Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Sunday, September 30, 2007
Really I do. Must mean something. I'll keep plugging along, but I think it's necessary to set goals.
- Get syndicated
- Get halfway through my Masters
- Learn basic Swahili
- Publish short story (3)
Convince me that a terrorist employing, nuclear armed mullah-ocracy is in my self interest, and maybe I’ll be willing to “give peace a chance.” Until then, I’m going to read articles like this and grin:
"Everyone in the government and military can only talk of one thing,' he reports. 'No matter who I talked to, all they could do was ask me, over and over again, 'Do you think the Americans will attack us?' 'When will the Americans attack us?' 'Will the Americans attack us in a joint operation with the Israelis?' How massive will the attack be?' on and on, endlessly. The Iranians are in a state of total panic.'
Austin Bay on a much needed “Revolution in Diplomatic Affairs:”
Even the State Department's chardonnay and brie brigade suspects we have entered a new era of grimy, street-level foreign policy. It's an era where effective diplomacy starts with long days in bad neighborhoods, as culturally-savvy diplomats identify the hopes, fears and trends that seed future crises, and -- preferably -- create American-influenced opportunities to positively shape events.
In the past year or so, the phrase “Diplomatic Surge” came into vogue. I’ve always thought to myself, “yeah, you and what diplomatic corps?” At the end of the day, we’re left with a Corps of Diplomats more focused on their Foggy Bottoms than the national interest. More interested in leaking, undercutting, waiting out L’Enfant Terrible, and representing tout le monde to America than they are in advancing America’s interest, aggressively, to the rest of the world.
Short version: we’d have to blow less shit up if the diplomats did their jobs. Not strike deals, but advance America interest.
I kind of passed on this article saying that AFRICOM would be based outside of Africa. My reading, the decision is not made. But placing AFRICOM in the environs of Northern Virginia automatically piths any argument for standing up the command in the first place. If you wish to influence a region, go there. Putting it in Northern Virginia merely opens up another comfy career glide for the diplomatic corps.
Look, in general, the DoS (not all, there are a few bright spots) is the weak sister in this fight. A CIA without all the “sex appeal.”
Monday, September 24, 2007
Samsung was impressed by the efficiency of the cloners, so much so that the company offered them jobs. The cloners said no. Earning about $1.25 per phone, the cloners said, they found it easier and more profitable to make fakes. The only known result of the investigation? Samsung now takes care to release products in China shortly after they come out in Korea. Its only defense is to give cloners a smaller window of opportunity.
Sure, the cars they put out now are death traps, and China industry in general, with lead toys, tainted food, etc, is going through an annus horribillis, but here's tome betting that they will only get better.
Someone should shrink China down, and stick it on a desktop.
The desktopfactory. Priced out at 5,000 dracma and heading south.
The sweet spot is going to be when the desire to make, move and create meet the means to do so. When the value of stuff drops relative to the value of ideas.
British-based BAE Systems is proposing a sea-going mother ship for unmanned vehicles (UXV) of various types.
The future might not be now, but it can't be more than a few minutes away.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Look, let me be the first to say I look forward to the end of the Bush Administration. If only because those who have made a living off of doom mongering will be forced to board the S.S. STFU and set sail for oblivion. Or reinvention.
Art and fashion critic Naomi Wolf is out with a book titled “The End of America, A Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot.” In it, she outlines the ten easy bake steps to fascism. Boing Boing has the link over here.
I’m constantly amazed, when pearl diving through the internet, how those who fear the government the most are the same ones calling for its growth. Bush’s Evil Surveillance State would be improved with universal health care, mandatory psyche screenings, fewer guns and less Bush. Right.
What they really want is to execute a capitated regime change while growing the rest.
Her list reads like the half remembered meanderings of a self absorbed literati. Without even reading the book, let me try and see if I can guess Naomi’s pathologies:
1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy. (Jihad? What Jihad? Seen those swank new burginis?)
2. Create a gulag. (GITMOGITMOGITMOGITMO)
3. Develop a thug caste . (BLACKWATER!!!!!)
4. Set up an internal surveillance system. (That thing Poindexter wuz working on!!)
5. Harass citizens' groups. (Bitchslapping Moveon)
6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release. (I think she’s talking a fishing here).
