Moscow Terror Attack

Two good initial wrap ups are here and here. No surprise Vladimir is going to try to pin this on Ukraine and the West. That was a given. Also no surprise the no-nukes crowd (‘Oh my stars Vladimir will use nukes we need to abandon Ukraine now’) crowd are jumping all over this as yet another reason to run away.

I’ve made no secret that I have thought our support was not terribly well thought out, and I maintain that Ukraine is not a fight requiring American blood. I do think that allowing Russia to break it’s teeth is a good thing, and that having the myth of Russian armed might exposed is also a good thing. I just think we could have done it a lot smarter. A LOT smarter.

As for the run-away crowd, you might want to read this before joining Sir Robin and company. I would also commend this article. As for additional possibilities as to who really was behind the attack, this is interesting reading. I will admit, in many ways it doesn’t matter who really did it. What matters is who Vladimir thinks did it, and who he decides to blame.

Right now, looks like he’s going to blame Ukraine and the West for several reasons. Probably need to sit down and go over some of the reasons, but keep in mind that Vladimir could be behind this directly or indirectly. More soon I hope.

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving once we have medical issues cleared up, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

What A Surprise

Vladimir won, despite it being such a close squeaker. Snort.

Officially above 80 percent, but below 90/95 percent. More than a bit deliberate as one should never be so uncouth as to claim 100 percent (or more!) of the vote.

Yes, one major opposition and one potential opposition died in the run-up. Vladimir and the current system do not believe in live enemies. That said, they tend to focus on those who openly declare themselves to be enemies, and tend to miss those building power in the background even as they voice the appropriate platitudes in public. There is indeed much going on behind the curtain.

Stay tuned. The fact that so many attended the funeral openly — knowing they would be arrested later — more than hints at the fractures in play. That there are rumors of a larger than normal group voting against Vladimir and his party speaks to even more.

Things were already interesting, I strongly suspect they are about to get even more so, possibly even openly.

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving once we have medical issues cleared up, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Russia And Greece

If you missed the story of Russia coming close to getting both Zelensky and Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the Prime Minister of Greece, I’m not surprised. Very little coverage (and downplayed) in corporate media. Little surprised at that given how many seem to want to escalate things, and killing the PM of Greece would surely do that.

Over on Twitter, I remarked that either Vladimir had become untethered from reality, or that the people under him did not have the sense God gave a gopher (embrace the healing power of ‘and’ I know). Someone immediately took me to task for failing to understand that Russia and Russian’s don’t think the way we do. No duh. Also, great way to tell me you’ve never read a word I’ve written about Russia since I’ve been jumping up and down on mores and how they don’t think like us since the early 80s.

However, I stand by what I said. Here’s why. For all that I’ve tried to point out that Vladimir and Russia made the decision to invade without consideration for or of world opinion, that it was strictly based on internal considerations, I also will admit that he did take a quick look at the world before committing. Fact is, Vladimir does not think much of Joe Biden or the Regency, nor much for most other Western leaders. His thought was that they would not really do anything other than talk. That once the offer of evac was rejected by Zelensky, they actually did support Ukraine and provide aid was a bit of a shock. Coupled with the results of rampant corruption in/of the military, things went badly. To be polite. Of course, using the same plan as ’68 down to many of the same units without updating wasn’t exactly optimal.

For all that Vladimir and most of the top people in Russia (including his opposition) are mostly focused on internal issues and perceptions, they also do have to have some consideration for world reaction. There are, after all, certain diplomatic niceties that have to be observed, including being fairly certain that if you off the leader of another nation, that nation and others are likely to be a tad bit upset.

Now, Vladimir doesn’t consider Greece to be a threat, as they are not a member of the nuclear club. Compared to the official numbers of Russian troops, ships, etc., the Greek military is not a threat. Problem for Vladimir is that those official numbers are crap, and they are only producing new weapons with massive help from Western companies who are cheerfully defying all blockades and sanctions to provide Russia with components and equipment. Previously posted my thoughts on that.

Fact is, Greece is in a geographic position to be a huge pain in Russia’s rump if things go hot between them. Russia depends heavily on a lot of “civilian” shipping that has to pass through the Aegean Sea to or from it’s way to the Black Sea. Vladimir it seems thinks that Greece will do nothing if their PM gets offed while in Ukraine. I think he’s very, very wrong.

If not a serious attempt to get Zelensky and Mitsotakis, it was very much a message. Vladimir has already made clear his thoughts about Greece supporting Ukraine, and on the visit. If he thought wacking the leader of another country like he would opposition at home was a good idea, he has become so focused on internal that he’s lost all contact with the outside world and how it operates. Hence, untethered.

