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I especially liked the reworking of the lyrics.
Toggle Commented Dec 27, 2013 on A Hallelujah Christmas at BlackFive
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"the right way to package the propaganda." Bingo. The only reason they exist. The difference between many American media outlets and China's Xinhua is.... not apparent to me. For a large segment of the American media, packaging propaganda and suppressing politically inconvenient news are the point of their squalid existence. I will disagree with your second line. Murtha and Kerry did disgrace their service. Carter and Hagel didn't do so, and that distinction matters, so I'd separate them into another category. Since we seem to be on a poultry theme, I'm going with "Turkeys," in the spirit of Carter's 1970s.
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If a conclusion appears impossible, examine the premises. The major premise of that article is that the current incumbent wants these things fixed. It's the major premise because leadership is what the executive branch is elected and paid to do. Otherwise, just dispense with the office. Which may not be the worst idea ever - I originally come from a parliamentary system, where the monarch has to live elsewhere. The existence of the Cloward-Piven model, and his known distate for America's leadership in the world, do not offer cause for optimism. Not given the President's background - and more important, his behaviour. The secondary premise is that the other party wants things fixed. There is much more evidence for this, but it's also true that "fixing" these things can rebound to their detriment. As an example, a little noticed provision in the awful "fiscal cliff" deal may really hurt state GOPs, by giving high-tax states unlimited deductions for those high taxes. So, you'd have to make a case for this proposition. "Government lacks the power to fix the problems that face us, but it sure is managing to make them a lot worse." That is certainly true. Then again, the American government is insolvent, and cannot mathematically become solvent at this point. So whatever. Meanwhile, some of us would submit that having the NSA intercept all emails, phone calls, credit card transactions etc. in the USA without a warrant is a more serious problem (Google "Stellar Wind" or "William Binney"). Especially when combined with DHS' activities, and senior military officers planning to use the weapons of Iraq against American in the USA (Google "Full-spectrum operations in the homeland", and note his recent position). These are certainties, and they go with a concerted attack on the 2nd Amendment, which follows the evisceration of the 4th. The uncertainty is which shoe drops next, and how. This much I can tell you - 20 years from now is unlikely to look much like the present day. Now, if only the National "Intelligence" Council was smart enough to grasp that.
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Thanks, Valerie.
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Josh, I'm surprised at you. You ducked the question. Are you really telling me that you couldn't be happy in a society where a large majority were in a agreement about something you don't hold to, but treated you within the framework of the Founders' constitution? Seriously? Likewise, I'm going to submit that C Bob would be happy in a society of 80% atheists who lived within the Founders' framework, as opposed to a similar religious majority to his liking that treated government as unlimited. The Lockean compact is the common ground. The rest is personal taste. And the recognition that the majority of the opposition wants the same things we all do, they just have different ideas about how to get there. Dude, I thought you said you weren't religious. These days, that's at least as much a statement of faith as "Jesus was the son of God and rose from the dead." I hear people say this sort of tripe about the Islamists, and what it really says is that they've never paid attention to the people they're talking about, listened to what they say, or watched what they do. The Left very demonstrably does not want the same things we do. They want vast and unchecked powers over the lives of other citizens, to shape them in their own image. That is an END, not a means. Just as the idea of a limited government that generally leaves people alone to pursue their own idea of the good is an END, not a means, because agreeing to that means that a lot of people will do things you disapprove of. We agree to this because their humanity is an end, not a means. Hence "endowed by their creator with inalienable rights." Someone whose humanity is a means is called a slave. To the Left, other people's humanity is a means. Nationalizing slavery doesn't change what it is. And no, that isn't a different approach to what I want. It's a fundamental conflict with the most basic things I want. No, I'd not be happy in a society where 80% of the people believed anything at all in common, much less a religious devotion. Josh, I'll give you a chance to think a bit and back away from that one in future. As one illustrative example: "Murder is bad." Diversity of ideas is important, but it's a means, not an end in itself. The end is good ideas, and the small subset of the best and most important ideas should be able to win a very large consensus in fair argument and experience. If there isn't anything that 80% of the people in your society agree on, you're going to be living in the equivalent of Somalia.
