D&D: Tough Fans, Crazy Execs

I’m impressed that the D&D fan base got their win!

Why hate your fan base?

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A Non-Violent Corporate Disaster

“Canada is almost exactly like America. What could go wrong?”

Or, translated into Travelleze:

“That world is solidly Vilani. They all have the same culture, same language, so no problem right?”

“Every world here shares Solomani blood. Certainly, our team can get them all to unite behind my Pure Solomani family!”

“Stop worrying! ____ is only two parsecs from the famed world of _____. A distinction without a difference!”

Travelling is all about Unexpected Surprises.

Fortunately this is a non-violent corporate disaster, as Solomani culture keeps up some weird distinctions between corporate and government power. So you’re just losing money, not lives.

(Or maybe making good money, if you can make the right backroom deals with merchandise or property.)

Adam Harvey
Working in the tech sector, it’s honestly heartbreaking to hear so many stories about the failures of enterprise software.
Go to any hospital – doesn’t matter where – and you’ll find their satisfaction with their software systems to be rock bottom.
Honestly, if your company is over 500-1000 employees, just build an in-house software architecture team, who will at least be available and accountable. It’s worth it, I promise. (Doesn’t work for hospitals because of HIPAA, but almost everyone else has a chance!)

Words of wisdom, perhaps. But also…

Toby M.
I use SAP every day extensivly, working at a major tools company, and I must say, the power this tool provides is incomprehendsable. It can do anything you could ever imagine, it has information about every single step, every single tiny iteration of any product, protoype, concept, supply chain, etc. It’s truly amazing
LeechRec
Yes, if implemented correctly.
JadCom
@LeechRec  exactly! So I have been closely involved in the complete opposite of the Target Canada ERP disaster, a global business but with far smaller scale of logistics activities, and its not an accident or chance they got it right, and its not about the ERP software (SAP) being garbage, as Poly Matter says it was a unachievable time scale to attempt the task in, although it would have been possible to do, the time-frame constraints possibly meant that a successful ERP implementation may have needed 2x,3x,5x or even 10x the upfront ERP system implementation budget.
As it was our companies hired a Big 4 audit company as implementation consultants and spent 6 years planning testing stabilizing – and that was longer than planned!

Power tools will eat your hand, if you don’t know what you are doing.

And it takes TIME to know what you are doing.

If you’re a big company expanding into a neighbouring country, it pays to start small. Set up a few stores, spend the five years needed to work out the inventory and product issues, THEN expand.

Or just go in-house. That can work too.

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Polish and German Police Silenced CZ-27 Pistols

Ghost
You know you live in a pretty chill nation when there’s a Ministry of Public Security that needs suppressed pistols.

Yes. One of those worlds.

I much prefer low law level worlds, even though they come with their own set of problems.

But the suppressors bring up a point:

  • There are those high law level worlds with a ton of regulations and paperwork and bother,
  • And those high law level worlds that don’t bother with the courts much. Just suspicious minds, relentless surveillance, low profile death squads, and mysterious disappearances that nobody ever talks about.

And, as the Warsaw Pact era Czechs could tell you, these different flavours are not mutually exclusive.

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Marx and Machiavelli

Xi Jinping thought he could inculcate moral values in his atheist officials by forcing them to study his important speeches… Now the party is having to install a parallel system of inspectors to monitor and punish officials who violate the rules. But what motivates the inspectors? The CCDI’s complained that people already tasked with oversight often just go through the motions and turn a blind eye to violations… Perhaps yet another layer of inspectors will be needed to inspect the inspectors. Officials probably should shift some of their study sessions from Marx to Machiavelli.

Dim Sums
Granary funds feed big “rats” and “worms”

I don’t care for Machiavelli and his rule of Powerful Men above all things… and especially above God’s Law-Word.

That being said, China would leap ahead light years if they dumped Marx in favour of Machiavelli.

Self-serving, self-interested hereditary Ruling Elites (…like in the Third Imperium…) are to be favoured far above a Ruling Party who is quite willing to crush and kill any amount of Commoner Trash, not just for the sake of personal power, but also to build some abstract ideological utopian dreamworld.

In contrast to the Collectivists, the Aristocracy actually values the lives of their subjects:

“How else are you going to generate wealth? What else are you going to tax? Is there another way to man your military, or strengthen your tech base, or build up your markets – and, indirectly but materially, the wealth, power, and honour of your House?”

No Marx, Just Machiavelli

A) Machiavellian Managers

Just out of curiosity, I skimmed Gary North’s site with the keyword “Machiavelli”.

Some interesting results from Keeping Amused in the Lockdowns:

—<Quote begins>—

The lockdowns have reminded us that the combination of executive power and bureaucratic enforcement is not good for society.