Now, if this was “just” an attack on Odessa harbor by Russia’s military as claimed, that they launched it while the PM of another country was there visiting then they clearly don’t have the brains God gave a gopher.

Somehow I doubt that they did this without approval of higher, which pretty much means Vladimir. So, at best it was a message and at worst it was an attempt to eliminate two key opposition figures — which is how Vladimir sees it. Fact is, he doesn’t see Greece as a threat. Then again, he didn’t see Ukraine as a threat either. Have the feeling that this attack is going to have repercussions that somewhat (repeat, somewhat) echo the latter. Getting the strong impression that Mitsotakis was not cowed, but may even be pissed off. I don’t think that’s going to end up going well for Vladimir, who needs to start thinking past the end of his nose.

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving once we have medical issues cleared up, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Random Thoughts On A Wednesday

There are some longer works I hope to get done and posted this week, will see how it goes. Meantime, just some random bits that have caught my attention that you may find interesting or amusing.

I noticed earlier that some people are finally noticing that Soros has bought heavily into American radio. Yes, it is quite concerning. I’m wondering if it might also be tied into the push to do away with AM being included on the radios in new cars. Yes, that is a thing, it’s a serious discussion, and it would be a disaster for AM stations. Which is where you find most conservative talk radio. Which is likely the real reason behind the effort to do away with AM in car radios. Me, once I get some new wheels, I not only want a radio that can get AM, but short wave as well even though our local talk/news station is FM. Be subversive in all things, and in all ways great and small.

Going back to the Tucker/Putin interview, I think I touched on the fact that Vladimir’s take on history was about as realistic as the “Improbable History” segments on “Rocky and Bullwinkle.” Where is Prof. Peabody when you need him??? BTW, at conventions, be sure to ask Sarah A. Hoyt to say “moose and squirrel.” Anywho, here’s a decent take on Prof. Vladimir’s Fractured Fairy Tales, er history. As noted, it’s just a start, but it’s a good start.

It’s going to be interesting to watch what happens in New York over the next few years. Already intent on driving out major contributors to it’s tax base in the name of woke politics (Remington Arms being but one example), you have the triumph of Soviet jurisprudence that is the work of Judge Engoron. New York abandoned the rule of law a while back, and these days loves to viciously prosecute those who dare defend themselves and others while rewarding those who harm others, so no surprise that the AG, Judge, and others put on the show trial of the century (so far at least) after announcing the verdict ahead of time. Now, they and the other politicians are shocked that after announcing that such would only be done to the evil (cough) Trump that big money (and small) is voting with their feet. L’Ombre de l’Olivier (allow me to add it to my recommended regular reads) has a good post on this, and I think the tide is going to rise a lot faster than New York realizes.

The same applies for Delaware, which decided to join the war against Elon. The number of companies switching their incorporation to other states may fast be approaching a flood. It’s much quieter than the head-shot body of New York real estate dropping to the floor with a splat, but it’s there and is somewhat amusing to watch. The bet isn’t if, but when Delaware and New York start screaming for a Federal bailout because of their actions.

While I’m thinking about it, a couple of quick thoughts about Elon, his companies, and the war on him. Make no mistake, it is a war and it is being waged by the Biden Regency. Rather, they are being allowed to head up that war on the U.S. side. Understand, X is only free speech in comparison to the competition. It still bans a lot of speech under the banner of being nice and encouraging nice-speak. I frankly don’t care if the boot on the throat is the black jackboot of fascism or the white boot of the pretend angel of niceness — it’s still a fucking boot on the throat. However, by allowing any speech not endorsed by our would-be masters (looking not just at DC but also towards Europe and that smug little bitch TM) earned Elon the ire if not outright hatred of said wanna-be masters.

Which is deliciously ironic given that Tesla is for all intents and purposes the EV producer in the U.S./world, and that without Space X we have almost zero access to orbit. Blue Origins talks a lot, but still hasn’t made orbit — which might make me take some of the talk seriously. Everyone else is still playing catch up. I agree with Elon: we need to become a spacefaring race, and fast. Earth is the cradle of humanity, and we need to leave the cradle ASAP as crib death is still a thing. Elon is the best option for that happening at this time. For all that I agree with Glenn Reynolds on this, I worry about the future and what happens if Elon is taken out of the equation.