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"Best to critique one's own side, before the opposition does it, yes?" Always. By the way, I'm glad we have you, and glad we can't be rid of you. Anyone who accepts the Lockean Compact is my brother/sister. "The only difference between these two groups is what their excuse is for stealing your freedom and who they want to give your money to." That is true far too often. It need not be true on our side of the table, and I hope the looming threat of religious freedom's disappearance helps concentrate some minds a bit re: what's really important and why. At the same time, Josh, am I wrong to suspect that you'd be happier in a very religious society (for fun, let's stipulate 80% Moromon) that valued personal freedom as understood by the American Revolution's founders, than you would in a society that basically agreed with you about religion, but where your "freedoms" meant whatever the ruling class' hack judges make up today? I also think the 1st society would be way, way safer than the 2nd, in ways that went far beyond the danger of violence from the government. But would it "solve" the problem of mass killings? No. Nothing will do that, vid. Belmont Club's "White Lightning" article or Deebow's "The Burden of the Sheepdog." The best we can hope for is to lower the rate. But that's a disagreement we probably won't resolve here. Where I do want to poke harder at our disagreements is the role of social control in what I (as a classical liberal believer in G-d) call Leftism, but the author of the quote calls liberalism. I think what's dawning among conservatives is a realization that there really in no limit to the amount of social control the Left wants. They're not going to leave you alone, they're not going to stop, and they won't accept your surrender. The mindset is totalist in a way that even Pat Robertson's is not. Josh (and others) what do you think? Because if they're NOT going to stop, then there is NO "bottom" for C Bob to talk about. It also means that we - all of us, whatever our other differences - need to see and understand the Left's techniques in order to have a viable and workable counter-plan. We shall all hang together, or we may indeed hang separately.
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Josh actually has a point about communism as a religion. Once the scientific social control project hits a certain level, it effectively becomes one. It's also true that Hitler's regime had its religious aspects, with a blend of occultism and Norse antecedents. It didn't last long enough to really develop them. China, to me, is the interesting case. It had Mao as a god, but that seems to have ebbed, and wasn't replaced by other "astroturf religious" iconography. Which is actually kind of odd for the genre, and helps explain why the peaceful and non-political Falun Dafa scares the living crap out of them. The Party sees the void, and don't want it filled. The thing is, all of these political constructs are outer-directed religions, not an inner-directed religion (as, for instance, Falun Dafa is). Truth is whatever the Party says right now, and will change tomorrow if politically convenient. It's something given to you, as opposed to something real in itself and discovered. Much like a certain constitution isn't about rights given to you, but about acknowledging something inalienable that you were endowed with by your creator. Josh, I don't care if you believe in G-d or not. The author of the quote parts ways with me on several things, including our particular faiths, but his quote nails the key dynamic. Buddhism could be swapped in at appropriate places, and it would still be true. Concretebob asks you to take G-d up on his offer. I'll just ask you to use your imagination a bit, and see how the essence of the quote might be true, if separated from the form. Hopefully, that will also let us get back to the article's main points.
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Good point re: structure, I think. So, a (hopefully) provocative question: What does "bottom" look like? How will we know?
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Awesome, every one. Ditto at a lesser level to the guys who made that movie, which was several orders of magnitude better than the crap that had passed for war movies over the previous couple of decades before it (yeah, I enjoyed Apocalypse Now too, but it's just Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" in Huey-riding drag). Black Hawk Down still holds up really, really well.
Toggle Commented Oct 3, 2011 on October 3rd, 1993 at BlackFive
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The Afghans themselves are also starting to receive training, and equipment. In the last month, I've seen an order for EOD robots, and also hand-held detectors. Hadn't seen stuff like that before. On the down side, this is the Afghan Army, and they're still driving Humvees. All this matters, because NATO and American forces aren't going to be there much longer. If I was in command of the Taliban/al-Qaeda, I'd ramp down attacks to a tempo aimed at cycling through training for bomb-makers and fixers. That helps build the expertise base back up, to go all medieval (oh, wait, that's ahead of them... stone age, then) on a much softer target in a couple of years.
