27 July 2021

Random Comic Clips

These little visual clips just caught my eye lately. There is no deep meaning to them.


23 July 2021

Mexico's Military Considered

Usually, I focus my military blogging on the military of the United States and its main potential military adversaries. This post, however, is devoted to an almost opposite perspective, the military of Mexico, the immediate Southern neighbor of the United States.

Basic Statistics - The U.S. v. Mexico

The population of the United States is currently about 333 million. Mexico's population is about 128 million (about 38% of the United States).

The GDP of the United States is currently about 21,430 billion U.S. dollars per year (about $64,354 U.S. per capita). Mexico's GDP is about 1,269 billion U.S. dollars per year (about 6% of the United States and about $9,914 U.S. per capita).

The U.S. spends about $778 billon on its military every year, which is 4.4% of its GDP and 38% of total military spending by all countries in the world combined.

Mexico spends about $7.1 billion on its military every year, which is about 0.6% of its GDP and less than 1% of what the U.S. spends on its military. So, the U.S. spends about 12.7 times as large a share of its GDP on the military as Mexico.

As of 2019, the U.S. had 1,367,030 active duty military personnel (including active duty Coast Guard personnel to assist in making the numbers comparable). It also has reserves in all four military services and the coast guard, and the Army and Air Force National Guard. This is 4,105 active duty military personnel (including the Coast Guard) per million people.

Mexico has 277,150 active duty military personnel in all parts of its military, in addition to 81,500 reserve forces. This is 2,165 active duty military personnel per million people.

The U.S. spends $570,000 U.S. per active duty soldier. Mexico spends $25,618 U.S. per active duty soldier.

The U.S. has a large nuclear arsenal which Mexico lacks entirely.

Mexico's Military Aircraft


Like the United States, Mexico has both an air force and aircraft that are part of its navy.

The Mexican military has 53 armed fixed wing aircraft. 

Only six Mexican military aircraft have meaningful air to air combat capabilities, and only seven Mexican military ships and boats (discussed below) have anti-aircraft missiles (and obviously can't "chase" a fast moving squadron of incoming enemy aircraft). The Army's anti-aircraft grenade cannons would only be effective against low altitude aircraft.

Only twelve Mexican military aircraft and three Mexican military ships and boats (discussed below) could conceivably sink a surface combatant or large commercial ship at a distance of more than twenty miles. Three more Mexican military ships could do so at shorter ranges. 

The rest of Mexico's armed aircraft are suitable only for dropping "dumb" bombs in uncontested airspace or perhaps in the case of eight more of them directing machine gun or unguided rocket fire at a target at close range.

The Mexican military has no missile or rocket or grenade cannon armed attack helicopters. It has no armed drones (by air, sea, underwater, or on land). It has no heavy or long range bombers. It has no stealth aircraft and only six aircraft that are capable of supersonic flight. 

It has no heavy lift helicopters. It has no heavy fixed wing military transport aircraft (comparable to the U.S. C-5 or C-17 or the Airbus A400M). It also has (as discussed below) no significant sea lift capabilities relative to the scale of its Army and Marine forces.

It has no cruise missiles, no medium or long range missiles (other than those on its Maritime patrol aircraft), and no nuclear weapons of any kind. So far as I know, Mexico has no military surveillance satellites.

Specific Resources.

Mexico's air force has: 

* 6 Northrop F-5E fighter jets. The original F-5 was designed for the U.S. Navy in 1962 and was in due course replaced by the F-14, then by the F-18, then by the F-35C. The F-5E design for export sales dates to 1972. It is a single pilot supersonic jet fighter that can reach bursts of speed up to Mach 1.63, and has a 140 mile combat radius with a full load of missiles and bombs. It has a ferry range of about 1,600 miles, with drop tanks in lieu of weapons, traveling at a slower the cruising speed Mach 0.8 to conserve fuel. It can operate at very high altitudes (51,800 feet).

The F-5E has relatively modern, although not state of the art, fighter aircraft radar. It has two 20mm cannons. It can carry 2 or 4 modern guided missiles (air to air, or air to ground), or pods with up to 38 unguided 70mm rockets or 8 unguided 127mm rockets. And, it can carry, in addition, up to about 5,200 pounds of unguided "dumb" bombs (if it is carrying only 2 relatively light air to air missiles). It can take off from a 2000 foot runway with two air to air missiles, but not a full load of bombs. 

The F-5Es are the only aircraft in Mexico's military that can used modern missiles for air to air combat, and the only supersonic aircraft in Mexico's military. Some reports suggest that only about half of them are operational.

* 33 Pilatus PC-7 light attack aircraft. This is a modified 1978 two seater general aviation training aircraft from Switzerland which can carry about 2,300 pounds of unguided "dumb" bombs or unguided rockets spread over six hard points. It has a top speed of 256 miles per hour and a cruise speed of 106 miles per hour. It has a range of 1,630 miles (a combat radius of 815 miles), and a maximum altitude of 33,000 feet. Since all of its munitions are unguided, it needs to get close to the target to drop its payload, bringing it within range of anti-aircraft guns. 

In addition to these armed aircraft, the Mexican air force has:

* 4 full sized commercial passenger jets used for VIP transport, 

* 5 C-130 intra-theater transport planes, 

* 12 smaller fixed wing military transport planes, 

* 124 small and medium sized utility/transport helicopters, 

* 5 unarmed fixed wing reconnaissance aircraft, 

* 100 Israeli Elbit Hermes 450 surveillance drones, that are about 550 pounds, have a 20 foot wing span, and can stay aloft for 17 hours at its 80 mile per hour cruise speed, at altitudes up to 18,000 feet, and

* 147 training aircraft (fixed wing and helicopters combined).

The Mexican Navy has:

* 6 Spanish CASA CN-235 Maritime patrol/search and rescue aircraft. These have six hard points, each of which can carry an AM-39 Exocet anti-ship missile with a 120 mile range, or a torpedo.

* 8 Spanish CASA C-212 Maritime patrol aircraft. These have two hard points that can carry a combined 1100 pounds of weapons, typically machine gun pods or unguided rocket pods.

* 17 small fixed wing transport planes (general aviation aircraft sized)

* 54 small and medium size utility/transport/search and rescue helicopters, 

* 5 unarmed fixed wing reconnaissance aircraft, and

* 63 training aircraft (fixed wing and helicopters combined).

Mexico's Warships and Military Boats


Mexico's Naval ships and boats are pretty much completely separated between a Pacific Navy Force and a Gulf and Caribbean Force, which is only rebalanced on rare trips through the Panama Canal.

The Mexican Navy has 7 ships with torpedos and/or anti-ship missiles capable of sinking a warship or large commercial ship (four of which have anti-air missiles). But, only three of these ships can sink another warship or large commercial warship at a range or more than about 20 miles with anti-ship missiles (while every U.S. Navy cruiser and destroyer has missiles that can sink warships at longer ranges than that, and every U.S. Navy aircraft carrier has aircraft that can do that). 

All seven of these ships and 24 more offshore patrol vessels of 1,000 tons or more, have helipads and also have grenade cannons and/or 2-3" naval guns. Three of these offshore patrol vessels have anti-air missiles, so there are a total of seven ships in the Mexican navy with anti-air missiles.

