Get PJ Media on your Apple

Belmont Club

Under Incompetence

June 7th, 2014 - 4:14 pm

One of the most interesting events in the history of the British Empire were the destruction of Lord Elphinstone’s Army in Afghanistan, 1842. Until 100 years later the retreat from Kabul was the greatest disaster in British Empire history.

Out of more than 16,000 people from the column commanded by Elphinstone, only one European (Assistant Surgeon William Brydon) and a few Indian sepoys reached Jalalabad. A few dozen British prisoners and civilian hostages were later released. Many of the British and Indians died of exposure, frostbite or starvation or were killed during the fighting. Around 2,000 of the Indians, many of whom were maimed by frostbite, survived and returned to Kabul to exist by begging or to be sold into slavery. Some at least returned to India after another British invasion of Kabul several months later, but others remained behind in Afghanistan.

It was a hard act to follow but somehow General Arthur Percival managed it in Singapore, 1942. The British general was completely outclassed by Yamashita. The Empire’s humiliation in their “Gibraltar of the East” was so great that it effectively ended it; 30,000 of 40,000 Indian personnel switched sides after the campaign and joined the pro-Japanese Indian National Army.  The Indians were of all people the most deeply indoctrinated in the idea of British superiority.

And in one crashing moment it had all been revealed as a sham. Elphinstone’s great debacle had been surpassed. “About 80,000 British, Indian and Australian troops became prisoners of war, joining 50,000 taken by the Japanese in the earlier Malayan Campaign. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill called the ignominious fall of Singapore to the Japanese the “worst disaster” and “largest capitulation” in British military history.”

While it is inspiring to recall victories such as D-Day, the examination of incompetence is far more instructive. How do incompetents get a hold of great commands? And why are their competent subordinates unable to change the course of events?

Norman Dixon, a graduate of Sandhurst and practicing psychologist wrote a book titled On the Psychology of Military Incompetence to explain his theories about why and when such catastrophic incompetence occurred.

Dixon believes that incompetence is characterized by the capture of an organization from within by mediocrities. One review summarized Dixon’s findings as follows. Incompetence gains a grip when:

  • A fundamental conservatism and clinging to outworn tradition, as well as an inability to profit from past experience.
  • A tendency to reject, suppress or ignore information which is unpalatable or conflicts with pre-conceptions.
  • A tendency to under-estimate the enemy and over-estimate the capabilities of one ’ s own side.
  • An undue readiness to find scapegoats and suppress news about military setbacks.
  • A predilection for frontal assaults and the belief in brute force rather than the use of surprises or ruses.
  • Indecisiveness and a general abdication from the role of a leader.
  • A failure to exploit a situation due to the lack of aggressiveness.

For those more comfortable with programming paradigms, these points can be restated in an equivalent way:

  1. There is no feedback loop in the application;
  2. Variables are overwritten in a higgledy-piggledy way.
  3. The functions return nothing;
  4. The application is essentially “fake”.  It has a front end with a lot of spinning lights, but it does nothing.

You say it can’t happen? Well look at the Obamacare system.

Ironically such catastrophic incompetence can only happen in well-defined hierarchies, in settings where subordinates are conditioned to follow the orders of the superiors, no matter how stupid. In societies which lack strict hierarchies, “natural leadership” is easily recognized and comes to the fore. Success is rewarded and the leader is changed. In societies which strictly follow the rule of law, “natural leadership” is suppressed in favor of formal authority.

In both Kabul and Singapore, the British Army’s discipline worked fatally against it. Men followed mediocrities like Elphinstone and Percival — literally to their deaths — even when they knew they were flawed. They could do no other. That’s the way the system “worked” — or in this case didn’t work. You could not overthrow Elphinstone or Percival without destroying the British Army even further.

There is sometimes among the rank and file the idea that “the brass will wake up”. That is the only hope of subordinates trapped under incompetent superiors.  But as some psychologists have noted the incompetent are the last people to notice their incompetence.  Within their own bubble they perceive themselves as having done no wrong.

Unskilled individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly rating their ability much higher than is accurate. This bias is attributed to a metacognitive inability of the unskilled to recognize their ineptitude … “”the miscalibration of the incompetent stems from an error about the self”

Incompetents are forever throwing subordinates under the bus and are continuously employed rewriting accounts to exculpate themselves. Mario Continetti of Politico writes that president Obama is deeply disappointed that America has not lived up to his high standards.

The next morning, during a briefing, the president—whose office holds a burden of responsibility matched only by its power—regretted that his job involved duties other than pretentious conversation with extremely wealthy famous people. “One aide paraphrased Obama’s response: ‘Just last night I was talking about life and art, big interesting things, and now we’re back to the minuscule things of politics.” You know, minuscule things like the maskirovka invasion of Ukraine, the implementation of Obamacare, scandals at the IRS and Department of Veterans Affairs, negotiations with Syria and Iran, withdrawal from Afghanistan. These subjects are far too small and mundane for our president. He prefers contemplative and thoughtful and nuanced symposia on philosophy, quantum mechanics, and how best to spend inheritances—all accompanied by Tuscan wine.

