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Friday, September 27, 2013

Why Wars End

From my study of history, I have found that there are only 4 major reasons why wars end. They are:

1. The capture of a capital

Good examples of this are the capture of Carthage which ended the Punic Wars and the capture of Constantinople which ended the Byzantine Empire. If Napoleon had captured St. Petersburg (Russia's capital at that time), Russia probably would have surrendered. Oddly, Napoleon's failure at Moscow was the main reason Hitler abandoned his attempt to capture that city. If Hitler had captured Moscow, the USSR would have likely surrendered. The impending capture of Hitler's capital compelled him to commit suicide and led to his nation's defeat.

2. the surrender or capture of a key leader

Examples include the surrenders of Napoleon, General Lee, and Lord Cornwallis. All these men were respected and capable leaders. When they gave up, their followers knew the cause was lost and followed suit. Tokugawa succeeded in unifying Japan and ending civil war by defeating his rivals and executing them.

3. the death of a key leader

The death of Genghis Khan saved Europe from Mongol conquest, because all the Mongol generals were required to return to Mongolia to elect a new Khan. The deaths of Attila, Alexander, Harold II, Barbarossa, and Charles XII likewise ended their campaigns. More recently, the death of the leader of the Tamil Tigers ended the civil war in Sri Lanka.

4. the sudden change of the balance of power

Imperial Germany was compelled to surrender by the entry of the US into the war and a series of defeats. Imperial Japan was compelled to surrender by the atomic bomb and the USSR's declaration of war. The Bolshevik revolution brought an end to Russia's participation in WWI. The Iran-Iraq War was ended by a UN Resolution. Often new leaders will seek to end an ongoing war, as Nixon did in Vietnam and Gorbachev did in Afghanistan.

From these principles, it is clear that the key to victory lies with subduing the enemy leaders. 
 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Is Infantry Obsolete?

I want to make it clear that commando raids and the like have been and will most likely continue to be useful.
What I mean by infantry are large units of lightly-armed ground troops sent to attack, defend, or occupy.

I think infantry in the 21st century will vanish as cavalry did in the 20th century. Consider the following:

Infantry units move too slowly and are too weak to be of much use in modern warfare. They can't defend themselves against tanks or aircraft without special weapons while tanks, artillery, and aircraft can attack infantry with impunity. About the only thing infantry are good for is fighting other infantry, and they do that worse than aircraft, tanks, or artillery.

I know there have been many cases were infantry have disabled tanks with grenades or heavy weapons and similar cases with aircraft, but those are rare. Tanks, artillery, and aircraft have destroyed far more tanks than infantry. Aircraft & anti-aircraft artillery have destroyed far more aircraft than infantry.

Since infantry are so vulnerable, they require constant support from aircraft and artillery to move and attack. When they lack that, about all they can do is dig in and hope the enemy either gives up or sends their infantry at them. Infantry can be useful in hit-and-run attacks against supply convoys, but not much else. Even when they have support, they are still vulnerable to ambushes, booby traps, and snipers. Booby traps counted for almost half of US combat deaths during the Vietnam War.

The 20th century saw many examples of large infantry units getting slaughtered during an attack. The battles of WWI were probably the best examples of this. I would think this would put a stop to the practice of infantry assaults just as the Charge of the Light Brigade effectively put an end to cavalry assaults.

Even a successful infantry attack like D-Day required massive air and naval bombardment plus a ruse to lure away the German heavy units. And in spite of all that, there were still massive casualties. If the Germans had had sufficient air support that day or fortified the beaches more, the Allies would have been creamed.

I understand the romantic attachment to infantry. For most of history, infantry were the backbone of armies. Times have changed however. Armies stopped using horses after motor vehicles were invented and stopped using bows and arrows after firearms were invented.

But aren't infantry still useful in a counterinsurgency war like in Afghanistan? Well, it's been 12 years and the Taliban still have not been defeated, despite being outnumbered & outgunned. Their main battlefield success involves killing US infantry. If there was no infantry there, the Taliban would have almost nothing to attack.

