Monday, November 30, 2015

Age and filing homestead claims

Offhand, does anyone know the youngest age a person could file a homestead claim, back in the day?

21?  18?

Eh? Oh Cyber Monday

I'd forgotten that Black Friday is followed by Cyber Monday.

As I don't pay much attention to such things, I'd sort of dimly recalled that there was a computer sales hootenanny, but I didn't remember when. I sort of thought it was Saturday.

It's today, Monday, as people return to work, and shop with their work computers. Seriously.  Makes sense, I guess.

So there you have it.  Thanksgiving, with Black Friday creeping into Thursday night of Thanksgiving.  Black Friday.  Then Small Business Saturday, followed by Cyber Monday.  Black Friday seems to have been a disappointment, I guess, and so there's big hopes pinned on Cyber Monday.  I guess it's the equivalent of what catalogs were, with much more ease of purchase, back when I was young.

Monday at the Bar: Courthouses of the West: Washakie County Courthouse, Worland Wyoming

Courthouses of the West: Washakie County Courthouse, Worland Wyoming:
This is the Washakie County Courthouse in Worland, Wyoming.  The Courthouse dates from the early 1950s (1954, I think).  It's a classically styled courthouse, with a single large courtroom.  I've tried one case in this courthouse, some years ago.
 Entrance to the adjoining jail, which is a substantial structure, mostly from the same era, itself.
A somewhat visually jarring feature of this courthouse is the small Chamber of Commerce building on the corner.  That structure oddly has the appearance of a 1950s vintage drive in restaurant, and its my suspicion that it was.  I wonder if it might have predated the building of the courthouse which, together with the jail, takes up the entire block.

 Large American Indian monument, carved from a substantial block of Douglas fir, on courthouse grounds.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Sunday Morning Scene: The Last General Absolution of the Munsters

The Last General Absolution of the Munsters

The famous painting by Fortunino Matania which commemorated the granting of general absolution on May 9, 1915, to the Muster Fusiliers by Father Francis Gleeson.  The Irish unit of the British Army would suffer devastating casualties on that day, having lost over 50% of is strength.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Bass Pro Shop to gobble Cabelas? I hope not

And following, not entirely appropriately, on this being National Small Business Saturday, there's news floating about that Bass Pro Shops may buy out its competitor Cabela'ss.

I really hope not.

Cabela's is an excellent store, and it's really a model of local enterprise. Based in the small town of Sidney Nebraska, it built a small local store into a giant via its catalog.  It isn't that its' cheaper than its competitors.  It often is not.  But it has a fanstastic assortment of items, and better yet, for somebody from this region, it's a regional store and has things that apply to this region.

I first went to the Sidney store so long ago that it was actually still in downtown Sidney, and not all that big. That store, in my view, had more charm than than the giant store by the Interstate Highway.  And I wasn't all that happy, even way back when, when the store began to build additional physical stores in other localities, although I've been to three of them (Billings, Denver and Rapid City).  I usually stop in the Denver store when I drive by it.

I've never been in a Bass Pro Shop but I have received their cataglogs from time to time, which has never inspired me to buy anything from one. They strike me as defined by their name, in some ways, that being "Bass".  There aren't any bass here and a store that defines bass as a significant game species is unlikely to interest me much.  If it had "trout", or even "salmon", in the name, it'd interest me a bit more.

But the big reason I hope that this doesn't go through is that this sort of conglomeration in these specialized industries, and in retail in general, just doesn't seem to have a good result.  At some point it's already the case that the big outfits crowd out the smaller ones.  From time to time, for example, its been rumored that a Cabelas would come in here, and people will sometimes pose it in "I wish a Cabela's would come in here".  I don't.  I like the Wyoming regional store, Rocky Mountain Discount Sports and I trust the people who work there.  I don't want to have to force them to compete with a Cabela's.  

Indeed, I wasn't super happy when Sportsman's Warehouse came in, but so far it hasn't been much of a threat, in so far as I can see, to the regional Rocky Mountain, even though its a multi state (and indeed multi national, as it's also in Canada) chain.  Quite a few people will go to Rocky Mountain over Sportsman's if they feel Rocky Mountain has an item.  And for that same reason I also worried when Dick's Sporting Goods came in, but again I've found Dick's to be pretty disappointing in the outdoor items department, save for kayaks, so my worry was perhaps misplaced.  Cabela's, on the other hand, might crush them all, assuming that Bass doesn't gobble Cabela's and then crush everyone.

Just recently a fellow opened a new, locally owned, sporting goods store catering to outdoorsmen, that being a store called Wagner's.  I hope it does well.  I've only been in it once, but it did have an assortment of interesting things and it went into the location of a small sporting goods store that had managed to hold on for decades.  I like the fact that an enterprising man can still open one and I hope the best for it.  By opening it, we sort of retain the historical norm here in that there's always been a local store catering to outdoorsmen (Dean's Sporting Goods, Timberline) and a somewhat larger semi chain store (Coast to Coast, Rocky Mountain).  They respond to us locals, stocking stuff that we use, and avoiding things we don't (bass lures, tree stands).  Cabela's had become a giant example of the regional store, and while it has been threatening to become much more than that, it's a great store.  I hope that Bass Pro Shops doesn't take over it.

Lex Anteinternet: Distributist of the world unite! National Small Business Saturday

This year, Small Business Saturday is November 28, today.

This is an event that's sponsored by American Express, hardly a small business, but still, it should draw our attention to small businessees, I hope.  Last year, I ran this post on the day: Lex Anteinternet: Distributist of the world unite! National Small Business Saturday

Distributist of the world unite! National Small Business Saturday.

Repeating what I wrote there would be, of course, pointless, so I'll forgo that. But I wonder, how many folks followed American Expresses' suggestion, because they made it, and what sort of impact that had. And if this is a growing movement at all.

And are you going to visit some small businesses this Holiday Season yourself?

Music, like tastes in other things, is truly individual.

The other day, President Obama bestowed a series of Presidential Medals of Freedom. The medal is supposed to honor the following: 
Section 1. Medal established

The Medal of Freedom is hereby reestablished as the Presidential Medal of Freedom, with accompanying ribbons and appurtenances. The Presidential Medal of Freedom, hereinafter referred to as the Medal, shall be in two degrees. 

Sec. 2. Award of the Medal.

(a) The Medal may be awarded by the President as provided in this order to any person who has made an especially meritorious contribution to (1), the security or national interests of the United States, or (2) world peace, or (3) cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.

(b) The President may select for award of the Medal any person nominated by the Board referred to in Section 3(a) of this Order, any person otherwise recommended to the President for award of the Medal, or any person selected by the President upon his own initiative.

(c) The principal announcement of awards of the Medal shall normally be made annually, on or about July 4 of each year; but such awards may be made at other times, as the President may deem appropriate.

(d) Subject to the provisions of this Order, the Medal may be awarded posthumously. 

