1) You are a victim but have personal responsibility for what happens to you.
2) America is not capitalist or socialist. We are and always have been, somewhere in between. And that position is fluid and is ever changing.
3) The Republican and Democrat parties are not universally theme based. Historically, they were arguably the opposite of what they are considered now. Thus, it is highly likely, in the future they will also be reversed. Therefore, be careful to who you pledge allegiance to.
4) You are privileged and quite possibly victimized by someone with more privilege. Someone always has more and less privilege than you. Privilege is relative.
5) Poverty does not exist as we know it, because for 99% of history people existed without bank accounts, credit cards and social welfare benefits. You just farmed and bartered.
6) Someone having more wealth than you does not equal your lack of wealth. Insinuating such makes you the greedy materialist not them.
7) You are living in the most peaceful time in all of known recorded history.
8) You are living in the wealthiest time in all of recorded history.
9) You are living in the most equitable time in all of recorded history.
10) Most situations are not evil conspiracies, but ineptitude, subsequently covered up my Public Relations shame.
11) People at all levels, from individuals to governments conspire daily to achieve their goals. If you and your partner decide to come up with a “white lie” to avoid a dinner party, you are in conspiracy.
12) Western women are the greatest threat to Western Women.
13) The United States is the least bigoted nation in all of history.
14) The United States is the most diverse nation in all of history.
15) No one is indigenous to land. Someone was always there before.
16) Race is a construct, and most racial paradigms would crumble upon DNA testing. We are all one people, and our ancestors had sex with everyone including Neanderthals, and other non-homosapien beings. This DNA is still with us. Thus we are all biracial.
17) Diversity is ideal but has massive vulnerabilities.
18) Democracy is ideal but has massive vulnerabilities. Namely the fact that the vast majority of humans are uneducated mob-mentality morons who would kill if it was in the air.
19) Authoritarianism is not enjoyable nor ideal, but has a proper time and place to raise a society to its next level of freedom and prosperity. See Singapore.
20) Some cultures are far more efficient and equitable than others.
21) There is no universal morality. What is morally right in one place and time is not morally right in another place and time.
22) We are likely the most technologically advanced society in all of earth’s history. However, we are unlikely not the most advanced.
23) Our politicians reflect our politic. We get the politicians we deserve.
24) Governance is a delicate balance between freedom and security. Both extreme versions are terrifying.
25) You are going to die one day and your name will never be spoken again. You will vanish from history no matter how many Social Media followers you have. Your ancestors will not know of you, despite your contributions.
1) You are a victim but have personal responsibility for what happens to you.
The National Security Implications of Leaving Afghans Behind
The humanitarian situation in Afghanistan is one thing. It speaks for itself. But the implications to Americans from it, is massive. It is one element that is crucially being ignored by the US Government (Publicly) and the US media. Former employees and contractors of the US Embassy, US Military bases, US Intelligence and US non-profits are prime intelligence targets for the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and Iranian Intelligence.
I hesitate to note the vulnerabilities here to avoid facilitating adversarial advances, but I hope that this will lead to further action by the USG to evacuate SIV/P1/P2/P3 applicants, to avoid this. The specific placement, access and motivation of the local Afghan nationals who have worked for the USG put them in specific situation that makes them not only targets of reprisal, but also bonanzas for intelligence collection.
The results of this will lead to USG adversaries torturing, interrogating, and manipulating – to include sensitive site exploitation (digital and document extraction – our former allies to provide full biographical data and identifies on all former co-workers. This alone will provide a fiesta of data that is the gift that keeps on giving. Each lead will lend itself to another lead, and another, and another.
Once all elements of the network are completed, the adversarial extraction of information will multiply. The ability to process and analyze this data to make it applicable is unlimited. In short order, the United States’ greatest adversaries will be able to fabricate – in detail – the following demographics:
- All US personnel almost-ever in Afghanistan. All passport and visa information of all US staff – Soldiers, Diplomats, Spooks, etc., are now at the mercy of the Taliban and whomever they opt to share or sell the data with. The Taliban now own all Afghan border information. They literally have my iris scans, fingerprints and passport data.
- The biographical data, and personal information of every US staff member connected with Afghan local staff. Facebook profiles, phone numbers, emails, LinkedIn profiles and professional histories, full names, etc. Keep in mind, we are friends with these people and have signed off with signatures and contact information on all their paperwork.
- The TTPs (Tactics, Techniques and Protocols) for US military Base and US Embassy access. The people we left behind know the word-by-word polygraph procedures for gaining entry to our military, diplomatic and intelligence facilities. They know our security protocols, applications details, and database methods. They not only know this information that is now available to the Taliban but is now up for the highest bidders such as China, Russia, North Korea and Iran – not to mention affiliate terrorist groups such as Haqqani, Al Qaeda and ISIS.
Information does not stagnate in these circles. It sells, spreads, and grows. In short order, it will be in the hands of China – whom already has US full data on all individuals who have Security Clearances since the early 2000’s, to which they can cross-reference it. Couple this with data available on the open market for a fraction of the cost of a nation state – that includes data-leaks of Experian, Marriott, and airline data – that has all been hacked.
