open thread -17 February 2019

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34 Responses to open thread -17 February 2019

  1. Laura Wilson says:

    How much power should a President have? This “unitary executive” theory is certainly important right now. Open question … especially to those of you who have served in the military and know the world broadly. (I do not and would love to hear your take on this issue.)

  2. Southern Cross says:

    ..from The American Conservative
    A new book by West Point professor of Law, Tim Bakken, released today is highly scathing on how American Military academies, and in particular West Point, have disconnected from American society that it is ‘failing in every way possible’.
    The snip below is from The American Conservative review of the book by Kelly Beaucar Vlahos
    Bakken’s prognosis: the military as an institution has become so separate, so insulated, so authoritarian, that it can no longer perform effectively. In fact, it’s worse: the very nature of this beast is that it has been able to grow exponentially in size and mission so that it now conducts destructive expeditionary wars overseas with little or no real cohesive strategy or oversight. Its huge budgets are a source of corporate grift, self-justification, and corruption. The military has become too big, yes, but as Bakkan puts it, it’s failing in every way possible.
    In addition to losing wars, “the military’s loyalty to itself and determined separation from society have produced an authoritarian institution that is contributing to the erosion of American democracy,” writes Bakkan, who is still, we emphasize, teaching at the school. “The hubris, arrogance, and self-righteousness of officers have isolated the military from modern thinking and mores. As a result, the military operates in an intellectual fog, relying on philosophy and practices that literally originated at West Point two hundred years ago.”
    My question to SST readers is: Would this view be considered realistic or truthful or a minority opinion from a (civilian) professor.
    Retired WP Arabic language professors comments keenly sought..
    Rob Waddell

  3. ann says:

    Colonel Lange,
    “Syria – Aleppo Is Fully Liberated But The War Will Continue”
    This head line in Moon Of Alabama made me think of your war games you hosted several years ago. How close to over do you think. And where will the jihadis go?

  4. Fred says:

    I hear that Barra’s bailed out GM is bailing out of Australia and New Zealand. “…GM’s latest announcement fits in with this transition toward a focus on electric and autonomous vehicles.” They must think the left will regain the power to impose regulatory actions that drive that shift as I don’t see customers willing to spend their own money on that type product.
    On other news, the BBC license fee might be going away. I wonder how the left will get it PR published now?

  5. turcopolier says:

    Lang, not Lange. Once the SAA and friends get through with Idlib they will move on to Afrin district NW of Aleppo City. After that there is the whole area east of the Euphrates River. There is no “after the war” for the SAA.

  6. turcopolier says:

    IMO Trump has done nothing so far that exceeds his constitutionally given power. I like the present constitution.

  7. turcopolier says:

    I was there as Professor of Arabic for 3 years (1976-79). I declined a permanent assignment there. IMO the place is far too expensive and not necessary to the creation of the officer corps of the US Army.

  8. D says:

    Will the Durham Spygate criminal investigation even ensnare Valerie Jarrett? Redstate article speculates with good reason this could be true:

  9. Hans says:

    I think many members of the Committee are interested in the doings of Elon Musk and SpaceX. But why does he do what he does? Just to become the world’s first Trillionaire?
    A fellow named Casey Handmer has a very good understanding of what Musk is up to with SpaceX, Musk’s near-term end point. To colonize Mars. And not with a handful of people, but eventually with millions. Because it’s only by settling that many that we’ll be able to become citizens of Mars. [Ya, ya – Ray Bradbury was a friend of mine too]. Run Casey’s name in Linkedin, read his CV. He’s qualified.
    Musk isn’t doing this cuz he thinks the Earth is doomed. (Though it may be). Musk is doing this to extend our species into the universe. And he’s figured out how to pay for it.
    I hope this has been enough bait to get some of you to click the link below – it’ll take you to Casey’s article on SpaceX and Starlink. If you read Casey, and think on what he says, you’ll become, somewhat, enlightened 🙂
    Starlink is a very big deal by Casey Handmer

  10. different clue says:

    Mars may be someday colonizable by millions. I don’t know enough to say it can’t. But with its lesser mass than earth, hence its lesser atmosphere and lesser ability to even hold onto an “earthload” of atmosphere for the long term, and its lack of a magnetic field to deflect all kinds of solar protoids and stuff away from the surface; it will always pose survival challenges that don’t come up here.
    It won’t be our ” earth away from earth”.