Originally it was for the following.
By virtue of the authority vested in me as President of the United States and as Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, it is hereby ordered as follows:
  1. There is hereby established a medal to be known as the Medal of Freedom with accompanying ribbons and appurtenances for award to any person, not hereinafter specifically excluded, who, on or after December 7, 1941, has performed a meritorious act or service which has aided the United States in the prosecution of a war against an enemy or enemies and for which an award of another United States medal or decoration is considered inappropriate.
  2. The Medal of Freedom may also be awarded to any person, not hereinafter specifically excluded, who, on or after December 7, 1941, has similarly aided any nation engaged with the United States in the prosecution of a war against a common enemy or enemies.
  3. The Medal of Freedom shall not be awarded to a citizen of the United States for any act or service performed within the continental limits of the United States or to a member of the armed forces of the United States.
  4. The Medal of Freedom and appurtenances thereto shall be of appropriate design, approved by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of War, and the Secretary of the Navy, and may be awarded by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of War, or the Secretary of the Navy, or by such officers as the said Secretaries may respectively designate. Awards shall be made under such regulations as the said Secretaries shall severally prescribe and such regulations shall, insofar as practicable, be of uniform application.
  5. No more than one Medal of Freedom shall be awarded to any one person, but for a subsequent act or service justifying such an award a suitable device may be awarded to be worn with the medal.
  6. The Medal of Freedom may be awarded posthumously.

I don't have a problem with the medal, which is basically a high civilian honorific, but I sometimes and a bit surprised by the winners, which is not to criticize them.

One winner this year was James Taylor.

Taylor is a musician I don't think much about, as he bores the stuffing out of me.  After he won, I was discussing him with my son, who knows a lot about music, and is a good musician himself, but he had  never heard of him.  Probably not something a younger generation follows much.  Indeed, he strikes me as part of the music scene of the 1970s, and that being the part that I myself prefer not to ponder.

So, I found him on you tube.

My gosh, the comments on his videos are just gushing.

One comment, and I can't find it now, was something like "How can anyone not love this music?"

Well, I don't. 

I can't stand Taylor's music. It's really dull in my view.  I frankly can't get through one of his songs if it comes on the radio, I just move on.

Am I right?  Probably not, as a lot of people do love him.  But I find his music insufferably dull.  When he was here in town a while back a lot of people I knew went to hear him, and they all commented on how great he was.  I didn't go. I"d have been napping and checking my watch.

Oh well, tastes in music, likely beauty, or even more so, truly are in the eye, or in this case the ear, of the listener.

Oh, why did he win?  Well, the President's statement provided:
 As a recording and touring artist, James Taylor has touched people with his warm baritone voice and distinctive style of guitar-playing for more than 40 years, while setting a precedent to which countless young musicians have aspired.  Over the course of his celebrated songwriting and performing career, Taylor has sold more than 100 million albums, earning gold, platinum and multi-platinum awards for classics ranging from Sweet Baby James in 1970 to October Road in 2002.  In 2015 Taylor released Before This World, his first new studio album in thirteen years, which earned him his first ever #1 album.  He has won multiple Grammy awards and has been inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the prestigious Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Eh?  You get a medal for that?

Oh well.  I'm sure all those statements are very true.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Australian Government nixes sale of largest cattle ranch to foreign investors

Of note to some here, the Australian government said no to the sale of the nation's largest cattle ranch, called in Australia a "station", to foreign bidders.

Not really an act of Distributism, the sale was apparently given the no go as part of the ranch includes the world's largest missile range.  So it was more of a matter of national defense considerations as opposed to anything else.

Still, it's interesting.  If it had been an American ranch, I doubt that a similar result would have occurred, or if we'd even have thought that there should be one.

Absolute freedom of land sales, or even use of land, isn't really a given, the way Americans tend to think it is.  And perhaps it shouldn't be really, in all circumstances.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Funding Failure (or rather not funding it), part 4. A Distributist consideration.


I just posted the third comment on the blog about our current system of funding college educations, taking on a bit the current system, which isn't working well in my view, but also taking on the current somewhat popular suggestion that the nation ought to provide a "free" college education to everyone.

Here I look at that a bit differently, and note that the entire conversation is a bit out of whack, on the left and the right.

The current left wing popular idea is that you ought to give every American a free college education.  There is no such thing as a "free" anything, of course, so what that really means is that the public fund college educations for American high school graduates.  The right criticizes this vociferously on economic grounds, and for some good reasons, but there are other reasons beyond that to take it on. For one, the commonly cited "the Europeans" do it isn't a good claim, because. . . .
over 40% of Americans have a college degree, while only 30% of the Swiss do.  Are the Swiss international slackers?  Probably not.  Indeed, we have more people with college degrees than the United Kingdom, Denmark Belgium, Australia, Germany, France, Sweden, Norway, South Korean and Finland do.  We are on par with New Zealand and Japan and really only Russia and Canada have a true statistically greater percentage of their populations that are college educated.   So it sure isn't the case that we aren't sending people to college.

Therefore, if measured in terms of the sheer number of people in the population who have degrees, we beat out every country except for Canada and Russia, which is pretty impressive on some level.
In other words, maybe European kids ought to be protesting that something in their system is keeping people from getting degrees.

I don't know what that is, quite frankly, but what I wonder is if those degrees are just flat out harder to get because they're real degrees.  I don't know that, but right now American universities are churning out a lot of baloney and have become refugees for people with master degrees granted following dissertations like " "It’s ‘a good thing’: The Commodification of Femininity, Affluence, and Whiteness in the Martha Stewart Phenomenon", a title so absurd I couldn't have made it up if I'd tried.  There's no harm i studying that, if that's what makes you happy, but there is harm in funding that as a nation which seeks to be a world leader in science and technology benefits not one darned bit from that.  I'm not saying, of course, we funded that dissertation with a loan, but we do fund others like it and we of course now have a self perpetuating system of employing people who  have an academic interest in such things, which serves the nation very little.

But that's not my point here either.

My point is, when we look at other nations, we fail to consider that the nations we point to are tiny little things.

A nation like Germany, or France, can't be compared to the United States. Large sections of their populations are relatively homogeneous and their populations, while densely packed, sure don't match ours and haven't for a really long time.  Germans living in rural Geramny are still Germans and still of the same culture from Germans living in big German cities, which are all right next door by American standards.  That's a far cry from the situation the United States has.

So, when a "fund free university education" cry goes up, it suggests imposing on a huge country a national system that probably doesn't work very darned well at a local level.

Indeed, consider that Canada, often cited for having a publicly funded higher education system, has about the same population as California.  And the economy of California is simply enormous.  And it has its own needs.  So, if we're going to look at a public system, why not just leave it to the states?

Oh, I hear, the states won't do it.

Oh yes they will, and one already does. Wyoming.  And I'll bet it isn't the only one.

Wyoming, which has always been concerned about Wyomingites, has created a funding system that does indeed pay for a lot of the education of students who show an inclination and ability to go on.  It isn't a "congratulations, you slithered through high school and now we'll fund four years of napping at a university system", but it does carry most of the burden for those students who are really going on, as long as they go on here.

This is a public funding of based, whether we realize it or not, on the Distributist principal of subsidiarity.  We're taking care of our own, for our own needs, locally.  And others can do this to if they wish to, and I'll be they are.

