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Monthly Archives: February 2015

Edward Snowden Documentary Citizenfour Wins Oscar – Liberty Crier

CITIZENFOUR, Laura Poitras’ riveting documentary about Edward Snowden’s efforts to shed light on gross surveillance abuses by the United States government and its partners, just won the 2014 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

Does last night’s Oscar win signify a shifting paradigm or is it just the seasons fashionable bandwagon?

Via Liberty Crier.

An American Renaissance

In the Obama years, disseminating either disinformation or no information, a devoted media helped create the intellectual darkness and vacant servitude required to carry out the strategy of their leftist Messiah;  a country without any sense of its own history and traditions, where the low-information voter would slouch towards Obama’s imaginary utopia through a combination of governmental coercion and the hedonist nihilism of a painless, amusement-sodden, and stress-free America managed by a nanny-state.

via An American Renaissance.

American Malls Are Threatened by Somalian Terrorists — and the DHS Secretary Is Warning Shoppers of the Danger | TheBlaze.com

After Somalia-based terror group al-Shabab released a video calling for attacks on shopping malls throughout the U.S., U.K. and Canada, Johnson took to CNN Sunday morning to advise caution.

“If anyone is planning to go to the Mall of America today, they’ve got to be particularly careful,” Johnson told CNN’s Gloria Borger. ”There will be enhanced security there, but public vigilance, public awareness and public caution in situations like this is particularly important, and it’s the environment we’re in, frankly.”

via American Malls Are Threatened by Somalian Terrorists — and the DHS Secretary Is Warning Shoppers of the Danger | TheBlaze.com.

What Admiral Nelson Would Have Said About Obama’s ISIS Strategy

Nelson Linkedin

I have spent most of my career working with strategy.

In almost 40 years of dealing with the sharp end of strategy there is one prevailing lesson: the trickier the strategy – the riskier the strategy.

What is trick strategy? Trick strategy is like a trick pool shot where several actions need to occur perfectly in order to sink the shot.

The more actions placed between you and your desired result – the trickier the strategy.

I’m not saying that trick strategy doesn’t work, it does in certain cases.

But at some point the effectiveness of your strategy is influenced more by luck than execution skill. And that’s not good strategy.

So I was thinking about this yesterday as I read some of the briefings describing Obama’s latest attempt at “fighting” violent extremism. This from the New York Times:

If we’re going to prevent people from being susceptible to the false promises of extremism, then the international community has to offer something better,” Mr. Obama said, adding that the United States would “do its part” by promoting economic growth and development, fighting corruption and encouraging other countries to devote more resources to education, including for girls and women.

See the commander in chief of community organizing seems to believe that the best strategy for dealing with murderous Muslim zealots is giving them jobs and money. (Which has worked out so well in places like Chicago, Detroit, Washington DC, etc.)

In other words a trick strategy. Rather than just exterminating them, Obama is introducing several layers of complex actions that must work in order for his strategy to succeed. (I’m assuming success for this administration is defined as eliminating the threat. On the other I am also laying even odds that the Obama administration is doing this intentionally in order to increase the threat and further enable violent Muslim extremists.)

What the Obama administration is suggesting, is giving jobs and money to murderous Muslim zealots will cause them to forget a 1,500 year religious struggle, lay down their weapons and take a job at WalMart.

See in building an “effective” strategy to combat murderous Muslim zealots you need to accept a basic set of facts:

1. This is a continuation of a 1,500 year war.
2. It is a religious war fought between Christians and Muslims.
3. Muslims won’t stop until they’ve eliminated or converted Christians.
4. We have irreconcilable differences with ideology, morals and ethics.
5. Muslims will not fight “fair” as defined by convention like the Geneva Convention.
6. The majority of moderate Muslims will do nothing to fight this battle.

These facts seem to leave only one viable strategy for eliminating the threat from murdering Muslim zealots:

Become more murderous and bigger zealots than they are.

But the problem with Americans and most western men is that we are civilized.

We are not murders. Nor are we zealots.

But what if the battle calls for murderers and zealots?

Do we play the old saw of “the end NOT justifying the means”?

Or do we channel our inner Patton and get to work?

Vice Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson famously said the best strategy is the simplest and the boldest:

No captain can do very wrong if he places his ship alongside that of the enemy.

I know that most Americans who accept the facts outlined above will still resist the notion of becoming “more murderous and bigger zealots” than our enemy.

But this is one strategist who see’s no other way. If you do see another way please tell me your strategy for defeating murdering Muslim zealots.

Simply. In ten words or less.

