Morning Ed: War {2017.03.08.W}

This is one stolen prototype away from being a supervillain origin story.

Survive the armageddon in luxury.

Jon Schwartz argues that we fear Muslims due to our own denial and guilt.

Sana won’t condemn Daesh.

Sweden may reinstitute the draft, while Finland fights back in the info wars.

Thomas Donnelly and Gary Schmitt are less than impressed with Trump’s defense plans.

Andrew Exum believes that victory is imminent for Iraqi forces. Here’s an interactive map on where things stand in Syria.

Photographs of Revolutionary War veterans.

I am closest to the Menshevik Defensists. What about you?


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Will Truman is a former professional gearhead who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He also writes fiction, when he finds the time. ...more →

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139 thoughts on “Morning Ed: War {2017.03.08.W}

  1. Dudes, the FIRST thing you do is don’t advertise your location or your wealth in prepping. Shesh.

    Denial and guilt? BS. Ignorance sure. Anyone who pays attention to foreign policy and actions KNOWS we’ve been meddling in other countries affairs for decades.

    Survey: Roughly where the Cadets are but below the line.

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      • Allegedly, there is a site somewhere in North Texas (rural N. Texas, not the Metroplex) where one of these “elite bunker” things is being built.

        Y’know what? Come a real Armageddon, in the sense of “There will never be tp, chocolate, indoor climate control, or internet ever again,” I’d be happy to be one of the early casualties. Y’all are welcome to loot my stuff after I’m gone but I’m not sure how useful 10,000 books or yards of quilting fabric will be in a Mad Max future.

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        • According to Fallout 4, cloth can be used to make beds for your settlers, so it makes them happier.

          We’re not all going to be running around nekkid after the big one drops.

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        • The entire prepper phenomenon has always struck me as an extended poor risk assessment. Start from the perfectly reasonable position that your house might be cut off from civilization for a time: a big snow storm, or perhaps ice, or whatever. So it is the path of wisdom to make sure that you can get through a week or two without power or access to grocery stores. I have plenty of food in my pantry, and a camp stove. The snow/ice scenario implies access to water, but there also is a small stream not far from me. I could boil the water and be good to go.

          But then some people start imagining more dramatic, albeit less likely, scenarios, so they start thinking about longer periods of isolation: perhaps a month or two. From there things escalate to Mad Max territory, and people are stocking safe rooms in cabins in the Idaho woods.

          This makes no sense, unless you have sufficient surplus money that the cabin in Idaho is chump change to you. The collapse of civilization is a low-probability event. Diverting significant resources from day-to-day living expenses to insure against this is poor financial planning. Worse, if civilization really collapses and you aren’t at your cabin in Idaho, you are no better off than if you didn’t have the cabin–worse, if you diverted major resources to it. My understanding is that prepper porn recognizes this problem and includes the exciting trip from the office to the cabin as a standard plot point. How this would work out in reality is another matter. Everything seems to depend an awful lot on specific scenarios playing out just as imagined. This seems a peculiar combination of wild optimism awkwardly joined to wild pessimism.

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              • Richard,
                So, yes, we can’t say that it will be BP, or that it will be Monstersanto’s ecotech, or that an AI won’t simply hack the world improperly and destroy us on accident.

                But economics is a harsh mistress. Modernity has been predicated on an unprecedented wealth of cheap energy, and when that disappears, civilization as we currently understand it will go too.

                Global warming is a pretty high probability event, and is likely to take out civilization.

                Less high probability event is the narcostate below our border going tits up, and sending 25% of its population north.

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            • So was the election of Donald Trump!

              (and they’re probably not even independent probabilities from each other)

              And perhaps unironically, Trump totally destroyed the competition in the “Prepare For The Apocalypse, Now!” demographic.

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          • My understanding is that prepper porn recognizes this problem and includes the exciting trip from the office to the cabin as a standard plot point. How this would work out in reality is another matter.

