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Friday, September 24, 2021

Friday Funnies: Norm McDonald

Silverfiddle Rant!

Comedian and everyman philosopher Norm Macdonald has passed on.  

I loved his impressions on SNL.  Latterly, he had a show for one season on Netflix called "Norm MacDonald has a show," and it was brilliant.

For your viewing pleasure, The Best of Turd Ferguson.  His Burt Reynolds is spot on...

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Biggest Threats to our Nation

Silverfiddle Rant!

Polling from reputable organizations can serve as a barometer, but I don't put too much stock in them, since they usually reflect the panic of the moment.  Here in the US tribal territories, most people herd up around the loudest ideological tastemakers they agree with, and most polling is a reflection of that.

Rasmussen has taken the temperature of the populace to determine what we believe are the greatest threats to our nation.  Here are some results...
Fifty-seven percent (57%) of Democratic voters believe supporters of Donald Trump are a serious threat to the nation. 

56% of those in President Biden’s party also consider the unvaccinated a serious threat. That’s a higher level of concern than Democrats express about the Taliban (44% see it as a serious threat); China (44%), or Russia (37%).

For Republicans, the top concerns are the Taliban (66%), Defund the Police Activists (62%), and China (58%).

The top three concerns for Independents are the same as the GOP (though in a different order). The Taliban is the biggest concern for independent voters (46%) followed by China (45%) and Defund the Police Activists (36%).
I disagree with all of them (with one exception).  Here is my list of biggest threats to America:

The lying, wasteful, war-making political establishment that serially fails to square up on our nation's most pressing issues and instead traffics in trivialities, propaganda, and political porn designed only to continually inflame their base and extract donations from them.

The Big Education establishment that rent-seeks off taxpayer money and fails to teach the fundamentals of a classical education that are critical to our liberal democracy:  Logic, Reason, Critical Thinking, and Toleration of differing beliefs.

China. Their government is much smarter and much more serious than ours 

Our government's failure to foster economic cooperation among friendly nations that lead to robust, trusted supply chains.

Infrastructure security against hacking, EMP bursts and solar activity

The near-failed states to our south

The ever-expanding national debt

Corporate ownership of the public square and the neo-censorship that goes with it.

Loss of habitat

Our nation's water supply

What Say You?

Monday, September 20, 2021

What's going on with our generals?

Silverfiddle Rant!

General Milley Continues to Take Heat...

"Milley’s actions show that America’s top military officers have reached another level of delusion. They fancy themselves a new praetorian guard to protect the nation." (Deep State - Deep Trouble)

Much is being made of Milley's supposed usurpation of power and quiet subversion of President Trump's direction on Syria and Afghanistan, phone calls assuring Chinese generals he would warn them before we attack them, and holding a secret cabal of generals to seize ultimate control of our nuclear arsenal.  

While I think the rhetoric is a little much, here is one summary  Another one demands Gen. Milley must go for subverting of civilian control of the military

This article says Milley made the call to China at SecDef Esper's request.  If true, that means Milley did nothing wrong by making that phone call.  He was a good soldier obeying orders of the civilians appointed over him.

By all accounts, General Milley was a heroic soldier on the battlefield and many who served under him praised his leadership as a battalion commander when he was a lieutenant colonel.  

Something has gone wrong since then...

Desert Storm tank commander H. R. McMaster (he won a Silver Star for his brilliant leadership in a decisive battle) wrote a book in 1997, Dereliction of Duty, making the case...
"that during the 1960s, the Joint Chiefs of Staff betrayed their constitutional duties by failing to provide their honest military judgment to President Lyndon B. Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara as they plunged into the quagmire of Vietnam. When McMaster’s book was published in 1997, during the Clinton administration, Gen. Hugh Shelton, then the JCS chairman, ordered all his service chiefs and commanders to read it and follow its lessons to the letter—to express disagreements to their superiors, even at the risk of getting yelled at." (The Revolt against Donald Rumsfeld)
Lt Gen (Ret) McMaster has been lauded by leaders and peers as the kind of innovative thinker we need in the flag officer ranks. His book has been required reading in the officer ranks.

Mackubin Owens made an opposing case back in 2006, mounting a defense of Rumsfeld and civilian control of the military.

The Ghost of Don Rumsfeld

I caught Hugh Hewett on the way to work a few days ago.  Retired Admiral James Stavridis was singing Milley's praises and bragging about appointing him to brief Rumsfeld back when Stavridus was an admiral at the Pentagon and Milley was a Colonel serving under him. He gushed over Milley, calling him stubborn, highly intelligent and brave, one of the few officers able to go one-on-one with with Rumsfeld.  The admiral was essentially lauding Milley's high-level bureaucratic skills, and that is when it hit me... 
What's "wrong" with Milley is what went "wrong" with warrior generals Franks, McChrystal, Petraeus and so many other flag officers of their generation:  Rummy tainted and broke them.

I am not damning those men. They did the best they could with what the civilians handed them.  Whether at one point or another they should have thrown their stars on the table is not an easy judgment, but once you've been made to eat shit and like it, or once you have been "made," as in a mafia made man, justification mechanisms must kick in.  It's human nature.

Some men did push back:  Generals Shinseki and Newbold while they were still on active duty, and Generals Zinni and Eaton after retirement.