The history of the 20th century shows that the worst way to fight infantry is with other infantry. It's time to stop risking the lives of these soldiers out of fondness for some outdated & fictional notion of chivalry.

Monday, September 23, 2013

An Encounter With a Die-hard Obama Drone

Traffic was heavy today on I-90. A car in the other lane pulled ahead of me, and the driver leaned over the passenger seat to wave an Obama sign at me. He must have taken offense at my bumper stickers. I have one that says "politicians prefer unarmed peasants", another that says "are you better off than you were 4 trillion dollars ago? with an Obama logo in the O, and the 3rd one is a parody of the "coexist" sticker that spells out "idiots" with religious symbols.

I got a good laugh from my highway companion. 

How nutty is a guy who drives around with an Obama sign in the front seat of their car AFTER the election?



Sunday, September 22, 2013

Did the US Need to Fight in WW2?

Short answer: No.

I know that WW2 has been portrayed as a triumph of good over evil, and to some extent that is true. The Nazis and Imperial Japanese committed many atrocities and it is good thing that they were stopped. However, neither of them was a threat to the US and neither would have attacked the US had it remained neutral. 

Let's look at the neutrality part first. The US put various restrictions on Japan in response to Japan's attack on China in 1937: there was an embargo of oil & scrap metal, the Panama canal was closed to Japan, and trade links were cut. Later, the US began sending military aid to both Britain and China under the Lend Lease Act. This was a violation of international law of the time. The Hague Convention of 1907, which the US agreed to, gives laws for neutral nations during war. Article 6 of that treaty states:


So the US failed to be neutral before the war and thus forfeited the protection given to neutral countries.

After Pearl Harbor, Japan and Germany declared war on the US and vice versa. German submarines sank many US merchant ships, but there was no danger of Germany ever invading the US. The Germans couldn't even get across the English channel. Even if the Germans had been able to invade, that chance was lost as soon as they invaded the USSR. So the US was in no danger of being conquered by Germany.

Japan had a similar problem. Even if they had been able to invade the US, the army was scattered around the Pacific and the bulk of it was tied up in China. So they could not have invaded either. The Japanese did not want to invade anyway- they were only interested in creating an empire in Asia. Their navy was a threat, but one which was easily defeated. The US broke their codes and destroyed most of their carriers at the Battle of Midway. The Japanese navy ceased to be a threat after that and spent the rest of the war losing every naval battle.

So, neither Germany nor Japan was a threat to the US and neither would have declared war on the US if it had stayed neutral. It's possible Germany could have defeated the USSR if the US had stayed neutral, but I doubt it. It's also possible Japan could have successfully built an empire in Asia, but again, I doubt it. No nation in history has ever succeeded in controlling that much territory for any length of time. Empires always collapse. 

I think the main lesson of WW2 is that the best way to maintain peace is to avoid alliances, sanctions, and do not send military aid to anyone. Sweden and Switzerland did this during WW2 and did not suffer from the war.   

  

Friday, September 20, 2013

Derpmania: The Best of Team Blue Strawman Arguments

Yesterday as I was leaving the grocery store, I saw a guy collecting signatures. He was a Democrat trying to get on the ballot. He started to give me his pitch and when he brought up trying to ban guns in bars, I had to interrupt him. This is in Chicago where 1) it is already very hard to own a gun legally and 2) still has hundreds of gun homicides each year.

I pointed out that such laws are useless because the people who would get into a gun fight in a bar aren't going to give a damn what the law says. The net effect of gun-free zones is to encourage criminals to attack people, because the criminals can be confident no one is going to fight back.

His retort was to say that we have to have laws otherwise people will do crazy things, like libertarians who want to let people drive 140 mph. I said that I am a libertarian, I know many, and I've never met any argue for a thing like that. He claimed to know many who did. At this point, I figured I'd just sign his petition and move on as my fried chicken dinner was getting cold. I figure it's always better to have more people on the ballot no matter what their views.

