Big Failures

If you are scared out of your wits to make a mistake and lose face, guess what? You will fail and lose face.

If the Civil War produced one man who could never admit to any mistake and heaped all the responsibility for setbacks on others, it must be George B. McClellan.

What makes McClellan’s case extra sad, is the man had a very bright head on his shoulders. He was a superb organizer of men and can in some ways he is the father of the Army of The Potomac, one of the most important Union armies. He was extremely meticulous, his men adored him, and he did come up with a very good plan to defeat his opponent.

Fairly early in the war, McClellan devised an original plan to transport his massive host over sea and drop it on the flank of his enemy, where it was poised to take out the enemy’s capital at Richmond, Virginia. He had unfortunately taken a hell of a lot of time to put the plan in motion, because he was always afraid he didn’t have enough men.

Somehow, McClellan was struggling to achieve the impossible: he wanted to have 100 percent certainty his army would prevail. Of course, in war nothing is certain, and its common knowledge “no plan survives contact,” meaning as soon as armies clash there’s the inevitable factor we tend to call ‘luck’ or ‘chance’ which is out of our control. Usually because of miscalculations and human error.

McCellan’s huge ego could not allow for failure, so he moved at a snail’s pace. Although he vastly outnumbered his opponent, he insisted on dragging cumbersome siege guns to the front lines to blast his way through. His opponent was smart enough to wait till the last minute and retreat before the siege guns were finally ready to open fire. In this way, they deftly stalled for time, which allowed them to assemble more forces.

McCellan meanwhile kept clamoring for more reinforcements, almost pestering his superiors with requests and accusations, telling everyone who would listen how the authorities were doing everything they could to thwart him. Going so far as to say he was the only one who could save the army, in spite of the foolish decisions of all the other idiots in charge. He had this to say about Abraham Lincoln: ‘The President is no more than a well-meaning baboon. I went to the White House directly after tea, where I found “The Original Gorilla”, about as intelligent as ever. What a specimen to be at the head of our affairs now.’ That may have been the case, but McCellan was still walking in fear. Fear never wins the day.

His fear of failure also led him to believe that his opponent vastly outnumbered him, whereas the complete opposite was true. In the end, he did manage to come very close to the outskirts of his enemy’s capital. There his opponent, Robert E. Lee, decided to attack. McClellan got scared and retreated, even though the damage was rather minimal and he had far more reserves than his enemy. His self-fulling prophecy dictated his actions and ultimately, he retreated all the way back and abandoned his campaign.

On a later occasion, by an impossible stroke of luck, McClellan’s enemy’s precise marching orders fell into his hands. He knew everything his outnumbered and outgunned opponent was going to do and he still failed to destroy his enemy. To his wife he wrote: ‘Those in whose judgment I rely tell me that I fought the battle splendidly and that it was a masterpiece of art.’

Big egos, big, embarrassing failures

Credit: Frank M.

*Thanks Frank!!!

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The Get Me Home Bag

My thanks to Corporal Kelly @ Corporal’s Corner, Youtube

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My Super Shelter – A Tour Through My Bug Out Camp

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We Let Them Run Amok

Make no mistake, there’s a deep state in the USA. And it may be our fault.

Think about what role the “culture wars” have in the structure of the Deep State.

The American public is bitterly and deeply divided over issues that ultimately boil down to, for some reason, identity crisis – i.e; race, religion, sex and the like. The internet is rife with stark animosity between a loose grouping of immoral secularist, LGBT and feminist progressives on the one hand vs. religious fundamentalists, gun advocates and conspiracy theorists on the other.

But is this cultural animosity genuine, or a sort of “permanent warfare” that reinforces the real political structure a-la the warring super-states in Orwell’s 1984?

Totalitarian systems have historically depended on the redirection (or misdirection) of popular discontent towards unpopular groups within the state and hostile foreign powers to maintain loyalty to regime among the public at large. This inevitably runs out, however, once the problems of the regime become intractable and the incompetence of the state can no longer be concealed, as happened in the U.S.S.R in the late 1980s.

