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Saturday, February 22, 2020

On Midrats 22 February 2020 - Episode 529: Russia's 2020, with Dr. Dmitry Gorenburg

Please join us at 5pm EST on 22 February 2020 for Midrats Episode 529: Russia's 2020, with Dr. Dmitry Gorenburg:
As Russia's navy starts to transition away from the last of her legacy ships, to her approaching endgame in Syria, join us for the full hour to investigate the latest developments with Russia's national security posture, including the domestic power politics and relationships with its near abroad that influences the same.

Our guest returning again to Midrats will be Dr. Dmitry Gorenburg.

Dmitry Gorenburg is an expert on security issues in the former Soviet Union, Russian military reform, Russian foreign policy, and ethnic politics and identity. His recent research topics include decision-making processes in the senior Russian leadership, Russian naval strategy in the Pacific and the Black Sea, and Russian maritime defense doctrine.

Gorenburg is author of "Nationalism for the Masses: Minority Ethnic Mobilization in the Russian Federation" (Cambridge University Press, 2003), and has been published in journals such as World Politics and Post-Soviet Affairs. In addition to his role at CNA, he currently serves as editor of Problems of Post-Communism and is an Associate of the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University. From 2009 to 2016, he edited the journal Russian Politics and Law.

Gorenburg previously served as Executive Director of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES). He received a B.A. in international relations from Princeton University and a Ph.D. in political science from Harvard University. He blogs on issues related to the Russian military at Russian Military Reform. He is a native Russian speaker.

If you can't catch the show live and you use Apple Podcasts, you can pick up the episode and others and add Midrats to your podcast list simply by clicking the button at the main show page - or you can just click here. Or on Spreaker. The show also is reportedly on Spotify.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Election Reminder TANSTAAFL

A reposting from a couple of years ago here in which a reminder of "There ain't no such thing as as a free lunch" (TANSTAAFL) as a warning of the efforts of "democratic socialists" to claim power over your lives. What are you willing to pay of sacrifice for "free stuff."
Just how far out are some members of the "Democratic Socialists of America?"

Some clues in the National Public Radio piece What You Need To Know About The Democratic Socialists Of America
Here's how one socialist sums up his beliefs:

"I think we just need to realize that the end goal is, ultimately, like social control of the means of production," said Joe Cernelli, a founding member of that West Virginia DSA chapter. "You know we don't just want to improve capitalism, we will ultimately want to get rid of it."

That's not just his idea; the DSA views capitalism as an oppressive system — "We see it as fundamentally undemocratic," as DSA National Director Maria Svart put it. Here's how she sums up what the group wants:

"When it comes right down to it, we believe people need to be able to live a dignified life. I mean, there are certain things that should not be left up to the market," she said.

Removing some parts of the economy from the forces of the free market, for example. In other words, socialism.

In the DSA's ideal economy, some sectors — like health care and utilities — would be government-controlled. Other businesses would be worker-owned, as Svart explains it.

"Let's say you were negotiating at a bargaining table with workers in a bakery, and the workers said, 'Look, we want more than a quarter of the bread; we want half of the bread, or we want two-thirds of the bread,' " she said. "The socialist would say, 'Actually, we want the bakery. We want to control it all, for all of our benefit.' "
Oh. Management by committee? Or by the whole? Are some workers going to be more equal than others in order to direct the effort of the bakery? Will there be meetings to discuss what products will be produced - a ban on unhealthy things like cakes and doughnuts and an increase in non-GMO, gluten free products? What happens if the consumers reject the bakery products? Can the workers dump "free-riders" - non-productive "owners?" Or will they demand other bakeries conform to their product list?

I've got to hand to these people - they truly believe that humans can be perfected by this approach and "if only" "real socialism" were applied then everything would be wonderful. That "true belief" relies on a total lack of historical knowledge and a whole lot of magical thinking.

Then there's the need to get rid of that messy U. S. Constitution thing:
It's easy to focus on the "socialist" part here, but the word "democratic" is also a part of the group's name, and members often stress that part of their ideology. They say putting workers in charge of businesses, for example, necessarily makes those businesses more democratic.

