July 31, 2011

America's First Sergeant vs The Mellow Jihadi

A nice shooting war going on over at The Mellow Jihadi. All for a good cause.

But the curious case of America's First Sergeant and the 2nd season Gilmore Girls DVD remains unsol-ved. Initial spin just does not wash.

Semper Fi, Marines!

July 30, 2011

The Sublime 'Doctrine Man'

I'm a little slow with this internet thing, so I must be the last former action guy (FAG) to discover Doctrine Man. This unknown army officer's animated sketches are more than a little ironic and downright hilarious to any long suffering staff officer or junior leader who works on the periphery trying to get things done. One of my favorites is Doctrine Man and the Mysteries of Command Guidance:



Here, Doctrine Man skewers a commander who epitomizes the Peter Principle and who's only discernible skill seems a talent for hierarchy climbing. Blame it on senior leaders who tend to promote carbon copies of their officer evaluation reports. The result, an unbroken line of corporate cheerleaders incapable of confronting non-linear dynamics and change.

Doctrine Man, whoever you are, I'm a big fan. Keep up the good work. 

July 29, 2011

'Get Rich Click': A Good Checklist, add Time & Effort

I got Marc Ostrofsky's breezy, New York Times bestseller Get Rich Click from the library, figuring I had nothing to lose in my quest for internet riches. Ostrofsky is an internet entrepreneur who's made millions despite never designing a website. His signature move was to sell the Internet domain name business.com for $7.5 million.

Get Rich Click outlines the most thorough topology of internet commerce I've seen. It's all there, from nurturing the successful internet entrepreneur mindset, to the arcane worlds of on-line advertising and affiliate marketing, to rules and checklists for driving traffic to your blog or website. Ostrofsky's so knowledgable about ecommerce and its internet applications, I wonder about the book jacket claim he has "no technical skills."

Most people make money on the internet today by selling that dream to others. Get Rich Click sounds a little too much like Get Rich Quick. Ostrofsky correctly calls link building "the currency of the internet" and to "write good content" to get traffic to your website. All easier said than done.

Indeed, there's plenty of good advice on diverse money making ideas like "internet advertising arbitrage" and marketing your ebooks, but the devil's in the details. Ostrofsky, and the entrepreneurs cited in his success stories, operate from tacit knowledge gained through years of ecommerce experience. That kind of know-how is difficult to articulate and cannot be taught. In fairness, Ostrofsky does repeatedly stress that making money on-line is hard work.

The reality for those dreaming of internet wealth is that Ostrofsky makes money because he's a very smart dude and innovative thinker. Reading his book won't make you rich, but it will tell you some of what you don't know about ecommerce. Just add time and effort and you just might make some money on-line.

July 28, 2011

More Fruits of DADT Repeal

A covert military group, OutServe, wants recruiters to focus on gays reports the Washington Times:
An underground military gay group wants military recruiters to reach out to the homosexual community in the same way they target blacks, Latinos and women.
The Pentagon’s ban on open gays is due to be lifted Sept. 20, meaning avowed gay people can sign up, those in the ranks can come out of the closet and the military will no longer discharge personnel because of sexual preference.
What is unclear is the number of post-ban policies that might be adopted to meet the demands of gays and ease sexual integration of homosexuals and heterosexuals.
A little activism will go a long way once the ban is lifted. Expect more "demands" from gays and lesbians as they prove yet again that the military ideal of selfless service is for suckers, and its all about mainstream acceptance of the gay lifestyle. 

ThinkProgress?

I first caught wind of Matthew Yglesias after reading a Blackfive smackdown of the lefty's efforts at military task organization. Glancing at today's hot topics on Memeorandum, Matthew wades in on infrastructure in the aftermath of a burst waterpipe in New York City:
I can think of a lot of reasons a country might have this kind of problem:
'A major Bronx water supply line burst this morning just before 6:30 a.m., flooding Jerome Avenue for several blocks near 177th Street, halting traffic, disrupting subway and bus service, and damaging two nearby gas mains. The water flow was capped by 9:20 a.m., officials said. Speaking at a news conference,Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said it was not clear why the pipe, which was installed in 1903, had burst. “It has been doing yeoman’s work, but unfortunately, after 108 years, it’s not,” he said.'
What’s difficult to think is a good reason for the United States of America to have this problem. The United States can current sell five year bonds at a negative real interest rate. The United States has plenty of unemployed construction workers. Are we suffering from a metal shortage of some kind that makes it impossible to take advantage of cheap lending to hire construction workers to fix broken pipes? If so, I haven’t heard about it. Instead, we seem to be suffering from a shortage of effective political leadership. Not coincidentally, we’re talking about a rich, low-tax country that’s also the world’s military hegemon losing its AAA-rated bond status. Interesting times.

July 27, 2011

Gaddafi Beats NATO: Film at Eleven

The Case is Sol-ved
Reports that France and Britain have agreed to terms allowing Gaddafi to stay in Libya signal NATO's defeat. What surprises is that anyone would be surprised by a Gaddafi victory. In the usually reliable Commentary Magazine, Jonathan Tobin offers an uneven explanation:
How NATO could have allowed itself to be thwarted by Qaddafi is a puzzle analysts will study for years to come. Part of the answer comes from the slowness of the Western powers to act. Had all of NATO agreed to intervention in the first weeks of the insurgency, there is a good chance Qaddafi could have been swept from power without much blood being shed. While France and Britain waited for a dithering President Obama to finally decide to join the intervention, the tables turned on the rebels, and Qaddafi was able to dig in and preserve his hold on his capital. The president’s ambivalence about Libya was a fatal flaw. Though he was sufficiently moved to support the effort to bolster the rebels, he was too timid to commit our forces to a quick resolution of the situation when such an outcome was still possible. In the end, he was stuck “leading from behind” in a conflict his administration denied was a war.

