A well stocked pantry, from Wikipedia

When I was still a teenager, I remember the Year 2000 bug. Everyone was worried that the world’s economy would come to a screeching halt, satellites would fall out of the sky, and the world would descend into Purge-like violence. On a Saturday evening, one of my hunting friends invited me over to his place. He showed me a hidden entrance into his crawlspace, which he had expanded over the past year. It was huge, and had one of the largest collections of guns, canned food and ammunition I had ever seen.

Luckily, Y2K didn’t result in Armageddon, but it didn’t end the prepper mentality. So long as there are humans, preppers will probably be with us. There is always that person that is predicting the end of the world around the corner. Most preppers aren’t like this, but I am noticing a jump in preppers worried about our political divide, and I think they have a valid point.

We’ve got two forces coming together: a deeper political divide and social media that rewards echo chambers, which causes two deep problems: a withdrawl from local community, and an increasing call to use violence to get one’s way. The political divide is well documented, and social media echo chamber problems are as well. But the last two points are new.

Local communities are infinitely more important to your daily life than Washington DC politics. Whether your ride to work in the morning sucks or is smooth is a matter of local governance. Whether you have affordable housing, easy access to groceries and good schools is all strongly related to local government. You encounter local officials, such as police, judges, fire fighters, mayors, and city council members far more often than you will ever see the President, a Senator or even your federal Representative. And yet, if you go on most social media platforms today, it is rare to see people talking about local issues. When ballots come out, most people don’t know the candidates running for judiciary positions or your library council.

That’s a huge problem, because it denigrates local policies. People feel that unless they talk about the “big issues,” they aren’t talking about important things. But in reality, local issues matter more. This causes a disconnect between the reality you are living and the perceived state of things. Your daily life could be great, but you may be in despair because of what you read on the news.

This becomes dangerous when coupled with increasing violent rhetoric. National level politics have always had a call to violence. This is easy to see when browsing historical political cartoons. But politicians in general don’t understand the cost of violence. Most haven’t been in the military or dealt with destruction up close. Many of them haven’t sat on actual city councils or had to work real issues. Their focus has been getting votes, and violent rhetoric stirs up the pot, gets you media attention and brings people out to vote.

It isn’t healthy. People are still humans, and even if they hold opposing views, it doesn’t give us a license to treat them like animals. But that is exactly what is happening, whether it is shootings or assaults over someone’s grass.

This is the latest worry of preppers, that their own neighbors, not government forces, will break down their doors and assault their families. We can call them fringe elements, but given recent events, can you blame them?

China will own your data and use it to manipulate you. They plan to do that for the whole world. The latest Bloomberg article showing Chinese insertion of spy chips into SuperMicro is just another step in their attempts to do this.

Plenty of people think this is a pipe dream and conspiracy theory, so let’s look at the history:

  • China has brutally “purified” its own Han-Chinese population. Throughout its red history from 1949 onward, it went through periods of allowing academic dissent, only to then crush it years later. Each of these cycles acted as a way to purify its population, weeding out dissenters and strengthening red power. Currently, they are going through yet another cycle. If you ever wondered why it was so advantageous for Chinese to study abroad, wonder no more: most Chinese students love the academic freedom provided in America, Britain and other universities.
  • China has also cracked down on religion. Muslims in the western provinces of China are being brutally oppressed and “reeducated.” When the US went into Afghanistan, our goal was to build a stable government that didn’t sponsor terrorism, so that we could eventually leave. China’s goal is to build a province of people loyal only to the Chinese Communist party, and they are accomplishing this with scary efficiency. If you’re Christian, don’t feel left out, because you’re next in line. China won’t stop until its population only celebrates the atheist religion of the Communist Party.

  • The freedom of thought dies behind the Great Firewall of China. In America, you are allowed to voice your opinions (however dumb they maybe). Heck, you can disagree with the President online. In China, disagreement brings you a lowered “social credit,” which may affect your ability to get loans, go to school, and get a job.

All of this is internal to China, so who cares right? We’re in blue America, where we can make disparaging comments about the President without any worries.

Not so fast. China’s not content to beat up their own people. Their tentacles are spreading.

  • China’s “Silk Road” initiative was never about helping other nations. The loans made to countries to build infrastructure were poorly designed, such that China would likely get control of what was built, whether it’s a port in Sri Lanka or a canal in Nicaragua.

  • The electronic infrastructure is even scarier. China has essentially built the cellular networks of multiple countries in Africa. When China controls how your people communicate, they exercise enormous power over your population.

The SuperMicro piece is just the latest effort to penetrate the US and other countries, spy on their citizens, and find new avenues to sow dissent. The United States and most European countries remain relatively free to allow their population to express their views, even when they contradict their own governments. This is a strength in that it lets diverse populations work together, but it can be a weakness if someone wants to turn the population against each other.

What will you see in the future?

  • Any country where China made loans for infrastructure will likely struggle to repay them. The Chinese will gladly take the infrastructure and use it to expand their military, social and economic base.
  • Expect to find more examples of Chinese influencing elections in Africa. Anywhere there is Chinese electronic infrastructure, don’t be surprised when anti-Chinese candidates lose out in social media contests.

