VA Administrator Massive Brain Fart

I can’t believe someone that dumb makes that much money.

It’s hitting news outlets everywhere, even on the nightly TV. Saw one quote from Disney saying they take wait times seriously, but that obscures the depth of it.

“To me personally, the day to an appointment is really not what we should be measuring, what we should be measuring is the veterans satisfaction,” he said.

To illustrate his point, he cited the long lines at Disney theme parks.

“When you go to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line or what’s important?” he said. “What’s important is: What’s your satisfaction with the experience.”

Completely missing the fact that wait time is a significant part of what is important…

It’s on CNN and Fox both ( I first saw it on Fox).

Even Russia Today has it:

But The Thing That Makes This Colossal Stupid:

Disney does measure wait times and line length. Constantly.

This is likely spilling the beans or violating some agreement or other, but… It has me steamed, even though I’ve been gone from Disney for a couple of years now.

I have been in the operations center from which all the line wait time data is gathered and sent, real time, to key operational managers. It happens all day, every day. They use the information to decide when to close admissions on any given day, and to decide how best to change operations “going forward”. So too many people waiting at Peter Pan? Not enough throughput? A manager is dispatched (via radio, no less) to go find out what’s wrong. More staffing needed? Maintenance needed?

Some facilities have hidden automatic counters. There’s an “IR Blob” counter in one major exhibit doorway. It counts “blobs in” and “blobs out” (assuming each IR signature is a person). Automatic totals show on a computer screen in the Ops center (underground somewhere… no I won’t say where… it takes a bus and a tunnel or two to get to it…) There a person is tasked with monitoring status, a computer program compares it to expectations and past history, a floor manager circulates around the people doing the traffic monitoring, and there is real time telephone and radio chatter going on.

If anything has a FUBAR, chains get yanked in real time and things happen. More (or less) tickets may be sold, parks closed to new entrants, new exhibits or rides opened, staff sent urgent “get here quick for overtime” messages, managers phone ringing, maintenance teams dispatched…

I did the Disaster Recovery Project Management work, and we had to go look at their data processing needs and facilities to have clue about how to keep it running, no matter what.

The end of day wait time and occupancy report is one of THE biggest daily metrics put in the face of management. (IFF it wasn’t already there via radio / phone / whatever).

Wait time is considered a key metric. There is a constant battle to get wait times down, while occupancy is kept high. No, they don’t always win it. When a million people all want to spend Christmas in Disney World Magic Kingdom, it is just not big enough. (Thus the opening of parks in Paris, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Singapore, etc. etc. They are building them as fast as they can).

But to assert the folks at Disney are not even looking at wait times is pig ignorant of reality and dead wrong.

A brain fart of Biblical Proportions. When you have constant monitoring real time with real time and end of day (and week and month and quarter) reporting to all levels of management, I dare say nobody has stronger metrics on wait times than Disney. Every ride, every line, all the time. (Staffing levels are set based on it, for one small example. Both next day and same day.)

I know that Corporate can’t say that kind of thing. It breaks the illusion, lifting the cover on the behind the scene beehive of work that goes into making the surface “magical”. But rest assured the V.A. Administrator is a flaming idiot with no clue how to run a ship even 1/2 as tight as Disney, and certainly has no clue how much wait time metrics data is gathered all day, every day, all around the planet; processed real time, and sent to management for actionables.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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49 Responses to VA Administrator Massive Brain Fart

  1. Oliver K. Manuel says:

    Arrogance blinds self-serving politicians to the real needs of the public. That is the message in the current presidential campaign.

  2. philjourdan says:

    Like you, the remark incensed me. But apparently not as much as it did you! Excellent rant! All I can add is an AMEN!

  3. Oliver K. Manuel says:

    Blind arrogance seeps down the “chain of command” from the “do-good” communists like Stalin or Obama to the large masses of veterans or ordinary citizens they are self-righteously trying to “save”.

    I was one on Sunday/Monday when I noticed numbness in my left arm, a possible sign of stroke. I was near the ER of a hospital and stopped to ask. The ER doctor took the symptoms seriously and recommended tests. He recommended MRI images of the head and echo images of the heart and arteries. He wanted to admit me so tests could be done Monday morning. He said “hospital protocol” demanded I spend the night so tests could be scheduled early on Monday morning.

    I relented, spent the night in the hospital, had the tests done early Monday morning and then found the doctor would not tell me the results but wanted me to stay in the hospital and wait.

    I checked myself out in the early afternoon – against doctors orders – wiser to the infectious flow of arrogance down the chain of command of bureaucrats, but without any new information on the possibility of a stroke.

  4. Larry Ledwick says:

    Heck even Walmart and common grocery stores monitor wait times (in the form of how long the check out lines are) and open new check out lanes when the lines get too long.

    I have often been checked out by the floor manager in stores as they notice lines are too long and open an extra lane for the the folks with small handfuls of items.

    Every consumer centric business does keep track of those sort of metrics (if they want to stay in business).
    That was definitely a face palm moment, which I am sure he does or will regret.

  5. Larry Ledwick says:

    @OKM Hope that turns out to be nothing! Have you tried to touch base with the doctor since you checked out? Maybe have your regular doctor contact them?

  6. Power Grab says:

    As hard as they try to “follow protocol”, mistakes are still made. You have to stay vigilant. Of course, if you’re on medication, that can be a real challenge!

    A few weeks ago I was in the hospital recovering from major surgery. One night a different nurse came in to check my vitals. While she was there, I remember her looking at the computer screen on the wall and saying she was going to go get my meds. She said she was going to get my blood pressure meds.