7. Target key individuals. (People I know who’ve been inconvenienced at check in counters on the way to Vail).
8. Control the press.( FOX)
9. Dissent equals treason. (She talking about Zombies?)
10. Suspend the rule of law. (FLORIDAFLORIDAFLORIDA)
If you want to understand how totalitarianism develops, you only have to read three books:
If you want to watch it develop in real time, I mean see nuttiness really develop, then set your google alerts to “Venezuela, Chavez."
Friday, September 21, 2007
The weburbanist posts on a most delicious piece of vaporware: the GMC-PAD.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
"Brussels is the last obstacle," says Bart De Wever, a Flemish party leader. "We would have divorced years ago if it wasn't for Brussels."
It is with morbid fascination that I watch the dissolution of Belgium. The Brussels Journal has been, to my knowledge, one of the few places to go for information.
If Belgium breaks north an south, Brussels, with it’s great food and high crime rate could be set to be the first city carved out of a nation state by an Intergovernmental Organization (IGO).
And via BB, I dug up and read the new UN Declaration of Indigenous Rights. Good read. Follow the declaration to it’s logical conclusion, and you’re going to have many more nations falling apart.
Everyone, it seems, has some line of operation on what the next world order ought to look like (IGOs, Jihad, flat earth socialist). All I know is, it’s going to be damn interesting.
Bring popcorn. And a leatherman.
Well, I finally got my hot little hands on the Hayek’s book “The Road to Serfdom.” Particularly germane:
“We shall never be successful in our dealings with the Germans till we understand the character and the growth of the ideas which now govern them. The theory which is once again put forth, that the Germans as such are inherently vicious, is hardly tenable and not very creditable to those who hold it. . . The problem is not why the Germans as such are viscous, which congenitally they are probably no more than other peoples, but to determine the circumstances which during the last seventy years have made possible the progressive growth and ultimate victory of a particular set of ideas, and why in the end this victory has brought the most vicious elements among them to the top. Mere hatred of everything German, instead of the particular ideas which now dominate the Germans is, moreover, very dangerous, because it blinds those who indulge in it against a real threat…It is doubly dangerous because the contention that only the peculiar wickedness of the Germans has produced the Nazi system is likely to become the excuse for forcing on us the very institutions which have produced the wickedness.”
Now fast forward to 2007.
The Army’s gone ahead and updated the ACS. Put a little bit more fabric around the chest-al area. Fewer headlights.
That’s why you test products first.
Don’t ask me why, but I bought my first CD before I even bought a CD Player. A Kathleen Battle/Winton Marseilles Duet, I believe. Well, creature of habit that I am I’m going to order some bling for an iPhone I don’t yet own. You got to admit, this is a sweet mod:
And speaking of mod’s, I’d be all over this modbook if it had a swivel and a keyboard.
I am Steve Jobs’ bitch.
Monday, September 17, 2007
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
“Pretty good summarizing piece that I'll cite primarily as an example of rising MSM awareness of AFRICOM.”
True as far as that goes. However, the article strikes me as phoned in and formulaic.
I mean, come on:
1. Associate U.S. with ‘Imperial.’ Check.
“Not surprisingly, the establishment of a major American base in Africa is inspiring new criticism from European and African critics of U.S. imperial overreach.”
You see, U.S. ‘imperial overreach’ is an established fact. Like global warming. So, without running the numbers, we’ll fiat the overreach and queue up the critics.
2. Unnamed Eurocrat? Check
"If you have soldiers hugging trees and painting hospitals at the same time as they're killing people, the perception of the local populations is going to be altered significantly," says one European official, who spoke to NEWSWEEK on the condition that his identity be kept secret.
O.K. The kid (me) is about tired of listening to certain European ‘officials’ for whom freedom and self determination are second languages. Europe, IMHO, is heading in a direction wholly incompatible with increased liberties and prosperity. Their Bono-Heavy approach to foreign aid while jealously guarding the Common Agricultural and Common Fisheries Policies are, in some part, responsible for the mess Africa is in today (though, consistent with my philostainment approach to life, African’s are at most to blame for their continued acceptance of bad philosophies dressed in worse governments).