            It is straightforward to find guides to what you should put in hidden caches along the route to your cabin, how to hide and relocate them, proper spacing, etc. Lengths of six-inch PVC pipe with caps are light-weight, easy to seal, and remarkably robust. I once met a man who had established such a chain across a stretch of New Mexico. Other than this one fixation, he seemed like a normal sort of guy. I decided to treat it like I would any other unusual hobby. He seemed pleased that I took an interest and asked questions.

            I give him points for consistency. At some point he had relocated from a large dense eastern city (where, IIRC, he said he had no chance of fighting his way to the isolated countryside) to a smaller more isolated city in the Southwest.

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            • Hence my observation that we are dealing with vary specific scenarios. If your guy was on a business trip or visiting his mother-in-law the day civilization fell, he would be as screwed as the rest of us. For that matter, did he keep notes about the precise locations of these caches, keeping notes on his person at all times, or did he figure on remembering where they were?

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          • Yeah. I have (easily) two to three weeks’ worth of canned/dry goods on the shelf, not just because of the (unlikely) risk of an ice storm here (and many of those goods are things, like canned beets, that might not taste GREAT eaten cold, but would be safe to) but also as a hedge against those weeks when I’m so busy that a trip out the grocery seems like an undue burden.

            I vaguely remember the “big blizzard of 1978” in Northeast Ohio. I don’t remember being scared, but then I guess my parents managed things pretty well. (I do remember “camping out” in sleeping bags in front of the fireplace – the power was out so the furnace blower didn’t work)

            I dunno. Sometimes I wonder if the prepper shows are basically for people who imagine themselves Mad Max – a fantasy not that different from the “princess bride” shows or the “perfect house” shows, if somewhat darker and more dystopian.

            I still maintain if most of the comforts of life went away and were going away forever, I’d be willing to go “Meh, nearly 50 years is a good run” and offer myself up as a human shield. I’d rather have a quick death than spend 20 years eating beans in a concrete bunker and debating whether I needed to shoot that guy seeking a little of my stored food.

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          • Richard,
            I’m sorry you don’t believe in global warming, but the collapse of civilization is a lot closer than you think.
            Hell, within the past century, we had a 10% chance of killing all life on earth. And you can’t even freaking tell me what disaster that was, because it didn’t happen, and therefore people don’t think about what COULD have happened.

            Imagine a billion refugees, backed by nuclear weapons. How quickly does civilization, modernity, collapse when the genocide starts coming out?? (Oh, the genocide? Already planned. If you want to talk a different genocide, the wall’s already built, and we can cheerfully let the country drown.)

            I know a friend who knows, well, practically everyone (he has friends in north korea,even)… He’s done a decent study of the last collapse of civilization (Argentina), interviewing friends of his.

            The problem with preppers isn’t that “You can’t get to your cabin!” The problem is most of them don’t got no friends, and will be easy pickins. You gotta sleep sometime.

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            • I probably should have addressed global warming. In the more dramatic projections, with sudden discharges of interesting chemicals resulting in massive increases in greenhouse gases, it is game over. Even less dramatic scenarios not resulting in Planet Venus often render a cabin in Idaho irrelevant. I should have specified that a scenario in which civilization collapses resulting in a Mad Max situation is low-probability.

              In any case, is global warming relevant to prepper planning? My sense is that they are part of the crowd that considers planning for global warming to be politically unacceptable. I was reading just the other day about city planners carefully using more politically correct language. Apparently it is acceptable to talk about making infrastructure “resilient” so long as you are vague about the reason we need this added resilience.

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              • Richard,
                Not planet venus, at least for a while. Deadzones in 20 years (too high humidity). Deadzones in India, for god’s sake. We won’t have enough places to put India’s population — let alone Bangladesh, which India would rather see drown. (Bangladeshi are even less popular than the Israelis AND the Palestinians).

                Food crisis in America — 10 days off the current growing cycle.

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              • The Mad Max movies are set years apart.

                When things are “Mad Max” bad, you can still buy gasoline and groceries, and can probably cross the country relatively easily.

