Saturday, February 27, 2010

Germany Stands Up

From my Facebook; yes I have one but rarely use it:

via Michael Yon: Perhaps there are wheels within wheels here. The PIGS are crashing, the Bear is growling. The Muslims are advancing. This is like the bad old times again. Maybe Germany wants something safer than what the EU offered.
Germany votes to extend, boost Afghanistan mission
Germany's parliament approved Friday sending up to 850 more troops to Afghanistan and extending the mission by a year, amid rowdy scenes in chamber as the far-left party staged a protest.

An Exchange With My Mother

I do not think that there is a real issue worth worrying about with cell phones. Should there be research and some prudence in how we use these? Of course. Just remember that we have been subjected to a stream of panic mongering which really is an orchestrated campaign against Capitalism. The whole "Health Care Crisis" is a power and money grab based on false statistical claims. Similarly the entire "Global Warming Crisis" was based on bad science as part of a money and power grab. There have been others, the anti vaccine campaigners with mystical claims about autism will subject us to epidemics from Dark Ages diseases like polio that had been conquered, and there have been specific product shakedown attacks. So while I would be prudent and support good research I would not accept every story about mysterious threats.

The biggest problem I see from phones and MP3 players is that they encourage isolation in what should be a public and potentially social encounter. In part this may be why they are popular. A young woman on the subway can put on her earphones and listen to music and avoid recognizing the men around her. Reading a book can serve the same purpose or it can be in fact an invitation to a conversation. The personal music device is more isolating. Giving one to your daughter could be the equivalent of attaching a small angry dog to her. While there are obvious benefits and potential costs to using these to preserve privacy it means that people lose the ability to manage their own social encounters. Thirty year ago a woman on the subway learned how to politely discourage or encourage a man who smiled. Those are valuable skills and we are a poorer society when we are not so socialized.

I will blog this with personal information redacted.

Love, (LoTM)

On Feb 26, 2010, at 11:29 PM, wrote:

(LoTM): There is an interesting article in here about cell phones and radiation. Love, Mother

Date: February 26, 2010 9:17:59 AM EST
To: <>
Subject: Dog Saves 3-Year-Old, Mood-Boosting Snacks, Cell Phones and Radiation -- your custom newsletter

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"Gift-wrapped horses"

Carlos Slim made his fortune in Mexican telecommunications. That is a notoriously corrupt industry in the 3rd World. Political connections often mean more than technical expertise and efficiency. His last big venture that I heard of was the now liquidated CompUSA. There may be a certain perverse logic in his approval of the NYT's efforts to turn America into a place just like the 100 or so countries that dominate the UN. If he does for the Times and information retailing what he did for electronics retailing the firm won't be around to criticize. Since they are all bits or bytes on a connection of tubes the industries are the same anyway. The connections between Newscorp, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and China are of concern. No one should get emotional though at the realization that Fox is a business like any other.

We do need help all humans do, in sorting through the available data and separating the chaff of bias leading to error. That does not mean that all biased information is untrue. If someone has an interest in telling you the truth they may. Sponsored news is a problem if it distorts and prevents you from seeing other issues with a free mind but on a given subject the honestly acknowledged lobbyist may be a good source.

Few people have the time to sift the unlit warehouses in bad neighborhoods that line the information super highway. We hope that we can judge the visitors to this space as on balance a good investment of our time to consider the information delivered and to offer small contributions. No one can rest from the need to constantly test information for credibility even as the pressure to accept something as adequate and move on is great.

Some rely on the NY Times to be their filter. Some of us at one time spent 15 to 30 minutes every day looking at Little Green Footballs. Some people test stories, or subjects with a known moral or subjective standard, often religious, to determine if the topics are worth the cost of caring about the truth. We are all mortal and time moves in one direction. We can't verify everything for ourselves. To attempt to is a sign of madness.

For a man like Mr Kember who has adopted "Pacifism" as his yardstick contrary information will not be processed. He has it automatically routed to his kill file. Any contradiction will result in the "No true Scotsman" defense. Congressman Grayson is a more familiar and therefor more comfortable breed of hypocrite. We all know how to deal with the politically contemptible even if we are uncomfortable with similar religious manifestations.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"In the garden of bad and evil"

Pakistan is not a normal State. It is the physical manifestation of the ego of Muhammad Ali Jinnah. That is a bad thing for three, you know me, connected reasons.

First because it is a bad thing based of the historical record to attempt to create a political entity to express any one individual's vanity or ambition. There have been other examples of political structures that were imposed from above to provide employment for an ambitious or troublesome princeling.

Second the character of Mr Jinnah was such as to doom the project from the start. Even by the forced analogies and condescension of the 1950s newsreels it is hard to think of him as another Washington. He was no Cincinnatus serving an established people and eager to get back to his plow. Jinnah wasn't even an observant Muslim. He merely was looking for an engine to pull the train with his name on it and found one that wasn't being used. His was happy to work within the Congress Party until he discovered that he wasn't in charge of it. His success is explained by his being more pro-British culturally and emotionally than he was pro-Indian. The role that Pakistan has played for the last 60 years, artificial construct with uncertain loyalties within and prone to serving as the agent of outside ambitions, British, Chinese, Saudi or American, seeking an advantage in the region is not an abberation but a design feature.

To that vice Pakistan adds a third form of artificiality in that it isn't simply a case of some dynamic personality hijacking a national movement. In this case the country was cobbled together by a committee to include disparate and often hostile elements. The closest European equivalent is Belgium. That country was cobbled together after the Napoleonic Wars to serve the interests of the French and Germans as a Catholic buffer state. It has never really worked and the eagerness of the Belgians to support the European project is explained by more than simple appreciation for the bountiful cream that they have been able to skim off the top.

For three generations now Pakistan has looked for some larger story to diffuse its own contradictions in. The EU can serve that purpose for the Flemings and Walloons or even it is hoped for the Irish and the Ulstermen but there is no larger identity that can serve that pupose for the tribes in Pakistan. There is nothing that can serve that role for both Pakistan and India in a regional setting and efforts to find other larger allegiances have also foundered. The Non-aligned movement proved to be a setting where India played first fiddle. More recently the Islamic community has been approached by Pakistanis, and people from other fractured countries, seeking an identity larger than the dysfunctional polity they inherited. For a host of reasons that has not proven a workable solution. Despite the motto of the Muslim Brotherhood that "Islam is the answer" it is becoming increasingly clear that to believe that means that you are asking the wrong questions.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"True Lies"

China. My uncompleted thesis was supposed to be an evaluation of the China threat. The basic idea was meant to be a simple evaluation of capabilities and intentions. What it foundered on was the impossibility of getting reliable numbers as to what China's GDP really was. There were numbers used or at least reported by the banks and those reported by the Chinese government and there are large numbers of economists employed by the CIA to stare at the black box and guess what is inside it but the fact is that we do not know. We can track most of what goes in and comes out but the fact remains that only a fool would believe anything reported from an official source and there are real impediments to observing what happens in vast portions of the country for three reasons.

1. In any 3rd World (Developing) country the veneer of managers trained to competently record and report information at the level desired by Western standards is very thin. Most places simply lack the capacity to do the job, even if their intentions are good.

2. In any 2nd World (Communist) country the costs of failure are so high and the expectations are so irrational that managers are trained to to submit false reports and keep their enterprises alive by any means including political maneuvers, graft, nepotism, and theft. Actually delivering a product is way down the list of expectations.

3. Max Weber pointed out that China's Confucian social and ethical system, like its equivalent in Southern Europe, produced a sliding scale of moral obligations. One's duty to their father exceeded their duty to their brother. The loyalty to one's brother justified deceitful conduct towards a cousin, loyalty to your home village exceeded that due to the inhabitants of a distant province, etc. While in theory everyone owed loyalty to the Emperor in practice he was far away.