Lately, I've been amazed at how quickly and how frequently Team Blue resorts to strawman arguments. I used to think they were just bad at thinking. Now I realize they have no idea what thinking is. The thrill of their self-righteousness is all the evidence they need. Since they are incapable of considering opposing views, everyone who disagrees with them must automatically be stupid or evil.

I am astounded at their idiocy.  

Thursday, September 19, 2013

So you wanna be a comedian...

I've doing stand-up as a hobby for about 3 years, mostly in Chicago. In that time, I've been to around 500 open-mics and seen dozens of comedians come and go. That hardly makes me an expert, but you don't need to be a weather man to know which way the wind is blowing.

Here are some observations/advice about the life of a comedian:

1) Comedy is showbiz and the competition is intense. If you really want to make a career out of comedy, be ready to spend the first 5 to 10 years making little or no money from it.

2) LA and NYC charge for stage-time at open mics, so its best to practice in other cities with good comedy scenes where you get free stage time. This includes cities like Chicago and Washington DC.

3) About 99% of people who try comedy make no money from it and the rest make little. For many, the peaks of their careers may be performing on cruise ships or being an opening act for years.

4) All comedy clubs have idiotic, please-laugh-we-beg-of-you names. I have no idea why this is.

5) If you go to mixed open mics, you will be spending 3 or 4 hours listening to guitars. If you go to comedy open mics, you will be spending 3 or 4 hours listening to unpolished jokes or the same jokes over and over. You will quickly tire of dick jokes.

6) Comedians tend to be unhappy, drunken, male, and drug-addled. There are pros and cons to this.

7) The most successful people polish their acts at open mics and then enter into contests. A good showing in a contest usually gets the ball rolling.

8) Showcases are often just glorified open mics, but they're still good practice.

9) Even the most popular comedians on the open mic/showcase circuit still have day jobs- often menial ones.

10) Although most comedians start in their 20s, there have been plenty of late-bloomer comedians like Rodney Dangerfield and Louis CK.

11) If stand-up doesn't work out for you, try improv, written comedy, or musical comedy.

12) Happiness is all there is; everything else is just a way to get there. There's plenty of fun to be had as a mere "open miker".

This site is good place to learn more about a comedy scene in a major city. I have written a few articles for them. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Thoughts on Math Education

As a former math teacher and current math tutor, I've have seen enough to say that students who fail to learn math fail for the same reason: they were taught badly. By this I mean a faulty method was used. In almost all cases, the faulty method is too abstract.

People, and children in particular, are much better at thinking in concrete terms like time, money, length, etc. instead of pure numbers. For this reason, I strongly believe that theory in math should be kept at an absolute minimum and that most if not all exercises should be word problems.

I say this because I have met many students who can solve complicated arithmetic problems and then get stumped by the simplest word problems. It is though there is a wall in their minds which separates math from everything else. Teachers must remember that math, like language, is a tool for making sense of the world. Just as you can't learn to speak by copying words out of a dictionary, math cannot be learned with just flashcards, formulas, and drills.  

I realize there is the old tug-of-war between conceptual vs. procedural understanding. Again, I see language learning as the example to follow. Before children learn about reading, spelling, and grammar, they must first learn how to speak. Intuitive knowledge must proceed deep understanding. If children were taught to speak the same way most are taught math, there would be little speaking and a lot of grunting and pointing.

Math is a fascinating subject, but it is dire need of being taught in a more sensible way. The practice of trying to turn students into little mathematicians needs to die. Instead, they should be taught how to use math with simple, practical examples.



Monday, September 16, 2013

3 Great Videos about the Federal Reserve & Keynesianism





Gradjits of Harderp Show-off Their Lernding



Things to ponder:

1) Is admission to Harvard mainly based on objective criteria or on how much the admissions committee likes you?

2) If the latter, what exactly is so impressive about getting into Harvard?

3) Does the fact that Harvard admits only a fraction of people who apply automatically make it better? Couldn't it just mean the school is popular?

