28 February 2011

Malicious Compliance

When your boss does something horrendously stupid, and doesn't listen to your warnings, you have two options.  First option is to go above your bosses head and talk to his boss and try to get the right thing done.  The second option is to comply with your boss' orders and execute them to the full extent of your ability then laugh as all the bad things you predicted come to pass.

What if the conservatives and libertarians just decided to maliciously comply with the leadership of the current administration?  Would it be easier to live through the second Great Depression that would surely follow?

Or is it easier to resist and fight the long war? 

In the martial arts their are "sacrificial throws" where both parties end up on the ground, but the one who executed the sacrificial throw ends up in a position of advantage once on the mat.  If it comes to the point where the fall is inevitable, I hope that we choose to make it as hard and fast as possible to come up on top after we hit the mat.

27 February 2011

Under the bus...

Already the rule of law has been trashed to put the Auto Workers union ahead of guaranteed investors...

Isn't there room under the bus for unions?

Seriously, throwing the unions under the bus would increase approval rankings for this administration.  Isn't that what this administration does every time there is a scandal?

Military Marriage

Since Doctor Helen got me thinking about all the soldiers who end up divorced paying child support for kids they never see and alimony for a dang long time, I thought I should tell the other side of the story about successful marriages.

Being married to a Soldier is no picnic.  A military spouse has to be able to be a single parent on demand.  A military spouse must know how to live within a budget.  A military spouse must be able to "figure it out" when a pipe breaks in winter, or the AC goes out in summer, all the while living with the fear that any given morning two Soldiers in dress uniform might knock on your door to express the regrets of the Secretary of Defense for the death of your spouse.

I thought I was a smart guy so I had a pretty short list when it came to the type of woman I wanted to marry. She had to be able to stand on her own two feet.  Because often I wouldn't be there to lean on.  She had to be stubborn.  People fall out of love, they don't fall out of stubborn.

I found that woman, and there have been plenty of times when she had to stand on her own.  And there were a couple of times that only mule headed stubbornness on both our parts kept us married.  Now some readers are thinking, "where in the world will you find an independent stubborn woman who is also dumb enough to marry you?" and if the answer to that was easy then fewer military marriages would end in divorce.

So, if you happen to be looking for a spouse here is where I think is a great place to start looking.  Small town girls.  If she knows how to bait her own hook, clean a fish, and grow a garden you are doing good.  Secondly girls from military families.  They usually know the score, know that it is tough keeping things together and have some grit.

Now, the girls you want to avoid.  Strippers.  I'm sure there are plenty of them out there with a heart of gold, but in my experience it doesn't end well for Soldiers.  College girls.  Sure they are young, pretty, and smart but they also haven't had the chance to try out their wings by themselves.  Girls right out of high school, anyone who hasn't had a bit of living under their belt to let them have confidence in their own abilities.  You want to marry someone who doesn't need you, who is choosing to link her life with yours in spite of not needing you.  A woman who can walk into marriage knowing that she can hold up under the strain of not having you there.

There are women that impress me greatly.  Full bird Colonel's wives who remember where they came from and helped out that new Army bride as best they could.  A Light Colonel's wife who rode with me all over the base to check on spouses when her husband hadn't been able to get in touch for a few days.  A First Sergeant's wife who turned a company FRG around like magic.  My wife, who in two years with the unit kept three different FRG programs limping along as we were shifted around the battalion to fill gaps in the line.

Up until last year I had never failed a PT test in my career.  But I picked up a lung infection that was bad enough for my wife to put her foot down and take me into the ER while I was on leave.  It wasn't even five weeks later that I failed the run during the "diagnostic" test at the beginning of my current school.  I just couldn't breathe during the run, it felt like wet cement was packed into my chest.  School policy is that if you fail the "diagnostic" you get dropped from the course but the cadre made a mistake and did the final cut by year group before hand.  This really is just back story to tell you that I didn't bring my wife with me to this school.

My orders authorized my family to come, but my wife was seven months pregnant at the time and I chose to leave her back at Lewis in order to maintain continuity of care for the last two months of the pregnancy.  My wife has been superwoman, taking care of a toddler on her own in the last trimester, and now being a single mom of a newborn infant and two year old. 

So there I was, rooming with a buddy, trying to get over a lung infection, praying to God that I wouldn't be dropped, praying to God my wife would have a healthy and safe birth.  I got to go home for Christmas, and that time passed too quickly.  The day after I returned to Fort Benning my second son was born.  He will be almost two months old before I meet him in person. Then I got orders assigning me to a unit that is currently in Afghanistan.  I will graduate this school and be hanging out on the Pakistan border shortly after.

Next month my wife will pack up the kids in the truck and come out to spend a few short weeks with me.  If I knew that the pregnancy would go off with no complications I would have brought my family here (our first son had a complicated birth).  But now we will get to spend a few weeks together before an eight month separation.  As you can see, there is a LOT of uncertainty being married to a career soldier.  This isn't the Air Force with three month deployments, or the Navy with regularly scheduled sea service.  Even the Marine's have a shorter rotation cycle through combat zones (but they also go to sea with the Navy).

I know my wife can handle it.  And in the end, when a Soldier finds that woman he can rely on utterly it will be a successful marriage. 

Same Protester, different response....

Roy McGovern was a darling of the left when he challenged Rumsfeld and the Bush administration over the intelligence used to justify war in Iraq.

However when he stood silently with his back to SecState Clinton he was accosted, handcuffed, and removed from the room.  It is kinda funny that the mass media will hide any wrongdoing on the part of the current administration simply by ignoring it.  Who would ever think that I would be linking to Al Jazeera because I can't find the story being carried elsewhere?

Problems with competency

Via Tam I came across an article on the Dunning-Kruger Effect, which you should go read before going any further in this post.  It won't take long and it is fascinating.

In FM 5-0 "The Operations Process" there is a good section on problem solving.  According to this doctrine there are three types of problems and they are defined by the difficulty in framing the problem and how "obvious" the answers are.

A well defined, well structured problem allows non-experts to agree on a workable solution.  Problems like "the roof leaks" is a good example, the obvious answer is that the roof needs repair and the steps necessary to accomplish that are straightforward.

A poorly defined, poorly structured problem allows experts to agree on a workable solution after they can come to terms with the problem.  When someone from marketing asks the engineering department to come up with a new product that does some thing do you really think that the marketing department is going to get back exactly what they envisioned?

An ill defined, ill structured problem will cause disagreements among experts in the field and require many iterations of problem solving to come to a workable solution.  Is green energy a viable alternative?  Does man made global warming actually exist?

The more complex the problem, the more you need disagreement to drive the process of defining the issue and discovering a solution.  During this disagreement process you will normally grab hold of solutions as they come, try to work those solutions into the cycle, and end up abandoning those solutions as the problem becomes more clearly defined.

Think guns.  What is the problem?  If you ask the Brady Bunch they will tell you that as long as one person dies from a gun shot wound there is too much "gun violence" and it has to stop.  Ask a conservative and the problem is that machine guns and silencers are prohibitively expensive.  No workable solution is possible because no agreed upon problem statement exists.  This is why there can be no compromise with the Brady Bunch, they cannot work towards anything but total disarmament because of the way they "define the problem."

If you think about poverty you have to ask "what are the root causes of poverty?" and "once we find the root causes what can we do about it?"  Clearly the "Great Society" and the "War On Poverty" have been abject failures, and if you actually want to SOLVE the problem you have to admit that the proposed solution didn't work and go back to more clearly define the problem and work through to a new solution.  Unfortunately the Left believes that "if a million dollars of welfare didn't work" then clearly "a hundred billion has to work!"  Failure to see the reality of a situation separate from any philosophy or ideology makes Leftists double down on their own failure like a gambling addict.

My point is that in an "ill defined, ill structured" problem where experts disagree there is no problem with amateurs in the field tossing out ideas.  Einstein is a good example of an amateur who threw out ideas and helped advance his field.  As Physics moved along a lot of Einsteins work has been pushed into the dustbin of history, but that is how science works towards truth.  A scientist must abandon a theory when evidence shows that theory false.  Scientists cannot afford the luxury of "doubling down" on an idea that reality has proven false.

However for a true solution to come out of an "ill defined, ill structured" problem people must abandon the dogmatic solutions.  If someone refuses to abandon a course of action that has historically failed then they are not a part of the solution.  And if you aren't a part of the solution, you are a part of the problem.  Unless you are a chemist, then if you aren't a part of the solution you are a part of the precipitate.

Vapor Lock?

Yesterday I took the Magna out to meet a friend for dinner.  The afternoon was warm, but by the time we left the restaurant the temperature had dropped between twenty and thirty degrees F.  When I started it up the engine idled and slowly lost power while idling.