Obama is looking forward to greater things. There is among the incompetent an inordinate sense of unearned destiny. In a sense they’ve achieved by simply being there.  There is a trend among modern political leaders to regard themselves as legends before actually doing anything. While in the past public figures wrote autobiographies in retirement, after their achievement, today they write about their greatness even before their careers begin. The reason for this is that while formerly the narrative came after the fact, today the narrative precedes the person. The narrative is independent of the facts. A public figure’s persona is determined a priori by the narrative-makers. It is not constructed a posteriori by historians.

Consider two personages who are, or aspire to be commander-in-chief of the United States. Hillary Clinton, formerly Secretary of State could not cite a single achievement to her tenure. Yet she has written (with the help of a ghostwriter) the book Hard Choices as if she had ever made any. Hard Choices, Greatness, the 3AM call — are always in the future — they are never in the real past. They don’t have to be because they are already in the mythic past, and that’s all they need to be. The president is in a similar case. He wrote (some allege also with the aid of a ghostwriter) two books about himself before he was a major public figure. And he received the Nobel Prize essentially in anticipation of his services to world peace.

Both Clinton or Obama could easily fit the Elphinstone mode; although to be fair Elphinstone in his youth actually commanded a unit at Waterloo whereas neither Clinton and Obama can point to a similar experience.  One wonders what they actually do. Neither writes their own books. By contrast, Winston Churchill not only wrote his own book, he was also largely responsible for winning the Second World War. They don’t seem to have any tangible skill.  And yet … Obama and Hillary are experts in the modern profession of being famous, which requires no other skill than being famous. Like Kim Kardashian, they’re greatest claim to fame is fame itself. There it begins. And there it ends.

One of the early predictors of incompetence is a silent loss of confidence in leadership before the final crash. In the case of Elphinstone it probably came before retreat actually began, when it became apparent that the sick and confused Elphinstone could take no rational action.  In Percival’s case it may have been at the Battle of the Slim River when the Japanese ran through his carefully prepared positions as though they weren’t there.  There is a period between the unmasking and the actual fall when everyone except the incompetent knows the end of the story. The incompetent is always the last to know.

But the unmasking of incompetence in disciplined organizations is rarely accompanied by reform. Reform is impossible where the King himself is incompetent. Loyalty and competence are brought into fatal conflict and loyalty wins.  The solution is usually provided by the enemy, who by destroying the incompetent King, simultaneously dissolves the bonds of loyalty which make the pursuit of competence impossible.

Perhaps the most dramatic modern example of this recovery-from-dissolution scenario was the Fall of the Third Reich.  The penny dropped on Hitler only inside the Berlin Bunker when he learned that Steiner would not march to his rescue.  German society could not free itself of Hitler, who, whatever his talents, proved incompetent on a grand strategic scale. They could not free themselves of him because they were good, obedient and patriotic. And it all worked against them because they followed him to the Gotterdammerung.

The solution to Hitler was provided by the Allies. D-Day in its way marked the beginnings of modern Germany, and indeed modern Europe.  They dissolved the problem. The incompetence of the Nazis found its remedy in the competence of their foes.


Recent items of interest by Belmont readers based on Amazon click-throughs.

Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway
CABEAU Best Inflatable Air Evolution Travel Pillow and Neck Pillow with Raised Support Sides, Flatter Back, and Soda-Can Sized Portable Pouch – Black
Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment
Captive: My Time as a Prisoner of the Taliban
Quantum: Einstein, Bohr and the Great Debate About the Nature of Reality
Storm Over The South China Sea
The Idiot Vote: The Democrats’ Core Constituency
Pure Encapsulations Magnesium – Citrate – 180 capsules
1750mAh LI3717T42P3h654458 Battery Verizon ZTE Hotspot 890L, Jetpack 890L WiFi Router
How to Debate Leftists and Destroy Them: 11 Rules for Winning the Argument


Did you know that you can purchase some of these books and pamphlets by Richard Fernandez and share them with you friends? They will receive a link in their email and it will automatically give them access to a Kindle reader on their smartphone, computer or even as a web-readable document.

The War of the Words for $3.99, Understanding the crisis of the early 21st century in terms of information corruption in the financial, security and political spheres
Rebranding Christianity for $3.99, or why the truth shall make you free
The Three Conjectures at Amazon Kindle for $1.99, reflections on terrorism and the nuclear age
Storming the Castle at Amazon Kindle for $3.99, why government should get small
No Way In at Amazon Kindle $8.95, print $9.99. Fiction. A flight into peril, flashbacks to underground action.
Storm Over the South China Sea $0.99, how China is restarting history in the Pacific
Tip Jar or Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the Belmont Club

Top Rated Comments   
Some years ago I met a person who was deeply involved in the international NGO/UN set. I asked him, "what do you do?"

