Normandy

A view of the commemorative window in the cathedral at St. Mere-Eglise, France honoring the Airborn units that landed and freed the city on D-Day.

I wish I were back again this year. It is humbling to meet those still alive who survived, and an honor to tell a small part of their tales. It is fascinating and awe inspiring to explore all the fortifications that are still there, and illuminating to visit all the museums. It is a pleasure to talk with the locals, who are still very grateful to Americans and other allies for, as one lady put it, “our freedom.”

A view from inside a German gun emplacement at Omaha Beach, Normandy, France
Looking out over a marker describing the Mulberry artificial piers/harbor used at Omaha Beach, Normandy, France
The remains of ships and the supply system sunk just off the coast
What it looked like then
My Battlemug at Utah beach, just after sunrise
One of the old German bunkers converted into a home. You see this a lot as they were massive and destroying them is expensive and could do extensive damage to the surrounding area.
A tribute to Danish forces
These guns survived bombs and heavy shelling. Of the four, only one was destroyed by a lucky shot that got through as the magazine doors were open.
The statue of Major Richard Winters of Band of Brothers fame
The destroyed gun
A British survivor I interviewed (should still be up at Blackfive) who also survived one of the bloodiest battles of the campaign
Another converted bunker
A survivor of Utah Beach, with his daughter atop Pointe du Hoc. As he and I walked together, he looked around and said “I guess we didn’t have it so bad after all.”
At Juno Beach
La Flambe
Sunrise at Omaha Beach, our flag flanked by the new Les Braves and the old memorial
Inside the German command post at Quistreham
Outside the German command post at Ouistreham
Pegasus Bridge

There are lots more, thinking I need to do a new book…

Would Love More Eyes

Sorry for the lack of posting, but things have been interesting. I’m afraid we do live in interesting times, and the Chinese curse is a real thing. And I’m not just talking about the Chinese Flu/Winnie The Flu.

In this post on Iran, I mentioned that there were a number of sites where the data is making odd and interesting swirls and flows. All of them are tied to the Chinese government, which right now is desperate. Almost all of their recent actions reek of desperation, not strength.

If anyone is interested and willing, here are the areas I’m trying to monitor as much as I can, but can’t do as much as I would like. There are some other areas, but right now they are still small.

Iran I’ve talked about a bit, but beyond the obvious there are several oddities in the South China Sea. Malaysia and Vietnam both seem to be at stronger than normal odds with China, and China is very unhappy with Vietnam in turn. Net result, several oddities in the South China Sea outside of the obvious. Some of them literally in the waters off Vietnam and Malaysia. The obvious continues to be the expansion, but also consider that China is also apparently trying to create a shooting incident with the U.S. (and others).

The Caribbean is another area to watch. There are odd naval movements and sweeps, from the U.S. and others. A lot of the data oddities involve Venezuela (and Cuba), and keep in mind that Venezuela is hand-in-glove with both Iran and China. There is also extensive Chinese influence in Cuba, more than either will admit. Some of the data oddities seem to be headed up and across to Mexico. If it is just smuggling, what is it that is being smuggled?

The Mexican border is the final one for now. Why were Mexican drug cartels smuggling Chinese nationals across the border? What else were they smuggling? Drugs are obvious (if you don’t know why, might want to check where a lot of the fentanyl in the U.S. comes from), but what else? Why does whatever is going on seem to be tied to Venezuela? Why the warnings from Trump to the drug cartels and others?

There are a couple of areas that could clear up or could get worse. Right now, these seem to be the key. Any eyes on them would be appreciated.

The Burning Of Uncle Hugo’s And Uncle Edgar’s

For anyone thinking it was random, it might be wise to think again. There has been intel for a while that certain organizations were developing lists of targets for some degree of wrongthink on the part of the target. Uncle Hugo’s has always promoted good works rather than the right politics — if it was good work, it got promoted and sold even if it wasn’t woke. The question has occurred to me if this was random or not. Right now, leaning towards not.

