My Analytic Tools



1-Duck Rule: If it walks like a duck, squawks like a duck and has feathers, it probably is a duck.

2–Sherlock’s Rule: When considering a problem, remove everything from consideration which seems untrue. What is left is probably the truth.

3-Occam’s Razor: In considering a complex phenomenon with many factors and a variety of explanations, remember that the simplest explanation that accounts for the factors is probably correct.

4- The KISS principal” “Keep it Simple, Stupid.” (Army Rule) pl

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99 Responses to My Analytic Tools

  1. Chiron says:

    Hey Colonel, what do you make of Thierry Meyssan from Voltairenet?
    “the two armed factions present in East Ghouta (pro-Saudi and pro-Qatari) are run by Al-Qaïda. They will be discreetly exfiltrated. The officers of the British MI6 and the French DGSE (who are operating under cover of the NGO Médecins sans Frontières) will be repatriated.”

  2. turcopolier says:

    Thierry who? IMO you have the identity of the rebels right but the notion that the French and Qataris are going to exfiltrate the leaders so that they can be used again in some demonic plot is just latrine rumor. One of the soldiers can explain that to you. pl

  3. turcopolier says:

    Are you not capable of thinking for yourself at all? IMO there was a criminal conspiracy among various parts of the government, the Clinton Campaign and the MSM to rig the election against Trump, and it continues. pl

  4. Duck1 says:

    Obama snooping failed when agent Orange screwed the pooch by being victorious. 2 step retrospective alphabet sniffing with tainted oppo smears is slowly caving in. Best case scenario for the oligarchs everybody fuggedabout it. Look the world series.

  5. Peter AU says:

    1. It walks like a hegemon. It squawkes like a hegemon. it has around a thousand bases around the world like a hegemonic empire.
    2. Documents released through FOI, whistle blowers ect are a good baseline for judging other reports.
    3 and 4. The US dollar and the US military are the hegemons tools for enforcing its power. The hegemon cannot be brought to account without first getting past the US military. An attack on the US military will most likely bring about MAD. Bringing down the US dollar will also bring down the US military, and may or may not bring about MAD.
    I tend to look at the borg, as thery are termed here, as the US and most powerful sect of the hegemon which I think is global. Brit borg next behind US in terms of influence within the hegemon but perhaps holding second place alongside zionists of all nationalities.
    That’s Duck, Sherlock, Occam and KISS as I see it.

  6. notlurking says:

    Rules to live by…..

  7. DianaLC says:

    That’s the same “duck” I’ve been seeing.

  8. Colonel,
    Your rules for analysts keep our feet on the ground. So does your superb site.
    Unfortunately you have opposition. Here is the BBC report on East Ghouta:-
    Main points:-
    – “Whole neighbourhoods in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta region outside Damascus have been flattened and thousands of families displaced, amid a government assault to retake it from rebels.
    “Daily “humanitarian pauses” – ordered by the government’s ally, Russia – have failed to stop the bloodshed in the enclave, where hospitals, schools and shops have been pounded by air and artillery strikes.”
    – “The Syrian government has denied targeting civilians and insisted it is trying to liberate the Eastern Ghouta from “terrorists” – a term it has used to describe both jihadist militants and the mainstream rebel groups that dominate the enclave.”
    Those, at least as I read it, are the main points in the BBC report.
    We are not told the numbers and composition of the claimed “mainstream rebel groups”, nor whether these are the groups responsible for the artillery fire from East Ghouta into civilian areas.
    We are not told the numbers and composition of the “jihadist militants”, nor whether they have been offered a ceasefire and transport to Idlib as was done in Aleppo, nor whether they had been offered a similar deal that seemed to have been arrived at in Raqqa.
    We are not told why the civilians are not taking advantage of the humanitarian pauses, or whether the reason for this is that, as in Aleppo, civilians who tried to escape the area were fired on by the Jihadis.
    This BBC report is not an attempt to arrive at the truth. It is clear that for our news outlets at least rules for analysts have been replaced by rules for PR apologists.

  9. nard says:

    I am surprised you’re not aware of this Frenchman…I hold him in similar regard as Elijah Magnier…both well-informed commentary with extensive on-the-ground sourcing. regarding the latest Munich Security conference

  10. turcopolier says:

    I grieve for you. These rules, taken together, have served me well in a long life occupied in part with understanding reality. pl

  11. turcopolier says:

    Diana LC
    The rules must all be used to get a probable answer that looks both to the surface phenomena and inner truth. Otherwise you will fall into the Lyttenburgh Error and become a navel contemplator or perhaps someone who looks to the statements of canines for truth as to what has occurred. pl

  12. Anna says:

    Paul Craig Roberts’ inventive against the “riggers:”
    “The stupid Samantha Vinograd [who served as a staffer on Obama’s National Security Council] repeats the lie that Russiagate was Putin’s plot “to destabilize the United States.” So, how is the US a superpower when Russia controls US elections? Doesn’t this mean that Americans are of no relevance whatsoever in the world? … With intelligence levels this low on Obama’s National Security Council, no wonder the neoonservatives were able to run over the Obama regime and resurrect the Cold War, thus returning the world to a high chance of nuclear Armageddon.”
    The “riggers” have exposed their incompetence again and again and again…

  13. Anna says:

    Sorry, should be “invective”

  14. turcopolier says:

    i was joking. I know who Thierry Meyssan is as well as Elijah Magnier. Are their sources good? Are their opinions sound? I prefer my own and those of my guest authors. pl

  15. turcopolier says:

    “Positivism” insists that conclusions can only be reached on the basis of surface and tangible evidence. You seem to have missed the word “probably” in the Duck Rule. pl

  16. Matthew says:

    5. Avoid Confirmation Bias.
    6. Avoid Availability Bias.
    IMHO, the two biggest analytical obstacles. (Particularly, for me.)