Marie Harf and Those She Represents are Damn Naive Fools | RedState

In the history of all the world, there has never been a war that could not be won by killing more bad guys than they kill of the good guys. But Marie Harf, the State Department spokeswoman making international headlines for being a damn naive fool, claims we cannot win this war by killing the bad guys. According to Harf, we need to root out “underlying causes” and create jobs. So a Presidency that rejects nation building thinks we must, essentially, nation build to win the war.

via Marie Harf and Those She Represents are Damn Naive Fools | RedState.

Valkyries, Valhalla, and The Way of the Samurai (“Soft” Standards, and the Philosophy of Stoicism) – By John Mosby

valkyrieContrary to popular current mythology (and the History Channel’s Vikings television show), dying in battle was not a ticket to sex with Valkyries, getting drunk on mead, and partying with Odin in Valhalla, in pre-Christian Germanic belief. The most commonly accepted view of the mythos—amongst those scholars that accept that the belief system actually encompassed Valhalla as an afterlife destination, which is far from universal amongst historians and archeologists—is that the Valkyries, the “Choosers of the Slain,” would scour the battlefield dead, and select half of them to bring to Odin’s Hall. The other half went elsewhere (Freyja’s Hall, but that’s not actually germane to the conversation here).

Thus, in the ancient Germanic warrior culture, regardless of how brave you were, how hard you fought, and how well-trained you were, there was only a 50/50 chance that you would get to go to Valhalla. Ultimately, the choice was outside of your control. So, why would a warrior train for war, venture forth gladly to the battlefield, and then perform valorous acts that almost guaranteed death in the long run, if there was only a 50% chance of getting what you wanted?

In his classic treatise on the philosophy behind the Samurai code of “Bushido,” entitled Hagakure, and often billed as “The Book of the Samurai,” retired Samurai-turned-monk Yamamoto Tsunetomo wrote that “the way of the samurai is found in death.” He admonished young warriors to calmly accept that death would occur on the battlefield, regardless of the efforts of the individual. Despite this, the samurai trained in earnest for battlefield effectiveness from youth onward. It didn’t matter that you calmly accepted that you were going to die, you still trained hard to be as lethal as humanly possible.

There is a school of philosophy that was originated in ancient Greece, and codified by Roman philosophers like Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus, and Seneca. That school was called “Stoicism.” It was probably not what you think.

In modern colloquialism, “stoic” has a meaning that is not congruent with the origins of the word within that school of philosophy. In our use, stoic is defined as enduring pain or hardship without showing emotions or complaining. When we read the ancient philosophers like Aurelius though, we see that he—by many considered the definitive writer of the school of Stoicism—greatly mourned the deaths of his sons. He grew angry with poor performance by his subordinate military commanders. Bereavement and anger are contrary to the modern use of the word stoic, but the greatest writer on the school of philosophy that gave us that word was more than willing to admit that he felt both emotions. How does that work?

More importantly, what do northern European tribal warriors, Japanese samurai, and ancient Roman philosophers, have to do with modern survivalism, preparedness, and training? Pretty much everything.

Whether we use the Roman term “stoicism,” or we discuss Germanic warlords, or Japanese samurai, we’re talking about the same thing. Stoicism is the calm acceptance of responsibility. It is the acceptance that I am responsible for what I am capable of controlling. I cannot control what anyone else does or does not do. I cannot control the outcome of events.

Retired Delta Sergeant-Major Pat McNamara writes about this when he recommends performance-based training, rather than outcome-based training. We don’t worry about the outcome. We focus our efforts on what we are responsible for. It doesn’t matter if I hit a Master classification on the IDPA Classifier. What matters is whether I take responsibility for the actions—the training—that will allow me to achieve that. It doesn’t matter if I hit a sub-1:00 second draw to first shot break with my Glock. I cannot control that.

Sounds counterintuitive, doesn’t it?

It makes sense though, when you stop trying to control anything except yourself. Rather than trying to hit a 1:00 second draw to first shot, focus on executing the draw, sight alignment, and trigger press as fast as you are capable of, while still performing each step of the process as correctly as you are capable of. If you get a 1:00 second draw to first shot, great. If you don’t, but you did everything as fast as you were capable of, and still did it as perfect as you are capable of, great.

When the bell tolls for you, and you are in a gunfight, you have exactly zero control of the outcome. You have zero control over who you will be fighting. You have zero control over what training he has had. You have zero control over his speed and accuracy. You have zero control over whether he moves at the moment you break your shot, causing you to miss. You are not in control over anything that you are not in control of. Accept it. Embrace it. Accept responsibility for what you are responsible for.

So, what are you responsible for, that will make a difference? Why bother training, if we don’t have control anyway?

You are responsible for you. You are responsible for your actions. You do have control over who your enemy will be fighting. You have control over the training you will have had. You have control over what speed and accuracy you will be able to achieve. You have control over whether you are fit enough and fast enough to move. You are in control of everything that you are in control of. Accept that responsibility.

