Pixel Scroll 9/28/17 The Night They Scrolled Old Pixel Down

(1) A HATCHLING. The Book Smugglers conduct “A Chat With Ann Leckie” about Provenance.

The Book Smugglers: Yeah, and there’s scope for that, there’s so many different worlds and so many different things and the set-up is already there, so…

Ann Leckie: I put in the glass bridges in Nilt, which you may have noticed. And this is not a spoiler per se but an easter egg – There’s a moment in Ancillary Justice when Breq says the tourists come to Nilt and they buy these rugs that they think are handmade by the nomads, but in fact they’re made in a factory and they’re overpriced in the giftshops. So there’s a moment in Provenance, where Ingray meets Zat, and Zat says that she went to Nilt, and she saved up extra to buy this wonderful handmade rug, that was in beautiful colors, that was made by the nomads on Nilt, and that’s a couple of people who got advanced copies. I got a direct message from one person like “Ohh she got cheated!” [laughs] I’m like that’s – that’s just a little tiny easter egg!

(2) CATCH THE NEXT WAVE. The evidence is piling up: “Scientists record a fourth set of gravitational waves”.

Last year, researchers confirmed the existence of gravitational waves with two Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors. Shortly thereafter, they detected twoadditional gravitational wave-causing events that sent ripples through the universe. Well, we can now add a fourth to that list, as astronomers announced another set of waves. And for the first time, they observed the waves with a third detector — the Italy-based Virgo.

(3) CODICIL. Good luck to Delilah S. Dawson on her surgery:

(4) CROWDSOURCED SUCCESS. The Unbounders has announced that Farah Mendelsohn’s Heinlein book has funded.

(5) KEEP ON PITCHING. Francis Hamit reminds everyone about this appeal for books for s North Carolina school.

Here is a worthy cause: Hoke County High School has put out an online appeal for books; almost any books, for their school library. Hoke County, North Carolina, is a poor rural community where times have been hard and there has been no money for school library books since 2009. The appeal was specific, for writers to donate copies of their own books but we all have a pile of review or other books that have been consumed and can now be repurposed. (Time to attack the clutter people!). We put together three boxes of these yesterday. If you look at the Facebook page for Hoke County High School you will see that they encourage enlistments in the US military, so that’s another reason to donate books. Can’t stand to part with your hoard? Send money so they can buy books they really need.

Here is the address:

Hoke County High School
c/o Rebecca Sasala
505 Bethal Road
Raeford, NC 28376.

(6) NOWHERE NEAR REMULAC. ScreenAnarchy shares a French import: “MISSIONS: Watch This Exclusive Clip For French Sci-fi Series Coming to Shudder”.

Shudder, AMC Networks’ premium thriller, suspense and horror streaming service, will launch the first season of Missions, France’s critically praised OCS Signature sci-fi series, on September 28, 2017 across its territories. Shudder will also co-produce the second season, slated to air in 2018.

With the funding of an eccentric billionaire, the crew of a manned craft aims to be the first to land on Mars. Much to the dismay of all on board however, just before the culmination of their 10-month journey to the Red Planet, they are made aware of a video sent by a rival ship that has overtaken them and already landed on the planet thanks to a revolutionary engine. The bad news doesn’t end there however, as the tape contains a cryptic warning from the Americans pleading with the crew not to land as something far too dangerous is happening on the surface. After a chaotic landing on Mars, the crew finds a survivor — but he’s not from their rival mission. His name is Vladimir Komarov. He is Russian. And he is the first man who died in space…in 1967.

 

(7) THIRTY-EIGHT STORIES HATH SEPTEMBER: Jason, of Featured Futures, is back with the “Summation of Online Fiction: September 2017” with its list of recommended stories and honorable mentions.

With Compelling off, Apex doing a lot of reprints, and Tor.com worryingly publishing a single story, September would have been an extremely light month, but a double issue of Beneath Ceaseless Skies and the return of a lost zine helped compensate, resulting in thirty-seven stories of 149K words (plus one I skipped). Regardless, it was a very light month in terms of the proportion of the good stuff (though there was plenty of readable stuff). I’m not sure what happened beyond it being one of those freaky streaky webzine things. Speaking of, the returning lost zine is Terraform.