For anyone wanting to help, here’s the GoFundMe for the stores.

Some Quick Thoughts On Iran

Looking around the world, there are some potentially interesting ebbs and flows in data in various regions. Interestingly enough, all of them have ties to China. I’m leaving out The Hermit Kingdom, as the black hole that is still semi-operational has a lot to do with internal, and there seems to be some confirmation that it may have indeed been an effort to see who was disloyal and/or who the rest of the world sees as replacing him. In the past, those speculated upon usually met grim fates, remains to be seen what happens this time.

I’m going to start looking at some of these interesting places with odd data by focusing a bit on Iran. The mullahs are hanging on, though it may well be by the fingernails. The economy is shattered, COVID has run rampant, and they have so far not been successful in their effort to force the return of the Hidden Imam.

Many in the West, particularly politicians, fail to grasp how important that last fact is to the mullahs. It is both a case of mores, the cultural blinders we all wear though some seem to never take them off, and of a mindset that equates religion with superstition. For progressive and related belief systems, religion is foolish and something to which only lip service should be paid because it is important to the stupid proles. For them, their mores don’t allow them to consider that the mullahs, and many others, take it very seriously and aren’t simply using religion to gain temporary power.

The fact is, the mullahs and those who support them see the power they now have as temporary. The solution lies in past prophecies that state when the Hidden Imam/13th Imam returns, their power will not only be greater, but permanent as his return will usher in a golden age of a world-wide caliphate. Yes, that’s a simplistic statement of the view, but it is accurate for this discussion.

The Iranian Revolution was not just about Islamism, it was an effort to gain the power needed for a particular sect of Shia to bring about the conditions for the return of the Hidden Imam. It has been a driving force behind all efforts, as the right set of conditions has to be in place for that to happen.

What conditions? There are several, but the key one is, there has to be their version of Armageddon. There has to be a major war that sets the mullahs against all other religions. There is a reason the mullahs refer to the United States as The Great Satan.

They need the war, but also don’t want to lose. If they can be attacked, hold their own or not get wiped off the map immediately, then those conditions will bring the return, and the Imam will lead them to victory despite the odds. Again, I’m simplifying things, but it is accurate for these purposes.

Now, nevermind if they provoke the attack, for any response to anything they do counts as an unprovoked attack. Don’t ask me to explain that, it is twisted but it is how they think. I really wish I had been able to get back from Iraq with some of the artwork related to this that we captured on a raid. It would convey a lot if I still had it.

Thus, we have everything from the Embassy Takeover to the efforts to develop nuclear weapons. It is also the reason for the provocations in the Straights; and, it is the reason for the extensive clandestine network and operations that now span the Middle East, parts of Africa, and even into Asia. $130 billion buys you a lot of clandestine activity…

Ironically enough, there is reason for me to believe that COVID came into Iran not by an innocent merchant, but through that clandestine network. Without going into some details, consider a hypothetical.

You are working on nuclear and other weapons, but have been having a rough go of it. Your rockets don’t work reliably and don’t perform as advertised. Your nuclear program has been thwarted, or seriously delayed, by actions from Israel and the United States. Your population is restless, and quite a few of your non-covert operations have ended badly. You need help, and help from an almost neighbor on the nuclear part has, to some extent, dried up. What do you do? Where can you go for help on all the technical and production issues?

Where indeed. Wouldn’t it be very ironic if you had people in for meetings and more in a country where a major epidemic has broken out? And wouldn’t it be even more ironic if your (semi) clandestine air flights brought back more than your people and items?

Is there reason to believe that this could have happened? Yes. Amazing how much info on flights there is out there in the open through sites that track pretty much all flights that leave the ground; and, there is other open-source intelligence as well. Good enough to take to court? No, but interesting none-the-less. Keep in mind that we are limited on humint from China, indeed we have effectively none right now, because the Chinese hacked the allegedly secure server that they were using to communicate with the CIA. They were rolled up and pretty much all are presumed dead at this point.

