Unintended Consequences

Welcome back to the Scuttlebutt.

Have a seat, pull a brew, and let’s chat.

This is going to go all over the map again, but there’s a common theme.  What people mean to do, often ends up biting them in the ass, in ways they didn’t expect, because either they didn’t think it through, didn’t really understand the system that they were about to mess with, or they tried to do too much too quickly.

Now first, let’s talk about the word “system.” In my Navy days, that would have automatically meant a unit or units either mechanical, electrical, hydraulic, pneumatic or all of the above, designed to perform a function. But that’s only one meaning of a word we get a LOT of use out of. Webster has that as meaning 1-d, out of a total of thirteen meanings and sub meanings.  I’ll list just the five “main meanings”:

1) a regularly interacting or interdependent group of items forming a unified whole, 
2) an organized set of doctrines, ideas, or principles usually intended to explain the arrangement or working of a systematic whole, 
3) an organized or established procedure OR a manner of classifying, symbolizing, or schematizing, 
4) harmonious arrangement or pattern: ORDER, 
5) an organized society or social situation regarded as stultifying or oppressive: ESTABLISHMENT sense 2 —usually used with “the.”

Misunderstanding any of those types of systems can bite you, and some of them are very easy to misunderstand.  Frankly, because NO ONE understands them fully in the first place. Human systems are the worst of them all because humans are not logical.  Yes, I said that humans are not logical. A person may behave logically, at least most of the time, but people as a whole do not, any more than all humans react exactly the same to, oh say a medicine.  What cures one guy, for instance, Penicillin, will kill another one dead right there. (This is one reason that doctors make more than electronic technicians.) 

Politicians, leaders, and managers, all deal with the “system” that is their electorate, or their team, on a daily basis. It’s what they do for a living.  Speaking as someone who’s been there and done that, dealing with a “system” that is 6-14 folks gets complex enough, by the time you get to 50 or 75 (the usual population at my Brig, when I was at Puget Sound Naval Brig) there will always be some part you can’t understand until it reaches out and makes itself known, usually in an unpleasant and unexpected way.  So, imagine how complex and unexpected dealing with the world stage, or a nation can be.

This is why the wise leader makes changes slowly while watching for the reaction of the system. The trouble is that we get people in those leadership positions, who for various reasons, feel the need to make change NOW, NOW, NOW!   It may be because they believe they have a ‘mandate’ to do things, it may be because they have a limited time left to perform the function, (elections, knowledge of a terminal illness, expected transfer, the “you were put here to fix this, and if you can’t do it, we’ll find someone who can!” statement from the very top, and many others, all can put timelines on folks.)

The problem is that this desire to make change rapidly often doesn’t allow you to examine the feedback from the system, and rethink your approach.  Then there are the jackasses that aren’t interested in feedback, they are positive that they have all the answers, and “if ‘CHANGE’ didn’t work yet, it’s because you are not CHANGING HARD ENOUGH underling! Now do what I say or be shot/fired/ruined.”

This is often known as the dictator’s dilemma. People are afraid to tell you the “truth” because the last guy that told you what he believed was “truth” is lying in a shallow grave somewhere. This problem can lead you to compound your errors.  It’s why I am a great proponent of learning history.

See, most of the fuckups, have been tried before and failed miserably. T.J. is quoted as saying “History, by apprising [citizens] of the past will enable them to judge of the future; it will avail them of the experience of other times and other nations; it will qualify them as judges of the actions and designs of men; it will enable them to know ambition under every disguise it may assume; and knowing it, to defeat its views.” —Thomas Jefferson (1781) and as usual, he’s right. Of course, several others, before and since have stated the same thing, in different ways.  And yet, the thing we most learn from history, is that we don’t learn from history.

Take, for instance, Vladimir Putin. I suspect he thinks he’s a student of history, or at least that’s what he seems to be claiming as he has spoken of the rightful Russian control of all of the Baltic, Ukraine, Poland, and so forth. But he’s cherry picked his history lessons, and worse yet, he’s misread the feedback from the system.  If you somehow missed it, he’s just announced a call-up of reserves and threatened the rest of the world with nuclear annihilation if he doesn’t get his way.

For those of you in the back row that have forgotten, he did his first trial in 2014, when he invaded Crimea. At that point, he did the prudent thing and waited to see what the reaction would be.  Well, there was some chest-beating, some hue, and crying, some “viewing with alarm” but mostly, no one did anything effective.  So, he waited, still nothing really meaningful. So, then he made his mistake. Instead of going for another little bite, he decided that he could take the whole enchilada.  A “surgical strike” removing the government of Ukraine and replacing it with a sock puppet, or possibly just annexing it. (no one will ever know which of those was his true plan.)  Worse yet, he telegraphed it for over a month, was called on it, and rode the bluff of a busted flush all the way out. This is where the failure to learn from all of history comes in.

