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How Government Fails

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Waist deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool says to push on.
Waist deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool says to push on.
Waist deep! Neck deep! Soon even a
Tall man'll be over his head, we're
Waist deep in the Big Muddy!
And the big fool says to push on!
  -- Pete Seeger  

By William Boardman 

F-35 nuclear-capable stealth fighter by

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News. 


According to one of its supporters, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is not "what our troops need," is "too costly " and "poorly managed," and its "present difficulties are too numerous to detail"." 

The F-35 is a case study of government failure at all levels -- civilian and military, federal, state, local, even airport authority.  Not one critical government agency is meeting its obligation to protect the people it presumably represents.   Senator Patrick Leahy, D-VT, who wrote the F-35 critique above, is hardly unique as an illustration of how government fails, but he sees no alternative to failure. 

Up for re-election in 2014 and long a supporter of basing the F-35 in Vermont, Leahy put those thoughts in a [1] letter [1] to a constituent made public March 13.  This is Leahy's most recent public communication since December 2012, when he refused to meet with opponents of the F-35 and his [2] website [2] listed a page of "public discussion" events mostly from the spring, including private briefings with public officials, without responding to any substantive issues.   

The F-35 is a nuclear-capable weapon of mass destruction that was supposed to be the "fighter of the future" when it was undertaken in 2001.  Now, more than a decade overdue and more than 100% over budget, the plane is expected to cost $1.5  trillion over its useful life, of which about $400 billion has already been spent. 


In January, the Lockheed Martin production facility in Fort Worth, Texas, reported it was well along "in the final phase of building the wings" of the 100th F-35 constructed by the Bethesda, Maryland, [3]company[3].  Of the first 99 F-35s, none is yet operational. 

The F-35 isn't even close to fully operational -- it can fly only on sunny days.  It can't fly at night.  And it can't fly in clouds or near lightning.  We know this because the Pentagon tells us so, in a report written for the Secretary of Defense by the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation, J. Michael Gilmore, dated February 15, 2013. 

Although some media hyped the [4]report[4] as a "leaked document," Gilmore clearly expected the report would become public, since he included a description of its wide distribution within the government, concluding with the reminder: "By law, I must provide Congress with any test-related material it requests." 

By March 5, Gilmore's report was on the internet and giving the Canadian government pause about buying the plane at all.  Of the other ten countries partnering in F-35 development, Italy has already reduced the number of planes it will eventually buy.  Norway, Turkey, and others are also having second thoughts -- as is even the U.S.  Leahy indicates in his letter that "the jet is too costly to proceed

with purchases at today's planned levels," which are about 2,400 planes at a currently projected cost of $120 million each, give or take $30 million.    

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Vermonter living in Woodstock: elected to five terms (served 20 years) as side judge (sitting in Superior, Family, and Small Claims Courts); public radio producer, "The Panther Program" -- nationally distributed, three albums (at CD Baby), some (more...)

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in charge here? What if we decide to stop paying o... by molly cruz on Saturday, Mar 23, 2013 at 5:12:08 PM
this article points out how very unconcerned our g... by M.I. Lee on Saturday, Mar 23, 2013 at 9:35:15 PM