The fathers and grandfathers of the current managers in China grew up evading the irrational expectations and random bouts of violence of Mao's rule. The government was told that the Great Leap Forward was producing tons of steel in back yard furnaces and that millions of happy chickens were laying billions of eggs for the Red cause. It was all a lie. When a disaster due to system failure happened people would protect the leader by saying "If only Mao (or Stalin etc.) knew." Keeping the prestige of the leader intact through ignorance may actually be a feature of these systems.

New York City is now approaching 67 years of experience with the effects of the temporary war time program of rent controls that are still while modified in place. They have contributed significantly to all of the pathologies that afflicted the city since. What a program of price controls in medicine will do is decrease the supply of good doctors and increase the supply of lawyers and financial regulators, or their partners trained regulation avoiders.

Last night the popular show Boston Legal was on. One of the plot lines was about the poor child whose mother was killed by her crazy stalker father. They sue the insurance company for not protecting her personal information since the father was able to go into their web site and impersonate her, after all he as her former spouse had her identity information, to find the location of her doctor, where he murdered her. The fat tired and lame old white guy insurance executive sits there while his lawyer makes a perfunctory statement to the jury that the effect of holding for the poor little girl will be higher costs and less access to medical care for everyone then the lawyer for the plaintiff tells the jury that the NSA is reading their email and wins almost $3,000,000 for his client. We may save whiskey the trouble and write his commentary for him.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Systems Architecture

(fm the BC thread "Once in a Blue Moon")

I had thought that the reason that programmers are kept in an open pit workplace was to make life easier for the cleaning staff and also to make sure that no one was hording all the Jolt Cola™. Otherwise doesn't the guy in the locked office end up looking like this?

All in jest friends.

Subotai Bahadur,
Concur, people forget that Google images are not in real time. A coworker who had been out of the Air Force for about 4 years once killed time in the office by looking up his old address in Hawaii, and saw his old car parked outside. That fits in with my comment on the next thread about the accuracy of archived knowledge.

The wiki (cough cough) said there was one Canberra that flew at air shows for a museum in Australia and implied that some others may be available for private charter in England. Sounds like a remarkably successful aircraft.

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"A little incident in Mexico City"

These tapes of LBJ and Richard Russell are a real find. It isn't only "what you know for sure that just ain’t so” it is what there is to know that you do not know is out there or even what you know is out there but you are uncertain where. Knowledge may be created or located. We need our search functions. Once we have the search function working we have to worry about the integrity of how it operates. The people at the University of Virginia who will bowdlerize LBJ to spare the children of the future knowledge of his crudities are doing us no favor. The people at Google or the Wiki who pervert the data base to change the past in order to shape the future are like the agents of Minitrue in Nineteen Eighty-Four who poison the well of knowledge.

Was LBJ sincere in his claim that his motivation was to avoid a nuclear war that could lead to Orwell's dystopia? Russell may have had his own "little incident in Mexico City" or he might have believed that everyone did but be as unaware as any of us as to where to find the facts. Was the report itself accurate or was it, as this implies, pre-written by Hoover to be rubber stamped by pre-selected trained seals? If LBJ was perverting the course of justice to avoid a nuclear holocaust was he right to do so? Did the Warren Commission exculpate communist intervention and empower future subversion?

Perhaps the facts are as the Commission presented them. Perhaps the back and forth between LBJ and Russell mean no more than that Russell despised Earl Warren and this was how men of power dealt with each other.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Nautical Knowledge

(fm the BC thread "Once in a Blue Moon")

(who said British ships carry little ammo because they expect them to sink)
The same logic would say give the pilots enough fuel to go one way. Think of the money saved. It is for the children.

At one time the Navy put some effort into walking the line between being touchy feely and overbearing in demonstrating that they cared about the family separation issue. If done wrong it results in the Captain's wife playing queen over the other wives but if done thoughtfully such efforts can help. John Lehman once made a famous presentation before Congress, complete with charts and graphs, about the importance of Retention and the impact on retention of the critical quality known as NIBWM, pronounced Nib-wham. He was detailed thorough and passionate in his testimony and at the end some distinguished person threw up their hands and said words to this effect, "Mr Secretary you win. We are all convinced. Now just what in hell is NIBWM?" Mr Lehman looked up and smiled and answered "Nights in bed with Mama Sir."

Subotai Bahadur,
My only addenda to your fine post is that for reasons of operational efficiency and cost optimization it really does make sense for a nation of Britain's size to build three CVBGs. One will always be in repair and one in training but available to surge. If you only have one or two you are inviting an attack when you are unable to respond. Ideally the EU would provide for another 3 Carrier Battle Groups. The do not need to build a navy as large as America's because it is reasonable for them to invest more at this time in their ground forces. Of course we know that they intend to build none of this.

the UK won’t even be breaking even on the costs

That depends on what they value in the Falklands. Remember that the English do like Handel's Messiah. ... and we like sheep ...

Captains went on a search and strip of flammables

That possibly helped produce the "Paperwork Reduction Manual" which killed many a tree and was kept in a cabinet with the dangerous in the hands of an Ensign "FOD Manual."

Sandy Daze,
Why do we need combat survivable ships?

Because it is a long swim home.

Old Salt,
Best way to kill them is as far away as possible

In the Stone Age, hope I am not revealing anything at this point, I took a Combat Systems test that went something like this:

1. The best way to engage an enemy surface threat is?
a) With guns at close range.
b) With missiles at medium range.
c) With an aircraft at a distance.

2. The best way to engage an enemy air threat is?
a) With guns at close range.
b) With missiles at medium range.
c) With an aircraft at a distance.

3) The best way to engage an enemy subsurface threat is?
a) With torpedoes at close range.
b) With ASROC at medium range.
c) With another submarine or an aircraft at a distance.

I learned to love Navy exams like that. The only way that my ships could have attacked a submarine would have been by throwing trash over the fantail. It does make sense to me that the Navy build real gunboats, with 6" (155 mm) guns both to support the Marines and to pacify recalcitrant regions as described by Joseph Conrad. The Navy does need more high end true Cruisers capable of independent operations to establish presence and respond to immediate contingencies. Low end ships like the LCS class have a role in escort duties in pirate infested regions but the costs must be kept under control. If a full flight of 30 were built then the contractor would have to make it a reasonable expense. Otherwise the drive to a smaller Navy continues.

Old Salt,
The USS England (CG-22) was a Leahy class double ended Terrier (SM2-ER) shooter that had the old 3" guns removed and Harpoon installed, that our CO disconnected when transiting the South China Sea. That meant that it had essentially no guns capable of engaging a small craft except for possibly an M-60 machine gun and the M-14 rifles in the Armory. God help us if we ever had to use the ASROC or the torpedoes. The ship had no meaningful ASW command systems and when I asked about the sonar I was told that we'd be lucky if we found a submarine by running over it. Once I did attend a basic ASW school at Point Loma, and found it the most boring thing imaginable, but they assured me that if I was on a real sub hunter they would teach me a more interesting class. On board the ship we never conducted ASW drills that I remember.

The AAW capability was excellent and I loved the NTDS interface. During a simulation I shot down more attacking aircraft than I launched missiles. Now that was a good drill.

After I left the ship the Navy put a fortune into upgrading the entire class under the New Threat Upgrade program to a standard that would potentially help support the ABM mission. Almost immediately after installing the new systems the ships were decommissioned.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Comments on the Belmont Club:
"Once in a Blue Moon"

This speaks to my comment on the last thread. Ever since WW-II the path to promotion has been through program management and not combat aptitude. There is nothing wrong with missiles. At one time I owned the world's worst surface to air missile system, BPDSMS. For engaging a small number of high performance, and therefor more fragile, aircraft at a distance missiles are the right answer. They are however expensive and carry a smaller warhead than guns do. For close in defense against massed attacks nothing is better than having many guns. There is nothing wrong with building lighter ships that burn less fuel and have greater endurance at sea. They are however less able to absorb damage than older ships that traveled slower and refueled more often.

