Wars and Rumors of Wars – David Pascoe

Wars and Rumors of Wars – David Pascoe

The world – and I say this with qualified reservation – seems to be going to hell. I mean, I’m not sure it’s time to strip down and wear a sandwich board reading, “the END is NIGH,” but there’s some badness going on, pretty much across the planet.

A prominent leader in popular opposition to everybody’s second favorite Vlad (I mean, how can you hate a tsar, premier, president who hunts tigers shirtless? Except for that whole Ukraine thing. And the Georgia thing. Also, the whole NKVD thing…) was shot and killed just outside the Kremlin, Saturday. Vlad said the murder had all the marking of a contract hit, and then cast significant looks at other prominent opposition leaders.

ISIS/L keeps beheading people, in Libya, this time (which suggests a name change could be in the offing), though some folks have gotten a bit tired of it. And not just Egypt, but Assyrian Christians in Iraq and in Syria are fighting back against the barbarian horde. More power to ’em.

Bibi Netanyahu is on his way here to give a speech to Congress on why, exactly, a nuclear powered Iran is, just maybe, not the greatest neighbor Israel could have in the next, oh, forever. The White House thinks that’s just fascist talk, man, and couldn’t they just chill out a bit so this super nifty agreement thing can get hammered out without the buzz vibe getting harshed? I am a bit curious why El Presidente Supremo is so desperate to secure a favorable relationship with one of our most ardent adversaries in the Middle East. Especially when the White House has such a complicated position on just what’s going on in that part of the world.

Speaking of that wretched hive of scum and villainy, the present regime appears to have pushed the “independent” FCC into adopting a controversial body of regulation to ensure Net Neutrality, a term that seems to mean different things to different people. To some, nothing much is going to come of this. To them, I would ask why, then, we needed a vote along party-lines to emplace regulations to ensure nothing happens. To others, those at the FCC have just perjured their immortal souls for temporal gain, and we’re the ones who will ultimately pay for it.

The thing is, none of this is exactly new. The barbarian hordes have stormed the gates of civilization time and again, while Nero fiddles and Rome burns (don’t think too hard about the non-connection, or any questionable historicity. It’s almost 0300, and my cortex isn’t doing the heavy lifting anymore). History isn’t repeating itself, but it sure seems to be rhyming. That said, is there a Charles Martel to hammer this chaotic new century into something lasting? Who knows; that’s what makes living in the present so much fun. For a given value thereof.

What we do have is hope. And a whole lot of it. For all the regulators tighten their grasp (the more mumble-systems will slip through their fingers?) they really don’t understand what they’re doing, or just what it is they’re fiddling with. And every time someone in power has attempted to quash free speech and enterprise with legal (and sometimes violent) action, us clever apes go around ’em. There was a brief discussion in the comments just the other day. I expect something interesting would happen almost immediately. Of course, that’s assuming the courts don’t toss out the new regulations. Again.

And then there’s this, wherein there are links galore to people doing fascinating things with easily obtainable devices. Devices that aren’t regulated, at least not yet (and what kind of intrusion would be required to regulate hydraulic presses and lathes?). There’s enough knowledge and opportunity out there to outlast several lifetimes (though I have hopes), and the best thing we can do to fight the would-be oppressors is use it. Grab hold with both hands, as the ride’s just going to get more exciting.

234 responses to “Wars and Rumors of Wars – David Pascoe

  1. Dave, just the links to the bookstores et cetera is enough to get you in trouble at Schloss Red. I do not need to be looking at . . .oooh, how to build a! . . . and that’s fascinating . . . and that’s been on my ‘interesting-to-learn’ list . . . Darn you, Dave. 🙂

  2. It’s exciting stuff, and an exciting time. The Maker movement has already changed the way people see and do 3D printing, and it’s only going to get more crazy. I said it before, I’ll say it again: everything the government tries to regulate will be engineered around.

  3. The Net Neutrality argument, that ISPs might sometime, in the future, do something unspecified that we need to stop with secretive legislation that should supposedly cover it but nobody’s read – added with two of the five commissioners being definitely against it – makes me think it’s going to be a real pile of fecal material.

    Those cheering for it have no cogent arguments. Yeah, I know about the Comcast/Netflix kerfluffle – and I also know they got it hashed out. But the cheerleaders seem to think this will improve things no end… yet can’t specify what they’re expecting to have improved.

    Well… we’ll see. But the average joe should realize by now that any act with a descriptive name is going to have results 180 degrees off from what the name implies.

    • That last bit re names of laws is true – one could almost make a drinking game out of it.

      • That goes along with any law named after a person will have unintended results- always bad unintended results, never good ones.

      • One could just look where affordibility is taking us…

        I am bothered by omnibus bills which legislators admit have to be passed before anyone can find out all of what is (hidden) in them.

    • The core issue that the cheerleaders have is that there is this Big Thing, which they do not in any degree understand, which appears,to be Unregulated. Amd since they are all about having a regulation for everything, so they can punish their enemies and exempt their friends, this development is Simply Awful.

      Challenged on that basis, the Net Neutrality fans I have run into tend to get silent and (in some cases) thoughtful.

    • Those who think that Comcast is going to throttle/block Netflix are completely ignorant of how the Internet works and how it came to be.

      There are very few places in this country where broadband – most areas have both cable and DSL – is a true monopoly, and those places would be better served by local regulations.

      There’s also the issue of the cord-cutter’s chickens coming home to roost. For the longest time the overhead of the cable system was largely paid for by the TV subscribers – in the beginning that was all that there was so the rate structure was set up to support the system – broadband was nearly pure profit. As more and more people cancel their TV subscriptions, all that overhead must be paid for by the internet users. Either directly in rate increases or indirectly in fees charged to providers who pass the costs onto their users. The only thing Net Neutrality does is ensure that broadband internet rates go up for everyone, regardless of what they use the internet for (there’s also the path of letting the infrastructure decay and everybody gets slower speeds, but I don’t see that one as likely).

      • The only thing Net Neutrality does is ensure that broadband internet rates go up for everyone, regardless of what they use the internet for (there’s also the path of letting the infrastructure decay and everybody gets slower speeds, but I don’t see that one as likely).

        Already happening in my home valley, thanks to that stimulus project to improve rural internet. The town got better internet, because the phone company finally replaced a bunch of stuff, but the fiber optic that was going to be put in everywhere? That project stopped dead when they FIRST started talking about a program to improve rural internet, and nobody is putting in stuff if they can avoid it. No, I don’t know exactly why.

        • Eventually, wires and firber for the last mile connection will go away. Completely. In countries that don’t have our previously wired infrastructure- they’re not building out wires and fiber. As the communications networks expand, they’re going all wireless. We will eventually catch up with that…
          Sometimers, exisiting infrastructure is a hindrance rather then a help. It’s been said many times the key to Japan’s and Germany’s post WWII industrial success was starting from scratch since their old industrial infrastructure has been somewaht destroyed by us.