I was working on a short bit of fiction, but Iran just may have ended it. Their recent missile test used a standard CONEX to launch a missile. My story also did the same. Well, it was an exploration of a first-strike scenario using six to ten container ships to launch a rather devastating first strike against the U.S. Almost all of our sensors are focused out of CONUS, but not so much on close-in. Just think about one large container ship and the dozens of CONEX just on the top layer. Forget ballistic, go with hypersonic cruise missiles, say from a container ship headed into the Port of Baltimore. If very lucky, you would have up to five minutes warning in DC. Most likely less than that. With the six to ten ships, it could be possible to take out about ninety percent of the first and second strike targets. Don’t worry, I still maintain that Vladimir will not nuke DC as he wants to hurt us, not help us.

Speaking of space, I’ve been considerably amused at the frantic activity in DC around the “leak” of the so-called major security concern/threat. Boy howdy did that blow up in some very embarrassed faces. I still need to do a post on the subject and the Outer Space Treaty, it’s one of those longer pieces that I hope to get done later this week.

Meantime, I am working to re-arrange and clean my room. This has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that the priest is coming to bless the house and the room I rent. I will say that organizing and major cleaning have not been on the table since the first shoulder replacement last June, and it shows. My OCD has been having conniption fits for a while now, and of course one bit of (re) organizing always leads into other things… BTW, the priest is young and never been around the military, so I think my telling him that he was not allowed to try to bounce a quarter on the bed went right over his head… I use fitted sheets anyway.

UPDATE: Just remembered what it was I was going to post. Sarah posted this about some good people in need. Sadly, Synova’s husband has passed, but help is still needed. I also just read that Steve Miller, Sharon Lee’s husband and co-author has passed. Prayers are urgently needed for all.

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving once we have medical issues cleared up, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

The Death of Navalny

I’m honestly surprised it took this long. My bet was sooner during a change of prison. If you believe that he was taking a walk and just collapsed out of the blue, I’ve got some investment opportunities I’d love to discuss with you.

Officially, Russia does not have the death penalty. The days of a relatively clean bullet to the back of the head (see The Death of Nina in The Americans as that is accurate about how it was done) are gone. From what I hear today usually involves paid goons (prisoner or guards), and beatings that may include truncheons, pipes, etc. Somehow I doubt his family will get the body back, as an unmarked prison grave still works best for the people in charge.

I talked about Navalny and other opposition figures in this post. For all that he was not the pro-Western figure beloved of the Western left, he was in many ways the last major opposition to Vladimir and the current leadership. I also have to give him significant props for courage for going back, even knowing he would likely be killed for so doing.

I’m wondering if among other motives, the death of Navalny may possibly also be very cynical opportunism. Vladimir is going to (rightly in the ways that count) take the blame for his murder. Given some of the jockeying and in-fighting that is underway behind the scenes, however, I have to wonder if this was not done by one of the other factions. It puts Vladimir and the current leadership in a bad light internally (which is really what counts) and internationally (which really doesn’t count for much, but…) while they can quietly take credit for bold, decisive action. Given the recent window issues experienced by some current (or possibly former) Vladimir supporters, the game appears to be afoot.

That said, I also have to admit it could just be Vladimir on a schedule that makes sense from an internal Russian perspective, a la the death of Pringles. Or, it could be Vladimir saddling some up and coming competition with the act even as he takes the public blame. What can I say? It is so much fun trying to figure out what is going on not behind an Iron Curtain; but, rather behind the frosted-glass kaleidoscope in place to keep the public from truly seeing behind the scenes.

I have said a prayer for his soul, and note for the record that the fact that I don’t think he was the figure portrayed by Western liberals means in any way that he deserved to be murdered. He did not. Do I hope justice catches up to all involved/responsible at all levels? Yes. Beyond that, there’s not a lot to say. The pundits will roar and lionize, the opposition will demonize, and not much will change. Sorry, a bit cynical this morning and wondering if by the election we will have much room to talk.

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving once we have medical issues cleared up, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Some Memories Of Russia

I’m not really sure what Tucker is up to, but his recent takes on Moscow and Russia in comparison to the U.S. have an odd ring to them. To be charitable.

Almost all my time in Russia was either in St. Petersburg or Moscow. I really wish time and circumstances had allowed me to see more. If it were possible to go back (it’s not), part of me would love to start in St. Petersburg and take the train all the way across the country. Stop and explore along the way, take lots of photos, and get to meet more of the people. On these photos, click to embiggen if you like.

My quick takes are perhaps dated, but here they go. I really enjoyed and liked St. Petersburg. In a perfect world, I could spend months there going through the museums and archives. I felt relatively safe there walking around, and it was comforting to know I had several ways out of Russia from there in an emergency. Had several offers to come back without a date, as they had a nice girl for me to meet and marry (grin, several people did not think much of my companion), and/or to come back in winter and take a sleigh ride.