So, we are left with an age old question:  What do senior generals do when handed an impossible mission cooked up by the ignorant fools appointed over them?

Friday, September 17, 2021


Silverfiddle Rant!

I stumbled across an archived interview with Carter National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, first published in a French newspaper in 1998.

Below is an interesting excerpt...

Q : When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against secret US involvement in Afghanistan , nobody believed them. However, there was an element of truth in this. You don’t regret any of this today?

B: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter, essentially: “We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war." Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war that was unsustainable for the regime , a conflict that bought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.

Q: And neither do you regret having supported Islamic fundamentalism, which has given arms and advice to future terrorists?

B : What is more important in world history? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some agitated Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

War on Terror II

Silverfiddle Rant!
The Election of Donald Trump encrazened the left, and they keep getting crazier:

Trump is Hitler, Jan 6th was the US Beer Hall Putsch, the Jan 6 MAGA mob launched a more horrible attack than 9/11, Trump voters are domestic terrorists, rightwing anti-vaxxers are endangering America (Fact Check:  They're Not, and they make up about half the unvaxxed cohort, but anyhoo...) 

What's going on?

The left's use of hysterical hyperbole and apocalyptic language make them today's millenarians:
"The Jim Crow Republican Party and larger neofascist movement are escalating their war on democracy by passing laws across the country designed to stop Black and brown people from voting."

"Fascist violence continues unabated."

"The Taliban, all of them together, plus every Al Qaeda fighter in the world, do not pose the threat to the United States that Trump or Trumpist extremists do."
Facts like this don't matter to the left screaming that Jan 6th was an attempted coup, or terrorist attack, or insurrection, or whatever...
It's pure fantasy, especially when one considers Jan. 6 wasn’t even the worst attack on the Capitol building. Indeed, between the 1915 Capitol bombing, the 1954 shooting by Puerto Rican nationalists, the 1971 Weather Underground bombing, and the 1983 M19 bombing there's stiff competition for the title of "worst" attack on the People's House.
The Infotainment Media Complex blares out exciting new revelations:
Former CIA Director Halspel:  The US was 'on the way to a right-wing coup' after Trump lost the election!

Gen Milley feared President Trump would "go rogue," so he convened a secret meeting of senior military officials.  (If anything looks like a potential coup, it's generals meeting secretly) 

Stan McChrystal and other 'experts' have compared Trump voters to Al Qaeda and radicalized home-grown terrorist insurgents.
Finally, firebug dunce George W. Bush--while desecrating hallowed ground this past 9/11--made similar disgraceful comparisons that had no place at that Shanksville ceremony.  What was his point?

Prepping the Battlespace

Bush spoke for the establishment, writes Rod Dreher:
Bush is legitimizing the US turning the vast intelligence and surveillance apparatus he built to fight Islamist terror onto American citizens who dissent.

It is the duty of we who are old enough to remember what happened in the year and a half between 9/11 and the launch of the Iraq War to remember how the US Government and a compliant media manufactured public consent for that war. 

We have to tell our children about it — about how the people in power told lies to make us deathly afraid of the people they wanted to punish, even though those people (the Iraqis) had nothing to do with 9/11. ... It’s starting to happen again — and George W. Bush yesterday laid down an important marker in that speech.
I agree. What say you?

Monday, September 13, 2021

Impatience and the Totalitarian Urge

Silverfiddle Rant!
Friedrich Hayek:
"'Emergencies' have always been the pretext on which the safeguards of individual liberty have been eroded -- and once they are suspended it is not difficult for anyone who has assumed such emergency powers to see to it that the emergency persists." (Hayek, Law, Legislation and Liberty, Vol. 3, 1979, 124)

Joe Biden, announcing his totalitarian vaccine decree:
"We've been patient, but our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us." (Yahoo News)
There is zero evidence that the unvaccinated are a danger to the vaccinated.
This means that to entrust to science - or to deliberate control according to scientific principles - more than scientific method can achieve may have deplorable effects. (F.A. Hayek)
Another point of fact:  Those over 50 are the cohort with the highest rate of vaccination.  They are also the cohort that is overwhelmingly filling our hospitals and dying of covid

New Normal?

Hayek also observed (apologies, I cannot find the exact quote) that the problem with government programs of persuasion is that if the people cannot be nudged and cajoled into cooperation, the program will end in dictatorial coercion.

Post 9/11 hysteria spawned the golden age of the panopticon surveillance state and gargantuan bureaucracies--unaccountable to We The People--violating our liberties all in the name of keeping us "safe."

COVID has ushered in an age of Safetyism and Scientism Uber Alles.  Can We The People claw back our freedoms?

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Never Forget

For some of us, at least, the images and sounds of that day are seared into our memories. 

A few of us, at least, recognize that the soldiers of Allah in the name of Allah, according to the teachings of the Quran, committed those murders.

And a few of us, at least, also recognize that our enemies remain ready to attack again.  For example: Taliban Commander vows jihad against the whole world.

Perpetual Islamic "holy war" against the infidel (any non-Muslims).  Weep for the West.

Some reading for today (Washington Post, September 3, 2021): My father was killed on 9/11. I still struggle to understand how he just disappeared.

Thursday, September 9, 2021

More Covid Nonsense

Silverfiddle Rant!

