Saturday, August 31, 2019

got your heart hanging

We all know and love the Hearts And Minds military axiom. Essentially it states that Soft Power is a necessity. You must fight for support of the conquered people, and your own citizens, as non-cooperation will hand you defeat. Winning Hearts And Minds was the US occupying Britain even though she was an Allie and never had to be liberated. Winning was shooting up the whole country and then being treated as liberators in Italy. Or, abandoning the Philippines without so much as a Kiss My Ass, then being their saviors a few years later ( MacArthur was a huge dingus ) .
Screwing up Hearts And Minds was the whole Vietnam War outside a few experiments that were successful and hence unacceptable to the bureaucrats. Not winning was Iraq. We have been Not Winning since the fall of the Soviet Union, so inept we cannot even hide our naked greed and embarrassing fear ( individual valor on the ground is distant from geopolitics. Don't confuse the two ). Just as a comedian needs a Straight Man to be funnier, we needed a villain to soften our harder edges. Not content with the Sole Superpower debacle, we then turned on our own population.
There are still plenty of Useful Idiots waving the flag so vigorously that someone is going to lose an eye ( which almost seems to me to be a form of Self Victimizing we taunt the Left for. “Oh, look how patriotic I am! Why, I'm Super Ultra Patriot! Oh, no, Mr. Bill, nooooooo...” How do you explain the gov you love screwing you? You are supportive and loyal and don't deserve being a victim, unlike those pussies who think being Black or female or a faggot signal victimhood. Why, I'm the only one deserving of being acknowledged as wronged! )
If anyone here is confused, the government hates ALL of you. They are equal opportunity haters. Race nor gender nor age matters to them. Stop fighting to see who is more of a victim. It's embarrassing. All in all I think it fair to say that nobody in our government knows about winning hearts and minds anymore. I don't think they have the luxury of that being an option. At first, ignoring public perception was obviously a consequence of a Poor Winner glorying in his victory ( it was Slick Willie at the helm, what did you expect? A Southern nerd with a wife who pickled his testicles, of course he is going to act out )
Then it became a power grab to forestall Peak Oil ( I won't berate my minions for refusing to tremble at fear over Peak Oil [ cough, Fracking Fools, cough ], but I want you to contemplate that government bureaucrats figured it out twenty years ago. Do you feel outclassed by civil servants? ). There was little time to waste, as we had to secure failing resources pronto. The squishy feeling stuff could wait. Well, by the time we secured the oil fields, then we had to deal with the economics of the situation.
So by now, the institutional memory has forgotten all about Soft Power. Not that they have the luxury of reinstating the policy. If you aren't rock solid aware our economy is exponentially worse off than a decade ago, and falling just as fast as the crash of Lehman's Brothers, you will be in for a very unpleasant surprise. The Powers That Be are scrambling about looking for a nice and easy fix like they had the last time and, well, good luck with that.
Now, obviously, we can all see the negative consequences of ignoring the necessity of Soft Power. When you don't even pretend that you'll cut other folks in on the profits, when you don't even pretend other countries are more than a colony to be exploited, then you see coalitions formed against you. You see former allies failing to cooperate, or even failing to hide the fact they are joining your enemies. Now, nobody sees you as a necessary evil, but rather just simply evil. Soft Power helps and it pays rather than costs.
But as I said, abandoning Hearts And Minds is just another example of eating into your seed corn. You can describe it as being greedy and stupid, but first and foremost it is a necessity dictated by falling resource availability. For instance, today we have JIT Inventory, not because it is better but because we MUST. In the military realm, we don't have enough resources for war fighting AND peace making. So we JUST concentrate on blowing stuff up. You do realize it isn't JUST about money, right? We can print up as much as we need, but ores and energy and stuff cannot to pulled from ones rectum.
At one time, we had the industrial capacity to rebuild continents after world wars, the excess food to feed them as we were rebuilding, and the merchant fleet to move everything over there. What do we have now? FedEx and corn for ethanol. Whoopy Pickles. We didn't surrender all that because we wanted to. It was because we had to. Needs be as needs must. It is as simple as recognizing reality through the fog of hubris and wishful thinking ( cough, Fracking Fans, cough ).
So, having first hand lived through a lack of any concern given towards Winning Hearts And Minds, we understand the negative aspects of this. Even as we understand it could not have been any other way. But here is my point, right about the end of the article ( we might be running out of resources, but only the sweet release of death will see the end of surplus hot air on my part ). Even knowing about Soft Power, SHOULD you exercise it even if you have the means? I'm going to discuss this. Tomorrow. When ignoring Soft Power becomes a necessity not for lack of resources but because of strategic considerations.
( .Y. )
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  1. Good depth and breadth to your articles Jim. Your advancing professionally in your trade.

