Some Scary thoughts War You have to be kidding, right!?!

This Is How Most People Will Die When There Is A Large Scale Nuclear War Between The U.S. And Russia by Michael

We have never been closer to nuclear war than we are right now.  If the conflict in Ukraine sparks a large scale nuclear war between the United States and Russia, billions of people could die.

This is why so many of us desperately want leaders from both sides to sit down at the negotiating table and try to work out their differences peacefully.  Perhaps a peaceful solution is not possible, but for the good of humanity they should at least make an attempt.  Because as things stand right now, all it is going to take is one mistake for the world to be plunged into an unthinkable nuclear cataclysm.

According to author Annie Jacobsen, the U.S. has a network of satellites that is constantly watching for an ICBM launch from one of our enemies…

“The US Defense Department has a early warning system. And the system in space is called SBIRS, a constellation of satellites that is keeping an eye on all of America’s enemies.”


“So the moment an ICBM launches, they see the hot rocket exhaust on the ICBM a fraction of a second after it launches. And so there begins this horrifying policy called launch on warning, and that’s the US counterattack.


“The reason that the United States is so ferociously watching for a nuclear launch somewhere around the globe is so that the nuclear command and control system in the US can move into action to immediately make a counterstrike.


“That policy, launch on warning, is exactly like it says, it means the United States will not wait to absorb a nuclear attack. It will launch nuclear weapons in response before the bomb actually hits.”

In the event of a surprise first strike, there would only be a handful of minutes to get the president out of bed and decide what to do.

Needless to say, the president would not want to launch a counterstrike if it is a false alarm.

Because once the missiles are in the air, there is no calling them back.

When a nuclear warhead explodes, a fireball is created that is unimaginably hot.  The following comes from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Microseconds into the explosion of a nuclear weapon, energy released in the form of X-rays heats the surrounding environment, forming a fireball of superheated air. Inside the fireball, the temperature and pressure are so extreme that all matter is rendered into a hot plasma of bare nuclei and subatomic particles, as is the case in the Sun’s multi-million-degree core.


The fireball following the airburst explosion of a 300-kiloton nuclear weapon—like the W87 thermonuclear warhead deployed on the Minuteman III missiles currently in service in the US nuclear arsenal—can grow to more than 600 meters (2,000 feet) in diameter and stays blindingly luminous for several seconds, before its surface cools.


The light radiated by the fireball’s heat—accounting for more than one-third of the thermonuclear weapon’s explosive energy—will be so intense that it ignites fires and causes severe burns at great distances. The thermal flash from a 300-kiloton nuclear weapon could cause first-degree burns as far as 13 kilometers (8 miles) from ground zero.

If you are at ground zero, you will have zero chance of surviving.

According to a study that was conducted several years ago, approximately 34 million people would die during the first few hours of a large scale nuclear war between the United States and Russia.

But that would be just the first wave of death.

In the aftermath of a nuclear exchange, radioactive fallout would spread over much of the continental United States

Using archived weather data over 48-hour periods across a number of dates in 2021 to simulate the expected radioactive plume, the scientists found that the West Coast states were the lowest risk due to a prevailing easterly wind.


However, depending on the exact wind direction, the worst fallout could fall over any part of the U.S. and Canada east of Idaho. Based on weather patterns on December 2, 2021, Chicago, Illinois and D.C., among other population centers, would be in the direct path of a fatal dose of radiation.


In a worst-case scenario, almost all of Montana and North Dakota, as well as parts of Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota and Kansas would receive a dose more than 10 times what is considered lethal, resulting in deaths in a matter of days. Most of the Midwest would receive a lethal dose, while elsewhere would see deaths occur in weeks.

Radioactive fallout would kill far more people than the initial explosions would.

But the “good news” is that radiation levels would dissipate fairly rapidly.

So if you are far enough away from a ground zero and you are able to survive the initial tsunami of radioactive fallout, it will eventually be safe to go outside again.

But at that point there will be no more supply chains, people will be fighting for whatever dwindling resources are left, and “famine alone could be more than 10 times as deadly as the hundreds of bomb blasts involved in the war itself”

As horrific as those statistics are, the tens to hundreds of millions of people dead and injured within the first few days of a nuclear conflict would only be the beginnings of a catastrophe that eventually will encompass the whole world.


Global climatic changes, widespread radioactive contamination, and societal collapse virtually everywhere could be the reality that survivors of a nuclear war would contend with for many decades.


Two years after any nuclear war—small or large—famine alone could be more than 10 times as deadly as the hundreds of bomb blasts involved in the war itself.

Ultimately, nuclear winter will kill more people than anything else.

For those of us that live in the northern hemisphere, it will be exceedingly difficult to grow much of anything once temperatures drop far below normal

This makes Earth freezing cold even during the summer, with farmland in Kansas cooling by about 20 degrees centigrade (about 40 degrees Fahrenheit), and other regions cooling almost twice as much. A recent scientific paper estimates that over 5 billion people could starve to death, including around 99% of those in the US, Europe, Russia, and China – because most black carbon smoke stays in the Northern hemisphere where it’s produced, and because temperature drops harm agriculture more at high latitudes.

Can you imagine what our world would look like if such a war actually happened?



Unfortunately, relations between the United States and Russia are the worst that they have ever been, and we are getting closer to a nuclear war with each passing day.

Politicians in the western world assume that the Russians would never risk a nuclear war because the consequences would be so apocalyptic for everyone.

But Russian politicians have warned us over and over again that if we push Russia too far there will be a nuclear war.

And as I detailed in my new book entitled “Chaos”, the Russians have been feverishly preparing to fight a nuclear war for many years.

They know that there are no “winners” in a nuclear war.

But they also know that whoever strikes first will have the best chance of surviving one.

Right now, Russian forces are advancing and Ukrainian leaders are becoming increasingly desperate

“Western leaders are bracing for the Ukrainian army’s collapse as it has only been able to slow the advance of Russian forces amid weapons and ammunition shortages, the Times writes.


In its editorial, titled ‘It’s time we talked about the fall of Kiev’, the paper points out that ‘contrary to the predominant view that this is a perpetual frozen conflict, with neither side able to win a decisive advantage, the front line is bitterly contested and there is a real risk of Ukrainian forces being pushed back’.


‘This is the nightmare scenario now being contemplated by western policymakers’, the Times notes.

Russia’s advance ‘would obviously be disastrous for the Ukrainians’. ‘It would also confront the West with all manner of tough challenges’, the newspaper says. ‘The consequences of a partial or complete defeat would be calamitous in ways western populations have barely begun to understand.


But we have a lazy habit in the comfortable West – away from Europe’s front line in east and south Ukraine – of wishful thinking and being unprepared for bad surprises’, the Times emphasizes.”

Ukrainian officials realize that the only way they can win the war is for NATO forces to intervene, and some western leaders such as French President Emmanuel Macron are very open to the idea.

But Vladimir Putin has warned that this will put us one step away from nuclear war, and he has decided to conscript another 150,000 men into the Russian military…

Vladimir Putin has called up another 150,000 men for Russian army conscription, the highest figure for eight years.

This comes as Orthodox priests have been ordered to say prayers in church for the dictator’s victory in the war.

The recruits are aged 18 to 30 and will be conscripted between 1 April and 15 July amid his war against Ukraine.

The Russians are convinced that western leaders want to bring down the Russian government and divide Russia up into a bunch of smaller pieces.

On the other side, politicians in the western world are determined to do “whatever it takes” to keep the Russians from winning in Ukraine.

Both sides are being unreasonable and paranoid, and that is a recipe for disaster.

All it is going to take is one mistake to unleash a nuclear cataclysm, and billions of lives hang in the balance.

