Thursday, May 28, 2020

"You go to war with the Army you've got"

Is there an official US .mil award for "casual valor"? Perhaps there ought to be. Yes, I know that Mstr Sgt Royer will be formally recognized in some fashion, possibly the Soldiers Medal. My point is that, there is a none-too-subtle message inherent to this entire incident; this is what US soldiers will do ON THE DRIVE IN TO WORK. Imagine what they will do when all tooled up and organized for action.

Foreign policy isn't just communique's, demarche's, and the like, it's also all of the "little things" that go into empowering the alternative to all of that as well. Highlighting those Immediate Actions like Sgt Royer's speaks to that effort in a way that few on the receiving end of US Foreign Policy can easily fail to extrapolate to their own national (and other) considerations. We would do well to take full advantage of opportunities like this that indirectly strengthen arguments against too vigorously arguing in opposition to, instead of mutual benefit from, cooperation with such policies.

Army Strong is more than just a recruiting slogan, if we make it so.

See here for earlier reporting on this event:

Sunday, May 3, 2020

"All right, Lunger"

Via Instapundit comes this item about tobacco smoker's apparent increased immunity to COVID-19 infection. As is only to be expected, the expert-atti in the comments get all Chemical Wedding about it. From my personal experience smoking cigarettes for 40+ years, I suspect one of the principal causative factors for this statistical result might be much simpler; smoker's cough.

People who regularly inhale burnt tobacco enjoy the mildly euphoric effect tobacco use is well known for (until they eventually don't - ask me how I know). At the same time, smokers are regularly irritating the tissue of their throat and lungs which causes them to cough. A lot. Certainly a lot more frequently than non-smokers, and a lot more deeply too. There is an associated phrase to describe the phenomenon; coughing up a lurgy. Tobacco smokers commonly have more mucus in their lungs as a response to the increased levels of lung tissue irritation the smoke causes.

Because tobacco users who inhale the smoke much more frequently cough on a regular basis, and cough up some of the mucus from their lungs more frequently than do non-smokers, my suspicion is that this is at least as likely a source for the apparently slight difference in infection rates between smokers and non. If you more frequently energetically expel the air from your lungs, as well as more frequently expel the mucus that coats lung tissue, any viral material has a more difficult time reaching the capillary network the lung tissue interacts with to oxygenate the human body, and spends less time inside the lungs due to the mucus being coughed out of the lungs more frequently than might be considered a "normal" rate.

A product I found helpful in recovering my lung capacity (less so in recent years - I quit smoking 13 years ago) is the Expand-A-Lung (this Adurance model appears to be functionally identical, and you can buy a singleton for cheaper) which allows you to vary the degree of resistance you experience filling and emptying your lungs. 8 to 12 inhale/exhale cycles between sips of that first cup of coffee while leaning against the kitchen sink is a useful way to get your reps in while you fully wake up. When I'm finished, I rinse the device off and put it back in the dish drainer beside the sink, and make sure all that I coughed up is safely down the drain too (you know how you're supposed to run some dish soap through your disposal regularly? This is a good time for that :)).

Another activity I've found useful once I've finished the restricted breathing is to go sit down at the dinner table with the rest of my coffee and get in some reps of the focused breathing advocated by Wim Hof among others (I'm still working my way up to the whole cold training thing - I'm certain I'll get there any day now).

Between these two activities my "lung sounds" are clear during my regular medical check ups, and I haven't had to resort to my inhaler more than a half a dozen times a year for the past 6 to 8 years. I don't know to what degree, if any, a general feeling of improved well-being contributes to resisting viral lung infections, but I do believe the process I follow to arrive at that feeling does contribute to that.

YMMV and I DO NOT recommend taking up tobacco smoking for its purgative effects.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Chinese Takeout and Delivery

I'm currently re-reading David Hackworth's book About Face (I'm at the part where he is recalling his reaction to the lack of Lessons Learned by the US Army regarding counter-insurgency and anti-guerrilla operational requirements in Vietnam circa early-1966 while assigned as escort officer to S. L. A. Marshall). I'm wondering if we in the US aren't going through something similar right now as regards PRC offensive actions against us (not to mention the rest of the world).

