Friday, August 27, 2021

Quote of the Day - The Collapse of the Elite edition

The first 8 months of this year has well and truly shown that the technocratic elite are well and truly out of gas

The managerial class increasingly appears as a sort of funhouse mirror inversion of the doomed russian nobility of the late tsarist era; they no longer know how to run a country and only seem to parasitize on the body politic while giving almost nothing of value in return. In tsarist Russia, the nobility proved increasingly incapable of winning Russia’s wars or running its ministries, making their legitimating narratives proclaiming them to possess some natural-born right and capacity for rulership increasingly impossible to believe in. In modern America, it is the meritocrats who now openly lack any merit or ability to rule, quickly undermining the ability of the average person to believe in the very foundational claims behind the managerial order. And by what right does the collective of non-divine kings rule? To borrow from Schmitt: by the same right as the collective of stupid and ignorant technocrats. In other words, by virtue of simply not having been replaced yet. Nothing more.

I find it very likely that most future historians will put the date of the real beginning of the collapse of the current political and geopolitical order right here, right now, at the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.

This is an exceptionally insightful post, and I strongly encourage you to go read the whole thing.  Found via the Arch Druid, who has some similar thinking that is also worth your time.

Deliberate

 The only possible conclusion is that the actions of the United States in Afghanistan was planned over a period of years and executed flawlessly.

The country was packed with enough equipment for a fairly large war when no such war was underway. Adding to the list of equipment we left, how much ammunition of various sorts did we stage? Everything from 9mm pistol ammo and .223 to surface-to-air missiles to artillery shells? No effort was made to removed or destroy anything over the past year.

The few thousand troop we have sent back to assist in the evacuation be part of the show have no chance of success. If we had wanted a secure airfield to evac from, we had Bagram and we walked away. The airfield in Kabul is overrun with civilians mixed with hostiles and there is no way to vet anyone.

We are flying out thousands of Afghans, some of which are certainly operatives. We abandoned the biometric equipment that allowed us to identify the people working for us, so the Taliban is better equipped to identify and execute them than we are to identify and rescue them.

The weapons we left will be used for decades, not just in the region, but across Asia and Europe. How long before someone is shooting down airliners?

The optics on the debacle are playing out for the world to watch as the U.S. has gone from being a relatively benign stabilizing force, providing a shell that allowed Afghanistan to build infrastructure, run schools, and start recovery from decades of war to being a hapless giant unable to even protect it's own citizens.

And so on. I'm sure there's plenty more to this and I expect the comments will point some of them out. 

The underlying question is who is in charge and what is the end game? My surmise is whoever it is, the end game is to reduce the U.S. to a second rate power unable or unwilling to project power outside of North America. If you consider that possibility, then everything from destroying the U.S. dollar as a world currency to eliminating U.S. manufacturing and reducing domestic oil production is part of a larger plan.

At this point, I'd need some compelling evidence it wasn't deliberate, it's too well planned for incompetence. 

Thursday, August 26, 2021

It's not done yet

Suicide Bombers target crowds in tight places.  Your only choice (defensively) is to disperse the crowds -  instead of one airport, ply from ten.  The Biden administration has precluded this - Baghram is now under Taliban control and the only airport for hundreds of miles is Kabul.  And so the crowds can't disperse.

And the US military can't outsource crowd control security, either.  Anyone who could handle this is trying to get on a flight out.  So our Marines will be on the front lines for the next five days.

Sitting ducks.

I wish I could put into words how angry I am right now.

UPDATE 26 August 2021: Yeah, this angry:


Yeah, that angry.

And There It Is

Suicide bomber at the Kabul airport. Casualties currently unknown.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Don't trust Twitter

Twitter is asshole.  Pro tip: when your Twitter app asks you this, click "Don't Allow".


Here's a better Pro tip: delete the Twitter app from your phone because that bad boy is spying on you, and it looks like it wants to spy on everyone who lives with you. 

Sunday, August 22, 2021

How Many Rifles Did We lose In Afghanistan?

 Frederick and Survivormann99 both commented on the last post wondering how it was possible for us to have left 600,000 rifles in Afghanistan. When I thought about it, it seemed like an impossibly high number, too. But one quick search delivered the results.

Turns out, we delivered 1,450,000 firearms to Afghanistan. 978,000 of them were rifles. Maybe. Could have been higher. Records are missing and incomplete.

