The Rage of the Prince-Electors

During the Middle Ages, in the time of the Holy Roman Empire, there was a small group of men known as the Prince-Electors.  They, and only they, got to choose the next Emperor.

We have something kind of similar in America today.  There is a cluster of influential and would-be-influential people who fervently believe that–while they might not get to actually selected the next President–they should have the authority to decide who may and who may not be considered for the Presidential role.  These Prince-Electors include national journalists, Ivy League professors and administrators, and high-level government officials.  Their primary means of action is via the control of communications channels.

The sense of entitlement is clearly displayed in an article by Robert Reich, in which he basically asserts that speech-control by social media is necessary to protect democracy.  Reich clearly believes that he, and those he considers to be his peers, should have the right to decide what Americans can read, see, and hear.

Many years ago, I was talking to a wise executive, who said something has that stayed with me:

When you’re running a large organization, you’re not seeing reality.  It’s like you’re watching a movie in which you get to see maybe one out of every thousand frames, and from that, you have to figure out what’s really going on.

This is very true in business, and it’s even more true in politics.  The control of what Frames people get to see, and in what sequence, is a source of enormous power.

This power reaches its zenith, of course, in totalitarian societies, where people are prevented from sharing unapproved Frames via threats of arrest, long prison sentences, and even execution. China under Xi and Russia under Putin are pretty close to this condition.  Vitaliy Katsenelson, in one of his essays on Russia and Ukraine, remarked that many of his friends back in Russia seem like they are living in the Truman show…ie, a totally controlled and imaginary environment.

We are not presently in that situation in the US, and Reich’s analogizing of Trump’s tweets with Putin’s information control is obscene.  (The whole piece is very 1984-ish…to ‘war is peace’ and ‘freedom is slavery’, add ‘censorship is democracy’.)  There are still enough independent sources of information in the US that people who make an effort can still break out of the walled gardens (complete with serpent) and formulate their own impressions of what is going on.  But momentum is powerful, and people are busy.  The frame selection role is very powerful.

There is real anger, on the part of the Prince-Electors, that anyone would dare to challenge their control of information flow…note the long-standing fury at the very existence of Fox News and talk radio.  I am sure the rage today is raised to a higher level, in the wake of Musk’s plan to acquire Twitter outright as opposed to merely taking a Board seat.

See my related posts Comm CheckDo the Lord Chancellor and the Archbishop Approve?,  and this book review.

120 thoughts on “The Rage of the Prince-Electors”

  1. We have a similar group variously called “the Clerisy” or “The elites” although much of what they think they know is nonsense. Academics live in a sheltered world where everything is done for them. I saw an interesting graphic this week (Can’t find it at the moment) of IQ and college majors. The x axis is percent women majoring in that discipline. At the right (highest female share) are Sociology with an average IQ of 100. At the left (lowest share of female majors) is Physics and Astronomy with average IQs around 130. This is not to say Physics majors are all wise, but it does suggest that some college degrees are not equal to others. I should add that I had a female Cardiology professor who also has a PhD in Astrophysics.

  2. The Prince-Electors were certainly shocked when the defiant proles elected Trump. How dare they?! The extent of their indignation at this act of blatant lèse-majesté is evident from the fact that furious attacks on him continue on a daily basis in their lapdog propaganda organs in spite of the fact he’s been out of office for two years.

  3. When you look at how few people are willing to pay for CNN+, I suspect panic is setting in. Even Fox doesn’t attract that many eyes. Cable is dying as we watch so CNN is going away someday. You have to wonder how much of CNN’s dismal audience is cats who’s owners have left the TV on for company.

    The money will have to run out sometime. I suspect a lot of their advertisers are desperate for a place to pay ad money so they can pretend it matters.

  4. miguel cervantes….if true (and it probably is), horrifying. Stalin’s favorite prosecutor, Vyshinsky, was credited with the saying ‘Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime.’

    Apparently also a popular thought among today’s Democrats.

  5. }}} When you’re running a large organization, you’re not seeing reality. It’s like you’re watching a movie in which you get to see maybe one out of every thousand frames, and from that, you have to figure out what’s really going on.

    Indeed, this is the main issue with hierarchical organizations, e.g., bureaucracies, aka “Feudal Enclaves” and “Corporate Organizations”. It is anathema to an Information Society, as it means critical information can be blocked by a single failure to forward it around the tree. This can be both accidental, in someone in the decision tree failing to read, or perhaps, to grasp its importance through lacking context, but also through malice, in both corporate jealousies and “Mine! Mine!” ownership behaviors.

    An information organization needs to have a more networked flow of data, encouraging all who can use the data to be at least able to become aware of it.

    We have yet to really see such an organization which I am aware of in anything larger than a small group of people — once a business gets large enough to have a true bureaucracy, it builds on the bureaucracy rather than haring off in a newer model idea. I suggest we, as a society, need to push this notion forwards. There needs to be more experimentation with org structures going forwards, to a more networked model.

  6. once a business gets large enough to have a true bureaucracy, it builds on the bureaucracy rather than haring off in a newer model idea.

    My comment may be out of date per recent changes but 3M seemed to handle this issue pretty well.

    The classic example of failure is Xerox that had the PARC geniuses in house and told them to quit messing around with computers and get back to working on copiers.

  7. I’ve been railing on this for years, if anyone has noticed.

    The current regime we have going stresses artificialities that do not actually ever get feedback from reality. We test, we select, we train/indoctrinate the young, and never, ever subject them to actual feedback from a real environment. Until their feet hit the road out in a corporate or government hierarchy, where they’re also insulated from real-world consequence, they never get feedback. It’s all basically simulations, and those simulations and proxies grow increasingly remote from actual practice and reality as it is known out in that horrid place, “the real world”.

    Doubt me? Look at the recent kerfuffle over the Washington Post seeking “correspondents in deepest Redlandia”. The system has tested, selected, inculcated, and put in charge all these people who don’t really know anything at all, let alone about their own country. Any wonder they’re bewildered to learn that their jejeune imaginings are not true, or that they’re currently in the depths of a cognitive dissonance for the ages?

    We’re doing this wrong, people. We have been, for quite some time. I would estimate that we’ve been on the wrong track since at least the 1900s, when Wilson got academia a foothold in governance. And, if you want to trace the rot further back, consider just how it is that academia has gotten so damn distanced from the real world of truths and consequences for getting those truths wrong?

    I respect knowledge and scholarship, utterly. What I contest is the question of whether there’s been all that much value in most of what the world of academia has gotten itself up to, over these last many generations. We’ve now got “Professors of English” who think that grammar and writing are formless things, unnecessary and products of “colonial thinking”… What does that tell us of the system that created these credentialed dolts?

    I would hold that the system we’ve got going requires drastic change, and that the people the existing system has vomited forth to serve as our “elite leadership” needs either a drastic reform, or utter destruction if our society is to survive.

    I’ll tell you one damn thing–I’m sick to death of the mockery and disdain these “educated-yet-idiot” types put on display, whenever they discuss “flyover country” and their rural brethren. Whatever may be said about the lack of sophistication in the hinterlands of this nation of ours, at the least…? We don’t allow people to defecate in public on our streets and sidewalks, and you can safely walk in the parks our taxes pay for.

    For now. God help us if the idiots-in-charge ever get the power to change that, because I think that will be the match that lights the conflagration of outright civil war.

  8. Mike K….”The classic example of failure is Xerox that had the PARC geniuses in house and told them to quit messing around with computers and get back to working on copiers.”

    My understanding of the Xerox story is different. Great technology was developed at Xerox PARC, but they never had a good approach as to *how to sell it*. Most copier salesmen, in that era, would be unlikely to be able to sell such a product effectively.

    If PARC had been organized as a *business venture* rather than an R&D center, I think history would have likely been different. PARC could have established its own sales force to sell the advanced computers, or they could have taken an indirect-channel approach, say with selected dealers.

    In general, I think many new-product efforts in established companies fail because of a nonviable sales approach. Even when an existing sales force is perfectly competent to sell a new product line, they likely will not if the payoff (in terms of sales difficulty vs revenue) is less-attractive than that for their existing products. There is also the issue of *risk*, fear that the new product may not work right and may thus screw up their customer relationships.

  9. Mike KL “… quit messing around with computers and get back to working on copiers.”

    I understand the situation with Xerox was worse than that. At least focusing on copiers might have been playing to their strengths. Instead, Xerox diverted efforts from computers to … typewriters! Maybe there was something in the air at that time, because Exxon also tried to diversify out of the oil & gas industry into … typewriters!

    But the efforts of the geniuses at Xerox PARC bore fruit all the same. Apparently, a young guy called Steve Jobs was visiting one day, saw something stuck up on a shelf, and asked what it was. So they demonstrated the small computer with a Graphical User Interface (GUI) and a mouse for him. The rest, as they say, is history.

  10. Y’all badly need to read Christian Sandström on these things. Xerox made the deliberate decision to use PARC more as a showpiece than what it should have been, an incubator for new technologies. The corporate geniuses running Xerox basically made a habit of showing off PARC as some sort of circus attraction, and never thought much about “what comes after photocopying” and the future of the company. Xerox could well have dominated the personal computer age, but they didn’t have the necessary imagination or foresight to do so.

    Final analysis? Same problem with them that you see in every major “settled hierarchy”. They get fat and happy, then quit innovating, thinking that all they need to do is tread water. In a competitive traditional market economy, this is a death sentence. But, with the “creative destruction” of that sort of economy, what winds up happening is a succession of organizations taking over as the sclerotic and complacent go out of business.

    You’ll note the utter lack of market pressure to provide correctives in our governance.