He said, "I am very busy" and rattled off a long list of conferences and workshops he was scheduled to attend -- in Geneva, Paris, London, New York -- so closely packed that he had cancel attendance at some to go to the others.

"Yes but what do you do. Ok let me put it this way: what do you achieve?" I persisted.

He looked at me as if I had asked a stupid question. But I was truly interested to know. For I had known a lot of people back in the day, especially in the Party, for whom sheer busyness was an end in itself. They were forever rushing from one meeting to another. And yet at the end of it all you would be hard pressed to name a single tangible thing they did.

The other day I saw a video where Jen Psaki was asked what Obama did. Her answer was that he "engaged" with people all over the world. She went so far as to say that at no period in the past has America been "so engaged".

If I were in the press audience, I would have asked, "yes, but what did he do?" But I think that Psaki would genuinely not understand the interrogative. What exactly does "engaged" mean? It's not a snarky question. I really just want to know.

A commenter in a thread past mentioned that in a movie a group of guerrillas were preparing for a battle. The leader asked the new recruits their former profession. One, a mason, was put to work building a bunker. Another, a doctor, was tasked with setting up an aid station. Then he came to a man whose former occupation was "intellectual".

"Ok, but what do you do?"

"I think".

There's nothing wrong with thinking, but you have to think about something. However we live in a Kim Kardashian world now. You don't actually have to do anything. Going through the motions is enough.


(show less)
(show less)
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Founder's solution to incompetence was what we might call 'managed rebellion' as embodied by the separation of powers, the system of checks and balances, federalism and what Cass Sunstein reviles as "negative rights".

The key was to provide a venue for 'loyal opposition' whereby mediocrity could be exposed and opposed within a framework of bounded resistance. But the growth of a vast bureaucracy in Washington has gradually eroded the potential for 'managed rebellion', which was actually a feature. The liberals have redefined it as a bug.

And of course they would do this. For there is precious little difference, structurally speaking, between leftism and nazism except for the specious assertion that leftists are 'moral' and 'high minded' -- which they are not. But each seeks in their own way the creation of the mechanisms of a mass society for so-called higher purposes.

This is why the Constitution is so repulsive to some liberals. The negative rights and the aspect of 'managed rebellion' are direct challenges to their march to utopia.

But if a system wants to survive, it must also have the ability to critique itself with respect to reality. Once that ability is shut down then disaster will sooner or later follow.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
And the MSM, with all its wisdom and historic understanding and societal perspective, when it comes time to choose a new leader - falls gibbering in praise of a candidate who has no record of any tests faced, any decisions taken, any accomplishments beneficial to the whole body politic.

Looks too much as if the political class AND the media take the excellence of the USA in all fields wholly for granted, and simply assume that any celebrity of the moment will be sufficient as Chief Executive to lead us into the promised land of social justice and peace talks and demilitarization and perpetual deficit spending against the Stash - itself taken wholly for granted.

Meanwhile, of course, the three-letter Executive-branch agencies have been making unprecedented investments in small arms ammunition.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (147)
All Comments   (147)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
>A fundamental conservatism and clinging to outworn tradition, as well as an inability to profit from past experience.
>A tendency to reject, suppress or ignore information which is unpalatable or conflicts with pre-conceptions.
>A tendency to under-estimate the enemy and over-estimate the capabilities of one ’ s own side.
>An undue readiness to find scapegoats and suppress news about military setbacks.
>A predilection for frontal assaults and the belief in brute force rather than the use of surprises or ruses.
>Indecisiveness and a general abdication from the role of a leader.
>A failure to exploit a situation due to the lack of aggressiveness.

Why bless my soul. This sounds exactly like the RINO machinery for the past six-seven years.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
During the Eastern Face, the Soviet losses were 500,000 dead, wounded, and captured. The report of Soviet Western Front was 607,737 killed, wounded, and captured.

That numerology does not absolve Comrade Stalin for his purges of the cream of the Russian officer corps shortly before the war.

And those extravagant Russian losses at Kursk and Stalingrad were a direct result of the recent beheading of its army, and the necessity to re-create its top, strategic, echelons by crude on-the-job training and throwing it against the far better organized Wehrmacht.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
Rice:
We live in a complex World.
Our Leadership is unmatched.
Our allies have confidence in President Obama.
etc...
http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/us/2014/06/06/nr-sot-rice-obama-foreign-policy-concerns-part-2.cnn.html
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes, the preeminent private sector shooting skills now, and going forward, are with the rifle.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
It can be said that bureaucratic incompetence can lead to nihilism and institutional suicide.

During sixteen (16) days of July 1943, perhaps the largest series of coordinated battles in human history took place, Kursk. This German offensive followed hard on the heels of its Stalingrad debacle.

