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The Military Government The Almighty Buck United States

Dissecting a $231 Million High-Tech Boondoggle 139

The L.A. Times takes to task the U.S. Congress, the Obama administration, and various military agencies for their combined role in supporting the expenditure of vast amount of money on a system called the Precision Tracking Space System. All told, according to the paper, the PTSS program -- which was to have provided early warning of missile launches, and precision tracking of the missiles themselves -- ended up blowing through more than $230 million before being cancelled. After talking to defense experts and reviewing hundreds of documents, the Times comes to what probably sounds like an easy conclusion for any big-budget military program that never reaches operation: it shouldn't have even left the drawing board.
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Dissecting a $231 Million High-Tech Boondoggle

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  • Follow the money

    who got paid? this passed congress in 09 so who voted for it? eventually the cronyism will show itself
  • by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Saturday December 26, 2015 @08:05PM (#51187899)

    it's good that they cancelled the project. the only thing left is for everyone involved to pay back the money they took... with interest. to be fair, they can have the rest of their lives to pay it back.

    • Re:good. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by creimer ( 824291 ) on Saturday December 26, 2015 @08:08PM (#51187909) Homepage
      I'm waiting for Wall Street to repay the country for causing the Great Recession. I was out of work for two years (2009-10), underemployed (working 20 hours per month) for six months, and filed for chapter seven bankruptcy in 2011. I'm still trying to recover from that five years later.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by ganjadude ( 952775 )
        blame sub prime housing loans, enacted under president Clinton for the majority of what happened there. I was in the exact same boat
        • Turn in your SJW badge if you're going to blame the Dem-o-crats.

        • Re:good. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by creimer ( 824291 ) on Saturday December 26, 2015 @08:25PM (#51187965) Homepage
          I blame Bill Clinton for repealing the Glass-Seagall Act, which turned boring old banks into high octane casinos. But Wall Street is ultimately responsible for pushing the repeal and gaming the system.
          • politicians write the rules, dont blame others for playing by the rules signed off on by politicians.

            if a politician is bought, blame the sellout, not the buyer
          • Re:good. (Score:4, Interesting)

            by jamstar7 ( 694492 ) on Saturday December 26, 2015 @09:18PM (#51188131)

            I blame Bill Clinton for repealing the Glass-Seagall Act, which turned boring old banks into high octane casinos. But Wall Street is ultimately responsible for pushing the repeal and gaming the system.

            Yeah, that wasn't one of Slick Willy's brightest moves. Prob is, he signed off on it to get other shit done and didn't think about the repercussions.

            • Re:good. (Score:4, Insightful)

              by creimer ( 824291 ) on Saturday December 26, 2015 @09:29PM (#51188173) Homepage

              Prob is, he signed off on it to get other shit done and didn't think about the repercussions.

              Not quite. Citigroup was in technical violation of the Glass-Seagall Act when it bought Travelers Insurance. Not surprisingly, the Citigroup CEO was a campaign contributor to Bill Clinton. As well all know too well, money speaks loudly to the Clintons.

              http://money.cnn.com/2015/11/12/investing/citigroup-john-reed-glass-steagall/ [cnn.com]

              • by dbIII ( 701233 )
                Yet they keep on coming up in politics through history over and over. It's if you guys are going back to the Fuedal system and they are nobility going back a couple of centuries. That's not a very good thing ti see in a democracy, people who see themselves as born to rule.
              • Don't be a jackass. Big money speaks to nearly all politicians. In fact, it's the rare bird indeed that doesn't sing for its dinner.

          • Re:good. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by complete loony ( 663508 ) <.Jeremy.Lakeman. .at. .gmail.com.> on Saturday December 26, 2015 @10:36PM (#51188347)

            The recession was inevitable, and we still haven't dealt with all of the fallout. Sub prime housing loans were the straw that broke the camels back, but even that is only a symptom of a much larger underlying problem.

            Economists don't understand the economy. They are experts at trying to explain why banks, debt and money don't matter. When in the real world, they matter a great deal.

            Until economists study and understand the actual role of bank debt, and act to constrain lending to constructive activities, we will continue to make the same mistakes.

          • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward

            I blame Bill Clinton for repealing the Glass-Seagall Act

            Blame all you want, but how putting it where it belongs..... the *Republican* majority in both the House AND Senate that introduced the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 (aka the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA)).. those names, btw, in case your memory is as fuzzy as it appears to be, belong to:

            o Senator Phil Gramm, Republican (Texas)
            o Representative Jim Leach, Republican (Iowa)
            o Representative Thomas J Bliley Jr, Republican (Virginia) - Chair

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by creimer ( 824291 )

              TL;DR: it wasn't Clinton's fault, moron.

              Never mind that the Clintons are still hip deep with Wall Street, the CEO of Citibank/Travelers was a campaign contributor, and the Clintons still deny to this that the repeal has anything to do with financial crisis.

          • Re:good. (Score:5, Informative)

            by meglon ( 1001833 ) on Sunday December 27, 2015 @01:52AM (#51188873)
            I continue to see people blame Clinton for the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act, you know.... Phil Gramm (REPUBLICAN), Jim Leach (REPUBLICAN), and Thomas J. Bliley, Jr. (REPUBLICAN)... and i have to wonder if anyone that does was even alive in the 1990's. I mean, you'd have to have been comatose to think that Clinton could have gotten much of anything passed the republican congress he had, and even worse off to think that 3 of the most powerful REPUBLICANS at the time would be THE ONLY THREE people whose name got put on the bill. I mean... serious brain-death, head up ass comatose to think that. Yet, people who wanted something that turned out to be a serious fuck-up will continue to try to place blame elsewhere.

            The REPUBLICAN bill to repeal the Glass-Steagall, which they'd been attempting to do for 20+ years prior to Gramm-Leach-Bliley, passed without enough votes to sustain a veto, however democrats agree to go along with it after republicans yielded on privacy legislation to keep medical and financial records private (republicans didn't want them to be), and on consumer protection legislation (again, republicans at the time didn't give a flying fuck about consumers rights). After conference, Clinton was sent a version of the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act that was veto-proof. Now, you could argue that he could have veto'd it, but it would have been purely symbolic.

            So.... Glass-Steagall was actually repealed by republicans (because that's where bills get repealed... the house and senate, not the presidents desk), after they held consumer protections and private citizens privacy rights hostage to do what they'd been trying to do for decades. You can certainly blame Bill Clinton... but you'd be wrong, and anyone who lived through the 1990's (and actually remembers them) should know that.

            You are correct though about that being a massive negative on economic stability.
            • Where are my mod points when I need them? Fucking piece-of-shit "nation of whiners" Phil Fucking Gramm is still out there working for UBS AG writing editorials for the WSJ about how we can fuck up everything even more if we just vote for republicans.

              If Phil Gramm recommends it, I know to do the opposite.

          • I blame Bill Clinton for repealing the Glass-Seagall Act

            Clinton definitely bears some of the blame, but the the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act was perpetrated by the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act named after the three Republicans who introduced the bill. The bill passed a Republican majority house and senate and was signed by President Clinton, obviously a Democrat. Blaming only Clinton is definitely looking at an extremely small part of the picture: this was the culmination of Republicans working

        • Re:good. (Score:5, Informative)

          by sjames ( 1099 ) on Saturday December 26, 2015 @10:09PM (#51188277) Homepage Journal

          No. Clinton ordered the banks to be more willing to write mortgages on STARTER HOMES for first time buyers who couldn't afford large down payments and had less than stellar credit (but not terroble).

          Instead, the banks knowingly made bad loans on McMansions and then processed them into dubious CDOs which they sold (hot potatoed) based on outright fraud by the ratings agencies as AAA investments. Absolutely nobody told them to do that except their CEOs eyeing huge bonuses. Then all the robosigning, certainly that wasn't mandated.

          The fact is, a bunch of exceptionally greedy and fat pigs ripped the world off and then passed the blame. The big failing politically was not making bacon of them for the rest of us.

          • that is still clintons fault for signing a law that allowed that kind of thing to happen
            • Re:good. (Score:5, Insightful)

              by sjames ( 1099 ) on Saturday December 26, 2015 @11:20PM (#51188489) Homepage Journal

              And Bush for idly watching the whole thing happen through two terms in office? And the bankers for ignoring the many warnings from their quants?