I tried opening the throttle a little bit to see if the engine would respond and it died instantly.  I rocked the bike back and forth to listen for sloshing in the gas tank as I knew I was getting ready to fill up again.  The sloshing helped the bike in that it started normally and the engine didn't lose power.  I figure that the temperature drop caused the vapors in the gas tank to condense and create a vapor lock situation, and when I sloshed the gas tank around it mixed fresh gas vapors up to equalize pressure.

So, guess it means I've got a problem with the tank venting system.

26 February 2011

Is the Juice worth the Squeeze?

Doctor Helen has some very interesting things to say about why men are going "John Galt" and disengaging from women and society.

As a soldier who has been leading other soldiers for eleven years I see patterns of exploitation that drives me nuts.  Some women see men as nothing more than an income cow.  If you want to see examples for yourself, go to craigslist and look at the "women seeking men" section near a military base, eventually you will see the words "contract marriage" and "looking for a military man."

I don't have hard numbers, I am speaking only from my personal experience.  I warn all new soldiers under my command to NOT get married.  I am a happily married man, and have very good things to say about married life.  But I know that when a young soldier craves love, sex, and the freedom to move out of the barracks some woman out there will take advantage of him and his paycheck.  Right now marriage for a young man looks a lot like alimony payments and child support instead of "wedded bliss."

I'm sure that there is some feminist out there who will be pissed that I tell young men who have self selected themselves into a steady paycheck to not get married.  On the flip side there are not a whole lot of young men in any demographic who are generally fit to be husbands and fathers whether or not they have steady income. 

I remember the moment that I wanted to become a husband, I was driving a girl home because she had a headache and her younger sisters were snoozing in the back seat.  I realized that I enjoyed the feeling I got when I took care of someone who trusted me to take care of her.  I even tried to marry the girl that gave me that feeling (short version is that she was a smart girl and didn't marry me).  However once I did get married I did not become a good husband overnight. 

No matter how well prepared by your upbringing there are just some things husbands have to learn through experience, painful painful experience.  If there were only one type of woman it would be easy to be a good husband as we could learn from each others mistakes, but women are individuals and it is a lot of hard work to write the "good husband manual" from scratch.

There is a saying I heard once, "If you throw a stone at a stray dog in the market, he will take bread from you no more."  Women have been throwing stones at men for the last forty or so years, and like stray dogs we are putting our tails between our legs and leaving.  I have seen the financial pain that women have caused my men, and so I will continue to counsel soldiers to not become entangled with marriage when they arrive at my unit.

Casualty Calculator

When planning for a mission someone somewhere works out the math on expected casualties.  Usually this is the S1 and S4 trying to figure out how many replacements they will need and how much medical support the unit will need during different phases of the operation.  These numbers come out of the calculator either as a percentage of the unit, or as an estimated digit.

We can look at the numbers for American and VC dead in Vietnam to get a good feel for historical "counterinsurgency" ops.  Round the VC death to 1 million and American to 58,000 and we see that the technological advantage of air power and artillery really helps.  In Afghanistan the Soviets were even more successful than the Americans in Vietnam, roughly 1 million Afghans dead to under 14,000 Soviet soldiers.

So what does this tell us?  A foreign power with a technical advantage will really whoop up on an insurgent.

When we look at a different type of war, such as the American Civil War, where there was not a technical advantage by either side, we see massive casualties. 

The insurgencies that work are the ones that nullify the government advantages.  The will of the people is what wins an insurgency, not military might (the .gov always has more military might).  Fighting the government with bullets is not as effective as winning the hearts and minds of the populace.  When the people see the insurgent as a better alternative than the .gov even if the .gov bends to appease the people the insurgent will have achieved success.

Case in point Egypt and Libya.  Not a lot of bullets flew in Egypt, the insurgents had the support of the people.  In Libya the insurgents do not have enough support to keep the .gov from cracking down with bullets.  So, to minimize casualties insurgents must fight for the hearts and minds first and foremost.

Fortune Cookie

My fortune cookie said, "Don't go to the well too many times."  Also my lucky numbers are 5, 2, 6, 1, 15, 45, and 40.

I don't really care about the lucky numbers, but the proverb "don't go to the well too many times" is good advice.  In plain English the proverb means "don't let a habit turn into a rut" or "don't repeat the same thing all the time."

Life is change.  And a huge part of my life is fighting for change in other countries, and fighting against change at home.  But change is inevitable.  The real question is about shaping the future.  There are two main sides fighting for change.  The left knows what they want, and they are fighting very hard to turn this nation into a true "socialist paradise."  After all, if the point of a union is to protect union workers against being exploited by evil employers then the point of a "public employee union" must be to protect the employee from the evil taxpayers.

The fight in Wisconsin is a "decisive battle" according to Clausewitz.  This is a tipping point where the winner gains a huge advantage for years to come.  Remember the dark days after the AWB was passed?  Remember how hard Conservatives fought to put in the "sunset clause" just to keep from getting completely steamrolled?  That was a tipping point, and the forces of oppression enjoyed a tactical advantage for years afterward.

But the forces of oppression went to the well too many times, their lies became obvious.  Their narrative became tiresome.  They did not exploit their victory by using new tactics.  They watched as conservatives took the fight elsewhere, to the States and changing "may issue" to "shall issue".  Think of this as true insurgent behavior, if you can't fight on the national scene fight on the state scene.  If you can't fight on the state scene fight on the county scene.

And exploit your victories by moving on.  Once you have achieved one thing, it makes no sense to do it again.  Move on.  Do something different.  The struggle for freedom is not just a 2nd Amendment thing, the struggle is for all freedoms.  1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 10th being where I see the big confrontations happening.

We live in interesting times.  You can get an abortion without a background check but not a rifle.  You can communicate across the globe in real time but have to watch what you say for fear of having your house raided and firearms confiscated without ever being charged with a crime.  The Liberals want to know exactly how many guns I have.  Why?  I don't want to know how many dildos someone else has, and a dildo is a much better substitute for a penis than a firearm.  I am dangerous because I am human, with the capacity to reason through problems and choose among solutions.  Even if I were denied the use of Arms it would not stop my capacity for violence.

How is that knife control going over in the UK?  Probably about as well as the CCTV monitoring progress in solving crime.  But this isn't about crime, or about safety.  This is all about control.  Either people will have the freedom to govern themselves or Joan Peterson will be more than happy to govern people because she is sure they can't do the job on their own.  I'm going to try to stop blogging about Joan Peterson for a while, her level of willful ignorance truly offends me and I don't want to go to the well too many times.

25 February 2011

Disarm the people, crush dissent, all in a days work

It is ok for the streets to get "bloody" when a Democrat calls for it, but the moment a private citizen speaks his mind Joan Peterson (fascist tool) goes into a level seven Pants Shitting Hysterics.

I suggest to the pro gun side that when these statements are made by public officials or by their own at tea party rallies or on blog comments, their cause becomes tainted and should be questioned. How can we take the pro gun side seriously when they defend and use such rhetoric? If these folks want the rest of us to believe that they are just law abiding citizens who won't do anything wrong and we should leave them and their guns alone, then they need to stop with this dangerous rhetoric. Common sense tells the public that we can't let this continue. Common sense tells the public that this is dangerous and is not acceptable. Common sense tells us that reasonable laws to stop the easy access to guns to people who can't handle them responsibly may stop the wrong person from shooting a public official or innocent protesters at a rally. Common sense tells us that our gun culture is leading us down paths that could be dangerous for our country. Reasonable restrictions are called for. Civility is called for. When "the guys with the guns make the rules" ( from Wayne LaPierre, Executive VP for the NRA) mentality is prevalent and succeeds in overcoming common sense, our country needs to take a step back and examine what that actually means.


Common sense evidently doesn't know crap about history.  This country was founded by men with guns fighting for freedom.  That some citizens still know that Joan Peterson wets herself.

"Power comes from the barrel of a gun" Chairman Mao.


Political power is always backed by force.  Joan, why do you want the people powerless?  Is it so that you and your ilk can politically rape us with impunity?


I've had enough of your reasonable restrictions.  Reasonable people adapt to their environment.  Unreasonable people force their environment to adapt to them.  By calling for such a fundamental change in our society Joan proves that she is anything but reasonable.


And I will resist her efforts with unreasonable devotion for you can't fight irrationality with reason.  I am a true believer.  You can't convert me Joan, you can't force me to submit.  At best you can kill me.

Thoughts on Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs and Insurgents

I've been reading through Hunter S. Thompson's "Hell's Angels" which is forcing me to rethink how I view "outlaw" motorcycle gangs.  For all the talk of societies outcasts banding together in a fraternal brotherhood the Hell's Angels as described by Thompson exhibit a large amount of conformity, from the bike they rode to the clothes they wore to the lifestyle of members.  Now I understand that groups will demand conformity to the group as a condition of membership, and often similar individuals will form groups.  But it seems that giving up your individuality was almost a membership requirement for the Hell's Angels.