Government messaging on covid has never been coherent.  Do the vaccines protect you from covid? If so, why do the vaccinated need masks?  If not, why push them?  If the purpose of the vaccine is to lessen the severity of covid if you get it, then tell us that and advertise it as such.

This absurd statement caught my eye from Grandpa Joe's tough guy propaganda show on Thursday: 
“We’re going to protect vaccinated workers from unvaccinated co-workers.”
WHAT???  Why do the vaccinated need protection from the unvaccinated?  

According to data from the field, over 95% of the hospital cases are unvaccinated.  This spike appears to be the unvaccinated infecting other unvaccinated.

Joe's propaganda ministers are brilliant.  Current data indicates we are probably on the downhill side of this latest peak, which was one-half the magnitude of the January spike, which was the greatest peak of the pandemic.  So Joe's handlers dress him up, give him a script and put him at the front of the parade.  The spike continues its inevitable downward trend and Joe is a hero.

What say you?

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Labor Day Week Open Thread

Silverfiddle Rant!
Three federal pandemic benefits programs have ended as of Labor day.

They are the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, and a weekly $300 in Federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation.

One think tank estimated that the programs' ending affects 7.5 million unemployed Americans. (MSN - Business Insider)

Our nation has been in one of those weird Frankenstein places only a government could create:  

People unemployed while we have a simultaneous worker shortage.  Paying people not to work has never worked.  The extended bennies and the eviction moratorium are ending.  I think we'll see those jobs get filled.

What say you?

Monday, September 6, 2021

Heading West

(For politics, please scroll down)

This week, I leave NorthernVirginia, where I was born and bred (as was my father before me), and become a Hoosier.

I'm done with Virginia.  The Progressives have taken control, and my life is miserable here.  Not to mention too expensive for me to retire here.  

The county's theft of footage from my property was the last straw: any new build on a corner lot has to cede to the county 1600 square feet (40 in the front and 40 down the side).  This new edict took effect on July 1, 2021, by fiat with no notice, and very nearly upended the sale of this lot because this property, 2/3 of an acre, is no longer a buidable lot!  My family has lived for 75 years here on this property, with all the required sacrifices to hold onto what should be a very valuable piece of land, and the county destroys our investment with the stroke of a keyboard!  Bastards.

Thank the Lord that my neighbor of 44 years, immediately to my west, was selling her property and put it onto the market about two weeks after Mr. AOW's passing.  I decided that, no matter the bad timing, I had better piggyback with my neighbor's sale.  Her agent, her son whom I known since the day he was born, found a buyer wanting both lots so as to join them as one big lot (so Muhammad says, anyway).  Otherwise, the financial hit of selling this family homestead would have upended my retirement.

Once in Indiana in our new home, Warren will get the Internet up and running as soon as possible.  Establishing the connection, however, will take a little time, amount unknown.  

My good friend Silverfiddle remains in change of this blog.  Thank you, Silverfiddle, for helping Warren and me keep this blog going.

Friday, September 3, 2021

Some Songs are Timeless

Silverfiddle Rant!

Goodnight Saigon has been playing in my head these past few weeks...

I first heard the song at the 123 Club at Ft Clayton, where I'd get drunk with the other young guys and then get in fights with them.

When the song came on, a huge mob of soldiers jumped up to the front, threw their arms around each other and belted out the chorus. That always stuck with me (I know, the song is about Marines, not soldiers, in Vietnam, way before our time, but I guess that didn't stop them from strongly identifying with the song).  A year later, many of those young men would be taking down Noriega's forces in the invasion...

Every generation gets its turn...

Enjoy the long weekend!

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Endless Pandemic...

Silverfiddle Rant!
... brought to you by the same people who brought you endless wars!

“If you favor university vaccine mandates for low-risk American and European students, when there is not enough vaccine for older high-risk people in Asia, Africa and Latin America, please remove your #BLM tags from your Twitter/Facebook profiles.” -- Martin Kulldorff, Harvard Epidemiologist

John Tierney has written an excellent essay at City Journal:  Keeping Fear Alive.  It has some great links to scientific information on masks, etc. (Spoiler alert!  There is scant evidence they do any good).
Children are being sentenced to another round of unnecessary mask mandates and probably more school closures based on evidence-free warnings from Anthony Fauci and others that the Delta variant will be more deadly to them than the original virus. While the variant is more infectious, the evidence does not show it to be any more lethal. In fact, the current mortality rate among American children with Covid is lower than it was last year—and last year many more children died of the flu than of Covid. One of the most thorough studies, in England, shows that the survival rate for those under 18 with Covid is 99.995 percent. But instead of emphasizing these reassuring statistics, public-health officials like Jerome Adams, the former surgeon general, keep looking for new ways to scare parents and children.
Please, ignore the screaming headlines and shabby morality tales peddled by the Infotainment Media Complex.  

Instead, go to this interactive CDC website:  CDC COVID Tracker

You can click on areas like deaths, cases and hospital admissions.  They are graphed over time, so you can compare current numbers to the past 18 months.  Click on Trends in Cases and Deaths by Race/Ethnicity, Age, and Sex, and you will see that Covid cases have gone up, even among children and adolescents, but then look at the death rates.  Thankfully, barely a blip.  

What about all those deaths in Texas and Florida?  They are still way down the list

Meanwhile, covid rages in Japan where everyone has always been masked up.  Australia and New Zealand are finding that even on an island, eradicating covid is impossible.