    I told her, “I don’t take blood pressure medication.” She stopped but didn’t respond. I said, “No one has ever told me I have high blood pressure.” I could tell that if I kept talking, she would just stay confused and try even harder to follow what she thought was correct protocol. She finally looked back at the computer and double-checked the identity of the patient whose records she was viewing against my identity, and backed off.

    I was afraid I would have to go ballistic, even though it was late and I was on pain meds. I just tried real hard to stay calm and not give her a reason to doubt my veracity.

    Fortunately, my sister was also in the room. When we discussed it later, she said that since I was challenging her on my own and doing well, she didn’t step in…but she said her attention was definitely piqued because she was UNAWARE of my needing any BP meds. (She is a medical professional, and all her life has taken pains to learn what health issues any family members had, so it’s not like she was entirely without a clue.)

    My take-away from this experience is two-fold: (1) If you can take someone with you to the hospital to “ride shotgun”, do it; and (2) if you are ever the one “riding shotgun”, educate yourself about what the patient normally takes. Do what you can to prevent mistakes.

    One of my favorite medical authorities had an article some time ago that said that medical mistakes are the #3 cause of death for Americans.

  7. Power Grab says:

    EM, I also liked this rant. :-)

    I wish I could be a fly on the wall and learn more about the metrics they use to monitor traffic at Disney.

  8. Larry Ledwick says:

    Some political commentary on this is echoing your comments that they do in fact consider wait times important. Mike Huckabee has a knack for a down home way of saying things and sums this up in just 3 bullet point items.

  9. Power Grab says:

    I’m not involved with the VA system, but it did take 5 months to get my first appointment that led to my diagnosis.

    I have never had it take so long to get an appointment for anything before! I guess we have Obamacare to thank for that?

    When I finally had my first appointment, I laughed and said, “When it took 5 months to get in to see you, I figured that either you all weren’t as worried as I was about my problem, or you don’t need my business.” The doc just sort of scowled, like it shouldn’t have taken that long.

  10. John Robertson says:

    Interestingly enough,these very same bureaucrats justify their endless pay increases and annual bonuses, because they are” worth so much more in the private sector”…except no one but a lobbyist would ever want their “services”.

  11. Oliver K. Manuel says:

    @Larry Ledwick on 24 May 2016 at 4:47 pm

    Yes, Larry I went to the office of my primary care physician, executed and signed a “release of information” form that will be faxed to the hospital. As a precaution, I personally took a copy of the signed document to the hospital’s office of medical records.

    Recently a young man with schizophrenia died in his own feces in prison, surrounded by “social workers” who tried but were turned away from mental institutions because they had no beds available for him. That would not have been surprising in the old USSR, and unfortunately it is not surprising here today.

  12. E.M.Smith says:

    @Power Grab:

    I don’t want to go into too much detail, not just for NDA or tedium reasons, but also due to a desire to preserve the On Stage Performance magic…

    But just figure that every turnstile reports clicks, in and out, plus IR sensors where they work and traditional light beams in others. Fast Pass counts, use, and issuance tracked real time too. If you ever stand up in a boat ride, even in the dark Pirates of the Caribbean, a voice tells you to sit down… security cameras being monitored… It all gets rolled up automated to screens in the ops center. Some neat code decides what issue is hottest and flags those for attention, yet human eyes scan the whole display too just to be sure.. From there you get into the usual kinds of management escalation paths and reporting.

    FWIW, my boss was the oncall Manager in charge one weekend when I was at his house. Lines at hotel desks went long (due to a new door key system hickup…) and he was online and on the phone inside 20 minutes authorizing actions (like software reboots… and comps). Protocol required rolling up to the Director level if not resolved inside something like an hour, reported in all cases… Following week was a status report to the VP level…

    On rollout of the Magic Band, wait at the main gate went long due to teething issues. At something like the one hour point (Director level IIRC) they just threw the gates open, didn’t check or debit ticket use, and let everyone there go in. Every system has a backup or two including manual issuance for things like fast passes, with the final adaptation to a bad state being a gratis opening. Figure $100 ticket x a few thousand folks at the gate, just because wait went too long… You can bet that came up in status meetings… (I had to allow for that process in the DR plan, which is why I got the report). Bottom line was Guest Experience came first, even before staff needs, management desires (forced escallation) and even ultimately gate revenue.

    Hopefully that satisfies your fly moment desires, while not breaking the Magic…

  13. E.M.Smith says:

    Oh, on the nature of stats… it’s been a long while, but IIRC, line length (sensors) and throughput (sensors, turnstiles) are compared to norms and a historical database (kept from day one of Disneyland!) via [magic sauce program] and a composite wait / performance metric displayed with problem cases flagged. A bunch of folks at monitors have real time displays for each area, real time comms to each attraction, and some ability to pull up video feeds, with manager circulating the room, site managers in each area, and Uber Managers on call tree (like that weekend thing…)

    Now, with Magic Bands, they are (have?) adding things like giving folks with a known interest, a fast pass for a different ride they like or a requested meal reservation, or offering ideas for alternative low wait attractions. It was in planning when I was there, so don’t know how much is in play now. So you could go to Peter Pan, see 500 folks, and ask for an alternative via an app like process. IFF, for example, your lunch reservation was in an hour, it might ask if you would like that moved up, or a fast pass to Small World? (Cast members with hand held Magic devices can be dispatched to the end of long lines to offer alternatives via a magic band touch to the device, your itinerary is up (if you registered it), and they can issue fast passes or change reservations… at least, that was the model… Same device is used at the main gate for when a magic band ‘has issues’ at the entry. A team leader with that hand held device comes over and “fixes it”… By now it was supposed to also be a phone App, IIRC.)