          I’d have to sit and map out the overlay, but 50 or so 10 mile high antennae across the United Sates should be sufficient to allow wireless internet and communications to anywhere in the continental U.S. Wiith some spillover into our northern and southern neighbors. 10 miles high is well within current strength of materials distance.

          • Apples to rice; every time I’ve had someone give me an actual example of a place that is doing so much better on internet than we are, it’s because their population is in an area where that’s reasonable. If you compare our #1 internet state to the #1 internet country, they’re neck-and-neck, outside of the question of how they were defining access. (I can’t remember precisely, but it was something like their stat for having internet was higher than ours for wanting internet “access,” which suggests something odd going on.)

            We have radio based internet in some rural areas– that’s one of the systems that’s gone down hill, actually. It’s been in use since the mid-90s, but when they started making noise about “improving access” the upgrades stopped.
            As recently as ’06, I could play MMOs; by ’10, I couldn’t even sign in to a game, and even my email started timing out. No matter the time of day, week, or year, so it’s not demand based.

          • I don’t buy it. You can always expand the bandwidth of a wired connection by adding another strand (granted, a 3′ diameter data pipe for residential use is a little…impractical). There’s only so much room in the EM spectrum.

            Those countries that aren’t building out wire connections usually have exceptionally low computer densities. As the number of people willing and able to connect increase I think you’ll see people spending the money to run wires.

            • Verizon is trying to abandon wires where it can. One example http://www.westsiderag.com/2015/02/27/verizon-outages-stretch-for-weeks Stories like this appear all over the country. Two well sited 4G towers could handle all the phone and internet traffic of my small non-bell descended phone company, at considerably faster speeds then my DSL. But, they have the local wired monopoly- why should they invest in better service? They had the capability to run DSL a long time ago, when NY started making noises about subsidizing the build out of rural areas. So, instead of getting it in 2000 as they originally promised, we got in 2013 after they received a state grant.

              • Oh, and I forgot- the local state senator and assemblyman took credit for getting them the grant and us getting the new DSL service. Only those of us who follow issues compulsively know the promise of “free tax money” delayed the implementation 13 years.

              • But, they have the local wired monopoly- why should they invest in better service?

                Because if there’s any money to be made in it, someone else will.

                • Not if the business is a regulated monopoly for the public good, like for example, phones or cable…

          • William O. B'Livion

            “Eventually, wires and firber for the last mile connection will go away.”

            Not for any reasonable value of “Eventually”. It will “always”[1] be faster, easier and more secure to push a signal down a piece of copper or a light pipe than to broadcast it over the air.

            [1] Essentially the same value as that Eventually.

          • I just had a weird idea. There’s a company that makes balloons for radar units that are used to interdict drug traffic in Florida. These are on station, more or less permanently and have been operating for years. Why not just put the wifi antennae on balloons?

    • Rob Crawford

      By the logic of the FCC getting involved in the Comcast/Netflix dispute, they could get involved with Amazon’s relations with publishers. After all, paper and ink are communications technologies, and communication is “too important to be left unregulated”.

    • Got in a huge fight with a former shipmate for directly quoting the “information” page he linked. (It was a rah-rah support page. Which contradicted itself inside of four… whatever you call a blurb size paragraph.)

      Boiled down to, He Feels Owed. ‘s what it’s boiled down to each time I can get folks to do more than cheer.

  4. Ascher Goodrich

    I was actually rather optimistic about the future a few months ago. Yes, the last few presidents-along with the rest of our leadership-have been absolutely abysmal. BUT, the midterm election was overwhelmingly in favor of the republican party and more people than ever are unhappy with our socialist disaster. I mean administration. I was certain that the next presidential election would end not necessarily with an excellent president, but certainly with a republican president. Which is orders of magnitude better than Supreme Chancellor Hillary. Then I found out that Jeb Bush was running for President…

    Perhaps a sandwich board would be appropriate now.

    • William O. B'Livion

      BUT, the midterm election was overwhelmingly in favor of the republican party and more people than ever are unhappy with our socialist disaster.

      Yeah, how’s that working out for us?

      Someone needs to grab Bitch McConnell by his lapels and…Uh…Shove a spine into him.

      Go big or resign you f*king cowards.

      • Reminds me of a line one character gives to another in a story I’m writing (homage to 1632): Steel in your spine, or steel through it. Choose.

  5. A hard leftist family member linked the assassination on Facebook with the caption “This does not bode well for dissidents in Russia.”

    Things never bode well for dissidents in Russia.

  6. Not to mention that there’s a very good chance that Russia is shooting down our satellites as a warning.

    • Hmm, I had just assumed it was a malfunction (short circuit, bad battery, whatever). I couldn’t disagree with your interpretation unless I knew the satellite couldn’t have been hit from Russia when it experienced the temperature spike.

      • I can’t find the orbital position of the satellite at the time of its breakup. I can find several sites showing current positions of the debris objects, but not the last position of the satellite itself.

        As I noted in the original post, the US and China are both also known to possess such weapons and, on occasion, to actively test them. It’s very possible that it was one of the two. But without the positional data, my best guess is that it was the Russians. They seem to be the ones with a reason to do it.

    • Really, a ground to orbit ASAT laser? Somebody needs to brush up on some math. There’s a reason the ABM laser is mounted on a 747 and not a satellite.

      • I’ll check the math while you check the history. Such weapons are known to exist and have been tested by the US, China and Russia (to varying degrees of success).

        http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/10/06/china_satellite_laser/

        Despite the atmospheric effects, there’s another reason to investigate ground based options: you can make the power source as big as you want because you don’t have to get it airborne. That was a major factor in the cancellation of the Airborne Laser project – the thing was limited to a number of shots in the single digits before it ran out of juice.

        Despite that… although my original post posits ground-to-space, that’s a theory based on known/leaked details of previous tests of existing systems. I’m not ruling out an airborne system (although, again, given previously disclosed details I suspect a ground based system).

        • If you want to define “varying degrees of success” as “zip” and “none”, sure. You’re talking about putting a pretty hefty amount of W/m^2 past several MILES of diffraction and absorption. Not to mention all the changes in density through the air column that would serve to deflect the beam off target (satellites aren’t that big seen from the ground). Sure, you can make a ground-based power supply arbitrarily large, but you can only pump so much energy into the atmosphere before it ionizes and becomes opaque (a process that isn’t exactly healthy for other materials near by).

          • Then you haven’t checked enough. The Chinese are known to have disabled US satellites in the past (confirmed by the Pentagon).

            http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1529864/Beijing-secretly-fires-lasers-to-disable-US-satellites.html

            That’s a lot of success right there. There are also, more recent, reports of China successfully destroying other satellites.

            http://chinadailymail.com/2014/05/03/china-claims-successful-attack-on-japanese-military-satellite-destroyed-control-chip-with-secret-weapon/

            I understand the math, and I understand that it’s difficult. I also understand that it has been done, and that several governments are investing a hell of a lot of money into doing it.