Please read the short essay and see the links that show no correlation between mask wearing and covid rates.  Tyrannical lockdowns did nothing but inflate the egos of the dictators.

What say you? 

Monday, August 30, 2021

Back in the USSR

Silverfiddle Rant!

Ed West has made the provocative claim that the United States is coming to resemble the old Soviet Union in its last days, and that America is becoming its own worst enemy.

West explores many similarities, including...

* Declining life expectancy
* Demographic decline caused by substance abuse
* Decline of wages, religion and childbirth

He also blames neo-progressivism, which brings with it a hostility to free speech and free thought, along with a Soviet-style rigid adherence to dogma...
Indeed, in its hostility to freedom of speech, its Manichean worldview, its suspicion that its opponents are fascists, and the belief that politics should be inserted into everything — from science to children’s books — it is closer to the totalitarian tradition. American progressivism is not communism, obviously, anymore than its opponents are Nazis; the market is perfectly capable of achieving most progressive goals, and America has become more culturally Left-wing as Right-wing economic policies have dominated, globalisation being the common theme that links the two.
Add in a failed Afghanistan invasion and social tribal warfare in the US, where some tribes enjoy official government favor, and it doesn't look good.

Please read the essay and tell us, what say you?

Saturday, August 28, 2021


 Saturday, 28 August was the big day for AOW and Warren!

Open forum for all of us to extend them our well wishes for a wonderful life together!

Congratulations you two lovebirds!

Friday, August 27, 2021

Afghanistan: Weekend Reading

Silverfiddle Rant!

Below are some links for weekend reading and listening...

General Petraeus makes the case for placing a large amount of blame on President Trump's deal with the Taliban...

What do you think of Congressman Moulton and Congressman Peter Meijer's trip to Afghanistan?  Don't form an opinion until you read this:  ‘A Total F*cking Disaster’: Inside Seth Moulton’s Secret Trip to Kabul

Kurt Schlichter, COL, USA (Ret) speaks for many of us:  General Milley, Resign

Finally, a hindsight 20/20 essay, but clear-eyed and devoid of partisan point-scoring:  The Roots of American Failure in Afghanistan

Bonus: The Realignment podcast with retired General Dan Bolger.  In a flat, matter of fact delivery that is at the same time engaging and entertaining, General Bolger explains why we lost Iraq and Afghanistan.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

"Graveyard of Experts"

Silverfiddle Rant!

So much for intelligence. So much for experts. So much for all those who claimed to know how things really were in Afghanistan. 

That a senior military official can admit that the US and its allies had no idea that a state they built was about to collapse is a spectacular admission.
(Afghanistan - Graveyard of Experts)

Now we have dead Marines, killed in a situation that was preventable...

How did we get here?

Elect a dunce controlled by globalist Machiavellians. 

Feed a MIIC hundreds of billions of dollars per year, and when it fails to foresee, deter or prevent a deadly attack on our soil, make sure no one gets fired, and give it more money.

Invade another nation to get the perpetrators, allow the perpetrators to escape to Pakistan, pay Pakistan billions in return, and allow do-gooders with no skin in the game to talk us into pie-in-the-sky humanitarian nation building that has nothing to do with the stated goal of the invasion.

Shun, silence and smear the experts who try to warn you off the doomed project.

Lie to the American people for 20 years.  

Hire and promote bureaucrats and generals and admirals who have no problems lying to the American people.

Hire and promote bureaucrats and generals and admirals who will toady to the stupidest and most dangerous idiocies dreamed up by elected politicians.

"A Failure of Human Intelligence"

I cheered when I woke to the news a few weeks back that we had extracted all troops from Bagram Air Base in the middle of the night without telling anyone. That was great opsec.  And then we heard, but wait!  Embassy staff, American Civilians, and friendly Afghans are still there...  We extracted our military but left our unarmed fellow countrymen and Afghan friends...  Our government has perpetrated a sickening, deadly stupidity. 

Kabul International Airport is not defensible territory like Bagram was.  Our troops are in Fort Apache, as CI said the other day.  I don't think non-military people understand the grave danger they are in. Force protection involves many concentric rings and a multi-spectral set of resources that are harder to deliver when you don't own or control the territory.

Biden needs to unceremoniously throw Milley and Austin out on their incompetent asses.  The Pentagon should see a lot of stars falling in clusters of two, three and four.

People die in military operations.  Hell, we lose people in training exercises.  We all know its part of the deal, but this tragedy did not have to happen.  Those men and women did not have to die.

This is the latest result of a chain of very bad decisions by people too stupid or too cowardly to stop it.  Worst of all, its not over, and we many not be able to dictate the ending.

Please, pray for our troops and the innocent people on the ground.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Do Elections Matter?

Silverfiddle Rant!

We've all been commiserating the past few days over the federal government blob.  We all agree it is a clear and present danger to us, to the nation, and to the world, but what can We The People do? 

We know storming the capitol with flagpoles and bear spray doesn't work...

Bruce Abramson writes...
Only a fool would trust the emanations of America’s leading experts.
This week’s trophy, however, goes to America’s leading experts in foreign and defense policy, who assured us mere weeks ago that Afghanistan was secure. Are America’s top generals really that ignorant of military realities? Or were they playing to a domestic political agenda and hoping they could keep the fiction going long enough to gain plausible deniability and confuse the public?

