We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Friday, August 20. 2021
NYC exhibit of Nazi-looted art tells a tale of Jewish loss and recovery: Opening Friday, the Jewish Museum’s ‘Afterlives: Recovering the Lost Stories of Looted Art’ is a testament to survival, despite attempts to eradicate an identity and culture
Pentagon contradicts Biden MINUTES after his fumbling speech by saying Americans HAVE been attacked by the Taliban on the way to Kabul airport and al-Qaeda IS still present in Afghanistan
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"The Taliban are sitting on $1 trillion worth of minerals the world desperately needs"
Good for them, gives them a way to lift that country out of poverty. Something the USA would never successfully do.
The US would impose EPA like organisations that ban the mining and processing of the stuff.
Maniac: China will get those minerals, I'm sure.
They get the benefit of being the manufacturer, but the resources will probably enter the global market.
And since the CCP is cozying up to the Taliban, they are likely going to be mining it, using it in their products, and selling it to us.
mudbug: And since the CCP is cozying up to the Taliban, they are likely going to be mining it, using it in their products, and selling it to us.
They would probably do so anyway, whether they mined the resources in Afghanistan or not. The U.S. will typically pay for it by producing technological products that the Chinese are less adept at making. You can read about the process in The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith.
mudbug: Not if we controlled Afghanistan.
The U.S. occupied Afghanistan for 20 years, but never controlled it.
Afghanistan has been known to be mineral rich, at least since the 1930s, and yet they are still there. That should speak volumes about how difficult it will be to extract them and get them to market.
Will China buy/muscle their way in to exploit them?
I don't know, but I am sure the Taliban have no illusions about the Chinese, given what is happening to Muslims right next door.
It could well be that those minerals will remain in the ground for decades to come.
Meanwhile $1trillion worth of mineral extraction is being blocked in Alaska by environmentalists in the lower 48.
Wray reading the entrails, sees Democrat party failing does a mild CYA to prep his plans to remain in his job should 2022 and 2024 go the wrong way.
Bug out of Afghanistan: Is America finished or is the plan to finish America?
This has to be a plan or the most bungled operation in military history. How do you leave billions of dollars of high tech military equipment behind? A competent plan would have been to secure a huge perimeter around an air base, secure delivery routes to the airport, and begin by moving all equipment and personnel into the secured zones. Remove equipment and personal from the Afghanistan. We had the manpower and might to accomplish these things. I would think even a woke incompetent, with 40 years in the Army, like General Miley would have been able to plan it.
B. Hammer: This has to be a plan or the most bungled operation in military history.
Not even close. You could start with Troy's decision to bring the wooden horse into the city as a war trophy.
Cassandra cried, and curs'd th' unhappy hour;
Foretold our fate; but, by the god's decree,
All heard, and none believ'd the prophecy.
B. Hammer: How do you leave billions of dollars of high tech military equipment behind?
Most of the captured weapons were those provided to to the Afghan National Army. As it was, the government was hopelessly corrupt, and the Afghan National Army were co-opted internally, never putting up significant resistance.
The thinking was that the Afghan National Army could hold on, at least for a while. That was a miscalculation, but the fundamental error dates to 2001 with the invasion and its aftermath. Subsequently, presidents Bush, Obama, and Trump didn't want to be responsible for the chaos that disengagement would almost certainly bring. So here you are, at the inevitable and foreseeable end result of 20 years of bad policy.
That's pretty twisted even for you.
The near criminal mishandling of this drawdown was NOT inevitable. The history of Afghanistan from Bush to Obama to Trump—for that matter from Alexander the Great—has no bearing on the horrible decisions and lack of planning by the Biden admin and the military leadership since Jan. 20.
The only inevitability is that people like you will try to excuse their handling of it by citing decisions made in the past that have no bearing on what’s happening at the Kabul airport TODAY.
It did NOT have to be this way.
SK: The near criminal mishandling of this drawdown was NOT inevitable.