The myths of Kursk are myriad and “facts” are grossly inflated; no attempt will be made to debunk them here. Instead, a comparison of loss of human life will be offered, reporting on Soviet Eastern Face and Soviet Western Face at Kursk and the D-Day landings in Normandy.

During the Eastern Face, the Soviet losses were 500,000 dead, wounded, and captured. The report of Soviet Western Front was 607,737 killed, wounded, and captured.

On D-Day the allies lost about 2,500 killed and approximately 40,000 wounded.

It is understandable that the Russians have a contemptuous attitude to claims that the Western Allies won the war. Lost to most students is Stalin’s desperate request for the opening of a Western front in 1942. Russia was being bled white. He was rebuffed by Churchill, forcing the Soviet to conscript every available man, woman, and child into the Red Army, with the inevitable slaughter of millions of irregulars.

All that said, Germany’s fate was sealed with its defeat at Stalingrad. With but the rare, limited, and frantic counterattack, the Wehrmacht, for the most part, conducted an orderly retreat until the end of the war. Well run defensive operations by the Germans prevented rout, but the war was lost. All that remained were the questions of when a general surrender would occur and would Hitler live to see it. Wise German officers maneuvered to assure surrender to any of the Western allies. Given their barbarous behavior in the East, one can understand why.

Yesterday, I saw a photo of Marshal Erwin Rommel. His beleaguered face was that of a man haunted by ghosts, dishonor, and the sure knowledge that a cessation of hostilities would be unkind. Although Rommel conducted his campaign in North Africa brilliantly from a military point of view, few realize that Hitler’s primary objective, personally delivered to Rommel, was to sweep clean North Africa, the Levant, Iraq, and Iran of all Jews.

(show less)
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
Dear Originally,

While I don't disagree with the details of what you describe, my sense has been - since studying WWII and learning about the titanic losses of the CCCP - that we (meaning the Allies) had plenty of good reason to be cautious about over-extending ourselves in Russia.

Recall that in the first place, the Russian Revolution that put the Communist Bosheviks in power specifically renounced its commitment to continue fighting the KAISER's German forces, leaving Britain, France, and the U.S. to carry on for another year before a negotiated armistice and truce.

Russia under the new Communist Soviet, repudiated the massive loans of currency and war material the Allies had made to the Tsar to carry on fighting against Germany.

U.S., French, British, Japanese, and armies of several other European nations fought during the early 1920s inside the Soviet Union, attempting to supplant the Bolsheviks with a government that was NOT communist.

Joseph Stalin, supreme leader of the Soviet Union had ruled his country for most of two decades by slaughter, torture, starvation and a lot more murder, open AND hidden, crushing domestic opposition with savagery that made Hitler seem like a cub scout.

The West had MANY good reasons to proceed cautiously.

At the same time, the allies provided enormous amounts of matériel - tanks, trucks, fuel, supplies, aircraft, munitions, medical supplies, bridge-building parts, weapons, etc. We lost plenty of people, ships, and supplies in the Murmansk convoys trying to deliver all that.

Still, it is sobering to recall that the Soviet armies lost more FIRST LIEUTENANTS than the total officer casualties of the ENTIRE Allied military effort.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
Your points are well taken and historically on point. Churchill may well have hoped to see both the CCCP and NAZI bleed themselves white, proceeding from the theory that the winner would be far more manageable by the Allies.

One of the points I had hoped to convey was the self-destructive strategy of the NAZI, the extermination of the Jews whatever the cost. It subordinated its strictly military goals to this irrational end and paid the price for such an incompetent objective. Best
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
Rommel wouldn't have been able to win if he hadn't some knowledge on the allies operations in advance. The Italians manage to rob the Allies codes for transmissions in the american embassy of Rome. It took some time before that the allies realised that they were spied. When they realised it, they gave wrong infos, from then Rommel started to loose.

I have been watching a report from National Geographic channel a couple of months ago, "Rommel the desert fox"
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
My understanding of the Battle of Kursk comes mostly from reading Paul Carell’s books on the Eastern Front. IIRC, the summary of Kursk is that the Germans assembled the greatest offensive force perhaps of the entire war (for them) and launched it at a large salient in the front, with the intent of striking a crippling blow to the Soviets and achieving if not victory, then a peace of some sort.

Problem was, the Soviets know it was coming, and assembled a massive force in defense, and had the time to prep the battlefield to their advantage. The German field staff at least, knew that the chances of success were slim due to this, but off they went. The casualty figures cited above attest to the German battlefield abilities and the number of Soviets under arms.

Do the circumstances of the battle represent incompetence on the German side? They certainly fall under some of the criteria cited by Dixon. But it begs another question- what do you do when you are out of options, or perceive you are out of options?

The Germans were attempting to stave off what I'm sure many of them know to be certain defeat with a bold and probably doomed strategy. They tried it not once but twice, with the Ardennes Offensive on the Western Front, so did they not learn from Kursk or, weighing the options, conclude that this was their best and perhaps only chance?