All About Guns Anti Civil Rights ideas & "Friends" Some Scary thoughts

The Doctor Will Ask About Your Gun Now Story by Nancy Walecki

The Doctor Will Ask About Your Gun Now© Illustration by The Atlantic. Sources: Science Photo Library / Getty

Aman comes to Northwell Health’s hospital on Staten Island with a sprained ankle. Any allergies? the doctor asks. How many alcoholic drinks do you have each week? Do you have access to firearms inside or outside the home? When the patient answers yes to that last question, someone from his care team explains that locking up the firearm can make his home safer. She offers him a gun lock and a pamphlet with information on secure storage and firearm-safety classes. And all of this happens during the visit about his ankle.

Northwell Health is part of a growing movement of health-care providers that want to talk with patients about guns like they would diet, exercise, or sex—treating firearm injury as a public-health issue. In the past few years, the White House has declared firearm injury an epidemic, and the CDC and National Institutes of Health have begun offering grants for prevention research. Meanwhile, dozens of medical societies agree that gun injury is a public-health crisis and that health-care providers have to help stop it.

Asking patients about access to firearms and counseling them toward responsible storage could be one part of that. “It’s the same way that we encourage people to wear seat belts and not drive while intoxicated, to exercise,” Emmy Betz, an emergency-medicine physician and the director of the University of Colorado’s Firearm Injury Prevention Initiative, told me. An unsecured gun could be accessible to a child, someone with dementia, or a person with violent intent—and may increase the chance of suicide or accidental injury in the home. Securely storing a gun is fundamental to the National Rifle Association’s safety rules, but as of 2016, only about half of firearm owners reported doing so for all of their guns.

Some evidence shows that when health-care workers counsel patients and give them a locking device, it leads to safer storage habits. Doctors are now trying to figure out the best way to broach the conversation. Physicians talk about sex, drugs, and even (if your earbuds are too loud) rock and roll. But to many firearm owners, guns are different.

Not so long ago, powerful physicians argued that if guns were causing so much harm, people should just quit them. In the 1990s, the director of the CDC’s injury center said that a public-health approach to firearm injury would mean rebranding guns as a dangerous vice, like cigarettes. “It used to be that smoking was a glamor symbol—cool, sexy, macho,” he told The New York Times in 1994. “Now it is dirty, deadly—and banned.” In the 2010s, the American Academy of Pediatrics’ advice was to “NEVER” have a gun in the home, because the presence of one increased a child’s risk of suicide or injury so greatly. (“Do not purchase a gun,” the group warned bluntly.) And when asked in 2016 whom they would go to for safe-storage advice, firearm owners ranked physicians second to last, above only celebrities.

In the past couple of decades, some states have toyed with laws that curtail doctors’ ability to talk with patients about firearms and the information they can collect, to assuage gun owners’ privacy concerns.
Only in Florida did the most restrictive version—what physicians call a “gag law”—pass, in 2011; six years later, a federal court struck it down. But “I think the gag orders, even though they’re not in effect now, really scared people,” Amy Barnhorst, an emergency psychiatrist and firearm-injury-prevention researcher at UC Davis, told me. A smattering of studies have found that doctors—particularly pediatricians—generally think talking with their patients about firearm safety is important, but most of the time, they’re not doing it. As of 2019, only 8 percent of firearm owners said their doctor had ever brought it up.

That year, in California, Barnhorst launched the state-funded BulletPoints Project, a free curriculum that teaches health-care workers how and when to talk about firearms with their patients. The program instructs them to keep politics and personal opinions out of the conversation, and to ask only those patients who have particular reasons for extra caution—including people with children, those experiencing domestic violence, or those living with someone with a cognitive impairment. It also suggests more realistic advice than “Do not purchase a gun.” Maybe a patient has a firearm for self-defense (the most common reason to have one), so they’d balk at the idea of storing a gun unloaded and locked, with the ammunition separate. A health-care worker might recommend a quick-access lockbox instead.

Researchers are now testing whether these firearm conversations have the best outcome if doctors broach them only when there’s a clear reason or if they do it with every patient. Johns Hopkins is trialing a targeted approach, talking about firearms and offering gun locks in cases where pediatric patients have traumatic injuries.

Meanwhile, Northwell Health, which is New York State’s largest health system, asks everyone who comes into select ERs about gun access and offers locks to those who might need them. Both of these efforts are federally funded studies testing whether doctors feel confident enough to actually talk with patients about this, and whether those conversations lead people to store their firearms more securely.

For doctors, universal screening means “there’s no decision point of who you’re going to ask or when you’re going to ask,” Sandeep Kapoor, an assistant professor of emergency medicine who is helping implement the program at Northwell Health, told me.

So far, Northwell’s trial has screened about 45,000 patients, which signals that the approach can be scaled up. Kapoor told me that with this strategy, gun-safety conversations could eventually become as routine for patients as having their blood pressure taken. When she was in primary pediatrics, Katherine Hoops, a core faculty member at Johns Hopkins’s Center for Gun Violence Solutions, worked firearm safety into every checkup, as she would bike helmets and seat belts.

(The American Academy of Pediatrics still maintains that the safest home for a child is one without a gun, but the organization now recommends that pediatricians talk about secure storage with every family, and offers a curriculum on how to have this conversation.)

Universal screening can also find people whom a targeted approach might miss: The team at Northwell recently learned through screening questions that a 13-year-old who came in with appendicitis had been threatened with guns by bullies, and brought in his parents, a team of social workers, and the school to help.

But a patient in the ER for a sprained ankle may understandably wonder why a doctor is asking about firearms. “There’s no context,” Chris Barsotti, an emergency-medicine physician and a co-founder of the American Foundation for Firearm Injury Reduction in Medicine, told me. The firearm community, he said, remembers when “the CDC wanted to stigmatize gun ownership,” so any movement for health care workers to raise these questions needs nuance. To his mind, these should be tailored conversations.

Betz, of the University of Colorado, raises the question only when a patient is at risk, and believes that firearm safety can otherwise be in the background of a practice—for example, in a waiting room where secure-storage brochures are displayed alongside pamphlets on safe sex and posters on diabetes prevention.

About half of firearm-owning patients agree that it’s sometimes appropriate for a doctor to talk with them about firearms, according to a 2016 study by Betz and her colleagues. They’re even more okay with it if they have a child at home. The physicians I asked said that the majority of the time, these conversations go smoothly.

But Betz’s study also found that 45 percent of firearm-owning patients thought doctors should never bring up guns. Paul Hsieh, a radiologist and a co-founder of the group Freedom and Individual Rights in Medicine, wrote in an email that gun owners he’s spoken with “find the question about firearms ownership intrusive in a different way than questions about substance use or sexual partners.”

Chethan Sathya, a pediatric trauma surgeon and the director of Northwell Health’s Center for Gun Violence Prevention, pointed out that those topics used to be contentious for physicians to talk about. To treat guns as a public-health issue, “we can’t be uncomfortable having conversations,” he told me.

But doctors have more power in this situation than they do in others. They might tell someone with diabetes to stop having soda three times a day, but they can’t literally take soda away from a patient. With guns, they might be able to. In states with extreme-risk laws, if a health-care provider believes that their patient poses an immediate threat to themselves or others, they can work with law enforcement to petition the court to temporarily remove someone’s firearms; a handful of states allow medical professionals to file these petitions directly. There are many people “across America right now who own guns and won’t come to counseling, because they don’t want their rights taken away for real or imagined reasons,” Jake Wiskerchen, a mental-health counselor in Nevada who advocates for such patients, told me. They worry that if their doctor includes gun-ownership status in their medical record, they could be added to a hypothetical national registry of firearm owners. And if questions about guns were to become truly routine in a doctor’s office—such as on an intake form—he said owners might just lie or decide they “don’t want to go to the doctor anymore.”