There is nothing to stop a letter showing up at my mother’s door threatening her if I do not cease and desist my work. There is nothing to stop me from being pulled into “secondary screening” in any number of countries that will soon have access to this data. There is nothing to stop my closest Afghan allies to be interrogated until they give up my biographical data, personal email, physical description, and professional title.
Thus, limiting my ability to ever travel abroad to anywhere but Western Europe, for example. Additionally, every single military, diplomatic and intelligence post around the world is now compromised with the key details on how to gain employment within, while surpassing Vetting and Investigative obstacles to protect our assets abroad.
None of this speaks to the fact that the Taliban reportedly have access to our biometric databases that identify our Afghan partners. To be clear – in many cases, our Afghan partners were not far off interpreters, but in may cases, embedded within the core of our diplomatic, intelligence and military units. Leaving these people behind is akin to leaving Americans with security clearances being at the mercy of Taliban interrogators.
Afghanistan is not some far off place with no relevance. Afghanistan is here – in America – at home. It is closer to you than your television. Leaving these people behind is a “grave national security violation” that will haunt us for decades to come.
I have been following to some degree the follow up of the breakdown in communication during the 6JAN Capitol riot. Which is something I think few people do – follow up on events. Some takeaways so far I think are critical.
1) There is significant lack of transparency with reporting and delays. And it is not subtle. Within the Capital Police chain of command we have on record, two people claiming two different narratives, with an hour gap difference. Like blatantly conflicting each other during testimony. This hour gap in effect, was the entire core of the event and two leaders disagree on who reported/requested what, and when.
2) Organizational blaming is rampant in this between Capitol Police, DOD and FBI and DHS, etc. Circular back and forth who sent what email when and how was it highlighted or not highlighted. That lack of clarity at the organizational level is merely an amplified version of the individual level noted above and further muddies the truth of what happened that day.
3) It is fascinating to see how America as a whole seems to shift blame around depending on the incident. After 9-11-01, there was ample blame placed on the USG – namely the Intel Community. It was so much so, that it seemed the actual attackers were not blamed but the victim was blamed. Ironically, following the 6JAN attack, we saw the opposite. The attackers were blamed but no one put any responsibility on those responsible for creating such a vulnerable target. This is more of a critique of America’s Blame Culture, however. One where the purpose of analysis is not on truth or future prevention or even accountability, but scapegoating an easy target to make evil. Responsibility thus is not on anyone if you can find the enemy to blame. But real world dynamics do not operate like that. Blame is not a real thing, but in fact a complex combination of opportunity and intent.
4) As we can see with this article, DOD was highly hesitant to involve themselves with domestic issues, due to the blowback they got from the Summer 2020 unrest – mostly BLM and ANTIFA. So keep in mind, when you critique a response to one side, you are influencing the future response to the otherside. Instead of taking that responsibility, the folks who created that situation instead, used their own result as a further attack “why was there no crack down on 6JAN as there was on BLM?! Clearly this is racism!” No, this is the result of what you get when you put the respondent under public scrutiny:
“Robert G. Salesses, the Pentagon’s acting assistant secretary for homeland defense and global security, testified that defense officials’ tight control over the response to the Capitol — and reluctance to issue quick approvals — was shaped by controversy they faced in responding to civil unrest surrounding racial-justice protests last year.https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/capitol-riot-hearing/2021/03/02/a4867a48-7b81-11eb-85cd-9b7fa90c8873_story.html
“The memo was unusual in that . . . it required me to seek authorization from the secretary of the Army and the secretary of defense to essentially even protect my Guardsmen,” Walker said.
“Free Market” is not a carte blanche thing that can be thrown around when we do not live in a free market economy. I know this whole “they are a private company” thing is always the retort for crazy right wing trumpers pissed their qanon memes get blocked or noted with a warning. Totally get it.
It is especially funny when it comes from that camp of right-wing trump dudes decrying commie threats all the time. I scoff at that too. Like hey bud, you cannot complain about socialism while also complaining about free market private company decisions. That works in the paradigm of this vs. that, in a vacuum.
But that is not how it works in reality. In reality, USG has its hand in free market a massive amount. The best example is the anti-trust case against FB now. If the USG – and as such the will of the people, in theory – can demand FB cannot be a monopoly or engage in nefarious activities, then the same is true for how they respond to freedom of speech.
In fact, the latter of those two is more important I reckon. Every company in this “Free market” economy is bound by city, county, state, federal and international laws. That alone means it is not an *absolute* free market. So dropping “private company” and “Free market” is not some panacea as answer to complaints of potential violations of freedom of speech (as theory or law) or biased implementation of such.
The inconsistent application of rules by FB, et al, but FB mostly, is non-negotiable. I have seen it a bunch of times, and tested it out. And my assessment is that it does lean left. I am not saying far left, but definitely a bit over the line. Additionally, even if it is not inconsistent, it is still inaccurate. My two hits for Hate Speech is solid evidence of that. That inaccuracy is evidence enough to warrant a change in the application.
Even if we were to wipe away the paragraphs above. And let us just say that their application is not biased, and they are a private company so whatevs. Even with that, I would posit that like cigarette ads, FOSTA, SESTA, etc, that the USG and thus the people, have determined that in some cases, the invisible hand needs to be visible.