But beyond that, the group advocates for some pretty revolutionary changes to democracy, like abolishing the Senate. The DSA calls it "extremely unrepresentative" for the way it gives both tiny and huge states alike two senators each — the group would like to replace it with a more representative body.
And, of course, money is never a problem for these folks - they'll just raise taxes on the "wealthy" and on "corporations" to pay for their pipe dreams. Of course, those "corporations" have employees who are free to purchase stock in their companies or other companies, thus becoming "worker-owners" - who will be hurt by the confiscation of the income generated by their work and the work of their fellow workers.

Well, as many of us know, this sort of thinking has not worked well in other places.

What Exactly is a Socialist Economy?:
In a capitalist economy, the market determines prices through the laws of supply and demand. For example, when demand for coffee increases, a profit-seeking business will boost prices to increase its profit. If at the same time, society’s appetite for tea diminishes, growers will face lower prices, and aggregate production will decline. In the long run, some suppliers may even exit the business. Because consumers and suppliers negotiate a new “market-clearing price” for these goods, the quantity produced more or less matches the public’s needs.

Under a true socialist system, it’s the government’s role to determine output and pricing levels. The challenge is synchronizing these decisions with the needs of consumers. Socialist economists such as Oskar Lange have argued that, by responding to inventory levels, central planners can avoid major production inefficiencies. So when stores experience a surplus of tea, it signals the need to cut prices, and vice versa.

One of the critiques of socialism is that, even if government officials can adjust prices, the lack of competition between different producers reduces the incentive to do so. Opponents also suggest that public control of production necessarily creates an unwieldy, inefficient bureaucracy. The same central planning committee could, in theory, be in charge of pricing thousands of products, making it extremely difficult to react to market cues promptly.

Furthermore, the concentration of power within government can create an environment where political motivations override the basic needs of the people. Indeed, at the same time the Soviet Union was diverting vast resources to build up its military capability, its residents often had trouble attaining a variety of goods, including food, soap, and even television sets.
Political motivations? When the government controls work, housing, and medical care it can control behavior by selectively denying access to such things to disfavored groups as happened in the former Yugoslavia, as set out in David Rieff's Slaughterhouse: Bosnia and the Failure of the West (p87)
. . . But most people still expected to work in the same place for life, and had grown accustomed to looking to the workplace for all kinds of accompanying benefits. Being fired meant losing a great deal more than a paycheck . . . what were indispensable were the health insurance and other state benefits that were immediately revoked when a person was fired.

People were even made insecure in their lodgings . . . In Serbia proper, people's fear of being fired . . . and losing a flat owned by that enterprise was one of the ways the Milosevic regime compelled consent. Better support the regime than be out in the street homeless. In Banja Luka, this legacy of the Titoist period provided the Serb authorities with the next move in the process of ethnically cleansing the urban non-Serbian population. The firing itself was only the beginning. For once when someone's dismissal had been made known officially, the next step was for a letter to be sent demanding that the person vacate the apartment in which he or she had been living.

Thus, to be deprived of a job was almost to stop being citizen, to be forcibly be moved from the status of non-Serb to the status of non-person in only a couple of official decrees.
Far-fetched in the U.S.? Noticed any people losing their jobs because of current or even lost past transgressions of the whatever today's standard of politically correct behavior is?

In case you haven't gotten the message, the DSA is all about power. The power to take control of your life and the lives of all Americans and subvert them to the will of a small group of people who have the firm belief that they know what is best for all of us - despite what we may believe.
If you've paid attention to the Democrat Party debates, the whole premise is about the right of the state to control your lives, from cradle to grave.

Some of those who think "free college" is a great idea haven't the smarts to think ahead to the point that the state eventually will decide what must be studied. Think that's an exaggeration? You can go to any local school district today and see that federal government funding has determined what major parts of the approved curriculum are and failure to comply will result in loss of federal funding.

As set out here:
....Department of Education does not directly oversee the nation’s 100,000 public schools. States have some oversight, but individual municipalities, are, in most cases, the legal entities responsible for running schools and for providing the large majority of funding through local tax dollars.