Ralan.com declared it defunct a few months ago and, after waiting awhile to “make sure,” I declared it dead on April 27th and stopped looking at it. Recently, I happened to take another look and, naturally, they’d published another story on April 29th. But, other than excerpts, interviews, graphic stuff, etc., they did quit producing anything after that until August 24th. Since then, they have managed to publish a story coupled with an article every seven or eight days (two in August and three in September though, to keep the irony ironing, they don’t seem to be doing anything but another excerpt this week). So perhaps they’re back. Only one story was at all noteworthy but, since I gave Terraform‘s death an explicit notice, I feel like I ought to do the same for its rebirth. Now, on with the very short (or “little”) list…

(8) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • September 28, 1951 — The original The Day The Earth Stood Still was released on this day.

(9) STAND-UP COMIC. As Vox Day prepares to launch his Alt*Hero comics line, he’s running the customary anti-SJW setups to fire up his customers. His mockery of Jack Kirby predictably upset people in the comics field.

I’ve been a little taken aback by the sheer vituperation of the SJWs triggered by the mere existence of the Alt*Hero concept, at least at this very early stage. And, I confess, I have been more than a little surprised by their apparent confusion between the late Marvel/DC artist Jack Kirby and the superheroes that he drew.>

Some responses — I think a bunch of comics type only just found out that he exists. They are not especially impressed…

(10) RETRENCHMENT. Nerd & Tie’s Trae Dorn reports some shrinkage in the convention calendar.

Dayton, OH based Time Lord Expo has officially been called off just two weeks before the con’s scheduled date. Convention organizer Patrick Baumgardner took to the con’s official Facebook page and announced the cancellation earlier today…

In a press release yesterday, Wizard World announced that they were “postponing” five of their remaining seven 2017 shows. While their Austin and Oklahoma City shows will still take place as scheduled, their events in Biloxi, Peoria, Springfield, Montgomery, and Winston-Salem won’t be taking place this year.

Now a normal person would refer to these events as “cancelled,” but I guess saying they’re “postponed” reads better from a PR perspective.

Considering the financial difficulties Wizard World has had over the last few years, it’s hard to be all that surprised…

(11) GHOST WRITER. Twain’s long gone, so NPR talked to his self-appointed co-authors: “A Modern Collaboration With Mark Twain In ‘Prince Oleomargarine'”.

This week Mark Twain has a new book out.

Yes, we know. He’s been dead for more than a century, but that hasn’t stopped him — or more accurately, his collaborators — from publishing a children’s book, called The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine. It’s based on 16 pages of notes, handwritten by Twain and discovered in an archive, in Berkeley, Calif.

Philip and Erin Stead took it from there; the Caldecott Award-winning author-illustrator duo picked up Twain’s trail and finished the story.

“It was never entirely clear to us if there was never an ending, or if Twain just never got around to writing it down,” Philip Stead says. “That said, we had to make a book, so we had to provide an ending to the story.”

(12) NOT BINDING. Margaret H. Willison of NPR discusses “In ‘Dear Fahrenheit 451,’ Loving Books Both Wisely And Well”

The truest testament to the quality of Dear Fahrenheit 451, Annie Spence’s ingratiating collection of love letters and breakup notes to the books in her life, is that my enjoyment of it was, in the end, great enough to outweigh my fury that someone other than me had written it.

It’s lucky that she manages this feat, as anyone who loves books well enough to enjoy reading Spence’s letters is likely to relate so closely to her thoughts that they’ll struggle with that same sense of resentful ownership — particularly librarians. “What are you doing,” they will think, “writing out my life like it’s your own, Annie Spence? Who do you think you are? What makes you special?” Thankfully, Spence’s voice is ultimately so warm, funny, and specific that it answers the question handily — she’s special because she has a unique ability to capture the thoughts and feelings of book lovers, both professional and otherwise, on the page.