  11. Serge says:

    Dubai Crown Prince posts video showing first-ever 100% autonomous human flight with a vertical takeoff
    I see lots of potential for this technology in the realm of asymmetrical warfare.

  12. egl says:

    One way to think about Elon Musk is that he is a prepper. He’ll sell you solar panels and energy storage so you can disconnect from the grid. Then you can buy an electric car and be independent of the gasoline supply. Starlink will give you satellite comms, no cellular network needed. And if things really go south, he’ll sell you a ticket to Mars.

  13. Nate Wilcox says:

    Any thoughts on this? Interesting that every headline calls it a crash rather than admitting it was shot down.

  14. ex PFC Chuck says:

    Colonel, you’re not the only one advocating the abolishing of the CIA. Angelo Codevilla has a long piece up at American Mind arguing for that, as well as similar treatment for the FISA court. There are some scathing remarks about the FBI as well but no explicit calls for its defenestration.

  15. Unhinged Citizen says:

    Tomorrow the Syrian army will secure the town of Sarmada and with it, the principle border crossing between Turkey and Idlib.
    The Zionists must be seething at the pace of the defeat of the Jihadists.

  16. Fred says:

    You must be getting reruns in Trudeau land.

  17. Lyttenburgh says:

    In the previus thread about Syrian War, TTG was asking for an interactive map. Here you go:
    Expect CNN, MSNBC, WaPo, NYT and HBO (via “Vice News”) to start accusing Russia of unleashing its most secret and inhumane weapon against peaceful democratic jihadi sahavats:×900
    Probably all works of fareeq Moroz (nod-nod)
    Oh, and Tomato Sultan? After yesterday’s round of talks in Moscow, Russian and Turkish troops resumed joint patrols.

  18. Fred says:

    The Fed chair failed to point out US obesity rates compared to other western countries and how that affects health care spending. Then he makes his data free analysis worse by failing to indicate how little health care workers earn outside the US. At least it all fits the narrative and signals his virtue. Can’t wait to see see him resign and run for office to show us all his principles in action.

  19. oldman22 says:

    “The Donald’s record-breaking, Pentagon-slush fund masquerading as a budget – and more importantly the way such gigantic defense industry-giveaways sail through Congress with bipartisan super-majorities – represents, instead, logical (extremist) culmination for a warfare state gone mad.”
    a worthy read here:

  20. oldman22 says:

    “The results of war may be almost as bad as the destruction of liberty and, in fact, may lead, even if the war is won, to something very close to the destruction of liberty at home. War not only produces pitiful human suffering and utter destruction of many things worthwhile, but it is almost as disastrous for the victor as for the vanquished.”
    Senator Robert Taft
    more here:

  21. D says:

    More speculation about who is NOT “Anonymous”:
    Suspects it is a NoTrumper neocon.

  22. Poul says:

    What will win out?
    The will to free themselves of the American yoke or American economic power over Iraq.
    Has Iraq’s military ‘gone Russian’?
    Iraq has a lot to lose if US cuts financial ties.

  23. HK Leo Strauss says:

    Southern Cross, it is a paragon example of where Socialist institutions lead.

  24. ISL says:

    I believe Erdogan is creating job opportunities for Idlib Jihadi’s in Libya.

  25. harry says:

    “The Fed chair failed to point out US obesity rates compared to other western countries and how that affects health care spending. Then he makes his data free analysis worse by failing to indicate how little health care workers earn outside the US”
    Fred, fair points. US obesity levels are very high, although Mexico is catching up quick. And you are right that healthcare workers are paid much better in the US than elsewhere. However would these factors really explain healthcare costs being double the level in other countries?
    Fed officials have good access to data and analysis. Their staff will read and research their speeches carefully. I have heard poor reviews of J Powell as a go along to get along guy, but i doubt his staff would let him make an intellectually poor argument. Bad for Fed prestige.