Now, he’s calling up his reserves, for the first time since WW II. He’s announced that he will be holding referendums on making the captured territories an integral part of Russia, referendums that I am sure all of the votes are already printed for and counted.  In his eyes this will, it seems, give him justification to say “this is now part of Russia, so you are invading me, which allows me to use nuclear weapons on you.”

See the trouble is, that right up until he decided to call up the reserves, he had an out.  He could have said, “we achieved our goals, we have pushed back the evil oppressors of the west, rescued our compatriots in Donetsk, and we’re giving them the freedom to choose their own way.” Pulled the bleeding remnants of the Russian army back behind the borders, and when Ukraine took back the land, said nothing.

Oh, the west would have gotten a good chuckle at his expense, but he has enough control over the media to ride that out, and he could have gone on his merry way until he died in office.  But now, he’s committed. He has people bailing out of his nation in droves, the army, which until now was bleeding mostly in silence using mercs and recruiting from the prisons, as well as using career military, is now going to be using people he can’t easily disappear. He HAS to win, or he’s going to wind up staring down the same barrel as Tzar Nickolas, and for the same reason.  Deprivation, killing “true Russians” (means anyone from Central or North-Western Russia), and then losing the war you started is the one sure way to régime change in Russia.

He didn’t understand the system and thought that what worked for Crimea, would work for the entirety of Ukraine, then he doubled down instead of taking the feedback from the system. Then he threatened to use nukes several times, and kept repeating “this is not a bluff.”  When you have to keep telling people you aren’t bluffing… you’re bluffing.

All of this doesn’t mean he can’t still win the war in Ukraine, though I sincerely doubt he can.  It also doesn’t mean that he can’t start WW III in the attempt.  This is a slow-motion train wreck that reminds me all too much of 1938, and ’39.  If you’ve forgotten, WW II didn’t just start up as if by magic on the day that the panzers rolled into Poland.  All of the warning signs were there in ’38. Hell, they were there in 35 with the Italian invasion of Ethiopia, followed in rapid succession by Albania, Abyssinia, Greece, and Libya, as well as the Japanese invasions throughout the far east starting in ’37.  That too was a slow-motion train wreck that could have been stopped earlier, if enough countries had stood up and said, “NO. Not one step further.” And backed it with force.

Yes, they were trying to avoid war.  It just made it worse, when the inevitable war happened.  Just like then, we have nations that are hoping against hope that this will all go away, if we wish it hard enough, and are not willing to spend any money on making it go away.  Over half of the 27 member nations of NATO aren’t meeting their obligations under the Treaty to spend 2% of their GDP on defense.  Most of those are promising compliance “some-time” for values of “some-time” spanning from 2023, to 2035.  In the meantime, US defense spending has gone up 66%, Russia’s by 292%, and China’s by 592%. (Source) While the “deadbeat” list includes the usual suspects, like Germany, Spain, Belgium, Italy, and Luxembourg, (but, surprisingly, not France) it also includes such nations as Canada, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia, Slovak, Albania, and Turkey.  With the exception of Canada, all of those are on the invasion path.

Sadly, I suspect they are also students of history and figure that if they can just hold out long enough for the pictures to get to the American press and out to the American people, the USA will feel honor and duty bound to come to their rescue.  “It’s a bold play, Cotton. Let’s see how that works for them.”   I am not sure that I would want to bet on the US coming to my aid, especially with some of the politicians we have had lately.

Continuing the hit parade of Unintended Consequences (UC) We have President Biden.  Now his handlers have a full-time job reeling in his statements and cleaning up after him because he keeps saying things that they don’t want him to say.  On Sunday, he once again said, on the record, on 60 Minutes, no less, that we would send troops into Taiwan in response to an attempted invasion by China.  This is the fourth or fifth time he’s made that statement.  Every time, China loses their shit, and the White House issues a “well that’s not what he really said. Or if it is, it’s not what he meant.”  The US Policy heretofore has been “maintain ambiguity” meaning “don’t commit one way or the other.”

What has been made perfectly clear now, however, is that we have a president who is not in control of his own mouth or his policies. The consequences of THAT are if you pardon the pun, Unprecedented. I think you have to go back to George III to find a leader of a world power that was not in control of his faculties, and WOW what a mess that was.

Also, on the UC front from Joe at his 60 min. interview, he stated that “the pandemic is over.”  Well, a lot of the stuff that Big Government has gotten away with, was due to ‘emergency powers.’ So once again he didn’t understand the system, and it’s going to bite him.  I THINK he was looking for a claimed WIN on the Covid front.  What he actually did is put his entire little dog and pony show in disarray. No pandemic, no excuse for firing military members who refused the shot for religious reasons, less justifiable control over travel, etc… Now his people are rushing around doing damage control.