(13) THESE ARE THE JOKES, FOLKS. Martin Morse Wooster tells me: “I know Filers spend too much time staring at screens and need to go outside and soak up some crisp fall air.  Why not go to a corn maze?  In The Plains, Virginia, you can go to Pirates of the Corn-ibbean.’”

The website is http://cornmazeintheplains.com. Here’s a review of this year’s theme:

The giant 5 Acre maze with the theme “Pirates of the Corn-ibbean”, has a pirate’s flag, parrot, and a chest full of treasure.  The cornfield comes alive when it is filled with maze goers who enter the 2.5 miles of “cornfusing” pathways. They soon find themselves facing countless choices, while attempting to answer the trivia clues en route to the elusive victory bridge. Whether it is during the night or day, each maze wanderer is armed with a survival guide and flag on a mission to collect puzzle pieces of the maze design and test their trivia skills to help them find their way out.  If one gets “udderly cornfused”, they can always wave their teams flag frantically, to signal the “corn cop” to come to their rescue.

Last’s year’s maze looked like this:

Martin adds, “I know in the UK the word for ‘corn’ is maize.  So do they have maize mazes over there?

[Thanks to JJ, Martin Morse Wooster, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, John King Tarpinian, Carl Slaughter, Nigel, Jason, and NickPheas for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Xtifr.]

154 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 9/28/17 The Night They Scrolled Old Pixel Down

  1. @Kurt —

    “That’s not all that long.”

    More than 60 million people were killed. That’s more than 10 million every year. How many of those would have been saved if we had been able to enter the war sooner?

    Which is an argument for not letting things get to the point of needing to have a large military, but you keep waving that aside to go “What about dead people?” but ignoring the millions that have died when we have had a large military, as if somehow theoretically-saved lives weigh more than actually-lost ones.

    You talk about “the millions that have died when we have had a large military” as though those deaths were caused by the fact of having a large military, but that isn’t the case. Those deaths in some cases were caused by misuse of military power; and in other cases those deaths could have been much worse if we had not had a large military. The size of a military does not kill people — its misuse does.

    Often, we seem to be causing the problems of other countries

    And often we don’t. See, for example, the small recent example I offered related to the Ukraine. It’s easy to ignore the cases in which people do NOT die.

    This is a nonsense argument.

    No, it isn’t.

    Picture 1939. We didn’t want to get involved with the world’s problems, and as part of that we didn’t have a large army. So what if we had been invaded in 1939 instead of Europe? Sure, that wouldn’t have happened in the real world because of other conditions — I’m just posing a hypothetical here. We had anti-military, isolationist attitudes, and they resulted in poor preparedness. But emergencies can strike our country just as easily as anyone else’s, and we wouldn’t have been prepared for that either.

    Maybe there’s a level somewhere between the size of Portugal’s army in 1939 and the size of our army today that’s flexible and functional,

    Remember, our military is ALREADY much smaller than it has been in past decades. We had more than 12 million people in the military altogether at the end of WWII, and more than 3 million in the late 60s. Nowadays we have less than 1.5 million — total. That’s a humongous drop. How low do you want it to go?

  2. Picture 1939. We didn’t want to get involved with the world’s problems, and as part of that we didn’t have a large army. So what if we had been invaded in 1939 instead of Europe? Sure, that wouldn’t have happened in the real world because of other conditions — I’m just posing a hypothetical here.

    Yes, like a belligerent expansionist Canada we hypothetically somehow fail to notice.

    I think I’ve made my point; I don’t think there are good reasons to fetishize the armed forces, not even by trying to equate fetishization with pragmatic readiness, or trying to suggest that having a smaller army than we had when we were actively fighting in Vietnam is somehow a bad thing. I don’t think you’re making a whole lot of sense, so I’ll leave it at that.

  3. @Contrarius:

    More than 60 million people were killed. That’s more than 10 million every year. How many of those would have been saved if we had been able to enter the war sooner?

    Bogus argument; deaths were not evenly distributed.

  4. “More than 60 million people were killed. That’s more than 10 million every year. How many of those would have been saved if we had been able to enter the war sooner?”