But is it a conspiracy? No. It is government anti-business as usual. It is a disaster for all concerned, especially the public schools.

In the 1980’s, the Brits ran the greatest sitcom of all time: “Yes, Minister.” It dealt with the combination of politics and bureaucracy.

The scriptwriters were masters of humor. They were also masters of bureaucratic operations.

Antony Jay was a scholar. He wrote books on management theory, including the best-selling Management and Machiavelli. He also wrote Householders’ Guide to Community Defence Against Bureaucratic Aggression.

He was knighted by the Queen. He was a conservative.

Jonathan Lynn was an actor and a director. He directed My Cousin Vinnie. He was closer to Labour.

I bought the “Yes, Minister” series on DVD. It is cheap. It is hilarious. It is making the lockdown more tolerable.

https://www.garynorth.com/snip/1442.htm

“Yes, Prime Minister” is available on DVD. A used set is cheap.

https://www.garynorth.com/snip/1444.htm

Buy the U.S./Canada version.

You can rent it on Amazon Prime — just right for a Prime Minister.

https://www.garynorth.com/snip/1443.htm

This will help you make the best of it. Keep a stiff upper lip, the Brits say.

But it’s hard for me to keep a stiff upper lip when I am roaring with laughter.

—<Quote ends>—

My pick-ups from the article:

Management and Machiavelli looks like a worthy read to me. Especially if I was a business manager.

Sadly, you’ll have to fight hard, in Britain, to get a copy of  Householders’ Guide to Community Defence Against Bureaucratic Aggression. (But I spotted a copy for $140… on eBay, in Australia.)


B) Machiavelli Against the Left

Quote from Political Correctness and Voter Resistance by Gary North.

Written in 2017, a.k.a. “Before the elitist COVID-19 puffed-up tantrum against Trump and Brexit.”

—<Quote begins>—

In October, I published an article about Angelo Codevilla’s article, “After the Republic.”

www.garynorth.com/public/15733.cfm

He has done it again.

[…]

Codevilla accurately goes back to the writings of Machiavelli in search of the modern concept of political correctness. Machiavelli recognized that the revolutionary state had to control, suppress, and ultimately replace the existing attitudes of the public toward morality and culture. But it is not easy to do this. If the state pushes too hard, there will be push back.

This is what modern PC advocates, who are leftists and progressives, refuse to acknowledge. They believe that they can push and push and push against the standards of Western civilization, and the peons of the general public are going to have to go along with it. But they aren’t, and they won’t, and we are now seeing significant political resistance. The progressives are not prepared for this. They have nothing but contempt for the standards of the broad mass of the American people: “bourgeois morality.” They expect to be able to control the public because they control the media. But as the Trump election indicates, the Left is incorrect. This is why this article is so important.

Let me tantalize you with the conclusions.

Consider our ruling class’s very latest demand: Americans must agree that someone with a penis can be a woman, while someone else with a vagina can be a man. Complying with such arbitrariness is beyond human capacity. In Orwell’s 1984, as noted, Big Brother’s agent demanded that Winston acknowledge seeing five fingers while he was holding up four. But that is small stuff next to what the U.S. ruling class is demanding of a free people. Because courts and agencies just impose their diktats, without bothering to try to persuade, millions of precisely the kind of citizens who prize stability have become willing to take a wrecking ball to what little remains of the American republic, not caring so much what happens next.

It is surprising that, in 2015-16, our ruling class was surprised by Donald Trump. Though he remained obedient to most of P.C.’s specific demands and remained largely a liberal Democrat, it sufficed for him to disdain P.C. in general, and to insult its purveyors, for Trump to become liberalism’s Public Enemy Number One. William Galston’s column in the Wall Street Journal barely begins to get a sense of how his class’s Leninist seizure of America’s culture has miscarried.

[Trump’s] campaign has ruthlessly exposed the illusions of well-educated middle-class professionals–people like me. We believed that changes in law and public norms had gradually brought about changes in private attitudes across partisan and ideological lines….

Mr. Trump has proved us wrong. His critique of political correctness has destroyed many taboos and has given his followers license to say what they really think. Beliefs we mocked now command a majority in one of the world’s oldest political parties, and sometimes in the electorate as a whole.

The point is not Trump, but the fact that though the ruling class pushed Western civilization aside, it did not replace it with any cultural hegemony in the Gramscian-Machiavellian sense. Rather, by pushing P.C. defined as inflicting indignities, the progressives destroyed the legitimacy of any and all authority, foremost their own.

My 2010 article for the American Spectator, “The Ruling Class and the Perils of Revolution,” argued that “some two-thirds of Americans–a few Democratic voters, most Republican voters, and all independents–lack a vehicle in electoral politics.” Resentment of the patent disregard for the Constitution and statutes with which the ruling class has permeated American life, along with its cultural war enforced by P.C., meant that “Sooner or later, well or badly, that majority’s demand for representation will be filled.” I noted: “Unfortunately, it is easier for anyone who dislikes a court’s or an official’s unlawful act to counter it with another unlawful one than to draw all parties back to the foundation of truth.”