            Followup question: if it wasn’t an air or ground based laser system, where did the sudden temperature spike come from? Those don’t “just happen” in space. The heat has to come from somewhere. The vacuum of space itself is very, very cold. The radiation of the sun puts out a good bit of heat, but any satellite has already been designed to cope with that. So where did the heat come from?

            • Can you actually read English? Both of those articles describe soft kills of satellites, which require orders of magnitude less energy than blowing the thing up. You do not understand the math otherwise you wouldn’t be making these patently absurd claims. But hey, it’s understandable, the math is rather complex, involving things like division.

              “where did the sudden temperature spike come from? Those don’t “just happen” in space.”

              Tell that to Jim Lovell. Unless you think the Chicoms have time-travelling lasers that can reach into cis-lunar space, which is as plausible as what you seem to think the Chinese have.

        • That was a major factor in the cancellation of the Airborne Laser project – the thing was limited to a number of shots in the single digits before it ran out of juice.

          How many shots is a nonexistent laser limited to before it runs out of juice? How many Americans will die because that single-digit number of missiles couldn’t be shot down when Kim or the Ayatollah Insaney or whoever decides to launch?

          I do think Obama will be remembered long after his Administration is over. And I see why he wants an international career.

          But yeah, ground-based laser systems have the classic advantage of stationary fortifications. More ammo, better protection for the guns. And they have their place, especially around high-value targets.

          • The ABL was never a practical weapon. Being based on a 747 it couldn’t enter non-permissive airspace, even on station on our side of the DMZ would be risky. The fact that it was supposed to shoot down ballistic missiles in boost phase meant there wasn’t any time for SEAD missions. And the limited range meant that any country had plenty of room to build launch facilities out of range.

            • The ABL had an effective range of about 300 miles at highest altitude, which means that it could have shot down SRBM’s and in some cases IRBM’s while remaining in friendly airspace. It was not entirely defenseless in air-to-air combat, as it could also target enemy fighters or long-range AAM’s (though its total energy capacity was limited). And it would have been a useful means for aircrews to get experience as energy gunners.

              • Block IV Patriot does for SRBM just fine, and is much cheaper. IRBM’s would require operating very forward where an adversary could simply coordinate a SAM attack with the IRBM launch. I doubt the system was capable of defeating a SAM, reorienting, and destroying an IRBM in the firing window.

        • Union of Concerned “Scientists”? Really? And nobody’s denying ASAT systems exist, just that none of them are laser-based hard kill systems. There’s a pretty huge gulf between blinding an optical sensor and blowing something up.

          • None of them except for the one that the Chinese claimed they used last May to destroy a Japanese satellite (link in another comment that is awaiting moderation, probably because of the links in it – which is why I left it off here).

            The Chinese in particular have been pouring a ridiculous amount of money and effort into this technology over the last decade and they’re getting results. If you haven’t been paying attention over the last year or three, it’s understandable if you’d missed the recent developments. But they’re there and they’re real.

            The US and the Russians have been doing a lot of development here as well, but neither of them has been as public about it.

            The details of this particular satellite make it hard to pin down who exactly did it. Given past history, I’d be presuming it was the Chinese by default (they’re the ones publicly showing that they can do it). Except for one thing: unlike all the other incidents, they’re not claiming credit for it.

            The US could have done it as well. The timing of it suggests that as a possibility: the DoD was already looking into a way to de-orbit the satellite because it was useless. So somebody may have decided it was a good test case.

            On the other hand, that also makes it a good target for the Russians or the Chinese to hit because destroying a basically inoperative satellite is minimally provocative. And the Russians have a very good reason right now to demonstrate that they have this capability, because the US war machine is heavily reliant on satellites (it’s hard to overstate just how reliant).

            But I stand by my point: these systems are known to exist, and they’re known to exist at exactly the right level of development that would make this an effective display of capabilities.

            • 1) Your sources are all well-known propaganda organs. Everything they report should be taken with a grain of salt (one the size of Ceres should do)

              2) In all cases these attacks are reported as soft kills, blinding or destroying control circuits. Nowhere is there evidence or claim that a ground based laser has initiated a sudden disassembly event.

          • There’s an article on this up here; apparently this thing’s been breaking up for a while.

            Of the 5 previously cataloged DMSP 5D-2 F13 objects, D decayed Jan 31. We have no TLEs for DMSP payload, which was shown as operational. — T.S. Kelso (@TSKelso) February 26, 2015

            • It is also not the first DMSP to have issues. Hydrazine has a nice power/mass ratio but isn’t the most stable.

              There is a reason people refer to easy things as ‘not rocket science’.

      • Jordin Kare seemed to think that transferring far more thermal energy up through the entire atmosphere was not problematic for a laser-based thermal ETO plan. I’ll defer to him on atm./laser interactions. (he did want to put it on a mountain, iirc, but I think Russia and China both have those).

        Also, I am familiar with research into laser annealing the solar panels of on-orbit spacecraft to recover power generation capability. Atm. interference was not a deal-breaker there either. Remember, in these applications we don’t care nearly as much about efficiency as we do about solar power systems.

        We might have lasers that penetrate subsea from orbit too… but that wouldn’t be at the frequency I’d expect an ASAT to operate at.

        http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a518696.pdf

        • From the section about melting aluminum for deorbiting debris:

          “These calculations will ignore turbulence and thermal blooming effects.”

          And a bit later…

          “Figure 52 displays the temperature profile of a debris particle being heated by a 10 MW FEL with a beam radius at the target of 0.4 m. Unlike the cases presented above [lower power, wider beam radius -JG], this laser does successfully heat the debris particle to its melting temperature and vaporize some, but not all, of the material that we hoped to remove. However, assuming the actual construction of a laser of this size, the successful atmospheric propagation of a laser beam with this cross-sectional area and power are questionable at best.”

          Since the first step in blowing up a satellite is melting through the casing, I stand by my position that the math doesn’t support ground to orbit ASAT lasers of this type. It’s easier and cheaper to just hit the target satellite with something.

    • Here’s another thing that can cause a heat spike: a malfunction. Put current through something with high resistance where it wasn’t intended to flow and you would get a rapid heat spike.

    • If we had a Reagan in office, that would happen ONLY ONCE.

    • John Schilling

      “Sudden spikes in temperature don’t ‘just happen’ in space. In fact, there must be an energy source to cause such an event ”

      Right. You do understand that satellites have energy sources, I hope? And did you notice the part where the temperature spike was observed in the satellite’s power system? The batteries on DSMP F13 had, at the time of the anomaly, undergone about a hundred thousand charge/discharge cycles. Try that with your cordless drill sometime and see what happens.