  11. What all the stories about Xerox’s missed opportunity leave out is what one of those computers would have cost at that time. Remember the Lisa cost $10,000 several years later. When the Mac came out, I think it cost around $4,000 with a dot matrix printer and after a major effort to get a usable system into only 128K. At that, you had to buy a Lisa if you wanted to write any program for it.. At the time Jobs saw the PARK system, I imagine it would have cost closer to $20,000, without software that didn’t exist, memory was expensive. That would have taken some sort of super salesman. Writing software probably would have required a minicomputer. I think that the 3270 terminal emulator was the biggest application on genuine IBM PC’s for years.

  12. Create the product, then the demand follows. What was the “killer app” for the original Apple II? VisiCalc.

    Xerox could have done that, easily. They were like Moses getting to the Promised Land, and then never seeing it.

    Jobs and Gates both went to PARC, recognized that they’d seen the future and then went on to create it. XEROX executives went to PARC, if they bothered, and saw a corporate vanity project. They never actually expended the resources to try to bring it to market, even after they should have seen the potential from the early days of those cowboy computer-builders of the Homebrew Computer Club.

    It wasn’t just the executives at XEROX, either–There were interviews I’ve seen with the actual researchers at PARC who were convinced that they were doing things that were generations ahead of what was then currently possible. Some didn’t see it that way, and wound up getting headhunted by Jobs and Gates both.

    It’s a fascinating study in how entrenched hierarchy fails in the face of changing conditions. XEROX had the potential to dominate, just like Sears had the potential to dominate, but both companies got to the very doors of the new world before them, and utterly failed to recognize that they were there. Amazon should have been throttled in its bed by Sears, but instead? What happened? The Wiley Coyote soooper-genious types at Sears chose to shut down the catalog side of their enterprise despite executives pointing out things like QVC and the potential of the then-nascent Internet and/or BBS systems. One guy I talked to about this told me that there were executives at Sears who were talking about creating a private, nation-wide BBS system for home sales of Sears products and even things like real-time monitoring of Sears appliance products. One guy wanted Kenmore appliances to be able to self-diagnose and then call in for repair, without anyone intervening…

    One guess as to what happened with all of those initiatives, and the career prospects of the guys proposing them.

  13. MCS…”What all the stories about Xerox’s missed opportunity leave out is what one of those computers would have cost at that time.” But a Xerox computer product couldn’t have been launched at that time, anyhow. Design for volume production, putting manufacturing in place, upgrading the software to commercial status, writing documentation, etc…would have surely taken a few years, by which time prices of some components would have predictably come down. Apple launched Mac about 5 years after the Jobs PARC visit.

    One alternative would have been develop and market a PARC product not as a consumer item, but as a more-expensive product targeted at certain vertical applications…publishing, for example, where Macs did take hold after some upgrading.

  14. PARC was more than the GUI. It was adobe acrobat, photoshop, ethernet and a bunch of others. Any one of those was a product that built a company and then an industry.

    I worked at Sears when I was in college and saw how incredibly bad their management was. I have a number of stories about it. They closed the catalog sales the year Amazon began selling books.

  15. “Create the product, then the demand follows. What was the “killer app” for the original Apple II? VisiCalc.”

    That sounds good as long as you’re talking about your money and not mine, the tricky part is not to run out before the customers realize how much they need your “killer app”. VisiCalc ran on computers that cost about $1,000. Lotus 123 sold a lot of PC compatibles that quickly declined in price to around the same level without benefit of any “wimp”. Apple had several near death experiences living of about 5-10% of the market for many years.

    You can make a long list of all the big companies that jumped on the personal computer in different ways that aren’t around. Xerox has survived.

    I read a long, detailed account of the development of the Mac. I don’t think it would have taken Xerox nearly as long which was probably their biggest problem. The bill of materials in 1980 would have beer high four figures at least. They would have burned through a lot of money waiting for Moore’s law to bring the price down and all the other pieces to fall into place. With macs, you could, by the later part of the ’80’s, produce a usable type setting system for around $15,000 which was clear out of the range of the home market but was dirt cheap compared to commercial systems that started at ten times that and had interfaces only a Linotype operator could love.

    The case for them completely missing the laser printer market is much clearer.

  16. I spent my last 27 years as a Design Engineer working for a small division (about 10% of the company’s revenue) of a mega-corp. The company itself rapidly became a bureaucracy with the people in HR leading the way to stagnation. But for the first 12 years I was there, the division manager was absolutely the best.

    He personally interviewed every engineer before hiring, since he had some pretty clear criteria for a successful hire.

    But the main thing was his “management by wandering around”. He’d drop by a cube, and start talking to whoever he picked about what they were doing, how it applied, and how things were going in general. It wasn’t a negative thing, ever, since he was genuinely interested in what kind of work you were doing and how he could help you out if there was anything you needed. It was his way of keeping in touch with the people who worked for his division, even if they were 3 or 4 echelons down in the hierarchy.

    Once he came by very late in the evening when I was creating a spreadsheet to automate a design process. When he asked why I was there so late, I told him that this was just my personal little project that had not been approved by my manager, and was doing it as a sort of “after work” thing. He nodded, and asked me why I was doing it. When I explained that the calculations (by hand) to design that particular component took about 8 man-hours, and that if I could get the spreadsheet to work correctly anybody (not just me, the only one in the division) would be able to do it in about 15 minutes, he told me to go ahead and work on it on “company time” and he’d talk to my manager about it. It took me about 20 hours all told, but that paid itself back after the first three proposals for that product came through.

    That’s the kind of manager that simply doesn’t exist any more. He retired, and the division was taken over by a bean-counter who viewed experienced engineers as overhead, to be cut wherever possible. Talking to people still working there it’s a shell of its former self.

  17. Blackwing1….doesn’t speak all that well for your immediate manager, though, that you didn’t feel you could just talk to him about the need for the project. If I’d been the division manager, it would have raised some concerns about that guy.

  18. No. I hadn’t heard of it before. I have read accounts from different sources about how it came about. The key seemed to be they did it in Florida, far from the eyes of the Mother House. The whole operation was as un-IBM as it was possible to be. Then they went on to try to kill it with PC Jr. and especially PC II that was supposed to be their weapon to kill the clones. It nearly drove IBM out of the x86 market.

    Their non-exclusive license of PC DOS was supposed to be a mistake. If they had kept it IBM exclusive, it would be a footnote along with half a dozen other operating systems from that time. It was the whole infrastructure that built up with all the IBM compatibles that made it successful. The best use IBM could find was as a dumb terminal that was cheaper than the purpose built dumb terminal. The Mac was crippled for a long time because the only way you could write software for it was to buy a $10,000 Lisa. That worked for people that could pay the Apple tax and didn’t need to do something there wasn’t software for. It didn’t for me.

  19. David,
    My take on Blackwing1’s manager is a little more charitable. I’m sure he spent his time dealing with the problems he knew he had. Whatever this widget was apparently materialized promptly after its need was noted. He, and we’re pretty sure it’s a he, was dealing with those that didn’t. That there was a problem would have presented itself the first time they needed one of these designed and Blackwing1 wasn’t around. Just another case of the unknown unknowns coming back to bite you.

    Sort of the opposite of the management by walking around happened to me. We saw an announcement that we had a new CEO, not that anybody I knew was high enough in the food chain to have advance warning. A few weeks later, we were told that our new CEO was going to grace us with a visit and we wanted to make a good impression. There’s about 30 people that work at our location, he talked with exactly three of them. In the years since, he’s been back once and the only new person he talked to was the receptionist that replaced the previous one.

  20. David F: “If I’d been the division manager, it would have raised some concerns about that guy [the immediate supervisor]”

    For all we know, he did.

    Organizations are very difficult things. They need different skills and different sensitivities from people at each level in an organization — and it is very unusual to find that combination of people. It is like a river delta, where the seasons and storms occasionally throw up an “Island of Excellence” — a great group to work with, who really get things done. Sadly, inevitably some of the key individuals who make it work (not necessarily or even usually the guy at the top) go away, and the island gets washed back into the “Sea of Mediocrity”. Such is life!

  21. Root problem with the way we do things is that everything rotates around the hierarchy and the positions inside it. There are almost always people who know what’s going on, and how to stay competitive, but they’re rarely the ones in charge of anything.

    We select the management improperly, looking for the wrong criteria. Then, they select more of their own ilk, because they’re uncomfortable with anyone that isn’t like them. Things progress from there, and in very short order, you’ve got the corporate equivalent of the Hapsburgs running things.

    My take, after long consideration, is that you need to eliminate the hierarchy and fixed structures that these types use to colonize the enterprise. What is actually needed is a cellular structure, a polyvalent structure that is the antithesis of hierarchy and organization–An ad-hocracy, if you will. A free-floating anarchistic ensemble cast that can come together to swarm a project or a problem, deal with it, and then self-dissolve back into the background.

    If you think about it, this is essentially the structure that the vast majority of our really major projects has been done, sans any formal organization. Think about the way we went about peopling the Americas, on both occasions (hell, there may have been more than the two we’re thinking happened…), where it wasn’t some grand governmental settlement process run by a cabal of bureaucrats. Imagine NASA running the first one, from Siberia: We’d likely have found the continent outside of southern Alaska entirely untouched, if that had been the case. Likewise, there wasn’t a hell of a lot of grand oversight on the second great “peopling” of North America; it was all little clots of people moving ever westward until they hit the ocean, without much at all in the way of bureaucracy telling them what to do. Government was involved, true, but the overall initiative and choices were made down at the micro-level, by individuals and families–Not some manager sitting in an office back east telling them where to go and where to set down their homestead. Well, other than in very general terms, that is… Most of the bureaucracy came in later on, answering the needs created by individuals going out and doing their own things, for their own reasons.