              • by dfenstrate ( 202098 ) <dfenstrate@gmai l . com> on Sunday December 27, 2015 @11:14AM (#51190111)

                Bush didn't sit idly by. From a 2008 article: [realclearmarkets.com]

                Bush's first budget, written in 2001 — seven years ago — called runaway subprime lending by the government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac "a potential problem" and warned of "strong repercussions in financial markets."

                In 2003, Bush's Treasury secretary, John Snow, proposed what the New York Times called "the most significant regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry since the savings and loan crisis a decade ago." Did Democrats in Congress welcome it? Hardly.

                "I do not think we are facing any kind of a crisis," declared Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., in a response typical of those who viewed Fannie and Freddie as a party patronage machine that the GOP was trying to dismantle. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," added Sen. Thomas Carper, D-Del.

                Unfortunately, it was broke.

                In November 2003, just two months after Frank's remarks, Bush's top economist, Gregory Mankiw, warned: "The enormous size of the mortgage-backed securities market means that any problems at the GSEs matter for the financial system as a whole." He too proposed reforms, and they too went nowhere.

                In the next two years, a parade of White House officials traipsed to Capitol Hill, calling repeatedly for GSE reform. They were ignored. Even after several multibillion-dollar accounting errors by Fannie and Freddie, Congress put off reforms.

                In 2005, Fed chief Alan Greenspan sounded the most serious warning of all: "We are placing the total financial system of the future at a substantial risk" by doing nothing, he said. When a bill later that year emerged from the Senate Banking Committee, it looked like something might finally be done.

                Unfortunately, as economist Kevin Hassett of the American Enterprise Institute has noted, "the bill didn't become law, for a simple reason: Democrats opposed it on a party-line vote in the committee, signaling that this would be a partisan issue. Republicans, tied in knots by the tight Democratic opposition, couldn't even get the Senate to vote on the matter."

                Had they done so, it's likely the mortgage meltdown wouldn't have occurred, or would have been of far less intensity. President Bush and the Republican Congress might be blamed for many things, but this isn't one of them. It was a Democratic debacle, from start to finish.

                • by sjames ( 1099 )

                  So, while the whole banking sector was going crazy and the ratings agencies were committing outright fraud, Bush focused on Fanny and Freddie? No wonder nothing changed.

                • "Bush's first budget, written in 2001 — seven years ago — called runaway subprime lending by the government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac "a potential problem" and warned of "strong repercussions in financial markets."

                  At that time, the very definition of subprime was that Fannie Mae wouldn't touch it. Anyone who though that Fannie Mae was doing too much subprime lending at that point had no idea what they were talking about... like Greg Mankiw, who only argued for GSE reform b

            • by Qzukk ( 229616 )

              that is still clintons fault for signing a law that allowed that kind of thing to happen

              That's got to be some massive headache you've got there, what with hitting yourself in the head with a hammer all the time. You going to blame Clinton for not banning you from smacking yourself in the face?

              That said, I'd be more sympathetic to the "regulations are bad" argument if it wasn't for the large numbers of companies that start swinging their hammers wildly whenever the regulations get removed and inevitably end

          • No. Clinton ordered the banks to be more willing to write mortgages on STARTER HOMES for first time buyers who couldn't afford large down payments and had less than stellar credit (but not terroble).

            In 2000 I got my first mortgage. I had to go FHA because I did not have a large enough down payment. No way would I have gotten the loan without STELLAR CREDIT. All FHA was doing was allowing zero down (which still cost about 6K in costs) but no way did they allow bad credit buyers. That didn't really get off the ground until 2004, thanks George W "A Home of Your Own" Bush. https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

        • by schnell ( 163007 )

          blame sub prime housing loans, enacted under president Clinton for the majority of what happened there

          No. Blame everybody who was involved. Big awful financial crises don't usually happen because of a few bad actors, they happen because enough different people participated them in different ways to make them Big and Awful.

