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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

South Dakota Celebrates Ellsworth Pork

State Bravely Accepts Heightened Military Risk for Filthy Federal Lucre

South Dakota Republicans talk a good game on cutting federal spending. But start handing out military pork, and watch the good times roll. Republican Senator John Thune is as eager to take credit for bringing a new drone flight control center to Ellsworth Air Force Base as is Democratic Senator Tim Johnson, who as chairman of the military construction subcommittee and member of the majority party might actually have had something to do with bringing the joystick warroom to Ellsworth.

Senator Thune likes to cite the conservative Heritage Foundation when it suits his agenda (he also mentioned them to justify his vote for the 2008 bailout). Yet Badlands Blue astutely points out that Senator Thune conveniently ignores the Heritage Foundation's position from the Bush era on the benefits of closing military bases. Thune also ignores President Eisenhower's admonition about dependence on the military-industrial complex. But who cares about taking a principled stand against federal spending (not to mention military technology arguably more sneaky than black helicopters) when Uncle Sam's money (a) hires local people, (b) helps politicians get re-elected, and (c) wrecks things and kills people?

By the way, has anyone noticed that by taking these federal jobs and putting ourselves "up front in the War on Terror," we're increasing the risk of a terrorist or military attack on South Dakota soil? But hey, we're all about creating jobs with pipelines that could leak, refineries that could explode, pesticides that cause cancer, and other unnecessary risky projects. Military targets are good for the economy, too.


  1. While many people treat national defense like it, defense is not "pork."

    Pork is almost always wasteful spending that is unnecessary and usually not authorized by the U.S. Constitution.

    National defense is one of the few areas of our budget that actually is authorized by the Constitution.

    I know liberals live in a fantasy world where daisies and conciliatory words will placate terrorists and belligerent nations, one where people who love our country and believe our Constitution are considered "the enemy."

    That, however, is not the real world.

    Ellsworth has played a vital role in our nation's defense for decades, and it will continue to do so with existing weapons systems as well as this new drone mission. It's about keeping America safe and protecting American lives, and the drones do a good job of both.

  2. Bob proves my point. Pork is government money spent on programs that don't suit conservatives' agenda. Federal spending is wonderful when it blows things up. Dependence on Uncle Sam is great when it props up our local economy and fits Hollywood narrative of gung-ho butt-kicking.

  3. Bob,

    Call it what you want, pork, beef, good spending, it doesn't change the fact that Ellsworth should have been closed after the cold war.

    What strategic benifit does Ellsworth have to the security of the United States in the post cold war era? The BRAC committee a few years ago recognized that, but with some political stunts by SD's delegation, it was kept alive and given a few new gigs to justify its existance.

    As a TRUE fiscal conservative, I am appaled that this military base is still around. Basically, my tax dollars are being wasted so the Rapid City economy doesn't tank. My tax dollars should be spent to defend my country, not to appease a congressional delegation and keep the Rapid City chamber happy.

  4. Pork is in the eye of the beholder.

    What rabid GOP support for military pork shows is mostly the totally empty bag of hot air morality and values that mean nothing when push comes to shove.

    I can respect pocket book conservatives as indicated by Mark O'Loughlen's post, but those who rant and rave about government waste and big government and then sit silently as Bush, Jr. took us into a needless, mindless war and turned surpluses into huge deficits or who cheer mindlessly when Big Brother dumps money into their pet projects do not deserve either serious consideration or respect.

    South Dakota media that gives them something like "equal" coverage no matter how mindless and hypocritical is their position do a disservice to us, our state, and our country.

    The Rapid City Journal just devoted a full page and a large front page start of the story to the TEA "Party". The AP story painted that rabid confederation as just a bunch of concerned people and failed to mention the astroturf nature of the funding and the connection to Koch Industries and Dick Armey's special disinformation service connection.

  5. Douglas,

    Using your logic:

    When a Democrat wants to talk about financial reform, I'll tell you to shut up since at the heart of it is your corrupt babies, Freddie and Fannie.

    When a Democrat wants to talk about deficits, I'll tell you to shut up since Obama's deficit will exceed Bush's in three years.

    When a Democrat wants to talk about caring for the poor and lower class, I'll tell you to shut up since Obama has thrown more American's into poverty than any President since Hoover.

    P.S. I was opposed to invading Iraq and posting online. Nobody came to my defense. No Republicans, No Democrats, No liberals, No conservatives, No DOUBLAS, Nobody. Instead, I my patriotism was questioned by all.

    Douglas, my point: Self-righteous indignation doesn't become you. You have nothing to be self-righteous about.