This makes a great deal more sense than a nationwide system, and indeed a nationwide system would pretty much destroy our system.  Our local university and colleges have programs that are focused on our states and the graduates from them serve the state's interest in ways that other institutions don't.  A nationwide system would in fact tend to counter that.  If the funding is nationwide and we fund a bachelor's  level program in "The Commodification of Femininity, Affluence, and Whiteness in the Martha Stewart Phenomenon" at the University of the Left Bank and suck people into that, the state isn't going to benefit at all, or at least not to the same degree that something from the UW School of Energy Resources will.  So, basically, an economic model, not surprisingly, works better at a local level.

It's said, of course, that all politics is local, but in national elections that doesn't seem to be true.  Just listening to the debates suggest that no local considerations really play much in the national platforms, which isn't too surprising in a Presidential campaign.  But perhaps they should.  So perhaps the answer to a "do you support the public funding of college educations" should be answered by "what's your state doing and why aren't you looking there".  They can do it, and I'll be they do more often than people realize.

Lex Anteinternet: Funding Failure, part three

Something to ponder while you are watching those Thanksgiving university football games, which I wholly hope to avoid if at all possible.

I ran this item in 2011, last time we were having a major election; Lex Anteinternet: Funding Failure:

One of the topics that's been kicking around the GOP Presidential race is that of student loans.  At least one candidate, Ron Paul, says he wants to phase them out altogether.

I wouldn't be in favor of that, but I really do think that the entire topic needs to be revisited, as it's helping to fund failure, and has a weird impact on our economy.  This is the reason why.

Generally, student loans are a government backed system in which private young individuals receive funding for university or college irrespective of the needs of the economy, or the wisdom of their choice.  I'm not suggesting, of course, that we should override the choices of individuals who make study choices that are not likely to advance our collective economic well-being, but I do feel that it's a bad economic choice to fund them.

Students of the history of student loans often point out that they've been a boost to the American economy, which is somewhat true, but which really confuses the loans with the GI Bill, which was an outright grant.  At any rate, what they fail to note is that the early post World War Two American economy was such that that the student population
(largely male) was unlikely to be study something that wasn't directly usable in the work sphere, and that having a college degree in the 1945 to 1975 time frame was rare enough that nearly any college degree could translate into business utility.  Neither of those factors is true today.  Indeed, at this point in time college degrees have become so
common that a lot of them have no economic value to their holders at all.
This is not to say that pursing a college degree is worthless. That would hardly be true.  But if the government is to back the study of something, it ought to be something useful to the nation as a whole.  Not something that's likely to have no use to the nation, and which moreover is likely to have no real value to the holder in later economic terms.

As an example of this, which I've already noted here, one of the protesters at the Wall Street occupation was reported to have a $90,000 student loan for the study of art.  Why would the nation help fund this.  If she wants to study art, the more power to her, I just don't want to help.  In economic terms, this isn't going to help the nation at all, and frankly she'll be really lucky if she ever fines a job.  By funding her, we've made ourselves poorer and, chances are, her too.

What I'd propose to do is to restrict funding to areas where we really feel we need to boost the nation's educated populace.  If we're weak in the sciences or engineering, that's what I'd fund.  Other areas where we need new workers, who need an education to obtain it, would likewise be eligible for loans.  I wouldn't bother funding art students, or literature students. That doesn't mean their studies are unimportant culturally, or personally, but rather if they are important, it's in a manner that cannot be economically judged, and therefore people shouldn't be taxed to help fund it.  Law is the same way.  The nation has a vast oversupply of lawyers and I can't see any good reason to give a person a loan to study that.

I don't think that this would mean these other fields would dry up by any means.  But it probably would mean that a lot of people who don't qualify for private scholarships and who don't otherwise have the means of obtaining such a degree would do something else. Frankly, however, that would be a good thing, as by funding the non economic, we're fueling the hopes of a lot of people who aren't going to be able to find employment later.

And, no, I didn't have any student loans, thanks to the National Guard and my parents.
 And I followed that post up with this one;  Lex Anteinternet: Funding Failure II
 A very interesting NPR Talk of the Nation episode on Student Loans.

What is so interesting about this, I think, is that there's at least one caller who emails in with complaints about how the burden of loans caused her to take a career she didn't want, Wildlife Management, over one she did, Veterinary school, as she couldn't afford the loans.  She then goes on to blame the burden of servicing her loans for living far from her family, and for not having any children.

The other thing that is is interesting is that a few callers have no sympathy at all with those complaining about their loans.

I'm afraid I'm in that camp, the one without sympathy. Choosing a career you don't want, just because the loans are cheaper, is stupid.  Beyond that, avoiding real life, to service loans, is as well.

This probably says something, however, about the current nature of our societal view towards education. Why must we go this route?  We don't have to, we're choosing too.  And now, a large section of the population views paying for the loans they obtained for their education as unfair, when nobody asked them to get the loans in the first place.

Not that society cannot be blamed to some degree.  We've created a culture where we now view manual labor as demeaning, and teach our middle class children that.  The grandsons of machinist and tool and die makers feel they must go to college, and indeed they must as we sent the tool and die work to China, more or less intentionally.  So we're now all over-educated, and can't pay for it with the jobs we retained. And we encourage this to continue on by giving loans for educational pursuits we know will never pay off.
Since I posted these items, this has been more in the news than ever.  And a lot of that has to do with the combined impact of student protests as well as Democratic Senator Bernie Saunders suggesting that he cause their to be free college for all.

Before we go back to the main point of this, let's take up that free college for all topic. Truth be known more Americans are college educated than ever before, so it isn't as if we're failing to get people to college.  Granted, student debt is a big problem, but by and large we are getting a lot of students there.

We're also quite frankly generating a lot of junk degrees that are worthless.  This is a popular conservative point about higher education, and it's frankly true. While we are graduating more degreed people than ever, a college degree of 2015 doesn't mean the same thing as a college degree from 1965 meant, or 1945, or 1915.  A student graduating in 1915, while their were far fewer of them, was quite frankly far better educated than many are today, depending upon their major.

College level educators, unfortunately, have a vested interest in this, which explains more than a little about the current level of dissent and rank idiocy on college campuses today. The recent series of demonstrations at the University of Missouri should be pointing this out.  Take, for example, University of Missouri professor Melissa Click, who infamously asked for "some muscle" to eject those recording the demonstration.

Click is the Department of Communications, an ironic post for somebody seeking "muscle" to prevent the recordation of an event, but I'll note that communications are a legitimate field of study.  But consider her master dissertation, which is "It’s ‘a good thing’: The Commodification of Femininity, Affluence, and Whiteness in the Martha Stewart Phenomenon.".  This is a thesis that did not need to be written and perhaps one that an institution of higher learning should have rejected.  Click, as George F. Will points out in a recent article, also "has a graduate certificate in “advanced feminist studies.”". That's baloney packaged up between two thick slices of baloney, and is the type of certificate only useful in a fake, highly left wing, purely academic, world.