    Sometimes there isn’t much you can do (500 people decide to go on Peter Pan at the same time and it is running perfectly), others can be fixed ( stop issuing new fast passes, or reboot software, or send an added ride attendant to that ride, or add more cars, or just throw the gates open,…) But in all cases, the data are collected, analyzed, reported and assesed in real time. Problem escalation in minutes, to executive level in an hour or so.

    It really is a spectacular operation.

  14. p.g.sharrow says:

    As a disabled war Veteran, I am one of the rats caught in this maze. Felt I needed blood tests so asked to see a doctor at the local VA clinic, nearly an hour drive away. Well, you need an appointment,” we can get you in in 85 days” ok. 2 months later.” we need to reschedule” add two more weeks. 100 days total. Get in and blood is drawn. Schedule an appointment in 90 days for results and evaluation. Half a year! At the local ‘Doc in a Box” takes 20 minuets to see the doctor, half an hour for the Draw and 3 days for the test follow up.
    3 weeks ago I needed treatment for a Jaw abscess, NOW! VA clinic ” You need an appointment to see a doctor” ??????????????? I need treatment NOW! “Go to the nearest VA hospital ER” only 150 miles away… Can I ride the VA shuttle to the hospital? “NO! you must have an appointment to ride the shuttle to the Hospital”…. “Just go to a VA Hospital ER and they will treat you.”
    My lady arranged the day to transport me to and from the VA Hospital, as well as sit with me. Good thing! as I was in shock by the time we left, and could barely function. The follow up appointment and shuttle ride to the hospital got screwed up by the VA dispatcher and we sat from 5:00 to 6:00 am waiting at the clinic for the shuttle that never showed up.
    Last week I went to the “Doc in a Box” for further treatment and blood tests. You will DIE! waiting on the VA. Must be a Government Medical Health Care feature to limit costs…pg

  15. gareth says:

    E.M. – as an engineer you will I expect to be happy to talk about what you know and, if you don’t know, won’t venture an opinion. If asked about something you don’t actively know about, you’ll say “I don’t know”, maybe offer a qualified opinion.
    I’ve noticed that there are many people (generally not engineers) who will freely spew out expert advice and opinions about subjects of which they clearly know nothing, and seemingly with no understanding to their ignorance. They are not lying, they are just talking counter-factual nonsense which they (as far as they have thought about it) actually believe.
    I’ve noticed this a lot in politicians, even excluding the ones who clearly are just lying, and this might be a case in point.
    We have similar fools in the UK currently leading the charge to loose the Brexit referendum…

  16. E.M.Smith says:


    In the 1970s my Dad died in a V.A. hospital. Lung cancer after 40 years smoking…

    Care was exceptional, appointments were fast. At one point he sought a second oppinion in a private practice. THE SAME DOCTOR was there, and said he could get the same care for free at the V.A. (but another in that practice comfirmed…)

    Somewhere around the 80s, the V.A. was hobbled for political gain. It never recovered as demand grew again with recent war adventures…


    Yes, I call it keeping a tidy mind. New ideas and data must be vetted and tagged with a veracity metric and source level. Personal observation very high, “someone said” very low. Sadly, “science paper” that used to be a high rank, now gets a bit above “someone said”, but not much until I read it myself. All due to the Global Warming BS showing current “science” norms have greatest commonality with creative writing fiction. It pains me greatly to say that, as 40 years ago I ranked “science paper” above personal belief. I still venerate Newton and Einstein and such (though Freud is a crock…Jung has it more right…)

    Yes, I love saying “I don’t know” as that is where a new adventure begins…

  17. Gail Combs says:

    I would not say it is dumb but a CYA on the part of the VA Administrator.

    How many of the reading public will just nod their air-filled noggins? How many reporters will bother to ask?

    Disney’s biggest share holder Laurene Powell Jobs is an American business woman, executive and the founder of Emerson Collective, which advocates for policies concerning education and immigration reform, social justice and environmental conservation. – WIKI

    From the /thewaltdisneycompany(dot)com/about/ page
    Robert A. Iger is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company….
    Mr. Iger joined the Apple board of directors in November 2011 and became a board member of the U.S.-China Business Council in June 2011. …. In June 2010, President Barack Obama appointed him to the President’s Export Council… Mr. Iger is also a member of the Partnership for a New American Economy, a coalition of mayors and business leaders from across the United States that supports comprehensive immigration reform….

    Partnership for a New American Economy sets alarm bells ringing.

    … Consider the giant special interests clamoring for the passage of the Senate’s 2013 ‘gang of eight’ immigration bill: tech oligarchs represented by Mark Zuckerberg’s, open borders groups such as La Raza and the globalist class embodied by the billionaire-run Partnership for a New American Economy,” Sessions and Brat explain. “For these and countless other interest groups who helped write the bill, it delivered spectacularly: the tech giants would receive double the number of low-wage H-1B workers to substitute for Americans. La Raza would receive the further opening of America’s borders (while Democratic politicians gain more political power). And the billionaire lobby would receive the largest supply of visas for new low-skilled immigrants in our history, transferring wealth and bargaining power from workers to their employers.”

    In otherwords Robert A. Iger is a globalist who is friendly with Obummer therefore I do not see Disney bothering to contradict the VA admin. in print. Heck Robert A. Iger probably OKed it before hand!

    At this point, given the ownership of the US press, I consider all news stories propaganda gaslighting the US public until vetted. Just call me cynical.