Obama's "Experience": My First Blog

Inspired by the absurdity of a Barrack Obama presidency, this post was my start as a blogger. I've tried to adopt a more conversational prose with shorter sentences and paragraphs, suitable for the on-line reader. It's a work in progress. Events since give little pause to reconsider my content about Obama....with the exception of credit due for writing best selling books about himself; there's strong evidence that he had help........

How's that Reset Button with Russia Working?

From the Washington Times:

"U.S. intelligence agencies concluded in a classified report late last year that Russia’s military intelligence was responsible for a bomb blast that occurred at an exterior wall of the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia, in September."

Further comment is just piling on. 

July 26, 2011

Why is Jimmy Carter Smiling?

According to The Other McCain, Jimmy Carter's on track to be only the second worst president in American history thanks to none other than Barry Obama.

Hope and change indeed. 

California Dreamin: Illegals get Tuition Assistance

As if you needed more proof liberals aren't fit to govern, California's Jerry Brown signed into law a bill, ironically named the California Dream Act, that lets illegal immigrants receive privately funded scholarships to attend state schools. As Brown says, "if we're going to continue as a powerful, equal-opportunity society, we're going to have to invest in our people."

Yawn. Except they aren't your people. Most are Mexican nationals who, you know, crossed the border without bothering to comply with the laws and customs of the United States. That's the "illegal" part of illegal immigrants. When elected officials decide to ignore the laws of the land it seems there's no red lines left to chaos. With California heading for a full-scale financial meltdown - fruits of years of liberal governance - it's law makers and chief executive cannot distinguish between the gas and brake pedals.

But the progressive experiment lives on, and for every yin, there's a yang. One feels for law-abiding, hard working Californians, who thought they created a Pacific paradise, only to be bum-rushed aside by unreconstructed hippies from the sixties. California Dreamin was not only a famous song from that smelly time, but is also the latest chapter in the left's continuing embrace of self-assisted suicide. Usually, fratricide among your enemies is a great, good thing. This time, Governor Moonbeam and his comrade homies are taking everyone with them. 

July 25, 2011

Smart Ass Humor

THE BEST SMART ASS ANSWERS
SMART ASS ANSWER #6

It was mealtime during an airline flight.
'Would you like dinner?', the flight attendant asked John, seated in front.
'What are my choices?' John asked.
'Yes or no,' she replied.

SMART ASS ANSWER #5
A flight attendant was stationed at the departure gate to check tickets.

As a man approached, she extended her hand for the ticket and he opened

his trench coat and flashed her.
Without missing a beat, she said, 'Sir, I need to see your ticket, not your stub.'

SMART ASS ANSWER #4
A lady was picking through the frozen turkeys at the grocery store but she couldn't find one big enough for her family. She asked a stock boy, ' Do these turkeys get any bigger?'
The stock boy replied, 'No ma'am, they're dead...'

SMART ASS ANSWER #3
The police officer got out of his car as the kid who was stopped for speeding rolled down his window. 'I've been waiting for you all day,' the officer said.
The kid replied, Yeah, well I got here as fast as I could.'
When the cop finally stopped laughing, he sent the kid on his way without a ticket.

SMART ASS ANSWER #2
A truck driver was driving along on the freeway and noticed a sign that read: Low Bridge Ahead. Before he knows it, the bridge is right in front of him and his truck gets wedged under it. Cars are backed up for miles.
Finally a police car comes up. The cop gets out of his car and walks to the truck driver, puts his hands on his hips and says, 'Got stuck, huh?'
The truck driver says, 'No, I was delivering this bridge and I ran out of gas.'

SMART ASS ANSWER OF THE YEAR 2010!!
A freshman college instructor reminds her class of tomorrow's final exam. 'Now class, I won't tolerate any excuses for you not being here tomorrow. I might consider a nuclear attack or a serious personal injury, illness, or a death in your immediate family, but that's it, no other excuses whatsoever!'
A smart-ass student in the back of the room raised his hand and asked, 'What would you say if tomorrow I said I was suffering from complete and utter sexual exhaustion?'
The entire class is reduced to laughter and snickering. When silence was restored, the teacher smiled knowingly at the student, shook her head and sweetly said, 'Well, I guess you'd have to write the exam with your other hand.'

A BONUS EXTRA

A woman is standing nude looking in the bedroom mirror. She is not happy with what she sees and says to her husband, 'I feel horrible; I look old, fat and ugly... I really need you to pay me a compliment.'
The husband replies, 'Your eyesight's damn near perfect.

Hat tip to David McGill

July 24, 2011

Obamacare?


Let me get this straight . . . 

We're going to be "gifted" with a health care plan we are forced to purchase and fined if we don't, Which purportedly covers at least ten million more people, without adding a single new doctor, but provides for 16,000 new IRS agents, written by a committee whose chairman says he doesn't understand it, passed by a Congress that didn't read it but exempted themselves from it, and signed by a President who smokes, with funding administered by a treasury chief who didn't pay his taxes, for which we'll be taxed for four years before any benefits take effect, by a government which has already bankrupted Social Security and Medicare, all to be overseen by a surgeon general who is obese, and financed by a country that's broke!!!!!

What the hell could possibly go wrong?'