Eleven more offshore patrol vessels have grenade canons and a 3" naval gun but no helipad. 

There are 98 more coastal patrol vessels and interceptors with machine guns or grenade cannons, but no naval guns or missiles or helipads, and 16 search and rescue boats with machine guns.

The Mexican Navy has no submarines and no significant anti-submarine warfare resources. 

It has no aircraft carriers or helicopter carriers (although it has 31 ships with helipads for one or two small or medium sized helicopters). 

It has no battleship, cruisers, or destroyers. Just four surface combatants in the Mexican Navy are as large as the smallest surface combatant in the U.S. Navy (the littoral combat ships). 

The Mexican Navy's fleet is much more comparable to the fleet of the U.S. Coast Guard, with just a handful of heavier surface combatants, and the Mexican Navy has a mission much closer to that of the U.S. Coast Guard. It does not aspire to be a "blue sea navy."

Detailed Inventory Of Ships and Boats

* 4 Allende class frigates. The U.S. Knox class destroyer escort design from 1965. 3226 tons and 522 feet. Crew of 288. All four have 5" naval guns, torpedos and a helipad. One has Sea Sparrow anti-aircraft/anti-missile missiles.

* 1 Reformador class frigate. This is a Dutch 2005 design. 2575 tons and 298 feet. Crew of 20 to 80. Torpedos, a helipad, and modern anti-air and anti-ship missiles.

* 2 Huracan class missile boats. This is an Israel 1980 design. 498 tons and 202 feet. Crew of 53. A helipad and modern anti-air and anti-ship missiles.

8 Oaxaca class patrol vessels. Mexican 2003 design. 1680 tons and 282 feet.77 crew and 39 Marines. Helipad, 3" naval gun and grenade cannons.

* 3 Sierra class corvettes. Spanish 1998 design. 1366 tons and 231 feet. 75 crew. Helipad, 2" naval gun and modern anti-air missiles.

* 4 Durango class patrol vessels. Spanish 2000 design. 1300 tons and 267 feet. 74 crew and 55 Marines. Helipad and 2" naval gun.

4 Holzinger class patrol vessels. Variant of Uribe class. 1022 tons and 224 feet. 73 crew. Grenade cannons and helipad.

* 5 Uribe class patrol vessels. Spanish 1982 design. 998 tons and 220 feet. 54 crew. Grenade cannons and helipad.

11 Valle class minesweepers. U.S. and U.K. Auk-class design from World War II. 890 tons and 221 feet. 100 crew. 3" naval gun and grenade cannons.

* 20 Azteca class coastal patrol vessels. British 1976 design. 148 tons and 112 feet. 24 crew. Grenade cannons.

* 10 Tenochtitlan class coastal patrol vessels. Dutch 2001 design. 239 ton and 140 feet. 18 crew. Machine guns.

* 68 Polaris II class patrol interceptors. Swedish 1991 Combat Boat 90 design. 15 tons and 52 feet. 3 crew and 21 marines. Grenade cannons, machine guns and naval mines.

* 5 search and rescue motor lifeboats. U.S. 1997 design. 18 tons and 47 feet. 4 crew and 30 passengers. Optional machine gun mount. All on Pacific coast.

* 11 Defender class search and rescue boats. U.S. 2002 design. 2.7 tons. 4 crew and 6 passengers. Machine guns. All on Pacific coast.

Mexico's Amphibious Forces

Mexico has about 25,000 Marines, often included on ships as boarding parties on patrol vessels, and four tank landing ships (with a combined capacity of 1,384 marine and their equipment) which are as follows:

* 2 of the Papaloapan class. These are a U.S. design from 1968. 4,793 tons and 522 feet. Each has a crew of 213 and carried 421 marines. It is armed with machine guns and has a helipad.

* 2 of the Montes Azules class. This is a Mexican design from 2011. they are 3,666 tons and 327 feet. Each has a crew of 89 and carries up to 181 Marines and 1800 tons of cargo. It has two landing craft. It is armed with a grenade cannon and a helipad. These are part of the Pacific Naval Fleet and usually used for disaster relief missions.

Mexico's Army

Mexico has about 130,000 active duty Army soldiers (exclusive of the air force and the Marines), which is only modestly less per capita than the number of active duty Army soldiers per capita in the United States that are not deployed abroad, and about 65,000 reserve Army soldiers. Army soldiers make up about half of the active duty military personnel in Mexico, with the remainder being in the Air Force, Marines, or Navy (a larger share of the total than in the United States where the Army is 35% of the total).

The Army's equipment is a mishmash of different designs from different countries. Mexico's Army has: 

* 120 light tanks (8 tons with 90mm main guns) (by comparison, a U.S. M-1 main battle tank weighs 74 tons and has a 120mm main gun), 

* a handful of mobile armored vehicles with 75mm howitzers or 81mm mortars, 

* about 1231 armored personnel carriers with anti-tank guided missiles (with a 2-3 km range), 

* about 1500 armored personnel carriers with grenade cannons or heavy machine guns (only a minority are optimized against IEDs), and 

* about 5,500 armored Humvees with grenade cannons or heavy machine guns. 

It has two kinds of grenade cannons optimized for anti-aircraft duties. 

It has a variety of infantry carried and towed unguided anti-tank guns from 105mm to 125mm. 

It has a large number of towed 105mm to 155mm howitzers, and 60mm to 120mm mortars.

Apart from short range anti-tank missiles mounts on armored personnel carriers, the Mexican Army has no missiles of any kind. It has no anti-aircraft missiles, no missiles serving in an artillery role, no missile defense systems, no artillery shell or rocket defense systems, and no cruise missiles, and no nuclear missiles.

The Mexican Army has no heavy tanks and no heavy howitzers or mortars that are integrated into an armored vehicle.


Despite its meager military capabilities, Mexico's armed forces are not necessarily unwise given its missions.

Mexico knows that it is no match for its Northern neighbor, the United States, and doesn't even try to have a military defense to a U.S. invasion. The Pacific Ocean and the U.S. Navy in that ocean, guards it from outside invasions from Asia and Oceania.

Belize and Guatemala on its small southern land border have tiny militaries with even fewer resources. Belize has fewer than 1,500 troops. Guatemala has about 18,000. Neither of these countries has armed aircraft with any air to air combat capacity, or naval forces in their respective theaters that could rival even Mexico's modest fleet. The same can be said for Mexico's other close Central American neighbors.

Mexico has decided that it simply cannot afford and doesn't wish to engage in foreign wars and military engagements.

With a minimal risk of invasion, the Mexican armed forces exist primarily to respond to armed drug cartels and criminal gangs, to smugglers and fishing violators, to put insurrections (mostly by indigenous populations with no foreign proxy war resources of money or military assets, or by students and unions), and to provide civilian law enforcement at sea, and to provide disaster response in times of disasters or other exigent circumstances. 

Basically, the Mexican armed forces, collectively, have a mission similar to the U.S. Coast Guard, Army National Guard, and Air Force National Guard, made more burdensome mostly by the failings of law enforcement in Mexico to address organized criminal violence. This homeland security mission for Mexico is much less expensive than the expansive military missions that the U.S. has undertaken.