That is because a majority of Americans–realizing that the Constitution and the laws have ceased to protect them from unending injuries to their way of life; aggravated by being insulted as “irredemable” and “deplorable” racists, sexists, etc.; eager for relief and, yes, for payback with interest; knowing that the ruling class is closed to argument from those it considers its inferiors–have no option but to turn the tables in the hope that, suffering the same kind of insulting oppression, the ruling class might learn the value of treating others as they themselves like to be treated. More likely, doing this would be one more turn in the spiral of reprisals typical of revolutions. And yet, there seems no way of avoiding this.

What is to be done with a political system in which no one any longer believes? This is a revolutionary question because America’s ruling class largely destroyed, along with its own credibility, the respect for truth, and the culture of restraint that had made the American people unique stewards of freedom and prosperity. Willful masses alienated from civilization turn all too naturally to revolutions’ natural leaders. Donald Trump only foreshadows the implacable men who, Abraham Lincoln warned, belong to the “family of the lion and the tribe of the eagle.”

In short, the P.C. “changes in law and public norms” (to quote Galston again) that the ruling class imposed on the rest of America, rather than having “gradually brought about changes in private attitudes across partisan and ideological lines” as the ruling class imagined (and as Gramsci would have approved) have set off a revolution–of which we can be sure only that it won’t be pretty.

The decentralized social media have created a decentralized wall of resistance to the Left: walls of resistance. The Left does not know what to do about this.

You can humiliate the typical American into silence. This works for a long time. But push him beyond where he wants to go, and you get this: “You and who else?” The Left is now there. The Left is apoplectic about Trump. But it is really apoplectic about Trump’s deplorables. Yet the Left by its very nature cannot stop whining, cannot stop demanding silence. It has no self-restraint.

The fat lady has not yet sung, but she has started to hum.

—<Quote ends>—

The far lady won’t sing, until the welfare state goes bust.

Already, the European-style government health care programs are looking quite ill.

When the Free Stuff stops going to the ghettos and the projects, the fat lady will have started up.

When the pension checks – and other Free Stuff – to the middle class ends, the lady will be singing, good and loud.

When the corporate welfare gravy train derails, the fat lady would have earned her paycheck, the last round of applause would be fading away… and the reasons for the government to exist would have shrunk dramatically.

Perhaps to nothing at all.

After all, following Machiavelli, the government had zero interest in justice: it was just a wealth, power, and status redistribution plan, from those who generate such goods to those who consume it.

(“Wealth consumers” includes more than a few corporations. You might want to talk to Pfizer about that.)


C) Machiavelli and the Divine Right of States

Now, let’s head back to Machiavelli and his core idea: the rule of Powerful Men about the rule of God and His Law-Word.

From North’s article Robert Nisbet: Conservative Sociologist

—<Quote begins>—

The central political issue for medieval society was not contract. It was covenant. People made covenants with each other before God. The marriage covenant, the church covenant (baptism), the legal covenant (liege loyalty) were permanently binding and officially immune from lawful annulment or revision by another covenantal hierarchy, except by highly specific customs. These covenants could not be broken unilaterally at the will of the covenanting parties, for God was seen as a partner in the covenant.

For earthly sovereignty to apply, someone had to represent God as the voice of God. No one person or institution represented God in medieval political or social theory. In this highly specific sense, medieval culture was pluralistic: plural God-delegated sovereignties. There was an irreducible messiness about legal authority in the Middle Ages, a messiness rejected by modern political philosophy and social theory. Medieval messiness was the basis of local pockets of liberty. There was no earthly agent who possessed final sovereignty in theory, and therefore did not possess power limited only by technical or functional restrictions. There was also no possibility of empire. The medieval Holy Roman Empire, as the canard goes, was neither holy, Roman, nor an empire.

What made the system both tolerable and internally consistent was the medieval concept of God’s temporal sovereignty. Appeal beyond history to eternity could always be made to God: prayer, and in some cases, lawful resistance in the name of God. God, as the final judge, is the final sanctions-bringer: heaven and hell. But medieval theologians did not restrict God’s role as sanctions-bringer to the final judgment. God’s judgment is temporal as well as eschatological. So, there is no divine right in history, no final court of earthly appeal. God intervenes in history to overcome evil.

Modern political philosophy since the days of Machiavelli has steadily abandoned the idea of God, especially God as a temporal sanctions-bringer. It has therefore sought to lodge final temporal sovereignty in a sanctions-bringing institution. Because the state has the power to kill people, it has been seen as the final sovereignty: the divine right of the state, beyond which there is no legitimate appeal.