Hat tip to Dave Sallee.

Norway's Wreckage

Courtesy U.K. Telegraph
Returning home from a ten day visit to the in-laws in Berlin, I heard the horrible news out of Norway. Like most, I assumed Muslim extremists, only to learn from the ever reliable New York Times that the suspect is an anti-Islamic Christian fundamentalist. Over at Pajamas Media, Bruce Bawer writes perceptively about the the double tragedy Norway suffered in loss of life and in the certain coming collapse of will to combat totalitarian Islam. As you might expect from a people swirling down the rathole of decay, something called "Norwegian" spoke out for the lunatic left (it helps to read this in a Kim Jong Il, "Team America" accent):
"Bruce Bawer, you hereby came on my enemy list. F%¤k you for writing this 2 days after our 9/11. You lie and lie and lie about my city, you lie and lie and lie about my muslim neighbours. Everything you write here is wildly exagerrated at best or downright lies at worst. You and your people will be persecuted now, and rightly so. If I see you in the street (and I know where you live) I will not threaten or hurt you, but I will spit you in the face for this. 85 kids massacred by your fellow anti-muslim loonatic, and all you can think about is your own obsession. GOds, it makes me so angry, I almost loose my humanist cool. Go home, go away, get the f out of my country and my city. I believe some of you right wing americans here can understand my feelings."

July 22, 2011

More Hope and Change: ACORN's got my Debit Rewards

My bank just ended cash back for debit card purchases as a result of new financial regulations recently passed by congress. Seems the government thought that bank/merchant relationships were an unholy alliance that resulted in artificially high bank revenue:

USAA Federal Savings Bank (USAA) has always been a strong supporter of consumer protection laws. You may have heard about new federal laws that affect the banking industry. One recently approved law contains a provision that significantly reduces the revenue banks receive from merchants when consumers pay with a debit card. USAA has always returned the majority of this revenue to members in the form of benefits such as free checking accounts. ATM fee refunds and rewards programs.

With the significant reduction in revenue.....we decided to cease debit rewards to maintain the other benefits.


Like everything Congress does, these new banking regs probably seemed like a good idea at the time. But in a complex network like our economy, everyone and everything is connected. No one person or organization can accurately predict the downstream effects of tweaks to the system.

My voluntary financial arrangement with my bank is none of the government's business. As a result of federal meddling, I've lost a small, but symbolically important benefit of the freemarket. I'm betting all that lost bank revenue is now going right into the treasury to fund ACORN and other social science projects.  


I can't wait until Obamacare kicks in. Government tyranny is here to stay.         

July 10, 2011

Intel Chief wants better Analyst Tools in Afghanistan

This from Politico:

The Army’s $2.7 billion computing system designed to share real-time intelligence with troops fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq has hurt, rather than helped, efforts to fight insurgents because it doesn’t work properly, several analysts who have used the system say.

The analysts, who spoke on condition their names not be used, said problems with the DCGS-A system led Maj. Gen. Michael Flynn, the top military intelligence officer in Afghanistan, to write a July 2, 2010, memo citing the urgent need for a new system to analyze the vast amounts of intelligence being collected.

I think Gen. Flynn is undoubtedly right about the need for more intuitive analysts tools. What he wants, however, does not yet exist. DARPA is working on a universal mathematical language to link disparate data sets like text, video, MASINT, internet and radio waves as well as just about every emanators that could conceivably collect data from an area of operations.

It's also true that intelligence analysis does not occur in a vacuum. Because of security regulations, information dissemination is problematic at best. Moving large files between computers at the same location requires burning info on CD's, since bandwidth is often inadequate at lower levels. After Bradley Manning, life for the analyst got even harder with new security protocols designed to prevent a repeat of such an incident. Note however, that a determined leaker won't bother with existing protocols anyway.

It's extraordinarily hard to move information from different classification domains, and in many cases you cannot without risk of compromising sources and methods in a higher domain. Other dynamics include unit command climate (read commander idiosyncrasies); analyst time to task vice competing soldiers duties; barely a year's continuity in theater as well that our junior military analysts are mostly in their 20's and relatively inexperienced. It's not just the tools, but the quality of the analysts that use them.

I contend that all of these cause as much, if not more, friction to intelligence operations than a shortage of tools.

The Army will certainly think the answer is to shove more dollars at a contracted system, but that has proven inefficient in the past. DCCGs just came on a few years ago, and Gen. Flynn is already praising its inadequacies despite its 2.7 billion dollar price tag. And I don't disagree with him, since no one could predict the evolution of our intelligence structure and requirements in Afghanistan. The U.S. army however, still fails to appreciate the imperatives of complexity, non-linearity and emergence in its operations.

I'd recommend off-the-shelf tools cobbled together at unit levels and addressing a specific operational context, vice spending hundreds of millions of dollars on a one size fits all system that will be obsolete once the first government check is signed to the contractor. Examples of decentralized adaptation to threats are legion, and usually the best counter measures to tactical and operational threats.

If we find our intelligence apparatus lacking after spending over $1 trillion to subdue Afghan peasants, maybe it's our approach that needs updating.

July 9, 2011

A New Beginning in South Sudan

Welcome to the world's newest nation, South Sudan.

This Just In:

Playboy reportedly offered Sarah Palin $4,000,000 to pose nude in an upcoming issue.

Michelle Obama was offered $50 by National Geographic.

In other news........ we all remember when KFC offered a "Hillary" meal, consisting of 2 small breasts and 2 large thighs.