The Germanic warrior trained hard, to be better than his foe, so that he could perform valorous acts on the battlefield, and hoped that the Valkyries noticed, and took him, if it turned out that his foe was better than him. The Samurai trained hard so that he could perform well, so that hopefully his ancestors would recognize his honor in the afterlife.

We can set performance standards. “You need to be able to achieve X in XX:XX seconds, and then you are qualified.” That’s fine. If you’re willing to accept that, then fine. Accept responsibility for it. Perhaps it will be enough.

The better way; the Stoic way accepted by warrior cultures throughout history, and throughout the world though, is to take responsibility for yourself. Accept that you have absolute control over what you have control over, and don’t worry about the rest of it. If you take the responsibility you need to take, then you will perform. If you don’t, you will fail.

You cannot control whether you achieve X in XX:XX. What you can control is, “I will do XYZ every day. I will try to perform better and faster, every time I perform XYZ. If I do this, eventually, I will achieve X in XX:XX, then I will continue to improve.”

“Hard” standards of performance are, by definition, minimal standards. “Soft” standards are superior to hard standards. They require stoic acceptance of the struggle. They require you to continue trying to improve. “Hard” standards are about “stay safe.” “Soft” standards are about “screw safe, stay dangerous.”

I taught a TC3 class in Idaho this weekend past. After the training one night, at supper with some of the students, we were discussing PT. You can follow any number of PT programs out there. I describe a program in Volume One of The Reluctant Partisan. Rob Shaul of Mountain Athlete, located in Jackson, Wyoming has “tactical athlete” specific training programs. Gym Jones in Salt Lake City, UT provides training for tactical athletes. Crossfit is—of course—popular with many tactical athletes.

Ultimately, if you want to do PT to improve yourself, it’s not particularly difficult. Lift more today than you lifted yesterday, and lift more tomorrow than you can lift today. Run or ruck further and faster today than you did yesterday, and run or ruck further and faster tomorrow than you do today. Any strength and conditioning specialist or personal trainer will, of course, tell you that this is a gross oversimplification. You have to factor in all the variables: nutrition, rest and recovery, etc.

Not true. If you walked out in your front yard right now, and picked up a 45-lb Olympic barbell off the ground and pressed it all the way over your head, and did that five times, then repeated that—and nothing else—every single day, rain, shine, sleet, or snow, adding five pounds every day, in a month, you would be fitter than you are today. If you walk outside tomorrow, and you walk two miles, as fast as you can walk that two miles, and tomorrow, you repeated it, but threw ten pounds into a backpack while you did it, and repeated that every day for a month; you would be fitter—faster and stronger—than you are today.

People complain and whine all the time in the comments on this blog about my exhortations to do PT, shoot, and train. “It’s too hard!” “I’m too crippled.” “I’m too old.” “It’s cold outside.” “It’s too hot.”

That’s fine. Blame it on the environment. I don’t care.

You can’t control whether it will be hard or easy. You cannot control your past injuries. You cannot control your age. You cannot control the weather. You can control your reactions to those things. If you choose to let them stop you, fine. Just accept responsibility for it. The difficulty of exercise and training, your old injuries, your age, the weather; none of those things are in your control. They cannot control you either. You, and you alone, are responsible for your actions. It’s not your age or the weather that’s stopping you from being dangerous. It’s wanting to blame someone else for your failings that stops you from being dangerous.

Via Forward Observer Magazine

Quote of the day: COIN worked in Afghanistan — at least tactically | Foreign Policy

“To say that counterinsurgency didn’t work is not a fair assessment. If you look at a variety of places in Iraq and Afghanistan you can see that counterinsurgency tactics — particularly the ones related to the use of military force, patrolling, advising, and small projects — worked in pushing insurgents out of a specific area. From a tactical perspective, counterinsurgency worked.

“The argument that counterinsurgency didn’t work has more weight from a strategic perspective. The Afghan surge ended with the government in control of more territory than any time since 2005 and in possession of large and competent security forces. As a result, the government may yet succeed. Nevertheless, the Afghan surge did not end with Afghanistan stabilized or the government ready to stand on its own. On top of that, counterinsurgency was expensive and demanded thousands for troops, facts that will always darken its story in Afghanistan.”

via Quote of the day: COIN worked in Afghanistan — at least tactically | Foreign Policy.

