Chaos Manor View, Tuesday, June 16, 2015
Physical Therapy on Monday and then I did some hard work on novels.
I had gained 18 points on abilities on whatever scoring system PT technicians use – things like able to stand for a full minute with my eyes closed, and how far I can reach without support. I tried one of those all wheel walkers, which only have brakes on the rear wheels. My goal with that would be to take long distance walks. The standard walker – two non-swiveling wheels in front, skids (tennis balls, actually) in back – works well in the house and in shopping malls and other places that have level surfaces, but Los Angeles has not done any sidewalk maintenance in fifty years, and we do like to plant trees in parking strips. When we bought our house there were two mature oak trees in front and they never cracked the sidewalk; oaks send down deep roots. But on other streets on my walking route they have magnolias, which have surface roots and are notorious sidewalk crackers. There are also plane trees and other surface root trees, very attractive but hard on sidewalks.
The result is a lot cracking, but although our winters are mild they can get cold enough that a few badly poured sidewalks can experience frost heaves; and of course there is general wear. None of this was a bother to anyone but skaters and skate boarders, but I sure notice them now with my walker; I keep hoping that the wheeled variety will work better. But my experiment in Physical Therapy was a bit ambiguous; the wheeled walker seems a bit squirrelly. My problem isn’t strength, it’s balance, which has been awful since the 2008 hard radiation brain cancer treatment – completely successful, I’m cancer free.
I walked with a cane or hiking staff before the stroke. I keep hoping to get back to that again, but I’m sure not there yet, and it looks like it’s going to be a while. I’d like to be able to walk a mile or so a day, and the wheeled walker might make it easier if I can get enough confidence in using it. I wish it had four wheel brakes. I have a good bit of confidence in the two wheel walker. Not so much in the four-wheeler.
My biggest problem remains typing, which is slow – distracting but tolerable – and inaccurate. The inaccuracy is the worst problem. I must look at the keyboard – there is no way I’m learning to be a touch typist again – and when I look up I see numbers and extra letters in words, and I seem compelled to fix them, and by then I have forgotten the end of the sentence, or what the next sentence should be. It makes writing incredibly slow,
Roberta keeps urging me to try Dragon, which I have, but I need to train my dragon – actually Dragon needs to train me – and I find it a bit daunting. So I think of stories but I get frustrated trying to write. Nothing for it but to Just Do It, of course. I’m also training my autocorrect, which is tricky; I pretty well have to stick to unambiguous words lest I make some really horrid mistakes. Still, what can mischevi9ous be? But sometimes misspelled words might be any of several, and sometimes the wrong one can be bizarre.
Michael will be over in an hour or less to complete the pickup of my car from its annual servicing – including of course a new battery from being driven infrequently. I’ll work on this, but then I have to go with him to sign the payment, and we’ll do a bit of shopping. I’m not yet up to driving, and I doubt I ever will drive at nights – octogenarians cause accidents, not being in them so much as strictly obeying the laws and not compromising the way younger people with more confidence in their reflexes do.
We have two new candidates for President: Jeb Bush, and Donald Trump. While I hope The Donald scares the country club Republicans, and I rather think he will, I suspect he will not be able to beat Hillary, given the Clinton attack machine. He is being played by the media as the clown prince. But he’d certainly be preferable to Hillary, and for that matter to the Country Club Republicans, whoever they would choose. That, I think, will not be Jeb Bush, who, unlike his father and brother, has actual principles rather than a strategy; or so I’ve observed.
Bush II tried to be his own man, and when he was he was pretty good, but he didn’t have any overriding principles like reducing the size of government. He was far too willing to let the Big Spenders convince him that we had to spend our way out of the Great Repression; one reason Obama won the next election. Bush II didn’t really believe in TARP but he didn’t stand up against it, either; and of course he got hit with 911 and used it to unseat Saddam, largely on moral grounds – Hussein really was a monster – but without any strategic objective whatever. He wanted to undo some of the effects of his father’s mistakes, but he had no idea of what to do next.
