Wolf Country Gazette — Ain’t it Great!

Is what looks like treason really just absolute boobery and incompetence? Well, one of Murphy's Laws is that Nature hides with the hidden flaw; incompetence and boobery will trump treason every time.

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Roman skeletal Remains -- Battle of Teutoburger Forest, Courtesy Kalrise Museum, Germany
President Putin at wreath laying ceremony commemorating the victory at Stalingrad, February 2018. Press photo by Maxim Shemetov, RT, from NY Times. April 3

In nature, nothing is ever right. Therefore, if everything is going right, something is wrong. — Addition to Murphy’s Laws

My Russian contacts and the dissident sources I read are generally more dispirited with Russia than I have ever been with the USA. I am not a Tom Friedman fan usually, but of late he’s been pretty perceptive and asking some interesting questions.

“President Trump’s steadfast reluctance to say anything negative about Russia is so striking that a former director of national intelligence, James Clapper, once observed that Vladimir Putin manages Trump as if he we were a Russian intelligence “asset.” He may be. But if I were a Russian citizen, I’d be asking this question: Is Putin a U.S. agent?”…

“Beginning around 2007 or 2008, Putin appears to have decided that rebuilding Russia by nurturing its tremendous human talent and strengthening the rule of law was just too hard… Instead, Putin decided to look for dignity for Russia in all the wrong places: by tapping his oil and gas wells, not his people; by strengthening the Russian military, instead of the rule of law; and by enriching himself and his circle of oligarchs while wrapping himself in a cloak of Russian Orthodoxy and Russian nationalism that appealed to his base.”

Sounds to this writer that we’ve arrived in a terrible, albeit familiar situation. The two most powerful military nations in the world are being run by a couple of insecure, unhappy and ultimately unqualified idiots. If you need a scalpel but the only tools in your toolbox are sharpened sticks and rocks, well, bombs away. So, is what looks like treason really just absolute boobery and incompetence?

Well, one of Murphy’s Laws is that Nature hides with the hidden flaw; incompetence and boobery will trump treason every time.(Pun intended)

Well, if you’re looking for a reason for why people do dumb things, the seven deadly sins working in concert with Murphy’s various laws seem like a pretty good starting point. We should also remember that when smart people do really dumb things or empower really dumb people to do even dumber things, the consequences can be absolutely amazing.

The better you know the amount of ill luck that will strike you,
the worse you know when this will happen,
and vice-versa. Corollary: Ill Luck is actually Absolute. –Heisenberg’s Indetermination Murphy’s Function  

One parallel that strikes me is the decision of Caesar Augustus to appoint Varus, a time-serving political hack who thought he was potentially the second coming of the “Divine Julius” if only given the opportunity, to the governorship of Germania in 8 CE. Augustus knew that Varus was crooked, even for a Roman politician and susceptible to flattery, but figured that it couldn’t cause any harm. Varus became friends with a smart, rich German prince and Roman Auxiliary Commander, Herman or Arminius, and they made great plans for the future conquest of the rest of Germany.

Roman skeletal Remains — Battle of Teutoburger Forest, Courtesy Kalrise Museum, Germany

Arminus, of course, had other plans. By the end of 9 CE, the Roman forces in northern Gaul and southern Germania were cut by at least a third, approximately fifteen thousand Roman legionnaires, auxiliaries, family members and slaves were slaughtered in the Teutoburg Wald, four sacred Eagles, the symbols of the Legions, were captured and hidden in various parts of Germany, and there was no certainty that the Germans weren’t about to just come across the Rhine and sweep everything away. Augustus went slightly crazy, wandering his palace in Rome in mourning, crying out randomly “Varus! Give me back my legions!”

Just when you think things cannot get any worse, they will. –Greeting card from Murphy’s Library

Varus, of course, was known to have committed suicide at the height of the battle, and Arminius was having problems holding his coalition of German tribes, most of whom hated each other as much as they hated the Romans. Augustus appointed his least favorite possible heir, Tiberius, to clean up the German mess, and by the time he had done so, Augustus was now about out of time and suitable successors except for the guy nobody really liked but whom everybody admitted was competent.