Physicians accordingly choose their words carefully. They talk about preventing firearm injury instead of gun violence—both because the majority of gun deaths are suicides, not homicides, and because it’s a less loaded term. Telling a diabetic patient to cut back on soda might work, but people “are not just going to throw their guns in the trash,” Barnhorst, of UC Davis, told me. “There’s a lot more psychological meaning behind firearms for people than there is for sodas.”

Barsotti says a public-health approach to firearm safety requires more engagement with the upwards of 30 percent of American adults who own a firearm. Owners of shooting ranges and gun shops are already “practicing public health without the benefit of medical or public-health expertise,” he told me. They’re running their own storage programs for community members who don’t want their guns around for whatever reason; they’re bringing their friends for mental-health treatment when they might be at risk. Betz’s team collaborated with gun shops, shooting ranges, and law-enforcement agencies in Colorado to create a firearms-storage map of sites willing to hold guns temporarily, and she counsels gun clubs on suicide prevention, as a co-founder of the Colorado Firearm Safety Coalition. Exam-room conversations can be lifesaving, but in curbing gun injury, Betz told me, health-care workers “have one role to play. We’re not the solution.”

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Where To Go During The Collapse- The Best Places In America to Go During An Apocalypse! (This Article Illustrates Each Place With A Detailed Image) by Milan Adams

Where is the best place to live in the US during and after the apocalypse?

While trying to figure out the answer, I’ve looked inside of prepping blogs to find a consensus for the criteria known to be essential for any place to survive in during the wake of such an event. That is, any event that can potentially destabilize society to the point of no return to normal any time soon. It will be important for you to have whatever supplies you need ready ahead of time before you travel to your destination. So start getting ready.

That being said, the criteria for the best area to survive in can be broken into three categories:

1. Human factors, 2. Natural factors, and 3. Economic factors

Human Factors:

  • Low population density (40 people per sq. mile or less)
  • Distance to major/minor cities (50+ miles away)
  • Distance to military bases (50+ miles away)
  • Distance to nuclear power plants (100+ miles away)
  • Distance to interstate highways
  • Low poverty rate
  • Low violent crime rate

Natural Factors:

  • Easy access to fresh water
  • Abundance of wild game
  • Low natural disaster risk
  • Dense forest cover
  • Adequate soil textures
  • Adequate rainfall
  • Low drought risk

Economic Factors:

  • Higher job growth
  • High abundance of non-renewable natural resources available for extraction (coal, oil, natural gas, metals and minerals, lumber, etc.
  • Higher educated citizens

Now that we know what to look for, I’ll narrow down a map of the U.S. by one category at a time using other maps I have compiled. The “Orange” counties are those disqualified, which will then become and remain dark gray when the next factor is applied. For simplicity reasons, we’ll focus on the continental U.S. But before starting I will say that the state of Hawaii is probably a fairly safe place to be considering its isolation, moderate climate, and the Polynesians have managed living there by themselves for millennia.

I highly recommend this book: The Home Doctor – Practical Medicine for Every Household – is a 304 page doctor written and approved guide on how to manage most health situations when help is not on the way.

If you want to see what happens when things go south, all you have to do is look at Venezuela: no electricity, no running water, no law, no antibiotics, no painkillers, no anesthetics, no insulin or other important things.

But if you want to find out how you can still manage in a situation like this, you must also look to Venezuela and learn the ingenious ways they developed to cope.

The first most important thing is population density or lack of it. This is common sense since you don’t wanna be around massive numbers of unprepared people when SHTF. Ideally anywhere under 40 people per square mile is best. The blue shaded counties are where to go.

Next is proximity to major and minor cities. A distance of at least 50 miles away is best.

Stay out of counties that contain Interstate highways as the most desperate people will use them traveling in search of resources.

We are now isolated from any major threats from large populations and groups of people. But, there is still the possibility of martial law being put into effect. So it’s best to keep our distance from military bases.

And nuclear reactors, in case of meltdowns occuring during grid failures.

The last places to “watch out” from are areas with already high poverty and crime rates. When they no longer can depend on Uncle Sam for their existence, it will get ugly. Avoiding these areas may potentially eliminate our options in the Southern states but I would like to keep them open for now for climate reasons. We’ll use a 25% poverty rate limit for the south and 20% everywhere else. (The south includes WV, southern MO, and eastern half of OK and TX)

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I won’t make any exception for violent crime rates. Those will be applied evenly across the board. Lighter counties are safer.

We are now looking at a map of what are probably the “safest” counties in the United States. But now that the potential for human threat is minimized, we must figure out where is the best place to settle down based on what resources there will be available. The most important thing is easy access to fresh water always within close proximity.

Next in my opinion is wild game abundance, which you need for food during winters and harsh growing seasons, and for protein in general.

You wanna be safe from natural disasters such as tornadoes and hurricanes. Given recent events I think it’s safe to eliminate the lone county remaining in Florida.

This is a potentially controversial assumption, but the amount of forest cover over an area may be a good indicator for how much local resources there will be for us to utilize for our way of life. Everything from ecosystems that support wild game and edible plants to having plentiful amounts of lumber if needed (especially in the winter). Forests are just as useful as farmland. At least 25% forest cover is beneficial.

We need to grow food. This requires a number of things. Most important of them are good soil textures and rainfall. Drought-prone areas must be avoided. Warm climate isn’t necessary and depending on your environment you can expect to have different lengths of growing seasons. I will subtract all these variables all at once from the next map.

The best soil textures are ones with a close to even mixture of sand, silt, and clay, together known as loam. This mixture holds nutrients best. Anywhere on the scale from sandy loam to clay loam will work for most vegetables, fruits, wheat, nuts, and other produce.

This map is just for reference. Knowing your plant hardiness zones is key to scheduling your growing seasons with which types of produce you can expect to grow based on the average climate of your zone. Generally speaking, your options get wider the more south you go with more varieties of produce able to grow in warmer climates. There is also the potential for yielding not just one but two or more crop yields in a year with longer growing seasons in warm climates.

Rain should be 20 inches or more a year. So anything from dark green (40″+) all the way to light orange (20″) is good. Of course avoid regions that most often experience drought.

With all agricultural factors considered, this is what’s left on the map.

A variety of choices are left spanning different parts of the US. These are places that have everything we “need” to survive. You can perhaps at this point choose to pick whichever is closest to where you currently live. It is arguable that depending on the nature of the apocalyptic event the local economy may or may not make a difference on your quality of life. But let’s see where factoring it leads us.

A strong local economy in a rural area can indicate the presence of a stable natural resource based economy be it agriculture, mining, logging, etc. These resources can potentially be very important for the economic growth of the area and in the rebuilding of other economies through the exporting of these resources. It’s best to pick the areas with current stable job growth with high natural resource reserves.

Areas with 2.5%+ job growth with heavy natural resource reserves and industries:

The culture of where you live can be rather important. To borrow from one commenter, “You need a community. No matter how much of a bad ass you are you have to sleep sometime. It is great to consider things like natural resources and growing conditions, but you also need people with the knowledge to put those attributes to work for the community.” Areas with a high concentration of college graduates can indicate the presence of a college or of other skilled service providers which can potentially contribute to the needs of a community in areas such as healthcare, engineering, agriculture, etc. Areas with a population of at least 20% college graduates would be good.

We have 5 finalists:

Archuleta Co., CO

Hinsdale Co., CO

San Juan Co., CO

Hubbard Co., MN

Highland Co., VA

At this point, let’s eliminate by comparing.

For extra isolation, eliminate Highland County, VA.

For better access to water, rain, and wild game, eliminate Archuleta County, CO.

For a place with less poverty and crime, stay out of San Juan County, CO.

At this point the decision for me comes down to the potential for future economic growth and a population that is more wilderness survival conscious, which leaves us our winner….