I’ve been reading Emma Sky’s “The Unraveling” http://www.amazon.com/The-Unraveling-Hopes-Missed-Opportunities-ebook/dp/B00PSSCU2K . I always knew they were unprepared for a Mesopotamian adventure, but even I didn’t think they were that unprepared. I probably should have. Colonel Couvillon was discreet in his conversations about his experiences as Governor of Wasit Province, but it was clear that while his heart was in the right place, he had no real experience at governing; as a Marine, why should he?
Ms. Sky was a 32 year old British Council – look it up – civil servant who had been on cultural missions to Egypt and some other Arab areas, but never to Iraq; and had no executive experience at all. The British government advertised for volunteers to help rebuild Iraq. She volunteered, and within a few days was temporarily posted to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and put on an airplane to Iraq, got to Baghdad, then to Kirkuk, all without any briefings; where she was told that she was the provincial Governor, and the only civilian advisor to the American military commander. The Province was sort of given to the Brits to govern, but she had no British staff; while the US Airborne Infantry occupiers had no experience with Arabs, or with governing, or with the history of Sunni-Shia-Kurd relations, or Hussein’s Arabification of the province. She, like the Colonel, had only good intentions and common sense to guide her. So much for British Colonial Experience and expertise.
As for Bush II, he won the war. Mission accomplished. Let the State Department and the Foreign Service handle it now, with our troops to enforce our pro-consul’s decrees. And so came Bremer, a man Bush had never met, from State, to be proconsul, and the real war began.
Jeb Bush had no part in all this. He governed Florida, and did that well in frightening economic times. He stayed out of foreign affairs except for immigration, which he did better with than most. He had to avoid denouncing The Family, and did. He would make a far better President than Hillary, and in my judgment better than either his father or his brother; but he is a Bush, and Bush I fired every Reagan friend in the White House the day he took office. He is the son of the anti-Reagan; of the man who swore never to raise taxes but did so at the first opportunity. Jeb Bush can plead that government and taxes were smaller when he left the governorship than when he took it; and that he has never broken his word.
I can think of worse candidates for President than Jeb Bush; but I can think of worse candidates than Donald Trump also.
Subject: Power Re-estimate
A correspondent of yours asked, ‘did Obama let ISIS go nuclear’? That question overestimates Obama’s – and America’s – actual power. A re-invasion and re-occupation of Iraq would cost another trillion dollars, re-flood the VA and the military cemeteries, re-alienate the public in the Middle East and at home, end as messily, and leave behind even crazier fanatics.
We have learned – some of us – that an army built to defeat empires is useless against insurgencies. Given this fix, what to do? Obama’s strategy – and Clinton’s if she succeeds him – is to competently manage imperial decline. By contrast, W’s strategy – and that of any present Republican candidate, were one to win – is to incompetently hasten imperial collapse.
Not true of ISIS which needs a territory to be legitimate; and we have counter insurgency techniques for the rest. What we don’t have, and probably do not want, Is the structure for ruling without the consent of the governed.
Very well then, America and Isis have a common interest: that Isis has a territory for them to brag about and for America to attack. So I think that’s what will happen.
Endgame: partition Iraq. Kurdistan, Shiite rump Iraq, Sunni central Iraq. Biden suggested this years ago, but it was called an embarrassing gaffe, because it was a good idea. As is we’ll get the same result, but Isis also picks up half of Syria. A terabuck for that?
Isis will establish a reign of theocratic terror, much like theocratic terror of their former sponsors, the Saudis. For now they brag of the pious purity of their brutality, but of course once they settle in they’ll keep the brutality and corrupt the piety. (Much like their former sponsors, the Saudis.) To justify their insanity they’ll provoke the Americans. We shouldn’t take the bait, but our war industry needs wars, winnable or not.
As for ruling without the consent of the governed, don’t worry, the 1% is pioneering the necessary techniques here at home.
Yes, they are; Obama with his Executive Orders and Regulatory agencies is running the experiments. Crony capitalism thrives; but is has been ever so. What needs to be preserved is freedom, and that is very much under threat from Wesley Mouch and his cohorts.