Indeed Will's article points out a whole host of similar absurd academic behaviors, and even the University of Wyoming has become a little guilty of some institutionalized nonsense.  The net impact is to reduce the seriousness of the situation the students are about to be ejected into combined with a probably temporary political radicalization of them.  In other words, they're separated from their cash, or probably their parents cash, or the public's cash, not really educated, save for a career in university level academia, and then booted out into the real world with diminished job prospects.

That is, in part, because there are a lot of worthless majors now crated by this system and the social and economic atmosphere that created it.  Somehow the number of degrees has vastly exploded, and not in a good way, if for some the application of those degrees is marginal.  People who would have had fairly rigorous Liberal Arts degrees 40 years and back now sometimes have specialized degrees with no practical application at all.

That's why the "free college for all" (which of course would not be free) is a bit of a farce in real terms.  A "free education" isn't free if you spend four years of your life on it, and the net results is that you are not educated in real or practical terms.

This is why comparing our educational system at the college level to that of other nations, by which we really mean European nations, is quite questionable.  While European degrees are presently in a state of evolution, European university degrees have generally been fairly hard to obtain.  I don't know the current situation, but when comparing the public funding for them, that can make quite a difference.

For instance, over 40% of Americans have a college degree, while only 30% of the Swiss do.  Are the Swiss international slackers?  Probably not.  Indeed, we have more people with college degrees than the United Kingdom, Denmark Belgium, Australia, Germany, France, Sweden, Norway, South Korean and Finland do.  We are on par with New Zealand and Japan and really only Russia and Canada have a true statistically greater percentage of their populations that are college educated.   So it sure isn't the case that we aren't sending people to college.

Therefore, if measured in terms of the sheer number of people in the population who have degrees, we beat out every country except for Canada and Russia, which is pretty impressive on some level.

But that's only impressive it it really means something, which gets back to the main point.

What college students are really complaining about now is that a college education doesn't pay off the way it once did. If you had to invest $100,000 in something but were almost sure to get it back, you wouldn't worry much about the loans to obtain it.  Now, that's quite uncertain. And as it's quite uncertain, those doing it are hoping for somebody else to pick up the risk, that being the taxpayer.

That's not a good idea for a lot of reasons, the foremost being that if the public is going to pick up the risk, it ought to reap some sort of a reward. And that is where our system is really messed up.

In a country where about 30% of the population is obtaining a degree it stands to reason that its likely the degree is worth more, and its probably in an area with application.  But the American system has sort of evolved to where many college degrees are nothing much more than High School Degrees +.

When I was younger, it was emphasized quite correctly that if a person had any hope of economic success at all, they needed to have a high school degree. That's still true, but our economy has evolved to the point where you need a college degree for that now.  And that is, quite frankly, completely absurd.

There's no earthly reason whatsoever that many former areas of employment that only required a high school degree should not require a college degree, and the concept that they do is deeply flawed.  It's commonly stated that he world is more complicated, but it frankly isn't.  The global level of complication has changed very little, and computerization of things has served to simplify, not complicate, many things.  The ability to operate a computer is something that every kid coming out of high school is well versed with, so the sometimes heard excuse that people need to learn the technology is baloney, they know it.

And the fact that degrees have become available for everything means that they have become debased in value.  There are entire fields that are not really of the type that should require post high school education, if high school was done well.

What this means, in part, is that colleges and universities ought to dump a lot of the academic degrees they have that are of little value, and that would mean dumping the vested interests that maintain them.  It also means that university needs to toughen back up, academically.

Indeed one of the real shocks for people who obtained "hard" degrees from decades ago is the level of frivolity that is now so deeply associated with universities.  University as a four year party seems to be both commonly experienced and accepted. That's nonsense, particularly if its on the public dime.  This was not always the nature of university, in spite of the popular image to the contrary.

The biggest reform that could be done for the system, and to the advantage of the students, would be to change the funding system we presently have to one, as noted above, that funded a real demonstrable public need.  That doesn't force anyone to do anything, but it does mean that if the public is funding an education, even through a loan, it ought to be in an area where the public derives a benefit.  What fields, that is, does the US benefit from in terms of producing college graduates?

I fully acknowledge that this means I'm completely discounting the cultural benefit argument.  Some would argue, and probably validly, that the nation enjoys a richer cultural life if it produces artists, etc., in addition to engineers. Well, tough.

Or more accurately, to the extent the nation benefits from people in those categories, it benefits and should encourage them in the way that has been done with all former cultures, in the stuff we publicly procure. Btu we've done a poor job of that recently as well.  By that, I'd note, churches and public buildings fueled the arts, but on their terms.  Not through loans.  That's a better process as its market based, the way the real world ultimately works.  If a person desires to be an artist, be one.  But being one probably means suffering for your art at some point, which doesn't require the public to fund the suffering at he university level.

A day in the life: Thanksgiving 1915

People leaving a Thanksgiving Day Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York, 1915.

Thanksgiving Day "Maskers", approximately 1915.  I have absolutely no idea what this tradition was.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Straus Clothing Store in Fargo closes its doors.

After, we should note, being open for 135 years.

The family owned store closed as its owners are retiring.

A remarkable run, and one that can't help but make a person a little sad. We don't see that many business of this type still open really, and this one seems to have done well for a very long time.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Return of the Willys MB

U.S. Army convoy in Iran during World War Two, with Jeep lead vehicle in convoy.  The Jeep is either a Willys MB or a Ford GPW, the two trucks being identical.  Now, the Iranians are making essentially the same vehicle.

We've discussed Jeeps here a fair amount.  As noted, I've owned three, the first being a 1946 CJ2A.

The CJ2A was a Willys post war variant of the MB, the most mass produced Jeep of the Second World War.  Willys was one of the original competitors for the 1/4 ton truck contract, and its the one that basically won it.  That Jeep, the World War Two Jeep, established the brand, basically. 

I won't go into the Jeep history, as I've already done that.  But what I will note is that the next military model was the M38.  The M38 was an improved MB.  It basically takes a Jeep fan to be able to tell the difference, although their are real differences.  They looked virtually identical.

The M38 gave way to the M38A1, which wasn't identical. That Jeep is the originator of the CJ5 style Jeep.  I've owned a M38A1 as well.  

My M38A1, back when I owned it.

The M38A1 yielded to the M151, a really good, but very dangerous Jeep, with independent wheel suspension.  After that, the Army phased the 1/4 ton truck out.

But not every Army did.  There's probably a few 1/4 US Jeeps still in use by some Army. And many European Armies use a truck of about that size.

Well, now Iran is making one, the Safir.

And not only are they making one, it's apparently pretty much a copy of the M38.  It's body style isn't identical, but it's pretty close, and otherwise it's pretty much a copy of the M38.

And they're getting quite a bit of use in the war in Iraq, in the hands if Shia militias.

All sorts of rocket launchers and recoiless rifles are mounted on them, probably taxing their capabilities, as these vehicles are small.

Now,  note, I'm noting this as I like Jeeps in general, but I'm amazed that the little tiny MB is back.  They were really very small, and various Jeep developments since then have made for much better Jeeps.  But back they are, and like the M38 and M38A1, they're packing some pretty stout weapons.  Engine wise, they use a modern Nissan engine, and they appear to have torsion bars for their front suspension. But they retain a solid front axle, as of course current American civilian Jeeps do.