Incompetence, poor leadership at the top, and poor strategic decision-making (which are all one in the same) got them into the predicament. After a certain point, could any amount of competence get them out of it? If we continue down some of the paths we are on, with both competence of governance and competency in our population in question, what are our options going to be? What will it take to get us out of our predicament?
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
As written earlier, the obsession of the NAZI with the extermination of the Jews would have made any strategy basically incompetent. It drew away from the front desparately needed rail cars, men, and material, weakening further an already fatally wounded Wermacht.

D-Day was added to give the reader some idea of the differences in scale of the two fronts. By the time of D-Day, the German army had been reduced to a defensive posture, without hope of mounting a sustainable offense. The Bulge was a "Hail Mary" in which the General Staff had no confidence but were unable to stop. Best
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hitler delayed the attack for two months, then two more months, waiting on delivery of new Tiger tanks and the new middleweight T-34 killer the Panther, and the Ferdinand self-propelled gun.

While he was gathering in a few hundred new tanks, the Red Army was doubling and tripling the tank-killing power of its five echeloned defense lines.

So roughly, Hitler's delays in order to increase his offensive power by maybe 25% also increased the Red Army defensive power by say 100%.

This is incompetence, if not a death wish.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
Agreed, and I think the Germans at the field level at least, understood this, too. It goes to Wretchard's post re. solders following orders, regardless of the incompetence of those giving the orders.

However, the question I pose is more one of what choices you have, and what effect that has on decision-making. At what point in a series of events does competence cease to matter? If the Germans had managed to pull off the Kursk gambit, would it have really mattered in the end because of prior bad decisions?

Anyway, history is enjoyable to study and debate, and hopefully learn from. Living in the present, sorting through the current state of things... not so enjoyable sometimes.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
If memory serves, the Russians were building about 1000 tanks a month by that time. The Germans were as well. The Russians could readily get theirs to the front, the Germans could not. With great ingenuity, the Germans compensated by creating retrival and repair units to follow their armor. The work these units did a Kursk is simply amazing. If a tank could be removed from the field of fire quickly enough, the German mechanincs could have it back in the line sometimes within hours.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
they were defeated because their superiority with technical means, aviation, tanks... didn't fit with the russian rage for fighting, like the Germans lost the Verdun bataille, and though they also had this means superiority
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
The German army was the best in the world. Kursk was doable, but it would have made no difference given the German lack of reserves. As Napoleon observed, the victor is the one with reserves at the end of the day.

When Hitler et al, diverted thousands of rail cars, highly trained troops, and limited material to chasing Jewish families around the countryside, he left his commanders few options.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
I repeat, The difference between Arrogance and Confidence is Competence.

Confidence is often achieved by trying, failing (or not getting it quite right), adjusting and trying again. OODA loop.

Military success, for the United States in the near future, is a given, almost exclusively at the hands of O-3's, E-5's and below, freeing senior officers and NCO's to concentrate on the real path to promotion and career success...Politics.

The US Navy is selling its soul on the alter of PC and AA for a few half baked bottoms. Where is the revolt of the Admirals when you need it?
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
you're well served for arrogance and incompetence with Obama
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
The executive’s large purchases of the small arms ammunition goes directly to Wretchard's views on incompetency. You see, the ammunition chosen is generally useless except in the hands of expert marksmen at very close range, proving the point that dumbly pondering a problem is not the same as having ever solved one. In short, they were clueless concerning the dynamics of combat. In short, they have constructed a line of defense which will collapse when confronted with combat veterans and well-honed shooters appropriately armed. Even more amusing, they will probably never catch sight of their well-armed opponents.

Can a farm bureau agent, a postal clerk, or a secretary at HHS be taught to pull the trigger of a Beretta? Without doubt, yes. But what will happen after their fingers become sore after manually loading a third magazine without the aid of a speed-loader? How will their morale hold up when they find that their marksmanship skill yields a range of about point blank?

We should give thanks to the executive committees who chose the purchase of warehouses of 9mm hollow-point ammunition. They have essentially opted for muskets rather than Spencer repeating rifles. Oh, and rifles, having effective ranges of 1000m, will be what the government minions face when Mr. Obama releases his New Model Citizens' Army.

The only hope a bureaucratic coup has is the loyalty of the Armed Forces. I predict that this loyalty will be divided as in the Civil War. The disaffection of an Air Force squadron or an Army armored brigade or Georgia based airborne division will spell doom for the Progressive clerks, leading to incompetence being remedied by replacement.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
The place where the "managed revolution" still exists to some degree is in the States, at least in those not deeply and irredeemably Blue. I don't agree with Levin's call for a Article V convention because such a convention gives too much power to states that are effectively no longer a part of the United States. The deep Blue states are "partnered" with the federal government in creating some socialist entity completely divorced from the United States envisioned by the Founders and articulated in the Constitution. I simply do not believe that we can associate ourselves with the deep Blue states as they currently function in their alliance with the federal government.