  18. Gail Combs says:

    Speaking of Globalism vs Nationalism (The real fight going on in the USA) Ithough I would toss these ideas in as an alternate view to the boxes we are often forced into debates.

    the two basic philosophies of governance. All types of governments can be put into one of two simple categories and thereby clear up the fog used to manipulate us.

    The philosophy underlying our US Constitution is the state exists to protect the rights of the individual. The other, more common philosophy, is the individual exists to serve the state. Unfortunately the predators and parasites within the USA are working very hard to convert the country back into the system they prefer, that of master (them) and slave (us). This is why Benjamin Franklin emerging from Independence Hall at the close of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787 replied to a question, “A republic, madam – if you can keep it.”

    In the more common philosophy, the individual exists to serve the state. However the State isn’t some god like being it is a human or bunch of humans. The ruler and his supporters, that means the aristocracy/oligarcy/elite are the actual owners of the rest of the country including the human cattle (chattel). This is the point Marxists always gloss over when spouting Marxism. Citizens in countries where the ideology is the individual exists to serve the state have no real rights only privileges that can be removed at any time by whim of the rulers.

    This brings us to the second point. Only the aristocracy/oligarcy/elite and their bodyguards are allowed to have weapons when the citizens are slaves of the state. This is the underlying reason behind the Second Amendment. It was put in place to prevent tyranny.

    If you can not own weapons you are at the mercy of the state. Your ‘rights’ become ‘privileges’ that can be remove with little effort and therefore you are a defacto serf/slave. This means gun crimes, gun deaths and all the rest of the excuses for ‘gun control’ floated by the totalitarian enablers are nothing but a false narrative to convince citizens to disarm themselves so they become serfs of the state. An armed citizenry threatens the totalitarian nature of the Elitists plans for us. An armed citizenry would have the wherewithal to rebel; to protect itself from tyrants, despots, and elitist oligarchs who would impose a system of government not based on individuality and freedom. This is the reason why those who would enslave us target our right to bear arms and our rights of free speech and assembly. .

    Mao Zedong put it bluntly “Political Power grows out of the barrel of a gun.”

    Thomas Jefferson put it more elegantly, “When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.”

    Governments have no fear of an unarmed people and recent history has proved that time and time again.

    In 1911 Turkey Gun control was enacted. Ffrom 1915 to 1917 – 1.5 million Arminans were killed.

    China gun control was enacted in 1935, from 1948 to 1952 – 20 million killed.

    In Germany gun control was enacted in 1938 after a False Flag (Reichstag fire) and from 1935 to 1945 – 20,946,000 killed.

    Guatamala Gun Control was enacted in 1964 and from 1964 to 1981 – 100,000 Mayan Indians rounded up and killed.

    Uganda gun control was enacted in 1970 and from 1971 to 1979 – 300,000 Christians killed, final total 2 to 3 million killed.

    Cambodia gun control was enacted in 1956 and from 1975 to 1977 1 to 2 million well educated people killed.

    In the USA the worst death total for a single gunman was 32 killed – April 16, 2007 by Seung-Hui Cho. It was on a gun free campus where the teachers PREVENTED a person with a gun from interfering with the slaughter. The Progressive bedwetters while screaming about this incident, completely ignore the world total for deaths by government for the 20th century. 262,000,000 people. That is more than the entire population of the USA in 1990.

    Information from

    and Democide: DEATH BY GOVERNMENT

    I disagree with Dr Rummel on one point, he is correct Power is the problem. However Democracy alone is not the solution. Democracy is just another strawman used to control people. As Joseph Stalin said “It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.” The critical freedom is the freedom to own weapons because the power hungry have a tendency to take over governments. Without weapons in the hands of citizens to defend themselves and oust these sociopaths you WILL end up with Democide.

    If you want a US example of Democide try Waco Texas. “In 2001, Tripp told CNN Host Larry King that Hillary Clinton pressured the late Vince Foster, former deputy White House counsel, to resolve the Waco standoff problem in 1993. Former House Waco investigator T. March Bell charged that Hillary pressured Attorney General Janet Reno through Deputy Attorney General Webb Hubbell to initiate the attack on the Waco compound in 1993 that left 86 people dead, including children.” (Sorry can not find link)

  19. Gail Combs says:

    In the dig here catagory, whe I was looking into the 2nd Amnedment- keep the government honest idea I ran into this person.

    el indio atlacatl said about 3 years ago said “After gun registration comes in, confiscation is next….” giving a lot of the same info I did.

    I got curious and looked into El Indio Atlacatl. This is the meaning behind the Internet handle El Indio Atlacatl and why this Salvadorian “gets it.”

    Legend has it El Indio Atlacatl was the leader who led the Indian armies against Spanish invasion of the country.
    According to one account, when Pedro de Alvarado and his forces arrived at Atehuan (Ateos) he received a message sent to him by Atlacatl in which Atlacatl acquiesced to Alvarado’s demand for Cuzcatlán’s surrender. However, when Alvarado approached the town he found it abandoned, the Pipils all having fled to the mountainous region nearby. Alvarado sent a new demand to Atlacatl for their surrender, but instead received the answer: “if you want our arms you must come to get them from the mountains”. Alvarado’s forces launched a furious attack on the Pipil mountain stronghold in which many horses, Spaniards and their native auxiliaries were killed; Alvarado was forced to retreat from Cuzcatlán on 4 July 1524.

    Given Mexico’s Strict Gun Laws – Mexico’s gun laws are similar to those in countries like the United Kingdom and leaving the people prey to the drug cartels – perhaps Trump should emphasize his stand on the 2nd Amendment and compare it to the Progressive gun confiscation stand.