In the case of internet stuff versus such as a bakery for example, these platforms have ceased to be voluntary platforms. There are jobs you cannot apply to without LinkedIn. Logging into legitimate accounts needed, are often bias towards using your Google or Facebook to login. There are places that do not accept cash. And there is a thin line thus, between having 2 options (Credit/Debit and Apply/Google Pay) and having 1 – Apple/Google.
These internet platforms such as Facebook, Google, Wikipedia, Airbnb, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc have surpassed convenience and though are not totally in the necessity column, they are on the cusp, with some in one column and some in the other. And soon, they will all be in the necessity column. There likely will always some recourse to operate off grid, but we all know, that is 1,000 times more difficult to do.
Additionally, when I posited my Microsoft banning people for using blacklisted terms, like Facebook and Twitter, and got some blow back on it, that blow back missed the point.
Remember when Google Plus existed. Imagine if it was successful and you had the same situation with Facebook. But Google hosts more needed things – like email. And now you are banned from your email. Totally within their rights. There is nothing that says Microsoft cannot ban you from using words in Word on your own computer.
Sure, you can argue that you paid for it, but people already pay for Facebook and Twitter via their data, for solo private accounts, and via paying for ads as an example for business accounts. And, Parler surely paid Amazon for their services and got kicked off. So the idea of paying for a service as a way to negate them to block or ban you for violating their T&S is false.
Additionally, one can argue that you need to read the T&S. Well, WhatsApp just changed theirs. So that logic is false too, because they change ALL THE TIME. And if you are invested in that platform as a individual or business it is very difficult to uninvest. People have built entire business models off of these platforms. Shit, I have had start ups go to shit because of T&S or API changes. If I got banned from Facebook total, I would be fucked. Messenger is my primary communication tool. And that includes work stuff often.
Airbnb just blocked nearly every reservation in DC because they are trying to avoid violent protesters from coming. Only if you have a long term stay or medical need can you come. Well, shit, what about homeless brandon? Now I am fucked. And what if I got on Facebook and began to complain about that while living in my care. And Facebook is how I share a GoFundMe to pay for a hotel room for myself? Then Facebook bans me because I used colorful language in my “Friends Only” post or sub-comments and now I am truly fucked.
So no, “Free Market” and “private company” is absolute bullshit. These platforms have spent billions ensuring their product and services replace original ones. They are no longer only private companies. They are crossing over into public goods – and that was their choice, and perhaps, they need to regulated as such when it comes to socio-political bias, because they already are regulated in every other way.
This was the worst coup ever.
The only shot fired was by a Capital Police Officer that killed a female protestor. One non-protester was killed, after the fact from injuries sustained during the event. Two people died from ancillary medical issues, likely due to stress and fear from the event, one person died because they accidently tased themselves during the event and thus had a heart attack.
Two pipe bombs were found – not at the Capitol Building but located at the Republican and Democrat Headquarters. Molotov cocktails were found also – again not at the capital but inside the vehicle of one protestor. Reportedly a man with a “long gun” entered the building. A long gun. Not a handgun, not an “assault rifle” and not an easily concealed MP5. Not a weapon that is easily concealed, and not a weapon that can fire rapidly at multiple politicians or security staff, nor a weapon that can easily reload, nor a weapon that is effective at close quarters combat. No, a long gun. Literally the worst weapon you can imagine to conduct a coup in this situation.
Incitement of Violence
Trump conducted a 4 hour long “Save America Rally” before the event. During the rally multiple people spoke. The closest thing to inciting violence was when Giuliani utilized the phrase “trial by combat.” Trump himself referenced marching to the Capitol Building 3 times. One of those times he added qualifiers to it, when he stated, “everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.”
Despite this, Trump was immediately accused of telling, directing, ordering and motivating his supporters to go to the Capitol Building and attack them violently. Additionally, the narrative consistently refers to the event as a terrorist attack, coup, attempted assassination. These are strong words that have strong meanings.
Screaming protesters can be extremely dangerous. Unlike smaller groups or individuals, once in a mob – the larger it is, the more dangerous they can be. I would fear for my life if I believed an angry screaming mob wanted to harm or kill me. In fact, I have. One year before this event, I was at the US Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq.
This was a siege that was directed by Iran, and the thousands of “protesters” held the compound hostage for ~13 hours before a show of force arrived and the majority of the protestors departed. During this event, the attackers broke through the gates, and burnt down the gate guard buildings, while throwing Molotov cocktails and rocks at the walls, cameras and over the walls. This was a terrorist attack. It was well thought out, strategic and had a logical intent.
The voting would have led to one of two outcomes. First, a review of votes, that may lean to towards Trump winning. Second, Trump not winning. For probability, there was a 50% chance Biden would win. And the other 50% that either Biden would win, or Trump would win. Trump’s best chance of winning was to let the vote play out, and hope that his own Vice President and his supporters in Congress would agree to a review of the votes.
Trump had already faced impeachment once and knows he is the prime target of most domestic and many international, elements in the media and most of the political establishment – it has been his mantra since day one. It stands to reason that there is no doubt, that if Trump performed anything additionally significant to his current course of action of demanding recounts, that he would be targeted further.