    You can see the difference between SpaceX and the modern NASA. I suspect that the guys who ran the original Moon Program would likely recognize a lot of kindred spirits at SpaceX, and want to work there rather than the sclerotic bureaucracy which NASA has morphed into.

    We really need to recognize and study the life-cycle of organizations, but we really don’t even pay much attention to them, as we live our lives wandering through their underbrush. It’s rather as if we were all little forest creatures, wandering around the redwoods, marveling at their size, and giving little thought to how to manage their growth and siting. It’s nuts, really–Most “managers” and “leaders” really don’t even begin to understand how things work, inside the organizations they supposedly run. They’re like small children, whaling away at the controls, thinking they’re “effectuating change”, yet oblivious to the fact that their corporate collective raft is sinking under the weight of irrelevant BS.

    Look at any of the recent corporate failures we’ve had… There were always people inside who knew better, who had solutions… But, never acknowledged or put in charge. That former Sears guy I talked to a few months back–If it had been up to him and a couple of other guys, we’d have had a Sears-Roebuck BBS system competing with AOL, and Amazon would have never come about the way it did. Unfortunately, internal corporate politics got all those good ideas terminated with prejudice, and we have what we have for an outcome, with Sears.

  22. take Clive, the fellow who saddled England with India, or Haines for Aden, a relatively small cohort of personnel, something like 700 men, in the latter case,

  23. I wonder if Sears was saveable by the time the internet was a possibility. I remember endless hours trying to connect to BBS, all the way from 300 BPS to 14,400, it never got easier. Every single operator had their own idea of what all the settings should be. Getting connected to the internet the first time wasn’t much easier but at least it was one and done.

    I think that by then, Sears had decided that women’s fashion was going to save them. That’s probably the hardest sell in the virtual world, even now. Especially when 640 x 480 was “high resolution” and you could watch for several minutes while a picture slowly crawled down your screen. It wasn’t an accident that Bezos started with books. No real need for fancy graphics for most and he could just send whatever didn’t sell or was returned back to the publisher for credit with no time limit. No sizes, no colors, no; “Does this make me look fat?”.

    When you were living on a farm and got to town maybe once a week and it was usually a very small town, the Sears catalog was fantastic. Even including the time for your order to reach Sears, the turnaround time was not that much more than today and what choice did you have. Well that wasn’t the 1990’s. Most of the population lived close to any number of stores that would let you see just what you were buying and walk out with it. Sears probably didn’t have much choice, they couldn’t support the cost of the mail order fulfillment that was declining anyway and open enough stores to compete with their brick and mortar competitors.

    I know I’ve said much the same thing, but when I look back in detail and especially at the timeline, I think that Sears being saved by the internet is implausible. An even more interesting question is whether Amazon can continue to operate their retail operation. Their profits are almost entirely derived from their data processing operations and I’ve heard more than one person speculating on whether they make any profit at all from Moving physical objects through space is expensive and slow and that’s not going to change any time soon.

  24. This post & thread made me realize how at sea I was forty years ago – it seemed to me that I basically worked long hours to work off the percentage xerox got of about everything that went out our door. That part of their business model surely worked in its own way. If I had had the ability to step back and think deeply, as David and you all do, I might not have gotten into that kind of crop sharer deal – but then I’d probably never be reading you all today but instead contemplating the nihilism of lit crit after, say, 1985. oh, well.
    Thanks David for your many insights.

  25. I believe that was a source of a lot of rage against Trump’s election – came out of nowhere, outside their purview.

  26. Two other reasons Bezos started with a focus on books:

    –the structure of the industry allowed him to start out by doing drop-shipping for most products, rather than carrying them all in inventory.

    –the great customer benefit of having a very large offering of individual titles

  27. A few weeks later, we were told that our new CEO was going to grace us with a visit and we wanted to make a good impression.

    When I was working for Sears in my college years, we were told the CEO was going to visit. His name was CH Kellstadt The great man walked through the mens wear department, looked at a hideous tie with dyed feathers, told the manager to “Get rid of that tie,” and went on his way. The store I worked at was in east LA and was the largest Sears store in the country. East LA was very Hispanic in those days and that tie was the department’s best seller. Nobody had the heart to tell the CEO.

  28. Something that nobody talks about is how late Wal-Mart was to get into online. About 20 years post Amazon. It’s still possible that will turn out to be a fatal error but it doesn’t seem to have hurt them so far.

    J.C. Penny was another big player in mail order that never made a transition I noticed to online. I think Montgomery Ward may have been too close to dead by the time the internet happened. The official demise was 2001. I was going to include Spiegel but I find it still has a sort of zombie presence.

    By the way, I discovered that the Montgomery Ward Complex is a National Historic Site in the middle of Chicago. Probably a sign, a bad one, of just what Chicago real estate is worth.

    You can’t beat the idea of taking Sears, that was going broke, and combining it with K-Mart, that was going broke, and calling it synergy. At least they sold off the Sears Tower before it could be made into a national monument.

    One of the survivors of the Sears debacle was the Craftsman line of tools. They had always had a reputation for quality, good prices and made in the U.S.A. Now, it seems, they have moved a lot?, most?, all? of their production to China. Talk about timing. Something like this had to be years in the making. People are already comparing Chinese Craftsman with “vintage” Craftsman, a sign they may be on the way out.

  29. Mike K.
    The Mother House really has no idea what we do or how we work and has so far not bothered us for fear of killing the goose that adds a big number to their bottom line. And that’s just how we like it. But, I still thought it passing strange that a new CEO wouldn’t, at least, make a pretense of shaking a few hands and possibly bestowing a benign smile or two on the peons laboring for him.

  30. The former Sears distribution center in Memphis is now the Crosstown Concourse mixed-use development, and apparently highly successful.

    We still live in the material world, and some edifices are too big to take down and can only be repurposed.

  31. If I was a smart as I am good looking, I’d figure out something profitable to do with all the dead malls. We’re only going to need so many sets for post-apocalyptic zombie movies.

  32. miguel cervantes…the cited author apparently thinks that it is impossible to run a social media business without subsidy, because of ‘server costs’.

    The latest Twitter annual report puts revenue for 2021 at 5.07 billion. ‘Cost of revenue’ is about 1.8 billion; this include servers and other infrastructure costs plus some other stuff like amortized software development costs. That’s not an excessive % cost of revenue for a services business, or cost of goods sold for a manufacturing or retail business.

    Continuing down the income statement, R&D and sales/marketing come in at 1.2 billion and 1.1 billion, respectively. I’m not sure where large number of people performing a censorship role as included…probably in sales/marketing, ironically, would be my guess (it’s probably somewhere in the the report, so if anyone wants to dig for it, be my guest)…I note that S&M increased by about 50% year-to-year. R&D surely includes the development and support of censorship algorithms.

  33. trying to explain the hive reflex, that is operative here, the early designer of the internet, seemed to think it was meant for progressives,

  34. ‘early designer of the Internet’…meaning, who?…the creators of the original ARPANET?…founders of the first commercial ISPs? Inventor of the WWW? Perpetrators of social media?

    Or, maybe, Al Gore?

  35. I notice that both of the above revelations use exponential where the relationship is linear. The whole object of Twitter’s, Google’s and Face Book’s research and development effort is to keep the incremental cost from doing what they claim makes it nonviable. If it’s impossible with a measly quarter billion users, how do they think Face Book does it? You can fault them for a lot of things but their engineering is first rate.

    Censorship is very much a two edged sword. How long would YouTube be an attractive advertising venue if there were no controls at all? Porn sites attract advertising, that’s how they pay the bills, but not the sort that can appear anywhere else. As so often, the question is where to draw the line and who draws it. The answer in a supposedly free country is the owners. If you object to their choice? You’re free to do something you like better and good luck to you. It’s a free country after all.

    Do you really trust the nitwits in Congress, or most especially, the bureaucrats they’d delegate the job to, to do something better? Make that senile nitwits.

  36. bernier lee, is the one that readily comes to mind, it is a remarkable artefact, yet as with everything they seem eager to mutilate or utterly smash it, that’s not the fault of the Machine, but the operating culture,

  37. Seems all but us old folks have forgotten XDS. Xerox Data Systems. They had a pretty good architecture and their product was not out of line with the competition. They were shut down by management.
    What is the general IQ quartile of those ‘genius’ in DC? I suspect not what they think of themself.
    I remember ordering parts to install a furnace over the phone in Oakland in the late 1970’s. Placed the order, speaking catalog number, spec, quantity to an operator. I was able to drive to the distribution center within miles of home, and pick up my order within a couple hours. If Sears had( if ifs and buts were candy and nuts…) kept their order processing and distribution centers functional, and just used dumb internet interfaces to their catalog, I doubt Amazon would be the success it is. Then again, Sears.
    Twice or thrice, the people have ‘had a fit’ as the late ABC news guy, Peter Jennings, commented on one occasion. Both in 2016 and 2020, the candidate who ‘won’ was not expected by ‘the elite’. Well, maybe in 2020, as there is a small likelihood that 80 million-odd votes were cast for the current resident of 1600 Pa Ave. The elites were not astounded, they moreso were aghast. 2024 will be interesting, as will 2022 come fall. One party thinks their agenda is the norm, while the other pretends to care about what their electorate wants. Both may be surprised.

  38. David, MCS and Gavin:

    Thanks for the feedback. At the time, my Design Engineering manager was a micro-managing guy who was completely untalented at either engineering or management, but could brown-nose with the best of them. Much younger than me, he had earned the name of “Boy Blunder” as a design engineer in a different division. Moving him into management was a great way to prevent his engineering catastrophes (see “The Dilbert Principle”).