Answer: You don’t get to be a general while being that ignorant of military facts on the ground. On the other hand, you don’t get to be a top general unless you know how to curry favor with politicians, diplomats, pundits, and the press. Which skill do you think dominates among those who’ve made it to the very top?

The same is true throughout America’s elite expert class. Those at the top are those who excel at getting promoted. With some exceptions, their mastery of subject matter and methodology is third rate; their mastery of professional politics is world class.
I am not joking and I am certainly not advocating it, but study some history, and this is usually where a dictator comes to power with the popular support of the people.

Vets in Congress Demand Answers

34 members of congress--nine Democrats and 25 Republicans--are veterans of Iraq and/or Afghanistan, and they are pissed off at the Afghanistan debacle and are demanding answers. That is a very good start.
So, what can We The People do?

CI blames our duopoly, and I agree.  Would partyless primaries with ranked choice voting help?

Baseline budgeting, or some kind of modified balanced budget law that limits government spending and forces politicians to make hard decisions?

Who do I blame?  A press that refuses to call ball and strikes and piss off the power elites.  Congress for ceding too much power to the presidency.  Uninformed voters...

A root cause I can identify is that in the short term, no one has skin in the game.

What are my solutions?  (Insert blank stare here)

What say you?  

Monday, August 23, 2021

US Government: "Harmless as an enemy, treacherous as a friend"

Silverfiddle Rant!
The US government is a clear and present danger.  To the world and to We The People.

Do We The People still exercise any control over our government?  Obama couldn't get us out of Afghanistan.  Hell, he couldn't even close Gitmo.  Trump couldn't get us out of Afghanistan, and the permanent unelected bureaucracy (The Blob) slow-rolled him on every initiative. 

Finally, Biden is pulling out of Afghanistan, but in the ugliest, stupidest way possible.

How many tragic train wrecks has The Blob perpetrated with zero consequences? No one fired after 9/11. Libya, Iraq, Vietnam, feeding China for 30 years & allowing corporations to sell them technology, hollowing out our factory towns, Latin America hates us thanks to decades of CIA sponsorship of death, destruction and humiliation of their governments and their people.

Domestic Spying, Anyone?  

Apparently, Heimatland Sicherheit is not good enough at spying on us, so they are looking to outsource:  Homeland Security Considers Outside Firms to Analyze Social Media After Jan. 6 Failure.

I bet Stan McChrystal and his K Street security firm is all over that one, but he'll have to fight the Silicon Valley World Controllers for that juicy contract...

Here are some people who say it way better than I can...

Glenn Greenwald: The Media Controls What We See
"Why should American citizens risk their lives to determine how Khanadar is governed when instead, Americans aren't being governed very well at all, in life expectancy and every idea of happiness is declining." -- Glenn Greenwald
Matt Taibbi: We Never Learn
"As the Taliban waltzes into Kabul, the look of surprise on the faces of top officials should frighten us most of all." -- Matt Taibbi

Mark Steyn: The Scale of Humiliation

"One of the depressing aspects of the Swamp is that everything becomes a racket - including even your armed forces. Look at that buffoon at top right, the guy who heads the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Thoroughly Modern Milley: that's an awful lot of chest ribbonry for a nation that hasn't won a war in three-quarters of a century. 
America is not "too big to fail": It's failing by almost every metric right now. The world-record brokey-brokey-brokeness manifested by the current spending bills is only possible because the US dollar is the global currency. When that ends, we're Weimar with smartphones."  -- Mark Steyn
J.D. Vance: America's Regime is Not Fit to Lead
My heart breaks that these dead may have died in vain. But they won’t if we learn the long-term lesson of Afghanistan: the people who lead this country aren’t fit for the task.

But this is not merely the consequence of seven months of disastrous Biden policy, it is the failure of the entire American regime. Every major institution in our country revealed itself as a farce.

What Afghanistan shows, not just over the last two chaotic months but over the last two tragic decades, is that the American regime is not fit to lead this country. That regime, unfortunately, operates independently of political leadership. It is the Pentagon bureaucracy that lies to our president about troop levels, the State Department that thinks the women of Afghanistan need gender studies programs more than security, the “top” universities that teach our elites to be stupid conformists, and the media that cover for these institutions instead of telling the truth about them.

We tried to change the regime in Afghanistan, and we failed. If there is a silver lining in that failure, it reveals that one regime in the world is desperately in need of change: America’s
. -- J D. Vance 
I agree with every word. What say you?

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Musical Interlude

(For politics, please scroll down)

Warren and I get married on Saturday, August 28, 2021. This song will be the music for our first dance:

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Kandahar: A Day in the Life

Silverfiddle Rant!

Please read this excellent dispatch from Kandahar just before the fall. It gives you a sense of what could have been if our nation were not led by fools and fabulists...

In the Taliban’s Birthplace, White Flags, Jailbreaks and Fears of Revenge

The approach of a halfway smart invading government would have been been tribal and centered around each of the major cities, using an approach tailored to each area. Spin Boldak would end up full of Pakistani ISI, drug dealers, border smugglers and religious fanatics, but so what?

