Showing posts with label forein affairs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label forein affairs. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wednesday Randomness

China is buying oil from Iran with yuan.

Check out this interesting infograph on Zombie proofing your home.

For no particular reason I want to talk about a couple of rules or guidelines.

The first is that in firearms there is an inverse relationship between reliability and accuracy. Obviously a gun that shoots minute of barn at 10 paces is not useful but a jamamatic that shoots 1/10th moa when it occasionally decides to function isn't either. Personally for real world applications I am inclined to lean a bit toward reliability. Really you just need minute of man (or deer or elk or whatever) accuracy to get the job done and if a weapon is capable of that then the rest is on the shooter. Also most weapons will outshoot people anyway.

The second is that you typically get what you pay for. Expecting more than that out of a tool/ weapon is just not very realistic. Given comparable models/ styles a more expensive product is probably better. A $15 Wally world special is not going to perform like a Buck 110. Expecting a $550 "plinker" AR to perform like a rifle from Bushmaster, Smith and Wesson or Colt is not realistic. Some products do offer a lot of value and while they don't break this rule they might just bend it a bit. Glock and XD pistols, Buck and Cold Steel knifes and REI brand camping gear come to mind.

Also I would like to let you know that LPC survival an authorized Berkey water filter dealer and long time advertiser are launching a completely redesigned website on the 21st. I got a chance to preview it and the new format is very nice. Much easier to use and a better shopping experience. You should definitely check it out.

Anyway that is about all that is floating around in my head today,

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Random Thoughts: Tunisia, Egypt, Revolutions and Stuff

There is sure some interesting stuff going on in Tunesia, Egypt and Yemen (and the broader Arab world) right now. Not really suprising. All those despotic dictatorships with lots of young unemployed or marginally employed teens and 20 something who are growingly educated or at least exposed to the outside world via technology are a recipe for disaster. Hopefully if they are successful they will be able to break the 'One man, one vote, one time' and military dictatorship back and forth that have rules the Arab world since it became free from it's colonial rulers 60 years or so ago.

In Thailand not so long ago some folks really tried to get a revolution going. They succeeded in shutting down the capital for awhile but were eventually foiled. Some said it was because they were not armed which has some merit. If security forces crack down you can't do much to resist without guns. However I would say that: A) while they had a vocal minority there was not sufficient backing among the population and B) the willingness of the security forces to put down a rebellion are more important than a few dozen or even hundred guns. We saw this with Eastern Europe. The combination of the desire for regime change reaching critical mass AND the refusal of tactical level Army and police units to crush the protesters is essential for this sort of grass roots reasonably peaceful revolution/ regime change under the model of the fall of the USSR and more recently Tunisia. If you have even a fairly big protest and the security apparatus is still down with the regime you get the massacres of the USSR in the 50's and 60's (there were a couple I can't recall of the top of my head and don't feel like looking up) or Tiannamen Square. A government that doesn't pull any punches or care what the international community thinks can crush a pretty determined uprising and use the secret/ political police to keep it crushed. Anyway onto other stuff.

I have had a heck of a week. My schedule was early, late and generally erratic. So ready for the weekend. No real big plans here. Just going to try to rest and relax, do some packing and take care of a few little things. Got a bunch of new gear which I will write more about soon. Also there are a few other interesting things floating in my head.

Anyway I hope you all have a great weekend.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Who Would Lose A Trade War?

Chinese think tank warns US it will emerge as loser in trade war. 

I think this quote has some merit "They are utterly wrong," said Gabriel Stein from Lombard Street Research. "The lesson of the 1930s is that surplus countries with structurally weak domestic demand come off worst in a trade war."

China needs to sell the goods it produces lest their production will by necessity shrink rapidly to meet just domestic demand. If they have even a small dip in sales it leads to tons of lost jobs, closed factories and social unrest. While they are diversifying their markets it isn't happening anywhere as fast as they would like. Their free economy (well free except for real big players) and totalitarian state approach works so long as the economy is booming and people are happy with that. Iran has been trying the same thing and when the economy slowed they got problems. 