  17. Ken Roberts says:

    Ducks … if it looks, etc … Operationally ok as an approximation, and ones response can also be approximate — don’t need to know if bird is “really” a duck. Marxian approach: make duck soup — if turns out to be swan or goose, still edible. Or try to breed it with another duck, get source of future eggs. And so on.

  18. LeaNder says:

    Thierry who?
    Caught some people’s attention as one of the post 9/11 experts. At least he he caught mine. Then. Is rarely referred to here, usually via Volairenet articles. Were he seems from a somewhat subjective assessment to often cross the frontier between comment and facts: comment is free, facts are sacred.
    On the other hand, I admittedly found only one article on a US web, on a journalism review, discussing objectivism. I also cannot pretend I ever looked how well C. P. Scott did in separating the two. Or for that matter to what extend it is possible at all in journalism from the time I decided to not join the trade in the late 60s …

  19. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Positivism posits that the Duck is an empirically derived conception – solely based on sense data – and its comprehension does not require the existence (or the assumption ) of a metaphysical system.
    It is a form of Scientism – elevating “Science” to the level of Metaphysical Truths – ignoring the shaky metaphysical basis of empirical sciences themselves.

  20. Charles says:

    It could help you tell the difference between Duck a la Orange and Trout Almandine.

  21. Karel Whitman says:

    yes, admittedly this surely sounds a bit provocative.
    But, how else then trusting our perception could we ever judge on matters? Everyday life? Should we start to consider that something that walks like a duck, squawks, and has feathers could be a camel too? Never mind if Bactrian Camel or Dromedary?

  22. jpb says:

    Comedic genius! I like to start the day with a good laugh, before Occam’s Razor and the Duck Decoys (ex)plain everything. Thank you, sir!

  23. turcopolier says:

    What is “toast” in Spanish” pl

  24. Sid Finster says:

    The Iron Law of Oligarchy and the Iron Law of Institutions.
    All institutions are corruptible and all institutions eventually will be corrupted, because institutions = power and power is to sociopaths what catnip is to cats.
    Some corollaries of this are:
    1.The people who want power the most are the most inclined to abuse that power.
    2. The principal function of any institution is to keep sociopaths out of power as much as possible for as long as possible.
    3. There are no political or economic systems that work everywhere or at all times. Rather, a system works in a given time and place, to the extent that they further the above principles.

  25. turcopolier says:

    Entonces el modismo commun es que “La tostada siempre calle al lado de la mantequilla?” pl

  26. DH says:

    “i think i figured it out…those hillary clinton emails threw the election for trump and obama/cia had to get back at russia for doing this.. this is the basis for the russia meddling in the usa election… meanwhile no proof necessary! and, it remains totally partisan..”
    How to explain the Comey October surprise? I feel that was the tipping factor for Trump’s election.

  27. Tidewater says:

    Harriet the spy was quoting Hemingway, was she not? ‘A writer must have a built in shit detector.’ Didn’t he say something like that?
    Question: is Hemingway passe to you?
    Who would you root for? Espartero or Perdigon? I mean as in “Hala Madrid.” Cheering on. The man or the bull.

  28. SmoothieX12 says:

    Colonel, you completely mastered the art of a profound meme and I still can not stop laughing from these dogs and the message in the picture.

  29. Green Zone Café says:

    Hanlon’s razor: don’t ascribe to malice or conspiracy what can be attributed to negligence or incompetence.

  30. Valissa says:

    Totally agree on the importance of the 2 laws. But I do not personally find your corollaries useful. Your 2nd corollary and the last half of your 3rd corollary seem illogical to me.
    On the 3rd one, I agree with the first sentence of your 3rd corollary but not the second, which I find illogical because systems don’t exist to further principles. Systems exist because they evolved or were created to serve everyday life purposes. They may do that well or not for all kinds of reasons.
    As to the 2nd, institutions are always created to serve specific functions in a society, not to “keep sociopaths out of power.” Furthermore I dislike the use of the word “sociopath.” It is a pet peeve of mine that people use psychological labels to say someone is BAD and DEFECTIVE as if that explains what’s going on in the world (because they haven’t lived up to certain behavioral ideals).
    My observation is that such psychobabble interpretations of political motivation are a way of attempting to maintain moral superiority. These sorts of labels are not helpful as analytical tools IMO, they are lazy thinking and reflect no understanding of the normal imperfections of human behavior and how that effects the nature of human institutions.
    There have always been those with ambition, large egos and strong desires to make the world the way they think it should be. We tend to call these people leaders and leaders are needed in societies. I think we are all aware of the human weaknesses that can cause these leaders to go astray. It has always been true that some people and organizations are better at wielding power than others for all kinds of reasons…. personal character, historical timing, etc. Also it is possible for an arrogant power wielding asshole to do some good as well, depending on the surrounding circumstances.

  31. Mark Logan says:

    Ken Roberts,
    Heck of a question you’ve posed there. For an ideal answer in an ideal universe I would place Nietzsche and Harry Frankfurt in a phone booth, armed with slingshots!