It seems not unreasonable to assume that the PLA (along with its subordinate Naval and Air Force components - everyone in the People's Republic of China military is a soldier, whether assigned to an army, navy or air force position) is willing to regard the current coronavirus pandemic as a useful model for determining the various responses to be expected to future, deliberate offensive actions against the US and other countries. It is also well known, if not often commented upon in the US media, that the PRC is active throughout the North and Central American region, whether via the PLA, PLAN, PLAAF, or other PRC agencies.

It occurs to me that now, during the current largely shut down status of so much of US national activity (industrial, commercial, governmental), that an effort by the PLA to develop a guerrilla organizational structure from within the ranks of the existing Mexican smuggling gangs shouldn't be all that out of the question.

The PLA has disrupted Nicaraguan government and societal stability to further the PRC's construction of a canal through that country to rival the Panama Canal, the resulting violence having effect on human migration patterns out of Nicaragua (from there into Guatemala, from there into Mexico, from there …). The PRC is well known to have established relationships with Mexican drug cartels to supply them with drug or drug precursor materials. Mexican "drug cartels" are in actual fact drug and anything else smugglers, so how outlandish an idea is it to suppose the PLA isn't working right now to supply Mexican smuggling gangs with the means to also smuggle a ready-made-to-order guerilla insurgency into the US as well?

The PRC is demonstrably willing to actively work to permit the wide-spread dispersal of this latest coronavirus around the world; why wouldn't they equally be willing to inflict a plausibly deniable physical attack on the US by "Mexican bandits"?

I can offer no evidence for this guerilla warfare scenario other than my willingness to not presume my enemies stupidity. Is that sufficient to justify investigating the current reality on the Mexican ground, before it "just appears out of nowhere" here on US ground?

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Asking the Question Rightly

This past January 30th I asked on my Facebook page whether or not Chief Justice John Roberts was subject to impeachment himself due to his refusal to follow the impeachment trial structure developed by the US Senate for President Trump's impeachment trial. It was my observation in subsequent comments that the Senate's Art. 1, Sec. 3 sole authority over Presidential trials, specifically to include being presided over by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, appeared to place Chief Justice John Roberts into unavoidable conflict with the requirements of the "Whistleblower Protection Act", as made evident by the specific question submitted by Sen. Rand Paul in conformance with the Senate's trial requirements.

Right constitutional issue, wrong question.

This having belatedly become more clear to me, my question now becomes; what method best permits this apparent constitutional conflict, the Senate's Art 1, Sec 3 absolute and sole authority to structure Presidential impeachment trials and the existing legal constraints the Whistleblower Protection Act imposes on the execution of such a trial, being argued before the remaining members (presuming Chief Justice Roberts concurs that recusing himself from the hearing and subsequent discussions is in the best interests of justice) of the US Supreme Court to arrive at a just resolution?

It should be openly acknowledged that impeachment is at least partially comprised of a political judgement component so as to arrive at a just outcome for both the individual being judged and the country as a whole. This being true, impeaching Chief Justice Roberts for deciding as he did during President Trump's impeachment trial would be unjust for him and the country. It is my entirely layman's understanding of US law that any portion of a legislative act being in conflict with the US Constitution makes the entire act "as if it never were". How then to best get this issue before the US courts to resolve this apparently unconstitutional aspect of the Whistleblowers Protection Act?

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Confronting the Inevitable

My dad has been fighting Parkinson's disease for several years now. Today, at 11:45 am PST, he tapped out of that fight. Despite the inevitability of the outcome, I and my family are discovering the crushing speed of the arrival of that long-known end.

We remain aweigh on the voyage of our own lives.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Monday, March 30, 2020

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Saturday, March 28, 2020