Interesting that the old type would be back, and in this peculiar fashion.

Killing people and breaking things. . . and women in the service.

 The Women's Mounted Emergency Corps.  "A mounted emergency corps of women has been organized as an auxiliary to the Second Field Artillery, of Brooklyn. The women wear a military uniform and are trained in giving aid. They learn to mount and dismount quickly, to help a wounded soldier who needs first aid, and to assist one who Is not totally disabled into the saddle. There is no plan yet for taking women to France in any but nursing capacity but it may be that the Women s Emergency Corps will get to the fighting line before the war is over."  The Oregonian, 1917.

Recently, a dear cousin of mine "liked" a photo that appears in Stars and Stripes of a collection of female soldiers all feeding their babies in the traditional, i.e., the original, way.  She posted something along the lines of "how beautiful".

And it is.

But its not a good thing for our Army, which touches on something I've avoided, but given as I'm getting older by the day, and shy away less from controversial topics more and more, I'll go ahead and post on it.

In the Army, at least at one time, you used to hear in training "What is the spirit of the bayonet?"

The answer is "To kill!"

And that's because an army, and by extension its soldiers, exist to kill people and break things.

Not for feeding babies.

A society that has lost sight of that, is fooling itself. 

Warfare has traditionally been a male thing since day one, literally, no matter what our society may think of that today.  It's in our DNA.  This is not to state that no woman never participated in combat in prior eras or antiquity, but frankly, that's a massive exception to the rule usually indicating a level of desperation that equates with an enemy being on the verge of killing the babies and taking the women.  Truly.

Even some of the most frequently cited examples of female deployments turn out to be spotty at best.  The Soviets used very few women in combat during World War Two, contrary to what is sometimes imagined, and the entire Red Army was pretty much a violent, ignorant mob anyhow, which engaged in activities outside of Russia that have legitimately brought shame upon its reputation in that war ever since. The Israelis don't actually deploy women into combat either, contrary to what is commonly noted, instead using them in support and training roles.  Only Western armies use women in combat, as those armies are heavily influenced by societal thought that requires a degree of un=realistism here, and which further benefit from technology so advanced that they can afford to cut corners on this sort of thing to a certain degree.

Part of the reason that this evolution is a bad one is that it simply doesn't reflect the hard physical nature of being a combat soldier.  Like it or not, the simple fact of the matter is that warfare remains one of the few areas where the ancient male advantage in strength is highly applicable.  Even test results in areas where the military trains hard shows this.  Women generally have a very hard time passing military courses that remain traditionally tough, while generally men do not.  An added real fear here is that the courses will be adjusted to allow for women to pass them, which at some point will catch up with the service in terms of combat results.

A second, and just as applicable reason not to welcome this tread, however, is that there are real and established psychological differences between men and women.  Men generally peak more rapidly in anger than women, and trail off more quickly as well.  This seems to hearken back to the era when every man was a combatant of a type, and it serves men well in combat.  It doesn't serve women well, and indeed that doesn't serve the service well either.  In part, slow to anger women remain angry thereafter, which is a dangerous thing for military order.

But another psychological aspect of this is that it doesn't take into account the relationship between men and women that is also in our DNA.  Like it or not, that attraction is going to exist as well as deeply ingrained urges. It is already the case, even in peacetime, that a frighteningly high percentage of servicewomen become pregnant during their service, note the item that we started off with here in this entry. That makes them, effectively, a casualty in a combat situation.  

And, at their best, men will tend to protect women, which creates a bond other than that which exists between male combatants. The "brotherhood" nature of men at war is often noted, but less well noted is that soldiers are trained to, and do, leave men behind when it served their larger goal.  Leaving women behind, which would be a military requirement, would be, I suspect, much more difficult.  And by leave behind, I mean leave behind to die.  Men are left behind to die at crossroads and in buildings, to allow the escape of the whole.  Leaving a young woman behind would not be as easy.

At their worst, and their worst frequently occurs in a combat scenario, men in uniform are violent to women in the very worst way.  Without going into detail on it, if anyone doubts this they should read the books written by Max Hastings that deal with the end of World War Two. Some armies in that conflict were horrific in these regards, but it happened in all of them. And it happens in ours now, which is another story that frequently hits the news but seemingly not in this context.  The number of female servicewomen who are assaulted while in the service is frighteningly high, and introducing them into combat units where the worst things humans do is routine stands to only make this worse.

Finally, there's something really indecent about putting women in this role.  That sounds chauvinistic, and perhaps it is, but its true.  On the average, quite frankly, women are better than men in every deep and meaningful way.  Making them combat solders, and ignoring their feminine aspects, makes this worse. There's no reason to convert women into men, even though our society seems to have forgotten that there are two genders, and only two, and they have very real natural attributes.

I have no doubt that views like mine are not doing to carry the day, at least right now. But I also suspect, as I write this, that we're about to get into a ground war against a group that believes women captured in war make fine slaves, suitable for any purpose.  We're not going in a sane, and dignified, directly.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Lex Anteinternet: Toyota Landcruiser: The Prime Mover of the Third ...

Lex Anteinternet: Toyota Landcruiser: The Prime Mover of the Third ...:  Moroccan troops with some sort of Toyota, United States Marine Corps photograph. Americans may have invented the  Jeep , but based o...
And now, it appears, there's a little competition in this category.

At least, anyone, in Iraq.  The Iranian built Safir Jeep sized vehicle, a real throw back that's the size of the original Willys MB (if that big) and which retains a solid front axle (but which appears to have torsion bars rather than springs) is seeing use in the ongoing war in Iraq.  The Safir is typically decked out with a rocket launcher or a recoiless rifle, something we stopped doing way back when we were still using the M38A1.

But, in the conditions in which they're fighting, it's probably pretty darned effective.

Election comparison and contrasts

 The Republican National Convention, opening prayer, 1904.

As folks here know, Canada just had an election.

And we're having ours.

I can't help but be envious of the Canadian election practices a bit, although the reason they exist is that they have a parliament, not a congress like we do, and that means that their chief executive is simply a member of the party that takes the majority of the House.  So, that means that their election is a nationwide house election, rather than a sort of single purpose election to a degree, like our Presidential election. You can't really vote, that is, for the Prime Minister unless you live in that "riding".

And that naturally makes for a fast election.

In contrast, ours now last for over a year, which is not really a good thing. And the staggered primaries man that some states have truly unnatural influence over a nationwide process.

This is something that could be fixed, and it probably really ought to be.  Spending millions of dollars over the course of a year in a staggered series of elections is fatiguing in the extreme and it seems mostly to just wear the voters out, as well as giving undue influence to a few states, and the real die hard faithful of each party that live in those states.

Or, alternatively, we could go back to the old "smoke filled room" days when parties basically picked their candidates in the convention, without a lot of nationwide politicking (although there was certainly some).  The candidates we got in those days were certainly no worse than the ones we get now.

