Chaos Manor View, Friday, March 04, 2016
“This is the most transparent administration in history.”
Liberalism is a philosophy of consolation for Western Civilization as it commits suicide.
Under Capitalism, the rich become powerful. Under Socialism, the powerful become rich.
Under Socialism, government employees become powerful.
The week has been devoured by locusts and time consuming misfortunes; a series of unfortunate events. The last one was caused by my own stupidity: I had written several hundred words for this, rather painfully as I am typing with two fingers, staring at the keyboard, and whenever I look up at the screen it is covered with words underlined in wavy red, even though I have taught autocorrect to handle most of my most common errors (mostly caused by hitting two keys at once). Then, when I was trying to research some numbers, I kept getting popups from some malware that snuck in somehow and kept making me offers to clean up my machine. I found one program among those in control panel that I have not installed, and don’t want, but apparently simply removing it wasn’t enough. I ran Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, which my advisors assure me is safe if not complete, and lo! it found 37 questionable files, a dozen of them malware.
I ran them, and of course it wanted to reset, which I did, forgetting that I had an unsaved Windows file; and for the first time in years, Windows simply shut down, the system reset, and while the template I used to set the file up was saved, none of the hour and a half’s work I had done was saved. Anywhere. Word has never done that to me before.
So here I am, recreating it. And yes. I know Word is supposed to save everything, or at least a draft. It didn’t.
We have had Super Tuesday and another debate. The Republican National Committee has taken our money to launch Mitt Romney in a fiery speech denouncing Trump, as if any Trump supporter would listen to, heed, or be influenced by anything the man they stayed home thus electing Obama said. Of all people to appeal to reason they chose perhaps the least effective; and they wonder why a third – actually two thirds – of the Party do not care to be led where they think they are leading us.
In the debate Cruz, whose supporters have no great love for the country club establishment Republican elites, attacked Trump repeatedly. It is curious to speculate why. He is not likely to get Trump out of the race, and unless Trump endorses him he has lost about a third of the Party base, plus a lot of Reagan Democrats.
At least all four have now said they would support the nominee no mater which of them it will be. That’s better than in 1968 when the country club Republican elite cut the ticket and repudiated Goldwater, thus giving us Lyndon Johnson, The Great Society, and a boatload of entitlements to throttle the economy. For Romney to tell us that Trump’s no conservative is about as interesting as for the neocons to tell us that.
Fred has salient points here – and states the obvious in more words than this: “We go into new wars fighting the old wars.” IOW – we don’t learn. (well he goes even further – we’re too stupid to learn).
But he’s wrong in his basic premise that we conduct war stupidly because we can’t predict the course, or the outcome. He, like many military ‘genius’ minds neglect to account for the greatest variable on the battlefield (or, even the football field!) – the enemy (other team!) has a say in the course/outcome. Combine that with true screw-ups and/or brilliant strokes and/or just plain good/bad dumb luck, you can see that predictions are for guidance only, or for calculated risks – certainly not absolutes. As the old saw goes, no plan survives the first shot. If anyone could really get the enemy to play to the plan, THAT would be a story!
Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Retired.;
Former Governor of Wasit Province, Iraq;
Righter of Wrongs; Wrong most of the time;
Distinguished Expert, TV remote control;
Chef de Hot Dog Excellence; Avoider of Yard Work
It was von Moltke the Elder, creator of the German Great General Staff, who said “No battle plan survives contact with the enemy.” Of course sometimes that doesn’t matter. As General Forrest said in the Civil War, “You get there firstest with the mostest” and you win battles. That’s hardly the only way. Of course, but sometimes the enemy can be overwhelmed.
The necessity for a General Staff came as the industrial revolution overwhelmed to capabilities of military commanders. Napoleon won nearly all his battles, but no one on his staff was his equal; war had become more complex than a single human mind could comprehend. A few writers pretended it was otherwise, as Gordon R. Dickson did in his “Tactics of Mistake,” but that was fiction and like all fiction need only be plausible: appear to be real, but the author controls all the events. In the real world of battle, the enemy gets a vote, as Fred points out.
Of course in the real world, after many mistakes, the United States won: t he Viet Cong was eliminated in South Viet Nam. North Viet Nam continued to build up its forces, and in 1972 sent 150,000 men with as many tanks as the Wehrmacht had in taking France in 1940. The United States honored our alliance, US air and naval forces supported the Army of the Republic of Viet Nam, and the armored corps the North sent down in invasion was utterly defeated; of the 150,000 sent south, fewer than 50,000 managed to return home to the North. The cost in US casualties was under a thousand in a battle that was as large as any we were involved in in Italy in World War II. It was in fact a great victory.
