … at the expense of Japanese lives, innocent Japanese lives at that.

          The same train of thought thinks that we did not incarcerate innocent people in this country for the same reasons (Japanese interment camps) Some people will even claim they didn’t exist, or claim they were free to come and go on their own.

          Some will even tell you, it was for their own good, which is a some what believable statement, as there was truth, in that they would have been in danger from non Japanese people who would have killed or hurt them just because of the race.

          But say what you want, it was interment .. a not so subtle form of incarceration.

          • Desert Tortoise February 9, 2013 at 2:28 pm #

            I disagree. Japanese casualties at Okinawa were at least 100,000. Invasion planners took the lessons of Okinawa and applied them to an invasion of the Japanese mainland and calculated Japanese casualties to be 5-10 million, far more than those two atomic bombs killed. The Japanese themselves, anticipating the US invasion, calculated casualties of 10-20 million defending against the US.

            The most destructive single bombing raid against Japan wasn’t an atomic bombing, but a firebombing of Tokyo that leveled 16 square miles of the city and killed well over 100,000 killed and 250,000 injured. Modern historians consider this figure to be hopelessly inadquate as about 1.5 million people lived in the burned out area.

            By comparison neither atomic bombing produced a casualty figure even close to that of that raid over Tokyo, and more of those sorts of firebombings is what Japanese cities faced had not the two atomic raids ended the war when they did.

  2. tm February 7, 2013 at 4:34 pm #

    The government has already been promoting a police state by the use of confidential complainants. (i.e. Mono County) They encourage neighbor to rat out neighbor under the protection of privacy laws. Next they’ll be using drones to infringe on everyone’s privacy.

    • The ultimate war crime February 8, 2013 at 9:01 pm #

      There is never a moral justification for deliberately killing innocent women and children.
      The nuking of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was the beginning of the end of America as we once knew it. As MacArthur, Leahy, Nimitz, and Dwight D. Eisenhower and over half the country soundly declared after it happened.

      Sadly, there will always be war-mongers and there will also always be peaceniks.

      • Benett Kessler February 8, 2013 at 10:48 pm #

        The best thing we can do as individuals is to make sure we have no battles going on inside of ourselves and that our
        human relations in our families and with our friends and neighbors are balanced and thoughtful. It will have a ripple
        Benett Kessler

      • Steve K February 9, 2013 at 12:52 am #

        War is ugly, but we had to win. Instead of just focusing on Hiroshima, do a little research on the ‘Rape of Nanking’ and see for yourself what Japanese soldiers were capable of doing to women and children. If you have the stomach for it, then check out Unit 731 and the ‘death factories’ that operated from 1933 to 1945. Thousands of men, women, and children were slaughtered at these locations by Japanese doctors.

        • War kills innocent people February 9, 2013 at 1:40 pm #

          “An eye for and eye makes the whole world blind.” – Ghandi

          I know, I know … why listen to that liberal peacenik? He wasn’t even an American.

          • Big AL February 9, 2013 at 11:38 pm #

            He was right Dr. … We should heed the truth, at least take it to heart.

        • Desert Tortoise February 9, 2013 at 2:37 pm #

          The Japanese had a nuclear program that pre-dated that of the US. This is a little known fact. Some of the research was conducted in Korea and some in the vicinity of Tokyo. By 1944 Japan was actually ahead of the US slightly in their development program and don’t kid yourself that the Japanese would not have used nuclear weapons against the US had they had the opportunity. They emphatically would have.

          In one of those strange strokes of luck that too often for my comfort characterized WWII, a B-29 raid missed it’s intended target (all too common with unguided bombs, old fashioned targeting gear and bombers flying in defensive box formations to defend against enemy fighter aircraft while being bounced around violently by exploding flak from ground based artillery) and the errant bombs destroyed a Japanese nuclear facility.