    Just a soft power parallel. The Veteran's cult that I am a member of by time served is a built up institution post 'Nam, as a reflexive adaptation to the political animal, funding, legislative, government services rendered, quantity or quality, etc. Those Vets and big green line family - boosters have elevated the Vet stature (deservedly post 'Nam to reaffirm service and personal dignity) to fight harder than the worstest Marine beach landings for the cut of resources and attention from the government and society writ large systems. It is no different then the gray haired lobby that has AARP organizations use "K" street lobby to sandbag congress to not F-up with social security or medicare. Much soft power had to be expended post 'Nam to help those aging out vets, as well as chewed up Sand Box vets, to help the optics of it all and to pre pay out suppression of dissent, unrest or lash outs. That is the cost of doing business. My personal soft power is costwise cheap, to keep me on the porch. I am non working on the edge of society. (It is nice, actually) I had to use V.A. medical as an obamacare screwover backstop, and "earned my bones" for a small by standards disability stipend to prevent homelessness and starvation. So that soft power locally on indigenous tribe members is money well spent. Trump admin gets it, funding up and cleaning clockworks within the V.A. versus Obama etc. My take, pay up on those that pose real deal threats to your power. Then go ahead and suppress and crush those fake news noisy takers (modern examples abound) that are way softer sissy wussies and undeserving of even soft power. Just saying.

  2. Brilliant Jim. If one was to quantify all of the ways of soft power methodologies utilized by government/powers and it's boxcar upon boxcar entourage organizations there is a whole steamer chest full of tools to use or withhold from any individual, small group, or the largest macro sized entity. The throwing around cash like a navy fleet port of call, or no funding and unreturned phone calls or request for alms for the poor can really upset some apple cart operations, bigly when "it" (soft power payments, supportive help outs) is it's reason for existence or continuance in the first order. There is much to learn from Jim's tutelage, as any Minionite may hold sway of soft power. Thus they will be a most judicious executor of soft power as a Lord or Baron upon their holdings within the Bisonia empire. Just saying.

  3. Its all not even real money-its digits! Digital nirvana.

    1. Digits, there it is. Deficits and borrowing with no payback demands beyond interest upon that paper kicks any soft power payouts ramifaction's can down the road. So for 20-30 years or so, keep the good times rolling. Where is that soft power gibs line queing up? Sign us all up! We're entitled to some of them, damnit!

    2. I'd call those good times starting down at Tech Wreck 1999. Oopsie! Not much time left ( and for anyone thinking we have another 10-as stated 10 to 20-recall that the pace accelerated in 2008, big time. Ate into that surplus ten years )

  4. C'mon Jim!
    1) You think JIT is some desperate "Hail, Mary"? You think adoption of JIT is a sign of faltering systems?
    2) You think peacemaking is the purview of .mil?

    "For instance, today we have JIT Inventory, not because it is better but because we MUST. In the military realm, we don't have enough resources for war fighting AND peace making. So we JUST concentrate on blowing stuff up."

    JIT is a great,effective tool to help reduce expense. Why should I, a manufacturer in the computer/mass comms age, have some mega sized warehouse full of inventory just in case I need extra merchandise?
    The smart thing is to use my superior brains, computing power and instant comms to determine exact amt of inventory needed 97.5% of time. Keeping unneeded stock costs me interest and all associated cost of a big warehouse.
    Under your line of illogic humans should have stuck the fireplaces (or campfires) rather than inventing woodstoves...or should stick with woodstoves rather than nuke powered electtric stovel or God forbid frack gas powered ovens. Holy crap we even use microwave ovens !!! Oh the horror.
    Its called progress, Jim ( w/ lower case "p", so as to differentiate from the AOC democrats).

    Second, .mil is screwed up because the O-6 and above guys forgot their job #1 is to "deny the enemy the ability to wage war against you" (paraphrase Sun Tsu). Too damn many War College "smart guys" imho.

    Find the enemy, prevent him from moving, and then utterly destroy him.
    War of extermination. Time to go all Old Testament on his ass.
    Enough of this crap of listening to a school marm guest lecturer tell an O-4/5 he should drill water wells in the Hindu Kush when he rotates through to get his ticket punched.
    .Mil isn't a social service agency. Neither in garrison nor in the field.

    Last piece of love to send....Kenya exported first load of domestically produced crude this past week.
    200K bbls bound for China.
    Took them a year to truck the oil to Mombassa port as neither pipeline or rail crude tank available, yet. Yeah, it was intended as a publicity stunt but over 200 MM bbls of reserves expected out of ground in next 15 years. I doubt Kenya (or Chinese) will build refinery there...that work will be done in Jeddah or Abu Dhabi.
    Obama probably cashing his royalty check next week. Lol.