3. Quote an African Leader? Check.
Two weeks ago South Africa's Defense Minister Mosiuoa Lekota called for a continental ban on Africom and said 14 nations of southern Africa—including South Africa, Zambia and Tanzania—would reject the presence of "foreign forces."
True enough. The article is here, and Minister Lekota did say:
"Africa has to avoid the presence of foreign forces on its soil, particularly if any influx of soldiers might affect relations between sister African countries," Lekota said.
Minister Lekota also had this to say recently:
Earlier, ANC chairman Mosiuoa Lekota said the continued existence of the tripartite alliance was the only way South Africa would ever become a socialist country.
Seems Minister Lekota doubles down as the Minister of Defense and the Chairman of the ANC. Perfect for indulging flat earth beliefs in the benefits of ‘socialism.’
Unfortunately, Minister Lekota fits in well with the government of Thabo Mbeki. Fortunately, Liberia looks like it’s offering up some turf. Plus side, plenty of beach and a more direct flight for the Strategic Overwatchers of AFRICOM.
Pity South Africa.
4. Actually contact AFRICOM (they have phones now)? Not on your life.
The Global War on Terror and dirt napping as many Jihadi’s as possible and AFRICOM are about as related as a violent SWAT action with the Live Action News Chopper is to community policing and Guliani’s Broken Windows Theory. Different ends of the spectrum.
AFRICOM fits in more with a global counterinsurgency (a hazy concept I’m betting will pick up steam in the next few years). It’s part of a response to a developing, or I should say, devolving problem. The rise in this century of Movements and the quick buck, easy answer shamans who lead them. I believe it’s a correct response. Part lethal and part non lethal effects (mustn’t use ‘kintetic’ anymore, no siree), AFRICOM will be headed by a Four Banger, GEN Kip Ward, and his two deputies will be a Four Banger for lethal effects and a Four Banger equivalent (out of State) for non lethal effects.
Olive and the arrow. Great Seal type stuff.
AFRICOM, as I mentioned earlier, will also break with the traditional Staff approach and adopt an effects centric organization. Smart move:
AFRICOM’s will have divisions called outreach, plans and programs, knowledge development, operations and logistics, and resources.
AFRICOM is going to have to go through the storming, norming and forming all organizations pass through. AFRICOM will not be a lineal descendant of CJOA-HOA and the Pan Sahel Initiative, our current jihad bashing initiatives in Africa. AFRICOM will, by the time it reaches IOC, have the benefit of personnel, knowledge and methods in counterinsurgency hard learned in Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran (hey, I’m kidding about the last one. Don’t spill your Starbucks).
Let’s face facts. The rate of change in the international system is accelerating. It’s an almost natural response to the entropy that settled in after the welcome demise of the SOVUNION. The nation that innovates the next, best, security arrangement is the one that’s going to set the model for the next few years. Look at it as the dysfunctional Iranian/Hezbollah model on one hand versus the U.S. AFRICOM model on the other with the Chinese, Euro’s and Russians muddling up through the middle.
The gold medal goes to the country that innovates the best, the fastest. And I'll bet on the U.S. any day of the week.
Anyways. My two cents.
Saturday, September 8, 2007
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Monday, August 27, 2007
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Friday, August 24, 2007
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Monday, August 20, 2007
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Friday, August 17, 2007
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
The Aeroscraft ML866 is taking off. As a proof of concept, it's pretty cool.
Inflatable flying hotel?
I think that in the future, being homeless is going to be expensive.
Monday, August 13, 2007
My distant spot on the earth has an outrageously expensive internet connection, and addict that I am..... My dead run portable office made it through my travels, laptop, scanner and wacom tablet intact.
So, I'm back to blogging (which I like), drawing (which I love) and writing (which animates me).
Friday, July 13, 2007
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
It has become part of the accepted wisdom to say that the twentieth century was the century of physics and the twenty-first century will be the century of biology. Two facts about the coming century are agreed on by almost everyone. Biology is now bigger than physics, as measured by the size of budgets, by the size of the workforce, or by the output of major discoveries; and biology is likely to remain the biggest part of science through the twenty-first century. Biology is also more important than physics, as measured by its economic consequences, by its ethical implications, or by its effects on human welfare.