Kabul would be a cosmopolitan city, and Jalalabad and Kandahar would be somewhere in between. Herat and Farah would have a Persian flavor, as they always have, and the cities in the north would be Northern Alliance protectorates dominated by ethnic Tajiks, etc. (pardon my slinging all this around, but I am not an expert on the Stans). The hinterlands? Ungovernable, with patches ruled by tribal warlords. So what?

The best we could have done was to bribe the top warlords, use what sway we had, and let each city state take care of itself, and thus balance one region against another, which is how that land has functioned since before the Mongols invaded.

Security, water, electricity.  That is what the people demand.  The sergeants and the captains could have fixed this...

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Trillion Dollar Bitter End

Silverfiddle Rant!

When I joined the military, I signed up for whatever they threw at me and I gave it my all.  Millions of my fellow veterans (most of whom gave much more than I did) will tell you the same.  The military on the ground is tactically brilliant.  The uniformed politicians with stars on their shoulders and the bureaucrats and politicians they serve are tragically, terminally, strategically stupid.

America's overseas failures belong to our politicians, the bureaucratic blob, and the "experts" and corporations who feed them a neverending line of bullshit.

Joe Biden's failure--which includes DOD, State and Intel Alphabet Panopticon--is a failure to clear out of Kabul in a timely, orderly and dignified fashion. 

"Sh*tshow:"  Biden administration embroiled in internal blame-shifting amid Afghanistan chaos
Washington (CNN) - Factions within the Biden administration are embroiled in a blame game over why the US government didn't act sooner to withdraw American citizens and Afghans who helped the US over two decades of war, leading to a rushed and dangerous evacuation.
I pray Biden's bumbling incompetence doesn't result in American casualties.  I won't bore you with the complex logistics (and frightening list of what can go wrong) of extracting the last US troops from Kabul Airport. Gen Milley--who along with many other bureaucrats has repeatedly lied to us about Afghanistan--should be fired immediately, along with the Secretary of State, whoever he or she is.  
Bremmer said the United States failed in four major ways in drawing down its military presence in Afghanistan: intelligence, coordination, planning and communication. He said the Biden administration overestimated the Afghan military's capabilities, failed to work with American allies to formulate an exit strategy, did not seem to have contingency plans in place for a rapid collapse of the Afghan government and failed to communicate effectively with the American people. (Ian Bremmer, Houston Chronical)
We can also blame Trump for brokering the deal with the Taliban, we can blame Obama for eight years of dithering. We can even throw some blame at the Dems for being too cowardly to act on their supposed anti-war convictions, and anyway, Democrats were the ones insisting on nation building and humanitarian projects there, that ended up handing corrupt Afghan politicians and the taliban tens of billions.

Ultimate blame lies with the idiot firebug who started this:  George W. Bush.  

Damn him and his puppet masters Cheney and Rumsfeld.  If there was any justice in this world, they would be put in stocks in the public square and every veteran, friend or family of a vet would line up and take turns kicking those bastards square in the ass.  How tragically and historically stupid they all are. The Russians carpet bombed and horribly brutalized Afghanistan, but they could not conquer it.  Instead, they escaped into Uzbekistan, buttoned down and bleeding, dragging their dead and wounded.  To this day, the Pashtuns remain undefeated.

We need a better government that employs a higher level of thinking.  A few billion in bribes annually and some small-footprint covert ops--dressed up as foreign assistance--would have saved the trillions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of lives destroyed.  

Our federal government is an amoral, intellectually bankrupt House of Lies:  

Gulf of Tonkin, Weapons of Mass Destruction, the CIA isn't spying on Congress, the US Government doesn't conduct domestic spying on US citizens, the situation in Afghanistan is improving...

We need a commission to investigate why so many lies were told and so much blood and treasure expended.  We need to hold accountable the liars, the criminals, and even the simply incompetent.  They all must be expelled from the government blob.

We also need a better class of generals.  Ones who will stand up to their political masters and call bullshit on outlandish schemes instead of twisting themselves in knots to justify the unjustifiable and dress it all up in squared-off military speak. 

Ultimately, this is our fault:  We The People continue to elect the venal, the cowardly, the corrupt, the stupid, and we don't pay attention to what they are doing with our money and our military.  We've had bigger freak-outs over avocado shortages than anything that has happened in Afghanistan in the last 10 years.

I'll close with a few quotes from an essay by Andrew A. Michta of the George C. Marshall Center...
As Afghanistan implodes, such flawed assumptions need to be fully owned by those who constructed and sustained this ideologically laden strategic framework.  We will be paying for their hubris for years to come, for going forward both our allies and partners will factor into their decision-making and their policy choices the lessons of the past twenty years.

As we watch authoritarianism surge worldwide, alongside a growing skepticism about American leadership, what happened in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria should bring us back to the fundamentals of realist foreign and security policy. We need to re-learn the art of power-balancing, of building coalitions not around high-minded ideals but around shared interests and threat perceptions, all the while remembering that America’s military is a precious resource and that it must be the means of last resort, not the first tool in our foreign policy toolbox.

Monday, August 16, 2021

We The People

Silverfiddle Rant!

A viral digital video promoting a wine company quenched conservative thirst for culture-war-centric messaging. But it left some hungover after realizing the stirring video was for an adult beverage and not a Republican group or politician. (Washington Examiner)

The progressive left has seized the high ground: Education, the press, government bureaucracies, pop culture, but the right has been striking back using Internet and social media with some funny and creative stuff.  And they are effective.  Proof? The World Controllers at Facebook throttled traffic to Diamond and Silk's page.

