Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Please Prove Me Wrong...

Good evening everyone.

Please note that I am about to risk being unpopular again.

We are all likely aware of the mass shooting that happened in Buffalo earlier this week.  We have learned from the shooter's internet history that he is quite racist.  Such racism is thus thought to be the underlying motivation of his crime.


There is another piece to this that badly needs attention, if only to discount the possibility.  As we look at the history of mass shootings (and we can add mass killings with an automobile), we note that the perpetrators of 122 of those shootings were men (plus two vehicular mass homicides as well).  The perpetrators in another three shootings were women.  In another two, it was a man and a woman together.

My friends, as I have pointed out in another posting from a few years ago, another question desperately demands consideration.  Maybe it is the guns.  Maybe it is not.  But if the perpetrators in over 96% of these mass homicides were men, can we PLEASE have a discussion about men's mental health?

Have a good evening.


Thursday, May 5, 2022

An Elegant Solution...

Good evening everyone...

As the country of my birth seems to be finding yet another avenue to self-immolation, different approaches to some of the questions at hand might provide a less destructive solution.

As most of you are aware, the appointment of judges to the Supreme Court of the United States is a lifetime appointment.  This also holds true for the courts at the appellate level.  The reason for this was to isolate the legal system from the ebb and flow of political discourse, freeing judges to make decisions without their jobs in mind.  As well, it allows a more measured pace in the country's legal development.

With the leaking of the draft of the Supreme Court decision that will likely overturn Roe v. Wade, the cries for term limits and court packing have crescendoed yet again.

I have a more elegant solution.  It is entirely within the letter of the Constitution as it currently stands.  It requires not a single word of new legislation.  All it requires is a commitment from the President on nominations.

I would have great respect for any POTUS who made a couple of very simple promises.

1.  No President would nominate for the Supreme Court any judge who has not been at the appellate level for at least a decade.  Given that the President is only in office for eight years, it would mean that the President would not be able to nominate the same judge both to the appellate courts and to the Supreme Court.

2.  Rather than have age or term limits, a simple practice of requiring a minimum age of 60 before the President is even willing to consider a judge to SCOTUS would limit the amount of time that judges could serve from the beginning instead of at the end.

Presidential traditions are important.  President Washington started the tradition of not serving more than two terms, a tradition that lasted until well into the 20th century.  It was ensconced in law as an amendment to the Constitution only after FDR died during his fourth term.

Have a good evening.


Sunday, April 3, 2022

It Is Time...

Ladies and Gentlemen:

It is time.

We can debate the degree to which we should get involved in the conflagration in Ukraine.  At what point is our involvement causis belli, at the risk of sparking a larger-scale war?  It is a legitimate worry.

What is unjustifiable though is to allow any country to execute civilians.  Yes, in war, civilians die.  they die when they get caught in the crossfire.  Right and proper armies do their best to prevent civilian casualties.

Civilians with their hands tied behind their backs and then shot execution-style were not caught in the crossfire.  They were not taking up arms.  We have now entered the area in which civilized men and women must raise a collective voice and say "enough!"  That collective voice must be followed with a collective effort.

I do not know what such an effort might look like.  It can certainly start with the MiGs in Poland.

If we as a nation look at this and do nothing more than wring our hands, then we do not deserve the countries we are so fortunate to have.

It is time.  It is time to cease standing idly by the blood of our neighbours.


Sunday, March 6, 2022

Feeding the Hand that Bites You...

Top of the evening to all...

You are all familiar with the original idiom.  Biting the hand that feeds you reflects a basic lack of gratitude to those who would do well by you.

Feeding the hand that bites you is remarkably self-defeating.  It is the idea of giving someone the necessary means by which to visit evil on you.  It is with this thought in mind that I have virtually no clue as to the failure of both Europe and North America to stop paying for Russian oil.  Most other economic connections with Russia have been cut off, either as national policy or as individual company decisions.