Now, KFC is offering the "Obama Cabinet Bucket." It consists of nothing but left wings and chicken sh*t.


Hat Tip to Michael A. Staves

Clearing up some military thinking on Taiwan

After a lively naval discussion in the excellent Information Dissemination blog, I wrote "Consider a Taiwan conflict where aiding our ally requires the 7th Fleet to sweep the seas of Chinese subs before we can reinforce and resupply the island." Someone named Capn responded:

Can we put this canard to bed at some point? It's just not going to happen.

Any PRC assault on Taiwan would require, at minimum, three things: rendering the 7th Fleet combat-ineffective, closing Kadena, and closing Osan. There's no way the Chinese could make an effective assault without all three of those missions being completed, or perhaps more accurately, there's no way that the PLA(N) are going to chance such an adventure without achieving those 3.

The flipside of those actions are: you'd have thousands of dead US servicepeople, afloat and ashore, which is going to demand a US response from any president. Attacking Kadena would almost certainly force Japan, the second most powerful navy in the world, into the fight, and if not, when follow-on American forces arrive at JSDF bases, they'll be necessary targets as well, which will. Osan adds S. Korea.

Ignoring, for the moment, that this takes the PRC into a situation where a nuclear exchange is entirely possible, they'd then be at war with their top 3 trade partners (excluding HK). Not smart policy for a nation (and party) which has made it abundantly clear that getting rich is the focus of their current, self-preservationist, ideology.


July 8, 2011

Big Lie of the Day; Obama Political Advisor Says Unemployment Won't Matter to Voters

As reported in the Christian Science Monitor, top political advisor David Plouffe said:

"The average American does not view the economy through the prism of GDP or unemployment rates or even monthly jobs numbers,” Mr. Plouffe said. “People won’t vote based on the unemployment rate; they’re going to vote based on: ‘How do I feel about my own situation? Do I believe the president makes decisions based on me and my family?’ ” 

I guess he's right, unless of course you're a small businessman or contractor worried about hiring, uncertain how much your employees will cost tomorrow and what your capital gains taxes will be; or retailers whose livelyhood depends on discretionary spending; or states paying unemployment wages. In short, everyone is connected to, and affected by unemployment and the economy.

And if you're one of the 14.1 million unemployed in the United States, I'm sure you'll be happy to tell Mr. Plouffe how you'll vote next time.

Green Bay Packer Style Stimulus: Finally, Some Job Creation

After the Packers/Bills game, Buffalo released quarterback Trent Edwards.

During the Packers/Eagles game, the Packers injured Philadelphia quarterback Kevin Kolb.

Philadelphia then had to play backup quarterback Michael Vick.

During a playoff game against the Eagles, the Packers injured Michael Vick and another backup was needed.

After the Packers/Cowboys game, Dallas fired Wade Phillips.

After the Packers/Vikings game, Minnesota fired Brad Childress.

Four weeks after losing to the Packers, the 49er's coach Mike Singletary was fired and replaced.

During the Bears Playoff game, the Packers injured Jay Cutler and backup Todd Collins forcing the Bears to go with 3rd string quarterback Caleb Hanie.

Question : Is it just me or did the Packers create more jobs than Obama last year?

Hat Tip to Dave Sallee. 

Another Reason to Get Out of the U.N.

Adria, Rest in Peace
The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said the U.S. violated international law when it executed a Mexican citizen and convicted rapist-murderer Humberto Leal Gracia. President Obama tried to intervene with Texas authorities to stop the execution.

Adria Sauceda, who was blugeoned to death by Leal in 1994, could not be reached for comment.

It all goes to show that you don't mess with Texas, and that progressive do-gooders bleed too much.

Bradley Manning Hero? I Think Not

I get the whole “discretionary war is bad” thing American Conservative has, but Chase Madar's argument that PFC Bradley Manning deserves a Presidential Medal of Freedom for unauthorized distribution of thousands of classified documents is a huge lapse in judgment. Manning put the names of sources working for the U.S. in the hands of scum like Julian Assange, who wanted those names published and admitted he didn’t care if any were killed. You cannot have punks like Manning willy-nilly placing allies in peril, affecting national policy and international relations, because they’re working out their juvenile, gay angst at perceived mistreatment by authority figures.

Government is always inefficient, but because of Manning, new security regulations on information sharing and dissemination will complicate analyst collaboration and the downward flow of intelligence, ultimately placing friendly forces in jeopardy. It is already ridiculously hard to move information amongst the various sensors, processors and communicators that comprise the vast U.S. intelligence apparatus. While I agree with Madar that there is a trend to over-classification, no nation can openly conduct its affairs and expect to be effective and endure. That should be obvious.

Our government often makes bad decisions, but that is remedied at the polls and not at the hands of disgruntled 24 year olds or accused internet celebrity rapists.

July 7, 2011

Hacking Work: Breaking Stupid Rules for Smart Results

Through numerous examples, efficiency expert Bill Jensen and hacker Josh Klein show why “hacking,” or working around the corporate structure, is crucial for increasing efficiency and maintaining an edge in the marketplace.

A bit too much ink is spent on getting manager buy-in to hacks, as even the authors concede that managers have a vested interest in their workplace tools. Also, this book would benefit from a more thorough explanation of how increasing complexity is flattening hierarchies and pushing critical knowledge to the periphery where the action is, and away from management. But these are minor quibbles.

Hacking Work is required reading for anyone wanting to work smarter and not harder and a critical first step in mastering the imperatives of 21st Century business.