    Absolutely none. Unless you also would have wanted to end the war sooner. And even then, there is no argument that many more would have been saved. Perhaps they only would have died one year earlier.

    Ukraine is a very, very bad example as US meddling in their elections served a lot to destabilize the country and is one of the reasons of the current civil war.

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  6. @Chip —

    Bogus argument; deaths were not evenly distributed.

    An even distribution of deaths is not necessary to the validity of my argument. The deaths were in the millions — that’s all we need to know in this context.

    @Hampus —

    Absolutely none. Unless you also would have wanted to end the war sooner.

    Why would you assume that the war would NOT have ended sooner, if the US had become involved sooner?

    Ukraine is a very, very bad example as US meddling in their elections served a lot to destabilize the country and is one of the reasons of the current civil war.

    Nope, sorry. “Meddling in their elections” is an entirely different issue than dissuading Putin from taking over the country. One involves our military forces, which are the subject of this discussion; the other does not.

    And here we go:

    And yet again — The problem of misuse of a military is not an argument against having a strong military in the first place. It’s simply an argument to stop misusing it.

  7. “Why would you assume that the war would NOT have ended sooner, if the US had become involved sooner?”

    Why are you saying that being ready to be involved sooner is the same as being involved sooner? Those are two different things.

    “Nope, sorry. “Meddling in their elections” is an entirely different issue than dissuading Putin from taking over the country. One involves our military forces, which are the subject of this discussion; the other does not.”

    If you know your Ukraine history, you know that the argument is bogus. About half of the population is pro-Russia. It is not such a simple thing as “taking over”. It is more on the line of a country falling apart because of politicians polarizing the population against each other.

  8. @Hampus: the view of Ukrainian elections in the US non-reactionary press was that a Russian puppet stole the election, was ousted due to local action (example I recall: a news reader presenting as instructed while signing “This is all a lie”), was bizarrely allowed to run again, and ran off to his masters when he got ousted again. I’m sure this is a simplification, but do you think it’s radically wrong?

  9. In the years since WWII we have done an amazing job at having a large military while simultaneously allowing millions of people to die as we twiddle our thumbs and ignore them because they aren’t strategically important to us. And we’ve also managed to kill millions of people who would otherwise be alive because they live in areas that are strategically important to us. At the same time, we have managed to fend off Canada’s advances, so there is that.

  10. kathodus: This is growing more absurd. As you are aware of what happened to the places we did intervene, you can hardly argue some magical good result would have happened if US armed forces had been sent to these other places too.

  11. Clip Hitchcock:

    “the view of Ukrainian elections in the US non-reactionary press was that a Russian puppet stole the election, was ousted due to local action (example I recall: a news reader presenting as instructed while signing “This is all a lie”), was bizarrely allowed to run again, and ran off to his masters when he got ousted again. I’m sure this is a simplification, but do you think it’s radically wrong?”

    With regards to US press, I ‘m not sure there is a non-reactionary such when it comes to foreign policy. What is missing in your description is that western countries also were accused of cheating with massive monetary support and PR campaigns for “the orange revolution” and that the support of Yanukovych was very real, majority or not. The eastern part of the country with its Russian speaking population had very different views of the country than those of Tymoshenko and Yushchenko.

    What is also missing is the phone recordings of Tymoshenko where she – this before the civil war started – says it is time to grab guns and go and kill all the russians and their leaders, meaning the population of the eastern parts of the country. She says very clearly that the 8 million russians living in Ukraine should be killed by nuclear weapons.

    If it wasn’t a ethnic conflict before that, it sure as hell was after. And it also shows that the population of the eastern parts of the country had absolutely nothing good to expect from the government of Tymoshenko.

  12. Hampus:

    What is missing in your description is that western countries also were accused of cheating with massive monetary support and PR campaigns

    Ah, the good old “both sides”-argument … Sure, the 2004 election involved an assasination attempt on Yanukovich’ opponent, voter intimidation, and irregularities in the vote counting. But the other side had PR support from European countries, so that makes both sides just as bad.