Many Mexican armed forces missions are ones that the U.S. Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force are prohibited by statute and long standing custom and tradition, from conducting.

Options For Upgrading Mexico's Military

If Mexico wanted to make its military more capable against sovereign state class threats, there would be some obvious places to begin at an affordable cost.

The least expensive and most consequential option would be to convert some of its existing Army and Navy utility helicopters, on proven existing designs, to missile, rocket and canon armed helicopter gunships, along the lines of the AH-1 Cobra variant of its UH-1 helicopters, or the AH-60M variant of its UH-60 helicopters.

In ground based conflicts, this could provide a powerful and robust (and better targeted than existing methods) means to devastating enemy armored forces and entrenched defenses.

In sea based conflicts, an existing frigate or missile boat or patrol vessel with an attack helicopter could be very effective against the highest end threats from criminal organizations and neighboring countries navies (other than the U.S.) that Mexican forces are likely to encounter at sea, effectively creating a mini-aircraft carrier strategy that can respond to emergent events much more quicky than the fastest ship.

Another inexpensive option would be to modify some of its light bombers and maritime patrol and training and light transport aircraft to carry advanced avionics and long range modern aircraft based missiles (air to air, and air to ground) and/or "smart bombs", while refraining from trying to buy more than a handful of advanced modern jet fighters (if any), as attaining meaningful air to air combat capabilities is much more expensive. Even an upgrade to smart bombs would multiply the effectiveness of the force by reducing the number of sorties per target, allow bombs to be dropped from safer locations in terms of altitude and distance from the target preventing casualties from ground based anti-air fire, and would reduce collateral damage when bombs are dropped.

If there is a felt need for any anti-submarine capability a small number of P-8 maritime patrol aircraft and some surface ship drones to gather reconnoissance might make sense.  This planes can cover a huge territory, monitor sensors dropped in the ocean and on drones (perhaps also via patrol vessels), and can launch rapid strikes with torpedos launched from the plane when a target is identified.  

Armed drones would make sense as a replacement for much of its existing light bomber resources. They cost less, do the same job and don't present the same risk of casualties.

Buying missile artillery like the U.S. military HIMARs system would provide benefits similar to smart bombs over howitzer and mortar based artillery, which have short ranges and comparatively low accuracy.

Buying modern ground based anti-aircraft missile batteries like the Soviet S-400, would be another that would cost somewhat more, but not that much more, and is probably the most cost effective way of discouraging enemy air intrusions into Mexican air space. Mexico can't afford the air to air fighter fleet necessary to have that effect.

To the extent Mexico wants to replace old ships with new ones, ships like its 500 ton Israeli missile boats make far more sense than blue sea frigates or cruisers or destroyers or non-coastal patrol vessels. These boats are very capable offensively, have small crews that are less expensive, and are less expensive than full sized blue sea surface combatants. And, Mexico doesn't no a far off coast capability.

Just two or three small diesel-electric coastal attack submarines could also be an investment to provide robust anti-surface combatant capability and a moderate but not entirely cheap price.

Finally, investing in IED resistant armored vehicles to the U.S. MRAP standard, before they become necessary due to an actual IED threat, could discourage one from ever arising.

22 July 2021

U.S. Military Takes Baby Steps To Divest Old Warplanes and Warships

The U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy want to ditch some of their old planes and ships to free up resources for newer ones. Some may be transferred to allied military forces as hand me downs. Others will go to bone yards.
The Air Force is seeking to divest $1.37 billion worth of equipment in fiscal 2022, including 42 A-10s, 48 F-15C/D and 47 F-16C/D model fighters as well as 14 KC-10 and 18 KC-135 tankers and 13 C-130H transports, while the Navy wants to retire $1.26 billion in assets, including two Ticonderoga-class cruisers and four littoral combat ships[.]
From Stars and Stripes.

More divestments and retirements are contemplated by these services, including all of the Air Force's B-1 and B-2 bombers, some of its B-52 bombers, all of the rest of the U.S. Navy's Ticonderoga-class cruisers, and all of its C-2 aircraft carrier mail/resupply planes. Some of the Navy's older submarines are also approaching their expiration dates as well.

The Marines are divesting themselves of all of its tanks. The Army has greatly reduced its fleet of tanks and howitzers, without entirely dispensing with them.

Conceptually, this is the right idea. But, the divestments are too few, they shouldn't be replaced one to one, and the replacements being proposed aren't always optimal for our nation's military needs.

16 July 2021

Key Considerations In Employment Policy

1.  To have sustainable high wages you need both high productivity and employee bargaining power. Both are necessary. Neither is sufficient by itself.

Automation, for example, can increase productivity, which meets one of the conditions for higher wages for the employees that remain in a firm when a process is automated. But, this only actually translates into higher wages if the employees have enough bargaining power to secure some of the gains from higher productivity that the firm doing the automation would otherwise capture.

2.  Jobs are not a fixed resource. Unemployment is not due to a shortage of jobs. Beyond the unemployment level seen in "full employment" (by which economists mean the level of unemployment caused solely by natural transitions between one job and another by people seeking jobs), unemployment is a collective failure of entrepreneurship.  It happens because firms, collectively, haven't come up with any profitable way to use what people who don't have jobs have to offer in the short term.

A corollary of this is that immigration doesn't inherently "take" jobs. Immigration injects more resources into the system increasing the total pool of resources available, and this could increase or decrease unemployment, depending upon the ability of firms to find things for people in the labor force to do relative to what it could find for people to do in the pre-immigration situation. It is intimately related to Say's Law.

Likewise, it isn't really accurate to say that automation reduces the supply of jobs, collectively. It eliminates particular jobs, but frees up the people who used to do those jobs to do something else. Automation only necessarily creates unemployment when the people who lose their jobs as a result of automation aren't able to do any work doing anything else that has economic value.

3.  While workers do have specific skill sets that aren't inherently hierarchical, for the most part, there is a hierarchy of workers such that workers able to do more skilled, higher level jobs are also able to do less skilled lower level jobs, while the reverse is not true. Collectively, managers can mostly do what the employees they supervise do, while supervised employees are usually not able to do what their managers do.

4.  Lots of educational requirements for employment (and a fair number of other requirements for experience and particular skills and experiences) are simply indirect tests of IQ, work ethic, social skills, and social class that are used to weed out applicants. Outside the STEM fields and academia, most jobs do not require the knowledge acquired in the course of getting that education to be performed well. Conversely, some of the specific skills that are critical to doing a job are often not taught in the formal educational program whose completion is required to be hired for a job.

5.  Employment discrimination laws had a powerful effect, but this effect was not largely due to fear of enforcement. Instead, the effect arose mostly because it changed institutional culture and because many firms obey the law as a matter of uniform policy without regard to the consequences for not doing so.

6.  A majority of people in the society are not in the paid workforce. They may be in school, they may be preschool children, they may be homemakers, they may be retired or disabled. The economy needs to have people who have the responsibility and the means to provide for everyone who is not in the paid workforce for society to work well.

7.  Automation is a two way street. On one hand, it makes workers more productive, making it possible to pay them more. On the other, the incentive to automate is highest when the cost of labor is high and employers need to automate to make their businesses profitable.

