28 February 2006

Sanctuary Cities and Secession from The Union

We The People... as it begins in the US Constitution, so it is to be. We have granted certain things to be done ONLY by the Federal Government of the United States. Amongst these things that are being ignored today by some places in The Union:

In part in Article I, Section 8:

  • "To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes; "
  • "To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States; "
In part in Article I, Section 9:

  • "The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a Tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person. "
In part in Article I, Section 10:

  • "No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; "
In part in Article II, Section 2:

  • "He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; "
  • "and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments. "
In part in Article II, Section 3:

  • "he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States. "
In part in Article III, Section 2:

  • "The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;--to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;--to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;--to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;--to Controversies between two or more States;-- between a State and Citizens of another State;--between Citizens of different States;--between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects."
In part in Article IV, Section 3:

  • "The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State. "
Article V:

  • "The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate. "
In part in Article VI:

  • "This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding. "
To All Cities, Towns, Counties, Municipalities and other sub-national organizations, groups or companies having "Sanctuary" laws, rules or other official messages on how to deal with illegal immigrants in these United States:

You have apparently decided that you want to secede from The Union by taking it upon yourselves to conduct foreign policy, impede the application of the laws of the land and otherwise engage in activity contrary to the compact set up by our Forefathers for guiding life within this land.

  • You have decided to traffic in human beings from foreign nations without consent of The Congress.

  • You have decided to ignore the laws established by Congress on Immigration, Treaty enforcement and naturalization.

  • By doing the above you are creating a separate foreign policy within the United States that is the Treaty rights of the Executive and Congress.

  • By impeding Federal officials and their enforcement of the laws of the land, you have denied the right of the US Government to govern the laws that apply to all Americans and All lands within these United States.

  • You are denying the right granted to the Executive by the People of the United States to enforce the laws set by Congress.

  • You are receiving unregistered foreign agents within these United States contrary to law set by Congress.

  • You are denying the Judicial branch its right to be the SOLE arbiter in all cases involving foreign countries.

  • You are denying the Judicial branch the right given it to be the SOLE arbiter in cases involving Treaties.

  • You are not using the Supreme Court to adjudicate problems via Treaties, but are doing so on your own.

  • You have not gone through the right and proper Constitutional Amendment procedures to redact these rights from these branches of government.
To all of those that have official laws, regulations, rulings, or other such documents stating that the area of domain under your oversight is a "Sanctuary" for illegal immigrants:

  • You have seceded from The Union by using unlawful and unconstitutional means to achieve your ends.
I hope you have armed yourself for the upcoming struggle, short as it may be.

Good day.

A Jacksonian

27 February 2006

A few ideas on why there will not be an Iraqi civil war

So many people out there pointing at how there might or will be an Iraqi civil war. You can find them, you have read about the violence and the relatively calm reactions to it and judge for yourself. But in case you need one or two things to ponder, think upon these things:

1) After decades under a tyrranical leader that performed a slow slaughter of his people, and now work by outside terrorists, those seeking to foment problems in Iraq are facing a people very tired of 'rule at the barrel of a gun'. Their own religious leaders are saying the violence is wrong and evil, and the actual followers are listening. al Qaeda aided by Iran and some of the 'militias' are trying to undermine the stability that is slowly coming about in Iraq. The coalition forces offer self-rule and freedom. al Qaeda and Iran both promise an authoritarian interpretation of the Koran and the subjugation of the Iraqi people. YOU figure out where you would be in that situation. From what I have read the overwhelming majority of Iraqi people are quite level-headed and have had it with such nonsense.

2) The New Iraqi Army is integrated and will not take sides in such a conflict, save to back up the legitimate government. It is not a pawn of those in power nor can it be swayed by the hot heads on either side. They are modeling their structure, training and outlook on the only military force in the world that is extremely competent in *not* joining struggles like that. If needed they would most likely protect significant infrastructure: protect it and shoot *anyone* trying to harm it. Like the majority of the people, this Army wants no part of a civil war.

3) It seems that even those fomenting the problems have forgotten one little fact: there are THREE factions in Iraq. If a civil war breaks out, the Army will look to guidance from that faction and help *it* to restore order. And they can add their own regional military in to lend a hand. The price the Arab Sunni and Shi'ite factions would pay is that of the Kurds. If they were not amenable to a peaceful solution, my guess is the Kurds and the Army would offer safety to any province *not* willing to take part in the civil war. When offered a choice of peace and protection versus an idiotic blood feud fueled by outsiders, my guess is some of the neighboring provinces would quickly join up with the Kurds.

So why won't there be an Iraqi civil war?

Because Iran has forgotten that an independent Kurdistan, with Sunni and Shi'ite Arab minorities would start to look *awfully* nice to their own Kurds and border populations. Also the few hot-heads trying to make this blow up don't realize how very much they are becoming to be detested by the population around them. Throw in an Army willing to enforce peace without respect to religion, backed up by the Kurdish military who are much feared and also with the help of Coalition forces for supply needs, and you have a Parliamentary Republic forming up to stop the idiocy of Theocratic rule.

A civil war changes the dynamics of why the US did not support the Kurds to become and independent state. If there is a civil war, it would be suggested that the Parliament be moved north. Permanently. A re-shuffling of the deck does not help either the Sunni or Shi'ite Arabs as it leaves Iraq as a Kurdish state. And with the Army protecting the necessary infrastructure, the hot heads would be forced to move out of Iraq. And they then become limited to Syria and Iran, which is *exactly* where we want them to be: causing one of those governments to fall.

The only losers in a civil war in Iraq, beyond the dead, are: Iran, Syria, al Qaeda.

My guess is the level-headed ones will bash a few heads in the next few weeks and get this settled down while the Government finally gets its feet on the ground.

If not, I don't expect a civil war to last beyond a month or so before Iraq re-organizes under the Kurds and forces the idiots out.

Or kills them all.

Bad moves by Iran, Syria and al Qaeda. Very bad.

For them.

Some thoughts on Nessie and other musings

I recently watched Deep Sea Detectives on the History Channel, with the episode about the Loch Ness monster. I was struck by many things about the Loch and its physical structure and setup beyond just the entry/exit points and depth. A look at the Loch's physical structure should be able to reveal what is and is not possible there in the way of larger life forms.

First off the Loch Ness was covered by the last glacial period which ended around 10-12,000 years ago, more or less depending upon locale. Like the Great Lakes, Lake Champlain and Finger Lakes in New York State, the Loch was most likely a river channel before the previous ice age very shallow set of interconnected lakes. In particular Lake Champlain has a similar story of a monster in it, called "Champ". These sets of glacially formed lakes all have the similar feature of being under a mile or so of ice during the last glacial period and then serving as an outwash for glacial water as the glaciers retreated, which also served to deepen and widen the basins of each.

The weight of the mass of ice pushed the ground downwards, closer to sea level, and as was seen in the History Channel program, sea life did indeed live in the Loch for some short period of time. And just like all other areas that were covered by the ice sheet, Loch Ness undergoes isostatic rebound and is slowly rising upwards to compensate for the lack of that mass upon it. This can be clearly seen along the gorge leading from Niagara Falls between the US and Canada, in which the sides of the gorge not only get pushed upwards but inwards in response to the rebound. Because of the friable underlying strata of rock the gorge suffers slips and landfalls along the edges beyond what a normal river valley of this kind will undergo. Geologically speaking, the areas once covered by continental glaciers is slowly rising and will suffer minor and erratic earthquakes due to this, with the majority falling under 4 in the open-ended Richter Scale.

So Loch Ness has probably undergone similar uplift at a rate of about 1 inch per year for the last 12,000 years or so and continues to do so. And one would infer that the area is also geologically active because of this, with minor earthquakes barely felt throughout the region. Many animals, including humans, do feel such shaking on a sub-conscious level when it cannot be felt through gross movements, thus causing a bit of unease during such times. The stories from indigenous peoples across areas that have once had glaciers all bespeak of moving spirits, little people and strange happenings going on and many are probably attributable to this phenomenon. But actual, physical lake monsters are a different category altogether and need to be addressed separately from their somewhat spooky surroundings.