Here is the viral wine ad that has the conservative internet going crazy...

Conservatives are arguing this is how we need to do it: A full frontal assault on the leftwing garbage choking our culture and destroying our nation.

What say you?

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Musical Interlude — And Personal Announcement At The End Of This Blog Post

(For politics, please scroll down)

While looking for this, the theme song for the 1970 television drama Matt Lincoln starring Vince Edwards, I stumbled across this beautiful 2014 song written and performed by Linda Perhacs (b. 1943) : 

Lyrics for the above song are HERE.
Personal announcement: 

Warren arrives here on Wednesday, and I relocate to Indiana in September, so I will not be blogging at all for a while.  

Thank you, Silverfidde, for keeping this blog going while I'm all-consumed with a long distance move and wedding planning!

Wedding on August 28 here in Northern Virginia.

The Beak will be Warren's best man.  After all, The Beak is the one who introduced Warren and me at "the electronic bar."

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Covid Mania Is Raging

Silverfiddle Rant!

From Gallup:

Concern about getting the coronavirus is higher than a month ago among both those who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and those who have not, but the increase is much larger among the vaccinated population

This fear among the vaccinated is not rational, but as our society grows increasingly hysterical and unhinged, its to be expected.

More irrational behavior...
Although an increasing percentage of Americans perceive the COVID-19 situation to be worsening and more are concerned about catching the disease, there is little evidence that people are altering their behavior to avoid exposure to it.
Mask fatigue appears to be winning out over all this increased worry...
Sixty percent of Americans, down from 68% in June and 79% in May, report they wore a face mask in public in the past week. 
Children are not dying of covid.  How do we know?  If even one child were dying a day (less than the pediatric death rate during an average flu season) the Infotainment Media Complex would be blaring it in flaming red letters.

Much of America is in the grips of a panicked confusion that is a direct result of contradictory information from the government, inflammatory rhetoric from politicians and their minions, and sensationalist reporting full of alarming modifiers and imprecise language.  All of it designed to keep the huddled masses scared and tuned in.

What say you?

Monday, August 9, 2021

The Times they are a Changin'

Silverfiddle Rant!
Matt Taibbi is one of the many good liberals who have escaped the progressive reservation and now reside in the the citadels of free thought like Substack and UnHerd, from whence they routinely skewer the leftwing wokesters.  Taibbi is still a man of the left, but he is the rare breed who thinks for himself and is not afraid to slaughter sacred cows and topple shibboleths.

Today's censorious totalitarian left hates free thought, and they become hatey confused at people like Joe Rogan, because he doesn't fit the rigthtwing hate totem mold.  But they have no problems attacking unabashed conservatives like Ben Shapiro.  

Matt Taibbi is the ideological opposite of Shapiro, but he enjoys taking down the Old Media when it inadvertently reveals its reactionary agenda.

Taibbi skewers NPR for their inept attack on Ben Shapiro:
Yesterday’s NPR article, “Outrage As A Business Model: How Ben Shapiro Is Using Facebook To Build An Empire,” is among the more unintentionally funny efforts at media criticism in recent times.

The piece is about Ben Shapiro, but one doesn’t have to have ever followed Shapiro, or even once read the Daily Wire, to get the joke. The essence of NPR’s complaint is that a conservative media figure not only “has more followers than The Washington Post” but outperforms mainstream outlets in the digital arena, a fact that, “experts worry,” may be “furthering polarization” in America. NPR refers to polarizing media as if they’re making an anthropological discovery of a new and alien phenomenon.
He describes NPR as "a kind of mass torture experiment, one that makes the most patient and sensible people want to drive off the road in anguish," and then gets to the heart of the matter:

Legacy media is jealous because Ben Shapiro is building an alternative media empire, along with Substack and UnHerd, and they are beyond the reach of the traditional gatekeepers.  Read the Taibbi essay and read the NPR article he is riffing on and the reason for panic on the left becomes clear:  They have lost control of the message.

Saturday, August 7, 2021

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Leave the Kids Alone

Silverfiddle Rant!
Flu more Deadly to Children than Covid

The hysterical totalitarian left continue to attack our children.  Why?  Seasonal flu is more deadly to children than Covid. 340 people aged 0-17 in the US have died in the 18 month span since the pandemic began.  477 people aged 0-17 died of influenza during the 2018-2019 flu season (Sep-May) in the US. See CDC Stats for numbers for each season from 2010 to 2020.  
During April to October 2020 in the US, emergency room visits linked to mental health problems (e.g. anxiety) for children aged 5-11 increased by nearly 25% and increased by 31% for those aged 12-17 years old as compared to the same period in 2019. (Masking Children: Tragic, Unscientific, and Damaging)
Cure Worse than the Disease

Over 800 cases of adolescent myocarditis linked the covid vaccine should give our government pause. Let's listen to the experts, like Dr. Sara Ross, chief of pediatric critical care at the Boston hospital:
“I have practiced pediatric ICU for almost 15 years and I have never taken care of a single patient with a vaccine-related complication until now,” Ross told KHN. “Our standard for safety seems to be different for all the other vaccines we expose children to.”