15 July 2021

Expectations In Leases

If you have the attitude in this group text message, with $1,500 a month of rent in a one year lease, and a $1,200 security deposit, you are an evil landlord, and will have to litigate intensely over the security deposit if you try to take something from it without good justification. There is a good chance that attorney fees and costs and penalties will be awarded against you in that case.

If you charge $1,600 a month of rent for the same apartment and don't take any security deposit, you look like a generous saint, and you will have no problem winning a lawsuit to collect unpaid rent and being awarded your attorney fees in litigation, or evicting a tenant if every penny of the $1,600 a month of rent isn't paid within a reasonable time of when it is due. 

You also don't have to have any dealings with your tenant after they vacate the apartment if you don't want to, and don't have to worry about locating them if they don't provide a good address for their next residence.

If you do this, you haven't given up a chance to sue for damages to the premises if there is serious damage to the apartment and you won't have to take any deduction from your claim for damages to reimburse a security deposit if that happens (again, increasing the likelihood that you will be a prevailing party if there is a problem).

It might actually be easier to rent an apartment for $1,600 a month with no security deposit than it is to rent it for $1,500 a month with a $1,200 security deposit in addition, since the initial payment is larger in the latter case.

Which approach makes better business sense?

Culture Wars Are Long Wars

From Ryan Burge, tweet, 2 July 2021.
Cultures can be changed; movements can be built. But as these examples all suggest, this is not a quick task. Culture wars are long wars. Instilling new ideas and overthrowing existing orthodoxies takes time—usually two to three generations of time. It is a 35-50 year process. . . .
The logic of cohort change can be grasped by the graphic at the top of this essay. . . . America’s future is godless not because the God-fearing were convinced of the errors of their faith, but because their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren never adopted their faith to start out with. Cultures do not change when people replace old ideas with new ones; cultures change when people with new ideas replace the people with old ones.

 From The Scholar's Stage

08 July 2021

The B-21 And Beyond

The B-21 looks basically the same as, and has basically the same mission and approach to it as the B-2 bomber that it will replace (it would also replace the B-1 bomber and the B-52 bomber). It is also being built by the same company as the one that built the B-2.

The Air Force estimates that the average B-21 cost at $673 million. and it wants a lot of them (eventually 175-200 of them, and at least 100). This is less than a third of the pre-unit price of the B-2 bomber before even considering inflation (which was so high because the buy was limited to only about twenty planes that shared all of the R&D costs).

A B-21 is only a little bit less expensive than the latest U.S. Navy frigates, and about seven times as expensive as a new F-35 or F-15-EX jet fighter.

The size of the purchase is largely being driven by a belief that it is needed for conventional and/or nuclear wars with Russia and China. Smaller hostile militarized nations powers, like Iran, Saudi Arabia, and North Korea would plausible support a need for so many.

But the analysis supporting a large B-21 buy has some serious flaws.

1. There has never been a significant or sustained shortage of bomber resources in recent modern, allied military history. 

Bombers are among the least heavily utilized resources in the military, measured, for example, by hours flown per year. So, they have a much longer service life. 

The well maintained B-52s are quite sturdy and have, on average, only 16,000 flying hours. The Air Force estimates that the B-52s won't become un-maintainable until they reach 28,000 flight hours, despite almost five decades of service. A fighter jet becomes unmaintainable after about 14-17 years because the training and operations of one are so demanding.

2. The air superiority campaigns of major conventional military conflicts in the modern era have brief and conducted in a single theater of operations.

Post-Vietnam military conflicts in which the U.S. has been involved have tended to follow a clear pattern. There is a major campaign of bombing for a period of a few days to a couple of months, during which the opposition air force is routed, most air defenses and major military bases are destroyed, strategic communications and logistics infrastructure is destroyed, and heavy surface military systems like tanks, artillery, armored personnel carriers, and warships are destroyed from the air.

Once this goal is achieved, air superiority can be maintained with a much smaller compliment of warplanes and drones, threatened mostly by infantry carried anti-aircraft missiles, that provides low volume bombing for selected late discovered targets, provides tactical observational and signals intelligence, and provides close air support for ground troops.

Once that phase is over, the bulk of the bomber resources, especially heavy stealth bomber resources, are no longer needed.

3. Long range bombers, and other aircraft supported by aerial refueling aircraft, can relocate to a new theater of operations very quickly.

Long range bombers like the B-21 can relocate to any new airfield in the world that its allies control, with, at most, one refueling stop, in a day.

There are basically no modern warplanes that can't relocate to any friendly airfield in the world, with the support of allied bases on land and aerial refueling tankers, over the course of a long weekend.

Even in the situation for which U.S. military planners have long prepared where there are two regional wars raging at once, or one gigantic world war three underway, it is still reasonable to expect that the military top brass of the U.S. and its allies could manage to stagger the most intense and warplane dependent phase of its initial air superiority campaign a few weeks apart.

4. Pretty much every major modern military operation in which the U.S. has participated since World War I has involved a multinational coalition of U.S. military allies.

Embarking on a regional war against a near peer opponent or coalition of opponents alone would be unprecedented folly and ill advised. The U.S. is often the lead participant in a military coalition, but never fights a major military conflict alone. If it is put in that position, moreover, it probably shouldn't enter into the conflict as that is a sign of unprecedented strong disapproval from our friends of the venture that should be taken seriously, even if the U.S. has sufficient military might to prevail.

As a result, when determining the peak military capacity that the U.S. requires in a scenario, failing to recognize that U.S. forces would be supplemented by the very advanced, if smaller, military forces of its allies in any given region, is simply an incorrect analysis of what is necessary.

5. "Smart bombs" have dramatically reduces the number of bombers necessary to accomplish the same objectives.

"Smart bombs" have dramatically reduced the number of bombing runs that are needed to achieve the same results (and produce less collateral damage as well), and thus the number of bomb carrying aircraft required to achieve the same results. So one to one replacement of old bombers may not make sense. 

During the peak six years of the Vietnam war, 6.7 million tons of bombs were dropped. That was the same rate they were dropped during the major bombing campaigns of World War II. But in eight years of fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, only 42,000 tons were dropped. Thus, while in the past, a million tons were dropped a year, for the war on terror, less than 6,000 tons a year were dropped. That means a reduction of over 99 percent. Even when you adjust for the different number of U.S. troops involved, that's still over 97 percent fewer bombs dropped. Even as late as the 1991 Gulf war, only 16 percent of the 250,000 bombs dropped were guided. But guided bombs did 75 percent of the actual damage. In the 1999 Kosovo campaign 98 percent of the 652 "smart bombs" used, hit their targets.

6.  Stealth, high altitude bombing operations, and standoff weapons like drones and long range missiles greatly reduce bomber attrition from enemy forces.

You can count on the fingers of one hand the number of stealth aircraft that have been shot down in flight in all of history. This is the whole point of anti-radar stealth technology.

Guided munitions, discussed above, not only reduce the number of sorties necessary to destroy a given number of targets. They also make it possible to drop bombs from high altitudes that are out of range of all but the most advanced forms of anti-aircraft weapons, and even out of range of less sophisticated enemy aircraft.

Also, modern bombers and fighters can fire relatively long range missiles dozens or even hundreds of miles away from their target, also keeping bombers further out of harm's way.