At the same time right now we are dependent on the Chinese buying debt to pay for this meth binge of debt fueled spending we are on (drunken sailor's is a poor analogy because late in the night or early in the morning they pass out/ fall asleep and it ends, unlike this epic economic fail we are experiencing which is more akin to a meth/ crack head who stays up for days on end).

If we got our spending under control then we could tell China to suck it. That would really be great. However we don't seem to want to live within our means. 

Interesting times for sure. 


Friday, September 17, 2010

Fun With China

“China gets 10pc growth: the US gets 10pc unemployment. That doesn’t seem the basis for a happy marriage,” said Prof Fergusson

Read the rest of the article here

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Read This-Massoud's Letter To The People Of America

A Message to the People of the United States of America

Date: 1998

I send this message to you today on behalf of the freedom and peace-loving people of Afghanistan, the Mujahedeen freedom fighters who resisted and defeated Soviet communism, the men and women who are still resisting oppression and foreign hegemony and, in the name of more than one and a half million Afghan martyrs who sacrificed their lives to uphold some of the same values and ideals shared by most Americans and Afghans alike. This is a crucial and unique moment in the history of Afghanistan and the world, a time when Afghanistan has crossed yet another threshold and is entering a new stage of struggle and resistance for its survival as a free nation and independent state.

I have spent the past 20 years, most of my youth and adult life, alongside my compatriots, at the service of the Afghan nation, fighting an uphill battle to preserve our freedom, independence, right to self-determination and dignity. Afghans fought for God and country, sometime alone, at other times with the support of the international community. Against all odds, we, meaning the free world and Afghans, halted and checkmated Soviet expansionism a decade ago. But the embattled people of my country did not savor the fruits of victory. Instead they were thrust in a whirlwind of foreign intrigue, deception, great-gamesmanship and internal strife. Our country and our noble people were brutalized, the victims of misplaced greed, hegemonic designs and ignorance. We Afghans erred too. Our shortcomings were as a result of political innocence, inexperience, vulnerability, victimization, bickering and inflated egos. But by no means does this justify what some of our so-called Cold War allies did to undermine this just victory and unleash their diabolical plans to destroy and subjugate Afghanistan.

Today, the world clearly sees and feels the results of such misguided and evil deeds. South-Central Asia is in turmoil, some countries on the brink of war. Illegal drug production, terrorist activities and planning are on the rise. Ethnic and religiously-motivated mass murders and forced displacements are taking place, and the most basic human and women's rights are shamelessly violated. The country has gradually been occupied by fanatics, extremists, terrorists, mercenaries, drug Mafias and professional murderers. One faction, the Taliban, which by no means rightly represents Islam, Afghanistan or our centuries-old cultural heritage, has with direct foreign assistance exacerbated this explosive situation. They are unyielding and unwilling to talk or reach a compromise with any other Afghan side.

Unfortunately, this dark accomplishment could not have materialized without the direct support and involvement of influential governmental and non-governmental circles in Pakistan. Aside from receiving military logistics, fuel and arms from Pakistan, our intelligence reports indicate that more than 28,000 Pakistani citizens, including paramilitary personnel and military advisers are part of the Taliban occupation forces in various parts of Afghanistan. We currently hold more than 500 Pakistani citizens including military personnel in our POW camps. Three major concerns - namely terrorism, drugs and human rights - originate from Taliban-held areas but areinstigated from Pakistan, thus forming the inter-connecting angles of an evil triangle. For many Afghans, regardless of ethnicity or religion, Afghanistan, for the second time in one decade, is once again an occupied country.

Let me correct a few fallacies that are propagated by Taliban backers and their lobbies around the world. This situation over the short and long-run, even in case of total control by the Taliban, will not be to anyone's interest. It will not result in stability, peace and prosperity in the region. The people of Afghanistan will not accept such a repressive regime. Regional countries will never feel secure and safe. Resistance will not end in Afghanistan, but will take on a new national dimension, encompassing all Afghan ethnic and social strata.
The goal is clear. Afghans want to regain their right to self-determination through a democratic or traditional mechanism acceptable to our people. No one group, faction or individual has the right to dictate or impose its will by force or proxy on others. But first, the obstacles have to be overcome, the war has to end, just peace established and a transitional administration set up to move us toward a representative government.
We are willing to move toward this noble goal. We consider this as part of our duty to defend humanity against the scourge of intolerance, violence and fanaticism. But the international community and the democracies of the world should not waste any valuable time, and instead play their critical role to assist in any way possible the valiant people of Afghanistan overcome the obstacles that exist on the path to freedom, peace, stability and prosperity.