It's about getting my chocolate in your peanut butter. And vice versa.
Monday, July 9, 2007
More on J. Craig Venter, from the New York Times:
That hasn’t stopped synthetic biologists from dreaming. “Grow a house” is on the to-do list of the M.I.T. Synthetic Biology Working Group, presumably meaning that an acorn might be reprogrammed to generate walls, oak floors and a roof instead of the usual trunk and branches. “Take over Mars. And then Venus. And then Earth” —the last items on this modest agenda.
Doods been getting a ton of press, lately.
That same cost would buy you about six to eight F-22s.
But given the knife's edge the Air Lords have kept the A-10 program, I'm skeptical of their grab for the Unmanned Aerial Systems.
Sunday, July 8, 2007
Thomas P.M. Barnett links to the global incident map and finds it of marginal usefulness. He goes on for a bit and the says:
That was my primary reason in defining the Core-Gap breakdown in the first place: the Core has all sorts of rule sets, the Gap largely lacks them.
Now, work with me for a moment. We recently went through the "Immigration Debate." There's still plenty of fallout to occupy your attention, but let me tease out this: the idea that immigrants (largely code for Mexicans, let's be honest) are coming to Merka for a better life. Of course they are. Unless you're one of the oligarchs fortunate enough to be positioned in the soft-european elite that make up Mexico City, Mexico stinks. So you move.
Brings me to this from my mindmap:
Pretty simple, right (but then most things are)? Compared to the U.S., Mexico is a dysfunctional oil republic, so of course people move. Now, this disrupts our borders, impacts our health care system, and forces change within Merkan borders. So we need to adjust our practices to absorb the influx of people seeking a better life, Right?
Or, we can effect change within Mexico. Get Mexico to start acting in it's own best interest. Which means trending towards a more minimalist rule set. Effect this over time, then Mexicans will only cross the borders to host the Nightly News, like Cannucks currently do (well that and healthcare).
But Mexico is not "our" country. So? It is our problem. Borders bleed.
Now let's extend this.
Barnett's latest in Knoxnews is entitled "Army America needs versus the wars Americans prefer to wage."
The big-war crowd wants to write off Iraq as an aberration, preferring instead to focus on conventional war with rising powers like China. The small-wars faction envisions a future in which messy insurgencies are the norm.
Reminds me of the whole global warming debate. See, global warming is the problem we wished we had.
Sea Fighter. The original Littoral Combat Ship.
Now, the Homeland Bureaucracy: Division of Defense, went from the above, to testbedding the USS Freedom and Independence. Now, I'm not a certified navalogist, but this seems like a dead stick to me (spot the obscure movie reference?). The beauty of sea fighter was in cost (cheap), replication (many copies) and value (crew aside, damn near disposable). She'd give the Navy the ability to be everywhere at once.
But instead, the Homeland Bureaucracy: Division of Defense went with this slimmed down Arleigh Burke version of the Littoral Combat Ship:
All hat, no cattle. A 2.5in pea shooter (were standard 5inchers considered too aggressive), cost overruns, fewer copies. They're "Big War" hedges. Call me crazy, but which picture represents the foreseeable fight:
There is a big divide, in the ether of Homeland Bureaucracy: Division of Defense.
Between big, expensive and sexy:
And cheap, effective and ugly:
Interesting quote from the wiki:
Some believe that LCS is a "preemptive strike" intended to create a successor to frigates before former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld could replace them with "Sea Fighter": a concept for a series of corvette-sized attack boats.
SECDEF (R) Rumsfeld was always a small wars kind of guy. Without any references whatsoever, I believe he sat down in his den, late the night of Sept 11, 2001, scotch in hand, and saw a threat matrix that was mutatable and adaptive. He cheered SOF on horseback, favored Sea Fighter, and killed the Crusader and the Comanche. He did favor going light into Iraq, but didn't foresee the cultural quagmire, one where Merkin soldiers laid down a base of fire on Haifa street, while insurgents responded by laying down a base of fire on E. Capitol St NE. Conventional Popularity is harsh on old Don. History will be kinder.
Somewhere, Don is smiling.