          Blame the Clinton administration and the then-Republican Congress for the repeal of the Glass-Steagall act that did the equivalent of letting casinos play against their own guests, using house money.

          Blame the Fed under the Bush administration for keeping US interest rates very low to make

      • by dbIII ( 701233 )
        You needed political connections or somewhere to hide your money outside of the country - Trump went broke four times and just laughed it off.
    • Haha, yet another dreamer who doesn't understand how government contracts work.
  • $231 Million? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sqlrob ( 173498 ) on Saturday December 26, 2015 @08:09PM (#51187911)

    For government projects, isn't $231M "never leaving the drawing board"?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      That was my thought as well. $231 million? THAT'S what you're bitching about?

      Wake we up when it hits the billions. I mean, for the cost of the F-35 program (current projected costs: $1.5 Trillion with a T over its lifetime) you could have failed to build the PTSS nearly 6,500 times. A single F-35 costs more than that program does, although I suppose an F-35 can at least fly. In clear skies, with no rain or clouds, and as long as it doesn't ever have to worry about lightning strikes because that can cause th

    • Re:$231 Million? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Saturday December 26, 2015 @08:21PM (#51187943) Homepage

      Actually, this seems like a win for the system. They ONLY spent a quarter billion dollars before the checks and balances brought the system to a halt. Had they not been able to stop it, the program would have chewed up something between 30 and 40 billion dollars throughout the life of the project. And still done very little. The really scary part is the sidebar to The Fine Article where the LA Times talks about all of the OTHER screwed up projects of the Defense Missile Agency that have already chewed up tens of billions of dollars.

      Seems like the Pentagon and Congress hasn't figured out that Star Wars is a fantasy.

    • Re:$231 Million? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ThosLives ( 686517 ) on Saturday December 26, 2015 @08:24PM (#51187957) Journal

      Hell, the general US public just spent that much money in four days to go watch a movie.

      While there may be some argument that perhaps that money could have been spent elsewhere, complaining over this one small amount of cash is a bit silly. Now, if we talk about a systemic problem - for instance, what percentage of projects like this get cancelled? - that is going to be much more productive.

      $230M is something like, what, the salary of 1500 well-paid engineers and managers? Split across 5 years, that's only 300 people, which is a mid-size engineering company. Even if you figure that 10% of that went to line someone's pockets, the rest to actual employees of companies, I'd tend to agree with this - $230M is chump change, and probably actually kept some people employed. And it's not even like it was a lot of people (you might be able to change the number by a factor of 2 or 3 if you are paying median or low-end salaries). So it's not like there is much direct money spent on "political influence" here.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        what you say is true.

        however i'm sure there are projects in flight, whether to kill people or to educate people
        or to channel storm drainage that would have shown a substantially greater benefit
        if they had 230M

        worse, it rewards the system and the people who have evolved solely to suck on the
        govt teat. maybe some of those people are useless, but maybe some of them could
        be doing something useful if you weren't paying them to fuck off

        and writing this off as a high risk high reward situation is nonsense, since i

        • by hey! ( 33014 )

          what you say is true.

          however i'm sure there are projects in flight, whether to kill people or to educate people
          or to channel storm drainage that would have shown a substantially greater benefit
          if they had 230M

          That's absolutely clear in hindsight. The question is whether it should have been absolutely obvious beforehand. That's not clear given the reason cited for program cancellation, which was not technical failure -- the program seems not to have got far enough along for that. It was the sequestration, which means to predict this particular failure you'd have to be able to predict that the President and Congress would be willing to take across the board spending cuts, even to defense, rather than reach a bu

          • by KGIII ( 973947 )

            Yup. The strange thing is the people here who are exceedingly bad at math. 230e6 is not, in fact, as much money as one might expect.

            In fact, we just had an article yesterday that I felt it was my duty to look into, for a change. It was about a tunnel in WA and it's not even a big tunnel. It's expected to be well over the 1.2e8 that it was originally budgeted for. Just the consulting group (rough estimate time - number pulled from my ass but probably pretty close) is going to model the traffic and give recom

    • They also have links in the story for the actual biggest failures in recent history (F35 not among them).