  20. gallopingcamel says:

    Pedro de Alvarado was a hothead and a pain in the butt in the eyes of Hernan Cortes who sent him south in the hope that he would get himself killed. Instead he founded what we now call Guatemala.

    I am full of this kind of useless information. Taking it to the next level you don’t come across many blonde Spaniards but Pedro was one.

    With regard to gun laws the USA has a very low incidence of death by firearm except in those places where guns are banned. When you know your neighbor may be packing it makes for more politeness and less aggression:

    For an international perspective I recommend Bill Whittle’s video:

  21. Sera says:

    I’m trying to think of businesses that don’t care about wait times, and all that I can come up with are: DMV, TSA, city clerks- basically just government offices. So this guy is perfect for his job.

    What was the question?

  22. gallopingcamel says:

    IMHO the world needs more guns and more (small) nuclear reactors. Guns are a hedge against tyranny.

    I was born in Pembrokeshire (UK) and lived on a farm that lacked electricity or piped water but my family owned lots of guns including:
    – 0.410″ pistol for killing rats
    – BSA (Birmingham Small Arms) 0.22″ bolt action rifle (this one was mine at age 16)
    – Winchester pump action 0.22″ rifle. Decorated with ornate etchings but quite heavy
    – 0.303″ hunting rifle with a “scope”
    – 10 gauge shotgun
    – several 12 gauge shotguns
    – 50 pounds of dynamite
    – No handguns

    We kept the guns in a locked cupboard and the dynamite in an outhouse.

    If we commit to building at least one small NPP (Nuclear Power Plant) per day we could bring cheap electric power to every dusty hamlet in the third world within 30 years. The USA would benefit too as small nuclear power plants can easily be designed to survive an EMP attack.

  23. gallopingcamel says:

    Gail Combs says: 25 May 2016 at 1:40 am ‘

    Amen! Your analysis shows why our comfortable political system and high quality of life will decline. Our children will curse us when they find they are we loaded with debts they can’t repay.

  24. Power Grab says:

    @ EM,

    Thanks for the overview of the stats and such. I assume that, in addition to the raw counts of people moving through the facilities, they also track incidents such as who went ballistic or melted down, and where (and why?)…

  25. Gail Combs says:

    gallopingcamel says @ 25 May 2016 at 3:53 am

    Thanks for the info on Pedro de Alvarado. I find that learning history at this late stage in my life is a lot more interesting and I do not come to the information with a lot of deliberate Disinfo from the government propaganda machine.

    I am very well aware that once you take the gun ban cities out of the equation, the USA has a very low death rate. I just wanted to get off that narrative and onto the real reason for the 2nd Amnendment, making the government FEAR the people.

    The Bonus Army marched on Washington after WWI demanding their ‘bonus pay’ Hoover decided to send Douglas MacArthur with, cavalry, infantry, and six tanks. The army fired on them, then burned their camp. “Two babies died and nearby hospitals overwhelmed with casualties. Eisenhower later wrote, “the whole scene was pitiful. The veterans were ragged, ill-fed, and felt themselves badly abused. To suddenly see the whole encampment going up in flames just added to the pity.”

    FDR being more clever that Hoover set up ‘work camps’ “at sea level in the Florida Keys before the 1935 hurricane season with poor provisions and no plan of retreat or rescue.” At least 256 vets died by government ‘bungling’

    Death by Public Works
    Almost all historians who write on the New Deal praise Franklin Roosevelt for using government
    to “solve” economic problems. Often, however, these historians only tell part of the story. One example is Roosevelt’s vast public-works program. Here most historians wax eloquent…

    What the historians omit are the high taxes levied for these projects, the sometimes inept construction, CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) and FERA camps and the behind-the-scenes politics where votes were traded to bring projects to the districts of powerful congressmen…

  26. gallopingcamel says:

    The government does not fear the people. Not so long ago the IRS feared Jesse Helms but today bureaucrats like Lerner and Koskinen don’t even fear Congress.

    Koskinen was too busy to show up for a congressional hearing. If you or I tried that we would be in jail.

  27. Jason Calley says:

    Just a quick side track from the topic in response to Gail’s comment: “If you can not own weapons you are at the mercy of the state.”

    Why do The Powers That Be want to disarm the public? Because they wish to do something which they cannot do if citizens are armed.

  28. Gail Combs says:

    Jason, you are correct. There is a threshold of pain. If you are flouting laws but the general public does not notice the pain. Nothing happens. (The reason for Fractional Reserve Banking and wage devaluation.) However when you start dragging protesters out of their houses and disappearing them by the thousands and you start running people off their land, you wake the Sleeping Giant.

  29. omanuel says:

    Thanks, Gail.

    May recent events awaken the public to the reality that is indelibly recorded in exact rest masses of the 3,000 atoms that compromise all matter:

    FEAR OF NUCLEAR ANNIHILATION frightened world leaders into uniting nations and national academies of sciences on 24 OCT 1945 to hide from the public Paul Kazuo Kuroda’s discovery while standing in the ruins of Hiroshima in AUG 1945:

    The destruction of Hiroshima on 6 AUG 1945 was just like the beginning of the world five billion years (5 Ga) earlier !

    For the past seventy years (1946-2016) public research funds have been used to build fictious consensus in the scientific community for

    1. The Standard Solar Model
    2. The Standard Climate Model
    3. The Standard Nuclear Model, and
    4. The Standard Model of Big Bang Cosmology

  30. Gail Combs says:

    This circus is getting violent. It is getting ugly. Protesters not only tossed bottles at a guy in a wheelchair, shot through a window where building occupants were looking out, they also knocked a horse down with a large rock

    And this is done by a group of ‘protestors’ organized at a CHURCH!!!