Then there was his “safer America” speech, and red back-lit “unity” speech, calling everyone who doesn’t support him a “semi-fascist.”  Well, one of the “don’t understand the system” things are that politicians depend on polls.  Pollsters depend on honesty.  More and more, those people that have issues with Biden and his party, also have lost trust in the polls, and pollsters.  What’s that mean? It means that surprise, surprise, surprise, People are lying to the pollsters. If you don’t know how much of a margin to plan for, you don’t know how many fake ballets to make, or how many ballets to harvest.  That can be a problem, what’s a good dishonest politician to do when the one thing he thought he could count on, is now surely off, but no one knows by how much?  In short, I encourage you to take the polls.  Take all the polls. Lie your ass off.

More UC, Biden’s ICE has been transporting people in the dead of the night, via aircraft, to various cities around the nation (mostly Red cities)… then releasing them, to “await their hearing to determine refugee status.”  A hearing that may be five or ten years from now, but OF COURSE the person who lied about being a refugee in the first place will stay where they were put and stay in touch… The problem here is that even if they (the administration) really believe that these guys are refugees, and not “perspective fraud voters” you just can’t count on the Hispanic population to stay bought anymore.  And even worse, if it’s OK for you to fly people to other cities, why is it not OK for state governments to do so?  Oh and boy the optics of calling up 150 National Guard Troops to “assist in the voluntary relocation” of 50 illegal aliens that got dropped on Martha’s Vineyard… WOW.

Oh, and to make it better, if you can follow the logic here, a Texas Sheriff, (Dem, elected from Bexar County, which is San Antonio.) is suing and investigating for criminal activity, the governor of Florida, for taking Illegals dumped in Florida to Martha’s Vineyard in Mass.  I would love to hear the convoluted logic that entitles him to investigate or sue for things two thousand miles outside his jurisdiction.  This is just begging for some Unintended Consequences.

I’m old enough to remember when an “open border” situation bit Ronnie in the ass.  For those that aren’t, he declared that the US would take any Cuban refugees that could make it to America.  Remember that this was the height of the cold war, and he was trying to score points internationally, against any communist target he could find.  The trouble is, he didn’t consider that Castro might just game the system.  Castro flushed his prisons and sent them to America.  We’re not talking political prisoners, we’re talking rapists, murderers, etc.  

That was a mess for a bit. Well, it looks like Venezuela took notes.  I’m now hearing that they too are flushing their prisons, and sending their problems to the border with a trip up to the US border paid for.  Adding greatly to the over 3,000,000 illegal immigrants (at least, that’s a conservative estimate based on official caught and released, and ‘known gotaway’ figures.  It doesn’t count those that weren’t seen.) that have crossed the border since Biden took office. By the way, that number is higher than all of the illegals in both of Obama’s terms combined. And that’s just from the first year and a half of Biden’s presidency… Gosh, what numbers can he rake up by the end of his term in office?

I’ll leave you with one final UC.  Back in 1972, as part of the Education Amendments, Title IX was created saying basically that you couldn’t have sex-based discrimination in your schools, if you wanted your school to suck on the federal tit.  The biggest piece of this was you had to spend as much on women’s sports as men’s sports.  So, the woman’s coach had to have as big a paycheck, there had to be as many scholarships for women, and so on.  This raised the number of women’s sports scholarships, and (UC here) massively CUT the number of male scholarships. (When I say massive, I mean 1,579 teams were eliminated by their schools, all men’s teams, and NO there were nowhere near that many women’s teams created.)

But this is old news.  Now, the left, led by The Atlantic, in response to the issues of transexual athletes, suggests that “Separating Sports by Sex Doesn’t Make Sense.” They couch it based on one girl who decided she wanted to play high school football and had to jump through hoops that no male had to.  But of course, five paragraphs down the real piece comes out. This is all about “sexual identity” and how sex isn’t binary but a spectrum. Bla-bla-bla.

There’s the obligatory bit about how the safety piece is a lie because short guys have to compete against tall guys and fat guys against skinny guys.  What this writer doesn’t understand (she’s female, so probably never played sports) is that, yes, the fat guys and the short guys (I was both) do have to compete against the big guys, and mostly, don’t get a spot on the team, because, in a full contact sport that doesn’t have a weight class, someone 6’4” 300Lbs just literally runs over the top of the 5’4” 155 lbs kid, leaving cleat marks in my chest.

What this movement is going to do, is remove all the advances that Title IX set in place, as far as ensuring that women athletes get as fair a share of funding as the guys.  Just like almost all the wrestling programs were killed, (my sport) in college by Title IX, the “one team” concept will kill the few mostly girl sports, like fast pitch, and field hockey, and just about eliminate women’s athletic scholarships.  With maybe a half dozen women a year that can play baseball, basketball, tennis, or any of the track and field sports at the men’s collegiate level, if a college is going to have a sports team, (and let’s face it, the bastards make BANK off of them, so they won’t go away entirely) they will only give scholarships to the very best players, and 99% of the time they’ll have a penis.  Girls, you can thank the left.

It’s 42 days until the election, less if you are in a state with a mandatory vote by mail and early voting.  Remember all the things that have gone on when you cast your ballot, and ask yourself, are you better off now than you were a year and a half ago?

Take care, watch your six, 
Until next time I remain,
Yours in service.
William Lehman.

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