Historic bomber fleet sizes were built around the assumption that a significant number of the bombers would be lost to enemy fighter aircraft and anti-aircraft weapons as they approached enemy territory, exposed to radar and at the fairly low altitudes, more or less directly above their targets, that were necessary to have a reasonable change of hitting their targets. Historically, many bombers were shot down. At this moment in history, this is a situation that is unlikely to recur in the foreseeable future.

If stealth bombers, stealth air superiority fighters, unmanned combat aircraft, and long range missiles can effective overcome defending air to air fighter aircraft and anti-aircraft weapons, in a relatively short lived initial air superiority campaign, however, the attrition of the bomber fleet can reasonably be expected to be much lower than in the 20th century bombing campaigns that were used to set the status quo size of the warplane fleet, again arguing against one to one replacement of existing bombers.

7. Drones and long range missiles can substitute for bombers.

Drones and accurate long range missiles (fired by ground based batteries, ships, submarines, and warplanes) with ranges of dozens to hundreds, or even thousands of miles, have also allowed missions that were once the sole province of manned warplanes to be accomplished with other military resources.

These unmanned, long distance strike weapons can be substituted for missions traditionally reserved for long range heavy bombers, again reducing the need to replace existing bomber and warplane fleets on a one to one basis.

8. Truly extreme military scenarios are not plausible.

No foreseeable U.S. administration, or allied coalition, has the military objective of occupying on the ground, any substantial portion of the territory of China or Russia.

Unlike the wars that the U.S. has fought in Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. and its allies would not seek to occupy and control the core territory of its most potential potential military adversaries.

The U.S. and its allies, might conceivably seek to secure control of large swaths of Chinese or Russian air space, or to obliterate their respective nuclear, naval and air forces. But there is no reasonable scenario in which the U.S. and its allies would need to destroy almost every Chinese or Russian tank, surface to surface artillery battery, military base, and armored personnel carrier, or to leave these countries without functioning road, rail, or pipeline facilities for the bulk of their respective territories. 

So, while the military capabilities most formidable plausible potential military opponents of the U.S. can and should drive U.S. military procurement policies, it does not make strategic sense to bankrupt the U.S. economy to prepare to fight scorched earth and conquest style military campaigns, like the regime change oriented war in Iraq, that the U.S. military will never wage.

This kind of a campaign both wouldn't serve a useful military purpose, and would make it highly likely that the military conflict would escalate into a global thermonuclear war that everyone on the planet would lose, leaving us to fight world war four with sticks and rocks.

Ruling out the most intensive possible scenarios for long range heavy stealth bombers as strategically unthinkable and not with planning to undertake, greatly reduces the size of the heavy bomber fleet that the U.S. military requires.

Realistically, the most bomber intensive mission that the U.S. military could plausibly have to carry out in one sustained campaign against China would be to wipe out combined navies of China and regional allies, China's nuclear forces, its long range aircraft, and its long range missile batteries. 

Essentially the same can be said for Russia  and its regional allies, but with only one geographic component of its navy targeted in any one sustained campaign against it.

The biggest barrier to such a maximal campaign would be locating all or nearly all of the adversary's nuclear forces, submarines, long range aircraft, and mobile long range missile batteries quickly. 

In such a campaign, the surface combatant warships, naval bases, airfields, and fixed missile batteries would be largely "sitting ducks" because they are large, slow or fixed in place, and wouldn't have sufficiently effective active countermeasures against a sustained attack from guided missiles and smart bombs and torpedoes that could be deployed against these surface combatants.

The need to preserve global economic ties would also strongly discourage the nations of the world from allowing conflicts with these global military powers and a U.S. led coalition, from ever getting anywhere close to that level of open, large scale, conventional warfare. There might be brinksmanship and threats, but it would take a significant change in circumstances for China, Russia or the U.S. to have the stomach for that kind of conflict, even though the military forces of each of these nations are doing their best to prepare for these conflicts.


In summary, advanced, long range, stealthy heavy bombers that can deploy large guided missiles, smart bombs, nuclear weapons, "bunker buster" munitions, and resupply drops in contested airspace have a critical role to play in modern military conflicts, both for isolated airstrikes far from any available allied airfield, and in the early phases of major conventional wars.

Therefore, this kind of warplane should be included in the U.S. military's arsenal. 

But, the U.S. simply does not need all that many of these bombers. 

One or two long range stealth bombers at a time are sufficient for isolated air strikes.

Intense use of these long range heavy bombers is limited largely to the first couple of months of a conflict, against a "near peer" adversary, in a single theater of warfare at a time, using munitions that destroy their targets 98% or more of the time, with bombers that are almost never shot down, with the support of large numbers of advanced (although perhaps not quite so advanced at U.S. state of the art aircraft) allied warplanes, which would not be used to fight a maximal scorched earth/ground occupation oriented objectives towards the most formidable potential adversaries of the U.S. military, like Russia and China.

The U.S. may need dozens of heavy, long range bombers in its air fleet (of all kinds combined), but it not hundreds of them, even for the most intense reasonably imaginable conflicts that the U.S. would plausibly undertake.

Similarly, it needs far fewer highly capable smaller and shorter range fighter-bombers than it has now, for essentially the  same reasons. It might need hundreds of fighters, rather than thousands of them.

According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in a July 7, 2021 report:

The joint strike fighter is the largest acquisition project in the history of the Defense Department, with an estimated sustainment price tag of more than $1 trillion over the life of the program. The military plans to buy nearly 2,500 of the jets. The Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy are buying the A, B and C variants of the aircraft, respectively.

“The military services collectively face tens of billions of dollars in sustainment costs that they project will be unaffordable,” according to the report.

The cost to operate the platform can be as high as $38,000 per flying hour, according to estimates from the F-35 Joint Program Office. . .

If the Air Force doesn’t reduce the estimated annual cost per tail by about 47 percent by 2036, it will exceed its sustainment budget by about $4.4 billion, the study said. The Marine Corps will need to reduce annual sustainment costs per F-35B by 26 percent and the Navy must cut F-35C annual sustainment costs by 24 percent to meet affordability constraints in the mid-2030s, it added. . . .

In addition to affordability, the platforms’ readiness rates concerned the watchdog.

“F-35 mission capable rates — a measure of the readiness of an aircraft fleet — have recently improved, but still fall short of warfighter requirements,” according to the report.

“While the F-35’s mission capable and full mission capable rates have improved over the past two years, these rates remain well below the program’s objectives due to several significant and ongoing sustainment challenges,” the report said.

The United States does not need, and should not buy 2,500 F-35s, for essentially the same reasons that it does not need 175-200 B-21a. 

Developing Affordable and Proportionate Air Power

Also, as the U.S. military is finally starting to recognize, not all conflicts require extremely expensive, sixth generation fighters and B-21 bombers. 

Instead, some of the existing U.S. fleet of warplanes should be replaced with warplanes and drones that are less capable, but provide an affordable way to have air power that is still clearly dominant relative to asymmetric warfare opponents.

Many potential U.S. military adversaries would have only adapted civilian aircraft, civilian drones jerry rigged for military use, or third generation (or worse) fighters, that even updated fourth generation fighters like the F-14, F-15, F-16 or F-18 could defeat easily in air to air combat, if the adversaries have any air capabilities, or any anti-aircraft armaments at all. 