                When things are “Road Warrior” bad, you’d better be at the cabin by now. If you have a decent mountain bike and parts supply, you can probably go shopping in town a couple of times a year to finish up your long-term equipment as you discover the things you missed.

                When things are “Beyond Thunderdome” bad, you’d better have all the details sorted.

                But you’ve got two whole inter-movie timeline gaps to do that.

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          • From the article: “And if anyone attacks? The outdoor guards are expected to head home to their families in the event of a disaster …”

            Sure. Alternatively, “the outdoor guards are expected to take over the facility and kill everyone who is not one of their close friends”. But that wouldn’t look so good in the marketing material.

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            • OK, you made me look, actually reading the article. It is absolutely adorable! How will the rich people get there as civilization collapses around them? We are given three methods: fly their private jets, drive their armored vehicles with extended-range fuel tanks, or walk. It seems odd that we have a scenario where walking is an option, but apparently just getting into a Toyota and driving isn’t, but let that pass.

              What happens once they get there and walk up to the front door? The outside guards have, we are told, all gone home. But there is inside security, consisting of an unspecified combination of employees and other rich people who got there first, and they control the “remote-controlled sniper post at the top of a dome built above the silo.” So the new arrivals walk past that sniper post and knock on the front door, and are let in, umm…. why? What reason have the people inside to share the five year’s food supply rather than extend it to last longer, to say nothing of having another person to keep with for the exercise bike in the workout room?

              This only makes a lick of sense if you assume a scenario where things get bad enough that the owners bail out and make the trip to the silo, but things aren’t so bad that the people inside really believe that civilization is collapsing. ‘Cause once you believe that, sharing stuff with other people simply because they paid for it back in the day is kind of contrary to the whole ethic.

              I also love that once inside, the operation will be run as a homeowner’s association. I’ve heard of HoAs from Hell, but this is ridiculous!

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          • I have the guilt free excuse of being a property owner in a semi-rural area to look at all the cool prepper tech as a means to prevent my animals from dying in the event of long power outages (a common occurrence).

            In my case, no power, no water, no animals… and likely forced to move out of the house. Remember, city water still flows during most power outages; not so well water.

            The good news is that there are lots of mini-tech solutions; sure, propane generator to provide electricity is the uber-suburban solution – and it’s good for 1-3 days. But it’s too expensive to *not* do anything 99% of the time… and 1-3 days only works in the suburbs.

            So we looked at Solar and Handpumps… and solar/handpump combos. My favorite (which we haven’t bought yet) is a Solar Handpump combo that is designed to work with your pressure tank so that you can have episodes of water using your existing plumbing… very cool. Simple solar water-pump technology has been perfected out in the West and is the easiest way to insure water… if you have elevation, install a cistern and you can distribute around the property with gravity. At this date and time, this is standard tech for many farms.

            Whole house solar still falls in the category of gas generator… a bad investment (in our area with our SRECS and cost of electricity), and the fact the most common grid-share implementation specificially cuts Solar generation during an outage makes it a bad choice. But application based Solar is nifty even without battery tech. The drawback (or attraction to some of you nuts) is that most everything is roll-your-own scratch kits which requires several different engineering computations to make work… anyhow, the point is that there are lots of interesting almost consumer ready off-grid tech solutions that can augment on-grid living. I expect to see them become standard in many houses in the next decade.

            So, the good news is that we could survive nearly indefinitely without power… as long as enough of you other folks have power. If we all lose power, then my problem isn’t water, its people. And that’s a problem I don’t want to solve for.

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              • Perhaps… but food failure will look very different from power failure; as will the response(s).

                But since you bring it up… the other thing about the luxury prepper condos was the absence of a sustainable food system. They mentioned Aquaponics, and that’s something I’ve researched for my own project… but one thing it is not is sustainable or regenerative; it is a high-input system that can become stable if you have power and inputs.

                Potentially adding Chickens might build out the loop… but then you need a sophisticated waste reclamation system. Or shit-tons of carbon.