If we take this lesson to heart, the Outlaw Motorcycle gangs are a very poor model for an insurgency.  Number one because they stand out, an insurgent needs to look normal.  Second motorcycle gangs have insignia which identifies them even when they are intermixed with other motorcycle gangs, this allows the cops to focus on the Gypsy Jokers one week and the Hell's Angels the next.  An insurgent must avoid any sort of uniform, insignia, or identification.  The Angels lacked discipline, an insurgent must be very disciplined.

The cops know how to take on organized crime and outlaw motorcycle gangs.  And now "fusion cells" are trying to use the same techniques against people who have "Ron Paul" bumper stickers, "I Served" window decals, and anyone sporting a Gadsden Flag.  Why are they trying to use law enforcement techniques to suppress an insurgency?  The answer is that the "Powers That Be" will do their damndest to deny any internal problems until they are forced to respond with naked military power.

On the ride home today a commenter on NPR quoted Eugene O'Neal about "the living lie", and specifically the lies that we tell ourselves to keep our spirits up.  When we are forced to acknowledge the truth it is as if something inside us dies.  Ever see a middle age man finally come to terms with the cold reality that he isn't as attractive to the ladies as he used to be?  Or that the athletic prowess he once had is gone forever? 

Politically the Powers That Be want to keep their living lie, that everything is fine, the people are happy with all this spending, Obamacare will reduce the deficit, etc.  They want to believe that it is a criminal element that is unhappy with them instead of half the nation.  They want to believe that law enforcement tactics will be enough to keep the rabble in line.

Because there is one lesson about the Hell's Angels that insurgents could master, and that is the myth of numbers.  At any given time the State of California over estimated the membership of the Hell's Angels by 500% to 1,000%.  Even earlier in history, across the rocky steppe of Asia the Mongol's under Ghengis Khan spread the myth of the "Mongol Horde."  The truth is that there never was a huge mass of Mongols, just a small disciplined group that moved so fast across the terrain that they could attack towns and villages so often that the only explanation the victims had was that of a "Mongol Horde."  Sometimes the lies we tell ourselves become enshrined in the public as urban legend.

Of course the Powers That Be had a very good reason to inflate the numbers of outlaw bikers in California.  A scared public is a public that is willing to spend money to fix the problem.

So in the propaganda war the insurgency needs to have all the benefits of greater numbers (being everywhere all the time) and also enough contact with the regular community that the Powers That Be cannot convince the people that the insurgents are the real enemy.  Remember, insurgencies are won through the hearts and minds of the populace.

24 February 2011

This blog thing, an "all about me" post

My first blog was on myspace.com and nobody read it.  I had 500 posts on that blog over the course of two years before I deleted that account and started blogging here.  A lot of people say that a you have to get a lot of practice at your craft before you get good at it, and I can honestly say that while I'm a little curious as to what I wrote back then I am sure that it wasn't pure genius.  Then again Salvador Dali commented that brilliant painters die young which is why he painted mediocre artwork and lived a long time.

I started becoming a more serious writer when I was in college.  Not a serious writer as a paid author, but becoming someone who is truly proficient at putting words together to communicate with clarity and precision.  I did not get my start by any sort of college class or inspiring professor (higher education fail) but arguing politics with leftists on web forums.  Because leftists like to talk all the time they are actually quite good at communicating.  In my experience they can paint a picture with words that simultaneously functions as a weapon against their opponents and a mission statement to their allies.

But I was clearly outmatched in my early sparring attempts.  I was so poorly skilled at writing clear thoughts that couldn't be twisted into something I didn't mean to say that I spent more than half my time clarifying previous posts.  My words were not precise enough to compete with veteran word fighters.  So I kept arguing, honing my skills on the most difficult opponent I could find (a Canadian who used the handle "TheCycle").  My first interaction with "TheCycle" was his post about how America sucks because we don't give away AIDS treatments for free.  Who would have thought that it was possible to get an education arguing politics on a forum dedicated to Sonic the Hedgehog?

I looked back at the old forum where I used to argue and "TheCycle" hasn't logged on since 2008.  I guess he moved on to different things in his life as well.  I can't help but hope that life has given him some experience to appreciate the wisdom of conservative values. 

Now as bad as "TheCycle" was, at least when my language was precise he would stick to his guns and use whatever logic he possessed to rebut.  Joan Peterson does not possess the ability to use logic or even understand a different argument so I gain nothing by arguing with her but cheap laughs.  On the flip side Joan will probably provide blog fodder for a long time to come as her train wreck of a though process cranks out one groaner after another. 

Eventually I found myself wanting to write more than just arguments online (for the record arguing online is like competing in the Special Olympics, even if you win you are still retarded) to satisfy a need to create something.  So I started blogging here as a way to capture my momentary thoughts in a place where I was free to express myself.  So for me blogging is a bit more like golf, competing against myself to improve.  Being a good writer probably won't be much of a skill in the mutant biker zombie apocalypse, but if it helps me crank out easy to understand Operations Orders it just might save a few lives.


Thank you all for reading.  I never expected the hit counter to be approaching 100k hits.  I hope that my writing continues to improve. 

22 February 2011

Prophecy

"And the words of the Prophets were written on the subway walls, and tenement halls"

In the Old Testament the Prophets generally came in two flavors.  Doom and despair or a wise guiding force.  I look to the future and I see that life as we know it will be lost.  In a blink of an eye we have gone from a nation of independent thinkers to sheep.  Sheep don't revolt.  The sheepdogs see to that.  The sheep get sheared, the sheep get slaughtered, but the there are always enough sheep to keep the flock going.

One of the reasons that we don't have a shooting civil war is that those who would fight are not murderers.  Not because they fear jail, but because they know that murder is wrong.

I look at the regained territory that Heller and McDonald gave us and then despair at "The Patriot Act" and "Obamacare."  In the movie "Law Abiding Citizen" Jamie Fox's character breaks into Gerard Butler's auto shop with the saying "Fuck His Civil Rights."   And while the movie was about learning to do what is right instead of doing what is legal, it is always wrong to deny someone their rights.  Which means that when it becomes time to murder the Jamie Fox Distract Attorneys in real life, someone is going to say "Fuck his civil rights" right back.

There is no moral high ground in war.  Only a better propaganda machine than the other guy.

The prophets would remind me that "Thou shalt not murder" is one of the Ten Commandments.  But I would remind the Prophets that killing in war is not murder. 

I'm not a fan of what Timothy McVeigh did.  The wholesale slaughter if people is repugnant.  But had he shot a corrupt ATF agent?  What if he had more closely targeted those who step on the necks of citizens?  Would I think of him as a villain or a hero?  Had he let that bomb go off outside Lon Horiuchi's house or taken out the FBI HRT?  Many Americans rightly view Lon Horiuchi as a government thug who was paid to commit murder. 

But that is the point.  McVeigh wanted to start a revolution.  All he did was turn himself into a murderer.  I do not see events unfolding, another Waco or Ruby Ridge, that will let people know that they are at war.  Vanderbough likes to say "no more free Wacos" but that just doesn't ring true.  In the age of "Project Gunwalker" the ATF wants criminals armed so that it can expand.

Remember, the first priority of business for any organization is the self continuation of that organization.

So, things will get worse.  We will win enough court cases to feel like we are making progress, but it is just boiling the frog by heating the water slowly.

21 February 2011

Joan Peterson can't even get the phrase right.

I'm sure more bloggers than I have told Joan Peterson to put on her big girl panties and deal with it, but evidently the grieving drama queen from Minnesota has to spin victimhood into everything she does.


What a title for a blog. But honestly, someone who commented here- one of my "gun guy" friends, actually told me to put on my big girl panties and get with the picture. Those of us who wear big girl panties apparently know nothing because the guys with the man pants on make the rules. It's that simple.

Look Joan, "put on your big girl panties" means "Grow Up and Get Over It".  It doesn't have anything to do with the "patriarchy" or anything to do with misogyny, so just get over it already.

Then again, if you had the ability to get over it, maybe you would have accepted your sisters murder as the random act of a deranged individual instead of making it your life goal to disarm the innocent. 

Don't Be There

Sean D Sorrentino left this very good comment.
Any army can sweep through and massacre everyone. What they can't do is occupy unfriendly territory without casualties.

I've always assumed that most resistance would take the form of short range assassinations using pistols.

For those who have Netflix, you can watch the movie Flame and Citron to get a sense of what I mean.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flame_%26_Citron

Police officers in their cars are vulnerable. All officials who live someplace outside of their bunkers are vulnerable.

All that needs to happen is that some government agent has to extend trust to someone who is willing to betray that trust. In a country with more weapons than people, I'm sure that we'll get many chances to show what happens when they do that.

The Bradys are just extrapolating from their own cowardice.

Everything Sean wrote is spot on but I have one addition.  In terms of military sweep operations we can obviously overpower and kill everyone we come across.  But there is one solution to being killed in one big sweep operation.  Don't Be There.

The VC were masters of avoiding large scale operations in Vietnam.  The insurgents and terrorists in Iraq are very good at not getting caught.  The bigger threat to an insurgency is small unit tactics.  Lightning raids and the like.

