Looking Back on the Biden Ten Year Plan

(An Ode to Lionel Shriver)

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Back in 2021 President Biden reiterated that his proposals, unprecedented in scope and expense, represented an investment in the future with extraordinary returns that could only be evaluated over the longer, e.g., ten- to fifty-year time horizon. This perspective coincidentally facilitated claims it was paid for without new taxes, while postponing an evaluation of actual returns beyond his term in office, even if he should run and win a second term in 2024 at 82 years old.

Saving American Democracy

But it’s now a decade later and Biden is still in office. Well, not exactly in office, as he had been replaced by a hologram in late 2021, addressing the American people from his estate in McLean Virginia, purchased for $50 million cash (before GSA improvements). Following FDR’s precedent people were told that changing leaders in the midst of a crisis, and these continued to accumulate over the decade, was dangerous.

Besides, he had run virtually unopposed in the 2024 election after all those registered Republicans within a half mile of the Capitol on January 6,th 2021 had been arrested, tried, convicted and jailed for “terrorism and crimes against the State,” after which Republican voter registration plummeted.

The expanded Supreme Court, 29 Justices to accommodate race, ethnicity, gender, etc., had finally ruled on the legal concept of “disparate impact,” concluding that everything from global warming and COVID 19 to voter identification, rent collection, college admission requirements and even law enforcement represented illegal racial discrimination. The expanded Court then called an indefinite recess during the construction of a new edifice to house it.

There was really no point in holding a faux election in 2028 in any event. The progressive campaigns to eliminate the electoral college and voter ID laws to prevent “voter suppression” had both been successful, and the ongoing COVID lockdown still allowed mail-in ballots under the rules in place in 2020, so there was no need to go through the motions. The New York Times and the Washington Post, the only remaining Party sanctioned newspapers, simply announced “the will of the people.” By now, 2031, most people have long since forgotten the promises of that Biden Ten Year Plan.

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Party Hearty

Well, if there isn’t one element in current events which more clearly shows up the double standard – not to mention the absolute uselessness of masks and so-called social distancing – it would have to be Barak Obama’s lavish party with six hundred of his closest and dearest friends, at his plush estate in that playground of the old-money wealth, Martha’s Vineyard. The Commie Crud virus obviously must know the difference between the enlightened, sensitive members of the elite, and would not dare afflict them, unlike those stupid, unenlightened and no doubt racist proles attending the Sturgis motorcycle rally.

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Pwosesis Ayiti A

No reward for resistance; no assistance, no applause.

— Neil Peart, “Lock and Key

 

For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself.

— Paul of Tarsus, Epistle to the Romans

La merde a frappé le ventilateur; my earlier post became abruptly more topical on Wednesday the 7th, when we woke to the news of the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse. This follow-up will consider the implications of developments since late June and will specifically respond to commenters on Dilèm Aksyon Kolektif nan Matisan. Most of the structure of this post will follow the Deming process-workbench model, because history is, to a great extent, a series of contingent events, and because I am a giant process nerd.

Follow along, kids, as I summon the shade of W. Edwards Deming (1900-1993) to analyze the biggest mess I’ve ever been in!

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Dilèm Aksyon Kolektif nan Matisan

Generatim discite cultus

(Learn the culture proper to each after its kind)

— Virgil, Georgics II

Stephen Biddle, Nonstate Warfare: the Military Methods of Guerrillas, Warlords, and Militias (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2021)

one-to-many entity-relationship symbol superposed over map of Martissant, Haiti

By way of making this more than a merely armchair review, I will be discussing the developing situation of state failure in Haiti, which is providing a personally harrowing example of the phenomena theorized and studied in this book. NB: additional situation reports like the one I quote from below will appear at this OCHA webpage.

I. Increasingly Scale-Free Military Activity in the 21st Century

In this follow-up to 2004’s Military Power: Explaining Victory and Defeat in Modern Battle (also from Princeton), Stephen Biddle continues to elucidate the many ramifications of the one-to-many relationship which came to dominate the battlefield between the Napoleonic Wars and World War I. Over that century and in the decades that followed, individual-service weapons increased in rate of fire from a (very) few rounds per minute to ~10 rounds per second, in effective range from ~100 to >300 meters, and in accuracy from (optimistically) 10 to 1.5 milliradians. Say 2½ orders of magnitude improvement in RoF, half an order of magnitude in range, and one order of magnitude in accuracy; multiplying these together to create a sort of index of effectiveness, I get an overall change of 4 orders of magnitude, with stark implications for battlefield environments.

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Generally Speaking

I can’t really speak to the matter of general officers from extensive personal experience with the rank; throughout my military career I was mostly in places removed from direct personal contact. A merciful deity, to quote the rabbi from “Fiddler on the Roof” kept the general ranks – kept them far, far from us, although a SAC one-star did show up one day at EBS-Zaragoza, unannounced and unheralded. It was lunchtime, practically everyone save the radio and TV op on duty had left the building. I was sitting in my office, peacefully adding another layer of much-needed polish to my shoes, when a flight-suited guy appeared in the doorway and cheerily asked, “When you’re done with yours, can you do mine?” He was a youngish-looking, personable guy, and it took me at least five seconds to grok the single star that designated his rank. He introduced himself, Brigadier General Something-or-other. said he was visiting for a readiness inspection of the SAC unit. He just thought he would mosey around and drop in to visit some of the other activities on base which supported his people so well … and could he have a tour of our broadcast facility?

Well, duh – like I could say ‘no, general, sir’. He got the brief informal nickel tour, conducted by yours truly, introduced to the few of our staffers who weren’t at lunch, and the other senior NCO, the maintenance chief, who hissed at me: “Why didn’t you tell us there was a one-star on the ground? We should have been prepared!” and I hissed back that I hadn’t had a chance to tell anyone anything, said one-star just appeared. It was likely, I added, that this general was probably much more knowledgeable about what was really going on in the activities that he visited, because of his practice of just casually dropping by … rather than doing the formal, pre-announced official inspection visit.

But to most junior and med-ranked enlisted, general officers are like saints to Catholics – we know of them, about them, recognize their attributes, and experience the effects of their pronouncements and dictates.

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