    He never saw the forest for the trees, and thought that the time spent on creating a spreadsheet to do these calculations was better spent on the immediate problems. So many problems that I was working 50 to 60 hour weeks (on salary, of course). I was doing 30 to 40 of those component design proposals a year, but he simply couldn’t understand the man-hours I saved by doing automating it. The stress of working for him caused me to end up with a multitude of auto-immune problems, gaining weight (no time for exercise), and setting a personal blood pressure record of 195/150. I finally got out from under him, at least directly, when he was promoted to the next echelon up.

    I’m now retired, about 20 pounds lighter, two of my auto-immune problems have simply evaporated, and my average BP for the last six months was 118/76.

  39. MCS: “If I was a smart as I am good looking, I’d figure out something profitable to do with all the dead malls.”

    My guess is that a lot of them will end up as semi-upmarket scrap yards cum-repair shops.

    Timing, as always, is very tough to get right. But we do know the US Dollar is living on borrowed time; US manufacturing has been offshored; and today’s tidal wave of Chinese imports is likely to dry up as foreigners decide it is not smart to earn dollars which they have to invest in US assets that the DC Swamp Creatures have proved they will gladly steal at the drop of a hat.

    In the future, there will likely be a market for repairing toasters instead of buying a new one sourced from China. But where to get the parts to repair toasters, and many other items besides? As the US economy moves back to barter, we could imagine the customer bringing in a broken toaster, broken TV set, and broken laptop and exchanging them for a repaired toaster. The business need would be for lots of clean dry well-organized space, suitable tools sets & workshops, and a store front. A dead mall might be a good place for that activity.

  40. Malls deteriorate very fast once the thousands of dollars a month in maintenance drys up, the reason many are abandoned. I don’t think your handy shops could keep the roof from falling in. Just keeping the pipes from freezing in winter is a major problem.

  41. Most malls built in the last 30-40 years weren’t meant to last in the first place. If you get a few profitable decades out of it, it has served its purpose.

    The old multi-story Sears distribution center is like the Maginot Line or the U-boat pens in
    L’Orient–no demo short of small nukes to break up the mass.

    I exaggerate. Some.

  42. Indeed, Cousin E. There was a very nice mall in San Antonio, just across a major avenue from a large, upscale mall, which still functions – and yet the one across the avenue, at a prime retail location got demolished, in spite of all suggestions to keep it going.
    One of my sometime employers is a real estate guy, with contacts in the old establishment, all over town. I asked him about the failure and demolition of that mall, and he explained to me that the builder of it, who owned the prime real estate — wasn’t in the retail and mall business. He was in the real estate business, and the mall, as it was, was merely slapped down on that valuable chunk of real estate to cover his expenses in holding on to the property for those years.
    (It’s still retail acreage, btw – just free-standing outlets, a boutique hotel, a movie theater and a bunch of other stuff.)

  43. Blackwing1…”Moving him into management was a great way to prevent his engineering catastrophes (see “The Dilbert Principle”)”

    An even better way would have been to get rid of him entirely…I guess the brown-nosing prevented that.

    An HR guy (yes, there are some good ones) had a poster on his wall “No Turkey Passing”…ie, don’t give your problems to some other manager, deal with them directly. Shouldn’t pass them upwards, either.

  44. I suppose I’m an old fuddyduddy but when I look back on my mall experiences, I wonder why I tolerated let alone seemed to enjoy shopping in one. Assuming I had a target in mind rather than just killing some time, first came the long walk. almost all the malls I’ve frequented were one level served by vast parking lots. Even after you actually entered the mall, it was still a few hundred yards to where you were headed, often enough. Then, assuming you bought something, you got to lug it back. If you bought things at more than one place, it got worse.

    The last time I was at a mall, I got the full experience. I covered at least a half mile locating the store I wanted only to find it was closed on Saturday. Then, when I got back to my truck, I found a brand new dent. Give me a scuzzy strip mall where I can park next to the door of the only store I care about any day. I suppose the exercise was good for me.

    The mall in a small town where I used to live worked just long enough to hollow out the down town, By the time I was there it was 80% empty and before I left had to be evacuated because the roof did fall in.

    If you look on YouTube, you’ll find lots of videos of “urban explorers” going through dead malls.

    I drive past two big Amazon warehouses one not yet occupied and the other two years old. They are both incredibly ugly and very efficient. The problem with old malls are the features like glassed atriums that are vulnerable to leaks and weather, multiple levels built for pedestrians and light retail, not lift trucks and pallet racks, low ceilings. Walmart and Amazon want acres of flat concrete at dock height where they can stack things 20-30 feet high.

  45. Blackwing1 – I had a micromanager who would not let me create a software package that would have saved a lot of time whenever the database folk would alter their load schedules. I managed to sneak it into production under a project that had way too many hours estimated for completion. When she saw the actual savings in real time, she thought I should get a major company award…sigh. When she started demanding that I give advance notice if I was going to leave the building to eat at any local restaurant (an event so common the company had a shuttle bus running over lunchtime) I decided it was time to retire. I also had some health issues that went away after I left.
    Meanwhile – seen else: when the self-appointed elites put their plans into effect and it all crashes and burns, the time period while they run around in circles trying to figure out what went wrong…is the time those who do the work can actually make real progress.

  46. By now, everyone has heard the story of the Lockheed “Skunkworks” and the development of the SR-71. What you don’t hear is what a devastating critique of Lockheed’s management it was and from present signs still is. When you have to hide a project from upper management in order for it to succeed, it shows just where the ax should fall.

    That malaise has struck the whole aerospace segment worse than covid. Boeing seems caught in some sort of nightmare where everything they attempt blows up in their face, still no guess when their “Starliner” may actually fly. NASA and the usual suspects have been piddling around trying to build a Moon rocket since the Roosevelt administration it seems like. By the time they get to the Moon, they’ll have to get landing clearance from somebody that got there on a SpaceX product. They’ve probably spent more on the launch platform than SpaceX has spent so far, period.

    Maybe the problem isn’t that Americans have forgotten how to build things, we’ve forgotten how to do anything that takes more than three people.

  47. Boeing seems caught in some sort of nightmare where everything they attempt blows up in their face,

    I knew Boeing was toast when they moved headquarters to Chicago. Chicago?

  48. Reich is an example of the problem of free speech. Idiots with opinions unworthy of expression are allowed to express them as though they were worth the air used up to express them.

    Unfortunately, that’s the price necessarily paid just to hear the actual good opinions.

  49. }}} This is not to say Physics majors are all wise, but it does suggest that some college degrees are not equal to others. I should add that I had a female Cardiology professor who also has a PhD in Astrophysics.

    Mike, I’ve made the point before: Remember, wisdom and intellect are two different, largely unrelated metrics. It’s quite possible to be brilliant (high intellectual ability) and still be an absolute fool — Noam Chomsky is the poster child for this, because, after seeing a lifetime of its failures, he’s still a Marxist dufus.

    And there are lots of old people whose technical knowledge is limited, but who still have learned plenty about humanity and The Real World. For this, my favorite illustrative quote is by Bismarck:

    “Fools say they profit from experience. I prefer to profit by others’ experience.”

    If there was a “WQ” test to match the “IQ” test, then liberals would generally rank in the bottom 3rd tail of the resulting normal curve.

    And this helps a lot when understanding liberal insanity — they cannot learn from their mistakes, and keep pushing for the same ridiculously incompetent ideas no matter how many times they fail.

  50. “This power reaches its zenith, of course, in totalitarian societies, where people are prevented from sharing unapproved Frames…. Russia under Putin are pretty close to this condition.”
    Is there anyone reading this who actually believes that the NATO countries and the USA are getting a more accurate read on the conditions on the ground in Ukraine than Russians? Really?

  51. }}} The classic example of failure is Xerox that had the PARC geniuses in house and told them to quit messing around with computers and get back to working on copiers.

    This is more short-term thinking, really, as it was the second time they had awesome shit and cancelled the work.

    The Xerox Sigma 7 is/was considered one of the best mainframe computers out there, but, they company saw “X dollars” in R&D and “y” return, and they knew that X dollars into Xerox machines would get them “>y” return, so they killed that arm.

    Same thing happened with the stuff at PARC.

    In both cases, had they allowed the dev efforts to roll on, they would likely have had a significant affect on both mainframes and personal computers, and not be worth 1/6th of what they were at the end of the last century.

  52. }}} Apple had several near death experiences living of about 5-10% of the market for many years.

    Yes, but Apple had an idiot named Sculley in charge, who did not grasp in any regards the significance of increasing market share.

    The really REALLY stupid part is that they HAD an avenue open to them to do it, but they stomped on it.

    First, Bill Gates approached Apple to open up the mac platform. They scoffed. Then Gates said that they’d go ahead and make their own GUI. They scoffed again, with that level-2 imbecile, Jean-Louis Gassee claiming that no one was going to be able to duplicate the Mac (not because of lawfare, but because it was “so difficult”. Imbecile)

    How many people are around who recall Macintosh clones?

    Right. Not many. They were “just around the corner”. And probably so. Then Apple sued Microsoft over the “look and feel” of Windows vs. The Mac.

    And this utterly killed all further development on the clones, which was probably one of the chief reasons for that ridiculously laughable suit, because, if you’re willing to sue one of the richest companies in the world over something that only vaguely looks like your stuff, what are you going to do to some lesser valued company that looks EXACTLY like your stuff?

    Right. Clones were D-O-A.

    And this was literally the worst possible move for Apple, because, what they should have done was to license their older ROMs, a generation or two old, to the cloners. This would have gotten them enormous market share they had no need to support [They would only support “genuine Apple” — if you bought a clone, call the clone-maker], and still kept the cache of “Genuine Macintosh”, to keep their own profit margins high… peeps would still WANT to buy Mac if they could, but it not, they’d have to settle.