                Bottom line, if you had Silo’s to fill, the first thing you fill it with (after water supply) is a regenerative food supply that is input neutral. I’m sure NASA is working on the same thing; I haven’t heard whether they’ve cracked the code. I mean, given sunlight and land I can build a nearly input free regenerative system that could feed small groups… but I couldn’t do it underground without light or access to free sources of carbon.

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                  • No, grain is a luxury good… it is finnicky and requires high-inputs and doesn’t give up its fruit without a fight.

                    Root vegetables and cabbage type greens are hardier, easier to grow and store well. I found William Cobbett’s cantankerous and blunt Cottage Economy very satisfying for disabusing me of my softer notions about building agricultural systems. If spreadsheets and blogs were around in the late 18th century he would have had quite the following.

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            • The problem is people plus food or, rather, the lack thereof. During the 1991 Los Angeles riots, the local supermarket was stripped bare in a matter of hours by people looking to stock up. Keeping the shelves of urban supermarkets stocked requires a constant inflow of trucks carrying calories. If there is a true nation-wide disaster and the food shipments stop, there will be gangs going door-to-door taking food and killing anyone who resists in a matter of days.

              Suburbs and rural areas may have an extra week or so, but hungry people will sweep through this country like locusts. It will be the rare prepper who is far enough off the grid to survive the first wave of starving people, then be able to grow enough food and fight off the bandits after the collapse.

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              • I know some preppers living in the Colorado outback who built a “quake-proof” house (a designation I find dubious since it’s owner built, consistent with the paradigm) to survive the impending apocalypse. The rationales differs: the wife believes that the entire midwest region of the US is going to collapse under it’s own weight, sorta like a sink-hole I guess, while the husband thinks it will be due to global economic collapse on accounta the dollar not being on the gold standard anymore. Which is all just dandy. Well, except they’re living in isolation from friends and family, disconnected from their communities and employment opportunities they once took advantage of, bankrupting themselves on the promise of a hoped for dream. But, you know, who am I to judge? Why put off prepping for Armageddon til tomorrow when you can do it today?

                The truly quirky part of their prepperation is that they have a 200 gallon fish tank on the lower level in which they’ll patiently nurture and grow trout as a protein source once food scarcity panic really kicks in. The whole thing is mindboggling.

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                    • filly,
                      My good friend is a horrible shot, but a great engineer good at building static traps.

                      In a moderate riot situation, we probably do okay, for living in a city. We live where the judges do, and we pay the taxes, so the police show up and prevent the rioters from straying too far… uphill.
                      Also, there are closer places to destroy.

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                • Which sort of outback, since we have several? Water supplies? Growing season for grain, tubers, and vegetables? And trout? Geez. Carp and bullheads are enormously easier to farm, although I’d do chickens before I did any sort of fish.

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                  • In the mountains on the east side of San Luis. They’re way off the grid, tho the town itself obviously has power, water, etc. I think the altitude up there prevents any real growing season, but the point I was trying to make was that their prepper premise includes the idea that roving hordes of starving bandits with guns won’t show up and take whatever they have.

                    Seems to me they’re imagining a post-Apocalyptic scenario where they just grow stuff and eat it on their porch while feeling a bit of sadness that there aren’t any people left in the world… But not TOO much sadness: those people were fools who got what they deserved by not preparing when they had the chance…

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                    • They could do worse. I’m too old for this stuff*, but if I were younger and going to do it down that way…

                      A hundred acres on a ditch at the north end of the San Luis Valley. Work really hard on my Spanish. Grow root vegetables, squash, beans, chickens. Get a license for industrial hemp and learn how to rett, spin, and weave. Build up the equipment and acquire the skills for machinist/blacksmith. Find a way to teach math part time in the local schools — “Oh, yeah, everyone knows Mr. Cain…” Community is the answer to armed gangs of mauraders. Of course, you’ve got to be fairly well off already in order to cover the start-up costs and not making a living at any of those while you wait for the wheels to come off.