          This is unclassified information now and you should have been in the briefing room when this was presented to us during some training in the Navy. None of us had the slightest idea that Japan had a nuclear program (bet you didn’t know about Sweden’s nuclear program or their ten underground tests which may or may not have been to a full yield in the very late 1960’s). You should have seen my mom’s face when I told her about that. So, no, apologizing to the Japanese for destroying their cities is not appropriate. What I would like to see is their miserable emporer say something along the lines of an apology on the USS Arizona memorial. The Germans have made amends, and you will never see a German PM visiting the graves of Nazi war criminals. Time for Japan to do the same.

        • Bad Americans February 9, 2013 at 2:40 pm #

          No Steve. I’m not focusing on Hiroshima per se. I’m focusing on the fact that the Japanese were prepared to surrender, and the Truman administration wanted to frighten the entire world into submission by exterminating even women and children if they didn’t do what the U.S. wanted.

          The “We did it before – and we can do it again” and “we have superior fire-power! nonsense no longer works into today’s modern warfare. Especially when all one has to do is hijack a plane and crash into a New York skyscraper or strap a bomb to your body and blow yourself up.

          And BTW – call me a “bad American” if you’d like on this. There are more of we “bad Americans” out there than you might ever fathom.

          There are better ways to keep the peace. Like concessions and negotiations.

          • Steve K February 9, 2013 at 7:55 pm #

            I couldn’t care less if you’re a bad American and how many of you are out there. Concessions and negotiations are great until they stop working.

        • What goes around ... February 9, 2013 at 3:43 pm #

          And just what is it that we “won” Steve K ?
          Japan is doing okay economically, doesn’t get hung up on any military might, and is completely disinterested in focusing on any industrial military complex.
          You might notice many of our visitors to Mammoth are Japanese.
          Can YOU afford a trip to Japan?

          • Steve K February 9, 2013 at 7:44 pm #

            After the two bombs were dropped in 1945, Japan surrendered. The next thing they did was change their constitution to prevent their involvement in future wars. They became close allies with the United States and created a robust economy. So what’s the problem??

          • Wayne Deja February 10, 2013 at 10:06 am #

            Whatever we “won” back then,we unfortuatally lost from the year 2000 thru 2008…mainly respect from other Countries.But,thank goodness,since 2009,we’re starting to get some of it back.

        • Big AL February 9, 2013 at 11:35 pm #

          But what does that have to do with killing those people with the two bombs Steve, yeah you are comparing these two separate incidents to somehow justify what we did, because of what unit 731 did?

          Yes both were horrible! But while the horror is just as great from both, when you really think about it, they were done for different reasons. Neither of which was justified as far as I am concerned.

          But then like someone else commented about the bombing campaign, it killed just as many people, and would have progressively killed more.

          Look at what the Allies did to Germany, all of the deaths brought by Allied bombing raids there. They carried out incendiary bombing there as well. With the same effect in mind, to kill a whole bunch of the civilian populace to break their will to fight. It didn’t work for us too well did it.

          The same thing occurred in North Vietnam with the strategic bombing there. What morale did that break? And how many innocent civilians did we kill there?

          So yeah we ended it earlier to save American lives, I get that. But we must grieve the innocents killed to justify it in our minds. The part of strategic bombing that either directly or indirectly targets innocent civilians is the moral issue at hand.

          If we can justify that then we can justify drones killing people here in our own country with the blessing of homeland security. If that is the case, then why are we having this discussion?

          • Steve K February 10, 2013 at 5:41 pm #

            We must grieve the innocents? World War 2 was way before my time. Grieving over something like that isn’t really productive. Let’s move on.

          • Who are the "We?" February 11, 2013 at 8:01 am #

            War is hell. The deliberate murdering of women and children in non-military bombings is the darkest moment of America’s history and should never be justified nor repeated.

            Insofar as the “We” did this and “We” did that, I personally take no ownership for this mistake.

            But some bizarre reason, others in fact do.

    • Big AL February 8, 2013 at 9:26 pm #

      Home land security is a double edged sword … good thing and can be bad, tm’s post is one example.