  • Any company that does business in China will lose their intellectual property rights. Expect to see more companies invest in other areas of the world. Expect China to focus on penetrating those regions to steal more intellectual property.

  • China will actively try to turn Korea, the Phillipines, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Bhutan, Nepal and Mongolia into vassal states. Election and economic manipulation will occur regularly.

  • Chinese nationals living abroad will be subjected to a global information operations campaign by China, designed to bring them in line with Communist thinking.

  • Our domestic focus on a red wave or blue wave is silly when a massive Red Chinese tsunami is headed our way.

    This article represents the view of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.

    Please continue to pray the Novena for Chinese Catholics!

    A rosary, from Flickr

    Chinese Catholics are in a terrible situation. They can’t practice their faith openly, and they don’t have the support of the Vatican, who recently sold out and allowed the Chinese government to pull all the strings and appoint bishops. Even though the Vatican will ultimately have the last word, in reality, if you pick the panel of people you choose from, this authority is all but null.

    If President Trump wanted an easy win, he could talk about how bad the deal was and offer to negotiate a better one 🙂

    Chinese Catholics face an even greater danger. We’re watching the Chinese eliminate Muslims in their western provinces, through a pattern of “re-education,” out-breeding and selective assassination. There is no reason to think they will stop at the Uighurs. I see Catholics and other Christians, who answer to a higher authority outside of political parties, to be next in line.

    We should be pushing our Church to be raising this issue. China’s model of making every citizen an obedient atheist to the Communist Party is downright scary.

    I ask you, if you’ve read this far, to pray a Novena for China. It’ll take you 15 minutes each day. If you don’t have a rosary, download a free app for one, or go buy one (they are cheap on Amazon). Before you pray each day, do a quick google search for Chinese religious oppression. It’s easy to find, and should help you focus.

    Pray that Chinese leaders will soften their hearts and allow people to hold their own beliefs. Pray that the Vatican and our Church leaders stop selling out and start meeting the spiritual needs of the Catholic community in china. Pray that our political leaders, many of whom are Catholic, will begin insisting that China not oppress religions.

    And pray that this model of atheist obedience won’t make its way to our own shores.

    This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.

    Please share this post. Chinese Catholics need all the prayers they can get.

    This beer is ONLY good for beer bread

    I’ve been living in an apartment with my family as my house is being constructed. The last couple of months have reminded me why I’m not fan of apartments in the first place. We moved in on a Friday morning, and that evening around 9 pm I saw a group gathering outside to smoke. They were being a bit loud, so at 10 pm (quiet time for our ordinance) I called the apartment complex security number. I drifted off to sleep through the noise, only to be re-awakened at 11:30 pm to two different guys screaming at each other. The phrase “I’m going to kill you, you m$%^-f%&#$” was loud enough to easily penetrate my kids windows. After I called the police, the argument continued, and at one point the very un-Christian thought of “Maybe they’ll shoot each other and then quietly die” crossed my mind.

    My apartment isn’t in the ghetto. It’s actually really nice. It has a nice pool, complete with a kiddie area and a 4.5 foot section. It has a nice workout room, with a partial weight set, treadmill and even a kids play area next to it, where my kids play while I get my workout in. The apartment complex hosts all sorts of events, and they have a movie and game room area too.

    It’s a nice apartment. And I couldn’t hate it more, because of the people.

    Continue reading “Apartment living and people”

    Secretary Mattis recently released a memo directing commanders to make better use of the military justice system, likely in response to the plummeting number of court martial cases across all services. For the non-military person, this might sound absurd: why are we unhappy when we have less crime among the ranks? A bit of explanation is required.

    Continue reading “Secretary Mattis, the UCMJ, and the power of the ISIC”

    I’ve heard nothing but how great it was that Senator McCain reached across the aisle during his time as a Senator from 1987 until 2018. During this time I also heard he was a “maverick” and an “independent.” I remember him challenging George Bush in the primary and winning my home state.

    But now when I look at his career, I’m a bit dismayed. McCain was in the Navy, and as a Senator he sat on the Armed Service Committee, so I figured the Navy would be in a better place after this time. Let’s take a look.

    • We have the Littoral Combat Ship, a light vessel that is less survivable than the frigates that it replaced. Somehow this crappy ship sailed through Congress, and then every Navy admiral in charge of PEO LMW or PEO LCS was somehow never fired or disciplined (despite requiring Senate confirmation). It’s expensive, doesn’t have enough weapons or crew members, and almost as big as a destroyer.
    • We have the F-35. Everyone loves to hate on the F-35, but again, somehow, every flag officer that ran the program was never fired, even though Congress controls their ultimate promotion, specifically the Senate. McCain loved the F-35, until it stopped benefiting his state. Again, McCain would rail on people at hearings, but did he actually do anything substantive about it? Nope. He even was mad when Trump threatened to cancel the program and demanded it get back on track.