  6. Mark, I've always found it funny how liberals like to tell people out of one side of their mouth they are conservative, even as they espouse liberal positions from the other side of their mouth. I think only one of us (at most) is being fooled by that masquerade, but okay, wink-wink, advocating the closure of bases and weapons systems vital to national security is a "conservative" position at this particular moment in time.

    Alright, now back to reality. Some people like the Chamber of Commerce and even some in our congressional delgation might only see local economic dollar signs, and if that were the only justification involved, I would condemn the move myself (I say that as someone who has served at a base or two that was scraping the bottom of the barrel to justify their existence--and it certainly wasn't Ellsworth).

    Maybe you weren't aware of this, but since the end of the Cold War, the B-1 bomber has flown countless bombing missions in Iraq and Afghanistan--and will likely be needed in any future military actions.

    After the Cold War ended, the B-1 was converted from a nuclear-only bomber to one that can also carry conventional payloads; as it happens, I was serving at Ellsworth when our nuclear forces were taken off alert status, and when the conversion on the aircraft was performed. Heavy bombers perform a role no other combat aircraft can match, and the B-1 does it well, alongside even older heavy bombers like the B-52.

    I know you despise seeing 20% or so of our budget being spent on keeping our nation safe and free, when you'd rather have that money spent on some useless, counterproductive and unconstitutional socialist spending, but thank God there are enough sane people left in our government to keep Ellsworth online and vital defense systems operating.

  7. Bob obviously can't win this argument, since he has to make up a whole bunch of baloney about Mark's other political positions, none of which are supported by any text Mark has placed here. You can keep commenting, Bob, but you have to learn to debate the people who are actually here, not the hobgoblins of your convenient imagination.

    I can see the strategic benefit to placing a military installation as far from the coasts and avenues of attack as possible. South Dakota offers fairly remote geography on that count. But if we really want to play war, we should have the drone control center burrowed intot he backside of Mount Rushmore, or better yet, the backwoods west of Lead (harder to reach, easier to defend). But overall, Mark's analysis is pretty well on target, just not politically correct in a state dependent on continuing handouts from Uncle Sam.

    Let me throw Bob a bone: I do despise seeing 20% of our budget thrown at maintaining an outsized imperial military occupying two countries. I do despise spending a million dollars per soldier in Afghanistan when Greg Mortenson could take that million dollars and build twenty schools that would have a longer lasting effect on our national security, not to mention the physical and cultural well-being of Afghani children.

    I also despise hearing Christians like Bob lord their comingled piety and patriotism over me while advocating death and destruction instead of peace and education.

    Ellsworth is what Eisenhower warned us about. But I suppose Eisenhower was a godless Communist sympathizer, too.

  8. Troy, I was with you man. (On the war) We didn't know each other then, or I would have posted right beside you. (I think you know me well enough by now to know I'm not kidding.)

    One thing you'll notice about Troy is that he's pro-life (or at least pro-human life) all the way through, if I recall. No abortion, no war, no torture, no capital punishment. Or at least that's what I think I've noticed about him. Am I right, Troy?

  9. Cory, while I am aware of other liberal comments made by Mark which also support my recognition that he is a liberal, his statement right here and now was more than enough; no "hobgoblins" necessary. People who try to misrepresent themselves should be challenged with the truth and revealed for what they are. Conservatives can be proud of who they are and proud of their conservative values; why are liberals too ashamed to be up-front about theirs?

    Sadly, your comments about "playing war" and the typical liberal spew about the "imperialistic military occupiers" which we evil Americans are; Obama and his Marxist domestic terrorist buddy Bill Ayers would be proud of you. Your comments really reveal where your liberal priorities lie, and really your entire attitude about our great country. You think national defense is just some silly game, so you not only have no constitutional problem with wasting money on socialist programs, you have no practical problems taking money away from national defense in order to pay for that bilge, either. Why "play war" when we can play liberal utopian fantasy games instead?

    As for the alleged "comingled piety and patriotism," you despise it only because you lack both and are offended at having this deficiency pointed out. You claim your embrace of depravity and your loathing for your country aren't bad, yet your reaction to appreciation for what is right and love for America displayed in others reveals that deep down, your conscience is still functioning enough to convict you. You know your attitude and what you are promoting are wrong, no matter how hard you work to deny it.

    Come on, Cory. It's not too late. God cares about you and would love to forgive you, as soon as you're willing to humble yourself and admit you're wrong. We all had to do that before we could be forgiven, and you can, too. You can't imagine how good and fulfilling it is to be on the right side...and on the Right side. I'd love to have you join us.