                      * So I start from a set of assumptions that says some relatively high level of tech can be preserved (right on, ). If the climate-change folks that say we’re already into positive feedback territory are right we’re all screwed, so I assume that’s not true. I take a parochial view and say India will have to solve its own problems. I ask how to keep the lights on in a region big enough to support a population that can maintain the desired level of technology**.

                      **This subject gets argued over at Charlie Stross’s blog from time to time. Charlie thinks high single-digit millions of people is enough if we’re ruthless about shaping the economy (although perhaps Douglas Adams was right and we do need telephone sanitizers). I think medium-to-low tens of millions. If billion-transistor integrated circuits are the limiting factor — and there’s a case that they are — they sit at the top of a big pyramid of specialists and a society big enough to support them.

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                      • I get that. There are ways to make it work. I just wonder why someone would make those decisions based on the statistically insignificant likelihood that such an event would actually occur in their lifetimes*.

                        If someone wants to live that way for other reasons, then more power to em. But don’t confuse the two.

                        *I also know quite a few preppers who are entirely plugged into the real economy but who stock up on rations, ammo and fuel on the premise that they’ll be able to win the shoot out with gummint when the inevitable police state comes to take their guns away.

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                        • Stillwater,
                          Oh, you should just tell them to watch who they buy ammo from.
                          Certain Liberals run a list of folks like that, just in case the world does go to shit. Certain liberals like post-bombs, yes?

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                        • Some people collect cats, and some people collect hardtack and penicillin.

                          I’m curious if the preppers with the indoor trout pond have children. My guess is “no.”

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                          • I’m curious if the preppers with the indoor trout pond have children. My guess is “no.”

                            I’m more curious about whether they’ve worked out the cost (in hours and/or dollars) for a pound of protein produced this way. Trout are hard — they demand dissolved oxygen, relatively clear water, and are picky eaters. Bullheads pretty much don’t care how much crap is in the water, will go to the surface and gulp air if the oxygen content is too low, and will eat your garbage.

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                • This is why getting the whole neighborhood on board with programs like CERT is better. If everyone around you is ready for a week or two of roughing it, then you have a lot more buffer for food, space, etc., and your neighbors are not desperate.

                  Now, the roving mobs from Seattle… That’s why I live up on a ridge with clear lines of fire downslope. If I could only get some crew served weapons…

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              • My intuition is that population centers will hunker down for 2-4 months. Rural deer populations go extinct in about the same first 4 months, rabbits and various other game near extinction soon after. Fields are stripped and not replanted.

                By the time population centers start the exodus there won’t be any food source to support a traveling population. The locust may start to travel, but they are deprived of food every step of the journey.

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                    • Joe,
                      These won’t be “disgruntled black folks” riots. These will be “where’s ma food?” riots, which are substantially different.

                      You’ll see the rise of gangs, of neighborhood “watches”, of people who watch each other’s fucking back because no one else will.

                      The thugs have an advantage, but so do other groups.

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                      • Oh I wasn’t going along racial lines, just in the quest of ‘were’s my food’ only has two structures to burn: commercial and governmental.

                        I assumed communities would create their own social constructs to produce protection. That continues to put it in the 2-4 months hunker down time period.

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                        • Joe,
                          Neither was I, in particular. It’s just that when I look at America, I see black people rioting more than other folks. Not that they don’t have some justification for rage, mind.

                          You’re deaf and dumb and blind if you think communities would create their own social constructs.

                          If my city lost food, there’d be a Race War within a week, and the blacks would lose. (Sheer Numbers, that, I live in the whitest city in the country).

                          Social constructs happen in a few select places. Lotta places simply burn, lotta people get raped, die, etc. You got guns or tons of food, you got a target on your back.

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                • By the time population centers start the exodus there won’t be any food source to support a traveling population.

                  That’s not how it works. I mean, it’s not like everyone in the city is going to wait till there’s nothing left to eat before they leave the violence and chaos. A certain percentage will move out right away, just to escape the madness. And they’ll take their 5 gallons of fuel, Honda 2000 generator, and 50 lbs of beans and rice with em.