      One thing that can happen – and I’ve actually seen this happen on a satellite, because I do this for a living – is that the battery can short-circuit internally. Causing it to overheat in a damn hurry; the telemetry I saw on one of my birds was about one deg C per second temperature rise until we lost contact. And satellite batteries of that era weren’t NiCads or Li-Ion, they were mostly nickel-hydrogen. With the hydrogen under pressure in steel or titanium pressure vessels around the cells. Add enough heat, and if the twenty-year-old relief valve doesn’t work you get a very nice pressure cooker bomb. Which is why, to be polite and not mess up low Earth orbit, you’re supposed to carefully drain the batteries when you’re done using the satellite. Oops.

      Also, as others have noticed, there are not and never have been hard-kill anti-satellite lasers outside the pages of technothriller novels. There are lasers that blind satellites and there are missiles that blow satellites to bits, but there are no lasers that blow satellites to bits. Really. Not even close.

      Also also, DSMP F-13 was I believe about a thousand kilometers south of Capetown at 1715 UTC on 3 Feb 2015.

      So, secret Russian antisatellite laser of unprecedented size and power, in a secret Russian base in Antarctica, revealed for the sake of a cheap diplomatic stunt and managed to hit directly on the (mostly internal) power system. Or, worn-out batteries short circuit internally after twenty years. Which seems more likely to you?

      • Not to mention that this “hard-kill laser” was knocking bits off for several days / weeks as I posted above. Playing with its’ food?

      • I’ve had some amusement thinking about what the thermal bloom from this hypothetical laser would trigger in places like NORAD.

  7. “And every time someone in power has attempted to quash free speech and enterprise with legal (and sometimes violent) action, us clever apes go around ’em.”

    Tell that to the poor bastards in Syria getting their heads cut off this week. Or just talk to a Russian.

    Yeah, every time somebody in power has quashed free speech and free enterprise its come back to kick their ass. But only after a lot of people die, and only after the Engine of Democracy (The West) perks up and decides they’re not putting up with any crap from Those Guys.

    And lets not forget that Feudalism lasted almost a thousand years in Europe and still flourishes in Africa, Asia, and clings on in South America. Freedom is something you beat out of the ruling class. They don’t just give it to you.

    Right now it is the very Engine of the West under attack by enemies within the gates. That’s some serious shit.

    Furthermore, while I CAN turn my resources to building all manner of things aimed at circumventing new and ever more draconian regulations, I don’t want to. I have a lot better things to do with my time, like reading SF/F. If I have to spend it making disposable drone aircraft just so I can get an untraceable cell connection so I can get the uncensored news, that is not a win. That’s a pain in the @ss.

    Now would be Paul Revere’s Ride. Like, right now. In fact, I have a blogpost up that the last twenty years of Internet Freedom have been “let 100 flowers blossom” and this business with the FCC is Barry’s Reichstag Fire.

    http://phantomsoapbox.blogspot.ca/2015/02/yesterday-was-100-flowers-today-is.html

    And best of all, the newly elected-with-a-historic-landslide Congressional Republican Majority is LETTING IT HAPPEN. They’re selling you out, you sleeping Americans. They should be floating a bill to 10% de-fund the FCC, and they’re not. You might want to call them up.

    Just sayin’.

    • “100% defund the FCC” not 10%. Stupid Apple keyboard. I hatesss it, Precious!

      • overgrownhobbit

        I share your hate. On the other hand it’s forced me to be more charitable about folks’ online seeming malapropisms, so there’s that.

    • Hey, feudalism in Europe was enlightened compared to the feudalism elsewhere in the world (and elsewhen in time). It placed reciprocal duties on both lord and vassal, rather than mere patronage.

    • One fight at a time, right now we’re at a critical juncture in the executive action battle. McConnell has pulled Reid out of position, the DHS funding bill can no longer be filibustered. The only hope Reid has of keeping the EO defunding language off of Obama’s desk is either Boehner caves and risks his speakership, or to filibuster the conference agreement. The latter is something McConnell would probably be comfortable going nuclear on since it preserves the filibuster for legislation (remember that the GOP has a tough row to hoe in 2016, it’s defending a lot more seats than the Democrats thanks to the 2010 wave).

      The courts have shown a tendency to slap down these types of FCC overreaches in the past, and using brute political force on a nominally independent FCC would look bad. A better course of action would be to amend the Communications Act of 1934 to explicitly state that broadband providers were not covered.

      • Rob Crawford

        The “nominally independent” FCC board where the tyrants who voted to ignore the laws founding their agency all happened to wear the same shade of Democrat blue that day?

        • Hence the “nominally.” This is the problem we face with the partisan media. When the Democrats do something to advance their agenda it’s “common sense reforms” when Republicans do something to advance their agenda it’s “extremist partisans playing politics” (I desperately wish I knew a synonym for “extremist” that started with “P”). That means we have to be more circumspect, at least until tech has managed to overthrow the DC media dinosaurs.

          • For their world-view… “Praetorian”?

            I had to go look up that the implication was, indeed, the opposite of “progressive”…..

            • I almost with they would be Praetorians–for liberty.

              • About the biggest argument against them using it that I can think of is that it’s used in video games, and is thus “cool” enough that they’d consider it a complement.

            • I wouldn’t mind seeing Obama guarded by a new -and easily bribable in the fashion of its Roman predecessors- Praetorian. If we could get Biden one too, we might be able to get rid of both of them and get the Dems out of the White House NOW. I know it’s not going to happen, but a man can dream, right?

              • William O. B'Livion

                Nah, Crazy Joe would be an awesome President.

                Much like Zaphod.

              • I’m not convinced that President Boehner would be much improvement.

                This DHS thing pisses me off. There’s a clear path forward that poses essentially no political risk to the GOP that could have gotten this bill – with the executive order language – onto Obama’s desk by Thursday morning. We’re looking like idiots because either Boehner’s incompetent or he has 31 defectors willing to vote for the clean bill -which is basically saying the same thing.

                • And Washington Times just announced that Boehner caved and is bringing a “clean” DHS bill to the floor.

                  2016: Vote straight Democrat and Let It Burn. To quote the next President, “What difference does it make.”

                  • This might not be a cave. My path forward requires a conference committee (the Senate can’t filibuster those reports for budget bills). It might be that the rules require the House to vote on the Senate version before requesting the committee. As long as there aren’t 31 Republicans willing to vote for the clean bill this vote could be a good thing (that might explain the delay, whipping the caucus to ensure there aren’t 31 defectors).