Hinsdale County, Colorado

I welcome any suggestions from you for additions, corrections, or edits to help accurately improve the results I have found and will perhaps make updates to everything based on them in the future


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The Fall of Minneapolis

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And some Folks wonder why I am “paranoid”

Federal investigators asked banks to scour customer transactions for terms like ‘Trump’ or ‘MAGA’ and purchases at stores including Dick’s Sporting Goods and Bass Pro Shops after the Capitol riot, shocking Republican probe claims

  • Federal officials investigating Jan. 6 asked banks to filter through customer transactions including key terms like ‘MAGA’ and ‘Trump’
  • The government has been ‘watching’ Americans who frequent Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s and other outdoors stores that sell guns
  • The Treasury Department also warned banks of ‘extremism’ indicators like the purchase of a religious text, like a Bible 
  • Top Republican Jim Jordan says the transactions have ‘no apparent criminal nexus’ and is demanding information from Treasury

Federal investigators asked U.S. banks to scour customer transactions for key terms like ‘MAGA’ and ‘Trump’ to identify ‘extremism’ in the aftermath of January 6, shocking details uncovered by Republicans reveal.

According to bombshell documents obtained by the House’s ‘weaponization’ committee led by Chairman Jim Jordan, the federal government has been ‘watching’ Americans who frequent outdoor stores that sell guns – or who are religious.

Treasury Department officials suggested that banks review transactions at sporting and recreational supplies stores like Cabela’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Bass Pro Shops in order ‘to detect customers whose transactions may reflect ‘potential active shooters.”

Federal investigators suggested that banks use search terms like ‘MAGA’ and ‘Trump’ to identify purchased that could be associated with ‘extremism’

Transportation charges for travel to areas with no apparent purpose could be an indicator of ‘extremism,’ according to the letter

Subscriptions to news outlets containing ‘extremist’ views would also be an indicator for financial instructions to look at, according to the material the Treasury provided to banks.

‘Did you shop at Bass Pro Shop yesterday or purchase a Bible? If so, the federal government may be watching you,’ Jordan posted on X.

‘We now know the federal government flagged terms like ‘MAGA’ and ‘TRUMP,’ to financial institutions if Americans completed transactions using those terms,’ he wrote in another post. ‘What was also flagged? If you bought a religious text, like a BIBLE, or shopped at Bass Pro Shop.’

The federal officials may have illegally provided financial institutions with suggested search terms for ‘identifying transactions on behalf of federal law enforcement,’ said Jordan. reached out to the Treasury Department for comment.

Jordan is also demanding information from a Treasury official, Noah Bishoff, after the alarming documents came to light.

‘Despite these transactions having no apparent criminal nexus — and, in fact, relate to Americans exercising their Second Amendment rights — [the Treasury] seems to have adopted a characterization of these Americans as potential threat actors,’ Jordan wrote.

Purchases from Bass Pro Shops could also be an indicator of extremism

The committee also obtained documents indicating officials suggested that banks query purchases with keywords such as ‘Dick’s Sporting Goods’

‘This kind of pervasive financial surveillance, carried out in coordination with and at the request of federal law enforcement, into Americans’ private transactions is alarming and raises serious doubts about [the Treasury’s] respect for fundamental liberties.’

‘In other words, [the Treasury] urged large financial instructions to comb through the private transactions of their customers for suspicious charges on the basis of protected political and religious expression,’ said the committee’s letter to Bishoff.

House Speaker Mike Johnson on Thursday called the revelation ‘yet another glaring example of the weaponized federal government targeting conservatives.’

Republicans are also requesting that Bishoff appear before the committee for a transcribed interview by January 31.

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After 2 Million FOID Card Holders Rebel Against Pritzker, Democrats Target Illinois Gun Owners’ Driver’s Licenses By: Illinois Review

On Wednesday, State Senator Julie Morrison, the Majority Caucus Whip, introduced legislation that could result in Illinois gun owners’ losing their driver’s licenses without due process, less than two weeks after 2 million Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card holders rebelled and chose not to register their firearms in protest of Gov. Pritzker’s assault weapons ban that he signed into law last January.

In a video statement released on Thursday evening, Illinois State Rifle Association president Doug Mayhall said, “Now the anti-gun legislators are coming after your Driver’s License!”

Mayhall went on to explain Senate Bill 2720, which “proposes that when a FOID card is revoked – and the FOID card holder does not comply with Section 9.5 of the FOID Act by surrendering their FOID card to authorities – the gun owner may not be issued a driver’s license; renew a driver’s license; retain a drivers license; or be issued a permit to drive under the Illinois Vehicle Code.”

The legislation also requires the Illinois State Police to notify the Secretary of State’s office and report anyone that fails to comply with Section 9.5.

But the issue is more troublesome than simply having your FOID card revoked according to Mayhall.

“Under the Red Flag Law – there can be an ex parte case filed against you. In other words, someone can say you are a problem and go before a judge without you present. You then can lose your FOID card and not get a hearing for at least two weeks.

So what’s the bottom line here? A person under this bill can be falsely accused and lose their right to drive without a single hearing.”

The loss of a driver’s license can have serious implications, and it has the potential of completely disrupting one’s livelihood – including someone’s ability to get to and from work.

The timing of the legislation to coincide with the January 1st deadline of Illinois’ gun registry and the one year anniversary of the assault weapons ban is not accidental, as Mayhall pointed out.

“After Governor Pritzker was left embarrassed when less than 2 percent of the 2.4 million FOID Card holders registered their firearms by the January 1st deadline, he’s now looking for new ways to target and harass gun owners.”

The legislation is awaiting a committee assignment, and the Democrats maintain a comfortable 40-19 supermajority in the state Senate.

Darwin would of approved of this! Hard Nosed Folks Both Good & Bad Paint me surprised by this Some Scary thoughts You have to be kidding, right!?!

Report: U.S.S. Carney Intercepts Missiles Fired by Iran-backed Houthis near Yemen by JOEL B. POLLAK

Iranian-backed Houthi rebels fired missiles Wednesday at the U.S.S. Carney off the coast of Yemen, according to news reports.

ABC News reported:

A U.S. Navy destroyer has been involved in a security incident in the Red Sea, a U.S. official said Thursday.

The USS Carney encountered multiple missiles launched by Houthis in Yemen and fired missiles in response, the official said.

The Houthi missiles were not thought to have been fired at the ship.

CNN added:

A US Navy warship operating in the Middle East intercepted multiple projectiles near the coast of Yemen on Thursday, two US officials told CNN.

One of the officials said the missiles were fired by Iranian-backed Houthi militants, who are engaged in an ongoing conflict in Yemen. Approximately 2-3 missiles were intercepted, according to the second official.

The officials said it was unclear what the missiles were targeting. It’s possible the missiles were fired at the USS Carney or launched towards another target.

A Pentagon briefing is expected Thursday afternoon.

This story is developing.

—————————————————————————————–I am getting the feeling that A. Not a lot of Folks are scared of us. & B. That somebody is just spoiling for a serious fight. God help us all!! Grumpy

Some Red Hot Gospel there! Some Scary thoughts



The mechanism really doesn’t make all that much difference, the end result is the same.

It really doesn’t matter what you did. By this point, none of that really matters. Once these gears start turning there is no stopping them.

Nobody has to think about anything — and that’s intentional. There is a big book, and at each stage of the operation those tasked with its execution need only turn to the appropriate page and do what it says. It helps absolve those who must undertake this macabre operation of any undue moral responsibility. They were just doing what the book directed.

Twenty-four hours in advance, the prison SWAT team reports to your cell to move you to the observation area. You can walk along with them peacefully or not, but they will move you.

The observation cell has entire wall constructed of nothing but bars. It’s here where you take your last meal. The prison makes every reasonable effort to accommodate this request. Some poor guy sits and stares at you for the full 24 hours. This is to keep you from killing yourself. The government will not be denied.

A few hours before the big event, the SWAT team shows up again, this time to move you from the holding area to the place of execution. There is a series of stone steps leading down to the death room. As I walked down these steps, I couldn’t help but imagine what it might feel like to do this for real.