    What is also missing is the phone recordings of Tymoshenko

    … which was leaked through Russian intelligence, and which according to Tymoshenko have been edited to make it sound like she said things she didn’t actually say.
    It’s also inaccurate to say it’s from before the civil war: Yes, the phone call it’s based on happened before the shooting started in Eastern Ukraine, but it happened after Russia had occupied the Crimean peninsula.

  13. And yes, of course Tymoshenko will claim she meant something else. What else could she say?

    Yes, this is a both sides argument. Because however people want to pretend that election meddling with vast sums of money from foreign governments is something totally acceptable – it is not.

    It is also a both sides argument in that there is an ethnical divide in Ukraine where there is a large russian population that is native to the area. If you ignore that part, you are missing a lot. Ukraine is an example where you got two superpowers fueling ethnical splits in how they chose their allies, managing to create a climate where friends turned to enemies.

    Exactly the same argument that western powers protect Ukraine can be made that Russia protects the Russian speakers. And it is made. They are using the same language that western countries used when Yugoslavia split up and they have the same reasons.

  14. It is my belief that this new cold war does not lend itself to heroes or protectors of democracy on any side. The ally will be chosen, dictator or not, by any side. And if the ally is not powerful enough? Destabilize or try to split so your opponent can’t have any gains either.

  15. PR campaigns are part of democracy. Foreign monetary support to political causes is questionable, and countries have a right to regulate it, but it is not an automatic threat to democracy.

    Assassinating political opponents, direct manipulation of vote tallying, and sending troops into a neighbouring country is not part of democracy.

    And I find it particularly ironic that this difference gets obfuscated in a discussion that IIRC started with a critique of US militarism.

  16. Exactly, PR campaigns created by foreign countries to put their own candidate as boss is absolutely not part of democracy. That is exactly the thing that has created chaos in latin-america. And what there is an enormous amount of investigations around in US right now.

    It is not only “questionable”, it is damn wrong and totally unacceptable. And sending troops into neighbouring countries is wrong? Yes, in the same way it was wrong to send troops into Kosovo to protect the population from the Serbs.

  17. @Mike Glyer

    kathodus: This is growing more absurd. As you are aware of what happened to the places we did intervene, you can hardly argue some magical good result would have happened if US armed forces had been sent to these other places too.

    My point was that we have abused our military power over the years. I see two good reasons for a military – self-defense, and defending others. Since WWII, we have almost entirely used our military might in acts of aggression to secure resources or influence other countries’ politics.

  18. Clip Hitchcock:

    I’d just like to say that “Clip Hitchcock” is a great name.

    A real ‘two-fisted adventurer of the seven seas’ name.

  19. Sorry for the delay all. Contrarius has largely been handling the load well. Just cleaning up on a couple of things.

    @Ken Richards

    And correspondents seem to agree that spending on public education in the US is insufficient to provide the services required.

    Horse hockey. When it comes to spending per student, the US is in the top five in every category within the OECD. There may be some issues with the distribution of that money. And we have societal problems with unprepared parents sending unprepared students to school. There are lots of issues to discuss but we spend more than enough money to get the job done.

    @Hampus

    And saying that US military has a positive influence in the world when their invertentions has set the whole middleeast ablaze, created enormous amount of refugees which the european counties are affected by.

    On behalf of America, I apologize to you for the 8 years of military and foreign policy incompetence that was the Obama administration. We did our best to avoid having any of their leftovers in our current government, but the options were pretty poor.

    @Andrew M

    Thanks for pointing out that book. Now THAT sounds like something from Ada Palmer that I’d be interested in reading.

    @Kurt Busiek

    Plus, of course, think of the millions of lives that can be saved or improved if you spend that money on other things. It’s not a single-question litmus test. Every dollar you spend on the military is a dollar you don’t spend somewhere else.

    I guess it depends on perspective. If you were one of the roughly 4 million civilians murdered by the communists in Southeast Asia after the US abandoned that region, then I suppose you might be more in favor of US remaining engaged in fighting communism in the region.