Effective pressure should be exerted on those countries who stand against the aspirations of the people of Afghanistan. I urge you to engage in constructive and substantive discussions with our representatives and all Afghans who can and want to be part of a broad consensus for peace and freedom for Afghanistan.
With all due respect and my best wishes for the government and people of the United States,
Ahmad Shah Massoud.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Only as Strong as the Weakest Links

Portugals debt rating is downgraded to AA. The Euro is going down in value. Today it was at a 10 month low. Some sort of a vague potential last resort bail out for Greece is in the works. All of their cost cutting measures are not really equaling out the current higher costs of the borrowing necessary to feed their economy. Very interesting times.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I Can't Wait

Some time ago I observed that if you are a veteran and over the age of 50 it is socially acceptable for you to say literally whatever you want loudly and in any company. You are allowed to hold grudges against the countries you fought in, the countries who supported them and a few other groups and nations for reasons nobody but you is clear on. Best of all what you are able to angrily talk about doesn't need to have anything to do with any war, let alone the ones you fought in. If someone complains you start talking louder about the war and how you fought for this country and can say anything you darn well please.

I am already a veteran so now I just have to make it to 50. This is going to be awesome.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Isn't It Ironic, Don't You Think

Today at work Wifey had to go to a meeting. It was about terrorist and spies. The instructor made a big point that they should not trust foreigners. The instructor spoke with a very strong accent and was obviously not American.

Isn't it ironic, don't you think.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Today is Thanksgiving. Y'all are probably about to get on the road to go to Grandma's house or drinking a cup of coffee in a leasurely manner or maybe even still sleeping as I write this. Today has been a pretty chill day for us so far. Woke up late and tossed the bird into the oven. Had some coffee with a bit of Baileys in it this morning which is my own little holiday tradition. Been sitting around watching TV and  fiddling on the net while Wifey bastes the bird every half hour.

I have spent some time today thinking about what I am thankful for. I am thankful that I was born to a good (amusingly crazy and a bit drunk) family in the greatest country in the world. My life would be a lot different if I was born in socialist statist Europe, the backwards Islamic fundamentalist oven that is the middle east or the dangerous, AIDS ridden, starving, nepotistic dump that is Africa. I am thankful to have an amazing wife. This year in particular I am thankful to have a good stable job which supports us. I am also thankful that instead of being in some sandy dangerous hell hole I'm sitting in my Man Chair drinking a beer. Lots of folks in my line of work aren't so lucky these days.

Thanksgiving is a pretty awesome day. Giant drumsticks, stuffing and pie are darn hard to beat.

There is however one thing about it that has always bothered me, that awkward hungry time between breakfast and turkey time. You never really want to eat lunch because there is going to be a huge meal but it is always too late to comfortably wait. Most folks do some sort of orderves but they usually come out like a half hour before dinner time. It is just sort of an awkward anticipatory period that I am not a fan of.

AXN is having a bad American 80's TV show marathon today it seems. First it was Knight Rider and then Miami Vice. Maybe it is their normal schedule I duno because I don't generally watch TV all afternoon during the week.

Anyway I don't really have anything productive to say today. Oh yeah on the bright side apparently MIL got us a navigation system for Christmas. It sort of got spoiled because we were going to buy one today and she had been hinting at it then Wifey sort of asked so we didn't duplicate efforts. In any case we are going to eat pretty soon so I am going to wrap this up.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Initiation of Force

Some political parties and groups say that America should never initiate force. I personally believe they are well intentioned but none the less significantly misguided. Here is why I believe that.

The idea comes from two main places. First some various political/ philosophical theories about natural rights and such and secondly that your momma might have told you that you should never hit someone first but can hit them back if you must. While nice ideas and not bad for little kids they certainly don't measure up in the real adult world.