Two walls are one-way glass, one window is for government witnesses and the other is for the victim’s family. The inside is covered with acoustic soundproofing. The ceiling is formed from those banal institutional ceiling tiles, but more on those in a minute.

Once in the room, the SWAT team ensures you stretch out peaceably on the table. There are extensions for your arms. The table looks like a cross, and the thing is festooned with straps. Your arms, legs, torso and head are securely affixed. There can be a little movement but not much. I assumed the position. This may seem unduly dark, but I wanted to know how it might feel.

Paramedics then start a large bore IV in each arm. Physicians are intentionally excluded from the process as this would be such an egregious violation of the Hippocratic Oath. The IV lines run through a pair of innocuous-looking holes in the wall. And then you wait.

This is the lethal injection room at San Quentin (Ca.) Penitentiary.
Mine was a bit different. (Source: Wikipedia)


There is a bank of five identical telephones with sequential phone numbers standing side by side. Should there be a last-minute stay there is no way word won’t get there in time. On the other side of the wall are two little closets. Inside each closet is a handcrafted wooden contraption to hold the mystical elixir affixed to each IV line. One is normal saline, the other is something else. On the wall is also a pair of lights, one red and the other green.

Meanwhile, the subject of this exercise stares at those accursed ceiling tiles. Think back to the last time you were enduring some ghastly dental procedure or other. It’s like that, but much worse.

There is a little microphone hanging down from the ceiling; a tiny corner of one tile carved away to accommodate its cord. At the appointed time the warden enters the room and reads the charges against you. The condemned then has three minutes to say anything they want. The warden actually has a stopwatch. At the end of three minutes the warden turns and leaves whether you are still speaking or not. When you die, you die alone.

Gravity is ultimately the engine behind this enterprise. The IV bottles sit inverted in their holders. The executioners enter their closets and wait for the lights. When the lights change, they each flip the bottles upright and leave, never seeing the object of the exercise. This is by design.

As I lay on that hard table, technically padded but only just, I was so viscerally struck by those ceiling tiles. They’re the last thing one sees. It doesn’t matter what a heartless bloodthirsty monster you might be, the process of bringing you to this point will invariably break you. You have absolutely no control over anything.

Our actions have consequences, and this is a really big one. The ponderous machinations of the legal system tend to separate cause and effect substantially in situations of such exceptional gravitas. However, Lady Justice is a cold-hearted lass. She ultimately extracts her due.

Some Red Hot Gospel there! Some Scary thoughts War

“The Future of Warfare is Devastation”

Karma can be a bitch! Some Red Hot Gospel there! Some Scary thoughts

Complex Systems Won’t Survive the Competence Crisis by HAROLD ROBERTSON Key words – “Meritocracy and the new political imperative of protected-group diversity on a collision course”

 Ilya Mirnyy/Firefighter in field, 2020

At a casual glance, the recent cascades of American disasters might seem unrelated. In a span of fewer than six months in 2017, three U.S. Naval warships experienced three separate collisions resulting in 17 deaths. A year later, powerlines owned by PG&E started a wildfire that killed 85 people. The pipeline carrying almost half of the East Coast’s gasoline shut down due to a ransomware attack. Almost half a million intermodal containers sat on cargo ships unable to dock at Los Angeles ports. A train carrying thousands of tons of hazardous and flammable chemicals derailed near East Palestine, Ohio. Air Traffic Control cleared a FedEx plane to land on a runway occupied by a Southwest plane preparing to take off. Eye drops contaminated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria killed four and blinded fourteen.

While disasters like these are often front-page news, the broader connection between the disasters barely elicits any mention. America must be understood as a system of interwoven systems; the healthcare system sends a bill to a patient using the postal system, and that patient uses the mobile phone system to pay the bill with a credit card issued by the banking system. All these systems must be assumed to work for anyone to make even simple decisions. But the failure of one system has cascading consequences for all of the adjacent systems. As a consequence of escalating rates of failure, America’s complex systems are slowly collapsing.

The core issue is that changing political mores have established the systematic promotion of the unqualified and sidelining of the competent. This has continually weakened our society’s ability to manage modern systems. At its inception, it represented a break from the trend of the 1920s to the 1960s, when the direct meritocratic evaluation of competence became the norm across vast swaths of American society.

In the first decades of the twentieth century, the idea that individuals should be systematically evaluated and selected based on their ability rather than wealth, class, or political connections, led to significant changes in selection techniques at all levels of American society. The Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) revolutionized college admissions by allowing elite universities to find and recruit talented students from beyond the boarding schools of New England.

Following the adoption of the SAT, aptitude tests such as Wonderlic (1936), Graduate Record Examination (1936), Army General Classification Test (1941), and Law School Admission Test (1948) swept the United States. Spurred on by the demands of two world wars, this system of institutional management electrified the Tennessee Valley, created the first atom bomb, invented the transistor, and put a man on the moon.

By the 1960s, the systematic selection for competence came into direct conflict with the political imperatives of the civil rights movement. During the period from 1961 to 1972, a series of Supreme Court rulings, executive orders, and laws—most critically, the Civil Rights Act of 1964—put meritocracy and the new political imperative of protected-group diversity on a collision course. Administrative law judges have accepted statistically observable disparities in outcomes between groups as prima facie evidence of illegal discrimination. The result has been clear: any time meritocracy and diversity come into direct conflict, diversity must take priority.

The resulting norms have steadily eroded institutional competency, causing America’s complex systems to fail with increasing regularity. In the language of a systems theorist, by decreasing the competency of the actors within the system, formerly stable systems have begun to experience normal accidents at a rate that is faster than the system can adapt. The prognosis is harsh but clear: either selection for competence will return or America will experience devolution to more primitive forms of civilization and loss of geopolitical power.

From Meritocracy to Diversity

The first domino to fall as Civil Rights-era policies took effect was the quantitative evaluation of competency by employers using straightforward cognitive batteries. While some tests are still legally used in hiring today, several high-profile enforcement actions against employers caused a wholesale change in the tools customarily usable by employers to screen for ability.

After the early 1970s, employers responded by shifting from directly testing for ability to using the next best thing: a degree from a highly-selective university. By pushing the selection challenge to the college admissions offices, selective employers did two things: they reduced their risk of lawsuits and they turned the U.S. college application process into a high-stakes war of all against all. Admission to Harvard would be a golden ticket to join the professional managerial class, while mere admission to a state school could mean a struggle to remain in the middle class.

This outsourcing did not stave off the ideological change for long. Within the system of political imperatives now dominant in all major U.S. organizations, diversity must be prioritized even if there is a price in competency. The definition of diversity varies by industry and geography.

In elite universities, diversity means black, indigenous, or Hispanic. In California, Indian women are diverse but Indian men are not. When selecting corporate board members, diversity means “anyone who is not a straight white man.” The legally protected and politically enforced nature of this imperative renders an open dialogue nearly impossible.

However diversity itself is defined, most policy on the matter is based on a simple premise: since all groups are identical in talent, any unbiased process must produce the same group proportions as the general population, and therefore, processes that produce disproportionate outcomes must be biased.

Prestigious journals like Harvard Business Review are the first to summarize and parrot these views, which then flow down to reporting by mass media organizations like Bloomberg Businessweek. Soon, it joins McKinsey’s “best practices” list and becomes instantiated in corporate policies.

Unlike accounting policies, which emanate from the Financial Accounting Standards Board and are then implemented by Chief Financial Officers, the diversity push emanates inside of organizations from multiple power centers, each of which joins in for independent reasons. CEOs push diversity policies primarily to please board members and increase their status. Human Resources (HR) professionals push diversity policies primarily to avoid anti-discrimination lawsuits. Business development teams push diversity to win additional business from diversity-sensitive clients (e.g. government agencies). Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), such as the Black Googler Network, push diversity to help their in-group in hiring and promotion decisions.