                    Or it could be a cave. If so, Boehner and McConnell have rendered themselves irrelevant and should be replaced. I’m ready to actively work to ensure Boehner isn’t re-elected. But I’m not ready to give in to the Democrats yet. We’ve been making progress, though not nearly as quickly as we’d like. But putting a Republican in the White House – especially one who has a history of fighting Democrat interests – can still do some good. For example: ordering DOJ to deport everyone who signed up for Obama’s program would cause screaming and crying, but would make any future action irrelevant. Nobody would trust an executive order again. At this point I’m willing to wait and see who winds up being the GOP nominee. If it’s another Bush, I’ll bring the marshmallows.

                    • William O. B'Livion

                      It’s not a matter of giving in to the democrats at this point.

                      It’s a matter of acknowledging that most Republican Politicians are either in the Progressive camp, or have no agenda besides holding office.

                      I could never vote for the Democrats, but I can vote Libertarian, or just stay home and drink.

                    • The last three are functionally the same and thus unacceptable. I’m working on a course of action that doesn’t involve a quiet spot with line of sight to McConnell’s office (Hi Fed).

                      It’s not entirely his fault, but I do hope the House conservatives follow through on their threat to unseat Boehner. This episode has just neutered Congress. For the next two years Obama and Congressional Dems know that the leadership will cave on any important issue. Maybe a new Speaker will reinsert some strategic uncertainty in their calculus.

                    • William O. B'Livion

                      Voting for Republicans at this point is functionally no different that staying home and drinking, and at least if I stay home and drink I have a good time.

                    • Depends on the Republican.

                      Look, we’re in a two-front war here for the country. Not only are we fighting the Democrats, but we’re also fighting the Progressive wing of the GOP (let’s be honest and call them what they are, it’s a deep tradition dating back to Teddy Roosevelt). In some cases the latter front is the harder one to fight. Democrats readily identify themselves for our opposition, while GOProgs can mouth the same words as actual Americans, only to turn around and vote their conscience once safely elected (see the Shameful Seventy-five). But they do reveal themselves eventually. Our job is to work to eliminate them from elected positions and – even more importantly – degrade the support structure within the party that gets them elected. At the same time we MUST keep Democrats out of power to the maximum extent possible. We saw what they did with 2 years of total control, the country cannot survive the two decades that it would take to kill the GOP and build a new party. And I have no faith in the ability of America to survive a revolution. We got incredibly lucky last time, and I think we’ve used our allotment up.

                      This is not hopeless, we’ve fought 2-front wars before. In fact, the only American war I can think of that only had one front was WWI, and that was mostly because we didn’t get involved until almost the end. We’ve won every one of them, we can win this one.

                      To paraphrase our illustrious (illustrated?) hostess: GET THE FRAK UP OFF THE GORAM FLOOR!

      • It’s pretty obvious that the Democrats either have blackmail material or are holding a hostage on Boehner, because nobody with that much power is that lily-livered. Doesn’t matter how nice you are or how approval-seeking you are; someone with power tends to deploy it somehow, even in stupid ways. Boehner acts like he’s an employee with a short leash.

    • The bull has to come into the ring before the picadors can go at it. Has what the FCC voted on gone public yet?

  8. “Especially when the White House has such a complicated position on just what’s going on in that part of the world.”

    The White House doesn’t have a compicated position on what’s going on in that part of the world. The White House has an acute appreciation that it doesn’t know WHAT the hell is going on, amd that saying so is political suicide. So the White House is shucking and jiving just as fast as ever it can, which makes the idiot we elected look like a bad imitation of Steppin’ Fetchit.

    • His vows are lightly spoken,
      His faith is hard to bind,
      His trust is easy boken,
      He fears his fellow-kind.
      The nearest mob will move him
      To break the pledge he gave —
      Oh, a Servant when he Reigneth
      Is more than ever slave!

    • “The White House has an acute appreciation that it doesn’t know WHAT the hell is going on, amd that saying so is political suicide.”

      Must disagree. They think they’re in control. They think they’re getting everything they want. They think if they make “reasonable” concessions to Iran on the “nuclear thing” then Iran will “moderate their tone”, and everybody will play nice. Same with Vlad the Impaler there in Ukrain.

      They appear to honestly think that every other American administration was composed entirely of idiots, and only They, The Chosen of Barrack Hussein Obama, The Chosen One, He Who Came To Save America From Itself, can get it right. Because they are just that much smarter than everybody else in the whole freakin’ world.

      Barry is not the Manchurian Candidate. He’s Neville Chamberlain. Its like watching a high school class pretend they’re the UN. All flowers and bunnies and unicorns and Can’t We all Just Get Along.

      But don’t worry. Its the American Patriot movement that’s -really- dangerous. He’s got their number, oh yeah.

      • The comparison with Chamberlain is terribly unfair.
        To Chamberlain.
        Despite his folly, he loved his country. And when it became obvious that war was inevitable, he did his utmost to prepare his country, even from his reduced station. At his funeral, Churchill wept.
        He may have been horrible at foreign policy, but he was a good man, who worked tirelessly to help fix the problems that he’d helped cause.

        • Wheras Obama is an opportunitic nitwit risen far above his ability. Oh, he has plans for some things. They aren’t GOOD plans, or Obamacare wouln’t be such a total farce. But he has plans.

          But on the foreign policy front he had no plans. He campaigned on “I’m not Bush” in that regard, and maybe he thought it would be as easy as just coming home. Then he arrived in the White House, and nothing is that simple. He’s been reacting, not acting. He has 50 years of Liberal peace-process twaddle between his ears, and it doesn’t work.

          • Rob Crawford

            Peace processors do to peace what food processors do to food.

          • Add in that he and the people around him seem to think that all it takes to fix a problem is to decree that it is to be fixed. They don’t grasp that you have to actually role up your sleeves and work on a problem in order to resolve it.

          • “Community Organizer”… Find a problem, whip up anger against it, and insist someone come up with a solution, or have one that lines their pockets.

            See “Professor” Harold Hill in “The Music Man”. (The original, with Robert Preston and Shirley Jones. The one with Mathhew Broderick just doesn’t stack up…)

            • Thank you, I really enjoyed that.

              I am so glad we have Robert Preston’s performance on film. I caught a few of the sequences leading up to and concluding with the Professor Hill and Marion’s meeting at the footbridge yesterday and simply marveled. 😉

          • Obamacare is a -deliberate- farce. They did it this way so they could show that “it doesn’t work” and come back to the table for Single Payor Medicare. That’s the Canadian model, the one where government controls both sides of the show.

            I could go on about how massively that model has damaged Canada, but instead I’ll just note its the same model used in North Korea and Cuba.

            That’s Barry’s ultimate goal. Obamacare is just a smokescreen to get him there.

            • All I need to kniw about a National Health System is summed up by the fact that the British cartoonist Giles started making fun of it as early as the mid 1950’s. Now, Giles was a Socialist. If HE thought the systems was failing that early, then they were well and truely screwed.