    They almost certainly would have gained an increasing share of the market, instead of strangling themselves on the vine. The clear end was self-evident when Adobe stopped making Photoshop, etc., for the Mac FIRST. It meant their market share had slipped low enough that Adobe, of all companies, could afford to rank the Mac second.

    Apple was, literally, Dead in the Water, in 1997, until Jobs came back and saved their asses with first the iPod and then the iPhone.

    They Coulda Been a Contender
    NOV 1, 1997

    And they’re on the same path, AFAICS — notice how they’re no longer crowing about how “There’s an app for that”? Right. Because for every iP App, there’s a dozen Android apps.

    Eventually, Android will own the market completely, and the iPhone is going to be a small-niche product.

    And if Jobs comes back and saves their asses this time, it’s going to be a sign of much much bigger things. :-P

  53. Apple will prosper as long as enough people are willing to pay about 30% Apple tax. So far they are. Apple is the only hardware producer that manages more than low single digit margins on hardware. They have become a phone company that produces a few computers. Their move to the ARM platform for PC’s will make them a phone company that makes a few phones that look like computers. It’ll be interesting to see how that works out. Comparing the number of App’s for the two platforms is tricky because so many of them are junk. The same way that comparing number of phones won’t work because I can buy an Android phone for about $50 so there’s no way Apple can compete, nor do they care to.

    While I don’t personally care for Apple products, you have to give them credit for following their convictions rather than just market share. They have chosen their criteria and will only produce what will meet or exceed them. So far, they make money that way.

  54. }}} No. I hadn’t heard of it before. I have read accounts from different sources about how it came about. The key seemed to be they did it in Florida, far from the eyes of the Mother House. The whole operation was as un-IBM as it was possible to be. Then they went on to try to kill it with PC Jr. and especially PC II that was supposed to be their weapon to kill the clones. It nearly drove IBM out of the x86 market.

    IBM never grasped the PC market. Yes, they did it much as you suggest, but that was possible because IBM never expected it to be more than a niche machine, with a very limited clientele. Everyone wanted Big Iron, man!! :-P

    As to killing the clones, they’d first have had to figure out how to sell their own products.

    The only reason the Mac still exists, and the only reason Windows exists, is because they were too bonehead stupid to grasp the huge window (irony? YES!) of opportunity they had in 1995.

    They had OS/2 Warp, which was getting rave reviews from everyone, available early on in 1995. And Windows 95 almost had to be renamed Windows 96 — they had a good six months or so to steal a major march on Windows and gain control of the software side of things.

    Did they do ANYTHING to promote OS/2 Warp? Nope. No free copies, no promotion.

    Did they do ANYTHING to encourage the development of software for it? Nope. In fact, they practically assured that no one WOULD do so, by charging US$500 for the “Development kit” required to write software for it. That’s close to $1000 today.

    IBM is one of those doddering, dead companies, a zombie whose entire functionality could be taken over by a much smaller company, and done better after the initial transition period, even as its demise freed up huge coffers of eager cash for investment capital.

    Once IBM allowed the system to be largely open, they’d already lost near-complete control over things. It was only a matter of time before “IBM Clone” sales were far greater than IBM’s own sales.

  55. }}} Apple will prosper as long as enough people are willing to pay about 30% Apple tax. So far they are. Apple is the only hardware producer that manages more than low single digit margins on hardware.

    Yes, but their share is steadily declining. Eventually, that will hurt their app market, just as it did their software market.

    I didn’t say they were dead, yet. But they are a defacto zombie, few have figured it out yet.

    }}} The same way that comparing number of phones won’t work because I can buy an Android phone for about $50 so there’s no way Apple can compete, nor do they care to.

    No, it’s the entire point. This isn’t coca cola vs. pepsi. Sculley did not get that. Your percentage of market share CAN drop sufficiently low as to begin to self-destroy its own sales, because then coders stop developing for your platform.

    And software availability is king.

    It’s driven a number of tech innovations in the last 40y:
    Apple ][ sales were heavily driven by business sales of Visicalc
    IBM PC sales were heavily driven by business sales of Lotus 1-2-3
    Mac sales were heavily driven by the software front end.
    Mac sales deteriorated severely after their market share drove the available software into the toilet.
    There’s a reason one of Apple’s most successful iP campaigns was “There’s an app for that.”

    }}} Comparing the number of App’s for the two platforms is tricky because so many of them are junk.

    Irrelevant. If I’m a dev, which platform am I writing for, first? Unless it’s a niche, it would be flat out stupid to dev for the iP first, because it means my initial sales will be not much more than 10% of the market. Unless you’re a limited skill dev who can’t develop for Android and refuse to learn, Android is clearly the way to bet.

    Further, Apple’s reputation as a bunch of fascist bastards does piss off a percentage of devs. And a wise dev would realize — writing software for a company that can arbitrarily kill your sales on a whim is simply flat out not smart. Not all of them are wise, no — but they certainly have a fair number who are that savvy about how to monetize their time. AFTER you have a cash flow from your efforts, THEN you might consider porting it over to the iP/Mac.

    Software/Apps drive sales.

  56. }}} you have to give them credit for following their convictions rather than just market share.

    Nope. As I have asserted, in computers (and the smart phone IS a computer) market share is much more important than basically fungible products.

    }}} So far, they make money that way.

    Yes, and for a decade and a half, they made money off of the Macintosh. Then they started dying on the vine.

    The same is going to happen, it’s just a question of when and how fast the decline will be.

    Any kind of further downturn may be nontrivial — Apple is not set up to cut the costs on their phones. And when money is short, the users are either going to make do with the old one, or they’re going to switch to Androids, rather than having no choice but to buy a $1000 iPhone xty-lebben.

  57. OBH:
    And this helps a lot when understanding liberal insanity — they cannot learn from their mistakes, and keep pushing for the same ridiculously incompetent ideas no matter how many times they fail.

    The people who learn from their mistakes and misapprehensions about how the world works tend to stop being liberals. Over time, there is turnover in the population of the credulous/naive/foolish Left as some members of this population die off and others wise up and become conservatives. The problem is that there is always a new crop of credulous/naive/foolish people who are attracted to the same batch of superficially appealing but eternally bad ideas, which get endlessly spiffed up, marketed and recycled under new names and guises.

    I think the only effective countermeasure is better education, to train people to recognize, understand and therefore resist facile left-wing ideas.

  58. }}} In the future, there will likely be a market for repairing toasters instead of buying a new one sourced from China. But where to get the parts to repair toasters, and many other items besides? As the US economy moves back to barter, we could imagine the customer bringing in a broken toaster, broken TV set, and broken laptop and exchanging them for a repaired toaster.

    First, we’ve been reshoring for more than a decade. The merdia has ignored this.There are multiple manufacturing revolutions going on even as we speak, the only question is “when do they reach critical mass”? 3D printing and CAD-CAM are both pretty close to “anyone can afford”, if not already. Sooner or later, someone is going to come up with something that can capture the market and spark renewed interest in them akin to the revolution caused by the iP.

    Second, When it stops being profitable to bring things in from China (it’s actually already that way to some extend, as their wages rise), the endgame is robotic factories.

    Third, there’s no money in repairing jack shit. This is not going to change. The labor cost is too high.Every repair shop serving any zone with less than half a million people is closed, or it’s losing money and being run only because the owner doesn’t need money and loves it.

    Fourth, while the Idiots In Charge may ruin the dollar, the upheaval which follows will more than likely fix that issue.for the immediate future. Worry more about the political fallout than the financial one.

  59. The thing I’ve yet to really understand is the motivation behind all these Davos characters. They’re not people who can actually do things, really–They’re all backroom dealers who prosper because they can “play the game”. And, they think they know how to play it, but the visually apparent fact is, they don’t have clue one about how to really do much of anything besides screw other people over and manipulate currencies.

    So… What’s the end game for them? Say, for example, that there really is a plan to shed some significant fraction of the world’s human population and let them take over to run the new “you won’t own anything and you’ll like it” World of Tomorrow ™. What then? D’ya suppose they’re going to eliminate the right part of the extraneous population? How likely is it that they fully understand what everyone does, and how much of a population you actually need to sustain the lifestyle to which they’ve become accustomed to, there in Davos?

    The track record for these assholes being right on anything is not a good one; Bill Gates has made so many missteps when he was running Microsoft that the only thing that saved his ass was the sheer monopolistic mass of the company. I don’t think the guy is really all that smart, TBH–And, we have the fact that he was apparently much-engaged with Epstein, which was apparently the proximate cause of his divorce. Not what I’d term a “smart” human being, in my opinion.

    I think that if these characters get what they want, with this “Great Reset”, they’re going to find that the resulting world afterwards ain’t quite what they imagine it being. The Morlocks might just wind up feeding on the Eloi, and I don’t think the Davos types are likely to be very Morlock-ish. I can just imagine them trying to explain to the local Swiss confederation proles how it was necessary to kill off a significant fraction of the world population, and then expecting that historically recalcitrant mass of Swiss to just nod their heads and say “OK, wonderful…”. I rather suspect that the end of that whole thing would be a wholesale slaughter of the elite hiding out in Switzerland, if only out of enlightened self-interest–‘Cos, dem bombs dat de rest of de world have? The Swiss are gonna need all those shelters they’ve built, supposing they don’t massacre the Davos elite types.