    University Heights United Methodist Church
    2210 Silver Ave SE

    Albuquerque NM 87106
    (505) 266-2525

    Police response? They arrested ONE person despite the Anti-occupy law HR 347

    Restricted building or grounds
    (4)knowingly engages in any act of physical violence against any person or property in any restricted building or grounds;
    (1)the term restricted buildings or grounds means any posted, cordoned off, or otherwise restricted area—
    (B)of a building or grounds where the President or other person protected by the Secret Service is or will be temporarily visiting;
    (2)the term other person protected by the Secret Service means any person whom the United States Secret Service is authorized to protect under section 3056 of this title or by Presidential memorandum, when such person has not declined such protection.

    The punishment for a violation of subsection (a) is—
    (1)a fine under this title or imprisonment for not more than 10 years, or both, if—
    (A)the person, during and in relation to the offense, uses or carries a deadly or dangerous weapon or firearm; or
    (B)the offense results in significant bodily injury as defined by section 2118(e)(3); and
    (2)a fine under this title or imprisonment for not more than one year, or both, in any other case….

    If this was Hitlery there would be a lot of people in jail without bond.

  31. omanuel says:

    Thanks, Gail, for showing posters advocating violence.

    Yes, it getting violent as the politically powerful try to overwhelm reality with “consensus scientific conclusions” that they glued together with public research grants and awards.

    Ultimately truth will once again be victorious, but false pride and blind arrogance have always been powerful opponents of truth.

  32. E.M.Smith says:


    Per Disney and visas…

    Do note that many of the folks I worked with at Disney got layoff notices shortly after my contract ended. This, then, hit the news (see the Orlando Sentinel for details…) as many were required to train their replacements provided by a contract company from India that specializes is hauling in H1b visa folks to replace “expensive” US workers… As the news exploded, some of the pending layoffs were rescinded, but hundreds were already a done deal. (Many meet at a local bar from time to time along with some of the ‘survivors’… )

    As many times I’ve lost out to H1b folks, I’m not fond of the process of giving away what good paying jobs there were in America to foreign nationals. ( I actively discouraged my son, honors math…, from going into I.T. due to the H1b situation. More h1b means lower US trained supply

    Yes, Disney want’s as many as they can get. Can’t fault them for that, but can fault the government for giving them…

    Per Gov’t Forms:

    I use a similar simple 2 way divide. Central Authority (be it kings, queens, and princelings, or Central Party Commissar, or Emperor / Empress, or President For Life, or The Peoples Democratic Republic of Foo with central authority) vs Distributed Authority (the classical US pre-FDR more or less, and most any real capitalistic system with really free markets like Hong Kong pre China absorption).

    Per weapons:

    The mental fraud of “gun control” is the idea that you can limit use of weapons. This has been tried throughout history and regularly fails. Japan banned weapons possession of any kind by the peasants. The result was Okinawan Karate and the nun-chuck and side-handle baton. The nun-chuck was a rice flail and the side handle baton, the crank handle from the well… Many of the traditional “weapons” of Karate are non-weapons re-purposed.. Today, in The Peoples Republic of Kalifornia, the nun-chuck is illegal to posses unless you are enrolled in a Karate school, clearly completely missing the point… I have a Machete that often lives in my car… In Kalifornia, having a large knife of similar ‘weapon’ in your car is a crime, but case law established the Machete as a “yard care implement”, so legal… Mine has plenty of bamboo stains on it, and is used when camping, so “legal”… Go figure… (HOWEVER, driving with it into Chicago will get you a trip to the hoosegow… so there, substitute a long handled hammer and bag of nails… wood optional…

    Just the notion that you can restrict “weapons” is simply crazy. ANYTHING can become a weapon in the hands of someone with clue. A bit of wire and two sticks, a garrote. Shoelaces a nice strangle. (Similarly any power cord or extension cord) Screwdriver a dagger. Icepick, a dagger, Awl a dagger, etc etc. And don’t even get me started on the fact that Battle Hammers were the preferred weapon, not swords, on most European Battlefields. ( 2 lb, about 2 foot handle is best, but in smaller hands, a 1 lb framing hammer is a force to be feared. Claws worse….) Between “pointy thing”, sharp things ( I have a good substitute for the Roman Short Sword in my kitchen butcher block…), long and stringy things, and ‘rock on a stick’ things like axes, hammers, etc. etc. I have somewhere north of a few dozen major league weapons inside 50 feet of me as I type. All just a minor ‘re-purpose’ away. In the car, I typically have a short (Mercedes has this cute 9 inch long one) tire iron and a large screwdriver in my glove box. Dirk and club if needed. The screwdriver is actually for adjusting the points, that need it often in the old Banana Boat, and I’ve changed more flats than I care to think about with the tire iron… but I know they could be used otherwise if ever needed. The spouse has some 2 foot long metal knitting needles I’d not want to meet in a dark hallway… yes, mostly used for knitting… Oh, and looking about, I just noticed the rock pestle of my mortar and pestle on the corner of the desk. Bang it handle end first into a skull, it will produce a nice 1/2 inch hole and bone embedded in brain… Then there’s the old standby “beer bottle broken on bar”…

    I won’t even mention the creative use of chemistry and the coffee pot… (Prior to guns, the preferred method of ‘dispatch’ especially by women was via poison. That is why use of poisons is often a penalty enhancement at trial… to discourage the women from using non-strength dependent means to deal with an unpleasant marriage situation… )

  33. Gail Combs says:

    E.M. Because Boston has nasty gunlaws, my tool of choice kept next to my seat in the car was a rapell rack binered to a nice three foot nylon webbing seat sling. Then there is the sharpened hoof pick in my purse and my ring made of a horse shoe nail (good for telling a pushy horse to GET OVER!)