But, having lost a few limbs from my family tree from trying it once, I don't advocate secession - not yet anyway. I do advocate non-cooperation. Red State governors need to step up and assert and protect the sovereignty of their states and they need to do it pretty much in unison. The convention that needs to happen is a convention of the Republican governors and a plan needs to issue from that convention. Governors acting alone to protect their states are simply marginalized, mocked, and run over by the media and the federal government, see, e.g., Jan Brewer and Arizona. The communist SOB is daring her to do something about his dumping of illegals in AZ. She needs to do something, and other governors need to join her, not leave her hanging out to dry again for fear of being the next target. Things might look a little different to Comrade Obama if 25 or more states in unison sue the federal government and seek a restraining order against the US. It's been a long time since I took a law class but I think a suit against the US by a state can go straight to the DC circuit and then to the USSC. If that isn't true and AZ has to go to the 9th Soviet, then the other Republican states should join her preferably as interveners but certainly as amici. It has to be clear that the states have revolted against the Obama regime but are doing it in the manner prescribed by the Constitution. (Of course, the Southern states thought that their secession from the union by the same means that they entered it was Constitutional. It was, but steel and lead provided another answer. We'll see if it comes to that again.)

The Obama Regime has shown us that the Congress is impotent to stop a renegade executive. Remember, the Roman Senate sat under the rule of all the emperors. Actually, even if the Republicans controlled both bodies of Congress and grew a pair, the only thing they could do would be to shut it down and invite revolution. The only moves on that chess board are the Republican Congress refuses to pass a budget at all, any budget, and refuses even a CR for the DoD; the US goes out of business. This is a Queen's Gambit; one party or the other can bring down the Heavens. Would Obama stand down the military? What portions of the military would stay at their posts out of loyalty on the assumption that the pay would come eventually. Would they be allowed to? How far would the Blue State governors and Blue City mayors go to incite civil disobedience or rioting and looting if the EBT cards weren't recharged on schedule? Other than the military and air traffic control, the federal government could shut down and nobody would miss it for at least six weeks. The US pays its employees two weeks behind, so a month or so after they get their last pay check, two million and change federal employees will start missing payments. In my labor relations days I always assumed that if I provoked a strike or lock out, I had to have the resources and political capital to make it last at least six or eight weeks so that some pain would be experienced by the employees, not just the public. Public employees generally don't have any savings to speak of because they have good health insurance and good retirement. Even those making $100K/yr. or more live paycheck to pay check. This is potentially a Gotterdammerung scenario, but that's what's on the board if Congressional power of the purse is the only tool in the bag.

The governors have to be prepared for a loss at the Circuit level and the unholy wrath of the US and the media in its wake. They just have to stay the course and get to the USSC as quickly as possible, first seeking restraint against the US, then a speedy hearing and decision. They have to be prepared to do without federal money and to deal with the wrath of the federal government in the pendency of the decision. If the governors lose at the USSC, the Republic is gone and the People and the States can choose to live under the new order or take such steps as they determine to be necessary.

One other avenue that must be developed, should have been long ago, is bringing state law charges against federal officials. Frankly, the goal should be to make it so that policy level feds don't dare set foot in R
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
AMERICA STUGGLES WITH SURGE IN CHILD MIGRATION...
FEDS DROP PLANELOADS OF ILLEGALS IN EL PASO...
'YOU ARE FREE, YOU CAN LEAVE'...
HUNDREDS MORE SHIPPED TO AZ...
Growing concern of diseases...
No end in sight for 'dumping' policy...
White House Launches Program to Provide Lawyers...
Cruz: Obama 'lawlessness' responsible for crisis...
Cantor: Time to strike deal...
---
The GOP "Brain"trust: Cantor for Speaker.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
I agree with much of what you said, except for this:

The only moves on that chess board are the Republican Congress refuses to pass a budget at all, any budget, and refuses even a CR for the DoD; the US goes out of business. This is a Queen's Gambit; one party or the other can bring down the Heavens. Would Obama stand down the military?

Obama has a loose garrote around the neck of the military and support personnel in Afghanistan. Any reduced funding actions could encourage the President to tighten that noose much as he did the veterans visiting Washington last January. That is his bent. He’d say, “Look what you made me do!” With reduced support for the military, all the while winking to the Taliban, et al, to begin a major push in that country, many there would be thrust deep in Harm’s Way. The only way to thwart the President’s favorite form of “hostage taking” would be by a wholesale mutiny by the military to protect their brothers and sisters. Would that happen? Dunno. But I do know, that if it didn’t, or someone didn’t “do something” to protect our brothers and sisters, that they would be primed for slaughter if left unsupported. To them at that point, 9 mm hollow points might look awfully appealing.