Toggle Commented Oct 3, 2011 on I.E.D.'s on the Decline at BlackFive
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An American citizen who has joined the ranks of the enemy is enemy. Period. That has always been so, Grimmy. Not questioning it. I'll add that when they join the ranks of armed enemies who levy war against the USA, they need to die. Article III, section 3: "Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court. The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted." I want the punishment for treason to be execution, not as an option but as the only sentence, unless superseded by an agreement that ends a war (vid. Confederacy, but before war's end it's execution). If someone coughs up enough intelligence, I'm ok with a mechanism to commute the sentence to some length of imprisonment, and I'd be ok with having the President responsible for that. I'm flexible re: how we undertake convictions for people who won't present themselves in court, and am happy to execute sentence by Hellfire missile once they are declared as enemies. "We're not allowed to prosecute for treason anymore." We need to be. Not only from a rights point of view, but because there's a really critical principle embodied in it. Giving up the notion that loyalty under arms can and must be demanded as part of citizenship, is the end of citizenship itself. And eventually, of the country in question. Tom W... "The point is not that the president has been given the power to kill Americans who are traitors. He's been given the power to kill Americans who pose an imminent threat to the U.S." It sounds like the speech codes at universities. I read that and wonder just what the heck that really means. Or whether it can be made to mean anything at all. Compare for clarity with treason. And if you're part of an armed enemy organization, you're a traitor already. So why is the "imminent threat" stipulation even necessary? If speed is the reason, let's get a system that can deal with treason charges in a reasonable amount of time. I don't want an Ottoman Sultan for my country's leader. I want a President.
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Deltabravo... "Well, there just seems to be something really wrong in that he could wrap himself in the flag like some cloak of invulnerability as he spit all over it and plotted the massacre of those who fought for it." Agree with that. Not what I'm advocating. And I wouldn't mind a system that did forfeit citizenship if you take an operational role in a terrorist group. Or military tribunals to handle this (Ex Parte Quirin was fine with that). Or trials in absentia for those who will not remand themselves for trial once a notice is publicized. I suspect Ron Paul and I differ sharply on how the legalities should/could go for something like this, which would identify traitors, legally brand them as such, and thereby put the bullseye on them. Tom, I read the URL you pointed me at very closely and am giving it serious thought - serious enough that there isn't an instant response here, but I wanted you to know. as I read it, it basically said that if you take a role as a commander in Al-Qaeda, you're a legit target. My sticking point is actually here: "Obama decided that the constitution gave the president the power to kill those who make war against the United States, even if they are citizens." Isn't levying war part of the definition for treason? If so, not sure what rationale the courts used for giving the *President* the decision to execute full sentence on a non-tried treason case.
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No, I'm with Lisa Kay. I support killing any non-citizen terrorist we like, anywhere, if we think it's worth it. But an American citizen who has not been stripped of it, or tried (in absentia is fine)... no, you cannot kill them on the President's say-so. If you bomb a camp, and they happen to die, that's the way it goes. Wrong place, wrong time, and that's the same if you're an ABC (or any other) reporter on site, or even an American being held hostage by the bombed group. The difference being that I'll celebrate the dead traitor, and not the dead hostage. That's one thing. Now, if we're in a firefight, and an American traitor gets shot, I'm right beside you in that celebration, too. Shoot to kill, double-tap, no problem at all. That's just simple self-defense for our troops. But an executive order, to deliberately and specifically kill an American who is still a citizen, with no legal moves to strip that citizenship or try for treason etc... you've gotta be kidding me. You'd give the William Ayers wing of the Democratic Party that potential power over you? You think that's a society the Founders would be OK with? If so, I can only ask, as a long time conservative: are you f***ing nuts?!? If we need to put some processes in place to deal with that sort of thing, which don't exist today, I'd be open to that. But citizenship is no casual thing, and its protections cannot be casual in a free society. That fact that the result made me happy doesn't make this any less of an atrocity.
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One more possibility, James. What if the competitors are offering different products for a competition, whose characteristics are distinct enough that they're actually suited to different things? Looking at the Lockheed vs. GD models, that does seem to be the case. Though neither is really an ideal UUV/USV mothership, as the JHSV might be. A similar variance led the USA's lightweight fighter competitors into service with the USAF (F-16) and Navy (YF-17 becomes F/A-18 Hornet), respectively.