What would the US do though if the Chinese built 50 diesel submarines and 500 B-25 bombers and 1000 P-51 fighters, and then proclaimed an ultimatum regarding Taiwan? The US Navy would be unable to intervene without employing nuclear weapons. The Naval surface and aviatian forces are no longer equiped to fight a nuclear battle. So they will serve no purpose in such a confrontation. They are now an enormous bluff and the Democrats will probably announce that they have discovered that and declare their intention to save money by chopping the fleet in half. As with what happened to the Royal Navy this debate over caabilities, threats and budgets becomes a self fulfilling race to the bottom. But we will be told that the new system to be bought with the savings from canceling current programs and mothballing or scrapping "antiquated" systems will be amazingly capable. Like the military inversion of "to big to fail" they will be declared to valuable to risk in combat. Once they have no combat role those programs can be canceled also. Rinse and repeat.

The Chinese and North Koreans have already developed surface to surface missiles that do not mimic the Western pattern of refined rarity but instead serve as long range artillery. While China has announced that they are developing a ballistic missile launched cruise missile for anti-carrier operations I think that the best use that has for them is as a distraction that encourages the Americans to focus on the most technically, as opposed to industrially, difficult threat.

What would change the game? We could in fact simply do differently, it remains only an act of will that is needed. We could cut all non-defense spending by 10% a year for 6 years. We could declare that no one is entitled to entitlements and that no person under 45 years old will receive benefits from Social Security as it exists. We could create a market based system similar to the federal employees Thrift Savings Plan to replace Social Security. We could announce that the only federal health programs will be through the VA or the Public Health Service. The later being for merchant seamen and Indians covered by treaties. Medicare and Medicaid should be phased out over a 20 year period. The immediate effects of such an announcement would be a dramatic inflow of capital into the American system and an explosion of wealth creation that would free up the resources for a military renewal program.

We can do that and the British can do the equivalent. We can build and maintain the forces that can engage and even better preclude a challenge from determined but less creative enemies. America cannot do that while feeding the patronage army of the Chicago graft machine and it's associated supporters in the teacher's unions, the trial lawyers associations and the media. The British cannot do it while paying for a stream of solidarity and feel good schemes from the likes of the "Comrades" of Islington Council.

BTW a gentleman who was I believe the Operations Officer of the Coventry came and talked to the our wardroom while I was the owner of that worthless SAM system on the USS Belleau Wood (LHA-3). What he emphasized was the importance of training and good damage control equipment. The British wore flash hoods during General Quarters. Our gear was comparatively antiquated.

ships can be built

But can they be built in time?

Yes and no, that is to say in a manner of speaking, no. At the very best what has changed are two things Industrial Capacity and Lead Times. First, the United States and Britain no longer have the capacity to produce steel and construct ships and other devices in the quantities needed to duplicate the construction of the same weapons at the same level of technology produced between 1938 and 1944. Second, the weapons that are planned for now are so complex, largely in their electrical and data systems components that the design and testing phases now take decades. Some of this delay could be reduced by tearing up check lists and repealing environmental or other regulations but not only is there some cost to doing so, but the newer systems really are more complex.

If we wanted to build modern battleships bristling with multiple mag-lev guns that could both survive combat and rain destruction on any location within 100 miles of a seacoast, which is to say over 80% of humanity, and also be equipped with 155 mm Vertical Load guns for shore bombardment and anti-surface warfare, we would have to address both constraints. We would have to spend billions of dollars and several years building the industrial capacity to produce the steel needed and construct the ships. Our current labor force is less skilled for these tasks than were the workers of earlier generations. At both the high end of engineering and design and at the site of physical labor and construction we are not producing people who could do the work. To change that would mean a complete overhaul of the education and employment systems. In addition to design and test workable fire control, weapons and communications systems of the complexity envisioned would take at best over a decade.

This means that what is needed is not simply for the public to recognize a threat and elect politicians who will rally them to step into the breach during the time of combat. That test was faced by the nation in 1864 and it almost failed to meet it before the votes of the troops ensured the reelection of Lincoln. The repudiation of George Bush under relentless seditious assault while he attempted to rally the nation as the troops were engaged in combat proves how far we are from that minimal standard. What would be needed however is even more. We would need to recognize the threat and undertake those reforms needed to reconstruct the armed forces so that they would be ready to meet a threat beginning in 10 to 15 years.

Wisdom consists of planting a tree for future generations to enjoy. Where will we find either the citizens or the politicians with that quality?

Topic related, Dutch government falls over pressure to get out of Afghanistan. A declining Labor party is bringing down the government they are in, with the help of the really loony left, so they can make a show in local elections before the blow back from the Geert Wilders trial can push the far right past their center right coalition partners. The center right got so used to splitting the difference for so many years, with the US serving as both indulgent protector and whipping boy, that they have no idea how to respond to either a threat from their right flank or betrayal from the left.

It’ll be all right, Rome will get it together, we always have.

What are we waiting for, assembled in the forum?

The barbarians are due here today.

Why isn’t anything happening in the senate?
Why do the senators sit there without legislating?

Because the barbarians are coming today.
What laws can the senators make now?
Once the barbarians are here, they’ll do the legislating.

Why did our emperor get up so early,
and why is he sitting at the city’s main gate
on his throne, in state, wearing the crown?

Because the barbarians are coming today
and the emperor is waiting to receive their leader.
He has even prepared a scroll to give him,
replete with titles, with imposing names.

Why have our two consuls and praetors come out today
wearing their embroidered, their scarlet togas?
Why have they put on bracelets with so many amethysts,
and rings sparkling with magnificent emeralds?
Why are they carrying elegant canes
beautifully worked in silver and gold?

Because the barbarians are coming today
and things like that dazzle the barbarians.

Why don’t our distinguished orators come forward as usual
to make their speeches, say what they have to say?

Because the barbarians are coming today
and they’re bored by rhetoric and public speaking.

Why this sudden restlessness, this confusion?
(How serious people’s faces have become.)
Why are the streets and squares emptying so rapidly,
everyone going home so lost in thought?

Because night has fallen and the barbarians have not come.
And some who have just returned from the border say
there are no barbarians any longer.

And now, what’s going to happen to us without barbarians?
They were, those people, a kind of solution.

Translated by Edmund Keeley/Philip Sherrard

(C.P. Cavafy, Collected Poems. Translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard. Edited by George Savidis. Revised Edition. Princeton University Press, 1992)


New Jersey Senator Lautenberg has stomach cancer. This may be the 10th plague that I was talking about coming to the Democratic Party.

He was personally courteous to me once. When I was with TSA he told me that he had written the first draft of the law creating the new agency that would have included a Federal police force rather than relying on local LEOs for airport security. Andrew Breitbart has also spoken well of him. However his parachuting into the Senate race after the legal deadline when Toricelli imploded was simply a theft of process. He should not have to go this way but he should go.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Silent Warfare

(fm the BC thread "You mean, now?")

Nuclear submarines have excellent characteristics and are in my opinion worth every penny that we have spent on them. Ideally we should have a mixed fleet of attack boats, boomers, cruise missile launchers and special operations transports for long range operations. That force should be larger than the current nuclear submarine fleet, perhaps by a third to half again.

Given all that it is still unfortunate that the United States has completely withdrawn from what is the cutting edge of underwater technology. That is because we have not built a non-nuclear submarine in over 60 years. Notice that I did not say "conventional" as the only alternative to nuclear power. That would imply the venerable but functional diesel-electric system that was used by most submarines during the 20th century. The newer Stirling and fuel cell systems offer the potential of speed and endurance approaching that achieved by a nuke boat along with stealth characteristics that no nuclear propulsion system can ever attain. We should join the Germans, Japanese, Russians, French and Swedes in building modern submarines with an Air Independent Propulsion system. If the Australians, Indians, Israelis and Americans each had six to 10 additional submarines of the quality of the proposed Swedish A26 or the German type 212 then the strategic calculations of the Shanghai Cooperation Council would have to be completely rewritten.

As an aside I believe that American submarines on patrol off the coast of San Diego should be equipped with some lower cost torpedoes and ordered as a matter of course to destroy any unauthorized submersible craft transiting from Mexican to US waters. This would stop one of the major methods of drugs shipment currently in use, plug an obvious hole in our defenses waiting to be exploited by Iranian agents who are present in Mexico once they have a nuclear device, and would impose a severe financial blow on the narco-traffickers aligned with Chavez.