The problem with your position is that you don't propose any alternative. Our position is supported by the predictions made way back in 2002 about trying to occupy a country beset by tribalism with a long history of resisting foreign occupation, and installing a corrupt government that abandoned the country at the first sign of trouble while toting bags of cash. The easy political choice was to continue the occupation.
While there were clearly some brave people who were in the Afghan army, brave people do not make an army make.
The moment the Americans made an agreement with the Taliban in February 2020 to leave Afghanistan, the collapse of the Afghan state was inevitable. The Taliban approached local army commanders throughout Afghanistan, who, knowing the Americans were leaving, made the rational choice of accepting those deals. Then the Taliban waited. When the time came, they cashed in their chips.
Whether ten years ago, or ten years from now, or now, the result would have been much the same. Yes, the truth can be painful.
Wow, you're right. And so darn smart! There's not a single thing the Biden admin and the military could have done in the last 8 months to make this thing go even just a little bit more smoothly. Your moral clarity, nauseating though it may be, is spot on, old man! Well done!
SK: There's not a single thing the Biden admin and the military could have done in the last 8 months to make this thing go even just a little bit more smoothly.
The problem with your position is that you don't propose any alternative. Or are you suggesting harnessing the awesome power of wishful thinking?
Hey, I'm trying to agree with you here, pal! Once you decide everything's inevitable and working to make proper policy decisions is pointless decision making gets real easy!
A description of the military situation in Afghanistan:
Afghan regular units were ill-trained, ill-paid, and probably under strength. There was no organized transport and arrangements for supply were rudimentary.
On the other hand, the tribes could gather up to 20,000 or 30,000 fighters in the Khyber region alone. In stark contrast to the regulars, the tribal militia were probably the best troops in Afghanistan, being of excellent fighting quality, well armed, mainly with weapons that they had made themselves or stolen from the garrisons and with plenty of ammunition.
If your think the Afghan army is bad, you should see their navy.
Stargazer: If your think the Afghan army is bad, you should see their navy.
Heh. Should have mentioned, the description concerns the military situation in Afghanistan in 1919.
It is an Obama operation. Remember "I will stand with Islam". How did the Bowie Bergdahl operation work out for everyone? And don't forget the Navy sailors surrendering to the Iranians?
re The Biden White House Is Betting That America Is Finished
In short, the Biden White House is making a big bet: It’s betting that America is finished as a global superpower and that you will welcome our decline. We’re about to learn something about this country. We’re going to learn whether the Biden administration’s gamble is correct—
"Welcome the decline" is the wrong conclusion. 'Ignoring the decline' would be a more accurate phrase.
But it is a good bet. A third of the country isn't even American, and of the American population, huge percentages are self-loathing and find America evil. And the percentage that were taught no history about our place in the world has to be quite large as well.
I don't think America's loss of influence will matter to the overwhelming majority of people living here until that loss of influence manifests itself in some way here at home.
feeblemind: "Welcome the decline" is the wrong conclusion. 'Ignoring the decline' would be a more accurate phrase.
It's only natural that other nations have a larger say in the world's affairs. The West prospers. The rest of the world develops. How else would you have it be?
The U.S. continues to be essential for global stability, but the gross blunders of the last 20 years in the Middle East have sapped U.S. wealth, strength, and moral authority.
Regardless, the U.S. remains a beacon of liberty and freedom. No other country has the same advantages of a highly educated and motivated workforce, vast natural resources, a culture of entrepreneurship, with a foundation of strong democratic institutions.
re How Worried Should We Be about Taiwan’s Future?
Based on the content of the piece it should read, "When will China attack Taiwan?"
It all depends on how much patience Xi has.
From my point of view, he should let the rot continue to continue to weaken the American military and American culture. We'll almost certainly be weaker in 10 years than we are now.
OTOH, I don't know how much pressure Xi is under to take Taiwan back. China has problems of her own and he may need the distraction to keep his hold on power.