Nisbet opposed such an operational view of the divine right of the state. So have classical economists and other Whigs. But he, as they, was unwilling to invoke the medieval West’s justification of the judicial sovereignty of intermediate institutions, church and family. That justification was theological in its original, pre-modern formulation.

Nisbet adopted a functional pluralism. He believed that intermediate institutions are indispensable for the maintenance of civil liberty: church, state, family, kinship groups. Without these, the state becomes tyrannical. The unitary state must not be trusted. This is why he detested Rousseau’s vision.

Nisbet was a self-conscious heir of Edmund Burke. He was skeptical of pieces of paper called constitutions whenever those pieces of paper are not matched by strong, local, voluntary institutions that are outside the jurisdiction of politics. Yet, also like Burke, his concern throughout his career was the maintenance of civil liberty. This is why I regard him as a liberal in the Whig sense. He trusted the free market’s ideal of voluntary association and contract more than he trusted the state.

CONCLUSION

Nisbet’s writings constitute a large body of material that challenges many of the reigning assumptions of our age. The Present Age presents his case against modernism by presenting the case against the warfare state. He had no use for the welfare state, either, but he believed that modern man’s commitment to the messianic state begins with his commitment to war, not socialism.

If he was correct — and I believe he was — then making the case against the modern messianic state is a far greater task than merely marshalling graphs and data — let alone equations — to show that the free market is more efficient than the centrally planned economy. Hayek pointed out half a century ago that businessmen who were brought into the planning systems of World War II never lost their taste for the planned economy. The taste for power is fed more by war than by any other human event, and power is consented to in the name of war more readily by the masses than for any other reason. Nisbet recognized this more clearly than any other scholar in the conservative movement.

—<Quote ends>—

An interesting set of statements:

“[Nisbet] had no use for the welfare state, either, but he believed that modern man’s commitment to the messianic state begins with his commitment to war, not socialism.”

“Hayek pointed out half a century ago that businessmen who were brought into the planning systems of World War II never lost their taste for the planned economy. The taste for power is fed more by war than by any other human event, and power is consented to in the name of war more readily by the masses than for any other reason. “

A good insight.

However: war needs young men as the fresh meat, the blood sacrifice to keep the state young and virile.

I would suggest that the sexual revolutions — plural — are tied to war. Ask the Russia rape-murderers for one reason as to why: but there are many other reasons as well. Not unrelated is the fact that public & private reverence to God always declines after a war: all wars are secularizing events.1

A reasonable enough outcome, as they all insist on blood sacrifices to the One True God, the State.

A problem: the needed supply of vast numbers of disposable young men are on the sharp downturn. As is family formation, the deeply-hated (by the Establishment) foundation of nations and civilization.

No young men, coupled with nuclear arms, plus a declining economy, plus cultural decentralization, plus elite and political delegitimization, points to far fewer large scale wars in the future. I wouldn’t be surprised to see various insurgencies and rebellions pick up some of the slack, though… but non-violent rebellions are usually more successful than violent ones.

(Non-violent marches and non-compliance campaigns also preserve the Commoner’s limited supply of men and wealth. A good idea, overall.)

Russia and China are the last major sources of disposable young men for a large government. Russia is burning off her future right now. I don’t think that China will follow suit.

A comment from the China Update video, above:

Dave Allentown
On paper the CCP (through mandates to provinces) reserves grain in quantities sufficient to feed the entire population for well over a year. Yet corruption is an intractable problem. I do wonder if these reserves are for the most part fictional, so much so that famine is a genuine risk.
Zei33
Obviously the Chinese are concerned as well. Somebody in the Chinese government realised last decade that there are a lot of factors involved if they get into a global conflict. Food and energy security are definitely at the top of the list. What I find really interesting is the backtracking on trade with Australia. Quitting Australian trade cold turkey was probably a strategic choice because it was clear that Australia would not supply them during a conflict. If they could learn to survive without Australia, they’d be more self-sufficient in a war.
This pivot towards a reconciliatory stance is quite interesting. They must’ve come to the conclusion that China is just far too populous for Australian energy supply to be ignored. In the same vein, an increased focus on food security seems to indicate that they have some huge internal issues coming down the pipeline. My guess, and it’s a complete guess, is that they’ve come to the conclusion that a global conflict with the Western world would be practically impossible to wage with such a large population. A major disruption in food and energy supply could lead to one of the worst human mass dying the world has ever seen.
The last month or so has had me quite optimistic that we’ve averted a world war 3 style catastrophe. I’m hoping the CCP has seen the light and realised that they can have success and prosperity playing by our rules in a more friendly competition.

