Monday, October 27, 2014

National security is never this black and white… (Unfortunately!)


I was thinking about this the other day, and then I saw this re-posted.

Why would we need something like this? Russia? Religious fanatics? These are arguably the biggest threats to the U.S. in the visible future, and we don't need the level of tech to act as a deterrent for those folks. We can take Russia with a couple of F-18s and the religious fanatics? Well, I don't think these bad boys would have led to a different result in Iraq or Afghanistan.

So why? Of course, there is always the propping up of the military-industrial complex, but even that does not feel right. We've scrapped some systems in the last few years which tells me that this is not the main reason why we're moving ahead on this...

So that leaves, who? China.

Yes, right now we have each other right where we want each other, but they are a growing economic and technological superpower, and we may eventually end up in a cold war with them. These sorts of investments in military technology are not necessarily about meeting current threats, but about preparing for future threats, and we don't want to end up in a position where we don't have the best hardware in the world.

So, is this the time to be throwing that sort of money at a weapons system like this? Could it be better spent elsewhere? Probably. But we still live in a dangerous world and I, for one, know our relationship with the only real superpower left goes a lot better down the road if they know they can't take us militarily without one hell of a fight.

Hopefully we are moving towards a world where superpowers can co-exist without living in fear of each other, and we may be there all ready. But are we willing to bet our children or grandchildren's freedom on this?

It's a tough call and one that I am glad I do not have to make.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Student Loans and Debt Slavery

This may be a bit overdramatic, but maybe it is time to look at this paradigm.

It used to be that you needed a degree to work in certain fields, now it is for almost everything. The degree has replaced the high school diploma as the minimum education standard required for most living wage work.

But it has very little to do with actual training for one's chosen field... More and more it matters little what your B. A. was in, only that you have one.

In this way, it really is being treated as diplomas use to be.

When hiring, we used to say that this was because we wanted to see that the potential employee could "finish what they started," and I still agree that there is some merit to that concept. Plus, the development of critical thinking skills that, more and more, happens in college versus high school is another benefit.

But considering the cost of college these days, there is a darker, but huge, benefit for companies that only hire college grads... the immense debt most recent grads are entering the workforce with!

There is so much fear around paying off these loans that people will put up with a lot more than they used to... Low wages and salaries, intolerable and invasive corporate policies, and the knowledge that most workers are immediately replaceable due to all the out of work college grads out there just waiting for the opportunity to "do something with their degrees" or, even more insidious, grads who are just desperate to start paying off their loans.

Of course, having workers who have to go into virtually life long debt for the privilege of working for your company, mostly doing work that could be completed by any average high school grad?


Fearful employees willing to do anything and put up with anything just to keep ahead of their government debt…

What’s better than this?  If you don't look too closely, these companies even come off looking like the good guys, since they are the ones giving us a chance to keep one step ahead of the big bad menace of the government.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Accepting and owning this...

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Barack and Valdimir's Big Crimean Adventure

Earlier, on Facebook, I posted, "Remember a couple weeks ago when Russia was just weird, not scary?" 

Mostly, this was just a joke about a comment I made during the Olympics, saying the reverse and not meant to be a real conversation about the current geopolitical situation.

The truth here, this is all negotiating tactics right now and it is a little scary that Russia is going this big in the opening round. 

Most likely, the end result will be a functionally independent Crimea with a Russian puppet government and increased military presence to secure Russia's only warm water Atlantic naval base.

I could get more into the nitty gritty details here, but I really don't have the time.

It is still a pretty scary situation, though, because these things could go south with some really bad effects that essentially take us back to a Cold War relationship with Russia, but I think (hope) both sides are too smart to let that happen.

If played well, the US and the west will receive some important concessions from Russia in return, concessions they'd never receive unless something this critical to Russian state security was at stake.

Since these sorts of things will never be disclosed by either side, though, expect Obama to get roasted by the right for letting Crimea fall on his watch.