          • I don’t think that very many people set out to be evil. They might only be thinking of themselves, or the good of their tribe. They might not be very realistic about how things really work. But, however evil the results of the implementation of their goals, they are not intentionally trying to be evil. Even the Alinsky-ites believe they are doing the right thing, for the people, for the children, for the world, for the earth, for whatever. (I know that they will sell it as it will sell, but they also believe they are right.)

            Right now is so many think that what they want is possible to achieve and not just wishful thinking. This includes both the politicians and the electorate. The electorate has elected people who they believe have promised and can deliver to them the never ending bluebirds, ponies and rainbows they believe is being withheld from them through the selfishness of others.

            Many of the people who have been elected believe that, well, some people are more equal than others. And they also believe they are, of course, among the enlightened ones. (So we see things such as when a tax reductions was considered in the 1990s and it was openly argued that it would be the wrong thing to do as the people might spend it improperly.) They believe therefore: 1) the general populace need to be looked after and 2) because they work so sacrificially for the people’s benefit, they deserve some considerations and compensations.

            Which, sadly, results in evil.

            • Right now is so many think that…

              My bad, over editing to the point of mis-editing. Choose either ‘Right now the problem is that so many think that…’ or more simply, ‘Right now so many think that…’

            • I don’t think that very many people set out to be evil.

              Read some of the stuff-from-the-time, to support this. The Nazis thought they were doing good– they divorced themselves from moral foundations, and ruled by tenderness. And ‘tenderness leads to the gas chamber.’

              All it takes for evil is not seeing/recognizing/evaluating correctly ALL of the results.

            • Eh, affected ignorance does not mitigate guilt. It may even aggravate it.

              • Quite.

                I can hear the momisms, ‘What were you thinking?’ and ‘You should have known better.’ Still, I have to keep reminding myself that thinking things through is not necessarily normal, for most it requires training.

        • Christopher M. Chupik

          Yeah, Chamberlain made a mistake — a huge mistake — but he was not a complete fool. The people who have his example to learn from, and fail to, are the fools.

          • Chamberlain also had the rearmament ministry (MoCoD) and especially the Air ministry telling him their rearmament efforts were not really rolling yet, and if they could just have a few more months they’d be in much better shape.

            Not saying Neville was being especially bright in how he applied that information, just that he had both “I must prevent another disastrous war at all costs” and “if we have to go we’re not really ready yet” rolling around in his head when he met Herr Hitler and ended up with his piece of paper.

            • Ironically, the German military branches weren’t in any better shape, really. For example, the German Navy’s “Plan Z” for naval build up wasn’t scheduled for completion until 1943; the admirals definitely wanted more than the 57 U-Boats they had in 1939.

            • True … in contrast, Obama’s coming off wars in which we kicked ass at little loss in American lives, and he’s cutting the air and missile defenses we’re counting on to avoid loss of life in the future.

        • True. My apologies to Mr. Chamberlains ghost, particularly as Barry seems on track to dwarf Neville’s Fail level by a wide margin.

        • That may be true about Chamberlain, but saying Churchill wept isn’t exactly a high bar. I understand he was a rather prone to weepiness.

      • Maybe. I just have the strong feeling that if that idiot had a plan, he wouldn’t look like he was thrashing around aimlessly. He might still look like a goddamned fool, but he wouldn’t look spastic.

      • It is good that I’m not in power. I would make a reasonable concession to Iran: “Stop now and you get to continue to live.”

        • I wouldn’t have gone that far.
          When the attempt at Green Revolution started up, I’d have backed them to the hilt. Between Iraq, Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf, we had them isolated. All we had to do was squeeze…

          And yes, the slaughter of those courageous protestors will weigh heavy on Obama if there is any justice in this world or the next.
          Even if he hasn’t lost a second of sleep over it yet.

          • I would have too, I’m speaking more of what I would do now. And, yeah, the weight of the death and destruction he has caused is truly monumental.

        • Which is why I wish you were in power

        • My negotiating position would be “On June 1, you will either let UN weapons inspectors into any facility they desire to certify your nuclear program is consistent with the Non-Proliferation Treaty, or we will start destroying facilities, including those such as power plants that support enrichment. If those inspectors report that they are denied or delayed access to any facility they want to see that facility and 5 others of my choosing will be destroyed. I look forward to hearing from the IAEA.”

          • William O. B'Livion

            Unless you can demonstrate complete destruction of all programs and equipment capable of making fissile material a US air strike capable of reducing all known facilities and select government buildings will enter Iranian Airspace on June 1, 45 minutes after the morning call to prayer, in order for your pilots to go to Allah in peace. And in pieces, but that’s not the issue.

            Should you wish to try to stop us we will cross into Iranian airspace at (GPS coords) on vectors to (list of places).

            Your move.

      • Beg to disagree. If Barry isn’t the Manchurian candidate, what would one look like? He’s just not actually owned and operated by any particular foreign power, but a conglomeration of philosophies that are inimical to the US. Most of what he does makes sense if you assume he hates the following.

        1. He’s Muslim. He was raised Muslim, after all. He may not be devout, but he’s still obviously pro-Muslim. It’s in his autobiography, after all. This comes out mostly as a hatred of Israel. He was all for a Muslim Brotherhood dominated Egypt, but is quite cool on the more secular regime that threw them out. The Muslim Brotherhood ran on a major platform item of “Death to Israel.” And a nuclear Iran is primarily a threat to Israel. Secondarily a threat to the entire rest of the world, but Barry doesn’t look that far forward. Why don’t any of the Mullahs seem to be upset about him “converting” and betraying the One True Faith ™?

        2. He’s Socialist. As were all of his friends and relatives growing up. I read Atlas Shrugged for the first time during his first year as President, and kept telling my wife “I just saw this in the news!” Remember the Mao ornaments on the White House Christmas tree the first year in office?

        3. He’s Black. He hates whites. He’s not even subtle about it. “The cops acted stupidly.” “If I had a son.” Etc, ad nauseum, et Eric Holder’s (anti-)Justice Department. Talk to some of the people in the Civil Rights division, if you want to hear some of the stories. Part of this is simply racism, part of it is hatred of western culture, and America in particular. See also: Rev. Wright.

        He’s been refreshingly honest, in his unguarded moments. His goal is “the fundamental transformation of America,” and he’s achieved more toward his goals than any other president in generations.

        • Re: he’s black – The weird thing is that he doesn’t act like any US black person I’ve ever met, biracial or no, or even anyone raised overseas or with foreign parents. Michelle has her problems, but she acts like a normal person for her own segment of Americans. Even that creepy Valerie Jarrett is an identifiable US sort of person. But Obama is just weird, for the US or anywhere.

          But I expect that he does hold hard to a sort of Sixties/Seventies black radical thing, because he needs some kind of identity and beliefs.

