Howdy All, a few Interesting Items for your information. Enjoy –
In this issue –
3. Duck Duck Go
1. Warfare. Half a lifetime ago, I was in the bombs and bullets business as a Close Air Support kind of guy. We wargamed the Hell outa whatever what we thought was going to happen should the Soviets come west for the winter in Europe. Results were pretty ugly. Those of us in the Business figured we were gonna die like flies but would at least be able to take a LOT of them down with us during the festivities. It wasn’t so much that I trusted the wargames, but they did manage to deliver a bit of usable information from time to time. It is from that point that I start this story. Sometime a couple decades ago, there was a series of naval wargames. The setup was a fixed national budget, followed by a war in a particular theater. Never knew which theater it was. Nor did I care, though it sounded a lot like the Pacific. One side determined to present itself as the standard Carrier Battle Group (CVBG) with all the bells and whistles. The other side chose to spend ALL their money on the functional equivalent of thousands of PT boats and tens to hundreds of thousands of smart (at the time) weapons. They ran several of these. And the distributed guys always won. Usually by a LOT and usually quickly. This upset and worried the Powers that Be, who promptly classified the results. But stories did leak out, mostly some variation of a loud discussion starting with the phrase, Oh S$%t! Now this story is at least a couple decades old, but it seems we are seeing a similar result out of Ukraine, where a determined group of defenders using large numbers of smart, deadly weapons (anti-tank and anti-air weapons) are able to blunt and fend off a Russian combined arms invasion force. Despite every negative thing I want to believe about the Russians (and they’ve richly earned and deserved that conclusion over the years), I am at a loss to believe they are this incompetent, though that possibility is very real and has been since Stalingrad. While they won there, they did a lot of things horribly wrong. I think we are seeing a change in the correlation of forces in a ground war, where the ability of a determined ground force armed with one shot / one kill anti-armor weapons is able to hold their own against a combined arms armor column or force. In the new world, smart weapons, widely available trump classical military weapons and tactics. In the history of warfare, there were similar changes during an armed conflict. Trench warfare arose during the Siege of Vicksburg in 1863. That tactic was reinforced by the introduction of the machine gun and lasted well into WWI, where it was destroyed by Air and armor. The age of air and armor lasted into the current day, where it appears (at least to me) that its time may be over, defeated by the tech innovation of smart anti-tank and anti-air weapons. When all your weapons are man portable, deadly, stupid enough to be used by untrained combatants and most importantly, cheap enough to be available to EVERYONE in the theater, how can you possibly conduct a successful combined arms mission? Warfare is changing. We can either be on that bus or under it. For some reason, I don’t think using the correct pronouns, or forced vaxxing of active-duty military are gonna do a lot to deal with this new world.
2. Masking. One of the Scott Adams observations about masking is that the new rules and the removal of those rules ONLY apply to those people with the least power in society. This is most recently demonstrated by continuing masking requirements for 5-year-olds, who never actively exercise that power, but most assuredly retain it, and passengers on airlines in the US. Neither of these groups actively exercise their power, especially the kiddos, who don’t know that they have it. But airline pax, who have absolutely no power while traveling, are exercising it powerfully by not flying, simply by refusing to travel while the feds empower airline employees and TSA to be just as big jerks as humanly possible. As soon as the fallout of the rules touch the rule makers, just as bluntly and painfully as humanly possible, will be the time the rule makers relent. But it needs to happen sooner than that.
3. Duck Duck Go. It is always sad when an outfit supposedly on Our Side of the culture wars self-identify as part of the Borg Collective. Such is the case with Duck Duck Go which a couple weeks ago announced that they are now getting into the censorship business for online content. While Duck Duck Go (DDG) claims to still be a strong supporter of online privacy, their stated entry into the online censorship wars is troubling to most of us on the political right. I have fielded multiple questions from online correspondents over what to do next. The obvious solution is become a multi-mode search engine kind of guy (or gal). By this I mean use whichever search engine gives you the best, most predictable result for the topics you are interested in. For example, I continue to use Goolag for most of my online searches. This isn’t because I in any way trust it. It is rather because for all the non-political stuff, it is still by far the best choice. Toss out all the political and climate change stuff, and you can continue to do quite well with Goolag. I only use DDG for those results I know are out there but can’t see on Goolag. Second technique is to retain some sort of knowledge of where you saw the particular article last, and go to that site and do a search there. Doesn’t always work but will get you far closer with greater search integrity than using biased results from either Goolag or DDG. Go multi-source.