    I really don’t think the Davos boys have accounted for all the variables, or considered the second- and third-order effects of this “Great Reset” idea that they have. You think socialism is bad, in terms of discouraging people to breed? You think communism encourages a total disregard for common property? Imagine this world where “you don’t own anything, and like it…”. Psychologically, I don’t think people work well under that sort of situation. You wonder why all those electrobikes and scooters wind up in canals, world-wide? That’s ‘cos nobody really owns them–They’re nobody’s property, and thus, nobody’s responsibility. Things like that are almost instinctively vandalized and destroyed by actual human beings, as opposed to the idealized “New Communist Men” that these idiots imagine.

    In physics, which is fairly simple compared to “people”, they have these concepts where they simplify them to the most basic level–“Assume a perfectly spherical cow…”. That sort of thing works only in abstract physics and geometry; it does not work with real cows or people. Physics problems are not sentient and do not have this nasty habit of reacting to experimentation by consciously screwing around with the experimenter; if that were the case, I suspect we’d still be doing alchemy and ritual magic.

    The Davos types think two entirely fallacious things at the same time: One, that people are reducible to a scientific and predictable set of behavioral outcomes, which they manifestly are not. The second fallacy that they believe is that they’ve got the whole thing sussed out, and that they cannot possibly fail in their machinations.

    It’s like with Disney; Disney thinks that if they lock up all their IP, then they’ve got an eternal cash cow. But, pray tell, what happens when people decide they’ve had quite enough Disney, thankyouverymuch, and they go out and start creating their own content? Distributing it samizdat style, outside the closed Disney ecosystem?

    Hollywood is just about effectively dead. No idea what’s going to replace it, but I can guarantee you this much: The content won’t be the same, nor will the providers be the dinosaurs of today.

  60. Apple is not set up to cut the costs on their phones. And when money is short, the users are either going to make do with the old one, or they’re going to switch to Androids, rather than having no choice but to buy a $1000 iPhone xty-lebben.

    I was looking at a substitute for my old iPhone5, I was in an Apple store here in Tucson but the salesgirl was nasty about masks. Mine wasn’t high enough to suit her. I left, went to an Apple repair store and bought a used iPhone 6 for $100.

  61. My brother and sister-in-law thought it wise to buy the niece and nephew iPhones because “simplicity”. I’ve played around with those just enough to recognize the same Apple syndrome that infested iTunes and my iPod, which pretty much put me off the company for life.

    Apple is the perfect apotheosis of the idea that the programmer and the program are always, always smarter than the actual user. Everything is under the hood; nothing is out where you can modify it to better suit your needs. The perfect Apple product is a black-box affair, taking input, then generating output with no discernible rhyme or reason–Much the way you can cause the fall of civilizations whenever you go to change the position of an inserted graphic in Microsoft Word.

    If you ever wonder why all the tech-bros are control freaks? Look at their products; most of them ideate the mentality that says the user is a fool, and does not know what is best for them. Apple is the ultimate expression of that sort of thinking, and it should hardly come as a surprise to anyone.

    Also, note the way that Apple likes to buy up and then destroy usable software on other platforms. Dark Sky was one of the best, most accurate weather apps on any platform–Apple couldn’t tolerate that, so they bought the company and basically murdered the Android app, which really pissed me off because I was a supporter who’d just paid the annual subscription fee when they did it. No refund, of course…

    Apple is an expression of Steve Job’s entire nasty personality and mentality; he thought he was a genius who knew better than anyone else what the personal computer should be. Reality? His missteps were legendary–He slaughtered the nascent handheld computer that Apple had going under (I think…) Sculley, which led to them having to reinvent the wheel later on.

    Also, the fact that every Apple product I’ve ever owned or had to work on has eventually turned into a nightmare of “you can’t do that” tends to color my sensibilities. “It just works” does not trump “you can’t do that”, in my book…

  62. Jesse asks about comparative knowledge of the Uke situation, West vs Putinia.

    We in the West have a better chance of forming an accurate picture, if only because we have some access to different–diverse, if you’ll forgive the profanity–accounts from a variety of sources.

    I can only speculate as to what Russian citizens know and how they know it, but have no reason to think they are better informed, and see the situation as reminiscent of the Cold War in that regard.

    And anyone that argues that we didn’t know more about them than they did about us is a damnfool.

  63. The West has always overestimated Russia, while at the same time, underestimating them. We always overestimate their power, while simultaneously underestimating their willingness to kill off job lots of their own people to accomplish something.

    Russia has always been an enigma to the West, a blank screen upon which we could project whatever fantasy view we had on it. The French and British spoke endlessly and wishfully of the vaunted “Russian Steamroller” coming to save them from mean old Germany. In reality, Russian inherent ineptitude, vice, and backwardness resulted in Russia being the one steamrollered by German basic competence.

    Similar fantasies played a role in the run-up to WWII, in both directions–Everyone knew about Finland, nobody knew about Manchuria. Nobody paid attention to just how much Lend-Lease it took to prop up Stalin’s fantasy regime, not even Stalin.

    Post-WWII, it got even worse: The Soviets were ten feet tall, and coming to get us, which played right into the hands of the military-industrial complex, and here we are today, with a similar set of misconceptions and fantasies guiding policy. In reality, modern Russia has an economy smaller than some of our states, and a declining population. The correlation of forces going into Ukraine was laughable, looking at the job they’d set out for themselves: 150,000 men to conquer a nation of 48 million? With equipment and training whose epic half-assery is likely to eclipse the Finnish debacle of 1939?

    At this point, I refuse to predict anything or do more than comment on what I’m seeing; I don’t think that anyone involved in this entire debacle has a damn clue, whether you’re talking Putin, his minions, the Ukrainians, or the idiots in the various Western governments. Everything we see is filtered; Plato’s cave-dwellers likely had a better idea of what the shadows they saw were doing than we have of what’s going on in the former territory of the Soviet Union.

  64. well the Russians didn’t fare terribly well in the Crimean war, sans sevastopol, (I was watching Michael Curtiz’s version from 1936, and they tacked a revenge motive regarded to the Indian Mutiny in Cawnpore, to the ill fated charge), the Russo Turkish war? the Russo Japanese war,

  65. Russia is a huge contradiction… If you look at it from one point of view, they were the last major Eurasian empire to collapse.

    Which speaks both to a certain backwardness in organization and culture, and a certain bloody-minded stubbornness that even the French and Brits lacked.

    I always found Soviet blatherings about “Western Imperialism” to be highly risible; as with most leftists, they accuse you of precisely what they are or what they want to do. You want imperialism? Look at the Soviet “penitentiary of nations” and the Warsaw Pact. The United States did not sponsor an invasion of France, when it pulled out of NATO, now did it?

  66. it’s the marxist gloss, on Russian nationalism, this is what kennan discerned early on, what the old joke, in capitalism, man exploits man, in socialism, it’s the reverse, for the davos rich, it’s largely guilt over their success, versus the mass of poor and disenfranchised, now most of these measures seem to make the poor even more destitute (like the doc said in airplane, that’s not important right now) schwab came along after the first iterations of protests, the enviromental mugwumpery of rachel carson, and later the oil shock, made him sound prescient

  67. The comments made after mine about comparative knowledge (which is not equivalent to comprehension, but helps) prove the point. It was Russia and Russians who most comprehensively failed to understand their Other(s), and themselves, not Westerners for all their faults and blind spots.

    I just finished van Creveld’s “I, Stalin.” It’s full of little shifts of perspective and reframings that provoke thought, and one that springs to mind is “Stalin’s” opinion that their pre-1940
    victories in Manchuria were actually not all that impressive or reassuring, and, for Suvorov fans, a boast that not only did he know Hitler was coming, but that he himself was planning to attack–into Romania. (Memory tells me that historian Creveld was skeptical of the thesis decades ago.)

    [This needs editing but I’ll have to come back.]

    Why pretend that there’s some mystery about the differences between (relatively, still) open societies and closed ones?

    Russians are a lot like other people in their basic desires, and are actually harder to whip up into conquest-frenzies than some other Europeans are. Hard to move, but also hard to stop if motivated.

    The question is, are they motivated enough right now?

    It doesn’t look that way to me right now, Plato’s Cave-O-Vision or not.

  68. Jesse,
    The only thing I would be willing to bet money on in terms of the situation in Ukraine is that anything the Russians say is a lie. This is not to say I believe what the Ukrainians are saying either. In fact, since I am just an observer, I don’t really listen to either side and certainly not the media. I take note of those things that are too big and out in the open to hide and draw what limited conclusions I can from that.

    The Russians tried to take Kiev and failed badly. I don’t know, and neither do the Russians probably, just how many men and weapons they managed to save, let alone how many of either are in shape to fight elsewhere. This was supposed to be the equivalent of an NBA team taking on some small high school JV, it wasn’t.

    By the same token, I don’t know which street corner or slag heap they are fighting over today and don’t care. It’s the fact that they are that indicates that things are going very wrong for Russia.

    At this time the best Putin can manage is to contract his line into something he can defend and get ready for a long, bloody insurgency. Conversely, this would be the worst outcome for Russia as a whole since it probably insures that the various sanctions continue and probably tighten. Their smart move would be to withdraw across the border and hope the usual Western amnesia sets in quickly. The Ukrainians may find some sort of middle ground acceptable but don’t show much sign of it right now.

    Just who might be winning at any instant is irrelevant, all that will matter is who’s still standing and where when the shooting stops. As I said, the Russians can probably put that day off indefinitely if they are willing to pay the price in blood and treasure but not to end it short of fully withdrawing without the cooperation of the Ukrainians.

  69. MCS: “Their smart move would be to withdraw across the border and hope the usual Western amnesia sets in quickly.”

    And let the Ukrainian kleptocrats get back to their eight (8 !) year long civil war, murdering Ukrainians who happen to speak the wrong language? That really does not seem likely, does it?