  32. Tidewater says:

    ‘Harina de otro costal’ seemed to me at first glance to mean ‘people are
    bicoastal.’ They can come from the other coast. Which is wrong, of course, but amusing. From east to west there are serious differences even if the people still look the same?
    But what you are saying is: “People are [can be] ‘flour from a different sack.’ Meaning that it’s hard to tell about flour; it all looks the same till you realize it’s not the same. People can be deceptive.
    Where do you get the idea that the United States is “an oppressive and conservative society…where almost all your natural instincts get castrated at early ages, especially in the case of women…”
    What is your foundation for that? I don’t even think you have been here. Me, I think we don’t at this point know what America is or where it is heading. I am charmed by the idea that a teacher could be strapped. Get a little respect.
    And as for American wimmenz. I think they expect a great deal from life and from their men. There is this chilling term: “Provider.” He is a good provider. Or he is not a good provider, but… I recall that Hemingway used the castrado term for the poor American male as in ‘The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber’, if I remember that right. Now, I read in some of the trash stuff I devour for some reason like the Daily Mail, that even America’s daughters want to get on a first name basis with Papa. Tell that to Doris Holbrook. (A James Dickey reference; ‘Cherrylog Road’.) Worse. The familiar form even with their uncles! ‘Nuncle’ perhaps, but that’s it.
    You’re saying that compared to Spain, you think we are conservative? Wow!
    It was the Spanish women who caused the Spanish Civil War, right? They were not going to accept change.
    I accept that people from your part of the world–the rolling round mountains of the Basque country with their forests and their streams full of soap suds, and the austere Pyrenees–these people may be assumed to have very strong opinions. I have a good bit of the Scot in me. It’s in the DNA. After all, does not the Antipope still live up there? The dying priest who summons and assigns a stunned young priest as the new head of the Church. A custom that goes back in its origins to Peniscola and the Avignon heresy when all the true relics of the Church were taken to Spain by one of the popes. So somewhere in the Pyrenees there is a priest who wears the iron ring of St Peter, and has, in his humble abode, all the true relics. Talk about stubborn conservatism.
    And wasn’t it Richard Ford who said that the Aragonese were always given the honor of marching at the head of a parade of the Spanish army, at least during the Carlist wars. It was said that they received this precedence, not because they marched the best, or even because they fought the best, but because they hate the best.
    Strong opinions, not necessarily true, but real enough. Sad to see but to be expected in an Absolute Beginner.

  33. turcopolier says:

    I agree that she has probably never been to the states. the purity of her animosity is too great to have been maintained after the experience. If she claims she has visited we will have to ask for details. pl

  34. JohnH says:

    “If attribution for an event is too rapid, IOW before facts can reasonably be known, then it is probably wrong.” One of the main tools for waging info wars and dominating the narrative is to hold the opponent responsible for everything, regardless of the truth of the matter. We saw this with Trump-Putin, with the Assad chemical weapons attack and many other events for which the enemy got blamed, even though responsibility has yet to be established, years later.
    An close analogy would be that the first person to call a foul in a basketball game is usually the one who did it.

  35. Fred says:

    Peter AU,
    A. It walks like a hegemon. It squawkes like a hegemon. it has around a thousand campuses around the world like a hegemonic univeristy.
    B. Documents published through self-referencing journals, press & websites. Discenting insturctors are a good baseline for judging other reports.
    C. and D. Admitence into programs granting Academic Degrees and self reinforcing international schoolarship are the hegemonic tools for enforcing its intellectual power. The hegemon cannot be brought to account without first getting past Ivy League Academia. An attack on US Academia will bring about deplatforming and expulsions and demands for safe space segregation. The borg are not just graduates of intellecutal hegemons but the academic and academicaly trained aristocracy thereof.

  36. Charles says:

    So the smart observer/experimenter always butters the upside of the toast after it has fallen.

  37. Charles says:

    A good rule for conspirators and malicious people to quote.

  38. VietnamVet says:

    This is an excellent primer on intelligence analysis from the expert. I laughed with the thumbnail of the canines scapegoating.
    What hasn’t been mentioned is the monkey wrench that has been thrown into democracy by the consolidation of the media into a propaganda organ for the global elite. Not too different from the former Soviet Union. The search for truth or reality today is atomized people prowling the internet and their immediate world trying to find someone, something to trust. Too often nowadays they find despair or cults.

  39. Kooshy says:

    Rule No 2, the Sherlock’ rule, has been my only safeguard for obtaining news from western MSM

  40. Or you know, like Tony Stark said: “I say, is it too much to ask for both?”
    Malice and conspiracy give rise to incompetence and negligence – and probably vice versa.
    Where people err is assuming that conspiracies are always competent. If that were true, we’d never have even suspected that a conspiracy exists.
    Conspiracies are really, really hard to keep secret because of phenomena like the “dog that didn’t bark” and other holes in circumstances that reveal events, as well as simply considering “Cui Bono?”

  41. outthere says:

    How’s the storm in D.C./Arlington?
    You seem to still have power.

  42. turcopolier says:

    I live in Alexandria. Arlington County, Va is a different place and DC is basically Brazilia on the Potomac. The power has stayed on. This was just a wind event here. we are used to a lot of wind. we have an auto start 20 KW natural gas operated back up generator and so always have electricity. thank you for your concern. pl

  43. Valissa says:

    Hey Tidewater, I have wondered how “real” Fatima is for a while now, with her oddly provocative and cryptic remarks. And yet, if you look at her comment #20 here you will a quite different style of communication. Doesn’t look like an “Absolute Beginner” there, which I never thought she was. She comments over at Moon of Alabama too and clearly has some knowledge of these topics. Conversational inconsistencies like this tend to point to a “constructed” online personality. Nothing wrong with that IMO, just observing.