Secondly on the list of things is the sustainment of marine life as the ecosystem radically alters in a short period of time. Going from bare rock with ice above it to cold glacial outflow to marine influx and then a slow lifting and salt water outflow is a massive change in environmental conditions for Loch Ness and many other glacial outflow areas. And, most importantly, the creatures in these lakes would have, of necessity, been following the edges of the glacial ice sheets as their preferred habitat. Any creature in these lakes must have been a salt water based animal before entering and then either have the necessary aptations to continue on in fresh water or be a creature with a bi-modal living style able to exist in fresh or salt water with ease.

Third in this is the calorie budget for such a creature. Here large size plays well to the Square-Cube Law also known as Bergmann's Rule. The short of the Square-Cube Law for animals is that as the body size doubles/halves, mass follows a power of 3 and surface area a power of 2. So, take a man-size creature as being 1, with mass of 1 and surface area of 1. Double the man size creature to one of 2, will have a mass of 8 and surface area of 4. Take a half-man sized creatures as 0.5 and the mass will be 0.125 and surface area of 0.25. So large creatures gain mass far faster than surface area, and are thus able to stabilize body temperature as the outflow of heat is restricted to surface area. Similarly small creatures have disproportionately large surface area to mass and lose body temperature quickly and must have a higher energy budget. This is, by nature, a rule of thumb exercise with outliers and anomalies, but serves a general overall schema for determining necessary caloric budget of any life form. Big creatures can eat a lot, digest slowly and move slowly and get along just fine, while tiny creatures must consume large quantities of food in proportion to body mass just to stay alive and thus digest things very quickly.

Fourth, to go along with the above, is the type of heat budget for such a creature. Calories generate food energy available to an animal, and body mass and surface area will determine heat retention and outflow. Reptiles, as 'cold blooded' creatures, depend upon external factors to regulate heat flow. Mammals, as 'warm blooded' creatures generate internal heat and operate over a wider range of temperature zones in a very active condition. Dinosauria do not fit well into either category, having some capability for internal heat generation and continuing to use external sources for heat moderation and loss.

In colder climates reptiles tend to remain sedentary or have a much slower metabolism and only become active when warmed by sunshine or other heat sources. In the desert, reptiles love to snuggle up to warm bodied sleeping mammals, as any hiker waking up to a snake under their tent will attest to. Mammals can vary their activity level and have evolved to be active in day and night, thus making their capabilities very flexible as a class of animals. Dinosauria present an interesting case in that their ability to generate heat outside of muscular activity needs to be taken into account and that in colder climates they would do well with a relatively thin skin and lack of fat layer while a mammal would need such a fat layer as insulation against the climate. Thus, dinosauria, as a class, would have evolved to adapt into such climates and fossil evidence of dinosaurs in arctic climates have been found and validated.

And the Norse peoples, in particular, tell of one serpent, Jormungandr that would fit this bill and fit in with their overall migration seawards during the glacial retreat. Stories and depictions of this creature as *world girdling* could be an exaggeration of an actual creature sighted at the edges of ice packs. And of course all sorts of people have sea monsters, but the Midgard Serpent would fit all the particulars.

By all accounts Nessie and Champie are either Plesiosaurs or Basilosaurs, each having their own proponents based on dinosauria vs. mammalia and looking at their overall body structure as compared to what is reported of the creatures. Either fits the general shape outline, although one would expect that the long-necked attributes of both creatures makes dinosauria a likelier prospect. Until either can be looked at, one final thing needs to be looked at.

Fifth, geographic isolation and the island dwarfing phenomenon. By all accounts, 12,000 years is not enough to allow much in the way of genetic drift, although some recent surveys of biota from Australia are bringing that into question. There, fast post-glacial change in habitat from lush vegetation to desert conditions has caused faster genetic drift due to impacts of changing diet from the ecosystem upon those members able to survive in it. Most die off, causing extinction, but survivors that have a high degree of change and some adaptability will survive and tend to rapidly speciate due to changing conditions. Genetic surveys are calling into question how fast such stressed species adapt as their genetic system undergoes mutation at a disproportionate rate.

What no one has proposed is that a small creature has undergone Island Gigantism, in which isolation of a small creature allows it to grow much larger, thus gaining the benefits of the Square-Cube Law. I am hard pressed to think of anything that could look like the reported Nessie or Champie in miniature... But I am sure that *some* creature might fit this bill in the history of life on this planet.

Still, 12,000 years will not change the morphology over much and such isolation will not change that to a significant degree. Island dwarfing (or in this case lake isolation dwarfing) can operate very quickly as growth ratios will become stunted due to lowered caloric intake. In a short period of time large animals will quickly change growth status to that of smaller sizes while retaining overall morphology. So one would expect that any large size creature migrating into these isolated areas would become smaller in the 12,000 years or so they have been there while still *looking* the same, just smaller. The final sizing would then have to fit inside the *sweet spot* that balances the following conditions:

1) Thermal regulation for heat loss in cold bodies of water.
2) Maximum supportable breeding population or number of individuals that can exist on the calories provided.
3) Maximum supportable body size due to caloric intake.
4) Metabolic rate changes due to overall class of the animal.
5) Aptation or pre-existing capability to exist in both fresh and salt water conditions, and vary diet in such a way as to get necessary amino acids for survival.

Each in turn:

1) Either dinosauria or mammalia can exist in arctic conditions on land and in water. So both pass this hurdle with ease.

2) and 3) are intertwined. However, both depend upon a survey of biota known to exist in Loch Ness and expected quantities of same. Also juvenile and adults may exist on different diets, so there may be some capability to expand the useful biota region for caloric intake downwards to smaller animals. Something a full size adult would pass up either through poor vision or just *not worth the effort * to go after and eat, a more active juvenile might find a tasty meal or snack.

4) Is an interesting adjustment. With Island Dwarfing it can be expected that due to limited habitat the creatures will be smaller than their original ancestors. And the original class of creature will tend to give an idea of how well such a thing can be done. Here there is an advantage to dinosauria as they can use their limited heat regulation capability to up their metabolism a notch with relative ease. A mammal, however, loses fat disproportionately to size and thus has much less insulation per body weight and surface area. Mammals can make a go of it in such conditions, but their long-term survivability from a large size creature would be in doubt. Smaller animals, better adapted harsher extremes and having a proportionate fat to mass ratio would do better than a large creature scaling down. So possible, but less likely.

5) This is the real kicker for any salt-water creature: surviving with a breeding population in fresh water. The ability to do so is buried in the overall genetic toolkit of all vertebrates, so it may be expected to be possible, and some animals do actively live in both. While salmon are the best example, but eels exhibit a similar behavior. Bull sharks have a unique set of kidneys to deal with fresh water, and have been caught a thousand or more miles upriver from oceanic outlets. As both the dinosauria and mammalia use normal lungs to breathe with, filtering of salt is not a factor. Skin, however, is a cause for concern and a type of skin that would function well in salt water may not be suitable to fresh water. And there is also a diet change that would have to be done. In general, if suitable substitutes for their oceanic diets can be found and have sufficient nutrients to continue life without deficeits of amino acids, both should be able to handle the stress of change. There may be some outflow of ions through the skin membrane, and so one would expect that both classes would need to seek out some sources of these ions in their new habitat. This could be as easy as drinking from a stream that flows through a minor salt deposit or finding plants that tend to concentrate those elements necessary for an active nervous system and musculature.

So lets do the quick look at biota in Loch Ness. The place is a fisherman's haven! Luckily others have trod this area very well and have left their marks on looking at what Nessie would dine upon. The list is interesting and extensive:

1) Brown trout (also sea trout)
2) Pike
3) Arctic char
4) Salmon during mid-January to mid-October
5) Eels
6) Sturgeon
7) Catfish and Wels catfish
8) Migrating seals
9) Frogs, newts, toads (juvenile fare, one would expect)
10) Cormorants, ducks, herons (just drift up very slowly underwater and a quick bite for a tidbit... unless your digestive tract cannot handle the bones involved)
11) Non-game fish like perch, roach, dace, rudd and carp; and minnows
12) Deer
13) Otters
14) Vipers, small lizards and slow worms

The question is: does the distribution of fish types and sizes fit with a top predator like an expected Nessie?