Many potential U.S. military adversaries have mere frigate and cutter navies, with unsophisticated missiles, or adapted civilian surface ships, or barely submerged DYI submarines, if they have any naval forces at all. 

Many potential military adversaries are counter-insurgency movements with no heavy military armaments at all, not even tanks, or armored personnel carriers, or heavy artillery, or modern guided missiles.

This doesn't mean that these military adversaries are easy to defeat. As the U.S. withdraws from Afghanistan, the Taliban is likely to be restored to the verge of conquest military position that it was immediately before September 11, 2001, twenty years ago, in short order. The Taliban won in the end, just as the Vietcong did in the Vietnam War.

The later part of the post-World War II era has seen lots of "small wars" and asymmetric conflicts, even though it has seen only a handful conflicts involving dog fights or naval warfare between near peer adversaries with military planes or ships built for that purpose, and has seen tanks become largely obsolete. 

This is likely to continue to be the case, as there are few circumstances when at all sustained conventional warfare between near peer nations with modern military forces make sense strategically. 

This doesn't mean that the U.S. military can ignore the possibility of more technologically capable adversaries entirely. 

But, the U.S. military also can't afford to ignore the distinct fiscal and military parameters of lower end conflicts.

A key factor to being effective in these asymmetric counterinsurgency conflicts and conflicts against weak third-world regimes, is to do so in a way that doesn't produce a lopsided war of attrition where the U.S. and its allies win the battles, but lose the war because they spend too much on military systems that are gross overkill for the situation, to justify continued participation in the conflict.

The U.S. doesn't need $80 million to buy and expensive to operate F-35s or F-15s or even somewhat less expensive F-16s to patrol civilian air space in the continental United States against rouge adapted civilian aircraft. It doesn't need heavy bombers for homeland defense missions. It doesn't need such advanced fighters to take on opponents driving armed pickup trucks and jeeps with small arms and the occasional short range, infantry carried anti-tank missile or IED.

For those situations, the U.S. military may need or desire airpower, but non-stealth, non-supersonic manned and unmanned aircraft, with less sophisticated armaments and avionics, at a much lower price tag to purchase and operate, are still more than sufficiently capable and prevent U.S. forces from losing wars of attrition with unreasonably disproportionate spending on excessive military systems.

Since modern warfare is disproportionately asymmetric due to the inability of countries or movements that don't have too much to lose economically from direct military conflict, and an unwillingness to risk a nuclear war with nuclear armed adversaries, much of the future warplanes and drones of the U.S. military should be less capable (but less expensive) than the fourth generation fighter fleet and B-1 and B-2 bombers it is discarding, rather than more capable.

Swiftly Deploying Many Ground Troops Still Matters

High end conflicts with near peer nations mostly call for modest numbers of highly advanced weapons to defeat the modest numbers of advanced weapons that plausible adversaries might bring to such a regional war or next world war.

Technology has made great strides in finding ways to defeat surface warships, military submarines, warplanes, tanks, artillery batteries, sea mines, radar antenna, and armored personnel carriers, with advanced aircraft, ships, submarines, satellites, and missiles.

Warships, submarines, and warplanes, however, can't hold or control territory. This takes ground troops. And, as aircraft and missiles become adept at defeating heavy armored military systems, this means irregular counterinsurgents, and enemy infantry, sometimes with light, fast, small military vehicles.

Ground troops haven't completely failed to advance technologically, despite the relentless march of offense in gaining an edge over defense and passive armor. 

Armored vehicles are still effective against small arms, however, and active defenses can help defend them against IEDs, artillery and tank shells, missiles, drones and ambushing snipers. And, in an asymmetric conflict, or even in the later stages of a conventional regional war like the Iraq War, before long only one side of the conflict, the one with air superiority, will have access to armored vehicles. 

Night vision, communications technologies, drones, and improved small arms, as well as vehicles with active defenses, all give modern ground troops a bit of an edge over their predecessor ground troops.

But, ultimately, the magnitude of technological improvements that ground troops have experienced pales before the revolutions that have taken place in high end warplanes and guided missiles.

This means that while the Navy and the Air Force can retain their effectiveness with fewer sailors and airmen using more advanced systems, the Army and Marines still need forces comparable in numbers as boots on the ground to those in historic post-World War II conflicts to take and hold control of territory.

The Army and Marines may be able to cut the number of troops and military systems needed in their armor and artillery forces. But the demand for infantry is virtually unchanged, and the U.S. military isn't very impressive on this front. 

The experience of the last couple of decades has shown us that ground warfare operations, unlike initial air and naval campaigns, can last many years, and that it is a great strain on U.S. capabilities to field more than about 100,000 ground troops in any one theater of conflict, at any one time, on a sustained basis, out of a total force size of about 1,500,000 active duty military personnel.

Moreover, even if the U.S. could quickly maximize its recourse to reserve and national guard troops, a surge in volunteer enlistments, and a military draft, it has only a limited capacity to get enough of those troops to the theater of conflict with the best possible equipment for the situation and support systems from air, sea, missiles, intelligence and supplies, at a pace prompt enough to make a decisive difference.

U.S. airlift and sealift capabilities are deficient. Probably less than half of U.S. Army and Marine ground troops are organized on a sufficiently expeditionary basis to make quick deployments at decisive moments, with enough military resources to be fully effective.

In the long run, the U.S. needs to significantly expand its airlift and fast sealift capabilities, to pre-place more resources in forward positions to limit the need for long distance airlift and sealift, and to organize a larger share of its ground troops on an expeditionary basis, because there will never be a major land war in the continental United States, where most U.S. ground troops are based.

This means more transport aircraft and transport drones (the most intensely used resources in the Air Force). This means considering adding airships to our logistics capabilities. This means more fast sealift ships. This may mean transport submarines to allow heavier equipment to bust embargoes. This means more active defenses and offensive capabilities on transport shifts and aircraft. This means sea basing ships in areas were likely adversaries don't have the capabilities to seriously threaten them were they locate themselves. This means more attention to pre-positioned supply caches, on land, in foreign bases, on ships at sea, on submarines, and in underwater caches.

This means more ground troops outfitted like Marines, paratroopers, and airborne units, and fewer really heavy divisions, with really heavy equipment like tanks and missile defense batteries, pre-positioned as close to likely centers of conflict as possible. This means developing new expeditionary systems that provide powerful capabilities with modest weight and size, like wheeled missile tanks, mobile guided rocket launchers, and lighter active point defense systems and missile launchers capable of being loaded on military trucks or armored personnel carriers or tactical vehicles.

The U.S. also needs a larger force of active duty ground troops, because the sophistication of modern military technologies and tactics makes green draftees with minimal training less useful as ground troops than in the past, and because immediate deployment of troops is frequently decisive in modern military conflicts. Future wars are likely to be more like the sudden fait accompli Russian occupation of Crimea and the Ukrainian border, than they are to be sustained slugfests in which large numbers of late deployed troops can easily make up for initially tiny rapid response forces.

Larger numbers of active duty ground troops are also important because, logistically, it is much harder and slower to relocate several divisions of ground troops from one theater to another as the relative needs of the generals in two active conflicts shift (really only marginally better than surface warships at best, and sometimes not every that quickly) than it is to relocate warplane resources.