It is being reporting in the New York Times, but that is behind a paywall. So here is a different link that references the New York Times article.

"...of an estimated 1.45 million guns the U.S. government gave to Iraq and Afghanistan over that period, the Pentagon could only account for 700,000 (48 percent).

The 1.45 million small arms included more than 978,000 assault rifles, 266,000 pistols, and almost 112,000 machine guns."

Saturday, August 21, 2021

16,000 Set of Night Vision Goggles

 We left it all behind in Afghanistan

 600,000 modern battle rifles.

7,035 machine guns

7,203 Humvees

40 aircraft, including an unspecified number of Black Hawk helicopters.

And so on.



Thursday, August 19, 2021

The loss from Afghanistan

OldAFSarge describes it.  It is impossible to excerpt.  Go, read.

Remember. 

*Updated to add link

Don't ever change, National Review

National Review, 2016:


National Review, 2021: Something is wrong with the President.

By "President" they mean Joe Biden, natch.  Sorry, neocons - your should have known than there was an expiration date when you started hanging with the Cool Progressive Kidz.  Sorry for your luck and all your broken Middle East War dreams ...

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Marines Die

 Army and Navy die, too. But the Marine Corps is where my heart is.

They die and  to suggest "not one more Marine" is to negate the reason d'etre of the Marine Corps. 

Marines die. They get sent to bad places and things go wrong. What I want from civilian and military leadership to limit those deaths, try to prevent Marines from dying needlessly and pointlessly, and to give Marines the best training, weapons, and support possible for the missions they undertake.

Even so, it was February 8th of last year the last time that a U.S. serviceman died from hostilities in Afghanistan. That's 18 months ago. It might not have be pacified, but it wasn't an active war zone either. So bailing and letting the country fall back into the hands of the Taliban was unnecessary. The 8,000 U.S. troops we had stationed in Afghanistan this year was a small number compared to the 63,000 we still have in Japan.

And it wasn't just about Afghanistan. The Chinese news outlets jumped right on this, suggesting that the U.S. was a weak ally and Taiwan would be foolish to count on us when the ball drops. They specifically asked how many American lives and dollars we would be willing to spend to defend Taiwan. A good question and an assessment I find myself agreeing with.


 


Apropos nothing

My parents were strong supporters of the Democratic Party and so we grew up with a fair amount of Democratic Party hagiography - stories of past great people to inspire the masses in the party.  For example, we heard often about how poor Harry Truman was pennyless when he left office and was only saved from penury when Congress passed an act giving a generous pension to former Presidents.

Alas, it seems it was all a crock, and Truman was a big fat liar.

Monday, August 16, 2021

Dad Joke CX

Long time commenter and friend in Real Life Libertyman sends this one in:

I stayed up late las night reading old magazines.  I woke up this morning with back issues. 

Sunday, August 15, 2021

No more Juan Restrepos

I must gently disagree with my co-blogger and brother-from-another-mother ASM826.  This is not the time to send in more Marines to a lost cause in Afghanistan.  We don't need more dead marines like Juan Restrepo.

Yes, this is Jimmy Carter 2.0.  Yes, this administration is going to cause the death of many of our former allies (and their families).  No, none of this is worth a single Marine's life.

This is the end of a bi-partisan f**k-up that goes back to George W. Bush and Colin Powell and runs through Barack Obama and John F. Kerry to Slow Joe Biden and whichever intellectual midget is SecState today.  If Trump were still in the Oval office then the withdrawal likely would have been better handled, but the Democratic Party is clearly not about good governance these days.

The thing for everyone to remember is when the next GOP critter plants his butt in the chair behind the Resolute Desk - assuming there will ever be another free election in this Republic - and when the next terrorist strike hits New York City: remember this day.  Adam Piggott sums the war up well:

The war in Afghanistan, which from the very beginning existed for no tangible military or political reasons, was a complete success for those that waged it. They rolled the dice and got twenty years. That’s twenty years of unmitigated profit in arms sales, corporate fees, expert consulting and every other aspect of the cost of running an expensive war and pretend nation building exercise in an alien land half a world away. And the poppies, don’t forget the poppies. The lucrative narcotics trade was completely taken over by the CIA and its proxies, a war on drugs indeed but not the kind of war that Nixon originally promised.