The Chinese government has many faults. However, their Foreign Ministry is usually quite skilled. Or at least it was skilled, before the rise of the Wolf Warriors.

It is possible that an Old Guard senior bureaucrat crunched the numbers, factored in the West’s sanctions against Russia — and the superiority of Western arms — and persuaded The Leader against making a grab for Taiwan.

The Party doesn’t really care about the number of Chinese that die in war or famine, so long as its grip on power is nice and tight. The problem is that the authority of the Party is a good deal weaker than it was pre-COVID lockdowns, and a major famine is more likely to turn the masses against the Party, than to fuse the Ruling Party and the Disposable Commoners against the Evil Outsider.

This is especially true if the famine is tied to a major failure in Chinese arms: and invading Taiwan in the face of American, Japanese, and Taiwanese opposition is going to be a high-risk venture.

Massive Party delegitimization would follow the combination of military defeat and famine, promptly resulting in a huge surge of Party officials relocating themselves and their families to Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, etc., just ahead of the hungry, furious mobs.

Note that Russia — unlike China — faces no risk of famine in their war of choice. Enduring poverty and steady economic decline, yes… but this is not a huge change for most Russians, used as they are to enduring poverty and steady economic decline.


1 With the possible exception of defensive wars, on your own land to protect your own people. Maybe.

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Clean America

One grows bored of the standard anti-American tirade.

So, it’s good to hear something different, something good about the U.S.

(And he married in… and got his US citizenship, too!)

Lesson?

Travellers need to see what is in front of their eyes.

Even at home.

But… it’s hard to do that, if you don’t have a point – preferably, several points – in comparison.

So…. go travel. Take a look see. Ask questions, listen carefully. Engage.

Make dumb mistakes.

(But not hurtful or malicious ones!)

And be good to people.

If that’s a religious duty for you, great!

If not, then be good to others as a (pretty smart!) matter of enlightened self-interest.

It’ll help you out in life.

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Just a Walk in Iran

It isn’t so bad in Arak, Iran. Not all that rich, but not all that poor.

Not that I plan to live there myself.

But they do welcome visitors who play by the local rules & mores.

e m w
great video!! Thank you for showing it. what city is this? I am interested in traveling to Tehran. how would people there react to a foreigner taking pictures on the street? something like street photography. Thanks again. subscribed.

Iran:Uncensored
This is the city of Arak, the most industrialized city in Iran. It is about 250 kilometers from Tehran to here. I am a street photographer myself and if you watch my various videos, you will notice that I also take pictures of people and chat with them. People are very comfortable in front of your camera and welcome! The most important thing that can be significant for you in the city of Arak is the historical market of Arak, which has many videos on the channel. If you travel to Arak, be sure to tell me so that I can welcome you

Derby Norington
Tbh after what went on I thought iran would look like North korea

Benny Vegas
Not at all.

Iran:Uncensored
I suggest you travel to Iran once to face your reality! The image that the media creates of Iran is completely negative propaganda! There are limitations like internet filtering, but other than that there is nothing negative

All of this is probably quite true in Arak. I would not be surprised that this is the honest lived reality of “Iran:Uncensored.”

On the other hand… you get things like Iran dancing couple given 10-year jail sentence, ‘They used our hijabs to gag us’: Iran protesters tell of rapes, beatings and torture by police, and Videos show evidence of escalating crackdown on Iranian protests.

Crackdowns and executions do work on the public, most of the time.

The Imperium elites in Canon Traveller do have the flavour of the Western elites… but the Western Cold War elites of the 1950s, who didn’t worry much about what “our bastards” were doing in their own countries. (Planets, in Traveller’s case.)

Check out the thuggishness of SAVAK sometime, the Imperial predecessor of today’s theocratic thuggishness.

The lesson for today? Get multiple information streams on the topics of your interest. An old lesson, but still a good one.

I have a grim suspicion: when the current theocracy is kicked out, the successor will be not much better. “New masters for old, but the bullwhips fits comfortably in both pairs of hands.”

It would be good if I am proven wrong here. Unfortunately, a video on a peaceful Iranian city is insufficient proof, even with the reasonable assumption (in 2023!) that it is 100% genuine.

The Sci-Fi Postscript

“…and who will our next oppressors be?”

The Harkonnen were serious and cruel oppressors… but not nearly as destructive as the Fremen Jihad will be.

Surprisingly, Chani – pictured in the video – didn’t have to worry. It was the rest of the known universe who would get the boot to the throat. A boot worn by her people.

Surprise, surprise.

I bet, way back in 1977, many Iranians thought that the exiled Ayatollahs would bring freedom in their wings, too.