“Young children are not the vectors of disease, nor are they driving the spread of the epidemic,”
Kids aren't Spreaders - They belong in school, unmasked:
School outbreaks do occur and are proportionate to the degree of community transmission. In Australia’s current Delta outbreak, we’ve seen very few school-related infections.

But it’s important to understand adult staff are responsible for most transmission in schools. And most transmission — linked to schools or generally — occurs in households. We’ve seen this even in the UK with the Delta variant.

A Scottish study with data up to February found the highest risk factor of infection in people at risk of severe COVID-19 was the number of adults in their household. Living with children was not a risk factor. (Let's Hold Off on Vaccinating Children and Teens)

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Surprise Announcement!

Silverfiddle Rant!

AOW has asked me to make the following announcement to all of her blogger buddies:

Warren and AOW are engaged to be married!

They are hoping to marry in Northern Virginia, where AOW is living at the moment.

To celebrate, let's reach into my Dad's record collection...

Monday, August 2, 2021

A Hysteria Pandemic

Silverfiddle Rant!
Covid Hysteria Spikes Again!

An outbreak in Provincetown, Mass included many who were vaccinated. A giddy press screams "Hospitalizations are Up in Texas and Florida!" hoping to cover up that fact that Governor Cuomo killed all those old people, and that hospitalizations and deaths in the mostly blue totalitarian states was no better (and sometimes worse) than the mostly red free states.
Masks in this case remain what they always were: a tool to prod the public into compliance with other mandates and dictates, purely a symbol of fear and its unrelenting trigger. And with fear comes obedediance. Maybe. (Jeffrey Tucker - RCM)
What we have now is a mini-pandemic working through the unvaccinated, and the vaccinated are losing their minds.  There are breakthrough cases, but...
Less than 0.004% of people fully vaccinated against Covid-19 experienced a breakthrough case resulting in hospitalization and less than 0.001% died from the disease, according to the latest data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (The Mercury News)
We will Never Eradicate the Coronavirus

Why are vaccinated progressives so preoccupied with masking everybody (including the absurd notion of masking the fully vaccinated) and heaping scorn upon those scientifically illiterate MAGAts who refuse the prick? They claim the unvaccinated are preventing the eradication of Covid from the planet. These Science Shouters ignore the scientific fact that We Will Never Eradicate The Coronavirus.  Be sure to read the comment thread.  It is way more interesting that the very short scientific explanation.

Texas and Florida are Doing Great

As for Texas and Florida, they are still way down the list of Covid mortality rates, and their economies are zooming along and people there have jobs and enjoy their liberties.

Go Yahoogle the covid stats for yourself. You'll notice Hospitalizations and Deaths have not gone up at the rate of new cases, although they are up. I always ignore the scary language and look at the data. With half of us fully vaccinated and almost 60% with at least one shot, hospitalizations and deaths are way down, even as new outbreaks happen among the unvaxxed.

A Treasure Trove of Stats and Studies

Finally, I leave you with this treasure trove of links to articles and scientific studies questioning masking. It is also full of useful statistics with links.  

Masking Children: Tragic, Unscientific, and Damaging

Saturday, July 31, 2021

Musical Interlude

(For politics, please scroll down) 

Enjoy this collection of pop tunes from about a half century ago and performed by Robert Allen (1927-2000): 

Index to the above tunes:

"Promises, Promises" (0:04) / "Yesterday" (2:10) / Variation on the "Theme from Romeo and Juliet" (6:41) / "Both Sides Now" (13:15) / "By The Time I Get To Phoenix" (16:29) / "I'll Never Fall in Love Again" (21:05) / Suite from The Graduate (24:46) / "Make Our Garden Grow" (30:13) / "Goin' Out of My Head" (33:38)

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Why Smart People Don't Trust the Press

Silverfiddle Rant!
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- At a time when Americans are relying heavily on the media for information about the coronavirus pandemic, the presidential election and other momentous events, the public remains largely distrustful of the mass media. Four in 10 U.S. adults say they have "a great deal" (9%) or "a fair amount" (31%) of trust and confidence in the media to report the news "fully, accurately, and fairly," while six in 10 have "not very much" trust (27%) or "none at all" (33%). (Gallup)

Kylee Zempel at The Federalist provides reasons for that well-founded mistrust:
is it because the media constantly race-bait them with false narratives? Ma’Khia Bryant? “Hands up, don’t shoot”?

In this case, the alternative is the same media that smeared Brett Kavanaugh as a gang rapist.

It’s the media that fell for the Jussie Smollett hoax and the Russia hoax

... and that cut video footage to paint a Catholic teenager as a smug racist.

It’s the media that saw the Hunter Biden laptop story and said “nothing to see here,”

...that stood in front of burning buildings and called it “peaceful protests,”

...that wrongly claimed Trump tear-gassed “peaceful protesters” in Lafayette Park for a photo op.

...wrongly insisted MAGA insurrectionists bludgeoned a Capitol Police officer to death with a fire extinguisher.

They concocted a false narrative out of thin air about Gov. Ron DeSantis and Publix pharmacies when they needed to make a successful Republican leader look bad.

They opted for comedy hour with Gov. Andrew Cuomo instead of asking him and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer real questions about their lethal nursing home policies.

They lied about Russian bounties and downplayed Fauci’s emails.
What say you?