Prog Blog’s Flickr Photostream

Politics and its Discontents: Another F-35 Weakness Confirmed

It’s hard to get an accurate critique of the F-35′s shortcomings from its maker, Lockheed Martin, or from its key customer, the United States Air Force. They spare no effort to gloss over problems with this worrisome warplane but, bit by bit, information does emerge.

Aviation Week reports that the USAF, which is still years away from going operational with the F-35, is already looking to trim spending to free up money for the 35′s replacement. Why? Well, there are plenty of reasons but the latest to emerge is the admission that Lockheed’s stealth bomb truck is short where it (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: U.S. Military Takes Steps to Ensure There’ll Never Be Another Disaster Like the F-35

As far as the US military is concerned, the F-35 has broken the bank. With the American people on the hook for what is estimated to be up to 1.5-trillion greenbacks for a warplane, a gimmicky bomb truck, that keeps failing to live up to expectations, the military is determined to see that something like the F-35 fiasco never happens again.

A new US Air Force report, “…paints a future of the Air Force that resembles an innovative 21st Century company as opposed to a traditional fighting force. The document says that it’s now impossible for the (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: An F-35 Update From The Mound Of Sound

The Mound of Sound sent along this note, followed by his guest post on the F-35:

I thought an update on the F-35 would be appropriate after reading Bill Sweetman’s latest piece in Aviation Week. He writes that this warplane’s Canadian backers are desperate to convince us that we don’t need to put the F-35 through an actual competition.

Canadian supporters of the F-35 marginally stealthy, light attack bomber are so convinced that the F-35 would trounce its rivals in an actual, head-to-head competition that they argue fiercely we should have no such competition.

Aviation Week says we’re being conned.

(Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Conservative And F-35 Myths

I have written numerous past posts both on the F-35 jets and the Minister of Incompetence who presides over the file in Canada, Peter MacKay. Despite the fact that the aircraft has had problems from almost the beginning, the myth of its superiority and the myth that it would cost our government $75 million dollars each persisted long after compelling evidence was adduced to disprove both.

Although it looks impressive, as the following short video illustrates, the accompanying story quite succinctly inters those two aforementioned falsehoods, along with the big whopper that somehow permeates the brains of the ideologues, i. (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: They Still Walk Among Us

I have always felt a deep, abiding respect and affection for people of integrity. During my career as an English teacher, I took special delight in teaching plays like Arthur Miller’s The Crucible and Robert Bolt’s Man For All Seasons, which told sories of real-life people who made the ultimate sacrifice to stay true to themselves and their beliefs.

Happily, those with integrity are not confined to either the history or literary pages. They still walk among us. People like Munir Sheikh, the former head of Statistics Canada who resigned his post rather than have his name, reputation

. . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: They Still Walk Among Us

Politics and its Discontents: The MacKay Mission

I really have nothing new to add to the sad spectacle of ministerial incompetence epitomized by Defense Minister Peter MacKay, whose ongoing mission and primary responsibilibilty seems to be never admitting to error or apologizing. However, the Star’s Tim Harper does have some thoughts on the reasons for his intransigence in today’s column:

For his part, MacKay has adopted the warrior stance of the men and women he represents in his ministry. No surrender, no weakness.

In politics, an apology is seen as a sign of weakness, a hole to be exploited by your opponents and, in MacKay’s case, it

. . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: The MacKay Mission

Politics and its Discontents: A No-Cut Clause for Peter MacKay?

Readers of this blog may be aware that I am no fan of Harper Defence Minister Peter MacKay. The breadth of his ineptitude is stunning, and the concept of ministerial responsibility seems foreign both to him and his boss. Countless times he has proven to be an embarrassment, not only to Canadians in general, but undoubtedly also to the government he serves.

Yet like a kind of demonic Energizer Bunny, he keeps on going and going and going.

I have a theory.

Despite my depth of cynicism about our politicians, I am normally loathe to indulge in conspiracy speculations; however,

. . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: A No-Cut Clause for Peter MacKay?

Politics and its Discontents: Peter MacKay Does Enjoy The Largess of The Public Purse, Doesn’t He?


It seems that Peter MacKay, the Defence Minister for our self- and inaccurately-proclaimed fiscal stewards, the Conservatives, does enjoy the generosity of Canadian taxpayers, but at least he is versatile in exploiting that resource. Not content to use it only to shorten his return home from fishing forays in remote regions of Newfoundland, he also likes to spend lavishly for photo-ops in F-35 mock-ups, probably every little boy’s dream.

He must have been quite a play companion in his childhood. Recommend this Post

Politics and its Discontents: The Government’s Three Wise Men?