  3. Wayne Deja February 7, 2013 at 7:09 pm #

    Didn’t this Frank Ocean also make the news…AGAIN.. a couple weeks ago when he got into some type of fight with that other rapper Chris Brown,the one that beat-up his girlfriend Rihanna ? I think it happened at some type of awards show…..

  4. Desert Tortoise February 7, 2013 at 9:54 pm #

    There is a very real and practical limit to they use of drones and that is the availability of satellite bandwidth for communications and data links. I believe the US military is already up against this limit now due to drone ops in west Asia. Unless your nation has a constellation of satellites and sophisticated comms, or is allied with a nation that does, operating drones remotely from thousands of miles away is impossible. Radio waves are line of sight. For less sophisticated foes, they will be retricted to line of sight comms with their drones which again limits how many you can have up at one time and how far from their control station they can fly.

    Wrt to law enforcement, do you complain about police helicopters with arrays of highly magnified day and night optics and infrared sensors? Or how about vastly more sophisticated manned surviellance aircraft that have been in our skies since the late 1950? You know, aircraft like the U-2 (which the Global Hawk still cannot replace), RC-135 Rivet Joint, E-8 JSTARS, EP-3, EC-130 Combat Talon, E-3 AWACS, E-2 Hawkeye and RC-12. Any of these have vastly more powerful sensors than any UAV flying. Does their presence bother you? Do you really think members of your military want to poke into your private lives (as if they don’t have private lives of their own)? Just asking ……………..

    • Big AL February 8, 2013 at 9:28 pm #

      Yes Desert Tortoise .. drones are just the new kid on the block .. on spy St.

  5. Jeremiah's stance February 8, 2013 at 12:50 pm #

    Off the top of your head who here actually knows the difference of a Signature strike and a Personality Strike in the drone program that some of you support???
    The due process issue is a fundamental VIOLATION to the core tenets of our Government!!

    • Cheese Wonton February 8, 2013 at 5:35 pm #

      If a US citizen turns on this country and takes up arms with an enemy abroad, I not only have no problem with our forces killing him overseas, but pretty much expect our forces to hunt that person down and kill them.

      If the person is on US soil, they are fully entitled to due process, no ifs, ands or buts. I have problems with military tribunals for non military US citizens arrested on US soil. That seems grossly unconstitutional. However, if the person is abroad and engaged in an armed conflict with us, they are just another enemy to be killed. You do not have any Constitutional protections when you join a foreign enemy and take up arms against the US.

      • Big AL February 8, 2013 at 9:54 pm #

        I can see what you’re saying cheese .. but the danger is in the abuse of it all .. the same guy they targeted for promoting jihad against the US had a 16 or 17 year old son who someone in the govt. targeted as well, they killed him and two other boys, who were his cousins. They tried to claim they were in their twenties when they off’d them. They are supposed to know everything about their targets, which they do.

        I think the case of the American dude who went over there and spread a bunch of hate and discontent, was not a kill target. But He either didn’t deserve to come back here or if he did .. he would have to answer to aiding and abetting maybe. what he did wasn’t right, but did we have the right to kill him for it .. no I don’t think so, and how do we justify killing his teen aged son who also was an American. We don’t.

        • Desert Tortoise February 8, 2013 at 11:00 pm #

          There was nothing stopping him from surrendering to face justice in the US. He chose to fight us from a foreign country and bring his family along to that country to fight with him. He made some choices now he and his family suffer. I don’t have any sympathy for him.
          We have lots of Arab citizens, both immigrants and native born, who are completely intergrated into our society and our economy. They have not picked up arms against us. A good many fight with us in our military or work as engineers in our RDT&E establishment. They are loyal Americans. This guy turned on all of us and chose to take up arms against us, killing his own flesh and blood, in the process. I do not understand why there is any sympathy for him.
          The US military and the CIA are not conducting drone strikes on US soil. They are doing it abroad in a combat zone. That man and his family could walk away any time and subject themselves to arrest, and take their chances on the courts. They chose to fight instead, and they died in the process. Sad but it is their fault. These aren’t cowboy operations either. There is no weapons release until a number of people including staff attorneys sign off on an attack.