For the most part, staggered deployment of large numbers of grounds troops from one front to another is still not really viable. Once ground troops arrive, they need to stay to continue to hold the territory that they have taken. The entirety of their equipment is often too heavy to economically transport from one theater to another by air. Loading up transport ships can be slow and most sealift is very slow itself (in additional to being vulnerable to hostile attacks in a widespread near peer conflict). 

Further, different ground environments require considerable specialization which is hard to shift quickly. Language and cultural understanding needs are different in different countries. Urban warfare and warfare in wide open spaces of various kinds of climate and terrain involve different habitual tactics that work best. Differently armed opponents call for different kinds of countermeasures.

The bottom line is that the U.S. military need more grunts equipped to deploy quickly with more airlift and sealift capabilities, and more pre-positioned equipment, to make this possible. But, it also needs a smaller, but more advanced, force to run aircraft, missiles, ships, satellites, drones and submarines to take on near peer adversaries and the initial air and sea dominance phases of a military conflict.

It might be reasonable to target having a force that can deploy 200,000 to 300,000 ground troops in a combat zone in a new regional war or two, at any one time (about two to three times the U.S. military's current capacity to do so using all of its national guard and reserve forces). In contrast, there would be a significant reduction in the number of active duty personnel in the Navy, the Air Force, and in the parts of the Marines and the Army that aren't suitable in that role while given them more powerful and capable systems to operate.

This would also have the beneficial side effect of keeping the defense budget manageable while providing skill training, education, discipline and experience for more young men and women who are not ready to immediately embark on a college education and who may never do so, giving them a leg up in life.

The overall force might actually have more active duty personnel, but those personnel would be greatly rebalanced between the services, and within subcomponents of the existing services.

Specialize the National Guard and Coast Guard

It also makes sense to more clearly differentiate the role of the reserves to provide surge capacity for active duty forces, from that of the Coast Guard and National Guard to serve in a primarily homeland defense role responding to disasters and civil emergencies, providing search and rescue capabilities, and being prepared for insurrections, almost unthinkable invasions, terrorist attacks, and, in the case of the Coast Guard, more ordinary law enforcement and anti-piracy roles, even though this somewhat diminishes the supply of ordinary ground troops available in the event of a foreign war.

The National Guard should not be armed with weapon systems ill suited to use domestically and primarily oriented towards near peer conventional wars abroad. The Air National Guard doesn't need bombers or supersonic stealth jet fighters. The Army National Guard doesn't need howitzers, Apache helicopter gunships, and large numbers of tanks. In both cases, some new military systems should be designed and purchased for their primary missions, rather than limiting them to hand me downs from the active duty force (something that should be limited to the various reserve forces).

This isn't to say that the Coast Guard and National Guard should never be mobilized to deploy abroad in foreign conflicts. But these deployments should be in capacities that reflect their homeland defense orientation, rather than being interchangeable in equipment and training from reserve troops in both equipment and training, as they tend to be now.

06 July 2021

New Landlord-Tenant Laws And Executive Orders

Two major new landlord-tenant law reform bills were passed in Colorado this year and took effect July 1, 2021. Two new executive orders related to landlord-tenant law in Colorado have also been made.

The federal eviction moratorium, which began in September 2020, has been extended for what the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says is the final time through July 31. The moratorium does not allow landlords to evict tenants who meet the criteria.

On June 30, Polis extended an executive order for another 30 days that requires landlords to give tenants who are at risk of eviction 30 days notice, rather than 10 days, before taking any legal action.

Residential Tenancy Procedures

Under existing law, a court summons in an existing action must contain a statement to the defendant that explains the consequences for failing to answer the summons and requirements related to certain defenses. The bill includes updated language explaining the consequences for failing to answer, the content of a defendant's answer, and fees and deposits related to filing an answer.

Under existing law, if a landlord wins judgment in an eviction action, the court cannot issue a writ of restitution, which directs the county sheriff to assist the landlord in removing the tenant, until 48 hours after judgment. The bill prohibits a sheriff from executing a writ of restitution until at least 10 days after judgment.

The bill prohibits residential landlords from increasing rent more than one time in a 12-month period of tenancy.

Under existing law, for a tenancy of one month or longer but less than 6 months in which there is no written agreement between the landlord and tenant, a landlord must give 21 days' written notice to the tenant prior to increasing the rent. For a residential tenancy, the bill extends the notice period to 60 days and makes it apply to a tenancy of any duration without a written agreement. The bill prohibits a landlord from terminating a residential tenancy in which there is no written agreement with the primary purpose of increasing a tenant's rent without providing 60 days' notice.



Rights In Residential Lease Agreements

The bill addresses the following items related to landlord and tenant rights in residential rental agreements:

• When a landlord removes or excludes a tenant from a dwelling without resorting to proper court procedures, it is an unfair or deceptive trade practice for the purposes of the "Colorado Consumer Protection Act";
• After a complaint is filed by a landlord, the clerk of the court or the attorney for the plaintiff shall issue a summons, including information concerning filing an answer and legal aid. A court shall not enter a default writ of restitution before the close of business on the date upon which an appearance is due.
• Provides additional details regarding the defendant's answer, including that a defendant does not waive any defense related to proper notice by filing an answer; that the court shall set a date for trial no sooner than 7, but not more than 10, days after the answer is filed, unless the defendant agrees to waive this provision and schedule the trial for an earlier date, except that a court with a docket that is impacted by the COVID-19 public health emergency is not required to comply with this time frame. In the time after an answer is filed and before a trial occurs, the court shall order that the landlord or tenant provide any relevant documentation that either party requests.
• A landlord who provides a tenant with proper notice of nonpayment shall accept payment of the tenant's full amount due according to the notice, as well as any rent due under the rental agreement, at any time until a court has ordered a writ of restitution;
• Eliminates the bond requirement for the warranty of habitability and allows the tenant to assert an alleged breach of the warranty of habitability as an affirmative defense;
• Establishes allowable court procedures and remedies in cases of an alleged breach of warranty of habitability;
• Bans liquidated damage clauses that assign a cost to a party stemming from a rental violation or an eviction action;
• Prohibits rental agreements that contain one-way fee-shifting clauses that award attorney fees and court costs only to one party; and
• Guarantees parties to a residential FED dispute the right to a trial by jury.

The bill prohibits a landlord of a mobile home park or a residential premises (landlord) from:

• Charging a tenant or mobile home owner (tenant) a late fee for late payment of rent unless the rent payment is late by at least 7 calendar days;
• Charging a tenant a late fee in an amount that exceeds the greater of: $50 or 5% of the amount of the rent obligation that remains past due;
• Requiring a tenant to pay a late fee unless the late fee is disclosed in the rental agreement;
* Removing, excluding, or initiating eviction procedures against a tenant solely as a result of the tenant's failure to pay one or more late fees;
* Terminating a tenancy or other estate at will or a lease in a mobile home park because the tenant fails to pay one or more late fees to the landlord;
* Imposing a late fee on a tenant for the late payment or nonpayment of any portion of the rent that a rent subsidy provider, rather than the tenant, is responsible for paying;
* Imposing a late fee more than once for each late payment;
* Requiring a tenant to pay interest on late fees;
* Recouping any amount of a late fee from a rent payment made by a tenant; or
* Charging a tenant a late fee unless the landlord provided the tenant written notice of the late fee within 180 days after the date upon which the rent payment was due.