(Who mentioned a former Leftists changing affection for the military)

Ron Silver R.I.P. learned late but he learned. If the wisdom comes to more then I will welcome them.

(Who described moonbat charity workers he knows)

You have to get out and start hanging around a better crowd. That one is getting to you. BTW, I spend a lot of time with the Red Cross and never get into such debates. Perhaps they know me.

Blame Hyman Rickover.
While we’re at it, let’s quietly give 20 of these boats to Taiwan

20 seems to many, my guess would be 6 to 8 to forestall an invasion. Let us assume that Taiwan can build their own nuclear warheads.

Do not be to hard on Rickover. He was one of those rare men who in the face of incredible bigotry persevered and created something for the good of a navy and a country that he believed in more than they sometimes believed in him. The destructive union politicking that has consumed the Armed Forces ever since the Roles and Missions debates of the 1940s continue to sap our energy.

Since WW-II promotions to flag rank, Admiral or General, have been tied not to combat experience but to program management. This has produced senior officers who like General Peckem in Catch-22 are more concerned with their rivals who wear the same country's uniform that they do then the enemy. What we need are more leaders like General Dreedle who know what their priorities are.

In the Navy the disputes between the Nukes, the Aviators, and the Missileers have destroyed the surface navy that could support amphibious operations. That is despite the fact that those are the forces that have engaged in more combat and are more likely to engage in more places than their rivals.

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"You mean, now?"

In every field of human endeavor this administration has proven to be the amateur hour at best. My normal bias is to assume incompetence before malice and the simplicity of sloth over the complexity of conspiracy. While it might be true that Obama really was a committed Marxist 25 years ago and that his rise has been aided by hostile foreign powers that does not in itself explain the failure of the system that should have prevented his progress and protected the Constitution and the nation. What I mean is that just blaming BHO or Soros or Putin or the Chinese is to passive. The fault is not in our stars but in ourselves. The American people failed to cherish their heritage and teach it to their children. If the average American understood what is exceptional about this country and why and the sacrifices that have been needed to gain those advantages, then the pretensions of Obama would have been laughed off the stage.

Subotai Bahadur,
One of the compensations of living in New York is the Frick Museum. When I can afford to be I am a member. When I have a moral choice to make it has been my habit to go there. In Mr Frick's old formal room there is a fireplace. On either side are portraits by Holbein. To the right is Thomas Cromwell and to the left is Thomas More. I look at these two men of power, sometimes friends and enemies, and it helps me think.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

For Low Tech Seamanship

(fm the BC thread "The Great Escape")

Subotai Bahadur,
the Naval Academy has not taught celestial navigation for years

Decades ago the Navy stopped teaching Radiomen, now merged into some monstrosity devoid of tradition called the Information Systems Technician rating, who do what were several former specialties, how to do Morse Code. The Navy has also recently gotten rid of the Signalman rating, who had retained the Morse Code skill. With that change, and enlisted Quartermasters assuming a host of other duties, and celestial navigation skills deemphasized, the ability of a ship or formation of ships to independently traverse the ocean while radio silent and accurately arrive at any location has seriously been degraded. In the event of a real war that will make a difference. It may mean lives lost. It may mean a war lost.

What will win is being able to get a functional ship across the sea that is able to deliver ordnance onto a target. Once it is equipped and underway it may need to receive a signal but it should not need to transmit and once it knows the destination it should not need depend on satellites to find its location or chart a course. The basic skills to do that accurately have changed little since William Bligh navigated a small boat over 3,600 nautical miles to Timor.

Fond as I was of taking the air from the Signal Bridge after the first watch my interest in the art of using a sextant is not from personal vanity. My less than stellar moment came when I looked up from the sight reduction tables and informed the Commanding Officer that according to my calculations his ship was in Idaho.

Information Retrieval

From the satanic to the merely bizarre. Time Warner/Earthlink billing record hell. TW didn't tell Earthlink I'm a customer, E'link thinks I owe for webmail. This happened before. I tried Earthlink support chat and the "Supervisor" said I had no internet service. I pointed out that I was chatting with him on the internet. Now I am on voice hold. Why didn't stuff like this happen to Amy Bishop?

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"Different strokes"

Both the American stand off attack and the putative Israeli targeted attack have unintended consequences. From opposite positions they both fail to drive a wedge between the terrorists and the civilian community.

Perhaps the American method of drone attacks creates perverse incentives that encourages the terrorists to use human shields. If you know that the risk of capture is reduced and that the risk of termination is greatest when alone then the logical thing to do is embed within a civilian community. This scales up to the Pakistanis using their own 170 million population as a cover for their abuse and betrayal of the Americans. We could make loud and public noises that in doing so they are dishonorable and have betrayed the standards of their own honor/shame culture. If the US ostentatiously forged a public alliance with India then the Pakistanis might see the consequences of their actions. If when they claimed that our drone attack had killed civilians at a "wedding party" we had instead of apologizing condemned the Taliban as cowards who hide behind the skirts of women they might change their conduct.

If the tactical intelligence that is gained from capturing and interrogating the enemy is forgone then the risk to otherwise innocent civilians increases. The enemy can themselves be made to bear the burden of that choice. The Japanese kamikaze and banzai tactics along with the mass suicide of civilians in Saipan directly increased the pressure for the strategic fire bombing of cities and the employment of nuclear weapons to compel Japan's surrender. What would provide "Shock and Awe" to change civilian Pakistani attitudes would not be more drones in the sky but a fly over Quetta by 100 B-52s. The high valleys of the Pashtun may be difficult to further degrade but without the support of urban centers they are of little threat.

The Israelis choose to pursue the risky and expensive method of targeted attacks with long intelligence tails and deep undercover teams because of their own ethical and cultural desires. Their enemies know this and it empowers the persistent displays of defiance by the civilian community. Here again the link between the terrorist and the civilian community is perversely strengthened. If the Israelis in the middle of the night painted big red Xs on the roofs of the houses of family members of terrorists that would get their attention. If they then announced that hundreds of artillery tubes were ready and that any missile launch would mean immediate counter-battery fire or the destruction of those marked houses then the link between the terrorists and the Gazan community might snap.

In the case of a more decisive effort by either the Americans or the Israelis to break the allegiance of the civilian community to the enemy we can expect the full fury of CNN to be unleashed. The proper response to that should be derision.

To be clear I prefer the more hands on Israeli method, with the entailed moral and human costs involved in slow detailed intelligence operations, because of the potential for gaining intelligence and the benefits of long time close interaction with the civilian community. If there is to be a change then it will come from knowledge and the Israeli method offers that hope.

In a paranoid organization, not getting hit may lead you to be suspected

One cruel thing that a cop can do is pick a guy up, hold him for a few hours while he boasts that he won't talk, and then walk him out the front door and slap him on the shoulder. Then pick up his brother the next day. Repeat and rinse as necessary.

"Hey look honey, the Americans delivered a dozen goats and a new big screen TV."

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Comment on PJM, Ed Driscoll:
"A Modest Proposal"

How would they feel about replacing every sitting federal judge effective 01/21/2013? That would sure show those Republicans that they better be careful who they mess with.

The link makes the nice point that Democratic Brain Trust here is contemplating eliminating both the Senate and the Electoral College. Eventually I suppose they will want to dispense with the antiquated irrational states and replace them with more functional units.
What matters is that now as in the past the methods and goals of the advocates of Oligarchic Collectivism remain at variance with those desired for the American people under the Constitution.

The Electoral College is a good idea and rather than replace it we should make it a permanent standing body ready to fill vacancies as they happen. It would also make sense to give an improved and empowered Electoral College final power of review over questions of Constitutionality.