Diversity in Theory and Practice

In police academies around the country, new recruits are taught to apply an escalation of force algorithm with non-compliant subjects: “Ask, Tell, Make.” The idea behind “Ask, Tell, Make” is to apply the least amount of force necessary to achieve the desired level of compliance. This is the means by which police power, which is ultimately backed by significant coercive force, can maintain an appearance of voluntary compliance and soft-handedness. Similarly, the power centers inside U.S. institutions apply a variant of “Ask, Tell, Make” to achieve diversity in their respective organizations.

The first tactics for implementing diversity imperatives are the “Ask” tactics. These simply ask all the members of the organization to end bias. At this stage, the policies seem so reasonable and fair that there will rarely be much pushback. Best practices such as slating guidelines are a common tool at this stage.

Slating guidelines require that every hiring process must include a certain number and type of diverse candidates for every job opening. Structured interviews are another best practice that requires interviewers to stick with a script to minimize the chance of uncovering commonalities between the interviewer and interviewee that might introduce bias. Often HR will become involved in the hiring process, specifically asking the hiring manager to defend their choice not to hire a diverse candidate. Because the wrong answer could result in shaming, loss of advancement opportunities, or even termination, the hiring manager can often be persuaded to prioritize diversity over competence.

Within specialized professional services companies, senior-level recruiting will occasionally result in a resume collection where not a single diverse candidate meets the minimum specifications of the job. This is a terrible outcome for the hiring manager as it attracts negative attention from HR. At this point, firms will often retain an executive search agency that focuses on exclusively diverse candidates. When that does not result in sufficient diversity, roles will often have their requirements diluted to increase the pool of diverse candidates.

For example, within hedge funds, the ideal entry-level candidate might be an experienced former investment banker who went to a top MBA program. This preferred pedigree sets a minimum bar for both competence and work ethic. This first-pass filter enormously winnows the field of underrepresented candidates. To relax requirements for diversity’s sake, this will be diluted in various ways. First, the work experience might be stripped. Next, the role gets offered to MBA interns. Finally, fresh undergraduates are hired into the analyst role. Dilution works not just because of the larger field of candidates it allows for but also because the Harvard Admission Office of 2019 is even more focused on certain kinds of diversity than the Harvard Admission Office of 2011 was.

This dilution is not costless; fewer data points result in a wider range of outcomes and increase the risk of a bad hire. All bad hires are costly but bad hires that are diverse are even worse. The risk of a wrongful termination lawsuit either draws out the termination process for diverse hires or results in the firm adjusting by giving them harmless busy work until they leave of their own volition—either way, a terrible outcome for the organizations which hired them.

If these “Ask” tactics do not achieve enough diversity, the next step in the escalation is to attach carrots and sticks to directly tell decision-makers to increase the diversity of the organization. This is the point at which the goals of diversity and competence truly begin displaying significant tension between each other. The first step is the implementation of Key Performance Indicators (KPI) linked to diversity for all managers. Diversity KPIs are a tool to embarrass leaders and teams that are not meeting their diversity targets. Given that most organizations are hierarchical and pyramidal, combined with the fact that America was much whiter 50 years ago than it was today, it is unsurprising that senior leadership teams are less diverse than America as a whole—and, more pertinently, than their own junior teams.

The combination of a pyramid-shaped org chart and a senior leadership team where white men often make up 80 percent or more of the team means that the imposition of an aggressive KPI sends a message to the layer below them: no white man in middle management will likely ever see a promotion as long as they remain in the organization. This is never expressed verbally. Rather, those overlooked figure it out as they are passed over continually for less competent but more diverse colleagues. The result is demoralization, disengagement, and over time, departure.

While all the aforementioned techniques fall into the broad category of affirmative action, they primarily result in slightly tilting the scale toward diverse candidates. The next step is simply holding different groups to different standards. Within academia, the recently filed Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard College lawsuit leveraged data to show the extent to which Harvard penalizes Asian and white applicants to help black and Hispanic applicants. The UC System, despite formally being forbidden from practicing affirmative action by Proposition 209, uses a tool called “comprehensive admission” to accomplish the same goal.

The latest technique, which was recently brought to light, shows UC admissions offices using the applicants’ high schools as a proxy for race to achieve their desired goal. Heavily Asian high schools such as Arcadia—which is 68 percent Asian—saw their UC-San Diego acceptance rate cut from 37 percent to 13 percent while the 99-percent-Hispanic Garfield High School saw its UC-San Diego acceptance rate rise from 29 percent to 65 percent.

The preference for diversity at the college faculty level is similarly strong. Jessica Nordell’s End of Bias: A Beginning heralded MIT’s efforts to increase the gender diversity of its engineering department: “When applications came in, the Dean of Engineering personally reviewed every one from a woman. If departments turned down a good candidate, they had to explain why.”

When this was not enough, MIT increased its gender diversity by simply offering jobs to previously rejected female candidates. While no university will admit to letting standards slip for the sake of diversity, no one has offered a serious argument why the new processes produce higher or even equivalent quality faculty as opposed to simply more diverse faculty. The extreme preference for diversity in academia today explains much of the phenomenon of professors identifying with a minor fraction of their ancestry or even making it up entirely.

During COVID-19, the difficulty of in-person testing and online proctoring created a new mechanism to push diversity at the expense of competency: the gradual but systematic elimination of standardized tests as a barrier to admission to universities and graduate schools. Today, the majority of U.S. colleges have either stopped requiring SAT/ACT scores, no longer require them for students in the top 10 percent of their class, or will no longer consider them. Several elite law schools, including Harvard Law School, no longer require the LSAT as of 2023. With thousands of unqualified law students headed to a bar exam that they are unlikely to pass, the National Conference of Bar Examiners is already planning to dilute the bar exam under the “NextGen” plan. Specifically, “eliminat[ing] any aspects of our exams that could contribute to performance disparities” will almost definitionally reduce the degree to which the exam tests for competency.

Similarly, standards used to select doctors have also been weakened to promote diversity. Programs such as the City College of New York’s BS/MD program have eliminated the MCAT requirement. With the SAT now optional, new candidates can go straight from high school to the United States Medical Licensing Examination Step 1 exam in medical school without having gone through any rigorous standardized test whose score can be compared across schools. Step 1 scores were historically the most significant factor in the National Residency Matching Program, which pairs soon-to-be doctors with their future residency training programs. Because Step 1 scores serve as a barrier to increasing diversity, they have been made pass/fail. A handful of doctors are speaking out about the dangers of picking doctors based on factors other than competency but most either explicitly prefer diversity or else stay silent, concerned about the career-ending repercussions of pointing out the obvious.

When even carrot and stick incentives and the removal of standards do not achieve enough diversity, the end game is to simply make decision-makers comply. “Make” has two preferred implementations: one is widely discussed and the other is, for obvious reasons, never disclosed publicly. The first method of implementation is the application of quotas. Quotas or set-asides require the reservation of admissions slots, jobs, contracts, board seats, or other scarce goods for women and members of favored minority groups. Government contracts and supplier agreements are explicitly awarded to firms that have acronyms such as SB, WBE, MBE, DBE, SDB, VOSB, SDVOSB, WOSB, HUB, and 8(a).

Within large employers and government contractors, quotas are used for both hiring and promotions, requiring specific percentages of hiring or promotions to be reserved for favored groups. During the summer of 2020, the CEO of Wells Fargo, was publicly shamed after his memo blaming the underrepresentation of black senior leaders on a “very limited pool” of black talent was leaked to Reuters. Less than a month later, the bank publicly pledged to reserve 12 percent of leadership positions for black candidates and began tying executive compensation to reaching diversity goals. In 2022, Goldman Sachs extended quotas to the capital markets by adopting a policy to avoid underwriting IPOs of firms without at least two board members that are not straight white men.