        • Forget Obama. Obama isn’t the problem. Obama is a symptom of a greater ill. Lest we forget, he was elected twice, and there hangs the tale. No one cares much. Not the Democrats, who could oppose the left, but chooses not to do so; not the Republicans, who should be in opposition to the Democrats but have the gonads of a gelding; not the media, who would ream both if they really cared a smidgen about liberty and the constitution; and not the public, who might once and a while get pissed enough to turn the rascals out, but only once in a while, and don’t really care if the new rascals follow through on their promises or not.

          That’s why I’m extremely pessimistic about the future of the US. The US has survived bad presidents, bad political parties, and bad media. It cannot survive a people more concerned about bread and circuses than anything else.

  9. ISIS/L keeps beheading people, in Libya, this time (which suggests a name change could be in the offing)

    It’s the Islamic State. Nobody wants to call it that because it damages their pretense that Islam is the Religion of Peace.

    I am a bit curious why El Presidente Supremo is so desperate to secure a favorable relationship with one of our most ardent adversaries in the Middle East.

    Obama has this delusion that Iran is reasonable and it’s all the fault of his unreasonable predecessors (like Jimmy Carter?) that Iran keeps doing such insanely-aggressive things. Plus, if Iran isn’t reasonable, then Obama’s whole idea of pulling out of the MIdeast and leaving it to Iran to put down the Islamic State is incredibly naive and stupid, and we can’t have that, can we? He’s the LIghtworker!

    • Or you could use Occam’s Razor:

      If Obama were acting as an enemy of the US, what would he be doing differently?

      • He would either have forced a gun-grabbing bill through in 2009, or he would be a whole lot more subtle.
        All signs in this administration point towards incompetence rather than pure malfeasance.

        • Who says it can’t be both?

          • Malicious incompetence would occasionally be beneficial.

            • William O. B'Livion

              Not necessarily on the timelines we’re looking at.

              Also, one would argue that his incompetent handling of Obamacare lead to the pounding they took at the polls in November, which if the Republicans weren’t completely and utterly spineless retards, would have been beneficial.

          • Sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malfeasance 🙂

          • I think it’s both.

          • I think he’s trying to do horrible things– which he imagines are beneficial reforms — to our liberties and standing in the world. Fortunately, he’s an arrogant, over-educated fool, so he’s not very good at it.

            Obama has probably set back the image of black people in the world to a considerable degree, thanks to his harping on his alleged race and his utter incompetence. And neither he nor most of his supporters get this.

        • He learned from the Clintons what happens when you go directly after guns here in the US. “A rifle behind every blade of grass.” (Why yes, I did know a guy who testified before Congress more than once about the Militia movement. Why do you ask?)
          So he’s been smart enough to continue the “go slow” policy they’ve been using for the last 50 years. And he’s been smart enough to let his stalking horses test the waters for him. It’s simply not going all that well these days. Doesn’t mean they’re not trying.

          He’s not stupid. He just doesn’t look that far ahead. And he holds firm to his ideals. He actually believes he’s trying to save us from ourselves.

        • A gun-grab bill would get WAY too much opposition– instead, they did a bunch of under the radar attacks on gun ownership, including the recently-slapped pressure on banks who do business with gun shops. The really @#$# stupid decision to sell shells as scrap, rather than to ammo makers who’d recycle them. Fast and Furious. Various attempts to declare those who might oppose them as mentally unfit to own weapons….

      • Christopher M. Chupik

        I’m trying really hard to think of the non-malevolent answer here. Really hard.

    • Rob Crawford

      The left blames Iran on the CIA, because Soviet propaganda told them so. Which, as the CIA is such a hotbed of Republicans (stop that sniggering), means everything is Republicans fault.

      • Yeah! Look how the CIA covered up for that eviiiil Bush guy, and manufactured evidence of WMDs so the Iraq invasion would appear justified!
        </alternate reality>

        • Christopher M. Chupik

          Something the Left won’t answer after a decade: if the US lied to justify the invasion of Iraq, why the hell didn’t they fake some chemical weapons stockpiles? I remember lefties telling me that the US sold Iraq all its chemical weapons, and yet couldn’t produce a few fake nerve gas missiles. As conspiracy theories go, it’s so . . . half-assed.

          • They didn’t have to fake chemical weapons stockpiles. They were found. Not in the quantities suspected, but they existed. One of the great lies is- There were no chemical weapons found in Iraq. Even the NY Slimes of late has admitted it.

            • I keep confronting people with this; we found chemical weapons. We found precursor chemicals in job lots. We found bio-feedstock such was one would have for the development of bio-weapons, and the laboratories in which to do it. We found literally TONS of yellowcake uranium, and very contaminated nuclear laboratories. And when Saddam was finally found, Q’addaffy (sp?) very quickly said “I quit! Here’s the tens of tons of WMD stuff from MY country, from the joint projects I was working on with Saddam. Please don’t kill me!”.

              The only definition of “Weapons of mass destruction” under which we did NOT find any WMDs is “Armed and fueled Nuclear missiles, ready for launch”.

              *spit*

              • Christopher M. Chupik

                I remember some veterans on Mad Mike’s Facebook page who mentioned the stockpiles a year or so before the NYT, so I wasn’t surprised when the story broke.

              • I have pointed out those facts, along with the caravans of trucks we WATCHED cross the border– and which look a lot like the ones we found buried in the desert later, empty except for their drivers.

                Response? “Everyone knows that WMD means nukes!”

                Ah. So that’s why I was getting training in gas masks. To save me from a nuclear bomb…..

                • Well, alpha contaminants in the lungs aren’t exactly good for one’s health.

                  • Neither is high radiation exposure. Guess which one got a two minute mention, while the other was weeks of practice.

                    • Not much you can do about gamma’s, while knowing how to properly don a respirator could save you significant dose.

                      In my job it’s exactly the opposite. We spend quite a bit of time on minimizing gamma exposure, but the only thing we use alpha detectors for is to look for radon.

                    • Which has absolutely nothing to do with the mask training including how to detox people from various chemical and biological weapons, and zilch for nuclear.

                    • William O. B'Livion

                      Foxfier is right on this one–I was in the Reserves in 1990-1992, and again in 2004-08 and they were doing a LOT of NBC training, with very little of it Nuke in 04-08, while most of the stuff in 90-92 was a lick and a promise–the assumption being that we *would* be nuked and there’s damn little you can do for that (Reserve training in 90-92 was Europe/Fulda Gap focused. 04-08 was LIC/Desert focused).

                      You’re right that Alpha emitters in the lungs would suck, but you don’t need the full MOPP suit for that-the gas mask and a wash down would handle most of it. We had to practice doing IT stuff (I was in a Comm unit in 04-08). Working a keyboard in thick rubber gloves is not a way to reduce typing errors.

              • Yeah, nobody hinted at missiles that threatened europe. Most if not all of the stuf you guys found was the stuff YOU SOLD to Saddam in the first place. Why did you sell it to him and let him use some of it on the kurds? Why did you not take out saddam directly after that?