I thought you might enjoy this editorial cartoon courtesy of The Hamilton Spectator: Recommend this Post

Politics and its Discontents: The Sad Tale of the Bumbling, Prevaricating Defense Minister Continues

I was feeling just a tad depressed today until I read this story. Recommend this Post

Politics and its Discontents: Would You Buy A Used Car From This Man?

The above question, first asked about Richard Nixon as he ran against John Kennedy in the 1960 Presidential race, was designed to underscore the seemingly untrustworthy nature of the candidate – his shifty, evasive gaze, heavy perspiration, and his 5 o’clock shadow all seemed to suggest a man hiding something.

In the half-century since that race, we rarely feel the need to ask that question anymore, our assumption being that politicians by and large can’t be trusted, that they are in fact hiding a great deal from those whose electoral support they are seeking.

Thomas Walkom’s excellent column in

. . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Would You Buy A Used Car From This Man?

Politics and its Discontents: Linda McQuaig on Harper Austerity

In case you missed it, today’s Star has Linda McQuaig’s latest column in which she opines on the Harper austerity program, juxtaposing the P.M.’s insistence that we live in challenging fiscal times and thus must cut spending with his government’s apparently cavalier attitude about the extra $10 billion that they now admit will be part of the true cost of the F-35 purchases.

She mentions a certain picture at the beginning of her column, which I am reproducing below: Recommend this Post

Politics and its Discontents: More Fabrications from MacKay

The Indefensible Defense Minister, Peter MacKay, continues to insult the intelligence of all thinking Canadians. As one who has followed the F-35 jet issue somewhat closely for the past year, I am astounded by his latest contemptible ‘explanation‘ that he says proves there was no intention on the part of his government to mislead anyone on the acquisition costs of the jets: an accounting nuance explains the $10 million discrepancy between the real cost of $25 billion and the $15 billion the government adhered to.

I won’t even bother wasting my time or yours in pointing out the

. . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: More Fabrications from MacKay

Politics and its Discontents: And Because I Hold Harper In Such Contempt ….

I thought I would share today’s Star editorial cartoon. Enjoy: Recommend this Post

Politics and its Discontents: The F-35 Debacle: Will There Be Fallout?

Not counting this post, in the past year I have written nine times on the F-35 jet controversy. I point this out, not to claim any particular perspicacity on the subject, (many others have written much more and in much greater detail than I have) but only to demonstrate how obvious to anyone with even a modest interest in the issue that the jets were going to cost significantly more than the Harper regime repeatedly claimed they would.

That is why it is so distressing to see the liars who govern Canada try to hide behind the Auditor-General’s report which

. . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: The F-35 Debacle: Will There Be Fallout?

Politics and its Discontents: F-35 Lies From The Department of National Defence

Much to my surprise, the National Post has been doing a good job lately in covering Conservative misdeeds. While the Canadian taxpayer has been subjected to so many falsehoods and a great deal of subterfuge about the true cost of the F-35 jets over the past year-and-a half, The Post’s John Ivison offers information about next month’s report on the jets from Michael Ferguson, the new Auditor-General, that promises to shake up some people.

We can only hope that the report finally ‘shoots down in flames’ the Harper lie that the jets will only cost $75 million each.

Recommend this Post

Politics and its Discontents: An Epochal Moment in Toryland

While there has been a long and sustained objection to Canada’s planned purchase of F-35 jets, today marks the first time that the Harper regime has, even for a moment, taken its head out of the clouds.

Associate Defence Minister Julian (the dour and humourless) Fantino has raised the possibility of abandoning the purchase of the troubled jets.

Of course, I won’t be so crass as to suggest that this is in any way a diversionary maneuver, despite the bad odor both the Tories in general and Fantino in particular have been experiencing of late.

I’ll let more astute

Politics and its Discontents: The Latest On The F-35

While the militaristic Canadian Conservative regime, led by flyboy fan Steve and aggressively supported by his Defence Minister, the dishonourable member from Central Nova, continue to champion the acquisition of the F-35 as Canada’s next big toy, it is apparent to almost all who keep themselves informed that the plane is both inappropriate for our needs and experiencing huge cost overruns in its pre-production phase. Those are facts that no Harper-led denials and progaganda can change.

The latest information about the plane from a rational source suggests a surprisingly inexpensive alternative to what will become a financial albatross if

Politics and its Discontents: Another Bald-Faced Lie From The Defense Minister

Not that he has any credibility left, but Minister of Defense Peter McKay has told yet another whopper, this one at the Conference of Defence Association’s annual meeting. Recommend this Post