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.