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Spying Chrysanthemums

The video is perfectly decent, about a truly forgotten weapon: Japanese Arisakas in Finnish hands, during their early independence era. But what I find most applicable to Travellers is actually one of the comments:

k n
Also, Akashi Motojiro, one of Japan’s greatest spies took part in arming secessionists in Finland and Poland, Russian anarchists, and Muslims in Turkestan just to cause chaos within Russia during the Russo-Japanese war. Alot of these weapons were Arisaka rifles.

Baron Akashi Motojiro was quite a character, and would make a great Imperial officer or field director.

(Or even Solomani… but he’s cool enough to put in the lively, colourful, honour-bound personalities of the Imperial camp, rather than the dreary, mechanical, doctrinaire Party-first people.)

—<Wikipedia quote begins>—

At the end of 1900, Akashi was sent as a roaming military attaché in Europe, visiting GermanySwitzerlandSweden, staying in France in 1901; and moving to Saint PetersburgRussia in 1902. As a member of the Japanese Secret Intelligence Services, Akashi was involved in setting up an intricate espionage network in major European cities, using specially trained operatives under various covers, members of locally based Japanese merchants and workers, and local people either sympathetic to Japan, or willing to be cooperative for a price.

In the period of growing tensions before the outbreak of the Russo-Japanese War, Akashi had a discretionary budget of 1 million yen (an incredible sum of money in contemporary terms) to gather information on Russian troop movements, naval developments, and to support Russian extremists, in particular Litvinoff, Orlovsky, and Lenin.[1] While based at Saint Petersburg, he reportedly recruited the famous spy Sidney Reilly and sent him to Port Arthur, to gather information on the Russian stronghold’s defenses.[2] After the start of the war, he used his contacts and network to seek out and to provide monetary and weaponry support to extremist forces attempting to overthrow the Romanov dynasty (see Grafton Affair).

Akashi was also known for his talents as a poet and as a painter, interests that he shared with fellow spy and close friend General Fukushima Yasumasa. It was also a shared interest in poetry and painting that would have enabled him to cultivate Sidney Reilly into working for the Japanese.[3]

Narrowly escaping capture and assassination by the Ochrana several times even before the start of the war, Akashi relocated to Helsinki in late 1904. He traveled extensively to StockholmWarsawGenevaLisbonParisRomeCopenhagenZurich, and even Irkutsk. Akashi helped funnel funds and arms to selected groups of Russian anarchists, secessionists in Finland and Poland, and disaffected Moslem groups in the Crimea and Russian Turkestan.[citation needed] Akashi met with Konni Zilliacus in Stockholm as well as Lenin, then in exile in Switzerland. It is widely believed in Japan that Akashi was behind the assassination of Russian Interior Minister Vyacheslav von Plehve (whom many in Japan held responsible for the war); as well as supporting Father George Gapon, who had organized the Bloody Sunday Uprising[4] and the Potemkin Mutiny. General Yamagata Aritomo reported to Emperor Meiji that Colonel Akashi was worth “more than 10 divisions of troops in Manchuria” toward Japan winning the war.[citation needed] Akashi was promoted to colonel at age 40.

[…]

Akashi fell ill and died a little over a year after taking office while visiting his home in Fukuoka becoming the only Governor-General of Taiwan to die in office. In his will, Akashi expressed his desire to be buried in Taiwan to “serve as a national guardian, and a guardian spirit for the people of Taiwan”. Akashi was buried at a cemetery in Taihoku (modern day Taipei City), becoming the only Japanese Governor-General to be buried in Taiwan. The Taiwanese donated money equivalent to roughly three million modern-day U.S. dollars for construction of a memorial, and support fund for his family, because Akashi himself was too clean to leave anything behind. His remains were exhumed in 1999 and re-interred at the Fuyin Mountain Christian Cemetery in Sanzhi TownshipTaipei County (now New Taipei City).[6] Akashi’s death has spawned a massive number of conspiracy theories.

The flamboyant exploits (both real and imagined) of “Colonel Akashi” have been the subject of countless novels, manga, movies and documentary programs in Japan, where he has been dubbed the “Japanese James Bond“.

—<Quote ends>—

I don’t know what happened to change Japan in the interwar years – probably all that racial dehumanization ideology from their ally in Berlin.

But the desire to “serve as a national guardian, and a guardian spirit for the people of Taiwan”?

I’m a solid Christian believer, but I know a decent (in both senses of the word) Shinto colonial governor (and skilled spy!) when I see one.

When the locals praise the foreign ruler, when the commoners back the king, that’s when I pay attention.

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Issue #27 is Updated!

Yes, after five years, I finally spent the five hours needed to zap all the spelling and grammatical errors I could find. Go to the Downloads page: it’s under “Current Issue”.

As for new issues of Stellar Reaches? Perhaps as an Unfree general science fiction art/idea magazine. But, not as a Free Traveller fanzine. But I’ll most likely continue to post my Traveller thoughts on this site.