Still, the federal government uses a complex system of funding mechanisms, policy directives, and the soft but considerable power of the presidential bully pulpit to shape what, how, and where students learn.
See also here. And here:
The federal government is not without authority, however, as the federal government exercises control at times based on the amount of funding it provides states. This is especially true in higher education, as the federal government wields its unofficial power by set strict requirements for schools to be eligible for federal grant and loan programs, something that almost no college or university can survive without.

This is true in primary and secondary education also. Each state is responsible to submit their requisition for educational grants and funds individually to be eligible for federal funding. Therefore, the federal government can control state systems by funding programs that are deemed acceptable within its standards and by granting more aid to some states as compared to others based on their proposals. However, states do not get most of their educational funding from the federal government; in fact most of the funding comes from the state taxation system. Therefore, states can choose not to follow federal guidelines for funding and still run their educational system outside of the federal guidelines. Most choose, however, to follow federal guidelines in order to receive federal aid.
This semi-indirect control over education based on funding and "standard setting" may explain why some political parties strive so hard to appeal to educators, the key to controlling what is "acceptable" thinking.

Whining about the "unfairness" and "anti-democratic" nature of the Electoral College and the U.S. Senate are just part of the same lust for power. The lust that our Constitution was designed to contain.

Friday Film: "Broken Arrow" Nuclear Weapon Safety (1962)

An Air Force film, but important for the Navy, too, given the subject matter.

Perhaps related to an incident involving a B-52 flying out of Seymour Johnson AFB in Goldsboro, NC, in 1961. See here:
The 1961 Goldsboro B-52 crash was an accident that occurred near Goldsboro, North Carolina, on 23 January 1961. A Boeing B-52 Stratofortress carrying two 3–4-megaton Mark 39 nuclear bombs broke up in mid-air, dropping its nuclear payload in the process.[2] The pilot in command, Walter Scott Tulloch, ordered the crew to eject at 9,000 feet (2,700 m). Five crewmen successfully ejected or bailed out of the aircraft and landed safely, another ejected, but did not survive the landing, and two died in the crash.[3] Information declassified in 2013 showed that one of the bombs came very close to detonating.[4]






Sunday, February 09, 2020

On Midrats 9 February 2020 - Episode 527: Pre-Valentine's Day Melee

Please join us at 5pm EST on 9 February 2020 for Midrats Episode 527: Pre-Valentine's Day Melee
Come join EagleOne and CDR Salamander for an hour of all the things maritime and national security that broke above the ambient noise the last couple of weeks.

From the national security implications of the latest disease out break in China to our Navy's ongoing challenge of finding out what she wants to be, and how she wants to get there.

Open topic, open phones - so if there is a topic you would like us to address, join the chatroom, give us a call, or drop us an email or DM on twitter.

If you can't catch the show live and you use Apple Podcasts, you can pick up the episode and others and add Midrats to your podcast list simply by clicking the button at the main show page - or you can just click here. Or on Spreaker. The show also is reportedly on Spotify.

Saturday, February 08, 2020

Friday, February 07, 2020

Friday Film: U.S. Navy Aircraft Ground Rescue Procedures for the A-7E (1971)

Knowing the right way to rescue pilots from crashed or troubled aircraft on the ground is important for air station flight line crash crews. In this 1971 film an A-7 is used as an example.

There is also a pilot's significant other with big hair, short skirt, and a nice Triumph Spitfire.



Not sure why this film was marked "For Official Use Only", but see here. Also see here:
For Official Use Only (FOUO) is a document designation, not a classification. This designation is used by Department of Defense and a number of other federal agencies to identify information or material which, although unclassified, may not be appropriate for public release.

There is no national policy governing use of the For Official Use Only designation. DoD Directive 5400.7 defines For Official Use Only information as "unclassified information that may be exempt from mandatory release to the public under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)." The policy is implemented by DoD Regulation 5400.7-R and 5200.1-R.

Saturday, February 01, 2020

Saturday Is Old Radio Day - Well Sort of. "What it was was football" (1953)

A blast from the past in honor of some event this weekend that seems to be getting bigger than a real holiday.

First put up on this blog in 2017, it features a distinguished alumnus of that school found in "The Southern Part of Heaven."




The artist seems to be George Woodbridge who used to do lots of work for Mad magazine.