                  You know, they’ll get on the road, searching for a better life for themselves and their families. The American Dream and all that.

                  Adding: It just struck me that the whole American prepper movemement is based on the idea that real, true Americans are the kinda folks who build stuff outa chaos. They impose order on it, individually. Which is a weirdly self-fulfilling prophecy if true.

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                  • Unless people are being attacked outright they usually don’t move unless they become hungry.

                    Even so if significant percentages exit early it makes little difference on when the deer population runs extinct, the fields still get stripped. People can go for a few weeks eating leaves and various greens, but without a sizeable source of sustainable protein it becomes futile. Hair starts falling out, people get sick.

                    Which makes the whole ‘traveling for food’ or ‘running to the hills’ not much of a plan.

                    Without a plan for creating a sustainable protein source it doesn’t matter whether your traveling or not.

                    It takes a lot of work/knowledge to produce that kind of food in quantity, even more to produce in various locations that aren’t easily scavenged.

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                    • Unless people are being attacked outright they usually don’t move unless they become hungry.

                      Is this a data point? If it’s a fact, it’s certainly news to me. :)

                      Human migration throughout the ages was certainly not motivated by already starving to death. Different people respond to the threats of scarcity differently, seems to me. I mean, city folk might be dumb, but they ain’t so stupid as to just sit around waiting to starve to death.

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                            • Well, in a scenario where death by starvation is on the table (so to speak), just hopping in the car will be attended by many possible issues, I’d expect.

                              Like the possibility of not starving to death.

                              But I thought that very scenario is exactly what we are discussing, the scenario of death by starvation which justifies prepperation, no?

                              If not, what are we talking about? Getting thru a tough weekend?

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                                • Ahh. I’m still working on Joe’s “people don’t move till they’re starving” assertion.

                                  Personally, I think lots of people would move long before that. And they do so by mechanical power.

                                  {{Is the idea behind the countervailing view that city folk are so stupid that they wouldn’t act until they’re on the brink of death, at which point it’d already be too late? I sure don’t see that. Most of the meanest MFrs I’ve met live in cities.}}

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                                  • Well, we haven’t all decided on which food shortage scenario we’re gaming out… the slow climate change scenario, or the catastrophic infrastructure/power outage scenario.

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                                    • JIT doesn’t take much to crash and burn, ya know. 1 day of food in Manhattan. Take down a few bridges and you got problems.

                                      Y’all didn’t notice the beef shortage, but if wheat fails, we got problems. Worse if it’s corn, I reckon.

                                      Ogallala isn’t exactly climate change either.

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                                    • Or Global Thermonuclear Destruction…

                                      There’re lots of em. Some instantaneous, some transpiring in almost geological time frames. But they all seem to justify the exact same behavior and thought processes in the folks determined to prepare.

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                                      • Hillary Clinton.

                                        Nobody was gonna survive if that BP oil disaster went South. We’d have lost the oceans, and there’s no getting that oxygen back.
                                        I was on the edge of my seat (with fishgrease writing commentary) the entire time they were fixing that leak.

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                          • Stillwater,
                            You remember New Orleans. Certain cities are nearly impossible to evacuate by car.

                            Imagine accidents before you get thirty miles out — and maybe it taking a day to get the support vehicles out to fix them.

                            Either you are offroading it, or you’re potentially walking.

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                          • Even then, why not just drive?

                            Assume an abrupt wide-spread electricity failure (say, North Korea high-altitude nuke off the West Coast generates an EMP). Then with some modest exceptions, the total fuel supply is what’s already in the car, and what’s in the tanks at the filling stations. Do you own a manual pump to get gasoline out of an in-ground tank? Enough fire power to drive off the armed teenaged boys demanding sex-for-gas? Will you get to a gas station soon enough to fill up more than once? Chances are good most of the West Coast population can’t drive out of the affected area.

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                      • Well I have it on good authority that an Irish potato farmer moves for nothing, except maybe peckishness.

                        Stuff like the drought in Bogota happens often enough.