                Because he was your friend … untill he treatened to limit oil supply which you consider an attack on the U.S. You needed an excuse to take him out and then you had Colin Powel give that amateur presentation at the UN.

                U.S. sucks.

                • I’m letting this idiot through because you guys haven’t had any fun in a long time. There is so mcuh factual bullshit in this answer it’s hard to tag it all. Start with the fact that no, we didn’t sell him the stuff. Russia and France did. I could say “Europe sucks” — I won’t. BUT their governments sure do.

                • I seem to recall that the guy who “let him use it on the Kurds” was you’re boy Bill. And of course if we’d ignored the media and the UN and finished him off at the end of Gulf I the issue wouldn’t have arisen.

                • Ok, Sarah didn’t want to make a detailed reply.. I will.

                  SCUD is the NATO reporting name for the R-11, R-17 and R-300 intermediate-range ballistic missiles, designed and built by the Korolyev OKB (design bureau) in.. wait for it… RUSSIA.

                  Their military aircraft were a mix of MiGs (Russian) and French Dassault aircraft (Mirages and Super Etendards)

                  Their chemical weapons factories were made with assistance from Germany, and most of their early toxin samples came from Germany.

                  Russia helped build their reactors. Russia and Germany helped them make centrifuges.

                  The US sent some biological samples under the understanding they were for treatment research.

                  So, of the chemical weapons he was actually capable of using, they came from *Europe*, not the US. On both sides of the iron curtain.

                  I get real tired of pretentious Europeans telling us how bad we are.

                • Because it’s not like the little brown people can actually make weapons, and only the Super Magical USA is able to do anything.

                  But wait, he was able to magically threaten an oil supply we weren’t using. Darn these people, how are the only able to act like real people when it’s useful.

                  I wonder, exactly what is the scale of who is able to do things? Obviously, you think the US is the highest percentage of actual adult, since it’s only bad that we didn’t take out Saddam in ’88, even though Europe provided more supplies and the US did act to take out the chemical weapons program in less than five years. Obviously the UN is almost as non-person as the folks in the middle east, because their failure to do their job doesn’t register. The entire rest of the world… clearly much less morally capable than the US, but I’d really love to see what your sliding scale is.

                  Wait, I’m pretty sure I know what it’s going to boil down to: “The US actually cleans up messes that everybody else makes, sometimes, so if they don’t clean up everything exactly the way I want, they’re evil!”

  10. Going to disagree on a point: Defense Distributed is having problems SHIPPING their “Ghost Gunner” automills, because FedEx is worried about liability for shipping. . . machine tools ?? (Actually, their argument is that if it could make a weapon, then it’s too heavy a risk. Except they ship all sorts of OTHER machine tools. Ghost Gunner merely has a computer driving it, and it’s optimized for AR lowers. . . )

    • So FedEx going to stop shipping my orders from Amazon, Brownells, Midway, and a thousand other places? Because I’ve not only ordered tools specifically for working on and building firearms from them, but I’ve ordered ACTUAL GUN PARTS.

  11. …time to strip down and wear a sandwich board reading, “the END is NIGH,”

    Well, if you’d put yer pants back on, yer end wouldn’t be so nigh…

  12. It’s the earthquakes in different places that’s starting to freak me out a little (like the first one I’d ever felt), but I think the title’s allusion isn’t really going there so I’m off topic.

    • Oh, off topic is fine. The posts here in this place are really just a jumping off point. Thread drift is a the rule, rather than the exception, and I can’t imagine anybody would mind another topic upon which to pontificate, so just let ‘er rip.

    • Like KilteDave says, topic restrictions are basically “be worth saying to SOMEONE” and “weren’t told to cut it out, already.”

      We even have a lovely hobbyhorse farm that gets regularly exercised. 😀

  13. Pingback: Raiding Party at ATH | D.E. Pascoe

  14. Well, I just got my rifle. Guess I gotta start checking out blades of grass.

  15. Re Ukraine, recall that in spite of what everyone can see, from the captured Russian Army “volunteers” to the videos of Russian heavy artillery and tanks rolling across the border into Ukraine, the Shirtless Tsar continues to claim There Are No Russian Troops Invading Eastern Ukraine. Also These Are Not The Driods You’re Looking For.

    Compare with the Georgian invasian where they were perfectly upfront on which Russian Army units were rolling where. Obviously there’s some degree of, well, not embarrassment, but circumspection that is being deemed advantageous. Maybe that means they are willing to cut the ‘rebels’ off and let them wilt on the vine if they get enough pressure, or if Vlad’s Petrolium Express Card gets too overdrawn.

    • The cherry on top is that Russia’s government is now blaming Ukraine for the assassination of the Putin critic at the Kremlin, and declaring it causus bellum.

      • I thought about cracking wise about that while I was writing the post last night, but thought, “nah, that’s just too insane. Nobody would believe it.” It’s the kind of malarkey you see in life, but can’t get away with in fiction.

      • So an anti-Putin politician who has been quite vocal in his opposition to the Ukraine invasion is killed by Ukraine for…I got nothing.

        Is it extreme cold or excessive vodka consumption that make Russians complete idiots?

  16. Reblogged this on Quasi Renaissance Man and commented:
    Key point: “What we do have is hope. And a whole lot of it”

  17. Hope? Oh jeez. The urchin in power ran on hope and got a ‘peace prize’ for it. I don’t want anymore HOPE. I want some frakkin’ results. This ragamuffin isn’t going to get us any results that benefit the US.

    • He is not a ragamuffin. If he were, he would have a certain raffish charm to him.
      He lacks this.

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      He should have to give his Nobel back. But Satan will go ice-skating before that happens.

      • Oh, hell, the Peace Prize was a joke long before this clown. If Nobel cares you could probably run a city by hooking his corpse to a dynamo. Hope the old boy has better things on his mind, frankly.

  18. I feel sorry for the slain man’s model girlfriend. She is so traumatized by her boyfriend’s murder, she can’t remember anything. Thankfully, the Russian government is keeping her in protective custody.

    • With protection like that I wouldn’t remember anything either–then again the man did get shot in the back, so maybe yeah.

      • I only read a brief about it, but from what I read, I think if she so much as heard a footstep before it happened, she’s doing her best to forget that she ever did.

  19. Ah, life. Just ran across an apparently sincere comment:
    Furthermore, isn’t rather scary to have a government that allows people “to do as they wish?”

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      Nod. They seem to think that people will do “foolish” things without the government telling them what to do and/or that people will do “evil” things if the government doesn’t tell them what to do.

      • Never mind that some people continue to do things that most of us agree are wrong, such as rob and murder, in spite of the fact the government tells them not to.

    • I suspect that for many it is very scary.

      This is why we see voters choose to put in place a government that will take care of them.