4. Decertify. The wheels of justice grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine. Most recent example of this comes out of the Wisconsin (WI) legislature, which is now toying with the notion of decertifying its electors sent to DC in Dec 2020 to elect Joe Biden as president. It turns out that the WI legislature is now looking at the millions of Zuckerberg Buchs spent in the state as little more than bribery aimed at state and local election officials, breaking state bribery laws. Not only did it induce citizens to go to the polls to vote, but it also paid for illegal drop boxes in democrat voting strongholds. In doing this, the ZuckBucks violated the federal and state guarantee of equal protection, as the money targeted specific voters for special voting privileges to the disadvantage of similarly situated voters in other WI counties. As a result of this report, the WI legislature is looking into the possibility of decertifying the electors the state sent to DC to elect Harris – Xiden. The issue may end up being on the fall ballot. All the Usual Suspects are highly agitated, which means the WI legislature may indeed be moving in the right direction.
5. Disney. Question: What do you do when you are a major corporation, recently woke, in a state that is decidedly not woke but has for the last half century provided you and your employees with an endless supply of political perks, good deals, and specifically crafted legislation? Answer: Anything other than what Disney is doing today in Florida. The new CEO of Disney allowed himself to get pushed into the culture wars a week or two ago in opposition to the recently passed Florida Parental Rights, aka Don’t Say Gay Bill. While not as venally woke as previous Disney CEO Bob Eiger, he allowed himself to get pushed into the breach, foolishly taking on Florida parents and Governor Ron DeSantis, defending classroom instruction in LGBTQWTF topics to schoolkids from preschool through the third grade. The Maus has made some poor economic decisions over the last couple decades. This is one of the poorer ones.
6. Funding. One of the more worrisome newfound weapons of the political left has been the use of the financial system against their political opponents. This has been somewhat constrained by federal banking laws, though not without maximum effort of the political left to use it early and often. The largest recent test of the weapon was Canadian PM Trudeau’s invoking of the Emergencies Act against the truckers protest. Retaliation by the government through the banking system froze bank accounts and cancelled insurance not only for peaceful protesters, but for anyone who donated anything over $20 or so to the protest. All of this was executed after the fact. While that weapon was withdrawn 10 days later when Trudeau revoked his call, other government officials, most notably the Ontario PM was happily using it to seize trucks and trucking businesses associated with the protest. More recently, we have seen the identical weapon deployed against all things Putin and Russia, whether they have anything to do with the war in Ukraine or not. The weapon has been a blanket assault on credit, banking and property. Sadly, it has been successful. Don’t let anyone tell you that the western governments aren’t as totalitarian as the actual totalitarians. While their techniques differ a bit, the desire, demand for compliance is every bit as strong as that of the Iranian Mullahs, Kim Jong Un or Chairman Xi. This all brings us to the oil industry, currently under attack by both the Harris – Xiden administration and their supporters in the financial world. While defending their claims of supporting leases and permits for drilling, the WH has managed to jack up the cost of capital for developing new energy finds, currently nearly double that of renewable projects. Add to this the conspiracy by woke banksters to deny capital to oil and natural gas exploration and you have a pretty good explanation of the current shortage.
7. Young. Alaska’s congress critter since 1973 passed away on a flight between LA and Seattle Friday evening. He lost consciousness while airborne and was unable to be revived upon arrival at SeaTac when the flight landed. Inflight defibrillators have been available for at least a decade. No word on any attempt to revive Young inflight. Perhaps policing onboard masking took priority. Young, age 88 was running for reelection. This year, he had a Republican opponent with a real chance to unseat him. Over the years, Young has been a lockstep union supporter, infuriating many Alaskans who would otherwise be satisfied with him. Normally, a replacement would be selected via a special election. This year, Alaska has a new election system, with an old-fashioned jungle primary and a ranked choice general election. Anyone can run in the primary. The political parties don’t matter in the primary. Top four vote getters from the primary go to the general. If anyone wins 50%+1 of the vote, they instantly win. If not, the bottom vote getter is dropped and the second choice are added to the first choice votes and new tallies computed. Process continues until there is a 50%+1 winner. Maine has been doing this for a while with mixed results. The same rules appear to apply to special elections. We have not yet heard from the Governor about calling a special election. As of this writing, the Republican candidate, Nick Begich has the most established campaign organization. The leading democrat candidate, Chris Constant, an Anchorage Assembly member is a real SOB and other than union support doesn’t have much that anyone can say positive about him. Unfortunately, lockstep union support may be enough to get him elected. The rewrite of the state election system was pushed by ballot initiative as a way to ensure the reelection of Lisa Murkowski this year. It was crafted by her former Chief of Staff and sold as a way to get dark money out of state elections. Sadly, it won. Lisa has never won 50% of the statewide vote. And she is as usual in no small amount of trouble with statewide voters. So, if you can’t win the old-fashioned way by appealing to your voters, what do you do? You change the rules (Kobayashi Maru). Which is what Lisa did. I predict a big mess.
More later –