No more blood for lost causes, or to get four star Generals seats on General Dynamic's Board of Directors.

And remember Juan Restrepo.

Totally Not Saigon

 Nope, do not make comparisons.



Saturday, August 14, 2021

While They Are In The Open

 The enemy is on the move, in the open, thinking victory is in grasp.

Attack now. Land behind them. Trap them in the field while they are moving on Kabul. 

Then hit them from the air, let the Marines do what Marines do, launch the drones, do whatever it takes.

 Once they are in the city, it will be too late. 

But a victory that would undermine the enemy for decades could be won this week.

UPDATE: It's all over now, but let's answer the comments. 

1. What then? Nothing, I am not nation building, I would have dealt a devastating blow to an enemy what intends to bring the war to us as soon as they can. 

2. It's no where near genocide. Genocide is what Hitler did to the Jews. Genocide is the European settlers did to the native population of the Americas. 

3. It wasn't worth the American lives and equipment if we weren't going to win. The problem began when Pr. Bush II didn't go to Congress on 9/12 and get a declaration of war. Declare war and win. See 1945 for references as to effectiveness. Nation building comes after unconditional surrender.

4. Generals in peacetime are political appointees.


Lions, led by donkeys

This was said about the British Tommies at the Somme.


A century later, nothing has changed with the Perfumed Princes of the Pentagon.


There are no words that describe the waste and the futility.

 

Friday, August 13, 2021

Kandahar Has Fallen

 Across Afghanistan, the darkness falls. The U.S. sent 3,000 Marines to Kabul to evacuate the embassy. The northern half of the country is fully under Taliban control. It is a matter of days before the last spasms. 

It will go unreported in the U.S., but the killing, rape, and sex slavery that a Taliban victory represents will go on.

More than 6,000 Americans died there in the last 20 years for absolutely nothing.

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Turn, turn, turn 6.0

This is the best that I've made so far:


I really like this purple poplar wood, although this was much darker than the last ones - the dust from sanding was essentially black.  Gosh - variations in natural products!  Who'd a thunk it?

My skill is also developing.  I started this but had to stop it (ran out of time that day).  It was a mess - big jagged chunks broken off the lip, horrible ridges inside and out.  I was able to fix all of that, and I think it came out pretty nice.

One thing that was striking was how you get tiny droplets of water splashed all over your face when you turn green wood.  This was very green and basically soaking wet which I think led me to make the mistakes I made that first day.  It was a lot easier a week later when it had dried out a bit.  But that led to a different problem:

See the cracks on the rim at eleven o'clock and four o'clock?  Yup, unfinished wet wood shrinks and cracks as it dries.  There's a powder/epoxy product that my teacher says I can fix this with, which will continue my learning experience.  Hey, that's what it's all about, amirite?

But as I said, I'm pretty pleased with this one.  If you scroll back through all of these you can see a definite progression of skill.  Yay, me!

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

What are your chances of dying from Covid?

Well, more specifically, how do you calculate your risk of dying from Covid?  Aesop has an outstanding overview of the latest actual medical info that you will need.  He approaches this from a "to vax or not to vax, that is the question" perspective but this is a fine breakdown of the cost/benefit calculation process.

The only thing that I would like to see is case fatality rates broken down by age and by co-morbidity presence, but The Powers That Be are not making it at all easy to get data on any of this.  Quite frankly, it looks like TPTB are actively trying to prevent citizens from making rational cost/benefit decisions based on their own current state of health, which makes you wonder what their motivations are.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

How smoking can improve your firearms safety

Srlsy.  Well, smoking adverts. This is genius.

Apologies for the lack of posting.  Things are insanely busy, and by the end of the day I'm pretty wiped out.  The Queen Of The World has taken a hankering to "Downton Abby" on Netflix, and I've been enjoying it with her.  Until last night when Matthew was killed off (spoiler alert!).  It seems that ratings tanked after this; maybe people watched it because it was good escapist fun, and when you start killing off your most likable characters it's less fun?

But go read T-Bolt's suggestion.  It will horrify all the Right Sort of People®.

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Charles Wolcott - Cat on a hot tin roof theme

So I had a birthday.  I resolve to remain ageless.