Even the Jews of Vilnius who were able to get into hides were 50% successful in avoiding extermination by the SS, and they were in a concentration camp.

Remember, YAHOO = You Always Have Other Options.

Successful insurgents will trade space for time, and trade time for the will of the populace.  

A smaller Army

Since WWII the US military has been a Leviathan in its own right.  Our founding Fathers were inherently distrustful of a standing military simply because the lesson from history is thus, a standing Army is the most likely source of a coup against the government.  Up until WWII our military followed a "skeleton crew" model.  There were just enough personnel on active duty at any given time to provide a cadre to the conscripts for a really big war.  However, you cannot influence international events with this model.  At best you can pull a Switzerland and remain isolated (which is kinda what the Founding Fathers wanted).

So after WWII enter the US as a world superpower into a cold war with the Soviets.  Did Reagan really bankrupt the Soviets?  No, but he gets credit for it.  A dip in oil prices and a bump in wheat prices was what caused the economic collapse of the USSR.  What the Reagan administration did with the help of Democrats in Congress was to turn the US from a lender nation to a debtor nation.  That was our tipping point.

Unfortunately the lessons the Democrats learned was that "deficits don't matter."  And the lessons Republicans learned is that "as long as the budget remains fixable in the future deficits are fine."  Add twenty some years of politics as usual and suddenly we have a real debt crisis.  Both parties learned the wrong lesson.  After WWII the federal budget dropped like a rock from a cliff.  The Army was dismantled wholesale.  It may be time to dismantle the Army wholesale again and go back to a "skeleton crew".  We will have to do that again, but it won't be enough.

When you look at the Federal Budget, 60% percent is "non-discretionary" spending, meaning that it would take Congress to repeal laws in order to touch that portion of the budget.  Unfortunately the Dems will not do that.  In Wisconsin they don't care about budgeting, and in D.C. they don't care about Budgeting.  And Republicans aren't doing enough.  81 Billion in spending cuts?  Please, that is chump change.  Even under Bill Clinton when the Army was at a "10 Division" readiness model the Fed budget produced a surplus (although it coincided with the dotcom bubble) through a Republican Congress.  Our tax revenues are not less than they were in 1999, so why can't we go back to 1999 spending levels?

But my point is this, the 40% of "discretionary" funding could be entirely taken away and all revenue would still be used up in "payments to individuals" under the "non-discretionary" spending that Congress has weaseled itself into.  The Dems in Wisconsin fled the state to weasel out of making a decision.  The Democrat lawmakers in the past who made Social Security, medicare, medicaid, etc non-discretionary weaseled themselves out of ever having to make a hard choice about dollars and cents. 

Non-discretionary spending seems unconstitutional to me.  If the budget for the Army must be justified to Congress every two years how does Social Security get a pass?  If my pension is on the table as a spending cut then everything else needs to be on the table as well.  But if they cut military pensions but don't get control of spending it won't matter, because the currency will devalue and become worthless.  It doesn't matter how much monopoly money you pay someone if it isn't worth the paper it is printed on. 

You don't balance a budget by telling people to turn off the lights when they leave the room.  You have to make deep and meaningful cuts.  Unfortunately no matter how deep the cuts into "discretionary" things like defense are it won't fix the problem.  But they have to start somewhere.  When you cut defense that takes away some international political options.  But I am fine with that.  Let the world burn.

20 February 2011

The Problems Facing Our Nation

I hear that phrase a lot, "The Problems Facing Our Nation" and it is starting to bug me.

Because if you ask a conservative, the problem facing our nation is too much government.  If you ask a Liberal, it is that government isn't big enough.

Either way, the Problem Facing Our Nation is Government.

Resistance

I found these two quotes over at Joe Huffman's blog.  He took a different approach to explaining the reason why they are simply wrong from a historical perspective.  I'm going to do the same, but slightly different.

From Colin and Andy Goddard:
If instead of staging peaceful demonstrations, Egyptian protesters been armed with guns, it is highly likely that the Egyptian military, equipped with billions of dollars worth of weapons supplied free of charge by our own government, would have retaliated. That would have produced massive casualties among both the armed and unarmed Egyptians.
From Brady Campaign board member Joan Peterson:
If things had gone otherwise and the military had decided to side with President Mubarek instead of the people, what good would pistols and shotguns have done against tanks and machine guns? I say, not much. It would likely have elevated the violence and increased the potential for deaths and injuries.

Pistols and shotguns actually do a great deal of good against tanks and machine guns.  Because Tanks and Machine Guns can only be pointed in ONE direction at a time (although if count a pintle mounted MG on a tank then a tank could fire in two directions).

If four people have nothing but pistols, and they work together, they can swarm a machine gun nest.  Then they might be three people with pistols and a machine gun.  Then they get two more freedom minded individuals and use the machine gun to set up a base of fire to drive a squad of government goons into taking shelter where the guys with pistols shoot them in the head.  Now they are four people with rifles, pistols, and a machine guns, and likely a few grenades thrown in.

If they don't have the grenades they can still make Molatov Cocktails with nothing more than gasoline, rags, and glass bottles.  Remember that tank that seemed so invincible?  Well it has a crew, and a well placed cocktail will burn that crew into bad BBQ and turn that tank into 60 tons of paperweight.  Once the main gun rounds start cooking off in the ammo racks it will make a very expensive public fireworks show.

And we started with four people with pistols AND the will to use them.

Do you think the Partizans of France under Nazi occupation thought "pistols and shotguns are worthless?"  No, they took the arms they could get and used them to capture German Lugers, Mauser Rifles, Burp Guns, and other arms as they could.

Do you think the Bielski's thought that "pistols and shotguns" were worthless?  No, they used them to obtain better weapons.

Gun control advocates seem to believe that it is better to live as a slave than die as a warrior.  Unfortunately history has made it clear that such a choice doesn't exist.  The real choice is DIE as a slave or FIGHT as a warrior.  And yes, sometimes warriors die.  And sometimes warriors are forgotten.  And sometimes we fail to secure the God given freedoms innate in every human.

But if you don't choose to fight you are choosing death.  How cowardly.

How about this: WITHOUT GUNS


And then with guns.

 The Brady Bunch and their ilk seem to be so afraid of "violence" that they prefer unarmed people to be crushed to death by tanks than armed people dieing for the cause of freedom.

19 February 2011

Police behaving badly

In Iraq the police were often targeted.

There were several reasons for this. First a functioning police agency represents a legitimate state authority, and so they were targeted to show that the government wasn't legitimate. Secondly tribal conflicts would come into play, if Habib didn't get the job that Abdul got because of some nepotism, well just bomb the hell out of Habib until there is a job opening. Lastly Iraqi police were targeted because they could be, if you piss enough people off eventually someone is likely to do something about it.

These united States are a very big area geographically. And there is somewhere on the order of a million "Law Enforcement Officers" pulling a taxpayer funded paycheck at any given time.

I managed to listen to exactly one episode of "B&B" internet radio show when they interviewed a cop who said "act meek or you might face something 40 caliber."

So fuck you cops. I hate bullies. On a playground or all grown up with a badge and donut gut, fuck you.

I've written before that there are 4 types of Soldiers/Cops. And it remains true. But the lesson from Iraq is this, doesn't matter if you are one of the three harmless types if the 4th type gets you targeted for an IED.

If you don't think it can happen here, well then the Muscovites thought it couldn't happen in Moscow. The Spaniards were cowed by Madrid.

And because we have so many cops in our large geography, there is no lack of the 4th type of cop to bring down the reputation of the whole lot.

http://freedominourtime.blogspot.com/2011/02/dont-resist-refrain-of-rapists-police.html
http://www.lewrockwell.com/grigg/grigg-w105.html
http://www.pixiq.com/contributors/248
http://www.cowardlycops.com/taxonomy/term/11

So if you are a good cop, fight the corruption.

George Lakoff is an idiot.

Every time a liberal writes an article on what "Conservatives Really Believe" it can only end in laughter and derision.  Only someone so ignorant of history could write this;

The central issue in our political life is not being discussed. At stake is the moral basis of American democracy. The individual issues are all too real: assaults on unions, public employees, women's rights, immigrants, the environment, health care, voting rights, food safety, pensions, prenatal care, science, public broadcasting, and on and on.

Cause for sure "unions" were listed among the founding principles of this nation.  I remember, right up there with "the environment" and "pensions".  Yup, life, liberty, pensions.

No George, you drooling sub-monkey moron, the moral basis for this nation is individual freedom.  We even had a damn Civil War over individual freedom.

Everything else you talk about is simply window dressing.  Who created the pension problem?  The answer is "unions" for anyone who has been paying attention.  Women's rights?  Are you serious George, are you just trying to scare women to thinking that Islamic men will be able to rape them and force them to marry and be one of four wives?