The normal distribution that I have seen in freshwater lakes from New York State and Ontario, Canada, fit well with the reports of fishing sizes seen in Loch Ness. The lack of major predators to keep fish sizes down allows for a somewhat larger size to be achieved within the existing populations of fish. Of the two expected predators and some minimum colony size, one would expect there to be a flat distribution of fish sizes at the high end as larger individuals become the preferred food for the predators. At the low end, the somewhat more voracious, but less numerous juveniles would tend to drive smaller fish and their spawn closer to shore as the protective instincts of the adults would herd juveniles away from shoreline.

So, where does this leave the investigation of Nessie and its other monsterly kin?

In one of the strangest places of all: working with statistics.

Without a good demonstration of a large fauna top predator existing via physical evidence, we must look to the environment. If there is a *normal* (as in bell curve) distribution of sizes in the fish population by species, then you have a normal northern climate top predator scenario. Pike and other fishly predators will give a normal distribution by species that they prey upon. A larger top predator will cut the curve nearly flat at the top size distribution and its juveniles will drive smaller fish inshore and flatten out that part of the curve, also. A curve indicating a flatter low sizing and sudden cut-off in high size as compared to similar fish habitat will indicate a top predator culling the high end and its juveniles at the low end.

Show that, and you have a rock-solid demonstration of a top predator even if you do not know what it is. And with all that peat in the water, forget filter feeding as an alternative.

Without it, you gots a normal big cold lake, folks.

26 February 2006

New Orleans and New, New Orleans

Ok, the French built New Orleans. That says it all, doesn't it?

The place sounds like the Castle from Monty Python and the Holy Grail:

"Listen, lad. I've built this kingdom up from nothing. When I started here, all there was was swamp. The king said I was daft to build a castle in a swamp, but I built it all the same, just to show 'em. It sank into the swamp. So, I built a second one. That sank into the swamp. So I built a third one. That burned down, fell over, then sank into the swamp. But the fourth one stayed up. An' that's what your gonna get, lad -- the strongest castle in these islands."
So, New Orleans is strategically situated at the mouth of the Mississippi for shipping and trans-shipping and commerce. And New Orleans has actually gotten things *worse* by the state getting the cut-off. You see, the mighty Mississippi is looking for a shorter route out of Louisiana (and who isn't?) and the Atchafalaya river was serving that need and it was slowly silting up along its old course. So the USACE made the cut-off, so that the Mississippi could not continue building the delta elsewhere. And so the wonderful silt continued to build up along its old path... and, perforce, compact the sediment under it, causing everything to continue sinking. Ever since it was built, New Orleans has been sinking, with parts of it now below water level by some six inches or so.

The wonderful mid- to late-20th century allowed for a system of embankments, dikes and drainage systems to be built to clear land and allow more building to go on in New Orleans. Which removed water from between the particles of silt, compacted them and, yes, sunk them further. Dry land!!!

Then modern high rises and concrete structures get added and... well, everything sinks a bit faster now.

So the system of flood control embankments, levees and such was put in during the 1960's and not rated above a Category 3 hurricane and not really well maintained by the city, either. But, it is a prosperous place, and more people came, which meant more land clearing, more building and... well... more sinking.

The entire flood control system, pumping system, levees, canals and such is put together as-needed over time, maintained with New Orleans élan, which mostly means looking at it once a year and shaking your heads in marvel and having a party. Sometimes in the reverse order. And, since the 1960's to mid-1990's was a quiescent time for hurricanes, nothing much ever happened and no one, NO ONE wanted to pay the billions of dollars necessary to get a real system of flood control in place.

Did I mention the city is sinking?

So here we sit with a disaster *still* on our hands and Baghdad looking better all the time. Of course it isn't sinking, either.

My idea at the time was to declare all of New Orleans and surrounding metro area a disaster area and memorial. Like other memorials in the US, it would have armed guards that would shoot intruders without warning.... condemn the land that is sinking, save a historical district in the French Quarter, which would be rescued as a visitor center and tourist stop. Allow the greatest science experiment of 'what happens to a modern city when it dies in a swamp?' to be run for generations to marvel at our stupidity.

And then let the Mississippi flow into the Atchafalaya. By lowering the water levels and letting the flow lessen and the deposition lessen... well, the city will sink *slower*. Actually, I had thought that if they wanted to actually stop the flood from rising, they could just have done that anyways. But as one engineer said back in the '70's: "Opening the cut-off is the easy part. Once the flow starts, the channel will deepen and I don't think you will ever close it again." But you could have immediately lessened the flooding and possibly have reversed it in outlying areas. It would not save the city of New Orleans, but would have made the disaster a bit less awful.

So, first, make it a National Memorial and Monument run by the Park Service. Then build a new city about 50 miles inland. So it would not matter how large a hurricane hits, it would not flood! Then build a high speed rail line between the tourist center and the New New Orleans. One road will allow controlled traffic, only, into the city. Everyone else gets shot on sight.

Second have the USACE make an all-weather survivable port away from the tourist center. Have *it* connected by a high speed rail line and controlled surface road so that *only* regulated traffic can go to/from the port. The city of New Orleans will have a *tourist* port for yachts and cruise vessels, but its port needs to be moved to the new head at the mouth of the Atchafalaya at some point... or perhaps a central facility between the two mouths. Someplace *safe* and regulated.

Third, keep the damn refineries and pipeline heads away from the tourist area and the port. So if a terrorist strike hits it cannot get a two-fer but has to go for individual attacks. Again, high speed rail and regulated surface transport.

That is it! New New Orleans serves as the central housing community for the port, tourist facility and petrocomplex heads. No unauthorized people are allowed upon the hallowed ground of destruction, containing the beloved bodies of those lost in the storm. Let the Federal Government determine for the insurance companies that they will pay in full to everyone in the disaster, and if the companies go under, then it is their own damn fault for insuring a city that is SINKING!

The scene cut from the Titanic: ship hits iceberg, people running around, save for one insurance salesman giving out policies for safe arrival....

Only the French would have gifted us a sinking city.

More commentary, commentary... or some such

Now, it is *always* dangerous to ask my opinion! Yes, I probably have one... and if I decide I can give it to you in a rational way, you will get it. If I can't, well, Dumb Looks, Still Free!

So, I was asked to comment at a post at Caucasianally Challenged Christian, the topic being the idea of reparations.

As before, all spelling is unchecked! Unhindered spelling, free to wander where it will...

And so it begins thusly in the comment thread. [and time to reformat from a copy and paste because the line breaks go *poof*]

I have thought this through to a certain degree... but my thoughts have not coalesced completely...

Although slavery through capture and sale *are* an injustice, slavery by punishment is still explicitly allowed by the US Constitution. I believe that was done as a two edged means to point out its injustice: First, it would tempt States into setting a bar so low to it that many would be caught up if economics demanded the need for unpaid labor, but application of non-discrimination would require that all races get equal application under the law, which would kill white supremecy concepts, and, Second, it sets our forebearance as a people very high as even more than death or life imprisonment, it is a denial of the right of a human to be human. It is an absolutist viewpoint that goes with that concept.

That said, freedom is what you make of it. Perhaps the first generation did not truly understand freedom after the end of slavery. They realized continuing injustice, however and put forth their rights as Citizens to be heard. This *changed* society greatly, both black and white and all other colors.

Further, a generation was supported and then pandered to by a faction of the political spectrum, with a 'War on Poverty' and hand-outs, neither of which *built* a social fabric in the black *and* poor communities. The black communities, not having the deep roots of culture as, say, the Appalachian culture (Scots-Irish) had problems keeping a continuity of family and culture under the corrosive pressure of free support *without* responsibility to have earned it.

At this juncture, after pouring billions into anti-poverty programs and seeing poverty becoming *institutionalized*, it was determined that this must end. Society via Federal programs should be the *last* thing anyone ever wants... it has destroyed our schools, black and poor families and eroded the concept of self-sustainment to allow for achievement.