  44. Babak Makkinejad says:

    May be that is what is lacking in the states, too much Teutonic feminism and too little of Iberian womanhood.

  45. Dabbler says:

    Well said. Could you please explain the Richard Ford reference? Is this Richard Ford the author or some other Richard?

  46. turcopolier says:

    Yes. The “precious” Hemingway-like evocation of a Pasionaria effect is just too much to really believe. IMO we have several malicious trolls here and she is probably one. pl

  47. Walrus says:

    “There have always been those with ambition, large egos and strong desires to make the world the way they think it should be.”
    There are also total psychopaths with ambition, large egos, strong desires and intelligence who masquerade as said leaders. Except they don’t have anyone’s interests but their own in view.
    The trouble is that they are quite hard to distinguish from the real thing until they betray you – which they always do. We used to have a thing called the free press that helped us discriminate between the two.
    Trump may be an egomaniac but he is not a psychopath. HRC’s snickering about Gaddafis death instantly labels her a grand psychopath in my opinion.
    Its not psychobabble if you have ever experienced the attentions of such creatures like I have.

  48. Adrestia says:

    For some time I wanted to ask you on some tips on learning and using analytics. Thanks for the above, but I miss something I encountered often and was also mentioned by another poster.
    We humans have a huge list of biases. This doesn’t have to be a problem when you’re aware of them and are able to ignore them when looking at something. Smart organizations (intelligence, investment bankers etc) have a natural attraction for these NT-people, although they often have problems reaching management positions.
    A lot of the borg seem to interact only with other borg (although IMO the real Star-Trek Borg have a structural system to avoid biases by assimilating other knowledge and adding it to their own. I actually like those Borg). Our borg don’t assimilate and don’t integrate new knowledge.
    They have little self-reflection and seem incapable of learning anymore. The manager-specialist thought-prison. This mindset filters through to all parts of society and has a dumbing effect.
    How can we learn others to avoid these biases (and do I miss other important parts?) and then apply your analytical toolset?

  49. turcopolier says:

    You have to gradually bring people to see how real thought occurs. That is what I am doing. See my article in the archive on “Artists and Bureaucrats.” pl

  50. turcopolier says:

    What a solemn fellow you are. You must be an academic. pl

  51. turcopolier says:

    Isn’t “siempre” the correct spelling? Yes, I blew the verb. I never spent much time in Spain and some of the Latin Americans I have worked with pronounce the word phonetically in such a way that it sounds like “calle.” Why is it “del lado” rather than “al lado.” pl

  52. turcopolier says:

    So, all you know of the US is the ant heap city of New York which most Americans find quite alien. Your vision of America is laughable. You really think that this an oppressive society. What a joke! “Ellis Island?” My ancestors were all here before there was an “Ellis Island” or immigration rules and controls of any kind. So,I must be an enemy of mankind. pl

  53. LeaNder says:

    Are their opinions sound?
    Pat, I wouldn’t put them into the “same box”. To borrow from Alexander Kluge, Magnier does not seem to have the same urgent desire to close “the gap, the devil leaves” into a coherent narrative universe for his readers.

  54. turcopolier says:

    “they have already too much for having to suffer such a system and elite there….” What do they “suffer” exactly? Poverty? Political oppression? What? I have always been of “the elites?” How is that? My family is long on this continent, but nobody gave me anything. I earned what I have and had by hard work. My father was someone who did not graduate from high school and my mother was a factory worker. I don’t understand your concept of “elites.” pl

  55. turcopolier says:

    I guess you were uninterested in my explanation as to why I would have thought “cae” would be spelled “calle.” You are surprisingly arrogant and indifferent to others’ ways as many on the Left are. I have no interest in learning more Spanish. The Latino workmen who come to my house seem to understand me quite well. 52 years ago I studied Spanish full time for six months at a language institute the US Army sent me to. I then spent three years chasing your Marxist guerrilla friends around Latin America. My unit caught Guevara in Bolivia. Except for a few business trips I haven’t used Spanish since then. I should do yoga? You are incredibly gauche? That is French. pl

  56. Procopius says:

    “5. Avoid Confirmation Bias.
    6. Avoid Availability Bias.”
    Yes. Taken all together, the six rules are well known to me, but I am a world class forgetter. When I come to my senses, usually in the morning after a good night’s sleep and my first cup of (strong) coffee, I can often remember to apply them. Later in the day as I suffer more information overload my anger usually takes over and I make stupid mistakes from forgetting to apply them. One lesson I was taught in the Army, “Before you post anything on the bulletin board, read it again and try to see how it can be misunderstood.” There were always more ways than I could foresee, but it was a good practice nonetheless.

  57. Charles says:

    I believe that the Occam’s Razor rule has been amended since 2001. It is now the most cynical answer that is probably the correct one.
    As a happily retired person, I now have time to tinker with things in my workshop to my heart’s content. I have rediscovered an old rule about tools,
    It is better to have and not need than to need and not have. Rule also applies to weapons, money, women, knowledge and time.