George you are a spineless, brainless coward who begs to be fed from the work of others.  You believe that some people produce only so that others can consume.  They used to call that slavery dickhead.

I hope you die from ass cancer.  Your death would raise the average IQ of this nation.

I do believe in individual responsibility.  Cause I sure as hell ain't going to have no judge look at my lily white ass and give me a lighter sentence because "society made me do it".  Hell our Founding Fathers pledged their lives, wealth, and SACRED HONOR to the cause of individual freedom.

And when you want to talk about Americans taking care of other Americans, why don't you look at the gorram numbers before you open your cock holster.  The "Greatest Generation" did very well with a helluva lot less "payments to individuals" than the current crop of deadbeats, welfare queens, and various Jerry Springer rejects.

The Magna, she LIVES!

Since my bike went tits up in January for no apparent reason I managed to lose my keys.

Ugh.  Called the Honda shop and they said "$150 minimum" for a new key switch.  Joy.  Thank goodness for Ebay.  Picked up a replacement switch and gas cap set for 50 bucks.  Even though I'm 3,000 miles away from the bulk of my tools it was a quick hop to Wally world for the necessary thingummies to swap out the switch and drill out the old gas cap.

Just because she hadn't been turned on in six weeks I sprayed a it of starting fluid into the air filter before putting the tank back on.  And she fired right up.  Hopefully the firing right up part continues, but who knows?  If this hit or miss performance keeps up I'll be right pissed. 

I let her idle until she got up to temperature and then shut her down.  Now I'm inside hoping and praying that when I go back out she'll start right back up again without a hassle.  It's a nice warm day, blue sky, temp high enough to make me sweat in the sunlight.  Time to take the bike to the HomeDespot to get about a gajillion sets of spare keys made.

UPDATE: She started right up again, ran pretty good too. HomeDespot doesn't carry HD74 and HD75 keys, so it will be off to a real locksmith on Monday.

18 February 2011

Arctic Sea Ice

So we haven't surpassed the "average" just yet, but we are getting pretty close.

Memories

My wife and I are coming up on our 8th anniversary.  In eight years my wife has given me two sons and a lot of very good memories.

Freezing on the ground camping outside Forks years before the Twilight books put Forks on the map.  The Army took the fun out of camping for me, my wife gave gave it back.  In eight years she's worn evening dresses to the Army Ball and various unit formals.  She has also spent days camping in worn jeans and one of my flannel shirts, the smell of campfire smoke deep in her hair.  She's driven me to the base to go to war, and picked me up from the airport when I came back.

Eight years ago she married a Signal Corps Sergeant with no scare badges on his uniform.  Since then it has been OCS, OBC, Ranger, Airborne, EIB, Iraq, and now MCCC.  She's been the FRG lead for two Companies and the BN rear detachment.  She's woken up with me at 2 a.m. to receive the phone calls from Iraq about our KIA's.  In a few months she'll see me off to war again and we'll start the cycle all over again. 

I've watched her get ready for work and come home while I was in college.  Later I watched her struggle with trusting me to be the breadwinner after college.  Going from working girl to stay at home mom took some time, but like a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis she took on her new role like she was born to it. 

What can you say about a woman who looks good helping you haul firewood as well as be great arm candy at a formal event?  Eight years passed very quickly.  The hard times passed a little slower than the good times, but they passed just the same.

Some days I don't recognize the country I serve.  But I always recognize the men who volunteer to serve.  My wife has helped me take care of them, making sure the privates wife got formula and diapers when the paycheck just didn't stretch far enough.  The Army is really one big extended family, and it takes a lot of dedication to keep the Big Green Machine running.  Sometimes we feel like small cogs in the gears of the war machine, but you can't stop just because things get tough.

Right now the Federal budget is a huge mess, my paycheck is money borrowed from China and I can't change that reality.  We live in an uncertain world, but I can count on my wife. 

My advice to all soldiers looking to get married.  Find a stubborn woman.  People fall out of love but they don't fall out of stubborn.  Find someone who can manage their own life, because she will be able to manage a household when you are halfway across the world hanging out on the Iranian border or on some lonely COP in a high mountain valley.  I could have done a helluva lot worse than the woman I married.  Pretty sure I couldn't do better.

17 February 2011

The success of the Maginot line

First off this is going to have people thinking "WTF is he talking about?" in terms of the military success of the Maginot line.  And it boils down to one thing, the Germans did not attack the Maginot line.  The same reason we have nuclear weapons, so we don't have to use them right?

The failure of the Maginot line was not in the prepared defenses, it was that the Germans figured out a way around those defenses.  For what it is worth the Germans could have done an airborne insertion to take the defenses instead of going through the forest and achieved the same "blitzkrieg" effect.

The real failure was that the Maginot line was a single point of failure in the defensive planning.  If you are going to plan a defensive you have to defend where the enemy will come from with direct, indirect, and obstacles.  Had the French extended the Maginot line to the sea instead of relying on a "natural obstacle" the initial push into France by the German Army would have been significantly different.  Trench warfare was the basis for the Maginot line, and trench warfare prevented the Germans from taking Paris in WWI.

Now the Germans did develop techniques to break through trench networks by the end of WWI, but it was too little too late.  But as a defensive measure the Maginot line was a success.  The French defensive plan?  Utter failure.  The "Blitzkrieg" was designed to move too fast to descend into trench warfare, which is why they avoided the line in the first place.

16 February 2011

I found this comment over at the huffy post enlightening.


You neglected the other side of Rand's philosophy
­: not only is an individual under a moral imperative to enrich his or her self, but he or she is also under a moral imperative never to help anyone else.
 
Rand's philosophy is about self determination.  As such I can choose to do things for my own benefit.  Whether that be a charitable act or not is up to ME.  Not to government, not to other people, not to any standard that I do not choose.
Trying to frame Rand in some "moral" sense is why Rand made her philosophy in the first place.  She saw those who used arguments of morality to justify theft.  "Some who already have enough will just have to give up a little bit more for the good of everyone" and "At some point you have made enough money".   Anybody remember the source of those quotes?  

Why is it that the leftists who can chant "my body my choice" find no irony in saying "we have a right to the fruit of your labor, you have no choice."  Is that just inconsistent or what?  Slavery to government is just as repugnant as slavery to an individual.  If the whole world were reduced to two people, one named "government" and one named "citizen" it would only serve to show that slavery to "government" is wrong.

Unless you happen to believe in slavery, because you view yourself as an elite who deserves slaves.  I guess that makes sense if you are a leftist.  Makes me want to go club a baby seal while munching on veal, right now the only thing that could make me feel better are the tears of a hippie.

Organization

Evil doesn't scare me until it gets organized.  If you think of individuals interacting the way particles interact with a suspension medium we can equate individual efforts to a sort of Brownian motion, that is each particle moves independendtly of each other.  When particles organize, that is when larger than individual efforts can be realized.  There are a lot of particles that do not follow Brownian distribution patterns, crystals precipitating from a solution is a nice example.

In the military there are two types of mission planning, one creates an Operations Order which contains the Commander's Intent, specific tasks to be completed by subordinate units, synchronization timeline and support plan.  On the other hand there is a Mission Order, which contains something the Germans coined "schwerpunkt" (loosely translated to "focal point"), this is similar to the Operations Order, but instead of synchronizing subordinate units through higher headquarters the subordinate units harmonize their efforts by peer to peer crosstalk.

It is the Mission Order and the concept of "schwerpunkt" that allowed the German Blitzkrieg across most of Europe.  When units are highly trained to harmonize with each other to accomplish the overall mission of the higher unit their movements in time and space become much more "Brownian" and/or fluid.

When things get organized you develop a large amount of Mass.  That is the ability to bring lots of firepower to a specific place and time.  Think of government as a Leviathon that can mass when and where it chooses.  The Mission Order concept defeats massing by allowing subordinate commanders to maneuver independently in their effort to achieve highers mission while avoiding the opposing forces Massed effort.  On the smallest practical scale this is similar to the cell structure preferred by terrorists and insurgents to provide independence and security.

Looking at WWII and the German Invasion of the lowlands you can see that the organization of the French Army was very rigid and controlled.  The German offensive allowed them the speed to maneuver around the huge French Division and Corps to attack the flanks and rear almost at will.  Brownian motion putting particles around crystalized structures.

The end result is that the French Army of 68 Divisions (not a typo) was routed.  That isn't to say that the French soldiers were poor or that the French Generals were incompetent, simply put that their organization was too ridid to be fluid. 

Now you need large rigid organizations to build infrastructure.  Think of how fossilized many government agencies have become, almost mindlessly trying to make themselves relevant despite having no real mission.  They became part of the crystal, and now they cannot act independently.  On the other hand, a properly harmonized smaller force can outmaneuver the larger crystallized structure, at least on the field of battle.

How does this translate into real world applications?  Insurgents should not look to "leadership" for anything other than an end goal, then they should plan and execute missions that support that end goal while communicating with units to their left and right.  This is pretty simple and the Taliban has been doing it for a while.  Sometimes this independence will lead to a split or factionization of a group (think IRA). 