    14 inch rack


    Even so the guns and actually ANY weapons in the hands of civilians are useful to keep the elite in their place. Afganistan with weapons plus mountains has defeated both the USSR and the USA.

    Homeland Security has been very buzy placing military hardware in the hands of the local police. With Trump we are now finding the Police, Border Patrol and many of the military are NOT siding with the Progressives. Instead they are siding with middle class America and nationalism —-OOOPS.

  34. E.M.Smith says:

    @Power Grab:

    Not at the ops center. Any “incidents” are dealt with by cast members and in-park management with their own reporting chain. It doesn’t change staffing or openings or fast passes or, really, anything “operational”, so not an ops center thing.

  35. Sera says:

    @ Gail:

    All of the women at our stables carry a hoof pick in their handbags. None of them are stupid.

    So, there you go.

  36. Jason Calley says:

    Hey Gail! “Even so the guns and actually ANY weapons in the hands of civilians are useful to keep the elite in their place.”

    Yes, absolutely. I am amazed at how little imagination some people have. I had a gun-control enthusiast once tell me that the Second Amendment was useless against governmental over-reach. “Well, you aren’t going to stop an army tank with a deer rifle!”

    I won’t even tell you my response, because anyone who THINKS can find several ways to use a deer rifle to restrict tank usage.

  37. cdquarles says:

    @ Jason,

    Well now, no wonder some want people to not understand chemistry and just be frightened by the word. As if their bodies aren’t chemical in nature.

  38. Gail Combs says:


    No wonder the US government is working hard to get rid of farmers….

  39. cdquarles says:

    He he he. Why is it that I know that those pesky Southerners and many Mid-westerners, for the most part, would survive when the Urban Not-so-Elite-but-think-they-are’s won’t. Big cities cannot survive without trade. The smarties don’t like personal transportation, so getting those folk out fast can’t happen. If you thought NO was bad, remember that the outlying areas east of there didn’t have the issues that NO did, even though those areas suffered greater physical damage. Now imagine NYC in the same boat.

  40. Larry Ledwick says:

    That is the one thing that gives me comfort, about the current screwed up mess, the folks most responsible for creating the mess will be those least likely to cope with it well, in a social collapse situation. They will most likely suffer the greatest discomfort and probably face the brunt of social break down in their beloved high density core cities. After skillfully stripping that whole population of all useful survival skills and making them dependent on an outside sugar daddy (Govt) who will not be there to help them through the crisis.

    At an instinctive level the K type personalities will be most likely to retain skills and tools necessary to ride out such an emergency. I just finished reading Ted Kopple’s book “Lights Out”. He provides a sane examination of how vulnerable the core cities are if key services like water, power and sewage are interrupted.

  41. Oliver K. Manuel says:


    Rather than social collapse, President Trump needs to take control of US policy away from the US National Academy of Sciences.

  42. E.M.Smith says:


    I have an interesting book title “Outdoor Survival Skills” by Larry Dean Olson ,IIRC.

    What make it interesting is the mind set. He starts from the proposition that stone age people lived all over, so it is just a matter of matching the right skills to the resources that are everywhere… so learn stone age tech… He taught classes at a college (again IIRC) where the final had students dropped barefoot in the desert… they had to make it some number of miles to the pickup. So weave sandles from yucca leaves (and a hat for folks like me :-) and identify cactus water sources (once identified they were issued that much water, as killing the cactus takes 100 years to replace it…). Ditto making spears, bows, rock hammers, etc.

    After that book I gradually removed things from my preparedness packs, as they became unneccesary… added more things usefull to a caveman… So spool of kevlar 100 lb fishing line as cordage, lose the candles… Look at what Utze, the Ice Man carried, that’s the kit you really need… Fire starter, cordage, knife (or rock napping skills), bow, arrows, leather working awl, needles… good coat & boots… I include a plant identification guide. I’ve pointed out to family that most of the roadside “weeds” around here are either wild oats, wild radish, wild barley, or wild mustard… Yeah, lousy bulk calories due to life cycle (radish stems late in season… not crunchy roots), seeds that shatter (hard to pick off the ground one by one), tiny seed size compared to farmed, or rough flavor (HOT wild mustards). BUT, in a real AwShit, all those plant parts are edible even if low nutrient low palatable. I’d rather be full and unhappy than starving and picky…

    I’d wager not one in a thousand around me knows what those “weeds” are… or that radish seeds are edible too… and the greens can be cooked, though the texture is a bit rough, or how to make nopales from cactus, or …

  43. Larry Ledwick says:

    Interesting that we have another intersection of self guided research. A while back I came to the same conclusion and did a little research on the early prehistoric skills that allowed man to expand out of subtropical climates and become a dominant species.

    My view point was to look at the skills in the approximate order in which the appeared in history.
    Fire as a tool/ skill was accomplished somewhere between 400K and 125K BCE, probably earlier if accidental harvesting of naturally created fire is included.

    The first identifiable intentional tools in the record are clubs (antelope thigh bone) and a saw (lower jaw bone fragment), in our prehuman phase (Australopithecus africanus) some where in the range of 2 – 3 million years ago.