Have the architects of the Deep State learned by now that having not one “official” ideology but two, and pitting them against one another in the public and in forums is, in fact, a vastly better way of keeping themselves secure in power?

Doing this maintains a veneer of political pluralism and fake democracy. Each side can simply blame the other for policy failure; or even gov’t failure. Public anger is directed towards one’s enemies in the culture war rather than at the corrupt political system; sad there’s that many stupid people in this country.

Most progressives have a LOT more animosity for low brow religious zealots, rural types and men’s rights activists than they do for defense contractors and Wall Street lobbyists, despite their own oft expressed disdain for GOP exploitation of cultural wedge issues to draw blue collar support away from the Demoncrats. Conservatives have a variation of the same theme wherein lower class white males blame minorities, atheists and feminism for their woes instead of deindustrialization. Of course, the later proceeds to be at least a woe in today’s society and is not preferred by most, but merely tolerated; which can be worse.

And all the while, the operations of the Deep State carry on almost completely unnoticed from any quarter on the political spectrum, and media conglomerates and their advertisers make out like bandits from stoking such controversies to increase viewer-ship and readership and possibly all out civil unrest.

We Let Them Run Amok; will we suffer for it as a people later;………..or sooner?

Credit in part to Derek P. with Moraldiplomat

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Outlaws

Once more on Robin Hood and the survival lessons we can learn from the legends of the Merry Men in the Sherwood Forest.

Realistically, surviving a typical medieval winter in Sherwood Forest might not have been much fun as an outlaw.

If a band of medieval outlaws in Sherwood Forest managed to survive the everyday threat of being captured or killed by the forces of (crooked) law and (dis) order, their next biggest worry would be simply how to stay alive in terms of shelter and finding something to eat and drink as medieval temperatures dropped far below the winters we experience today.

The outlaws would be by necessity nomadic, moving around within an established area unsettled in terms of any permanent storage capacity and so be unable to plant and nurture any crops or vegetables.

Staying in one place for too long risked detection by the authorities. In summertime a band of men could survive by eating as hunter-gatherers like their ancestors but with the approach of autumn and as the temperature began to drop other measures would clearly have to be adopted.

To physically exist a man requires food and drink – in cold weather he would also require a suitable shelter and a source of heat.

An outlaw band planning to stay in Sherwood Forest through the winter would have to have the means to provide themselves with all four.

The problem with not having made proper provision for winter is obvious; you will meet a cold, lonely and hungry death.

Sleeping in the open after a day spent in the open is risking hypothermia and exposure, and simply freezing to death in your sleep.

Any shortages of drink and food would result in a quicker fall in energy in the short-term and in the long-term the body’s natural resistance to cold and sickness and in both the brain’s ability to reason; death could be measured in hours. But without sleep, the body cannot function naturally.

Many people are surprised when they hear that hypothermia can occur anywhere and anytime when the air temperature is below 60F /16C the body needs to maintain a core of warmth and as the core temperature drops heat is taken from the head, resulting in a drop in circulation and energy being burned to provide heat rather than to feed the brain; the brain slows down, irrational behavior gradually grows until the subject doesn’t know what they are doing.

The effect is so gradual the subject will not realize it is happening without immediate help, they will die. A slight breeze can half the time a man could expect to be in trouble through hypothermia; a cool wind can reduce it by four times that. Our outlaws would quickly have to learn two things; to stay dry and to keep out of the wind.

In prolonged daytime temperatures of below freezing, living permanently outdoors is very risky unless you know what you are about; after dark in the same conditions, you sleep with the risk that you might never wake up again.

Credit: Jonathan C.

*Thanks Jonathan for all your contributions!

Cold Water Challenge – The Selection on HISTORY – How I Survived Hypothermia

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A Lesson From Robin of the Hood

A quick plot synopsis for you: King Richard the Lionheart has been out of England, waging war as part of the Crusades. He is captured and held for ransom when he attempts to return home. His brother, Prince John wants to seize the throne and be crowned king. The prince is aided and abetted by the Sheriff of Nottingham.