                        Along a strange related 1917 tangent, Ayn Rands family nearly starved to death.

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          • There does seem to be something about wanting and/or having a lot of money that causes people to think differently. First, there is enough anecdotal evidence that a lot of super-rich hedge fund managers do not care about social niceties or even just super-rich business owners who seemed obsessed with radical transperancy at the cost of emotions if it advances the best ideas.

            In the last weekend thread, we were discussing whether winning a super-big lottery jackpot would require hiring security for yourself and your family to prevent kidnapping.

            So having a lot of money seems to create a sense of ultra-paranoia and/or a sense of ultra cluelessness where you just can’t imagine a world where people dislike/resent you. There is a local for-profit art school which is basically a scheme to own a lot of property in SF and own a lot of property they do. The family does not quite understand that most of San Francisco hates them.
            The other way to think is that there are a lot of Robspierre’s out there.

            But I don’t think it will be Mad Max but we see that the rich are quite willing to tear a lot of things down in order to give themselves massive tax cuts and increase their wealth. The American rich seem especially good at this.

            So we will see FEMA and other popular programs have their budgets slashed to nothing under the GOP and Trump and then climate change will cause a bunch of natural disasters. We will be left to rot and the rich will be safe with just enough of a security force to protect them.

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            • Saul,
              Pish. You’ve never hired mercenaries in your life.
              That just means that you haven’t seen much of this grand world we live on, don’t it?

              Romney was a giant dick, but that was a learned behavior (before the brain damage).

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            • These stories always seem to involve rich hedge fund managers. These are people who’ve made their living calculating the sum of (likeliness of event)*(return). It makes sense that they’d become obsessed with that .001% at the extreme end of all their scenarios. That’s human nature.

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    • Agreed, it is ignorance, willful or otherwise, not guilt. What I wonder is how long it will take before the terrorist leadership figures out that Americans aren’t exactly going to be demanding radical foreign policy shifts because we are clueless.

      Perhaps if daesh focused their online propaganda less on fighter recruitment & more on political activism, they’d make more headway.

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  2. On the poll, I’m apparently not a real 1917 Russian. I’m in the lower right quadrant.

    Graphically it seems I’m closer to the Mencheviques, but we disagree on all the economic questions. And I disagree with the Cadets on the peace question.

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    • I guess I’m a rightist Menshevik Defensist… which makes sense if I given the nature of the questions and a pragmatic outlook projected back to 1917. Not sure that’s my true ideological plot, but if those are my only choices, probably as good as anything.

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      • I got that, too. Am frankly surprised I didn’t come up as one of the Doomed Aristocrats, but maybe that wasn’t an option in the outcomes.

        (I pretty much expect that if we had something like the 1917 Revolution here, I’d be among the first up against the wall)

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        • Madame, in my case it doesn’t matter who owns the revolution… I’m on the list.

          {unless its the Spanish Inquisition, then I’m probably good; but nobody expects that.}

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    • I’m between a Menshevik Defensist and a Cadet. It’s a tough call. I have a lot of problems with the Menshevik platform, but I don’t want to throw my vote away with the Cadets.

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      • Most moderns taking the quiz are going to end up in the Menshevik camp. Very few believe in anything close to Bolshevism, Socialist Revolutionarism, or anything on the White Side.

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        • The problem is that the actual historical Russia did such a bad job in action on any of the particulars that it’s tough to talk about the broader principles. Psychotic centralized government versus genocidal regional governments versus oppressive monarchy is a difficult choice.

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  3. The Sana article is interesting, like watching the oil separate from the vinegar in salad dressing; the left and Islam can only stay together if shaken vigorously.

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  4. I am a member of the Luzhin defense.

    But seriously, when I opened the site and noticed that the axis was authoritarian/democratic I decided it was a joke. Maybe at that time and place those work, but not now. Not with the current politics raging.