  58. Tidewater says:

    “Teutonic feminism.” That’s funny. I also like your ‘Fortress West.’ I continue to be fascinated with the electronic toolkit we now have in the Internet and can’t help wondering –and I bet there is– a brief sketch of where ‘feminism’ came from. There was a Quaker side to my family history
    from Southampton County in Virginia and I know that there is definitely feminism in Quakerism, so the origins could also be deep in the various religious denominations of America, though that is probably just basic background.
    I grew up when UVA here in the Ville would not allow women to attend. Now they are a majority and “the University”, as it used to be called, because all the rest were colleges, is now an Ivy League education at an incredibly reasonable price after one has established instate residency. I can understand how women here would ask for more. They also have a reckless style, if you ask me, or one they put on sometimes. The UVA women can drink and party hard when they are of a mind. They keep up with the guys. I heard a hilarious story from a very funny UVA graduate of some years back, not all that many. To sum up his tale, there are always a large group of young men and women at the University infirmary on weekend nights. They have started the day as Cavaliers and are ending up as the mostly walking wounded at some WWI frontline emergency first aid station. It is not that the women are weeping; most are just mad and surly about doing stupid things, while consoling one another. Boys and girls together, somehow bonded in mutual distress and regret. He described looking around at the scene, seeing a number of bare-feet that have run across the Lawn and gotten cut at some point, perhaps somewhere off the Lawn; there are black eyes, scraped knees, his own friend and he had been discussing suicide after reading some German philosophers, and she had tried to do it somewhat half-heartedly; in sympathy he had put his hand through a window. There were some minor automobile wrecks with the car left one someone’s lawn. A girl had gotten a bit crazed on some kind of drugs. Three of the girls are discussing whether is was actually rape or not and decide to forget about it, or maybe or sleep on it, and then “file.” Others want to go back to the party, which has been going since Thursday. A little group stumbles in whistling ‘The Colonel Bogey March’ gallantly and fall silent seeing the scene that now confronts them. Everyone looks at her for a moment, and her escorts, evaluating, then move over and make room. The remorse of the hungover, battered, bloody Wahoos. They needed some ‘Women of Amphissa’ to guard them. (I have just discovered this painting, by Alma Tadema, and I recommend it, on Images.) I think the Hoos were in a lot worse shape than the Bacchantes, though, and I don’t see how those followers of Orpheus wouldn’t have had some stumped toes and cut feet themselves. Actually they look pretty good, if a bit hungover.

  59. Tidewater says:

    No. That was me. I teasingly asked Fatima if she was related to Dolores Ibarrui, a Basque, because of her intense emotional style, which of course was that of the Spanish Republican heroine. But I didn’t say ‘la Pasionaria’ and she simply picked up on it. (Which I thought was also kind of funny, even if she sounds irked, and doesn’t see my point.) I think she just suffers from an excessive abundance of youth.
    I keep wondering what she–and her friends–think about Hemingway now and I think she will get around to telling us presently, and I will be interested to see how they are thinking now about the big guy.
    Also, I thought that the exchange about food was nice and with my old dictionary I could even read it. I particularly liked the idea of ‘pan tumaca.’ I don’t ever grate anything and I think I am going to try that. Grated Hanover tomato with garlic mixed in, probably some oil on the good, coarse country bread, toasted under a broiler, maybe, or toasted first, maybe add a little touch of sea salt. A very healthy ancient breakfast. She sounded a bit parochial there, too, as I assumed, a Spanish woman would be and took some trouble to share a good culinary idea.

  60. turcopolier says:

    fatima manoubia
    You are a total humbug, but a lot of fun. Keep up the good work. pl

  61. Tidewater says:

    Thank you for your link to Gers, which I need to look up. I remember hearing about that. I think if property there had been sold at the right time it could have been bought back later at a much cheaper price and a once in a lifetime fortune made. Wasn’t someone selling tents there for a huge amount of moola. (That is American for ‘bread’. Duros?) So place is in Gascony. Interesting.
    My niece is married to a Frenchman and writes for the Washington Post sometimes, and Conde Nast. She can be googled at Mary Winston Nicklin and has netted quite a page-full now it seems; I just looked. She has some very good articles about France and Morocco. One I would recommend is “Aigues-Mortes–Medieval City” which came out in the Washington Post perhaps in 2016. It is a big deal to get that kind of a spread in the Washington Post, by the way. I see a lot of new ones. She did one on her arondissement in Paris which may be a little classic.
    I was referring to Papa Luna, who was the Aragonese nobleman who became Pope Benedict XIII. I have never been to his fortress at Peniscola and I think I will suggest to my niece that she might find the place fascinating and to please do an article on that little castle out on a peninsula where the Anti-pope was kind of holed up, eventually. He really did have all the true relics including St. Peter’s iron ring. That really is a true story about the plausible belief that there is an Antipope to this day in the Pyrenees.
    How did you become so interested in Isabelle Eberhardt? Is she all the rage now? I suspect that you must have read her ‘In the Shadow of Islam’ because you spoke of the warmth of Islam, you used the word ‘warm’, and that has been left out of the English translation of the book, which in French is “Dans l’Ombre Chaude de Islam.” A sensible editorial decision in my opinion given the way things are going with Islam, now and essentially, forever.
    I was reading ‘Havana Nocturne’ by T.J.English, last night, which tells the story of the mob in Cuba back in the fifties starring Meyer Lansky and ultimately Fidel Castro. There is an incredible account of how Fidel almost did not make it across to Cuba on a previously sunk powerboat, or up into the Sierra Madre. They came ashore starving and left a trail of sugarcane husks as they progressed into the mountains. These were easily followed after they were betrayed, they were surrounded and nearly wiped out. Girl (may I address you as such?) you done good, you have provoked the Turcopolier into revealing that he knows a lot about the Che story! Actually was a player. Hope we get to hear more if that is not classified.