However, if he invades Taiwan, he better win. If he loses, his place at the top of the CCP will be in serious jeopardy.
In addition, if he invades he might face a trade embargo form the USA and the EU, putting additional pressure on the Chinese economy.
Bottom line. An invasion of Taiwan will be a high stakes roll of the dice for Xi. Events may unfold in ways that are not to China's advantage.
>Wooldridge holds out hope that a “wiser,” “remoralized” meritocracy, cleansed of nepotism and elite hoarding, is still possible.
IDK. The elite have always practiced nepotism and hoarding. The difference is that, in the past, the elite actually preformed elitely, and their successes sort-of trickled down to everyone else.
Question: have the elites had any successes/victories in the last 25 years or so i.e., something that made you proud to be an American? Ideally, beyond a few small-ball things like landing a rover on Mars (half the time)? Gulf War I?? Miracle of Ice???
Video shows unvaccinated French shoppers being blocked from entering a grocery store.
They have masks, but that's not good enough.
Apparently France plans to starve people into getting the vaccine.
When businesses determine that something is dangerous to their employees or customers, they have considerable freedom to prevent its entry. Even if they are wrong.
Vaccine mandates have a long history. For some reason people have decided this is some new imposition on those who love freedom. I can find no reason other than feelings and resentment for this.
Maybe because these aren't really vaccines? Certainly not in the way we are used to thinking of them.
But most Americans are too ignorant and poorly educated to understand that, and are equating it to the anti-vaxxers who won't vaccinate their kids against common childhood diseases.
We won't know how this plays out for at least another 5 years, but using non-sterilizing "vaccine" mRNA technology gives every indication of being a cure that could be worse than the disease.
ruralcounsel: Maybe because these aren't really vaccines?
Of course they're vaccines. Or do you think variolation is the only True Vaccination™?
That the California educational system explicitly rejects the idea of natural gifts and talents is worth noting. When I have many times attempted to point out that environmental explanations are the only allowed explanations in much of the public debate, Zachriel has assured me that I am flat wrong, and all experts know that at least some genetic influence is in play. I guess California has different experts. Or something.
They (including many conservatives) desperately need to believe that it is all environment because this gives them their excuse to control the environment, at whatever cost and loss of freedom. That results should be out of reach under even the most controlled circumstances is intolerable, because then they might not be as important. Perhaps not even needed.
This is also why they immediately accuse people who believe in large genetic influences of being eugenicists. They project their own need for control onto those they disagree with. They cannot even conceive of other possibilities.
Assistant Village Idiot: That the California educational system explicitly rejects the idea of natural gifts and talents is worth noting.
It's a first draft proposal, and the comments make clear there is discussion over the phrasing. If you look at the cited studies, they found that when natural gifts and talents are considered a prerequisite for a field of study, women and minorities often feel they don't belong.
So they didn't say what they said and no one thinks that, because it's a first draft and they are still talking about it? It only means they still have some people in the room who know this is crap. Please don't make excuses for people doing dishonest things.
I loved the part about natural gifts and talents are considered a prerequisite, and some groups feeling they don't belong. A perfect encapsulation of the foolishness of postmodernism, to consider "interrogating the origin of a truth" more important than whether it is actually true or not. This is how researchers get paid these days.
Assistant Village Idiot: So they didn't say what they said and no one thinks that
We never made a universal claim that no one believed that genetics has no influence, only that it is not the consensus view of experts. The question has always been the relative importance of genetics and the environment. Also, initial drafts are not representative of expert opinion, which is the result of a process of examination.
In any case, you are misunderstanding the claim based on the poor wording of a first draft. Rather, studies show that the vast majority of students can learn maths, that it is not something that only the most brilliant students can excel in, and that it is important tool for many different fields of study. Furthermore, women and minorities have often been told they are not good at maths; so promoting maths as only for the most brilliant discourages many people who would otherwise benefit from and possibly excel at the study.