Robin, or Sir Robin of Locksley, is a nobleman who can’t stand by while Prince John savages the countryside, torturing the people into compliance, stealing their crops and animals and daughters, and forcing them to pay ruinous taxes.

Robin assembles a band of Merry Men, and they fight to stop oppression, killing when necessary. They also redistribute income, taking from the rich and giving to the poor.

Eventually, Richard the Lionheart returns to England, and Robin and his Merry Men are crucial to Richard’s overthrowing Prince John and returning to his throne.

And just what are the survival lessons from all this adventurous activity?
Well, first, always remember ALL your stakeholders. Robin is looking out for everyone.

He could care less about class distinctions like Normans (Prince John and his evil gang) vs. Saxons (some English nobles, but mostly the oppressed poor). Even though most of Robin’s work falls into the anti-Norman field, he’s open-minded enough (and open-hearted enough) to fall for a lovely Norman noblewoman, the Maid Marian.

Also, be a straight shooter. Robin is a straight shooter, literally and metaphorically. He tells it like it is, no matter who the audience is, no matter how dangerous the situation. He blusters his way into a banquet of Prince John’s and proceeds to call him a traitor for wanting to depose Richard. He does this while surrounded by dozens of armed men all loyal to the prince. It’s unlikely any of us will face hostile audiences who are ready, willing and able to kill, so if honesty is the best policy for Robin, it’s the best policy, period. It is amazing what good will can do for you when you earn it through honesty.

Robin is a straight shooter with bow and arrow, too. In disguise, he participates in a tournament that he knows is a trap for him. But he shoots straight and wins. Once again, he is almost killed. Once again, the Merry Men help him escape. If you insist on being completely honest in every and any situation, you will find it useful to have the Merry Men around to help you escape tight places. If you don’t have any Merry Men available, be sure to have an executable exit strategy.

Robin succeeds at communicating in this straightforward style because he’s passionate about his mission and he communicates that passion to everyone he meets. The lesson here is obvious; Enjoy what you do.

For crying out loud, Robin’s gang is called the Merry Men. They spend inordinate amounts of time laughing and singing while they steal from the rich and give to the poor. How amazing is it a bunch of men enjoy stealing from much richer men and getting away with it? It’s almost beyond belief amazing. If the Merry Men’s mission is to steal from the rich and give to the poor, they have absolutely no profit. None. Zero. But they pursue the mission with astounding zeal, gleefully giving away all their stolen riches (their profits). They pursue their mission at the risk of life and limb, living at poverty levels in the forest.

If you can get people to enjoy the work at hand, they will put up with many things to accomplish the mission. They’ll even enjoy it.

And, you won’t have to give up all your profits the way the Merry Men did.

Credit: Jonathan C.

*As always, thanks Jonathan!!!

*Great analogy! Always liked Robin Hood. Could use a few people like that in the world. Possibly, quit possibly; they’re already near.

1 Tim 6:17 “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; …

Acts 20:35 “I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.

Mt 19:21 “Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

Lk 14:13 “But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: …

 

Common Knowledge

Electronics. Freeze Drying. Material Sciences. Today’s modern-day technologies have made being prepared for short-term and long-term survival easier than ever. Unfortunately, electronics need a constant energy source, freeze dried food is not always on hand, and lightweight materials eventually wear out.

Note: In the event of and EMP (Electro-magnetic pulse) due to a localized nuke, and or a created pulse – your electronic phone, lap top, PC, etc will not work AT ALL. Alternate means of survival and communications are preferred.’

Though today’s sciences have made survival easier, it would behoove us all to keep in mind the survival skills learned and implemented by our forefathers.

A group of resilient individuals who were skilled at surviving the harsh elements with little rations and supplies were the men who fought during the American Civil War: both Union and Confederate.

During this time, a world run on electricity was left to the realm of science fiction. The men on the front lines during the various battles had not computers, GPS, or digital anything. It was an analog world. Even though this sounds archaic in today’s hi-tech world, the durability of a brass and clockwork world has extended to modern times; whereas, many electronics do not last longer than a few years.