State Department’s @marieharf: we can’t beat ISIS with bombs, let’s send money | RedState

This is dumb on so many levels that one hardly knows where to start. First and foremost, Harf simply does not understand what she is fighting. The impetus behind ISIS is not poverty. It is a religious movement that rejects modernity. The same stupid stuff was said by the same stupid people after 9-11 when the upper reaches of al Qaeda are the educated and the privileged. All of the 9-11 hijackers were at least middle class. So long as she, and presumably the administration,  see the problem as one of economic opportunity and screwing American taxpayers to provide a nice life style for radical Islamists then we are spinning our wheels.

via State Department’s @marieharf: we can’t beat ISIS with bombs, let’s send money | RedState.

Obama, ISIS, and the Reckoning | Works and Days

For bewildered and increasingly quietist Americans, the center holds mostly in family, religion, a few friends, the avoidance of the cinema and nightly news, the rote of navigating to work and coming home, trying to stay off the dole and taking responsibility for one’s own disasters — as the world grows ever more chaotic in our midst.

All sorts of escapism from the madness is now epidemic. Home-schooling. Gun ownership. A second home in the mountains. A trunk of freeze-dried food. Kids living in the basement. A generator. Some gold coins. A move to Wyoming. An avoidance of the old big cities. A tough choice between death and going to the nearby emergency room (at least your relatives are safe as you pass away at home). A careful and narrow selection of channels on cable TV. A safe room or escape plan. And on and on.

There is a strange new and dangerous sentiment brooding below the spoken surface that whatever is going on in the world and in America today cannot go on much longer — although as the sages say, there is a lot of rot in the West to enjoy for some time yet.

The postmodern world of our new aristocracy and the premodern world of those they both avoid and romanticize won’t hold. The old caricatured middle shrinks and turns inward. Even if the doomsday mood is a mere construct of the new instantaneous media, it is a dangerous mood nonetheless.

We all know what follows from this — either the chaos grows and civilization wanes and tribalism follows, or the iron hand of the radical authoritarian Left or Right correction is just as scary, or a few good people in democratic fashion convince the mob to let them stop the madness and rebuild civilization.

I hope for option three. I fear option one is more likely at home. And I assume that option two will be, as it always is, the choice abroad.

via Obama, ISIS, and the Reckoning | Works and Days.

Swastikas Spray-Painted on Homes in Madison, Wisconsin | PJ Media

Stein, who is the president of the local Jewish Federation, told WISC-TV, Madison’s CBS affiliate, “Everybody in the neighborhood is pretty upset. It was of course extremely disturbing to me. This is anti-Semitic to the extent that people feel comfortable equating Jewish people or the Jewish religion with scatological or vulgar language or the sexual parts of people’s bodies.”

via Swastikas Spray-Painted on Homes in Madison, Wisconsin | PJ Media.

Copenhagen Shooting: 1 Dead, Suspects Flee After Gunfire at Lars Vilks Event – NBC News.com

Shots rang out Saturday afternoon at a cafe in Copenhagen, killing one person and wounding three others, during a freedom of speech event hosted by controversial Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, police and Danish officials said. The suspects fled after gunfire erupted around 4 p.m. local time (10 a.m. ET) at Krudttoenden cafe in the Osterbro district, Copenhagen police said in a statement.

via Copenhagen Shooting: 1 Dead, Suspects Flee After Gunfire at Lars Vilks Event – NBC News.com.

Texas Sheriff’s Stark Message After Homeowner Fatally Shoots Would-Be Intruder | Video | TheBlaze.com

“Presently, as the result of underfunding and inadequate staffing at the Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office, homeowners need to take appropriate precautions to protect their families,” Sheriff Michael Lindsey Ray stated, according to KLTV-TV. ”I will continue to support the law-abiding citizens of our community when they are forced to take actions to protect their lives, liberty and property.”

via Texas Sheriff’s Stark Message After Homeowner Fatally Shoots Would-Be Intruder | Video | TheBlaze.com.

Run, hide, fight @BvuePD | The View From North Central Idaho

The training now has long been that the school should go into “lockdown”, people hide wherever they can, and they wait for the police to arrive. Upon the arrival of three or four police officers they would form a team and enter the building to engage the shooter. No active shooter incident has ever been stopped by such a multiple officer team.

via Run, hide, fight @BvuePD | The View From North Central Idaho.

San Francisco: Where Violent Street Gangs and Silicon Valley Tech Bros Coexist | VICE | United States

Judging by the number of security guards Mark Zuckerberg has hired to protect his $10 million mansion, Facebook’s boss probably had some idea that the rapidly gentrifying Mission District can (still) be a dangerous place. By sheer volume of reported incidents, the neighborhood remains the second most risky place in town, closely following South of Market (SoMa), where many tech startups rub elbows with homeless shelters and mental illness treatment centers.

via San Francisco: Where Violent Street Gangs and Silicon Valley Tech Bros Coexist | VICE | United States.

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