It is interesting that the effort to eliminate the Senate, like the initial impetus with the 17th Amendment to weaken its role as a voice for the States, has been pushed by the Left and the Democratic Party. This lends credence to my suspicion that the motives behind the drive for secession in the mid-19th century was not simply a romantic attachment to the idea of States Rights. It is undoubtedly true that many men fought and died for that concept but the forces pushing for the dissoloution of the Union especially in South Carolina had other motives. Their goal was and remains power over a subservient labor force and complaint political base. They were Oligarchs at heart and by this reading Lincoln's call in his activation of the Militia Act to mobilize the Union was accurate. Persons or combination of persons to powerful to resist had seized control and the Union could only meet its constitutional obligation to guarantee each State a republican form of government by resorting to force of arms.

When the effort to ensure that by withdrawing from association with the dynamic capitalist and meritocratic North failed then the same forces dropped their attachment to the machinery of the States. Leaving that cause as the province of sentimentalists and provincial reactionaries the partisans of oligarchical power turned to new agents to achieve their old goals. While before they had overtly oppressed the slaves now they ostentatiously championed their descendants, with similar results. Where before they had advocated for the States against the Union now they have reduced the States to the role of bag men for the Union or even contemplated rendering them superfluous.

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"War and politics"

There are half educated people, the kind who read book review like they were books, who once saw a two page excerpt or summary of Clausewitz and who therefore think that saying that "war is an extension of politics by other means" proves that they are great scholars. They often get the point backwards and think that more politics can substitute for military methods when the "objective conditions" as those of the Left used to say would dictate otherwise. Partly the problem cam from the British who really were good enough to rule India with a few thousand soldiers and fewer civil servants. They made a virtue of having to "punch above their weight" and continued to attempt the practice even when it became inappropriate. If the Americans were occasionally to quick to reduce a problem to force the Europeans became to quick to reduce the option of force. This confusion of means and ends reached its logical conclusion with Obama putting military operations under international legal scrutiny and moving unlawful enemy combatants to civilian courts. The Pakistanis were just playing the game the British taught them.


(fm the BC thread "The Great Escape")

Adaptability matters. Putting half your intellectual potential in a hefty bag and denying it an education reduces your adaptability. Dismissing every book written in the last 1400 years, and destroying every book or other intellectual construct created before 1400 years ago, as either heretical or superfluous reduces your adaptability even more. We are lucky; our enemies are barbarians momentarily empowered by an infusion of wealth. The world turns but they can not. If we survive we win.

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"Photonic fence"

... to see if there was a way to use lasers to destroy parasites

No wonder all the Democrats are bailing out of Congress as per the last thread.

Intellectual Ventures wants to zap malaria parasites inside the bloodstream.

Those bastards are infiltrating our Precious Bodily Fluids. Paging General Ripper.

Has anyone here ever walked into a Club on a Marine base and yelled out "Dead Bug?"

There are places where mosquitoes resemble a P-51 Mustang with a spike on the nose. They are best handled with napalm but if you try nukes the results could be even more disastrous.

Armageddon Rex,
They already abort their offspring, sterile decoys seem superfluous.

XII Amendment

(fm the BC thread "The Great Escape")

he constitution forbids the President and Vice-President from being from the same state,

That is a popular fallacy. All the Constitution prohibits is a Presidential Elector voting for both a President and Vice-President from their own state. That means that in the hypothetical case under discussion Electors from Indiana would not be able to vote for both candidates at the same time but everyone else could. The first sentence of the XII Amendment follows, bold faced where relevant;
The Electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and all persons voted for as Vice-President and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate.
It is an ideé fixe of mine that the Electoral College should be improved and made a standing body rather than abolished as Progressives push for.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"The Great Escape"

I don't make many mistakes, but when I do, it's a beaut!

- Fiorello LaGuardia

We don't make mistakes brings up an interesting search thread. Personally I suspect that it was chiseled in stone someplace in the Lubyanka or maybe at the University of East Anglia. Once at a Step II Grievance Hearing the presiding official of kangaroo court actually said to me "Truth is not a defense." The point of that approach is to convince the annoying grievant to just dry up and blow away. That is what petty tyrants always want to do, outlast you. They know that eventually things will fall apart. That is part of their faith, the belief that disaster is inevitable and improvement is irrational but that the can may be kicked down the road until the reckoning comes on someone else's watch.

Now there is a report that Senator Lautenberg suffered a fall at age 86. If a plague of frogs strikes Washington I think that might make the full set of ten. Just to be safe Keith Olberman and his admirers might just want to disconnect all electrical connections to their residences and only eat specially delivered prepared meals.

What the Republicans have to do if they regain power is to shut off the bolt holes that the Democrats have used for the last 60 years as safe places to perch while the electorate is given a chance to forget about their records in office. Think of it as the Tora Bora lesson. It isn't enough to see the enemy flee the battlefield. It is important to close off his escape routes and deny him his sanctuaries. In domestic politics that will mean changing the rules for charitable foundations and defunding the vast array of NGOs that both live off the government and agitate to set policy. I also believe that tort reform and the restriction of the vote in a federal election to people who do not derive the bulk of their income from the federal treasury will prevent the seditious tax eating cancer from coming back.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"The shadow of the past"

My expectation, not at the level of a prediction, is that the Massachusetts politicians will remember a wise adage. When in doubt blame the dead guy. My guess is that we will hear that Ted Kennedy made the call.


(fm the BC thread "The other kind of IED")

(who described her struggles with anorexia)
The following comes of course with no professional qualification.

To me the secret for a person with an eating disorder is to simply look, I mean really look, at the world outside. We spend a lot of time focusing on either our own problems or what seems dysfunctional in the world. The great thing about music, whether Country or Classical is that it is reminds us that the Universe is harmonious. If I ever feel something like Depression causing me to doubt my self worth, and times certainly are bad now and getting worse, I remember that I am part of something larger and that something is magnificent. Faith can be the avenue for many to appreciate the sheer beauty, order and complexity beyond our comprehension of the larger system we are part of. It is possible for people who are secular to approach this perspective also. Science when done right does that. Ms Bishop had contributed to understanding a portion of the greater complexity we are in and then she lashed out and destroyed it. Perhaps she had a crisis of her Faith.

When I see images of nature, hear great music, have a satisfying meal, or touch a woman I know that there is a vast and wonderful existence that I can experience. That knowledge makes me hungry to consume it. It makes for a tasty banquet.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"The other kind of IED"

Tocque works. If someone walks into our house to insult us they can disappear. Life should always be so good.

Regarding female violence I am willing to see the reasonableness of recruiting exceptional women into elite units but I am not comfortable with women in general combat arms assignments. The reason is that I think that women once committed to violence are much harder to get back under control. Men have the benefit of thousands of years of culture to rely on in knowing how to behave under stress. All of the traditions, almost all of the team games, most of the stories, and many of the songs have for thousands of years shared the same messages and they were usually explicitly directed at men. What they taught was how to obey orders, how to sublimate your desires to the needs of a team, how to accept a binding commitment to even a hostile other, how to protect an captured enemy, and even how to surrender. All of these are difficult and all of these reduce the loss of life in combat. Women can undoubtedly learn these concepts as intellectual constructs but they do not have the deep inner knowledge that comes from almost 20 years of pervasive cultural training that most men swim in from birth before they enter military service. If anyone has ever seen adolescent girls fight then they understand that the problem is that women once unleashed tend to be much more violent then men are. Women, with apologies to Mrs Miniver, do not take prisoners.

Regarding the murderous Ms Bishop; perhaps upon further consideration it was not the absolutely best course of action for the tenure committee to reject her after the job talk by using a barbershop quartet karaoke rendition based on “My Way.”

Friday, February 12, 2010

War Films

(fm the BC thread "The 20% Solution")

bogie wheel,
What American war films would teach the both the nature of the event and deal with fundamental dramatic truths so that students could follow the links? If possible I would try to get the students to appreciate Black and White films by pointing out how a tighter medium well handled can convey more powerfully than a less disciplined one. For proof show them how a good silent film, such as "The Thief of Baghdad" or "Wings," was a better made and more exciting movie than the early talkies with their static cameras and microphones. Consider how people were swept up by the story of a martian invasion by Orson Wells' production on radio. The more that the theater is in your mind the more convincing it is. That lesson on the value of artistic discipline can have powerful implications throughout life. It certainly can inform their ability to appreciate the warrior ethos in many cultures, whether American, Arab or Japanese.