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Battle Plan, Meet Reality: Part II

Now, I’m waiting for the ten-volume definitive edition of The Ukrainian War, 2022-202?

Due to be published around 2030. I expect sales to be astronomical… even for the paper editions.

A well-written and researched work would be useful for military professionals for at least have a century, maybe much longer. For storywriters like me, it’ll be a reference manual to the end of my days.

Quora: Are Russians now making threats against the Republic of Moldova in order to invade and make a win to sugarcoat the lack of military success in Ukraine?

—<Quote begins>—

R. W. Carmichael Former Intelligence Analyst at U.S. Air Force (1962–1970)

Nope. It is just an expression of Russian sour grapes.

Back last February, Russia fully intended to capture the remainder of Moldova. There was to be a huge amphibious landing, the largest since WWII that would capture Odesa. Then the Russians would split into two forces. One would join up with troops near Kherson and the other would pivot west and conquer the rest of Moldova. But then things got fun.

Lukashenko compromised the landing on Belarussian TV so the element of surprise was lose. The Ukrainians sunk two large Russian landing ships, badly damaged two others, and sunk many smaller landing craft. That made such a landing marginal. Then the Moskva was sunk. It was to provide air cover and overall command-and-control of the landing. No other Russian ship had these capabilities. Then Russia had the idiotic idea of turning Snake Island into a non-maneuverable version of the Moskva. They brought in 1,500 troops, mostly irreplaceable technicians, and over a billion dollars worth of equipment, including radars, anti-ship missiles, layered air defense systems, communications gear, tactical missiles, and COMINT and ELINT equipment. The Ukrainians waited until everything was operational, then destroyed the whole lot, killing about 450 troops and all the equipment. This marked the end of the Odesa/Moldova landing.

Since then Russia has been learning in Moldova what they should have learned in the Ukraine. They are sending in spetsnaz troops to incite the overthrow of the Moldovan government. Unfortunately, no rebellion is forthcoming and the spetsnaz are disappearing as they are caught, killed, or defect.

So Russia is making all kinds of sour grapes threats against Moldova.

—<Quote ends>—

There’s no feeling like having your battle plan compromised on live TV, because some Ruling Noble wanted to win some social or political game.

“Eleven words. That’s all it took to have my battalion gutted, with burning grav tanks and shattered transports strewn across the Landing Zone.”

“But Marquis ______ got to show how very, very important he is. And that’s all that really matters.”

“It would be best if I never see his face again.”

Also worthy of note: “Since then Russia has been learning in Moldova what they should have learned in the Ukraine. They are sending in spetsnaz troops to incite the overthrow of the Moldovan government. Unfortunately, no rebellion is forthcoming and the spetsnaz are disappearing as they are caught, killed, or defect.”

Most secret spy plots to overthrow the government ends with two bullets in the head, deep in the forest or in a ordinary basement somewhere.

Also: seeing the rest of the Russian top-tier operators, I strongly doubt if spetsnaz (Russian Special Forces) reaches the skill level of the Special Forces of the Baltic States. For one thing, the Baltic guys are trained by US/UK/French/German professionals, so they can be trusted to have the basics down cold.

Maybe spetsnaz are as good as their Chinese equivalents. Maybe.

Well… before their leaders, trainers and the best of the best died in Kyiv, late February 2022.

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1) Exciting Deniable Operations 2) Sad Public Operations

Exciting Deniable Operations

The kind of low-profile work quick-witted, patriotic1 free traders can get involved with.

“Maybe not a long life. But an exciting one.”

From Quora, February 5, 2023 Update-Ukrainian Troops Making Strikes in Russia

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by Brent Cooper · Trial and appellate counsel for Cooper & Scully (1993–present)

Word has come out that Ukrainian forces not only are hitting Russian remotely by missiles, their troops are venturing into Russia to carry out military operations.

These are members of the Bratstvo battalion. It is Ukrainian for brotherhood. It is a volunteer group of Ukrainian special forces, taking the fight against Vladimir Putin beyond the frontlines of the war in Ukraine. They are going beyond past the occupied areas of their country and deep into heart of the Russian motherland.

The Bratstvo Battalion work ranges from the kidnapping of senior Kremlin officials, to the destruction of key military infrastructure and the downing of enemy aircraft on Russian territory.

They are well aware that the Ukrainian government will deny any knowledge of them. The presence causes nervousness in the West.

Why would a battalion such as theirs to allow their stories to be heard in public? But that is to misunderstand their purpose. In everything they do, there is a single message—“It is very easy for us to cross the Russian border,” says a member of the battalion.

The volunteers of the Bratstvo have a peculiar status. They technically independent from Ukraine’s army but operating side by side with the official forces. The purpose of their arm’s-length status offers deniability.