Remember, the big crystals will dominate where they mass, so don't be there.  Harmonize your efforts with your peers.  Keep the big picture endstate in mind.  If your goal is to capture Paris it makes a lot of sense to bypass the bulk of the French Army in the lowlands and then isolate it from the rear. 

Now the German Army had a huge amount of firepower and resources.  Insurgents don't.  But insurgents have both time and space that they can play off against each other to maneuver in the battlespace.  If the occupation force masses they disperse and attack elsewhere, this causes the occupation force to mass elsewhere.  It is a pretty simple concept, attack where the occupation force has made himself weak.

14 February 2011

Defense against the magic bullet.

If you were the Taliban, how do you defend against the XM-25?

For those who aren't familiar with the weapon system, it is an air burst grenade system.  Laze the target, set for burst before, on, or after, then fire.

It is evidently quite the fire fight stopper in Afghanistan. http://www.army.mil/-news/2011/02/08/51518-army-wants-36-more-punisher-weapons-in-2012/ 

I wonder?  Would you stay outside the maximum range and use a precision rifle to shoot the grenadier first?  Whenever a new weapon is introduced into warfare it takes a while to develop tactics, techniques, and procedures to counter the new capability.

Something to think about anyways.

Movie Review: Law Abiding Citizen

I have mixed feelings about this film.  First because I don't view cops and lawyers as noble or just, simply cogs in a bureaucratic machine.  So I was rooting for the man who went outside the law.

In the end the machine won, but somehow in doing so it is as if Gerard Butler's character managed to reform one small cog in the machine.  When you take this movie and compare it to "The Next Three Days" with Russel Crowe it becomes an interesting theme of when the law is unjust it is the recourse of all free men to break the law.

I think that perhaps the biggest reform we could do for our country is to change the penal code so that fewer people are locked up.  End the war on drugs.  Make like Vietnam, declare victory and withdraw with dignity.  We spend way too much money on welfare which breeds crime and then prosecuting the criminals which creates dependency on welfare.  Government is seldom part of a solution.

Who is?

Kilroy was here.  Who is John Galt?  Simon Jester.

In WWII the prase "Kilroy was here" combined with the doodle of a bald man with a big nose peeking over a fence became somewhat of an icon.  In "Atlas Shrugged" John Galt is the embodiment of an idea. Heinlein made Simon Jester another public embodiment of discontent.  In the song "Mr. Roboto" by Styx Kilroy is the man who leads the revolution against the souless machines.

The point here is that in each case, from actual factual WWII to the Lunar revolution there has been some sort of iconography that has consistently given a message of hope and freedom to the fighters.

In Iraq and Afghanistan the insurgents know the value of tagging an area with graffiti.  Graffiti stands as  a reminder to everyone who lives there that the insurgents are around, that they can't bury their heads in the sand to make it go away.

Which makes me glad that the "We are everywhere: III" campaign is putting graffiti in bathroom stalls in the Pentagon and ATF headquarters.  However a symbol of insurgency needs to be simple enough to doodle with a can of spraypaint or permanent marker.

I wonder if we'll see a bald man with big nose peeking over a wall with the phrase "We are everywhere: III" anytime soon?  Maybe "We watch the watchers: III" or maybe even some devil horns on Kilroy and the phrase "Invictus"?

Either way, the more symbols that go up, the more data (true or false) that gets fed into .gov intelligence cells.  The more they have to sort through the less likely they are to get a true picture of the situation.

And if you happen to post a "Why So Socialist" poster that offends the Left, heck your graffiti can get on National TV.

13 February 2011

Cameras

If you are going to operate in an urban environment you need to know where the cameras are.  Security cameras, ATM cameras, red light cameras, traffic monitoring cameras.  They all have the ability to feed useful imagery to Big Brother.

Yes you can shoot cameras if you need to, but better to know where they are before conducting an operation.

In Iraq insurgents would set fire to tires to make obscuring smoke to conceal their movements.  A paintball marker that puts a few rounds on the main lens housing will give you the same effect without having to set fire to anything. 

Possibly this will function, camera nullification, will become a function of resistance cells in the future.

Sick.

Friday morning I woke up sneezing.  Then I took a PT test followed by a normal day.  Saturday morning I woke up with a full blown head cold.  I went to bed Saturday at 5 p.m. and didn't wake up again until almost midnight.  I checked my email, called the wife and went back to bed by 0145.  Didn't wake up until 0930 this morning.  That's a lot more sleep than I'm used to getting.  Good thing it is the weekend, otherwise I'd have to suffer through being sick during work.

I'm hoping that I wake up tomorrow with clear sinuses and some actual energy.  Cause it feels like I've been hit in the face with a cricket bat.

12 February 2011

From disaster to normal

The Great Depression had a long disaster to normal return time.

The Rodney King riots had a very short return to normal time.

And that frames the issue of how long you need to be prepared to survive after a disaster.  Either you are completely unprepared, prepared to handle a short term disaster, or prepared for a longer term disaster. 

But what do you need to survive?  It breaks down into knowledge and resources.  There are a lot of people who have one or the other, but not a lot of people have both.  Having a lot of one can make up for a lack of the other sometimes, but that is not a good strategy to have.

Having the Army Survival Handbook in your library won't do you a lick of good if you haven't read it, and if you have read it is you can't make safe drinking water without the plastic sheeting or poncho needed to make a simple solar still.  And do you really want the first time you make a simple solar still to be when you really need it to work? 

I think that I will have to make a note to practice some survival skills next camping trip.  Carving out figure four traps and making a solar still will top the list.  Not that I need those skills to survive a short return to normal span of time, but because it will make me think about what I do need to do to survive for longer periods of time.  I know that I can starve for a few days and be just fine, even walking with a heavy load on my back for long distances.  But I have to figure out how to deal with the longer than a few weeks of survival issue.  If I couldn't leave my home due to a quarantine I would be very dependent on the water utility continuing to provide water.

11 February 2011

Noodles

Pizza may be the universal comfort food, but noodles have to come in a close second.

I love udon, ramen, pho, pad thai, Singapore style street noodles, translucent mung bean noodles.  Soops so simple and delicious, the thin broth so thick with flavor, the delicate noodles filled with the spice and herb flavors.  Stir fried noodle dishes sweet, savory, tangy, yummy.

On the other side of the world spaghetti, fettucini, linguine, ravioli, tortalini, etc.  Each in a sauce as simple as browned butter or more complex like creamy alfredo or marinara.

Thomas Jefferson had a thing for macaroni noodles in a bechamel sauce...

Noodles are pretty awesome.

10 February 2011

Tam wrote the following:

The M1911A1 was a service pistol, built with interchangeable parts. Over the course of a couple of years during WWII over a million of the things were produced by a typewriter company, a sewing machine manufacturer, and a railroad signal maker. In 1943, the Ordnance Department relaxed dimensional standards even further to ensure that there would be no problem mixing parts from several primary manufacturers and bunches of subcontractors. Manufacturing the M1911A1 is not rocket surgery; the gun is a stone axe, designed to be maintained in the field by draftee armorers using drop-in parts.

However, the result of all that is a reliable, heavy gun with an eight-pound trigger pull, mediocre accuracy, and half the magazine capacity of modern duty pistols, yet one that would still cost over a thousand dollars in today’s economy, because machining steel isn’t cheap.

There is something to be said for low tech proven technology.  There are some tricks that will make your 1911 more accurate, and the first is to ensure that you have a tight final lockup.  This means the barrel will be aligned with the sights consistently.  This is the key to repeatable accuracy.

The other trick is to make sure the slide to frame fit is acceptable.  The cheap way is to put the slide in a vise and squeeze it to fit.  I don't recommend this, but if you have a pistol just limping along it can be a solution.

But how accurate do you need your pistol to be?  If you can keep things inside a ten inch circle at ten yards rapid fire you are doing fine.  If that gets to be boring you can start shooting 3x5 cards.

Ever wonder why people still shoot black powder?  It isn't just for the longer hunting season.  It is because the tools you choose reflect the craftsman you are.  With a 1911 you may only get 8 rounds in the mag and 1 in the pipe if you carry cocked and locked.  I appendix carry so I never leave a round in the pipe.  Just don't feel comfortable with the barrel of a .45 pointing at my genitals with a round in the chamber.

That's my choice, it works for me.  I've also carried Glocks and revolvers.  In the end I still own that cheap Springfield milspec 1911.  It is a base model slabside, nothing fancy.  But it shoots plenty tight if I do my part, and she's still getting broken in.  Not bad for a four hundred dollar pistol.

You see I disagree with Tam on the thousand dollar part.  Because if we were putting 1911's together today as we were in WWII the cost per unit goes WAY down.  The reason why my Springfield is cheap is because a lot of that expensive machining work was done in Brazil.  The only market for 1911's is the civilian/LEO market.  There is not the demand to put multiple companies to output the same product so we can free Europe from the Nazis.