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Tried to view the slideshow using the "view Full" link in the sidebar. It led to a "couldn't find this" message from Slideshare.
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Sorry for the double - post. Looked like the system had eaten the first one, so I reposted...
Toggle Commented May 28, 2010 on Guns for all my friends in Chicago at BlackFive
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Ah, the M36C family of weapons. An incredibly versatile system, offering range and stopping power often compared to the 6.5mm Grendel round, in a carbine package that's highly recommended for close quarters battle situations. Unfortunately, the very thought of deploying weapons elicits a visceral, non-logical reaction from your interviewer. The word "sheep" catches some of it, if you've read Bill Whittle. But it's better to express in layman's terms, because I think it goes deeper. Note the allergy to responsibility - and when one attempt to find someone else to take it away from her fails, she'll just go on to another, and another. I suspect it goes beyond guns, if you tested it. I don't know if she is Russian. But that's very Russian. Not "Russian emigre in America", that's a different kettle of fish. But Russia Russian. That mentality is also being inculcated in large swathes of America, of course - perhaps all those appointed "czars" are more Freudian than we think. The Chicago unrest is not surprising, since they must live outside the partial modern bubble that allows people the luxury of assuming away the realities of human nature. But it is encouraging, nonetheless. We saw a similar gag reflex in the 70s, also as a symptom of Government Failure (at the time, a new concept - people knew about the possibility of Market Failure, but adding its counterpart changed the debate). And Jimbo's point about the available money has only begun to play out. With pension costs in 6 figures per year for early-retired Law Enforcement Officers, the appetite to hire more isn't going to be strong. And with other public services costs through the roof at state and municipal levels, cutbacks in police forces around the country must be expected. It has already begun, and as fiscal crises worsen, it will continue to get worse. The residents in Chicago are the thin edge of a wedge. One that will create an opportunity to teach many more Americans about the virtues - and responsibilities - of self-reliance. Hopefully, the 2nd Amendment's supporters will be ready to rise to that challenge, and Jimbo's presentation would be a fine model for how to conduct that.
Toggle Commented May 28, 2010 on Guns for all my friends in Chicago at BlackFive
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Ah, the M36C family of weapons. An incredibly versatile system, offering range and stopping power often compared to the 6.5mm Grendel, in a carbine package that's highly recommended for close quarters battle situations. Unfortunately, the very thought of deploying weapons elicits a visceral, non-logical reaction from your interviewer. The word "sheep" catches some of it, if you've read Bill Whittle. But it's better to express in layman's terms, because I think it goes deeper. Note the allergy to responsibility - and when one attempt to find someone else to take it away from her fails, she'll just go on to another, and another. I suspect it goes beyond guns, if you tested it. I don't know if she is Russian. But that's very Russian. Not "Russian emigre in America", that's a different kettle of fish. But Russia Russian. That mentality is also being inculcated in large swathes of America, of course - perhaps all those appointed "czars" are more Freudian than we think. The Chicago unrest is not surprising, since they must live outside the partial modern bubble that allows people the luxury of assuming away the realities of human nature. But it is encouraging, nonetheless. We saw a similar gag reflex in the 70s, also as a symptom of Government Failure (at the time, a new concept - people knew about the possibility of Market Failure, but adding its counterpart changed the debate). And Jimbo's point about the available money has only begun to play out. With pension costs in 6 figures per year for early-retired Law Enforcement Officers, the appetite to hire more isn't going to be strong. And with other public services costs through the roof at state and municipal levels, cutbacks in police forces around the country must be expected. It has already begun, and as fiscal crises worsen, it will continue to get worse. The residents in Chicago are the thin edge of a wedge. One that will create an opportunity to teach many more Americans about the virtues - and responsibilities - of self-reliance. Hopefully, the 2nd Amendment's supporters will be ready to rise to that challenge, and Jimbo's presentation would be a fine model for how to conduct that.
Toggle Commented May 28, 2010 on Guns for all my friends in Chicago at BlackFive
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Field Marshal Montgomery, writing about the Malaysian Emergency, summed it all up beautifully. "We must have a plan. Secondly, we must have a man. When we have a plan and a man, we shall succeed; not otherwise." The leader must have the authority to coordinate military-civil efforts. And draw together, then administer (and often change, as needed) then plan. Meanwhile, I give you Oliver Lyttleton, colonial secretary of Malaysia: "You cannot win the war without the help of the population, and you cannot get the support of the population without at least beginning to in the war." Did I mention that the Brits won hands-down in Malaysia?