    Flint arranged for Ardrey to investigate claims made by Raymond Dart about a specimen of Australopithecus africanus.

    Ardrey met Dart in South Africa and examined his evidence. Particularly, Dart had amassed a sample of 5000 fossils from the Makapan cave. Among the fossils bones that could be used as tools—the lower jaw bones of small gazelles, which could be used as cutting tools, and the humerus of antelope, which could be used as clubs—were overrepresented by a factor of ten. This led Dart to theorize that in australopithecenes—man’s direct ancestors—the use of weapons evolutionarily predated the development of large brains. Ardrey wrote an article about Dart’s theory for The Reporter. After receiving significant attention it was reprinted in Science Digest and led to The Smithsonian Institution contacting Dart.

    This trip would serve as the beginning of Ardrey’s renewed interest in the human sciences and the initiation of his groundbreaking work in paleoanthropology.

    On that basis, lethal weapons (the club) and a cutting tool, (gazel lower jaw saw) followed by early crude stone flake weapons predated controlled use of fire by a couple million years.

    So on that basis, your “Oldowan toolkit” or “Acheulean toolkit” should start with a striking weapon (club) and a cutting weapon (knife) and crude ax – all of which date back about 2 million years ago at least, then from that the ability to create fire provides the ability to move out into less ideal climate areas. If you have those two – three tools and the skill to start and use fire, you can boot strap yourself back to a modern human. Next in importance was the introduction of ballistic weapons, (throwing sticks, bolo ( ), boomerang, atlatl, spear and the bow and arrow all of which can be built if you have the first tools.

    Everything else can be made directly or indirectly from those 4 tools and skills.

    Years ago Bradford Angier published outdoors survival skills long before it was as popular as it is today. In his book “How to Stay Alive in the Woods” he talks about the real world skills used by Hudson Bay trappers and the tools they used. In that book he comments that if he had to choose only one item of his kit to keep, and abandon all the rest, he would choose a 3/4 length ax. Interestingly it can be used for all three of those primitive tools, club, knife and ax.

    My everyday carry gear I always have on me, includes a small folding pocket knife, a 3″ lock blade knife and a zippo lighter. In each of my cars I have a 3/4 length Eastwing Camping ax and a small folding saw and a folding GI style shovel. With that gear I can survive almost anywhere with just a little bit of luck.

  44. Larry Ledwick says:

    Look at what Utze, the Ice Man carried, that’s the kit you really need… Fire starter, cordage, knife (or rock napping skills), bow, arrows, leather working awl, needles… good coat & boots…

    Interesting you mentioned that I forgot one other piece of gear that is in my wallet.

    In a small plastic zip lock bag (1.5 x 2.75 inches) I have the following
    A small diamond stone (3/4″ x 2 5/8″ by 1/8″ thick)
    2 (2″ concrete nails sharpened to a needle point with a grind stone — Utze’s awl)
    A small hank of waxed linen heavy duty thread like used in leather work (about 6′)
    and a stripped down book matches consisting of only one layer of matches and the striker
    a two single edge razor blades placed so their edges are not exposed and taped together, wrapped with a strip of paper (fire starter assist).

    Apparently I am a 21’st century cave man.

  45. E.M.Smith says:

    For a very long time I had an exacto knife blade in a hidden pocket in my wallet. Only about 1 inch long. After realizing it was still on me while in my airplane seat once, I removed it to the car kit permanently. I usually have a disposable butane lighter as even if the gas runs out, it is striker and flint… Smaller than a zippo… but I still want a zippo :-)

    The car kit has hammer (club) and machete (quasi axe). Backpack has a pocket knife or two.. Guess I’m a modern cave man too 8-{)>

  46. p.g.sharrow says:

    I think I would start a little higher up on the food chain. ;-) as a mountain-man or tool maker.
    I live in a semi-dug out stone and timber cabin in the woods, shape wood, metals and stone for my needs as well as those of my neighbors. Also, grow, cook and brew some of our sustenance. Shop full of tools and a junk yard of unrecognized treasures for materials ;-) Lol !

  47. Larry Ledwick says:

    Since we have gone down this rabbit hole (maybe a specific thread on pocket survival stuff ?) your comment about the butane lighter striker, reminded me of this nifty little item. I bought one a while back and had not had time to fiddle with it, so spent some time playing with it this morning.

    It is only about an inch long, not shown in the listing it comes with a small plastic snap top vial which holds the striker, 3 extra flints and a small instruction sheet. The vial is 15mm dia, and 50 mm long.
    I wrap the flints in a bit of aluminum foil so they are less likely to get lost accidentally (drop them in forest duff and you would never find them), I put a large paper clip in the tube with a tuft of dryer lint in the bottom. (paper clip works as a tool to get the dryer lint out of the tube) push the striker in alongside the paper clip and put a small bit of dryer lint in the top.
    Makes a small reliable fire kit that is so small you can forget you have it in your pocket (about the size of a pair of nail clippers).

    It is a bit tricky to hold the striker (works best using two hands for me) but it will reliably catch the dryer lint on fire with a single strike. Fine steelwool (0000) or charred denim would also work well as a tinder.

    Speaking of Otzi the Iceman’s gear, here is a video with a demo of a recreation of a primitive fire kit.
    I have started fire with flint and steel many times but it is a bit difficult to find a good flint and steel unless you hang out with the black powder shooting crowd. This uses all natural sources. I have never tried using iron pyrite but can see it would work (although the spark is weak compared to other materials.)

  48. Oliver K Manuel says:


    You are one of few that retained any sanity on this post-WWII “ship of fools!”

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