  62. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Women now make the majority of university students all over the world, in Saudi Arabia, in Iran, and evidently in the United States. By itself, it only means that the senseless expansion and extension of tertiary education all over the world is now causing the same maladjustments all over the world.

  63. Babak Makkinejad says:

    In regards to VMI: I am struck by this phrase, “keeping up with boys”. Do American males find such women attractive? And then in a country that there is very little mutual trust between the sexes? (For myself, I would wish to spend time – given a chance – with The Richmond Ladies.)

  64. turcopolier says:

    I have only met a few VMI women cadets. I don’t feel qualified to judge, but have my doubts. pl

  65. turcopolier says:

    Your things get published when I pay attention and not before I admire Lyautey and his crazy relationship with Isabel. I share some, but not all, of his attitudes. What is your favorite Hemingway short story? I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours. pl

  66. Fred says:

    nice site by you niece. I’ll have to check out a cafe or two she recommends in Paris next time I make another adventure into deplorability.

  67. Tidewater says:

    Hi, Valissa. Thank you for your observation. Maybe she worked quite hard on the formal (and perhaps quite off key, or worse) essai, which simply didn’t make the cut. And in her more natural voice just sounded off in a kind of casual, freestyle English, which she writes better, I don’t forget, than I could write Spanish. (I’ve been an English prof at one point, however briefly, and that might have something to do with my attitude.) But I’ve also been a newspaper reporter and I never forget that Auberon Waugh, the son of Evelyn, wrote an autobiography with the title “Will This Do?” And that the editor is always right, and that sometimes it will not do.
    I think the idea of a “constructed” online personality is a fascinating one, by the way.
    But I think it’s a (maleducado) young woman who wants to be a traveler and a professional writer who has not been to university. She doesn’t know about what a seminar is and how good manners do count. However, any young woman who takes the nom de net that Isabelle Eberhardt assigned for some reason to her mother–Fatma Manoubia– I find very unusual. As chance would have it, not long ago I was reading into Eberhardt’s The Oblivion Seekers, a brilliant little book of short stories about North Africa which had a real influence on Paul Bowles. So then up pops the kid and find myself wanting to hear what she knows about Morocco. I assume she knows that Isabelle Eberhardt basically destroyed herself. I hope Fatima is keeping her own Notebooks from the Sand. And does not travel alone.

  68. Babak Makkinejad says:

    “… the great enthusiams that leave behind a vacuum…” very well describing the Spanish Republic.
    She was free only in the sense that Arab and Frechmen made sure of her safety; she owed her existence there to them; a Faranji woman protected by the might of the French State.
    Why care so much about this minor writer; Sor Juana surpasses her in every respect.

  69. Tidewater says:

    I have to write fast cause I am getting gassed. In relief. A very large tree came down out at my Russian friend’s place in the recent wind. It turns out it fell at the perfect place though it blocks her walk. She has gone to a motel and is reproachful of me, somehow. Things keep happening. There have also been operations on two cats who I happen to care about a lot in the past ten days. One is a beautiful white- furred brute called Luke who had a thirty minute battle against a big dog. Part of it he fought from underneath a wheelbarrow. He got the dog’s nose good. My Russian friend couldn’t get the owners to answer the door while this was going on–and much noise and she was hammering and saw them moving around inside. I got over to the vet hospital here on Greenbrier and it looked very bad. And amazingly, long story short, there was no real tissue damage and he seems ok. There was the kind of interaction between Man and Cat when he was brought out, pupils wide open in shock, covered with the color of red Albemarle clay somehow, but coherent, and he crawled into the crook of my arm as I leaned over the table. I just said the kind of things Dr. Johnson would say to Hodge at Gough Square like: “You are a very handsome cat!” And continued in this vein, commending his brilliant defensive battle fought partially on his back. Though it was possibly ‘Blue Bonnets Over The Border’ since the x-rays showed solid food in Luke’s stomach, and he doesn’t get anything but soft food from us. So he was eating the dog’s food? Oh well, as Mehitabel would say, ‘wot the hell, Archie, wot the hell.’ The night nurse hesitated, hearing all this, and then said, “Well, yes, he IS a handsome cat.” I nodded and growled. “A most extraordinary cat!” And the Cossack told the night nurse, “No, no. It’s just something between them.”
    I’m gassed and silly. I will address your very interesting comment later.

  70. Karel Whitman says:

    reminds me. One of my probably oldest friends, studied history and journalism way beyond the usual age, seemed to pester ages ago to read more.
    I did love “For Whom the Bell Tolls”, and the “Old Man and the Sea”.
    What would you suggest? I will ask him. 😉 Must be ages ago.

