Tag: BDB

Free Speech and Power in the Time of Ukraine

 

Russians are being cut off just as Canadians were cut off, and just as Americans were cut off.  This is not to equate the three causes — the cut-off Americans were pro-Trump, the Canadians were anti-mandate, and the Russian government is currently killing its way through Ukraine.  Different cases, right?  Yet the same tools are being used to silence individuals who have opinions contrary to the “dominant paradigm”.  That similarity is the real danger.  In the middle to long term, this is worse even than the horrors currently inflicted on Ukraine – globally homogenized censorship is a recipe for unending invasion and suppression.  It is the boot poised above the human face.

Conventional wisdom has nothing to do with it.  A paradigm is not wisdom, and convention has folded before dominance.  I recall a bumper sticker artfully pinned to the door of some facultron in the English Department at my university, “Subvert the Dominant Paradigm”.  This was an explicit, if cheeky admission of Brando’s defiant answer “Whaddya got?” when asked in The Wild Ones, “Hey Johnny, what are you rebelling against?”.  But now we simply Meet the New Boss.  They rebel against nothing; they carry out their instructions, and curry favor with The System.  They decide and the shotgun sings the song.  The radicals are now the establishment, and they have mortgages.

Russia to Seize Hundreds of Leased Airliners

 

According to Joe Blogs, Russia has just passed a law allowing Russian airline operators to simply declare themselves the owners of commercial aircraft leased from western companies.  Ireland likely hardest hit, IIRC.  These are Airbus and Boeing aircraft owned by leasing companies, but the deals are off, and the planes are due to be repossessed.  How?  Aye, there’s the rub.

Over 500 aircraft worth over $10 Billion may simply be swiped from the western owners.  This is another destruction of wealth, not just a transfer.  The aircraft are no longer supported with parts and inspections from manufacturers and owners.  And a great number of the planes are grounded anyway — Russian airlines don’t have as many destinations to go to these days.

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Alright, I’m no expert, but I’ve seen people here (you know who you are, and if you forget, others will help you) insinuating fairly directly that Ukraine supporters are influenced by some argument that Putin is fighting to save the God-fearing, White, Enlightenment something or other.  And then some other people ask where anybody has […]

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NATO and Russia: A False Equivalence

 

One popular argument about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is that Ukraine “had it coming” because of NATO expansion.  This is not a moral justification, and not a reason to consider Russia’s actions excusable or even reasonable.  This argument and its antecedents rest on a flawed equivalence between NATO and Russia, the “neo-USSR”.

The specifics of “not one inch eastward” are from a phone call between then-Secretary of State James Baker and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990, and in a different context.  Even Gorbachev has said that this was not a binding agreement.  Naturally, Putin rejects this fact, as it is inconvenient to him.  So let us dispense with this “broken promise” rhetoric and focus on the qualitative difference between NATO, a voluntary defensive alliance against Russian expansion, and Russia, the expansive inheritor of the Soviet coercive prison-state.  There is no moral equivalence between the two systems, and forgetting that fact will lead to moral failures.

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Here’s a stomach-turning bit of broadcast manure: Fox & Friends idiot woman spouting red-shirt talking points drenched in the purplest of prose, and I do not mean imperial.  Nigel Farage: NATO is facing one hell of a risk – YouTube This is an ostensibly on-side media outlet interviewing Nigel Farage, whom I adore, on this […]

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I like this guy’s videos.  In the middle it begins to sound sympathetic to Russia, but then by the end it’s clear that it’s not.  I think he does a good job of just presenting facts, when some of those facts are points of view held or likely held by actors in the world.  Why […]

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Bring Your Eschaton Shovels

 

Well, Snowmageddon II will be here soon. Six to 12 inches fall and strand people for a day, government yawns. Now, three days later, we’re projected to get 2 to 4 inches, and Gov. Ralph “Interstate” Northam has declared a state of emergency.

This storm has snarled traffic and stranded motorists (let’s hope not for 24 to 30 hours, Ralph) in Kentucky and Tennessee, and it’s coming here tonight. Just like last time, it will start with rain and a rapid temperature drop. Makes all the road prep work by the Virginia Department of Transportation ineffective.

Insurrection, Riot, Terrorism … My Balding Backside

 

I don’t know the answers to these three questions about The Dread 1/6, but I think they are enlightening as a thought experiment. Feel free to invent your own numbers, or characterizations, but please remember the basis upon which you made your estimates:

  • What was the total property damage compared to the value at stake? Feel free to lowball “inestimable” valuables (everything is estimable, but that’s a different post).
  • How many non-protesters were injured or killed by protesters? Feel free to include anybody who worked in or around the building, elected officials, LEOs, bystanders, or counter-protesters.
  • Without using words like insurrection, sedition, terrorism, and so forth, what other charges could be brought against the protesters? Think “lesser included charges” rather than “terrorism covers everything so it’s a trick question.”

Do you have a pretty firm feeling what the answers would be? To an order of magnitude? Rough guesstimate? Wild swag?

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I love dogs, but I know I’m not going to make any friends with this post. In my humble opinion, the dog outrage is certainly justified, but it is a symptom of the utter saturation of our moral compass.  We are adrift in a sea of outrage and calamity.  We have no way to address […]

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What if “we pulled the air support” because the ANA was so thoroughly compromised that there was no way to “support” anything like a national army?  What if instead, as the whole thing obviously crumbled, the famed “Afghan” factionalism was just oozing out of every interacton, and it was obvious that the next fight was […]

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Right now, across the country, well-meaning people are furiously formulating plans for what to do about our case of COINus Interruptus.  But things were just getting good (so good), and we were holding the fort down with only 2,500 troops, and look at all these other troops we have elsewhere — why can’t we have […]

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A brief review of Taliban Combat Effectiveness considered the following: Mandatory Annual Cyber-Awareness Training: Not AccomplishedMandatory Annual Equal Opportunity Training: Not AccomplishedMandatory Annual Anti-Terror/Force Protection Training: Waived (consider splitting these topics)Mandatory Annual Sexual Harassment Prevention Training: Not AccomplishedMandatory Annual Sexual Assault Prevention Training: Not AccomplishedMandatory Annual Operational Security Training: Waived Preview Open

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This is a YouTube video documenting (in somewhat cloying style) the reduction and turnover of British Camp Bastion to the ANA in 2014.  It is worth watching in its entirety, but fast forward whenever the awful bagpiping comes on.  The central figure, the good LtCol in charge of reducing the base, seems a fine gentleman, […]

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