          • Big AL February 9, 2013 at 11:56 pm #

            DT, I did not say I had any sympathy for him .. I’m merely pointing out the fact that we did not have the right to kill him over propaganda, we could have gone in and gathered him up, If he resisted at that point, then he has to pay that consequence. I know he chose to do what he did. The point is .. if we kill everyone like this then how are we any better than them?

            And are you saying it was OK to kill a 16 year old boy .. actually three teen aged kids, yeah maybe they shared their father’s hate and their uncle’s hate, but did we do right to kill kids?

            And if you believe that these same drones can’t be turned on US citizens right here in this country because they are deemed terrorists, you better wake up.

            These drones and the missiles they fire are not that surgical, how will we justify innocent lives lost in trying to take out a deemed terrorist or group of terrorists?

          • Big AL February 10, 2013 at 12:02 am #

            The White House releases memo saying drone strikes against Americans are “legal”

            Cowboy or not .. we know stuff doesn’t always go right. Or is used righteously.

      • Tourbillon February 11, 2013 at 8:23 am #

        The issue isn’t whether the cleric – who never “took up arms” himself, by the way – deserved to have been assassinated. The issue is that once a President begins to unilaterally decide to execute Americans who are not taking up arms against our troops, we are starting down a slippery slope. Whether U.S. citizens are home or abroad does not matter. Our rights don’t end at the water’s edge.

        I’m no expert at knowing who deserves death and who does not. And even if a very bad and odious man was eliminated this time, I simply don’t trust anyone, even the President, to be right every time. Do you?

        • Ken Warner February 11, 2013 at 11:05 am #

          “I’m no expert at knowing who deserves death and who does not.” Agreed.

          Remember who declared war on the United States. And fired the first shot — al Queada.

          The World Trade Center bombing occurred on February 26, 1993,


          That’s who we are fighting. And if an American aids or helps al Queada in any way — that’s called being a traitor. Traitors can be sentenced to death. And the United States is not the only country to do so.

          And, “…once a President begins to unilaterally decide to execute Americans…” you don’t think the entire Defence Department or all the Defense related Congressional Committees had anything to do with that decision — within the limits of security needs? That’s uncharacteristically immature of you.

          And please — no more slippery slope arguments. That was once just a convenient rhetorical argument that somehow — maybe through repetitive use by people who have no other relevant arguments — that has somehow been elevated to tautology — in your mind. It’s not.

          al Queada is our enemy and they would pick up a weapon and kill you — any of you — or me in a heartbeat. I have no sympathy for them or those who help them.

          • Tourbillon February 11, 2013 at 5:02 pm #

            Traitors can indeed be sentenced to death – by a court of law. Not unilaterally by a president. This has nothing to do with “feeling sorry” for Al Qaeda or for the dead traitor. It has to do with American liberty under the Constitution.

            As for “the entire defense department” and congressional committees having a say, the President’s kill list is not approved by Congress, nor does the entire DoD get involved. What you have is a sentence of death being meted out to an American non-combatant not by an impartial jury weighing the prosecutor’s evidence as supervised by an independent judge, but essentially by a zealous prosecutorial team with zero oversight other than their own good consciences.

            Which brings us to that slippery slope you deride as being immature, probably because it makes you uncomfortable to think about it. Government in all its manifestations, from the federal Forest Service, to the state Fish & WIldlife, to the Inyo County Supervisors, to the Mammoth Lakes town council, to LADWP get regularly run down for incompetence and arrogance on these pages. You want to trust such executives with infallibly knowing which non-combatant American citizens should be executed and which should not? If your favorite boogeyman on the Mammoth council or in Fish & Wildlife or the Forest Service gets elected to be the next President, are you OK with that man or woman continuing this precedent of unilaterally deciding, without an intervening jury, which citizens should be eliminated without a trial? Or are you OK with it so long as only certain people are elected? In which case we are no longer a nation of laws but a cult of personalities.