A landlord who commits a violation must pay a $50 penalty to an aggrieved tenant for each violation. Otherwise, a landlord who commits a violation has 7 days to cure the violation, which 7 days begins when the landlord receives notice of the violation. If a landlord fails to timely cure a violation, the tenant may bring a civil action to seek one or more of the following remedies:

* Compensatory damages for injury or loss suffered;
* A penalty of at least $150 but not more than $1,000 for each violation, payable to the tenant;
* Costs, including reasonable attorney fees if the tenant is the prevailing party; and
* Other equitable relief the court finds appropriate.

The attorney general may investigate and prosecute alleged violations. A violation that is not timely cured or that was committed by a landlord in bad faith is an unfair or deceptive trade practice for the purposes of the "Colorado Consumer Protection Act".

An Evolving Home And Family

It is easy to fall into the mindset that your home and your family are constants. But they evolve with everything else.

My grandparents, and many of many aunts and uncles have died. My brother and I got married (acquiring in-laws in the process) and had children, as did my wife's sister and many of my cousins (some of whom married or found a lifetime companion without having children). I moved west and learned of a whole new branch of the family no one had ever mentioned out here. My mother passed. My dad remarried, and in the process, I gained a stepmother and several step-siblings and step-nieces and nephews. My children have become adults and found significant others who may or may not end up becoming long term additions to the family. My family tree will continue to evolve.

We bought our home in the year 2000 when it was 75 years old. Previous owners had already done a lot to it after its construction in 1925. It originally had a coal fired steam heat boiler, tiny fireplaces or stoves on two floors, a milk door, and may or may not have been wired for electricity (much of the old lighting was do it yourself work not up to code and the thermostat was added later). Do it yourselfers and renovation contractors replaced some but not all of the galvanized steel water pipes with copper. The steam heat boiler and fireplaces were converted to natural gas. A later owner drywalled over one of the natural gas fireplaces and sealed the other one. The milk door was sealed. Someone carpeted the main room in the basement even though it flooded sometimes. Tiny amount of painted woodwork on the mostly brick exterior was repainted. Our immediate prior owner turned the Model T sized garage into a pottery studio, put a shop sink in the basement, and outfitted much of the house with original tile.

We've probably been more ambitious than any of the prior owner over the last twenty-one years. When we bought it, we helped draft the party wall agreement that divided it and had it subdivided. We built a backyard fence to separate the two units. We added an attic access previously only possible to reach from the other half of the duplex. When the next door neighbor's house was scraped and a new duplex was built there, the fence was rebuilt and a resolution of a boundary irregularity was resolved. We put in a swamp cooler. We replaced the curtain rods and put in new curtains. We got the doors to shut and replaced the garage door and the rear wall of the garage. We rearranged the main floor, taking down a cement wall and chimney from the downstairs utility room, sealing off two doors out of the kitchen, extending a hallway to provide access to a room previously entered through the kitchen. We completely renovated the kitchen and dining room (except for the dining room floor and one historic dining room light) from floor to crown molding with new cabinets, a new sink, countertops, new lighting, and new appliances (and have since replaced the refrigerator and the dishwasher again). We replaced a sink, toilet, lighting, and fan and added a cabinet, in a bathroom and replaced the fixtures in the tub. We refinished the floors. We replaced single pane, steel frame windows with triple pane vinyl windows. We replaced the front door and an adjacent light fixture. We refinished the wood floors. We replaced a ceiling fan. We replaced the shop sink in the basement and another toilet. We replaced the converted coal fired boiler and removed related asbestos. We restored one of the fireplaces. We put in a water line to the freezer (a feature of the freezer which needs to be fixed). We put in new utility room appliances. We put an egress window and new flooring and lighting into a downstairs storage room to make it more of a bedroom. We took the original kitchen cabinets and relocated them to a basement storage room with a new countertop. We replaced a garage door opener. We put in a rear patio and gazebo and planting box. We replaced an outdoor faucet that froze and put in a shutoff valve so it doesn't happen again. We planted a tree that has grown to adulthood. We replaced all of the light switch hardware. We repaired our mail slot and a gap in our brickwork. We put in and then abandoned a satellite TV dish and digital TV antenna (that latter of which never really worked). We extended our gutter to prevent foundation inundation. We replaced our roof. We re-poured the concrete sidewalk in front of our house and replaced the grass between the sidewalk and the road with rocks. We removed obstructions from a main drain. We've repainted all of the interior walls (in some cases, more than once).

An old house is never done and will continue to evolve. We plan to put a closet in the downstairs room we remodeled so that it can officially be a third bedroom. Several old light fixtures should be replaced. The thermostat could be replaced with a more modern one. A crawl space could use better insulation and a few basement windows could be upgraded from the original steel framed single pane glass that ones that don't completely shut well and have ragged old screens. The dryer vent could be upgraded. A basement bathroom/utility room could use further remodeling. We have a side door that could be replaced but doesn't have to be, and our fence may need some mending. An outdoor power outlet that we never use needs to be replaced. There is landscaping to be done in our dying, steeply sloped, 400 square foot front lawn (the last bit of grass remaining on our 1/15th of an acre lot). The garage door need to be replaced. We should get a shed so we can make room for a car again in the garage which currently holds mostly home and lawn maintenance materials and equipment, particularly if we decide to buy a plug-in electric car some day. 

Perhaps by 2025, when the house is a century old, some of those finishing touches could be completed.

Some of the renovations are driven by the high value of housing in Denver. It is easier to polish your existing small home into a gem, than to buy a new one. We also did well by the Denver Public Schools. We paid $245,000 for our home, which was a fixer upper, the cheapest house on the block just a couple hundred years from Washington Park, the premier jewel in the crown of Denver's park system and a desirable urban residential neighborhood. The mortgage has been refinanced twice to a much lower rate (3.25% fixed) than what we started with, and the balance we've owed on it has declined over the years. Now, one of the realtors that courts us tells us it is worth $610,000 and that probably doesn't even reflect its much improved trim level and amenities. 

Even the neighborhood has evolved. Some houses on our block have been scrapped and replaced or pop topped. The nearby main intersection has new stop lights and crossing lights. The sidewalks at the intersections of wheelchair ramps. The asphalt has been redone on the street, and the alleyway concrete has been redone. The dumpster we replaced with trash and recycling bins. There are 5G towers throughout the neighborhood. Some trees have died and been replaced in the neighborhood. The water mains will be replaced in the near future.

I do a lot of estate planning and probate work as an attorney, so I often visit the homes of the elderly and the recently deceased. So many of those homes are frozen in time to a state almost the same as it was when they bought it several decades earlier when they were just starting a family. Even many of the decorations, spice drawer contents, and liquor cabinets are often undisturbed for decades. We have thankfully avoided that trap, so far, and have a home that is fresh and modern with only period touches. It doesn't yet have the smell of death and decay that is so common in the homes of the very old, although that may come with time. I'd like to think that we can escape that.