Learning to use an analog compass could be one of the most important skills you could acquire.

Additionally, an analog watch would be another common tool that our forefathers carried. The most common style was of course a pocket watch, but a wristwatch works just fine. What is important is the fact the watch is a wind up and does not rely on batteries to operate. There are many wind up watches from the Civil War era that are still in use today. All you do is remember to wind it up every day and you are set.

Tools should not be the only focus when looking for survival tips from the past. Food is another important aspect of survival and again we can look to the rations of the Civil War soldier for ideas. The Confederates and the Federals had very similar diets in the beginning, which consisted primarily of salted pork and dry goods such as beans and rice.

Two main staples of a soldier’s diet were hardtack and desiccated potatoes. Hardtack is a type of hard, dry biscuit made from flour, salt, and water. The ingredients are mixed together and slowly baked until hard. The shelf life of these little briquettes was remarkable so long as they were kept dry.

It was even rumored the U.S. issued hardtack made during the Civil War to soldiers fighting in the Spanish American War.

Another food item soldiers were issued were desiccated potatoes. Once again, the starch laden food was relatively cheap to come by and seemed to have kept the men feeling full. Desiccated is simply another word for dehydrated for all intents and purposes. The potatoes were thinly sliced and dried until all the moisture was removed and the slices were no longer pliable. Like hardtack, desiccated potatoes have an incredible shelf life.

When it came time to eat both, they were commonly boiled in broth or in water with salt pork until the potatoes or the biscuit became tender.

It is common knowledge the most versatile modern-day material is the polyethylene tarp. These tarps can be used as a shelter, water collector, ground cover, or rain fly. Just has the polyethylene has a variety of uses so does its ancestor, the canvas tarp.

The canvas tarp can be used for everything a polyethylene tarp, plus a few extras. Canvas tarps are better suited than polyethylene to fashion replacement packs or totes to carry supplies.

Canvas tarps are also better for being turned into ponchos, jackets, and other clothing items. During the Civil War, it was common to draw field maps on canvas instead of paper because of its water resistance and durability.

There is no doubt modern technology has made survival and emergency preparedness much easier. However, this does not mean should not look to the past for tips and techniques for successful survival.

Always Safe, Always Prepared

Credit: Frank M.

*Thanks Frank!!

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Are We There Yet?

Photo/artwork by: http://ddees.com 

Have you noticed, since the September 11th attacks and particularly in the last two Presidential (s)election cycles, some strange goings-on?

Have you noticed how almost all mainstream media and political figures indict foreign leaders, support questionable foreign non-state actors, or assert “red lines” in foreign affairs, without evidence given or requested?

Or perhaps you’ve observed how political media outlets regularly cover the media industry by addressing transparently partisan and petty criticisms as serious but ignoring or marginalizing substantive criticisms because of “industry realities?”

Have you seen how almost all political figures and media citing public dissatisfaction with vague descriptions of the prevailing order (“establishment,” “business as usual,” “Washington politicians,” “DC polls,”) without investigation of what or who comprises that order?

It feels a lot to me like we are living in an increasingly incompetent deep state.

Are we?

In a simple sense, of course there is a deep state. People in similar work have similar ideas, socialize together, form relationships and have experiences in common. This is especially true if your work includes unique experiences like making decisions that affect the lives of millions of people. There are not many people able to understand what this involves. There will be more cohesion and commonality among those in government than the structure of the formal institutions would suggest.

But the formal institutional structure of the US is extremely robust. It’s almost impossible for a group outside of, or spanning across, the formal institutions to carry out a plan on any scale. There are secrets, and there are conspiracies, but there are just as many forces working to contain them as to carry them through. The US has a very good record, in the end, of bringing secrets to light and dealing with those who conspire against its institutions from within.

Most people simply do not care very much about federal politics, especial foreign policy( discretely controlled by Israel) . To the extent they take any notice, they are overly cynical about the reality and overly optimistic about the scope for change.

Remember, we’re all in this together,

Credit: Derek P.

*Thanks Derek!!

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