Illegality of drugs have undermined society, and increased criminal activity, just as Prohibition did in the 20's. The portion of black society that remained poor, had its work ethic and family life rent asunder by well-meaning social programs, and the diminishment of respect for parents and society that resulted now faces a problem far worse than reparations. I also fault the media and corporations to cater to and influence this culture in a negative fashion.

The great secret of black culture within the US is that it is slowly, even *with* these negative factors, transforming from poor and urban to middle-class and suburban. This points to the deep resiliency of that culture and its incorporation of ideas of self and place within a larger setting of meritocratic institutions. By starting at *nothing* blacks have had to build a new identity from scratch since the ending of slavery and invent themselves as a people to do so. The strong foundations of religion and *its* view of the specialness of individuals has given this slowly growing culture a strength and capability to overcome all obstacles to achieve ranks of prestige and power *on their own*.

There is *still* racism in America. But it is *not* the racism of the former days in society, where lynchings and casual injustice were ignored. And even subtle racism, because of our tools to look at many decisions over time now get squashed quickly. It may take one more generation to reach its resting place in white culture. In black culture, however, I see that it will take what it takes in scientific circles to allow for change: the previous generation to slowly fade away. While the former leaders who fought hard for equality and support gained power, their influence was positive... but now that it continues to ask for that support once the major vestiges of the racism are gone, it negatively influences the broader black culture. By trying to *institutionalize* that feeling of being 'down trodden' now and forever more, it will only ensure that those who follow will feel that way.

One can *honor* the previous generation by smiling and nodding, and then looking to one's friends and peers and saying: "Well, they were good when things were bad, too bad they have't changed with the times." Exactly what I continue to do with my socialist leaning mother and what few are left from her generation. Good people, but a bit out of tune with the present day and often on another planet completely. Honor and respect past achievements, but let their influence slip as they become less a force for change and more one of keeping you where *they* were.

"If I can see further, it is because I stand on the shoulders of Giants." as Newton cribbed from many before him. We all do.

As to reparations? For whom and for how long? The generation that desperately need them are gone. The generation that followed recognized this and damn well decided to achieve on their own and make life better for their children. The generation or following that continued the good fight by joining and fighting through two World Wars, until the discrimination became stark. The generation following *broke* that discrimination, and helped to *enforce* the Constitution upon *all* peoples in these United States. By pushing for poverty and welfare programs, they did, however, attempt to put a socialist idea to work in a Republic. That said all of them *remained* here to be Citizens.

We honor the work and struggle of all of those who helped us to become the people we are today. Blacks who have stayed since the ending of slavery for other than punishment said: "We want to be FREE." They did *not* get the '40 acres and a mule' promised them, and any descendent wishing to get *that*, well I am sure we can find some land in North Dakota, Montana, South Dakota, Wyoming, Utah and any State having large amounts of land at a low price to have them settle there and pick up where that promise was left off. I will sign onto *that* in a moment... they just have to give away everything they now own to do so, as the generation that was not given that had barely that. A couple of changes of clothes and that is *it*. Maybe an axe, a spade and a plough.

To me *that* is just. A new beginning as promised, so long as it is truly new. No help from parents or grandparents... no help from corporations... just the people you will be living with and their communities. I welcome *anyone* who wants reparations to pick up the path on the long trail from where it *begins*. Not one step FURTHER.

To ask for them *now* is to deny the achievements of your forefathers and say *they did NOTHING for me, give me the new start that was promised*. I endorse THAT. A BRAND NEW START SANS EVERYTHING.

40 acres, 1 mule, no support, a fresh start. That was the promise. Let us *keep* that promise for all who will sign up to it, so long as they have one ancestor that was denied that new start.

That is America. A fresh start. Some bring baggage with them and support, others do not. Any citizen may start afresh, save for their background, and remake themselves as they wish. Criminality we do not forgive, but who you *are* is up to YOU.


You make yourself.

That is the promise of this country.

Thus endith the first comment of this thread by me.

Dear, me! I sound like an absolutist!

*scratches head*

Why, yes, thank you.

And, no, I did not write something longer than the original post by the site's author...

And so begins my second post, responding to another person.

[To the kind respondant] - Much thanks!

I do recognize injustice, but also see that there must be fairness when justice is missed. Reparations, when they were mentioned in the post-Civil war era were *not* a hand out! They were an *opportunity* to build a life. A true new start for those who had nothing. To ask for *that* today, one must give up all they have and start over. Completely over.

Those asking for reparations *without* pledging to restart their lives from *nothing* want a freebie handout. And they do not recognize how hard a slap this is to the generations before them that worked so hard to make this country live up to its word in ensuring *everyone* was treated equally under the law. And in society.

To do that they must accept that any honor, award, payment, indeed *anything* of value they have today must be given away to start where their ancestors did. New name, new SSN, new place, and a referenced rap sheet for the authorities.

40 acres and a mule, and a few of the bare necessities... perhaps a years worth of MREs so you are not a burden on the community and have a chance to figure out how to farm or start some other new life. Build a home from nothing. And a new life. And you give up the right to bitch and complain about the unfairness society had to your ancestors. You are in *heaven* compared to where they started. And they were a damn strong people to not give up hope on themselves and this country.

You want reparations? Give all that up and prove that you *can* start fresh. Without handouts, save the charity of your neighbors. You can demonstrate your strength by building a new life for yourself as your ancestors did *without* the benefits you now enjoy.

THAT I will sign up for, tomorrow. A few billion and some parcels of federal land from BLM or other places. Or the government can just buy some cheap parcels and hand them out. Lots of places in this country for that. Perhaps Alaska... the Dakotas... Montana... Idaho... Utah... Wyoming... lots of places where there are miles and miles of miles and miles and the horizon surrounds you. A few billion dollars, tops to run that.

And if you take it, you may *never* come back to reclaim the life you left.

Comment two is ended.

Reparations or priceless freedom? To those wanting the former, be prepared to give up your current life and start afresh elsewhere. From zero. Nothing. Your freedom is priceless, and if you value mere money more than that, you have already given up on the greatest gift you have. Freedom has a cost to it, never, ever forget that.

25 February 2006

Goals in the Global War on Terror

Just like the Cold War, the Global War on Transnational Terrorism has an ill-defined beginning, middle and end. The end of the Cold War did not end every Communist regime on the planet: China, North Korea and Cuba continue to be Communist countries with generally totalitarian regimes. China is trying to square a circle of mixing Capitalist trade with Communist repression and finding it very hard to do, even when western companies kowtow to them. Communism will come to an end because it is inflexible in defining its means and its ends show no hope for the people within it.

Transnational Terrorism, on the other hand, is very flexible in its means, but has a scattershot of goals depending on which group is being examined. But the means do spread due to cross-training amongst these organizations, even if their goals are wildly different. And do note that I use Transnational Terrorism as the defining term, here. Groups that stay within their own countries, garner support from the populace, do not seek outside finance until *after* they have proclaimed a separation from themselves and the government and are creating an alternative government are something else. They are practicing the time-honored method of going from guerilla fighter to ad-hoc state in competition with the host state in an attempt to form something more suitable to their beliefs. By putting on a uniform, adhering to basic military codes of combat, by not targeting civilians and by trying to form a government that protects its people and beliefs, these individuals and organizations are a different kettle of fish from Transnational Terrorists.

Transnational Terrorist organizations do not respect national boundaries, have no defined way to come to power and use any and all means, most particularly targeting civilians, to gain their ends. They do not have an authority structure, do not set down and plant a flag and proclaim their new way and how they will protect those under them and will *not* wear a uniform to identify themselves. Transnational Terrorist do *not* fall within the Geneva Conventions, unlike their revolutionary state-based counterparts. By adhering to no laws, respecting no international order and proclaiming only death and terror as their tools, they gain a different title, much older than revolutionary: Barbarian.

These modern day Barbarians believe that since the standards of respect for life and liberty held by civilized nations and peoples is a weakness, they seek to exploit it through any means. They will publicize any holding of their compatriots as evil and bad and torture via any means possible to gain sympathy and erode the will resistance to them. They will kill anyone, use any means, and do anything necessary if they believe it will erode the will to resist them. They have no respect for life, no respect for liberty and no respect for anything except their dream visions which they do not have the *honor* to attempt to bring about through revolution.