When diversity still refuses to rise to acceptable levels, the remaining solution is the direct exclusion of non-diverse candidates. While public support for anti-discrimination laws and equal opportunity laws is high, public support for affirmative action and quotas is decidedly mixed. Hardline views such as those expressed in author Ijeoma Oluo’s Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America—namely that any white man in a position of power perpetuates a system of white male domination”—are still considered extreme, even within U.S. progressive circles.

As such, when explicit exclusion is used to eliminate groups like white men from selection processes, it is done subtly. Managers are told to sequester all the resumes from “non-diverse” candidates—that is, white males. These resumes are discarded and the candidates are sent emails politely telling them that “other candidates were a better fit.” While some so-called “reverse discrimination” lawsuits have been filed, most of these policies go unreported. The reasons are straightforward; even in 2023, screening out all white men is not de jure legal. Moreover, any member of the professional managerial class who witnesses and reports discrimination against white men will never work in their field again.

Even anonymous whistleblowing is likely to be rare. To imagine why, suppose incontrovertible evidence was produced that one’s employer was explicitly excluding white male candidates, and a lawsuit was filed. The employer’s reputation and the reputation of all the employees there, including the white men still working there, would be tarnished. That said, we can expect to see more lawsuits from men who feel they have little to lose.

This “Ask, Tell, Make” framework, under various descriptions, is the method by which individuals with a vested interest in more diversity push their organizations toward their preferred outcome. Force begins requesting modest changes to recruiting to make it “more fair.” Force ends with the heavy-handed application of quotas and even exclusion. The American system is not a monolith, however, which means that the strength of the push and its effects on competency is not distributed evenly.

Competency Is Declining From the Core Outwards

Think of the American system as a series of concentric rings with the government at the center. Directly surrounding that are the organizations that receive government funds, then the nonprofits that influence and are subject to policy, and finally business at the periphery. Since the era of the Manhattan Project and the Space Race, the state capacity of the federal government has been declining almost monotonically.

While this has occurred for a multitude of reasons, the steel girders supporting the competency of the federal government were the first to be exposed to the saltwater of the Civil Rights Act and related executive orders. Government agencies, which are in charge of overseeing all the other systems, have seen the quality of their human capital decline tremendously since the 1960s. While the damage to an agency like the Department of Agriculture may have long-term deadly consequences, the most immediate danger is at safety-critical agencies like the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The Air Traffic Control (ATC) system used in the U.S. relies on an intricate dance of visual or radar observation, transponders, and radio communication, all with the incredible challenge of keeping thousands of simultaneously moving planes from ever crashing into each other. Since air controlling is one of the only jobs that pays more than $100,000 per year and does not require a college diploma, it has been a popular career choice for individuals without a degree who nonetheless have an exceptionally good memory, attention span, visuospatial awareness, and logical skills. The Air Traffic Selection and Training (AT-SAT) Exam, a standardized test of those critical skills, was historically the primary barrier to entry for air controllers. As a consequence of the AT-SAT, as well as a preference for veterans with former air controller experience, 83 percent of air controllers in the U.S. were white men as of 2014.

That year, the FAA added a Biographical Questionnaire (BQ) to the screening process to tilt the applicant pool toward diverse candidates. Facing pushback in the courts from well-qualified candidates who were screened out, the FAA quietly backed away from the BQ and adopted a new exam, the Air Traffic Skills Assessment (ATSA). While the ATSA includes some questions similar to those of the BQ, it restored the test’s focus on core air traffic skills. The importance of highly-skilled air controllers was made clear in the most deadly air disaster in history, the 1977 Tenerife incident. Two planes, one taking off and one taxiing, collided on the runway due to confusion between the captain of KLM 4805 and the Tenerife ATC. The crash, which killed 583 people, resulted in sweeping changes in aviation safety culture.

Recently, the tremendous U.S. record for air safety established since the 1970s has been fraying at the edges. The first three months of 2023 saw nine near-miss incidents at U.S. airports, one with two planes coming within 100 feet of colliding. This terrifying uptick from years prior resulted in the FAA and NTSB convening safety summits in March and May, respectively. Whether they dared to discuss root causes seems unlikely.

Given the sheer size of the U.S. military in both manpower and budget dollars, it should not come as a surprise that the diversity push has also affected the readiness of this institution. Following three completely avoidable collisions of U.S. Navy warships in 2017 and a fire in 2020 that resulted in the scuttling of USS Bonhomme Richard, a $750 million amphibious assault craft, two retired marines conducted off-the-record interviews with 77 current and retired Navy officers. One recurring theme was the prioritization of diversity training over ship handling and warfighting preparedness. Many of them openly admit that, given current issues, the U.S. would likely lose an open naval engagement with China. Instead of taking the criticism to heart, the Navy commissioned “Task Force One Navy,” which recommended deemphasizing or eliminating meritocratic tests like the Officer Aptitude Rating to boost diversity. Absent an existential challenge, U.S. military preparedness is likely to continue to degrade.

The decline in the capacity of government contractors is likewise obvious, with the largest contractors being the most directly impacted. The five largest contractors—Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics, Raytheon Company, and Northrop Grumman—will all struggle to maintain competency in the coming years.

Boeing, one of only two firms globally capable of mass-producing large airliners, has a particularly striking crisis unfolding in its institutional culture. Shortly after releasing the 737 MAX, 346 people died in two nearly identical 737 MAX crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia. The cause of the crashes was a complex interaction between design choices, cost-cutting led by MBAs, FAA issues, the MCAS flight-control system, a faulty sensor, and pilot training. Meanwhile, on the defense side of the business, Boeing’s new fuel tanker, the KC-46A Pegasus is years behind on deliveries due to serious technical flaws with the fueling system along with multiple cases of Foreign Object Debris left inside the plane during construction: tools, a red plastic cap, and in one case, even trash. Between the issues at ATC and Boeing, damage to the U.S.’s phenomenal aviation safety record seems almost inevitable.

After government contractors, the next-most-affected class of institutions are nonprofit organizations. They are entrapped by the government whose policies they are subject to and trying to influence, the opinions of their donor base, and lack of any profit motive. The lifeblood of nonprofits is access to capital, either directly in the form of government grants or through donations that are deemed tax-deductible. Accessing federal monies means being subject to the full weight of U.S. diversity rules and regulations. Nonprofits are generally governed by boards whose members tend to overlap with the list of major donors. Because advocacy for diversity and board memberships are both high-status positions, unsurprisingly board members tend to voice favorable opinions of diversity, and those opinions flow downstream to the organizations they oversee.

Nonprofits—including universities, charities, and foundations—exist in an overlapping ecosystem with journalism, with individuals tending to freely circulate between the four. The activities of nonprofits are bound up in the same discourses shaped by current news and academic research, with all four reflecting the same general ideological consensus. Finally, lacking the profit motive, the decision-making processes of nonprofits are influenced by what will affect the status of the individuals within those organizations rather than what will affect profits. Within nonprofits, the cost of incompetent staffers is borne by “stakeholders,” rather than any one individual.

While all businesses subject to federal law must prioritize diversity over competency at some level, the problem is worse at publicly-traded corporations for reasons both obvious and subtle. The obvious reason is that larger companies present larger targets for EEOC actions and discrimination lawsuits with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake. Corporations have logically responded by hiring large teams of HR professionals to preempt such lawsuits. Over the past several decades, HR has evolved from simply overseeing onboarding to involvement in every aspect of hiring, promotions, and firings, seeing them all through a political and regulatory lens.

The more subtle reason for pressure within publicly-traded companies is that they require ongoing relationships with a spiderweb of banks, credit ratings agencies, proxy advisory services, and most importantly, investors. Given that the loss of access to capital is an immediate death sentence for most businesses, the CEOs of publicly-traded companies tend to push diversity over competency even when the decline in firm performance is clear. CEOs would likely rather trade a small drag on profits margins than a potentially career-ending scandal from pushing back.