    In the mean time, our enemies have supersonic anti-ship missiles, ground based carrier killers, and have been pumping out newer and better destroyers, frigates and cruisers. Our industrial base (another Congress controlled item) has atrophied, and crappy defense acquisition process (again, controlled by Congress) continues to make buying anything difficult. Instead, McCain had time to support changes to military housing allowances that disproportionately hurt military women.

    But Senator McCain was a fighter! He said it like it is! Just see the YouTube where he calls out the LCS!

    It’s all a ruse. McCain was a jerk to people at hearings, and he did it solely for political gain. Watch him beat down on (then) VADM Rogers (start video at 41 minutes)! McCain potentially spills classified information and asks leading questions. I watched this live and was dismayed at his behavior.

    Despite all his rudeness, he never actually made changes. Our acquisition program, which brought us LCS and F-35, remains largely unchanged. The admirals and generals that ran programs he was critical of continued to make rank, even though that required Senate approval. Compared to people like Carl Vinson, who built a two ocean Navy that enabled us to go from Pearl Harbor disaster to Midway in less than a year, Senator McCain’s record of actually doing anything useful for military readiness is lack-luster at best.

    I admire CAPT McCain’s service in the Navy. He did what his country asked, and he didn’t seem to take advantage of his dad’s status. But as a Senator, I thought we would have a better Navy and a better acquisition process. Instead, we’re losing out to China and (increasingly) Russia. Not exactly something to celebrate.

    This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.

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    By DonkeyHotey (Donald Trump Is Not Going to Sue Pope Francis) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
    President Trump and Pope Francis are about as far apart on the spectrum as you can get. Both men lead large organizations and have tried to implement big change. Most importantly, both are renegotiating deals. Let’s compare those results.

    Pope Francis has been working to reunite a breakaway faction, called SSPX, most of his time in office. He has also been working to restore relationship with China and begin appointing bishops there. President Trump declared his intent to renegotiate trade deals, specifically with the European Union, Mexico and Canada.

    These negotiations are tough. Both sides were fairly entrenched. Yet today we are reading about President Trumps successes and (not reading) Pope Francis’ failures. Why is that?

    Continue reading “A tale of two negotiators”

    MILLINGTON, Tenn. (May 28, 2015) Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Benjamin Payne received a retiring Sailors medical record at Naval Branch Health Clinic, Naval Support Activity (NSA) Mid-South. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Christopher Marshall/Released)

    Twice a year, the Navy makes it’s Sailors take a physical fitness test. Once a year, the Navy makes it’s Sailors go through a battery of medical checks to ensure it won’t have Sailors drop dead during this test. Pretty straight forward.

    Except when you move to a new command, which Navy Sailors do on average every 3 years. In my case, I moved over a month ago. I wasn’t permitted to hand carry my medical records (that’s too dangerous!!), so instead I gave the medical people a form so that they could request my records be transferred to them. If it sounds antiquated to you, you’re not the only one.

    But it gets worse.

    Continue reading “Can we fix our military medical records?”

    Great challenges demand great leadership from ordinary people, and if Pope Francis doesn’t exhibit great leadership during this crisis, it will damage him and the flock that he leads. Peter’s right about a lack of courage causing this scandal. Arguments that they are somehow saving the Church go against the truth that scandal never gets better with age or secrecy.

    No large organization is immune to scandal. The Navy, and military in general, has had a host of scandals, the latest being Fat Leonard and poor surface driving skills. Every time the military suffered from the poor choices of its members, the only way it came out on top was to tackle it head on. The reason you don’t read about the Aberdeen scandal was because the members were quickly punished and policy changed to prevent future abuses. The reason you are still reading about Fat Leonard is because justice has not reached finality.

    Not dispensing justice will make this scandal linger. On my first Navy assignment, my commanding officer (CO) was fired after two years in command. Officially, it was because of problems with our reactor’s chemistry. Behind the scenes, he was a terrible leader who had no problems screaming at people in public, lying to officials and altering documents to make his command look better than it was. While he was fired, he never went to court martial and was allowed to retire.

    I felt cheated by the Navy. The Navy could have taken him to Court Martial. The Navy could have retired him at a lower rank, or even sent him to jail. The Navy could have done something other than shove him out of sight, out of mind. None of this happened. I personally laterally transferred to another branch, and I cited my CO and the lack of justice as a driving reason behind leaving. Plenty of others chose not to reenlist.

    Continue reading “We need St. Basil to fix our Church”

    Pope Francis gives this blog his blessing

    If the Catholic Church was a corporation, Pope Francis would be it’s CEO. And in terms of a company, the Catholic Church is pretty impressive: ~1.3 billion members, a few hundred billion in assets, missionary operations throughout the entire world, and the inspiration for great organizations such as Catholic Charities USA. It’s a big order for any single person to run, let alone do so while fighting a combination of Satan and secularism on a daily basis.

    While I like Pope Francis as a spiritual leader, I have to say that as a CEO, he sort of sucks. For a CEO, his communication, discipline and snap decisions aren’t great. If you wanted to read an article where I detail that Pope Francis is the anti-Christ…this is not that article. But if you wonder why you’re not happy with the Pope, then maybe this is the article for you.

    Continue reading “Pope Francis is a terrible CEO”