    The Ukrainians would quickly come to the negotiation table if the West would stop encouraging them to widen the war. US Senators are urging US boots on the ground (peons’ boots, of course; not their Senatorial boots). That is known as World War III. We can speculate on why our failing Political Class wants to make a big deal out of the Ukraine, but not out of Yemen, for example.

  70. A telling data point, in ohsoverymanyways, is the recent inclusion of trucks taken up from civilian use in Russian tactical columns wandering about Ukraine.

    This is significant because it points to a lack of serviceable military trucks, a critical supply issue, and because those civilian trucks have not the slightest sign of anyone having given thought to camouflaging the damn things. It’s like the US Army including big yellow Penske trucks in its tactical elements, or something equally stupid. This is a huge “WTF? Really?”, particularly when you note that they haven’t even taken the slightest effort to camouflage or subdue the trucks by either smearing them with mud or draping foliage over them.

    Mind-boggling military incompetence at multiple levels. Not to mention, an indicator of an inability to learn at the lowest level, and the utter lack of common sense or survival instinct down there.

    Swear to God, I’m going to need to station a freakin’ floor jack near my computer to get my jaw off the ground, at this rate.

  71. Well, for an alternative viewpoint, I offer this site:

    And this:

    I won’t offer an endorsement of either site. I quit reading both of these years ago because I thought they were spouting nonsense. But I despise censorship- I note that American soldiers were free to listen to Tokyo Rose during WWII- and I think the so-called mainstream media is also spouting nonsense.

    Hence, I appreciate those sites and the commentary there, because at the very least they offer an alternative viewpoint to the relentless cheerleading for war from the regime.

  72. A telling data point, in ohsoverymanyways, is the recent inclusion of trucks taken up from civilian use in Russian tactical columns wandering about Ukraine.

    During the Cold War, Russian- excuse me Soviet trucks supposedly had duel license plates. That is, one for civilian use delivering beets to the peasantry, and another for wartime service. Did this ever cease?

    This is significant because it points to a lack of serviceable military trucks, a critical supply issue, and because those civilian trucks have not the slightest sign of anyone having given thought to camouflaging the damn things.

    Perhaps the Russians believe they have no need to camouflage them. Are they correct?

    Don’t know. But when this started I was assured Russia would collapse in a couple weeks and yet we’re now on day 50 of their Ukrainian adventure.

    Something ain’t right, in all this.

  73. The Russians were assured to collapse in a few weeks…? Huh. I don’t remember ever hearing anyone, anywhere saying that. It was the Ukrainians who were supposed to collapse before the mighty Russian Army, per what I remember.

    Perhaps you could provide cites for this? I honestly am unable to find any predictions like that. On the other hand, I can find dozens telling me the Ukrainians were done, and that Zelensky would be working out of Polish or Czech office space by now–If he was even alive.

  74. The sanctions were supposed to make them cry uncle then xi and modi did a workaround it does seem a quixotic exercise to go after mariupol

  75. Kamil Galeev has some interesting insights:

    From the beginning, I’ve thought this whole thing irrational as hell from the perspective of common sense, but the cultural differences he highlights make it a lot more explicable, and explain the differences I’ve always found between actual Ukrainian Ukrainians vs. Russians or Russian-adjacent Ukrainians. It also explains why the Holodomor was focused on the Ukraine–The peasants there were a lot less likely to fall in line with their new overlords.

    I suspect that even if the Russians resort to nuking Ukraine, they’re going to keep fighting. There’s a certain stubbornness to the Ukrainians that completely bypasses common sense–They had “lost cause” types fighting the Red Army and the Soviets up into the mid-1950s.

  76. Stalin was the worst czar in terms of blood price, the mop up of ukraine had started under lenin, they drove petlura into exile then came the holomodor under kaganovitch kruschevs sponsor

  77. If they had killed 4 million of your people you think the gauge of what is reasonable resistance would be skewed.

  78. Oh, I completely get that piece of it. It’s just that the correlation of forces in terms of actual potential power and the terrain…? It’s nuts; same as with Poland or Belgium.

    Frankly, were I Polish, Ukrainian, or Belgian, I’d take a long, hard look at things and then seriously consider moving somewhere that was a bit more defensible–Or, explore my options for making my terrain a lot less hospitable for invasion. There are things that could be done, long-term, to make it a lot harder to just cross the border and overrun the place–Starting with reshaping the landscape and flora such that there were successive lines of forest and open terrain at the ideal range for AT weapons. As well, you put in a bunch of dams and flood control systems that enable you to do what the Dutch do with their polders and flood the place, and it’s Hey! Presto! a hell of a lot harder to invade. I understand that a bit of that was done already, impromptu, but what I’m talking about is a lot more planned.

    In that piece by Galeev, I’m seeing an explanation for why the Ukrainian Army seems to be a lot more on the ball than you’d classically expect–The culture shapes the force more than people realize. Which is why the US Army’s current bosses better think very carefully about precisely who it is they’re recruiting, and who they’re discouraging from serving. The wokist types are not going to do well in combat conditions. At. All. There are a lot of the younger guys I think would make great soldiers, but ya know what? They ain’t joining. There’s a price to be paid for telling people they have to live with constant woke BS being shoved down their throats, and that price is that the guys who make the best, most effective soldiers simply won’t bother to turn up and serve. Frankly, were I 17 today? Enlisting would be one of those things that would not happen, and I seriously doubt I’d show up for the Selective Service, either. Not knowing what I know now, that’s for damn sure.

  79. Parts of Belgium were flooded at the beginning of WWI. The BEF and what was left of the Belgian Army were able to keep the Germans from entirely occupying Belgium and held on to it for the duration.

    If Russia resorts to nuclear weapons, even in a limited way, I don’t see that the Europeans have any alternative but to crush Russia. Some sort of large scale, preemptive strike becomes a possibility but a long economic grinding is more likely. Russia is essentially land locked except in the Pacific and Arctic. The Pacific has no infrastructure and only a tenuous connection to Russia proper while the Arctic is subject to uncertainty and bottlenecks. China is likely to become involved as well, they have long standing claims in Siberia and would be standing with the rest of the world against a madman.

    Putin may have maneuvered Russia into the ultimate no-win corner, something a long line of incredibly inept rulers had failed at previously.

  80. I don’t know what to think about the aftermath of any deployment of nuclear weapons in Ukraine would look like. I suspect that Putin might be thinking that “doing the unthinkable” would serve to cow Europe and the rest of the world, but how that actually plays out…? No flippin’ idea. France and England both have enough nukes to severely damage Russia; China would certainly be very happy to pick up the remnants, if nothing else for “humanitarian reasons”.

    The really big question is, what happens after. Say Putin does get the US nuked, and we lose a city or two… Then what? How does that play out? More jingoism, blame the Russians, and BidenCo. gets re-elected? Does a nuking mean that the country rallies ’round the flag, and we get even more Democrat-cy? Or, does it lead to the utter destruction of the Democratic Party and its politics of destruction?

    This is why professional soldiers almost always counsel against going to war: This crap never, ever plays out the way the idiots starting the war think it will. Remember the oracle at Delphi? “If Croesus goes to war, he will destroy a great empire.”.

    Anyone really remember Lydia, without having to go look up what nation Croesus was in charge of?

    Y’all don’t like uncertainty? Stay the hell off the battlefield.

  81. How many nukes did croesus have, rhetorical you really want to be playing on the nuclear escalator?

  82. Miguel, I’d already referenced that Threadreader thread, earlier… But, it’s interesting that your link has a somewhat different URL.

    Ah, well… If more people read it because it came from you, so much the better.

  83. And, in reference to Croesus? I’m not really interested in playing on anyone’s battlefield, with anything from a rock to a strategic ICBM. I’ve always found the idea of war to be profoundly stupid, the last resort of dolts who can’t work out their problems otherwise. Unfortunately, as Trotsky alluded, while I’m not particularly interested (in the sense of wanting it…) in war, it is interested in me.

    Michael Anton’s piece is well worth the read, as well.

  84. I think there has been a divide between which side of the dnieper river one stands the different bands of kossacks for instance it is a deeper element in the russian spirit and when the Turk which has been the long time enemy has been involved

  85. What did trotsky (the founder of the Red army) say: you may not be interested in war…when leading figures of the pirate crew that has stolen this nation, and pet parrots like adam kinzinger who last sold us supportimg the storm brigade who sold hostages to islamic state jabber on, we need to consider the consequences of same.

  86. When it comes to nuclear weapons, the firstist is the mostest. All the advantage lies with the first out of the starting block and there won’t be any restarts or disqualifications. We’ve spent a lot of money over the years to reduce the penalty from starting from behind, but there’s still a big penalty to that ten minutes. I don’t expect to survive to see if that particular government program worked. The smart money bet is that the Russian strategic forces are just as screwed up as the rest and to take whatever advantage there is in making them start from behind.

    The reaction of the Europeans shows that they suddenly view Russia as an existential threat to be eliminated. When you’re listing the countries that might be acquiring nuclear weapons, don’t forget Germany and Poland. This is the happy world that “special military operations” across borders in Europe has made.

  87. I don’r want to take the chance, do you, the Germans in recent memory, purged their top spec operators, because they were insufficiently prog, the Brits seem to have much the same view, lets not revisit Dartth Austin and Milley Vannili and their last embarassing jaunt in Afghanistan,

  88. I regard Putin as less of an enemy, then most of the leadership in this country, who have allowed looting, destroyed the supply chain, are waging war on Christians and Orthodox Jews, abetting an invasion, ala Xerxes horde, and leading us to famine, yet the supposed opposition is just handing out tricolors,

  89. “Anyone really remember Lydia, without having to go look up what nation Croesus was in charge of?”