And "ageless" is a pretty good description of the 1958 film Cat On A Hot Tin Roof with blockbuster performances by Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman, and a spectacular performance from Burl Ives as "Big Daddy" Prolitt - who celebrates a birthday in this film.  He had a birthday, I had a birthday.  Elizabeth Taylor is smoking hot, The Queen Of The World is smoking hot.  It's summer in the south in the film, it's summer in the south here.

That's about as far as the similarities go.

The performances overshadowed the musical score by Charles Wolcott which is a real shame because the music matches the mood so very well.  The Oscar that year for music went to André Previn's score for Gigi.  Sure, it's pretty and all, but the music here is no slouch.


Bootnote: It's impossible to post music from Cat On A Hot Tin Roof without also posting this.  Take it away, Brian Setzer ...



Saturday, August 7, 2021

Happy Birthday to me (and Dad Joke CX)

It's always nice to be 39 again.

And so to the Dad Joke: What does a turtle do on his birthday?

He shell-a-brates! 

Friday, August 6, 2021

Dad Joke CIX

What kind of shoes do Ninjas wear?

Sneakers. 

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Afraid of the 'Rona? Take up smoking

Seriously.  Quite frankly, I didn't expect that. Maybe smoking is healthy after all ...


UPDATE 5 August 2021 14:49:  It seems that Bear Bussjaeger posted data confirming this last December (!!!).  It seems an interesting media blackout that word just isn't getting around.  But the data are the data, and this looks legit.

Dad Joke CVIII

What do you call a bush that does scientific experiments?

A Chemistree.

(Extra crazy bonus points for those who recognize the bristlecone pine as a key contributor here) 

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Security Smorgasbord, vol. 13 no. 4

This Security Smorgasbord now has more snark!

Congress catches up to Borepatch from 2009, holds hearings on Power Grid security:

The lack of adequate security features in critical electrical grid equipment - including high-power transformers - that's made in other nations poses a serious U.S. cybersecurity threat, according to federal officials who testified at a Congressional hearing this week. Supply chain vulnerabilities could result in a grid takedown by nation-state actors and a lengthy recovery period, they said.

Prediction: nothing happens because the $1.2T "Infrastructure" bill is about funding Democratic Party clients, not providing reliable infrastructure.

The top 30 security exploits, per the NSA, UK NCSC, Australian, CSC, and the FBI.  Given the recent news about FBI assets formenting all sorts of plots that didn't exist before, you have to wonder if they're behind some of the Black Hat rings too.

"Swatting" perpetrator sentenced to 5 years in prison after victim dies.  Enjoy your time in jail, jerk.  "Swatting" is when some jerk sends a spoofed 911 call to the victim's local Po-po to get an armed response.  Victims of this sometimes die, either shot by the first responders or in this case from a heart attack.  This spoofing should be getting harder to do now.

D-Link issues fix for home WiFi routers:

D-Link has issued a firmware hotfix to address multiple vulnerabilities in the DIR-3040 AC3000-based wireless internet router.

Following successful exploitation, they can let attackers execute arbitrary code on unpatched routers, gain access to sensitive information or crash the routers after triggering a denial of service state.

The DIR-3040 security flaws discovered and reported by Cisco Talos security researcher Dave McDaniel include hardcoded passwords, command injection, and information disclosure bugs.

Hardcoded passwords.  Top Men, right there.  Top.  Men.  This is why we can't have nice things on the Internet.

Cell phone encryption was intentionally weakened:

A weakness in the algorithm used to encrypt cellphone data in the 1990s and 2000s allowed hackers to spy on some internet traffic, according to a new research paper.

The paper has sent shockwaves through the encryption community because of what it implies: The researchers believe that the mathematical probability of the weakness being introduced on accident is extremely low. Thus, they speculate that a weakness was intentionally put into the algorithm. After the paper was published, the group that designed the algorithm confirmed this was the case.

Ah, the Bad Old Days of export control'ed crypto.  Good thing that that would never happen now, amirite?

Monday, August 2, 2021

Dad Joke CVII

They used to charge you 25 cents to fill your car tires with air.  Now they charge $1.50.  That's inflation. 

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Charlie Chaplin - Theme from Limelight

Charlie Chaplin is one of the most famous of the 20th Century actors.  Yes, he was a commie bastard (back when that was said seriously, rather than as an insult), but he was groundbreaking as an actor and as a director.  What's interesting is that he was also a composer, writing the music for all of his films.  He won the 1973 Oscar for best original composition for this piece.