Obama's Original Sin? The Fantasy World of Frank Rich

The NYT has gone full campaign mode to help re-elect the President. Typical of the genre, Frank Rich writes in New York Magazine that President Obama's failure to regulate the "moneyed interests" that brought down our economy threaten his second term election prospects. In Rich's fantasy world, all the left's boogeymen are there; the unscrupulous cabal of Wall Street speculators, the big banks, and, of course, Republicans, who are sabotaging the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau by blocking all White House nominees from leading it. The result: 
The fallout has left Obama in the worst imaginable political bind. No good deed he’s done for Wall Street has gone unpunished.
Why does Obama let the 'fat cats' get away with it? Simple. According to Rich:
For all the lurid fantasies of the birthers, the dirty secret of Obama’s background is that the values of Harvard, not of Kenya or Indonesia or Bill Ayers, have most colored his governing style. He falls hard for the best and the brightest white guys.

William Lynn, Number Two Man at DoD, to Resign

The AP reports that Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III will leave his post once his successor is confirmed. Lynn said that he "thought this was a logical point for me to depart the Pentagon," and cited "personal and family reasons" for his departure. That's usually corporate speak for serious disagreement with management.

While stressing his departure had nothing to do with Leon Panetta, Lynn's resignation comes a day after revelations the White House now seeks $700 billion in defense cuts, twice the previous goal. Gates already trimmed $400 billion from the Pentagon and warned in his farewell speech that more cuts would harm readiness and capabilities.

The timing of Lynn's departure couldn't be worse for the administration and does nothing to calm fears that  Obama is only concerned with "nation building" at home and will use Panetta as an axe to hollow out defense. And it's ironic that DoD's number two man, who once served on Ted Kennedy's staff, is among those to seemingly draw a line in the sand.

Correction and Apology to Amb Susman

My Battle of Britain post incorrectly stated that U.S. Ambassador Susman was absent during the unveiling of the Reagan statue in London. The ambassador was there, but skipped the following banquet. My apologies, Ambassador.

I stand by my comments that President Obama has shown nothing but "unbridled contempt" for our British allies and that critical diplomatic posts are too important to be left to political fundraisers.

July 6, 2011

Iowahawk Tweets Obama

Chris Cillizza thinks Obama's Twitter townhall was a winner for the White House. Iowahawk has a few questions of his own. 

Will Jerry Brown mandate Gay and Lesbian Public School Curriculum?

 Courtesy of AP.
I've noticed a trend: news that makes the left look bad, i.e., their governing, I first find in the foreign media. The Brit press picked up on Obama's Memorial Day golf outing as well as the flubbed ceremony with 10th Mountain Division troops where the President forgot on whom he bestowed a Medal of Honor. Today, the Guardian reports that California Gov. Jerry Brown will decide if public school children get gay history training, er, education, much like the members of our armed forces. The Guardian notes:

"Supporters argued that it would give gay teenagers role models to aspire to and help combat homophobic bullying in schools. It would redress the imbalance in state schools that are already required to teach about women, entrepreneurs and labour and several minority ethnic groups including African, Mexican, Asian, European and Native American."

OK, so where does the imbalance stop? How about cross-dressers, don't they get a transvestite history month? And what do you do when you've exhausted all the months in a year? Can one minor in sadomasochism? You can bet the next progressive science project to trickle down to the state level will first surface in our military. And maybe I missed that "European" ethnic minority teaching requirement. History had to come from somewhere. It's a fact that Europe, in general, and the Anglo-Saxon ethic, in particular, heavily influenced American evolution and tradition.

Not anymore. For Americans, the left has another part of Europe in mind: the Balkans. No more of this 'E pluribus unum' nonsense on our coins. The grievance industry so critical to progressive hopes and dreams depends on segmenting the population into pliable victims, all competing for the fruits of someone else's labor. No one captured the black art of the left better than the late Joe Sobran who wrote, "Politics is the conspiracy of the unproductive but organized against the productive but unorganized."

Last week, Amazon pulled its California affiliates, refusing to pay the internet sales tax Gov. Brown desperately needs to keep six figure pensions flowing for retired civil servants. In the most heavily populated state in the union, the left's progressive ideals and governance are on full display. It's little wonder there's a net loss of 140,000 people per year and serious talk by the Riverside County Supervisor of secession from the state. A wonderful metric for gauging regional vitality is to examine U-Haul rates between various states. For anyone going to Texas, expect to pay a huge premium, but moving to California gets you cheaper than dirt rentals.

A few more years of such enlightened governance and Californians won't have to wait for the 'big one' to slide off into the Pacific. They'll voluntarily walk into the surf to end the misery.

Reagan Bashing, Obama Style and the New Battle of Britain

AP Photo
What if our (formerly) closest ally gave a party for one of our greatest presidents and the U.S. ambassador failed to show? That's exactly what happened when the Ronald Reagan statue was unveiled at the American Embassy in London on the 100th anniversary of Reagan's birth. In attendance at Grosvenor Square were Condoleezza Rice and British Foreign Secretary William Hague.

While I credit Huffpost with covering the ceremony, some critical reportage seems lacking. Where was U.S. ambassador Louis Susman? Seems that part of his job description involves celebrating the ties that bind. Certainly Reagan's affection and appreciation for the United Kingdom, and his special relationship with Margaret Thatcher, were evident in his presidency. Did Susman decide on his own not to attend, or did the White House provide guidance?