As individuals, when they are caught there is only one thing to do to them: kill them.

These individuals do not respect laws, and are told to lie and do nearly anything to escape and return to their barbaric ways. They do not honor agreements to not go back to those ways. They have no honor.

These individuals do not respect human rights and will capture anyone that they think can be ransomed and *maybe* let them go. Or maybe just kill them once they get the ransom. They do not respect anyone who would pay a ransom and have no respect for the individuals they keep. They have no honor.

So, beyond killing them when found, what can be done?

First: Enforce a banking system that will accurately account for money sources and not allow money laundering through *neutral* countries. Any banking system which cannot do this, will not be allowed to use its funds within the protected system. Funds which leave that system may not return. This can be done through the enforcement of treaties and amending or making new treaties.

Second: Create and enforce a cargo inspection system for all shipping, be it naval, air or ground based. All containers within that system shall have 100% inspection and verification of contents. Ships, planes, or ground vessels which attempt to gain entrance to US territory that have not been verified shall be subject to being stopped and inspected. Planes will go to remote runways set up for the sole purpose of inspecting such craft or be subject to being destroyed as hostile. Ground craft will be stopped at the borders and inspected. Anyone or any vehicle attempting to enter the US will be subject to immediate destruction without warning. Bounties will be set by Congress to allow companies or entrepreneurial individuals to board vessels bound for US waters carrying contraband, and show proof positive of that contraband being on-board that vessel. They will be authorized to use deadly force if fired upon. When that vessel is brought to the US and its contents verified a bounty shall be paid and the seized assets sold at auction.

Third: Assist any country that asks for help in ridding itself of Transnational Terrorists. Aid may be in any form, but will most likely be in the area of Intelligence, training and some troop deployment.

Fourth: Enable military *hot pursuit* without respect to national borders. Any Transnational Terrorist that engages US military forces or attempts forced entry into the US shall be fought and followed until they are killed. No exceptions. That means YOU China, Russia, Iran, North Korea. As nuclear weaponry is not a deterrent to Barbarians, so we can not let the US be blackmailed by it.

Fifth and finally: The US shall enforce liberty within its boundaries so that its people may lead their lives without the threat of tyranny or loss of life. The Federal Government must be held strictly accountable in ALL of its branches to this fight. I do not care who is in power to govern, so long as they GOVERN and not attempt to RULE the people.

The US Constitution is a blessing upon us because it gives us order and freedom and respects that each individual legally within the confines of the US has such. Those that honor agreements and respect this will get likewise treatment. Keeping the peace does not mean that we cannot be unruly, but the people must recognize that this is a fight of civilization against barbarism.

As the barbarians do not know how to give quarter, so shall they get as they give.

As the barbarians do not respect nations, nor laws, nor rules, nor civility, they do not get the honor or leniency of those things.

They have chosen their path to follow.

Let us make an end to them until either they are all dead or have settled to raise a flag and define themselves in a respectable manner.

The Soviet Union was civilized and could be dealt with honorably, even if we disliked their goals.

Transnational Terrorists are not civilized and hold no worthy goals.

As they see those outside of their organization as not human until converted to their ways, so we shall see them as not human until converted to ours.

Or until they are all killed.

There is no third way.

24 February 2006

A Dream Team for Iraq

Well, as I am recovering from my aborted stay in the hospital, I see that bad news and good has trickled in from Iraq. The brothers over at Iraq The Model and Zeyad at Healing Iraq have done their level best to keep us up to date on thing as they are going on, no matter how confusing they may be. And while things do not look good, the people of Samarra seem to realize that this is being done to break up the Iraqi people along sectarian lines. The unexpected side-effect of rebellious spirits is that they tend to spread quickly beyond the control of the originating group. Various people are looking at many aspects of this, and one of the few things that is coming to light is that this was a pure terrorist attack upon Iraq.

The good people of Iraq are starting to find that they have a voice and that the terrorists are fearing it. After decades of brutal authoritarian rule, Iraqis may finally be saying *enough* of strong-men, terrorism and intimidation. The first steps taken to help bring basic 'frontier' justice to the provinces seems to be done, and the likes of al-Qaeda do not appreciate that one bit. And while it may be difficult to look ahead, that is what citizens *must* do in a representative democracy, because their politicians are too busy with the present. To those ends there are some paths to look at in the future, in Iraq, that is assuming that the people desire to be free, prosperous, law-abiding and respecting of their immediate neighbors on the local and national scale, and then a somewhat different attitude internationally.

So, from what I can see, there are a few broad areas to consider:

  • Enhancing local police forces. The training of police up until now has been that of getting basic 'law and order' in place and rooting out insurgents and terrorists. This will still be necessary, but should only be considered a secondary role for policing. The primary role is to have a street presence and enforce the local laws without respect to tribe, religion or ethnicity. These are known in the US as 'beat officers' or 'patrolmen'. One of the few pearls of wisdom that the US has found in policing is that putting police into vehicles isolates them from the community as a whole. An officer who walks a known 'beat' (as in beaten path) becomes a familiar and trusted presence in the community. People get to know their officers and to trust them the more that they can see and interact with them. And all sorts of minor things get reported via 'beat officers' that a vehicle based officer will miss. Perhaps look at vehicles to get to and from critical events, or use the more hardened counter-insurgency core of the police for those things.

  • Hand-in-hand with the above is a system of small courts or tribunals. The 'small claims courts' and other lesser judicial systems are a necessary grease to help communities adjudicate small things. Both on the civil and minor offenses side, these courts are a necessary part of any functioning democracy and need to be adequately staffed and run. What these courts cannot be is aligned to any religion, tribe or ethnicity. Those folks may have their own systems of minor penalties, but anything takeing place outside of those specific areas falls into the area of civili jurisdiction.

  • Finally, on the broad fronts, there must be a disbanding of local militias. Individual strongmen or groups may peacefully look to keeping order without the undue use of force, save for self-protection. But armed militias that do not respect local laws, are not under direct regional accountability and that operate to enforce only their own beliefs must all go. Their time is over if Iraq is to consider itself a self-governing nation that respects the rights of all of its citizens. I have outlined something that has been untried in the States of the United States that respects both the right to bear arms and the need for governance of that right. Some form of accountability based system for an armed citizenry that can be used in immediate emergencies until law enforcement arrives is something that is truly necessary not only to respond to terrorism but to natural disasters. The police cannot be everywhere, nor the military, and armed citizens knowledgeable in the law and respecting of a system of due process is an asset, not a liability.
All of that is well and good, but where to find ways to implement it?

Luckily, Iraqi Kurds seem to have gotten the idea in response to the decade of isolation needed to protect them from Saddam. Michael Totten recently visited there and came away with some impressions he has shared with the rest of the world. Once the immediate unrest begins to quiet down, it would be a very, very, very healthy thing for individual town and city mayors and officials from the southern provinces in Iraq to tour through the Kurdish based areas and sit down in face-to-face discussions with their counterparts. I would also suggest this for police chiefs to do on a regular basis. The first thing this does is establish direct contact between cities and towns across all parts of Iraq and lets you *use* the skills and knowledge of the Kurds to help spread self-governance. The second effect, and far more subtle, is that this will help to regularize administration of towns and cities as good and effective means of governing are spread and ineffective means are discarded. When one travels through the United States, the feeling is that no matter how different the peoples may be, there is a basic understanding of what it means to be 'law abiding' and that good citizenship is respected no matter the locale.