4) If Ivy-league schools are more likely to admit the children of alumni who donate generously, isn't that the equivalent of bribery? 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Joseph Rochefort

Joseph Rochefort was a US Navy intelligence cryptanalyst who correctly identified that the Japanese were going to attack the US base at Midway island. Unfortunately, his commander John Redman disagreed and complained to his brother (a high-ranking admiral) to get Rochefort reassigned to supervising a dry dock. Later, Redman commanded a battleship and after the war he was in charge of naval communications.

Rochefort's contribution was critical to the overwhelming US victory at Midway which broke the back of the Japanese navy. Although Admiral Nimitz, commander of the US Pacific fleet, recommended Rochefort for a Navy Distinguished Service Medal, Rochefort declined saying it would only cause trouble.

Rochefort received no recognition during the war. He was awarded The Navy Distinguished Service Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom 10 years after his death.  

Rochefort got Billy Mitchell'd....




Saturday, September 14, 2013

Looking Back on the Island-Hopping Strategy

The part of the island-hopping strategy that involved bypassing some Japanese-held islands was sensible. In retrospect, I think there were too many landings. The invasion of the Philippines was completely
unnecessary and was only done so General MacArthur  could keep his foolish promise to return.

The Japanese navy was basically destroyed during the battles of Midway, the Philippine Sea, and Leyte. Without a navy to protect their merchant fleet, the Japanese army units stationed on various islands were doomed to starvation. Indeed, that was the fate of some units on Japanese-held islands.

The bloody battles fought to capture islands like Tarawa, Peleliu , Okinawa, and Iwo Jima were pointless because those islands were not used as bases for B-29 bombers. It was the bombing raids which finally compelled the Japanese to surrender. Thus, the only islands that really needed to be captured were the Marianas islands, which is where the B-29 bases were.

In fairness, the commanders at the time believed that an invasion of the Japanese home islands would be necessary to force an unconditional surrender (another bad idea), so they saw a need to capture islands as future staging areas.

I think it would have been a shorter, less bloody war if the US had focused on destroying the Japanese navy with mines and submarines and then strategically bombed Japan until they agreed to withdraw from all the territories they had captured. I can understand the general feeling was a desire to punish and humiliate Japan, but that feeling made the war much longer and bloodier than it could have been.

US leaders would have been wise to follow the advice of Sun Tzu: do not push a desperate foe too hard.






Corporal Punishment Instead of Prison for Minor Crimes?

Over half the prisoners in the US are in for non-violent crime, a large portion of which is drug crime. While ending the War on Drugs would be a wise step, the US would still be imprisoning a far higher percent of its population vs. similar countries like Canada, Germany (similar proportion of immigrants), and Australia.

It costs $20,000 to $30,000 per year to house a prisoner depending on the security level of the prison. And since there are about 2.4 million Americans in prison, the total annual cost is around $50 billion. Prisoners often have difficulty finding work after being released, so that it another cost as well.

It would be far cheaper to use corporal punishment like flogging or caning rather than imprisonment. For those who say that such punishments violate the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment, consider that prisoners often become victims to physical and sexual assault while imprisoned. Losing years or decades of life for a minor crime is cruel itself.

Corporal punishment has a long history of use in the US. Wikipedia says:

American colonies judicially punished in a variety of forms, including whipping, stocks, the pillory and the ducking stool.[13] In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, whipping posts were considered indispensable in American and English towns.[14] Starting in 1776, Gen. George Washington strongly advocated and utilized JCP in the Continental Army, with due process protection, obtaining in 1776 authority from the Continental Congress to impose 100 lashes, more than the previous limit of 39.[15]In his 1778 Bill for Proportioning Crimes and Punishments, Thomas Jefferson provided up to 15 lashes for witchcraft, at the jury’s discretion; castration for men guilty of rape, polygamy or sodomy, and a minimum half-inch hole bored in the nose cartilage of women convicted of those sex crimes.[16] In 1781, Washington requested legal authority from the Continental Congress to impose up to 500 lashes, as there was still a punishment gap between 100 lashes and the death penalty.[17]The Founders believed whipping and other forms of corporal punishment effectively promoted pro-social and discouraged anti-social behavior.

Thomas Jefferson wanted punishment for witchcraft? So much for Mr. Enlightened.