So if you want a hand crafted properly tuned 1911, by all means get one.  The market is there.  If you want a decent 1911 you can get one too.  I've heard good things about the Remington R1 even though I haven't shot one.  And having some experience with military firearms, a Springfield milspec is going to give you the performance I would expect from a military service pistol.

The one pistol that I would like to play with more is the CZ-75/Jericho/Baby Eagle platform.  The reversed slide rails appeal to the engineer in me and it seems like a good platform for accuracy.  It is also a pity that no one is making an entry level HiPower.  Those are nice pistols.

08 February 2011

Looking for Goliath's forehead and Achilles' heel...

When you are faced with a superior opponent you have to hit them where it counts in a manner that at least temporarily ends the fight.  For the record the Israelites continued to fight the Philistines for generations and the Greek wars spanned centuries.  You need to be able to disengage at will so you can fight again another day.  An insurgency is won by the "last man standing".  You have to stay in the fight to be that man even if you have to run away from every battle.

Otherwise you get ground to dust.  The Viet Cong and NVA never won decisively on the field of battle against the US.  But because they could stay in the fight and win over public support in the US they were the last man standing on the battlefield.

So the question becomes this, "How do I stop this attack by an overwhelming force so that I can disengage?"  If you can answer that question then you can be the last man standing.  Might even win a fight or two. 

07 February 2011

The Spoiling Attack

A spoiling attack is like a jab in boxing, a little something to put your opponent off balance.  If you follow up a jab with a good strong punch you can control the fight at least until your opponent regroups.  A jab can make your opponent go on the defensive.

If jack booted Nazi thugs are coming to get you, when would a spoiling attack be useful and what would it accomplish?

A spoiling attack is often useful when the enemy is mounting up, moving, or dismounting.  This will throw off their rhythm and battle plan.  What effect do you want?  Well if you can force the jack booted thugs into conducting medevac operations instead of shooting your ass that is a good start to keeping them from coming to get you. 

So how do you do this?  First you need intelligence.  Either someone watching the jack booted thugs or the avenue of approach to where you are.  Then you need an ambush point, ambushes are the preferred method of attack for insurgents and freedom fighters the world round.

Once you have those, it is all a matter of waiting for the thugs to make their move if you want to remain defensively oriented.  If you want to be offensively oriented you start going after the jack booted thugs support.

In Iraq the House Born IED has been quite successful.  Wait for the foreign invaders to enter the house then a command detonation rubbles the place nicely, usually taking a fire team with it.  Not a lot of fun to be a foreign invader in that case.  But how many fire teams does an insurgent in Iraq have to kill before it makes a dent in terms of real combat power?

But either way, success depends on not being where the jack booted thugs think you are, and hitting the jack booted thugs in a time that they do not expect.  Of course this assumes that there is a kinetic fight, which means both sides have already lost and it is only a question of who loses more.

To sum up, a spoiling attack is not a game stopper.  It does not win conflicts.  At best it shapes the conflict for a short period of time.  And the same tricks seldom work twice in a row.  The enemy knows our TTP's and we know the enemies TTP's in Iraq and Afghanistan by now.  This is the ninth round and in the end it is the fighter who doesn't throw in the towel who will win.

In Afghanistan the Taliban is dieing by the hundreds, but replacements keep pouring in across the border from the tribal regions of Pakistan.  It is just a both sides throwing punches right now, our soldiers on the border trying to kill them while they try to move into country.  Spoiling attacks during movement to throw a jab at the enemy to keep him off balance.  If you were the Taliban, how would you fight back, what would you do?  How would you negate American air power?  How would you stress American supply trains?

Thinking like an outnumbered and outgunned insurgent who chooses to fight anyway is a good mental exercise.  That is the difference between the Jews of Warsaw and the Bielskis.  One fled to the forest when the writing was on the wall, the other stayed and died in place.  Little groups can only make pinprick attacks against larger groups.  If you can prick hard enough to make the enemy react you can control the battlefield to some extent.

06 February 2011

Cultures Change

I had a little sidebar conversation with FeminizedWesternMale in the comments of my previous post.  He thought that I was talking about something more than just "white privilege" in that post.  I was not, but now I am taking the time to go over with broad strokes some bigger issues.  I'm not going to talk about race (there is a huge difference in the culture of Russians, French, and Canadians even though they are all "white" races), I am going to talk about culture and civilization.  It takes time for a culture to change, adopting new ways and abandoning old mannerisms.  Culture is what makes a civilization flourish or flounder. 

It is important to remember that everyone is descended from barbarians, and everyone is only three generations away from becoming barbarians again.  But culture and civilization go hand in hand.  The Celts no longer paint themselves blue and rush into battle naked.  The Norse don't get into long boats and go viking across the North Atlantic.  Slavery exists only in the darkest parts of the world.  The Chinese empires outlasted the Roman Empire by centuries even with a rigid caste system.  Freedom as an ideal has little to do with the success of a civilization, but everything to do with the success of individuals therein.  Culture has everything to do with how long a civilization lasts.  Great Zimbabwe was a flash in the pan.  The Aztecs and Mayans sacrificed themselves to death (an extreme oversimplification but very likely).

So in the culture wars you have to take a long view.  But you also have to accept that everything changes.  If I had to pinpoint what is an asset and what is a detriment to culture it would consist of the following.

Bribery must not be an accepted practice.
Honesty as an honored public virtue.
Rule of Law enforced impartially, giving an equal protection under the law.
Hard work is viewed as admirable.
Success is celebrated, not punished.

If you have those things as a part of your culture then you will likely prosper.  Every successful modern civilization has these things.  If you don't mind living in a bronze or iron age civilization you can screw with a few.

On the opposite side of things you see the fall of empires.  The Roman empire became corrupt and rotted from within.  A corrupt Senate unable to control the finances, the continual degrading of the currency, eventually the Empire tried to contract itself and cut expenses.  By then it was too late.  You see the British Empire fade into the dustbin of history due to over extension of military expenses and "rule from afar".  A stratified society doesn't do well in the modern world.

But the lasting effects of the Roman Empire, and the British Empire, have given the world all the building blocks necessary for success. The Chinese were able to maintain a stable society for centuries by instilling the teaching of Confucius into each public administrator to maintain harmony.

It is too late for the American Empire to stop the decline.  In less than five years our debt payments to China will pay for 100% of their current military spending.  It took our ancestors two hundred years to create the greatest lending nation on earth.  In 1980 the US was the largest lending nation on the planet.  By 1990 the US was the greatest debtor nation on the planet.  Two hundred years of progress, a civil war, two world wars, and then ironically a decade of peace happened to sow the seeds of decline.

We can argue about the policies of the Reagan administration, but in the end the balanced budget passed in 1986 failed to stop deficit spending and as a result the national debt increased to where we are today.  The Democrats under Tip O'Neill became addicted to spending, and the "Republican Revolution" of 1994 only provided a temporary reprieve from an ever growing debt.  When the Democrats took over Congress in 2006 they spent like the Republican interlude had never happened.  Like Rome before us the continual devaluation of the currency to provide bread and circuses heralds the decline of the American Empire.

I alternate between despair and hope for this nation.  The lessons of history are merciless.  The best you can do now is fight for reform, prepare for collapse, and network with like minded individuals.  Unfortunately I must remember that the decline of an empire may last for generations before the fall.   And out of chaos a singular leader can found an empire.  Shaka Zulu, Ghengis Khan, Alexander, and of course their empires crumbled when they were no longer around to hold them together by cult of personality.

How would you like to live in a world where,

Bribery is just the cost of getting things done.
Honesty is a quaint notion, something for the little people.
The Law is used as a club to beat those who aren't properly connected.
Hard work is for suckers.
Success is punished, so hide your success away from the eyes of others and the taxman.

Places where this is the norm are not fun places to live, unless you happen to be one of the well connected elite.  And it is true that civilizations that follow this model can last for thousands of years, such as Egypt.  Egypt was able to keep it up for so long because their civilization offered a better alternative to what else was out there so the people put up with it.  Except for those Hebrews who decided it was better to follow a stuttering prophet out into the wilderness.

I hope that I've made a better link between culture and civilization, and how neither culture nor civilization are about race.  I could get into the genetics of it much deeper to prove my point, but I do not believe that this is necessary.

04 February 2011

White Priviledge: why it is bunk.

John Venlet linked to an article about "white privilege" and how it is utter bunk.  I can demonstrate to you that "white privilege" is complete bunk because Jews and Asians often do better than the generic pale skinned folk of European descent.

Take a look at Nobel Prizes for Science.  36% of all American Nobel recipients have been Jewish.  Clearly Jews do not represent 36% of the US population.  The question becomes, is there such a thing as "Jewish Privilege" to explain the success of the Jewish populace?