The small war crowd wins. One reason. Necessity.
So, you want a war with China? And you've got it penciled in for the 2040-2050 timeframe? Sure, you're violating one of my geo-strategic maxims, namely, Don't War the People who Cook Well, but hey, have your Big War.
Your problem is getting there. Crossing the badlands.
I'm beginning to see the entire Withdraw from Irak debate as an unimportant side show. Stay, go, no matter. Look, the world's not going to go away because we decide, pace the New York Times Editorial Board, to pick up our toys and go home.
Why did I start with Mexico? To illustrate that one point. Borders Bleed. Mexico's a piker compared to the general nuttiness that out there. If and when we retreat from the great outdoors, and retire to our caves, the general nuttiness will track our footsteps back.
Sure, we'll try to uparmor our culture, but ultimately defensive measures are employed by those unwilling or unable to deal with root causes.
Immigration Reform (dysfunctional Mexico)
Insurgency (Tehran, Damascus and Riyadh)
Poverty (Bad Governance)
Ecological Disasters (Bad Governance)
There is an absolute limit to the amount of uparmor a culture can add (shoeless check-ins, CCTV, cavity searches), before it tips over and falls in a ravine. We'll get there, I suppose.
Barnett ends with this:
This intra-military debate should focus America's attention on the real question at hand: Do we see a future world full of messy Iraqs and Somalias and Haitis? Or should we pull back from that long war focus and prepare for conventional conflict with China?
Given the course of events since 9/11, which pathway seems more realistic to you?
China can wait. But I don't think that's truly the debate.
There's serious money in Big Sexy War. It's an argument the Ground Pounder has been losing to the Air and Sea Lords since the last necessity. WWII. But you know what, you go to war with the Republic you have....
But the nation needs small and ugly.
Back when I was a phrap, and American and Soviet leaders met, there was always a lot of yammering on afterwards about ground breaking Salt and Pepper treaties.
Well, Presidents Bush and Putin meet......and crickets.
There was some brief mention of Russia integrating into the missile defense sheild, but aside from that, nothing.
You know, nuking Europe, Kosovo and Nazi America aside, I wonder if Putin came with something more substantial. I mean, it's too late for CoDominium, right, but I wonder if Putin wants in, wants further integration into the core. A strategic alliance, of sorts.
Saturday, July 7, 2007
The United States has about 160,000 troops and millions of tons of military gear inside Iraq. Getting that force out safely will be a formidable challenge. The main road south to Kuwait is notoriously vulnerable to roadside bomb attacks. Soldiers, weapons and vehicles will need to be deployed to secure bases while airlift and sealift operations are organized. Withdrawal routes will have to be guarded. The exit must be everything the invasion was not: based on reality and backed by adequate resources.
The army doods should like, you know, move their stuff, and then....oh look, a mojito.
But then I paraphrase.
(UPDATE: That was unfair of me. Though they write in the aggregate, they're pictured as individuals here. In apologia, I post my own photo:
Set astroturf blasters to kill.
NYT: Fred Thompson and Abortion
AP: With substance lacking....
NYT: Will her face determine his fortune?
LAT/NYT: Abort-o-rama gotta scandal
AP: Too friendly with Nixon before pithing him
Thompson was supposed to announce sometime this past week. So saith conventional wisdom. And, despite their read, these articles don't write themselves. They were in the shoot, and had to go.
But you know, you'd think a man lacking in substance, with a trophy wife, pro-abortion creds and a hand in taking down Nixon would be a media l33t darling.
But not in Absurdia, the land we live.
I had to upgrade dead run portable office to the 1440 pelican case. Same day it came, my Rapidographs arrived. Pretty cool. I haven't used them to draw with in awhile. Looking to get back in the groove.
Dick Blicks having a firesale on rapidographs.
Cut rate pelican cases here.
Friday, July 6, 2007
You take deploy with your assigned weapon, you redeploy with it. Take along enough R&U and you'd be surprised what you can build. This guys a carpenter, that guy dabbles as an electrician.
CPT Manchester wants to haul it all in a Pandora's Box. Fascinating article on the coming revolution in fabrication technology and it's uses in war, over at Small Wars Journal.
More here on the edge.