I think for minor crimes convicted people should be given a choice between corporal punishment, public humiliation, fine, work, or jail time. Mandatory minimum sentencing laws should be repealed as well.





Friday, September 13, 2013

William Calley vs. Billy Mitchell

William Calley was the Army officer responsible for the My Lai massacre. On his wiki page:

"Calley graduated from Miami Edison High School in Miami and then attended Palm Beach Junior College in 1963. He dropped out in 1964 after receiving unsatisfactory grades, consisting of one C, two Ds, and four Fs."


Not everyone who does badly in school is an idiot, but most idiots do badly in school. Yet somehow, he scored high enough on the entrance exam for Officer Candidate School. Maybe he got his act together. It could also be that the exam was  a joke.


I don't know what it took to get into OCS in the mid 60s, but I have seen the current OCS application. It has sections on physical & mental health, education (4-year degree is required), criminal background, political/patriotism questions, and requests for multiple references. I think you needed a letter from a Congresscitter too. For some reason, you also have to submit a picture of yourself wearing a business suit- I guess the Army prefers photogenic officers.


I suspect the My Lai massacre is the reason why the Army requires all officers to have college degrees. Unfortunately, I know plenty of college grads who couldn't figure out how to pour piss out of a boot with the instructions written on the heel. Worse, most college degrees have no relevance whatsoever to war. Is a degree in history going to make someone better at avoiding ambushes? 


In the civilian world, officers are almost always elected, because elections have been found to be the best (or rather least worst) way of putting the right people in charge. Why does the military shy away from this? Is it tradition? If so, that's an idiotic reason. 


I suspect the reason is that all of military culture is designed around the premise that there are those that give orders and those that follow them. And you aren't allowed to give orders until you can prove that you can follow them. Those that are the most obedient get promoted and more independent (and likely more capable) types stagnate, quit, or are kicked out. See the case of Billy Mitchell for a classic example. His career was destroyed because he challenged the powers that be about the importance of aircraft.


Billy Mitchell was court-martialed even though he had a sterling record, the respect of his men, and had conducted successful tests to prove his point. William Calley was not demoted or court-martialed prior to the massacre even though his men had secretly discussed fragging him.


If the military wants better officers, they need to promote people based on results and not obedience. 





  



Thursday, September 12, 2013

How To Ask Questions

In various Q&A sessions, I have seen that many people do not understand what the "Q" stands for. Instead, they give speeches and have to be prodded into asking a question.

To avoid that problem, I have prepared the following tutorial.

Questions must be begin with one of the following words: who, what, where, when, why, how, which, if, can, do, does, did, is, are, was, were, would, could, or should. One of those words should be the first thing out of your mouth when asking a question.

That's basically it. Many people like to preface a question with a statement- as in "John said laws are like squid gonads. What did he mean?". A better way to ask the question would be "What did John mean when he said laws are like squid gonads?".

Politicians often speak for several minutes before getting to a question. How incredibly irritating that is!







Is Marksmanship Obsolete?

In the late 1940s, the US Army formed the Operations Research Office to study battle reports from the two world wars. One of the findings was:

"that most combat takes place at short range. In a highly mobile war, combat teams ran into each other largely by surprise; and the team with the higher firepower tended to win. They also found that the chance of being hit in combat was essentially random; accurate "aiming" made little difference because the targets no longer sat still. The number one predictor of casualties was the total number of bullets fired."

This conclusion is what spurred the military to equip the infantry with high-capacity, rapid-fire rifles. However, recruits are still trained on how to fire at stationary targets hundreds of meters away. That kind of training makes sense for snipers but infantry are usually much closer to the enemy in battle. 

Furthermore, ammo use statistics show that in war, only a small percent of rounds fired actually hit the enemy. In the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, US forces fired 250,000 rounds per enemy killed. In the Vietnam, that figure was 50,000, and during WW2 it was 20,000. Conversely, snipers fire a little over 1 round per enemy killed.

Seems to me that if the goal is to kill as many of the enemy as possible, the time and resources spent on infantry should be spent on snipers instead. 