If the options are to 1) direct a coup and become further a pariah in the last minute, that will without question not succeed in changing the vote outcome and potentially land him in jail or impeached; or 2) let the vote review continue, where he has supporters inside and could actually win; the first option is the opposite of what he supposedly wants.
In full disclosure, there are an additional two potential options that are outside of rational logic. Option 3 – he internationally incited the event, in hopes that it would lead to a national security emergency where most of the US government leadership is murdered or incapacitated, and Trump can somehow declare a domestic war against his own people and somehow manage to stay in power a bit longer. If this is the case, then Trump’s massive conspiracy to stage a coup, with a headpiece sporting a horned helmet and face-paint, was unsuccessful either way. Moreover, this would be the most strategic, ignorant plan of all possible plans.
The fourth potential option is that he knew he was not going to see another term, and thus decided to hit back with the most absurd chaotic, if-im-going-down-then-so-will-all-of-you option. If this was the option he chose, then it stands to reason there would be no holding back in his attempts to stoke and incite potentially the most daring domestic attack since September 11th, 2001.
The idea that Trump took option one seems unlikely. Option one indicates a fairly strategic attempt to achieve the opposite of what he wants: to win the election – thus being strategic to be unstrategic. The second option would potentially lead to Trumps ideal outcome. It would also potentially lead to an entire full term (barring a later removal). It is also the option that continues in synch with Trumps entire strategy all along – claiming election fraud before the election, untrusted mail-in ballots, fraud during the election, and extreme bias after the fact and betrayal by Pence on the day of.
The third option
The second option, pressuring Congress to conduct a review was the only option of all four to achieve a second term
Nothing in this writing means Trump is innocent of being divisive, knowing his words will or have motivated people into violence. Nothing in this writing asserts that Trump should not be impeached, nor does it counter the idea that Congress should invoke the 25th amendment. In fact, everything above can be accurate, and my conclusion can be accurate while also not
This is the growth we are seeing – world-wide. And as I am writing this it jumped to over 212,000. At this rate, assume you will probably get this, & your loved ones will too. Depending on your demographic, you will experience somewhere along a spectrum of no symptoms or issues, to pneumonia in bed for 2 weeks, to death. There will be a global quarantine for at minimum 1 month. The economy will stay crap and services will begin to be prioritized. At best, over the next 90 days things will normalize, assuming we have a vaccine/cure.
The vast majority of the world has no system in place like developed countries do, and they will be hit hard. The one thing they do have though, that we tend to not, is the ability to operate without regularly functioning luxuries like we are used to. I am no survivalist guru, but with 20 years of military and intelligence experience and study, coupled with extensive travel and living in some of the most austere regions of the globe, this is my advice for the average American.
Panic buying toilet paper and hand sanitizer is not a solution long term. Though building a bunker and stocking guns may be a bit extreme on the other end; planning for 2-8 weeks of limited civilization, likely under government enforced curfews and aid delivery, is more reasonable for the average American.
Prepare to operate without toilet paper, that means having a hose or bidet-like solution. For the record, the vast majority of the rest of the world does this already as standard. Americans do not, and it will come to bite them in the ass (pun intended). Grabbing now the tools and equipment for this should be fairly easy – you can see some directions here.
Instead of panic buying absurd things, try to focus on stable items that will last, and that you will eat anyway. Aim for pasta and rice. Plus-up your seasonings and some canned goods like tuna and sauces to provide some diversity. I once lived off trail mix for a week on the island of Socotra off the coast of Somalia. Trust me, even tasty trail mix begins to taste bad after a few days.
Law Enforcement and Military will likely be providing security, but people tend to do crazy shit when they think it’s the apocalypse. So relying on them to handle minor things like break-ins and theft is not wise. Ensure your locks and security systems are up to date and used. Run through security methods and reactions with your household now. What to do in case of a home intruder, what to do in case of a fire, what to do in case of a medical emergency. This can be done in as little as a couple hours. Do some role play with it to engrain this in your family’s brains.
It would be wise to have ample sources of light on the offhand chance of a follow on disruptions – say, everyone in your neighborhood sitting home using air conditioners and the power goes out. It is not some prepper madness, to ensure you have some chemlights, flashlights and batteries. be prepared for power to go out for up to 24 hours. Chemlights are cheap and effective. But if you have kids who eat tide pods, please ensure they don’t eat these – no they will no glow if they do.
If you can take out enough cash, for an emergency it is recommended. This does not mean making a run on the banks. This means, have say $500-$3,000 depending on your financial situation, in cash, in a safe place.
Ensure you have bleach. You can go all full prepper mode and get a LifeStraw or water sanitization tablets (I have) but for the average American just knowing the bleach-to-water ratio for cleaning water to drink is enough in case we have a water disruption for any reason. Read about it here.
The economy was doing great, but still many Americans are in no great condition financially. Prioritizing your needs with your resources is critical. If someone requires medication, that should be your first thing you try to stock up on now. Doctors can prescribe 90+ day amounts if you are going overseas or on vacation. I imagine, explaining that you are doing something like that, should be able to get your a prescription for that.
I am a fan of sticking through with investments currently, as I feel the economy will rebound, but you you should review what your current expenses are, and see which ones you can turn off. Clearly Amazon Prime Video and Netflix are required. We are not savages.