  10. Bob may run out of logical argument but he never runs out of self-righteous diatribe : -)

  11. Barry, based on the evidence you just provided, I seriously doubt you'd recognize logic if you stumbled over it and broke your leg.

  12. Oh Yea I forgot ! and insults.

  13. Bob, what constitutional requirements would Mexico have to meet to be our 51st State?

  14. Simply an observation.

    (You're just jealous because I'm better at it than you are, Barry. :-)

  15. Once again we find ourselves in agreement Bob, You are much better at diatribe and insults than I. :-)

  16. Bob,

    You can call me a liberal, that's fine.

    I guess liberals now want to kick out the illegal aliens in our country, liberals think it is a right for citizens to bear arms, liberals beleive in capital punishment, and liberals think our country is spending too much money.

    If these positions that I hold make me a liberal, than I will say it with pride.

    If I had to label myself I would as an American who thinks for himself. Yes, on some issues I would consider myself as a leftist, but on the other hand I am a staunch conservative, mostly with fiscal issues.

    I think in today's world, people are obsessed with labeling each other. "Well, he's a liberal" or "He's a teabagger" You know what, who cares, we're friggin Americans. If we all agreed on everything, it would be a pretty boring place to live!

  17. [Oh, the pathetic predictability. Bob co-opts the conversation with his insults accusations based on nothing more than his delusions of persecution and evil all around.

    Mark talks sense, and he gets accused of things that he never said, just because Bob can't stand to lose an argument or let anyone with an opposing view be thought of as a decent citizen. Don't take it personally, Mark: Bob is arguing not with you but with a figment of his imagination.]

    It's still pork, Bob. It's still South Dakota depending on federal government spending that at every other turn the conservative campaigners of this state tell us is bad, bad, bad. Conservatives cannot enunciate a consistent position on this topic... and even as they embrace this federal funding, they give Tim Johnson and other Democrats no credit for being a driving force in bringing this big government spending to South Dakota. Conservatives can't win this argument.

  18. Questions Cory hates6/23/2010 11:01 AM


    Do you know the difference between the "common good" and "special interests"?

    Steve Sibson

  19. Yup. Sure do, Steve. I wish Republicans did as well. But ask them to act for the common good in establishing universal health care, and they scream and holler to protect the big money special interests. Ask them to act for the common good by replacing the current farm subsidy system with a program that would support healthy food access for all, and they scream and holler in favor of the big ag special interests (like your House nominee Kristi Noem). Ask them to act for the common good by building schools in Afghanistan for a twentieth the cost of sending one heavily armed soldier to kill people and break things, and they scream and holler to protect the special interests in the military industrial complex (and pretend they are John Wayne).

  20. Yes, someone insults me, and when I point out the ineptitude of their insult, then I and the evil insultor. How very liberal, and one of the oldest plays in the lib playbook: accuse your opponent of what you are doing yourself. Sorry, some folks might be stupid enough to buy your ham-fisted attempts to deceive, but not me.

    Mark didn't even approach sense, and I proved it. You might want to read what I said again; I know it's pretty tough for liberals to grapple with facts, so it'll probably take several re-reads of even the simplest information.

    To recap: I explained why Ellsworth AFB clearly retains immense value to our national defense (I know, I know, in your world, patriotic Americans are the enemy, but I just can't humor you here--the issue is too important). I also explained that Mark (like most liberals) immediately began attempting to deceive people, claiming he was a conservative when his comments here and elsewhere make it clear that he is NOT a conservative.

    A real conservative--fiscal or otherwise--would easily see the value of Ellsworth and that national defense is a good investment--unlike unconstitutional socialist spending. I know liberals don't like being called what they are; they don't like labels because it doesn't provide the wiggle room they want, but labels are useful in helping is quickly identify things. Liberals would like credit for just saying "I'm a THIS" or "I'm THAT" but it doesn't work that way in the real world. In order to be recognized as a conservative, you have to act like a conservative, and advocate conservative positions. Whining about spending on national defense when trillions are being wasted on unconstitutional socialist programs doesn't cut it.