The need to be overtly American restricts consideration of fine films like Petersen's "Das Boot" Coward's "In Which We Serve" and Kurosawa's "Kagemusha." In fact the students should be told that "The Magnificent Seven" is a remake of his "Seven Samurai" and his "Ran" is a remake of King Lear. Great art deal with great issues that changes when translated but still has power to reach us. Also, since the death of the studio system in the 1950s the distinction between American and Foreign films has become arbitrary. When the actors, directors, locations and distribution company owners can come from a dozen different countries, who gets the nationality credit?

My spur of the moment list, for what it worth.
Korean War Navy        - The Bridges at Toko Ri,
Europe WW-II Army  - Battleground, A Walk in the Sun,
Wurope WW-II Air     - Twelve O'Clock High,
Pacific WW-II Navy    - They Were Expendable, Run Silent Run Deep.
The Great War              - All Quiet On the Western Front

solipsistic, risible, repulsive

Is that your law firm or a list of minor characters from J.K. Rowling?

boggie wheel,
It probably says more about me than your students but I do not get considering “Battleship Potemkin” as to esoteric for undergraduates. It is no “Andalusian Dog.” Good propaganda, and BP was the best, is simple and lucid.

Potemkin is probably more accessible than period piece musicals like “On The Town” or “An American In Paris.” Those should be good for looking at how we viewed ourselves and others after the war.

For discussing American society before the war I would consider screwball comedies such as “Bringing Up Baby.” If I used “The Great McGinty” I would ask: What if anything has changed? The best character study, political study, or movie ever made IMHO remains “Citizen Kane.” For extra credit a student could use “The Magnificent Ambersons.” Another great pre-war look at what then were considered the good old days was “The Late George Apply.”

For America after the war I would add a film noir to the mix. This could lead to some good questioning. Why were comedies so popular during the Depression and why did films turn dark when we had in fact won the war?

Did I miss something or did anybody mention “Gone With The Wind?”

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"The 20% Solution"

They then grab women and children…and we stop

It is easy to say that the United States needs to "man up" but how can we do that? If the mindset needed to fight and win a war with totalitarians is that exhibited by FDR and most of the American people dring WW-II then we need to walk back from here to there.

The main difference between the positions is that 70 to 75 years ago the pacifists were largely to the right and outside of the administration's party. The Republicans of the 1930s to '40s, even though they rejected the philo-teutonism of the Bundists and America Firsters, perhaps because they were to obviously foreign influenced, did not become true internationalists until the conversion on this issue of Arthur Vandenberg in 1945. Today, with the exception of a small group of Paleocons like Pat Buchanan, the America Last movement is firmly lodged in the Left and is now at the heart of the Democratic Party.

Roosevelt was ruthless in marshaling public opinion, ridiculing and demonizing his enemies. Opposing FDR could get you held up to public contempt, like "Martin, Barton and Fish." Herbert Hoover became a nonperson until Harry Truman graciously called upon his talents to again manage humanitarian relief efforts after the war. Charles Lindbergh's offer to volunteer for active duty was rejected. The last decision at least was probably correct. Under FDR's leadership, as I said yesterday, the United States did not "seek" to "prevail" over an "adversary" but "fought" for "victory" over its "enemies." The public collected scrap and hung black-out curtains while the cartoons urged them to "Slap the Jap" because that was what was needed to win and winning was worth it.

What I propose is a full court campaign to steel America that begins by honoring not just the fact of winning but the means by which we achieved victory in WW-II and the Cold War. We need a relentless public campaign across all media honoring the following efforts;
1. our submarine blockade of Japan,
2. strategic bombing by the 8th Air Force,
3. the use of flamethrowers to clean out bunkers,
4. the Strategic Air Command and Counter Value targeting.
I would also sponsor exhibits and symposia honoring the efforts of US Grant during the siege of Vicksburg.

These points needs to be driven home relentlessly to both domestic and foreign audiences;
1. that we know how to win a war,
2. that we know are willing and able to do it,
3. that we are still a better and more civilized people after doing it.

Doing so will marginalize the domestic pacifists and empower efforts to drive them from their tax payer funded sanctuaries. It will also demonstrate to our foreign enemies that they have "awakened a sleeping giant and filled it with a terrible resolve."

My expectation is that Obama read Henry V, admired the oratory on a technical level, was pleased with himself for doing so, and probably fixated on evidence that the beastly English had prejudices about the Scots, Irish and Welsh.

what strategy and tactics might work best

Everything I said was in the expectation that we are in agreement on the big points here and extending each others remarks. My focus was merely on proposing one way to change the narrative so that we can use those strategies and tactics that work best. We see the problem that has paralyzed our ability to effectively fight our enemies. My idea is one way to change that by publicly remembering how we did it before and then explicitly identifying the enemy in the same terms today. Other suggestions to attain the same goals are welcome.

You have been in good form this week. Let us hope that in the worst case there will be a bi-partisan consensus among senior members of Congress that will preserve constitutional government and forestall any rash actions like those in Seven Days in May. That would mean wiring things around Pelosi and probably Reid but if need be I still think that there are enough sane people in Washington to do it and carry us safe to the other side. If any of the current SCOTUS majority are replaced by Obama then things may get much worse.

UK Politics

(fm the BC thread "Iranian Punch")

A vote for the BNP is a vote to replace one set of racist Socialists with another set of racist Socialists. Over time it would make very little difference. The only party that is committed to repealing Socialism and which is explicitly not racist is the UKIP. If they gain enough influence to pull the Tories back towards Thatcherism, or even revive the memories of the classical Liberal tradition, which has no other home, they could realign British politics and help pull the country back from the brink. Certainly the Liberal-Democrats are more statist, more pro-EU and possibly even more anti-business than is Labour.

If the two divisions are between Socialists and Free Marketers on one axis and between Internationalists and Euro-skeptics on the other then a 4 way box can be graphed. The bottom left of the Socialist Internationalists has New Labour. The top left of the Socialist Nationalists is the BNP. The top right of the Market Nationalists is the UKIP. The bottom right region for the Market Internationalists is largely unoccupied. In theory it could be the home of the Liberal Democrats but in practice their high tax policies, and their allies in Brussels, are hostile to the Market.

The Tories are a party torn in several directions. Their origins were not as the party that represented the interests of commerce and industry but rather those of tradition and agriculture. Part of them still aspire to a vision of Little England aristocratic Socialism. The same legacy that lead some Conservatives to support Mosely and the National Front before WW-II could draw them to a platform of nativist socialism. Their argument with the BNP wouldn't be with it's vision but with the social leadership. Many of these people tend to be anti-American and anti-Semitic. My expectation is that over time their nationalism will morph into an alliance with some Islamic interests.This happened to the National Front in France. More Tories are drawn to the space occupied by the LibDems. They are internationalists who are shedding their old attachment to America in the hope of finding a new role for Britain in Europe. They may help pull the LibDems into a more Free Market direction but they will probably end up conforming to the interests of the regulatory state. That leaves a sizable number of Euro-skeptic Tories who are either friendly to America or indifferent and who now hope to revive a traditional Liberal vision that has been abandoned by the parties that grew out of the commercial Whig heritage.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"Iranian punch"

a nuclear strike against Israel would devastate them as well

A desperate attempt at finding a rational interest when describing a Palestinian culture that glorifies the suicide bomber and has never managed to "miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity."

If these dudes are jokers, then who put the court jesters in charge of things?

After 13 months it is still not clear if Obama is in fact the principle actor or just one of many stooges. Who really gives the orders there? There is as much evidence for thinking that the head of the SEIU has been in charge or Emanuel really is the boss as there is for giving credit to Obama. Which is to say almost no evidence that is reliable at all.