I've read that the main use of ammo in battle is to force the enemy to take cover so another unit can move in, and this is reason the is such as high ratio of rounds fired per enemy killed. OK, but why has the use figure jumped so much then? The US faced much stronger foes in WW2 than in Vietnam and the Vietnamese were far stronger than the enemy in Iraq and Afghanistan. One would think that soldiers fighting the Germans in WW2 would have had a much greater need for covering fire than in current wars. And yet the military has to use more ammo to fight a weaker enemy? That doesn't add up. 

Here is what I think is happening: soldiers are trained to shoot stationary targets at long range rather than moving targets at close range. Since the later scenario is more common in war, soldiers are unprepared and must use more ammo. It seems strange to me that the military tries to make everyone a sniper when most of them will never be in situations where that training is relevant.  

Fortunately, it appears the Army is experimenting with more relevant marksmanship training.






Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Is Camouflage Obsolete?

For most of history, armies did not bother with camouflage because when the battle began, it was more important to know who was who to avoid confusion. Soldiers generally wore distinct, brightly colored uniforms with large insignia and decorations and carried banners to identify themselves. This continued all the way to the end of the 19th century. Here are some examples from various time periods:




















Armies switched to drab gray, green, and khaki uniforms as accurate long-range rifles became common. During the First World War, camouflage was quickly adopted for vehicles to conceal them from aircraft. Although camouflage made it harder to tell who was who, it was worth it for the protection it gave.  These days, new technology like thermal imaging, radar, etc. greatly lessen the usefulness of camouflage.

Another problem with camouflage is that it greatly increases the chances of friendly fire. Friendly fire has accounted for between 2 and 20% of all casualties in war. There were over 8,000 such incidents in the in the US military during the Vietnam war.

Given the large number of friendly fire incidents in the US military in recent wars (see the Pat Tillman incident), I think it might be time to switch back to traditional brightly-colored uniforms. Camouflage loses most of its effectiveness as soon as the vehicle or soldier starts moving, so there's no point in putting it on troops unless they are getting ready to ambush. Camouflaging stationary things like buildings and entrances is still a good idea.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Is General Patton Overrated?

This post is mainly sourced from "The German View of Patton".

Patton, along with Eisenhower and McArthur, is one of the most acclaimed American generals of the last century. Indeed, much of that praise is deserved. He was bold, charismatic, and decisive. He helped American forces in North Africa bounce back from the disaster at Kasserine and drive the Germans from the continent. His successes in Sicily and France are also notable.

However, there are a number of legends that have sprung up about Patton that are not true. Contrary to popular belief, Patton was not uniquely feared by the Germans. They regarded him as the Allies' best tank general, but had he been in the German army, he would have merely been above average.
According to General Gunther Blumentritt:
We regarded general Patton extremely highly as the most aggressive panzer-general of the Allies. . . His operations impressed us enormously, probably because he came closest to our own concept of the classical military commander.
However, aggressiveness does not equate to brilliance. Patton was famous for his distaste for digging in even when attacking is not sensible. At Normandy, fuel and supply shortages prevented Patton from making large-scale attacks, but that did not stop him from ordering many small attacks. German SS commander Max Simon said “Had you made such attacks . . . on the eastern front, where our anti-tank guns were echeloned in depth, all your tanks would have been destroyed.” Even Patton said “While my attack was going forward by short leaps, it was not very brilliant.”

In every campaign Patton took part in, the Germans were outnumbered, outgunned, and in the process of retreating. The war against Germany in general was a contest between the superior resources of the Allies vs. the superior fighting of German soldiers. During the Battle of the Bulge, Patton observed that “The Germans are colder and hungrier than we are, but they fight better.”

Had Patton been a Russian general on the Eastern front, his aggressive style would have led to the same appalling casualty rates as the other foolhardy commanders. Patton deserves credit as a successful and well-spoken general, but he was hardly a military genius.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Awesome Fat People: Daniel Lambert


Name: Daniel Lambert
Weight: about 700 pounds for most of his life
Nationality: English
Lived from 1770 to 1809

He made money by charging people admission to visit him in his house, was friends with a dwarf, and punched a bear and knocked it out.