However, if you have some luxury expenses, especially recurring, say those stupid monthly box programs with “Guy Stuff” or whatever, it may be wise to pause these sorts of things for now depending on your financial situation. It took months to years even, for the economy to rebound after 2001 and 2008, begin preparing for this now just in case. Austerity is key.
Contact your family members now, and confirm what their plan is if things continue on this glide path. Will they stay at home and hunker down, or will they opt to depart urban centers for the summer house in the rural areas? Have the plan decided already. Confirm your loved ones also have or will prepare as noted above.
Most planning does not require a massive military planning team – it just requires a conversation hitting some key points and making a short To Do list. Just running through what situations may arise 2, 4 or 6 weeks from now is more than most do their entire lives.
Knowing that public and private services work fine, until 50% of the workforce is in bed with a fever, changes your outlook greatly. So, get your house together. Clean out the trash, organize your stuff and assume you will likely be providing services for yourself.
Ensure you have an SMS or online messaging group set up for your loved ones, and your neighbors. This ensures rapid collaborative communication in case of an emergency. Check with your neighbors to have a conversation on plans and see if they need help with something. A family member, friend or neighbor, rapidly becomes a liability for your if they did not plan.
Prepare your will. Do not be daft. You should have one anyhow. If not, I do not recommend going out and searching for lawyers now. You can do this all online in a short period of time for a fee, over at LegalZoom. Take serious stock in your relationships and use this time to get on a call or video chat or email follow ups with your friends and loved ones.
Stay the fuck home. Read your books. Work on the six-pack abs you always wanted since you ordered P90x that night drunk back in 2011. Watch your health. Both physical and mental. Take your Flintstones, stay active moving around in your home and on your property. I am writing this confined to a government compound overseas and I love me a good scotch. But I am doing my damnedest to wash/sanitize my hands regularly, and taking vitamins.
Do not become the liability for something unrelated to Covid-19. In that sense, maybe don’t start up that P90x – you may hurt yourself. Follow up with people living alone. Check on your neighbors. Watch Stand Up comedy. Stay positive. For most Americans you have never experienced times of real distress, war, natural disaster, social upheaval, etc. Some have, and they are more resilient because of it. But check on yourself and your loved ones.
If our soldiers can spend a year at war and survive, the average American stay-at-home mom and office worker can get through this. If you are alone, losing your shit, and have no one to talk to. Get online and find an online therapist – many insurance companies cover this. There are Facebook groups out there too. Your sanity and those around you, can rapidly become a liability when it goes to shit.
Austerity. Endurance. Resiliency. Stick to those, and we will survive the zombies. Speaking of zombies, stock up some guns in your bunker. Fuck it, better safe than sorry.
If things get worse, and we have a lot going on in the world. Some education will go a long way. Years ago I spent a couple days learning urban survival under Tim MacWelch of Advanced Survival Training in Virginia. He has a lot of great resources and guidance at his blog: https://www.outdoorlife.com/tags/survival/
For a great book by one of my favorite authors, see if you can order before Amazon stops non essential deliveries, Emergency by Neil Strauss. You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/Emergency-This-Book-Will-Save/dp/0060898771/
Caveat: This is a brief off the cuff write up. I will try to add to it if I have time.
It pains me to see how loud socio-political sectarianism is in America, considering our media platform has far greater reach than any other one. When a demographic in the US screams, the world hears it. I have seen evidence of the rest of the world believing in a “gun culture” in America – immigrant social media groups saying they fear being shot if they come to the US, etc. This concept of a gun culture is a myth. It also is a near-sectarian sub-demographic that is loud.
In my 37 years I have spent about 27 of them in the US – in over 40 states inclusive of the far flung such as Hawaii and Alaska. I have lived in at least 5 of the states. Yet, this massive gun culture spoken of eludes me. I have only seen guns a handful of times.
Aside from Law Enforcement, Security and Military, I have seen a few people with guns in their own homes. A good example of this was my father who owned a few – I think one pistol, one rifle and one shotgun. I think I have only seen them used once as a child in North West US (where guns are far more tolerated).
Though some estimates put the number of guns in America as over 300 million – or that of our population. From a subjective experience they are not being carried around in public or flaunted in any way shape or form. Numbers however reveal that ownership by home is only at roughly 30% of American homes. Numbers also reveal this is mostly in rural areas.
Considering most people I have met with guns, tend to own plural, I would estimate that there are not 300 million people owning guns, but a small segment in mostly rural areas who own many guns. By age alone, you can assess that 20% of the country likely does not own a gun, because they are too young or too old. There is no reason to believe that that that 20% is not represented equally across gun owning and non-gun owning households.
Thus 20% of the 30% of gun owning households, are too young/old to even own guns – leaving say 26% of people with ownership. Without running numbers of those not able to own guns – those under state control (mental facilities, prison, etc) we can further whittle this number down even more. I would speculate that would cover at least another 6% of the population. Ergo we are looking at no more than 25% of the population, clustered in rural areas and being multi-gun owners.