My hope of the month for Iran is a revival of Zoroastrianism.

We may have found another reason for Obama's strangely solicitous behavior towards the Shi'ite regime, they both are obsessed with humiliating the British. Perhaps there is something in Obama's personality that is strongly attracted to the secret rebel, the conspirator and the gnostic subversive. He is an elitist who lives to undermine a stable or even unstable order. That is what he sought to do as a Community Organizer. Perhaps during his exposure to Islam he found himself drawn to the outcast community of the Shia. He may be a more complex character than we have given him credit for.

So will the Iranian leadership be gathered in a large public place with their most fanatical supporters and all the Western ambassadors ordered to stay away? That is interesting. Have they sent all family members out of the country and started destroying papers? To me the most poignant moment in Fail Safe was the Ambassador to Moscow on the telephone. For the love of God I think that to Barack Obama acting as presidential as Henry Fonda makes sense.

Comments on the Belmont Club:
"Hate choo"

Sullivan and Olberman inhabit different worlds. Fifty years from now, when Olberman will only remembered, if at all, as an answer to a daytime quiz show question, Sullivan will still matter to some people. He is a citizen of the Republic of Letters by virtue of letters patent issued by Magdalene College Oxon, The Atlantic and Harvard where he studied under Harvey Mansfield. The actual quality of his contributions over the last 8 to 10 years is irrelevant.

Olberman is an argument for a shareholder's revolt in corporate governance equivalent to the Tea Party revolt in political governance. Olberman destroys value. To me he symbolizes Management unzipping its fly at the sweaty masses who pay the bills. He is there because it pleases them to keep him there.

The insecure Bourgeoisie women whiskey describes hate Sarah and Todd Palin because they fear that she will show how shallow they are. They may dream that they are Lady Di but in their bones they are merely Keeping Up Appearances. They are no better than the pretentious Hyacinth Bucket. In their minds the Palins are no better than Rose and Onslow.

The breadth and durability of the damage done to Palin is impressive. I have heard from people who are from all points on the political spectrum reflexive denunciations of her delivered with all the certitude and reflexiveness of well crafted agitprop. "She could not name a newspaper she reads." That is said by people who themselves stopped buying newspapers 5 years ago. People who pride themselves on their reasoned analysis of any problem fall into the trap. It can happen to any of us.

Why do men obsess over women, blaming them for our failures or attributing our triumphs to the inspiration of a Muse? It is an old story and often the most common of us are inspired to reach far, even beyond our capacity. Habu was right on this. There is always a woman, art tells us so.
What's playing at the Roxy?
I'll tell you what's playing at the Roxy.
A picture about a Minnesota man falls in love with a Mississippi girl
That he sacrifices everything and moves all the way to Biloxi.
That's what's playing at the Roxy.

What's in the daily news?
I'll tell you what's in the daily news.
Story about a man bought his wife a small ruby
With what otherwise would have been his union dues.
That's what's in the daily news.

What's happening all over?
I'll tell you what's happening all over.
Guy sitting home by a television set
That used to be something of a rover.

That's what's happening all over.

Love is the thing that has nipped them.
And it looks like Nathan's just another victim.

NICELY (spoken) Yes, sir!

When you see a guy reach for stars in the sky
You can bet that he's doing it for some doll.
When you spot a John waiting out in the rain
Chances are he's insane as only a John can be for a Jane.
When you meet a gent paying all kinds of rent
For a flat that could flatten the Taj Mahal.
Call it sad, call it funny.
But it's better than even money
That the guy's only doing it for some doll.
When you see a Joe saving have of his dough
You can bet there'll be mink in it for some doll.
When a bum buys wine like a bum can't afford
It's a cinch that the bum is under the thumb of some little broad.
When you meet a mug lately out of the jug
And he's still lifting platinum folderol
Call it hell, call it heaven
But it's probable twelve to seven
That the guy's only doing it for some doll.


When you see a sport and his cash has run short
Make a bet that he's banking it with some doll.
When a guy wears tails with the front gleaming white
Who the hell do you think he's tickling pink on Saturday night?
When a lazy slob takes a goody steady job,
And he smells from vitalis and barbasol.
Call it dumb, call it clever
Ah, but you can get odds forever
That the guy's only doing it for some doll
Some doll, some doll
The guy's only doing it for some doll!
[ Guys And Dolls Lyrics on ]
We need more love in this world. Because ultimately that is what life is and without that there is nothing.

Thomas Drew,
Hate does serve a purpose. It can focus and marshal our resources. Professionally used it does not detract from reasoned analysis. The dangerous emotion that it is often confused with is contempt. That is an indulgence that will blind. We should fight to achieve Victory over an Enemy not to Prevail over an Adversary. We should not be so arrogant as to assume that we merely have to chastise the ignorant. It is a very short step from that to an inversion in which the elites who despise the masses that they know decide to appease the superior wisdom of the Other.

BTW, for what it is worth I know Stephanie. She is for real. Now if only I could get someone to vouch that I am for real.

Radar, could you step into the office? The Colonel needs to sign your Security Clearance forms in his capacity as your Commanding Officer. Oh by the way, while you are there please remember to sign his Security Clearance forms in your capacity as Company Clerk.

James Lipton of Inside the Actors Studio has made a nice living with the stack of index cards that he brings to each interview. He and others have parodied it. buddy larsen regarding the need to prepare and focus on key concepts is correct and any good politician or trained speaker, newscasters and politicians and business tycoons included will vouch for that. This is a skill that is highly prized in industry. In the 20th century ambitious businessmen joined the Toastmasters not only as a social networking club but to practice a craft.

Recently I joined about a dozen others from the American Red Cross in Greater New York at the opening of the Nasdaq. My smiling face was among those flashed on the outside of the building over Times Square. Our head of Public Affairs got to say a few nice words and press a button. What was impressive was how the person in charge of this little ritual for the Exchange introduced her by talking about charity and Haiti for five minutes without a piece of paper before him. Most people couldn't do it.

I have had to address the troops at morning quarters and I have taught. Public speaking takes preparation, it is work. Professionals simplify and bring less paper with them. As Churchill noted it takes more time to prepare and memorize a short good speech than to read a long dull one. When I was best man at a wedding I did get one of those old fashioned stacks of green folding computer print out, that tells you how long ago this was, and threatened to read my speech from it. Then I dropped it with a thud and toasted the couple.

My guess is that in a year it will be a punch line for Conservatives to pretend to read notes written in odd places and the year after everyone will do it. If Obama sinks as fast as some think though the Left may do it first.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"From this moment on"

look for the mask to come back on

Can he do that? His entire life has been built on the simple trick that he, or his coauthor, described in his books. Be clean and articulate and not scary and white people will flock to you. The Con Man thinks that he is virtuous, the Marks are simply begging to be taken. Since Obama is really a one trick pony once the mask on his game is removed he has nothing else to fall back on. I seriously doubt that he can genuinely compromise because that means he would have to acknowledge the moral equality of a negotiating partner. He would have to undertake a genuine commitment and then deliver on it. Has he ever done this in any context? Perhaps he has in his marriage but if so then it seems to be completely seperate from the rest of his life's treatment of other people.

he will do his best Neville Chamberlain imitation

Once again I must speak up for Neville Chamberlain. He was wrong but he was not a coward. The sins of Obama are not those of naivete and sincerity but those of malice and avarice.

Paul Ryan may be a good one to go one on one with Obama but I have a hankering to see Fred Thompson do it. My expectation is that after a half hour the public would be looking at BHO and seeing a kid in short pants. Maureen Dowd and Frank Rich would be reduced to inventing quotes where Thompson calls him "Boy."

the President will smash himself on the rocks of his ambition

He does not rise to the level of Greek Tragedy but in his own mind and that of his acolytes he may. That will make him more dangerous as he starts to play his downfall as a theatrical event and not a policy procedure. In Hollywood they are probably already writing script treatments.

Obama can not negotiate with the Republicans as equals, he has never shown that level of maturity. He's like the Hun, either at your feet or your throat.