HE PUNCHED A BEAR AND KNOCKED IT OUT!



The dwarf he was friends with had a wife. When she died, Daniel asked him how he felt. The dwarf said "No, she is dead, and I am not very sorry, for when I affront her, she put me on the mantle-shelf for punishment."

Daniel was a keen sportsman and despite his size was very physically active. He once walked 7 miles "with much less apparent fatigue than several middle-sized men who were of the party". He taught swimming and could swim with two men riding on his back.



HE PUNCHED A BEAR AND KNOCKED IT OUT!



Ok. This is what a bear looks like:


















HE PUNCHED A BEAR AND KNOCKED IT OUT!

400 people a day would come visit him at his house. He lived comfortably off the admission they paid.



HE PUNCHED A BEAR AND KNOCKED IT OUT!


On his tombstone:

In Remembrance of that Prodigy in Nature.
DANIEL LAMBERT.
a Native of Leicester:
who was possessed of an exalted and convivial Mind
and in personal Greatness had no Competitor
He measured three Feet one Inch round the Leg
nine Feet four Inches round the Body
and weighed
Fifty two Stone eleven Pounds!
He departed this Life on the 21st of June 1809
Aged 39 years
As a Testimony of Respect this Stone is erected by his Friends in Leicester

They left off the part where

HE PUNCHED A BEAR AND
KNOCKED IT OUT!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Ridiculous Military Stunts

















A US Marine drinks cobra blood


















A bunch of North Koreans trying to fly the hard way


















A Chinese soldier auditioning for the circus


























A Syrian soldier auditioning for the circus



















No comment

Friday, September 6, 2013

Government Departments Renamed Honestly

State
Espionage

Treasury                                                          
Counterfeiting

Justice
Malfeasance

Interior                                                            
Exterior

Agriculture                                                     
Subsidies

Commerce
Crony Capitalism

Labor
Lethargy

Defense                                                          
War (this incidentally was the original name)

Health and Human Services
Handouts
 
Housing and Urban Development                  
Slum and Ghetto Creation

Transportation
Boondoggles

Energy
Nuclear

Education                                                        
Ignorance

Veterans Affairs
Casualties Affairs

Homeland Security                                         
Absurdity
 

 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Would America be Better Off as a Monarchy?

Here are a few reasons I think a monarchy would be better:

1. To a large extent, the US already is a monarchy. The president has special bodyguards, lives in a palace, gives speeches, mingles with the common folk, etc.

2. Most people want a strong leader. People are primates and almost all primates live in groups led by a dominant male. Sound familiar? Most men want to be the top monkey and if they can't, they at least want there to be a top monkey.

3. Monarchs usually manage their kingdoms prudently. They do so because people are careful with things they own. In contrast, most politicians steal as much as they can and do whatever it takes to get re-elected- regardless of how foolish it might be.

4. When monarchs are incompetent, they are often either assassinated or forced into exile. Unlike politicians, they face serious personal risks for their decisions.

5. Monarchs can single-handedly force their nations to adopt useful reforms.

6. Monarchs are non-partisan figure all the people can rally around.

7. Heirs to the throne are groomed carefully so as to be better leaders.

8. When monarchs are crazy or incompetent, they often leave interesting buildings behind. When was the last time a politician built a pyramid? 

 

Limited Strike on Syria? Pearl Harbor Was a Limited Strike Too

When the Japanese decided to bomb Pearl Harbor, they had no intention of following it up with an invasion of Hawaii or the US.

Violence cannot be measured out by the teaspoon. It ends when someone gives up or is destroyed.

"The essence of war is violence. Moderation in war is imbecility."

 -John Arbuthnot Fisher

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Pandas, Chris Packham, & Economics

It's amazing that pandas are even still around. Consider:

1) They reproduce slowly- a female is fertile for only a few days each year and usually only gives birth to one cub.

2) They eat almost nothing except bamboo, which has little nutrition for pandas.