    If you live in Norway where the Russians have been making more noise recently, then you might be a bit happier to have the US Marines extend their training deployment.

    Or to use a more recent example, if you were either a Shia or Kurdish Iraqi that was being in turns gassed, shot, or raped by the Hussein government, I suppose the arrival of coalition forces might be seen as a positive. Or a woman that wanted an education in Afghanistan…or a pregnant rape victim being put to death for adultery pretty much throughout the Middle East (Israel excluded)….or someone that is gay/lesbian/etc. subject to the death penalty for existing (again, throughout the Middle East)….or….the list could go on, but I think the point is made.

    Regards,
    Dann

  20. @Dann

    I apologize to you for the 8 years of military and foreign policy incompetence that was the Obama administration

    Dann, come on. That statement is ridiculous. Overall, President Obama was pretty good with foreign policy (drone strikes exempted). At the very least, he was miles away better than Bush and Cheney’s lies and warmongering, and so far ahead of the current so-called President as to place him in another universe.

  21. @Dann–

    On behalf of America, I apologize to you for the 8 years of military and foreign policy incompetence that was the Obama administration. We did our best to avoid having any of their leftovers in our current government, but the options were pretty poor.

    Fuck that shit.

    You don’t get to apologize on behalf of me, which is indeed what you are claiming to do here.

    President Obama, whether or not you liked George W. Bush better, is lightyears better than the orange clown in the White House now. You know that. For that matter, so was GWB.

    Trump is an unhinged incompetent who thinks it’s a good idea to play dick-waving games with the equally unhinged idiot ruler of North Korea.

    Trump also lost the popular vote, i.e., yes, he is legally the president, but, no, he is not the choice of the American people. We don’t get to pretend he’s not our President, but we do get to stand up with some degree of self-respect and say that he is not our choice

    He’s an embarrassment, and he’s a disgrace, and President Barack Obama was a President to be proud of.

  22. @Dann

    On behalf of America, I apologize to you for the 8 years of military and foreign policy incompetence that was the Obama administration. We did our best to avoid having any of their leftovers in our current government, but the options were pretty poor.

    Only in the mental universe conservatives inhabit.
    Obama was a damned good president, even though I strongly disagree with some of his actions.
    Trump makes even GW Bush look competent. He’s rapidly approaching making Harding and Buchanan look honest and competent. He’s unqualfiied, mentally and emotionally, for the office that the electoral college put him in.

  23. Dann:

    Lets not forget that most if these people were murdered by a US ally: Pol Pot.

    Pol Pot got US support in the UN. US refused to recognize the new regime in Cambodia after Pol Pot was ousted. US sent aid to Pol Pot. For some reason, that is always forgotten.

    Also, do apologize for George Bush Jr too if you are going to apologize his genocidal war in Iraq is the main reason for the catastrophe in the region. And apologize for Trump that has continued Obamas wars, but with all limits on killing civilians removed.

    GWB Jr was much, much, much, much worse than Trump. Slaughtering innocents in a genocide based on lies is still worse than being a hurtful clown.

  24. ….the list could go on, but I think the point is made.

    Yes, it is. You’re willing to make garbage arguments that amount to ignoring all the people who died during our military adventures but count the (sometimes imaginary) people who were saved. It’d be like assuming that, “Well, if your perspective is that of a resident of My Lai, maybe you have a different view,” would be a stunning counter-argument, when both are simply posturing.

    It’s another version of ignoring the question of “how much is enough” by pretending that the only options are nothing or everything. Plus, it pretends that there are never other options, nothing to spend money on that isn’t military.

    Your point is dumb.

  25. @Kurt —

    It’s another version of ignoring the question of “how much is enough” by pretending that the only options are nothing or everything.

    OTOH, I think you could turn that question around on yourself. How little is too little?

    Remember, the US military is already much smaller now than it has been in decades past. For instance, there are less than half as many service members now as there were in 1970, and there’s more than half a million fewer than there were in 1990.

    I don’t think anyone can deny that the US military has at times been misused. But I don’t think the possibility of misuse should be trotted out as an excuse for defunding it. Many things can be misused — cars, golf clubs, whatever — but we don’t throw them out because of that possibility.