Looking at house size, from Lex Anteinternet: Holscher's Hub: More of the Stone Ranch


Following up on this, the comments added by Neil on the Stone Ranch posts that appear on Holscher's Hub bring up a really interesting point.  We posted our link in to that thread just below, here:
Lex Anteinternet: Holscher's Hub: More of the Stone Ranch: This is posted over on our photo site, as Holscher's Hub: More of the Stone Ranch. It is an historic structure, but its the very astut...
The original post, on Holscher's Hub, appears here.

Neil made this comment:
Thanks, I have long been fascinated by how little space was needed only a few generations ago. Stage travelers probably were in a corner cot behind a curtain. Today a 1,200 sq foot home is sold as small, or as a starter home. Would have been more than spacious in the 1880s.
To which I replied:
That's very true.

I know that the original occupants of the house had a family and raised several children there. At least one of their children went on to marry and raise another family there, after the stage days were over. As time went on the outbuildings and what not were put in, but they continued to live in the small house. I don't know when the house ceased to be occupied, but I think it was in the 1940s or 1950s.

This house is smaller then modern apartments today. But, on the other hand, it was stone, cut by an itinerant Italian stone mason, and it was probably really easy to heat in the winter with its small size. Likewise, the windows and stone construction probably would have made it tolerable during the summer.
It is a very interesting observation.  And very true.  Even a "large" house by pre 1960s standards isn't really that large today, at least to some degree.  Young couples that have no children buy houses of a size that would have been regarded as very large by families that had several children just 50 years ago.  This isn't universally true, but it's at least significantly true.

Also, of interest, the phenomenon of  purchasing new houses over time is fairly new. This is not to say, as people sometimes claim, that people bought one house when they first married (although that's sometimes the case) and stuck with it the rest of their lives, assuming they didn't relocate from one town to another. But, rather, people tended to buy a new house much less often, and if they did, there was often a practical reason for it related to family size.  Now, people buy new homes fairly frequently, at least in the middle class, to this has been a real change over time.

Having said all of that, my wife and I still live in the only house we've ever owned, and it's actually smaller than my parents home. So obviously we aren't with the program are a statistical exception.

Monday at the Bar: Courthouses of the West: Fergus County Montana Courthouse, Lewistown Montana

Courthouses of the West: Fergus County Montana Courthouse, Lewistown Montana

Sunday, November 22, 2015

They aren't dogs

I'll be very frank, my view of the War with the Islamic State varies considerably from most of the fairly muddled thinking that I hear out there regarding this. Indeed, I think the commentary that ponders in angst why this is happening, and what the Islamic State wants, is dense.


Or perhaps a blistering combination of extremely naive combined with historically inept.

Simply put, the Islamic State seeks to establish a global Whabbi Sunni Caliphate that will truck no compromise with any force counter to it.  No other religion is to be allowed to stand and Muslims who are not strictly and purely observant are to be regarded as apostates.  It's willing to use violence to achieve this goal, it has no shorter goal, and its backed up in goals and thinking by its organic document, the Koran.  We might like to pretend that in the 21st Century we don't fight religious wars, but we're in one.  And frankly, we're not doing very darned well in it.  Our enemy is winning on the battlefield and its winning the propaganda war amongst its demographic.  Its even winning non Islamic Europeans as converts to its cause, in an era when Christian churches have tended to reduce their message to something like "it's nice to be nice to the nice".

So, that being my view, it may come as a surprise that I'm fairly disturbed by the recent political efforts to restrict the very small number of Syrian refugees we were going to take in to probably nothing.

My view probably varies as well from the liberal commentators on this, who seem to put their comments in the context of not letting in the refugees is a victory for the Islamic State.  I doubt that's their view at all.  Being devout hardcore Wahhabi Sunnis, they're no doubt fully convinced that they will win, and would prefer to have large bodies of Muslims in Western nations, from whom they no doubt believe they can recruit when the call comes. And they are being successful in recruiting a few.

But that's not what matters here. What matters is that Western values, which no matter what secular humanists may think of them, are based on the Christian concepts of humanity and charity, and that requires us to relieve suffering where we can, and here we can help.  It's the classic Christian situation.  Yes, a few of these people, albeit a very few, may be dangerous.  Nonetheless, they are all suffering in one way or another, so we should help.  That stands to defeat the barbarous nature of the Islamic State more than anything else does.

Now, I'm not advocating pacifism here either, and I'm certainly not a pacifist.  While I was very much opposed to trying to support any faction in the Syrian civil war early on, now the situation is too far gone and we have no choice but to fight the Islamic State.  And, in my view, not in the slow motion air campaign we're doing now.  

But at the same time, and until we can solve this matter, we have to recognize that a lot of desperate innocent people, and a few desperate guilty people, are on the move, and we need to do what we can. That humanity shows the difference between them and us, and between inherent and inherited Christian values and Islamic extremism.

Sunday Morning Scene: Churches of the West: St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, Shoshoni Wyoming

Churches of the West: St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, Shoshoni Wyoming

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Friday, November 20, 2015

No, just go away

World War One era poster, from when Daylight Savings Time was a brand new announce.

I have not been able to adjust to the return to normal time this year.

Not even close.

I'm waking up most morning's about 3:30 am.  That would have been early even when Daylight Saving's Time was on, as that would have been about 4:30, but that is about the time I had been waking up, in part because I've been spending a lot of time in East Texas, where that's about 5:30.  Indeed, my inability to adjust back to regular time is working out for me in the context of being up plenty early enough to do anything I need to do in East Texas, but it's the pits back here in my home state.

I really hate Daylight Saving's Time.  I understand the thesis that it was built on, but I think it's wholly obsolete and simply ought to be dumped.

Friday Farming: Lex Anteinternet: The Poster Gallery: Posters from World War Two.

Lex Anteinternet: The Poster Gallery: Posters from World War Two.:

British poster from World War Two.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Today In Wyoming's History: Page Updates; 2015

Today In Wyoming's History: Page Updates; 2015:

Quite a few recent updates.

Understanding Saudi Arabia

The first thing to understand about Saudi Arabia is that the name does sort of tell all.  It's the Arabia owned by the Sauds.  Or rather that part of the Arabian Peninsula, i.e., most of it, that is controlled by the House of Saud.  And the Sauds are a family.

 King Abdulaziz ibn Abdul Rahman ibn Faisal ibn Turki ibn Abdullah ibn Muhammad Al Saud, the first king of modern Saudi Arabia, circa 1927.  Saud united a small kingdom to re-expand it to regions that his family had controlled centuries earlier.

The Arabian peninsula, as the name would indicate, has been the home of the Arab people since ancient times.  The Arabs were definable as such well before they came to be identified with Islam and indeed at the time of the rise of Mohammad.  Indeed at the time of Mohammad's rise the Arabs practiced a variety of religions, including Catholicism, Gnostic Christianity, Judaism and various animist religions.  They were not a united people by any means, which played into Mohammad's favor as he sought to unite them by force, where necessary.  The peninsula, while it would become Islamic, did not tend to be united however, although there were occasional exceptions of a type.