If by W you mean President George W. Bush, it should be obvious he had no strategy; just as President Barrack Hussein Obama has none. Mr. Obama had one: he made a speech in Cairo that was to change everything. It did not work, and the Arab world collapsed as it sometimes does. The current Administration, much of the time with Hillary Clinton as foreign minister, did not fare well in protecting American interests in the area; is not doing so now.
Sending a few more troops is a bit like sending twenty forest fire fighters to instruct those fighting the fire. If you are to use force, use it. If the job needs one division, send two.
As to the partition of Iraq I do not recall Mr. Biden saying that; I certainly did, before they went in, which I advised against because it was obvious that any unified Iraq would have to be a tyranny. Fortunately there is enough oil to support three nations there (with perhaps some remnants going to Syria, Turkey, and Jordan); not lavishly, but not in more poverty either.
I have no brief for intervention in territorial disputes in Europe or the Middle East; but we broke it, and it will not fix itself; and an ISIS tyranny really would be intolerable.
You ought to put this link on permanent and prominent display.
Yes; well done. The field Army needs close air support. The Air Force will not supply it.
: I confess that I did not know there was such a thing as a “National Week of Making.”
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 12 through June 18, 2015, as National Week of Making.
I didn’t either…
NSA “gets back”…
Access options for data access range in “…price from the 50GB, $9.99/month basic package, to the expensive but popular the $199.99/year “Edward Snowden” package, which includes unlimited browsing and downloads.”
“According to early projections the website is on pace to sell nearly $1 billion in subscriptions this month alone. Due to the release of millions of e-mails and text messages detailing seedy affairs and rendezvous NSA analysts believe there will be a 81 percent increase in the divorce rate and as much as a 53 percent increase in STD and paternity test rates.”
Clearly satire, and not really to my taste.
is not always “good”, sometimes it’s evil. This is no longer the country
of which I felt I was a positive part for 40 plus years.
Remove all warning labels and let natural selection work.
Tolerance leading to acceptance is quite arguably a good thing. Forced “acceptance” as in the case of the bakers is quite another. I would go farther: I think shops should have the right to refuse service to anyone they choose, without having to state a cause. Of course that would lead to demonstrations, but so long as they are not violent that is acceptable. Then you come to individual police having to decide what demonstrations they will protect.
Dante reserved a bolgia in the ninth circle for those who sow dissent.
It is one thing to say you wish to practice your customs without interference; it is another to demand legal use of force against those who will not assist you in doing so.
Vinland is where you find it
In the wake of Mark Steyn’s Heartland conference slip-up, , I reviewed the latest British Vineyard maps.
It appears that some latter day Vikings need not leave home to discover Vinland: wine is now being made hundreds of miles North of the known Medieval limit of British viticulture, the Isle of Ely: wine is now being made on Percy lands at Adderstone Vineyards, a cold stone’s throw from Bamburgh Castle , in grimest Northumbria.
More frighteningly, the Scots are afoot, with Dalrossach Vineyards up the Don, about halfway between Balmoral and Castle Forbes.
Rumor has it that some of this subarctic plonk has already been exported to California.
I expect so; the Earth is much warmer than in 1800. I doubt they plant grapes in nova Scotia yet. But wouldn’t that be nice? Vinland Wine.
China’s South China Sea dominance is the price US pays for Iraq and Afghanistan | buffy willow
I guess you were right again:
“The US is working on countermeasures, to be sure, but chronic underinvestment in cutting-edge defense R&D has left them underdeveloped and under-deployed. The Bush administration spent $1 trillion or so in Iraq and Afghanistan, mainly on personnel, and reduced defense R&D to accommodate its nation-building ambitions in the region. That was a bad trade-off. The US has little to show for its efforts . . .”
How to lose the strategy of technology. Don’t you hate when you call it right?
It’s an example if I bring out a new edition. Alas, The Strategy of Technology is forgotten by all but a few.