  26. But I don’t think the possibility of misuse should be trotted out as an excuse for defunding it.

    I don’t think anyone here has suggested defunding the US military. Though some might, of course. But “how much is enough” is a question that suggests both the questions “what’s too much” and “what’s too little.” Call it the Goldilocks principle.

    This obsession with the idea that if you don’t want to constantly increase military spending and don’t compare the size of the army during the Vietnam War to the size it is now (and the concomitant more-efficient tech) with the implicit idea that it’s somehow wrong to be smaller, you’re trying to “throw them out” is screwy.

    As noted before, I don’t think this is a sensible argument.

  27. @Kurt —

    As noted before, I don’t think this is a sensible argument.

    That’s the convenient thing about straw men — they usually aren’t sensible.

    Just for giggles, how about actually trying to address the question I asked, instead of those pesky straw men?

    How little is too little? How small is too small? And how will you know when the US military gets there?

    Oh, and btw — you mentioned:

    This obsession with the idea that if you don’t want to constantly increase military spending

    I already gave some details about falling US military size in terms of service members. And US military *spending* has been falling since 2010 (in inflation-adjusted dollars).

  28. @Kurt —

    I found a couple of additional interesting numbers:

    Calculated as % of the total federal budget, US military spending between 1792-1860 averaged 48.1%. Between 1945-2010, it averaged 34.4%. It’s currently around 20% of the total federal budget, and that percentage has been falling fairly consistently since the 50s.

    So I’ll ask again — how low is too low? How low is low enough? What would satisfy you?

    As I mentioned a couple of times earlier, I don’t think the real problem with the US military is its size. I think the real problem is the leaders who insist on misusing it.

  29. What would satisfy me is sensible people forming sensible policy, not me pulling a number out of my ass.

    Rephrasing bad arguments that I didn’t think were worth engaging with before doesn’t make them any better.

  30. @Kurt —

    What would satisfy me is sensible people forming sensible policy, not me pulling a number out of my ass.

    Okay, I think we can all agree that it’s a good idea to not make claims out of ignorance (IOW, to refrain from “pulling a number out of (your) ass).

    So — since you admit that you don’t have a lowest desirable number for the US military, in terms of either membership or monetary investment, why are you comfortable making a claim that the US military is currently too large/too heavily funded?

    Rephrasing bad arguments that I didn’t think were worth engaging with before doesn’t make them any better.

    In my last two posts, this is the only “argument” I mentioned at all: “As I mentioned a couple of times earlier, I don’t think the real problem with the US military is its size. I think the real problem is the leaders who insist on misusing it.”

    What do you believe is wrong with that statement?

  31. See previous responses.

    Think about them, rather than assuming what’s in them, both in terms of positions taken and responses made.

  32. @Kurt —

    See previous responses.

    Your previous responses were full of straw men.

    Seriously — what is wrong with this statement?

    “As I mentioned a couple of times earlier, I don’t think the real problem with the US military is its size. I think the real problem is the leaders who insist on misusing it.”

  33. @Kurt Busiek

    .the list could go on, but I think the point is made.

    Yes, it is. You’re willing to make garbage arguments that amount to ignoring all the people who died during our military adventures but count the (sometimes imaginary) people who were saved.

    What I’m suggesting is that there sufficient non-imaginary people who have been given a shot a far better life as the result of our military. In some cases, our military doesn’t even need to leave home to provide that sort of result. (The old adage from TR about speaking softly is true.)

    I’m also suggesting that there are a sufficient number of non-imaginary people that have lost their lives precisely as a result of our withdrawing from the world stage.

    Is there money to be saved from the DoD budget? Without question there is.

    Have there been campaigns, specific battles, or specific tactics that we should not have pursued? Without question there are.

    However, the net benefit of American military and diplomatic influence in the world (you don’t get one without the other) has been positive, IMHO.