One natural disaster could have wiped these guys out ages ago.

In the words of conservationist Chris Packham: "The panda is, unfortunately, virtually unsavable. It lives in the most overpopulated country in the world, it feeds on plants when it ought to be eating partially meat, it transfers all sorts of nasty diseases among itself, it tastes nice and it's got a coat that looks good on someone's back."

Bummer, although I disagree with the part about China being overpopulated. My cursory research indicates it has about the same population density as Florida.

Other Packham comments:

“You can’t release them back into the wild if there is no wild left and we shouldn’t rear animals just to put them into cages."

Why not? We do it with chickens. What's wrong with breeding pandas because they're fun to look at?

“Where are you going to release them? I don’t think tigers are going to last another 15 years. How can you conserve an animal that’s worth more dead than alive? You can’t.”

If you let people own them, they'll always be around.

Here, watch this:

 

Peter Schiff & A Liberal


Imagine


♫ Imagine there's no morons


















♫ No blithering idiots

















♫ Windowlickers, all gone




















♫ And no imbeciles too
























♫ Imagine all the people
♫ Actually using their bray-hayns

♫ Ooh hooo.....

♫ You may say that I'm a curmudgeon
♫ But I'm not the only one
♫ And maybe someday
♫ The world will be less dumb!



 

Bradley Manning's Punishment Compared to Other Leakers & Military Criminals

Bradley Manning was an army intelligence analyst who leaked various cables & combat footage to the public. The information did not compromise any covert agents, but it did expose various crimes & questionable actions committed by the US. He was sentenced to 35 years in prison.

Robert Hansen was an FBI mole who passed enormous amounts of classified information to Soviet and later Russian intelligence. His worst crime was giving the KGB a list of Soviets who had contacted the FBI about moles, an act which surely led to many of them being jailed or executed. He was sentenced to life in prison.

Aldrich Ames was a CIA mole who passed enormous amounts of information to the KGB. His actions led to the deaths of at least 10 CIA agents. He was sentenced to life in prison.

John Anthony Walker Jr. was a Navy intelligence officer who helped the Soviets decode over 1 million secret messages. He may have also contributed to the capture of the USS Pueblo by North Korea. He was sentenced to life in prison.

William Calley was a US Army Officer who was found guilty of killing 22 civilians during the My Lai massacre. He was sentenced to life in prison but ended up serving only 3 and a half years of house arrest. Calley claimed he was only following orders and public sympathy helped reduce his sentence.

Robert Bales was a US Army sergeant found guilty of killing 16 Afghan civilians. He pled guilty and was sentenced to life in prison.

♫ One of these things is not like the others ♫
♫ Which one is different? ♫
♫ Do you know? ♫



 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Pro & Cons of the US Going to War in Syria

Pro

1. Something exciting to watch on the news

Cons

1. War may escalate to include Russia, Israel, or Iran.

2. Assad's air defenses would shoot down many US aircraft.

3. A large number of rebels are militant Islamic fundamentalists.

4. If Assad falls, the government that replaces it could be far worse.

5. The US military is already stretched thin.

6. Other countries will use it as an excuse to launch similar attacks.

7. The US would have to go further in debt to fight the war.

8. The last the US intervened in a civil war in the Middle East about 200 Marines got killed for nothing.

9. Wars are always bloodier, longer, and more expensive than the politicians predict.

10. If the President orders an attack without a declaration of war, it will be a further erosion of the Constitution.

11. The US military has a poor record when fighting in other countries' civil wars- Korea, Vietnam, Lebanon, Somalia and others.

12. US involvement will be used as propaganda to recruit terrorists.

13. The US would not gain anything by going to war in Syria.

14. Obama would further erode the prestige of the Nobel Peace Prize.

15. It would further cement America's place as policeman of the world.

16. It will not make the US safer.

17. Innocent people will be killed and maimed by the US.

18. Every war the US fights in the Middle East sets the stage for another war.

19. It will be used as another excuse to increase excessive military spending.

20. Anti-ship missiles could destroy US ships.