Another way to look at is that of bringing in the best known mayor from the US that has the 'chops' to handle just about any damn thing *and* has experience in turning a city known for its coldness and indiscriminant violence around into one of the safest places to live in the US. That mayor is Rudy Giuliani. He implemented the sort of local policing in New York City that took care of local crime, weeding out corruption and beginning a process of revitaling some of the worst parts of the city. That sounds like a pretty much nationwide description of what Iraq needs. And anyone who remembers 9/11 remembers the one thing that was seen coming through the still smouldering dust: Rudy Giuliani and his staff actually *handling* a disaster of unknown proportions. At the time he did not know if the attack was isolated to NYC or nation-wide, but he stepped up to the plate and did the right things to bring order to his city and ensure that it would survive even *if* the rest of the country went to hell and gone. I suspect that it would be worth paying for 3 or 6 months of Mr. Giuliani's time and have him spend a week or so in each of the major cities and towns in Iraq to let him meet with local officials and locals and get a sense for how things are going across your country. Of all aspects that he brings, the foremost is adaptable and sensible administration to bring a coherence to a locale. NYC is more than just the City itself, and he had to deal with Newark, Long Island and surrounding states and bedroom communities to work together to make New York a shining gem once more.

And if you cannot get Rudy, then the one man you just *might* be able to get, if the Army can spare him, is Lieutenant General Russel Honoré. He is a busy man, after the work he has done in the aftermath of Katrina, but I believe that you will find that he is an organizational master of more than minor capability. If you need a man who can integrate capabilities to bring about immediate change, while still respecting local sensibilities and making sure people keep their focus, Lt. Gen. Honoré is the man you need. By pointing out that people are still "stuck on stupid" for the way they aren't handling things, he pointedly and assuredly brings about positive change and cohesiveness in a no-nonsense way. And Iraq sure has a number of people still "stuck on stupid" that need to either get it together or pack it up and quit. Lt. Gen. Honoré may need some back-up staff or trusted advisors and such, but he will have good sense to keep it down to a few that can quickly travel.

Actually, as I think about it, what this begins to look like is the "Dream Team" needed for Iraq to build and re-build and help become an integrated nation with regional differences. Perhaps someone else can add to the team line-up. I can see needs for someone who actually *knows* how to bring a civil and minor courts system into order, but no names come right to me. Also, someone who can help move bureaucracy from cutting red tape 'length-wise' to someone who knows damn well to keep the tape at a minimum to start with. So, positions on the Iraqi Dream Team, to help and advise Iraq on moving forward:

  1. Rudy Giuliani - Civil administration, rebuilding of cities on a social fabric level and integrated policing
  2. Lt. Gen. Russel L. Honoré - Rebuilding, infrastructure and coordination between levels of governmental responses.
  3. Minor and small claims courts person, looking towards community integration and making a system *trusted* by the populace.
  4. Banking administration and regularization, an individual who can see what has and has not worked on community, state/provincial and national levels to give a trusted network of banks, loans and development capability across all levels for civilian needs.
  5. Business building/revitalization individual, who knows how to help start-up anything from micro-businesses to national level businesses.
  6. Agricultural expert, an individual who can help get new crops and techniques into play in Iraq using the traditional farming methods and needs as a basis for an export based system between the provinces and then internationally.
  7. Religious and ethnic advisor, an individual known to be able to cross religious gaps and ethnic problems and still be respected by all parties involved.
Call it the Group of Seven. An Iraqi Dream Team.

I do respect the hard work done by the Coalition forces to get some of the basics up and running again in Iraq. And by force of numbers they can bring some high degree of expertise to the situation. But very few of them have experts at 'turning around' situations from bad to good or even more. It is no disgrace to ask for that kind of help as there are very few individuals on this planet actually skilled at being a turn-around expert.

The foundations for the State of Iraq have been laid. It is time to bring in a construction crew that knows how to run out the vandals and ensure a good house is built upon those foundations.

22 February 2006

More notes from the hospital

A quickie: no bedsheet nor comforter nor any other part of a hospital bed makes a good mousing surface. Buy your own trackball and use it if you need to. Learned that two visits ago.

Also, hospitals buy in bulk for their IT equipment. Beware. More as I think of it... and curse the barely responsive shift key.

I would think that they would buy flexible and washable keyboards, but they just incinerate any that get contaminated. Figures.

Final update: Well, when I went to get my dual IVs placed... they were supposed to be AC (above the elbow) and after 6 attempts on the left side and incredible pain and discomfort (possibly due to scar tissue in the vein from a long-ago flourosceine angiography) the staff tried once on the right. The results were that the tube could be *threaded* after insertion into the vein, but then no blood draw... necessary for the tests. At 7 they stopped and said that was it, they gave up!

So thus ends my NIH study participation. I was profusely thanked and they understood the problems, and that these last tests were totally *voluntary*, but it was not worth trying again. So I am home now after two aspirin and much, much discomfort to the left arm.

I learned a lot and I may pass some of that on at a future point... until then...

Well, now onto the next stage of my life.

21 February 2006

Reforming the Intelligence Community

Count me as less than impressed with some parts of the Intelligence Community (IC) in the US.

First the End of the Soviet Union. The CIA cherry picks evidence across many reports and summarizes them to show that they were firmly in-touch with what was going on and even predicted major slowdown and instability. Color me less than impressed with a snippet here and a snippet there and extracts from larger documents. Strangely enough you didn't actually *hear* that sort of thing from the CIA at the time and that really influenced things. Many analyses and reports have been done on this, but, basically, one gets the feel that the 'Kremlinologists' were asleep at the wheel.

And then there is the whole 9/11 Commission report. Say what you will about the grandstanding of various members of it, the actual conclusions look to be valid and point to an endemic problem across the entire IC.

The CIA does not stand alone in the IC (hence it is a 'Community'), but what it is lacking is the first name in its Agency... Central. One would think that a Central Intelligence Agency would be the hub for all National Intelligence and serve as a grand synthesizer and analysis area to give a comprehensive view of the world. What one does not expect is for it to be an agency that is heavily wedded to spooks, spies and nefarious sources of information all on its lonesome. When the Agency was created it was an amalgam of the old OSS enhanced by clandestine operations and follow-up analysis. Somehow, the cachet of being on the clandestine side began to actually drive analysis in and of itself, and started staking out a bureaucratic 'turf' for the CIA. Mind you, this is true of all groups within the IC, each has turf to defend and their own agendas.

So turf-wars, Not-Invented Here syndrome and ignoring or running down non-traditional sources to one's own turf became the normal mode of operations during the Cold War. One could operate a system like that against an antagonist that stuck to the rules of warfare, had a relatively non-dynamic way of approaching the world and was, generally, not looking to turn a major portion of the planet into a wasteland to achieve its means. That sort of opponent was put down with the help of such bureaucracies, but now after that foe is gone, the bureaucracies remain the same. New opponents require a new way of looking at the IC as a *whole* and how Intelligence gets processed.

Individual organizations, such as the DIA, NSA and NGA, along with Departments of State, Justice and Treasury all have individual slices to add to the overall picture. Other Departments have individual branches or functions for economic, agricultural and other Intelligence which is currently not seen as an integrated whole of the IC, but play a critical role in setting context for Intelligence analysis. The CIA, however, has two distinct functions which the Executive branch needs to disambiguate: Clandestine and Covert Operations, and, Intelligence analysis.

To properly better define these functions and eliminate the cross-influence of them, requires that something like the old OSS be formed as a part of the US Special Forces, for doing the work of running spooks, spies and other such in foreign lands. By making such military based, they will fall under the UCMJ and make the Executive directly accountable for them. This will eliminate the awkwardness of a civilian agency, the CIA, from having a para-military arm and clearly define limits for what can and cannot be done in foreign lands as the Legislative branch sets up the UCMJ.

The other function of the CIA, that of Intelligence analysis, needs to be divorced from the *means* of getting Intelligence and concentrate on the actual job of analyzing the full spectrum of Intelligence. This will require a major change in the operations of all governmental groups currently having a part of the IC pie. So this new agency will have to have inroads and associations across the IC and be prepared to help organize and differentiate Intelligence needs via cross-Agency groups. This no longer becomes "Central" Intelligence but "Distributed" Intelligence and takes a direct lead from modern day networked individuals and groups doing ad-hoc Intelligence analysis via Open Source Intelligence (OSI).