Arminius was assassinated by disgruntled followers in Germany, possibly for cash from Tiberius, who knew a good investment when he saw one as well as having a well honed sense of resentment and revenge. You could say with some accuracy that Tiberius military and administrative skills were matched only by his twin virtues of paranoia and cynicism.

A knowledge of Murphy’s Law is no help in any situation. If you apply Murphy’s Law, it will no longer be applicable. — Murphy’s Corollary to Murphy

If that seems too ancient, look back seventeen years to 2001, CE. I am not interested in debating who destroyed the World Trade Center, whether it was Osama bin Laden, the Deep State, or the Reptilian-Illuminati alliance. But, unless it was the Lizard-Mason offshoots, it’s really difficult to contend that it worked out as planned. It’s hard to decide who came out ahead; the list of losers if pretty impressive though.

Rather, what was accomplished was the empowerment of the Bush-Cheney administration to have the war it wanted; the waste of hundreds of thousands of lives, trillions of dollars, the destruction of a variety of cultures, communities and traditions, and the ultimate empowerment of the the Trump-Cthulhu administration and our current happiness. Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Egypt ruined; worldwide terrorism and anarchy. Seventeen years in, and the VA reports an increase of veterans with various forms of lung, pancreatic and other cancers probably due to indiscriminate and unregulated burn pits by soldiers and contractors.

Heckuva job, Brownie, a heckuva job.

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Mike Farrell

Michael is a Retired Army First Sergeant, retired Corporate HR Executive, Occasional Adjunct Professor of Management, Organizational Effectiveness Free Range Consultant, Stoic Philosopher of sorts, Proud Heritage Irish Catholic Apostate...

He went from turning down fellowships to Graduate School after Holy Cross to Fort Jackson and a guy with few teeth from Georgia screaming at me to move his ass! And he enlisted after the draft ended. Twenty-three years active duty from 1974 to 1997 flipping between duty as REMF-Unit designated Grunt to Grunt Unit designated Smart Guy.

Last ten years either an Operations Sergeant Major (4 years) or First Sergeant (6 years). Made the CSM list a week after retirement papers went in.

He went into Human Resources because people said it was like being a First Sergeant.

Michael is retired these days, with time to think, write and occasionally enjoy life a bit. He reads five papers every day, lots of books on what interests me and pays attention. He has basic Socialist leanings. He is also a musician - fifty years plus with a guitar. Ex-marathon runner now lifting weights and grunting a lot to stay sort of in shape.

Michael is deadly serious about the issues but he likes to present with a lot of dry humor and satire. He discomforts the rich, offends the powerful and laughs at the pompous. So, stay awake and pay attention, or you'll miss the jokes.

He refers to himself as a Progressive with an anarchist tendency. Think Bobby Kennedy Democrat at home with Sinn Fein; either a saintly advocate of sweet reason and justice or an arrogant self-righteous SOB with a traditional First Sergeant's vulgar mouth and dislike of anyone's rules but his own. That's Michael Farrell

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  1. I’ve wandered the battlefield at Kalkrise, and can say that I would want no part of fighting in that terrain in rainy season. Those of us who’ve wandered around Europe in helmets, harness and BDUs or ACUs in that kind of weather in that type of terrain would have been extremely unhappy with the fools who got us into it during a REFORGER exercise or something of that ilk. All the things that made the Roman Army such a marvelous force on the battle field were largely negated. The legions needed open terrain to be flexible and to use it’s auxillaries — cavalry, scouts, artillery, archers, slingers and so on. The Army depended on visibility and on mobility to maintain command and control, two things utterly missing on the narrow footpaths with steep commanding terrain occupied by the enemy with expert and intimate knowledge of the battlefield.