  26. Christian J Chuba says:

    Napoleon’s retreat from Russia
    I find history an interesting diversion from current issues (hmm .. using yesterday’s horrors to distract from today’s horrors).
    I always thought that Napoleon marched to Moscow, found it empty, marched back and his army fell apart because of the winter and raiding Cossacks harassing stragglers. According to this, Napoleon setup supply cities along the way and it was only about a 3 week march to Smolensk and if worse came to worse, Minsk and he planned to winter there. The Russian army was weaker but they knew the route and meticulously gathered their forces at key points to force Napoleon to divert his army at the absolute worst possible times. The Russian army really did a number on the French and her allies, they were lucky to get out with 20,000.
    Was Napoleon a psychopath? Not insulting, he’s brilliant but I’m struck by how he calculates everything in terms of ‘yeah I can do x, y, an z’. He only seems to stop because of lack of resources, hever seems to say, ‘gee, I just can’t stand the carnage anymore’. The Napoleonic wars were massive.

  27. D says:

    Favorite TDS comment of the day from Democrat Congressman: Trump can’t brag about black unemployment rates being the lowest in history, because during slavery black employment rate was 100%

  28. oldman22 says:

    Peter Hitchens joins the critics of OPCW, and supports inspector Ian Henderson who objected to the official OPCW report.

  29. turcopolier says:

    Actually not true. There were many free Blacks and some of them were unemployed.

  30. blue peacock says:

    I’ve seen many reports that compare the cost of many medical procedures and pharmaceuticals across OECD countries. One thing that stands out is the US tops the list for cost and in most cases by many multiples.
    As this report notes – “A lack of competition appears to be closer to the root of the problem, and hospital mergers are one development that has stifled competition.”
    I know it is de rigueur to debate socialized vs free market. But there’s no discussion about how “socialized” our current “free market” healthcare system is in terms that for instance Medicare is not allowed by law to negotiate drug prices; nor can anyone exploit price arbitrage of the identical pharmaceutical from another country where the same product is priced at a fifth to a tenth of what it is priced here, and the complete lack of pricing transparency prior to the acquisition of a medical product or service. Of course there’s also the limits placed by the AMA on the number of medical doctors produced annually by the medical education system. None of this seems “free market” nor more importantly is it a competitive market.
    Why aren’t the free marketers in Congress or presidential candidates opposed to cartel behavior among the hospital groups and pharma companies? Of course these same guys across both parties were quite happy to “socialize” the speculative losses of Wall St after the GFC.

  31. Fred says:

    Japan, Turkey and Mexico are all in the OECD. I think the comparison to the US on health issues and economics between them and the US is a bit like comparing apples and sushi.

  32. blue peacock says:

    If apples to sushi is a bridge too far, then maybe apples to bratwurst or bouillabaisse could be more to your taste. Compare the cost of any medical procedure say hip replacement or stent placement and any pharmaceutical product in the US vs Germany or France, what you’ll find is that it costs more here and in most cases significantly more. That is a “tax” on US businesses and citizens that does not generate any additional productivity nor enhance competitiveness. It is not like the additional price paid has any better outcomes for the medical procedure and of course couldn’t for a pharmaceutical product since it is identical.

  33. D says:

    Compare each country’s medical malpractice system when looking for answers why US medical care costs are so much higher. Compare numbers of “procedures” for similar conditions in each country too.
    Case in point- Elderly Canadian man was “treated” for lower back pain – which is more caused by muscle spasms than any skeletal issue. He was told to touch his toes every day for the count of 100. And he started feeling much better.
    Compare how we “treat”, let alone use diagnostic procedures, for lower back pain in the US. And now many US doctors first write “touch your toes to the count of 100” on their Rx pads.

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