Vladimir Putin is a blight on the world.  Every penny that flows into Russia exacerbates that blight.  As this conflict spirals from bad to worse, and as the world is dragged more and more into it, the countries of Europe and North America must not pay for the war efforts of an adversary.  It is sheer folly to do so.  


Thursday, March 3, 2022

When in the course of human events...

 Good afternoon to all...

The title of this blog comes from the opening words of the United States Declaration of Independence.  Most people are more familiar with "we hold these truths to be self-evident..."

The course of human events has yielded an inhuman nightmare unfolding in Ukraine.  I find myself utterly perplexed about why this is happening.  Whatever it is that is driving Vladimir Putin contains a logic that I cannot fathom, and do not wish to fathom.

Confusing this further is the age-old rule of combat: battle plan never survives first contact.  The reason is that the other side gets to have a battle plan.  As well, it is impossible to predict the intangibles - weather, mistakes, dumb luck, and a complete disconnect with the local population are all factors.  One presumes that Putin understands this.  

In any event, we are in the course of human events.  And in the midst of these events, we must not allow the events to make us inhuman.  Part of maintaining our humanity is contained in the commandment לא תעמוד על דם רעך.  Do not stand idly over the blood of your neighbour.

I understand the concerns about committing troops to any battle theatre.  What interest does anyone have in the people of another country?  As well, it opens up a whole new potential for the battle theatre to expand well beyond its current location.  

We have interest.  When people need help, we do not ask the address.  When people need help, we show up.  Basic compassion and basic honour demand no less.

I will leave it to the combatant commanders to advise on how to influence the battle theatre more aggressively.  However, it is time.  Putin will not lose on his own.


Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Loyalty and Logistics...

 Top of the evening to all...

As we watch the continuing carnage in Ukraine, it is both easy and appropriate to be in awe of the resilience and toughness of the Ukrainian people.  It is also easy to wonder how the Russian military machine seems not to be able to deliver a knockout punch to a much smaller military.

Regarding the second point, please allow me to offer a couple of possibilities:

1.  If the rumours are correct, the military units are not well-trained and were not informed about the mission objectives.  Folks, the success of any operation depends on everyone knowing the plan and training for it.  This applies in the civilian world no less than in the military world.

2.  Without training and information, it is impossible to develop unit cohesion.  This will cause morale to plummet.  It will eviscerate any loyalty to those in command.

3.  Speaking of those in command, I have heard time and again that the Russian officers are downright brutal to their soldiers.  Especially when dealing with conscripts, this is a recipe for operational failure.  It leads to stories of Russian soldiers damaging the gas tanks of their vehicles.  Every military officer in the world has read Sun Tzu.  To the Russian officers, it is not enough to read Sun Tzu.  Absorbing the lessons is useful as well.

4.  Never lose sight of the importance of the SuppO, the supply officer.  Again, if the rumours are correct, the soldiers do not have enough food.  US field rations assume a calorie requirement of 3000 per day.  That is 50% more than the average for being at home.  When moving long distances while carrying heavy packs, a soldier needs more.  Yes, hunger will degrade mission capability quickly and emphatically.

May this craziness end soon.


Saturday, February 26, 2022

Day 4...

Good evening everyone.

The Russians are unleashing quite the arsenal on Ukraine even as we speak.  I commend the plucky Ukrainians for putting up such a fight.

The West, in its wisdom, has finally cut off select Russian banks from SWIFT.  SWIFT simplifies much of the process for international banking and commerce.  Please note that the decision on these sanctions only affects select Russian banks, and not all of them.

I believe a sense of proportion is important.

*Last week, an Ontario government employee lost her job.  She had donated $100.00 anonymously to the trucker strike that paralyzed Ottawa for several weeks.  Her identity was revealed in a hack of the funding organization.

If it takes until Day 4 to do something substantial, and if the Russians still have some access to SWIFT, a question seems glaringly lacking in an answer:

Can the woman have her job back?

Have a good evening.


*Please do not attempt to tease out my opinion regarding the truckers from this blog entry.  I have not stated any opinion in this blog.