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Category: Robert Farley

How to Destroy an Organization from Within

[ 155 ] February 11, 2016 |
"SABOTAGE CAN OUTWEIGH PRODUCTION - NARA - 515321" by Unknown or not provided - U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons -

U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.

These suggestions for industrial and organizational sabotage are basically just a description of academic life, not to mention LGM board meetings:

  • Insist on doing everything through “channels.” Never permit short-cuts to be taken in order to expedite decisions.
  • Make “speeches.” Talk as frequently as possible and at great length. Illustrate your “points” by long anecdotes and accounts of personal experiences.
  • When possible, refer all matters to committees, for “further study and consideration.” Attempt to make the committee as large as possible — never less than five.
  • Bring up irrelevant issues as frequently as possible.
  • Haggle over precise wordings of communications, minutes, resolutions.
  • Refer back to matters decided upon at the last meeting and attempt to re-open the question of the advisability of that decision.
  • Advocate “caution.” Be “reasonable” and urge your fellow-conferees to be “reasonable”and avoid haste which might result in embarrassments or difficulties later on.
  • In making work assignments, always sign out the unimportant jobs first. See that important jobs are assigned to inefficient workers.
  • Insist on perfect work in relatively unimportant products; send back for refinishing those which have the least flaw.
  • To lower morale and with it, production, be pleasant to inefficient workers; give them undeserved promotions.
  • Hold conferences when there is more critical work to be done.
  • Multiply the procedures and clearances involved in issuing instructions, pay checks, and so on. See that three people have to approve everything where one would do.
  • Work slowly.
  • Contrive as many interruptions to your work as you can.
  • Do your work poorly and blame it on bad tools, machinery, or equipment. Complain that these things are preventing you from doing your job right.
  • Never pass on your skill and experience to a new or less skillful worker.

Do Not Underestimate the Power of Grounded

[ 19 ] February 10, 2016 |

Lemieux discounts the Grounded Factor in the end of the Christie campaign:

Inquiries to the Sanders campaign regarding its position on the future of the US Air Force have not yet received an answer. Let me be clear, Bernie; there’s only one way to avoid the grim fate of Chris Christie.

The Future! Of the Future!

[ 4 ] February 10, 2016 |

psc49_1S_CoverPolitical Science and Politics has collected a set of articles on the professional future of the discipline, including my own.  The rest of the author list includes:

Kent Worcester
Robert Keohane
Gary King
Jeffrey Isaac
Robert Maranto and Matthew Woessner
Jeffrey Knopf
Beth Miller, Jon Pevehouse, Ron Rogowski, Dustin Tingley, and Rick Wilson
Timothy Rich
Beth Leech
Roselyn Hsueh, Francesca Refsum Jensenius, and Akasemi Newsome
Suzanne Scoggins
Vasundhara Sirnate
Francesca Refsum Jensenius
Christopher Chambers-Ju
Akasemi Newsome
Jody LaPorte
John Sides
David Niven
Kim Quaile Hill and Rebekah Myers
James C. Garand, Micheal W. Giles, André Blais, and Iain McLean
Marijke Breuning and Kathryn Sanders
David L. Leal
Michelle Boyd


[ 30 ] February 9, 2016 |
Captured T-62 tank.jpg

By Marchrius – Own work, Public Domain,

My latest at the National Interest takes a look at the 1969 Sino-Soviet border crisis:

Seven years later, in March 1969, a contingent of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers raided a Soviet border outpost on Zhenbao Island, killing dozens and injuring scores. The incident brought Russia and China to the brink of war, a conflict that might have led to the use of nuclear weapons. But after two weeks of clashes, the conflict trailed off.

What if the brief 1969 conflict between China and the Soviet Union had escalated?


Nukes at Sea

[ 5 ] February 8, 2016 |
USS Belknap collision damage.jpg

“USS Belknap collision damage” by Official US Navy photo. –  Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.

My latest at the Diplomat looks at some of the good work on nukes coming out of FAS:

The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) has published declassified documents on the disposition of U.S. nuclear weapons at sea during the Cold War, detailing the extensive preparations that the U.S. Navy (USN) took to fight a nuclear war at sea.

The afloat nuclear arsenal included a wide array of weapons, including carrier-borne nuclear gravity bombs and nuclear depth bombs, nuclear-armed torpedoes, nuclear-armed anti-submarine missiles, nuclear land attack cruise missiles, and, of course, submarine launched ballistic missiles. Carriers, surface warships, and submarines each carried an array of weapons, designed for either tactical or strategic purposes.

Christie Crashes, Burns

[ 47 ] February 8, 2016 |

Brewster F2A-3 g16055.jpg

Chris Christie just missed his last, best chance to win New Hampshire:

Oil! Black Gold! Scottish Tea!

[ 86 ] February 5, 2016 |
Oil platform in the North Sea.jpg

“Oil platform in the North Sea”. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.