Toggle Commented May 17, 2010 on COIN Symposium, Part II at BlackFive
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OldSoldier, F-22 cost was $300 million IF you roll all R&D costs into produced planes. So $1000 R&D over 1,000 produced planes = $1 per plane. If each plane costs $5, the "total cost per plane" is $6. But if you cut the buy to 100 planes, R&D is suddenly $10 per plane. What changed? Nuthin'. But the "total cost per plane" is now calculated as $5 (plane) plus $10 (R&D) = $15. A more relevant number is "flyaway cost." What does it cost to manufacture and equip one more operational fighter? F-22 at the end of production was $150-170 million. F-35 in its early production looks like it will be $130-150 million, and that will drop but the question is by how much. I believe the cost per plane will wind up being $90-100 million at full production, about what another F-15E would cost. Lockheed disagrees, but their assurances to date haven't been worth anything. Now, if we wanted to make more F-22s, we'd have to re-open the production line. Which would add a lot of extra costs. By the time you're done with equipment setup, training, space, etc., it can be a couple billion right there. So it's not something you do to build another 20-40 fighters - even at another 100 fighters, it adds about $10-20 million per plane to the price. Exports would help solve that conundrum, and Japan and Israel were both quite interested. Australia may also have chimed in, and 100 planes via export was not an unreasonable expectation if the Obey Amendment that blocked their export was repealed. Hope this helps.
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After what happened in Georgia, I think its original mission remains very relevant. The problem is whether it can execute that mission with a neutral Germany at its core. That's the mission I think needs to be rehabilitated, and reinforced. I suspect many of the eastern european members would agree. Note, too, that the Nordic nations (Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland) have created a de facto Nordic Alliance whose core pledges include terms that can be construed as mutual military support. What does that tell you?
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Interested parties can have a look at Defense Industry Daily's in-depth coverage of the F136 issue.
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Fox's calculator is broken. The USAF has a history with alternate engine programs in the F-16, and globally in the F-15. It's a very good history that has given the air force better engines, and saved it money. Multiple GAO reports have consistently backed the F-35's similar 2 engine program, since about 2007. Example: USAF F-16s use P&W's F100 family or GE's F110. Which was the 2nd engine developed, but now powers 80% of USAF F-16s. Why? Better thrust, better features, better engine than the original. And each manufacturer has had to invest in improvements to stay competitive, while keeping maintenance contracts reasonable. Which is why Congress' GAO auditors say that spending money to develop the F110 alternate engine was a good business decision. They believe the F136 will have similar effects, especially given the "all eggs in 1 basket" nature of the F-35. In contrast, let's look at what Gates thinks is a brilliant idea: * 1 fighter platform as the backbone of the USAF, Navy, and Marines. Powered by 1 engine. Made by 1 contractor. Who will have monopoly pricing power when it comes to sales AND service contracts. We will tick off the British (RR/GE for F136 engine), who are already reconsidering their leading role in buying the jet, and whose pullout or sharp reduction will have a ripple effect on other countries, and drive up prices per fighter here. And, should there be any problem that grounds this engine, we will be forced to ground not only most of the USAF, but most of the Navy and Marine Corps fighters as well. Gee, hope THAT doesn't happen at an inconvenient time. I'm sorry, but one F-35 engine that is the single most preventably stupid idea I have heard in 30 years of watching defense acquisitions. I have questions about the F-35 as a platform, and its place in current US military priorities. I think it has become a high-end cost fighter that isn't good enough for the high end stuff, and is ridiculously expensive for the low-end stuff. I think it's headed for trouble as a program, and as a military option to rely on. There are legit questions about the F-35. Guys like Bill Sweetman are asking them, intelligently. Having said that, if you are going to go ahead and produce the thing as planned, do NOT stay stuck on stupid and hand Pratt & Whitney an engine monopoly on top of that. Everyone is entitled to do dumb things now and then, but there is such a thing as abusing the privilege.
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May 12, 2010