Moscow did not feel as safe, particularly at night. I only really went out once at night, and it came close to ending in a less-than-positive manner. I will note that in St. Petersburg the word seemed to be out not to harm the tourists (like when the Mob ran Vegas). That was missing in Moscow.

And, yes, the stores and even some food courts were amazing. Of course, part of it was that even the Soviets realized the new buildings were crap and that it was much better to upgrade the old buildings that were well built.

It was a bit jarring, however, to eat at a fast food place shoehorned into the splendor, and that the native Russian with me assured me was the best Italian in Moscow. Cough.

I really thought I had a photo of one of Stalin’s show subway stations, but can’t find it. Pity, as it really was quite a show. If I remember correctly, there were several done in different styles (Deco, Nouveau, etc.) to show the class, grace, and modernity of the great Soviet state. Cough. Tourists were not generally allowed to travel to or through any other stations for some odd reason. Cough. Still lots of rumors (here and there) that Stalin had tunnels put under the Kremlin, both as an escape to distant airfields and to create bomb shelters.

Shakedowns, often by militia, police, etc., were the official big thing at the time. It was the way they had actually gotten additional money back in Soviet days, and was (I was told) how they got paid at the time of my visit. Apparently paychecks got held up a good bit, and I was treated to some amazing music as members (most?) of the Moscow Symphony were having to beg for money in the subway near the Kremlin as they hadn’t been paid in months.

The difference, at that time, was that if you were a tourist, the shakedowns in St. Petersburg tended not to get too physical (or so I was told), whereas Moscow you could easily end up in the hospital or worse. I got lucky in Moscow when accosted one night, talked fast, and engaged in an expedient change of location that got me clear. I did not run (that is not a good idea in such a situation) but I did move in a determined manner. I’m also glad they didn’t understand English as I may have muttered a few things under my breath while trying to talk my way out.

I will also admit that in St. Petersburg I had hired a driver and translator. To be honest, I chose that pair because they had worked with (but not for) the GRU and KGB during the Soviet era. Longer story there, but we did not have any problems or shakedowns during the time there. I used similar to get to and from the airport in Moscow, as kidnappings for ransom on that road were an issue at the time.

So, yes, there are places in Moscow and elsewhere that are absolutely gorgeous. There are places where, especially as a tourist (and most likely under open and covert watchful eyes), you are going to be safe. But, there are also no-go zones and other delights to go with the remains of Stalin’s show pieces. You might also want to look at average income, STD (and esp. HIV) rates, medical, and a few other critical things.

Glad I visited, not really interested in living there. If Tucker or anyone else is, all the best to them. They are going to need it.

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving once we have medical issues cleared up, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

About That Intel Issue

That is so serious it is requiring multiple meetings, lots of SCIF briefings, and is apparently being leaked madly in the name of saving the Republic (cough, choke, wheeze). Oh, and is also being linked to crucial, crucial I say funding for Ukraine and is so important no money can be wasted on our borders… Sigh.

For now, color me skeptical, unimpressed, and needing jusssssst a touch more info (/end Harry Doyle/Bob Uecker voice) to be convinced. Right now, the bookmakers are putting good odds on it being the Russians, in the library with a candlestick, er, in space with nukes.

Okay, I’ll bite. One, nukes are about the only credible threat Russia has right now, and even it is a bit wobbly in my opinion. I still subscribe to my ‘tyranny of the 20 percent’ concept in which I think they (or us) will be lucky to get 20 percent of the weapons and/or weapons systems to work. Just look at how well Nikita’s, er, Vladimir’s demo launch worked during Biden’s visit to Ukraine.

For as much as I am NOT a fan of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, and would like to see us either re-negotiate the majority in light of commercial operations or withdraw from them, there are some interesting and needed weapons provisions that I think are good things even though I’m also more than a little suspicious that China (1983 signatory I think) is well on its way to scrapping some key lunar and orbital points. For that matter, I’m pretty sure Russia has already violated it a time or two (but that’s true for pretty much every treaty they have signed).

Until there is more information, there’s not a lot that can be said — which is not going to stop the grifters and pundits from putting forth thousands of empty words. I’m going to wait and see what comes out other than leaks, then offer some analysis and thoughts. Until then, just consider my cynicism as a given.