This Full-Spectrum Distributed Intelligence analysis organization will have two major components:

  1. A lead group that reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence. This is an inter-organizational arm that helps co-ordinate Intelligence efforts and the need for policy and infrastructure across all groups contributing to the IC. Perforce it is directly accountable for using the Executive foreign policy and CinC goals and ensuring that proper means and methods for their ends are put in place. This will require major support from the NSA for setting IC policy, but also cross-organizational cooperation in running integrated research and development programs and in cross-training personnel. Setting new personnel policy to *reward* non-niche individuals who garner skills in many areas is absolutely necessary in the modern networked world. Without people who can *connect* dots, the dots will remain unconnected no matter how good any individual is within one niche. There will always be *experts* but they will be few and acknowledged within the IC as such.

  2. The main group is the cross-organizational IC Programs groups. This is the group that actually sets up and runs broad policy groupings which identify the needs of any individual program for Intelligence across the board. This group will generate the *requirements* that are passed to the DNI support group. Intelligence *needs* must match up with Executive policy and goals and that correlation is handled by the DNI support group. The Programs group does the hard job of actually *running* cross-organizational programs that allow players from the entire IC to have a role within any individual analysis effort. Everything from OSI to the most secure of Intelligence gathering must be allowable to such efforts if their program leads require it. The program leads, and it is plural, will be chaired by a member from this new organization, but will have members from all IC members that have a role to play. Some efforts will be very targeted, others will be quite broad in scope and there is no set way to handle such things without doing a winnowing and re-sizing from the beginning and periodically for each program.

  3. Finally, there is personnel expertise councils. The IC currently has no means or method for identifying expertise of individuals, categorizing them, validating them or of making a listing of who actually knows what. This grouping is probably the largest gap in the entire IC and without it, there can be no full-spectrum Intelligence analysis.
I propose the name of this organization to be Networked Intelligence Agency. It is currently a three letter acronym not taken for much of anything else *and* correctly describes the role of the Agency as that of properly Networking skills to needs and ensuring those needs match up with policy. Strangely enough, it will not be staffed by current CIA hierarchy as the directives of the NIA, as set out above, do *not* match that of the current CIA. Also, this will require a total re-thinking of the actual *uses* of Intelligence analysis that go beyond any single organization or program and require a high level of cross-talk necessary for a new IC to arise. Overtime individuals will find that moving from DoJ to State to Treasury will make their skills a valuable commodity as they will be able to talk in many frameworks with many connections. Currently this sort of thing is frowned upon because such individuals are seen either as *outsiders* or not *team players*.

Each organization having a slice of the IC pie will be required to set have positions on the boards running the expertise councils. They will set objective standards and means and methods to allow individuals to get trained in and practice work in those areas. This is a critical part of modern Full-Spectrum Analysis and is currently not a part of the IC picture. Each organization will be putting NIA goals and priorities *first* on their agendas and allowing personnel to work in the new networked Intelligence environment. That said each organization will also run traditional, narrow based analyses as they currently do, and pass up all requirements to the DNI so the NIA staff can ensure that any additional help from other organizations is made available and provided. Small group expertise will *always* be a mainstay of the IC, but those groups need not be co-located or even geographically close to operate. Synchronous and Asynchronous work groups are successfully run by such corporations as Boeing, SUN, Microsoft, and all the major oil companies, there is no reason for Intelligence analysis to *ever* rest on a topic.

The upshot of this will be a slow dispersion of individuals from geographically critical areas into more diverse locations that are still *connected* by modern day communications networks. Actual, physical meetings may, in point of fact, never happen unless individuals are close enough to do such face to face collaboration or a topic actually *requires* it. Secured and networked workplaces in smaller cities and towns will allow for a distribution of the IC in ways that will allow it a more continuous mode of operation and give a higher diversity of analysis and viewpoints than can be currently achieved.

To those who want a *dot connecting enabled environment*: it is time to stop complaining, stop passing the buck and talk to your Representative or Senator about it. Do *not* allow Federal agencies to do this for you as they are ill-equipped to do so. Why is education so bad if there is a Federal Agency for it? Why are subsidies and hand outs given to large agri-business from the Department of Agriculture? Why is the IRS *still* not automated? Why did the FBI *fail* in their updating and upgrading of computer systems?

Because bureaucracies are *chained* to outmoded rules and regulations and special interests, each wanting their part of the pie to themselves. THAT must end.

But only if you, the citizen, puts forth an idea or lobbies for the need to be addressed. And continues to do so and be a pest. Do *not* take a 'I will have my staff look into it' as an answer. Tell anyone who hands you that, that you will report daily on the internet or to news organizations until you *get* an answer.

The tools of the modern press are as cheap as a PC and internet connectivity and can be had for free at many libraries.

Or for a cup of coffee at an internet cafe.

Learn this.

This is what the modern opponents of civilization use to their ends.

They forget: this sword has two edges. And they are *not* prepared for the backslash.

15 February 2006

A note to Mr. Kaus, RE: Democratic party agenda

Dear Mr. Kaus,

I perused your latest prescription for the Democratic party today. Let me see if I can give a quick summary of each and the problems therein:

1) Let the American people believe that they are now *safe* and that the war on terror can be 'regularized' *just* like the Cold War.

The Cold War was a struggle against a nation that had the strange idea that Communism would be a really great idea for everyone, if they could only force it down their throats at the point of a gun. The nuclear standoff played into the diplomatic arena and allowed both sides of the struggle to keep things at a status quo so that the bulk of the world's northern hemisphere did not become a radioactive cinder. Even the worst of the Democrats believed in keeping that tension going so that they could then pass their domestic agenda.

Well there are a few stumbling blocks in this. First, and foremost, is that the foe in this struggle is not contained within a Nation state and, indeed, crosses international boundaries and does not respect them. Secondly, there is a sub-set of transnational terrorists that would be more than happy to leave most of the world a radioactive cinder if enough of their believers survived to take over what remains. Third, and finally, terrorists do not respect the rules and codes of war nor of Nation states nor of morality or ethics beyond their own. They cannot be bribed, subborned or conquered. What can be done is killing them before they strap on a bomb and kill themselves and more innocent people.

So perhaps you could ask the Democrats to Square the Circle, Trisect an angle and then Find a Cure for the Common Cold as each of these are just as likely to them coming up with a coherent response to transnational terrorism.

2) Change focus from foreign policy (where you don't have one) to domestic policy (where you don't have one).

So while the Democrats have the votes of those who believe that fighting terrorism is 'completely wrongheaded', I believe that you will find that those numbers are not growing and that, as Afghanistan and Iraq stand up as States trying to embrace democracy, that there will be fewer in the 'wrongheaded' camp and more in the 'if they don't like us, then we will kill them' camp. The Democrats had 8 long years to put together a coherent foreign policy that made the US and the world safer under Bill Clinton. That got us the 1993 WTC bombing, the African Embassy bombings, the USS Cole bombing, and an attempt to handle transnational terrorism via law enforcement and diplomacy.

Further, the Democrats attempted to bribe North Korea into not putting an industry together to create nuclear device and dissuade Pakistan from exporting their nuclear technology. That worked oh, so well, didn't it? We are living with that 'be nice or else nothing' approach and it got us: 9/11, flipping the Pakistani President, the uncovering of the Khan supply of plans and devices to foreign states, North Korea producing Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles and deciding to restart their nuclear industry before it became apparent that they were doing so through the Khan network, the Taliban harboring al Qaeda, and an intransigent Iraq that had Saddam Hussein trying to convince absolutely everyone that he had WMDs as a threat against them once sanctions were lifted.

What the Democrats have not done is demonstrated that they actually care or even know about transnational terrorism and have a program to effectively take the fight to them. And on that latter part, I also fault the Republicans. By reading in the MultiCulti, Transworld First, America is a Backwards Nation, Politically Correct crowd and reading out the Jacksonians the effect is that they are losing grip on the Southern and Western States and limiting their appeal to urban centers. They are becoming marginilized islands of blue in a sea of red. To gain back any sense of trust in that Red Sea that is America the Democratic party will actually have to stand up *for* being American FIRST. That party is apparently running out of people who actually believe in the country that they are being elected in.

3) Give the American people soothing words and keep on repeating "We were safe at 9/10. We were safe at 9/10." You are also suggesting that they give a fairly severe critique of the Bush Presidency.