Now, for fun, look at the spread of COVID-19 from Iran via that same semi-clandestine airline and from covert meetings. As I noted a while back, a good counter-intel type could have a field day with that.

Now, not for fun, look at some sudden improvements to missile and other technology that has come out recently. The largest being that the Iranians just put a satellite into orbit. Why is that important?

First, any rocket that can put a satellite into orbit is by definition an ICBM that can hit almost anywhere in the world. If you start producing large numbers of them, you have a way to deliver nuclear weapons to any target almost anywhere in the world. You are no longer limited the near neighborhood.

Second, you also now have the means to deliver a FOBS strike. The nightmare for most of the Cold War was having a nuclear weapon disguised as a satellite launch exploding over the middle of the United States at high altitude. The resulting EMP burst would disrupt or destroy the electrical grid, most civilian electronics, more military electronics than anyone still wants to admit, wipe computer records even as it destroys the computers. With communications, command, and control severely damaged or destroyed, a first strike would be devastating.

Now, think about how much damage such a strike could do in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. Now, spend a moment thinking about how much more our world depends on advanced electronics, communications, and computing power for everything from our phones and cars to financial markets. Computers run a good bit of our manufacturing, logistics, and even farm operations. Not sure there is a good word other than devastating, but also feel it needs to be taken up a few orders of magnitude.

You want to kick off Armageddon and cripple your enemy with the first blow? FOBS will do it. Provoke an incident in the Straights (or elsewhere), get hit, and retaliate for the unprovoked attack by the Great Satan in a way that could put us back several hundred years in one blow. And, in the process, set the conditions for the return of the Hidden Imam.

What could China gain from helping Iran? Keep in mind, they declared a People’s War against us more than a year ago. If you clandestinely help an enemy of your enemy, surely you can’t be directly blamed for what they do with suddenly improved tech in several sectors.

How likely are the two paragraphs above? They are not improbable. In fact, on some levels they make almost too much sense. Is this what is going on? That remains to be seen. Right now, there is just some strange ebbs and flows in locations on the moving picture of the world. It remains to be seen what happens, but it needs to be watched.

Moroccan Stew

I’ve bought a pressure canner to do some canning this summer, and one of the things I want to can are what I call complete meals. That is, they have everything in them for a complete meal. I’ve also been wanting to play around with some spice mixes that came my way: berbere and Ras El Hanout.

Berbere is Ethiopian and there are possibly thousands of variations. The one I got is not as hot as some, but does pack some nice warmth if not heat on top of some interesting flavors. Ras El Hanout is a Moroccan spice blend (though an Algerian-born acquaintance swears it is Algerian). It has a little bit of warmth to it, and some amazing and exotic (to American palates) flavors.

I’d experimented a small bit with them, when the idea of doing a stew popped into my head. Thus, I did a trial run this weekend and have very much enjoyed the results.

I started by cutting chicken thighs up into cubes, coating them with olive oil, then hitting them with salt, pepper, and a healthy dose of the berbere mix. They went on skewers and into my smoker at 350 degrees to roast.

While that was going on, I diced up a yellow onion and began sweating it in the pot. Once it got where I wanted it (translucent for the most part, bit of caramelization), I added in dice portobello mushrooms, diced zucchini, and diced fire-roasted tomatoes. I then added salt, pepper, and several tablespoons of the Ras El Hanout mix.

Most of the chicken then came off the skewers and into the pot. No, not all of it as I did some quality control, in fact a bit more than normal as it was very, very good. Once in, I let it simmer for a while.

I had it for dinner last night, and it was delicious. Rich, full of flavor, and a decent amount of heat that helped the other flavors pop without being too hot if I share any of it. Three containers (potentially up to six single servings) in the freezer.