Here’s the problem. Most leaders would not take the President to that confrontation because he seems willing to take the country down without that provocation. With that provocation, Hell, game on!

In the realm of personal relationships, I learned something long, long ago: “The power of the person who cares the least.” Simply put, there will always be one in a relationship with the capability and willingness to “fight to the death,” – sometimes over very small things. A good example is the co-dependent relationship where one accepts abuse from their partner and rationalizes it by convincing themselves that “they had it coming” (for whatever reason) or deeply fear a future alone. We are in that situation, right now, with the Democrat leadership. In the Bible Solomon decides a claim between two women over who is the true mother of an infant. The woman who “cares the least” says the King’s suggestion to cut the baby in half, is “a Good Idea!”

That woman is our president, the other woman is the soul of our country. The Judge isn’t Solomon this time – the judge is God. God is testing us; not because He isn’t sure how this all turns out, but because we aren’t sure, and we should be. God knows the right answer. Do we know the right answer?
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
Art, your suggestion that Red State governors take united action to protect their states is very interesting. Suing the federal government makes sense, but there may be other things the states could do to provide mutual support.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
There are LOTS of "other things." One is bringing state law charges against federal officials engaging in misconduct. A good bit of my admittedly over-long post was lost but I advocate that we make it so that high-level feds wouldn't dare enter a Red State for fear of arrest. I wrote a piece on Red State right after Comrade Obama's election called "Defending the Republican Homeland" that goes into some detail.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
The most practical and immediate solution I've heard yet.
Time for the People to rein in these lawless Imperials.
Let us reintroduce them to the concept of risk.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
If Canadians don't want the United States to turn isolationist, they should push to increase Canada's defense budget rather than lecturing Americans to carry responsibilities they would never consider carrying themselves. Rather than contemptuously dismiss all Americans as a bunch of Obama-supporting losers, Canadians ought to consider the legacy of Trudeaumania. Rather than whine about possible foreign invasions, Canadians could raise the issue of contingency planning for if or when terrorists or drug cartels attempt to carve out fiefdoms from Canadian territory (or if the People's Republic of China attempts to invade British Columbia).
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
The transformation of Canada perhaps exceeds that of the United States since World War II.

Canada entered the war on the 10th of September 1939...

The rest, as they say, is history.

I'll never forget my encounter with anti-US prejudice in Canada in the sixties.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'll never forget my encounter with anti-US prejudice in Canada in the sixties.

And yet, many Canadians joined the US military in that time.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
And many American draft dodgers sought refuge in Canada. Perhaps that is why Canadians resented Americans who came to live in Canada, they were a bunch of freeloaders.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
Speaking of which, what happened to the Asphalt Potato?
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
Canadians who want the United States to avoid isolationism should oppose isolationism in Canada.

There are a number of unpleasant traits embedded within Canadian nationalism (particularly within the variety of nationalism promoted by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation), including a propensity to blame Americans for Canada's problems, a propensity to talk down to Americans at every opportunity, an arrogant imperiousness whenever the Canadian government thinks it can get away with it, jingoism over minor fishing disputes, and an existential desire to explain why Canada is better than the United States. It never seems to occur to Canadian nationalists that they don't need to be “better” than Americans to be proud to be Canadian.

Unlike Americans, Canadians didn't fight a civil war. Except for the Louis Riel rebellions and the rebellions of 1837. Unlike Americans, Canadians didn't have a Ku Klux Klan. Except in the western provinces. Unlike Americans, Canadians treated aboriginal peoples decently. Except when they didn't – the Hudson Bay Company did a good job vaccinating aboriginal peoples, but the Canadian Confederation didn't live up to that standard. And on and on and on...

Canadian nationalists tend to be shocked and appalled whenever they discover Americans who have read up on Canadian history, who have watched Canadian television, who have shopped in Canada – and talk back when confronted with hostile shibboleths that most Americans would just regard as quirky. Worse, Canadians tend to be oblivious to the influence that they really do have in the United States, specifically failing to perceive how their norms create an alternative sense of what is “normal” is regions that border Canada.

It isn't just about Lexx and the Red Green Show. Americans who live near Canada are more likely to perceive gay marriage, gun control, and socialized medicine as “normal”. Canada doesn't just have two solitudes – Canada is so divided that Canadians usually can't agree on what it is they don't agree on. But what gets irritating is how the very same Canadians who whine about the United States fail to comprehend the effect of their own example upon Americans who are watching them.

The only reason why Pierre Trudeau wasn't as disastrous as Barack Obama is because Canada is less powerful than the United States. Unfortunately, Pierre Trudeau's illusion of success has led at least some Americans to believe that the United States could get away with acting like Trudeau's Canada.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
" jingoism over minor fishing disputes, ..."