After the non-stop goat rodeo of incompetence after the bin Laden hit, that's probably giving too much credit to the gang that can't shoot straight. It's more likely that the investment banker, political fundraising hack - nicknamed the Vacuum Cleaner - that Obama installed to the Court of St. James was busy working on the re-election of his benefactor. After promising to change the way Washington does business, Obama continued the tradition of placing amateurs in key positions. Our ambassadors are supposed to represent the best wishes of the people of the United States and the majesty of our nation. And of all diplomatic posts, London is most coveted.

That is, unless you have unbridled contempt for the place. While the Susman snub is serious, it fails to make the top five Obama greatest insults to the Brits. Droning constantly to your oldest ally that there is no "special relationship," intentionally dodging the Prime Minister, flubbing a toast to the queen and shipping old Winston's bust back to the U.K., are hard to top.

But if someone handed me an iPod filled with the juvenile rhetoric of a perpetual college freshman, I'd consider that an act of war. 

July 5, 2011

The NATO Crackup Begins

Hans Hillen
Proving my point in yesterday's post about herding NATO cats, the L.A. Times has this:
The eight nations shouldering the military burden have been pushing in vain for the other 20 NATO members to take on a larger role. Behind the scenes, meanwhile, major players disagree among themselves on the best strategy.
Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini scolded the coalition over the accidental killing of civilians and called for a cease-fire — a step that U.S., British and French officials say would allow Kadafi to regroup.
In the Netherlands, Defense Minister Hans Hillen complained last week of "mission creep" and suggested that the campaign's advocates were deluded in believing they could crush Kadafi. "People who thought that merely by throwing some bombs it would not only help the people, but also convince Kadafi that he could step down or alter his policy were a little bit naive," Hillen told reporters in Brussels.

Hans, you've got my vote for international symbol of Euro weakness. After all, it's silly to assume that a political entity with almost 332 million people, and a GDP greater than that of the U.S., can go toe-to-toe with a country of 6 million at war with itself and led by a cross-dressing, Michael Jackson impersonator living in a tent. Even the mighty presence of the U.S. 6th Fleet fails to gird Hillen's loins for battle. Then again, with a CINC like ours...well, never mind.

And I don't think anyone is "merely throwing some bombs," but perhaps dropping them? Not exactly the display of technical know-how you'd hope for in a defense minister. That is until you learn the Dutch thought defense too important to leave to a professional and chose a career journalist instead.

In Sochi, another Euro mandarin, NATO SecGen Rasmussen, lectured the Russians about their silly need to respond to NATO's silly need for a defensive missile system:
Let me assure you. We are not threatening Russia. Our missile defence is defensive in nature. It is to protect against attacks on our populations and territories. And we do not expect Russia to attack NATO Allies.
Unfortunately, I have seen public pronouncements that Russia might consider spending billions of roubles on a new offensive system to target the West. Let me put it bluntly: This type of statement is unnecessary. Because Russia is not threatened from the West.
This type of investment is a waste of money. Because the money is better spent on economic development, on modernisation, and on job creation.
Mr. SecGen, if you don't expect Russia to attack NATO, what do you need the missiles for? Shouldn't you spend the money on - you know - economic development, on modernisation, and on job creation? And Rasmussen obviously thinks Russian pronouncements on a new offensive system "unnecessary" since the "fineness of his moral weave," to quote the superb Paul Fussell, should be self-evident to all.

And in who's capable hands have we left NATO? Rasmussen is an economist and career politician in the Danish Liberal Party. Not that there's anything wrong with that. 

July 4, 2011

Obama, Libya, and Leading From Behind the Back

As NATO struggles mightily with a fourth rate military power in Libya, U.S. air and naval forces continue to provide the backbone of effort, but not the killer instinct, in the air war against Gaddafi. The war that isn't (if you believe President Obama) has devolved into a bloody stalemate, that because of the indecision and fecklessness of the President, is likely to turn out badly for U.S. interests - whatever those are.

Meanwhile in Sochi, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen reassured the Russians that there are no NATO plans to inject ground troops in Libya. Perhaps forgetting that air power alone is unlikely to win even "kinetic actions," the good secretary vowed to fight till the last American, or until Gaddafi "stopped attacks on civilians." Rasmussen also said the alliance has "successfully prevented the mass killings of the Libyan people." I guess this presupposes that Gaddafi's forces aren't Libyans and that the refusal of NATO and Obama to go for the jugular won't prolong the conflict and the killing? And why is Rasmussen chatting up the Russians when the reason for NATO was to keep the Americans in, the Germans down and the Russians out?

There are 28 member nations in NATO. Euroelites inclined to one-worldism must develop a finely tuned capacity for cognitive dissonance to pretend that "cat herding" among so many competing interests is a viable calling. Certainly in a structure as large and as expensive to maintain as NATO, there's plenty of institutional stupidity resulting from the sheer mediocrity of the hierarchy climbers. As Charlie Martin says in a talk he gave on big organizations, "people rise in an organization until they fail at the skill of rising in an organization."

Sounds a lot like Obama's career path and the most famous example of the affirmative action Peter Principle. (Note to Colin Powell: try harder.) Now that the President is actually expected to lead, instead of just running his mouth, Americans are increasingly aware of the massive mistake they made electing him. As Commander-in-Chief, Obama's gravest duty is the wise commitment of American troops to conflict. In deploying our forces over Libya, Obama sounds an uncertain trumpet, substituting vague humanitarian goals for concrete U.S. interests. Even the "cowboy" Bush sought congressional approval before sending in the troops. And just as Britain cuts the Royal Air Force's budget while it strains to keep up Libyan operations, Obama insists on another half trillion dollars from U.S. defense despite five ongoing major military operations and the rising threat of China.