Additionally, in my experience most gun-savvy gun-loving owners in rural areas are extremely gun-wise. It seems these people are not likely to be conducting crimes with guns. So we are not looking at a massive gun culture menacing from sea to shining sea. We are looking at most guns being owned by a niche group of people, while most crimes committed by another niche group of people.
Criminal statistics aside, the niche-ness of ownership highlight how the purported gun culture is a myth. You can easily live your entire life in America never seeing a gun in person unless you see a law enforcement officer. Those in America projecting this notion of a gun culture not only skew the domestic debate with scare tactics but they are damage our image abroad as gun toting fanatics.
Recently, the US Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq posted a Facebook post announcing the cessation of Consular activities (Visas, Passports, etc) due to the damage and continued threat from the New Years Eve and New Years Day Iranian-backed Iraqi militia/protester attack on the embassy.
As a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom II, a former State Department contracted Cultural Advisor of the last class of Iraqi YES Program students, and having spent roughly 2.5 years in the Baghdad Regional Security Office, I thought it would be important to share with my fellow Americans, 30 snippets from Iraqis who appreciate our sacrifices.
These snippets are comments on the US Embassy Baghdad Facebook post. When you think Iraq is a place we need to remove ourselves from, may I remind you that there are Iraqis who need and cherish our support and continued presence. As a reminder, the militia protestors at the embassy are the not same protesters who have been protesting in Baghdad for the last 3 months while getting gunned down by Iranian-backed security forces.
I hope you find these as touching as I did:
- Keep US Embassy in Jerusalem. Recognize Palestine. Both sides will be confused about their feelings. Take Iranian money still frozen, and use it for humanitarian aid for Palestinians.
- If Iranian money cannot be had, take money frozen from Venezuela as they are allies of Iran and provide a satellite platform for Iranian operations in the American region.
- Veterans Administration
- Fire everyone in the VA who is not a veteran.
- Re-staff it with all Veterans. Now they have jobs and the VA has a vested in interest in the work they do. No more backlogs. No more dying vets.
- Fix the International Zone. Wall it off like Baghdad.
- Negotiate with Taliban for 10k US troop withdrawal (leave behind a contingent of JSOC/CT operators, Essential Function Advisors and ISR) – while ramping targeted strikes on leaders. Create massive education program for youth in provinces.
- Tell Pakistan to build a border “wall” if they want our military aid. Establish the Prince Plan for Security Assistance and Essential Functions not covered and pressure India and China (who benefit the most from the natural resource contracts in Afghanistan) to provide Security Force Assistance and advisory.
- Saudi Arabia is the birthplace of Sunni extremism so Saudi Arabia pays for the massive youth education program and a jobs program for domestic development projects. Development projects in the past usually failed because USAID could not conduct proper monitoring and evaluation. This led to corruption and USAID funds going directly into militias’ pockets for bribery and protection money. NATO should not be running Afghanistan. The UN on lead with India and China as the manpower should be.
- Force GIRoA to manage all government finances digitally. There is 4G in Afghanistan and digital financial accountability is the only way to counter the massive corruption that one could argue is the primary challenge for Afghanistan. Create a corruption reporting mobile app. Both services are to be created by Afghans and paid for with an inflated award prize to the teams who won and participated.
- Ensure 100% internet penetration rate in Afghanistan by 2022. I personally drafted the most comprehensive paper on this topic. Task Roshan or the Moby Group to run this effort. They work has been great so far.
- Option 1: Remove Assad, forcibly. Have the Arab League drop 250k troops, for 5 years, for stabilization. GCC/Arab League/KSA fund the entire operation. Lock down the border between Syria and Iraq.
- Option 2: Balkanize Syria. Syria may be the greatest example of a needed Balkanization (more so than Iraq). Split between Turkey, Kurds and a third element (UN, Lebanon, or Iraq). Lock down the border between Syria and Iraq. Still remove Assad
- Green-light the GCC/Arab League to remove the Houthis on humanitarian grounds, with overwhelming force. We already have US ISR infrastructure in place. Follow up with Arab troops under UN -guise, utilize Arab states via the WFP and UN to immediately follow in behind them for aid.
- US/EU or China/India given rights to develop a massive port on the coast of Yemen to be completed within 5 years – to turn Yemen into a maritime hub for trade through the Indian Ocean.
- UAE creates a high speed rail line from Sanaa to Dubai to import labor from Yemen. UAE owes it to Yemen to hire them instead of Bengalis, Indians and Pakistanis as their labor force for domestic development. The UAE cash-house now has money funneled back to Yemen.
- Yemen is suspected of having vast natural resources untapped, explore this as a funding mechanism.
- Oman provides extensive security force assistance.
- Create global exchange program for Yemeni education, contingent on the student returning to Yemen. Student also signs a waiver to the right of seeking asylum while studying abroad.
- Establish living wage based off of number of dependents. Apply time cap on this for 10 years. This gives an income boost to those who made bad decisions already (having kids they cannot afford) while pressuring no further people from doing so thinking kids = money. Review at 10 year mark.
- Public info campaign to stop having kids if you cannot afford them.
- Crime/Prison Reform
- Ban death penalty – turn the Innocence Project into a government Task Force with a mission to confirm every inmate imprisoned between 1980 and 1995 – as it targeted Black African Americans.