I looked into the soul of Canada, or at least British Columbia, from the window of my office in the State Office Building in Juneau after one of our "minor fishing disputes" when Canadian fishing boats blockaded an Alaska ferry in Prince Rupert. I don't remember if it was in an attempt to resolve the blockade or an attempt to settle affairs afterwards by having a meeting with the, what is it, Premier, of the Province of British Columbia and the Governor of Alaska, then a feckless Democrat, Tony Knowles. Tony, who could do metrosexual even in '90s Alaska, and who went to Yale, was just doing the usual Democrat masturbation rite of "engaging." The BC Premier or Prime Minister, or whatever you call them arrived for the visit with a whole fleet of Royal Canadian Navy vessels. Rule Britannia!

Course, they were WWII era American built corvettes.

I don't know much about the rest of Canada, but I know the Yukon and northern BC pretty well. When I first came to Alaska in '74, northern BC, the Yukon, and Alaska were about equally scruffy except the AlCan had what passed for pavement in Alaska and was still dirt in Canada except for about forty miles around Whitehorse. Today, American money has paved the AlCan - you can thank Senator Stevens - but the only traffic is Alaska-bound tourists and the YT and northern BC are even scruffier than they were in the '70s. Fill your tank and check your vehicle in Haines Junction because other than Beaver Creek, it is truly desolate along the AlCan between Haines Junction and the Border these days.

That said, there are some truly nice people in that part of the World. A rugged old Sourdough like me decided he didn't need no stinkin' chains to take a U-Haul from Haines to Anchorage in October. So, when I couldn't get over the pass with the damned thing, I had to hitchhike back from a mile or so from the summit to Haines, AK. I looked like Hell because in my last night in Juneau, I got just sh*tfaced, fell down, and had a nasty cut over my eye and a serious shiner. Then, I left my Passport on the dash of the truck when I set out for Haines. A couple of lesbian school teachers picked me up and gave me a ride to Haines and helped me find an auto parts store with chains that would fit a U-Haul truck - I don't know that I would have picked me up. I got through the Border each way looking like an escaped felon and with no Passport. I called for a cab in Haines to take me back up but he could only take me to the Border. He knew a guy who worked at the US Border station who was in Haines for a parent-teacher conference. That guy gave me a ride all the way back to my vehicle and helped me put the chains on. I tried to give him money but he wouldn't take it, but since he'd told me he was a lay minister, I gave him some money for his Church. There are still good people in the World.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
:-)
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
Those Canadians who huff and puff about “how dare an American say that about us” ought to notice that there is considerably higher respect shown by someone who knowledgeably talks back than from the typically patronizing ignorance Canadian statesmen usually endure from America's halls of power.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
"They could not free themselves of him because they were good, obedient and patriotic."

A few years ago I was in my old home town for a week, and was eating in a restaurant that was located right next to a junior college.

One of the "professors" was chuckling with a friend over one of his recent classes. He described the astonishment on his students faces when he pointed out that Hitler was a popularly elected leader.

No doubt the students, if asked, would have said that Hitler got a bunch of Tiger tanks and stormtroopers and Stukas and took over Germany. The idea that the Tiger tanks and Stukas came afterwards, following the rise of a political party that looked more like OWS, the NAACP, CAIR, and the homosexual rights groups than anything else, was beyond their ken.

On one blog a European scoffed at my assertion that the Left is Fascist in nature, saying that Fascism is an overemphasis on the military. By that measure in WWII the USA was far more Fascist than Nazi Germany. Nazi Germany continued to produce consumer goods until it was too late to affect the war, never built enough long range heavy bombers to put on a decent airshow by US standards, and never did a full scale amphibious landing under fire even 20 miles from Calais, and certainly not 4000 miles from home. Their best tanks were good for 5000 miles before it was time for a major overhaul. They were pikers by our standards.

By the way something called http//b.scorecardresearch is causing my computer to hang up on PJ Media.


(show less)
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
RWE3 - Tell that European that Fascism is not over reliance on military force, but any force - the military is a tool, just like passing laws like Obamacare.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
In 1944, Germany was already weakened by the Red Army

You wouldn't have been able to make your Dday in 1942
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
Without American Lend-Lease through Murmansk and Siberia, there might not have been a Red Army in 1944. They would have starved to death before then.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
Access Denied

You don't have permission to access "http://b.scorecardresearch.com/"; on this server.
Reference #18.5527ea48.1402239099.c3e3c7a
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
for a short laps of time, here in France, I couldn't have access to the comment section too. So I cut off my wifi connection a couple of times and finally it worked out, dunno if it's a hazard, the last time it happened it lasted several days.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
If you add a line similar to this in your hosts file, you will no longer access their site:

127.0.0.1 b.scorecardresearch.com

That will make the browser think the site is local, and nothing happens...
C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\DRIVERS\ETC\HOSTS
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
Holy Moly, this helped me a little on PJM, but it helps even more on other sites that have been slow recently! They must be very, very heavily used. And very badly written.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
hmm ...how does one add that line, if the page won't edit?
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
1 2 3 4 5 Next View All