  71. turcopolier says:

    this is not a place for academic drones. pl

  72. Fred says:

    “…he rest in the grouping attack ( subtly or not so ) against me, my style of comunication has many angles…”
    You mean disagreement with your articulated position is personal and everyone here is just out to get you? Are you sure you are not an American teenager, or a college professor? Your comment reminds me of a few I know. Sadly I’m one of those folks who never got that Ivy League education you think everyone here obtained but had to settle for a credential from a hoi polloi state school. Best I could do getting a high school eduction at Key West High School, class of, well, I didn’t actually graduate from that one so there you go. Didn’t graduate from the University of South Florida either, but did mangage to earn that BA and an MBA later on at a better institution. One where nepotism and self-preservation are well entrenched.
    Glad to know that you folks have solved all the problems in the old world and are now turning your hand-wringing attention to us poor gringos. What would we ever do without the well travelled, well educated elites of the old world telling us what is wrong with our country and just what we need to do to fix it. Please tell us more, we’ll never figure it out on our own.

  73. Jov says:

    I agree that it would be a privilege to hear the Colonel’s view on Che and his movement, if as you said, it isn’t classified.
    Is there a reason for the word ”colonel” to be pronunced something like “kernel”, although there is no ”r” in the word?

  74. turcopolier says:

    In re the pronunciation of “colonel,” the word is pronounced the way it is across the English speaking world. I know of no reason for this pronunciation. Guevara was a Maoist Trotskyite. His views on revolution were too extreme for Fidel and he died trying to implement his ideas on social change in a place suitable his vision. Bolivia was a country of starving Indian peasants. The Bolivian government of the day (Barrientos) appealed to the US under the Rio Treaty and the US provided COIN and foreign aid assistance to prevent a Maoist takeover of the country. We were doing this all over Latin America. An Indian near Cochabamba informed an 8th SFGA sergeant of Guevara’s whereabouts after the sergeant treated the man’s son for a foot infection. we had trained counter-guerrilla battalion of infantry for the Bolivian Army and we fed the soldiers 3,000 calories/day. This battalion easily ran Guevara’s Indians into the ground and captured him. We were looking forward to having Che as a guest but the Bolivians killed him bef0re we could get him out of the country. If he had managed to take over Bolivia there would have been IMO an economic disaster similar to that in Venezuela today. pl

  75. Tidewater says:

    Thanks. This Richard Ford is on Wiki under ‘Richard Ford (English writer.)
    He brought out under the imprint of John Murray, the famous publisher of British travel writers, ‘ A Handbook for Traveller’s in Spain.” This was London, 1845, 2 vols. To my I find that this “guide book” can be read on the internet at:
    A Handbook for Spain is also on Wiki under that title.
    Over the years, the way I have used the book is when I have a specific question about a specific place. For example, most recently, I read Ford’s chapter on Catalonia, from where, incidentally, Puigdemont seems to have bugged out of the Revolution. I don’t think I have read the book straight through. If you look at it you will see why. It is a masterpiece of erudition, it is full of dry humor, always risky, and I noted he is considered by some to be an ‘hispanophobo’ which he is not. Wiki mentions that he had trouble in his marriage and I can’t remember where I learned this but I think he got into the ‘escorts’ –as they say so nicely now in Italy–in his case the women of the brothels–in a very serious way. I think they taught him a lot about Spain which he wrote down diligently. I remember for example he mentions something called ‘unto del homre’ a kind of greasy fat taken from the neck of a hanged man which was used perhaps in potions. He is also quite detailed on the navajas, the folding knives that in all Spanish speaking countries you may expect to run into in a barroom dispute, usually in a port city, including those of the Philippines. Something which US Navy sailors and marines know about, and are wary of. This is one of the most remarkable travel books ever written.
    It was John Murray II who burned Byron’s Memoirs in the fireplace there. This is said to be the greatest crime in English literature.

  76. Tidewater says:

    Thank you. I am delighted that you like it!

  77. Tidewater says:

    Tidewater says: I couldn’t get through when I double-checked. Just google it.

  78. Valissa says:

    Walrus, I am not denying the very real effects of sociopaths and psychopaths on society. What I am criticizing is the seemingly default usage of such labels in political conversation.
    It has become very common, especially on the left, to use such labels from psychology to “explain” the state of the world politics. What it has become is, IMO, is another way of screaming “you sinner” at someone you don’t approve of and think is a BAD PERSON. This is what I call psychobabble.
    Some people obviously emotionally find that very satisfying to do and that’s fine with me. It’s just not a good analytical tool. At least it’s not for me.
    I do not like Hillary for a lot of reasons, but I do not think she’s a psychopath. I view her as a highly ambitious, arrogant, and egotistical and as one who enjoys conspiring with like minded elites to become even more rich and powerful. I view her as a modern warlord type. There are many elites like that. I would guess that there is a slightly greater percentage of sociopaths and psychopaths than in general society (as with the criminal set) but I do not think that explains elite behavior in general.

  79. Tidewater says:

    Tidewater to Tidewater,
    Correction needed: The mountains of Cuba that Fidel and the remnants of his group went up into are the Sierra Maestra.

  80. Tidewater says:

    Well, they now teach a course at UVA called “Paris in the Twenties.” So if you are interested in that: The Sun Also Rises.
    The Complete Short Stories.
    A Moveable Feast.
    There are more, of course. Big Two hearted river

  81. Tidewater says:

    I think that that phrase was probably just a poor choice of words by me. The UVA women do say, though, that they work hard and they play hard.
    I have been puzzled about The Richmond Ladies. Does this have something to do with computers, the UX thing, User Experience? Or is it tennis? Or is it Girls Night Out? Funny, when I read it first on another thread I stopped everything, threw myself on the sofa for several hours and started remembering about the mothers of my friends when I was growing up. There was an element of mourning to this. But not entirely. They are still Olympians! And in my mind they shall remain so.