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    • I couldn’t get all the way thru it. By page three I realized that there is no clear line running thru the dismantling of the Tsarist regime to institutionalized property rights, market-based economies, mechanisms to ensure the protection of civil rights and responsive governance, egalitarianism, etc. It reminded me of how hard it is to create stable institutions out of whole cloth without a really heavy authoritarian hand. Much like what happened in Russia after the Soviet union collapsed, as well.

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  5. I am far away from the political forces of 1917 Russia.

    (one square to the right, two squares down from center)

    (that they put the Bolsheviks below the Authoritarian/Democratic Mendoza line is bred sivoy kobyly)

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  6. It’s International Women’s Day.

    A number of political party clubs at the University of Calgary decided to mark this by co-promoting a screening of the movie “Red Pill”. The communications director of one of the clubs sent out a promotional email with the, shall we say, impolitically honest subject line “Feminism is Cancer”.

    He is no longer the Campus WRP club’s communication director, and the Conservative club has also pulled out of promoting the screening. But, uh, both clubs still made that choice, for all that they’ve backed out now…

    (the campus Conservative and Wild Rose Party clubs – the WRP being an Alberta-specific farther-right-than-the-ordinary-boring-kind-of-conservatives party, and the official opposition in Alberta right now)

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    • I still don’t understand why the MRA people thought they could take their political terminology from the Matrix and get taken seriously. The Alt-Right has a better grasp on how to create political terminology.

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      • Doesn’t seem weird to me. I mean, what does being “woke” mean other than taking a metaphorical pill that shifts your consciousness?

        That isn’t to say there aren’t real issues in play, of course. More that those issues should be explicable in language which isn’t dependent on having taken such a pill.

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    • You mean Afghanistan: Classic? Are people still playing that? I played that for a while, but the graphics are so 2002 I uninstalled. I mean, ok if you need a Nostalgia fix or just want to mindlessly zerg some caves… but it gets old after you’ve beaten the main boss. Honestly, I thought they had already pulled the plug on those servers… are you sure its not co-op at this point?

      Syria: The Line in the Sand looks like it’ll be really cool, though. I hear they are almost done with Alpha testing and getting ready to release it in April.

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          • Ugh… and the DLC was derivative crap.

            I mean, Libya Act 1 was typical boss fight, but once you take him down, it’s Al Qaeda all over again. Rinse/Repeat for Somalia and Yemen. Cameroon had Boko Haram, but they are just AQ clones. Uganda was just PC crap trying to find a Christian bad guy, but they didn’t even do his back story right. And Pakistan isn’t even trying for a story, it’s just Afghanistan without a reskin and not even Poppies. By the time we get to Iraq 2.0 even the publisher in a moment of clarity admitted it was a junior varsity opponent. I mean WTF… who’s gonna pay good money to fight JV team?

            Sure, midway through the DLC debacle they made Iran – the card game… but that was kinda boring.

            Then they cancelled Syria: Line in the Sand after several iterations and practically ready for release – how bad was that one going to be if they cancelled in late Beta? It’s like they totally lost their focus and all they could really do were Drone simulators for the last few years. I heard they even got so lazy creatively that they were pretty much just selling the game engine to other publishers to do their own proxy games.

            Boy am I glad that’s over.

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  7. Also somewhat women’s day related – applying gender considerations to snow clearing schedules had some benefits.

    At least in the city described, ‘female’ statistically maps to ‘getting around other than by car’ – and smallish amounts of snow have a larger impact on walkability than drivability, so the standard ‘get the big roads first’ schedule turned out not to be optimal, and especially suboptimal for women, which fact was revealed by the gender equity based examination.

    Interesting quote – I wonder if similar figures would apply in my city:

    In fact, research shows that snow and ice control targeting pedestrians may yield economic benefits. Three times more pedestrians than motorists are injuries in accidents due to slippery conditions. The resulting costs of healthcare and lost production are four times the total cost of winter road maintenance.

    Bonus funsies: Breitbart has an article on this, with a comment section, where one can read about how this minor and apparently beneficial change to snow plowing schedule is an example of the madness of Marxism, and will shortly lead to Sweden changing its official language to Arabic.

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