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving once we have medical issues cleared up, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Midweek Update

Lots going on in the world still, but still far from one hundred percent. Started feeling bad Saturday, felt like dreck on Sunday, and still haven’t bounced back. Feeling a bit better, but not even close to where I would like to be. The news of the world isn’t helping. Thank goodness for blood pressure meds…

First, say the names Sgt. William Jerome Rivers (Carrolton, GA), Spc. Kennedy Ladon Sanders (Waycross, GA), and Spc. Breonna Alexsondria Moffett (Savannah, GA). I wish I had the names of all the wounded who came before them, or were wounded with them, but I don’t. If those attacks had been responded to professionally and decisively at the time, these troops would not be dead and the Red Sea would not be the mess it is.

If you really want your blood pressure to go up, check out the reports that the families had to fill out paperwork to get a call from Biden. I’m hearing that it is correct, that the Regency wanted paperwork done (and asses covered) before the call was made. If you want to know how the Biden Regency (and the Biden family for anyone but Beau) views those who serve… Wonder how many times he brought up Beau with these families? Word is the demented meat puppet will be at Dover, and I wonder how many times the POS will check his watch this time.

Fox News?

As for retaliation, I’m not optimistic on anything useful being done. Hearing a lot of what went on with the Houthi situation: give warnings, time to evacuate people and supplies, etc. Then again, ten percent of whatever cut is being gotten from the six billion is a lot of money. We really need to not do the “nice” thing this time, and a certain Iranian intelligence and control ship needs to be on the bottom of the Red Sea. Lot’s of countries who are PO’d about the Red Sea situation have subs, just sayin’… Though I would bet on it being less than 24-hours before someone in the Regency blabbed.

I wish I was up to more. Iran is pushing, North Korea appears to be preparing, and lots of other things are happening on top of that. Good news here is that some low blood ox levels appear to be more low battery level than anything else. When it comes to medical, get as much redundancy in your system as you can. Particularly in monitoring and related gear. I’m working on getting an appointment with a new cardiologist, but part of that depends on others, so we will see. I will find a way to make it happen.

Other than some cooking this weekend, only “fun” thing I’ve done is play with culturing a sourdough starter. Will share more soon, even if it goes completely south, as it has been fun and I had some amazing biscuits this morning made with the “discard” from the feedings. If it works, well, I’m going to eat well even in an emergency I think.

Working on a food preparedness idea that I may share even before I have things fully worked out. Essentially one case of canning jars and a few other items gives several people enough to last 2-4 weeks (and have a long-term reserve of certain essentials). Can augment or boost short rations for a longer time. Also, lots of options for ensuring some “fun” things as well.

So far, glad to see things not getting out of hand in Texas. FYI, Texas is not defying the Supreme Court. The ruling simply lifted an injunction, and did not prevent Texas from taking actions. The Feds can take actions, and Texas can string more wire and take other actions as well as the case winds through the courts. The only thing that concerns me right now is that the Biden Regency has a knack for picking the stupidist option in any situation, and running with it. So far, that seems to be the LNG action, but if there is a way to stick the pistol in their pants and AD, the Biden Regency will find it.

BUCEEEEEEEES!

BTW, if anyone knows how to get the Buc-ee’s combat patch, do let me know as I WANT ONE! That’s just too good and mocks so mercilessly….

More soon I hope.

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving once we have medical issues cleared up, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Russia Wants Alaska Back?

Saw this good post by Leslie Eastman over at Legal Insurrection. Has Vladimir been making noises about re-acquiring various former territories that were sold, lost, or otherwise no longer Russian? Yes. He has.

Most of the noise is aimed at an internal audience, as with most of the talk on Ukraine, use of nukes, etc. It does, however, establish claim (as the Russians see it) for eventually going after all former territories. I keep telling people that they need to pay attention to Russkiy Mir (much as Cdr. Salamander keeps tapping his sign that NATO has an Eastern front, not a flank) as it does indeed call for re-acquiring former lands (including Alaska).

Thing is, it is not happening anytime soon. Again, that was for an internal audience and not focused on any outside audience. Though, to be honest, if the Biden Regency were to respond in any way that they see as providing a good precedent or possible concession, Vladimir is not going to object. And, yes, I do suspect the Regency is stupid enough to do such, even if they don’t realize they are doing it.

As for trading California for clear title to Alaska, well, I don’t think Vladimir is that stupid though we could hope…

Meantime, go enjoy a good post but remember that the whole concept of Russkiy Mir is driving not only the invasion of Ukraine, but a lot of other stuff going on internal to Russia. Western politicians write off the document and the concept as bombast or posturing, but Vladimir and other Russian politicians do indeed see it as a guide who’s implementation will be their legacy.

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving once we have medical issues cleared up, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.