          • Trouble February 12, 2013 at 5:21 am #

            Ken- I don’t like to hear it, but I have to agree with you here. If they are on our soil that is a different story.

        • Big AL February 11, 2013 at 8:56 pm #

          No Tourbillon I don’t trust that power. It can and will be used for what ever it needs to be used for.

          • Big AL February 11, 2013 at 9:17 pm #

            I feel Tourbillon we are right at the brink, if we haven’t been pushed off already.

            Isolated cases abound every day .. either covertly under the radar or overtly displayed to be taken for truth.

            This whole situation with this ex cop taking out other cops and their families, that whole situation is very suspect if you read it all carefully.

            You also get injustices played out every day that get covered over by people hoping that they spread enough BS all over it, it looks like an accident or righteous accusations.

            There are people with agendas in govt. *GASP* Did I say that! Some are so twisted in their beliefs that they would do anything to further their agenda. This is nothing new, but it is getting more prevalent. The disbelief that it can happen by many allows us to be pushed over the brink.

            The idea that we will be safe from such horrible schemes is a big danger to us, yet there are so many warnings of it happening right now, and we sit back and watch it unfold.

    • Big AL February 10, 2013 at 12:06 am #

      Which one is easier to get Jerry?

      • Big AL February 11, 2013 at 9:24 pm #

        Speaking of drones and robots .. have you seen the videos of the robot pack mules, they have a few more years to perfect them .. but pretty soon we will them working .. get some out on the trails .. people won’t have worry about skooosh’ing their feet in a fresh pile of horse or mule scat.

        They won’t eat hay .. just most likely have a small nuclear reactor in them, nothing to worry about .. it’s good clean energy.

  6. Ken Warner February 12, 2013 at 11:50 am #

    Trouble, yes, If an American al Queada is found out on American soil — or anywhere they can be arrested by the FBI, they should then be arrested and due process applied.

    But if that American joins al Queada in a war zone — and how do you define war zone with a stateless enemy — then he becomes an Enemy Combatant subject to the Rules of Engagement for the area he’s in.

    In my mind, any American who joins al Queada — whether he acctually holds a weapon or not — forefits his citizenship immediately.

    And to those who continually post seditious “The Gvmnt is out to getcha” paranoia spreading fear uncertainty and doubt about the very institution that sends people in harms way to defend your rights to spout such sedition — you are al Queada’s valuable asset. al Queada loves to hear people shouting “Death to America the Great White Satan”.

    Yes, our government can be better. Yes, there are unscrupulous and unethical people in our government. We should acknowledge that and fix it. What we’ve got is much, much better than just about every other government on the planet. Some of you make me wonder what planet you are living on.

    Now on the other hand, those Smart Meters are probably watchi……..

  7. Jeremiah's stance February 12, 2013 at 11:55 am #

    So nobody Knows the difference huh??

    Well let me inform y’all what I understand, a Signature Strike is when the intelligence gathered isn’t enough to know exactly who is getting hit by the drone but have hints they MIGHT be doing terrorist activity.

    A Personality Strike is when they do have intelligence on the suspect and have identified the individual or individuals.

    And it no longer has to be imminent or immediate threats to engage in a strike. I don’t know about y’all but to me this seems more like a opening a can of worms then bringing safety to us here at home, it seems they just want to engage and promote more conflicts so the elites and defense contractors/war profiteers can continue to get rich from the idea of protecting us from the terrorist’s.

    If I am wrong, pull my card. But until I find or hear a better more logical argument then my own, I will not feel any different.

  8. Big AL March 14, 2013 at 9:04 pm #

    Yeah Jerry, did you also hear that the govt. is coming out with a medal for the drone pilots, that is similar to the medal of honor. The various veterans groups are really pissed.

    How dare they give these guys medals such as this … wanna be medals of honor for sitting in an air conditioned modular at Nellis or Creech, and flying their drones to kill or destroy targets of opportunity.

    Further more, they could posibly get the same medal for carrying out missions on American citizens. hmmm


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