      The one I was disappointed about was one I had read about in ~2003 on /. -- the floating radar installation that went to Alaska, but is now decommissioned and rusting away in Perl Harbor. It is amazing how many of these projects are impossible based on simple math/geometry, but it takes millions/billions anyway.

      And if you want to get political, most of the problems are related to an unrealistic timeline

  • $231 million? Shit, that wouldn't even pay for a single Marine Corps F-35B.

    (Which is still a fucking bargain compared to the Navy version (the F-35C) that weighs in at ~$337 million.)

    But hey, it's only money, no sense on wasting it on schools or medical research or feeding hungry people, right?

    • by creimer ( 824291 )

      Feature creep is a serious problem for the military. They're still trying to build a replacement for the B-52 bomber. Each complex design creates its own set of problems. The B-1 radar jammer jams its own radar, the B-2 stealth technology can't fly in the rain, and the next design isn't expected to arrive until 2040. Meanwhile, the B-52 with upgrades will continue to fly. If the navigation computer reboots in mid-flight, the pilots can always break out the slide rulers and maps.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2015/ [nytimes.com]

      • by PPGMD ( 679725 )
        This is one of those military half truths that continues unabated, like the $600 hammer.

        The B-2 can fly in the rain, because material isn't an strong as aluminum it sustains damage that must be remeditated, but that is just a cost of doing business with the technology. You want a stealth bomber you are going to have to spend extra money maintain the radar absorbent material.

        BTW the $600 hammer was actually $435 and was part of a spare parts kits, and when the contractor parceled out the R&D in their acc
        • by creimer ( 824291 )
          That's not how I heard it in the 1980's. The hammer was $500 and gold-plated. Or was that the toilet seat?
          • by PPGMD ( 679725 )
            Of course you didn't hear it that way because the companies weren't allowed to defend themselves in the media, it didn't fit their narrative, and this was before the internet where you could just lay the facts out there.

            There was a special ultra expensive wrench that was often trotted out as an example of Pentagon excess, perhaps you were thinking of that. But that wrench was a special non-spraking wrench designed for working on bombs, which often gets ignored. IIRC it was made out of beryllium cooper.

            As fa
    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      That won't even cover the Hookers 'n Blow for a serious federal procurement contract.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    We are in scores of trillions of dollars in debt, and this is just one example of the reason. No accountability and no expenditure limits. Layer upon layer of bureaucracy and we keep throwing money towards the problem.

  • by StevenMaurer ( 115071 ) on Saturday December 26, 2015 @08:58PM (#51188043) Homepage

    In addition to all the other comments about $231 million being chump-change, recognize something else about advanced technological research: sometimes it doesn't pan out.

    That doesn't mean that we should never try to research new things though. Not everything can be discovered the way the Japanese like to do it, through hundreds of small polishes to an existing working design. Sometimes you need to think big to make a real breakthrough.

    I would also put this story and some of the kneejerk responses to it in the category of "why the US isn't as successful as it once was". If the 60s were like today, with anti-science teabaggers controlling half of congress, would we have made a manned mission to the moon? Especially given that every one of those missions could easily have ended in disaster?

    No people. Even the vaunted Solyndra failure came out of a program that overall had a better success rate than most private funding, and in the end, not only advanced technology, it made a considerable profit for the taxpayer. The willingness to scream and cry and throw tantrums by the anti-technology/pro-fundamentalist haters, every time some risk doesn't come out out 100% perfectly, is a cancer on the body politic. And we're sinking due to the over caution that results.

    • No people. Even the vaunted Solyndra failure came out of a program that overall had a better success rate than most private funding, and in the end, not only advanced technology, it made a considerable profit for the taxpayer.

      It's interesting you mention Solyndra because, just like Star Wars, it was obvious to many that it was a pork project before it began. The relative success of the overall program doesn't speak to the validity of the inclusion of Solyndra any more than the relative success of military research speaks to the validity of this project.