Prior to World War One there were various fiefdoms stretching back for centuries that controlled various areas of the Arabian Peninsula, which by the early 20th Century all claimed fealty to the Ottoman Empire, which itself was ruled by a claimed Caliph. The various tribal chieftains, sultans and kings did not always get along by any means and never had.  And within the peninsula various tribes contested for areas and territories.  Going into World War One arguably the most significant of these groups were the Hashimites, monarchs who ruled from Mecca, who threw in the with the British in an effort to expel the Turks and claim monarchical control over the Arabs.  

At the same time and earlier, however, the House of Saud, had been working on consolidating its power through marriage and through allegiance to an extreme puritanical form of Islam, Wahhabism.  Just prior to the Great War the Sauds took a portion of the Persian Gulf Coast from the Ottoman Turks, a bold move under the circumstances.  Following that, however, the  Sauds basically sat World War One out, in spite of sponsorship from English India, and they concentrated on a contest with the El Rashid, who controlled part of the peninsula to their north. They prevailed in that struggle in the early 1920s.   Following that, the Sauds conquered the Hejaz, effectively expelling the Hashimites from their traditional kingdom.

 King ‘Alī ibn al-Ḥusayn ibn ‘Alī al-Hāshimī, the last Hashimite King of the Hajaz and therefore the last non Saudi ruler of Mecca.  King Ali could have claimed the tile of Caliph by inheritance, but did not do so.

 Ikhwan, circa 1910.

Throughout this expansionist period the Sauds relied upon the Ikhwan, a Wahhabi militia. This cannot be overemphasized as the Ikhawan was a puritanical Islamic militia, conceived of by Islamic clerics who found elements of Bedouin life to be incompatible with Islam.  The relationship between the Ikhwan and the Sauds was not perfect, as the Ikhwan rebelled against the Sauds in part on at least two occasions, but overall the Sauds expansion was allowed due to their alliance with this hardcore Islamic militia, a group found around principals so strict that some Muslims regarded them as heretical early on.

Following the conquering of the Arabian Peninsula, outside of Yemen, the Ikhwan turned its attention to Transjordan, which lead to a conflict with the Sauds who feared that taking on the Jordanian Hashimite kingdom wold lead to combat with the British. This caused the Sauds to put the Ikhwan down, although it lives on to a degree in the form of the Saudi National Guard.  

The black flag of the Ikhwan, note the similarity to. . . 

the green flag of Saudi Arabia.

Following the defeat of the Ikhwan, the Sauds had possession of a dirt poor personal kingdom, but one which included the important city of Mecca, which they had dispossessed the Hashimites of.  To the extent it formed a consolation, the Hashimites possessed the wealthier kingdoms of Transjordan, Syria and Iraq, none of which they were native to.

In 1938 oil was discovered in the country, however, and it became the base of the economy, as well as making it one of the richest and most economically powerful countries in the world.  Almost half of its population now is foreign born, with Egyptians and Muslim Filipinos amongst the most significant aspect of the foreign population.  The country has struggled with Islamic fundamentalist, and essentially it has since the 1920s, even though its foundation is in  Wahhabism. The Country is, therefore, awash in ironies. As a modern country, it's an absolute monarchy.  It has struggled with Islamic fundamentalism, and yet it is essentially a fundamentalist state which is the only one in the world, expect perhaps arguably the Islamic State, to have made the Koran its constitution.  The monarch is subject only to Sharia law.  It funds mosques in the western world, but only those that comport with a Wahhabi theological view.

Well, so what, you may ask?

A kingdom is an odd anachronism in the modern world, particularly one that is loosely based as Saudi Arabia is.  Its Wahhabi roots remain very strong and its a puritanical state, of a type, that is influential if for no other reason than that its fantastically wealthy.  The country is stunningly repressive, not even allowing women to drive.  It bizarrely has the chair position of the United Nations Human Rights Commission presently, a really bizarre thing to realize when basic human rights are missing in the country.  Don't even think about freedom of religion in regards to that nation.  

And something about it has spawned Islamic terrorists, although what that is, is not clear.  Osama bin Laden was a Saudi Arabian, with Yemeni roots.  Saudis were prominent in the 9/11 attackers.  

It was a country born out of tribal strife but united by Islamic extremist militias that it had to put down itself, but which it has remained close to in terms of origin.  With an unstable system of government in a region in which Islamic militancy has exploded, its fate is worrisome.


From an article in today's New York Times:
Daesh has a mother: the invasion of Iraq. But it also has a father: Saudi Arabia and its religious-industrial complex. Until that point is understood, battles may be won, but the war will be lost. Jihadists will be killed, only to be reborn again in future generations and raised on the same books.

Mid Week At Work: Staff writers of the Irish World

The Irish World is an Irish themed newspaper in England.

I doubt that the writers typically looked like this, back in the 19th Century.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Taking them at their word. The war aims of evil

I am continually amazed by the extent to which Western observers, even now, grasp to understand the Islamic State and its motivations.  How dimly people grasp history.

Clearly I need to add a new, ninth, Holscher's Law of History.  And when I do, what that law will be is that "Radical Forces often bluntly declare their goals, and non radical ones do not believe them."  Or perhaps that's more properly a Law of Behavior.

Because that is in fact the case. Very often, the most radical, and evil, forces and movements are perfectly blunt about their objectives, and yet those in civilized nations go about not believing them.  Only when its too late, and the history of a topic is written, is that noted, often with retrospective disdain.

Take Hitler for example.  In 1924, in his work Mein Kampf, he made very plain his hatred for the Jews and disdain for any people who were not what he termed "Aryan".  He also made plain his disdain for Soviet Russia.  But when he stated "He who wants to live should fight, therefore, and he who does not want to battle in this world of eternal struggle does not deserve to be alive" people didn't believe him.  Indeed, it wasn't really until late in World War Two, when the death camps and concentration camps fell into Allied hands, that the full extent of the Nazis' insane hatred of anyone but themselves was fully understood. And yet, they never denied it.  All through the 1920s and into the 1940s that was evident for anyone to see.  The western powers, indeed the world, chose not to believe it, as it seemed so bizarrely impossible.

So too of the early Communists.  Anyone can read, and indeed an serious history student should read, The Black Book On Communism.  It's a fascinating, and yet horrific, read.  The early Communist made it plain that the price of contesting their rise was death.  But in the western world this was simply not believed, and indeed was not really believed until after World War Two when the Soviets themselves threw off the last of their revolutionary leaders, Stalin, and the full horrors of his rule became known, even though the meaning of Communist control was already known anywhere they'd been temporarily. Why wasn't that more fully appreciated?  Only because it seemed to horrific to be believed.

Also ignored in both of the above examples was their obvious and open expansionist goals.  Hitler may have denied German expansionist aims prior to 1939, but in 1924 Hitler stated:
Without consideration of traditions and prejudices, Germany must find the courage to gather our people, and their strength, for an advance along the road that will lead this people from its present, restricted living-space to new land and soil; and hence also free it from the danger of vanishing from the earth or of serving others as a slave nation. The National Socialist Movement must strive to eliminate the disproportion between our population and our area — viewing this latter as a source of food as well as a basis for power politics — between our historical past and the hopelessness of our present impotence.
 If that wasn't blunt enough, he also stated 
And so, we National Socialists consciously draw a line beneath the foreign policy tendency of our pre–War period. We take up where we broke off six hundred years ago. We stop the endless German movement to the south and west, and turn our gaze toward the land in the East. At long last, we break off the colonial and commercial policy of the pre–War period and shift to the soil policy of the future. If we speak of soil in Europe today, we can primarily have in mind only Russia and her vassal border states.
How could, therefore, an invasion of the USSR have been a surprise?