You cannot build socialism on a giant pool of hydrocarbons, Scotland edition:

If an independence referendum ends in a vote to leave, subsequent negotiations can take some time – so Alex Salmond was keen to make sure that, in Scotland’s case, talks would not drag on too long. He set March 24 2016 as Scotland’s Independence Day. History does not record, alas, what celebrations he planned – but we do know what kind of a future he promised. More generous pensions, a fairer education system, protection from welfare cuts – all bankrolled by huge oil revenues which the SNP expected to come flooding in from the North Sea. Now all that has changed, and changed utterly.

Just as the discovery of North Sea oil transformed the prospects for Scottish nationalism in the 1970s, so the collapse of the oil price has destroyed its economic rationale today. America has mastered fracking and doesn’t need to import much oil now; this has helped depress the price of a barrel from $110 to $30. Such prices mean less North Sea tax revenue, but the average motorist is also spending about £30 a month less at the pumps. For the UK, the stimulus from cheap petrol generally balances out the effect of lower North Sea receipts: a country of 60 million can absorb such shocks. A separate Scotland could not.

Had the referendum gone the other way, Salmond would be preparing his first Budget by now. In all likelihood he would be in a state of blind panic. His White Paper on independence envisaged Scotland enjoying almost £8 billion a year in oil revenue by this stage. But that was before the crash. The forecast today is just £100 million, some 99 per cent less than the SNP imagined. So the first question a newly-independent Scotland would have to answer is how on earth to fill the £7.9 billion black hole.

But hey, throw some of that oil together with reactionary nationalism, and you’ll have a stew that will be sure to get the neoliberals hopping mad! And that’s worth it, right?

The Beautiful Dream…

[ 108 ] February 3, 2016 |
Rand Paul, official portrait, 112th Congress alternate.jpg

“Rand Paul, official portrait, 112th Congress” by United States Senate – Office of United States Senator Rand Paul. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons

…has to come to an end.

Rand Paul, who had hoped to ride libertarian support to the Republican presidential nomination, is withdrawing from the race after a fifth-place showing in Iowa.

“It’s been an incredible honor to run a principled campaign for the White House. Today, I will end where I began, ready and willing to fight for the cause of Liberty,” he said in a campaign statement.

While he entered the race on a wave of publicity, Paul could not even build the kind of support that fueled the candidacies of his father, Ron Paul.

His otherwise noxious politics aside, I had some hope that Paul’s presence in the GOP primary would drive a more diverse conversation on foreign policy than what we’ve seen. Turns out that he couldn’t even muster his father’s coalition, which I’m guessing now finds itself mostly in the Trump column. In related news, Lexington mayor Jim Gray will run against Paul in the fall, which gives us a little bit of hope.

China Wants an Ocean?

[ 4 ] February 2, 2016 |
Type 052C destroyer (Luyang II-class).JPG

“CNS Haikou (DDG-171) in Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise 2014” by U.S Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Manda M. Emery – Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.

My latest at the Diplomat takes a look at a new report on the future of the Chinese navy:

Perhaps most interesting, the report identifies several key caveats that underlie China’s effort to build a world-class navy. These include the health of long-term collaboration with Russia, the ability of the Chinese national innovation system to deliver advanced technology, the overall health of the Chinese economy, and the ability of the Chinese Communist Party and the PLAN to work well with one another. Of these, the first and the third pose the greatest concern; significant economic problems could severely crimp China’s effort at naval expansion, and a deterioration (for whatever reason) of relations with Russia would leave China in a very, very lonely place.

GOP Iowa Open Thread

[ 243 ] February 1, 2016 |

Trump!  Cruz! Rubio!  Carson?!?

Apocalypse vasnetsov.jpg

“Apocalypse vasnetsov” by Viktor M. Vasnetsov – Licensed under Public Domain via Commons

This shall serve as an open thread for discussion of the GOP side of the 2016 Iowa Caucuses. If you want to talk Clinton/Sanders/O’Malley, hit the other thread.

Democratic Iowa Open Thread

[ 240 ] February 1, 2016 |

Bernie!  Hillary!  That other guy!

Barclay barn 1875.jpg

“Barclay barn 1875” by Alfred Andreas – Illustrated Historical Atlas of the State of Iowa.. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.

This shall serve as an open thread for the Democratic half of the 2016 Iowa Caucuses.  If you want to talk GOP, hit the other thread.

Iowa: The LGM Plan

[ 71 ] February 1, 2016 |


This evening at about 6:30pm EST, LGM will suspend normal posting activity in favor of two open threads (one Democratic, one Republican) on the Iowa Caucuses. Between 6:30pm and roughly midnight, new front-page activity will appear below those two pinned posts. Ideally, commentary on the Democratic primary will remain on the Democratic post, etc.

This would also be a great time to follow the LGM peeps on twitter…

Thank you,

The Management

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