Second note first here: They are doing that daily and show that they are not serious about understanding the Constitution, the Division of Power and the Balance of Power within the Constitution. Congressmen and Senators complain of not having warmaking powers when, in fact, they are present in Article I Section 8. No one can help it if they do not have the guts to actually *read* the document that they are sworn to protect.

And on the first note, please try to convince the American people that everything was just A-OK and hunky-dorey on 9/10 and that another 9/11 will *never* happen so long as we take the exact same approach as we did to get us to 9/10. For the Democrats to let the American People know "that Dems are the wacky, fringe, cultural boundary-pushing party of drugs, gay marriage, euthanasia, etc." is mistaken the Democratic party will actually need to have a 'Sister Souljah' year and read them all out of the party and convince people that they actually *do* stand for something besides handouts.

Unfortunately the Democratic party has gotten so fixated on being the opposite of anything that the Republicans or the Bush Administration stand for and do, that they are now marginalizing themselves completely from the rest of red state America.

I would enjoy it *very* much if the Democrats would not keep undercutting the spread of democracy in the Middle East. And I would love to have a Democratic party that actually realized that 'open borders' and 'sanctuary cities' are asking to have one of those 'sanctuary cities' suddenly become a ghost town, irradiated or a glassy bowl. And I would personally enjoy anyone within the Democratic party that would just come out and say 'It doesn't matter if you are Democrat or Republican, this nation's politics stops at its shores. We stand united in this struggle to protect the country and eliminate transnational terrorism from the globe.'

So far, I don't see anyone within that party that has the backbone to come to terms with any of that, save Joe Lieberman and Zell Miller. Unfortunately the only Jacksonians left in the party are those that follow Jesse, not Andy or Scoop. And Jesse just doesn't seem to like American red in his rainbow, only the Communist kind.

I would, personally, like a two party system. We seem to be heading to a ZERO party system these days.

So, perhaps you should ask the Democrats to join us in the same space-time continuum, first and then to adjust to the real 'reality' instead of what they would love it to be.


A Jacksonian

Today, cartoons! Tomorrow, the WORLD!

Well, we are by now all familiar with the 'Cartoon Controversy'! And the underhandedness of adding a French Pig Party to it! I mean, couldn't they even find a way to get a Danish Pig Party into things? Strangely enough this has led to support of little Denmark, which once ruled much of the area around the North Sea. And even a few (so few) Frenchmen recognize how important this is! Dear me, but something got a few Frenchmen to go out and demonstrate *for* something European? Wonders will never cease! But the Muslim vehement community has decided to not stop at just that, heaven's no! Now their sites are set on anything that is just the least bit offensive to them, and they are so short-sighted in their perspective that we are finding that the list is very, very long indeed. Too bad so many PC groups are caving into this. Perhaps they need to have a complaint box to hear about how some in the rest of the world feel about things.

After railing at mere cartoons they have decided to go after British humor! Now while others might blush a bit at such things, sex jokes are a staple of the British character, and some of them are quite funny characters indeed!

Anti-Jew jokes, however, have been so rife that they don't need linkage. Well, one.

Deciding to denounce Valentine's Day is just... well... asinine.

Now doing a photoshop of the Danish Queen is just humorous, not offensive, and even *she* may have gotten a chuckle from it. She should *wish* for such a body!

And then, they have the temerity to go after the Good Colonel Sanders!!

But when you start to attack good old Mickey D! Well, now THAT is serious!

To Moderate Muslims, if you exist: If you do not start speaking up for yourselves, the 5.3 billion or so people who are not Muslims on this planet will start to see that what is going on IS Islam. And if what those folks who are absolutely clueless about the modern world *want* is confrontation... then do try to remember the Reconquista. And enough leftists are saying that the USA is an Empire, I would not be surprised to see an emblem of SPQR. And maybe add in the path of Alexander, to boot.

And do remember that the United States is prepared to fight a 10 front war. So long as 8 of them are nuclear. Actually, a few thousand front war, in that case.

Cartoons are one thing. But McDonalds? "Them's fighting words!"

13 February 2006

Read them! I weep...

Two alternative universes come out with new books, and I weep for my inability to follow a story...

In the Belisarius Series: The Dance of Time. This should be the capstone to that universe, with any luck.

In the 1632 Series: 1634: The Ram Rebellion. In the continuation of the people of a small West Virginia town transported back in time to a duplicate of our universe in 1632. The saga of change and liberty and ingenuity continues... forever onwards supported by tens if not hundreds of readers *contributing* to it. A small town from 1999 sent to Thuringia in 1632... what would you do? What could you do? And what happens from there on out?

Two universes denied to me, now.

Read for me... start at the beginning... these are two of the BEST alternative history series around. I can not plough through even a short story now... I loved these two worlds...

I weep in this land twixt sleep and wakefulness... that some dreams I can no longer have.

To FEMA, RE: WTC video and image capture

To the folks at FEMA who make decisions on such things:

Well, you folks have definitely stepped in it with the non-delivery of the WTC timeline images (h/t Michelle Malkin, Steve Janke). Now, perhaps it is just me, but I seem to remember that there was always a number of hoops to jump through before spending Federal Funds, be they Grant or Contract.

The very, very first, unless it was a Congressionally Directed Action (CDA or 'Earmark', aka Pork) is that you unless the language explicitly stated that you 'shall' use a company or individual to do work, you are required (even with the 'shall' language) to demonstrate that the recipient chosen has the necessary credentials and proper payment schema for the work involved. With what has happened here, the Contracting Officer, I suspect, is in very hot water, indeed.

Second, even if there is money available for a Contract, one must ask if there is a cheaper way to do the work without having to pay out the funds. Now, far be it from me to point out Federal Agencies that have many, many skilled photographers that would have been honored to work Temporary Duty (TDY) in NYC to do this work. I mean you must have decided that the FBI, CIA, Dept. of Agriculture, many civilian branches of DoD, DEA, and even, I bet, the video and materials production people in YOUR OWN AGENCY could have done the work at far, far less cost and would have been happy to have served and just gotten COPIES of their work. PLUS the aforementioned Federal Agencies would have also PRODUCED or helped to produce final productions that would have been informative. I mean all of you folks traipse stuff before Congress endlessly, and if you can produce material for their needs making something for the public should not be difficult at all.

Third, who was the Contracts Officer that let either a Contract or a Grant go without the necessary Copyright language in it to require that there is Government Ownership of all goods paid for? Yes, there are numerous clauses and such, but I do bet that your Agency has done similar in the past with other disasters and should have a stock set of paragraphs to bundle into the verbiage.

Finally, I bet that you had a pre-set procedure for describing and vetting individuals and groups that do such work and reviewed proposals against same. Didn't you? If you didn't, then your entire Contracts and Grants folks will be seeing the Inspector General from your Agency and if they find documents *missing*... there is always plenty of space for people left in Pen for more bodies to turn big rocks into small rocks. That is *after* repaying the funds to the Government, which I can bet at the pay scale of your Contracts Officer will be the equivalent of putting them into bankruptcy.

You folks get a main course in contracting, and I bet you get refresher courses every two years and annual ethics and legal retraining. And the Contracting Officer, I further bet, gets months of courses in how to properly account for Federal funds. In fact, I *know* you do, it is a sure bet. And the Contracting Officer Technical Reprisentative is, I bet, also going to be facing some stiff penalties in all of this. And that individual had to go through the annual dance, too.

So the next time you need to spend long-term money, I will bet you will follow the rules a bit more. I am sure that your new Boss and DHS is not pleased with this, Katrina and all the other work that has gone on the past year or so. They are left holding the bag. And that bag will be sent to the DoJ if the IG isn't already working on it.

Remember, next time you need stills and video shot, are given money to allocate for it, please, *please* contact other Federal Agencies that work in that area. Dept of the Interior has so many people able to do such it is not funny. Similarly Dept of Justice, who could have given you not only well done but forensically important images. Same with DoD, especially those groups that have done bomb-site analysis. REALLY and FOR TRUE. Trusted Federal employees with skills working for the mere pittance of TDY to serve their country.

You have slapped all of them in the face with this.

I hope all those involved are punished to the fullest extent possible of the law.


A Jacksonian