I don't remember my Mother ever telling me that. I do remember my Dad telling me when I was little that sometimes you have to fight to stand up for yourself. Even if someone else is bigger and stronger and a bully if they know you will fight if they mess with you they will almost always go pick on someone who will not fight. Experience and observation have shown this to be true. Somewhere around the double digits Dad and I had a conversation about actually fighting (not little kid playground shit) which is a subject he was well versed in. He said if you have to fight hit them first and knock the hell out of them.

It has been a long time since that conversation. During that time I have been in enough fights to confirm my Fathers words as truthful. I have gotten into fights at parties and bars and most other places you can get into a fight, winning most, having others which were closer to a draw and occasionally taking a random shot to the dome. Not saying these experiences are something to be proud of but like a lot of growing up they are what they are. While my experiences are by no means exceptional they then again are almost becoming so. So many people are fucking pussies these days. In any case I come from a place where people (particularly younger men) sometimes settle disputes with physical violence. I hope that my children grow up in such a place lest they might become fucking pussies.

The world really is much more polite in places where people realize that if they step too far out of line someone might well smack them in the mouth. People sure think a lot more about what they are going to say and do. The same thing that can be said about an armed society can be said about a society where people are willing to physically fight with each other.

Matter of fact if the two sides are halfway even matched the guy who gets a good first shot and follows up on it (never got the idea of getting a real good punch then letting someone recover and come at you) almost always wins. If a 140 pound guy who has drunk them self strong decides to sucker punch a behemoth or a serious MMA guy they are going to have a bad night. I once saw a behemoth of a fellow take out about 5 of those guys in a row, pulled him off the last one because after the second time he kicked the guy in the face I was a bit concerned he would kill the fool. Never understood the "I am going to get really drunk and hit that huge/tough guy right in the face" train of thought but alas I digress. The point is that the person who gets the first shot usually wins.

In a larger and far more serious context these days (really the last 60 years but increasing with precision guided missiles and bombs and bad assed planes in the last 30-40 years) military engagements are faster and more final than ever before. The Jeffersonian era where a country could just hang out (aided by relatively weak neighbors, wild indians and an ocean then later weak neighbors and two oceans) and have a tiny army then get word something is going to happen and then have at least a year to call up, train and equip a huge force are over. [Also not to stomp too much on the "we could just defend our country with a militia of riflemen" myth (really another post for another day) but it is also a lot more technological and complicated now than training men to load muskets on command and walk in tight lines.] Mechanized warfare put that era to bed and modern air power put it entirely to sleep.  Both of the Arab Israeli wars illustrate what can be done with a devastating first strike. Numerous other examples apply.

Matter of factly the "don't hit them unless they hit you" rule is best left to elementary school children on the play ground. Adults need to be brutally realistic about things and when it is time to fight (without getting into details social groupings and countries both have somewhat clear lines here) it is stupid to intentionally let the other guy take the first shot and is almost a sure way to get your ass beat. Take the first shot yourself and capitalize on the advantage to decisively finish the fight.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Interesting Discussion at Mayberrys Place

Mayberry wrote a really good post. He and I have also had an interesting discussion in the comments section. Give his blog some love and check it out.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ceeding Sovereignty?

I got this video from a reader in my email. I am a bit sceptical as our elected officials signing away our soverignty in some sort of an obscure treaty has been floating around as a rumor since at least the days of NAFTA. I will leave you to decide for yourself what you believe.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Book Review: The Next 100 Years A Forecast For the 21st Century

I stumbled into this book at the library and it just seemed interesting.I don't know if this book is for everyone but if politics, foreign affairs, geography and history interest you and you're willing to push through a few bland parts the book is interesting.

I got a couple of big things from this book. First and foremost history is not over. Nations are going to grow and shrink. There are going to be major wars which reshape our political maps. Lots of people thought that was the case in the pre WWI era and boy were they wrong.

Second of all and maybe the most interesting the book almost completely discounts China as a potential power. I certainly agree that their current growth is not possibly sustainable. Also the delicate balance of business on the coast making a ton of money and poor people in the inland areas is not going to work in the long term. China is certainly limited in its potential growth by significant geographic boundaries.

Third that this book talks of economics, military power, geography and war as they relate to and shape each other makes a lot of sense to me. I don't think we can fully grasp one without looking at the others.