    1. On a personal level, JIT is ONLY done to save money. In 1999 Wal-Mart carried three times the inventory on the shelf ( I have no exact numbers-it was substantially more ) as it does in 2019. They always had what you wanted there, not so now. More selection. Why would they stop doing so? They trade lost sales so they lose less in inventory because sales are down and costs are up. Looking at it this way, no issues. Looking at it from a macro viewpoint, the store able to provide much more would win sales. Just exactly what made Wally successful. Now they can't do so, at the very time interest rates are much lower ( less cost on loans to buy inventory ). You could blame all this on a failing global economy. Less sales, less wages, etc. I do NOT, because per capita energy has been decreasing since 1979. You don't shrink the available energy for forty years and tell me there isn't LESS available. And Sweet Baby Jesus, each new oil field isn't going to save the Oil Age. FIFTY years ago oil discovery peaked. For about a decade we are finding less than we are using, every year. Over half the producing countries were past Peak Oil some time ago. I'm sorry, High Tech will not save us. It only is a way to use less energy ( a computer instead of a press room, a computer instead of a phone operator ). Just because it saves money doesn't mean that money isn't representing energy.

    2. "....because per capita energy has been decreasing since 1979"

      Per capita oil use is decreasing because....maybe we are more EFFICIENT???
      Being efficient is not a failure or weakness. Just means we have a better solution for "X" amount of inputs.
      Efficiency is due to better IDEAS!

      Don't mean to Mau Mau you but doing better with less is a really good thing. I can divert some previous used resource to another project. I don't have to burn the whole log in a I have a more efficient stove using 1/2 wood for same BTUs...the unburned wood is transformed into a rocking chair or a cabinet. In economic terms, I have increased the "utility" of the log.

      As for Wal-Mart and their lack of shelf stocking...they just don't care and they don't NEED to care. They destroyed the mom & pop stores in the rural and exurban zones they originally targeted in '80s. Wal-Mart has almost zero brick & mortar competition left.
      They have run out of ideas and purpose. Wal-Mart feels they no longer have to pander to you.

      They will falter and die in due time.

      All business sectors "age out" of their success pinnacle until a new "spin" revitalizes it. Wal-Mart has aged has Sears....and Monkey Wards...Toys'R'Us.
      AMAZON is approaching zenith with truck deliveries.
      If it comes to fruition, drone deliveries of some high profit items will push their time horizon out a bit further.

      Wal-Mart is in the "mature" phase of their biz sector's life cycle.
      If you want unlimited choice and are willing to wait a day use AMAZON.

      In my part of the world you see previously "go-getter" ranchers who were daring and smart working guys in their younger days. They made money in up mkts and down mkts. They were a success just using spit and baling wire.....
      But you know they are just about finished when you start to see them put in fancy board fences and impressive stone/brick front gate "landscaping" or when they become breeders of pure bred stock. Things that yield zero profit.
      You see them buy $60k F250 trucks just to drive around in.

      Those are the tell tale signs they have run out of ideas. They are consuming past profits and spending on dead end crap.
      It's like Wal-Mart.

    3. "Per capita oil use is decreasing because....maybe we are more EFFICIENT???" That is not how civilizations use their resources. Increased population means more people using resources. You can only increase efficiency to a certain point, then your population surpasses that. Then you are back to shortages. Your example of burning half the log and making the other a chair? That is how energy ( NOT just oil, ALL energy-which is why increasingly desperate hydro power projects are built, is in decline per capita ) is used. If you only need half a barrel now to manufacture a widget, someone else will STILL use the second half to build a new and improved model 2 widget so that they too may get a profit. Excess energy will always be consumed because it is wealth. Energy is money. Your question postulates that people voluntarily give up an increased standard of living.
      I agree with you on Wal-Mart. Yes, they killed off competition and then got old ( I love the rancher analogy ). But what is stopping the competition from starting up again? Probably rents ( banker manipulated ). That is the only reason Amazon is having any success-not because they are Better Tech. Because McScrooge doesn't have a big enough pile of gold. Onsies and twosies by UPS truck is a VERY inefficient way to move consumer goods ( I won't get into Amazon giving away profit on that shipping because their profits are CIA/NSA spying ).

  5. Yes. At like 21 trillion debt, (it is stupidly astronomical in quantified numeral unit amounts) what is the point of caring a rat's ass anymore. They are bantering about a term of a QUADRILLION as a financial unit of measure. Maybe Nemo, this is just Matrix ones and zeros blue screen, and your software upgrade is just still pending. Stand by to Stand by.

    Stay Frosty.

    1. We just passed 22 Trillion, and it doesn't even register with anyone anymore.

  6. I enjoyed that 'Apacolypse Short' movie, it wasn't bad at all.

  7. I have a peak oil update for this month. I started to write it last October, but then research failed to support my post, so I shelved it, but now I think I have enough data. Yes, this is a tease.