The United States was not defeated in Viet Nam because after 1972 came Watergate, and when in 1975 North Viet Nam, resupplied at some cost by its Soviet allies, sent a similar sized armored army south against a South Viet Nam that was never equipped to fight it without logistic support from its “ally”, the United States of America. Congress, however, had had enough of Nixon’s war and voted 20 cartridges and two hand grenades per man for South Viet Nam; and forbade air and naval support. Effectively abandoned by its ally, Viet Nam accordingly fell to invasion from the North; but the United States military had not lost because we were never engaged. That “war” was lost in Berkeley California and at Kent State, and in the halls of Congress.
For geopolitical reasons, North Viet Nam was allowed to build up and deploy two armored armies; we could see them coming but we did nothing about it. That was not a military decision, just as it was not a military decision to lose as many pilots over Viet Nam as we did in fact lose. You do not win air supremacy by shooting down the enemy’s planes over his own territory. That is like ridding yourself of a swarm of hornets by swatting them one hornet at a time. It doesn’t work, as Reichsmarschal Herman Goering discovered in the Battle of Britain. North Viet Nam had three air bases capable of supporting MIGs; McNamara would never give us permission to attack all three bases at once. I do not know his motives, but that cost lives, and he knew it.
I was once in a three way debate with Allard Lowenstein and McGeorge Bundy. Lowenstein turned to me and said “Jerry, you want to win it and get out.” I nodded agreement. “And I just want to get out. Your government wants to lose it and stay in.” It was one of the few times in my life that I was stunned into silence. He was right, of course.
But I do not think it was the generals and the strategists who lost Viet Nam. It was the political leadership of the United States who dribbled away blood and treasure, never doing enough to win , but sending in more and more.
If you voluntarily commit your soldiers to battle, there must be a desired outcome: some condition of victory. You cannot simply send them in and hope for the best. You must know what you want That is a political decision. It should not be made by the military, and under the Constitution it must not be.
Regarding Codevilla’s essay and your comments:
We have the ability to go into Sunni-stan (as he calls it) and break up the Caliphate. A substantial number of the enemy will be killed, the rest will disperse into the civilian population and wait for us to leave. Then what? You suggest that we have feasible alternatives to deal with the captured territory. We effectively have already tried giving it to Shia-stan, which clearly didnâ€™t work. The possibility of creating a Western friendly Sunni strongman seems remote, given the history outlined by Codevilla. So I have to assume you think we could make an alliance with the Kurds? But how do we know that wonâ€™t eventually backfire on us?
With regard to the Kurds, I found this essay interesting:
You need to understand that ISIS is unique among our enemies in that they have to have sovereign territory to govern to have any claim to be the caliphate, otherwise they are an insurgent group indistinguishable from others that have existed a long time.
Part of their territory can be given to its inhabitants with a fair degree of safety; part to the Kurds, some to Jordan. There are other solutions after they are conquered. They have declared war on us, and are getting stronger. Ignoring them will not make them go away.
Incidentally, both Sunni and Shia say of the Kurds, “They are Moslems compared to infidels…”
I get the part about a Caliphate needing to hold territory to have any legitimacy. Codevilla’s essay was about the futility of trying to rely on others in the region to destroy that Caliphate for us. So… why is it any less misguided to think we can rely on those same players to preserve order (once restored by our troops), and prevent the resurgence of ISIS, or something similar, after we withdraw?
Destroying the Caliphate is the mission. We leave it to those who live in the Middle East to restore order. We are not nation builders.
On page 64 of these rare historical pictures, there is a photo of the zero-gravity cat experiment you have mentioned before.
Reactionless Feline Drive in action?
Best wishes to you and Roberta.
Sigh. Yes, we did that once at Brooks as I recall. I think there was some MacAllister involved.
Obama: The Lamest Duck
From a friend…
Always like Victor Davis Hanson:
If all cultures are equal, why do they hate our culture?
There’s a new way to hijack drones in mid-flight
Researchers have found a new way to hijack some police drones, as first reported by Wired. The attack was developed by researcher Nils Rodday, currently employed by IBM, who will present his findings at the RSA conference this week. By exploiting vulnerabilities in a drone’s telemetry system, Rodday was able to assume control and block out communications from the owner, an attack with potentially broad implications for drones everywhere.
Rodday’s research focuses on a specific model of drone used by police, which he declines to name, but the broader vulnerability may be much more difficult to fix. The attack focuses on the protocol connecting the drone to its controller, which is often left unsecured to ensure that commands reach the drone as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, that also means that with the right set of signals, attackers can masquerade as the drone’s owner and take control of the craft. There are a number of established ways to protect against that attack, but it would require rewriting the drone’s wireless protocols, either adding latency or additional hardware to handle the more complex requests.
As drones have grown more popular, there are an increasing number of researchers and companies looking at ways to take them down, occasionally for public safety reasons. Companies like Selex and Batelle are already marketing products to law enforcement officers that would take down potentially threatening drones that stray too close to airports or prisons, although the use of such devices still occupies a legal gray area. Open vulnerabilities are rarely consistent across different models, while broader spectrum jamming violates FCC regulations, often leaving responders with few options for bringing down a drone without endangering public safety.