    As Contrarius suggests, obtaining the benefits of a large military that you would acknowledge as benefits come from having and maintaining a large military over a long span of time. You don’t pop a couple of aircraft carrier groups into existence to perform rescue and humanitarian missions in Indonesia following a tsunami (to name one example). They have to exist before the crisis and they have to be in the region. That means a long-term financial commitment and a long-term military/diplomatic engagement in the region.

    @Lis and Bonnie

    I disagree. The Obama administration’s approach to the Middle East, in particular, moved that entire region backward by decades. I suspect getting into the weeds here wouldn’t be productive for anyone.

    Regards,
    Dann

  34. The Obama administration’s approach to the Middle East, in particular, moved that entire region backward by decades.

    We already knew you’re completely clueless. You didn’t have to confirm it so very clearly.

  35. “However, the net benefit of American military and diplomatic influence in the world (you don’t get one without the other) has been positive, IMHO.”

    If you think that, ask the rest of the world instead. US military is hated more or less everywhere. There is a reason why Americans abroad often pretend they are Canadians.

    And your total and utter clueless stupidity on trying to put sole blame on Obama for something that the whole establishment have been behind is disgusting. Every time an american politician promises to slaughter arabs, their favourability rating goes up and CNN and FOX starts to purr in satisfaction.

    George W Bush was the one who started the current path of destruction, war crimes, slaughter and genocide in the Middle East. Obama/Hillary continued with their disaster in Libya. Trump has continued with increasing the amount of civilians killed and support for mass murder in Yemen.

    Your whole country is totally corrupt and can’t even see anything wrong with the murder and mayhem you spread everywhere. Just as you do not even care about the civilians massacred because of your gun policies.

    If you have influence because of your military, it is because every one fears an unrestrained serial murderer.

  36. @Hampus Eckerman —

    Your whole country is totally corrupt and can’t even see anything wrong with the murder and mayhem you spread everywhere. Just as you do not even care about the civilians massacred because of your gun policies.

    Wow — fond of that broad brush, aren’t you??

  37. @Hampus —

    No. Just having friends from countries US has destroyed.

    And all Dutchmen wear clogs, and all Germans are Nazis — right?

  38. No, not all Germans were nazis. But the nazi military were doing more bad than good and it would have been better with no nazi military going into other countries.

    Don’t you agree?

  39. @Hampus —

    No, not all Germans were nazis.

    Oh, I see. So — not all Germans were Nazis, but the entire US is corrupt, and no Americans care about murdered civilians?

    How convenient for you.

    But the nazi military were doing more bad than good and it would have been better with no nazi military going into other countries.

    Don’t you agree?

    Sure. And in case you didn’t notice, without the US the Nazis would probably have remained in power.

  40. I suspect that had less to do with the actual US military than the Lend-Lease aid that the US provided the Allies to keep the Nazis at bay – the kind of aid which the current administration is sulking about.

    Granted, if the US hadn’t gone into the war in 1942, mainland Europe would probably have been dominated by the USSR, but still not ”the Nazis in power” outcome.

  41. Contrarius:

    My comment was against the US establishment, not against every single individual in the US.

    And as your only argument seems to be that the US military was at least better than the nazis, some 70 years ago, I’ll leave you with that. That is of course also an argument to be supportive of the Russian military.

  42. @Hampus —

    I’m typing from my kindle today, and it doesn’t want to let me copy/paste. but how about being more careful with your blanket slams next time? words like “whole country” and “totally corrupt” and “you don’t even care” really do have meaning, and they are both incredibly offensive and completely unsupported by available evidence.

  43. Yes, yes. When US bombs countries to pieces, create enormous amount of refugees, slaughtering civilians, support dictators and war crimes, get the backup from media and all politicians, it is offensive to say it loud.

  44. You’re not really that dense, are you? Whar’s offensive, of course, is not that you object to misuse of the US military, but that you make blanket accusations against the entire US populace because of it.

  45. Contrarius:

    If you find something that I do not do offensive, then I will just have to accept that.

  46. @Hampus —

    Again, you’re not really that dense, are you? “Whole country”, “totally corrupt”, and “you don’t even care” are very clear. Stop trying to pretend that you didn’t write them.

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