Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A Couple of Early Thoughts on Tomorrow's Nuremberg Rally


So, as you may have heard, Richard Spencer (one of the architects of the Charlottesville white nationalist riot) is coming to the University of Florida to tomorrow.

Who else is going to be there? Well, me. But I only live 8 1/2 miles away from campus and I fall into a couple of the general categories of people I expect to see there.

Remember, Charlottesville took place on a summer weekend. This is a fall weekday. That probably means different crowd composition.

On a summer weekend, a lot more amateur activists from around the country were likely to be able to show up, on all sides.

On a fall weekday, I expect that "outside agitators" will be fewer, and of the more professional variety.  People who have regular jobs are more likely to be working on a Thursday than on a Saturday. Students who actually study are in school now.

Obviously the University of Florida student body (about 55,000) will field contingents, presumably weighted heavily toward the anti-Nazi side of things. But I'd expect to see fewer student activists from other schools than might have been able to make it to Charlottesville.

There will be plenty of police, naturally (the number I've heard is 500).

My "in case of CS attack" getup
There will be plenty of press, naturally (I have press credentials myself).

And there will be the professional activists.

By "professional," I do not necessarily mean "paid." I mean people for whom politics is their central personal daily activity (in addition to be being "press," I fall into this category). I know quite a few "professional activists" who make little if any money for their work. Some of them have taken an effective vow of poverty so that they can devote their time to it. At least a few have sources of income -- inheritances/trust funds, investment earnings, retirement income) that don't require them to work a "day job."

The governor has declared a "state of emergency." Yes, a "state of emergency" -- because some knothead is going to speechify. That's pathetic. If I had to bet on when was the last time that happened, my bet would be that the speaker in question was Martin Luther King, Jr.  If Spencer is as much a challenge to the existing system as King was ... well, let's be clear on that, he isn't. The "state of emergency" is security theater.

A certain amount of any writing I do about, but from or after, the event is pre-promised to the publication that gave me press credentials, but I'm sure I'll have some things to say here as well, once I get home (hopefully without stops at the hospital or county jail). See you on the flip side.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Who Knew Cultural Appropriation Could be so Comfortable?


Those Thai fishermen know how to do pants (not an affiliate link, nor am I being compensated for talking about how great they are).

Less than $10 (with free shipping for Prime members, of course).

Comfy.

Light fabric, 100% cotton, great for Florida. They seem to be reasonably well-made. I wouldn't want to slide into second base in them or anything like that, but remember, I work sitting in a chair all day.

Waist size, 56 inches. Yes, you read that correctly. The thing is, they are designed to be multi-size. You fold over the slack to your comfortable tightness and tie two strings (sewn on at the rear). Which means that my clothes don't stop fitting every time I lose or gain weight (the last few years I range from a tight 34-inch to a loose 40-inch waist size and that can change pretty suddenly when I start or stop exercising regularly).

Just got my second pair (as pictured; the first pair is black and gray instead of black and red). I expect to get three more, and make them my usual casual go-to.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

On Decapitation, Literal and Figurative


CNBC (citing state-funded South Korean news agency Yonhap) reports that "North Korean hackers are believed to have stolen a large amount of classified military documents, including a South Korean and U.S. plan to 'decapitate' North Korea's leadership ..."

That's somewhat different than the headline: "North Korea hackers believed to have stolen US-South Korea plans to kill Kim Jong Un."

Of course, we don't get to see the content of those documents -- we are just supposed to pick up the check and STFU.

In military terms, "decapitating North Korea's leadership" does not necessarily translate to "killing Kim Jong Un." It merely means cutting off communication between strategic decisionmakers (including top military HQs and regime figures) and on-the-ground actors (troops in the field and the infrastructure supporting the movement, feeding, etc. of said troops).

In my opinion, actually killing Kim Jong Un if war breaks out would be a strategic mistake.

For as long as he can exercise power and communicate orders, he's likely to be a poor decisionmaker.

Once his ability to exercise power and communicate orders has been degraded (which will be very quickly, almost certainly within 24 hours and probably much less), it's better if "his own people" (read: ambitious or desperate generals) kill him so that what follows (as I've previously predicted, probably an invitation for Chinese "peacekeepers" to come in with the US party to a ceasefire agreement) can be embraced by North Koreans as "we deposed Kim" rather than resented by North Koreans as "the US killed Kim."

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