  82. JW says:

    According to the DNC, or some of their friends, each of those four rules will lead you to Russia.

  83. Sid Finster says:

    I am not sure why you think that systems do not exist to serve principles. Moreover, “keeping sociopaths down” is an everyday life purpose. Give such people power and they will abuse it, to the detriment of all of us.
    Your dislike of the word “sociopath” is because of your connotations with the word. “Sociopath” is not to be conflated the leaders that you describe, for the people in charge now have seemingly little in the way of goals or ideology, other than self-aggrandizement. That doesn’t mean that they cannot do some good, but that is not what they set out to accomplish.

  84. A.I.Schmelzer says:

    Personally, I also have rule 5:
    “All models/explanations etc. are wrong, the question is if they are useful for understanding the situation.”
    Not so much for the analytic value of it but because it saves one from believing oneself too much.
    Rule 6:
    Being emotional about something increases both the likelihood of being wrong and the magnitude of being wrong if you end up being wrong.
    Personally, due to family ties, speaking the language (Russian, I understand Ukrainian even the Ukrainian wants to be understood) etc., I am considerably more emotional about Ukraine then I am about Syria. I looked at my “prediction making history” in the last 4 years or so and found that I was far more likely to be right about Syria then I was to be right about Ukraine. I was surprised by this because I believed that knowing a lot more about Ukraine then about Syria should have counteracted this, but maybe it even worked in the other direction because I assumed that I knew a lot, was emotional about the topic in general, and thus did not examine the validity of my priors objectively.

  85. JW says:

    Colonel, re your comment #76. I was of the understanding that U2 thermal imagery of Che’s nightly cooking fires enabled the construction of a join-the-dots ground track and eventual interception of his party. No doubt there were multiple intel sources each applying to a specific geographic scale that narrowed down to the final contact and capture.

  86. turcopolier says:

    That was all subsequent to the Indian telling the SF sergeant where Guevara could be found. You think they searched all of eastern Bolivia for hot spots? How many Indians lived out there? You heard that from the CIA? They say a lot of things. pl

  87. JW says:

    Thanks, as I suggested, obviously part of a time line, ending with Che’s ending. A narrative of the methods used to track him down would be an interesting historical read.

  88. turcopolier says:

    No. You have already heard what happened from me. I debriefed Major Shelton’s team (not the CJCS) when he returned to the CZ after Guevara was killed. pl

  89. JW says:

    Col Lang, thanks, the fragments are interesting. You had a rare and enviable perspective.

  90. turcopolier says:

    What “fragments?” I told you what happened. There is nothing else except CIA BS about their part in Guevara’s death and bitter tristesse on the part of the left. Which group are you in? pl

  91. JW says:

    Bottom line, Che finished up in the grave and the piranhas got a couple of his friends, all which from the Bolivian’s point of view was a good outcome.
    At the time: ‘Job done; next ?’.

  92. JPB says:

    I would guess the suckers buying those Che t-shirts and posters never heard about his kangaroo courts and executions of political prisoners in La Cabana prison.
    Was it true that Shelton serenaded the Indios in the jungle villages with his guitar in the evenings?

  93. turcopolier says:

    Pappy Shelton was an old ex-enlisted paratrooper who was some sort of Appalachian or Oklahoman or some such thing. He drank a lot but most GB officers did then. I had to live in the Bachelor Officer’s Quarters at Ft. Gulick for a couple of months until my wife could come to the CZ from the States. One night I was awakened at 0 dark 30 by a crashing and banging out in the hall accompanied by loud singing. I staggered out there and found Shelton in the hallway in his underwear knoking a trash can around with a bullwhip and singing as he did so. He was plastered. I asked him to stop as the rest of us wanted to sleep. He apologized and we went downtown to a night club in Colon the next night where I watched him “jam” with a Panamanian band on the guitar. He was a major and I a first Lieutenant. He was a friendly, unpretentious man. I know he took a guitar with him to Bolivia. pl

  94. JPB says:

    Thanks! Would love to hear more details from you on Che’s capture.

  95. turcopolier says:

    This was what, 52 years ago? I was in the CZ and not in Bolivia so i have to rely on my memory of my debrief of Shelton and his team and the report I wrote for the mission. I wish I had kept a copy. Ah, naughty, naughty! The counter-guerrila infantry battalion training team team was something smaller than an ODA as I remember it. We had a number of other teams in Bolivia at the same time doing COIN stuff; medical, engineer, intelligence training, etc. It was a sergeant medic in a medical team who met the fateful Indian papa. There was also a DAO, a USMAAG and the CIA station in the embassy. USI had made a collective judgment that Che was in Bolivia and had been there for some time and so the USG and the Bolivian government were really “piling on” to track him down. Shelton and his men were in the pursuit accompanying the Batallon de Cazadores that they had trained. As I remember none of them were present at the actual apprehension, but the battalion told them that he was being held in a nearby rural school house. There are photos of the place. Several of the team went to see him. When they walked in the door he said “Ah,yes, of course. They could not have done this alone.” They had a reasonably civil conversation for a few minutes. They told him that the Americans were trying to get him out of the country alive. They left and the Bolivians decided to kill him that night. We thought this was a great mistake. It made him a martyr. pl

  96. turcopolier says:

    I decided she was not for real, probably a composite trolling entity and stopped posting her comments which had become very insulting. pl

  97. turcopolier says:

    “get HIM out of the country alive” is what I meant to write. pl

  98. JPB says:

    I grokked that right away.

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