Subj: ISIS has enough captured radioactive material to build “dirty bomb” – UK Independent
Lurching Toward War? or New Cold War?
Tsars do not think like we do. I fear our leaders do not understand that. This may not bode well…
Regards, Charles Adams, Bellevue, NE
Russia says will retaliate if U.S. weapons stationed on its borders
Mon Jun 15, 2015 2:39pm EDT
By Gabriela Baczynska and Wiktor Szary
MOSCOW/WARSAW (Reuters) – A plan by Washington to station tanks and heavy weapons in NATO states on Russia’s border would be the most aggressive U.S. act since the Cold War, and Moscow would retaliate by beefing up its own forces, a Russian defense official said on Monday.
The United States is offering to store military equipment on allies’ territory in eastern Europe, a proposal aimed at reassuring governments worried that after the conflict in Ukraine, they could be the Kremlin’s next target.
Poland and the Baltic states, where officials say privately they have been frustrated the NATO alliance has not taken more decisive steps to deter Russia, welcomed the decision by Washington to take the lead.
But others in the region were more cautious, fearing their countries could be caught in the middle of a new arms race between Russia and the United States.
“If heavy U.S. military equipment, including tanks, artillery batteries and other equipment really does turn up in countries in eastern Europe and the Baltics, that will be the most aggressive step by the Pentagon and NATO since the Cold War,” Russian defense ministry official General Yuri Yakubov said.
“Russia will have no option but to build up its forces and resources on the Western strategic front,” Interfax news agency quoted him as saying.
He said the Russian response was likely to include speeding up the deployment of Iskander missiles to Kaliningrad, a Russian exclave bordered by Poland and Lithuania, and beefing up Russian forces in ex-Soviet Belarus.
“Our hands are completely free to organize retaliatory steps to strengthen our Western frontiers,” Yakubov said.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said: “We hope that reason will prevail and the situation in Europe will be prevented from sliding into a new military confrontation which may have dangerous consequences….”
The current administration wants a reset with Russia – and it looks like the Clinton-Albright reset from the Balkan Wars. The Neocons are not much better. And we have no SAC, and missile officer is not a career advancing post.
EWO. EWO. Emergency War Orders. Emergency War Orders. I have a massage in five parts. Message Begins. Tango X-ray Foxtrot…
Weather Service retiree defined his own post-retirement consulting job
For some reason, this tale reminds me of Lazarus Long’s comment about being a shaman – “it’s lovely work if you can stomach it”:
Top Weather Service official creates consulting job — then takes it himself with $43,200 raise, watchdog says
By Lisa Rein June 5
A senior National Weather Service official helped write the job description and set the salary for his own post-retirement consulting post– then came back to the office doing the same job with a $43,200 raise, the agency’s watchdog found.
The deputy chief financial officer also demanded that he be paid a $50,000 housing allowance near Weather Service headquarters in downtown Silver Spring in violation of government rules for contractors, one of numerous improprieties in a revolving-door deal sealed with full knowledge of senior agency leaders, according to an investigation by the Commerce Department inspector general’s office…
By the time he was fired 21 months later, the government had paid him another $471,875.34…
During an interview with investigators about the case, a high-ranking Weather Service official wondered aloud, “why we have all these people that retire and then we go and hire them to come back,” the inspector general said. The contracting official who helped arrange the deal told investigators that similar arrangements “happen all the time” at NOAA — but the contracting staff did not “question or at least more closely scrutinize this arrangement,” the report said…
[His lawyer, Matthew]Kaiser said the agency’s contracting officials approved the deal, relieving his client of responsibility for wrongdoing.
“That a long-time distinguished public servant can have his name dragged through the mud for following the advice of his boss and his agency’s compliance officials should be absolutely terrifying for every federal employee at an agency with an overly aggressive inspector general,” Kaiser said.
Kind of makes you want to transfer some rogue bunny inspectors to the Inspector General’s office, doesn’t it?
“The faster I run, the behinder I get!”– Pogo
Well, we still have bunny inspectors; some approach retirement…
Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.