These microscopic robots swim in blood to diagnose disease
Fifty years after Raquel Welch to her Fantastic Voyage, nanomachines are a reality.
Picture a robot. You’re probably envisioning something fairly substantial that goes beep boop bop. But a lot of early work is being done on nanomachines–robots so tiny they might not be visible to the naked eye.
Researchers at Brock University in Ontario, Canada, recently published positive results after building a robot out of a 20-nanometer gold particle. Short and long strands of DNA attached to the particle form the functional mechanism of their little machine, which is designed to detect diseases in a blood sample.
The long DNA strands contain the genetic sequences of whatever disease the bot is testing for. The short strands carry fluorescent signal reporters. If biomarkers for the disease are present in a blood sample, the machine “switches on.”
When activated, the bot is designed to use its long DNA strands to cut the short DNA strands, activating fluorescent signals. The result is a glowing bot, which indicates a positive result.It’s that process, which happens autonomously, that makes these little specks true robots.
Theoretical physicist Richard Feynman was one of the first to postulate about manmade molecular machines way back in the 1950s. But the technology to make those devices a reality is only now within reach of advanced labs.
‘All it took was the biggest publishing companies in the world deliberately murdering their own share of the market. And it wasn’t even true.’
: CCP: The Party is Over
Isn’t one of the platforms of communism giving everyone a job? Or does everyone already have a job when they take over during “The Revolution”? But, even so, while using the “socialist road” to get to “communism”, won’t babies be born? How will they get jobs? If nothing else, should a communist government, run by “workers”, be able to provide jobs for it’s people?
While we all know China has not really been “communist” for some time
— I personally saw the special economic zones during my travels in China — I found this news beyond interesting:
China aims to lay off 5-6 million state workers over the next two to three years as part of efforts to curb industrial overcapacity and pollution, two reliable sources said, Beijing’s boldest retrenchment program in almost two decades.
China’s leadership, obsessed with maintaining stability and making sure redundancies do not lead to unrest, will spend nearly 150 billion yuan ($23 billion) to cover layoffs in just the coal and steel sectors in the next 2-3 years.
The overall figure is likely to rise as closures spread to other industries and even more funding will be required to handle the debt left behind by “zombie” state firms.
The term refers to companies that have shut down some of their operations but keep staff on their rolls since local governments are worried about the social and economic impact of bankruptcies and unemployment.
So, the CCP cannot or will not continue paying workers without purpose to not revolt against the party. Now, what does this mean?
This does not look good. It’s “only” 5-6 million. Which, in Chinese terms, isn’t that much and these may be spread across a wide area.
I’d need to look deeper into the statistical distributions and the cohorts involved to say anything with certainty. However, a few general hypotheses are possible:
1. It could mean the CCP believes it’s losing its grip; they’re out of money and have no choice but to institute a controlled crisis; here comes the pain. This could put the CCP in a position where their heads are on the table or they start a war.
2. It could mean the CCP is confident it its ability to quell unrest and no longer feels that it needs — or will need — to pay potential malcontents. This could include blaming someone else for their policies — guess who?
3. It could mean that we have complete confusion and panic and the CCP is not sure if they’re losing their grip or if they have the strength to deal with social unrest. In this situation, anything can happen and the worst of it — for us — was already listed in points one and two.
I think we’re looking at an acceleration of a powerful index of factors I’ve been following for some time. I wrote a country analysis report on China and I don’t have time to get into, or even summarize, the points here and you wouldn’t need or want to bother with all that data anyway.
But, my previous analysis revealed the CCP will either collapse or find a way to compete internationally in such a way its population is distracted and the collapse is forestalled. That competition can come in many aspects, but war seems a likely manifestation. War with whom?
Well, the Chinese generals threaten to nuke us pre-emptively every so often, as do the Russians. It’s worth considering.
However, the CCP has shown canny ability to move at the right speed.
The “right” speed is important. It is necessary not to go at the speed you think you should go, not to go at the speed others want you to go, but to go “at the speed of man”. China is able to do that.
While these indicators and hypotheses are sound, proper handling of the conditions will cause those hypotheses to shift.
Chinese leadership can avoid war and they can avoid losing their heads, but it gets harder with each day. However, we can take hope that CCP leadership is aware of the problem and working toward a solution. The CCP is preferable to war and it is also preferable to a Chinese civil war. Though I think we all know which better suits us.
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Joshua Jordan, KSC
A disturbing corollary to Pournelle’s Law of Computer Troubleshooting.
Good old Obama doesn’t stop does he?
The White House is quietly pushing for an increase in refugees from Syria, despite new concerns raised by state and county officials that federal help is often missing when they arrive.
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Joshua Jordan, KSC
Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.