One member is in “intelligence”, he says, but the battalion recruits mainly civilians, or plucks the brightest from other voluntary battalions.

Their separation from the Ukrainian Armed Forces comes down to the west’s nervousness. The thought of Ukraine having the capacity to hit Russia in Russia creates concern of escalation.

A lot of that anxiety is probably linked to the Kremlin’s threat to use nuclear warheads if the “very existence of the state is put under threat”.

“It turns out that Russians can go to Ukrainian territory, but Ukrainians cannot go into Russia,” one member of the battalion remarked.

The Bratstvo volunteers are not deterred. They insist it is vital for the Russian high command to feel the heat of battle on their own territory. They also want the Russian people to know this as well.

One member says he returned two weeks ago from what he described as a straightforward operation. “Our group needed to bring a certain amount of explosives to the territory of Russia and leave them in a certain place,” he says. “I don’t know for what and whom this explosive was intended. But I know for sure that some people in Russia are ready to help Ukrainians.”

However, six weeks ago, he says, he completed the most successful operation yet. It had a jittery start. “We had a task to destroy a Russian helicopter transporting high-ranking officials of the Russian ministry of internal affairs,” says the member. “On the first time in, bad weather prevented the laser sight from accurately aiming to hit the target. In addition, we had internal problems within the group, arguments, so we entered Russian territory but turned back, took into account our mistakes … and in a week we made a second attempt.”

A taskforce of five men set off at 7am, easily walking through the forests and fields, to cross into Russia. “We walked all day,” says Taras. “Then we spent the night at the location and at 9am we heard a helicopter. I had a small reconnaissance drone with me and it confirmed it was the same helicopter.

“We fired from a portable anti-aircraft missile system at a helicopter from a distance of 4km. Unfortunately, we didn’t see the hit as we were so far away, but we heard the explosion. And then we quickly fled from our positions. We left behind the tripod used for the portable anti-aircraft missile system. We returned twice as fast.” The tripod was left to serve as a reminder.

It was a successful mission, achieving the central purpose of the battalion’s initiatives.

“We showed we can enter the territory of Russia and show the Russians that Ukrainians can act,” he says. “After the Russians find out that saboteurs are working on their territory, they need to move a lot of soldiers to find these saboteurs. It is very demoralising to the enemy. The helicopter was for the Russian leadership. And the very fact that Ukrainian saboteurs are shooting at Russian commanders is already a point of tension for Russians. This makes the Russian command nervous.”

The last operation in Russia in which the member took part was a month ago in the region around the city of Belgorod. There where a number of ammunition stores have exploded in recent months.

One has to wonder if the hits on the airbases near Moscow were really drones or we in fact troops on the ground. And drones were used as a cover story.

Kudos to this battalion. They are creating uncertainty. They are disrupting Russian military operations. They are causing Russians to realize that their own borders offer them no safety.

—<Quote ends>—

Sad Public Operations

Sure, these men knew the risks. And I’m glad most of them survived the hit.

I wish all of them did, though.

Not many people role-play adventurous Travellers who extend a helping hand to others.

This one is for them.

From Quora, Truth About Russia

—<Quote begins>—

by Christian Odinson · Lives in Norway

A team of one american, one ukrainian and two norwegian non-combat volunteer medics was hit by a russian missile yesterday at the frontline of Bakhmut as they were trying to evacuate civilians, whereas the american sadly died from his injuries, the two norwegians is severely wounded but will survive.

That is 21 year old Sander Sørsveen Trelvik from Norway walking away from the blast whilst in shock. He sustained 2 shattered ear-drums, 40% of his body sustained burn damage and have shrapnel deep in his body.

The two cars on fire in the background is the medical vehicles they were in. The two Norwegians were then quickly evacuated to a hospital and appears to be in good spirits as they stated “we’re just happy to be alive, it was a really close call. what the russians is doing is state terrorism, they are targetting civilian areas and non-combat medics”

Sadly it was too close of a call for their collegue from america that passed away in the assault, Pete Reed was 34 year U.S Marine Corps veteran that devoted his life to helping people in need. It was noted in an american newspaper that he died as he jumped on top of a co-worker and used his body as a shield during the strikes.

They were all part of Global Outreach Doctors, whereas the american arrived in Ukraine mid-January, whilst the two Norwegian medical students have been in Ukraine since the outbreak of the war at the frontlines (on and off).

The two norwegians says they will now focus on mending their wounds, spending time with their loved ones then get back into physical shape so they can return to Ukraine to help save lives.

Here is a photo of the area they were in :

But they will be back….

True heroes

—<Quote ends>—


1 Loyal to… the Imperium? The homeworld? The House? The native country? The deity? The philosophy? The race? The corporation? The Noble Lord? The PCs get to pick, usually…

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