The only thing I think I would do differently is to add crushed/minced garlic to the onion as it was sweating. The garlic should work well with both spice blends, and add a bit more depth to an already rich dish.

For now I’m calling it Moroccan stew, but since it is a blend of Moroccan and Ethiopian, need to come up with a better name. Maybe next time inspiration will strike with a name to go with the recipe.

My Personal Decoupling From China

Like many, I’ve made the decision to decouple from China. I’ve avoided food products, human and pet, for years given the plasticized pooches and what a scientist who tested such products told me they had found in almost everything.

The fact is, taking it to the level I want to is not going to be easy. The variety of products, from cooking utensils to electronics, produced in China is staggering. Some of what I’ve done recently is do some research window shopping. Many/most of the cooking utensils and household goods in the kitchen section of the brand-name grocery store come from China. Almost all the linens and related items at one big box store come in whole or in part from China. I was glad to find out that the rival big box store features linens and related from India.

I’ve also discovered that either made in China or made with materials from China can be hard to determine. In fact, where such a label is required, there is no requirement that it be easy to find. Some seem to take great delight in trying to make that as hard as possible.

Finally, the fact is that if you have to buy electronics right now, pretty much everything comes in whole or in majority from China. This will change, but for now, if you want to avoid Chinese products, it will be hard.

Hard, however, is not impossible. I know I really need to upgrade my phone, so I’ve made the decision to buy a used phone. This way, the money does not go to any multinational corporation, but a locally-owned small business (already have one in mind). Barring misfortune, I wait another year or two to upgrade my laptop; but, if not, used.

If enough people do the same, and also let the major computer/electronics businesses know what we are doing and why, they will get the hint. Some are already looking to at least move assembly to other countries around the world, and it’s a start. Bet it accelerates if new products stall and the used market booms.

For everything else, I’m doing my best not to buy Chinese. In fact, what I am doing is buying products made in Taiwan as often as I can. It’s a way to support them, and hopefully expand their market here. Again, one person won’t make that much difference, but if enough people start doing it and letting retailers know that we won’t buy Chinese but will buy Taiwanese…

The only way I plan to buy anything from China is if it is an emergency (can’t live/work without said products) and there is no other source. I will pay more to not buy Chinese at need. Note the parenthetical phrase — emergency, not inconvenience.

Yes, I know that for now I will end up having to buy some things from China, simply because there is no other source for some things. But, I will keep it to a minimum and push for retailers and others to find other sources.

Again, if enough of us do it…

Ending the COVID-19 Updates

I’ve made the call to stop the updates. Right now, the numbers are meaningless, unreliable, and being used to stoke panic and push agendas. To compare the number of deaths to that of a war is both odious and deceitful, not to mention meaningless as we lose around this number to the flu (and we have lost far less than common accidents take out each day).

With the death numbers highly suspect, and the number of cases on a world-wide basis also highly suspect because a number of countries are believed to be significantly underreporting both cases and deaths (cough, China, cough). Essentially giving a bonus to hospitals/others for declaring a death as being from COVID-19, even if the person was not tested for the disease, has made U.S. death figures meaningless.

The repeated manipulation of the numbers by the mainstream media and certain politicians out to score points, does nothing good. It creates panic, and it creates opportunities for the unscrupulous. It does nothing to advance rational discussion or the marketplace of ideas.

I will continue to post links to interesting papers and articles, so that they can be discussed and at least some rational discussion can be put forth into the debate.

Frankly, I find it interesting that for all we have learned about COVID-19, we still don’t know that much. We actually still don’t know how it kills; rather, we have seen many patients die of cytokine storms when it provokes the body to attack itself, and an interesting group of younger victims who have had strokes as a result of infection. Beyond that, there is evidence that it interferes with hemoglobin and oxygen saturation on some level. But, we still don’t know exactly how and why it kills.

The origins do very much matter, as it is interesting, fascinating even, on a biomolecular structural level. How it mutates, and how fast it mutates, is going to make a huge difference in how it interacts with us both later this year and the years to come. There are a lot of questions about it’s structure and how it came to be that need answers, answers that can only come with time and proper study.