The outlook might be a bit fatalist speaking of events as though they were almost sure to happen. There was however a great point about the way that countries relate to each other and deal with various situations. Think about it like the beginning of a game of chess. Seemingly there are endless moves but for a good player there are far fewer viable moves as many of the given possible moves would lead to disaster.

Also there is a great point about how the changes in global birth rates are going to actually lead to a drop in the world population over the next 100 years. This will play out in all sorts of interesting ways, particularly as the boomers age and retire.

I got a lot out of the book and think for those of you who are interested in its content it would be a good read.

Friday, October 16, 2009

quote of the day

"In geopolitics, major conflicts repeat themselves."
-George Friedman

The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century

Friday, October 9, 2009


President Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize. To be honest I feel bad for him on this one. It isn't like he paid $15 and filled out a form to get into the running or anything, someone nominated him. Also it rather blatantly points out that he hasn't done anything for world peace, at all by any possible realistic measure. Not saying he should or anything because his job title isn't "World Peace Faciulitator" but still. Putting him in the same group as people like Mother Teressa and the Dalia Lama is just sort of sad. Without getting into who and what our President is; it is fair to say that when measured against certain people by specific criteria we can all come up a distante last.

I sort of think this is symblematic of larger issues surrounding our President. Again without getting into what he is or isn't he is in fact a man. He can not walk on water or solve long lasting world problems with a meeting and a photo op. If measured by high enough criteria anybody could hypothetically be seen as a total failure. I think there is a distinct chance our President is going to be measured by criteria that nobody could possibly meet.

Friday, September 11, 2009


It is 9/11. This is probably my generations equivalent of JFK getting assassinated. They were not comparable except it is the event for which everyone in my generation will always be able to recall where they were like I remember my Mom recalling the Kennedy assassination.

I remember waking up groggy early in the morning, something about a plane crash. I had just gotten back from AIT and school didn't start for a couple days yet so I was catching up on some much needed rest. My friend called me to say a plane had crashed into the world trade center. I thought that was pretty shitty and the pilot must have really messed up. Since I was awake anyway I turned on the little TV by my bed, there was only one thing on tv. Then a little bit later another plane hit. Obviously this was not an accident. I loaded my shotgun and threw it in the truck because though I didn't know what was going to happen next one thing I had never imagined happening had already transpired that day.

It is 8 years later today. I have spent September 11th pissed off since then, one particular one pissed off in the desert. We have started two wars and in the process toppled a brutal dictator and a league of fundamentalist ass hats. Iraq is at least going to get a shot at being a peaceful and productive democratic nation ruled by laws not a brutal strongman. If they can or will make this work remains to be seen. Afghanistan is looking less certain and I believe our goals there may have some fundamental problems (that is really another post in and of itself and lets not let it hijack this one). None of us know exactly what will happen but it is fair to say the events of that fateful day have forever changed our world.

9/11 was impossible to ignore unlike the bombings in African embassies, the USS Cole and the previous attempt on the WTC. I honestly thing that this event, its consequences and what we have done because of it will define our world for years to come.

This event reminded us that it is nor practical to just ignore someone who hates you and intends to do you harm. Letting people live as they want is great except if they want to harm you and impose their views on you. Even a dozen asshat islamic fundamentalists who do little but mumble false religious gyberish and fuck little boys can give a black eye to the most powerful nation in the world if they are crafty enough.

Make no mistake there is a war going on between those who are free (and want others to be free) and a bunch of trecherous murderers who want to use force to impose their dysfunctional backwards views on everyone else. I remember Hermit saying "I don't hate anybody but I understand Islamic Fundamentalists for the trecherous murderers they are" like pretty much everything else he said this has a lot of truth.

Did I mention that I am still mad?

Monday, June 22, 2009

US Dollar Index

Everybody always talks about the US Dollar Index. I hate to confess this but I have been nodding and playing along like I knew exactly what they were talking about. Stephen showed me this chart the other day and it sort of spurred me into a bit of research. Basically it is a comparison of the US Dollar's value in relation to a basket of foreign currencies. This came into being shortly after the dismantling of the Bretton Woods agreement which fell apart when we closed the Gold exchange loophole. So I learned something today.
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