    Pork, again for your information, is federal spending on mostly useless crap that has local application--in other words, unconstitutional spending designed to bribe the voters to re-elect the purveyor of pork. The drone program (and everything else at Ellsworth) is national defense, designed to keep our nation safe (no, not from patriotic Americans but from our enemies).|

    If you'd bothered to do the slightest bit of research on this issue, you would ahve realized that a lot goes into the decision of military missions and where to place them; it isn't just "who's the best pork-puller." Drones are relatively cheap (a fiscally conservative consideration) and help reduce risks to American servicemen. Because of that, the mission for drones has been expanded beyond what the current remote location can handle. Whiteman AFB, MO and Ellsworth picked up the additional drone missions because, among other things, they have the existing technological infrastructure and additional logistical support capacity to handle the mission--without massive spending on new facilities (a fiscally conservative criteria, I might add). Of course, the typical liberal loathing for the U.S. military hinders the ability to see even very practical aspects of the issue like this.

    Finally, "Conservatives can't win this argument"? Wow. You're like the Japanese soldier still fighting WWII out on some forgotten island. You're too drunk on your own socialist Koolaid to realize liberals lost the war on this a long, long time ago.

    Come on, Cory. It's till not too late. Consider coming over to join the good guys. You have no idea how fulfilling it is to love your country and work to build it up instead of tear it down.

  21. Good guys vs. bad guys? My point exactly. Bob fantasizes he's John Wayne, shootin' bad guys. I'm just trying to help people get past such fantasies and rhetoric and concentrate on practical policy solutions... with maybe the occasional moral nod toward spending our money on schools in Afghanistan rather than deadly pork for Rapid City.

  22. Big government makes big business bigger6/23/2010 1:00 PM

    "I wish Republicans did as well. But ask them to act for the common good in establishing universal health care, and they scream and holler to protect the big money special interests."

    Cory I agree, Republicans don't know neither. Universal health care benefits the "big money special interests". Did you not know that big business was in favor of FDR's Social Security rip off?

    Steve Sibson

  23. Bob,

    You know very well that initially BRAC (all of whom were appointed by President Bush) was going to close Ellsworth until Thune played his little stunt not playing ball with Bush in the Bolton nomination.

    The military leaders already had the bulldozers ready to go, until politics got invovled. It was at that point Ellsworth became a big juicy pork loin sandwich.

    So Bob, your welcome, the check I wrote to the US Treasury on April 15 is feeding your Rapid City economy. Enjoy the sandwich that I paid for.

    I was in Rapid City when the announcement was made that Ellsworth was saved. Not once did I hear anyone say, "America is safer now!" The only comments I heard were somewhat like, "Whew, dodged a bullet there, that would have killed our economy."

    Your Liberal in Disguise(?),
    Mark O'Loughlen

  24. (Sigh) God hasn't given up on you yet, Cory, and I'll try not to, either.

    Someday you'll grow up enough to understand that there really is such a thing as right and wrong, and realize how silly it is to mock doing the right thing, and perhaps you'll even let go of your desire to take the easy path so you can choose what's right.

    Here's a hint for you when you get in the neighborhood of that realization: what is right is usually what's most practical, because the "easy way" usually costs exponentially more when everything is said and done--like appeasement and hoping the bad guys will just go away; Europe's failure to stop Hitler early on cost somewhere around 50-70 million lives and untold damage to infrastructure.

    Let's determine not to repeat the mistakes of the past, so that we don't have to pay that 70-million-life pricetag in American lives.

  25. Yes, Mark, I know very well that the BRAC initially planned to close Ellsworth. What I and no one else can fathom is the real reason WHY.

    The anemic rationale given was the consolidation of all B-1 forces at one base (Dyess, in Texas). That's a strategy that may sound good to centralist pencil-pushers, but pretty poor thinking in the real world to put all your eggs in one basket--especially when that basket sits in Tornado Alley, and a Military Operating Area (MOA) inferior to Ellsworth's. It's also awfully hard to squeeze the necessary flight training for the equivalent of two bases into the flight area and sustainable operational tempo of one base. All for a savings over 20 years of a whopping $1.85 billion dollars at best estimates; this would be a savings of 0.000616% of our $3 TRILLION+ annual federal budget FOR ONE YEAR. To call the savings "peanuts" is a disservice to the stature of peanuts.

    What got involved at the initial announcement was a host of people who knew the high value of Ellsworth and who testified to congress to that effect, including General Loh, a former commander at Ellsworth with nothing whatsoever to gain by speaking of the value of the base.

    Given that the initial closure recommendation went against all common sense, that's where I'd bet the politics came in. Keeping EAFB open was nothing but a sane, practical, and fiscally responsible decision. Finally, the BRAC commission realized its error--as it did with some other bases--after having the information pointed out to them.

    And yes, there are those who fought to keep Ellsworth open for the wrong reasons...but there were plenty of people who fought to keep it open for the right reasons. We don't throw useful endeavors in the trash bin simply because some people involved in it had motives that were less than noble.


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