While I repeat what I’ve said all along, that whatever it is it is NOT an end-stage (finished) bioweapon. That said, you could not ask for much more out of a bioweapon, esp. one designed to take out a nation for a period of time rather kill everyone (economic versus destruction). The spread rate is far higher than our so-called experts believed at the start. It is transmissible when those infected are asymptomatic and many who have it remain asymptomatic. It is transmissible through multiple vectors, and no we still don’t know all of what and how their either. There are a number of other oddities and issues, but the fact remains that for all it is NOT an end-stage bioweapon is has certainly functioned as one on several levels.

By now, if you don’t know the basics, don’t know how to wash your hands, put on and use gloves and masks, and other aspects of dealing with this, not much can be done for you. So, there is no need to keep repeating the basics.

From now on, I intend to write about the interesting articles, and to do separate commentary on the political and economic aspects. For all that there is some connection between the two, the politics have started driving things well beyond the science.

For those of you who have regularly read and enjoyed my updates, my thanks. I hope you enjoy the articles to come.

Yet More From Our Expert Class

First it was masks. Now, it is gloves. This from Dr. Lindsey Weaver, Chief Medical Officer for the Indiana Dept. of Health. Her basic rational?

You are too stupid to wear them correctly, and it is just easier to tell you not to wear them rather than to tell you how to wear them to get maximum safety. Gee, after all you proles are too ignorant to be shown how to put them on, to wash or use sanitizer on them on a regular basis, and to change them safely on a regular basis as well.

This is the same arrogance we saw on masks, and possibly for much the same reason (supply). This from our so-called elite class who as a class have yet to get it right at the start so far. Some still are not getting it right…

Grrrr. The condescending tone just really iced the cake as it were.

Some Quick Thoughts On The Hermit Kingdom

A few weeks ago, North Korea went dark. Not a loss of power, but a loss of signal if you will. This happens periodically, as they deal with internal matters or assess how some of their shenanigans are playing in the rest of the world (or have had it firmly suggested by the Chinese that they stop whatever it was that they were doing). They have never been a major focus for me, so I generally note it and move on.

However, there are times they do this and become a black hole. It’s not just a loss of signal, it’s a cessation of activities out in the world as well as a total lockdown of information on an internal basis as well. A few times this has been done, I suspect, to see who gets speculated upon as a replacement for the current Kim in charge. Funny how often those mentioned in the media during those times have accidents, disappear, go into exile, or are flat out killed later.

The other times, well, those are interesting. It usually means that there is a major power struggle underway, either for leadership or to change policy. What comes out after is rarely a cause for celebration elsewhere.

One possibility of what is going on is here. It is an interesting take, and a bit different from anything I’ve come across.

For now, I trust South Korean intelligence reports a heck of a lot more than I trust the mainstream media, and they say Kim is alive. My own suspicion is that there is a major policy struggle underway, and those often enough include struggles for power and to remain in power. If it is about a successor to Kim, there are few good options I see.

We will learn soon enough.

Paleo Pancakes

So I don’t lose it, here’s my current recipe for paleo pancakes.

  • 8 eggs
  • 1 cup packed almond flour
  • 2/3 cup arrowroot flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 T honey
  • 2 t apple cider vinegar
  • water
  • coconut oil
  • Options: almond extract, vanilla, nuts, cinnamon, ground clove, ground nutmeg

In a bowl, beat the 8 eggs until well blended. Then add honey, any extracts or spices or nuts, salt, and the baking soda and beat until thoroughly mixed. Then, add the almond flour and beat until smooth. Then add the arrowroot and beat until the mixture is smooth. Then add the coconut flour and repeat. Add water to get the desired consistency.

Cook in a skillet on the stove in coconut oil. Makes 10-12 pancakes.

Enjoy.