- Turn prison industry to education industry. College/vocational classes all day. Punishment for failing is hard labor.
- Legalize marijuana. Tax it. Use tax income to cover costs of opiate epidemic rehab & education and said prisoner reform program. Full review of rehabilitation programs in prison.
- Term Limits.
- During a shutdown, congress does not get paid.
- Review lifelong benefits and have a national vote on which ones to keep.
- Set 2050 for fully Green country. Massive tax credit to companies with remote work. Massive focus on green technology development.
- No guns confiscated, your get to keep your guns.
- Establish mandatory training program & background checks if you want to buy ammunition. Boom.
- Offer gun buyback program in inner cities. If you bring in a gun – you get a 6 months of healthy food, free fuel and free internet. This encourages inner-city current and potential criminals to study well, find jobs and get to work easily.
- Legalize sexual workers
- Tax it. Use the tax to subsidize Planned Parenthood clinics & education.
- No more angry dudes who can’t get laid – gun and sex violence drops, while unplanned pregnancies drop.
- Student Loans
- Initiate program where for those with Student Loan amount over 50K can volunteer part time for Loan Repayment assistance.
- Establish strong Right-to-be-Forgotten laws at least equal to Europe’s.
- Include law that no minors can have information/images posted publicly, thereby providing them the ability upon becoming an adult, to decide their level of anonymity.
- The threat of ransomware, blackmail and hacking is greater than the threat of terrorism – push for encryption in all commercial digital products/services. All State, Local and Federal governments must use fully encrypted digital services by 2022.
- Transparency of gender pay by organization – every organization to be required to submit anonymous data on the gender, position title and salary, in order to provide a transparent review of a gender pay gap.
- Gender Neutral military standards.
- Women must sign up for the draft.
- Fraternities and Sororities do not fall under Title 9?. You want safe space – these are safe spaces.
- Flat tax percentage.
- Complete overhaul of IRS. Possible tar and feather in the public square of most of the employees.
- Turn agency into a digital agency. It is still snail mail based and draconian.
- Homeland Security
- Mandatory college & study abroad requirements for TSA positions.
- Create list of previously vetted travelers, such as USG background checked – they get express screening.
- Create a Joint Vetting Center that is tasked with vetting all immigrants, Local Employees at USG bases and embassies abroad, and security clearance required USPER. A joint venture will reduce redundancies and streamline processes.
- Hire all the illegals to build the wall – they are given 10 year Green Cards. Buy materials from the home towns where southern immigrants are coming from. Better yet, make it a trench, then we don’t need materials, just shovels. Even better, make it a canal so we don’t have to use the Panama Canal. We built it for them, now they can build one for us. Boom. Problem Solved. Problem staying solved.
- Actually track international departures. Currently only arrivals are tracked.
- Serve 2 years in the Military/Peace Corps/AmeriCorps, get a free 4 year degree paid for at any university you get accepted to.
- Mandatory high school classes on finance, taxes, credit scores/budgeting; automechanics, electrician, carpentry, masonry; survival, fishing, self-defense.
- Vocation secondary school is free for anyone interested.
- Mandatory two years of language courses in high school with focus on critical languages.
- Gender Neutral military standards.
- Women must sign up for the draft.
- Kill the Space Force, establish Information Force – which focuses exclusively on Cyber and Psychological Warfare.
- Begin the process for a Joint Force to replace redundancy of branches. Start with joint Service Uniforms and Joint Rank structure. Joint Force established by 2030.
- If you serve 5+ years, you get a house.
- Create America’s Expeditionary Corps (in effect, a combination of PRTs, ODAs and SFATs; a highly educated, highly seasoned cadre who specialist in Security Force Assistance, Development and mentoring, that is embedded in in countries under with no GO1 and single occupancy housing. Pay them exceptionally well, and ensure they stay overseas for a minimum of 2-5 year tours.
- These cadre are to language/culture trained. They go to the “non-integrating gap” and other post-conflict zones. There specialty is pre-conflict zones. They work closely with the Information Force to prevent conflicts in ungoverned regions.
- YES Program
- Quadruple (at a minimum) the Kennedy-Lugar Exchange/Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program. Target countries are as follows: Somalia, Yemen, Honduras, Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, Tunisia, Morocco, Mali, Niger, Kenya, Pakistan, Chad, DRC, Sudan, Cuba and Algeria.
- Ramp up diplomatic engagements with Algeria. Algeria is the next North African “non-integrating gap” nation that will fall when the leader usurps the next election and Arab Spring Protests occur.
- The Arab Spring taught us that despite long held beliefs, a strong dictator is not stability. It is the opposite. Like a non-Earthquake resistant building along a fault line. Flexibility and democracy is stability. Without it you get Yemen, Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Libya.
- NATO/EU/Mediterranean states take lead. Egypt and Tunisia tasked with massive export of security to Libya.
- Clearances are vetted and adjudicated by the Joint Vetting Center.
- A complete overhaul of the Cold War era “Foreign Fear” paradigm. No longer is knowing foreigners or foreign travel a bad thing. In fact, it is now encouraged.