Knowing Obama's background, it's exactly what I'd expect.

It's Official: Stimulus Costs $278,000 Per Job

Courtesy of funnyobamas.com
As reported in The Weekly Standard:

"The government could simply have cut a $100,000 check to everyone whose employment was allegedly made possible by the “stimulus,” and taxpayers would have come out $427 billion ahead." 

One might ask, where then did the money go? I'm not an economist, but I'd guess it went into enlarging government at local, state and national levels.

"The actual employment numbers from the administration’s own Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the unemployment rate was 7.3 percent when the “stimulus” was being debated. It has since risen to 9.1 percent. Meanwhile, the national debt at the end of 2008, when Obama was poised to take office, was $9.986 trillion (see Table S-9). It’s now $14.467 trillion — and counting.

All sides agree on these incriminating numbers — and now they also appear to agree on this important point: The economy would now be generating job growth at a faster rate if the Democrats hadn’t passed the 'stimulus'.”

And so on our 235th birthday, Americans reap the benefits of living in the world's newest and largest, banana republic, all made possible by erudition and wisdom of our "godlike" president and by the mental midgets in congress. 

Happy Birthday, U.S.A.

Joe Rosenthal-Marines on Iwo Jima
"A republic, if you can keep it." Benjamin Franklin

July 3, 2011

Lesbian Marine Defrauds Government

More of the fruits of DADT repeal. This larceny made possible by the enlightened social engineers in the U.S. congress. 

July 2, 2011

Is the Sun Setting on the British Empire?

Courtesy of the RAF
The boys at Strategy Page report that the Royal Air Force is on life support. The RAF, with less than 700 pilots, must cut its force of 38,000 by 13% over the next four years. Britain's spending and debt must be serious to effect such a severe drawdown of a national treasure. But I probably err in assuming that more than a few remember the majestic RAF of the past and its meaning in the history of a once proud people.

History is not on the minds of Brits today. The National Health Service science project foisted on the U.K. by socialist busybodies is bankrupting the nation. Meanwhile, the governing elite's obsession with political correctness is a cancer eating away at traditional British values. How else to explain the glaring lack of political will in dealing with a malignant Islam that seeks the destruction and domination of the very country that openly welcomed it. So pervasive is the Muslim influence in England that "Londinistan" accurately reflect the prevailing values of the capital, where several years ago, young Muslim men sat in outdoor cafes openly trading cell phone videos of beheadings from Iraq. The moral compass is so askew that Prime Minister Cameron and the Justice Secretary had to affirm that using a knife against a burglar in your home is "acceptable self-defence." What does one call a government that forces its citizens to choose between bodily harm or death and prison?

These tiny islands, which at one time claimed dominion over a quarter of the earth's surface, is now a nation of midgets ruled by jackals.

Once, the British Empire was a place of enlightenment like no other. Isaac Newton is arguably the greatest scientist who ever lived. Chaucer, Shakespeare, Joyce, Milton, Dickens and Orwell elevated the magic and versatility of the English language into an art form. The Statute of Marlborough of 1267 and the Magna Carta formed the basis of common law and jurisprudence used extensively today in English speaking countries. Some of the greatest arguments for individual liberty and economic freedom ever written were penned by John Stuart Mill and Adam Smith. Britain abolished slavery in 1833 and sprung some of the earliest and most influential reformers in women's suffrage and industrial reform. If ancient Greece was the father of modern democracy, then Britain was its mother. No other country so casually spun off as many successful and enduring political entities: Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, India, New Zealand, Singapore and the United States.

And the battle honors of the British Empire are equally as long and distinguished. Crecy, Agincourt, Marlborough, the Spanish Armada, Trafalgar, Waterloo and a thousand other places long forgotten, where the Crown's warriors were, amongst their enemies, "feared by their breed, and famous by their birth."

In 1940 the British Empire stood alone against the invincible Nazi war machine that so easily over ran western Europe. As only he could, Winston Churchill prepared his countrymen for the trial to come:
What General Weygand called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad sunlit uplands, but, if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that if the British Empire and it's Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, "This was their finest hour".
In the Battle of Britain, an outgunned, outmatched force of airmen, trying to overcome decades of neglect, as well as the Luftwaffe, rose to the occasion and handed Hitler his first crushing defeat. "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few," was Churchill's apt description of the skill, valor and devotion to duty of the RAF. Churchill, whose words seemingly fork no lightning with his successor today, as well as with the man in the Oval Office, never counted on the demise of the British Empire so soon.

Events are unpredictable and refuse to heed domestic consideration. If an air war against a fourth rate power like Libya strains NATO to its breaking point, then Europe is already unprepared for a real threat. Just as in the 1930s when it thought its air force dispensable, the effort to enfeeble the RAF today is not Britain's finest hour.

"The Drunkard's Walk" by Leonard Mlodinow

For those who wondered why college statistics was an elective, and not just for future accountants and mathematicians, the author and physicist Leonard Mlodinow has a wonderful book for you. The Drunkard's Walk neatly explains the often counterintuitive influence of probability and randomness in our daily lives. All the early mathematicians are there: Zeno, Bernoulli, Laplace and Pascal. The evolution of game theory and the early efforts to beat the roulette wheel fascinates and entertains. It take a special intelligence to decipher this stuff and explain it to the layman; Mlodinow has that gift.