    The first companion you can get in Skyrim? The Daedra Croesus I know less about.

    Bows to Nocturnal.

  90. The rising profile of the use of nuclear weapons raises an interesting question — What would we consider to be a sufficient reason for triggering a global thermonuclear war?

    Set aside for the moment the highly pertinent issue of whether anyone’s nuclear weapons (untested for decades) would work as intended — or even work at all. Just assume that the US Senator who wants peons’ boots on the ground in the Ukraine gets his wish, and the situation escalates (as it then must) to cities across the US, Europe, and Russia being laid waste.

    It is the Mutual Assured Destruction paradox. We can kill whoever we decide is today’s enemy — but have to endure the certainty that we (including women, children, and people of color) will all be wiped out too.

    How bad would Biden*’s “genocide” in the Ukraine have to be before we each would consider it essential to destroy our own families and our own communities as the price of teaching the Bad Guys a lesson?

  91. The fighting in Ukraine could have simmered on forever with one side lobbing a few shells and the other lobbing a few back then declaring a cease fire until next time. We were all willing to watch from the sidelines, deploring and inconveniencing a few Russians with sanctions. This, after a civilian airliner was shot down by a Russian missile almost certainly manned by Russians illegally occupying Ukrainian territory and the occupation of the Crimea. Altogether, not much more reaction than one of the customary wars in Africa.

    Then Putin decided to up the ante and invade. This seemed to hit home with Europeans who possibly remembered 1914 or 1939, not fondly. At that, as long as this remains confined to Ukraine, there’s no discernible appetite for deploying troops or supplying heavy weapons. All the talk of nuclear escalation is coming from Putin. If NATO desired to intervene more energetically, nuclear weapons wouldn’t be necessary, the Russian Army is hardly up to resisting.

    The calculations change if Putin starts to look like he might burn down the world for his funeral pyre.

  92. MCS: “Then Putin decided to up the ante and invade.”

    The only thing we know for sure is that “Our Guys” are lying, the Ukrainian rulers are lying, and we don’t hear enough to know if the Russians are lying because “Our Side” has decided that we peons don’t need to know what they are saying.

    Given the Fog of War, we don’t know — but there have been reports that the Ukrainian rulers were massing their forces at the Donbass (that appears to be true) and planning to invade the areas that had sought self-government (who knows?). The Russian invasion was aimed at forestalling that Ukrainian rulers’ pogrom. Maybe that is true — who can say?

    As an aside, Putin is of course almost as evil as Trump, per US media. But according to the view of the few Russian sources available, Putin is being heavily criticized within Russia for being too soft, not going all-in and damn the civilian casualties. Those who believe the media/Biden* spin that the war is all Putin’s fault and the solution is regime change in Russia may not like what follows after him.

    Everything points to the same conclusion: the rulers of the US ought to be trying to broker a settlement, instead of trying to widen the war.

  93. Of course the Russians are lying.

    Bismarck said that one should never trust a Russian, because the Russian doesn’t even trust himself.

  94. Then Putin decided to up the ante and invade.

    You’re leaving out the years Putin spent telling NATO that Ukrainian membership would result in an invasion, along with the increasingly enthusiastic hints from the West that membership was imminent. I’ll say it again- the West wanted this war as an excuse for regime change in Russia.

    This seemed to hit home with Europeans who possibly remembered 1914 or 1939, not fondly.

    Then they should have prepared to deal with Putin themselves, instead of demanding we take care of their problem for them.

    At that, as long as this remains confined to Ukraine, there’s no discernible appetite for deploying troops or supplying heavy weapons.

    NATO has already sent plenty of heavy weapons with more coming and there seems to me to a very discernible appetite for sending American troops into Ukraine, most recently from a US senator.

    All the talk of nuclear escalation is coming from Putin.

    I’ve seen no talk of nuclear escalation from Russia, except for denials of the hysterical and endless claims from the West that Russia is about use nukes, chemical weapons, etc.

    If NATO desired to intervene more energetically, nuclear weapons wouldn’t be necessary, the Russian Army is hardly up to resisting.

    I find this a dubious assertion.

    I’m reminded of WWII, in which the public in Germany and Japan could figure out that the tales of glorious victories were false, because the front moved ever closer to home. Right now I see Russia launching an offensive while the West frantically sends more and more weaponry to Ukraine, depleting NATO’s own stocks without so far taking the initiative from Russia.

    Meanwhile, the US won’t even talk to the Russian ambassador.

    I consider that a tell that the West has no interest in ending this war without regime change.

    Apologies for using only a Western source, but since Russian sources are blocked I had no choice.

    And why are Russian sources blocked, by the way? What is globalist cabal I’ve been calling the West afraid of, anyway?

  95. And again with the “Putin said”. Who voted and when was he elected arbiter of world foreign policy. The mistake was not to come down hard and unmistakably when he seized Crimea. Just as in Hitler’s re-militarization of the Rhineland. Either borders mean something or they don’t.

  96. MCS: “Either borders mean something or they don’t.”

    Please do us all a favor, MCS, and explain that to Biden*. It would be a real step forward if the US Southern Border meant something.

    But Biden* and the media are so glad to borrow more money the US does not have to try to push the borders of the Ukraine back to where they were nearly a decade ago. Remember that the Ukrainian kleptocrats have not controlled the Donbas for years — hence the vile civil war they have been pursuing instead of implementing the Minsk Agreements.

    The rational course for any American is to insist that the US Army be sent to control the US Southern Border, and that our rulers stop pumping up the war in the Ukraine.

  97. We don’t need the U.S. Army to control the Southern Border, We need Mexico to control their Northern Border. What it took was DOT inspectors. Every truck crossing the border. As the trucks backed up towards Mexico City, they started to see out point of view. No Federal response needed.

  98. MCS: “We don’t need the U.S. Army to control the Southern Border, We need Mexico to control their Northern Border.”

    So by that logic, we do not need US taxpayers and their grandchildren to pay the cost for the Ukrainian army to control their eastern border — we need the Donbas Republics (with Russian support) to control the military assault on their western border.

    Seriously, MCS, it is time to get real. “Our Guys” need to stop stirring up trouble and trying to refight the Cold War — this time with much more violence. Nothing in the Ukraine is worth the bones of a single US serviceman; nor is it worth a single dollar taken from the pockets of US citizens.

  99. And again with the “Putin said”.

    We should pay attention to what “Putin said” for the same reason we pay attention to what the leader of any nation says. We should especially pay attention to what the ruler of Russia says regarding what the nation of Russia will do.

    Who voted and when was he elected arbiter of world foreign policy.

    Who voted and made Joe Biden’s handler arbiter of world foreign policy? And just who is making decisions for Joe, anyway? The Easter Bunny?

    I find this idea that Putin is somehow acting as the arbiter of world foreign policy a bit odd, considering that over the last few months I’ve watched attempts to overthrow the governments of Belarus and Kazakhstan, the recent change of government in Pakistan after threats from somewhere, the embarrassing lectures and demands made to India, China, etc. I can only conclude some other non-Putin entity- let’s call it “the Deep State”- is attempting to act as arbiter of world foreign policy- and doing that badly.

    The mistake was not to come down hard and unmistakably when he seized Crimea.

    I’d have thought the sanctions were quite enough of a lesson, considering that nothing much happened for several years, except the continual shelling of the Russian-backed areas by Ukrainians. But if you want regime change in Russia, that wasn’t good enough.

    Just as in Hitler’s re-militarization of the Rhineland.

    Since I don’t recall anyone claiming that the Rhineland wasn’t part of Germany, are you admitting that Putin was re-occupying Russian territory when he reclaimed Crimea? If so, does that admission also cover the other regions Putin separated from Ukraine?

    In any case, I think the analogy is false, because Hitler didn’t sit on his hands for years doing nothing, unlike Putin.

    Either borders mean something or they don’t.

    What borders, where?

    I know the US border is pretty important to me, but the US government cares about it not a whit. Essentially, the US has no southern border. I’ve noticed that the US government is very very concerned about the Russia-Ukraine border, which I don’t care about at all.

    I think the endless swarms of foreigners should resolve their own border squabbles and leave me and my tax dollars out of it. Or not resolve them, if they choose.

    It seems as if no one has told these foreigners that they can solve their own problems, so let me be the first. England and France- you both have nuclear weapons. You should tell Putin about that, and threaten to use them if he displeases you.

    I wish you well. But from a safe distance.

  100. So its war. The Special Operation never really had a chance. its war between Russia and the west basically. There will be no quick solution, outside of the operation in progress in the Donbass succeeding fairly quickly and completely.

    If that happens it will cripple Ukraine, as its other forces are scattered across the country, guarding various areas. Then a breakout could be made, but only to destroy more of the Ukrainian forces. Then that could be continued, but more and more easily as the Ukrainian forces were destroyed. I’m not that would end it, but it might.

    If does not happen the US et al, will be able to funnel in both weapons and people and keep this conflict going for a very long time.

  101. I must have had an idyllic sojourn in the fields of learning. I had teachers that I always thought of a people. Most I thought did a decent job considering the clay they had to work with. I’ll always remember one elementary school teacher that was from Saint Louis and was thrilled when they won the World Series the year I had her, that wasn’t even encouraging disloyalty, we didn’t have a local big league team. A science teacher that tried to farm a dryland half section on the weekends and flew crop dusters and cloud seeders on summer break. Even one unfortunate who comes to mind whenever Ichabod Crane is mentioned, that had the thankless job of trying to inculcate me with the vocabulary of art criticism (somebody thought that was a good idea) married one of my other English teachers, the hot one.

    So, not much drama nor much academic distinction on my part unfortunately.

Comments are closed.