Whereas publicly-traded corporations nearly uniformly push diversity, privately-held businesses vary tremendously based on the views of their owners. Partnerships such as the Big Four accounting firms and top-tier management consultancies are high-status. High-status firms must regularly proclaim extensive support for diversity. While the firms tend to be highly selective, partnerships whose leadership is overwhelmingly white and male have generally capitulated to the zeitgeist and are cutting standards to hit targets. Firms often manage around this by hiring for diversity and then putting diversity hires into roles where they are the least likely to damage the firm or the brand. Somewhat counterintuitively, firms with diverse founders are often highly meritocratic, as the structure harnesses the founder’s desire to make money and shields them from criticism on diversity issues.

The most notable example of a diverse meritocracy is Vista Equity Partners, the large private equity firm founded by Robert F. Smith, America’s wealthiest black man. Robert F. Smith is one of the most vocal advocates for and philanthropists to historically black U.S. colleges and universities. It would be reasonable to expect Vista to prioritize diversity over competency in its portfolio companies. However, Vista has instead been profiled for giving all portfolio company management teams the Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test and ruthlessly culling low-performers. Given the amount of value to be created by promoting the best people into leadership roles of their portfolio companies, one might imagine this to be low-hanging fruit for the rest of private equity, yet Vista is an outlier. Why Vista can apply the CCAT without a public outcry is obvious.

The other firms that tend to still focus on competency are those that are small and private. Such firms have two key advantages: they fall below the fifteen-employee threshold for the most onerous EEOC rules and the owner can usually directly observe the performance of everyone inside the organization. Within small firms, underperformance is usually obvious. Tech startups, being both small and private, would seem to have the right structure to prioritize competency.

The American System Is Cracking

Promoting diversity over competency does not simply affect new hires and promotion decisions. It also affects the people already working inside of America’s systems. Morale and competency inside U.S. organizations are declining. Those who understand that the new system makes it hard or impossible for them to advance are demoralized, affecting their performance. Even individuals poised to benefit from diversity preferences notice that better people are being passed over and the average quality of their team is declining. High performers want to be on a high-performing team. When the priorities of their organizations shift away from performance, high performers respond negatively.

This effect was likely seen in a recent paper by McDonald, Keeves, and Westphal. The paper points out that white male senior leaders reduce their engagement following the appointment of a minority CEO. While it is possible that author Ijeoma Oluo is correct, and that white men have so much unconscious bias raging inside of them that the appointment of a diverse CEO sends them into a tailspin of resentment, there is another more plausible explanation. When boards choose diverse CEOs to make a political statement, high performers who see an organization shifting away from valuing honest performance respond by disengaging.

Some demoralized employees—like James Damore in his now-famous essay, “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber”—will directly push back against pro-diversity arguments. Like James, they will be fired. Older, demoralized workers, especially those who are mere years from retirement, are unlikely to point out the decline in competency and risk it costing them their jobs. Those who have a large enough nest egg may simply retire to avoid having to deal with the indignity of having to attend another Inclusive Leadership seminar.

As older men with tacit knowledge either retire or are pushed out, the burden of maintaining America’s complex systems will fall on the young. Lower-performing young men angry at the toxic mix of affirmative action (hurting their chances of admission to a “good school”) and credentialism (limiting the “good jobs” to graduates of “good schools”) are turning their backs on college and white-collar work altogether.

This is the continuation of a trend that began over a decade ago. High-performing young men will either collaborate, coast, or downshift by leaving high-status employment altogether. Collaborators will embrace “allyship” to attempt to bolster their chances of getting promoted. Coasters realize that they need to work just slightly harder than the worst individual on their team. Their shirking is likely to go unnoticed and they are unlikely to feel enough emotional connection to the organization to raise alarm when critical mistakes are being made. The combination of new employees hired for diversity, not competence, and the declining engagement of the highly competent sets the stage for failures of increasing frequency and magnitude.

The modern U.S. is a system of systems interacting together in intricate ways. All these complex systems are simply assumed to work. In February of 2021, cold weather in Texas caused shutdowns at unwinterized natural gas power plants. The failure rippled through the systems with interlocking dependencies. As a result, 246 people died. In straightforward work, declining competency means that things happen more slowly, and products are lower quality or more expensive. In complex systems, declining competency results in catastrophic failures.

To understand why, one must understand the concept of a “normal accident.” In 1984, Charles Perrow, a Yale sociologist, published the book, Normal Accidents: Living With High-Risk Technologies. In this book, Perrow lays out the theory of normal accidents: when you have systems that are both complex and tightly coupled, catastrophic failures are unavoidable and cannot simply be designed around. In this context, a complex system is one that has many components that all need to interact in a specified way to produce the desired outcome. Complex systems often have relationships that are nonlinear and contain feedback loops. Tightly-coupled systems are those whose components need to move together precisely or in a precise sequence.

The 1979 Three Mile Island Accident was used as a case study: a relatively minor blockage of a water filter led to a cascading series of malfunctions that culminated in a partial meltdown. In A Demon of Our Own Design, author Richard Bookstaber added two key contributions to Perrow’s theory: first, that it applies to financial markets, and second, that regulation intended to fix the problem may make it worse.

The biggest shortcoming of the theory is that it takes competency as a given. The idea that competent organizations can devolve to a level where the risk of normal accidents becomes unacceptably high is barely addressed. In other words, rather than being taken as absolutes, complexity and tightness should be understood to be relative to the functionality of the people and systems that are managing them. The U.S. has embraced a novel question: what happens when the men who built the complex systems our society relies on cease contributing and are replaced by people who were chosen for reasons other than competency?

The answer is clear: catastrophic normal accidents will happen with increasing regularity. While each failure is officially seen as a separate issue to be fixed with small patches, the reality is that the whole system is seeing failures at an accelerating rate, which will lead in turn to the failure of other systems. In the case of the Camp Fire that killed 85 people, PG&E fired its CEO, filed Chapter 11, and restructured. The system’s response has been to turn off the electricity and raise wildfire insurance premiums. This has resulted in very little reflection. The more recent coronavirus pandemic was another teachable moment. What started just three years ago with a novel respiratory virus has caused a financial crisis, a bubble, soaring inflation, and now a banking crisis in rapid succession.

Patching the specific failure mode is simultaneously too slow and induces unexpected consequences. Cascading failures overwhelm the capabilities of the system to react. 20 years ago, a software bug caused a poorly-managed local outage that led to a blackout that knocked out power to 55 million people and caused 100 deaths. Utilities were able to restore power to all 55 million people in only four days. It is unclear if they could do the same today. U.S. cities would look very different if they remained without power for even two weeks, especially if other obstructions unfolded. What if emergency supplies sat on trains immobilized by fuel shortages due to the aforementioned pipeline shutdown? The preference for diversity over competency has made our system of systems dangerously fragile.

Americans living today are the inheritors of systems that created the highest standard of living in human history. Rather than protecting the competency that made those systems possible, the modern preference for diversity has attenuated meritocratic evaluation at all levels of American society. Given the damage already done to competence and morale combined with the natural exodus of baby boomers with decades worth of tacit knowledge, the biggest challenge of the coming decades might simply be maintaining the systems we have today.

The path of least resistance will be the devolution of complex systems and the reduction in the quality of life that entails. For the typical resident in a second-tier city in Mexico, Brazil, or South Africa, power outages are not uncommon, tap water is probably not safe to drink, and hospital-associated infections are common and often fatal. Absent a step change in the quality of American governance and a renewed culture of excellence, they prefigure the country’s future.

Harold Robertson is an asset class head and institutional investor at a multi-billion dollar pool of capital.