I always wondered why Marilyn vos Savant was considered so smart until reading about the "Monty Hall" problem. Without giving away the ending, lets just say Marilyn was right and thousands of Ph.Ds were wrong. And Bruce Willis and Bill Gates were lucky that fame and fortune found them.

As a fan of chaos theory, I wanted more about phenomenon like the "butterfly effect" and the impacts of modern complexity on everything around us. But that's a minor quibble.

The Drunkard's Walk is another testament to the observation that it's often better to be lucky than good, and that if you have a head for numbers, the secrets of the universe are yours.

July 1, 2011

Was Pentagon Survey on DADT Repeal a Fraud?

Photo Courtesy of Buzzfeed
Kudos to Maj Pain for highlighting this travesty and ultimate weakening of our armed forces. See the link to the Inspector General's report here. One key finding:

The Department of Defense Inspector General Report clearly indicates that someone within the Obama Administration used dishonest tactics and media manipulation to repress the voices of military people, especially close combat troops, and to ram through repeal of the 1993 law in December, before the new 112th Congress took office. The DoD IG Report is surprisingly frank on this point:

“Early evidence suggested that the primary source of the information was someone who had a strong emotional attachment to the issue of furthering a repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and probably had ‘assumptions going in’ that the CRWG's findings would ultimately reveal that repeal would not be supported by a majority of Service members. In addition, e-mails from the Washington Post reporters suggested that the source was not a "disinterested party,” and other evidence showed the source carefully disclosed specific survey data to support a pro-repeal agenda. We consider it likely that the primary source disclosed content from the draft Report with the intent to shape a pro-repeal perception of the draft Report prior to its release to gain momentum in support of a legislative change during the ‘lame duck’ session of Congress following the November 2, 2010, elections.” (DoD IG Report, p. 20)

By now it should come as no surprise that the President and his cronies will stop at nothing to attack traditional American values. And why not? Republicans in congress lack the balls and seemingly the inclination to stop him. In clear violation of the law, Obama continues to funnel money to ACORN, as well as ignore the War Powers Act on his Libya adventure. 

And history will not be kind to Sec. Gates' for rolling over before the dishonest push to displace martial values from our military and turn our forces into the Village People.

Obama's Gitmo Mouthpiece Now in Charge of Counter Terror Ops

And so, President Obama's non-war on terror continues. Today he named Matthew Olsen as his next head of the National Counterterrorism Center. Olsen is currently general counsel for the NSA and brings a wealth of legal experience to the dirty business of capturing, coddling and Mirandizing unrepentant, totalitarian Islamic thugs bent on the wholesale destruction of the good old U.S.A. And he's already got a head start, previously serving as Obama's lead investigator of detainee abuse at Gitmo. Olsen and Eric Holder should make nice bookends at White House cocktail parties, testament to Obama's enlightened and utterly ridiculous approach to national security.

What's next, JAG officers as infantry division commanders and CAG's of aircraft carriers?

In real life, actor David James was not a Navy lawyer, but he did play one on TV; as well as a SEAL, an undercover agent, an F-18 pilot, and half a dozen other highly technical roles requiring years of specialized training, all of which were instrumental in polishing off his legal caseload each episode. In the fantasy worlds of Hollywood and Washington D.C., actors and lawyers are multifunctional, modern day saviors of the downtrodden, able to quell global warming with the wave of a hand while fighting racism and injustice with the other.

While Mr. Olsen's appointment was not entirely unexpected, we assume Mr. James was otherwise engaged and not available for the job.

The Anti-Obama

1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity, by legislating the wealth out of prosperity.

2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.

3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.

4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.

5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work, because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation.

Hat tip to Dave Sallee

Rumsfeld's Advice for Panetta

AP Photo
Warning against taking the axe to defense, Donald Rumsfeld has some good advice in the Wall Street Journal for Leon Panetta:

"The U.S. taxpayer is also subsidizing a bloated and broken personnel system for nearly 800,000 Defense Department civilians. Since 9/11, the number of active duty military has increased 4%, while the number of civilians has increased nearly 50%. More recently, the Pentagon decided to increase its acquisition corps to 30,000 from 20,000 civilians. The last thing the nation needs are new and expensive bureaucrats managing fewer programs. The Obama administration should consider a commitment to reduce the DoD civilian work force by 10% through attrition."

As a former army intel officer, I can vouch that the civilian intelligence structure is living larger than is reasonable. Many positions have little to do with real intelligence and analysis but are merely servicing the bureaucracy; cutting and pasting someone else's Power Point briefings; attending conferences with no required output; pushing information up an inefficient chain of bureaucrats, and dealing with information security and assurance network requirements written by central management with no idea of job imperatives on the periphery. And to keep up the bloat many retiring personnel engineer seamless transitions to civilian jobs doing the same thing as when they served in the military.

Rumsfeld also would scale back cold war relics like aircraft monitoring of Russian bombers and subs as well as base repositioning in Asia and Europe. All good ideas.

As a Tricare beneficiary, I can attest to the low premiums and believe these should be hiked. But I reject Rumsfeld's suggestion that Tricare fees should reach parity with civilian fees. Retired military are not like civilians. We faced far different career paths, the dangers of combat tours, time away from family and a host of environmental hazards that civilians cannot imagine. I would expect a guy who certainly benefits from a generous government pension and health plan (federal civilians, in most cases, have better benefits than the military) to understand that.

Although Rumsfeld hopes that the conventional wisdom is wrong about Panetta (a former budget director picked to drawdown defense spending), hope is not a course of action. Obama will plow those swords into entitlement shares to ensure a continuing feeding trough for his constituents.