And so to the early Communist.  The Communist Manifesto had always spoken of a revolution of the international working class, not the working class in one country.  Indeed, the official "socialism in one country" policy that the USSR adopted under Stalin was a departure from orthodox Communism which held that once the revolution came, it had to be global. That change came about as Stalin appreciated the failure of Communist revolutions in Eastern Europe after World War One and recognized that ongoing foreign expansionist efforts by the USSR, such as it attempted in Poland in the early 1920s, were likely to result in the collapse of the USSR itself.  It was that debate, in part, which brought about the downfall of Trotsky.  But Stalin's victory on that point never meant that the international goal wasn't there, but rather that it couldn't be brought about at one time.  When the Red Army went into Eastern Europe at the end of World War Two, therefore, it should have come as no surprise, and of course it really did not, that where the Red Army went, for the most part, Communism stayed. 

And so to, with the Islamic State.

The goal of the Islamic State is simple, plain, and stated.  It wishes to being about a global caliphate.  That is, a global Islamic state ruled by a single monarchical figure who has ties by lineage to Mohammad.  It seeks to bring about an apocalyptic struggle with "Rome", which it takes to be the Western world, and to win, bringing in the day of judgment.  Anyone, including other Muslims, who are not strictly adherent to their view of Sunni Islam is the enemy, and they have urged Muslims to kill non Muslims.

They mean it.

They mean to destroy every other religion in the world, including the Shia branch of Islam.

And supporting and bolstering them is the Koran.  It matters not that the Koran has a mixed message in these regards, nor does it matter to them that a majority of Muslims in modern times have not felt a violent call to that faith. There are, simply put, violent passages in the Koran and they rely upon them.  Ignoring their stated purpose and frankly ignoring the violent passages of the Koran is the same as ignoring the organic document of any major radical movement, as mistake.

Defeating an enemy of this type is not easy.  All prior historical examples demonstrate this.  Defending against the early Muslim armies was difficult and violent, and not achieved through negotiation or appeals to common sense.  Nazi Germany fought on for a good two years after it was obvious that it was going to loose the war (in contrast to Japan, which in spite of what people say, was rational enough to quit when it finally knew it couldn't fight to a negotiated conclusion, or the rational Italians which overthrew their fascist government).  The fall of Communism came about in 1990, after it had evolved out of radicalism, not in 1920 when it was fully still in it.

The ideology of the Islamic State is so radical that it's not going to evolve out of it, and the longer it's in control in any one place the more of that place is lost.  It is at war with the entire world.  The world needs to recognize that, and we cannot simply manage our way out of this one. That ought to be plain now, but then it really should have been earlier.

The Big Speech: The North Atlantic Treaty

The Parties to this Treaty reaffirm their faith in the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and their desire to live in peace with all peoples and all governments.
They are determined to safeguard the freedom, common heritage and civilisation of their peoples, founded on the principles of democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law. They seek to promote stability and well-being in the North Atlantic area.
They are resolved to unite their efforts for collective defence and for the preservation of peace and security. They therefore agree to this North Atlantic Treaty :

Article 1

The Parties undertake, as set forth in the Charter of the United Nations, to settle any international dispute in which they may be involved by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security and justice are not endangered, and to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations.

Article 2

The Parties will contribute toward the further development of peaceful and friendly international relations by strengthening their free institutions, by bringing about a better understanding of the principles upon which these institutions are founded, and by promoting conditions of stability and well-being. They will seek to eliminate conflict in their international economic policies and will encourage economic collaboration between any or all of them.

Article 3

In order more effectively to achieve the objectives of this Treaty, the Parties, separately and jointly, by means of continuous and effective self-help and mutual aid, will maintain and develop their individual and collective capacity to resist armed attack.

Article 4

The Parties will consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the Parties is threatened.

Article 5

The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.
Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall immediately be reported to the Security Council. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security .

Article 6 (1)

For the purpose of Article 5, an armed attack on one or more of the Parties is deemed to include an armed attack:
  • on the territory of any of the Parties in Europe or North America, on the Algerian Departments of France (2), on the territory of or on the Islands under the jurisdiction of any of the Parties in the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer;
  • on the forces, vessels, or aircraft of any of the Parties, when in or over these territories or any other area in Europe in which occupation forces of any of the Parties were stationed on the date when the Treaty entered into force or the Mediterranean Sea or the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer.

Article 7

This Treaty does not affect, and shall not be interpreted as affecting in any way the rights and obligations under the Charter of the Parties which are members of the United Nations, or the primary responsibility of the Security Council for the maintenance of international peace and security.

Article 8

Each Party declares that none of the international engagements now in force between it and any other of the Parties or any third State is in conflict with the provisions of this Treaty, and undertakes not to enter into any international engagement in conflict with this Treaty.

Article 9

The Parties hereby establish a Council, on which each of them shall be represented, to consider matters concerning the implementation of this Treaty. The Council shall be so organised as to be able to meet promptly at any time. The Council shall set up such subsidiary bodies as may be necessary; in particular it shall establish immediately a defence committee which shall recommend measures for the implementation of Articles 3 and 5.

Article 10

The Parties may, by unanimous agreement, invite any other European State in a position to further the principles of this Treaty and to contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area to accede to this Treaty. Any State so invited may become a Party to the Treaty by depositing its instrument of accession with the Government of the United States of America. The Government of the United States of America will inform each of the Parties of the deposit of each such instrument of accession.

Article 11

This Treaty shall be ratified and its provisions carried out by the Parties in accordance with their respective constitutional processes. The instruments of ratification shall be deposited as soon as possible with the Government of the United States of America, which will notify all the other signatories of each deposit. The Treaty shall enter into force between the States which have ratified it as soon as the ratifications of the majority of the signatories, including the ratifications of Belgium, Canada, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States, have been deposited and shall come into effect with respect to other States on the date of the deposit of their ratifications. (3)

Article 12

After the Treaty has been in force for ten years, or at any time thereafter, the Parties shall, if any of them so requests, consult together for the purpose of reviewing the Treaty, having regard for the factors then affecting peace and security in the North Atlantic area, including the development of universal as well as regional arrangements under the Charter of the United Nations for the maintenance of international peace and security.

Article 13

After the Treaty has been in force for twenty years, any Party may cease to be a Party one year after its notice of denunciation has been given to the Government of the United States of America, which will inform the Governments of the other Parties of the deposit of each notice of denunciation.

Article 14

This Treaty, of which the English and French texts are equally authentic, shall be deposited in the archives of the Government of the United States of America. Duly certified copies will be transmitted by that Government to the Governments of other signatories.