  • The Joint Strike Force is going cost a vast amount of money, something like $400 Billion. The money spent on this project barely pays for the bonuses that are being withheld because the f-35 does not actually work.. The JSF planes aren't competitive against MIGs in simulations, and the software does not even allow the plane to fly in combat or use the weapons. The money spent on the PTSS was probably basic research stuff, and that research can be used for other things, and some of it likely needed to be don
    • by PPGMD ( 679725 )
      Actually the F-35 is on schedule. All the basic flight testing is done and most of the weapon testing, except for the gun (which is scheduled to be operational well before the F-35 gets to FOC), has been done. In fact the F-35B is currently in IOC, which means that the USMC (in the case) is currently having actual Marines maintain the jet to figure out how to maintian the aircraft if needed make modifications based on those experiences.

      As far as not beating MIGs, it was never designed to do that. The JSF de
      • by meglon ( 1001833 )
        http://www.businessinsider.com... [businessinsider.com]

        It can't fight, it can't run, and it's afraid to get wet. The F-35 is a piece of shit that's going to cost us over 1.5 trillion dollars.
        • by PPGMD ( 679725 )
          Repeating the same thing won't make it anymore true.

          Repeat after me, the F-35 wasn't designed to have air to air combat as a primary requirement. If it was, it would look a lot like the F-22, large wings, small internal weapons bays, and a large engine. Instead it was designed with a large internal weapons bay which eats up the available wing area, and a more moderate engine. No one complained that the F-117 couldn't beat a fly in ACM. Honestly I think if the DOD decided to name it the B-35 or the A-35 it w
          • by meglon ( 1001833 )
            https://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/we... [fas.org]

            Page 1:

            The F-35 was conceived as a relatively affordable fifth-generation strike fighter..... .....Strike fighters are dual-role tactical aircraft that are capable of both air-to-ground (strike) and air-to-air (fighter) combat operations.

            Repeat after me... you're full of shit if you're trying to tell people a strike fighter, specifically designed to have TWO roles...air-to-ground and air-to-air combat capabilities are not designed for air-to-air combat. As for not being able to replace the F-15 or F-16.... planes that it was SPECIFICALLY suppose to replace.... you're right, it can't, and i think that pretty much defines it as a worthless piece of shit.

            And you can get your panties in a wad and s

            • by PPGMD ( 679725 )
              Whee it is fun talk to people that have no idea about aviation.

              I never said that it couldn't do air to air. Simply that when the contract was drawn up that stealth strike was their primary concern, as they already had a contract program that concentrated on air to air. As far as the test pilot report, the test pilot knew that the F-35 didn't stand a chance against the F-16 (as the YF-16 was designed to be the best dog fighter in the sky and the F-16 still retains much of that capability), he was just surpri
  • millions or billions. if not, let's stop right here.
  • According to the document the manufacturing contract was awarded between the establishment of the office to oversee a non-existing program and a requirements review. It also took two years to set up the administration of the program and these administrators are now merged with another office.

  • Our previous Labor government spent more than a billion dollars refurbishing junked helicopters, none ever left the ground. Corruption la grande.
  • As a tax payer, I'd like my money back, but I suspect that there are no consumer protections built into that lucrative racket, are there?

  • In Canada we mostly created a long gun registry. The idea was to basically keep a record of what guns were where. Before it was cancelled it had cost 2 billion dollars to create.

    I want you to think about that. There are 33 million Canadians. So assuming every Canadian has 10 guns we are talking 330 million gun records distributed among 33 million owner records and then assuming that we are all police with varying levels of access let's assume 33 million admin records. So assuming 5K per gun record and so
  • This is just how we do socialism in America. Our ruling class got really scared of communism so they spent most of the 50s, 60s and 70s pounding it into our skulls that socialism == bad (especially while we were children). But there were quite a few that broke ranks (FDR, Eisenhower, etc) and wanted to keep the economy from sinking back into the Pre-WWII world of winner take all and insane inequality. The Military Industrial Complex with all it's waste was the solution. This way wealth gets moved around wit
  • If a missile launched from another country, would I want our military to track it really good?

    My answer: YES !!

    Is this because I am a tea party republican?

    I suggest to you it is not. In that event I could see Debbie Wasserman-Schultz wishing very dearly we had better missile tracking capabilities.

    So why does the media resent military R&D all the time?

    Political assumptions that have nothing to do with the wishes of ordinary voters.

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