Will Pat Robertson see 20" more snow as a sign that God is angry at Washington DC?

Kinda on topic.
AP, Seats at a premium on planes, trains out of DC.

This could be cinema ready. Can you just see streams of Congresscritters with Bags-O-Swag scrambling to get on a train? Ideally one has a refrigerator that bursts open. It could be like the Masque of the Red Death with all the doomed aristocrats dancing faster as the end approaches.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Yanukovych Leading

(fm the BC thread "Tiny bubbles")

The Russians are taking it for granted that the Ukrainians will go quietly back into the fold. Russia is a country that has its hands full with Chechnya, a place smaller than New Jersey and with a quarter the population. That is fewer people than Maine. If the "Little Russians" start logging shells at the ships in Sevastopol or otherwise committing mayhem this could unravel very quickly. Putin is building a ring of resentful neighbors both outside and now within his tent. Five years ago Russia was poised to become a normal nation with trade and energy resources and some post imperial issues to unravel. Now they are once again finding themselves surrounded by the enemies that they are creating.

Granted that the opposition to Stalin was in an impossible position but that does not excuse cooperation with the Nazis. If the Ukrainian nationalists had established themselves as genuine partisans fighting the invaders they might have established stronger roots among the people.

More on Marriage

(fm the BC thread "Beach head")

On an early thread a few weeks ago I went a couple of rounds with Teresita about sincere homosexual couples with a legal issue and grievance collectors seeking a wedge to deconstruct Western Civilization. If there really are 400 State and 1,000 Federal regulations where it matters then my first thought is to take a close look at that forest and start pruning. As far as I can tell Federal Regulations should only apply to a limited range of issues;
1. Immigration,
2. Armed Forces, signing for minors, alimony, inheritance,
     visitation and notification,
3. Family and inheritance laws in Unorganized Territories.

Note that recruitment into the Forces is a separate issue, we are talking about marriage here. For the third and some of the second set of issues binding contracts could be recognized with legislative assistance that do not touch on the word "marriage." Immigration is already subject to political manipulation. Obama rescinded the bar on Aids patients entering the country. That gives the politically active HIV positive community a privilege over those suffering from other communicable diseases.

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"Regrets, I've had a few"

guys, gals, guns, guitars and gin

The perfect pitch. Let's make a movie.

San Magoo was an amazing concoction. No two bottles were the same, it's alive.

For the sophisticates there was Tiger Beer. Wonder if it was connected to the ubiquitous Tiger Balm quack nostrum? Some of the musicians in Olongapao were very good.

Marx did have a genuinely good idea in his contribution to 19th Century Psychology of the concept of Alienation. His suggested causes were dubious and his solutions were toxic but the condition itself exists. Durkhiem's refinement in his theory of Anomie refuted the Marxist claptrap and showed how increasing local autonomy and individual responsibility is what is needed. That is the opposite of Marxist totalitarian collectivism.

Imagine what it would be like on the New York subway when the blind accordion player comes in if more people were carrying guns. You have not lived until you are in a crowded #4 train stopped for 20 minutes outside of Grand Central with the "Our Lady of Spain" wheezing at one end the tuneless blind violinist at the other, with both the Street Minister collecting to offer free sandwiches and the Acrobatic Youths who do back flips in the aisle clamoring to get in. Your average Mindanao bad guy wouldn't last a minute.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"Tiny bubbles"

In America we have endless economic trauma and market distortion because most of Health Care costs and almost all of retirement savings, whether through Social Security, Defined Benefits, or 401k type plans, are accounted for through the employer as a cost of labor. If they were all paid for like normal goods and services then the costs would be lower and the real wealth of the consumers would be higher. Businesses would also benefit by having an enormous non-core related drag on the firms assets, both financial and more important managerial, removed.

In China a vast array of other goods, housing, vacations, education, government obligations, etc, are also paid for and managed by the employer. That is the system that the Democrats like Thomas Friedman want to push us towards.

The Chinese Socialist model fails in two ways.
First is that it separates the individual from direct connection to and responsibility for their market choices. Whether in any of the goods purchased through the employer or in their relation to the government that does not tax them directly they become in fact de-socialized. They consume but have no direct relation to either the economic market nor to the political market. They become isolated and irresponsible units. It both infantalizes and alienates the people. The consequences of this are significant.

Second is the traditional accumulation of vices that authoritarian and socialized systems are prone to. These include corruption, intrigue, technical stagnation, misallocation of resources with wealth being drained from agriculture, and suppression of negative feedback.

Two Tweets

# RasmussenPoll
Bounce is gone... Obama total approval matches lowest yet at 44%... Approval Index back to pre-SOTU level... about 8 hours ago from web

# Scott Rasmussen RasmussenPoll
Obama: Strongly Approve 26% Strongly Disapprove 41%, Approval Index: -15... total approval 44%...

This may take the cake for the shortest bounce in history. It really is a spike on the chart. Prudence dictates waiting two more days to confirm the trend before throwing a party, but it is a cold night and for those who need an excuse before opening the anti-freeze this might do.

He touched -19 before the SOTU and when he crosses -20 things could get desperate. My hope is that the SECDEF and his Area and Type CINCS, contrary to popular belief command does not go through the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have lines of communication open to Congress and the VP to prevent any rash moves.

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"The rain in Spain"

Sachs' idea of "subsidiarity" is not just a trendy infusion of a Brussels term into America, It is a retread of a bad idea that came out of the Nixon administration, Revenue Sharing. The federal government sent a portion of the states own money back to them to fund local pork, as chosen by the local politicians who supposedly had their collective ears to the ground about local needs. That is a hard position to maintain while also having your snout in the trough. The whole corrupt project took an axe to the Constitution.

Under the Articles of Confederation the taxes were all collected by the States and then forwarded to the National Government for Congress to disburse. That did not work so it was agreed that under the Constitution Congress could set up its own collection service. Remember that before the income tax the way that the government made money was largely from the collection of tariffs on imported goods. That was probably the most significant power that Congress took away from the States. The Customs Service was established under the second law passed by the new United States Congress.

The States gave up something important but kept a close eye on the new central government, partly through the Electoral College and the Senate. The idea that power would shift so dramatically that from having a weak central government that had to beg the States for money we would go to a system where the States were so weak that they would be reduced to mere vessels begging to be filled with Federal dollars may have occurred only in the Founders worst nightmares.

Subsidiarity is not Federalism because it reverses the flow of authority and instead of allocating limited but sufficient powers to the center and keeping the bulk of power close to the Sovereign people it delegates to the lower level those functions, but not necessarily the authority, not needed by the central government. Federalism is a limited centralizing of power to correct an ineffective system called Confederation. Subsidiarity is a limited diffusion of functions by the central authority within a system that is at heart still Fascism.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"Beach head"

Obama will ‘inherit’ the effects of his own policies

Why then he will Inherit the Wind.
Listen to Tracey as a fictional Darrow telling off a brilliant Gene Kelly as Mencken.

Hitler blamed the German people ... Arabs blame the Jews
It's National Brotherhood Week.

Oh, the Protestants hate the Catholics,
And the Catholics hate the Protestants,
And the Hindus hate the muslems,
And everybody hates the Jews.

But during national brotherhood week, national brotherhood week,
It's national everyone-smile-at-one-another-hood week.
Be nice to people who
Are inferior to you.
It's only for a week, so have no fear.
Be grateful that it doesn't last all year!


Alternatives are easy for even the less gifted of us to crank out.

For the English hate the Irish,
and the Russians hate the Poles.
The Chinese hate the Japanese
and everybody hates the Jews.

For it's National ...

What the opposition, effectively the Republicans even if some with there was another vessel, need to do is unpeel Obama's veneer of credibility. That is best done by repeatedly hammering home where he has personally vouched for and invested the authority of his office and the word of the United States on issues where he was demonstrably wrong. Examples include Global Warming and the economics behind Health Care and the effects of the Stimulus. Once those errors are made clear then we can say, "Since you have been proven either inaccurate or dishonest on these issues why should we take your word on anything else?"