- Work with tech industry to establish a 2FA approved mechanism for Secret and Top Secret space. Currently, if you work in a secure office having a 2FA personal account (Gmail for example) is nearly impossible. This is counterintuitive as our cleared staff thus have weaker security on their personal accounts – these are people who should not have the weakest security on their personal accounts. You hack a spooks personal Gmail, bad things can happen.
- Remove all reporting of mental counseling that is not court ordered.
- Remove all drug reporting aside from hospitalizations.
- Store all SF-86 data at the Secret level to avoid another OPM hack.
- Overhaul of Classified networks to ensure they operate at the same speed of unclassified networks – at any cost. This causes massive delays in intelligence processing.
- Merge agencies individual FOUO/SBU/Classified systems.
- Joint Unified Classification matrix. DOD has FOUO, DOS has SBU. LEOs have LES. This is dumb and confusing and causes problems.
- Health Care
- Nationalized Health Care so everyone is covered.
- Each person pays based on their health – the healthier you are, the less you pay. Haven’t left the couch in 3 months? You pay a lot more.
- Extreme Tax credits if you are in (or retired from) an industry that has Physical Training Requirements (LEO, MIL)
- Private healthcare is subsidized/discounted.
- This makes sense because the longer you live and the healthier you live, the more money you bring to the economy.
- Coast to Coast High Speed train. Non-negotiable. Within 5 years.
- USG official mobile app to report public infrastructure decay. This prioritizes tasks for fixing to a central hub that delegates.
- Complete engagement. Return the embassy to full staff.
- Absorb Cuba with love and incorporation. Pour money and connectivity into it while pushing extensively for democratization. Isolation is not the future for Cuba inclusivity.
- Create a National Dialogue Conference that brings the nation together for an actual deep-depth conversation on the most controversial and delicate issues. No soundbites, not tropes. Deep work. Our culture is being torn apart over topical analysis.
- Published via a government platform to ensure nothing is taken out of context and a source of origin is always available. Publish on web via video and audio.
This is a surprisingly great article. #Tunisia is the future of the #Mediterranean #Security paradigm
#NATO #Algeria #Libya #NATSEC
First #Iraq-flagged #oil tanker in 3 decades leaves port
#Iraq’s civilian death toll drops by nearly 80 percent
#DoD Identifies US Service Member Killed In #Somalia
#Biometric Fingerprint Scanners to Enhance #Somalia #Border
What a Small #ISIS Cell in #Trinidad is Teaching #SOUTHCOM
American Soldier Killed In #Somalia
100 killed, #Tunisia boat wreck becomes year’s deadliest migrant disaster
The US Military Has a New Tool to Connect Its Far-Flung African Bases
“new type of higher-level terror operative, willing to work for competing, brand-name terror groups like al-Qaida and Islamic State, sometimes simultaneously.”
#Tunisia Dismantles Cell of Five, Local #ISIS Affiliate
How the US Benefits from Foreign Aid to #Tunisia http://www.borgenmagazine.com/u-s-benefits-from-foreign-aid-to-tunisia/
Who Can Challenge the No-Fly List?
#Israel hits dozens of #Iranian targets in #Syria after barrage
#Israel retaliates after #Iran ‘fires 20 rockets’ at army in occupied Golan Heights http://ow.ly/C3xo30jVqZD
How We Are Losing To Iran http://ow.ly/xmeU30jTPL8
Why I have hunkered down in #Baghdad with food, water & scotch:
06MAY2018 – Iranian backed #Hezbollah wins #Lebanon election
08MAY2018 – US Withdraws from #Iran #Nuke Deal
12MAY2018 – #Iraq Elections where Iran-backed party will win
14MAY2018 – US Embassy Moves to #Jerusalem
We are losing the fight with Iran
How Black-Market Tobacco Funds the World’s Bad Actors http://ow.ly/kQYI30ffPKR
US Military Leaders Worry About #Iran Media Operations http://ow.ly/qHSy30ffPIW
#Tehran #Iran #ISIS Attack http://ow.ly/3fbS30cp3Xa
#Manila #Philippines #ISIS Attack http://ow.ly/jX4B30cp3SF
#Kabul #Afghanistan #Attack http://ow.ly/lQRn30cp3M6
#Mogadishu Attack http://ow.ly/KTjP30cp3Gc
#China to Extend ‘Silk Road’ Plan to #Afghanistan http://ow.ly/gA1K30bQeP2
#Uganda announces doubling its troops in #Somalia http://ow.ly/aUk630bQel7
#Yemen Could Be the Key to Solving the #Iran Problem http://ow.ly/V3wv30bAE8E
Emir of Islamic State’s Khorasan province killed http://ow.ly/EQYZ30bzJtm
Philippines says it has killed commander of Abu Sayyaf extremist group http://ow.ly/SlC930bzJn6
Uncle Sam: We want you… to train others! $5K bonus offered http://ow.ly/nCAO30bzJdQ
Resolving the Conflict in #Yemen – U.S. Interests, Risks, and Policy http://ow.ly/qqHd309O7kf
#Yemen #Houthi “suicide boats” were #drone boats http://ow.ly/sGEg309dp1m
#ISIS claims suicide attack outside supreme court #Afghanistan http://ow.ly/Sgwi308Pu3F
900 children killed in #Afghanistan http://ow.ly/vuYf308PtZv