Obviously not, throughout history the persecution of the Jewish people has be very well documented.  From the end of the Bronze age through the sacking of the temple in 67 AD to the Diaspora, through the Inquisition to the Holocaust.  To the Six Day war, until today.

Those who cling to the idea of "white privilege" are simply those who cling to the idea that "the sneaky Jew gets ahead by cheating".  It is racism clear and simple, trying to tear down the success of others to explain ones own failings.  Hitler convinced people that the Jews stopped Germany from winning WWI.  I've seen the maps, I've seen the battle plans, and I could yell the truth about how futile attempting to take Paris was and many Germans would rather believe that the "sneaky Jew" brought about the defeat of the German Army than tactics outdated to modern warfare.

And what about the status of Asians?  They are clearly not "white" until someone brings about success, then they are called "banana" or "twinky" (yellow on the outside, white on the inside).

The truth is that every generation of immigrants comes to the US hungry for success.  Starving for it in fact.  The Jews who came here after WWII contributed greatly to our prosperity.  The Asians who fled Vietnam, Cambodia, and China have each brought their own thirst for something better.  Ever wonder why the current generation of prodigy musicians usually comes from a first generation immigrant family?  They know the value of hard work.  Prodigy is just another name for someone with a little bit of talent and a young lifetime full of practice.

The American Dream, that a little bit of luck and a lot of hard work will let you make a better life for yourself.  That is open to everybody.  Even those with brown skin.  In India the US is viewed extremely favorably because of the success of Indian Americans in business.

So if "white privilege" is shared with Indians, Asians, and Jews then clearly there is no such thing as "white privilege" in any meaningful sense.  I'm not saying that there aren't racist people in the US, there are racist people everywhere.  Even Canada.   

It isn't skin color, it is culture.  Jewish, Asian, or European culture.  People who have the courage to challenge themselves to succeed instead of blaming others for their own failure.  Marx blamed others for his failure, even wrote a book about how his failure wasn't his fault.  Marx was a whiny bitch.  Don't be like Marx.

03 February 2011

The power of the defense, what makes an ambush so deadly.

If you are going to fight, and you don't have a firepower advantage then you need a terrain advantage.  A prepared or hasty defensive position can give you a terrain advantage.  An ambush is technically an attack, but it is an attack that makes good use of the power of the defense to overwhelm another force with fires from a position of terrain advantage.

However, no matter how good your defensive position is prepared, if you stay there eventually you will die there.  This happened at Waco, Rezang La, Thermopylae, the Alamo, etc.  If the enemy does not take your position, but sets up a defense of their own you end up with trench warfare, which sucks for everybody and the one who has the most to throw away wins.

A series of defensive positions to which you continually fall back is one of the better techniques to rapidly attrit an attacking force.  If your enemy has to clear you from your position you know where he will be eventually, which makes placing mines and explosive much easier.  If you don't have indirect fire support, properly laid explosive charges can help replace that effect on the enemy.

To set up a series of defensive positions you need an avenue of egress that is not under direct fire from your enemy.  At the Alamo this was not available, and at Rezang La the attacker was able to flank the defenders and envelope the position.  But at Rezang La, even completely surrounded the defenders killed the attackers at a 1:5 ratio.  Impressive for a reserve unit armed with 303 SMLE's and Bren LMG's against an attacking force armed with SKSs supported with machine guns and artillery.

Iraqi/Afghani insurgents like to use an IED against a vehicle and follow up with small arms fire before running away.  They have been very successful with this tactic because of the very nature of defensive warfare.  By doctrine a force in a defensive position should be able to destroy an attacking force three times larger.  This is how the insurgency can use small teams to attack much larger forces.  If three insurgents kill even one soldier in such an attack, it is a success for them. 

Even better is that a defensive position can buy time for allies of the defending force to flank the attacking force.  What would it have been like at Waco if the Branch Davidians had positioned a response force that could have conducted harassing attacks on the flanks of the Feds?

Insurgents win war by trading space for time, and trading time for the will of the people.  Insurgents don't ever have to win any huge battles, the just have to stay in the fight long enough for the other side to give up.  If nothing else, remember this.

Prepare subsequent positions linked by a movement corridor protected from direct fire.
Run away or coordinate with another unit to flank before running away.

02 February 2011

Young widows

Last year I was placed in positions that dealt with several young widows after their husband died.  Some had been married for less than a year, others for longer.  I cannot explain their grief, except that there is a profound loss beyond the description of words.  As those experiences marinate and simmer in my brain I've come to a deeper understanding of what is important in life.

When a soldier dies things start happening, life insurance gets paid out, a process of ensuring that survivors receive benefits and entitlements.  We try to make sure the living go on living, but there is no way to replace the family's loss.  Big Army will eventually send a replacement to the unit, but the family will never receive a replacement husband and father.  Everything we do as Soldiers is replaceable, no one is indispensable.  But as family men, we are irreplaceable.

One of the good things about living today is that it isn't difficult for civilians to get a peek inside the military.  To see men come home and take off their uniform and play with the kids.  But this is an all volunteer Army, and many of our soldiers come to us already men of good character (there are some who slip through the cracks).  I wish I could say that the Army "makes men" but at best all we do is help with the final roughing out and initial polish. 

So it is no wonder that the women who chose to marry a Soldier were broken with grief when he passed.  They were good men to start with that the Army made better.  The children actually seemed more resilient than the adults.  But I wonder how they will grow without their fathers around to help them grow.  I want my sons to grow into better men than I am.

Death is easy, it is the aftermath for everyone else that is hard.  The tears, the sorrow.  There is no replacement for a human being, no replacement for a husband and father of good character. 

Is the massive die off of the fruit of two generations the reason why the UK slipped into socialism?  Did the State try to replace the father figure?  I don't know, but for the national character of Britain to go from Victorian to the mess it is now there had to be some cause.  I know that there are still real men in the UK, but the question is whether there are enough of them to change the character of their sons for the better.

I really don't have the answers, just a bunch of sad experiences dealing with the aftermath of death.

01 February 2011

Unrest/Insurgency/Stability, thoughts on Egypt

"Gung Ho" means "work together".  Effective organizations work together.

People riot for what they don't have.  If they have a monarchy they riot for democracy/communism/socialism.  If they have a secular govt they riot for sharia law.  The common thread is that people believe that they will personally gain something from change.

I've been thinking about the situation in Egypt.  When enough people get ticked off at the same time you have "civil unrest".  This is not the same thing as an insurgency.  But like anything else you can have both at the same time.  A good insurgent will use chaos to bring legitimacy to the cause by distributing food, medicine, or providing security since the cops can't handle it all.  If you are going to set yourself up as a replacement to government, you have to be able to deliver some of the services that governments deliver.

The scariest thing about the situation in Egypt is that the Muslim Brotherhood, an insurgent terror organization with a lineage of successful operations even Al Quaeda envies has been "invigorated" by several members escaping from prison during the "civil unrest".  The Muslim Brotherhood knows how to "work together" to conduct acts of terror and provide social stability.  It is the same recipe that Hezbollah and the Taliban used.

Of course all the rioting mobs we have here in the states?  Rioting FOR statism, against freedom (WTO riots in Seattle come to mind).  In the UK students riot for cheap tuition.  In France Muslims riot almost on schedule every summer.  It isn't freedom loving conservatives knocking over lamp posts and tipping cop cars.  We have people who are concerned about preparedness and security (if you have a zombie plan, you are one).  These folks are ready for when a disaster strikes by may not be part of any sort of insurgent/militia/cell structure.  However they can even help their neighbors most of the time and they won't be prey to looters or rioters. 

So "Gung Ho".  Work together, don't be part of a rioting mob, be part of the planned solution.  As the Iranian revolutionaries knew, you can USE the rioting mob to do all sorts of things you couldn't normally do by providing leadership and direction.

I do not want to see an Iranian style revolution here in the US.  Ever.  If the rioting mob came to your neighborhood, which of your neighbors would stand firm?  Which would crumble.  Which would set up an L shaped ambush and claim self defense in the aftermath?  In the FedGov we have a saying, "A disaster is the worst place to meet for the first time."  Which is why states that are good at responding to disasters like North Carolina conduct yearly readiness exercises to stress the lines of communication between agencies.  On a different way of thinking about things, why is it that HAM radio operators stay connected?  The same reason that anyone who can get an IP address can stay connected through IRC, even over a dialup connection.  Some technologies are more "robust" than others.

Networking now saves time and effort later.  There is a local group of 4x4 owners near Olympia, WA, who volunteer just to drive hospital employees to work when it snows.  That is a private group keeping "essential public services" open.  So, use the mob to destroy the .gov, or calm the mob to restore the .gov.  The more groups in the mix the more chaotic events become.  Sun Tzu knew that winning a battle without fighting is the peak of skill.

Of course if you can't stop the mob from forming, you can limit the damage by being prepared.  Because as many Egyptians have found out (and at least half of all Americans know) the .gov really can't protect you.